Monday, September 30, 2013

Under Construction: Lights, Heat, Cabinets

Don't want to miss out on any of our renovation shenanagins? 
Click here for a full list of my posts on it!

This update is going to be short - we got a couple important projects done in a really short amount of time, but they don't require a ton of explanation. ;)

Adam finished wiring the island and placed the light cans for our hanging pendant lights that will be above the bar. 

I finished grouting the hearth (and managed to pick up the wrong color grout, oops) which led to... 

Adam hooking up our pellet stove for the first time! We've never used one before so it was sort of a shot in the dark but it was amazing how quickly the house warmed up and seriously so cozy with the little fire burning. We won't be running it very much until Adam builds a safety fence.

We also met with a cabinet rep for a RTA (ready to assemble) cabinet company to get our kitchen measured and quoted. Here's the cabinet door that we picked out-

And in case you missed it last week, I wrote an update on my Pierogie babies - Penny and Pierogie #2!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Creating Positive Energy with Feng shui

Calming and positive energy is hard to come by. Add family and kids to that equation, and it seems nearly impossible. We've all heard of Feng shui, but can it really change our living spaces and overall lives for the better? For over thousands of years, the Chinese practice of Feng shui has helped people achieve harmony by rearranging their living spaces to better the energy and overall contentment in their lives.

The infographic below, brought to us by Soothing Walls outlines how Feng shui can be applied to all the rooms in your house to bring peace to other areas of your life. It breaks down the rooms in your house one by one, highlighting what to include and avoid in each room to promote good health, wealth, and prosperity in your life.

Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves discovering natural ways to reduce stress and increase positive energy. She currently writes for the Soothing Walls blog.

Did you incorporate any of these themes into your home? 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided in sharing this post, 
but I wouldn't share it with you if I didn't think it was interesting! I'll definitely be incorporating some of these Feng shui techniques when we put up decorations and finalize furniture placement.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Methods to Help Children Cope With Military Deployment: Guest Post from A Table for 5

Guess what I'm doing today? You got it. Tearing apart my house. Today I'd like to welcome Alyca from A Table for Five. Although neither she nor I are military spouses or are children of military families, we both have been touched by deployments in one way or another. 
My step-brother (Army) and brother in law (Navy) have both been on deployments abroad 
in the last 10 years and it is affects the entire family and friends.  

Methods to Help Children Cope With Military Deployment

Not being a "military brat" myself, I have never had to deal with my parents having to go far away for long periods of time. However, my husband's father was in the Navy which left just him and his mother at home frequently and, although those years of having his mom all to himself are precious memories, he was never fond of his dad being overseas. This subject is also currently close to our hearts because our good friends and neighbors are currently at the beginning of a two year long deployment. My own daughter was devastated at the loss of her best friends dad and he's not even our family so imagining how his own family feels is almost too abstract for me to grasp.

Helping children with the pain of having a parent gone for extended periods of time is almost the same as helping children through a divorce or separation of their parents. Now THAT is something I have experience with, my daughter has not seen her biological father for over two years.

First of all, there are a ton of resources available for families to access:
  • Military Support Groups
  • Pediatrician
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Online Resources:, National Military Family Association -
  • Print Resoures:
kids military deployment book I Miss You!: A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment 7 by Beth Andrews (Prometheus Books, 2007) - Photo Courtesy[/caption]

Be Honest and Open

The most important thing is to be honest with your children. They need to know upfront before the deployment what will be happening. Talk to them and answer their questions. Depending on the age of the child(ren), certain information may not be necessary. A young child may not even realize that being in the military could mean being in dangerous situations so find out what is causing them the most worry and address their fears head on in a gentle and matter of fact way.

Give Children Something to Look Forward to

Find ways to make the situation exciting. Maybe you will be able to visit the parent in a new country. Make sure your child knows how they will be able to communicate with the deployed parent such as letters, pictures, videos, face to face video chats, and occasions when their parent will be coming home. Focusing on the positives will be good for the whole family.

Keep Daddy Around

Have pictures of your child's deployed parent in their room or in a special place available to them. Talk about Daddy, remind your child every day and every night that he loves her and is working hard for the family. Take lots of pictures for Dad too, let him be a part of your day to day life and let your child know that he is watching and participating from afar. Start traditions with your kids such as having Daddy read a recordable book so his voice will stay with them or maybe he always sends a hat or t-shirt from where he is so that they have a matching one, these keepsakes will give your child fond memories of bonding during deployment.

Take is Easy

Don't be hard on yourself. Give yourself permission to grieve, to cry, and to work through all the emotions you may be feeling. Huge emotional outbursts should obviously be saved for when your child is not around but it may not be possible for everyone to maintain composure at all times. It is okay for your child to see your sadness, let her know that it is normal to feel sad and that both of you will work through it together. Take it easy on your kids too. It is hard to predict exactly how your child will react, their misbehavior or actions toward you, the deployed parent, or their siblings may surprise you or seem unrelated. Approach situations and feelings slowly and with compassion.

This too shall pass

This deployment won't last forever and your worries will not make it go away. Being separated from loved ones for extended periods is a big deal and a challenge to endure. The best thing that you can do as an adult or a child is to take it one moment, one day, one step, or one feeling at a time and keep in mind that someday soon it will be over and this period of your lives will just be a memory.

