I'm sooo looking forward to spring! Warm weather, flowers, birds, and sunshine. Unfortunately that also means I have to start finding some warm weather pieces that will last through the summer. Don't get me wrong - it's fun to shop for little clothing, but I haaaate spending the money. Hopefully I'll eventually have another girl so that we can do the hand-me-down thing! Luckily I'm also queen of promo codes, sales, and free shipping, and I saved a bunch of gift cards from Christmas for the occasion. Here are a few things that I've purchased along with a few that I'm considering for Violet:
One great way I've found to get Violet to eat her veggies (besides bribing her with guacamole) is to slice/dice/puree them into some pasta sauce. This week I took some random veggies from the fridge (spinach, tomatoes, squash, and mushrooms) and chopped them up very finely and threw them in with some store-bought pasta sauce:
Tuesdays' dinner: grilled chicken, whole wheat penne pasta, pasta sauce with chopped spinach, tomatoes, squash, and mushrooms
I've really been enjoying the mini meals that have been posted by those of you participating so far. If you haven't participated yet - I'd love to see what you feed your little one. It doesn't have to be anything mind blowing - what might seem typical and boring to you might give me a fresh idea! You can link up below. xo, Lauren
Just wanted to pop in and say thank you to whoever nominated with two cats for Best Home Design blog over on Apartment Therapy - I'm flattered! If you'd rather vote for me in that category rather than (or I suppose in addition to) Best Family Blog you can do that here. xo, Lauren
This week's Supermom is Bridget Hunt of Tales of Me and the Husband! Bridget became stepmom to four kids when she married her husband and she recently became mom to her very own little one, Parker, in July. While I know being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, I've got a feeling being a stepmom is even harder! Read on to find out more about this week's Supermom:
I've always loved writing--it's the English major in me--and I found myself a bit swamped by my new(ish) life as stepmom. I needed an outlet in the worst way. On top of that, I saw Stephanie Nielson of the NieNie Dialogues on Oprah, became fascinated by her story, and checked out her blog as soon as the show was over. I fell in love and thought blogging was really cool. Thus, my blog was born. Two and a half years later, I'm sometimes surprised at the places it's brought me... in particular, actual friends that I met through the whole thing!
Probably laughing with the kids. Lindsey is so funny these days and she really "gets it" (humor-wise). And Parker, oh that smooshy Parker... when I hear him on the monitor, I run upstairs to get him. As soon as he sees me he gives me the biggest smile. He always wakes happy and I like to think that's telling of his personality (ohhhh but time will tell!).
For me it was probably getting over myself and becoming selfless. With kids, it's really all about them. Selfish me took some time to get used to that!
3. Summer Infant Portable Video Monitor - With that last one, I felt like a total cheeseball. Who needs to SEE THEIR BABY ALL THE TIME while they sleep? But it has given me SUCH peace of mind. While I used to go upstairs every 15 minutes or so to see the rise and fall of his chest while he was sleeping, now I just click on the video. It's the best.
For toddlers?? Gosh. Crayons and a coloring book. That can provide endless entertainment--at least for the girls! Parker isn't a toddler yet, but I know this will come in handy then too (and already has): the City Select Baby Jogger stroller. Love it. And the carrier... I know, overlap, but it'll continue coming in good use especially when he's on-the-go and I can keep him stationary in it!
2. My camera. I have gone very few days without using it at all.
3. The vacuum. Here's why: sometimes it's the best for putting a restless babe to sleep (white noise!) and you can actually GET STUFF DONE (you know, using it to actually do its job of vacuuming) at the same time.
I don't. There are nights when dinner is Trader Joes chicken nuggets or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! And days where I felt like I was too "absent" on the computer or doing chores. While the productive days are some of my favorites, I try to give myself lee-way for those other days too. But then, sometimes, the mom-guilt sets in...
Above all else, tell your kids you love them. It covers a multitude of sins.
Gosh, probably my Mom. Cliche? Sure. But, she's pretty great.
Thanks so much to Bridget for your thoughts and advice! I second the vacuum advice (or the vent fan in the kitchen) - it's the only way we could get Violet to sleep for a while! See more of Bridget on her blog here.
I thought I'd share a few new things around the H-Haus with you this Monday morning:
1. We got a new pillow from Skinny Laminx. I've had my eye on this fabric for quite some time and finally found the right place for it in the form of a pillow cover. The vase from West Elm is also fairly new and makes all of my grocery store flowers look so fresh :)
2. Terrarium prints from Quill & Fox. Not sure if I want to frame them or how I'd like to display them for sure. (Suggestions?) Washi tape is great for when you're feeling indecisive :)
3. A new print from Fifi Du Vie. I don't know what it is about this print - it's so simple, but I really love it!
4. I decided to do some color blocking in Violet's big girl room. Testing out some paint colors. The lower one is really hard to see in the photo, but in real life it's perfectly subtle. The upper one was a bit to bright/contrasting in reality although I really love how it looks in the photo.
