Jun 6, 2012

Packing for the Hospital


So in all reality, I know to get Dylan from point A (my inners) to point B (the world), all I really need is my vag… but hey I’m a planner and want to make sure we have as many comforts as possible to make this birthing process a hit. And yes, to all those that wanna go to that level… I think I’m probably over preparing physically since I couldn’t be more unprepared mentally. I’ve already accepted, owned and well… just clearly stated that. We’re going into this parenting thing so very blind, but I have all the confidence in the world that Jer and I are going to be rockstar parents.

So aside from my who-who, my loving husband (who I strangely prefer to call my babydaddy) and my amazing mother, I’m planning to bring 3 bags with me – 1 that I bring to the labor room, 1 that Jer brings after we move into our postpartum room, and 1 for baby Dylan. Here’s what I’ve packed in each:

Labor Bag:

  • - Bath robe
  • - Camera
  • - Jolly ranchers (since eating is apparently a labor no-no)
  • - Comfy slippers/socks
  • - Basic toiletries: lip balm (EOS is the balm dot com!), toothbrush/paste, headbands
  • - iPhone & charger
  • - iPad (during any downtime, you best be prepared Draw Something friends!)

Post Labor Bag:

  • - 4 nursing outfits. I’m crossing my fingers and toes for a natural delivery and short hospital stay, but I’m packing several nursing gowns just to be prepared. I’ve also packed a loose fitting outfit for the trip home and some granny panties to rock with those super sweet thunder pads. Ughhh. Someone please comment and tell me it’s not that bad!
  • - Nursing sleep bras & supplies
  • - Outfit for Jer
  • - Toiletries (for me & Jer)
  • - Snacks
  • - Boppy pillow

Diaper Bag:

  • - Dylan’s homecoming outfit
  • - Soothies – although I hear they give these away like candy at our hospital
  • - Swaddle blankets
  • - Mittens: I’ve heard the nurses judge you if you forget these. I’ll be judging myself enough, so let’s cut someone else out the judgment equation.
  • - Hat: Probably don’t need this for a summer bambino, but it’s cute and babies are bald, so why not.
  • - Car seat

So ok all you experienced birthers out there… what am I missing? I’ll update this post after Dylan arrives and let you know what I did and didn’t use.


Jun 1, 2012

Relay Foods is my new bff

Being the mama-to-be that I am, I’m constantly looking for new tools, apps, & websites to make my life easier, as I know it’s about to get super duper busy. But there are some necessary evils like emptying the dishwasher, washing clothes, and going to the grocery store that unfortunately someone still hasn’t figured out how to make an app do for us yet – trust me, I’ve searched. And of those three – going the grocery store tops my hate list because it’s literally an exhausting four step process: (1) planning whatcha gotta get (2) driving to multiple stores to get everything (3) SHOPPING for at least 30 minutes (4) driving home & putting it all away. Ugh… typing that made me tired. I can literally think of 1,765 things I’d rather do with this hour and from what I hear, once Dylan arrives, an hour back will be oh so needed.

So when my manager, Lisa, told me about a way to get all of my groceries (AND local produce!) without ever stepping foot in a grocery story, I just couldn’t believe it. I mean how could this exist and every Richmonder and their mama’s cousin’s pizza-boy not be using it? Could it really be this easy? I just had to find out!

Well the very next week I tried it and when I rolled up to the pick up location at my work, I saw this sign on the truck confirming just how easy it is: “Buy your groceries at RelayFoods.com. Pick up your food here”. I think they need one more conversation bubble that reads “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy”… because that my friends is literally what this experience was like.


So here’s how my first Relay Foods shopping experience went down:

1. I started by meal planning. I’m a weekly shopper, so I plan out exactly what we’re having for dinner and then list out the ingredients for each dish separately. I also list out the the staples and stuff we need for breakfast and lunch. If I’m feeling froggy, I’ll also look up some new recipes and figure out what I need to make it happen.

2. I then went to relayfoods.com and started searching for the items on my list. I’ll admit that I was pretty skeptical that they wouldn’t have the brands I like or the processed foods I hold dear to my heart. The marketing is very local/organic/healthy focused – which don’t get me wrong, I totally dig and buy regularly, but I gotta show some love to my sugar coated cereals too. So I was pleasantly surprised when they had 99% of what I needed. The 1% missing was my favorite flavor of preggo pasta sauce, but I daringly tried a new flavor and actually really liked it.


