What do You Value as a Parent? New & Improved Luvs & a $25 Gift Card & Diaper Giveaway #WhatULuv #ad
This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.
Parenthood is an amazing journey of ups and downs and everything in between, but as an experienced mother of four, I try to take it all in stride. I value the things that make my life a little easier - from my close friends who are always there for me to great products that work well at affordable prices (like Luvs). With four kids, we have used a lot of Luvs in our house and they are good diapers for a reasonable price. I know I can trust Luvs to do a good job and save us money too.
Luvs just introduced the new and improved Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™. These new and improved diapers even come with a money back guarantee.
Luvs surveyed Moms across the country to find out what they value most and this is what they found out.
I can so relate to sleeping through the night. It will be awhile since my baby is only 8 weeks old. I got 5 solid hours a couple of nights ago and it was amazing. Also, I so enjoy my "grown-up" shows on Masterpiece theatre, but rarely have "me time" to watch them. Showering uninterrupted, sleeping through the night, watching "grown-up" shows... these are all at the top of my wish list! What would you "luv" to do with some free time?
Luvs is offering a great money-saving deal with a $1 print-at-home coupon off any one diaper pack. Print this coupon and use it at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are sold.
Enter to win a $25 AmEx gift card and a pack of the new Luvs NightLock Diapers!
Want to win even bigger? Join the twitter party to win a $300 AMEX Gift Card+ Luvs product!
Luvs is on a mission to celebrate and embrace what experienced parents value and “Luv” every single day. Be sure to join the #WhatULuv Twitter party hosted by @iConnect and @Luvs, on November 29th, 9-10pm EST to share what you value as a parent.
We love Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs. This recipe has been on the blog since 2012 so when I made this for dinner the other night, I decided it was time for some new photos to liven it up a bit. I didn't even have a pinnable photo on the post (gasp) and knew nothing about food photography way back then so it was time.
Even though you all have Thanksgiving on the mind ( I do too), this is a great recipe to stash away for after the holiday. You can throw this together in about half an hour, cook on low all day, then enjoy hearty, delicious, warming Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner. Busy night, no worries...you've got the most amazing sauce and meatballs slowly simmering in your kitchen.
You will love this Spaghetti and Meatballs. The sauce is exceptional with red wine enhancing the rich flavor. And since it simmers in the slow cooker, all you have to do at dinner time is cook some spaghetti noodles and make a salad. And if you have extra time, make a batch of bread machine bread sticks or bread machine breadsticks without a bread machine. They are amazing and better than any we have had in a restaurant.
SAUCE & SPAGHETTI
If you are into food photography and need some help improving your food styling and photography skills, I cannot recommend Tasty Food Photography (affiliate link below) enough. I learned a wealth of knowledge from this ebook. See my old post photo from 2012 compared to my new photos. Update: this new photo was accepted by foodgawker!
Linking up at Dream, Create, Inspire
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I also received products for review. All opinions are honest and are my own.
We are so blessed to have a beautiful, healthy six week old son. In fact, he is our fourth son. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Being that this is our fourth time around, some things are easier, but others are harder. Breastfeeding is easier and feels more natural than it did with my first child. Leaving the house is easier. I am just used to having lots of kids with me where ever I go and have learned a few things over the years to make outings as peaceful and productive as possible. (There are sibling fights and meltdowns on occasion, but for the most part, things run pretty smoothly on our outings.) I remember when I had my second child. I was so apprehensive about leaving the house alone with both children. But by the time I had my third son, it was no big deal.
I think the hardest thing about being a mother of four including a newborn is that I feel exhausted and stretched thin. I want and need to spend time with each child and try to on a regular basis, but it is exhausting. Thankfully, my husband is super involved and does a lot with our children. From boardgames to football in the backyard, he plays with them almost everyday and helps the older boys with their homework.
Then there are meals to prepare and tons of laundry. (Our lazyboy is currently home to a big pile of clean laundry.) I am not complaining, I think parenting is the most rewarding job in the world. But it is a sacrifice of time, energy and money so when a newborn comes along, I say take all the help you can get.
Check out my middle of the night selfies when I was up with my little man.
5 Tips for Surviving the First Weeks of Motherhood
1. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Stock up on things you know you will need such as diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, paper plates (make life easier), paper towels, toilet paper, feminine pads, breast pads (if nursing), etc. The last thing you want to do is run out of any necessities when you are home with a newborn.
2. Prepare or purchase some easy meals that can be frozen and heated later or are shelf stable easy mixes or kits. You probably won't have much time to deal with cooking after baby comes and that frozen lasagna will look real good when all you have to do is heat it up. Here are some simple recipes that can be prepared ahead and frozen.
