Tuesday, September 27, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

I'm struggling with the thought that my little guy will be six next week.  He has grown up so much in the past month.  Kindergarten has been a huge milestone for Cohen and it melts my heart to see him enjoy school so much.  This kid loves to help and many times I don't even think he knows how much he's really helping.  I have to be honest, after surviving a year of three and four with him, I wasn't sure we'd ever make it here but here we are and here he is -- all grown up.

Babies and princesses are this one's jam.  I went to see Ron Clark speak a few weeks ago, so Kurtis took the kids to the Children's Museum.  They have a new Doc McStuffins exhibit and Lola was in heaven.  Kurtis said she spent the majority of her time taking care of the little babies in the baby hospital they had set up.  Her interests and attitude resemble me so much - I'm pretty sure I have my clone here.

Because with a face like that, she will never do any wrong.  I'm serious, this child has every single person wrapped around her finger - her brother, sister, dad, babysitter.  While she still sleeps like crap, we couldn't imagine life without her.  And she is almost one people -- ONE!!!


Homemade Granola Bars

Monday, September 26, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #CarnationBreakfastEssentials #CollectiveBias #sponsored

I knew the transition back to work would be difficult, especially since I was able to take an entire year off after having Remy.  But if I have to be honest with you, it has been a lot harder than I could have imagined.  I'm sure there are many factors that go into this like a third child, a kiddo in Kindergarten and the two small businesses I am trying to run on my "free time."  But I have been trying to figure out the balance these last two months and ways to manage the chaos in my life.  While I haven't quite figured it all out obviously, I have found some things that make my time more manageable.  One of the biggest time savers has been meal planning and prepping for the week ahead.

My mornings and evenings are by far the busiest times of the day.  I usually start the day off around 5:30 with a quick run on the treadmill or workout in my basement so I can make sure I am done getting ready for the day by 7:00.  Kurtis and I tag team getting the kids around and I leave the house no later than 7:30.  As you can imagine there is not a whole lot of time in the mornings, especially to get things like breakfast and lunch packed.  I started prepping my breakfasts on Sunday so they are set and ready to grab on my way out the door all week long.  The key here being grab-and-go.

I recently tried this simple recipe for homemade granola bars because grabbing a box at the store every week was getting expensive.  After tweaking it a bit I found one that is super tasty and makes a batch that is perfect to freeze and store for at least two weeks ahead.

Homemade Granola Bars

*1 3/4 cup of quick oats
*1 cup of sliced almonds
*1/2 cup of honey
*1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
*1 cup of peanut butter
*1 teaspoon of cinnamon
*1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips
*1 packet of Carnation Breakfast Essentials - Rich Milk Chocolate
Other Items Need:
*Parchment paper
*Plastic wrap
*Square pan

1.  In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients -- oats, almonds, chocolate chips, cinnamon, salt and Carnation Breakfast Essentials packet.

2.  Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl - honey, vanilla and peanut butter.
(Here's a tip when working with sticky ingredients - spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray before pouring it into your cup and it will slide right out into your mixing bowl!)

3.  Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and combine it together evenly.  The mixture will be sticky but make sure all of the dry mixture has been covered.

4.  Line your square pan with parchment paper.  Then, pour your mixture into your pan and pack it down firmly.

5.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before cutting up the bars.

Since each batch can make around 12 bars, I wrap up the bars after I have cut them and freeze them for the following two weeks for breakfast.  Normally I won't eat breakfast until I get to school.  Therefore I can let the bar defrost on my way into work and they usually are perfect by the time I'm ready to eat one.

These granola bars have been a huge time saver in our busy schedule.  I have never been a huge breakfast eater so the granola bars have been perfect for my morning appetite, especially when you consider how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Adding the Carnation Breakfast Essentials was an easy choice for this recipe too because I know my family (and myself) are getting the nutrients we need to start our mornings off right. The powder is perfect to use in recipes or even when time is short, you can quickly add Carnation Breakfast Essentials to milk for breakfast-on-the-go!  Lately I have been stocking up on a variety of flavors because it is a perfect pantry filler and a family favorite, especially for breakfast.

This whole back to work-life balance has been hard.  But I'm slowly catching on and getting back into the swing of things.  It's all about balance and finding the things, like meal prep and simple recipes, that make life just a little less chaotic.  Plus, they say things get easier after time anyways, right?

Share with Me!
How do you manage a crazy schedule but still fit in a good breakfast?  I'd love to hear some recipes too!



August Photo Dump

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

As I attempted to do the update on my phone for the bazillionth time, I realized I hadn't cleaned off my pictures for the month of August.  And it's almost October.  Mother Time you are mean.

That one time we went to an auction and my husband thought he was bidding on a pergola when in fact he almost spent $1000 on a private dinner...

The Indiana State Fair did us good this year.

That one time I won Cohen a fish.  He named the fish Fishnado.  I spent $5 on fish food and Fishnado died the next day.
For real people.

Walking to Kinder orientation.  All the tears.

And just like that, we had a Kindergartner. 

First day of Kinder.  First day of football practice.

Because she still is my best sleeper.

My sister girls

I love watching the Outdoor Learning Lab being built outside of Cohen's school.  My favorite part of my runs.

Cornfields and Baby Blues

I was a rebel and went out on a school night....to see the Dixie Chicks.
And I got to see my former work bestie.  And I miss her tone.


When the best park is at your Dad's work.

Just because.  That's all.


35/52 and 36/52

Saturday, September 17, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

Since I am behind a bit, I decided to combine a few weeks together.  Blame it on my ridiculously busy and nonstop life lately.  But I do have plenty photos of these kids, nonetheless. 

The cul-de-sac has been awfully quiet this summer.  We have had several families move and two of those families had boys Cohen often played with when they were out.  A few kids were outside last Sunday and after four hours of hard playing, he came back in ready for dinner, dripping sweat.  He has made some really great friends at school and I hope to be setting up some play dates here in the near future. 
P.S.  Did I mention this one will be six in less than a month?

Sweet Lola Girl had a heck of a stomach bug a few weekends ago.  Then, the following week she topped it off with a major cold.  But this one tugs at my heartstrings like something else and I'm a sucker for everything and anything she wants.  The other night at dinner she looked at me and said, "Mom, do you love me?"  My reply was, "Of course I do!  To the moon and back!"  She then said, "Okay Mom.  Thanks."  And that was that.  If only life was that simple.

In less that a month I will no longer have a baby.  Oh my Remy is such a sassy pants in so many ways.  She is her own character and will greet any one of us with the best smile you have ever seen.  Yet she still has a bit of stranger anxiety and will bury her head in my shoulder when she's unsure about the new person and situation.  And if I take something away from her that she wants, oh Lord help us all.


Four Tips to Kicking That Diaper Rash + Giveaway

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Disclosure:  The information, products, gift card, and giveaway have been provided to me by Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My family just got over some kind of horrible stomach bug.  But it wasn't the puke-your-guts-out-flu,   rather the "other end" kind, which is terrible when you have diapers to change.  Remy was the first to get this bug and it took her a good three days to let it run it's course.  It was an every diaper change kind of event that just kept irritating her bum with every wipe.  I'm talking red rash and even a set of blisters.  The girl was miserable.  After a trip to the pediatrician and a few tricks from the nurse practitioner, we survived this first round of stomach issues.  So how did we survive?  Here are a few tips that worked for us!

1.  Warm Water Washcloth
While wipes may be the easiest (and less messy) route, just regular water on a washcloth was the best way to clean Remy's messy booty.  Her butt was already super irritated, so the wipes made the rash worse which made the diaper changing situation horrible.  I ended up just wetting a few washcloths at a time and keeping them in an empty wipes box.  That way I could grab them when I was getting ready for diaper duty without stressing about a baby rolling away with a butt covered in poop.

2.  Air It Out
After changing the unpredictable diaper, I would clean Remy up real well and let her crawl around diaper-less.  Think about it - their poor butts are covered with these diapers that are meant not to leak, which is great!  But not when you need to air a horrible diaper rash.  The nurse practitioner also recommended using a blow dryer on a low, cool setting to blow on their bums to make sure the rash is dry before you diaper up again.  A little tip - hardwood floors are a lot easier to clean up than carpets if there is an accident.  I may be saying this from experience...

3.  Diaper Often
When Remy sprouted the blisters, I started setting a timer to remind myself to change her diaper every 30 minutes.  While this may cost you a little bit more in the weekly diaper budget, it really made a difference when she wasn't sitting in her wet diaper causing more damage to the rash.  

4. Find a Diaper Rash Cream that Works for You
Every baby is different.  I have had three kids and they all react differently to different types of lotions and creams.  So when it comes to lathering up that diaper rash, find a cream that will do the job and protect your little one's sensitive skin.  Bourdreaux's Butt Paste is made to help soothe and relieve your baby's precious little bottom.  It is free of dyes, parabens, preservatives, phthalates and talc, which are ingredients found in many other diaper rash creams.  My pediatrician even recommended using a rash cream or ointment as a barrier between the butt and the diaper.  Bourdreaux's Butt Paste was specifically formulated to provide the thickest barrier of protection.  Depending on the nature of your baby's rash, Bourdreaux's is available in three formulas: Original with 16% zinc oxide which creates a barrier to seal out wetness, Maximum Strength Formula with 40% zinc oxide for over 2x the rash fighting power, and the All Natural Formula with 16% zinc oxide and natural and soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera. 

Even after three kids, I still needed some good tips to tackle Remy's horrible diaper rash.  Sadly, flu season isn't even upon us, but at least I know I will be prepared this year!

Share with Me!
What is your favorite trick to taming diaper rash?

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One (1) lucky winner will win a $25 Visa gift card along with a variety of Bourdreaux's Butt Paste products.  
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Breakfast Time Baby Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sponsored Post:  The post is sponsored by Gerber but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Now that Remy is getting older, it is fun to mix up the flavors and meals that I give to her each day.  Lately it seems that breakfast time is her jam.  Girlfriend loves all things eggs, toast, cereal, waffles - you name, she loves it!  Recently she has decided that she wants to be a biggy girl and feed herself with utensils.  While it isn't always the cleanest method, I pick my battles and honestly have no problems letting her try to feed herself occasionally at meals.  With that being said, I have been brainstorming a few different meals that will make this new skill easier for her to practice.

Since Remy has been six months old, she has always been a fan of yogurt.  I love finding different flavors for her to try.  The great thing is that yogurt is so versatile and can be served with any meal or snack of the day!  So why not combine her favorite yogurt with her favorite fruit?  The soft texture and pureed fruit make it perfect for her to practice spooning it up and feeding herself, too!

Baby Fruit and Yogurt Parfait with Gerber Lil' Bits

You Need:
-One (1) package of Gerber Lil' Bits in your favorite flavor 
(We love Banana Apple Mango!)
-Greek Yogurt
How To Make Them:
1.  Scoop three to four table spoons of greek yogurt into a bowl.

2.  Then, layer half of a container of Gerber Lil' Bits fruit next to the yogurt.

3.  Finally, serve to baby with a spoon and enjoy!

These Baby Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits have been a HUGE hit!  Plus, I love using the Gerber Lil' Bits because they are perfect textures and combinations for her palate.  Gerber has always been the brand I know I can trust with my three kiddos when it comes to food because they choose their ingredients based on the highest quality of standards.  Lil' Bits also contains no added starch, artificial colors or flavors which makes it the perfect option for my Remy.

While letting Remy attempt to feed herself may be messy, it's nothing a sink bath can't solve.  There's just something about drinking a cup of coffee while your kids enjoy their breakfast that will do any mom's soul good.

Share with Me!
What's your favorite toddler meal?