This Week We Celebrate

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Never Skip a Nap

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3 Goals for March

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How Social Media Can Help You

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Family | Lifestyle | Personal

This Week We Celebrate

By on March 25, 2017

Thinking back on this week, I realize there is much to celebrate.

  1. I managed to put up three posts this week, including a recipe for some spicy Korean food.  I decided to share another blog tip on writing a perfect post.  My daughter’s favorite books from last year also finally made an appearance.  I’ve been thinking about that last one for many months now, so let’s celebrate its completion!
  2. Her Life Is Love turned one month old this week.  I’ve always thought about returning back to blogging for seven years before I finally just went for it.  During this past month, I’ve been learning a lot and it has been so much fun!  I love having this space to socialize with other parent bloggers and am still hoping this will lead to some wonderful friendships.
  3. My husband got laid off two weeks ago due to a back injury, but he found a new and better job this week.  My biggest reason to celebrate this week!  He’ll start working tomorrow by going away on a business trip.  It feels rather sudden, but he is looking forward to it.  I think staying home, recuperating, and being out of work was pretty tough on him even though I cooked one of his favorites.
  4. It’s also my husband’s birthday this week.  We will celebrate with a small birthday party at home today.  My daughter and I plan on baking him a lemon cake.  Hopefully, it’ll turn out well.  She’s only two.  Maybe I will have her make a birthday card, too.  What do you think?

week-celebrate

How was your week?  Do you have anything to celebrate?  Share with us!

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Family | Reviews

8 Must Read Books for the One Year Old

By on March 24, 2017
must-read-books-one-year-old

I’m a bookworm.  I love curling up to a good book, so the advice I got that a good mom reads to their baby a lot worked out well.  Reading to my daughter got a lot more exciting after she turned one year old.  By then, she was more aware of the world around her and seemed to really absorb the content in the books.  Around 18 months, we got to participate in the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  Through the experience, we discovered eight books for a one year old that we highly recommend.  If you would like more daughter-inspired recommendations, check out my daughter’s favorites for bath time!

Jazz Baby

Babies and young toddlers listen to the rhythm and tonal changes in order to learn a language.  Jazz Baby is a book that automatically makes you sing when reading it out loud.  It’s pretty catchy and after reading it together numerous times, we practically memorized the whole book.  I liked how the extended family and neighbors take part in this story, so my daughter was exposed to many new key words.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Don’t Push the Button!

This is such a cute story.  You have this adorable purple character who speaks to you, the reader, and much like any young child, has little self-restraint.  The whole book goes through his struggle to follow one simple rule.  Don’t push the button.  Toddlers have a knack for wanting to do things you tell them not to do.  This is one such case, but we really enjoyed pushing the button anyway.  This book allows for a fun interaction with the book and I like it because making reading fun at an early age is key to keeping kids interested in reading for a lifetime.

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

Dear Zoo

A classic book that’s already been around for 30 years, so many of you may already be familiar with it.  Plus, it’s a flap book and young toddlers love lifting flaps in a book.  We loved guessing what animal is behind each flap and then making the animal sounds, too.  This book taught my daughter the words for lion, elephant, and giraffe.  We especially loved the ending because it includes the best animal of all!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Knuffle Bunny

I personally liked how this book takes actual photographs and places these illustrated characters inside.  My daughter has a stuffed bunny, too, so we could sort of relate with the characters in the story.  I might have liked this book more than my daughter because the author, Mo Willems, accurately captures what a toddler does when she gets frustrated from not being understood.  Hint: They go floppy.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Dinosaur’s Binkit

We enjoy a lot of Sandra Boynton books because of the adorable illustrations.  Here’s a lovely story about a dinosaur getting ready for bed, but apparently he’s missing his binkit.  It’s a quick and easy read, plus it’s a flap book.  The ideal bedtime story for when you want to make a quick exit.  What makes this book particularly great for young toddlers is that it includes textures.  On the cover, you can feel the fuzzy softness of the dinosaur’s binkit.

Dinosaur’s Binkit by Sandra Boynton

Where Is Pim?

We loved the illustrations and the story is quite simple.  In fact, you will want to talk about the illustrations and spot different things together to make a reading of this book worthwhile.  I liked to point out the dogs and what they encounter on their search for Pim.

Where Is Pim? by Lena and Olaf Landstrom

Hi!

My daughter learned the names of many different animals (wolf, polar bear, donkey, owl) and the different sounds they make.  It was so cute to read this book with her and hear her howl with the wolf and growl with the polar bear.  I remember this book fondly because it is the first book where my daughter actually started to repeat after me and voice the words for owl and bird.  I think because it is such a simple book where I only repeated the name of the animal and the sound they make, it was easy for my daughter to follow along.

