Pregnancy Thoughts

Feb 25, 2015

It never fails that when you have a new beginning about to start, you think about the end. In the most non-morbid way possible. The other day I was getting the kids lunch, I grabbed three plates, three cups, three spoons. Sliced two apples and divided their parts evenly. Grabbed some chicken to cut up, and threw some snap peas and dip onto the plates. As I was doing this I couldn't help but think...soon I will be doing this for four. Everything is going to increase by one, which is so exciting but also kind of intimidating when you happen to be just one human being yourself. Of course pregnancy thoughts just can't leave it there. The mind just had to spiral out of control. It takes a twist into will I be able to give them all the attention they need? I mean Pierce and Avalon seem to be okay and they didn't receive the kind of attention Ace did. Will I be able to make sure that each and every one of them gets the right about of hugs and kisses a day? Will the number of books we read be significantly decreased (probably)? Will they all get bathed? Or will I have the smelly kids on the playground? How exactly does one break up a knock down drag out fight while breastfeeding? And down the rabbit hole we go...

I remember when I was pregnant with Pierce I had so much doubt, worry and guilt during that pregnancy. I kept thinking, how is Ace going to feel? We didn't ask him if he wanted a sibling, and a sibling so close in age nonetheless. I was so emotional towards the end of that pregnancy because I felt like I had to soak in so much with Ace. Take every picture. Keep him in our bed longer. Cuddle at every chance we got. I was actually pretty happy that Chris was away at OCS during this time because it was just Ace and I. We spent that last month of pregnancy just the two of us. Going to the hospital to have Pierce was so nerve wrecking. Not only was I about to have a baby without my husband, but it was the first time I had ever left Ace. Panic attack while my water was leaking was quite the double whammy. We went from the two of us to the three of us. I found a lot of confidence in myself and my parenting for keeping these two little boys alive for two months until Chris came home. All the doubts I had went away, and honestly they had no choice. 

All these same thoughts came on with Avalon. As excited as I was to be having another baby, I was anxious. I just didn't know how I was going to take care of three under three. They say it takes a village, well my village happens to live in the lower 48. I am so grateful that my mom stops everything to come up here and help out those first weeks of bringing home a new baby. But, I am human after all, worry creeps in. 

So here we are, counting down the weeks until baby girl gets here. We still have nothing setup. Which is quite normal for us. We excel at procrastination! I have no doubt that everything will fall into place as it has in the past, and the love and excitement of bringing home another baby will cloud any of the foolish thoughts hormones can bring about. Until then I shall soak up every crazy minute with these three, who never fail to make me want to rip out my hair while simultaneously making my heart explode! 

Currently Craving

Feb 24, 2015

Hand me a tee shirt and a great pairs of jeans, okay and maybe a pair of heels, and I am one happy girl. Denim is one of my true weaknesses. I will spend a pretty penny on a pair of jeans that I really love. It may all stem from my days of growing up on a ranch and breaking in a new pair of Wranglers every few months. Yes, that was the denim brand of choice for showing horses. But they were a raw denim and they lasted for-ev-er! It didn't matter how many times you had been thrown from a horse, they never tore. So now a days I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest denim. Truth be told I will buy denim anywhere if I like the fit. But splurging on classic pairs is more of an investment because they will last. 

Here are some of the denim trends that I am so giddy over. Never mind the fact that I have yet to give birth, but that time will come and I will be so excited to get back into some or old. 

Distressed denim is not going anywhere, so whether you take scissors to an old pair of skinnys, or you buy some, you can't go wrong. The more rips the better! 

Patchwork denim is also on the rise. So many brand are bringing out patchwork jeans, dresses, shirts, you name it put a patch on it. 

Relaxed jeans are probably the number one addition I want to make to my closet. Even though Chris won't be thrilled about "the saggy butt" look, I love them. A relaxed cropped jean with a pair of pumps, or pointed toe flats!! Sign me up!

Fitted Boyfriend jeans are the update on the boyfriend trend. Still a relaxed fit through the thigh, but skinny towards the bottom. They will give your leg a leaner look, which for me is great because I am no where near tall. 

Skinny jeans will always be a staple. They are one jean that I would recommend making that investment in because they will always be a great pair no matter what season. Sandals and heels in the summer, and over the knee boots in the winter. These AG Jeans are my very fav, can't wait to be able to wear them again!

