Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Strollers for the New Year from PishPosh Baby!


How many of you are shopping for a new stroller in the new year?

PishPosh Baby is now taking pre-orders starting January 1st for brand new stroller releases from Bugaboo and Baby Jogger that will be available in February! Be one of the first to own one of these 2014 models. Just click on the image of your favorite stroller to learn more.













Don't forget -The end of the year Baby Jogger stroller sale is still on! 

Be social.
Follow Pish Posh Baby
Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pish Posh Baby. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Visit Salish Lodge and Spa in Seattle

I am beyond excited to share this with you all - in just a few short weeks we will be blessed with the opportunity of a 3rd trimester babymoon! We will be staying at the Salish Lodge and Spa -the iconic Seattle area hotel.
Literally perched on the top of Snoqualmie Falls, it's a 30 minute drive from Seattle and a popular tourist (and local's!) destination. There are two observation decks and the 270 foot  falls are lit up at night too!
A true Pacific Northwest getaway with two onsite restaurants and a full service spa, Salish Lodge and Spa offers a much more than what meets the eye. 
I'm really excited to learn more about their in-house apiary because I am a bit of a honey fanatic. In addition to helping the honeybee problem, Salish's honeys are featured in their restaurant menus and can be bought separately. 
Each of the 84 guest rooms feature their own fireplace and jetted tub - so even if you don't make it into the spa you won't be finding it hard to relax in your room.
In January I'll be sharing about our experience with their all-star babymoon package. This mama will be 33 weeks pregnant and I know we'll be in for a real treat!

Visit Salish Lodge and Spa and see what relaxation really means.

Seattleites: Have you been to Snoqualmie Falls or stayed at the Salish Lodge and Spa? 
Share your favorite memory.

Update: Read my experience and review of our fabulous
Seattle babymoon!

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Salish Lodge and Spa. Images provided by Salish Lodge and Spa.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Top Pierogie Mama Posts of 2013

Seriously, 2013 is almost over. And lately I've just been in awe of how much my blog has grown ... and of course, I have all of you lovlies to thank for it :)

I wanted to share a recap of some of my favorite (and top clicked) posts of the year. Feel free to peruse, pin, comment, whatevs. :)

This was seriously one of our best vacations ever - our babymoon in Leavenworth
Cloth mamas - you know what I'm talking about when I discuss the badonkadonk issues with cloth babies. Here's my thoughts on how to dress a cloth diapered little girl
A revamp on a recipe I've had for a long time - Sour Cream Banana Bread with Coconut Oil
This sweet 10 month old girl (who will be 2 before I know it...)
I chose a natural birth and why I'll do it again
Our 4th wedding anniversary gift: Pierogie #2!
Read this post if you want to hear about the time I got covered in hippo poop.

For this coming new year, I've got some exciting plans on sharing with you...
  • preparing (or attempting to) for a 2nd baby
  • travels around the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle area.
    Keep an eye out for our upcoming visit to the gorgeous Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls to check out their babymoon package - we've been blessed with a 3rd trimester babymoon!
  • more pregnancy, breastfeeding, cloth diapering articles
  • recipes
  • family friendly product reviews
Got something in mind that I haven't listed here? What about a product that you'd like me to review? Has there been a question burning in your mind about The Pierogie Mama that you just need to have answered? Send me a line :)


Let's be sure we stay friends in 2014 :)
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Monk Fruit In The Raw Green Smoothie #mc

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Monk Fruit In The Raw. I received a promotional item and product sample as a thank you for participating.


After a recent midwife appointment, I was reminded that I really need to watch my iron intake. I've been chronically anemic for as long as I can remember, but it really has only mattered to me when I wanted to donate plasma and while I'm pregnant or breastfeeding. This second pregnancy has been so chill that I've admittedly been really bad about making sure all of my vitamin intakes are up to par - so I've taken this reminder and plan on incorporating a green smoothie or two into my daily diet (and it won't hurt to give some to Penny either!) in addition to my normal iron supplement.


A sweetener that I've recently been introduced to is Monk Fruit In The Raw. I've used In The Raw products for baking in the past, but hadn't tried it out otherwise.  Monk Fruit In The Raw is made from monk fruit, native to South East Asia and is an alternative to traditional cane sugar.
Monk Fruit In The Raw packets and Bakers Bags are easy to use because they substitute into your recipes one for one to sugar, so no worries about figuring out if it will alter your recipes. Monk Fruit In The Raw does not contain added table sugar, sugar alcohols (erythritol), or molasses.


