Monday, April 30, 2012

Qq


See my entire 52 ABCs series here!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fluffy Mail

Today I got my first shipment of fluffy mail!

fuzzibunz

So cute! I had Harry try on the FuzziBunz Perfect Size in Spearmint. He cheated though and is wearing a Huggies underneath. I want to wait until I get all my diapers to prep them, so it'll probably be a week or so before he wears one for real. Here's what else we got.
 

Along with the Perfect Size I got a FuzziBunz One Size in Open Sky (Amazon calls it Big Sky, but the packaging says Open Sky) and a bottle of Bac-Out, which I'll spray the diapers with right after Harry soils them. I also got a Kissa's Antibacterial Pail Liner that will hold the dirty diapers until it's time to do laundry.

While we were at Target yesterday I picked up some California Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream, which is one of the few creams that you can use with cloth diapers. I used it last night and it smells great!

I'll try and hold off doing another cloth diapering post until I get everything else I ordered. I'm getting really excited about this fluffy butt business and everything seems less intimidating now after doing a whole bunch of research. Yay!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Have you guys ever heard of Plain Chicken? I recently discovered Steph's blog and couldn't wait to try one of her great recipes. Yesterday she posted a recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and I just had to make it! I changed mine a bit from the Plain Chicken recipe, but I didn't stray too far from the original dish.

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
Serves 2

 





















 Ingredients
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
- 1/4 olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Mediterranean seasoning (I used this one by McCormick )  
- 1 tbsp. freeze-dried garlic
- 1/8 tsp. ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
- Penne pasta
- Pasta sauce (I used Ronzoni's Smart Taste penne)
- Reduced-fat feta cheese

Directions
- Combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, Mediterranean seasoning, garlic, ground pepper, lemon juice and white vinegar in a mixing bowl.
- Put uncooked chicken breasts in a Ziplock bag and coat with Greek yogurt marinade. Refrigerate for 8ish hours.
- When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put chicken breasts in an oven bag and coat with remaining marinade. Seal oven bag with twist tie and bake in a glass or metal baking dish for 30 minutes.
- While chicken is baking prepare penne according to directions on box.
- In a separate saucepan heat pasta sauce. Add feta cheese.
- Layer pasta, sauce and chicken on a plate. Top with additional feta cheese to taste.

Enjoy!

Note: Next time I make the dish I'll probably cut the olive oil in half to trim some of the fat and calories.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cloth Diapering

A bunch of moms in my Facebook moms group cloth diaper. Some of them are super cray cray over the whole thing (hi ladies!!!), it's kind of funny how excited they can get over diapers! I've always been interested in it but didn't think it made sense because we don't have our own washer and dryer. There are a couple ladies in the group who live in apartments/condos and are able to cloth diaper, so I had no excuse to look in to doing it.

I initially looked in to gDiapers. gDiapers are hybrid diapers, part disposable, part reusable cloth. After doing a little research on them I figured it would actually cost us more than using Huggies. No thanks! My biggest reason for wanting to cloth diaper is the savings versus buying disposables month after month.

I was talking with Ant this morning and he said we could give cloth diapering a try! I was surprised at how little persuading it took on my part to get him to agree to it. Probably because he'll refuse to launder them. Once I get a routine down with them I don't think it'll be that big of a deal.

The routine is going to be the biggest hurdle. The washing machines at our condo don't have any extra rinse options, so I purchased a diaper sprayer to help get them clean. I also found a hand washing tutorial online, so that is another option for us. I plan on line drying them as much as I can to cut down on laundry costs.

Since I don't know if we'll like cloth diapering or not, I just purchased six to start. Two Kawaii diapers, two FuzziBunz One Size and two FuzziBunz Perfect Size. From what I've read, to cloth diaper full time it's recommended to have at least 20+. I'll be sure to show off our "fluff" when we get it!

 

We've got a whole box of Huggies still so we will definitely use them as we're building our cloth diaper stash, assuming we like it. Cloth wipes are another thing I need to think about. For right now I'm totally fine with using disposables, but might think of using reusable in the future. 

