6 Vegan Snacks You Can Find on Amazon

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I know, I know… I’ve been terrible at staying in touch lately. But with a two month old and a feral two and a half year old who hasn’t been outside in days, can you really blame me? I do have a few posts in mind for you mamas, so stay tuned. There’s some good stuff coming.

It only makes sense that my first post after a little *hiatus* would be about food. This breastfeeding life is pure insanity… I am always hungry. Always!¬†As a vegan (can you believe it’s almost been a year for this girl?!), it’s not always easy to buy snacks, but with this list, I’ve got you covered. Not only are these healthy alternatives, they’re also delicious ūüôā You’re welcome!

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If you’ve never tried it, Jojo’s chocolate is out of this world. Like, amazing. Really. I finished the pack way more quickly than I’m willing to admit. Jojo’s trademark is¬†70% Germany Sourced Dark Chocolate (yum!) and their vegan option, Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight,¬† includes peanuts, peanut powder, added hemp protein, and a pinch of sea salt. Their one goal is to help kick sugar cravings: Jojo’s chocolate is gluten-free, packed with antioxidants, non-GMO, contains plant-based protein (as much protein as an egg!), and contains half the sugar of an average chocolate bar. I call that a win.¬†

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In the snack category, Frooze Balls definitely win. They’re made of clean simple ingredients including raw dates, raisins, sunflower seeds, coconut and peanuts – no¬†fake protein powders, sugar, caffeine or preservatives! Liam is absolutely obsessed with these, and I love how easy they are to take as a snack on the go. And, let’s face it, way healthier than a lot of those convenient snacks we usually grab on our way out. Mom win! My favorite flavor is the salted maple.¬†

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Cave Shake is in a league of its own: their keto, paleo, vegan shake mix is both a candy substitute and coffee creamer. What? Yup. You heard me. You can literally sprinkle it on anything: Coffee, fruit, shakes… Perfect way to pack your fats on the go! My husband loves these in his morning workout shakes.

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Munk Pack makes the ultimate vegan cookie:¬†18g protein per cookie from nut butters and grains, 6g of fiber, gluten free, non-GMO, with no sugar alcohols, no trans fats, no dairy, no soy, no eggs… and it tastes delicious? I love how soft these giant cookies are, with just a hint of sweetness, making them even the perfect breakfast on the go. Or, as a stay at home mom… the perfect breakfast to scarf down with your lukewarm coffee.¬†

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When I first went vegan, I got a little nervous about how I would be able to still enjoy coffee at events/parties. It’s very rare for soy or almond milk to be offered… it’s usually milk and half and half, if you’re lucky. These individual coconut powder creamers by Coconut Cloud are the perfect solution. With 20 individual sticks per pack, you can literally throw them in your purse, luggage, or briefcase for 24/7 dairy free convenience. Made from the simplest ingredients (coconut cream powder and rice starch), each packet contains only 2 grams of sugar per serving.

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It is so hard to find a protein bar that has the nutrition profile I’m looking for. With No Cow, I finally found one that tastes good, without the whey and added sugar. Their plant-based protein bars contains 20g of protein and only 1g of sugar! They’re great for fitness enthusiasts, vegans and dairy & gluten sensitivities. I love them as my mid afternoon pick me up, because, like I said, I’m always hungry.

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Loving Your Space: How to Live Clutter & Stress Free (With Kids!)

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I don’t know about you, but, for me, it is essential for my home to be organized. If I live amongst clutter, my mind is cluttered, too. I cannot see clearly unless my home is clear of the little messes.

In January, I started a little renovation project (yes, I was full blown nesting!) and rethought our home, one room at a time. I asked myself the important questions: Do we need to keep all of these things we own? Do they make me happy? If not, why am I holding on to them? 

Luckily, my mom was staying with us for the month (in anticipation of Noah’s birth), and she is the queen of spring cleaning. She loves to get rid of the old to make room for the new… and I love that! I got on her page and quickly realized how amazing it felt to get rid of items I had no sentimental attachment to, or that didn’t really fulfill me in any way. Clothing, furniture, little knick knacks… We got rid of basically half the house. And what a relief it was!

