Sweet Tiny Blessings

Month: November 2012

My Why

Ann Voskamp tells us to be thankful for everything.  Even the ugly stuff.  She calls it the ugly beautiful because God has something beautiful planned from everything, even the worst times.  And Laura Story says that the hard times are often blessings in disguise.  Aaron Shust reminds us in his song, “My Savior, My God,” that we are not skilled to understand what God has willed, what God has planned. 

I take it all to heart.  Because, though it broke my heart and soul when Baby C and I were hospitalized, God brought something to me that I never would have thought twice about if I didn’t go through our illness and pain.  And that something was Shaklee.

Shaklee found me and brought me through much of my pain and suffering.  When my hair was falling out in clumps every time I took a shower, and when my gut couldn’t digest any nutrients from all the drugs I was on, Shaklee’s protein, probiotics and vitamins from Women’s Vitalizer helped me build a new, healthier life for myself and my family.

I remember distinctly sitting in my daughter’s hospital room with my family after I was rushed to the ER for kidney stones.  My dad told me I needed to make some lifestyle changes.  That I needed to start eating healthier.  And though I knew what had happened to us didn’t come directly from unhealthy eating habits, I guarantee you it didn’t help our situation.

I was never a “green” person before and even after all this, it took me many baby steps to get to a healthier and greener life that my family lives today.  Our family continues to learn and grow, day by day, and we have a ways to go.  But I’m proud of how far we have come.

I used to fill my house with chemical cleaners and aerosol sprays to make the dirty smells go away.  Our breakfast, the most important meal of the day, used to be from a box or bag that contained no nutritional value.  And my vitamins were the synthetic kind that maybe I had a coupon for at the local grocery store.

I slowly began making changes.  It was a little tough, because not everyone in my household agreed that we needed to ditch the Febreeze and get rid of our odors instead of masking them with laden chemicals.  And is there really a difference when it comes to the vitamins on the grocer shelf and the vitamins from the number 1 natural nutrition company in the US?  Heck yeah there is!  Just sink those synthetic vitamins in water and see if they dissolve.  And my cereal box says it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, so what was wrong with that?  The realization that those vitamins and minerals were being depleted during the processing cycle hit me hard.

If our family ever ran out of Shaklee vitamins, we felt a difference right away.  Putting those babies on  autoship was a must.  And I slowly ditched the chemicals and replaced them with products that not only are safe, but since they are concentrated, they have saved me $3200!  And for breakfast, we love our protein!

As I started to learn the importance of “living in harmony with nature,” all the benefits and illness prevention it provided, and the new found energy that came along with it, I started to see others around me who didn’t know what I knew yet.  I realized my Facebook wall was covered with status updates of people asking for prayers for a sick loved one and talking about how tired they are all the time or wanting to lose weight.  And when I walked down the cleaning supply aisle to grab a sponge, I started choking on all the air fresheners and cleaning scents.

Then it hit me, or God hit me.  Or something.  And I realized I couldn’t hide what I knew, especially if it was such a blessing to me.  Maybe, just maybe, I could share this blessing with others.  Because my whole life I dreamed about making a difference in other’s lives.  Through God, I knew that was the purpose He gave me.  So I made the commitment and dedication to help others live healthier lives, so they can live their life.  And I became a Shaklee Independent Distributor.

We would love for you to join us at Encouraging Healthy!  Whether it be purchasing products to help you and your family live healthier or joining our team to spread the word.  Keep up to date on the lastest products and health tips by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

Where’s The Toddler Handbook?

Being a new mom is tough, even if you read all the books.  Because sometimes, those books are contradicting.  I wonder whether or not to give my baby a pacifier or let her suck her thumb.  How come that mom has it so easy breastfeeding and I can’t get the hang of it?  Should I let her cry it out, or snuggle her to her heart’s content?  And what about all those vaccinations? 

Okay, I’m not a new mom anymore and by the grace of God, we kind of figured it out along the way.  But now, I’m a mom to a toddler and I’m wondering where the toddler handbook is.  I thought I had it all figured out.  But suddenly, she goes days without taking a nap for no rhyme or reason.  She won’t eat her dinner or try anything new.  When should I start potty training and take away that paci she loves so much?

Our pediatrician, who I did not like, told me at Baby C’s 18 month check-up, that I needed to get rid of the paci soon.  The longer she had it, the harder it would be to take it away.  Well, of course I didn’t listen to her.  I don’t regret it though.  I just didn’t feel like it was time.  We had so many changes going on in our life, I didn’t want to add something stressful.  This past week, however, we’ve made progress.  Every morning, Baby C drops her paci in her crib and it stays there until she lays down.  Yay, no more searching on end for lost pacifiers and paying money to replace the old ones.  Maybe it doesn’t solve the problem completely, but it’s a start, right?