3. After I added everything on my list to my cart, I simply reviewed my order, provided my information & pick up destination and clicked “order”. Within minutes I received an email confirmation of my order and reminder on when/where to pick up. Directly after checking out, I also had the option to save all of my recently purchased items to “my list”, so that next week’s order would be a breeze… and boy was it. Here’s a screenshot of the experience – all I had to do was hover over the item and increase each quantity to 1. There is also the option to refill automatically, but I just haven’t been able to commit to that level of our relationship yet… Smile


4. Then on Monday around 5pm, I simply swung by the pick up location at my work, gave my name to a super friendly dude named Seth and within minutes I had all of my groceries in my trunk ready to roll. Seth gave me my printed invoice and I was outta there! I LOVE that they have a pick up location at my work and one near Jer’s too. Looks like they have a ton around Richmond – here’s the full list.


So here’s the proof that they had everything I needed! I just realized this spread gets more unhealthy from left to right, but hey… I live with and am likely growing a caveman, so give a sister a break.


I also have to give a special shout out to few items that I would have never gotten had I not ordered through Relay:

Pizza Tonight – A DIY pizza kit that comes with fresh dough, seasoning and pizza sauce. Jer and I had a blast making this, even attempting to throw the dough above our heads to shape it, randomly singing one verse of maybe the only Italian song(?) we know “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s…” Of all the dumb stuff we do, this is one of those moments I was forbidden to record Smile

Local Basil – Beautiful, leafy, and 10x better then what you’ll find at the grocery store

Organic strawberries – Unless I go to Whole Foods I have trouble finding these at Kroger or Food Lion and these top my dirty dozen list, that I try my hardest to stick to. I encourage you to check out that link and see how much pesticides are on non-organic fruits & veggies these days. If you’re not going to eat the skin, do whatev’s but if you eat it and don’t supa dupa scrub it, then go organic. That’s my rule of thumb, anywho.

So all in all, I’m in love with this service. Thank you Relay Foods for not only providing a stellar shopping experience but for making my life tons easier!



May 26, 2012

Dylan’s Nautical Baby Shower

So I’ve never once doubted my mom and sister’s ability to throw a party. From weddings to backyard pool parties, these two ladies just know how to throw down. So as soon as my sister asked to throw me a baby shower, I just knew it would be nothing short of fabulous… and boy was I right. From the invitations to the napkins… every little detail of this nautical themed shower was “pin-worthy!

Kristen & Mama: Thank y’all so much for planning and organizing such a wonderful day. It was so fun celebrating Dylan’s upcoming arrival and he’s so blessed to have such an amazing aunt and grandma! I love you both so very much.


Ok, Ok… enough with the sappy stuff – on to the details. I mean I just said every detail was “pin-worthy”, so I’ve gotta show you the goods.

So as you may have seen from my Nursery post or my “Oh Baby!” pinboard, I’ve been obsessed with nautical baby stuff. I think I’ve been so drawn to it, because it’s baby-ish yet also really masculine, preppy and just plain cute. I mean come on… who doesn’t look precious in topsiders and seersucker?

Knowing all this, my super creative sister created an entire shower around the theme “Ahoy! It’s a Boy!” and incorporated a nautical flair into almost everything.


IMG_2717   IMG_2716


How creative is this? Kristen wrapped all of the utensils with rope and a little lifesaver! And on the right you can see the custom table runner Mama made to coordinate with the theme. I’m telling ya… these ladies are some party plannin’ fools.

IMG_2719   IMG_2718

And if the table runner wasn’t enough to showcase the crafty crafterson that I originated from, check out the stunning quilt that she made for Dylan. I haven’t taken a photo of the details yet, but the fabric is so freaking cute and the stitching is even done in little sailboats!


I also have to give a special shout out to all of my family and amazing girlfriends who made the haul to my house in The Bumpass to celebrate Baby Dylan. Thank you so much for showering him with such wonderful gifts and love – he and I are so very lucky to have all of you in our lives and we love you so much!





