Slide Show

20 Ways My Life Has Changed Since Becoming Mom

1. MY schedule... what's that? I live on GAVIN'S schedule.

2. Sleeping in now means sleeping until 8am, and that has happened ONCE that I can remember since August 21st, 2014. (Gavin's birthday)

3. I love going to bed as early as possible. If I could go to bed when Gavin does (8:00pm) I would (but my husband doesn't let me...).

4. I actually have some muscle in my arms now, thanks to having a large baby.

5. My boobs no longer belong to me, that sounds kinda weird, but it sure seems to be true.

6. I no longer blow money on clothes for myself, it's actually not even fun anymore. It's way more fun spending that money on cute baby clothes...honestly.

7. I'm used to eating cold food.

8. I'm used to eating super fast, to try and avoid having to eat cold food.

9. I really hated having cold coffee every morning, so I learned to wait and enjoy my morning coffee during nap time. 

10. I'm a pro at making my coffee and doing laundry with one arm....Gavin in the other.

11. I have accepted that a fussy baby can end my outings early (for example, your niece's 7th birthday party may end early for you when your teething 7 month old would rather cry the entire time....)

12. Eating out has become a luxury. 

13. People watch movies from start to finish uninterrupted? Say What?! We can sometimes pull that off if we wait to start it until after Gavin's down for the night- but that usually results in me falling asleep on the couch. Which means I finish the movie the following day...

14. I have become a true mom and I wipe Gavin's drool with my shirt. Although I still scrunch my nose when I see my sister-in-law wipe my nephew's nose with her sleeve....Will that be me in a year?! ...Chances are good.

15. The thought of a vacation now seems like more work, than an actual vacation. 

16. Leaving the house used to be, just leaving the house. Now it's: change Gavin's diaper, check the diaper bag, pack Gavin in his chair, load Gavin in the car, go back inside and grab whatever I forgot because I was too busy getting everything for Gavin, go back in the car, realize I still forgot the keys...and then finally, leave.

(now the sappy stuff....) 
17. I've never been more tired, more exhausted, more forgetful, or more happy in my life.

18. I've never been a violent person, but I scare myself a little bit when I think of what I'd do if someone ever hurts my baby (us Moms become mama bears, no doubt).

19. I have experienced ACTUAL LOVE at FIRST SIGHT, and it was when Gavin was laid on my chest and I laid eyes on him for the very first time. Priceless and a true miracle in every sense.

20. I have never savored time like I do now. I am so aware that kids grow up ridiculously fast, and I don't want to lose sight of that. Every day is special- even if it's just another day at home, doing the same thing, with the same baby toys. It's another day with my sweet baby, who's a little bit older every day, and I'm going to cherish every moment of it.

Sweet Potato Puree - Homemade Baby Food

I usually use 2 sweet potatoes when I make Gavin his purees, that way I have plenty to last him quite awhile! But you can use more, or less, depending on how much you want to have on hand!

Here's What I Do:

1. Peel and wash sweet potato. 

2. Cut into small pieces and steam in boiling water until sweet potato is soft when pierced with a fork. Before I strain it, I save a small glass of the water I used to steam the sweet potato, to add while I puree it in the blender. 

3. Using my Ninja Blender I puree the sweet potato until the desired consistency 
(this is when I add the water I set aside, just enough to get  the consistency I want- you can also use breast milk. When you steam the sweet potato, some of the nutrients seep out into the water, which is why I save & use the steamed water versus new, fresh water).  

4. Once pureed, I put it into ice cube trays, and toss it in the freezer. Once frozen, I toss them all into a freezer bag for easy storage!

*Sweet potato is great mixed with apple, pear, banana, carrots, cauliflower, pumpkin, broccoli, and zucchini!

Green Beans & Peas Purees - Homemade Baby Food

These two purees I make separately, but the exact same way.

Super easy!

I use frozen & organic for both.

Here's How I Do It:

1. First I rinse the veggies, then I steam them in boiling water until they are soft and tender.

2. Once cooked, I set aside a small glass of the water I steamed the veggies in (nutrients from the veggies seep out into the water while you steam them) and then strain the veggies. 

3. Blend the veggies until the desired consistency using a food processor or blender. This is when I add the water I set aside to get the desired consistency (you can also use breast milk).

4. Once pureed, I put it into ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, I transfer it all to freezer bags for easy storage!

There you go, a couple more healthy & easy purees to make for your baby!

Oatmeal - Homemade Baby Food

Banana Oatmeal .... yummm

We chose to completely skip rice cereal with Gavin. Why? Because (long story short) it's totally unnecessary and not at all of any nutritional value!! I wasn't going to feed Gavin something that's just a "filler", and not nutritionally benefiting him. So, his very first foods were avocado, banana and sweet potato (and he LOVED them all!).  
I'm just now introducing him to oatmeal (he's currently 7 months old). 

