Is that a doll?

Why yes, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Why does it matter to you? I know this may sound harsh, but really I don’t need random people giving me their opinions on what my child should be playing with.

H started playing with baby dolls at an ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) class we were taking. He would rock the baby and feed the baby. It melted my heart watching him play with the baby dolls. He always knows when a real baby is nearby and makes a point to say hello. He’s a loving and caring child and I will nurture those qualities no matter what.

I was telling my mom how much H wanted a baby doll and kept asking for one. She sent him the one seen in the photo above. He was beyond excited to get HIS BABY. The joy in his little body was so great, he smiled so big when he opened his package.

Since his baby arrived, they go everywhere with us. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. The baby goes to the gym, the grocery store, to school pick up, etc.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on the fact that my son was carrying around a baby doll. A friend said to me when discussing this issue with people inserting their opinions, “Do you think they would have made a negative comment if he were carrying a stuffed dog?” Honestly, I don’t think any comment would have been made or if there was it would have been, “Aw, so cute!”.

I tend to walk away when people make comments at the store, but maybe I need to take the time to explain to them that there is nothing wrong my son playing with a doll. To me, I see a child learning to be nurturing (he changes the baby’s diaper and feeds them too), caring, and pretending to be just like his Mom and Dad.

H is learning and growing. It doesn’t matter what he plays with, he’s using his imagination and developing important life skills. So, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Playing with his baby is no different than him playing and using his imagination with his tools, cars, trucks, superheroes, stuffed animals, etc… It shouldn’t matter to you what he chooses to play with, what should matter is that we are raising loving, caring, and compassionate children who will one day excellent friends, uncles, fathers, partners, and contributing members of society.

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What’s for dinner?!

Hey Friends! This week I’ve been MIA because of the Polar Vortex and didn’t have time to write while we were hibernating.

Here is the meal plan for this week!

Sunday: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Monday: Chicken and Rice Casserole serves with green beans

Tuesday: Crock Pot Beef and Potato Taco Chili

Wednesday: LEFTOVERS!!!

Thursday: One Pot Cheeseburger Pasta

Friday: Homemade Pizza Night

Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

Most of these recipe ideas come from https://thepounddropper.com/

What’s for Dinner?!

The week of January 27- February 1 is a odd dinner week here! I will only be making dinner 5 out of the 7 nights. I am already thinking ahead and have some fun dips/dishes planned for next weekend…for the Puppy Bowl…we are much bigger puppy fans than football fans.

Sunday: Easy Vegan Falafel (thank you to Jasmine for sharing this recipe) served with couscous, cucumbers, tomato, roasted red onion, and hummus.

Monday: Dinner with Gert and Papa

Tuesday: Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Wednesday: Chili / Mac & Cheese Night at School

Thursday: Skillet Gnocchi Pizza Bake served with salad

Friday: Hamburgers with potato wedges and salad

Saturday: Omelets and fruit and maybe 2 ingredient bagels!

Bon Appétit

Potty Training

I am so ready to be done with diapers. For one, they are expensive! I also am just ready for H to go to the bathroom on the toilet.

I remember potty training L like it was yesterday. Our goal was to have him potty trained before H was born, and that definitely didn’t happen. He was showing signs that he was almost ready, like hiding when he went to the bathroom, telling us AFTER he went, and just being really interested in the bathroom. We let L pick out fun new undies and we let him wear them throughout the day while we had a timer set for every 30 minutes. We all were getting very frustrated and decided to stop for a few weeks and try again. After about three week we tried again with L and there were no issues or accidents, HE was ready…we can’t be ready for them.

So, here we are, H is two and he is definitely showing signs that he is interested. He tells me when he has to go to the bathroom (he won’t sit on the toilet unless he wants to…and this kid has multiple options from potties to toilet seat covers). I ask him often if he is ready to sit on the toilet and his response usually is: NO THANKS! ( At least he’s polite about it.) He also loves to flush the toilet and take all of the toilet paper off of the roll.

I think we need to try the same techniques we used when training L but I know we will need modifications because they are totally different children. Firstly, I need to take him shopping for his own undies. H likes to wear L’s over his diaper from time to time, but I want this to be special for him too. I am ready for H to be out of diapers but I’m not sure that he is quite ready… maybe in a few more week we will really be able to start!

So here is where I need you! Send me your tips and ideas! I want to add to my bag of tricks! So please let me know how you potty trained your little one(s) or how you plan on training when you/they are ready. Feel free to send wine too!

Luminous You: Consultation

This photo is of me on January 19, 2019 without any makeup on. This is my before photo. I know I have scars (from pimples and chicken pox when I was little), I have rosy cheeks, zits, and I’m starting to see lines.

I do my best to take care of my skin and have been for some time now, but I’ve done most of it on my own. I use a lot of Kiehl’s products, and I love them so much! I also saw a dermatologist after having H because my skin decided it was time for me to have acne at 30. Thankfully it isn’t as bad as it was.

