Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby Ethan: Week 18



Happy Halloweenie!!

Today is Ethan's first Halloween and he just turned 18 weeks yesterday!  Parade!  


I mean...can you even get over this cuteness?!  We plan on going to his great-grandma's house to hand out candy and check out all the trick-or-treaters!  So excited!

Weight:  We have his official weigh-in today...I'll update later!  :)

Health: Ethan's been pretty healthy this last week.  His stuffy nose has even cleared up.  He did have this raised bumpy spot on the back of his head for several days {maybe even weeks} but it seems to be going away now.  I'll be sure to ask the doctor what it is.


Social: My dad came to visit for one night last weekend.  He hadn't seen Ethan since he was first born! So it was fun to see them interact...Ethan loved feeling his beard.  He's very into texture right now.


Sleep: Oh sleep..this one has been a toughy.  We attempted to break Ethan out of his swaddle two weeks ago to new avail.  So now he sleeps in his Halo sleep sack, swaddled.  He is still waking up at 4am to nurse and then goes right back down.  But two hours later, he starts to cry again.  So we've been taking him out to sleep in his swing, since we're both working and it's easier to pacify him this way.  Clearly...this will cause more issues for us down the road, so we need to figure out a better system.  I think our biggest downfall is that we don't "put" him down to sleep at night at a specific time.  We kind of just let him fall asleep in his swing and then I'll nurse him again around 10 before putting him in his crib.  It used to work, but I think it's becoming more of an issue than we realize.  Any suggestions on transitioning to the sleep sack are welcome!

Diet: Mama's milk...still nursing when I'm with him and pumping so he gets a bottle when he's away from me.  I'm also confirming with the doc about how much he should be getting in his bottle right now.

Clothes: 3-6 months


Baby Gear Love: We finally got Ethan his jumperoo!  And he loves it more and more each time he uses it.  At first, I don't think he knew what to make of it.  But now he's discovering that he can jump and turn and make noise.  So much fun to watch!

Crying: Usually only at night...at 4am and 6am.  


Likes: Ethan loves his toys and putting them in his mouth!  Especially Sophie and his teething rings.  He also loves to snuggle more and more...which of course I LOVE.  I can't get enough of it.  And he still loves his baths...he can kick for days in there!



Postpartum: Nothing too new here...trying to do spin and pilates a couple times a week!

Milestones: Baby's first Halloween!  So excited!!



One last sweet face!  Love my punkin!!


xo natasha

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin "Donut" Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar


Welp, it's nearly Halloween and I finally busted out the pumpkin puree.  Yay!  I had seen this recipe for "donuts" pop up on Pinterest and decided I needed to make them.  Only problem was that I did not have a donut pan on hand and I was not about to go out and buy one.  SO I used a regular muffin pan instead, and guess what?  They were still amazing!  I guess you could call these oversized donut holes...but really, they're muffins.  And they are spectacularly delicious.


Recipe via Blue-Eyed Bakers

{For Donuts:}
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

{For Coating:}
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon (more if you're a cinnamon lover)


Preheat oven 350 F.  Butter a muffin pan and set aside.
In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.
Using a ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup with the batter.  The muffin cups should be fairly full, but not overflowing. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until muffins spring back when gently pressed.  Turn muffins out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.
While the muffins are cooling, melt butter in one bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another.  When muffins are still hot (but not too hot to touch), quickly dip each muffin in melted butter, then coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Serve immediately.
*Note: If you're not going to serve the muffins immediately, you can bake them up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container.  Do not coat them in the butter/cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before serving or they may get soggy.



I opted to dip the tops of the muffins in butter and sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mixture and thought they were perfect just like that.  Serve with a nice cold glass of milk or some warm coffee in the am.  

