Weekend Recap: Fall Fest & Budget Friendly Things To Do W/ Kids For Fall
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Happy Fall!! When I’m not busy working on projects or doing God knows what around the house, I love taking the little’s on adventures. Now that it’s Autumn, Fall Fests are happening all over the place. This past weekend, The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn held their own fall fest right in their parking lot.

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Leah’s cousin Mia tagged along with us and we met up with my cousin and some of Leah’s school friends. The kids were able to do arts and crafts, get face paintings, take photos in a fire truck, pet a few animals, play games, ride a trolley and more. In order to get pumpkins we had to visit certain vendors like a treasure hunt.

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What are some of your favorite things you love to do in October?

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Love, TL Hayden

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Leah's BedRoom Tour
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Hey Loves! It's currently 17 degrees outside today and the past few days we've had like 5 to 7 degree weather in Chicago. I love snow but I hate cold, I'd rather hibernate than be in it. This post has been in the making for months. There's been parts of it on Instagram and some of you have asked to see more. Leah’s room and the living room were the first two rooms I started on when we moved into our apartment. We decided to give her the master bedroom to fit all her toys and as a play space for her and Joseph. We also knew that depending on how long we live here, Joseph may move into the room with her and we’d later switch them over to bunk beds.

As for now, not only is this her bedroom it's also my home office. My desk area and showcase can be seen as soon as you walk in, but I decided not to show that entire area until I’m done fixing it up for the new year. As for Leah's space, it's finally done.

Before Christmas, we usually donate a lot of toys, clothes, and goods that are in good condition over to Salvation Army. This allows us to make room for new stuff and give items away that she no longer plays with that other kids would love to have!

Before Christmas, we usually donate a lot of toys, clothes, and items that are in good condition over to Salvation Army. This allows us to make room for new stuff and give items away that she no longer plays with.

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Eventually, I’d like to repaint these old bookcases. For now, Leah uses them as toy storage and to display her Shopkins Collection. They now live on the top shelf to stay out of Joseph's reach.

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This storage bench came from Walmart. It’s perfect to hold more toys and as a sitting area where she sometimes reads. We found these colorful storage boxes at IKEA. Not only are they stackable but they also roll.

Her storage bench is perfect to hold more toys and as a sitting area to read. We found these colorful storage boxes at IKEA. Not only are they stackable but they also roll. 

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She loves Shopkins and Hatchimals, but she can't get another Hatchimal until they go down in price.

I love these books! She got them for Christmas from her grandmother.

I love these books! The rest of them are in those storage boxes. They were on shelves but Mr. Joseph kept pulling them all down.

I used this old fashioned bassinet for Joseph when he was born. On the other side, is my desk. It was very convienient to lay him there after rocking him to sleep as I worked. Now that hes bigger Leah uses it for her baby alive.

I used this old fashioned rocker/bassinet for Joseph when he was a newborn. On the other side, is my desk. It was very convenient to lay him there after rocking him to sleep as I worked. Now that he's bigger, Leah uses it for her baby alive.

This hopscotch rug is also from Ikea. Leah loves playing this game outside after drawing it on the ground with chalk. It was such a cute find and cool to be able to play it indoors as well.

This hopscotch rug is also from Ikea. Leah loves playing this game outside after drawing it on the ground with chalk. It was such a cute find and cool to be able to play it indoors as well. 

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Her mini table set came from Hobby Lobby last year. She uses it for home work, toy play and sometimes she moves it over in front of her bed. She says, it's easier for her to watch tv and YouTube on my computer while she plays. You'll catch most of her own Youtube videos filmed at this desk as well.

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On the other side of the room is Leah's bed and tent. 

You’ll find pillows from our collection everywhere. The mini pillows are from target found in the dollar section. They were $3 each.

You’ll find pillows from our collection everywhere but the mini pillows are from Target's dollar section for $3 each.

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This hand made #blackgirlfly doll was also given to Leah for Christmas. Now, her baby alive has a big sister.  

Leah has a ton of stuffed animals that she’s accumulated from birth! Too keep them clean I usually throw the ones I can into the washing machine. Others I sprinkle baking soda on them and shake them off after I’ve let them sit for awhile.

Leah has a ton of stuffed animals that she’s accumulated from birth!  Too keep them clean I usually throw the ones I can into the washing machine. Others, I sprinkle corn starch on them and shake them off after I’ve let them sit for awhile. 

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I kept the hooray balloons from their birthday and the dots on the wall are mini gold glittered wall decals. The moon and star I found at IKEA. Leah uses them as nightlights

I kept the hooray balloons from their birthday and the dots on the wall are mini gold glittered wall decals. The moon and star I found at IKEA and Leah uses them as nightlights.

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Another item she received for Christmas was this tent from one of her grandmothers. When she doesn’t like laying in her bed. She’s inside watching videos or playing games on her tablet or our phones.  Both her and Joseph can be found playing inside here.

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Click to shop these pillows and others...

