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Aaronica

  • Home Life

    Sprucing Up For Spring

    ***I received compensation for this post though all opinions expressed are my own.***

    The ground hog saw his shadow, the sun has been shining, temperature rising and Spring is ALMOST in the air!!! I’m so excited to finally be able to open up the windows and not fear Elsa’s wrath attacking me!

    Honestly speaking, Spring cleaning is NOT my favorite thing though it helps to make way for the Springtime spruce up! While we clean, I’m so big about de-cluttering and getting rid of the things we no longer need and finding things we DO need.

    One of my favorite places to shop is uncommongoods. I’m infamous for being an online shopper–you get way better deals, no lines, easier to get distracted–and this store totally caters to everything I love about life and shopping. I love this store for so many reasons but the main one being that they offer really unique pieces that bring life to your space.

    Spruce up your space this spring with uncommongoods! Read more at www.thecrunchymommy.com for my must-haves.

    1. Gummy Bear Lights

    Look at how cute these are!!! They are as soft as a candy gummy bear but offer some creative lighting for your littles (or for you, no judgement!) and they’re super easy to use! All you do is squeeze it’s belly and the light turns on.

    2. There Are Always Flowers Print

    I wouldn’t that I’m an art history buff but I do have a sweet spot in my heart for it since I’m a lover of art. One of Henri Matisse’s famous sayings was “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” This is a must-have for the wall of any entrepreneur’s office. We’re always going to encounter tough times but there’s always beauty in them as well and I love this reminder and prints are an easy and flexible way to add some flavor to your walls.

    3. Barnwood State Side Tables

    I’m a native New Yorker and my hubs is from Rhode Island (I know, they really do have people that are from there! Ha! I kid!). We both love reppin’ our home states and these would be so cute in our little parts of our house. Of course we’d also have to get a Georgia one since this is where we met and fell in love! I love some interesting furniture!

    4. Personalized Tree Throw

    Speaking of falling in love, how cute is this throw??!?! It commemorates you and your loved one old school style but you get to see it as often as you like. I love personalized items and anything that reminds me of my husband and I’s love. Mushy? I know but I do love this guy! This one is my favorite option but check out the other ones here.

    5. F Bomb Paper Weight

    When I saw this, I fell in love instantly. I MAY or may not (to be read as a definite may) have a small problem with cursing so seeing this F Bomb Paper Weight is like that constant reminder to watch my mouth. Raisins littles you can’t just drop F-bombs like I’m accustomed to, but I’m a work in progress!

    6. Personalized Mixtape Doormat

    I already professed my love for personalized items. But this doormat is so cool! Imagine the first impression people would give you walking up to your door seeing this? Awesome, right?

    7. Bedside Smartphone Vase

    How cute is this!?! Now this is more of an office thing for me because abc will grab, drop, throw, etc anything within her reach but this is perfect for both the outside and home office that needs some brightening up that the spring flowers can offer WHILE staying abreast of the three million notifications your phone is bound to offer you as well.

    8. Recycled Picnic Mat for Two

    Or reading area for one. Either or works just fine! Once it gets warm, I’m one of those people that is a sucker for a picnic, movie under the stars, reading in the sun, and the like. This mat is so beautiful and comfortable to lay on. I don’t know how willing to share it for the picnic but if you’re out and about this spring and summer in Atlanta, you’re bound to see me laid out on it!

    9. Kinetic Gear Key Holder

    My husband saw this and loved it! If you or your roommate or spouse is ALWAYS losing their keys, I would totally get this! How can anyone forget to put their keys up when their key holder looks as cool as this one?

    10. Moss Terrarium Bottle

    If you’re not into flowers, that’s cool. But you can still add a little green to your space and some more oxygen in the world with this little guy. The creators upcycled an old wine bottle to create the living space for this little flowerless plant. Fun fact about moss: it can absorb liquids up to 20 times it’s weight.

    Want to see more? Check out the home decor, prints,

    Uncommongoods not only offers unique and quality products, but the company itself is uncommonly good as well.

    Uncommongoods: Uncommonly Good

    The name of the company is perfect for the products it offers. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, uncommongoods is a privately-owned marketplace for creators of awesome things that are unique, handcrafted, and created in harmony with the environment not harming animals or people. Not only are their products people-friendly, but so is the company, which offers it’s lowest paid seasonal employees 50% more than the minimum wage. This is big–especially in NY given the cost of living–because of the current state of the economy and the fact that most people cannot live off of minimum wage. One-third of their products are made from either recycled or upcycled materials.

