Monday, January 28, 2013

Our blog has moved!

I just realized that I moved our blog over to another website, and never posted it on here!

Check it out, and start following us on WordPress! We won't be using this blog anymore, but it will stay up so you can see old posts :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learning to Cook

I have been SO good about cooking and even trying new things over the past week or more. Y'all would be so proud.

Today, since my picky husband is working a later shift and wasn't here for dinner, I tried out a new recipe that my mom and I came up with. I have been wanting black bean soup, and can't find a recipe that I have wanted to try. So Momma and I just came up with one! We made it today, and it is so good :) Max even approves (of course, since he loves beans of all kinds).


2 lbs of dried black beans
2 cans Original Rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
Vidalia Onion (I used half of a good sized onion), chopped
2 cans chicken broth (more or less depending on how soupy you want it)
Water (as needed)

-rinse beans, then soak overnight in water
-the next morning, drain any excess water and put the beans in the crockpot
-add tomatoes and rotel (do not drain)
-add chicken broth, cumin, and onion, plus however much chicken broth you'd like :)

Cook in the crockpot on high for 8-10 hours. Serve with tortilla chips! So easy, so good.

Crockpot meals are the best- next to no effort for some of the best meals! How can you say no to that?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our "must have" baby items

As I have said about a thousand times before, we think the less baby "gear" the better.  They really don't NEED all that stuff that ends up cluttering your house and costing you and arm and a leg.  A few people have asked me if I will be sticking to my guns as the second baby comes, especially since we have a toddler as well. And the answer? OF COURSE!  People also asked me after Max was born how we did it without all the swings and bouncers and basinets. So here it is.

These are the things that we used like crazy with Max, and that I would highly recommend:

1- The Ergo Baby Carrier.  This thing is amazing. We actually have one that was passed down from my parents that they used with Toby Ann, and it is still in great shape.  It allows baby to be held naturally and doesn't hold baby "by the crotch," plus it is comfortable for whoever is carrying him because it puts the weight on the hips instead of the shoulders.  You can use it from birth to 50lbs; in a front, hip or back carrying position; nurse in it, etc. Plus, they come in all sorts of patterns and colors now!  Check their website out and read all about the benefits of using an Ergo carrier!  These are also available at Target and Babies R Us.

You will also need to get the infant insert if you plan to use it before 4-5 months of age (which I would recommend).  We used the carrier with Max from day 5 until I was too big with Drew to carry him in it anymore!

2- Arms Reach Cosleeper- We got the original, instead of the mini cosleeper.  For those of you who are not comfortable with bed sharing but still want your little one close, this is the way to go.  It saved me a ton of lost sleep in the first few months because when Max woke up for a nighttime feeding I didn't even have to move. I was able to just pull him into bed with me, feed him, get him back to sleep, and then move him back to the co-sleeper.  It also converts into a pack-and-play and is easy to take with you on trips. 

This time around, we are actually planning to just do the whole bed sharing thing and skip using the co-sleeper.  We ended up doing that a lot with Max anyway, and if you do it the right way (no pillows, no bulky covers, nowhere for the baby to fall out of bed), it is actually very safe and is proven to prevent SIDS!  If you are interested in bed sharing, you can read more about it here or here.  

3- Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra- simply the best I have tried.  I bought several before Max was born from Motherhood Maternity for $20 or less a piece, and it was a waste of money.  They were uncomfortable, didn't work very well, and fell apart quickly.  This one is a little more pricey at around $50, but was totally and completely worth it!  Just trust me on this one...with nursing bras you get what you pay for, and if breastfeeding is important to you, you need to get the right "equipment."

4- Cotton or terry sleep and plays-  This one may seem really obvious, but I feel the need to put it on here anyway.  There is really no need for all the cutesy outfits with a thousand bulky pieces.  Newborns and infants are just not comfortable in jeans! And an uncomfortable baby = an unhappy baby, people.  We also love simple cotton onesies and cotton pants.  

*all of these are from Carters, and I love them all ;)

5- Swaddle blankets- A life saver.  Don't ever underestimate the power of a good swaddle! We got these great ones from Summer that are lightweight cotton and have velcro to help keep them snug.  Max lived in these for a while, and I think we will probably use them even more with Drew.

Some things we are doing a little differently this time:

1- BOB SE Duallie Revolution Stroller- We honestly didn't use a stroller all that much with Max until he was about a year old.  And I still think that I will be carrying Drew the majority of the time for the first year of his life or so...BUT for things like walks/runs in the neighborhood, zoo trips, etc. we will definitely be needing a double strollers.  While I do not have this stroller yet and can't really recommend it, I have done extensive research on double strollers, and this is definitely the one we want to get.  It really suits our active and busy lifestyle, and we will be able to use if for a long time since it holds a total of 100lbs.

2- Sleeping Baby Productions Ring Sling- this is another thing that I haven't tried, but has been recommended to me by several people.  I really wanted a ring sling as an option this time, since I am sure Drew will be spending even more time being held in a carrier than Max did (since I will need my hands free to entertain Max).  There are several more options for ring slings, but this one is my favorite.  The way it is sewn, the price, the materials available...all great.  The lady who owns the company literally makes and sells them out of her home! I plan on getting one in the 100% linen, which is supposed to be an excellent material for a baby sling.

3- Gauze swaddle blankets- We have our eye on these by aden + anais for Target and I cannot wait to get my hands on them and try them out.  For spring and summer babies, you just can't go wrong with a lightweight blanket! I have a feeling these will be getting a lot of use!

Obviously, there are a lot of other things you need for a teeny little baby, and even more things you need for older babies.  BUT these are my favorites.  As far as "gear" goes, this is how we do things at our house.  I promise you that a baby will almost definitely love being held in a carrier or wrapped in a swaddler blanket, probably even more than being put in a swing!  I am not, by any means, saying that my way is better than yours or that your way is wrong.  This is just what has worked for us and how we plan on doing things with Drew as well. Who knows...maybe it will be helpful to you!