Perfect Gifts for a Second Baby

Unicorn Bath Towel

This post is sponsored by Baby Aspen.  All thoughts are my own and are my honest opinion of the product(s) and company.

 

When someone is having a second baby you often wonder what the perfect gift could be.  In our family our child got a lot of hand me downs- yes she has the typical stereotypical second child syndrome of having to use all the hand me downs- but as a baby I don’t think they will mind.  We had almost everything that we needed when our second child rolled around but there is few things that a child just can’t share.  I am going to name a few of the items that we got that we have loved for our second child- some where items that we needed but didn’t have with our first and others were something that each child can have and can’t really share.

 

Piggy Bank
Our first daughter loves her piggy bank- she goes through our wallets and collects all the change she can find in the house- she isn’t even 3 yet and its one of her favorite things to do.  We knew that having a bank for our second child was a must since they can’t really share.  We ended up getting this gorgeous Castle Bank so that they had different looking ones.  This has been so helpful for when great grandparents and others have sent money as gifts.  We have bank accounts open for each of the girls but we don’t often make it to the bank to deposit smaller funds when we have received them.  For example: a great grandparent likes to send all the kids money for each holiday.

Cute Piggy Banks

Robe
This is something that each child can share but we have liked to get their own. Both of our girls have had animals that have kind of developed into their main animal theme- it wasn’t really intentional- it has just happened.  For example- with our first we didn’t find out the gender- so when decorating we went with the neutral color of grey- well her designated animal turned into an elephant.  With our second we found out the gender and since we were having another girl I went super girly and chose to decorate with pinks and golds- that animal reminded me of a unicorn so her theme animal turned into a unicorn.  So when we found this unicorn robe we knew we had to have it.  I was so excited when Baby Aspen reached out and wanted to work together.  We were able to get the adorable bank and robe from them.

Unicorn Bath Robe

Baby Aspen Bath Robe

Dockatot
We have been obsessed with dockatot since my first was 9 months old.  I was desperate for sleep and she still hadn’t slept through the night.  I decided to invest in the grand and give it a try. It took her a few nights to get use to it but she started sleeping like an angel.  Since we didn’t have the deluxe for our second child we knew this was going to be our large investment.

Dockatot- best sleep ever

Diapers
Obviously every parent would appreciate the gift of diapers.  You can never have enough diapers.

Pacifier Clips
My first was really attached to her soother and we went through a lot of pacifier clips.  There were ones that I loved by once they got wet with her drool they would stain her clothing.  Than I discovered Templeton Silver and learned about how they hold 85% less bacteria than most pacifier clips I was sold.  I can also say that my firsts are in such great condition that I can use them with my second but we also bought some for her as well.  I love that these can also be worn as bracelets- which I have once for my first with her initial as well as one for my second child.  I hope to keep them in their memory books as well.  They are great quality and gorgeous.  This would be an amazing gift for anyone to receive

I hope I gave you some good ideas- it can be hard to know what to get a second child- especially when it is the same gender as the first.  If you have any good ideas as well please share them below- I’d love to know.

Gourmet Fettuccine Alfredo with Stella®

Favorite Alfredo

 

Favorite Alfredo

I love Italian food- it is one of my favorite foods.  Growing up I remember trying every Alfredo recipe I could find but I have finally tweaked a few to create one that I love and everyone that has tried it as well.

Stella 3 cheese blend

Alfredo Sauce

3 TBSP butter

8 fluid oz. heavy whipping cream

1 cup 3 Stella® Cheeses Italian Blend or Parmesan Cheese

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp garlic powder

1 egg yolk + 2 TBSP heavy whipping cream

 

 

Melt butter over medium heat.  Add cream & stir constantly until boiling- once boiling stir for 5 minutes and turn heat to med-low.

Add cheese, salt & pepper, & garlic powder- stir constantly until cheese is melted.

Mix yolk & heavy whipping cream together til smooth.  Slowly add to sauce while constantly stirring to mix egg in smoothly.

Simmer 3-5 minutes

Garnish with Stella® Parmesan Cheese

Tastiest Alfredo Sauce

Best italian food

Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Best Italian pasta sauce

Check out the video below

Easy Italian Cream Soda

Italian Creme

 

Sparkling Ice

Italian Cream Sodas are a favorite in my family.  When Todd and I got married we had Italian Cream Sodas as our featured drink, my nieces always make them when I go over to watch them, my brothers are obsessed- it’s easy to say it is a favorite drink at the Olthuis house.  So with the holidays upon us and much family time in the near future I thought it would be fun to share an EASY Italian Cream Soda recipe that helps to limit the amount of items used.

