9 Months Old

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9 months in. 9 Months out.

Moon Baby has officially been a part of our everyday lives for the same amount of time that I was pregnant with her.

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It’s absolutely true what they say: your loves grows with your family. I did not honestly think it was possible to love another human being as much as I love JBird. Little did I know that another fierce little girl could have all of my heart.

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She is a near-constant ray of sunshine in our lives every single day. She is always laughing, always smiling, and always willing to snuggle.

9-month-collagePlus, the rolls. The rolls just keep getting more glorious. I love them. So perfect.

Life is oh so good.

Only 3 more months to go before this little lady turns 1!


It’s Time For A Wienervention!

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Weinervention

There’s just something so quintessentially summer about grilled hot dogs and BBQ’s with friends. This past weekend, we were able to bring these 2 summer staples together in a cookout supplied by Applegate (you know, that awesome, all natural and organic meat company). As part of their Cleaner Wiener campaign, the folks over at Applegate wanted to ensure we had a quality summer cookout with quality hot dogs free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, and fillers: it was a Wienervention.

(So great)

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Imagine my excitement when Applegate farms contacted me to ask: a) If I needed a Wienervention (Answer: Do I ever?!) and b) If I wanted to help them spread the word about their Cleaner Wieners by hosting a Wienervention (Answer: You had me at free hot dogs). A few days later, my Wienervention kit arrived in the mail with everything I would need to host this ever so necessary event.

My (Super Awesome) Kit included:

-2 packs of Applegate uncured hot dogs (TWO!)

-2 packages of Rudi’s hot dog buns (plus an extra package of gluten free buns)

-Annie’s Organic Ketchup and Mustard

-Rick’s Picks Relish

-Susty Straws and Napkins (the straws are compostable!!)

-OVER THE TOP ADORABLE hot dog boats

-Grilling tools, Apron, Insulated Lunch Tote, and a Cleaner Wiener Frisbee

In other words, Applegate gave me the hookup.

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Our Wienervention was a huge success. Our neighbors and friends joined us in celebrating the beauty of a perfectly grilled (and all natural) hot dog. There was laughter, coleslaw, watermelon popsicles, an abundance of mustard, and a yard full of happy smiling faces.

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Daddy Bear even spruced up our water wall in celebration of such an event! So, obviously this day was a pretty big deal.

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We rounded out our perfect summer BBQ with a campfire and s’mores with friends. I’m not sure it’s possible to get any more “Great American Summer” than that.

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Would you like to throw a Wienervention Party of your very own?! Well you can!

The generous folks over at Applegate are giving one lucky Feel Good Foodie fan their very own Wienervention kit!

Just leave a comment below letting everyone know how you fix your hot dogs! (Ketchup and Mustard? Sauerkraut and Onions? The Works? Kimchi? The world wants to know!)

One winner will be selected at random and will be announced Wednesday July 23rd 2014; which just so happens to be NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY! How great is that?!

The giveaway will end at NOON, Central Time on Wednesday July 23rd. A winner will be picked at random by me and announced later that day. This giveaway is only open to fans living in the United States (Sorry International Fans). 

*This amazing giveaway and blog post is brought to you by the even more amazing Applegate company*

Find out how you can win a year supply of Applegate Hot Dogs by checking out their Wienervention page!



 

 

 

 

 


Back From Vacation

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Summer Vacation

We’re Back!

After almost 4 weeks away, we are finally back in America’s Dairyland and settling back into our normal everyday rhythms.

Our trip was wonderful, hectic, and long. We were 4 little energizer bunnies for 23 straight days.

We left WI on May 31 with a car packed to the brim with everything we might possibly need for this long extended journey. We did 8 hours (actually totaling 12 hours) on the first day, and another 8 hours on the second day: from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. The trip was long, but the kids were total troopers about the whole thing. I am FOREVER grateful that my husband had the genius idea to buy a DVD player for the car. JBird watched Toy Story on a 16 hour loop and was pretty content the whole way out. Oh happy day!