5. I measured off my color 'block' with a carpenter's square and taped it off. My lines turned out pretty nice and crisp (the trick is to remove the tape as soon as possible while the paint is still wet)
6. The color block is somewhat difficult to photograph. In real life it's much more noticeable than in the photo, but you can see it here a bit if you look closely. I'm trying to decide what to do about window treatments in this room. Roman shades? Roller shades? I would do curtains but there's another window across from the mirror that is smaller and in an awkward place for a curtain. I think it would look best if both windows were treated in the same way. Hmmmm....decisions decisions.
I think we've decided just to go with a bed frame sans headboard for now. There's a small window in the niche where the bed is going to go and it's fairly low so I haven't been able to find any headboards that I like that aren't too tall. Maybe this one or this one? Opinions? Suggestions?
If you haven't noticed things are looking a bit different around these parts (for those of you who read via RSS, feel free to click over to check it out!) I know I've changed the design pretty frequently - I tend to be fickle and I'm always trying to improve things. I suppose I was in the mood for something a bit more dramatic and went for the charcoal gray :) I'm still working on the header and a few other details, but for now I'm pretty happy with it.
But I also realize that there's more to blogging than just having a pretty website design and I've been reading more and more great posts on the topic lately. Here are a few of my recent favorites:
Despite the fact that Violet's aunt and uncle live in Australia, she gets to talk to them quite frequently via Skype. For those of you who haven't used it, it's a free way to video chat with people online. We weren't sure how well a relationship could be developed in 2-D, but when they visited us this past Christmas our normally shy-around-new-people girl ran up and gave them huge hugs and was glued to their side for the rest of their visit.
Violet has been saying so many new words lately - her language abilities are just exploding and she at least tries to repeat many of the words we say. Hooroo is an Australian way of saying goodbye and her Uncle Dan uses it a lot so we had a lot of fun teaching her that one in preparation for her upcoming trip this summer! Another cute thing she does is invert words. I figure with the word 'Possum' (the name of her aunt and uncle's dog), she heard the 'mmmm' sound at the end and repeated that sound first since it was most recent? 'Minnop!' She also often says 'Me!' when you ask her to say 'You' because she thinks of 'you' as herself if you know what I mean :) Such a cutie pie. It's fun to see how their little minds work.
Anyway, I had to share this video with you but I have to warn you that I die a little bit more every time of the cuteness, so watch at your own risk!
We're pretty limited with what we can feed Violet here at the H-Haus due to her FPIES - especially for breakfast. She can't have dairy or soy and can only have very limited grains (so far oat and wheat), so that rules out a lot of breakfast foods like pancakes, toast, and a lot of cereals. Luckily she loves is completely obsessed with eggs. They're one of her favorite foods - probably second only to guacamole. Although she can have egg yolks the doctor recommended that we go with egg whites since she eats eggs so frequently. Less cholesterol and all. I think I may start trying to mix some things in with her eggs - maybe spinach? Vegetables are one thing that she has to be coaxed (or bribed with guacamole) into eating.
You can enter your 'mini meal' in the linky list below. Can't wait to see what your little ones are eating!
A few of the billions of flowers the Hubster got me for Valentine's Day week
Me and my little Valentine
More flowers from my Mister :)
Paint from some crafty Valentine fun
Cookies made for me by my little sweetheart
And flowers from my Violet
A pretty heart painted by a pretty girl
I realized I don't have any photos of me and the Hubster (just the crazy amount of flowers he got me - a bunch each day!) We kept it pretty low-key this year with a soon-to-be-two-year-old on our hands and no babysitter in sight. Just a clean house, candles, and a yummy dinner at home. (And of course the flowers!!!) We are, however, going to have a more romantic weekend coming up for my thirtieth birthday. We haven't decided for sure whether we're going for a staycation or a mini vacation away from home, but we do know that my parents are watching V so it'll be just the two of us! We've only had one entire weekend to ourselves since Violet was born and I was sick the whole time, so it didn't really count. I'm sure I'll miss my little munchkin, but at the same time I'm so excited!
This week's Supermom is Esther Garfield of Buy Modern Baby! Esther has a Master's degree in television production, but self-admittedly rarely watches TV. (She's too busy working on her website and blog!) Esther started Buy Modern Baby in 2006 as a resource for parents to find the best in modern baby and nursery products, followed by Buy Modern Baby the blog in 2010. Her site has been incredibly useful to me with my idea board service and in finding products for my own home. Esther is also mom to two little boys. Read on to learn more about this week's Supermom:
My brother-in-law kept telling me (for years!) that I needed a blog to go with my product guide but I wasn’t convinced. There were so many blogs out there that I already enjoyed reading, but I starting running into so many interesting things that didn’t fit the categories in the guide, so I finally gave in and decided to give blogging a go.