Now, about that potty training business.  I certainly don’t have that one figured out.  I put Baby C on the potty, just to test it out.  She was scared and wanted down right away.  I don’t blame her.  She probably thought she would fall through the hole.  She doesn’t have any interest in it, so I don’t want to push her.  I feel like that might backfire.  But I do want to take steps in the right direction.

And the whole no naps for days on end.  Well, I’m just going to give Baby C a point for that one.  I’ve tried everything.  There is no consistency as to why she will or will not take a nap.  I’ve removed all books and stuffed animals, but she continues to entertain herself.  Her room is pretty dark, so I know that’s not the case.  And I don’t see any new teeth popping through, so no teething is going on.  Ugh!

Despite the lack of a toddler handbook, we are figuring it out together.  I have this love/hate relationship as to how much she is growing and changing.  It’s fun to hear her say new words and watch her determination and fearlessness to figure something out.  But I wish she would slow down.  My baby girl is growing into a beautiful little girl.  And I’m already missing the baby years.

All children are unique and each family has their own beliefs on how their children are raised.  There is no right or wrong way, it’s what works best for your family.
With that said,  what has worked for you with potty training, pacifiers, nap times and the toddler years?

Mandi’s Favorite Things 2012 {Giveaway}

Who loves to see what Oprah’s favorite things are each year?  I know I do!  This year, I decided to create my own list of favorite things from my store, Encouraging Healthy.  From beauty to nutrition, you’ll find something for anyone on your holiday list.  A few of my favorite things were also featured on Oprah’s Favorite things in 2007

1.  Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate became one of my favorite products very quickly.  Not only is it safe for the planet and the Earth, it has saved me so much money.  Shaklee knows I’m smart enough to add my own water, so they ship me the concentrate which it eliminates packaging waste in landfills and greenhouse gases.  Basic H2 is safe enough for my daughter to use too!   In 1960, Shaklee introduced Basic-H®, one of the first biodegradable, nontoxic cleaners.  Basic-H was selected as an official Earth Day product and has been used on Jacques Cousteau’s ships, in the Biosphere 2 Project, and by many other environmental groups.

2.  I received the Get Clean Water Pitcher this past year for my birthday.  I’m not sure how I ever lived without it, considering how much water has changed my life.  It’s the only water pitcher that reduces up to 99% of lead and a bunch of other nasty contaminates that pop up in my water.  This awesome pitcher also has an automatic meter, so you know exactly when to change the filter that is made from sustainable coconut shell carbon using a zero-emission process. Plus,
it’s the first pitcher with a refillable carbon-block filter system, so
there’s less waste going to the landfills.

3. I recently stopped drinking coffee (I know, call me crazy) and started drinking the Energizing Soy Protein.  With all of it’s awesome benefits and all essential amino acids, my morning just isn’t the same without it.  It’s delicious too!

4. Holy Cow, the Enfuselle Spa Shea Butter Cream is the best lotion I have ever used.  Because I live in such a dry climate, my skin often gets dry and even cracks.  Along with the Get Clean Water Pitcher, I received the lotion for my birthday, too.  I used it for two days before going for a pedicure.  The nail tech said my skin was as soft as a baby.  Anyone would love to be pampered with this lotion!

5. I like to crush Baby C’s Incredivites in her oatmeal every morning.  It adds a yummy flavor without artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.  It also contains lactoferrin, a nutrient also found naturally in breast milk and
researched for its role in activating components of the immune system. Incredivites is packed with 600 IU of vitamin D per serving for strong bones and teeth.

6.  What I love about the Enfuselle skin care in itself, is that there aren’t any chemicals that will harm your skin.  In fact, I have read so many testimonials about how Enfuselle contains everything you need to repair your skin from sun cancer to burns.  This stuff is amazing!

7.  Every time I see someone talk about Red Bull or these crazy energy drinks out there, I want to throw them a pack of Cinch Energy Tea.  It’s such a safe, natural, healthy and effective alternative for boosting energy.

8.  Did you know your skin is the largest organ in your body? Conventional laundry detergent is loaded with chemicals that are seeping through your skin.  I love the Fresh Laundry Detergent because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and it’s a 2-in-1 product.  You can use it as a stain remover and laundry detergent.  It’s concentrated, so you don’t need much to get your clothes clean.  Yay for saving more money!

9.  Shakleebaby Gentle Wash is one of the safest and gentlest products for my baby.  I love the research that Shaklee puts into each and every ingredient that goes into their products, including their Shakleebaby. 

