Celebrating Moms

Mother’s Day is coming up (May 8th to be exact) mark your calendars.  Not that moms aren’t celebrated regularly for doing awesome mom things like wiping snot off your child’s face with the sleeve of your shirt, or letting them eat your food because it’s soooo much better than theirs(although it’s the exact same thing), but Mother’s Day is a day to really celebrate the mom in your life.

If you’re anything like me, you have a very hard time thinking of new and thoughtful gifts to give your mom, and if you’re anything like my husband, who will be helping the kids out with the gift giving, well you need a little help in this category too.  I have come up with a few different gift ideas for every budget that will be sure to wow any mama.  Ladies, since you’re most likely the ones reading this…feel free to pass it along to your men (or kids if they’re old enough) as a little hint hint.

Note: all items are numbered and the links to shop them are below the picture.

Mother's Day Blog Image

Mothers Day Blog Photo 20161. Mani/Pedi: you can’t go wrong this.  Get her a gift card to her favorite nail salon and let her enjoy the 90 minutes to herself.

2. Perfume: I have been loving the Tocca fragrances lately. Two of my faves are Cleopatra and Bridgette ($68).

3. Coffee Mug: If your mom is anything like most moms I know, they love coffee.  And who wouldn’t want to drink coffee out of a cute mug.  Bonus points…add in a Starbucks gift card. This mug is the one that I will be asking for.  Who doesn’t love them some Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper? ($15)

4. A cleaning service! Do you hear the choirs singing Hallelujah? Even if it is just a one time service, it would be so amazing to have your house cleaned, and I mean really cleaned, by someone else for a change. ($60-$200)

5. Skin care.  I know this doesn’t seem like the usual gesture for Mother’s Day, but trust me, she will love it.  A lot of us moms feel like we can’t spend the extra money on ourselves because that money can always be allocated somewhere else. Why not get her a skin care regimen that you know she would love?

6. A cute bag.  Note, I did not say diaper bag.  Us moms tend to carry around big totes that can fit everything from diapers to a change of clothes. It’s not every day that we go out and buy ourselves a cute clutch just for the heck of it.  But when it’s a Mother’s Day gift it will be a very welcomed addition to her closet. This Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac crossbody is super cute and cheery. If the mom in your life is more into neutral colors, then have no fear, it comes in three other colors. ($195)

7. Anything from LovingLeigh Yours.  Seriously, this girl is mega talented and can make anything from these adorable pouches to custom pillows.  Side note: if you do want something custom make sure to get your order in asap.

8. This “Hands full, hearts full”sign is one that I have been coveting for about a year now.  All moms are busy and I can’t tell you how many times I get stopped when we are running errands and people say “oh wow, you sure have your hands full.”  Well this sign makes sense of it all.  “If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts.” Amen. And perfect for that gallery wall that you’re still working on (oh that’s just me? It’s only been 2 years…) ($82)

9. Jewelry. All women love jewelry, don’t let her tell you she doesn’t.  It’s just about finding the right piece.  This Dana Rebecca Sylvie Rose bar necklace is perfect for any mom.  It’s simple, sophisticated, and not some big honking thing hanging from your neck that any baby or toddler will yank off.  All in all, the perfect everyday necklace.  It comes in 3 different colors/styles. ($220)

 

Now go out there and make your mama happy! Happy Mother’s day to all of the amazing moms out there!

xo

Thirty.

I had every intention of writing a post about turning thirty and posting it on my thirtieth birthday.  That was 2 weeks ago, and here I am now, just sitting down to write it. I’m not sure if it is because life got in the way (which is normally the case), I was lazy (also could be the case), or if it’s because I am subconsciously in denial about the fact that I am now 30 (ding ding ding, winner!). 3-0.

