Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Preschool!

Changing preschool can be stressful, especially because the process is combined with other life transitions such mommy's new position with the school district which I am super excited and nervous about. Due to the new position my hours have changed and Ari's previous preschool did not stay open late enough to fit my new schedule. Therefore. we made the decision to move her to a new pre- school. Originally, I was going to wait until she was 2 to make the move but the new position forced me to make a change. (Everything happens for a reason!) Saying good-bye is often difficult especially when you really love her teacher and that's her first daycare. Ari adapted remarkably well, she didn't even cry, which made me wonder if maybe she was ready to get out the house and return to a regular schedule. During vacation she seemed tired of playing with just mommy and daddy. Well, mommy is not great with changes so I had to mentally prepare myself for the big change. I went into the new preschool situation with a positive, welcome and open mind that required some thinking and pep talks in front of the mirror (lol). In this process I have learned that I am extremely picky and that I truly just want the very best for my little princess. We decided on Creative World which is located just down the street making it very convenient considering I was driving 45 minutes every day to her old preschool.

Creative World offered a great curriculum that I could appreciate as an educator. I also love the fact that they provide a portfolio that will show Ari's development growth. Therefore, mommy is happy so far... time will tell if I continue to feel this way.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Magisto! Video Editing App

A few weeks back I was in search of a video editing app that I could use with my many videos of Ari. In my search I found Magisto! I absolutely love it. This app is FREE! Using the free version you are able to upload up to ten videos or photographs. Once you have selected your videos and/or photos you get to choose a theme and music. A few minutes later Magisto has automatically turned your videos and photos into a super cute video. Check out some of the videos I made.

Christmas 2013 Video

You can also go to their website Magisto.com to learn more.


Great Christmas Day!

Whether you’re going to church or just spending time with your family, many people say it’s not about what’s under the tree, but what’s in your heart that matters most.Yesterday, was our second Christmas with our little bundle of joy. I must admit that Christmas gets better and better as our family continues to grow and Ari gets older. I think I was a bit more excited than the hubby and Ari!! Growing up Christmas was just another day in my life, nothing special, no traditions and so on. Now that I have my own family I have realized that Christmas has become a very sentimental holiday for me. I want the world for my daughter and I want her to remember the love that we share every day but especially on this holiday. I want to have traditions like marking off the days on an advent calendar, slipping into brand new pajamas Christmas Eve, and giving to those in need. This year, I added the Elf on the Shelf to the mix and I plan on adding additional traditions as Ari gets older and understands more. Building our own traditions will make this day very special. Our families live far away so its just our little family. My family normally sends gifts for us and calls to wish a merry Christmas and we tend to Skype and the hubby's family call t and wishes us Merry Christmas. I've learned that culturally we are different and celebrate this day in different ways. We also have great friends that love Ari who also send gifts for her. However, the coolest moment of Christmas was watching our little Ari open her gifts and be surprised over and over as she open her gifts. Her pure excitement and laughter is all worth it. Some people think I am spoiling her because I buy her gifts but truthfully I don't care! I will give my daughter everything I didn't have plus more because her reaction was priceless and that's all that matter.

I'm truly blessed to spend Christmas with those that I love!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fun with Elf on the Shelf!

A very lovely coworker introduced me to the Elf on the Shelf idea when I was pregnant with Ari. I loved the idea and wanted to take part on such an adorable tradition. I decided that I wanted to begin when Ari was still a baby so when she gets a bit older I could show her that our Elf and the Shelf was around even when she was a tiny baby.

Basically, if you are not familiar with the story of the Elf on the Shelf his main goal is to keep watch over the behavior of the children. Every night the Elf returns to the North Pole and reports to Santa his observations then returns home the next morning. Starting the day after Thanksgiving (even though I like to start on Dec 1) until Christmas Eve, the elf remains with its family to make sure that the children are well behaved. In order for his magic not to go away no one could touch the Elf because if the Elf is touched then the Christmas Magic disappears and Santa will not know if the children were good or bad. Every morning, the elf's position/location changes and the family needs to locate the Elf.

Ok, so this year Ari is still small so I am starting to think that her daddy and I are having way too much fun with the Elf idea. We have an agreement that I will move the Elf on the even days and the hubby would move the Elf on the odd days. So, this year daddy and mommy are the ones playing with the Elf. This is the magic of having children- the magic comes back and we begin to enjoy the holiday season.

I will continue to post pictures of our Elf on the Shelf- Ella!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Traveling on a Plane with a Toddler!

Andre and I were super excited to be part of our friends wedding this past weekend. This wedding took place in Nassau, Bahamas which is also were my in laws live. I thought perfect two birds with one stone- wedding plus time with grandma! Then it hit me I was going to be traveling with my very, very, very, very busy toddler. Ari is very active and I was dreading this trip because I was not sure what to expect since we have never traveled on a plane with Ari. When you board a plane with small children in tow, no one is happy. No one wants to sit next to you. No one wants you behind them. No one wants you in front of them. Ah yes, the joy of plane traveling with children especially one that is very squirmy. As cute as your kids may seem to you, I have discovered that when push comes to shove, no one else thinks your kids are so adorable when they are trapped with them on an airplane. Until this point I thought children under 2 that were flying on your lap were free... NO THEY ARE NOT! Of course the airlines have found yet another fee to charge their passengers. You are now required to pay a $43 fee for a toddler even though they are taking up no space. Another thing I learned: Airlines have all but done away with pre-boarding for families with children.

