Andrea’s Posts

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Still thinking of a name for this feature… help us think… but we want to feature an etsy store once a week, because handmade is cool!

The store I wanted to feature this week is cottonmonster. Each cotton monster is unique, no two are alike! They are made from recycled fabrics and are created by hand by artist Jennifer Strunge.

She’s got different categories of monsters, like Big Monsters, Little Monsters, Pentapods, Little Buggers and more!

Look at how cute… err scary these guys are!

They range in price from $25 to $95 and she doesn’t recommend them for small children since they are handmade.

Visit her website here to learn more about her creations!

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m6RX3D on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

Didja get all that? Yeah, I got fancy.
We make watermelon juice whenever we can. Watermelon is a nutritional powerhouse, or so it says on this website. But also, watermelon is low in sugar and is one of the MOST alkaline foods out there! You want your body to be more alkaline than acidic and well, since most of us drink coffee (it has unfortunately become a matter of survival), we should be sure to also eat alkaline foods to even out all that acid and just keep our body alkaline in general. Read more about alkaline vs acidic foods here.
But more importantly, its super yummy, easy to make, and refreshing!
So to make watermelon juice:
1. Pick a good watermelon.
2. Split it in half.
3. Scoop out all the innards (it’s definitely better to use a seedless watermelon, but I throw in the seeds anyway because our blender is cool like that).
4. Squeeze a whole lime in there. We use 1 lime per half of a watermelon, but it’s really up to you. You can also add mint here, but Aidan doesn’t like mint, so we don’t usually use it.
5. Blend it all up.
6. Enjoy it!
7. Store the other half face down on a plate in the fridge. It saves you from that disgusting film and you don’t have to use ill fitting saran wrap. Store the rest of the juice in the fridge too!

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because sometimes moms get happy about things other than babies.

a bowl of concord grapes. kind of amazing that these come from nature.

a zoku quick pop maker. a gift from my husband, just because.

a homemade faux bibimbap japanifornia-style. brown rice, broccoli, tofu, beets, avocado, heirloom tomatoes and furikake.

a jonathan adler squirrel match strike. a gift from my mother-in-law.

a rental movie, hanna. watched at midnight, in the guest room, on a laptop, with my big love, while my baby love slept in the master bedroom.

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a baby registry


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Image via Lisa Storms

I was obsessed when doing our baby registry. I remember being 6 months pregnant and having a meltdown when I was looking up baby stuff and saw all the different kinds of wipes: baby, sanitary, nipple, pacifier, SERIOUSLY??? I researched, read and inquired like a mad woman. I wanted all the best, cutest stuff for our little sprout. We were really lucky in that our friends and family were pretty good about staying in our registry, so we got pretty much everything we wanted/needed. Of course, not everything we got was as useful as we thought it would be, but here are some helpful hints along with a list of things we love!

Some tips:

1. Don’t register for clothes. Kids grow out of stuff incredibly quickly, that insanely cute onesie that you registered for that cost your friend $20 is useless to you after two months. Also, if you’re lucky like me, people will give you their hand-me-downs. Oh and another thing, people can’t help themselves with baby clothes, you’ll get them whether or not you register (and if you hate what they get you, you can always exchange it).

2. Register for a good range of stuff, super big expensive and also inexpensive things. Some people also like to give multiple gifts, so you might get ten little gifts from one person.  And most places offer a “closeout discount” for your registry and you’ll be able to buy that big expensive crib at a discount (if someone hasn’t already picked it up for you)!

3. Get stuff that are more likely going to be useful for a long time and maybe less baby-specific. Like a blender or a vacuum cleaner!

4. Register somewhere online that will let you pull from everywhere and also a brick and mortar store easily accessible to everyone. I recommend registering at Amazon and at Target and maybe if you want to be fancy, a baby boutique.

5. You can use sites like wishpot which will let you have people contribute to a bigger gift!

And here is what I would register for if I had it all to do over:

My must haves (which of course will be different for others, especially those who don’t live in Los Angeles).

