March 26, 2013

In the Bag


So, after hearing the hilarious story from my friend Kamrin about their first trip to the pediatrician after her now 4 year old was born I had to post this.  She recounts that they didn’t even take a diaper bag to the doctor’s office and had to ask for a diaper when they got there.  I can imagine how that could happen with all of the craziness the first few days entail!

Our first trip to the pediatrician was when Everett was 4 days old.  I was just proud that we got there on time with a diaper bag – too bad it didn’t have anything we really needed (except diapers) and I didn’t know where I had put anything inside of it.  As E was peeing all over the examining table I was frantically looking in every pocket, pulling everything out to try to find whatever it was I was looking for.  That’s when I knew that I had to get a better system ASAP.




I came home immediately and Googled “What’s in a diaper bag” and went from there.  Since then, I have had great success with our trips out and about and am loving my diaper bag with only a one exception. 


  • cross body strap
  • the design, colors and stripes make it look like a stylish messenger bag instead of screaming “DIAPER BAG!”
  • no Velcro – My friend Leigh warned me against Velcro closures.  She said it never failed that as soon as her kids were asleep on the go, she would have to get something out of her diaper bag and the loud Velcro sound would wake them right up.  Fail.
  • insulated bottle pocket
  • I like that it’s not too too big.  The bigger the bag, the more stuff you take with you – not all of which you need.
  • The straps conveniently clip into our stroller hooks so it hangs nicely when “strolling”.


  • I ultimately wish there was another small pocket for me to keep my keys, phone and wallet so I didn’t have to throw them in the big front pocket where they get lost if I don’t want to carry my purse and diaper bag.


Here’s a look at my diaper bag:


Front pocket:


This is where I keep an extra change of clothes (onesie, pants, socks) as well as snacks for me.  So far I haven’t needed more than one change of clothes, but I could fit a couple more in there, which I’m sure will happen soon!




Inside the bag:





Center space:

In the middle of the large center compartment I have my changing pad and wipes case (both from Etsy).


I would definitely recommend a portable changing pad.  You never know where you’re going to have to change a diaper!




Small pocket #1:

DIAPERS!  I read somewhere that you should have 1 diaper for every hour you will be away from home.  I have 5 in there now just in case.  I don’t ever want to be without them!





Small pocket #2:

This pocket contains quite a few items, some of which I have used, others I haven’t…yet.


  • wet bag for wet/spit up clothes or even dirty diapers in a pinch(the one shown here is by Itsy Ritsy)
  • disposable diaper bags
  • pacifier in case
  • nose aspirator (bulb)
  • gas drops and dispenser
  • formula dispenser
  • hand sanitizer




Large Pocket:

The large pocket in the center compartment takes up one whole side of my diaper bag.  I keep an extra bib, burp cloth (made by my Nana Smile) and an extra blanket there.




Side pocket:

This side pocket has come in very handy.  It is insulated and great for breast milk in bottles or bottles with water ready to be mixed with formula.  I always have one ready and waiting with the water filled to the correct ounce line.  That way when you’re out and about you just pour in the powder and mix.  Quick and easy.




Other essentials (that I thought of after I took all of these pictures):

  • A cover if breastfeeding
  • Dreft stain fighting pen
  • Lip balm/Chap stick
  • Gum/breath mints (since many new moms don’t even have time to brush their teeth)
  • Hair tie/bobby pins/hair clip
  • I have heard recommendations from a lot of people to also have a change of clothes (at least shirt) for you, too (or maybe at the very least in the car).  Probably not such a bad idea!


Don’t forget to:

-Unload and restock your bag when you get home from an outing.  Take the dirty clothes and diapers out (if there wasn’t a convenient place to throw it away) and add new ones.

-When your precious baby outgrows a certain size in clothes or diapers don’t forget to switch out your diaper bag stash.  You wouldn’t want to have newborn clothes or diapers still in there for your 3 month old!  Yikes!

-Wash out the dirty bottles and refill any bottle water/formula right away.  You always want to have your diaper bag waiting on you, not the other way around.



I purchased my Babymel diaper bag from and highly recommend not only the diaper bag but the website.  Albee always seems to have great sales going on and shipped my diaper bag in 3 days with free shipping no less.  Score! 

March 25, 2013

Menu Monday


Hi all!  I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  We had a fun and busy one! 

Besides watching a lot of basketball and cheering both of our teams on (only one of us is happy with the outcome today, see below), and my catering a bridal shower (a recap coming this week with new recipes), we also made it out to our first BBQ get-together at our friends’ Jenny and Jeremy’s house since having Everett. 



Go Gators – Sweet Sixteen Baby!


The BBQ turned out to be a great time, even though we didn’t exactly know what all to bring with us and what we would need for an evening/night party.  I must say that E did very well for his first shindig and ended up getting fresh with the ladies (wandering hands already) and then hanging out with the guys. 



