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Did you know Goldfish Crackers contain GMO’s? Not only that but MSG as well!? One of the most popular snacks to feed our children and it isn’t as “natural” as the labels claim. In fact Gold Fish was recently sent to court to be sued for misleading labeling and false advertising. You can check out that story here. There is also a great story on Food Babe as well. How Pepperidge Farm Duped My Family.

Want to replace goldfish with something similar? Something just as quick to pick up from the market, but is non gmo? Try Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. They are organic, non gmo, made with real cheese and naturally colored.


Even better yet why not try making your own? Here are some recipes:


From The Gracious Pantry:

Clean Eating Gold Fish Crackers

From Chocolate Covered Katie:

Healthy White Cheddar Vegan Goldfish Crackers


Homemade Goldfish Crackers




fireworks-happy new year

Happy New Year! I hope this new year brings you joy, love and many blessings. Each year I usually write down a whole list of things I would like to do in the upcoming year. This year I didn’t quite do that yet. I have them in my mind…well some of them. I’ve just been super busy with my toddler and newborn baby that it’s been a little tougher to really sit down, relax, maybe have a cup of tea and really think about it.  So instead of sharing any of those I wanted to share just  a few things I am loving at the moment. Hopefully they will inspire you or help you in some way just as they have helped me. So here are a few things I am LOVINGt:

1. This natural home birth story with video below- Super inspirational and made me cry:

2. This cool weekly menu to help give me ideas for healthy meals for my family.

3.  Kelly Mom website. Especially this article about fussy babies . Mine is going through his 6 week growth spurt and was super fussy tonight. Helps to read this and know that what he is doing is totally normal. I’ve read it before, but it helps to just read it over again. Kelly Mom website is such a great breastfeeding resource for moms. Bookmark it for sure mamas because you will refer to it often.

4. This article on helping your baby entertain themselves screen free. Pretty cool! Because who really needs to watch tv all day right!?

5. Pinterest because it has really helped give me some great ideas! In fact I found some great recipes and ideas for my homemade gifts for Christmas this year on there. Thanks Pinterest!

6. This awesome Spiral Vegetable Slicer that I got for Christmas from my sister in law. Thanks Athena! I used it tonight and made zucchini, carrot, potato spirals and  cooked them and they came out super yummy!

7. This Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. Her blog is fantastic by the way! My go to blog for healthy desserts.

I’ll leave it there at lucky #7.

What are some things you are loving at the moment?




Baby: Baby Gianni Marco Ciccarelli

Born at home to:

Natural Mama: Josefa (ME!)   Proud Daddy: Quinn

I just had my baby boy a few weeks ago and I am thrilled to be able to share my birth story with you. It was an unforgettable experience and I am so happy to be a new mommy of two! It’s been a lot of fun. Of course it has it’s challenges of less sleep, trying to figure out how to manage two, keep the house clean and cook healthy meals! Let’s just say it’s getting better with each day. Thanks to all of my friends and family who have been such a great support to me. Love you all!


1. What made you want to have a natural HOME birth?

I originally wanted to do it at home the first time, but was a little nervous being my first time and not knowing what to expect.  This time I was more then ready to do a home birth and welcome my baby into the comfort of my own home.  I didn’t want to worry about rushing off to the hospital so I could just relax at home.  I had several friends who used Leslie & Catherine with Home Birth Services and had a great experience so I met with them and had a great feeling about them.

2. Did you take any birthing classes to help you prepare for a natural birth?

Since we took the Bradley Method the first pregnancy I just refreshed myself and read the class manual that was provided to us. I also read a few books: “Ina May’s guide to Childbirth” and “Hypnobirthing: The Mongon Method.” About a month before I was due we decided to do a private class with Alisha who taught us more of the Hypnobirthing practicals. I am SO glad we did that class. It really helped my mind prepare for this birth by releasing my fear and learning breathing techniques.  I was ready to go!

3. Best advice you can give to someone who wants a natural childbirth but is afraid?

I’ve said it before but, YOU CAN DO IT! Just listen to your body, find a place that will support you having a natural birth (hospital, birth center, or home) and the rest will work itself out.

