Meredith

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Five Truths that Sum Up Motherhood

There are so many feelings that describe what being a mom is really like. Truthfully, I could never comprehend the intensity of motherhood before I had kids. If you’re reading this and are pregnant with your first, just know that everything everyone says is true, but you won’t really understand how real it all is until your baby is here. I know that probably won’t make a lot of sense, but I promise it will once your baby arrives.

We spent the last week traveling to see family, and unfortunately we were all sick. My daughter was up multiple times each night, and during one of these midnight rocking sessions, I started thinking about what intense, raw feelings motherhood encompasses. I tried to sum it up in 5 phrases that ring very very true for me:

Five Truths that Sum Up Motherhood:

You’re Tired.

If you don’t have kids yet, I’m sorry but you don’t understand. Before I had kids, I thought I understood what was coming. NOPE! The exhaustion is just unreal. I’m honestly a little worried about having a newborn again; those first few months of the newborn stage are such a blur to me sometimes because I was in such a fog of not having slept! Sleep does get better of course, but it doesn’t mean you’re not still sleep deprived in some way or another!

You’re Worried.

I worry about everything. EVERYTHING! The ridiculous things that cross my mind of potential things to worry about is insane. I’d love to meet a mother who isn’t worried constantly, because I truly want to know your secrets. I realize that 90% of the things I worry about won’t ever happen, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still worry about them.

You’re a Hot Mess.

I’m super envious of all the Instagram moms I see that look gorgeous, have this beautiful hair and makeup, are all looking perfectly slim and beautiful in nice outfits with a couple kids attached to them. This has never, nor ever will be me. The other day when we were flying back from Pennsylvania, I had banana all over my outfit. ALL OVER. Nothing is sacred here anymore. Food is on everything. I can’t even count the number of food or item particles that have ended up in my hair. My fashion sense is just ridiculous, but even if it wasn’t, I couldn’t keep a pretty outfit free of toddler messes. I wish I could be like those Instagram moms, but I’m just not. And I’m ok with it! Mostly. I still wish I had perfect skin that only needed a tinted moisturizer, or a cute little body that looked great in just jeans and a chunky sweater. Or hair that held a curl…I’d take that too.

You’re Annoyed.

I feel like my patience levels have been drastically altered since my first pregnancy. I honestly can’t remember how patient I was before I ever got pregnant, but now I can tell you I’m way more annoyed than I ever remember being. Not at my kid, but just random things in general, and mostly I’m annoyed at myself. And maybe some of this is due to being pregnant again, but it’s the little things. For example, I wanted to buy a gift card for someone at Target. I went to Target, got a bunch of stuff and came out with NO gift card, and didn’t remember until I got home. WHY!? Why can’t I remember ONE THING?! Because #mombrain. It’s real.

You love like you’ve never loved before.

This is the piece of the puzzle that (for me) makes motherhood the best thing in the entire world. You can’t even imagine the kind of love you have for your baby until s/he arrives. It’s unbelievable. My heart literally aches with love for my daughter, and even my unborn son that I haven’t met yet. I was never someone who always wanted to be a mom, yet when I think of the things that define me now, the only thing I hold on solidly to is being a mother. It feels like it’s the only thing I never knew I wanted, until she was here. The love you have for your children is something so special, it will always make every single hard day worth it. If you’re pregnant or waiting for kids of your own, get ready to be amazed at this incredible love that you never knew you even had in you.

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Perfectly #basic, homemade-by-mom, amazing chocolate chip cookies

Perfectly #basic, homemade chocolate chip cookies that are amazing. You'll never need another recipe again!

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookies to bake; I especially love making them at Christmas time because of the nostalgic memories I have from baking with my mom during the holidays as a kid. I’m never one to re-invent the wheel when it comes to a good recipe; I’ve used this chocolate chip cookie recipe for years, and love it. Here are my tips for making a perfect batch of delicious and easy chocolate chip cookies:

·       Use the recipe I’ve linked above. It’s SUPER EASY, and the cookies are delicious, I promise. It’s basically foolproof. I guess to make things easier I’ll write it out below, but all credit is to Dora from All Recipes!

