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Don’t Cry Over Burnt Toast

So last week was one of my worst cooking weeks ever. I was all off. I have no idea what the heck was wrong with me. I burned the toast every morning, I managed to serve dry chicken that was boiled in a pressure cooker, and I gave my family bad breath for days when I added to much garlic to a béchamel sauce I served over tortellini. So because of this, I don’t have an awesome recipe to share this week. I do however, have a few tips to help you get through weeks like this.

  1. Rotisserie chicken is your friend. I either buy a ready-made rotisserie chicken, or when whole roasting chickens are $.99 a pound I buy one of them. You serve them the night you roast them alongside of mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli, the next day as a chicken salad sandwich, and then reheated the next night in chicken fajitas or pot pie. When you’re done with the meat, you can boil the bones to make your own stock.
  2. Make double and freeze. Sauces, soups and stews oh my! Whenever you make one of these treasures be sure to make a double batch and freeze the other half. On a week when your cooking game is off, you can grab it out of the freezer and thank your past self for a delicious dinner.
  3. Speaking of freezing, I was reading today that you can make roux ahead and freeze it for up to 6 months! Make a big batch ahead of time, and freeze the rest in ice cube trays. Toss one or two cubes in the aforementioned stew or pot pie to thicken the sauce. Another great item to freeze is fresh herbs. I always chop and freeze (again in an ice cube tray) whatever I have leftover from a recipe. Fresh herbs are a great way to amp up any recipe. You can even use the stems to flavor stock!

Next week, I’ll hopefully have something amazing to share. I bet my family would love that too. In the meantime, I’m going to dine on frozen sweet potato soup and burnt toast while staring at these two beautiful faces.

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Winter Blues Gave Way to Crafty Fun!

It has been a rough winter you guys. When the first snowfall happened around the holidays, I loved it! The baby and I stayed cozy by the fire, and hubs worked from home. During his lunch breaks, we would bundle up, go outside and build snowmen, afterwards we would warm our butts by the fire and drink hot cocoa. It was like a magical winter wonderland. After the holidays the snow made it seem like a cold, baron wasteland. Getting wood for the fire became a chore, and we were all hot  cocoa’ed out. Lunch breaks were spent shoveling or snow blowing, and I was stuck with a little ball of energy inside. I don’t usually complain about the winter, but I will say this year I came close.

One aspect of being stuck inside that I can’t complain about is time to get some crafty projects done. After a year, I finally completed the Pinterest inspired wall that I wanted to do for the baby’s room. I have to say, I LOVE it. The pops of color really adds something to the room. He loves it too, and when he groggily wakes up in the morning he’ll just stare at it.

Below are some pictures of the finished product. A good friend of mine is an NJ based photographer and I hired her to do my son’s first year photo shoot. She had some ideas that would incorporate the new wall into some of the pictures! If you are interested in recreating this look, I purchased ALL of the materials at my local craft store. They are now very easy to find.

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I have some recipes, updates and some announcements coming in the following weeks! I got all schmancy and made a editorial calendar! :o)

The “Mom Friend” Challenge & a Baby Shower

Well… I will just come out and say it: I am a failure! I wimped out and cancelled on the meet-up I was planning on going to last week. As you may remember, I am on a quest to make a new mom friend for myself who hopefully has a baby friend for my son. I am not sure when I developed this painful shyness. I think it has something to do with the fear of being judged as a mother or maybe it just has to do with the fact that I had a hard time in high school and I still carry that with me. In either case, I need to buck up and get over it. I read this article about the 5 qualities women need on other mom friends, and I couldn’t get over how timely the article was for me. I am going to start the journey next week! 

This week hasn’t been totally disappointing. I went to my friend’s baby shower and got in some great ‘girl time’! I wish my besties lived closer! After seeing the slew of gifts, it made me think back to one short year ago when I began my registry.

Knowing what I know now, I would have done things much differently. I seems as though every mother I have speak to feels the same way. It’s just so hard when you are walking through a store filled with shiny new baby items and a scanner to record your every wish, to not just start scanning away with wild abandon.

In our scanning frenzy, we suddenly think that 42 bibs are necessary, and that we will actually dress our infant daughters in frilly dresses every. single. day. Oh, and a different kind of wipe for the bottle, pacifier, bottom, face and nose is totally essential.  The exhilaration of the scan is intoxicating. The thrill of opening the package in front of 50 of your closest friends oo’ing and ahh’ing is divine. Setting everything up in the nursery, and having everything ‘just so’ is a feeling that is unmatched. Then, the baby is born and reality hits. You begin to ask yourself why you returned all but two of the sleep sacks and exchanged them for another set of receiving blankets. You stare at the stack of clothing that you have already washed, but your baby has already outgrown.