Flares!! I mean did they ever go out of style? In my mind, no. They are every short girls dream come true. But for my vertically blessed people, they throw your legs into super model territory. I have a stockier build, so flares streamline my leg, and when thrown on with a chunky clog (also a huge favorite for spring) I look like I actually have legs on me!

Denim skirts. Love them or hate them you will see them around soon. I obviously happen to love them. A pencil skirt is kind of like a flare for my lower to the ground folks. The higher fitted waist gives the appearance of a longer leg. And if you are holding onto some mid-section pregnancy weight like I will be, the higher waist and longer hemline will just elongate everything. 

Do you have a favorite denim? I am on the hunt to add to my collection!

Below I linked to all my favs for every price point:

life lessons learned from potty training

Feb 23, 2015

I think, operative word being think, that we have two completely potty trained children in this house. No one is more shocked than I! Just like everything with kids, the experience was completely different from Ace to Pierce. Like night and day. Even though the end game was the same, they went about it all differently. Tricks that worked with Ace were laughable with Pierce. Pierce caught onto somethings faster than Ace, and took his incredibly sweet time with others. 
With Ace I tried our first round of potty training waaay too early. I listened to people around me, family, friends, moms at playgroup, talking about how they potty trained their son at 18 months, up hill in eight feet of snow, and it only took four hours. I mean it was kind of ridiculous, but I was 22 and so I thought, "I have failed already, here is Ace, 20 months old and not potty trained". So we tried, and failed. He wasn't interested at all. He was frustrated, I was frustrated, so we gave up. Pierce was born, we moved to Georgia and once we got settled in we tried again. This time he caught on with the peeing pretty quick. I gave him stickers as rewards and we had a good thing going. Until that is....we made the incredibly long road trip to Alaska and the potty training was no more. So, we tried again a few months later. And then I heard some sound advice from a friend "boys are not truly potty trained until they are three". I found so much comfort in this statement, it took all the pressure off. So we went slow and steady with Ace, I followed his lead. Some days were good, some days I was up to my elbows in pee. Right around the time he turned three he started pooping on the potty. He hated the idea of those little potties on the floor, they just grossed him out (and me too). He would only go on the big potty. Which was a blessing, just flush and we are done. It was a struggle to get him to poop on the potty, he was just uncomfortable about the idea. Then one day we just set up camp in the downstairs bathroom and he literally sat on the toilet for three hours until it happened, and that was that. The kid never looked back. A few months later he went to preschool and the rest is toilet history. 

Then there is Pierce. I refused to even entertain the idea of potty training him until he turned three. I didn't even bring up underwear or pull-ups, nothing. And he was never interested. Then out of nowhere, a couple days before his third birthday he asked to sit on Ace's potty. I was kind of shocked, but let him do it. Sure enough he peed right away. I didn't think "oh my god he is going to potty train so fast", I actually thought, ya that was all luck. But we went to Target, he picked out a little potty and some underwear, and we started slow....again. This time treats did nothing. I would tell him, you get m&m's if you make it to the potty. He was like, ya, so who cares? He would just pee. If he was playing and I didn't stop to ask him every 15 seconds if he had to pee, he would just pee. He would pick a random time, like in the middle of the night to tell me he had to go potty. I tried the "keep him naked" approach, ya gross! He would pee in a corner, pee on the couch, pee on the floor of the bathroom. I was loosing my damn mind with the cleaning of pee. Weeks went by, months went by, and the potty was hit or miss. I did more loads of laundry with underwear in them than anything else. It was ridiculous. I would tell Chris "he will just be that kid on the playground that pees himself". I was okay with it. Then all of a sudden I introduced the standing up and peeing thing, he loved it! Changed man. He would do it all the time. Clearly the pulling down the pants, and sitting thing was just too much effort. He was a champ at the stand method. Still no rewards needed, just a pat on the butt and a good game is all he needed. Pooping, a different story. He was happily pooping in his pants or pull up. Wouldn't tell anyone, he would just do it and then attempt to get rid of the evidence in the bathroom. At this point I just wanted to melon ball my eyes out. I couldn't walk into that bathroom and witness another poop crime scene. It was all too much. I was pregnant, I was tired, and I was nauseous. But, we kept trying. I had signed him up for preschool with Ace but they have to be 100% potty trained before they can go. So we ate that registration fee. The time had come and gone, and no luck. Then one day I got desperate and told Pierce he could take his iPad to the potty with him and watch a movie till he poops. He was in there for-ev-er!!! After about an hour he yelled "MOM I POOPED COME SEE". Sure enough it worked. After that he would tell me he had to go and that he wanted his iPad. This has seemed to worked. It is all good unless he has to poop right before Ace needs to go to school and then the house turns into a shit show of everyone just yelling out the word poop! 