Comment below and share tips that have helped your family through a difficult separation.

bioAlyca is the author of the blog A Table for Five and a Stay-at-Home-Mom to three children under age six. As a “crunchy” mom, she enjoys parenting using natural methods such as home-birth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and cloth diapering! A Table for Five was started in January 2013 with the mission of reaching out to like-minded mothers and parents who would benefit from her sharing stories of being a blended step-family with young kids. Follow along to read about her day to day life as a "green" mom, step-mom, and wife and also find family friendly product reviews and giveaways.

Friday, September 27, 2013

What's up with The Pierogie Babies?

I used to be so good about keeping up with Penny updates on at least a monthly basis.. But then as soon as her baby book switched from monthly updates to annual, my updates here sort of fell off the radar.

So the last update was in June -  15 months. And she's going to be 19 months old next week. And I'm 17 weeks pregnant with #2. Oy. So here's some things going on in Penny's life and an update on the pregnancy.

TV Friends:
Until very recently, Elmo was Penny's BFF. At the start of my pregnancy when I was laid out on the couch, we spent an embarrassing amount of time watching Sesame Street. I'm ok with it. It was a short period of time and regardless of what others may say - I think there is definitely a level of educational value in watching certain shows for children. Especially for one who is at home with mama 24/7 and does not interact with other children terribly often. Which we're changing.

Penny very quickly grew attached to "Elvo" (which graduated to "Elbo" and is now officially pronounced "ELLLLLLLLLLL MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!") and it was the easiest way for me to catch a snooze for about 45 minutes and just try to get through the first trimester yuckies.

Then when we moved into our new house and we didn't have cable for a couple weeks, I pulled out a dvd called "Juno Baby: Indie's Teddy Bear Hunt" that I had bought before she was born. It's won some Emmys for original musical performance and whatnot, which having been a music major in a past life I have an appreciation for. The voices are annoying comical but now she asks for "kitty!" in the morning instead of her beloved Elmo. She's caught on to a few things from the movie that are absolutely adorable (popping out from behind a curtain and saying "Boo!" or dancing along with classical music) so I tolerate the silly voices and use that time to catch up throughout the house.

Favorite Foods:
This girl LOVES apples. She's gotten really good at demolishing an entire large apple on her own. I prefer to at least peal off the skin for her, but most days she doesn't mind and will literally gnaw the entire thing away if I let her. This is something that has come in handy during road trips. Other favorites include hummus, peanut butter, yogurt, french bread, peas, roasted butternut squash mixed with applesauce, slices of Parmesan cheese, crepes with spiced pear sauce and pistachios.

Putting coins in her piggy bank (which she calls "monies")
Hide and seek
Throwing the ball for Squirt
Reading books with Daddy before bedtime
Organizing / moving things around
Not favorite: grocery shopping. Not in the least bit.

In addition to the few words that I already mentioned, she can say -
'pretty' = flowers
'ohh nooo!'
'sheeeze' = cheese
'yum - yum' = food
'wirsty' = thirsty
'uh-cooo' =  uncle
'a-teees' = auntie
'gack' = cousin Jack and 'zeeekeeys' = cousin Zeke - her two cousins that she sees most often
'bay-zha' = Babcia and 'vovo' = Vovo, her maternal grandparents

New animal sounds: owl, bee, monkey, elephant, train (choot-choot), sheep, and we're working on saying the words 'goat' and 'goose.' She can point out a ton of different animals, even after only showing her once.
Then she's got this word that seems to be a catch all and it seriously sounds like she's saying bourgeois.

Something new that I've signed us up for is the MOPS group at a church close to us. I've wanted to do MOPS with her forever, but the living situation over the last year made me disinterested in making the effort in joining a group, making friends and then possibly moving away. I'm such an introvert sometimes. But once we bought this house I knew we were going to put down roots. So last week we went to our first MOPS meeting and Penny spent her first 2 hours being watched by a stranger. I had zero worries. With #2 on the way, it's important to me that she can branch out socially with other kids and be ok with not having an immediate family member always being the one to watch her. We also want to start going back to church regularly so that'll be another opportunity for her to be independent and make new friends. And she did so well. She was one girl with 12 boys (story of her life - she's surrounded by boy cousins too!) and was really good with sharing.

In regards to my experience at MOPS, I felt so welcomed and supported. Our table has 8 women and 3 of us are pregnant. Each mom had at least 2 kids and at least one of them is within Penny's age range too. I feel so blessed to get the opportunity to know these women and draw on their experiences as moms. I am really looking forward to next week's meeting.

Quick other updates:
As I've mentioned before, Penny sleeps alone in her room in her big girl bed. The transition has been both easy and hard. Easy in the sense that she never woke up in the middle of the night terrified and wanting to return to our bed. Hard because she wakes sometimes 4 times per night just wanting a back rub. And her wake up time is between 5:30-6a when she wants to nurse...and unfortunately I am in the stage of my pregnancy where my supply is almost non-existent. I've started giving her raw whole milk throughout the day and making sure that she gets a really good, high calorie snack before bed time to help her through the night. But the morning routine is tough because I'm battling being tired due to the pregnancy and waking up throughout the night and she gets frustrated about the lack of milk. It's something we're working on figuring out.
And then there's the topic of Penny's hair. Yes, I am making a specific comment about her hair! The poor girl is so fair haired and it's taken her almost the full 19 months for her to have any hair to speak of. Now she's got this cute little plume / faux hawk going on and even has some hair over the collar of her shirt. Bring on the hair clips!

