Italian Cream Sodas are a favorite in my family. When Todd and I got married we had Italian Cream Sodas as our featured drink, my nieces always make them when I go over to watch them, my brothers are obsessed- it’s easy to say it is a favorite drink at the Olthuis house. So with the holidays upon us and much family time in the near future I thought it would be fun to share an EASY Italian Cream Soda recipe that helps to limit the amount of items used.
Have you ever lost your wedding ring? The panic of realizing that its gone and you might never find it? I have and its not a fun feeling. Especially when you don’t want your husband to find out that you can’t find it- you know, searching everywhere you think it could be but acting cool like nothing is wrong. Well guess what- I got caught- my husband actually found it and asked me about it one day. Worst feeling ever.
Well I don’t have to experience that feeling ever again. Thanks to Tile I will be able to find it if I ever lose it again. I attached the tile to my wedding ring and engagement ring using a key ring. If I ever can’t find it I go to my phone and click find on the app, or any device that I can use the app with to log in. It will play music to let me know where it is and it will also show me the location on my phone gps.
Now you might wonder, a wedding ring- why aren’t you wearing your wedding ring. I am a dental hygienist and as a RDH (registered dental hygienist) you are encouraged to not wear jewelry which includes a wedding ring. Now I know some still do but I am kind of a germaphobe when it comes to stuff like that. You see jewelry is small and has small parts that the bacteria can get into. So when I work I don’t have my wedding ring on- the other days I don’t like to wear it because I have scratched my kids with it- as well as getting it dirty with just being around kids. I have always felt like it was safer put away- until Olivia started to explore into all of my things.
Now in marriage what is mines is yours- but it is that way with kids as well. At least the part of what is mine is yours, but what is theirs is theirs, right? So having Olivia getting into my things and playing with my jewelry was how I lost my wedding ring and thank goodness I was able to find it not too far in the house- but I don’t have to worry about that again thanks to Tile.
We have also used a tile on Olivia’s favorite stuffed animal, Rudolph the red nose reindeer- and no I am not saying that because its almost Christmas. Last year my mom gave Olivia a book with the stuffed animal and she hasn’t parted with it yet. She will run around all day playing with this thing and once its bedtime it disappears- I think its a way to stall bedtime, but of course she has a meltdown in her bed til one of us can find it. Thanks to Tile its not that hard of a task anymore and bedtime can stay on time.
As parents we have a million things going through our heads at all times.
did I change the load in the wash
what is for dinner tonight
do I have those groceries to make that
I hope I am going to have time to get Ryan to her doctor appointment without waking her from her nap
did Olivia eat enough for breakfast and was it even healthy
Lets be honest do our minds ever stop- I know mine doesn’t. I went and got a massage the other day and the entire time I was thinking about a million things. I couldn’t even relax.
I know I don’t have it bad compared to some but between dealing with Ryan’s acid reflux and than adding her plagiocephaly & torticollis into the mix I feel like we are always on the go. The last thing that I want to have to deal with is a diaper rash.
When Ryan was about a month old she started getting really bad diaper rashes & was upset all the time- the only thing that would calm her down was to nurse her but that only lasted a few minutes and than she would arch and scream. Come to find out she was reacting to all the dairy that I was eating (which I live off of my dairy) and she had acid reflux. One thing that really helped during this time was Desitin Rapid Relief.
Every now and then we still deal with diaper rash but it is nothing compared to those earlier days. I also know that we are staying on top of it to help prevent it from happening. If you are dealing with diaper rash right now Desitin shares some of their secrets how to deal with it here as well as how to prevent it from happening here. We love using the Desitin Rapid Relief but I also recommend trying their Desitin Maximum Strength Original paste. Have you tried Desitin? What are some secrets to keeping your little ones bum from turning red?
Chores are an excellent way to teach children responsibility as well as being a part of the family and contributing. One thing I have noticed with children is the desire to help out so I knew I wanted to teach her things while she still had this desire. We started some of these chores around the age of 1 but thought I would write a list of a few chores we have her do and most 2 year olds are capable of doing.
2 Year Old Chore List
Wipe up spills
We started this early- around 1 1/2 years old- every time she would spill something on the floor I would give her something to help wipe it up- sometimes she would go into the drawer and get a towel herself as well to help clean it up. She doesn’t always do the best job and I often have to go after her and finish cleaning it up but I love that she knows that if something spills she needs to clean it up.
Pick up her toys & books
This task isn’t always easy- she gets distracted very easily when picking up her toys and will sit down and start playing. I probably end up cleaning most of the toys up but I do like knowing that she can do it. There are times that I tell her I will not help to pick them up and make her do them herself. I think it is good to teach them that you are not there to serve their every desire. If they make a mess it is their responsibility to clean it up.
