Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2 Months Old

Simmy is two months old!  Time is flying-it's such a short amount of time, yet feels like forever!  The transition has been seamless, and your older siblings are smitten with you. Marshall especially loves your pacifiers and spit up.  Hannah always comments on how cute you are.  Moshe loves his baby sister and takes such pride in you.  Dovy has formed a bond with you like no other, "my Simmy," always the first to rush to your side, in the mornings, when he comes home from school, or when you cry.  

Weight: 9 lbs 1 oz
Height: 21 in.
Milestones: you've begun tracking things you enjoy, like your mobile on the Mamaroo, and you love to be over a shoulder to look at the blinds in the living room.  
You are able to push up to a standing position when you're being held. 
You lift your head and chest

Likes: your pacifier, but only when you want it
being held-all the time

Dislikes: diaper changes make you scream!
you do not like the swing 

Sleep: you will usually sleep for at least two hour stretches at a time during the night and typically go back to sleep after a good burp.  You do a long stretch in the early morning while in the Mamaroo, waking up around 10am.  You sleep soundly on our outings, but not if we're home during the day.  You sleep much better if you're swaddled at night.

Medical: you are growing, but you're tiny, just like your big brother Moshe!  We suspect you have reflux and/or colic so we are starting medicine and probiotic drops tomorrow to see if this helps.  

Eating: we are still successfully nursing on demand.  You usually do three hour stretches during the day, but have recently increased to every two hours.  You were cluster feeding from 5pm-11pm, but you've started to be more calm during that time, even falling asleep sometimes! You have giant man burps and lots of spit up! 

To see more of what Simmy uses and what's gotten us through two months with a newborn, check out the Newborn Essentials post!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Newborn Essentials

Untitled #20

As we approach two months with Simmy, I wanted to share some newborn essentials-most of which are pictured here.  I will say that just because I'm sharing it with you here, doesn't mean I've used it and loved it-it just means that these are the items I got in preparation for a new baby.  Some of it I use and love, some of it I got because I thought it was...well...essential.  

 When I was pregnant the first time, I got an arms reach co-sleeper.  This was supposed to be ideal for mimicking co-sleeping, but creating the safest environment.  Moshe slept a mixture of in the co-sleeper and in my bed, but by the time he was three months old, he had given every indication he was ready to sleep in his crib, in his own room #independence.  He transitioned easily into his crib, and began sleeping through the night.  I enjoyed the co-sleeping, but didn't complain when he moved onto bigger and better things.  Again, I set up the co-sleeper with Dovy, but actual co-sleeping won out, for much, much longer (18 months precisely) and the co-sleeper just collected clean laundry.  With Hannah, I had gotten rid of the co-sleeper and immediately co-slept.  She also quickly made her way into her own crib.  However, this time-having full blown anxiety my entire pregnancy, the thought of co-sleeping was not sitting well with me.  I know there are risks, I know there are people who swear by safe co-sleeping, I just didn't want to jump right into it.  I wanted to be sure I had a safe sleeping place.  We have extremely limited side space, so any bedside bassinet/pack n play was out-but this SwaddleMe Deluxe By Your Side sleeper was the answer. It didn't take up too much space on the bed, it has a flat/firm mattress with mesh sides, and it even comes with an attachment that plays sound, has a light and a two-setting vibration speed.  For us, this was the perfect answer, but...Simmy has reflux and really has a hard time sleeping laying flat.  I was ecstatic to learn recently that the same company makes an actual free standing bassinet that has a two-position incline.  I just bought this from Amazon and I can't wait to see if Simmy likes it.  It may or may not fit beside my bed, but she's sleeping for longer periods of time, and I'm healed and able to move around much easier.  I'm hoping that this incline improves her sleeping.  

The Miracle blanket is true to it's name-a miracle!  The fabric is breathable, but also has stretch to it so you can be sure the baby feels secure and snug.  The sleep sacs with velcro arms just don't give them the same security and I found them not to work as well. 

Gear is a highly personalized topic.  Needs, wants and each family's situations vary so much, but this is what works for us.  One of the reasons I have so many different options is because I live in a two-story house. Before, when  I lived in an apartment, putting the baby to sleep in the room was only a few steps away from the rest of my entire apartment-now it's much further away, and I can't see or hear her. So, I want a lot of options, in almost all places, to put her in.  In my room I keep the Mamaroo.  Hannah loved this, so I took a risk, I know not all babies love it.  So far, it has been an early morning life saver.  Because she was so tiny when she was born, I went ahead and bought the newborn insert, which made her much more secure.  

I've always had a swing, just as another place to put the baby down.  This resides in our living room.  Simmy doesn't love it, but I hope she grows into it. Again, having a safe place to put the baby down in, in all the possible locations is extremely helpful.  