1. Stroller. We have the Uppababy Vista. I love this stroller, except that it is quite large, but I hear they’ve come out with a smaller sleeker version called the Cruz. Bonus: it turns into a double INLINE stroller with a simple attachment, in case one kid wasn’t enough of a challenge for you.

2. Carseat. We have the Maxi-Cosi Mico. I’d recommend it in a light color. We have it in black. It gets hot. My baby gets cranky.

3. Baby carrier. We have an Ergo. I love it and so does my husband. You should also get the infant insert if you plan on using it before your baby is 4 months old. We also used a sling when he was a newborn which he loved.

4. Miracle Blanket. Not to be confused with any other swaddle. Gabriel did not enjoy being swaddled, but once he was wrapped up tight, he would calm right down. This lived up to its name.

5. Swaddle Blankets. I love these and use them for everything but swaddling.

6. A glider or rocker. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth adding to your wishlist!

7. Crib. This is a totally personal choice. Some people prefer not to use a crib, but we love our crib. I also love this crib.

8. Changing station. We went with the one that matches our crib instead of a dresser with a changing station on top of it and use an ikea antonius tower for all his clothes and changing supplies. And a changing pad that will turn any purse into a diaper bag!

9. A good, firm, organic crib mattress. You can learn more about the importance of organic mattresses here. 2-3 sets of sheets for the crib. A stroller blanket.

10. A camera. We already had a dslr, but my sister also got me this one that goes in my purse and captures quick moments and video.

11. Baby monitor. Or if you’re obsessed with checking if your baby is breathing like me, you might want a video monitor.

12. If you choose to breastfeed. Breast pump. I love this one. Freezer bags for breastmilk. If you plan on going back to work shortly after or if you just want to build a good supply. Nursing pillow. Extra bottles.

13. High Chair. We love our high chair, but there are lots of really great ones out there, like this one. But if you don’t want/have space for a high chair, you can always get a bumbo with a tray and use it as a booster seat.

14. Feeding supplies. People never think to add these because it seems so far away, but it’s really not! I really like this line of baby feeding accessories. I also love these self feeders from Munchkin.

15. If you decide to make your own baby food. Freezer trays. A blender (if you don’t have one) or a baby food maker.

16. Diaper pail. I think all trash cans should have this genius trash bag mechanism.

17. Bathing an infant. Bathing a baby who can sit up. Gabriel actually takes most his baths with Aidan, so he doesn’t use his bath that often. We use a washcloth, a hooded towel and gentle lavender baby soap.

18. Some toys. Like a teether. Bath toys. A baby gym. An activity center. A bouncer seat.

19. Books for kids. We love Fox in Socks. Pat the Bunny. Goodnight Moon.

20. Books for you. Super Baby Food. Happiest Baby on the Block. What to Expect the First Year. A Baby Book.

21. Baby safety.  Baby grooming and healthcare.

22. Gift cards to your favorite baby store.

Image via Sweet Designs

Phew! I think that’s it. Remember, all of these things were personal things that worked for us or that we loved. It won’t always work for every baby and every parent.

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summer fruits


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Summer is amazing for fruits and produce, especially if you live in California! The farmer’s markets are bursting with stone fruits and berries, even if it’s at the end of the season! The end of the season is actually giving me anxiety because I know winter is just around the corner and we will enter the land of apples and squashes, so I’ve been buying lots of fruits, pureeing and freezing it!

I really want to be able to use these fruits later in the winter, especially for my little man who will be able to enjoy them! Right now it’s really hot, so turning the oven on for hours at a time is just the worst idea ever. Why do I need to use the oven for hours at a time? To make fruit leather of course!You can make fruit leather in a dehydrator if you’ve got one, but if not, you’ll need to use an oven for about 8-10 hours. Here’s a recipe.

I added some banana to my plum puree (see right) because plums are so tart, bananas just neutralize it and make it so yummy!


