Packed for the Park: Eat Pak’d
Noah is at the park everyday, sometimes for 2-3 hours at a time. At 17 months, he is on the move, so staying in the house is not an option. We usually bring a thermostat with food, snacks, water, etc. We pack everything!
We found Eat Pak’d at Bubbles Academy and thought it may save us time meal planning for him and also give him a variety of food to try. This service is individual meals for toddler and children, packed for the week, delivered directly to your door. They use hormone-free, GMO (when possible) ingredients and limit sugar, sodium, and preservatives. They partner with Get Fresh Produce in order to source their ingredients from local farmers. Because of this, the menu is constantly changing, which is important for picky toddlers. But the BEST part is the variety of kid- friendly recipes that are not only tasty, fun for little ones to eat! The paks can also be mix and matched.
Now, are the paks good?! YES! They are so good, that I shared it with Noah. Sorry, the banana pudding is too good not to eat. Below are the meals we tried.
- Craving Carnitas Pak (Noah’s favorite)
- Submarine Pak
- Cheesy Grilled Cheese Caprese Pak
- Ham & Cheese Please Pak
- Broc and Cheese Pak
It’s definitely a service that makes busy moms lives a little easier and gives our little ones some fun recipes to try out. Use the discount code CHICAGOEATS for one weeks worth of paks (5 paks) for $15 dollars.
Let me know what you and your babies think!
Our Summer Must-Haves
The heat of summer is here and there are a few products that are must haves for us this season. Now that Noah is 17 months, we are enjoying the pool, being outside and staying up late. But I am not going to lie, one of my “mom triggers” is the sun and his sensitive skin. All moms have a few triggers like nap schedules, food, etc. The sun is mine, I will admit it. So the products below definitely work for us. Hopefully, for you too!
Deep Woods OFF Wipes: This is one product our pediatrician recommended when Noah was 6 months. He didn’t like any other products out there and insisted it would work with sensitive skin. He claimed other products just don’t work, Deep Woods was the best. So, as a new mom, I of course stocked up immediately. We tried them last summer and LOVED them. Not only do they work, they are incredibly easy to use and without any skin reactions. Our whole family uses them now. You don’t have to worry about inhaling any spray, whether young or old. I have never seen them in any store so I strictly order them through Amazon. You can find them here:
JohnsonDiversey Deep Woods Off Towelettes, 2 Pack
Munchkin Straw Trainer Cup: Noah loves this cup and I might love it even more. It is spill proof, weighted and I can’t tell you how many times he throws it without it ever breaking. No matter the angle he drinks it from, it is spill proof. The handles make it so easy for him to use. The best part, it is under $5 dollars and I have seen many cups like this as high as $15 dollars. You can find it here:
Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup, Blue, 7 Ounce
Munchkin Snack Catcher: Another Munckin product we love is for our snacks. This is always in Noah’s hand. This portable snack bowl allows independent toddlers to self-feed with a lot less mess. He loves accessing snacks all by himself through the flexible flaps, and they help prevent food spills. The two handles help grasp easily, and the no-slip rubber bottom helps keep it in place on surfaces. Even when dropped, the lid will stay on. The Snack Catcher also was great when Noah first started eating solids to learn how to self-feed and help with coordination. You can get two for $6.99, one for the diaper bag and one for the house or car. Check it out here:
Munchkin 2 Piece Snack Catcher, Blue/Green
Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion: I feel like for moms, sunscreen is such a touchy subject. We all want what is best without the chemicals for our children, but for me, I wanted whats best, but not to break the bank. I have seen baby sunscreen for $50! Through lots of research, we found Babyganics sunscreen and love it! With a pack of 2 for $16 dollars, I will never use another brand. It is (according to their description):
- UVA + UVB protection & water resistant (80 minutes)
- Non-allergenic formula that is naturally gentle on skin and tear free
- Pediatrician & Dermatologist tested
- Exclusive 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend to help nurture and support baby’s skin
- No: PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles
It worked well with Noah’s skin and like I said earlier, I am slightly afraid of him getting sun burnt, so I always apply every hour, in excess (I know, I know, not necessary). You can find it here:
Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50, 6oz Tube (Pack of 2)
Babyganics Swim Pants (diapers): Has any other mom or dad had a really hard time finding swim diapers this season? We went to a few stores because we could find any his size and just ended up buying the Walgreen’s Brand, which weren’t too satisfied with. We ordered Babyganics on Amazon and LOVED them. There is a frog on the front of the diaper that will change colors depending on the level of UV rays. This alerts you that the UV rays are strong and you may need to apply more sunscreen. They are not puffy or swell up like many swim diapers and provide UPF protection for the covered areas. They easily slip on and off and provided enough coverage for him. You can find them here:
Babyganics Swim Pants, 24 Diapers, Small
Below is a description (according to Babyganics):
- The only swim diapers with sun sensing scenery
- Core made with sustainable materials
- Provides UPF+ protection for covered areas
- Won’t swell in water
- Water resistant soft cover
Let me know your thoughts!
