Posted in Favorite Things, Two Cents Worth of...

Favorite Things – 4-6 Months

Happy Thanksgiving! We have lots to be thankful for this year with our little guy growing so fast! The nights can be long yet, but man, are the days so short!

Here we are, my son is already 6 months old! Where in the sweet hell did the time go?! He is growing like a bad weed and we’re loving every moment of it! He found his voice and is chatting constantly, his dad says he gets that from me. We are trying all kinds of solid foods and the personality continues to grow more each day!

In the last 3 months, we built another list of our favorite things to share with you. I hope you find these lists useful whether you’re a new mom, expecting mom, or a friend of a mom that could use your help with finding her some useful items to make life a little more manageable.

If you are interested in any of the items, click on the image of them below. It will take you directly to Amazon for pricing.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

1. Sleep Sacks
I have three of these that are all slightly different. Two are a lighter material and one is fleece. We switched to these as soon as he began rolling and he was in his crib. This way he’s got a little extra warmth and comfort but has full freedom of his arms and hands. He loves to sleep on his tummy now so these are great for him to be able to flip on over and get back if needed.

2. Bright Starts Start Your Senses Sensory Plush Pals 2 Pack
He loves anything that he can grab, chew and drool on. Truly, this Zebra toy is his favorite. There are lots of colors, it’s soft as well as it has several different textured items hanging from each of it’s feet. We take this one with us everywhere we go since it’s the overall favorite right now.

3. JJ Cole Car Seat Cover
Granted, this is a winter item, but it’s key! It saves you from adding additional layers, which isn’t recommended anyways to ensure they’re strapped tightly in their car seat. But also, my son is a sweaty boy like his mom and dad, so the extra layers would only make him a hot tamale! This cover is just what we need for him to be warm enough from car to home, or home to daycare, and every trip in between during the cold months!

4. Baby Bandana Drool Bibs KeaBabies (Grayscape)
Now let me tell you, we go through A LOT of bibs right now, I mentioned we’re teething, right? I have more bibs to wash than anything else. However, my favorite when it comes to functionality and appearance are these ones. I bought the larger pack and they’re adorable! That was a big win for this mama, since boy stuff is all the same. We have lots of cute stuff, but these were a treat for me to find with such cute designs! This is the same brand that I have my baby wrap in too, so it was an easy decision when I found these online.

5. Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Seat
This is our go-to for our first “high chair.” Since he was starting solids these past couple of months, this chair is so convenient. We put it anywhere, it can strap to any chair, and it’s small and compact. The tray slides into the base of the seat when you’re done so you have it always but if you don’t need it, it’s put away neatly where you can find it. We have taken it with us places and it’s not in the way. It helps little man sit up pretty well too as he works on those core muscles!

6. LOPE & NG Soft Silicone Feeding Bib
Since we are onto solids now and this nugget is an eating machine we have messes while eating. He is doing so well but he’s still new to it and it’s pretty messy, obviously. We love these bibs since they’re silicone and you can rinse them off rather than use another cloth one to add to your laundry and the don’t break the bank!

7. Aminson Anti Slip Non Skid Ankle Socks
Little dude is an ever growing man and we had to up the sock size too for him. These ones I have found have the nice little grippy rubber bottoms for when he decides he’s going to start motoring on his feet. They’re also high enough they don’t slip off of his ankles as easy as some socks do and the elastic isn’t too tight around his chubby ankles causing that mark on them.

8. Evenflo Exersaucer Trip Fun Active Learning Center, Life in the Amazon
This bad boy is a baby’s dream! Now that he can reach everything and his little legs can touch, he is in all his glory when he plays in this. They have one at daycare too and he is so engaged when he’s in it. It gives them that little bit of independence but so much to play with that makes noise and moves. It will grow with him too allowing him to enjoy it for a long time!