    Uncommongoods not only talks the good talk about being environmentally friendly, but they walk the walk too. They are a founding B corp, offer virtual tours of their lair for transparency, and share uncommon facts on their own blog. As if being eco-conscious isn’t enough, Uncommongoods also has the following NOT-for-profits:

    • RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network runs more than 1,100 rape crisis centers across the United States as the largest anti-sexual violence organization. Additionally, they provide resources for policymakers and media outlets, promote education in our communities, and work to ensure that sex offenders are brought to justice.
    • American Forests: Founded way back in 1875 as the American Forestry Association with a mission to preserve and restore forests worldwide, American Forests is the oldest American conservation organization. Since 1990 they have furthered that mission by planting more than 45 million trees to improve the health of forests and by extension the planet and its inhabitants.
    • Women for Women International: Women for Women International provides survivors of war and other refugee women the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stable self-sufficiency. By creating a safe space to bring women together for learning life, business, and vocational skills, Women for Women International is helping women become independent. Their newly acquired skills not only benefit themselves, but also help build stronger families and communities.
    • Reach Out & Read: Reach Out & Read is a network of thousands of doctors and nurses working to promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children in all 50 states. Their methods of integrating children’s books into well-child visits and encouraging parents to read to their children help lay a foundation for early educational success. Reach Out & Read is the newest partner and they are thrilled that over 18,000 customers have already donated to this amazing organization.
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  • Kid Life Reviews

    Cloth Diapering Made Easy

    I can still remember my first encounter with a cloth diaper. I was babysitting my friend’s baby when I was in college and he brought over all these pieces of thick cloth and showed me how to fold into a perpendicular triangle that somehow created a diaper around his baby’s little bottom. I’m not sure how we made it through diaper changes but I’m sure there was at least one time that I shed some tears as I tried to wrap her up while she skillfully maneuvered out of it and away from me. At that point, I broke up with the notion of ever cloth diapering my kids. I was scarred and unforgiving.

    Until now.

    So a big part of being “crunchy” is cloth diapering. Given my history of it, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about this aspect but part of growing up is forgiving and thus I’ve ended up where I am now. Ok, so maybe I didn’t forgive but I did get over that prior experience after seeing the huge changes that were made in cloth diapering. Not only were they absolutely adorable, but they were easy to use!!!

    Can't even tell she's wearing a cloth diaper!

    Can’t even tell she’s wearing a cloth diaper!

    Cloth Diaper Essentials

    Wet Bags

    Unlike disposable diapers where you just toss the entire diaper and wipes in the trash, you don’t do that with your cloth diapers. Have a wet bag is super important and makes the cloth diaper cleaning process so much easier. Once you’ve pulled out the wet cloth, toss it in one of these babies to hold until it’s time to wash.

    Cloth Bottoms Dressed 3

    Cloth Wipes

    I didn’t think these were so necessary until I was trying to figure out where to put the wipes that I’d just used on her poopy bottom. With the cloth wipes, you can easily roll them up with the cloth diapers to dump into the wet bag for washing. Assuming you go with this option, snag one of these wipe solutions to keep the wipes ready to use.

    Laundry Care

    I thought that my little tubs from Walmart would work (and we made them work) but special detergent for the poop, having a tub with a splatter shield, and stain remover are all really important.

    Cloth diapering has come a looooong way and dare I say it's become easy? Even with all the choices, cloth diapering your baby is not only eco-friendly, but it's budget friendly as well! And to show this, Nicki's Diapers is offering a giveaway so be sure to enter today!

    Deciding On Your Cloth Diapering System

    I thought this would be harder than it was. Here are the different types of cloth diapers:

    • One Size Diapers – These can be used from birth through potty training.
    • Diaper Covers – Waterproof outer layer that is used with flats, prefolds, or fitteds.
    • All-in-Two Diapers – Waterproof shell with separate inserts. Inserts need to be changed at changing–shell can stay on.
    • Pocket Diapers – Waterproof shell with an opening for inserts or prefolds to be placed inside. Must change cover and insert at each change.
    • All-In-One Diapers – One piece that has a waterproof outer shell with an attached cloth interior. Must change entire diaper at each changing.
    • Prefold Diapers – Rectangular cloth with 3 panels that can be used with a cover.
    • Flat Diapers – Single layer of fabric that is folded into a cover.
    • Fitted Diapers – Entire diaper is cloth and is contoured to fit baby. No folding and entire diaper must be changed out with each changing.
    This is the Hedgehog design. So.Frickin.Cute.

    This is the Hedgehog design. So.Frickin.Cute.

