Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Miniature Garden DIY

|intro|

I have always been fascinated by miniature gardens.  They are truly whimsical and just put a smile on my face.  I took a shot at doing one for mother's day.  It was so easy to do and I had a great time making it.


|what you will need|

+ pot of your choice (I picked a pot that was fairly shallow, but had a wide opening)
+ decorations for your miniature garden (all from Hobby Lobby)
+ succulent plants
+ aquarium gravel
+ soil




|how to|

{1} First, figure out the layout of your miniature garden.  My pot was not that large so I tried to utilize as much surface area that I could, so I planted the plants towards the side of the pot. 

 
{2} Next place the aquarium gravel on the soil.  This will act like your "walkway" in your miniature garden.  Also, I placed the miniature garden fencing along the border of the pot. 
 


{3} Now the fun part...decorating!  I bought all the decorations at Hobby Lobby.  They actually had a section at the store dedicated to miniature gardens.  I got the fence, mushroom, bench, birdhouse, and metal wagon, and snail at the miniature garden section.  I got the miniature pots and garden tools at the doll section of Hobby Lobby.  You can definitely play around with the set up of your garden.  I really enjoyed making this cute miniature garden and hope to make a larger scale one in the future!





Friday, June 12, 2015

Baby and Mommy Favorites- MONTH FOUR to MONTH SIX

|intro|

The past three months our little guy has grown leaps and bounds!  He started rolling over and eating solids at 4 months, started getting teeth and sleeping in his crib at 5 months, and now he started crawling at six months.  Time is really flying by.  It's easy to say that he and I have a lot of new favorites the past few months! 


{1} My-Ku-Ho Cloud Pillow: Matty loves this pillow so much.  It's made out of a soft jersey cotton material and is great to use for tummy time or to feed him a bottle under.  It literally feels like you are laying on a cloud.  We love it so much we have it in both blue and grey.

{2} Amazing Baby by Enfamil App: I just randomly stumbled upon this app.  It is great to find out new exercises, activities both developmental and play that can benefit your little one.  It has activities for bath time, play time, quiet time, outdoor time.  It shows activities targeted for your child's age, which is awesome!

{3} Exergen Temporal Scanner Infrared Thermometer: Matty got his second case of the sniffles at four months.  This thermometer is user friendly and so quick to use.  We use it after he gets his rounds of shots, so we can monitor his temperature.  It's great for babies that are on the move, because it is so quick and easy. 

{4} Skip Hop Grab & Go Stroller Organizer: Love this brand!  We have this stroller organizer attached to our City Mini GT.  It attaches with Velcro and is made out of neoprene material, so it easy to clean!  It has two large cup or bottle holders and a central space in the middle for things like keys or cell phones.  It also has a zipper compartment that can be taken out, so basically a built in clutch...genius!

{5} Oball Rattle: Matty is absolutely in love with this ball rattle!  It's so easy for him to hold with all the holes.  It's made out of a pliable plastic, and you can attached it on a car seat or stroller because of the many holes.  Matty likes to throw it now, and then he crawls to get it.

{6} Baby Einstein Reef Play Gym: Matty loves this little play gym!  There's a lighted musical turtle in the middle to he is so fascinated with.  We still have the play gym and Matty still likes to bat at the turtle.

{7} Munchkin Soft Tip Infant Spoons: These are the perfect size spoons for purees and baby food.  The handle is long and easy to maneuver.  The spoon part is small enough to get just the right amount of food in the baby's mouth.  They also come in a pack of six and are reasonably priced.

{8} Baby Bullet by Magic Bullet Complete Baby Food Prep System: I knew I wanted to make Matty homemade organic baby food.  I use this thing at least three times a week!  I love how compact the unit is.  You can leave it on your countertop and it won't take up too much space.  I also like that it has a milling blade, so you can make your own oatmeal and rice cereal!

{1} Breathable Mesh Crib Liner by Breathable Baby: Matty started to sleep in his crib at five months.  We knew regular bumpers were a no-no, so this was the next best thing.  It prevents him from getting his arms and legs stuck in between the crib slats.  It also has a little bit of cushion in case he rolls onto the side of the crib. 

{2} Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier- Frog: We use this humidifier so much.  It's easy to use and clean, and they have the cutest animal designs.  It also gives off a soothing white noise which is pretty calming to a baby.