So, later on in the winter, I hope to be making some fruit leather, but until then, I’ll just be freezing my ingredients in mason jars, which are freezer safe!

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a diaper bag


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What’s in your diaper bag? I was using a backpack, but then I decided to go back to my extra large purse for my diaper bag again. As he gets older, the contents of my diaper bag evolve, currently these are the items I cary.

I have a nylon Marc Jacobs Classic Q purse. I love it because it has a separate compartment that zips up and I am able to keep baby stuff separate from my stuff. I also just saw that they make baby bags now. Cute!

1. Skip Hop Pronto! changing mat. A fantastic recommendation from super mom Michelle turns any bag into a diaper bag! I keep wipes in there too!

2. City Threads Wharf Hat. We live in Los Angeles and my baby is hair challenged. He needs a little protection sometimes!

3. In a baggu zipper bag. I carry a change of clothes, socks and Sophie the Giraffe (aka baby crack, read about her here).

4. Another baggu zipper bag. This one carries diapers and typically also aquaphor for diaper rash, we ran out (listing on shopping list now).

5. Smallest baggu zipper bag, have I mentioned how much I love these? I do. This one has Aveeno Baby sunblock, a Mother’s Milk tea bag, his favorite MAM pacifier, a roll of doggie bags for our pup which also double as soiled clothes bag.

6. A waterproof zippered bag that I got from a swimsuit given to him, but I was using a ziplock before I got it. This one has Mum Mums, a jar of food for emergencies, Munchkin fresh food feeder (best invention ever), and a Munchkin spoon.

7. Field notes notebook and a pen.

8. A felted coin purse I made to carry loose bits of change.

9. My sunglasses.

10. An awesome little handmade cosmetic case that Michelle made for me YEARS ago which keeps all my cosmetic essentials on hand and helps me from looking like a zombie. I love this thing and it’s not just because she’s my best friend. It carries this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and these.

11. My wallet, which doubles as Gabriel’s favorite toy.

all wrapped up in an aden + anais swaddle which we use for everything (except swaddling).

**not pictured**

1. My cell phone. I was using it to text with Michelle.
2. My camera. I was using it to take this picture.
3. My keys. I forgot to add them in there and when I realized, I had already taken apart my setup and got lazy to do it over again.

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Doctors recommend rice cereal at around 4 months. There are tons and tons of rice cereal brands out there, but we decided we’d give it a shot at making it at home. I actually didn’t know you could make your own until my sister-in-law told us how to do it and it’s so so easy! Also, an added bonus, many store bought rice cereals have added iron, which constipates babies (and adults alike, is that TMI?).

Anyway, if you make your own rice cereal, your baby will probably not get constipated! But if you are concerned about iron, you can get iron supplements and use this same exact recipe and method with oatmeal (use steel cut oats, not rolled).

Buy a spice grinder, also known as a coffee grinder. We made sure to buy a new one because we didn’t want to get even one tiny little drop of caffeine in Gabriel’s system (he seriously didn’t need any help not sleeping).

Grind the rice until it is a fine powder. You can store this powder just as you would whole rice grains, in airtight containers. We use mason jars.

To cook it, use 1/4 rice powder (or oatmeal) to 1 cup of water. Cover it in a saucepan and bring to a boil in a small saucepan and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Make sure you taste it to make sure that the rice is cooked through (soft not chewy). If all the water has cooked off, add a little more water until you get a good consistency. Better to overcook than undercook!

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Aidan is my husband. He is a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie, and he likes them 6 at a time. I always act like I don’t want any, but 9 out of 10 times, I take at least one bite from his cookie (typically more). So, 6 cookies, with one bite out from me is, The Aidan Special.

He is also a purist. He doesn’t like substitutes or shortcuts. He likes things as they should be, classic and delicious. These cookies might not be good for your body, but they’re great for your soul.  And Michael Pollan’s food rule #39 is “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

I started with a classic plain old chocolate chip cookie recipe and I’ve been tweaking it and making changes to it to make it my own. I also freeze the cookie dough which is the secret to making it unreal.


