Sunday, February 28, 2016

the great car seat debate

It's a blessing and a curse with the array of car seats we get to choose for our kids. The infant seat is the easiest buy, but once that sweet baby of yours turns one and outgrows it, welcome to the world of car seat headaches. It's painfully exhausting researching which ones carry high ratings and for what reasons. 
When Kensi turned one we purchased the Britax Advocate 70-G3 and loved almost everything about it. We chose this one in particular because it did have the highest ratings without completely breaking the bank. But after some wear and tear we found a few things we really disliked such as the width; it's huge and good luck ever thinking you'll manage to get three people to sit in that row ever again. We also hate the fabric. At first it seemed so plush and great for a toddler, but after experiencing a road trip back home while she battled a fever, we were ready to chuck the thing out the door. Our pediatrician warned us to take her temp every hour just to monitor because the plush car seat fabrics tend to trap heat and raise their body temp. Kensi's temp in the seat would get as high as 104 degrees F. As soon as we stopped and took her out she lowered to 101 degrees F. A drastic difference and enough of one to make us research a different seat for her and Finn made with a more breathable fabric. Luckily, so many of the car seat brands are changing their fabric choices for this reason and for ease of cleaning and I'm so grateful! It breaks my heart thinking of the dangers they can cause for our little ones. 
After researching width, fabric, weight, safety and orgin we opted for the Peg Perego Convertible car seat for both our kiddos. Kensi can stay in a 5 point harness convertible up until 65 lbs which I love and with car seats having an expiration date of five years (check your seat for the exact expiration date) this leaves us in good hands with both kids. 
The Peg Perego is much narrower compared to our original Britax, by a good four inches. I know that doesn't seem like much, but when it comes to space in a car, it's huge. With that said it is still too wide to fit three car seats across one seat, but it’s also much lighter and easier to take in and out of the car. The fabric is breathable and pulls sweat away from the body and it’s easy to just wipe with a damp cloth to clean. Sadly, I’ve already had to do this and we’ve only had it for a couple weeks. Lastly, we opted for Peg Perego because it’s made in Italy rather than China. 
So far we’re very happy with our purchase and will be purchasing a second seat for Kensi, who is even more excited than we are because she repeatedly tells us how much she dislikes her current seat because it’s just too hot. She will be one happy girl once her’s gets here. 
Now on to the next thing...since we're expanding, the great car debate! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

easter baskets

Another year for Easter baskets is here again. I think the baskets are getting a little harder each time. Trying to find creative and fun items not found everyday can be challenging, but I love putting together themed baskets. It's a weird thing I love; trying to find the cutest little items to make a fun and interesting basket usually based on a book only seems fitting since we have books scattered throughout the house. 
Kensi has been asking for rain boots and an umbrella for quite some time so her basket has a little bit of a water theme this year, which pairs well with her current obsession with mermaids. We gave Kensi her BlaBla Melody Mermaid last year for her birthday which travels a lot with us. I came across Sophie and LiLi’s handmade mermaid doll for her basket this year. Lots of pink and fun items that make splashing in puddles all the better!

Finn is a little more difficult. He will be 15 months old, but he seems older to me because he's constantly trying to keep up with his big sis, so a babyish Easter basket just isn't fitting for him. He's all boy and I know this summer he is going to making quite the mess outside playing in the dirt and water. I'm in love with his all boy basket and I think it will be perfect for his exploring side.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

all hail to sleep

I nearly forgot what it's like to sleep through the night. After spending the day playing with the babes, keeping the house clean, making lunches and snacks, attempting to keep up with's exhausting. Every night I look forward to laying down in my not always made bed and relaxing, but too often it's short lived with my baby boy waking up and wanting mama snuggles. I've learned to embrace it for you never know how short this phase will be. 
What seemed like forever ended last night {maybe only briefly}, but I experienced a full nights sleep! I woke up at 5:30 in a panic, frantically searching for Finn only to realize my sweet little stinker slept all night in his crib. Happy, well slept mama right here who's missing her baby snuggles. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

