Tag Archives: papa dragon

Count Your Blessings: My Unexpected Night Off

Count Your Blessings

Life has been pretty crazy at home lately. Trying to teach full-time, be a full-time graduate student, wife, and mother all at the same time is taking its toll.

In addition to being more sleep deprived than usual, I have been having some serious attacks of the ‘Mom-Guilt’ persuasion lately, so when my evening unexpectedly opened up I took full advantage of the family time that has been so rare lately.

The original game plan had been to get home from school at about 4:00, hang out with Dragonling for a half an hour or so, and then retreat to my desk to do school work until supper. I planned to eat supper with Dragonling and Science Lovin’ Papa and then return to my school work. I had hoped to finish the assignment that was due at midnight before bedtime (8:30) so after I put Dragonling to bed I could start the training for the distance standardized test scoring that I will be doing as a short little side job. Last time the training took a couple hours so I expected to be up till 11:00 or midnight to check that off my ‘to-do’ list.

But Someone must have known that this Momma needed a night off to spend with her family because the stars aligned and I suddenly found myself with none of the deadlines I had anticipated.

When I went up to my desk after school I opened up my online portal for my graduate classes and saw an announcement from my professor. The due date for the assignment that was due tonight had been extended. Knowing I had a few more days I decided to start my test scoring training to get it out of the way, so I went to my email to find the link to the training page only to find that instead of starting on April 6th I had misread the date. Scoring training doesn’t start until April 16th. As I let this news sink in I suddenly realized that for the first time in many days I had a night where I could actually put things off and not make it worse in the end.

I took full advantage of this small blessing.

Science Lovin’ Papa cooked dinner, then we all sat at the table and enjoyed a relaxed supper. We had time to talk about our day and I could sit and enjoy the time without thinking about how late I was going to be up to finish my homework.

After supper, Dragonling and I played with Play-Doh. Mostly we just smashed it because Dragonling is only one and a half, but it was the most fun I’ve had with Play-Doh in years. Watching her eyes light up when I molded the dough into a cat face or a caterpillar warmed my heart.

When she was finished with the Play-Doh, Dragonling looked at me and very sweetly said, “Car?”

“Where do you think we should go?” I asked.

Shhlide? Shlide.” she replied.

“You think we should go to the park and play on the slide? Ok. Let’s find your shoes.”

All I heard after that was excited squealing and frantic running about looking for anything she might possibly need to get that show on the road. She found my purse, Papa’s hat, her shoes, and her coat.

We piled into the car and headed for the park.

At the park, there was only one other child on the equipment and he took off after his parents soon after we arrived. I followed her up the steps, over to one of the slides, then she sat on my lap as we went down. Then she hopped off and raced around to the stairs to do it again. We did this over and over and over…

Most nights I would have been ready to stop after the fourth or fifth time down the slide with her, but tonight was different. The weather was beautiful, a little windy, but sunny and not too cold. All I could think about was all the times I had missed taking her to the park already and all the times in the coming months that I would have to do homework instead of spending time with my baby. (Cue Mom-guilt.)

My night off wasn’t planned. I didn’t spend it doing the things on my ‘to-do’ list. It was spontaneous and it was perfect.

When we got home from the park, I Dragonling and I showered and then she had a bath to play a bit in the water. Bath time is usually a task taken on by Papa Dragon but tonight I really wanted to do it. I let her play in the water longer than usual and Papa came and watched her while I got the after bath things ready. We got pajamas on and then went downstairs for a small snack, one episode of ‘Puffin Rock’, and snuggles.

Then it was bed time. We read a book and then we cuddled in the rocking chair. When I laid her down in her crib she looked up at me and said, “Wuv you, Mama.”

“I love you too, Aurora.”

I kissed her forehead like always and she grabbed my face and kissed my cheek.

A perfect end, to a perfect unexpected night off.

Count your blessings. Savor the moments, especially the ones you didn’t know you were going to get.

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Shack on the Rock Bath Tea Review

Shack on the Rock promo
Photo from Shack on the Rock

Everyone needs a little ‘me’ time every once in a while, and as a new parent I am coming to realize quickly that getting ‘me’ time with a baby around is sometimes a challenge. Papa Dragon and I try to make sure the other gets some time to themselves most days but in the end we don’t always get what we want.

