Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week so I thought I would share some ideas and some things that I will be doing for Ava’s teachers. Teachers believe that sharing is caring and we always say there is no point in reinventing the wheel. With that said I thought I would share some of the cute printables I found to save you some time when scrolling on Pinterest..
This week I thought I would bring Ava’s teachers a little small treat every day. She has four teachers so I wanted to find things that weren’t too expensive. Here is what I have planned so far and where you can find the FREE printables that go along with them.
These popcorn bags are super cute and inexpensive and THEY REALLY WORK. Joey and I love black truffle salt so we have popped a few bags that were seasoned with truffle salt. Delicious! You can even add a free Redbox code to these to make them extra special. You can find the free printable here.
The second treat I am giving them are these mason jars filled with donuts. Who doesn’t like Donuts? And I am loving this cute printable that goes along with them! You can find the free printable here.
Five Things Teachers Love
What are you doing for your child's teacher? Do you have any ideas to share?
I secretly wish I could grow dreads. It must be the inner hippie/free spirit in me. I admire women who have nice dreads.
Sometimes I put the baby monitor up to my hear so I can try and hear Ava breathing just to make sure she is ok. Or I will stare at until I see her move. One of my crazy mom things that I do.
We have been very busy lately and on the go which I have enjoyed. But this weekend I want time with just Joey and Ava. I want to stay home, play and snuggle with Ava, clean my house, watch Hallmark, catch up on my shows Arrow and Nashville, get Ava’s treats for her teachers made, and take pictures of Ava. Maybe even make a trip to Lowes on Friday night...Ahhhh my dream weekend!
Sometimes my cleaning techniques consist of throwing everything in a closet and calling it a day. Out of sight out of mind.
I didn’t wash my hair for four days straight this week. I have been loving my new found discovery of dry shampoo.
I hate basketball season because all you hear on ESPN is LEBRON JAMES. Uhh that’s the only name you hear. I get it he’s good but come on!
I LOVE to drink out of the milk jug. For some odd reason it just tastes better straight from the jug. So if you come over to my house never ask for milk.
Have something you want to confess this week?
This past weekend we took Ava on her first beach trip. That meant my first time in a bathing suit with my postpartum body. I had all sorts of mixed emotions leading up to the day. It was definitely a roller coaster of highs and lows. As I confessed on Confessional Thursday these were some of my thoughts of the whole “mommy bathing suit with my postpartum body.”
I tried on bathing suit after bathing suit! I wanted a tankini but I am so short that the tops are always so long. I look awful in a one piece so I thought I would try the high waist bikini bottoms (which I ended up really liking). I also discovered that you should try bathing suits on early in the day when you aren’t so bloated AND make sure to have your hair done and make-up on. It always seems to make things look better and makes me feel better. After trying on several bathing suits and going to the store multiple times I finally found one I liked.
Even then I told myself that if I just stood majority of the time or laid flat in my chair then my kangaroo pouch wouldn’t roll over and things would be great! I even went back and forth about staying in my cover up the whole time or wearing shorts. I couldn’t understand why I was obsessing over the thought of being in a bathing suit. Joey and I have been working really hard on eating healthy and treating ourselves every now and then. I am below my pre-pregancy weight but my body just isn’t the same anymore. Other moms had warned me about this. I still have that little kangaroo pouch where Ava grew for 9 months in my body. In reality, I should consider it more of like a trophy for giving birth and display it proudly. But lets be honest…no one wants to see that mess. I realized that I needed to do sit ups or something to be able to tone it up, but thats not going to happen over night and I was heading to the beach in a few days.
Time had passed and it was beach day! I put on my bathing suit, got Ava ready, and off we went. We set our things down, took our family beach picture and let the fun begin. I sat in the sand with Ava while she played and played. She loved the sand! I took hundreds of pictures of her as I watched her experience the beach for the first time. My heart was so happy and filled with so much joy. We had one of the best days!
When we got back to our hotel that’s when it hit me. I never once worried about what I looked like in my bathing suit or second guessed sitting in the sand with Ava. I didn’t worry about whether or not my fat rolls were showing as I was sitting. All the worries and insecurities went away. I realized that day wasn’t about me anymore it was about Ava and being a mother to such a beautiful and amazing little miracle. It was the most empowering feeling in the world. I felt confident, beautiful, strong, loved, and blessed. It was like I was in a state of euphoria.
Yes, I found a bathing suit that I felt comfortable in and I have lost weight so that all helped. But in reality women of any size and shape can always find something that makes them insecure. The thing that truly helped me in this situation was focusing on my purpose in life. That purpose being the best wife I can be to the man of my dreams, and the best mom to the most precious little girl. When I focused on those things all the insecurities went away. I felt like the confident and strong wife and mother that I am meant to be. I felt BEAUTIFUL!