when the cravings call

This pregnancy has me gagging at the thought of most leftovers and pork. It also has me craving very particular meals and if I decide to make it, it must be from scratch. Yesterday I was craving lasagna. I've actually been craving it for a few days, but yesterday was the last straw. I tweaked my recipe slightly to accommodate what I had in my fridge. I used arugula for spinach, a mix of mild sausage and hamburger for sweet sausage and sliced mozzarella for shredded. This baby was beyond divine and smashed my craving to pieces. 
I could barely hold myself together as the mild sausage tomato sauce simmered in my stove. I couldn't help but continually taste the sauce by the spoonful. The combination of the sausage {which tasted quite delicious for me not liking pork right now} paired with aromatic Italian seasonings and garlic had me weak in the knees. As much as I was smitten over the homemade sauce I couldn't wait to taste the ricotta cheese mixture. It was sad not being able to taste it with a couple left over noodles due to the eggs, but once the entire lasagna was baked and rested I dove in with a fork. It was delicious and so right. Now I wasn't sure if I would be able to stomach it later today or tomorrow since it is now a leftover, but there are some things that taste better the next day and this is one of them. Thank the Lord! 

Hope you enjoy! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

organic snob

I'll admit it, I will buy organic whenever I can, especially when it comes to snacks for our kids. I'm that mom that doesn't buy sugary cereal, I water down all juice drinks and I make most food items from scratch. But I'm also the mom that bakes way too many desserts, I use real butter and sugar and I always keep chocolate on hand. There's a balance I try to do, but lately I've been teetering into the 'let's just eat cake' zone. Sometimes we just need to. I'm guilty of baking up sweets for holidays and you would think we would be out of the holiday season, but there's a flipping holiday to celebrate nearly every month. That cake I made for Valentine's Day, yeah we {the three of us} finished the entire 9 inch, four layers in a mere four days. FOUR! And I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. But here I am restocking our snacks with healthy whole fruit strips, fresh produce, etc...etc...and all I can think about is the great debate of do I make coconut pound cake for Easter or a lemon dessert, maybe both. It's no wonder this blog is named Sprinkles on Top because dessert seems to always be on our minds. 
But then again I know everyone needs a little chocolate and I have a good month before I really need to dive into a dessert again. So it's back to my workouts, my produce and our healthy snacks. 
Aside from having major sweet tooth in our house we also have this crazy addiction to fruit. My little nugget Finn was the odd one out all last year because he hated bananas and refused to eat anything with bananas in it. Today he's turned a huge corner and eats a whole banana for breakfasts and then begs for Kensi's. With all the fruit we've been eating we literally can't keep it stocked in the house. 
Some of our favorite fruit concoctions are easy and very fun to eat. The kids love eating oatmeal toast smeared with cream cheese or ricotta cheese and topped with blueberries. Kensi calls this our blueberry sandwich and she would do backflips for blueberries if she could. 
Another is broiled grapefruit. Finn loves all food at this point and Kensi is starting to get a little picky, but she knows she has to try everything once with two bites; a thank you bite and a tasting bite. I love the broiled grapefruit and it's one of my favorite snacks right now especially with all my citrus cravings. I cut it in half, sprinkle with sugar and pop it under the broiler until it starts to caramelize. Kensi may not be crazy about grapefruit for the moment, but she does love thin apple slices with either a nut butter or a chocolate hazelnut spread. 
Our last snack to share today has come from our obsession with smoothies. We keep a lot of frozen fruit on hand and like to blend them up with yogurt, coconut water or milk. Pop the blended mixture in our Popsicle forms and have nice cool treats all week long. Our current favorites are frozen mango and coconut water AND our black cherries and coconut milk! 

Psst....speaking of Easter, stay tuned for later this week I'll be sharing our Easter basket ideas for this year! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

another cold one for the books

Yesterday, Kensi and I spent our afternoon making the most decadent chocolate-chocolate mousse cake topped with chocolate ganache and strawberries. I'm not going to lie, I've been stealing forkfuls all day long starting with breakfast. There's just no way around it, pregnant or not, chocolate is my jam and when you add fruit to it ...well I just go straight to heaven. 
Feel the need to make this beauty? If you're questioning it let me just tell you there are four layers of cake and FOUR layers of mousse. FOUR!!! I promise it's not very difficult. Find the recipe HERE

It's been another cold, drizzly day that kept us inside. The kids have done really well with all the rain we've been getting and I wish I could say the same. But fighting pregnancy exhaustion while chasing two kiddos and trying to keep up with the house is just plain hard. I've also been battling headache after headache due to cutting out my coffee just like the last two pregnancies. I need my caffeinated coffee. I need it. To keep the kids and I occupied today we all snuggled on the couch and watched Frozen while snacking on a lunch of cheese squares, hummus, crackers, grapes and our favorite mango + coconut smoothie. Something simple, but still nutritious. 
1 cup frozen mango + 1 cup coconut water. blend until smooth. 