Happy 4 Year Wedding Anniversary
Arrived by water taxi for the reception at Fulton’s on the River (now River Roast). And even had the Blue Demon!
Best party we ever threw. Cheers to many more!
Having a Baby?
Find out how you can win FREE diapers and wipes with your Amazon Baby Registry. We used their registry and loved it. All of our baby furniture was delivered directly to our door (with extensive research on reviews of course). 🙂 Check out all the details below.
Toddler Meal Planning Made Easy- Little Harvest
As soon as Noah started to eat solids around 6 months, my husband and I were so excited for him to try EVERYTHING. Our plan was to cook all his meals ourselves, meal prep for the week and have him it only the best, organic food. Well, fast forward to 16 months now, we haven’t been as good. Meal prep is hard for us sometimes, because like everyone, we are busy. So I did a little searching and found Little Harvest.
Little Harvest is a meal delivery service that provides baby and toddler meals sent directly to your door with FREE shipping. The food is all locally sourced, seasonal, organic, and delicious. It is made in a commercial kitchen with no preservatives, added salts or sugars. It arrives in little pouches, ready to serve. Everything is best within 7 days that is unopened. But the best part is the items can be stored frozen for up to 1 month in a freezer bag.
The ordering process is super easy and convenient. With any order or anytime you move up a stage, you receive a meal planner which suggests how to pair the contents of your Little Harvest box to create balanced meals. The meal planner was really helpful, especially if your child has likes and dislikes with certain foods. They work with a pediatric nutritionist, which was very important to us because we do have some allergies. Lastly, they actually VISIT the farms that they source directly from. They know exactly where the food is coming from and ensure safety practices are being followed. Once you are ready to order, you can create a custom tasting box (which I did) or 2 weeks of tastes, which is 15 pouches. I like the flexibility of choosing the pouches for the week. You can choose which stage your child is in, Noah is in Stage 4. You order from fruits, veggies, grains and seeds, protein and seasoning blends. That is really it! Easy. The box was delivered to my door a few days later in a very well refrigerated with ice packs (packaging is non-toxic and recyclable).
So the most important part. Did Noah actually like the food? YES! We first tried the apples and oats and he liked it. Next, for breakfast, we combined the strawberries, oats and quinoa and he devoured it! He took a few attempts to eat the lentils, but we added their curry seasoning blend to it and he really liked it.
Go check it out for yourself! Use TheGoodLife for 20% on your first order. If you would like to talk further with the moms behind the brand, they are at the Chicago Logan Square Farmer’s Market on Sundays.
Until next time…
Our “Planned” Birth Story
My son, Noah, is 15 months. He is a happy, healthy, silly little boy and that is all that matters. I love him so much, it is actually hard to describe. But to this day, I carry around what I call “MG” aka mom guilt.
I was watching TV recently and someone was giving birth and I started to cry. This often happens when I think about my own experience with Noah. My husband actually suggested to write about it to see if other moms feel the same way. So in honor of Mother’s Day and releasing some of this MG, I thought I would share our “planned” birth story.
For the entire pregnancy, I was healthy and so was Noah. I had no problems and everything was routine. But in 2015, two days after Christmas. I noticed a change. Noah was pretty active in the womb, but all of sudden, I felt nothing. Something just didn’t feel right. I called the doctor and I immediately went into triage. After the stress testing and ultrasounds, we discovered Noah had turned into a breech position, which was limiting his movement. What was this? And why did it happen? So of course, I freaked out and spent the next upcoming weeks Googling everything (I know, it’s my weakness). The doctors reassured us not to worry because most babies eventually turn on their own. They kept saying only 3-4% of babies are breech at birth, so most will turn on their own.