Our first destination was Pennsylvania; where we refueled, re-energized, and dropped the dog off before heading up to New Hampshire to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

Summer Vacation

It had been 4 years since our last trip to NH; back when I was pregnant with JBird and we were still living in NY. There’s something so magical about my family’s home on Newfound Lake. It is hands down one of my top 3 favorite places. I would’ve been happy to spend our entire 3 weeks on the lake, but I’m sure the rest of our family and friends waiting to see us would not have appreciated that…maybe next time. :)

Summer Vacation

After 5 beautiful days with family, We headed back down to PA to pick up Toby Dog (who was having a rather great time with Gramma and Grampa). We rested and refueled there for another day before heading up to NY for a stay with Nana and Poppy (and Uncle X). For the remainder of our visit, we bounced back and forth between various family members homes. It was great being able to spend so much time with so many different loved ones, but total exhausting having to move around so much. Thankfully, the girls never seemed to mind too much since no matter where we were, there was always someone (or several someones) there to give them undivided attention.

Summer Vacation

Over the 2 weeks spent in NY and PA, we had countless reunions with family and friends (some of whom we hadn’t seen in nearly 9 years).  I think when I tallied it up, we had a chance to visit with well over 100 people! Crazy, right?!

Summer Vacation

Our final event of the trip (and our last weekend out) was the wedding of my longtime best friend (like from way back in 6th grade long time friend). This wedding was the whole reason we took think long journey out East. It was an amazing day, with an amazing couple, and I am so glad we were able to be there to share in their special day.

Our trip was delightful. We had amazing weather wherever we went (which is saying A LOT for my hometown). We saw more family and friends over those 3 weeks than we have in the past 3.5 years. It was pretty extraordinary.

All last week I felt like I was in a vacation-hangover. Totally exhausted, irritable, and perpetually groggy. Thankfully, the holiday weekend helped pull me out of my post-vaca slump and I now feel energized!

Being away for 3 weeks was definitely a bit too long, and I doubt we’ll do anything like that again for a long time, but I’m so happy we decided to have an extended visit. As a pretty introverted person, having to be “On” for 3 weeks straight was more draining that I imagined and I’m still feeling like I desperately need solitude everyday to “recharge” a bit.

It feels so nice to be back home, but we also miss all the familiar faces of our East Coast loved ones.

To read more about our trip (including packing tips, keeping kids entertained in the car, and more super cute photos), check out the article I wrote for Wisconsin Parent!


Road Trip Packing Tips: Clothes

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We leave this Saturday for our 1300 mile road trip back East. Whenever I am getting ready for a big trip, my Type-A personality REALLY shines through. You try packing for 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 infant, and 1 dog ,who are going to be stuck in the car for 3 days, without going a bit nutty.

I started packing for our trip in the beginning of April. I recognize the crazy, but I refuse to do things differently.

Packing for 3 weeks is a process. Yes, it is June and it’s basically summer BUT there’s a good chance the evenings will still be chilly (it is the North East after all).

If you are planning a big trip this summer, here are some tips to help keep you a bit more organized:

Go Crazy With Ziploc Bags!

For the girls, I pack outfits in gallon-sized Ziploc bags; shirt, pants, socks, etc (OMG I know! It’s crazy!)

I then suck out all the air (by rolling the air out…kind of like a sleeping bag).

Now, I have flat packs of outfits. No messy suitcase to dig through. Once clothes are washed I can put them back into the Ziploc bags again!

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I also pack some Ziploc bags with spare clothes in them to keep in the car (instead of the overhead cargo box). That way if JBird or Moon Baby spill food or water (or have an accident) we have a change of clothes at the ready. Again, instead of having to dig through bags to find full outfits.

Swim suits, spare socks and undies, and random other spare pieces get their own bags too.

For Mommy and Daddy, we share a medium-sized suit case and garment bag. I don’t pack our outfits in Ziploc bags, but I do use those XL ziploc bags to pack shirts, pants, etc. We don’t have a lot of room in our car, so space saver bags really help. We stop at a motel on our way out East, so a small bag will be packed with a change of clothes for each of us; plus overnight toiletries. That way we don’t have to unload our vacuum sealed suitcases for a quick trip.

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Again, I know I’m crazy, but when you’re packing for a 3 week trip with 4 people; all needing clothes ranging from formal to pjs…and not knowing what the weather may be, you gotta do what you gotta do.


Travel Treasure Box for Baby

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treasure-box

The last time we were at Ikea, I bought this fabulous set of 3 baskets from their bathroom department. It came with the larger one (seen), a perfect purse size one (that the dog promptly ate on the way home from Ikea), and a tiny one that fits an egg shaker and is super cute (not shown). I’m pretty sure my grand total was $5.99 for them (plus $300 for all the other stuff I bought….because, Ikea).