Pierogie #2
Admittedly I haven't had too much to say about this baby on the blog yet. The second trimester has been so low key and until recently I've felt 'pre-pregnant.' But now that bump has appeared and gets in my way at night so it's starting to feel very real now.

I had my 17 week appointment with the midwife this week and this was the second appointment where we heard the heartbeat. I've felt little bumps in the last couple weeks but with the Doppler pressed up against me I was able to feel a few more profound kicks. Baby's heart rate was in the 150's, as was Penny's.

We scheduled our ultrasound for October 9th and will be hosting a laid-back gender reveal party on the 13th with our family and close friends. It'll be a mix of reveal, house warming and just a plain old get together.

And that's what's going on with these Pierogie babies!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Move to the “Head” of the Class – Visit for Head Lice Resources

The below content is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur’s Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Unfortunately, head lice are common in elementary schools – about one out of every 100 elementary
school children becomes infested.

Most parents would agree, the letter home informing of a head lice outbreak is not a welcome sight.
The question of “What do I do?” is common. Knowing the facts beforehand can help you resolve the
situation quickly.

The Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice website aims to help you do just that. Created by head lice experts
(and moms) for other moms, families and communities to learn about head lice—what they are, what
they look like and how to treat them.
The site offers a variety of tools including:
· The How to Lose the Lice Guide, with a handy checklist to save time and reduce stress when
battling head lice
· The Headfirst! Lice Experience video allows you to choose your experience, whether it be
you’re not sure you have lice, or you just want to get rid of them:

So if you are trying to get rid of head lice, or a parent who always likes to be prepared, visit Headfirst!
Expert Advice on Lice for more information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On The Go Giveaway!

Total Value = $600+

Yummi Pouch - Reusable Food Pouches

yummi pouch reusable food pouches
Yummi Pouch Brights - 2 sets - Retail Price: $30
Yummi Pouch Brights (Set of 4) combine style and convenience in an eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and enjoyed by drinking from the side spout, Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are great for kids taking healthy snacks on the go. Includes set of 4 assorted patterns. For more information visit
  • Set of 4 Yummi Pouch Brights reusable food pouches
  • Dishwasher and freezer safe
  • BPA and phthalate free
  • Great for on the go snacks!
  • Hold up to 6 ounces each


diono carseat giveaway
Radian®R100 Car Seat - Retail Price: $259.99
The Radian®R100 Car Seat offers the adaptability you need to keep your child's car rides safe and comfortable for years. From birth to booster car seat, the RadianR100 fits children in the rear-facing position weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and children in the forward-facing position weighing from 20 to 65 pounds. With longevity in mind, this model converts to a booster seat for kids up to 100 pounds.
Dedicated to giving families safe and enjoyable travel experiences, Diono has more than a decade of experience producing award-winning products. Diono car seats, stroller and travel accessories continue to gain high ratings from industry experts, media and families worldwide for their unique functionality, safety innovations and thoughtful designs. For more information visit

Tivoli Couture

tivoli couture
Luxury Memory Foam Stroller Liner in Emerald - Retail Price: $49.99
Tivoli CoutureT specializes in Practical LuxuryT solutions for strollers, car seats and baby carriers.
Tivoli Couture stroller liners are unlike any other stroller liner on the market today. Tivoli Couture is the original inventor of the luxury memory foam stroller liner! Our memory foam stroller liners have been evaluated and recommended by a Chiropractor to help with proper spinal alignment and support. We chose memory foam padding because of its orthopedic qualities. Memory foam is known to relieve pressure points and help promote circulation - an important feature for children sitting in their stroller for prolonged periods of time. Tivoli Couture stroller liners also help cushion the ride and help absorb stroller shock; they double as tummy time mats and changing pads - just perfect for busy parents on the go!

Our stroller liners are super trendy and are available in a number of modern designs, colors and prints. They are reversible for style, versatility and year-round comfort. For more information visit

Imagine Baby

imagine baby the shade
The Shade - Retail Price: $39.95 (car seat not included)
The Shade by Imagine Baby is an award winning infant car seat canopy that protects baby from outside elements and germs. It also provides baby with a shaded place for napping when on the go. Made from a soft, stretchy micropoly/Lycra material The Shade provides baby with UPF 50+ protection from the sun's harmful rays and fits easily on most infant car seats. For more information visit
  • UPF 50 + sun protection
  • Water resistant
  • Year round use
  • Breathable
  • Flexible fit on most infant car seats
  • Easy care - machine wash cold, line dry
  • Fits into any size diaper bag


yoomi feeding system
8oz Feeding System - Retail Price: $37.50
Yoomi was created by Farah and Jim. A mom and dad whose experiences of stumbling around the kitchen in the early hours and begging waiters for hot water when out and about inspired them to look for a better solution. The combination of Farah's inspiration and Jim's engineering skills, together with expert advice and help from friends and family, has resulted in yoomi, the bottle that warms baby feed in just 60 seconds. For more information visit


