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Monday
Sep162013

My new love: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Lite

I have a hate/hate relationship with pack n plays. They hate for me to put them up and take them down and I hate it too. I also hate how I feel like an idiot trying to get the whole setup back into its original carrier. And it's heavy too. 

My pack n play woes are a thing of the past now that I have found Baby Bjorn's travel crib 2 lite. I LOVE THIS THING. I will admit its price point is steep but hey, people want to buy you things when you're expecting a baby and this thing is worth it. 

You can set it up and fold it up within 1-2 minutes. It's comfy and will even fit your toddler. It's so lite you can carry it with one hand. The bag it comes in is like a gym back as opposed to some weird, long bag like the pack n play and did I mention it's light? It's nearly half the weight of a standard pack n play.  And you all know how crazy I am about the safety of products used for my little ones. Baby Bjorn has the highest standards in regards to the materials used to make its products. 

We recently made a move to Denver and did the long 18 hour road trip, not to mention spent about a week and a half at our in-laws while our furniture was gone and this crib was a gem throughout. We splurged and stayed at the Four Seasons at Vegas (which is actually way more affordable than I would have thought for Vegas on a Labor Day weekend) and I even opted to use our Travel Crib Lite over having them put a crib in. It's that awesome. Now, I have the crib in our room to put down the little guy for naps and even bed some nights since the kiddos are now sharing a room. 

Don't believe me on how easy and how fast it is to put up the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib 2 Lite? Here's a fun video showing anyone can do it!

I wanted to do a video showing me put it together but with the move, I haven't had much time for anything other than trying to stay on routine and get this house unpacked!

NOTE: Baby Bjorn provided me with the Travel Crib 2 Lite but my opinions are my own. 

Friday
Aug162013

Guilt-free Snacking: Harvest Snaps

I was excited when a rep for Harvest Snaps reached out to see if we wanted to try their six new flavors. Formerly known as Snapea Crisps, Harvest Snaps are made from naturally dried peas, which make up 70% of the product, while Lentil Snaps are made from 65% Lentils and contain 5g of protein and 13% of your daily fiber. That may not sound too delicious but let me tell you, they satisfied my snack craving AND the even bigger thing is my toddler liked 'em!

I LOVE potato chips but have been trying to move away from them since they are so bad for you...and with two little ones it's not easy to always have a well balanced meal so I was excited to find a healthier snack option. Of their six new flavors, my favorite was caesar and my daughter liked the lightly salted (which aren't salty at all). 

It's not easy finding snacks that she wants to eat that I want to let her eat so I was happy to have discovered these. Snapea Crisps are available in four different varieties: Lightly Salted, Caesar, Black Pepper and Wasabi Ranch; Lentil Snaps’ come in Tomato Basil and Onion Thyme flavors. 

*Harvest Snaps provided product but my opinions are my own. 

Thursday
Aug012013

On the Eve of Your First Birthday 

 

Dear Z,

That smile!You are so big and so small. Yes, this is possible. It’s hard to believe the way that life has expanded in the last year with you here. Our house is so much more full with smiles, messy floors and your endless range of noises.

I feel like I’m really getting to know you. You love games, and routine. I’ll be shocked if your first word isn’t “ball”—the only thing you love more is your brother, and “Dominic” is an unlikely first word. And you LOVE to eat.

You are finally getting much more of the attention you deserve. We’re all learning to share our time better, and that leaves me feeling much less anxious about giving you the focus that I want you to have. We have many moments together these days, and I treasure them. And the benefit of the few months that it took to find that balance is that you are a very patient little boy (except when you are in your highchair).

You and brother have loved each other intensely since you were born, and now you can actually play together. You roll the ball back and forth, chase each other around the house and sometimes even share toys. You even gave brother his first baby-induced owie—a scrape from a dino swipe to the face (I’m calling it revenge for an incident when you were three months old that involved a dino dropped from a height).

I know when we bring your birthday balloons into your room in the morning that your face will light up. Your morning smile is joy. It’s your joy. It’s Daddy’s joy. It’s Brother’s joy. It’s my joy. You are our joy.

