food + drinks sweet

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

March 28, 2017

There are just some flavor combinations that I’ll never get tired of and chocolate + peanut butter is definitely one of them!

I made these chocolate peanut butter chip cookies last week and let’s just say my self control has been put to the test with the container of them sitting in my kitchen ;) So here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies (adapted from Company’s Coming ‘Chocolate Drops’ recipe)
Makes 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips + some for top

Preheat the oven to 375°F

In a large mixing bowl cream margarine and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the egg until well combined

Stir in cocoa, milk and vanilla

In a separate bowl stir flour, baking power and salt together and then add to other mixture

Add peanut butter chips and mix well

Use a cookie scoop or drop by spoonful onto the cookie sheet. They will spread out a little bit, but mostly just puff up so they don’t need to be placed super far apart. But that also means the will stay generally the same shape as when they go in the oven. 

Lightly press peanut butter chips into the top of each cookie

Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on cookie sheet

This is the difference between cookie scoop and using a spoon to drop them on the cookie sheet. They bake the same just have a different look :) 

baby + family lifestyle

10 must-haves from newborn to three months

March 10, 2017

As I keep saying over and over again, Bash is four months old now! So obviously that makes me an expert in all things baby and parenting ;)

Sometimes I can’t wait to read these posts back in a few years and laugh at what I thought I knew at the time. But since I’m currently living it I’m just going to go with it. My future self will thank me (while laughing/rolling eyes probably).

Since having Bash I’ve had a few friends get pregnant with their first babies and so I see the usual posts on Facebook: “what are the essentials that we need to get?”. And then you see a million comments from everyone about what they think is really necessary.

I remember it well. You had the “babies just need food, diapers, and cuddles” people. Which is technically true, but not very reassuring to new parents who want to be prepared for this little person entering their lives.

And then you had the overwhelming people telling you about all the latest gadgets and things that you had to have.

If you’re very lucky you have some one in your life who you respect and share parenting styles with and you can just ask their advice instead.

But as I read some of the Facebook comments on my friend’s posts it made me think that the world needed yet another person’s opinion on the matter ;)

So here I am with my top 10 must-haves for newborn to 3 months!

  1. swaddler // they taught us at the hospital how to swaddle, but once we got home we realized we weren’t that great at it. Those nurses are magic! But lucky for us we had a swaddler with handy velcro on it that made it so much easier. Bash only used it for the first week because he would end up wriggling his arms out of it during the night so eventually we moved on to the sleepsack. But it made that first week of nights so much easier!
  2. sleepsacks // like I said, we moved onto the sleep sack pretty early but we still use it every night and it’s perfect! He stays warm, can’t kick off blankets, and we don’t have to be paranoid parents checking on him every 5 minutes to see if his blanket is suffocating him. I would suggest having 2 so you still have a clean one when the other needs to be washed.
  3. snot sucker + saline // this is disgusting, but it’s the one thing I always tell people they need if they ask. Maybe it’s the dryness of winter or just his little nose, but we still use this on him at least once a day and it works amazing. Even if you don’t end up using it as often as we do it can be a lifesaver for when you do need it. Just make sure you pick up some infant saline spray too.
  4. baby washcloths // I remember at my baby shower getting so.many.washcloths. I felt like every other gift I opened had some more in it. And now I am soooo happy about that. I just assumed you’d only use them at bath time, but nope. They are so handy for all sorts of messes throughout the day and a lot more convenient then using a whole receiving blanket to clean up every time.
  5. receiving blankets. Like 10+ // this one might seem obvious, but for some reason we only had one receiving blanket. One! So after washing it every day we went and bought a 4 pack of them… and then a couple weeks later we bought another 4 pack. And I’m pretty sure a month later we bought another pack. There are days when we go through 1 or 2 and then there are days when4 or 5 are dirty before noon.
  6. baby stain remover // I didn’t think clothes would stain so much so fast, but they do. So save yourself from throwing away too many onesies and grab some stain remover stat.
  7. nursing tanks (if you’re breastfeeding) // I lived in these. Strike that… I still live in these. They’re affordable, can go under anything, and makes feeding anywhere was easier. But I can’t wait for the day when I get to toss them in the back of the closet and wear real clothes again #honestmotherhood
  8. scratch mittens // We had one pair and I never gave it a second thought. That is until we realized that baby nails are like razor blades and cutting newborn nails is terrifying. And if a first-time parent can successfully cut their newborn’s nails then they have my respect forever. But if you’re like me then having your baby live in scratch mitts for the first 1-2 months is a way better solution. We stopped using them around 3 months and now I can proudly say that I can cut Bash’s nails without any fear. But for those first few months they’re a lifesaver. I use these now and have never drawn blood or cut to close. (Side note: how do baby nails grow so fast?!)
  9. bottle starter pack + sterilizer // I almost didn’t put this one on because we haven’t used either in probably at least a month and a half. But even though I’m only breastfeeding we were giving him bottles in the first month to keep track of how much he was eating, and would use the sterilizer for the bottles and pump parts every day. If you aren’t breastfeeding then you will definitely be using those bottles and sterilizer all day long too.
  10. freezer meals // The month before he was born I spent a couple of days just making freezer meals. I filled our little apartment size freezer to the top and am so glad I did. Otherwise I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have eaten real meals those first few months.

