Latest Diaper Bag Must Have: EZPZ Mini Mat

Before babies start to depend on solid food, preparing for a day out is pretty easy- just make sure you have plenty of milk/formula and your good to go. When kiddos start to eat it is so fun but also another thing to shove in that overflowing diaper bag.

When Savanna was around 9 months she wanted to eat anything we ate and loved food (she still does). Whenever she ate at home I would just put some food on her high chair tray and was lucky if half of it made it into her mouth. If we would go out to a restaurant or be at a friends it wasn’t so easy. One day I came across I found this plate in Buy Buy Baby that claimed to stick to most surfaces so baby couldn’t throw it in anyone’s face or smash it to pieces. It was small enough, dishwasher safe and came in its own little case. BINGO! Need this I thought. It was 20 bucks, a little much for a plate if you ask me, but I justified it with my 20% coupon and splurged.

downloadContinue reading “Latest Diaper Bag Must Have: EZPZ Mini Mat”

Favorite Quick Foods 10 months to Toddler

It’s all the rage to use homemade foods and all the good homegrown ingredients one can find. After stressing about whether or not I am failing as a mom by giving my kid some frozen food once in a while, I found a few key staples to keep in the house that always provide a good meal. Here’s what I keep around. Hopefully it will give some fresh inspiration to meal planning for your own little one!

  • Black beans
  • Butternut squash fries or cubes
  • Ezekiel Bread Peanut butter & “Jelly”( mash up some fresh raspberries for jelly)
  • Bell & Evans Chicken Tenders
  • Baby Oranges or other fruit cups
  • Hummus
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Cucumbers
  • Oatmeal

Lessons from Life in Quarantine

It’s been an exceptionally unusual  few months to say the very least. Within days, Americans went from commuting to inner city 9 to 5s and after-hours lavish happy hours to commuting to the living room and hoarding every roll of toilet paper within a 20 mile radius.  Overnight parents added “Homeschool Teacher” to their resumes and millions applied for unemployment due to uncontrollable job losses.  Use of the term “new normal” is becoming obnoxiously routine and a crude reminder that things really are upside down right now.

This is weird, it’s different, it’s scary and there is so much that is unknown at this point. 

In order to combat the panic and keep myself from spiraling into a nervous breakdown, I  realized there has to be something I can learn here. If there’s anything life has taught me so far it’s that there is a lesson in each and every part of our lives. Each day brings at least one lesson. All you have to is show up and be willing to listen.  So far, I’ve gotten an ivy league education with a concentration in life.


Looking out at the world, I find it so interesting how things that once were crucially important such as paying your bills and mortgage on time, travel, who has the best pictures on instagram, filling your calendar with events actually hold no value. Everyday is new, which is fun in a weird way.


I have two children, 9 months and almost 3. Patience and calm are two concepts I always thought I understood. Well, they proved me wrong. They both have actually exceeded my expectations of patience. While working from home I am sincerely impressed by my almost 3 year old’s ability to entertain herself. It’s as if she knows when I’m busy and that when I am done we will play. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of zoom meetings where the video is off, sound muted. For the majority, she has done a great job. This taught me to be more patient and “go with the flow”. I didn’t know it, but I really needed that.


For the past month, I have been repeating to myself ” Slow down in order to speed up”. “Do less and attract more”. All Gabby Bernstein’s best mantras. Some days I feel like I just cannot physically slow my body and mind at the same time. However, when I do, it’s wonderful. Having to prioritize work and fit it into my children’s schedule has shown me how to be more efficient. Like I said, there is so much out of our control right now. Rushing, worrying, and over doing are just signs I’m trying to control an outcome. I’ve decided to take full advantage of the slower paced life and sit down when I can. Like really sit. Mediation and reading are my nightly routine. My schedule doesn’t always work out, but this has helped me become more flexible as well.


There is so much happening in the world right now. People are loosing jobs, and bending over backwards just to get food on the table. I am beyond grateful for my job and my husbands, but I have recently learned to see a bigger picture. We base everything around our jobs.  This often includes one’s identity, schedules, vacations, kids, doctors appointments, dinner times, daily routines, and sometimes personal well being. When the pandemic hit it was relieving to see big companies suspending payments and the government lending help. It was bazaar to think “So a week a go you would have a bad credit score and endless creditors searching for you if a bill goes past due, but now they have the heart to forget it all?” I hope we all can hold on to the vision of what really matters after all of this.


