It Called Me

There’s that moment when you sit down to write a blog post and try six different passwords before you get the right one. And then you realize it’s been a really long time since you posted.  There have been plenty of recipes made and plenty of updates to share, but the timing wasn’t right.  Until today.  When it called me (cue Moana soundtrack…because if you’re a mom it’s been on repeat in your car for months).

I don’t have a recipe to share and I don’t know what the future holds, but I did want to say hello.  And let you know that I’m still here after over a year of relative silence.

Last time I posted, I had a baby boy who was and is programmed to move in every fiber of his being but who had not yet figured out how to do it.  He was frustrated and a little grumpy and hated being confined.  He didn’t want to sleep, he wouldn’t sit in the stroller and he wasn’t thrilled to be in a carrier.  If I’m being honest, I was a little lost.  I couldn’t quite figure him out.  And I certainly didn’t have time to photograph our dinner, jot down a recipe, edit, and write something interesting whilst dealing with him and a particularly precocious two year old.  It was hard.  No one tells you how hard being a mommy can be.  It’s beautiful and it’s heart warming and I love them more than words can express but mom-ing is just hard sometimes.  And yet, I still want more.  So there’s got to be something to it.

So what did I do instead of writing?  I made something for him that he loved.  A blanket.  And then made one for a friend.  And then another friend wanted a bib.  And then a different friend wanted a headband and another wanted a car seat cover and Snuggle Up Buttercups became my creative outlet and I left my poor blog here in silence.  Snuggle Up Buttercups is my third baby and it’s getting bigger and stronger and more awesome every day.  But I’m a writer in my heart and here I am.  Because it called me.

Now the little one can not only move but he can run and climb and jump (kind of) and giggle and play and he is a joy.  And the big girl is growing and learning and becoming a little person before my eyes and she’s going to be four soon and I’m sitting here like *how did that happen already?*  Every day they make me smile and laugh and want to squeeze them tight and tell them to never grow up.  But many days they also make me want to scream and cry and pull my hair out.  Some days I feel like the best mom ever, and many I feel like a total failure.  Because, like I said, mom-ing is hard.

Oh and on top of all of that nonsense we moved.  To this beautiful house on a perfect cul de sac in a wonderful neighborhood which was everything I wanted and dreamed of.  Except it needed some updating.  Like the kitchen, which had blue countertops and mickey mouse hand drawer pulls (I kid you not my friends).  So on top of my babies and my shop baby, we’ve also been working on this big baby of a house.  And those blue countertops were not horribly photogenic for my food photos, so we recently swapped them out for white.  And it called me.

Have I sufficiently explained myself?  Are all of my excuses good enough?  I’m sorry I’ve been gone, but friends, it does feel good to be here now.  We’ll see if clicking to publish is quite as easy because there’s a lot of truth here and it’s not pretty or easy but there’s something cathartic about getting it out.

So maybe some recipes soon.  Or workout ideas.  Or DIY.  Or something more than nothing.  But in the mean time, Facebook and Instagram are way easier to update so follow along there if you want to be in the loop (especially if you happen to be planning a mermaid themed party…there will be a lot of crafting going down in the next few weeks).  And thank you to those who have hung around waiting.  I promise, I’ll be cooking up something soon.

Healthy Snacking On The Go with FreshyBag

Healthy Snacking On The Go with FreshyBag | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I have a problem, and I’m just going to come out and say it.  I don’t like being at home.  It’s nice to lounge in your pj’s and read books for a little while but then I get super stir crazy.  Especially with two kids.  And I think I’ve passed this {and many other} neurosis onto my sweet girl because she’d rather be out of the house too.  The little guy has no chance.

So we end up eating a lot of our snacks, and sometimes even meals, on the go.  My girl is a snacker and I make sure I pack lots of healthy things to get us through teaching my fitness classes, playing at the park, running errands and doing whatever we’re up to.  As much as I’d love to just hand her a bag of goldfish crackers and call it a day, I just can’t.  This sweet girl will eat pretty much anything, so I make sure that she has fresh fruits and vegetables to eat before we get to any of the less healthy stuff.  Then if she’s not hungry for lunch later, I’ll at least feel like she got the basics.