(I pretty much followed the oatmeal recipe from The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet...I highly recommend this book for anyone who's going to make homemade baby food)

Here's How I Make It:

1. Using thick rolled organic oats (not the "quick cook"!!) I take about 1 cup and blend them in my blender. I blend it until it looks like a powder pretty much. I store the blended oats in a sealed glass container. 1 serving is only 2 tablespoons (which = 1oz)... so blending this amount will last you awhile.

2. In a small pot or sauce pan, I bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil I add in 1/4 cup of the ground up oats, and reduce the heat to a simmer. I use a whisk and stir almost constantly for about 5-10 minutes... until the oatmeal is cooked and soft. The dry "powder" consistency of the oatmeal, turns to a chunky/creamy consistency once cooked! I was surprised the first time! :) 
*Since a single serving is only 2 tablespoons, I put the extra cooked oatmeal in a sealed glass container and store it in the fridge to use over the next few days! 

3. I choose to add banana, peach, apple, or pear to the oatmeal for some added flavor, otherwise the oatmeal itself is pretty bland! After I add in the fruit, if the consistency is too thick, I add some breast milk until I get the consistency I want. 

There you have it. 
Another awesome and easy homemade food for your baby! 

Gavin's 7 Months!

Age: 7 Months
Stats: 23 pounds & 30 inches
Teeth: HE GOT HIS FIRST TOOTH!!! 1 bottom tooth :) 
Clothes Size: 12 month
Favorite Foods: Avocado, sweet potato, banana, pear, carrot, ....hang on, what DOESN'T this kid like?? He eats everything, and a lot of it.
Other Favorites: Harley- he laughs at Harley the dog all the time, even when Harley is laying there doing absolutely nothing (it's pretty darn adorable).
Buckles- as in high chair buckles, car seat buckles- anything that's like a buckle. He loves to play with them and chew on them. I'm not sure why he loves them so much, but he sure does.
Tags & Strings. Any tag he can find on anything- his playmat, on the boppy pillow, on blankets...he loves tags. Strings- he loves hoodie strings (random, I know, but he loves them).
He loves to ride on your shoulders- way cooler view than from on the floor all the time.
Bath time.
Being outside (finally, it's Spring!!!!). 
Looking Forward To: Gavin's first Easter!

Boy oh boy, do I love this little guy! It's been such a blessing and so much fun watching him grow!
Time flies...

Spring To-Do's

If you're anything like me, you have a Spring "To-Do" list in your junk drawer that's about a mile long. I was actually tempted to go count how many things I currently have on my list, but there's no point because there's way too many, and I'm always adding to it.

BUT, the point of this post is that we have some exciting house projects coming up!! If you're interested in DIY & home improvement projects, then keep an eye on my blog for the next month! It will not should not disappoint (hopefully). 

Here are our first few Spring To-Do's:

Makeover living room.  Oh yes, entirely redoing our living room.  Including new floor, new paint, white trim, tearing out our fireplace, and redoing our entryway...eeeek!

Re-shingle roof. Eh. Not as exciting to me, but necessary (and expensive...bleh)

Repaint kitchen & dining room!

Continue painting trim & doors white!

Redo some landscaping.

*Possibly paint kitchen cabinets/cupboards white.... I desperately want to do this....but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough. We'll see. 
(if I had to put money on it, I bet I end up doing this, because I will most likely be bored some day during Gavin's nap, and that's how the majority of my projects start).

And my list goes on from there. BUT, those are the most exciting, and the first to happen!

I plan to share each one with you! ....well, minus the roof probably...because that's just not exciting. I'll also do my best to provide prices and some good "How To" posts for these projects, incase it motivates you to do some similar projects yourself! :)  

(PS...don't worry, I'm a total cheap-o, and love finding deals, so the majority of these projects are totally do-able on a low budget!)

Project #1 (living room makeover) starts April 3rd! I can't wait!!

Apple Puree - Homemade Baby Food

Ok, so this is the second kind of apple puree I've made. But this one takes the cake. 
Way better than my other one (I think, and Gavin agrees).

In my other apple puree, I used granny smith apples (less sugar), but they're more sour. They're not bad mixed with other fruits, or sweet potatoes, but they're still not the best tasting apples for a baby that's getting used to new tastes!

This time, I used Gala apples. Wow. Delicious. 

I also chose to blend them raw (preserving all of the nutrients) instead of steaming them to get them tender before pureeing them. Easier, and healthier! Woo hoo!

I used 5 Gala apples and got 1 1/2 ice cube trays worth of puree.

What To Do:
1. Peel apples and cut into small pieces. 

2. Puree until desired consistency, using blender or food processor. I use our Ninja blender (we got it from Target), single-serve option. It works AMAZING!!!

3. Pour into ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags for easy storage!


*PS... apple mixes good with pear, butternut squash, carrots, banana and sweet potato

Why I Chose Homemade Baby Food

If you're debating on whether or not to make your own baby food- then this post will be great for you!

Honestly, this should be a really short & sweet post, but I'm sure it won't be (knowing me).