    I went with an All-In-Two diaper system. This was the most convenient to me for a couple reasons. My system has a snap-in system making diaper changing super easy. I also like the way these fit abc. You can’t tell that she’s wearing a cloth diaper because her little bottom isn’t super fluffy. Outside of them being hard to use in the beginning, I hated that clothes didn’t fit because of the size of the cloth diaper! I specifically got the Best Bottom Cloth Diaper System with the Stay Dry Inserts.

    Happy Cloth Bottom

    Popular Questions

    Q: How many do you buy?

    A: That honestly depends on how often you plan on doing laundry and how old your baby is. With abc being 18 months, we go through between 6-8 diaper changes a day. I have 3 shells and 12 inserts. Because with our system we have you don’t have change the shell with every diaper change we do laundry every other day. 

    Q: Was it expensive to get started?

    A: Nope. It took about $85 to get started with this package here. On average, we spend about $40/month on diapers. Now we spend pretty much nothing–though I still send her to daycare with some disposables. 

    Q: The poop… How do you deal?

    A: I’m not going to lie. It was hard at first. But we keep some black tubs ready and waiting to have the poopy ones dumped into. 

    How about a giveway!?!?!?

    Yep! Nicki’s Diapers wants to giveaway a system to get someone started in their cloth diapering journey:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Use coupon code “crunchymommy” for a 5% discount on all orders through March 2016.

    **I received product to test but all opinions expressed are my own.**
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  • Motherhood

    The Day Dejavu Taught Me A Wonderful Life Lesson

    It is the little things in life that really stay with you. Those small moments that you take for granted or that seem so insignificant that they seem fleeting. These are the times we need to hold on to. These are the times that teach us our life lessons. These are the moments we should be living for. The little brackets of time that will forever stay suspended in our minds as a reminder of what is important.

    My Memories

    Growing up I didn’t have a father. (A completely different blog post!) I was never “Daddy’s little girl” . My grandfather was a big influence in my life, though. I remember when I was 5 years old, my family moved upstairs from my grandparents.  We shared meals together.  We played games. We watched television.  And every Wednesday,  when Grandpa would come home from work, he would bring two hot dogs: one for me and one for him. We would sit in his kitchen and I remember thinking he was the smartest man in the world. We would talk about science,  or math, or anything that deemed educational.  I lived for Wednesdays. Wednesdays with Grandpa.

    I can still remember to this day learning how the earth revolves around the sun. And how North America is closest to the sun during our winter but ,because we are at a certain angle, our temperatures are not as warm as the summer time. I can still remember how that information blew my mind (and it still does)! I also can still feel how my five year old self felt having my grandfather talk to me like such an adult . That more than anything had a huge impact on my life.

    So often we rush through life without paying attention to moments that seem little but become bigger and more impactful with the help of dejavu.

    The Beauty of Dejavu

    A few weeks ago I lived a sort of sentimental dejavu. My father in law came over with two doughnuts: one for him and one for my oldest to share. (My youngest is still too little to enjoy these sweets . Perhaps one day.) They sat at the dining room table and talked about topics here and there.  All while enjoying a doughnut.

    That’s when the dejavu appeared.  I smiled, with some tears in my eyes, and looked upwards. My heart said a quiet thank you to my grandfather.  Not just for the memories that I kept close to my heart. But that my children will get to experience the same joy and happiness that was given to me.

    Our Loved Ones Are Always With Us In Memory

    I always feel my grandfather near me. Things happen all the time and I know he is there. He has been gone almost three years and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him or ask him for his guidance. Sure, he was one tough cookie and there were times where we disagreed. But one thing can be said of him: he was there. That is one thing my five year old self will never forget. And I know he had a hand in the doughnuts my father in law shares with them. That was my grandpa.

    So often we rush through life without paying attention to moments that seem little but become bigger and more impactful with the help of dejavu.

    WebsiteFacebookPinterest – Email: themrszfiles@gmail.com

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  • Motherhood

    10 Tips To Build Self-Esteem in Your Children

    I’ve heard that we spend the last 50 years of our lives recovering from the first 18. Our childhood experiences heavily influence our level of confidence and self-esteem. At the tender age of 35 (smiles) is when I have given myself permission to feel confident in myself and I am not the only adult who has done this. I spent my childhood always unsure of myself, constantly concerned what other think of me. I can’t imagine my son going through those same feelings and not doing my part to help him.

    Let’s help our children get off on the right foot by avoiding damage in their self-esteem rather than focusing on repairing it down the road.

    Making sure your child has great self-esteem can be difficult so check out these 10 tips.

