Finally An Update…

Hello there!  It’s almost been an entire month since I have last updated.  I did not intend to go that long without updating.  Brielle turned 5 months a few weeks ago.  So I will be updating about her 5th month very soon.  I feel like every month has been flying by since she was born.  I think that is to be expected though.  Everyone told me that the first year will fly by and they weren’t kidding!  I absolutely love everything about being a mom though and I take in every single moment.

So since I last updated, let’s see what has happened.  We celebrated New Years.  We didn’t do much at all.  It was hard to stay awake until midnight.  The New Years tv specials definitely weren’t like they used to be.  It was kind of disappointing.  It was nice to be in the comfort of our own home and not have to deal with noisy neighbors this year.  For the past several years, we had to deal with massive parties from the neighbors that lived above us.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know all about them.  They have since moved and we now have a nice, quiet neighbor.  So it was finally nice to relax for once.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday a few weeks ago.  That was fun!  We celebrated at our house with dinner and a birthday cake.  I think my mom enjoyed herself.  I just love celebrating birthdays.  I can only imagine how much fun Brielle’s first birthday will be when she can taste cake for the first time!  The whole smash cake thing is what I am most looking forward to.

I’ve tried a few Rachael Ray recipes that I’ve seen on her talk show and they have quickly become my favorites.  I made her Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Chicken Thighs twice now!  The second time that I made them I didn’t use as much red-pepper flakes because it was way too spicy for us the first time around.  I loved the flavoring of the balsamic on the brussels sprouts, butternut squash and shallots.  I never had roasted shallots before until I tried them in this recipe and roasting them makes them so sweet.  It doesn’t even taste like an onion.  I love it.

The second recipe I tried was her Roasted Vegetable Stew.  This stew took a while to prepare but it was well worth the preparation.  It lasted for days and it was the perfect meal to have on a cold, snowy evening.  I would highly recommend making this stew.

So that is just a short update of what has been going on in our neck of the woods.  We are now preparing for a massive snowstorm which is going to hit us tonight into tomorrow.  I can’t wait to play in the snow with Brielle tomorrow!  Since I can’t end a post without any pictures, I’m going to share a picture of my favorite little lady.

brielle

I’ll be back with an update on Brielle’s 5th month.  Stay safe in the snow!

Goodbye 2014!…

So tonight is the night that we kiss 2014 goodbye!  I have to say that 2014 was an extremely interesting year for me.  There were amazing parts and then there were really bad parts.  My life has been forever changed from many things that have happened in 2014.  Some of those not so good things will be following me into 2015.  I’m hoping though, it will turn a corner and things will go in our favor.  I do have to say that I completely agree with the quote, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I think I am the strongest I have ever been in my entire life.  I have to be.

The best parts of 2014 will stay with me for the rest of my life.  One year ago today, I was sitting in my OBGYN’s office anxiously awaiting to see if my pregnancy test that I took was true.  I was so nervous because of what happened with us the first time that I was losing all hope for this second time.  The mid-wife assured me that I was in fact pregnant and that everything was going smoothly.  I just need to wait a week to have my first ultrasound and we could see our baby.  I remember hoping, wishing and praying that this baby would stick and would be “the one.”  I remember on New Years Eve wishing that this was the year that I was truly going to become a mom.

After seeing that first ultrasound, we were both as nervous as could be and I took in every single moment cherishing it as if it would be my last.  I was anxious the entire time I was pregnant because I was afraid that something was going to happen.  There were a few moments that I never mentioned on here that were very scary for us and something bad could have happened but thank god, it didn’t.

I loved every second of being pregnant and feeling our baby move.

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Being pregnant is magical and sharing all of those moments with your child is one of the most incredible experiences that I will treasure.  I can’t wait and hope that I get the opportunity to experience it all over again.

The part that I waited for was getting the chance to hold my miracle for the first time.  This was the highlight of my 2014.

