Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Best of Amazon: January 2019

Back by popular demand, my favorite Amazon purchases for the months of December and January! It's sort of a hodge-podge this round, but they're all so good. If I had to choose a favorite, I choose the denim. $25 for a super flattering fit in a great wash.You can see me wearing these, and talking about most everything else, below, over on my Instagram account @laurablog1.

One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book: A great idea for the new year—a One Line A Day notebook to summarize your days, because as we all know, nothing seems to change day to day, but looking back, it’s all so different.

Ankle Boots: Anna and I got these from TJ Maxx, but I found them on Amazon at the same price! So comfortable and cute to throw on with jeans. 

Amazon Essentials Denim: These are the BEST jeans I own, and cost only $25. They fit perfectly and have just the right amount of stretch to flatter any body type. 

Educated: This is a life changing book that may just be my new favorite. I finished this in December and gave this as a Christmas gift so I could pass the story on. So powerful, so moving.

Plant Holder: I’m adding this little beauty to the corner of our entry way to add a little pop of greenery.

The Wild Robot: This one’s an exciting one—the first chapter book we’re reading with Oskar. The chapters are very short and sweet, 1-2 pages, max, with a cliffhanger of sorts to keep the reader engaged at the end of each one. 

Setting Powder and Brush: This stuff is AMAZING. The step in my morning routine didn’t know I was missing. I apply this setting powder under my eyes and in my t-zone which sets my make up perfectly. It also prevents my eye make up from creating those black circles under my eyes by end of day, so I still look awake, even when I’m not.

Pre K Workbook: Oskar is NOT a color-er or into arts in crafts whatsoever, but this workbook has totally captivated him. It’s the absolute best I’ve seen and the pages are exactly right for his skill level. We work on this daily and he calls it is paperwork. Available for all grades pre-school +. 

Makeup Eraser: Where has this been all my life? I don’t know what kind of witchery goes ito this cloth, but it instantly removes all makeup, including waterproof makeup, with a few swipes. You simply wet the cloth and wipe your face, and voila. It lasts up to 5 years and can be tossed in your normal laundry to keep it clean. It is truly magic.

Leather Earrings: I got these (x2) for both my SIL and sister’s Christmas present, and then ended up scooping up myself a few pairs as well. They’re SUPER light weight to wear and are neutral and versatile, so they pair nicely with just about everything.

Flip Top Storage Containers: New year, new organization. I finally tackled all of our art supplies via these flip top containers. We have a new media cabinet coming with shelving for storage, so these can now be stacked nicely in there for the boys to access when they’d like. The flip top is the key, here—no lost lids, and easy to open and close. I use this label maker to note the contents.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Healthy Toddler Snacks

First thing's first. Don’t be deceived by the title of today’s post. Rest assured, healthy eating (or eating at all, in the case of Oskar) is a major struggle in this house with two boys, ages 4, and 2, but I wanted to tell you what DOES work for us when it comes to some healthy options that both boys gobble right up. Of course, we’ve got cartons of Goldfish and fruit snacks in our pantry, but I try to first suggest one of the following.
1. Hippeas: we recently discovered these organic puffed chickpeas and LOVE them. We subscribe and save to these, the walnuts and cashews, and the cheese stars, below.

2. Walnuts and Cashews: We spend a small fortune on these at the rate we go through them, but both boys love both varieties.

3. Snap peas: This one is totally a luck of the draw. Oskar wont eat anything else green, but snap peas are a go. He likes the crunch of them and will ask for these pretty regularly. We started out with air fried snap peas, and finally moved on to the real thing.

4. Hard boiled eggs: These are a staple source of protein for Oskar who will very rarely eat meat. I boil 6 or so at a time and the boys have them for breakfast and lunch alike.

5. String cheese: We’ve got two super fans. This may be our most requested snack, and I’m fine with that.

6. Naked Green Machine juice: This one’s a recent discovery, and both boys gulped it right down after I re-named it “Hulk Juice”. I love that it contains fruits AND vegetables…sneaky mom.

7. Cherry tomatoes: Another random winner, which I think was prompted by us growing them together over the summer a few years ago . Oskar loves them most and has them for a side to his meal quite often.

8. Banana with Peanut Butter: this one’s super yummy and filling. We like to have this on Saturday mornings before heading out to the park, the zoo, etc. to keep them from complaining they’re hungry right away.

9. Imag!ne Cheese Stars: these are SO GOOD. They’re made with real cheese, have no artificial colors or flavors, and have 6 grams of protein per serving.

10. Hummus and pita: Another family favorite, which is also super easy to pack for school lunches.

Hopefully this gave you some ideas on what to incorporate into your rolodex of snack suggestions. I'd also love to hear what your favorite healthy options are! Comment below!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Christmas Recap and 2019 Resolutions

Hi friends! It’s been a while! I hope you all had the best holiday. A little recap of ours, and some of my 2019 resolutions, below!

