Friday, May 30, 2014

What We Wore, Poolside

Does it count as a What We Wore post if it's bathing suits? 
I needed a new bathing suit since the ones I had were from about 7 years ago and getting a little snug (they were snug when I bought them!) Right after having a baby there was just no way they would fit! I really hate most of the styles that have been popular lately since they're all made for a long waisted body shape - really really low rise and super tiny tops. I also didn't want to blind people with my Alaskan-winter pale skin, so I searched for a cute one piece. My first stop was Pinup Girl Clothing. I love the Rockabilly style even though I don't get to dress in it, so I took the opportunity to get the Betty Swimsuit in Black Cherry. Does anyone else love Rockabilly style, but can't get it together enough to wear it more often? I think it's the hair that gets me. It just takes way too long to do those victory rolls and pin curls do NOT work out for me. I still faithfully watch Cherry Dollface and Lisa Freemont Street hoping one day I can get it right! 

What kind of new mama wouldn't want to have her baby girl wear a matching cherry suit too?? I searched everywhere in vain for a bathing suit to match and the closest I came was a Carters onesie that was navy blue. I still love it and especially love the floppy sun hat from iPlay (they have a matching tankini and swim diaper set that is too big for her just yet!) We dipped her little toesies in the toddler pool but she didn't really seem to care and continued sleeping.

Mother-Daughter-Granddaughter selfie! My mom liked my suit so much she got one too!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ellaroo Wrap

Long before Ellie was born I was dreaming of carrying her around in a wrap. It turns out that buying wraps is the mommy version of buying designer handbags. Some of these wraps cost $300+... I mean, they are pretty and everything, but wow! I did some research and decided that the Ellaroo was a good deal. I originally wanted the Kristen design and they were sold out, so instead I chose the Ysabel summer weight woven wrap. When I opened it up and saw how gorgeous the colors were I was glad I got this one! It's perfect and I love it. I'm not going to lie, I can see why people would pay big bucks for different wraps. I consider myself pretty thrifty, but I might end up getting addicted myself.

She certainly doesn't enjoy being put in the wrap, but once she gets settled in she usually loves it and falls asleep. I think she might enjoy being on my back a little more so she can look around. Once she can hold her head up by herself I plan on trying out the rucksack tie.

That's my mom! We saw a bunny on the trail eating little blades of grass.

If I ever buy another wrap I will probably get an Ellaroo again. I might like to try a more portable ring sling which would be easier to put on and take off, especially when I'm out shopping. It's just not easy enough to take a long wrap out in a parking lot to put on.

Monday, May 26, 2014


We have been hanging out on the patio a lot since my mom has been here. We don't have a grill so I suppose wine and cheese will have to make our memorial day "cookout." Miss Kitty likes to join us and watch the birds and Murray likes to watch Kitty watch the birds. 

Today is officially my last on maternity leave and I'm pretty anxious about it. I know Joe is going to do great at home with Ellie, so that's not what is worrying me. I get to come home for lunch usually so I shouldn't be too anxious about missing her during the daytime either. My mom will be here for another week, helping us to get adjusted to my work schedule. After that it's all up to us! 
I think what worries me is that I am basically returning to a "new" job. We've been in Louisiana for five months but I only worked until 3:30 pm (still an eight hour day) and I never did things like work in the motorpool on the vehicles because of the chemicals. I guess I just have this feeling of impending doom, like all the sudden I will have a really rough time at work. Not to mention I still have those lingering "pregnancy brain" hormones floating around that make me forget things. For the life of me I can NEVER locate my phone OR the keys. They end up in any number of purses or diaper bags. I go into the kitchen to get my pumping supplies cleaned and I end up making coffee or freezing milk instead.

I'm hoping time at work flies by as quickly as my maternity leave did! I'm excited to get my last year in the military done so we can move back to New York and start a new chapter. It's going to be rough but it's going to be an adventure. I love an adventure!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Great-Grandma Sarah's German Honey Cake

I have a recipe box that has a few family recipes in it. I've tried a handful so far, including yeast raised overnight waffles (which I will have to share because they ROCK.) But this time I'm going to share my great grandmothers recipe for German Honey Cake. Despite being called honey cake, it's not very sweet, but is great for breakfast with coffee. The raisins add to the sweetness, so don't leave them out, and make sure you toast the walnuts!

By the way, my great grandma Sarah crocheted the doily pictured here too. I keep it on my coffee table. She taught my mom how to crochet, and I would like to say my mom taught me, but really YouTube taught me. I know my mom showed me how to knit and crochet as a child but I forgot all of it and didn't decide to try to learn until I was in living in Guam. 

