Peanut Power Bites

With toddlers, it’s not always easy to get plenty of protein in their diet. My daughter is a pretty good eater, but, she has those days (just like we do!) when she doesn’t want anything super nutritious. I love finding recipes that are tasty and incorporate healthy proteins! The recipe below can be tweaked to fit your needs as well!

Peanut Power Bites
Kid-friendly protein bites!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups oats
  2. 1 cup nut butter (salted)
  3. 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or currants, cranberries, etc.)
  4. 1/2 cup honey (or preferred sweetener)
  5. 4 scoops Kids Daily B-Centered Nutrient Booster Powder (or your protein powder of choice)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into bowl. Mix well. Mold into small 1 inch balls and refrigerate overnight in tightly sealed container before serving.
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Breastfeeding Awareness Month + Lansinoh SmartPump, Bessie’s Best Lactation Cookies, & Mason Bottle GIVEAWAY!

AUgust 2016 (1)

With a second baby on the way, nursing is going to be making a comeback in my day-to-day life! This time around, I am working full-time and pumping will be a big part of my routine. I always get excited when National Breastfeeding Awareness Month rolls around because I know how many moms truly struggle with this aspect of motherhood and it is HARD. And mamas who don’t nurse, I still love you, too, and, support you on your journey of motherhood! You’re all amazing.

From my pictures and stories, it may seem like breastfeeding came so easily to me and my daughter. It sure started out easily in the hospital – perfect latch, ate like a monster, plenty of wet diapers. I was convinced something had to be wrong… it can’t be THIS easy can it? The answer? NOPE. It cannot be that easy. When we got home from the hospital, it was like my daughter totally forgot what the heck she was doing. Her latch hurt, she cried, I cried. It was a mess. I was exhausted and convinced I was doing something so wrong. Some days, I lost my determination to keep going and bottles looked SO appealing. My husband was and is my rock. His encouragement is literally one of the biggest blessings in my life. He saw me struggle and he knew I was struggling. I’m sure he thought it would be easier to just give bottles instead. But, he also knew how badly I wanted to breastfeed and he encouraged me to keep fighting for that. So I did. We did. My daughter did. And we succeeded. We finally got back into a groove and a routine. We had some hiccups along the way, but, we did it. We nursed until she was 2 years old and I am so proud! I think if I hadn’t gone back to work, she probably would have still nursed at least a couple times during the day and night for a bit longer. I have such a special place in my heart for my nursing mamas, whether you’ve nursed for 2 minutes or 2 years.

So, with National Breastfeeding Week wrapping up and it being Breastfeeding Awareness Month , I am so excited to show you some of my favorite products for nursing mamas and there’s an AMAZING giveaway thrown in here too ;) Woo hoo!

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Packing the Hospital Bag!

 

Hospital Bag

Packing the hospital bag.

I’d say this task was even more daunting than packing the diaper bag after the kiddo had arrived earth-side, and now, we’re going to be doing it all over again! I had no idea what my experience was going to be like, what things I’d need the most, what would comfort me the most, and add in “end of pregnancy” hormones… yikes.

Once we got to the hospital, I didn’t even use a ¼ of the things I had packed. When people tell you to only pack the essentials, they’re right. But, what ARE the essentials?! Obviously, the essentials are different for every person, but, I’d like to think that us mamas can agree on some things :)

So, if you are seriously stressing about what to toss in your hospital bag before that buddle of joy (or bundles of joy!) arrive, read on!

Plus,  I’ll be adding a list of top suggestions that all of you wonderful mamas submitted to me!

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Top Essentials from Mamas Like You!

CrunchyOnTheWeekend.com

 

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The Art of Marriage With Kids

marriage

Marriage after kids is a completely different animal compared to marriage before kids. Marriage is hard work and takes effort. If someone tells you otherwise, don’t believe it. And, don’t believe every photo and tweet and post on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to share only a sliver of our life with others, and let’s be honest, we always show the best of the best instead of our worst. It’s easy to see others with a “perfect” life and feel jealous. Always remember that nothing is perfect. Having a solid, real marriage with bumps and imperfections is more important than trying to look the best on your Instagram.

