Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This mom's pre-baby product list



It's week 37 of this edition of Pierogie Pregnancy! While my two previous children were not early by any means (39 weeks and 41 weeks), a little spot in my mind remains open to the idea that I just might have a baby boy in my arms in a week or two. Cue mind-splosion.

Nesting has been in full bore for about 2-3 weeks and I've been diligently knocking off items on my "end of pregnancy to do list," which I purposefully kept simple. Enjoy my baby showers, have my much anticipated special run Natibaby carrier arrive, refinish a dresser for baby boy, prepare our guest room for about 6 weeks worth of guests, get the big sisters into their swanky new bunk bed and truly the most important and probably time consuming task - organize all the baby things.

Having 3 kids in the span of 5 years does help you stream line a lot of things. Through baby #2 I quickly realized what worked for us and what I don't really need to hold on to. Hallelujah for consignment sales! I have been able to periodically destash baby items through out the years and recoup some cash and valuable space thanks to those. But, even though it's only been 3 years since my last pregnancy, some fun new items come onto the market that weren't on my radar before. So let me share with you a few of the new products that have caught my eye and landed on my "pre-baby product list."


The Dockatot was something that kept popping up on my facebook feed and I was really intrigued by the idea. We are a bed-sharing family and I typically sleep with my kids full-time until they are night weaned; around 18 months. We practice safe sleep methods that are essential for bed-sharing and thus there aren't a whole lot of products that fit in for making any of it easier. The Dockatot is an all cotton sleeping pad with bolstered sides, which creates a safe microclimate for the baby.  A concern I had with bed sharing with the baby this time around is that in the last year we have switched to an all-foam, no spring mattress and that doesn't provide air circulation as well as it should for bed sharing. I'm excited to share our full review once baby is here! Already shopping? Save $10 on DockaTot here.

And while we're on the topic of safe sleep, I wanted to mention that I've been doing a ton of research on mattresses and safe materials for children ever since we upgraded our 5 and 3 year old daughters from two toddler beds to their "you'll have this until you move out" bed set - a twin over full bunk. Buying the bed frame was the easy part; the hardest part was finding that balance between comfort, quality of materials, affordability and safety in the mattresses! We found My Green Mattress to fit all of those qualifiers! Even though it's not exactly a traditional "pre-baby" item, everyone goes mattress shopping and at some point you'll definitely be asking yourself the same questions when shopping for your children's mattresses that I did- so stay tuned for that update as well!

How do you take care of your body immediately following birth? With my last child I experienced an interesting tear that made me so so thankful that I decided to give cloth menstrual pads a try. Cloth pads, or mama cloth, are really easy to use especially when you are already cloth diapering your baby. You just wash your pads along with the diapers (pre-rinse if that's important to you). Oko Creations has your back (well, bottom). I've reviewed their pads in the past and they still are my favorite pads to buy. The material is the most absorbent I've ever used and the quality is amazing. Already shopping? Save 5% on any My Green Mattress using code WELCOME5.

One of my favorite gifts from my baby shower was not for baby at all...it's all for me! Well, and the family. Have you jumped on the instant-pot train? I have never cooked with a pressure cooker but a few of my friends of 2+ kids have raved that this is the must have item for streamlining family meals. Several of my gal pals pooled together and gifted one for our family. I'm so excited to try out new recipes! So far I've tried Beef Stroganoff, shredded chicken, white sticky rice (ahhhhhhmaaaaaaaaayzzzzing) and Mexican Rice (honestly, I prefer my old school dutch oven way though). Apparently one can make creme brulee using an IP so that is certainly going to happen in my near future! I'm thinking it'll either be a "my baby is late, leave me alone" or "he's here!!" dessert.