I know most of the things I’ve mentioned are things that you might not notice on my face, but I notice them, we are our own worst critics right?!

I do wear sunscreen every day on my face. I also moisturize every morning and night. I wear a foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, and maybe a little highlighter daily. Wearing the makeup makes me feel a little better about myself when leaving the house.

I was so excited when I learned about Luminous You (Medical Spa) and the services that they offer. I set up a consultation to sit down with Valery, the owner. I felt so comfortable, like I was having coffee with an old friend, while we discussed what Valery does and what I thought my problem areas were. We talked about what my goals are, and one of my goals for 2019 came up: To be more confident.

One way that I can be more confident is being able to go out of the house without my “face” on. This is a great skincare goal. I’ve been invited to join the “No Foundation Club”, who wants to join with me for 2019?!

Before I left Luminous You, Valery asked me to come up with some questions about skincare or questions that were specific to my skin. I’ve never met a provider that took this much time to speak with me and really make me feel cared for. I sent Valery a handful of questions and she responded with answers that I think will be very helpful for my skin! Here are my questions: She also sent links and additional information that I found to be very educational: To find out your skin type: https://www.skinbarnyc.com/2016/04/18/considering-laser-hair-removal-get-know-fitzpatrick-skin-type/

About BBL: https://www.adamscheinermd.com/achieve-forever-young-skin-with-forever-young-bbl-treatment

I have to say, I really appreciate that Valery want to help me learn about the processes and tools I will experience rather than just doing whatever without me knowing.

Another thing that I really appreciated about our first meeting was that Valery wants me to focus on solutions for my skincare problems rather than specific treatments. I really didn’t know there were so many options to help me, and as a 32 year old, Valery has a whole package meant just for the 30 something crowd! Everyone’s skin is different, so there isn’t a one size fits all. I also plan on educating myself through my skincare improvement process and use products that are appropriate for my skincare needs.

It means a lot to me that Valery wants to help me look and feel like the best version of myself. I am nervous because I’ve never done anything like this, but I’m also very excited for my future with Luminous You. My first treatment will be in two weeks!

I hope that you follow along and if you have any questions or if you have been thinking about going to a MedSpa, reach out to Valery (even if you don’t live in the Twin Cities, Valery has so much information to share so you can be knowledgable about your skin and skincare). Valery offers FREE consultations.

Just remember, you can change your hair and clothes, and makeup…but you only get ONE SKIN. Take care of your skin, drink water, use products that won’t damage your skin. USE SUNSCREEN! (Valery shared with me that your sunscreen should be sunscreen with at least 5% Zinc Oxide.)

I’m leaving a link that Valery shared with me for a shop that sells “sun protection you wear”: Coolibar and they have so many clothing options as well as swimwear for everyone!

What’s for dinner?!

Hello there friends! Here is my meal plan for the week of January 13-January 19!

Sunday: Lemon Chicken with Aglio e olio, served with salad and bread

Monday: Farro and tomatoes with side salad

Tuesday: Lemon and herb roasted chicken and vegetables

Wednesday: Mini bacon and egg tarts served with fruit

Thursday: Bolognese served with salad and bread

Friday: MYO pizza with Trader Joe’s dough

Saturday: Burgers and potato wedges

Breakfasts ideas: eggs, avocado toast, smoothies, oatmeal (sweet or savory)

Lunch ideas: leftovers, panzenella, hard boiled eggs, salads, wraps, protein bars, shakes

What’s For Dinner?

I’ve had a lot of inquiries as to what I do with my meal planning for the week. I’m not a “meal planner” but I do plan dinners for the week each week, and typically we stick to it unless I realize when I start to make dinner that I don’t have all of the ingredients that I need! 

They change every week, and I do my best to keep everyone happy and healthy! Friday nights tend to be our takeout night or our takeout fake-out night. 

Here is my dinner plan for the week of 12/16:

Sunday: Crock pot creamy ranch chicken with 2 ingredient biscuits and salad (the recipe is actually much healthier than it sounds)

Monday: Bacon, Garlic Chicken with Spinach served with rice and an additional vegetable

Tuesday: Baked Tilapia with riced cauliflower and homemade broccoli tots 

Wednesday: Homemade Mac and Cheese with riced cauliflower mixed in and a side salad

Thursday: Spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, and bread

Friday: Cheeseburgers with Matt’s famous fries and a veggie

Saturday: Breakfast for dinner

I usually try to make sure I have enough leftovers for Matt to take to lunch the following day and some to freeze for a leftover night or a freezer clear out night!

Please feel free to ask about these recipes and share your ideas too! I love adding to my recipe repertoire! 

Urban Forage: Winery and Cider House

I’m writing this post while I enjoy a nice cold cider from this fun winery and cider house I got to check out today.

