New Mama Favorites

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Monday all! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. We spent most of ours hanging out by the lake and playing with our littlest family member. As a highlight, we even ventured out for an early dinner date night with baby on Friday when T got home from work. We were pleasantly surprised to find that we aren't the only ones who had the idea to bring baby along. There were no less than three other couples dining out with babies at one of the nicer restaurants in our little corner of the world. There's no reason we should have to pass up date night and the nicer restaurants when we have a little one in tow right?!? C behaved like an angel, in case you were wondering, and T & I enjoyed a nice evening out capped off by a sunset boat ride. Perfecto!

New Mama Favorites

In other news, I thought I'd put together a list of some New Mama Favorites for any of my followers out there that might be expecting. Not pictured, but equally important, are the helping hands of family and friends that have helped to make our transition into parenthood a little easier (i.e. those of you who brought us meals, or squeezed a few hours out of your day to come sit with C so this mama could find time for some essentials like taking a shower, getting groceries, or a trip to the hairdresser --- BIG THANKS!).

Nursing Bras & Pajamas // If you are nursing, get yourself to Target. Gillian O'Malley has a great line of nursing bras that offer some actual opposed to those seamless styles that have minimal support. Great for sleeping, but not so great for daytime support unless you are small chested. Motherhood Maternity has some great nursing-friendly PJs that have a shelf-bra style for support while sleeping, and an easy snap down front that doesn't require much extra thought or manuevering while you are half asleep. Very important for those middle of the night feedings if you are a nursing mama!

Dry Fit Workout Tops // It's the middle of summer here, and dryfit T's have been a major staple in my weekday attire. Not only are they nice and cool, they are stretchy, come in lots of styles that aren't super form fitting, and are easy to wipe away baby spit up or slobber. Pair them with some yoga pants or workout shorts, and you have yourself an easy go-to new-mama uniform. One of my favorite budget-friendly styles is currently on sale HERE.

Water bottle // Staying hydrated is key. Increase that 8 cups of water per day to 10 cups if you are nursing. Having a refillable water bottle on hand is a great way to make sure you aren't getting dehydrated, not to mention easy to grab and go without filling up your trash or recycling with disposable water bottles.

Athletic Shoes // Now that it's possible to reach your feet again, a new pair of athletic shoes are just the thing to help get your workouts back on track.

Nursing Cover // Udder cover, hooter it what you will. If you are a nursing mama, you'll eventually find yourself in a situation where this will come in handy.

Healthy Snack Food // I'm a fan of hummus with pretzel chips, bananas, grapes, apples, and lightly salted almonds. Having something quick and easy you can grab out of the fridge or pantry when baby is fussing is a must. Bonus points for anything you can eat with just one hand.

Postpartum & Nursing Friendly Clothing // While I knew I would need a few items that would be post-baby, pre-losing-the-pregnancy-weight friendly, I greatly underestimated the need for nursing friendly clothing. Naively, I assumed I could easily get by with my collection of breezy summer dresses. After baby actually arrived, my plan to wear those cute T-shirt and halter style dresses went right out the window. Unless you plan to completely undress every couple hours to feed your babe (or are using formula), you're going to need plenty of sleeveless options that you can easily pull down the straps. Enter Old Navy. They offer some super cute and affordable options that work great for the postpartum and nursing mamas out there. I'm not just talking about dresses either. They have some great drawstring linen shorts that have been another staple in my summer mix when paired with a lightweight breezy top. Believe me, nothing makes a postpartum mama feel worse about herself than clingy tops and unforgiving waistbands. If only we could wear maternity leggings forever with their nice full panel waists to smooth out all those bumps...There are Spanx available to do the job too, but during the summer, who wants to wear an extra layer when it's already super warm out?!

Tablet/Smartphone or Book/Magazine // You are going to be spending a great deal of time sitting and rocking/feeding/calming baby. In the meantime, it's nice to have access to technology to keep up to date with emails and current events, or a chance to read a book or magazine. I signed up for a daily current events email (the Skimm) so I can keep in touch with what is going on in the world when I don't have the time to surf multiple news sites. I can't say enough positive things about me. I've also been enjoying Parents magazine, and reading books or articles aloud to my babe so that he gets comfortable with my non-baby-talk voice, and has a chance to hear a larger vocabulary of words besides my telling him how cute and snugly he is. Even though he is...

