Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend in Photos

This mild and beautiful winter we've been having has me feeling Spring fever like you wouldn't believe! In addition to scheming for the major backyard overhaul we will begin this year, our house got a bit of early spring cleaning this weekend. In hopes of bring a little green into our house, I purchased the fern pictured above and started snipping blooms from our Camellia! And other than a good ole' Sunday splurge of Belgian waffles (a family fave!), some play time at the park and lazy morning snuggles with Claire, our little princess got her ears pierced this weekend ( Which you can kind of see in the bottom left photo)! All-in-all it was a delightful few days. Here's to hoping everyone's week is off to a great start!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breastfeeding Musts From A Natural Mama

These past three months with Claire have taught me so much! Mainly, with motherhood you learn a lot as you go and every mom's experience is so different. But also, some of the most valuable advice I have received is from other mama's who have been where I am and have shared what worked for them. So I wanted to pass on the goodwill to you from my own personal experience!

I am exclusively breastfeeding Claire and as a whole, it has been wonderful! I love that she is reaping all of the health benefits from nursing and the bond it has created between the two of us is priceless! I have not had any trouble with milk production or latching. However, there is definitely an adjustment period for a nursing mama. With the help of a few awesome products the adjustment period was short and relatively painless for us. So from one mama to another, here are a few things that have made the whole process a bit more comfortable for me!

Natural Nipple Butter-This stuff seriously saved my life the first few weeks of Claire's life! As my body has adjusted to nursing I need it far less, but thankfully this has more uses than just nipple duty! Because of it's olive oil base and awesome moisturizing properties, I have also used it on my dry lips and it healed like a charm! Nipple Butter uses an olive oil base (instead of lanolin) and soothing Calendula to protect that sensitive area and is completely safe for baby so there's no need to wipe off before nursing!

Bamboobies- In an ongoing effort to reduce waste and save some green, I really wanted to go with re-useable nursing pads. My only trouble was finding a brand with decent reviews. Thankfully, just when I was about to give up I came across Bamboobies! The reviewers raved about their comfort, durability through washings, thin design that doesn't show through shirts and superior ability to withstand leakage. I was (almost) sold! Truthfully, I was initially a bit reluctant to pull the trigger as they were a little on the pricey side (I paid $30 for 4 pair). But I have to tell you, they have been worth every penny and actually pay for themselves in a few weeks when compared to disposables. Not only have they held up to leakage like you wouldn't believe, but they are so comfy I can't even feel them! If you're leaning toward re-useable pads, please do yourself a favor and order yourself some Bamboobies!

Booby Tubes- Like I said, those first few weeks of nursing took some getting used to and these Booby Tubes were wonderful! They are essentially mini-heating pads filled with all-natural flax seed that can be used hot or cold, depending on your needs. Incredibly helpful in easing discomfort, encouraging letdown, preventing clogged ducts, soothing infection if necessary (thankfully, something I haven't experienced!) and good for reducing swelling when you are weaning.

And while I'm on the topic of sharing baby products, I should tell you that I have completely fallen in love with Earth Mama Angel Baby! They are a company who stands by honest, organic products for mom and baby and I am happy to recommend them to any mama and mama-to-be! Having used several of their products, I would also highly recommend these products from EMAB that I have used and love:

Angel Baby Bottom Balm  (safe for cloth diapers!)
Angel Baby Lotion

 And just a little tip: like them on Facebook and get notified of their weekly FB Friday deals where a specific item is always 50% off!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Christmas in February

This weekend, Chris got to redeem his Christmas present from me; zip lining in Tahoe! We had a blast together, while our moms watched our little snow bunny at the lodge. It was a great little adventure, enjoying one of our favorite spots in California! I'm pretty  sure we're hooked and will be seeking out other destinations to zip line!

