August 25, 2014

Big Brother

I know that things around here have been pretty quiet this summer. Well, there has been a good reason for that...


Our family is growing by one. He/She will be joining us sometime in January!!!

We are thrilled to be adding a squishy little winter baby to our clan and I am very happy to say that I am finally feeling better.

I am 20 weeks! Hooray. 
I am one of those people who pregnancy is very hard on them in the beginning. I have really bad morning ALL DAY sickness and have trouble keeping a lot of foods down. These first few months were all about survival over here... and let me tell you- second time around, the exhaustion is out of this world!

15 weeks I finally started feeling better, most of the time. :)
16 weeks I felt baby move for the first time.
19 weeks Geoff felt the baby move as well. 

Tomorrow we go in for our ultrasound and find out if we are adding another Boy or a little Girl to our family. 

Anyways, I hope to start posting again more often but I am not going to stress myself out over it either. Thanks for anyone still reading along for hanging in here with me all this time. :)


August 20, 2014

Summer fun with Happy Family

Hello August... where did you come from? Anyone else out there feel like summer is whipping by us at an alarming rate? A few of my teacher friends are headed back to school and the kids will soon all follow. Unbelievable!!!

I hope you all have been enjoying summer as much as we have been up here in the northeast. After last years winter- I am holding onto the warmer weather with both hands. June and July were kind of lost months for me as I spent the majority of them sick. I am finally beginning to feel like myself again and trying to cram all of what we haven't done yet into August. :) With lots of beach days, friends and family that have come to visit... I feel like this month I haven't had time to even sit down.

I want to recap a little of the fun we've been having and have a few exciting posts coming up but I don't want to bore you all with all I've missed to blog about in my absence! ;) I promise to keep them brief!

*i received a product to facilitate this review. all opinions are my own. *

Anyways, It is no secret that we are fans of the Happy Family Brand! When Logan first started eating solid foods last summer, I was so so excited for him. I vowed to make all his food and had a blast steaming, pureeing and mixing flavors to see what he liked and didn't like. I was so proud of myself until we planned a trip for two weeks to Seattle to visit family. There was no way I was going to be able to make all of his food for the trip. So, I started to do a little research on companies that make organic baby food and ended up choosing the Happy Family brand. (Besides the pouches with meat in them, Logan has always gobbled them down.) We tried the Plum Organics World Baby series as well since I was excited about the ethnic flavors... and those were not a hit with Logan or myself. (Yes I am that mom that tries all her kids pouches to make sure they taste fine.) So, we went back to Happy Family and never looked back.
(Throwback photos of last summer... look how small my baby is, sniff...)


Fast forward to this summer and Happy Family was gracious enough to send us two flavors of their Happy Child Super Nutrition Shake to try out! I was so excited to receive our box in the mail and Logan was super excited to pull everything out once I opened it up! See those little baby toes ready to pounce...
 From the Happy Family Website
"Our Super Nutrition Shakes provide organic nutritional support to help kids grow. Each shake contains 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 21 vitamins and minerals, helping to balance out a picky toddler's uneven diet. Available in two delicious flavors and easy to take on-the-go, our shakes are sure to please any picky eater and give mom some peace of mind!"
I've found that when we are out, in the heat of summer for the day- it's hard to get Logan to eat and drink. I've pretty much stopped carrying milk with us because it just goes bad before he drinks it. If it isn't a snack food or fruit then more times than not, Logan doesn't touch it. Even peanut butter and jelly is hit or miss. At home he eats meals and drinks his milk just fine so it has never worried me too much. I was excited for us to try these shakes out since they have a little bit more flavor than plain milk.
Verdict? Logan loved the shakes. We have had a few long days where we have been out from morning until evening. These days I packed a ton of food to bring with us since I wanted to make sure Logan would eat something. I froze two pouches and rubber banded them around one of the shakes, which helped keep it cold until lunch. We had no problem with Logan devouring each of the shakes. I couldn't tell which he liked better but I think I lean towards the chocolate. We will definitely be purchasing these again for days when we need something a little more than milk. We absolutely love the Happy Family Brand in our household and I always feel good giving Logan their nutritious and organic snacks and shakes.
We find all of our Happy Family foods at our local Target!

(and just check out how happy my little boy is playing in all the packaging... haha)




July 10, 2014

Playdate snacks

I hate to admit this... but Logan's social calendar is way more packed than mine is this summer. Lucky for me, I love all of his friends moms that we hang out with! I've met some really great people up here in NH and I feel really blessed to have made friends with people I actually have a lot in common with besides just being a mom. It's really made this place feel like home to me now!

Anyways, our weekly play dates rotate houses and snack duty! Maybe it's because I have (usually) a good eater with no food allergies but when it comes time for me to host... I always have a hard time figuring out what to make for everyone.

If you know me in real life, you would probably know that I love love love baking muffins and breads. Banana bread in the summer and pumpkin in the fall are my two favorite.

This week I decided to test out Emily's Blueberry Greek Yogurt Banana Bread.

I made a few changes and baked them into mini muffins- prefect for little hands on the go.
Paired with some sweet, cold watermelon and probably some pirates booty, you have a delicious snack for everyone.

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour *(I used half whole wheat, half all purpose)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar *(omitted this to keep the sugar down for the kids)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Start by combining flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are gooey and liquid-like. Add eggs, sugars, and vanilla and a dollop of Greek yogurt!
Whisk until everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  At this point, fold in the fresh (or frozen) blueberries!
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and distribute evenly.
Pop into the oven and bake for one hour,*(this is for bread, less time is needed for muffins) or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  



I made my mini muffins in my new pan the Grazia Silicone Mini Muffin Pan.
I wasn't sure of the timing to bake them so I started at 10 minutes and checked them every few until the were done. Took about 20 minutes for this batch.
The pan is so easy to pop the muffins out of and also to clean... I love it. The only downside was it's a little flimsy so getting it in and out of the oven  without spilling was a little tricky. Next time I will place it on a cookie sheet to keep it level. :)
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The great thing about these muffins since they are so small is that they pack really well. We've taken them to the park and pool with no problems!!! I am absolutely loving our summer activities. 

Have any tried and true, toddler approved recipes I can add to my collection for our next playdate???

June 20, 2014

Freshly Picked Giveaway!

Happy Friday Friends!

Does anyone else just love Shark Tank? I don't know if it's the sharks themselves, the deals they make or learning about new companies and products (and the determination that got them started) but I love watching the show. My favorite is to watch it with my dad whenever I'm home in Ohio.

If you watch the show, then you are probably familiar with Freshly Picked... and if not, let me introduce them and their inspirational story to you.

Freshly Picked was started by Susan Petersen who was frustrated with baby shoes and in 2009 started to make her own moccasins with scraps of leather from a yard sale. Using her own baby as the tester, she continued to make designs until she came up with one that looked adorable and stayed on his feet.
To keep the business going when money got tight, she convinced here brother, who owns a window installation business, to let her keep the old windows. Encased in aluminum frames, she broke out the glass and recycled the aluminum to a scrap yard. This started her business.

We started putting shoes on Logan when he was around 6 months old and crawling. Around the house, we kept him barefoot but if we were going to be out and about... shoes it was. I read somewhere in all my baby research that soft soled shoes were the best for babies to wear while learning to walk so we kept him in soft soled shoes. When he started walking outside we got him his first pair of Stride Rites early walkers and these are the only shoes he has worn.
Freshly Picked was generous enough to send us a pair for Logan to try out!
We chose the Camo color - found here and it was a really hard decision with all the adorable colors. Good thing I don't have a girl... it would have been impossible with all the golds, pinks and purples. 
What I love about these shoes
1. They are adorable. Honestly, I love love love the look of these shoes when Logan is running all over the place.

2. They are made in the US. There is nothing better than supporting a company that keeps jobs in the US.

3. They are easy to get on and do not slip off my little guys feet. This is so important with shoes. The last thing I want is for him to be running around, slip out of his shoes and fall over.
My only con's are
- They are a bit pricey. At $60 a pop, they are definitely not the cheapest shoes around. But again, you are paying for well designed shoes that are made in the US.

-Mine are suede and might be a little tougher to clean than the leather. However, I went for style on this one. :)
Now for the fun part... YOU can win a pair!
Here is how to enter....

Check out the Freshly Picked site, Enter the Rafflecopter (could take a minute to load) and leave a comment below, letting me know what you love about these shoes and what color you like best. (I know it's hard... )

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This will be open until June 30th and the winner will be posted shortly after the giveaway ends- so check back to see if you won!
This giveaway is open to US residents only... sorry!

Good luck!

June 18, 2014

Cincinnati trip

A few weeks ago, Logan and I packed our bags and headed to Cincinnati for a week.

The big reason we were going was my BFF Courtney was turning 30 and a few close friends threw her a huge surprise dinner and party in Columbus. Obviously I could not miss it. From being my maid of honor, throwing me showers and parties, coming to visit and shooting our maternity photos... it felt was so great that people were all getting together to celebrate her life!

Anyways, Geoff was working so Logan and I headed to the airport to fly home. While this was his 15th and 16th flights (i think... haha too many to keep up with) and I felt comfortable traveling with him... a toddler is a whole different beast than a baby! We were so lucky that both flights we had an open seat next to us. The flight is a quick 2 hours and I had my ipad ready to go with a few episodes of Sesame Street and Paw Patrol, a few new toys, a matchbox car and more snacks than you can imagine. Logan did fantastic on the flights but by the time we landed, I was exhausted by constant entertaining to keep him happy.
(he is not too happy about posing for a selfie with me, haha)
When my friends with newborns ask my advice on traveling... I tell them to go on trips as soon as possible. Hahaha. It is so much easier to fly with a newborn than a toddler. However, I think toddlers are much more fun at this age... always a trade off.

Anyways, once we landed and my dad picked us up, we headed home for Logan's nap which he completely refused. One look at the crib in my old room had him totally freaked out and crying non stop. This would be something that we battled all week long until the last 2 days of our visit. We don't co-sleep at home. It just doesn't work out for us... Logan sees us and thinks it's time to play or climb on us- no matter what time it is. For some reason this week... the crib was not where he wanted to be so if I laid down in the bed with him, he was out. Because of this, I took a lot of naps with him and enjoyed the extra snuggles. :) The last 2 days, we finally got him to sleep in the crib. (I credit it mostly to my dad who after I tried a few times to get him to re-settle, would go up and sing to him. Eventually he laid down on the ground and pretended to sleep until Logan laid down and went to sleep himself. He's awesome!)
 After my mom got home from work, we headed to one of our favorite places for dinner- Wild Mikes for some wings. There are a few restaurants that we always visit when I am home and this is our top one.
Wednesday during Logan's nap- we headed into the car and drove two hours to Columbus. I timed it that way hoping he would sleep and thankfully he did. We arrived at Cosi a little after 2. We didn't have to be at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for Courtney's surprise dinner until 6 so we had some time to kill. I had looked up kid friendly places to take Logan to run around for a few hours and Cosi was amazing. It was $5 to park, $18 for me to enter and because Logan was under 2, he was free. We went straight to the kid zone and stayed there until they closed at 5. It was amazing. (I apologize for the photo explosions.)
After I drug Logan out of Cosi (literally) kicking and screaming... we got to the car and headed to dinner. I knew we might hit some bad traffic and I was glad to have the hour to make our way over.
The surprise for Courtney went well and hopefully she had a blast surrounded by friends and family that love her.
We left around 10 (way past Logan's bedtime but he was having a blast running around with the other little girl there) and luckily he slept all the way home to Cincinnati and I just put him in bed with me once we arrived at my parents and we were both out like a light.

The next morning, my mom and dad were both off work so we headed over to Newport on the Levee. We had lunch at Tom + Chee which is a grilled cheese restaurant (if you watch Shark Tank you may remember them from the show) and it was so so so good!
We then headed almost next door to the Newport Aquarium. This place rocks! We had so much fun showing Logan all the fish, turtles, sharks, stingrays... he stayed in the stroller for the first bit and then ran around pointing at exhibits the rest of the time. Eventually he passed out in the stroller right before we saw the penguins. I'm pretty sure we all had a blast.

Friday was pretty low-key for us all. We met my friend and her son at the mall to run out some energy, came home to nap and then met another friend with her kids for dinner. We also took a walk to the park at the top of my parents street. This was one of Logan's favorite things and he never forgot about the park. When we would get out of the car, he would always start walking up the street. Silly boy! We even got him to go down the slide all by himself.
 
Saturday we woke up to a visit from my uncle and then I got ready, said goodbye to Logan (he had the whole day with Grandma and Grandpa) and drove to Columbus for the second time. I headed over to my good friend Audra's house to visit with her for the afternoon.
Then around 4, I got ready to leave and drove back into Columbus for the party for Courtney's birthday. This time she knew about the party but that was it. There was catered food and a great band all for us to enjoy. They even had a gluten free cake for her.  It was a really great time and even though I missed Logan, I enjoyed an adult night out. :)
I still had to drive home that evening (left around 11 so got home around 1am- which is super super late for me) because Sunday we had more fun planned. The majority of my girlfriends who I have known forever, got together at Julies house for brunch. There were so many kids running around- I think it was something like 10 girls and 17 kids (with 6 additional babies due to be born this year and next). It was chaotic but so much fun. Logan had only met most of the kids and adults once or twice in his lifetime so it was interesting to see him interact. He wasn't shy like he normally is when we go somewhere new and he was sure to give a lot of the younger girls and boys his bear hugs where he doesn't let go (we are working on it), resulting in a few tears... it's not a party until someone cries from being hugged. haha. I found out later, my parents let him stay up way too late the night before so that may have had a little to do with it too... ;)
All in all we had a fantastic visit home. It flew by and felt way too short but I felt like we got a lot in while we were home. Our next visit will be around late September/early October to snuggle all of the new babies my friends will have had. :)

June 4, 2014

Citrus Lane Subscription Box

Does anyone else have a toddler and have your Facebook full of Ads for kid friendly products? I don't know if it's all the photos I post or my status updates but it's known I have a kid.

Anyways, I have seen the ad for Citrus Lane boxes for months! Finally after seeing it one too many times, I decided to check it out and sign up. I chose to have a box sent to us in May since Logan has a December birthday and we definitely didn't need anymore things post Christmas. I figured it would probably have a few items that were geared for the summer months. 

The box came while we were in Cincinnati visiting friends and family. It was a nice surprise to come home to mail that wasn't a bill or catalog after our trip. I think I was a little more excited about it than Logan until we opened it up and he got busy pulling everything out of the box. What could be more fun for a toddler than a box of goodies?

Here's what was in our box!

Chunky Wooden Puzzle from Melissa and Doug
-All our puzzles are Melissa and Doug. Happy to add this one to our collection

Fresh Feet Wipes for Kids from Jasmine Seven
-Guess I will find out if these are worth it this summer! 

Cookies from Back to Nature
-this is a good get into the carseat bribery snack. No shame here... it is a struggle to get this kid to sit.

Parthenon Sand Mold and Track Roller from Hape Toys
-we needed more toys to take to the beach when we go... will see how these stack up. :)

Hero from Goodbyn
-bento style food container.

(Not shown) 25% off form Vinemarket.com


What I really liked about our box is that it's made up of brands who we already buy products from- Melissa and Doug, Hape... It's also tailored to our age group so we received products that I know we will use. I've seen a lot of subscription boxes our there in the blog world and haven't been swayed to try one out until now.

Personally, I'm the type of person who finds what I like and buys the same things over and over again (especially true for makeup- it takes a lot to knock me out of my comfort zone and try something new). I don't like to clutter up my house with too much "stuff" that I'm not sure I will use. However, children's belongings are a whole other beast and I am really pleased with what we got. I'm planning on keeping our subscription for June and see what I think of the next box!

If you would like to check out Citrus Lane for yourself- you can click here and get 50% off your first box. (I also get a credit that goes towards our next box so if you choose to check it out and use my link- thank you!)
Cost of the monthly box is normally $29. You will sign up for a subscription but can cancel anytime. :)

This review is not sponsored in any way- just wanted to share our experience for those mama's out there who were also a bit interested in what these boxes were like. :)

May 27, 2014

17 Months

17 months... we are almost at a year and a half. Gulp. This month we are B.U.S.Y. so I know it will be here before I am ready for it.
Right now, we are at the height of imitation in our household. Logan is taking in everything. If we dance, he dances... if we have water, he wants water...
If one of our glasses is left out, he will walk over to it and make sipping noises at the glass and laugh. We got back from the gym the other day and it was beautiful out so I decided we should sit on the deck and have a snack together. I brought out a bag of pirates booty and grabbed a small bowl for Logan. When I told him we were going to go outside and have a snack, he walked over to his play kitchen and grabbed himself a small bowl and brought it outside. This age is so so cute.
It hasn't been all fun and games, we had a week where Logan was pretty sick. They first night we were downstairs watching some tv before bed. We heard Logan cry out around 11pm. When we checked on him on the monitor, he wasn't crying but he was sitting up in his crib. A few minutes later he was still sitting up but slumped over holding himself upright by holding onto the crib slats. I went up to check on him and he had thrown up all over the crib but I guess he didn't want to lay in it so he was trying to keep himself upright. Poor kid! Geoff caught a bit of what he had so I ended up taking care of two sick boys. We stayed in, snuggled, watched way too much tv and they both slowly got better.

During that week Logan pretty much stopped eating most foods. Doctor gave us a handful of safe foods and Pedialyte since he wasn't supposed to drink milk. Does any kid actually drink Pedialyte? Our experience was a complete failure. Mashed potato was the big food winner for the week and I was so so happy once he stopped throwing up and started to eat normally again.
For the longest time, we would use sign language with basic words that we used everyday in baby/toddlerville. Milk, water, eat, banana, hungry, more, all done...  After a while, we knew that he understood most of them but would never sign back. We got 'milk' for a while but it was pretty much used for 'I want' which we would sign while pointing to food, toys, breakables, phones... you get the picture. So after a while, we kind of stopped signing. I knew he understood the words themselves and just went with that. Imagine our surprise when out of the blue he started signing more when we wanted more of something to eat. The next day, we was pointing at the fruit basket at lunch and I asked him if he wanted the apple or banana and he signed banana to us. Little stinker!

This month held Easter- we celebrated Logan's second Easter with pancakes and Easter baskets.
I was so happy Geoff was home as well- spending time as a family really makes the holidays so special. Logan's favorite part was throwing the grass all over the house... haha.
We had two baby birthday parties for friends, lots of Mygym classes and with the warmer weather we spent a good amount of time taking walks, running around the playground and playing in the yard. It's been fun and I officially love spring.
Logan is now running and getting really really fast. We are working on not running into the street and also holding hands when we walk. This has been tough to enforce when we are in the yard because he gets so excited when the cars drive by in the street. I really wish we had a fence but I know that once he understands then it will be a lot easier. Other than streets and parking lots, I really love to watch him run all around. The pure joy that is on his face makes my heart melt.
Loves- Taking walks to the playground, being outside, pointing out cars and dogs, running, his bunny lovie.

Dislikes- Getting into the carseat, the word no, sitting still.

New words- Moo and Baa, we hear the most. He's repeated Hello once or twice.

This age is so much fun! I can not wait for all the adventures we are going to take this summer!!!