The Chirping Moms

July 25, 2014

Friday Favorites: 5 Pregnancy Essentials

It's not easy to remember to take care of yourself when you have little ones running around. They demand so much help, attention and food, that "time for mom" is limited to a fraction of the day. When you are pregnant, regardless of how many other people you're taking care of, it's important to find time to take care of yourself. It was a hard routine to get into for me, but my first trimester was pretty rough, and taking time to take care of myself starting making it a lot better. It's not easy for me to remember all day, everyday, but I've been trying to take a little more "me time" the past few months and at least take my vitamins and eat some lunch! 
Below are 5 pregnancy essentials that i'd highly recommend:
1. Mama Mio: About a month ago, I started using a few products from the Mama Mio skincare line and love them. Over the course of 3 pregnancies, I've tried quite a few "belly creams" and the Mama Mio TummyRub Butter is my favorite. It doesn't go on thick and sticky like some do. It's omega-rich and safe and effective for protecting against stretch marks and itchy bellies. My skin always changes a lot during pregnancy, and I always find that my usual face wash and lotion needs to be switched up.  I've been using the Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow Face Wash and Face Swipes and they've been the perfect solution for my skin. I'd highly recommend this line! 
2. Prenatal Vitamins: I've been taking Rainbow Light vitamins for a while, but each time i've been pregnant, I have a lot of trouble with prenatal vitamins. I tried breaking the capsule open and sprinkling in a smoothie or in breakfast (you can do that easily with some of the Rainbow Light Prenatals), but during the first trimester, I was having trouble eating most foods that  I could add the vitamin to. I found out that Rainbow Light makes a "Prenatal Petite" and tried it. They are awesome if you have trouble swallowing/ tolerating prenatal vitamins. They are so much smaller than a regular pill. The Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite is gluten-free, sugar-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, wheat-free and yeast-free. It is 100% natural, and contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or additives.
3. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics: I had a few friends recommend this brand for different reasons: pregnancy products, breastfeeding and for babies. While I haven't tried the breastfeeding products just yet, the pregnancy items they have are awesome. I was very sick the first trimester and continue to have to rough mornings and nights here and there. The Earth Mama Organic Wellness Morning Tea and the Happy Mama Spray are wonderful. I've also recently tried the Organic Heartburn Tea too and it helps more than antacids! The whole line is all natural and safe. Two of the baby products that we've all been using this summer: Angel Baby Bottom Balm (helps bug bites!) and Mint Herbal Lip Balm. 
4. Water: Staying hydrated during pregnancy is key. You need a lot of water each day, and in the summer months, even more. I spend a lot of the day outside in the heat with my kids, and found I was not drinking enough water. I was getting terrible headaches, and my doctor said to try and drink more water. That's all it took! I increased how much water I drank a day and my headaches went away. I started switching it up a bit and adding lemon or cucumber. Cucumber in ice water is so refreshing on a hot summer day and my new favorite drink. It also reminds me of being in a spa, even though i'm actually pushing kids on the swings or sitting in a sandbox! 
5. Relaxing: This is by far the hardest thing for me to remember to do during pregnancy. I've never been good at "resting" during the day and usually push myself to the limit and pass out at night. This was really taking a toll this pregnancy and i've had to think of ways to get the kids to "relax" with me for a little while each afternoon. I've also found a great mother's helper in my neighborhood who comes and plays outside with the girls once or twice a week, while I rest inside. One of the best ways I "relaxed" this summer was after SwimWays sent along one of their Spring Floats (the kids were supervised in the pool by another adult while I relaxed). This float is so comfortable and even holds up a growing pregnant lady! We don't have a pool of our own, but this float travels well: it easily folds up into a small circle and slips into a bag. The Spring Float makes relaxing in the summertime a breeze. 
Now for a fun Friday giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a SwimWays Spring Float. You don't have to be pregnant to enjoy some relaxing in the pool this summer! You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. Happy Friday! 
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July 24, 2014

Fun Water Activities for Kids

We have been a little creative this summer with having fun in the water.  Where we live at the moment, there is no public pools and private pools have wait lists that last several years.  But since I have three little kids who aren't the world's best swimmers, I have used my imagination on how to have fun in the water in the comfort of our own backyard.  Today, I am sharing some fun & easy ideas on how to have fun in the water at home!


1.  First, the thing that we use most is our inflatable pool.  We quickly inflate & jump in!  We bought this big swimming pool and thankfully it has lasted for two summers now.  We play in it at least three times a week - a perfect place to play on these hot summer days.  One way that we make it "new" each week is by picking out a new pool toy every week or two.  Our favorite toys come from Swim Ways.
  
