Monday, November 21, 2011

My Homeschool Room

Since making the decision to homeschool, I've been putting together this little school room for the kids. It's been so much fun! Here are a bunch of pictures for ya :)

Also, I've recently joined the ever addicting Pinterest. I've already spent way too much time on that thing, but I'm loving all the great homeschooling ideas I've found. Go check out my little collection and follow me if you'd like :) I've got lots of my own stuff I want to share on there soon.
We got the bookshelves from Ikea, the round chair from Ashley Furniture, the round school table from Lakeshore Learning, the rug from Target and the desk from Pottery Barn.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Home Birth

Most of you all know by now that I’m planning to deliver this baby NATURAL for my first time. That’s right, no drugs with this childbirth. What you may NOT know is that I’m also planning to have this baby in the comfort of my own home.

I know what you’re thinking…

WHAT! YOU’RE CRAZY! That’s not safe.

Well, before you get all judgmental on me, let me explain my reasoning’s
First of all, I literally live 5 minutes from a hospital, and second of all, I’m not opposed to going to the hospital if complications arise. My midwives come prepared with an emergency back-up plan. Items they bring: include oxygen, IV, suturing materials, drugs to control hemorrhage, and neonatal resuscitation equipment.

That being said, I really don’t expect anything to go wrong. I’m visualizing a safe, and beautiful natural homebirth.

In the past I have really enjoyed my hospital stay after giving birth. Seemed to be a nice place to relax and recover. It was also nice having help with the baby from the nurses at night. But I’ve just decided that a homebirth is the best way for me to go this time around. Probably the main reasons include:

• I won’t be tempted to get the epidural if I’m at home. I won’t have that option, and I REALLY want to have this baby natural.

• I can have a water birth and I have the choice to deliver in any position I choose, instead of being confined to a bed laying flat on my back. I’ve read that squatting is a more natural position for childbirth and lying on your back is one of the worst. Makes labor more intense and pushing even harder, but it’s the best position for the doctor so that’s why it’s being done this way.

• I won’t have to be away from my kids and they can be more a part of the whole experience. I’m not planning on having them in the room when I deliver, but I’d love to have them there as much as possible after baby arrives. Also, my husband won’t have to leave me to take the kids home for the night. We can all stay together the whole time.

• Less risk of germs and infections. Even though I’m sure they take all sorts of precautions at the hospital. I can’t help but think of all the different people who come in and out of each room, the blood, ew! I never dared walk barefoot in my hospital room. I always had socks on, but then when I’d get back in bed I would think of all the germs on my socks that I’m putting into my own bed. Then to use the bathroom and the shower… I just felt like I was using a gas station bathroom. Maybe I’m just a bit of a germ freak.

“Homebirth is safer because the infection rate at homebirths is less than half of that at hospital births. There are several reasons for this: the baby is born with antibodies that were passed from the mother to the placenta. This includes immunity to the family's household germs. Your new baby is protected from hospital-acquired infections at home. In addition, because mothers and babies are kept together all the time, the baby's immature immune system functions optimally. Also, this constant mother-baby interaction fosters successful breastfeeding, which is your baby's best protection against infection. Since midwives provide continuity of care and comprehensive mother/baby care, they can provide a level of care that is not possible with the assembly-line care provided in hospitals.”
Information from

• I’ll be able to relax more being in my own home. Don’t have to worry about what I’ll need to bring to the hospital. I’ll have everything I might need here with me. I’ll have more privacy and less random people coming in and out of my room every 15 minutes.