Slow Cooker, Freezer, or Grilling Meals // Gone are the days of gourmet meals that take more than a half hour to prepare. If you have freezer space, stock up on some favorites to get you through the first couple of months. Perfect a few easy slow cooker recipes (like Pesto Ranch Chicken or Hot Italian Drip Beef), and inform your significant other that they need to step up the grilling skills. Salad and steamed or grilled veggies are a super quick and easy side. For the nights that you just can't cram in preparing a meal, stock up on some takeout menus to have on hand in a pinch!

What are some of your new mama favorites?

Two & Three Month Favorites

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Months two and three flew by before we knew it! Now that we're drawing to the close of baby's third month with us, what better way to reminisce than to put together a collection of favorites.

Two And Three Month Favorites

Triple Paste Diaper Cream // Everyone has their favorite. So far, Triple Paste has done the trick for us. We have only had to use this a handful of times, so I would recommend just getting a small tube in case your babe doesn't end up needing it very often.

NoseFrida // The best snot sucker around. Don't be scared about the fact that you are using your own mouth to get rid of those baby boogers. There is a filter, and unless your baby has the world's longest booger, anything you suck out wouldn't even come close. If it does, there are replacement filters available. Another great feature? The clear plastic reservoir can be cleaned in about 10 seconds by running it under some hot water. No moldy nose aspirators here!

Tiny Love Activity Mat // I'm sure any activity mat would do the trick. The Tiny Love mat has some nice crinkle, squeak, and sound sections on the mat itself rather than just on the hanging toys. The best part, there are extra spots for any additional toys you may want to customize with.

OBall Rattle // These little toy balls are so much fun. Because of all the holes, they are especially easy for baby to grasp. 

Baby K'Tan Infant Carrier //  This baby sling has been a lifesaver. It is super quick and easy to use, and helps calm baby down when nothing else works. C loves to be all snuggled up, and using the Baby K'Tan means I can keep him all snuggled like he likes while having both hands available to accomplish other tasks.

Overton's Infant Vest // Our little guy's second and third month were during the height of the boating season here in Northwest Iowa, and we couldn't imagine a summer without spending time on the lake. After reading what seems like hundreds of reviews, we settled on this miniature lifejacket from Overton's approved for infants 0-30lbs. All of the padding is on the front and around the head, so if for some reason baby was to go in the water, this vest would immediately flip baby around to the face up position.

Infantino Lovable Linking Jittery Fish // This jittery fish has been a source of fascination this month. It has black and white cloth 'scales' on one side, and crazy colorful scales with ribbons on the other. I hung it from the car seat handle, and C is consumed with trying to figure it out when we load him up for a stroller or car ride. So many fun colors, textures, and patterns to take in!

Fishy Tails by Jellycat // This cloth book by Jellycat is one of our favorites. The bright colors fascinate baby, and the different textures and 'tails' are so much fun to learn about. We gifted this one to our nephew who is two months older, and he loves it just as much. Speaking of Jellycat, they also make adorable stuffed animals. T is so impressed that he has even requested one for his birthday...kid at heart? I'm not really into stuffed animals since they just add unnecessary clutter, but I'm not entirely opposed to allowing a couple of these into our home. My favorites are Cordy Roy Fox (who may or may not have arrived on our doorstep this week) and Tiggalope Black Sheep.

Backseat Mirror // Now that baby has graduated from eating every two hours and is a little older, we've had the opportunity to venture further distances from home (Our max is 1.75 hours, so not too far yet). This backseat mirror has been an excellent addition to our vehicle. It makes checking on baby such a breeze, and allows us to keep an eye on him without having to pull over and get out of the car. Also a bonus, now that C has started to discover himself in the mirror, this helps to keep him entertained while on road trips.

What are your two and three month favorites?

Carter: 3 Months

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Baby C is officially three months old! He looks more like a miniature toddler than a newborn these days, and T is convinced he is going to be a giant. I will admit...we've been around some 8-9 month olds recently that have nothing on Carter. We did an at-home weigh in a day before he turned three months, and he had already hit the 15 lb. mark, so it will be interesting to see how high the scales will be tipped at the official 4-month checkup in a few weeks.

Month 3 has been filled with new adventures, and time has been flying by. It's all chubby fingers and rolly polly thighs over here. Are these not some of the cutest thighs you've seen??