When we moved into our house, in 2015, I was very pregnant with Liam and we left a lot of things as they were. We picked the house in part because there was no (or very little) work needed before move in. The issue is that these little things, like a very outdated bathroom with ugly wallpaper and light fixtures straight out of the 50s,  never got updated. We simply never had the time.

I’m thrilled to announce that my nesting-inspired renovation project is now complete – it is kid-friendly, yet still reflects my personal style. It is practical, yet still aesthetically pleasing. Mom win!

I took advantage of this beautiful (yet frustrating!) snow day to put together a short video for you guys. In it, you will get a glimpse of the many pieces and accents we got for our home in the last few weeks. I hope you like them!

Fell in love with something you saw in the video?

Here are the vendors I collaborated with:

Grindstone Design (Wood Dining Room Console)

Oldtown Clocks (Wooden clock)

Tradux Mirrors (Round mirror in our bedroom)

Southern Sun Shop (Hallway console)

Shambles to Chic (Farmhouse table)

Roomfitters (Bedroom marble console)

Tudor Sign Company (“Farm Fresh” sign)

Williams Grove (Succulents in hallway)

The Roaring Flamingo (“This is Us” sign)

Gifted Occasion (“Welcome” sign)

HSH Furniture (3 shelf bookcase, toy storage)

The Falling Tree (Floating shelves bathroom)

Outback Craft Shack (Mason jar bathroom storage)

One Cent Soda (“Relax” sign)

Pro Brands Online (Cotton stems and wreath)

West Dwelling (Seagrass storage basket bedroom)

SLPR  (Toy storage crates)

Afloral (Silver vase, Silk flower bouquet, Round Seagrass Basket)

The Basket Lady (Grey wicker toy trunk, Wicker recycling bin)

Emenest (Glass vases in chickenwire tray)

If you have any questions or comments about the renovation project, please do not hesitate to reach out or comment below! 

11 Newborn & Postpartum Items I Wish I’d Known About For Baby #1

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Update: These past couple of weeks (five, to be exact), all I’ve been doing is prioritizing. In other words, all I’ve been doing is cuddling with my little guy. He’s all about skin to skin and eating (and, by that, I mean every hour or two during the day), so my routine has pretty much been focused on his needs alone. I’m lucky if I can even shower most days! The hardest part about new motherhood, the second time, is making sure the needs of both your children are met. Liam has been a bit difficult at times, as we expected, mostly because he senses that we need to “split” our time between the two of them. Making sure he gets enough attention, especially when Joe is working a long shift at the firehouse, has been my biggest challenge so far.

I know I often write posts about items I swear by–and this time is no different–however, this time, I thought long and hard about the items that I really have been using nonstop¬†since Noah has entered our lives. New motherhood is not easy, and it’s comforting to know that I have some staples to depend on at home.

I wanted to make this post about baby, but also about me – because coming into the world is a huge adjustment (obviously), but being a new mom of two and recovering from childbirth is no joke, either. We need all the help we can get – I’m sure that’s something we can all agree on!

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Sometimes nursing bras really suck. High cut, bulky, not really cute… These Caramel Cantina bralettes aren’t actually nursing bras, but are just as convenient in terms of slipping on and off. They also have no underwire, which has become a must for me as a busy mom. I love them!

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I mentioned a while ago that, ever since getting off birth control in 2015 and getting pregnant, I have been experiencing on and off hormonal acne. It’s been tough because, as a breastfeeding mom, I haven’t been able to use anything strong enough to get rid of it once and for all.

Well… now that I’ve found the brand TreeActiv, I’ve been able to prevent most of my “time of the month” breakouts. Their line ranges from skincare to hair and household products, but I can only speak from experience about their Acne Eliminating Facial Cleanser and Acne Eliminating Face Cream. The combo makes for such a deep clean and I’ve become obsessed with both products as part of my daily shower/skincare routine.

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I’ve mentioned our awesome SNOO bassinet before, but this one had to make the list again. This is the sturdiest, most high tech bassinet out there! Noah sleeps so much better with white noise and rocking, and the SNOO covers both of these: it gently rocks your baby throughout the night, and has surround sound with white noise that increases/changes if your baby gets fussy throughout the night. This has really helped me figure out if Noah is just fussy/gassy or actually hungry. The “5 Second Swaddle” system is probably my favorite thing about the SNOO, and has made our bedtime routine so effective. The price is up there, but if you think about it, it’s really just six bucks a day… and you can’t put a price tag on a good night’s sleep. I couldn’t recommend it more!

