Summer Style Giveaway by Impressions


Impressions Hardwood Collection is holding a flooring giveaway worth $3,000 in hardwood flooring.  The contest ends August 31, 2014, so get pinning!


I entered because my husband and I are in the process of purchasing a 100+ year old farmhouse that needs EVERY, and I mean the literally, floor in the house redone.  Here are some pictures of the floors throughout the house:

Bedrooms Mud Room

The carpets that remain in the house smell strongly of cat pee.  I own three cats and our rental house doesn’t smell like cats at all, so I fear what might be under those carpets!  The last photo is of the mud room.  It wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t black tar-like gunk and dirt embedded in it.  The kitchen and dining room (not pictured) have newly installed floated laminate flooring.  The problem?  An amateur installed them, resulting in HUGE bubbles that crack and sink down when you step on it.

All of the rooms where the carpet was torn up show the original hardwood floors.  The second set of side-by-side photos shows two of the three bedrooms.  The floors, however, have missing pieces, holes throughout, and had been painted and warped over time.  THIS HOUSE NEEDS SOME TLC.

I’m crossing my fingers in hopes I win because this is the sort of blessing we need!

Here’s my board I created for the contest.  If you like what you see, feel free to repin and comment!

Follow thelittledabbler’s board Summer Style Giveaway by Impressions on Pinterest.

Honestly Good Products from The Honest Company


Going Natural with Honestly good products from The Honest Company  ||

Recently, I posted about my family’s decision to start converting the products we use from the traditional, name brands  that contain extremely dangerous chemicals to all natural (or as close to natural as possible) products.  I researched long and hard for a cost-effective and readily available read that as ships fast) source for products deemed safe by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database.  

I remembered hearing about The Honest Company long ago before I cared about what I was putting in and on my body, so I looked up their products.  Almost all of them are completely natural and nearly 100% safe to use!

No harsh chemicals, no bio-accumulation no harming the environment, no wondering if I’m slowly killing myself!  No parabens, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, or any other of those dangerous chemicals you should never ever use.

I want to be upfront, this is NOT a sponsored post.  I truly found this on my own and want to share with you how great these products are.

I ordered the Essentials Bundle Free Trial (you pay $5.95 shipping), and it arrive within 4 business day!  It’s pictured above.  It included hand soap, shampoo+body wash, face+body lotion, healing balm, and multi-surface cleaner.  I loved them so much that I used a coupon and signed up for their full-sized Essentials Bundle.  Yes, I received FULL SIZED laundry detergent, shampoo+body wash, conditioner, multi-surface cleaner, and baby powder for $27.52 total with the coupon.  Even better, it arrived from California to my doorstep in Pennsylvania in TWO DAYS.   How awesome is that!

So, what do you say?  Why not give it a try to see how you like it!  You can purchase a bundle or free trial here.  Be sure to look up some coupon codes here to save you even more!  Below I’ll review some of the products I used and hope it convinces you even more to sign up!


Shampoo+Body Wash

I was worried about trying the all-natural shampoo because the ones I had tried in the past made my hair straw-like and lacking luster.   The shampoo was a little thicker that normal shampoo, which is usually of a whipped texture, but as soon as I added a little more water it suds up just like regular shampoo.  It rinsed out normally, leaving my hair smelling lightly and pleasantly floral.  With the conditioner, my hair looks and feel amazing!  I’d say it’s even better than when I used my favorite Infusium 23 which weighed down my hair, stripping it of its body.  The Honest Company shampoo+body wash isn’t heavy and doesn’t leave residue, so now my hair has amazing body just by washing.  Oh, and did you notice it’s a combination body wash, too?  My husband and son love that feature!

Healing Balm

This balm comes in a lotion tube and has a really yummy buttery scent to it.  Make sure to shake the tube first to mix the natural oils with the other ingredients!  Then apply this incredibly smooth, creamy balm on your baby’s diaper rash, your rash or abrasion, small cuts, cracked skin, or anywhere else in need of a little healing moisture.  It soaks  in quickly and leaves the skin feeling super smooth.