My husband and I had a pretty solid relationship before welcoming our daughter into the world. We weren’t perfect and never wanted to be and we still aren’t. He puts up with my stubbornness and indecisiveness. I put up with his everything (ha!) :)

After bringing a child into the world, we were in this new unchartered territory of our relationship. Some days, it felt like we were just totally out of sync and couldn’t stand each other and other days, I felt like I was going to completely burst with the love in my heart. Add in some postpartum depression and anxiety and it could get WEIRD. But, throughout all of those huge adjustments, my heart full of bursting love wins each day no matter what, even if I’m not the best at showing it.

Throwing kids into the mix makes certain aspects of marriage trickier than before, but, it is so crucial to focus on your marriage and relationship so you can teach your little ones about some important qualities in a strong, healthy relationship. It’s a constant effort and we’re still trying to figure it out, but, we TRY to remember to do the things below! We’re working on all of these and it’s sometimes a struggle to fit them into our schedule. That’s real life though! It’s always a work in progress, and, taking baby steps is better than no steps at all.

For a simple, printable list (without descriptions) of the following, click here!

Date each other– just because you’re married now doesn’t mean you should stop dating each other. Make sure you set time aside each week, month, whatever, for just the two of you- no kids, no distractions. You don’t have to go out every time or spend a ridiculous amount of money. Stay in, order pizza, get some beers, and watch a movie or play video games. Make a nice dinner together and snuggle on the couch with a drink afterwards. Enjoy each other without any distractions- simple as that.

Unwind together– we’re still working on this and trying to make it a routine. Find something comforting and relaxing that you can enjoy together at the end of the day. Lately, we’ve been using our new electric kettle (AMAZING- thanks Rosewill for creating this amazing kettle that we use every day!) to enjoy a cup or two of tea in the evening after our kiddo has gone to bed. Even if we watch TV while drinking it, it’s still something we’re sharing. It’s amazingly relaxing and helps you to unwind after a long day of life and having to be an adult!

Exercise together– this is another one we are working on. My body is a mess so we’ve decided that some light yoga is a good start so I don’t kill myself ;) We’ve tried once so far and it was an epic failure trying to do some relaxing yoga with a rambunctious toddler slapping us in the face and tickling us when we have our eyes closed…not our best plan. However, for me, I push myself harder and put more effort in when I’m working out with my love. He motivates me and that is extremely important.

Pray together– if you are religious, this is something that will bring you so much closer. It’s awkward at first and it’s still awkward for us, because, neither one of us is an out-loud prayer. Knowing what’s weighing heavy on your partner’s mind is huge, and, seeking God together is an extremely bonding act. We also enjoy doing devotional plans through the YouVersion app- there are a ton of plans for every aspect of marriage. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend watching “War Room”- whether you have the strongest marriage out there or your marriage is about to break its last thread, watch it. I can guarantee you will take something from it that can only do good for you and your partner.

Talk together– simple as that. Don’t just have the typical day-to-day conversations. REALLY talk WITH each other. Discuss things you’re passionate about. Discuss your fears and troubles. Discuss the joy in your life. Discuss real life and how it isn’t exactly how you pictured it, but, you’re still grateful and blessed. After we had our daughter, she was nursing non-stop and sleep was not on our radar. Instead of me being awake by myself nursing her, my husband would get up, too, and we honestly had some of the greatest talks and discussions during those late night/middle of the night feedings. We learned so much about each other and ourselves. That was one of my absolute favorite things after bringing our sweet girl home.

Support & respect each other– this is a hugely important aspect of any relationship. It’s not always easy to remember because daily life moves in and we forget that our partners need more than just hugs, kisses, and other physical affection (although very important also!). Try to remember to build your partner up. Ask what is weighing heavily on their mind or if there is something they need from you. It means more than you think.

Make time for *ahem* “the fun stuff”– But seriously, physical intimacy is an important aspect of marriage. It is bonding in a completely different way. Make time for it because it is extremely important to nurture that bond and special aspect of your marriage.

Never stop working on your marriage– this one is hard, because, some days, it is really easy to get lost in the everyday routine. Even if you think you have the strongest marriage in the world, you can always benefit from cultivating an even greater amount of love and understanding in your relationship. Cherishing your bond is crucial. If you’re not working on your relationship, it becomes easy to turn into “roommates” versus spouses and partners in life.

Check out the following info-graphic with the most recent marriage figures thanks to For Your Marriage!

Click to enlarge :)

Marriage Snapshot in the U.S.

 

Marriage is a daily work in progress. You’ll have “off” days, good days, terrible days, and amazing days. All that matters is how you handle each day and how you can improve on yourself and your marriage.

What is your favorite part of marriage? What do you struggle the most with? I’d love to hear it! :)

 

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Diaper Bag Must-Haves!

Image courtesy of Pottery Barn
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

Packing the diaper bag. This was a daunting task as a new parent.

“How many diapers should I bring?”

“Do I have enough outfits in case of an ‘explosion'”…and we all know what kind of explosion I’m talking about!

“Will I really need ALL of this stuff?”

“This bag is SO heavy!”

It’s tough and I’m pretty sure it took me almost the entire first year to realize that I was over packing the diaper bag and honestly never used half of it during any given trip out somewhere! 

So, what DO you pack in the diaper bag?

I’ve narrowed the list down to the 15 items that I ALWAYS carry and things that come in handy and I use frequently. Hopefully it helps you, too!

  1. DIAPERS. This is definitely one of the most important things to remember to pack. With a newborn, we went through SO many diapers. It was inevitable that our girl would have a massive pee or poop while out. We always kept a good handful of diapers on hand and always checked/restocked before leaving the house. Now that she’s almost 2, we don’t carry nearly as many!
  2. Wipes– Self-explanatory. Wipes can be used not only for diaper changes, but, sticky hands, messy faces, minor spills, and other quick clean ups. We always keep a good stock of wipes in the bag. 
  3. Changing Pad– we love our folding travel changing pad! It makes it so much easier to change the kiddo and prevents us from having to lay her on the not-so-clean public changng tables or the floor- for those places who obviously still don’t realize that people (including Dads) need to change their babies.
  4. Daddy Caddy*- Speaking of diaper changing Daddys, the Daddy Caddy is an awesome alternative to having to carry the diaper bag. It not only carries the essential diapers and wipes, it also has separate zippered pouches to store Dad’s essentials while out with the kiddo. It can be hung from a belt loop so Dad’s hands are free to wrangle the kiddos and he’s not stuck carrying the usually feminine diaper bag! ;) Great idea for the simple and no fuss Dads in your life!
  5. “Butt Cream”– Not the classiest term for diaper ointment, but, it’s our term :) Our daughter only got diaper rash a couple times (thanks to a swim diaper and again thanks to a stomach bug and the consequences of that…). Keeping an extra tube of cream in the diaper bag and using it at every changing makes our lives so much easier!
  6. Disposable bags for dirty diapers– not a necessity, but, super convenient when you’re out somewhere and the little one has a terrible, horrible, gag-inducing diaper. These bags typically come in scented varieties and they help trap in the stink when you have to toss them in the trash can or worst case scenario…keep it in the diaper bag until you get home.
  7. Kandoo Wipes*– these wipes are awesome for the potty training kiddos in your life. You can even use these wipes for quick clean-ups. They smell amazing too! We seem to use them mostly for little messes and sticky hands while out and about. 
  8. Germbloc Hand Cream*– Let’s be honest, hand sanitizer is a mom’s best friend most days. One problem? Hand sanitizer is SO drying for our skin, let alone our kiddos’ skin! Plus, it never smells very nice. We started using GermBloc’s hand sanitizer cream and I refuse to use anything else anymore. It’s actually creamy and it smells like peppermint. It leaves no gross smell or residue after you use it. Your hands feel soft and moisturized. It’s completely alcohol free and has 7 moisturizers, 2 vitamins, and 6 botanical extracts inside. My favorite part is that you can buy them in various sizes including a super convenient travel size with a carabiner to attach to your bag. They also carry a spray which is perfect for going out to eat and spraying the table and high chair off before your kiddo rubs their hands all over it. It’s a mama necessity :)