But, here we are. Now I am no expert in the matter. Well I am no expert in really anything. But we are on the other end of that parental milestone. There are a few things I learned:

-There is NO rush. Your child will be potty trained eventually. 
-Do not listen to anyone who only has one child and never tried potty training. Steer clear of these people!
-Try all different methods. Sing, dance, watch movies, read books, as gross as it sounds, eat in the bathroom if you have to. Something will stick.
-You are not a failure if it takes your kid months to potty train, instead of hours or days. Moms like to brag about that kind of stuff, and that is all good in their hood, but it may not work for you. 
-Don't be afraid to press pause and start again. No one says it is a one and done kind of deal. Try try try again. 
-Follow the lead of your child. Give guidance and praise, but you can't read their mind. 
-Drink! When you go buy those new packs of undies, stock up on some wine. (unless you're gestating of course). 
-When all else fails, tell your husband he is up. Maybe he can get through to him. 

Side note: I have only potty trained boys. Check back in about a year and I will tell you how it goes with Avalon.

50 Shades

Feb 19, 2015

sweater: forever 21 (wearing a medium) // jeans: zara non-maternity (similar) // beanie: target
shoes: see by chloe (cream sold out, navy here, and brown here) // clutch: zara 
necklace: banana republic

Okay maybe not 50 shades, but five shades of tan. I love the variations of neutrals in an outfit. Whether that is mixing shades of grey and black, or tans and creams. It all just works so well! And this sweater and jeans is on heavy repeat. These jeans were pre-pregnancy boyfriend jeans, that have now morphed into a skinny jean. But the fact that they still fit boggles my mind, so I continue to wear them for the sheer fact that they possess some kind of maternity magic. 

And do I really need to go into it with these boots!!! Why yes, yes I do. I love them. I love that they are so comfortable and so chic. Even at 35 weeks pregnant I was able to keep them on the whole day, with zero soreness to speak of. This pregnancy has flown by so fast that I haven't really stopped to think about what week I am in until someone mentions it to me. Or my doctors office calls me to remind me that I cannot, don't even think about it Kelsey, you are notorious for changing your appointments, but we need to do one last ultrasound. I hear ya loud and clear! Worst pregnant lady award goes to me! Seriously the whole office laughs at me when I say things like, "listen can't I just call you when I'm in labor? These appointments all the time are no bueno with three kids." But only a few more to go until we meet this little girl. It's bittersweet, I love being pregnant and I will surely miss this belly. But we are so excited. Like so excited!! And I might be a little happy to have the majority of my closet back. 

Happy Friday Friends!!!

shop the look:

Winter Skin with Mustela + a Giveaway!!!

I have talked about my skin care routine so many times, and I'm pretty sure my obsession with moisturizing has been well documented on this here blog. But that obsession doesn't end with extends to each and every one of my children, and occasionally Chris. The kiddos are pretty well trained in the area of mom lathering them up at any given moment. They have realized that there is no need to fight the "goopy stuff" as they call it. And in the winter it is even more of a priority for me to keep their dry skin at bay. Insert Mustela products. I mentioned in my baby must haves post how much I love their newborn gift set, but all of their products are amazing and staples in this kiddo crazed house of mine. 
I was recently introduced to their Dermo-Pediatrics products and I really can't put into words how amazing they are. Pierce is my only kid with really dry skin, and at times he will get a break out of dry patches leading his pediatrician to throw out the word eczema a time or two. We have always treated his dry skin with an over the counter intense moisturizing lotion. Each and every one we have tried has helped, but never really cleared up the dry area completely. The driest areas are on his inner thighs and the back of his legs, where his pants are constantly rubbing while he is playing. By the end of the night his dry spots will be red and tender. I started using the Stelatopia lotion on him morning and night and keeping breathable cotton pants on him. In just a week we saw a dramatic difference in his dry spots. Not to mention he has a thumb sucking habit so his thumb is dry as well. Putting lotion on there has helped and bonus, he refuses to put his thumb in his mouth once the lotion comes in contact. Score!! 
The other children are not to be forgotten, Ace loves the Hydra Stick since he can easily put it on his face by himself before he heads outside. He says it reminds him of "an armpit stick for his face" so he's got that goin for him! Avalon still has that soft baby skin that needs protection, so all of these products have been great for her as well. Not to mention they all smell so fresh and so clean clean. All of these products will be added to our Mustela line up, and I couldn't be happier. 

