Bumpkin Reusable Snacks Bags are My New BFF


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I am currently obsessed with these Bumpkins Reusable Snack Bags! Waterproof, washable and absolutely adorable, they now replace my endless use of ziploc bags for carrying my kids’ snacks around in my bag.

They come in a bunch of cute designs including firetrucks, Dr. Seuss, dinosaurs and more. My kids love unzipping them and indulging in their snacks. And not only am I saving myself from a car full of little baggies, it’s way better for the environment too.

More info:

  • They’re labtested food safe 
  • Zipper closure
  • These ones measure 7″W x 3.5″H but there are other sizes!
  • BPA, PVC, Vinyl, Phthalate and Lead free
  • Machine washable & dishwasher-safe (top rack) 
  • Sold in single or multiple packs!

Bumpkins Reusable Snack Bags are the BEST for school snacks too. Tupperware can take up space so these are a great alternative. I highly recommend these adorable snack bags for daily use or even back-to-school gifting!

I Love You, Gro-Clock



I swear my 3 & 5 year old boys were farmers in their past lives. Every morning the little boogers were up before the sun. I loved their enthusiasm for the day, I just wished they could be enthused a little more quietly.

I began to understand though, that they just had no concept of time. They were awake and wanted to party. I tried explaining to them that they were up way to early, but they just didin’t get it… until I bought their Gro-Clocks.

It’s like something clicked when we set their clocks up – which is ridiculously easy by the way! The visual of seeing a blue star at night and a yellow sun in the morning really helped their cute little brains grasp the concept of what a decent wake-up time is.

I was able to set the time when “the sun would come up” letting them know it was cool for them to get up and party. Until that sun came up though, they were to remain in their rooms and play quietly.

Instead of the typical twelve numbers around the clock, there are twelve stars. As each hour passes at night, a star disappears. So eventually my boys understood that if they woke up and there were a bunch of stars, it was still the middle of the night and they had to go back to bed. This helped my younger boy, Joshua with his frequent night wake ups – little dude just didn’t know it was still the middle of the night.

The Gro-Clock really helped them understand the concept of time. I swear by these things! If your toddlers get up a lot at night or are early risers GET THIS CLOCK!!! It has seriously made a difference for us.

I got both of ours at Amazon. They’re cheaper here than other places I have looked and they shipped in no time at all – and shipping’s free after $25 – score! Get your Gro-Clock Sleep Trainers today. Sweet dreams, Mammas!

What are some of your favourite products that actually helped make life easier? Please share them with me!!

Second Baby Boy = Second Chances


Joshua Edward Cole has arrived on March 24th! He is the EXACT opposite of Big Brother Jacob so far. At this stage with Jacob, I was asking my husband if the hospital would let me return my colicky son to them. I know, it sounds horrible for a mother to say that. But I was a first-time mom with a newborn who screamed and nursed. There were no two hour lulls like with Joshua.

At Joshua’s 48 hour appointment, I asked the doctor if he was ill. She asked me why I thought that and I told her that all he does is eat and sleep; maybe he had jaundice if he was so lethargic. She giggled at me and mentioned that Joshua was doing exactly what newborns are supposed to do.

I had it in my head my entire pregnancy that I was heading into a storm – a newborn (which I assumed would nurse and scream like Jacob did) and an active 2 year old. I have a vivid imagination so instead of getting excited about our new addition on the way, this is more along the lines of what I pictured:

Image by Heath Robbins
Image by Heath Robbins

It feels like God has sent me a little miracle. Maybe with a note that says:

“I owe ya one, Kid. Here’s a little baby boy who will be a sweet newborn. Now go on, fall in love with being a Mommy. I know the first time around those moments passed you by in the chaos.”

They did. I can’t recall moments with Jacob when I was able to sit down quietly with my chin on his soft little head and breath in his beautiful scent. I’m not saying they didn’t happen, I just can’t bring those memories to the surface. I was so busy being anxious about what would happen next and when the screaming would start that I couldn’t live in the moment.

