Simplicity Series

I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Simplicity Series over at one of my dearest friend’s blog, Miss Emily Ley! Emily has been featuring this wonderful series on her blog for awhile and I was tickled to be a part of it! This series features women in different stages of their lives sharing six products and/or tips that help make their life more simple so they can spend their time on what matters!

So hop on over to Emily’s blog and check out my part in this fabulous series! Click HERE

simplicity

 
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Currently Lying To Save My Sanity

As parents we strive to raise our kids to be kind, loving and know the difference between right and wrong. One lesson to teach our kids is not to lie. Of course this is something that most toddlers won’t exactly grasp until they are a bit older. BUT while we make every effort to require the truth from our kids, we parents lie straight to their faces….oh the irony.

The biggest examples of parenting fibs…a giant bunny that visits your house with a basket full of candy & toys. Last time I checked bunnies need all four paws to hop and don’t think they have the finger dexterity to carry those huge Pottery Barn monogrammed baskets. Or what about the fairy that removes your kid’s teeth from under their pillow and replaces them with money. The biggest example is of course Santa. The man who knows when your kid has been bad or good and will withhold Christmas morning presents if said kid has been visiting the time out chair too often. He has deer that fly and manages to visit all the kids in the world in one night. And with Santa also comes that very popular Elf on the Shelf. A spy for Santa that comes to your house each morning and watches your kid like a hawk to keep them in check.

lyingUnless you’re a jehova’s witness (or you just detest anything fun & magical), you can see that yes you indeed lie to your kids. Fibs, white lies or tall tales…whatever you call ‘em…you are lying to your kids. My mom had to be the world’s greatest liar and coupled with my HUGE imagination and gullibility as a kid, I believed in Santa, the Easter bunny and tooth fairy way over the reasonable age limit. Sadly I found out the truth about all three imaginary tall tales in one day. Having suspicion about the giant bunny that delivers chocolate, I left a note on the eve of Easter for the bunny to sign the piece of paper. Yes I made the Easter bunny sign an avadavat to prove he was legit. Well The “B” in the bunny’s signature looked like my dad’s signature and I put two and two together. Sitting on the stairs in shock I had the final epiphany that there was also no tooth fairy and no Santa. I was crushed I tell ya. My mom came up to me on the steps and told me not to tell my brother and ruin it for him…something that to this day she says she never said, but to a kid who’s whole imaginary world crashed down…I remember every detail of that sad morning.

But even though I was so sad over that discovery, I par-take in the same traditions with Lily and had a whole lot of fun watching her light up every morning finding her elf in a funny position each day. Yes and I too used the “you better be good or else no presents” fib to help keep my crazy toddler in check.

As a parent going through the horrible “terrible two” stage, my husband and I have developed a dependency on telling fibs. Our little white lies started a while ago with our most famous lie…the “napping” lie. Kids learn the basic human needs of eating and napping early on. So when you tell your kid that someone or something is asleep or is about to take a nap they understand because they take naps. Now how do I use this “napping” lie you ask? Not kidding you…I have come to use it on the daily.

Babies R Us conveniently has a Bert & Ernie fire truck ride at their checkout and Lily about flipped when I told her she couldn’t get on. She wouldn’t understand that we were running a tad late for an appointment. To her she wanted to ride and she wanted it right then. So guess what…the ride was taking a nap. Lily looked at me giving me a understanding nod and said “Yep they sleepy”. I gave myself an inner high five and was able to walk out of the store without a meltdown. Once at eight o’clock at night Lily started to throw a fit over not being able to finger-paint…and yep the paint was napping. When her nap time arrives, Lily sometimes fights until I convince her that her toys and Disney characters are currently napping so she better hurry up and get to sleep so she can play with them when they wake up.

I have become dependent on the “napping” lie to get me thorough way too many daily situations and I will cry the day Lily realizes her crayon doesn’t need a nap. My lie telling has become so common I surprise myself sometimes when a fib slips my tongue so easily. Case in point…those shopping carts at the grocery store that come with wheels that kids can play with while you shop. Well Lily learned that if she pulls on the wheel hard enough she can bust through the buckle that is supposed to strap her in. This leaves me fighting her the entire shopping trip to sit down before she gives me a heart attack by jumping off the cart and breaks her neck. So one day we were walking in to our grocery store and Lily starts to point to an empty car cart and before I knew it I was telling her that cart was broken and didn’t work. As Lily looked back to me and said “Yep, it no work”, I couldn’t believe I was able to think that fast with a lie that she would understand and believe. Not only did I give myself an inner high five…I took a flipping curtsey for my awesomeness at the quick thinking. For some reason I’m able to tell this same lie to Lily every time we go into the store and she believes me.

Do I feel guilty…heck no. Once you have experienced public toddler meltdowns over trivial things like a car cart, telling a little white lie to prevent the tantrum is worth it.

