Monday, May 11, 2015

#Truth: Things Don't Turn Out As Planned

#Truth: Things Don't Turn Out As Planned — a Modern Mrs.
I was chatting with a good friend last night about how I feel as if I'm crawling out from under a rock. E will be nine months old on the 16th, and I'm just now getting back into my blogging and beauty routines. This conversation reminded me how when I was still pregnant with her, and even when she was first born, I had this vision that I would be able to blog {even just a little} about what was going on, do monthly updates that I could reflect back on later {or to help me remember when filling out the baby book.... that hasn't been filled in for months....}, I'd post photos, recommend baby/mommy products, and I even had this very detailed post planned for baby wipes. We tried almost every brand of baby wipes at first and I had qualms with either the wipe, or the packaging, and I wanted to save other moms the hassle {and money}. I wanted to post more updates on babywearing, and chronicle our cloth diaper journey. Did these things happen? Nope. Not that it's any surprise to you, as my blog sat pretty dormant for several months.

I don't feel guilty about this. It couldn't be helped. And I'm sure you'll agree, my child's well being is far more important than daily or weekly blog posts. A lot happened in those early months, between her being premature, then needing a pretty big surgery, to my trying my version of home therapy to keep her development on point. {Being premature, she has been behind developmentally, but I have been working with her and we are having success!} Of course I wouldn't have imagined how swamped I'd be because she didn't sleep till she was six or seven months old. All that said, I do wish I had been able to blog more, because I would've loved to be able to look back on those memories down the road.
How I feel lately.

All these thoughts and feelings lead me to the realization that, as bloggers, and with life in general, things often do not turn out as planned. Yes, I had plans for what the blog would look like after I had my second child. Reality... it didn't happen. That's life! How many times have we had plans for one thing or another, and then for whatever reason(s), it doesn't follow through? I almost think God arranged those crazy first months to be that way so that I would be forced to slow down. I was stuck on the sofa for a good five months straight. Did I enjoy it? Not really. But what did it allow me? Snuggle time with my baby. Uninterrupted time to hold her, smell her, feel her, breathe her into my soul. When I look back on those precious moments, where all she wanted was to be in my arms, I don't even think about those blog posts that didn't get written. When I think of all the readers I've lost, how much further down the totem pole AMM has dropped, I don't get as upset, because those moments can't be made up. There's no do-overs.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Recent Pinterest Wins & Losses {Recipe Edition}

Recent Pinterest Wins & Losses {Recipe Edition} — a Modern Mrs.
Two posts in one week? Whaaat? That's right! In trying to remember what life was like when I could do things... I have been trying to get back in the kitchen trying out new recipes. Believe me when I say we are all tired of eating the same stuff around here. Some recipes were discovered with the ability to go to the store for ingredients I didn't have, and others were found with the mission of making do with what we had on hand.

Well, I'm not quite back to being able to whip out the camera and take photos of my creations, so I thought I'd just share what recipes I've tried and give you my thoughts. Better than nothing, right? And hey.... my food photography skills are definitely subpar, so you're really not missing out on anything. /wink. Let's get to it!

The Wins

I can't say I loved one recipe over the other, as they were both supremely delicious. However, if I were forced to choose a top winner, with the fate of the world at stake, while being threatened with torture or maiming, I suppose under those circumstances I would choose the Porcupines in a Skillet recipe from Thirty Handmade Days.

Source
It's a really simple recipe, bursting with flavor, and offers more nutrition than your standard casserole. It's also very, very affordable, so if you're on a tight food budget, you won't feel like you're settling or going without.

Porcupines in a Skillet uses ground beef {use ground chicken or turkey if you'd prefer}, dry onion soup mix, uncooked rice {I used Jasmine}, a can of tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a small can of mushrooms. Feel free to leave the mushrooms out if you prefer, but I have to say, I'm not a fan of mushrooms and I hardly noticed them!

