Friday, February 26, 2016

GB Lyfe Travel System Stroller- Baby Registry Must Have!


This post was sponsored by @GBChildUsa as part of a Blog Blast Activation for Influence Central.

GB Lyfe Travel System Stroller



As many of you know, we are expecting our 2nd baby in about 8 weeks! She will be here so soon, it is crazy. We have been really excited & as we approach the big day people have been asking us what baby items we still need so I decided to put together a registry.

We do still have a lot of things from when we had David, but we are lacking a few necessities (i.e. bottles, binkies, blankets, diapers, etc)

Today I wanted to elaborate on the stroller we have been eyeing for the past little while.

Recently I've heard a lot of great things about the GB Lyfe Travel System Stroller. I fell in love with it when I saw that it offered 4 different seating styles for your baby. It can be used as a pram (baby carriage) for newborns, it comes with a car seat that fits right into the stroller (no extra attachments needed) and when your baby is old enough they can sit in it like a normal stroller. Plus it has forward facing & rear facing options too which is something a lot of strollers don't have.

GB Lyfe Travel System Stroller
GB Lyfe Travel System Stroller


Honestly, the stroller we used for David was great, but it really wasn't newborn friendly unless I wanted to spend tons extra for a car seat attachment & then also buy a car seat that would fit into it. So already just looking at the fact that the GB Lyfe stroller has all that included, it is a great deal.

The GB Lyfe Travel System is available at Babies 'R' Us. Click this link for more information: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=70014966&cp=&parentPage=search 

Also, there is going to be an #EnjoyLyfe Twitter Party on March 9th, 2016 from 1-2ET hosted by @MomCentral that you don't want to miss. They will be talking about how busy our lives as mothers can get & how the GB Lyfe Travel System can make things easier (which makes both mom & baby happier, right?). Plus 2 pre-party winners & 6 party winners will get a $50 Babies 'R' Us gift card and 1 grand prize winner will actually get the GB Lyfe Travel System. So it's definitely not a party to miss out on!

Again that is: #EnjoyLyfe Twitter Party, March 9th, 1-2 ET

@MomCentral will be moderating, and @GBChildUSA will be participating. The party hashtag is #EnjoyLyfe

I will send out a reminder of the twitter party on my twitter account so you don't miss out on the fun =) If this stroller sounds like a good fit for you, please add it to your registry, like I did!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

If you bring a toddler to the store..

Have you ever read the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, then you might get a kick out of the version I made up to illustrate how difficult it is to take your toddler to the store! Enjoy! lol

If you bring a toddler to the store (to the tune of if you give a mouse a cookie) parenting humor


If you bring a toddler to the store, he will ask to walk around.

If you let him walk around, he will probably lead you to the chip & candy aisle.

Once he's there, he will see tons of delicious things & realize he has no where to put them sooo he will most likely ask for your shopping cart to hold everything..


If you bring a toddler to the store (to the tune of if you give a mouse a cookie) parenting humor


And then he might get carried away and start pulling everything off the shelves & adding them to the basket.


If you bring a toddler to the store (to the tune of if you give a mouse a cookie) parenting humor


When you ask him to put it all back, he will say "no."

After insisting for several minutes, to no avail, you will give up. You will then do a quick scan down the aisle to make sure no one is looking, grab your toddler & run, leaving the basket of goodies behind..

If you bring a toddler to the store (to the tune of if you give a mouse a cookie) parenting humor


He will throw a fit on your way out.

You'll make it halfway to the car before realizing you actually really do need some groceries.

You will turn around, grab a shopping cart, buckle him in, give him some cookies, candy, or balloons & hope for the best.

If you bring a toddler to the store (to the tune of if you give a mouse a cookie) parenting humor


And those treats will keep your toddler occupied for all of 5 minutes at which point he will want to walk around..

If you refuse to help him out of the cart, he will climb out on his own... and most likely, make a mad dash for the chip & candy aisle..

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Top 5 Words to Teach Your Toddler

A lot of moms swear by sign language. They say that it's really helped their baby who can't vocalize what they want, keep from getting frustrated because it allows them to communicate. I think this is a great idea. We tried it with David when he was younger, but truthfully we weren't the best with consistency. We'd forget to sign and it just slowly phased out for us.

