March 15th, 2014

Effie – Month Five

Time has flown… Effie is five months old today!

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It’s been another huge month for our little girl!

Month Five

Milestones: Effie has mastered the back to belly flip. No problem for our girlie! She’s also done some belly to back flips too, although those are harder for her. She is also really working on sitting up. Sometimes she can sit up unassisted for short spurts (with my hand just off to the side to catch her when she inevitably jerks off to the side when she sees a pug… or toy… or the breeze blows…) She’s spending a lot more time on her tummy now (she’s on meds for reflux- will explain more below) and she’s trying SO HARD to move and crawl. She gets frustrated really easily being on her belly for that reason. She is getting to move though another way- in her walker! Best money I ever spent. It’s flipping adorable. She loves chasing after the pugs.

Sleep: She’s really improved in this area but it’s still an uphill battle for me. Some nights/naps are better than others. A few weeks ago we started working with a sleep consultant. After our initial conversation and discussing E’s “flipping” abilities, we transitioned her out of her Merlin Sleep Suit for safety. By transitioned, I guess I mean, just stopped using it. It was SO WORTH IT for the 6-8 weeks we used it to transition out of the swaddle. Now E sleeps in footed sleepers- so easy. It’s awesome. We also moved her out of the PNP in our room! YAY! But- not so fast- I’m now sleeping in her room on the guest bed. Baby steps. We learned a lot from the sleep consultant already, and I’m *hoping* to start sleep training next week. I think she knows, because she’s been acting up as if to break my resolve in advance. Some nights E does fairly well- very little fussing- and just wakes up once to eat. Other nights it’s constant wake-ups, needing her paci before she can settle down. The other night she woke up twice to eat- that hadn’t happened in weeks, maybe MONTHS. The good part is her naps are getting better and more regular. And they’re in her crib! And longer (usually) than 20-40 minutes – her previous “standard.” Amazing! She fights going down a lot, especially for naps. But I am hoping this all can only get better as she gets more on her schedule and better at self-soothing. I am just dreading sleep training thought. I can’t imagine not sleeping only a foot away from her :(

Eating: Still about 5 oz every 3 hours- I think this month we might start trying 5.5 or 6 oz. We’ve been through a lot with food this month. When looking at E’s issues (gas, fussiness, issues while eating, not liking being on her belly) it seemed like she might have a milk sensitivity. So we went on a (pricey!) new formula and oh my gosh. Worst few days ever. It did not go well. I take back what I said above about her not waking recently more than once a night- she was up MULTIPLE times those few nights. It was miserable. After another trip to the ped, we were then told it was likely reflux, not a milk issue. I’ll talk about that more below, but she’s back on more normal formula again now. She’s also had her first food! She had a few bites of applesauce. It was adorable!

Health: The Zantac (prescribed med for reflux) has helped her immensely. She would never spend more than a minute or two on her belly before. Post-Zantac, she’s not only spending more time on her belly, she’s SLEEPING on her belly. (Her choice, not mine!) I put her down on her back and she ends up on her side or her belly. Glad she can feel comfortable that way now! The teething is also just as bad. No teeth in sight. I hate seeing her in pain or frustrated. It feels like we’re finally figuring stuff out though, which is good!

Worst Moment: Probably one of the nights (take your pick), either the nights on the milk-sensitivity formula, or the first night we tried moving her to her crib. OR- maybe the 2 wakeup night last week where I was literally crying and saying ” I don’t know what to do for you!!!” as she just screamed and screamed. Since B works nights, these moments are very hard for me to stomach alone. It’s nice to have someone to bounce stuff off of, it usually helps me be less panicked too. Regardless, worst moment was definitely sleep related.

Best Moment: Probably seeing her take longer naps in her crib. I know that sounds silly if you don’t have a kid, but I knew that these little “cat naps” weren’t doing her any good. We’re still working on it, but her 1 hour 20 minute nap the other morning brought a tear to my eye! Also, having her walk around in the new walker is so incredibly entertaining. Those poor, poor pugs.

Overall- even with the sleep struggles- I feel like Effie had the best month yet (yet again!) It’s so great to see this happy face every day:

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Effie has moved into 3-6 month size clothing completely. I think that happened just after the 4 month mark. It’s nice to have a whole new wardrobe for her but it’s also sad to see her growing up!

She’s also been steadily losing her hair. It’s crazy! The once abundant swirl of brown hair on the back of her head is now but a wisp. It seems to be coming in blonde now, though. Which doesn’t surprise me based on my hair during childhood- always teetered between brown and blonde. I can’t wait until it’s long enough to put a real bow or clip in.