Quite honestly, I don’t think that 30 is old.  I don’t feel old, and I know I certainly don’t look old since most people think that I am my kids high school babysitter (why thank you, thank you), although to the man at the liquor store the other day, why didn’t you card me? RUDE. Taylor and I were talking a few weeks ago and I said something along the lines of “I cannot believe that we are going to be THIRTY in a few weeks! That’s crazy!” His response was something like this: “I am not sure why this shocks you, and I don’t know how you couldn’t be excited about it.  You have basically been thirty since the time you turned twenty.” 1)I did not take this as an offense, I actually took it as a compliment.  2)he is 100% right, I have always been a nana. 3)yes, we have known each other for that long (going on 13 years now…).

My good friend told me on my thirtieth birthday “I’d say you’re in a pretty perfect spot for it.” I couldn’t agree more.  My twenties were amazing, they brought about so many friendships, an amazing husband who I love more and more every day, and two beautiful babies.  I loved my twenties for everything they had to offer, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what this next decade brings.  I have heard from countless people that your 30’s are the best years of your life, and if that’s what I have to look forward to, then bring it on!

With that, I feel like I have to list a few things that I’ve learned in my 30 years on this earth:

WRITE THANK YOU NOTES

When I was growing up this wasn’t an option.  If we received a gift, we wrote a thank you note.  To this day, I still write thank you notes for every gift I receive.  No, an email will not suffice. (Aunt Julie and Aunt Mary, I still owe you one for the beautiful pansies…yes they’re still alive!).

ALWAYS STAY HUMBLE AND KIND

Tim McGraw knows his shit.  There is no amount of success that should ever make you treat anyone with anything other than kindness. One of my favorite quotes is “treat everyone with kindness, you never know what kind of battle they are fighting.”

SAY “I LOVE YOU” AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE

One day the people that you love most in this world will not be here and you are going to wish you had told them that you love them more than you had. And we all know that this world could use a little more L.O.V.E

TEN REALLY GOOD FRIENDS ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN 20 OKAY-ISH FRIENDS

When I was growing up I had so many friends.  I’m pretty sure I had 100+ people at my 13th birthday party.  Today, I can count my really great friends on both my hands and these are the people that bring me so much joy. They are the people that I call when I need to vent, or who bring my children dinner when I am projectile vomiting in my sink from the stomach flu (thank you again B), or who leave Ginger Ale outside my house at 10 pm because of said stomach flu (thank you A), I love you all and I am in it for the long haul with you.

DO THINGS THAT YOU LOVE, JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM

I get regular manicures.  My husband may say this is high maintenance, but I love them. I like the time away that I get to spend alone, and I hate when my nails are messy.  It’s my thing and I have no shame in that game. It is important to stay true to you and to do the things that you love, even if you’re the only one who loves it.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN AND YOUR BODY

How many times do we have to read something like this for it to become a habit and something that we do on the regular? Your skin and your body are with you for the rest of your life, take care of them people.  Work out, eat healthy, and use your SPF.  I also believe in moderation, so if that means eating cupcakes before dinner, then count me in sister.

My Skincare Routine

MAKE YOUR BED EVERY DAY

I am still somewhat fighting this one, but I can tell you, when my bed is made it sets me up for a happier day.  My mom was right all along (aren’t they always?). Current status:bed is unmade…working on it.

DON’T FLY THE CHEAP AIRLINE JUST BECAUSE IT’S CHEAP

They will practically charge you to breathe on your flight.  It’s not worth it and you will be miserable the entire time.

PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL

I am a big (HUGE) fan of this.  People may not remember what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel. The end.

NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING

Forget what you see on social media with everyone posting about their perfect lives and whatnot.  No one actually knows what they are doing, we’re all just winging in it and hoping for the best possible outcome.  At least I am. Sorry Laine and George.

LOVE SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU

Whether it be God or some other facet, it is insanely important to be able to put your worries and fears into something bigger than you.  Something or someone who can give you strength and peace of mind to know that you are not alone and that everything will be ok.