 

Items Needed

Sparkling Ice– any flavor desired

Ice

Heavy Cream

Flavored Water

Fill a glass with desired amount of ice

Pour flavored Sparkling Ice 3 parts to 1 part heavy cream.

If desired add whipped cream to the top with a cherry or garnish.

 

The whipping cream I just use the heavy cream with some sugar and vanilla and mix on high.

Creme Soda

What I like about doing the italian cream sodas this one is each person gets to pick their flavor when using Sparkling Ice instead of buying several large sized flavors.

 

I hope you enjoy- how do you like to drink your Sparkling Ice?

Quick Italian Cream Sodas

 

Lost Wedding Ring…No More

Never Lose an Item again

 

Have you ever lost your wedding ring? The panic of realizing that its gone and you might never find it? I have and its not a fun feeling.  Especially when you don’t want your husband to find out that you can’t find it- you know, searching everywhere you think it could be but acting cool like nothing is wrong.  Well guess what- I got caught- my husband actually found it and asked me about it one day.  Worst feeling ever.

Well I don’t have to experience that feeling ever again.  Thanks to Tile I will be able to find it if I ever lose it again.  I attached the tile to my wedding ring and engagement ring using a key ring.  If I ever can’t find it I go to my phone and click find on the app, or any device that I can use the app with to log in.  It will play music to let me know where it is and it will also show me the location on my phone gps.

 

Never Lose an Item again Tile It

Now you might wonder, a wedding ring- why aren’t you wearing your wedding ring.  I am a dental hygienist and as a RDH (registered dental hygienist) you are encouraged to not wear jewelry which includes a wedding ring.  Now I know some still do but I am kind of a germaphobe when it comes to stuff like that.  You see jewelry is small and has small parts that the bacteria can get into.  So when I work I don’t have my wedding ring on- the other days I don’t like to wear it because I have scratched my kids with it- as well as getting it dirty with just being around kids.  I have always felt like it was safer put away- until Olivia started to explore into all of my things.

Now in marriage what is mines is yours- but it is that way with kids as well.   At least the part of what is mine is yours, but what is theirs is theirs, right?  So having Olivia getting into my things and playing with my jewelry was how I lost my wedding ring and thank goodness I was able to find it not too far in the house- but I don’t have to worry about that again thanks to Tile.

Tile it lost and found

Tile it app

 

We have also used a tile on Olivia’s favorite stuffed animal, Rudolph the red nose reindeer- and no I am not saying that because its almost Christmas.  Last year my mom gave Olivia a book with the stuffed animal and she hasn’t parted with it yet.  She will run around all day playing with this thing and once its bedtime it disappears- I think its a way to stall bedtime, but of course she has a meltdown in her bed til one of us can find it.  Thanks to Tile its not that hard of a task anymore and bedtime can stay on time.

 

Our Diaper Rash Journey with Desitin

 

As parents we have a million things going through our heads at all times.

did I change the load in the wash

what is for dinner tonight

do I have those groceries to make that

I hope I am going to have time to get Ryan to her doctor appointment without waking her from her nap

did Olivia eat enough for breakfast and was it even healthy

 

Lets be honest do our minds ever stop- I know mine doesn’t.  I went and got a massage the other day and the entire time I was thinking about a million things.  I couldn’t even relax.

I know I don’t have it bad compared to some but between dealing with Ryan’s acid reflux and than adding her plagiocephaly & torticollis into the mix I feel like we are always on the go.  The last thing that I want to have to deal with is a diaper rash.

When Ryan was about a month old she started getting really bad diaper rashes & was upset all the time- the only thing that would calm her down was to nurse her but that only lasted a few minutes and than she would arch and scream.  Come to find out she was reacting to all the dairy that I was eating (which I live off of my dairy) and she had acid reflux.  One thing that really helped during this time was Desitin Rapid Relief.

Every now and then we still deal with diaper rash but it is nothing compared to those earlier days.  I also know that we are staying on top of it to help prevent it from happening.  If you are dealing with diaper rash right now Desitin shares some of their secrets how to deal with it here as well as how to prevent it from happening here.  We love using the Desitin Rapid Relief but I also recommend trying their Desitin Maximum Strength Original paste.  Have you tried Desitin? What are some secrets to keeping your little ones bum from turning red?

