Friday, August 30, 2013

It's Been Boring

I haven't done a regular old life update post in what feels like forever. No other reason other than we've been super boring lately. Not that I'm complaining. Boring is okay in my book. But I doubt anyone would want to read an extensive recap on my current round of antibiotics (minor infection), gym workouts, coloring sessions and Lego towers.

I've been couponing a lot. Kind of an embarrassing amount. But, it's worth it. The other day I got 3 bags of cotton balls and 2 rolls of toilet paper for free at CVS. I typically organize/print coupons on Sunday and Thursday nights after the boys go to bed. It's addicting! Last year I was saving between $20-30 on a $200 grocery bill, and now I can save anywhere from $60-100 a week with coupons.

Oh, and cupcakes! You know, to balance all those workouts ;).

From a new bakery in Schaumburg, My Sweet Kake. I tried the Red Velvet (Ant had the Banana Nutella). The cake was yummy, but nothing out of this world. The frosting, however, was really unique! There were granules of sugar in the frosting and it tasted a bit like the caramelized brulee topping from Capital Grille's cheesecake (which just happens to be the best dessert I've ever eaten). So that was a nice surprise!

Harry and I were planning on taking the train downtown this afternoon to meet up with Ant for a late lunch/early dinner. It's supposed to be in the mid-90s with a chance of rain so I think we might hold off until next Friday. Would love to get downtown at least once more before the cold weather hits.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Toddler Proof Your Fans

I've had this post on the back burner for a while and wanted to get it out while the weather is still hot.

Our condo doesn't have central AC so our bedrooms get very hot. To keep us cool we use pedestal or floor fans. Which, lucky for us, are very interesting to toddlers and have perfect sized slots for little fingers to touch those cool, rotating blades.

Because we really don't have any other option other than fans to keep us cool I had to figure out something that would keep Harry safe. I came up with something pretty ingenious if I do say so myself and wanted to share in case any other parents out there are having a similar issue.

For this project you only need 2 things:
  • 1 yard of wide tulle (the same type of fabric wedding veils are made of- I bought the 108'' wide kind at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Something to secure the tulle to the fan- ribbon, string, or even duck tape would work
I used the 108'' wide to make sure the entire fan would be covered. The next smallest size I saw at the store, 54'', wouldn't have been wide enough. 

To cover, just wrap the fabric around the fan like a lollipop. I tied the tulle to the back handle so it's not completely covered there, but I keep the fan up against the wall so that hasn't been an issue. If your fan doesn't have a handle you can just drape it around the motor. When securing the tulle with the ribbon/string/tape just make sure you don't pull too hard so that the fabric moves.

It's pretty straight forward, but please let me know if you have any questions. I've had these covers on our fans for a couple months and they're still working great. The first couple days Harry played with the fan and tried to stick his fingers inside, but of course that didn't work. He's pretty much left them alone ever since.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Perfect Manicure

You guys know I love having painted nails. I've been doing my own for so long I've come up with what I think is the perfect combination of products for a long lasting manicure. Back in June my friend Jessica did a similar post on her blog. While we follow a similar routine, we do have some differences.

Here's how I've gotten my manicures to last up to 2 weeks chip-free!

  1. File, shape, and buff nails as needed.
  2. Apply 1 coat of Seche Base. If you want to cut down on a step, this would be it. The Seche Base helps prevent the top coat from peeling. I wouldn't recommend using this as your only base coat, I've not had good luck doing that.
  3. Apply 2 coats of CND Stickey base coat. Best base coat I've found.
  4. Apply 2-3 coats of nail polish. OPI is my favorite, but in recent months I've expanded my collection to include a few Essie and Sally Hansen colors. The Essie and SH colors are more on trend than what OPI offers, but quality wise, OPI wins.
  5. Add any nail designs if desired (see below).
  6. Apply 2 coats of Seche Vite top coat. I dare you to find a better top coat!
And, voila!

As for nail designs, I've been doing something with just about every manicure lately. It's so fun! Earlier this summer I tried an ombre look and my first water marble look wasn't half bad either. My favorite nail design technique is nail stamping. It's relatively easy and there are so many designs to choose from. You can read my post all about nail stamping HERENail Polish Canada was kind enough to fuel my obsession and sent me one of Konad's newest nail stamping plates.