Hope you enjoy!

xo natasha

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Riding Boots + A Contest


I received a new pair of Clarks women's boots from Online Shoes and I have fallen in love with them.  The Clarks Mascarpone are the perfect boots for fall...they have great hardware detailing and are super comfortable.  I had not heard of the Clarks brand before and now I'm wondering how that's possible!  They're great quality and are comparable to other high-end boot brands on the market.  It's got me looking at other boots by Clarks...I'm officially hooked!



Now, I need your votes!  I've been entered into a contest and will get some fun goodies if I win.  PLUS, by voting for me, you'll be entered to win this pair of Clarks boots as well.  Win-win!

Vote for me here!
{No need to sign up, just click and vote!  I promise it takes two seconds!}

 Contest ends on November 9 {at 12pm PST}.

Thanks!!

xo natasha

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy 4 Months Ethan!



Dear Ethan,

Happy 4 Months sweet boy!  I'm pretty sure this past month has been my favorite so far {and I'm positive I'll say that every month!}.  You are such a happy little guy...always smiling...talking...and playing with us.  We cannot get enough of you.  And we're not the only ones...you pretty much light up whenever you see other people...especially ladies.  You are one little ham!


I especially love that you're playing with your toys more.  The activity mat has become a new favorite all over again and you put just about everything in your mouth.  Perhaps teething is in our near future?


We've also finished up our traveling for the time being.  I'm so proud of what a good little guy you were...but I'm also excited for some down time over the next couple weeks. 


You've started going to Bonnie, your nanny, 1-2 times a week as well as spending time with your grandma and aunt while I'm at work.  You do so well though, that I don't worry one bit!  You get to play with your friend Beckett when you're at Bonnie's, which is great!  And when you're with grandma, I usually get to see you down at Daddy's work.  Then Wednesdays and Fridays are our time together.  It's really the best of both worlds!  :)


You also have been wanting to stand quite a bit more, so we tried out the jumper.  You like it OK, but I think you'll really love your jumperoo...which is on order!  We should get it this next week.  

Speaking of getting bigger...you're officially wearing your 6 month PJs...I packed away all of your 0-3 month jammies...tear!  I can't believe how much you've grown!


You got your first "big boy" bath this past month with dad.  You LOVED being in the big tub with dad and just kicked up a storm.  You love love love getting baths.  Seriously...it's your favorite part of the day.  


And you are so happy to be wrapped up afterwards too!


This past month you started rolling, which has been fun to watch!  This also prompted us to take you out of your swaddle and switch you to a sleep sack.  You are definitely NOT a fan!  In fact, we had to setup your pack 'n play in our room for a couple nights so you were close by.  But in the end, we discovered you're just not ready yet.  So for now, you're sleeping in your sleep sack, which is still swaddled.  It's a good compromise for now...we're happy you're sleeping through the night again {for both our sakes!}.


Along with other milestones...you took your first trip to Apple Hill, which you slept through most of the time, but it was still fun.  I think it will become an annual family tradition!  


We also got our first snow of the season on October 22nd!  We hadn't anticipated such an early snow, so you don't have a snow suit yet...but here's an idea of how it looked.  You of course...were happy to snuggle away in your blankets.


It's hard to believe that along with the snow, you also got to dip your toes in the pacific ocean only a month ago.  You've really seen a lot this past month of life! 


I grow more and more in love with you everyday...I love your shy smiles, big kisses and late night snuggles.  I just want to keep you this small forever, and yet I can't wait to watch you grow and get to know you better as your little personality unfolds.  You're such a joy and light in our life.


Love, Mom


Look at me grow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shoe Love: Biker Boots



From top to bottom: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

I would not consider myself a super "edgy" person when it comes to fashion...so biker books {or motorcycle boots} seem like an unlikely choice for me.  But I keep seeing these boots pop up and they seem much more practical for a mom-on-the-go like me than heeled boots.  So I'm officially hooked.  I ordered the gray suede pair and am excited to see if I can, in fact, pull them off.  If I can...then you better believe one of the UGG pair will be on my Christmas wish list this year!  ;)

What do you think about this trend?  Are you on board with this look?

xo natasha

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Street Style Shrimp Tacos



Ever since we went to San Diego a couple weeks ago {and had the pleasure of meeting Alexa in La Jolla!}, I have been seriously craving these street tacos we had there.  We went to a chic little restaurant called Puesto that had the most amazing tacos.  This is no Chipotle people, though you might mistaken it for one at first.  It has the same "line up" feel when you walk in.  But instead of burritos, it's cute little tacos.  And boy are they good!  They grill the cheese and then roll the meat inside the cheese!  It's like a little burrito made out of cheese instead of tortilla.  SO good.  And they had amazing salsas, sauces, and other fresh ingredients as well.

So we set out on recreating these bits of heaven the other night.  Here's what did:

Ingredients:

Monterey Jack Cheese
Shrimp
Olive Oil
Cholula Sauce
Fresh Lime Juice
Avocados
Cilantro
Black Beans
Mango Pineapple Salsa {store bought}
Corn Tortillas

First things first, pan fry the shrimp with a little olive oil, lime juice and Cholula sauce {to taste!}.  You want to make sure to coat the shrimp and make sure they're throughly cooked through.

Next, to the heart of the recipe.  We have a griddle, which is seriously a "must" in any kitchen...you can make pancakes, grill tacos, cook eggs, quesadillas, grilled cheese, french toast...you get the picture.  Anyway...the key to these tacos is turning griddle on high heat...don't be shy, it should be super hot and create little pools of cheese {almost like a pancake}.  As it's melting, place a line of shrimp along the melted cheese.  Then quickly roll the cheese over the shrimp...creating a little crispy cheese burrito, if you will.

Place your cheese burrito creation on the tortilla and dress with beans, avocado, cilantro and salsa of your choice.  I really like this mango pineapple version we found, but anything will work.  And then top it off with a squeeze of lime juice.

And enjoy!  These are seriously one of my favorite ways to prepare tacos.  Make them during the weeknight...make them for dinner guests...they will knock your socks off every time!

xo natasha

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello Fall! Apple Hill Festivities


This past Sunday, we took our first trip to Apple Hill, which is a cute little area comprised of apple orchards and pumpkin patches about an hour away from Tahoe.  We made the trip with Jane {of In the Pink and the Green} and her husband Cameron and had a blast picking apples, drinking pumpkin ale and consuming waaay too many apple goodies!  It was the perfect Fall day...there was even a chill in the air!  Yay for boots and scarves!  ;)


Jane and I "picking" apples!


Apples :: Mums :: Apple Spiced Donuts :: Squash :: Pumpkins


Our little family of three!


The rolling hills!


Cute little orchard


Beautiful grounds!



Pumpkin Patch!



And clearly it wouldn't be a day in Apple Hill without lots of apple trees!


Ethan slept most of the time...he did so well!  Can't wait to take him back next year when he'll be running around and eating fall food with us!

I did not get pictures of all the food, but let me break it down for you.  We had apple sausage, apple slaw, apple spiced donuts, warm apple cider, carmel apples, pumpkin ale, corn dogs AND pie.  Whew. It was quite the day...I might have had a tummy ache that night!  ;)

To see more of our adventures that day, visit Jane's blog!

And we're so glad we got this trip in because it's SNOWING in Tahoe now!  What happened to fall?!!

How is your fall going...are you experiencing chilly weather yet?

xo natasha

PS...happy birthday to my mom today!  xx

Monday, October 22, 2012

7 Ways to Refresh the Spare Room for Holiday House Guests

With the holidays around the corner, it's possible you'll be playing "hotess with the mostess" and welcoming friends and family into your home!  To ensure your guests feel welcome and enjoy their time with you, check out the below ideas.  I guarantee they won't want to leave by the end of their stay! 