“In childbirth education classes, you learn about the fear-tension-pain cycle, where fear increases the tension, which increases the pain, which increases the fear, etc. until a woman is in terrible pain. The opposite cycle could be called the confidence-relaxation-comfort cycle where the more confident you are, the better able you are to relax and the more comfortable you'll be, which increases your confidence, etc. This allows your body to take advantage of endorphins, which are the natural pain relief that your body provides in natural childbirth. As a laboring woman's body produces more oxytocin to increase the contractions, she also produces more endorphins for pain relief. I've seen women become more and more relaxed as their labor progresses and their endorphin levels climb to provide wonderful pain relief. Being in your own home increases your confidence and allows you to relax into your labor very nicely. And, of course, if you have one of the beautiful birthing tubs set up, that provides marvelous pain relief.”
Information from

• It will just be a more intimate experience. It’s a much more relaxed setting and everything goes slower after birth. The baby isn’t whisked away for unnecessary bathing, weighing, ect. You get the time for immediate bonding and breastfeeding without any disruptions.

Tamron Lens

I know most us moms want to better our photography skills in some way, even if we're not actually trying to become professionals at it. We all want to be able to take great pictures of our kids and capture those precious moments in a more artistic way. That's what has motivated me to invest in a nicer camera and take the time to learn how to use it.

I splurged a little and got myself a new lens. I actually didn't splurge as much as I could have because I chose to get the Tamron lens instead of the Canon. I've been doing a little research on the Tamron because I've heard they are pretty much the same, but almost half the price.

I've been wanting a nice wide angle zoom lens. I was about to spend $800 on a Canon one, but then decided to read some reviews on the Tamron. Come to find out these Tamron lenses are pretty comparable. Most reviews said they were very happy with the quality of Tamron, and very few even noticed much of a difference. The ones who did notice a difference were big time professional photographers. So since I'm no where near professional I decided to go this route. I bought it on Amazon and even bought a gently used one and saved another $100. Usually I won't buy electronics used because you never know how well they've been treated, but since returning items to Amazon is so easy (you just print off the shipping label and they even pay the shipping), I decided I didn't have much to lose.

Here's the lens I chose.

Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5

I love it because I can take WAY better pictures of rooms in my house or lanscapes. I love that you can get MORE in the shot.
See what I mean? With all my other lenses I'd only be able to get the entertainment center in this shot (I took this picture at night so the lighting wasn't the best).
Here's my entry way. It's actually a pretty small space, but with this lens you can see the whole space. Usually I'd have to take like 4 different shots just for you to get an idea of what the area looks like.
Isn't that cool!!!

36 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Here I am...

36 weeks pregnant and still tryin to look sexy :)

This is actually very rare that I get all dressed up and do my hair. It was date night and I just got my hair done. Most days I'm in sweats with my hair pulled back because I'm just too tired to do anything else.
Here's a little poem I wrote about being 36 weeks pregnant.
Feels like an eternity
since I've been wearing maternity
And although the end is drawing near
I still feel like I'm dying here
My hormones are out of wack
There's constant pain in back
Can't even see my swollen feet
and all I want to do is eat
Sleeping at night is such a joke
Can't even have my diet coke
Sweaty hot everyday
Can't cool off when I'm this way
45 lbs of extra weight
is the price you pay to procreate
The days are long
Discomfort strong...
But when I think about this child
I just can't help but want to smile
One day I'll look back and say
Boy I miss those baby days
I recognize this special gift
With a little attitude shift
9 months is not so easy
But it wasn't meant to be breezy
WORTH IT is what He said
When on the cross for us he bled

Dress Up An Old Stroller

With this new baby on the way of course I'm spending lots of time looking at baby stuff. I didn't think I'd have to buy a whole lot of new stuff since I've got most the baby essentials already. I did end up getting a new pack and play for my bedroom as well as a new car seat for Oliver.

It is fun to have some NEW stuff though, right :)

Instead of throwing away a ton of money just for the sake of having something new, I decided to dress up my old stroller and car seat. Here is what I did with the stroller. Not a whole lot, but it still makes a difference.
Basically all I did was added the fabric onto the edge of the canopy and clipped on a flower brooch that I made. It was a little tricky getting the fabric on without it looking messy, but luckily I was able to hide the edges underneath. Here's the fabric glue I used.
Then I got this cute new diaper bag on Amazon for only $50. Then I added the pink satin brooch to it.
Then I splurged a little and got a handmade car seat cover to top it all off. I could have actually bought a whole new car seat for the price of the cover, but I just couldn't resist when I saw this one. I found it on Etsy by the way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Embarrassing Moments

Ah, embarrassing moments. Something we all love to hear about, but tremble at the thought of our own. I remember when I was subscribed to the Teen magazine, back when I was a teenager of course. My favorite part of the magazine was reading all the mortifying stories submitted by other teens. I guess it was a way for me to feel better about myself as I recalled many of my own horrifying moments during those awkward adolescent years.