Our week leading into vacation kicked off with the stomach flu. First August (Sunday), then me (Tuesday), then Oskar (Thursday), which almost made me glad to get it out of the way. It’s an inevitable plague every year, and I knew it was only time. Luckily, we got a very mild version this time around. Matt was the last man standing and somehow never got it at all. The real wrench in all of this was my sister, Anna, coming home to surprise the boys. We had grandiose plans to wrap her up and have them open the box at our house, but we kept her as far away from the stomach flu germs as we could and met at a neutral ground for their reunion. Oskar jumped right into her arms, but August, who is always super shy with people at first, looked straight down to the ground and didn’t know exactly what to do. He then pulled his pants down to his ankles and stood there. Matt says we all express joy in different ways…

The next day, all of us squeezed into one car to make the trip to Matt’s parents house, where the cousins (ages 2, 3, 4, 5) played the days away and exchanged some presents. We came home the evening before Christmas eve to get everything ready for the next day, which is when we celebrate. I think I was more excited than the boys.

 August got this fireman costume and truck that he loved.

Christmas Eve morning was slow and magical, with rice porridge, saunas for all, and fresh and clean and giddy little boys who couldn’t wait for Santa to come. We had bloody marys and appetizers, and before we knew it, heard a knock at the door. Santa came in with a few big bags of gifts, stomping through the house and Ho-Ho-Hoing . The boys sang to him and sat on his lap (again, Oskar more eagerly than August) and opened up their most wished for toys this year. Oskar got a Batbot, his dream come true, and August got a Transformer—both what they had written at the top of their lists to Santa that we mailed out at the beginning of December. 

The rest of the day was spent slowly opening gifts from mama, dada, and others, and playing with everything new and exciting they got. Matt and I made prime rib for dinner—our first time—and it turned out just right. Sigh of relief. Nobody starved. We all cuddled up on the couch with Irish coffees (or milks) and watched Home Alone before bed time, everybody laughing, but nobody more than Matt's dad. Gets him every single time.

Christmas morning brought some more little things in the boys’ stockings and then we headed to morning church, where August loudly declared “good job, Jesus!” after mass had ended.

The rest of the week, we had lazy, slow days at home, shopping some after Christmas sales, but mostly just doing nothing. The very best. We braved a winter light show one night with the million other people who also decided to do so, but it always ends up being worth it.

We rang in the New Year (note: at 7pm) with all of our parent friends and their littles, who all played and ran around in their pajamas. The adults drank wine and worked on a 1,000 piece puzzle because #weold. We had some fireworks in the backyard in the pouring down rain, and the bigger kids were so excited to help. 

Now that everything is over and behind us, I always find myself in such a funk this time of year, with an empty pit in my stomach. Anna flew home, the decorations are coming down, and we’re back to the school and work grind. Another year over. The days are still dark and cold. The boys keep asking when Anna will be back and when it will be Christmas again, and I feel the same way. Their elf on the shelf went back to the North Pole, too, and I miss the boys running down the stairs to find him, even at the crack of dawn. Our elf leaves a letter to the boys the night that he leaves saying that he kissed him on the nose while they were sleeping to say goodbye. Both boys are totally in awe of this, and always read his letter over and over again that is still taped up to our refrigerator. 

As far as the new year goes, I’m trying to look ahead and be positive, and part of that has been to work on resolutions that I really want to stick to. They look like this.

  •  Start yoga again. I used to go all the time, but after the boys were born (note: 2.5 years ago now), I never felt I had time to go again. Most classes are held during my work day or right at the boys bedtimes, but now I found a class that works really well with our schedules and immediately signed up.
  • Work on my core strength. Matt and I got really into a free app called Sworkit last year and we’re jumping back on board. After the boys are in bed, we turn on the TV and do a 15-30 minute core workout together on the living room floor.
  • Read the book Parenting with Love and Logic and hopefully apply those principles. Less yelling, less nagging, more consistency. That’s the goal.
  • Travel to a country I haven’t been to. Anna and I took a sister trip to Sweden last year that was so good for the soul, so I’m hoping we can make that happen again, this time to either the Netherlands or Ireland (which I've been to for work, but didn't have that much time to do all of the toursity things).
If I can cross those off the list in a year, I’ll be a happy gal. They’re very achievable, but will make a big impact in my little world, and that’s just what I’m going for.

Tell me friends, how was your holiday? What did you do to ring in the new year? I’d love to hear in the comments, below! Wishing you all the happiest, healthiest, 2019. And as always, thank you for reading along.
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