Monday, June 30, 2014

[Baby #2] Kenley Drew - 7 Month Update

Kenley turned 7 months today, it was a big big month with lots of milestones and even more memories.  She's becoming so much fun and is really participating in our daily routine whether it's chompin' on tea cups during daily tea parties, stealing books and toys, or squealing with delight at the dogs and her sister's silliness, she's becoming such a joy. 


Stats:
Kenley had her 6 month check up at the beginning of the month and clocked in at 16lbs 1oz and 26" long.  She's scheduled to go back in two weeks for a weight check because I'm not sure if I'm still producing enough milk.  She hasn't fallen off her curve and is hovering the 50% so it's more of a sanity check to make things are okay and that the combination of milk and baby food is going strong. 

About to move her into size 3 diapers after we run out of 2s and she's in 6-12m clothes.  


New stat - 2 teeth!  She cut her first two bottom teeth earlier this month within days of each other.


Sleep:
Woof.  It actually had gotten pretty good earlier in the month.  The pediatrician gave me the ol' sleep training speech, which like Ashlynn, I just won't do. Weaning however, I will.  I had been feeding her about twice a night and had gotten her down to one.  She reduced her usual 3 wake ups down to 2 and was actually sleeping in the crib past 6am, when before I had been bringing her into bed around 4:30 (the 4th wake up).  

Although this last week has been back to 3 or more wakes.  I'm hoping another tooth is the blame or just the excitement of meeting some other milestones, and goes back soon so I can get her used to sleeping in at least two long stretches.  I mean, a full night would be awesome, but I'll aim low. 


Social:.
Still a mommy's girl.  Prefers to be held by me and doesn't like when people get up in her face (neither do I), especially right after she wakes up.  

Had a pretty social month, Father's Day celebration with her cousins... where she was pretty miserable from cutting a tooth.  And we started back at gymnastics for Ashlynn so she's been back at Child Watch.  She's also been to the pool and actually gets to hang out at Story Time instead of snoozing through in her carseat. 

Diet:
Mama's milk and baby foods!

She's pretty much had all the staple foods and seems like she's always hungry.  She easily eats 3-4oz in the morning and another 4oz at night.  I try to feed her at lunch too, sometimes half of a smashed banana or after leftovers from a pouch or jar if we have one.  I use a combination of homemade baby food and store bought. I find buying sugar free organic applesauce to be cheaper than buying the organic apples to make the same quantity.  And while I used to buy organic pears and make that myself I'm going to start buying that in the Earth's Best jars as well.  I can usually make about 8oz of pear puree with two pears, $2.99 vs. two 4oz jars for .89cents a piece.  I also love having pouches on hand for when we are out and about or I need something to quickly (or am feeling lazy).

Somewhat related, biting has also commenced.  And because Ashlynn didn't get teeth until she was just shy of a year, I never dealt with this.    Um, ouch. 



Skills/Milestones:

Seriously, biggest month yet!

Two teeth
Sits up alone without support
Crawls
.. and trying to pull up (read: lowered the crib!)

As soon as she started sitting without needing a pillow/boppy behind her for the random falls at the start of the month, she was rocking on all fours.  She would scoot, roll, and worm to wherever she needed to be.  Last week, that small phase of happily sitting content with a toy, but still mostly immobile went out the window because she started full out crawling on her hands and knees.  I posted a video on IG one day when she was getting close and by the next day she was off.  Her favorite points of interest are my computer, the Fisher Price Princess Castle and the Frozen dress up trunk.  I guess I have two princess lovers on my hands!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Favorites and Updates


- Getting our Nails Did

I saw FJ rave about Ella + Mila nail polish a month or so ago on her blog and quickly followed the company on instagram.  It's a great little nail polish product for minis and mamas, too!  It's a vegan formula, no testing on animals, and free of all five toxins that unfortunately our beloved adult polishes contain (except for the overpriced ones).


I ordered a Mommy and Me custom package with the colors Tea Rose (a nice classic light pink) in the mommy size and Mila's Favorite (purple) in the mini.  Ashlynn is LOVING having her toes and fingers painted, it dries super quick, and I have little guilt about using it on her.  Not to mention, will be a great distraction for getting her to sit on the potty!

I painted my own fingers and toes, without any base or top coats, because really who has time for that anymore, it was a miracle the baby slept the 5 minutes for me to do and for them to dry before having to pick her up.  Anyway, they were chip free for a solid week.  I was floored because I am super tough on my nails, doing dishes three times a day, constantly washing hands, cleaning, etc.  I will definitely be buying more since it's a product I can feel good about Ashlynn (and eventually Kenley) using too!


- Babiators and Books

I mentioned before I love coming up with coordinating gifts, or items that are bit outside of the box.  Of course, I will still grab an adorable outfit from Baby Gap or child favorite Fisher Price toy from time to time, but a lot of times I'm afraid the family may already own what I picking out.   I've also mentioned I love giving books with my gifts.  It can be quite expensive to build a child's library and at the rate they grow and mature, a parent is always in need of new age appropriate books.  Plus, if you are like me you get tired of reading the same rotation every.single.night.

I recently gifted my favorite tot summer accessory, Babiators, and created some themed gifts. Pink Babiators, an Ella + Mila polish, and of course a pair of lace trim socks to go along with a Fancy Nancy book.  For a little boy, blue Babiators and a copy of Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?.