Here it is:
I chose to make my own baby food for Gavin because I believe:
1. It's healthier
2. It's cheaper.
3. It's easy.

See. I could end my post right here.... but of course that'd be no fun. 
So let me dig deeper into each of those reasons for you :)

1. It's healthier. 
Store bought baby food (yes, even organic) has a shelf life of roughly 2 years. How is this achieved? By sterilization. How is sterilization accomplished? Well by heating the food to very high temperatures to ensure food safety. Well, during this process, the extreme heat destroys vitamins and nutrients- which also results in a change of taste (in my opinion, for the worse!). Homemade baby food is higher in nutrients since you prepare it by lightly steaming/cooking the foods, preserving the majority of the nutrients. A lot of ripe fruits can even be pureed WITHOUT cooking- which leaves ALL the nutrients intact! 

2. It's cheaper. 
(hold it right there- if you're anything like me, that just sold you. Yup, it saves you $$$)
Store bought baby food can cost two to three times more than home made baby food! The way I save the most money when it comes to making my own baby food, is making it in large batches and freezing it. The money you spend on jars of store bought baby food adds up.

3. It's easy.
I honestly am surprised at how easy it's been making all of the homemade baby food purees that I have! I have yet to make a baby food puree that takes longer than 20 minutes, from start to finish (that even includes the time it takes for me to toss it all in the freezer, and clean up my counters!)!
MOST of the baby foods I make only take about 10-15 minutes. It usually consists of cleaning the fruits/veggies, steaming/cooking them (sometimes you don't even have to do that!), tossing them in the blender for a few seconds, and then putting it into an ice cube tray to be frozen! *PS..remember how in the "It's Healthier" reason, I said with some purees you don't even have to steam/cook them?! Yes, that's right. Some of them are as simple as tossing them in a blender, and that's it!! Trust me, if it wasn't easy... I wouldn't say it is! (and I most likely wouldn't be doing it myself!)
Another thing to remember is you're baby doesn't eat pureed foods for very's not long before they move onto finger foods, etc. So it's not like you'll be making puree's for your child forever! It's actually something I enjoy doing too! It's fun (because it's easy & it's saving me $$!).

Yes, making your own baby food is a little more work than going to the store, tossing the baby food jar in the cart, taking it home, popping open the jar, and feeding it to your baby.

But, homemade baby food really isn't a whole lot more work once it's made and frozen. Every morning (first thing) I take out the puree cubes that I plan to feed to Gavin that day, and toss them in the fridge to thaw. That way, when it's time to feed him they're ready to go! Sometimes I'll still warm them up- just like you sometimes would with a leftover jar of store bought baby food you've had in the fridge.

So when it all comes down to it, making your own baby food really isn't that much work- or as much work as a lot of people think!

For myself, the biggest benefit of doing it all is knowing exactly what's in my baby's food and knowing it's as nutritious as can be!

If making your own baby food is something you're interested in- I say give it a try!

Check out my homemade baby food recipes HERE!

PS...for all of my baby food purees I use my NINJA BLENDER, single-serve option (we bought ours from Target).

Cauliflower Puree - Homemade Baby Food

Another great food choice for your baby, cauliflower is packed with all kinds of nutrients!!
Like broccoli, it has a stronger taste, so it probably shouldn't be one of your babies first foods! 

*Helpful hint: cauliflower mixes good with other baby food purees including apples, broccoli, green beans, peas, squash and zucchini. I've seen some suggestions where they recommend waiting until your baby is 8-10 months before introducing cauliflower, but others say it can be introduced at 6 months. Like any other aspect of parenting, do your research and decide for yourself I guess ;) 
(the reason for waiting to introduce it until later has to do with digestion- it can cause some gas which isn't always pleasant for younger babies, as well as it's stronger taste)

So here you go:

1. Wash and cut cauliflower florets into small pieces.

2. Steam cauliflower. This only takes about 10 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be soft when pierced with a fork. *Save a small glass of the water you used from steaming your cauliflower to thin your puree... or breast milk is another great option*

3. Puree cauliflower to desired consistency. Use a blender or food processor. (I use our Ninja blender single-serving option)

4. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer cubes to freezer bags for easy storage!


*PS... Cauliflower mixes good with carrot & sweet potato.

Broccoli Puree - Homemade Baby Food

Broccoli.... why give your baby broccoli?? Well here you go:First, look at the nutrients broccoli contains: vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A (from beta-carotene), B vitamins, fiber, calcium, iron, folate (folic acid), omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, protein...and more! 
Second, it really boosts your baby's immune system and it has anti-inflammatory properties! 
No wonder it's considered a super food!

So here you go:

1. Cut off broccoli stems and cut broccoli into small pieces. 
(if you're like me, you'll throw the broccoli stems out in your yard for the bunnies that live under your shed....yes, they love me....Harley the dog, not so much)

2. Steam broccoli. This doesn't take long, 5-10 minutes only. You just want the broccoli to be soft when you pierce it with a fork. Save a small glass of the water that you used for steaming the broccoli, to thin the puree (nutrients seep out of the broccoli into the water, which is why you want to use this water vs new water...or breast milk is always an option too).