“I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.” 2 Corinthians 5-7

I would love to hear some of your biggest lessons, leave me some notes in the comments section! Cheers to another decade of life, love, and happiness!

xo,

New Years Resolutions

Screen shot 2016-01-06 at 3.19.36 PM

Happy New Years! First off, I want to apologize for not posting anything in about 4 months.  Time completely slipped away from me, the holidays happened, family time, traveling, etc and the next thing I know it’s 2016 and I am left wondering where 2015 went.  With 2016 being only 1 week old, I thought I would take this time to share some of my New Years resolutions.  I have heard that if you share these types of things that you are held more accountable, and will (fingers crossed) actually accomplish some of them. Like I said, these are my resolutions, but I think that they could ring true for a handful of people.  So here goes…

1. Be present and slow down. So often I find myself rushing through the day.  I wake up before the kids, slam a cup (or 3 of coffee), scroll through my social media pages, and then the kids are up and we hit the ground running.  Usually we get through breakfast somewhat peacefully and then I’m rushing them out the door for whatever activity is first.  By the time we get home for lunch I feel like we are all frazzled, hungry, and irritated.  Nap time can’t come soon enough.  I need to find the balance between doing all of our activities and enjoying the more quiet moments where we are able to read books and play around the house.  I don’t want the next 5 years to fly by and for me to not remember the sound of the kids laughter as they chase each other with vacuum cleaners (yes this really happens), or hearing Laine ask George if he is ok when he hurts himself.  I want to be present so that I can soak in all of these tiny little every day normal occurrences, because one day I know they will be the big things that I remember most.

2. Spin negatives into positives. I saw somewhere that someone had written out all of the bad things that had happened to them that day, but then next to the bad things they re-wrote them into positives.

For example, I may say “I get so frustrated when my kitchen is a complete disaster, I feel like I am cleaning it every five minutes (true story).”  If I turn this into a positive it would sound more like this: “My kitchen is a complete disaster because I have a family to feed and I love cooking for them.”

Change your mindset, change your mind.

3. Put myself first. This is hard for most people. I have found that it has become exponentially harder since I became a mom.  My husband will tell you that I go a million miles a minute trying to make everything perfect, I will say yes to things that I don’t really want to do just because I don’t want people to be mad at me, I will put so much on my plate that eventually it cracks and then I am left wondering why.  So mark my words, I am going to stop eating the scraps of food that fall off my kids plates and actually make myself a lunch, I will try my hardest to sleep 7-8 hours a night (does anyone do that anymore?), I am going to learn to say “no” so that I don’t over schedule and over commit myself and my family, and my husband and I will have date nights more often.

4. Give back. I want to take 2016 to find a few charities and organizations that I am passionate about where I can donate my time and efforts.

5. Stay on budget. This one is for you Mr. Yetman.  I am sure that his New Years resolution every year since we got married has gone something like this “this is the year I am going to get my crazy wife to stay on budget, God please help me to get her to stay on budget!”  Just for the record, I try really hard to stay within the budget we have created for ourselves, but sometimes Pottery Barn and Homegoods have too good of stuff to pass up.  Just sayin.

There ya have it.  My 2016 New Years resolutions out in the open for everyone to see.  Let’s hope that this will hold me accountable from here on out.  I can tell you now, I’ve already messed one up, I ate my kids mac n’ cheese the other day…but it was oh so good!

 

a battle cry for moms

My fellow mom tribe and all women reading this, let me share a quote with you that I recently came across that resonated something fierce with me:

Screen shot 2015-10-11 at 10.06.36 PM

All women are powerhouses.  We are so strong and we do so much that often times at the end of the day our hair hurts (yes, that is a thing, my hair literally hurts some days).  I will admit that one of the hardest parts about becoming a mother wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night multiple times to feed a newborn, it’s not chasing one kid in one direction while the other is running towards the street (which one do you go after?!), and it’s not the fact that my children decided that our living room wall was going to be a canvas for their latest art masterpiece.  The hardest part about becoming a mom was figuring out how to do it all, and hopefully with a little bit of grace. But like the wise Kate Winslet said, “you can because you must, and you just DO.”