I chose plate M95, which features 4 full nail designs and a cute little owl icon.

I love the designs on this plate, I can especially see myself using the bottom two designs a lot. And the hearts will be so fun for Valentine's Day! I tried out all 4 full nail designs (totally spaced on taking a picture of the last one!) and all stamped great. I haven't tried the owl yet, the little icons are intimidating to me and I can never seem to get them centered correctly on my nails.

Nail Polish Canada is currently hosting a giveaway for the 5 newest Konad plates, you can enter HERE! I'd love for one of my readers to win, good luck!

Disclaimer: I received the nail stamping plate free for review. No other compensation was provided. All other products pictured and mentioned in this blog post were purchased by me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Toddler Bed Transition

Okay, finally, I'm going to type up this post. I've mentioned in previous entries, but in case you forgot...

With Ant starting his new work schedule in July we thought it would be best to transition Harry back to his own bed. We knew trying to put him back in the crib wouldn't work, so I change the crib to a toddler bed. I even bought Harry an adorable chevron pillow case (my first Etsy purchase, believe it or not) to make it more of a "big boy" bed. 

To get Harry ready for the transition I blocked off the crib for a few weeks. Since he started cosleeping we would still put him in the crib on occasion. It was the perfect spot during the day when I had to use the bathroom or put laundry away. While he hated the crib at night he was fine for a short period during the day- as long as he had a few toys to keep him occupied. We blocked it off so when he was in the toddler bed it'd be a totally new experience for him.

The first night of the transition went a lot smoother than I anticipated. He's used to falling asleep with Ant so I stayed next to him while he fell asleep. After about 10 minutes he realized he wasn't going to sleep in the other room and started to cry. It didn't last long but he kept trying to get out of bed. It took him an hour and a half to fall asleep, but he did it!

He woke up that night a few hours later and refused to go back to sleep in his bed, so I put him in ours. Baby steps. 

The following 4 weeks were similar. It took him at least 45 minutes to fall asleep and he would always wake up expecting to sleep in the big bed. He did manage to sleep all night in his bed 3 times. One night around 2am he came in to our bedroom and I pulled him on to the bed. I jokingly said that he should go back to his own bed. Well, he didn't think that was a joke and rushed back to his room and slept there for the remainder of the night, haha! I tried that trick again and it didn't work. 

When Ant switched to his new schedule Harry would wake up right along with Ant. He must have been able to hear the alarm go off.

So, after 4 weeks we decided to give up the toddler bed.

It just clearly wasn't working. I feel bad pushing it on him when he wasn't ready, but I honestly thought it would be for the best. You live and learn, right? We're a little cramped in the bed, but it's not too bad. And surprisingly, Harry sleeps through the early morning alarm most days. No idea when Harry will start sleeping in his own bed for real, but I'm not going to push it. He likes sleeping with us and we like having him. 

I doubt he'll be in our bed when he starts kindergarten, but if he is, that's fine too. 

  • Anyone else cosleep with their toddlers? 
  • If they're older, did they decide to move to their bed on their own?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Schaumburg Boomers Game

Harry is following in his dad's footsteps and is showing a love of sports already. Anytime he sees baseball (players, the ball, MLB logo, etc.) on TV or in a picture he shouts "bay-ball!" To be fair, he does it when he sees soccer and football, too. But, Ant is convinced that Harry loves baseball as much as him.

So Sunday we took Harry to his very first baseball game. We saw the Schaumburg Boomers play the Traverse City Beach Bums. The teams are part of the Frontier League and the Boomers' stadium is about 10 minutes from our house.

This was a new experience for me too, I'd never been to a non-MLB baseball game before (aside from one NCAA game in college). When I was a kid I was always jealous of my classmates who talked about going to the Kane County Cougars games. They sounded so fun!

We picked seats behind home plate towards the back so we could be in the shade. Our section wasn't very crowded but some of the others were quite full. The Boomers are the top team in their division right now so they're quite the local celebrities these days.