Healthy Snacking On The Go with FreshyBag | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

When the makers of FreshyBag asked if I was interested in checking out one of their insulated bags, I said yes without even thinking about it.  I mean, I always need another insulated bag.  We’re dragging them everywhere.

When it arrived, I was totally stoked.  The size is just perfect…not too small that I can’t fit my snacks without zipping it but not too big that it takes over my whole stroller.  And I love the two different compartments so that I can keep her cool food cold without making her seaweed and rice cakes a little soggy.  And the thick bag and strong zippers kept everything so nice and cold!  I was amazed that even my ice pack seemed a little less melty than usual at the end of the day.  According to FreshyBag, their technology can keep everything nice and fresh for 10 whole hours!  That’s a Disneyland day people.  No more worrying about whether or not your cheese sticks are still good at dinner time!

Healthy Snacking On The Go with FreshyBag | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Mamas, here’s one of my favorite parts.  FreshyBag is machine washable.  Honestly, everything else is just gravy on top of that.  Because I don’t even want to know what kind of grossness starts growing when my kid leaves the bag unzipped with half an unpeeled banana inside on a hot day and I don’t notice until an hour later {true story}.

Oh, and it’s simple, black and the toddler has decided it’s basically her purse full of goodies that she can carry around with her.  So it’s basically a toy too.

So if you’re tired of your old snack bag, give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

**Disclaimer: FreshyBag provided a bag for me to review but the opinions in this post are all mine.

Introducing Snuggle Up Buttercups

Introducing Snuggle Up Buttercups | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Guys, I’m so excited to be sharing this today.  There have been big things going on behind the scenes here.  And they involved stacks of cuddly fabric, lots of hours behind the sewing machine, and one tiny product tester getting a whole lot of snuggles.

snuggle up logo plural etsy_edited-2

I temporarily closed my Etsy shop before little man was born.  I was still selling wine decor and signs, which had started to feel very much like something from my past.  There was no passion left in it for me.  And with a second baby on the way, I decided to take a break.  For months, I didn’t have the time, the energy or the desire to create.

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And then, one day, this second time mama discovered a problem.  And no amount of googling produced an answer or a product that could fix it.  So I decided to create one myself.

Grey Arrow with White Infant Blanket | Snuggle Up Buttercup3

Snuggle Up Buttercups was born.  It’s an innovative line of new blankets that are perfectly sized, simply designed, totally snuggly, mom-made and kiddo-approved.  Super soft and cozy blankets in patterns that moms love, that actually fit on carseats and in strollers without falling onto dirty floors, security blankets in darling patterns without random animal heads, and toddler blankets in chic prints that fit their laps in the stroller.

Introducing Snuggle Up Buttercups | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

We just opened and new items are being added regularly!  You can follow along on our Facebook and Instagram accounts for more fun.  Or shop today with code OPENED for free shipping this week only!

Hello, 2016

2015 Top 9 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Well hello there 2016.  Good to meet you.  Once we hit September I always know the New Year will be just a blink away and with baby boy {getting bigger every day} it went even faster than I could have imagined.  Between all of the spectacular celebrations, joyful moments and exciting “firsts” it has been an incredible last few months of 2015.  I can say without a doubt that this was the best Christmas I have ever experienced.  I know it’s been said, but watching Christmas through your children’s eyes is positively magical, and it becomes more and more special as my sweet girl grows.

Hello, 2016 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And now that the holidays have past {tear}, we can look back with so much joy {and a few fun photos through this post} but also look forward to all the things coming up in the future.

Like my first half marathon in a few months {what was I thinking??}.
Planning more fun recipes for the blog {my top nine posts from instagram above!}, but also hoping to add more fitness tips and more about this crazy life as a mama of two {what else would you like to see??}.
A DIY extravaganza as I’m contemplating my first {and probably second, third, fourth…} adventure with chalk paint and a total revamp of my dining set.
Maybe some new handmade adventures that I’ve been dabbling with {secretive much?}.

Hello, 2016 | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

But for now I’m taking a big beautiful sigh and just saying hello to 2016 and all of the possibilities that it offers.

Christmas with Two Kids | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

My Favorite Things: Holiday Recipe Edition

Looking for a delicious dessert recipe to bring to your holiday party?  Look no further than the Little Kitchen, Big Bites holiday section for some super easy treats, and a fun craft or two!

Santa Hat Mini Cupcakes | Little Kitchen, Big Bites {No Bake!} Peppermint Oreo Marshmallow Bars | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Sweet & Salty Oreo Holiday Bark | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Snowball Cookies | Little Kitchen, Big Bites noel6_edited-1

 

 

 

Baby Boy’s Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery

Baby Boy's Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

You’ve watched it come together over the last few months, but this is it.  The official reveal of our sweet baby boy’s nursery {and two months after his birth…#newmom #lazy blogger}!  It was such a labor of love to put together this sweet little room for baby C.  As soon as we found out we were having a boy, I started thinking and planning.  I wanted it to be sweet and “baby” but still a masculine, with a touch of a beachy vibe, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  While he’s not in his room yet, it’s still so fun to use it every day now for diaper and clothes changes, rocking and just hanging out.

Baby Boy's Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Baby Boy's Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

As with little S’s room, I didn’t really want a “theme” as much as a color scheme and an overall feel.  I love the way the light blue, grey and white came together…the colors and the subtle beachy-ness are so calming and I just feel relaxed every time I walk in to change him or sit down in the rocking chair.

Baby Boy's Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Baby Boy's Nursery Reveal | Blue, Grey and White Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

If you’ve been following along, you know that most of the furniture is old or garage sale refurbished pieces {see below for the list of tutorials}.  The crib is from Costco and all bedding and other linens are from Target, but we salvaged and re-did almost everything else!  It was so nice to have a backyard and a garage to do projects in this time around {we were in an apartment for most of my pregnancy with S}.

Baby Boy Nursery Gallery Wall | Free Printables | Little Kitchen, Big Bites DIY Pallet Shelves | Baby Boy Nursery Tutorial | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I know I’ve said this before but I love the Target linens and I honestly wanted to take and shoot all of the different sheets on the crib because they’re so sweet.  We bought Pottery Barn for little S and I couldn’t tell the difference between the quality of those sheets and the backups we bought for her at Target, so we went Target all the way this time around {not sponsored by them…although I would love to be!  Target?  You in??}.

Blue Ombre Dresser | No Sanding Ikea Hack | Baby Boy Nursery Tutorial Nightstand Refinish | Baby Boy Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Grey Graphic Rocking Chair Update | Baby Boy Nursery | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Want to try one of the projects yourself?  Check out the links below to each of the tutorials.
Grey Graphic Rocking Chair Update |  Blue Ombre Ikea Dresser Makeover | Distressed “Blue Wash” Dresser Refinish I’ll Eat You Up I Love You So Free Print | DIY Pallet Shelves | Free Printable Gallery Wall

Happy Halloween + October Recap

October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I was kind of hoping to come on here today and share some fantastic last minute Halloween party recipe.  And while my favorite semi-homemade ghost brownie recipe from last year still a great option for those of you looking for a tasty treat to bring along to your parties Saturday night, this year I just didn’t have the time to put anything new together. Except for some rad mandarin oranges that I drew jack o lantern faces on and posted on facebook.  Does that count?  At least you got my semi-homemade post-Halloween easy leftover candy brownie recipe earlier this week.  #lazynewmom

I have, however, been raising two darling little munchkins since the beginning of the month, which I count as an accomplishment in itself.  We’re slowly getting into a groove and trying to keep up with as many of big sister’s activities as we can to keep life normal for her.  The little guy has been so sweet and easy (knock on wood) and is mostly just along for the ride.  He’s been to about a billion pumpkin patches in his first month of life.  Sorry kiddo.

October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I have to admit that most of the time that I would have normally spent cooking, editing, and writing has been taken up by baby snuggles, and I don’t feel bad about it at all.  I forgot what it was like to have a baby that’s so little and smooshy, and I really know now that it doesn’t last long so I’m soaking it up while I can.  This is probably our second and last baby so I gotta take advantage of all of this lovieness.

So in lieu of a recipe post, I will simply wish you all a very happy and safe Halloween celebration and share some of my favorite photos from this first month as a mama of two, and one of my favorite months of the year.  It’s been pretty incredible.

October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites
October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites October Recap | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Secondary title:
That Time I Posted About My Daughter’s Cowgirl Birthday Party Months After It Happened

So remember when I was posting about all of those fun projects that I was doing for my toddler’s birthday party?  You know, back in June?  You don’t remember?  Yea it’s cool, I don’t blame you.

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I had such good intentions to write this fabulous post about her fabulous party and how much I love her and how I can’t believe that my sweet tiny baby girl is now two.  Which is all true.  The party was held at a local farm and was totally incredible and we all had the best time.  It was pink and cowgirl themed…and had cupcakes and ponies and that’s all she really cared about.

And now she’s two.  Perfectly, and sometimes terribly, two.  And even on our rough days I wouldn’t trade being her full time mama for the world.  Her smile lights up my life and walking into her bedroom to be greeted with a “good morning Mama!” each day is just everything to me.  She’s my little best friend and I love her to pieces.

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

But back to the party.  It was awesome.  And I came back with 2,340,309 photos to look through and edit and put together for this post.  Which was overwhelming.  So I just didn’t.  But eventually I got my butt in gear and got through them all.  So here ya go!

The party was in the morning because most of our kids still get good afternoon naps in, so we did a very simple and casual brunch menu.  I started with a whole bunch of ideas for some fancy pants parfait bar before realizing that everyone would just want to grab and go enjoy the farm and then come back for dessert at the end.  And most of the dessert was from boxed mixes or the recipes on the back of the package.  Because, pregnant and lazy.  And it was just perfect.  Other than the fact that we had way too much food.  But that’s the usual for me.

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites S'mores Pops | Easy, No Bake Dessert | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Interested in hosting a similar party?  Here are the details:

DIY Projects
Rope Letter Name Pallet Sign
Rustic Mason Jar Vases
Polaroid Toddler Photo Booth
Western Themed Toddler Photo Booth
Giant Chalkboard
Horse Head on a Stick Favors
Yarn Wrapped Monogram
Most printables were from this free suite from The Little Umbrella

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Menu
Brunch
Assorted Muffins
Assorted Bagels and Cream Cheese
Watermelon Slices
Chex Mix “Chicken Feed”
Basket of Whole “Fresh Picked Fruit”
Veggie Platter of “Fresh Picked Veggies”

Dessert 
S’mores Pops
“Cowgirl” Cupcakes
Rice Crispy Treat “Hay Bales”
Brownie “Cow Pies” {yes, we went there}
Licorice “Lasso Ropes”

At “The Watering Hole” we just had a simple assortment of waters and sodas.

Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Cowgirl Second Birthday Party | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

He’s Here!

I’m so excited to announce that our baby boy has arrived and he’s oh so sweet and smooshy!!  We’re all in love, including his big sister who likes to rock him and give him kisses on the head.

I was lucky enough to have an easy labor and delivery (especially compared to big sister’s two plus hours of pushing) and everyone is happy, healthy and spending time together as a family.  It’s still crazy to me how tiny he is and how big the toddler seems in comparison now.  She looked exactly like him as an infant, so sometimes when I look at him it’s like looking back in time at a littler her.

