Friday, April 29, 2016

If we sat down for coffee...

If you and I were going to have coffee (probably at Amelie's!) together one morning, here's a little of what we might chat about...
  • The fact that I can't stop listening to podcasts. Like, if M isn't around, I pretty much always have a podcast on in the background of whatever I'm doing. I have been so encouraged and inspired and entertained the last few months from podcasts, and I feel like I'm discovering a new one each week. It's by far my favorite form of entertainment right now. If you weren't already listening, I'd probably encourage you to listen The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Sorta Awesome, and Around the Table. And if you needed a good laugh, The Popcast!
  • How my baby won't take a bottle, and truthfully, while it's super frustrating and I wish I had a little more freedom from time to time, it's not all that terrible and I'm reminding myself that this is really only a short stage of his life. It won't always be like this. I will have the ability to go out to dinner again with friends or just my husband one day. But I am starting to panic some about a concert I'm attending in August...thankfully August is still 3 months away.
  • I've 95% finished For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and I have loved it so much. I got it from the library, but I'm kind of thinking of ordering a copy for me to keep so I can highlight and dog ear about half the book.
  • Hair issues...I can't ever decide if I want mine long or short. I love how I look with shorter hair, but I love that I can throw my long hair up and be "done" so quickly...but then when it's down, all T wants to do is pull it. Clearly, this is a major issue in my life.
  • M has pretty much abandoned nap time. She still goes to her room daily for "rest time" but naps are just....done. And it's hurting us all big time in the evenings because she is just SO tired and grumpy from about 5-7pm. I realize this is a totally normal mom problem and every kid eventually outgrows their nap, but it's been tough on everyone come dinner time. If you were a verteran mom, I'd want you to pat me on the back and remind me just how great it is that she's getting bigger and all of the fun "big girl" things we have to look forward to. 
  • How I would pay big bucks right now to fly to NYC for a night to see Sara Bareille's show, Waitress. This goes back to the baby who won't take a bottle issue. I guess the soundtrack will do for now.
  • We'd also probably discuss your go to week night meals, because this seems to be a constant topic among all of my friends and me lately. I'm always on the hunt for a new (and easy!) dish to make for us at dinner time.
  • If you're a nerd like me, we'd also probably talk about the Game of Thrones premiere and our predictions. I am still dying to know where in the world Bran Stark is....
By the time we had covered all these topics and anything you'd bring to the table (and the tangents they all would lead to), we'd probably need to order a scone or a muffin because we would have been sitting at the table for two+ hours. And chances are the employees would be side eyeing us since we would be taking up a table. That's okay though, because it would have been a wonderful morning of conversation, and the scone would be an added bonus! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Linking up with April (yay for baby#2! Congrats friend!) for a Friday 5!


 Not even sure if she'll have the link up going on today, but here are 5 things I'm loving right now...

1. An Easter recap just never happened on the ol' blog this year...partially because I never make time to blog these days and partially because we traveled to VA to see family a few days after Easter. Our Easter was an eventful one, as you already know if we're instagram friends, since M busted her head open running through the house. 


She got three staples put in and all was well, and we still got to have a little family Easter brunch. I made something new this year and it's definitely worth sharing on here. I made these Honey Ham Biscuits the night before and they were so super easy and delicious and paired nicely with all of our hard boiled eggs! Make these for your next brunch get together!



Do you have a Google account and need to get your life organized? Download the Google Keep App TODAY. J got me hooked on using this, and I am obsessed. I used to use "Notes" in my iphone, but definitely prefer this system. It's super simple, but I use it to jot down ideas, quotes I hear or read, lists for places like Target and Trader Joe's. I love that it's super basic, but can be synced across my phone and the website. I've always been a google calendar lover, and this is a great compliment to it!


3. I got this Contigo Snap and Seal Travel Coffee Mug after I dropped my beloved Tervis mug in our garage a few weeks ago. I picked up this mug on a whim at Target because I needed something to put my coffee in in the morning, and this is what I randomly chose off the shelf, and I am hear to tell you...it is fantastic! I love it for a million reasons, but mainly because I can carry it out to the car in the morning while juggling T's car seat, M's school bag, and my diaper bag, and no matter how I jostle it around, it does not spill! I can even put it in my diaper bag standing up, and if the seal is closed, nothing spills. I love this cup so much!



4. New favorite Trader Joe's find? This popcorn with herbed and spices. It makes the best light snack!  I bought it for bunco last week, and it made the perfect table top snack. If you don't have a Trader Joe's, you can pay a ton of extra money to get it shipped via Amazon!