Getting fresh with Aunt Lynnie!



Hanging with the guys (and his favorite girl Kennedy).


We brought our Moses basket and his noise machine which was all he seemed to need to pass out in a nice quiet room (swaddled of course).  Next time we’ll bring our monitor, since we had to stay close to the room to make sure we could hear him, and we’ll be all set!


This weekend we also decided to try moving Everett into his crib.  He had been sleeping in our room in the Pack and Play which was great in the beginning, but I must say we were ready to get our room back after hearing how loud babies can be when they sleep!  He transitioned like a champ, and I must say that I think we all slept better.  Our video monitor only kicks on when he’s crying and we don’t hear his noise machine or every grunt, sound or movement.  Yippeee!



Monitor watching.


Here are some other highlights from this weekend:


EJA - Month 22


7 weeks today – getting big enough to wear cute boy clothes!  This is his first collared shirt.  So cute!


As for this week, we are just doing more of the same.  Eating, changing diapers, reading books and napping.  We do have a lunch date with my friend Kamrin this week and then we are excited to have Gransie down for Easter weekend!  Here’s our menu plan – have a great week!


M:  Chicken Pesto Pizza

T:  Broccoli Cheese Potatoes

W:  Lasagna Rolls and Salad

Th:  BBQ Chicken Sandwiches w/ Sweet Potato Fries

F:  Sweet and Sour Chicken w/ Fried Rice

Sa:  Sausage Bean Soup

Su:  Easter Brunch – Ham, Cheese and Veggie Quiche w/ French Onion Soup

March 21, 2013

What a Crock


Crock pot that is!

I have a SUPER easy and delicious chili recipe that will knock your socks off.  This chicken chili version is a little thicker than a traditional White Chicken Chili recipe (hence the addition of the cream cheese), but great to throw into your crock pot rotation.  This is delicious served over pasta, but would also be delicious over a baked potato or simply by itself.  Enjoy!




Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

Print this recipe!

  • 2 chicken breasts, still frozen
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 can corn kernels, do not drain
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 T cumin 1 t chili powder
  • 1 8-oz pkg. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 C chicken broth (or more if a thinner consistency is desired)

Throw everything in the crock pot and turn on high for about 5-6 hours.  Serve over pasta, rice, baked potato or simply eat plain.  Top with sour cream, cheese and chives if desired.




March 20, 2013

Out of the Haze…


42 days 42 nights- that's a long time with not much sleep and around the clock care…but we made it!




So, nobody really tells you until you’ve given birth that if you make it through the first 6 weeks of infancy you deserve a gold medal.  I’m serious.  I want to read that book.  Not the ones that tell you what “should” happen, I want the book that tells you what actually happens and how crazy it is!  To all of you parents out there, especially those with multiples or multiple children – high five to you.  You are all rock stars in my eyes.

I knew that bringing home a newborn would be a total shock to our system, but I had no idea how tough (at times) it would be and how crazy my hormones/emotions/lack of sleep would play into it.

Honestly, I was a mess for the first 5 weeks; crying on and off, not loving the daily ins and outs of having a newborn and wondering when it would get better.  I just wanted to fast forward to about 6 months (not that it’s easier, but different); but then I would feel guilty for not enjoying the moment.  I am not a crier, by nature, so when I was crying for no reason, it threw me for a loop. I felt silly, weak, and helpless all at the same time. 

My mom kept saying that everybody has been through it and it will get better, just hang in there.  She along with my aunts and nana would recount the stories of when they were going through it and how they felt the same way.  Well, of course, they were right. 

Coping with poop, crying, spit up, weight gain, lack of sleep and everything else has progressively gotten better and I’m feeling much more like myself again – thank goodness.  No more tears and I get a chance to fall more in love with my little guy more and more every day.  He’s the little love of my life (along with my big love Smile)and I am so thankful that we get to grow as a family together.

Babies are tough, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but they are also so worth it.  Remember that this to shall pass and to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Like my mom told me; If you are loving your baby, you’re doing it right…that’s all they need (well, that and food and clean diapers).

Mike and I are by no means “pros”, but we feel much better off than we did 6 weeks ago.  It has definitely been an adventure so far, and this is just the beginning!


Here’s our recap:


EJA - Month 1


  • I feel like the itty bitty newborn stage would be kind of like basic training if we were in the military.  The only thing I can really relate it to would be our hellacious 3 a day volleyball practices during pre-season in college.   At the time it was hard with no end in sight, but then you somehow do it and gain a lot of experience from it with lots of stories to look back on and laugh (or cry) about.


  • Did you know there was an Early Today Show?  Well there is and I felt like I was up to speed on all of the news of the day by 4 am.  By the time the actual Today show came on at 7 am it was old news to me!


