Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Munchies...

So I was all set to post another yummy Monday Munchies-but I realized I forgot to take a picture when I made it!  I know sometimes I post without a picture, but that's when I can easily link to a true picture online.  In this case, the recipe is off the bag of a kosher product, so I know there isn't a picture online.  So, I guess I'll just have to make these again so I can take a picture for you!

In the meantime, what are some tried and true recipes you're loving these days? Any family friendly recipes that are a crowd pleaser?  

I'll be back tomorrow, but you can always follow along on my Instagram

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Brightening oils

I think I might be looking for a unicorn, and if you can tell by the dust on these bottles, you'll know I've been searching for quite some time!  It all started a couple years ago when I went into Sephora during one of my OB/GYN trips. The lady working in the skin section recommended to me a product called  Rescue Oil.  I had never used an oil, but I figured if I had oily skin, of course a product made of oil would surely wreak havoc on my skin.  She assured me everyone who tried it swore by it and I've since learned that oil can be very nourishing and has many benefits. In fact, it's helped my skin tremendously. 

This  Rescue Oil by NUDE quickly became my favorite product.  It was gentle on my skin, as it's all natural.  It helped even out my skin tone, provide total hydration, which also then helped combat breakouts.  It was absorbed quickly and never left any residue on the pillow. And best of all, I didn't have to worry about using it while pregnant or breastfeeding because it was all natural.  According to their website, this is, "an ultra-sheer, skin saving oil that revives and smooths skin texture with powerful antioxidant protection...treatment Rescue Oil is all-natural and vegan."  Unfortunately, they pulled out of Sephora and eventually the United States and I haven't been able to buy it since. Writing on Facebook walls, trying to buy internationally, Amazon, have all left me empty handed.  

This Caudalie set was a Sephora birthday gift last year.  I didn't fall in love with these products, although there are plenty of people that do.  The Vinoperfect is said to be, "a highly concentrated, oil-free serum that improves the appearance of dark spots, promotes even skin tone, and boosts radiance."  Personally, I didn't notice any effects from this product.  I don't have many dark spots since I stay out of the sun, and I didn't feel like my skin tone improved.  I used the serum in conjunction with the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet which is supposed to, "intensely moisturize and calm dehydrated, irritated skin...and be a solution for dryness, dullness and uneven texture, and fine lines and wrinkles."  I did not feel that these products helped combat dryness-I did not feel particularly moisturized, and I didn't notice any improvement in my skin texture, so I can't say that it helped improve my texture, or fine lines and wrinkles. I didn't notice any ill-effects of this product, and it smells heavenly, but I just not see any difference while using these products. 

I also tried this Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil.  I was told it would help shrink the appearance of my pores and help with skin texture.  On Sephora's website, it says, "a powerful brightening oil infused with real rose petals and boosted with super C to increase skin's absorption of vitamin C by up to 1,000 for dullness and uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and dryness."  For some time, I noticed an appearance of smaller pores, but by the end of the bottle, I was not convinced it did anything other than maybe give the appearance of smaller pores when I was actually wearing it.  I had actually thrown this almost empty bottle away, but I made my way into Sephora later that day and someone there suggested a new way to use it, so, I went home and dug it out of the trash!  I'll have to report back on that one, but so far I'm loving it.  However, applied as a topical oil, it didn't deliver.  

The last product I tried, was this Good Genes by Sunday Riley.  I was assured this was the next miraculous product I was looking for! It claims to be, "a clarifying, line smoothing  lactic acid treatment...a solution for dullness and uneven texture, dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles."  First of all, this product has a very strong, unpleasant odor and it can burn upon application.  I did feel that the appearance of my pores was reduced when I used it, but again, I did not feel it delivered in improving my skin tone, and if anything, it was drying.  I will say that because I was in the midst of fertility treatments, I wasn't able to use the product recommended to be used in conjunction with this.  The Luna Sleeping Night Oil is the sister product to this, but it contains an ingredient that is not recommended during pregnancy.  So, this product alone was also not what I was looking for, or, this product overall just did not deliver for me.  

So, there you have it: my reviews on a few hot serums and oil that promise to deliver.  I have yet to find my unicorn...but I'm always trying new products, so stick around as I continue to try them out and review them here!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Monday Munchies...

Hi Guys!  Happy Monday! 

I have a fabulous recipe to share with you today-if you only try one recipe from Monday Munchies,  this is the one!  

I can't be the only one that dreams of underbaked Duncan Hines brownies!  You know what I mean-setting the timer for a few minutes less hoping for that gooey under baked middle with a crispy top?  Not only do these taste better than Dunkan Hines, these are actually meant to end up gooey.  I also want to add that adding chocolate chips will add too much gooey-ness, so leave those for a different, less perfect recipe!

You can find the recipe for Best Fudgy Cocoa Brownies here, and you definitely don't have to wait until the end of the week to make these!  


Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Munchies...

With the upcoming holiday of Purim this week, I want to direct your attention to this week's Monday Munchies...a throwback to a fabulous hamentaschen recipe. It also happens to be my Bubby's recipe.  I also included some ideas of filling.  This year, I'm filling with apricot, raspberry and apple pie.  Those are definitely staple flavors in our house.  

Now back to mine currently baking in the oven...what flavor hamentaschen do you prefer?

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!  

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