Joshua is my second chance at falling in love. And I’m taking all the little moments in… because they’re already almost gone. He’ll be one month soon, then before I know it he’ll be a toddler, running away from me giggling, and after that, closing his bedroom door in my face so he can have privacy.

I sit here and try so hard to etch these sweet moments in my mind, I hope they never fade. I hope I can bring them to the surface when I need to and relive them. Until I need to do that though, I’m going to live in these moments right now and be thankful that God has blessed me with another little boy to raise.

NOW I Get It!


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Photo source

There were a couple of things people would say to me over and over again during my pregnancy and after Jacob was born. At first, I took these phrases with a grain of salt and shrugged them off. But soon, I preferred to shovel a spoonful of salt into my mouth rather than hear yet another piece of advice.

Enjoy your sleep now!

I was so sleep deprived from discomfort. I had to accommodate this massive watermelon at my midriff, get up to pee three times, prop myself up to avoid acid reflux, and it was always so darn hot! My blood would boil when people would tell me to stock up on sleep.

And of course, just a few days after Jacob was born I understood what they all meant. Waking up because of my own discomfort seemed like a luxury compared to waking up to the shrieking cry of Jacob…who needed me, no matter how run down I was.

Enjoy these moments, they fly by.

I refer to the first month of being a new mother as “The Dark Days.” I was exhausted, terrified, lost and desperate. And Jacob pretty much cried the whole first month. Of course, when visitors would come by he was a sleeping angel. So as they held my sleeping son, they’d tell me how precious this first little while was. I’d nod and smile, but really I was wishing he was in college already. I was too tired to understand how today, right now, I would give anything for those tender moments with him as a newborn.

Now that he’s walking running he doesn’t want to cuddle. He is never still and quiet; content to be in my arms. I totally get it now. So when he does feel affectionate, I drop whatever I am doing and run to him.

What are some of the things people say to you that drive you bonkers?

Hello, Friends! Yes, I’m Still Alive.


Excuse my absence, we’ve been busy…

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I can’t believe I haven’t written since September. There were dozens of fleeting moments when I had an idea for a post, but then life happened. Jacob is 18 months old now. So needless to say, he is on the move, and I am on the move after him – especially since he’s realized his love for toilets, and washing his hands in toilet water. Blerg. There goes the fight on germs.

This Christmas was outstanding! Jacob is old enough to understand what’s happening around him. It was so touching to see the wonder in his eyes when he’d gaze at the twinkling lights on the tree. Or when he finally caught on to the excitement of unwrapping presents. Kids really do bring out the magic of Christmas.

I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and that the New Year is being good to you so far. You will be hearing from me more often as one of my resolutions this year is to NOT neglect writing. So let me know if there is anything specific you would like to hear about. Whether it’s more family recipes you’d like me to share, or if you want a product reviewed. And of course, I will always continue to write about my blunderings and embarrassing moments…like that time I waxed half my eyebrow off by accident.

Until next time! Keep things as sane as possible 😉

Cris

Adele & Serena


Photo Credit: Megan Richards
Photo Credit: Megan Richards

I watched these two little angels come into the world. I stood by their mommy as she breathed through each contraction. Maybe it’s because I watched their little lives begin the second they entered the world that I feel such a strong connection to them.

They’re two little angles. Adele, my older niece is so sweet and gentle. She’s smart and competitive too. I used to love watching her put puzzles together when she was a toddler. She used to ask me to watch the clock and time her. She was always trying to beat her own time.

Serena my younger niece is as wild as those little curls on her head. She’s also kind and sweet, but she’s got a tougher side to her. If she’s ever told “no” when it comes to something she asks for, she demands a full explanation that she then analyzes to see if it’s a fit excuse for not getting what she wants.

I’ve watched them grow from these tiny little humans into tiny little ladies. They pull at my heart strings every time I see them. It fills me with joy to hear them exclaim “Zia!” when I walk through the door.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of women they’ll become; who they’ll be when they grow up. And if they’ll still think I’m the coolest aunt on the planet. I hope so.

Thinking of Nonna


Nonna

Nonna means Grandma in Italian. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Maybe because Easter is approaching and that’s when she’d make enough Easter bread to feed a village. I loved baking with her.