Ingredients (makes two 8x8 or one 9x12 cakes)
2 Eggs
2 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Honey
1 Cup Oil
1 Cup Coffee
3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Raisins

Mix all together. Beat at medium speed for five minutes. Pour into two 8x8 or one 9x12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ellie, One Month Update

Ellie turned one month old almost two weeks ago, but I thought I should try to do some official updates! This will be a short one since I did an unofficial one already.

What has she been up to this month? 
She has been able to lift her head up since she was born and can turn her head around really well. She grew from 6lbs 4oz to 6lbs 12oz in two weeks. She had her first bath, met her grandparents on her mamas side and spent lots of time sleeping. 

First Outing? Her two day appointment was technically her first outing. I was so worried about getting there on time that she didn't get enough to eat and cried a ton until I found the lactation room! Then as soon as I got her back into the carseat she spit up. It was pretty silly. Her second outing was with her proud papa when he took her in a front carrier to the Post Exchange and Commissary. She loves being with her papa and slept the whole time.

Maybe I can manage a clearer photo at the two month update! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homemade Dog Treats

I remember the first time I came back to visit New York from Alaska. I was going to be a bridesmaid in my brothers wedding, so I had to wait for nine months to go on leave to see Joe again. I stayed with him in his tiny apartment with him and his dog, Knuckles, for 10 days. In a mission to bake a pumpkin cheesecake we went shopping at a local specialty foods store and found dog bone shaped cookies cutters. I thought it was so cute! I insisted that we make Knuckles some dog treats. That was probably the very first thing we ever baked together. 
Knuckles was such a good boy and I know Joe still misses him terribly. Having our Murray around really makes him happy. Murray is similar to knuckles in a lot of ways. He's well behaved and is very patient. He is also a pro at snuggling! This guy will wait until I get out of bed and then look anxiously at Joe until he invites him up. Then he hops on the bed and puts his big head right up next to Joe's face or on his chest. So cute! This silly boy deserves some treats of his own!
Unfortunately the adorable dog bone cookie cutter is packed away with Joes stuff in New York, so I had to use a boring old jar ring to cut them. It was either that or have christmas stocking shaped treats since the only other cookie cutters I have are from when we made christmas cookies. I want to pick up some letter stamps too, so I can stamp his name on each one, but instead I had to make sad little "M" shapes with a butter knife. It seems like my creations always look better in my head... Murray couldn't care less of course, he just wants to eat them. I'm a little weird when it comes to baking and cooking, I get so worried about things getting stale or having a weird texture... then I remember that Murray licks his own butt. So yeah. There is that.
What I'm trying to say is don't worry too much about how they turn out! Get creative with it and add pumpkin instead of peanut butter or add chopped up bacon bits or beef jerky. I plan on trying out a bacon variation soon!

I adapted this recipe from Food 52.

Murray's Dog Treats

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Water or Beef/Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil or Bacon Grease
1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine peanut butter, oil, and water in a bowl. Add whole wheat flour and oats and mix until smooth. Turn out onto a surface with the remaining all purpose flour and knead until the rest of the flour is absorbed and you have a firm dough. 
Roll out with a rolling pin and cut into shapes. Place treats on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. You may have to bake for less time if you make smaller treats, but Murray is a big boy so we make big ones for him.

My very sad little "M" shapes... *sigh*

Monday, May 19, 2014

One Month Mommy Essentials

We are five weeks into having our first baby and we have learned a lot! I put together a list of the most essential items we've used during the first month of having a newborn in the house. 

1. Flat Cloth Diapers - Even if you don't cloth diaper, buy these! You can use them for everything. We have used them for spit up cloths, makeshift changing surfaces, blankets, sun covers, nursing pillow covers and iPhone cleaning cloths :) If you DO cloth diaper, I really think that these are a better deal than those fancy inserts that come with the expensive diapers. All you do is fold them into rectangles and put them in the covers just like the liners. The best part is that you can buy thicker or thinner ones depending on how much absorbency you need. We also haven't had any diaper rash since we used up the disposable diapers the hospital gave us and started using these instead.

2. Moses Basket - We got one of these from some friends and it's really convenient. It's super portable so we can put Ellie down anywhere we are in the house, even in bed with us. Sometimes I set it up on my rocking chairs gliding ottoman and use it like a cradle.

3. Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot or Cold Breast Therapy Packs - Since I pump most of the time I use these as hot packs and attach them around the pumps with the snaps. It helps to get the milk flowing. They also help a lot as cold packs when you get sore. I've tried the Medela cooling gel pads and they did NOT work at all. They were just gooey and gross.

4. Cloth Diaper Covers - We have six diaper covers so far and that seems like a really decent amount. We only go through one or two a day including night time. I chose five different brands to see which I liked best and so far my favorites are Rumparooz, GroVia and Best Bottoms. The Thirsties brand is pretty good, but they don't come in one size, so when Ellie gets bigger we will have to get the next size up. We have a couple of the cheaper brand, Diaper Safari, and those don't have leg gussets, which sucks, but they do have pockets for the cloth inserts.

5. Medela Cloth Nursing Pads - I had to start using these before Ellie was born! One thing I learned is that you need to buy a lot of these and they only come with four per pack. Better yet, if you have a bunch of flannel fabric laying around you could probably make some. I end up soaking through these quite often, so I use the disposable ones sometimes if I'm not wearing a bra. Too much information? Too bad!

6. Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced - I was given this by a friend, who is an angel by the way, because this is the best thing ever. I'm a working mom, so I have to get my frozen milk supply up before I return to work. This pump even runs on batteries if you need it to. I recommend getting the bustier so you don't have to hold them the whole time, even though it makes you feel like a cow on a dairy farm. It's a pretty roomy bag so I can keep my lanolin cream, nursing pads, extra bottles, caps, nipples, milk storage bags and breast shields in there. The ice pack bag is perfect to keep by the bed at night so when I pump I can just store the milk in there instead of going all the way to the refrigerator.

7. Boon Lawn Drying Rack - This thing is super cute! I have the little white tree that you stick into the grass to hang the nipples on. My parents thought it was hilarious to have a little "nipple tree."

8. Swaddle-Me Blankets - Ellie can't kick her way out! She really calms down when we wrap her up in these. Did you know you can actually undo the bottom portion of the swaddler so you can change a diaper without taking your baby out of the entire thing? My mom figured that one out.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Baby Feet

Little Ellie-bear,

Today you spit up an outrageous amount on me. The spit up came in three waves, each more powerful than the last. It was impressive. I honestly have no idea how that much milk fit inside your little body. Seriously, where did it come from? Your leg?
The thing is that you are just so cute, I don't even care! Today your grandma and I were playing with you in your nursery mirror, listening to you coo and look at all your dolls and stuffed animals. I love all your little noises and wiggles. I love it when I have you on my chest and you lift up your head to look at me. I love how your skin smells and how soft your hair is. I'm sure no matter what gross things you do or how many naughty things you get yourself into I still won't mind that much. Your papa told me he thinks he will spoil you, even though while you were in my belly he insisted he would be the strict one.
This doesn't mean you'll get an iPhone when you are 7, but you will certainly have us wrapped around your finger.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

About a week ago my mother mentioned to me that she had never had a fish taco before. I couldn't believe it! 
I never really had a steadfast recipe for fish tacos before, so this time I decided to write it down and share it. If you are sensitive to spicy food I highly recommend using jalapenos instead of serrano peppers for the salsa. The jalapenos at the store looked mushy so I went for serranos instead. Little did I know, they are HOT! It's a good thing I didn't try for the pretty orange habaneros! 

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa (serves 3)

For the Fish:
1 lbs Tilapia (or 3 fillets)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
2 tsp Garlic pepper
Olive oil

For the Coleslaw:
1/2 Red cabbage, sliced
1/4 Cup Greek yogurt
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
Juice of one lime
1/4 tsp Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Mexican seasoning (McCormick brand)

For the Salsa:
4 Roma tomatoes
2 Small or 1 large avocado(s)
2 or 3 Radishes
1 Mango
Juice of 1 lime
2 Serrano peppers
Salt to taste

Don't forget the soft taco tortillas!

To Prepare the Fish:
Rinse and pat the fillets dry. Lightly coat each one with olive oil on both sides. Combine all the the spices together and rub onto each fillet. Cover and store them in the refrigerator while you prepare the salsa and cole slaw.

To Prepare the Salsa:
Core and remove the seeds from each tomato. Dice the tomatoes, avocados, mango and serrano peppers and combine in a bowl. Slice the radishes into rounds and add to the bowl. squeeze in the juice of the lime and salt to taste.

To Prepare the Cole Slaw:
Slice cabbage to make shreds and set aside. Mix mayonnaise, yogurt, paprika, Mexican seasoning and lime juice together to make a sauce and combine with the cabbage. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place fish fillets on an aluminum foil sheet sprayed with olive oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the fillets turn flaky. 
Warm the tortillas and place coleslaw in the center of each one, followed by the baked fish and topped with the salsa. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First Mother Day as a Mama

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there! It's my first as a mama myself, not to mention my mom is also here with me for the first time in years on Mothers Day. I'm pretty sure the last time I saw my mom on Mothers Day was in 2004. That's a whole decade ago!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sleepy Baby

This little sleepyhead is already a whole month old! She's doing everything she is supposed to, mainly sleeping, eating and pooping. I just love to look at her round little face!
I don't know why, but even though we planned on cloth diapering, I never ordered any cloth diaper covers until a few days ago. After we used up all the disposables we had we tried using some of the older diaper covers that my mom used on myself and my brother when we were babies, but they weren't waterproof and leaked straight through. 
We finally ordered six new covers, all different brands, and received two so far. The panda one (in the picture at the bottom) is a GroVia Hybrid and the other one we got is a Best Bottom. We aren't using the liners since we have a bunch of flat cloth diapers already. I will have to do a review on all the brands once we try them out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Red Velvet Sangria

I would love to be the type of blogger who tested and posted recipes in time for the reader so actually try it for the intended holiday! Alas I am not. So it's a good thing that sangria is an excellent summer drink and not just designated for Cinco de Mayo.
I've been wanting to make sangria for a long time (since before I got pregnant) but I never did. It seemed like a waste of wine to use a whole bottle when my husband doesn't drink wine himself. Now that my mom is here helping with baby Ellie I thought it would be a great opportunity!

This sangria is sweet, but not too sweet. I used the Cupcake Vineyard Red Velvet blend, which I think is delicious and used sliced strawberries as the fruit. My husband even tried it and said that he liked it, so I consider this a great success!  

Red Velvet Sangria

1 Bottle of Cupcake Vineyard Red Velvet wine
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1/4 Cup orange juice
1/4 Cup Triple Sec
1/4 Cup sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water to make simple syrup
2 Cups ginger ale
1 Lemon, sliced
1 Lime, sliced
16 oz of strawberries sliced
1 Tangelo, sliced (you can use an orange if you prefer)

Combine the wine, simple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice and Triple Sec in a pitcher. Add strawberries, lemon, lime and tangelo or orange slices. Top it off with ginger ale and stir. Let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before serving. Serve with a basil leaf or rosemary sprig as garnish.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Shutterfly Baby Book

I know a bunch of you parents out there have picked up a Boppy nursing pillow at some point, so you probably have already heard that you can order a free Shutterfly book with a coupon that come inside the Boppy package. I've gotten a bunch of free (or sort of free) things when I sign up for various baby-related things (Motherhood Maternity and Babies R Us, anyone?) but this one I was the most excited about!
I love to scrapbook, but sometimes things just move too fast. Not to mention I don't have a photo printer and photoshop can be a serious time-sucker. So while I have really great scrapbooks from some really important events in my life, I am also missing a bunch of albums, like my wedding, for example. I actually made a book like this for my wedding with Booksmart but I still haven't ordered it. I'll have to order both and do a comparison!

I really love the Storytelling Styles they have, which didn't come free with the promo code, but it was well worth the extra few dollars. It made my baby book extra special, since I can read her a storybook about her. I also got a little stick-on acid-free pocket that adheres to the inside of the book jacket, so I can save our hospital bracelets and her footprint card with it. 

Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Three Weeks

Has it been three weeks already?? That means I'm already halfway through my maternity leave. That also means next Saturday she will be A MONTH OLD. Holy moley. 

They say the first two weeks are the hardest, which I suppose was true, but it still seems pretty difficult to me! Even with my mom here to help it seems like there are still too many dishes, too much laundry, bottles to sanitize, pumping to be done, dogs to be walked, kitties to feed, litter boxes to clean and diapers to change. We haven't quite figured out how to sleep when the baby sleeps or how to get to bed at any decent hour. I plan on getting to bed around 10, but by the time we finish gathering all the needed supplies for the night and getting her to stop crying and pooping it's already 2 AM! Then the next day we end up sleeping in until noon and before we know it it's already dinner time. 

On the other hand I'm pretty happy that I don't have cabin fever. Joe doesn't work and my mom is here so I usually have someone to hand her off to if I need a shower or a nap. We have gotten the chance to take her out with us a few times too. She does pretty well going out, since the car makes her sleepy. I really was hoping that I could wear her around more, but it's getting hotter and hotter here in the south and poor little girl gets all sweaty in the wrap. Because of that we've had to lug around the stroller more than I would have liked.

Last week my work had a crawfish boil for the monthly Family Day. We decided to go and bring Ellie with us, but it was tough trying to get there by 11:30 in the morning, let me tell you! Once we were there she slept the whole time, which was nice and surprising. We also went to a street festival yesterday. I'm pretty sure that it took longer for us to get ready for the festival than we actually spent at the festival!

The days are absolutely flying by, but I'm still having a great time. I almost feel like she will be ready to crawl tomorrow! I'm looking forward to her talking and smiling at us, but at the same time I want her to stay tiny forever.

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