Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Types of Facebook "Friends"

Hey guys! If real world relationships weren't complicated enough, now the world of Facebook has made things even more complicated. YAY. I spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook and how it's emergence in 2004 has completely changed the way we interact with people. I was about to say "the way we interact with loved ones" but then I realized that I have approximately 600 friends on there, and this is after a major "friend" deletion, and many of these people I do not love. (Some I do, so don't get your feelings hurt, people.)

Thus, the topic of this post. I have, several times, attempted to widdle down this friends list. But... it gets complicated. I have issues. A friend deletion is serious business. What if you see them somewhere? Awkward. And there are so many types of Facebook friends, and each plays a role, a purpose if you will, in the world of Facebook.

Family. Duh. Parents. Sisters, brothers, cousins. Aunt, uncles. Maybe nephews and nieces, depending on your age and/or the degree of parenting intervention on the Facebook front (I know of 10 year olds with a Facebook account).

Parents. This deserves a category of its own. I remember when my mom got on Facebook (when it was previously primarily for college students).  This is certainly not a bad thing (as I know my mom is also reading this blog, hi mam!!), it did shift the paradigm a little bit with the emergence of important family members. Cryptic country song lyrics could be rebutted (ARE YOU OKAY?!?!?!); complaints are given obvious and welcome solutions; etc.

True Friends. These are the people who know things about you without reading about it on Facebook. The ones that know what cryptic country lyrics are referring to without you saying so. The ones that would still be your friends if Facebook didn't exist.

Friends you used to be friends with but aren't really anymore. This is another fun one. Sarcasm! To me, this is like looking at old pictures of yourself when you were super skinny. It just makes you sad to see pictures of them. But such is life. Life happens, and either the friendship lasts or fades away.

Friend's Parents. This is an interesting one. One would assume that if your parents are on Facebook, now your friends' parents are on Facebook too!

Your Parent's Friends. Mom's bffe. Dad's coworker. Maybe one of your parents' neighbors. These are people that you don't really know but you don't want to not know. They are your parents' friends, and their interest in your day-to-day is thoughtful.

Co-workers. This goes for current and past. I have found some of my most treasured friendships at work. Think about it; you spend most of your time there. But there are also co-workers who you would rather not share oxygen with all day. Sometimes you have to be friends with them too.

Exes. That is unless the relationship was too recent, traumatic or psycho. Then those exes are on the block list. You know it's nice to see what some exes are up to.

Exes' friends. At one point in time, your exes friends were your friends. If you are lucky some of them still are. But chances are you have groups of friends on Facebook you know primarily through an ex.

High school friends. Do we even need high school reunions anymore? No? Ok.

People from high school you didn't even talk to. These are the people who request your friendship and you have NO idea who they are, but realize that you have 93 mutual friends that all went to your high school. You rack your brain; you look at their pictures; maybe even message another pal from high school... but you have no clue who this person is.

People from high school you didn't even talk to, but you do now. This has been one of my favorite groups of Facebook friends. I realized in my many wise years (HA!) that there may have been moments in high school where I was a prissy bitch. There I said it! Facebook has allowed me to have friendships now that I'm more of an adult and less of a biotch. :)

Strangers who you have met online. If you are like me, and have a strong presence online, this group is big. For me it includes other bloggers, pinup people, photographers, other models, and moms living in Chicago who I don't even know. That's the crazy thing about Facebook, y'all. Some of these people I honest to goodness consider real friends. I don't know what that says about me, but I am being honest.

Friends you make when going out who you think you will be BFFEs with but never talk to again. I know I'm not the only one! A night out with a group of gal pals, So-And-So is so neat, oh you have facebook! Let's be friends! Selfies! I'm going to tag you!!! And never, ever talk to you again.

People you delete but keep adding you back. And because you are a nice person, you keep adding them back. Neat, they don't get the hint!

The people who invite you to play games every/single/day. These people could also fit in other categories. While I could give a rat's hiney about the game requests, I know people who think this offense warrants friend deletion!

The people who post selfies. GUILTY AS CHARGED. Hey, confidence is a good thing, people, right?? Right. Ahem. :)

The people you aren't friends with, but you search them every once in awhile to see if their profile is accessible. Before you go off thinking "oh, Tara's crazy" I don't ever do this. ;) But if I did, it might be people you don't like, significant other's exes, your exes on the block list, and even your exes' exes. Thanks Facebook for being SO thorough in our ability to stalk.

Your close friends who don't have Facebook. You have moved 3 times, gotten married and had a kid, and this person might not know any of this has happened because they aren't on Facebook. Good luck continuing that friendship when you finally touch base with that person.