Hi! by Ethan Long

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

This is another great rhyming, rhythmic book that is fun to read.  The monkey illustrations are endearing as they teach about hands, fingers, thumbs, and drums.  My daughter still loves this book, even though she is now two years old.  It is a #1 bestseller in children’s books on Amazon and right now, it’s on sale for $2.99!  I’m so glad our local librarian recommended this book to us.  I highly recommend this board book, too.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

must-read-books-one-year-old

These are all affordable books that a one year old will love.  If you need gift ideas for a first birthday, any one of these books are sure to be a hit.

Which book would you read to your one year old?

This post contains affiliate links.

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Blog Tips

How to Write a Perfect Post

By on March 22, 2017
laptop-notebook-pen

Since starting this self-hosted web blog, I have shared with you some tips on using social media and following other blogs using a RSS feed reader.  At this point, I have a month of blogging on this website under my belt (in addition to all my previous blogs that I’ve had).  Here’s my latest tip for you.  Use Grammarly to write a perfect post.

I remember seeing their ads pop up on websites for years, but they never really held my interest until I saw their ad run on a YouTube video.  It’s the one where a girl is starting a new job and it turns out she has to work on the computer all day, responding to customers online.  For whatever reason, whether she missed her morning coffee or is just a lazy typist, she writes a lot of painful mistakes.  Grammarly automatically detects these errors and suggests corrections.  Does this ad ring a bell with you?

 

For the Midnight Bloggers

As a mommy blogger, I find that the best stretch of uninterrupted time I have to write my posts happen after my daughter’s bedtime.  At this point of the day (or night, rather), my brain and body have slowed down considerably.  Case in point, I had to retype “daughter” three times to spell that correctly.  Of course, with Grammarly, I wouldn’t have to backspace and attempt to retype the word correctly.  I can boldly make that mistake and Grammarly brings it to my attention.  Click and fix it, silly.  Likewise, I wouldn’t have to save my midnight writings as drafts and give it the once over the next day before publishing my perfect post because Grammarly would double-check spelling and grammar for me.  You’re on your own in regards to keeping your post concise, though.  So, let’s move on.

Reminders to Cite Your Sources

When writing your perfect post, there may be times when you seek information from other websites.  Grammarly does a plagarism check, too. They call it plagarism detection, but I’d call it friendly reminder to credit your sources. We bloggers know better than to plagiarize other writers, right? Although, sadly I’ve seen it done.

Answer Questions or Give Inspiration

A perfect post keeps your readers in mind. You want to answer questions that your readers will be interested in. This makes a post useful and encourages the reader to asks questions of their own in the comments to add on to the discussion of your post.

Of course, not all blog posts are solely informative in nature. If you’re not answering questions in your perfect post, you should be giving inspiration. Inspire your readers through your art, photos, or poems. Spread your happy virus out into the world.

What’s your idea of a perfect post? Are you a Grammarly user?  Share your review and opinions in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Eats

Korean Cuisine Golbangi Muchim

By on March 19, 2017

Golbangi Muchim is a spicy Korean dish that my husband and I love.  It uses some interesting ingredients, but I highly recommend this dish to any adventurous foodies out there.  This is a great recipe to start with if you are new to cooking Korean food because it’s so easy to make, you really can’t go wrong.  If you want a nice easy snack to make along with this, I recommend Peanut Chocolate Pear as the refreshing taste of the Asian pear goes well with spicy food.

Koreans typically consider Golbangi Muchim to be a dish that goes well with Korean soju, a type of alcoholic drink.  I’m not much of a drinker, so I’m fine with pairing this dish with water.  Golbangi (골뱅이) is the Korean word for Bai-top shell, a type of sea snail.  Muchim (무침) is the Korean word for the mixture of ingredients together with sauce, much like salad with dressing.