It took a few months before I found the blog’s groove but once I realized I had my own unique perspective in the world of kids design, I knew I had a lot to add to the conversation.
My favorite part of being a mom is the interesting talks that I have with my kids. Even before they went out into the wide world of school and friends, it was so interesting to hear their unique thoughts and perspective. I wish I could record all of our conversations.
The toughest thing for me about becoming a mother is just that there’s never a moment where you can just put being a parent on a pause. There’s not a single second where you don’t worry about your children’s well being. Even if I’m in a dead sleep, if they make a peep from their rooms at night, I’m wide-awake and ready to help if they need me. It can be exhausting, but it’s just part of my job and I wouldn’t trade it with anyone!
My philosophy for baby items has always been to use as little as you can get by with and keep it as simple as possible.
These are three things that I love, but if your circumstances and lifestyle are different, they might not work or be necessary for you!
1. When I got home from the hospital, I realized I needed a place to put my baby when I wasn’t holding or wearing him. A simple bouncer like the Baby Bjorn Babysitter does the trick perfectly.
2. Some lovely baby wash, moisturizer and diaper balm like the ones from Mini Organics make me very happy. I love all the Mini Organics products and whenever my baby’s skin had any irritation, I knew I could count on them to gently soothe and bring things back into balance. And they all smell perfectly wonderful. I love using them for myself as well!
3. This one is going to sound strange, but all the little baby clothes stressed me out. You get so many cute little things, either as gifts or you buy things yourself, but then you have this crazy wardrobe with tiny clothes in all kinds of sizes. I was always worried that I’d miss things or forget to put the boys into certain outfits until they had grown out of them, so closet dividers were a must-have for me. I had to keep all those cute little things organized.
1. Before you know it, your little ones are sitting up on their own and trying solid food. Our Ikea Antilop with the additional tray served us perfectly for both our boys.
2. Now I know these aren’t as eco-friendly as I prefer to be, but for eating out with a toddler, especially those who are still eating off the high chair tray at home, there’s nothing like having a pack of Table Toppers in your diaper bag. These make eating out a little more hygienic and you can leave the table without having made too terrible of a mess. I particularly liked the designs that had a road on them. Bring a toy car as well, and you’ve got an activity while you wait for your food.
3. The perfect nightlight is essential at our house. Hopefully your toddler won’t particularly NEED a nightlight, but both my boys have gone through stages where they don’t want their rooms completely dark (like right now). Even if they don’t need it, it doesn’t hurt to have a little illumination in the room for when you go check on them. We have a Mobi TykeLight, but I also like OXO Tot lights and Boon’s Glo.
Can I say a cook, a housekeeper and a great babysitter? Heheh—unfortunately I have none of the above.
But really, sometimes there are a few products that help it all go more smoothly.
1. iPhone. I don’t know how I got through nursing my first child in the pre-iPhone era. It was so much easier the second time around when I could sit and read news and twitter and even blog posts using just one hand wherever and whenever. Even getting up in the middle of the night is easier if you have twitter to keep you company.
2. Spanx. These LITERALLY help things go more “smoothly.” Get it? I know there are a few of you that put on your old jeans back on a couple weeks after the baby arrives, but I’m pretty sure that most of us need a little extra help. I particularly like the High-Waisted Shapers. They’ve got the maximum amount of shaping without impeding on nursing.
3. Slow Cooker. To make mealtime go smoothly, you really can’t beat a slow cooker. Put a meal together during naptime and at dinner time, it’s ready to just serve. The food is cooked and soft enough to mash up for babies and if you make enough, you’ve got leftover lunch done for the next day as well. I really need to use our slow cooker more often! We have the 7-quart Crock-Pot from Costco and I’m happy with it but don’t have anything else to compare it to.
I don’t. Lol! Once the kids are in bed, I leave the dishes in the sink and the pile of papers on my desk and I blog. Also, I don’t watch TV anymore. I prefer surfing the web and interacting online. The rest of the time I just do my best.
There are as many different moms out there as there are people. You don’t have to do what you think everyone else is doing, you just have to be the best mom that the person you are can be. And you don’t have to be the same mom for every child you have. Each child is different and will require different things of you.
I’m sure it’s cliché, but MY mom is a supermom. She can still take care of me like no one else. When she’s here, she looks after my boys, does the gardening, makes dinner, and I’m pretty sure she stays up long after I’ve gone to bed to clean up... well, you know... all that stuff I left undone while I was busy at the computer!
Thanks to Esther for your thoughts and advice! I can definitely relate to never putting being a parent on pause. That's been the most difficult thing for me to adjust to as well. But you're right - I wouldn't trade it for anything! See more of Esther over on her blog, Buy Modern Baby.