Make her bed
Thanks to Beddys bedding this is an easy task. I think a made bed makes the room but how hard would it be for a 2 year old to always make that bed when I can’t even seem to make my own all the time- thanks to the zipper feature she is able to zip her bed made and she loves doing it as well.
Brush her teeth
I am a dental hygienist so this one is extremely important to me and I love that she wants to do it. Obviously I go in and do it as well but I love that she wants to brush them herself. It will create a healthy habit for when she is a teenager and older.
Throw away her garbage
Another task that she has loved since a young age. She often asks to throw away our garbage. I wanted to teach her to not leave her trash everywhere for me to find. Outside I do not allow her to leave her garbage all over the yard either. There are times that we eat outside and she will get distracted and want to run off and play but I still make her throw things away. Hoping it will help to prevent littering in the future as well
Feed the cats
This chore more came about from her begging to do it. We help her with this task and measure out the amount the cats need but she goes and puts it in their bowls. She often goes and calls for the cats to come to dinner as well if they aren’t already up in the kitchen begging for it.
When I was little and would have a cold or sore throat my dad would always make me a hot tea with lemon juice, honey, and some sugar to help soothe the symptoms. It is the best cold remedy ever for myself and I still use it all winter if I feel anything coming on. Now I have added something to this to give it that extra boost for my immune system. Have you ever heard of Forté Elements? They have all sorts of different supplement that benefit certain things, for example prenatal vitamins, postnatal vitamins, and the one that I am taking which is Amino Acids.
Amino Acids are important to help support your muscles to recover faster after working out and assist with cardiovascular, muscle and central nervous system functioning. It helps to increase energy, everyday health and here is what is important to me – helps reduce risk of infection.
The Amino Acid is a lemon-lime flavor so instead of putting lemon juice in my hot drink I place this in instead.
Best Cold Remedy
8 oz hot water
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 packet of Forté Elements Amino Acid
What are some things that you do to help your immune system during the flu season? Any cold remedies that you swear by?
This weekend we or I decided to redo Olivia’s entire bedroom. I picked out some paint colors and painted the whole room 2 coats and ended up hating the color. After a whole ordeal with that- trying to do house projects with a toddler and infant while having to pump is not ideal. While pumping Olivia got into the paint and painted her entire arms and legs as well as painted handprints all over the walls and the rug. Anyways- after hating the color and dealing with that whole mess I painted the room another color- 2 coats. Our house was built in 1939 so the hardwood floors needed some love as well and after Olivia getting into the paint they really needed some help. So I informed my husband that we were sanding and staining the floors this weekend. Now if you know me you know that I randomly take on projects out of the blue and I always want to be hands on as well. So yes I was in there using those huge sanders that you rent from Home Depot. Now this could be a whole other post but what I am getting to is all the aches and pains as well as the bruises that I acquired this weekend.
Perfect timing for some new products that PROcure sent me to try out. They sent me an Epsom Salt rub and a Bruise Remedy gel to try out. PROcure is family friendly using safe ingredients. These products work proven by science but are safe using products from nature. Brands in first aid aren’t required to clarify all their ingredients so its nice knowing that they show everything thats in their products and its all from nature.
The bruise remedy gel helps fade away the bruise as well as spider veins using an organic sulfur MSM that reduces inflammation and detoxifies. It is also enriched with Arnica Montana which is a yellow flower that has been used for centuries to relieve and soothe bruising.
Now who doesn’t love a good Epsom salt bath- but as a mom of 2 -who always has time for that. That is what I love about the Epsom Salt Gel Rub– its the bath in a rub. Epsom Salt is a mineral known to reduce aches and pain but this gel also has Aloe Vera which soothes skin as well.
I bruise easily in general but I often have the battle wounds of being a parent and a parent of a toddler which we all know means we are a human jungle gym. I should start documenting some of these wounds-for example when I was Olivia’s airplane and hit the coffee table. These products work great for anyone. If you are concerned about products that you are putting on your body I highly recommend you checking our PROcure products.
I have a lot of people ask me about my favorite baby products so I thought I would put together a top 5 favorite baby products list. I love to try new products that I hear of and am sent a lot of items to try out so I thought it was time to make a list of my all time favorite products. Here are my top 5 in no particular order.