lille baby carrier
líllébaby® COMPLETET Organic Carrier - Retail Price: $135
The future in babywearing is here! Compare the líllébaby® COMPLETET with any baby carrier and you will see why it deserves its name. COMPLETET in function, comfort, and style, this carrier grows with your family. It includes every carrying position and ensures your baby is positioned ergonomically correct in every setting. It's all about options - it's COMPLETET!
Resonating the Scandinavian values of quality of life, honesty, and a love for nature's beauty, líllébaby strives to make baby products that bring this functional style to parents, anywhere. We wish parents to attain the simple luxury of keeping their baby close while building a natural bond, in perfect comfort and style. Soft, luxurious organic fabrics for treasured moments. Made with 100% soft-brushed organic cotton and lined with luxurious, 100% organic sateen cotton.

Designed with the unsurpassed functionality and comfort of the líllébaby® COMPLETET baby carrier line. The perfect baby carrier For more information visit

Buttons Cloth Diapers

buttons cloth diapers
3 cloth covers and 6 daytime inserts - Retail Price: $54
Tangerine, Lavender, & Apple

Buttons Cloth Diapers were born at home. As a husband and wife team, we designed our diapers to be easy to use and affordable for everyone - the way it should be. We believe in keeping our lives simple, even when it comes to diapering.

Buttons Diapers feature soft, leak-proof, and durable diaper covers. The double-gussets around the legs keeps the mess in, so your little one can run, jump, climb, and sleep while your mind is at ease. Elastic at the back and tummy makes a custom fit. The durable snaps allow the covers to adjust to fit any baby (approximately 9-35 lbs.). And, they come in many adorable colors! For more information visit

Enter to Win this Fabulous Set of Prizes!

One Winner will be selected October 3rd. Have fun and good luck!
On The Go Giveaway prizes
Enter to win this collection of great gear every child needs for on-the-go!

Prize Package Includes:

Disclaimer: The Pierogie Mama did not receive all these products to review, though you can read my previous reviews on Buttons Diapers and Yummi Pouch
The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just Between Friends of Everett {Sept 27-29}

Hi, local ladies!

I want to share an event with you that I really look forward to twice a year. It's so awesome that I count down the weeks ahead of time and begin my preparations a month in advance. What could be so important, you ask?

Just Between Friends Consignment Sale Season!!

Have you ever heard of what is affectionately called "JBF"? It's a bi-annual sale held across the country where you can shop for family related consignment items - the most popular items being baby and kid clothes, though you can find anything from nursery furniture, babywearing gear, cloth diapers, maternity & teen clothes, movies, games, and each event has its own unique set of sponsors (like Smith Brothers Milk!).

I'm so lucky to have the Just Between Friends of Everett consignment sale literally a 2 minute drive away from me at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. 

I've gotten my JBF buying experience down to a science where I buy all of Penny's clothes for the upcoming season and am only left to buy incidentals throughout the year that I either wasn't able to find or didn't think of ahead of time. On average I spend $75-100 (if I'm not buying toys or other big items) for 6 months worth of clothes for her. I can't even walk out of Target without spending that much and I certainly don't walk away with as much! 

Some of my favorite items that I've bought at JBF sales has been a literally brand new Seahawks cheerleading outfit for $20, a full pack of Baby Einstein dvds for $10, and some consigners choose to bundle their outfits as a single sale item so I've gotten shirts, onesies and pants for as little as $1.50 each. It doesn't get much better than that! 

Besides being a shopper, you can consign your unused items and volunteer. As a volunteer you can earn a higher percentage of your return on consigned items or if you're not consigning you can gain early access depending on how many hours you volunteer.

Here is the full schedule for this upcoming JBF of Everett Event.

Have I gotten you excited about Just Between Friends of Everett? Are you ready to win a presale pass for yourself and a guest to get in on Thursday at 5:15p? Enter the Rafflecopter widget below! It's a super short giveaway to be sure to get your entries in while you can!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be contacted via the email address provided and their free passes will be waiting at the check in desk at JBF! Please be sure to keep an eye out on your inboxes to know whether you won or not!

This post was sponsored by Just Between Friends of Everett
If you couldn't already tell, I absolutely love these sales 
so I couldn't wait to share this opportunity with you. 

How Do Pregnancies Differ - Guest post from Wondermom Wannabe

Guess what I'm doing today? You got it. Tearing apart my house. Today I'd like to welcome Corinne from Wondermom Wannabe. She shares some tips on how pregnancies are different, especially for the same mama! After all, each of our kids are unique, right? I can definitely tell there are quite a few differences between my second pregnancy versus my first - mostly hitting milestones sooner (probably because I know what to look for).

How Do Pregnancies Differ?

I remember the joy, fear, and anxiety I felt when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Fortunately, that first pregnancy ended up being a cakewalk. Aside from being a little tired during first trimester and a little clumsy during second semester, I felt healthier than I had in years and was spared any aches and pains. In contrast, labor and delivery was a 3-day (yes, 3 DAYS!) nightmare. Still, 9 months of smooth sailing seemed like a fair trade for a few days of discomfort so a year later I was ready to try again.