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We’re really into Montessori-Reggio inspired playthings for Moon Baby to play with and explore at the moment, so putting together a treasure box of sorts seemed like a perfect fit. Typically, I just put 4 or 5 random objects into the basket (rotating out objects every few days, to help keep her interested). For this grand trip that we are embarking on, I decided to categorize objects by color

I have Ziploc bags with red, yellow/orange, green, blue, purple, rainbow and brown/wooden objects that I found around our house. Other than the basket itself, nothing was bought new for this project. treasure-box

It took me about 5 minutes to scavenge for 4-5 items per color group. Most of the items were within arms reach in our playroom.

Once everything was grouped together and placed into bags, I rolled the air out of the bags to help save space.

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I think this basket (with it’s treasures) is going to be a big hit on our trip. I love how there’s so many different textures, sounds, and sizes. A really great sensory activity for babies 6-12 months.


Mommy is a Unicorn

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*selfie take by my (then) 2.5 year old. I feel like she’s going to end up a film student.

It seems to me that “Mommy” is a concept. Not always a tangible thing.

I think back to my childhood, and despite being with my mother everyday, I really cannot recall memories of her until my adolescence. I remember being close to her. I remember eating food she made me. I remember going places she took me. But her, as a person, is absent. What’s most fascinating is that the more I talk about it with people, the more they too have similar experiences and memories. Are you able to remember your mother, as a person, before the age of 10?

I have a theory. Being a mother means you do not actually exist as a person until your children are older; even so much as moved out of the house. Instead of being a real person with real interests, fears, flesh, and blood, you are kind of like an imaginary friend. There are days when I’m pretty sure my toddler thinks she is the only one who can see me.

As a mommy you are always there. Everywhere. Even when you’re not there in body next to them, you always seem to know what they are doing; or at least that’s how they see it. You’re more of a presence and less of a person.

When I play with JBird, it’s not the all day engaged play that Daddy and Grandma are privy to; endless games of make-believe, limitless imaginative games. With Mommy, it’s a side by side “together” type of play. We read together, bake together, and paint together. She likes me to sit in the same room as her while she plays with her dolls. Sometimes I am asked to assist in the putting on or taking off of the doll’s clothes. Other than that, my job is to sit and be still.

This is probably why motherhood is so difficult at times. Knowing that your children really have no concept of you as a real person…and won’t until they are much older. Sometimes I just want to scream; probably just to validate that I am in fact a real live human being and not some sort of robot nanny.

But it’s also kind of great when you think about it. There’s a special power that comes along with being a mama.

Mommy is a magical creature.

Mommy is an entity: the all knowing, great and powerful, healer, wielder of bandaids, maker of the rules, queen bee, final say, comforter, lover, possessing all the virtues, muse, hero, warrior, bringer of the grilled cheese.

Daddy is a tangible person. Daddy takes me to the zoo. Daddy reads me stories. Daddy tucks me in. Daddy is special and important…but still real.

Mommy is like vapor. Existing, always there, but somehow not really a person. Mommy is mythical. Mommy is a unicorn.


P is for Whale Bird

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thefeelgoodfoodie

We have this nifty book where pictures of animals slide back and forth to show the letter it starts with, then the name of the animal.

The other day, JBird decided to take it upon herself to spell out the names of the animals.

Ya know, what you do at 3.5 years old

Here’s what it sounded like:

A is for alligator. A-L-L-I-G-A-T-O-R. Alligator.

B is for bear. B-E-A-R. Bear.

So on and so forth.

Clever girl that she is, when she gets to Penguin she looks at the picture and says:

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“P is for Whale Bird. P-E-N-G-U-I-N. Whale Bird”

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Long pause

Mental gears turning

“Wa-wa-wa Whale Bird.”

“Pa-pa-pa P”

Another pause

(To no one in particular) “OH!! Haha! Penguin! Penguin starts with P!”

I went over to look at the picture once she had set down the book.

Yea, Whale Bird. I see it. Keen observation JBird.


Guilt and Parenting in the Digital Age

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thefeelgoodfoodieMy life is neatly compacted and compartmentalized within the plastic confines of my lap top. My business, my blogs, my musings, my social life, my thousands of Pinterest pins, my address book, my photos, my music, my recipes…all live in my laptop. It is my digital body. I would, in fact, be lost without it (or at the very least, totally screwed without it). This my friends is the reality of the digital age.

Now, we can take this reality and cringe or sneer, or throw up a little in our mouths at the thought of it; but it doesn’t make it any less of a reality. We exist physically and digitally.