{3} Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Baby Nasal Relief: I love this saline spray!  It gives an even distribution of saline and it's really easy to use.  Before this spray, we used the drops.  With the drops, we didn't know how much saline was getting in his nose, but with the spray it is so much more easier to control. 

{4} Fisher Price Soothe & Glow Giraffe: After Matty started sleeping through the night in his crib, I started to introduce this Soothe & Glow Giraffe.  It plays lullabies for 15 minutes and has a soft light that glows when the music is playing.  The best thing about this toy is that the music slowly quiets and the light slowly softens until the 15 minutes is up.  We introduced it as part of his bedtime routine and it has worked out really well.

{5} Pamper’s Baby Dry Diapers: We use these diapers as Matty's overnight diapers.  They guarantee 12 hour protection on the box.  He has never leaked in these diapers.  When I wake him up in the morning, his diaper is soaked to the max but not a drop has leaked out.

{6} Crazy 8 Chambray Slip-On Crib Shoes: We love these shoes!  They are slip on, so you don't have to mess with any shoelaces.  They are also very soft and are a chambray denim which is very stylish.

{7} Carter’s Keep Me Dry Waterproof Fitted Quilted Crib Pad: We use this over Matty's crib mattress.  It's soft and easy to put on.  It also doesn't have the annoying plastic layer that a lot of waterproof crib pads have. 

{8} Munchkin Formula Dispenser: At five months, we transition Matty to formula.  This dispenser comes in handy when on the go.  It has three compartments, and all you have to do is put the amount of dry formula in each compartment.  We never had an issue with powder leaking out.

{1} Aden & Anais Classic Crib Sheets: Love these fitted sheets!  It's the same muslin material as the swaddle blankets.  They are super soft and light and perfect for warm weather months.

{2} JL Childress Full Body Changing Pad: This changing pad is awesome!  It's "full body" so that means it will cover every inch of your baby (both length and width).  It may be full body, but still small enough to stuff in your diaper bag.

{3} Brica Baby In-Sight Mirror: This mirror is just the mirror you need to keep an eye on your little one.  It was much cheaper than the ones at Target, and does the same exact job.

{4} American Apparel Infant Poly-Cotton ¾ Sleeve Raglan: Love the baby clothes from American Apparel!  The cotton is super soft and light, and the designs are very hip and versatile.  We have these cute little baseball 3/4 sleeve shirts in red, blue, and neon yellow.  That's how much we love them!

{5} Oball Grip and Teethe Keys: Oball just makes the greatest products!  Our son is obsessed with these teething keys!  They have the same holes as the Oball Rattle Ball, so it's easy for your little one to grasp.  Also at the end of the keys are rubbery textured ends, which is perfect for your teething little ones.

{6} Munchkin Click Lock 2-Pack Food Pouch Spoon Tips: Love these spoon tips that screw onto the baby food pouches.  These are perfect for on the go feeding.  They have a open and lock mechanism, so there won't be any accidents.  I also like how it comes with a cap and they are fairly easy to clean.

{7} Carter’s Pull On Chambray Shorts: Love bottoms that are easy to put on and are stylish at the same time.  They are soft and they are the pull up kind with no buttons or zippers to mess with. 

{8} Gerber Organic 1st Foods Pouch: The baby food in pouches are so convenient.  They are easy to stuff in a diaper bag, and you really do not need any spoons or bowls.  You can feed them directly from the pouch.


{1} Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Cereal Bars: These cereal bars are great for a quick snack or a quick breakfast when you are running out the door.  I love that the fruit filling isn't too sweet and that they are more natural. 

{2} Almay Liquid Eyeliner: I love this eyeliner.  It has a tip applicator that is mistake proof.  It is long lasting and really affordable.

{3} Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty Dish Soap: This soap is great for everyday use.  It's tough enough to get rid of grease and mess, but gentle enough on your hands.  I also love the scent of this dish soap.

{4} Pledge Multi Surface Everyday Cleaner: This is my go to cleaner for glass, stainless steel, granite, etc.  You can use this cleaner on almost anything.  I love the spray nozzle on the container; it ensures even coverage of the cleaner.

{5} Thomas’ Original English Muffins: My other go to breakfast item.  I love eating these English Muffins with a little bit of butter and some fruit jelly.  It really fills me up, and is a healthy alternative.