But, one thing we have been very good at is keeping up with repetition of certain words verbally (non signing).

When your baby starts to talk it's really exciting. And it's great to hear them say "mama" or "dada" or "bubble" or any other random word they seem to pick up, but what's really helped us is also focusing on a few key words that I will share in a minute.

Typically, David learns new words just by hearing them in context, but there are several that we have intentionally taught him so he can communicate without crying.

These words are similar to the essential words most parents teach babies with sign language, but of course we don't sign them. Having David be able to communicate these to us has really helped to minimize tantrums over the past 10 months. In a normal situation where he might have cried out of panic, fear, or frustration in the past, he just tells us what is wrong.

5 essential first words to teach your baby that will help them communicate and reduce temper tantrums


1. More- David picked this word up very quickly.It is one of the first we worked on. This is great for feeding time. We no longer have to worry if he's had enough. If he's still hungry he asks for more.


2. Baba- of course this is on here. Most babies seem to pick up this one on their own. But, it's still an essential.


3. Eat- along the same lines as the others, we taught our son to say eat when he is hungry.


4. Mi-mi- (pronounced me- me) this one will be different for you. We're bilingual in this house, so mi-mis is Spanish baby talk for sleep. You can use what you like for this, maybe "bed," "night-night," "sleepy," as long as it means go to sleep/tired. I personally love this one! David will oftentimes let us know when he's tired usually even a few minutes before scheduled bed time or nap time. It makes things so much easier. There have been times when he's pulled us by the hand to his crib saying "mimi."


OKAY, so far we have covered the essentials. Now you're baby/toddler can tell you when they're hungry, want more food/water, are thirsty, or are tired. Time for number 5. This is the newest one we've introduced.


5. Help- This word works in so many normally frustrating situations for a toddler. For example, yesterday David got stuck in between two kitchen chairs. Normally he would cry & freak out. Instead, he calmly said "help help help" over and over til we helped him out. He also says this if he needs help opening something, or reaching something. He uses this word all the time. I wish I would've thought to teach him it sooner.


Of course these aren't the only words to teach your child, but these are the words that have helped us the most to eliminate freak outs. It just takes a little repetition and reinforcement. The younger your baby, the more repetition they will need and as they get older it gets easier. David is now 19 months and teaching him a new word only takes repeating it a few times, but in the beginning it definitely required a little more effort.

Here are a few bonus words that aren't as necessary but are fun to hear him say:


  • Happy (He tells us when he's happy! I love it!)
  • Thank you
  • Please

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry

Last night's dinner was definitely one of my favorites! We had some chicken & veggie stir fry served on cauliflower rice to help keep it low carb.

We typically try to limit our carbs in the evening and so this meal was ideal. It is a great way to change things up when you're getting in a healthy food rut and need something new. Plus, it's super easy! It's even easier if you have the cauliflower rice prepped in advance.

We also typically have all the ingredients (except the zucchini) on hand so it's pretty much always a back up plan for dinner when we have no idea what to make.

easy & super healthy chicken & veggie stir fry dish for dinner-- low carb diet friendly, macro counts included



Ingredients:


  • 2 zucchini
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 3 tbs corn starch + 3 tbs cold water to dissolve in
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • additional veggies as desired (we like to add baby corn sometimes)
  • crunchy chow mein noodles (optional)
Directions:


  1. Dice chicken into small cubes.
  2.  Heat butter, onion & garlic in a large skillet, over medium heat. 
  3. Add chicken, salt, & pepper. 
  4. When chicken is mostly cooked through, add soy sauce, water, & bouillon cube.
  5.  After a couple minutes, add chopped zucchini & mushroom.
  6. Dissolve 3 tbs corn starch in 3 tbs cold water & add to mixture to thicken.
  7. When veggies are at desired level of tenderness the meal is ready to eat.
  8. Serve over 1/2 cup cauliflower rice & add crunchy chow mein noodles if desired.
Serving size: 1/6 of recipe (makes 6 servings)
Macros per serving: 8.2 g fat, 9.6 g carbs, 27.8 g protein (macros calculated without rice)


easy & super healthy chicken & veggie stir fry dish for dinner-- low carb diet friendly, macro counts included


easy & super healthy chicken & veggie stir fry dish for dinner-- low carb diet friendly, macro counts included


easy & super healthy chicken & veggie stir fry dish for dinner-- low carb diet friendly, macro counts included