·       Refrigerate the dough overnight. I have no scientific proof of why this makes the cookie so good, but it does. Trust me. Let it thaw out for about an hour or so, and then get to making your balls!

·       ALWAYS USE PARCHMENT PAPER! Don’t be spraying your cookie pans. I honestly never started using parchment paper until about a year ago, and now I’m like wtf was wrong with me that I never bought this stuff?? I now buy it in bulk at Sam’s Club because if I run out, I won’t know what to do. I use it for anything that goes on a cookie sheet, and into the oven. Just buy it and try it. Again, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

·       This recipe made exactly 3 dozen cookies for me. I make the balls a little smaller than a golf ball, and I don’t flatten them.

·       Bake them at 350 for about 10-12 minutes depending on your oven (mine were about 12 mins). Open the oven, and using an oven mitt, grab the pan a bang them about 5-10 times until the puff in the middle of the cookie is deflated. (I got this idea from Sarah Kieffer, a local food blogger)

·       Bake them again for 3-4 minutes, and repeat the banging to remove the remaining center poof. Once they’re done, they should look like this: Perfect. Instagram-picture-worthy. Santa-worthy. Dunk-in-milk-worthy. #basicbutbeautiful.

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Perfectly #Basic Home-Made-By-Mom, Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

The only chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need to make gorgeous and delicious chocolate chip cookies!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 Dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butter Soften it! Take the sticks out and let them sit there for an hour or so.
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsps Hot Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips (sometimes I use 3)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 

  2. I mixed the butter and sugars together, then added the eggs, and everything else. Basically just mix it up in the order it's listed here, then refrigerate the dough overnight.

  3. When you take it out, let it thaw for a while until it's pliable.

  4. Form into balls a little smaller than a golf ball, and put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then bang the pan 5-10 times on the oven rack to remove the "cookie poof".

  5. Continue baking for another 2-3 minutes, bang again to remove remaining poof, and then take out to cool!

Shop the Post via my affiliate Amazon Links:

My favorite mixer, parchment paper, and the only cookie tray you’ll ever use again

Here’s some pictures of my steps along the way. If you have any questions feel free to reach out!! Enjoy!

This is what the cookies will look like before you bang the “poof” out of them. (This is after about 10-12 minutes)

Bang the pan several times on the oven rank to remove some “cookie poof” in the center. They should look like this.

Bake them for another 2-3 minutes (you want the edges to be a little brown). Then, bang the pan again to remove all center cookie poof.

Voila. PERFECT and gorgeous chocolate chip cookies!! Super moist, a little crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside!

How to Decorate A Small Powder Room for Christmas

In my opinion, powder rooms are the easiest rooms to decorate. They’re usually smaller (ours is really tiny), and only have a couple options for decorations, which makes it really easy to find key pieces to accent for the holidays!

My favorite holiday is Christmas, and of course I’ve been getting a head start. Bath and Body Works is my first and favorite stop for getting in the Christmas Mood. You just can’t beat their candle scents, soaps and wallflowers, and I always stock up on sale days (and you can too, because they’ve donated a $50 gift card to give away to a reader!! Hit the bottom of the post for that!).

This year I picked up some of my absolute must-haves from B&BW for the powder room on our first floor (in addition to every other room, but this post is about powder rooms…HAHA!):

1) Fresh Balsam Hand Soap
2) Fresh Balsam Wallflower and Tree Plugin
3) Evergreen 3-Wick Candle  (you totally thought I was going to say Fresh Balsam right? Don’t worry… that candle is in our kitchen… lol)

Clearly I love Fresh Balsam and Evergreen scents. I have two seasonal favorites that I will never cheat on: Leaves for autumn, and Fresh Balsam for #theentirechristmasseason. I did pick up a ‘Tis the Season 3-wick candle because that scent is pretty amazeballs (my new favorite word that is so dumb but for some reason I love), but in general I stick to my favorites.

Back to the Powder Room:

When I know we’re having guests, I always make sure the powder room is clean and pretty-looking (because, duh). I stick a Bath & Body Works hand soap on the sink, a wallflower with a cute plug-in into the outlet, and a candle on top of the toilet tank. For Christmas, I got this really cute bell from JoAnn’s to adorn next to the candle, this Christmas hand towel from Target and some random Christmas wreath to hang to complete the festive look (I got this silver one from a yard sale), and BOOM. Done.