Each day has its trials and tribulations. Working from home and staying home is different for many of us. Being away from family and scared to hug loved ones is just unnatural. Instead of continuing to focus on all I can’t do right now, I shifted my focus to what I can do and turned on my gratitude lenses. Every evening I write down or go through what I am grateful for. Recently, when I’ve found myself in a funk or negative spiral I talk myself out of it by listing what I’m grateful for. It looks like this, ” Wait a minute Cara, this is your ego talking! Turn it around.” It has been extremely helpful. Doing things that bring me joy or I’d be to busy to do has become a regular ritual. Even if it’s small, doing an activity like exercise, writing, giving to others, making a dream board, coloring, etc. brings in great joy and those feel good feelings.

One day this will be a memory. Until then, we can all stay as positive as possible spreading love and joy one person at a time. We got this!




Ode to the Broom

It’s 8am. There I am standing face to face with the man I spend the most time with for the third time today. The tall slender bright and bushy man in my life. Meet broom. We spend a lot of time together. More time than the man I married. We dance in the morning, afternoon, and when everyone’s gone to bed. We dream of shiny clean floors and a world where crumbs simply disappear. Ohhh, broom. Sweet broom. Without you I’d be drowning in a sea of cherrios, garlic skins, lettuce pieces, and crunched up goldfish. I’m not sure my husband even knows you exist. I wouldn’t mind if he did. Our relationship is so unique. At 7am when you come out for the first time, I appreciate you. By 10am and our fourth encounter, I resent you. Again? REALLY? Wow. As Taylor Swift would say. You need to calm down. But by 8pm when the house is all quite and clean, I adore you. Thank you broom for doing what the vacuum can’t when children are fast asleep. Thank you broom for saving my feet. Thank you for rescuing me from embarrassment when a surprise guest shows up at the door. You’ve swept me off my feet, you complete me.


The Power of the Calm Down Chair

When my daughter was about 18 months, I began to notice the typical dreaded toddler behaviors come out. We went through a biting phase, a hitting phase, a “no” phase, you name we probably went through it. I thought I would know what to do when this happened but to my surprise, I had no fucking clue. In order to look for some sort of magic “make your child and angel” template I got to googling, listening to parenting pod casts and reading (mostly listening) to as many books as I could.

One thing that was commonly recommended to try was time out. I have nothing against time out or those who implement it, however, I just felt it wasn’t right for Savanna. I was at a crossroads. I had been trying out the REI method where you basically talk to you kids and tell them not to do things in a respectful way. It worked sometimes but honestly, sometimes it just didn’t do the job. Like when I’d tell my daughter ” I won’t let you hit me’ after smacking me in the face only to have her do it 10 times over. Yea, not happening. I  needed a mother solution that was in between that and time out. Cue the calm down chair.

The calm down chair was an idea I thought I came up with but turns out I was like the last to think of it. Here’s how we use it. When our daughter is on the brink of having a meltdown or behaving in an inappropriate way, we give her the chance to self regulate, regroup, and choose again by having her sit in the calm down chair. We put a special chair in the kitchen that is easily accessible from anywhere in our house. When necessary, we tell her it’s time to sit in her chair and count 10 breaths. Surprisingly, she caught on to this super fast. She never fought us going there, never tried to get up. In the beginning we would sit with her and breath. Now she actually takes her self there, counts her breaths and says all better when she’s done. And she is emotionally and physically better! She even tells us to take breaths sometimes! I really liked this idea because I felt that teaching her to take a step back in tough moments is a valuable life skill that I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn until it was too late in life!

There’s so much you can do with the calm down chair concept as kids grow. It builds a solid foundation for teaching mindfulness to children. As my daughter is able to understand more, I plan on created a calm down corner. If you google this, you will find awesome ideas, printouts, and photos of how to help children identify feelings and choose coping skills. We recently made some calm down jars to have by the chair and I would like to get some pinwheels and other sensory toys. However, she doesn’t really use that when she’s in distress. For now, the simpler the better. The calm down chair may not  be the cure to all meltdowns, but it is making year 2 that much sweeter.

