Even though summer has come and gone and the cooler weather is upon is, our family is ironically gearing up for a beach vacation to Mexico! As such, I wanted to recap some of my summer favorites and introduce some of the things we will be bringing on our beach vacation. A huge shoutout to Gugu Guru for helping me identify and find quality products through their personalized quiz. As a busy mama, this is exactly what I needed!
Bzees "Wander" Water Shoe
While at the beach, it is often hard to find a shoes/sandal that is comfortable, safe to get wet, and will allow you to chase after children on multi-terrain surfaces. The Bzees Water Shoes are amazing for this reason. I have this style here (in white - as shown above).
As a mama, it can be difficult to find functional, yet stylish "mom shoes" - if you will. The great thing about these shoes is that you can easily slip them on, they look cute (yet sporty) with most everything, they are easy to walk in, can get wet and are a reasonable price point. Right now, you can purchase the shoes for just under $40. No brainer!
Vyve Splash Pants
Because I am not quite in "bathing suit" shape, the vyve Splash Pants are especially amazing! Functional and stylish, you can throw on these splash pants for any and all water-involved outings. Basically like a swimsuit, I wear the pants over my one-piece. Be sure to get them tight so that there is no "bloat" if you are to swim in them.
Baby Mud Mineral Sunscreen
Sunscreen is always essential, duh. While we all understand that sunscreen is necessary in the summer months, choosing WHICH sunscreen to purchase can be difficult. This summer I tested out a new brand called Baby Mud Sunscreen. What is great about this mineral-based sunscreen is that it is easy and smooth to apply - without all of those nasty chemicals. If you're in the market to try a new sunscreen, this is a great option!
Learning Resources Water + Sand Toys
The Learning Resources Water + Sand Toys are - no joke - my favorite. Between my 7.5 month old, V, and my 2.5 year old, Lincoln, they cannot get enough of these water toys. We play with them in the bath, in the sun, in the house, and even bring them with us in the car. They will surely be joining us on our beach vacation to Cabo! Not only are they fun, but they are also educational. The sailboats and turtles, alike, teach my toddler about shapes, signs, numbers and colors. What could be more fun than pairing learning with fun toys? Highly recommend!
Happy (almost) Halloween, friends!
I wanted to share a fun neighborhood game called "Ghosting" that we have started around the neighborhood. (And for any of my neighborhood friends reading this, sorry to have spoiled the "anonymous ghosting" thing!). This past week, my mother-in-law was in town and shared the tradition with us. Her five kids (including my hub) did it while growing up in Kansas City. It is simple as can be and can be a fun way to spread the Halloween spirit around a neighborhood.
When to "Ghost"
Ghosting can be done anytime in October; really any time neighbors begin to put out Halloween decor. I'd say one to two weeks prior to Halloween is the best time!
Supplies for Ghosting
How to "Ghost"...
Pick two neighbors to "Ghost." After dark (or before dark if you have little ones), walk up to their house and post the ghost on the door with tape. Leave the letter and goodie bag at their doorstep. Ring the doorbell, then run! Your neighbors will then be instructed by the letter to "Ghost" two more families in the niehgborhood, and so on.
Ghosting Poem, or Letter
"You've Been Ghosted!
Late last night, we left you a treat. The tradition is fun, one we hope you'll repeat.
Take the ghost and pin it on your door, to let others know, you need ghosted no more.
Now it's your duty to pass on the surprise, to two more families, we must advise.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon, within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give, along with this poem for the tradition to live."
My mother-in-law was here when she made this for us, and once again, it was a family favorite. Lincoln LOVED the gnocchi and taste of everything, not to mention Ryan and I were wanting seconds. A meal isn't a meal unless everyone in the family can enjoy it! This recipe is bold in flavor, filling and is on the healthier side. If you are trying to lean down, opt for a larger salad and a smaller portion of gnocchi.
1. Prep your sausage
If your sausage came in a casing, like mine did, simply puncture it with a sharp knife, and slide the knife up through the casing - you can then wiggle the casing off, leaving just the sausage behind. Put the sausage on a plate, and discard the knife you used to puncture the casing.
2. Prep your veggies
You can use one large cutting board for this if you can fit it all. The recipe calls for a small onion, but mine was gigantic - so I cut it in half before dicing it. I saved the other half for another recipe. The carrots can be cut into small rounds, then cut in half, but if it's a bigger carrot you can quarter the rounds. Chop the celery, and mince the garlic by hand or in a food processor.
3. Make a slurry
To make a slurry, whisk 1/2 cup of cold water, and the 1.5 Tablespoon of flour in a small bowl.
4. Cook your sausage
Heat the large pot over medium heat. If your pot is not nonstick, add a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil to make sure your sausage doesn't burn on the bottom. Add your sausage to the pot, and break it up into chunks with the wooden spoon. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
5. Add liquids and veggies and boil
Add 1/2 cup of water, the broth, and the soy milk and bring it to a boil. Then, add the onion, celery, garlic, carrot, roasted peppers, Parmesan rind, and black pepper and return to a boil. Partially cover the pot with the lid, and turn the heat to low so that the soup simmers until the vegetables are soft, about 16 minutes. Uncover the pot, then slowly stir in the slurry and continue stirring while it comes back to a boil.
6. Add the other ingredients
Add the gnocchi, spinach, and basil. Cook the gnocchi according to the package, or until the gnocchi float to the top and the soup thickens. Discard the parmesan rind, and serve!
Got this recipe from the Nordstrom cookbook, so all credit goes to them! Everyone in my family loved this gourmet version of Mac'N'Cheese, even Lincoln. I also blended up a small portion for V the next morning and he ate it right up. Last thing, this recipe isn't the "healthiest" per se, but life is about balance, right?
1 pound orecchiette pasta
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian fontina d’Aosta or domestic fontina
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound crabmeat, preferably jumbo lump, picked over for shell bits
Finely chopped fresh chives for garnish
*A few notes about the ingredients...
I did all of my shopping at Whole Foods. For the crab, I purchased pasteurized crab that you can find in the seafood freezer section. I wouldn't purchase fresh jumbo lump crab from the seafood department because the good stuff is $$$$. Thus, the canned fresh, pasteurized crab in the seafood freezer section is the way to go. Also, for white wine, I used Pinot Grigio, I believe. This did the job. Lastly, I purchased the orecchiette pasta from the fresh pasta section in Whole Foods. While this made the recipe taste AMAZING, not sure I'd do it again due to price. Go for the generic stuff in the pasta aisle.
Ok, ya'll. Let us tell you... This is no ordinary gummy! Your first thought may be, why bother with a gummy vitamin- they are full of sugar and aren't good for you. WRONG! Smarty Pants vitamins is the exception- plus they are for kids AND adults!
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Difference Between Folic Acid and Folate and Why It Matters?
In our family, we have what is called the MTHFR gene mutation. Thus it is critical that we have the proper form of folate in our vitamins because we cannot properly convert folic acid efficiently.
Actually research suggests nearly 40% of the population has this gene mutation. Smarty Pants has accomplished this key factor in their vitamins. I failed to find another children's vitamin with the proper form of folate that upheld the standards I was looking for.
The terms “folate” and “folic acid” are often used interchangeably but they are not one and the same. Smarty Pants, is in fact, the ONLY gummy vitamin on the market to contain the right form of methylate, which is important for healthy cell growth and brain function.
1. Folate vs. Folic Acid- Chris Kresser
2. Possible link between synthetic form and cancer
VITAMINS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!
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