Top 5 annoying things about having kids.

1. There are always dishes in the sink. Like the second I’m done doing dishes, I blink and there are more dishes. It’s crazy. As soon as Ava’s old enough, this is the first chore I’m teaching her.

2. Coming up with and cooking meals that your toddler will actually eat. Number one, ugh, I hate having to cook all the time. I used to enjoy cooking and baking, but now it just means more dishes. I’m sitting here writing this post procrastinating on making dinner. And making something your kid actually wants to eat? It’s a crapshoot.

3. Dora the Explorer (or any of her counterparts). I don’t really need to elaborate here, but yah, we have every episode on DVR because I can’t even stand watching the same episode over and over again. Mainly, I miss watching the news and reality TV.

4. Folding tiny human clothing. Nothing is more tedious than folding miniature versions of your own clothes. Okay, I lied, folding infant clothing is probably worse. But again, it still feels endless.

5. You’re picking up this 28474882 times a day.


She’s getting better with cleaning up when I ask, but as soon as one thing is picked up, she’s dumping more stuff on the ground. I wish I could just let it go and not be the pick up police because I know it’s not going to stay clear for more than 2 minutes anyway, but I can’t. Just looking at this picture kicks in my anxiety.

Okay, enough mom complaining. But, she’s lucky she’s cute.

Toddler Travel Tips

I wanted to share some of the toddler travel tips I gathered during our first family vacation, other than the usual ‘bring lots of snacks and toys’. If you’re planning to travel soon with your little one, I hope you find this helpful!

1. Don’t wait til the last minute to do ANYTHING.

Our fall back for the plane ride if Ava was getting grumps was to put a Dora the Explorer video on the iPad. M’s job was to download it. I reminded him again the night before we left. He said he’d do it at the airport while we were waiting and I said, “Okaaaaay.”

Guess what. Getting into the airport WiFi is a PIA compared to the last time I flew and we were Dora-less. We had a connection in North Carolina, the first half of the flight was fine because she slept through most of it, the second could have been a lot easier if we had the videos ready. Towards the end she was getting super-antsy and she let us (all of us) know about it. But, we managed to keep her busy with her toys, books, and other random stuff from my purse when her own stuff got too boring. She really wasn’t that bad overall, but M definitely got the death stare when I found out we couldn’t download Dora.

2. Consider meal times in your flight schedule.

We had plenty of snacks, but I made sure to buy a sandwich before our first flight for Ava’s lunch because we had a short lay over and I knew we wouldn’t have time to grab her something in North Carolina.

3. Try to get a room with a separate living space from the bedroom. A kitchen is a bonus.

M’s boss offered us his timeshare during the stay, which had a separate bedroom and a small kitchenette. So when Ava took a nap or went down for sleep at night, we didn’t have to worry about tip-toeing around or sitting quietly in a dark room. We could watch TV and hang out with no worries of waking her.

The kitchen was nice because we ended up buying milk, fruit, and other essentials just in case Ava was hungry and we didn’t feel like going out for a meal and since we were in a timeshare there was no room service. We asked our cab driver to stop by the supermarket before bringing us to the hotel because just buying an apple at the Starbucks on the resort was $3.50! Luckily, we bought a whole bag of apples at the grocery store so we didn’t need to buy any.

4. Bring clothing that you can layer.

The weather was all over the place the first two days while we were there, it could be pouring rain, then bright and sunny within get a matter of minutes. I had one light sweater for her and I wish I’d brought more. I assumed it would be sunny the whole time because on our previous Caribbean vacations it’s always been that way. Luckily, we had plenty of sunshine for the remaining days.

5. Do some tests runs in your travel crib.

Ava won’t sleep just anywhere and when my friend texted me a picture of a hotel crib, I knew she would have a hard time with it. Another friend told me they usually just co-sleep on vacation, but Ava hasn’t slept with us since she was 2 or 3 months old and I don’t imagine it working out now. We decided to get the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib to be on the safe side and not have to deal with Ava hating whatever the timeshare might provide. I’m glad we did because during the test runs with the Lotus, it took her a few days to adjust to it.  Having her adjust to a new crib and new place would have been that much harder. I had her nap and night sleep in it for a few days every week for a month before vacation so by the time we went, it wasn’t a problem. I plan to review the Lotus, and the travel stroller we used at some point in the next few weeks.

