Month: November 2015

Sweet Dreams!

If your kids go to a day care center, you are very aware of the “Nap Bag”. Each child has to have a zipper bag with a crib fitted sheet, small blanket, and small pillow. Trying to find a small pillow can be a challenge. Recently, we were given the Angel Baby Toddler Pillow for free in exchange for an honest review. Joey LOVES her new pillow. I love it too. I wish it was larger, I would steal it from her!! It is so comfortable. And the best part, it fits perfectly in her nap bag!! Did I mention it is organic? Love that!!!

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Loves her new pillow!
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Don’t be fooled, she is pretending!
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So soft, I want one!!
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Perfect size for toddler nap bag

 

Great toy for ages 2 – 6

We were sent the B Toys Pet Vet in exchange for an honest opinion.

From the moment we opened the Pet Vet, the girls have been playing with it! Franki loves putting things in each of the compartments. Nicki and Joey play pretend with the stuffed cat and stuffed dog it came with. They have also incorporated their Doc McStuffins to assist with giving the pets check ups!

This toy is very well made. All the pieces that come with it are very colorful and easy for smal hands to play with! If you are getting a gift for either a girl or boy this holiday season, this toy would be great! All of my girls (ages 20 months – 5) love this toy!!

You can buy this at Target.

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B Toys makes great long lasting toys.
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I love that the keys have a place to be hung up!
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The handle on top makes for easy carrying
B Toys Pet Vet doors
Each door opens with a special key
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The girls love putting the stuffed animals inside!
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Great secret door on top!
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Time for a check up Mr Cat!

 

 

I am thankful for infertility

If you are one of the people that got pregnant after the first try…you are lucky. And if it just happens easy for you, you are lucky. You don’t even know how lucky you are. I know, I know…you tell your friend that is struggling with infertility that “you understand” and how “sorry” you feel for her. But you don’t know.

I spent a good part of my life trying to NOT get pregnant. I was great at it too. Never really had a “scare”, I was rocking the world of safe sex! High five for me! But then the day came that I wanted to have a baby…and come to find out, I was better at NOT getting pregnant then actually getting pregnant.

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My husband and I got married in November and by June, we were ready to start “trying”. My mother had always warned me that we (my family) were a fertile bunch. “Watch out Chris, if someone slaps you on the ass too hard you will get pregnant” I swear, she used to say this! So I genuinely thought that I would get pregnant right away. I stopped taking my birth control and we proceeded to “try”. The first month went by, not pregnant. Then the second, and the third…still no positive pregnancy test. Maybe we weren’t “trying” correctly. So, as is my nature, I became obsessed with how to get pregnant. I read every blog, every article, and started following all the “rules” to get pregnant. Still nothing. Meanwhile, everyone I knew was getting pregnant. Seriously, everyone…all of them, getting pregnant. Do you know how hard it is to smile and tell someone congratulations on their joyful news when all you want to do is run to the bathroom and cry. I can’t say that I didn’t do the later more than a few times. I was really excited for them, I was just really sad for myself.

I felt like a failure, like I was letting my husband down. All I ever wanted was a family. I wanted children, I wanted soccer games and cub scouts…and it wasn’t happening. I was a failure. My body was letting me down.

One morning I wasn’t feeling so great and had the worst pains in my side. They were crippling. I was crying and afraid. The thought of a miscarriage crossed my mind. We rushed to the OBGYN’s office and they did an ultrasound. It was a cyst. A cyst the size of a grapefruit and it had ruptured. I was relieved because it wasn’t a miscarriage but now very concerned because of what happened.

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This situation made us realize we needed the help of professionals. So we found an infertility doctor. First, they wanted to make sure my tubes were not blocked. So I had to have a blue dye injected in them while they ran some kind of test. Well, let me tell you, that was no walk in the park. I almost passed out from the pain. It was so horrible. But they told me that one of the tubes was blocked, but was not anymore. Hooray! I was stoked, now I would get pregnant. No such luck. After trying for a few months, nothing.

After a barrage of tests it was determined that I had Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Great, what the hell did that mean? It meant, lots of drugs and lots of blood work. But I wanted to have baby, so we started the process. I had to drive 20 minutes twice a week to get blood taken. They didn’t take appointments for blood work though, it was first come first serve. So this meant getting there before they opened at 6:00 am. I got there at 5:45 am. There was always a line waiting at the door…and I had to be at work by 7:10 am. This went on for a few months….drugs to start my cycle, drugs to ovulate, blood tests, and ultra sounds. My life was becoming consumed by infertility…and the drugs were making me a hormonal mess. We were on the third and final round of Clomid when my husband told me “I can’t do this anymore. You are a mess, these drugs are making you so hormonal. I don’t want a baby if this is what it takes.” Not really what you should say to a hormonal mess of a person!!! So I knew it had to work. I heard acupuncture was good for infertility, so I started that along with the last round of drugs.

There is a little more to the story…but it worked. The final round of drugs, blood work, and ultrasounds…worked! I felt amazing. I was pregnant!

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As I look back on that moment and all the mommy moments that have followed over the past 6 years, I am thankful. I seriously can not express how thankful I am. I still tear up when I think about that first positive test, the first ultrasound seeing a baby, and the first time I felt my daughter kick. I am thankful for having gone through that experience. And I am even more thankful for it ending with a beautiful daughter! My second and third daughters were conceived without the help of a doctor. Go figure. I always say Nicki fixed me! Children are miracles…blessings even. They really are. Sometimes when they are driving me nuts I force myself to think back….to think back to those mornings of blood work, doctor visits, medicine, and tears. I remember how badly I wanted to be a mother…and here I am…for better or worse, I am their mommy. And for that, I am thankful. 

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Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Ok, I am not really good at writing recipes. I apologize!!! I just wing it in the kitchen, I put things together that I think will taste good! The other day I was at a farmer’s market and picked up some broccoli rabe and provolone sausage. YUM! So this meal was created with the sausage as the inspiration!

Cook the sausage in the over. I take the casing off and cut them in half. Cook until they are fully cooked. Cut into small pieces.

Cut the really thick pieces off the bottoms of the broccoli rabe. You can leave most of the stems, they soften when cooked. To make the broccoli rabe, simply boil water and add the broccoli rabe. Boil for about 1 minute, take it out and put it into an ice bath. You don’t want to over cook it. Drain.

Saute garlic in olive oil with parsley. Add the broccoli rabe and sausage. Let simmer for a few minutes. Cut 1 lemon and squeeze the whole lemon over the entire mixture. Stir and serve! I add shaved Parmesan to mine! YUMMY!

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Mini Meatloaf with Carrot Puree

This is a great recipe to try if your kids aren’t really fans of vegetables. The carrots add moister to the meatloaf. I also got to try out my VenBaby Silicone Tray in a baking capacity. I was nervous about putting it in the oven, but it says oven safe so I went for it! I really don’t know why I haven’t cooked with silicone before! These came out great! They were super easy to POP out to serve too! The VenBaby Tray really has so many different uses!! Click here to check it out! (more…)

Get Creative with Scarves and Gloves

Winter is coming…and with it, scarves, hats, and gloves! My house was over run last year with missing mittens and hats! After being overwhelmed with making sure all 3 girls were warm enough for their daily adventure, I sought out to make my life easier this winter. I knew what I had in mind and went to my favorite place, Ross! Sure enough, there is was in all of its glory….behold my winter accessory storage piece! I love it!

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I bought mine with the awesome chalkboard labels. But you could easily add them to anything you find!
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I love this! Everything fits perfectly! No more hunting for gloves!

If you are having similar issues, find a solution that fits your lifestyle! Good luck!

Let go!

I was picking up Nicki from school and the weather was beautiful! We had a few minutes to spare so I let her play on the playground with her friends. I watched as she pulled herself upside down on the hanging bar. “Let go Nicki!” I shouted. She glanced back at me in horror! “I can’t let go, I might fall!!” She shouted back to me. So I told her to try letting go with 1 hand. “Try one hand Nicki!” She got herself upright and ran over to me. “Mom, are you crazy? Do you want me to fall?” She was genuinely upset. “Nicki, you could have done it if you let go with one hand. And how will you know if you don’t try it?”

Nicki asked me if I knew how to hang upside down. Me, of course…I was the champ at hanging upside down in my day! When I was in high school, I used to hang upside down in the workout room and do sit ups. I was up for the challenge! I handed my cell phone to Nicki to hold. One of my mom friends was standing there in shock. “Girl, you have your dress pants on and heels!” Hmm, I did. But looking at the excitement on Nicki’s face, I knew I couldn’t let her down. I went for it. It was a lot harder then I remember. But I did it. I got upside down.