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Top 30 Sporty/Active Date Ideas

We love outdoorsy dates in this house & after Punxsutawney Phil's early spring prediction we've been really excited thinking about warmer weather! Honestly for us, nothing beats an active date. We hate being cooped up inside watching movies and so winter is especially hard for us =(

30 sporty/active date ideas perfect for warm weather! Plus one bonus active group date idea! Some these can be done during winter too!


Here are our go-to Sporty/Active Date Ideas for Spring, Summer, & Fall:


  1. Glow in the Dark Basketball
  2. Badminton (We love our Badminton Set for double dates)
  3. Tubing
  4. Kayaking
  5. Rock Climbing
  6. Bike Riding
  7. Hiking
  8. Campfire dinner
  9. Star gazing (preferably during a meteor shower)
  10. Bumper Cars
  11. Paddle Boarding
  12. Yoga
  13. Yoga on paddle boards! Yes, it's a thing!
  14. Dance lessons
  15. Food festival or street fair (tons of these take place in the Summer!)
  16. Go to the zoo
  17. Bowling
  18. Tough Mudder race
  19. Roller skating
  20. Mini golf
  21. Tennis
  22. Go to a water park or amusement park
  23. Laser tag
  24. Paintball
  25. Take a kickboxing class
  26. Do pottery or Color Me Mine
  27. Rent Jet Skis
  28. Sand Volleyball (even better, barefoot sand soccer!)
  29. Run a 5k
  30. Go fishing (my least favorite)
**BONUS GROUP DATE** This is gonna sound a little immature for us adults, but we love a good water balloon fight in the summer! Get a group of couples together & make boys vs girls teams! Follow it up with a barbecue, so fun!


These all sound like fun to me (except the fishing one =/) and they're even better if you pair them with a picnic or burgers & hot dogs if you're at an amusement park! And take tons of pictures!! Document that summer! (We NEVER do this! and that changes this year!)

Honestly just looking at this list makes me wish it were already summer. It's 28 degrees outside for us, and I'm 30 weeks pregnant soo that makes things difficult too. But soon we will be doing all of this!!

Let me know some of your favorite active dates below!!

Still stumped on what to do? Check out this book I've recently come across!
175 date ideas
Buy Now

Thursday, February 4, 2016

25 Questions for a Better Marriage

It is easy to get in a routine once your married. A lot of the days start to blend together and habits start to form. Sometimes they're bad habits and sometimes they're great habits. Either way it is always good to take a day and do a "Marriage Check-In" to see how things are going.

Scott and I don't necessarily go through each of these questions every time we "check in" but we do try to re-evaluate our marriage as often as we can to make sure we are both as happy as we can be.

I really believe that communication is the most important thing in a marriage. And while we can talk all day about politics or the cute thing our son did that day, we also want to make sure we're communicating the right things so that we can learn about where our marriage stands and how we can build on it to make sure it lasts.

25 questions to ask your spouse regularly for a better marriage


Here are 25 questions we like to ask each other from time to time to make sure we're both as happy as we can be:

  1. Is there anything I used to do for you that you wish I still did?
  2. What's your dream date with me?
  3. What have you learned to appreciate about me that you didn't know when we were first married?
  4. What came as a surprise to you after we got married?
  5. Is there anything I do that annoys you?
  6. What would you change about our sex life?
  7. What's the best way for me to initiate sex?
  8. What is my most attractive quality?
  9. Do you feel like you can talk to me about anything?
  10. Do you feel at peace with me?
  11. Do you feel like we understand each other more now?
  12. Do you get enough alone time/time with friends?
  13. Which friend/relative do you think has the most ideal marriage & why?
  14. What's your favorite memory with me?
  15. Do you feel accepted by me?
  16. Do I show you enough respect? 
  17. Are there times when I am too critical?
  18. How has your love for me changed since marriage?
  19. Is marriage different than you expected? If so, how?
  20. What was the biggest adjustment you made after we got married?
  21. Do you feel like I've helped you become a better person since marriage? 
  22. Is there anything you need from me to continue growing as a person?
  23. What do you think your greatest weakness is and how do I complement that?
  24. What expectations do you have of me as your spouse?
  25. What are the 5 most important parts of a marriage? Rank them.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why We're Waiting to Potty Train