Swimways has a great mixture of fun toys for kids that are durable for the long summer season and perfect for the backyard pool as well as heading to the pool with friends!  Their swimming masks, especially the fun character ones, have quickly become our favorite for our little "fish"!  Some of our favorite pool toys this year include: the Gobble Gobble Guppies shark to help practice counting and colors and the SquiDivers to dive for over and over again.

Other favorite backyard activities include:

2.  Paint with Water.  Take a paintbrush and bucket of water out.  Practice writing names, paint drawings, draw your self portrait, and more!
3.  Add bubble bath to the water table.  This is perfect when you want to do a "car wash" or doll/superhero "bath".
4.  Play Water Tag with a water ball.  Instead of tagging a person to be "it", you throw a ball at a person and if you hit them then you are it!
5.  Ride bikes in the sprinkler.  This is one of my boys' favorites.  We even pull out the Cozy Coupe and push car so Abby can have fun!
7.  Play "Fill the Bucket"  Turn on the hose and spray up.  Each kid has a bucket and whoever fills their bucket first wins!
8.  Water Balloons are always a hit.
9.  Do a yard obstacle course with water involved.  For example, run down the slip and slide.  Do three flips.  Crawl under the hammock.  Do five jumping jacks in the pool.  Touch the fence.  This is great for high-energy children:)
10.   Hot Potato with water balloons.
11.  We use our snorkel, goggles, and flippers to have races across the backyard through the hose.
12.  Colored Ice in the pool.  Make some colored ice earlier in the day with food coloring.  Throw it into the pool and watch it melt as they play!
13.  Sprinkler Freeze Dance.  When the sprinkler is on, everyone dances.  When it turns off, everyone freezes:)  Repeat until soaked!
15.  Enjoy popsicles in the pool!

Cheers to a little fun & cool to the rest of your summer!

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Healthy Seasonal Recipes: Grilled Tilapia and Asparagus


During the summer, I cook most dinners on the grill. I'm always trying to coming up with new recipes, and not just grill the same thing all the time. One thing my family enjoys is tilapia, but in the past, when I tried to cook it on the grill, it would stick to the grill or grill basket and then break into pieces. Thanks to PAM®  Let’s Grill, I finally figured out a way to make one of our favorite oven baked tilapia dinners on the grill! It stayed in one piece and was even tastier than when I make it in the oven. I served it over one of our summer grill favorites and ended up with a delicious, easy and healthy summer meal. 


Grilled Tilapia and Asparagus: A Healthy Seasonal Recipe

Ingredients:
Tilapia
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 table spoons of olive oil
Pepper
Oregano
PAM®  Let’s Grill
Asparagus 
PAM® Purely Olive Oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Other supplies: foil paper and metal grill basket (see picture)


Directions: 
Start by creating a marinade for the tilapia. Place tilapia in a glass baking dish and coat with the olive oil and lemon juice. Then sprinkle a liberal amount of pepper and oregano on both sides. Let sit for about 10 minutes. While it's marinating, prepare the asparagus. Make a little "bed" for the asparagus out of tin foil (see picture). Spray the asparagus on all sides with PAM® Purely Olive Oil. Then, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. 


Heat the grill on med-high. Once heated, lower to medium. Take the grill basket and spray with PAM®  Let’s Grill, then place it on the grill. Spray the tilapia with PAM®  Let’s Grill as well. Place tilapia in the grill basket. Place the tin foil "bed" of asparagus on the grill as well. Close the grill and cook for 6-8 minutes. After 6-8 minutes, move the asparagus around bit to be sure to cook on all sides. Get ready to flip the tilapia: spray the side facing up with PAM®  Let’s Grill and then carefully flip. Close the grill and cook for another 6-8 minutes or as soon as the tilapia is cooked through. Remove everything from the grill and serve the tilapia over the grilled asparagus. Last, but not least, enjoy a healthy summer meal! 


PAM®  non-stick cooking sprays have become an essential past of our grilling this summer. I use PAM® Purely Olive Oil and PAM® Let’s Grill in almost all of my seasonal recipes this year. Not only do they help keep them healthy and easy, they make the clean up so much faster. The grill, grill basket, and any other prep dishes are so easy to clean when I use PAM®  sprays in the recipe. 
Cooking on the grill and eating outdoors is one of our favorite parts of summertime. I'm glad I have a a new healthy seasonal recipe, Grilled Tilapia and Asparagus, to add into my rotation of meals to make! 


Click on the image above to learn more about PAM® non-stick cooking sprays.  “Leaving up to 99% less residue, PAM is your ally in the kitchen and allows you to save time during prep and clean up."

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ConAgra via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ConAgra.

July 23, 2014

Classic Kids Photography

If you read this blog and follow along with us on social media, it's no secret that I take a lot of pictures. I've enjoyed photography since I learned how to use my mom's manual camera at 14. I take a ton of pictures, and every now and then, get one I love. As much as I enjoy taking pictures myself, one of my favorite things, is seeing other people's photography. 
A few months ago,  I took the girls to Classic Kids Photography to have their pictures taken. When I lived in Chicago, the Classic Kids location there was at the end of my street. I used to love to see the pictures they would put in the windows, and this was long before I had kids of my own. When I found out there were locations in New York City, I was eager to meet them and have Maggie and Alex's pictures taken. 
Lindsay, they photographer at the Classic Kids Upper East Side location, is one of the most talented photographers I have ever met. In addition to having an incredible eye for photography, she is wonderful with children. My girls enjoyed an hour of playing around the studio, not a "photo shoot". Lindsay and her team make it a point to have the atmosphere feel more like a playdate. They let the kids dress up, make them laugh and never make them feel like they are "posing" or have to "say cheese". As a mom, it was fun to sit back, relax (with a lovely cup of tea they provided) and watch my girls have fun. They took pictures on both a black and then a white background. Lindsay got pictures of each of the girls on their own and lots of them together. I even jumped in for a few. 
A few weeks later, I returned to the studio on my own, to view the proofs. They were incredible. I felt like Classic Kids perfectly captured each of my girls personalities and in the photos of them together, you could really see how they interact and their relationship as sisters. 
(Dresses & crown are Wovenplay
It was very hard to choose which pictures to order, because I loved them all. I asked Lindsay what she would do if I scooped up the proofs and ran down Lexington Ave as fast as I could! Instead, I took time to choose my favorites and invested in some amazing pictures of my kids. It's funny, as I post tonight and look at these pictures, I think about how much they've already grown and changed since March when the pictures were taken. I'm beyond grateful to Lindsay and Classic Kids for capturing the pictures they did. I will have these memories forever. 
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Where to Wednesday: Rehoboth Beach { A Guest Post }

For this week's Where to Wednesday, we have our friend Destiny, from Suburban Wife, City Life writing about one of her favorites places to visit with the family! 


Growing up in Delaware we spent many a days at Rehoboth Beach.  I also spent many a summers in the town over, Dewey Beach, but that's another post for another day!

Now that I have kids I want them to experience the things I did when I was a kid so we always make a point to spend time in Rehoboth. I feel is has one of the best Boardwalks around.  It's large enough to go for a nice walk and small enough that you feel like you're part of the community.

I love walking the Boardwalk during the day, but at night it's really great.  Seeing all the families out getting ice cream, eating caramel corn, or enjoying the live entertainment at the Bandstand makes summer nights even better.

The thing I look forward to every year is taking my kids to Funland.  It's been around for 60+ years and a lot of the rides are ones that my mom rode when she was little, then my brother and I rode and now my kids are riding.  What's even better is the tickets don't break the bank.  You can get a book of tickets for super cheap and the whole family can ride for the afternoon. Who doesn't love a carousal or teacups?  A majority of the space is covered so if it rains it's a great place to go and you can also hide from the sun for a little bit.  There's also the arcade, I'm a huge skee ball nut, and if you're brave enough to ride the Haunted Mansion ride then you're cooler than me!


The food is also very much a part of Rehoboth Beach.  There are competing pizzerias:  Grotto Pizza and Nicola Pizza.  I'm partial to Grotto, but I spent 5 summers working for them, they have a unique swirl to their sauce, but Nicolas had Nic-o-bolis which are mouthwatering.  When is comes to fries there's only one place Thrashers "beach fries" which they only serve with vinegar.

There's also tons of sweets available with Candy Kitchen, Dolle's Caramel Corn and Salt Water Taffy and a few great ice cream places The Ice Cream Store on the Avenue, Kohr Bros or my favorite little gem is The Bellyfiller & The Best Ice Cream which has something for everyone!

When it comes to shops there are plenty of great ones to pop into within walking distance, and since it's Delaware everything is Tax Free!!  Which means you should also make a stop at the Tanger Outlets which is only a few miles away on Rt. 1.

The beach itself is great and with lots of families vacationing there your little ones are bound to make some new friends.  I love that you can rent a beach chair and/or umbrella when you're on the beach for the day.  Money well spent since I find I'm carrying so many things to keep the little ones busy.  They also have annual the Sandcastle contest coming up the 1st weekend in August!


Spending time at the beach is always great, but the fact that the Boardwalk and all these other things are within an arms reach makes Rehoboth a great family destination.  If you see me around the Boardwalk, say hi! 

- Destiny

BIG Baby Shower Giveaway!

We are excited to join up with some great companies & bloggers to bring you this fun giveaway!  Read below for more information & enter in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!



Welcome to the Showered with All Things Baby Giveaway Event!

Brittanie from Bargains with Brittanie will soon be welcoming her second baby boy into the world and she wants to celebrate with you! She is teaming up with a group of bloggers to offer a spectacular giveaway that features products perfect for the new mom, dad, and baby. With $2,064 worth of prizes and 29 winners this is a giveaway you won't want to miss! There are so many prizes that will help with a new baby in the house. For this giveaway we have some amazing prizes and want to give a huge thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors who made this giveaway possible. Our sponsors include: 



In addition to this great giveaway, you can check out the Ultimate Baby Shower Gift Guide which contains reviews of the products featured in this event.

Enter the Giveaway!

Giveaway ends August 5th at 11:59pm. It is open to United States Residents only. Winners will be chosen via random.org. All Entries Will Be Verified. Winners will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen. Enter using the widget below. Good Luck!
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Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for participating in this event. This giveaway is sponsored by the companies mentioned above. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment.

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July 22, 2014

The Best Present I Could Ever Give My Children

I've noticed something very interesting during this, my 3rd pregnancy. If I'm out in public alone, I get a lot of this: "Oh how far along are you?" from smiling faces. They almost always follow up with "How exciting! Is this your first?" When I am out with my kids, it's very different. I have 2 girls who are 4 and almost 3. The top comment "you had to try for a boy, huh?" or "whoa 3 kids?!" or my personal favorite "What are you going to do if it's another girl?"
One women, while in line at the grocery store told me she'd never have more than 2 children, because a third would only take away from the time and "things" she could be giving to the other two. That comment really got me thinking. Come October, would we be so strapped on time and money that we'd be taking away from our children? The thought upset me, and really got me thinking. 
Since my first was born, I've spent countless hours researching the "best" of everything from the top sippy cups to the best preschool. I try my best to buy organic, and even made some of their baby food. I've tried so hard to only give my girls the best, but the very best thing I've ever given them, is each other. 
They learn from each other, love each other, play, laugh and grow together everyday. 
Both girls enjoy preschool, but there was one morning that Alex, my younger daughter, was upset at drop off. I was talking to her, trying to comfort her, when Maggie, my older daughter,  got out of her classes line and walked over. She took Alex by the hand, walked her right to her classroom's door, opened up her backpack and pulled out her favorite princess tiara. She put it on Alex's head and hugged her tight. Alex smiled, waved to me and walked into the classroom. 
They have each other, and always will. As a mother, you want to take care of your children at every moment and in every situation, but it's important to see that they have other people watching out for them and loving them all the time. For Maggie and Alex, I see this everyday, as I watch them look out for each other. From the playground to brushing either other's hair, their bond is strong and important. 
I've given them the best gift I know, a sibling. Come October, I will bring home another sibling, another gift to grow along side them forever. 
My parents have provided everything for my brothers and me. There was not much we every wanted for, from toys to top schools. We were very fortunate in all we had, but the greatest thing my parents ever gave me was certainly my siblings. Sure we fought a lot; all three of us are very different people, but we have each other in every situation. The pride I have for my brothers' accomplishments can only be compared to the pride I have now for my own children. My siblings make me laugh, cry, worry and offer constant support, and they always have. 
I married into a family full of wonderful loving siblings too. My husband grew up one of four; he has a support system and three older sisters. For my husband and me, our 5 siblings are our family, our roots and give us the love we need in all situations. The joy our siblings bring us is the joy we hope for our children; it drives our desire for a large family. Girl or boy, we are just overjoyed with the gift of being able to grow our brood. 
My husband and I don't have much room in our house, but in our hearts, we have room for a big family, full of siblings, like the lives we grew up in. I shouldn't expect strangers to understand that. I do hope my girls understand that and embrace the newest member of our family. I watch their love for each other grow more each day, and in my heart, I know they will be thankful for the addition of another sibling. Perhaps not the first few months, but throughout their lives, this gift. Brother or sister, we can't wait to meet the newest sibling in our growing family. 
This post was featured on The Huffington Post and on the HuffPost Parents Facebook page
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