I have two little nuggets (1 & 2 years old respectively), I have stayed home with them being nothing but their mama for the past two years, and recently I have decided to get back into the working world.  Albeit, very part time and on my own hours, but hey, this is how I have my cake and eat it too (let me know if you are interested in something like this and we can chat – shameless plug).  I want to do it all.  I want to be a mom first and foremost, but I also want to contribute financially to my family, and it’s nice working with a ton of women who are basically my own personal cheerleaders (thanks ladies!). I have girlfriends who are working moms, who are stay at home moms, who are work from home moms.  What I want them to know is that I am in awe of you.  I am in awe of the hard work that you put in at the office, at home, on the playground.  In a world where you mostly see other women pulling each other down, I want to say that I am cheering for you! You are all my heroes. I know that there are days when you feel like nothing but a ragged mess reminding yourself to put one foot in front of the other so that you don’t fall on your face (we’ve all been there), but you can do it, and you will do it, and tomorrow is a new day.  I always say that God gives us the bad days so that our good days seem even better.

You are a woman, you are a mom, and you are the strongest person I know.  So cheers to all the ladies out there doing it all, day after day.  You my sisters, are what make this world go round.

xo

Nana’s Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Hellooooo!!! Oh my gosh I haven’t written a post in a while, and I apologize for that.  We have had quite a busy month with two kids birthdays, two baby dedications at the church, a family wedding, family in town, and me joining another business venture.  But, I’m back! And I’m back with an AMAZING recipe that I happened to stumble upon in my grandmother’s old recipe book.  It is one of those gems that I could just see her making for her 7 kids (yes, you read right, 7 kids…in 9 years no less- talk about a wonder woman).  Since it’s officially fall, I thought I could share this with you.  I hope it brings you as much joy as it brings me, and I also hope that you don’t eat it all in one sitting…although that has proven hard to do.  Bon appetit!

Grandmas Recipe

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Ingredients

·1 pack Duncan Hines yellow moist cake mix

·1 pack instant butterscotch pudding mix

·4 eggs

·1/4 cup water

·1/4 cup vegetable oil

·1 cup canned pumpkin (plain, not with the pumpkin pie spices)

·2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Homemade Whip Cream Topping

Ingredients

·1 pint heavy whipping cream

·1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your whip cream)

·1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bundt Cake Directions

·Preheat oven to 350°

·Combine all ingredients (except whipped cream)

·Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and medium speed for 4 minutes

·Pour into greased bundt pant – bake for 45-50 minutes

Whipped Cream Directions

·Combine all ingredients into a deep bowl and whip until you have stiff peaks.

 

Top cake with whipped cream and enjoy to your hearts content!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

xo

 

 

A Letter to New Moms

Both of my babies have birthdays coming up in September. I should be looking forward to their birthdays but instead it is a very bittersweet time for me. I don’t want my babies growing up any faster than they need to. Laine will be turning two and George will be one. Why does time move so fast, and isn’t there something that we can do to make it all slow down? I could swear that yesterday we were driving to the hospital in the middle of the night because my water broke with Laine, and suddenly I’ve turned around and she’s going to be two. A 95% potty trained, full-blown two year old with a mind of her own, who if you’re not one step ahead of her, you will definitely fall five steps behind. She’s busy and precocious and has the sweetest heart. Don’t even get me started on George. This first year has gone by way too fast and every time I even think about planning his first birthday party I get a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach. He’s my baby. He is still supposed to be this tiny little thing that can fit into my Ergo carrier that I can strap to me whenever he needs some extra snuggles. Instead, he’s a huge, almost one year old. He can’t walk yet, but he’s so close, and I’m not going to lie, every time he stands up on his own, I want to push him over. I don’t want him to walk, because that means that he’s going to learn to run, and then he’ll run away from me. They all do it, it’s not fair.