Squee! I'm so excited to start cloth diapering. I just really hope it works for us. If it doesn't, at least we tried and I won't wonder about it anymore. 

My Beauty Routine

Last night's dinner was rather eclectic.


Our fridge and cupboards are pretty bare right now so I threw together chicken breasts (seasoned with the Hearty Tuscan Herbs Kraft Parmesan Blend), french fries and canned green beans. I don't know what it is about canned green beans, but I just love them! I throw them in a bowl with a little margarine and pepper and microwave them for about two minutes. Easy peasy and delish!

My Beauty Routine
I've been wanting to do a post like this for a long time... like since I first started this blog. So here it is!


1. Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub. I'm not too picky with my face wash. I just like something that exfoliates. This one works pretty well and it has cleared my skin up. If you're not on a tight budget, I highly recommend the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. It is amazing!
2. Olay Total Effects Daily Moisturizer. It's what my dermatologist recommended so I use it!
3. Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream. This is my favorite eye cream ever, I've used a few different brands and always come back to this stuff. It's really thick and creamy so I feel like it works better than thinner creams I've used. I recommend everyone use an eye cream, even if you're young and don't have any eye wrinkles! I started using it at 20 or 21, I wish I would have started in high school. Also, here's a tip: use it on your neck! Necks get neglected a lot in the moisturizing department and they deserve a little love, too. Trust me, your neck will thank you when you're older.
4. Bare Minerals Original Foundation in Medium Beige. I have used Bare Minerals since 2002... 10 years! I don't think anyone could pay me to switch foundations, this stuff is incredible. It's really easy to apply and makes my blotchy red skin very even looking. They came out with a matte formula a couple years ago, but I don't think it's worth the extra money. I used it and didn't notice a difference between that and the original formula.
5. L'Oreal Infallible Plumping Lip Gloss in Plumping Brown. I've used this lip gloss for a long time. I also have the Raisin and Truffle colors.
6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I would recommend this product over everything else I use. I use it under my eyeliner sometimes, too. Just a thin layer of this stuff will make your eye makeup last for days. Case in point: The morning of our wedding I probably put my makeup on around 9am. After a long day and night of drinking and dancing at our reception I fell asleep at our hotel with my makeup on. The next morning I didn't have to redo my makeup to go down to brunch. It wasn't quite as fresh looking as it was the day before, but it wasn't smudged at all. Worth every penny and more!
7. Maybelline ExpertWear Eyeshadow in Designer Chocolates. Since I use the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion I don't have to use expensive eyeshadows because any cheapo shadow will stay on all day without creasing. I do have some department store brand eyeshadows, but I find myself using this palette most of the time.
8. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara BIG in Blackest Black. I've used cheap mascaras and I've used expensive mascaras. They all clump. I honestly can't tell the difference so I just buy the cheap stuff. Works for me!
9. Bare Minerals Bronzer in Faux Tan. The perfect compliment to my Bare Minerals foundation.
10. Ulta Automatic Eyeliner in Black. My very favorite eyeliner. It was the first one I ever bought back in high school. I have tried other brands but always come back to it. It applies really easily and stays put for a long time (even without using the Primer Potion). I'm sure I wear too much eyeliner for most people, but I've always been a fan of the "raccoon eyes" look.
11. Bare Minerals Brushes. I'm pretty sure the one on top is the Flawless Application Brush (bronzer)and I know the other one is the Handy Buki Brush (foundation). I've had them both forever and they work well. I should probably think of replacing them though!

So there ya have it, my basic beauty routine. It takes me anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to apply it all.

Just for fun :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

8 Weeks In/24 Weeks Out

This was my baby boy one year ago today.

If you look closely you can kind of make out the beginnings of his eyes, nose and mouth. It also looks like he was kind of waving at us! This ultrasound was taken at my very first prenatal appointment. What a crazy emotional day that was! The night before I had a little bit of spotting, so of course I got hardly any sleep and woke up bright and early to make an appointment. I was so thankful they were able to get me in that day!