I’ll never forget the first time I got up to the podium at church to share my testimony. I took one look at the audience, let out a little giggle right into the microphone, then turned around and ran off the stage as fast as I possibly could.

There is a sense of empathy though when you actually WITNESS someone else’s humiliation. You literally feel embarrassed for them even though it’s not actually happening to you.
Like this one time I was at the grocery store and there was this cute old man trying to grab a cart, but it was stuck to another one. He looked at me then tried to show off by using his leg to pry them apart. He lost his balance and fell causing the grocery carts to fall on top of him. Ooh, I felt so bad I just quickly turned away as to lessen the embarrassment a bit. Poor guy.
I guess now looking back maybe it would have been nice if I helped the poor guy up.


oh well, what ya gonna do.

So now I wanted to do something fun. Tell me one of your embarrassing moments in the comments section of this post (keep it short and sweet), or you can submit a picture to me via email Then I’ll share them in a later post so we can all have a good laugh at your sake ☺ Then I’m going to let everyone vote on their favorite one. The story with the most votes will win their very own Personal Microderm System ($140 value).

Homeschooling Concerns Resolved

I recently wrote about our choice to homeschool, but I had much more I wanted to share so I split it into to two posts.

Here's part two where I share my initial concerns now resolved.

What if she hates it?

What if, what if... there will always be the "WHAT IF'S". But if we don't give something a shot we'll never REALLY know. We've been homeschooling now for four weeks and I've noticed such a difference in my daughter and even myself. The other day before bed, Lily said, "this was the best day EVER". We didn't even do anything that spectacular in my opinion. She got to go to a class at the library with other homeschoolers, we checked out some books, went home, did some school work together, made Halloween cookies, then read some of her library books. I was surprised that all day she didn't even ask for a friend to come over. That's major for her.

I don't want to be the one solely responsible for her education...

"We can educate as easily as we breathe simply by remaining fully present to our children's questions and enthusiasms
-Free Range Learning, by Laura Grace Weldon
This quote helped me relax a little and let go of the unnecessary expectations . I'm realizing that teaching my daughter what she needs to know is really not that difficult. There are so many important things I can teach her just in our day to day lives.

Lily doesn't like to listen to me...

Surprisingly she listens to me more than I thought she would. As I've been reading about homeschooling, I'm learning better ways of approaching the whole thing . Also learning to be more patient and to seek out the best way my daughter learns. It's a process, but I'm enjoying it and recognizing my own personal growth as we go about this journey together.

She loves school and is incredibly social. She'd hate being home all the time.

Another surprise is that she has not mentioned school once. I really thought this was going to be an issue. I try to plan an outing at least every other day. Like I said before, there are many different classes and activities offered to homeschoolers, and I take full advantage of that, which I think is what keeps my daughter happy.

What if she misses out on important social interaction...

That's just not possible with Sean and I as her parents :) We are both extremely social people and believe that making friends and meeting new people is very important. We get out among people plenty and I schedule playdates for her a few times a week. It just takes a little effort but it's not impossible for your children to socialize with other children when homeschooled.

Everyone will think I'm weird...

Well there's nothing I can do about that other than try not to worry about what people think and just focus on the reasons I chose to do this.

We'll be the only ones in the neighborhood doing it...

Sometimes that's just the way life is. We need to do what we feel is right for us and our own families, even if it seems to be unpopular.

Lily will be left out and won't get invited to birthday parties and playdates...

Once again, it just takes a little effort. I try to keep her interacting with all the little girls in the neighborhood by planning regular playdates with them.