All my love,

Mamamamama

Wednesday
Jul242013

Homemade Baby Food – Getting Frisky The Second Time Around

 

We are on to real food with Reid – Yeah! Well, I guess yay and boo since I’m making his food as I did with Elle and it is much trickier finding the time to do it with two kids. We’re mainly doing purees right now so the most efficient (and tastiest) way to do these is by roasting the ingredients. I just wash the ingredients, pop ‘em in the oven, set the timer and puree when done. I love that I can puree right away with my glass Oster blender which I found super cheap at Costco but works even better than my previous more expensive plastic blender.

 My baby food cookbooks I have on hand make it easy and actually fun. My two faves are Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh and Kim Laidlaw’s Baby and Toddler on the Go. I love the fun flavor combos each of these books offer. So far Tyler Florence’s Roasted Bananas and Blueberries has been the biggest hit with Reid but he hasn’t turned his nose up to anything. Other yummy ones (that I even eat) are roasted broccoli with parmesan and green bean, kale and potato puree. What’s also awesome about this book is that the recipes grow with the kids and eventually it offers recipes that the whole family can enjoy together.

Baby & Toddler On the Go was an awesome find. It gives explicit directions on roasting, steaming, baking and sautéing different veggies so any mom can figure it out no matter if they cook or not. This book also offers different recipes by age so I can whip up something for my baby or my toddler, and the flavors are really fun. Check out these neat combos they suggest from recipes in the book:

Southern Style Pork – shredded or finely chopped braised pork, peach puree+ braised greens+ cooked barley

Curry Chicken & Veggies – Shredded chicken, sweet potato or carrot puree+ apricot puree + cooked brown rice drizzle of coconut milk +mild curry powder

Now these are a little more exotic than the others but I loved the suggestions. It may seem intimidating at first but creating the purees is super simple and it’s best to make a bunch at one time and either freeze it in the mumi and bubi trays or save it in the fridge for a couple of days.

What’s also great about this cookbook is that is has tons of recipes and combinations for healthy meals on the go for you, your baby, toddler, really anyone, that are also super easy to make. One of the recipes is for frittata bites where she offers five different recipe variations (with directions) including spinach and cheese, asparagus and mozzarella, Mexican chicken and jack, cherry tomato and feta and on it goes. She has a similar format for other recipes like mac n cheese bites, muffins and quiches. You make them in mini muffin pans, making them fun to eat and portable.

This cookbook is a great tool for moms looking for different ideas for healthy lunches for school. She has a section for juices/smoothies, dips, sammies, pinwheels and much more. Forget just baby and toddler – these recipes would be great for any kid or adult. I love that it’s not just a cookbook for the infant years but that it’s a cookbook that I know I will go back to for years.

 For now I'm loving seeing my lil guy eat it up and his sis loving feeding him. 

Monday
Jul222013

A Week of Transitions

 

I don't think we could have squeezed any more into last week. A big birthday, bye-bye to nap time and hello to a big girl bed. 

Reese turned 3 and we celebrated with several little parties. I had a blast planning because this is the first year I knew she'd really 'get' the whole birthday thing. The night before her birthday I decorated a table with sparkly wrapping paper, party hats & whistles, balloons and a few gifts. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve and couldn't wait for morning. Sure enough, she loved it all. 

Along with her turning 3 we decided to transition her long late afternoon nap to "Quiet Time." She was taking these late afternoon two hour naps and then playing in her crib for one to two hours at night before finally falling asleep around 9pm-10pm. Too late for me! I didn't mind except she'd be so tired in the morning. Now, with no nap we put her to bed at 7pm and she wakes up rested at 7am. The only thing is that with no naps, it makes for a really tough evening. On the flip side, my husband and I have our nights to ourselves. 

Lastly, we finally moved her into a 'big girl' bed, which is really just a toddler bed. We just took off the side of her crib and now she can climb in and out. She's handled it really well. Last night within the first 30 min she got up 3x and we just kept walking her back to bed. She finally fell asleep and stayed there til morning. Tonight she got into bed and was fast asleep within minutes. Phew!

Anyway, tons of transitions happening over here. Any suggestions on how to keep a toddler in her room for a full hour during "Quiet Time?" Reese can do 30-45 minutes but then likes to come out because....well, now she can. 

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