Thursday, April 28, 2016

feeding favorites

From the first days of breastfeeding to picky little preschoolers, the last four years have been a learning game when it comes to feeding essentials. Our two kids have picked up different eating habits throughout each stage and what worked for one didn't necessarily work for the other. We've gone through different types of utensils, snack cups and sippy cups. Some have lasted for years and others didn't last a week! 
We're excited to meet the new babe and can't help but wonder if she'll be more like Kensi or Finn or maybe she'll be a total game changer and do things in an entirely different way. But before I share our favorite feeding essentials thus far lets chat about how different Kensi and Finn were from the beginning with just breastfeeding and transitioning into food. 

Had some difficulty latching on
Breastfed from the beginning
No cracking
Consistent eater
Allowed me to pump & build a milk supply
Happily took a bottle
Breastfed until 18 months
Hard to wean
Left me engorged & in pain
Started oatmeal at 4 months and baby food at 5 months
Began baby led eating at 6 months with sweet potato & avocado

Today Kensi is developing her taste buds and has become a little picky with certain foods like onions and mushrooms. If we have something more often she becomes burnt out and declares she no longer likes that particular food. She doesn't eat much, but will eat what she's given if it means she can have dessert. 

Latched on immediately and ate for 40 minutes
No cracking 
Not a consistent eater
Hated the bottle
Didn't allow me to pump, not a good milk supply
Breastfed until 14 months
Weaned easily without pain or engorgment 
Tried oatmeal at 5 months, skipped consistent baby food
Started baby led eating at 5 months with avocado, cauliflower & peaches

Finn hated bananas early on. He refused to eat anything mixed with bananas which is why baby food wasn't much of an option. After his first birthday he decided he likes bananas and will eat one every day. Finn will eat mostly anything we out in front of him, but can be a litter erie about chicken and carrots.

one | two | three | four five | six | seven |

Now let's chat about feeding essentials. Like I said we've gone through several different types of cups, utensils and serve ware. It's a question I get asked often. When Kensi was little she was a calm eater and never threw anything off her tray. I often used small glass appetizer plates and she still uses them.  I found them at Target as they're the perfect size for little hands. Finn is more aggressive and likes to play overboard with everything. The only time he usually gets a glass plate is when they're enjoying a mess free snack while watching their morning cartoon. Another item which may seem odd are our utensils. Real silverware has worked great once the kids have figured out how to use utensils. Most kitchen stores carry mini sets to use for cocktails & appetizers, but they work awesome for little hands and they aren't so bulky for the kids to handle. 
Sippy cups have always been an issue for us. Neither of the kids have done well with tipping a cup up. It took Kensi until she was over two years old and Finn has also struggled with it. We often go for cups with straws such as Camelbak. Our only downside we have is Finn bites the silicone mouth piece which can cause it to tear and allow drips, so keeping extra valve spouts on hand are helpful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

five months

How Far Along: 5 months
Weight Gained: 8 lbs 
Nausea: None
How Am I Feeling: I really don’t feel big or think I look as big as I do in this photo. My belly is stretched from Finn, but I’m carrying much more like I did with Kensi. Lots of heartburn and indigestion. I had to take an early glucose test since Finn was such a big baby. Good news is I don’t have GD, but I’m nearly anemic. My midwife has suggested I increase my intake of red meat & dairy.
Maternity Clothes: A mix of maternity and non-maternity pieces fill my wardrobe.
Sleep: Sleeping is good, but I’m feeling pinched nerves and back pains.
Cravings: Still craving a lot of fruits.
Food Aversions: Not many at this point. My meal plan is all over the place and being tired has really thrown a wrench into cooking at night.
Movement: Feeling lots of little kicks.
Belly Button In or Out: Out!
Gender: Kensi was begging us to find out about the baby and we thought it would be fun to experience both sides of the issue. We found out we’re having a GIRL!
Names: No boy names needed which is weird for us.
What I'm Looking Forward To: I'm excited to start shopping and planning for another girl.
What's Different With This Pregnancy: Not much difference from being pregnant with Kensi.
What I'm Missing: Cutting my coffee out gave me horrific headaches so I put my caffeinated coffee back into my diet. I have a small cup in the mornings. Everything is in moderation.
How Are We Preparing: We decided to give the baby her (so weird to say HER!) own room. We purchased a second crib and picked out a light pink paint for her walls with the help of Kensi. She’s over the moon excited for a sister!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

our crazy life lately

We've been busy trying to plan trips, keep up with our schedule and get projects done around the house. It's a never ending ride, let me tell ya.
While trying to refinish a desk and build an herb box our air compressor completely kapooped! I hate it when stuff like this happens because it delays projects I so badly want finished! It's just frustrating.  So two of our projects are sitting and waiting *sigh*. Oh and did I mention our lawn mower isn't working for the second year in a row? Just add it to the pile.

