10 Best Trader Joe’s Items

1. Trader Joe’s Organic Mango Passion Granola 
Each serving has four grams of fiber, six grams of protein and an utter lack of things like cholesterol, trans fats and artificials. The clusters of oats give it a satisfying, substantive crunch and the mango pieces provide a sweet-tart chew – enough to evoke a good deal of passion among its admirers.

2. Trader Joe’s Multigrain British Muffins
Not only do they have all the great taste and convenience of English muffins, they also boast a good dose of multigrain nuttiness. Each British Muffin contains much more fiber than the average English muffin.

3. Trader Joe’s Steelcut Oatmeal (found in frozen section.)

4. Trader Joe’s Greek Style Nonfat Yogurt 
It features the creaminess you expect from Greek-style yogurt and is made with the milk of cows not treated with rBST. It’s also higher in protein than most yogurt—each eight ounce serving has 22 grams of protein!

5. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
These pillow-like nuggets have the perfect balance of crunchy pretzel and smooth peanut butter.

6. Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza Potstickers (found in the frozen section.)
Steam, boil or fry Trader Joe’s MSG-free potstickers for a super-easy meal. Serve over rice with a splash of soy sauce or toss into some chicken broth for a simple soup.

7. Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup 
It’s a velvety smooth concoction with a subtle tomato base. Its depth of flavor comes from the flavorful spices and the slightly sweet finish is courtesy of the roasted red bell peppers.

8. Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese (found in the frozen section.)

9. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
They’re bite-sized cups, just big enough to make you want another one. The size of the package is ideal for gift giving, and it’s also very helpful for portion control.

10. Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (Seasonal)

When Life Comes at You Fast

Last August, I could not have written or planned about the life-changes that would happen to me. First, my hubby gets a call from a company with a job opening in Texas. To make a long story short, he accepts a job in Richardson, Texas and will be starting in October. The same morning that he accepts a job, a close and dear friend of mine is also having a life-changing moment. Her 3-year-old son, Aaron, is rushed to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he is later diagnosed with a rare-bone cancer. As quickly as I was excited to move back to Texas, I became gravely saddened by this news.

As I was sitting with Aaron’s mom waiting for one of his many tests, we talked about being a mommy and planning for your children. As mommies, the day we get the news from the doctor that we are carrying a baby, you start planning AND worrying. You start thinking about how you will decorate the nursery. You ask yourself if your current car fits a newborn. You might even be like me and set up the baby’s college fund. As a mommy, you also worry. “Am I eating the right food during pregnancy or is the baby eating ‘Super Foods’?” “Are the toys educational enough?” You might even stay away from ALL kids during RSV season. (I confess – this is me. I am sorry to all my friends who did not see me from November to March.)

All this being said, you cannot always plan for everything. My mind know this, but when an event comes to me unexpectedly, my heart is in shock. When I heard the news of Aaron, I did not know what to do or why this was happening. Aaron’s mom, like me, is very involved in Aaron’s life. She researches about what toys are good, what foods to eat and what vaccines Aaron should have. I know this because we would be on the phone researching together early in the morning and late into the night:-) But, cancer is a whole different galaxy – an unknown. Who has a savings account for cancer? I have admired how Aaron’s family have pulled together at this time of great tragedy. They have fully trusted in God physically, emotionally AND financially. What I have learned from them is when the unknown presents itself to you – all anyone can do is TRUST God. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” 1 John 3:20 He knows the unknown – our health, our finances, our future. In the end, planning is great because it gives you hope, but when life comes at you fast, remember God – He gives peace (Ps 29:11)!

***If you’d like to help Aaron and his family during their journey, a trust is set up at Bank of America under Aaron D. Robinson Medical Fund. The account number is 457011740339. Your donation will be tax-deductible :-)***

Fringe Observes Alternate Universes

229292_16534198667_9070_nFringe from creator J.J. Abrams’ has transformed from a freaky, cop procedural into a sprawling saga full of alternate realities and parallel universes, Abrams’ strange creation remains as grisly and creepy as ever.

The title refers to fringe science: psychokinesis, parapsychology, reanimation, you name it. And the Fringe Division at the center of the investigatory action is a joint federal task force supported primarily by the FBI. I love the truly, mad scientist named Walter Bishop, whose last full-time job was downing the pudding at a local insane asylum. I kinda love how he enjoys Red Vines as much as I do when trying to figure out a problem. 😉 While the glad-to-be-free Dr. Bishop is busy dissecting brains and experimenting with psychotropic drugs, FBI agent Olivia Dunham busts the “bad guys” along with Bishop’s jack-of-all-trades son, Peter, who also makes sure his dad doesn’t wander away.