 

Chores For My Toddler

Chores are an excellent way to teach children responsibility as well as being a part of the family and contributing.  One thing I have noticed with children is the desire to help out so I knew I wanted to teach her things while she still had this desire.  We started some of these chores around the age of 1 but thought I would write a list of a few chores we have her do and most 2 year olds are capable of doing.

2 Year Old Chore List

  1. Wipe up spills
    We started this early- around 1 1/2 years old- every time she would spill something on the floor I would give her something to help wipe it up- sometimes she would go into the drawer and get a towel herself as well to help clean it up.  She doesn’t always do the best job and I often have to go after her and finish cleaning it up but I love that she knows that if something spills she needs to clean it up.
  2. Pick up her toys & books
    This task isn’t always easy- she gets distracted very easily when picking up her toys and will sit down and start playing.  I probably end up cleaning most of the toys up but I do like knowing that she can do it.  There are times that I tell her I will not help to pick them up and make her do them herself.  I think it is good to teach them that you are not there to serve their every desire.  If they make a mess it is their responsibility to clean it up.
  3. Make her bed
    Thanks to Beddys bedding this is an easy task.  I think a made bed makes the room but how hard would it be for a 2 year old to always make that bed when I can’t even seem to make my own all the time- thanks to the zipper feature she is able to zip her bed made and she loves doing it as well.
  4. Brush her teeth
    I am a dental hygienist so this one is extremely important to me and I love that she wants to do it.  Obviously I go in and do it as well but I love that she wants to brush them herself.  It will create a healthy habit for when she is a teenager and older.
  5. Throw away her garbage
    Another task that she has loved since a young age.  She often asks to throw away our garbage.  I wanted to teach her to not leave her trash everywhere for me to find.  Outside I do not allow her to leave her garbage all over the yard either.  There are times that we eat outside and she will get distracted and want to run off and play but I still make her throw things away.  Hoping it will help to prevent littering in the future as well
  6. Feed the cats
    This chore more came about from her begging to do it.  We help her with this task and measure out the amount the cats need but she goes and puts it in their bowls.  She often goes and calls for the cats to come to dinner as well if they aren’t already up in the kitchen begging for it.

 

Best Cold Remedy Drink

Forte elements amino acids

 

Best cold remedy

When I was little and would have a cold or sore throat my dad would always make me a hot tea with lemon juice, honey, and some sugar to help soothe the symptoms.  It is the best cold remedy ever for myself and I still use it all winter if I feel anything coming on.  Now I have added something to this to give it that extra boost for my immune system.  Have you ever heard of Forté Elements? They have all sorts of different supplement that benefit certain things, for example prenatal vitamins, postnatal vitamins, and the one that I am taking which is Amino Acids.

Amino Acids are important to help support your muscles to recover faster after working out and assist with cardiovascular, muscle and central nervous system functioning.  It helps to increase energy, everyday health and here is what is important to me – helps reduce risk of infection.

The Amino Acid is a lemon-lime flavor so instead of putting lemon juice in my hot drink I place this in instead.

 

Sick season tea Forte elements amino acids

 

Best Cold Remedy

8 oz hot water

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 packet of Forté Elements Amino Acid

 

What are some things that you do to help your immune system during the flu season? Any cold remedies that you swear by?

Cold season cure

Aches & Bruises Remedy After a Remodel Project

PROcure Products

 

This weekend we or I decided to redo Olivia’s entire bedroom.  I picked out some paint colors and painted the whole room 2 coats and ended up hating the color.  After a whole ordeal with that- trying to do house projects with a toddler and infant while having to pump is not ideal.  While pumping Olivia got into the paint and painted her entire arms and legs as well as painted handprints all over the walls and the rug.  Anyways- after hating the color and dealing with that whole mess I painted the room another color- 2 coats.  Our house was built in 1939 so the hardwood floors needed some love as well and after Olivia getting into the paint they really needed some help.  So I informed my husband that we were sanding and staining the floors this weekend.  Now if you know me you know that I randomly take on projects out of the blue and I always want to be hands on as well.  So yes I was in there using those huge sanders that you rent from Home Depot.  Now this could be a whole other post but what I am getting to is all the aches and pains as well as the bruises that I acquired this weekend.

