Lulabelle Reviews: “How To Parent Your Anxious Toddler” By Natasha Daniels

Today I’m taking the blog in a new direction and reviewing a book on parenting tiny humans. I know, I am a staunch supporter and member of the CNBC (Childless Not By Choice) community, but I was asked to read it and do a review from the author herself. Because I also work in child-care I figured this would be a good resource. I was right.

Daniels; a child therapist, includes most of the usual anxiety triggers for kids, such as fear of the dark, food aversion and fear of bugs, but her delivery is a refreshing twist on the genre of parenting books.

Each chapter opens with a scenario from the parents perspective. Of how their child is frustrating them with their odd behavior. They try and settle the matter themselves by taking away privileges, yelling and spanking. To no avail. They are at their wits end. Then the reader turns the page and…..

The same scenario is told from the child’s perspective. The why behind the behavior is explained in their own words. And parents are given an “aha” moment. After discovering the why behind the behavior, Daniels suggests possible solutions to the child’s problem.

This book was informative and provided solutions and tips that I’ve been able to pass along to my mommy friends and have even used a couple tips while at work.

If you are looking for an engaging book that offers practical advice to curb anxious behavior, this is it.


CC Anxious Toddler

*Our anxious cat also found this book helpful #bonus 😀

FTC Disclaimer: While the book was sent to me by the author for a review, all opinions are my own.


Wednesday Epiphanies: Hold on to Your Hats Kids……

I’ve been binge-watching Law and Order: SVU on Hulu lately. A few seasons back, I’m on #8, it hit me. I had an epiphany.

Do you remember Milhouse Van Houten of Simpson’s fame? Well, I think I know what and who he grew up to be.

Years after leaving cop college, Milhouse moves to New York City and joins the SVU (Special Victims Unit) alongside Detective Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. He also changes his name to John Munch to erase his childhood as a blue-haired, Crayola yellow-skinned cartoon character who wore the same set of clothes for nearly 30 years.

Don’t believe me? Take a look and decide for yourself:

Milhouse for Blog

Det. Munch for Blog

Creepy, isn’t it?? 😀

To the LGBTQ Youth Sitting In the Church Pew Contemplating Suicide……

As a blogger, there are times when you have to take risks. Today is one of those days. But the risk is for the greater good.

Last night I felt God asking me to write about a controversial topic. I stopped dead in my tracks and asked for clarification. I heard the same message again. Again I asked to be sure. I prayed for clarity and if this was really something I was supposed to address on my blog, that I would do so without fear. When I woke up today, this was the first thing that I thought of. So I took that as confirmation that, although this is a heated topic, specifically within the bubble of Evangelicalism, that I remain obedient to the Lord’s leading.

But I still struggled. I can’t stand conflict and knew if I wrote on this topic the way I had been led, conflict was going to follow. But then He reminded me that even if conflict follows, writing on this topic will help to save lives and that is more important than fielding dissenting views and being uncomfortable. So, deep breath and go!…..

To the LGBTQ Youth Sitting In the Church Pew Contemplating Suicide…….

1. Jesus loves you. Let me rewrite that. Jesus loves you NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU’VE DONE (or think you’ve done). He loves you unconditionally. Nothing you do can change that. EVER.

2. You matter to the world. You have a purpose here and have talents and strengths that the world needs. Figure out what these are, and use them to further God’s Kingdom.

3. God also doesn’t make mistakes. YOU dear reader, are NOT a mistake. You were made perfectly in the image of God.

4. If you need someone to talk to who is a person of faith in a supportive community, you can find resources at the link below. The Trevor Project exists to help save lives and support LGBTQ youth in crisis. They have links to religious organizations that are supportive and welcoming.

If no one else will tell you this, know that I am in your corner, dear reader. You are loved and you matter.

And you are never, EVER alone.

Dear Kanye…..

Scrolling through Facebook today, I saw a headline with your name in it. Yes, I normally scroll right past these “news” articles, but for some reason this
one caught my eye. And my resulting emotions have me penning this letter to you. On my blog.

I was sorry to hear about your “money woes” that have apparently gotten so bad that you’ve shamelessly reached out to Mark Zuckerberg to float you some cash. I really am sad you are in this position.

Sad that you think you really need to “borrow” (I’m just assuming you are just a level one d-bag that would eventually pay him back) money to help you out of a supposed hole. And just so we are clear, the “d” does not stand for dime. 😛

Never mind that in the real America, not the one that is in your head, there are people with real problems. Some of my relatives are currently jobless due to chronic illness and have fought and scraped for everything they have. Oh, and even though they have more selflessness than you possess in your little finger, they are in danger of losing their house.

While we are on the subject of your “need,” I have a few pointers for staying out of debt (although to be completely transparent, we still are in debt but are actively working to dig ourselves out without relying on a bajillion-aire) and just over-all being a better person:

1. STOP buying *hit you can’t afford. I realize you really think you need all those diamond-encrusted toothbrushes, but I can tell you, you’ll do just fine with the regular toothbrushes found at your regular grocery store. That’s the place with all the food and stuff us regular people go to on a weekly basis to buy things we need. Notice the word “need” is not in quotes. There is a difference. Learn it.