Y'all... please tell me I speak the truth on this, or else maybe I'm just special! But this is how I see Facebook and all of it's facets of friends. Like I said before, it's complicated. The world of Facebook "friends."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I Love Erin Condren Daily Planners

I am an incredibly Type A, who loves to-do lists, calendars, stickers, highlighters, pretty pens, sticky notes, school supplies, notepads, binders.... my heart is fluttering to the thought of ALL of it!

A couple of years back, one of my dear friends Amy (who shares my love of all things organization) gave me an Erin Condren life planner. Not only was it personalized with my name and a picture of my then-boyfriend/now-husband and myself on the front, but it was jam packed with things to help me organize my day-to-day life.

Among the things I like about it, other than the amazing colors and themes offered, is there are several add-ons that really sing to women who led busy ass lives (for lack of better words). You can get stickers for appointments; you can add picture stickers of friends; you can add a notepad that sticks to the front or the back for your daily to-do list. You can even add those pretty colored pens that look so pretty when you write with them.

Anyway, I finally got on the ball and ordered my 2014 one.... (In March, shh! Blame Beulah.) AND I found a code on RetailMeNot that gives you 40% off if you also get a gift label pack (Hello looking ahead to Christmas time!!!), so I ended up getting the labels AND the shipping FO' FREE Y'ALL.

They also gave me a link to share on my blog, and well, since I LOVE to blog and share any and all deals with y'all, click here to get your own life planner. Just make sure you also add the gift labels and enter the code COMBO2014 to get the 40% off! That is awesome stuff for free people!

(Disclaimer: if you did happen to buy an amazing planner or any of her other amazing products from the above "click here" link, I could get $10 off my next order. However, if I do have enough people order from the link, I'll use the $$ to do an Erin Condren giveaway for my faithful blog readers! win/win)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Deconstructed Tomato Salad

Hi! My name is Tara, and I watch too many cooking shows. Apparently not enough though, because I'm fairly certain that the title of this recipe is false advertisement. Really I created a tomato salad to go with dinner the other night, and in doing so, I realized that many of the ingredients I used where also what we used to make our delicious salsa... so hence the term "deconstructed" came into play.

Anyway, it's delicious and fresh, so you shouldn't care! It is also easy to make, so that is a plus as well.

So, this is super simple. You are going to grab these items:

- 2-3 plum tomatoes
(I like these because they are firm and hold up well when you dice them up. Also minimal tomato guts in these.)

- 1/2 large white onion

- 1-2 jalapenos
(cored or not cored, depending on your preference of heat, I left mine uncored because we like it hot.)

- 1/2 green bell pepper

- 1 garlic clove
(don't want it to be too garlic-y, so I left it at one)

- olive oil

- balsamic vinegar

- white wine vinegar

The directions are simple.

1) Roughly dice up all the vegetables, and put in a small mixing bowl.

2) Add a tablespoon of each: olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

3) Add a 1/2 a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

4) Stir it all together; salt to taste; cover it up with plastic wrap, and put in the refrigerator.

5) Let it set for 30-60 minutes.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Citrus Brussel Sprouts

I am one of those weird people who LOVE brussel sprouts. Like, Tara-and-brussel-sprouts-sittin'-in-a tree-type love. So, for me to say this recipe is delicious doesn't necessarily say much, but trust me y'all... it's really good. 

Last week, I was really happy to see a decent selection and quality of produce at our local commissary. It is hit or miss with the produce section. They had beautiful brussel sprouts (somehow calling food beautiful makes me feel old), so I filled up a bag and decided to make them for dinner that night with these spicy chicken sweet peppers.

Instead of my go-to shredded brussel sprouts with pancetta and shallots, I decided to venture outside the box, and boy am I glad I did!! Ever since I made the caldo de pollo that called for lime juice at the end, I've had this obsession with lime juice. (Interesting fact: I also was obsessed with lime juice during my pregnancy with Beulah.) I just love how it brings this different flavor to foods and makes me feel like it's NOT below freezing outside. 

What you will need:

- 15 brussel sprouts 
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1-2 limes

This will create about 6 servings. (or 3 really big ones if you are in my family) :) 

1. Cut the base off of each brussel sprout and cut vertically into 4-5 chunks per brussel sprouts. This will give you the desired "shredded" affect. Dump into a mixing bowl.

2. Dice 1/2 a white onion and also 2 garlic cloves. Marry the onion and garlic with the brussels, toss it a little, and let them hang out for a while, while you get a pan ready.

