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Captivated…

31 May

My little ones and I are safely home from a week-long stay at an American paradise that just so happened to be featured in this month’s Disney Family Fun Magazine.

There was lots of fun in the sun…

and shade…

Bicycle rides {although, not really in the sand}…

Some people watching…

breathtaking sunsets…

and shells galore!!

We miss you, Captiva!

PUMPKIN spice and everything nice…

1 Oct

Every year I am anxious for October to arrive.  I don’t appreciate that October seems to start the downhill slide into winter, but I do love that it marks the beginning of the holiday season {for me!} and tradition.

I have a fall tradition that consists of almost all things pumpkin…pumpkin candies,  pumpkin cookies, pumpkin breads, pumpkin candles, pumpkin house decor, pumpkin patches, and of course pumpkin photo ops!  Being a blond, I steer clear from any type of orange clothing, but pumpkin orange any and everywhere else seems perfect this time of year.

So, just in time for THE big football game, my alma mater versus the burnt orange, I share my favorite cookie recipe…pumpkin cookies {click on the  link}!!  I always make my first seasonal batch of pumpkin cookies for this game.  The only problem is pumpkin orange cookies imply that I am pro-Texas so I have to break out my sad decorating skills and add a little crimson and cream.

 

I have said it before...decorating is not my thing!

 

Here are the important details:  1.  Do NOT over-cook.  2. Remove from the baking sheet and place on wire rack to cool almost immediately.  3. Skip the “icing” and go straight for the cream-cheese frosting {I even make my own}. I think I have made these for 7 years now…they are amazing.

BOOMER!!

Yum Yum…Mum Mum!

28 Jul

A few weeks ago I bragged about my baby boy’s first word.  Now I’m asking myself…was that Mama or Mum Mum?!?!

My little guy absolutely loves Baby Mum-Mums!  We started these rice rusks not long after we introduced AJ to his first solid food {plain rice cereal, of course}.  Since vegetables are now a regular part of AJ’s daily diet, we have moved to the vegetable Baby Mum-Mums and AJ can’t get enough of them!  He usually downs an entire package before I can even get his real meal prepared.

The best thing about these Mum-Mums is they don’t make a huge mess {and nutritionally, they appear to be very healthy}.  When I was experimenting with solid foods with my firstborn, I made the mistake of purchasing “teething biscuits.”  Babies + food = messy, but those teething biscuits were the absolute worst…it seriously looked like my daughter was chewing on a poop…a poop that had smeared all over her face, hands, arms, and high chair.  They were disgusting and I never bought them again.

Lucky for me, Mum-Mums don’t require a trip to a specialty store {with two kids in tow, I’m a one-stop shopper}, they can conveniently be purchased at both very well-know grocery stores near my home and many other places {even online!}.

My little guy really is still saying mama {at least, I think so}, but he may have also added a new word to his vocabulary…another word that means food.  You think my little guy likes to eat?!?!

The pound…

25 Jul

I have an insatiable sweet tooth.  I can’t help it….it’s genetic.

I dream of someday having a cookie shop.  I love to bake sweets THAT much.

Obviously, there is a huge discrepancy between the places my education and the places my dreams will take me {although there are a TON of sweets in all the nurse break rooms I have been in, so maybe I’m not that far off}.

In honor up my husband’s upcoming birthday, I’m sharing his favorite cake {click on the link to see it, it’s not my recipe, just a recipe I found and love to make}.  I know I can’t go wrong when the main ingredients are sugar, butter, and cream cheese.  And, although I love a beautiful cake/cookie/sweet-of-any-kind, I am NOT a decorator.  I love simple sweets that taste amazing and if they happen to be beautifully decorated {by someone other than me} then that is just…umm, icing on the cake!

This cake isn’t the typical birthday cake, but the hubby loves it.  It’s amazing with coffee, perfect with ice cream, and is a delicious “shortcake” for strawberry shortcake.  I am sure there are many other wonderful varieties I should try as well, but my husband prefers to eat all of his sweets with a glass of cold milk, so that’s usually as fancy as it gets around here.

I love that Allrecipes.com provides nutritional information for all of their recipes. It is important for me to be aware of what I’m eating to stay healthy, but this recipe is so much more enjoyable when that info is avoided!

Diapers {name brand VS generic}

21 Jul

Finding the perfect diaper is very similar to finding the perfect fit in a pair of jeans.  It all depends on the baby and the body that you are purchasing for.  One brand of diapers may fit and work perfectly for one baby and not so much for another.