We had an absolute blast! Being Harry's first game we weren't sure if it'd keep his attention for all 9 innings. While he didn't sit in his seat for the entire game, he was really good and loved being at the stadium. The highlight of the game was when Ant caught a flying t-shirt, while holding Harry.

He was so proud of himself it's all he talked about for the rest of the night. And all day yesterday, haha.

The playoffs start soon and depending on their schedule we might try to fit in another game this season. But if not, we at least know where we'll hanging out a lot next summer!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Turkey Stuffed Zucchini

New recipe today- turkey stuffed zucchini. This one is freaking delicious, I promise! Plus, it's easy to make and super healthy.

Disclaimer: This is my first non-toddler approved recipe! Harry's been picky with food lately and wouldn't even touch it the night I made this dish. But, I'm betting if he had tried it he would have liked it :)

Turkey Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 2-4

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (I only used 1/2 pound and feel like it wasn't quite enough)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freeze dried garlic or minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Handful of shredded cheese (I didn't measure how much I used)
  • Non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil PAM for added flavor)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray, add onions and saute until nearly soft (approx. 10 minutes on medium heat)
  • Add ground turkey, garlic, and oregano, cook until meat is no longer pink
  • Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise and scoop out centers
  • Place zucchinis in large baking dish and spoon in turkey mixture
  • Cover with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes
  • Sprinkle cheese over zucchinis and bake for an additional few minutes until cheese has melted

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Natural Shampoo Alternative

Since switching to the apple cider vinegar hair conditioner a few months ago I've just been using regular old shampoo. With doing the Let's Go Natural feature I thought I'd better try out a more natural hair cleansing technique: Bob's Red Mill baking soda.

From what I read online, to make the "shampoo," just combine 3 parts water to 1 part baking soda in a spray bottle. Massage in to hair and scalp and rinse out. I started out with that ratio and didn't like it. I felt like my hair was no cleaner than it was before my shower.

With switching to baking soda it can take a while for your hair to adjust and start looking healthy. So I gave the 3:1 mixture a week. After the 7 days I felt like my hair still wasn't looking clean so I switched to a mixture closer to 2:1. Muuuuch better.

Right away I noticed my hair looked clean, yay! I used that ratio for about a week. The longer I used it the less clean my hair felt. I'm betting it's because I haven't given my hair enough time to adjust. However, my hair is naturally very oily. So, I'm kind of thinking I can't do the baking soda shampoo thing 100% of the time. But I'm going to try using it every other shower to minimize the amount of shampoo I use.

If you have normal/dry hair you definitely could get away with using the baking soda shampoo every day. There are plenty of accounts online that speak to it's success!

Also, I'd love to use this on Harry. Does anyone have experience using baking soda shampoo on infants or toddlers? His eyes are really sensitive to water (just like mine), so I'm worried about using anything other than something labeled "no tears" for now.


  • Have you used a shampoo alternative? What do you use and how do you like it?
  • Have you used a shampoo alternative on an infant/toddler? Did it work well and how gentle is it in their eyes?

Disclaimer: The products in this post were given to me free from Vitacost. I received no other compensation. All words, photos and opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Emergency Room: Round Two

Well, as evident by the title of this blog post, we didn't have the fun day on Saturday that we had originally planned. We had intentions of going to a fun Touch a Truck event up in South Barrington.

Around 2:45am Saturday morning Harry threw up. We took his temperature, which registered about 99 degrees. Since it wasn't over 100 we held off giving him any Tylenol in case it would upset his stomach more. After we changed his jammies and the sheets he fell right back asleep.

In the morning his temperature was over 100 so we gave him some medicine along with a bland breakfast. At lunchtime his fever was nonexistent so I thought it would be okay to have a regular lunch- I think he ate some yogurt, crackers and blueberries.

After an afternoon nap Harry wanted a snack so we gave him some apple slices. Bad idea. He promptly threw them all up, and his temperature was up again, 101.3. We debated about what to do for a few minutes and decided to call our pediatrician. While Ant was trying to get the nurse on the phone I took his temperature again, it was over 102. At that point I told him to hang up the phone and that we should just go to the emergency room. His temperature was rising rapidly and I won't lie, I was so scared for my baby.