4. A quick tip you can share for first time moms or something you wish you had known before you became a mom?

Having a baby can be a lot of work, but it’s so worth it in the end. The time when they are little is so short. Enjoy each stage with them even if they are crying their head off. A positive outlook and sense of humor will get you through these times.  Be sure to ask for help and REST, REST, REST. Your body needs to heal after birth. Don’t try to be super woman and do it all. Spend the first couple weeks bonding with your newborn and establishing a great breastfeeding relationship. You will never get this time back. Also, since this is my second baby one other thing I learned is that babies make lots of sounds. I remember I would rush in and pick up my first for any little peep. If baby isn’t crying, but rather just makes a sound or even a yell or anything. Wait a little bit and he may just surprise you and go right back to sleep. That’s what I have noticed with my second anyway so thought I would share. And lastly, if you have a toddler be sure to set aside a special time just for them each day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. And be a little more patient with them during this transition. Let them be helpers and be sure to give them lots of encouragement, hugs and cuddles.


It was November 18, 2013, 7 days before my due date. Around 1:45am I had a small cramp in my stomach. I thought maybe it was from something I ate. I got up, drank some water and went back to sleep. Around 3:00am I felt another cramp. Between the hours of 3:30am-5am I felt maybe 3 more cramps. When those cramps were happening I just thought maybe they were Braxton Hicks contractions. I did the breathing techniques I learned and then fell back asleep after they were done. Around 5:45am I decided to start counting them. At that point they were 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. I couldn’t believe it! I thought: this may be it!  I woke my husband up at 6am and told him I had been having them 5 min apart. We decided to wait for one more and if it was 5 min apart we would call the midwife. At that point I was still unsure if things were really starting because I wasn’t experiencing the pain I remembered from the first time. I kept telling my husband, “Are you sure we should call?”  He insisted we call so she could start arranging her day and we called his mom too because she was going to come pick up my other son. My husband started getting ready, making me breakfast and putting water into the pool we got. At this point my son was sound asleep in his room.

During the contractions I just lay in bed on my side, used the breathing techniques I learned with Alisha (Hypnobirthing instructor) and rested in between.  From 5:45-6:45 I had 15 contractions that ranged from about 2-5min apart and lasted about 1 minute (view contraction counter below). The beginning contractions were in my bed before moving to the couch and lying on my side. At this point I thought to myself “Oh man, I have to go through this again!” I quickly shut myself up and started focusing on empowering statements like “You can do it,” “You were meant to do this,” “This baby is going to come fast,” “Pain free” etc… I got to a place where I felt great and mentally was ready to do this. When it got a little more intense I decided to go back into the bedroom and go on all fours on the bed. This was the same position I really liked when I had my first baby.  On my bed Contraction #16 lasted 3.5 minutes, #17 lasted 6min and #17 lasted 9.5 minutes! At this point it was 7am and we officially gave my midwife the come over soon call. Contractions were bearable and I felt super focused and good. After that I stopped counting because I decided it was time to get in the shower. I got in for a bit and it felt nice. I was in there for maybe 5-10 min and got out. When I got out I went to my room and my mucus plug came out, thankfully we had put down pee pads LOL.  I yelled to my husband who was still trying to fill up the pool and boil water to make it warm. After this happened I was feeling a lot of pressure in my bottom and I leaned on my bed as my bottom started convulsing a little. At this point I decided to get back in the shower.  I remembered that exact feeling with my first son. Looking back now I know that was my body telling me the baby is almost here and my body was pushing my baby down. It was around 7:20am when I got back in the shower, midwife wasn’t there yet. My son decided to wake up at this point. My husband brought him in the bathroom so he could see me. I smiled at him, told him I loved him and said good morning.  My husband quickly took him out as he could tell another contraction was coming on.   I was just standing there in the shower, holding on to this pole in there with my head down, eyes closed, focused and using breathing techniques I learned. My midwife showed up to our place just in the knick of time at 7:30am. When she got in the bathroom she said it looked close to pushing time and she could see his head!  I reached down and could feel the top of his head. She asked if I wanted to squat which I ended up doing a little. Meanwhile my husband was trying to occupy my toddler. My mother in law was stuck in traffic so he ended up running him to the neighbor’s house. When he got back the babies head was still crowning. I told him to get the video camera! He made it back just in time! Just when he got back in the bathroom and turned it on I had another contraction and his whole head came out and then seconds later babies whole body came out. I stepped over his cord to unwind us and she immediately placed him into my arms. I had a huge smile on my face and said, “That was amazing. This was the easiest labor ever!  That was amazing! That was the fastest thing ever! It didn’t even hurt. I cannot believe this!” I was honestly in shock at how quickly and pain free this baby came. Thank God! Our baby Gianni was born @ 7:44am, just short of 15 minutes from when my midwife arrived and only 2 hrs after the contractions really woke me up.

