Archives for July 2015

Must-have splurges for your new baby

I’m all about saving money when it comes to purchasing baby items, especially the ones that won’t be used for long. (Did you catch my post on what I recommend skipping prior to the birth of your new baby?)

However, there are a few pieces that I knew we would “splurge” on for Baby Dean. Most of them involve safety because as a mom, I want to know that I am making Dean’s environment as safe as possible.

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1. Snuza Hero – We actually just received this device a few days ago after a recommendation from a friend. I think it is fairly common for new moms to wake up to make sure that their baby is breathing multiple times throughout the night… or maybe it is just me ;) Regardless, the Snuza Hero takes some of the worry away which allows for Mom to grab a few more minutes of shut eye. It easily clips onto the front of your baby’s diaper and senses motion. If for some reason, there is no movement (aka – breathing) detected for 15 seconds, the Hero will vibrate. If there is still no movement after the vibration, an alarm will sound to alert Mom and Dad (or another caretaker) of a potential issue. There are multiple types of these devices on the market, but what I loved about the Snuza Hero is that it is easily transportable and simple to use. Approximate retail: $120

2. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat – When it came to car seats, Kyle and I were clueless. After some advice from friends and reading multiple safety reviews, we decided to purchase the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat for Dean. While I’m sure any car seat on the market that you decide to purchase for your little one is safe, as a parent you want to make sure that the car seat you use is new and is up-to-date on all of the newest safety features and standards. I’m guessing using a car seat multiple times for your own children is a-okay, but I would be cautious about purchasing a used car seat from a garage sale or online market where you do not know the full history of the item. Safety first! We also spent extra to have a car seat base in each of our cars. It allowed each of us to have our car seat installed and inspected by a “professional” and not have to move one base depending upon who would be driving with Dean. Approximate retail: $200; Additional bases: $85

3. Diaper Bag – Call this “splurge” what you want, but I knew that if I was going to be carrying a diaper bag around for at least 2 years, I wanted to have something stylish and more purse-like than baby-like. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, right? In terms of a diaper bag, you do want to make sure the bag you have is sturdy (it goes everywhere with you), is easy to clean (babies are messy), and can carry everything! I went with the Marc by Marc Preppy Nylon Eliza A Baby Diaper Bag in gray and I LOVE it. It has enough compartments to store diapers and bottles and wipes and toys and pacis and everything else a mom might need. A few of my girlfriends actually carry this bag as their work/laptop bag so I think it’s pretty fashionable as well as functional. Approximate retail (for this specific bag): $348

4. Halo SleepSack Swaddle – I may be the only mom out there that is terrified of swaddling. The nurses in the hospital were experts. Their blankets were wrapped tight around Dean and I knew they wouldn’t come undone by a squirming infant. Mine on the other hand? Not so much. While I understand the basics of swaddling, I had no desire to swaddle a baby with a blanket multiple times throughout the night. The thought of the blanket coming lose and increasing the risk of suffocation made me really nervous. Plus, I was too tired to attempt a swaddle job at all hours of the day. At our birthing class, the L&D nurse recommended Halo SleepSack Swaddles and I’m so glad she did! These make swaddling a breeze and alleviate any “lose blanket” fears. We actually just ordered two more in a larger size since Dean likes them so much. The SleepSacks allow for safe sleeping and you can quickly and easily swaddle your baby with arms in or out, making nighttime feedings and diaper changes much less stressful (at least for me!). Approximate retail: $25 <– not necessarily a splurge but pricier than a swaddle blanket.

Obviously, this is what worked best for us so figure out what is best for your baby and your budget. Let me know what splurges you have found to be necessary for new babies!

#98 Treat Yourself Tuesday

The sun! It’s out and shining – Talk about a treat! It’s been RAINING consistently ever since Saturday so it’s nice to see the sun in the sunshine state ;) Kyle’s mom and grandma are visiting so I know they’re happy to finally have a beach day!

How about we talk about a few of my treats over the past week?