Top 5 Favorite Baby Must Haves
Everyone always asks me if it is really worth it or as good as people say. YES- it honestly is. When I finally caved and bought our first dockatot was when Olivia was 9 months old. She was sleeping in our room still and wasn’t sleeping through the night- 9 months you guys of not having a full nights rest. I was desperate and didn’t care how expensive something was going to cost me as long as I could have a full nights rest. I bought the dockatot and never looked back. The first few nights she wasn’t quite sure of it- but after 2 nights in the dockatot she was sleeping through the night. At nap time she would snuggle into her favorite position and just fall right asleep. The dockatot deluxe was the first item I bought when I found out I was pregnant again. Trust me you wont regret buying this product.
A great swaddle (Ollie Swaddle & Ergopouch)
With Olivia I bought some velcro swaddles from Target and hated them- the reason why was if I was changing her diaper in the middle of the night I had to pull her all the way out of the swaddle. There were times that she would have stayed half asleep if I didn’t have to do that so I stopped using them and took them to a thrift store the next day. This time around I made sure to get swaddles that I could get to their cute little bums without fully pulling them out of. That is what I love about the Ergopouch & Ollie swaddle. Now I recommend these both because you need a few swaddles anyways when one, or two, or three are in the laundry pile. I like them both for different reasons. I love that the Ergopouch has a little more wiggle room so Ryan can still move around in it but not too much. I have done where I keep her arms inside the pouch or have let her arms come through the holes. I also love that it has two zippers so she can stay in the pouch still. The ollie is similar where it velcros across her body but has an opening at the bottom that you close with an elastic. When changing her you just slide the swaddle up- wa-la.
I can’t say this enough now (now that I know how important it is) that every infant should be on a probiotic. I was never told of the importance for Olivia to be on one when she was infant and I regret not knowing it. I wasn’t told with Ryan until a month old and we went to the doctor about acid reflux and was told to try a probiotic first before medication. Why isn’t this told to every mom. If your child gets on a probiotic when young you are setting them up for a healthy life- for the rest of their lives. GUT HEALTH is where it’s at people. Have healthy insides and we will have healthy outsides as well. I already talked about my favorite probiotic EVIVO in this post- I highly recommend you see the benefits of a probiotic and EVIVO is the only clinically proven probiotic to restore a healthy gut. Why not go with the best if you are going to choose one.
I am very opinionated about this and I don’t always use it as a backpack but when I need it its great to have it as an option. As a parent you are already juggling so many things- don’t add a diaper bag to the mix. When you are chasing around your toddler or kids you are going to want your arms free too so just make it easy on yourself and get a backpack diaper bag. I love my Fawn design bag and I actually have 3. Yes I have an addiction with backpack diaper bags- I even bought the Freshly Picked diaper bag on their Kickstarter and can’t wait to get it this fall. I’ve been eyeing the new Kikilu diaper bag in Cream– cuz yes everyone needs options. Listen when you become a parent you no longer get to use your purses- most of them can’t fit everything that you need. Plus I don’t want my kids ruining my amazing bags from pre-parenthood. There will be a time that I can pull out my designer bags again but it isn’t now. While I’m rocking the mom look I am going to be rocking a great bag and I need options so don’t judge me.
Carrier I am obsessed with my ring sling. Now everyone has different opinions on this and this is just what has worked with me. I bought the wraps first and wasn’t a fan. When I usually carry my daughters its when we are out in public. I didn’t like trying to wrap myself and having it drag on public ground- gross- than I was going to put my baby in that thing. I tried wrapping it before leaving and I just hated doing that. Than I discovered Sakura Bloom and instantly fell in love. So much so that I started getting all of my friends on board of baby wearing. Whenever I would go out in public people would actually come up to me and tell me that they loved seeing a mama baby wearing. I would get complements on how gorgeous the wrap was. I could keep my baby close and kiss her at all times and keep people away from touching her. I am a huge fan of ring slings. I found it so much easier to learn how to use- it was compact in my bag, and it didn’t drag on the ground when I tried putting it on in public.
Now if you are doing more of heavy walking around- for example walking around the park or going hiking or trail walking I highly recommend the Lillebaby carrier. This is so comfortable, didn’t hurt my shoulders, waist or back. They have beautiful colors and designs- as well as lots of different models. Every mom that I have talked to about these types of carriers have all told me they love their Lillebaby carrier.
I am curious- have you used any of these items for your children? Do you agree with me? What are some of your favorite baby products? Please share below so I can look them up.
Olivia is obsessed with eating outside. She will always go and get our blanket and say picnic outside. It is adorable and I hope she continues to want to hang out with me all the time. It got me thinking though of some things that are essential to have a great picnic and thought I would gather some of our favorite products.