So.....drum roll please! Mustela has been ridiculously generous and offered to giveaway the Stelotopia Cream Cleanser, and Cream Moisturizer, and the Hyrda-Stick, to one lucky lucky reader (a $48 value)! Say what?? No really, I hope luck is on your side because these are unbelievable, you can trust me, I am a stay at home mom after all. So do your thing on the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

dining table decor

Feb 17, 2015

So over the weekend I settled...compromised...maybe even sacrificed. We bought a new dining room table. See here is the thing, we have needed a bigger one for quite some time, but the one I had and maybe still have my heart set on is at Pottery Barn. To ship that table to Alaska would be almost as much as the damn table....for shipping!!!! So the last two years I have just put it out of sight out of mind. Once I get my heart set on something I really have a hard time changing it. But our current table seats four. We are a family of five soon to be six, so it has been a game of musical chairs. Completely impractical! Chris has said so many times, just get a table up here and when we move we will figure out the one you want. I kept refusing because why would I need two dining room tables? My mom likes to shoot out comments when she comes to visit like "you know they make tables that seat six or more..." yes I know! So with baby coming in about 5 or 6 weeks (craziness!!!) I figured now is the time. I just have to find a table. 

A couple weeks ago I took the kids with me to scout out a few furniture stores (options are limited up here). Furniture shopping with three kids is just stupid! Every time I walked in somewhere the sales associates were like, I am not helping that crazy lady. I don't blame them. So this time Chris said, how about I drive you to each place, you jump out look at the tables and tell me whether or not I need to unload the animals. He knows me all too well, I am the fastest shopper ever. No loitering, I am in and out. I can see what I like from a mile away. So the first four stores were a no go. We grabbed some lunch for the kids and headed to the last store, I had pretty much lost hope and was trying to prepare Chris for the "maybe we should just eat on the floor" speech. But sure enough the last store had not one but TWO options that I liked. I took some pictures and sent them to Chris, he said just buy whatever you want Pierce and Avalon are asleep. And I did! 

The table will be delivered this week, and I have spent the better part of the last two days pinning images on how I want to decorate this baby. It may seem so inconsequential, but this is huge for me. My house does not reflect my design aesthetic what so ever. We have furniture that we bought on a whim when we were 19. Some furniture is stored in the basement because it doesn't fit. The only rooms I have actually put any thought and effort into are the bedrooms. Other than that.....nothing. So I am starting here, with the table. 
I love this farmhouse table look. Simple and chic!

I know realistically the more simple and minimal the table is, the less temptation there will be for the quick handed bandits that are my children.

Candles are my jam! If there is one thing I have an abundance of around the house it is candles. So I am leaning very much towards lots of candle holders.
Can't go wrong with a little floral and candle mixture as well. Fake flowers of course because Pierce has a thing for murdering fresh flowers. 

So that is what is swirling around in my head. I wish so badly that we had a HomeGoods, or TJ Maxx up here so I could find some reasonably priced decor. But Target will always be a lifesaver, and we have a Pier 1 so that is where I am headed the next time I can sneak out of the house...alone!

How do you decorate with little kids in the house? Where is your favorite place to find decor? 