Well, if your destination requires a flight, and you have young kids, then you better do some advance planning. Trust me, I have learned the hard way. Here are a few tips that I learned when traveling with a toddler:

1. Arm thyself. You need toys. Books. My absolutely favorite traveling piece was an Ipad!

2. Make sure that you have a large diaper bag  that could fit a purse and all of the child's toys and personal items. (This trip I took a beach bag)  Include a change of clothes or two outfits, diapers, toys,  changing pad, baby wipes, and utensils. I also brought an empty sippy cup to fill up after we passed security.

3. Purchase candy or snacks. Ari loves gummies so I brought a few with me to provide as a treat.

4. Carry aboard only the essentials!!!!!! My in laws asked for us to bring a few items with us which ultimately made our trip through the airport a bit more challenging because now we had to carry additional items.

5. Be understanding! The little ones are not used to traveling and do not understand that additional rules may apply to this atmosphere.

Overall, the trip there was way better than the trip back home but I believe was due to Ari being tired and sleepy. The Ipad was truly my absolutely favor item to bring on the place. It was light weight and I downloaded a few Dora and Elmo episodes and a few game apps and that kept Ari pretty much occupied the majority of the time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Growing up I always wanted to give my children more than what I had growing up, so some spoiling seems inevitable. Growing up I didn't have even the simple things like pictures of myself as a child so instead I capture hundreds of pictures of my little princess. After experiencing such a hard time getting pregnant and then a troublesome pregnancy I have learned to really appreciate every single moment I have with my daughter. Most people on my Facebook timeline are part of the Thankful project for the month of November. At first. I thought that I may take part in the thankful project and then I began to really thinking about the things that I am truly thankful for. Above all I am truly thankful to be a Mommy! Becoming a mommy gave me a purpose. I became a better person because now I look at life through two little eyes that are watching my every move. Children have a way of making life seem as simple as it really is. It’s easy to get caught up in the little annoyances that can feel so big to an adult — but life doesn’t have to be that complicated. So instead of doings a daily thankful project, I decided that I will write about a dozen reasons why I am thankful for my daughter.

1.  I am thankful for  having cuddle buddy.
2.  I am thankful for training my resistance to patience.
3.  I am thankful for helping dig through my creativity.
4.  I am thankful for all of the laughing moments that you give your daddy and I.
5.  I am thankful that you think I am perfect just the way I am.
6.  I am thankful for being happy with the little things.
7.  I am thankful for you celebrating when I go to the potty.(lol)
8.  I am thankful for testing the level of my sanity with your endless tantrums.
9.  I am thankful for helping me define unconditional love.
10. I am thankful for all of the little hugs and kisses.
11. I am thankful for the opportunity to watch your dad be the best daddy a little girl could ask for.
12. I am thankful for you allowing me to be your mommy so I can watch you grow into a beautiful woman.

Just because you give birth to a child doesn't make you a mother! Being a mother means taking care of your kids, cuddling, watching them grow, watching them play and argue, being there for the good and the bad, and most importantly showing them your unconditional love every second of EVERYDAY!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick or Treating was a Real Treat!

Costume was purchased from Amazon.com (Click on the picture to go to the purchasing site)

It was Halloween time and the day and night was full of excitement! Well I couldn't wait to go trick or treating this year. Our little Ari is now 19 months so we expected this year to be super fun since she can talk, run up to doors and kind of understand why we keep knocking on strangers’ doors and getting candy. Every parent wants Halloween to be fun for all, but with toddlers it can be a challenge. I was pleasantly surprised that Ari was able to run to doors actually say, "Trick or Treat and follow by saying Thank you!" Before last night, I asked a few mom friends for some words of advice when it came to having a great Halloween with toddlers, check out the suggestions that I was given and some that I learned on my own.

1. Bring a stroller or a wagon along. If you have more than one then the wagon may be the better option.

2. Practice before leaving the house. For example practice knocking on your own door and saying, "Trick or Treat."

3. Take photos before going Trick or Treating. You want to get pictures of their cute costume in bright lights not in the dark.

4. Make sure they are well rested especially if you are going to stay out past their normal bed time.

5. I put Ari's costume on early and let her play in it before we headed out. I was surprise that the remainder of the night she did not attempt to take it off.

6. Go trick or treating with friends who have children similar in age. The older kids are not going to want to wait on the little kiddos.

7. Very important.... teach your kids manners. Teach them how to say thank you!

8. If you stay in a humid state like Florida always have bug spray. We learned this lesson last night!!

9. Make sure to have a smaller and lighter basket that your little one could carry. The regular round pumpkin basket became too heavy for little Ari to carry.