3. Using a decent-sized pan, put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, swirl it around to get the base of the pan oiled. Put the stove top on a low heat. 

4. Dump the brussels mixture into the pan, give it a toss to coat the olive oil ever so slightly (if you use too much olive oil it will get mushy), squeeze the juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how citrus-y you want it) and put on the lid. Let it cook on low (very important because you don't want to overcook) for about 6-7 minutes.

5. Stir occasionally, and remove from heat when brussels have reached their desired texture. I personally like my brussels a little crunchy, so I don't cook mine to death. 


P.S. I also just had some leftovers of this with my lunch today, and it was still delicious. Yay!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yummy Spicy Chicken Stuffed Sweet Peppers

These spicy chicken stuffed peppers are yummy and easy to make. I whipped them up in seriously 15 minutes. and I don't have skillz :)

Warning: This dish is *highly customizable* - I hope you don't mind. :)

What you will need:
- a food processor
- toothpicks
- 2 chicken breasts*
- 2 jalapenos*
- smoked chipotle tabasco sauce
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese*
- 20 sweet peppers

*the meat, pepper and cheese that you stuff with can be whatever you have on hand

1. Cook chicken breasts, and chop it up in the food processor to your ground consistency of choice.
2. Dump chicken into a stove top pan on low heat.
3. Put two jalapenos (I didn't seed or core mine because I like the heat) coarsely chopped into the food processor to chop more. Add jalapenos to the ground chicken in the pan.
4. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
5. Add 2-3 tablespoons of smoked chipotle tabasco sauce.
6. Heat up on pan and stir until cheese has melted and the mixture is all mixed up and conformable.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8. Cut the tops off of your sweet peppers and core. This sounds like a pain but the cores on these peppers are not deep and it is easy. Keep the tops because you'll need them later.
9. Stuff the peppers using a spoon or your fingers. Stuff it full.
10. Put the pepper tops back on the peppers and secure the tops with toothpicks.
11. Spray non-stick spray on a cookie tray (COOKIE?!?!?!) and put the peppers on the tray.
12. Bake the peppers for 20 minutes, flipping the peppers midway through.

This would also be good with sausage, ground beef or turkey. Really whatever meat you have on hand.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

5 Things to Do When Your Fat Pants Don't Fit

Let me just preface this post with this: I write you today from my couch, in my yoga pants, having just polished off some chips and salsa. My husband just snagged me a beer. So..... do what I say, and not as I do, right?? 

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with another military wife during a play date yesterday. As we discussed the status of our waistlines, I was inspired (only momentarily) to do something about it! We live in the suburbs of Chicago, and let me tell you guys.... The hibernation issue is REAL. All I want to do, day by day, is eat my weight in chili covered in cheese, definitely drink some beer, and maybe also have some chocolate, then promptly go to sleep.

When it is subzero temperatures and the millionth day of snow in the forecast, what else do you have to look forward to in life besides eating something really comforting and bad for you? (The answer is nothing; nothing else matters.)

So, here are a couple of things you can do to guarantee some movement in the right direction if you getting dangerously close to having to buy a new pair of fat pants. This list is both serious and funny obviously, so just go with it!

1. Drink obscene amounts of water. Don't over do it, but drinking a bunch of water not only keeps you full and keeps you peeing all day, but it also is totally a psychological thing too. Drinking water is the easiest thing you can do as a lazy person to feel like you are doing something towards your health. This is the ultimate truth.

2. Snack healthy. Eat a lot of baby carrots. This is specific, but it just serves as an example. If you have healthy snacks on hand, you won't tear into a bag of chips and salsa, as I just did. This is particularly important if you work. Because --- whether you are driving to and from work, or in a cubicle close to the snack room..... the temptation is out there! If you have a bag of carrots, maybe some nuts or some jerky, you will be in a better place.

3. Wear your fat pants. Wear them! Everyday. Until they need to be washed, then wash them and maybe even dry them, which will inevitably shrink them just a bit, making your reality even more real. When your fat pants are getting too tight, the last thing you want to do is wear yoga pants for a week (ahem....) because once you finally get up the courage to try your fat pants back on, guess what? YEA THEY WON'T FIT. Wearing your fat pants will remind you and motivate you not to continue down the path you are on.

4. Make an extreme diet commitment for just a week. This can be something short-term, guys. Don't make a commitment to eat paleo for a week, or try out Atkins. Sure you can do that, but chances are, if you do this for just a week, it isn't going to do much to help you out. I'm talking something short-term. For example, no Starbucks for a week. No fast food for a week. No alcohol for a week. I wouldn't generally recommend completely omitting something, but if the fate of your fat pants are at stake, it might be a good idea.