Face+Body Lotion

This daily lotion smells straight-up like sunflower kernels.  It’s a really buttery summertime treat.  I use it on my legs and feet after showering so my skin doesn’t become white and flaky the next day.  It totally worked!  This lotion soaks in super fast and has a sensual, smooth, whipped texture!  You won’t have that icky sticky lotion feeling like you do with name-brand products.  It’s also great that this lotion is really light and can be used on both body and face.

Now are you ready to give it a try?  Great!

Shop The Honest Company Here


Reading Is Key to Language Development


As my husband and I cleaned up the living room before heading to bed, we began stacking all the books we had read to our 19-month-old son that day.  Here’s the stack:

Reading is KEY to Language Development  ||

That’s a lot of books!  By no means, however, is it too many.  There is no such thing as reading too much.

Exposure to New Words and Proper Sentence Structure

The more a toddler is exposed to the written word, the faster his speech will develop.  He will be exposed to words in the text that do not typically come up in everyday speech and proper sentence forms (syntax) that we sometimes skip over when speedily communicating with each other.  For instance, here in southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s common to hear someone ask, “Where you at?”  To non-natives, this is grating on the ears and possibly difficult to understand.  In a child’s book, sentence won’t be as poorly formed as my example.  Instead, children will encounter this proper construction: “Where are you?”

Sight Words and Naming Objects

Any person offering sage advice on choosing the right books for your baby and toddler will tell you to pick books with excellent pictures.  Books are a way for your child to learn about new objects she wouldn’t typically encounter in her everyday environment.  You’re child may not have ever seen an elephant in person, but she will definitely be able to identify one if exposed to the word simultaneously with a picture.  Books with vivid, true-to-life rather than abstract illustrations will help your child make the connection between the object and the word used to describe the object.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about these topics and the power of reading, check out these links:

Book Recommendations


0-9 Months Old

10-18 Months Old

Choosing the Right Books For Infants (0-18 Months Old)

Language Development: Major Dos and Don’ts of Reading With Baby

Here I answer your language development questions such as: How do babies acquire language? Can I read anything I want to baby?  Why can’t I just talk to baby?  When should I read to baby?  … and much, much more.

Teaching the Alphabet to Toddlers (in 7 Simple Steps)

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading by Free Little Words

Help Needed – Earn Coupon for My Etsy Shop


Hello parents of small children! 

I’m looking to expand my product offerings at thelittledabbler Etsy shop to include birth announcements.  Here’s where I need your help!  

I am in need of professional quality newborn baby pictures to use on the samples of my announcements.  I need these styles of photos:



green/gender neutral

white/gender neutral


If I approve your photo and plan to use it in a birth announcement, you will receive a coupon code for $5 off any item in my shop.

If you have a professional quality picture** that you would be willing to share for me to use as examples for my shop, please contact me at  with subject: Birth Announcement Photo.  I can keep the source of the photo completely anonymous for your child’s protection or credit you (especially if you are a photographer) any way you would like on the listing. 

**I am looking for photos such as the following.  You must own the copyright to the photo.

Thank you in advance!

Deadly Chemicals Found In Everyday Soaps


Did you know that most of the beauty and health products on the store shelves contain formaldehyde releasers and chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen? It’s true. Your favorite product could seriously be damaging your health.

Many people roll their eyes at the natural vs. traditional products debate.  We are all going to get cancer someday, they say.  Everything is toxic, they say, so why bother trying?  This resignation, giving oneself over to these toxic health and beauty product companies because we’re too lazy to make informed decisions in our lives, is unbearable.  Admittedly, I once shared this same attitude.  I blindly trusted the companies to provide safe products and the FDA to step in when they didn’t.  But when a serious health issue forced me to take a closer look at what I put in and on my body, I was shocked to learn that most of the products I use contain carcinogenic and hormone disrupting chemicals.




These products contain endocrine disruptors, known carcinogens, and neurotoxins.

Using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosemetics Database to research the products I use, I was shocked to find my favorite shampoo, Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Shampoo, contained five chemicals linked to 1,4 dioxane, a KNOWN carcinogen.   It also contained a chemical that is a neurotoxin and another similar chemical that mutates cells.   