3. Puree broccoli to desired consistency. Use a blender or food processor. 
I use my Ninja Blender's single-
serving option. Works like magic.
4. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags for easy storage!

*Helpful hint: broccoli has a strong taste (don't we all know) so it's not always a baby's favorite first. Try mixing your broccoli puree with sweet potato or pumpkin purees to make it much more yummy for your baby!*


PS...Broccoli mixes good with sweet potato & pumpkin

Old Cabinet Door TRANSFORMED TO Fun Chalkboard!


Ok, so you really can't go wrong with a cute chalkboard in your house! Especially when you can make one yourself, for essentially FREE (or pretty darn cheap)!

This project did not cost me a penny! But, that's also because I had all of the supplies on hand already, and I was lucky enough to have found a couple old cabinet doors out at my parents house!

So let's get to it, 

Here's What You Need:

Cabinet door
Sander/Sand paper
Chalkboard Paint
Paint for "Framing"
Paint brush 
Painter's Tape (optional)

Here's How I Did It (in 3 Easy Steps):

1. Sand Cabinet Door. 
I used my electric sander and I used medium grit sand paper. The cabinet door I was using had been stained and had a glossy finish on it, so I sanded until it was pretty much down through the stain, to the natural wood. 
*Be sure to clean off all of the dust on your cabinet door from sanding.
You can see there's still some stain/finish left, but
I was planning to prime, so I didn't get too carried away with sanding.

If you're able to sand down through all of the stain/finish on your cabinet door and get down to the natural wood, then you don't need to prime it all. I chose to prime mine, just because with this specific door there were too many different grooves that were tough to sand good. I chose to just prime these areas and skip the sanding because I was limited on time (...working during Gavin's naps forces me to work much faster than I used to!). I primed the entire cabinet door with one coat, even where I would be painting the chalkboard paint.

**Once my 1 coat of primer was dry, I went back and lightly hand-sanded the entire cabinet door. This just makes sure you have a nice, smooth surface.

2. Chalkboard Paint. 
I used Martha Stewart's Chalkboard Paint that I bought from my local Michael's store. This is where I decided to tape off my cabinet door. I never totally trust painters tape, I feel like every time I use it, paint seeps under it to some extent. So, I chose to do the chalkboard paint BEFORE I finished painting the "framed" part around the chalkboard. This way, any chalkboard paint that runs under the painters tape, I can cover up when I paint the frame. 
Whatever chalkboard paint you use, follow the directions. For what I use, it says to allow 1 hour of dry time between each coat (I always do at least 2, usually 3 coats of chalkboard paint), then to allow at least a full 24 hours for the chalkboard paint to cure, before use.

3. Paint Frame. Last but not least, paint the frame part around the chalkboard! I usually always go with white, but decided since (eventually) I'll have all white doors & trim in the house, I need something besides white! Add some distressing on the corners & edges if you want some extra character! (I almost always distress my projects to some extent, but this one I actually didn't....YET anyway...)
There you go! A super fun & easy DIY project!

Butternut Squash Puree - Homemade Baby Food

Gavin LOVES squash! It's one of his absolute favorite foods!
I used one medium sized butternut squash, and I got 2 1/2 ice cube trays worth of puree! It also only took a total of 20 minutes from start to finish.

Can I also just quick say that the difference in the taste & even coloration of homemade baby food vs store bought baby food is CRAZY! My husband even commented on it (and that's coming from a guy, so it's obviously quite apparent...). But if you're undecided on whether or not you want to make your own baby food, let me just say: 1: it's super easy, and 2: compare the two and then decide which you'd rather feed your baby!! Way better taste when it's homemade! Anyway......

Here ya go!

1. Peel squash. 

2. Cut squash in half and get rid of seeds.

3. Cut into small pieces and steam. 
This took about 10-15 minutes.

4. Let cool & puree. 
I saved a small glass of the water that I steamed the squash in (nutrients from the squash will seep out into the water- so it's best to use the water you steamed it in, or breast milk), and added about 2 Tbsp of it when I pureed the squash to get the desired consistency. 
As I've said in the majority of my previous homemade baby food posts, I use my Ninja blender single serving option to blend my purees (highly recommend it), but any blender or food processor will work! 

5. Freeze in ice cube trays & once frozen, store in freezer bags!


*PS... Butternut squash mixes good with apple & pumpkin

Zucchini Puree - Homemade Baby Food

Another super easy & nutritious food to make for your baby! It took all me all of 15 minutes to make this puree, start to finish!! 
(Using 3 medium organic zucchini, once pureed, I got almost 2 ice-cube trays worth of baby food)

*When preparing zucchini, DO NOT PEEL THE SKIN!!! The skin of the zucchini actually contains the majority of the nutrients!! *

1. Wash zucchini & cut off ends. 

2. Cut zucchini into small pieces.

3. Steam zucchini. This doesn't take long- it only took about 5 minutes and it was done.

4. Puree zucchini. I use my Ninja blender (the single size option) and puree it until the desired consistency. You shouldn't have to add any water/breast milk to thin the puree, the zucchini is quite juicy on it's own. 

