Bedtime with Eric Carle

9.10.2014


My favorite time of the day, is bedtime.. when Clara's clean from her bath, we're snuggled up with our jammies on, and we read some books together.  I've always been a book worm and I hope that she becomes one as well!  She has a good collection of books from when I was little, and even a couple from when my dad was a kid.. and then a lot of new ones, of course.


Eric Carle has always been one of my favorites, and I love that The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of her favorites.  I also love that the World of Eric Carle and Gymboree have come together to create an awesome line of clothing and pajamas.  I got these super sweet PJs the other day, and I just can't even handle the cuteness.  They have all kinds of fun designs available for boys and girls!  I let Clara pick these out and she really liked the balloons on this pair.  ;)


We also snagged up this sweet flower shirt from the Eric Carle line.  It was hard to decide between this flower one and the butterfly design!


Some other fun things...

You can print out some super fun Eric Carle printables and coloring sheets for your kiddos here.  And from 9/2 - 9/30, they will be hosting a photo contest, where they are encouraging parents to help their little ones take a photo of what they see (inspired by Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See).  You can submit a photo via Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr using the hashtag #WhatDoYouSee.  Inspired by Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, from 9/2-9/30, we will be hosting a photo contest, where we are encouraging parents to help their little ones take a picture of what they see.

Entrants of the #WhatDoYouSee contest will have the chance of winning one of ten Eric Carle gift baskets including: A House for Hermit Crab book, a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, figurines, stickers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sippy Cup, Chunky Colored Pencils, Match and Munch Game, Place Mats Book, and Stage & Play (Approximate Retail Value $144.99).

This is a sponsored blog post, I received compensation from Gymboree.  The opinions and text are mine.

Potty Training Must-Haves

9.07.2014

Potty training Clara was, thankfully, way more easy that I anticipated it to be.  I can only pray that the second child will be as easy!  But I know that every child is different and they each may need a different approach, may be ready at different times, or need different things to help them along.  These were the must-haves for Clara...

  • 1.)  A little potty.  We used the green froggy potty that you can get pretty much anywhere, and it's cheap!
  • Pull Ups!  I love that these adhere at the sides also.
  • M&Ms.. these were our incentive candy of choice.  Two for #2 and one for #1.
  • A princess potty seat.  Super affordable, and it helped when Clara was ready to sit on the "big potty".. she was scared of it at first.
  • A stool!  It helps my munchkin be able to wash her hands independently and get up on the potty by herself at first.
  • Big girl panties.  She thought she was pretty special when she got her first pair.  ;)

http://ooh.li/890179c

Clara was potty trained shortly after she was 2 1/2, though I did try a little bit earlier - she just wasn't ready before that.  The biggest piece of advice I can give someone who is thinking about starting to potty train their child is to just wait until they're ready.  For some that might not be until they're 3.  For some, maybe that's at 2.  Every child is different, just try not to get frustrated with it!  Clara was terrified of the toilet for the longest time.  And then one day she just up and told me she wanted to sit on the potty.  Obviously I knew she was ready to start then!

http://ooh.li/890179c

She did really good, and actually only had a couple accidents since we potty trained her.  It took not quite a full week and she was wearing big girl panties at all times, and only Pull Ups at night.  The Pull Ups were super nice at daycare also, because these ones are able attach/detach at the sides.. which made it much easier on her teachers.  :)

The scariest part, to me, about the whole thing.. was taking her out in public in big girl panties.  I just really did not want to go through the mess of an accident in the middle of the grocery store or something.  But I'm proud to say, she hasn't had an accident in public.  Whew!


http://ooh.li/890179c

If you need some extra tips or help with potty training, I suggest enrolling in the Pull Ups Big Kid Academy!  If you're absolutely stuck and are about to lose your mind, this website has a lot of resources and strategies you could be taking advantage of.  It also has a nice collection of some fun activities for you to browse!

http://ooh.li/0761ef0

Thanks to Pulls Ups for sponsoring this post and creating a great product!

First Trimester Recap

9.01.2014

Since I didn't announce this pregnancy until I was well into the 11th week... and as of today, I am 13 weeks and welcoming the second trimester.. I thought it would be fun to do a little recap of the first trimester.

This pregnancy, so far, has been completely opposite from when I was pregnancy with Clara.  I really have nothing to complain about so far.  I have not once gotten sick (where with Clara I threw up about 3x per day in 1st tri).. the only time I feel a little nauseous is when I'm hungry, and as long as I eat right away I'm good to go.  I've been a little sluggish lately, which is to be expected when you're growing a baby and chasing a toddler - though I haven't been overly exhausted.  Going to bed a little earlier than normal helps usually.

I haven't really had any food aversions yet, but what sounds good to me majorly depends on my mood which makes my meal planning very hard.  I normally have a big sweet tooth.. and still have one.. though I can't seem to handle as much sweets as I used to (probably a good thing, ha!).  And the one thing that I love the absolute most... ice cream... seems to be not agreeing with me, although it's gotten a little better the past week.  Almost like I've been lactose intolerant or something! 

