Next to Christmas, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because it allows for my wilder/darker side to show it's colors without shame. Or maybe it's because dressing up in costumes is so much fun and allows our inner child to go wild. Either way, I try and take full advantage of the holiday each year, and one of my favorite family traditions we have is our annual "Pumpkin Carving Ebola Party." We started the tradition a few years back when Ebola outbreaks were scaring the nation, so we jokingly decided to throw "Ebola" into the party name, and it stuck - we aren't too politically correct at my house, and I love that about my family.
We love the great outdoors. It is one of the reasons we love living in Arizona so much. Great weather 9 months out of the year, and the other 3 you're just an hour or two drive away from some gorgeous pines and 20-degree cooler weather. We practically have everything in this great state but the ocean. Fun Fact: Did you know that, pertaining to plants and wildlife, Arizona is the 3rd most diverse state in the country?
When our baby boy was born last summer, I was anxious to get back up in the mountains but equally terrified about how to go about doing it. I would lose sleep at night with questions haunting me like: "Where will he sleep?", "How do I ensure he's warm enough at night?", "What do I need to bring?"
When the weather warmed up enough, we finally bit the bullet, (over)packed as many things as our little SUV would hold, and headed up north. We have since gone camping several times with our baby through practically all the developmental stages of his first year: Sitting, crawling, scaling furniture, and early walking.
Like most things, real-life experience will bring you way more knowledge than just reading articles online or talking about it with friends. But it definitely doesn't hurt to utilize a good resource guide that will help you get started and set you up for success on your first trip. That's why below you will find some of my biggest tips from our experience camping with our baby over the past year...
I love coconut oil. I am sure you too have discovered reasons why you love it. Cooking, beauty remedies, medicinal... But did you know how many ways you can use it for your baby? I am certain we have all stumbled across some past article somewhere listing the hundreds of uses of coconut oil; but not all of them mention the many ways it can benefit babies. I am a new mom and have personally made some amazing discoveries for different ways coconut oil has helped me and my child, so I am going to narrow them down for you so perhaps you too can add them to your own 'mom arsenal'.
My husband and I LOVE camping and we finally got to take our little 9 month old with us for his first camping trip this past weekend. I'll be honest, I was extremely nervous leading up to the trip. I had literally lost sleep stressing over questions in my mind like: WHERE does the baby sleep? What should he WEAR to sleep? How will we know he is warm enough at night? How do you keep them clean? Where do you PUT them? I did tons of research before we left and all I really learned was you just have to go with the flow and everything will be fine - babies are resilient. No matter how many blogs I read, probably the best piece of advice I got was from a personal friend who recommended the use of a tent heater at night. That was lifesaving advice for me because it gave me piece of mind about keeping him warm at night. I will be blogging later with my own tips and must-haves for camping with a baby in another post later this week, but for now, I just want to reminisce on our little weekend getaway in the mountains...
My husband and I bought our first house together in November 2014. Immediately after closing we discovered I was pregnant with our first child. So naturally all the focus for the past year and a half has been about preparing for the baby's arrival, learning how to be a mother and keeping my baby alive rather than decorating our house and buying furniture. Well now that I am finally feeling a little more settled in my role as a mother, I have finally had the chance to start dreaming up ideas for turning our house into a home...
We live in Arizona. It has got to be one of the most beautiful states in the country. Perhaps I am biased because I am what we call a "Native" (born and raised, baby!), but the amount of people emigrating from other places to be here leads me to believe I might not be the only one who has this opinion. One of the best ways to better learn to appreciate Arizona's beauty, especially if you're in the Phoenix area, is to go hiking on one of the gorgeous mountains in the valley. There are so many to chose from. No matter where you live, there is a mountain nearby just waiting for you to climb it. So if you're outdoorsy and need a quick fix without the drive, take a hike! (And I mean that in a good way, not in the "get outta my face" kind of way).
So I have been wanting to post pictures of my nursery for a long time now and just never really got around to taking pictures of it. I've also been a little nervous because I don't exactly consider myself a spectacular decorator, but I really am in love with how it turned out so I wanted to share. I put a lot of thought into the whole thing, and while it may not be any kind of "I saw it on Pinterest" dream room, there are a lot of sentimental pieces that make the room special to me and are what make me love it so much. It's exactly what I wanted for my nursery. When I first started planning, all I knew was that I liked Woodland theme and I wanted mint walls, so that's what I did! I LOVE it!!
Back in November and December, I was on a very strict diet because my breastfeeding infant was having reactions to some of the foods I was eating. It got to the point where, per doctor's orders, I ate nothing but chicken, broccoli, and rice for two weeks straight. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do and it being the holidays certainly didn't make it any easier. To accommodate my crazy diet restrictions, my Mother-in-Law made this amazing Baked Berry Oatmeal for me to enjoy for breakfast during my stay in Ohio - and I have been completely addicted to it ever since. It's healthy, delicious, and super easy to make. Plus it warms up great so you could make a pan on a Sunday and live off of it in the mornings for a few days. And with an infant in my house who constantly wants to be held and nurse, the easier my morning breakfast routine the better!
OK, so one of my most favorite meals of all time is Shepherd's Pie. I still remember the first time I ever had it years ago when I was still a teenager - it left that big of an impression on me. Ever since that first tasting, whenever I am at a restaurant with Shepherd's Pie on the menu, I always order it. I just can't pass it up. Especially if I am at a good Irish restaurant - because then you know it's going to be good!
So I have been completely dairy-free now since the end of September because my baby boy has had some allergic reactions to some of the foods I've been eating. (That crazy journey will be explained in a whole other post - stay tuned).
Being dairy-free really hasn't been all that difficult, except when eating out. So, I just cook most of my meals at home... Which is much healthier and more cost-effective anyway. Can't complain about all that! Just takes a little planning, and I've had to learn some new recipes and modify old ones to comply with my new diet restrictions. It has been a learning curve (hidden dairy is in A LOT of foods!) but I've finally got most of it down now and have become pretty creative with food. The good news has been that a dairy-free diet is definitely possible to do and can be just as delicious, thankfully!
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Here you can explore what it's like to live a "Daum Good Life" in the gorgeous Arizona desert as a wife, stay at home mother, amateur photographer, and wannabe cook!