Summer, sadly, is drawing to a close. We are still waiting to get our yard landscaped (although I'm assured it will be happening sometime in the next 2 weeks barring weather holdups), Labor Day is just around the corner, and football season is almost upon us. This month, Carter has been practicing his smiles, learning to make sounds, and starting to work on grabbing for some of the toys on his activity mat. He loves to lay on his activity mat or a blanket on the floor and kick his little legs while smiling and talking to whoever will get down on the floor with him and listen. Overall, C is a pretty happy little guy, and aside from a few meltdowns, has been a pretty easygoing little fella to have around.

Someone LOVES their Daddy!

Trying to talk and tell stories
Looking at trees
Conversations with Gpa T & Gma J
Boat rides and being outdoors
Dressing like Dad

Loving story time with Dad.

So smiley!

First time wearing his swim trunks!

Telling stories to Gma J and Gpa T.

Look at me! I'm dressed just like Dad! I don't know who this made more happy. T or baby. 


Swimming in the lake. Not a favorite. At all...DISCLAIMER: I warned T that he should probably start with just the toes, but instead, he immediately had C dunked all the way down to his chest. For someone that has only ever experienced lukewarm bathwater, this obviously came as a shock, and will likely not be repeated until the water is much ocean warm.


We ventured out to the Arnold's Park Green Space for Art In The Park. All kinds of vendors had tents set up, and C enjoyed being pushed around by his uncle T while I enjoyed looking around at various art treasures. Just before the adventure began, T & I were waiting in line for coffee at Arnold's Perk when C decided it was high time for a blowout (literally, popped the snaps right off his outfit!). C was outside with Gma J at the time, and she was able to come to the rescue. Whew!

Thanks for taking care of me Grandma!

First overnight at the lake house. Loved it. Gma it just me, or does this pic look a lot like Uncle N about this age?

First overnight road trip to Grandma J and Grandpa T's house in Humboldt. It couldn't have been more than 30 seconds after we walked in the door that Gma J announced to everyone that Carter just LOVES his Grandma's house. He did enjoy himself...cracked some of his first authentic smiles while we were there, and has been smiling ever since. Also favorites of the weekend, reading John Deere stories on the floor with Gma & Gpa, and listening to his mama play the piano. Carter absolutely LOVES listening to music. Equally important, our first outing to Target and Fazoli's in Fort Dodge. I'm convinced C loved Target much more than our standard trips to Walmart when we are at home. By the time we checked out, he was pretty much buried beneath all of the excellent finds.

Cousin Jake's baptism with the family. 

First time at church for Cousin J's baptism (and a trip to Pasquale's too for the party!). C did just fine with his trip to church, and only let out a squawk when he was surprised by the music coming from the piano. The high ceilings and singing were of particular interest to our little guy. We have yet to settle on a church to call home in our current town, but it's refreshing to know that C might be OK to bring along on the hunt. In the meantime, I picked up the most adorable baby book with bible stories that we have been enjoying reading ('My First Read and Learn Bible' for anyone who is wondering). Who knew that David & Goliath and Daniel and the Lions could be so much fun!?

First road trip to Sioux Falls! C does great riding in the car, and he slept the entire way there and back. Probably a good thing since he was enthralled by all of the new things to look at while we were at the mall shopping, and didn't close his eyes the entire time. We did make a stop at Babies R Us, and C got a couple new toys (Toby the turtle & Freddy the fish) to hang from his activity mat and car seat. Aside from a meltdown at dinner (likely because he was all worn out), the day was a success.

First time at the Fair. C stayed awake for the cattle barn, but by the time we got to the sheep barn, he had had enough, and decided a snooze was in his best interest. Also came face to face with his first view of some John Deere equipment, and can't wait to go back this fall to help out in the field with harvest! Also looking forward to checking out the upcoming Clay County Fair with Gma S & Gpa D.

All smiles around here!

A Moment Captured in Time

Monday, August 11, 2014

In a long list of things I'm just now getting around pictures! My side of the family was all together several weeks ago for some summertime lake action, and we all managed to join together for a little lakeside photo shoot. Quite a feat...not only that we were all together, but that everyone was in nice clothes. Dressed up, dolled up, feeling fancy if you will. 