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I will never ever forget that moment of looking into Brielle’s eyes for the first time and completely falling in love with her.  Becoming a family of three has been one of the best moments of my life.  We have our ups and downs with outside things going on but as long as I have the love of my family, I know that we can get through anything as long as we are together.  Brielle has forever changed my life and has granted my wish of becoming a mom.

I look forward to 2015 and when my little miracle baby calls me “mama” for the first time.  I am looking forward to everything that 2015 has to bring.  The good, the bad and the in-between.  I will welcome it with open arms.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2015!  May all your hopes and dreams come true!  Stay safe!

Brielle’s 4 Month Favorites!…

Hey there!  Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  Things have been a little crazy around here and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write a post.  I’m hoping to start blogging more again and get into a routine.  Brielle is going to be 5 Months old in a few short weeks so I figure I should probably post about her 4 Month before that is over.

I thought Brielle’s personality came out in her 3rd month but it has completely come out even more now in her 4th month.  I have to say that she is the happiest thing that has been brought into our lives.  I can’t say it enough how truly blessed I feel to be her Mommy.  I love her more than I can possibly say and express.  She laughs and talks all the time.  Her laugh is very contagious and brightens my day when I am feeling sad.

I know exactly what to say and do to make her happy and get her to giggle and smile.  That is the favorite part of my day.  She rolled over for the first time on Christmas!  She was teasing us with rolling over for a while and then she finally did it.  She is pushing herself to try to crawl so I can imagine things are going to change quite a bit once she is on the move.  I can’t wait for it.  I cherish every single moment and every step of her growing.  Mike and I are head over heels over this little girl who has forever changed our lives.

Brielle 4 Months

4 Months Brielle and Mommy

So I’m going to talk about a few of Brielle’s favorites for this month.  I don’t have many new things because she has been using a lot of the same things that I have mentioned previously.  Let’s get started!

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Love to Play Sis’ Puppy

Melissa and my mom got Brielle this puppy.  Brielle absolutely loves her!  The heart on her chest lights up and she sings a TON of songs and says a bunch of different things.  You are able to press on various parts of her and she will talk or sing.  Brielle’s face completely lights up when she see’s her and hears her.  We play with this puppy all of the time and has become a daily staple to use and learn with.  I recommend this puppy so that your child can get used to hearing various songs and body parts such as hands, ears, feet, tummy, etc.

My Pal Violet

Our friend’s Russ and Kristen, bought Brielle the purple dog, My Pal Violet.  I had never heard of this puppy before but Kristen says she swears by it.  Her daughter loves Violet.  Well, now Brielle does too!  I love that this puppy comes with a USB cord which gets plugged into your computer and you can program the puppy with your child’s name, favorite foods, and songs.  I obviously haven’t programmed the songs or foods yet because we don’t have them but I did program Brielle’s name.  The puppy talks and sings and will say Brielle’s name.  Her dog tag also lights up different colors which is fun for Brielle to look at.  Brielle can get used to not only hearing us call her by her name but she hears it all the time when we play with Violet.  I highly recommend this toy.

Disney Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Toy

This is another great toy that Melissa and my mom got for Brielle.  The handle is perfect for Brielle to hold on to and she can play with those rings.  When you press the circle with the music note in the center, it plays a couple of different songs and in the screen above it, lights up in different colors.  She loves this toy.  She is amazed by watching the different colors.  Brielle loves listening to music so this is the perfect toy to play with for her.

So those are a few of Brielle’s favorite items for her 4 Month.  In addition to those things, she loves chewing on her hands.  Her fingers are always in her mouth because she is starting to teethe.  It’s only a matter of time before we will see her first tooth.  I cannot wait for that.  I feel bad when she is in pain.

She has discovered her feet and loves to play with them when she is on her activity mat or when I am changing her.  She also loves when I sing and dance with her.  She loves “Patty-cake,” and a few other random songs that I will sing around the house with her.  I’m so glad that she loves music and dancing as much as I do.  I can definitely see her taking dance classes at some point.  She loves it.