A great blanket
We are obsessed with our Gathre mat and I highly recommend investing in a good quality blanket for any occasion. This mat gets brought out on a daily and during the winter we use it for indoor picnic as well. I love that it is waterproof so if the grass is wet we don’t get wet and you are able to wipe off anything easily that is spilt. Lets be honest we are eating with kids- there is going to be a lot that gets spilt. Olivia has gotten lasagna all over this mat and it never stained- just wiped right up.
A picnic basket
We have one similar to this one– that I got from my parents house- it helps to have all of your stuff together in one spot. Plus I think it is adorable to have a picnic basket.
Umbrella We bought a budget friendly $20 one from Target in their seasonal area and we use it all the time- there are often times we can’t find shade so its nice to have this to protect us some.
Portable speakers We are a family that loves to always have music playing. Olivia also loves to dance so it helps to entertain her while the rest of us are still snacking. We have a small bluetooth one that we got from Amazon.
Easy Nutritious Food Obviously a picnic wouldn’t be complete without the food. I like to keep it simple when going on a picnic so that I am not juggling a lot of things and makes clean up easy as well. I still want the food to be nutritious for us. That is what I love about the Papa Johns ne w gluten-free crust pizza. They use ancient grains making this a healthier option than your regular pizza. Whenever I am breastfeeding I try to be a little more health conscience than I normally am. I am also the mom that gives my child fruit & veggies while I am hiding eating fast food. I like that I don’t have to hide while eating this meal. Try it out tonight with this PROMO CODE for a small 2-Topping Gluten-Free Crust Pizza $9.99 : GLTN2T
Olivia loves her dad, which I don’t blame her, I do too. Often times they go out in the backyard and will hit golfballs around together. While we were on vacation we thought it would be fun to plan a special evening where we took Olivia to the putting green and had her actually trying to hit the ball into a hole. So we got her all dresses up and ready to go on her daddy daughter date.
Now we had a little surprise for daddy too. She had in the backseat a Jord wood watch waiting to give to him. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself in the backseat and daddy thought she was just excited to go golfing. Thank goodness for diaper bags cuz I had her put it inside and while he was getting out some balls she sat down on the grass and just waited for him admiring the watch.
Luckily I guessed his wrist size correctly and it ended up fitting perfectly. What we both commented on was how the watch came in a beautiful wooden box with a humidor compartment below to keep the wood from drying out. I think that is important to point out because I don’t know if other wood watch companies do this and since we live in Utah (the desert) this is very important to do.
While we were on the putting green four deer came up and were eating quietly next to us. I was shocked that they would even attempt to be near us with Olivia running around all wild. Once she spotted them she did try to chase them away. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of how beautiful it was with them in the background.
We stayed as long as we could without getting eaten alive by the giant Montana mosquitos that started to swarm us but I would say that this daddy daughter date was a success. Olivia ran around having a blast and actually hit the ball in a few times and my husband not only got to make memories with his daughter but got a timepiece to remember the memory by. If you would like to surprise someone special with a Jord watch or just spoil yourself click here to enter a $100 giveaway- GREAT NEWS!! Everyone is a winner for entering because you all will receive a $25 code that will expire October 29, 2017.
Lets face it- there are times that we need to turn to our mom tribe for advice. I not only have amazing friends that I can turn to but I feel very fortunate to have an amazing mother, mothers-in-law, sister and awesome sisters-in-law that I turn to more often than not for advice. I was so excited to partner with Ocean Spray® and try their new Mocktails while sitting down with my mom and sister in law and get some parenting advice from them. Here are some top tips that I’ve been given over time.
TOP 10 Parenting Advice
Say I love you early and often. Mean it as well. We have had several people hear my family members talking on the phone to each other and whenever we get off the phone we ALWAYS say I love you to each other. They often are amazed that we speak to each other this way and complete on that we do this. I can honestly say that I love knowing that my parents and siblings love me. You often hear people say they regret not expressing their love for people more often. I know that my family will never have that regret & I hope to continue that tradition with my little family.
Agree with your spouse in front of the children and be a united front- don’t make one parent the bad guy all the time. My mother has such a tender heart- whenever we misbehaved and she tried disiplining us she would often go into her room and cry about it. It was always harder on her than us so she started using the phrase- wait till your father gets home. She tells us all the time that she regrets ever doing that. Not only did it not work- we would still misbehave until our father got home- but it made my dad out to be the bad guy. Now I never thought of my father as bad but man when we got home and we were bad we would all run for it. What kind of greeting is that a father after a hard days of work. Come up with rules and how to discipline together and than each hold to them.