When your finances are under control:

2. Give to others before asking others to give to you. That Guy who you blaspemously titled your last album after was an expert at this. You should read His book, it’s pretty good.

3. Learn humility. I understand this one is hard for most everyone. But remember that great Book I told you about? In there you will find a step-by-step guide.

4. Give back to your community. In contrast to the purchase of ridiculous items such as diamond-encrusted toothbrushes and hover-boards that can go from 0-60mph in 10-seconds flat, using your money to improve the lives of others will give you favorable headlines in the news. Yes, people will be shocked about how good of a person you actually are, but will eventually get used to it. Look at what happened to Angelina Jolie.

So, fund the local elementary school’s music program and donate money to spruce up that neighborhood park that kids have to bring their own sand to because the sandbox is empty. Help make the phrase, “Mom, I wanna be like Kanye” be a goal to be attained, not a cautionary tale.

5. After marketing your next “must-have” product, give all the profits to charity. Lord knows that the purchase price of most of your “branding” deals are hefty enough to fund the education of most of the kids in a 3rd-world country. Think of the children, Mr.West.

This list is just the beginning. Use it to turn over a new leaf and actually become a role-model any parent can be proud of.



We ♥ Spring

Well, that was good while it lasted. Really we all knew any day now that those freaky 50 degree temperatures would soon give way to snow and cold and suck. The suck is here. And this mama isn’t going outside unless she has to.

This winter weather has made the air inside so dry that you could, in theory, dump a glass of water over and it would absorb into the air before it hits your one-of-a-kind Persian rug  hand-woven by blind nuns. #donttrythisathomekids.

Honestly, I don’t remember winter being as dry as it has this year, and I was born and raised in this state. My scalp is dry and flaky, my nose and lips are chapped, and I have to wear eight layers in the house even though our heat is on. **blogger pauses to re-apply moisturizing balm onto lips**

Guys, it’s bad. How bad?

Well, I think despite the hardships we’ve had regarding the cold weather lately, our cats have it slightly worse. Particularly the youngest. I feel bad that this has been happening for the last few days, but I just noticed today. While brushing her, I realized just how dry the air is. When your cat’s fur stands up on end and attracts the laundry that you are folding nearby, you know it’s especially dry. Also, each time the brush passed through her tail, her hair stood up on end, making it appear as though she had stuck her paw into a light socket and fallen off the meth-wagon. Again.

Long story short, we can’t wait for Spring!


PS: Here’s hoping they don’t get into a cat-fight so strong that they generate enough static electricity to burst into flames. Fingers crossed.



LAFF: The One Where Lulabelle Lists Alternative Uses For the Phone Book….

Happy Friday! We made it!! As I write this there is snow gently falling outside my window and the sounds of Weird Al Yankovic’s “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” is coming from the bathroom as my husband prepares for his day. Yep, that’s how we roll. Or as Weird Al puts it in the aforementioned song, “put on your yarmulke and do your Hebrew thing!”

A few housekeeping items before we get into our topic of the day:

1. I managed to trouble shoot the knock-off Magic Eraser and the results were slightly more favorable than before. The key is using vinegar. In my case it was hot vinegar. See, I did the yearly deep cleaning of our coffee pot (although we use it so often that it should probably be done more often, but whatever). Conventional wisdom suggests that you pour straight white vinegar into the water tank of the coffee pot and run it through like you are making coffee. Then run at least 2 pots of water through it.When the vinegar was done running through, I plugged the sink and poured the hot vinegar in. After cooling for a minute or two, I dipped the Magic Eraser into the vinegar and began scrubbing the stains left in the sink. This method worked slightly better than just straight ME and water. But please heed this warning: Vinegar at room temperature has a strong odor. When you heat it up, the odor takes on a life of it’s own. Like, it can clear your sinuses from a month of congestion. Powerful stuff. (Ladies, if it’s that time of the month and you are having scent aversion, I recommend wearing some type of mask to buffer the scent 😉 ).

So apparently when I said a “few” housekeeping items, I really meant one. Let’s move on.

With the advancement of technology in the last 10 years, some items that we used to rely on have been replaced by faster versions of the same thing. The biggest example of this? The phone book. Honestly I don’t understand why the phone company (Is that really a thing anymore? I know we have cell phone companies, but there is no longer a one stop place for everyone to go for all things telephone.) keeps sending out their books. It really seems like a waste of paper at this point. But never fear. I just came up with a few alternative uses for your phone book so you don’t have to feel guilty after throwing it away.

1. Cheap Coaster: Keep your favorite drink from spilling onto your white carpet by keeping it on top of the phone book that doubles as a coaster. The true beauty of using the phone book for this purpose is that you are able to sit several glasses on it at once. Score!

2. Door Stop: Is there a door in your house that you want to keep open, but it closes on it’s own for some unknown reason (and yes, you did have the house checked for ghosts and came up empty)? Use a phone book or two to keep that door open and your house ghost-free.

