Monday, October 3, 2016

Cincinnati Fall Festivals and Making Friends with an Alpaca

One thing I love about Cincinnati is all the fun festivals they have around the city during the Fall season. We have visited three so far, and have at least two more on our to-do list before the season is over, but I wanted to go ahead and share some pictures and tell you a little bit about what I liked (and disliked) at each one. (For my Cincinnati friends..)

This has been my favorite festival so far because I really felt like they considered toddler aged children, so Leah had a lot of fun activities to do.
Admission: It was $9 for me (bought my tickets online for a discounted price) and Leah was free.
 She absolutely loved looking at all the animals, they had goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens, goats, and maybe a few more that I can't remember.
 They had an amazing sunflower backdrop that made the best pictures! (always a pro in my book).
 They had a mini pumpkin patch just for the little kids. (And also had a large one for the adults/big kids)
Their hayride was a little too long for what I wanted (I believe it was 30mins!), so I was thankful they had a cute little 5 minute ride for kiddos.  Any kid under three had to ride with an adult - so Leah and I took LuLu Bell for a spin. It was a fun little ride and so glad they had something fun like this for kids!
They also had other games for kids, like the egg drop race, fun cut outs to take pictures in, they had corn mazes (I believe they had a big one and one for small kids, but we didn't do it), slides, and much more. They also had a market where you could buy fruit, jam, candy apples and etc...and also had one food truck for those who wanted to eat lunch there. 
All in all, it has been my favorite so far.

So far, this one is my least favorite one.  Sure, they have hayrides and corn mazes (these cost extra), farm animals, and all the same stuff a lot of the other festivals have, but I just didn't love it.  
 Admission: Free
Maybe because it was really hot the day we went and we were all sweating, ha, but I really didn't love the set up of the festival. They did have the best animal selection though, pigs, cows, goats, alpacas, horses, chickens, ducks, etc. So we did enjoy looking at all of the animals. However, they (the animal keepers) did seem a little unorganized as they didn't seem to be ready for visitors. When we got there (an hour after opening)...they were feeding the animals and cleaning their bowls and such. I kind of felt like we were in their way when we were there.

 Our front they have big huge piles of pumpkins, but I did notice some were open and rotten...and all of them were dirty...nobody took any effort in washing them down before displaying them. 
(At Blooms and Berries, they had cleaned off all of their pumpkins...they were clean and ready to take home!)
They did have a market that was cute, sold Halloween and fall decor, apple cider, candy, etc. I don't think I saw anything "fresh" though - no fresh apple bundles or baked goods or anything like that. So anyways...this one was my least favorite.  We went last year too and didn't love it. So we probably won't go back to this one.

Another festival we liked...but I would have loved it if we planned it better. Unfortunately, this festival is only for one weekend out of the year, so you'll have to go next year if you didn't go this past weekend.
Admission: $8/adult, Leah was Free
I absolutely loved that they let you in the cages to personally pet the animals.  Leah got to make friends with an alpaca, which was the sweetest animal there. (The alpacas at Shaw Farms were mean and spitting everywhere.) She also got to meet a little bunny named Clover.  They had other animals too (goats, chickens, roosters).
 Now, the part where we should have planned better....
1. It was a long walk up to the sunflower fields and we did not bring a stroller, so we had to carry Leah the whole time.  Next time: Don't forget my stroller. (They don't let you have the stroller on the field, but you do need it to get there!)
2. It was a little muddy on the field and the ground was crawling with caterpillars. Next time: Wear Tennis shoes (one caterpillar bit my foot!)
3. Beware of sweat bees and other insects! (Leah got stung on her hand)
4. They let you walk the fields and cut your own sunflowers.  Next time: Bring scissors!

The sunflowers were $1/stem or $10/dozen.  I absolutely loved the concept and would love to go back next year more prepared. We didn't go home with any sunflowers...honestly by the time we walked all the way to the field (uphill) we were tired...haha...we took a few pictures, looked at some sunflowers and started walking back down.
They also had hay rides, horse drawn carriages and pumpkins for sale (clean ones!!) and instead of a Fall Market where the others have sold apple cider and jams and such...this one had food trucks (pizza, bbq, etc) and also had a few vendor tents as well.  It was a fun little festival and I would definitely go back.