This is my first time with a Rock 'n Play and I've loved it. Initially, Simmy was sleeping in this because she had such bad reflux and was just too little to deal with it, I couldn't lay her down flat without fear of her choking on her own reflux. Then, this traveled with me downstairs and I am able to take her all over-the kitchen, the office, the basement-it just folds up, has a battery operated vibrator, and she really loves this. 

I am not into baby wearing-not because I don't believe in it, or because I don't see the benefits, I just feel that it inhibits me and makes it harder than easier.  But, I figured, with four, and often times being alone, I'm heavily outnumbered and buying a carrier would probably be something I needed as oppose to wanted.  I have no patience for baby wraps, and Ergo is supposed to have very supportive and functional baby carriers.  This is their new Omni carrier-the only one that's meant for 7lbs without an insert, and allows the child to be worn in all four positions-inward, outward, on the hip, and on the back.  So far, I've worn it once out of necessity.  I don't find baby wearing comfortable, but I found the carrier itself to be very secure for the baby and I felt like my back and shoulders were very supported.  It was also nice not to have to worry about another part-the newborn insert, which is needed in their other carries for a baby so small.  Simmy fell well below 6lbs, so she was too small to go into it for awhile.  I'm sure this will get lots of use in the future-I already think I need to bring it out so I can manage the kids while they sit around the table doing homework-Simmy loves to be held.

Care Items

First of all, I am a diaper snob-I use Pampers for the newborn stage, and I switch to Huggies beyond that.  Hannah had allergic reactions to off-brand diapers, and I just have resolved myself to spending money on the most hypo-allergenic care items.  

I love Mustela products. They are great for sensitive skin, have a wide range of products and lines (they have a line specifically for eczema prone babies and a line for extra-sensitive skin) plus the smell is just heavenly on a baby.  This no-rinse cleanser is for sure, hands down, my favorite.  When there's no time for a bath, or they spit up right after a bath-right, we've all been there-this is a fabulous way for a quick wipe down. Adult skin care has finally jumped on the micellar water, and this product is genious.  My older kids use it, and I've even used it.  I would definitely keep this on hand for kids of any age.  I use this gel for the bath, and this lotion for post bath.  When Simmy has dry skin on her head and face, I use this oil right after her bath.  

Babies are born with the natural sucking reflex.  I know there are a lot of opinions on when it's ok to introduce a pacifier so it doesn't cause nipple confusion with breast feeding, but I've always introduced the pacifier within the first week to help with their need for constant sucking.  All my kids have used the paci: Moshe used it for a few weeks, Dovy a few months, Hannah at some point early transitioned to her thumb, and so far we're two months in and Simmy prefers these pacies and she uses them most of the time.  

I love these burp cloths (their actually cloth diapers) because their three-ply allows them to be more absorbent.  A lot of the burp cloths on the market now are single layer muslin cloths-they just are absorbent.  These are also plenty comfy and soft.  

I've had this whale bathtub with all four kids and it's just a no-frills, cheap bathtub with an infant insert.  In that sense, I think it's the most practical and serves the purpose and has the ability for the most long term usage.  

   Not Pictured

I've definitely fallen for a lot more of the gimmicks this time around. Part of it is because I know I might not have another baby and I just want to indulge in all things baby.  Part of it is because some of it is practical.  Like these pacifier cleaning wipes-between all the times Marshall has gotten Simmy's pacifier, her spitting it out and the little fingers that touch it, these have definitely come in handy.  The pouch it comes in isn't so easy to open, so I might try a different brand when these run out, but the item itself is a must.  

My babies don't get terrible diaper rash, but sometimes there's irritation, or just as a preventative measure-like a long overnight, I'll use this diaper rash cream. I've found that Triple Paste is hands down, by far the best!  

When I registered at Buy Buy Baby, I got samples of the WaterWipe-the most natural wipe on the market, made of 99.9% water. On a whim I bought a box on Amazon, and I have to say I have noticed much less redness when using these wipes, so I'll definitely be buying these again.  

Of course we got a car seat and a stroller, but those items are purchased much more based on personal preference, not because one is better than the other.  I knew I needed an infant car seat that was able to fit into an adapter that connects to my already purchased Bugaboo stroller. Let me just say, I have been converted from Graco thanks to this awesome Chicco car seat.  I can't believe how light it is, and my husband can't believe the ease he was able to install it.   

What are your favorite newborn items?  I will be back with another essentials post as Simmy grows and we try out new products!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Munchies...