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Delicious eats! Like I mentioned, Kyle’s mom and grandma are in Naples and we’ve been eating really well ever since they arrived. Pizza on Friday night… Fish tacos for lunch on Saturday… Dinner out on Saturday night… Grilled on Sunday night… Shrimp linguine last night… I’m sure the rest of the week will be just as tasty. And perfect leading up to the 24DC that we are starting next week, ha.

Another food treat – I made a delicious batch of my Peanut Butter Berry Bars yesterday. They are soooo good and always a hit!

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I hit up Starbs for the first time in forever on Friday afternoon. I had a free coupon so I figured why not ;)

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The rest of my treats for the week involve a lot of fitness…

I made it to the gym during the day yesterday thanks to Grandma babysitting Dean. My first dreadmill run in months!

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I also tried out Kayla Itsines free week of workouts over the past week. My calves are STILL sore from Saturday’s leg workout. Woof. Has anyone tried these before? I think I’m going to go ahead and purchase them. I’m still not a huge fan of working out at home but I could easily take these to the gym with me if I need some extra motivation :)

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My workout buddy was back to BODYPUMP on Sunday with me, again thanks to Grandma babysitting :) I’m subbing tonight so we will get another couple’s workout. Woohoo!

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Kinda lame on the treat front this week – Hopefully next week will be better!

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What was your best treat over the past few days? 

A Naples Adventure

Living in a new place is always an adventure! While Kyle and I have lived in Naples, Florida since October, it is our first summer in SW Florida and we had (and still have) no clue what to expect.

We were told to get used to heat and rain and humidity, LOTS of rain and humidity. So far, the heat hasn’t been too bad (much better than snow, in my opinion) and the rain wasn’t unbearable either, until the last few days at least. But I digress, as much as you might want to chit chat, we aren’t talking about the weather today… unless we want to pretend we are 80-year old men ;)

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In Florida we are lucky enough to have outdoor adventures year round, but summer always calls for a few beach trips, especially when you live so close to the water! While our sunset trip a few days ago was a total fail (boo storms!), Naples is known for its amazing, colorful sunsets each evening.

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Watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is always a beautiful experience. Hues of red and orange and pink fill the sky and the reflection on the water is just as breathtaking. They are one of my favorite parts of living in Naples!

The only problem with sunsets is the time of day <– LOL! This time of year, the sun sets around 8:15pm which means you want to be to the beach around 7:30pm to snag a good spot and to see the sun in all its glory. And that means that viewing a sunset cuts into dinnertime, not good for someone who gets hangry if they don’t eat on time ;)

Enter – BEACH SNACKS!! Specifically beach sunset snacks.

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This summer I’ve been lovin’ Blue Diamond Almonds for a quick, filling snack to hold me over until a late, post-sunset dinner. Their canisters fit perfectly in my bag (Yes, this is Dean’s diaper bag BUT I have also tried them out in my other non-mom bags and my beach bags.) and I trust that they aren’t going to break open and make a mess all over. The canisters are easy to open and close (A must have for a beach outing!) for a quick handful of almonds. Plus, Blue Diamond Almonds are the best tasting almonds out there. I know you agree if you’ve tried ’em :)

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Easy to grab. Great tasting. Filling yet they won’t ruin your appetite. Blue Diamond Almonds are where it is at for your next summer adventure. And while you’re looking into summer adventures, make a trip down to Naples – Dean and I love to entertain!

Where do you like to visit during the summer? What has been your favorite adventure this summer?

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Day in the Life

I love reading “day in the life” posts and it has been a long time since I’ve done one myself (my last one was in January 2014!), so I thought I’d share a typical day with y’all.

Starting at midnight because… well, with a baby your day really IS 24 hours long ;)

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12am – 4am: Sleep on and off while reaching over to check Dean to make sure he is still breathing.

4am: Dean starts to grunt, baby talk for I’m getting hungry!

4:05am: I get up, grab my phone and Dean and head to the nursery to feed the little dude.

4:07am: Feed, burp, diaper change, and cuddle time.

4:45am: Put Dean back into his swaddle and into his bassinet.

5am: Realize I only have one hour until Kyle’s alarm goes off. I debate just staying up and actually being productive but sleep wins. Sleep always wins with a baby.

