Posted in EDUCATIONAL, FAMILY TIME, Reading

The Land of Dragor: Book 1 The Gift of Charms.

In exchange for my time and efforts in reviewing The Land of Dragor, The Gift of Charms and giving my opinion on my blog, I have been provided with images along with the story. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.

Captivated by The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms; I find myself and Isabella transported into this magical land of dragons. As our nightly routine we pick stories to read, these past few weeks things have been a bit different. With my computer wide open I’m transfixed into a child’s book, with every word I speak to Isabella playing like a movie in my head I find it difficult to pause our reading while Isabella begins to drift off.  Will she dream of Yoshiko, the young dragon and his land filled with friends and family? Will her dream be of his adventures, his learning’s or even of herself in his land with all the dragons playing?

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For many nights Isabella and I have read this amazing book by Julia Suzuki as, she not only captures the minds and hearts of the children but has put myself, an adult in complete astonishment. While the words and story carry on I find myself picturing each character… Yoshiko and his large dragon wings, his mother and father, Kiara and Ketu and all his fire school friends. As each description is highlighted I find the story turning into a movie inside my mind.

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As I watch Isabella’s excited face each time I say it’s time for bed, time for a story her gaze seems to find its way to my laptop in which holds this astonishing story. For the first nights we found ourselves reading The Prologue: The Strange Egg and reviewing all the photos that Julia had shared with us. As we look at the map Isabella asks where the dragons live, and points at each mountain. “Yoshi home mommy?” As we continue our readings the following nights we learn of each clan and look for their homes on the map.

I cannot stress enough how important reading is to my girls and I; since our move to Maryland we find ourselves snuggled in bed or sitting on the floor together reading multiple stories. As time goes by we found ourselves reading the same stories multiple times a week. We would begin reading about Toy Story and find ourselves next on The Little Mermaid. In hopes of finding a solution to this book skipping problem, I began to wonder about longer books. Fewer pictures and more of a story! It just happens at this moment I found Julia’s twitter amongst my followers and began reading a bit about her story. I couldn’t help myself, overwhelmed with complete curiosity I reached out. Thankfully Julia was so kind to allow me to have a document with photos along with the full book to read with Isabella.

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I cannot thank Julia enough for this delightful reading; as we further into the chapters ahead (21 to be exact) I see so many educational topics. It may just be my point of view but as soon as you read this story you may also see the topics I am so pleased to be speaking or reading to my soon to be big girl. From being judged from where Yoshiko came from to the school “bullies” many learning topics were brought up. This dazzling adventure of a “smalling” dragon and how he learned to overcome bullies, weaknesses and learn that he can do much more with a positive attitude and practice has now become a family favorite.

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You will read about Yoshiko’s adventure of attending Fire School and the obstacles he faces to his adventures that may just be breaking rules in order to save his friends talents and the future of The  Land of Dragor. This unique  story has just begun in my opinion, due to the ending I feel as if The Land of Dragor with Yoshiko and his friends and elders will have more adventures and lessons ahead of them and to us. I, as an upcoming teacher hope to purchase this book for my future classroom along with a copy for my girls.

Are you up for an adventure?

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Posted in Breastfeeding, EDUCATIONAL, Food

-MommeMeals Go Chews: A yummy snack for Bella and I.

Like I said in my previous post “Milk on Tap” I never thought I would be breastfeeding Elleanna… With that being said I’ve been an on the demand mommy going nine-months strong with no end in sight. (ok maybe I know there’s an end…) I’ve always wondered as I read posts on breastfeeding groups about how much they pumped, how they are always engorged and how they have enough milk to donate. My question is how? When I pump I fill with excitement if I can get 3 ounces on that rare occasion, but due to the fact in upcoming weeks I will be returning to work, hopefully full time, I need a supply for my daughter.

I was working, 5 hours a week, for Aeropostal which sadly didn’t play out the way I would have liked it but now that I’m looking for a more full time opportunity I need to find ways to make sure my supply stays up along with my energy. After attending The Big Latch On and finding out there were lactation cookies (do not judge still pretty new to this) I needed to look around. I found an amazing woman, the owner of MommeMeals and reached out to her in hopes of trying her lactation cookies; which was amazing timing with her new flavors coming out. So graciously she sent me some flavors (Turkish Apricot & Fig Ginger Sesame) and some originals to pass out amongst my fellow breastfeeding mommy’s along with a few recipes in which I am going to be making in upcoming posts.

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I must say receiving these lactation cookies made me feel like it was Christmas, my eyes widened and my stomach made noises. SNACK TIME! Digging right in to the Turkish Apricot, mouth watering as I smell the lovely aroma. How many am I suppose to have a day I wonder, because I’m really enjoying this flavor right now and could certainly eat more then one… After doing a bit of research and reading the back of the packages I found many mother’s and websites told me have anywhere between two to five a day. (Wonderful I can try the Fig Ginger Sesame later in the evening.)