I hope you, too, enjoyed the holiday weekend! Happy Presidents Day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Party of Three}

Our Valentine's Day was different in some ways, yet exactly the same in others. We did what we always do; surprise each other with thoughtful little surprises throughout the day and then get dressed up and dine-in on lovely fare (usually prepared together) and spend quality time as a couple. Obviously this year we had a 3-month old to incorporate into our plans.

Though contrary to what you might think, she only enhanced the evening by being present! In a strange way, it was still a lovely, romantic, perfect evening. But then how could it not be when you've got great tunes playing, delicious vino, braised short ribs (my husband's personal favorite) and hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries?

Truth be told, I kind of love Valentine's being a family affair! After all, it is about showing and spreading the love, right?! I hope you all enjoyed your Valentine's Day amongst loved ones!

Here's a little peek at our evening~

{Lovely starters: Marcona almonds, marinated olives, fruit and a delicious cheddar with caramelized onions}
{A new favorite around here-Layer Cake Shiraz}

{Double-dipped dark and white chocolate strawberries}

{One of my hubby's favorites, braised short ribs accompanied by roasted baby carrots}

{Sleepy girl}

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Claire Elizabeth {3 Months}

My sweet, sweet Claire, you are without a doubt the most precious 3-month old there ever was! This month's photo shoot completely captures you as little Miss Personality and we absolutely adore everything about you!

This past month you went from finding your voice to chatting non-stop. Your constant cooing combined with that sweet smile of yours completely overwhelms us with joy!  And after several weeks of being right on the brink, you finally gave us your first laugh two nights ago! What a sweet sound! Little girl, you have no idea how loved you are! 

Currently, your favorite things include: bath time, playing with your tongue and being in your birthday suit! You are now napping regularly about every 2-3 hours. Mommy loves having your schedule down, as it makes planning out our day much easier! In addition, we have learned your cries and are much better at soothing you when you're upset. Praise the Lord for that!

You are growing so quickly that I'm afraid to blink! We recently transitioned you to your crib and you did so well! Although it was a little emotional for me not having you in our room, you slept like a champ, so I can't complain. At 11 weeks we moved you into your 6 month clothes. Little girl, it's a good thing you have an entire wardrobe of clothes for your first 18 months (not that it keeps your grandmas from continuing to buy you more clothes!). What can I say, you are so fun to shop for! And as of last night, you have sprouted your first tooth! I'm hoping this isn't an indication that you do everything early, as I'm not sure your Daddy and I could handle it...but on the other hand, we wouldn't complain if you were potty trained ahead of schedule:)

I am deeply thankful to have the privilege of spending my days with you, Claire! Watching you learn and explore the world around you is priceless and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Happy first Valentines Day, Love Bug!

All my love,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shiitake Hot & Sour Soup

I happened to catch an episodes of Dr. Oz while my girl was napping last week. While I'm not typically into daytime TV, I'm glad I stumbled upon this episode because it gave me some great recipe inspiration, including this one I whipped up for dinner last Saturday. This soup contains several immunity boosting ingredients like mushrooms, onion, ginger and garlic, making it a perfect cold and flu fighter.  Plus it's got a definite kick, making it a winner with my husband!

I would only make the following changes next time to make it even better: 1) reduce the amount of lemon juice by about 2 Tbsp, and 2) add some Chicken Bullion to enhance the depth and flavor.In my personal opinion, it would take this recipe from great to superb!

Shiitake Hot and Sour Soup
Recipe  from Dr. Oz

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 jalapeño, minced with seeds
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 bunches scallions, green and white parts sliced, 2 tbsp greens reserved
1 lb shiitakes, stems removed and tops 1/4-in sliced
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp naturally brewed soy sauce
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 block silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups shredded carrots
Freshly cracked black pepper

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, add oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add jalapeño, ginger, garlic and scallions. Sauté until aromatic, about a minute. Add shiitakes and sauté 2 minutes, until softened.

