Monday, June 30, 2014

Extraordinary Daughters




What is your most treasured moment with your children? That one memory that stands out above all others?

Many parents would say that it's the first time they saw their child's face. Though I had unmedicated, natural births, I was so high on endorphins and coming down from the extremely focused experience of labor I have a very foggy memory of seeing both of my daughter's faces. Both times I was still very much "in the zone" and the flurry of excitement from everyone else was almost a distraction. Weird, right?

For both girls it has been the first time we shared a laugh together. The happiness that I've felt when that little being that I've been caring for, seemingly without any recognition or thanks, finally makes that connection with my eyes and we giggle with each other...totally priceless. I was lucky enough to actually capture that moment with Penny.


video
It's such an amazing coincidence that this video was taken almost exactly two years ago.

Isn't it awesome that we live in an era where things like that very special moment can get caught on camera or video? I can only imagine how cool it will be to bring these up again when my daughters are older and relive a few of these with them, and even bring them out again when they have their children.

What makes your kid extraordinary isn’t just the epic stuff. It’s the little things. The small moments that maybe only you see — and quietly celebrate every day. Share your love, hope and pride for your extraordinary kid by creating a personalized video that captures what makes them one-of-a-kind.  The Stanford Children’s Health website has a cute little app available where you can make a sweet video note for your kids - check out our video. It definitely made me tear up a couple times, not gonna lie.

    Your kid is extraordinary. Show them how much you enjoy every moment together by creating a special video of your own!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Nuby Splash n’ Catch Bathtime Fishing Set review

Now that summer is officially here, we've started taking some of our bath toys out to the water table that I keep in the backyard. The Splash n’ Catch Bathtime Fishing Set from Nuby, is a new favorite for Penny.



This toy comes with a net and 4 sea creature weights to scoop up. They are able to be linked together or played with separately. 


What I like about this toy is that it plays well with others.. I can toss a bunch of other small objects (marbles, stones, etc) and she can work on scooping other things as well. 

Check out my other reviews of Nuby bath time toys:
Tub Time Turtle

Octopus Bath Time Toss
Fish Swoosh
Squid Squirter

The Nuby Splash n' Catch Bathtime Fishing set 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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Survive When Your Spouse Travels (and you've got the kids)


When Adam took his new position this past October one of the unexpected aspects of his job has been increased travel time. As the "natural gas expert" for his company, he is expected to oversee many of the projects in this relatively new area of development within his company which means traveling every so often. Add on attending conventions and other events where he gains more knowledge and networks within his field and we've got a frequent flyer on our hands. I traveled every so often for my job when we were pre-kids and although it was sometimes difficult to be away from each other for short periods of time, nothing prepared us for how children would make the separation more challenging. Coordinating bed times, meal preparation and just plain getting support and a bit of a break are all affected when he has to travel for work. So how does one cope? Here are a few of my learned lessons and input from Pierogie Mama readers too!

1. Reconnect a few times per day. This can be via a phone call, face time, Skype, or even exchanging a few wordless picture texts. This helps the traveller know that you miss them, keeps them in the loop of your day and connects your kids with the parent that they miss.

2. Jenne says "adjust your expectations. It is not practical or healthy to expect to be able to do everything with only one person running the show." We all try to be strong when our spouse is gone, right? I know I certainly try to fill in all the roles I can when he's away. What I quickly learned is just how burned out and cranky I became with my kids and that there simply is no way that I could continue to run our lives as it is when both parents are home. So cut back, even for a short period of time, and give yourself some slack. So the laundry sits for a few extra days or meals aren't up to par. It'll be back to normal in a few days :)

3. Help the kids understand what the separation means within their development level. Penny recently watched the Pixar movie "Planes" and is very much enamored with Dusty. When we were dropping Adam off at the airport we told her that he's going on a ride on Dusty and that Dusty will bring him home soon. I also pulled out a large map and put a sticky note with a drawing of our home where we are, and a cartoon of Daddy at his destination. We'd also sit in the room where the map is when we call, and we'd talk about where we are and where Daddy is.

4. Sneak a few goodies into the traveler's bag. Their favorite snack, a note stuffed into a sock, a new magazine, or even have your children send off a prized possession knowing that it'll be home soon. Gretchen suggests "We prepare by sending notes and surprises with daddy and he tries to leave behind the same."