I thought with their birthdays coming up, it would be an appropriate time for me to write a letter to all of you new moms. Whether you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or adopting, this letter is for you. You’re about to embark on the greatest and fastest adventure of your lives, don’t blink.

Letter to New Moms Pic

Top: Me with Laine in the hospital a few hours after she was born. Bottom: Me with George in the hospital right after he was born.

Dear New Mom,

You’re nervous, your afraid, and hopefully most of all your excited. You feel those little kicks in your belly and all you can think about is how you want to be the best parent to that little tiny human. When you become a parent you have decided for the rest of your life to let your heart walk around outside of your body. You will potentially have scars on your belly (shout out to you strong C- Section mamas!), your entire body will ache after pushing a cream puff out of a key hole (graphic sorry), or you will have gotten the call that your heart has been waiting for that a baby has been born and you have been chosen as the adoptive parents. Regardless of how your baby has come into this world, your heart will have just exploded into a million little pieces. You will never be able to explain to someone the love you have for your child, it is something that has to be experienced.

Some things aren’t mentioned to new moms. Honestly, it is probably because by the time that baby has turned into a toddler, they are long forgotten and replaced with endless days of chasing around said toddler trying to stop them from eating the toilet paper or dog food. These things are replaced by so many happy days and memories that we often forget the first few grueling months. It’s going to be hard. I won’t lie to you. It is brutal waking up every 2-3 hours in the middle of the night. It’s awkward learning how to breastfeed, or even feed a baby a bottle. It’s a routine that you are not used to and it is something that you have to learn. You’re nervous about how fragile they seem. Changing their diaper seems like a task meant only for the gentlest of people, but rest assured, babies are a lot tougher than they seem. Giving a squirming, slippery (actually, very slippery, be careful), tiny little thing a bath can be an hour long process the first few times. Soap will get in their eyes; this is not the end of the world.   As a new mother you are tired. Like real tired. Your body is fatigued from having given birth, and you’re now up every few hours in the middle of the night. People tell you to sleep when the baby is sleeping, but I do not know one person who has actually followed that rule. Honestly, when the baby is sleeping, you’re staring at the baby making sure it is comfortable and still breathing. But like everyone else, I’ll say it too….sleep when the baby sleeps. You probably won’t shower but every few days, and you’ll be lucky if you remember to brush your teeth in the morning.   You will look the most ratty you have ever looked, but that won’t matter because your heart will still be exploding into a million pieces over how much you love your baby, and babies eyesight is terrible so they can’t see your tired face or unwashed hair. Most of all have faith in your ability as a mother to take care of your child. As a new mom you will be nervous about the decisions you are making for your baby. You will make all decisions with love and careful consideration; don’t let anyone make you feel bad for them. In today’s world it is so easy to be judged by absolutely everyone around you. Bottle feeding or breastfeeding, what kind of car seat you have, if you use hand sanitizer in every possible situation, the list goes on and on, and it’s all so silly. Do everything in your power to not let those judgments get under your skin. You above anyone else know what is best for your child.

Time moves fast. Too fast. Before you know it, that baby will be sleeping through the night, he/she will be sitting up on their own, and discovering the huge world around them. Before you know it you will be planning their first birthday party. The fete that every single mom is so excited for but also dreads. If there is one thing that I could tell new moms everywhere it would be to hold onto every single moment. Take a million pictures, heck take five million. Squeeze those babies while you can because the bigger they get the less they want to snuggle. Don’t let anyone tell you that if you hold your child too much they will become spoiled, that is bullshit and everyone knows it. Hold your baby for as long as they will let you, and if they fall asleep in your arms while you are sitting on the couch, cancel all of your plans for the next few hours and relish every single second of that deep and dream filled sleep.  Babies don’t keep. Soak in every single moment of your little ones childhood and remember that every stage of a child’s life is more amazing than the last.

