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

gluten free

papa johns

gluten free

 

Top 10 Parenting Advice with Mocktails

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic

Lets face it- there are times that we need to turn to our mom tribe for advice.  I not only have amazing friends that I can turn to but I feel very fortunate to have an amazing mother, mothers-in-law, sister and awesome sisters-in-law that I turn to more often than not for advice.  I was so excited to partner with Ocean Spray® and try their new Mocktails while sitting down with my mom and sister in law and get some parenting advice from them. Here are some top tips that I’ve been given over time.

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic, top 10 parenting advice

TOP 10 Parenting Advice

  1. Say I love you early and often.  Mean it as well.
    We have had several people hear my family members talking on the phone to each other and whenever we get off the phone we ALWAYS say I love you to each other.  They often are amazed that we speak to each other this way and complete on that we do this.  I can honestly say that I love knowing that my parents and siblings love me. You often hear people say they regret not expressing their love for people more often.  I know that my family will never have that regret & I hope to continue that tradition with my little family.
  2. Agree with your spouse in front of the children and be a united front- don’t make one parent the bad guy all the time.
    My mother has such a tender heart- whenever we misbehaved and she tried disiplining us she would often go into her room and cry about it.  It was always harder on her than us so she started using the phrase- wait till your father gets home.  She tells us all the time that she regrets ever doing that.  Not only did it not work- we would still misbehave until our father got home- but it made my dad out to be the bad guy.  Now I never thought of my father as bad but man when we got home and we were bad we would all run for it.  What kind of greeting is that a father after a hard days of work.  Come up with rules and how to discipline together and than each hold to them.
  3. Don’t Compare yourself to other parents- each child, parent and situation is different. We each come with different skills & personalities-find what works for your family.
    Easier said than done- especially with social media thrown in our faces at all times but we don’t know what is truly happening in everyones homes.  Those parents might seem to have it all together at all times but lets be honest none of us do.  We all lose our tempers, burn a meal, leave our house or chores a mess at times.  Some people are great at crafts while others are great at cooking.  We each have different strengths and weaknesses so use what you have.
  4. Be open to advice- read lots of different parenting books and articles.  You never know what might work for your child and family. 
    I use to hate when people would try giving me advice- I knew my child and that was it.  Than my child started to grow and change and I realized that being open to advice wasn’t such a bad thing.  What works for me might not work for my daughters.  Just because someone gives you advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it but one day you might use one of their tips and be grateful you were open to advice.  I also learned this with books, while pregnant I didn’t want to follow one way of parenting so I didn’t ready any books, but once I had my daughter I realized that I needed some knowledge at parenting.  I started reading all sorts of books and realized it didn’t have to be one style or the other, you pick things that work for you and your family and develop your own style.
  5. Have a family dinner daily with no technology.
    There have been studies done about how important it is to sit down as a family and have dinner together.  Not only does it get the family together on a regular basis but it gives everyone a chance to talk to one another.  It gives everyone a chance to talk about their day as well.  There are so many cute traditions that I have heard of- letting everyone talk about a high & low moment that day, talk about what they achieved that day and plan to achieve the next day.  One of my good friends that is from Central America told me that at dinner her father would quiz all of them about cities, countries, spelling, anything and everyone in her family is so smart and knowledgeable.  I know I looked forward to our family meals together- I loved sitting down and listening to my older siblings talk about their day.  This is a tradition I plan to do.
  6. Clearly define limits and expectations.
    I always knew what was expected of me growing up and at times I felt like the expectations were too high but now that I am older I respect that.  I love that my parents had high expectations of me- it means they knew I was capable to achieve them.  I also knew what was expected of me when not around my parents and I think other families appreciate that.  My parents have several friends that have commented about how much they enjoy being around not only them but their children.  I never want someone to avoid spending time with us because I don’t have my children under control.  I think this tip can relate to a lot of things as well, school, hobbies, behavior, etc.
  7. Be patient and understanding.
    One thing I have learned since having a child is to be patient.  There are times that I know it will be so much easier for me to do something on my own but that wouldn’t be teaching them how to do it.  We not only need to be patient with them growing up and learning but being patient and understanding when they make a mistake in life.  I always knew my parents loved me no matter what I did and knew I could go and talk to them about it.  It was so comforting to know they understood even if they weren’t happy with me.
  8. Don’t over structure their lives.
    This seems to be a big problem lately.  It is a competitive world and as a parent you feel that if they don’t have every second scheduled with an activity than they will fall behind.  Again there have been studies how this is hurting our children.  They need time to be bored so they can learn how to entertain themselves.  They need time to be creative and discover what their true talents and passion are.  With packed schedules they never learn these skills.
  9. Learn to say NO- what a child wants isn’t always what they need.
    I know not everyone is not going to agree with me on this one but at least hear me out.  I know there is a parenting trend that says that the word no can be damaging to a child.  I don’t agree with this because in life you are going to hear the word no at times and we need to prepare them for that.  Life is not always going to give them what they want and they need to learn to either do without or learn to work towards getting it if they really want it.  I believe that hearing the word no teaches boundaries at times as well.  Now I do agree with that we should learn to answer at times with a different word- for example if a child asks for a treat we don’t always have to say no- we can give them options or other alternatives.  “Mom can I have a treat” “right now I would like it if you had some crackers or an apple, which one would you like instead”  This technique has helped in our family so far but I will admit I am not perfect and the word no still comes out often.
  10. Give them a chore at least once a day.
    Chores teach our children how to work and be responsible.  It also gives them pride in the work that they have done.  A child will appreciate a meal so much more when they have helped prepare it.  They feel apart of the family when given family responsibilities.  It also teaches them to work at an early age. There are a lot of good lists that I have found on Pinterest that talk about age appropriate chores.