6. Pack two sets of extra clothes in the diaper bag.

When we arrived at the airport to head home, the second I put Ava in the stroller she threw up. This happens sometimes if she eats and then goes for a car ride soon after. Unfortunately, this was one of those times. I’m glad I didn’t need to use the back-up outfit after using the first set, but you never know and I’m glad I had it in the case she had another vomiting episode or other miscellaneous spilling issue. Also, if your kid has a lovey, bring the back-up. Bella did not escape the barf and I was thankful we had number 2 ready and waiting.

7. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Our travels to the Bahamas went quite smoothly. Ava did have a couple of moments on the connecting flight there, but overall she was a star. The return trip was a nightmare, but honestly I couldn’t really blame her (American Airlines/U.S. Airways, I’m looking at you). We missed our connecting flight because our first one out of the Bahamas was delayed. Annoyingly, I feel like we should have been able to get on that flight because as I got to the gate with Ava after booking it off the first, it had departed 3 minutes early. So we ended up with a 3 hour layover. Ava couldn’t wind down for a nap and basically wanted to run around the airport the whole time. Sigh. When we finally boarded, I noticed it was blazing hot in the airplane. They announce that a valve is being repaired so that the air conditioning will work. Okay, fine. Almost 45 minutes later they announce we all need to get off the plane because they are still trying to fix it and if they can’t we may need to board another plane. REALLY?! An hour later, they have it fixed and we head home, but we finally land at 10 PM, 5 hours later than we should have. All of this is bad enough without a toddler, with one it’s just unbearable. M asked me multiple times if I was okay because I’m sure the look on my face could have melted stone. I get that AA & U.S. Airways merged and must be working out some kinks, but I already told M we will never fly with them again. Okay, end rant.

Other than that, we had a wonderful vacation! We all had a great time, especially Ava. I’ll share more on that soon, my sister is getting all the pictures off her camera for me (we borrowed hers) and as soon as I get them I’ll get a post up.

6 Tips to Encourage Healthy Habits in Kids with the #ChobaniKids Project!


I was inspired by Chobani and their #ChobaniKids project to share my tips for encouraging healthy habits in children. Ava is now coming up on 17 months, but I don’t think it’s ever too early to start showing your kids what it means to live a healthy lifestyle and to make good food choices. I really want to build a strong foundation for Ava’s healthy habits now so that it’s not a struggle for her later. I remember when we first moved stateside, my uncle brought us out to lunch. He asked if we wanted salad with our meals and my brother and I looked at each other like, “What’s that?” My uncle couldn’t believe we’d never eaten salads before! I only started eating whole grains when my college friend educated me about their benefits, I pretty much grew up on white bread, rice, everything. It’s not that my parents gave us junk all the time, it’s just not something they were used to or even really knew about either. I remember telling my mom once that I started eating brown rice and she said, “Really? Is it good?” We’re Filipino, we ate white rice with almost every meal growing up (even breakfast). Ironically now, I enjoy eating healthy. I want Ava to enjoy it, too. Heart disease and diabetes both run in my family, so it makes it even more important to me that she takes good care of herself and her health.

Here are my tips for encouraging healthy habits in kids:


1. Make fresh fruits and veggies the main event. 

Whenever I’m putting together a meal for Ava, I use the larger section of her plate to serve the fruits and veggies and the smaller section for meat or grains. I got these plates at our local dollar store. They’re plastic so I’m not worried about her tipping them off her tray table and I’m hoping that by showing her what her plate should look like, she’ll carry it on into the future and fill her own plate the same way. Sometimes I cut her toast into different shapes to make it more fun too! I also introduced her to wheat bread first, I actually didn’t start even eating it myself until I was in my 20’s because my parents never bought it. Whole grains are definitely a healthier option.


2. Make physical activity part of your daily routine.

The weather is getting brighter and sunnier these days so it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and get moving! On nice days, we like to go to the park, walk around the neighborhood, or even just hang in our backyard. Ava is obsessed with walking on the grass, so much so that she cries when I bring her inside! Don’t let those not-so-nice days deter you either. There are plenty of activities you can do indoors to get that physical activity  in! I got this play tunnel from Ikea a couple of weeks ago and although she was hesistant at first, Ava now loves crawling through it! She’ll just go back and forth for awhile non-stop. You can also take all your couch cushions and pillows and put them on the ground to make a fun obstacle course to jump, climb over, and walk through (with parental supervision, of course). It’s a great way to build strength and balance and it won’t cost you a thing. Or just turn on some music and have a dance party! The options are endless. It’s funny that as parents we obsess of our kids eating and sleep habits, making sure they get their meals on time and get in those naps and full night’s sleep, but we don’t always think about exercise. Luckily, kids are pretty active on their own without our encouragement, but again if you make it part of the routine then they’ll be more likely to look for it to be part of their day.

