Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Black Bean Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo is this amazing {yes I said amazing- just try it and tell me you don’t want to eat it by the bowl full. I dare you!} This has become one of my favorite things to eat – as a snack… or a meal! I love it and the fact that it is really darn healthy for you only adds to its awesomeness.

My aunt makes a black bean, corn, and avocado salsa that is out of this world. I swear that she has given me her recipe about a gazillion times and I keep misplacing it! Needless to say, I have been trying to re-create her masterpiece to the best of my ability without the actual recipe. I think I have come pretty close, and even if I have not – I LOVE this salsa and can {and will} eat it by the bowl full.

Black Bean Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe

Monday, April 29, 2013

Complete Pregnancy Fitness Program {Lindsay Brin’s 4 DVD Workout Set} Review

Something that I have come to enjoy over the years is having a fitness routine. I like to change it up and try new things constantly. But no matter what I am doing I AM doing something to stay active and healthy.  I have to in order to keep up with my 4 year-old and my 2 year-old boys. Now that I have a third baby on the way, staying healthy and active is even more important.

With all of my pregnancies I have suffered from morning sickness throughout my first trimester, making any form of exercise all but impossible until the morning sickness subsides. Then once the second trimester hits I am feeling up to exercising, but am having to take things slowly as to regain my strength. I was given the Moms Into Fitness Complete Pregnancy Fitness Program for review and once my second trimester hit I was more than ready to get back into the thick of it.

I started off slowly working on the program a couple days a week until my body adjusted to what I was asking of it. I found these DVD’s to be fun, upbeat, and educational. With my previous pregnancies my only true form of exercise came from keeping up with my classroom and the pre-K kids I taught {pregnancy #1} and keeping up with my toddler {pregnancy #2}. I have found that by exercising throughout this pregnancy I have more energy and am better able to keep up with my children.

Lindsay Brin's Moms Into Fitness: Complete Pregnancy Fitness Program

Friday, April 26, 2013

Leaping Lizard Brew #CraftsForKids

As a mother of two little boys I find myself constantly digging in the dirt for worms or pretending to be a pirate captain. These activities are all well and good, but can only be done so much before the entertainment factor in them wears thin. So I have been racking my brain trying to think of some fun alternative activities.

While I was never great at the math part of most science experiments, I always enjoyed the wow factor science experiments brought to the table. So while the Chicagoland area has been bombarded with rain I have been working on remembering all the experiments I enjoyed as a child.  I have put together a little list of some fun crafts for the kids that have a little mad scientist feel to them. This should be a fun spring!

The first experiment is something called Leaping Lizard Brew! I saw it for the first time when I was in middle school and I remember thinking, “Oh SNAP! That is so cool!” So I figured my children would have a pretty similar reaction and I was not disappointed.

Crafts For Kids: How to Make Leaping Lizard Brew

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prepping for baby! #Pregnancy Week 31

Earlier this week I shared with you that I have been on a mad cleaning and organizing spree. I have gone through all of the clothing I have for Julia, washed it and organized it according to size. I have taken the crib out of Steven’s room and it is patiently waiting to be put together in Julia’s room {this has to wait until we finish the basement as we may need Julia’s room as a guest room again in the meantime}. I have started to look at fabric for the nursery bedding – as I think I want to make something myself. I even have a new car seat for Julia that I have been playing with for the last week in order to get used to how it functions. I am so excited!

How Far Along: 
31 Weeks Pregnant {31 weeks 5 days}

Due Date: 
June 22nd, 2013

Boy or girl: 

Bump Picture: 
My bump is growing and has been keeping me up at night!

Pregnancy Week 31 Baby Bump

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Organizing Baby Girls Closet

It is no secret that I love to organize and put order to chaos. Right now my home is a little chaotic as we work towards finishing our basement, moving Steven into a big boy bed {I ordered his bed in February and still have NO idea when I can expect it to arrive – but that is another post all together}, and transition the guest room into the nursery. It is a process and one that requires certain elements of one to be completed before we can work towards the others.

So while I patiently waiting for the bed to come and the basement to be completed I am also waiting to put together my nursery for baby girl. This means that my nesting is being diverted to other areas, such as cleaning and organizing. Since I cannot put together the nursery I have been working on putting together baby Julia’s closet.

getting ready for baby

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rock Bottom inspired Cajun Fish Tacos Recipe

In case you missed it, I love fish tacos. This was not always the case and in fact it took me quite a while to warm up to the idea of even trying a fish taco. For some reason fish tacos has been a major craving of mine throughout this pregnancy and I cannot get enough of them.

I had a mom’s night out with a friend of mine at Rock Bottom and had a chance to try their Cajun Fish Tacos… They were really good. They were spicy, but not too spicy. They had a crisp clean flavor that I knew if I put my mind to I could recreate at home. Needless to say that I got busy in my kitchen trying out some different spices and rubs trying to get the perfect copycat Rock Bottom recipe for Cajun fish tacos.