Giveaway time!  I’m giving away a sample of the Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate to 3 of my readers!  Each sample makes a bottle of Window and Glass Cleaner, as well as, a bottle of Multi-Purpose Cleaner.  Simply add the sample to 16oz of water.  Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nuby’s Fun Drinking Cups for Toddlers {Review}

Baby C still drinks from a sippy cup for a variety of reasons.  For one, she doesn’t understand how to wrap her bottom lip around the cup.  She likes to stick her whole mouth inside, instead.  Which leads me to the second reason.  What a mess!  But I know eventually she’ll need to learn to drink from a cup, so we’ve been practicing with Nuby’s Fun Drinking Cups that are great for toddlers.

The drinking cups are the perfect size for little toddler hands.  They come in a variety of colors with fun designs.  The cups are very durable, so there is no need to worry about breaking them.  Even though Baby C doesn’t understand how to drink from her cup yet, she still asks for her “water cup.”  I’m very proud of her for not giving up.

You can purchase the same 2 pack of drinking cups Baby C has for $1.99 at Nuby.com or choose from a variety of other cups.  Keep up with Nuby on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

A Texting Angel {One Thousand Gifts}

About 2 years ago, when I was pregnant with
Cayla, I text who I thought was my mother-in-law, the sex of the baby.  It was a
complete stranger I was having a conversation with.  Last week, about 2 years
later, the stranger texts me asking how baby is doing.  She said she
labeled me in her phone as “pregnant lady” and has been praying for
“baby’s” health.  She had no idea about Cayla’s Bacterial Spinal Meningitis from Salmonella.  I feel like I was
text by an angel.

Have you ever had an experience where you felt like you had been touched by an angel?

Continuing the Joy Dare by counting my One Thousand Gifts.
249 Those who support me
250 Baby C’s smile
252 Vitamins
253 Leftovers
254 Pajamas
255 A warm sweater
257 Tears
258 Those who served our country, including my husband
259 Playing hide and go seek
260 Heat and electricity
261 My texting angel

Our Family Rocks

This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai. Think your family rocks? Show us by uploading a photo of your family rocking out. Enter now for a chance to win great prizes.

Baby C absolutely loves music.  She enjoys rockin’ out on the guitar with daddy and singing & dancing on the fireplace ledge, using it as her stage.  If music comes on the television, she’ll completely stop what she’s doing and tune everything else out.  She absolutely loves rockin’ out!

She certainly doesn’t get her musical skills from my side of the family, but that doesn’t stop me from rockin’ out with her!  Her daddy’s side of the family is the musical geniuses.  They sing in bands and church choirs.  They play all sorts of instruments.  And Pop is even a DJ!

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be traveling to Florida to celebrate Baby C’s birthday.  Pop is going to set up his DJ equipment to make it a fun karaoke party for Baby C and all of her guests.  We will definitely be rockin’ out to the beat!

Does your family ROCK?  Hyundai Santa Fe and Rolling Stone are looking for families who rock and whose values include kindness, sharing, hard work, loud singing, mud, practical jokes and mischief in general.  Enter your photo here with 500 words or less describing how your family rocks!

Prizes include a photo shoot in Rolling Stone featuring the winning family shot by an industry photographer, airfare, hotel and transportation to the 55th Grammy Awards, and a fully tricked-out Hyundai Santa Fe custom rock ‘n’ roller.  Contest ends December 14, 2012.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


#ThrowbackThursday A Birth Story

Now that Baby C is almost 2, I thought I should write our birth story.  I’m not sure why I never got around to it before now, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don’t remember much of it.  But I’ll give it a shot!  So let’s throw it back to December of 2010!

I believe it was a couple of days before my due date, that I went for a check-up.  My doctor informed me he wouldn’t be around that weekend, and he would have another doctor on-call.  I was also told I was leaking fluid and I would need to get an ultrasound in a couple of days to check my levels.

On December 10, 2010, I was going to have a Blessingway at my sister-in-law’s home. But before I headed over there, my husband and I went to the hospital to have my fluid levels checked out.  It turned out my levels were low and it was time to be induced.  I cried.  I cried because I was scared.  I was scared of delivering a baby and scared to raise one.  But I knew I had plenty of love and support around me.

My husband, mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in the delivery room with me.  I remember watching tv and being prayed for.  I was doing well until I was given what I needed to soften the cervix and induce labor.  Whatever it was, I was unable to urinate.  So while I was being pumped with IV fluids and medication for GBS, my bladder was getting fuller and fuller, causing severe pain.  We tried everything but nothing worked and finally I was given a catheter.