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As the following days passed I would munch of each on the flavors, though the Turkish Apricot won my heart, with its soft and chewy flavor exploding go chew I found myself sneaking in more than two.. Sometimes three… A few times four… Ok I became addicted to these go chews, easy snacks for doing homework, riding in the car and taking the kids out for the day. The organic whole food ingredients, gave my body the energy boost it needed, unlike energy drinks with the high caffeine and the crash after.

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As the week began to end while working one day as Geraldo was at work, Elleanna down for a nap I began to hear noises… Like someone was into my go-chews! Busted, caught with the chew in her hand ready to head toward that three year old mouth of hers, Isabella had found a new snack she couldn’t resist. Thankfully go-chews are energy boosters too, great for anyone, child or adult. Man or woman. (Men you will not lactate after eating them!) Many athletes actually use such cookies as a way to boost their energy while eating healthy and helping their muscles recover. Don’t believe me about the energy booster or maybe you have some sore muscles after a hard week at the gym? I dare you to try go-chews!

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A few quick shots of Isabella and her new favorite snack, I then find myself searching for the perfect hiding space away from toddler hands.

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Everyday I saw my milk supply building, by this I mean engorged and happy. Not many mama’s are happy about being engorged but when you are a mommy in need of a supply to go back to work, that milk is like gold! After months of trying to drink plenty of water, Gatorade and other forms of tricks told by many mama’s I found my go to snack. It not only made my energy go up, my milk increase but my body feels so much healthier.. Happier you could say.

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As you can tell I’m running low on Turkish Apricot and Fig Ginger Sesame so I went out to get the Original flavor. he-he.

 

How is your energy? Maybe you’re a mother breastfeeding, have you tried lactation cookies? How did they work for you?

In exchange for my time and efforts in reviewing Mommemeals Go-chews and giving my opinion on my blog, I have been provided with samples for tasting and giving to a few fellow breastfeeding mama’s. Even though I receive these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine.

Posted in Breastfeeding, EDUCATIONAL, FAMILY TIME, Food, Uncategorized

Milk on tap…

That moment of awh, from the first moment Elleanna latched on after birth to the moments these past nights… Holding her, rocking, rubbing her soft chubby cheek while she feeds. How can life get any better than this? In honesty I never thought I’d be breastfeeding Elleanna, really didn’t plan on it but she found herself down to my ta-ta within minutes of her birth. At that point how can you say “No, I’m doing formula.”; but at those moments she first latched on I was the happiest I could have ever been. This time around with Geraldo by my side supporting all that I would choose (and let him think he was choosing), my daughter excited about her sister. From the first moment Isabella found out she couldn’t keep quite about it, actually almost let the secret out a few times. “Mommy, baby tummy.” Thankfully no one really understood for a while or that’s what they made me think.

For about nine months now I’ve been breastfeeding, rarely ever pumping; though her father has had his chance to feed her a few times. Elleanna is a mommy’s girl, don’t try to give that bottle to her while she knows I’m around because she just wont do it. I never thought we’d even make it this far to nine months after I realized we’d be breast-feeding, many doubted I’d make it past the first three weeks. That gave me a push to go those three weeks, then make it to three months, six months, nine months… Next goal ONE YEAR! I found that I lost the baby weight, though I’m still curvy. Ok, ok maybe not curvy maybe a little plumped? Which I blame mainly on the cravings I still get which has been known to be associated with breastfeeding. (Who am I kidding I’m Italian I love my food!) Well to my point, I’ve never really been comfortable with feeding without a cover, always worried about what people would say to me or the looks given or even judged just for my ta-ta’s; I’ve come to a point though where I’m getting sick of that cover. I know Elleanna is sick of it also, since day one she has kicked, punched and wiggled her way out of the uncomfortable eating area underneath this cover. As I was on the laptop one evening I noticed breastfeeding week was approaching, events were popping up all over social media networks. After doing a bit of research and speaking with Geraldo, picking his brain you would say about attending one of these events. How many chances do you get in your life to say I was part of a group that did something not many could do? As a breastfeeding mother, I haven’t seen many mother’s breastfeeding. Feeling lonely while walking through a mall or grocery store and the looks lets not even go there. I felt I needed to take this chance, Geraldo said I should also which just made me feel so much better that I had his support behind me. After speaking with Geraldo and Heather a bit about the event we decided that this older girls would have a “dadurday” while we took the younger girls with us to the event. (Which I must say to this day Isabella speaks so highly of her dadurday and is asking for more.)