I’ll let you in on one last secret. Those aches and pains that follow you around after you have a baby never truly go away. They may be different, but you’re back will be sore from carrying a growing baby on your hip, your wrists will ache from the way you hold your toddlers hand, your leg muscles will have never been so strong from the amount of squatting you do to pick your baby up, your eyes will be sore, your head will feel like it’s going to explode some days, and your heart will ache when your baby cries and you can’t do anything to fix it. These aches and pains are what it means to be a mom, they are what it means to have your heart walking around outside of your body, and they are the greatest gift you will ever be given. The badge of a mother is one that cannot be tested; it is the greatest badge you will ever wear. Cherish every single minute.

Sincerely,

A new(ish) mom

 

Letter to New Moms Picture

George (at 10 months) and Laine (at 21 months)

You’re Having a Baby…What do you register for?!?

You’re having a baby! This will be one of the most exciting times in your life, and let me tell you, while you may not believe it now, those nine (really ten) months will fly by faster than you can imagine.  One of the most fun things about having a baby is having a baby shower and being able to bring home all of those adorable little outfits and gadgets that is just for your new little bundle.  But, before the baby shower comes the baby registry.  When you step into a Buy Buy Baby or Babies R’ Us or where ever you are registering you will undoubtedly feel completely, 100% overwhelmed. Which is a very normal feeling when you walk into a store that massive and see millions of baby items that you absolutely need. I’ll let you in on a little secret…you do not need all of the stuff they offer, and often times it is figuring out what you do need that will be the biggest challenge.  This is your first baby, how are you supposed to know what you need and don’t need?  Before you go insane with that scanner gun let me help you out.  I have had two babies, and almost all of my friends have at least one kid and are well on their ways to their second and third babies.  We have talked about all the awesome stuff that we just cannot live without and the stuff that we really wish we did not spend money on (hello baby mittens, we do not need you, baby socks work just as well).  Read on to see my list of items that I think should be on every registry, and also some items that you can definitely do without. (Note: I am not sponsored or paid by any of these companies, these are just my personal favorite items).

The Must Haves

· Nose Frida – this contraption sucks boogers out of your babies nose.  It seems disgusting, but I promise you it works 400x better than any nasal bulb they give you at the hospital.

·Zooli Nail File – When your baby is first born they will have long, long finger nails.  Every mother will be envious of how long they can grow without even trying.  You’ll be scared to cut their nails with a nail clipper (because every mom is).  This is where the Zooli comes in handy.  It’s an electronic nail file, and a life saver.  Get one.

· Sleepsacks/ Swaddle Pods –  Halo and Summer Infant make great sleepsacks and swaddle pods.  When your baby is brand new, it will have what is called the “Moro Reflex” which makes it’s arms fly up into the air right before they drift of to dreamland.  Unfortunately, this reflex will wake your baby up, and that is not what you want when sleep is a precious commodity.  The sleepsacks and swaddle pods keep your babies arms down by their side while they are sleeping so that they don’t get woken up by that pesky reflex. Swaddle them tightly, those little buggers know how to get out of swaddles like professionals!

·Rock n’ Play – This is an awesome device to let your baby sleep in for the first few months of life.  It is on a slight incline, so should your baby have any spitting up or acid reflux issues this helps a lot.  It fits nicely right next to the bed and keeps your baby cozy throughout the night.  Some parents have issues with these saying that it can cause a flat head, I am not a doctor, so I don’t have a medically professional opinion on the matter, but I have used the Rock n’ Play, and I would use it again with any other babies we might have. Another pro- it can fold up so you can move it around your house easily or travel with it.

· Breastpump – If you plan on breast feeding, you’ll need one of these.  Talk to your insurance provider, a lot of times they will provide you one for free.  Do this a few months before your baby is due because it can take 6-10 weeks to arrive.

· Bottles – all babies like different bottles.  Laine liked Dr. Browns and George liked Born Free.  You have to try out a few different kids with each of your kiddos. I say register for one bottle from a few different brands and then test them out.

· Nightlight – Get a portable night light for those late night feedings.  You don’t want to be turning the light on in your bedroom every few hours, that will fully wake the baby up and your significant other…that’s no fun.  I got a Munchkin Owl Night light that has worked great.

· White Noise Machine – Get one of these and then turn it up as loud as you feel comfortable.  Your baby is used to being in your belly with the sounds of your blood flowing around them, your digestive tract working, etc…they are used to some kind of noise when they are sleeping.  We staredt using one from the day our babies were born, and they are still using them.  We have the Homedics brand and just put it on the white noise setting.

· Baby Bath & Bath Supplies

· Bibs – get the soft kind for when they are babies. Guess what…they spit up! 

· Swaddle Blankets

· Baby Socks – Good to keep their feet warm and can double as baby mittens so they don’t scratch their faces

· Baby Carrier – Whether it’s a Baby Bjorn, Ergo, or a Moby Wrap, just get one.  I personally recommend the Ergo 360 baby carrier.  You can face them in towards you, or outwards when they are a bit older, and when they are really big, you can put them on your back if you’re willing to carry a 30lb child on your back.  Bonus…the way that the Ergo is made, it puts all the weight of the baby on your legs instead of your back, you’ll be able to carry that kid around for hours…which is sometimes what you’ll need to do.

· Stroller – My one piece of advice on this is if you plan on having other children make sure you get a stroller that has add on seats or can function as a double stroller.  You don’t want to have to buy a brand new stroller a few years down the road.  We have the Uppa Baby Vista and that thing is a God send. It is by far our most favorite baby product we own.

· Carseat & Adapter For your stroller

· Boppy Pillow

· Baby Monitor – Most of the monitors these days are all video monitors which I think is fantastic.  Being a new parent you will have your eye on them 24/7.  Make sure you get a monitor that has the option to add additional cameras for when you have other babies.

· Diaper Pail This doesn’t need to be explained, you don’t want a stinky house.

· Diapers – Again does not need to be explained.  *Mom tip: if you have a boy, you may want to go up a size in diapers from the get go…those boys pee all over themselves from the start.

· A swing – Babies love to be rocked and swayed and moved around.  Sometimes mamas arms need a break.  This is where the swing comes in handy. We have the Mamaroo and have found it to be a life saver on multiple occasions.

Not so Necessary Items

· Bottle Sanitizer – These seems enticing, why wouldn’t you want all of your baby’s bottles to be sparkly and clean after every use.  Really hot water and soap will do just as good of a job, and will take up less space on your counter. You can also stick all the parts and pieces into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes.

· Baby Food Maker – Use a pot of boiling water and a blender like the NutriBullet.  Works like a charm.

· Wipe Warmer – If you don’t use warm wipes from the beginning, your baby will never know the difference.  Trust me, room temperature wipes are just fine for your little one’s tushie.

· Special Laundry Detergent – Just use a brand that is Free and Clear of any dies or additives.  You don’t need to shell out the extra $10.00 a jug for the special baby stuff. (Personally, I use the normal detergent that I’ve always used…I guess I’ve been blessed with babies who don’t have super sensitive skin).

· Shoes – Newborns don’t wear shoes, sorry ladies.

· Pee Pee Tee Pees – For boys these seem like a genius idea…however, they will pee them off, literally like a rocket, or they will pee into it and it will come streaming back down on them.  Just use an extra diaper to cover up their goods while you are wiping their tushes.

There you have it.  Obviously register for some cute clothes and some cuddly toys, and what not, but remember, do not over-register.  You want people to get you the important stuff, not just the cute adorable baby clothes. I learned the hard way with Laine and we ended up having to buy a lot of our necessary items.  If you have anything that you want to add to this list, or that you just can’t live without, make sure you let me know! I hope that this helps all of you new moms to be, and best of luck bringing your sweet little one into this world.  Remember, the time will fly by and pretty soon you’ll be reading up on how to raise a teenager (ah!).

