Weekend Fun

Jim is leaving in a few weeks for training, which means we only have a few more weekends left to have fun while it’s still nice out. This past weekend we decided to explore Maryland a bit more and stumbled upon an environmental center about an hour away. To be honest, I was looking for a beach to sit on, but have no fear, we found one for next time. Here are few good shots Jim captured while we were there.

Babe

Mom and Babe

On Sunday, we took another spontaneous adventure to The National Zoo in D.C. We had never been there before and figured it would be a great zoo to take Jimmie to because it is free. What’s not free, is parking. For $22 you can practically park in the zoo, but there is street parking if you look for it. We ended up finding FREE street parking. Granted, I wondered if we were going to get towed the whole time, but we didn’t, all is well that ends well.

The zoo is in such a nice area, unlike the Philadelphia Zoo (where we both went to a few times as kids.) The houses right next to the zoo are spectacular and the main street, where the zoo is located, has a ton of cute restaurants and shops. Plus, there is a Starbucks right across from the zoo. You can bring food and drinks into the zoo, even Starbucks cups. This actually surprised me because most zoos do not allow plastic straws.

Jimmie slept a good portion of the zoo trip and when he wasn’t sleeping, he was usually crying because his teeth were really bothering him him this weekend. On Saturday, pools of drool were falling out of his mouth, he looked like Dracula but instead of teeth fangs, he had drool fangs. There were a few good moments though, where he would just stare at us while he was in the Ergo with a huge smile. I kept trying to tell him to look at the animals and not us, since he can see us all the time, but we were more interesting to him. I really think taking him to the zoo was a great experience even though he had no idea what was going on. The more places you take your kids, the more the see, and the more they learn. Which would you choose, sitting inside with a teething baby or going to the zoo with a teehting baby? I’ll take the latter.

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Friday Five

1. It was so nice waking up to the sun shining this morning. Yesterday, it rained all day. I hate going out in the rain and 9 times out of 10 if I have plans, I will cancel them if it’s raining. Now that I have Jimmie, it will probably be 10 times out of 10, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2. Derrick won Big Brother 16 on Wednesday night, which I’m pretty happy about. I didn’t predict for him to win, but Jim did. BB has been renewed for two more seasons, which means we have two more summers to waste watching other people make bad choices on TV. Speaking of bad choices I wonder if Christine and her husband had a long talk about how it isn’t appropriate to cuddle with someone else when you’re married. Awkwardly enough, Christine didn’t even vote for Cody to win on finale night. Maybe that was to prove her loyalty to her husband?

3. My old college professor from Rutgers-Camden has written another children’s book. Author of Go the F**k to Sleep, Adam Mansbach, will debut his second book You Need to F**king Eat on November 12. I took Mr. Mansbach’s hip hop literature class in  2009. The class was pretty awful, mainly because it was the only elective that was available when I transferred in and I had/have no interest in hip hop literature. I have to admit, though, the only book I semi enjoyed reading in his class was his fiction novel, Angry Black White Boy. Would you read these to your kids? I personally feel Adam’s pain with the eating thing, already. I know you’re hungry, drink your bottle, Jimmie!!

4. I started reading The Wonder Weeks by Franz Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt. It is a really interesting book about specific weeks in your baby’s life, why they’re fussy, when it’ll end, and how you can help them get through it. I wish I started reading this before Jimmie was born, or right after. I skimmed through the weeks that Jimmie already went through and they are pretty much spot on in regards to how he acted. I was reading about the 19th week and how lots of babies are lazy that week because they are learning so much and they need to take it all in. For a few days last week, Jimmie would just lay on his blanket motionless and I found it to be strange, now I know why.

5. Jimmie had his 4 month shots last week and did great! He woke up the first night after his shots screaming, but went back to sleep after Tylenol and a bottle. Then he was a little more fussy over the weekend, but I honestly think that was more teething than anything else. We have a little champ on our hands. He weights a little over 16 pounds, now, and is mostly wearing 6 months clothes full time because he is so long.

