tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, bringing you fun and creative ideas for you and your family. Come see what I’m sharing today!

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger |

Since having Hayden, I’ve made a rather large effort to continue going ‘out’ with the two kids, doing things that I used to do with just Liam. We’ll travel to the local parks and playgrounds, the South Carolina aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Charles Towne Landing, the beach and more! We’re blessed to live in Charleston where we can be tourists in our own city and the weather is pretty splendid.

No matter where you live, though, going out for a fun excursion with two kids is EXHAUSTING. You have to plan at least a day ahead and be sure to pack all of the essentials, like snacks, bottles, clothes, wipes…the list goes on and on. Then, it takes hours just to get out of the house. However, I’ve learned that you can have a fun day planned at home that is MUCH easier for you, while still being exciting for your children: a backyard picnic.

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger |

All you need is a comfy big blanket, yummy food, some fun serving gear and maybe bubbles (because who doesn’t love bubbles)!

Steps to a successful backyard picnic:

  1. Collect your supplies and pack your lunches.
  2. Set up the blanket and food while your children are distracted inside.
  3. Get them pumped for the picnic!
  4. Reveal the picnic spread outside.
  5. Enjoy playing and eating in your own backyard.

Some fun picnic lunch foods:

  • Small squares of cheddar cheese and crackers
  • Fresh fruit assortment
  • Stonyfield yogurt – we’re big on the pouches, but you can just as easily bring along the cups and put them in bowls with lids or plastic containers to save leftovers for later.
  • Hummus and small sliced veggies to dip (carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, radishes, etc.)
  • Sippy cup – water, or juice/milk (if it’s insulated)
  • Dessert: small piece of chocolate…just be sure to keep this in a cooler or out of the sun. Trust me, you don’t want melted chocolate all over your toddler.

Tips for a successful backyard picnic #giveaway #stonyfieldblogger |

I had the pleasure of trying out some products from Tommee Tippee when exploring our backyard picnic and now you have the chance to win some of your own!

Tommee Tippee Giveaway #stonyfieldblogger |

So, that’s that! Have a wonderful backyard picnic!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield and Tommee Tippee. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in toddler | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Hayden is 3 months

Hayden is 3 months |

Hayden rarely gives out smiles (he’s a very serious baby), but I FINALLY caught one on camera!

Hayden is 3 months |

  • Date: May 5th, 2015
  • Height: 25 inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds 6 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden’s sleep pattern is a little scatter brained this month. Some nights he’ll sleep for 5-7 hours straight, waking only once for a feeding during the night, but then other nights he’ll be awake every 2 hours. Thankfully, after feeding him any time he awakes during the night, he falls right back to sleep. Hayden’s longest stretch of sleep so far has been 8 hours…and that’s because I had to wake him on account of me NEEDING to feed him or I’d explode.
  • Eating Habits: He is fed breastmilk with 1-3 supplementary bottles of formula during the day, every 2 hours during the day and whenever he wakes during the night.
  • Development: He has started to smile more this month. While he’s still stingy with his smiles, he will give them most often to me during the morning hours and no matter what, whenever he sees his daddy, especially in the evenings! He is progressively getting stronger. Not only does he like spending his waking hours sitting or standing with assistance on my lap, but he also enjoys spending time in the bumbo, walker and exersaucer. Hayden has also become pretty predictable when it comes to a bed time. Between 8-9 pm, he has his last feeding and goes straight to bed.
  • Mischief: He has gotten quite lazy when it comes to breastfeeding now that he’s started drinking supplementary bottles. If it doesn’t come out fast enough or if he has to remotely work for the breastmilk, he gets terribly fussy and doesn’t even want to try sucking, even if there’s plenty of milk in there. Other than that, I can’t say that he is very mischievous. I guess, if anything, the most mischief he gets into is having an opposite nap schedule from Liam in the afternoons. Mama doesn’t get a break! I don’t mind, though, it’s great one-on-one time with Hayden while Liam is napping.
  • Cuteness: Hayden has the cutest little smile and when he’s puckering his lips, the dimples on his cheeks shine for all to see. So precious!
  • Talking: Not quite, but he has started to try and imitate our moving lips and sticking our tongue out. Occasionally, he’ll let out a coo and sometimes it’s quite loud and he’ll startle himself.
  • Favorites: The side-to-side swing is still his favorite. He also has to have his pacifier to get to sleep during the day. He also enjoys his floor mat while laying on his back, looking at the toys above, the bumbo and exersaucer (for short amounts of time) and the ergo baby carrier. He’s also become quite in love with the bottle.
  • Firsts: Hayden went on his first plane and train ride this month on our first family vacation of 4 to Washington, D.C. (April 25-28th). During our trip he had his first ‘shower’ (not a fan) and after we returned he took his first bath in the big tub while mommy held him (loved it!).
  • Concerns: I’m concerned he won’t breastfeed as long as Liam did. It’s very hard to keep up with him, especially since he gets so lazy on the breast during the day when he knows he can drink much faster from a bottle.
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins around 7am when Hayden feeds and decides it’s time to play. He’ll stay awake for about 1 hour and then sleep for 1-2 hours (depending on if we have errands to run). Then, he’ll be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 1-2 hours for the rest of the day. There will be at least one 4 ounce supplementary formula bottle in the late afternoon, if not two. Depending on how the day has progressed, he’ll usually continue a pattern of sleeping for 30 minutes and being awake for 30-60 minutes. Once he feeds for the last time around 8-9pm, he goes down for the night, falling asleep while feeding. During the night, he’ll sleep for 3-4 hours and repeat this twice until we wake up for another day! On good nights, he’ll sleep for 7+ hours, waking just once during the night or on bad nights he’ll wake every 2 hours to feed.