{6} Old Navy Women’s Slim Boot-Cut Yoga Pants: Which mom doesn't own a pair of comfortable yoga pants?!?  These yoga pants are so comfortable, and are easy to throw on with a cute t-shirt and some tennis shoes.  They are super stretchy and super soft.  Love these!

{7} Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Nail Enamel: This nail enamel is bomb dot com!  It truly last 7 days without chipping.  It's easy to apply and fast drying!  It is way more affordable than a gel manicure or shellac.  I can't wait to stock up on more colors!

Friday, May 8, 2015

DIY Mother's Day Footprint Art

|into|

Who doesn't like homemade gifts?!?  I mean anyone can just buy something.  It takes effort making something, especially when your 6 month old is helping make it.  Well, Mother's Day was just around the corner, so I decided Matty would make something a little special for his Grandma!


|what you will need|

+ picture frame (I used a 5x7)
+ thick white cardstock
+ nontoxic finger paint
+ sponge brush
+ painters tape
+ thin permanent marker



|how to|


{1} Cut out the white cardstock to 5x7 dimension.

{2} Tape the cut out card stock to either a scrap cardboard piece or a firm folder using painters tape.  This allows for stability and (hopefully) less chance of messing up.

{3} Since we were making a heart, I chose the color red.  Take the sponge brush and brush a light coating of finger paint onto the bottom of your child's foot and toes.  Gently press the foot onto the cardstock.  This is easier if you have another person helping aka your husband lol.

{4} Repeat step 3 on the other foot.


{5}  Allow the paint to dry for at least 2 hours.

{6} Once paint is dry, write "I LOVE GRANDMA", "I LOVE YOU MOM", or whatever phrase you choose around the outline and repeating the phrase until you write it all the way around.


{7} Frame the cardstock, and you are done!






Friday, April 24, 2015

Diva Eats: South African Piri Piri Chicken Wings Recipe

|intro|

Hubby and I have been on this South African foodie binge lately.  First, we went to Springbok. Then a couple months later we dined at Peli Peli.  Before visiting these two restaurants we had never tried this type of cuisine before.  Let me just say South African food is the bomb!  The food is full of flavor, spices, and seasoning that jumps out at you!  I was inspired by the flavors and wanted to recreate something similar at home.  We usually have grilled BBQ wings at least once a week, so I decided to do a South African twist on the typical chicken wings.

 
 
|what you will need|
 
{for wing marinade}
+ 10-12 chicken wings (about 2.5 pounds)
+ juice of 2 lemons
+ 3" piece of ginger (roughly chopped)
+ 1 bunch of green onions (sliced)
+ 1/2 cup hot sauce of your choice (I used Louisiana Hot Sauce)
+ 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
+ 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
+ 1/3 cup cilantro (chopped)
+ 1 jalapeno pepper (sliced)
+ 2 teaspoon salt
+ 1 teaspoon black pepper
 
{for wing sauce}
+ 4 tablespoon of butter
+ 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
+ 1/3 cup cilantro (chopped- reserve about 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on the finished wings)
+ 3 tablespoon hot sauce
+ juice of 1 lemon
 
 
|how to|
 
{1} To make to wing marinade, mix the hot sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, vegetable oil, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, green onion, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. 
 
{2} Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the chicken wings. Mix well. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and marinate for a least 2 hours preferably overnight.  Try to mix the wings in the marinade every few hours. 
 
 
{3} Heat your grill to medium high.  Place your chicken wings on the grill and grill the wings about 8-10 minutes per side.  Continue to baste the wings with the marinade while the wings are grilling.
 
{4} While the chicken is on the grill, make the wing sauce.  Put the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, put the garlic, cilantro, hot sauce, and lemon juice in the sauce pan.  Reduce heat to medium low and let the flavors mingle together for about 5 minutes. 
 
 
 
{5} Once the wings are grilled, drizzle the wing sauce over the grilled wings.  Finish the wings, by topping them with fresh cilantro.
 

 
 


 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DIY Distressed Baby Jeans

|intro|



So the hot new trend right now is distressed denim!  You see it everywhere from distressed jeans to distressed shorts.  Etsy also has the cutest distressed denim for babies and toddlers.  I can't stand the cuteness!  But at almost $35 a pair, I knew I could make my little Matty Moo his own stylish pair for a fraction of the cost.