Baked Penne Casserole
Frito Chili Pie (Cook then freeze Chili to warm up later)
Easy Enchiladas (Freeze, then thaw and bake later)
3. Take it all in stride. Your house will not be perfect or anything close to perfect for a long time. And that's ok, you have more important things to do right now. You will be late sometimes and that's ok too. There will be blow out diapers, you will be peed on or spit up on all right before you leave the house. Sometimes you will feel like you have everything under control and somehow you will still be late. In my experience, people are kind and give you a break when you have a newborn. They understand and know that you are doing your best.
4. Be prepared when leaving the house. Take a moment and check the diaper bag a few times a week. Make sure to have extra diapers, wipes, extra baby clothes that are appropriate for the weather conditions, nursing cover (if using), baby blanket, changing pad, bottles and formula or pumped milk (if using), pacifier, burp cloth, bag for wet soiled clothes or cloth diapers, snacks and activities/small toys for older children, and a few things for yourself. Taking care of and nursing an infant takes a lot of energy so Mom needs a few things too. Make sure to have water or another healthy hydrating beverage like Mother Nurture Enhanced Water. I find that when I am nursing, I am always thirsty and have to take drinks with me wherever I go. Take some of your favorite snacks too. Stash a few granola bars, an apple, banana, Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles, etc. in your bag. You will get hungry too and will be glad to have something healthy and convenient with you.
5. Accept help. This can be hard to do, but realize that you can't do it all, plus you need to rest and bond with your baby as much as possible. Let your parents and in-laws camp out for a week or two. Their help is invaluable, especially if you have older children. Let them make dinner, do laundry, and take the kids to school. You need sleep and they are happy to help and spend time with their grandchildren. If your friends, church, or co-workers offer to give you a meal train, take it. You will find relief in knowing that a home-cooked meal is being delivered a few times a week for the duration of the meal train. We are receiving a meal train from church for a couple of months and it is a God send. It is such a relief knowing that I don't have to plan and prepare meals throughout the week. Some nights I am so busy with the baby that if it weren't for the meal train, we would be eating cereal or peanut butter sandwiches.
Here I am enjoying Mother Nurture Enhanced Water when up nursing in the middle of the night. Remember, you want to stay hydrated. I tried the tropical splash flavor which was deliciously refreshing. It is slightly sweet, but not too sweet with a delicate citrus flavor. I enjoyed Mother Nurture Enhanced Water and would love to try the other flavors. It also comes in pink grapefruit and mixed berry. Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters provide essential nutrients including Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin B12 and Choline that both moms and babies need.
It might be because I am nursing, but I find that I am always hungry and have to snack throughout the day. Nursing mothers do need an additional 500 calories and healthy snacks are a good way to make sure I am meeting this need. I love these delicious Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles. I always crave chocolate and can feel better about eating these since they contain DHA, folic acid, calcium and protein. They come in two delicious flavors, milk chocolate and dark chocolate raspberry.
Please share your tips for surviving the first weeks of motherhood. We are all in this together!
I have been wanting to update this post with new and improved photos for at least a month and set a goal of doing this before Halloween. But, reality is ... I am snuggling, nursing, diapering, and loving our newborn son and sometimes, make that most of the time, any spare minutes are better used sneaking in a quick nap.
I am way better at posting pictures on instagram than to any other social media sites so if you want to see our baby boy, you can see pics here.
So the good thing about this recipe as with most cookie dough recipes, is you can refrigerate or freeze the dough. So if you make the dough and then (like me) don't have to time to bake it for say 3 or 4 days, you can refrigerate or freeze it and then bake it later when you have time. This might be how most of my fall baking goes, if at all.
These aren't difficult to make, I just have a busier life than normal right now with a newborn. My students used to make these in my foods classes and they always loved them. And that was before I knew about the merits of browned butter icing and how it takes these cookies from really good to rock your world amazing!
To make browned butter, you simply melt the butter on the stovetop until it turns a light brown color and smells fragrant with a caramely slightly nutty scent. The cookies are not that sweet on their own so the sweet caramely buttery icing compliments them well.
Enjoy these perfect little fall confectionary gems!
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
Mix in next:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 8 to 11 minutes. Let cool, then glaze tops of cookies.
Browned Butter Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk
Heat butter on stove over medium heat until browned. You will smell a caramely, slightly nutty scent when it is ready. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla, then milk until smooth.
Glaze cookies after they have cooled a few minutes. Top each cookie with a pecan.
The glaze will harden quickly, so don’t make the glaze until after all of the cookies have baked.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Linking up at Lou Lou Girls, Create with Joy, Share the Wealth, Dream, Create, Inspire
These flower arrangements made in a hollow pumpkin are the cutest! They are perfect for Halloween and easily carry over into November for fall decorating.
My husband taught his floral design students how to make these pumpkin flower arrangements.
First you cut the top of the pumpkin off. You don't need it anymore since your pumpkin is essentially now a vase. Next scoop out all of the seeds and stringy strands until the inside is pretty clean like this.
You will put floral foam inside the pumpkin to hold water and the flowers. Once you position the moistened floral foam, start adding flowers until you get a full rounded shape with some height in the center (aim for about 1.5 times the height of the pumpkin). If you are making a centerpiece, it should not have a front and a back. You want it to look good all around since it will be seen on all sides.
This pumpkin flower arrangement makes such a lovely fall centerpiece.
My husband demonstrating how to make floral pumpkin arrangements at Pumpkin Daze at the arboretum. My seven year old made the square styrofoam jack-o-lantern by carving a solid block of styrofoam. He brought his jack-o-lantern to decorate at the arboretum too. He's such a sweet and creative kid and he is always making something.
One of my husband's students helped demonstrate at Pumpkin Daze and created this elegant pumpkin arrangement with floral sprays extending from each side.
I have fallen in love with our new house. It is a 1920's farm house with lots of character and charm. It's not perfect (a garage and finished basement would be nice), but it suits us well and we have been so happy here since we moved in August. One of my favorite things about this house are the fireplaces. There is one in the living room (pictured) and one in the study (baby's room). For the first 14 years of our marriage we lived in an apartment and then two homes without fireplaces so I really appreciate having a mantel to decorate now.
So this is our fall mantel. It's kind of a hodgepodge of different things, but I think it comes together well. When we had our newborn three weeks ago, my husband arranged for a graduate student in horticulture to teach his floral design class for him one day and she made this beautiful arrangement for us. We thought it was the perfect centerpiece for the mantel. This is also a great place to showcase some of the kids' recent art pieces. I added some family photographs and the kids added some pressed leaf prints they made at Horticulture club (a little perk of having a daddy who is a hort professor). When I was on limited activity before the baby was born, my husband took the boys to a gourd festival and they brought home all of the gourds you see on the mantel. The boys actually decided to decorate with their gourds and arranged them on their own. I think they did a nice job.
Another thing I love about the fireplace is that the wall above it is painted a lighter color than the rest of the living room. It pops and gives a nice contrast with the dark brick and the light brown walls and lightens up the space.
What are your favorite fall decorating tips?
Linking up at Share the Wealth
I feel like I have been holding out on you, but it has not been on purpose. The fact is having a new baby in the house is exhausting, even and especially the 4th time around.
We are overjoyed to announce the birth of our son! He was born on September 30th weighing in at 7 pounds 7 ounces. I made it a policy not to use my children's names on my blog years ago to protect them so I have to leave that piece of information out.
Big brothers love their new baby brother and are so excited each time they get to hold him.
Snuggling up with Daddy.
First car ride (home from the hospital)
We have had two weeks with additional help from each set of grandparents and are on our own now. The help was wonderful and we loved spending time with family. It was awesome to share this joyous occasion with them. Babies are such a blessing and they grow up way too fast. I'm going to enjoy some baby snuggles this afternoon (in between napping) if I can keep my eyes open. :)
Linking up at Friendship Friday
Get Ready for Halloween and Hours of Fun Dress-up Play with this Star Wars The Clone Troopers Commander Cody Costume and Clone Trooper Blaster
Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for an honest review.
As you can imagine, in a house full of boys, Star Wars is a big deal. When asked to select a Halloween costume from Oriental Trading Company's wide selection, my son went straight for the Star Wars collection.
He chose this "The Clone Wars Commander Cody" costume and the "Clone Trooper Blaster" (sold separately). My son loves this costume with all of the details and the really cool helmet. The helmet has a front and a back piece that velcro together to form the clone trooper helmet. The helmet pieces seem to fit together well, but can come apart easily during play too. When they come apart, you can just put them back together again.
This "The Clone Wars Commander Cody" costume not only looks good, it is flexible and easy to wear for dress-up play too. I'm sure this costume will get hours of play long after Halloween has passed.
The boys are all excited about the Clone Trooper Blaster. They love playing with it and when they pull the trigger, it plays authentic Star Wars movie sounds. It takes two AAA batteries (not included).
Shop Oriental Trading Company for all of your Halloween costume needs for the whole family.
Linking up at Friendship Friday
I have pretty much hit the point of this pregnancy where cooking is super limited. I have made a few simple things this week like BLT’s and grilled cheese, but I just can't do anything more than that right now.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I have plenty of recipes and photos that I haven’t published yet. Good because I have some things to work on while I rest and wait for baby’s arrival. Bad because why on earth does it take me so long to write about and publish recipes? One of my recipes I still haven’t blogged is a year and a half old. I guess I need to focus a lot more.