While we’re settling into our new life as a family of four, I have some scheduled posts ready to continue the fun here.  And keep an eye on Instagram and Facebook for more little tidbits and baby love.

He's Here! | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Hospital Bag Essentials from a Second Time Mom

Holy smokes my due date is sneaking up fast!  Life always feels like it’s on fast forward in September to me, and with this baby on the way, it’s even quicker than usual.  Summer slowly draws to a close and all of a sudden you’re thinking about pumpkins and Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving dinner and then it’s Christmas.  I’m going to be taking lots of pictures this year because I have a feeling baby boy’s first holiday celebrations are going to come and go quickly, especially with his big sister starting to really understand them this year.

Ok, focus.  Hospital bag.

Guys, I look back on when I checked into the hospital with the princess and it was honestly a little comical.  I had a carry on size rolling bag, a pillow or two, and a birthing ball stored in the car.  And that was just my stuff.  I also had a huge, packed to the brim diaper bag and Hubby had a backpack of his own {as much as I’m a chronic overpacker, he is a chronically light packer, thank goodness}.

I researched and researched and packed every little thing I might need for labor, delivery and recovery for me and my sweet new baby.  And you know what?  I opened that rolling bag once.  And I used nothing out of the diaper bag until we really started getting out of the house days later.

So this time around, I’m doing things a little differently.  Here are the essentials that I’ll be bringing with me to the hospital.  And by the way, this bag is getting packed when I go into labor, not two weeks ahead of time.

I should mention that our plan is to get out of the hospital and home to the princess and the pug as soon as possible.  Hospital beds are the worst and everyone sleeps better at home in our family.

Also, on the first go round, I stuck with the hospital issued gown and all because I just didn’t want to ruin my stuff and I was too tired and overwhelmed to think about putting other clothes on.  If you’re really passionate about these things, you may want to bring some comfy, loose fitting clothes too.  But in the utterly exhausting first moments of parenthood, it might all go out the window.

Hospital Bag Essentials from a Second Time Mom

Hospital Bag Essentials 

1) My Going Home Outfit  Depending on the weather I’ll either have maternity leggings and a nursing tank or a big ol’ maxi dress with a built in bra.  I’m also planning to wear shower friendly sandals to and from the hospital that I can use to walk around the room in, and in the shower if necessary.  No panties?  No problem.  Hospital provides them and you’re not going to want to ruin yours.

2) Baby’s Going Home Outfit  We haven’t picked it out yet, but it’ll probably be some kind of comfy, cute sleeper with a zipper closure and a little hat.  Because snaps or anything too fancy are the enemy with a newborn.

3) Toiletries  I’m planning to bring my toiletries bag with contacts, glasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, and prenatal vitamins.  I may also fit in shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and a little makeup if I’m feeling ambitious.  But honestly, I’d like to get out of there as soon as possible so I’m ditching the shower stuff if I can help it.

4) Other Essentials  I’ve got a little clutch that I’ll pack with my phone, charger, keys, insurance card, drivers license and credit cards.  Also a copy of our {very loosely put together} birth plan.  We may or may not bring our fancy camera.

5) Snacks  Labor and nursing made me ravenously hungry so I’m packing some healthy and splurge-worthy snacks to get me through between those nasty hospital meals.

6) Bonus!  Things to Leave in the Car  Most of the above will fit in a small tote that I’ll bring when I check in.  I’m planning to leave a few bigger things in the car for Hubby to bring in once the baby is here and we’re in the recovery room.  These essentials include my nursing pillow {the Brest Friend is the only way to go people.  Bad name, excellent product}, my pillow from home and the sibling gift for big sister.  Also, make sure that infant carseat {we loved the Chicco Keyfit 30 for our little girl and will be using it again for #2} is there and installed!

Hospital Bag Essentials from a Second Time Mom

PS a couple of the above links are Amazon affiliates, so I make a small amount of money if you click and purchase.  The rest are just the links to the image of the product that I use or love if you want to go shopping!

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