  • Having a newborn is like taking care of a stuffed animal, they don't do much or interact in the beginning, which can be hard since there’s not a lot of reward for all that you are doing, but slowly, everyday you get to see them do something new, however small it is.


  • Baby pajamas are the cutest things in the world.




  • I learned that for me, I needed to get out of the house. Even if its just to go to the Starbucks drive thru or the grocery store for hot dog buns…get out and about!  Everett and I also went for a walk/run every day.  I was going stir crazy inside, but some fresh air definitely helped!


  • Take a shower and brush your teeth. Even if its after dinner for the first time – do it.


  • The first six weeks are like taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Just when you think you're getting the hang of it. NOT!  It’s all just trial and error.


EJA - Month 11


  • I knew I was a mom when: I wiped off spit-up to go on date night instead of changing. (I was not however wearing mom-jeans!)


  • I was freaked out about: taking a rectal temperature.  It’s actually not that bad – just make sure you have the quick-read version.  Ours only takes about 5 seconds.


  • I never realized: how comfy my bed was.


  • I was most afraid of: not being able to soothe him. 5s's are helpful!  Everett goes from zero to 60 in about a second, so I have tried to just relax and try figure out what’s wrong instead of freaking out like he is, they can feel your anxiety. Remember 3 minutes of screaming can seem like 3 hours, just try your best to get to the root.


  • I was scared: the first time he "really" spit up. It came out like vomit and I wanted to cry – it scared him and me!


  • We actually figured out that: he was super gassy (causing him pain, not just a lot of toots) and that was causing instant freak outs with a hard to calm baby throughout the night. We got some infant gas drops (thanks Susie!) and switched to a more sensitive formula which seems to help. High five for us!


  • I love it when: Everett stretches, raises his hand like he has a question, looks around and puckers his lips.  It’s so cute!


 EJA - Month 12


  • In the beginning we couldn't have lived without:
    -Adan and Anais swaddle blankets
    -Lots of burp cloths
    -Waterproof changing pad liners (Mom, you were right!)
    -onesies with hand covers, no mittens!
    -bottle brush

    Bob jogging stroller, and easy car seat adapters


  • Most babies have a witching hour when they are fussy, cranky, unsettled, whiny – sounds like a blast doesn’t it!?!  Everett’s was/is anywhere from 4pm-9pm.  Not the entire time, but anytime during that span.  It has gotten a bit better, or maybe we’re just ready for it now!


EJA - Month 21


  • I will say that we couldn’t have survived the first 6 weeks without each other (and some help from Gransie).  It is essential to have a great support staff.  In my case, it is an amazing partner. Work together and set up an "on duty" schedule if needed (easier if formula fed, but can work with pumped bottles of breast milk).

We still take turns with the feedings (since we are formula feeding – I tried breast feeding, but it was quite an emotional rollercoaster/catastrophe – more on that in another post)and switch off during the night.

--Surprise your partner (or helper) with an unexpected shift off.


  • Remember - give yourself a break. Laugh about it, whatever it is and know that you're one day closer to figuring something else out about your new little person.  You're doing it, and doing it well even if you don’t think so!  Don't be afraid to cry either; you probably won't be able to help it anyway!


  • Your new baby is like a pop quiz with multiple choices – take your best guess to answer why it is they are crying/uncomfortable. In the beginning I just wanted to be right the first time and ended up frustrated when whatever I was trying didn’t work.  Remember, until you learn your baby and his/her needs, your best is all you can ask for!


  • As Mike likes to say, “You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be good enough.”  At this point and time I think we are. Smile

March 19, 2013

Fake Out Alert!


I love Larabars.  They are quick, yummy, nutritious and made with all natural ingredients.  They come in all sorts of flavors and are always in my pantry.


With that being said, I love making my own version of with only 3 ingredients (a cup of each, that’s it) – it’s a Larabar Fakeout!  I tried this recipe last week after finding it, where else, Pinterest and love having ready made energy balls in my fridge whenever I need them(and Lord knows we need them all the time nowadays!).

Check it out!

3-Ingredient Energy Balls
Print this recipe!

1 cup nuts (roasted, optional)
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup (12-15 whole) dates, pitted


  1. Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together.


  1. Process continuously for 30 seconds. By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking.


  1. Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1-2 minutes. Continue processing for another 1-2 minutes, until the ingredients clump together and gather into a ball.



  1. Shape into small balls. Refrigerate until firm, then wrap in plastic for longer storage.
  2. Store the energy balls in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to three months. The balls can be eaten straight from the fridge or freezer and will be firm, but chewy. Room-temperature balls are perfectly fine to eat and can be kept in a lunch bag or backpack all day, but will be more soft and paste-like.