Finn has been teething nonstop which has royally messed up his sleeping habits to the point where he  successfully sleeps through the night for three days and we stupidly celebrate only to have it ripped from us with a night of him being up constantly. You would think we would know this is how it goes for sleep habits, or non-habits, but oddly when it’s the second kid you forget. Do you see all that drool pouring out of his mouth? Yeah, that’s been a permanent thing since he was seven months.

On a brighter note Kensi has asked for a wild animal themed birthday this year. I'm telling you, that girl is obsessed with mermaids and has taken every opportunity to do something mermaid related, so this animal thing is sort of throwing me for a loop, but it's going to be so much fun to plan with lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

peanut butter & jelly with a twist

We eat a lot of peanut butter in our house. Whether it's on waffles, sandwiches, by the spoon or melted with chocolate for a simple dessert. The kids can't seem to get enough and the best part that makes me laugh every single time is they call it 'peanut butter-jelly-time.’ We may have only watched the YouTube video a couple thousand times on road trips and it stuck. I adore it and I hope it doesn’t ever change.
Now that it's spring and we try to get outside as much as possible, we often pack our  lunch and head to the backyard, the park or down to the beach to meet Mike. Since the kids love peanut butter as much as they do, it makes for an easy lunch to pack for our on the go trips. Just don't forget the wet wipes! 
We've been inventing new ways to make our PB&J especially with fresh fruit. Swapping out the jelly for fresh sliced strawberries {or topping them like we did in the photo}, mashed up blueberries or sliced bananas are some of our favorites and it cuts back on the sugar. When we’re hanging out home we also like to make grilled peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches. It’s a fun treat the kids love.
Another favorite of Kensi and Finn's is peanut butter and jelly kabobs. This definitely makes it a little less messy and more fun. Cut a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into mini squares and spear them onto a short skewer. Stacking the mini sandwiches with fresh fruit and cheese cubes makes for an adorable lunch and irresistible to eat. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

spring baby shower

A couple of my friends and I hosted a spring themed baby shower for our friend Sarah. We kept everything simple with spring blooms, white balloons and candles. Even though Sarah is expecting a sweet baby boy, it didn’t stop us from having a girly shower perfectly fit for spring.
We ended up making our salads and desserts ourselves and had chicken catered from Chick-Fil-A, a win for everyone because seriously, who doesn’t like Chick-Fil-A?? 
Lenzie had these amazing sliced wood stumps we used as platters to hold the different dishes, they were gorgeous and added so much character and texture to our setup. We also flipped wood crates upside down for our drink dispensers. It gave the tablescape added height with the flowers and kept any drips on the table rather than the floor.

I made the mini cupcakes in two different flavors. Chocolate-peanut butter cup and fresh strawberry, both were delicious & the recipes are linked at the bottom of the post. We also had pound cake, brownies and fruit. Adding in the cute chalkboard signage pulled everything together and we didn't have guests constantly asking what each dessert consisted of.  We purchased all our florals from Trader Joes. It made for very easy and elegant decor without being over the top with crepe paper and banners. 

Everything was very quant, intimate and low key. Sarah was able to mingle and socialize with each guest and simply relax. We all shared advice, favorite baby products and had lots of giggles over Sarah receiving not one, not two, but three boppy pillows which all came in the exact same bag!

We used Paperless Post for our invitations and I can only rave about them. Not only was it simple to create, but the card options are stunning. I loved the organization the site provided by informing me who was and wasn’t able to attend and the ease of sending out reminders to all our guests. On top of the ease of being an online invitation, I was still able to purchase a single paper card as a keepsake  for Sarah to put in her baby book.
A huge thank you to my lovely friends, Lenzie and Jen. We couldn’t have pulled any of this off had we not worked together. We had so much fun showering Sarah and her sweet baby boy!