It's really interesting how one's parenting transforms over several children. For my first daughter - a stroller was a believed must have. Everyone needs a stroller for their baby, right? We used our stroller a lot as we lived in neighborhoods that had sidewalks and we took family strolls quite often. With baby #2, I was getting more into babywearing and she rode in the stroller very rarely - she always preferred uppies and the stroller became our diaper bag carrier whenever we were out on trips. With baby #3, living in the country without sidewalks in sight, and having more or less streamlined my diaper bag to the bare essentials, we are actually selling our stroller and just babywearing exclusively. Over the last couple years I've gotten into woven wraps and have always loved soft structured carriers so this time I jumped in on a very special co-op through Natibaby and got a SSC in standard and toddler size of the Seattle skyline! Squeee!!

Are you expecting? What are a few of your must haves that you're excited about?


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Some of the products are upcoming collaborations that will be featured on The Pierogie Mama in the future. I receive items in exchange for my honest review, but no other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Apothecary Spa in Anacortes WA

It's Baby Boy Pierogie's 35th week of pregnancy, y'all! As my time is drawing to a close my to-do list gets more and more intense. Prenatal appointments mixed in with my kids' appointments that I'm trying to get out of the way so that the next six months or so we don't have to worry, swimming lessons, end of school year stuff, consignment sales, you name it. And while things like baby showers are awesome milestones that mean baby boy is one step closer to being here, this mama is bone tired and sore at the end of the day.

So what is one of my favorite end of pregnancy must do? A prenatal massage, of course!

Tucked away on teeny tiny Fidalgo Island (Washington) is a little town that I love called Anacortes. Over the last 10 years I have visited often as my in-laws live there and it's just such a beautiful place. I honestly think that the weather is somehow always great in Anacortes; it's got to be the quickly changing pace of the winds of this little port town. From Anacortes you can take ferries to the San Juans and Victoria B.C. There are tons of delicious seafood joints, bakeries, thrift stores and antique shops to peek around in.

One of my favorite places to visit periodically has been the historic building of the Majestic Inn and Spa. Anacortes was founded in 1891 and the Majestic Inn, though it has had several job changes, remodels and restorations, brings Gilded Age beauty with modern luxury to 2017.  My husband and I have snuck away for anniversary lunches at their restaurant and my girlfriends and I have enjoyed lemon drops on their rooftop lounge. It's truly an amazing piece of Anacortes (and Skagit) history, but at the very least a beautiful building to look at.  A tidbit of information that I learned was that the whole building was relocated about 20 years after it was built by being rolled up the street on logs by a team of horses!

In addition to being a hotel and bistro, The Apothecary Spa is located on the second floor of the building and I have waited with so much anticipation for my chance to go experience what so many of my friends had told me to be "hands down the best spa ever!" That's a big pair of boots to fit into, don't you think? Let me tell you without a whole lot of gushy fluff (and quote me to your husband when he asks you what do you want for your birthday/Mothers Day/Christmas) - "The Apothecary Spa at the Majestic Inn in Anacortes IS the best spa ever!"

What are my qualifications? Well, I am no spa connoisseur (though I wish I could have a blog completely devoted to spa experiences) but I will say that my husband does the right thing and sends me for a massage or spa experience usually once or twice a year. I have maybe a dozen experiences to draw from, ranging from budget to swanky. However, The Apothecary Spa takes my #1 slot over several other very high quality (and more expensive) spas for a ton of reasons.

Let me give you a run down of my time there.

The Apothecary Spa encourages their guests to check in 15-30 minutes before their treatments to get changed into their robe and sandals, take a steam in their steam room (something I'll have to go back another time for, as it's not a good idea for us preggos), lounge in their sanctuary room and have a little snack and drink of various infused waters or teas. Which is exactly what I did!





The spa menu is vast; I will make note that although most spas offer a short list of "upgrades" such as paraffin treatments, choices of oils or different techniques, The Apothecary Spa had a robust list of enhancements that in my opinion fully rounded out my 60 minute massage. In addition to my massage I opted to add eye brow waxing, a honey glaze treatment for my dry hands and a nourishing scalp massage.

