Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FREE PRINTABLE - WEDDING CARD

 I'm THE. WORST. about giving wedding gifts before the wedding. Or after the wedding. I finally sent my friends their wedding gift and thought I needed to legitimize myself. The wise Larry David mades everything okay, right? Here's a free printable in case you're the worst just like me!

-L

Monday, August 17, 2015

3 MONTH UPDATE + MY MUST- HAVES

I know everyone says this, but I seriously cannot believe my baby boy is 3 months old (except for when I hold his 15 lb self). It feels like we just brought him home. The first quarter of his life has been such a blur, especially that first month and a half because I was so sleep deprived. I truly experienced exhaustion on a different level. But now.... here we are! No more family of 3 talk. We are a full on operating family of 4, and I love it. 



Sleeping / tummy or side sleeper. Hasn't been a fan of sleeping on his back from day one. He naps like a champ, and sleeps at night from about 10:30 - 3:30, then he wakes up for a feeding, but goes right back to sleep! :) He is still in our room. He sleeps in his little co-sleeper ( when we don't fall asleep together in our bed.... bad habit.)

Eating / Exclusively breast milk. It was still hard the first month, but we pushed through. It just hurts!! gah! I try to avoid the bottle as much as possible and give him that intimate nursing experience. I have been taking these supplements because my production slowed down once Remy's feedings became more scheduled. They have worked great for me! Also, we were introduced to Gerber Soothe drops ( a probiotic) to help Remy's tummy calm down and regulate itself. He didn't have reflux, but definitely had gas issues. Amazon is definitely the cheapest if you have Prime. Any moment out of my day to STOP and feed him and just take a breath has been good for the both of us! Forced relaxation if you will. 

Favorites / He loves "standing" and facing out. Music is a huge part of our family life, and he loves a good serenade ( even from me... yikes!) He can go from whining to pure joy and excitement if you will just talk to him. Looks like I have another social butterfly on my hands. He also loves mommy's nail colors on her nails, jewelry and grabbing big sis' curls.

My favorites / His entire little man body! He is squishy in all of the right places. He was born long and lean, and we really had to work on getting him into tip top squishy baby shape. We call him our "chunky little man". Hearing Amara say it is just the best ever!


I miss him so much when I am away from him. Having a little boy is so different already than a little girl. There is just a different connection there. He isn't getting married until he is like 50. ;)


Ok... my MUST. HAVES!!! The second time around is so different. You are over all of the stuff that just clutters your house. These are all things I would consider a need, as they really helped get us through the toughest 3 months we have experienced as parents so far.




Aden + Anais burpy bib & swaddles | There is just nothing softer!! I own and love the Aden + Anais for Target swaddles and bibs, but even those are not as soft as the originals. I fell in love with the burpy bibs when we had Amara. So convenient and genius!

Solly wrap | It took me seeeeveral tries to get this thing right. Once you dial it in, it is so helpful. I have used this so that I could be hands free while cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping. I never wrapped Amara and after using this, I don't know how I went without.

Nursing bras | these are the most comfortable nursing bras for sleeping!! I love this one in particular. These are the ones I use for daily wear.

Baby Sleepers | My MIL gave me one of these at my shower, and I went to purchase several more. They are the. softest. ever. They wash well also. The snaps are definitely annoying in the middle of the night, but I will choose softness over convenience for my baby any day.

Baby Shusher | I bought this a little later in the game. Remy was hating his car seat, having trouble falling asleep without being held, and he had his days and nights mixed up ( worst ever). I don't know that this is a game changer, BUT we do take it in the car sometimes for long travel days and he uses it to fall asleep in our room during naps and at night. It just helps cut out the noise that the rest of the family makes just outside where he sleeps. I would buy it again for sure!

Avent Pacis | There is just no other pacifier that works.

Baby swing | We have a much older version of this one that we were given when Amara came along. We love this thing. For the longest time, it was the only way he would fall asleep at 3 am while one of us laid on the couch to be close to him.  We use it everyday... pretty much before and after each naptime.

Diaper Bag | I loooooove this diaper bag. I love how it looks like a handbag in front, but has all of the hidden compartments and space that a diaper bag does. I don't need to take my own separate bag or pouch for my stuff. It has a mommy pouch! :)

Sanitizer & Paci wipes | any of these can be bought at any drugstore/Target. With a grabby toddler, we use lots and lots of sanitizer. I am a freak about washing hands, but when we can't, we go through this stuff so quickly. It is absolutely necessary!

Carseat/stroller spiral toy & Playmat | Remy has just started grabbing at his spiral toy in the carseat. It provides endless entertainment for him, and it has truly saved me on some car trips. We just broke out the play mat last week. These are lifesavers when they are over the swings. 