2 1/4 cups or 255 grams of flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup or 113 grams brown sugar
1/2 cup or 57 grams sugar (I use vanilla sugar. Here’s how to make it.)
1 block of scharffen berger 62% semisweet chocolate bar cut into chunks



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Set this aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the softened butter with the sugars until it is combined then add the vanilla and mix again. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix this until its just barely combined. Be careful not to overmix when you’re baking cookies, especially once the egg is in there. It will change the texture of the cookie, which is sad.

Slowly add the dry ingredients. I do this in three shifts. I add a third, give it a few rotations with the mixer, stop, scrape, add the next third and repeat. I’m really careful not to mix even one rotation too many here because it can thin out the batter.

I then take my chopped up chocolate chunks and stir it in. It’s actually more like folding it in with a silicon spatula.

Chill the batter for 30 minutes.

Form 1″ chocolate cookie dough balls and freeze them in a ziplock bag or bake for 11 minutes. Let them cool for 15 minutes. You can pull them right out of the freezer, 6 at a time like we do and bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees and they really do get better with age. Frozen for 2 days is perfect!



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We make our own baby food for Gabriel. It’s cheaper than buying jarred, I get to control what he eats, he gets to try more foods with diverse flavors, and also it’s just sorta fun! It is also a lot easier than you’d think!

Everyone always talks about the book Super Baby Food, and I’m no exception. It is a really fantastic resource for baby and toddler friendly recipes and is incredibly informative about food. It is a little hardcore (she encourages you to make your own yogurt, which sounds awesome, but also a little gross given that yogurt is basically spoiled milk), but a really great place to start.

Anyway, I like to use him as an excuse to go to the farmer’s market every week. I have to get him the freshest organic produce, right? And while I’m there, I might as well pick up some honey and cheese too! When I get home, I try to get to work as soon as I can.

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Chop and clean vegetables (in the image above, I used sweet potato and green beans).

3. Lay out on a baking pan and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the vegetable. I like to bake the vegetables rather than steam or boil them because it preserves more of the nutrients also you can cook it in larger quantities. Different vegetables cook faster than others, so check often.

5. Remove from the oven once they’re soft and leave them out to cool.

6. Once they’ve cooled, place them in a blender and blend until you’ve got a smooth puree. We’ve got a vitamix and I’m pretty sure we will never look back.  You might have to add small quantities of water at this stage to help it blend. You can also add homemade vegetable stock if you’ve got it (store bought has too much salt for little baby kidneys).

7.  Spoon the mixture into ice cube trays. You don’t need fancy baby freezing containers. Just plain old ice cube trays work just fine. Make sure they’re BPA free and can be sealed and protected from freezer flavors. We have this one and it works perfectly!

8. Freeze the cubes and once they’re frozen, pop them out and transfer to freezer lock zip locks, label and store!

At the end of every day, I put aside a few cubes in the fridge to defrost overnight for Gabriel to eat. He is now eating about 3-4 cubes per meal, roughly equivalent to 3-4 tablespoons.

All I end up having to do is pull out the cubes and add the smallest amount of hot water just to mash it up and then I serve it, but you can always use a microwave too!




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Wearing your baby has lots of different benefits. Your baby gets to snuggle up close to you and feel safe, you get a little added exercise, it’s safe, economical, and just plain fun!

I used a New Native sling when Gabriel was a newborn, but now I use the Ergo, which I love.

Wearing your baby has a long line of history in different cultures too! I found these images and thought they were so sweet, interesting and some are so creative!

My husband also loves wearing using the Ergo and when Gabriel was a newborn, he also used a New Native sling for him. Although, anytime he wears our baby, he warns me about the ladies that swoon. What is it about a man and a baby that women love so much? Check out this other blog all about daddies who also wear babies!

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