Prenatal massages can be hit and miss. I've had a few massages in previous pregnancies where they were called "prenatal massages" but unfortunately they really didn't know how to arrange a very pregnant mama or how a woman's physiology changes and that it's a very different experience to get massaged late in pregnancy versus earlier on. My massage therapist, Cynthia, made sure that I had everything I needed to be supported while being massaged on my side and when I switched to laying on my back she adjusted the table to be tilted so I didn't feel the full weight of my belly pressing up onto my lungs. Her massaging technique was gentle but confident; there wasn't any hesitation or uncertainty of the elephant in the room and she very effectively massaged my whole body without the impression that she was afraid of my belly. When we chatted before my massage I asked for a full body massage with the focus on my back (as that is normally what aches most during pregnancy), but as she got to work I realized that really what I loved was getting my legs and feet rubbed - and she very fluidly switched to spending more time on that. Both of my girls were born in March so I guess I've never really had issues with swelling at the end of my pregnancy, but this time around I have definitely noticed the cankles making their appearance and Cynthia had the perfect technique of gently massaging those areas directly with oil and later switching to massaging over the draped blanket. I really want to go back just for that part!

Towards the end of the massage she let me know that she would be starting my honey glaze hand treatment followed by the scalp massage. She massaged my hands, applied the glaze and wrapped them in warm towels. While the glaze soaked in she started my scalp treatment. I'm a believer of the amazing uses for coconut oil, and have heard about using it as a hair and scalp treatment but have never done it personally - and Lordy I am hooked on this as well. She poured coconut oil along my hair line and then spent the next 20 minutes or so working it in through my whole scalp and base of my hair. Then she cleaned off my hands, gave me a whole decollete, arm and hand massage and finished off with another glaze on my feet and more massaging! Cynthia knows how to treat an expecting mama right!



After my treatments I was invited back into the sanctuary where I attempted to come down from my post-massage giddy high with a shred of maturity with another glass of cucumber + blueberry infused water. My experience was the perfect storm of truly needing some end of pregnancy pampering and an amazing spa staff. On my way home I called my mom, whom I would say probably is the closest person I know to being a spa connoisseur, and told her that I kind of need to get gift certificates for all my friends and family to go because there is no way you can go through life without experiencing this. There goes my attempts at quelling that "post-massage giddy high with a shred of maturity" spiel. But it wasn't said in haste - seriously. Go. Do it.


419 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, WA

Disclosure: I received a complimentary massage in exchange for my honest review. 
All photography and opinions are my own. In case you couldn't tell, visiting The Apothecary Spa was the highlight of my third trimester and I can't say enough lovely things about it! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Just Between Friends of Marysville-Mount Vernon Presale Sneak Peek!

This weekend is the Just Between Friends of Marysville-Mount Vernon consignment sale! Would you believe me if I told you that I shop for my two daughters' clothes just twice a year? It's true! The Just Between Friends consignment sales are all I need because there are literally thousands of items in all kids sizes that I can choose from in one place at amazingly low prices. Plus, I get to unload our outgrown clothes by consigning them as well!

So you can easily scan my blog to find out all the reasons why I love JBF, and one of my favorite things to do is make sure I get to shop early at the presale event by consigning. But don't worry - even if consigning isn't on your radar, the public sale is chock full of great stuff. Let me show you!

But first; my ever so sweet Ruby. Isn't she just darling? She admired herself in front of this vanity for a few minutes.

Tons of great babywearing gear at this sale! MeiTeis, a few woven wraps, Beco, Moby stretchy wraps and others.

And a kids wrap! Because babies wearing babies is the cutest thing ever.

Sorting through the books is one of my favorites. I always find something super old from my childhood and I feel like I need to rescue it.

Sports fan gear..need I say more?

And the girly stuff. Swoon! My wedding anniversary is on the 4th of July so I am always on the look out for cute patriotic outfits for the kids.

So many summer items. Mostly boys bikes this time, but I also snagged a plastic pool (you know the kind!) for my kids and their cousins to "whirlpool" in this summer.