7am: Kyle wakes me up to say goodbye. I tell him not to wake the baby or else, LOL, and then roll back over and attempt to sleep.

7:05am: As if right on cue, Dean starts making his hungry grunts again (same time everyday – I really should just stay up at 5am!) so we head back to the nursery for more eats, burps and diaper changes.

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7:45am: Morning nap time, also known as my productive time!

8am: Pump and sip on my morning Spark while catching up on social media on my phone.

9am: If I want to get a workout in, NOW is the time. Practice BODYPUMP tracks, do CU24, or try out another Kayla Itsines HIIT workout.

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10am: Grab a quick breakfast – normally oatmeal or PB toast or a smoothie, and scratch Mitchell’s ears for a few minutes. Also jump in the shower to rinse off after sweating during my workout.

10:30am: I hear Dean talking to himself so I go grab him from his bassinet and we have our “good morning” smiles and coos.

11am: Time to eat again… for Dean that is.

11:30am: Dean falls asleep on me so we cuddle for a while until I start sweating from the little heat machine. He’s just like his dad, a heater!

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1pm: Realize I’m getting hungry and try to figure out what I want for lunch. It’s typically leftovers or a turkey sandwich and always an apple. Love ’em!

1:30pm: Time for tummy time! Dean hangs on his tummy while I catch up on blogs, life, and emails.

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2:30pm: Snack time for Dean. You know the routine by now… Milk, burps, diaper, cuddles.

3:30pm: Holy moly, it’s already 3:30?! Where did the day go? Put Dean in his Baby Bjorn (he loves it!), so he can nap while I get things done around the house. Empty the dishwasher (rarely… sorry Kyle, you know I hate it!), do the dishes, vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms… Whatever needs to be done that day. I also *start* to think about dinner.

5pm: It’s Dean’s dinner time.

5:45pm: Kyle gets home and it becomes a mad house for a few minutes… Mitchell gets excited and starts jumping and twirling in the air (no joke) and needs some Mitchell-Kyle time before anyone else can say hi.

6pm: Kyle grabs Dean and the babe poos as if on command – Must be a guy thing ;)

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6:15pm: I head out the door with Mitchell for a 30-minute walk. He is so excited!

7pm: Feed Dean a quick snack so he won’t interrupt dinner. Kyle covers diaper duty – wahoo!

7:15pm: WINE TIME. Or beer time. I’m not particular these days.

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7:20pm: Start making dinner – It is typically something simple like tacos or grilled chicken or broiled fish. Quick and easy!

7:45pm: Dinner time!

8:15pm: Kyle and I tag team cleaning up the kitchen while Dean chills in his Rock ‘n Play. Mitchell cleans the floors for us… earning his rent!

8:30pm: It’s boy time so I start a blog post, read the newspaper (yes, I’m 80 years old), or just catch up on things I didn’t get to during the day.

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9pm: Time for our nighttime routine – Dean gets a bath, eats/burps/diaper/cuddles, and then is swaddled.

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9:30pm: Kyle rocks Dean for a few minutes before putting him down in his bassinet for the night. I clean up the nursery, brush my teeth/wash my face, and get ready for bed!

10pm: Bedtime for parents – wahoo!

10pm-12midnight: Just kidding… I compulsively check on Dean until he wakes up at 4am ;) Life of a mom!

Most days have this structure, but sometimes I will run errands (Target, grocery store, etc.) while Dean is sleeping or I’ll do my workout in the afternoon during his nap instead of the morning. I know, livin’ on the wild side!

What is your favorite part of your day? For me, I love when Dean “wakes up” for the day at 10:30 and smiles and laughs. I also love when Kyle gets home at night and wine time, of course! 

What you DON’T need for your new baby

When we first found out that Dean was going to be coming into our lives, we were bombarded – not to mention slightly intimidated, by how much we were told we would need.