Golbangi-muchim

Golbangi Muchim Recipe

Ingredients

  • one can of Bai-Top Shell
  • one cucumber
  • one onion
  • one carrot
  • a quarter sized bundle of makguksu (Asia-style noodles 막국수)
  • one spoonful of hot pepper paste
  • one spoonful of sugar
  • one spoonful of apple vinegar
  • Optional: a handful of dried pollack (북어채)
  1. Open one can of Bai-top Shell and pour all contents (including juice) into a large bowl.  Chop each bai-top shell piece into smaller, bite size pieces.  I typically cut one into three or four pieces.  Place them back into the bowl of juice so that it continues to soak in the flavor.
  2. Wash and peel the onion and carrot.  Wash cucumber.  Cutting the vegetables into narrow slices is preferable, but I sliced my carrot and cucumber into half circles just because it’s easier.   Place cut vegetables in a large mixing bowl.  Add a small handful of dried pollack, if you’d like.  I marked this as an optional ingredient.  Note: You can also add sliced cabbage and sliced green onions as well.
  3. Boil a pot of water on the stove.  You are about to cook makguksu, which should only be cooked for a very short amount.  Cooking these noodles for too long will cause them to clump together and fail to be noodles.  You have been warned.  Now, throw in the quarter sized bundle of makguksu noodles into the boiling pot of water and cook for 3 or 4 minutes.  Drain immediately and run cold water over the noodles briefly.
  4. In an empty bowl, add hot pepper paste, sugar, and apple vinegar in a 1:1:1 ratio.  I suggest going easy on the apple vinegar since you can easily overwhelm the flavor of the sauce if you’re not careful.  Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add Bai-top Shell pieces and the sauce to the large mixing bowl.  Add a little bit of the Bai-top Shell juice, as well.  Mix everything together.
  6. Place a single serving of the noodles into your final bowl.  Add enough of the mixture to top the noodles.  When you are ready to eat, mix it all together and enjoy!

I know that a lot of mixing takes place, but that is true to its name, golbangi muchim.  Spicyness will depend on how much hot pepper paste you add.  Adjust the sauce mixture to your own personal preferences.

Do you enjoy eating spicy food? Let me know what you think of this dish in the comments!

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Otome | Reviews

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

By on March 17, 2017
arabian-flower

Here is the first in what will be a series of posts that goes into my love for otome games.  Yeah, I’m a grown woman.  I am married and I have a kid.  That’s not stopping the young girl at heart from enjoying made-up romances with two-dimensional characters.  I enjoy these games, but some are more annoying than others.  Depending on the game, the main character you play could be kind of stupid.  I’m not so fond of the ditzy and helpless types, but I will still play just the same.

What is an Otome Game?

This little wikipedia page will go into enough details about what an otome game is, but in brief, it’s a game designed mainly for females where you attempt to develop a relationship with a male character through your choices or whatever interactions the game in particular uses.  Typically, if your score is low, you get a bad ending.  If your score is good, you get a normal ending.  If your score is great (and some games require actual monetary purchases to help you achieve this), you get the best happy ending ever.

My first otome game ever is a game series called Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and I have all three for Nintendo DS.  Did they ever make an English version?  I’m not sure, as all the ones I have are in Japanese.  I originally started as a fun way to practice reading Japanese.  I’ve had them for years, but I haven’t completed all of them yet.  For now, let me share with you one that you can easily play, too.

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

Arabian-Nights-Lamp-of-Destiny

I rate 3 out of 5 stars.

The first otome game I chose to write about is one that I’ve completed.  I say completed, as in I’ve played all three routes available, but the company stopped updating the game in 2015 and never added the fourth character, Kais.  The characters in this story are inspired from the famous story of Sinbad.  You get to meet Sinbad and Ali Baba.  There’s also a prince named Assad.  Is he a character from the original story?

arabian-nights-characters

I finished Sinbad’s route first and without giving you spoilers, I found it interesting how playing both Ali Baba and Assad’s routes gave me additional insight into who Sinbad is.  There were certain parts where the reaction Sinbad gives is better understood because of having already finished Sinbad’s route.  This interconnection between all the routes were very well thought out and I appreciated that aspect of the story a lot.  I liked Ali Baba because he was the stoic character.  You couldn’t really tell what he was thinking, but you knew that he would open up to you when you play his route.  However, I really liked the plot twist with Sinbad a lot.

The translation and the way the text appears in the English version of the game could use some improvement though.  I found sometimes the game inserts the wrong character’s name and some of the grammar is incorrect, however it doesn’t seriously impede on understanding what the is going on in the game.

If you are interested, download the Android version here.

Which character do you like best?  Is this a story that interests you?

These images are my screenshots from the actual game.

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Family

How to Be a Good Mom

By on March 14, 2017
mommy-hand-baby-foot

Do you aim to be a good mom (or dad, but since I’m a mom, I’ll continue to use that term in the rest of this post) but find yourself feeling guilty or wondering if what you are doing is good enough? Here’s a little message for you. You are doing a great job!

I do not dare to say that I’m some sort of perfect mom.  I learn alongside my daughter every step of the way on how I can be a good mom, or even a better mom, for her. From my experience, I have picked out three key things you can do to help you be a good mom.