Through my research, I learned that there are several types of breech positions, which means the baby is not head first in the womb. Noah was in the oblique position. His head was under my right ribs, bottom on my pelvis and feet under my left ribs.
So from 32 weeks on, my husband and I were told that he will turn on his own, everything will be fine and they will continue to monitor his position.
Come 36 weeks, he still had not turned. My doctor suggested a version, which is manually turning the baby around from the outside. This is done at the hospital as an outpatient procedure. The chances of him moving was 50%, so we decided to do one. But, it was unsuccessful and the most painful experience ever, even with an epidural. He didn’t budge, his heart rate dropped during the procedure and I was in excruciating pain. As a result, we had to schedule a c-section at 39 weeks. I was absolutely devastated. I was bruised from the inside out, heavily medicated, and could not believe I would have to have a c-section.
So many thoughts and questions ran through my head (and still do to this day). I would never experience my water breaking or going into labor. Was there something wrong with me or him? I wouldn’t be able to spend time with him immediately after his birth. Would I have to have one with future children? I thought motherhood meant to go through labor, like a right of passage. It broke me. For the first time, I didn’t want anything planned, I wanted him to come when he was ready.
From 36 weeks on, there were several things the doctor suggested we could do naturally on our own to move his position. It completely consumed my life. We tried everything. Acupuncture at
The Nest (which I highly recommend for any moms to be), music, bouncing balls, moxa sticks that burn at your feet, yoga, chiropractor, essential oils, etc. We would spend hours in Chinatown to just to find herbs and incense that might help him move. Hundreds of dollars spent, countless hours worrying and sleepless night, but no success.
At 39 weeks, I went in for the c-section at 39 weeks and it went perfect. There wasn’t anything more I would ask for. I still don’t know why this continues to weigh heavy on me, but I am working on releasing it. It shouldn’t matter how our children come into this world, but mothers and women in general always carry so much guilt. We should all try to give ourselves a little more credit.
This is a deeply personal post, but I would love to hear more about your experiences.
Until next time…
The First Haircut
Ok, moms. We did it. We finally got Noah’s first haircut. After 14 months, I finally gave in and realized I no longer have a baby, but a growing toddler that needed a haircut. Desperately.
It wasn’t really about his hair or whether or not he would behave in the chair, but more about getting over the fact that he is growing and growing FAST. With all my anxiety, I needed to find place to calm my nerves and also find a salon great with children. Through lots of research, I found Kid Snips. With 8 locations in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, stylists that specialize with toddlers and kids, my hesitations were put to rest.
As soon as we get there, Noah was immediately fascinated with all the toys, mirrors and iPad. He sat in a Thomas the Train seat and LOVED IT! All smiles and I was actually excited for the experience. Our stylist asked what his favorite show was and put it on an iPad. Then, that was it, she immediately began cutting his hair. To my surprise, Noah didn’t even notice! She used different strategies to have him look down, to the left and right and not one problem. He was actually enjoying himself, smiling and laughing, which made me so happy.
I might not have a baby anymore, but my toddler will always be my baby boy, just with a big boy haircut now 🙂
Until next time…
Best Brunches and Hunts in the City
Spring is officially here and Easter is right around the corner. Get out your pastels, boat shoes, and Easter egg baskets and let’s brunch. Read on for some of the best Easter Brunches and Egg Hunts in the city for the entire family.
Easter at Lincoln Park Zoo: April 15, 2017 (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.)- Eat brunch with the Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs, visit animals, and ride the train & carousel (weather permitted) at the Zoo. Outdoor activities, photos with the Easter bunny and my favorite part, the Easter Egg Hunts for different age groups (perfect for my one year old. I don’t want him trampled by ten year olds running after eggs filled with nothing). And of course, parents, a cash bar will be available. Easter Egg Extravaganza at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Easter brunch at Macy’s (Chicago and Oakbrook): April 8, 9, 15, 2017- Meet the Easter Bunny, enjoy balloon artists and face painters while eating a breakfast buffet. Check the website for more details soon. Brunch on Saturday starts at 9am and Sunday at 10am. Macy’s Bunny Brunch.