5. Commit to a 7 day home work out plan. Something easy. Let's not get crazy here because let's be real - if working out was a piece of cake for you, you probably wouldn't be in this predicament, right??! What I'm talking about is something that looks a little something like this (this is very general because you can make this as fancy or specific as you want):
(because we all know that we always start something like this on a Monday)
Monday - Core exercise plus upper body
Tuesday - Lower body exercise and cardio
Wednesday - Core exercise and upper body
Thursday - lower body and cardio
Friday - cardio and upper body
Saturday - Core exercise and lower body
Sunday - hardcore stretch
(This is NOT to serve as a proper workout routine. This is only to get you moving away from having to go get a new pair of pants.)

Good luck, ladies and gents - and let the force be with you.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What to Do When Your Baby is Choking

I almost didn't write on this topic -- of infant choking--, as it sheds some light on not-my-proudest parent moment. But I decided to hell with that, because what parent out there is perfect? None. And shedding some light on this could help out another parent big time.

Let me preface this with: Boo is fine. Happy as a clam and completely unaffected. She was not choking, but she could have choked, hence my freak out.

So, my little Boo is at the equally cute and terrifying stage of putting EVERYTHING in her mouth. Tonight at dinner we had a bit of a scare when she started gagging on what appeared to be a small piece of paper in her mouth. She was not choking, but it scared the pants off me.

What I did (at lightning speed) was finger swipe her mouth to see what was in it (shouldn't have done that, even though it ended up ok). I then yanked her out of her highchair, at which point she gagged again and spit the chewed up paper piece out of her mouth. She was gagging because something was in her mouth; she was not choking, thank the Lord. But it was completely COMPLETELY horrifying nonetheless.

It's moments like this as a parent where you get a metallic taste in your mouth, want to vomit, and hate yourself for not making the area safer for your little nugget. I was shaken and teary and seriously distraught over visions of what could have happened.

Luckily, as a former lifeguard/gym employee/babysitter/nanny/healthcare provider at a hospital/school SLP, I am thoroughly trained in first aide, choking and CPR/AED for infants through adults. I know what I should have done in the event of the badness getting bad as far as choking. I was still prompted to look up the current protocol on what to do if an infant is choking.

First of all, here are some common objects that babies choke on:
- grapes (cut those suckers in half or quarters)
- buttons
- coins
- balloons
- small toy parts
- hot dogs
- string cheese
- banana
- peanut butter
- pen/marker caps

Basically, especially once your kid is mobile, nothing is off limits. Anything on the floor or within reaching distance on counters or in couches are in danger of ending up in your child's mouth.


So, if your baby is alert and strongly coughing/crying, do not:
- intervene with choking protocol, as the coughing and/or crying can naturally clear whatever is trying to block the airway
- try to get the object out of her mouth as you can inadvertently push it deeper into the airway

If your baby's cries and coughing are not strong and you feel that she is not able to breath, you need to move forward with choking protocol.

This is for babies under the age of 1.

1. Lay the baby along your forearm face down, cradling the baby's chest in the palm of your hand and with your fingers around the baby's jaw. Angle baby's head downward and lower than the rest of her body, using your lap/thigh/leg for additional support if necessary.

2. Administer up to 5 quick and forceful blows between the baby's shoulder blades with the base of your free hand's palm.

Hopefully, the object in your baby's airway will come out with these first two steps. If the object is still in your baby's airway:

3. Turn the baby face up, still along your forearm, using your lap for additional support. Hold her head steady with your hand.

4. Place two fingers (pointer and middle) on the middle of her breastbone just below the nipples and give 5 quick chest compressions pushing down 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest. (Yes, that seems like pretty deep compressions. YES that is what is recommended.)

5. Flip the baby back along your forearm face down and continue with 5 back blows (steps 1-2). Check to see if object has cleared.

6. Continue with 5 chest compressions/5 back blows until object clears or baby loses consciousness.

If baby loses consciousness:

1. Shout for help and for someone to call 911.
2. Immediately start performing infant CPR.
3. If no one is around to call 911 for you, perform 1 minute of infant CPR and then call 911.

Here is a cheat sheet for your quick reference. Pin it, share it, save it. Print it out for babysitters (although your babysitter SHOULD be first aid and CPR trained).

Click here to find a first aid/CPR/AED training class near you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tips to Get 'em Talking - Facilitating Communication with Your Toddler

One of the many hats I wear is that of a speech-language pathologist. I have worked in what seems like every facet of my profession - from babies to senior citizens, from hospitals, to homes, to schools, to nursing homes, to rehab facilities.

When we moved to Illinois, I found myself in one niche of my job that I really enjoy - doing speech therapy in Early Intervention for the state of Illinois' 0-3 program. Maybe not every day, but very often I have friends or even people I have just met ask me questions about how to facilitate communication in a little person in their life.

So I decided to write up my most common suggestions that I give to parents and caretakers of our little people. Each kiddo is different, so this obviously isn't an individualized plan, but a lot of these strategies can be applied to many children in many scenarios.

Tips to Get 'Em Talking
Facilitating Communication with Your Toddler 

1. Give choices. All day, every day. Give choices! "Do you want milk or juice?" "Do you want up or down?" "Do you want the ball or the puzzle?" Not only does this teach the power of intent (I am indicating that I want to play with this instead of this by pointing/repeating/whatever), it also exposes them to vocabulary and gives them the false sense of control.

2. Narrate your day (and their day). Imagine your life was a movie, and someone is narrating everything you do. Well, you get to be the narrator! You can be Narrator Smurf, lucky you! When you hang out with a toddler all day, it is easy to not say much, or not say much that isn't baby talk (which IS important, so don't not do that!). So, just make a conscious effort to talk! Even if you don't know if they are understanding, you are exposing them to language and modeling communication.

3. Incorporate simple sign. Some parents are hesitant about using any kind of sign when their kiddo is not talking as much as they wish they would because they feel that it might hinder speech development. Actually, the opposite has proven to be the case! Using some simple signs, such as "more," "all done," or "open", can help your kiddo communicate some basic wants and needs before they are able to do so with words. Just because they aren't talking these wants and needs, doesn't mean it's not communication. Giving your kiddo a way to communicate that he wants "more" (juice), he is "all done" with whatever you are trying to get him to do, or to "open" this blasted lid that he can't get open can majorly reduce frustrations and give your kiddo confidence to communicate.

4. Have babble conversations with your little cherub.  Timmy runs up to you, super excited about something, of which you can understand nothing of what he just said. Do your best to get an inkling of whatever they are talking about and talk about it " Oh wow you must be so happy that you saw that dog outside! Let's go take a look." or (if you truly have no idea what he's talking about) "You are so happy, and I love when you tell me about it." Along these lines, if your kiddo is making some sense, but not completely ("askjalfhoug cat awfongajng") you can repeat back to them what they are trying to say ("you see the cat in the book. The cat is so soft and furry!"). This helps with confidence and showing your kiddo that their attempts to communicate have purpose.

5. Go to town with sounds and noises. Animal sounds (meow, ruff, roar, neigh, ma, baa baa), vehicle sounds (vroom, beep beep, honk), anything with an onamonapia (pop, boom, zap, buzz). The pressure is off to imitate when it's something fun, like a lion roar or a bubble going "pop!" A lot of times when kiddos are intimidated by imitating other words, they will imitate a sound without even realizing it. "Look at the cow! The cow says moo, moo, moo! MOOO!"

6. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Sometimes parents/kiddos are disappointed when I bring a couple of the same toys each week when I come to play with their kiddo. The reason why I do this (other than the fact that I have to buy my own material and I'm not made of money!) is that repetition and exposure of core vocabulary is important for not only comprehension but also development of spontaneous vocabulary. Therefore, I like to play A LOT of Mr. Potato Head (body parts and basic clothing vocabulary), animal puzzles (animal names, animal sounds), and play food (food vocabulary). Repetition also teaches them to know what to expect, and this routine play can be comforting to a new communicator.

7. Use developmentally-appropriate toys. Think about what you played with as a child. In a very technologically-advanced age, it is easy to give a 1 or 2 year old a tablet. While some people may disagree with me on this (and I value your opinion so I don't mean to offend), technology-heavy toys can do a good job at engaging your child, but the BEST way to teach your child to communicate is by YOU communicating with your child. Not a TV show (even if it is educational) or a ipad app (even if it does teach him shapes and colors). My favorite go-to developmental toys are Mr. Potato Head, any of the MANY wooden Melissa and Doug puzzles, and board books. Oh, and play food and baby dolls.

8. Insist on communication (of some form) to get what they want. Don't ask too much of your kiddo, but there comes a time where you do not automatically fill up his sippy cup with juice unless he indicates he wants you to do so. Warning: This action from a parent can cause a major temper tantrum from your little angel who is used to you anticipating his every want and need. But --- if he doesn't have to communicate to get his needs and wants met, guess what? He's not going to. So, buckle up, and start setting some communication expectations. You can start with signing "more," or pointing, or answering yes or no. Whatever you know your kid can do. But if they are going to get a cookie (or whatever thing is desired), you best believe they are going to communicate to get it. No communication, no cookie. (Enter major temper tantrum here.) Once the kiddo understands the expectation of communication (and in turn, the function of communication) the lightbulb goes on, and things get easier.

There are other things that you can do to help your kiddo develop communication. But here are some things to get you started! Feel free to post comments and questions!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Absolute truth. 
Might sound vain, but wouldn't every woman be a little happier if at least she didn't feel like her jeans doubled as a sausage casing? 
Just sayin'. 
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tips on Survival with a Sick Baby

Any parent can tell you that life can be turned upside by a sick child. Sleepless nights, lots of crying (you and the baby!), routines are thrown out the window... it's just for the birds. And to make it even worse, you as a parent are playing a guessing game of what is ailing your child specifically in some instances.

So, I don't know about y'all, but this winter season has been a real fun one for Boo. We have had 4 ear infections, a stomach bug, and RSV. I don't even know how to quantify the runny noses, because it has been constant. I know that I am lucky that she is otherwise healthy, so I will go knock on a million pieces of wood now.

I have learned from experience (at least 5 trips to the emergency room and 2 hospital stays unfortunately) that earaches/throw up/fever hits in the middle of the night 9 out of 10 times, and at least the first time, you are GROSSLY unprepared. I hope this blog post can change the second part for some new parents out there.

(Editor's note: I am NOT a doctor! So, please do not take any of this advice as professional opinion. If your precious cherub is sick, call your pediatrician. If your child is super sick, just take their sweet baby self to the ER. ALWAYS better safe than sorry. That's my motto.)

Medicine Dosage
The first super important thing to know as a parent of a germ-collector is the appropriate dosage for Infant Tylenol and Infant Ibuprofen. The dosage is based on weight, so it is of course helpful to know what your baby weighs! There is nothing more stressful than trying to look up the dosage online whilst you have a screaming baby in your lap at 3 am. Just TYPING that sentence gave me high blood pressure.

So, here is a weight-based dosage chart for Tylenol for your reference! Remember that you need to check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medicine. You can give Tylenol every 4-6 hours.

Thankfully, Infant's Advil (Ibuprofen) for ages 6-23 months has the dosage listed on the box (and bottle). Thanks for nothing TYLENOL! :) jay kay. 

Other helpful tips

1. Get extra diapers and your butt cream protectant of choice. (We use A&D ointment with every.single.diaper.change.) When babies are sick, they often poop a lot more (frequency and amount). Their little bottoms can get chapped, and diaper changes can be painful. 

2. Get a rectal thermometer. A rectal temperature is the most accurate way to know whether or not your babe has a fever. The temperature reading if taken rectally will be a little higher if it would be if taken orally, so beware. 

3. Have a stash of Pedialyte in the pantry. Pedialyte is worth its weight in gold for puking and pooping little babies. It will keep them hydrated, and babies (my baby anyway) love it. 

4. Get a cool mist humidifier for your babies' room. Don't wait until you are awoken by an upset, snotty, stuffy baby! We got one for our babies' room, and it has been turned on every night since November, illness present or not. 

5. Two words- snot sucker. The nasal aspirator bulbs are gross because you can't clean the inside of them, so I recommend the Nasal Frida. The snot sucker is to be used in conjunction with Saline spray. You spray the saline spray in their nostrils, then you use the nasal frida to suck everything out. 

6. If your baby suffers from an ear infection, you might want to try elevating his/her head when they are sleeping to relieve ear pressure. Until my baby outgrew hers, we would let her sleep in the swing overnight because it kept her head elevated. I have also heard of parents putting a pillow or rolled-up blanket UNDER the mattress to elevate it slightly on one side, but that is to your own discretion. 

7. This is an obvious one, but be patient with your little cherub. Having a sick baby is hard on everyone, but don't forget who the one feeling like crap is: your sweet baby. She wants to sleep, she wants to feel better - I promise. We are the lucky ones that get to love them back to health, and I say that with NO sarcasm. It is way easy to get frustrated ---so remember that, and take turns with your significant other if you can. 

8. Get an Angelcare monitor. Or breathing monitor otherwise. It just makes you feel better as a parent to know that they are moving around and breathing ok in their crib when you aren't standing over them watching them breath. (I know I am NOT the only parent that does this!)