A good mom has a sense of humor

If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’ll soon find that parenting a toddler is so much easier to deal with when you have a sense of humor. It helps you keep a positive outlook when your toddler grabs your last straw and chucks it out the fourth story window. Whether she is sad or happy, angry or confused, my daughter is constantly looking towards me for my reaction to whatever is happening right now in her world. If I can find the humor in a bad situation, I can help my daughter learn that you can make lemonade out of life’s lemons.

A good mom is prepared for anything

This is a skill that you will automatically develop as a mom. It basically means you can go with the flow because you are prepared for whatever curveball comes your way. Maybe you planned a picnic out at the park today, but the weather isn’t cooperating. Being prepared, you could tweak things a bit and pitch a pillow and blanket fort in your living room. Have your picnic at home and make it a camping adventure instead.

A good mom keeps a small plate

It’s important to make your daily schedule manageable.  This is for your sake just as much as it is for your child’s.  When you have too much on your plate, you’re less likely to be flexible enough to meet your toddler’s needs. This is particularly important if your toddler still naps. Don’t miss that nap!  It’s better to plan one quality activity with your toddler than cramming in a trip to the zoo, a playdate, and an outing to the playground before naptime.

Do you agree with my list? What would you add to this list?

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Family | Lifestyle | Personal

Never Skip a Nap

By on March 11, 2017
weekend-time-relax-baby-nap

Or let your toddler fall asleep in the car. Especially when you are down to one nap a day. She’ll wake as soon as you park at home (I blame the auto unlocking function in my car as soon as I shift gear to P) and napping while in movement is not restful at all.


wander-without-reason-mom-car

She won’t fall back asleep at home and she’ll get super cranky much earlier before her bedtime. She will also be tired and forget she is under the piano…standing up too quickly and cutting her head open.

toddler-nappingweekend-time-relax-baby-nap

Plus, dealing with daylight savings time wreaks havoc on a toddler sleep schedule.

Do you also deal with DST?  Have you ever regretted skipping a nap? What ointment would you recommend for open cuts?

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Eats | Lifestyle

Peanut Chocolate Pear

By on March 9, 2017
peanut-chocolate-pear-recipe

I shared with you an easy recipe to make over the weekend.  Here is another one for you!  This is a little recipe I made and I’m so bad at coming up with names so…here is Peanut Chocolate Pear.  It’s a nice way to dress up Asian pears for a quick snack.  My daughter loves it and I enjoy eating it, too.  I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you will also enjoy this dish with your loved ones.

peanut-chocolate-pear-2

Peanut Chocolate Pear Recipe

Ingredients

  • One spoonful of peanut butter
  • One spoonful of milk chocolate chips
  • One Asian pear
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Assorted nuts
  1. Wash, cut, and peel one Asian pear into slices.  This time around, I used the Chinese Yali pear, but you can use any variety of Asian pear, like the round Korean pear.  Place on a plate.
  2. Put one spoonful of peanut butter and one spoonful of milk chocolate chips into a microwave-safe measuring cup.  Microwave for one minute so everything melts and pours easily.  Drizzle over cut pears.
  3. Top with some dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and assorted nuts.  Don’t feed nuts to your toddler if she is unable to chew and swallow them safely.  Otherwise, enjoy!

Allergy Note:  Be aware that this recipe uses peanut butter and nuts.  If you or your child has a nut allergy, you could replace peanut butter with nut-free butter and do not top with additional nuts.

Let me know what you think of this little dish in the comments below!

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Lifestyle

7 Ways to Secretly Pamper Yourself

By on

My toddler is blessed to have me around all the time. This probably translates to her being extra clingy and unable to handle time away from me well.  Since we are together all the time, my idea of “me time” had to change to include my daughter while still treating myself.

 

Let Me Count the Ways!

  1. Play the music you enjoy and dance with your toddler. Put away the nursery rhymes and kid’s songs for a bit. I’m sure that was getting to be repetitive.
  2. Go out for a walk while keeping your toddler in a stroller. My daughter won’t stay seated for very long, but if you go somewhere new and change up the scenery often, both of you will enjoy it. We like the mall, neighborhood parks, and even just around the block.
  3. Tweeze your brows. Have your toddler hold a handheld mirror up for you. Challenge your toddler to see how long she can hold it still. Count aloud and tweeze away. I always feel better when my eyebrows are on fleek.
  4. Receive a massage from your toddler using lotion in your favorite scent. Your toddler will like rubbing the lotion onto your arms or legs. Your back, too, if you’re adventurous.
  5. Get some exercise in at the park. Put your toddler in the swing and push away! While that’s happening, there are a variety of exercises you can do in between each push. Easiest idea? Kegel exercises. The ones you probably practiced during pregnancy.
  6. Go to the pool with your toddler. You probably won’t be swimming as you keep a close watch on your child. Rub your feet across the cement floor of the pool (assuming it’s the slightly bumpy textured floor here) like a pumice stone. It’ll help improve your circulation. Think of it as a self-initiated foot massage!
  7. Find other moms. When you’re towing a toddler around everywhere you go, it actually brings you many chances to connect with other moms who are in the same boat and want mom friends to connect with, too. Connecting with other people face to face is such a great way to pamper yourself.