Although, as I mentioned in this post, blogging is not the most important thing in my life. I try to put God and family first which means I might have an amazing dinner on the table, but I might not get the recipe written and edited for several months. So even though I would love to get more traffic from posting recipes more frequently, I run a one-woman blog (no paid team here) and a household with 3, almost 4 beautiful children. My husband is amazing and somehow finds time to read to the kids almost everyday, play with them everyday, help with homework, etc., but it’s still a lot for this busy, pregnant, tired, Mama.
I am hoping to bring you several of the recipes I have been working on for the past year in the near future, but if it takes longer, then it takes longer.
As Doris Day so beautifully sang,
Que sera, sera
On with the recipe…
We love love love this Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo. It’s a real treat in our house. I make it with just ¼ tsp. hot paprika so that it isn’t too spicy for the boys. They love it! My husband on the other hand, adds hot sauce and really enjoys it with a little more kick. It is mildly spicy as is, which is plenty spicy for the boys and I, but if you want more kick to it simply add more hot paprika, cayenne, maybe a ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or like my hubby add some hot sauce. Either way, it’s delicious and if you like gumbo, you will love this recipe.
I use raw shrimp when making this gumbo so I don’t risk over-cooking the shrimp and giving them an undesirable texture. You will see raw and cooked shrimp in the grocery store. Choose the raw shrimp and it will cook up perfectly.
I know beer might seem a little unusual in a gumbo recipe, but it accentuates the delicious flavor of the broth and gives more depth to the gumbo. You can’t taste the beer, but it combines with the other ingredients to create an amazing meld of flavors. If you are adverse to cooking with alcohol, simply substitute broth for the beer. You could use beef or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand.
Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
1 lb. medium or large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fresh ground salt and pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced or 3 tsp. jarred minced garlic
4 T. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 to 2 bell peppers, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 T. flour
1 T. ketchup
¼ to ½ tsp. hot paprika (depending on how spicy you want it)
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 C. fresh tomato, diced
6 oz. smoked andouille sausage or bacon chicken sausage, sliced into ½ inch rounds
4 ½ C. chicken broth
1 ½ C. beer
1 C. fresh or frozen okra, sliced into rounds
Cooked rice for serving
1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, dried thyme, and 1 clove garlic minced or ½ tsp. jarred minced garlic. Set aside and refrigerate until needed.
2. Heat a heavy large pot to medium-high on the stove. Add the olive oil. Then add onion, bell peppers, and celery and stir-fry until golden brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes until this mixture is lightly browned. Add ketchup, hot paprika, cayenne, and the rest of the garlic. Cook and stir for another minute, then add tomatoes and sausage cooking for a couple of more minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in broth and beer. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes.
4. Add okra and cook for about 5 more minutes. Then add shrimp and heat until shrimp curls and turns white.
5. Scoop rice into bowls then add gumbo. Enjoy!
Heavily adapted from Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage.
This post was sponsored by Premama as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. #DrinkPremama #IC #ad
As most of you know, I am currently pregnant and anticipating the birth of our fourth child very soon. In the beginning of this pregnancy I experienced a lot of morning sickness. In fact for the first three to four months, I could get sick anytime of day. I unfortunately lost a lot of prenatal vitamins due to being sick all of the time. I even tried taking them at night, but could still get sick after taking them. I wish I would have had Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix since it is easier to take for women who experience morning sickness. It is also easier for those who have trouble swallowing pills.
I have been craving juice and fruit pretty much this entire pregnancy so it easy to remember to take Premama Essentials + DHA with my juice every morning. I keep my Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix on the window sill above the kitchen sink and mix it with a big glass of orange juice every morning.
It is both delicious and an easy way to take prenatal vitamins.
On a recent trip to Meijer, I found the whole collection of Premama Vitamin Drink Mixes in the vitamin section under the home health sign located near the pharmacy.
You can find all five varieties of Premama Vitamin Drink Mixes at Meijer.
I trust Premama products to provide the necessary vitamins and DHA for my growing baby. They contain folic acid levels similar to many prescription prenatal vitamins, and equal to, or greater than most leading nonprescription brands. They contain Omega-3 fatty acids and non-constipating iron often found only in prescription prenatal vitamins.
Strawberry Orange Smoothies
1. C. frozen strawberries (I freeze fresh strawberries for a few hours prior to blending.)
1/2 C. orange juice
1 packet Premama Vitamin Drink Mix
To make these delicious strawberry orange prenatal vitamin smoothies simply blend all ingredients in the blender.
Enter to win a Premama sample and $5 coupon by completing two social media actions before September 29th! Choose between Premama Lactation or Premama Fertility.
Use the Premama store locator to find a retailer near you.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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