Recap: Why Lil’ Kickers is a toddler must

As Noah is approaching 3 years old, I am trying to fill our days together with various activities. Especially as the weather gets cooler, finding things for us to do becomes limited. Toddlers have a lot of energy and I am trying to to keep up! He also is at the stage where he enjoys trying new things and learning about everything. “Mommy, what’s this?” is on repeat in our house!

During the winter, I like him to be in a least one lesson a week and Lil’ Kickers is the perfect fit for a busy toddler. With 19 locations in just Illinois alone, there is a class and location perfect for all families.

Our Lil' Kickers recap of our soccer lessons in Chicago

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What we bought for baby #2

As we are counting down the days until baby number 2 arrives and we picked up a few things we never had with our first born. Isn’t it crazy there are lots of new items that have come out in just a few short years? I couldn’t believe it. As much as we can, I think we are ready 🙂 So here is our list and now let the waiting game begin!

what we bought for baby number 2what we bought for baby number 2

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How to throw the best (and easiest) Friendsgiving with Tony’s Fresh Market

It’s that time of the year! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, but Friendsgiving is a close second. I love having my friends in our home, catching up and spending time together before the craziness of the holidays. But in reality, our home isn’t huge, specifically the kitchen. After years of hosting this annual tradition, my husband and I have somewhat gotten this hosting thing kind of figured out. I wanted to share some easy recipes and tips we have learned along the way, with some help with all the ingredients from Tony’s Fresh Market. They have some specials on turkeys, their produce is some of the best and I even got some of the table decor there. Best part of it all? You are just having your friends over, so it doesn’t need to be perfect! Some time spent together is really what it’s about.

I am sharing 10 tips along with our brunch Friendsgiving menu below. Welcome to cooking with the Good Life!

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Why you need a Galena Escape at Eagle Ridge Resort

As we are winding down to the arrival of our baby girl, my husband and I knew we needed a quick weekend getaway from Chicago. A little time away before the lack of sleep and the craziness begins, right?! Galena, Illinois seemed like the perfect location. Being 150 miles west of Chicago, with rolling hills, a town filled with art galleries, restaurants and history, it was the perfect setting.

I had a few things I was looking for in my search for a hotel. I wanted a spa, several dining options, and a beautiful, quiet setting. This lead me to the discovery of Eagle Ridge Resort, located in The Galena Territory, just six miles from downtown Galena. We would be able to enjoy the amenities of the resort like the pool, spa and dining, but also head to town when we wanted. With a toddler at home, it was the ideal distance away from home while feeling a world away.

Eagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful viewsEagle Ridge in Galena Territory with beautiful views

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3 Fall Recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with cream cheese. I share it often on my Instagram. One cream cheese brand I like is Philadelphia Cream Cheese because of its creaminess and how many different options there are. Since we are mid fall, there are so many recipes you can use that capture all the fall vibes. They have a pumpkin spread that I have been meaning to try! Over the past month, I have used them to create a breakfast toast, a snack and even pasta. That’s pretty much all the best things right?

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Meal Planning for a Family of 3 with Tony’s Fresh Market

I hate to admit it, but I love grocery shopping and meal planning. I don’t know what it is, maybe it just sets the tone for the week and helps us stay organized? Whatever it is, I do it weekly. Sometimes even on a Saturday night by myself? It’s like a night out right? Hah.

I will make a list of the meals first Monday through Friday and then list out all the ingredients needed for each meal. We have our weekly usual meals, but I try to add in a meatless monday meal, a meat focused one and usually ending with pizza on Friday nights.

One thing that helps meal planning go smoothly is grocery shopping, Some things I look for in a grocery store are:  Continue reading

Quick & Easy Meatless Meals

If you have been following me for a little while, one of our New Year’s resolutions was to try to eat a few meatless meals a week. Maybe because we watched the documentary, What the Health, if you haven’t seen it, it’s eye opening. Although we still love a good steak, we just wanted to cut back on how much meat we were eating. We were up to 4-5 nights a week eating meat, so we definitely wanted to switch it up a bit. It’s really been kind of fun experimenting and so far, so good! I have been switching up our weekly meals and found a few that we love. All under 30 minutes, quick and easy.

A fast and easy meatless weeknight meal
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Diapers & Football: Our baby girl’s ‘sprinkle’

This idea of a ‘sprinkle’ is definitely something new for me. As my mom calls it, its very Millennial. Haha. For those that are unfamiliar, it’s just a mini baby shower for baby number 2. There’s no registry and it’s typically just small gifts or diapers. With Noah, we had a traditional baby shower with lots of family and friends and I had never intended on having anything for our next baby. But some of my friends thought it would be a good idea to get together, especially since I may not see some of them before she’s born (and maybe a while after that!). I didn’t want to make it big deal, but thought diapers are always needed and easy for anyone to pick up. Plus the love of football in our house is strong, why not incorporate the two?! Girls can like football too. 🙂

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Sneak Peek: Nursery Essentials

When we had our son, we looked everywhere for the perfect crib, rocker, and mattress.  We wanted the perfect everything, I mean everything. I wanted our nursery to look like a Pinterest mom’s dream. But reality hit and it all comes with a price tag. Some cribs we were looking at were as high as $1,000 dollars. No thanks. That’s like a year supply of diapers! And don’t even get me started with a rocker….