Check out this yummy smoothie that is sure to get your iron levels up too if you need it :) I can see adding this to my toddler-friendly avocado smoothie instead of honey!

Ingredients

1cup spinach, lightly packed
1/2cup baby kale, lightly packed, or 1 curly kale leaf, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded, and diced
11/2-inch slice fresh ginger
3/4cup chilled coconut water
1packet Monk Fruit In The Raw®

Preparation

In a blender, whirl the spinach, kale, apple, and ginger with the coconut water on low for 10 seconds, then increase the speed to high and whirl for 30 seconds. Mix in the Monk Fruit In The Raw® and pour the smoothie into a tall glass. Serve immediately.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meet the Funky Fluff Bamboo Fusion Cloth Diaper 2.0 & a 10 PACK GIVEAWAY!

Meet the Funky Fluff Bamboo Fusion Cloth Diaper 2.0 & a 10 PACK GIVEAWAY!

This sponsored post is a collaboration between Funky Fluff, The Pierogie Mama and That Mama Gretchen, We are thrilled to share our cloth diaper love because we're truly floored by these exceptional diapers. Enjoy, and don't miss the amazing giveaway!
 

There's something new in the cloth diaper world, friends ...

I had the chance to review Funky Fluff before and today I'm proud to present their new release ... the Funky Fluff Fusion Bamboo 3-in-1 System 2.0! That Mama Gretchen and I have teamed up for this grand debut and it includes a super thorough review (notes for skinny and chunky babies) and a HUMONGOUS giveaway!

First off, we want to share a bit of the heart behind Funky Fluff, because companies with a purpose and passion speak volumes to us. Funky Fluff was founded by Kathy and Tricia, long time friends with a passion for cloth diapering. They "live, breathe and LOVE cloth diapering" and it's their goal to help other mamas be successful in cloth diapering their children. Together, Kathy and Tricia have cloth diapered 4 boys and have grown their home based, Canadian business through tons of hard work. And their commitment to quality products obviously hasn't stopped since they're debuting a 2.0 version of their popular bamboo cloth diaper. Ready to relish in all the features of the 2.0?


Now, a little introduction before our official reviews ... between us both we've tried almost 30 different brands of cloth diapers between our 3.5 children (Gretchen's daughter and son and Bianca's daughter and sweet bump due in March). So, when we say we like a certain feature or really trust something about a diaper, we're not joking. We've got A LOT of comparison power. That's probably why we're so excited to share Funky Fluff's 2.0 with you!

First up, Bianca's thoughts ...
I've got a pretty trim little miss - at 21 months old, she just tipped the scale at 23 lbs and is about 31 1/2 inches tall. She's a perfectly proportioned little doll, and her smallish stature has been both a blessing and a difficulty. I love how long clothes last for this girl - she's still wearing 12 month zippies!

But fitting diapers around her waist in proportion to her height has become a difficulty with her night time diaper, as she still wets a lot at night and you've got to find that right balance of fluff and stuff to make sure you can make it through the night.
I've been loving the Funky Fluff Bamboo line (both the 1.0 and 2.0s) because the bamboo liner and inserts are extremely thirsty. Parched. When she started to leak out through her 'tried and true' night time diapers that had been working for us for over 12 months, I tried the Bamboo Fusion 1.0's and was immediately relieved! After stripping and repairing velcro (the next step was re-doing elastic that I really don't think needs it), I was almost ready to try 'sposies. 

Admittedly I was a little apprehensive when the 2.0 version dropped the double gusset feature (because she's also a side sleeper) but I quickly learned that it wasn't the double gusset that was saving my biscuits in the middle of the night - it was that awesome bamboo material! Zero leaks and no changes through out the night = a well rested Penny and this preggy mama.

Our night time diaper solution is a Funky Fluff Bamboo Fusion 2.0 stuffed with one heavy duty bamboo soaker or a light bamboo soaker with booster.

And while I have your ear can I tell you how much I love the soakers? They are SO dense yet thin - they are by far my favorite stuffer for diapers because they hold so much liquid.
And now, a bit from Gretchen ...
Before Max was born, I thought I knew almost everything about cloth diapers. I mean, I'd cloth diapered Jemma for 34 months and gone through many successes and failures as we narrowed down what worked best for us. Then I had a son and I began the learning curve all over again!

