May 27, 2012

My Favorite Baby Items

There are a few items that we have that I love! 
These things have saved me in keeping A-Cakes happy!

Baby Gym Floor Mat: We got this for A-Cakes for Christmas, but she didn't really play with it until she was around 3 months, and she has loved it ever since. We bought it at Walmart, and it came with the toys already. I think her being on it has helped her roll better because she reaches for the toys. She can spend up to 25-30 minutes with this thing! 

Medela Breast Pump: It is just a small manual pump that was like $30.00.  I don't work outside the home and so I just needed a manual one. It works super great if you want to pump a few times a week, even once a day or so. I pump every so often and store milk in the fridge or freezer, so if we go somewhere I can just give A-Cakes a bottle of the pumped milk! It can be a bit slow, so if you need to pump a lot, get an electric one. But it helps for outings.  (Also on that note, some babies don't take bottles, but I think if you start them at around 4 weeks they will take to a bottle better. It is early enough that they aren't too picky, but breastfeeding is well established by that time. )

Crinkle Book:  Who knew a $4 item could be so wonderful. A-Cakes loves this so so much. Its her favorite toy. Many melt downs have been stopped because of it. It makes the crinkley loud noise, and she loves it. I like the handle because I can hold the handle and she can bat at it without it falling on the floor. 

Hylands Teething Tablets: Thanks to my lovely friend I bought some of these for A-Cake's poor teething gums. They are all natural, and they are tablets and dissolve instantly in their mouth. She seems to like the taste too. You can just buy them at Walmart and they work really well. She is much happier once she has these. They do seem to make her a little constipated though, so if you try them and baby seems to have a problem, our pediatrician just said to give them a little bit of prune juice. 

Lanolin:  Totally kept my boobies in good shape with the whole nursing thing. No cracking or bleeding like I hear can happen from some people's horror stories. I haven't really needed it since like A-Cakes was a month old, but I occasionally use it if I get a little hurty. Did nursing hurt any of you guys? Some people said at first it kills, especially when the milk comes in, but it totally didn't for me. I honestly didn't feel that big of a difference. I only get a bit uncomfy when A-Cakes hasn't eaten in a while. 

My Baby Wish List: 

I probably won't get any of these items until the next baby comes. But these are the things I keep telling Jeremy I NEED for our next kid! 

Travel Swing: 

    We have a regular swing right now (we actually bought it at a garage sale, score!) but it is kinda bulky and a pain to bring to people's houses. And A-Cakes just sleeps so well in it, that a travel swing would be excellent to just pack up so she can go to sleep in and so all hell doesn't break loose when she gets tired outside of the house. If I had to do it over again, I would just have a travel swing, a bigger swing isn't needed, and the travel swings are a heck of a lot cheaper. 

Baby Step-N-Play

My cousin says she thinks this is what helped her kid walk earlier. And I just think it looks like it would keep baby entertained for a long time! 

Video Baby Monitor

I bought the cheapest monitor out there. But all monitors are not created equal. Mine sucks! It picks up the neighbors and we can hear them, and vice versa. And it makes kind of a buzzing noise too while its on, annoying. I don't even use it. I can just hear A-Cakes whenever she cries. But a video one would be way more awesome. I could make sure she is okay, because even when the monitor was on, I still check on her like a thousand times and make sure she is breathing, and hasn't rolled into some awkward position somehow preventing her from breathing. 

Things that are Just Plain CUTE!

Play-N-Crawl Ball: It moves a tiny bit, so baby has to make more of an effort to get it. I have seen A-Cakes try and get up on her little legs and crawl too it. Of course she is a bit young to crawl, but I think it is going to help her crawl. Plus it sings and tells them shapes and has a little lady bug that moves on top of it. I just think it is adorable.  
(also the blanket I took a lot of these pics on, its a big minky blanket that my aunt made for A-Cakes, I LOVE IT. Its so cute! All pink and stuff and I secretly use it for myself half of the time, its just the right size)

Pink Flower IKEA lights: My MIL bought these for A-Cakes for Christmas. They are too cute. They make the perfect nightlights, and they give off this super cute pink glow and her room is just this cute pink paradise all night. I just think they are cute! 