So as you know, I have two daughters aged 5 and 3 and then baby boy is on the way for this summer. My 3 year old is lucky enough to get all of her sister's handmedowns from last summer, so I did very little shopping for her. My focus at this sale was bigger sizes for the 5 year old and adding to our growing stash of boy stuff.

One of my favorite things to do after a presale shop is to compare what I would have paid for my items if I had bought them in store and what I paid for them at JBF. It's ASTOUNDING.  I'm a fairly frugal person at heart, so spending a ton of money on kids clothing is really not my thing anyways, but I always give myself a pat on the back after shopping at JBF. Buying used clothes is important to me not only because of the cost savings, but because of the environmental impact as well. Think of all the resources we are using up because so few clothing items are passed on. And trust me, I'm a mom of almost 3 kids, I know that some clothes just can't be passed on. They've had a good life. And that's what textile drives are for! Most thrift stores that you can donate clothes to have an outlet for where their "unsellable" items get sent to and that includes textile recycling.

Anywho....

Taking a look at all the brands that I bought and running a comparison online, these same items for my 4T/5T daughter would have cost me $114 retail. Instead, I paid a whopping....


And SQUEEE! I got to venture into boy land for the first time ever! Our little Pierogie Boy has been immensely blessed by handmedowns from two families and our baby showers, so again, I don't have a ton of shopping to do for his arrival! But I had to pick up some cuteness at the sale.


The boy clothes blew me away.. $142! A few of the items I picked up were retailed a little pricier than I imagined.


And there you have it! So much to stock up on for this upcoming summer and beyond.

April 28 - 30, 2017
Skagit County Fairgrounds, Mount Vernon Wa
Find out more details on the full sale schedule here

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Just Between Friends of Marysville-
Mount Vernon. All photography and opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

80 lbs of chicken - 9 ways

Get $25 off any order of $99+! Ends 11:59pm PST 5/13/17. Use promo code SUPER25.
 Sign up for Zaycon Fresh to get your unbelievably fresh meat!  


Often I am asked how do I save money for my family. Our food budget is something that I rarely skimp on because I think it's one of the best investments we can make for ourselves. However, there are a ton of ways to be able to save money without skimping on quality.

I learned about Zaycon Fresh a few years ago and am a believer! We order chicken breast, chicken fritters, pork tenderloins, wild Alaskan Salmon and a few other meat products. 
The chicken breast comes fresh and straight from the farmer, so it ends up being a lot fresher than what you buy at the grocery store. For example, my last case of Zaycon Fresh chicken breast had a bar code with a time stamp for the butcher date that was 3 days prior to my receiving it. I recently went to my local grocery store to see what their time frame is - and their chicken was 15 days old and also had 3% water injected. It's really not much of a discussion on which chicken I prefer to buy!


What is Zaycon Fresh? It's super easy. You sign up, enter in your zip code and it will populate "events" near you. Each event will bring fresh or frozen meets to an agreed upon place and time. You place your order for what you'd like and then on the day of the event you bring your order slip and they put your case of bulk meats in the trunk of your car for you. You don't even have to get out of the car! Throughout the year they will offer different products; such as delicious bacon, fresh ground beef, fresh chicken breasts, frozen breaded chicken fritters (I like to make this), select steaks, even turkey and ham! Our all time favorite is their salmon. They are constantly adding more.

When you sign up, they'll send you non-spammy newsletters letting you know what they're adding, great recipe ideas and you can refer friends to get credit for your next purchase. Truly, I haven't bought meat any other way for a long time now.

Ok but then the question comes up with what do I do with 40 lbs of fresh chicken breast? Friends, let me show you what I did for this last order, which I am using to prepare for Baby Boy due this summer.


First, when I receive my chicken I cut it down to different sizes to help spread the meat a little further. Each lobe of chicken breast becomes a cut of breast, a tender and I slice the breast to an even thickness and save the top portion as a "cheek," which is great as Chicken Parmesan Cutlets.  For our family of 2 adults and 2 small kids I package a dinner meal either as 2 breasts, 5 tenders or 6 cutlets. I also use a Foodsaver instead of freezer bags. For each of the recipes below I used 1/4 c of marinade per "dinner package." Some of the recipes are larger than others so adjust the ratios as you need. 