Fortunately, Mike is always the super hubster, but even more so when I'm pregnant. He knows I'm tired. He knows I dont feel my best and he always takes care of me when he gets home from work. Today is no exception. He's not even feeling his greatest today, but offers to take the kids, pick up din and let me have some peace and quiet for about an hour. He knows I needed it. He knows I wanted it even if I said I didn't. So excuse me as I veg on the couch, eating my sushi {and chocolate cake} while watching The Bachelor. It's been a long Monday. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

my valentine

Mike and I have celebrated many, many Valentine days together. We are high school sweethearts and have learned a lot about our relationship together. We've learned making sacrifices for each other and for our family is necessary and makes us as a couple much stronger. Our Valentine celebrations have changed quite a bit the last few years as our family has grown and we've moved away from family, but that hasn't kept us from keeping our spark alive. 
From our first Valentine's together with a scavenger hunt through our hometown to celebrating with our babes with homemade chocolate cake and games on the living room floor. No matter where we are I'm so in love with the life we've created together and the marriage we've built. There's no where I'd rather be than sitting on our couch at night sipping champagne sparkling cider with you. As silly as it sounds to be all lovely on this day in particular I hope I show you how much I love you everyday of the year and I make you feel as loved as you make me. Happy Valentine's Day my love and best friend. ❤️

Saturday, February 13, 2016

hip hip hooray

Happy Valentine's Day from our sweet Valentines. One, two...and THREE. An unexpected surprise is due this summer! 
We knew we wanted to try for at least one more, a minimum of three kids was always our hope and knowing it took us a little while to conceive Kensi and Finn, we were talking about when we wanted to begin trying again. The weekend before Christmas we gave Kensi and Finn each a gift early since we were going back to Nebraska for Christmas and they would want ample play time. I was a few days late and took a test, turned out everyone was getting an early Christmas gift! We were so shocked mostly because it took us months to become pregnant before and this wasn't planned. 
We are so excited to meet this little bundle who must be just as excited to become part of our little family. 
Of course, Kensi is over the moon excited and Finn is rather torn. He's already quite the attention hog. Kensi is hoping for a girl and asking if we can find out, but we'll be keeping this sweet babe's gender a secret just like the last least that's the plan as of now. Parents of three, please welcome us to the joyful chaos! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

the sugar cookie disaster

Aren't they some of the cutest Valentine sugar cookies ever? When I first saw the original post on Pinterest from The Sweet Escape and knew Kensi and I would have a blast decorating them with the water color technique. We were both so excited and had such high hopes, but let me warn you, we've been working on these cookies for two days. 

We decided to find a 'fool proof' cut out sugar cookie from Pinterest and didn't want to bother with the one provided in the article, it seemed a little off to me, but my own luck was off. After trying two different 'The BEST Cut Out Sugar Cookie of All Time' recipes, both were epic FAILS!!! The cookies were far too soft and fell apart upon picking them up and didn't hold their shape enough for our X's and O's. My kitchen was completely covered in flour and sugar, dishes were falling out of the sink and every surface felt like it was growing a layer of cookies on it. It was quite the seen for Mike to come home to. Whoops!
So Mama to the rescue. I called my mom late Wednesday night in dyer need of the recipe we used for Christmas that I lost in my shuffle of paper clutter, which note to self....get a recipe box ASAP and write down favorite recipes! I think the culprit in both the failing recipes was too much butter and the absence of baking powder, causing the cookies to fall apart. 
So what's the recipe that finally did the trick and performed the biggest Valentine's miracle I've ever witnessed?!!? It's Wilton. Check out the recipe below and if you dare to make cut out sugar cookies, I hope this one works for as well as did for Kensi and me. But as I've learned with recipes, nothing is a guarantee so I won't dare say this is 'the best cut out sugar cookie of all time' although in my case it actually is! So as my husband says in the words of Liam Neeson...Good Luck.

Wilton Sugar Cookies
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
2-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. 
Do not chill dough. Divide into two balls. On a floured surface roll each ball out into a circle approximately 1/4 inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour before each use. Bake cookies on parchment paper about 7 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden. 

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