Having a fabulous weekend!

doctor

MAM #Preggobrain

Pregnancy brain is real, people. If you have ever been pregnant or know someone who has, you know what I’m talking about. It’s pretty much like forgetting that your hairbrush is in your hand when you can’t find it and that your sunglasses are on your head when the sun is shining directly in your face. Once I had Jimmie, I really thought my brain would go back to normal. But, alas, it hasn’t. I still forget words that are just at the tip of my tongue and I can’t remember when I last went to the bathroom or took a shower.

preggoMAM, a company who sells bottles, pacifiers, and teethers that “support the individual development of every child and make everyday baby life easier, is currently running a contest for the best preggo brain/mommy brain story! If I were to enter one, I would post about an event that just happened to me yesterday…

I was pouring a glass of water, and grabbing something from the dishwasher at the same time (multitasking is a must when you’re a new mom.) Suddenly, I found myself trying to put our water jug in the cabinet. I started to close the door and thought, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t belong there!” Silly mommy brain got me again!

And one more, just for fun. I tried to open my front door the other day with my car clicker. Sadly enough, the front door did not open.

Head on over to the MAM Facebook page and share your mommy brain story or your peggo brain story! All you have to do is share your story on the MAM Facebook wall. Easy as pumpkin pie! Five lucky winners will win a $100 gift card to the baby store of their choice!

Don’t delay, this contest ends on 9/30!

I was asked by MAM to share this contest with you all! Good luck!

Recipe: White Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

It’s finally fall and that means I can make even more pumpkin treats! I love that I can bake something new, eat a few, and then send them off to work with Jim. Out of site, out of mind. I have to admit, pumpkin season is hindering my weight loss goals.

Pumpkin Cake

pumpkin cakeIngredients

2 cups flour

1 TBSP cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

16 TBSP butter (room temp.)

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray 9 X 13 pan with baking spray.

3. In a medium bowl combine: flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, blend butter, sugar, and brown sugar with mixer until fluffy. (Medium speed for about 2 minutes.)

5. Add egg and vanilla, blend well.

6. Add pumpkin, mix again.

7. Add dry ingredients from the other bowl and blend until mixed evenly.

8. Turn off mixer and add white chocolate chips and mix with a spatula.

9. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

10. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges pull away from pan and a toothpick comes out clean.

11.Let cool completely before cutting.

 

Original recipe was meant to make pumpkin bars, but these came out too cakey to be considered a bar.

 

Friday Five

1. Jimmie sat on his own for the first time yesterday; it was pretty exciting. He didn’t do it for too long, but I definitely consider it the first day he sat on his own; it’s going on his baby calendar! He probably won’t be doing much sitting today because he is getting his four month shots. He did so well last time, so I am a lot less nervous this time (I will still probably cry.)

2. I just realized yesterday that fall OFFICIALLY begins on Monday. What? I know I have been talking about it, but I didn’t actually think it was going to happen. Lucky us, (not so lucky) we are going to have a little Indian summer this weekend.

3. I have a confession. I am obsessed with baby socks (okay, and adult socks too.) I found these (on sale!) at Old Navy and had to buy them for Little Jimmie. He needed new socks (and he obviously needed Halloween socks) because along with the rest of this boy, his feet keep growing. Plus, his socks seem to go missing more than any of our socks. I also bought this Halloween onsie. I held back and didn’t buy this one, but I am still thinking about it!

4. We rented a house for our Arizona trip in November. I figured, if this is going to be a vacation, I really don’t want to stare at Little Jimmie in a hotel room while he sleeps and have to tiptoe around ( I DO love looking at him while he sleeps, but that is not the point…) Our house has three bedrooms and is in the mountains. I may actually be able to relax while we are there. (After we fly with an almost 6 month old…)

5. Another new obsession of mine is going to consignment sales for baby clothes. Last weekend, we went to one and bought a ton of stuff for $5o. Our haul included: two winter coats, a Halloween PJ outfit, a few sweaters, some pants, random onsies/shirts, a Christmas fleece winter one piece, an Oshkosh one piece, snow hats/mittens, a Skip Hop toy, and a Nike track suit. I am pretty much going to go to every consignment sale I can from here on out, they’re so worth it!

jimmie pillow 2

sitting

He is obviously thrilled with himself

Enjoy your last weekend of summer! (I can’t believe Jimmie’s first summer is coming to an end…)

We watch the season pull up its own stakes
And catch the last weekend of the last week
Before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced,
Another sun soaked season fades away – Dashboard Confessional “Stolen”

Fourth Month Baby Must-haves

I love seeing what Jimmie enjoys playing with and what we find handy for him, month by month. Here is what we loved last month.