PROcure Products

Perfect timing for some new products that PROcure sent me to try out.  They sent me an Epsom Salt rub and a Bruise Remedy gel to try out.  PROcure is family friendly using safe ingredients.  These products work proven by science but are safe using products from nature.  Brands in first aid aren’t required to clarify all their ingredients so its nice knowing that they show everything thats in their products and its all from nature.

The bruise remedy gel helps fade away the bruise as well as spider veins using an organic sulfur MSM that reduces inflammation and detoxifies.  It is also enriched with Arnica Montana which is a yellow flower that has been used for centuries to relieve and soothe bruising.

Now who doesn’t love a good Epsom salt bath- but as a mom of 2 -who always has time for that.  That is what I love about the Epsom Salt Gel Rub– its the bath in a rub.  Epsom Salt is a mineral known to reduce aches and pain but this gel also has Aloe Vera which soothes skin as well.

PROcure Epsom Salt

I bruise easily in general but I often have the battle wounds of being a parent and a parent of a toddler which we all know means we are a human jungle gym.  I should start documenting some of these wounds-for example when I was Olivia’s airplane and hit the coffee table.  These products work great for anyone.  If you are concerned about products that you are putting on your body I highly recommend you checking our PROcure products.

Top 5 Favorite Baby Products

Evivo Probiotic for infants

I have a lot of people ask me about my favorite baby products so I thought I would put together a top 5 favorite baby products list.  I love to try new products that I hear of and am sent a lot of items to try out so I thought it was time to make a list of my all time favorite products.  Here are my top 5 in no particular order.

Top 5 Favorite Baby Must Haves

  1. Dockatot
    Everyone always asks me if it is really worth it or as good as people say.  YES- it honestly is.  When I finally caved and bought our first dockatot was when Olivia was 9 months old.  She was sleeping in our room still and wasn’t sleeping through the night- 9 months you guys of not having a full nights rest.  I was desperate and didn’t care how expensive something was going to cost me as long as I could have a full nights rest.  I bought the dockatot and never looked back.  The first few nights she wasn’t quite sure of it- but after 2 nights in the dockatot she was sleeping through the night.  At nap time she would snuggle into her favorite position and just fall right asleep.  The dockatot deluxe was the first item I bought when I found out I was pregnant again.  Trust me you wont regret buying this product.
    Dockatot- best sleep ever
  2. A great swaddle (Ollie Swaddle & Ergopouch)
    With Olivia I bought some velcro swaddles from Target and hated them- the reason why was if I was changing her diaper in the middle of the night I had to pull her all the way out of the swaddle.  There were times that she would have stayed half asleep if I didn’t have to do that so I stopped using them and took them to a thrift store the next day.  This time around I made sure to get swaddles that I could get to their cute little bums without fully pulling them out of.  That is what I love about the Ergopouch & Ollie swaddle.  Now I recommend these both because you need a few swaddles anyways when one, or two, or three are in the laundry pile.  I like them both for different reasons.  I love that the Ergopouch has a little more wiggle room so Ryan can still move around in it but not too much.  I have done where I keep her arms inside the pouch or have let her arms come through the holes.  I also love that it has two zippers so she can stay in the pouch still.  The ollie is similar where it velcros across her body but has an opening at the bottom that you close with an elastic.  When changing her you just slide the swaddle up- wa-la.
    Best Sleep Sack
  3. A Probiotic
    I can’t say this enough now (now that I know how important it is) that every infant should be on a probiotic.  I was never told of the importance for Olivia to be on one when she was infant and I regret not knowing it.  I wasn’t told with Ryan until a month old and we went to the doctor about acid reflux and was told to try a probiotic first before medication.  Why isn’t this told to every mom.  If your child gets on a probiotic when young you are setting them up for a healthy life- for the rest of their lives.  GUT HEALTH is where it’s at people.  Have healthy insides and we will have healthy outsides as well.  I already talked about my favorite probiotic EVIVO in this post- I highly recommend you see the benefits of a probiotic and EVIVO is the only clinically proven probiotic to restore a healthy gut.  Why not go with the best if you are going to choose one.
    Evivo Probiotic for infants
    Evivo probiotic healthy baby smartasamother
  4. Backpack Diaperbag
    I am very opinionated about this and I don’t always use it as a backpack but when I need it its great to have it as an option.  As a parent you are already juggling so many things- don’t add a diaper bag to the mix.  When you are chasing around your toddler or kids you are going to want your arms free too so just make it easy on yourself and get a backpack diaper bag.  I love my Fawn design bag and I actually have 3.  Yes I have an addiction with backpack diaper bags- I even bought the Freshly Picked diaper bag on their Kickstarter and can’t wait to get it this fall.  I’ve been eyeing the new Kikilu diaper bag in Cream– cuz yes everyone needs options.  Listen when you become a parent you no longer get to use your purses- most of them can’t fit everything that you need.  Plus I don’t want my kids ruining my amazing bags from pre-parenthood.  There will be a time that I can pull out my designer bags again but it isn’t now.  While I’m rocking the mom look I am going to be rocking a great bag and I need options so don’t judge me.
    Backpack diaper bag
  5. Carrier
    I am obsessed with my ring sling.  Now everyone has different opinions on this and this is just what has worked with me.  I bought the wraps first and wasn’t a fan.  When I usually carry my daughters its when we are out in public.  I didn’t like trying to wrap myself and having it drag on public ground- gross- than I was going to put my baby in that thing.  I tried wrapping it before leaving and I just hated doing that.  Than I discovered Sakura Bloom and instantly fell in love.  So much so that I started getting all of my friends on board of baby wearing.  Whenever I would go out in public people would actually come up to me and tell me that they loved seeing a mama baby wearing.  I would get complements on how gorgeous the wrap was.  I could keep my baby close and kiss her at all times and keep people away from touching her.  I am a huge fan of ring slings.  I found it so much easier to learn how to use- it was compact in my bag, and it didn’t drag on the ground when I tried putting it on in public.
    Now if you are doing more of heavy walking around- for example walking around the park or going hiking or trail walking I highly recommend the Lillebaby carrier.  This is so comfortable, didn’t hurt my shoulders, waist or back.  They have beautiful colors and designs- as well as lots of different models.  Every mom that I have talked to about these types of carriers have all told me they love their Lillebaby carrier.