After draining your beef, you toss everything into the pan and simmer till the rice is ready. It's that easy! I love one pot meals - they're quick and fuss-free, and offer easy cleanup! L really loved this recipe, and the leftovers are pretty phenomenal too. You could probably toss some corn or black beans into this if you wanted to, but it's a well-rounded, delicious meal as-is.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lesson Learned: A Cloth Diapering Update

Lesson Learned: A Cloth Diapering Update — a Modern Mrs.
When making the decision to cloth diaper, I read it all. I read my manufacturer's information, checked with cloth diaper stores, read blog posts, and even joined a Facebook group. I was set! Well, I thought I was, but I noticed almost as soon as we began we had this musty smell coming from our inserts. When she would eliminate, and even fresh from the washer. At first I thought, "Maybe this is how it's supposed to be." Surely without all the chemicals of a disposable, you would be able to smell everything once your child has eliminated, right? Wrong! {But more on that soon.} I assumed it was my HE washer, as most of what I had read said HE washers are a pain when it comes to getting your diapers clean. I assumed I wasn't using enough detergent, even though I was following the instructions on the box, and the detergent was made for my diapers, since it was made by my manufacturer. So, I asked in group, read blog posts, and devised a wash routine that looked like this:
  • Rinse and spin, no detergent. {This was to remove the soil from the diapers prior to the wash.}
  • Delicate cycle, with an extra rinse, no spin, and towels added to "bulk the load" and to "trick the washer into adding more water," no detergent.
  • Heavy Duty cycle on warm {per my manufacturer's recommendation}, with one scoop of detergent {per the box's instructions, which is approximately 1-2 tablespoons worth}, with an extra rinse. 
Just to recap, that's three different cycles, with five rinses, and only one scoop of detergent.

Wrong. All wrong. So, so much wrong.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My New, Crazy, Tiring, Exciting, Not-Enough-Time-In-A-Day, Wouldn't-Have-It-Any-Other-Way Kind of Life #OldSchoolBlogging

My New, Crazy, Tiring, Exciting, Not-Enough-Time-In-A-Day, Wouldn't-Have-It-Any-Other-Way Kind of Life #OldSchoolBlogging — a Modern Mrs.
Things I wish I still had time for:
  • Daily blog posting
  • Makeup
  • Regular housekeeping
  • Spontaneity 
  • Wine
Things that make the above list not that big a deal:
  • My husband
  • My children
This how I keep things in perspective. How I manage to not get down on myself when I look in the mirror some days. When I notice the dust/dirt/piles of laundry/dirty dishes/etc. When I'd love to have a drink with the girls, but in doing so means I have half a glass and wish I had more, or none at all, because E needs to eat. When we're invited to go somewhere/do something, but it's too far away, or it would take too long, and E doesn't handle long car rides well, and being away from home all day is just so much work.

This is my life now, but it won't always be this way.

One day E will be bigger, and less demanding of my time, so I'll be able to post daily, wear makeup, keep up on the house, go somewhere/do something, and have a whole glass of wine... or two. It will be here before I know it, so while I do miss those things, I remind myself they are so stupid and unimportant. None of those things are more of a priority than being here, in the moment, with my family. Taking care of my children. Trying to be a wife to my husband. {It's not easy in the midst of kids, commitments, and stress.} Sure, I'd love to have more time for my appearance, but I do the best I can with the limited time I have, and I keep it practical. As in, E constantly grabs and sucks on my face, and would I want to tell her no and miss out on baby kisses because it might mess up my makeup? Of course not! So, get over my large pores/undereye discoloration/shiny skin. My baby loves them.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Let's See If I Remember How to Do This....

Maybe by the time her first birthday rolls around things will be getting back to normal. Perhaps that's wishful thinking, but I was really trying there for a while, and then things got crazy with the holidays, and here we are two months later. I've been semi-active on Instagram, but I wouldn't blame you if you forgot all about me.

Where do I even begin? Well, let's start with... How are you? Doing well, I hope! I miss you all dearly! What's been going on? E turned six months old on Monday. Can you believe it?! I certainly can't. Six months... phew! She's doing very well, aside from a bout with a respiratory infection and now, shockingly, a staph infection caught from Lord knows where. I swear, we can't catch a break with this little one! Other than the weird bumps, she's as happy as ever. She started solids a few weeks ago, is rolling over, and learning all sorts of new sounds. She's hit or miss on sleeping through the night, but we have ordered a Zippy, and are hoping that'll be our sleep savior. Here are some other news nuggets for my youngest:
  • She loves television. Her favorite shows are Sesame Street, Octonauts, Veggie Tales, and The Busy World of Richard Scarry.
  • She also loves cell phones. I think it's because we usually have ours around all the time. #techbaby #theworldwelivein
  • Her favorite foods are breastmilk {of course}, green vegetables, pears, and bananas.
  • She's become quite the daddy's girl.
  • Her big sister is her best friend.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cloth Diapering: One Week In

Cloth Diapering: One Week In — a Modern Mrs.
Credit
We have officially begun our cloth diapering journey! Today marks one full week of using cloth diapers, although we aren't using them at night because I just don't have enough {yet}, so I guess I should say one full week of part-time cloth diapering. I'm terribly behind on posts, and I figured this was just what I needed to get back in gear. 

{Oh hey... It actually took me a lot longer to get this post written and published, so this is technically a two week update. I'm just too pressed for time to make a new image.}

We are currently using GroVia AI2 Hybrids with the hook and loop {Velcro} closure. We purchased these diapers from a friend who couldn't use them due to medical reasons. For those of you new to the cloth diapering world, AI2 means all-in-two, which is when there's a shell/cover and an insert that attaches to the inside rather than being stuffed inside of a pocket. The idea is to be able to use the cover for more than one changing, barring any soiling to the cover. We wanted to use this system to cut back on cost, as we imagined purchasing inserts would be cheaper than needing a whole diaper. We also have two BumGenius Freetimes, which are an all-in-one {AIO}, meaning there are no inserts to change; it's all one piece, and the closest you'll get to a disposable in function. Since we began I've purchased prefolds, flour sack towels {FST}, and covers from Flip and Econobum. These covers are wipe-cleans, which GroVia shells are not due to their mesh interior. 

I have tried different folds, combinations, and am still tinkering with a wash routine. I've tackled cloth on-the-go, and even went as far as to make DIY fleece liners to wick away moisture when using the prefolds and FST. {E was sensitive to being wet and was getting a little red.} There is still much to learn, especially once we begin cloth diapering at night, but with one {two....} week under our belts, I do have some preferences I'd care to share. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Post-Surgery, Cloth Diapers, and {Hopefully} Upcoming Posts #OldSchoolBlogging

I love my daughter. I really, truly do. I also love blogging, and I feel like it's impossible to balance the two. Not because I can't manage, but because E will have none of it. If she doesn't have 100% of my attention {and person}, then she must sing me the song of her people.... if you get what I'm sayin'. Needless to say, she has been winning, and I have been staring at my laptop missing the days when I could sit at my desk and blog to my little heart's content.

"One day," it has been said to me. "One day." While that may be true, I can't have the blog sitting here collecting dust. I have so much to say! So, while I have a rare moment, I thought I'd fill you in on what's been going on these last several weeks.

E Had Surgery

Last Friday, the 14th, E had her umbilical hernia repaired. It was a very rough time for the both of us, but she is healing wonderfully, and is almost back to feeling 100%! We were able to remove the bandages last night, and it was almost strange to see her belly with a normal navel. I had gotten quite used to how she looked with the large protrusion that was her belly button. I'm so glad it's over!

Cloth Diapers

Those fluffy, adorable vessels for housing pee and poo have consumed me. We have purchased a friend's nearly-new stash, and are expected to receive them next week. With the upcoming arrival of goods, I've been reading a lot, joining various cloth diaper-related Facebook Groups, and talking about it with friends probably way too much. My dear friend's new pregnancy and desire to cloth diaper has fueled my passion even more, as I've been sharing all I know with her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boulevard of Chic 2014 Holiday Fashion Event #BlvdofChic

Boulevard of Chic 2014 Holiday Fashion Event #BlvdofChic — a Modern Mrs.
This past Saturday was Boulevard of Chic's third event, which was targeted towards the holidays. I was really looking forward to this event! I expected to see tons of Baltimore-area boutiques, lots of clothes, and maybe even leave with some goodies. Sadly, this was not the case.

