Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Having a Baby? May the Force Be With You!

I have so many friends who are about to have babies that I thought I would share some baby survival tips. I've shared a few of these before when I talked about surviving the first six months with a baby here and also in another post here. In random order, here are some things you should know, baby mamas:
  • Paper Towels - Let's talk paper towels. I'm not sure what exactly I use so many for but we go through about one roll every two days. So my first piece of advice is to have plenty of paper towels on hand. Go to Sam's or Costco a little before your due date and stock up on paper products so you won't have to get out for a while. Don't forget toilet paper too! Sorry, trees! I recycle, I promise!
  • Baby Wipes - Wipes are kinda like paper towels. I use a lot of them, and for way more than cleaning baby behinds. They're great for wiping up spills, taking off mascara, cleaning up boogers, giving yourself a bath...hey we don't all have time for a shower during the sleepless newborn days. Kidding. So stock up! I always buy wipes in bulk.
  • Amazon Prime Membership - This will be your very best friend. It can be dang near impossible to leave the house with a baby sometimes. Especially if the babe is asleep and you have to catch up on reality TV. With a simple click, you can order just about anything right to your doorstep. And it includes free 2-day shipping! This is great for when you run out of paper towels and wipes. So if you're not already, get set up on Amazon Prime before baby comes.
  • Babysitters - This is a complicated subject. Babysitters are like housekeepers. You can't steal them from friends. You've gotta find your own. And it can take some time to get a few good ones. We found a phenomenal one on Care.com. She happened to also be a local university (TCU) student majoring in nursing so I felt an element of trust with her from the beginning. Care.com may sound like a creepy way to find babysitters to you, but trust me, when you haven't been out in a while you'll look for a babysitter just about anywhere. OK, maybe not anywhere, but you know what I mean. Another great babysitter resource is checking with your baby's teachers if they are enrolled in Mother's Day Out (which I HIGHLY recommend). Everyone needs me time. I'll openly admit it: I'm a MUCH better mom when I am able to get time to myself. No shame here. My best advice is to start looking for babysitters before your baby is even here! Or at least get started on it when they are still teeny tiny so that when you are ready to par-tay, you're covered. And these days, by par-tay, I just mean go to dinner, have a few drinks, and if you're feeling crazy, go to bed at 12:00. GEEEEEZ those 6:30 am wakeups come SO soon. This brings me to my next piece of advice....
  • Phases - Remember that everything is a phase, and your "phases" may be different from what the books say they should be. For example, my child rarely sleeps past 6:30 am. And sometimes he is up earlier than that. (Why do those mornings seem to ALWAYS be after one too many adult beverages and a 1:00 am bedtime?) Babies need 12 hours of sleep right??? Wrong. Mine is an early riser and as much as I have tried to change it, he just won't sleep late. I have read every book and tried every theory, and I have finally just accepted it. And don't even get me started on all the people who suggest to me to put him to bed later to make him sleep in...my child can go to bed at midnight people, and he's still up when the sun rises. I do try to leave him in his crib as long as possible in the morning. He'll roll around and talk to himself and then start screaming for "da-da." He knows who the softie is. Maybe my next one will sleep in? Please? God, are you there? Not sure where I'm going with this but babies go through lots of phases. One week they sleep great, one week they don't, one week they love bananas, the next week they don't. Try not to get too stressed and realize that it may not have anything to do with how you are parenting. They are little people with their own little personalities and will act accordingly. Joy!
  • Diaper Rash - Dipaer rash SUCKS. But it happens. Especially if your baby is ever on antibiotics. Try to get ahead of diaper rash as soon as you think it's happening. I typically use Desitin every night since they are in a wet diaper for a prolonged period of time, and I use it at every diaper change if I notice ANY redness at all. Like even one little speck of pink. If things get hairy and the rash is bad, I use Lotrimin followed by Maximum Strength Desitin (the purple tube). Yes, Lotrimin is actually athlete's foot cream. But, some bad diaper rashes are caused by yeast and until you kill the yeast (which Lotrimin does), the rash won't go away. You can get it at any drug store. Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor, and you should not use my advice as such. I'm just giving you advice that I got that really works. Ask your doctor if you aren't sure if you should use Lotrimin! (Mine actually suggested it to me).
  • Getting Out - OK this is a big one. You are NOT going to feel like getting out those first few weeks post d-day. I was a hot mess for a good month (I've tried to erase it from my memory but it comes back in flashes. Isn't that called post-traumatic-stress-disorder?...) Anyway, please try to get out as soon as you are feeling up to it (which could be a while especially if you had a c-section or a bad delivery out the normal exit route...YIKES). Go somewhere, even if it is driving through the bank. Or grabbing some Starbucks (and man, will you need it). Or just sitting in your front yard. Ok, you could start with your backyard if you haven't showered in a while!
  • It's a Love that Grows - When you meet your baby for the first time, you may not have a highly emotional reaction like in the movies. There may not be tears and choirs of angels singing. Wouldn't that be neat though? You will either have had your abdomen sliced open and be heavily drugged up or you may have blown out your downstairs, which I'm sure feels awesome. It for sure isn't a great state of affairs physically, and sometimes not emotionally either. It is ok to not immediately feel an overwhelmingly deep love for your baby at first sight. I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved Robby when he was born but not in the way I do now. It is a love that grows with time. Falling into a routine helps, and so does sleep. Now he is my little biscuit muffin and I am so obsessed with him that I can't imagine loving him more! In the beginning it was more like, "Hey kid, I love you. But you are kinda being an a**hole when you wake up all hours of the night."
  • Speaking of A**holes - No one really told me what things look like after you deliver a baby. Why did everyone keep this a secret? And WHY are there mirrors in post-partum bathrooms? OY. All I can tell you is that after you have a baby, your stomach skin may be kinda puffy, a little soft, and slightly saggy. And I'm sorry for over-sharing, but your belly button may look like an a**hole. When the baby filled up your stomach, it made your stretched skin very tight, and now that baby is out, well, it's not tight anymore. It's sorta wrinkly looking, in fact. I cried when I saw myself for the first time. Like sobbed. Dramatic, much? I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen but I didn't like what I saw. So my advice is just don't look at it, don't dwell on it, and don't worry about it. It DOES go back but it will not be overnight. Can someone promise to tell me this when I do this again? I'm sure I'll listen....especially with those post-baby hormones raging.
I CANNOT believe my biscuit was ever this small. Thanks Sabrina Gebhardt for capturing Robby as a newborn. This picture is brought to you by three layers of Lancome concealer and a healthy dose of Motrin. 
 Happy Tuesday friends!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Best Chicken Recipe Ever

