Happy Memorial Day!

Most of you probably have the day off tomorrow, so I hope you’ll be off somewhere doing something fun! The local parks turned on their water features and splash pads this weekend, so we’ll be playing in the water in our beautiful 83 degree weather on Memorial Day. But we’ll be posting lightly tomorrow, so be sure to check in!

There are also some great sales going on this weekend, so I wanted to mention them in case you’re in the shopping mood. I picked up a pair of bell bottoms for Olive from Harlow Jade (20% off with code lifeisgood) and these sneakers for Charlie at the Nordstrom’s half-yearly sale. Here are some more stores having sales this weekend, both big and small!

Olive’s top and bottom from Omamimini via Gilt, sandals from Umi, old sunglasses from River Island

Amazon Fashion: 20% off select items with code FUN20SUN
Anthropologie – 20% off sale items with code GONEFISHING (I have my eye on this shirt but it’s not on sale!)
ASOS – 20% off with code LONGWKND + 3.5% cash back with ebates
BaubleBar: 20-30% off + 4% cash back with ebates
Bloomingdales – 20% – 70% off select items during the Big Brown Sale and 10% cash back thru ebates
Carters – 50% off or more + 5% cash back with ebates
Gap – 40% off regular prices
Gilt – 20% off with code SPLASH
H&M – up to 60% off
J Crew – 30% off with code WEEKEND
Old Navy – entire store up to 50% off, extra 30% off no code needed, 6% cash back with ebates
Nordstrom – Half yearly sale going on now with 6% cash back on ebates
Ruche – 30% off with code BESTSALE

S M A L L 

Duchess and Lion – 30-40% off (one of our favorite brands)
Ladida Kids – 40% off with additional 10% off with code MEMORIAL (Olive has this swimming suit in pink, but the black is so cute too!)
Neve and Hawk – 30-40% off
Slyfoxthreads – 20% off with code longweekend
Spearmint Love – 20% off $100 orders with code MEMSALE
Ultraviolet Kids – 30% off with code 30THANKS (Olive has this tank)
Whistle and Flute – 10% off with code WELCOME (we have tons of clothes from here!)

If you’ve come across any great sales, please share in the comments!

Three Bean Salad – Allergy & Elimination Diet Friendly

Mother’s Day fell just a few days after I finally got to the bottom of the extensive list of the foods I was eating that were upsetting my breastfed baby’s tummy. I’d been dealing with a colicky baby for so long and was just beginning to turn a corner, so I didn’t want to risk eating out and introducing something I had tried so hard to eliminate. Mr. Stroller suggested brunch, but the thought of a plate of bacon and a fruit cup just didn’t seem worth the effort to haul our boys off to a restaurant. Instead Mr. Stroller and Little Stroller cooked breakfast at home: a huge batch of bacon, a fruit salad, and a pile of eggs for them to share.

However, because beef, chicken and potato chips (cooked in certain oils) – all traditional BBQ foods – were on my “clean” list, we decided to invite another family over for an afternoon Mother’s Day cookout. I had my hamburger (lovingly burned by Mr. Stroller, oops!) bun-less with all the fixins’ and extra pickles on top. And while everyone else enjoyed potato salad, creamy coleslaw and corn on the cob, I devoured this three bean salad.

This is an old-school recipe that originally calls for garbanzo beans (chickpeas). I can’t eat chickpeas so I use navy beans or cannellini beans. They’re softer than chickpeas so you need to stir a little bit more gently, but they’re delicious. This salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer picnic or BBQ – it will be making an appearance at our memorial day BBQ for sure! I also find it’s an excellent go-to lunch or snack. I keep a batch in the fridge and take a few scoops when I need a quick lunch.

3 bean salad elimination diet friendly

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Quick Snacking Foods for the Busy Pregnant Lady

Now that I’m pregnant with two other children to care for, the biggest challenge I have encountered is finding time to eat, and eat well for the growing baby I have inside me. My days are so hectic and I’m often pinned in a car as we shuffle from Drake’s school and activities that I find myself sitting in drive thrus often (which is fine as I love McDonald’s chicken nuggets with a passion if I’m honest, but it can’t be my meal 3x time a day either). When we are at home, I find that after I finish tending and feeding my kids I am simply to tired to really fix up another grown up meal for myself. I am not a great eater, pregnant or not pregnant, and truthfully when I’m busy and tired food really is a bottom priority. I have started to stock my house with quick ready-to-eat things that I can just grab and keep going about my day.


1) Granola Bars – A quick easy thing to snack on with protein. I love a big variety as well from Luna Bars to Fiber One to good ole Nature’s Valley. My kids also love these, but thankfully Costco has huge boxes so I can usually share without having to hide in the bathroom when eating.

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Award Your Kids with Handmade Medals

DIY Award Medals

Some days, do you feel like you deserve a medal? How about your kids? Do they have days that could use a little extra recognition? These easy-to-make mini awards are perfect for those times.

Maybe your child just tried something for the first time. Give them a felt badge. Did they show some extra kindness? Award them a ribbon. Or perhaps they showed some bravery or simply made it through a rough day. Those times call for a happy, smiling medal.

Happy Award Medal

Mommas, if you have one of those days where you didn’t think you’d make it through, but you toughed it out…it’s okay to award yourself one of these ribbons too. Seriously. You deserve it.