This month has been fun learning with her and watching her grow.  I cannot wait to see what her 5th month will bring.  I can hardly believe that before we know it, we will be approaching her 6 month birthday.  Everything is going by so quick but I am taking in every single moment and cherishing it.

If you have a baby, does your child like any of the same things that Brielle does?  Anything new that I should try?

HALO SleepSack!..

Hi there!  Happy Wednesday to you!  I have a great item to tell you about for those of you with babies or if you are expecting a little one.  I was given the opportunity by HALO to review one of their products.

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I browsed their website and I decided on the SleepSack because it allows the babies arms to be free.

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In the first few days of Brielle’s life while she was at the hospital, she didn’t mind her arms being swaddled but once she got home, she hated it.  When swaddling her, we always have to make sure that her arms are free.  She does not like being constricted when she is sleeping.  We use blankets to swaddle her but somehow she manages to break her legs free and she ends up laying with the blanket open around her which is not how a baby should be sleeping.

So I was really interested in trying out the SleepSack and seeing how she would do in it through the night and if she would cry once I zipped her up.

Brielle in her SleepSack

Brielle in her SleepSack

Much to my surprise, she didn’t mind wearing the SleepSack and she managed to sleep through the night without crying or having issues with the wearable blanket.  I always get so nervous when she breaks free from the blanket and with the SleepSack, I don’t have to worry about it because she is zipped up but yet has plenty of room to kick her legs and move around.  I can rest assured that she cannot break out of the SleepSack.

I was really glad that there was plenty of room around her legs and feet because she likes to kick and move her legs.  There is enough room for her to move freely.  She seemed very happy when she woke up from sleeping in her SleepSack which makes mommy and daddy very happy too.

The SleepSack comes in many different colors and styles so you have plenty to choose from for your little one.  You can order directly from HALO’s website or you can purchase them at a retailer location such as Babies ‘R Us.

Below is a diagram of how the SleepSack works.

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Brielle happy in her SleepSack

Brielle happy in her SleepSack

If you notice on the front of the SleepSack, it says “Back is Best.”  It’s just a friendly reminder that a baby should always sleep on their back.  HALO promotes safe sleeping with their Safe Sleeping Initiative.  I think it is vital that new parents are aware about the safest way for their babies to sleep.  Also, grandparents or any other caregiver of your child should be aware that babies need to sleep on their back.  Years ago, it was different and babies could sleep on their stomachs but now back is best and I really appreciate HALO educating caregivers about their initiative.

HALO Innovations is dedicated to putting the health, safety and well-being of babies first. In fact, over 1,200 hospitals use our HALO® SleepSack® wearable blankets through the HALO Safer Way to Sleep Initiative.  This summer we launched our new bassinet, the HALO™ Bassinest™ Swivel Sleeper, furthering our commitment to helping babies sleep safely.
If you are interested in learning more about HALO, make sure to visit their Social Media channels to connect with them:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Google+

YouTube

If you are looking for a great gift for new parents, I think a HALO SleepSack would be the perfect gift.  Ensuring that a baby is sleeping in the safest way is a gift in itself.  I highly recommend trying the SleepSack especially if your little one does not like being swaddled.  They will sleep soundly in their SleepSack.  Thank you, HALO for allowing me to review this product and discover a new item that my Brielle loves!

Have you ever tried a SleepSack?  What do you think of it?

A Birthday Celebration at the Melting Pot Philadelphia!!…

Hey there!  I hope you are having a lovely week!  I have a great post to share with you today!  As I mentioned last week was Mike’s 30th Birthday.  We were so graciously invited to dine at the Melting Pot in Philadelphia to celebrate his birthday.  We were both very excited because it’s been many years since we were able to dine there and I know that the menu has changed since the last time we were there.

When we arrived, we were seated at an intimate booth that was decorated with birthday balloons and a card for Mike!  I thought that was such a sweet touch and it made our evening of celebrating even more special.

30th Birthday boy!

30th Birthday boy!