Layered Love

Feb 16, 2015

leopard coat: marciano (old similar here) // denim jacket: zara (loving this one) 
turtleneck: forever 21 // sweater: forever 21 // leggings: zella 
boots: stuart weitzman (similar pair for under $75 here)

You want to know the one place it is NOT snowing? Alaska! I am not even sure how it is possible that the east coast is getting overrun with snow, and we are sitting at a cool nothing. And look at me go, talking about the weather again. I'll stop! But really....Alaska my kids would have enjoyed some snow. What we are having is some pretty warm temps! But even as I get ready my brain automatically defaults to layers. Thin turtleneck on the bottom, sweater, staple denim jacket, and might as well grab that leopard fur.....juuuust in case. 

Living in Arizona and Georgia, there was no need to think about layering. But I actual have grown very fond of the habit. Multiple layers probably shouldn't be the formula when you already have a thick layer of baby going on, but I like different dimensions in an outfit. Something a little unexpected, yet still ties everything together! 

shop this outfit:

The Non-Diaper Bag, Diaper Bag

Feb 12, 2015

one // two // three  
four // five // six // seven 

To diaper bag or not to diaper bag...that is the question! I remember when I found out I was pregnant with Ace, the diaper bag was something I knew I wanted to pick out myself. Family and friends would always tell me about "the cutest diaper bag" they saw, and I was always very underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, there are some cute ones out there, and I feel like now even a short five years later they have come a long way. But I wanted something that would be able to transition from a true blue mom bag, to a staple piece in my wardrobe considering I would be carrying it around for a while. So with Ace I got a really cute tote found a diaper bag insert. The more kids I had the bigger the tote became. Now I am about one step away from a rolling backpack. But, I love that you can find an amazing bag, something that you know you will want to carry, and you will feel confident and stylish with. All while carrying a few handfuls of crumbs at the bottom....maybe a dirty diaper from an emergency blow out...a couple trains and cars...and possibly a lip gloss or two for yourself. 

Above are some of my favorite totes right now. Throw that insert in there and they are mom friendly. But should you be lucky enough to escape the death grip of your children for an overnight trip with your husband, rip that insert out and you have a cute overnight bag! 

What is your diaper bag situation? Do you have a favorite? I am all ears...or well eyes. 

And as if my weekend couldn't get any better since Chris has a four day, there are so many President's Day sales going on! 

Gap: Up to 50% off use code WINTER.
Old Navy: Entire store up to 50% off, plus and extra 20% off for mens and womens online!!
J Crew: 25% off with code CLOSETLOVE. 
J Crew Factory: 40-50% off everything, plus an extra 10% online with code LOTSTOLOVE.
Nordstrom: Clearance Sale up to 40% off. 
Loft: Up to 50% off new styles!

And to all those who celebrate Valentine's Day (we do not) I wrote a little post about the true meaning of the day right here. Complete with historical facts and everything....well...sort of .

Fighting Cabin Fever

Feb 10, 2015

I know what you're thinking, could this lady talk about anything else besides the weather? She does live in Alaska after all. And to that I would say, you are correct. But that doesn't make the winter any shorter, or an increase in activities magically appearing. The sun will come out in your bottom dollar! So for now I am stretching every creative bone in my body to keep these kids from burning down the house. And we all know I am not the most funtastic stretch baby stretch!
Masking tape racetrack anyone? If there is one thing that we are not short on in this house, it is cars. There are about three large baskets full of cars in the playroom. So I figured why not build a miniature racetrack that the kids can actually race on? Needless to say it was a hit! Grab a little masking tape and get to work. I got up early and made it for the boys so when they came down the stairs they would be singing my fun mom praises. I came, I saw, I conquered! 

Romantic Curls Tutorial

Feb 9, 2015

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, I thought I would share a date night look with you. I won't be partaking in a night out, but this is still one of my favorite ways to glam it up. This is also the way I did my hair for our Christmas pictures, and since I got a lot of questions on my hair, I thought now would be the perfect time to share!
I have found that this works best on one day old hair. Add some dry shampoo, grab some texturizing spray and a one inch curling iron, and let's do this. 

mama in heels

Feb 8, 2015

blazer: forever 21 (on sale!!) // tee: ohbabychic // jeans: gap maternity
heels: marciano (old similar here) // purse: tory burch (sold out but love this one
sunglasses: ray-ban 

Mama in heels on a Monday! Well actually it was more like a Saturday, but who's keeping track? I am sure most of you know the definition of insanity....doing something over and over again expecting different results. Let me clarify, I am insane! Four pregnancies, four bellies, four same amounts of weight gain, and still each time I think to myself....I can throw on a pair of heels to go out real quick. I mean after all I used to work 9-10 hours in heels (back in my younger days). The feet just can't hang like they used too. But nonetheless I give it the old stay at home mom try! And then I always put a pair of flats in the car. I am all about pre proper planning. 