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Little Tinkers World¬†has us covered with the essentials: a super convenient baby brush set, diaper caddy (I literally swear by this thing!), and cozy baby towels. Noah is super sensitive to the cold, and I quickly regretted buying tiny newborn towels that you can’t wrap tightly around your baby. Their bear, lion, and elephant (ours!) towel is so versatile that it can work for toddlers and newborns alike… and they’re so warm and cozy!

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Having a winter baby is very different from a summer one. I can’t say I’m a fan of having a newborn in the winter months, because I am constantly terrified of viruses going around. When we went for our first pediatrician visit, the office was jam packed with feverish toddlers, and Joe and I couldn’t sanitize our hands often enough. We were so paranoid! When the doctor asked that we come back a few days later for a weight check, we knew it was silly if we could order a scale and do it ourselves in our flu-free home. I’m so glad we found this multi-function digital scale by Intu-MedTime, because it transitions into a kid/adult scale once the baby stage is over. It’s been so convenient, and we’ve used it a handful of times already.

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These are just my favorite nursing tops ever. Chic, simple, convenient. You’re welcome.

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Another caddy because I love these things! This one, by Littlest Sweet, is in our bedroom and has saved me many trips to and from the nursery (Noah is still sleeping with us in our room). It has room to fit literally everything and, with a newborn, we all know that’s a necessity.

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Again, I’ve mentioned our organic cotton¬†SnuggleMe before… but it’s one of my favorites. I bring it with me all around the house as I go about our day (I even stick it in our Snoo for naps!), and Noah sleeps so peacefully because of the bumpers. This one’s definitely a must for all new moms!

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I got these battery-operated fans by Gazeled and Perfect 4 You on Amazon for our May trip to Saint Martin because I know how hot afternoons can get in the Caribbean. The fans clip on to strollers and car seats on-the-go, but can also stand on flat surfaces for nap time or outdoor activities. I know we’ll be using these for both of our kiddos every day!

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Force of Nature has revolutionized the way I clean our home, bathroom, toys, highchair, and, basically¬†everything we own. It is a powerful, all-purpose cleaning system that transforms tap water plus a capsule of salt, water & vinegar into a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner & deodorizer as effective as bleach. It can be used on any surface that gets greasy, grimy, sticky, or stinky, and is proven to clean as effectively as conventional cleaners. Only difference is it contains zero fragrances, dyes, preservatives, allergens or irritants. No gloves or rinsing needed, either! It’s gentle enough for baby gear, so I never have to worry about any toxic residue. This one is truly a game changer.

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Meet the activity gym of the future: one that grows with your baby! Created by child development experts, The Play Gym by Lovevery includes five development zones that reveal or conceal to prevent overstimulation and promote brain and motor skill development: learning to focus, making sounds, how things feel, hiding and finding, and exploring colors. It is crafted using 100% baby-safe materials, including FSC-certified wood and organic cotton mouthable accessories. Bonus feature? It converts into a play fort for toddlers.

Mom win!

Prepping for a Second Natural Birth

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I was dead set on having a natural birth with my first baby, Liam. I wanted the sense of empowerment and accomplishment that came with a drug-free birth, and was very confident that I could do it. I watched positive birth videos on Youtube, took a childbirth class with a focus on breathing and coping techniques, and really thought long and hard about my reasons for wanting my birth to be as natural as possible.

If you are unfamiliar with the benefits of a drug-free, natural birth, click here.

I will say, however, that I speak from personal experience when I share natural birth posts on my site – my births were transformative moments for me, and I encourage any Mama considering the natural route to trust herself and give it a shot. That being said, my intention is not to offend anyone who had an epidural or cesarean birth – all Moms are heroes, regardless of how they bring their babies into the world.