Max is almost 17 months and is about to tip the scales at 32 pounds. Pretty much the opposite of Bianca's petite Penny. If I've learned anything about diapering both a son and daughter, I've learned that they pee different (obviously) and this therefore, requires different features to adequately do their job. Funky Fluff covers the gamut thanks to their bamboo lining and inserts in their 3-in-1 system.

It's definitely hard to find cloth diapers that do their job for chubbier babies. I need a high rise to prevent top leaks and large enough leg elastic that hold without leaving marks. Right now Max wears his Funky Fluff on the widest waist setting. But I'm not worried about outgrowing our Fluff since he's really starting to run and will most likely gain more height and less weight in the coming year.

I won't speak too much to the thirst of the bamboo - Bianca sang that praise - but I will say that we too ALWAYS opt for an extra stuffed Funky Fluff 2.0 for naps and long car rides. I will add that there is nothing softer than a bamboo diaper. So, between the amazing absorbancy and the gentle fabric, I pretty much want our whole stash of diapers to be filled with Funky Fluff's bamboo 2.0 diapers.
My only hope and recommendation for Funky Fluff is that they'll launch a trainer/pull-up cloth diaper design by the time we're ready for that transition. I would LOVE to see a pull-up design with bamboo inside and PUL outside ... maybe even a bamboo padded underwear. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Ready to add some Funky Fluff to your cloth diaper stash? We couldn't encourage you more - you won't be disappointed! You can purchase the Fusion Bamboo 3-in-1 System 2.0 here, or consider saving with the purchase of a bundle. Still on the fence? Maybe consider a Starter Kit so you can compare the bamboo and stay dry options while testing out the reinforcing soakers and boosters.

And now, what you've all been holding your breath for ... the amazing giveaway to celebrate the launch of the 2.0 version of the Funky Fluff Fusion Bamboo 3-in-1 System! Funky Fluff is giving away a 10 pack of the 2.0 in your choice of boy, girl or gender neutral colors. Ohmygoodness, amazing, right?

Enter below and share within your social media circles with #funky10pack ... we can't wait to announce a winner! What a wonderfully fluffy new year one lucky mama and baby will have!

Which feature about the Funky Fluff Bamboo Fusion 2.0 
diaper are you most excited about?

Disclosure: That Mama Gretchen, The Pierogie Mama and participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please see the giveaway's terms and conditions for full set of rules. The winner will be notified via the email provided and will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email before a new winner is chosen.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Our Weaning Experience

Not really sure how to start this post - I keep starting and stopping, re-writing and deleting. Well, here goes.

At the start of my second pregnancy I made the decision that I was not going to intentionally wean Penny. I had always had the goal of nursing her at least until her second birthday; if she wanted to stop before then or continue past that ambiguous date I'd be fine and we'd take it as it comes. Throughout the pregnancy I've cycled through moments of continuing to love nursing or sometimes just really dreading it. If there is one thing that's for sure, upon discovering that I am pregnant it was no longer comfortable. I was sore and soon my belly became more swollen. But I knew this was something that she still needed so I toughed it out and knew this was only for a season. I snuggled my P close.

Around week 20 I definitely noticed that my supply was dwindling. Eventually we transitioned to what I accepted as her comfort nursing for nap and night time. Perhaps there was a little bit of milk in the beginning, but I seriously doubted it as the weeks passed. I prepared myself for the possibility of the weekend of our babymoon being the weekend that Penny weans - because that's very often how it happens for kids at this age. The night before we left, I nursed and snuggled Penny so close, bringing myself to peace that this could be it. We had a good run - a few days short of 20 months. Sleep came quickly for her that night and I felt the possible finality of it all - and in my heart I was happy.

When we returned I expected that she might ask for it, but that afternoon and night she didn't. The next morning as we were getting ready for naptime she signed 'milk' once, and I simply said 'milk is all done,' and she was fine. She settled onto my chest as I rocked her and this became our new norm for nap and night time.

I can't be thankful enough for such a simple, yet bittersweet, end. I'm thankful that I wasn't pushed to the point where I felt that I needed to wean. I'm so thankful that I had the foresight that our last time could be our last time, so I cherished it.


