Archive for June 2014

Homemade Applesauce and Cuisinart Giveaway!

June 30, 2014

There is nothing quite like homemade applesauce....it's been a favorite in our house for over a year now....and it's SUPER easy to make!

When Hudson started eating purees, I made 95% of his food...and I'm so glad I did. It was worth the effort (which really is minimal) in my opinion. And even though I don't puree his food any more, I still make applesauce for him, because it's his absolute favorite! 

 photo IMG_7318.jpgThis time around I used the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker to steam and puree the apples...and it couldn't have been easier! I really wish I had this when I was making Hudson's food...it would have made everything 10 times easier. If you are thinking about making your own baby food I saw go for it! The time it takes is minimal and the Cuisinart makes it super simple. I used two organic apples, water, and a little bit of cinnamon for our applesauce. 

 photo IMG_7320.jpgFirst, peal and chop two apples and add in water (the recipe book will tell you how much to add). And the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker did the rest. 

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It steamed the apples for about 20 minutes and then I switched it to chop to puree it all. I added a few pinches of cinnamon and that was it! You can add a little sugar if you need to, but I've never had too...the apples are naturally sweet!

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The applesauce turns out so yummy every time! It's a staple in our house for sure. 

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And this little guy couldn't wait to try it out! We use these reusable pouches and love them. 

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See what I mean? Such a easy and healthy way to put a smile on my boy's face! Love it!

Cuisinart Baby Food Maker Giveaway!


Want to win a Cuisinart Baby Food Maker of your own? All you have to do is visit the Cuisinart Baby Recipe page and come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you like about the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and leave a link to your favorite recipe. 

U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends July 21, 2014

When it comes to baby food it’s hard to stay on top of ingredients, consistencies and servings - getting the facts straight can be extremely confusing. This powerful machine steams, chops and purees your nutritious ingredients with ease making homemade baby food the gold standard for your baby. The generous 4-cup work bowl produces large batches of vegetables, meats and even fruits that you can freeze and store for convenient future use. Make baby food in 3 simple steps, first steam raw ingredients by using the integrated measuring cup to add the right amount of water. Next start by first chopping the ingredients then puree for quick and easy baby food with a perfectly smooth consistency every time!

 Many thanks to Cuisinart for sponsoring today's story, and keeping Hudson healthy with quick, homemade meals!


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Adventure is out there!

June 26, 2014

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Besides obviously being awesome when he grows up, I think Hudson might one day become a explorer. This little man can't wait to get outside and play and explore everything around him.

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Watching him discover and learn new things has been such a joy. 

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One of the first things out of his mouth when we get home from daycare during the week is "outside? outside? outside?" How can I say no to that?

 photo IMG_7294.jpgAnd of course Wrigley is always right by his side. I could just eat these two up.


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I can't wait to have more fun adventures with my boy. We are going to have to buy stock in sunscreen with two redheads in our family now! (Hudson's awesome shirt was a gift from a local boutique) ***Some of you are concerned that Hudson rolled his ankle in this photo....he didn't! Just clumsy toddler walking. He's fine! xoxo

Since we are spending more and more of our time outside, I would LOVE to pretty up our outdoor living space!

We totally need this hammock. I can imagine us all piling in on it and reading books, watching the stars.....or sipping on a glass of wine once Hudson goes to bed!

I'm sort of obsessed with succulents lately and think I NEED this garden box, don't you? Wouldn't it be lovely on our deck? 


All of these items can be found at Outdoor Trunk! Outdoor Trunk was created with this purpose:
To provide you with the tools, tips, and unique treasures to maximize enjoyment and connection to your outdoor space - to help you create a social landscape.

We want to get back to our roots. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Barbecue, throw a party for your favorite friends and family, garden, soak up the sun in a hammock with a book and a glass of wine! Outdoor Trunk hopes to build community, shape neighborhoods and bring everyone together by creating warm, welcoming, outdoor social landscapes.

There are many ways to enjoy and build a social landscape, and we’re here to support and inspire those ideas and future memories you’ll have in your outdoor space.