4 month

1. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Owl Activity Toy – I love everything Skip Hop. I am slowly collecting all of the engaging toys they make. (Have you seen these? They’re new and I need them ALL!) Jimmie loves this hide and seek owl. He gives him hugs, looks in the mirror on one of the wings, and chews on the two teethers. It really is a fun toy and even makes noises like a rattle!

2. Summer Infant 3-Stage Superseat – We don’t have a Bumbo, but we do have this awesome sit and play seat. I have been trying to stick Jimmie in this thing since he was 2 months old, and he would look miserable. Right before Jimmie turned four months, I stuck him back in and he finally enjoyed it! He loves to sit there and whack all of the toys; I even put a few more on the tray for him to play with.

3. Rhino Toys Oball Rattle – This is such a great toy because Jimmie can stick his little fingers in the ball holes. He likes bringing it up to his mouth and shaking it.

4. Breathable Mesh Crib Liner – I was 100% against getting a crib bumper because of the risks of suffocation; they are also illegal in Maryland. But when Jimmie went into the crib, after already sleeping through the majority of the night, he started to wake himself up again. The reason being, his legs kept getting stuck in the crib. I decided that the safest way to prevent this from happening was to get a mesh (breathable) crib liner. It actually works great and I was only worried for the first few days. His little legs do not get stuck anymore and he can sleep peacefully through the night.

5. Skip Hop Bento Diaper Tote Bag, Olive – I kind of hated this bag when I first got it. It was too big and it was a pain to lug around. I realized I didn’t like it as much because when I first had Jimmie, we were going out for short periods of time, therefore we didn’t need a ton of stuff. Now, when we go out for more than a few hours, this diaper bag comes in handy. I love the insulated side pockets for bottles and all of the pockets inside for other items. I use the bottom pocket for a changing pad, diapers, and wipes, but eventually it’ll be used for baby food; the bag comes with baby food containers for this pocket. There are even a few pockets for my stuff, cause who really carries a diaper bag and a purse?

6. Bright Starts Rattle & Shaker Barbell – This rattle makes Jimmie giggle. He loves to grab it and shake it. It’s easy for him to reach for when he is on his tummy and then pull it back so that he can try to stick it in his mouth. I personally love the colors!

Recipes: Fake it and Make it Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

Since the weather is cooling down, it’s time to jump headfirst into pumpkin-everything season.  The other day I decided to make some pumpkin bread, it happens to be one of my favorite treats to eat this time of year. After searching through many recipes, I found a copycat Starbucks pumpkin bread recipe. Did you really think I’d make any other kind of pumpkin bread?

I doubled the original recipe and tweaked it a bit. With all of my substitutions and added ingredients, I ended up with: a loaf of pumpkin bread (in a bread pan), 24 mini pumpkin muffins, and 12 large muffins. You may make more or less depending on the sizes of your pans.

P.S The taste is AMAZING and the breads are so moist that they melt in your mouth!

Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 1 pumpkin loaf, 24 mini muffins, 12 large muffins (depending on pan size, outcomes may vary)

pumpkin bread

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon salt

8 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 30 oz can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray all pans with cooking spray.

3. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla. Blend with a mixer for 1 minute on medium speed.

4. Add pumpkin, vegetable oil, and coconut oil to the eggs mixture, blend well with mixer.

5. Add the dry ingredients from the other bowl to the wet mixture and mix until everything in blended together.

6. Bake loaf for 60 minutes, mini muffins for 12-15 minutes, and large muffins for 22-25 minutes (or until toothpicks come out clean.)

Original recipe from Like Mother Like Daughters

Friday Five

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1. We had a special appointment for Jimmie’s flat head on Tuesday, in Baltimore, and the doctor said that he is fine and doesn’t need a helmet, thank goodness. He said it is a little flat, but it should fix itself. We didn’t even have to schedule a follow up.