As an early day begins the nerves set it, let alone trying to find the perfect outfit to wear that I could feed Elle in and look cute for pictures and meeting all these mama’s. We began to get the girls ready, all the girls because as I said in my “dadurday” post they just don’t have as much of a style know-how as we do. The journey wasn’t far as Elleanna and Hailee hardly stay awake I wonder to myself many questions… How many mother’s would be there? Is anyone going to be using a cover? Will they judge how I’m feeding her whether it be too much or too little? Will they look at me like why aren’t you back in shape or what’s going on with your ta-ta’s? But as we pulled into the parking lot of Montpelier Farms in Marlboro Maryland my nerves quickly disappears with the lines of mini-vans and strollers, ergo’s and families all around.

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After paying our $10.00 ($5.oo per adult) admission we began our walk down to the outdoor seating area in which had food thanks to the woman who put event together and then our lovely outdoor, ground sitting for the event. THE BIG LATCH ON 2014!  After singing in and receiving our lovely goodie bags we made our way to find a good seat.

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Who would have thought there would be so many moms, 62 in total with 58 latch on’s for The Big Latch On. As we found our way to an opening on the side we put down our blanket and settled in. The chatter amongst the mother’s and children playing made me think, I’m about to be apart of something amazing. All around the country mama’s are latching their babies on, a step toward normalizing breastfeeding. Honestly though why do we have to normalize something that should already be?

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The count down begins….

10… Put Elleanna into position…

9…Unsnap that nursing bra…

8… “Not yet Elle!”

7… ” Hold on baby a few seconds…”

6… “Get your mouth off that!”

5… “No pinching!”

4… “Hey look over there not at the milk on tap!”

3… ” Almost there Elle hold on!”

2… “Hey now mouth off!”

LATCH ON! “Hey, hey latch on Elle! Hello! Ta-ta here!”

The Big Latch on, being counted.
The Big Latch on, being counted.

That moment I was apart of something wonderful, something not many mama’s have done or could be part of. I felt important, like I was changing the world…

Next came the wonderful raffle, as we all clung to our little ones we wondered if our name would be drawn for the 50/50. So many raffle’s for amazing gifts like baby carries for the little girls, onsies and dolls… So many amazing prizes! As we laugh and smile in awh and hope that we get picked I remember the money I brought to give as a donation for all the wonderful food and supplies that were purchased by the wonderful woman who put the event together. While heading over to the table my eyes find themselves wondering… CAKE POPS!… As I look closer they weren’t just any cake pops they were boob pops! After speaking with Amanda, the creator of these magnificent treats I just had to snap one or two for Heather and I.

Elleanna is trying to steal my Boob Pop!
Elleanna is trying to steal my Boob Pop!

I just had to learn how to make these wonderful Boob Pops by Amanda so I spoke with her through emails and she so graciously gave me the instructions how she prepared them.

“So the basic process is you mix cake and icing, form into balls, and dip into candy melts. It’s really simple but can take hours and hours depending on how many you make and how fancy you want to decorate:

Ingredients:
  • box cake mix,
  • can frosting,
  • lollipop sticks,
  • candy melts.
(A stand or piece of Styrofoam to hold them upright is convenient, too.)
Bake the cake according to the box and let it cool. Then cut off any hard corners and/or edges and crumble it.
Mix in about a 1/4-1/3 can frosting to make a play dough consistency being careful not to make it too wet.
Form into 1-1.5″ balls and place in freezer for 15 minutes (or fridge if you need longer) while you melt the candy melts or dipping chocolate.
Dip a stick into the candy 0.5″ and stab into a cake ball about half way. I put them all on sticks before moving to the coating part. You dip the pop straight down into the coating and tilt it all around to coat. Don’t swirl it around or it may fall about.
Pull it straight up and gentle tap to drip the excess off.
You can decorate with sprinkles at this point before the candy sets or go back later with different colored candy in squeeze bottles. For the “boob pops” I dipped them in skin tones (beige, tan, brown) then used candy melts in a squeeze bottle to dab on the nipples. They were fun to make!
The amazingly creative Boob Pops by Amanda.
The amazingly creative Boob Pops by Amanda.

Meeting all these amazing mothers and their little ones has been such a blessing. To know I am not alone, there are many other mother’s breastfeeding at the restaurants and grocery stores I feel the sense of relief, the worries of always having my cover diminished by the complete happiness in myself. The Montpelier Farms in Marlboro Maryland was an amazing setting to hold this event, with plenty of space, animals to view, tractor rides and children’s play areas it is certainly a family place I will be returning with Isabella and Geraldo.

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Elleanna playing with her Teething Bling while on Montpelier Farms tractor ride. (Her first time on a tractor ride, poor daddy is missing out.)
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Hailee exploring the children’s large play area.

 

 

Were you or someone you know part of The Big Latch On this year or previous years? If so where did you attend The Big Latch On?