When I entered into this grand journey that is parenthood over 3 years ago, I did not want this to be the reality for my child. Foolishly, I thought “oh yea, we can just pretend this whole digital age isn’t really existing around us”; but I continued to live digitally.

For well over 3 years now, I’ve carried with me an enormous amount of guilt regarding the influence of screens, computers, and televisions on my child. I felt like I was failing myself for not stopping the digital world from entering our doors. I mean, only a generation before me lived and thrived without all this digital junk; why couldn’t I?

In our home life, we are influenced by the asthetics of Waldorf education. It’s all so lovely and warm. Yet, I just cannot commit to a “hardcore” Waldorf mindset of zero screens. It absolutely does not work for our lives.

In our home, we make an effort to limit our use of screens for entertainment; much like we limit our consumption of sugar because too much of a good thing is never a good thing.

The truth is, I love technology. I freaking love it. I love everything that Apple makes. I love wi-fi. I love Google. I love Facebook.

I thrive on technology, and I am thriving in this thing we call The Digital Age. Blogs and business ventures and networking, oh my!

Why do I love technology so much? Here’s the deal: When you spend all day, everyday, with small children you tend to feel like you are going insane. This is not true for every day, but it is true for some days (and some times A LOT of days). On the days when I feel like a total crazy person, technology rescues me. Jbird quietly watches a show, while I fall into the black hole that is Buzzfeed.

It’s not perfect or even “ideal” (whatever that means), BUT it keeps me sane; and not losing my damn mind is pretty much my version of “ideal” right now.

So the next time you feel like you are being swallowed up by technology, know that you are not alone. It’s ok to unplug and walk away. It’s also ok to come back 5 minutes later to just check one more thing.

Do what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty. Keep on doing the best you can. Have a beer while you’re at it. You’ve earned it.

 

 

 


Pony Beads and Pipe Cleaners

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thefeelgoodfoodie

Sometimes I try and get really creative with activity ideas for Jbird.

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I had the brilliant idea to put some assorted seeds into a jar and have her scoop and sort the seeds. (when I say it out loud, I can see how boring that probably is. BUT THE KIDS ON PINTEREST SEEMED TO LOVE IT)

Yea, that went over like a lead balloon.

She looked at it and said “Seeds?!”…then walked away totally offended.

My bad.

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Then there were the marbles. Lord help me…how stupid could I be!

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Look! It’s marbles! and numbers! Counting! Sorting! I’m so clever!

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Nope. I was given a stare that is pretty much the toddler equivalent of flipping someone off.

Try again.

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If there’s one thing parenting has taught me, it’s this: Keep It Simple.

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Frustrated, I pulled out a few pipe cleaners from the closet; along with a jar of pony beads.

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Here! Play with these!

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…and she did. For HOURS.

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Carefully choosing colors that would look nice next to each other.

Carefully threading them on to the pipe cleaner.

Then, once a pipe cleaner was totally filled with beads, it was my job to join the 2 ends and make it a proper bracelet.

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I even got some new jewelry out of the deal.

Maybe one day I’ll learn.


Far From Perfect

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thefeelgoodfoodie

Sometimes, our house is an organic bounty of local goodies from the co-op.

Sometimes it’s fueled by $1.50 hotdogs from Costco.

Sometimes our house is filled with the beautiful sounds of classical music.

Sometimes the house is silent because a child is engrossed in the glowing screen of an iPad.

Sometimes 6 whole servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed in a day (this is a rarity…but it does happen).

Some days it seem like her diet consists of bunny crackers and string cheese.

Some days sharing and compromises make my heart sing.

Some days are perpetual meltdowns.

Some days we go outside.

Some days we don’t.

Some days I have the patience of a saint.

Some days I really really want to yell and scream and flail about.

Some days we go at a slower toddler pace; letting her lead the way.

Some days tiny bodies are hurriedly put into car seats.

Some days I encourage and embrace the messes.

Some days I get frustrated with the messy chaos.

Some days I come up with endless games and activities.

Some days I just want to lock myself in my room because my brain has shut down for the day…at 10am.

Some days I work out during nap.

Some days I eat a dozen cookies during nap.

Some days naps don’t exist and I eat 2 dozen cookies.

Some days we win.

Some days we keep winning.

I don’t let the burden of parental perfection weigh me down anymore.

I’m over the guilt.

We do the best we can each day.