Hi guys!!!  Today I'm sharing a recipe that's been shared on the blog before, but not for Monday Munchies.  It's so good, for so many different reasons, that I would be doing you a disservice if I did not share if in this capacity. This chocolate mousse-which can also be poured into a pre-baked pie shell, makes for the most decadent, crowd pleasing, yet oh so simple dessert.  This is such a good default dessert that's still made from scratch, and I honestly think this is even better than a boxed recipe anyway!  

Tali's Chocolate Mousse 
4 eggs, separated 
1 cup chocolate chips 
pre-baked pie crust if you want to serve it in a pie
whipped topping

Can you believe that's it! I love that the ingredients are simple, yet produce an amazing mousse, cutting down on unnecessary caloric ingredients.  

Separate the eggs-whip the whites until they look very stiff and whipped.  When it looks like whipped cream, that's when you'll know it's whipped enough.  The amount of whipping will determine the texture of the mousse.  I definitely over-whipped this time and the texture came out very thick, making it much more substantial.  

While you're whipping #whipitrealgood...melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove using a double boiler.  If you're going to microwave, do it in 30 second increments to ensure it doesn't burn.  When melting chocolate chips in the microwave, the chips don't have to be entirely melted-the heat will continue to melt the chips once you're mixing, and some chocolate chunks in the mousse never hurt anyone, in fact-I think it makes it better.  Actually, you might want to incorporate some chocolate chunks into the fully mixed mousse as a last step.  Anyway, you don't want to burn the chocolate, make sure not to burn the chocolate!

Set aside the chips to cool, and let the egg whites continue to whip.  Once the chips are cool, add in the yolks.  The chips need to be cool enough that they won't cook the eggs.  

Once the chips and eggs are mixed, add it back into the egg whites and mix again.  The egg whites will reduce in size.  Once the egg and chip mixture is fully incorporated into the egg whites, you're mousse is almost done. All that's left, is to chill in the refrigerator.  If you are putting this in a pie, pour it into the pre-baked pie crust at this point and then chill.  If you're going to serve it in individual servings, you can dish it out after it chills.  There are so many different ways you can use mousse. One way is to use little dessert cups with little spoons and garnish with whipped cream and raspberries.  You could also eat out of the container too...I may or may not be guilty of that!  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday Munchies

Make that Tuesday Munchies, as it is 1:25 am here! But, I couldn't resist sharing this fabulous recipe! If you are planning a meal soon, definitely include this on the menu.  
Today we're talking apple kugel! That's right-kugel! Kugel is typically referred to as noodle pudding, but over the past few years what we will now call kugel, is essentially a cobbler.  This kugel (cobbler) is not served as dessert though!  It's served as a sweet side dish as part of the main course.  

There's nothing more wintery than baked apples, so I went ahead and searched for an apple kugel recipe.  What I love about this is that it's so super easy because it's only two simple steps, it's also not overly sweet because it calls for real apples as opposed to apple pie filling.  So the bottom half is baked apples and the top is a crust like topping.  

Here are the ingredients:
apples, cinnamon, sugar, oil, flour, an egg, baking powder and vanilla.  

It's as simple as that-all common household ingredients.  

You know what else is simple? That all you do is peel and slice the apples and place them in the oven-safe dish, sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar, and then combine the other ingredients to make the topping and place it on top! Bake in the oven and viola! 

This is definitely a keeper, my kids loved it, and I love that's a bit more healthy than the typical kugels because it uses real apples. I might even try subbing Earth Balance for the oil.  

You can find the recipe here!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Flashback Friday-Apartment Tour: Hannah's Bedroom

Welcome back!  I'm taking you back to Baltimore Hannah's room.  Hannah's nursery was one of my favorite places in our old house in NY, and I was so sad to leave it behind!  Her big girl room in Baltimore was definitely created on a budget, because as you know-we were only there for a year; although I didn't know that going into it.  

Hannah's room also doubled as our guest room in Baltimore.  Both of those beds are trundle beds (or high risers) which means there's another bed hidden underneath.  

Trundle beds are so practical if you have limited space, we did not have a guest room, but we frequently have out of town visitors.
The curtain rod is from Pottery Barn and the curtains are from IKEA.

And even if you have a guest room, think of all the future sleep overs...a bed has got to be better than sleeping in a sleeping bag!  The bedding was a set purchased on major sale from Target.

I love all things gold, and these dots were a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to add that girly glam.  I purchased these from Amazon.  

This wooden initial piece is from Etsy, I just spray painted it gold.  It was hanging in her nursery previously. Unfortunately this small shop is no longer open on Etsy.

The sconces have been with us since Moshe's nursery.  They're great because they came as a set, and are meant to be plugged in.  You can't tell from the picture, but they have gorgeous crystals hanging-fit for a boy or a girl in my opinion.  I used the tacks meant to hold cords in place. 