The morning started off strong and as planned. Then, when we got to Baltimore, we had to make all these pit stops before we could make it over to the event. So, while we should have been there around 1pm, we didn't get there till 3pm. By that time most other bloggers had left. We figured we'd make the most of it and putz around the park to see what was there. The park was really beautiful, and it was super close to the Inner Harbor Barnes & Noble, which is my favorite book store. The weather was a bit chilly, but it was tolerable, and the sun was plentiful.

There were tables and tents sent up, and only a handful of trucks left by the time we got there. I was super disappointed there weren't many trucks, but the one I was really looking forward to checking out was still there, which was Side Dish; Baltimore's first accessories only mobile boutique. You may have heard me mention them before - they're the one whose stock is $25 or less. They have super gorgeous accessories, and you just can't beat the prices considering they have vintage and handmade pieces.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Boulevard of Chic: A Free Baltimore Holiday Fashion Event #BlvdofChic

Boulevard of Chic: A Free Baltimore Holiday Fashion Event — a Modern Mrs.
Oh, hey! You know what occurred to me last night? L and I were looking through our movie collection deciding on what we should watch when she gets home today, and with Halloween behind us, we realized it's officially time to break out the Christmas movies! This realization produced another realization — we only have 49 days till Christmas! That said, 'tis the season for holiday shopping, and if you're looking for ideas for a special lady on your list, or just want to score some deals for yourself {hey, no shame in that}, you'll want to stop by Pierce's Park in Baltimore this weekend to check out Boulevard of Chic; a fashion truck rally and shopping event. I'll be there with my mom and Miss E, and we can't wait to see what Baltimore-area businesses have to offer this season!

I had never heard of this particular event before, though I have seen fashion trucks in my area, but this isn't Boulevard of Chic's first show. No, it's actually their third! I'm definitely excited to attend. The idea of an Inner Harbor park filled with mobile boutiques, fashion retailers, food, beauty products, and more is right up my alley! While I'm attending as a VIP Fashion Blogger, this event is free to the public, so if you're in the area, I definitely hope you'll swing by and say hi {if you see me}!

Want to learn a bit more about this event? Visit boulevardofchic.com for photos from last year's show, and browse the list of participating trucks and vendors. You can also check them out via Facebook and Twitter.

Are you going to join me? If so, here's the when and where-specific details:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sound Sleeper: Your Solution to Sleepless Nights

Sound Sleeper: Your Solution to Sleepless Nights — a Modern Mrs.
Remember when I talked about what bedtime looks like at our house? More specifically, the bit about E's lack of sleep in the nap and 8-10pm department? Well, we're still adhering to our E.A.S.Y. and bedtime routines, but we were still struggling with naps and that 8-10pm window. There would be one out of every three or four nights where she'd actually sleep during that window, but it wasn't without much effort on my part. I'm happy to report that appears to be changing, and naps are happening, thanks to the Sound Sleeper App by Parents2ParentsApps! Yes, that's right. After several days and nights testing this app, I'm happy to report we are seeing improvements in both the nap and bedtime departments. It's because of this success that I'd like to share the app with you in hopes that other mothers with catnappers/reluctant sleepers will find relief.

First, a bit about the app in general. The Sound Sleeper App is a "3-in-1 sleep solution" available for your iPhone, iPad, and/or iPod Touch. There is a free version, which is wonderful for testing the waters, but it has its restrictions. To enjoy all the app has to offer, you have to pay, but the cost is low at just $3.99 {and worth every penny if you ask me}. The main feature, of course, are the sound options, and there are quite a bit to choose from. There's bound to be something there to soothe your little one! There's also a listen feature, which listens for your baby throughout the night, and if they start to stir, will automatically start playing your chosen sound to lull them back to sleep. There's even the option to record your own sound!

Sound Sleeper: Your Solution to Sleepless Nights — a Modern Mrs.
Here you can see the sound options, which are available for both the free and paid versions. The plus sign in the upper righthand corner allows you the option to record your own sound. I have yet to try this as we've been having success with the prerecorded options.
 

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