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Friday, April 30, 2010

"Hi, My Name is Angie, and I'm a Burrito-Aholic"

This afternoon, I had a picnic lunch with my friend Julie, over at The Reason for My Insanity.  It was an interesting afternoon, to say the least.

You see, Julie couldn't quit talking about these burritos at a local Mexican food place.  I've driven past the place, and honestly, it didn't look like a place I would ever go into.  One of those hole-in-the-wall, hidden gem kind of places.  I just don't gamble with food poisoning, you know?  Well, it turns out that these burritos are so good she's blogging about them.

I told Willie about them tonight and he says "I guess I know what we're having for dinner!" So, there, Julie.  You've worn me down.  I'm taking your burrito challenge.

We had a burrito each tonight (and 2 tacos for Willie). Umm....I kinda want another ;-)

I guess I've failed the challenge.

Hi, my name is Angie, and I'm a burrito-aholic.  Go try one! I'll meet you in the first room down the hall on the right for our weekly Burritos Anonymous meetings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog-Aversary + A Giveaway!!

The time has come.  I can hardly believe it myself, but one year has passed since I found blogging.  I know...I mean, who has only been blogging for a year?!  Me.

On that fateful day of May 7th, when I decided to write my first blog post, my world kind of changed.  Okay...more like my online world changed.  I didn't know much about blogging.  I mean, what do you write about?, but I wanted to give it a shot.  I enjoy writing, and needed a place to get my thoughts and ideas out there.

Through this past year, you have seen my journey through the first year of motherhood.  My writing has evolved with my experience.  I started by posting funny little anecdotes about parenting, and gradually branched out into my ideas on green living, my ideas on discipline, healthy recipes, and now even some crafts.

Thank you to all who have been reading my blog for this last year.  It's kept me going.  It's kept me sane.

I'd like to offer a give-away to celebrate my one-year mark in the blogosphere, and I'd like to open it up to anyone that would like enter.

So, here's the nitty-gritty.

What you get

1 $20 credit to CUTEure Creations to choose any item you like.  Nothing is off limits (in my shop)! This is $20!! It's *almost* like cash in your hands!  You can use it towards a larger purchase, or purchase several smaller items that add up to that amount.

How to Enter (Comment once per entry.)

-Mandatory entry: Comment on my blog, telling me what you would choose to buy with the $20 gift card, should you win. 

-Extra entries: Facebook, Twitter, or Blog about my give-away, including a link to this post. (each promotional venue counts as another entry, therefor, another comment on this post and another entry into the give away).

-"Like" CUTEure Creations on facebook.

Limitations: You may enter once for posting on Facebook (per page: i.e. fan page & personal page each count), once for tweeting (per day), and once for blogging (per day).

When it Ends

All entries should be submitted by May 14th at 9 p.m. Pacific Time (Midnight EST).

How I'll Choose

On May 15th, I will submit all of the comments on this post to random.org and a winner will be randomly selected.  This means the more ways you enter, the better your chance to win!

How Will You Know?

Check back here between May 15-16 to see a post announcing a winner!!

I think that just about covers it!! Good luck to everyone who enters!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CUTEure Make-Over Phase 1 ::Re-Organizing::

This past week, I have been on a mission.  CUTEure has been doing okay with sales in the last month or two, but I'd really like to step it up a notch and start making some actual money.

Now, I don't consider myself a dummy, but I certainly know as well as anyone that I have a lot to learn about running a business, especially online selling.  So much competition! How will I ever get seen?!  I will get seen by making it to the Holy Grail of internet searches.  The ever-elusive first page of Google.

It's not going to be easy, and I certainly can't do it alone.  I luckily got the help of an amazing shop owner on etsy.  She gave me some very in-depth answers to my questions and wrote up a report with what should change in my shop.

It was a lot of stuff.  A lot.

Two days and many many hours later, Phase One :: Re-Organization:: is complete.  Strangely enough, all I was trying to do was increase my Google visability, and then I was going to re-organize and stream line later, but somehow, the changes I made to optimize SEO in my shop really gave my products a more stream lined look.