The day was incredibly windy and sunny, so not ideal conditions for a photo shoot (notice the windblown hair and sunny and shady spots), but it is a photo of us all together that will be cherished as a moment in time somewhere in the future, so there is that to be thankful for. All together, and while we may not have all appreciated the hour out of our day to do a family photo, you never know how many opportunities you'll have for family photos, so it's always nice to snap a few when we are together to help document our lives and give future generations something to look back at someday.

Love my little family.

So many boys! Thank goodness for C & H, or I'd be seriously outnumbered on the gender front!

My and my brothers hanging out lakeside.

With my grandparents. Before baby C arrived, my Grandma told us not to worry, because she already knew she was 'Great' before her first 'Great'-grandchildren arrived.

 T & Baby C. I have such a handsome little family!

A couple of the best grandparents around!

Papa T, Mama J & my brother T.

A little windy. I think T's hold on baby C has improved a little since this photo and isn't quite so awkward looking.

My parents...enjoying life at the lake.

...Together we make a family...

Black Bean Enchiladas

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Happy Friday loves! Can you believe it's the weekend already? Me either...I stumbled across this recipe for black bean enchiladas early last spring while I was perusing slow cooker recipes to test out in preparation for a whole lot less time available to cook once baby arrived. Yes, these can be made in the slow cooker believe it or not! For how easy and quick they are to mix up, I decided I prefer them straight out of the oven, but if you are interested in slow cooking, it does work...just put them on HIGH for 2-4 hours and sprinkle with cheese in the last 15 minutes of baking time. WaaLaa!

For me, slow cooking these enchiladas was too much of a hassle for something that doesn't take that long to prepare to begin with. They were a little difficult to get out of the slow cooker, and kind of fell apart at the end, but if that's OK with you, give it a try! If you are planning to serve this more like a casserole, and don't mind splitting the individual tortillas, then don't worry about it! Regardless of which cooking method you choose, the taste is the same. I can see how the slow cooker method may come in handy for things such as the upcoming tailgate season if you're looking for a twist on the traditional cheesy dips and pulled meat, or need a dish to stay warm for several hours. That's right, the upcoming tailgate season starts at the end of this month. Can you believe it?!? T for one, can't hardly contain his excitement, and we've been watching some reruns of old games on TV with baby C. 

After singing him the Iowa Fight Song for a lullaby, I think he's got it all figured out which team to root for! 

Step One: Gather the ingredients. Pretty basic really.

Step Two: Mix together all of the ingredients in a big bowl. If you are making a meat version, prepare the meat, or pull out some leftovers to add into the filling mix.

Step Three: Pour 3/4 C salsa into a 9x13" baking dish. Spread it around evenly. Put about 1/3 C mixture into each tortilla, and nestle together in the baking dish. Top with another 3/4 C salsa, and cover the dish with aluminum foil. *Pay no attention to my giant tortillas...grabbed the burrito size by accident!

Step Four: Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, remove foil, top with cheese, and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve warm with chopped cilantro, green onion, sour cream, and any remaining salsa.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS | Yield: 1 9x13" baking dish | Total Time: 45 min.


1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16 oz. can corn
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
2 C cheese, shredded and divided (Monterey Jack or Cheddar)
2 16 oz jars of your favorite salsa (I use PACE brand Hot salsa for a little extra kick)
12 6-8" tortillas, flour
1 C your choice of meat: chicken, pork, hamburger, shredded beef (optional) - Use leftovers if you have them!
Cilantro, green onion, sour cream (optional)


Mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, meat, and 3/4 C cheese in a medium bowl. Pour 3/4 a jar of salsa in the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish, and spread around evenly.

Put about 1/3 C filling into one of the tortillas, and roll it up. Continue with remaining tortillas and nestle side-by-side on top of salsa in the baking dish. Top with another 3/4 jar salsa. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 C cheese, and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is all melted.

Serve with remaining salsa, sour cream, green onion or cilantro. Try spanish rice or fruit salad as a side!

*NOTE: Adjust the cheese to your liking. Pre-shredded cheese typically comes in a 2 C package (hence my 2 C cheese ingredient), but if you aren't into cheesy deliciousness, or are just trying to cut back, these enchiladas are still pretty tasty made with a little less cheese. Enjoy!

Another idea...if you have leftover filling, I would highly suggest using it for a nacho topping or southwest style omelets in the morning. Both are super yummy options!

Do you have a favorite Mexican inspired recipe?
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