9. BALM! Baby Bye-Bye Teething Hello SLEEP! Natural Teething Tincture
A mom friend recommendation since our little man has been having swings of sleeping, not sleeping, and chewing and drooling on every thing he can put into his mouth. It leads us to believe those teeth are ready to bust through any time now. We have been using this at night mostly but on his tougher days, during the daytime as well. It’s all natural and the flavor isn’t bad!

There it is, another list for you on what we have enjoyed in a few months. They aren’t for everyone but they have been for us! I hope maybe one of them can help you and your baby or a mama and dad you know.

Another list will be built of our Favorite Things, but I have yet to decide what it may be next! Stay tuned!!

Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes – Instant pot/Crock pot Meals

I’m jumping off the wagon of “mom-thoughts” for one week and tagging in recipes. We all have to eat, right?!

So here we are, in the swing of things as full time working parents. We also get to enjoy the switching of my husband’s shifts on a regular basis. Day shift, to night shift, to day shift… woof! Talk about never knowing our days and keeping our schedules straight when things keep changing so much!

One thing is certain, we both keep each other grounded with a side of humor, asking each other 3 times in one day, “what day is it today?” Or we are wide awake at 3 am listening to our son babble to himself and laugh together wondering what he thinks he is saying.

When it comes to dinners, we really like to make delicious meals and pride ourselves on making them better than what we can order out at times. So doing crock pot or instant pot dinners is not our wheelhouse. But we also don’t shy away from ordering from our favorite Chinese restaurant here and there! (Shout out, Rice Inn in Bethel Park, PA!)

We found a few recipes that have been great to add to the nights when you come home and want to make something quick or is already done and is also a family favorite. (We weeded out a few bad ones for you by giving them a shot and struggling through the leftovers because I hate wasting food. Those do not need mentioned.)

They are instant-pot or crock pot recipes, but each of them have the instructions to make without using those handy dandy kitchen appliances that take up more space than you prefer.

If you would like the recipes, click on the name of them .
I have them linked to where I got them from!
The images are directly from their pages as well, but I will say,
mine all turned out looking very close to their pictures!

Shrimp Pasta with Vodka Sauce

This one is a big time favorite and has been made multiple times by us and my parents for family dinners at our lake house. It’s super quick and easy and everyone loves a good pasta dish! If you do have the instant pot, it’s one that is true to the time they tell you! (some are big fat liars and they take forever and a day to come to temp) My mom has only made it in a pot on the stove and still says it’s quick to complete.

Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe

This one we make a lot too! It was found because my dad is on a no salt diet due to his heart surgery this summer. So among that, our family has found a few heart healthy recipes to make. It might be the closest oriental recipe we have ever made at home that tastes like something you could get for take-out or in a restaurant. You can use frozen veggies for this too. We throw a side of jasmine rice with it. If you have everything for it, it may take you 25 minutes total to do it all and have it on the table.

One other thing for this recipe, we use Coconut Aminos for the low sodium soy substitute. It’s a no sugar and no salt item that tastes just like soy sauce but without the added items you don’t necessarily need. You can snag this on Amazon, in Whole Foods, and I believe Trader Joe’s too.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Potato Casserole

This was one of Blake’s favorites we made. It is hearty and sticks to your ribs! It would be perfect for the cold nights coming up. I made the mistake of trying to figure out how to “instant pot” the recipe the evening we made it because I totally forgot to throw it in the crock pot that morning. Well, I’m not an instant pot queen yet so I can’t tell you if the time is true or not for the start to finish but it did taste good!

This recipe is enough for us to have it two days. I added a little bit of Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce to mine and a shake of Parmesan cheese, because everything is better with both of those!

Instant Pot Chicken Lo Mein

Here is another low sodium quick meal we approved! Also, another that can be done without the instant pot. If you haven’t caught on, my mom and I pass along recipes to one another and we usually always try different ways of doing things. This one is a dump and go kind of situation! Frozen veggies again are even suggested in this one. We all know anything to make a working parent’s evening a little easier is always best!

However, save yourself the time and buy the regular spaghetti noodles and don’t waste the 15 minutes in the grocery store trying to find lo mein noodles in the international food isle. It is as good, if not better, with the spaghetti noodles and they don’t seem to stick as bad.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

This recipe is one from my vault of my personal favorites. It is always delicious to me and easy! This was written in 2010 in a blog and I have the link emailed to myself so I never lose it even though I have also written it on a recipe card in my recipe box!

My only tip is to rinse all of your canned beans and corn if you’re not buying it frozen. It’ll get rid of that salty water they are sitting in. It’s something you can put in the crock pot and let it do it’s thing! The chicken needs to be shredded with two forks when you come home and voila, it’s done! You can always add the goodies if you choose like sour cream, jalapenos, or cilantro too.

Those are our recent favorite quick meals. I’m sure we will add to this and would actually like it if you could share some of yours with us! We would love to try other’s family favorites and add them to our list so we don’t get bored with the same recipes over and over again!

I hope you enjoy them if you do happen to try them!

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Stretch Marks & Scars

Do you have stretch marks or scars? Most people do.

I have both. Yes, I know stretch marks are scars.

I’ll be honest. I have gone back and forth on rewriting this or sharing it at all. It’s touchy with some, especially myself. If you know me, I can come off confident and strong at times and act like I don’t care what others think, but there is a lot going on underneath it all. I’m human too, as we all are. Unless one of you are hiding something I don’t know about???

Some mom’s say “tiger stripes” instead of stretch marks which is kind of badass, but I haven’t referred to them as that because the first ones I got were on the inside of my thighs in high school. I had thought they were the worst and people would think I was fat and this or that. I’ve learned to love my legs as I’ve grown older since these legs of mine have carried me so many places, allowed me to play sports, and never let my phone fall into the toilet. (HA!)

I also have several scars. The scars on my legs are from the glory days of playing softball when I would slide into bases and get cuts from that lovely kitty litter style dirt. I owned those bad boys the second I got the cuts.

Then there is the other scar I have. It is dead center of my left cheek. I absolutely hated it when I got it. Quick backstory. I was snow skiing with a bunch of my guy friends. One of our buddies fell and he came sliding into me. Before I knew it, I was in the air and landed on top of him. I never saw someone’s face react so intensely before. His ski had sliced my cheek wide open and I was lucky to not feel it at all. While the boys all panicked, I skied to the bottom of the hill, we got my butt to the ER eventually, and I had 12 stitches to tie that sucker back up. I attempted to find a photo, but I believe it’s long gone since the cell phones then didn’t have backup storage like we do now. (You’re probably glad I don’t have that, it was pretty gross.)

It took me years to own that scar and tell fun stories with it.  Stories like, “you should see the bear that got me. It’s stuffed in my home now,” “Oh, I fought a wolverine,” or even, “don’t worry about me, the other person is still in the hospital.” I guess I had to find a way to avoid the perfectly random strangers asking what happened, as if as a young lady I wasn’t self conscious enough. I remember not going to classes at college the first day back because I had those stitches in. It was terrible.

Now I barely notice it because I’ve accepted it… to an extent.

Two photos below show how a scar can be. They were taken maybe 2 weeks apart and have no filters or edits. Mainly because I don’t know how to do all that fancy shit with photos like people do now. Some days it stands out and other days it’s much more faint and less noticeable. I think that relates to the way we feel about childbirth & our stretch marks on our stomachs.

Why are scars seen as something that’s “wrong” or “not in the right place” on someone? I am still self-conscious of my scar and when someone points it out, especially, I try to play it off as if it does not bother me. Of course it does. It’s an imperfection on my face that I didn’t ask for and someone pointed it out as that.

It’s the same reason most moms wear a tankini or one piece bathing suit after having kids, to hide the scars and changes in our body after creating our babies. We hide what we believe is not the “perfect” image to others when in fact our society is what built this into our brains.

Here’s the thing about all of those scars, they’re my stories. My life that I have lived. It would be kind of boring if I didn’t have at least one story to tell because we were too busy trying to be perfect and not have some fun.

Not many women like to own scars because the society we live in makes women want to appear to be perfect and perfect is seen in so many different ways. I do realize other scars come from things we wouldn’t want to talk about, but we do still live with them.

Truly, the way you are is perfect. Perfect because they make you who you are today. (Believe me, I fight myself on this as well. It is easy to write it and tell you, but telling myself is another story!)

There is something about my stretch marks from pregnancy that I don’t want them to disappear entirely. Call me crazy, but I have a different view of them than the scar on my cheek since they are from pregnancy and not on the center of my cheek from something I didn’t ask for.

I grew my son inside my body and brought him into this world. Those stretch marks show that I gave him a safe home for 41 weeks, that he clearly didn’t want to leave. My body, that has allowed me to live the life I have thus far, has the scars that can always remind me of my pregnancy with this little boy that will be a man one day and not think his mom is cool.

If I convince myself to get back into that bikini, I will own those scars no matter how bright they stand out on my belly.

I do still put on my lotion to help heal them; however, I smile when I see them.

If we are able to have another child and my stretch marks get bigger and more prevalent, I hope I can say what I’m saying now. I want to love what I was able to do and I hope you can too.

Scars and stretch marks tell stories. I know there are so many reasons for them, but I hope you can find a way to enjoy them for whatever the reason may be. I still work on that myself, but they are things that hold memories and stories.

This post below is one I read recently that really made me feel all the feels about my postpartum body, that includes the stretch marks. Her husband wrote it so perfectly.

Check it out and follow her on Instagram. She has lots to share!

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Tough Morning Jump Start

You know those nights you either don’t sleep at all or the baby gets up at 3 am and doesn’t go back to bed until your alarm goes off at 5:15 am and you’re exhausted? Let’s add in the recent time change, woof!

We all have them whether we are battling the no sleep life as a parent or someone who had a long night in general of insomnia with a million thoughts on their mind.

I believe everyone has their own tricks to getting going on the toughest of mornings.

Mine is rather simple and anyone can use these.

Coffee & good music

Wait, when I say coffee, I mean strong, dark, black coffee that goes straight to your heart and shocks it.

Honestly, It took me a while to get to straight black coffee, but so glad I did.

Sure, I have this little tube of something for my eyes with a cooling ball roller that helps those puffy bags under my eyes, but this isn’t about skincare. It’s about survival and getting into the best mood you can when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and hide but that’s not a realistic option.

Here is my current playlist that I’ve created over a few weeks and have downloaded offline so I don’t get interrupted wherever I may be.

While you listen to any of these, I hope you can do a little dance in your car, at work, or in the kitchen, to shake off the rough tired feeling and move into the feels to have a great day!

I’m the one dancing at my subway platform in the mornings… #noshame

Tough Morning Jump Start Playlist

  1. Shoot Me Straight – Brothers Osborne
  2. Anthem – Thomas Rhett
  3. Young Blood – 5 Seconds Of Summer
  4. Stand By You – The Wild Feathers
  5. Natural – Imagine Dragons
  6. Some Girls – Jameson Rodgers
  7. Hell Right feat. Trace Adkins – Blake Shelton
  8. Desperate Man – Eric Church
  9. Burning Man – Dierks Bentley
  10. Beautiful People – Ed Sheeran
  11. Meet In the Middle – Diamond Rio
  12. One Thing Right – Marshmello
  13. Post Malone feat. RANI – Sam Feldt
  14. Ready to Run – Dixie Chicks
  15. Roads We’ve Never Taken – High Valley
  16. Rollin’ – Little Big Town
  17. Vacation – Thomas Rhett
  18. No Excuses – Meghan Trainor
  19. Mr. Lonely – Midland
  20. Roads We’ve Never Taken – High Vallely
  21. Higher Love – Kygo
  22. Second One To Know – Christ Stapleton
  23. Try Me feat. Jennifer Lopez & Matoma – Jason Derulo