Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Banana Bread Muffins!

I recently sampled King Arthur products with some friends and had some of their amazing flours on hand to play with! They sent samples and coupons for their flours that the group was able to use to make goodies for a bake sale. The bake sale proceeds were donated to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. King Arthur has a #BakeForGood initiative promoting giving back through baking.

I hosted a playdate today and wanted a healthy but tasty treat. My oldest won't eat something if it's too out there or he can tell I've added strange things (like carrots) to it. Yesterday I created this recipe and it was met with toddler and preschooler approval!!

Banana Bread Muffins
  • 2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed; about 4 or 5 medium bananas 
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
 Combine ingredients above and mix well. Then add in ingredients below and mix well again.
  • 1 cup King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Bake in muffin tin (greased) or with muffin papers for 20-24 minutes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mealplan Monday

Need cooking inspiration?? Here it is. Again as always, I sub out ingredients and add more sometimes too. I strive to add extra vegetables and remove processed items but the recipes I link to have given me the inspiration for the meal.

     A spin on our normal stir fry! For this I used the noodles from 3 Ramen packages (only cost $0.60), fresh cabbage, fresh carrots, water chestnuts, fresh green beans, fresh onions, fresh broccoli, and our normal stir fry sauce with a random combination of soys sauce, homemade teriyaki, garlic, sriracha, and ginger. 

   beef crunchy tacos with black beans 

   salmon burgers with skinny chickpea salad 

   Spaghetti and homemade bread

   Copycat Pizza Uno Pizza with Pepperoni and Italian Sausage 


I also started Monday off right by making two loaves of our favorite bread (Buttermilk) and banana muffins for our playdate tomorrow!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Omega Boost Jr.

I first looked into DHA/Omega 3's/Fish oil when we first moved to FL years ago. Our Indiana dogs didn't adjust so well to the climate and needed something to help their skin. We don't usually buy animal only products that cost 10-times more so I looked for quality human supplements for our pets. 

Since then, I've searched for a great supplement both for us adults in the family to help with healthy hearts and for the kiddos! I've sort of bounced around between brands while checking out what the Native Sun and Whole Foods aisles have. Recently I read about the importance of consuming adequate Omega 3's especially in young boys. Healthy fat consumption has also been shown to decrease behavior issues. 

I jumped at the chance to try a sampling of Nordic Naturals and have been surprised at the variety. I received a full size bottle of Omega Boost Jr. and a huge assortment of samples of their other various products. I was pleased to see they have a high quality pet soft gel too! For the littler ones who won't take a pill or swallow something that tastes fishy, they even make funny gummies. Whatever has kept you from repeatedly taking your Omega 3's Nordic Naturals have a solution. Carter at not yet 3 years old took their capsule version all on his own even. No more fishy taste and smell!!

To ensure their safety, Nordic Naturals uses third party testing to ensure the highest quality. Their purity surpasses the international pharmaceutical standards and testing results are even available online so you can verify what you're using yourself! I especially love that many of their products are made in a facility certified to be free of the common allergens. They're gluten free and contain no artificial dyes. 

Disclosure: I received this product in order to facilitate a review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Baltic Amber

I've used amber necklaces for all three boys to help with teething pain. "Do they actually work?" is the first thing people ask when I tell them what it is. No, it's not for chewing on. The necklaces contain succinct acid, which is said to prove pain relief upon absorption into the body. As the wearer warms the necklace, it's supposed to work. They say the lighter the color and raw versus unpolished are most effective but those preferences people usually make on their personal fashion likes.

The first thing I answer to those asking about the effectiveness is, "well even if they don't work they are cute and there is always a chance they do help!" That being said I do think they help. With Nolan I removed it after a bath and forgot to put it back on and both Tim and I noticed his increased crankiness.

I recommend removing it for all bath and water play. I didn't with the first necklace I owned (not the item being reviewed below) and it started to mildew under the beads. It's also not recommended for children/infants to sleep with any necklace on. Nighttime is when you need it most though so I place it on an ankle under PJs. That isn't as effective since the necklace isn't close to the source of the pain but it's better than nothing.

I received the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace off Amazon to review. Since Oliver has his hands in his mouth constantly these days it was perfect timing.

The necklace fits Oliver, my tiny (<3 3="" 6="" a="" almost="" be="" but="" carter="" comparison="" could="" doesn="" fine.="" for="" he="" i="" in="" it="" length="" month="" not="" old="" on="" p="" pretty="" put="" s="" shorter="" since="" supervised="" t="" tad="" too.="" wear="" well.="" when="" yet="">

I like that by being available on Amazon with Prime shipping it's much more readily available to those who might not explore non-traditional remedies. Teething tablets and amber necklaces get us through those crazy times when baby is getting teeth. Oliver hasn't had one break through yet but I know it's close!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Babywearing: MOBY wrap

I'm starting my posts on specific baby wearing carriers with the MOBY wrap because that is where our baby wearing journey started almost 6 years ago! It's a wrap I still recommend to all new moms. The MOBY isn't a buckle carrier you quickly put baby into and snap on. It's in essence a long piece of fabric similar to t-shirt jersey material. Folded in half width wise you then "wrap" it around your body and insert baby. Unlike the more expensive and non-stretchy wraps, the carrier is usually put on before baby is inserted because it can stretch to accommodate baby being placed inside. Once wrapped baby is secure and has no way to fall to the ground for those worried.

A new MOBY wrap can easily be found at lots of mainstream stores. Target, BuyBuyBaby, Babies R Us, and more all carry it in some form. It retails from $40-$60 depending on the designs and types you choose. If you visit a Once Upon a Child or check your local swipe swap site (or one of the plethora of baby wearing swap pages on Facebook), you can easily find one for $20 or less. A used MOBY should pose no harm and has no parts to worry about being damaged from use by others.

I purchased my first MOBY before Nolan was even born and practiced wrapping it while waiting for him to finish growing!! While it looks complicated, for most carries you use the same wrap technique. Luckily, it can be wrapped on you in the comfort of your home and worn out to the store or wherever before inserting baby. Until I was well versed in wrapping, this is just what I did.

How the wrap looks when secured on you without baby. From the MOBY website
Many times when Tim and I would first go out in public with newborn Nolan wrapped in the Moby, people around us wouldn't even notice the baby strapped to me. It was great for keeping stingers from touching in those early weeks. Babies usually fall right to sleep once comfortably wrapped on you too.

When Nolan was still a newborn I wore him in the MOBY to Walmart. As I was walking in the door an overzealous greeter came rushing my way yelling. I ignored her until I realized she was saying "You can't bring that in here," and was about to touch me. I quickly stopped her and flabbergasted said, "My baby? I can't bring my baby in here?" She looked a little shocked and hopefully felt bad for jumping to conclusions. he then said, "I thought it was a dog." I laugh about but have to wonder who wears their dog on them?

Newborn Oliver sleeping on mom during his second week of life. 
Oliver in the picture above has an open airway, was kissable, his face was unobstructed, and I had a direct view to check on him! Refer back to my safety post here and always read the instructions included with any purchased baby carrier!!

This isn't a sponsored post. I have a MOBY and enjoy it and want to share the baby wearing love!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Upcycling Sewing!!

Rompers are by far my favorite little boy outfit ever!! I scour the thrift stores for them and check every retail store we visit. Usually each retail store has only one or two and they are boring cuts and fabrics. Luckily thrift stores finds are much better!! Even better though is handmade using one of daddy's old t-shirts. I can't wait to find more t-shirts to turn into comfy clothes for Oliver as he grows! Let me know if you have some you're about to throw out!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Guest Post - Chew Chew Mama

Check out my guest post on Chew Chew Mama's website today!! 

Check out her picky eater's club while you're over there. It's an amazing resource for families of toddlers and preschoolers and the next round starts August 1st. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dog Hair Help

We own two large dogs after the passing of our third, our German shepherd Kahn. This means a LOT of dog hair. I received the barkOutfitters deshedding tool the "Miracle Comb" to give it a whirl and review. Friday the package was sitting on the counter when Tim came home and a few minutes later he was on the porch brushing Lainey. He didn't realize it was a review item and just put it to use. I was able to get his unbiased opinion.

When I asked if he read the instructions he said he had not and that it was working fine. He started with the side with the combs spaced further apart and moved to the side with them closer once the other side seemed done. It was easy to use, worked great, and got the undercoat out easily. Lainey has been a bit confused since we moved late in the winter from FL to OH. Her coat is still somewhat a winter coat and she's trying to shed it now that 90 degree days are upon us. 