Paperless Post - Invitations
Trader Joes - Florals
Martha Stewart - Recipes
Hobby Lobby - Accessories
Gimme Some Oven - Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Thursday, April 14, 2016

high chair comparison

In four years we've only purchased a countertop high chair and did that once we had Finn. When we moved we took my mom's wooden high chair she had as a baby. I love the history it comes with, but it's really not ideal anymore. It's wood so it absorbs nearly everything, especially yogurt and its gross to clean up. Our countertop high chair is awesome as it's comfortable, travels well and can be thrown in the wash machine for easy cleaning. But it does have its faults as well. That easy cleaning always requires a wash machine so when it's dirty and the baby needs to eat, we're kind of S.O.L..
We decided to start looking at free standing high chairs to replace my mom's. Finn loves to be close when I'm cooking and I love the mobility of a free standing chair. Along with welcoming another babe soon we will be needing the extra chair. We started looking and comparing some of our favorites. We like modern clean lines and something that will function well for our family.

1 | Stokke Trip Trap | The ultimate chair for an entire family. Stylish, modern and innovated. It’s not over the top and would blend well with any household. This chair doesn’t adjust by height, but it does grow with the baby up to an adult. 
2 | 4Moms | This is one of the newest products from 4Moms. They make several awesome baby gear items and I would love to have them all. Their highchair adjusts by height to fit at most tables which is great for growing with the baby. The tray is also magnetic and can easily be attached and removed with a single hand for all us mamas juggling a baby on the hip and a toddler on the leg.
3 | Boon | This is probably one of the most modern chairs available. Reviewed as very easy to clean and offers a bold pop of color. It includes a foot-activated lift for height adjustment and also sits on wheels for easy gliding across floors.
4 | Baby Bjorn | I’m most attracted to this chair’s style. I love the combination of clean lines, color and simplicity. Some of the features include a large knob to lock and unlock the tray and can be easily folded up and stored when not in use. This chair is shorter than most. At just 33 inches tall, it’s meant for dining tables and more interaction between parents and baby during meal times.
5 | Phil & Teds | The really cool thing about this high chair is the way it grows with the child. The legs can be shortened to become a child-size chair at play table height. This allows the chair to be multi-functional. You would need a new one with every kid if you use it in that way, but at one of the lowest priced out of the bunch you can afford to do so. My biggest fear with this chair is we are all super clumsy and one, if not all of us, would trip over its legs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

the good, the bad, the sweet & the ugly

I feel like some weeks are spilling over with ridiculously crazy things such as finding Finn in the pantry trying to eat a bulb of garlic with the paper peel stuck to his lips, hands and tongue or wondering why the garage door keeps going up and down as we’re unloading the groceries only to find the kids didn’t think the button did anything.

Truth be told, everyone goes through ups and downs and has really awful moments they’re ashamed of and some where they're so proud they wonder if anyone else saw what just happened. Parenting is so hard. And although we sympathize with other parents, sometimes our moment can be so great it feels as if no one can top it. Maybe my crazy moments will make you feel better or at least let you know that we all have days like these.

1. Being pregnant (multiple times) means your body no longer holds anything in place especially when you cough or sneeze. And sometimes that sneeze is coming no matter what you’re doing or hard you try to stop it. Such as walking in the parking lot after leaving the grocery store and wearing a skirt.  

2. Turn your back for 1 minute and you may hear your three old screaming from your bathroom that something is very wrong with your one year old’s hands. First thoughts as you’re running to help is blood everywhere from who knows how or what they got into, but luckily he’s sitting in the shower covered in shaving cream. 

3. Kensi has been finding new ways to make shapes and signs with her fingers. We had to chat with her about only having the middle finger up, after she thought it was the coolest trick she discovered.

4. I attempted to put the new crib together myself doing the day, you know with two babes running around. After one’s endless whining and the other with no listening skills got the best of me, I put them both in their beds, shut the doors and walked away. I needed a moment to myself, to cry it all out. Hard.

5. The kids napped for over three hours earlier this week. It was amazing. When they both woke up all they wanted to do was snuggle, read books and eat Goldfish crackers. They were amazingly sweet and kept ‘I love you so much’ on repeat for a good hour.

Moments like these can feel far and few between especially when we get caught up in everyday life, but whether it’s a good or bad day, a snugglefest or a war zone, soak it upend hang in there mamas, for everything is a phase and too soon it will be gone.