You can accomplish this look in seriously two stops. Hit up Bath & Body Works on Black Friday for some killer deals (or any time, really, because they always have some great deals going on), then hit Target for a cute towel and some type of holiday wreath or adornment piece, and you’re done! Yes, maybe this is the very simple and lazy mom’s guide to decorating a room for the holidays, but HEY. It works, and I think it looks pretty cute!!

What are your favorite easy ways to decorate for the holidays?!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for the $50 Bath & Body Works Gift Card! Keep it for yourself if you win, or buy some goodies and spread the love this season! Seriously, show me one person who doesn’t love B&BW!!!

Enter the Giveaway!
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Hedgehog Gifts for Hedgehog Lovers, 15 under $15!

[disclosure]

15 gifts for the hedgehog lover in your life! And, they're all under $15!!

I adore hedgehogs–I always have. My husband got me my first hedgehog, Stella, as a Christmas present. She has since passed away, but we will always have a special place in our hearts for hedgehogs. She was the sweetest and cutest thing! If you have a hedgehog lover in your family or friend group, check out these awesome hedgehog gifts for those that love hedgies! Best of all, they won’t break the bank, and all are under $15! Click on each item for more info!

1. This super adorable stuffed hedgehog


2. This cute hedgehog kitchen timer

3. This pretty hedgie scarf

4. A really adorable hedgehog basket

5. This hedgehog cleaning mitt, which comes in multiple colors!

6. This pretty hedgie pillow

 

7. This hedgehog toothbrush holder (I have this–it’s so cute!)

8. These hedgehog dryer balls, which might be too cute to actually use!

9. Hedgehog stickers!

10. A cute hedgehog lunch box

 

11. This hedgehog tote bag

12. This cute hedgehog mug

13. This little hedgehog notepad

14. A little hedgehog coin purse

15. This gorgeous hedgehog necklace that you can have initialed! (I want this so bad!!!) 

 

Which one is your favorite?!

 

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15 gifts for the hedgehog lover in your life! And, they're all under $15!!

The One Pregnancy Symptom You Might Be Missing

If you’ve seen this Instagram post, you know that we’re expecting Baby #2 in April! I’m feeling pretty good now that I’m a couple weeks into the second trimester, and now that my brain isn’t as foggy, I wanted to share the one pregnancy symptom I had this time around that should have been a no-brainer that I was pregnant. Turns out, it’s pretty common, but I totally missed it!

Anyway…

The symptom?

FORGETFULLNESS.

AKA “Pregnancy Brain”.

It’s real.

And it takes over EVERYTHING!

I thought I had typical Mom Brain this last week (because folks, that’s real, too. You go from Pregnancy Brain to Mom Brain without skipping a beat), and I even thought to myself, “jeez, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was pregnant!” insert foot in mouth now

Here’s what I did:

Monday: Drove to the car dealership in my socks. I got halfway there before realizing I was driving with no shoes on. Luckily, my husband was meeting me there, who promptly laughed at my sans-shoes appearance and “you need to go inside because I just don’t have shoes anymore” comment.

Tuesday: Was cleaning out my car, and removed my daughter’s car seat. FORGOT her car seat when I went to pick her up, and then had to text our daycare provider that I was going to be late past the time she was open until, to go BACK home (obviously) and pick up the car seat. I then broke down in tears at daycare, and now I’m pretty sure our sweetheart daycare lady thinks I’m a psychopath.

Wednesday: I forgot to put the car in park. And it started rolling down the driveway. And I had to chase it. Not my proudest moment.

Thursday: Nothing…that I can remember! HA!
Friday: Drove my daughter to daycare and forgot her shoes. So I had to go back and get them, and bring them all the way back to daycare.

Literally, you get the point, right? I forgot SO many things. Honestly, the last couple of weeks my brain has been MUSH, and I’ve chalked it up to quitting my job, the stress of thinking about my new job, and all that comes within that. (Why yes, I’ll take a new job with a new company with a side order of new baby please!! Haha!!)