She is really connecting with her dad more. They have always been very close, but now she will readily accept snuggles from him for nap/night time, where it used to only be me and there was no substitute. We can now very easily share our parenting roles, whereas it was plain fact that bringing her to sleep was a job that only I could do.

Over the last weeks I've been reflecting on how this changes me as a parent. I had the fleeting thought that in some ways I felt like I no longer 'count' as an attachment parent. Isn't that silly? The core of AP is how we connect with our kids - which includes how we feed them and how they sleep, but it's not limited to that. The end (or for some - it never began) of breastfeeding doesn't dis-include one from being an AP parent. My connection with my child has now evolved, which is how it's supposed to be! I gave her autonomy in choosing when she was going to be done, even though at times the costs to me seemed great, and it ended up being such a peaceful transition. My heart is full of gratitude and wonderful memories of our special bond together.
Share your weaning experience!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wesolych Swiat & Merry Christmas!

Just taking a quick break from my Polish Wigilia preparations to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

ordered from Simply to Impress

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Undercover Mama Nursing Tanks

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

A common question that soon-to-be mamas ask is ...


It's not a super simple question to answer. It all depends on your levels of comfort with nursing.

As I enter into my second round of nursing (with 20 months under my belt), if I could give my first-time mama self a bit of advice it would be to loosen up. I was so worried about what people would think, I convinced myself that all eyes in the room were on me and it just made me nervous. This time around I'm not going to worry as much and just mind my own business - as other people should.

As a general idea for what you can add to your wardrobe to make nursing easier, here are a few tips that I've picked up:


  • Most women will have at least one nursing cover, though some may find that a simple blanket over the shoulder or cuddled up near baby's face (if it's too hot to completely cover up or if baby doesn't like being totally hidden). I liked the cuddly blanket idea because it gave my daughter fresh air but I was also able to easily cover more skin if I felt that I needed to.
  • Loose tops that can be easily pulled up or down, as well as button up shirts, were a staple.
  • Dedicated nursing wear found through maternity retailers

But I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl during the summer - and one thing I hated about nursing in a t-shirt was that when I pulled up my shirt to nurse, my sides and tummy would show. It was uncomfortable and I was so self conscious about it, even though I had no reason to be.

This time around I am so excited to get to try out the Undercover Mama nursing top. It works just like as if you'd have a tank top underneath your shirt, but you can wear it with your favorite nursing bra.

See Undercover Mama nursing tops in action. I can't wait to welcome Miss Ruby and share with you all how it works for us :)

The awesome part? You can even wear these without the use of a nursing bra!

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Big & Little Sister Style #cartersfam #mc #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Carter’s. 
I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

When I die, who ever delivers my eulogy will not gush about my awesome fashion sense. Honestly, becoming a SAHM was the best thing that ever happened to me because now yoga pants and fitted tees are my daily uniform and I'm totally ok with it.

However, dressing my littles- that's another thing.

Typically I bargain shop for childrens' clothes (they just grow out of them so fast) but because I'm going to be blessed with two adorable little girls, I've got to capitalize on this. 

Carter's brand childrens clothing is one of my go-to brands because the clothes are affordable, cute and they last through several kids. When I heard about the upcoming Carter's Family and Friends Sale, I took a look at their big & little sister styles. 


Find more Carter's Sister Style here
Carter's is really good about keeping styles available through ages (Penny has several of the same print pajamas in NB, 3 month, 6 month and 9 month - each one slightly different but still carry the same theme) so I knew they would have some cute sister combo outfits.

Carter's Whale Pajamas
Got a Carter's location near you? Print this Carter's Friends & Family coupon that will take 25% off your total purchase (valid through 12/24/13). The Carter's Friends and Family event is 12/19 - 12/24.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Set Screen Time Limits with Kidoodle.tv #mc

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

How much screen time do your littles get? Penny will get about 1-2 hours a day, typically broken up to a little in the morning (while I take my shower and get ready for the day) and a little bit in the afternoon while I get some chores done.

This kind of became a necessity when I became pregnant the second time. That first trimester was rough. There were many mornings where we spent more time on the couch watching Sesame Street than I care to ever truly admit - but I remind myself that sometimes you just gotta do what gets you through the day. We've kept Penny's tv time to educational programming and I have to tell you - it's really not easy these days.