  9. Snacks– Self-explanatory. Kids get hungry. Moms get hungry. Kids and moms get grumpy if hungry. Always take snacks! One of our favorite on-the-go snacks is Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit. They come in 7 different varieties and our kiddo pretty much loves all of them (and so do we!) The most unique one is Freeze Dried Grapes…sounds strange, but, they are AMAZING. For the not-so-adventurous, they have the basics like Freeze Dried Cinnamon Apples and Bananas and Strawberries. All delicious and no weird ingredients or additives. Just the fruit, and when necessary, cinnamon. You can buy them in re-sealable pouches so they’re perfect for the diaper bag or car.
  10. Germ X Wipes– Okay, fine. I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for antibacterial and no germ wipes. I’m not a fanatic about it, but, I like having a variety of tools when we go places where other people are not always so clean. Germ X wipes are my favorite because they smell good, they don’t tear, they aren’t too dry or too wet, and they can wipe any gross surface you encounter.
  11. Light Blanket– we always carried a light blanket in the bag until just a few months ago. The light blankets are perfect for if baby falls asleep somewhere, if you want to cover up while nursing somewhere (or if baby is distracted), if you need to lay baby down somewhere that doesn’t have a changing table (just be sure to wash it ASAP when you get home), etc.
  12. Clothes– extra clothes for baby and at least an extra shirt for mama. When kiddos are in the infant and baby stage, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need changes of clothes. There’s no denying it. When our girl was itty bitty, I always carried extra shirts for myself in the bag too because I knew that I’d either leak breastmilk on myself or get spit up on. And, there’s just some days that you don’t feel like walking around with leaky boob marks or baby spit up on yourself.
  13. Extra boob pads– speaking of leaky boobs…if you’re a nursing mama, don’t forget the extra boob pads (breast pads if you want to be technical about it). During those first few months of nursing, I could fill a boob pad with milk instantly and it was not comfortable. Plus, keeping those wet pads on your nipples for too long is a breeding ground for not-so-nice things that can cause rashes, cracked nipples, thrush, and possibly mastitis.
  14. Dreft To Go Pen*- for those clothes that just didn’t make it without an accident, our go-to is the Dreft To Go pen. This thing is awesome. Not only is it small and compact, it helps to get rid of stains right away and keep them from setting until you can get home and wash them. Babies and kids are always messy, and now, you can maybe save that adorable, one-of-a-kind onesie instead of having to throw it away. Plus, Dreft is perfect for babies and is a little gentler on their sensitive skin and does not affect the flame-resistance capability of your baby’s sleepwear.
  15. Cell Phone– this is a necessity for me. Not only is it just for safety reasons in case there is an emergency, but, this is how I take the majority of my photos. Perfect for capturing photos out and about and for impromptu trips! Also, one of my new favorite things is the CardNinja pocket. It adheres to the back of your phone (or phone case) and you can fit a bunch of cards (up to 8), cash, etc. in it for quick trips. I LOVE it. I can keep all my important cards in there if we go somewhere quick or someplace that I can’t or don’t want to carry my purse/wallet. It’s stretchy and secure and the adhesive holds well. It has become a must have for me lately :) 

 

So, now that you have our go-to’s and favorite items to keep in the diaper bag, it’s time to pack yours! My biggest tip is try not to overpack. Test out the contents of your diaper bag with a few regular trips out and see what you actually use. If you NEVER use something, it’s probably safe to take it out. Don’t forget to take things that are suitable for your own child- we don’t take little toys with us every time, but, you may have a little baby who needs something to teeth on or play with to avoid a meltdown. Tweak this list as you see fit and you’ll have an awesomely packed diaper bag!

 

What is your #1 MUST HAVE item to carry in the diaper bag!? Also, stay tuned for a Hospital Bag Must Haves edition ;)

 

*Crunchy on the Weekend sometimes receives complimentary items to review on the blog. The items marked by asterisks above are products that I have received complimentary in exchange for my HONEST review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced by any other factors. I decide which items I will post reviews of and I will never recommend an item that I wouldn’t use myself. My reviews are just that- my reviews. If you are unhappy with an item that I have reviewed on my blog, I will not be held liable. If you have questions, please contact me at crunchyontheweekend@gmail.com.

 

 

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