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“Let go mommy, let go!” Nicki cheered. And I did. I let go. Man it felt good. I felt like a kid again. For a split second, I felt free. When I got off and returned to the side walk with the other moms, my friend informed me she had taken a few pictures. I had no idea. I love these pictures. They are real, true, in the moment. You can see me…letting go!

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Nicki handed me back my phone and ran over to the bar. She got herself upside down and looked over at me. She quickly took her hand off the bar and returned it just as fast! She hopped down, she was so proud of herself. “Great try Nicki, next time try for a little longer!”

Letting go isn’t easy, even if you have done it before. Don’t hold on to things that cause you pain and sadness. Let them go, feel free,  and see things in a new way.

Gluten Free Pasta and Veggies in a White Wine Sauce

IMG_9612One of my good friends is gluten free because of having Ciliac Disease. She comes over once a week with her girls and we have a dinner play date. I try so hard to make sure that I have yummy stuff for her to eat! I recently found (after trying several) Ronzoni Gluten Free Pasta. The first time I served it to her, she spit it out and said “are you sure this is gluten free??” I handed her the box and she was shocked!! It really tastes great!

I came up with this dinner because I didn’t have a lot of time or ingredients in the house but she was coming over with her girls in 20 minutes and I needed to pull something together! (more…)

Picky Eater? Have you tried these tricks?

One of the common problem parents have is getting their children to eat. When I sit around talking to other parents, this is a major topic of conversation. With my three girls I have seen a roller coaster of eating habits. One day they love something and the next, they hate it! Some times they will try anything I give them. And other times the refuse to try anything new. I have learned a few things over the years…seeing trends along the way.

Involve Kids in Cooking
Kids are more likely to eat the foods they help make. Or at least try the food! It is not easy having young kids help in the kitchen…but I have learned some tricks to making it easier! Measure things out and let them pour and mix.

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Bite Size
Children are nervous to try new foods, they are afraid they won’t taste good. So when they are faced with a huge portion of something to eat, their first though is “crap that’s a lot of something I might not even like!!” Keep food servings small…even bite size! Click here for some fun bite size recipes to try with your kids.

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Toothpicks!
You know how it goes…you are strolling through a store and they offer bite sized samples on toothpicks. You hand one to your child thinking they will never eat it and BAM they love it! You get excited, you buy a bag of this wonderful food, and when you get home no one wants to eat it. What happened?! Toothpicks…toothpicks happened. Get some fun toothpicks and let the kids eat their food with toothpicks! They will think you are the coolest parent EVER!

Give them what they like
Put something on their plate that you know they like. If your child isn’t crazy about meatloaf, make a favorite side with it. When you put their plate together, add just a little bit of everything. Tell them that once they finish everything, then they can have more of what they want if they are still hungry. I say put a little bit because you don’t ever want to force your child to finish a huge plate of food. And you don’t want to teach them that finishing a huge plate of food is healthy behavior.

Lie
Until Nicki was 4, she thought every meat product that she was given was chicken. Yup, that’s correct. Fried shrimp, sausage, meat loaf….all of it was called chicken! Why? Because we knew she liked chicken, so why not use that to our advantage! Unfortunately, she got smart and caught on! If you know your child LOVES one type of food, lie and tell them that what they are eating is just that.

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Don’t tell them what’s for dinner!
I don’t tell my kids what’s for dinner until the plate is right in front of them. This gives them less time to complain and tell me how much they don’t like it. Well, mostly Joey. She is 3 1/2 and at the age where she is voicing her opinion about everything….especially food! So when asked “What’s for dinner?” I reply, I am not sure yet…I will figure it out and get back to you!

Serve Dinner Late
If I am making something new or something I know they aren’t crazy about, I serve dinner 45 minutes later then usual. This way, they are starving. And there is less resistance from a starving child to eat what they may not like. Also, NO SNACKS for at least 2 hours before dinner time. And no juice or milk before meal time. If they fill up on juice or milk, they aren’t going to be hungry enough to try something new or eat something they might not like!

Eat with your kids
You can’t expect them to eat it if you don’t! Don’t tell your kids to eat their vegetables if you aren’t. Model what you expect. Turn off the TV and sit with them and enjoy a meal. Talk about their day. Talk about your day! Enjoy the time together.