I get tired of eating the same old chicken from the same old recipes every week! I found this recipe on the cutest blog, tablefortwoblog.com. Check this blog out if you haven't. She has some really great, easy, and delicious recipes.

Originally called Holy Yum Chicken, I call this recipe "The Best Chicken Recipe Ever" because that is exactly what it is. I've made it at least ten times and it ALWAYS turns out perfectly. Everyone needs a never-fail recipe, so add this one to your recipe box. Enjoy!

*In my adapted version, I lower the oven temperature and use dried rosemary instead of fresh.


  • 1½ - 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard (must be Dijon mustard, no substitutes)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (again, no substitutes. No fake Aunt Jemima stuff)
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8x8" oven-proof pan with 2 layers of tin foil. *You MUST line with two layers of foil! Do not skip this step!
  • In small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture on top of it. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it gets all coated.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. *Check the chicken around 30 minutes to see if you need to turn down the oven temp.
  • Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate. Do NOT discard the liquid.
  • Immediately after plating chicken, whisk in the 1 tbsp. of cornstarch into the liquid in the pan. You'll create a nice, thick sauce to drizzle over your chicken. You need to do cornstarch mixing immediately because the liquid needs to be hot in order for it to thicken properly. If it's still not thickening after 1 tbsp., you can add a little more.
  • Whisk in the dried rosemary. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken, and reserve the rest for extra drizzling if needed.
  • Serve with rice and veggies!
Sorry I don't have a photo of the chicken. I promise it looks amazing and you will love it. In lieu of a chicken photo, here's one of my sous chef getting some work done. #businessbaby....wait, I mean #businesstoddler......insert BIG sad face on the transition to toddlerhood....BOO.HOO. I'm sad.
More than anything, I am needing a nightly vino fix these days as R shows more of his toddler self. WOW. He doesn't really say the dreaded "no" yet...but the writing is on the wall. He has a bit of a stubborn streak. I wonder where he gets that from. HELP!

Happy Tuesday!