Monday, April 14, 2014

Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

It is no secret how much I love cookies. The problem is my love for baking and my lack of skills in that department don't exactly go together. I attempt recipes constantly and I'd say that only about 50 percent of them come out tasting as I had hoped. When I found this recipe on Pinterest it sounded simple enough and so I thought I'd give it a whirl! I had all of the ingredients in my pantry so I was ready to go in a matter of minutes. 

Ingredients you will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

{I used my kitchen aid mixer for the process, such an awesome tool for baking}

- Beat together the butter and peanut butter until well blended. 
- Add in sugars and beat until fluffy. 
- Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. 
-Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix  until blended. 
- Roll balls of dough in white sugar before placing on an ungreased baking sheet. 
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.  (watch carefully, oven time varies, my cookies took right at 12 minutes)
- Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer to wire baking racks until completely cooled.

Enjoy your tasty cookies!

These cookies were so so simple, and tasted great! I hope you'll give them a try!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

5 Simple Ways To Save Money With Children

One of the first things many parents will mention about having children is the financial impact it has on a family. Children do add to expenses, and sometimes it can be difficult to know how to cut costs and save money as a new parent. I thought I would compile a list of ways that our family saves. I am certainly no expert in the subject, but over the years I have found ways to help cut costs. Some of these may be stating the obvious but some just might help a new parent looking to stretch their dollars. 

1. Seek Out Sales & Coupons

I am not an extreme couponer by any means, but when I can I do try to look for coupons or sales advertisements. You might not realize that the stores you shop at may carry coupons on their websites, ready to print and use in store. For instance, has a section at the bottom of their home page for coupons that you can print. Before your next shopping trip, check the site of the store you are visiting to see if they have any coupons available for print.

If you have a smart phone, there are also apps that can help you save. For example, Target now offers the Cartwheel app with coupons that you can "clip" and use in store. All it takes is showing the bar code to the cashier and you can instantly save! Check your phones app store to see what couponing apps may be available to you.

2. Buy Store Brand When You Can

Store brand products are typically cheaper and some are fairly similar to the big brand products. Check to see if the item you are searching for is available in store brand, compare the two and perhaps give the store brand item a try! 

I really like the Up & Up (Target) brand diapers. They are quite a bit cheaper than the bigger brands and I actually like the quality better than some of the more expensive diapers as well. I've heard so many moms say that they are fans of these diapers. 

3. Take Advantage Of "Kids Eat Free" In Restaurants

Prior to having kids I was not aware just how much our dining out bill would increase. Two kids later, we've found that it has nearly doubled. Kids plates in restaurants are typically less expensive, but often still pricey and can add up quickly. A once $30 meal out is now easily $50 with kids in tow. Typically, many restaurant chains will offer a "Kids Night" (or even day depending on the place), where children eat free one day a week! There are a number of web sites on the web where you can search your city to see which restaurants offer free kids meals and on which days. A quick Google search could save you a nice chunk of change! 

4. Establish A Budget And Stick With It

This is such a simple idea. Each week we have a set amount of money that we are prepared to spend. Money set aside for food, gas, and other expenses that may come up. We print out a sheet, stick it on the fridge, and every single time we make a purchase, we write it on our sheet and deduct it from out budget. So simple. It helps with accountability to see exactly where your money is going, how often, and to what. Such an easy way to keep track of what you are spending. 

5. Sell What You No Longer Use

Especially items that your children outgrow. These are items that people are constantly looking to purchase, and if it is sitting in your home taking up space and you can do without it, sell it. If the highchair in your attic is collecting dust and you are absolutely positively never going to use it again, try selling it and putting the money towards something your child may need now (new shoes? big kid furniture?). You'll de-clutter your space and make a little bit of money while you're at it! Win win. 

These ideas are all very basic, but when you put them all together, and really give them a try, you will be surprised at the money you are saving! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Budget Friendly Toddler Styles! {Summer Edition}

I absolutely love shopping for my little ones, especially at the start of each new season when there is a fresh stock of inventory in stores. I try to keep in mind though how quickly they grow and how easily they ruin things, and I'm always searching for a good deal on clothing and shoes. I thought I'd share some of my budget friendly finds for Spring/Summer and pass along the deals to other moms! 

Native shoes are some of my favorites. They are absolutely adorable, but if you aren't looking to spend $30+ a pop, Old Navy has a line that looks similar for at least $20 LESS. Take a look!

