Grocery Shopping with Kids

grocery shopping with kids

Yesterday I was reminded that raising small children is not unlike living in an undeveloped country. Anarchy is rampant, and if there is a structured government, it must be a dictatorship. There are daily attempts at a coup d’etat, some of which are successful. Bribery is a completely acceptable and effective means of getting things done…

Enter grocery shopping with the kids, and it raises the game to a whole new level. :-) Yesterday I bravely decided to take all three boys to Stop and Shop-in the summer-on Cape Cod. Anyone who lives on the Cape knows that a trip to Stop and Shop in the thick of summer is no easy feat. I was relatively well prepared for our excursion. William had just woken up from a nap and the kids were stuffed with snacks. I put William into the Ergo, closed up the swagger wagon, and headed into the store.

I did notice a few looks of sympathy from fellow moms and some smiles from elderly women. I kept my game face on and headed into the store. First stop: Scan It machine. Although there are usually epic battles over who gets to use the scanner, it definitely keeps the boys occupied during the trip. We made it in and out relatively unscathed after the promise of a “treat” at the end of the trip. I was broken in the snack aisle, when I quickly blurted out that each child could have a Teddy Grahams snack cup to take along for the duration of the shopping trip= total win! We have had some spillage incidents with these snacks in the past, but today we were on top of our game. In the words of Coolio, “Today was a good day.”

What are your survival skills for grocery shopping with kids?

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5 Make Ahead Meals for New Moms

make ahead meals for new moms

 

One of the BEST gifts you can give a new mom (in my opinion!) is a prepared meal after baby is born. Make ahead meals are so nice to receive when you are running on zero sleep and adrenaline! This was especially true for me after the delivery of #3. I had no energy to cook during the last month or so of my pregnancy, so I had absolutely nothing made ahead in my freezer. Thank goodness for my super awesome mother-in-law and father-in-law who would regularly bring us dinner! I did have a few new friends here on the Cape who brought us dinner after William was born, and it was a godsend.

So, what are the easiest make ahead meals you can prepare and/or buy to bring to a new mom? Here is a list of five suggestions to get you started:

  1. Lasagna– Lasagna is great because you can make it ahead and freeze it in an aluminum baking pan. Deliver a lasagna (it’s always a good idea to check if her family eats meat) with a loaf of Italian bread and a salad for a super easy weeknight meal. If you are cooking for a vegetarian, eggplant parmesan is also a great alternative to meat lasagna and easy to make ahead and freeze.
  2. Roasted Chicken with Vegetables- I regularly roast small chickens in my crock pot for easy dinners. All you have to do is buy a small chicken and rub the top with some unsalted butter. Next, pour some cooking wine over top, add some vegetables like carrots, onions, potatoes, and celery. Season with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (yes, like the Simon & Garfunkel song) and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. You will have a complete meal to bring over!
  3. Breakfast for Dinner (or breakfast!)- Breakfast casseroles with egg, ham/sausage, cheese, peppers, etc. are easy to make ahead and freeze. You could also make a large bag of whole wheat pancakes and deliver them with a bottle of real maple syrup–they would be a hit for mom and any younger siblings!
  4. Chunky Vegetable Soup or Beef Stew– Soups and stews are great to make ahead. The recipes are endless, and you could even try a gazpacho or cucumber soup if the weather is warmer. Soup with a nice French baguette would make a perfect light meal for a new mom and family. If they like a little spice, try a nice chili!
  5. Quiche– If you want to get a little fancy, make a quiche. Quiches are wonderful because you can really throw in whatever you want (according to new mom’s tastes) for meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. They look fancy, but they are not really hard to make. It’s a great meal that’s easy to reheat and serve. An added bonus–mom can also have it for breakfast after a sleep-deprived night!

Did you receive meals after giving birth? What were your favorites?  

 

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Sweet Suite Recap!

Sweet Suite banner

 

Last night at Sweet Suite was a fun night of treats and a sneak peek of many of the toys that will be arriving on shelves this fall! There were so many great toy brands, it’s hard to know where to start! It’s always fun getting to check out the new toys that will be hitting the shelves this fall and for the holiday season. We arrived at 4:30, and the first stop was the Kidz Bop table, where the group was singing and signing autographs.

Kidz Bop at Sweet Suite

After making our way into the main room, it was pure toy craziness. I thought I would share some of my favorite finds and brands. I love that Leap Frog is introducing a new activity tracker watch for kids and an interactive gaming system (think Wii Fit for younger kids). There will be a ton of games featuring popular characters for the age group including Sofia the First and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I love that this system not only stresses activity, but learning as well. It will be available for pre-order in September.

Leap Frog gaming system at Sweet Suite

Another super cool product was the Boogie Board LCD writing tablet that offer hours of drawing and redrawing–sort of like your modern-day Etch a Sketch. These would be awesome for note taking in school or a budding artist. There is also a model with Bluetooth capabilities, so that you can download notes and drawing onto your computer.

Boogie Boards at Sweet Suite

We love the Smartmax building toys in our house, and I was excited to see a new set coming out that will work with the older version. Smartmax also had a TON of super cool travel games and puzzles that would be perfect for travel!

Smartmax Toys at Sweet Suite For those of you with Hex Bugs fans in your house, you will be very excited to see new Hex Bugs coming out this fall. You will be able to build your own large bugs that can be controlled and programmed via remote control. These Hex Bugs were a really remarkable interactive toy that lets your child be creative while learning some rudimentary programming!

Hex Bugs at Sweet Suite

Sweet Suite 2014 was a blast, and I will be sharing more of these toys in the fall as we approach the holiday season! There were so many great new additions to share–I wish I could write about all of them, but this post would turn into a novel! :-)

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Blogger Bash Bound!

This morning we are off to Blogger Bash in New York City. That’s right–the swagger wagon is headed south to the big city! Rather than driving into the city (which I avoid at all costs!), we will take the Metro North train from New Haven into Grand Central. The boys are so excited to take the train and see New York City. I love that they are at an age when just the transportation into the city is exciting! If only it stayed that way!… ;-)

Sweet Suite

First off on the agenda is Sweet Suite, a giant party hosted by the Big Toy Book. I went to Sweet Suite at the BlogHer conference a few years ago, and I can’t wait to go again! The party will be a Location 05 and will feature toys from Disney Infinity, Lego, LeapFrog, Skylanders, Crayola, Hex Bugs, V Tech, and more. It’s a great opportunity to check out new toys from these companies and share them with you! Another bonus–lots of unbelievable desserts!

Friday will be a busy day of meeting with brands. The great thing about Blogger Bash (this is the first year) is that it’s a much smaller crowd than BlogHer, so there will be a lot of opportunities to make meaningful connections with brands and hang out with other bloggers. I will have breakfast with Lego Batman 3, a media panel, speed dating with brands, lunch with Johnny Rockets, Mommy Tech, Baby Palooza, and the Kidz Vuz Back to School event. My six-year old will be coming to the Kidz Vuz event with me, and he’s super pumped!

My husband will have the boys while I am busy at the conference–Will is coming with me in the Ergo. Hopefully he will have fun at Baby Palooza! The boys will be busy walking around the city and hitting the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, and maybe the Children’s museum. They are going to be exhausted at night! ;-)

More to come from NYC!

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Taking Baby to the Beach

Taking Baby to Beach 2

It’s beach season, and once again we have an infant during the summer (this is the third!)! The idea of taking baby to the beach can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! I vowed this summer that I wouldn’t stay inside too much just because I have a newborn, so I researched ways to keep baby safe in the sun. If you are also planning on taking baby to the beach/pool/lake this summer, here are some tips:

  • Lightspeed Beach CabanaINVEST IN A GOOD BEACH TENT— Back when C was born (now 4 years old); I bought a beach tent from L.L. Bean, and while it looked great, it was a PITA to put up! I found it difficult to put up with one person, let alone one person with other kids in tow. Fast forward to this summer, and thanks to an AWESOME recommendation from a friend, I bought this beach tent. It was $74.99 on Amazon and worth every penny. You just pull from the top and it opens on its own. To put it down, you release a lever and push down to fold it up. It has great ventilation and a nice area that rolls out front if you want to sit in the sun. :-)
  • BABY SUNSCREEN– Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional! Although guidelines generally state that you should not use sunscreen on a baby less than six months, my old pediatrician said it was okay after 4 months. He advised testing a small location of skin to make sure that there was no reaction. Baby sunscreens I like best are Block Island Organics (I had to use this in a pinch on Will when he was two months and we headed to Water Country) and California Baby.
  • IF POSSIBLE, FIND A LOCATION WITH SHADE– This is the easiest way to avoid brining extra gear and to keep baby cool and out of the sun during warmer temps. Unfortunately, it can be hard to come by at the beach!
  • WEAR SUN PROTECTION CLOTHING AND HATS– There are some great brands of sun protection for babies now including Coolibar and NoZone. These full coverage suits keep baby safe in the sun. My favorite style of hats are the ones that have a flap in the back to cover their neck.
  • KEEP YOUR BABY HYDRATED– Whether breast or bottle feeding, make sure that your baby is getting enough fluid on hot days. Check his/her diaper to make sure that he/she is urinating normally–this will indicate proper hydration.
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Fartlek ~ You Did What?!

Fartlek

Other than just being a funny sounding word, Fartlek runs are pretty much my favorite speed workouts to do on the road. Fartlek is a Swedish term that means “speed play.” I like fartlek runs for working on speed because they are super easy and you don’t even need a watch to do them! Last week I decided to go out for a 3 mile run; and since I haven’t really been adding in any speed yet, I decided it was time. I did a one mile warm-up and then decided to pick up the pace for the distance between two telephone poles along the run. In between I would slow down to a normal pace–I repeated this pattern for about 1.5 miles). It doesn’t have to be exact, if you need a longer rest interval, just take it!

Adding fartlek to your run also makes you feel like a kid again–you speed up when you feel like it and slow down when you don’t. Sounds like a pretty fun way to incorporate speed work into your workout if you ask me! Fartlek workouts are basically unstructured intervals. I don’t know about you, but I prefer fartlek to intervals–it just sounds more fun! ;-)

When I was working with my old coach, he would often have me implement more structured one minute “surges” at 5K-8K pace into my long runs. For example, I might do a 12 mile run and do a 4 x 1 minute surges with 5 minutes rest between miles 9-11. Adding these surges to your long run forces your body to work harder in a fatigued state–something that comes in very handy when racing!

Fartleks are also fun to add to your group training runs. Each runner can take turns leading the group and dictate the speed and length of the harder effort portion. It’s a great way to keep the run interesting and allow yourself to be pushed a little outside of your comfort zone. If you need some Fartlek workout suggestions, you can check out Competitor and Active.com.

 

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FitSnap – Instagram For Workouts!

 

FitSnap tutorial

 

I recently discovered a really cool app that is like Instagram for fitness. It’s called FitSnap, and it allows you to snap and share pictures of your workouts on social media platforms (or you can just save them on your phone!). When you are running, simply snap a pic from your travels and share it later. You can choose to take a new pic when you upload to FitSnap, or you can choose one from your photo gallery.

FitSnap tutorial 1

 

Next you can input your activity, duration, and distance (if applicable). You can also add any notes you want to the workout–they will be added to the FitSnap picture under the other workout details.

FitSnap Tutorial 2

 

You can then add any filters (similar to Instagram) to your picture for the desired effect. Finally, you are ready to share it to your social networks. As of now, you need to share to Facebook and Twitter separately (unlike Instagram). If you want to download FitSnap, it is available for the iPhone in the app store.

I think it would be really cool, if I had the time and motivation, to store all of your runs as a FitSnap collection instead of a running log. Imagine if you had a visual collection of all of your runs each year?!

Running related: I did my first long run of my training cycle yesterday. It was pretty warm by the time I got around to running, so I headed to Anytime Fitness to run on the treadmill. The air conditioning felt so good, and I was able to watch the HGTV channel while chugging along! I did 5 miles at an easy pace. Making sure I run my long runs at an easy pace (unless otherwise directed) is one thing that I am really going to stick to this training cycle, especially since I am just starting to run regularly again postpartum. I’m excited to start to focus and have a plan for my fall half marathons! :-)

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Blogger Bash Coffee Talk

I am headed to New York City for the Blogger Bash conference next Thursday, and we are doing a get to know you post link up. I don’t usually do these types of posts, but sometimes it’s fun to learn more about the person behind the blog. :-)

  1. Name - Jessica Morrison
  2. Where are you from?Falmouth (Cape Cod), Massachusetts
  3. How long have you been blogging? – 3 years this September.
  4. What is the meaning behind your blog name? – I am a mother who LOVES to run, and it does sound pretty bad a$$. I also have a humorous/cynical side and the fact that it sounds like 30 something mother f*cker makes me laugh!
  5. What are you most looking forward to at Blogger Bash? – connecting with brands and other bloggers in a smaller setting. I have gone to BlogHer before, but it was sort of overwhelming! I like more intimate settings where you can have a meaningful conversation.
  6. What three words describe you the best? – driven, loquacious, compassionate
  7.  Got kids? How many? – 3 boys (2 months, 4, and 6)
  8. We all have a pet peeve. What is your #1? People who complain 24/7
  9. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Madeleine Albright
  10. Show me your face!

Blogger
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Good Earth Beauty Giveaway!

Good Earth Coconut Lime Shower Whip

I consider myself a pretty green person when it comes to my food and personal care products, so I was more than excited when I was offered the opportunity to check out some of the products from Good Earth Beauty. Good Earth Beauty is a shop that carries natural and organic beauty products. It was started on Long Island by Karen Ostrach.

None of the products are tested on animals (essential in my book!) and most of the products are vegan. Ostrach seeks out products that are paraben-free and free from sodium lauryl sulfate (another nasty chemical commonly found in personal care products). She enjoys personally testing as many of the products she carries as possible. How fun would that be?? You can find something for every member of the family on the site,  including children and family pets.

Because Ostrach is passionate about cruelty free and animal free products. Good Earth Products is a corporate sponsor of Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary is a charity that provides homes for abused and neglected farm animals that were originally slated for slaughter. I love this! :-)

The products I tested out are the Wild Bath Coconut Lime Exfoliating Shower Whip and the Good Earth Beauty pink lemonade lip scrub. I love the smell of the shower whip and that I can actually read the ingredients on the label! It smells so good, and I have been using it every day. The lip scrub is perfect for giving your lips a little TLC, and it contains 100% readable, natural ingredients as well. If you would like to win your own Wild Bath Coconut Lime Exfoliating Shower Whip and Good Earth Beauty pink lemonade lip scrub, you can use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

30 Something Mother Runner received Wild Bath Coconut Lime Exfoliating Shower Whip and the Good Earth Beauty pink lemonade lip scrub for the purpose of this review. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Skirt Sports 10 on 10

Skirt Sports 10 on 10

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Skirt Sports (and the running skirt!), they will be running a 10 on 10 race. The virtual race will take place on September 13, 14, and 15, 2014. Participants can choose between a 10K and the 10-mile option. There are three options for entry into the race–with each you will get:

  • Skirt Sports gift certificate ($50, $100 or $250)
  • Choice of special finisher’s award (including skirts or a performance tee). I LOVE that they included the Marathon Chick skirt (it’s my favorite!). If you register before August 24, your tee-shirt will read “Finisher.”
  • Lucky #10 race bib
  • Awesome sponsor swag
  • Weekly training plan and exclusive newsletter from me with tips, advice and other fun stuff!

If you refer a friend to register for the race (they must enter your name and email in the registration form), you can earn an extra $10 gift certificate to Skirt Sports!

What’s even cooler is that a portion of the proceeds from the 10 on 10 will go to fund Skirt Sports’ Kick Start program. The Kick Start program was created for women who “couldn’t or wouldn’t participate in running due to family obligations, lifestyle or health.” As a participant in the Kick Start program, the women receive training, weekly tips, and a mentor or “Personal Motivator” to encourage them on their journey to complete the 10 on 10. If you live in Colorado and would like to participate in the Kick Start Program, click HERE for more information.  

If you are interested in signing up, I have a special discount code to share! Enter “10on10ImIN” for 10% off the registration fee. So let’s have some fun, get cool Skirt Sports gear, and help other women experience the love of running we all share! You can click HERE for more information on how to register for the race. Don’t forget to plug in your discount code!

 30 Something Mother Runner will receive an item of clothing from Skirt Sports in exchange for sharing this information with its readers. Any opinions are 100% my own–I totally HEART their clothing and have bought a number of pieces myself! 

 

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