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag: I didn't buy this, my cousins all chipped on it for me for my shower (thanks guys). I don't think I could have justified buying a $100.00 diaper bag to Jeremy, but I love this thing. It is water resistant on the outside, it has this zipper thing in front that comes out to be a changing mat and lots of pockets. My favorite thing about it. It has straps to be a backpack too! Because you are just carrying like a thousand things sometimes and the backpack straps take the weight off your arms and distributes it evenly. Plus, it is just freakin' adorable. 

May 24, 2012

Burlap and Ruffle Table Runner- Super EASY!

I gotta new table a few months ago (courtesy of a hand-me-down from my mother-in law), I love it, its blue, and has little drawers in it too to put all my junk. And its not a cheap-o table from Ikea. 

But it needed a little pizzaz. Like a table runner, but I didn't have a sewing machine. So when I visited my mom in New Mexico in March I borrowed hers and made myself one while I was there. Yes, I made this clear back in March and I was just lazy and didn't post it. Now I have my own sewing machine, and I made a skirt, and someday I will get around to posting that... 
This table runner is so freakin' easy. Anyone could make it, yes anyone, even if you are like me and have the sewing skills of a monkey, and not those smart ones that know sign language.

I got about two yards of burlap, and had plenty to spare (I actually probably only needed a yard of it) And I bought about 1/2 yard of muslin and used most of that for the ruffles. 
I just cut out a big rectangle of my red burlap, then I ironed about 1/3 inch of fabric on all sides, pinned and sewed it so the edges didn't fray. 
Then I made the ruffles. Don't be afraid, ruffles are really easy. 
I didn't take pictures while I was making them, or anything though. 
So you can use the tutorial I used over at one of my favorite blogs, A Girl and a Glue Gun
I looked at a few ruffle tutorials and they all confused me except for hers, cause she takes a lot of pictures which I love. Once I made the ruffles I just sewed them right onto the burlap. It is all straight lines. 
I could have made the table runner longer, which would have been fun. But I figure with a baby who is going to be crawling in a few months, I would be an idiot to make something hang over the edge. That is an accident waiting to happen. 
Also my new table did not come with chairs. I had my chairs all picked out online at a store, but waited until we had money to buy them, then once we had the money, the store is no longer selling them. Jerks! So I am still waiting to find my perfect chairs. So we are using our Ikea chairs still. 
Oh and we have an office chair here since Jeremy thinks this is the office (why do we even have a spare room?)

May 21, 2012

waffle ice cream sandwiches

Saw this over at Come Together Kids, I made them, they were Heaven! 

What You Need: 

1 box devil's food cake mix (w eggs, oil, and water as box calls for)
vanilla ice cream
waffle iron
chocolate chips (optional)
hershey's syrup or hot fudge (optional)

Make cake batter according to directions on box. I put chocolate chips in the batter, it made it more chocolatey.
Then pour cake mixture into your waffle iron, just like you would when you make waffles. 
I have a circle iron, so it only makes one at a time, some irons are square and make two. 
cook your cake as long as you would a waffle, maybe a little less. Mine took about two minutes. You want it pretty soft, so don't let it get crispy. 
Then set cake on cooling rack and cool. Repeat until all batter is gone and you have a lot of cake waffles. 
Build into ice cream sandwiches. As I said before, our iron makes one giant waffle, its huge, so I just used one and cut it in half and stacked the halves on top of each other. If yours makes two waffles at a time, I would just use the two and stack them on top. You can add fudge or chocolate syrup on top too. 

Super easy and yummy! 

May 16, 2012

Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

This was the main dish, or primo in Italian, that my hubby made for our anniversary dinner . It was semi-homemade, so he used Prego as the base, but added extra to it. It was super delicious. And I think one jar of prego doesn't actually go that far, but this like doubled the amount of sauce it made. So I think I will do this recipe for most of the time now when I make spaghetti (which is often since it is an easy meal to make)

Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 med. onion diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 C. Ground Basil
1 lb ground beef
1 Jar Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce (or your favorite kind, I love the garlic kind or the kind with Italian sausage)
1 lb. Spaghetti pasta
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Bring large pot of water to a boil, salt the water and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add pasta. (The oil helps the pasta from sticking)
Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and set aside. 
While pasta is cooking, heat skillet over med. heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add in ground beef, crumble as it browns. Cook 8-10 minutes or until beef is cooked through. Drain fat from beef, set aside. Heat a separate large pot over med. Grease the pot with a drizzle of olive oil, add garlic ad saute garlic for 2 minutes. Add onions and tomatoes with the garlic in the pot. When tomatoes and onions are soft, pour in Prego sauce. 
Stir in the cooked ground beef into the pot as well. 
Cook for 15 minutes. 
Stir in basil. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. 
Add noodles to plate, pour sauce over noodles. Enjoy!