A couple hours after my appointment my morning sickness really started. I had been a bit queasy before then, but it was nothing compared to that day. Everything I went through (and complained about) was so worth it, though!

Here is my baby boy today, he's 24 weeks and 2 days old (or 5 months, 2 weeks and 4 days).



What a difference a year makes!

These photos were the first I've taken in manual on my DSLR. I think they turned out great! Although admitedly I know nothing about appeture, f-stop or anything like that. I have a book that I've gone through, except for the chapter on manual mode... it's very intimidating! I usually shoot on P mode which I'm fairly familiar with, having used that mode for years on different cameras.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feeding Himself

Harry has only been eating solids for a week and a half, and look what he can do already!


We started with doing two meals a day, but lately he hasn't been into his morning meal at all, so going forward he'll get one meal a day, around 5p.m. Yesterday he had an ounce of carrots followed by an ounce of zucchini. It was his first time having the carrots, and he really loved them! I didn't thin them out with any formula and he seemed to enjoy the thicker consistency.

While we I was feeding him the zucchini he kept flailing his right arm so I gave him the spoon and he started to feed himself, so cute! I had to help him dip the spoon back in the bowl but I was surprised at how much hand-eye coordination he had to do it.


He also rolled from back to tummy for the first time yesterday! His arm got caught at a weird angle, but it was exciting.

And to all the mamas and papas out there... Target.com is having a pretty decent sale on baby stuff right now. The convertible car seat we've been eying for a while is currently $25 off! The Graco MyRide 65 they have in-store is a little different than the online one, but we liked this one enough to order it. It should be delivered on Friday. Harry's current car seat is okay to use until he's 29 inches or 22 pounds so we'll use it until his six month check up, at which point I think he'll be pretty close to the height limit.

More Wind Chime Woes
So, remember how I returned the first wind chime I bought to buy one that wouldn't get all tangled Well, this is how the second one looks now.


Stupid thing broke. Ugh, I just can't win! Oh well. I was only planning on getting one hanging plant but maybe I'll get two this year. I had one last year and it never caused me any troubles.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oo + Pp



See my entire 52 ABCs series here!

Look at what others posted this week on Facebook.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brookfield Zoo Play Date

When I was pregnant I found an online group for mothers-to-be. I was pretty active on it through my pregnancy. After we all had our babies a lot of us switched to a Facebook group since it's so much easier to access on a smart phone (not that my three year old Blackberry would know). Since making the switch I feel like we've all gotten so much closer. It's really funny to say we have 100+ friends that are going through the same things and know so much about each other without ever having met. Until yesterday, that is! The group is comprised of wonderful moms from all over the US and Canada and there are actually a handful of us from Chicago. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting up with four of them at the Brookfield Zoo.

Diane and Aiden, Ashley and Ellie, Elise and Ella, Rachel and Micah, me and Harry

We had a great time! This was the first time Harry had met other babies, not quite sure what he thought about them at first. Eventually they all warmed up to each other and it was cute watchimg them "interact."


All the babies we met today were born within four days of each other in the last half of December, so Harry was by far the oldest baby of the group (he's the fifth oldest out of all the babies in our FB group).

We had a really nice time together. I know a few other moms in the group are coming to town later this summer so we're all going to try and meet up again then, if not before.

It had been a few years since I'd been to the zoo so it was fun to see all the animals!







Thanks for a fun afternoon, ladies and babies!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nn

Finally, here's the next installment of my 52 ABCs photo challenge!


I have P all ready to go but will wait until I get O to post it. I'm hoping to get a nice picture of an ostrich or orangutang tomorrow at the zoo! 

See my entire 52 ABCs series here!

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We're All Terrible Parents


Well, at least according to childcare experts of yesteryear. This week's Flashback Friday is a bit different. I was recently given an old parenting book (thanks!), and some of the advice given contradicts today's "norms" when taking care of our kids.