Without further adieu, here are my most recently used recipes:
Brown Sugar Balsamic Chicken

I used about 1/4 c of marinade per 2 breasts.

Lemon Garlic
Chicken TacosUsing a grinder attachment, grind your chicken breasts
taco seasoning recipe

Chicken Enchiladas

1 large can of enchilada sauce
directions: boil your chicken breasts, shred them either with forks or with the paddle attachment on your kitchen aid, pour the sauce in! Freeze the meat as is or prep into enchiladas and freeze individually.

Tangy Teriyaki:
2T of grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
makes enough for 2 breasts

"Hawaiian Style"  / Moana1 can of sliced pineapple
2 cups of orange juice
4T ketchup
4T soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2T of grated fresh ginger
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c Balsamic Vinegar 

Tangy BBQ
1/2 c Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
4T ketchup 
2Tbrown sugar
4T balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock

Lime Sweet Thai Chili1 c stock
1 bottle sweet thai chili sauce
1/4 c lime juice


Spiced Rub with Apple Cider Vinegar2t paprika
1t chili powder
1t cumin
1t thyme
1t salt
1t garlic powder
1t pepper
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Mix all of the ingredients, pour over 12 chicken breasts and rub it in. It should be a loose paste.

Ready to save some moolah? Sign up here

Monday, April 3, 2017

My hometown favorite - Just Between Friends Marysville - Mount Vernon Spring Sale

Hey Skagit Mamas!

My little family and I have officially lived in Skagit County for A YEAR and I am reminded of this because my first blog post last year about our move was also about the Just Between Friends Marysville - Mount Vernon Spring Sale! Since then we have gotten to know the community a lot better, have completed a year of pre-school, Awana, met local readers and found all the awesome places for kids to explore (especially to break up those winter blues and cabin fever).

Now that Spring is here, and I literally looked out my window for a break of rain and a hope of sunshine, I am ready to start prepping for warmer weather. I've been going through the girls' clothes - and in more exciting news; thinking ahead of our upcoming Summer Baby BOY - I am looking forward to this edition of my local JBF sale.

So you already know from following my blog that I love JBF for many reasons; it saves us money, it saves the environment and supports local families too. I've been a shopper and consignor for the better part of 5 years and my consignor check sort of rolls into the next sale for what I'm going to need to buy for the next size up for my kids. It's such a blessing to not have to worry about that sort of thing.

Over the years I've seen a ton of stuff for sale at these events and I am always surprised with something new. One year I got a play circus tent, which has been perfect for summer outdoor imaginary play. I've gotten tons of Disney Store brand clothing at a fraction of the cost. Keens & Crocs shoes are a staple in my house and I always am shopping for bigger sizes and consigning the smaller ones, because those shoes are seriously indestructible and work well in our climate for most of the year. "Standard" items in my two girls wardrobe is always leggings, long sleeve and short sleeves, Columbia style zippies and sweat shirts - also really easy to find and shop around for an awesome deal; usually $3-4 a piece. Pretty soon I know we'll be entering the arena for sporting equipment and from what I've seen the selection and condition are great at these sales.








Do I need to go on to show you just how pumped I am??!! 

The Just Between Friends Marysville - Mount Vernon team is partnering with me to get two winners an awesome prize package - each winner will get a PRIME TIME PASS + $10 JBF bucks to spend at the sale!! Woop woop! The prime time pass gets you in the door as early as Thursday April 27 from 3pm - 9pm, but if you can't make it that day you can shop anytime during the sale and still be able to use your JBF bucks. So check out the giveaway widget below; remember there are tons of ways to increase your odds of winning by coming back daily too!



April 28 - 30, 2017
Skagit County Fairgrounds, Mount Vernon Wa


Find out more details on the full sale schedule here

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