Add stock and soy sauce, bring to a simmer and reduce by 20%, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, tofu and carrots and cook gently for 2 more minutes to heat tofu through. Season with black pepper.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with reserved scallion greens and lemon zest.

Friday, February 10, 2012

For The Love of Coffee

It's a known fact around here that I love good coffee. Which is why I was thrilled when we were given the Cuisinart Grind and Brew for our wedding. It makes an excellent, fresh pot of coffee by grinding the beans just before brewing. The only downside is the self-grinding feature is a pain in the neck to clean! So much in fact that it became routine for me to weigh how much I really wanted a cup of coffee because I didn't want to deal with the mess. And after having the pot for nearly four years, it was getting reeeally old!

My husband, being the thoughtful and practical man that he is, surprised me this year with a Keurig for Christmas! Prior to owning one myself, I completely missed what was so awesome about the machine. And being the frugal gal that I am, I made an assumption that the individual K-cups made it too expensive to give a second thought. But it turns out, for people like me, it's not actually that much more. On a typical day, I only drink a single cup, so I ended up wasting the rest of the pot anyway. Before purchasing it, my husband did a little research and discovered with the Keurig each cup comes to about $.60 (since you can buy large cases of the K-Cups at Costco), making it just pennies more than a traditional coffee pot!

After having the machine for nearly two months, I am a complete Keurig convert! I can't stop singing its praises because not only does it make great coffee, but clean-up is so easy. While I don't generally mind a little more work for a little savings, in this case, the convenience makes it totally worth the slight cost difference! I love that at any given time, I am exactly one minute away from a great cup of coffee (even if I happen to have a sleeping baby in my arms) and there is no waste! Plus, it has definitely upped the frequency of my hubby bringing me coffee in bed-always a bonus!

It's also good to know that it makes more than coffee, but K-cups come in tea and hot cocoa as well!

Bottom line: The Keurig was the best gift I never knew I wanted!

Anyone else on the Keurig bandwagon? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week In An Instagram

My favorite thing about the iPhone is how easy it is to capture everyday, sweet moments like these! Here's a look at the past week in a simple collage of Instagram photos. 

p.s.- Instagram is probably my favorite app of all time!

Clockwise from  top left:
1. Lunch and shopping date with daddy!
2.Waking up from a nap after a long and fun day with new friends!
3. Claire's 11 week birthday
4. Tutu love!
1. Happy February!
2. Lunch break
3. Hubby surprised me with flowers
4. Only a sweet baby's bottom could pull this off!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fathers & Daughters

"The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother."
Elaine S. Dalton

Watching my husband father our daughter has been completely amazing, but I am also deeply thankful for how well he loves me. He is already setting a beautiful example for her of how a man should treat her and for that, I love him even more than I thought possible!

{Alright, now I'm crying}

Monday, February 6, 2012

House Tour!

Happy Monday, friends! I wanted to let you know of a little update I made to the links above. I have finally added our house tour to Our Nest! There you will find pictures of our humble abode in its current state. Keep in mind that it will be constantly changing as we continue updating rooms. We've got awesome projects on the horizon this year, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Entryway {Re-Done}

For several months now I've been plagued with the dilemma of how to control the pile of shoes at our front door. Since our entryway isn't very big, I didn't want anything that would be too obtrusive and possibly be a tripping hazard, but I knew I wanted it to look like a designated entryway.

After finding what I believe to be the perfect solution, I am entirely convinced that this piece was made for our space! We went with this shoe organizer from Ikea's Hemnes collection. Once Chris finished putting it together we both stepped back and fell completely in love. It couldn't be a more perfect fit! I've got to hand it to Ikea, they sure do have a knack for making the most of small spaces!

It fits up to 8 pairs of shoes (and more if they're flip flops or flats!). Amazing for such a slim design!

I'm so excited to have another thing crossed off of our list! Next up: the laundry room!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{California Girl}

Yesterday we made the most of the sunshine and lunched in the backyard. There's nothing quite like a picnic in January! 


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