Recently I got to try out Kidoodle.TV. It's designed for kids, not just aimed at them, and is easy for kids 12 and under to navigate themselves. I found this to be a cool service because I can really set the limits on what Penny watches - and they even break it down based on age. So during my shower I'm able to set our iPad in front of Penny and she has the ability to choose what she wants to watch.

Kidoodle.TV is available on iPads, iPhones and computers. Each account allows you to create up to 5 individual Kid Profiles - so even in the future when we have nieces and nephews stay the night they each can have their own preferences set. The parental controls allow you to set the filters by age, what shows you want (so if a certain show really drives you nuts you can just hide it and the child won't know any better!).  You can set time limits too - great for older kids. Best of all there is zero advertising within the service. That's been a huge pet peeve of mine even in apps that we purchase because often times Penny will be stopped in the middle of an activity because she's accidentally tapped on the wrong part of the screen and someone wants me to pay money.

Want to give Kidoodle.TV a try? For the month of December you can try it for free and between now and December 31, 2013 you can enter to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions! To enter the giveaway, go to Kidoodle.TV to sign up for a free trial. Follow the on-screen directions and submit!
Follow Kidoodle.TV on Twitter // Facebook

Friday, December 20, 2013

Snow Day 2013

It's "Snowmageddon 2013" here in Washington - a whole 2" of snow where we're at. But, the snow was enough for me to roll up Penny's first snow man.

Her reaction?


That's what I'll be looking like in a few hours when everything melts away with the rain. Poor girl!

My very first Citrus Lane Box (20 month old girl)

I finally jumped on the bandwagon and decided to check out the most popular children's monthly subscription box service - Citrus Lane!

If you're not sure what Citrus Lane is exactly, it's a monthly subscription service for children's toys and products. You can choose from a one time, 3 month, 6 month, or even annual membership. Shipping is always included in the cost of the box and the value of what you receive is more than what you paid. You can customize the box to your child's age and gender - and there is still variety among the same box types. For example, other reviews I've seen for the girl box in my daughter's age range show a few different items.

Over the months I've seen other parents post about what they get in their boxes and I've been impressed with the variety and value that each of these boxes provides. You can't always win 'em with what comes inside, but I feel like you're guaranteed to love 1-2 items, get your eyes opened to a new product and maybe keep another around for a gift for another lovie in your life if your little one isn't in love with it.


I was really pleased to see that everything that came in my box was something that Penny could use.  We're book lovers in this house so the babybug book comes along with us for car rides these days. The Boon Water Bugs bath set was a HUGE hit. I love pretty much all of the Boon products :) It led to her learning the word "bug" and also we've been working on her scooping skills (to her great delight). We haven't had a chance to use the Cool It Buddy Cold Packs yet (thankfully!) but my initial reaction was that I would have hoped they could be reusable in some manner, as they are one time use.

One part about my Citrus Lane experience that I want to share with you is what happens when something isn't right with your order. Our Green Tones boat whistle (my favorite toy) just didn't seem like it was tooting loudly enough and there was a chip in the paint, which was a concern for me not only from an aesthetic point of view but because if there's already a chip that means Penny's just going to make it worse. A quick email to Citrus Lane resulted in a replacement toy within a couple weeks and a happy mama and Penny. It didn't take long for her to figure out how to toot the boat herself too!

If you are looking for a last minute easy Christmas gift for a little in your life, use code "10OFFGIFT" for 10% off GIFT Subscriptions. Or if you are ordering for your own family you can take advantage of $10 off your order.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received product in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pish Posh Baby Jogger Stroller Sale!


Pish Posh Baby is having an end of the year jogging stroller sale!


Save up to 35% one of the highest rated strollers on the market. 


Baby Jogger City Mini 2013 Single Stroller


Baby Jogger City Mini Double 2013 Stroller


Supplies are limited so be sure to jump on this while you can!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pish Posh Baby. All opinions expressed are my own.

Nuby Octopus Bath Time Toss Review



Recently I shared my review about the Nuby Tub Time Turtle and a new favorite Nuby toy in the bathtub is the Octopus Bath Time Toss

This cute octopus (though I'd venture to call him a sextopus as he only has 6 arms) comes with 3 different rings to hook onto his tentacles - a star, fish and lifesaver ring.