  • Strollers (yes, multiple)
  • Diapers and wipes of all shapes and sizes and scents
  • Crib, bassinets, sleepers
  • Outfits for every occasion under the sun
  • Safety items
  • Special lotions and detergents and soaps and aroma therapies
  • Baby-help books
  • Toys and games and movies to enhance the infant mind

Walk into any baby retailer and it seems as if you are expected to empty your house and start anew. Actually, scratch that. It seems that you are expected to buy a new house and furnish it with 100% new items in order to be certain everything is safe and good for the bundle you are about to bring into your lives.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need half of the stuff on those baby registry lists.

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Here are the top items you can leave at the store (and keep some money in your pocket) for those first few months at home with your new baby.

1. Multiple strollers. One little tiny human does not need more than one stroller. Trust me. Stick to one that preferably can hook up to your little babe’s car seat (getting them in and out of those is a task in and of itself) and you’ll be good to go. In one quick movement you’ll go from the car to the stroller and back again, making it easy for trips to the store and walks in the park.

2. Sleep training books. Still planning on sleep training that newborn? Not to burst your bubble but your baby probably has another plan. Plus, you’re going to have zero reading time after the little dude or dudette arrives. We read and planned to implement the “eat-wake-sleep” schedule in Baby Wise and, while we do try to follow that schedule for the most part, if your baby doesn’t want to sleep or eat when you want them to do so, it ain’t happening. Save your cash and get to know what works best for your baby. Sleep (and a schedule) will come when they’re ready.

3. Nursing bras. Hear me out on this one. If you plan on breastfeeding, you won’t have a clue what size you will need until a few weeks after your little one arrives. I recommend purchasing one inexpensive (think a $16 Target special here) nursing bra to get you started. To be quite honest, the first few weeks of your breastfeeding adventure aren’t going to be glamorous and you aren’t going to be wearing a bra – let alone a shirt, all that often. I thought it was more comfortable to just wear one of Kyle’s big tees most of the time. It was easy to take off every 30 minutes (yes, that is how often Dean wanted to eat in his early days) and it didn’t matter if it they happened to get covered in milk (and they did) at each feeding. At 2 months in I have yet to purchase an additional nursing bra – I honestly just stick to cheap Target sports bras during the daytime and wear the “real” nursing bra when we go out to dinner, etc. I think this is a more of a personal preference but don’t spend the money until you know what will work best for you!

4. Super expensive items (ex: Mamaroo). Five versions of swings. Three different types of bassinets. Six different bathing tubs. You get the picture. You don’t need all of that junk and it is EXPENSIVE! I recommend sticking to the cheapest (but make sure the model is still safe) version of an item and seeing if that works for your baby before spending the big bucks on a model with all of the bells and whistles. I’m sure the Mamaroo is fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but does your baby need it? Probably not. And trust me, with all of the diapers you are going to be buying, that $400 will definitely be spent elsewhere.

5. Items for older babies (2+ months). You don’t need much for a newborn. Diapers, wipes, a few onesies, a car seat, and a whole lotta love… That’s about it. Don’t worry about having all of the items you need for their older weeks. You will want an excuse to escape to Target for some alone time anyways ;)

Moms – What can you add to this list?

Dean Axel – Two Month Update

On July 14th, Mr. Dean turned 2 months old!

You can find his previous updates here:

How about an update on what Dean was up to his during his 2nd month?

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Length: 22 inches – 25th percentile, +2 inches from last month

Weight: 12 pounds 8 ounces – 50th percentile, + 2 pounds, 10 ounces from last month

Head circumference: 15 inches – 13th percentile, + 1/2 inch from last month

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Likes:

  • Being swaddled for sleep at night, naps are okay either swaddled or unswaddled
  • Eating – It’s my favorite!
  • Paci’s – Although I only like a certain (expensive) brand
  • Smiling and laughing with Dad while I tell him funny stories
  • Smiling and cooing at Mom – She’s my favorite ;)
  • Reading books
  • Looking at the ceiling fan and the big plants outside
  • Bathtime and getting massaged with lotion afterwards
  • Going on walks, especially at the beach – I love the sound of the water!
  • Car rides
  • Standing while Mom or Dad hold me up, it is fun to bounce on my feet!
  • Sucking my thumb. I’m working on getting just my thumb and not 3 fingers along with it.
  • Being carried in the Baby Bjorn
  • Sleep, especially naps – I normally take a 3 hour nap every morning.

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Dislikes:

  • Being hungry
  • Needles
  • Lavender – Apparently most babies are allergic to it.
  • Having my fingernails cut

Visitors:

  • Grandpa Scott and Grandma Joy
  • Grandpa Rasmussen and Sharon

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Places I’ve been:

  • Target (a lot!)
  • My pediatrician’s office
  • Mitchell’s vet
  • The beach
  • A few restaurants around Naples
  • Dad’s favorite wine shop
  • 5th Avenue for the 4th of July parade
  • YMCA
  • My first (non-family) babysitter

Nicknames:

  • Deany Beany
  • Mr. Dean
  • Deans
  • Sweetie
  • Sleepy man, Hungry man, Whiny man <– any word followed by “man” ;)

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Dean is definitely following more of a schedule as he gets older. He is down to 7-8 feedings per day vs. the 10-12 a month ago. This allows us to get out a bit more often as we don’t need to worry that he’ll be hungry the minute we step out the door. He typically eats his last “meal” around 8:30pm and sleeps until 3:30-4am and then again until 7:30-8am. Thankfully, he goes back down for a morning nap until 10:30am most days so I can get things done! He’s a good sleeper and pretty much goes to sleep on his own at night and after his early morning feeding. We are lucky in that area!

We found out that he is most likely having an allergic reaction to our lavender hand soap (Honest Company and Method brands). Per his ped, most babies are allergic to lavender even though it is in A TON of baby soaps/lotions so just a little heads up if you’re expecting a baby in the future. She recommended we use Cetaphil liquid soap and lotion for his bathtime and after one wash, his skin is already less red and dry. Thank goodness! It didn’t seem to bother him but rashy skin cannot be fun for the little dude.

At the one month mark we introduced pacifiers and bottles. He loves his paci and takes bottles well from Kyle. We are trying to give him 1-2 bottles per week so he remembers how to eat from them, although he loves food so much that as long as milk is flowing into his mouth, he doesn’t care where it is from ;) He is still eating exclusively breast milk and all is going well in that arena.

He is a happy baby and is content lying on a blanket looking at toys or the ceiling. He also loves being carried in his Baby Bjorn – It is great for walks or when I’m cleaning around the house and he wants to be held. He LOVES moving around. I don’t think there is a moment during the day where he isn’t kicking or flailing his arms everywhere where talking up a storm. Future BODYPUMP/fitness instructor?! ;)

He does prefer to sleep with his head facing to the right so we are doing a lot of tummy time to make sure he doesn’t get a flat head. He turns his head both ways while awake and nothing is “wrong” with him muscular/skeletal wise, he just likes sleeping that way. His ped says it is totally normal and he won’t need a helmet to correct his skull shape, he just has a patch of hair missing from rubbing his head in the same place every night, haha!

Dean had his 2-month vaccinations on Monday and took them like a champ. He cried for about 10 seconds, until I picked him up and then slept the entire drive home. He was a little fussy 4 hours after his shots (his leg was sore!), but a little bit of Tylenol helped and he slept on his normal schedule Monday night.

This coming weekend Dean gets to meet his Grandma Tracy and Great Grandma Judy! He is excited for more visitors.

Over the next month he gets his first night alone with Dad as I will be traveling to Dallas for a quick trip (Friday morning-Saturday night). At the end of the month he can start attending both of our gyms’ daycare sites, although Kyle is still hesitant about him going so young. He can also attend storytime at the Naples library at 3 months so there will be lots of fun daytime activities coming up in a few weeks :)

#97 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Hey! Happy Tuesday!

Baby Dean had his 2-month appointment yesterday (an update on him is coming your way tomorrow) which included his first major round of shots. He took ’em like a champ and was only a little sad right before bed when his leg started hurting. Thank goodness for Tylenol! He is back to his normal smiley self this morning and is on his way to being protected from nasty, deadly diseases like Polio. Modern medicine rocks.

Alright, enough about needles (<– they’re not a treat!), let’s get onto the main topic of today – TYT!