I’d recommend Fringe for kids older than 12 years-old, as there are some blood, gore and squirm-inducing scenes. If you enjoy solving mysteries or sci-fi drama, Fringe is just the show for you.

Family Camp Worth the Money


I have been meaning to write more regularly on my blog, but life has distracted me. One of these things was a great vacation this past summer to a family camp. I know you might think this is only seen on movies, but there are actually great places around the country which allow the family to bond for a week with no distractions like TV and Internet. My trip to family camp was life changing, and I challenge your family to go to one.

Family camp is run much in the way a youth camp would be including activities for families together or apart such as kayaking, hiking, swimming, rock jumping and arts and crafts. Meals at family camp are eaten together in the rustic dining hall, but here is the catch. Parents are not always responsible for their children at all times. We attended Forest Home in Mill Creek Canyon, California. At this camp, they provide or you bring a CCA (Childcare Assistant). During the late afternoon and evening times, she watches your children meanwhile you and your honey bond over a good message or quiet, couple time 🙂 This was a great week long vacation that was hard to leave. My daughter still talks about the great times she had at family camp. This great experience will be a tradition in the Buxton household, and I hope in yours. This next year, we will try another camp called Pine Cove.

If you too have had a great experience at family camp, please share where and what was great about it.

Baby Registry – What You Really Need

“What do I need to buy for my baby?” “What brands do you recommend?” “What could you live without and what are you glad you had?” These are the questions I often get from new mommies and daddies who are entering the world of parenthood. After reading a blog from a fellow twitterer, I finally have decided to blog about what I think you need and what brands provide the best buy for you and your baby 🙂

Before I begin, I want to thank my best friend, Vanessa, for helping me prepare for my babies. She gave me a lot advice and wisdom, and so I hope to pass it along to you. Let me begin with car seats, this of course is one of the most important since your baby cannot leave the hospital without one 🙂 I have tried a few brands – Britax, Costco, and Graco. The best infant seat is Britax. It has won many safety awards, and it has stylish prints. It might cost a little bit more, but well worth it for the peace of mind.

Next comes the complex area of strollers. There are so many types, weights, looks and prices of strollers that you can become overwhelmed. First, I would NOT recommend the travel systems. We never bought one, but my friends who did ended up buying something else because they felt it was too bulky. I would recommend a car seat stroller. They are cheap, light and compact. After the baby could hold up his head, we bought an upgraded light stroller. After carrying around the infant seat, I was ready for something light and easy to travel, and the Maclaren strollers were just that for our family. We originally had an all-terrain stroller, but I needed an SUV just to transport the stroller, so I ended up selling it. Personally, I am all about convenience 🙂

In our family, mommy and daddy carried their own diaper bag. I had my stylish Kate Spade bag while my hubby enjoyed his Diaper Dude. Having your own bag is less stressful for you and your family – take it from me 😉 My hubby also wanted to have a baby carrier. He used it a lot especially when we took walks through the park and the zoo. It is so easy to use when traveling instead of bring the stroller. The Baby Bjorn is the one we had and loved!

Finally, for the first two months of our kiddos’ lives, we use a co-sleeper next to our bed. I am too lazy to get up out of bed and do late-night feedings. After our babies slept through the night, the kiddos moved to their own rooms. For the kiddos’ rooms, I would recommend a convertible crib, a changing table and a glider. We chose neutral furniture that our kiddos would grow into, so we did not have to buy furniture at each childhood milestone. I consider myself a savvy shopper, and I hope these tips will help you as your prepare for your bundle of joy!

She walks in Beauty

I absolutely love British literature, and I wanted to share a wonderful poem that I came across by Lord Byron titled, “She walks in Beauty.”

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
  Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
  Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light          5
  Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
  Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
  Or softly lightens o’er her face;   10
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
  How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
  So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,   15
  But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
  A heart whose love is innocent!

“What is beauty?” This question I hear from children to adults from men and from women. There really is no easy way to define it because it as unique as you and me. The one thing I do believe is that inner beauty is mirrored by outer beauty. Our outer beauty might attract a mate, but it’s our inner beauty that will keep him forever.

Travel: A Honeymoon at Cape Cod & the Islands

It was 7 years ago that my new husband and I set out on an adventure to the wonderful area of the country known as Cape Cod. We had met overseas, married in the desert of Arizona and now it was time to relax and enjoy the Cape and the Islands. Little did we know that there would be some many things to see and do on on the 70-mile peninsula.CapeCodTravelGuide

There are a myriad of activities available, like a trip whale watching or an afternoon of deep sea fishing. But, we were newlyweds and enjoyed walking on the sandy beach at low tide. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the beaches along Cape Cod and the Islands have breathtaking views, massive sand dunes and interesting walking trails to enjoy. In the town of Falmouth, we window shopped in the antique boutiques and creative art studios, and we started our first holiday tradition where we bought our first Christopher Radko ornament for our tree and then a Cape Cod adirondack chair ornament to remember our time at the Cape.