We had such a great waitress to help us navigate through the menu and enhance our evening.  She explained the menu and the entire fondue process to us.  The best thing about the Melting Pot is that you are able to customize your entire experience.  You are able to have a 4-course experience which includes: cheese fondue for 2, individual salads, either a shared entree or individual entree or 3-indiviual dishes of your choosing, and chocolate fondue.  If you aren’t interested in the 4-courses then you can of course pick and choose what you would like to eat to complete your experience.  I really like that they have individual entrees now and they have an option to choose 3 individual entrees as a combination.

I also really like that they have Fondue Features which are seasonal inspired dishes to enhance your experience.  We decided to try the cheese fondue on their Fondue Features because we thought it sounded phenomenal!  We ordered the Lobster Cheese Fondue (A delicious blend of rich lobster and crab bisque, cold water lobster meat, award-winning Butterkäse and fontina cheeses, fresh lemon juice and scallions.)

Lobster Cheese Fondue

Lobster Cheese Fondue

Our waitress prepared the fondue right in front of us by adding all of the ingredients and letting them heat up and the cheese melt.  She also brought out dippers that we could use to dip into the cheese fondue.

Granny Smith Apples and Grapes

Granny Smith Apples and Grapes

A few different types of breads

A few different types of breads

Vegetables

Vegetables

I thought it was a good assortment of foods to dip into the cheese.  They all paired well with the selection of the cheese fondue.  There was a ton of lobster in the cheese and you could really taste the bisque that was added to it.  We finished the entire pot of cheese in a matter of minutes.  We loved it that much.  It would be great if they added it permanently to the menu.

Our waitress brought out a seasoning to the table which is created by the Melting Pot and is available for purchase.  She mentioned that it tastes great on salads and on entrees.  We both used it on our salads and entrees and really liked it.  It had a subtle yet, nice garlic flavoring to it.

Garlic and Wine seasoning

Garlic and Wine seasoning

Our next course was individual salads.  Mike decided to enjoy the salad on the special Fondue Features menu: Fall Salad with Angry Orchard Vinaigrette (This salad truly brings out the flavors of fall with mixed greens, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles and candied pecans, topped with house-made Angry Orchard Apple Cider Vinaigrette.)

Fall Salad

Fall Salad

Mike really enjoyed his salad and said the dressing truly did taste like Angry Orchard.  The cheese, pecan and cranberries enhanced the flavoring of the vinaigrette which he really liked.  I like that they used Angry Orchard to make the dressing.  I think that is a unique touch.

I decided to order the Melting Pot House Salad (Crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, crispy croutons and sliced egg with your choice of Peppercorn Ranch Dressing or sweet and tangy House Dressing).

Melting Pot House Salad

Melting Pot House Salad

I love when salads have hard-boiled eggs in them and the croutons were freshly made.  I went with the house dressing which I really enjoyed.  I thought it was a delicious salad filled with very fresh ingredients.

You have the opportunity to select a cooking style for your food.  The cooking style that is included for free is the Seasoned Court Bouillon which is a fresh seasoned vegetable broth.  Our waitress suggested that we try the Coq Au Vin cooking style which is Burgundy wine infused with fresh herbs, spices and mushrooms.  She said that it really enhances the food and when you let the vegetables marinate in the cooking style, it has so much flavor.  So we decided on the Coq Au Vin.

She brought out the ingredients for the cooking style and let them heat up and cook before bringing out our entrees.

Mike and I both decided on the same entree.  We ordered: Surf and Turf (A succulent cold water lobster tail paired with premium filet mignon and wild mushroom sacchetti.).

When our waitress brought out our entrees, she also brought out vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, and potatoes).  Our waitress explained how long to cook everything for and it’s really up to you on if you want to put everything in at once or take your time with everything.  We cooked the wild mushroom sacchetti first because that cooked the quickest.  It was a pocket of pasta filled with mushrooms and ricotta cheese.  I was in love with it because I am a huge fan of ricotta cheese.  The mushrooms enhanced the ricotta flavor.  I really liked it.

After that cooked, we added the vegetables and the lobster and filet.