Don’t Compare yourself to other parents- each child, parent and situation is different. We each come with different skills & personalities-find what works for your family. Easier said than done- especially with social media thrown in our faces at all times but we don’t know what is truly happening in everyones homes. Those parents might seem to have it all together at all times but lets be honest none of us do. We all lose our tempers, burn a meal, leave our house or chores a mess at times. Some people are great at crafts while others are great at cooking. We each have different strengths and weaknesses so use what you have.
Be open to advice- read lots of different parenting books and articles. You never know what might work for your child and family.
I use to hate when people would try giving me advice- I knew my child and that was it. Than my child started to grow and change and I realized that being open to advice wasn’t such a bad thing. What works for me might not work for my daughters. Just because someone gives you advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it but one day you might use one of their tips and be grateful you were open to advice. I also learned this with books, while pregnant I didn’t want to follow one way of parenting so I didn’t ready any books, but once I had my daughter I realized that I needed some knowledge at parenting. I started reading all sorts of books and realized it didn’t have to be one style or the other, you pick things that work for you and your family and develop your own style.
Have a family dinner daily with no technology. There have been studies done about how important it is to sit down as a family and have dinner together. Not only does it get the family together on a regular basis but it gives everyone a chance to talk to one another. It gives everyone a chance to talk about their day as well. There are so many cute traditions that I have heard of- letting everyone talk about a high & low moment that day, talk about what they achieved that day and plan to achieve the next day. One of my good friends that is from Central America told me that at dinner her father would quiz all of them about cities, countries, spelling, anything and everyone in her family is so smart and knowledgeable. I know I looked forward to our family meals together- I loved sitting down and listening to my older siblings talk about their day. This is a tradition I plan to do.
Clearly define limits and expectations. I always knew what was expected of me growing up and at times I felt like the expectations were too high but now that I am older I respect that. I love that my parents had high expectations of me- it means they knew I was capable to achieve them. I also knew what was expected of me when not around my parents and I think other families appreciate that. My parents have several friends that have commented about how much they enjoy being around not only them but their children. I never want someone to avoid spending time with us because I don’t have my children under control. I think this tip can relate to a lot of things as well, school, hobbies, behavior, etc.
Be patient and understanding.
One thing I have learned since having a child is to be patient. There are times that I know it will be so much easier for me to do something on my own but that wouldn’t be teaching them how to do it. We not only need to be patient with them growing up and learning but being patient and understanding when they make a mistake in life. I always knew my parents loved me no matter what I did and knew I could go and talk to them about it. It was so comforting to know they understood even if they weren’t happy with me.
Don’t over structure their lives. This seems to be a big problem lately. It is a competitive world and as a parent you feel that if they don’t have every second scheduled with an activity than they will fall behind. Again there have been studies how this is hurting our children. They need time to be bored so they can learn how to entertain themselves. They need time to be creative and discover what their true talents and passion are. With packed schedules they never learn these skills.
Learn to say NO- what a child wants isn’t always what they need.
I know not everyone is not going to agree with me on this one but at least hear me out. I know there is a parenting trend that says that the word no can be damaging to a child. I don’t agree with this because in life you are going to hear the word no at times and we need to prepare them for that. Life is not always going to give them what they want and they need to learn to either do without or learn to work towards getting it if they really want it. I believe that hearing the word no teaches boundaries at times as well. Now I do agree with that we should learn to answer at times with a different word- for example if a child asks for a treat we don’t always have to say no- we can give them options or other alternatives. “Mom can I have a treat” “right now I would like it if you had some crackers or an apple, which one would you like instead” This technique has helped in our family so far but I will admit I am not perfect and the word no still comes out often.
Give them a chore at least once a day.
Chores teach our children how to work and be responsible. It also gives them pride in the work that they have done. A child will appreciate a meal so much more when they have helped prepare it. They feel apart of the family when given family responsibilities. It also teaches them to work at an early age. There are a lot of good lists that I have found on Pinterest that talk about age appropriate chores.
Now lets talk about how much I enjoyed these Ocean Spray® Mocktails– they seriously do taste like cocktails. What I like is the many options you have with these drinks- you are able to drink them as is, add some sparkling water in them, or add in some alcohol to make it a true cocktail. After us moms got together and talked about a few things the kids joined in to taste them- we all agreed that the favorite was Tropical Citrus Paradise Mocktail but I really enjoyed them all. The Cranberry Sangria Mocktail seriously tasted like a Sangria. These Ocean Spray® Mocktails would be perfect for hosting a baby shower, those times that you’re craving a cocktail while pregnant or just can’t/don’t drink. I highly recommend trying them. I am already planning several other parties that I know these would be perfect.