So there you have it....our three fall festivals so far.
I have a few more fall festivals planned for Leah so I'll be back soon to tell you all about it! 
Cincinnati friends - any recommendations???

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What to feed a 15 month old + Nuby Weighted Straw Cup

For me, creating a nutritious meal for Leah has been one of my biggest parenting challenges. It was easy when she was on jar baby food - but then she started demanding real food.
During the week, Leah attends daycare and they supply a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack for I am only responsible for one meal and a snack during the week which makes it a little easier. But since I work 40hours a week - I need something super quick that doesn't take a long time to prepare.  I figure a lot of people are in the same boat, or need baby/toddler dinner ideas, so here are some things that I normally feed Leah for dinner.
I always try to feed Leah a protein, vegetable, carb and a fruit for her meals.
Proteins: Meatballs, Fishsticks, Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Turkey Deli Meat,
Chicken Nuggets (I get the organic lightly breaded kind), Salmon, Yogurt
Vegetables: Green Beans, Corn, Peas, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes
Carbs: Tortillas, Pita Bread with Hummus, Toast with Peanut Butter,
Crackers, Mac and Cheese, Pasta (she likes cheese tortellini)
Fruit: Bananas, Pears, Mandarin Oranges, Blueberries, Strawberries,
Grapes (cut in half) (basically she will try all the fruits)
So for lunch and dinner, I usually mix and match a variety of these things together to create her meal. Some of these items are just a simple 45 seconds in the microwave (meatballs, chicken nuggets), some of them require a few minutes on the stove (cooking carrots, green beans, mac and cheese, etc), and some of them need some knife time (grapes, strawberries, pita bread) but ALL of them are super easy and makes preparing dinner during the week soooo easy!

I also wanted to tell you about a great cup, incase you wanted to train your little one on straw drinking. We got the Flip n' Sip w/ 360 Weighted Straw Cup for Leah and she quickly learned how to drink from a straw with this cup.  I do think this cup has some pros and cons, though.
PRO: No Spill, Soft Silicone Straw, Easy to Hold, I like the size of it, the 360 weighted straw allows to drink from any angle and reaches low levels of liquid, has a flip top to keep the straw clean, etc!
CON: Hard to clean, several pieces, takes a little bit of time to put it back together.
 I do like things to be easy, so washing this cup seemed like a chore. (However, I do hand wash all of Leah's cups) For those that have a sterilizer or throw things in the dishwasher, this is probably not a problem for you at all! All in all - it's a great cup and Leah really enjoys drinking out of it, so we will continue to use it! :)

And just for fun: here is Leah eating lunch with her friends at Daycare:
What are some quick dinners you prepare your little ones?

Monday, September 26, 2016

100 Things to Throw Away + CLOSET SALE

One thing about me that you didn't know.....
I LOVE getting rid of things!
Whether it's throwing something in the trash or giving it to charity. I LOVE IT.
Is that weird?
I've just always hated clutter and don't like to keep things that I don't use or doesn't fit, etc. So of course when I stumbled upon this blog post about "100 Things to Throw Away", I knew I wanted to share it on my blog.
Here are some of the things that need throwing away in our house that I can't wait to get rid of.
Some will be harder than others!
  • Old makeup/ones that you don’t use much 
  • Old nail polish 
  • Movies you don’t watch anymore (we have a ton of movies, planning to take them to a resale store to see if I can exchange them for cash)
  • Old manuals to electronics
  • Ticket stubs
  • Cards given to you with no sentimental value
  • Old t-shirts/ones you were given for free that you don’t wear
  • Unsubscribe from email subscriptions you don’t absolutely love
  • Old magazines
  • Boxes that you aren’t using to store anything in
  • Purses you don’t use
  • Old shoes 
  • Clothes that don’t fit you right now (that's why I'm having a closet sale - see at the bottom)
  • CD’s (yes, I still own CDs!)
  • Old paint
  • Soap/shampoo/conditioner from hotel rooms
  • Tissue paper/gift bags/bows that you’re going to “reuse”  (this is actually one thing I can't get rid of, we have so many but I really do think I will reuse them!) :)
  • Unused vases (eeek, another one that will be hard to get rid of, we have sooo many though)
  • Extra tupperware containers
  • Unused stationery, stickers, sticky notes
  • Books you have already read
  • Extra sets of headphones
  • Old prescription glasses
  • Loyalty cards you don’t use
  • Free samples
  • Excess decks of cards
  • Extra decorative pillows
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic forks/knives/spoons
  • Empty shoeboxes
  • Ornaments that have no sentimental meaning
  • Crafting supplies you bought for a project but don’t use anymore
  • Belts you don’t like
  • Hats you don’t wear
  • Random containers/jars
  • Extra matchbooks
  • Old, raggy towels (CV uses these outside, so we will keep ours!)
I've already started cleaning out my closet, and guess what?! I have a TON of dresses that I don't plan to wear again (some still have the tags on). I'm even getting rid of my beloved dress that I wore at my rehearsal dinner. I LOVE this dress, but I just don't know where I'd wear an ivory lace and pleated dress in the future? (If you can think of somewhere, I'll keep it!)
So please...stop by my instagram closet and SHOP so I can declutter my closet!
I hope this little list and my closet sale inspires all of you to clean up and declutter! :)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