The Infusium 23 conditioner from the same line was even worse.  Using the same database, I discovered propylparaben, an incredibly dangerous endocrine disruptor, was lurking in my bottle.  Even more troubling was the presence of DMDM Hydantoin, a chemical that releases formaldehyde over time to preserve the product so it lasts longer on the shelf.  Formaldehyde is a KNOWN carcinogen.  When you open the bottle of conditioner, you can actually smell the chemical puffing out.

This product contains 4 chemicals that are carcinogenic. Click the image to see the list.

I took this research a step further and looked up the ingredients in my son’s Johnson & Johnson baby wash and shampoo.  The baby wash also contains three chemicals linked to 1,4 dioxane, a KNOWN carcinogen, and quaternium-15, a formaldehyde realeaser.  As we know, formaldehyde is a KNOWN carcinogen.  The shampoo also contains these chemicals.




Terrified of the potential damage I was causing to myself and my child, I researched for safer alternatives.  That’s when I came across The Honest Company.  I had heard of them before and knew they were a leading company in safe, organic products.  I researched the ingredients for several of their products and was pleased to find they were all relatively safe!!

The Honest Company‘s line of health, beauty, and home products do not contain the dangerous chemicals found in my favorite Infusium products, and they are paraben and sulfate free. If you’ve ever been concerned about what’s in your products, head on over to The Honest Company and give them a try!




You can also use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosemetics Database to research your favorite products to see just how dangerous (or safe) they really are:

The database is simple to use and implements a color coded and 10 points scale to let you know where your product ranks: green means a product is safe, yellow is questionable, and red means you should run far away from it.

The Honest Company®   |   Environmental Working Group Skin Deep® Database


Related Articles:

Gripe Water: Big Problems with Little Tummys by LINDSAY GRAY (The Leaking Boob blog)

Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo Has Cancer-Causing Chemicals, Group Says by LINDA A. JOHNSON

Mommy Confession #2: Never Turn Your Back


My confession is that I am not a helicopter parent.  I allow my son to choose his activities.  Our first floor consists of only TWO rooms, the living room and an eat-in kitchen.  Yes, it’s super small!  With the safety precautions we have in place –outlet covers, stove handle covers, safety locks, baby gates, etc.– I like to give him free reign.  The biggest danger with this model of parenting is the messes that can happen, in a very short period of time.

My son was in the kitchen for less than a minute, but he managed to get hold of the salt shaker and coat the entire kitchen floor in a layer of salt.

He then lay down and took a nap.

The good thing about this is yesterday, my cats knocked EVERYTHING off the kitchen counter while chasing each other yesterday.  The collateral damage included a pitcher and a glass of sweet tea, making the floor a sticky mess and me panicky about the prospect of ants marching one-by-one to the feast of all time.  Hopefully, the salt will keep the ants from finding any sugary bits I missed.

Mommy Confession #1: Little Beggars


Sometimes I intentionally give my son a not-so-good tasting piece of food off my plate, such as a spaghetti noodle without any sauce, just so he’ll stop begging me and eat from his own plate.

Who else does this?

How to Save Money on Your Wedding


It’s wedding season!  First, I would like to congratulate anyone who is reading this and is planning a wedding!  Congratulations on this big step in your life!

We had our wedding, reception, and even went on a honeymoon for less than $2,000.  With the monetary gifts we received, our total out-of-pocket was $800!


 How We Did It


– I bought a wedding dress online at David’s Bridal on Black Friday.  The total cost, including taxes and shipping, was $112.  It was an AMAZING deal and I’m so glad I thought to do it that day.  The cape was a Facebook flea market find and was brand new.

– My husband wore a nice wool sweater, dress shirt and tie, and shoes he already owned.  He looked SUPER HOT! lol.  Much better than a stuffy suit.

– We made our own invites.

– Our ceremony was held outdoors in a state park along the banks of a BEAUTIFUL river.  That means it was TOTALLY FREE.  We did this at the end of December and asked all guests to dress in comfortable clothes because it would be standing room only.  They didn’t mind standing at all because they could wear whatever they wanted. We brought chairs only for the elderly or disabled guests (we let those individuals know ahead of time so they knew they would be comfortable).