Hayden is 3 months |

Posted in baby, month by month | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

myheartcreative sling #review

I’m excited to share my first experience using a sling as a baby carrier! This is the review of the myheartcreative Baby Ring Sling Classic.

myheartcreative sling |

I knew before I had Hayden that I would depend on baby carriers a lot more than I did with my first baby. Thankfully, Hayden has been a great sport at always being on the go and riding in the many baby carriers that we have. With my children, I have tried the following baby carriers:

myheartcreative sling |

The popular sling that I had heard of before was the Sakura Bloom. My friend Audra uses hers all the time and makes it look so comfortable. I never even considered owning a sling until myheartcreative came to me and offered for me to try one. I was quite excited to give it a try!

myheartcreative sling |

The myheartcreative sling is a standard linen sling with an aluminum ring, made in many different colors (color shown here is the Ginger Cream). It comes in a gathered or pleated shoulder. I have the gathered version. I love that it’s easily washable and folds down to be quite compact. I can keep it in my diaper bag to carry Hayden wherever we go!

Hayden seems to like riding in it, too!

myheartcreative sling |

Since I had never tried any other sling, I reached out to myheartcreative to ask the differences between their sling and the Sakura Bloom. Here’s how they differ:

  • The myheartcreative sling comes with a tail shaped end that allows it to be easily threaded through the rings whereas the Sakura Bloom has a square end.
  • The myheartcreative has a large pocket on every sling and Sakura doesn’t. I’ve found keeping a spare pacifier in the pocket is very handy (as long as it’s in the case…the linen sheds some).
  • In regards with price point, the myheartcreative runs for $80 whereas the Sakura can be purchased for $88-$240.

myheartcreative sling |

Now, here’s what I think of it after trying it for a few weeks:

I tend to lean more towards structured carriers like the Bjorne and the Ergo, but I do like the cuddliness of the myheartcreative sling. I think I enjoy the structured carriers more because it is simple to get them on and off. The sling is just like the structured carriers in that way. However, unlike the structured carries, I feel like I have to have one hand on the baby in the sling at all times (this might be because Hayden is still so little).

The fabric is very breathable, easily washable, compact when folded and I love the pocket.

myheartcreative sling |

The two things I don’t like about the sling (and I guess slings, in general) is that your non-dominant hand (the one that has the shoulder covered) is pretty much useless, except to hold the baby, book or phone. Also, it’s hard to keep my shoulders back and have good posture. The way the sling lays on your shoulder makes you want to slouch.

myheartcreative sling |

Like all baby carriers, it takes practice for you to get the hang of using it. I’m still trying to get a fast rhythm down when securing Hayden in the sling, making sure he is secure with his feet out of the sling, the sling ring at my heart or higher and making sure he is ‘kissable’. I feel like I don’t trust it or him to stay in the sling without wiggling out. I know TONS of people of wearing slings…I guess I just need some more practice.

myheartcreative sling |

I’ll continue to use the sling for that close cuddly time with Hayden. I’ll also make sure it’s not necessarily while needing to be accessible to my toddler, i.e., not while we’re grocery shopping…it’s near impossible to lift the toddler in/out of the cart while wearing the baby in the sling.

Can you believe you can use the sling for babies 8-35 pounds or up to 48 months old? I have yet to try to wear my almost 3 year old. I don’t think Mr. Independent (i.e. Liam) would like that very much.

myheartcreative sling |

You can find myheartcreative on facebook, twitter and instagram.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite baby carrier? Do you have a sling that you like?

myheartcreative sling |

This post was created in partnership with myheartcreative. I received no compensation, but was sent the carrier to try. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in baby | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

before & after pregnancy gif

Before and After Pregnancy |

I attempted doing a before and after photo with my first child, Liam, but didn’t get the before shot positioned correctly to accommodate the baby in the after shot. However, with Hayden this time around, I learned that the before shot needed to have my hands out, not even touching my stomach but giving the impression that they were. They also needed to be out far enough to safely hold the baby in the after shot.

I think it turned out pretty good! What do you think?

Posted in baby, mama, pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

earth day activity

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, bringing you fun and creative ideas for you and your family. This fun activity is in celebration of Earth Day 2015!

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

I’d like to call myself a closet (eating) hippie. I’m always on a mission to raise a happy and healthy family, feeding them foods I feel are as unprocessed and natural as possible. I’m all for trying new foods (chia seeds, coconut flour, kale chips, cashew milk, etc.), especially if it’s grown in the ground.

I love living in the south and within 5 minutes of our local farm. We pass by it most days and stop frequently to get produce and flowers. Seeing the evolution of crops is such a wonderful educational tool to getting your children to eat healthier. What’s more, is creating a little backyard garden of your own!

We lived in rental houses and with family for 2 years before purchasing our current home, causing us to be unable to create a garden that we longed for (plus Liam was a little too young at the time to understand gardening). However, now that Liam is almost 3 years old and we have a house (yippeeee!), it was prime time to grow our garden!

We’ve already got all sorts of goodies growing in our garden, like cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs. But, I usually take the short cut route and buy the little sprouted plants ready to be planted in a garden. However, this time I’m excited to show my kids the entire process of growing something from a seed.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this process, you have to start out slow, planting your seeds in small containers indoors, allowing them the best environment to begin growing before transplanting them outdoors to mature.

To start, I took Stonyfield Oh My Yog! yogurt containers (they’re clear so we can watch the roots!) and filled them with a mixture of dirt and compost.

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Then, Liam did the honor of poking a few holes in the dirt for the seeds.

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Then, he sprinkled seeds in the holes.

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

I helped him cover the holes up with more dirt and we watered our little seeds!

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

He was so excited! We placed them at the shaded window by his table, so we can watch them grow every day!

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

Once the seedlings have sprouted and matured for your cups (3-6 weeks from planting), transplant outside in your garden and watch them grow to maturity!

This is a wonderful activity for toddlers to participate in, especially while learning about Earth Day (April 22, 2015)!

Planting Seeds | #earthday #stonyfieldblogger

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield and High Mowing Organic Seeds. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in toddler | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hayden is 2 months

Hayden is 2 months |

Hayden is 2 months |

  • Date: April 5th, 2015
  • Height: 23.25 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds 13 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: Hayden is more alert this month. He will go to sleep for the night at 10pm and sleep in 3-4 hour stretches until 7am. He’ll be awake for an hour and sleep for 1-2 hours, repeating this all day. So far, the longest length of time he’s slept has been 6 hours…and that was a one time occasion.
  • Eating Habits: He is fed breastmilk with 1-3 supplementary bottles of formula during the day, every 2-4 hours all day and night long.
  • Development: His strength has grown by leaps and bounds this month. He spends most of his waking hours standing and sitting up with assistance. Even his pediatrician was shocked over his wonderful head control.
  • Mischief: Hayden has been on his best behavior this month! He down has less frequent poopy diapers, but when they happen, they happen BIG. He is not a fan of the car seat, but if we can simultaneously get him sucking on his pacifier (his life line!) and moving, then we’re good.
  • Cuteness: He’s started to smile every once and a while!
  • Talking: Nope, just cries and a few coos. So cute!
  • Favorites: The side-to-side swing is our lifesaver. He sleeps in that all day long. He also loves his floor mat while laying on his back, looking at the toys above. He also loves the pacifier and the bottle.
  • Firsts: Hayden got the flu for the first time at 6 weeks old. He smiled for the first time at 8 weeks and 1 day old. Hayden also took his first road trip at 7 weeks old to see his great grandparents (his maternal father’s parents) on Hilton Head Island. We made the trip in one day, so it was a total of 6 hours in the car. Phew!
  • Concerns: Nothing except I think since he’s started to supplement with formula, he’s gotten lazy at breastfeeding. He starts crying when he has to work for it. Silly boy!
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins around 6:30am when Hayden feeds and decides it’s time to play. He’ll stay awake for about 1 hour and then sleep for 1-2 hours (depending on if we have errands to run). Then, he’ll be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 1-2 hours for the rest of the day. There will be at least one 4 ounce supplementary formula bottle in the late afternoon, if not two. Once it’s around 6pm, he’ll stay awake until 9:30 or so when he has his final feeding before bed. During the night, he’ll sleep for 3-4 hours and repeat this twice until we wake up for another day!
Posted in month by month | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

treat yourself

I’m honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador again this year, sharing deliciousness including one of Stonyfield’s newest products, Oh My Yog!. A special treat for you, mama.