Rock Bottom Inspired Cajun Fish Taco Recipe

Friday, April 19, 2013

DIY Custom Coasters

I enjoy getting my craftiness on. I especially enjoy getting crafty and creative with gifts {when time, energy, and income permit}. As the weather starts to warm up, and I truly believe that one of these days it will warm up and stay warm for a while, I start to notice the use of coasters becomes more common.

I use coasters most often when the weather is warm and I don’t want my glass to sweat and ruin my table. I am longing for the truly warm weather so that I can make a batch of ice tea to take out back while the kids run circles around me. So in the hopes that by making these coasters I will be bringing on the warm weather I have decided to share with you my little tutorial on how to make custom coasters.

How to make Custom Coasters

Thursday, April 18, 2013

10 More Weeks! #Pregnancy Week 30

I cannot believe that I am so close to the end! I have 10 more weeks to go and am in full on nesting mode. I have gone through all of my baby clothing and pulled out what I can use for a little girl, those few gender neutral outfits that I had. I have gone through my hand me downs from friends and family and am feeling much more prepared. Next up is laundering and organizing everything in the nursery closet {I am really looking forward to this}.

How Far Along: 
30 Weeks Pregnant {30 weeks 5 days}

Due Date: 
June 22nd, 2013

Boy or girl: 

Bump Picture: 
The bump is taking over.

pregnancy week 30

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hello Spring

While it has been raining nonstop today, I have been thankful that it is rain and not snow. In Illinois you never know what kind of weather to expect and I am quite pleased that it is starting to feel like spring.

After a winter of surgery, ear infections, colds, and morning sickness – I am very much ready to embrace spring weather and outdoor play. Yes my boys are still wearing coats and hats, but they are not in snow pants and mittens. I will take what I can get and be thankful.

swinging in the swing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

Once again I am back on a vegetable kick and am looking for new ways to bring these healthy sides into my home and onto my table. This dish in particular has been very perplexing for me and has taken quite a few rewrites and alterations to bring it up to snuff. Thanks to many tweaks and substitutions I have come up with a cheesy mashed cauliflower recipe that is simply scrumptious.

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower recipe

Monday, April 15, 2013

DIY Modern Purple Baby Shower

Modern Purple Baby Shower

Last month I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law Krystal. Krystal is pregnant with a little girl and has embraced all things girly and purple for her little bundle of joy. She and my brother have planned a super cute nursery and the predominant color is purple. So when it came to planning the shower I too embraced the purple theme and decided to give the baby shower a purple modern feel.

It all started with a piece of paper. I went shopping for paper to make modern baby shower invitations and happened across this beautiful chevron paper that had shades of purple and a pop of teal. It was perfect. I found coordinating paper and bought enough to make my own baby shower invitations as well as party favors and décor.

Friday, April 12, 2013

DIY Carnival Games for Kids

DIY Circus Carnival Games for Kids

I love the circus and I love carnivals. They are fun places where magic comes alive for children. The food is easy and fun and the games are simple and engaging.  So when it came time to plan my little guy’s second birthday party I decided to go with a circus – carnival theme.

I did not go overboard for this themed party; at least I don’t think that I went overboard. I made my own games for the kids to play and tried to keep things inexpensive, simple, and fun for everyone. I up-cycled when possible and used materials sparingly.

Two carnival themed games that I found super easy to make were the Ring Toss Game and the Tin Can Toss Game. These essentially came about via my recycling bin and a pregnancy craving… old fashioned root beer is so yummy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Having to slow down and take it easy #Pregnancy Week 29

I have been told that I need to stop picking up my 30lb baby boy… Okay he is no longer really a baby at 30 lbs, but he is still my baby. Since his big boy bed has still not arrived yet I am still forced to lift him up to put him in his crib and take him out. I still have to pick him up to put him in his car seat and in shopping carts as well. While I am trying really hard to stick to only lifting him when absolutely necessary, it is really hard for me. I am used to picking up both of my children and am constantly catching myself giving in lifting them when I don’t really need to… I am stubborn and am having a hard time with this.

How Far Along: 
29 Weeks Pregnant {29 weeks 5 days}

Due Date: 
June 22nd, 2013

Boy or girl: 

Bump Picture: 
Getting big day by day…

Pregnancy Week 29

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gestational Diabetes Glucose Testing

This last week I took my Gestational Diabetes Glucose Test at my doctor’s office. If you have never taken one of these before, let me tell you they do not taste great and they take quite a bit of time. You are not supposed to eat 3 hours before your testing and once you get there they draw some blood before you drink the oh so delicious beverage provided. You are then required to wait an hour {unless you are doing the 3 hour test} in the waiting room. Once the hour is up you get the luxury of getting more blood drawn.

