Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hey you, city girl, step away from the huge stroller!

Jeep Liberty Limited All Terrain 3 Wheel Stroller - GalaxyI've definitely had a case of my eyes being too big for my belly... or, in this case, my stroller being too big for my neighborhood!

I registered for and recieved the amazing Jeep Liberty All Terrain 3 Wheel Stroller. We just put it together and brought it home to Queens with us when Andrew turned 6-months-old a couple a weeks ago. It handles the sidewalks like a dream and is super cushy and roomy for the baby. BUT, there's a huge problem and that problem is that the stroller is HUGE!

For some reason, when I was registering I didn't take into account that I would have to carry all 33 pounds of stroller up the stairs to my apartment! I definitely can't carry it up while holding Andrew and I also can't open it in my apartment foyer because it is too long. Folding it is also really rough because I have to drag it up the front stoop, squeeze it into the foyer, take Andrew out and bring him upstairs, and then return down for the fold. Whew!

I also can't fit through the aisle or check out lines of many of the stores in my neighborhood. I've knocked over quite a few displays! 

Baby Jogger City Mini Single Stroller - Black/BlackSigh. I really am attached to our rugged Jeep, but we're going to be purchasing the City Mini for use in Queens and taking the Jeep upstate for suburban trips and walks through the parks up there. The City Mini has an awesome one-handed fold, weighs only 16 1/2 lbs, and has an extra-long sun canopy which is really hard to find yet necessary when you live in a city and walk everywhere.

I'll be sure to post pics, a review, and maybe even some video of our City Mini when we get it. Maybe I can save another mama from getting too big for her city britches? :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Product Review: Graco Contempo Highchair

Graco Contempo High Chair - Deco - Graco  - Babies"R"UsBecause we live in a teensy apartment, we were in serious need of a highchair with a slim profile when stored. I really love the highchairs that attach to your regular dining room chairs, but since we don't have a real dining room set (we eat at our coffee table like so many sad New Yorkers!), that was a no-go.

Instead, we got the Graco Contempo Highchair in Deco for around $100 at Babies R Us. With the tray removed, it folds down to an amazingly slim self-standing 4 inches or so. That just the perfect width to slide into a closet or--in cases of closet shortage like ours--simply stand against a wall without being obtrusive.

I'm also a fan of the highchair's super cushy, wipeably clean faux leather seat cover and the fact that the chair has a 6-position height adjustment and 3-position seat incline. It also comes with a removeable tray insert to make for easy cleaning (although, I tend to get that insert dirty in the morning, remove it and not clean it, then get the actual tray dirty, and end up having to clean them both anyway. Double work!)

The cons? I really wish that I could open and close it with just one hand! I really dislike having to put Andrew down to open the highchair up and it makes me want to leave the highchair open all day (which adds to the obstacle course in the apartment.) 

Also, the gap between the seat and the chair leg is just the perfect width for Andrew's arm to get stuck in. I've remedied this by stuffing blankets in the gaps, but these get dirty, giving me just another chore to do. Bah!

Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair - Tan So... I do definitely like this chair and would recommend it to a friend, but if you do have a dining room set, I'd go for a space saver high chair such as Fischer Price's, which many of my friends have and love. The space saver chair is even small enough to take along with you as you travel. Lucky are those who have a dining chair to attach it to!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Magic Beans' Awesome 31 Days of Giveaways

Magic Beans: Baby Gear, Toys, Surprises!We all know I'm a sucker for giveaways, so I have been really, seriously over the moon about Magic Beans' 31 Days of Giveaways online. Magic Beans is a super-cute Boston-area kid's chain (filled with a great hand-picked selection of children's products) that has an even cuter online storefront. Naturally, the products they are giving away are out of this world--from a Bugaboo, to a giant giraffe toy, to a super fancy Monte Designs Luca $1000 glider (that's today's prize!)

Hurry up and get over to Magic Beans site before the 31 days are up (today is day 23, so you've got a good week left of awesome prizes.) Tell your friends and family too--maybe they'll win a prize and gift it to you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sorry I haven't been posting as frequently lately. I've actually been procuring some freelance work that I can do from home (hooray!) to the detriment of my poor little blog (boo!) Hopefully, now that I'm in the swing of things, I'll get back to regular posting. I definitely have some new product reviews I want to share with you!

That said, here's an adorable Not-So-Wordless Wednesday photos of the little man with the big man. They've both got this mama wrapped around their fingers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To Andrew at 6 months

Dear Andrew,

You are 6 months old today and you are mama and dada's heart. We thank God for every single moment with you, every silly laugh and smile. How did you get so big so fast? It seems like just yesterday you were kicking inside mama's tummy. Just a couple days ago you were up on your hands and knees, ready to crawl. Is it wrong to think we have a genius on our hands? :)

I know its impossible, but I can't help but want to record each second with you so that when you're a big boy you'll know how incredibly special and fun this time was. I want you to know how you could just melt everybody's heart with one of your little smirks and how your funny laugh echoed your mama's. How you coughed just because you thought it was funny and raised your eyebrows for effect too. And how you just wouldn't wear your baseball cap forward, turning it to the side like a punk instead!

How you touched my face with your soft, soft hands when nursing, especially after mama and dada returned from our first date night and you cried until we came back (it broke my heart!) How you would stop eating to give me a little grin and how dada could make you smile or fall asleep without doing anything at all! When you're big, I want you to know that your red hair was the most wonderful surprise--and how we couldn't get over the little red tuft of "bear fur" right above your adorable butt (Ok, maybe you won't want that to be public knowledge, but we can't get enough of it!)

You are just the love of so many people's lives--mama and dada's, grandma and grandpa's, Papa Lou's, Uncle Frank's, Uncle Anthony's, and the rest of the gang's too (you're Irish-Croatian-Italian, you have many relatives!).  We love you so much our hearts are full to bursting, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

I can't wait to spend a lifetime with you, falling in love with every single moment and every little thing that you do. Boo boo, my mush, you are an amazing miracle and the best thing that has happened to us. Happy 6 months to you! Here's to us taking on the world together. <3

Every bit of my love,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

Wow--the wonderful Shandy at Domestically Challenged Momma named me for a Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks so much, Shandy! (Be sure to check out her site--her page banner alone will have you hooked!)

To keep the award going, I'm bestowing it on 15 other bloggers who really are a joy to follow. All you have to do to accept the award is:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award. 
  2. Share 7 things about you.
  3. Nominate 15 other bloggers.
  4. Alert your nominees that they have been awarded.
I posted 10 things about myself here when I accepted the Honest Scraps award, and here are some more interesting tidbits about this Queens mama:
    Kushiel's Dart
  1. I used to like to read fantasy novels when I was younger, mostly for the magical love stories (I would fancy myself a damsel in distress.) I've just started to get back into these kinds of books and I'm really enjoying them. Right now I'm reading Kushiel's Dart, which is about political intrigue and trained pleasure-givers (ok, they are fancy prostitutes). Its super sexy!
  2. Because of said fantasy novel fetish, I wanted to name my future daughter Gwenivere growing up. Yeah... not planing to do that anymore.
  3. I'm really good at connecting AV equipment, so much so that my husband makes me set up our TV, DVD player, etc! 
  4. I used to do flips off my parents diving board, until I got old enough and tall enough to become afraid of breaking my head open.
  5. The first time I went skiiing, I was so terrified that I took off my skis and walked down the mountain. They next time (many years after the first), I took a lesson first and was a natural! My husband, on the other hand, didn't fare so well and wanted to throw me off the mountain.
  6. One of my favorite pregnancy snacks was a peanut butter, honey and Honey Bunches of Oats sandwich.
  7. Being a stay at home mom has renewed by love of Days of Our Lives, talk shows and televised court shows.
My 15 nominated blogs are NinjaPanza, Me and Mine in a Small Town, Cry Me a River of Love and Laughter, Expect Miracles, The Ish Blog, The Chickenista, This Loved Life, The Jakcsy Family, RaisingMy4Sons, Adventures of the Stay at Home Mom, Six Cherries on Top, Our Growing Garden, Miss Cupcake, Mom vs. the Boys, and New to Mom.

These are all among bloggers that I love to read and I hope you'll enjoy stopping by their blogs as well. Have a happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Martha Stewart saved my (cooking) life!

God knows I have tried hard to become a good cook. Aside from baking, I just seem to fail miserably at making most meal recipes. Even the recipes I try from experts at sites like are a bust. My poor husband was becoming doomed to a life of pasta and chicken cutlets... every day.

Mango and Avocado SalsaBut now I have! Have you visited the site before? Martha's recipes are somehow at once simpler and more delicious than anywhere else. Last week I made braised pork chops with cabbage and potatos, coconut noodles with spicy shrimp, cheddar-scallion paninis with green pea soup, tilapia with mango and avocado salsa, and a spicy coconut chicken casserole. I even made peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. My husband an I were in heaven!

Even when I didn't have an ingredient (lemongrass for the coconut noodles) or made a substitution (curry powder instead of paste in the chicken casserole) the meals were delicious. I was also able to enter ingredients I had into the recipe finder to come up with on-the-spot meals for the evening. Everything was absolutely amazing. I couldn't believe my tastebuds.

Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole Some other great things about Martha's site are that you can create an account to store recipes and you can send those recipes (and their ingredient list) to a virtual shopping list called Ziplist. With Ziplist you can access and add to your shopping list from your phone via simple text messages.

You can also have special newsletters sent to your inbox such as a "Dinner Tonight" recipe and the dangerous "Cookie of the Day" recipe. You can bet I'm on every newsletter list.

I can't believe I didn't stumble onto Martha Stewart online earlier in all my efforts to become a better cook for my family. Not only is my husband happier now at mealtime, but I feel like I'm putting some real, wholesome food into us all. It makes me one proud mama. Thanks, Martha!

(Credit where credit is due: gorgeous food photos are from the Martha Stewart website.)