Apr 14, 2012

A Pinterest Inspired Easter

For the past 3 years now, I’ve hosted Easter lunch for my family. My first year was a disaster, my second was uber stressful, but my third one was a total charm! I think the main difference is that this year I spent a week collecting inspiration from Pinterest and prepping & planning in advance. I cleaned on Friday, cooked a majority of the food on Saturday and then spent the 1 hour I have between church and family arriving, heating things up and cooking the mushy dishes (ya know those ones like green been cass that must cook the day of!). My secret ingredient this year was totally Pinterest. I made an “Easter” board and pinned all of my recipes and centerpiece ideas in advance. Have I told you recently how much I love Pinterest? Well, I’ll use this post to prove it. Here are my top 4 pins that made my family’s Easter lunch a big hit!

1. Easter Table Centerpiece

image    Centerpiece for Easter table


2. Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake from BHG.com

image    IMG_2570

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat 1 cup of sugar and the butter with a mixer on medium to high until combined. Then add 1 egg and the vanilla and beat on low to medium for 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk (I used 2% milk instead!) to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.


Tip: While you’re mixing the ingredients in Step 1 or during your prep phrase, grease a round cake pan AND line with parchment paper. Nothing bums me out more than when I can’t get a cake out of the pan and then when I do, I’ve lost half the bottom. I’ve wasted many a tears on this… so line the pan people, it really works. To be extra safe, I even spray some of my girl Pam on the parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour. Probably overkill, but hey… it works!


3. For the cheesecake filling (yes, this has a delish little surprise in the middle!) beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon peel and the remaining egg and beat until all mixed up.

4. Then spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it to the pan edges. Pour the cheesecake filling over batter and then dollop the remaining batter on filling. This is a little hard but try to spread the batter across the top as much as possible.

IMG_2558     IMG_2559

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and then remove from oven, gently press raspberries into cake and bake 25 to 30 minutes more. For some reason my raspberries were completely sucked down into the cake, so I added some to the top after it cooled a little. Once completely cooled, I sprinkled the top with a little powdered sugar.


TADA! Since this wasn’t the main desert for Easter (my mom makes an AMAZING coconut cake!), I went ahead and did a little taste test. It’s simply amazing! It’s light, fluffy, sweet and fresh.

IMG_2570    IMG_2572


3. Easter Thumbprint Cookies

image    IMG_2578


  • Cookies:
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate Topping:
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Beat in the flour slowly until the dough has formed.

2. Roll a teaspoonful of dough into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and either press your thumb into the center of the balls or use a tool to do so – since the cookies are pretty hot.

3. Place the cookies back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding chocolate topping.


4. For the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then pour the chocolate into the cookie’s thumbprint. To make these Eastery, simply add a Easter M&M! I used peanut-butter M&M’s!

IMG_2574      IMG_2578


4. Worlds Best Dinner Rolls

image   IMG_2589


2 c. whole milk
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs


1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Once melted, place saucepan in a large bowl of ice cubes. I’m so happy the gals over at Our Best Bites shared this ice cube tip, as it’s critical in ensuring the heat doesn’t kill the yeast in step two.

2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. This is the most important step in this recipe – if your yeast doesn’t bubble, then you’ll need to repeat this step. I let mine sit for a little while and as you can see it actually doubles!


3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and the milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Then add beaten eggs.

4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be pretty soft… it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your fingers. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a towel, allowing to rise for 1 hour.

IMG_2582    IMG_2585

5. After 1 hour punch down dough. Divide dough in half and place on your lightly floured work surface.

6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. Another good tip from the gals at Our Best Bites, was to use a pizza cutter – worked like a charm! After cutting, shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.


7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. Once done, I then rubbed each roll with cold butta! Fresh from the oven, these are truly life-changing!

By far the best home made rolls I’ve ever made and ever had! That’s a big statement.

IMG_2587   IMG_2589

So after a full day of cooking, we had a ton to eat on Easter Sunday: Turkey, Ham, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs, Rolls and last but certainly not least a delish Coconut cake that my mom made!

I also tried a new turkey recipe this year from Ina Garten. I will definitely be making this again next year!


So what did I do with all of the extra time I had? An Easter egg hunt with my niece, of course! Isn’t she precious! Smile


Hey there!

I'm Jamie, just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home

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