Other than that, I've been feeling pretty awesome - and I'm very thankful for that!  Clara seems to be excited about having a baby in the house.  Every now and again she'll stop and say, "Mama, you have a baby in your belly!" and she will touch my stomach.  So sweet, she will be such a good big sissy!

As for other baby related things... no one will know the name until after baby is born.. which is how we did it with Clara also.  :)  I'm not 100% positive if we are going to find out the sex yet or not - my husband really wants to and a big part of me wants to also.  However, there are only so many things in life that are really a surprise, and I just think it would be amazing to be surprised like that!


Pineapple Upside Down Cake {recipe}

8.25.2014



My birthday was last week.. and I had fun making myself a sweet birthday treat.  And for once in my life, I was craving something sweet, but not chocolate (that never happens.. who am I?).  I haven't had Pineapple Upside Down cake.. in.. a long time... and that sounded just perfect.  Clara liked helping put the cherries into places, too.  You know what else is good?  Peach Upside Down Cake... just sayin'!  If you want to keep up with all the fun things I'm making, baking, and cooking.. be sure to follow me on instagram!



Just a side tip.. when you put your cake pan on a cookie sheet, I would lay down some wax paper or aluminum foil.. otherwise you're going to have a super fun time trying to get that pan clean if anything leaks out.. as you can see from my pan above..


Pineapple Upside Down Cake
recipe from Averie Cooks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • One 20oz can pineapple slices
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (if using powdered buttermilk, use 2 tbsp with the dry ingredients, and a 1/2 cup water with the wet ingredients)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pour the melted butter into a 9-inch springform cake pan, making sure it's well greased.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter.  Add a whole pineapple slice to the center.  Halve the rest of the slices and stagger them like the photo shown.  Place any remaining slices around the side of the cake pan with the curved side point down.  Place 1 cherry in the center of the whole pineapple and 1 in each center of the sliced halves.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients.  Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix.. there may be small lumps and that's okay.

Gently pour batter in cake pan, being careful not to mess the pineapple and cherries on the bottom.  Place pan on a cookie sheet line with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set.

When done, allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before inverting.  Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

A Happy Announcement

8.21.2014

We have a little something to share with you all...


That's right, Clara is going to be a big sister!  I've been waiting for our second ultrasound to let our little secret out, however Clara has been telling people left and right.. so for some, they knew far before I was ready to let it spill!  I guess she was just too darn excited.  ;)


We found out around the second week in June... and was able to get into my first appointment at 7 weeks, and we first saw our sweet baby then.  But I was feeling cautious, although happy, and was trying not to get too excited.  My miscarriage last year (which was my second miscarriage)... happened after our first ultrasound.. where we saw a perfectly fine baby.  So I was nervous, and hesitant.. but prayed every day for this baby.  We had the second ultrasound at 11 weeks.  I was so nervous, I felt sick.  I didn't even look at the ultrasound, until he said everything had looked good... and I looked and saw a growing baby.. a strong heartbeat.. a cute little noggin, and teensy arms and legs.  I shed a happy tear or two.. or three.  I still continue to pray for this baby, that he/she continues to grow to be strong and healthy.

And now, I feel excited.


And obviously Clara will just be the best big sister in the world.  She has such a big heart, and a sweet soul.. and I am excited to see how she will interact with a new brother or sister.  And according to her, she's getting one of each... hate to break it to you, girlfriend... there's only one baby in there!!

our coffee bar!

8.16.2014

After a little over a month of a break - here I am.  Things have slowed down a little over here, and come Monday my work schedule is changing.. which means I have more time for other things in my life that I love doing (blogging, cooking for my family, baking, and other hobbies.. whew).  I'm pretty excited about it!

If there's one "trend" that I've seen and loved, it's having a little coffee bar space in the kitchen.  we made this little area when we first moved in here about 2 years ago.  I bought the shelf with the wire baskets at Hobby Lobby, and I actually bought the small table/chest there as well.  I would have liked something a little longer but there is a doorway too the left and it would have been too much in the way.




 My espresso machine is no longer working.. sad face.. however, I mostly use my french press anyway.  I'm just letting it sit there and take up space until I figure out what I want to replace it with - maybe some greenery?  A big pot of succulents?  Or maybe one day I'll even get a new espresso machine (hint hint to my hubby).  ;)

Here are a few of my other favorite details...




Clara got me that mug for Mother's Day.. my first Mother's Day after she was born (thanks to my mom for helping her pick that out).  ;)  And I was gifted with that coffee recipe book in the background, which has some super fun things in it.  I thought it was fitting to be displayed on the "coffee bar"!

And then on top, I have just a small portion of my cookbook collection.  Some (very) old, and some new.  Some I took from my mom, and some I inherited from my Grandma... I love all her old cookbooks, they are so much fun to flip through!


And the little wire baskets just hold extra "stuff".. little bowls and plates, mugs, and some baking goodies (cupcake liners, etc).

And that little white bowl on the right?  It catches all ours keys and extra change.  I really love this little part of our kitchen.. It's pretty simple, but it's ours and I love it.. and it's always so easy to switch things up and make it fresh and new - do you have a designated 'coffee area' in your home?  I would love to see!  Show me what you got in the comments.  :)