Turns out, forgetfulness is a common pregnancy side effect. It didn’t take effect on me until further into my first pregnancy (more like third trimester), but it struck early on this time around!

Luckily for me, I have never left my daughter anywhere or forgotten about her. I would probably just lose my bananas if I ever did that, but truth be told my brain needs some assistance right now!

So, how do you combat pregnancy brain (or in my case, pregnancy AND mom brain combined)?!

GO SLOW.

Just go slow. With everything. Every morning, I ask myself (and my daughter) out loud, if I have what I need, and I recite all the things. This was a big step for someone who hates talking to themselves, but since my daughter is there, even though she can’t intelligently answer me, she listens and mumbles something cute!

Write things down. I stuck up a magnetic dry erase family calendar on the fr
idge, and I write our big things on it. It has helped A LOT. I also started using a physical planner again, and not just my phone. I need to write everything down, and recite it several times in my head so I don’t forget it. Hence why I’m writing this post a couple months in advance before I for sure lose my nuggets with this pregnancy, a new job, and a very busy toddler that’s into all the things!

Good luck!! Do you have any tips for pregnancy brain?!

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Cheaper Alternatives to Oprah’s Favorite Things

Oprah just released her longest gift guide ever, and I spent some time sorting through all of her picks. I love seeing what other people really like…whether she was paid to “love” them or not (who knows!). They’re all pretty nice, but some are pretty expensive!! E! did an article on the list, and stated that if you bought every single one without a discount, you’d spend more than $13,400!! Holy cow!! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of cash for the holidays!

[disclosure]

I decided to do some research on a few of my favorite things I saw on her list, and see if I could find some less expensive alternatives. Now, I totally believe in spending money on quality things. I’ve only included 5, and only items that I personally am buying or would buy for myself or a loved one. I don’t expect my picks to be better than Oprah’s–I mean come on, she’s amazing…but maybe they can give you some food for thought!!! Enjoy!

  1. The Panini Maker

Am I the only one who didn’t get one of these as a wedding gift? I DID get a rice maker (which we’ve used like 2 times), but the panini maker never made it, and every time I see one, I want it. This one on Oprah’s list is for $70, which isn’t bad at all. But since it’s for me…I don’t want to spend that! I started to take a look at some other options. Oprah’s has 25 customer reviews (average 4.7), but this one is $19.88, and has 336 reviews (average 4.4, but I’ll take that over 25 reviews!). I bought this Hamilton Beach one and can’t wait to try it! I get a panini every day at work for lunch, so I’m hoping that I will actually use this thing!!

2. The Tracking Device

I have the TrackR device and LOVE IT. Oprah lists this Orbit one, the price of which I can’t see because it’s out of stock. However, this TrackR one rocks, and is totally worth the $25 for you or that special someone that loses things easily! (I keep mine on my keys…those are lost allllll the time!)

3. The Keepsake Teddy

Of all of Oprah’s things, this is what I want the most!! *Hint hint, husband, if you’re reading!!!* However, I found this one on Etsy, which has amazing reviews, and is less expensive. I also think her teddy is cuter!

4. The Gratitude Jar

I love this idea, but 1) it’s out of stock and 2) you can totally make this yourself!!! Grab a jar like this which is on sale for $10.49 at Target. Then cut up your own pieces of paper and have your family write down things they’re grateful for. You don’t need the pretty paper, really! I think this concept is a GREAT idea though. Or, if you don’t use it for things you’re grateful for, try it for prayers, good things that happened that day, things you’re excited about, etc.

5. The Cosmetic Case

I’m a sucker for any bag. If I can put stuff in it, I want it! Unfortunately, this case just doesn’t do it for me. It’s cute, but I tend to like cute designs. However, I found this bag, which is cheaper, and has a bunch of compartments in it, and I totally need it!! I’ve never seen a cosmetic case that actually has this much organization inside, and with a bunch of upcoming work trips, I need a case that will actually hold things in place as they get bopped around inside my luggage.

I hope you enjoy my picks!! Did you buy anything from her list?!

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