My hubby also cooked some Italian Sausage and placed it on the side. I love Italian Sausage (oh man I am really refraining from writing a dirty joke in here...) But anyway you could cook that up and serve it on the side, or slice it up and add it to the sauce. 

I love to add pureed vegetables to my meals to pump up my veggie intake, you can read about it HERE. This is a great recipe to add pureed zucchini and/or carrots to the sauce. I like zucchini in the sauce the best. You can't taste it and it gives you so much more vegetables and vitamins!

May 13, 2012

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Another post on our anniversary dinner. Are you sick of me talking about it yet? This is the last one, I promise. 
(okay sorry the picture is far away, it was our anniversary and I wasn't taking amazing pics I guess)

But we also ate this rosemary olive oil bread. I actually made this though, not the hubby. He wasn't super comfortable baking bread. I made it in the bread machine (well the dough, I cooked it in the oven though) so it was easy. 
You can find the recipe for it over at A Hint of Honey. It is a great loaf of bread, I have made it a few times, yummy! 
I like to dip this bread in some olive oil and cooked minced garlic with a little basil. 
You can also find a recipe for Carrabas Dipping Sauce over HERE , I haven't made it yet, but it looks pretty easy. 


Tomato Bruschetta

When my hubby made me our anniversary dinner he made homemade bruschetta. It was soo yummy. I loved it. I really love tomatoes and in college I would make bruschetta and eat it just as a meal. I haven't made it in a while though, I guess I kinda just forgot about it. So when my hubby made it, homemade and everything, I was so excited. 
He used the bruschetta as the appetizer (did you know antipasto is appetizer in Italian? I didn't, he had to tell me.)
Here is the recipe for it. I don't know where he got it, I just found the printed out recipe on the counter after dinner. So sorry there is no source. 

1 1/2 lbs ripe roma tomatoes (about 4 or 5 of them)
2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c. basil
2 tsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (he used balsamic)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan shavings (he didn't add the parmesan since I hate cheese)
Toasted Crunchy Bread (like a baguette)

Cut tomatoes in half, squeeze out seeds and excess juice. Dice, and place in a bowl. Add onion, garlic, basil, vinegar, and salt and pepper and olive oil. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour. 
Brush toasted bread lightly with olive oil. Spoon tomato mixture over bread, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Devour! 
(sorry it was our anniversary and I was hungry, so I didn't take amazing pics)


May 9, 2012

7 surprising things about being a mom.

Being a first time mommy, I have had my eyes opened. I read a lot of books and talked with many already moms, but somehow some things were just total surprises. 

1.  Just because you read a few baby books, does not mean you know everything there is to know about being a mom
Seriously, I did not know this. As I said before I read a bunch of books, I had all the sleep stuff down for getting baby to sleep, I pretty much knew everything. Or so I thought. When A-Cakes came along she had different ideas, and for some reason, none of the answers were in any of the books. You kinda have to figure things out on your own sometimes, every baby is different. The books do help, I think they made me a lot less paranoid, because if A-cakes had a fever or a cough, I wasn't freaking out. But also they make you feel super guilty. Like when you read 'most babies will be sleeping through the night by 12 weeks' and your baby is teething and no where near that. That just makes you feel super bad. Being a mom is seriously not knowing what you are doing half the time. But luckily as long as you are loving your baby, you can't screw it up too bad.