My husband has been pretty quick to originate some creative fibs as well. While in Georgia for my grandmother’s funeral Mike and Lily stayed at the hotel one evening while I attended a service. While I was gone Lily turned into a wild child and Mike came up with the “security” lie. After numerous attempts to discipline Lily for her rowdy behavior and attempts to destroy the hotel room Mike told her that the hotel’s security was coming to the door soon because they were upset that she was throwing hotel property around. He even went to the extent of opening the door and act like security was at the door. So anytime after when Lily started to get sassy all we had to do is bring up that security would be arriving and she would stop asap. On the long way home when she started having a major hissy fit and even unbuckled her seatbelt we pulled out the security card. I called Mike’s cell phone from the passenger seat and he pretended he was security while Lily listened to our Bluetooth convo. “Security” told us that he would pull us over soon and have a stern talking to Lily about seatbelt safety. She listened and with eyes wide opened and when I hung up she started to attempt to buckle her seatbelt with quick fingers.

So judge if you want…but Lily’s playdough will continue to nap, the car carts will be out of commission and security will be called during hissy fits for as long as she’ll believe them…

 
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  1. Bill Boykin commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Great Blog sweetheart. I remember you sitting on those steps in Danville contemplating what mom asked you to be cool with Alex. Lily will have her life epiphany’s as well. You and Mike are great parents and will guide her. I just want her to love the “tickle monster” and papaw and know I am there for her and her new sister to come

    Love
    Dad

  2. MIchelle Czarnik commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Love this, we experience a lot of napping toys and TV shows in our house too. I might have to remember the “security” one. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. shauna anderson commented:
    January 28, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the advice for the future… so glad I can look to you for tips! Love you. 🙂

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Surviving The Second Trimester

A GREAT read about surviving the second trimester! Tips/advice and a free printable list on items needed when registering for the baby! Pin to save! When you hit the second trimester, most moms-to-be are thrilled. Excited because for most women the morning sickness starts to disappear when you cross over to the second trimester. I say most because sadly I wasn’t one of those lucky ducks (with this pregnancy)!

Along with loosing the nausea, most women will feel their energy levels bounce back…making them feel more like themselves. Sadly (again), with this pregnancy my energy levels remained low during the second trimester. This proves that all pregnancies are different. So while I still battled the nausea & low energy levels I still have some tips and thoughts on how to survive the second trimester!

Head back to read my thoughts & tips on surviving the first trimester, as I might discuss things that you are just experiencing in the second trimester! (click HERE)

The second trimester is the part of your pregnancy where you will finally get proof that you are indeed growing a baby in that belly…Baby kicks and the bump appears! When you finally realize that those flutters are the baby it makes all the crappy pregnancy side affects worth it! It’s even better when the dad-to-be finally gets to feel the little one kick.

Speaking of bumps….yours will appear this trimester. You will finally exit that annoying stage where you know your pregnant, but a complete stranger might think you just love Duncan Donuts a tad too much! Need help finding clothes to dress the bump?? I did a whole post on stores and online resources for maternity wear- read HERE.

Blue or Pink. Besides losing the nausea and feeling your baby kick this trimester brings the big gender reveal! Most women will find out around week 20 if you will cheer for team pink or team blue. However, you can find out earlier if you have earlier sonograms ordered from your OB regarding other health issues. If your OB or insurance won’t allow an earlier ultrasound so you can find out the sex there are third party companies that offer this. Just do some Google searches for companies that offer 3D/4D ultrasound testing in your area, but know that these can be expensive. So if you want to save on $ and are willing to wait just have it done at your OB’s office where insurance will cover it! Also I bought one of those at home gender reveal tests and personally think it was a waste of money…read about that here!

Sleep pillows. Sleeping can be a source of irritation for a lot of moms-to-be. Some fight insomnia (I did with Lily!) or some just can’t get comfortable. This is the time where you might look into pregnancy pillows to help give your growing body the right support to help catch some Zs. When I was pregnant with Lily I purchased an actual pregnancy pillow that was huge and shaped like a giant candy cane that I could rest my head on while wrapping a leg around the long body portion, giving the belly support. Well I HATED it! I thought the pillow itself was way too hard. Also when I needed to shift to my other side I felt like it was a big ordeal since I had to flip the entire pillow to get the same support. Not the kind of work you want to be doing throughout the night! Plus those pillows are expensive $$$$$! With this pregnancy I kept it simple and picked up a plain body pillow by Laura Ashley from Bed Bath & Beyond that was around $20 and I used a 20% off coupon…score. The body pillow is softer that my previous one and its much easier to hold onto while I flip to either side during the night. Now some women love pregnancy pillows, but I think that they are a waste of money and don’t provide the support I personally need to get a comfortable nights sleep.