4. Find helping hands. I take myself and the kids down to my parents house during my husband's travel. The extra hands are great, and it gives the kids some grandparent time. I always make sure that I sneak in a late afternoon nap while both girls are distracted by Babcia and Vovo ;) If family isn't available for a visit, think about scheduling play dates where you meet at your house and your girlfriend watches the kids while you chat and catch up on chores or asking if you can drop the kids off with her for an hour or two while you give yourself a break.

5. Start a tradition. This can be going out for ice cream half way through the travel, a trip to the zoo, read a special book or end each evening with a light hearted movie. This helps give yourself and the kids something to look forward to during the period of separation. We're not looking to throw a party once your spouse walks out the door, but it does help ease a bit of the loneliness by giving yourself something fun and rewarding for all the extra responsibilities on your plate for this time. At the start and end of each nap and bedtime I tell Penny how many sleeps are left until Daddy comes home, and by the end of the trip she'll be asking me before I'd even mention it!

6. Maintain traditions and routines too; Amy says "My husband does the whole bedtime routine each night so we try to call him around then and my son will read my husband a story on face time." Adam typically reads Penny her bed time stories, so when he is away I pull out our special recordable book that plays him reading a special story to her.

Travel for work is not easy for families; whether it's deployment, consistent or inconsistent travel. Each scenario has it's own set of issues that the parent staying behind and the travelling parent have to navigate through - but the important thing is to recognize where the difficulty lies and how you two can work together as a team to solve the problem.

How do you make it through a business trip when your spouse is away? 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

5 super mom tips

Being a true super mom is like finding the holy grail. I don't believe it's ever going to happen, but the internet is a wonderful place to learn about different ways of doing things, right? I definitely don't have it together, but some days the stars align and at the end of the day I feel like I've done it all in one fell swoop. Here's 5 of my tips on how to get your life in somewhat manageable, efficient order. ;) I'd love to hear your tips in the comments!

1. Identify your time wasters. Facebook, cell phone, etc. And strive to cut that in half and turn that time into something productive. Sure, time wasters tend to be our sanity savers too, but everything in moderation, right? You can start to figure these things out by keeping a time log for a few days and then work from there to see what can get cut out.

2. Shop online, and schedule subscriptions where you can. Diapers.com is your one stop shop for a ton of baby supply items - diapers, nursery, books, and you can even register there too. At Diapers.com you can take advantage of a $12 off discount on your first purchase of a case of Huggies diapers (use promocode wowhuggies). Plus get free shipping when you spend $49+. You can also schedule house hold item deliveries (such as tooth paste, paper towels) through Amazon.

3. Prepare meals ahead of time - fill the coffee machine the night before, soak oatmeal overnight, weekly meal planning, or try knocking out a ton of freezer meals all at one time. If at all possible, don't go grocery shopping at "peak hours" and try to shop once a week. (For those of you who are in baby-food making mode, keep an eye out for the near future of my Cuisinart Baby Food Maker review + giveaway! Click here to get inspiration on baby food recipes)

4. Cleaning schedule. Ugh. My arch nemesis. Now if you told my husband that I'm giving cleaning tips on my blog, he'd probably spit his coffee out in absolute disbelief. Yep, I'm a messy mom. Toys are rarely organized (usually thrown in a basket in the evening, if we're lucky), laundry tends to stay in a bin for a week before getting put away (unless its cloth diapers), and my broom is named Squirt (my dog). But we all aspire to grow and learn, don't we? My goal for the next couple months is to work out a functional cleaning schedule and keep to it - I'll fill you in if this becomes a reality. ;)

5. Save time on laundry - this will function along with your cleaning schedule. There's tons of ways to go about it; do a load a day, save all the laundry for one day, different sorting techniques or just dump it all in. Do you fold? I'm shamelessly admitting that if it doesn't get hung, it will probably be crumpled into a drawer. But hey, not folding saves you time, right? ;)

What other super mom tips can you share for being efficient with your time?