3. Offer healthy choices early on. And let them choose!

When Ava was first starting table foods, I  offered her a variety of fruits and vegetables in hopes that she would take a liking to them. It worked. Whenever there’s a choice of snacks, she always chooses the fruit first. During meals, she always goes for the veggies first or second (sometimes the chicken wins out!). Also, I like to offer two healthy snacks and let her choose when I can. Toddlers are all about showing their independence so if you make it their choice they’ll be more likely to eat it. Sometimes people are surprised when they see Ava eating a bowl of strawberries, or when I tell them spinach is her favorite veggie. Also, don’t be afraid to have them try something just because you think they won’t like it. I never thought to give Ava raw tomatoes, but one day they were on my salad at a restaurant and she gobbled them up!



4. Bring easy, healthy snacks when you’re on-the-go.

I always have the standard Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies or Cheerios in our diaper bag, but I also try to bring other healthy options. Bananas are great because they come wrapped and don’t require utensils. The Chobani Kids Greek Yogurt Tubes are perfect because you can actually freeze them! I just throw a couple in the freezer then I can put them in our bag before we go. The stay cold and can slowly defrost until she’s ready to eat them. The Chobani Kids Greek Yogurt is a great source of protein and are made with all natural ingredients, no articificial flavors or preservatives! I like that they’re made with 2% milk fat, the Greek yogurt Ava had been eating previously was non-fat. Adequate dietary fat intake before the age of two is important for brain development and growth (Source). All around, they’re a convenient, healthy snack that Ava enjoys.


5. Make a healthy frozen treat that kids can feed themselves!

Now that it’s getting warmer (and Ava is teething like crazy), it’s nice to make her a cool treat that’s fun because she can feed it to herself. Although I encourage healthy eating a majority of the time, I do let Ava have ‘the good stuff’ occasionally. Amazingly, this kid does not like ice cream. She’s actually not big into sweets at all. She does enjoy frozen yogurt bites though! They’re super easy to make and it’s nice to have her be able to eat it without my help since her spoon skills have not been perfected yet. Ava is all about exploring her food, and when I want her to try something new, it’s best to let her take control of the feeding. Any time I’ve tried to feed her something new myself, it usually ends badly. Since these are bite-sized and she can easily finger feed them to herself, she was able to examine them thoroughly before trying them. Once she had a couple she was all over them! Keep reading below to see how I made these.

6. Lead by example.

Have family dinner as much as possible. Model the behaviors you’d expect from your kids. Eat healthy because your kids will want to eat healthy (and hopefully because you enjoy it, too). Ava wants to try all the foods we’re eating, whether it’s chips or an apple. And Ava is obsessed with eating apples. The minute she sees one her face lights up and she makes this happy grunting noise (it’s pretty cute). I love eating apples and she sees me eating one almost daily. I think leading by example is the easiest ‘teachable moment’ you can have with your kids because it takes no real effort. You’re hungry, have a healthy snack. Kid sees you having healthy snack and wants some too. Done.

Easy Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites:

I used the Chobani Greek Yogurt Tubes which made this even more easy, but you can put the yogurt from a cup into a sandwich bag for the same effect.

1. Squeeze tube a few times to mix the yogurt for a smooth consistency. Cut off a corner of the tube to create a small opening.

2. Line a cookie sheet with foil (or wax paper). Squeeze yogurt into bite-sized dollops onto the foil.

3. Pop them into the freezer for about an hour.

4. Once frozen they should look something like this.

5. They should easily pop off the foil.

6. Store in a sandwich bag in the freezer for a quick, cool snack!

I hope you all enjoyed my tips for promoting good health in kids! Please feel free to share your tips and don’t forget to #ChobaniKids project!

*This is not a sponsored post, as always, all thoughts and opinions shared here are my own.

#mommyproblems: My breastfed baby is refusing the bottle!