Bonus: we aren’t the parenting-book types of people, but friends of ours gave us one early on that turned out to be so helpful: The Wonder Weeks.

It explains when your baby is going to go through a “leap” of learning something new which almost always comes with a few days of a fussy, cranky-pants baby. We didn’t read much of it until we were through the first couple of growth spurts and then as we were catching up we had so many “ohhhh, that’s why he was like that” moments.

It helps understand why your baby, who was so happy yesterday, suddenly can’t be pleased. For us it makes it so much easier to get through those rough days when you understand why baby is being like that, and to know that it’s going to pass sooner than you think.

I also appreciate that I only have to read a chapter ever few weeks or months. Because who has the time for more than that?

Obviously there’s a bunch of other things you need for a new baby – car seat (can’t leave the hospital without it!), stroller, diapers, crib or bassinet, clothes, formula if you’re going that way. But the above are the “extras” that we found super helpful for us as new parents.

PS This post is not sponsored by Kushies, but if you happen to go to some of the links above that lead to their online store then you can use coupon code TLT25 for 25% off your purchase! Yay for good deals :) 

I also wanted to include some things we thought we needed, but definitely didn’t:

  1. swing // so many people swore by the swing, but we hardly used it. Bash would nap in it sometimes, but most of the time we cuddled him because come on, sleepy newborn cuddles are the best. Even now he doesn’t like sitting in it for too long. So maybe borrow one from a friend to see if your baby likes it before shelling out the cash for one.
  2. soothers // I had a few different kinds on my registry because I was told that sometimes it takes trying a bunch to find out which kind you baby will like. Turns out my baby doesn’t really like any. He will take NUK ones now if he’s really drowsy and we’re trying to get him to sleep, but even then he usually spits it out as soon as we let go. I’m not saying don’t get soothers (they may work like a charm for your babe!), but I don’t think we needed to “try out” 4 different kinds.
  3. breastfeeding pillow // I know a lot of people would probably argue that this one is a must-have, which is why we bought one before Bash was born. But mine was used by everyone but me. When Bash was a newborn it was good for other people holding him who needed some extra support, but I probably only used it a handful of time for feeding. And even then it was only because I felt like I had to since we spent $30-40 on it.
  4. baby powder // Why do we have a giant bottle of this? I have no idea why we bought it, but it lives in the bottom of the change table never to be used.

Every baby, parent, and family is different, but these are just a few things that worked for us!

What are some things that would be on your must-have list?

lifestyle

Whole 30 [round 2]

March 5, 2017

Last January I shocked myself by successfully completing my first Whole 30 (check out my thoughts on that here), and ever since then I said I wanted to do another one.

Well, a year went by and I still hadn’t done it again. That is until a friend wanted to try it herself and she gave me the accountability push that I needed to get going. Yay friends! You can check out her thoughts on her first Whole 30 on her blog, This Busy Life.

If you want to learn what Whole 30 is all about I would suggest heading over to the official website and doing some reading. There’s a lot of info and helpful resources there to get you going.

Having already done it once I had some preconceived ideas of how this one would go, and I have to say I was pretty wrong on most things. I thought that I would have pretty much the exact same experience the second time around, but that wasn’t the case.

The biggest thing this time was my complete lifestyle change since last year – aka, having no baby and all the time in the world to having a 4 month old who requires all the time in the world. Who knew ;P

So here’s my breakdown and take aways for my Whole 30 round 2:

The beginning

Last time the first week was by far the hardest for me. I had to learn to cook different things, meal plan for every meal, and buy groceries a lot more often than I was used to. And those first few grocery shopping trips were pretty painful reading every.single.ingredient on things before adding them to my cart.

This time I knew that those things would happen so I was a lot more prepared going in to it. I knew what brands of things I could and couldn’t buy (I still checked labels, but I could skip over a lot of things that I knew weren’t compatible) and I stuck to a lot more fresh vegetables to keep things simple.

I didn’t have a crash or cravings this time around. Things were good.

The middle

At this point the first time around I was in my groove. Meals were easier to make, food was easier to buy, and I was feeling good about myself and that I’d come this far. Go me!

I had a few cravings for sweets after meals, but I fixed that by adding some fruit to my meals and drinking apple cider or tea in the evenings.

This time was a bit of a different story. Even though I had meals planned and the right food in the house the one thing I didn’t figure in was time to actually make said meals.