Monday, April 11, 2016

fresh berry pie

This year I'm focusing on organizing our most favorite recipes and whenever I get excited about organizing I always buy something to make it fun. I have several recipe books and printed recipes, but there's just so many I can never find them when I need them. I found this super cute Rifle Paper Co. Recipe Box which forces me to take the time to write our favorites out and keep them all together. It sounds like work, but I love to write and I think about the legacy it will leave for our children.

We're getting closer to berry season here in coastal Carolina and I'm sharing my favorite recipes for our readers to take advantage of all the deliciousness of the sweet berries. One of my favorite strawberry recipes is Fresh Strawberry Pie my mom always made us. The original recipe came from our old family friend, Betty, and it was shared with my mom who then passed it down to my sisters and I. Depending what berries are in season mom makes this with either strawberries or raspberries and it's the simplest pie that even someone who's not confident in kitchen can make. oven required!!!

Fresh Berry Pie
1 Graham Cracker Crust, store-bought
16 oz Fresh Strawberries, sliced OR Raspberries (whole)
1 (3 oz) package of Strawberry Jello OR Raspberry Jello 
1-1/2 cups Water
1 cup White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch 

Slice strawberries and place in a large mixing bowl, set aside. 
Mix sugar and cornstarch together, then add to a saucepan with the water and jello mix. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil and thicken, making sure sugar and cornstarch dissolves about 1 to 2 minutes. Let jello mixture cool and pour over sliced strawberries. 
Transfer strawberry mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust. Place pie in the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours or until jello is set. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

four months

*Photo was taken a couple weeks late. Here I’m actually closer to five months than four months, but we’re close enough.
How Far Along: 4 Months
Weight Gained: 4 lbs 
Nausea: A little heartburn.
How Am I Feeling: I feel great! 
Maternity Clothes: Not quite, I’m still fitting in my jeans!
Sleep: I’m getting lots of sleep and still able to somewhat sleep on my stomach with an added pillow.
Cravings: Potatoes in all forms, fruit & smoothies.
Food Aversions: I cringe at the thought of leftovers!
Movement: I’m beginning to feel little swims and flutters.
Belly Button In or Out: Out! 
Gender: Unknown. 
Names: No idea yet.
What I'm Looking Forward To: We’re discussing finding out the gender this time!
What's Different With This Pregnancy: I’m not showing anywhere near like I did with Finn even though at the time I swore I was carrying similar to Kensi. I was in denial. They were so different! This time I’m definitely feeling more like I started with Kensi.
What I'm Missing: Coffee!!!!!!
How Are We Preparing: We’re trying to decide if we’ll make a new nursery or pair the new babe up with Kensi or Finn.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

love notes

The past couple weeks I have been loving on my family and just taking in the simple acts of love that so commonly go unnoticed. I’m forever grateful for my sweet and growing crew and there are many days I feel like I’m pulling my hair out, but there’s no way I would change any of it. 

5. On the weekends, if my husband makes it downstairs before I do, he usually has my coffee made and waiting for me, along with HGTV on the television. Unless one of the babes makes it before me, then it's usually some show from Disney Jr.. 

4. Whether it's just because or when I give her a mini bowl of chocolate chips, Kensi's sweet words of, 'Mom, you're the greatest mom in the whole world' will overwhelm me with tears, because many times a day do we think we're doing everything wrong and we just pray to God we raise our kids to be good, kind humans. 

3. When my husband comes home from work and both our kids scream with joy and run with everything they have to meet him with the squeeziest hug they can give. They absolutely adore him as their hero and I’m beyond blessed to call him my husband and the father of my children.

2. Each morning when my babies wake up they both give me morning hugs and kisses. It's the first thing we do every single day, followed by 'where's daddy??' 

1. Listening to my husband sing praise and worship songs to the radio in the car is probably one of the most attractive things I've ever encountered and my daughter is now noticing which songs we sing in church and whether she knows the words or not, she sings her heart out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

tie breaker

This time around we struggled with deciding whether or not to find out the gender of this sweet baby. Kensi asked us every day when we could ask the doctor. We kept both Kensi's and Finn's gender unknown until delivery and since we've experienced the surprise end we thought it would be fun and interesting to experience knowing the gender. 
Mike and I were a little nervous for the technician to tell us in case it was in fact a boy and Kensi would have a dramatic meltdown. I thought baby was a boy and Kensi & Mike thought baby was a girl. We're excited to share...

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