There are a lot of times I wish I had started this blog when Ava was much younger because experiences like these would have been fresh in my mind and writing about it would actually have been a great way to decompress from all the stress it caused me. I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed Ava, my goal was to do it for six months. As a new mom, I think I was so anxious about her nursing that I wanted to do everything right, we had some latch issues early on that were resolved by a lactation consultant (they even make house calls if necessary, just FYI). After my supply came in, Ava and I got into a good groove with nursing and I didn’t want to mess that up. I had read that you shouldn’t introduce a pacifier or a bottle before 4-6 weeks to prevent nipple confusion. I did pump a few times early on so that my mom could feed Ava when I had to leave the house, but she probably only had two bottles in her first six weeks of life and she didn’t seem to have a problem going back and forth. So, I carried on nursing her and didn’t bother with anymore bottles, just to be on the safe side. By six weeks, I figured I should maybe start having her take a bottle a day in preparation for my return to work (or so I thought). I had been pumping from about 3-4 weeks post-partum to build up a freezer supply. And guess what. She would not take a bottle. I kept trying and she wasn’t having it. The minute I put the bottle nipple in her mouth she wouldn’t even try to feed from it. I didn’t understand, she had done it twice before!

So our journey to getting Ava to take a bottle began. I think we bought every single bottle available on the market (yes, those are all the bottles we tried in the picture above). Including a bottle called the Mimijumi, which is legit shaped like a breast (as you can see, I’m not joking). I tried warming the milk, giving her freshly pumped milk, putting a little breastmilk on the nipple, latex nipples, silicone nipples, having M/my mom/his mom/etc. try to feed her. I started to get some anxiety because at the time I was expected to be going back to work in almost a month’s time, but how could I leave her if she wasn’t going to eat? I actually ended up extending my maternity leave by another month because I realized that this issue was not going to be resolved easily. I spent countless hours on the internet looking for answers. This is part of the reason I’m writing this post (at 3:43 AM, another night of insomnia), it wasn’t easy finding answers beyond the norm.

I’d finally stumbled upon a post on IBBM, or Intermittent Bottle By Mom. What you do is start off by nursing with a bottle ready at hand, then intermittently pausing the breastfeeding to offer the bottle. If the baby refuses, no biggie, if baby takes it then, awesome! I would do this a few times during each feeding, switching back and forth between breast and bottle until eventually she would actually suck on the bottle nipple. I did this with Ava for about a week, I think it kind of ‘tricked’ her into accepting the bottle because she was already into the ‘nursing rhythm’ so it was a smoother transition because she was already into the feeding. After a doing that daily for a week, I began offering her the bottle right away while she was still in the nursing position and she started to just feed. I was so thankful! It took a few more weeks before she was on the bottle full-time. For awhile I still had to feed her in the nursing/sidelying position because she would freak out if I tried to cradle her and feed her! But, eventually she came around to that too.

I always wonder if we had tried IBBM from the get-go if we would have saved ourselves all the money we wasted on trying every bottle on the market. We ended up using the Avent Classic bottles and they aren’t anything super fancy. It was definitely a journey with Ava through all her feeding issues (she also ended up having silent reflux which I talk about here), but we got through it. And now we have a super independent toddler who resists me feeding her every chance she gets. I should have known how headstrong Ava would be after seeing how resistant she was to the bottle!

I hope this post helps another stressed-out mom out there struggling to get her baby to accept the bottle. If you’re reading, I’ve been there and I promise, you’ll get through it. Even if this exact method isn’t the answer, in hindsight this debacle wasn’t as bad as it was in the moment and you will look back and laugh, especially when you start rooting through your cabinets looking for that baby bottle that’s shaped like a boob. I showed M and we laughed together about all the craziness of that time. I can’t believe I actually tried to feed Ava using that bottle! When you’re a desperate, sleep deprived mom, you’ll try anything. But before you go back to Babies R Us to look for the next bottle to test, try out the IBBM method first and see if you can save that cash for diapers.

Anatomy of a Mom Outfit

Sometimes I snap a picture of what I’m wearing on the typical days when it’s just me and Ava doing our thing, meaning either running errands, going to story time, play dates, whatever. My intention is usually to post a quick OOTD in the afternoon, just in case I have time for an added extra to my usual morning post. Lately, I haven’t had time for that, especially since Ava is only doing one nap for the past few weeks. I started to stockpile a few of these photos and realized, there’s a formula here. All different items, but functionally similar. I do make an effort to get dressed daily and fight the urge to either stay in my pajamas if we’re not going anywhere or to wear yoga pants and be done. Yes, it’s comfortable and sure, nobody is going to see me(except maybe the UPS guy), but honestly, I always feel a whole lot better when I’ve gotten ready for the day. What I wear is actually pretty comfortable too, it’s never anything constricting or fussy, because with a kid that just doesn’t work. Here are my ‘mom outfit’ essentials:

Cozy sweater. It’s still chilly where I live so this may not apply well depending on where you live. But a cozy, loose-fitting sweater is always my ‘go-to’ top. It hides the effects of that weekend chocolate binge and the post-baby muffin top. If you hadn’t heard, your hips and your feet can become permanently wider after pregnancy. I still have some jeans that fit like they used to in the leg, but the hips will probably never be the same. The brown sweater on the right is actually a maternity sweater that I still like to wear and probably would have bought if it was just a ‘regular’ sweater. Wearing something cozy is also a small comfort when your kid is drawing stares because you won’t let her pull all the canned goods off the grocery shelves.