3. Toilet Paper: We’ve all been there. You have an “emergency” and sit down on the toilet to do your thing, only to discover you no longer have toilet paper. You never have to be in that situation again. Just make sure to store phone books beside your toilet and when nature calls and you are out of the real thing, your phone book will save the day!!

4. Snow Day Kiddo Craft Hat: Take out several pages (shoot, rip the whole thing up! 😀 ) and craft pirate hats out of them. If you don’t have human kids, make smaller versions for your cats. Word on the street is they also like pirate-y things.

5. Gift Wrap: Have a birthday party, wedding or bat-mitzvah coming up? Did you spend so much on the gift that you now don’t have enough money for fancy-pants gift wrap? No pr0blem!! Use the Yellow Pages to cover your gift. Have the recipient open the package slowly so they preserve the paper in case they need a lawyer, plumber or 24-hour emergency pizza delivery.

6. DIY Step Ladder: Go door-to-door in your neighborhood and collect as many phone books as you can. Then heat up your trusty glue gun and glue the phone books together, making a tall ladder type thing to use when you need to reach those tall shelves or other high places when your go-to “high-up” person is on vacation.

7. Make Your Own Furniture: Ok, hear me out. Like the step ladder above, take a bunch of phone books and hot glue them together. Then, with the fabric of your choice, wrap the fabric around the books and hot glue the edges. BAM! Insta-furniture. I would, however, use caution when sitting down on these with any form of liquid. Maybe you want to spray the structure down with NeverWet (essentially voodoo magic in spray form that renders anything waterproof, apparently) just for added protection.

8. Hidey-Hole For Your Valuables: Ok, I just like saying hidey-hole (ah, I miss my littles). But seriously, take a phone book, flip it open to the middle and carve out a hole with an exacto-knife, down to the back cover. Pick a plastic or similar container the size of the hole and hot glue it into the hole. Put your valuables of choice into the hole and shut the phone book. Now, the downside of this one is you have to remember that you stuck your valuables into an old hollowed out phone book.

9. Take your Juggling Game Up a Notch: Sure, juggling phone books doesn’t have the “wow” factor as say, juggling moving chain saws, but may still be entertaining in those neighborhood bars on trivia night.

10. Christmas Tree Decorations: Nowadays it is fashionable for people to have themes for their Christmas trees. Your theme next year could be phone book ornaments. Simply origami the poo out of the entire book and place hooks into each origami piece, securing it to the tree. For added festivity, use a can of spray glitter to each piece. Add them to the tree, step back and bask in your DIY craftiness!! I promise you’ll be the envy of the whole neighborhood.



Blog-a-versary and Coping With Long Hours Part Duex

(7:12PM EST) Bloggers Note: Ok kids, I can already tell that this is not gonna go up before GMT kicks in so the date on today’s blog will be 2/12 even though it’s still 2/11. I keep trying to upload earlier, but my schedule right now won’t let me. Hopefully this will change soon…..

Hey guys, guess what?? Can you believe that today marks my one year anniversary for blogging? Or blog-a-versary if you will. When the Lord first laid this blog on my heart, I wanted to be obedient but I didn’t know how long this would last. It’s still amazing to me that I’ve had so many things to write about in the last year and that my posts have helped so many. I am currently in the process of finding a publisher for my book (I still can’t believe it’s actually coming together as quick as it has) and am looking forward to helping more people in the next year through my blog. Thank you for being a part of this journey.

So yesterday I laid out some ways to focus your thinking when you have a spouse that works long hours. Today I thought I’d make a list of things you can do to help encourage your spouse while they work long hours. This list is certainly not complete as I’m sure there are other things I’ve not thought of, but these are things I’ve found that have helped encourage Chad during this season: 

1. Love notes: My primary love language is words of encouragement, so I got this one on lock ;-). When your spouse is at work, write out little encouraging notes for them on post-it notes and stick them around the house for them to find. Alternatively if you’ve been together for a long time, write down a memory on each note from your life together. This will also help you remember why you are together, since the season of working long hours can be draining to your psyche.

2. Help them get ready for their shift. In our house this includes making sure his coffee container is full and, on the days he takes his lunch/dinner, making sure it is packed. Also making sure his uniform is freshly laundered is a helpful thing you can do. (Sidenote: While some may argue getting your husband’s clothes and food together to go to work is part of a subservient role, please realize that that attitude is pure horse-pucky! 😛 A successful marriage is two people who share the workload. You are partners. You both hustle!)

3. Pray with them. Prayer is one of the most supportive things you could do to encourage your spouse.

4. Try and follow their schedule. When they sleep, you sleep. I know this one is a bit out there, but if you don’t have a job outside your home or you work from home and you can have a flexible schedule, try to follow their schedule. In this way you can have time together. I would, however, recommend that you don’t follow their sleep schedule to a tee. Overlapping is the better approach. Go to bed a bit earlier than they do and get up before they do so you are able to get a load of laundry started or the dishes done.

Following these tips has helped us get through this season so far. We hope the same for you. Remember, you are NOT alone.


Tune that is appropriate for today appears courtesy of Youtube