Now lets talk about how much I enjoyed these Ocean Spray® Mocktails– they seriously do taste like cocktails.  What I like is the many options you have with these drinks- you are able to drink them as is, add some sparkling water in them, or add in some alcohol to make it a true cocktail.  After us moms got together and talked about a few things the kids joined in to taste them- we all agreed that the favorite was Tropical Citrus Paradise Mocktail but I really enjoyed them all.  The Cranberry Sangria Mocktail seriously tasted like a Sangria.  These Ocean Spray® Mocktails would be perfect for hosting a baby shower, those times that you’re craving a cocktail while pregnant or just can’t/don’t drink.  I highly recommend trying them.  I am already planning several other parties that I know these would be perfect.

Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic Ocean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholicOcean Spray Mocktails, Mocktails, Alcohol free drinks, non-alcoholic

Second Baby Wish List

TOP 5 Wish List for 2nd Baby

Dockatot, Ollie Swaddle, Uppababy Vista, Owlet, Lucy Darling, Little Unicorn, The Baby Cubby

  1. Dockatot – deluxe: We got the dockatot grand for Olivia when she was around 9 months old, I was desperate for a goodnight sleep and loved what I had read from other moms.  I researched about them and loved knowing that every part is breathable- when you’ve got a baby that loves to stuff her face into the covers or sleep on her belly this was a big issue for me.  The first few nights she wasn’t sure about it- it was something new and I was nervous that I had just wasted my money, but after that once I would lay her down she would snuggle to her comfort spot and go right to sleep.  I knew we hit the jackpot but especially when we started to go to friends homes during her naptime or staying over at grandma’s house to visit.  I dreaded trying to put her to sleep in a new area but with the dockatot that is familiar for her so she would fall a sleep pretty quickly.  I knew that with our second child this would be one of our first purchases we made.
  2. Owlet: Do you or did you every just stare at your baby sleeping and wonder if they were even alive? Well I use to all the time- I remember the first time she slept through the whole night I woke up in a panic thinking she had to be dead.  I just sat there and stared at her for a few minutes.  She wasn’t moving and it looked like she wasn’t even breathing.  I started to stroke her face and poke at her until she moved just a little to make sure she was alive.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to check on her even though she was in the same room as me. I feared I missed her struggle or cry for help.  About 9-10 months later I heard about this new baby monitor called the Owlet and I knew I was getting it with my next child.  This little sock sits on the babies foot and will monitor their oxygen level and heart rate.  I think this is a must for all parents but especially little ones that have been in the NICU.
  3. The Ollie Swaddle: I hated trying to swaddle Olivia up only to have her untangle it soon after but the velcro swaddles that I got from Target were annoying to me as well.  When Olivia would wake up in the middle of the night and need a diaper change I would have to unswaddle the entire thing waking her up in the process.  There were times she would start crying so loud my husband would come in wondering if he needed to step in and help- nope dear just trying to change her diaper, she will be fine once she is warm and swaddled again.  This swaddle you can keep the baby all nice and snug and just work up the open bottom and get things done.  I can’t wait to try this out.