Stretchy jeans. You’re guaranteed to be chasing your kid down as soon as they start walking and you don’t want anything restricting you from getting to her before she shoves dirt in her mouth/pulls out your makeup drawer/dumps all her Cheerios on the ground.

Flat shoes. See above. I wore my Jeffrey Campbell Hanger booties once and realized it was not worth the hassle of trying to traipse up and down the stairs from the garage to the first floor with Ava, the baby bag, and shopping bags in heels. Rookie mom mistakes.

Minimal accessories. Always studs so you don’t risk having your earlobes ripped out because your kid cannot resist your sparkly, dangling chandelier earrings. I usually don’t wear any other necklace that would draw Ava’s attention, luckily the silver double-chain wasn’t fancy enough to interest her. But beware, necklaces definitely pose a choking risk. For you.

What are your ‘mom outfit’ essentials?

Easter Basket Ideas

Easter is right around the corner, and per usual, I’m last minute with getting together Ava’s Easter basket. I was actually really excited to do this because last year she was only 4 months old and it didn’t occur to me to make one for her and I was pretty much still a sleep-deprived, stressed out, crazy person. But this year I wanted to make her one regardless of the fact that she’ll have no idea what’s going on. I had the best memories of Easter egg hunting when I was a kid and I want Ava to have the exact same experiences. I also threw together a couple of baskets for her two besties (boys, of course). Everything I got came from my favorite place. Target. 🙂

I found these cute felt baskets with bunny masks that the kids can actually remove and wear! The basket is a good size too, she could actually carry it around without it being too bulky. I filled each basket with some ‘grass’, the fancy stuff. When I was a kid it was just green cellophane strips, now its paper with pretty designs all cut up.

For fillers, I just went with the standard chocolate bunny (guess who’ll be eating that), some Peeps, a little plush chick, and a board book. The book actually came from the dollar section of the store. I filled some plastic eggs with Sixlets, Cadbury Mini Eggs (I’m obsessed with these), Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, and mini-sized candy bars. Pinterest gave me the idea about Cheddar Bunnies because let’s face it, the kids probably aren’t going to be eating all this chocolate. I was going to do stickers as another alternative, but couldn’t find any that weren’t ‘Hello Kitty’ in the dollar bins.

Then I wrapped each basket in cellophane and tied a ribbon at the top. Voila! Easter baskets complete. 🙂

P.S. I swear I’m not going to eat all this candy. I’m going to give it all to my little sister to distribute to her college friends back at the dorm. Okay, I’m going to have at least a Cadbury mini egg or ten. I did give up chocolate for Lent after all!

We also got her pictures done with the Easter Bunny at the mall this week.

Ava was a champ! She did great with Santa during Christmas, but I wasn’t sure how she’d react to a giant rabbit with glasses holding her. She loved him, of course, and surprised M and I by not wailing. She barely lets humans she knows hold her so this was a pleasant surprise.

Happy Friday! Are you ready for Easter?

The dreaded 2-1 is actually not that dreadful.

Ava just hit 15 months and I’ve seen the 2-1 creeping up on us for the past few weeks, meaning she was showing signs of transitioning from two naps to just one nap a day. Ironically just days after posting my ‘day in the life’, we started this new routine. I’ve loosened up a bit in being such a stickler to Ava’s nap schedule in comparison to the early months when I was a slave to it. Like if an event was happening during naptime, we weren’t going. Ava was not a great sleeper and we did do sleep training with her, so I was not willing to mess with what we worked so hard to achieve once she was on a great schedule, sleeping through the night, and taking naps for longer than 40 minutes. But, I was so attached to the two nap thing that I wasn’t letting it go without a fight. Or so I thought.

Some of the signs that your baby may be ready for a nap transition are:

  • Refusing a nap
  • Early morning wakings
  • Having more night wakings
  • Bedtime is getting later

Source

With Ava, the main thing going on was that her bedtime was getting later and later and squeezing in that second nap was getting more difficult. She typically woke from her second nap between 1-1:30 and I’d be putting her down for a second at 4:45-5 most days. Then I’d wake her after an hour to preserve bedtime at 9 and she’d be PO’d. She was also starting to fuss a little more after being put down or would just roll around in her crib for almost half an hour before falling asleep. But she would always fall asleep (she only skipped a nap once for a birthday party) so I figured, well, I’m just going to wait until she actually doesn’t fall asleep to make the switch.