Disclosure: I'd like to thank Huggies for sponsoring my post today! All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How to Boost Your Milk Supply

At some point during the breast feeding relationship, most moms wonder if they are giving enough milk for their little one.  In my early days of nursing Penny, at about 5-6 weeks I noticed that I was no longer "full" and was worried that I was drying up, even though we nursed A LOT. I hurried online to do as much research as I could about the progression of lactation; how my body and milk change over time. Unfortunately a lot of moms take this as a sign that they were not built to breastfeed and they begin to supplement or switch to formula. I believe every mom as a choice in how she wants to feed her baby; however it is my most sincere and fervent hope that they do so in an educated manner. Do some research, talk to your ped, a lactation consultant, LLL and other breastfeeding moms. The point is that you're not alone in this journey!

What I learned following my scare in loss of supply was that according to
Kellymom (a WONDERFUL breastfeeding resource!):

"After the first 6 weeks to 3 months (or sometimes later – this varies for different mothers), the high baseline prolactin level that is the norm in the early weeks gradually decreases to the lower baseline that is the norm for later lactation. Around this time, mom’s breasts may feel less full, leaking may decrease or stop, let-down may become less noticeable, and pumping output may decrease. These are all normal changes and, on their own, do not mean that milk supply has decreased."

WHEW! Was I relieved. And even through that early supply scare and a few other nursing issues, we maintained our nursing relationship until Penny was 20 months old and I was 5 months pregnant with Ruby. As a second time mom, nursing hasn't been difficult per se but it definitely had a few 'aha' moments where I learned more about some of the struggles I had with Penny. With the knowledge that your breastmilk supply changes throughout the baby's first year, and my confidence with the amount that my child nurses is good enough, things have been going a whole lot smoother. 


With that being said, sometimes I do notice a lull in my supply and I draw from my arsenal of breast milk boosting tools. Luckily there's several very easy ways to safely and effectively increase your milk supply.

  • Laying in with your little one and nursing on demand, if you have the opportunity. If you're a working mama, take a break from life for a weekend and just lay in bed and snuggle with your little one. Increased skin-on-skin contact and nursing often will increase your milk supply naturally.
  • Ensuring a good latch. if your breasts aren't being emptied efficiently, they won't make more milk. It's a supply and demand thing. 
  • And finally, galactogogues. No, it's not a planetary voyage. Galactogogues are foods, herbs and supplements that will increase your breast milk. This can include breast milk boosting teas, oatmeal, fenugreek and my favorite - lactation cookies!

Milk Makers cookies are my all time favorite lactation cookies. They feature the trilogy of galactogogues-  oats, brewers yeast and flax seed. The ingredients that they use are organic where possible and otherwise as natural as can be. I have a really hard time stopping with just one ;) My favorite treat? Milk Makers Cookies with a big ol' glass of raw milk. Yep, unpasteurized straight from the cow milk. I have a couple raw milk dairies in my area that provide delicious, creamy raw milk that knows no equal. Besides the generous host of benefits that raw milk provides, I have found it to be one of the quickest and most effective ways to boost my supply. Here's some more anecdotal evidence from another mom who drank raw milk to increase breastmilk supply.

Back to cookies. And making milk. What could  be more perfect for the breastfeeding mom than a cookie (read: a treat) that helps your supply? I cannot think of a better pairing.

Milk Makers come in 3 flavors and are super fresh when they arrive. I even froze some, thawed later to see how they held up and they were just the same as the day they arrived. As a busy mom with two littles, I often struggle to find a snack for myself that is healthy and can give me a bit of a boost of energy to help me power through our current adventure. The oats give me that much needed energy and the chocolate chips (or raisins, depending on which flavor you choose) give that little extra bit of sweetness that I crave. Best of all - it's a healthy treat that I can share with Penny when I'm on the go too. Don't worry, just because they're lactation cookies doesn't mean that a non-lactating person will suddenly spring a leak ;) So sharing these cookies with your kids and hubby is totally ok - but I'd personally save these just for myself! 


Milk Makers cookies are a perfect baby shower gift for a new mama, and they even offer monthly cookie subscriptions so that you can always have some on hand. 


Now that you've learned all about safely and naturally boosting your milk supply, are you ready to try some for yourself? Milk Makers has graciously offered Pierogie Mama readers the opportunity to win a flavor combo caddy of cookies! Just check out the entry details below. 