This week I was able to try out a new product from the Etsy shop Shack on the Rock called bath tea.

About the Product

Shack on the Rock created bath teas with busy, hard working women in mind. One tea bag can turn a regular bath into a soothing spa retreat in just a few short minutes.

This unique product was created after doing research to find the best combinations of salts/oils/botanicals, essential /fragrance oil blends, and goat’s milk.

Each bath tea recipe includes:

  • European sea salts – Sea salts that are solar evaporated and harvested from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the purest salts in the world.
  • Himalayan Pink Sea Salt – Sea salt that has been hand-mined from ancient salt beds in the Himalayan Mountains which have been protected from pollution and impurities. These salts are known for their stimulating and soothing properties.
  • Colloidal Oatmeal – Colloidal Oatmeal is finely ground oatmeal that creates a barrier over the skin. It is a great additive for people with dry skin because it helps to seal in moisture, it is also known to alleviate itchiness.
  • Organic Rose Petals/Buds – Roses are a natural botanical known for aiding relaxation. Rose petals are also known for their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Essential/Fragrance Oil Blends – Shack on the Rock creates their own oil blends in order to achieve beneficial scents for their bath teas.
  • Goat’s Milk – Goat’s milk is moisturizing and nourishing for the skin because of capric-caprylic triglyceride. Capric-caprylic triglyceride is a naturally occurring  skin moisturizer that helps contribute to skin’s softness by forming a barrier which inhibits the loss of moisture. Protein strands in goat’s milk are shorter than in other kinds of milk and so are more easily absorbed by the skin.

Shack on the Rock‘s bath teas come packaged in a set of three, one time use teas bags in a high quality, reusable tin.

Tickled Pink Tin

Currently the teas come in two varieties, Tickled Pink and Dreamweaver.

To use simply place a tea bag under the faucet, run warm water and let the bag “steep”,  then squeeze the herbal mix into the water and enjoy!

Tickled Pink Bath Tea Bag
Tickled Pink Bath Tea Bag

My Thoughts

I was able to try out their Tickled Pink recipe. As stated on the item page,

Our Tickled Pink Bath Tea was created with women in mind. An airy blend of soft pink petals, creamy blonde woods, and vanilla bean chiffon come together to give you a sweetly scented bath time.

My opinion?

It’s perfect. The scent is perfect. Kind of like you’re walking through a flower garden on a warm Spring afternoon. Divine.

I’m not usually one for flowery fragrances, but the scent was very subtle. As it soaked in the tub the salts, oatmeal, and goat’s milk pieces dissolved and dispersed throughout the entire tub. (Not unlike a tea bag in a cup of water.)

After my soak, I felt relaxed and my skin was soft and moisturized. My skin also smelled faintly of the oils and rose petals. I can easily say it was the most relaxing bath I’ve had in a long time, and I cannot wait to use another tea bag for my next bath.

***Shack on the Rock provided me, The Math Lovin’ Momma, with a tin of bath teas, free of charge, for the purposes of review. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I only review products I would purchase for myself or my family.

Things I Want to Try

Here are some of the items currently in Shack on the Rock‘s Etsy shop that I would like to try:

First, I would love to try their handmade lip melt in the Berry Kisses flavor. This particular flavor includes strawberries, raspberries, with a touch of cotton candy. Sounds heavenly.

Berry Kisses Lip Melt - Shack on the Rock
Photo from Shack on the Rock

I would also like to try their Lavender Mint Goat’s Milk soap. The soap has a blend of lavender and spearmint essential oils and, of course, goat’s milk. That’s it, no extra stuff that you can’t pronounce, 100% natural.

Lavender Mint Soap - Shack on the Rock
Photo from Shack on the Rock

Last, but not least, I would like to test out their solid lotion stick. Not only does it seem like a great, on-the-go, product to keep in my purse, but it comes in the same Tickled Pink scent as the bath tea. Count me in!

Tickled Pink Hard Lotion - Shack on the Rock
Photo from Shack on the Rock

More About Shack on the Rock

Traci Cornell is the creator of Shack on the Rock.

As a young girl, Traci had a passion for experimenting on the women in her family. (Don’t worry there were no crazy science experiments done on anyone.) She simply loved natural skin care and wanted to try out new things! According to her, it was a common site to find bananas, sugar, and lemon juice smashed on her face in an attempt to rid herself of freckles or clear her face of dead skin cells.Now her first passion is soap, but her conviction to want all body products free of chemicals means she has been branching out, as evidenced by the lip balm and lotion seen above.

Shack on the Rock knows that most people do not have the time or energy available in their busy lives to make natural body care products and they are happy to be able to provide such products to their customers.

According to Tracy,

“If it says 100% natural it’s because it is! We pride ourselves on honesty, so while we may use some organic ingredients in our recipes, we will not promote our products as being completely ‘Organic’ unless ALL ingredients used in that recipe are, indeed, organic. I promise you can pronounce ALL of our ingredients and if you can’t, don’t hesitate to ask me about it!”

The company also likes to take part in recycling and keeping their products as eco-friendly as possible. Traci owns four dairy goats who produce more milk than their babies and Traci’s family can consume. So, rather than throwing it away, Shack on the Rock has re-purposed it for use in their hand made products.
Products from Shack on the Rock are free of soybean oil, sulfates, parabens, petroleum by-products, and contain no synthetic detergents or fillers.

To stay up to date with Shack on the Rock, or to check out their products for yourself, follow them at the links below:

Ask me how to #PromoteYourBusinessThroughBloggers!

My Life is #MadeWithLove

So many things in my life have been #MadeWithLove it’s hard for me to even begin to talk about those that are most important to me. There are the objects that I have that were #MadeWithLove, of course, but there are also personal connections, family, and memories that were #MadeWithLove.

My kitchen is a mess

Growing up I was surrounded by people who took pride in creating things that were #MadeWithLove. My grandmother, my mother, and my aunts spent hours sewing and crafting things for gifts, craft fairs, and just for fun. They instilled in me the love of making things with my own hands and showing others the fun that can be had in creating things!

As I think back on all the things I have that were #MadeWithLove a few things stand out in my memory.

  • A doll cradle, #MadeWithLove by my grandfather filled with doll bedding #MadeWithLove by my grandmother. Definitely a favorite toy as a child and a wonderful keepsake that I can pass on to my children.
  • An afghan, #MadeWithLove by another grandmother for my childhood bedroom. It was various shades of pink with matching pillow. I loved it then and I still do. It was on my bed for years! Even now I it’s safely packed away for when I might be able to use it in my daughter’s room.

 iPhone 106

  • A quilt, #MadeWithLove by my mother. It was was assembled by my mother and then hand quilted by an older woman she knew. It also spent many years in my childhood bedroom and is now carefully stored for future use.

iPhone 104

Those are just a few of the things I have been given that were #MadeWithLove, but that’s really just the beginning of my life #MadeWithLove.

Love is the defining ingredient

I have a wonderful family that has been #MadeWithLove.

I was blessed with a large extended family with strong ties. My mother’s parents have been married 66 years, had eight children, and now have 24 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.  My father’s parents would have been married 57 years last September, had six children, and now have 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. All #MadeWithLove, giving me a wonderful example of unconditional love and acceptance.

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

My  husband and I have been married a little over a year. Our first child was born in July making us a family of three, #MadeWithLove. I thought I knew the definition of love when I married my husband, but our daughter has deepened the love I feel for my whole family.

The minute you were born IMG_0151

Since our daughter was born I have come to understand so much, but I have so much left to learn. One of the most important lessons so far is that I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers and I’m never going to, and that’s okay, because every minute of every day the things I do for my child are #MadeWithLove and that is what’s important.

I am a mother

 Along with the things they’ve given me and the unconditional love and acceptance they’ve modeled, my family instilled in me a love and deep appreciation for all things handmade. I greatly enjoy being able to give gifts to others that have been #MadeWithLove, because I feel it is easier to put meaning in something handmade than in something store bought .  I would love to be able to make all my gifts, but life is busy and time is short. Inevitably I do my best to find store bought items that are #MadeWithLove.


gDiapers is a company that truly understands that motherhood is #MadeWithLove.  They makes wonderful diapers that provide a balance between disposables and cloth.

In honor of their #MadeWithLove campaign, gDiapers is hosting a unique gift chain on Instagram. If you would like to take part in this gift chain, head over their Instagram post and join in the fun!

Along with the Instagram gift chain, there will also be an upcoming Twitter chat (date and time TBD) about how motherhood is #MadeWithLove. During the conversation there will be a chance for participants to win awesome prizes from gDiapers! (Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, enter your email in the sidebar, so you don’t miss out on any of the details.)

Read more about  the #MadeWithLove campaign over on The American Mama, her post ‘Do Your Kids Think You Are an Imperfect Mother?’ is a great look into the little-talked about side of motherhood. It’s so easy to look at your actions as a mother and get discouraged because it’s impossible to do everything right.

Embrace the imperfect parts of your life, thrive on them. They are what make your life #MadeWithLove.

made with love pic


Today Brought to You by…

coffeeSo recently Dragonling 1.0 has not been sleeping well. Not falling asleep easily, doesn’t want to be put down, and not staying asleep long. Obviously this makes for a tired, crabby baby in the morning. It also makes a tired and crabby Mommy and Daddy…

Last night was the pinnacle, I hope, of bad sleep in recent memory.

Yesterday she hardly napped. A couple little 20 minute cat naps throughout the day, but nothing that would even come close to a quality sleeping experience. By the time Papa Dragon came home I was ready to hand off Dragonling for some father/daughter time.

The night started off like a normal night.

Around 6:00 PM we got out some squash and bananas for Dragonling’s supper. She ate well and seemed to be feeling pretty good but was pretty tired.

I’m sure the unusual burst of fresh air had something to do with that, however in January Iowans don’t turn down outdoor time when the weather is nice. We need all the Vitamin D we can get!

After she ate it was time for pjs and Momma snuggles while nursing. She fell asleep quickly and I laid her in her crib around 7:30 PM.

Like normal, she woke up about an hour later for the rest of her evening snack, but this time she would not go back to sleep.

Now, we have just started some sleep training in an attempt to get her to sleep better through the night. Our plan has been to try to lay her down still partially awake so she can learn to self-soothe herself to sleep the rest of the way.

We are also transitioning from a Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play to her crib. We might be insane.

Because we have a couple major changes going on at once our plan is to take things very gradually. So, for the time being, the goal is get her laid down in her crib, drowsy the first time she goes to bed each night. The second time she’s ready to go down, we will attempt to lay her in the crib while drowsy but limit the attempt to no more than a 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we will just lay her back in the Rock ‘N Play.

It seems good in theory, and in practice it worked yesterday…

Today, not so much.

It took me three hours to get her back to sleep and laid down.

Three hours.

Three. Hours.


During those three hours I nursed her twice (the first because she was hungry and the second was just for comfort), I changed her diaper, I rocked her, I walked with her, and every time I tried to lay her down she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. Screaming.

There was no build up. Just screaming.

Finally, after the second feeding she dozed off and I was able to put her down. I quickly jumped into bed also, because I knew that she would more than likely be up at least one more time before morning. (Actual morning, like 7:00 AM, not this 5:00 AM business.)

By this time it was about midnight.

At 2:30 AM she was up again.

Again she ate. Again she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. I tried, unsuccessfully, for 45 minutes to get her to sleep before I called in reinforcements.

Papa Dragon came in and got the Dragonling calmed down and, once again, tried to lay her down.

Instant. Screaming.

So I nursed her again.

Asleep. Dead asleep in less than 5 minutes.

I laid her down (4:00 AM) and again I slept.

At 6:30 AM she was up again, but this time I just had to nurse her and lay her in the bed next to me and she was out.

One more hour. I got one more hour.

At 7:30 AM she was up and ready for the day… I was not.

Thank God for Keurig machines and coffee. Copious amounts of coffee.


Oh, and did I mention she got her 6 month vaccine shots today…