The children's ER is about 20 minutes away, when we got there his temperature was over 103. He was immediately administered some Motrin and after an exam by the doctor, it was concluded that he had some type of virus. Which I figured was probably the problem. I'm glad we went though because that dramatic rise in temperature was really scary.

Feelin' much better after the Motrin kicked in

He was given a prescription for an anti-nausea medicine and we were on our way after an hour and a half or so.

He woke up again around 2:30am Sunday morning with a temperature of 102. No vomiting though. Gave him some Tylenol and was back asleep in no time. Woke up before 9am, still with fever.

Sunday was interesting. Harry took 3 separate naps! I don't think he even did that when he was a newborn! Obviously this virus took a lot out of him. He also had an hour long scream fest in the morning. We tried everything to calm him down- food, toys, TV, taking off his clothes (thought he might be too hot). Ant thought of giving him a bath, which he usually enjoys. As soon as he got in he wouldn't sit down and was crying for some berries. So we took him out and reluctantly got him a bowl of blueberries (with him throwing up we were sticking with the BRAT diet), which of course he didn't eat and just kept screaming.

I then put him in my mei tai carrier, which fortunately did the trick. After that he was in a pretty good mood all day, but this fever was persistent! I checked his temperature after he went to bed last night and it was finally back to normal.

Let's hope it stays that way and that he's on the mend!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Welcome Weekend

Happy Friday! I love weeks that go by fast, like this one!

A cute picture from earlier this week.

I was trying to get a picture of his bed for an upcoming post and he was being such a goof, I couldn't resist snapping a few extra.

I won a Sprinkles gift certificate a while back and on Monday Ant stopped by after work and picked up a half dozen cupcakes.

Delicious! I think the black & white cupcake might have edged out the red velvet for my favorite. But they're all so good :)

Yesterday Harry and I met up with a friend and her three year-old niece at Brookfield Zoo. We had such a lovely time! It was nice to catch up and the kids  loved the animals. Harry's favorites were the seals, wolves and polar bears.

Nothing exciting planned for today, but I think we're going to try and have a "family fun day" tomorrow.

Also, a little blog maintenance... I've disabled comments from anonymous readers. I've gotten a few legitimate anonymous comments from readers in the past but lately I've been hit with dozens of spam comments a day. They don't make it on to the blog but they are clogging up my inbox and I'm sick of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

21 Month Update

Harry's officially 1 and three quarters years old. 


He's really slouchy in this picture, he didn't shrink :)

Weight: Probably about 25 pounds? He feels a little heavier as of late. 

Height: Right around 35 inches I'd guess. Nearly 3 feet tall!

Diaper Size: Size 5s. He's pretty consistent with letting us know when he's done #2. If we don't acknowledge it right away he get's frustrated and will yell "diaper diaper diaper!" until we take care of the situation. 

Clothing Size: 18 months to 2T. Size 5 shoes are tight but wearable. 

Eating:  He's being picky again, it seems to switch every month. He's been really into crackers lately. We've been getting the Annie's party mix, the pretzels are his favorite. He's also been finicky with water, he doesn't like it out of sippy cups any more and constantly asks for milk. He does enjoy drinking out of water bottles though. We have those little mini ones and he is pretty good drinking out of those all by himself.

Sleeping: I still need to do the post about our transition to the toddler bed. I won't say too much here. Naps are becoming a thing of the past I feel. Was not thinking that was going to happen so soon. He naps every other day or so, and they're about a half hour long. Car rides in the afternoon always zonk him out though. 

Teeth: 16 still. I took a quick peek in his mouth while brushing his teeth the other day and it doesn't look like the last 4 will be making their appearance anytime soon.

Communication: Harry's "matured" a lot this past month. By that I mean he's really starting to think for himself. I've noticed he doesn't talk as much now, but I think that's mostly because he doesn't say words when I ask him to anymore.