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A Friday night margarita! Kyle actually ran out on Saturday and picked up ingredients (aka – tequila and triple sec…) so we can make our own at home. For some reason, I’ve been wanting a marg every time Friday rolls around ;)

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A fun Influenster box. I’m about to head out and pick up a bag of Bark Thins this morning. It could be a dangerous path, LOL. I’ve heard they’re awesome!

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Finally hanging Dean’s newborn canvas prints. Our hall has been looking kinda bland and there is enough room there for his 6 month and 1 year photos as well. It’ll be the Dean Hall here in a few short months!

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I treated myself to my first Stitch Fix post-baby. It was just okay… I actually really like the 2 pairs of shorts that were included in my box BUT they were each $80. No way am I going to pay $80 for shorts that I plan on wearing to the park with Dean. They would be ruined, haha! I gave my stylist some feedback and fingers crossed my next one is a little bit better.

Froyo – no explanation needed :)

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Making fitness videos with Baby Dean. LOL. I think he participated pretty well in his video debut ;) You can check it out here!

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How did you treat yourself this past week?

{Easy} Chocolate – Peanut Butter Cake Balls

On Saturday I planned to photograph my newest recipe.

I opened our fridge to find the following…

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Hmm… Apparently someone thought they were pretty darn good, and I don’t think it was Dean or Mitchell ;)

I’ll admit, I had my fair share. I mean, I had to try them out before posting them… to make sure they were not only edible but delicious as well. But 24 in the matter of a few days? I don’t think so.

Oh well! The lack of photographic evidence of these tasty chocolate-peanut butter bites just shows y’all that they are definitely worthy of making. And that they won’t last long in your kitchen either.

Did I mention they’re easy too? Yeah, so easy I hardly consider this a recipe. If I can throw these baked goodies together with a baby in my kitchen, I am pretty sure anyone can put a batch together in a matter of minutes.

Easy as cake (get it? ha…). So tasty they’ll be gone in a matter of days (or hours). And chocolate with peanut butter. Need I say more?

{Easy} Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake Balls

Makes 24

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural variety)
  • vanilla almond bark
  • topping of choice (chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Bake cake per box instructions and allow to cool.
  2. Break up cake into crumbs/small pieces in a large bowl.
  3. Mix peanut butter into cake crumbs. This will take a few minutes and you may need to add additional peanut butter depending on how dry your cake is when crumbled.
  4. Roll into 24 cake balls – They don’t need to be perfectly round spheres, that takes too much time!
  5. Dip into melted vanilla almond bark and sprinkle with topping of choice.
  6. Cool in fridge for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  7. Enjoy!

There ya have it – ridiculously easy for your summer dessertin’ pleasure. Of course, you could always up the ante and make your own cake from scratch. Blend your own peanut butter. Make your own white chocolate dipping sauce… But who has time for that nonsense?! ;)

Tell me, what is your favorite “easy” dessert? What dessert disappears from your kitchen faster than you can blink?

{Two Month!} Postpartum Update

As of Tuesday, Mr. Dean is now two months old!

All I can say is WOOHOO! Some new moms seem a bit sad as their babies grow older, but I’m thankful. First of all, he gets easier with each day (at least in this stage) and secondly, getting older/bigger is what is supposed to happen. It’s a good thing :) So keep on growin’ Deany Beany.

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I’ll give you an update on Dean after his 2-month check-up on Monday, but today is about how I’m doing 2 months post-baby.

Per my one-month update, we are going to stick to the following three topics:

  • Physical – Body and Fitness
  • Mental/Emotional
  • Baby – Breastfeeding, Care, etc (Dean will have his own monthly updates)

Physical

I’m feeling 99.9% back to my normal self these days. At my 6-week appointment I was about 6 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and about 10 pounds from my “goal” weight <– I say goal weight because that number is where I have felt my best physically before, not because it is necessarily a goal of mine to get/be there right now. I have been lifting more the past few months so I am guessing that number will be higher as muscle is more dense than fat… and I’m working on building more muscle! The most important thing to me right now, from a physical standpoint at least, is to feel good and fit into my old clothes. As much as I’d love to go out and purchase an entirely brand new wardrobe, that’s not happening, LOL. Plus, I have some nice pieces that I want to wear (confidently) again :)

With that being said, I can pretty much fit into all of my pre-baby clothes and feel comfortable in them… minus my tight/form fitting dresses and jeans. I did have a “moment” yesterday though. I ordered my first Stitch Fix and while everything fit pretty well, a few of the tops they sent were 1) awful and 2) made me look 15 pounds heavier than I am. After that experience I ate a huge piece of chocolate cake because that was obviously going to solve the problem at hand…

I should also publicly apologize to my SF stylist – I gave her some frank feedback about the tops she thought were appropriate for a breastfeeding mom of a 2 month old! Hey, I’m honest, what can I say?

Anyways, back to my update… Since I want to feel better and get back to my healthier habits (meal planning – we’ve been eating the sameeee things over and over and both Kyle and I are getting bored, eating mostly whole foods and avoiding junk, having energy, etc.), Kyle and a few of my friends are going to join me for a 24-Day Challenge beginning August 3rd – I’m doing a modified one that is a-okay for breastfeeding mama’s. It’s been a year since I’ve completed a 24DC (because baby!) and I can honestly say I can’t be more excited, especially for everyone joining in for moral support. No junk. No wine. No consuming my emotions with large pieces of chocolate cake. Just good for me foods and filling in the gaps with supplements. Dean will benefit too. I probably shouldn’t be creating breastmilk from bags of Doritos and spoonfuls of Nutella. At this rate he is going to be addicted to sugar and processed crap before he can even eat, so it’s time to stop his habits before they begin.

And how about the fitness thang? I’m back to teaching at my gyms – WAHOO! It feels great to be with adults for a few hours a week and get back to working out. BODYPUMP is kicking my butt though. Holy moly. I decided to up my weights slightly since I’m just working out for me now and I am feeling it after every class. Hurts so good. Once Dean hits 3 months, he can attend the gyms’ daycare centers and I can get back to SPINNING and general gym going during the weekdays. THANK GOODNESS. It’ll be good for both of us to get out.

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Oh! And I’ve also gone on a few runs since my 6-week appointment. I’m not running as much as I’d like to because it’s flippin’ hot in Florida right now, sleep in the mornings is far more important than running before Kyle leaves for work, and Dean isn’t old enough to run in a stroller yet. (Yes, I know there are some moms that feel comfortable jogging earlier with their babes. I am not one of them. I don’t want to risk shaking his brain around until his head is more stable/his ped gives me the okay. Smart baby >>> Risking brain damage so mom can fit in a run, IMO.)

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Mental/Emotional

All is still well in this arena as well. I would say that the sleep – or lack thereof – got somewhat difficult around weeks 5 or 6. The first few weeks home I was running on adrenaline and it was “fun” to wake up multiple times per night to see/cuddle/feed Dean. But I got super drained around the 6-week mark. It might have been because that is when we had a bunch of visitors and I was go-go-go a lot of the time, who knows. I allowed myself to nap with Dean during the daytime for a week straight and I started to feel A TON better. He also started sleeping for longer periods around the 6-7 week mark, wahoo! He was doing a maximum of 3.5 hour increments at night before then and hit 4.5-5 hour increments once he turned 7 weeks. It’s even better now (I got a 7.5 hour stretch last night!) but I’ll save that for my next update.

I also had a few times where I felt like a secluded shut-in, for lack of a better term. LOL. I wasn’t feeling depressed really, it was more about feeling like I was inside all day everyday with only Mitchell and Dean. I’ve decided that SAHM’s are heros – I don’t know how y’all do it! Regardless, I contemplated getting a part-time job just for an excuse to GET OUT (I was going crazy one day LOL), but then I realized a few things… 1) I am going to start up my fitness/personal training business in a month or two so that’ll get me out and interacting with adults; 2) I don’t want to send Dean to daycare; 3) I was being crazy, LOL; 4) I do Advo and my fitness gig so I CAN be at home with Dean; and 5) Part-time work wouldn’t even pay for daycare.