5. Two weeks ago I mixed things up a little and saw a new hair stylist and tried balayage. I had been getting some subtle highlights for the past year, but turns out I do not have time for that kind of maintenance these days.  Especially since a certain little boy in our family is still hating the bottle (insert an angry face emoji). Anyhow, I love the subtle color from the balayage and I love the "pattern" in how it was painted on. I can tell it'll definitely grow out nicely allowing me more time between trips to the salon. Highly recommend this approach to hair color if you've been considering it!
...a pic of the new "do"...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

City Mini GT Double Review and Thoughts

When I was pregnant with T, I was really on the fence about getting a double stroller. I wasn't sure how much we'd use, and since my kids are three years apart and M is big enough to walk at most stores, I just didn't think it'd be something we'd "need" when we were out and about.

After about one month with two kids, I was starting to feel mostly healed from my c-section, and I was itching to go for some long walks with both kids, but I didn't want to wear T in the Ergo everytime we went walking. I also knew that although I could wear him for 2 miles of walking then, it was going to get harder as he grew. So, I bit the bullet and we got a double stroller. I looked and researched a bunch of different options, but at the end of the day I settled on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double


I considered getting a Double BOB since we have had a single BOB for three years and had been really happy with it, but I won't lie, the BOB is a beast. It's a huge stroller and I am not a runner, so I just didn't think we needed something that big. But I love how nice it rides and how it can go anywhere with no trouble...grass, gravel, sand...it's so easy to push everywhere! When I went to Buy Buy Baby to check out the strollers in person, the City Mini GT caught my eye because it had the great air filled wheels like the BOB, but not as big of a footprint as a BOB. And since I'm not a runner, I didn't need a true jogging stroller. This seemed like the perfect choice for our needs.


Since M is older and likes to walk in stores, I didn't need a tandem stroller that would fit easily in stores and tight spaces. That wasn't going to be the main place we'd use our double. I mostly use it in our neighborhood for long walks, or at places like the zoo where both kids may want to ride after walking for a long time. 


We've been using it now for 5 months, and I have zero regrets. I was really afraid we'd get it and I'd be unhappy that I didn't get another BOB, but I wouldn't say that all. I am so happy with our choice! It folds so easily, pushes smoothly, and both kids have lots of room and like having their own sun shade. Only complaint would be that the storage space underneath is very limited since there's a big bar that cuts down the center of the basket. 


I opted not to buy a car seat attachment/bar for it and instead just used an infant insert we had for T. The seats recline and can sit back up very easily (a huge advantage over the BOB!), and so we've just reclined T's seat and used the insert to help him stay propped up. 

I considered selling our single BOB, but ultimately decided to hold onto it. I often will walk just T when M's at school, or just the other morning I took both kids to the park and he rode in the single while she played on the playground. If storage had been an issue, we probably would have sold it, but thanks to the new garage, we had room for it and it's nice to be able to use it when I know M won't be riding in a stroller. 


So, there ya have it! It was definitely the perfect option for us and I'd say we use it 3-5 times a week, so it's definitely been a worthwhile purchase. I feel like I've gotten a lot of questions on instagram and from friends about the double stroller we chose, so I thought I'd sum up my thoughts here! Hopefully if you're on the fence about a double stroller or were looking for a review of the City Mini GT Double, this helps a little! 


*I was not paid or compensated for this review. Just wanted to share my thoughts in case someone else was considering this stroller! I have used Amazon affiliate links though.*

Monday, April 11, 2016

6 Months

My favorite baby boy is six months old...half a year! I thought time flew with M, but it's going at lightning speed with this guy. I swear we were just laying eyes on him for the first time back at the hospital. Have six months really already passed? It really is the longest shortest time!



Here's what's going on in his world at six months old...

Got his first two teeth last week! My mom noticed the first on April 2, and the second one popped through on April 7. Just in time to start baby led weaning this week! Still chews on his hands and toys constantly and drools all day long.

Speaking of BLW...he is ready. I'm not (such a mess...do not want to deal with the clean up), but he is ready to start trying some real food! I'll report back once we've tried a few things. Also would love to hear from other moms who skipped purees and went straight to table food...what sort of things did your little one love and have an easy time eating in the beginning? We'll probably start with roasted sweet potatoes "fries" as our first meal just like M!

Still nursing 5 times a day and his feedings seem so short to me, but I think he's just become very efficient because he's still growing like a weed. Doesn't totally reject a bottle, but also doesn't care for it. Hoping that this will continue to get better...

Rolls from back to tummy now! Does it most often if he's reaching for something far away. He can sit by himself for short spurts (about 10-15 seconds) before toppling over. He loves sitting and I can see the pride in his face when he sits unassisted. Looking forward to this skill improving because I know he'll love being able to sit and play with toys.

He's still a rockstar sleeper 90% of the time. He occasionally wakes at night because he's lost his paci or rolled to his tummy and can't get back over, but for the most part, he sleeps so well. Naps have improved too and he's napping three times a day, but I think we're getting close to dropping that evening nap around 5.