This giveaway has ended!



Disclosure: The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for fulfilling prizes. 
Prize fulfillment is the sponsor's responsibility and obligation.







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nature's Sleep Photo Competition - I need your help!

Yep, this is going to be a shameless self-plug for some help on winning a contest. So I'm calling on all my mama-tribe to help me reach my goal!

Nature's Sleep is running a photo contest for why you need a good night's sleep - and I've entered in this picture -


Not a bad reason for mama catching a snooze, right? If this doesn't capture my current season in life, I don't know what does!

So I'd love your help and support by giving me a little vote to help us get us a new mattress. As you know, we are a bed sharing family and having a firm supportive mattress is key to healthy and safe bed sharing for everyone. Our mattress is starting to show it's age and what better time to consider a new mattress than when I've got my little one's safety to worry about too.

The voting is daily - you'll see the super easy button on my sidebar with this picture that will take you to the direct voting page as the contest goes on.

(No need to sign in with facebook or twitter to vote)
Voting Ends 6/28

There's tons of good submissions for this contest, so of course vote for the one that you think is the best but I'd sure love it if you thought mine was worthy :)

xoxo

Monday, June 16, 2014

Apple Cider Chicken

This apple cider chicken recipe is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It's filling but light, creamy and a touch of apple sweetness. Truth be told, I first made this dish when my dear friend Gretchen welcomed her now big-boy Max, and ever since then it's been a tradition for me to bring to a friend with a new baby. After all, what better way can you help a new mom than by bringing her food? When I was waiting on Ruby (who was born 5 days past her due date) I made this meal twice! I wished so hard that it would give her the hint that it was time for her to make her grand appearance.

For the apple cider chicken, you will need:
1/2 lb of butter, plus 1/4 lb and 1/4 lb for sides
8-10 chicken tenders, or 4 large chicken breasts
3/4 cup of apple cider (the real stuff, not apple juice)
1/2 lb of blanched green beans
1 lb of mushrooms
1 pint of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Salt and Pepper
A loaf or two of easy dutch oven artisan bread (you'll need to start the dough at least one day before you make this chicken)

You will do:
1. Blanche the green beans and set aside.
2. Melt the 1/2 lb of butter (in small cubes) in a large pan. Add chicken and cook until both sides are browned.
3. While the chicken is cooking, cook the fresh mushrooms in a small pot with 1/4 lb of butter until they are soft. Heat up the blanched green beans in a separate pot with the remaining 1/4 lb of butter.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, keep it in the pan and pour in the apple cider. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced and is a nice glaze on the chicken.
5. Slowly add the cream and stir often to create a nice sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon at the very end.

Serve this chicken with green beans, mushrooms and that hearty bread. You can't skip on bread with this meal - it's so delightfully sinful to dip the bread in the remaining sauce.


As a growing family of 4 I make it a goal to source the best quality meat at the best prices. That's why I buy all of our meat through Zaycon Fresh. Every 6 months I order 80 lbs of fresh chicken breasts and I cut them into individual dinner serving sizes and freeze. We've saved hundreds of dollars in the price of meat as well as I always have the convenience of not having to go to the grocery store to purchase meats. Sign up for Zaycon Fresh and see all the different meats you can buy - beef, pork, chicken, sausages, bacon, turkey and more! By signing up for Zaycon Fresh I get a referral bonus, so thanks in advance for helping me feed my family!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

3 reasons keeping backyard chickens is good for my toddler

Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly 
Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama
This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets.
***
About 6 weeks before my second daughter was born we adopted 5 laying hens. My initial expectation for the level of interaction with them was to get eggs from them and that's it. I didn't anticipate viewing them as pets (like we view our dog). I expected ornery, crabby little beasts that made weird noises, pooped a lot and gave me an egg every once in a while. What I wasn't prepared for was my toddler's reaction to them.

Penny, who is now 2 years old, loved these strange birds from the very start. 


So what is it about keeping chickens that makes it worth it to me? After all, I'm a mom with two kids under the age of two. Why would I sign up to add 5 more creatures to keep under my wing (no pun intended)? Ain't nobody got time for that, right?!

