Busy-ness

Busy, busy, busy.  That’s how the last two weeks have been!  I always have the best intentions of blogging but just can’t seem to fit it in.

I’ve been busy in the kitchen, but making some new recipes that I wouldn’t want to try again.  I made these Thai Chicken Egg Rolls that I just wasn’t crazy about it (though I did love the peanut sauce!) and I cooked up this Chicken Carbonara but again, not anything to write home about (or on a blog!).  I did make some delicious Banana Squares, but that one’s a family recipe 😉

I also discovered this amazing Maryland happening called TotSwap and oh my gosh…life will never be the same 😛 I’ve been bitten by the TotSwap bug.  It’s this HUGE consignment sale that’s held once in a year in four different locations.  Anyone who lives in MD but doesn’t know about TotSwap yet, you’re welcome.  I loaded up on really CUTE discounted baby clothes and some cool toys too.  I’m thinking of making the drive to hit up the Frederick and Howard county locations when they arrive.  It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

TotSwap

So maybe things will slow down in the next few days and who knows, maybe I’ll even get in a Onesie Wednesday again! 🙂

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Baby Foods

So even though our little one has suddenly turned picky and will only eat store bought food, I enjoyed making homemade for a week or two.  It’s really super easy, and you don’t need to use a recipe of any kind.  Just throw into a blender and add some water, formula, or pumped milk.  Here are the foods I made…

Avocado – I scooped the insides of two avocados into the blender, and added water to reach desired consistency.  I learned the hard way, make sure the avocados are ripe!  If they aren’t a little squishy, you get a really chunky puree.  The second time I made this, I bought the avocados and waited a few days to puree.  The end result was much smoother.

Banana – I mashed up three bananas and mixed with three ounces of pumped milk.  Creamy and smooth texture, perfect for an introductory food.

Pumpkin – This was the easiest one to make!  I popped open a can of pumpkin, mixed in a little water to reach desired consistency, and viola.  This one is a little chunkier, so I recommend starting with a smoother puree as a first food, and introducing this one afterward.

Sweet Potato – This one didn’t go over so well…it’s definitely chunky like the pumpkin and I think Ellie just wasn’t quite ready for that.  First I washed and peeled the potato.  Then I cut it into small cubes and steamed it for about 10-15 minutes, until I could mash it up in a bowl.  I mixed in water to make it a little “soupier”, but this would also be great to mix with formula or breastmilk for a more creamy texture.

Prunes – Thank God for prunes…they’ve really helped “loosen up” our babe! 😉  I found dried pitted prunes at Wegmans and boiled them for about 10 minutes to add water back in.  Then I mashed them up and blended them with some additional water.

With each recipe, I poured the puree into a NUK tray, stuck in the freezer overnight, and then popped out the cubes the next day.  The tray isn’t airtight, so I stored the cubes in ziploc bags labeled with type of food and date made.  Each compartment is a one ounce serving, so there’s no guess work in measuring our your prepared food.

When To Have Number Two?

number2

The discussion has begun 😛 Making lists, weighing pros and cons, discussing finances.  Exciting stuff!  So when to have baby number two…?

My employer will allow me another year of unpaid family leave whenever I’d like to take it.  I think I prefer the idea of having baby number two sooner rather than later and taking off an additional year next year.  I’m not in denial here, I know that having two under two will be extremely tough.  But I think in the long run it’s the better decision.

The thing is, I’m not quite ready to give up breastfeeding yet.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a rough road.  But it’s also feels like a huge accomplishment that Ellie and I have come this far.  We had a lot of trouble in the beginning.  Thank God for our lactation consultant.  She seriously saved us.  And now, six months later, we’re still going strong.  It’s really too bad that it takes nine months to incubate a human.  Hasn’t science learned how to shorten the process yet?!? 😛 J/K.

I also miss teaching as well as daily adult interaction.  The other night I had a classroom dream. LOL.

Alright, back to the list making.