Now, instead of just looking for something for "Little Ladies", you can search my shop by clicking on Girls Hair Clips, Childrens Hats, Crochet Booties, New Baby Gift Sets, and Legwarmers.

I really enjoy the new look.

I'm also working on a more stream-lined product line.  My crochet bunny booties were a big hit, so I've been playing off of that idea and making a few different styles of booties.



What do you think of the new styles? I really love the pom poms, myself! What type of bootie (or any product) would you like to see?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Allergies- An Update

So, we're now close to 2 weeks into our "food challenge" with Addison.  2 weeks of no onions, garlic, or tomatoes. 

If you're a bit confused during this blog post, and not quite sure what you may have missed (I mean, why are we doing food challenges? Why do I have a blog post about food allergies at all?), you may want to read this post.

Since it's been close to 2 weeks, I thought it was time for a small update on the situation.

If you remember, I was very confused about Addie's rashes and what could be causing it.  I was very frustrated and overwhelmed, knowing I was thisclose to figuring it all out but just couldn't.

The first week of food challenge was all about trial and error.  She was slipped some onion on occasion.  We just weren't in the practice of keeping it away from her. 

On day 3, I was just raving over how great her face looked.  It was still patchy, but healing.  I mean...I wanted to cry it looked the best it's ever looked.  Then dinner happened.

I found this really yummy recipe for Spanish tortillas-something I've been trying to find a recipe for since my vacation to Spain 3 years ago!  Unfortunately, the recipe called for onions, and lots of them.   I decided since I wanted the full effect, I would just keep Addie's tortilla mix separate from mine and Willie's (and our friends'). 

It seemed totally do-able (despite 2 separate frying pans, 2 separate  bowls, 2 separate whisks, & 2 separate spoons) until I sliced the first onion open.  Addie was sitting on the kitchen floor playing and keeping me company, and all of a sudden she started whining and squirming...getting worse and worse.  Then she started scratching.  Like all over her body!  Her face was suddenly red and scaly again, her back and tummy were itchy, and she just wouldn't stop crying!

I ran her out to Willie so she could get some fresh air, and just felt like crap.  I mean seriously.  Who knew??  Apparently an onion allergy is similar to a peanut allergy in that you can't be in the room with them (at least I think I've read that about nut allergies).

So, now I know.  No more onions or garlic in our house-at least until this experiment is over.  One good thing did come from that episode, though.  I am now way more aware of what is in food and remembering to check every label, and omit anything that contains any of the 3 ingredients.

Since then, things are going better.  Her face is clearing up again, although we do have random bouts of rashi-ness-specifically on her back & sides where her diaper and pants sit.  That may just be from chafing and dry skin.  I'm not totally sure.  I do know there are some environmental issues that cause rashes for her sometimes-harsh chemical cleaners being one of them.  She's been mildly exposed to those the last few weeks with this new play date we go to in a childrens learning center.  They use bleach to clean their large toys and diaper area.  In fact, the day I wrote my original post was our first trip out there, and she did get a diaper change there, so hindsight is telling me that could be what caused the rash that prompted my blog. 

We're still in the middle of the food challenge.  I'm really nervous to start introducing foods- even though I know technically she's having mild reactions.  I'm just dreading it, but I will do it to help narrow down what's causing this.

We may still try eliminating gluten/wheat from her diet as well after this is said and done, just to see if it's another cause, since she's still kind of rashy.  We will see.  Maybe she just needs more time for everything to get out of her system. 

Here is a picture of Addison 2 weeks ago, roughly.  It's un-edited (yes, I usually edit out some of the worse rashes.  It gets really old hearing "what happened to her face?!" when I show photos to family).

Check out this picture of Addie today.  No editing, just Addie. 

We're still learning, and we're still dealing with flare-ups, but over all, she looks better than she ever has, basically!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Good Wife

Lately, I've been trying to think of what makes a good wife.  I've really been struggling with this.  I stay home all day with Addison, so really, the house work, cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing is all up to me.   I should be better at it. I'm going to begin that journey now.

Willie tries to help, but I do start to feel guilty when he does.  He works a full time night position job plus working on a nursing degree full time.  On top of that, he comes home and he is a husband and dad.  Who am I to ask him to put away clothes or wash dishes for me?

Granted, I work.  I work really hard.  I'm trying to start a business, which takes a lot of time and energy.  I'm raising a toddler which means that not every day can I focus on anything other than her.  It's hard, but I'm trying.  Other moms do it, so I know I can, too.  I just can't help but feel overwhelmed by it all some days. 

Ever since Addie came along, I've been struggling with keeping that balance.  It only got worse when I started making stuff to sell.  This week, I decided to get some sort of routine started in order to keep this house clean and organized.  Just one more step towards being Super-mom....or the good wife.

I wrote down the schedule to hopefully keep me on track.  I'm on day two of my schedule and so far, so good.

Here it is.  Maybe it will inspire some other work-at-home moms that are also trying to do it all.

Dailies: Pick up toys, Dishes

Sunday: Bathrooms

Monday: Kitchen Scrub, Floors, & Addie's Room

Tuesday: Living room, organize toys (rather than tossing them in the toy box), carpet, dusting, craft room

Wednesday: Our room, laundry

Thursday: Outside

Friday: Dailies, family time (Weds-Fri are my weekends with Willie's schedule)

Saturday: Laundry

When I write it down like this, it looks really do-able.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and Green Living

Image found browsing Google Images

Earth day seems especially important this year. It's on everyone's mind.  Seeing as how the Earth is trying to shake us off like a wet dog lately, I can see why taking better care of our planet is more of a top priority this year than ever before.

There are many things you can do to live a greener life.  Most of them are really pretty simple and can even save you money.  That sounds like a no-brainer to me, especially in this economy!

I'm going to tell you about these few simple steps to green up your life, and hopefully you can learn a bit from my post.  I hope to continue posts like these, and share a few tips at a time, so as not to overwhelm anyone just starting to think about this life style.  Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.

The first (and simplest) thing you can do to live a greener life is to use re-usable grocery totes.  These days you can find them in most grocery stores for a really great price.  Most stores even give you a small discount for each re-usable tote that you use to replace a paper or plastic bag.  We usually get .05 off per bag, and on a big grocery run, that can add up.  It's not a lot, but if you do it every time, you'll even save money on groceries.  Plus, just think of all the plastic bags you'll be saving from the dump!  Those days that we do forget our re-usable totes, we make sure to re-use our plastic bags.  We use them for small trash bags, cleaning out the cat litter box, and for disposable diapers while we are out in public.

Another way to go green is to cut down on driving.  I know this sounds very daunting to many of you, but really, there are many ways you can do this.  Car pooling to work or play dates, walking to the corner coffee house, or riding your bike to the park are all ways to cut back on your driving.  A bonus is the money you will save on gas! See, didn't I tell you many of these would save you money?!

My absolute favorite way to live a more eco-friendly life is to use green cleaning products.  There are many options depending on your level of commitment.  The easiest and most convenient way to do this is to buy products from the store that are green.  Many brands now offer green lines that are more eco-friendly.  While I prefer to make my own cleaners so I know exactly what goes into them (with Addie this is a priority of mine), buying from these brands increases the demand, and boosts the support of these brands, encouraging more green products, and hopefully spreading the word to more and more buyers that green is the way to go!  If you are interested in making your own cleaners, there are several sites dedicated to green cleaning that can give you a recipe for any life style! The bonus to making your own cleaners is that most of them can be made with products already in your house!
My favorite cleaning products are white vinegar, lemon juice, eucalyptus oil, Borax, Baking Soda, and water.  All things I keep in my house anyway.  Keep your eyes peeled for a post dedicated to making your own cleaners if you're interested.