Gestational Diabetes Glucose Test Beverage

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet Treat: Strawberry Shortcake {Strawberry Sauce Recipe}

This weekend we celebrated my baby boy turning 2 and I decided to go with an alternative cake treat that I knew he would love. It also helps that strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts to eat as well. I wanted something that was red and white to go with the circus theme, but I didn’t want a sugar overload.

Strawberry shortcake seemed like it would be perfect, so that is what I went with. I know that most people simply take the strawberries and mash them sugar and water to create the strawberry topping, but I like to make my topping more of a sauce. What can I say, I’m saucy.

Strawberry Shortcake

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class #BeastHunters

ransformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Optimus Prime Figure

Mom Mart was sent a Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Figure and compensation for this post.

My children were introduced to the whole autobots vs decepticons vs predacons story line and toy merchandise last year when an older neighbor had a transformer themed birthday party. After checking out the Transformer aisle at the toy store my boys were instantly smitten with the Transformer toys. I mean what little boy wouldn’t love a toy that could be both a vehicle and a robot? We gifted our neighbor a Transformers sword and mask, both of which my oldest wanted to keep for himself.

My children love toys and the new Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Figures are right up their alley. Although I feel that my children are too young to watch the Transformer films, they really enjoy playing with the transformer toys and I feel that the figures are perfectly acceptable toys for my children to engage in for imaginative play.

As a former educator I like that by manipulating the figure and transforming the robot into a vehicle my children are working on developing fine motor skills. By engaging in interactive imaginative play with these figures my children are also developing social and emotional skills by sharing and working through conflicts within their imaginative play. With all of the educational benefits aside, these toys are simply fun toys that we enjoy playing with.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kid Craft: Make a Yarn Monster Friend!

My boys love our craft time and they were super excited about the prospect of making yarn monsters. I have a ton of leftover yarn from various crafts that I have done in the past and my past attempts at knitting {I am so not good at knitting}. So I decided that we would be putting my leftovers to good use this week with a simple kid craft that the boys would love.

They totally loved making these! By using child safety scissors my 4 year old was able to work on his cutting skills safely {this is a fine motor skill that needs to be worked on and developed in the preschool age}. They boys liked wrapping the yarn and they loved picking out the eyeballs and gluing them on. It was a really easy kid craft with virtually no clean up.

make a yarn monster friend

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hello Third Trimester! #Pregnancy Week 28

I am in the home stretch and super excited about it! With just a couple months to go I am getting more and more excited to meet this little lady. I am also nesting like crazy! – I have been on a serious cleaning kick since I have been unable to get my nursery in order.

How Far Along: 
28 Weeks Pregnant {28 weeks 5 days}

Due Date: 
June 22nd, 2013

Boy or girl: 

Bump Picture: 
Ahhh! The staircase self photo is back.

Pregnancy Week 28

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Celebrating Easter #WW

My husband and I really enjoy the holidays, more so now that we have children. I think that children make the holidays that much more exciting and enjoyable because you get to experience the awe and wonder through their little eyes. They make holidays magical.

Dye Easter Eggs

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

EASY Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

EASY Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

My husband celebrated his birthday this weekend. Since it was Easter weekend we combined our Easter celebration with his birthday… This means that he received a traditional Easter meal of ham, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, carrot cake, and so on.

My husband likes carrot cake just fine, but he simply loves peanut butter. It is his favorite thing to eat! His grandmother has made him peanut butter fudge in the past but since I have never made fudge in my life I thought I would try to whip him up a simple yet delicious peanut butter treat that I could handle. After some serious thinking and a look through my Pinterest board I decided to make Rice Krispie treats with a twist.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Climbing out of the crib!

This last week I took both of my boys to visit their grandparents for spring break.  When we visit my parents I usually sleep in one room and I set up my youngest in another room right next door. He sleeps in a pack and play with a video monitor so that I can keep an eye on him. My oldest usually sleeps in the rooms with me or camps out on Grammy and Poppy’s floor.  This is the typical arrangement and has been for the last couple of years.

This trip was a little different. On the very first night there my youngest woke up in the middle of the night, climbed out of his pack and play, and headed for Grammy and Poppy’s room.  He has never climbed out of a crib or pack and play before… His brother never climbed out either. I was at a bit of a loss as to what brought this on and what this would mean for the future. One thing was for sure; there would be no more sleeping in separate rooms at my parent’s house with my little escape artist.

The pack and play was moved to my room and for the remainder of our spring break the little guy and I were roommates. Nap times brought on more escapes from the pack and play and our routine for sleeping was slowly changing. YIKES! I was so not ready for this as my first born never tried to climb out of anything.

climbing out of the crib

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