Growing up, I had the pleasure of her company all to myself for a few years when she lived with us. I remember those years with fondness. I was her helper when it came to baking, cleaning, and cooking.

She offered free hugs and cuddles all the time. And a good lecture too when I misbehaved. The only time I remember her relaxing was for an hour in the evening when she would watch her Italian soap opera, which the whole house could hear as she’d put the volume on full blast. She was partly deaf in her later years. And instead of turning her hearing aid up a notch, it was the TV volume instead. I used to giggle when she’d turn to me and ask in Italian “Is the TV too loud?” I’d tell her it was just fine.

I was amazed at her fearlessness. One sunny summer afternoon there was a garden snake in our yard. My mother shrieked, I ran. My Nonna? She casually picked up the snake and whipped it in the air like a cowboy about to lasso a bull. When it wouldn’t just die after its little head was slammed into the cement a few times. She hollered at me to grab a pot of hot water.

When I returned, she threw the half-dead snake in a bucket, and the hot water along with it, drowning the snake. I guess the hot water did the trick.

“There, it’s dead. Now let’s get back to picking those tomatoes.” And that was that. My mother and I were left a little shaken by the critter in our yard, but Nonna just got on with her day – there were things to be done after all.

Every night she’d read this small compact bible she had. I could hear her whispering away as she read the passages. Once she was done reading, she would hold the rosary in her hand while praying. Then she’d lean over turn off the lamp and go to sleep.

I’ll never forget one day she was going into our cantina to get some flour as we were baking homemade pasta. There is a big step to climb over to get into my parent’s cantina, and she lost her footing a bit and fell. I was so scared. Nonna wasn’t a fragile woman, she was big boned and tough. She got up, dusted herself off, turned around and said to me:

“Don’t tell your mother about this. She’s only going to worry and lecture me on how I should rest. I’ll rest when I’m dead.”

“So you want me to lie to mommy?” I asked her in my broken Italian, knowing that it really wouldn’t be a lie. I just wanted to hear what she had to say in response. She said the greatest things.

“If mommy comes home from work and asks you if I fell today, then tell her the truth. But if she doesn’t ask you, then there is no need to tell her, is there?” She said to me with a wink.

One night, my parent’s went to a wedding. Nonna asked me what I wanted for dinner. There was a pack of Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry that my mother bought about a year ago and never made for me. I really wanted that. And it would still be good since those things don’t expire for a few decades. When I showed Nonna the box she wrinkled her nose at it and mumbled how disgusting it was. I begged her to make it for me. So she did.

She placed the dish of fluorescent orange macaroni and cheese in front of me at the table. She watched as my eyes lit up. Then she shook her head and took the plate off the table, throwing the food in the garbage.

“That isn’t food. It’s too bright! Not natural for food to be so bright. You want cheesy pasta? I’ll make you some.” About twenty minutes later I was eating fettuccini Alfredo.

Sometimes I wish I could still talk to her, ask her for advice when it comes to Jacob. She used to cure us kids of anything when we were younger. Whether it was a bad cough, sore tummy, headache or stuffy nose, she’d whip up a concoction that was offering us relief in minutes.

I can feel her sometimes too. There was this one time I was watching Jacob sleep in my arms after rocking him. I felt a nudge at my elbow. It was so forceful that my arm jerked a little. I looked up quickly expecting someone to be there, but it was just Jacob and I. And then I felt her. It was as though she were alive and in the room with me. I stayed there for an extra fifteen minutes that night. Just rocking Jacob, feeling Nonna and enjoying the moment.

When I’m having a bad day, when I’m feeling blue, defeated and tired, I think of her. I think of the tough, hardworking, never-complaining woman she was. I think of how long she lived, how she watched the world change before her eyes and always adapted without a single complaint. I also think about her when I find myself complaining about little things and feel guilty. She was a simple woman. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren are what brought her joy. She didn’t need anything else but to be there for her family. I want to be more like her.

What do you love about your Grandmother? What are your favorite memories about her?