Although I went to the hospital super educated about childbirth the first time, I didn’t do much the second time around. I didn’t take a “refresher” course on childbirth, didn’t watch any videos, and didn’t reread Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. I felt comfortable enough with the whole process having gone through it once. I will say, however, that I did prepare myself mentally for childbirth. I made sure I was confident in my ability to labor naturally a second time, and didn’t let doubt or insecurities get the best of me.¬†I recommend that, no matter whether this is your first, second, or third birth, you make sure you are in a positive headspace as you prepare for labor.

Additionally, here are five things I did this time around to prepare for childbirth #2 . . .

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I think the number one reason I made it through my entire labor without an epidural or other pain medication is because of my breathing. Now, don’t get me wrong: I am no yogi or expert in breathing techniques. I did, however, realize that deep inhales/exhales took away some of the contraction pain, and allowed me to focus on something other than how awful they felt in the moment. I remember that during my first birth I found comfort in knowing each contraction built up to a peak, then got easier to manage as it faded out. As long as I got over the peak, I realized, the hard part was behind me. When it comes to breathing, I alternated between one long inhale/long exhale and one long inhale/a few short, steady exhales. Whatever works for you!

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It was crucial for me to have my Mom there for baby #2. I had a great experience giving birth with both my husband and Mom by my side and knew that if I wanted to feel comfortable, I’d need them both there the second time, too. Make sure that you feel good about whoever you choose as your support team – don’t do it to make anyone other than yourself happy. It’s about being relaxed throughout the whole experience, not tense and uncomfortable. That just defeats the purpose.

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The hospital I chose for both of my births has pretty awful food and isn’t really the most modern, beautiful place in the world. However, they have the lowest intervention rate in Westchester County, and is one of two hospitals where you can have a midwife-assisted birth. These two things were my utmost priority, not the room service menu. Bottom line is this: pick a hospital (and doctor/midwife, of course) that aligns with your philosophy and needs, whatever those may be.

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For my first birth, my midwife was very hands on. She told my husband how he could best support me throughout the contractions, and offered many different position ideas throughout my labor.¬† This was so helpful, especially when I started to panic and wondered whether the pain was bearable or not. Luckily, this time, I memorized a few pain relief positions to be able to figure it out on my own. Labor & Delivery was super busy the night I gave birth to Noah, and I definitely didn’t get the one-on-one attention I got the first time. I’m really glad I was able to work through the contraction pain on my own! This time, I did a lot of leaning onto the bed/table and swaying my hips. For some other pain relief position ideas, click here.

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This one is a bit controversial, but my midwives swear by raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil during the third trimester to prepare the body for labor (my first labor was a little under ten hours long, and my second a little under seven… Not the quickest births, but definitely not the longest either!) For more information on how both raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose work for pregnancy/labor, click here and here.

If a natural birth is something you are considering, make sure you check out my posts “Natural Birth Does Not = Torture” and “Is Natural Birth a Possibility for You? 10 Tips to Help You Achieve One”.)

10 Things All Moms Need to Do Before Baby Arrives

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I’m almost full term (37.5 weeks!) and it’s checklist time. I have this uncontrollable urge to renovate, clean, organize, and nest, despite everyone telling me to lie down and stop moving so much! But, like I said, it’s uncontrollable.

I realized that although there are some basic things we know we have to get done before baby arrives — like installing car seats, or finishing the nursery — there are tons of small details we totally overlook, especially as we reach the final stretch. Here are 10 things you should definitely do before your new, little bundle of joy makes his/her appearance:

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Especially if you have other kids at home, it’s so easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you take the time, during these final weeks, to get pampered. This could be as simple as a pedicure or a facial, or maybe even a quick blow out at your favorite salon. Take care of yourself before the next couple of months… they’ll involve way too many pairs of sweatpants and dry shampoo bottles!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.01 AMOr a few, if you have some time. In our case, it’s very difficult to get date night scheduled because unfortunately we can only depend on my husband’s family (mine is out of the country.) Make sure you spend some alone time with your significant other before your lives drastically change with the arrival of baby.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.05 AMWe didn’t do this with Liam and regretted it! Even if it’s just three or four meals, it’s better than nothing! What we’ve been doing this time around is freezing our leftovers in glass tupperware so we have some “last resort” options on days when we really don’t have the time (or energy) to cook anything.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.10 AMBefore baby gets here, put together a very simple weekly/monthly meal plan so that you don’t have to overthink any of your meals on the spot. You’ll have much more important things to do in the next few weeks! Think easy and minimal ingredients, if possible.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.15 AMThis has been my motto in the past few weeks! I’ve been tackling cabinets, closets, drawers… anything that seems overstuffed or cluttered. Remember that with a baby comes a whole lot of mess, so just get a head start and organize what you can.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.19 AMThis one is big, too: use your time wisely and clean one room or cabinet at a time. I know that I’m in a much better headspace when my home is clean, so this is a priority. I want to be able to focus on baby, without worrying about dust or grime!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.24 AMWe signed up for Amazon Fresh as soon as they started out, and I love ordering our groceries that way! Amazon has the absolute best customer service and I love knowing that if something isn’t to my liking I can call and they will refund me, no questions asked. Having your groceries come to you will save you so much energy and time, too. Who needs toddler/baby tantrums at Trader Joe’s when they don’t have to?

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.29 AMWe have some Amazon subscriptions in place for everything we order in bulk: diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, as well as some other big ones like toddler snacks and dog food. It’s so much easier to set up subscriptions than to constantly forget to reorder the “must-haves” in your home.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.34 AMAfter giving birth to Liam, I constantly told my husband I was bummed we didn’t take enough photos of my bump. This time around, I try to take as many photos as I can! These will be so much fun to look at later on, and our kiddos love to look through them, too!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 11.38.38 AMOnce again, when we’re so focused on our little one, it’s so easy to forget that we need clothes to! Run to Target and get yourself some nursing bras, nursing tank tops, cozy pajamas, fuzzy socks, anything that you would like to live in for the next few months! I also recommend ordering some freezer pads, reusable nursing covers, and breastmilk collection shields! All must-haves during the first few weeks… You’re welcome!

Potty Training Boys (Without the Fuss)

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One day, out of sheer madness, we decided to do it. You know, the whole stuck-at-home-for-three-days potty training method. Cabin fever, and all. We did it. And believe it or not, those three days turned into five. We didn’t leave the house for five days.¬†And, in the end, it was the best decision ever.

When I look back on our potty training journey (it’s been about two months now, so not exactly a “journey” per say), I realize that although all toddlers are different, there is a science behind the whole process. Can you do it differently? Sure, but it might just take a lot longer, and there might be a lot more fuss, which is something we were desperately trying to avoid. My husband had just gotten tricep surgery and I was (and still am) in my third trimester of pregnancy. Not exactly a time during which you have the energy or motivation to pin your child down to a toilet multiple times a day.

Note: We are not planning on tackling nap time or nighttime for a little while. Liam still wakes up with very wet diapers and our goal is to simply reduce our diaper usage and get him to become independent during the day. He starts preschool next September and we’d rather get him potty training and not have to start from scratch when his newborn brother gets here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.32.17 AMSince Liam had shown us that he was capable of going both number 1 and 2 on the potty back in July, we knew he at least felt familiar with the whole thing, and was more or less ready to tackle it. I think this is a major tip for all parents thinking about potty training in the near future: make sure your child is ready to start. Follow his/her lead. “Ready” can mean that your child stays dry for many hours during the day, or that he/she simply asks to use the “big girl/boy potty” on his own. You can also make sure your child sees you, or your partner, use the bathroom. That way he/she understands that this is what adults and big kids do. Back in July, we sat Liam onto his potty chair in front of a cartoon and kept prompting him to push, and he did. We weren’t able to fully commit then, and had to wait a bit, but it gave him a few months to mature and be even more ready.

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When I say the “three day” method (or, in our case, five) was the best decision ever, it’s because we did the whole potty training thing cold turkey. Liam went commando for the first three days, then with pants (no diaper) the next two. We didn’t leave the house, so he didn’t get confused about what to do on the go. We simply reminded him every 15-20 minutes (then eventually every 30-45 minutes) by asking him if he needed to use the potty. These reminders were eventually no longer needed, and Liam actually went by himself or asked us to help him use the potty. The learning process felt very natural and unforced, and we didn’t have to put anything “on hold” during that week. We didn’t use pull ups or anything that could potentially confuse him, either.

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We’d read a lot about having a reward system in place, and, for Liam, it definitely worked. We give him a high five for number 1 and a lollipop and sticker on his chart for number 2. We praise him every time he runs to the potty on his own (without us having to remind him it’s time to go), and he really does feel proud of himself. Avoid scolding your child if he/she has an “accident”, and simply tell him/her that, next time, they need to use the potty quickly before it’s too late.

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We had a good potty training journey so far, but that doesn’t mean Liam won’t have regressions. It’s common when a baby comes into the picture, or with any other “big” changes at home. Sometimes, he’ll decide to be difficult and have a few accidents because he tries to hold it too long. Other days, he’ll do amazingly well. Just like with sleeping through the night, be consistent, patient, and try not to give up when it’s hard. It’s all a learning process!

 

When it was time to actually take the “big step”, I did a ton of research to buy all the “must-have” potty training items. I’ll admit I went a little overboard at first, but now, two months in, I can honestly say the items below are our family’s favorites… and they’re all available on Amazon!

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.32.37 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.36.40 AMThis potty seat is Liam’s favorite, probably due to its soft cushion and fun design and handles. I love that it comes with a reward chart and stickers, too! We’ve been using them every time he goes number 2, and he’s always beaming with pride when we let him pick out his sticker. The potty is very secure due to its unique “lock” system, and it honestly does not budge once tightened. It’s a winner in our house!

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.32.42 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.41.35 AM.pngWe are obsessed with these stools for Liam. Our sink happens to be very high and the stool height is perfect for him to reach the faucet. He loves climbing up like a big boy, planting his feet on the footprint marks, and washing his hands on his own! The best feature about these stools, in my opinion, is the rubber grip at the bottom. They really do not move at all!

We use the Perfechi potty seat in our second bathroom (the one Liam uses occasionally) and actually really like that it’s so simple, resembling a regular toilet seat. At the end of the day, no bathroom seats have cozy padding and fancy designs, so this is a good thing for him to get accustomed to as well.

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I really wasn’t sure if Liam was going to love PoGO. He tends to be scared of toys that move/speak, so I was curious to see what his reaction would be. Turns out, it’s now his favorite toy! Developed by a parent and psychologist, PoGO says things like “I’m so proud of you!” and other positive potty-related phrases, but also reminds your child every 45 minutes to use the potty. Liam takes those reminders very seriously and always takes PoGO with him. Bonus: he’s washable!

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.32.48 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.37.55 AMOriginally, I bought Liam thin cotton underwear with Disney characters on them. They’re perfectly fine, but I wanted to get training pants with some absorption capacity for times when we’re on the go.¬†The 3 layers make these training pants partially waterproof, helping to catch small accidents. Unlike with pull ups, which are more similar to regular disposable diapers, your child will feel the wetness with the onset of an accident. I love that they have a thick waistband and are easy to pull up and down for toddlers learning to do so.¬†

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My biggest fear about potty training was that Liam would go in the car seat or in the stroller when we’re out and about. This car seat protector has been a life saver! Not that Liam has ever peed his pants in the car (yet!), but it gives me some much needed peace of mind. It’s crash test approved, fully waterproof, and easy to throw in the wash!

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.32.56 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.39.51 AMThis is a fun change for little boys. Liam still has a hard time aiming directly into the bowl when he’s sitting (depending on how badly he needs to go), so we practice aiming into this fun little urinal. If it was summer, we’d have more options (like trees!), but for now this urinal is definitely doing the trick. Liam thinks it’s the coolest thing ever!

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.33.07 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-31 at 11.42.42 AM.pngFinally, we had to think of a “desperate times call for desperate measures” item, and this little portable urinal fits the bill. It saved our butts one day when we were driving down a busy road and Liam exclaimed, “Pee pee!”. We quickly pulled over into a vacant lot, unstrapped him, and had him go directly in the urinal. It’s very easy to clean once you get home, and can be a true life saver in public places when bathrooms aren’t accessible right away, especially in these early stages of potty training. You just never know when the need to go will strike, and it’s better than an accident! The portable urinal is super tiny and easy to stuff into a diaper bag.