That’s when I learned something I think every expectant mother should know. Every pregnancy is different. I don’t just mean that your pregnancy experience will be different than mine. I mean that EVERY pregnancy is different. That cakewalk I enjoyed during my first trip towards motherhood did not establish itself as a pattern. I won’t bore you with the details of each of my pregnancies, but I will highlight some key points that I wish someone had shared with me before I finally figured things out on my own sometime during my fourth pregnancy.
  1. Don’t get rid of your “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book after you’ve successfully delivered your first child. If you experience strange symptoms during subsequent pregnancies that didn’t occur your first go-round, it will give you peace of mind before you make it to your next scheduled OB appointment to know that it’s a typical pregnancy symptom.
  2. Things happen sooner the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time around. I fondly remember wearing my normal clothes into second semester when I was pregnant with my first child. Imagine my surprise when I had to pull them out just one month after I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter. Of course this was nothing compared to the fact that I suspected my third pregnancy when I looked down and noticed a small bulge in my stomach two days after my period failed to arrive. My doctor explained that my uterus was like a balloon. The first time you blow it up, it takes some time and effort but after it’s been inflated once, it’s MUCH easier to stretch out again.
  3. Miscarriages are common. I miscarried my second pregnancy. At first I was confused because I had already delivered a healthy child and didn’t understand how my system had broken afterwards. 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage (or 1 in every 5 pregnancies). Although some miscarriages are the result of health issues with the mother, the point is that you shouldn’t jump to that conclusion and cause yourself undue stress.
  4. If you develop a strange ache, skin change, hair loss, or really any physical change during pregnancy, chances are your changing hormones are to blame for your physical ailments. I developed carpal tunnel syndrome during my second pregnancy due to the extra fluid coursing through my veins. I’m not saying you should ignore serious pains or wildly erratic symptoms. However, your first call should be to your OB (if it’s not an emergency room level problem). Also, it’s much easier to cope with the mysterious mustache you have suddenly grown when you know you’ll only have to wax it away for a few months, rather than emptying your future child’s college fund to pay for laser hair removal that is most likely unwarranted.
  5. Pregnancy is a lot harder after you already have kids. I don’t mean that each pregnancy gets harder. It’s just that during your first pregnancy, you only have yourself to take care of. After that, you have someone else whose needs you have to attend to and being pregnant and taking care of a child is exhausting. So, even if you were able to work full-time, take care of all the household chores, exercise every day, and do some charity work in your free time during pregnancy number one, be a little cautious about over-committing yourself during subsequent pregnancies.
Corinne Schmitt is a mom of four wonderful kids ranging in age from 6 to 16 and wife to a U.S. Marine. She blogs at Wondermom Wannabe about how to juggle all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother and how to cope with the stress of trying to do it all.

Did you notice a difference between your pregnancies?
Want to write for The Pierogie Mama? Email me!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Under Construction: Settling In

Don't want to miss out on any of our renovation shenanagins? 
Click here for a full list of my posts on it!

The last couple weeks have been quiet in regards to renovation updates because we've just been knocking off little items in our to-do list that aren't really update worthy. However, since a few weeks have passed without any pictures, I'll go ahead and give you a tour of our somewhat organized chaos :)

Last weekend was dedicated to moving the duraburb project in, getting the vehicles over to our house and in the shop. Up until now the Suburban and the donor truck were living at my brother in law's house (we didn't have any space at our rental) and it wasn't until last weekend where we were able to get a car trailer large enough to move such large and heavy vehicles. Now that both cars are here, Adam is able to pop into the shop as he has time and chip away at the project. For those of you who are asking yourselves 'what the hay is a duraburb?' it's Adam's current automotive project in converting a gas guzzling Suburban into a diesel monster. It allows us to have the space that our growing family needs but not have to pay the premium of 7 mpg (instead we are expecting a more comfortable mid twenties). The name "duraburb" comes from the combination of a Duramax engine with a Suburban.

We've also organized the house to be livable during this 'resting' period of the renovation.  Our furniture is more or less set to where it's going to go, all of my kitchen appliances are functional (3 weeks without a dishwasher or kitchen sink were kind of brutal) and we've made all of our living areas child-safe. We're in the process of making a final decision on the island cabinets, so that means the island is still exposed, but fear not - the electrical may look scary but it's totally safe.

Penny's room has also made some progress. At this point I haven't gone out of my way to set it up exactly the way we'd like it, we've just made do with the things we have and as we have time we'll touch up the paint, add trim, get nicer curtains and make it into a 'real' bedroom for her. But she absolutely loves her big girl bed - and has been sleeping in it by herself since the second night after we moved in.

As the weather cools off the time has begun for us to take a look at the heating situation in the house. When the house was built, each of the rooms were meant to be headed by cadet heaters. They're kind of inefficient and energy-suckers. So at some point a pellet stove was installed in the main room - pretty much as the main source of heat for the entire house. Not really sure how that worked out for the previous owners, and we've never owned a pellet stove before so we aren't sure what to expect. It sat on a very unsafe, makeshift hearth that we tore up for the carpet installation so Adam is building a sturdier replacement. Next on the list obviously would be to build a safety gate around the stove so that little hands can't reach hot parts.

...And that's pretty much it. Not a whole lot to share, but it definitely is beginning to feel like home and we're settling into a routine.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bamboobies: Best for Breasts!