Then at the beginning of last week, it was her usual first naptime at 11:30 (she’s typically up around 8 AM) and Ava was still amped. She usually grabs her bunny and crawls into my lap, my signal that she’s getting tired and is ready to sleep. Instead she was running around, waving her toys back and forth, all smiles. It just seemed wrong to put her down when she wasn’t even showing signs of fatigue. Then I had a phone call and by the time that was over it was noon so I figured I might as well give her lunch. She ate and wasn’t falling asleep in the highchair. I  ended up putting her in the crib at 1:00 for her nap and she slept for 2.5 hours. We did the same the next day and the next, she would always sleep for 2-2.5 hours and that was that. There was no big drama or back and forth between 2 naps and 1 nap, we just made the switch and it was done. And she wasn’t grumpy at all. Her bedtime has still stayed the same at 9 PM, but that’s what she’s been cueing me as the time she’s tired so I’m just going with it. I thought it would move earlier, but I’m okay with 9 as long as she still wakes between 7-8ish. I think I was expecting the worst, but honestly it was actually the easiest transition of all.

I will say that I’m still in mourning over losing the extra nap. That was my morning get ready for the day time that I could do at my own pace. Now I have to get up early to get ready if we’re going anywhere and I do it at lightning speed. I preferred having our outings in the afternoon as I’m just not a morning person anymore, but now I just find it the better option rather than waiting until the late afternoon to run errands. But I will say it’s nice not having to rush home to squeeze in the morning nap after a playdate (most of Ava’s friends have already made the transition) and I’ve noticed that most toddler activities tend to fall during or too close to her morning naptime. Now I can start bringing her to the things we couldn’t get to because of her nap schedule.

So moms, if you’ve been worrying about the process, don’t. It really might not be as bad as you think, other than losing out on a extra bit of ‘mommy time’.

What’s in my baby bag & review of the Babymel ‘Amanda’ Diaper Bag.

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Instead of the traditional ‘what’s in my bag’ type tag, I thought I’d share what’s in my baby bag and do a quick review of the Babymel ‘Amanda’ Diaper Bag. I love seeing what other moms pull out of their baby bags, especially all the snacks their kids are loving. This is actually our second baby bag, the first was a Skip Hop bag that I registered for online. It looked nice and roomy, like it would fit everything we’d need. Little did I know, it was actually meant to be a double stroller bag and it was huge. It didn’t bother me much in the beginning, especially when I started having to tote along ready to feed formula, but as she started having fewer bottles and just didn’t need as much ‘stuff’ in general, I started shopping around for something new. I wanted something black and overall pretty simple. My husband has to hold this too, so I wasn’t going for anything ‘too girly’ (his words, not mine). I thought about getting ‘designer’ one, but let’s be real, I’m not carrying this forever and I’d rather spend that kind of money on a bag I’m going to enjoy for a long time. I found the Babymel ‘Amanda’ at Nordstrom online, it looked like the perfect size to hold everything we need.

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The front of the bag has two pockets in the front, one of them holds ‘my stuff’, like a Nivea lip balm, eos hand lotion, Deep Steep Moisture Stick (basically a balm for your skin that I got in a bluum box), Bath & Body Work PocketBac, whatever lipstick of the moment I’m wearing (Nars Anita), & the L’Oreal Glossy Balm in Lovely Mocha. I tend to reach for the Glossy Balm most because I can apply it with my eyes closed if I had to, it’s just force of habit to bring whatever lipstick I started off with that day. Hand sanitizer is a mom essential and because my hands are always dry the eos lotion is the perfect size to throw in the bag and not add any extra weight. If my hands are super dry I use the Deep Steep. In the other pocket I carry Wet Ones wipes and Green Sprouts Compressed Wipes that I also got in my bluum box. They’re basically discs of compressed wipes that expand when you add water, they come in handy when I don’t have paper towels nearby.

The back pocket spans the width of the bag and I throw my wallet in there, right now I’ve been using my Chanel WOC as my everyday wallet and the crossbody I carry when I’m out sans-baby. I’m too lazy to transfer all the cards back and forth, so I’m thinking about getting a card holder that I can easily move between bags because it’s a bit much to have the WOC in there.

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Inside the bag are pockets along both sides, two on one and three on the other. On the side with two I keep her changing pad that came with bag in one pocket and her wipes & diapers in the other. On the side with three pockets I usually just keep her snacks & straw cup. Baby Mum Mums keep her busy when she’s getting antsy in the shopping cart and Goldfish are just good whenever. In the large middle space I bring a change of clothes, disposable placemats (she kept ripping off the reusable one), and an Aiden & Anais blanket that just comes in handy for everything (mostly wiping up drool because she’s cutting her molars).

There is also an insulated side pocket for a bottle of formula that I used to store her empty bottle in, but it’s too small for the straw cup I’ve been using lately. There are also two Velcro straps where the straps connect to the bag that you can use to hang the bag from your stroller. There is also a zipper pocket on the inside of the bag, but I don’t really put anything in there.

Now that Ava is bottle free, it’s so much easier to pack her bag and keep it light. This bag is the perfect size for carrying around everything I need for a toddler. It’s easy to access and find things I need because of all the compartments and it’s not so large that things get lost in it’s depths. I’d definitely recommend it if you are looking for a diaper bag!

What I’m really looking forward to is not having to carry one at all, but that’s probably still awhile away (BTDT moms, when did you stop carrying a baby bag?).

A ‘day in my life’ with a 15 month old.

This post was a great idea I got from Maggie of Mother of Gracie! She wrote this post about seeing herself in the mirror and thinking she looked like a ‘C9’ mom (check out the post here if you’re curious about what that means, it was definitely a new one for me!) and I could totally relate, that was my first 6 months of motherhood! I love reading Maggie’s blog, she’s a mommy of two and I love getting a preview of what I’m in for when we decide to grow our family! Having two little ones is a completely different ball game from what I’ve heard and I’m pretty sure my time for anything non-mom will become much more limited. She said I should write a ‘day in the life’ type post that gives my mommy/blogging routine to give an idea of how I manage daily blogging with the non-stop of being a mom. Honestly, I’m pretty sure when number 2 comes along, my weekly posts will decline dramatically for awhile. There’s no way I would have managed it in the early months of Ava’s life, I was lucky if I managed to shower back then. I didn’t post daily when I first started either, I think as time has went on I’ve gotten into a good groove with it and have figured out how to meld blog life into my mom life.

If your’re curious about a ‘typical day’ for us, keep reading…

8:10 AM. M shakes me awake. I must have slept through my alarm. He’s rushing to get to work for an early meeting. I run to get Ava out of bed (she woke at 8 according to M) so she can see daddy for a few minutes before he leaves. She runs around our room while I brush my teeth, then we brush hers. I started singing the ‘alphabet song’ while I brush so she gets used to doing it longer. Some days she’s let’s me brush for 2 seconds before pushing my hand away. I also quickly make the bed (one less thing for later).

8:32 AM. Breakfast. No, she doesn’t eat all that. I tried these waffles for the first time today, she ate half. Next time I’ll just break it in half before toasting. She also had half the yogurt and a few blueberries. I usually have an Advocare shake and coffee. And whatever fruit is left over. While she’s stilI in the high chair (or whining at my feet), I wash dishes/load dishwasher.

9:05 AM. I link Pandora from my phone to our stereo and it’s play time. I keep the TV off in the mornings (I do miss the Today Show) and Ava will play with her toys while I finish my coffee, we’ll read, sing, or she’ll just run around the house. I’m not a mom who’s crazy strict about TV, we do have it on during the day usually in the afternoon and evening, but I do want to teach Ava that she can’t watch it whenever she wants. I also folded some laundry I left from the night before and swept the kitchen during this time, Ava usually ‘helps’ with the laundry and sweeping-my mom brought me back a ‘walis’ or broom from the PI (I knew I was old when I asked my mom to get me one, I just think it works better) and a small matching one for Ava. It’s too cute. We share a pear around 10:30 for snack. Around 11, I start to pick up some of Ava’s toys and put them away before nap time.

11:30-1:30 PM. Naptime = mommy time! I put Ava down and I do my makeup & get dressed. Today it takes me about 40 minutes, start to finish, I did do take some photos for an upcoming post as well. At about 12:15, I went downstairs to work on lunch (a salad for me & a sandwich for Ava). I had my salad as I edited two posts for the blog. Ava woke right at 1:30, some days she only does an hour & others I need to wake her at 1:30 to preserve her second nap. She’s really close to the dreaded 2-1 (if you’re a mom, you probably know what I’m talking about) and I’m still holding on for dear life. I bring her downstairs for her lunch and sit with her while she eats. I do any dishes left in the sink/load what I can into the dishwasher. Then I get her dressed and ready to go out.