- Tommee Mommee Announcement

I previously mentioned my partnership with Tommee Tippee as a Tommee Mommee, and I finally have a great new line to share!  Tommee Tippee just released an adorable Best of British line including pacifiers, bottles, and first sips cups.


Tommee Tippee is a UK based brand so it is only natural they would introduce this limited edition collection of essential baby products decorated with iconic British imagery.  Everything from London Red Buses, black taxis, Big Ben, and the Queens Guard.  Not to mention Prince George was recently photographed with his Tommee Tippee cup, so it truly is the choice of Royals!

   



- Independent Women

This house is full of them.

Of course, they are less women and more the tiniest little ladies, but we now have a child who uses the potty and another who crawls around and doesn't sit still!  I'll post more about Kenley in her monthly update next week when she turns 7 months (what?!) and, again, I'll post a progress report about Ashlynn after some more time passes and we truly adjust to this new routine.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[Child Style] Red, White, and Baby Blues

So yesterday I posted my 4th of July breakfast plans, although I'm thinking some of the other link up recipes are looking really good so I'm sure my match up will be replacing the donuts.

But along with the parades, bbq's, and fireworks, there is always time for dress up too.  Here's my favorite kiddie styles for the Fourth!
toddler boy:  chambray | shorts | sperrys
toddler girl:  hat | tank | vest | shorts | espadrilles


Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

4th of July Recipe Link Up - Strawberry Sprinkle Donuts!

With summer in full swing, we are all excited that July 4th is right around the corner! I'm linking up with some great bloggers to do a festive recipe swap to celebrate! Today we are introducing the Fourth of July Linkup!!



Here's how it works: 

Each of us hosting bloggers are sharing a Fourth of July themed recipe and we are including a link up below for anybody who would like to join! Post your recipe on your blog and link up by next Tuesday, July 1. Entries will close and everybody will be matched up to another blogger's recipe on Wednesday, July 2. Then, recreate the recipe making it your own and share your results of the swap byWednesday, July 9

We know everybody is busy soaking up the summer sun so we wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to get involved!  

Check out hostesses recipes!



I decided to make some strawberry donuts.  One, because we have a donut obsessed fool in this house, who's favorite are "pink" donuts.  And I figured it's so common to see strawberry and blueberry breakfast dishes or treats for 4th of July themed foods, that this would fall into that category, but be something a bit different.

These donuts are fairly guilt free, at least compared to Dunkin and Krispie Kreme, with greek yogurt and whole wheat flour.  However, I would probably make them next time with regular flour as they turned out pretty bread like as opposed to baked donut (muffin) like. The flour also seemed keep the batter pretty thick in a dough consistency as opposed to a muffin batter.  Although I guess that makes sense for "dough"nuts.  I adapted my recipe from one found here. I would recommend my match stick with regular flour, unless you can find something better up or sleeve - or in your pantry!


And of course, if you really going for the 4th of July theme, I'd throw in some blue sprinkles or serve with a side of fresh blueberries.  
 

Ingredients
1C Whole Wheat Flour
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 C Strawberry Greek Yogurt (any yogurt will do!)
3 Tbsp milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter (melted)

Strawberry Frosting
4 strawberries
1 Tbsp milk
2 Cups powdered sugar
sprinkles, optional


Directions
For donuts: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray donut pan (or muffin pan) with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter. Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry- just until fully combined. Do NOT overmix.
Spoon in batter into a 6-donut pan. Fill the donut cavities about 3/4 full.  Bake 15 minutes until donuts are set and golden brown. They will spring back when touched. 
Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan, about 5 minutes. Dip donuts into strawberry frosting 1-3 times, depending on how thick you'd like them frosted. Top with sprinkles.
For frosting: Slice strawberries and puree with 1 Tbsp strawberry jam.  Pour into a medium bowl and mix in milk (or half-and-half).  Slowly stir in 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, adding more until you reached the desired consistency and coloring.  I wanted thick frosting, so I added 2 cups.


Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flamingo Fun with eShakti

The obsession with flamingos is still going strong.  I finally erased Ashlynn's birthday chalkboard on our mantle and replaced it with a flamingo when I actually had the girls napping at the same time.  I'm pretty impressed with myself that I did it first try without anything to look at, just my memory of reading Flora every night. (Yes, I realize I'm totally bragging, but crafty I am, artistic I am not).



Anyway, with potty training underway (please be patient with me regarding an update, I hope to have a successful story to share when we make it over the hill!) we have been either in dresses or pantless around here. I mean, Ashlynn, I still wear shorts every day and sadly just a rotation of the same three pairs.

She loves her "Feen-go" dress and tee and my coordinating bird custom eShakti shell.  eShakti is the only online women's apparel company offering custom sewn clothing in sizes 0-36.  I actually remember hearing a lot about the company years ago, pre-children, when this blog focused a lot more on shopping and (shopping at) Anthropologie.  Lots of Anthro style bloggers would sing eShakti's praises for having the similar lady like style, but on a totally custom sizing scale.  They have a ton of beautiful dresses, but without any big events this year (our first summer wedding and shower free) I decided to try a cotton sateen tank that would get more wear when offered a chance to review.




Ordering was so easy and it arrived to me within 10 days.  I used the standard size chart, but I think it's an incredible feature that they have a custom size field where you can enter your specific measurements.  The tank fits like a glove and made of quality material.



I adore the top since it's not in your face flamingo print and being black on yellow so it's a bit quirky and unexpected.  It's a perfect top for casual summer dinner out now and I can't wait to pair it under a blazer, some skinnies, and booties in the Fall.

Have you ever order from eShakti or had something custom made or altered to fit your measurements?  Learn more about eShakti's custom products at Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Relying on Diapers.com to ditch the diapers....


When I unexpectedly went into labor at 35 weeks with Ashlynn, we were a little less than prepared.  Thankfully, we had just installed the carseat three days prior, but aside from some essentials received at my shower, we needed to stock up - quickly.  Not to mention, we didn't have any clothes that fit her tiny 5 pound 17" long body.  The night after she was born, the Husband went home to shower and check on the dogs and I had my fresh new baby snuggling close, I logged onto diapers.com to order diapers, wipes, and a few preemie outfits which were all waiting on our doorstep when we were discharged from the hospital two days later.  The bonus was I didn't have to pay crazy shipping fees to have it there in time, it was free since I spent more than $49.  

Ever since I've been a loyal diapers.com shopper.  I've purchased everything from diapers, wipes, baby food by the case, bibs, feeding essentials, clothes, shoes, toys, and books. And probably more. Prices are always competitive, coupons and promotions abundant, and I can use my beloved ebates (sign up here!) to get cash back, which if you combine all that with the mostly free shipping (my purchases are always larger due to buying diapers by the case) then it's a complete win in my book.  This is not the first time I've sang the company's praises here on my little corner of the internet.


So now that we are preparing to potty train and hopefully ditch the diapers, at least for the toddler, I'm still relying on diapers.com to help with just that.  
short stories | potty books 1 | 2 | 3 
figurines 1 | 2 | 3
tub and card game (target $1 and $3 spot) 

Obviously, the essentials matter most.  Since her tush isn't going to fit on our toilet, I have two options for her to choose from.  Right now, she doesn't seem to have a favorite, but she's yet to actually get down to business on them either.  We keep the Baby Bjorn chair downstairs in our powder room and it's easy for me to run and grab and bring to her when it's time to try or she'll sit while I use the bathroom and the potty seat I keep upstairs in her bathroom.  She sits (sometimes) before her bath and if she wakes up from a nap dry.  I'm going to start having her sit right when she wakes up in the morning to get the routine going. 

Huggies Big Kid flushable wipes, Pull-Ups, undies, and some *reward* chocolate chips.  Even though we are going with (a modified) 3- Day Method and keeping spare diapers or pull-ups on hand is a no-no, I'm keeping any extra diapers for Kenley and the Huggies Pull-Ups will be used at night since she still doesn't wake up dry. I also ordered some training pants, which they discourage in the 3-Day Method, but they have been recommended by a friend who said they helped her child know she was wet without the same mess as undies.  They also fit her better than the underwear.  So our options are ready in case we need to change course at moments notice.  


Which you can bet when we find the winning combination, I'll be placing another diapers.com order to stock up and save myself the time and frustration of a potential public accident or germy tour through our local Target or Wegman's public restrooms with a toddler and baby in tow!


The collection of books is a combination of potty centric reads, I already broke out Potty a few weeks ago and she makes me read it daily.  Actually, she knows it by heart and reads it to me!  


I've been really talking about the potty as much as I can and giving her opportunities to sit on it when she shows me she needs to go.  It's just a lot of practice to help the transition to this little boot camp smoother - I hope!   Big Girl Panties and Princess Potty should just keep her interested and on task.  The Disney Princess Adventure book is a collection of short stories that I hope to use to keep her sitting for short periods at a time if she needs to wait.  We can read a story each time she sits to pass time and give her a chance to relax and go.  She's starting to learn all the princesses and I think this will be right up her alley as a favorite new book.


And lastly is the bucket of toys and time sucks.  These will be a combination of figurines to play with while sitting, like a bath toy, that will only be allowed in the bathroom.  If she does her job, she'll get to pick one to keep it and bring it back to the playroom.  Temporary tattoos and nail polish to force her to sit.  Card game is something we can use to pass time in between trips to the lou during those first three days locked up at home.  She likes playing memory on the kindle so we see if that translates to real cards. Oh and the chocolate chips, like M&M or jellybeans, it's just our little doggie treat for going on the grass.  For the bigger accomplishment, she'll get a Frozen or Sophia toy.

Some of these items, like the potty chairs, I had on hand for awhile now, the rest I ordered recently knowing the time to try (har har) is upon us.  And even though we are ditching diapers, Diapers.com is still my number online source and time saver for all things baby.  

If you are still using diapers, Huggies is now offering readers and first time diapers.com shoppers $12 off any box of diapers with promotion code WOWHUGGIES at checkout! 


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A big thank you to Huggies for sponsoring this post and the generous promotion code for use at Diapers.com.  As always, all opinions, statements, and odd ball plans for putting on our big girl panties are all my own!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Transforming to a Toddler Room

With plans of potty training coming up sooner instead of later, finally converting from the crib to a toddler bed is upon us.  Part of me hates the idea to cause a disruption as Ashlynn sleep 90% of the time is really great.  Even if she does wake in the night, it's usually just for a lost paci or to turn the music back on her Tot Clock.   She stays put happily and quietly in the crib after she wakes until the clock turns yellow, so part of me is afraid to toy with this routine as after months of irregular sleep patterns it feels a bit "don't fix what's not broken".

On the other hand, with a girl who has the bladder of a camel and doesn't need frequent changes during the day, I need her to be able to get up if needed in the morning or after naps - the times she's most likely to go.

We will be converting her crib to a toddler bed instead of switching to an official "big girl" twin or full sized bed.  I hope part of this helps her still feel comfortable as the size and location of the bed won't change and it also allows us to get more mileage and value from our crib as we just purchased a second last year for Kenley and buying a whole new frame and mattress isn't really in our budget.  Her crib mattress is waterproof so that's an added bonus.

I asked her if she wanted a bed like mommy and daddy's (meaning pillow and blanket) and what she'd want it to look like.  Her answers range from pink to purple and strawberries to bunnies.  Honestly though, I don't think she has a clue what I'm really asking.

I don't plan on changing much in her room other than getting new sheets, duvet and cover, pillow case and then some new prints for her frames.  Her black out curtains are staying so that means her seafoam green wall colors and yellow accents need to be worked into the color palette.  We already purchased a lavender duvet cover so it's the sheets and pillow I want to have some fun with.

Here's my two ideas, and for reference, how her room looks now (just a lot cleaner!) and my original inspiration from when we moved houses.



If you've followed us since A's babyhood, you know her lovey is a bunny (BunBun) and she's just generally into bunnies over other animals, always choosing bunny options when available.  I love this lavender fabric with an orchid watercolor bunny print.  It's the happiest marriage of her favorite color and animal and keeps me from giving into the trademarked character sets I know well eventually get for her.   I would swap her prints with some adorable bunny themed drawings by this etsy seller.  I would move the prints back over her crib and get a new tissue garland by, Project Paper, to hang over her book case.


My other option is Ashlynn's other obsession, donuts.  I thought it'd be playful to have donut sheets and prints and accessories with various sweets, like this pillowmacaron print, and some wooden letters in "Sweet Dreams" to wrap the theme together.  I also love the tea party print of two girls playing, can't help myself.


Decision time!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bring it on down to Tantrumville!

I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating the dads in their lives.   We had a quiet-ish girls weekend at home.  The husband had an out of state bachelor party (because apparently those still happen) and we made do... with a lot of whining, button pushing, and random freak outs.  I still won't classify this as "Terrible Twos" as I've seen kids behave worse and this could just be a warm up for those "Terrible Threes", but I swore she was doing it on purpose knowing I had no bullpen to release me.

We spent time with my In Laws on Sunday getting the cousins together with their Pop Pop, before heading home to see Daddy.  Between Ashlynn's limit testing and Kenley cutting her second tooth (read: not sleeping), I could totally use a second weekend to recover!




A fun story I had to write down is "the Bumblebee".


About a week ago, Ashlynn was playing in the playroom and I headed to the kitchen to start dinner.  This time of day, the sun comes streaming through the playroom windows.  I heard her start freaking out "BUMBLEBEE!  BUMBLEBEE!" and bugging out.  I figured maybe there was a fly or other bug in the house since I knew there weren't any bees.  I looked around and didn't see a thing.  She was hugging my leg and stomping her feet "get it!".  I thought maybe it was imaginary like an imaginary friend, like some sort of "acting scared" game.  I asked her where it was and she just pointed to air.  I told her bees live outside and there aren't bees.  I'm not sure why she'd be scared of bees since I'm pretty sure the extent of her knowledge begins and ends with Buzz Buzz the Bee on Mickey Mouse.

A few days later we were in the car and again "Mommy! Ughhh, BUMBLEBEE!" accompanied by absolute hysterical tears.  Since she once called a spider a lady bug, I got worried that maybe a spider or bug was crawling on her so I pulled over to check.  I got out of the car and checked her whole seat, wiped her tears, and calmed her down.

It finally happened a third time at home, and I realized (or at least have come to the maybe possible conclusion) that she's calling dust, bumblebees.  That she see the dust moving in the stream of light and freaks the eff out.

Dust.

This girl is all girly girl. A true princess... or diva in the making. Which might be closer with her constant "mommy do it" "mommy take it" and "mommy get it".

Anyway, back to the bee... or dust.  Now I've explained dust is just 'pixie dust' and it means that Tinkerbell must me nearby doing work and building things.  We have her hunting for Tinkerbell, we'll see how long that lasts.



Friday, June 13, 2014

Things This Week

More bullet point lists for the week...


- Our internet was shotty all week, hence the lack of posting.

- The weather sucked.  Seriously rainy all week, should have made a bigger effort to get to the gym, but we bailed and did rainy day activities like bake muffins and eat crap. You know, things you do when trying not to feel bad for skipping the gym.

- Purchased Tangled and Tinkerbell dvds.  I'm finally reaching my Frozen limit and while we actually haven't watched it in a few weeks, I thought with the rainy days it was time to introduce some other Disney characters into Ashlynn's vocabulary.  She already knew Tink and we've watched that twice already.  Rapunzel still has her plastic wrap on.

-  We got the carpets cleaned yesterday. We usually do it each Spring since we have two dogs and all.  And now that Kenley is anything but still, I want to feel better that she's not rolling in melted rock salt or mulch particles or whatever else the dogs could be tracking in that doesn't get picked up by a vacuum.  Or you know, let's be honest.  Her own spit up that was never properly cleaned up or the occasional doggie accident.  It happens.




- Girl isn't crawling, but she's getting damn close to rocking on her knees and has pushed herself backwards a few times.  She mainly just rolls like a log across the room, smiling the whole way.  Hence the carpet cleaning, she will not stay on her mat or quilts for longer than five seconds.

- Pretty sure Kenley's other bottom tooth is working it's way up, but I'm pretty bad judge at these things.  I thought Ashlynn was teething for six months before she finally got one.

- I have a slew of posts planned (Ashlynn's toddler bed makeover, ice pops, my 31 things about me that I said I was going to share back in January, and a handful of others), hopefully I get a chance to post them!



I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Little Foodie] Reinventing the Mold

If you read back through my 'little foodie' posts from Ashlynn's baby days, you'll find that through trial and error I found a method that worked for me for making and serving her baby food purees.  I would steam and puree our organic fruit or veggies of choice in our Beaba Babycook, freeze them in these individual once ounce cubes, and take a few out of the freezer in advance let them thaw in the fridge or defrost on demand in the microwave.  

I received the coordinating Beaba Babycook 2 ounce silicone mold at my baby shower, but ultimately preferred using the one ounce varieties because I liked mixing and matching what Ashlynn was having (peas with pears, carrots with squash, sweet potato with apples) and in the beginning she wasn't eating two ounces at a time so there would be wasted leftovers.  It also took longer to make a freezer stash since there were only seven in the mold, so batches were smaller and freeze time delayed stocking up quickly.  

The one ounce molds were great, but even if I defrosted them in advance in the fridge or on the counter, they still would need a quick pop in the microwave to be nice and warm for serving.  Not a necessity, but you prefer your dinner warm, right?  I hated that even with the effort of organic produce and BPA free storage, I was still using a microwave.  With the Beaba mold I could pop out the portion and defrost in the Babycook, but it was time consuming (approximately 15 minutes).  With the Juvenile Cubes, it was impossible to release the frozen puree from the mold to be heated elsewhere. 


A few months ago I was contacted by Mumi & Bubi, a Kiwi company, to see if I would be interested in trying their freezer storage trays.  Their products are well known in New Zealand and they are looking to break into the U.S. market.  


With their starter kit, you receive two trays with 21 one ounce cubes each for $25.99.   Like other brands, they are BPA Free, PVC Free, and dishwasher safe (top rack).  However, the value knocks my previous brand out of the park - which I thought was a deal compared to the Beaba mold.  I have two sets of 10 one ounce trays that I purchased for approximately $20.


When I make Kenley's baby food, I like to try dedicate a morning or afternoon to doing so.  The prep - rinsing, peeling, & chopping - I can usually do while Ashlynn eats breakfast or a snack and then it's just a matter of tossing the veggie or fruit into the steamer basket and turning the knob on the Babycook and I'm off to play, shower, or even eat my own meal.  Fifteen minutes later I drain the liquid and puree the steamed food, rinse repeat.  No slaving over a steamer on the stove or watching the oven for over roasting.  The Babycook turns itself off and if I'm playing dress up or changing diapers, no worries about food over cooking, it'll be ready for me.  I'll fill as many cubes as I can get and move on to the next option.  It's obviously a bit of a luxury item, the Babycook, but it works great and makes making homemade baby food easy for me!


I still follow the three day rule when introducing new foods, but I don't serve that food exclusively (except when starting for the first time).  I'll mix and match breakfast and dinner with other options to keep it exciting and her palette always experiencing different flavors.  For this round I made pears, carrots, and yellow squash.  


I froze them for about 24 hours and then took them from the freezer.  This was the part that I loved the most about the molds.  There is no twisting like a cheap ice cube tray, you simply just press down on the corner of the mold and it'll slide right out!  The instructions did state that some veggies maybe be tougher to pop out, and to just run some warm water over the back of the mold.  I was able to get the pears and yellow squash out easily and then just had to run some water over the carrots, about 10 seconds, and they all slide out easy peasy. 


I keep them stored in a large glass pyrex container, since going through all that effort to be green and then sticking them in a ziploc seems a bit ass backwards, but whatever is easiest.  It's easy to just reach in the freezer and grab whatever cubes I'm looking for and store the rest for later or add more as I make it.  A bag would likely get buried at the bottom of our freezer, which always has a tough time staying organized.




Now, to make this already long post longer (hang with me), the second piece of baby food prep - defrosting it!


This was that part previously I couldn't figure out.  I already mentioned that when I was making food for Ashlynn I felt like I made all the right choices to be green and keep the nutrients in her food and then I'd go and use the microwave to defrost or warm the purees.  

Enter Lillypots.

I was contacted by creator and owner, Tam, on instagram a few weeks ago letting me know he recently created a new product for baby food.  I hopped over to his profile and thought, that is EXACTLY what I need!  It was one of those, "how has no one thought of this before" moments.  He kindly offered to send one to test out as I just reentered this whole back to baby food phase. 


The Lillypot is a lightweight stainless steal pan that fits over most small sauce pans.  Place your small frozen cubes in the little pods and they'll steam over boiling water to your desired temp.  It especially works out great when I'm boiling water for Ashlynn's pasta or mac and cheese. 


From frozen to thawed and warm, it took about 8 minutes. Clearly, not as quick as a microwave, but not quite as long as using the Babycook steamer and less clean up too. 


My routine is clearly baby approved too, which really is all that matters!


I feel like I finally found the products that work perfectly for my routine and am so glad I get a second chance to use them.  The baby food phase is fleeting, but having the right tools can definitely make it a bit more seamless if preparing your own food is something you are interested in doing.



How do you/did you prepare food for your little one?  Just buy a jar and grab a spoon? Skipped the purees and did the BLW thing?  Or go the way of making it yourself?   I did a combination of all three with Ashlynn and probably will again with Kenley - so no "my (stated) way is the right way" here! 


*****

Disclaimer:  Mumi & Bubi and Lillypots were kind enough to provide one starter kit and baby weaning pan for our review,.  All other products mentioned were purchased independently and their brands are unaware of this review.  As always, all opinions expressed are honest and solely my own!   

Interested in learning more?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Loving




... a first tooth for Kenley, hooray! 
... painted toddler nails
... catching Ashlynn singing "Do You Want To Build a Snowman" to herself (she whispers, but her tongue clicking tock tick is the giveaway)
... strawberry playdoh pancakes
... these sheets for Ashlynn's toddler bed makeover (just not loving the price)
... our family's new donut addiction, hashtag make it stop.
... this baby romper
... these mini backpacks
... homemade (somewhat mess free) popsicles - seriously, these molds are amazing!
... and this cover up


Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Five - Sister/Sister

I did my last comparison post when Kenley was six weeks old, she's now six months!  I find it so funny and interesting how the girls can be so different, yet so similar at the same time!


1 - Six Month Stats

Ashlynn
  Weight: 17lb 5oz
  Height:  24 3/4"

Kenley
  Weight: 16lb 1oz
  Height:  26"


Hysterical right.  At 4 months they weight virtually the same but differed by an inch (Kenley being longer). Kenley is still in the 50% for weight and I think also for height.  Ashlynn just barely made the charts for height and still barely does.  They'll be sharing clothes in no time!



2 - Sleep

Ashlynn (taken from her 26 week update)

"Getting better!  This whole week she started staying asleep when put down at 7pm.  She used to wake within an hour to eat again, but now she's falling asleep and staying that one until about midnight when she wakes to eat again.  Midnight snack.

Then she wakes around 3-4 and sleeps to 6ish.  Yesterday, she slept later than I did!  I heard the Husband taking the dogs downstairs and realized it was 6:30 and she wasn't up.  I actually went in and checked on her.  She woke 15 minutes later when the sun came up.  I hope this habit continues for a while.

Naps, while still short, have been easier too.  I seem to always catch her when she's ready and with the classical music on the sound machine she falls right asleep."

Kenley (as of this week, her 26th)

Most nights, when possible, we tag team bedtime. I take Kenley at 7pm to her room to nurse and Pete takes Ashlynn for jammies, teeth, and books (and bath if it's a bath night).  I nurse Kenley and by 7:30 she's usually asleep.  Sometimes she's still awake, but drowsy so I pop in the pacifier and rock her a bit then place her in the crib.  She immediately rolls to her side.  Occasionally, she'll roll over to her belly and wake herself up.  Mostly though she'll sleep on her side and eventually move to her belly a bit later.  

She typically wakes up around midnight-ish and I feed her again and she goes right back down.  Sometimes I have to go back in to pop in the paci, but she's usually asleep until about 4am. Paci popping doesn't work at this point and the only thing that does is nursing.  At this point, I bring her into our room and nurse her in bed before getting another 2 hours or so and then usually wake to her smacking me in the face around 6am.



No, you did not just have a de ja vu.  So much for the theory of having one bad sleeper means your next will sleep like a log for twelve hours straight.  The difference is, I'm now going to start night weaning.


3 - Food

Ashlynn

Ashlynn didn't start solids until 28 Weeks (I know, we were cruel, but I felt I needed to get the go ahead from her pedi).  She started with sweet potato and was taking just about 2oz

Kenley

Kenley started at 24 Weeks and has had sweet potatoes, string beans, carrots, bananas, avocado, applesauce, pears, oatmeal and adding squash tomorrow.  She eats twice a day roughly 2oz at a time, but definitely around 4 oz total for the day.  I'm probably going to start add in some faux BLW style frozen food at lunch to keep her entertained and busy while Ashlynn eats.


4 - Personality

It's actually kind of hard to remember Ashlynn.  We know she was happy and usually very serious when in new settings or with new people.  We called her an observer as she usually would hesitate to show happiness and take everything in first (pretty true to this day).  Ashlynn was a HUGE mommy's girl and would cry if someone else even held her.

Kenley is definitely a happy girl.  She's cranky when tired and hungry, typical stuff, and she doesn't seem to care for people getting right up in her face (me either).  Kenley is more social and is usually pretty happy being with others, especially if she is familiar with them.  She still can give a major stink eye that would make grown men feel small. 


5 - Photos!  

Okay, I know this is what you really came for!


I can't believe I even have one like this where they are in the same pose making the same expression!

Happy Friday, Friends!



Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Wait, what??..." or also titled "How I Should Give My Toddler More Credit"

I had pretty much assumed on Monday this week would go down as "Ashlynn's Least Favorite Week of All Time".  All time being the two years and six weeks of her existence, but was pretty sure if she was going to remember or be scared by anything under the age of three, this week would be it.

I was planning on sharing more about how Child Watch at the gym had been going once we got to a good place with it and I had a true experience, with a hopeful happy ending, to share.  Instead, looks like you are getting a Half Time update.

I started Kenley in the Child Watch program (free babysitting at the gym) when Ashlynn and I were taking her Mommy and Me gymnastics class.  Aside from the time always falling when Kenley should be napping and leaving her to cry a bit in exhaustion each week, she's good, the staff in the baby room (appear) to adore her despite the fact she's not always100% happy bones while there.  Ashlynn has become very familiar with the routine and the Child Watch wing.

A few times, I would show her the "big kid" room and even entered a few times for her to see the instructor who is incharge there, hoping it would be a tiny bit familiar when I did finally cut the cord. A few weeks ago, I tried just that.  Fifteen minutes.   We dropped off Kenley first, then went over to the "playroom", which is what I started calling it at home when asking if she wanted to go to the gym and go to playroom?  She only knows going to the gym for gymnastics or the playground, so I hoped calling it "playroom" when telling her "no, we aren't going to gymnastics today" would still help her feel excited since playing was involved.

We walked in and she was immediately distracted by all the children playing and toys laying around.  I pointed some things out and told her I was going for a run and that I'd be back.  I'm not sure if she even heard me, but I decided this was my easy out.  Of course, as soon as I shut the door, I was afraid that maybe she really didn't hear me and to her I snuck out on her.  I obsessed over this my entire fifteen minute run.

After my run, I came down to the room and saw her through the window near by and she wasn't crying. I thought, oh she's doing okay and snuck out so I could grab my wallet to reward her with a smoothie.  After, I went right back because I didn't want her to think I abandoned her, and thats when I saw she was still by the door.  My heart sank as I realized she probably was waiting there the whole time for me to return.  I walked in and she burst into tears.  The staff said she was okay.  They took her to play on the playground, but she wanted to go back in and while she didn't cry, she asked for me a lot.  Her tears upon seeing me were probably from relief.  They also warned me it'd probably be harder the next time.  We picked up Sis and I got her to calm down outside on a bench.  I asked her if she played and if she had fun and in true parrot fashion she told me "playroom fun". Good.  Nothing a little brainwashing hopefully can't fix.

We tried again the next week.  As soon as I left she started to cry and I walked out not looking back.  My heart broke over and over, but I knew she'd be okay.  When I came back I scanned the room for her and the worker sitting near the door asked if I was Ashlynn's mom and pointed to the corner. Poor girl stood in the corner with her sippy, snack trap, and snoopy the whole time and would start to cry if anyone talked to her.  They said she was good otherwise, but once again, she broke down upon seeing me (this time I was only gone for about a 10 minute run, I knew it'd probably be the hardest time and wanted to make sure she was relieved that I did,  in fact, return and return quickly).

We had our final day of gymnastics last week and I decided since we have two weeks off until it starts back up, I'd boot camp her.  Going once a week isn't enough to get her comfortable. I went Monday and Tuesday this week.  Both days were the same.  I dropped her off even though as soon as she entered the room she turned around crying for me.  On Monday I tried to let her know I was going for a run and I'd be back, the main instructor asked if I wanted her to take her, I said yes.  She picked her up and I walked out.  It felt so so cruel, but I knew it was band aid we needed to make it fast.  Staying in there trying to make her calm down would only drag it out, make it worse and potentially work up other children who may be upset too.  I arrived back after 20 minutes and she was sitting at a table watching Sofia.  Of course, tears of MOMMY! ensued , but they said she had calmed down immediately and just watched TV the whole time.  The next day was almost identical except they asked her if she wanted to play on the slide and had store her belongings in a cubby when she said yes, but as soon as she got outside she changed her mind and cried and went back to watching tv until I got there.

So there's our gym update - play by play style.  Hoping when we return back today there are even less tears and maybe by next week she'll actually enjoy herself.  I know I'm starting to enjoy my runs again and would love to be able to build her up to an hour so I can take a class.  Next week I plan on leaving for 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes by the end of week.  Hopefully it'll be enough time for her to venture into playing with toys or going on the playground and actually having real fun so she can look forward to going.  She did want to bring home a Mickey Mouse camera the teacher gave her, so maybe having some favorite toys to return to will help.


We took yesterday off for Kenley's 6 month check up.  It was a big day.  Ashlynn was also scheduled to get a make up short for a booster that has been out of stock since her 18m appt.  My anxiety built each day and by Wednesday morning, my stomach was in knots over how she was going to handle the shot.  Two months ago when we had her ankle looked at for a possible fracture, she flipped total shit when the nurse took her temperature.  Her temperature.  In her ear.  So just like at her two year check up, we first made the nurse take Bunny's temperature in his ear before taking hers, and after Kenley had her check up, the doctor listened to Ashlynn's heart and lungs.  Which she seemed to think was the bees knees.

Then it was time for shots.  I asked for Kenley to go first because I assumed she'd be quicker to calm down and I could take a crying Ashlynn out after hers with promises of cake pops and probably a new toy out of mom guilt at "red store".  Kenley got her shots, only crying after the second and then calming down quickly.  I told Ashlynn it was time for hers and whipped out the Mickey Mouse band aid I packed with me in hopes to make it more fun (they only have boring brown aids).  I told her she could hold my hand, but she chose to hold the band aid.  She watched the shot go in, flinched her leg, and looked at me and said plainly "hurt".  She watched the nurse finish and handed her the band aid when asked. I'm pretty sure after that she even picked my jaw from off the ground.

Not a single tear.

She didn't fight sitting on the table.  She didn't need to hold me.  She didn't scream in pain or cry because of what I let the mean nurse do.  She just said "hurt".  We agreed and said "Yes, shots can pinch, but all done now".  And let her go pick out her own Doc McStuffins sticker.... with a smile on her face.

And she still got a cake pop, just not a new toy.


I couldn't be more proud of her, she's a rockstar.  Now, if only I can manage to pick her up from Child Watch with a smile on her face, she'll be a superstar!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

[Little Foodie] Boon Flair High Chair

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to team up with Boon for a great giveaway and when they asked me if I'd like to review their Flair Highchair incoordination with the release of their new color options, I said sign me up!

Actually, in all honesty I almost declined!  Kenley still wasn't eating solids at the time and while it might not seem it, I can be a bit of minimalist in terms of "baby gear".  I hate the idea of spending money on such large items that are only used for  a few months before getting stored in the basement.   We own one small bouncer, an exercauser, and jumperoo (we borrowed and returned a swing from friends for K).  Only two strollers - single and double, one car seat per child, and yes, a high chair.  A high chair that I actually really liked and had little to complain about.

On the other hand, I have read amazing reviews of the Flair high chair and it did have a few options I was interested in seeing in action (more on that below).  I let Boon know that I didn't feel right accepting a chair for review that my child wouldn't have been able to truly test out in time for the release of the Pick Your Flair campaign.  I promise all my blog reviews are always authentic, real, and only for products I already purchase or would purchase myself!

When the company said they'd be happy to wait until we were ready to introduce solids, I jumped on board.  The Flair comes with one major item that kept me from recommending our current chair with flying colors (and was actually the very first thing I mentioned here) - shoulder straps with their five point harness.  Our last chair only had a lap belt, and once Ashlynn was about seven or eight months and really sitting strongly, it wasn't so much an issue, but during those early days she would slump to the sides.  I was excited to start solids with Kenley at five and half months and not have to worry about her sliding to the side being properly supported.




We've been using the chair for two and half weeks now and I LOVE it.  I'm actually a little surprised that I like it as much as I do, since I felt like I was pretty satisfied with our last chair.  There are just a few differences that are so smart and innovative that make it clear why it is one the top chairs on the market.


Assembly:  

I assembled the chair, by myself, with the audience of a "helpful" toddler and baby in ten minutes.  I timed it.  There are only a few pieces and all you need is a screw driver... and a toy screw driver for your assistant.

Easy-peasey, lemon-squeezy.


Features:

Counter vs Table Height - the pneumatic lift, little orange button on the base that allows you to raise and lower the chair like at a hair salon, allows the chair to be the perfect heigh for any table.  Right now I keep the chair in the corner near Ashlynn's end of the table so I can tag team meals and be at arm's reach for both kids.



Wheels with break lock - I can slide her closer to my chair and the table during meals and then easily slide the chair back out of the way when we are finished.  The wheels don't scratch our wood floor and the break lock is a nice feature to keep it in place, which has come in handy when our toddler decides to climb around it like a merry-go-round,  attempt to climb into it, and just move it herself.  

Our last chair was stationary, and we placed felt pads on the legs so it wouldn't scratch our floor.  Sliding it in and out from the table was okay, but moving it further was a pain especially since it had an awkward shape base and was very heavy (wood).  The Flair is lightweight and seriously moves around like a breeze.

Something I didn't appreciate until now.

One Hand Tray Release - Next to the shoulder straps (that were really only import these first few weeks of solid foods), this is the most useful design feature of the chair.  Not only are the trays (tray base and cover) actually sized to fit your dishwasher, I mean, what good is a dishwasher safe tray if the thing is gigantic and can't actually fit in the dishwasher? - but it's so easy to snap on and remove with one hand!  And when you have a baby on your hip and toddler on your leg, you only have one hand to get it done.  I can easily get Kenley in and out all while cleaning up Ashlynn or picking up fallen sippy cups for the 80th time.

Easy Cleaning Design - This was a feature that was important to me when purchasing my last high chair.  I didn't want a "classic" high chair with cushions and seams for crumbs to be stuck and imbedded forever.  We used a family members version like this on vacation and it confirmed the annoyance.  They chair is one solid piece, as is the removable comfort cushion.  It's a cinch to wipe down and at two weeks in, still looks brand spankin' new - as it should!



Of course there are other features, how the belts attach and swivel at the clip, the tray's two position options, and sleek modern design.  And of course, the newest feature... mixing and matching your perfect chair!


The chair previously came in a white base with orange pad and tray or gray base with green pad and tray.  Now you can mix and match the white and gray with orange, green, blue, and pink!




And the most important opinion is Kenley's,  so far she really seems to love it - and eating!  She'll sit there during all our meals even if not being fed herself and always seems comfortable and happy.  I will definitely check back in with how it's working for us in a few months when we start to add some more feeding accessories to our routine.

I'm so grateful to Boon for allowing us to give the Flair a test drive.  If any one is in the market, it's definitely one worth checking out!


*****

Boon was kind enough to provide the Flair highchair for our review.  All other products mentioned were purchased independently and their brands are unaware of this review.  As always, all opinions expressed are solely my own!

Interested in learning more about products by BOON?