Better late than never right?? This is for all you late owls…
1. We are spending the weekend in St. Augustine for a little mini vacation and to take Ava to the beach for the first time. I love St. Augustine and I am so excited to see what Ava thinks of the beach. This afternoon we dropped our fur baby, Georgia off at the V.I.P. Pet resort for a little pampering this weekend. She loves it there!
I tried to pack light this trip but I blame this on the baby!
2. Ava started her new daycare this week and we are all so very happy. One of the things I love is that we can keep her bottles there for the whole week and then pick them up on Friday. That means no more washing tons of bottles every night. I will say washing bottles is my least favorite thing to do. Both Joey and I agreed that we already see a positive change in Ava and it’s only been a week! My heart is so happy.
3. After 76 trips to the stores and 25 returns (just kidding but it sure feels like that) I FINALLY found a bathing suit for Ava and one for me. Actually I take that back. I found two for me and two for her. I decided with Ava we are going to try the reusable Iplay diapers. I bought the plain white ones to go under her bathing suit. I bought two just incase. One of our bathings suits is a mommy and me set. I figured I better do the matching while I can. We all know kids hit an age when they don’t want to match their parents. Hopefully that time is far, far away. For me, I have decided to go with the high waist bikini bottoms. This week for Confessional Thursday I confessed all of the “postpartum bathing suit body” thoughts. You can find those thoughts here for a good laugh.
4. Alone: Joey and I watched this show during the first season and it was really good. They put everyone on an island by themselves. They can only take 10 items with them. The last person to make it on the island wins. It’s actually a really good show. Season two started last night so it’s not too late to start watching.
Happy Earth Day!
A few weeks ago I planted my first potted garden. I am happy to say that it is STILL alive! When it comes to plants I have always had a black thumb, but it looks like that thumb just might be turning green. My lemon tree is also still alive and blooming!
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1. This weekend we are headed to the beach with Ava for the first time. That means my first time at the beach with my postpartum body. I have been struggling with this a lot lately. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and I feel like I have been at the store EVERY day trying to figure out what bathing suit to wear. These have been my thoughts:
2. Ava started her new daycare this week and I have learned so many new things.
3. We have an elevator at work in one of the buildings and I love to go in it because it makes me feel like I am on vacation.
4. I am really, really bad at biting things and putting them back. It drives my husband crazy. Especially when it’s pickles in his pickle jar.
5. This past Sunday I had planned on cleaning my house but instead I played Mortal Combat with my husband (which was a blast) and then we watched a movie. Later, Ava and I played under the shade tree in our backyard. The weather was so beautiful! I didn’t get any cleaning done and my house looks like this….
...but it was so worth it!!
Do you have any confessions?
For a while now I have been trying to create a bakery style chocolate chip cookie. You know, the kind that is large and puffy, filled with lots of chocolate chips, yet chewy and soft with a hint of that “oat” flavor. Well after tons of trial and errors, my husbands critiquing and both of us taste testing about 567 cookies I think I have found it!
I have learned in my chocolate chip cookie adventures that everyone has their OWN version of the BEST chocolate chip cookie. So even though I find these to be my version of the best bakery style chocolate chip cookie, it might not be your version. But I am here to share this delicious recipe with you and give you a few tips and tricks to help you tweak this recipe to your liking.
There are two ingredients that make this cookie that bakery style cookie. The first one is cream of tartar. This ingredient contributes to the chewiness of the cookie and prevents large cookies from puffing up too much.
The second ingredient is the oat flour. I never buy oat flour from the store. It is easy to make at home by taking old fashion oats or quick oats and blending them in a food blender until they reach the consistency of flour. The most important thing with the oat flour when making your own is to measure the amount needed for the recipe AFTER you have made the oat flour. The oat flour gives the cookies a great flavor while helping them stay soft and moist.
While we are talking about flour let’s talk measuring! One of the key things to any baking recipe is measuring correctly. I use to scoop my measuring cup into the bowl of flour because I found it easier. Little did I know that by doing that I was packing the flour into the measuring cup, causing for there to be more flour than what the recipe called for. A rule of thumb when measuring flour is to spoon the flour into your measuring cup. Then take the flat dull side of a butter knife, level the flour and then scrape it across the measuring cup so the surface is smooth and flat.
Like I mentioned before everyone has their own version of the best chocolate chip cookie. So a helpful tip with the flour is the puffier and cakier you want these cookies, the more flour you add. If you want them to spread more and to be more crisp, add less flour (even than indicated in the recipe). You can always test 1-2 cookies with less flour and see if you like their consistency after being baked. If not, add a little more flour and test again. The testing process is worth it in order to get your personal cookie preference.
In my bakery style cookie study I have discovered a few factors that help give cookies that bakery look.
Size: Big, big, big! When scooping out these cookies I use a 1/4 measuring cup or my large cookie scoop. Yes, you get less cookies per batch but in this case bigger is better!
Chocolate Chips: I always save some chocolate chips to add to the top of my cookies before I put them in the oven. This is more for looks rather than taste. I just think they look so much prettier and who doesn’t like a few extra chocolate chips anyway?
This is what my cookies look like before putting them in the oven. I recently discovered these silicone baking mats and they are AMAZING! I will never bake without them again. These are a must for every baker. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
After your cookies are done it is important to only let them continuing “cooking" on the cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes and then transfer them to the cooling rack. Otherwise they will cook longer.
Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Here are a few things that Ava loved during her first 3-6 months of age.
This thing is probably one of Ava's favorite toys (and ours too). It has so many different things that stimulate her brain and keep her busy for a while. It is great for babies who don't like tummy time to play with while laying on their bellies. The thing I love most about it is how all the pieces can be tucked into the top and wrapped up into a little carrier type thing, allowing it to fit great into a diaper bag without taking up so much room. I also think it is very reasonably priced for a toy that is so engaging.
Sophie is the BEST. When I first registered for it when I was pregnant I thought it was crazy for someone to pay $20 for a teething giraffe. I am here to tell you that it is worth every penny and I am so happy my friend got it for Ava. She LOVES Sophie!
This is another one of Ava's favorite teething toys. You can place them in the fridge to help soothe their gums. We have two sets of these and usually always make sure to keep one in the car. They usually help keep her busy on car rides.
Ava has loved this toy since she was just a few months hold. It rattles which she loves and its super easy for her to grab on to. She was able to play with this at an early age. This is one of her number favorites.
This little seat has served so many purposes at our house and Ava loves it. We first started using it early on to help her learn to sit up. She loved to sit up in it and enjoyed playing with the toys that are attached to it. We have used this on the floor, the kitchen counter, and the bathroom counter. We even figured a way to give her her bottle in it without us having to hold it. The thing I love most about it is that it folds down so it can lay flat for storage. So it can easily stand up in a corner or go under the bed with no problems!
This sleeper is awesome. It rocks on its own and plays music. You can turn the volume down so you can't hear the music if needed. We used this in our bedroom for Ava to sleep in until we transitioned her to her crib. Now we keep in in the living room and sometimes she will take a nap in it or just lay in it and hang out.
Ava loves moving around the house in this walker. We got this one because it has three different levels. So it can fit her needs as she grows and goes through the different developmental stages.
After we transferred Ava out of the Swaddle Me Sleepsack we started using the next step which is this sleep sack. It makes things nice and easy. It keeps her warm without us worrying about a bunch of blankets being in the crib.
This is a great toy that is small and can fit easily in a diaper bag without taking up much space. We use it on car rides and it helps keep Ava entertained.
This is Ava's most favorite thing. She LOVES jumping! Sometimes she will jump until she falls asleep. We didn't think she would get much use out of it because we thought she would outgrow it. Turns out there are three different levels you can raise it to as they grow. This toy has been totally worth it and something she can use for a while.
What's something your baby loved during their first 3-6 months of age?
1.Dry Shampoo: This week I tried dry shampoo for the first time. Oh my goodness it is amazing! It brings not having to wash your hair to a whole new level. I am so in love!
2. Teething Baby: We think Ava is teething right now. She keeps chewing on everything, drooling all the time and has had a low grade fever for a while. Last night she kept waking up crying through the night. She got up at 3:00am this morning and nothing soothed her. I know they say these are all signs of teething but they also say that these signs don't always mean your baby is teething. Lately, her favorite thing to help her with teething is a soft, wet, wash cloth.
3. Confessional Thursday: This week I found this link up over at The Newly. It's very simple. You just confess a few things for the week. I joined in on the "fess sess" this week and it was so much fun. If you missed my weekly confessions you can find them here. Check back next week for more confessions.
4. Being a Daycare Mom: Earlier this week I posted about how the hardest part about being a daycare mom is the unknown. The worry and wonder of what really goes on during her days there. I kept telling myself that I just need to have faith and hope that it will all be ok and that God is good! I am here to tell you that God is SO good! On Monday Ava will start her first day at her new daycare! This is definitely an answered prayer. I know she will miss her teachers but her Dad and I think this daycare is a better fit for her. It has a lot more room for her to interact with the other babies and for her to learn and grow. We will miss her current teachers very much but we are excited for this new beginning.
5. Ava's Baptism: On April 10, 2016 Ava was baptized. This was a very special day for us that we got to share with our family and friends as Ava received this sacrament. We promised to nurture her in Christ's holy Church so that by our teaching and example she may be guided to accept God's grace for herself, profess her faith openly, and lead a Christian life. It was such a special day! We are truly blessed! You can find more details on her baptism here.
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