2:30 PM. We’re ready to leave the house and head to Target (what would be a typical day in my life without it?) to pick up a few things. And it was one of those days I was hardcore craving a Starbucks latte. Just my luck, as soon as I settle Ava into the shopping cart, I look over and the counter is dark because they’re closed for the rest of the day (womp womp). I take a deep breath and continue on with our shopping. We spend about an hour there before heading home.

3:43 PM. We’re back home, I grab Ava a smoothie and a snack and I finish the latte I got at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru (something’s better than nothing). I give her some measuring cups to play with while I start dinner. A little after 4, I put on Disney Junior for her so I can tend to the stove because she’s over the measuring cups. Once it’s simmering, I join her in the living room to hang out, watch TV and finish her snack that she can’t have without me sitting there. I bring her upstairs for her second nap around 5.

5:10-6:15 PM. Ava’s in her crib and she’s rolling around with her lovey. This is her routine before she falls asleep. I go to my vanity and put on some lipstick, I need a little pick me up (I went with Nars Anita). Then since I’m all dolled up, I roll up my sleeves and start cleaning the downstairs and master bathrooms. I leave the family bath for another time because it’s right next to Ava’s room and I don’t want to wake her. I’m finished at 5:52 and turn away from the mess on our kitchen island, instead I collapse on the sofa and turn on E!. I also jump back on the laptop to do more editing.

6:17 PM. Ava and I are hanging in the living room, she’s a little grumpy because I woke her up. She’s in a better mood once I get her a book she likes that actually reads itself (at this point of the day, reading her Elmo’s Birthday Party a million times in a row is not happening). M gets home at 7, he’s actually a little late today. We eat dinner together shortly after. Sometimes we eat before M gets home, I usually let Ava tell me if she wants to wait.

7:45 PM. I’m upstairs with Ava for bath time while M does dishes and cleans up the kitchen. I throw in a load of her laundry at 8:17 (I’ll probably throw it in the dryer and fold it in the morning) and we all hang out in the living room eating the mangoes M cut up while we were upstairs. I do a little more editing while Ava has her ‘daddy time’.

9:20 PM. Ava’s in bed, her bedtime has gotten later and later recently, which apparently is another sign of the 2-1. M and I watch an episode of Ghost Adventures, we are so addicted we watch old ones every night lately. I usually do more editing, respond to comments, and catch up with the blogs I follow while we watch TV. Afterwards, I head upstairs to shower (one less thing to do tomorrow morning) and get ready for bed. I come back downstairs and hang with M more, then we head upstairs around 12. He falls asleep, I read a little more of Dark Places.

1:20 AM. I know I’m ready to sleep when I can’t keep my eyes open anymore while I’m reading. Good night!

So that’s my ‘mom/blog schedule’ for a typical day. This one was pretty productive, some days barely any cleaning gets done, or I’m just too lazy to cook dinner and we order in. But, that’s generally it!

How do you balance your mom/blog or work/blog or mom/work/blog schedules?

This housekeeping hack is life changing: Put on a duvet cover the easy way!

The worst part about changing the sheets is putting on the duvet cover. Trying to stuff the comforter into the duvet and get all the corners aligned and have it lay evenly is a pain. So when I saw a Facebook post about how to do it the easy way, I clicked on it right away. I watched the video and my mind was blown. Why have I not known about this until now?! I had to try it the next time I changed the sheets. I just had to share this in hopes of helping others like me who struggle every week stuffing her comforter into the duvet!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Lay your comforter inside out on your bed with the opening at the foot of the bed. I intentionally left mine inside out when I washed it so that it would be ready to go.

2. Lay your comforter on top of the duvet, making sure to align all the corners.

3. Roll the duvet over the comforter starting from the top of the bed, like a jelly roll, down to the foot where the the duvet opening should lay.

4. Once it’s rolled all the way to the end, invert both ends into the duvet cover and tuck the roll into the duvet. At this point you can button up the duvet.

5. Start unrolling the comforter up towards the head of the bed until you’ve reached the end.

6. You’re done! I just make sure each corner of the duvet is aligned with each corner of the comforter. No sweating and struggling to get the comforter straight within the duvet!

Seriously, it was so easy! Changing the sheets is now a complete breeze and I’m no longer annoyed at the thought of changing the duvet cover. I couldn’t find the original video I watched, but I found another one from the Today Show that I’ll link here since I know watching it will make it easier to understand.

Are you already doing this housekeeping hack? Am I just late to the party?