2. You sometimes won't know how to have a normal conversation with someone who is not a baby. 
Sometimes I spend so much time entertaining A-Cakes that I forget what is funny to adults. I blow raspberries with my mouth and make crazy noises and pretend my hands are going to eat her all day, and I get laughs, big laughs, from my little chunky angel. But somehow when you go up to your husband and pretend your hand is eating him, he doesn't think its as funny. Seriously, I forget this all the time. I will stick out my tongue and blow a raspberry at him and he just looks at me, and then makes fun of me :(  . I have heard other stories from parents with toddlers, and they start talking like the toddler saying 'I have to go pee-pee in front of other  adults' is quite a common occurrence I hear. 
 (also it might not even be as bad for me as others, my husband works from home, I talk to him all day and this still happens)

3. Once that baby comes out, you will seriously not have a good nights sleep ever,
or at least a long long time. I guess people did tell me this, but I don't think anyone can seriously explain just how tired you can get. When A-Cakes was born, she had her days and nights mixed up, so she was up a lot of the night, and then at about 2 weeks old, she decided that screaming all night would be fun. She would scream off and on and be fussy starting at around one a.m. Sometimes she wouldn't fall asleep until 4-6 a.m. We did see the pediatrician about it, and she said it sounded like reflux, but since it was only at night (seriously she was fine in the day) we couldn't do anything or give her anything for it unless it was all day. This went on for about a month and a half. I never knew I could be that tired. I was completely and utterly exhausted. She eventually got better and started waking up only twice a night, and it was lovely. But just when I thought everything was figured out, she started teething, and then she wanted to wake up every couple hours. Now that nothing is wrong with her and she is feeling fine, she is sleeping great, she is actually sleeping through the night most nights now. But still she is sleeping in her own room now and I go in every few hours to check on her. So I really never sleep like a whole 8 hours straight anymore. 

4. Just when you get one problem solved another thing comes along.
Whether its getting them on a sleep schedule or routine, or teething over, reflux, colic, jaundice whatever, you get one thing out of the way, and somehow something else takes it place. You finally get them sleeping well, and then they start teething. Or they enter into the 'stranger danger' phase and won't even look at someone else (yeah we just entered that phase, fun fun, everyone looks at you like you have the grumpiest baby in the world, even though you try to explain the doc. said its normal.) 

5. It really does change your whole schedule- Babies need a ton of sleep (my husband is still shocked at how much sleep A-Cakes needs. And if they don't get that sleep, they are not happy campers, and they want everyone to know it. So you really can't go out all day long, every day. You have to get them home to sleep. So you have top plan everything around their sleep schedule. Because your baby probably won't fall asleep in the cart at Walmart while your grocery shopping (like I had planned on before A-Cakes came). You will also have to get home at a decent hour for them to go to sleep. I had read before that babies have to go to sleep around 6 or 7 at night, and laughed at that, I thought if you put them to bed later, then you could sleep in later. And decided she would go to bed at like 9 or 10 and then we could stay out later, visiting family or friends. Nope! If she doesn't go to bed before 8 p.m. We have one ornery girl. So we can't stay out too late these days anymore. But honestly, her going to bed at 7 is awesome. I get to have time to myself, and time with the hubby. It is AMAZING!, you will finally have some time to clean the house, read a book, or watch the Harry Potter series 8 nights in a row like we just did. And I learned even if she goes to bed later, she won't sleep longer in the morning anyway.  

6. You Worry, ALOT! You worry if your baby is developing at the right speed, are you teaching them enough, are they eating enough and growing enough? That first week you wake up like 10 times a night to make sure they are breathing, you worry about SIDS, and them being warm enough or too warm, you worry about spoiling them too much or not giving them enough attention. You worry about your baby tugging on her ears (is that an earache, teething, is she tired, or maybe she just really likes playing with those things.) You even worry if they are pooping enough, and you worry about the color of their poop 'Babe, do you think her poop should be this color of green?' (Or maybe I am just a crazy person, and no one else worries this much). 

7. It is the most rewarding thing ever. I guess I heard this too and I loved that little baby in my belly so so much, but before you have the baby, you have no idea how much that little one will pull your heart strings and change your life so much. You have this wonderful and precious and straight from heaven baby, that adores you. They love you unconditionally and it is such an amazing feeling. They will look up at you with pure adoration and give you the best gummy smile and it is the best feeling in the world. When you help them learn a new skill you jump for joy. You are so proud of them, and you feel like you are doing something right as a mom. It is an experience like no other. It can be difficult at times, but man the benefits out-weigh all the difficult times. You don't even care that you don't sleep or can't carry on a regular conversation without making a strange face or bursting out in wheels on the bus, because it is soo worth it. 