Lastly, Buying local or growing your own produce is great for the environment and your local economy.  Willie and I have been buying produce from the local stand near our apartment for two years now.  It's fresh, it's tasty, and it's even cheaper for us to buy there than the grocery store.  While the produce may not be organic, it's at least not shipped in from other places in the country (or the world) to sit in my grocery store.  I always find a better selection of fresh fruits and veggies at the produce stand than I do in most stores.  We've moved this year and can't visit the same produce stand, but luckily, our landlords are big into gardening, and even started a second community garden right in our front yard!  I can't wait for it to all start growing.  For anything we can't get in our front yard, we'll visit the produce stand down the road or the local farmers market once a week for the freshest selection.

I hope my tips help someone to lead a greener, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.  We all need to do our part to take care of our home, before our home has had enough.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is it Allergies?! What is it?!

**This post is me thinking through this info so it may be a bit chaotic**

 Those of you that know me, or "know" me through the internet-blog follower, forum friends, and facebook friends-probably know by now that we've had a lot of problems with Addison and her Eczema in the past. 

There were suggestions-of course- that she possibly had a food allergy.  These comments were made when the Eczema first showed up at 2 months old but we brushed them off because it wasn't a rash that came and went, it was just always there.  It didn't get worse after I ate anything (during the nursing days) or after she ate anything after she started solids.  It was just there.  Always.

Around the time of her first birthday, I started noticing that after she ate she would get a bright red rash around her mouth and scratch like crazy.  I got the inkling at that point that maybe she had some sort of food allergy, but I couldn't figure it out.  It was literally 90% of the time she ate this would happen. 

It's started to get worse more recently to the point that she has started getting rashy all over her stomach and arms after she ate, and would get particularly fussy after eating some foods.  Foods like spaghetti.  One night I made a meatloaf and she got some pieces in her shirt while she ate.  When I took her shirt off after her meal, I noticed bright red whelps where the meat loaf was sitting on her.  I made the meatloaf with ketchup.  This is when I started finally noticing a connection with the tomatoes and the rash and fussiness. 

About three weeks ago I decided to cut tomatoes completely out of her diet and see what happened.  For several days it seemed to be working.  I thought I had figured it all out.  Her rash was going away, she was happier during dinner, and her diaper rashes were going away (oh yeah, she had diaper rashes that were "textbook" allergy).    Shortly after my "celebration" of figuring it out, I started noticing a spot on her chin that she kept scratching and it just wouldn't go away.  I started diligently checking labels for anything I may have missed, being more careful about what is in the food I cook than I ever have before.  Her rashes were still coming back. On her arms, her face, and her knees mostly.  It could  just be dry skin, I guess.  I mean, I've had Eczema all my life and it's seasonal.  I've just got this feeling though that it's not.

Sometime in the last week, I've gotten to the point where I am 100% confident that she has had no tomatoes.  It can't be tomatoes.  So what can it be?

My friend Jess and I were talking yesterday and she mentioned (not for the first time) that maybe Addie has an allergy to something that is commonly served with tomatoes.  Like maybe onions.  Yep.  The same food I had to cut out while nursing because it gave her such bad gas.  Hmmm...there's a thought.  After some discussion and research, I'm realizing just how much food has onions in it.  Yikes.  Even her Goldfish crackers!  One kind we normally get has tomatoes in it, and the other has onions.  Onions would make sense.  Onions are in everything that has made me notice a break-out or scratching.

So...now we are testing onions.  No onions (or garlic since apparently they go together) for Addie and we'll see.  Now, the only problem with this theory is:

She broke out tonight after a dinner of Pork Chops cooked in olive oil, salt, and pepper; Whole Wheat angel hair pasta, and steamed asparagus.  No onions. No garlic. No tomatoes.  Her rash is all over her stomach, sides, and arms.  I just don't know. 