    10 Tips on Building Self-Esteem in Your Child

    1. Show your children that you love them 100% of the time. Let your child know they’re adequate exactly as they are. Withholding love because of a poor performance is among the worst options a parent can choose.
    2. Give your child the power of choice. Let your child choose their clothes for the day from several options you provide. They feel a greater level of control when they can make a few choices for themselves with our guidance. **My daughter walks with her head higher when she has made choices for herself, whether its an activity, clothes or what she eats.
    3. Help your child to set goals and be successful. Whether the goal is growing a pumpkin or making the tennis team, help them be successful. Show your child that they can influence their life by making a decision and working hard. Focus on the actions they take to accomplish those goals. **It’s just as important to help them deal with disappointment when things don’t work out according to plan.
    4. Teach your child to do new things. The more capable we become, the more confidence and self-esteem we possess. Help your child to feel more capable by teaching new skills.
    5. Compliment and praise your child frequently. We all stand a little taller when we hear something positive about ourselves. Address the things your child does well. Give praise freely.
    6. Give your child a few chores. Require your child to do a few age-appropriate chores around the house. This will teach your child discipline and self-soothing skills.
    7. Avoid shaming your child. There’s no value in making anyone feel bad about themselves. You only create an enemy. Teach your child that their behavior is incorrect. That’s very different than suggesting that they’re a bad person.
    8. Include your child when addressing family issues. Listen to your child’s opinion. You might find that your little one sometimes has the best solutions. At the very least, you’ll boost your child’s confidence and sense of importance. **In our house, it works well when we discuss smaller activities within a larger project. When we went to Disney World last year, we opened the floor about the activities that can take place while on the trip.
    9. Set a good example. Take care of your own needs. Be kind and patient with yourself. Treat yourself the way you’d like your kids to treat themselves. Show them how to set limits and say “no” to unreasonable requests. Even if your kids aren’t listening, you can be certain they’re watching. Show them what confidence and self-esteem look like.
    10. Give your child attention. When you ignore your child, you send the message that they don’t matter. Turn off the TV or put down the magazine while your child is trying to speak to you. Make time to pray with your child. If you truly don’t have time, ensure your child understands the situation.

    Many child behavioral issues are tied to poor self-image and a lack of self-confidence. Giving your child the self-confidence and self-esteem needed to be happy and successful might be the greatest gift you can provide.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

    What are some ways that you instill self-esteem in your children?

    Elly Blanco

    Website – Facebook – Twitter – InstagramPinterest

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  • Cleaning Hacks Home Life

    4 Tips to Detoxify Your Body

    Signs It Might Be Time To Detoxify

    If you feel down and tired all the time, something that obviously results in a reduced mood and productivity levels that drop below the line that allows you to make it work. If you have been having health issues for a while now, then you may need to consider your body could be suffering a toxin overload. Do you feel you are challenged to stay awake even on the best of days, or losing weight when you are trying to real hard? Well if that is the case then you will need to make your home free of toxins as well as flushing your body of their presence as well.

    Detoxifying your body is an important process. If you don't pay attention to the signs your body needs some freshening up, it could lead to longer term issues. Here are 4 tips to detoxify your body today: www.thecrunchymommy.com

    4 Tips to Detoxify Your Body

    This can be one amazing time to take care of both yourself and your home to reduce toxins everywhere, dealing with carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning as well as diet and exercise:

     Detoxification has been around for many years, if not even centuries. No matter what the difference is in techniques or location around the world, chances are you have seen this type of thing in action as time has moved on. This will give you a chance to purify yourself of any toxins, but you need to start somewhere. Dieting will really help, especially when you work on it with a corresponding exercise done on a regular basis. Eliminating diet toxins will be a long-term effort, so you will need to turn it into something of a habit at all times.

     With food detox you can help remove the toxins from your organs and environment. Although there are natural reactions that occur with dieting, you can still make some more positive lifestyle changes if you handle the process with care. Fasting is one way you can have a short term flush of your system with fairly innocent habits, but you will need to take care of this and do it less often as it will be taxing at first.

     You need to focus on cleaning the toxins out of your diet as best as possible, this will mean handling the removal of refined sugar, as much of saturated fat as you can and so much more. These will affect your metabolism in a negative way, so you will need to take care of removing them as best as you can if you want solid results. You should also stay away from any stressful situations, working on meditation and other ways you can calm yourself, cleaning the body in the process.

     Eating plenty of fiber for your diet, one that comes from organic vegetables, fruits and other sources of food that would let you work on it is one way of doing this. You can and should also do your best to stay hydrated, as this also contributes to toxin retaining. Staying properly hydrated means you will have a chance to flush the toxins from your body. You also need to get enough sleep, as this will be just as important as cleaning up your diet.