Nursery furniture can come with a high price tag, but it is possible to find what you want without breaking the bank.

Our nursery furniture and essentials for baby.Crib:

We first needed to find a crib that was within our price range, but most importantly met all the safety features. It was an added bonus if it we could find a convertible crib that would turn into a toddler bed. With a lot of research, we found this Delta crib on Amazon. It has really good reviews and happens to be a 4-in-1 bed. WE LOVE IT! Honestly, I had never heard of the brand Delta, but I was impressed. I was also a little hesitant to order a crib online, but it took less than 30 minutes to put together and very sturdy AND he hasn’t climbed out of it, yet. It has a 3 position mattress height adjustments and fit’s a standard crib mattress. Within the next 6 months, we will convert it into a toddler bed. We will use this same crib when our daughter is born this winter. We are now avid Delta shoppers-and no I am not sponsored to say that 🙂

Our nursery essentials: crib, mattress, rockerIMG_2621IMG_2626.JPGCrib Mattress:

I remember putting zero thought into a crib mattress. Now looking back, I probably should have take a little more time picking one out. To my surprise, baby mattresses taking a beating over the years (I can spare you the details…) and now we found one that is better quality. This Sealy Ortho Rest has:

  • 50 made coils are durability tested for lasting use; steel coils offer a firm foundation and excellent support
  • 2 hypoallergenic layers offer cushioned comfort for infants and toddlers
  • Reinforced waterproof cover and binding resist liquids and stains

This is definitely an upgrade from what we originally had and will last us a long time. It’s affordable, reliable, and you can find it at Walmart.

IMG_2558IMG_2566Dresser:

After we ordered the Delta crib and we were pleased with the quality of it, we went ahead and ordered the matching Delta dresser.  Again, very impressed with Delta and the overall quality of it. Almost three years later, it’s sturdy and all drawers still work. Zero issues. Both kids will share the dresser and we hope to have it for years to come.

The attached changing kit does not come with it, but it is also Delta and you can nail it into the dresser, which we did. It prevents it from sliding around, especially as babies get squirmy during diaper changes. The strap is a nice feature in case you need to buckle them in if they are extra fussy.

Our nursery dresserOur nursery dresserRocker:

I am OBSESSED with our rocker. That might be the most adult thing I have ever said. Haha. When babies are first born, this is the most significant place you will spend with them. Just hours and hours of feedings, rocking, mom and dad eating and sleeping (hopefully for everyone). However, they are very, very expensive. Of course, I love the Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware rockers, but they are large and pricy. We also have a small space and wanted something that was both comfortable and on the smaller side. We again went with Delta and it’s perfect for us! Still going strong for us and it will be used quite a bit when our girl is born.

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So that’s it! Those are the essentials. A lot of is definitely trial and error and finding what fits for your preferences. If you have any questions, let me know! I know that finding the perfect furniture can be super overwhelming. Plus combined with those pregnancy hormones, I know all about it!

As for the little stuff, you can see what noise machine (the one we use was actually ours for years before using it with Noah), monitor and other things we love here.

Now we wait and get ready for baby number 2!

As always, thanks for following along and you can sign up for weekly emails here and on Instagram.

Until next time,

Christine

The section on the crib mattress was in collaboration with Kolcraft, but all my opinions expressed are my own. 

This post contains affiliate links, but all my opinions expressed are my own. 

Honey nut cream cheese balls

For some reason, fall makes me want to bake and cook more, anyone else? I don’t know what it is. I like to wake up early, light my pumpkin candle, drink coffee and create some fun things in the kitchen. However, with a toddler and a baby one on the way, I don’t have all the time in the world now. I like to make things that are easy, kid-friendly and have some nutrients for my growing family.

We are a big cereal family, my son has a few bowls a week, it’s an easy, fast breakfast. But have you ever looked at the ingredients in some cereals? They are filled with sugar and have very little nutrients. I found Honey Nuts by Grainberry at Jewel Osco that is slowly becoming a favorite in our home. It is actually the first cereal to be made with Onyx Sorghum, which has many antioxidants that helps diabetes, heart problems and more. Honey Nuts have 33% less sugar than the leading brands, whole grain oats with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, which we LOVE! And most importantly, it’s delicious and my son loves it. It’s a win-win. 

I knew I had to create a snack using Honey Nuts, something easy and small for his tiny fingers.

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