My hands-down favorite diapers are Pamper’s Swaddlers.  They are SO soft, flexible, and appear to be comfortable.  They have been perfect for both my little girl and my little boy.  I only wish they continued to make them past size 3 {because with my giant babies, we don’t get to wear Swaddlers for long}. Pampers also makes Baby Dry and Cruisers…they just don’t compare to the Swaddlers.

When my daughter was about a year old, I finally got smart.  I was tired of wasting money on diapers that only got worn for a few hours before they were soiled and thrown away.  I felt like I was throwing my money away!  So, I tried generic.  Target-brand diapers worked great, so I attempted even cheaper…Wal-Mart-brand.  Seriously, they worked!  No problems with leaks, no rashes {ugh…my daughter was ridiculously allergic to Huggies!}. I was so proud of all the money I was saving.   Olive wore them for another year until she was potty-trained.

When I had my little boy I thought I would save money from the get-go and head straight to the generic diapers.  I don’t know if it is a boy thing or if Wal-Mart changed their formula, but those diapers repelled urine.  There were leaks everywhere which equaled linen changes, outfit changes, and lots of laundry.  Mama was NOT happy.  I couldn’t get the Pampers Swaddlers on my boy quick enough.  My daughter was thrilled to inherit an entire box of diapers for her baby dolls {nothing goes to waste at our house!}.

When my little AJ outgrew Swaddlers I went back to Target-brand (now called, Up&Up). No rashes, no leaks, perfect fit, and I couldn’t resist the blue and green polka-dot print that  looks so darling on my little guy.

I have never been brave enough to purchase a gigantic box of store-brand diapers from Sam’s, but I have heard good things about Costco-brand diapers. One type of diaper I have never tried,{but I am really interested in} are cloth diapers.  The cute styles available these days seem nothing like the cloth diapers of my childhood. If there are any cloth-diapering mamas out there, please share your opinion.  All of the parental figures in my life warn me to steer clear of the earth-friendly cloth diapers {apparently their experiences were pretty traumatizing!}.

So, don’t just take my word for it.  Get out there and diaper shop…it is nowhere near as stressful or depressing as finding the perfect pair of jeans!

A mother’s sleep-aid

15 Jul

When I was pregnant with my daughter my husband and I registered for the Sony Baby Call Monitor.  It had great range, perfect clarity, a rechargeable battery {that actually holds a great charge}, multiple channels, and an out-of-range signal…what more could a parent ask for??

Well, just a few weeks  into my daughter’s life, I found it almost impossible to get any rest.  I was SO worried about my daughter even though she was in a bassinet right by my bed.  I would hover over her just to watch for her next breath…and the next…and the next.  After watching a marathon of Miami Ink that seemed dedicated to memorial tattoos for people who lost a child to SIDS, I couldn’t take it anymore…I immediately sent my husband out for the Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitor.

Instant PEACE OF MIND!!  I should have just bought this monitor in the first place.  But, I didn’t want to be one of those moms…I wanted to be a relaxed and confident mom. That is just not me…and I accept that now.

This monitor is a little staticky {the newer models may not be} and it has given us a few false alarms {at least, I like to believe they are false-alarms}, but the pros of this monitor completely outweigh the cons.  It is so sensitive to movement that I can’t even leave the ceiling fan running in my son’s room {yes,you can adjust the sensitivity}.  It was a little overwhelming to set up the first time, but after that it is simple and easy.  We have used it in hotel cribs to pack-n-plays.

This is my FAVORITE {and if you know me well, you know that picking a favorite ANYTHING is hard for me to do!} baby product by far…anything that can help a new {and nervous} mom get some sleep is well worth it!

I’ll take two.

30 Jun

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of cool-mist humidifiers {This one is a favorite at my house}

I knew that when I had two little ones that I was going to have two of a lot of things.  Car seats.   Sippy cups.  The dreaded double stroller {actually, just one of those…two seats though.}  Somehow, it NEVER crossed my mind that I would need two humidifiers.  Why two?  Because every time one of my little monkeys gets sick, so does the other…EVERY TIME.  No matter how hard I try to keep them separate and diligently wash their little hands, they both end up sick.  And, when you have two sick kids in separate rooms…you end up needing two humidifiers.  So, consider yourself warned.  Be prepared… or you may just find yourself sending someone out on a late night humidifier run {thanks, Mom!}.

This may seem like a topic more suited for cold/flu season, but lucky us…my little ones are both getting over a summer cold.  No fun!