5. Freeze. I freeze all of my baby food purees in ice cube trays, and once they're frozen I transfer them to a freezer bag! 
Makes for super easy & organized storage! 

There you go!! 

*PS... Zucchini mixes good with sweet potato, carrot & pumpkin

*Pear Puree* - Homemade Baby Food

What You Need:
Pear(s) (I use organic)
Blender/Food processor

1. Wash & peel pears. 

2. Cut into small pieces.

3. Add pears to small pot of boiling water, reduce heat and then simmer until pears are soft. (I used very ripe pears, so I probably only simmered them for 5 minutes, and they were ready)

4. Let pears cool slightly, then blend until desired consistency 
(I use the Ninja blender single size attachment for all of my purees. With pears, they're juicy enough that you don't need to add any water, or breast milk, it ends up decently runny all on it's own).

5. Put pear puree into an ice cube tray to freeze. Once frozen, toss into a freezer bag for easy storage!

There you go! Another delicious food choice for your sweet baby! 

*PS... pear mixes good with sweet potato, apple, carrots, blueberries, and pumpkin

*Banana Puree* - Homemade Baby Food


Ok, it does NOT get easier than this.

All you need is a banana (I use organic) and a blender/food processor. Yup, it's that simple!

Toss the banana into the blender/food processor and blend until it's the right puree consistency. 
I didn't need to add any breast milk to thin it- the banana itself gets good & creamy. 
(When making my homemade baby food purees, I use a Ninja Blender...specifically the single serving attachment. It makes the most PERFECT purees- perfectly creamy and no chunks that get left behind! I highly recommend it!)

Once you have your banana pureed, pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze. Once frozen- store in freezer bags! 
*I used two bananas, and once pureed, I got 10 cubes out of it*
*PS... banana mixes good with avocado, sweet potato, pumpkin, peach, blueberry, watermelon, and plain yogurt (full fat)

12 Things About The First 6 Months as a New Mom

1. In the beginning you'll be tired. Very tired. But, your energy will finally decide to come back, eventually (or maybe you just get used to being tired...???hm.).

2. Your days no longer revolve around your schedule. Your days revolve around baby's schedule.

3. Wait until your baby's morning nap to make your coffee- well, if you want to enjoy it while it's actually WARM.

4. Baby spit up and drool become nothing to you.

5. Your arms are more toned & stronger than they ever have been, because you're lugging a baby around all the time (and if you're like me, it's a 20+ lb baby!).

6. Holidays are WAY more exciting, simply just because of your baby!

7. "Sleeping in" now means sleeping until 8:00am, and that's if you're lucky.

8. You start getting emotional thinking that your baby won't be a "baby" much longer... 

9. You find yourself enjoying the new solid foods as much, if not more than your baby.

10. You realize time is going by so much faster than you expected, and you wonder if your baby was ever really that tiny, little newborn in the pictures...

11. If you're like me, you're already planning the 1st birthday party!

12. What I learned in those first 6 months as a brand spankin' new mom: 
Stop worrying so much! When you're baby's hungry, he'll eat. When he wants to sleep, he'll sleep. Having a schedule and a routine is good, but don't stress yourself out over it- allow for some flexibility. Savor every single day, and thank God for it every single night! Take some LOTS of pictures- you'll forget how much your baby has changed. Don't always be looking for the "what's next", enjoy the right now. 

Paint Existing Trim WHITE in 5 EASY Steps

In my opinion, there is nothing more gorgeous than a house with all white woodwork. Trim, doors, everything. I think it gives the home such a fresh, clean & crisp look. Not to mention, it goes with any paint color!

Our house we currently live in was built in the 70's. The previous owners did some updates- but what they did- really only made things worse. When it comes to trim..they did horrible (sorry previous owners, but you really suck at DIY work). They put in 3 different types of trim- so we have 3 different colors of wood trim in some of our rooms. DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. But, I also don't want to spend a small fortune on replacing all of the trim throughout the house... so what's a girl to do?

Paint it. 
Yup, I plan to paint all of our existing mismatched trim in our house a beautiful white!!  

When it comes to painting your already existing trim, you have a couple options. You can either remove the trim or you can leave it right on the wall and tape around it. I've done it both ways- and for me, it's just as easy either way. I removed the trim in Gavin's room only because we were replacing the floor and had to take the trim off- so while we had it off, might as well paint while it's off. The steps to painting the trim are the same either way.

So lets get to it!