15 Months with Leah

Leah's 15 month doctors appointment was yesterday so I thought I'd update the blog with all of her new measurements and what she's been up to the past few months.
15 Month Update:
Height/Weight: 19.0 lbs (20th percentile) and 31 inches long (65th percentile).
(She was 17 lbs 8 oz and 29.5 inches long at her 12 month checkup).
Diapers: Still in Size 3, Pampers is the only brand we buy. She wears Baby Dry during the day and the Pampers nighttime diapers over night.
Clothing: She is in 12m and 18mo clothing. She can still wear some 9mo pants, but I'm about to pack those up. Also a lot of her 12mo footed pajamas are too small so I'll be packing those up too this week. We are just now getting her 18mo pajamas out.
Eating: Leah still loves whole milk and demands it throughout the day!  She's still eating 3x a day and 2 snacks as normal. I'll post a separate blog about her favorite foods.
Teeth: Leah is cutting her 5th tooth right now, and I think 6th isn't far behind as I can see it coming in.  Now she has 3.5 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth.
Health: Leah has had several ear infections, but luckily she was all clear at her appointment yesterday! Also, if you remember her last appointment she had another issue - well that has completely cleared up too! She had a clean bill of health - except for some minor eczema issues.
Social: Leah took her second trip to Nashville last month to meet sweet baby Ansley. We had a lot of fun with my besties and their babies!
We also played at the Blue Cocoon several times with other friends. Once we met my friend Amanda and her twins, and another time we met my friend Alison and her kiddo. We love that place!

 Development: Leah stood for the first time and took her first step on August 6th! And by Labor day weekend, 4 weeks later, she was walking like a pro!
She is so good at sign language too. She knows the signs for "eat", "milk", "more", and "all-done" and uses them all the time! She uses "all-done" when she's done eating, done taking a bath, done playing, done getting her diaper changed. Ha. She's so smart.
She's also learned how to blow kisses (the most adorable thing ever).
Words: Leah can say mama, dada, doggie, uh-oh, bubbles and her variation of "shoes", which she calls "dough-doughs". She can also nod her head "yes" and shake her head "no".
Likes: shoes, waving, riding in her car buggy, bubbles, throwing a ball
Dislikes: getting shots, sitting in grass
If you want to read on previous months, here are the links:
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven, One Year

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My List of Happy Things...

Just wanted to end the month of July highlighting some of my favorite moments and the little things in life that make me happy. Hope everyone had a great month, it sure went by quickly!!

Here are a few things that made me happy this month! (in no particular order)
+ my dads plane being completed and ready to fly
+playing peek-a-boo with Leah
+checking out a new park that has a beautiful glass ceiling
+ hot showers and the smell of clean towels
+ summer and the extended daylight hours
+ Leah blowing me a kisses without me asking for one
+ my 8 minute commute to work
+ breakfast picnics at the park with CV and Leah
+ leaving work before 5pm (even if it's just 4:55pm)
+ new pajamas for Leah
+ Leah laughing and chasing Paisley
+ Leah always trying to share her food with me, CV or Paisley
+ our privacy fence finally being installed - and finally being able to relax in the backyard without people looking at me :)