I'll be making a list of specific recommend items to have on hand during sick season (read: basically, until your kid is 5). But that is for another night!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taking Control of your Table - Dinnertime Questions

Is it just me or is dinner time a traditionally stressful time of day during the week?

A lot of times during dinner I feel like I do sometimes on Sunday when I'm sitting at church thinking about what we are going to eat at lunch (sorry it's true sometimes) - I'm not present! I am physically, but mentally I am totally somewhere else. During dinner, I'm usually thinking about all the things I wanted to get done before dinner so I could relax after dinner, but I didn't get them done, so I can't relax. I CAN'T RELAX!!!!! Ok, so that is a little dramatic, but it's kind of true.

So, tonight we tried something different at dinner. I asked my sweet, sweet husband some questions. Not just the regular "How was your day?" because I am pretty sure I know the answer to that one. :)

I asked these four questions --- in an effort to be more present and more involved. And it worked. I felt very present and had a wonderful conversation with Chef Husband (who made delicious BACON BURGERS, I die).

1. What was something good that happened today?

2. What was something bad that happened today?

3. What was something that was funny?

4. What was something that you were thankful for? 

These exact questions might not be for you and your family. Maybe you just want to ask one, maybe you want to ask something different, but think of a couple of questions and ask them, the same ones, every night, so dinner turns into what it used to be, a time where families are together and talking to one another about their day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Caldo de Pollo - Paleo Style

Caldo de Pollo is a delicious dish that is absolutely perfect for a cold, wintery day like today has been in Chicago. It is a basic chicken soup, but let me tell y'all - it is far from basic-tasting!!

Other than a considerable amount of prep work because of cutting up all the vegetables, this is a relatively easy one pot recipe (which translates to a quick clean up - extra points given there!).

Traditional caldo de pollo is served with rice, but my version is completely paleo. Let me tell you that I honestly didn't miss a grain of rice one bit.

Without further adieu, I present the yummy recipe for paleo-style caldo de pollo!

Ingredients for soup:
- about 2 lbs worth of chicken (I used organic skinless, boneless breast tender strips)
- 3 liters of water
- 7 chicken bouillon cubes (opt for low-sodium for healthier option)
- 3 zucchinis
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 bunch of celery
- 4-5 carrots
- a package of sliced mushrooms
- 1 floret of broccoli
- 2-3 garlic cloves whole
- salt and pepper to taste

(you can also add potato and/or corn, but I left these out, as it is not as paleo-friendly) :)

- 1-2 limes
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 1 ripe avocado sliced
- 1/3 tomato diced

1. Get all your cleaned veggies and largely dice them. Put them in a LARGE pot.

2. In a separate pot, boil 2 liters of water and dissolve the chicken bouillon cubes until fully dissolved.

3. Pour the 2 liters into your big veggie pot and add one more liter of plain ole water to the big pot.

4. Add your chicken to the pot, stir it all up, and turn the stove on medium heat. Get the soup to a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes to fully cook the chicken.

5. Remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to the pot. Be careful not to burn yourself! That chicken is hot. :)

6. Reduce to low heat, and let it continue to cook for up to several hours until serving.

7. Serve with jalapenos, avocado and tomato. Squeeze fresh lime over bowl right before serving.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mommy Time Management

photo by walkingdot photography
Let's be real, y'all. I'm one missed nap time away from a mental breakdown. I guess that it just comes with the territory of being a new mom. Which, in the big scheme of things, I'm still very new - 7 months new, at this whole "mom" thing. 

It seems as though, overnight, laundry has tripled and the hours in the day have reduced by at least half. It continues to boggle my mind as to how such a wee little person can create so much extra work!

So - here are a couple of things I have observed/learned about time management as a mom.

1. The days of leisurely nap time and/or reading a magazine are OVER. Like, way over, like "what's that?" over.

2. Your husband or child asking you if something is done that is, in fact, yet to be accomplished is perfectly deserving of a death stare.

3. The amount of things that you can get done in a 2-hour nap (of your child) is deserving of an Olympic gold medal.

4. People who say that being a mom OR, even more so, a stay-at-home mom is an "easy job" deserve a round kick to the face.

5. While it may be helpful to write a to-do list of things you must get done, it might be 9pm until you actually get to that list, because you've spent every second previous to that point in time washing bottles, playing with baby, holding baby, feeding baby, laundry (shudder), folding laundry, putting away laundry, crying amongst piles of laundry, and maybe if you are lucky, taking a shower.

I could continue but it starts to be less about time management and more about just life as a mommy.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Baby Swag: Hunting Inspired Outfit

Although we are temporarily relocated to arctic tundra of Chicago, we are from Texas - loud and proud! What's cuter than a baby in pink hunting camo? (Hint: answer is nothing.)