Here's what you'll need: 

Painters tape
White Primer
White paint

What to do:

STEP 1: Sand. 
You want to sand down the trim just enough to rough up the surface so the primer adheres good (honestly- I hardly sand at all. The primer I use adheres amazingly to everything I've ever used it on). Once you're done sanding, you want to make sure you clean up the trim and get rid of all the dust you've made from sanding! I always just use a barely damp cloth of some sort- hand towels, old t-shirts...anything like that. You don't want to get the wood too wet, so whatever type of cloth you use just get it barely damp enough that it just picks up the dust and cleans the wood, but doesn't leave the trim wet. (I know some people worry about using anything damp/wet on the wood, because it "raises the grain of the wood and effects the primer/paint"...I've never had a problem with it.)

STEP 2: Prep. 
If you're painting your trim ON THE WALLS: tape off the wall above the trim, and tape off the floor below the trim. Basically- tape any where you don't want to get white paint. :) So you'd also want to tape around the door frames...etc.
If you have TAKEN OFF THE TRIM: Make sure the trim is easily set up so you can paint not only the front side of the trim, but the little top rim of it as well. I set my strips of trim up on two saw horses, that way I can paint them, and just leave them right where they are to dry. There's no having to move them around while they're covered in wet paint.

STEP 3: Prime.
Using your paint brush use your primer and cover that ugly wood! Well- your's might not be so ugly, but I can't stand the trim in our house! You want to put the primer on thick enough that it covers the wood good- but you don't want too much that it drips, or dries uneven. Let your first coat of primer dry, then do a second coat. The primer I use dries SUPER fast, so after about 30 minutes it's already dry and I start my 2nd coat. Remember that the primer is not going to completely cover your dark wood, it's just prepping it for the white! So don't be worried that after 2 coats of primer- you can still see that ugly wood color! 

STEP 4: Sand.
Wait, what- sand again? Yup! Give the trim a super quick sanding- I do this because it sands away any thicker areas of primer- and leaves everything smooth and ready for your white paint! This is where if you see any drips, you can get rid of them! Sand them away, NO DRIPS ALLOWED! Just make sure you don't sand it too much- you don't want to completely sand off your primer. You're just giving it a nice smooth finish so your white paint looks as smooth as possible!

STEP 5: White paint!
This is the best step, because it finally starts to get rid of that ugly wood color!!! Like always, you want to paint it on thick enough that it covers good- but you don't want ANY drips! Depending on the color of your wood, you may only need one coat. If your wood is darker- you may want to do 2 or even 3 coats. You just want to make sure the white has completely and evenly covered your trim. You don't want any dark spots peeking through. 

There you go! Beautiful WHITE trim!! 
Once everything is dry- if you painted the trim on the walls, remove the tape. When I paint trim on the walls I actually use a box cutter knife and cut the tape along the top of the trim, just so it doesn't peel any of the paint when I remove the tape. I would recommend doing this- you'd rather be safe than sorry! It would really suck to just quick rip off the tape- only to have it peel off half of your paint!

Check out some of my before and after pictures with painting trim white below, and for more details about each project, click the links below!
(I'm currently working on painting ALL of the trim & doors in our house white, room by room!)

Reminders for Mamas on Tough Days

What mom doesn't need a little inspirational pick me up here & there. 

These are the things I reminded myself of that somehow brightened up my crying baby, spit up covered, never-ending dirty diaper days (those days where all you want to do is crawl under the covers and go to bed!). 
Oh and incase you were wondering, no, you are not the only one who has days like that! 

But before clawing out your eyeballs or bursting into tears, 

Remind Yourself of These Things:

Life right now is not easy, BUT it will not be like this forever. It WILL get easier.

Just because you had one bad DAY, does not mean you have a bad LIFE.

Just because your baby might have had a bad DAY, does not mean you have a bad BABY.

Some day your little baby will not be "little" anymore (that day comes far sooner than you think).

Some day your baby that needs you to rock him to sleep, will not need you to rock him to sleep.

Some day your baby that needs you to feed him, will not need you to feed him.

Some day your baby that wants you just to hold him, won't want you to just hold him anymore.

Some day that baby that needs you to get toys for him, pick him up & move him, reposition him, etc., will move himself around, crawl, walk...he'll do it himself.

Take a minute to remind yourself- your baby WILL grow up. 

This "baby" phase where they are SO dependent on you for everything, will come to an end. As hard as that may be for you to believe right now, it will.

Your baby will not need you to rock him.

Your baby will not need you to feed him.

Your baby will not want you to hold him all the time.

Your baby will eventually want and NEED independence. 

Your baby will eventually want and NEED to do these things on his own.

Instead of telling yourself how badly you want this "dependency phase" to be over- 
tell yourself to enjoy being needed.

And then actually ENJOY BEING NEEDED!

It won't last forever.

These are precious moments you have with your baby, that you will never get back. 

It truly changes your entire mindset when you think this way.

Remind yourself to cherish every moment with your baby, yes-even the tough ones, because it all goes by so fast.

Enjoy your baby being small, tiny, precious and dependent on you. 

They grow up too fast to spend even ONE day, wishing it away.



My Beloved Coffee Bar

Ok so one of the highlights of my day currently, is when Gavin goes down for his morning nap, and I get my morning coffee. Ahhhhhhhh. Peace, quiet, and coffee!! So nice.

So, I was pathetically excited when I finally got my "coffee bar" that I'd been desperately wanting!

I have this weird thing, where I really hate having clutter all over my kitchen counters- we don't have a TON of kitchen counter space, and the Keurig was just one more thing taking up space on my counter. I also never realized how much space our "coffee stuff" took up in our kitchen cupboard either! We had the cupboard above our Keurig set up as our "coffee cupboard". It had all of our coffee mugs, k-cups, teas...etc. We also don't have a TON of kitchen cupboards/cabinets for storage- especially since we now have had to add bibs, baby bowls, spoons, baby food...etc., to the mix! So I was in need of some clever reorganizing in my kitchen! I knew relocating all of our coffee stuff was not only going to give us more kitchen storage, but it could make for a super cute little area all on its own.

I had been keeping my eyes open for an old dresser or hutch of some sort, that I was going to transform into my little coffee bar. We totally struck out in that department. We went to all of the local Goodwills, donation centers- nothing. Nothing that would work well anyway... I wasn't looking to spend a couple hundred dollars on some old antique hutch- just to spend even more money and time on it to re-do the entire look of it! So finally, our never ending (and unsuccessful) hunt led us to this super cute local store we had never even seen before- or knew existed! And low and behold- this little, beautiful, already refinished dresser!! I couldn't say no! (it was $100...ugh. I didn't want to spend that much- but at that time we had no other options- and it was just what we had been looking for!) So, we got it!

We put the coffee bar right in our dining room. We moved all of our coffee stuff into the drawers- and we still have 3 empty drawers for whatever else we can think of to store over there! We also moved Harley's food & water onto the bottom shelf to free up a corner in our dining room! I think Harley feels special having his food on a cute little shelf too. ;) 

Moving our coffee stuff over to our coffee bar freed up an entire kitchen cupboard!! (that has now become the "kid cupboard", containing bibs, bottles, baby food, baby bowls...etc...all of that fun stuff that takes over your kitchen once you have a baby!). We also just love having the coffee in it's own little spot. It's right off the kitchen- so it's still close and convenient, but it adds some extra character & charm having it set up as it's own little "coffee bar".

I love the distressed look it has. So gorgeous! As I like to say,
"Perfectly Imperfect"!!

Motivation for Breastfeeding Mamas

This post is especially for those mamas struggling with breastfeeding. 

I have been in your shoes.

The more women (moms) I talk to, the more I realize- wow, a lot of us have been in the same boat.
More specifically, in the same boat when it comes to breastfeeding.

A word that I think scares some women. Why? Because maybe it was wasn't easy for them. Maybe they never even gave it a chance. Maybe they felt so pressured into it, that they hated it. Maybe they so desperately wanted to breastfeed, but it just didn't work for them. Maybe it's just a topic they don't care to discuss for a number of reasons.

Then, there's the opposite end of the spectrum. There's the women who can't rave enough about breastfeeding. It was so natural and beautiful for them. It was so bonding for them and the baby. The baby took to it right away- and since day one it's been smooth sailing. The women who whip their boobs out right in public like they don't give a **** who sees them breastfeed. The women who shove breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding down other women's throats and think of themselves as "better" than the women who don't breastfeed.

Then there's me.

Put me somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Here's why..

I breastfed Gavin since the day he was born and still do (he's currently just over 6 months old). He has not had an ounce of formula in his system. I DO think breastfeeding is better for a baby nutritionally than formula. And yes, selfishly, I like the fact that it's the easiest way for me to burn calories every single day!

That being said, for the first 8 weeks of Gavin's life, I had a love-HATE relationship with breastfeeding. I was one of those women who felt so pressured (to the point where realistically "giving up" wasn't even an option) to breastfeed him, that it made me despise breastfeeding. It took awhile for him to learn (AND me to learn) how to get him to latch on good. But why?? Aren't babies just supposed to come out and know how to latch on to a boob??!!! I think many of us new moms think so! And sometimes, (for lucky women) they do! Sometimes- they don't, and it's a learning process for BOTH your baby AND YOU! 

Not only was latching on a tricky part of breastfeeding for me, I hated not knowing how much he was eating. It drove me crazy. I don't know if I'm the only one, but wow- it really drove me crazy for awhile. Sometimes he would eat for a total of 10 minutes.. sometimes he would eat for 30-40 minutes! What are you doing kid!? Besides confusing your mother!!

Then there's the whole, painful part of breastfeeding. It takes awhile for your nipples to toughen up and get used to it! Not only your nipples- but before your milk supply really smooths out and gets the hang of things- I don't know about you, but my boobs would be so big, swollen, and sore that I felt (and looked) like I just woke up from getting boob implants!! IT HURTS! 

Look at all of the things that stack up AGAINST breastfeeding. Add in there the fact that you have to sleep in a bra (what woman wants to do that), wear pads in your bra and worry about your boobs leaking (again, not something us women WANT to worry about). Not to mention- if you're going to be away from your baby, you have to hook yourself up to a pump (aka, pretty much stick your boobs in a vacuum) every few hours to keep up your milk supply.