Additional Notes:
  • Energy Bars:
    1. Press into a disk and chill. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the power bar dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square disk, roughly 8" x 8" in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
    2. Divide into bars. Unwrap the chilled power bar dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper.
  • Try These Combinations! Cherry-almond, apricot-almond, cranberry-pecan, apple-cinnamon-walnut
  • Try These Add-Ins! Shredded coconut, chia seeds, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, crystalized ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom, lemon zest, lime zest.



March 18, 2013

Menu Monday


Hi everybody!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mike and I were treated to another date night-St. Patty’s Day style-thanks to Gransie.  We headed to an Irish Bar for some drinks, people watching and laughs.




Sunday was spent watching lots of basketball – although both of our teams lost.  Everett was busy with his wardrobe changes, but loved every minute of it.


EJA - Month 2


Hopefully before returning to work full time (3 more weeks) I will be able to blog quite a bit more.  I have so many great ideas to share with you all, I just can’t find the time with a 6 week old…my little man definitely keeps me busy!  If not, I’ll blog when I can – thanks for your continued support – good stuff is coming, I promise!


As for the here and now, this is our menu plan for the week:

M:  Pepperoni and Cheese Calzones w/ Broccoli

T:  Chicken Pesto Paninis

W:  Buffalo Chicken Baked Potatoes

Th:  Taco Salad 

F:  Tomato Tortellini Soup

Sa:  Cream Cheese Chicken and Veggie Cous Cous

Su:  BBQ Chicken Sandwiches w/ Sweet Potato Fries


Have a good one!

March 14, 2013

Feeling HOT, HOT, HOT!


On our recent date night in, I decided to try a recipe I had pinned a while back, but make a few tweaks.  I love buffalo chicken flavors, but am always cautious of making things too hot. 

Well, this Buffalo Chicken Pizza turned out to be a winner.  Not too hot, but just enough warmth to get the juices flowing.  It was ready in about 30 minutes and was just as good left over the next day.




This recipe is great for a weeknight meal or a steamy night in.  Enjoy!


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Print this recipe!


  • 1 ball of store bought pizza dough (Substitute 13.8 oz roll Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust)
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce – I use mild…I’m a wimp.
  • 1/4 C low fat ranch dressing
  • 1/4 C reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • bacon bits (optional)


Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Form pizza dough into round shape to fit your pizza stone, or can be put on a rectangular cookie sheet  - spray cookie sheet with non stick spray beforehand (this doesn’t have to be exact, just close).

In a medium sauté pan, dice and cook chicken until done.  Add buffalo wing sauce, ranch dressing and cream cheese over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Evenly spread the buffalo chicken over the baked pizza crust then scatter the  bacon bits (however much or little you like), cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is done to you liking.  Let cool and slice.





Remember - everything is better with wine!

March 12, 2013

Spring has Sprung



Spring has sprung – in my kitchen!  Our winter here in Florida actually felt like spring this year, so outside we have been reaping the benefits for a while, but our taste buds have been waiting for a hint of yummy, fresh fruity deliciousness that embodies everything that spring represents.

This recipe comes from, where else, Pinterest, but is definitely a keeper.  Although not very figure friendly, this would be great for any springtime brunch, shower or Sunday breakfast.



Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Original recipe from A Spicy Perspective

Print this recipe!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice.


Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.


Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.



Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

***This recipe would be great as muffins also!





March 11, 2013

Menu Monday


Hi everybody and Happy Monday!  This past weekend (Friday), Everett got a special visit from his great-grandmother, my Nana.  She’s called Nana GG by all of her great grandchildren and she couldn’t wait to meet her newest one.  Everett just stole her heart and they were so cute together!




Along with Nana and my mom (Gransie), my cousin Devan and my Aunt Dawnie both came down to hang with the little man as well.  Aunt Dawnie had been down before, but this was Dev’s first encounter.




Everett was very well behaved and loved being loved by all of these special ladies!  We can’t wait for them to come back and visit!




Mike and I also had our first Date Night In, I guess it’s kind of like a “Staycation” but for dating.  I fixed a delicious homemade Buffalo Chicken Pizza (recipe coming soon) and we split a bottle of red wine.  I think we were both napping (along with Everett) before no time, but the pizza, wine and romantic candlelight was priceless.




As for this week, I have a couple of recipes that I can’t wait to share along with a new blog series that is replacing Fashionable Friday for a while…stay tuned!

Until then, here’s our menu plan for this week -


M:  Pepperoni Pasta Bake (Frozen)

T:  Bang Bang Chicken and Salad

W:  Meatloaf w/ Stuffing and Green Beans

Th: Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry w/ Brown Rice

F:  Chili Dogs w/ Pasta Salad

Sa:  Steak Salad

Su:  Tomato Tortellini Soup and Salad


Have a good one!