I put together this little girl hunting outfit, centering my outfit decisions for Boo around this RealTree Pink baby camo hoodie that Boo's grandaddy and bamom got her for Christmas.

I paired the jacket with Carter's pink leggings , a staple in Boo's wardrobe. We have a ton of leggings in a variety of colors. I prefer leggings to loose pants because it's cold here and I think these leggings keep her more warm.

I rounded out the outfit with these super cute Baby UGGS Bixbee (affiliate link), that I purchased with my mom at a store in Santa Fe -- they are so super soft and cuddly.

Boo has crazy long hair that falls in her face, so baby hair clips are a necessity with every outfit. I found these baby flower hair clips (affiliate link) that are a variation on the ribbon bow we see so often.

I love this girly/outdoor combo for a baby girl! She makes sitting up in a deer stand look good! Too bad she would freeze her little hiney off if her daddy were to take her hunting up here anytime soon. We'll leave the daddy/daughter hunting trips for when we move back to Texas!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lung Leavin' Day 2014 - What's YOUR fear?

One of the things that I love about blogging is the opportunity to interact with my friends and fellow bloggers. Because of my blog, a fellow blogger Heather Von St. James reached out to me with a special request -- to spread the word about a day very special to her, a day that forever changed her life. After reading her story, it resonated with me. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma when she was around my age, having just given birth to a sweet baby girl.

One important thing cancer taught Heather is the importance of acknowledging these apprehensions that prevent us from living life to the fullest extent. 

8 years ago on February 2, Heather underwent a risky surgery to remove a lung... and it worked! She now celebrates her "Lung Leavin' Day" with her family, when each year they get together and write their fears onto plates and smash them into a bonfire.

I love Heather's approach to life and about verbalizing her fears and literally smashing them into a billion pieces. And burning them up. Take that, fear. *fist pump*

Want to participate virtually in some good-ole fashioned plate smashing of your own? Go to her virtual Lung Leavin' Day page, type your fears on a plate and smash it to oblivion. I participated.

Want to read more about Heather and her experience with mesothelioma?

-Interview about Lung Leavin' Day with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance:

-The surgery she underwent to remove her lung:

-General mesothelioma information:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Paleo Bacon Bowls

So, I think we can all pretty much agree that bacon is awesome. So, when I saw these amazing bacon bowls (affiliate link), I knew that they had to be mine. Well, amazingly enough, my husband thought the same thing, and these bad boys ended up wrapped under our Christmas tree this year for ME! Yesssssssssssss.

So, this morning, Chef Husband did some culinary magic in the kitchen. Not only was this magic paleo, but it also looked awesome. So, the crowd appeal factor here is high, people.

Paleo Bacon Bowls

1. Start by putting your bacon bowls in the oven. We made 3 bacon bowls, and used 9 stripes of bacon (3 strips per bowl). The steps to crafting your bacon bowls are relatively easy, but even if you don't have a bacon bowl (affiliate link), you can also follow these instructions to make bacon bowls with an inverted muffin tin on Cave Girl Eats' blog here

2. While the bacon bowls are doing their thang, you can start crafting your bacon bowl filler. This is where you have the opportunity to be creative. I start getting really excited when I think of the low-carb (high-bacon) possibilities... But this is what Chef Husband did - 

3. Start with sautéing chopped onions and chopped jalapenos (if you want a little kick) in a tablespoon of coconut oil (affiliate link). The precise measurements here are up to you, but we like our veggies so we did about 1/3 a cup of each vegetable. 

4. To the pan of vegetables, add 4 eggs with just a splash of coconut milk. Scramble the eggs on low-medium heat as to not overcook the eggs. 

5. As the eggs are finishing up, add a 1/3 cup of chopped tomato and a handful of chopped baby spinach. Chef Husband added this at the end so they didn't get too cooked. 

6. When the bacon bowls finish cooking in the oven (be mindful when you are pulling the bacon out of the oven --- that pooled bacon grease is ruthless), fill each bowl with the scrambled egg mix, and there you have it - the scrumptious and easy Paleo Bacon Bowl. 

(Note: the vegetables/meat you add to this bacon bowl are really up to you. You can add mushrooms, broccoli, onion, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, ham, sausage... the possibilities are truly endless; one reason why the bacon bowls make me SO excited.)

(Editor's Note: several links in the above recipe are affiliate links, meaning if you were to click on that link and make a purchase, I might receive a small percentage to help fund my blogging addiction.)