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Her aunt found this mermaid blanket from Five Below. 

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I found these bright pink headphones from Five Below also... 

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To shop similar items found in Leah's room, scroll through the items below💕

LOVE, TL Hayden

Our Journey Switching From Formula to Milk
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Hey Loves and Mommas! I haven't posted any mom life updates/reviews in a while. A few of you have asked me how Joseph and I have been doing transitioning him from formula and food. Food is a whole other story but I'll tell you about the milk issue first. Joseph is now 13 months and growing so fast. Around 10 months, I started substituting ounces of his formula to begin the process of weaning him off Infamil Gentlease.

He likes almond milk but because I knew almond milk doesn't have enough nutrients as milk I'd also give him whole milk by Fairlife. (Fairlife is our trusted brand of choice for whole milk and they also carry Super Kids ultra filtered milk)

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 "According to the AAP, your 1-year-old can get enough calcium and vitamin D from 8 to 12 ounces (1 to 1 1/2 cups) of cow's milk – or the equivalent amount of other milk products, like yogurt or cheese." - Google

Now that he's completely off formula, I noticed he likes whole milk way more than Almond milk. When I'd give him almond milk he'd take forever to drink it. Or, he'd cry for the whole milk instead. We also noticed whole milk makes him constipated and gassy. To help him with this, I still give him baby food apple sauce, pears, or prunes everyday or at least makes sure he drinks apple juice before night time. All of these makes him poop and at night is when he would become aggravated. I can tell when he's constipated because he'd do this jerk movement in my arms while crying as if he has to poop but can't.

I remember the first week I started giving him whole milk. Late one night, he was gassy, screaming to the top of his lungs. I felt so bad because he was miserable. We checked him into the emergency room but after being there for hours he finally settled down. We decided to come back home and eventually around 4am in the morning he finally went to sleep after Tylenol, apple juice, cartoons, and me rubbing his stomach. For awhile that night, I had to hold him while standing up, he'd cry whenever I sat down.

Since we've been trying to eat more superfoods (plant based foods) lately, I really didn't want him on cows milk at all anyway. I couldn't find an alternative for us until this month. If I didn't have kids, I'd probably would try to go completely vegan. At the moment I just find it hard going cold turkey, with NO Meat / No Animal Products with kids involved. So, for now we do what works for us, which is just eating more superfoods and less of the other stuff (fast foods, processed foods) as much as we can.

After doing much research, I decided to try the newest alternative to cows milk, which is pea milk by Ripple. My new find!! Yes, it's made from peas😊. One day I received an email about it and figured there's a Target not to far, why not. As of now, you can find the brand in Target or Whole Foods.

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It has a creamy taste to it and close to cows milk. It's less in sugar, more in calcium and protein, no dairy,no nuts, less sugar. It may take some getting use to if you're a milk lover like my husband. We've tried other alternatives for his nighttime milk and cookie snack and this he was actually ok with. If you want a better taste, I'd suggest getting the one with vanilla flavor (just remember it's added sugar)

P.S. Leah and I just baked these cookies! Have to keep her busy or she whines about how bored she is...

P.S. Leah and I just baked these cookies! Have to keep her busy or she whines about how bored she is...

As for Joseph, he drinks it! I've had no issues putting him to bed with it, he hasn't cried like he'd rather have the other, and no constipation/gas issues either. So far, so good. So, this is what I'll be keeping him on. 

It took a little time to figure out what works for us. I'm finally happy to say I can check this problem off the list. Currently we're now trying to wean him completely off babyfood and the bottle. It's a work in progress 🙄😊💕

LOVE, TL HAYDEN

**Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. What that means is when you click on certain links and then you purchase something, I make a small percentage in commission. I may sometimes get compensated for reviews and posts. However, you should know this: I promote only those products and services that I would use personally. I always share my honest opinions and experiences, even for products and services whose ads appear on my web site. All content on Love, TL Hayden is copyrighted, and it may not be reprinted in full form without my written consent.**

Joseph's 1st Birthday

How was your weekend! I'm loving all of your costumes and festivities on my social feeds. Our little man Joseph is turning 1 on Tuesday (Halloween)! This year went by so frikkin fast!!

GET THIS COSTUME HERE

Yesterday we decided to celebrate with a small party at our place with close family. Joseph has five other baby cousins who are all between the ages of 6 months and 1. It's almost as if we all decided to get preggers and have one baby after another.

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We made the choice to not have a big party. One, he's only one and he's not really going to remember it. Two, both of our family sizes are huge and we're on a budget. 3. I just wanted something simple, where I didn't have to feel overwhelmed as a party host mom and Joseph wouldn't feel overwhelmed as the birthday boy. Getting all the babies together to interact with each other for the first time was perfect.

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Since Josephs birthday is centered around Halloween, I figured we may as well start a tradition of costume parties. So, this will be our first year dressing up as a family on his birthday. At the last minute I decided we'd be Supermen and Supergirls. Yesterday Joseph and I matched for the celebration.