When I first introduced the toy to Penny we laid him on the edge of the bathtub so that she can get the hang of hooking the rings on his arms. After a couple tries she got the concept and into the water he went - where it was a lot harder to hook!
This simple toy has been a learning tool for a couple reasons. Penny already recognized the star, fish and ring shapes but for one reason or another these rings quickly added those words to her vocabulary and she was pointing them out everywhere after playing with the octopus. It's also helped her work on hand-eye coordination as the octopus can quickly slip out of her reach in the water so she's had to learn patience and agility.

The Nuby Octopus Bath Time Toss can be found on AmazonDiapers.combuybuyBabyCookie's Kids and Tuesday Morning

Make sure you follow along with Nuby on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram to keep up with all the latest products and promotions!



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I am writing this post as part of the NUBY Mommy Blogger Program.  I did not receive compensation for this post, although as part of the program I may receive items to sample or review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pierogie Babies - 29 weeks and a few worries


I looked at the calendar the other day and realized that I'm 29 weeks. Yikes. I guess I stopped keeping track somewhere and figured I was around 25. Those 4 weeks can really sneak up on ya!

Ruby
Overall feeling great, this was the case with Penny's pregnancy as well. I'm eating well, have good energy most days and feeling tons of kicks, bubbles, hiccups and flips from little Ruby. She is definitely like her older sister as she's successfully lodged her butt into my right rib cage and is perfectly happy hanging out that way.

I've completed one of my biggest goals in preparing for her arrival - I can safely announce that we have a sufficient (well, more than sufficient!) cloth diaper stash for both girls. I started cloth diapering Penny when she was about 3 weeks old using a diaper service and this time around I wanted to have our own newborn stash as we do plan to have more children, should the Lord provide us with more. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were two shopping days that I was really trying to avoid getting into the hype over but I picked up about 14 diapers for a really good deal and along with a couple other projects in the works - we are good in the diaper department. That's a BIG check on my list.

Thinking ahead...eventually the girls will share a room and I wanted to take this time to begin crafting their special sister room - check out my work in progress Pinterest Sister Room Inspiration board. I've been keeping my eye out for a cheap, solid wood dresser that has 6-8 drawers that I can put both of the girls' clothes in and refurbish, kind of like how That Mama Gretchen took an upcycled dresser and did a fabulous Annie Sloan paint job. So I've been keeping my out on the good old List of Craig's and popping into our thrift store every other week or so.

A little doubt creeping in my mind has been the uncertainty of Ruby's birth. Penny's was so smooth (here's her birth story) and went exactly how we wanted it to go. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birth. I wish it would be easy enough to take this as a precedent for how my future births go, but of course that's not the case. Each birth, child and circumstances are different, and of course my body has changed. I feel really confident in knowing how to give birth and how to cope with the natural pains of giving birth, but big part of me wonders what is in store for us. What happens if Ruby isn't positioned as ideally as Penny was?  I need to put these doubts to rest and trust that everything will work out - because it will.

Romeo
A couple weeks ago I had to make the hardest decision I have ever made. Our 13 year old dog, Romeo, was beginning to falter. His good days were being quickly overtaken by sore, tired days. It was getting harder and harder for him to get up and go outside, and the weekend before Thanksgiving he began to lose his continence. It's so sad that our lives are made so comfortable these days that our bodies will often hold out longer than they should - pets and people. We could have found a way to make it work. We could have let this go on, perhaps for months, like this. But we didn't want to remember him like that. Romeo, with the heart of pure gold and book mark in my life story, needed to rest, and his body wasn't going to let him anytime soon. So with a few nights of dedicated family time, we said our goodbyes to our sweet boy and let him go. xxoo



Penny

On to Miss Penny. Some cute things I want to be sure I remember..
  • her new favorite food and word is "meat," (for ham). She's now started referring to herself as "Meaty," as she hasn't called herself "Penny" yet.
  • she has a collection of stuffed frogs whom are called "Mama Buddy," "Daddy Buddy" and 2 "Bebe Buddy"s. It's too freaking adorable.
  • this girl has her ABCs down! She can recognize numbers 1-8 (not say all of them yet) and recognize an array of colors too.
  • sometimes in the middle of the night she wakes up, calls for one of us and just asks for a hug. Melts my heart.
  • Her new BFF is Squirt, whom she calls "Wurt." She's really taken a new interest in him over the last month. 
  • Every time she sees my growing belly she gently pats it and says "baby," and has been giving it kisses.
Normally I know that I am a very confident parent. I have very little 'second guesses' about if I feel like Adam and I have made the right choices and overall I just like to let things flow out of Penny as they naturally do. I let her do a lot of the leading in her development, which I have found to be extremely beneficial when we started night weaning while still bed-sharing, transitioned her to her own room, and eventually fully weaned last month (my thoughts on that to come). But there is something that has been burrowing in the corner of my mind and I'm not sure how I feel about it. 