With just a few supplies, and a few minutes, you can make a whole bunch of these to keep on hand.

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8 Tips to Take Your Makeup to the Next Level

Lately many of my friends have been asking me to do their makeup for them. On the one hand it’s a compliment on my makeup skills. On the other hand it’s kind of an insult because they always see me without makeup and know what a difference it makes haha! That’s ok though because I love makeup and I’ve never shied away from it. It really does make a difference on me because Asians tend to have delicate features that are greatly enhanced with makeup. For instance I don’t have double eyelids so eyeliner and eyeshadow really make my eyes pop. I’ve changed up my routine and have been having a lot of fun with my makeup lately, so here are 8 ways that I’ve amped up my game!

Have the right makeup tools

I have a pretty big hodgepodge of makeup brushes that I’ve amassed over the years from MAC, Shu Uemura, and Sephora. I think the 9 makeup tools that most people should have include: fluffy powder brush/kabuki brush, blush brush, eyeshadow brush, angled brush (for brows/eyelining), eyebrow spoolie, concealer brush, lip brush, eyelash curler and a Beauty Blender (in place of a foundation brush). I think you should also have several more eye shadow brushes in at least 3 different sizes for different parts of your eyelid and different colors, a contour brush, a fan brush for highlighting, and an eyeliner brush if you use gel eyeliner. I’ve found that having a variety of eyeshadow brushes in different sizes really helps apply and blend eyeshadow more precisely. For instance I use a larger brush to apply an all over base color and a smaller brush (like the second white one pictured below) to apply darker colors to my eyelid “crease.” You can buy nice, inexpensive brushes from Sonia Kashuk, ELF and Eco Tools, but because these really do last forever, I think nicer brushes from brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Sigma are worth the investment.

sigma eyeshadow brushes
Sigma Basic Eyes Kit

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Baby’s 1st Milk Options

I’ve loved whole milk my entire life and drink it daily! I already had a milk plan for Baby Pencil and decided on Whole Food’s 365 brand whole milk for his first cow’s milk. I think this milk seriously tastes the best! However, after endless research and asking other mommies, I found a lot of other milk brands that I’d never heard of:

cows milk

1) Clover  |  2) Broguieres  |  3) Organic Valley  |  4) Horizon  |  5) 365  |  6) Costco

Within all these brands, they come with all sorts of options: organic, ultra-pasteurized, grass-fed, DHA Omega-3 added, non-GMO, and so on. It is quite a headache to look at all the options and wonder which one is the best.

Here are some explanations of milk terminology from this Consumer Reports article:

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Occam’s Razor & Our Toddlers’ Sleep

You know about Occam’s Razor? In my own words, it’s basically that between two options the one with the fewer assumptions, the simpler solution, is better. Oh, if only I had applied this principle months ago to the little dudes’ sleep issues.

You see, we’ve been in toddler sleep hell for about 3 months. For a couple weeks prior to the boys’ two-year well child check, their sleep had been pretty off. Elliot especially was having a hard time. It would take him much longer to fall asleep or he would wake up in the middle of the night and just be awake for a couple of hours. At their appointment, we brought up the sleep issues, talked about their allergy meds and slightly increased the dosage, explored their language development and all the other typical things that happen at these appointments. Our pediatrician thought their sleep cycles had just gotten a little off and recommended we use liquid melatonin for no more than 4-6 weeks to help reset their circadian rhythms. We started using the melatonin, and it was like a dream. They were actually tired at bed time. They went right to sleep. They slept like beautiful little angels all night long, and their parents rejoiced. Then, the day came when we had to say goodbye to our magic sleep potion. And, friends, it was bad. So, so bad. That very first night both boys took a full two hours to fall asleep.  They didn’t fall asleep until about 10 p.m., after many trips into check dirty diapers, tell them to lay down, tell them to stop jumping in their cribs, etc., etc. The next day went the same: it took a full two hours for them to calm down enough to finally fall asleep even though we knew they were exhausted. They acted happy and hyper and they just could not fall asleep no matter what.

Thus, started the next two months of trying bloody everything to get them to go to sleep. We moved naps earlier. We cut naps to an hour. We moved bedtime earlier. We moved bedtime later. We made our bedtime routine even more specific and added an extra song to really give them a chance to relax before laying them down. We went into the room to tell them they had to lay down and not talk. We stayed out of the room in hopes that the lack of our “visits” would keep them from getting worked up again. I googled “2-year sleep regression.” I googled “toddler sleep.” I reread the toddler sleep sections from every sleep book we have. Nothing worked. Nothing even fazed them. No matter what, it took at least two hours to go to sleep. We started putting them to bed as early as we can so they would hopefully be asleep before it was too late. Even so, seven o’clock was about the earliest we could get them to bed, so they were always going to sleep an hour late, best case scenario. The loss of sleep built up until all of us were hating life every day. Mr. Blue kept asking if I wanted to go back to work because I was so stressed out by the end of the day every day. I kept telling him I knew this was just a phase and that I would be much happier when my days weren’t filled with two toddlers who were absolutely exhausted and therefore, whiney and tantrumy every single day. Not only were my days stressful and exhausting, but the two hour stretch of trying to get them to sleep kept me on edge all evening, too.

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