On Tuesday we'll dress together as a family. (Let's be real, this is because amazon didn't send us all our stuff on time!)

Anyway.... To accommodate our family we scheduled the day with time blocks. Early that morning we invited his grandparents, godparents and aunts/uncles to come through for their hugs and kisses. We invited the parents and babies over after for pizza and cake.

For a few more hours of fun we took them over to the children's museum . Joseph went straight to sleep when we got home, but I think Leah (my 6 year old) had more fun than anyone. This was our first time visiting the children's museum. We pass by it every week but we've never been. For $9 each the kids get to play with toys, dress up, and more. We'll probably go back on a week day when it's less busy, but overall we had a good time.

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READ: MY FAVORITE BABY BOY COSTUME PICKS HERE

Want to see more of my family's parties or party inspiration idea's? More post's are below...

Love, TL Hayden

Sugar Crave: Mini Donut Cafe
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The hubs has been working on Saturdays now for the past few weeks! Today for me was shampoo and clean up day until he got home. I've been getting a little tired of taking Leah to Dunkin Donuts to use her DD gift card she got for her birthday🙄. So, I told her there was a new donut spot in the neighborhood. She prefers we all do things together. That, and the fact that she's a daddy's girl, meant we had to wait for the mister to get off work before going out and about.

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At Mini Donut Cafe you can choose your own toppings on mini donuts with the option of plain or powdered sugar. The treat sort of reminds me of funnel cake. They also have coffee, icecream, shakes, and smoothies. The donuts are made to order. You can get 6 minis for $3.49 or a dozen minis for $5.49 and choose from 15 flavors. There are bucket packages too!

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I chose Caramel Crave, the hubz chose Oreo Trouble, and Leah chose the Mini's Mystery in which she got to create her own thing. She decided on vanilla and sprinkles.

CARAMEL CRAVE  

CARAMEL CRAVE  

OREO TROUBLE

OREO TROUBLE

The good thing about everyone choosing different kinds is that we got to taste each one. We liked all of them but I think mine was the best (it might be just me tho, I have a serious relationship with Caramel🤗).

VANILLA & SPRINKLES

VANILLA & SPRINKLES

I'm sure we will be back there again. I swear I wanted more after. Leah wants to go choose another flavor so the experience of mixing her own toppings was a good one. The look she gave me when I told her "you could have added marshmallows" ...PRICELESS.

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Mini Donut Cafe is located on 7000 SouthWest Highway, Chicago Ridge, IL.

It wasn't busy, but that's because it just opened. I found out about it while looking up my pizza spot on Grub Hub. It's located off a busy highway, so you can pass it up if you're not paying attention. It's not made for a lot of people to sit inside and eat but there are a few spots to sit and pull out your laptop and work. They also cater, so it's a perfect dessert idea for Birthdays.

Although, it's small and something new, I'm excited to see its opportunity of growth being that Donuts remain a top trend these days.

Love, TL Hayden

Shop This

Tuesday Ten: Back 2 School Shopping with Kohls

Leah's back to school wardrobe is finally complete. Kohl's is one of my favorite places to shop for the kids. There's always a sale and when an additional coupon code is used plus the Kohl's charge card, we always end up spending half of what the total was in the cart.

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If you never heard me mention it before, Leah hates JEANS! She also hates for me to pick out her clothes to wear. Kohl's has so many graphic tees, cute leggings with patterns, and sets, that it makes it easy in the morning for her to have fun mixing and matching her clothes. 

Their wide range and assortment of clothing is perfect for my picky little monster. I can't tell you how many jeans I've purchased or she has gotten for her birthday but refuses to wear them because she doesn't like how they feel. She's now 6, with a whole lot of personality. So now, I just let her pick out her own clothes, because at least I know she'll wear them without any issues and I'm not wasting any more (INSERT CURSE WORD HERE) money!

Here's our round up of our top 10 faves she got for school

 

Love, TL Hayden

 

THE CHILDREN'S FARM AT THE CENTER

This weekend is Leah's birthday weekend! Every year she has a birthday party and this year I decided no party. We love birthday's and we take it very serious around here, well at least I do. So, to make up for it, she was told every weekend this month we can do whatever she wants. We're in saving mode, trying to pay off debts, in hopes of focusing on buying a house soon. Plus I figured instead of spending $300 on a party for one day why not let her do things she's never done or go places she's never been. 

 

Today we took her to The Children's Farm at the Center in Palos Park. I take mental notes on things she see's, wants, and ask to do. I remember last month she asked me if she could go to a petting zoo after watching a family visit one on you-tube. I'm rolling my eyes because I'm not sure why kids these days have this thing about watching other kids play.  Anyway, I had no idea there was a petting zoo/farm so close to us.