I almost always had a good breakfast (eggs and some kind of veggie breakfast skilled was my go-to) so that was great, but lunch didn’t happen a lot of the time (unless you count handfuls of almonds as lunch..), and then dinner came after I got Bash to bed at 7pm. So there were a lot of days where I pretty much just didn’t eat all day. Not so good.

When I was at the grocery store I would look for Lara bars (there are some that are compliant), but I never found any until the last week. Which might actually be a good thing because I probably would’ve ate way too many.

I also had way more cravings this time around. As in I craved off-limit foods a lot of the time. Maybe it’s because I was hungrier this time around from my lack of having full meals 3 times a day.

The end

By the last week last year I was feeling amazing! Not only physically, but mentally too. I was so proud of myself that I had actually stayed true to this and could see/feel things change in me for the better.

As I hit the last day I didn’t even want to stop. I wasn’t desperate for sweets and snacks and all that food that I had been without for the past 30 days. It was amazing.

I didn’t get to do re-introduction week because we left for a Cuban vacation the next day so I was really looking forward to that this time around…

Yeah, that didn’t happen. *insert eye roll emoji* oops.

The last week this time was the hardest for me. There were a few times where I was close to just giving in and eating something non-compliant so it was a good thing I had someone to be accountable to this time! If it wasn’t for her I definitely wouldn’t have made it through.

But I’m happy to say I stuck to it and completed it!

But by the time day 30 hit I was tired. Tired of cooking, tired of not eating because I didn’t have time to make things, and tired of watching people around me eat donuts (seriously, it happened three times in my own living room while I was doing this).

Final thoughts

Looking back over the month I have to say that I am really glad I did it again. Last time I had a lot more physical changes (more energy, healthier skin, flatter stomach) that for some reason this time around didn’t really happen.

I did lose 7lbs thought which brought me a few pounds below my pre-baby weight so that was awesome to see!

Would I do it a third time? Probably not. However, doing it again has reset my thinking about food again and made me want to keep eating cleaner and healthier.

It’s reminded me that cooking doesn’t have to suck, vegetables can taste really good without loads of butter or cheese sauce on them, and getting full on good foods feels so much better than feeling full on not-so-healthy foods.

Oh, and because I’m all about budgets and where every penny we spend goes, I was really surprised to see that this time I actually spent about $100 less than I usually do in a month’s worth of groceries. Bonus!

baby + family lifestyle

17 weeks and 2 days later

March 3, 2017

Four months and 2 days ago my world as I knew it changed.

Little Bash made his appearance into our life and ever since then we have been learning all about each other and what life looks like from here on out.

In some ways it’s turned upside-down-can-barely-recognize-it-anymore and in other ways it feels like it’s hardly changed at all.

Tonight, for example, is the first time in 17 weeks that I have had a few solid, uninterrupted hours all to myself. Matt is working late and by some miracle Bash went to bed easily and didn’t have his usual 2-3 wakings.

I put him to bed, quietly snuck out of the room, and then just stood in the empty living room not knowing what to do with myself. Funny how you spend so much time thinking that there’s no free time to do anything and then when you finally have that precious time you don’t know what to do with it. Oh, life.

So I made a decision. I wasn’t going to work and I wasn’t going to tidy or clean the house. With the exception of some laundry because we are all out of clean clothes and have places to be in the morning #responsiblemom

Instead I made myself a cup of tea.

I came back to this blog of mine that has been sadly neglected and that I’ve missed oh-so-much.

I wrote some posts, browsed some favorite blogs of mine, and started some lists (because list making rank as one of my favorite things).

I stayed off Instagram.

And then I went and checked on the baby because 2 hours later he still hadn’t made a sound and the good old “is he still alive?” thoughts crossed my mine. Luckily my creeping in and putting my hand on his chest to check for breathing was enough to ease my worries and not wake him up.

Tonight was the first night that I saw a glimmer of what the next phase of life might look like. Maybe I will be able to intertwine some old-life things into this new-life soon. Maybe those moments of free time will slowly extend – and maybe they won’t. But one thing is guaranteed… I will still use some of that precisou time to sneak back into his room and watch that little face sleep.

some lovely things for...

Some Lovely Things For March

March 3, 2017

Oh hey, would you look at that… it’s already March! Can someone please tell me where February went? K thanks.

I have about a billion ideas in my head of posts I want to write and things I want to photograph for the blog, but free time hasn’t been on my side (hi, Bash!).

Not complaining because I’m loving life where it’s at right now, but I’m also looking forward to the days where I can get back into this on a regular basis again.

In the meantime here are some lovely things I’ve found around the internet lately…

this post (that really hit home) // and this Instagram account (that I adore)

this delicious brava recipe (that taught me what brava was) // and these salty brownie cookies (that are for Christmas, but I don’t discriminate) // and this clever way to roast a chicken (that I actually tried and loved)

this shelf/stand thing (that would solve all my plant stand needs) // and this DIY shower curtain idea (that I would ditch our boring shower curtain for in a second)