We went immediately to my room, cord still attached and laid on my bed with our new baby skin to skin. He wiggled his way down to nurse and it was a beautiful moment. It was such an amazing experience and hands down the best decision I made was to have a home birth. I feel so blessed to have this wonderful new addition to our family.

 Here are a couple pictures from the day. I wish I had some from my actual labor, but it all happened so fast we didn’t get any!:


Baby Gianni Marco Ciccarelli born November 18, 2013, 7:44am. 7lbs 80z, 21 inches long.


This was taken just after I got in bed and went skin to skin with baby. It was the best!


Baby Gianni getting checked, measured and weighed by my midwife Catherine.


photo-6 photo-8

Enjoying my baby boy.


Brother Love. Nico meeting his new baby brother.



Here are some pictures of Gianni and Nico that I took today. Gianni is 18 days old. Nico is 28 months old:

DSC_0122 DSC_0126  DSC_0135 DSC_0140 DSC_0176 DSC_0177

And lastly, thought it would be fun to show you my contraction counter. I used a great app to do this. Start on the last one at the very bottom and then go up from there. I started timing them at 5:46am and the last one I timed was at 7:01am. There are 3 contractions that repeat on here because of the way I did the screen shot, but you get the point:

photo-1  photo-3





Thanksgiving Tablescape

Black Friday is here and I am enjoying being at home with my babies. I got both of them down for a nap at the same time so now I can relax, rest and share some pictures with you from our Thanksgiving day celebration yesterday. I hope everyone had a great time celebrating with their friends and family. We had a blast spending Thanksgiving at my in-laws in Pasadena. They always do such a great job hosting every year. The food was fresh and delicious as always. I thought I would share some pictures from the day Happy shopping and please stay safe out there! Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving Flowers IMG_5380 IMG_5387 IMG_5393 Artichoke Salad Wild Rice Farro and Tangerine Salad Caprese Pasta Salad Turkey Stuffing Casserole IMG_5417 IMG_5418 IMG_5419 IMG_5420 IMG_5421 IMG_5422 Thanksgiving Food Ham Parsnips Mashed Potatoes Shrimp







Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you enjoy this time with family and friends and remember all the things you are grateful for! This is probably one of my favorite times of the year. It just reminds me of all the things I am grateful for. And that’s a lot of things! I feel so blessed, but I wanted to share with you the top 5 things I am grateful for at the moment:

  1. God  
  2.  My amazing and supportive husband who does so much for our family.  
  3. My beautiful boys Nico and Gianni. (Baby boy Gianni was just born 11 days ago!-Birth story and pictures to come!)
  4. My wonderful readers. Thank you for all of your support!
  5. My health.

What are you grateful for?

We will be spending Thanksgiving at my in-laws home as we do every year. They always make a delicious spread of traditional thanksgiving food along with a few twists thrown in.  I am so excited for the food! If you are still trying to figure out a side dish to make for thanksgiving I have just the recipe for you! If you are a busy mama like me you want to whip up something simple, quick and healthy. So I thought I would share with you what I will be making to take over to my in-laws. Just click on the link and it will take you over to the recipe on the Bon Appetite website. Enjoy!

RECIPE: Wild Rice, Farro, and Tangerine Salad Recipe





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business of being born

As I prepare to welcome my new baby boy into this world very soon, it reminds me of everything I went through and learned during my first pregnancy and birth. This is just one life changing video that helped transform my mind and made me want to have a natural childbirth.  ”The Business of Being Born,” is a must watch for anyone who is pregnant, wants to be pregnant or for anyone interested in learning about birth.  It is an eye opener and helps  empower  you to have your best birth possible.


There are also two other documentaries that Ricki Lake produced called More Business of Being Born, and Breastmilk. These are equally as amazing and I highly recommend you watching. Check them out here.

Pictures- Source



hymn to a good wife.jpg.

This post is dedicated to my amazing husband who is always there for me… even through my imperfections. Being a mom and a wife is a tough job! I’m sure you can relate. Trying to juggle work, raise a productive and loving little human and trying to be a loving, supportive wife, all while keeping our home in order can be a challenge for most of us. In the act of balancing it all sometimes we can lose focus and get off track in one or more of these areas and feel a little “off.” This scripture always encourages me and challenges me to grow and become better every day. We won’t be perfect, but in the midst of trials remember that we can take a deep breath, re-focus, prioritize and take one day at a time! There is always grace for us. And remember: There is always room for a little rest and relaxation too! It’s important to take care of yourself, to meditate, pray or even sleep! In the end you will be an even better mommy and wife because of it.