She loves animals so I knew she'd enjoy it. Let's not talk about the time she held a huge snake without any fear.  The Children's Farm cost $6 per person over the age of two. It's family owned and volunteers from the area help take care of the animals and serve as tour guides. Everyone was very friendly and and shared information to the kids about the animals personality, what they ate, etc. Included in the $6 is a hayride and pony ride. There's also a garden and a store not to far where you can purchase items they grow, eggs that come straight from the coop, milk, honey (there's a bee keeper on the premise) and more. Good to know I can get fresh milk and eggs from animals that I know are being well taken care of.

Leah's favorite part about the farm were the coop that included chickens, hens, and roosters and also the pony ride. As for Joseph, he was cool with everything except the potbelly pig. How ironic when he's been called a "POTBELLY PIG" at some time or another.

Leah wants to go back, and because it's so close to our place,we will probably be there often. We might even decide to volunteer. It was just that fun, we give it 4 stars! :-)

LOVE, TL HAYDEN

Sugar Crave: SmallCakes

We stumbled upon this cupcake & creamery spot back in January and decided to go there yesterday. As you know, Friday is pizza and ice cream day for us.  Smallcakes is located in Orland Park, IL and has great ratings, so we figured why not. This is a small franchise so there are some in different states as well. It's fun surprising Leah and taking her to new places. Before Joseph came along it was just her, and it took her a minute to get adjusted to having a new sibling in the house. So, taking her out for ice cream is one of the things we've been doing to keep her feeling special. 

The cupcakes turned over during the car ride home but they were still good and very sweet. Shown in the pic above is Pink Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cup. Leah gives them a thumbs up!

Love, TL Hayden

Joseph's 8th Month Update

Hey All! Ok so I haven't been doing these updates like I wanted to so there's a lot to catch you up on, but I'll try and keep it short. My little one, Joseph is now 8 months!!! Excuse the gremlin's face at the top. He started teething around 6 months and his front lower teeth finally broke through their gums about TWO weeks ago.

He started scooting (not crawling) around 6 months and is still doing it. If you ask me, he's just being lazy. I've caught him crawling plenty within the past month or so but then he goes right back to scooting I guess its faster for him to get to things. No matter how much we sit him back up and push his knees to crawl he resorts back to scooting. SO ANNOYING.

He started responding to his name at 6 months and he is now saying Ba-Ba! (FIRST WORDS) 

He talks a lot of gibberish and mic mics us a lot now. We vacuumed one day and now he does the annoying little sound of our vacuum too.

His favorite cartoons are Blues Clues, Curious George, and Octonauts.

We started him on baby food at 6 months. I give him one small container for breakfast and one at dinner. He's still needs to drink formula more than anything for nutrition. He is currently in his grabbing stage. So since he now has teeth I also give him little cookie bar snacks to eat on. So far, he has tasted icecream, cake, chicken, pineapple and rib tips.

We're currently in the process of getting him a high chair to eat now. Usually I just sit him in his rocking swing and lock it. Now that he can grab food and eat with his teeth, a high chair it is!

He has also started pulling up on things to stand up. So it's time to lower his crib, otherwise he can't be left alone. This week he's been getting off the couch on his own without falling. He struggles a bit but we keep pillows on the floor and let him figure it out until he lands on his feet. Once he lands, he stands and walks along the couch while holding on.

So, we're getting him a walker this week too! I'll keep you updated on our choices and pick...

Right now he has this thing that hangs from the door which he uses to dance, jump, and play in to work those little leg muscles, even though he has continued to be lazy! We purchased this around 4 months once he was able to keep his head up.

Click one of the images below to get the Jumper-Roo

Love, TL Hayden

P.S. I'd love to know what your little one is doing, please share...

Sugar Crave: The Plush Horse

Friday is ice cream and pizza day for us, so this past Friday we visited The Plush Horse. This is our second time visiting this ice cream parlor in Palos, a suburb near us and south of Chicago. There are so many flavors of ice cream to choose from but I'm pretty sure I like this place because of its design, colors, and whimsy old charm atmosphere. I draw a lot of inspiration from the places we visit plus it's also a chance to spend family time together, trying new spots and things. I can't remember what flavors we chose last time, but this time around we had cookie dough, blue cotton candy, and vanilla (because the hubs felt like being mister. keep it simple).

Love, TL Hayden

How I Work From Home On A Baby's Schedule

A few of you bossmoms have asked me about my work from home schedule with kids. When you're an entrepreneur you have to sometimes take on every single position. You're the owner, manager, marketing director, social media director, etc. On top of that, add being a mom, wife, cook, cleaner, etc. As Leah got older, things got easier. Now that Joseph is in town, let's just say I no longer have a real schedule. Basically he's the boss and I work around his schedule, his feedings, playtime, diaper changes, and cuddle time.

My day usually starts around 5 am. This is also around the time the hubs leaves out for work. I make him his lunch, he leaves, and than I try and finish whatever I can before the kids wake up.

Since Joseph was born, I've lightened my workload a lot. Mainly because it's hard to get everything done without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Even the thought of having so much on my plate stresses me. Leah is also out of school until summer camp starts at the end of June. So, here's what my schedule looks like.