1. Plain and simple, she enjoys the heck out of them. She loves talking about them, chasing them when we let them into the yard, and they seem to enjoy her. In their own chicken way. There's been several times where we're out in the backyard finger painting or whatever and they come over to her to check out what's going on. They've always been gentle, docile and friendly and that simply amazes me. I never expected chickens to be sweet
2. She's beginning to learn about animal care. We've had at least one dog for her entire life but caring for Squirt is a little bit above her right now. However, taking care of the chickens is a perfect introduction because there's several levels of participation. 
  • Observation: As we got accustomed to being chicken owners, we first kept them inside their pen to learn about their behavior and what we can expect from them. Because these weren't chicks that I had raised myself, I wasn't sure what their temperament would be. So the start of our relationship began through chicken wire. I started by pointing out to Penny that we have 3 colors of chickens, that we have two pairs and one single and we are working on naming each one as she discovers the differences between the two black and two brown hens we have (I'm going to admit it - I still have a very hard time!).
  • Egg collection: This is the fun part! Several times a day we go out to the chicken coop and open our special egg collection door. This door is on the outside of the pen so we don't have to put on our "muck boots" in preparation for possible contact with chicken poop. Depending on the time of day, there could be an egg or two waiting for us or a lady sitting in the nest box working on one. I have a running joke that once the girls have met their "quota," meaning at least 4/5 of the hens have laid an egg they are allowed to free range for the rest of the afternoon! Otherwise they are in "chicken jail" until the following afternoon. Penny's favorite thing to do is "count eggies" when we get back inside. It's been the biggest help in getting her to learn her numbers 1-12. As she grows older she'll learn more and more about the process of creating an egg and gaining an appreciation of where her food comes from. Every time that we get to take an egg we say "Thank you chickens!" 
  • Food: The chickens are fed their own special pellets that normally account for most of their nutrition. Our hens also benefit from the many kitchen scraps that I make throughout the day. Over 75% of what my family eats is fresh so I have tons of veggie or fruit scraps that were previously going to the yard waste bin that are now being very happily munched up by our chickens. Once or twice a day we take our scrap bin to the pen and toss it in for the birds to have some treats. This is another one of Penny's new responsibilities; she carries the little bucket from our kitchen to the pen door, and I'll toss the contents into the pen. If the chickens have met their aforementioned "quota" they are allowed to run around the yard and eat tender grasses and bugs, and are obligated to allowing Penny to pet them. My intention in showing her that we can pass our scraps on to the chickens is so that she can learn that not everything "unworthy" of the kitchen table needs to go in the trash or compost. Now that the weather is warmer and weeds abound in my yard, we've spent many an afternoon weeding and collecting those weeds for the chickens to eat too. I tell ya, my yard waste bin has been pretty empty these last few weeks!    
  • "Chicken chores" are done a couple times a week and are still above Penny's level but she still gets to participate. If Ruby is down for a nap and I'm not currently wearing her, Penny gets to ride on my back in our Boba. She gets to watch mama do chicken chores with a bird's eye view (pun totally intended). These chores range from fluffing up the pine shavings in the nesting boxes for a cozy place to lay eggs, raking the pen to move around scraps or weeds, filling their food canister or water canteen, to finally the OH SO GLAMOROUS mucking of the chicken coop. Typically the last one I let Penny run around in the yard so that I have more freedom to move around in the coop without worrying about if Penny will accidentally touch or reach for a poopy roost. Again, this teaches her about caring for our animals responsibly and all the work that goes into them.   
3. Finally, and not to down play this point in the least bit, my toddler and the entire family benefit from all the nutritional amazingness of the eggs! DUH! Fresh, free range eggs are astronomically more nutritious than store bought eggs. We call them "happy eggs" because they come from happy chickens. Free range eggs have:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
source
 

The yolks are a healthy orange color and taste so much better than commercially harvested eggs. I am also 100% positive that they are the reason why Penny has enough hair for a pony tail right now :) Eggs are chock full of protein, and hair is protein, so it makes sense to me that if she's getting a ton of extra protein daily that her hair and nails would grow faster. Am I right? Whether or not there's true science behind it, I believe it.

