{Wine Wednesday} Thanksgiving pie wine pairings

WineWednesday

While I’m busy chopping and prepping items for tomorrow’s big Thanksgiving celebration (I’m making my turkey-shaped appetizer platters from 2013 AND 2014), I’ll leave you with this chart on Thanksgiving pie wine pairings from VinePair. (They’re the best!)

2015 thanksgiving-pie-wine-pairing-chart

VinePair also posted wine, beer and booze Thanksgiving pairings in 2014, which might come in handy for your celebrations!  

Photos of my spreads to come tomorrow! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving eve!

 

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Baby must haves from a first time mom

BabyMustHaves

Now that I’ve been a mom for two whole months, I’m full of advice and helpful tips. I’m also taking tips and advice, so don’t hold back!

We thought we were ready to be parents, but in reality, we didn’t know the half of it.

Prior to Michael joining the world, we spent a lot of time researching products, browsing reviews online, and discussing needs with friends. Then he joined us and we figured out what works and what doesn’t for our little man.

First and foremost, you need a camera! We use both a digital SLR and our phones and have thousands of photos of our sweet little man!

Phone apps.

MammaBaby. I’ve had some friends make fun of my obsessive tracking of dirty diapers, sleep, and nursing timing, but when you’re this tired — or at least I was — this app is your brain. Plus its so nice to wake up and look at the sleep timer without trying to do math!

Anything white noise. We downloaded a white noise app to an old phone and it really helps Michael sleep. In fact, I think it helps us sleep too, when he’s in our room.

Pandora. I don’t usually use Pandora, but I’ve found that Michael likes music and the Baby Mozart channel plays some really fun classical versions of rock songs. Have you heard of Rockababy? My favorite is the Michael Jackson favorites.

Facebook and Instagram. You’ll never be so caught up on everyone’s business as when you’re up every couple of hours scrolling through the updates.

Pinterest. You won’t have time or energy for the crafting and party planning that you once did, but someday you will (at least I hope) and I will have a lot of great ideas stockpiled and ready for that time!

 

Sleeping.

We love our Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play. We had a bassinet at the ready for Michael to use to sleep in and he hates it. We’ve tried putting him down in it three times all with negative results. The rock ‘n play keeps him him snug and slightly upright, so his breakfast/lunch/dinner stay down. While we have the vibrating option, we don’t turn it on very often. In fact, it seems to bother him more than anything else. All of the sleep training books we’ve ready have actually said that this is a good thing.

Sleep training books. Plural? Yeah, you read that right. Sleep deprivation is horrible thing and after one night of nursing for six hours and actually sleeping for two hours in an eight hour stretch, you’ll reach out to everyone you know with an infant and buy several recommended books from Amazon in the wee hours of the night. We’re reading On Becoming Baby Wise, 12 hours by 12 weeks, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and whatever else folks recommend!

We also learned that a “witching hour” is a real thing and our guy experiences one from 9 p.m. – midnight quite often. He just won’t go to sleep! We try to get him good naps throughout the day and put him down in the 7 p.m. hour. Hopefully he grows out of it sometime soon. I think staying awake with a baby who is nonstop fussy or asleep with his eyes open is more exhausting than waking up a couple of times at night! It was nice to know that we weren’t alone and that this stage too, will pass.

Swaddle Me Velcro swaddles. Michael has mixed feelings about swaddling, he really prefers his hands be out to flail about, but these Swaddle Me outfits came in handy in the first week or so that we swaddled. We also got this Halo outfit that we’ll be using once transition him to his crib. We’ll be using it more as a sleep sack though, so his hands will be out.

Nightlight light bulbs. Or a dim-able lamp works too. We swapped out the light bulbs on a few lamps in Michael’s room and in our room. The low lighting is needed as we rock him to sleep or check on him in the middle of the night.

 

Nursing.

Brest Friend. A nursing pillow was a must have for the first month and a half of Michael’s life. We tried both the Brest Friend and the Boppy pillow. While the Boppy is great for propping him up (mainly during our many photoshoots), I preferred the Brest Friend for nursing. Plus Brandon gets a kick out of saying “Brest Friend.”

Pumping bra. You can cut slits in a sports bra (thanks, Pinterest!), but I really enjoy my Simple Wishes pumping bra. It allows you to go hands free while pumping, so you can multi-task and do things like chop veggies, or blog or something at the same time!

Steam sterilizer. I used the microwavable bags for awhile and then I bought this Munchkin microwavable steam sterilizer for bottles and pumping supplies. I love it! It’s also important to have a drying rack for your bottles. We have this one, since we use Dr. Brown bottles, but I think they’re all created equal and any one will do!

Premie bottle nipples. In the early days, Mr. M would guzzle from his bottle too agressively and would choke a bit. We switched out the nipples that came with the bottles with the premie-sized version. He’s back to the normal size ones now, but these were great for slowing him down a bit.

 

Diapering.

Diaper Genie. Whoever invented this thing is a genius! Dirty diapers go in and an easy to handle baggie comes out! It resembles a weapon of some sort, but we haven’t battled with it yet.

Vaseline. We put a bit of Vaseline on M’s “bathing suit area” after diaper changes and it keeps things fresh! Beyond the $1 difference between the two tubs in the baby section at Target, the “baby” version has a pink label and has a baby powder scent.

Shout! This is a must for babies. When the occasional blowout happens (often), a few squirts of Shout! takes the stain right out. We keep a bottle by M’s laundry hamper and will until he’s mobile.

Two changing pad covers. Sometimes little boys pee on you when you’re changing them. Sometimes they pee on their changing pad cover. For this very reason you need two covers. At least.

 

Other stuff.

Boba wrap. This thing. We were pretty intimidated by it: 18 feet of elastic fabric that you’re to wrap your baby in for hands-free wearing? Without him falling out!? Yeah, right. We watched several YouTube videos and finally got the hang of it, and Michael loves it. We put him in it, walk around, and he usually calms down and more often than not, falls asleep! The latest trick that helps combat that witching hour: wrap and strap up the kid and vacuum! Who would’ve thought?! He loves it and it knocks him right out!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Beco Gemini carrier. This carrier is great. It requires no “infant insert” like the Ergo carriers and allows the kid to face in or out and ride on my front, back or side. It turns out we were using it wrong initially (thanks, Megan!) and it’s great for walks inside or outside of the house. It’s still a little tricky to unlatch when you’re solo, but I’m getting the hang of it. It also is very comfortable for Brandon to wear.

Michael's Beco carrier

Michael’s Beco carrier

Blankets. We love, love, love the four-pack of Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle Blankets my good friend Traci gifted us. We use them as blankets, as a car seat cover, nursing cover, as a burp cloth, the list goes on. They’re really great and versatile.

Baby monitor. We opted for this model from Infant Optics and we really like it! We like that it’s a closed system and the imaging on the screen is very clear. However, when it’s on and near our computers, our wifi gets spotty. It also randomly loses signal and makes a loud beep, which of course could wake the baby you’re spying on. So that’s annoying. But overall, we’re fans!

Pacifier. This thing is a plug for our occasionally crying son. We have four and have them everywhere. He’s also recently discovered his thumb, which is great for self-soothing.

Diaper bag. You need one if you want to go anywhere! The Skip Hop bags are great. Lots of pockets and reasonably priced.

Car seat. Obviously, it’s a must. (At least if you want to leave the hospital!) We opted for the Maxi Cosi based on friends’ recommendations. We’ve been very pleased with it.

Stroller. I love our stroller for “momming it up.” We have the City GT Mini and I love it. It has a narrow profile, so I can visit most stores freely (Fireworks: widen those aisles and I’ll go crazy inside! Until then, I can only window shop!) and is lightweight and very easy to handle by myself. We have the attachment to place the car seat in the stroller, but the one downside is that you can’t use the stroller’s rain canopy and the car seat at the same time, a bummer for moms on maternity leave during the rainy season in Seattle. Make sure you get the “GT” and not just the City Mini, for the all-terrain tires! We also have the parent console (a must!) and hooks, which are great for shopping or holding his diaper bag.

"Momming it up" in the University Village with most of the gear I've listed here!

“Momming it up” in the University Village with most of the gear I’ve listed here!

Exercise ball. You know that ball you use to do crunches on? It’s also great for bouncing your screaming child to sleep! Have one of these on-hand, especially for the early days. And then when you’re abs re-emerge, you can resume crunches! Or not.

We have so many other items that we have yet to try out– I’ll try and keep this list updated as I find more items that are new baby “must have’s”!

For now, here is Michael at his one-month photo shoot:

2015-10-15-Month-1

And his two-month:

2015-11-15-Month-2

Fall 2015 TV viewing update

As some of my shows wrap up for their holiday hiatus, I thought I would give you an update as to what made the cut for my 2015 TV viewing pleasure. Here is my post on the new 2015 season.

2015-9 TV Line Premiere

The usuals:

  • Castle. Can’t Beckett and Castle just be happy together already!?
  • The Goldbergs. Love this show (especially Beverly!!) but what happened to Adam’s voice?! The actor is 16 years old in real life, so is his voice an act? I hate it.
  • Modern Family. Love the show but one thing still weighs on me: why didn’t they do a Halloween episode?! It’s Claire’s favorite holiday!
  • Nashville. Love this show!
  • Scandal. Slightly over-dramatic this season, but I’m still enjoying it!
  • How to Get Away With Murder. Interesting story line this season, but really? These poor law students. They get into so much trouble!
  • Sleepy Hollow. Love this show!
  • Jane the Virgin. Over the top, but great. And I totally identify with Jane as a new mom. (Literally all of the baby references are true and things that I have recently experienced. Except for the baby blinking thing. I didn’t realize that was a big milestone. Oops.)
  • Grimm. Love this show too, but I wish Juliette wasn’t “killed off” last season. (I know she’s still filming since I follow her on Instagram, so hopefully it’s a fake out.)

And the newbies:

  • Blindspot. This show intrigues me. We’re a couple of episodes behind, but I like it. I think there is potential here.
  • Grinder. I love Rob Lowe and this show is a lot of fun. I’d recommend it and will keep watching!
  • Quantico. I wasn’t going to tune in to this show but a friend told me that she was going to watch, so I did too. Boy am I glad! Both Brandon and I love this show and look forward to watching it each week!
  • Wicked City. I love Chuck from Gossip Girl and this new show is eerie. It’s all sorts of effed up and I kind of love it. Plus now I have Phantom of the Opera tunes floating through my head.

And those not worthy:

  • Bastard Executioner. Not even Vampire Bill (from True Blood) could make this series worth watching. I couldn’t – and didn’t – make it through the first 30 minutes of the pilot!
  • Z Nation. We finally pulled the plug on this show. It got too weird.
  • Gotham. I still record this show, but it’s usually the show I put on to doze to. Sorry, Gotham. You’re too weird too.
  • Scream Queens. This looked funny and campy, but it’s just annoying and stupid. I can’t keep the characters or the storyline straight.
  • The Player. Thought I’d like this show, but didn’t realize what it was truly about. I watched the trailer and just deleted the subsequent eight episodes saved on my DVR. Thanks but no thanks.
  • The Blacklist. This show also got weird. I’m torn on whether or not to keep watching.

What do you think about the new shows this season? Any shows you’d recommend? Do you agree with my commentary? Happy watching!

{Halloween 2015} BOOze bags and ghost onesies

Last year I wrote about BOOzing people. It was a great idea that I promptly forgot following the drafting of that blog post. Whoops.

However, I re-discovered the idea as I was perusing Pinterest recently. (Thanks, middle-of-the-night feeding for Baby M!) BOOze bags would be the perfect treat for the University of Washington tailgate that we hosted with our friends Parker and Stephanie on Halloween: booze as they walk to the game and snacks for the route or inside the stadium.

I also pinned this pin and thought nothing of it (I pin a lot of images!) until Stephanie asked if I was planning on making a costume for my little guy. With that comment, an idea blossomed!

My onesie inspiration

My onesie inspiration

I decided that I would use the above image as a guide to make some super cute ghost onesies for our little guys. (Stephanie and Parker’s son was born in June and while they’re not friends yet, he and Michael will be BFFs before too long!)

I had the onesies on-hand and spent a whopping $2 on fabric puff paint. Using the above images, I freehand outlined the ghost faces with an ultra-thin point Sharpie and filled it in with high-gloss puff paint. I pre-washed the onesies, but have not (and may not) wash them again, as I’m not sure how the puff paint will launder. I’m sure there is some guidance somewhere on the internet!

Ghost onesies for the boys

Ghost onesies for the boys

Since we were co-hosting the Halloween tailgate, ghost onesies would be perfect for an appearance at the tailgate and some of our own “BOOze bags.” (Unfortunately with an 8 p.m. kickoff — 8 P.M.!!!! — the boys were not able to show up in their costumes.) However, they still wore their new onesies and we still made the BOOze bags!

BFFs in their spooky outfits

BFFs in their spooky outfits

I found mini bottles of Jim Bean “Ghost” Whiskey (on sale!) and Fireball (also on sale!) and put them in cellophane bags with orange Kit Kats (my favorites!), fun size Snickers, mini Reese’s cups, Starbursts, and suckers!

Voila!

The finished product: BOOze bags!

The finished product: BOOze bags!

Pin this for next Halloween and don’t forget about BOOze bags like I did!

 

 

Michael’s 1st Halloween {2015}

Baby Michael was born just in time to celebrate his first Halloween in style!

I originally wanted him to be a Cookie Monster, but there weren’t costumes in the itty bitty size that I needed. (We did end up receiving a toddler-sized one as a gift, so be on the look out for our Cookie Monster next year!)

Late night breastfeeding is conducive to lots of Pinterest browsing and I found this adorable glow-in-the-dark skeleton outfit on sale. $8 for a costume? Done.

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

Skeleton baby & skeleton head wine!

I also made this ghost onesie for Michael. (More on that in a future post; hopefully this week)

BOO! It's Michael!

BOO! It’s Michael!

You’ve also already seen Michael’s pumpkin bib. It was a gift and was perfect for Halloween and his six-week Facebook photos.

Michael's 6-week photo shoot

Michael’s six-week photo shoot

Finally, his Waldo outfit came together by happenstance. I was going through Michael’s outfits, saw the red and white striped onesie and his blue pants and voila! I added a red electrical tape stripe to his hat from the hospital, along with a yarn puff. The only item I needed to purchase were pipe cleaners for his glasses. $1 total. Cheapest– and cutest– costume yet!

Where's Waldo... er... Michael!? I found him!

Where’s Waldo… er… Michael!? I found him!

Look at those specs!

Look at those specs!

Which costume is your favorite? I like them all!

We tried putting Michael in an actual pumpkin too, something I’ve always wanted to do with a baby, and it was an extreme failure. We were all laughing as much as my sister was. Everyone except Michael. Maybe next year?

This looks so easy on Pinterest...

This looks so easy on Pinterest…