5am - 6am: brush teeth, wash face, read, maybe do some crunches and squats, coffee or tea. This is like my meditation/selfcare time to do whatever the heck I want.

6am - 9am: feed Joseph, put him back to sleep, check emails, do some work (blogging, designing a new product, or working on client projects).

9am : around this time both kids are woke! I'll change his diaper, wash him up or give him a bath, give him a bottle, make sure Leah washes her face and brushes her teeth, cook breakfast, eat, clean the kitchen.

11am: give Leah her snack, make her get dressed, then take my shower and get dressed.

12pm: feed Joseph, get him dressed, make Leah a snack, go for a walk or to the park or run errands, or it's play-time at home. I can't wait until they can actually play together, for now I'm often Leah's play date at home.

2:pm: make lunch, eat, house work (like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or just tiding up the house.) Feed Joseph at 3pm.

Somewhere in between all the above, I make phone calls, try to complete at least one project if needed, and brainstorm on ideas. If I miss taking my shower which often happens I end up taking it some time at night...

 

4pm: start dinner and eat around 5:30 (no more late dinners, I'll fall asleep and then the food sits on my tummy instead of me working it off a bit)

6pm: feed Joseph, clean the kitchen, make Leah take her shower and clean her room.

7pm - 9pm: FAMILY TIME! I might get a 30 minute nap in while Joseph is with the hubs but I try to stay up and chill with the Mister. 

Sometimes, If I fall asleep, the hubs will let me rest until like 12pm. If i see he's very tired than I'll let him catch his nap first. 

9pm - 12am: feed Joseph, put Leah to bed (prayers and story time), put Joseph to sleep, watch more TV and chill with the hubs. Twist my hair before bed.

12am: feed Joseph, and the hubs and I go to bed for real... (sometimes he's already there, lol)

3am: feed Joseph

5:am DO IT ALL AGAIN


Most of the time my days go as planned and other times not so much. Especially when unexpected things are thrown into the mix. Some days are easier than others but that's life I guess. I don't get on myself too much anymore if something doesn' get finished. Theres always another day.

Without a schedule tho, I'd be all over the place. Having cut off hours from work is key so that I don't overlook my family and me time. I believe in having a clean space because it's our place of peace. When it's in chaos we are all unstable as well.

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The hubs and I used to argue about my organization/ prioritizing issues, the house not being clean or dinner made when he got home. I use to take offense and feel like he didn't notice that I work all day too, but now I finally get it. After he has been out stressing during the day at work he should be able to come home to a peaceful and happy place, and not more things to stress about. When it's time for me to wine down I don't want to look at a dirty house either or wake up to one the next morning. Otherwise my entire next day will start off all wrong and I'll have an attitude that I have to clean before I can do anything. Consistency is also key with the kids, having a set schedule instills in them some order so they'll know what happens next and what they should be doing at certain times of the day.

 

I noticed he's more reluctant to play with them and give me a little time to rest when he come's  home to a clean house and eats, as well. It's sort of like that commercial where they need a snicker to function correctly. In return I expect my weekends of pampering, shopping, and hours to myself, even if it's just for a few.

Love, TL Hayden

Keep In Touch Card For Kids Last Day of School
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Leah's last day of school was today. To prepare for it, we ran to the store to get her teachers some candy as a thank you and we printed out some keep in touch cards for the kids in her classroom. It's been a year since we've moved into our apartment and into the neighborhood. I knew that Leah would want to go to the park to play all summer and invite some of them to her birthday party in August, so I had to find away to try and keep in touch with the parents and kids. If your little one is almost out of school here's the free printable for you to use too.

Love, TL Hayden

Weekend Recap June 3rd-4th

OMG! I think this good Chicago weather is here to stay! Did you enjoy National Donuts Day on Friday! I'd show you pics of the donuts we got, but they didn't last long enough!

This Saturday, The kids and I got a chance to shoot a few pics with Briyana of Girl Meets Curl and The Nefertiti Collection.

Bri is a new mom starting her own business focusing on natural hair care. She first started using her own mixes of oils and butters for her son Sebastian who has had a mild case of ecxema. When she noticed his hair was only growing in certain areas, she decided to do something about it. We can't wait for her to finish bottling up her recipes for others to use. 

The kids and I have been using her products since the beginning of this year. Since then I can see a change within all of our hair.

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I've always had a problem keeping Leah's hair moisturized. Her products helped with that and her hair growth. Joseph was born with a full head of hair and then it just stopped growing in the back. I'm guessing maybe it was the blanket and the part he always laid on when sleeping. With Bri's oil recipe it's starting to grow now too, so we're just waiting for it to catch up with the front. We call him George Jefferson most of the time because it's so full at the top.

Today (Sunday), The weather is awesome.

We made it to church this morning with these two goofballs and now we're enjoying the rest of the day. After I finish dinner real quick, I'm sure Leah will ask to go out for Ice cream.