Penny loves her mama. She loves her daddy dearly. But she definitely prefers mama. Most days, I love it and find ways to still cook, clean, do my own little projects with her hanging on me like a baby koala. In September I started going to our local MOPS group and put Penny in the situation where she was left alone with a stranger while I took my mom-time. The weeks have been off and on with her tolerance level, but they always begin or end with tears. Sometimes tears in the middle, where mama comes to her rescue and brings her to our MOPS table where we keep her quiet and pacified with a snack.  I know it's a phase...but it really makes me worry about how she will react to having less mama time when Ruby comes. And what that means about limiting me in the things that I want to do in my free time away from the kids. I keep reminding myself that it's only a few years that the kids will want me like this. But there are those days where I don't feel like being 110% there for you mama and I want to do non-mama things. Like go have a coffee, or see a movie - obligation free. Not feeling like I owe someone for this great, simple gift of watching my child for me. Or simply feel ok in leaving my daughter in a room with other children to play. Fairly normal things in life that I haven't really done for the last almost 2 years. 

It's funny because most days I don't miss those things at all. I don't miss sleeping in (too much), I don't miss "getting" to sit at my desk at work, checking my emails with a cup of coffee and my dogs at my feet. Those days are over, I am completely content with that transition in my life. But in anticipation of bringing another child into my life and taking on the responsibility of also being 110% there for you mama - I wonder how I will fare with that. Will I still love being a stay at home mom with two little girls under two just as much as I did with one?


The day to day stuff is easy. I know I'll eventually figure out how to take my circus of a family to the grocery store and gracefully battle through toddler impatience and the difficulty of juggling an infant. It's those times when I want a time out that I wonder how I'll be able to do it, without abandoning my foundation as an attachment parent. Without resorting to 'well, just let her deal with it - she needs to grow up eventually. She can't have her mama all the time.' But the thing is... she can, and I want her to have me as much as she wants me. But where do I play in? Code Name: Mama wrote about the importance of doing things for yourself (and how it doesn't make you a bad AP parent) that I am trying to keep in my mind during this phase, as well as this well traveled post on how your two year old just needs you sometimes.

I'd love to hear some encouragement from mamas of littles 
who stay at home and have battled these same difficulties and guilts.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Soup


Who loves potato soup? This girl! I've always loved ordering it for lunch and never thought about how easy it would be to make at home. It's now one of our favorite winter soups because I can make it in about an hour and it is sooo deliciously creamy!

You will need:
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (or at least 4 cups of left over mashed potatoes - seasoned or not)
  • 1/2 lb of thick cut bacon
  • About 3 cups + 1/2 cup (reserve) of chicken stock (make your own)
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped to whatever size you like in your soup)
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion (peeled and chopped to whatever size you like in your soup)
  • About 1 cup of heavy cream

You will do:
1. Boil the potatoes until they are done. Allow them to drain and mash briefly. Skip this step if you're using left over mashed potatoes.  
2. While the potatoes are boiling, begin cooking your bacon. Low and slow is the key for perfect bacon. Start with a cold pan, lay several pieces down and turn on to med-low heat. Cooking it slowly will allow the grease to release but not burn away any of the meat. Set aside on a paper towel - do not dump that grease from the pan!! Chop the bacon into medium sized bacon bits.
3. Using that delicious grease, cook the carrots and onions on med-low until the onions are translucent. 
4. Transfer the grease and cooked veggies to the pot you plan on cooking your soup in and add half of your bacon bits.
5. Dump in your mashed potatoes and add a little bit of flour at a time, continually stirring to thicken it up.
6. Pour in 3 cups of of chicken broth, bring to a boil and turn down to medium. Reserve extra broth just in case you need additional liquid.The soup will look very runny at first, but allow it to keep heating and the potatoes to soak up the broth and pretty soon you'll have a slightly thicker concoction but it still should be loose. If it gets too thick, add more broth and turn down the heat a little. If you feel it is still way too runny, add a little bit more flour at a time, making sure you stir constantly so that you don't get any clumps. Allow to cook for abut 10-15 minutes, until it gets to that perfect balance between the broth being fully incorporated and the soup not being too runny.