 

The Yummiest Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad 1

There are a few things that I love about summer.  Obviously the great weather and sunshine, the flowers, being outdoors a majority of the day, and food.  One of my my favorite summer salads is broccoli salad.  I’m sure everyone has their own version that is super yummy, here is mine:

Broccoli Salad 2

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs of broccoli, fresh – chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 3/4 cup of chopped cashews (roasted, unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  • In a small bowl mix together all dressing ingredients (balsamic vinegar, mayo, sugar) – set aside
  • In a large bowl mix all other ingredients together.  Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly.  Squeeze lemon over the salad and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad 3

xo

Easy Marinara Sauce

I LOVE PASTA! Really, who doesn’t?  If you don’t, then I can’t trust you (just kidding…sorta).  I grew up eating pasta a lot, and my mom, bless her heart was never really much of  cook, so she would get the jars of Prego Spaghetti Sauce and that’s what we would eat.  Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Prego then, and I still do, sometimes that is what I crave (hold your judgements), but I have found that there really isn’t anything better (or easier) than making your own marinara sauce.  It takes me 10 minutes to make the good old homemade stuff, and my favorite thing about it is that it turns out just a wee different every time.  Here is my recipe for a super simple tomato sauce:

Pasta Sauce 1

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • a ton of fresh basil (save some for garnish)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Heat EVOO in a saucepan over medium high heat
  • Add onions and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes)
  • Add garlic and stir until mixed, don’t burn the garlic!
  • Add tomato paste and all cans of tomatoes
  • Add oregano and sugar
  • Add salt and pepper to taste *Note: check to see if your canned tomatoes have salt in them before adding more salt to the dish*
  • Bring to a bubble and then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes
  • Add fresh basil and Parmesan

Voila!  There you have it…the easiest and yummiest Marinara Sauce. Serve over your favorite kind of pasta.  I have also added Italian sausage or meatballs to the sauce to make it a bit more “man friendly.”

xo

Homemade Baby Food

Screen shot 2015-07-14 at 1.55.10 PM

Making your own baby food sounds like a daunting task.  At least it did to me…before I started doing it.  When Laine was a baby and started eating solids, I gladly gave her the organic cereal and organic baby food packets.   They were easy to use, very portable, and she liked them.  Fast forward to when George started eating solids (about 6 months ago), and I realized that unless I wanted to spend all of our money on baby food, I was going to have to make my own.  George is a hoss.  The kid eats like a monster, and if you are eating food, well you may as well just give it to him, he’ll whine until you do.  Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make baby food for Laine, it was much easier than I ever imagined, and you get a lot more bang for your buck. Not only that, but I personally like knowing what is in my food, so why wouldn’t I do the same for my kids?  I never did make baby cereal, but I’m sure there are plenty of places to find recipes for that.  Below are my simple steps for making homemade baby food.

Directions

· Choose any veggie or fruit that are suitable for babies, put it in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3-6 minutes depending on the density of the fruit/veggie. Check to make sure they are fork tender before taking them out. *Note: fruits or vegetables that are already soft (bananas, avocados, etc) do not need to be boiled.  Just mash them up with a fork.

· Spoon the fruit/veggie into a blender and add a little bit of water from the pot. I use my magic bullet…it works like a charm.

· Blend it up! Certain fruits and veggies need more or less water.  Start with a little bit and then add more to create the consistency your baby likes.

· I liked to do single flavors for George at first, but once he got the hang of the food and I knew he didn’t have any allergies, I mixed a lot of the fruits and veggies to create yummy blends.  Here are a few that worked well for us:

Sweet potato and apple

Green beans and pear

Peas and spinach

Corn and sweet potato

Apple and kale

Carrot and blueberry

Making your own baby food takes so little time and effort, and it saves money.  You can’t really ask for more.  If you have any questions about making your own baby food, don’t hesitate to ask!

xo