  4. Little Unicorn Swaddle: Have you seen these swaddles- they are beautiful and so soft.  I had very cute swaddles with Olivia but these ones were gorgeous.  This was something I wanted to invest in for my next baby and I also love to get them for friends as well.  I also love that they are light weight so I often use them as blankets, especially in the summer time.
  5. Lucy Darling- Baby book: I got one of these baby books for Olivia and it is adorable.  They are well made, easy to keep up on, and very well priced as well.  If I was able to keep up on this baby book than anyone can.  I am the worst at that kind of stuff but it was important to me to have for her when she was older.  Plus they came out with some new designs since Olivia was born.

BONUS

UppaBaby Vista Stroller: I have the Bugaboo Cameleon right now and it is a great stroller- I love it.  But I don’t want to switch over to the donkey- it seems a little to bulky to me.  I know you can buy the little skate to add on but Olivia LOVES to be pushed in her stroller.  I don’t want her to feel like she is getting booted to walking or even hanging onto that skate part while the baby gets her spot.  The Uppababy Vista has where you can add another seat to it- how great is that.  You can do so many different configurations as well to find something that works for you.  This is still on my wish list because I spent way too much already on Black Friday. Oups- the baby needed it all.

Where did I find all these amazing products?  In just one spot- The Baby Cubby.  This is a local store here in Utah but I actually bought everything online.  I have followed this store on instagram for awhile now and have been to a few of their pop-up shops.  I have also watched a few of their periscopes where they have talked about products they have at the store and they also showed some awesome things from the baby convention and were asking their followers for advice on what products we were all curious about and wanting in their store.  I love that sense of community that they give to all parents.  It really does take a village to raise a family and they are a great member of that village to help.

The Baby Cubby just isn’t another baby store, they honestly want to help you on your journey of being a parent.  Car seats are something that I really struggle with- there has been times that I have had to remove the base out my car and getting it back in has been a real struggle. I am not that strong to pull it as tight as it needs to be.  They have a car seat specialist that you can always stop off at their store and they will check it for you and if anything is wrong they will help you correct it.

They often host pop up shops for other local vendors as well.  I love a store that really believes in community and bringing people together. They will have small shops set up at their location and host the event.  Their store also likes to support small shops and they often ask their customers if there are products that they want them to carry.  That right there is amazing service to me.

Now on Black Friday they were having an amazing sale- everything that I wanted on this list was on sale so I stayed up until 12:01 to make sure I got it all.  Now this is where it’s a huge surprise- Saturday afternoon I got a knock on my door and I have 2 packages from The Baby Cubby- I bought this stuff the day before. It was so fast and everything came very well packaged.  They offer nationwide free shipping on orders over $49. Which lets be honest as a parent the last thing you really want to do is run to a store and have to get out of your car to do anything.  I love to shop in my pjs with my hair in my 2 day old bun and know that I didn’t have to pay for shipping either- win-win.

Check out their blog to see what articles and advice they have to share and also check out their store online.

 

*This post is sponsored by The Baby Cubby- all thoughts and opinions are my own and honest.  These items are truly on the top of my list of must haves for second baby.

 

Why Hire a Birth Photographer

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I had written all about Olivia’s birth story about a year ago. It was a beautiful story but it was very personal to me. There might have been a few people that were interested in reading it but the more I read it the more I realized how important it was to me & pretty person. I am so glad I wrote it, it was a journal piece that I will treasure forever. But a whole year later and restarting up a blog I decided to talk about why you should hire a birth photographer.

I love photographs. To me nothing is better than a frozen piece of time Yes a lot of photos are staged but when you look at a photo it brings you right back to that very moment. People hire a photographer for huge moments in their lives. Since I am still under 5 years of this stage I will mention a moment that everyone thinks is the most important day of their lives, your wedding day. You take engagements, bridals, and the actual wedding by a professional photographer, this is a huge day and you want beautiful photos. You think this is the most important day of your life. Trust me up to this point it is, unless you have already become a parent. Becoming a parent trumps becoming a spouse any day, at least it did for me. So I looked at this moment as why not have a professional come in and capture moments of this special day that I can cherish forever.

This takes me to the first reason on my top 5 list why to hire a professional.

1. Biggest day of your life
 Becoming a parent is a huge day in anyones life. Nothing will ever be the same after you become a parent. You hire a professional photographer for huge events happening in your life. You also hire a professional usually once a year to take photos for christmas/New Years cards and just so you have a photo of your entire family every year. Why wouldn’t you hire a professional to capture moments that change your life so drastically.

2. Moments you never saw

 My photographer captured things that I never got to see with my own eyes.  My husband was next to me when we heard our beautiful little girls first cries.  I was focused on myself at the time, what I was feeling, what I was doing. I wasn’t caring to look around and see what my husband was experiencing.  But my photographer did.  She took several pictures of his reaction which was beautiful.  I have only seen my husband cry once before. I guess I technically didn’t see this one either but while looking at all the photos and seeing him wipe away tears was so beautiful to me. I didn’t know his reaction until the photographer told and showed me. I am so glad she captured it and I will forever cherish that photo. I think if I saw a photo of my father reacting the same way when I was born that photo would be cherished by me as well.

3. Moments you don’t want to forget

 I’ve got complete mom brain. I thought it was bad when I was pregnant but a year after O’s birth and I realize this mom brain might be here to stay.  I have forgotten small things about that day that I thought I never would. How could you ever forget the best day of your life. Well you can and you do.  I love looking back at photos of that day and reliving it.  You don’t relive the painful stuff either ladies. Nature has a wonderful way of making you forget any of the pain so we want to redo this whole process over again.

4. Takes pressure off everyone

I take the photos in this family, not my husband. I know all families aren’t this way and there are a lot of you lucky ladies that have wonderful husbands that are amazing with the camera. We aren’t one of those families.  There was no way I was going to trust my husband to take beautiful photos of what was going on. Plus I wanted him in a lot of the photos as well.  I’ll refer back to reason #2–getting his reaction to the birth.  I also didn’t want a whole audience in the room while delivering.  Even if you do want a lot of people in there, how great is it to have someone there to capture everyone participating.  It took the pressure off family, my husband and me.  I just delivered a baby, I would have wanted to be up there taking photos of her getting weighed & measured.  There was no way I would have been able too. I was still in surgery myself. Yes I got stitches, yeah me. So there was no pressure for anyone to man up and take beautiful photos because I knew the photographer was already doing that.

5. Relax

All the reasons listed above will help you relax on this big day.  You don’t want to feel even more stressed than you already will be and maybe you wouldn’t. I personally would feel stressed if I didn’t capture certain moments. I’m already kicking myself about certain photos I didn’t take throughout her first year. Having a professional there to capture this beautiful moment helped me to relax.

Now lets show you some photos

Birth story, baby girl, babies

Birth Story, rose to life, baby girl, surprise gender,

Birth Story, rose to life, baby girl, surprise gender,

birth story, baby girl, rose to life, lifestyle blog, babies

Birth Story, rose to life, baby girl, surprise gender,

Photos taken by April at New Elements Films

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