You don't have to be a Pierogie Mama reader for long to know that I'm passionate about breastfeeding. If you can and have the desire to do it, more power to you! I believe that breastfeeding is making a huge comeback in our generation and proper education and support are a big factor on this.

One of my all time favorite boobie products has been Bamboobies. When I first started breastfeeding, I battled a lot of really uncomfortable issues - ligaments that needed stretching, I thought I was getting vasospasms, the typical soreness/cracking/dryness that many mamas experience. In addition, there was the leaking. Some of my post-lactating mama friends passed on their almost empty boxes of breast pads for me to try out. Maybe these pads worked well for them, but those suckers stuck to me so bad and pulling them off was like ripping off a scab each time. Not exaggerating. Oh, and of course, the appearance of being a biscuit smuggler was always so attractive. I was thankfully introduced to Bamboobies very quickly and learned that breastpads can be luxurious and no one has to know you're wearing them. HALLELUAH!

But what is the third most important factor of a good breastpad? Leak proof. Doesn't matter if it's comfy or hidden. It just plain has to work. Ladies, Bamboobies work. I did a small test to see exactly how much water it would take to soak into a Bamboobies breastpad before it showed up on the other side.

3 1/2 tsp of liquid before these beauties leak! Amazing! I can tell you from personal experience that it takes way less than 3 1/2 tsp of liquid to soak through disposables. Also keep in mind once you get past the initial engorgement stage, your letdown should ease up as your body acclimates to how much milk to produce for your baby so leaks will become less of an issue.

And of course, being a cloth diapering mama, my favorite part is buying once and never having to buy again. No running to the store because you're out. Just pop these in the wash (I stuck mine in a small lingerie bag to make sure they didn't get sucked up) and they're as good as new. As I prepare for Pierogie #2, I'm stocking up on these beauties!

Bamboobies also offers thicker overnight pads, different bundles and gift packs, nursing wear and Boob-ease products to help soothe your girls in the early days.

Want to know one more thing about just how awesome Bamboobies is? Pierogie Mama readers get 20% off at checkout by using the discount code PIER20! WOOOOAHH! A pack of 2 sets of regular nursing pads is $16.99. You can also buy them on Amazon and Babies r Us.

And I lied. There is one more awesome thing.. Bamboobies is partnering with The Pierogie Mama for a $25 Bamboobies gift certificate giveaway starting on Oct 22. Mind = blown. Make sure we're friends on Facebook and on BlogLovin' so that you don't miss out!

Keep up with Bamboobies via Facebook, Twitter, their blog and online store
And a parting secret tip - keeping in touch has some definite perks. 
Bamboobies fans are the first to know about their very awesome freebie offers 
that only come once or twice a year.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Ring (A 20 minute recipe!): Guest Post at Mishmash Mama Blog

I've shared my super easy and versatile recipe over at Mishmash Mama 
for a Pillsbury crescent dough ring that can use almost anything that you've got in your fridge!
What toppings would you try?

It's ok to take a break in life - Guest post from Oh Just Stop Already

Guess what I'm doing today? You got it. Tearing apart my house. Today I'd like to welcome Chelle from Oh Just Stop Already. She reminds us to stops and smell the roses. Lord knows I get caught up in the day to day and just need to sit and breathe. 

We move so fast in life nowadays. Spending so much of our days telling our spouses and children to hurry up, get moving, let's go; usually ending with a short and stern "now". We tend to miss out on the importance's of not just life but the little things that make it up. The family, the laughter, the awe of the grass growing, the direction of the wind, or even the sound of the hustle and bustle of traffic around.

As a matter of fact, I hope that at some point while reading my words you stop. Look. And just take it all in. When was the last time you found a smile in the chaos of your daily lives?

For me it's been a while. Extremely too long.
And that is when yet another wrench of tribulations came spiraling into my somewhat chaotic peaceful . Funny how life works, isn't it? The way we can get so caught up merrily along our paths thinking we just might actually have figured it out.

It was then in the midst of a full blown meltdown that somehow I was able to to grab hold of those moments. The bickering between two children over whether Princess Sofia should be allowed into the Fort of Mass Destruction. The sound of the baby squealing away as he splashed in the dog water creating another tsunami in the kitchen. There was a slight hint of heat that was carried on the tail of the breeze, after a week of chill and rain.

That is when the question came; through everything in the end, will this tribulation really matter that much? Will it effect the things that bring a smile over me?

In one simple answer.... No. Not at all.

It's been a while since that day but something stuck. It is imperative that not just me but everyone needs to retrain their way of thinking. Just like we have to retrain ourselves from pigging out on the greasy fat every day or learn the name of the new co-worker who greets you now. Thank heavens for multiple alarms, because I set one for just this purpose. It's okay to laugh; my husband did too at first. Same time every single day it goes off. Never turned off. When it sounds, everything I'm doing stops. I take it all in. Whether at the store, driving, arguing with the kids, battling the laundry demons. It really doesn't matter anymore what is going on. The moments happen more then that one simple alarm.

And I see them now. Better then ever before.
When was the last time you really enjoyed your "happily ever after"?

bfzooChelle is a multi-tasking working 2 jobs kinda mom of 6 and wife to a U.S. Vet turned trucker. Ultimately parenting by herself for numerous weeks upon weeks.

She enjoys blogging at Oh, Just Stop Already as her means of being accountable on her journey of fitness & health. And well let's be honest it's a source of keeping her sanity in line.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Would you like to write for The Pierogie Mama? Send me an email!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Natural Soaps with StarGazer Soaps

It's a simple truth that as parents we want to do the best we can for our families and provide for them in anyway we can. It seems to be a huge trend that more and more people are switching to all natural and less processed products. We educate ourselves on how exposure to different chemicals over our lifetime can affect us, and as a first time mom I spent countless hours reading up about specifically bath products for my new baby.

But what did I miss out on? Taking care of myself too! After all, I'm not even 30 yet, it's not like I'm "too far gone" to make a difference, right?

So recently I've started taking the initiative on not only making sure that my entire family eats better but also that we are much more mindful of the products we use and their properties. Which is why I want to share with you about natural, handmade soaps from StarGazer Soaps!

I used to think that handmade soaps were just 'foofy' and actually didn't work as well as the mass marketed products you buy off the shelf at the grocery store. Of course, as I educated myself and spoke more with Nicole (owner and soapmaker of StarGazer Soaps), I learned that it is literally far from the truth.

Handmade, natural soaps are:
  • Chemical Free - It takes 10 seconds for our skin to absorb the chemicals in commercial soap - Formaldehyde being one of them!
  • They are naturally moisturizing
  • Commercial soap companies remove the glycerin that is made during the soap making process and replace it with chemicals
  • Commercial soap companies add detergent to soap - to clean your shower while you use it!
  • StarGazer Soaps are absolutely chemical free - using only oils, minerals, clays, etc.  No dyes, no detergent, no formaldehyde!
  • Soap - true soap - requires oils/fats & an alkali in order to make soap. Most commercial bars are labeled as "beauty bar" or "body bar".  This is because they are made with detergents, and are not true soap.  This includes body wash.  Again, not soap!
  • If soap is not labeled as "soap", it does not fall under the strict soap FDA guidelines.  By claiming it is a cosmetic product, they can hide ingredients and make all sorts of claims.  The laws are different for each label, and much stricter for soaps.
  • Nicole only uses natural ingredients in her bars, however what sets apart her purely natural line from her silk line is that the purely natural soaps use essential oils whereas the silk line uses a combination of fragrance oil.
  • Learn more about the differences between handmade and commercial soaps on Nicole's blog.
Nicole's personal testimony is that switching to natural, handmade soaps 

has cured her family of eczema, acne & dry skin. 
Maybe it won't do do the same for everyone, but it has been life changing for them.
Watch Nicole's videos on how she pours and cuts her soap!

Over the last couple months I've had the opportunity to try out Nicole's Mars Silk, Orion Silk, and Purely Natural Grapefruit soaps. Seriously, what a treat! All of her soaps smell so good and are visually unique. 
StarGazer Purely Natural Grapefruit
True to its name, the Mars soap has a very masculine scent and I've found Adam reaching for it often. The Orion is her most beautiful bar and I've had that out in our guest bathroom for our guests. It has fruity and floral scents and is a perfect hand moisturizing soap. Our favorite to keep in the shower has been the Grapefruit bar. It's an awesome all around soap bar and I've also loved using it instead of shaving cream!
StarGazer Mars
Guess what else? StarGazer Soaps welcomes custom orders! So keep her in mind when you are planning your next bridal or baby shower, an upcoming grad party (how fun would it be to have your graduating colors in a soap bar?), or any other special occasion you can think of.

Connect with StarGazer Soaps via 
Facebook, Youtube and her blog (where you can get previews of upcoming soaps and tips!) and
shop online at Etsy.

And my favorite part of all.. sharing these awesome soaps with you! One lucky winner will get to pick 4 soaps that they'd like to try - 2 from the silk line and 2 from the purely natural line. Goodie!!

This giveaway has ended. Thank you to all who entered! 
Please check out other Pierogie Mama giveaways.

Disclosure: Thank you, StarGazer Soaps for providing me with product to facilitate this review. I absolutely loved them and am a 100% handmade soap convert! All opinions expressed are my own. None of these statements are intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Please exercise your own common sense and consult a physician if you have any concerns. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monthly Its: September

Remember meeting Nicole from StarGazer Soaps last month? I asked her about the inspiration behind the name of her business and the individual names of each of her soaps - she's got Venus, Orion, Taurus, Andromeda - just to name a few.

When I was thinking about a name for my business, I really had no idea where to start.  The name was important, and one of the most difficult decisions for me.  Many years ago, I had a small business that my little brother named.  He passed away three years ago, and while I didn't want to use the old business name, I wanted to incorporate him somehow.  When we were growing up, we used to lay in the backyard and watch the stars.  And now, I look up to the heavens on a daily basis and smile with those memories.  One evening, the name Stargazer Soaps just popped into my head.  I was instantly excited, and decided to name all of my silk soaps after something found in the sky.  This can be rather tricky.  Sometimes I have a name picked out for my soap before I make it, but I rarely have a plan when I set out to soap.  Sometimes I don't have a name for several days after I cut a soap.  My husband and children enjoy helping me pick out names for each soap.  I love the uniqueness of my business name and each soap I make.  

If you haven't gotten a chance to check out her soaps personally, don't wait too long! Most of them are limited edition and only come around once in a while, as she makes them all by hand. But here's a little secret...I'm sharing my experience with StarGazer Soaps and Nicole is giving away 4 bars of her soaps for an awesome Pierogie Mama reader! Thanks Nicole :)

On to my favorite posts over the last month...
  • A guest post on Wifessionals - how to be a happy and productive SAHM. I gotta say, staying at home with my kid has been the best 18 months of my life! But the husband will be the first to tell you that my productivity is at an all time low. Yes, babies grow too quickly - that's why I'm not too worried about dusty corners, but.. yea. We gotta get this house in gear.
  • I've repaired Penny's cloth diapers before - and by 'repair' I mean replaced the velcro. Not that hard for a novice seamstress. But the elastic.. eh. I've been looking for a good step by step tutorial on how to replace cloth diaper elastic and I think Diaper Wreckers may have given me the courage to tackle this one. 
  • Another awesome post by Diaper Wreckers - a test on which cloth diaper inserts absorb liquid the fastest!
  • How to make pear puree for your baby by Director Jewels- perfect for a Yummi Pouch
  • I made Pioneer Woman's Brown Sugar Oatmeal cookies for a new mama this week with an additional galactogogue ingredient - I added in a squirt of Barleans Flax Seed Oil! (pssst, galactogogue = mamamilk makin'). But don't worry, non-lactating people will totally enjoy these too. After all, it calls for a pound of butter
Be sure to keep an eye out via BlogLovin' and Facebook 
for when my StarGazer Soaps review and giveaway goes live! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Under Construction: Moving in

Don't want to miss out on any of our renovation shenanagins? 
Click here for a full list of my posts on it!

I'm a little late on my update for this week, but we didn't make a whole ton of leaps and bounds on the renovation front, but we moved in!

Carpet was installed on Tuesday. We chose a medium gray and it's set off the colors on the walls really well.

We immediately started moving our daily living items over and actually spent our first night there! My parents came up to help us and we had a family Scrabble match that got a little heated for some people...

On Wednesday we finished up clearing out the rental and said goodbye to the house we've lived in for the last 6 months. It was funny to realize that we moved into that house on Penny's first birthday and moved out on her 18th month.

Penny and I took off for a weekend at my parents while Adam put the final coats of stain and sealed the hardwood. The fumes that come off that stuff is not preggy & baby friendly, plus Adam got a ton of other projects done without having a toddler in the way.

Interestingly the color is a lot lighter than it was when he put the second coat of stain on it, but it is much better than what we started with.

He was able to get our TVs mounted in their spots, wire in their respective speakers, move the appliances back into the kitchen (so now I can actually cook at home!!) and hook up our washer and dryer. Yes, life definitely seems more inhabitable on this planet after this week.

The Recipe Crucible: Pillsbury Biscuit Turkey & Muenster Grilled Sammies

A little Bianca factoid...yes, I keep a very healthy Pinterest account. But when a recipe has been tried and true, it makes its way into my legit recipe box. It's written on paper and hopefully immortalized for the next 50 years (or more, if one of my children end up loving cooking too!).

September has always been a time of transition for myself and many other families. It's the start of school, obviously a change in season and it always seems like I am moving in September / October. I'm going to say this one last time - this better be the last time we move for like 15 years!! ;)

During this time of transition families are busier than usual and honestly the time and energy spent in cooking sometimes takes a nosedive. Our family doesn't have anyone starting school (not for a couple more years), but the transition of moving into our new home and the renovation taking place in the kitchen has definitely made things a little tighter, less comfortable and not as easy to prepare full on dishes like I normally like to.

So this little quick and easy recipe that I'm going to share with you below is in the beginning stages of this crucible - initially saved via the internet/this blog, and maybe one day will graduate into recipe cardhood.

Originally adapted from Grands! Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

You will need:1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)
8 thick slices of Muenster cheese (I went straight to the Deli counter and asked for nice thick slices)
1/2 lb of pepper crusted sliced turkey breast meat (also found at your Deli counter)
honey mustard
extras: avocado, tomato, bacon
Makes 4 sandwiches

You will do:
1. Heat a non-stick skillet on high heat. 

2. Meanwhile, flatten the biscuits into discs, similar to mini personal pizzas. The key here is to get them nice and thin, otherwise you'll end up with regular biscuits! You can stretch them like pizza dough or use a rolling pin.

3. Once the pan is hot and the biscuits are flat, add one or two biscuits at a time to the hot pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Once it is brown (like a pancake) flip it over and cook the other side. Set aside when cooked.
4. After the biscuits are cooked, layer on a spread on a little bit of honey mustard, add two slices of cheese, some meat and any of your additional toppings. Sandwich together.
5. Return the sammies to the hot pan, adjusting the temperature to medium/low so that the cheese can melt without burning the biscuit. 
6. Bon appetit! These are so simple that you can really adjust them to fit whatever you have in your fridge for a hot sandwich.

What would you fill your sammy with?
Download the Pillsbury recipe booklet for more easy recipes and comment with a Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits recipe you'd love to try!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.


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