Oh My Yog! |

It’s a rare moment that a mother gets alone time. It usually comes in the form of a small moment of quiet. Whether it’s because the children are sleeping, playing quietly or watching a movie, the moments of silence should be rewarded. It’s a way to escape for a few moments and regroup. What better way than with a sweet treat.

I eat much slower when I don’t have a baby crying or a toddler playing race cars on my lap. The quiet time does wonders for my brain and my indigestion! Haha! It’s a bad habit to gulp down the food, but when you have the smallest window of time to get a few calories in, you do what you have to do. So, when I get a chance to have some quiet time, I’m usually taking that time to finally eat something.

With my sweet tooth, that food is usually sweet. And this sweet treat, here, is Stonyfield’s new Oh My Yog!. It’s a trilayer yogurt with whole milk cream top, yogurt and fruit on the bottom. I love to savor it spoon full, by spoon full, getting each layer in each bite. Delicious.

Here are the flavors of awesome:

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Gingered Pear
  • Madagascar Vanilla Bean
  • Orange Cranberry
  • Pacific Coast Strawberry
  • Wild Quebec Blueberry

Oh My Yog! |

And shhh….sometimes I throw a few chocolate chips into the vanilla and strawberry varieties. So good!

My other favorite guilty pleasures to mellow out are watching a few minutes of a favorite show (currently: Mad Men), running on my treadmill or just taking a hot shower. It’s the little things, you know?

It’s these small moments of time get me rejuvenated and ready to put on my happy mommy face again.

…back to motherhood!

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in mama | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Must Haves for the Perfect Nursery

5 Must Haves for the Perfect Nursery |

Of course, there’s the typical nursery essentials of having a crib, changing table and glider chair, but having set up our second nursery, I’ve decided there are 5 must haves for the perfect nursery. This list is both minimal and essential, compact and not going to break the bank.

Plus, here’s the sneak peak into the new nursery! It’s smaller than Liam’s nursery was in our old house, but I think we made it work perfectly!

5 Must Haves for the Perfect Nursery |

I would love to hear what nursery items you can’t live without! Spill the beans in the comments below!

5 Must Haves for the Perfect Nursery |

Be sure to head over to Inspired Home to see the full list of nursery must haves!

I have been selected by the International Housewares Association to be a contributor for Inspired Home. While I have been compensated for my time, my opinions are my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted in baby, preparing for baby | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

encouraging words and support for a new mom

I’m honored to be a Sisterhood of Motherhood partner, a sponsored blog partner this year and I’m excited to talk about something as simple as support for fellow mothers!

The emotional roller coaster new mother’s experience from being pregnant to delivery to surviving those first few weeks with a newborn can take a toll on you. Having the support of people that are closest to you during this time allows you the strength you need to push through and become the best mother possible. I’m in the midst of this transition myself, having a 5 week old and I don’t know what I would do without the support of the people in my life.

Having experienced some very dark days before I had my first son, Liam, and then again for many weeks after he was born, I was terrified that it would happen again with my second son, Hayden. I had to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. I poured my heart out the night before Hayden was born (a planned induction) just a few weeks ago in hopes of releasing my fears and to help myself process what was about happen. I was also secretly hoping to seek some encouragement from my wonderful friends, you! And I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your silent and written words of encouragement that night. They meant more to me than you’ll ever know.

You are not alone. #motherhood #partner #SisterhoodUnite #ParentsFirst |

I actually received an email after I had already gone to bed the night before my induction with Hayden from a dear friend of mine, Yana. It was the first thing I read when I woke up on the day of Hayden’s birth. The words she wrote to me were so honest, real and encouraging it brought me to happy tears and excitement to bring another child into the world. Her words like, “you are giving them a lifelong friend…or even better, something closer than a friend.” and “I’m sure it’ll be a bit tough for a little while, especially since Liam is young and can’t quite understand what’s going on, but after only a little while seeing Liam be a good big brother will be as magical and heartwarming as watching your husband be a dad.” Those words were so supportive and just the words I need to hear. It was the most meaningful thing that happened on that beautiful day besides the birth of my son.