Native Shoes {via Nordstrom}
Old Navy's similar option {via Old Navy}

They aren't exactly the same (and as with most things I am certain there will be at least some difference in quality), but the styles are similar and at only $10 a pair, you can buy THREE of these for the cost of one pair of Native shoes. Sweet deal!

I love sweet little striped shorts for boys, especially these Boden baby jersey baggies (try saying that three times fast), and though $20 a pair isn't that bad, $5-8 a pair for a similar look sure is better!

Boden Jersey Baggies {here}

Target Cherokee brand & Circo brand jersey shorts ($8 on the left, $5 on the right). Such a great bargain, and so soft and comfortable.

This Tartine et Chocolat toddler dress from Neiman Marcus is precious, but at $132..Ouch.
A similar look from Target  for only $20, is easier on the wallet for sure. 

Chambray dresses are so sweet, but this Fendi ruffle front dress for infants/toddlers is a whopping $321. 
No thanks.

How about this similar look from Old Navy? Ruffles? Check! Chambray? Check! Better price? Check check! This little dress is only $17. 

If you're looking for something a bit nautical, this Oscar de la Renta Seersucker sailor dress might catch your eye. But for $295 it might also give you a heart attack.

Don't worry, Kohls has something that is close, and still equally as adorable! And this dress is only $21!

Simple toddler polos are everywhere and have such a wide price range. This peach Janie and Jack polo is cute, and only $16.49. But Target has a similar polo for just $7. Buy two, and still save!

That is all I have for now! I hope to share more "look for less" finds with you soon. Shopping for your little ones can be fun and affordable with a little extra searching. 
Happy shopping!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five On Friday {link up}


Today I'm linking up for "Five On Friday" and sharing five random things with you all!

I am in a clothing rut. Most of my maternity items are for summer (since that is when I've been pregnant and showing in the past), and this cool weather keeps on lingering. I've been stretching my normal wardrobe just about as much as I can in an attempt to not have to purchase maternity clothes for these last few weeks before I can bust out my warm weather stash, and I don't think I'm going to make it. After an unfortunate incident at lunch today (think shirt riding wayyyy up, pants unbuttoned, bra poking out of the top), I have come to the conclusion that some "in the meantime" maternity shopping will be on my agenda this weekend. 
I plan on keeping it basic and simple. I'm tired. T-shirts it is.

I'm working on our meal planning this afternoon. I typically knock out our weekly grocery shopping either every Friday evening or the following Saturday morning. We have been eating a ton of grilled food lately. Grilled food reminds me of summer and I'll do pretty much anything to trick myself into feeling like it is summer time. My "go to" grilled side is corn on the cob. I load the corn down with butter (literally, I cover it completely), salt, and pepper. Then I wrap each piece in tin foil and place it on the grill. Super easy and absolutely delicious. Is your mouth watering? Mine is.
{photo credit Southern Living, 2006}

One of my "must purchase asap" items for baby # 3 is a personalized baby beanie from Jennifer Ann. I can't wait to see baby boy's name on a sweet little hat. Perfect for coming home from the hospital. 

If it isn't completely obvious yet, I am ready for spring (or better yet, summer). The kids have been cooped up in the house all winter and we are all a little stir crazy as a result. I cannot wait for the days of opening the back door and spending the majority of our time enjoying the sunshine. I try to have fun outdoor options for them during the summer and one of those is always a small pool to cool off in. I've started browsing Amazon for what we will get this year. So far, I have my eye on this Intex Paradise Seaside Pool. Small, inexpensive, nothing fancy but certainly will get the job done. I want to add a water table to the mix too this year. If anyone has any recommendations, please share!
{via amazon}

I need to switch out some of the floral arrangements in our home, and add to the areas that are currently lacking any. I've had tulips on my mind this year. Tulips tulips tulips. I love fresh flowers but since I have asthma and awful seasonal allergies faux will have to do! I'm hoping to get to Hobby Lobby this week and scope out what they have. 


And that concludes my "Five On Friday"! Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Letter To My Pre Baby Self

Dear First Time Mom-To-Be Me,

Those two pink lines sure showed up quickly, didn't they? You've waited and waited for the moment when that test would finally show a positive and just like that, there it is. Wait over, welcome to the journey that is bringing a human into this world. There is still so much you don't know, so much you have yet to learn. In just four years your life will be so different than it is in this moment. That sweet baby that brought those first two pink lines? Well, now she is soon to be four. She has a younger brother, and another brother on the way. Yes, you're a mom of three now. Wow. Surprised?

You're counting down the minutes until your first precious baby arrives, but please, slow down. Savor this time. Savor that moment, staring at those two pink lines. Savor each trimester, even the last one that is going to bring you incredibly swollen ankles and puffy cheeks. Soak up those days. Don't count them down, soon they'll be gone so quickly. Just a memory. 

When she arrives, you are going to feel so many emotions. You are going to be overwhelmed in every possible way. You will cry tears of joy, tears of worry, tears for just no reason at all some days. You'll constantly be waiting for each new "milestone" with such excitement. Please, don't rush them. Hold her when you are certain you've held her for too long. Pick her up at night and just smell her sweet baby scent, kiss her cheeks. Soon she'll be 3 and she won't want kisses as much. She'll ask for her space. You'll long for more time together. Hold her now, as much as you can. It won't be long before there aren't any signs of baby left in her face, no matter how hard you search for them. It will hurt, but there is more joy to come. 

Don't wait on pins and needles for her to learn to walk. Swearing that it will be "any day now". It will. And then you'll miss the days of seeing a tiny bottom scooting around the floor. When your second child comes along, you'll promise yourself that you'll pay closer attention and enjoy those little moments more, but again you'll find yourself excitedly waiting for what is next. You'll again miss those tiny baby days. Where do they even go? You'll spend so many nights asking yourself this very question. You'll never have the answer.

Before you know it you'll be halfway through your third and final pregnancy. Knowing that soon your pregnancy days will be behind you. You can't get those days back. You can close your eyes as much as you want and relive them, but once they are gone, they are gone forever. Please, appreciate these moments. Breathe them in and memorize them. You will desperately long for time to slow, but you'll find that the older you get, the quicker your babies grow and that time is precious. So precious.

Over the next four years you will know joy that you could never have imagined. You will have your patience tested continually. Dig deep for more, hold those tiny hands when the days seem exhausting and you feel defeated. Never wish a day away, no matter how trying it was. There are memories in them all. Take too many pictures, read that book as many times as they ask, play peek-a-boo as much as you can, answer the questions that they've asked you over and over again, rock them just a little longer. I promise you, you won't regret it.

Don't rush these days. There will come a day when you will wish you could rewind them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Into Spring

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. There is something so refreshing about Spring, especially after a long, cold, dreary winter. As the temps slowly begin to creep up and the flowers and trees slowly begin to bud and bloom I find myself looking for signs of Spring anywhere I can and clinging to the hope that warmer and brighter days are on the way. 

Spring is the best time to throw open the windows (assuming you live somewhere where the temperatures permit that), clean everything up, and brighten up the decor in your home. I love shopping for home decor any time but especially at the start of Spring. Bright and cheerful colors can really bring additional joy into your home. And Spring is the perfect time to spruce up the outside of your home. Here are some of my favorite Spring finds!

The Cordless Boxwood Wreath and Garland from How lovely is this? I love greenery in Spring and this would make the perfect addition to any spring porch.
{via grandinroad}

Boxed Natural Tone Eggs from World Market. These would make awesome vase fillers or the perfect addition to your entry table decor. So many possibilities on where you could place these adorable eggs. I like that these are pastel, and have a soft look to them. At only $9.99 you really can't beat the price.

Aqua Easter Bunny Storage Jar, also a World Market find. These sweet jars come in aqua or yellow. These would look wonderful with a little moss inside, or perhaps you could add your favorite Easter candy for guests? So many different purposes! Another steal at only $7.99 a jar.

Those cute little eggs pictured above would look fabulous in this Wire Bag Basket from Pottery Barn. I love the arrangement they have here. Wire baskets are very popular right now and can really be transformed to fit any season. 

Another wreath, I know, but this Forsythia Wreath from Williams Sonoma is absolutely breathtaking. Talk about a splash of color to brighten up your home and bring cheer! Bonus, it is currently on sale for less than $50. 

This Easter Bunny Jacquard Tablecloth is sure to brighten up your dining area this season. The perfect tablecloth for hosting Easter brunch. I like how subtle the bunny pattern is, not overly obvious, still very sweet and cheerful. 