10. Have fun!

Here is Ari on Halloween!




Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Mondays Vol. 4

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald
My Little Reader!
This week book choices are the books that Ari is enjoying currently. To my surprised she is really enjoying the $1 books from the dollar section at Target (Great Buys!).


Eyes & Nose, Fingers & Toes

Target has the Sesame Beginnings Shaped Educational Board Books  which I have to say are pretty good with a great price $1. These books cover issues such as the Zoo, body parts, bedtime routines, and bath time with the sesame babies! Did I mentioned that my daughter LOVES Elmo or Memo as she calls him. The whole thing rhymes, and it's fun to read with my daughter. She likes to point to her body parts as they mention them.

Big Bird's First Book of Letters

Another book that could be found at Target in the dollar section. The shape of these books makes them more appealing to hold, and the images are great. We read this book every day and my daughter loves it. Great books for letter recognition!

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

I LOVE THIS BOOK! I just bought this book and it has quickly become one of my favorites and Ari feels the same way about the book. From the first day she was absolutely captivated by the bright, colorful patterns in the pictures of this book. The story is so much fun and what baby could resist all those kisses? Now at 19 months old she loves this book so much that I only have to recite the first line of the story, "My tired little baby, do you need a kiss..." or show her the cover of the book to elicit a huge, cheesy grin! She loves being kissed goodnight from toes to head. This book is simple enough that she knows the placement and quantity of kisses. I would highly recommend this book to be added to any child's bedtime ritual. I hope this book will be something she'll always remember when going to sleep.

Tabbed Board Books: My First Colors: Let's Learn Them All!

This is honestly a must for children!  Really catchy pictures and the tabs will be helpful to the kids who will learn to use them. Vibrant colors of course was a plus. Ari loves to point out each of the pictures and learning the names of each item. The pages are packed with colorful objects and even though some of the items are random for the most part a lot of animals and fruits and vegetables are in the book to help build your child's vocabulary.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Curly Hair Routine


Many people have asked me what is Ari's hair routine so I decided that I would jot down the steps. As with all things curly hair related it's all about trial and error and this is my current routine for my toddler's hair.  It’s taken me awhile to find products that love Ari's hair, so don’t be discouraged by the trial and error process!



Step 1 - I usually co-wash with a sulfate-free conditioner like Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner to get your curls extra clean without frizz-causing suds, and keeps them incredibly moisturized and detangled. Gently message into hair and scalp, especially the ends, for 3-5 minutes so it can deeply nourish curls.You are going to quickly see how it really defines the curls. Rinse well with warm water then finger detangle the hair.

Step 2 -Take the Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer and apply a quarter-size amount into soaking wet hair, working it in evenly with your fingers. (Carol's Daughter offers a lite option on their moisturizer however, I prefer the original.)

Step 3 -This step I learned from the Carol's Daughter's website. They say on their website not to dry hair with a towel instead use a cotton t-shirt and it actually works! You can also purchase the hair towels I received two as a wedding gift so I sometimes use them to try Ari's hair they are 100% cotton.

I absolutely love Ari's hair and hope that as she gets older she loves it as much as I do!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Mini Photo shoot!

It’s the end of October already! This month was a bit of a reflective month for me.. I almost felt like an observer in my own life. I’ve been thinking more about planning and being more “intentional” with my time. I’d like to set a few goals. There’s only so much time and OHhhh, there are just so many things I’d like to do and try especially this holiday season. Well first things first, photo shoots!. I love for Ari to do Fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas photo because this is my favorite time of year. We all know that toddler photography can be a hard. They never want to sit still, meltdowns can happen in an instant and they can scream at the sight of your camera, or begin to act really silly because of the camera. That sentence is my 19 month old in a nut shell. Toddler photography is all about capturing them in their element. Lifestyle photography is my go to form of photography for Ari at this point because she does not sit still or smiles when prompt to. Therefore, for her fall photo-shoot I used the same photographer that I have used for the last year. She does an excellent job with lifestyle photos especially with my very, very, very, very busy toddler. Before the shoot I was very nervous that Ari was not going to  participate but to my surprise she loved playing with the pumpkins and Amy caught every moment so the photo-shoot came out super cute! I searched and searched for an outfit that was not Halloweenished but still fall and as I was running out of options I found this super cute dress with matching headband at Gymboree. At first I was worried because I am not a flower person but the colors were AMAZING!

Her ourfit and headband came from Gymboree.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Mondays! Vol. 3

This week for Book Mondays I decided to show you what is currently Ari's favorite book. Itsy Bitsy Spider (Kate Toms Series) by Make Believe Ideas Ltd. and Kate Toms (Jun 10, 2009)

Currently, this is Ari's favorite book it takes the traditional tale of the Itsy Bitsy Spider but this type the spider tries to problem solve various way to go up the spout. The spider fails multiple times but never gives up and finally accomplishes his goal. The story does a great job rhyming as you read it out loud but it is not meant to be sung (Trust me I have tried and failed!).

Check out Ari's version of the book: