Savannah is ONE: A derby party!

I really can’t believe my baby girl is already one! I mean, didn’t we just bring her home from the hospital? You can read my birth story here. About two months ago I started planning her derby-themed birthday party. What is more fitting than celebrating her actual birthday on derby day?!

The feeling is pretty unreal to have a child, but then even more so to be celebrating her first birthday already. We couldn’t be happier to share this special day with all of Savannah’s closest friends and family. (We are missing baby Lydia in this picture, darn naps!)savyparty6DSC06985DSC06801
So many people came with handmade hats and bows! It made the party so much fun! I sewed and hot glued mine and Savannah’s. We even had matching flowers and feathers. DSC06797
And ‘my person’ Kat came from Louisville with her sweet family. This friend traveled the day before to help me with party planning. I love you so much! It is rare to find such great friends like you!DSC06842DSC06839What better way to celebrate upcoming Mother’s Day with your own mama who is staying all week after the party! DSC06830DSC06828A derby party wouldn’t be complete without betting, right? Well, I bet on Blue and he won our hearts with this adorable little jockey harness. And if Dan and I would have actually stuck with our original horse picks, (his #5, mine #1 for Savannah’s first birthday) we could have been rich! hahaDSC06827I painted this wooden jockey silk to go with the party and to use each year after when derby rolls around! Savyparty2These hot brown bites were a hit, and approved by my smallest judge! They were super easy to make and a great addition to any Kentucky party! Served with mint julep lemonade, Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, and mint topped fruit salad.

DSC06819If you are here in Lexington, Ky I would recommend using Ashley with One Smart Cookie! We were so impressed with these adorable custom derby cookies. They were almost too cute to eat, and so delicious! I ended up making the cupcakes and they also turned out great. (Basic yellow cake mix, and this amazing buttercream frosting recipe with added cream cheese) I added a bit of food coloring to achieve the pinkish color and added little blue gemmies.DSC06786DSC06784DSC06785DSC06867And this big one year old ate the entire cupcake!! Savannah was blessed with lots of fun birthday presents. Some dolls, musical toys, swimsuits, a beach bag for Gamma’s house, jewelry, books, and much more!DSC06906savyparty4savyparty3I was lucky enough to get some snuggles from this little guy! And we were so glad to see some little boys around 🙂savyparty1Thank you again to all of our family and friends who drove from out of town and spent their day with us. And from those of you celebrating from afar! We love you all so much!

I would love to hear about your derby day! Please share below in the comments!

Thanks for reading,
Kim & Savannah

My favorite Aldi finds for less!

dsc06099Being a stay at home has its challenges. One of them is finding new, creative ways to save money. So when I started shopping Aldi, it was a game changer! I can honestly say we have cut our grocery bill by 30-40%. Of course, there are still several name brand items we continue to buy at Kroger, but I wanted to share with you the magic of Aldi! I wish I would have learned about it sooner!

Growing up, I remember my grandpa coming over with cases of pop from Aldi and some cereal. Haha, what a smart man he was! Carrying on the tradition for you Grandpa Nickley!

Sorry Girl Scouts, but they have knock off cookies for $1.39! Thin mints are my favorite! And these taste just as good and you get more in the box.dsc06087
Fresh produce oh my! You can find the same produce and just as fresh. Avocados for $.69! Unheard of people! One of our go to dinners is crispy chicken salad. Aldi has a wide selection for you to customize your ingredients.dsc06092
Most of the Aldi stores around us (Lexington, KY) have been remodeled and have a fresher guarantee and quality.dsc06090dsc06097
Cereal is less than $2!! Whhhaaaatttt!! Stock up on those generic Cheerios for the baby and those Fruity O’s for the hubby!

They also have a row of random, non-food items. I found this pizza cooking tray the other day, but had to pass since we just bought one. Otherwise, it would have come home with me!dsc06093

And where are my coffee lovers? A box of K-cups for less than $5. Sign me up! The quality is really good, trust me. I am one coffee connoisseur.
dsc06100One of the meals I made recently from Aldi ingredients was this bacon-wrapped, jalapeno stuffed chicken breast. I bought a pack of jalapeños in the produce section for .$89. Here is the link to the recipe.

I would recommend just a few changes to the recipe depending on your oven and preferences on spiciness:

I halved the recipe since it was only the two of us eating. So I used half of one jalapeno (recipe called for 4) just for the flavor and to avoid the spiciness. I would recommend using a full one. And when cooking the chicken, I left it in for an additional 20 minutes. (But keep an eye depending on your oven) I also threw in some of Aldi’s mashed potatoes to go with the chicken. I prepped the chicken ahead of time during nap time and threw it in the oven just in time for hubby to get home and enjoy!

The other great thing about Aldi here in Lexington is that it’s never really crowded and its big enough, yet small enough that if you forget something, it’s pretty easy to go back and find it.

So next time you go shopping, give Aldi a try! Don’t forget your quarter for the cart return and bring your own bags!

Thanks for reading! Please share your favorite items at Aldi!

Our simple Valentine’s Day

This year I couldn’t wait to put together a few things for Savannah’s first Valentine’s Day. And of course her daddy. They are both super special, but I wanted to keep things simple. I barely have time to shower most days, let alone plan anything extravagant. (Any moms with me??) Here’s what we did:

Made some Fruity Pebbles rice krispie treats! Took literally about 5 min to throw together. We just used the original recipe but substituted the Fruity Pebbles for Rice Krispies. I knew Dan would love these! Now he can’t say I never made him breakfast in bed!dsc06042dsc06044Dan brought home flowers for both his girls last night. So sweet! dsc06048And Savannah opened her Valentine’s card and got a new book- I love you stinky face! dsc06056dsc06061dsc06063dsc06066dsc06075dsc06076dsc06080dsc06081Threw some candy on the table. DONE! Simple and perfect for our Valentine’s Day. dsc06082dsc06084Now to figure out dinner… takeout! Any suggestions??

Love is in the air! Life is precious, any excuse to celebrate!

Thanks for stopping by, Love Kim and Savannah

9 months old already, my love!

Sweet Savannah is 9 months old (+2 days)! With this crazy Kentucky weather I keep getting a feeling of spring. This last year has flown by! Soon it will be her birthday and I will probably cry. So we just HAD to do a photo shoot all day.

Since it’s February, I will focus on the things I LOVE about her 🙂

Those cheeks. dsc05989Those sweet baby rolls.dsc05948dsc05947dsc05966How smart she already is! She now feeds herself, gives mommy kisses, and reads lots of books.dsc05983dsc05987Shh.. don’t tell her daddy, but how much she looks like him. It reminds me of our little family and the reason for all of this.dsc06017And her priceless expressions. She sure has a lot to say and is working on saying it all. Her favorite word right now is da-da. Although when mama leaves the room, the tears are flowing!dsc06020dsc06001
Happy 9 months sweet girl. 9 months in, 9 months out! Love you more each day and we are trying our best to make sure you are the happiest, most loved baby!

Why is maternal support so difficult?

img_7842Last week I spent 2 hours on the phone with a number of professionals- my OB-GYN office, the pediatrician, a lactation consultant, and a health insurance agent. You would think after that length of time I would have an answer to my question and confidence in my ability to feed my child and care for my body. Let me give you a little back story.

A week or two ago, I started having burning pain in my breasts after breastfeeding my 8 month old. I convinced myself it was teething and thought, hey it will pass. I figured my doctor would give the usual answer (its nothing) and I would be out of my copay. After another week, the pain was not getting better and my breasts were throbbing even randomly when I wasn’t feeding. As any modern mom would do, I consulted with my Facebook mom group. I actually highly regard other moms’ opinions because they have been there, done that. They don’t have a scripted answer like the doctor office and I don’t owe a copay or get billed for an absurd amount later on. So in our discussion, other moms suggested it could be thrush, a yeast infection that will spread back and forth between mother and breastfed baby. When I called my OB-GYN office back, I mentioned my symptoms and that it was possibly thrush and they agreed and prescribed me cream. Even though there were no noticeable signs of thrush with my baby. After using the cream a few days, it wasn’t making any difference. It was more of an annoyance and I had to wipe it off each time before feeding my baby. So I was back to square one thinking maybe it will just go away on its own, whatever it may be. Being a stay at home mom, I don’t want to throw away a bunch of money on all these office visits that will MAYBE give me an answer. I just felt at a loss.

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So here I am. A highly educated woman (Master’s degree in health education of all things) with my first child. Not knowing who to turn to next. Breastfeeding has been an enjoyable, bonding experience with my baby, but I was wondering if this could be one of the reasons moms give up too soon on breastfeeding. I ended up seeing my OB-GYN and he said it was just a functional problem. And it has improved, so must have been a phase with my teething baby. But as a mom, we will pay the price to get proper care for ourselves and our child.

There have been other times during the past months as a new mom where I felt too embarrassed to seek help or just didn’t know where to begin. If I were to pinpoint some of the problems I see and/or have faced here they are:

>>Insurance/healthcare system. With so many different providers with a problem such as this one, who should I first consult? Hence, why I called 4 different offices this morning. And each provider in person visit comes with a cost. Maybe all for nothing. And all with a different answer.

>>Postpartum depression/emotional issues. I haven’t touched on one of the biggest issues new moms face, postpartum depression. This can be an entire post in itself. I can speak from experience that as a mom, I don’t want to show weakness although I know it is okay. I can tell myself that I am a better mom. Although if it was a friend of mine or another mom, I would tell them to let their feelings out and seek help. Why won’t I do that same thing?? Even after 8 months, I still have days of sadness. I suck it up and move on (some days). Not everyone can do that. I also have the luxury (yes, it’s a luxury because it is not free) of joining a group of amazing moms to exercise with each week. Not everyone has that. I couldn’t tell you how sad I have been when I didn’t venture out of the house (like during sicknesses). So without my class, I would feel very isolated.  The hormonal changes we go through create so many new feelings and the men in our lives should also be equipped with the tools to support and love their spouses. From my experience, information on postpartum depression and the baby blues was only provided at a voluntary breastfeeding class and again upon discharge. I remember in the hospital looking down at those tiny eyes staring back at me and just sobbing. Not because I was sad. Sometimes for no reason, other times because the overwhelming love I felt was scary. So scary that if anything bad ever happened to my sweet baby I would lose it. So I guess that meant it was okay to cry. To cry some more. And have my husband wonder if he did anything wrong. Nope, you are pretty much a perfect dad in my eyes. Me on the other hand, an emotional wreck.

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>>Lack of ongoing support. I received a bunch of pamphlets and printouts from the hospital before I was discharged. Resources such as lactation consultant contact info, how to breastfeed, brochures about postpartum depression, etc. Despite all this information, the whole parenting thing is so new, I didn’t feel like I had the support I needed. The hospital discharges you and says, “Good luck figuring this whole thing out.” And keep in mind you are discharged after the second night when you get ZERO sleep. Your new baby figures out there are these things that deliver milk, all the milk that sweet little baby can eat! Nobody told me about the multitude of problems you may encounter while breastfeeding and after giving birth. Things such as clogged ducts, mastitis, thrush, hemorrhoids, moles and your body will have new things happen months after. The moment you realize your mom was right 🙂

My goal is to compile a list of resources for moms (new and seasoned). If you have some great resources, please share! Soon, I will put together another post with the best resources. As I hear very often, it takes a village! And I truly believe it and hope to give you hope and inspiration on your motherhood journey.

Check out this article about the village I was referring to! Another thing to add to the list of things to do/find when you are pregnant or a new mom! Seriously guys, if you take one thing away from this post.

Thanks for reading and please share your resources in the comments!

Aside

My honest review: Roomba vacuum

Our first Christmas with our daughter, Dan and I decided to invest in our home instead of buying each other individual gifts. Not sure how we got to it, but we decided on getting a Roomba vacuum. SO FAR, BEST DECISION EVER!! (This is the model 880) This is also helping my OCD need to vacuum!

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We have had the Roomba for about 3 weeks and it is so easy to use. I can literally vacuum while sitting on the couch watching TV. Ok, that sounds super lazy, but when we first got it we wanted to see how it operates- if it will eat curtains, go over hardwood, and fall down stairs. So that required some watching! But seriously, I will be putting Savannah down to sleep and running the vacuum in our bedroom across the hall.

Here are some of the reasons I LOVE it:

Easy to clean. The dirt tray comes out easily and you dump it in the trash. The underneath little wheels pop right out too and you just pull the hair right off. No scissors necessary like on every other vacuum! This is revolutionizing for all the moms (and anyone with hair) out there! I can’t tell you how many times I cut hair from around the vacuum turny things.

Easy alerts. When the vacuum is full, it beeps and tells you and a little trash can icon comes on. Or if it is in a place stuck, it will tell you to move it. (I will get to this part later!)

Cleans UNDER furniture. How often do you really move your furniture to vacuum underneath? No need with the Roomba! It does it for you. For instance, we have a large wooden king bed in our master and no way can we move that thing. It is being sold with the house. Haha

Great for pet hair. As gross as it is to empty the dust out, it is LIBERATING at the same time. All that dust and pet hair gone!

Runs for a long time! I usually let the Roomba clean for a while. More than I would normally vacuum. It goes over the room multiple times and does a much more thorough job than I would do with an upright vacuum.

Remote control. Need I say more. You can steer it if you need it to stay or go in a certain direction.

You may have some questions like I initially did before getting the Roomba. Does it go down stairs? How does it know which room to vacuum? Can you schedule it to vacuum when you are not home?

Well, it knows there are stairs and can feel the bottom and will not go down stairs. And it comes with a little device that you put in the entryway to a room to let it know not to pass or to pass. (pretty neat!) And you can schedule it! I haven’t got to try this part yet only because I am a stay at home mom and haven’t really had the need yet for this. I just vacuum while I’m home. I can always write another post later on to let you know and an update in general on how the vacuum is doing!

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The only few things that I complain about with this vacuum are really just me being ultra lazy. Ha! So, sometimes to empty the dirt bin, you do have to put your fingers in there. But weren’t you going to wash your hands anyways after cleaning it out?? I hope so! And in order to vacuum, you have to clear things off the floor. But you would do this with any other upright, so I can’t really complain! I haven’t seen the Roomba eat cords or curtains, but I have tried to avoid that at all costs anyway.

So what do you think? Worth the price? I think so! A mom’s savior and a pet’s best friend 🙂 Depending on if you have a cat that will ride on it. Or in our case, a dog that will chase it and protect you from it… those darn robots. I will keep you updated as we continue to use it! Post any additional questions you have below! Also read the reviews online for this particular model!

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Anniversary gift ideas for your husband

anniversary-gift-ideas-for-your-husbandNot sure what it is, but men are seriously the hardest to shop for. At least mine is. So I decided to make him something! Here is how I usually begin to look for inspiration.

>>Remember all those projects you have lingering you will complete someday? Now is the time. We have been saving empty bottles for some time. I finally got rid of a bunch of wine bottles. I began to feel like a hoarder! But those bourbon bottles… I knew I wanted to make lamps for the man cave! Nothing says Kentucky like bourbon. This was part of my gift this year for our 4 year anniversary.
dsc05442dsc05443>>Pinterest- do some research and begin searching for things that your man likes. You will be surprised what you come up with.

>>Start a tradition. We have been going on small weekend trips each year for our anniversary. For our one year we went to Gatlinburg, our two year we went to Bardstown, Ky and stayed at a Bourbon Mansion Bed and Breakfast.

>>Think about what this season of your life will bring. What do I mean by that? So last year I was pregnant and my husband was deployed, who knew the best gift would be a snoogle body pillow from him! (You moms know!) I had early onset mommy brain, so I can’t really remember what I did last year for him. I do remember having a Facetime date 🙂

>>Create memories with a scrapbook. I did this for our first anniversary. Since the military played such a major role in our relationship and the opportunities it has afforded our family, I put together an Army scrapbook documenting our journey together.
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dsc05433dsc05439dsc05440dsc05435So this year for our 4 year anniversary, I was trying to think outside of the box and also stick with the traditional gift of fruit/flowers. Hello Four Roses Bourbon! Perfect. 4 years and roses! I was probably the only one walking out of Liquor Barn with a brown bag and stroller in the middle of the afternoon! Gotta do what you gotta do! And to add more meaning to it, our daughter Savannah was born derby weekend this year. Probably the best year so far of our marriage. Run for the Roses!dsc05421I found this recipe on Pinterest for Vanilla Bourbon Cupcakes with homemade bourbon buttercream frosting. It took a while to put together but they are seriously delicious! Sorry Gigi’s cupcakes (for you Lexington locals). Dan decided to surprise me and come home early from work with flowers!  So sweet. And they are perfect fall colors- great for my centerpiece of cupcakes!dsc05427I had to summon him to the basement so I could finish. My surprise wasn’t a huge surprise, haha! Once I made the cupcakes I also decided to melt chocolate and make hearts and some other candy decoration. My first time doing this, I would say it didn’t turn out too bad! dsc05422dsc05429Since next year is the big 5 year anniversary, I will have to come up with something even better! Traditional gift is wood. Hmm…

And here is a list of traditional gifts by year in case you were wondering.
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Thanks for reading and I hope this post motivates you to be creative in coming up with a gift for your husband. Do you have other ideas? I would love to read them below in comments.
Kim

Review of the BabyList registry

EXHIBITIONWhen I found BabyList had a registry where you could add items from any store, I thought that was a great idea since one of my favorite stores, Marshalls, has the cutest baby stuff and best prices. That was one thing that was not available for my wedding registry. I was able to add gift cards from Marshalls, my newborn photographer, Sarah E Dunn Photo & Design, and other places that typically don’t have a registry. I am hoping to help others by writing this review of my experience with BabyList!

Pros:
>>Ease of Use– BabyList was very user friendly and easy to navigate. It had a lot of different options with its navigation. You can share your registry and track gifts.
>>Price comparison– It allows you to price compare and lists the best price for the item you register for. A lot of the items are found on Amazon and when their prices change, it also sends you an email alert.

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>>External registries– You can add other registries to BabyList too, so ideally, you could point your guests to one registry and find all of them in one place.
>>Products– BabyList allows you to browse products from popular companies, handmade items from places like Etsy, and gives reviews of those items. You can browse through different articles and sample registries.

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Cons:

I don’t have many cons, other than looking back and registering for a lot of items I didn’t necessarily need as recommended by BabyList guides. It is so much of a personal preference on registry items, I am not sure this is avoidable. As a first time mom, I was happy that I registered for items that were really just cute more than functional, especially having a girl! I figured I probably wouldn’t spend the money after she arrives on anything other than the necessities.

In hindsight, I would have rather signed up for an Amazon Baby Registry and here’s why:
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>>Simplicity of finding items– Search for your item, done!
Most people compare prices on Amazon anyway (why make it harder!?)- You want your guests to have an easy time finding gifts for you.
>>Amazon Prime -Makes shipping free for those with the membership. We seriously buy everything on here (from paper towels to diapers to drinks). Totally worth the yearly fee.
>>Lowest prices– This is usually the case on a lot of the baby items you will want. Other than using the one time coupons you get in the mail for the big box stores.
>>External registries– You can also add your external registries to Amazon. Have it all in one place. You can add anything from the web too, just like BabyList!
>>Amazon Handmade– Similar to online marketplaces like Etsy, one stop shop on Amazon for unique handmade items. They even have a Handmade Baby Store!
>>Welcome box– See more details about what you get in your box to start your journey of motherhood! I never received anything like that from BabyList. Womp womp!
>>Completion discount– Get 10% off everything you buy on your registry, 15% for Amazon Prime members!
>>Amazon has everything!