Effie started her fifth month by meeting one of my long-time blogger friends: talented writer and gorgeous mama, Jess from Jessica Lynn Writes! In fact, we got to meet her entire sweet little family. They totally exceeded my already high expectations! Such awesome, funny, personable folks.

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And little Julia was just the cutest ever. Clearly Effie was in awe of her. Julia walking? Heart melting.

Effie also started her (hopefully long) animal rescuing career this month. We found a turtle in the road (a nasty mean looking one!) and she helped her nanny save him. He was coaxed into a plastic tub and then they let him go by a lake.

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Every day gets better and better, even with the hard parts. Motherhood hasn’t been the most challenging part (though it is challenging)- it’s the amount of time I have to do it solo. The nights can be especially difficult, wondering if I’m doing the right things for her, meeting her needs. But in the morning, when I see this face? It’s all worth it and I know I’m doing a good job.

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And yes… she’s a tiny little clone of Big Daddy. Except he NEVER looks that happy at 7am. Only difference between those two.

I’ve also posted about one million baby outfit-of-the-day photos of her. I don’t know why, but that keeps me so happy! Meanwhile, I look like a homeless hobo. I guess that’s part of being a mom!

I obviously instagram her a ton, and I finally found a way to use them that really excites me! Sticky9 (formerly Stickygram) allows you to access your instagram photos and create 9 magnets for $14.99 (with free shipping!) Look how awesome they look on our fridge!

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You can also get 15% off your first order! (Making those 9 magnets only $12.74… or there are other products like iPhone/tablet covers.) Just use my referral code FRIENDTTHZ. They had me at free shipping, but the magnets were so cute I’ll definitely be coming back for more!

I have so many things I am working on (in my head) posts about, so it’s disappointing that yet again, my last update was a month ago. I have a list of our best-loved baby items that I hope to go up around her 6 months. I have some car seat safety information I want to share (I went on a research binge recently. I’m that mom. Sorry.) And then I have a craft to share to lighten it up! I made these for Effie this month:

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I had lots of people ask me how to do it, so I plan to do a quick tutorial to share!

Hopefully these posts will be up soon- and as Effie takes longer naps hopefully that will make it easier to do some posts on the weekends! If not… I’ll see you for her 6 month post (gahhh!)

February 15th, 2014

Effie - Month Four

I’d apologize for all the Effie posts and tell you I have other stuff to post about soon, but that’s a lie. Effie is pretty much my life now! (No complaints here!) Can you believe she’s 4 months old today? Someone today asked if she was 8 months. Time is flying for me and my big girl!

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We’re 1/3 of the way through her first year. I just cannot process that!

Month Four

Milestones: Effie has been changing so much in her abilities this month. We started around three months with her jumper, but she was mostly just sitting passively. Now she is REALLY using it. She loves to push the buttons to hear music, and hit all the noisy moving parts. Most of all she loves JUMPING and standing. Her legs are so strong. She also has started noticing herself in our mirror (we have a mirrored wall) and gets so excited. It’s the best! She’s also really improved her grasping and is getting better at directing what she grabs, and also moving with purpose. She also will blow raspberries back at us, and went through a week or two phase of doing it ALL. THE. TIME. Our pediatrician seemed to dismiss it a bit, but I’ve also noticed that she practices sitting more. She sometimes just lets herself go forward, or tries to push up to stand, but with minimal support she often enjoys sitting and observing. She loves sitting (with me RIGHT there) on our bathroom counter and looking into the mirror while trying to grab the bottles of product I have laying out.

Sleep: Meh. This is a win some, lose some battle right now. Although it got a little messed up due to some travel this month, she’s pretty much taking 3 naps during the day, but without any set “time” yet. At night, she’s been sleeping (with wakeups) from about 7:30pm to 8:00am. But those wakeups kill me. She truly doesn’t need bottles in the middle of the night now, but she still wakes up DEMANDING them. She also – more frustratingly- wakes up whining for her paci to be put back in. Multiple times. This week I’m beginning an attempt to transition from paci to lovey. Basically, now that she’s getting a schedule down, it’s time to teach her to self-soothe and put her down drowsy so she can teach herself to go to sleep. She’s still in our room- which as of March-ish we are changing. So many things to try regarding sleep, it’s stressing me out a little. I just want her to have a good night’s sleep (I think we end up waking each other up sharing a room!) and set her up with healthy sleep habits for life.