7. Add 1/2 a cup of cream at a time, stirring constantly, until you get the consistency of the soup you desire.
8. Top with the remainder of your bacon bits, some sour cream, chives, shredded cheese or whatever else you like on your baked potatoes!

I promise - you'll totally overlook the bacon grease and cream additions to this recipe. And getting good quality bacon (from a local butcher, if you can) really makes the difference. Drool.


Monthly Its December



Seriously, November and December have flown by. Pretty soon it will be January and I'll be approximately 8 weeks (pleaaaaaaaaaase no longer than 10 weeks!) away from delivering my sweet little Ruby. Yowza!

I'm sure you've noticed that there has been an increased number of "sponsored" posts on the blog this past month. I've been very blessed with the amazing growth of the blog (thanks to YOU!) and many doors have been opened for me recently. "Sponsored" posts mean that I work with a business in exchange for compensation (sometimes it's monetary, other times it comes in the form of gift cards). You'll also notice that further down on my sidebar that I've got a couple affiliate programs that I'm a part of - Amazon, Pretty Mommies and Diaper Safari are a few that I'm currently trying out. When you click on these links, I get a little kickback (because I'm providing ad space on my blog) but the costs are no different to you. I'd love it if you considered that when making future purchases from these companies :)

With all that being said, I do my best to ensure that every connection that I take part in is relevant to the blog and not 'spammy.' A couple have opened up new ideas for me to write about, so I'm thankful for the fresh content. The point that I'm getting at is that I am always working on the balance between writing personal content with sharing about deals or products that I think you might enjoy. If you feel like The Pierogie Mama has gone in a direction where you aren't finding a connection with anymore, please please please send me an email. I write for me and for you

Sadly my busyness has kept me from really keeping track of all my favorite posts throughout the month! So this time around I'm going to focus on my wonderful December sponsors. Please check them out as they are not only really great businesses to work with but also are a big part of why I'm able to keep The Pierogie Mama going.




Monique of Fantastique Designs is the lovely gal who's re-done my blog in the last month or so. I'm still so absolutely in love and was excited to share her talent with the two bloggers who won my giveaway last month! If you haven't checked her work out yet (besides what you see here), you really need to.

Not a blogger or business owner? No worries. She'll craft a new cover image for your personal social media accounts too. Check out her a la carte.

If you're a homeschooling parent (or hey, a parent of any kind!) be sure to check out her blog Living Life and Learning.  Check out her post on the importance of physical activity while homeschooling.  Keep up with Monique on Facebook.

Now truth be told, Nicole from StarGazer Soaps is one busy gal. Between homeschooling 3 girls and continually coming out with soaps - I don't know how she finds time to email back and forth with me ;) Her soaps are natural, handmade and beautifully crafted. I always like to check out her pre-orders page to see what she's got in store as well as her youtube channel to see her big reveals when she cuts into her soap bars for the first time.  Be sure to look to the right sidebar for a StarGazer Soaps discount (think "stocking stuffer") and I'll be hosting a giveaway in January!

Maggie from Chalk Treatment is another artsy gal who's work I've fallen in love with. This past week I just ended a giveaway for a custom ornament and I hope I get to see what the winner chooses to do in the end. When you look through her shoppe you can see that the world is your oyster when it comes to designing an ornament or chalk board. I asked her what has been a really unique project that she's recently worked on and she told me about a family chalkboard that she made for a cattle ranching family. The mom gave her a list of words that represent their family and Maggie took this as an "adventure" to gather all the info (like find out what a steer head looked like) as well as incorporate their family brand. There's still time to get a 10% discount (info on right sidebar), and get some inspiration from creations this season on facebook!

A new diaper that I'm trying out over the next couple weeks comes from Sankofa Diapers, based out of Utah. Winnie's story on starting her own diaper brand is so interesting - born and raised in Ghana, she was shocked at the difference in diapering mentality between her home and America. Cloth diapering isn't a lifestyle choice - it's the only option. She also found that cloth diapering is way easier over here, as modern cloth is in many ways designed similarly to disposable ones, and she wanted to put her own spin on it. Check out her December special on the right sidebar and stay tuned for a review and giveaway of Sankofa Diapers in the new year too!




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