Last week I used our high velocity extractor (dog grooming dryer) on her and thought I had made a dent in the extra hair. I was wrong!! In just a matter of minutes look how much extra hair Tim was able to brush out with the Miracle Comb. 

 The Miracle Comb has a swivel head which is strange at first but in a matter of a few strokes becomes normal. It's easy to clean as the hair just wipes off and is simple to then collect and dispose of. It even comes with a five year warranty!!

You can get your own on Amazon and it even qualifies for Amazon Prime. All opinions herein are my own and no compensation was received. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Babywearing Safety and Form

So it's evident from my posts and pictures I thoroughly enjoy wearing my kiddos. Baby carriers are fun and functional not to mention the perfect thing for a mom to collect!!

I often get asked questions on carriers and wearing so I thought I'd put my thoughts into a few posts!!

Let's get started with safety. Proper baby wearing can be both safe and beneficial. It often calms upset children, encourages bonding, and offers comfort to both mom and baby. The main thing to remember is that if there is a task you wouldn't do while holding your baby, don't do it while wearing. Bike riding, skiing, even lawn mowing are all not recommended while wearing a child.

Keep babies' airway open at all times and do not allow their chin to compress to their chest. Baby should be close and snuggled against your chest all while high enough to kiss. Their backs need to be supported. A great baby carrier mimics the position you would hold your baby in naturally with your arms.

Graphic Source

In the past there have been large scale recalls of pouch or bag sling carriers. These types aren't inherently dangerous but they do easily lend themselves to poor carrying techniques. If you choose to use such a carrier please practice and be certain baby is in the carrier safely. You can find a local baby wearing chapter which would be happy to help you learn to use your carrier in person!!

Hip Dysplasia Institute

Soft structured carriers (SSC's) are a very versatile and popular carrier. They can be found in all the big box stores with more brands available online.  While wearing a baby upright in an SSC, it is perfectly safe to allow a baby's legs to spread out from birth on provided they are comfortable doing so. If they are not ready to do so, baby's legs can be tucked and froggy positioned provided they aren't bearing weight on their legs. A great way to do this is by use of a small blanket/burp cloth, etc. as a seat for them. This isn't my photo but we find this positioning perfect!! Some popular brands of SSC's include ERGObaby, Tula, Kinderpack, LILLEbaby, Boba, Lenny Lamb, and many more! They come in all different weights of fabrics to make summer or winter carrying possible too. I'll explore more specific carrier brands in upcoming posts. 

I can't find the original source for this as it's been saved a bunch on Pinterest and other sites and I myself have done the same. If it's your please let me know and I'll give you credit!

Avoid carriers which dangle baby off your front. They tend to be uncomfortable for both wearer and baby. They don't allow for the proper M positioning for hips which places baby's bum below they knees as shown below. he Hip Dysplasia Institute has great graphics I'll be including to show positioning! These carriers don't cause hip dysplasia as has been often rumored they just can exacerbate it if already present and aren't ideal.

Photo Source

If you own such a carrier there are ways to make it more ergonomic for baby's hips and your back. Using a scarf to position baby is a great hack!

Photo Source

Whatever your budget and whatever you carrier use it safely and remember to #wearallthebabies!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oliver's Monster Nursery

So we all know I"m obsessed with baby wearing and my carriers. One of my favorite carriers, new for Oliver, is a Kinderpack in Monster Mash. I decided to use it to inspire his nursery theme. It's almost 100% done so I wanted to share some pictures!! I made most everything but did order a few decals from etsy!! I need my own Cameo before I can so those. It was raining outside so lighting isn't the best but the walls are a teal that matches the carrier even. It's a pure coincidence since we didn't repaint the room it came this way!

I recovered the glider foot stool to match too!

Can't forget the space to hang his carriers!
Oliver's mama made stuffed animal.

Monster Name!

Turning our fun little shelf cubbies into monsters!!
Love my embroidery machine in action!

Messy monster made some paint spill!

Two of the little monsters enjoying the room!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

SavvyBaby Stroller organizer

I recently was given a stroller organizer in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own yada yada!!

I have a lot of strollers and so many are lacking in the cup holder and parent console area. This is where stroller organizers come in handy! The SavvyBaby stroller organizer velcros on with adjustable straps. It's secure, made of neoprene so easy to clean, and has an awesome detachable front pocket. That's where I put my cell phone and I can easily unzip and take it with whenever I leave my stroller parked. You can check out my video review here.