Sending a mother some words of encouragement and support mean more than you will ever know, especially when they’re completely out of the blue. We’re all struggling to be the best mothers possible for our children and to do that, we need all the help we can get. These little nuggets don’t know how hard it is to be a parent! I surely took my mother for granted growing up. My appreciation and gratitude for her grew by leaps and bounds when I became a mother.

Never a dull moment. #motherhood #partner #SisterhoodUnite #ParentsFirst |

In these first few weeks of Hayden’s life, I’ve made it a goal, in hopes to refrain from feeling those baby blues again, to write down all of the encouraging words that I’ve received from women like my mother and grandmother, as well as words I read and write along the way. Here are just a few that I have collected and now have placed on sticky notes around my house to be encouraged by daily.

“Better days lie ahead so hang in there.” – my grandmother, Moms

“Don’t forget to take care of you.” – my mom

“You are not alone.” – me

“How would your children describe you?” – I read this in a middle-of-the-night feeding and can’t remember where. (Maybe Babble.)

“Enjoy them every day, even on the days when it’s tough and you’d really like to give ’em away.” – Moms

“Deep breaths.” – my husband

“The days are long, but the years are short. Motherhood is the best thing I will ever do.”Chaunie

“You are alive.” – me

So far, my daily encouragement from my friends and family has worked wonders! My emotions seem to be relatively in tact, which is a miracle considering that I’m getting even less sleep than I did when Liam was a newborn. Let’s build the Sisterhood of Motherhood! It’s as simple as support.

Don't forget to take care of you. #motherhood #partner #SisterhoodUnite #ParentsFirst |

This post was sponsored by Similac and has partnered with bloggers like myself for its Sisterhood of Motherhood program. As a part of this program, I have received compensation for my time, but all opinions are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. Please read my disclosure policy for further information.
Posted in mama | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hayden is 1 month

Hayden 1 month old |

  • Date: March 5th, 2015
  • Height: 21 inches
  • Weight: 9 pounds 3 ounces
  • Sleeping Pattern: He pretty much sleeps all day and night long. There are 30-60 minute time frames where he’ll be awake and happy followed by 30-60 more minutes of me trying to comfort his crying, which turns into him falling right back to sleep. So far, the longest length of time he’s slept has been 3.5 hours.
  • Eating Habits: Exclusively breastmilk, every 2-3 hours all day and night long
  • Development: His head is getting stronger. He holds it up while burping and can turn it side to side when he’s laying on his stomach.
  • Mischief: He is just like his brother was at this age, where I will be changing his diaper and he’ll start going again. We’ve had pee to the face and poop get to the new diaper underneath during the change. Thankfully, I’ve gotten really quick at diaper changing and I’ve learned that when he starts to cry or get upset, he starts peeing and to keep the diaper on until he’s calmer.
  • Cuteness: He’s got the cutest little dimples! I’ll occasionally see them when he smiles in his sleep.
  • Talking: Ha…not so much. Just crying…that usually escalates to what sounds like a piglet squealing.
  • Favorites: Lucky for us, he likes his pacifier. He also loves being rocked to sleep.
  • Firsts: He went on his first stroller ride at 3 weeks old.
  • Concerns: At his two week check up he still hadn’t gained weight back to his birth weight, weighing only 8lbs 3oz (birth weight: 8lbs 7oz). The pediatrician recommended longer feedings (10 minutes on each side), doing everything we could to wake him up enough during a feeding to get him to eat and only allowing him to go a maximum of 3 hours from the beginning of the last feed before feeding again. Two weeks later at his 4 week weight check, he gained a full pound, bringing him up to 9lbs 3oz. Yay!
  • A Day in the Life: The day begins at 6am when Hayden is wide awake and ready to start the day. He stays up for 1-2 hours before napping for another hour before his next feeding. Then, he’ll be awake for another 30-60 minutes and he’ll go to sleep for another hour before he feeds again. This usually knocks him out and he’ll sleep for 2.5 hours until his next feeding, followed by another 2.5 hour nap before yet another feeding. (Of course, Liam’s nap falls around this time and Hayden is usually not napping, so I don’t get to nap myself.) At this point, it’s early evening and he wakes up again and is hard to keep from crying. We’ll finally get him to sleep and I’ll feed him on and off until 10-11pm when he feeds for the last time before bed. Then, he’ll feed every 3 hours throughout the night, sleeping beautifully in between until around 4am when he thinks it’s time to wake. At this point, he does 5-10 minute stretches of sleep until his pacifier falls out. This continues until I finally decide to fully get up with him at 6am and we start another day.

Hayden 1 month old | Hayden 1 month old |

Posted in baby, month by month | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments