The Busy Giffs: January 2015

January 31, 2015

Mommy by the Sea has a domain!



I'm interrupting your normal Saturday silence to let you know-- I FINALLY bought my domain!
This a huge blogging step and it makes me start thinking this blogging thing might be more legit than I've ever given thought. 

You can still use hgifford.blogspot.com or any reader you choose but if you'd like to update, the new domain is, obviously...

MommybytheSea.com

I'm so excited!


January 30, 2015

Mommy by the Sea Home #MBTSHome


Now that the baby isn't such a baby and I actually have a little bit of time to myself, we're finally decorating the house and making it ours!
We made sure the kids' rooms were "perfect" when we moved in but didn't touch the master, the bathroom, the living room or the basement! We did a little bit outside but this spring we will really dig in! ..see what I did there...

Pretty soon you'll be seeing some room renovations and our decorating ideas! Can't wait to share them with you!


January 29, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Frosting


One of my co-workers is just a couple of weeks away from having her baby and she has been craving chocolate lately. She's vegan so it's not exactly easy to come by. I remember being 9 months pregnant and just hating working and dealing with teenagers so I decided she needed some! I found this recipe on Handle the Heat and loved it! I did double it here because I was bummed her recipe only made 12 cupcakes.


Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 
Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water. Mix together until smooth.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. 
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

I wanted more than just her raspberry glaze as the frosting but needed something vegan. I tried chocolate avocado frosting and yuck. Don't let anyone try and tell you it tastes good, because it doesn't.  It tastes like avocado, with chocolate. Ew.

I was looking in my cabinets and thought I could make a royal icing out of powdered sugar and water but wanted more flavor, so I mixed in some peanut butter with it!
Frosting:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water
4 cups powdered sugar
(play with these until you get the consistency you want!)

Mix ingredients together until you get the consistency you like-- add more water or sugar as needed. 
Makes enough frosting for the cupcakes and some for the toddler to lick off the spoon!

Wait until cupcakes have cooled and then frost!

They were delicious and if all vegan food tastes like this I may say goodbye to steak!
Okay, I won't but I will make them again!

January 28, 2015

8 Months!



Growth:

He's a magic growing bean... every day he just looks older. He's measuring at 20 pounds and 29 inches based on our scale and ruler, but those are not Doctor's measurements so who knows. He's in 6-9 month clothes and size 3 diapers.


Looks:

He's such a little man!
He has the most infectious smile and laugh. I'm hoping his strawberry blonde hair stays that way, it's just too cute for words. He looks so much like his dad. Still no teeth but there are two bumps on his lower gums, so maybe soon!


Firsts and Milestones:

He took his first supported steps! While playing with his push toy, he stepped forward! He took about 4 steps pushing his toy.  He's been letting go and staying upright for a few seconds so I'm sure that will be his next accomplishment. 


Sleep:

Last week, we had our first 8 and half hour stretch! And in his crib! He must be going through a growth spurt because he's been taking 3 hour long naps and then giving me 4-6 hour stretches at night after!
His favorite place to snuggle is in my bed but he's sleeping in his own crib much more!


Food:

He loves food! Cheese, yogurt, turkey, spaghetti, peas, corn, bread, applesauce, rice, potatoes, avocado,... he'll really try just about anything we're eating!


Language:

We're getting a good H sound which kind of sounds like Hi, especially since he says it when he first sees you!
There's also the M sound when he's crawling up my leg or if he wants me so I think Mom might be coming soon!


His favorites:

Bouncing! He loves to bounce, play with the computer and try to press the lights, any electrical plug, wall outlets, tubbies, snuggles, and "flying" in the air.  The cat's food and water dishes make noise, climbing over anything, standing... all bring about smiles!


My favorites:

The way he rubs his eyes and snuggles into my chest when he's sleepy. The ear to ear smile when he does something new is also adorable!
He's been the cutest lately!




January 20, 2015

Formula Feed with Pride : A Mixi Bottle Giveaway



I'm a pretty hippy parent-- breastfeed, babywear, cosleep... I love it all, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate other parents who choose to parent the way they want to. 

I breastfed the Princess to a full year but we supplemented with formula a few times. 
4 ounces of breastmilk + 4 ounces of formula and I was able to stop pumping at 9 months. 

I will admit I have always hated the smell of formula. Breastmilk smells too but formula... or the powder always made a huge mess or I didn't have the bottle ready and I'd rush and it would get all clumpy inside the bottle.. thankfully, Mixie helps with the problem!

Mixie is super cool. It will make formula feeding a breeze.
You can literally prep your bottles hours before you use them! I'm thinking how easy the 2 am bottle would be with Mixie! Check this out.


I received a 4 oz Mixie bottle with a Stage 1 nipple and an extra Stage 2 nipple at one of the amazing baby events I went to last year and since I won't be usig them, I wanted one of my wonderful readers to have it!

Just comment and tell me why you want/need it. I'll pick one winner (via random) and ship it off! You must be a US winner. Thanks and good luck!


January 19, 2015

Family lunch time at Qdoba!


Disclaimer: We were offered product in exchange for this post, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Days off as a family are few and far between. If we're both home, very often, I'm at the grocery store or he's catching up on some sleep. At least once a month though, we try and make time for just the four of us.  Whether we all go to the zoo, or the mall, or out for a meal, it's nice to get out of the house (and away from the mess!) with all four of us.

We took advantage of my vacation week to head out to lunch and do some shopping one day and we stopped at Qdoba.

Emma calls it 'the Burrito Restaurant' but she loves they chips and queso, so she practically jumped out of her car seat when we pulled up in front of it!

Normally Dave gets his signature burrito but he decided to change it up with one of Qdoba's new Smothered Burritos!


There are three amazingly delicious Smother Burritos to choose from:

·         Tangy Verde: Mild-to-medium Smother is fresh and bright with a tangy kick
·         Bold Red Chile: Medium Smother has a robust toasted chile flavor with a hint of sweetness
·         Smoky Chipotle Cream: The hottest Smother is rich, creamy, spicy and smoky

Dave opted for the Smokey Chiptole Cream Sauce!
Qdoba allows you to completely customize your burrito.



I love that (minus the extra cheese on top) it actually looks like the food advertised!
He actually wouldn't stop eating long enough to take a picture with it...


Emma got her own "tato" with "cheese and salad" on it. She can be a picky eater but she always finishes her entire taco at Qdoba!


I'm not a huge fan of spice but I love Qdoba's quesadillas and the taco salad (with chicken!) is delish!


Our whole meal lasted a half hour from walking in the door to walking out.  With two small children, a formal hour and a half dinner won't do, but Qdoba combines delicious food with quick service and gave us the perfect afternoon lunch stop! I can't wait to spend more family time there!


January 13, 2015

Babyled Weaning with Dr. Browns {and Holiday Bottles!} : GIVEAWAY!


Disclaimer: We were provided product to facilitate this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I don't know about you but I feel like I pack on some serious poundage over the holidays... lots and lots of deliciousness everywhere!

While gaining weight isn't always fun, there was something super fun about food this holiday season... my little man started eating real food! We're not huge fans of purees and we go straight to table food for our little man.  It's called baby led weaning, but really, it's just using normal table food in place of pureed beets or spinach.  I'm no doctor so I can't say if it's better or worse, but as a mom, I feel comfortable doing what I feel works best for our family. And, let's be honest, little man loves it! 

He eats chicken, turkey, hamburg, peas, corn, bananas, mandarin oranges, the list goes on and on!
Emmalee loves helping feed Tyler, but is very protective of her food, on her special plates so it's only fair that little man gets his own special tableware too!



Tyler received some of the most amazing tableware from Dr. Browns!
Divided plates, bowls, sippy cups, "flatware", and even some holiday bottles!

I love that I can give Tyler an assortment of food and know that it's his own special plate!


The long spatula spoons also give him the control of the silverware without me worrying about him stabbing himself with a fork!


Before these cups arrived, he was just drinking from a bottle and he mastered the sippy cup in two days with Dr. Brown's amazing design!

And how adorable are these bottles?!



Dr. Browns products are perfect for all stages when it comes to babies and food!
I'm also giving away three Dr. Brown Holiday bottles and 2 double packs of pacifiers for ages 6-12 months!
US winner only -sorry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

January 9, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer + Target!


I love me some Lilly Pulitzer and this week's After Party Sale was no exception!
I was really proud of myself for showing restraint and NOT ordering a ton!
I found myself being drawn only to the navy blues.. big surprise...



And I bought Emmalee and I matching patterns!
Just a tank top for me, and an adorable shift dress for the princess!



I'm saving my money for the newest collaboration that Target has announced!
It's with Lilly!


It's hitting shelves on April 19th and I can promise you I will be that crazy lady camping outside of Target with my Ikea bags for when the doors open! I'll share more as the look books become available!

January 8, 2015

No Fees on Red Sox Tickets! Today Only!


It is cold today! Like 3 degrees outside cold, but I'm so excited because pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just 43 days!

It's the unofficial sign of Spring and no year is complete without a couple of Red Sox games!
For today only, the Red Sox have waived processing fees on all regular season game tickets
Woo hoo!

I'll be picking up another Sox Pax to get us to Fenway more this year!





January 4, 2015

The End of Vacation



Just like that, the two weeks of Christmas Break are over.
And I'm totally spoiled this year because if I look at next year's calendar, I don't think we'll get 2 full weeks again.


My guess is I'll be working until the 23rd, but I can't complain because so many still have to work straight through!

However, I'm excited about how much I did accomplish this vacation!

1. Purged Tyler's room. 
Got rid of clothes that were too small and baby gear we won't be using again.
2. Purged the Princess' room. 
Once again, toys, clothes, etc- all things we don't need.
3. Reclaim the living room. 
Christmas presents over took the living room so it's been a week long struggle to get the calmness of my living room back. I bought a couple of storage shelves from Target for the kids' rooms and it's clean again!
4. Paint the Bathroom.
We have had weeping walls because the builder used crappy paint.  There were parts that were peeling and it was just time! So glad it's done!
5. Sparkle paint Emma's wall.
We had some sparkle put on Emma's wall when we first moved in but it was clumpy and not what we expected.  A new coat of Sparkle Paint made it much better!
6. Catch up on all the laundry!
Yes, it's an accomplishment
7. Clean out the basement.
Okay, so maybe I cheated by hiring two of my students to do the dump run for me, but seriously it's the best $30 I spent all vacation.
8. Get a new desk.
Dave is known for putting his hand through our desk, seriously, three times already... I don't get it, but I was determined to get one he couldn't break.  We hacked together a counter top from Ikea with some shelves I love. Let's hope it stays!
9. Have fun and enjoy my kids!
It sounds so silly but I spend so much time working and then keeping my house and my kids clean and fed at night, some times I don't have time to just have fun.  This vacation was full of fun, whether it was snuggles in the morning, hiding under the covers, or going to Disney on Ice, or La Salette Shrine, or baking cookies together, every moment with them was wonderful. I am not excited about losing this time with them when I start working again tomorrow!

So not bad for two weeks!
And February break is only 6 weeks away!


January 1, 2015

Looking Back at 2014


Crazy to think that it's 2015 already!
Here's a look back at 2014:

January

Went to my first Urban Art Bar painting night and loved it!


February

Emma's first trip to Build A Bear
We took a trip to Co Co key in Connecticut.
Signed the P&S on our first house!
I turned 28 years old!
Brought Emmalee to Disney on Ice
We had to say good bye to Bailey.


March

My mom threw Baby Tyler a Baby Sprinkle!


April

We took maternity family pictures.
Work threw me a surprise baby shower.
We escaped to P-Town for the annual April Vacation trip.
Poopy Kitty joined the family
Attempted to flip Little Man - it didn't go well!


May

I graduated with my Masters degree (but missed the ceremony!)
We went to Disney on Ice (again!) : Frozen


June

President Obama sent Tyler a welcome note.
Emma started gymnastics.
My best friend moved to Las Vegas.
Summer trips to the Aquarium, splash pad, and library.


July

I went to Blogger Bash in NYC!
Taught summer school.


August

Worked for MommyCon and met Jamie Grayson and Honest Toddler's Bunmi!
Tyler went to his first Lobster Party.
Uncle Nick came home to visit!
We spent a weekend in Maine for a wedding.
Finally ate at Wahlburgers.
Maternity leave ended and I went back to work. 


September

Disney on Ice #3 of the year!


October

Splurged at the Vineyard Vines Whalehouse Sale
Emma's first trip to Chuck E. Cheese.
We went to the Roger Williams Jack-o-lantern Spectacular.
Yay trick or treating!


November

Emma got her first real hair cut!
We bought a minivan!


December

Ran away to P-Town again.
Became a Human Milk Donor.
Threw mom a surprise party Paint Nite!
Disney on Ice #4!


...and because we're looking at all I've done this year, let's look at the 30 by 30 list!

1. Be an English Teacher (have my own classroom)
2. Have baby #2.
3. Buy a house.
4. Own a pair of Manolos.
5. See a show ON Broadway.
6. Run a 5k.
7. Weigh 150 lbs again.
8. Get my Masters degree.
9. Do a photography challenge for a month.
10. Pay for someone else in the drive through behind me.
11. Get my palm read/fortune told.
12. Go to a blogging conference.
13. Re-learn how to sew and make a blanket from Em's old clothes.
14. Own a car that's less than 5 years old.
15. Go for a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard.
16. Adopt a family for Christmas.
17. Buy a bicycle. A regular old fashioned bicycle.
18. Go to Vegas for my 30th! (even if it's only for 1 night!)
19. Start (and keep) a vegetable garden.
20. Spend a day getting pampered.
21. Learn to crochet or knit.
22. Buy brand new furniture.
23. Have dinner out with my husband at Top of the Hub or go to Blue Man Group (he's never been!)
24. Wear a bikini to the beach... no cover up.
25. Bring Emmalee to see the Rockafeller Christmas Tree.
26. Do a boudoir photo shoot.
27. Go to a group fitness class.
28. Buy an original piece of art and frame it in our house.
29. Go on our first family vacation (must be out of state, can't be CT)
30. Make a list of 100 things that make me happy.


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