+ a clean kitchen
+foot rubs
+ CV bringing home groceries and always cooking delicious dinners
+ sitting on the couch eating dessert
+ family fun day at the Newport aquarium
+My bestie planning her wedding next year in Mexico
+ working close to the mall and Target for lunch break errands
+ fruit smoothies
+ saving money by using coupons
+ receiving a "your package is delivered" email
+ meeting my friends new baby
+ visiting Nashville and seeing some of my favorite people
+ Making "fish faces" with Leah
+ Leah using a fork all by herself
+Leah's first time in the pool

According to my list, July seemed like a pretty spectacular month!
See ya in August!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bath Time Must-Haves for a One Year Old

Bath time is a fun event at our house. What once was a daunting task when she was a newborn, is now filled with so much fun now that she's old enough to play in the tub.  We try to make bath time as fun as possible - but also keep it an easy task for mom - so here are a few of my necessities and tips for giving this little one year old a bath.

Bath Time Must-Haves
1. Bath Tub:  We use a baby bath tub inside of our big tub.  This seems so much safer to me (even though I'm never more than a foot away) and it saves water.  I honestly think any tub will work, we got one that had a newborn insert that could be removed. So we've used this tub since she was a newborn. I recommend doing the same - and not buying a tub like this - because your baby will grow out of it by 6 months and then you'd have to buy another tub. So read the fine print and make sure you can use it as a newborn and toddler!
*Not needed: Thermometer:  We've never used a thermometer to check the bath temperate. If you want it for peace of mind - do it! But for me, I just check it using my forearm (not your wrist, your forearm!), to make sure its warm. Do whatever works best for you.

2. Elbow and Knee Rests: This is a must have for mom or dad! My knees and elbows never hurt because of these amazing elbow and kneeler pads! I use them every single time, and then I hang them up to dry. And the pocket is great to put your wedding rings in!

3. Bath Toys - This is where the fun comes in: Toys!! One of Leah's favorite bath toys is this submarine. She doesn't know how to pull the string yet, so I have to do all the work. But she loves the sound it makes and loves seeing it move in the tub. (We also play with this out of the tub too and watch it move all across the hard wood floors.) She also loves stacking cups and squirt animals too.
*Don't have the money for a lot of bath toys: Just look at your baby's existing toys and see if they can get wet. We use several toys in the tub that aren't really "bath toys", like plastic rings and old plastic eggs from Easter.

4. Bath Toy Scoop: Where are you going to put your toys? I used to keep an open Tupperware container in the tub to keep all Leah's toys in - it was an eye sore and I knew I needed a better option. We just got the Nuby Sea-Scooper and I absolutely love it. It sticks to the wall great and holds all her toys, and lets them drain/dry out. And I love that it's actually a toy in itself too. Once Leah moves out of the baby tub to the big tub - we will play with it more.
5. Shampoo/Body Wash: We only use Aveeno products, so I'm partial to this shampoo and body wash.
6. Wash Cloths and Hooded Towels: I've heard a lot of different ways from friends on how they get their little one out of the tub. Some put a towel on their chest, pick up the baby, then wrap them in their hooded towel. Some need a second person to help - one gets the baby - the other wraps them in the towel. I'm always giving Leah a bath (while CV makes dinner) so my routine is: I put one of my plush towels on the ground (for extra support), then I put Leah's hooded towel on top of it. I pick her up and lay her down on the towel - covering her head first with the hood, and swaddling her up in the hooded towel.  Then, I put one hand behind her head and the other behind her butt and pick her up and hold her against my chest (so she stays warm) - and carefully stand up.  It will be much easier once she can stand up and I can just stand her up and wrap her in a towel. ANYWAYS - we just got this strawberry hooded towel for Leah's birthday and it's my favorite.
7. A warm room: If you put your newly washed (and damp) baby in an air conditioned room - get ready for that baby to CRY (and shiver, which is so sad to see!) I always turn off the air before we give Leah a bath so her room isn't too cold when we get there. And also so the bathroom isn't blowing cold air on her while she's wet and in the bath. (This is also why I don't bathe her in the kitchen sink - our kitchen is very open, and I don't want a lot of cool air on her while she's bathing.)

8. Lotion or Baby Oil: As I said before, we are Aveeno lovers, so we use Aveeno baby lotion with eczema therapy. And we sometimes use J&J's Baby Oil when Leah's skin is really dry.

9. Coziness: And lastly, coziness! Soft cozy pajamas, a good book and a warm bottle of milk end our bath time fun and gets Leah ready for a good night sleep.

