Starbucks Ginger Molasses Cookie Hack

Starbucks has the most amazing ginger molasses cookies. They are soft and delicious, and honestly, I’m really not a cookie person, but I love me some soft, cakey cookies. This is one of my favorite cookie recipes, and it’s fantastic because the real deal is pricey, and many Starbucks no longer carry this gem.

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“Resolve to Know More”: National Infertility Awareness Week Part 1

This week is the Annual Infertility Awareness Week. A week I’m very passionate about. The theme this year is “Resolve to Know More” and this is right up my alley. From the day we got our infertility diagnosis, we researched every.single.thing we could. Poor Mr. Piñata took every supplement ever known to help with male fertility issues. I looked up statistics, specialists, differing opinions on treatment plans, etc. We wanted to KNOW MORE about this medical condition we were now diagnosed with and walking through.

But, during this week I do feel responsible for helping educate others about infertility, both on the medical and emotional level. Here is some worthwhile information from Resolve, the National Infertility Association. Check out their site for information on these infertility myths and facts below, and much more.

Myth: Infertility is a women’s problem.

Fact: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

Myth: Don’t worry so much — it just takes time. You’ll get pregnant if you’re just patient.

Fact: Infertility is a medical problem that may be treated. At least 50% of those who complete an infertility evaluation will respond to treatment with a successful pregnancy. Some infertility problems respond with higher or lower success rates. Those who do not seek help have a “spontaneous cure rate” of about 5% after a year of infertility.

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Second Birthday Inspiration: Picnic!

Last year, I had so much fun planning Miss H’s rainbow first birthday party! Of course I spent far too much time with planning, crafting décor, making the cakes, etc. It was worth every single minute, but wow I was wiped out at the end of it all!

This year, we’re going for a bit of a more laid back approach. Partly because I just don’t have the energy to go all out. And partly because I know that I don’t need to go wild and crazy each year for her to have a fun, wonderful celebration. She’s just so excited about the day: she talks about her “happy birthday,” sings her own version of the happy birthday song to everyone, and is looking forward to having balloons at her party! So I know I won’t have to work very hard to give Miss H a day she will enjoy and remember.

Because April is still a bit chilly in Chicago, we are opting for an “indoor picnic party.” I like the idea of a casual, fun picnic for Miss H, just set inside our home!

To set the tone, I found these fabulous invites from Etsy seller Boo and Lou Design. We modified the language a bit on ours to reflect that the “picnic” will be inside.


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An only child

I was an only child until I was 18 years old. My parents were divorced when I was two, and my mom married her boyfriend of 7 years when I was 18. She had my half brother later that year and I also gained a step sister. Growing up, I hated being an only child. I was bored and wanted a playmate. I envied my friends who had siblings or even cousins close in age. My cousins on my dad’s side were close to my age, but I only saw them once every few years. My first cousin on my mom’s side was born when I was 10. I loved family gatherings because my mom is one of six kids, so there were lots of people and it was always lots of fun. I have always wanted a big family of my own because I loved all of the chaos and love that came with my mom’s big family.

Our little family of three on Easter Sunday.

Now, I find myself wondering if Liam will be an only child. I know that it’s too early to go there, but after a miscarriage and trying to get pregnant for 8 months, the thought does pop into my head every once in a while. I used to think I wanted four kids. Now I know that will likely not happen. I will feel lucky to have two, but what if Liam doesn’t get a sibling?

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DIY felt flower crown

I’ve been wanting to make a felt flower crown for Gemma for a long time so I finally gave it a try! I used a simple women’s headband that I already had and some felt in various colors.

Before I started the project, I made some simple felt flowers (from this tutorial). I use this tutorial a lot for different projects and find it really easy. I also had to make some leaves, but I just cut them out free-hand. The trick to this project was to make a base to secure underneath the headband to give it support and something to glue all of the flowers and leaves to.

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Ready to Go Homemade Play Dough

As a toddler/preschool teacher, one of my favorite go-to activities was play dough. I made a point to always keep the ingredients for my favorite simple recipe in my classroom. Now that LL is getting a little older, I am finding myself wanting to make it at home too!

I am far from a germ-a-phobe, but reusable play dough is just not for me (at least with young kids). Toddler hands are never really clean, and we all know that everything goes in their mouths. I have always viewed play dough as a one time use material. By using inexpensive ingredients, I don’t have guilt about tossing it in the trash when we are done playing. If LL isn’t interested in it that day, it does keep for a few days in the fridge.

Rather than mix up the recipe every time we want to play, I decided to make ahead one big batch of the dry ingredients, so that I can save myself some time. This way all I have to do is scoop out the desired amount, add a little water, and play! It takes some of the prep-work out of messy play, and that is always a plus in my book!

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Starting to Bento – The Best Boxes

Drake’s pre-school program next year will be on a different schedule than the one he is in this year. He will be there 4 hours instead of 2 1/2, and for the first time I’ll have to start packing lunches. Drake’s school is nut-free, which I imagine is the norm these days with the increase in peanut and nut allergies, but means that good ole peanut butter and jelly — a staple in our home for getting protein in — is out.

Drake isn’t the best eater; he’s non-adventurous and suspicious of anything new and even of things he has tried in the past at times. I myself don’t have a great relationship with food — I am picky and I don’t eat anything close to three meals a day, so this has always presented a problem when I am trying to instill good eating habits in my children. So this new lunch packing presents a whole new set of challenges for me as I try to find foods that don’t have peanut butter in them for Drake to bring to school.  I know school is still months away (September and we are only at April currently), but I realize that if I don’t start trying to widen Drake’s food palette now, it might be too late when September does roll around.  He will only go to school 2-3 days a week so in the end if he is hungry at school he can always come home to eat, but I need to find a way to make our eating habits better as a whole, both for school and in home.

I am very focused on always trying to get protein into Drake. He loves yogurt, peanut butter, and chicken nuggets. Carbs are his best friend so he eats no shortage of that. Dairy also is fine as he drinks lots of milk and will also have cheese (slices and in grilled cheese) and sour cream with meat. Fruits we do ok as well. He likes bananas, oranges, apples, grapes (sometimes), strawberries (sometimes), and blueberries (sometimes). Veggies however are where we stall out. I do find it strange as I grew up loving veggies. I still like them a lot, but I realize that I don’t really cook them often at all and thus we have a dearth of them in our home.

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