Anyways, I’m over that crazy mentality and I am making an effort to get out more on a daily basis. I am heading to the library today to sign Dean up for storytime groups come September (he has to be 3 months old before he can attend) and I have started searching for mom groups. Plus, once I start doing the whole fitness thang (in addition to my group fitness gigs now), that along with caring for Dean will keep me plenty busy during the week!

Baby

Nothing major to report here. We are still exclusively breastfeeding and that is going well. I make a lot of milk (not complaining or boasting, just stating a fact) so I have to pump in order to stay comfortable <– trying to keep it to once daily to prevent my body from making even more milk. Kyle is concerned that we may need to purchase a deep freeze to store it all, LOL, but I’m sure Dean will catch up to my supply one of these days and if not, we will have plenty of milk for him to consume if I choose to stop breastfeeding at any point. Plus, it’s nice to have some stored up in case I get sick or travel (I will be away for 2 days in August and it’s nice that we have enough milk to feed him while I’m gone) or can’t feed him for whatever reason.

Other than that, I am still surprised at how “intuitive” it is to care for a baby. Neither Kyle nor myself had cared for an infant before Dean and I think that we’re both doing a pretty good job! He’s clean and fed and generally happy. I say that’s a success ;)

So there you have it, my 2-month update! Hopefully parenthood continues to go well for us. Although it’s not like we can back out now, LOL. We’ve been blessed with a “good” baby that doesn’t cry often (only when he’s overly tired or wants food NOW) and is easy to care for each day. And if y’all could remind me of this when he hits a difficult stage, that’d be great…

{Dairy-free} Easy Chocolate Pudding

For the love of chocolate…

Chocolate milk, that is!

Do you remember chocolate milk days in grade school? If I recall correctly, we could choose to have chocolate milk with our lunches on Fridays. The only issue was that it cost more than regular ol’ milk (which I STILL don’t understand the reasoning behind…) so either you had to bring a dime with you to supplement your milk punch card or you had to have a special milk card just for the chocolate variety.

Did I just age myself? Yeah… Now those little milk cartons are probably $5 each and y’all are laughing at my dime comment ;)

Anyways, I digress.

Ever since those days, I have always thought of chocolate milk as a treat. Any excuse for chocolate, #amiright?!

Apparently Kyle thinks so as well – Over the past year I’ve noticed him sneaking a bottle of Hershey’s syrup into our grocery cart every once in a while and then mixing it up with a big ol’ glass of milk.

His chocolate cocktail is probably not the worst thing in the world for him, but definitely not the best either. So when Almond Breeze reached out to see if I’d be interested in trying out their chocolate almond milk, I jumped at the chance!

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I put my chocolate milk connoisseur (that’d be Kyle) to work and after consuming his fair share, he gave it two thumbs up! Well, I suppose he didn’t say it in those exact words, but a few days after the chocolate almond milk hit our fridge the container was almost empty. And we all know that actions speak louder than words ;)

And with 45% of your daily calcium needs and only 120 calories per cup, what’s not to love?

Chocolate-y goodness. Calcium for your bones. And a “dessert” that is on the healthier side… or at least something that will hold your sweet tooth in check while you wait for dessert.

And, what’s better than an easy, CHOCOLATE recipe for your hot summer months?

Since we’re on the topic of grade school (Kind of? Stick with me here… Haha!), I thought I’d try a recipe that reminds of the days when my age was still in the single digits and life was easy. I put Almond Breeze Almondmilk to the test and came up with a delicious and “easy as breeze” chocolate pudding!

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{Dairy-free} Easy Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1.5 TBSP margarine (or butter if dairy is okay for you)

Directions:

Over medium heat, combine Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. You will want to stir this the entire time to avoid burning. Remove from heat and stir in margarine until melted. Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. Prior to serving, stir well and spoon into individual serving bowls. Enjoy!

This recipe would be perfect in cups o’ dirt… you know the kind with gummy worms and chocolate cookies? Yeah. Let’s have some summer fun and get back to those summer days that were easy as breeze.

This “Easy as Breeze” post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. For more “Easy As Breeze” recipes made with five ingredients or less, visit Almond Breeze on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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