 

There you have it, Mamas! My tips and must-haves for potty training without a fuss. It is important to note that, on average, boys are potty trained later than girls, so do not stress it if your child has no desire to use the potty quite yet. Besides, it gets a lot more stressful without diapers… so if you’re not 100% ready, then it’s worth the wait. I thought it would be a nightmare potty training Liam, but it was actually not as difficult as I thought it would be, and it taught Liam to communicate with us a lot better. Minus the accidents and occasional grumpiness, we’ve managed to make it relatively fun!

5 Resolutions All Moms Need to Make For 2018

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You want to know something? I’m not one of those people who makes a list of resolutions every year. I never vow to go to the gym 4-5 times per week, cut out gluten from my diet, or spend at least every other Sunday with family.

I just never believed in the idea of coming up with a list of things to feel guilty about if I wasn’t able to see it through. There is nothing more disappointing than a resolution that only makes it a couple of weeks before fizzling out.

I like to think of the new year, and the whole “resolutions” thing, as a time to reflect on myself as a person. What am I proud of this year? What do I need to change? I take a long, hard look at myself and try to figure out where there’s room for improvement. It takes the pressure out of resolutions, and allows me to meditate on myself, my growth, my personal journey.

My resolutions are always pretty vague and abstract. They’re small tweaks and adjustments I want to make in my life, mostly in the way I live my life, and I treat them as daily reminders. I don’t need to be perfect, I just need to know that these are the things that I would benefit from. These are the things that will get me closer to my “authentic” me. My true, uninhibited self.

So here it goes, Mamas… My list of resolutions for 2018. I do believe that although these are personal adjustments, they apply to all of us – as moms, we are so accustomed to taking care of everyone that we should take the time to focus on ourselves and not lose sight of who we are not just as moms, but as women, first and foremost.

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Little obstacles arise every single day, and they sometimes get the best of me. These “inconveniences” can be as silly as an overstuffed freezer that keeps collapsing when I open the door, or the fact that I haven’t done groceries in two weeks and have started running out of meal ideas.

This year, let’s learn to prioritize – put those “small things” on the back burner, and focus on what’s important. We will be welcoming a new addition into our family in a matter of weeks, and this is something I need to remember: I do not need to handle it all. Some things can wait. They will, whether I like it or not, and that’s okay. I can choose to be overwhelmed by this, or simply let it go. Choose option B.¬†

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I’ve been in many situations this year where I witnessed things that didn’t sit right with me. Many times I chose to stay quiet, and,¬†all of the times I did, it made me physically unwell to keep this negativity inside of me. In 2018, I choose to voice my feelings, sometimes without filter. I choose to be that friend who will tell you what you need to hear (although you might not want to), and that person who doesn’t just nod if something feels wrong. I am a true believer that strong emotions should be released, not held on to.

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I’m a control freak – I like to be on top of my life, my household, my day to day activities. This makes it difficult sometimes to ask for help. What I’ve realized is that it is essential for my happiness, my sanity, to let my husband, and our families, take over sometimes. Besides, it is crucial for my husband to have his own tasks to “control” at home – this not only makes him feel present and accomplished, but also gives me some much needed breaks throughout the day. Breaks that I don’t realize I need until… aah.¬†

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I have no problem saying I’m a people pleaser. I’m proud of the fact that I always¬†make the effort to be pleasant, no matter my mood, no matter how tough of a day I’ve been having. Why? Because people who don’t are my pet peeve. I am uncomfortable around those who switch moods like outfits. It’s not difficult to put on a smile and not make people feel like they did something to upset you.

However, I do think that putting on this “happy face” can sometimes become a burden. Feeling the need to attend every birthday party, every event, or play date you’re invited to, despite how you’re feeling, can take a toll on you emotionally and physically. I put my pregnant self through many things this year that, deep down, I knew I should’ve just politely declined. In 2018, I vow to do the things that truly make me happy.

Don’t feel obligated to put everyone else before yourself because you “have” to. You don’t. It’s okay to say no when you don’t want to do something – your family and friends will understand.

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Finally, whether it’s to speak my mind or allow myself to be quirky, I just want to be me. I want to stop worrying about what people think (because, really, who cares?) and leave every situation feeling like I was 100% myself. I want to always be myself, unapologetically. I’m sure this is, and will remain, a work in progress for most of us. But this is the direction I want to work towards: to live a brave, confident, and genuine life, always.

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