In an effort to help you avoid the same fate many of us already have, I hit the streets, (the virtual ones) and asked a group of mothers what they would return now if they had the chance. I present you with a list of 10 registry items that are a waste of money.

  1. Receiving blankets – One of the go-to gifts given to every mother-to-be is a pack of receiving blankets. Many of the mothers I spoke to recommended keeping about 2 or 3. Make sure that they are large enough to swaddle you LO, as some are too small. If you are like me, and already washed a pile of them therefore deeming them un-returnable, here is a tip: Use them to cover your changing pad. I use a changing pad cover, but if I had to wash is every time my son had an accident on it I would need a new one already. I use them to protect the cover, and just toss the blanket in the wash when an accident occurs.

 

  1. Lovies – You know those adorable little stuffed animal heads with blanket bodies? Those are not exactly a waste of money, but you will receive quite a few. Again the recommendation was to keep one or 2 and return the rest.

 

  1. Baby towel sets & robes – The consensus among the group was that the towels while soft were too thin to actually dry the baby. I personally bought a big, plush hooded towel meant for a much older child. It’s so warm, cozy and actually dries the baby. In regards to the robes, they just aren’t practical. Cute? Yes. Useful? Absolutely not.

  1. Baby Shoes – Any self-respecting, Carrie Bradshaw loving, woman knows that shoes make the outfit. However, shoes for babies that are not walking are not only unnecessary, but a complete waste of money. Do yourself a favor, and return the baby Uggs and get yourself another sleep sack.

  1. Wipe warmers – The average wipe warmer can cost between $25 and $35 dollars. While a cold wipe might me momentarily unpleasant for a baby, it isn’t worth that much money. Think of all of the diapers you can buy instead.

  1. Snow suits – My baby was born in December and I never used one. I spoke to a mother who also had a baby in December, and lived in Alaska and she never used one either. It could also potentially be dangerous if you put a child in a car seat with a snow suit on. I recently read an article on KWWT.com that quoted Registered Nurse and car seat safety expert Wendy Potter, in the article she stated, “So you don’t want to use a heavy snowsuit in the car. Snowsuits keep the baby nice and warm, but unfortunately they take up a lot of strap.” Would you want to wear a snow suit in a heated car? No? Neither does your baby.

  1. Bumbo Seat – There was an overwhelming response about the Bumbo, and I have mixed feelings about that. I personally used my Bumbo seat quite a bit. However, my son did find it uncomfortable to sit in for any longer than 10 minutes or so. Then, when he grew a little older he started to scoot around, and almost tipped it over. My aunt bought us this seat, and we tossed the Bumbo immediately. Since the seat has a wider base it doesn’t tip as easily. There is also an insert you can remove as your little one grows. One of the main complaints about the Bumbo was that the leg holes were too tight. This isn’t the case with the Mamas & Papas Snug Seat.

 

  1. Newborn Size Clothing – While it may be useful for a few weeks, newborn size clothing does not last all that long. You may go through 3 or 4 outfits in a day due to mess, however, you really don’t need the piles of cute little tutus and mini suits in 0-3 month size. Babies that age tend to wear onsies or pajamas all day. Before you take the tags off and wash, think about the probability that the clothing item will be used. If you love the outfit, return it for the next size up. 

  1. Potentially Toxic Bath Washes and Shampoos – What you wash your child with is a personal choice. Many of the mothers I spoke to preferred to use the organic, paraben/sulfite free washes, but received a ton of the brand that has recently gained some attention in the media for containing toxic chemicals. I personally registered for the brand that I researched and found to be safe. I returned all of the rest, and used the credit for the good stuff. If you are curious about a product that you are using or plan to use on yourself or your child visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/# to find out if it is safe. 

  1. Bottle Warmer –  Just soak the bottle in hot water. I wanted a bottle warmer because I thought it would heat our bottles up faster. There is nothing worse than waiting for the bottle to be the warm while your child is screaming at 3:00 AM. Before we went out to buy one we tried one that my friend had loaned us, and the bottle was scorching hot. Another mother in my group also reported having the same experience. So let me amend my previous statement by saying this: There is nothing worse than waiting for a bottle to warm only to discover that you’ve warmed it too much, and now you have to wait for it to cool. While your child is screaming… At 3:00 AM…

Well, if you are a new mother, about to register, I hope you found this list helpful. I compiled this list based on the opinions of regular moms such as myself. Every situation is different, and you are going to eventually find what works best for you. Best of luck, and happy scanning!