So would I recommend BabyList to expectant mothers? Absolutely! But first consider Amazon for its benefits listed above. If I could do it over, I would go with the Amazon Baby Registry!

Thanks for reading mommas! Please share your experiences with baby registries.
Kim

Easy Hawaiian kalua pulled pork crockpot style

Since 1931

Our trip to Hawaii did not last long enough, although any amount of time would not be long enough! You can read more about my trip and what we did while I was 20 weeks pregnant. With all the delicious food including fresh fruit and lots of pulled pork, we came home craving that Hawaiian Kalua pulled pork, for breakfast and dinner! Since we can’t dig a hole and cook it in the ground like they do, the crockpot was the next best option.DSC03710With a little help from La Fuji Mama and some simple ingredients– wala! Easy crockpot Kalua pulled pork! The recipe called for 6 pounds of pork, but we used only about half that. By the time the meat cooks and you remove the fat (if you choose) and the bone (if there is one) it doesn’t leave you much leftover. Between the two of us, this only lasted 2 meals. I would recommend making the full 5-6 lbs as listed in the original recipe. Trust me, it is too delicious not to have a few more meals out of it.IMG_8005Here are the ingredients we used:

One of the easiest crock pot recipes!

Steps:
1. Put the pork butt in your crockpot and pierce it all over with a knife. You can leave the bone in and fat chunks and remove them later. We found this to be the easiest way.
2. Sprinkle the sea salt over the pork, pushing some of it into the holes you made with the knife.
3. Add the liquid smoke flavoring. Do not add more than recipe calls for. It may not seem like much, but the cut of meat has so much fat it will cook perfectly!
4. Cook covered on low for 8-10 hours, flipping halfway through.
5. When done, remove bone and fat (if necessary), shred the pork, and enjoy! We bought ciabatta rolls or you can have other fancy bread if you choose. If you want to do it Hawaiian style you can make it a ‘plate’ with rice and eat if without the bread. Or make a breakfast sandwich with leftovers (my husband’s favorite) with an egg over-easy and the sauce of your choosing!

To make this recipe even more Hawaiian, we used Hawaiian bbq sauce and these delicious Bai coconut drinks! We just put in another order of these drinks, we love them!IMG_8029This is one of the easiest crockpot recipes and the pork butt is very inexpensive. Once you buy the other few ingredients listed, you can keep making this over and over!

What other Hawaiian dishes do you enjoy? Leave me a comment below!

Thanks for reading! Kim

 

 

How to save money on picture frames

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If you are a decorating addict like me, your husband will say we don’t need to buy any more frames! That is the case at our house. So what do I do… find creative ways to save money on frames. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

>>Shop the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby. I found a few $30 table top frames that had the back broken off. Got them for $4! It didn’t matter since I wanted to use them to hang anyway. Seriously, this is how I’ve scored the best frames for cheap. They always have a good stock too!

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>>Rearrange the frames you already have. If you are anything like me, you printed so many wedding pictures. A few years later, it is all baby!  As the seasons in your life change, you may want to change some of the pictures. Take a few frames you already have and give them new life by moving them around in your house and changing out the photographs.

>>Use coupons! Hobby lobby and Michaels both have apps with coupons each week. And Hobby lobby has tabletop frames half off all the time!

>>Shop Michaels sales. I got these 11X14 frames for $6 a piece for my stairway gallery wall!! Patience pays off when decorating! Since I bought these frames, I have seen the 70% off frames sale a few times. Sometimes you can even use extra coupons on these. I chose the prints for this gallery wall randomly sifting through photos, but they are a good representation of our little family. Lots of Army pictures, our doggie, and Savannah, GA (the Forsyth fountain).

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>>Shop the discount stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls. I am a little partial to these stores, or as others would call it, obsessed! I may have been there yesterday. They have such unique, reasonably priced frames. Just be careful not to buy the entire store!

>>Go to thrift shops! Or even better, shop your mom’s closets for those vintage frames! See, another reason moms are the best!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have other ideas I didn’t mention.

Kim