Thursday, July 30, 2015

Late July Garden

 You may notice a small change in my late July garden vs. my June garden.. It never ceases to amaze me how this place erupts with life and becomes a jungle.

We are smack dab in the middle of a heat-wave and I'm just trying to hang in there. It's too hot for the kids to play outside comfortably. I am still struggling with morning sickness. Extreme heat+nausea+whiny kids= one long week.

My garden, on the other hand, is loving the heat. I'm glad at least for that. If you need a little sunshine in your day, here are some snaps of my garden in bloom---

Chevron Diaper Bag

It might seem a little odd, but I have two children and I have never owned a diaper bag. Now that we are adding another one to our family, I really needed a better purse solution. I have always just carried a large purse, and throw all my baby gear in it. While I get to carry any cute bag of my choosing, my purse is an impossible mess. I really wanted a versatile bag that doesn't scream "I keep diapers in here."

I got the chance to try and review this cute bag by Urban Mom. I love the chevron front and the leather accents. It's a nice, stylish bag that doesn't look to babyish or cutesy. The canvas shoulder strap is adjustable and easy to remove (if you so desire). I personally love the shoulder strap option-- when I am holding two little people's hands, I can not carry a purse too. Slinging it over my shoulder or cross-body is a must. The shoulder strap is made of a canvas material that looks a little more durable than the leather. 

When I was taking photos of the bag, I seriously thought I broke the leather closure strap.... I had been unhooking in through the hardware each time and didn't realize it actually has a snap! Oopps.. Anyways, very handy that is closes with a snap here and you don't have to fuss with it to open/close it. It also has two magnetic snaps on the interior too, to keep it closed.

Notice how the bag is sitting up, and not flopping all over the place or sagging?! The flat bottom keeps it from tipping everywhere.

Now let's talk about storage, because that's what all the mom's want to know about! The inside of the bag is cream and features a TON of pocket space. There are six lower pockets and three uppers. The inside also has a clip for keys. There is an exterior pocket that is almost the size of the bag. It closes with a snap. It is perfect to throw your phone or keys in for easy access. I would have liked to have seen an interior zip pocket, to keep little hands out of chapstick or hygiene products. I just threw a zippered pouch in there to store those things.

I love carrying this bag and I know that it will transition well from a diaper bag back into a regular purse. My husband can carry it (he usually turns it so the blue side faces out) and it doesn't look super feminine. It is classic, well made and super versatile!

I received this bag in exchange for my honest review and option.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

Our latest family read is Jesus Calling for Little Ones by Sarah Young. A little about the book-

"From bestselling author Sarah Young, Jesus Calling for Little Ones reassures toddlers and preschoolers of Jesus’ never-ending love. Devotions are written as if Jesus is speaking directly to your child’s heart—showing that Jesus knows us from our head to our toes and is always taking care of us. Along with adorable illustrations and a durable format, this is sure to be a treasure for your precious little ones."

This 13 page devotional is perfect for little ones. Whether you read a page or the whole book, it's a great way to get into scripture with the kids. The illustrations are so sweet and fit the book perfectly. Each page is filled with color! My daughter enjoys flipping through the book looking at the pictures.

The book focuses on warm, fuzzy happy truths of from Bible. It's a very uplifting book that encouraging kids that God is always with them, taking care of them and has a plan for them. It features verses like Philippians 4:6, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11 and many more. It's a nice book, but I prefer something with a little more meat to read to the kids on a regular basis. We love to read from the Bible itself or from the Jesus Storybook Bible. It's not a bad book though, and nice to read before bed. It would also be a great, inexpensive gift. 

The book is in typical Sarah Young style, she writes as though Jesus is talking in first person to your child. This formula has been somewhat controversial in the adult version of Jesus Calling. I would say, even if you're turned off by the Jesus Calling books, give this one a try. 

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for this copy! All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pregnancy Style

At  the rate my bump is growing, I have a feeling I am going to be wearing maternity clothes soon. I got out all my maternity stuff this weekend and started going through it... It was pretty depressing. A lot of stuff is pretty worn down from two previous pregnancies. I decided that my maternity wardrobe needs a bit of a refresher. I don't want to go too crazy, as this will likely be my last preg. I do, however, want to look and feel cute as I expand. Pinterest has been a huge help for clothing ideas. Here are a few looks that are inspiring me! 