Hope this helped some mamma out there struggling with bath time.
It gets easier - and more fun! :)

*I received two of these products for a review, but all opinions are my own. 
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Leah's Favorite Present

Leah's godfather kept asking me what he should buy for Leah's birthday.....but to be honest, we didn't care a lot about presents, Leah has a lot of toys, I always find the best deals on clothes, so unless someone wanted to buy us diapers (nobody did, haha), we really didn't need much.  But every time he asked I would either say "nothing"....or I would tell him to buy her a box of tissues because she loves pulling tissues out of the box.
Well, not only did he buy her a box of tissues, he bought her 16 boxes of tissues and superglued them all together.
 And left an opening in the middle, so Leah could sit and be surrounded by boxes of tissues.
She. was. in. heaven.
 She absolutely loves pulling tissues, about 30 at a time....crawls away...then comes back and pulls some more.
 And since it was a gift, mommy doesn't get mad that she's wasting all the "house tissues".  Pull away, birthday girl. These tissues are all yours.
Isn't this such a sweet gift. I love homemade gifts, but this one takes the cake! So sweet that her godfather took the time to make her a special gift.
Even though he doesn't read my blog - a shout out to B.

Friday, July 8, 2016

ONE YEAR with Leah

Okay, I'm finally caught up with some of my blog postings and now here to talk about my daughter being ONE YEAR OLD! (6-13-16) Can you believe it?!
It seems like yesterday I was in labor at the hospital waiting to meet this little miracle. It's true what they say "the days are long but the years are short!" because this year truly flew by.

Here is my ONE YEAR update with Leah bug.
One Year Update:
Height/Weight: 17 lbs 8 oz and 29.5 inches long.
(Compared to when she was born at 7lbs 4oz and 20 inches long.)
Diapers: Still in Size 3, Pampers Baby Dry is the only brand we buy.
Clothing: She is in 12m clothing but still can wear 9mo pants. A lot of her 12 month pants are too big around the waist. And y'all Leah has sooooo many clothes right now. I hope she doesn't have a growth spurt anytime soon because I want her to wear all these cute outfits.
Eating: Leah is completely off nursing and we have completely run out of breastmilk! I'm so proud of myself for making it 11 months breastfeeding my baby - but after I went back to work, my milk supply dropped, as well as Leah was transitioning to a bottle/sippy cup, so I eventually lost my milk supply. We supplemented with formula for 2 weeks, and then started her on whole milk a week before her birthday. She absolutely loves whole milk!  Other than that - she's eating 3x a day and 2 snacks as normal. She eats so well and I actually love that daycare supplies her breakfast and lunch because it allows her to try a larger variety of foods - versus if I had to pack her lunch every day.
Teeth: Leah had another tooth cut through this month, so now she has 3 teeth, Two bottom and one top! (That 4th tooth will be here any day!)
Health: Leah has an ear infection in her left ear, and fluid in her right ear. The doctor gave us some antibiotics and we will pray they both go away. She always has a snotty nose - and that has unfortunately contributed to an ear infection.  Also, there is another "health thing" that came up during Leah's one year doctors appointment. I don't want to discuss it on the blog - but it was very upsetting to hear and came with an expensive pharmacy bill of almost $400. I'm just praying that everything gets better and stays better. We are super blessed with a healthy baby and want her to stay that way!
Social: Leah's watermelon birthday party was the social event of the season! She had a lot of fun with all her friends.  Also, we took a trip to the bookstore with her BFF Rory, they have a fun kids area and she loved playing with the trains. She also loves waving hello and goodbye to everyone, so I do think we have a sweet friendly little girl.
 Development: Still no walking, or standing on her own. She's crawling everywhere and is very good at it - so probably another few months before she's really walking around. She's also very good at rocking on her horse!
Likes: waving, pointing, Paisley, riding in her car buggy, balloons
Dislikes: birthday cake, being cold, getting shots, having her finger pricked
Well, it's been a fun year updating the blog all about Leah.  I won't be doing any more monthly updates on her like I have here, and in the past, but will just be updating when we hit big milestones as they come along. (Like when she walks! Or eats her first taco! haha!)

I love this little girl to pieces and I'm so happy she is mine. Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl! You are the light of my life.

If you want to read on previous months, here are the links:
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven