Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revisiting Pins & Needles (and a Quick 3-Step Placemat Tutorial!)

Before our recent move I went on a whirlwind tour saying goodbye to a few of my favorite small businesses. One of those is the UES shop Pins & Needles (you can read my original posts here and here). I was excited to see mention of their expansion in their newsletter and wanted to check it out for myself. The owner Rachel started off with one side of the floor that her shop occupies and now has doubled the space.

The original space
The addition; I love the inspirational words on the wall!
Rachel always has such fun prints in her shop and helped me pick out a couple for a placemat project for the kids and "kickee" pants for Grayson. While my mom was here she helped me with the placemat which was super easy, and I'm sharing the tutorial with you today:

  • Favorite fabric (sized to pre-cut felt backing)
  • Felt backing (the piece was pre-cut in a placemat friendly size)
  • Double binding in a complimentary color
  • Fusing tape


Step 1: Iron fabric and felt, match up and trim if needed

Step 2: Measure and cut binding for all 4 sides, pressing to make tight edges

Step 3: Measure fusing tape to match binding, laying in each piece and ironing all the way around, tucking in edges and pressing with more pieces of fusing web as needed all the way around

That's it!

Especially with the holidays approaching you can make these more formal depending on the fabric and trim you choose plus they'd make a great favor for your guests to take-home!

Which holiday projects have you started? Be sure to follow Pins & Needles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for project  inspiration!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Recipe: My Easy Johnsonville Oktoberfest-Inspired Dinner

Disclosure: I received a promotional item to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Growing up in Ohio I have fond memories of my dad grilling Johnsonville brats in the summer. Now as an adult when I attend a BBQ and there are "brats" I can always tell an imposter. Mr. Lovebird never quite understood my obsession until he came back to Ohio with me when we were dating and was able to experience them in all their glory. When Johnsonville reached out to me to create a recipe I was thrilled to be able to share their yummy goodness with my readers!

I selected Bedder with Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links as the base of my recipe and knew I wanted to go the Oktoberfest route especially being in the midst of apple picking season here in New Hampshire. Next, I decided to add sauerkraut and red onion for sweetness and because of my new obsession with pretzel buns when I saw them at my local grocery store bakery I picked those up too.  

The result was delicious:

Johnsonville Better with Cheddar Oktoberfest Skillet on a Pretzel Bun

  • 1 package Johnsonville Bedder with Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links
  • 1 diced red onion  
  • 2-3 apples sliced (depending on size and variety of your choice - I used Gala!)
  • 1-2 cups of sauerkraut (depending on your taste)
  • Pretzel buns
  • Salt and pepper 

Prepare sausage according to package - I put them in a skillet with a bit of water. While cooking, in another large skillet swirl a bit of olive oil on medium-low and add apples until softened to desired texture. Put apples in bowl covered with foil to keep warm. Swirl a bit more oil to the pan and add red onion and sauerkraut until onions are translucent and sauerkraut is heated through. Mix back together with apples, salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. 

While sausage is finishing broil pretzel buns on low until they're toasted a bit brown on top. When sausage if finished place in sliced pretzel bun and top sausage with apple/sauerkraut/onion mixture. 

This recipe was so quick and easy taking less than 30 minutes and Mr. Lovebird enjoyed it so much we ended up having it again a couple nights later! What I love about this meal is the perfect mix of sweet and sour as well as the fact that it fulfills my addiction to cheese, plus the leftovers heat up nicely.

Be sure to visit Johnsonville's website and follow on Facebook and Twitter for the latest recipes!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Huggies Can Handle My Gray! #MC #sponsored

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

With our recent move we're still a bit out of sorts especially when it comes to finding where the movers packed everything - I recently shared on Instagram how dinner was delayed for 2 hours due to the Dutch oven being in a box labeled "cookie tin!" Because of this we've had to find double duty uses for certain products and one of those is wipes. When I recently had the chance to pick up Huggies Natural Care Wipes and Snug & Dry diapers from Target, I knew using the wipes just for Gray wasn't going to be the case.

I couldn't find my deodorant and kept forgetting simply to just pick up more vs. do without and let's just say your body chemistry changes after pregnancy! I needed a quick alternative so I grabbed a few wipes to freshen up. What's great about the Natural Care wipes is that they are super thick and don't have a baby smell to them. Since wipes go on sensitive areas it's one item I don't want to smell strongly, but to give this mama in a pinch a quick wipe down? They're perfect!

While I feel very confident in my mom skills the second time around, I have to admit I'm a bit intimidated by Gray's diapering situation. We still plan to cloth diaper Gray but in the midst of still adjusting to our move we've been using disposables. Although Gray is breastfed just how Nia was there's a big difference in the outcome, if you know what I mean! Our little Gray is super cute AND super stinky. 

I think he could smell it too!
Gray has very sensitive skin and has broken out in a myriad of rashes so I'm always cautious about trying new products on his skin. Shopping at Target was super easy to pick up our Huggies diapers and wipes and it was the first time we went up a size - at 14 lbs, Gray's now a 2.

The biggest test was Gray's weekly poo. You've never seen someone so nervous in your life! Leading up to it he's super gassy and squirmy (if only I could find the gripe water in one of these boxes!), but I know what's coming. Secure in his Snug & Dry diaper (it has up to 12 hours of leakage protection), he woke up and laid very still after squirming through his afternoon nap. I knew what was up!

Checking for leaks I only saw a little bit around his crotch, but nothing up his back or front - the Snug & Dry kept everything in! Compared to other diapers we've used it's a more squishy diaper that seems pliable to his movements. Sometimes he squishes it very thin, but thankfully it holds everything in! The thick Natural Care wipes stood up to the daunting task and the patterned images weaved in helped pick up extra poo. 

Of course the entire time Gray was completely happy! That's what's important, right?

Speaking of happy, Target now offers a subscription service so you can get your diapers right to your door. Coming from the city I loved those types of services especially when lugging heavy items via public transit AND with two kids was such a nightmare!  To get started here's a coupon for purchasing Huggies at Target:

To stay on top of the latest Huggies news be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Have you ever used wipes for an unconventional use? Share your favorite below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Life With Gray: 3 Months Old

Ahhhh you guys are super patient - thank you! While I took Gray's picture on time last month I'm just now getting around to writing the update. Thankfully this little mini-diary has helped me keep track of his updates!
  • Baby's Weight: 14lbs, 4oz - again, up a couple pounds since last time!
  • Baby's Height: 24 1/4" (gained 1 1/4" since last update)
  • What size of clothing does baby wear?  3-6 months fits perfectly!
  • Any milestones baby reached during the month: This is almost running into his 4 month update I know, but he started smiling then giggling. He can move 360 degrees in scoot. He has more power than Nia had at the same age - she was a bit more graceful when rolling over and he really just uses his booty power to propel himself. It's kinda scary! He's also consistently sleeping through the night. LOVE it!
       Oh and this happened:

  • Special outings baby had during the month: Ummmm moving to a new state! Gray's adjusted as well as a teething 3 month old can. He attended his first story time with Nana yesterday and acted like an old pro!
  • What are your thoughts about the past month? This has been a huge month for us with the move plus his milestones (two teeth, rolling over and sleeping through the night). He's such a chill baby and I really enjoy seeing his personality start to come through during the rare moments he shouts and screeches at us for attention. He's like a little raptor! 
  • What was baby's routine? Gray goes down with his sister between 8-9p.m. and sometimes earlier between 7-8p.m. and gets up usually when she does around 7a.m. but will occasionally get up around 3 or 4 to nurse. Thankfully, I still don't feel much sleep disruption because of it. We drive his big sister Nia to school during the time we previously used to walk to school and he will usually fall asleep in the car. He tends to fuss in the car but Nia's good at consoling him before he conks out. While Nia's in school Tuesday-Thursday so far we've joined up with a few other local moms and have attended story time. I'd like to get more into a settled routine and perhaps hit the gym after Nia's drop-off while he's at the childcare provided there. I'd also like to start him on swimming lessons soon as well. All in due time...
  • Reflect about the highlights of the month: Getting to visit with Nana was great! She's preparing for a big move soon joining my dad in Texas for his job so I'm glad that while she's relatively close in Maryland she gets to see us (we'll see her as well as my dad, in-laws and siblings when we host Thanksgiving!)
  • Did any big changes occur? Besides the big move, Gray goes down in his crib each night since he shares a room with Nia. This happened earlier than I anticipated, and it's been a breeze so we're running with it and so far the entire family is getting good sleep. Woo hoo!

    With his beloved Baby Banana Brush!
    • What are baby's favorites - toy, food, person, etc...  My sister Ariane got on my case cause I don't have many toys for Gray. He has a Baby Banana Brush that he loves (a giveaway is coming!), a rattle and a play mat. A few other things I've tried he really didn't get into, but I want to get him a jungle gym like the one Nia had (I would've kept it but sadly the giraffe's next broke and it was no longer stable). For now he's entertained watching his big sister when she's not in school. He's also shown an interest in books. While we're still getting acclimated before we moved I'd lay on our backs with he and Nia reading before bed and if he couldn't see he'd fuss at us until he could. I'm excited for his enthusiasm!
    • What I'm looking forward to? I'm excited to get into our groove here in New Hampshire. There are so many peers here for Gray and I'm excited for him to meet little buddies! I'm also looking forward to setting up his and Nia's nursery. We have a finished basement so we've relegated all toys there but are keeping books in their room by installing something like this, and I ordered these which I'll display on their wall as well (they seem very New Englandy, and the artist even responded to me!) 
    Curious about the past few updates? Here are months 1 and 2! And Nia's updates through 2 years old are here

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    We're Alive in New Hampshire!

    Thank you to everyone who's wished us well on our move from NYC-metro to New England. Although it really isn't that far, it's been a really big move for us and I appreciate your patience while I focus on getting my family settled.

    We've been here now for officially two weeks as of today and I'm having a hard time remembering to pace myself. This is the prime season to be here and it's GORGEOUS! 

    Here's a sneak peek of what we've been up to (I'm heading this afternoon to drop my mom off so she can catch her flight home after a long weekend visit!):

    Gray finally stayed awake for story time today!

    I have a lot of fun posts on deck (including giveaways!) so be sure to follow on social media (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter) and check back often!

    How was your Columbus Day weekend? Are the leaves bursting with color where you are?

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Join Me Tuesday, 10/7 at the Biggest Baby Shower Ever in Boston!

    We're settling into life in Portsmouth, NH (lots of pics on IG!), and while I have so much to share I'm excited to announce I'll be attending the Biggest Baby Shower Ever in Boston - my old stomping grounds!

    Taking place Tuesday, October 7 the Biggest Baby Shower Ever Boston presented by Big City Moms from 6-9:30p.m. at the Back Bay Events Center is the must-attend event for expectant and new parents. This will be my first time attending (I missed it in NYC when I was pregnant with Gray), and I'm excited to check out the amazing brands such as:
    • Halo
    • Joovy
    • Belkin Family Lookout Farm (I use to go there every season to pick apples!)
    • Magic Beans
    • Orbit Baby
    • Summer
    Along with the brands there are yummy bites, seminars and awesome gift bags. It'll definitely be a fun night and I look forward to meeting fellow New England moms especially since I'm returning to the area after 7 years!

    To purchase your tickets be sure to visit the Biggest Baby Shower Ever's registration page. The early entrance Ultra and Super Passes are sold out, but there are still Standard Passes available including an overflowing gift bag, but they're going fast!

    Will I see you there? Be sure to tweet me @HarlemLovebirds and follow the Big City Moms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    7 Thoughts for a Rainy Thursday

    A perfect day for a warm bath and cuddling my chubzy boy! Thank you blogger buddy FiDi Families for the awesome towel =)(BTW this is an unedited pic was taken with my new S5 - can't believe how amazing the camera is! #teamdroid)

    A yucky rainy day here, but the perfect kind of day to get stuff done! I have a few random things on my mind I wanted to share before I get back to purging and prep for our move . . .
    • I'm excited for this new bracelet inscribed with a wonderful reminder to arrive in my mailbox
      • Looking ahead to Blogalicious in San Antonio in November, and if you'd like to go too be sure to enter BMWK's giveaway (it's a couples giveaway, and I'll be there too with my hubby - I'm speaking!)
      • If you really need to laugh check this out (25, 26, 28 and 34 especially!)
      • One of my favorite bloggers, ETST's Kelle Hampton, reiterates why music is so important - I'm looking forward to Nia's new Suzuki teacher we found already!
      • Are you into fall TV? I'm mostly looking forward to Walking Dead. I watched Blackish last night and while I LOVE Tracee Ellis Ross, I wasn't feeling it. I'll pass. Instead of watching TV I think I'll be doing this instead
        • I need to get on the ball booking ALT Summit 2015 but in the interim I supported their Kickstarter campaign, and I now feel 200% more ready for fall (I ordered the Zeritu and Genet!) 

          What's on your mind today? Chilly and rainy too where you are?  Stay dry friends!


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