Eating: Homegirl has been HOUSING formula! We moved her to Dr. Brown’s bottles, and they are the first bottles she hasn’t collapsed the nipples of. Hooray! Unfortunately, they didn’t help her (increasingly bad) gas. She’s also begun majorly spitting up this month. Our ped switched her to Similac for Spit Up, and while that’s nearly cured her of spitting up (it has rice proteins to help keep food heavier and down), it has done nothing for her gas. I’m open to any and all suggestions on this issue. Despite the hurdles, we are so proud of the improvements in her eating! She’s up to 5 oz about every 3 hours. I thought we’d never break the every 2 hour cycle so that’s great news for us!

Health: Besides the teething and gas, Effie is super healthy and happy. Her visit to the pediatrician this week was awesome. She is 14 lbs (we were told 14 lb 3.5 oz, aka 55th%, but she had just taken a 3 oz bottle so I’m thinking she’s closer to 14 lbs.) She’s also STILL tall, 26 inches or the 97th%. Just four feet shorter than her daddy! She had shots at her visit too, which I honestly thought were worse than the 2 month shots. Luckily we won’t have to deal with that for another two months!

Worst Moment: No question- our flight back from NJ last week. I’ll post this week about our trip, but last minute, Effie and I flew to New Jersey because my sister Rosh was home for two weeks from Armenia. The flight there was cake. The flight home was horrible. A full flight, they moved my seat (I prefer – and selected- aisle, but got middle, ended up in the window seat) and then Effie had a blowout at 30,000 feet. A full on, poop on everything, almost threw out her clothes blowout. She also cried and fussed most of the flight. As I carried my poo-soaked daughter to the bathroom (right as the seatbelt light went on) someone 5 rows up said “Is that the little baby making all that noise?” THROAT PUNCH. I cried more than once on that flight. Never. Again.

Best Moment: SO much went on this month, that it is hard to pick! Of course, having her meet all my friends and family was amazing. Having Rosh meet her finally was an awesome moment. It was also awesome that Bitty got to spend time with two of her grandmas here in FL this month. I think all the people we got to see were our “best” moment!

This was such an amazingly busy month for us!

Growth-wise, I’m always surprised how big my little girl is. She’s still comfortably fitting in most of her 0-3 month onesies and shirts. Anything pants or footed though, she’s 3-6 months, and she fits into some 3-6 month tops too. She also moved into size 2 diapers this month.

I attended a few mom group-type meetups this month. Effie does so great when she’s out and about, and just loves observing. That makes my job so easy. (Unless we’re on a plane, apparently.) We got E an amber teething necklace this month too. Not sure yet if it’s doing anything, but regardless it is adorable.

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(I decided to tie a small knot in it to temporarily shorten it, after posting this picture.)

We had a blast with my Mommers aka “Nene” when she visited in late January. We went to Downtown Disney one day and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

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We call this “Effie Mad Face.”

After my mom left, B and I took Effie to Disney for the first time. She had been to visit one of the resorts, and Downtown Disney, but never an actual park. The trip deserves it’s own post, but I’ll just say that it was AMAZING!

On January 30th, I remembered my dad after 10 years since we lost him. It was hard, knowing the amazing granddaughter he is missing out on. My mom brought me a lot of baby pictures so it was nice to look through and remember.

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This month was also the one year anniversary of when I found out I was pregnant. I have officially known about Effie for one full year as of February 4th! So crazy to think about.

And then of course, was our trip to New Jersey. I’ll detail it in another post (it deserves it’s own) but even with the flight home sucking, the trip as a whole was full of WIN. One thing that I was super excited about was that I think we’ve “mastered” babywearing!

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When I found out we were going to New Jersey I panicked, since E wasn’t super keen on babywearing, and I was NOT feeling confident either. I reached out to mom friends and got a lot of help. I figured out how to make our Ergo work well for us (and got tips for our Boba that I have not tried yet, since I knew I wouldn’t want to mess with it in the airport.) I ended up ordering another carrier based on a recommendation, and it was amazing! I got the Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier very affordably on Amazon. It is, for me, the perfect mix of structured and soft. It feels more secure than the Boba, but no buckles and such to mess with like on the Ergo. Best of both worlds for me. We had great success with it on the trip, and I’ve used it since around the house as well. I don’t know how anyone traveling alone with a baby could make it through security without one of these!

One of my favorite parts of any month are the holidays. Even though Effie doesn’t realize or care that it is a holiday, it makes me excited to “celebrate” them with her. This month she had her first Valentine’s Day!

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She went on a date with her parents (poor girl!) on the 13th to celebrate! I love getting her dressed up for holidays. What’s next- St Paddy’s Day? I can’t wait to pick out an outfit for her! Baby outfit photos are probably one of my favorite things of all time.

It’s been a great 4th month for Effie! Thanks for letting me share it with all of you!

February 15th, 2014

Effie’s 3 Month Photos!

Nearly a month since E turned 3 months old (and since my last post!), but time to share her gorgeous 3 month photos!

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect day to post them! You’ll see why…

We started out with homegirl’s potentially favorite color, purple!

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The next ones might be my favorites… I love how they show her little personality.

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Next up? A little baby owl in a nest. Yes, seriously. Cuteness overload.

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Then come the Valentine’s Day photos! We did the below photo and she had a meltdown. Bitty does NOT like tummy time.

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After the world’s most epic meltdown, we got her to fall asleep.

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…for a little while, at least. She woke up a few times to give me stink eye. No question, she got that EDS (Evil Death Stare) from me. (Just ask B.)

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Still sleeping, Effie got some yellow and grey photos.

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Oh that sweet sleepy face!

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And somehow, she woke up happy again!

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It’s no surprise to me that Ashley from Still Shooting Photography did such an amazing job, again! “Like” her Facebook page for more gorgeous photos like these. I’m so happy we chose to go with her “grow with me” package so we can see E change through vivid, beautiful pictures.

I have lots more to update on… Effie’s first trip to Walt Disney World, her first trip out of FL (we went to New Jersey last weekend!) and tomorrow, her 4 month “birthday!” Can’t wait to share! Working on finding the time to balance it all, but I love when I finally get to share my amazing moments with you all on this blog!

January 15th, 2014

Effie – Month Three

The best month yet!

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So hard to believe it’s been 1/4 of a year with this sweet girl!

Month Three

Milestones: I can’t believe I thought she made huge progress LAST month when I compare it to THIS month! Everything is snowballing each month, she’s growing and developing more and more. Effie has gotten great at grasping. She reaches for things sometimes, but more so it’s when something touches her hand, she grabs on. I’m surprised I have hair left. She recently has been trying hard to sit up. She’s also gotten a lot more alert. She’s really aware of her surroundings and loves looking at bright colors or new people. And the biggest milestone was figuring out how to flip over! She’s completely mastered back to side and sometimes back to belly.

Sleep: There have been some tough nights, but overall, her sleep has improved. She VERY much moved up her bedtime, to around 8 or 9 around Christmas, and in the last week, to about 7:30. She also has gotten her naps under control a little; instead of having a lot of short naps during the day, she’s sleeping more at night and has about 3 slightly longer naps during the day, usually 30-45 minutes. She did this adjustment all on her own- we’re just trying to figure out what she wants/needs and make it work for her. She’s also now only having one or two wake-ups at night, which is great!

Eating: This is one of the few frustrating things right now. Effie is eating 3 ounces per feeding (up from 2 / 2.5) but is still eating pretty much every two hours. I get that she’s sleeping more at night, thus eating less then, but I would REALLY love it if she’d take 4 ounces every 3 hours or so instead. Right now she’s not wanting any part of that. She’s also been a lot more active while eating- unless she’s tired, she’s turning her head, kicking her legs, and getting distracted. I love how aware she is, but boy is she strong! She’s also moved up to a 3 month nipple, since she was collapsing all her bottle nipples while eating. Like my friend Jill said- “You have a very strong sucker!! I would be glad breastfeeding didn’t work out with that vacuum!” Still cracks me up, Jill! SO true!

Health: Effie is, for the most part, extremely happy and healthy. However, we seem to be dealing with teething. Lots of moms want to say “I know it’s all the teething symptoms but it’s actually just a developmental phase!” Well, I’m going to call it teething. She’s drooling everywhere, has times of extreme unexplainable fussiness, and will chew on anything. Her hands. Her bib. Pacifiers. Our fingers. Girl can bite HARD. So yeah, we say it’s teething. Regardless, it’s difficult to see her having a hard time, but at least it’s “normal” and something that we all go through.

Worst Moment: The scariest moment was walking to her crib because she was fighting the swaddle, only to see her flip herself over like a pancake. Cue thirteen heart attacks, and the official end of the swaddle. The transition out of the swaddle has been stressful, but successful. There have been stressful and scary moments this month, but no real “worst” ones. It’s been a great month!

Best Moment: Christmas with Effie was amazing. I also love the times I get to spend out and about with her. Getting her picture with Santa, getting me fat clothes at Old Navy, visiting Daddy at work- it’s fun to see her observe her surroundings, and it’s always nice to have people say how cute she is. The moments where I listened to her talk and sing (aka, scream talk) were also so great. Seeing her happy is the best feeling in the world. I don’t know if I could pick a best moment but this month has been full of amazing ones, so I’ll count myself lucky.

So, you may be wondering, how did we transition out of the swaddle? (Non-moms, just FYI- when your baby can roll over it’s considered no longer safe to swaddle.) Because she rolled, I felt strongly about going cold turkey. She hated the swaddle by this point anyway- she sort of needed it to get to sleep, but would wake up FIGHTING IT LIKE OMG IT WAS THE ENEMY. And she was getting too long for the only one that worked for us. (The beginning of tall girl problems. Just wait til you have to buy pants, Bitty.) For a few nights, we had her in the Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack- it swaddles on top of the sleep sack, so it can be a true swaddle or just around the torso with arms free. It worked ok, but her sleep wasn’t great. A few moms, especially Molly, recommended the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. I found a “used” one (worn twice but not to bed since the baby freaked out!) for $30 instead of the usual $40. Worth a shot, right? Oh my gosh. I hadn’t washed it yet, but Saturday morning very early, Bitty was having a party (when she NEEDED sleep) and I was at my wit’s end. I figured it couldn’t hurt to put her in it just to see. Literally within less than a minute, she was passed out. And I had to wake her up after TEN AM. This is the actual picture from that first wearing, which I had to take to remind myself I wasn’t sleeping and dreaming this up.

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(Don’t worry, she was on the bed only to put it on and take it off, she sleeps in a safe crib without blankets. Oh and yes, it’s a tiny bit big on her still, haha!)

Her little sumo suit baby faces are the best!

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So, if you’re having baby sleep issues, I say TRY A MERLIN! They come in sizes 3-6 month and 6-9 month. I’m not being paid or benefitting from this endorsement, I’m just a happy customer and happy mom.

We have a lot to look forward to in the next month, I can’t wait to see what fun we’ll experience together!

January 3rd, 2014

Pretty Little Elephants Giveaway!

I’m beyond excited to do this giveaway, since it’s for products I actually use and enjoy. Many of you have seen them before… they’re Effie’s headbands, from Pretty Little Elephants!

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Effie’s aqua bow headband with her BabyLegs and the monogrammed onesie I made her!

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Rocking her light pink bow headband with a bright onesie and fancy socks.

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It’s not all pink and colorful around here… Effie’s Potty Like a Rockstar onesie and a tough black bow headband.

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My FAVEEE… Trifecta headband in purple, she wore this for her two month photos and I am trying to find something cute for her to wear with it for her three month professional pictures.

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And of course, Effie rocked the red bow headband with her red and green Christmas outfit for her pictures with Santa!

I love the bow headbands (a set of four would count as one item in this giveaway, as that’s how they’re sold) because they’re simple, understated, well-made, and very comfortable. They’re one of the only headbands that don’t leave marks on Effie’s head. Some outfits just don’t seem “complete” without a headband, especially in Florida where it’s so warm, sometimes her “outfit” is just a onesie and socks!

The fancier trifecta headband is so gorgeous and fancy, but it’s still lightweight and very comfortable on Effie. The backing is soft and the cord doesn’t cut into her sweet little head.

I started shopping Pretty Little Elephants when the shop owner, my internet friend Anastasia, asked if I would do this review. One of the above headbands (either the bow headband set or the trifecta headband, I don’t remember which!) was provided to me for review, and I chose to get another as well. Well I have loved them so much that I’ve given them as gifts and have ordered more for E as well (had to get some basic white and a few more bright colors!)

The headbands are not only well-made, but they’re affordable. Basic bow headband sets of 4 are under $7. Single headbands are in the $6 to $8 range. Clips are around $4! E doesn’t have enough hair for them yet but you can bet she’ll be wearing hair clips whens she does. The headbands also come in multiple sizes: 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, and 18-24 months. So if you have a daughter, niece, sister, or child of a friend who is under two years, then you could order something for them from Pretty Little Elephants!

I want to share the wealth by doing a giveaway! Use Rafflecopter below to enter. There are two mandatory entries that must be completed to be eligible to win, and then a few other “extra” ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can’t wait for one of you readers to win the hair accessory of your choice from Pretty Little Elephants. I know you’ll love following the PLE shop- Anastasia has lots of great items and a ton of fun things planned for the future!

This giveaway will end on Friday, January 10th and the winner will be announced and contacted on Saturday the 11th. Fingers crossed that it’s you!

Disclaimer: I received an item at no charge to review. The other PLE items were purchased by me. All of the opinions written here are my own. And if Effie could type she would say she loves PLE too!