Matt and I like to venture out and find fun and new place to go, with and without the kids. Today we drove across the Mississippi into Minneapolis to Urban Forage.

We walked in and we were greeted by Jeff, the owner. Jeff is extremely knowledgeable about his wine and cider and we enjoyed talking with him about his bar and the details that go into making their wine, cider, and mead.

We started with a tasting of the ciders, Urban Forage currently has four ciders on tap: Dry Cider, Pear Cider, Spiced Cider, and a Semi Sweet Cider. We also tried the dry red wine and the sangria (you have to see what this is a combination of!…go and order! You won’t be disappointed!)

I have to say, my favorite was the seasonal Spiced Cider, it tasted like Holiday Cheer in a Cup! I even left with a growler (that what I’m drinking now).

The Pear Cider was another favorite. The Pear Cider reminded me of growing up since my parents have a pear tree in the backyard and the cider tasted like fresh pears. All of the pears are gathered from all over the Twin Cities and Metro area, it really was incredible to speak with Jeff and see how much love he and his wife put into their production of their wines and ciders. I really love that everything they use is locally sourced, I feel like it makes it feel like home, even though the Twin Cities are heavily populated!

I feel like Urban Forage is the place to go where everyone would know your name, there was such a welcoming and calm feeling in the tap room. The Urban Forage also had a cute game hutch included Hungry, Hungry Hippo! The Urban Forage is family friendly! I know my children would love to play a game or two while snacking on the cheese plate and Mom and Dad could enjoy a drink or two.

I wish I tried the Wassail, their warm spiced cider! Next time!

Jeff offers tours on Sundays at 1:15, you can purchase you tickets online. Their hours are as follows: Thursdays 4-9 (GAME NIGHT), Friday 4-11, Saturday 2-11, and Sunday 2-6. They are located at 3016 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. You should check them out and follow them on social media. I truly cannot wait to go back, visit with whoever I am with, drink delicious, locally sourced ciders and wines, and fill my growler!

Who is coming with me to game night?! (Fun Fact: Jeff comes up with all the themes and trivia questions!)

Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

Disclosure: This post is an honest review based on my experience. This post is sponsored by Urban Forage.

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

Reasons for Remy and Zoey

I figure with the holiday season upon us I wanted to share about our rescue pups. My husband and I always knew we wanted to rescue a dog. I think dogs are amazing creatures and I’d take any of them but there was something about rescuing that really was important to us.

Zoey:

Our ZoeZoe just turned 9!

We knew we wanted a dog and talked about it often when we were in college. We moved to Ohio in 2009 and we decided to wait until after the holidays so we could maybe find a dog that we knew really needed a home. We found Zoey at a shelter in January 2010. She was with a few of her brothers. We found out that her mom was left on the side of the road pregnant with the puppies and was under extreme stress. Zoey was the runt of the bunch and they didn’t even think she was going to make it. When we met her we knew she was ours, little did we know at the time that the stress her mother had during pregnancy was passed to the puppies…We would later learn that Zoey is unable to shut off her stress. Zoey was put on Prozac after we worked with a behaviorist for a while. It seemed to help! Something changed when we moved to Minnesota, Zoey’s was almost like a different dog and we were able to wean her off of the medication.

Zoey loves to snuggle with the boys and is the Queen of being sneaky…she knows who to sit by during meals.

We noticed Zoey getting white whiskers and eye lashes. We know she’s getting older and we will continue to love her forever. She’s our first baby.

Remy:

December of 2015 I had my second miscarriage. I was numb. We were numb. I needed something, a distraction maybe? We discussed over Christmas that we needed to find a puppy. Were we crazy? Probably.

Again, we wanted to adopt a dog after the holiday season, since we have seen it time and again, people gift animals and then realize they don’t want them or take care of them after a few days.

We met Remy. He was dopey and looking for love. We found out that Remy already had 4 homes by the time he was 8 weeks old. He was homeless, taken to a shelter, adopted and returned after Christmas, and then put into a foster home. We were this little puppy’s 5th home. We figure that Remy’s need to be attached to my hip or constantly with someone might not just be the GSP in him, but also the fact that he was so lost for the first few weeks of his life.

L and Remy bonded immediately and then we needed to make sure Zoey would like him too…and she’s a tough one to impress if you know her. To our surprise, they clicked. Remy was the newest family member.

When H came along we were nervous to see how Remy would adjust since we knew Zoey would be fine…Remy and H seem to team up from time to time and get into trouble together. The dogs fit into our family perfectly.

So today, it’s 6 of us. Two adults, two children, and two dogs. It’s a little crazy at times (ok, most of the time) but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’d like to ask you to keep in mind all of the animals who are looking for their forever home and who are in rescues. You do you, but please don’t return your dog. They are family. If you need help, ask someone, a friend, a family member, or your vet.