The smile pillow was a gem found at JoAnne's-who knew they sold home decor?!? But they do, and so much of it is just awesome! 

The other coordinating pillow says sparkle.  The white furry pillow was a two-set and from either Target or Home Goods.  The throw blanket is also from Target.

The dresser is a Craigslist find.  

Holding Hannah's hairbrushes is actually a pencil cup, but it was so perfect- it added the right amount of modern and funky, yet was still overall girly.  Her keepsake jewelry is in that ceramic box, and the small mercury glass holds her pony holders. 

This gold tray is from Target and held all of her toiletries.  We use CeraVe for her eczema, and that Mustella is fabulous when you need a quick clean!  The First Aid, Rodan and Fields and Arbonne are all different lotions used to help with her eczema.  

I spray painted a wig holder gold to hold her seasonal hats.  And of course, no dresser would be complete without a trophy! Or a place to hold all your chatchkes!  

I love personalized gifts, these stools always come in handy!

Another favorite personalized item, the Pottery Barn Everywhere chair!  I love created reading nooks in the kids' bedrooms.  These spice racks from IKEA create the perfect book shelf!  

This is an IKEA shelving unit I spray painted gold and replaced the glass shelves with wooden ones I painted white.  This was mostly storage to display the decorate pieces-my Bubby made the Raggedy Anne dolls and embroidered the piece on top.  

It's always fun to find beautiful picture frames!

And I love displaying timeless kids books that I look forward to reading with her!

And of course there's the cake smash pictures

When do you switch out your baby/kid pictures?  

I'm having such a hard time thinking of what to do with these keepsake pictures that I know no longer belong in "big kid" rooms!  What should I do?!?

This won't be an easy decision!

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Munchies...

So something I've had to adjust in our new home, is the lack of kosher food-specifically the lack of places to get pre-made food.  In trying to embrace this challenge, I took it as a compliment when my DrH proclaimed his excitement with, "well, at least I'll get your cooking again!"  While that is surely a positive, for him, I've started to enjoy finding recipes, cooking new things, seeing my family devour them, and feeling that sense of pride and accomplishment #newbornlife 

One of the mommy meals we got, were these ground meat kabobs that came with dipping sauces.  My kids loved them, heck we all did-it was a great twist on the classic meatball dish.  Oh, and did I mention it was super easy?!? Easy peasy as my kids say, and that is no understatement, I could hardly believe it myself!  With just three main ingredients, you can't really go wrong.  

Image result for meat kabobs in the oven

Here's where I modified: I did not use skewers because I just don't have time for that extra step of fancy right now.  I also don't grill, so I baked these-I know the texture would have been different, but they were still just as tasty.  I also used dried parsley.  When they came out of the oven I made sure to drain the fat while it was still liquid.  

When we got these as our meal, tahini (tachina) was provided as well as a tangy/sour sauce.  Both were great, so I got tachina, and thought they would be great in duck sauce too.  But, we didn't actually try these with duck sauce because when given the choice to eat what's in front of you, or put in the extra effort for unnecessary taste bud satisfaction...well, in your sleep deprived state you choose the former because #newbornlife 
Are you sensing a pattern here?!? 

All you need is: 
ground meat

Easy right? 

You can find the recipe here.
I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Munchies...

Hey...lookie here!  I am actually here...on a share a recipe with you all!
I cooked! #saywhat
But the truth is, with the three weeks of my meal train coming to end, it was bound to happen.  And with the lack of kosher food in our new home town, I've struggled with creating Shabbos day menus.  But, I got a little help from the weather!  It's been mighty mighty cold and snowy here-definitely not a typical winter!  And because of that, all I want to do is curl up, stay home, drink coffee, and eat warm soup. So, the crock pot it is!  

I tried out this recipe this past Shabbos when we had company, and I was blown away!  I was nervous truthfully-I was leaving out the fancy ingredients because I knew there was no way I would find them at my local grocery store, and some of the reviews had commented on the lack of taste.  

For starters I doubled the barley, and doubled+ the water.  However, it was way too much barley.  I would honestly either halve the barley and do the original recipe, or double and just do 1 cup total.  Next time I might add more mushrooms...I added some extra salt, pepper and I used chicken consomme and it was honestly so delicious, hearty and comforting.  I will definitely be making this again soon!  Maybe even a good weeknight meal if you add in some meat! 

In the coming weeks I'm most likely going to change up Monday Munchies to help me get a grip on my new task-weight loss!  I'm brainstorming now, but I hope it'll help me get organized, and hey, maybe you'll find a recipe or two you like! Maybe you'll even lose a pound, or ten #Ihavemanytenstolose 

Have a great week!
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