By now, if you're a first time mom your in-laws have probably told you that their kids were potty trained by 12 months. They've probably insisted you start your potty training journey now. Mine have. Mine have even gone as far as starting potty training while they babysit despite the fact that I've mentioned time and time again that we are waiting.

why we're waiting to potty train- potty training doesn't have to start asap


We are waiting to potty train for multiple reasons. Let me explain.

Sure we'd love to not have to change diapers. It would be great if our toddler could wipe his own butt and didn't wet the bed. It would be especially great since we are expecting our second child in April, but sometimes your child is just NOT ready.

If we tried, we could probably manage (based on facial cues) to rush him to the toilet 25% of the time & maybe he'd go--mainly just for bowel movements. We might save a 1-2 diapers a day that way.. but at 18 months our son has not successfully shown that he knows he needs to use the restroom before it happens.

He recognizes after the fact sure, but not before. I'm not even sure he dislikes the feeling of a dirty diaper yet. Half the time he still fights us during diaper changes. He also can't pull down his own pants.

A potty trained child, in my mind, knows before they need to go and is able to get themselves to the toilet, pull down their pants, go potty, tear of sheets of toilet paper, & wipe themselves without the help of an adult. Sure that process takes training, but it's really just a waste of time, in my opinion, to start teaching it until they can master a couple of the tasks that will be required.

I don't want to spend 6-10 months potty training, so I will wait and when I start I will be following Becky Mansfield's guide, "Potty Train in a Weekend" (Click here to view more details) and we will have the process practically perfected in just a few days!

There's a lot involved in potty training. There are a lot of skills to be learned & mastered. My son is very smart and catches on quickly, but he is still not ready.

I would rather spend 3 days potty training when he is ready then spend 6 months or more because he is not.

So for now I'm going to just ignore the remarks of all the "experienced" moms and do what works best for us. And unless he shows a sudden interest in potty training, we will most likely be waiting until we get closer to his 2nd birthday.

Why We're Waiting to Potty Train


At that time, I will let you know how our potty training experience goes, until then I highly recommend this ebook by Becky Mansfield. I have seen it all over the internet & it's had some rave reviews! She has some awesome tips that I never would've thought of. We will definitely be using it as a guide when we start potty training in about 5 months.

Click here to view more details

great tips for how to potty train in a weekend

Click here to view more details

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Perfect Chocolate Covered Strawberries

A dessert we absolutely LOVE in this house is Chocolate Covered Strawberries! They are just delicious! Also, strawberries are pretty much available year round now which makes it so that we can indulge more often. I feel like this didn't use to be the case..

Anyway, we love using Baker's Dipping Chocolate for our strawberries, but it isn't always available. Our local grocery store doesn't carry it & lately I haven't seen it at Target. Walmart sometimes has it, but it's typically seasonal & our Walmart is a little out of the way.. So we had to come up with an alternative.

Today I'm going to share with you our method for making PERFECT CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES every time!

tips for getting perfect chocolate covered strawberries every time


Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we like milk chocolate) 
  • 1 tbs oil 
  • aluminum foil
  • paper towels
Directions & Tips:

  1. Wash & dry strawberries. I place mine on a paper towel after quickly patting dry and let them continue to air dry at room temperature for about 30 minutes before I dip them. 
  2. The closer to room temperature your strawberries are the better, if they are chilled it will cool down your dipping chocolate which could cause clumping (same with if they are wet).
  3. Line a large plate with aluminum foil.
  4. Microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave in 15 second intervals (stirring each time) until smooth. 
  5. Add oil & stir.
  6. Coat each strawberry & place on foil lined plate.
  7. Place in fridge for 30-45 minutes, until hardened.
  8. Enjoy! 
**for extra flavor use a Flavor Injector to infuse flavoring of your choice**

tips for getting perfect chocolate covered strawberries every time



tips for getting perfect chocolate covered strawberries every time


Healthy Protein Crepes

Sometimes we get sick of having eggs every morning for breakfast & really protein pancakes only get us so far as well. Sometimes we need a little more variety in the morning. And sometimes it's a special occasion like Valentine's or an Anniversary. Either way, we don't want to ruin our diet, but we still want something that doesn't necessarily taste "healthy" if you know what I mean.

Well, that's where this protein crepe recipe comes in! The other day was our anniversary so I whipped up these babies (making up the recipe as I went along) and it was a hit! We filled them with a healthy version of my IHOP Copycat Sweet Cream Cheese Filling and topped them with some bananas & strawberries. It was a delicious, guilt-free treat!

Valentine's Protein Crepes w/ Sweet Cream Cheese Filling! Healthy crepes that don't taste "heatlhy" IIFYM/ macro diet friendly


Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp banana extract (optional)
  • 5 drops red food coloring (optional)
Directions:
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender & blend until smooth. (best way to prevent flour lumps)
  2. Using Pam cooking spray, lightly grease frying pan. 
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into a frying pan on medium heat.
  4. Lift pan & gently swirl batter to help it thin out/spread to a slightly larger size.
  5. Flip when top is no longer runny, cook for an additional 20-30 seconds. (If you try to flip too early it will tear)
  6. Serve warm with desired filling & toppings.


Serving size: 2 crepes, makes 12 crepes
Macros per serving: 6.6 g fat, 9 g carbs, 6.8 g protein

**I used GNC Pro Performance 100 Percent Whey Protein Powder in Vanilla Cream (2 F/ 5 C/ 24 P) macros may vary if you use a different protein. Also, some protein powders contain a thickening agent (like Spirutein). The protein I used does not. If yours does then you may need to add water to get desired batter consistency. It should be runny.

Valentine's Protein Crepes w/ Sweet Cream Cheese Filling! Healthy crepes that don't taste "heatlhy" IIFYM/ macro diet friendly


Monday, February 1, 2016

Copycat IHOP Sweet Cream Cheese Crepe Filling

Did I ever tell you how I worked at IHOP for 4 years? Well I did. And I fell in love with crepes. My favorite were the Nutella crepes, but a close second were their Strawberry Banana Danish Crepes. They have a delicious, creamy, slightly sweet, cream cheese filling! Soo yummy!

After working their for a while you start to learn the ins and outs of various "secret" recipes. So of course, I set out to learn this one. It is actually super simple and only 3 ingredients.

I made this on Sunday for breakfast because it was my husband & my anniversary. It's one of our favorites! My one year old loved it too =)

Because I follow the IIFYM diet, I wanted to be able to eat these without messing up my macro count for the day so I will list the original recipe & a slightly more macro friendly one. Use whichever you prefer =) Enjoy!

Ingredients:


  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 3 tbs sour cream 
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar (add more to taste if you want it sweeter)


Directions:

1. Beat softened Cream Cheese & Sour Cream until smooth and creamy.
2. Add 3 tbs powdered sugar (or more to taste).
3. Put 2 tbs mixture into each crepe & roll the crepe up.
4. Serve with strawberries, bananas, & whipped cream.

**For healthier version choose Fat Free Cream Cheese & use 3 TBS Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream. You can sub the powdered sugar for a sweetener of your choice (I don't like the taste of Stevia so I still use normal powdered sugar..)



Serving size: 2 TBS, makes 9 servings
Macros per serving: 9.6 g fat, 3.5 g carbs, 2 g protein/ 0 g fat, 6.4 g carbs, 4 g protein ("healthy" version macros) [in picture I didn't use fat free cream cheese. they only have it at Walmart, not my local grocery store so I worked with what I had. Macros using FF Cream Cheese are correct, food coloring was to make the crepe batter pink. Recipe for protein crepes here]


COPYCAT IHOP Sweet Cream Cheese Crepe Filling from someone who worked at IHOP. perfect for Valentines Breakfast! HEALTHY recipe version also included & is IIFYM/ MACRO DIET FRIENDLY