Keeping backyard chickens is just the beginning of teaching my children about honoring and respecting our food. Our culture of excess glosses over where food comes from and it comes to no surprise that many children have no idea where food comes from or how it magically appeared on grocery shelves. Even something as simple as an egg, which many of us take for granted, is a precious gift given by nature. Laying an egg isn't an easy feat for a chicken, it's uncomfortable but she still does it every day for us. It's a simple start, but hopefully will foster an understanding of the greater world beyond our pantry shelves.




***


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!


Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she's learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are "Woof" — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn't yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are "woof." Here's the proof.
  • Dude, where's my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn't. However, Adora's longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge--Learning from Animals--running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn't catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura's family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook is mostly vegetarian...not 100%, and not because of animal rights...yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It's not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus

    Kids, dog, haikus, at

    Dionna (Code Name: Mama).

    Pet-centric poems.
  • Beanie's BunniesOur Mindful Life's Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • How to Nurture Your Child's Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of SpiralElixir.com. Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn't sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!
  • 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn't prepared for was what they would teach her two year old daughter too.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Ruby: 2 & 3 Months

Oh gosh, keeping up with these two kids on a monthly basis is going to be tough! I can totally see why second baby books are typically only half filled out. We're just on the go all the time - I have to scroll through the pictures on my phone to remind myself of what has gone on!!


Dear Ruby,

12 weeks - 12 weeks! What is going on here? You've very quickly turned into this bubbly little baby and I just can't get enough of your fat little rolls! At around 6 weeks it was almost as if you woke up from your newborn slumber and turned into an infant over night.

One of your very favorite things right now is being naked, which is funny because in your first 6 weeks you could not stand being changed. But now we let those rolls out several times a day and you get to kick, flap and attempt to roll around on a towel. And you LOVE it. You've developed a little ticklish spot right at your shoulders and you completely lose it if I gently graze that spot. You also think your sister is the bee's knees and if you are awake when she comes into our bedroom in the morning, your face lights up like a spotlight. I can already tell that you admire her so much. Penny has been asking to hold you a lot lately too - I think she's starting to learn more about big sister responsibilities. For my shower in the mornings I've been turning on a Sesame Street episode for Penny on our bed, then you and I head into the bathroom. The whir of the fan calms you, and I put you into your little bouncer and I can typically take a decent shower. Sometimes you need to be bounced, and on more than one occasion I've heard you start to squawk and then quiet down...because your sister came into the bathroom to bounce you while I shower. Oh, my heart...it melts for you two.
I wouldn't say that we have a schedule by any means; your sister still runs the show on that one. The morning is fair game until noon to two, where she takes a nap. Lately you have been taking a nap between 8-10a and then you usually will nap at the same time as Penny and some days even longer. Daddy comes home around 4 or 5 and we get dinner going and before we know it, its 7pm and you are ready for bed and your sister gets bath time. Life is really hectic, as always, but the days are getting warmer and we're starting to have fun outside again.

Developmentally you are really close to hitting a few new milestones. I've caught you half rolled over (it's a lot easier when you're naked), you smile and laugh a lot, and have started to string together your own little words and have "talked" back and forth with me a few times. You've just about outgrown your co-sleeper and will probably transition to sleeping on the mattress with us in the next week or so. You sleep better when I let you nap on the mattress during the day anyways.

Oh, and a funny note.. your sister came up with a nickname for you. Ruby Booby. Yep. I hope you can out grow that one before middle school ;) Good luck!

I love you little girl,
mama.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Win Funky Fluff and Doodle Pants for your #clothdiaper stash!

