My New “Go-To” Lunch

image

This burrito bowl has been the only lunch I’ve gotten excited about in a long time. I’m not sure if it has to do with being pregnant, but I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what I WANT to eat lately – Blake suggests this isn’t a “new” thing for me but he’s at peace with the fact that I blame all ailments on pregnancy at this point.

My top three priorities when choosing a great meal are these: ease of preparation, nutritional content, taste.

The burrito bowl does require some prep but the prep usually makes 3-4 lunches so it’s worth it. Also, it nails the other two priorities. I count it as a win.

This was my prep process –

The night before:

  • Open a can of organic corn, drain, place in container.
  • Open a can of black beans, drain, place in a container.
  • Have husband prepare chicken. Tell him it’s for a burrito bowl so to season it appropriately (I have no idea what this would entail which is why I delegate)
  • Contemplate buying pre-made pico de gallo at walmart ($3.00) or make my own. This time I made my own with Roma tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalepeno and lime juice. Cutting the onions makes me cry EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Next time, I’ll probably buy it pre-made.
  • Buy an avocado… hold off on cutting it as long as possible.
  • Make some brown rice. Easy peasy.
  • Grate some cheese because we don’t have shredded cheese… wait, what?? Normally I would just buy shredded cheese. Freshly grated tastes better but a’int nobody got time for that – plus I eat more than half of it in the process of shredding it.
  • Buy lettuce. image

The morning before leaving for work:

  • Frantically search for additional containers to re-portion all ingredients just for lunch. Realize after doing so that I should have just taken all the ingredients to work as is and then portion out throughout the week as I actually make lunch (the perks of an office fridge!)… clearly there is room for improvement here.

At lunchtime:

  • Spend half of your lunch break meticulously organizing all ingredients for an instagram-worthy lunch (see pic above).
  • Devour the entire bowl in less than 5 minutes.

There you have it… my new “go-to” lunch. It’s good, you should try it.

signature

 

 

The Best Diaper Rash Cream EVER!

IMG_5456Last week Carter developed the worst diaper rash I’ve ever seen (note: I’ve only ever seen her diaper rash but still it was bad). We knew it was bad because she screamed during diaper changes and was pretty fussy. That is a big deal for Carter – Blake and I are completely aware that we have “trick baby“- she hardly ever cries- usually if she is fussy it’s because we’re doing something wrong. Clearly, we had done something wrong along the way that had caused this and we were hell bent on fixing it as quickly as possible. I did what most moms would do in the situation – I googled any solution I could find. Blake is generally skeptical of this “google” strategy but his “status-quo” method wasn’t working so I started testing and implementing any and all diaper rash remedies.

First I tried to pin down the cause. Unfortunately typing “cause of bad diaper rash” into google is similar to typing in “headache” as a symptom in WebMD. There are a bazillion things that can cause diaper rash and I immediately began questioning all my recent parenting decisions.

Had we switched to whole milk too fast? We made the switch a few weeks ago and she seemed fine with it but now I’m reading about the plethora of babies who had awful reactions. Solution: Revert to a formula for a few days (our breast milk reserves were out!) to see if that would fix it.

Was it something she ate? Her diaper rash appeared one day after her first birthday party. At the party she had cake and barbecue… did she have a buttercream aversion? Solution: Implement the BRATY diet. Luckily she LOVES bananas (almost obsessively).

Was it the wipes? We use Huggies wipes and she has always been fine with those but then the news broke that they apparently have fiberglass in them.. was this just a cruel coincidence or had I been wiping her sensitive skin with glass shards. Solution: utilize the huge stock of baby wash clothes we got before she was born and use those to wipe… no not wipe… “pat” clean.

Did our diaper cream suck? The short answer here is Yes, yes it did. We used to use Balmex and Destin but the low-maintenance nature of Carter had lead us down the arrogant path to generic brand diaper cream. I know, we’re ashamed. Seriously, who doesn’t splurge the extra $3 for brand name diaper cream to prevent painful blisters from forming on their kid’s ass? The answer: us. Lesson learned! After the first screaming diaper change – I bought ALL the creams. That picture up top is proof. (Not pictured: The Aveeno Oatmeal Bath Soak).

Should we stop using disposable diapers? I was really hoping and praying that this was not the cause so I put blinders on and didn’t even consider this as a possibility.

I even let her run around with no diaper for a few hours per day. Blake hated this strategy, but literally every source I read mentioned this as a legitimate way to cure the rash. Carter didn’t love it either… after about 5 minutes of no diaper she crawled up the stairs to the clean laundry basket and brought me a pair of clean shorts… I got the message – she’s fine in just a diaper but draws the line at anything less than that (makes me a little proud!). I put the shorts on but left the diaper off – I figured we clean the dogs pee and poop off the floor so why not hers. Still though, there was hardly any improvement in the rash.

After switching away from whole cow’s milk, changing her diet, eliminating wipes, using various creams, giving soothing oatmeal baths and allowing her to crawl around with no diaper, the improvement in the rash was marginal and she was still not happy about it. Neither were we.

But then, the Best Diaper Rash Cream EVER was shared with me. Carter’s day care teacher mentioned Maalox cream as a possible solution. I figured I would pick some up at Target, at this point I would try anything- BUT, it’s not something you buy, it’s something you make. So I whipped up the concoction. Here’s the recipe:

The Best Diaper Rash Cream EVER:

  • 1 oz. Maalox (or generic antacid)
  • 1 oz. Aquaphor
  • A sqeeze of anti-fungal medication

Mix all ingredients and apply liberally to the entire diaper area. Top with Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I stored it in her 2oz food containers.