Bassinet | We use this stroller and absolutely LOVE it. People stop me all of the time to tell me how "cool" it is. It is quite heavy to get in and out of the car, but that is a small price to pay for how convenient it is, how many different configurations it has, and how easy it glides. I can literally steer it with one hand even with both seats on. The bassinet was purchased about a month after I had Remy because he completely freaked out on our first Nordstrom trip since being born. He didn't want the carseat, wrap or anything. I think that trip would have looked different had I had a "bed" for him to lay in. It was a nightmare because he stopped falling asleep in the carseat for the most part. The bassinet has been a game changer. It allows Remy to just stretch out and sleep while mommy shops.


Baby Bjorn | I have been using this lately because Remy is an angel baby when he is facing out. He doesn't make a peep. The solly only works when he is sleepy. We just ordered this carrier, as we are about to embark on a week long Disney vacay and it is a sweatbox in FL when we go. We wanted something breathable, although, it doesn't allow your baby to face out.  We will see how it goes. Also, the baby bjorn just has added waist support which is a huge must that the Ergo carrier already had. 

Tub | Remy has officially grown out of this, but man I love this thing. It makes it so easy to bathe your toddler in the bath (if they are somewhat independent) while bathing your baby in the sink. Such a lifesaver since I do most night routines alone. We just ordered this for the bathtub to accommodate his growing man body that I love so much. ;)

And last, but certainly NOT least.... boob care! ha. 
Breast pads & Boob Ease balm | I made sure that this go around I really was consistent with taking care of the "ladies". It can be so annoying to continuously apply a balm, but it makes all the difference in the world. I had a jar for home and a jar that I kept in my diaper bag. Also, these disposable breast pads are just the best. They are thin, but super absorbent. I even tried swapping to the Target brand, but they are just not the same in my opinion. 


Hope this was helpful to you second time or even NEW mamas. We would love to hear feedback on this post!! What product(s) are you surviving on right now?

-J








Wednesday, August 5, 2015

RECIPE: THE BEST EVER OATMEAL COOKIE

I am a cookie snob. And I'm telling you... these are the BEST oatmeal cookies ever. I guess that's bragging, but I've gotta share the love with you! I've tried to copy them from my fav bakery, Wild Plum, in Pacific Grove, CA where my husband and I lived before moving to Nashville. I can't quite get the consistency the same, but the flavors are all there. In fact, every year we visit and if they don't have them out... I beg them to make a batch before I leave town. #fatkidalert

You can use any mix-ins you like with these oatmeal cookies! This is just a great base. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, dried apricots, and dried tart cherries. We just got back from Michigan where I get my favorite American Spoon dried cherries. They're SO. GOOD. I put them in cereal, hot oatmeal, spinach salad, kale salad, and now cookies. I'm very passionate about food, can ya tell? So I obviously needed to use these bad boys for the best oatmeal cookies ever.

Please make sure to note that you need to let the dough refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I know...torture. You can eat the dough in the meantime. The longer you leave the dough, the better the flavors will combine. 12 hours is great, 24 hours is better. If you bake after 1 or 2 hours they'll taste great but the dough will spread out pretty thin. I'll stop blabbing... scroll down for recipe!
RECIPE:
The Best Ever Oatmeal Cookie

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp good vanilla
1 1/2 cups + 1/8 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
fleur de sel / kosher salt

Optional mix-ins:
dried apricots, chopped
dried tart cherries
bittersweet chocolate chips
raisins
m&m's
(I use 1 cup apricots, 1/4 cherries, 1/4 chocolate chips)

Directions:
1. Mix together dry ingredients and mix-ins in a separate bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugars for 5 minutes.
3. Add egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients until just mixed.
5. Press plastic wrap down directly on the dough then cover the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours 
(12-24 hrs is best for flavor and texture!)
6. Scoop 2" balls and pack firmly together*
7. Bake 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until edges are browned and the tops are starting to brown.
8. Sprinkle tops with fleur de sel or kosher salt and let the cookies cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
Eaaaaaaat!

*Bake only what you want to eat at that time for the freshest experience! Dough keeps really well in the fridge for a week.

-L

Thursday, July 23, 2015

PARTY IN AN ENVELOPE

It was my boys' last day of preschool today! It's actually a year-round school, but it was their last day with their current teachers who have loved and cared for them like they were family. I think it's always the most meaningful to write a handwritten note, but to step it up a notch, I added a little handmade banner and confetti to let them know they were THE BEST! My sister and I have this thing with "the best". It's the best donut, it's the best movie, it's the best book... we tend to think a lot of things are "the best", and these teachers really were the best!!

You could totally use this idea for any occasion by switching up the saying on the banner. How cute would it be to get a "congrats" or "happy birthday" party in an envelope?! I'd for sure go [delightfully] inappropriate when sending it to some of my friends... but we'll keep the blog PG.

Here's what you need:
Pencil
Paper scraps
Scissors
String
Hole punch
2 pieces of washi tape

Time: 20 minutes
You can freehand cutting the letters or trace them out with pencil. I actually have a cutting machine but wanted it to look more homemade. I made the letters about 2 inches tall.
Using the scraps from cutting out the letters simply cut little squares to make confetti.

Punch holes through the top of the letters and string.
 Tape one end of the string to a piece of cardstock and wrap the letters around it, securing the other end with tape when finished.
Fill envelope with confetti (and add a handwritten note)!
Voila! You've made the tiniest party in an envelope! 

We'd love to see what you come up with! Tag us on instagram @loveandlion so we can see!
-L


Monday, July 20, 2015

MODERN MINT & NEUTRAL BABY SHOWER

We LOVE planning parties, especially baby showers! It's so special and important to shower that mama-to-be with lots of love and thoughtful details. I was honored to co-host with 2 fabulous ladies, Dara and Emily, friends of the guest of honor, Leeron. It will be the second boy for Leeron, but we didn't want to go all blue blue blue. We went with white, neutrals, and pops of mint and sage green. 
Lauren of Rock Paper Scissors designed the invitation, and I really went off of that for decor. It always starts with the invitation for me! The big letter "R" is just a paper mache letter from the craft store... use painters tape to mask off a straight line, paint, and remove tape. 

Diagonals, squares, and triangles mixed with all white flowers and live moss made for a simple and pretty party! 
The drink tags were my fav! Guests remembered which drink was theirs by the baby picture of the mama and pop-to-be and the color tag. Leeron's amazing husband, Matt, secretly emailed me their baby pics, I changed them to black and white in photoshop and cropped to a square. Just punch a hole in the corner of the picture and the colored square and tie with string. The color tag was nice so that you didn't have to have a different baby pic for each guests. Just use different colors for each pic. Leeron was so surprised (and immediately removed that one embarrassing photo from her tween years)!
Use painters tape to mask off a diagonal line. Paint and remove tape when dry! Super simple!
Every baby shower needs a diaper cake, right? See our TUTORIAL HERE. I used double stick tape to add on the triangles of leftover scraps from the garlands to keep that geo-mod vibe.
Cake topper by Rock Paper Scissors to match the invite.
Every party needs Campfire Crispies, especially a baby shower when you can be punny and say "She's about to POP!" These were SO. GOOD. Fluffernutter flavor: toasted marshmallow and peanut butter with a white chocolate peanut butter coating. Droooool. Order HERE.
And of course us being us, we needed a tattoo station with the party's hashtag (from our little shop HERE)! 

Here's the actual party! It was at night, so I took the photos above so you could see the details!
 The simplest projects make the biggest impact. Jenni and I have done these live moss letters several times. Simply cut the tops of paper mache letters you can find in any craft store, and stuff with live moss from your florist!
Even though Leeron couldn't enjoy it, we all loved the signature cocktail "The Leeroni".
Hostesses with the mostesses: Dara, me, Leeron, Emily
The gorgeous and glowing mama-to-be, Leeron!

Loved throwing this baby shower for a very deserving mama!!!
-L

Friday, July 10, 2015

ROCKSBOX: ONE MONTH FREE

 Hey ladies!! Please tell me you have heard of Rocksbox!! Leah and I are newbies to the club, but man, oh man.... what have we been missing? We signed up, and Leah and I got our first month of FREE  jewelry. Such gorgeous pieces too!! I don't know about you, but Leah and I trade jewelry and clutches like nobody's biz. We just get tired of what we have, so whenever we have an event we call each other first for a closet raid. It just allows you to try something new without breaking the bank. Consider Rocksbox your personal GF that you borrow things from. If only she offered us chocolate also... hmmm.

We are so happy to bring you all a code for ONE FREE MONTH OF ROCKBOX!!! Trust me, it will have you hooked and begging for more. I am already like a 5 year old waiting on Christmas morning to receive her next box. You simply set up your account, add pieces that you love to your wishlist and wait to receive them in the mail. Can we say "Happy Mail!"? These pieces are so great for a date night, a girl's night out, or just a day running errands with your kiddos and you want to wear something to make you just feel good. My daughter loved opening the box up with me and drooling over each piece. Code at the end of post...


It is impossible to see the jewelry in this pic above, but can we talk about these sandals?? Leah and I are both obsessed and own a pair. Purchase them here! I am considering going back for the black pair aaaaand maybe this pair. Thank you Target.

Be sure and sign up for your FREE ONE MONTH today friends!!
Use code loveandlionxoxo


XO!
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