Delivery Hospital Bags

hospital-bag

Alright so last night I was perusing Pinterest again, and I worked myself into a bit of a frenzy…

I was seeing all of these posts about what you really need to pack in a hospital bag for when you deliver.  For some reason, Pinterest thought this was relevant to my life.  Now I was going to post some example pictures, but I don’t want to blog bash or throw anyone under the bus.  But let me tell you from personal experience, these lists are RIDICULOUS.  You won’t need a blow dryer, five pairs of clothes, or a deck of cards (real suggestions, by the way).  One of the posts even suggested bringing a surge protector…A SURGE PROTECTOR?!?

My baby came almost three weeks early, but I was more than prepared.  I had my bag all ready to go, packed FULL of various clothing options, makeup and hair products, lotion, my laptop, blah, blah, blah.  You wanna know what I used while at the hospital?  Two things…my toothbrush and toothpaste.  Everything (I repeat, EVERYTHING) else that I had in that bag, stayed in that bag.  Anything I needed besides a toothbrush and toothpaste was provided by the hospital.  They supplied diapers (for me and the baby!), those wonderful mesh underwear, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, all of the essentials.  Now I know you might be thinking that you want some of the comforts of home…your own bath products, comfy clothes, etc.  But honestly, I was too sore after delivery to even get out of bed by myself.  Going to the bathroom was a twenty minute ordeal which required my husband’s help.  I stayed in the hospital gowns because the thought of getting dressed before my discharge was downright scary.  I definitely wasn’t worried about taking a luxurious shower or watching DVD’s on my laptop.  And for crying out loud, YOU DON’T NEED A RAZOR!!  Let me repeat myself and make this very clear…there are TWO things you really need to bring with you: a toothbrush and toothpaste!!  Everything else is just a joke.

While I love Pinterest, I acknowledge that it puts so much pressure on us to be perfect.  Make the perfect cake, throw the perfect party, purchase the perfect wardrobe.  I enjoy finding new recipes on the site, but I’ve learned to take Pinterest with a grain of salt.

In short…if you are pregnant and wondering what to pack in your hospital bag, keep it simple.  Throw your toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse and call it a day.

Ok, rant over.

Baby Essentials – The First 6 Months

baby-essentials

Well everyone always says it, but it’s so true.  Time with a new baby FLIES.  We’ve had lots of good days as well as a few bad, but I’ve learned so much as a new mother.  I feel so much more prepared for baby number two, whenever that time comes!  I’m so thankful to be able to stay home with our little Ellie, and I wouldn’t trade the smiles and snuggles for the world.  I’ve learned so much about our cutie, just as she is learning about the world around her.

As with any first time mom, before baby’s arrival I felt like I was swimming in an ocean of product recommendations, trying to figure out what we would actually need.  Creating our baby registry was a lot of fun, but also a bit overwhelming.  Now, with six months under our belt, I can confidently say that these 10 products are the things we couldn’t live without!!!

Boppy Nursing Pillow – Our little one had a lot of trouble with nursing in the beginning.  Poor latch, trouble finding a comfortable position, lots of frustration.  The Boppy provided support for both of us.  I also appreciated the chance to prop her up in the Boppy while I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, made a cup of coffee, etc.

BabyBum Diaper Cream Brush – This was recommended to me by a friend.  I’ve never been a fan of the way diaper cream sneaks under your fingernails and never seems to wash out.  The Bum Brush is an inexpensive way to avoid the messiness of diaper cream.  It’s super easy to clean, too.

Sophie The Giraffe Teether – I don’t know what it is about Sophie, but our little one absolutely loves her!  Now that the teething stage has arrived, Ellie is always shoving Sophie in her mouth.  It calms her down more than other teething toys we’ve tried, and seems to help her gums to feel better.  I had always heard great things about Sophie, but thought it might be a bit overrated.  I was wrong!

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat – I was debating between this chair and the Bumbo, so I did some research online.  Lots of parents seemed to prefer to the Fisher Price model, so that’s what I went with.  Ellie absolutely loves sitting in it while watching me cook.  The chair also comes with two attachable toys that she enjoys stuffing into her mouth 😛

BabyBjorn Baby Carrier – So IMO, the Boba Wrap is totally overrated.  My husband and I put one on our registry and received it as a shower gift.  I was so excited to wrap up our bundle of joy, but the wrap was so complicated and our daughter was very impatient while I tried to finagle her into it.  So next we tried the BabyBjorn, and it was so much better.  This model has adjustable straps and it’s so much easier to use.  Ellie loves going for walks while facing outward, and has taken a few naps while facing inward.  We can even use the BabyBjorn to carry her on our backs when she gets a little older.

NUK Flexible Freezer Trays – When our little one started on solids, these trays were great for making food in bulk and freezing it.  You can freeze the food right in the trays, or you can pop out the frozen cubes and throw them in ziploc bags.  These trays are flexible and easy to clean.  Plus they’re pretty cute 🙂

Diaper Genie to the rescue!  No really…Without this I don’t want to imagine what our nursery would smell like.  It traps in the smell and makes diaper disposable super easy.  The rings can get a bit expensive, but we use this trash bag hack instead.

Fisher Price Pink Sparkles Bath Tub – Bathing our new baby was a game of trial and error.  We had registered for a cheaper mesh baby bather, but Ellie was always flopping around and sliding out of it.  While looking for a solution, we tried using the little pink tub they give you at the hospital.  That didn’t go so well either.  Finally, I found the Fisher Price tub.  It grows with baby and has higher raised sides so baby stays inside safely, no matter how much she splashes around.  Ellie used to hate bath time until we made this purchase.  Now she can’t get enough splashing! 🙂

Nest Security Camera – So this isn’t technically a baby cam…it’s better.  You can view the live feed on your smartphone, so it’s accessible anywhere.  If you leave baby with a sitter or spouse, you can watch him or her slumber while you run out for groceries or an appointment.  It’s small and can attach anywhere.  We used a command hook to attach ours to the crib, but it also comes with a base to sit on a shelf or dresser.  Very versatile camera and wonderful high quality feed.

Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit – If you buy ONE thing from this list, make it Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit!!  This product SAVED my sanity and I swear it’s truly a miracle!  Once our daughter hit four months, she literally stopped sleeping.  Through the night I was waking up every hour on the hour, attempting to nurse her back to sleep.  Sometimes it would work, sometimes she would wake up 2o minutes later.  I was in complete zombie mode, searching for anything and everything.  Pacifiers, double swaddling, white noise, ceiling projector…nothing was helping.  The sleep suit was recommended by a friend and our pediatrician, and it seriously changed my life.  The first night we used it, she slept through the night, and continued doing so until she started teething (a new set of problems!).  This is by far the number one thing we’ve purchased thus far!!

There you have it. We bought a LOT of baby stuff and figured out pretty quickly what worked and what didn’t. Hope this list can help some of you soon-to-be’s! 🙂

Hello World!

Good morning bloggers!  I just couldn’t stay away.  Who am I, you say?  Well…

I live in Maryland with my husband, two cats, and our five month old daughter.  My husband and I are originally from Ohio and we met at the small, rural college we both attended.  I am an elementary teacher taking a year off to enjoy time with my little family.  I’ve taught kindergarten and first grade, but was eager to trade in the classroom for some time with our new arrival.

I enjoy all things culinary.  I love to try new recipes and add my spin on them.  I will be featuring some of these on the blog!  I love spending time with family and finding fun, new activities.

I used to maintain a teacher blog, focused on lesson ideas and classroom strategies.  Now, being out of the classroom, I still wanted to find time to blog about my passions.  So…here we are!  Stay tuned for yummy recipes, fun family ideas, and maybe even a little bit of teacher magic. 😉