    ring sling, elbe baby arizona
    Ring sling Sakura bloom

I am curious- have you used any of these items for your children?  Do you agree with me? What are some of your favorite baby products?  Please share below so I can look them up.

Picnic Essentials

Picnic essentials

 

 

Olivia is obsessed with eating outside.  She will always go and get our blanket and say picnic outside.  It is adorable and I hope she continues to want to hang out with me all the time.  It got me thinking though of some things that are essential to have a great picnic and thought I would gather some of our favorite products.

Picnic essentials

top 5 picnic essentials

Picnic Essentials

  1. A great blanket
    We are obsessed with our Gathre mat and I highly recommend investing in a good quality blanket for any occasion.  This mat gets brought out on a daily and during the winter we use it for indoor picnic as well.  I love that it is waterproof so if the grass is wet we don’t get wet and you are able to wipe off anything easily that is spilt.  Lets be honest we are eating with kids- there is going to be a lot that gets spilt.  Olivia has gotten lasagna all over this mat and it never stained- just wiped right up.
  2. A picnic basket
    We have one similar to this one– that I got from my parents house- it helps to have all of your stuff together in one spot.  Plus I think it is adorable to have a picnic basket.
  3. Umbrella
    We bought a budget friendly $20 one from Target in their seasonal area and we use it all the time- there are often times we can’t find shade so its nice to have this to protect us some.
  4. Portable speakers
    We are a family that loves to always have music playing.  Olivia also loves to dance so it helps to entertain her while the rest of us are still snacking.  We have a small bluetooth one that we got from Amazon.
  5. Easy Nutritious Food
    Obviously a picnic wouldn’t be complete without the food.  I like to keep it simple when going on a picnic so that I am not juggling a lot of things and makes clean up easy as well.  I still want the food to be nutritious for us.  That is what I love about the Papa Johns ne w gluten-free crust pizza.  They use ancient grains making this a healthier option than your regular pizza.  Whenever I am breastfeeding I try to be a little more health conscience than I normally am.  I am also the mom that gives my child fruit & veggies while I am hiding eating fast food.  I like that I don’t have to hide while eating this meal.  Try it out tonight with this PROMO CODE for a small 2-Topping Gluten-Free Crust Pizza $9.99 : GLTN2T

 

papa johns

gluten free