CurlyQsCounter Etsy Page
 
|what you will need|
+ pair of jeans (do not use the stretchy kind of jeans...it won't fray correctly)
+ scissors
+ tweezers
+ pen
+ razor blade or box cutter
+ piece of cardboard that will fit inside the pant legs
 
 
|how to|
 
{1} If needed, cut your baby jeans to the appropriate length.  I decided to fold the bottoms, so I made the length a little longer.
 
 
{2} Flip the jeans inside out.
 
 
{3} Using a pen, mark out the areas that you want to distress/fray.  Since this was my first time distressing baby denim, I didn't want to go overboard.  So I only distressed a few spots.  I spaced out my lines by about one inch.  Remember the wider the lines and the larger number of lines, the larger the distressed area. 
 



 
 
{4} Place the cardboard piece inside the pant leg.  Make sure it is directly under the area you are about to cut.  Using your razor blade, make a clean horizontal line across the marks you made with your pen.
 
 
{5} Using your tweezers, slowly pull out the blue thread from the slits you made.  Do this until you pull them all out from across the slits.  I found it easier to start from the middle of the slit and then work my way out.
 
 
{6} Next, using your scissors randomly cut the very edge of back pockets.  Use the tweezers to pull a little of the threading out to get that distressed look.  Then throw your jeans in the washer and dryer to complete the look.
 
 
|final product|
 
 
|final product on my handsome model|













 


Friday, March 6, 2015

Baby and Mommy Favorites- MONTH ONE to MONTH THREE

Being a first time mom, you are bombarded with different baby gadgets and baby gear.  There are some really great products out there and not so great products out there.  I'll be making more baby and mommy favorites in future posts.  So stay tune.  Here are a few of our favorites...


{1} Eddie Bauer Diaper Changing Organizer: This organizer is just the right size.  It fits a small package of diapers perfectly.  I love the stretchable pockets on each side.
{2} Aden & Anais Swaddle Plus Blankets 4 Pack: These soft and thin muslin blankets are amazing.  You can use them from swaddling to a changing pad to lovey to carseat cover.  The uses for these blankets are endless.  They do come with a pretty hefty price tag, but it's well worth it.
{3} Pampers Swaddlers Newborn Diapers: The best diapers for the price.  We have no leaking issues with these, and you can always find them on sale.  I love the wet indicator strip on them too. 
{4} Boppy Naked Pillow with Slipcover: Here's another multi-use item.  When you are a parent you will love baby items with multiple purposes.  Hey, more bang for your buck!  You can use this from breastfeeding to tummy time to helping your baby sit up.  I love that you can wash the slipcover and it zips up and fits perfectly over the Boppy pillow.
{5} Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes: I love these baby wipes!  They are fragrance free and are a nice thickness. 
{6} Carter Newborn Boys’ 3 Pack Short-sleeve Onesie: These are the best onesies for everyday wear.  They are a nice soft cotton, and they do not shrink in the dryer.  They also fit the best on Baby Matty.
{7} All Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent: This laundry detergent is tough on stains and half the price of Dreft.  When I coupon, I can get this detergent for $1.99 each.  What a steal!  
{8} Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe: This diaper pail is great because you can use any 13 gallon trash bag with it.  You don't have to spend money on refills specially made for a diaper pail.
{9} Baby’s Firsts App: This app is basically an easy technically advanced baby book.  You can use pictures taken with your phone and insert them using cute frames within the app.  The app has 300+ built in prompts that are scheduled based on seasons and key developmental milestones.  You can also share the pictures on Facebook, email, and Twitter.  This app is only available on iTunes.
 

{1} Carter Faux Denim Pull-on Pants: Matty's favorite pair of (faux) jeans!  They are soft and stretchable.  They are slim fit too, which helps with the trendy factor.  They also have an elastic band and you don't have to fool with any buttons or zippers.  We love them so much we bought two in every size.
{2} Petunia Pickle Bottom Embossed Boxy Backpack Diaper Bag: This diaper bag goes with us everywhere.  I love that it can be used as either a messenger bag or a backpack.  There are also tons of pockets both on the inside and outside (10 to be exact!).  The material used is really good quality and will last a long time.
{3} Nose Frida Nasal Aspirator: For those mom's that have a stuffy baby bear, this is a god send!  I know the concept seems gross, but this thing is so efficient and easy to clean unlike a bulb syringe. 
{4} Fisher Price Kick n Play Piano Gym: If you have a mini kick boxer like me, then your baby will love this activity gym.  Baby Matty just loves kicking this piano and hearing the music play.  He also likes hitting and grabbing the dangly toys on top.  He can spend 30-45 minutes in this thing. 
{5} Fan White Noise Youtube Video: When we are out of the house and running errands this Youtube Video has been a lifesaver .  When Baby Matty is fussy, I just play this white noise video and it calms him instantly.  It's also 11 hours long, so you can use it while he sleeps.  It's awesome! 
{6} Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion: The scent of this lotion is so calming and gentle on baby's skin.  I use it during Matty's "spa night" aka nightly baby massage, and he is in heaven!
{7} H&M Baseball Jacket: H&M has cute, trendy, and affordable clothes for little tots.  We especially like this jacket.  It keeps him warm and fashionable.