Our entree and vegetables cooking

Our entree and vegetables cooking

My meal

My meal

The Coq Au Vin cooking style paired very well with the filet and the lobster.  The filet was so tender, you didn’t even need a knife to cut it.  The lobster came with a flavored butter sauce which I probably could have drank because it was so good.  We were both really impressed with how well the food turned out.  I don’t eat steak a lot so I was nervous about how it was going to taste but it was just so tender and the wine infused the flavor of the steak.  We both really enjoyed our entrees.

Even though we were getting extremely stuffed, you just cannot leave the Melting Pot without enjoying their famous chocolate fondue.  We browsed the menu and agreed on a chocolate fondue that we wanted to try.  We went with the Flaming Turtle (We consider it fondue candy. It’s an irresistible combination of milk chocolate, caramel and candied pecans flambéed tableside.).

Flaming Turtle

Flaming Turtle

This was one the best chocolate fondue I think I have ever tasted.  I really liked the caramel mixed with the chocolate.  Our waitress brought out an assortment of goodies to enjoy dipping in our fondue.

Surprise for the birthday boy!

Surprise for the birthday boy!

Dessert Dippers

Dessert Dippers

My favorite things off of that plate were the Oreo cookie and graham cracker coated marshmallows!  I probably could have eaten an entire plate of just those marshmallows they were so good!  I want to try making them myself.  I also loved the strawberries with the chocolate.  Strawberries and chocolate are the perfect combination.

While we were enjoying our fondue, our waitress brought over two glasses of champagne to toast to Mike’s 30th birthday!

Champagne Toast!

Champagne Toast!

Us :)

Us :)

We had the most incredible experience I think I’ve ever had at a restaurant at the Melting Pot in Philadelphia.  They truly went above and beyond to make Mike’s birthday a memorable one.  From start to finish, our experience there was one we will never forget.  This particular Melting Pot is owned by a husband and wife team which truly go out of their way to make sure their customers have the best experience they possibly can when dining at their restaurant.  I would highly recommend choosing the Philadelphia location if you are going to dine at the Melting Pot.  They really care about the little details and their staff are incredible.  I would return without hesitation to this location!  Thank you SO much for your hospitality!  We truly appreciate everything!!

Before I go, I want to share a little bit about their Club Fondue program.  Club Fondue offers fantastic fondue features, including beer and wine dinners, food tastings, special events and advanced holiday reservation privileges. When you sign up to become a member of Club Fondue, you’ll receive a complimentary box of six of our Signature Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with the purchase of $60 or more.  Definitely sign up if you want to be in the know of all things Melting Pot!

Have you ever been to the Melting Pot?  What is your favorite thing about the restaurant?

Brielle’s 3 Month Favorites!!..

Hey there!  My posts have been so scattered lately and I’m trying to get back on track.  Hopefully this week will be that week.  I’m really excited to share Brielle’s 3 Month Favorites today especially since next week she will be 4 months already.  I know,  I am so behind but it’s better late than never.  So let’s get started on my sweet little girl’s 3rd month of life.

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Me and Brielle

Me and Brielle

In the above picture, you can slightly see what Brielle’s room looks like.  I never did post a tour of her room.  I am getting to that as well.  We aren’t able to paint the walls since we rent.  So we pictures, quotes and decals hanging up in her room.  You can see that there is a quote behind her crib.  I absolutely love it.  It’s one my favorite Winnie the Pooh quotes.  I will share when I talk about her room.