Seasonal Bedding

{via}

A comfy place to land is all most guests desire. Incorporate the luxury of a hotel into your guest room by using a plush bedding collection that looks and feels fantastic. Provide guests with four pillows – two soft and two firm – to accommodate every sleeper's preference. A lightweight throw blanket draped over the bed is great for afternoon naps, and quilts tucked into the corner provide extra warmth if the room gets chilly. For added holiday cheer, decorate with throw pillows in seasonal shades of dark red, hunter green, burnt orange and brown.

Extra Amenities

{via}

Provide guests with extra amenities that will help them feel welcome and cared for in your home. A basket filled with fresh towels, a robe hanging from the door and a drawer with a new toothbrush, fresh soap, disposable razor and bath salts inside will help visitors feel comfortable. Guests will be grateful if you stock the medicine cabinet with over-the-counter pain killers and antacids, especially after eating a hearty holiday meal.


A Little Library

{via}

Keep a small stack of books near the bedside or on a shelf beside a comfy chair for guests to thumb through. Include some magazines and the daily newspaper. If space permits, use a corner to create a small reading niche. An arm chair with a small table stand and light will do. Guests may enjoy a good read before bed or an afternoon nap.


Adjustable Lighting

{via}

It's a good idea to include several sources of light in the guest bedroom. An overhead fixture provides light for most tasks while a bedside or desk lamp can soften the mood for reading or bedtime preparation. Natural light flowing into the room provides the best light, but incorporate blackout shades or curtains for privacy and uninterrupted sleep.


Midnight Snack

{via}

Despite all the delicious meals you'll be sharing, guests may still get hungry after dinnertime. A midnight snack box curbs hunger pangs, leaving visitors satisfied and sleepy. Fill the box with chocolates, crackers, dried fruit and seasonal snacks like a cheese ball or gingerbread cookies. Keep water bottles nearby, and for an extra special treat include mugs and hot chocolate packets.


Closet Space

{via}

Clear the closet and make room for guests to hang heavy winter clothes and silky formal attire. Provide sturdy hangers for all types of clothing. Make sure there is an empty space under the bed or in the closet for guests to store their luggage. If not, an armless chair in the corner of the room can serve as a luggage rack.


Fresh Flowers

{via}

For a pop of color that can liven the smallest of spaces, arrange a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase in the guest bedroom. A clear choice, tulips are available year round and provide a fuss-free shape for easy decoration. Whether you cut a few blooms from your garden or opt for a more traditional poinsettia plant, guests will appreciate the smell, color and gesture of flowers.

So tell me, do you do anything special to make your guests feel more at home?

xo natasha

Friday, October 19, 2012

Two and Three Month Favorites


Two and Three Month Must Haves

{click set for details}

I'm a little behind on this post, but I wanted to share the things that Baby Ethan loved {and I found helpful} his second and third month.

Dr. Brown's Bottles: We have a ton of different types of bottles and Ethan isn't too picky, but he seems to like Dr. Brown's the best.  The vent systems helps with gas and burping...and I hear they're great for colic too.

Swaddles: While we used the Aden + Anais blankets as swaddles in the first month, we discovered that as Ethan got stronger, they wouldn't lock him in as well.  Now, the SwaddleMe swaddles work the best.  The velcro locks his arms in and he slept wonderfully during the second and third months.  Highly recommend!

Sophie the Giraffe: The tried and true Sophie is a favorite around here.  Ethan loves to chew on the head!  We also have this teether, which he loves too.

Video Monitor: I don't know how my parents did it...relying on sound only to monitor baby's sleep?!   Craziness!  But in all seriousness...we love the video monitor.  We can see how Ethan is doing in his crib...did he spit out his pacifier?  Did he roll over?  We can zoom in and pan around his crib.  It's really one of the best inventions!

Bumbo: Since Ethan has gained head and neck support...he loves sitting in his bumbo.  It's opened up a whole new world for him.  He can play with toys in his hands and scan the room.  I really love it...and baby does too!

Whale Tub: We love this tub...it's perfect for a little baby with the insert, which prevents him from sliding down.  Ethan just kicks around and zones out in there.  And the price is great too!  Win-win.

OBall Rattle: Ethan loves this thing, mainly because it's super easy for him to grasp.  You must get the one with the rattle.

Avent Pacifier: I know a lot of people are big on the soothies and gumdrops and we have a lot of them.  But honestly, Ethan loves this brand the best.  He can hold it in his mouth easily and rarely pops it out.  

Lovey: Ethan loves cuddling with blankets and lovey blankets are the best!  Especially in the warmer weather where a full-size blanket is just too hot. 

I hope this helps...I am looking forward to the next couple months as Ethan does less sleeping and more interacting!  I anticipate that the 4 & 5 month favorites will be more exciting!  ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baby Ethan: Week 16


Weight: Not sure, but he should be 12+ pounds now.

Health: We think Ethan had a little cold this past week.  He had a runny nose, little cough and raspy voice.  It didn't seem to impact him too much, but I've gotten friendly with the syringe.  I even thought about breaking out the Nosefrida!


Sleep: I feel like we've officially digressed in this section.  While Ethan sleeps ok, he is now getting up at 4am to feed, no matter what time we put him down.  It's not too big of a deal, except I can't seem to get to bed before 11pm and lately the dog has decided he needs a 2am potty break.  No fun.  We're also swaddling Ethan with one arm out since he is starting to roll.  I need to buy a sleep sack stat!


Social: I'm adding social back in as I think it's taken on a new meaning...more of what we're up to as opposed to visitors.  We're officially done with wedding season, which is bittersweet!  Ethan did so well traveling and it was great to introduce him to more of our friends and family.  This past weekend, we had no plans, which was awesome!  We got together with family and took a Sunday stroll.  OH and we had his 3 month photos taken...cannot wait to see them! 


Diet: 100% Mama's Milk.  Being back at work has definitely been an adjustment in this regard.  I pump 2x a day, while at work, and produce anywhere from 3-8+ ounces.  Since we have Ethan eating about 8 ounces when I'm at work, I'm finding that I need to make up the shortage on my days at home with him.  All good fun!
Clothes: Baby E still fits in 0-3 month onesies and other clothing, but he's officially in 3-6 month pj's.  We've also transitioned him to size 2 diapers.


Baby Gear Love: I recently bought him some new teethers and we got a chewbead neckalce as a gift, both of which he really enjoys.  

Also!  Ethan is starting to like to stand {lock out his legs} more and more.  So we want to get him an exersaucer or jumperoo.  Any recommendations?


Crying: Poor little guy does not like having a stuffy nose {who does?!} and so he's been upset about that this past week.  But I'm still sticking by the fact that he is mild mannered...he's an easy going baby for the most part.


Likes: Ethan loves his blankies and has to have them right next to his face to fall asleep for naps.  He also still cracks up over my fake sneezing and recently, Wilson {our dog} was "talking" {aka friendly growl} and Ethan was just laughing a ton over that.  Best friends!  We also think he enjoys watching baseball {aka TV}.  Oops!  We need to buy some Baby Einsteins sooner than later!


Ethan is also becoming much more engaged with his activity mat.  It's crazy how much bigger he looks in there now, as compared to several weeks ago!

Postpartum: Nothing too new here...still losing too much hair and not enough baby weight.  ;)

Milestones:  Nothing too big this week, just getting stronger by the day!  We can hold him like a "big baby" which means he supports his head all on his own and prefers to peep over our shoulders when we walk around.  He's not a fan of being cradled like a baby, unless he's super tired.  This little guy wants to be in the action and not miss anything!



 xo natasha 

PS...I'm not sure if anyone else uses Google+ for photo editing but it looks like it's doing something funky to resize pictures therefore making them more pixelated.  Anyone else having this issue? 
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