Loves to sleep with one of his loveys on face. I'm not crazy about this, but his loveys are so small that I'm not all that worried about it. I'm also starting to see him find a real sense of comfort from the paci and lovey. When he's tired and cranky, these two things almost always seem to calm him down.

Truly the happiest boy most of the day. He's such a good baby and doesn't fuss or cry unless he's tired. Loves to chew on his toys or play in his exercauser, and even loves just rolling on a blanket and grabbing his toes. I couldn't have asked for a better, more go with the flow second baby.

Has just recently started doing a lot of babbling with some consonant sounds. Lots of "Bababababa" can be heard over the monitor when he wakes from naps!

Still startles very easily and is sensitive to loud abrupt noises, especially high pitched screams from a certain three year old who lives with us...like I said above, he rarely cries, but if he is startled he'll burst into tears.

He is still in infant the car seat, but I'm pretty sure we're going to move him to our convertible seat in a few weeks since he's so close to outgrowing the infant seat in height.

Loves riding in the ergo and the ring sling if I'm moving. Doesn't care to be in it if I'm just hanging in the kitchen and cooking.

Love him to the moon and back!


Stats...

Weight: 20lbs
Height: 29 inches
Diapers - size 3 in disposables, one snap down and 4 across in cloth
Hair - very brown and starting to fill in on his bald spot!
Eyes - very blue

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easy Meal Planning Ideas

Recently, I have been all about making meals for dinner that I can prep in 30 minutes or less during nap time. Right now, our evenings are a little crazy. T usually naps until 5:30/6, and when he wakes I nurse him, and usually somewhere between 6/6:15, we sit down to dinner. But since he's nursing right before that, I can't stand at the stove and prep in the evening. Such a serious mom problem. But all joking aside, it has taken some trial and error to find what works for us in the evening. I recently shared some of my favorite easy prep meals with two friends, and at the end of my email to them, I said, "This would be a good blog post!"...so here ya go! Hope another busy mama out there finds this helpful.


Most of these are prep ahead meals and a few are super fast meals where I chop and measure things beforehand and throw in a skillet and quickly cook when it's time to eat. Also, a lot of these I've shared on instagram already, but since you can't leave direct links on instagram, I thought this might be helpful for anyone looking to spice up their meal plans.

This is an easy one to prep ahead of time! Also makes a great meal for a new mama! We omit the jalapenos, but that's about the only change I make. These are so yummy!


This was a new recipe I recently found in a copy of my Rachael Ray magazine, but these were a hit. I prepped them ahead of time and did everything but the egg wash and the baking. I popped them in the oven before I fed T, and by the time he was done nursing these were ready for dinner. An easy make ahead meal!


Shaved Brussels are one of my favorite ways to eats Brussels. This recipe from my friend Nina is a keeper. I subbed smoked chicken sausage for the andouille so M would eat it (she does not like spicy). This wasn't one I prepped ahead too much. I did do all of my chopping ahead of time and made the dressing for it, but really it was a quick cook time! Highly recommend this one!


I have my friend Rachel and snapchat (I'm erchla on there!) to thanks for this one! Rachel snapped this one day, and I immediately pulled up my pinterest and added this my recipe board! This was SO good and so super easy. Like the meal above, I didn't prep too much eahd of time other than the chopping. Cook time was super short and was ready fast. All three of us loved this.


An oldie but a goodie, but I love this for an easy week night dinner. I can make it all during nap time in under half an hour, and then pop it in the oven at 5:30, and dinner is ready by 6:30. We usually pair with a salad or roasted asparagus. This past time I made it, M ate two big servings. Might need to start making two!


If you like shrimp, MAKE THIS! You can prep the shrimp ahead of time and leave it in the fridge all day and then cook right before you're ready to eat. Honestly, trimming the green beans was what took the longest for this meal. Such an easy and great dinner!



This is a random one, but this salad is one of my favorites! It's so simple, and there's not much to it, but it makes a great side for any meal. 


Skinnytaste Shrimp Tostadas
This was a new skinnytaste meal for us, but one I'll definitely make again. I made my gaucamole and tostadas earlier in the day (corn tortillas, brush with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and bake at 350 on each side for 4-5 min) and the rest was easy to throw together at dinner time. 


How can you go wrong with something that involves caprese salsa?! I served this over arugula and made J a baked potato to go with his. I prepped everything early in the day, and grilled the steak right before T woke up and ate at 6. While he ate I let the steak sit and finish cooking, so timing wise, it worked out perfectly. I could eat this weekly. Flank steak is favorite at dinner time, and this caprese salsa was just awesome. 


And a few more links...no pictures, but I love these meals because they're all super easy make ahead meals that I just put in the oven before dinner.



Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti (this will feed your family for days!)

Now you tell me...
What meals do you love that are easy to make ahead of time? Would love some new things to add in to our rotation.