I/O at the Godfrey Hotel Chicago: Sunday, April 16th, 2017– Boasting to be Chicago’s largest indoor outdoor rooftop lounge, Easter Brunch is being served under their retractable roof. Besides some of the best views of River North and downtown, eat brunch with the Easter Bunny, get your face painted and my favorite, a play room for the kids. Brunch includes a carving station, an omelette station and family style pastas for $29/adults and $10/kids. RSVP at info@IOGodfrey.com and enjoy the brunch regardless of the weather. Easter Brunch
Spring Fun around the City
Happy First Day of Spring! There are number of things to do (besides of course sitting on patios and rooftops drinking the day away, sigh :/) to kickoff the warmer weather months. For the family, there are a number of activities throughout the city that are family friendly (and fun for parents too).
Kid’s Expo March 31st- April 2nd: Although this takes place a littler further outside the city in Schaumburg Convention Center (roughly 28 miles or so outside Chicago), the Chicago Land Kid’s Expo is a family friendly event with vendors and activities like face painting, bounce houses, balloon artists, stage performances, Disney Characters Appearances and much more! Adult beverages for the parents will be served too 🙂
The Wiz April 1st-June 8th– Ease of down the road to the Apollo Theatre in Lincoln Park for the rock, gospel, and soul version in the production of Wiz. Tickets range from $19-29 dollars. More information at The Wiz at Apollo Chicago.
Green City Market (Outdoor) May 1st: One of the best outdoor market’s in the city is in Lincoln Park and West Loop. We love to take Noah and buy from local and Midwest vendors. Many take credit card now, which helps busy parents! There are cooking demos and live performances for everyone entertained. Noah loves the smoothies and our favorite is to buy flowers and Garlic Mushroom Spread from River Valley Ranch.
Switch on Summer (May 6th) – One of the most iconic Chicago attractions is Buckingham Fountain and this year, it turns 90 years old. The birthday celebration will include live entertainment, activities and giveaways and the fountain will be turned on. There is currently a contest to see which live band will perform at the event. For more details, head on over to Switch on Summer for more information.
Let’s hope for good weather this spring so we can all get out there and enjoy what Chicagoland has to offer. Let’s be honest, we could all use some Vitamin D, too 😦
Until next time…
Dining with a Baby: Fear No More
As Spring approaches, families come out of hibernation. The days are longer and babies go to bed later. However, dining at restaurants with babies can be pretty frightening for first time parents. Between the tears, picky eaters and glares from fellow patrons, it can be a pretty difficult time for parents.
I have learned some things from my one year old, Noah, that has really helped calm my nerves in the past year.
Tip 1: Be Prepared
Being prepared is key. In addition to the diaper bag, I think the most important thing while out is a bib and wipes. Often times, I won’t even let him eat off a plate because he’s now a thrower, so I have to wipe down the table before he begins to eat. Toys aren’t necessarily needed because the environment is usually stimulating enough. A one year old isn’t into electronics yet, but I do see parents of older children using them. As he gets older, it might help. Taking a look at the menu ahead of time also might help decide what your little one might eat. I have also called places to inquire if they have high chairs and changing tables, and to my surprise, many places do not. You might just have to bring your own everything.
Tip 2: High Chair
At our baby shower, we received a Chicco Caddy Hook on Chair that hooks on to the end of the table. At first, I was going to return it and thought no way is it safe. I am already a paranoid mom, no way was Noah going to sit in a chair hanging off a table. But one try, I LOVED IT! I actually liked it a lot better than a regular high chair because he was still too small and would slide down in his seat.
It is lightweight, easy to use and we take it everywhere with us! The best part is that it doesn’t take up a lot of room, it actually takes up less space than a high chair. When bars have really high tables, the high chairs might be stacked and this makes me nervous. I would prefer to have my own chair. Noah is bigger now and fits better in a high chair, but we still use it all the time if we know we will have a long meal or don’t like the chairs at a particular restaurant. The maximum weight is 37 pounds, so we will get a little more use out of it!
Tip 3: Don’t be AFRAID!!
Parenting is stressful and scary enough. Dining can be really difficult, especially as babies get older and every object becomes a weapon. But Noah is always out in bars and restaurants and try to take him out as much as we can. They may not be 5 star dining experiences, but we enjoy going out as a family. We try to go early and leave by 8pm at the latest. I always ask for particular area I would like to sit in and don’t be afraid to ask! If they don’t have a kids menu,also don’t be afraid to ask! Most of the time they can make you something for your baby. We’ve asked for sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, apples, etc. At first, I felt bad having seat and food requests or embarrassed when Noah would cry. But now, it doesn’t even faze me. Parents have to have fun too! Just have a glass of wine and RELAX!!
Until next time..