What are your secret methods of pampering yourself? Have you tried some of these yourself?

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Family | Reviews

5 Toddler Bath Products For Bath Time Fun

By on March 6, 2017
rubber-ducky-outdoor-costumes

There are tons of different bath products aimed for babies and toddlers out on the market and it can be overwhelming to pick and choose.  My daughter loves bath time and these are the five toddler bath products we use to keep it that way.

5-toddler-bath-products

CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream

A lot of parents and even our pediatrician recommend Cetaphil for use with my daughter’s skin, but it made her skin so itchy that she would scratch herself until she had scars from her constant scratching.  I tried CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream on a whim (I was browsing through Meijer and had a coupon) and am so glad I listened to that whim.  It rubs into my daughter’s skin very well and my main plus is that it doesn’t seem to cause any itch, so she doesn’t have the urge to dig at her skin anymore.  The cons I have with this product is that I feel like I need to use a lot to cover her skin surface area.  I think perhaps because it is a cream, it doesn’t spread out as far when I rub into the skin.  Also, it feels like it leaves behind a slightly waxy residue.  Maybe this is a protective barrier of some sort to keep the moisture in.  It doesn’t bother my daughter, but it just leaves me feeling a bit turned off by the feel it leaves on my own hands.

Buy It Now

TruKid Bubble Podz

My daughter absolutely loves having bubbles in her bath and Bubble Podz has a version that is safe to use with eczema-prone skin, which is a huge plus.  My daughter had some serious patches of eczema in her first year and the pediatrician told us to keep her bath water from getting too hot, leave her in for a short amount of time, and no bubbles.  He obviously hadn’t heard of TruKid Bubble Podz.  I received a pack from my cousin’s wife and my daughter loved it.  I felt completely safe with using this product for her because it didn’t cause any irritations and rather, I felt it helped soothe her skin.  I won’t say this cured her of eczema, but she hasn’t had any reactions in a year now.

Pro Tip: Use one pod towards the end of filling up the tub.  Placing it under the running water too soon causes most of the bubbles to disappear by the time you turn the faucet off.  Also, don’t rush through letting the pod dissolve in your hand, even though it leaves the gooey casing behind.  You want the rushing water to seep through the entire product and create a lot of bubbles.

Buy It Now

TruKid Dancing Hair Detangler

This hair detangler is amazing! It works on the toughest tangles. I’m talking a knot in a knot. I used it on my daughter when I can’t untangle the mess with my own two hands. It leaves behind a slight shine, but that’s not a problem when I can untangle my daughter’s (and my) hair without tears  (in the hair or on the face).  This is a toddler bath product I will always be sure to have an extra one of.

Buy It Now

Nuby 16-piece Floating Foam Bath Animals Set

This is a nice pack of foam buddies that will stick to your tub or tiled walls when wet. It provides simple, creative play and a good opportunity to learn sea creatures and colors. There are two sets of the same eight creatures. I used one set until it got moldy.  They are sturdy so they won’t break apart easily.  I haven’t tried breaking them in half, but they seem to withstand typical toddler strength.  My daughter is not a biter, though, so not sure how it will hold up to teeth. Click the image for more reviews.

Pro tip: Separate them to air dry. I found out the hard way that if I didn’t bother to separate them after a bath session, they will grow mold that you can’t scrub off.  Simply replace with the second set or buy it again. It won’t break the bank.

Buy It Now

Skip Hop Moby Bath Tear-Free Waterfall Rinser

Like a typical toddler, my daughter hates getting water in her eyes or running down her face. I like this whale cup because it allows for fun and the yellow rubber grip helps rinse shampoo out of my daughter’s hair without letting the water get into her face (provided she tilts her head back far enough). The best part is that it doesn’t get moldy and will air dry well when turned upside down.

Buy It Now

Are there any bath products you love to use with your child? Feel free to share!

This post contains affiliate links.

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