The only thing I can think of is last night she had some onions in dinner, and she did eat her goldfish (the ones with onion powder) before we read the label today.  She was also outside playing almost all day long. She was playing just in the gravel and in the garage though so I mean what could it be?!  Did she really eat that many gold fish? Would it make a difference that she spilled half of them on herself in the car? Is it something outside, too? It wouldn't take that long just from dinner last night, would it??

This is such a confusing, weird, overwhelming issue.  It's finally at the tip of my fingers what could be causing all of these rashes and making my daughter itch, and it's something that can be in my control, but I just can't figure it out and this is just so frustrating. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Home(s)

A lot has been happening over here in our household!  As you know, my family and I recently moved into a house further outside the city...out in the woods, in fact!

I don't have any pictures of the actual house, or the inside of the house, but here are a few pictures of us outside our new home. 

Willie got to mow the grass this week.  I've never seen him mow grass.  Maybe that's because we've never lived in a house before.
Doesn't he look happy? ;-)

Addie's also enjoying having a yard.  Before we moved here for real, we were over quite a bit visiting with our friends/landlords, and Addie and Loren would play out in the yard or in the drive way the whole time we visited.  For the first week and a half straight after we moved it rained ever day-no kidding.  Addie kept climbing up on the couch and pointing out the window saying "'side? 'side? Peeeeeeezze?!"  So since the weather has been nicer the last few days, we've spent time outside cleaning the garage, mowing grass (duh) and just letting her enjoy herself.
Oh look, I do have a picture of the house!


In other news, you'll notice my blog also has a new "home".  Not really.You can still find me in the same cyber-space, but I sure did some re-decorating!

I'm sure you've noticed the new name-Twenty Something.  I thought it was time to branch out from my "mommy blogger" label.  I love blogging about my family, but I want to write about more than diapers, milestones, and daily schedules (not that I'm saying that's all mommy bloggers write about. I "heart" mommy bloggers!).

Another thing you've probably noticed is my totally awesome (if I do say so myself) new design and header from The Frilly Cocunut.  She does great work, don't you think?  You should definitely head over to her blog and check out her portfolio.  She also re-did my Twitter profile with a matching background.

All of the old faves are still on my blog, just rearranged.  Hopefully my blog can start to look a bit more organized and be a bit easier to navigate with my new navigation bar up at the top of the page (above the header).  You'll see links for "home", "green living", "crafts", and "parenthood" so you can easily find the topic you want to read about literally with the click of a button.  I also now have a blog button! Feel free to grab it to show some love for me on your blog.  It's on the right hand side.  I'll be adding buttons to my blog now as well...erm...just as soon as I find the time! I promise!

So, I hope you enjoyed seeing my new home(s) tonight.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say on my new look!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Well, I probably won't do that again..

Happy Day-After-Easter, dear readers!

No. It's not a holiday, but I'm lame and missed the real holiday, so take it or leave it. ;-)

Currently, I'm sitting on the couch watching Addie play with her little doggie.  You know, the one that is part of her harness for hikes and air ports? She's petting it, and then gave it too kisses on the nose and started singing to it.  All without realizing I was sitting here watching her.  So stinkin' cute!!

Anyway...that's not the point of this post, but it just happened and was so totally adorable that I had to share.

On to my post:

I tried something new this week!  With living on a budget and being crafty, I thought "why go out and buy a stuffed bunny for the Easter basket??"  I found a few patterns a few weeks ago to try out some amigurumi (<---stuffed animals made from crochet) toys for Addie, and thought that Easter would be a perfect time to try 'em out!

Hmm....probably won't try that again.  I mean, in theory, this was a great idea. Addie loves yarn.  She loves anything crochet-related, really.  I mean, her lovey blanket is crochet and she can't get enough of it.  She hugs skeins of yarn while I work. She steals blankies from her friends if they are crochet or knit.  She even pretends to crochet with me!

So...yeah.  I figured she'd love an amigurumi Easter bunny.  I fear, though, that she has the same thoughts on this bunny as I do.  If you ask me...he looks pretty creepy!