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This is the cutest little outfit on Joseph. My mother in law found it here on Amazon. It came with a red and blue crab bow tie, but I exchanged it for another one he had already. To see more of my favorite things and items shown on my Instagram, go here.

 

Love, TL Hayden

Weekend Recap May 27th - 29th

It's always good to have a 3 day weekend! First off, prayers and gratitude for all the brave soldiers who have sacrificed their life for our country. I know summer doesn't officially start until June 20th but Memorial Day is like the kick off for major summer vibes. This weekend we spent the majority of our time with family, something we've made a conscious effort to do more often within the past few months.

On Saturday we celebrated my husband's grandmother's 78th Birthday.

Sunday morning, we tried to make it to church but that was an epic fail.

I couldn't get myself and the kids dressed in time. But at least one person in the household made it. Charles had to be there early to help with the sound equipment. Instead, the kids and I waited until he got home to go out to eat and hangout. This weekend, I made a promise to Leah that we'd have more fun, just us four. Both our families are so big that every weekend it seems like there is something going on. If not that, then there are other obligations, birthdays, etc, and sometimes we forget to put in time for ourselves. When we do, we're so drained from different things that most of the time we just want to chill at home. When Leah mentioned she had fun with just us as a family and no one else, I knew it was time to start changing up our priorities. The hubs and I noticed this a long time ago, but I figure when she starts noticing things too, there's a problem.

Charles chose to take us to the Cheesecake Factory. I love their food especially the cheesecake. I've been doing so well at eating right though that I turned down the dessert since I had already ordered the Pineapple Crispy Chicken & Shrimp. It was great it tasted kind of like an Asian dinner/Chinese food. I wasn't able to eat it all in one sitting, so I boxed the rest. As for Charles, he didn't appreciate his dish at all. Even after putting salt and pepper on it, it still tasted kind of bland. Leah enjoyed her mini burgers and as for Joseph, I think he was a little upset he couldn't have real food. He drank his milk but the stares seriously told us he wanted in on this meal. Afterwards, we went for a walk and Ice Cream.

Monday we spent time with my brother and family at his house for BBQ

I found the kids' tees at Crazy 8. Usually, I shop online for the two and use my Ebates to get money back, but they were having a big memorial day sale in store, so I couldn't resist.

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How I Started Meal Prepping for the First Time

Yesterday was a rainy day, I mean seriously it rained all frikkin day. The hubs is out of town for a bachelors party weekend in Vegas, so it's just me and the kiddies. Besides cleaning up, playing and whatever-else, I decided to figure out this meal prep situation. Usually I just write down what we will have for dinner each day but something told me maybe life could be easier if I went a step further. Plus, I know you've seen all these meal pics on instagram and facebook. Meal preppin' seems to have become a trend now. I knew I'd be home all day, no one likes rain, so why not! 

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My PeaPod grocery order came in early yesterday morning (Read Why I Love PeaPod Here). Instead of putting all my meats in the freezer I put everything in the refrigerator and sat down and wrote our meal plan out for the week. Not only did I plan dinner, but I also did lunch and snacks. Afterwards, I took out a bunch of ziplock bags and containers.

Leah is home for spring break, which means no more rushing to get out the door for drop offs and pick ups to school. This could be a good thing because I may just get a lot of work done while she's home, or not. 

Here's why I think I want to, NO I NEED TO, start meal prepping...

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Leah loves going in the fridge on her own to figure out what she wants to eat. She's becoming quite independent since she feels like she's a big girl. As for me, snacking is a big PROBLEM. Sometimes, instead of grabbing fruit from the fridge it's easier to snatch some chips or something from the pantry just because its quicker. Being that I want to loose weight and eat healthier, this is not good at all. I also noticed that we seem to forget what's in our fridge and some of it goes to waste, like fruits, yogurt, lunch meat and salad bags, and even left overs

So, before throwing all my meats in the fridge, I unpacked them and seasoned them according to each dinner planned. Then I wrote on the Ziploc what each was for. I also cut up and packaged all other ingredients and side dishes that would go along with it. This way all I have to do is thaw it out and throw it in the crockpot or oven, when needed.

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I cut up all the fruits such as, strawberries and kiwis, and put them in mini bowls for snacks. Now it's easier for all of us to grab fruit to eat instead of junk food and nothing has to be washed or peeled. Since I don't have a lot of containers yet, I put all my salads together in zip lock bags to grab and put in a bowl. 

I can't wait to get these...

Click the pic to see where I got them

Click the pic to see where I got them

Click the pic to see where I got them

Click the pic to see where I got them

These can go in the freezer. Click the pic to see where I got them

These can go in the freezer. Click the pic to see where I got them

It took me about 2 hours to organize all the food in its containers and now I don't have to worry about cleaning meat or prepping food everytime I cook dinner this week. Hopefully I can continue doing this every grocery day (Fridays). Eventually I'll sort out breakfast and smoothies too, I'll keep you updated on how it goes and how it has helped.