A Cape Cod Honeymoon
Picture a cozy room in a sea captain’s house with a canopy bed, a fireplace and in the morning the delightful aroma of fresh baked cinnamon rolls … the perfect honeymoon location. There are many choices available to make your dream trip a reality. The service all along the Cape and the Islands is phenomenal, where they pamper their guests. If you want to stay on the famous Martha’s Vineyard, we highly recommend staying at the Harbor View Hotel. It is a beautiful bed & breakfast that is close to all he great shops and eateries, but private enough to enjoy with the one you love.harborviewhotel

A Black Culinary Experience
We were tickled to see a theme regarding the food along the Cape, a lot of restaurants with called Black insert an animal name. First, we came across Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis. And, this fresh seafood restaurant left us in awe of the culinary cuisine on the Atlantic Coast. The maiko shark was “the best I have ever had,” said my husband and still to this day, it is the best. Black Cat is good-value seafood that will not disappoint with its nautical-theme right on the Hyannis docks. A couple of days later, we took the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard, where on the recommendation of my posh aunt and uncle said to stop by Black Dog Tavern. “You won’t regret it.” Ok, why not?! Black Dog has a special place in my husband’s heart, as he enjoyed the freshest, sweetest lobster in whole entire life. It was so good that in the middle of our meal, he calls his best friend to tell him all about it. Yes, I was sitting across from him, but I was also disgusted by the slurping of him when pulling the meat out of the shell. That being said, Friday is lobster night: A complete lobster dinner will cost you $20. On sunny days, try to get a seat on the outdoor patio next to the harbor. You can also find a restaurant called Blackfish in Truro and Black Sheep Bah & Grill in Yarmouth, not be confused with Black Sheep grocery on Martha’s Vineyard. Like I said, Cape Cod & the Islands have a unique black culinary experience for you to enjoy.BlackCatTavern blackdogtavern

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my travel board on Pinterest here!

Daily Prayer

“…Teach us almighty father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past…” Jane Austen

Setting a Routine

I prefer to use the routine than schedule. In recent times, schedule has had mixed connotations linked to the word. Some moms love scheduling, and others feel confined by it. Because of this, I prefer “setting a routine” for me and my children. I found setting a routine very helpful for my family. Both of my children like a routine, and they prefer me to stick with it. If I don’t, they usually communicate their dissatisfaction through crying or whining.

When I begin setting a routine, I focus first on when my children need to eat – breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack or two between. After this, I determine how much sleep my children need. My infant needs between 2 – 3 naps (2-hours each) daily and my toddler needs 1 (2-hour) nap. After I have determined these two things, then I have set up their routine. My question to you – how many well-fed and well-rested children throw tantrums?

Poisoning our Children?

Yesterday, I receive another warning that there are possible dangers from plastic baby bottles (e.g. Avent, Dr. Brown, etc.). This is driving me mad. As a mother, I try my best to provide all for my children, and even that is not enough. Toys, baby bottles, food – what is next? I feel like the quality control is diminishing in the states. I having to research everything that my child touches. This is concerning and exhausting.

OFF SOAP BOX
Here is the information that I have collected regarding these concerns. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a substance used in the production of polycarbonate plastics that has estrogenic properties and has been shown in animal tests to cause a host of health problems such as cancer and male and female hormone disruption in lab animals. Both parents and manufacturers are starting to catch onto the idea that safer plastics and even non-plastic materials can be used to make durable and attractive baby bottles and toddler cups.

Preferable Plastics

You can identify better plastics by the recycling code numbers stamped in them. Look for reusable bottles made of:
#2 (HDPE, high-density polyethylene, the most widely recyclable)
#4 (LDPE, low-density polyethylene) or
#5 (PP, polypropylene).
These plastics have not been found to release BPA or phthalates.

On the other hand, most single-use water bottles are made of #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). These bottles, if old, reused or heated, may release phthalates, which are possible human carcinogens, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Also avoid #3 and #7 plastics as polycarbonate has been found in some tests to leach BPA when heated.

ON SOAP BOX
Lead-Free Toys

* Wood toys with or without non-toxic paint
* Rubberwood toys
* Made in America toys since we have strict lead-free guidelines