But really how cute is this graphic tee? When it came in the mail Chris said, "could there be a more perfect tee for you?". I couldn't agree more baby daddy! It is indeed a maternity tee with the room and length for a belly in mind. OhBabyChic has so many other cute tees as well, and not just for expecting moms! But if you do happen to be pregnant might I suggest ordering a M/L to bump around in. And this is not a sponsored post, I really do love these tees! They are super affordable, and great quality. So there's that... 

How did the weekend treat you? I got some minor nesting projects done, as in, I threw out some old toys. Baby number four who? Just kidding we thrive off cutting things real close like, so install the carseat at 38 weeks? Pack hospital bag 38 weeks and 4 days? Consider it done!

friday verbiage + some links

Feb 5, 2015

Friday! My love! I am so happy we get to meet again, and that this week went by relatively fast. So throw your hands in the air, and wave them like you just got a free latte at Starbucks and a childless hour in Target! (none of which happened....but a mama can dream).
Complete random fact...but I am obsessed with having the fruit basket always full. It's an issue!

So, I have absolutely no idea what we are doing this weekend, but I hope some of it includes some baby prep. Maybe getting the changing table into our room? Possibly sitting and taking the tags off clothing so I can wash them eventually. And I would LOVE to do a huge closet clean out of my own. I have been pondering the thought of setting up an account on instagram and listing some things, to help free up some space, but I am not sure if there is much interest. Thought pondering shall continue!

If you are pregnant, have a newborn, or just want some mommy tips, check this article out!

And if you happen to be pregnant and your child asks you "how the baby got into your belly?" as my boys have done many times. I just leave them hanging, Kate tackled the conversation and I think I'll just use her method!

My good friend Laurie and her husband are some serious DIY guru's. Her post about the accent wall they did in their bathroom using pallets is insane! I want to just live in her house that she has transformed into a Pottery Barn showroom....for a fraction of the cost! 

So a couple weeks ago I was asked to do an interview about blogging for the diversity section of the website Smart Indian Women. You can read more here!

I posted a picture on instagram of this "mystery mascara" that I was sent by Sephora and Popsugar. They revealed the brand this week, and I am so excited about it. It is the Roller Lash Mascara by Benefit. It comes out on the 27th and I signed up for an email so that I can snatch up a few bottles. It is some serious business. I have been trying not to use the sample tube they gave me daily, in hopes that I can make it to the release date. You can sign up for an email here.

What else? What else?

Oh! So we don't celebrate Valentine's Day...that shouldn't really shock anyone. But if we did this cute little purse would be a nice gift. Maybe to wear with a red dress and these shoes! My non-pregnant self would rock it, and my pregnant self would be jealous.

And last but certainly not least, sales! Old Navy is having an amazing 50% off sale on all baby, kids, and maternity clothing! Gap is also doing 40% off all kids and baby, and 30% off all mens and womens denim!! I couldn't help but grab this little color blocked one-piece for the babe, this sweater for Avalon, and I always stock up on pajamas for the boys when they go on sale. Annnnd I snatched these jeans for myself, even though I have no idea when I will fit into them...but distressed denim is my weakness! 

What is going on with all of you? Tell me what you are loving around the inter webs this week!

Spring Fever

Feb 4, 2015

sweater: zara (sold out similar here and here)// jeans: zara non-maternity (old, identical here)
clutch: kate spade saturday// shoes: topshop // sunglasses: ray-ban
lipstick: estee lauder in melting sun  

I couldn't hold back any longer. I had to bring out some bright colors, and florals. I love my neutrals, and a monochromatic outfit will always be a key player in my closet. But with the cold, and a few more months of winter ahead of us here in Alaska, I am deciding to ignore the "seasonal dressing" and just dress for the thoughts in my head!

And can we say holy bump!!! 33 weeks...and we are inching our way to the end. I still have not a thing ready, but an entire room full of everything she could possibly need. It's funny how no matter how many times you do this you are constantly second guessing yourself. How many newborn onesies should I have? Is it really necessary for me to register at the hospital? Can't we just wing it this time? Oh I have to pack a bag too? Postpartum care essentials, what? 

Instead I will dream of spring, more sunshine, bbqs on the patio as a family of SIX, and a nice chilled glass of rose'. 

How are you fairing this winter?

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Healthy Homemade Dips and Dressings

Happy Wednesday you health enthusiasts! Since I got a few requests on the dressings and dips used from this post, I thought why not start there? I will also get some of those recipes together and post them. But, homemade dressings and dips are a great place to start if you are looking to cut calories, are doing whole30, or just wanting to cut some preservatives out of your diet. Not to mention, these are so easy to make, and dare I say taste better than the store bought versions. Who am I? Mom, if you're reading this I know that's what you're thinking!
Homemade Mayo! This is kind of like your starting point for many other dips. But it is also the most complicated depending on what method you use to make it. You can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. I have tried them all and the immersion blender is by far the fastest, easiest, and dummy proof way to make mayo.
1 whole egg
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 1/4 cup light olive oil 

How you add the ingredients will depend on the method you use. For an immersion blender just throw it all in, and pulse the mixture until you see it thicken from the bottom up. Just small slow bursts until it begins to get creamy, then you can just mix it. 

If you use a food processor, or blender you want to add in everything except the oil! Then you will pour the oil in very very slowly. You have to make sure it emulsifies. This will only happen if you have a slow steady pour going. It will take a little longer, but it will happen. 

Now, in the event that you fail (which means no emulsion happened), which I have done so many times with a blender, just keep the mixture and turn it into a Creamy Caesar Dressing.

Also, very important is the oil that you use. If you want to keep this healthy steer clear of vegetable oil, and canola oil. Stick to light olive oil or avocado oil. Extra virgin olive oil has way too strong of a taste. Take my word for won't like it. 

Creamy Caesar Dressing
1 whole egg
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
1 1/4 light olive oil 

Throw everything into a blender, food processor, or cup for your immersion blender, and mix it up. No need to pulse it, just blend that baby together!

Ranch dressing is another favorite around this house. The kids would probably dip everything into it. I did catch Avalon dipping her apple slices in ranch the other day, I didn't have the heart to stop her. Clearly she was going for a sweet and sour thing. This ranch has a more herb taste than a traditional since there is dill used. But you can substitute the dill for, parsley, or chives. 

1 egg 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 garlic clove
1/2 lemon- juiced
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 1/2 cup light olive oil 

You will use the same method as the mayo. Add in your egg, salt, onion powder, and garlic. Blend them together. Then ever so slowly drizzle in the olive oil. You want to get that same emulsion effect as the mayo. Once you have achieved that thick creamy consistency, turn off your blender and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Then add in the lemon juice and the dill. Stir it all together and start dipping! 

**since you are using a raw egg in all of these mixtures, they will only stay fresh in the fridge for 7 days! We use them all in about a week, but if you don't make sure you get rid of it. Once you make the mayo recipe the possibilities are endless (especially for you whole30 peeps). Egg salad, chicken salad, spread it on fish, add some dijon and use for a dipping sauce. I mean....the list goes on. 

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them. And if you fail on any of these or you hate the taste, just forgot that you visited this blog :) 

I'm a parental wuss

Feb 2, 2015

Last week was quite the parental eye-opener kind of week for me. Ace had a field trip to the natural history museum that I had signed him up for, without reading the fine print on the information sheet. See most of the time for his preschool field trips, all parents are invited, and siblings are usually welcome to join for an additional fee. Seeing as how I come as a packaged deal with my three, this has never been an issue. I usually just tag along and Pierce and Avalon and myself do our own thing while Ace gives his best effort in class participation. The week before this field trip there was a note on the board saying the "drop off time was 9:55" I thought drop off time? I asked Ace's teacher if parents weren't coming along, she assured me that there were a few parents that had signed up to be there, but siblings weren't included since the museum is so small. We have been to this place three or four times and it is quite tiny, like two rooms kind of itty bitty. I really didn't think much of it, but talked to Chris about how this would be the first time I have ever dropped Ace off anywhere. Yes, I take him to preschool, but the security protocols in place are quite comforting. The days leading up to the field trip I was having mild panic attacks, I couldn't possibly just drop him off. I mean, he is so little surely he would be looking for me. I thought, maybe I will just sit in the parking lot and wait for him. Is that too stalkerish? But I have a hard time letting go, as in a death grip on my children. They have never been left with anyone other than my mom. Yes, I am that parent...I am a paranoid freak when it comes to them.
So the night before the field trip Ace asked me "is the dinosaur museum in the morning?" I said "yes! are you so excited?". He said "yep are you and Piercey going to be there too?" I replied "no, but your teacher and other mommy's will be there". Ace looked terrified, he said "you're going to leave me there? but I don't want to go without you, I don't like strange people". I mean how could I not agree with that? I told him to sleep on it and we will see how he feels in the morning. I didn't sleep at all that night (I know...all over a field trip). I just kept thinking, what if Ace is really scared? In the morning we talked about it again, and Ace was pretty set on not wanting to go if I couldn't be there. I felt kind of bad. Was there something more I should have done? Is he missing out because I have always been too paranoid to loosen the reins? I text Chris about it and he said he would make sure to take just Ace back to the museum on the weekend so he doesn't feel left out. Ace loved the idea and ended up playing hooky at home and watched movies and played all day. He didn't bring up the museum at all, which was a relief since the thought of it all gave me heart palpitations. I called his teacher, and she just laughed, she said that sounded just like Ace. 

So from overprotected parent, to nervous Nancy. On Thursday of last week we had our parent teacher conference. This is also the day you find out just how you are doing as a parent. Last year I was nervous as well seeing as it was my first meeting of this kind. But all went well. Ace has really opened up at school this year, and the turtle has poked his head out of his shell a little more. He acts the complete opposite at school than at home, which I guess is considered good, at least for his teachers sake. When I went in his teacher showed me all the progress he has made with his name, and numbers, and letters. I was impressed. She gave me some of the projects they have worked on, and a schedule of the things they had planned for the next few months. Then it was time for the social evaluation. It seems as though Ace plays well with other children as long as they are males. He prefers not to be around the girls in his class at all, saying "can't this be an all boys school?". He also has a very hard time asking for help. He will wait until his teacher asks if he needs something, instead of just asking himself. Not such a bad thing, but something I could have expected seeing as how I do everything for the child. As much independence as I think I give him, clearly he can handle more. Even little things like opening his own juice box, or picking up his own mail at the end of the day. All in all he got the green light for kindergarten next year, and then my heart fell into my butt! 

This parenting just never know how you will react to things until you are put in the situation. You may have always thought you would be a certain type of parent, but when it comes down to it you act like a different person. I would consider myself incredibly independent, and somewhat fearless to a certain extent. But with my kids, just about everything makes me anxious. After last week I had to think that I only gained a sense of independence from the way my parents parented me. My mom was always adamant about not doing things for us that we could do for ourselves. It gave me a lot of food for thought....

Winter Layers

Feb 1, 2015

coat: asos (old, similar) // blazer: vintage (similar) // sweater: forever 21 (ordered one size up)
jeans: gap maternity (non-maternity version)// shoes: converse// sunglasses: ray-ban

What up February!!! Can we skip all this crazy cold temp nonsense and get around to some 20 degrees please? Every morning when I wake up I dread looking at my phone to see how cold it is outside. Most of the time it just says 0.....and I want to pull the covers over my head. The glass isn't all empty I guess, we are gaining a couple minutes of sunlight everyday, which makes me and my seasonal depression/cabin fever extremely happy! I am still on the "not much maternity" clothes buying streak. We are rounding the homestretch so I see no point in buying pregnant clothing, even though they maaaay just fit a little better. But I have come this far, I am committed! This is by far the biggest my stomach has ever been (fourth babies will do that to you). I find myself seeing clothes in my closet that I KNOW fit me well into the last couple weeks of pregnancy with Avalon, and are just not cutting it this time around. Fret not my friends, the belly and I shall persevere! 

As one does in winter, you must layer! I love a blazer layered under a coat for that little unexpected hint of structure. Especially when the star of the show is this leopard print number! Pair it with a pair of crisp white chucks, and you have a match made in mom outfit heaven! 

I hope you all had a fun weekend, I heard there was a football game on. But I know nothing of that sort of thing. 

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