Some cute things he does:

  • Yells "be-ball!" whenever he sees baseball on TV. This was Ant's proudest moment- it's his favorite sport so of course he wants his son to love it too. 
  • Says "bye bye" and waves anytime we open the door. 
  • Brings me my tablet and requests that I turn on "Gaga" (Yo Gabba Gabba) or "Mel-mo" (Elmo). 
  • Picks up a spray bottle and calls for "Pow" (Pearl, our cat). We spray her on occasion if she gets up on the furniture. 
  • When we tell him "We don't throw things/we don't hit/we don't..." Harry will proudly yell "I do!" Cute, but not something we should be encouraging, obviously. 
  • Last Saturday the three of us were leaving and I asked Ant if he put a water bottle in my diaper bag. He had, but Harry turned around and darted towards the dining room. We both yelled for him to come back, which he did, with a sippy cup in hand, haha! And he insisted in putting it in my bag. It was so adorable :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Taste of Roselle 2013

While it was Ant's second weekend on the new schedule, this was the first we really took advantage of it. It's so nice to be able to do things like "normal" people now! Whenever we did things on a weekend before he'd have to plan out his sleep schedule and he was always running on fumes whenever we did stuff during the day.

Saturday we ran a couple errands and then made our way to the splash pad (we didn't end up going Friday). The one in Roselle was crazy crowded so we headed up to the one near my dad's house, where there were just a few other little kids playing.

We hung out there for an hour before heading back for an early dinner at the Taste of Roselle, our favorite local festival. 

We walked through the fest and grabbed the first picnic table we could find. Ant then went and got us dinner, a quesadilla for me and Harry and a boring slice of pizza for him.

After we finished we walked through the craft fair and then took a seat in the bingo tent. This was our third year at the Taste of Roselle and we have never won at bingo. We were confident one of us would hit the jackpot this year, but after 4 rounds neither of us won. Darn!

Before leaving we grabbed dessert, Dippin' Dots for me and gelato for Ant. And a few bites of each for Harry.

And yesterday Harry and I met up with my dad at Costco. He put me on his account. Yay! Our Sam's Club membership is about to expire so now we don't have to pay to renew it, double yay! I like Costco better anyway, so I'm excited to start going.

Have a nice week :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

2 Obsessions


Cronuts are the latest pastry trend. Thin, flaky layers of croissant dough shaped and fried like a donut. And stuffed with a delicious filling. A high end bakery in New York invented them in May and since then bakeries all over the world have started making imitations. And technically only the ones made at that New York bakery can be called "cornuts," they got the name trademarked. 

I've been hearing about these tasty treats for a while and saw this Buzzfeed article the other day and thought maybe there'd be a bakery in Chicago near Ant's work that makes them. The list did me one better and pointed me towards Chicago Pastry (they're #46 on the list), a bakery about 5 minutes away from our place that we've been to a few times. 

After my doctor's appointment Wednesday Harry and I drove to the bakery and picked up 4 of their "dossants," as they call them.

I picked out Nutella (pictured above), French silk, cannoli and almost eclair dossants. When Ant got home we split the French silk, the best flavor according to the baker who took my order. She wasn't kidding! It was fabulous! I had half a Nutella as dessert after the boys went to bed, and it was also amazing. The cannoli was okay, I ate it yesterday so it probably would have been better Wednesday. Will be trying the almost eclair today :). 

Orange is the New Black

Best new TV show of the year. Hands down. All 13 episodes were released on Netflix earlier this month. I binge watched the entire series last weekend. The show, based on a true story, follows an upper class woman who is sent to prison for laundering drug money for a former girlfriend. Every single character is interesting and the plot sucks you in from the very first episode. 

The show was renewed for a second season, but it isn't scheduled to premier until next summer. That's a long wait, especially since we were left with a crazy cliffhanger at the end! 

While awesome, the show isn't for the faint of heart. There's a lot of adult themes like sex, nudity, drug use, violence and harsh language. So if that isn't your thing you probably won't like it, but if you don't mind, definitely check it out. And if you don't have Netflix, you can sign up for a free 1 month trial on their website! 

Have a great weekend! Ant had to switch schedules with his boss today so he won't be home until after dinner tonight. Lots of Mommy & Harry time today, let's hope I don't go crazy, haha. If it's nice I might take him to the splash pad this afternoon, or at least a walk around the block. 
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