May 3, 2012

Our 3rd Anniversary- And Picture OVERLOAD

So its the hubby and I's third year of marriage. May 2nd was our anniversary, usually we spend a night at a bed and breakfast or something, but this year we have A-Cakes. She made it an even better anniversary, but since she is 5 months old, I didn't feel comfortable leaving her alone over night, cause mostly I would feel bad dumping her on someone for a whole night. When she is baby-sat, the phrase 'handful' doesn't quite cut it with her. She is great with me and her daddy, but the moment we leave I am told she freaks. The doctor said she is developmentally advanced for her age, so she is in the 'Stranger Danger' phase earlier than most babies. 

But even with her in tow, we wanted to do something we don't usually do, to make it more special. 
They built this new ball in downtown Salt Lake City, I am so out of the loop I seriously didn't even know it was being built until I read all the facebook posts about the grand opening. So we decided to go downtown and take a look around. We don't go downtown much, actually I think the last time we were there was like a year ago... We got some lunch at my favorite sandwich place, Kneaders, and walked around the new mall. It was pretty cool. It is an indoor/outdoor mall, and has this ceiling that opens and shuts depending on the weather. We walked around the Disney store, took a peak inside Tiffany's (I think its the only one in Utah...) and then got kinda bored of the place. Its super nice, but has a lot of high-end stores. I am cheap, anything over $10.00 for a shirt is usually out of my price range, okay I am a tight wad, stores like Ross have ruined me. 

{A-Cakes and I at Disney Store, the princess castle}

{She was so excited to be in a real castle!}

So after the mall we walked over to Temple Square, which was right across the street from the mall. 
We showed A-Cakes all the pretty flowers and the fountains and talked about Jesus to her. After this it was well past her nap-time and she was freaking sick of her stroller, so we headed home. 
{Beautiful fountain @ Temple Square}

{ugh she needed a nap, BAD}

The hubby was so awesome, he had planned a big fancy dinner at home, cooked by him. So while I put A-Cakes to bed for the night, he cooked dinner. 
And it was quite the fancy feast (no, not the catfood) 
Seriously he prepared a 5 course meal! 
He prepared everything by himself and wouldn't even let me step foot in the kitchen. 
When it was all prepared, he freaking served me! It was HEAVEN!
First he sat me at a candle-lit table with sparkling cider, homemade bread with olive oil and garlic dipping sauce. 

Then he gave me a menu! A menu! He even created a logo. 
Seriously the cutest thing I have ever seen. 
I have an amazing husband I tell ya. 

Then he handed me a plate of homemade bruschetta (yes, I took a bite before I took the pic)

 {Me excitedly stuffing my face with plenty of good old carbs}

Then he brings out a plate of spaghetti, with homemade sauce (seriously, I don't think i have even made homemade sauce) And Italian Sausage! Just like they serve at my favorite restaurant, The Old Spaghetti Factory) It was A-MAZ-UH-ING! 
I think I will have him cook a lot more in the future.... 

And then I was served steamed veggies, to make it resemble a healthy meal. 

We had dessert later, after dinner was over, cause I was too full. We had brownies with ice cream and hot fudge. I forgot to take a picture though. 

We also got gifts for each-other. 

I bought Jeremy a snow cone machine, Lego Batman, and the Sims 3 for Xbox. 
Ugh he has been hard to buy for lately, usually he has a huge list of video games, but no new ones have come out. But I knew he wanted these two, and he just loves snow cones a ton. 

And he bought me a Singer Simple sewing machine. Yeah he spent way more on me! 
I totally got spoiled. I had been wanting a sewing machine (even though I don't know how to sew really) and was planning on waiting until my birthday this summer to buy myself one. 
Someone come teach me to sew awesome stuff. 

But it was a great day! I loved every minute of it, and I got totally spoiled. Probably my favorite anniversary, especially since we had my cute little A-Cakes to share it with this year. 
I am also going to do a post on the recipes the hubs used for dinner.