I had a really fun time going through this book and I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite excerpts.


Penelope Leach's Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five is actually still available on Amazon, although it appears that there have been a few revisions since the 1986 edition I was given (the book was first published in 1977). Okay, now for a look inside the book!


"Sucky" apparently had a different connotation in the 70s and 80s. The term seems a bit demeaning nowadays, doesn't it?


Hmmm... I think if you ask every.single.mom who's ever tried breastfeeding they'd say it takes a bit more work than Leach lead expectant mothers to believe.


This was one of my favorite sections of the book. Obviously when this book was published the Back to Sleep campaign hadn't been enacted yet. Don't put her to like on her back, she cannot deal easily with burped-up milk in this position. Hmmm... nowadays that is the opposite of what is recommended. Funny how things change over the years. The book also recommends several blankets in the crib, yikes!


The book seemed to be an awful lot of focus on keeping your baby in the "normal" range of the growth charts.  All the parenting books today stress that all babies develop at different rates and that there really isn't a norm. I also remember hearing a while back that chubby babies are healthy and often grow up with less of a chance of childhood obesity than skinnier babies. Plus, those treble chins are freaking adorable!


Another interesting piece of advice... cribs are too drafty for a newborn. While they might be a bit drafty, the airflow is extremely important in preventing SIDS and it's highly recommended to put a new baby to sleep in a crib or Pack n' Play these days. However, drop-side cribs have recently been banned in the United States for being extremely dangerous. Hard to believe they were once the style of choice for parents.

I've only read through the infant care section of the book, and here are a few other differences between this book and the parenting books I've purchased since having Harry.

  • The breastfeeding section was very small. Only one hold is shown compared to the four or five shown today. I was somewhat surprised that the book did say breast milk was the preferred method of feeding since it seems like most babies during that time were formula fed.
  • Not a single mention of breast pumping! Today breast feeding and pumping seem to go hand, I didn't realize that pumping wasn't popular back in the day.
  • Car seat safety was only mentioned in the glossary. Yep, just a small section all the way in the back of the book. My What to Expect the First Year book makes mention of car seats no less than five times.
  • Circumcision is also only briefly mentioned in the glossary. Leach claims the only reason to circumcise is religious or social, no medical benefits are listed. These days the procedure is pretty controversial, but my books do mention a slight reduction in certain STDs and cancers among boys who are circumcised.
  • There's also a huge emphasis in this book on how often and when babies should be eating, sleeping and crying. According to a chart in the book, a 28 day old baby should only be eating five times a day... hahaha, ya right! At five months old we've just now gotten Harry down to five feedings a day.
  • Leach said solids can be started around three months. And that not only is water okay for very young infants, but should be offered twice a day. 
So that's the book in a nutshell. It's really interesting to me how in the past 30 years or so childcare has changed so much! I would love to read a book about babies from the 1950s or even earlier. Did you know that condensed milk and Karo Syrup was the preferred "food" for babies back then? Talk about sugar overload!

 Thanks for reading this week's Flashback Friday! You can see past entries here. If you're a blogger I'd love to have you play along. So far I've seen Nyla, Tiffany and Lacei join in the fun, thanks ladies :). If I missed you, I'm sorry! Let me know and I can link to your blog next week.

Feel free to use my Flashback Friday banner, but I ask that you link back to my blog if you do.

Kraft and Cupcakes

Last night I made chicken with one of the new Kraft Parmesan seasoning blends.


We picked up the Rosemary & Garlic and Hearty Tuscan Herbs blend with a coupon last week. I just cooked two chicken breasts in a roasting bag sprinkled with some of the Rosemary & Garlic. I cooked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.


It was very tasty! I could really taste the Parmesan flavor and the subtle hints rosemary and garlic were the perfect combination. I love these Sandra Lee-type meals. It makes me feel like I worked really hard on dinner when most of the work was done for me!

For dessert we enjoyed a delicious treat.

Clockwise from left: Red Velvet, Strawberry Dream, Black & White, Chocolate Peanut Butter

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique was our latest venture in trying every single cupcake in the greater Chicago area. Honestly, I don't think I've met a red velvet cupcake I didn't like, and the Sugar Bliss red velvet was no exception! And isn't the frosting just adorable? Ant tried the Strawberry Dream for dessert and said it was really amazing.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5.5 Month Appointment

A+'s all around again!

Harry currently weighs 16 pounds and is now 27.5 inches tall. Kiddo grew and inch and a quarter in one month! Holy smokes! Dr. Sam was very pleased with his growth and development. Harry still isn't laughing much, but the doctor wasn't worried. He just told me to find funnier jokes, haha!

He was totally fine with us skipping the cereal and liked that we're giving Harry homemade purées as opposed to the store-bought stuff. I asked about when we can start giving him water. Dr. Sam said we could start now if we wanted to, but since there's no nutritional content in water babies don't need it. Everything I've read has said not to start until six months, so we'll hold off until at least then. The only benefit I see of giving water to infants is teaching them how do drink from a cup. 

I also asked about sunscreen. Again, most everything I've read said to wait until six months. We're going to the zoo on Saturday and he said it was fine for us to use it. That'll be the only time we'll use it until his six month birthday. 

Harry also had to endure two more shots today. He did very well and cried for like 30 seconds.

After the appointment we stopped off at Target to pick up a few things. Among the items in our cart were some organic yellow squashes and more sweet potatoes! I'm gonna whip up some squash purée this afternoon if I have time. We're going to start the zucchini purée tomorrow, which I'm really excited about since it's the first food Harry will try that I actually like! 

Here's a cute picture of my baby boy before heading out to the doctor's.


His t-shirt has metallic guitar necks on it. The shirt is by Little Tots, which is exclusive to Buy Buy Baby. His jeans are from Once Upon A Child. No idea on the brand (he's in his excersaucer right now and I don't want to interrupt playtime).

Annnnnnd now he's fussing. Gotta run!

Playground Fun

Late yesterday morning we took Harry over to the little playground in our neighborhood for the first time. He loved it! We never got an infant swing (mainly because we don't have the space) so I wasn't sure what he'd think of the baby swings of the park.


Clearly he loved it! I have a feeling we'll be hanging out there a lot this summer. And yes, those are his PJs! It was on the cooler side so his fleece sleeper was perfect.

The playground is pretty small and kind of run down, but it's better than nothing and couldn't be more convenient for us.

Side note, I made Ant download Instagram on his phone the other week so I can live vicariously through his smart phone. My cell phone is over three years old (!!!!!!) and normally I don't mind as it does everything I need it to do except for the Instagram app. If/when I get a new phone that will be the first thing I download. It looks so fun! Since Ant has access to it whenever he wants I challenged him to a 30 day Instagram challenge. So for the month of May he has to take at least one photo a day! If he lets me, I'll post them on my blog. (The above photo was taken with Instagram)

Last night I made some peanut butter chocolate bars. I Pined them a while back and just got around to making the recipe. I didn't have any butter so I used low-fat margarine instead. I was also a quarter cup short of peanut butter so I topped off the measurement with some low-sodium crap I bought while pregnant. Bleh, that stuff is so gross. Mixed all together it was okay, though.


Alrighty, time for Harry's doctor appointment! I'll update later today hopefully with his 5.5 month stats.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Success

Harry loved the sweet potatoes yesterday!

Thumbs up!

He ate about a total of one ounce between two different feedings. It was pretty obvious he preferred the sweet potatoes to the avocados. He was diggin' them!

We're still trying to figure out a good schedule for incorporating the solids into his diet. In the mornings I've been feeding him in between bottles and in the evenings I've been feeding him solids and formula at the same time. Not sure which way is working better for us yet, but we'll get in to a routine soon enough. If you've done baby purées let me know what your feeding schedule was/is!

Okay, just a quick update today. I need to get on the ball with my 52 ABCs photo challenge, I'm a few weeks behind on that. Maybe I'll try and work on that this afternoon. No promises though.

And tomorrow we have Harry's 5.5 month appointment. He's grown a lot the past month. I'm guessing he'll weigh 16.5 pounds and will be 27 inches long.

I'll update how the appointment went tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Potato Purée with the BabyCook

Later this morning we're going to feed Harry his second food, sweet potatoes! The other night I pulled out my Beaba Babycook baby food maker for the first time and prepared the sweet potatoes.

sweet potato puree

If you're in the market for a homemade baby food maker, I would highly recommend the BabyCook! I had never heard of it before receiving it as a gift and was just planning on purchasing a regular food processor to get the job done.

What makes the BabyCook different from other systems is that not only will it purée foods, but it will steam them as well! The directions that come with the BabyCook are pretty lacking so I did some research on YouTube to make sure I made the food correctly. There are plenty of how-to videos which were very helpful.

My main concern was how much food I could cook at one time. The directions don't give amounts and I wanted to make sure I wasn't over-filling the machine. Turns out, it really doesn't matter how much food you put in the machine, as long as it all fits in the steaming basket!

beaba babycook

I was able to get one chopped up sweet potato in the basket.

Using the BabyCook is really easy. Depending on what kind of food you're cooking, you have to add either one, two or three measures of water into the steaming reservoir. The measures are labeled on the blending bowl, taking the guesswork out of measuring.

beaba babycook

To steam the food, I filled the reservoir with the correct amount of water, put the chopped sweet potatoes in the steaming basket, popped on the lid and turned the dial left to steam.

beaba babycook

A majority of foods will take three measures of water to steam, and will take about 15 minutes. What's so great about the BabyCook is that it will turn off automatically after it's finished cooking. So no need to babysit the machine, you can walk away and do whatever while it's working!

sweet potato puree

After the food finished steaming I pulled out the steaming basket and poured the sweet potatoes in to the blending bowl. Note: There will be some cooking liquid at the bottom of the blending bowl after steaming. I poured out most of it before adding the sweet potatoes.

beaba babycook

sweet potato puree

I then put the mixing lid and regular lid on the machine and turned the dial to the right to purée.

sweet potato puree

And now you have a very simple and easy to make baby purée! Freshly made baby food will only last a few days in the fridge, but will last a few months if frozen. I purchased the Tovolo Perfect Cube silicone ice cube trays to freeze all my purées in.

sweet potato puree

These ice cube trays are great! Each cube holds one ounce of baby food, so it's really easy to keep track of how much baby eats. I also have the Beaba Multiportions freezer trays, which are a lot larger and there's no way Harry would eat that much food right now. They'll be perfect for when he gets older though.

I froze the sweet potatoes over night and in the morning transferred them to a freezer bag for storage.

sweet potato puree
This is two sweet potatoes worth of baby food cubes

When I defrost a cube I will probably add a little formula to thin out the purées while also adding a familiar taste and extra nutrition.

I really enjoyed making the baby food. Yesterday I made zucchini and carrot purées, too! Next on my list is yellow squash I think. And then maybe green beans.

The Beaba BabyCook is a really wonderful baby food maker. I love that it steams the food for you. Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables because it allows for the most nutrients to be preserved. And the fact that it automatically turns off when the food is done steaming is a mom's dream! Multitasking is important to all moms and the BabyCook makes it possible.

I think part of the reason I'm so passionate about making my own baby food is because the breastfeeding thing didn't work out. By making all my own foods I know exactly what Harry's eating. No scary, unpronounceable ingredients like a lot of the pre-made baby foods have.

I'll let you guys know what Harry thinks about the sweet potatoes!


Disclaimer: I was gifted the Beaba BabyCook from a family member and was not compensated in anyway for this review. All opinions are my own. I wouldn't be opposed to doing a sponsored post, though :).
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