{1} Belkin NetCam HD Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision: We love this "nanny" camera.  It was more affordable than the Dropcam, and it does the exact same thing.  The picture quality of the video is great.  This video also has nigh vision.  You can record video, take a snapshot, and talk to video all through your smartphone.  This gives us a peace of mind when someone's taking care of Matty in our house. 
{2} Little Baby Bum Youtube Channel: Matty just loves all the Little Baby Bum videos.  They have classic nursery rhymes and one's that I have never heard of before.  Matty's favorites are Wheels on the Bus, The Finger Family, and 5 Silly Monkeys.
{3} Ralph Lauren Sag Harbour Low Black Leather Crib Shoes: We love these shoes.  They are super easy to put on and the leather is so soft!  I like that the Ralph Lauren wording is stitched on the bottom.
{4} Natures Way Fenugreek Dietary Supplement: After returning to work, my milk supply dropped.  I take these supplements three times a day and I notice a big change.  I tried the Mother's Milk tea, but I didn't like the flavor and I didn't see a big change in my milk supply.  These supplements are easy to take and are great for the working breastfeeding mom.
{5} Circo Whales and Waves Musical Mobile: Here's another thing Matty is obsessed with.  He loves anything that is up in the air or ceiling (trees, lights, ceiling fans, etc).  So it's only natural that he would be obsessed with his crib mobile.  He can stare at this thing for a good solid hour.  It doesn't require batteries, and the whales on the mobile are pretty darn cute.
{6} Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump: When I returned to work, I was concerned with how I was going to express breastmilk.  This Medela pump is the bees knees!  It is so efficient and easy to use.  The parts are easy to clean and the pump itself is super compact!  
{7} Medela 3 pack Breastmilk Bottle Set: This is Matty's favorite bottle.  There are not too many parts to the bottle and they do not leak (unlike the Tommee Tippee bottles).  It also is compatible with my breast pump.  So buying these bottles were a no brainer. 
{8} Baby Jogger City Mini GT: We absolutely love our stroller!  We take it with us everywhere.  The maneuverability of this stroller is unlike any other on the market.  We love the one strap/one hand folding mechanism.  You can also adjust the handlebar for shorty mommies like me.  The umbrella also has awesome coverage unlike other strollers.  The wheels are also made out of rubber not plastic like other strollers. You can buy a car seat adapters to place your infant car seat on the stroller.  This stroller can be used from newborn to toddler!
{9} Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump: This was a recent purchase and boy am I glad I bought this.  This is perfect for when I'm away from Matty for more than four hours.  I can easily pump in the car, without all the cords and tubing the electric pumps have.  This breast pump actually has pretty good pumping mechanism for a manual pump.  It's easy to clean, compact, and simple to use.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Boudin Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Happy Fat Tuesday Y'all!  I can't believe Lent is already here.  Here's a delicious recipe for your Fat Tuesday Potluck!


|what you will need|

+ 2 packages of bacon
+ 15 jalapeno peppers
+ 2 links of boudin sausages (casing removed)
+ toothpicks
+ 1/2 tsp. of salt
+ large container of cream cheese (softened)


|how to|

{1} Wash and slice the jalapeno peppers in half.  Remove the seeds and inner vein.


{2} In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, boudin, and salt.


{3} Fill the jalapeno peppers with the boudin/cream cheese mixture.


{4} Slice the bacon slices in half.  Then wrap the jalapeno with the bacon halves and keep the bacon in place with toothpicks. Place them on a baking sheet on top of a drip screen.

 
{5} Bake them in a preheated 325 F oven for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is golden brown and crispy.
 


ENJOY!