2. Two vacations were decided on this week. Jimmie and I will be visiting Jim in Arizona, with his parents, in November. Jim and I also booked a Disney vacation for March; I really can’t resist the Military discount Disney offers. Jimmie is staying with my parents, shh don’t tell him where we’re going.

3. I cannot believe it has been 13 years since our lives, and our country, changed forever. I remember sitting in Algebra II, during my sophomore year of high school, with my friend who was an exchange student from Armenia. I remember saying to her, “What is the World Trade Center?” and she said, “I don’t know, I’m from Armenia!” I  also remember one of our history teachers running through the school telling all the teachers to turn on their TVs. We will never forget.

4. The fall is unofficially, officially, here; it is CHILLY this morning. I had my first hot Pumpkin Spice Latte, yesterday, and I also bought some pumpkin bread. Bring on pumpkin EVERYTHING. Last year we were in Korea for all of the Pumpkin awesomeness. I foresee gaining some weight back that I just lost.

5. Speaking of weight loss, I’m finally back under 130. (Only 1.6 pounds to go!) I was in total shock when I stepped on the scale yesterday. I then celebrated with three chocolate chip cookies. Yay me!

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Happy Four Months, Jimmie!

bathtimeWhere did my newborn go? Where did summer go? Jimmie is turning into to quite the little man. He is such a flirt and loves to smile and act bashful, especially when he is looking in the mirror. He hasn’t rolled yet, but he has figured out how to turn himself completely around in the crib, which we find hilarious.

Favorites: Blowing raspberries, sitting with assistance, and babbling/cooing

Weight: 16.5 pounds and 24.5 inches. Big boy! He even fits into some 6 month clothes!

Firsts this month: Laughed, blew raspberries, sat in his highchair, grabbing toys and holding them for long periods of time.

Nightly sleep schedule: Jimmie’s sleeps through the night on most nights from about 8:30 PM-7:30 AM. Sometimes he will still wake up around 5:30 or 6 to snack on about 4 oz and then go back to sleep until 8:30-9.

Favorite toy: Sassy My First rattles (his are red/black/white), Skip Hop Owl Activity Toy, Disney Baby Goofy Rattle/ Toy (from Disney World)

Hardest moment of the month: Dealing with Jimmie not wanting to eat as much and trying to figure out why (still working on this one). Teething! (No teeth yet, though.)

Best moment of the month: Hearing Jimmie laugh for the first time.

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Favorite Children’s Books 0-4 Months

Since I love to read, there were no question in my mind that I wouldn’t love reading to Jimmie. I started reading to him almost immediately after we brought him home from the hospital, and to be honest I think that’s why he makes so many different sounds already. Here are our favorite books so far!

books 0-4Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Baby Animals: This is our nap time book. I read that not only do babies like bedtime routines, but they also like nap time routines. We read this book before every nap and Jimmie usually smiles when I touch his hand to the touch and feel sections.

Wherever You Go My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman: I started reading this book to Jimmie before he was even born; the first time I read it I cried like a baby. This is one of the sweetest Children’s books I have ever read; the artwork is beautiful and so are the words.

Look Look by Peter Linenthal: As I mentioned before, Jimmie is obsessed with this book; he will stare at it for a long time while he is on his belly. The black and white pictures are perfect for babies since they cannot see in color until around four months.

Fuzzy Bee and Friends by Roger Priddy: Jimmie really enjoys grabbing this soft book. Sometimes I’ll read him the story and other times I will just put it down for him to play with while he is on his tummy. I really think he will start to love the bug book even more when he gets a little older and can hold on to items longer.

ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book by Dr. Seuss: Since Jimmie’s nursery is a Dr. Seuss theme, we read Dr. Seuss a lot. The ABC book is probably my favorite. It’s never too soon to start learning the alphabet; I even sing the alphabet song to him while I’m changing his diaper.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell: This book is too cute. I love little flap books and I can’t wait for Jimmie to be able to lift the flaps himself. We are big on zoos in our family, therefore Jimmie will be visiting the zoo a ton when he gets a little older.

Sophie la girafe: Colors:  I love all of the Sophie la girafe books (our French Giraffe friend) but this one is one of my favorites because it is about colors. This book is also a flap book, just like Dear Zoo.

What are your favorite Children’s books?