Click the pictures for links to these lovely ladies blogs!

For more style inspiration check out my Pinterest board here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Morning Sickness and Muffins

Well, I have been really living up to my blog name, Midnight Mom. I think I am well on my way to becoming nocturnal. Morning sickness has got its grip on me. Yesterday I couldn't even get off the couch. It was miserable. My poor kids have been pretty much motherless. I feels so guilty not getting anything done- and not being able to play with them. This is the first pregnancy I have been this sick. Relief usually comes around 7 or 8pm. I had a load of zucchini from the garden I needed to process, so at 11pm I decided to make some muffins. I used this recipe, without the frosting and a little less sweetener.
They turned out really good and a perfect treat for the kids. I think they really said "I'm sorry mommy is so barfy and no fun." Thank you Jesus for muffins and husbands who bring you crackers and ginger root to make tea, and kids who can entertain themselves! 

As a special bonus I am feeling almost human this morning. At this rate I might be able to clean the house and start on my next book review The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson (you know, the unibrow judge from Top Chef). I'm not sure I'm really a great cookbook reviewer at the moment, as nothing sounds good to eat-- ever. But I will sure do my darnedest to give it my full attention. I can tell you already that it is a beautiful book.

Do you have any morning sickness tricks? So far I have been drinking ginger root tea- which was a trick that worked in previous pregnancies. However, it really isn't doing much for me now. I also have been using essential oils, which I love the idea of, but the strong smell seems to make it worse.  Most of all I am trying to just not feel miserable for myself. This is likely my last pregnancy so I do want to enjoy it, even if I'm not feeling great.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

 If you are familiar with, you will without a doubt recognize the concept of Genius Recipes. Kristen Miglore is the talented writer behind the posts, which feature uncommon means to create amazing meals. Many of the recipes truly are genius food "hacks", I would have never imagined.

The Food52 cookbook is all of that and more.
Taking the basic premise and upping the ante, the book features genius tips and quotes from the recipe authors themselves. There are tons of recipes and then some "mini" recipes thrown in as well.

You might think it easy, or lazy perhaps- a book of other chef's recipes. This is, however, no thrown together mishmash of okay recipes. There is something innovative, or as Kristen says, they make us rethink cooking tropes- in each recipe. Kristen has the knowledge and the wit to make each recipe description informative and interesting.

This is really what keeps the book from going stale, the variety of chefs and Kristen's descriptions. There are both famous and lesser known chefs featured. They have all been curated to feature what is truly genius about each one. The book is not only fun to read but truly widens the horizons of your cooking.

Genius Recipes really covers a wide variety of foods, Breakfast, Snacks & Drink, Soups & Salads, Meaty Mains, Meatless Mains, Vegetables and Desserts. There is no skimping, each section has an abundance of recipes to chose from.

I may have mentioned my particular love for beets and the book has a recipe I will be cooking soon. The Balsamic Glazed Beets & Greens features both the beet and the underused green. The beets are braised in red onion, balsamic vinegar, butter, tarragon and water. The liquid is then reduced into a syrup before adding the greens. I never thought to braise beets, but this technique will be coming to my kitchen.

The dessert section had a lot of delicious looking recipes. Honestly, this section was a little depressing to me, personally. After an indulgent weekend and the discovery that I'm pregnant, I have tried to really crack down on the sugar/gluten. I just looked and daydreamed about the treats I really shouldn't be eating. There was one recipe that did stand out because I could actually make it. The Orange and Almond cake, which involves boiling two oranges in water until all bitterness is gone. Then pulverizing them with eggs and ground almonds. I bet I can find a sugar substitute that will even work here.

You maybe asking yourself, why should I buy this book? I can look on the food52 website and read past articles- I can find most of these recipes online. I would say, you just can't find them like this. You can't find them all curated and in one place for you. Why run between the computer and the stove top, double checking if the technique or measurements are correct? Instead you can hold this beautiful, thick book in your hands and enjoy it. Look at it with your kids, take it with you to a friends. I took it camping and spent a few quite evening hours reading through it. Cookbooks can be an investment, but they area tangible inspiration to cook, that doesn't involve sitting in from of a screen.

And just as a side note, it's only $18.33 for the hardcover on Amazon right now! Not bad.

I received a copy of  this book through the Blogging for Books program.