Potty Time. If you didn’t build a close relationship with your toilet due to morning sickness, then you will certainly become closer during this period. As the baby grows and becomes more active your bladder will become your kid’s pillow and sometimes punching bag…leading you to run to the nearest toilet. Before you leave to run any kind of errand I highly suggest you attempt to pee before you leave to be on the safe side. Sometimes all it takes is a simple roll or kick to lead to the urge to pee….and that even means after you just went. Yep….sometimes you will pee, stand up and the baby will move making you feel like you still have to go. Funny thing is that sometimes you will have a huge urge to pee and you will literally only pee two drops. The urges will come throughout the night so be prepared to visit the toilet in the middle of your precious sleep. Tip: Make sure you have extra t.p. by the toilet in case you run out & make sure you clear the pathway to the toilet. I have learned my lesson with the later way too many times. Tripping over shoes and bumping my shoulder into Mike’s open closet door at 3 am is no fun.

Picking A Name. Choosing a name for your kid can either be super easy or incredibly hard. Easy for those that already have a family name they know they will pass down or a chosen name that they have always knew they would use. For me choosing a name was hard. Mike and I struggled for a while picking Lily and we are still laboring over a name for this baby. Choosing a name can be a lot of pressure because it’s not some simple name for a goldfish or pet…you are naming an actual soon-to-be human. This name will be called out in school and used on resumes. My advice on the name picking is to at least wait until you know the gender to start researching names. It can become to overwhelming going over both boy & girl names….plus you don’t want to fall in love with the name Mathew and discover your having a girl (but FYI I’m a huge fan of boy names for girls!). Something else that can be difficult is the advice and opinions of others when you share prospective baby names. This is a great lesson to learn now because once you have your baby advice and opinions on practically everything will come even when unsolicited. So ask advice or share your prospective names if you want, just be prepared if friends & family don’t share your excitement over your picks! I know this from experience because I have my heart set on a particular name now that can also be used for a boy, and some family members forget their filters and express more than a total dislike towards said name…something that can be hurtful to a hormonal pregnant woman! So until Mike and I know for sure we are keeping our choices to ourselves this time around.

Registering. Most people like to wait until the safety of the second trimester to register for baby items. For those parents that will be finding out the gender, I would wait until you know the sex until you register for those pink or blue swaddle blankets! Registering for your baby can be daunting, especially for first time moms that have no clue what kind of bottles to buy or which car seat has the best safety rating. My biggest advice is to do some research before you head to register. Yes stores will have some helpful lists as to what items you may need, but unless you do some research before it will be overwhelming reading over all the different brands and their features on products like bottles, diapers, strollers, car seats, pack-in-plays, baby monitors ect. ect….

To give moms-to-be an extra leg up I created a printable checklist of baby items that you can download and use when registering (read that post HERE). My tip would be to print of the list and then use it while doing some online research on items before heading to the store. Another tip, register at more than one store. Yes Babies-R-Us and Buy Buy Baby are usually the main stores moms will register at. However, sometimes those stores might not have a particular item or brand that you want. For example Target was the only place that carried the kind of pacifier that Lily liked and that I approved of.  If you are a second or third time momma and don’t feel comfortable with receiving another baby shower, still register! Remember when you register you will start to receive coupons from the stores that you will benefit from in the future! Plus some stores give you a BIG discount towards leftover items on your register after your baby’s due date for a said period of time. I believe places like Pottery Barn Kids gives you a discount of anywhere from 15-20% off any item on your register 30 days after your due date. For the printable checklists click HERE for page 1 and click HERE for page 2.

Nursery. One thing that can help time pass is planning out the nursery! This is something that for most will wait until you find out the gender. Until you find out the gender you can still do a little planning as far as the nursery layout! For all you Pinterest lovers set up a nursery category and start pinning away ideas to help you brainstorm! You can also head to websites like Pottery Barn Kids or Restoration Hardware Baby & Child for ideas as well!

R & R. My biggest tip or advice to surviving the second trimester (& the third) is making sure you spend time on yourself with a little R&R. The second trimester brings the opportunity to finally get a massage to help with that sore body. Most establishments will not give you a massage until you are at least 12 to 13 weeks along for the safety of not having a miscarriage. Your body goes through the most dramatic changes during the second trimester that can leave you tired, sore and just plain uncomfortable. Take the time now to relax because who knows what your time will be like with round the clock care of your new baby! One thing that most pregnant women can experience is swelling in the feet and ankles. One thing I splurge on is paying a little extra when I get a pedicure for a longer foot massage. Ask your nail salon if they offer that, most are willing to rub those tired feet a little longer for some $! For an additional 10 minutes I shell out $10…to me it is money well spent!

2ndtrimestercomfort For my comfort items this trimester make sure you look at the ones from the first trimester because I still use all those things! But for the second trimester and with a growing belly I fell in love with a cotton maxi dress from Old Navy that a sweet friend gave me. The dress is soft, stretchy in all the right places and actually really flattering! Plus the price is easy on the wallet!