And, just because I'm hooked on Williams-Sonoma and everything they have this spring (as well as the color yellow), how delicious does their "We Take The Cake Yellow Rose Cake" look? I realize this is not decor, but it certainly is perfect enough to be. Plus, who doesn't love cake?
{delicious deliciousness via Williams-Sonoma}

Thank you for checking out my "Spring Into Spring" finds. What are some of your favorite things this Spring? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Top 5 Breastfeeding Supply Picks

I knew when I was pregnant with my first child that I wanted to breastfeed. I read as much as I could about the subject, and it still was not enough for me to feel as though I was fully informed and knew what I was doing. It was so much more difficult than I had anticipated and I was too timid to seek out the help that I needed. As a result, I struggled tremendously and my milk supply dwindled. At 8 weeks postpartum my journey was over. 

With my second child I felt like I was much more informed and I was also so much more determined for it to be successful. I reached out and searched for all the information I could find, I looked to message boards and lactation consultants for advice, I did my  very best to learn as much about the subject as I possibly could. I was so thankful that I was able to successfully breastfeed my son for 13 months. It was a wonderful experience and one that I am very grateful for.

There were a few things that really helped me my second time around and I thought I would share those here in hopes that they may be of some help to another nursing mother. These things are things that I personally found useful and may not necessarily be what works for someone else. 

So here are my top 5 breastfeeding supply picks:

1 - Motherlove Nipple Cream - I found out after my first child that a good nipple cream (for me) is crucial for success in breastfeeding. I never found the "right" cream for me the first time around and it made my experience much more painful. I gave this cream a try with my second and it was absolutely amazing. I was not able to find this cream in stores, so I purchase this directly from 

2 - The Boppy Pillow - This is not something that I would necessarily consider a "necessity" but it is something that helped me both times while nursing. I used this pillow at home for additional support and to bring baby up to my level for nursing. I found it very helpful and it made nursing much more comfortable while at home. It was nice to be able to nurse and sit straight up rather than hunch over and feel uncomfortable. 

3 - Disposable Nursing Pads - Nursing pads are very important, especially for a mother who is still establishing her supply. For the first 6 weeks my breasts were fairly unpredictable. If I were to just think about my baby, my breasts would occasionally "let down" unexpectedly (this is normal). These saved me from soaking my shirt on more than a few occasions. I prefer the Lansinoh disposable pads but every nursing mother must choose what works best for them. There are many different types/brands available. Some mothers choose a washable reusable pad, I personally like the disposable pads. To each their own. Finding the pad that works best for you is important.

4 - Thera Pearl 3 in 1 Breast Therapy Pads - I discovered these soon after I had my second child. I knew that I would need something for the first few weeks to aid in my comfort. I had an extremely painful experience nursing my first child, and I wanted to be prepared for that again with my second. I figured anything that could help ease that discomfort, I should try. These pads are great because they can be heated OR cooled and can be used before or after nursing/pumping sessions to help comfort and soothe. I used these after sessions when my breasts would ache, and I used them warm (pop them in the microwave for just a few seconds). You can also use them warm, while pumping, to encourage let down. 

5 - Fenugreek - This is not something that every nursing mother will need, but for those with low milk supply issues this can be very helpful. I suffered from a low supply with both of my children. With my first, I had no idea about Fenugreek, with my second I believe this is what was able to help me continue to breastfeed for as long as I did. I started taking this around 8 weeks postpartum with my second child (with my first, 8 weeks was when my milk dried up completely). I took the vitamins daily to assist in maintaining my supply and I nursed on demand and hoped that I would not again dry up. Thankfully, I noticed a great difference after I began taking Fenugreek. My supply did not diminish and over time it was back to where it needed to be. I took these on and off during my 13 months nursing and they helped me maintain my supply. There are other methods a nursing mother can try to build and maintain supply, this is just what worked best for me. 

And there you have it! My Breastfeeding top picks! 
What are your breastfeeding "essentials"?

Please note: I was not compensated in any way by the above mentioned companies. The views expressed in this post are solely my own. I am not a medical professional nor am I an expert in breastfeeding. I am simply a mother sharing what worked best in her experiences, in hopes that someone else may find this information helpful. Please consult your physician if you have any questions regarding breastfeeding supplements or supplies.