So Brielle’s 3rd Month, I think has been my favorite to watch her grow.  Her personality is starting to shine through.  She is a very happy baby.  She smiles all the time and talks non-stop.   The best part of my day is first thing in the morning when I stand over her crib and say, “Good Morning, Brielle” and she greets me with the biggest smile and giggle in the world!  It warms my heart.  She has the cutest giggle I’ve ever heard as well.  She is growing and thriving how she should and I just love her so much!  Here are some of her favorite things this month:

WubbaNub Pacifier

Brielle and "Clifford"

Brielle and “Clifford”

The kind folks at WubbaNub sent Brielle a red dog WubbaNub, that we now call, Clifford to try!  She absolutely loves this dog.  Not only does she like to use it as a pacifier (binky) but she likes that she can hold onto the dog and play with him.

brielle hands

WubbaNub pacifiers are made of medical grade silicone and BPA free.  The animal is a very soft plush toy that are small enough for baby’s hands to grip and hold onto.  They come in a ton of different animals.  The animal makes it easy to find the binky in your diaper bag or wherever you might store them.  I definitely recommend them if your child likes a binky.  Brielle just loves hers!

Sophie the Giraffe

brielle giraffe

 

 

 

 

Sophie the Giraffe is one of the first baby items that I purchased.  I had heard about Sophie and knew that I wanted Brielle to have one to play with.  I’m so glad that I bought her.  Brielle absolutely loves playing with her.  She squeaks when you squeeze her and she is rubbery so it’s great for baby’s to teethe on.  She is made of 100% natural rubber and food-based paint so it’s completely safe to chew.  Brielle likes holding her and gets very excited when you squeak the toy for her.  According to the website, it states that Sophie stimulates all 5 senses.  So it’s a great first toy for a baby.  It’s a little on the pricy side but I think it’s worth every penny because Brielle likes her so much.

Bright Starts- Pretty in Pink Rattle & Shake Barbell

Bright Starts - Pretty In Pink Rattle & Shake Barbell

If you see in the picture above of Brielle, she is holding this rattle in her hand.  She loves this!  This was the first toy that I placed in Brielle’s hands and the second I did, she started shaking it.  She loves this thing and I like that it has bright colors on it.  It’s lightweight and it’s easy to throw in a diaper bag to take with you.  Plus, it’s very cheap! We received it as part of a gift before Brielle was born but I found it on Walmart’s website for $2.88!  That is a great deal for a fun toy for a baby.

Mommy’s First Bear

brielle and mommys bear

This picture warms my heart so much!  The bear that Brielle is holding onto was the very first bear that my parents bought me.  My mom said that when her and my dad were leaving the hospital after I was born, they passed the gift shop and she saw that bear and decided to buy it for me.  That bear has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl.  I always dreamed that one day I would share my love for that bear with my child.  I decided on a whim to hand the bear to Brielle and she loved it.  She fell asleep holding the bear and I felt a tear stream down my face.  I never thought I would get the chance to become a mom and there I was with my daughter on my lap holding my very first teddy bear which is almost 31 years old.  Moments like that continue to feel surreal for me.  It warms my heart that she loves it as much as I do.

Sassy Activity Chick Attachable Toy

Sassy Activity Chick Attachable Toy

This is another toy that we received as a gift before Brielle was born.  I wasn’t so sure about this one but she loves it!  I keep it by her changing table and it’s fun to play with after her diaper changes.  Brielle’s favorite part about this toy is the legs.  They make a crinkle noise that she gets excited to hear.  It also chirps when you shake it.  You can easily attach this toy to a car seat or stroller.  We love it.

So those are just a few of Brielle’s favorite items from her third month.  I enjoy so much watching her grow and learn.  I absolutely love being her Mommy.  I’m looking forward to everything to come with her as she gets older.

What are some of your favorite baby items?

Happy 30th Birthday to Mike!!

Today is a very special day!  It’s the day that my hubby and Brielle’s daddy turns 30!

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We are so excited to celebrate this very special day with him.

Brielle Sign

The thing that makes this birthday so special is that it is the first one that we get to celebrate as a true family of three.  I know that Brielle doesn’t understand or know what is going on but just seeing her smile and giggle and take in these moments with us makes it so special.

So today, we celebrate my hubby and Brielle’s daddy and wish him a VERY happy 30th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Mike!  We both love you VERY much!!

PS. I have lots of catching up to do on here.  I’m planning on doing that within the next few days!  I have to post about Brielle’s 3rd month since she is going to be 4 months in about a week already!  Time flies!