I'll never have time to myself...

Not true. We still have quiet time, which used to be nap time in our house, but both kids have sadly grown out of that. They know that "quiet time" is mommy's time to herself, or these days with the pregnancy it's nap time for MOM :).

It will be too stressful, especially trying to do it with more than one child, I don't think I'm patient enough...

I'm sure it's not going to be easy all the time, but that's just life. We're meant to have challenges in order for us to grow, and patience will be something I'll probably become very good at...

one day :)

Fun Halloween Activities

We've been quite busy over the past few weeks doing all kinds of fun Halloween activities and I wanted to share them with you. Most of them I found in the family fun magazine, love that thing.

Painted Pumkin Eggs

Notice they are in their swim suits in the middle of October. That's St. George for ya, hence the reason we invested in that home down there. Gotta love the weather.
For this project we just used hard boiled eggs, acrylic paint, and some glitter glue. You can even use them for a little Halloween egg hunt.

Chocolate Covered Bones

What you'll need: Pretzels, mini marshmellows, and white chocolate chips.
First, stick the marshmellows on both sides of the pretzels.
Melt the chocolate chips.
Then dip the pretzels in the melted chocolate.
And let cool for a couple hours. These are SO yummy too!!!

Mummy Meatloaf

Just whip up your favorite meatloaf recipe...
Before baking the meatloaf, shape it into a mummy with folded arms and all.
After it's all cooked, then top it with strips of white american cheese soon after removing from the oven. This way the cheese will melt just slightly.
Then just add some olives for the eyes.

Scary Spaghetti Squash

It's supposed to look like bloody guts :)
First stab the squash a few times, then bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.
Once it's done you can slice it in half, pull out the seeds, then start scraping out the insides.
Then spoon on the blood...
or spaghetti sauce if you're all out of blood.

Have a happy and safe and SCARY Halloween!!!!

A Blonde Moment

Even though I'm not totally a natural blonde I still fit the mold sometimes. We don't necessarily have to say "dumb blonde" now do we :) It's called having a "blonde moment".

Let me just tell you about one of my "blonde moments" that happened a few years back.

My husband and I were driving down the road when we saw this sign...
Sean pointed it out to me and said I should call the number for a manicure. I was like, oh awesome! Free manicures! Then quickly started dialing the number on my cell phone.
It rang and rang until it went to voicemail.
The voicemail was a man saying he'd gone fishing and to leave a message. I thought it was a little strange so I just hung up.
The next day I decided to call again.
Still no answer.
So I thought, oh well, I'll just leave a message. This is what I said:
"Hi my name is Crystal and I'm calling about your free manicures. Give me a call back when you get a chance, here's my number $#@^%!#^"
Later that day I recieved a phone call from a man. He was laughing as he said, "Hi, is this Crystal"?
Me: Yes, this is Crystal.
Man on phone (still laughing): Hi Crystal, I'm returning your call about the manicures.
Me (a little confused): Oh... uh yah, okay. Well I was wondering if I could make an appointment.
Man on phone: hahahahahah, well I'm sorry, I can't give you a manicure, but I've got plenty of "MANURE" for ya.
Me (feeling unbelievably stupid): Oh, haha...
oops, hee hee...
guess I read the sign wrong didn't I...
Sean got the biggest kick out of this whole thing. He loves to play tricks on me and is the best at holding a straight face. So he just sat back and watched as I made a complete fool of myself.
Makes for a pretty good story though :)

Cute Ruffle Sashes

Oh my gosh, I'm in love with how these little sashes turned out. This is another creation by my wonderful mother and me. You can find them in the Lil' Star Boutique for $17.
Can you tell I like flowers and ruffles? :)
These sashes tie in the back so it can fit most sizes of little girls. If you want one for a baby then you'll have to specify in the notes so that we can make it miniature :) The flower is a clip on brooch so you can remove it and use different colors to match specific outfits. They all come with one flower, but more colors are sold separately. You can even request a specific color in the notes if you'd like.