This post was originally part of the Cuckoo for Cloth hop.
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This post is going to be short and sweet because you all know just how much I love me my Funky Fluff cloth diapers and Doodle Pants. Why? Let me list the reasons below.
  • Doodle Pants are made to fit over a cloth diapered bum. Enough said. Here's my tips for dressing a cloth diapered girl
  • Change is a constant over there. Check often for new designs! 
  • Doodle Pants recently rolled out their coordinating clothing line - so you can find toddler sweatshirts, onesies, t-shirts and play dresses to match your Doodle Pants. 
  • Get 15% off your order of Doodle Pants by using the code PIEROGIE15!
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    • Funky Fluff cloth diapers come in two material choices: stay dry (micro-suede) and bamboo. The stay-dry is truly stay dry and the bamboo is so incredibly thirsty. Their bamboo diapers are by far my absolute favorite in our cloth diaper stash! My toddler is a side-sleeper and tends to leak if she had too much to drink before bed, and she has NEVER leaked in either of these materials.
    • Their bamboo inserts, specifically the bamboo booster, are a MUST HAVE in my stash. The inserts are so dense, thirsty yet trim. Please, do yourself the favor and get a pair. These are required for our night-night diapers. 
    • I love their solids color combo. Penny particularly loves the bubbles and the pink & grey diapers
    Both of these fabulous sponsored would love to send a prize pack to one lucky Pierogie Mama reader - you'll have the opportunity to win a pair of Doodle Pants and a the choice of a bamboo or stay-dry Funky Fluff cloth diaper! How awesome is that?! Check out the instructions below.


    This giveaway has ended. Thanks to everyone who entered!





    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Father's Day Gift Guide

    If you're like me, picking out gifts for the daddy in your life is certainly not the easiest thing to do.

    Every year, Penny's gift to her daddy has been a tie that she picks out. I take her to the tie rack and whatever one she grabbed for first has ended up being his tie. The last two years have been a random draw, so I was really interested in seeing what she would pick this time. At 2 years old she now has tastes and finds certain things cute or pretty. This year I was faced with the decision - with two daughters, does the husband now get two ties for Father's Day or does Ruby get to have her own tradition of what she gifts her daddy?

    Luckily Adam is a man who loves ties and they are appropriate at his work place - even a requirement on some days. There have been surprise visits by the CEO of the company and engineers will typically pull out their "emergency tie" from their desk. So for our family, the man cannot have enough ties. The tie tradition continues.

    This year I took the girls to pick out Penny's choice of tie in person and Ruby's "choice" sent to us by Daddyncompany.You can find a ton of daddy related gear there - you'll probably recognize them from their "I'm the Daddy" scrubs that became popular last year, which are the perfect expectant father gift.

    The second tradition that Penny and I have kept up has been a mini photo shoot of Penny in that year's tie, which goesinto a frame that is on her dad's desk. The frame has 3 slots for pictures and we re-use wooden "D" and "A" letters to spell "DAD" each year. With the addition of Ruby, I was so excited to turn this into a sister photo shoot! Keep an eye out for a follow up post - Adam does occasionally read the blog so I can't give it away too early!

    Although the ties are practical and he loves them, I also like to throw in a surprise gift or two. Here's what I've had in mind for this Father's Day.


    1. Matching apparel. What dad doesn't love to show off his kids by also bragging a little bit about himself? You can find this awesome dad and baby shirt combo on Etsy.
    2. Giftcards are always a win. Some people think their lame, but there's no reason why not to include them as a 'stocking stuffer' of sorts. Throw in a $5 card to Starbucks or their favorite not-so-fast-food spot (ours is Chipotle).
    3. What gift guide isn't complete without the addition of a high ticket item? Watches may be more of a fashion statement than an actual way to tell time anymore (since cell phones take care of pretty much everything for us these days) but every guy needs a watch. Citizen watches are always a first pick because of their eco-drive technology (no batteries required!!).
    4. Another must have for dads, obviously, are ties! This I love Daddy tie is one of my two favorites from Daddyncompany.
    5. I'm finally sorting through our decor that's been stuffed away in boxes for the last almost 4 years and am realizing that a lot of it is stuff left over from college. So I'm working on updating our look - which includes tossing out some torn movie posters and replacing them with more ooey-gooey lovey-dovey ones ;)
    6. Summer time means more hours outdoors and we all enjoy our tunes, but our cell phones don't have the power to send music across the yard. Portable speakers that link to your phone via bluetooth pretty much fix that.
    7.When all else fails.. Irwin clamps. Kind of silly, right? We've used these throughout a ton of projects in our renovation (from clamping cabinet pieces together to a temporary lock on the garage door) and my husband pretty much raves about them. 
    8. And this last one I just couldn't resist. Get DoodlePants I love Dad leggings for 15% off with code PIEROGIE15.

    Do you have a Father's Day tradition? What would you add to this guide?

    Disclosure: I received a promotional item from Daddyncompany in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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