 

My Birth Story and Newborn Pics
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We've been home for a few weeks now, and I can't tell you how excited we were to be back home from the hospital. Every birth experience is different duh, but this one made me say I'm absolutely done. When Leah was born 5 years ago, I was in labor for 20 hours and my cervix would not dilate past 6 centimeters. They say that how ever you deliver the first time will be how you'll deliver the next time around. But, there are some women who have been able to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after C-Section) delivery and this is also what I was aiming for.

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One, I wanted to know what it felt like to deliver on my own... the experience of pushing and pulling your baby out. I felt like I was robbed of that experience with Leah. Two, I knew that delivering by Cesarean meant a longer recovery time, and I still had a 5 year old to take care of, take to school, etc. 

On October 31, my water broke early in the morning right before the hubs was about to literally leave out the door for work. I was on the couch, and it just felt like a small water balloon or something had burst in between my legs. I ran to the bathroom and was like... um babe... I think my water just broke, I don't think you're working today so call off, LOL. I wish someone had told me to buy some Depend Diapers, because I assumed that when your water broke it would be one gush of liquid and that's it. I was all over the place trying to get dressed and liquid trickled down like every frikkin 2-3 minutes. Just when I thought I was done, I wasn't. Charles words: "Wait get off the carpet",  "Noooo, just get in the shower" "Seriously! Ok, just sit on the toilet, don't move!" , (After he just mopped), " Wait Nooo, not right there!", "Shouldn't we be gone by now?", "When is it supposed to stop?" Me: " I don't know!!!"

I wish there was a video of all of that...Okay, maybe not. After it finally let up, I woke Leah up to get dressed. I let her put her Halloween costume on and promised her I would not let Baby Joseph mess up her candy costume day. Charles: "Seriously, are we really doing this right now, she's wearing her costume to the hospital." Lol, yes we did that, and I even took a shower and flat ironed my hair. I wasn't having any contractions yet anyway.

After 2 hours we finally left out. In the car I had another gush of liquid come down, a huge one. It wasn't until we got 20 minutes away from the hospital that my contractions seemed to be 7 minutes apart. When they admitted me I was 5 cm dilated. After about 13 hours and an epidural I had moved up to 6 centimeters but my contractions weren't getting stronger. My idea of having a vaginal delivery was beginning to look very slim (sadface). My blood pressure had also gone up and I tested positive for preclamsia. During that time, the doctors had already ran in twice because the baby's heart had decreased every time I would turn over on my right side. I'm also pretty sure I didn't really have preclamsia and that my blood pressure just went up because of the doctors and everything going on. I say this because it went down after everything was over.

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Anyway, The doctor gave me two options. They could give me Pitocin to hurry the labor process or go ahead with the C-section.  She had already informed me that when doing a VBAC there's a 1% chance of my uterus rupturing, and getting Pitocin would increase my chances by another 1 %. She left Charles and I to discuss and basically he didn't want me to do either, he wanted me to wait it out. I was tired of waiting and something told me to just go ahead with the C-Section. I really wanted to deliver natural, I didn't want to get cut open again, but I also didn't want to put the baby or I under any more stress. I could tell the hubs was a bit nervous with my decision, but we said a prayer and kept it at that.

At 21:21pm (9:21), Joseph Charles Hayden was born. He was the cutest thing, his eyes were so alert when he came out!! Charles had the biggest smile on his face when he brought him over. We call him our blessing. He wasn't planned but definitely a gift from God, plus Charles had been wanting a boy for the longest! 21 (the time he was born) is Charles college football jersey number, which I  had worn the day before at a family dinner. So, yeah we like to think God was all up in this birth and wanted us to know it. When they took me to the recovery room, the doctor informed me that my Uterus had started to rupture during the process of labor, so it was good that I didn't keep going with the Pitocin. That voice in my head saying just stop and get the C-Section, all God too. Because of the rupture, if we ever choose to have another baby, we have to wait at least a year to give my uterus and incision time to heal. The baby will also have to be delivered at 37 weeks by cesarean, otherwise I'm at high risk.

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So, to answer everyone's question, am I done!? Heck yes! I have a boy and a girl, I'm good. Even though I couldn't deliver the way I wanted to, It's okay. I had to remember that I carried a baby for 9 months and through all the issues at the hospital that day, I remained as calm as I could to deliver a healthy baby boy. There's nothing wrong with me, I did good and I'm proud of myself. I can't wait until he gets older tho, so I can let him know how he stressed me way more than his sister did.

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Maternity Photos & Week 37 Pregnancy Update

Hey Loves! Today I wanted to share with you my maternity photos taken by my amazing cousin Latoya of Latoya Flowers Photography. Latoya has been a photographer for years now. She currently works for the Alder Planetarium, here in Chicago, as a photographer/videographer. Last month, when Latoya mentioned she was ready to start her on own side business and photograph memories for others, I couldn't wait to get her to shoot my maternity pics. I've been wanting her to start her own biz for the LONGEST!!! But she'd always say "I'm not about that entrepreneur, starving artist life." LOL, she's finally crossed over!

I love how our photos came out. Because it's so late in my pregnancy, I didn't want to take my time to figure out a place, what to wear, etc. I also knew that Chicago weather is so iffy and it could get cold outside any minute. So one Sunday, we just chose to hurry up and get them done. Zhane Mary Ann did my hair and makeup and I grabbed whatever I could out our closet as long as it had pink, duh!

This is week 37 for us! That means 2 more weeks and 1 more day until my due date of November 2nd. Baby is about 19-22 inches and approximately 6.5lbs. These days, it's so hard to move around, get out of the bed or out of a chair without having to be pulled up. I also find myself more comfortable sitting upright to sleep than laying on my side. He's feels so heavy! Whatever side I turn to that's what side he goes to. I'm not as sleepy anymore but I do get tired fast while trying to cook, clean up, or walk around too long. I start to get braxton hicks when I get too active as well. I don't want him to come too early or before my cousin Ashley's babyshower, sooo I'm trying to take it easy until Saturday. After that, I'm walking every day!!

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Baby wakes up between 11pm and 12 midnight every night like clockwork. Around this time I think he's learning Karate. So, I'm up until about 1am or 2am when he decides to go back to sleep. This trimester I'm not really craving anything. As far as symptoms goes, when I lay down, I do tend to sometimes get acid re-flux or feel as though I'm about to throw up. 

He hasn't dropped yet but I think he'll be here before November 2. Because I had a C-Section with Leah, I was told I will more than likely have to have another but I can possibly deliver naturally, it all depends. With Leah, she just would not go past 6 centimeters and after 20 hours they decided to do an emergency C-Section. As it gets closer, I am a little nervous but I know everything will be fine.

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This week I'm fixing up his little space and packing up his bag for the hospital. I'll keep you guys updated!

3 Reasons Grocery Shopping From PeaPod Works For the Working Girl + Stay At Home Moms

Just got my grocery order in today and thought I'd fill you in on what it's like shopping PeaPodPeaPod is an online grocery store website and app that delivers groceries to your home. I've been using the service since I gave birth to Leah and instantly fell in love with it. At the time, we only had one car which my husband used for work.  I've never been a fan of grocery shopping especially with a kid so it's kind of convenient. I get asked a lot if PeaPod is really worth it and aren't they expensive... here's my opinion and 3 reasons why I use them.

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Convenience: #1 I hate lines! I'm currently preggers with baby number 2 and I have a 5 year old. Leah loves to reach and ask for a billion things in the store. She's also not a fan of sitting in the cart anymore. Plus, with this belly it's getting a bit tiresome walking around for groceries, putting them in the car, taking them out, etc. With Peapod I order online, choose my delivery day, and they bring all the groceries right to my kitchen. This gives me extra time to do other things within my day. It's also perfect for us during the winter and snow days.


Quality: I love  the quality of their fresh produce. Since I've been shopping from them, I've never gotten a bad batch of fruit or anything else. For example, each strawberry is always red and juicy, not one rotten strawberry in the pack. Call me picky but I love that. When I go shopping at other stores a few may be bad or the pack are no longer looking fresh after two days. Either that or the fruit isn't sweet or the grapes don't have that little soft crunch like Leah and my husband would like. It's almost like each fresh produce is picked and checked before given.


Price: There is a minimum order of $60.After doing some research, PeaPod's pricing is just the same as shopping from some of our local grocery stores such as Jewels and Meijers. They are not less than places such as Walmart or Ultra, but there are ways to save. Not only do they have a sale section but they also double your manufacturer coupons up to .99cents, this is how we save the most.

You pay the price online (sale or full price) and give the driver your coupons and order number in an envelope, the price difference is then credited back to your form of payment within 10 days. There are also cheaper delivery times and dates. I take advantage of those times too. The delivery hours may be longer with this choice but if you're home alot like I am, it works and I get to save a few more dollars.

To save even more with PeaPod I also use sites and apps such as Savings Star, Ibotta, Coupons.com, and Redplum.

Because we have a tendency to throw things in the cart that wasn't on our list, using Peapod helps me stick to our budget and spend exactly what I want. ( The hubby and Leah are known for throwing extra stuff in the cart!) I find when we grocery shop I always end up spending way more than what I expected and when I send Charles, he just throws things in the basket, without even checking the price :-|(makes me mad all the time). I still shop at other stores when there's a great deal going on, but I use Peapod as my main source. I use to be soooo unorganized, lol. I'm still learning but using Peapod, coupons and organizing our shopping lists, have helped us stick to our budget.

This service is great for professionals, working parents, moms with babies, etc. who don't mind the trade-off for paying a little more for convenience and time.

CLICK TO GET $20 OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER