Thursday, January 31, 2013


One of my nieces (I have a few of them) is a 16 year old designer on her way to New York. Literally. She's taken Omaha by storm with her spring and fall lines she shows at Omaha Fashion Week and was asked to show her designs at a New York Fashion show in just a few weeks. 
Last weekend we went to a fundraiser to help support and celebrate her accomplishments!

Meet Kate! Here's Kensington and her cousin Kate the designer.

Some of Kate's designs.

We couldn't be more proud of her!

Learn more about Kate Walz here!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Kensi has so much fun painting with pudding! It's simple, fun and edible.
This was perfect for our chilly, windy and rainy day we had yesterday!

Pudding Paint
1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding
(you could use breast milk if you wanted)
Food Coloring
Paintbrushes (optional)
Clear Sealer Spray

Divide the pudding into separate bowls and add desired food coloring each one, creating a different color. Drop a spoonful of a color onto the paper and let your munchkin go at it!
*You can use this recipe for a sensory activity or for a craft. If you choose to keep the painting as art, then be sure to let it dry completely and then seal it with a clear sealant spray to keep bugs away and so it doesn't get rancid.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm gearing up for another plane ride to visit my sister and decided to share my packing list. Since Kensington was born we've been on two road trips and one plane trip. Packing for these two types of traveling is very different for us. 
For one thing, a road trip is somewhat easier because you can pack literally as much as you could possibly want, of course you're using up a ton of car space, but if you absolutely needed to drag the swing along for your could.
A plane ride is waaaaaaaaay more tricky! On our last trip we found we needed many items we hadn't packed with us and ended up buying new items at the store. Seriously. Such. A. Pain. 
Here's our packing lists and tips for High Flying.

#1 BIRTH CERTIFICATE - Yes you read this correctly. Whenever you're traveling ALWAYS bring a copy of your baby's birth certificate. All airlines need this to show the baby's identity and to show the baby is actually your baby.
Stoller - This may seem so obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't think a stroller is necessary. The stroller is so helpful because you not only have something to push the little one in instead of carrying everywhere, but if they fall asleep then you can lay them in there too. If for some reason your lil tot doesn't want to hang out in the stroller then throw your carry on inside it and you have a little cart.
Carseat - You don't really need it for the flight itself, because baby can sit on your long as you're good with that the entire flight. Many airlines also won't let you bring the carseat onboard unless you pay for the seat. We just held Kensi the whole trip, which we thought was easier because then we didn't have to deal with the dumb carseat and strapping it in and lugging it off the plane with all the impatient passengers who think the quicker they stand up the faster people move....anyways...bottom will be using a car sometime once you land, so just check it with the rest of your luggage.
Diapers, Wipes & Clothes - No need to explain, just pack extra. 
Wet Bag - There's no doubt that the chances of your baby of having a blowout while traveling are high. They plan to make traveling more difficult right? 
Changing Pad - Airport bathrooms have a designated place in the bathroom to change the baby, but if you come across the super annoying women who don't have kids and use the changing area to apply their makeup or heaven forbid curl their hair then you may need to be extra creative when changing that diaper.
Hand Sanitizer/Sanitizing Wipes - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the germs going around, especially the Flu bug. Kensi had Influenza A and it was not a peach to deal with. Because she still so little, germs are extremely airborne on planes and the flu virus' are so damaging, I'm packing a Arm & Hammer Cleansing Wipes to wipe down arm rests and trays.....yep I'm totally going to be THAT mom on our upcoming flight.
Snacks & a Bottle - On our last flight we packed a few organic lollipops to help with Kensi's ears popping. She of course loved to lick the lollipop and yes it was a sticky mess. Don't think I automatically saw our flight as a way to introduce sugar, I do bring a bottle for water and a couple the baby food pouches which are awesome for traveling.
Lightweight Baby Blanket - We bring one of Kensi's Aden + Anais bamboo blankets that we call her 'cozy'. It's one of the few she snuggles with.
Toys/Books - We bring 2 or 3 just to keep Kensi entertained while waiting at the airport and on the plane.
Scarf - This is for mama. Wearing a scarf is probably one of the best tips I've come across, because if Kensi spits up or wipes her mouth on my shirt, I have something to cover up the food crusted wherever! The scarf also works GREAT as a nursing cover!

I would still bring everything listed above for a road trip, but I would also pack....
Breast Pump - I LOVE my breast pump (Medela) and the fact that I can pump while we're driving and give Kensi a bottle so we don't have to stop every time.
Medela Steamer Bags - These are the greatest things ever invented, I swear. Just throw all your used pumping pieces in the bag and put in the microwave to clean....genius!
Baby Playlist - Kensi loves music so we created her own playlist in our iTunes. It consists of soothing soft songs and some of her favorite upbeat ones too. We use her playlist all the time; nap time, driving, playing, etc.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Yes, I'm definitely one of THOSE mamas who makes her own baby food. I love to cook and I was thrilled about cooking for Kensi. I also enjoy controlling what's in my food like salt, sugar and other chemicals. I really hope Kensi will enjoy food like Mike and I do. And for the record, Mike didn't eat the way he does today once upon a time, I like to think I had something to do with that and all my experimenting and my famous words "you have to try it once". However, for Kensi and as she grows up, she will get "you have to try it twice"---- one is a 'thank you' bite and the other for taste. 
I have bought some baby food just so we can see if Kensi likes the flavor before I make a huge batch of something. We typically only do this with single purees and I'm so glad we decided to do this because Kensi wanted nothing to do with fruits (with the exception of mango) for the first few months. She literally just started eating bananas and is still bitter about applesauce. 
She absolutely LOVES green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. 

We've begun to experience with bite sized foods such as avocados, quinoa, and steamed carrots, which she enjoys because she can pick it up. 

Making your own baby food is very easy if you can find the time to do it. I use a Tupperware microwavable steamer. On average it takes 5-10 minutes to steam different foods.
Here's a couple of our recipes and how we do it at our house.
Today we have Cauliflower & Kale and Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes.
1. Cut cauliflower into chunks and place in steamer. Heat in the microwave for 5-6 minutes or until it's fork tender. In the last minute, lay kale on top and finish microwaving.

2. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Begin blending and add water until desired consistency. 

3. Using a ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out portions and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
(**No need for ice cube trays or tiny little 'Baby Food' containers that can cost some serious $$$!)

4. I label everything so I don't confuse two different foods. Place cookie sheet lined with baby food in the freezer for a few hours or until set.

5. Once the food is frozen, remove from the parchment paper and wrap in plastic wrap. I like to wrap 3 or 4 in a bundle so I can grab just what I need for one feeding or for a few.

6. Place all plastic wrap bundles in a freezer bag labeled with the name of the food and the date.


Cauliflower & Kale Blend
Makes about 2-1/2 cups
1/2 head cauliflower
1 1/2 cups kale
1 cup water

Cut cauliflower into chunks. Place in a microwavable steamer for 5 minutes. In the last minute add the kale on top. Finish cooking. When it's done, place cauliflower and kale in a food processor and begin to blend. Add water until desired consistency. 

Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
Makes about 2-1/2 cups
2 Sweet Potatoes (peeled)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Peel and cut potatoes into pieces. Place in the microwavable steamer for 5 minutes. Remove and place in food processor. Add cinnamon. Begin blending and add water to desired consistency.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Sometimes Every time I can't sleep, I lay in bed scrolling through Etsy on my phone, yes there's an App for that. I love browsing their 'Handpicked' items and there is where I found CuteBows4Girls. This shop carries a variety of hair bow clips in sizes and colors. I purchased their 'No Slip Infant Bows' for our munchkin and LOVE THEM! 

They are so easy to just slide into her hair to keep her little bangs out of her eyes and because they have the no slip material placed inside the metal clip, they seriously don't slide or fall out of her hair like many other bows. I did post a picture of Kensi wearing one on Instagram (@rmbraden09) to share with my fellow WTE June Mamas. 
If you're looking for a cute accessory for your little gal, be sure to check them out!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Every time I attempt to search for different items within Etsy, I am always finding new shops that I get sucked into! If you looked at the items and shops I mark as my 'favorites' you would find quite a few. However, there are a few shops that I absolutely love and visit frequently.

The first shop I want to share with you is CaptvDesigns. This shop is listed under my Sponsers tab, but for good reason. The shop owner is my best friend and sister but she makes all her jewelry from recycled material and embellishes each piece with ribbon, beads, wire or stones. These pieces are very unique and I have earrings, bracelets and a necklace that I can't get enough of! I love wearing jewelry, but I try to find more unique pieces that stand out from the generic items that are often found at the stores.
 This is a new shop on Etsy, the shop owner Trish originally started selling by word of mouth and through her website She opened her shop just a couple months ago.
Captv Designs

Another favorite shop of mine is TheBlueBirdShop. We purchased the pillows used in Kensi's nursery from here and absolutely love the patterns she has available. Not only does this shop carry the popular modern patterns, but they come in a variety of beautiful bold colors. I think finding toss pillows for your home can be very difficult because I can often find the color I want, but not the design and vis-a-versa. If this is your kind of style, then you will love this shop.


One other shop I'll share with you today is LittleLovesDesigns. This shop carries some of the most adorable bows, hats and headbands for baby. I know there are many shops within Etsy that make headbands, but this is one of my favorites. This is the shop where I found Kensi's knitted reindeer hat that I was obsessed with this past Christmas! It was a little large for her to begin with so I will definitely have her wear it again this year.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


B Toys can be found at Target, Barnes & Noble and Amazon (I'm sure there's other stores, but these are the places where we find them). The first B toy we purchased was their B One Two Squeeze Soft Blocks. Kensi loves tossing and chewing them. And because they're soft (like rubber) they don't hurt nearly as much when they get thrown.... say.... at your head, but they're stackable because they're much more sturdy than fabric blocks. Sort 'em, stack 'em, toss 'em!

We picked up the blocks a few months ago and since buying them, I started looking into their other toys. One that I was so excited to get for Kensi was the B Funkeys. She's always grabbing at my keys and know the 'not for Kensi' toys. When we saw the B Funkeys we instantly fell in love with the fact that the keys have metal on them to make them look and feel more like mommy and daddy's keys and not so 'baby'.
B FunKeys 
There's a few sound buttons and a nifty little flashlight too. Kensi thinks they're pretty cool as she drags them around hitting the unlock/lock button all the time....beep....beep beep!

We bought both toys from Target. The Funkeys were sold out for about three weeks, but it was worth the wait. I did find them on Amazon, however Amazon was selling them for twice as much! I was totally fine waiting a few weeks and saving that money.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I'm so excited to introduce some digital prints in our Etsy shop! Perfect for Valentine's day for a nursery, playroom or your home!

"I'm Just a Cupcake" print is available in white or purple. Click HERE to see listing.

"I'm Just a StudMuffin" print is available in white. Click HERE to see listing.

We've also added Cutie Thighs for girls & boys to our shop!

Happy Monday all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I'm not quite sure why, but I have a huge itch for Valentine's Day this year. I love it every year, but maybe because I'm ready for spring to come around I'm that much more excited about it...hmmm...I'm not quite sure. 

Kensi received some new books for Christmas and of course I have been rummaging through my book bins to pull out my Valentine and love books for her. Last Saturday we spent a couple hours reading through the love books in the children's section at B&N. I fell in love with The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh (linked below), seriously so cute! I also found Christmas books 50% off.....this is hard to come by, let me tell you! Great seasonal books are rarely and I mean RARELY clearanced out! I snagged an extra Duck & Goose It's Time for Christmas for a baby gift, Snowmen At Night, Little Reindeer (the finger puppet), and a couple others. If you have a chance this week, stop in and see if you can find a few good ones for this year's Christmas, after-all you can't beat it when you find them on sale like that!

I still think buying books through a Scholastic book order in the most money friendly, but they usually only have paperback books as opposed to hard-cover. Depending on the book I like to get the hardcover because they last longer, that is as long as you don't have a page ripper!

So here's some of our favorite Valentine and love books...I do say love books because they don't necessary focus on Valentine's Day, but are written about love or emotions and can be used all year round.

Olive My Love by Vivian Walsh
Snowy Valentine by David Petersen
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh
My Furry Valentine by Deborah Zemke
Happy Valentine's Day Mouse by Laura Numeroff
The Perfect Hug by Joanna Walsh
The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning
Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson

This past Christmas we didn't send out a Christmas card! We kept waiting to take a 'good' family picture, which never really came and then it was just too late. We said we'd send out a New Year's card and that didn't happen either. So instead we're starting something new this year and sending out Valentine's Day cards! They've already been ordered and they're on their way...I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I found the Zo-li Gummy Stick on Amazon while searching for teethers to put in Kensi's stocking for came in a two pack so I decided to give one to her early. I really like this teether because of it's shape. Since it is a stick she can chew and naw on it like she really wants to and she can place it anywhere she wants on her little gums.
It does have a safety guard that prevents her from shoving it all the way in her mouth, but on occasion she will flip it around and chew on the handle, which is quite a bit longer so we have to monitor her when she's play with it.
Last little tid-bit, we rarely let her have it when she's sitting on the ground only because she's constantly on the move and often likes to roll and fall forward. With the stick in her hand it could cause some serious damage to her precious face! 


This past year has definitely been memorable--it was one of our best years. Not only did we move back home from Maryland, but we began the journey of expanding our family. We welcomed Kensington Marie in June, traveled to a few different cities and started our own traditions. I know 2013 will be just as good if not better....we can't wait to see what's in store for us in the coming year!


Bowling with great friends, I'm pretty sure I ripped off all but two of my nails!


My egg painted belly.


Baby-moon in Kansas City, MO over Easter weekend.

Checking out the fabulous art at Joslyn Art Museum.


Celebrating Matt's 20th birthday with the family.

Maternity photo shoot at the house.


Celebrating a great friend's wedding.

Seconds after welcoming sweet Kensington into the world.

Family visiting Kensi for the first time.


Fourth of July.

Just like her daddy.

Kensi's baby shower thrown by my sisters.

Christmas in July.


Kensi's first trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo.

On our way to Kansas City to watch DC United play KC Sporting.


Minnesota road trip.

Cheering on our Huskers.

Fall photo shoot with pumpkins!

Seriously one of my favorites! Grandpa was dying to this all month.

First Halloween--our little sushi roll!


Kensi's baptism with her Godparents.

Oxnard, California

Kensi's first snowfall.


All bundled up! "Guys I can't get up!!!"

Christmas morning.

I love her little sassiness she has going on.

Typical us....weird and so goofy.


Peek-a-boo momma and dada!

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