Social landscaping is about letting people in, allowing your space to sing with personality, to tell YOUR story. It’s the key to unlocking doors and opening them to all the possibilities that relationships can inspire. Social landscaping is the central focus of all facets of Outdoor Trunk where the website, blog, videos and other projects help teach how weaving the textures of our environment into our daily lives brings happiness and joy and allows us to relish in the most simple of things – sharing laughter and a cup of tea with a neighbor, reading a book in a hammock, having a glass of wine and winding down from your day with loved ones in a warm, welcoming environment. It’s a movement Christa, the owner of Outdoor Trunk, is determined to share, spread and help grow. Check out Outdoor Trunk's fun 4th of July section here

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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Dianna from Our Sweetened Life

June 25, 2014

Hello everyone! My name is Dianna from Our Sweetened Life where I write about all things I find inspiring...life, family, interior decor and food!  I’ve been married to my husband for about two years and our daughter, Laina, was born on January 14, 2014 and is now four months old. I'm happy to report that she is exclusively breastfed! We have had quite the journey together since her birth and I'm thrilled for the opportunity to share it with you. 

Our breastfeeding journey began before I gave birth to Laina. While pregnant, I had my expectations and hopes of how her birth would go (drug free and natural) and I never ever considered giving her formula. I also knew that I would be going back to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave so I would be pumping at work. My goal is at least a year. Well her birth didn't go as planned and we had just about every complication possible with inductions (she was a full two weeks late and the hospital wouldn't let us wait any more). After her C-section delivery, she was immediately taken to the NICU because we both developed a fever during labor. So I didn't get to hold her, touch her or put her to my breast immediately after birth. The hospital knew our plan for breastfeeding and understood the importance of getting the baby to my breast as soon as possible. So even though it was about two hours after her birth, I was finally taken to her in the NICU where she was put to my breast...and she took immediately! She nursed for about 10 minutes. I was elated and we were all cheering! 

For the next three days we stayed at the hospital, I went over to the NICU and nursed her throughout the day. They urged me to sleep at night and they gave her formula. I wasn’t thrilled about that, but I also knew that I needed the rest. (I had to be at my best for Laina’s sake). Thankfully, she didn't show any signs of nipple confusion at that point! Before leaving the hospital, I became sick to my stomach. No one could figure out what was going on but I knew something with me wasn't right. But, they discharged me anyways. The day of discharge, my milk came in and boy did it come in! The engorgement was PAINFUL (it felt like fire) and even though I put Laina to my breast often, I just couldn't get relief. So I had to use a hand pump between feedings to release the pressure! There were plenty of times that I "sprung a leak" and milk would be literally FLOWING out of me, all over the place. The worst was in the middle of the night when I would feed her and the other nipple would be spewing milk all over the place. I didn't know what to do with all this milk and I never expected I would have such an oversupply! 

Unfortunately, as I suspected something was wrong with me, something definitely was. Two days after being discharged from the hospital, I was admitted to the Emergency Room and went through every test under the sun to figure out what was wrong with my stomach. We suspected gall bladder or bowel obstruction, but what turned out was an inflamed stomach lining (gastritus) due to the heavy medication I was given during the birth of Laina. It was a huge relief to not need emergency surgery, but I had to "ride it out" and eat saltines and broth for a week. During the testing, the Dr. wanted to give me a type of contrast that would prevent me from being able to breastfeed for 24 hours. I said: No Way! It was so soon after Laina's birth and I feared that if we didn't breastfeed for 24 hours, we would lose the bond, the latch, everything. In my mind, I felt that we already didn't have the birth I wanted and there was no way breastfeeding was going to get screwed up!

The gastritus worked itself out after a week or so. I was incredibly weak for what seemed like forever. Between the C-section inciscion, lack of nutrition and the baby taking virtually everything I had (which wasn't much), I barely got off the couch for three weeks. Those first few weeks of breastfeeding were very tough, but we got through each hurdle, one by one. Laina and I had a lot of the typical issues. Her latch was shallow to begin with, so her pull was very pinchy and painful.  Laina also preferred the left breast as opposed to the right. She would cry every time I put her to the right one. I also realized that my let down was really fast (and still is). She would pull off, choking and would get squirted in the face! So to remedy that issue, I had to hand express for a few minutes to release the pressure before she could latch on and stay on. In addition, I learned that feeding her while I was sitting up, was making things even more difficult for her with my fast let down. I found new positions such as leaning back and side lying was incredibly helpful. Side lying is probably still our favorite!

Just as we got into a groove with our breastfeeding routine, I developed a milk blister on my left breast. Of course, the breast she loves! The milk blister is similar to a blocked duct, pain-wise. There was a lot of pain concentrated to this large white blister beneath my nipple. Every feeding was excruciating and between feedings I applied a warm compress. The milk blister lasted about 3 days and I'm so thankful it's over. I received a lot of help and advice through an online breastfeeding support group that I am part of. New and old moms post questions and scenarios daily and even though I may not have a particular problem someone else is dealing with, I still learn a lot.

I've been back to work for a month now and Laina is still receiving 100% breast milk! I pump at work which is unpleasant, but I still wouldn't have it any other way. At night and on the weekends I ditch the pump and solely breastfeed. Some days I’m really tired and don’t feel like pumping in the morning, but I know I have to. I know it’s a normal feeling. I mean, Laina has been growing solely because of everything I’m giving her! It’s incredible that we can provide for our babies by what our own bodies make. It’s incredible that our milk changes as our babies get older, adapting to their needs. It’s a true gift. There hasn’t been a moment where I wanted to stop, just moments here and there where I’m utterly exhausted. I’m proud to say we are still going strong!

One thing I kept telling myself and Laina over and over again was that we are both figuring it out together. When her latch was too shallow, when she hated the right breast, when we had to lie down all the time, when she would pull off my breast, practically taking the nipple with her, I would tell myself that she's learning how to breastfeed just like I'm learning what's best for both of us. When Laina latches on, I thank her. I talk out loud to her while she’s feeding and tell her she’s doing so great. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the amazing resources available to me and that we are still breastfeeding. While Laina is still just four months old, I don't plan to start weaning until she's about a year old. Even then, I'd still like to continue if she wants to continue. 

Some of my favorite moments of breastfeeding are seeing and feeling her small, chubby hand on my breast, her little mouth darting around trying to find my nipple and when her eyes start closing because she's so satisfied. This journey has had some tough times, but a lot of amazing moments as well and I wouldn't have it any other way. For anyone thinking about breastfeeding, I think I would say to definitely try to seek out a support group. Connecting with other breastfeeding mothers will help and you will learn so much. Also, take each thing one at a time. Some days will be hard, but others won’t be so hard and you will have sweet, sweet moments with your baby to cherish. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself. The less stress and pressure you have, the easier your journey will be, promise. And finally, your breastfeeding journey is unique to you and your baby. No two babies are the same and no two stories are the same. Enjoy your journey for what it is, even if it’s not what you expected. You will get there!

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.


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What I'm lovin' now

June 24, 2014

country living love list
I just got the July/August edition of Country Living Magazine and oh my word it is filled with so many adorable things....I just had to share a few of my favorites! I mean, how adorable is that pig pouch? I'm dying over it. And that gold tray???? Yes please! Those marshmallows are made with cane sugar and real fruit....yum! And how sweet is that vintage camper bird house? They also make a dog house version that I'm loving! And that pom pom dog bed is too cute for words....if only I didn't fear that Wrigley would tear off and eat every single one of those poms, it would be in my shopping cart right now!

What's your favorite?


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Vacation all I ever wanted....or not

June 23, 2014

This past weekend my husband and I decided to be spontaneous. Or as spontaneous as you can be with an almost 2 year old in tow. We took Friday off of work and decided to head north for a little beach vacation...just the three of us. So, insert all of our glorious vacation photos here. Or not.

Turns out? Traveling with an almost 2 year old is dang near impossible.

 A lot of things worked against us for this trip. It poured rain the day we arrived....and seeing as though we were in a small beach town, there wasn't much we could do inside. So we walked in the rain and tried to entertain our busy boy. Hudson wouldn't eat dinner or sleep that night....so that was fun. 

 Thankfully the next morning was perfect and Hudson LOVED playing at the beach. He could have stayed there all day.

 He even got his toes wet in the water with daddy....it was way too cold for mama.

It was so peaceful, we could have stayed there forever....except it started raining again. 

Which led to a certain little boy having an EPIC meltdown. Which then led to mama and daddy having a meltdown too and deciding to ditch our hotel and head back home. Exhaustion + a crabby boy can make you do crazy things.

Hudson passed out in the car (finally!) and we got a little peace. Our egos and wallets were a little bruised, but we survived.

And we were all much happier once we made it home. My neighbor, who has twin 5 year old boys and another boy who is 3, told me we were brave for even trying to go on a vacation. Please tell me it won't always be like this?

I'm thankful to have my normal, well-rested, busy boy back. Maybe we'll try again next year. Maybe.


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