I was able to get comfortable once my cervix softened and I received an epidural.  The next thing I remember was that I was GOING TO HAVE A BABY.  However, the doctor that was on-call for my doctor, was no where to be found.  The hospital on-call doctor took his place, but I had never met him before.

The nurse called him in, but he didn’t arrived.  I couldn’t hold my baby in any longer and continued to push.  The nurse called the doctor once again and finally he came in.  I remember pushing and not wanting to take a break.  I figured the longer I rested, the longer the pain would last.  So I kept pushing.  I guess I pushed a little too hard and had to receive stitches.

Baby C arrived 12.11.10 around nine in the morning.  She weighed 6lbs and 4oz.  Breastfeeding was a challenge for us and there was much more pain and suffering that came in the next few weeks to months, but with out a doubt, God knew what he was doing when he gave me my Sweet Tiny Blessing!

 Thank you for joining me this week with #ThrowbackThursday.  Now it’s your turn, link up below with your #ThrowbackThursday post or share one in the comment section below.  Visit the other blogs that have linked up too!  And don’t forget to grab the #ThrowbackThursday button and link back to this post, so others can join in too!

Introducing #ThrowbackThursday Link-up Party

Next Thursday, Sweet Tiny Blessings will be hosting their first ever, link-up party.  And you’re invited!  How does it work?  Here’s how:

  • Go back in time and write blog post about ANYTHING (please keep it family friendly).  Maybe you want to write about your wedding day or your college years.  Or maybe your first memory growing up or before you became a mom.  Whatever it is that’s on your heart.  Get creative! You can even post a picture from a long time ago and add a description.
  • Include the #ThrowbackThursday button below inside your post and/or on your sidebar.  And link it back to the #ThrowbackThursday post hosted by Sweet Tiny Blessings, next Thursday.
  • After linking up, visit at least 3 others and comment on their #ThrowbackThursday post.
  • This is not mandatory, but we would love it if you helped spread the word through Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site.
So start picking out your favorite Throwback pictures or write about what’s on your heart, and we’ll see you next Thursday.  
P.S. The button was created from my engagement picture 3 years ago. 

Nuby Flower Child Toddler Plate {Review}

You may remember the Flower Child Fork and Spoon Review and Giveaway, as well as, the Feeding Bowl Review.  Well, did you know that Nuby also has a matching Toddler Plate to complete the Flower Child Feeding Set?  We love ours!

Baby C loves it because of it’s fun design.  With the curled up sides, this makes it easier for her to scoop up her food without losing half of it.  I love it because it helps with her confidence.  She doesn’t get frustrated because now she is able to feed herself.  And guess what, it’s design helps with less mess!  Yay!  Score one for mom (or dad)!  
The Flower Child Toddler Plate is perfect for children 18 months and up.  It has a non-slick surface to help your child keep control.  The plate is great for hot or cold foods and is safe for the microwave.  
You can purchase the same plate Baby C has for $5.99 at Nuby.com or choose from a variety of other feeding products.  Keep up with Nuby on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
Disclaimer: I received the Flower Child Toddler Plate in exchange for a review of this product.  All opinions are my own
and were not swayed by outside sources.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Last week, I was completely humbled when, Jessica from Boys Oh Boys, nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Jessica is someone I consider to be fun and beautiful herself.  She’s a mom like me, but I think she has more on her plate, with 3 cutie pie boys.  Jessica is also the talented one who designed my blog.

In accepting this award, I will follow these fun rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated me: Thank you so much, Jessica!  That was very sweet of you to nominate me.  What a surprise!
  2. Post the award image on my page.
  3. Tell seven facts about myself:
    • I was born and raised in Florida
    • I was the first girl to be born into my mom’s side of the family
    • Growing up, I wanted to have 6 kids. 
    • I’m a Shaklee Independent Distributor
    • My guilty pleasures are ice cream and reality tv
    • I never knew how much I could love someone, until my baby girl was brought into the world
    • I’m a bad cook

    4.  Nominate 15 bloggers and let them know about the nomination:  Okay, I’m going to cheat  on this one.  I don’t have 15 to nominate, but I will share with you why they are beautiful!  These are my top 3 bloggers that I follow consistently.

Melanie from Sunshine Praises: She was one of the first bloggers I started to follow.  She has such a beautiful heart for the Lord and her family.

Tiffany from Raising Paityn: Tiffany blogs about her two beautiful daughters and shares her heart on adoption.  I have learned so much from reading her blog.

Lisa from Expandng: She always understands what I’m going through, because she has a toddler son close to Baby C’s age.  Lisa also has a gift for beautiful photography.

So there you have it.  I didn’t follow the rules, but everyone else should.  Ha ha!  Thanks again for this fun nomination, Jessica!

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