Magic Milk Boosters

Breast feeding is no easy feet. I remember after having my daughter, I thought it was something that just happened and kept happening. Your baby gets hungry, your boobs make milk, baby eats, baby is happy, repeat. Turns out it is not that simple. With this being my second go around ( and struggling with supply issues with my first), I decided to grab breast feeding by the tits and go all in. Here’s what I’ve been doing to keep that white gold flowing.

  1. Essentia: This water is truly living up to its claim as overachieving H20. I noticed that when I don’t drink at least a liter or more of it a day, my milk output is less. I try to drink 30-80 ounces of it a day in addition to other liquids.
  2. Brewers Yeast: This is a classic recommendation that I jumped on the band wagon for. Again I’m not sure what to give credit to or if it’s actually helping, but it’s something I’m including in smoothies or an excuse for cookies.
  3. Celery Juice: I started drinking this 3 days after giving birth. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I read that it helps to purify breastmilk and rid my body of toxins. I definitely think this is helping with my anxiety. I feel so much more confident, relaxed and level headed (when I’m not super tired!), compared to after my first pregnancy.
  4. Earth Mama Tea: Not the best tasting, but good with honey and I feel like this does help keep my supply steady.
  5. Spirulina: A super food claiming to be good for your boobie juice. I’ve been throwing it into smoothies with banana, dates, and berries.
  6. More fruits and veggies, less meat: According to Medical Medium, a diet low in carbs and high in fat and protein is actually harmful to breastmilk. Breast milk is made of mostly sugar. Healthy carbs likes potatoes, fruit, and some beans, give your baby the fuel he needs. I’ve really cut out my meat intake to see how it makes me feel. I really like eating this way and it’s a good way to get back into. a healthy routing.
  7. When I started eating more fruit and veggies I felt like I needed some protein. I’ve been using OWYN protein powder for shakes for breakfast or throughout the day. I did try Truvani Organic protein with hopes this would be so great. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the taste and it made the baby and I so gassy I couldn’t even put a dent in the $60 bag of that fart powder.

Since you are reading this, I’m assuming you’ve googled “how to increase milk supply” as many times as I have. Some of the things I’m trying are results of my googling and others are just what I feel is working for me. Sadly, I don’t think there’s any way to get volcanic milk eruption over night. I’ve found the best results by listening to my gut and doing what feels good. Maybe some of these things will help you and if they don’t at least you’ll be spared the gas of Truvani protein powder!


No Bake Lactation Balls

With my first attempt at breast feeding I made it to 5 months. At about 3 months in my supply started to drop. Once I had to supplement, because my daughter was eating like a teenager, I didn’t see the point in continuing to pump that milk. I felt like I should continue, but I know in my heart it wasn’t best at that point. Also, I was tired and wanted to sleep! I give so much credit to those who do breast feed for a year or more!

This time around, I feel so much more comfortable with doing what’s best. We are breast feeding now, but if it doesn’t work out I am absolutely fine with that because I know it will be what’s best for me and my son.  With my daughter, I felt like I had no freaking clue what I was doing and everyone I consulted had a different answer. There was not clear answers when I looked for help or direction with my questions like, “When do I start pumping?”,”A I pumping long enough?”, “Is she eating frequently enough?”, “What do you mean I have to keep up my supply? Doesn’t it just keep flowing out??”. Ughh it was very confusing.Continue reading “No Bake Lactation Balls”

With my first attempt at breast feeding I made it to 5 months. At about 3 months in my supply started to drop. Once I had to supplement, because my daughter was eating like a teenager, I didn’t see the point in continuing to pump that milk. I felt like I should continue, but I know in my heart it wasn’t best at that point. Also, I was tired and wanted to sleep! I give so much credit to those who do breast feed for a year or more!

This time around, I feel so much more comfortable with doing what’s best. We are breast feeding now, but if it doesn’t work out I am absolutely fine with that because I know it will be what’s best for me and my son.  With my daughter, I felt like I had no freaking clue what I was doing and everyone I consulted had a different answer. There was not clear answers when I looked for help or direction with my questions like, “When do I start pumping?”,”A I pumping long enough?”, “Is she eating frequently enough?”, “What do you mean I have to keep up my supply? Doesn’t it just keep flowing out??”. Ughh it was very confusing.Continue reading “No Bake Lactation Balls”

Baby Jogger City Select Review

I am what you call a self proclaimed stroller snob. Since I was pregnant with my daughter, I became obsessed with strollers and learning about each one on the market. I wanted to know what the difference was between these hundreds of strollers and what all the hoopla was with those that require a second mortgage. Everywhere we went my eyes would find strollers like magnets. Just like every baby product, it seems like there is a new stroller or updated model every other month! I’ve learned a lot but there is still so much to keep up with.

Along with my stroller addiction have come the purchases of the Chicco Key Fit Caddy, Baby Jogger running stroller, City Mini, and Uppababy Vista. All of these served great purpose but my utmost favorite was the Uppababy. I was walking by a garage sale one day and my stroller magnet eyes did not fail me. They beamed right to a shiny Uppababy Vista with toddler seat and bassinet. I immediately walked up the yard thinking it would be too expensive. Believe it or not, I walked away with that stroller which retailed for $900 at the time for a whopping $75 dollars. I was on cloud nine.

I loved having the bassinet option for my newborn as we took frequent walks in the summer. As I got to know this prized stroller more I realized it was about a 2010 or earlier model. However, even being over 7 years old, it was my favorite stroller. The joy of the Vista is that it can be converted into a double stroller with the purchase of a second seat and attachments. Turns out this model most likely doesn’t work with the second seat. I knew I’d need to purchase another stroller for when baby 2 came along.

Even though my heart belongs to the Uppababy Vista, I ended up going a different route for the double stroller! See, a brand new Vista with second seat and any extra attachments will run you well over 1200 dollars. That’s not always an easy purchase. I looked into purchasing a used one. There are tons of great deals on used Vistas. Then one day a dear friend (who is so savy with the baby stuff and actually the one who came up withe the name Hotmess to Homemade) sent me a text about a 30% off deal on the Baby Jogger City Select. I did like this stroller and was happy with the other baby joggers I owned. I didn’t look into it because I thought it didn’t come with the bassinet. But guess what, it does!

I immediately researched the different models and ended up going with the City Select Lux (of course the most expensive). The reason being is that this model comes with a bench seat attachment that I thought would be great for my stroller hating 2 year old. It was purchased from Albeebaby.com (frequently has 30% off) and shipped very quickly. Of course we had to give it a whirl right away. Here’s what we learned:


  • Super easy put together
  • Easy maneuvering
  • Looks similar to Uppababy
  • Bench seat attachment is unique and great for bigger ones
  • Hand break that is helpful when going down hill
  • Easy to clean fabric
  • Large under space for storage
  • Zipper pockets on back of seats for storing small items


  • Heavy! This is definitely heavier than the Uppababy even with just one baby. I almost went into labor pushing this bad boy up hill.
  • The tires are nice that they don’t ever need air, but it feels like it isn’t as smooth of a ride as it could be
  • It’s longer than the Uppababy, but not too inconvenient.

I haven’t yet used this with the car seat attachment or bassinet but I am thinking it will be relatively easy to set up. The Lux model does have a zipper on the back of the seats for storage, but I am thinking I will need the cup holder/storage attachment because we use it frequently.  Overall, I think this is a good deal for the money. However, if you have the extra to spend on the Uppababy I’d go with that. It would make most sense to purchase either stroller for your first child and just be able to add on as your family grows!


Savanna Says: 8 out of 10

PediPed Shoe Review

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many adorable shoes out there for little ones. When your child begins to actually need shoes it can be overwhelming to choose the right ones. I had not idea that there was such thing as “first walkers” for babies or that those cute clearance shoes at target actually make it harder for my baby to walk and are actually crap.

After buying a ton of shoes that I thought would be great, I learned that they were not very practical for my daughter. I walked into a local kids shoe store one day and saw shoes I had never even heard of! These shoes for babies are like those shoes for seniors, except way cuter. Many of the brands in this store were labeled as being suitable for first time walkers, supportive of the foot and comfortable.

We went with PediPeds and I’m on my 2nd pair of sneakers! These shoes are not the cheapest, but they last. The quality is great and they really helped my daughter with walking and figuring out how to manage her feet. Did you know that the proper toddler shoe actually is supposed to curve up in the front raising the toes slightly? Yea, as anyone can see by the paper thin amazon shoes I originally got her I had no idea.

You can sign up on the Pediped website found here for 15% off of your first order. Even better, here you can find the Pediped outlet site! In New Jersey, there is a store call Jay’s Shoe Box in Denville which seems to be one of the last surviving kids shoe stores. They will measure your child’s foot, have a great selection and offer that you can exchange shoes if they don’t fit when it gets to the season you are buying them for. The store usually has 5 dollar off coupons that are provided after a purchase as well. Of course, everyone needs some of those cheaper shoes in their wardrobe, but these are great to add in a few quality pairs that will get you through a whole season and more.

Savanna Says: These are a 9!

Image result for pediped

Tomato Lentil Soup

I’m not sure why, but I’ve really been digging lentil soup lately. There are so many fantastic ways to customize your own batch of lentil goodness. Sometimes I add curry powder and sweet potato for a twist. However, being pregnant has caused to me to veer in the opposite direction of those ingredients. Here’s a simple version you can cook a batch of on the weekend and enjoy all week. Try making it your own by adding in whatever veggies you have on hand.  Also, a great way to sneak some of that valuable nutrition into baby!Continue reading “Tomato Lentil Soup”

What The Heck Is Rapeseed and Why Is It In My Daughter’s Oat Milk?!

As you all know I am a fan of oat milk and give it to my 20 month old instead of dairy milk due to a sensitivity. Aside from a brief shortage, all was going pretty well. Shes growing fine and appears nourished to the eye. However, I learned some information about an ingredient that is listed full fat Oatly and needed to share.

My best friend was visiting from Chicago and as usual most of our conversations veer towards food. She looked at me and said with hesitation, ” Caar, I have to tell you something about oat milk”. I knew it wasn’t good. A friend of hers had been doing some research on food for brain health and was an avid oat milk consumer. Unbeknownst to me, the full fat version of Oatly contains an ingredient called Rapeseed oil. I know, your thinking, “Is that a typo? She means grape seed oil. ” No, it’s rapeseed oil. Someone actually named a seed “rape”, wtf? If that isn’t a big red flag than I don’t know what is.

It turns out rape seed oil is actually very similar to Canola oil and the both are often confused. Canola was originally created from rapeseed by removing 2 ingredients from the rapeseed plant: glucosinolates and erucic acid. Erucic acid was removed because it was believed to be toxic in high doses. Erucic acid is regulated in foods today. However, Oatly comes from Sweden, and not US, where regulations are different. The label states there is less than 2%, which is the maximum allowed amount of rapeseed oil in a product.

I did some research and found conflicting information. There are many articles preaching the health benefits of rapeseed as a great oil alternative with good fats such as this one here.  It does seem to be used more outside of the US, or at least labeled more often as rapeseed as compared to Canola.

The scariest evidence I found was about a test done on animals “showing that ingesting oils containing erucic acid over time can lead to a heart condition called myocardial lipidosis. This is temporary and reversible. Other potential effects observed in animals – including changes in the weight of the liver, kidney and skeletal muscle can occur when higher doses are consumed” ( https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/161109). The article goes on to warn that there could be a health risk for children under the age of 10 who consume products containing erucic acid regularly over time.

Well that’s enough for me, since I have been giving this to my daughter every day for the past 8 months. Talk about mom guilt. I beat myself up a bit for not looking into the ingredients more. At the same time, I am still learning about this product and the conflicting research. Either way, I made the choice to not give her the full fat version of Oatly any longer. We don’t need any erucic acid up in here.

Good news is that many US based companies have recently come out with oat milk such as Silk and Quaker among many others, which do not contain rapeseed oil! The low fat version of Oatly does not contain rapeseed oil either.

Moral of the story, check your ingredients and do some research. I will be on the look out for rapeseed from now on! While we can’t believe every scary tale we hear or read online, I’m going with my gut on this one.