IMG_5476 IMG_5479

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cream is magic. The diaper rash was 100x better in 4 hours and completely gone (blisters and all) in 3 days.

I’m not completely clear on how it works – here’s is what I know: The active ingredients in the Maalox neutralize the acidity of the pee and poop. The Aquaphor helps heal the damaged skin. The anti-fungal just ensures it’s not a fungal rash (if you know that’s not the case, you can leave it out…. I have no idea how you would know though so I added it). The Butt Paste creates a great barrier between the skin and the diaper.

We have now transitioned back to whole milk (I’m so glad it wasn’t that) and her normal food (which still consists primarily of bananas and mac and cheese). We’ve returned to using wipes (although we switched to Pampers Sensitive wipes mainly because of the potential for fiberglass in the Huggies – I don’t know whether that’s actually true, but I’m not taking chances). We’re not going back to generic diaper cream… at this point we have about a year’s supply of all the good stuff.

Next time your kid has killer diaper rash, skip all the other crap and head straight for the anti-acid aisle. The Maalox cream is LEGIT!

signature

 

DIY Cake Smash Photo Shoot

20150812-IMG_3093

Who doesn’t love a good cake smash pic? Since Carter’s birthday party was after her actual birthday, I decided to do a cake smash and document it via a million pictures to celebrate her actual first birthday.

My sister and I both have DSLRs – we aren’t professional photographers but we can use the camera in semi-manual modes so I figured we could pull it off. After reading a few blog posts of other mamas who did their own DIY cake smash shoot, I was confident that this was going to go great. Plus I had a super cute subject (admittedly biased opinion). Turns out, I was right – I love it when that happens. The cake smash photo shoot was a huge success. Here’s how we pulled it off.

Materials Needed:

  • PVC Frame (super easy to put together….literally anyone could do it, in our case, Blake was in charge of this part)
  • A roll of seamless paper (can be found at arts and crafts stores) – we shopped locally and got one at Not Just Paper
  • Some decoration.. you could use balloons, streamers, confetti, toys…anything to add some color and fun
  • A great outfit. This isn’t required but it’s a plus. We got Carter’s outfit here. We were a little worried she would boycott the headband since she doesn’t normally wear head pieces, but once we shoved cake in front of her she was oblivious to anything else
  • A Cake. Suzie Q made ours
  • A decent camera. I own a Nikon 3200 and my sister has a Canon that is similar

First Blake built the frame and then I did the general scene prep. We set the scene in our kitchen area where our kitchen table usually sits because we get a lot of natural light there from the widows to the right and from the sliding doors that go to the deck.

IMG_5348

pvc frame

IMG_5349

Super easy set up

Next we placed the cake.

20150812-_DSC0015

Cake and Setting (Before Pic)

20150812-_DSC0143

Cake and Setting (After Pic).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read that some kids don’t love cake or don’t dig in right away so I was prepared for that… but… Carter is a natural and dug right in. I think she was a little skeptical at first, but as soon as that sweet sugar hit her lips, she was all in!

Here’s are some of the pics we captured:

20150812-_DSC0019

She started slow… a little taste of the icing first.

20150812-IMG_2926

A better grip on this cake will help!

20150812-_DSC0069

This is when she realized that yes! I do indeed love cake.

20150812-_DSC0067

So good!

20150812-_DSC0034

This is when things got serious. She wasn’t messing around. This is when she mentally committed to eating the entire cake.

20150812-_DSC0035

Not joking.

20150812-IMG_2997

All the cake. In the mouth. Two hands.

20150812-_DSC0130

Just taking a little break to make more room in the belly.

20150812-_DSC0267

Cousin Ben wanted in on the action. He knows the joy of cake smashes and is legitimately happy for Carter. Clapping even.

20150812-_DSC0276

Ben is really serious about his cake. You don’t get that solid eating broccoli, am I right?

Obviously, hiring a professional photographer to do your cake smash photo shoot will ensure great pics. But, don’t be afraid to try it on your own! It will save a little money and you will have so much fun! (This entire DIY cost us about $50).

A few more camera details: my sister used a 35mm lens with a lower aperture setting and I used the stock lens my camera came with…honestly I don’t remember the settings I used (which is one of the many reasons why I’m a professional).

To close out here are my Top 5 Tips for pulling off your own cake smash photo shoot:

  1. Take a ton (like more than 100 pictures). A lot of them ended up blurry but the key is to just keep snapping pics. The more you take the better chances of getting a good one.
  2. Make sure you have good, natural lighting. As I’ve said before, I don’t know a lot about photography but I know lighting is key.
  3. Be prepared for a mess. Know that everything is going to get cake on it. Be ok with that.
  4. Get some help. Get the rest of the family involved – if you’re behind the camera, it helps to have someone to place the kid in front of the cake and redirect them back to the cake when they can no longer focus due to sugar overload.
  5. HAVE FUN/ DO NO STRESS – this is fun. Make it fun. Your kid is eating cake, you’re watching. Relax and take it in… if you’re doing this for your kid’s first birthday you should have some cake too. You survived the first year which means you’re a super hero and awesome… pop open a bottle of champagne while you’re at it… or maybe wait until after the shoot.

signature