    Detoxifying your body is an important process. If you don't pay attention to the signs your body needs some freshening up, it could lead to longer term issues. Here are 4 tips to detoxify your body today: www.thecrunchymommy.com

    photo courtesy of pixaby.com

    Keeping your environment and body clean are both key ways of making a detox last.

    How do you detoxify your body?

    Ella Andrews is blogger, mother and housewife, who has great flair for home decoration and home remodeling projects. She is cont

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  • Embracing Womanhood

    The Day I Stopped Hating Myself

    I thought I had hit rock bottom when I had admitted to not being able to see my physical beauty any longer after having abc. But I didn’t. I hit it recently when I found myself just angry all the time and hating everything.

    I wasn’t mad at anyone in particular. Well, maybe I was. But it was me. I was mad at myself.

    Why be mad right? It seems that I have everything I wanted–and I do. I no longer work for anyone. I have the best husband the world could ever give me. I have 2 healthy and happy kids. I’m healthy too. But I wasn’t happy. How could I possibly be happy when I hated myself?

    I think I finally realized it about a week ago. I was looking in the mirror and all I could see was the weight that I’d gained, the scars that my eczema had left, the post-partum hair breakage, and the allergic reaction that I was having under my eyes. I hated everything that I saw. And I felt like the world hated me too. I’d stopped getting responses for pitches, no sales in my store, no motivation to do anything.

    I felt like my kids hated me too and thus my patience was thin. Abc’s slaps in the face as she fought sleep hurt more and felt like stabs to the heart. Mini’s constant lack of listening felt like she was saying that my words weren’t good enough to listen to instead of just a 6 year old being a 6 year old. And then my mom was in town and I think that’s when it came crashing down. She didn’t look proud of me. She corrected every little thing that I did with my kids and downed every decision I made to my husband. Not even the person who birthed me was proud.

    At this point in the past, I normally breakdown and just stop moving. I go into a semi-catatonic state just laying in the bed for as long as it typically took to shake. And I did that on Valentine’s Day with my kids and husband laying around with me. Their presence felt supportive as we watched episode after episode of whatever Disney show mini is addicted to. They let me lay and wallow and they didn’t say anything as I sorted through my thoughts and organized my feelings separating what was reality, what I could control, and what I just needed to let go.

    People think self-love is so easy. It isn't.

    Letting Go

    Growing up with a brother who was perfect at everything, I always felt like I needed to show that I was worthy of my parents approval. This feeling and scarring that I’m dealing with as an adult is the root of the post behind me having a favorite child. Here’s the thing, I want my kids to grow up to do the things that make THEM proud, not seeking the approval that may or may not come from my husband and I. I want for them to proud of themselves and not worry about pleasing everyone around them–like I do. This is something that I consciously have to let go of time and time again. While my mother did tell me that she IS proud of me, it shouldn’t matter. What needs to matter to me is that I AM proud of me and this feeling shouldn’t be dependent on anyone but me.

    What’s Real vs Fake

    No one hates me. Ok, I’m sure that there’s at least a handful of people that do but the masses don’t. How do I know? It’s not because I try really hard to please everyone (though most times I do), but it’s because I’m genuinely a good person. I like people. Black, white, Asian, Indian, Alien. I like people–on most days. But I believe in being good to others so the idea that everyone hates me is absurd.

    What I Can Control

    This is the hardest part for me. I can control a lot–but there’s more that I can’t control and these things, I need to stop focusing on. When I look in the mirror, I was mad, angry, frustrated, disappointed. I couldn’t believe that I had let myself and my health go the way that I have. I’ve never been as big or as heavy as I am now and I’m in shock that I’m here. But here’s the thing that I have to realize and fully digest: My self-worth and self-love is not dependent upon a number on a scale.

    I haven’t been giving 100% at the gym. I haven’t been 100% with my nutrition. I haven’t been 100% with my business. And these are the things that I CAN control. When I see myself, I CAN change how I feel. I have full control over my attitude about things and that’s what I need to be focused on. In this microwave society that we live in, we expect for things to change over night and when they don’t, we quit them. I’m guilty of this. But this too is something that I can control and will.

    While I can’t believe that I’d let myself go so much physically, I couldn’t believe I’d let myself go so much mentally or emotionally. Everything has been affected by this and I’m more disappointed in the fact that I’d allowed myself to hate the person that I fought hard to become and love. But I envisioned how I used to be. I saw my smile so full and bright. I saw the patience I had with my mini that fostered her growth. I heard my laugh that was so loud and contagious. I felt the love and happiness I had. And I wanted it back.

    I woke up the other day and I decided to stop hating myself and am actively loving me and the life I’ve created.

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