I have continued working out during this pregnancy to keep from ballooning and I fell in love with Gap’s maternity Gapfit racerback tank.  It is super comfy and goes well with the belly! To make sure I watch my heart level and keep track of calories burned I have become obsessed with my Polar women’s heart rate monitor. It is $89, but to me it is worth every penny because not only do I use it now, I will continue to use it after the baby is born to help shed the lbs! The watch is really light and the elastic heart transmitter strap is comfortable and can adjust to your growing size to continue to make it comfortable!

Even though this is my second pregnancy, I leaned on my baby checklist to help prep all the items to stock the new nursery. Read above for the link to the post and the two links to print the FREE checklist!

To help look for baby names Mike and I purchased 100,00 + baby names book. Not only does this book have give you 100,000 names, there are tons of lists based on trends, ethnicities, movies, famous books on even wacky names that celebs have used! There are also plenty of online resources, just Google baby names and choose from all the sites that appear!

One of my all time favorite books to read while pregnant is Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs. This book will leave you laughing in tears over all the stories from her pregnancy & her birth. This is a great book to read during any trimester, but I found that I related to it later on during the second trimester as I experienced almost all of the symptoms and shared similar hilarious stories that she shares.

Since I value my sleep, my body pillow is one of my most important comfort items during this trimester! Read above for a link to the one I purchased.

Please note that these are just some of the symptoms you can experience, not all of them! Since I’m not an expert or OB please check with your doctor for any concerns you may have. Read all about surviving the third trimester that has a free printable checklist to prep you for the hospital! 

 
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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Surviving The First Trimester on February 24, 2014 at 12:53 am

    […] or OB please check with your doctor for any concerns you may have. Be sure to check out tips on surviving the second trimester that even has a free printable checklist for when you register! Also read all about surviving the […]

  2. By Lily & Bliss | Surviving The Third Trimester on April 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    […] just like my other posts on the first & second trimesters, the following lists some ideas, thoughts and products to help you survive the third […]

  3. […] you have to go through another trimester??? Yep folks I discussed all about surviving the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy but let me share the reality of the postpartum stage or what I […]

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2014 Is All About Living…

Typically people take some time leading up to New Years Eve or in the beginning days of the New Year to reflect and plan. Reflect on life over the past year. Figure out if their life is on track. What goals and milestones they’ve reached and ones they have yet to accomplish.

Then there are the New Year’s resolutions that have people planning. Planning on hitting new or old goals. Looking back last year I entered 2013 with the perspective of focusing on what matters. To me I planned on focusing on my faith, family and my health. I planned on building my relationship with God. I planned to devote more time to my relationship with Mike. I wanted to focus on being a better mom to Lily and concentrate on being more in the moment with her. And of course I had planned on continuing on my road to losing my baby weight (read more in depth HERE).

But life happened and we were graced with a pregnancy in June. And if you follow along with this blog you know that it has been a difficult pregnancy. With 8 weeks left I am still struggling with nausea. After June I gave up on my 2013 goals and focused on just trying to get through each day of the rough sickness.

And just like 2013, 2014 started out with another life moment that is inevitable…death. My grandmother passed away.

grandma

She entered the hospital and five days later she took her last breath. A couple of hours after entering the hospital we found out that she was having some heart issues and I had a gut feeling that if I didn’t get up to Augusta and see her that I would carry so much guilt not being able to say goodbye if she passed. At 8 months pregnant I knew I only had this small window to get up there before it wasn’t safe to travel. Mike stayed home with Lily and I hopped in my car to make the 8+ hour drive (its normally a longer drive but I have a lead foot) to Augusta last Thursday.

Friday I spent all day with my grandmomma. Unfortunately her health took a turn for the worse early Friday morning and by the time I arrived she was struggling. However, I was blessed to have had that day with her. She opened her eyes throughout the day to speak to her loved ones. Her memory had been slipping and I can’t express how happy I was that she recognized me, remembered to ask about Lily and even quized me on prospective baby names for baby #2.

Friday I was able to shower my grandmomma with love and laughter. I helped feed her a few spoonfuls of orange sherbert, rubbed her hand to let her know I was there, and laugh along with our family while she unleashed her famous sassy attitude. Yes while in ICU my grandmomma still had enough of her spunk to blame Obamacare for her dried lips.

We learned Friday that her organs were slowly shutting down and it was only a matter of time before she would meet her maker. I drove home on Saturday to prepare clothes for my mom and dad for the funeral and on Sunday at 7:15 pm the good Lord called her up. On Monday Mike & Lily drove back up with me so I could be with the rest of the family to pay our respects to my fabulous grandmother.

Over the last few days I have done nothing but look back over the memories of my beloved grandmomma.  We went to her house to go through her belongings to see if there is anything we wanted to take…but I couldn’t. After looking though a few things I was overcome with emotion as I sat on her piano bench. The same piano bench that I would sit on as a little girl while tapping on the keys. The same bench that still held music sheets and my Aunt Jane’s paper dolls that I would rifle through as a child believing they were treasures. I left her house with only one physical object….a handwritten recipe card from her pantry for homemade pecan pie (my favorite). I left with tears but with a heart full of love from remembering all the good that came from that house and that woman.

grandma1

My 2014 started off with a huge loss. A loss that can never be physically gained back. Only time will make the grieving easier.  The time leading up to the funeral and the long drive home was my period of reflection and planning. My plans for 2014 are simple…to just live.

My grandmother lived a pretty amazing life. With only a high school education she started working for Southern Bell at entry level and after 42 years she retired as a senior engineer. She continued working on her education (even attended MIT) all while she was employed and raising two kids. She never truly retired. She focused on my grandfather’s cancer diagnosis and though her love and devotion he lived nine years longer than the few months that doctors had given him. My grandmomma had a heart of gold and lived her life devoted to God, her family and the community.

She was involved in countless volunteer projects. In the trunk of her car, living room and spare room she has bags and bags full of lap blankets she was about to deliver to the veterans and nursing hospitals. She had plenty of toiletries waiting to be shipped to the men and women serving our country. She even had bags of hand stitched teddy bears and store bought stuffed animals that needed to still be delivered to law enforcement. That way if a police officer or fireman ever entered a home of a scared child they could offer them a stuffed animal to help them through any kind of trauma.

So I want, plan and hope that I can live my 2014 with the same level of love and passion my grandmomma did. I enter 2014 with the reminder that life is such a precious gift. Sure I can make a resolution to lose the baby weight from this pregnancy in X amount of days/months…but who knows what will happen this year that could throw me off a weight loss goal. So no real resolutions for me….I want to just live 2014 to the fullest.

grandma3

To read more about my amazing grandmomma click HERE.

 
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  1. Emily Ley commented:
    January 11, 2014 Reply

    So sad about your Grandma, Ames. I still miss mine. Love you so much. Please send Bentley back because Brady ACTUALLY cried today looking for him. 🙂

  2. Sarita commented:
    January 11, 2014 Reply

    Amy, I’m so sorry about your grandmomma’s passing. What a character! You have written here a beautiful homage to her wonderful and blessed life. I hope knowing what a long and fulfilled life she had, and peaceful passing with you all near will help assuage your grief.

    2014! The year of LIVING!

    Love,
    Sarita and the boys

  3. shauna anderson commented:
    January 16, 2014 Reply

    So sorry for your loss, Ames. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing person and I know this post would make her proud. I love you!

  4. good 2015 cars commented:
    May 20, 2017 Reply

    SÃ¥ klart eg gjerne vil ha ei gÃ¥ve frÃ¥ deg, om eg skulle vere sÃ¥ heldig Ã¥ vinne! Eg er ei av mange som følgjer bloggen din, og er fascinert av alle dei flotte bileta du tek.Med bilete av vetlejenta og pakka, kom julestemninga til meg og – trass i at eg ikkje er klar for jul før eg er ferdig Ã¥ rette tentamenar.

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Baking Cookies With A Toddler

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!! So don't stress about the mess & make some memories with your kid!! A HUGE part of the holiday season, for me, is baking delicious cookies. I have wonderful memories baking cookies as a kid and it became a tradition with not only my mom, but with my nana too (my mom’s mom). My nana and I would always make gingerbread men. I remember standing on the chair, decked out in my mini apron, making a mess and enjoying sneaky tastes of batter/frosting/toppings. I can even recall picking off the raisins (used for buttons or eyes) because I hated the way they tasted after baking.

Lily is at the perfect stage to start this favored tradition. For an OCD freak, the thought of baking with a toddler would normally have me heading for the hills. Well today I have some thoughts & tips on how to bake cookies with your toddler!

Take A Chill Pill. Not literally….but go ahead and take a deep breath before you start. Most likely this will be a messy experience…but take it for what it is…an experience for you to make a memory. Your toddler may or may not remember, but you will.

Choose an easy recipe. Don’t make this harder on your self and choose a recipe with too many ingredients and 12 steps! For Lily’s first cookie experience I went super simple and used a cookie mix from a bag that only needed two additional ingredients! It was also one that didn’t need egg, so I didn’t care if she stole tastes of the dough!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Let your toddler help. What fun is it if you do all the work and your kid only gets to stir for a hot second? With the cookie mix, I let Lily pour the bag into the bowl (with assistance), and I let her hold the measuring cup of liquids when we both dump it into the bowl. Lily’s favorite part is the mixing. I give her a spatula and let her go at it for a while. After a minute I’ll grab the utensil and with her help, I will finish mixing the dough. If you need to use a hand mixer allow your toddler to place one hand to help guide. Obviously before you use the mixer explain that your toddler’s fingers need to stay away from the bowl and/or bottom of the mixer or they will get a Boo-boo. The warning of getting a boo-boo is enough of a warning for Lily!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Prep. Before you even get your toddler involved make sure you are prepped and ready! Make sure all your ingredients and the correct measuring cups are out. Melt your butter first. Beat that egg first in a small bowl that your toddler can easily pour into the mix. I don’t have one of those toddler step stools, so I just pull a chair up to the counter. This is another reason to have the ingredients ready because you do not want to leave your kid standing on a stool while you grab the milk from the fridge! To continue the apron tradition, my mom gifted Lily & I matching monogrammed aprons! Now whenever I tell Lily we are going to bake she bolts to the pantry to grab her apron…it is so adorable that I always stop and watch her do it! If you don’t have an apron, put one of your husband’s t-shirts over your toddler’s clothes! It will help keep them clean….or cleaner than if they didn’t have it on! OR if you’re like me and you plan messy activities in the am…just keep your kid in their pajamas! After the mess, just toss the pjs in the hamper!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! If you are making sugar cookies using cookie cutters like we did then I have a great tip. To contain the mess (as much as you can) and make an easy clean up, use a cookie sheet that has edges as your work station. Damp a wash cloth and place it under the cookie sheet so the tray stays still and doesn’t move around on the counter. Sprinkle some flour on the tray and then let your kid spread it around and help you pat the dough out!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! My best advice is find a cookie cut out that has a handle to make it easier on your toddler! Now most likely your toddler will just go crazy with the cutter and will not place the cookie cut outs right next to each other…who cares! Let them have the fun! Just keep rolling the extra dough together, pat out again and allow them to continue making their cookies!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Sneaky sneaky. They WILL attempt to eat the dough or place utensils in their mouth. It is inevitable! If you are uncomfortable with the whole raw egg, then you might want to try one of those bag cookie mixes that do not require eggs. But let’s be honest….licking the spoon and testing some of the cookie batter is part of the whole experience!!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Frosting. We went simple (again) and bought pre-made frosting that came with a small pack of sprinkles. Once the cookies were cooled, Lily got her own small cup of frosting with one of her toddler knifes to spread on the cookies. If you set your standards high for some Martha looking cookies…then you need to re-think again. While your toddler is having fun smearing some frosting you can decorate a few on the side….so you can have some pretty ones! But more than likely you will have some crazy looking cookies with way too much frosting or barely any! Remember it is all about the experience!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!If you are adding sprinkles place some in a small bowl and allow your toddler to pick up a few at a time and sprinkle. I have used the kind of sprinkles that you normally just lightly shake over the cookies…but with a toddler there is no light shaking. The one time I used those with Lily, she ended up dumping most of the sprinkles on one cookie!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler! Remember to just have fun with it. You will have more of a mess to clean up than usual. The cookies might not look as pretty as your usual ones. BUT they will taste yummy and your toddler will have a blast!

Great tips on baking cookies with a toddler!

 
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  1. Elizabeth commented:
    December 24, 2013 Reply

    She’s so cute! I love the determination on her face. So excited to see her big girl room, too! Merry Christmas, Amy!

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Planning Lily’s Big Girl Room

Part of prepping for baby number two is turning Lily’s nursery into a toddler or big girl room. Baby number two will be using the crib Lily sleeps in now, so we thought it would be easier to start the transition to a toddler bed now prior to sleepless nights with a newborn. The baby will sleep in our room in a bassinet for awhile, but with Mike travelling for work coupled with the inevitable extreme exhaustion that comes with a newborn…worrying about sleep training Lily in a new bed on top of that would just be insane! So this week is all about changing Lily’s room! (Check out posts on her nursery here and here)

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While pregnant with Lily I was on a total girly girl kick…and ended up painting her entire nursery a pale pink (called “cotton candy” by Benjamin Moore). After a while the in your face color started to give me the itch to re-paint it, so I’m thrilled this week it’s going bye bye! We purchased a large rug for her nursery after Lily turned one and we saw that our new carpet was beginning to show wear in the area by her changing table. The rug is from Pottery Barn Kids- for my friends that know me this is no surprise…most of my house hails from that store- and it’s called the Camille Butterfly rug (no longer available). It is a large grey soft wool rug with purple, pink and cream butterflies that hug the edge. Using that grey rug along with Pottery Barn kid’s online pictures of their rooms we opted to go grey for wall colors and use lavender for her big girl bed.

toddlerroominspiration To start off we are changing the color like I said from pink to a pale grey. After several samples of various grays we settled on seashell gray by Valspar from Lowe’s. I attempted the darker grey like the inspiration from Pottery Barn Kids, but it just didn’t work out for us. Lily is a vampire and only likes to sleep in pitch black conditions, so we have her window blacked out. Instead of purchasing drapes lined with black out material, I purchased a blackout shade from Walmart. I cut it to fit the window and adhered it to the glass with blue putty. Since the blackout screen is taped to the window it stays pretty dark in there unless her overhead light is on. We choose a paler grey paint so her room wouldn’t feel like a total cave! I found the color to show you (below), but it looks too beige…so if you Google the color and click on images to see examples from around the web you will get a better picture of the new paint color.

toddlerroonpaint We decided to upgrade the crib to a twin instead of a larger bed because I wanted to keep more space in her room for playing. I fell in love with the Lewis headboard from Pottery Barn Kids and the slipcover and bed skirt will be in lavender. For her bedding I choose the Tory Quilt, also from Pottery Barn Kids. Lily already has PBK’s anywhere chair so we bought a new slipcover in lavender. We are getting rid of the tall white Ikea bookshelf and got PBK’s Cameron 3-shelf bookshelf in simply white. Lily can’t reach the top shelves so I opted for a shorter bookcase for the new room. I am going to hang white bookshelves on the wall at toddler height to make it convenient for her. I purchased some hanging shelves from PBK, but I’m not sure if I’m keeping them for Lily or placing them in the new baby’s room…jury is out. And my last purchase was just swapping out her pink lamp shade for this cute gathered bow shade in lavender from PBK.toddlerroomaddiotionsI will post picks once the room is completed…but wish me luck with the toddler bed transition!!!

 
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Bliss On A Budget: Comfy Beanbags

If you have been following along with my blog you know I like to bring attention to two very similar products, one being the expensive option (the “splurge” item) and the other a cheaper version (the “save” item). The posts are typically labeled Splurge vs Save.

Well sometimes I find wonderful products out there that are affordable, yet don’t have a cheaper or “save” item to compare it to….this is where Bliss On A Budget comes into place. I’ve added this new category to the search bar on the right and you will be able to find all past/future Splurge vs Save posts along with any future posts with just one item that is easy on the wallet!

Today I bring you a awesome deal on comfy beanbags. While shopping at Target I noticed they had a similar beanbag lounger compared to Pottery Barn Teen’s sherpa beanbag. Lily already has PB Kids’s Anywhere chair, so there is no real need for extra seating…but as I sat there looking at the comfy seat I felt a bit nostalgic!  Growing up my brother and I had beanbags….the old school kind. You know the ones that were made from shiny vinyl. If you sat to fast or jumped on the bag you always risked the inevitable hole that would unleash the tiny white ball filling that took forever to clean up. Yep those old beanbags!

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Well these comfy beanbags have a super soft cover rather than the annoying old school vinyl I had. For all of us women who love a monogram, Pottery Barn’s beanbag has that option (for an additional $7) where Target’s doesn’t. Pottery Barn has them on sale currently, but even with a discount the one at Target is still significantly cheaper!

Splurge: Sherpa Beanbags (Pottery Barn Teen) $199-$219 on sale $149-$185

Save: Bean Bag Lounger (Target) $44.99

 
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Crock-Pot Fiesta Chicken & Leftover Fiesta Chicken Soup (two Recipes in one!)

Easy crock-pot recipe! Fiesta Chicken is delish and perfect for taco night, or for enchiladas! It has been some time since I’ve blogged a delicious dinner recipe! Today I bring you a simple recipe for the crock-pot that will bring you and your family TWO different meals! The first recipe is for Fiesta Chicken. This delish shredded chicken is perfect for tacos! You could use it for enchiladas as well! The leftovers are used for the second recipe, my simple one pot Fiesta Chicken Soup!

This is also one of my favorite recipes so I hope enjoy it!

Crock Pot Fiesta Chicken
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can  (10 oz) Rotel (use any kind of heat, I use mild)
1 packet of taco seasoning (I use the reduced sodium option)
5-6 frozen chicken breasts

Coat your Crock Pot with cooking spray.
Lay Frozen chicken on the bottom.
In a bowl mix the can of diced tomatoes, Rotel & taco seasoning. Pour mixture over frozen chicken,

crockpotfiestachcickensteps
Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Once cooked, remove one chicken breast to a bowl. Using two forks pull the chicken apart, shredding it. You can easily keep the chicken inside the crock-pot to shred it, but I find it’s easier to shred each breast by itself in a bowl.
Place shredded chicken back into the crock-pot and mix with stewed tomatoes.

For tacos, fork the shredded chicken into a tortilla and layer with whatever toppings you like! Leave shredded cheese, lettuce, avocados and/or sour cream in small bowls to set up a taco buffet! This is perfect for serving a large crowd or for a super simple family dinner! Since toddlers have trouble eating tacos, place some of the fiesta chicken on a tortilla with cheese to make a quesadilla…Lily LOVES ‘em! Plus since I use mild Rotel, it isn’t spicy for her.

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If you are serving this to a small crowd save the remaining chicken and juice for my yummy leftover fiesta soup! Recipe for this below! You can also place the leftover chicken in a freezer safe Ziploc and freeze for a later meal!

leftover fiesta chicken soup. A simple (& delish!) recipe using leftovers from a easy crock pot recipe!!

Leftover Fiesta Chicken
1 can (15 oz) black beans (do not drain)
1 can (8.75) corn (Drain all but a tablespoon or two or the juice)
Avocado
Shredded cheese (Mexican or cheddar)
Fresh lime or bottle of limejuice

In a pot pour the leftover chicken (with it’s juices) along with the can of black beans. Pour the can or corn (with the tablespoon or two of juice) into the pot too, mixing it all together.  Cook on medium heat until the soup is warm! To serve spoon the soup into bowls. Top the soup with chopped avocado and shredded cheese. Squeeze a fresh lime or squeeze a few drops of limejuice from a bottle on top. You can serve the soup as is, or spoon the soup over rice! The possibilities are really endless! I love it when you can re-use leftovers in a different recipe!

 
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Dressing The Bump

dressingthebumpTruth…I HATE maternity clothes. Probably because my body totally morphs while pregnant and I don’t feel comfortable in anything. Yes while pregnant with Lily I gained an asinine amount of weight causing me to feel and look like Free Willy. I have kept myself in check with this pregnancy, however as I mentioned my body morphs while there’s a bun in my oven. My hips expand causing me to look and feel like I’ve gained more weight than the scale suggests. My boobs inflate so much I rival Dolly Parton, and any toned muscle becomes too relaxed and flabby.

Combine my lack of appreciation for my pregnant body with the fact that 90% of the time I can’t find anything that makes me feel cute….you can see why I just hate maternity clothes period!

Don’t get me wrong there are some really cute options out there…I’m just self-conscious in everything I put on! So to make shopping a little easy on all you soon-to-bes I have compiled a list of companies and websites that sell maternity wear! I’m sure there are plenty of other sites that won’t make it on the list, so please leave a comment and share places you shop with other readers!

maternityclothes

Gap

Old Navy

J Crew

Asos

A Pea in The Pod

Motherhood

Destination Maternity

Loft

Rosie Pope

Etsy

Fillyboo

Nordstrom

Target

Belly Dance Maternity

Top Shop

Hatch

H&M

Isabella Oliver

Ingrid & Isabel

Don’t forget eBay & Amazon too!

 
1 Comment

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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Surviving The Second Trimester on February 24, 2014 at 12:54 am

    […] Speaking of bumps….yours will appear this trimester. You will finally exit that annoying stage where you know your pregnant, but a complete stranger might think you just love Duncan Donuts a tad too much! Need help finding clothes to dress the bump?? I did a whole post on stores and online resources for maternity wear- read HERE. […]

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First Frosty

frostyI hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving with your family & loved ones. This year we were in Pittsburgh and were thrilled to get a much colder climate than expected! It snowed…a first for Lily.

Growing up in the ‘Burgh Mike has had plenty of snow experiences, and living only three hours from Tahoe gave me plenty of memories of sledding, boarding and building snowmen. So Mike and I were tickled when we awoke to a white blanket of snow while we were there.

frosty1A day before the inches stuck we were able to bring Lily out as a few snow flurries started to descend. Lily really didn’t understand, it was as if she was just playing in the rain. It wasn’t until the next day when everything was covered that she finally got it.

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frosty3Like most things Lily was hesitant at first. She was having a blast getting bundled in a new jacket, wearing a hat & gloves because these are items we rarely wear in the sunshine state! Not wanting to freely walk out into the cold we had to carry her out and place her boots in the snow. It took less than a minute for her to break through whatever fear she was having and then she was running through the snow having a blast.

Mike and Gram rolled balls to make Lily her first frosty. A carrot for a nose and two olives (it was an Italian frosty!) for eyes, Lily had her first snowman. Our time in the snow was short lived because the falling snow turned into a chilling rain. Sadly said rain eventually melted frosty.

frosty5These firsts are what life is all about and being able to relive them through a child, especially your own, is just priceless. Watching Lily’s complete joy was exactly what I needed while I suffered more extreme nausea over our trip. I have only 14 weeks left until baby number two arrives and today I entered the final pregnancy trimester. Seems that this nausea is here to stay. Bleh.

frosty4With Christmas right around the corner thought I re-share some old posts for any new readers! If you haven’t yet set up your tree or your pulling out your hair keeping your toddler from breaking ornaments read this tip! There is also a great playlist of old classic holiday tunes along with some great modern Christmas songs in that same post. Need a new cookie recipe & you’re an almond cookie lover??? Then try this recipe…it is my favorite recipe and the sweet treats actually melt in your mouth! An added bonus is that you get a great tip on how to bring butter to room temperature in a matter of seconds. A great tip to have with all the holiday cooking!

 
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