I never saw a lactation consultant- yes I probably deserve a slap on the wrist for that one, because I'm sure it would have helped both me and Gavin, and I would have gotten the hang of things much faster. But, if you haven't already noticed from my blog, I'm a die-hard do-it-yourselfer. Yes, I wanted to figure out this breastfeeding thing, by myself. 

But these were the things that really got under my skin in the first couple months of being a new mom. I honestly had it in my head that I was just going to be miserable breastfeeding Gavin, but I might as well suck it up 'cause it's going to be awhile before I'm done.

WOW, was I wrong.

WOW, am I glad I DID NOT "give up" on breastfeeding.

And, WOW, I HAVE to encourage other moms to do the same! 

I'm not going to lie- there was no "flick of a switch" and things "just got better". I honestly can't say exactly when things turned around for me. 

What I can say, is once I stopped worrying and driving myself crazy over the "small" things (exactly how many ounces he was eating) everything started getting easier and better for me. I didn't really care how long he was eating. Ok, sometimes he'll eat for 15 minutes, sometimes he'll eat for twice that long. Who cares? He's hungry, and he's eating. Isn't that all that matters?? But it took me time to get used to that idea, and once Gavin was a couple months old, his eating leveled out. He was a more consistent eater- all of his feedings were usually about 1/2 hour long. What do ya know, it just took time. 

Latching on. It took at least a month before I felt like Gavin established a good latch. Again, it just took time. If he wasn't latching on good, I'd have to stick my little finger in his mouth, break the suction (which wow, you never realize just how strong a baby can suck until it's stuck on your boob!) and keep on re-latching him until it was right. Again, big deal... why would I let this drive me so crazy that first month?! As a parent, aren't we supposed to be patient with our kids (especially babies!), and give them time to LEARN? That's all it was- he had to learn how to latch on properly, and learning something always takes time. 

Then we get to the...well...(I'm looking for the words...)...the "Ya, it's just a part of breastfeeding" things (sorry, that's the best I could do for these things). Boob pads. Pumping. Bras- (all the time).
Ugh. Yes, just ugh.
But really- boob pads. What's so bad about them? Like everything else- you get used to them after time. I'm sure once I'm done breastfeeding it will be weird getting used to NOT using them.
And pumping- yes, it's something you have to do if you're away from your baby for feedings. But again- you get used to it and it just becomes a part of your every day.
Wearing bras, all the time, even at night for sleeping- ok, that just plain sucks. There's nothing else to that one. But, I'm used to it and I know (and dream of the day) that I eventually won't need to do that anymore! Yes, someday I will be able to go bra-less! (Haha, wow, the things that make us women excited...or at least shame y'all).

So why do I think a lot of women throw the towel in on breastfeeding?

Because they don't give it TIME. 
(and yes, I know some women truly CAN'T breastfeed, or have to stop for all kinds of other reasons, so I'm not digging any moms that have stopped breastfeeding!)

It's usually so much easier just to "give up" on breastfeeding. But if you have a deep desire to breastfeed your baby- but it just doesn't seem like you can keep up with it... GIVE IT TIME!

Don't be foolish like me- talk to someone! Call a lactation consultant- ask your doctor. Talk to SOMEONE... even just another mom who's breastfed before! Sometimes just sharing your frustrations, opens your eyes, and you see that you are NOT the only one struggling with breastfeeding.

And hey, stop worrying. That was my problem- and I realized that. At some point, I got it through my head that "wow, I am way too much of a control freak, I need to chill out, and stop worrying". That my friends, is life changing. Your mindset - it will make or break you. 

Understand that being a new parent (especially those first couple months) is so draining. Emotionally you'll be on one heck of a roller coaster and physically you'll be exhausted and drained. I think you can thank hormones for all of that. And when breastfeeding is stressing you out- of course there will be times you just want to be done with it!!

But from one mom to another- you can do it. If you have the determination to keep going with it- then don't give up out of frustration! 

Hang in there, give it time, and you will be so glad that you did! I am so unbelievably glad I stuck in there and gave it time. Now, breastfeeding is a breeze. I see so many more benefits towards breastfeeding than I ever have before! And remember, I started out hating breastfeeding... it wasn't smooth sailing the entire way for me (I'm not one of those lucky women!)  :)

But either way, your baby will love you. Boob or bottle- they'll love you the same.  

I wrote this post hoping to inspire other moms struggling with breastfeeding by showing them they are NOT alone. I was in those same shoes for a period of time, and a lot of other women are too.
I hope this gives some mamas some much needed inspiration and hope! 
Keep on keepin' on mamas!! last thing.....I don't whip my boobs out in public to breastfeed. I'm too shy for that I guess.
In case anyone was wondering.
Check out my Breast Milk Queen page for even more breastfeeding tips and insights from my own breastfeeding experience, as well as how to stock up breast milk for your sweet babe!

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