Close to My Heart – A Solly Baby Giveaway

photo1 In the first two weeks of Margot’s precious life, she has spent a good portion of it close to my heart. Whether she’s nursing or I’m carrying her, there’s something intricate and delicate and so special about having her near to me. She spent nearly 10 months inside of me, warm and growing, getting close with her mama. Now that she’s here with us, wrapped up against my chest is her favorite place to be. Her head nuzzled up against me, the sound of my heartbeat close to her listening ears… it’s her happy place.

Babywearing is so important to me. Not only does it strengthen the bond between my new baby and I, it makes life with other littles much easier. If Adair and Ingrid want to go outside, I can strap Baby Marge to my chest and make it happen. If Phil and I want to enjoy a breakfast in town, we don’t have to worry about lugging the carseat in with us. And when it comes to grocery shopping – it’s basically the only way I can do it with all 3 girls along for the ride. photo2 Solly Baby is a new-to-me company, started by the lovely Elle Rowley. I have gotten to know Elle a bit over the past few months, and she is just delightful. She, too, just welcomed her third little one to the world. Elle makes and sells the most wonderful wraps that make babywearing so easy. Solly Baby graciously sent me their grey natural stripe wrap and I have used it every single day since we came home from the hospital. It’s so cute, super cozy, and best of all – MJ loves it. She’s snug as a bug when she’s wrapped up close to my heart. All of the Solly Baby wraps are made using American factories, fabric mills, dye houses, and printers. Winning!

(I should also mention that I used a Moby wrap with Addie and couldn’t stand it. It was thick and bulky and wearing it in warm weather was miserable! My Solly Baby Wrap is a million times better!)

One lucky reader here is going to receive a Solly Baby Wrap in the color of their choice! Just enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 1.31.23 PM a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lactation Cookies

Today’s post is from a good friend of mine, Gretchen! Gretchen is a mama of 2 sweet little ones and a blogger at That Mama Gretchen. Whip up a batch of these yummy cookies and make sure to check out her blog! xoxo, L

It’s such an honor to be sharing today while Lacy welcomes her sweet little girl! I’m the oldest of three daughters and there is no doubt, the Stroessners are in for a wonderfully wild ride with their brood of three beauties! Having sisters is the greatest gift my parents gave me and I can’t wait to see Adair, Ingrid and Margot grow up together.

Today I’m excited to share one of my favorite recipes just for mamas – Lactation Cookies. Because, as Lacy and I know and as you’ll come to find if you’re expecting, once baby arrives, a geyser of milk will soon follow. Supporting and sustaining that milk supply becomes a big priority and I’ve found that drinking tons of water (tons and tons!) and eating quality, wholesome foods are key to achieving a constant and nourishing supply for your little one.

Between my two nursing experiences I’ve spent 32 months (and counting) breastfeeding. I’ve weathered over supply, working away from home, low supply, mastitis, plugged ducts and more. Through it all – whether striving to maintain my supply or boost it – I’ve relied on galactogue ingredients in my diet to support my milk supply.

This recipe for Lactation Cookies is full of galactogues – oatmeal, brewer’s yeast and flax seed. Whip them up and let me know what you think!

lactation-cookies Homemade Lactation Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
  • 3 cup oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your flax seed mixture by mixing the flax seed with the water and allowing it to sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla and flaxseed mixture, mix well. Combine remaining flour, baking soda, salt and brewer’s yeast in a separate bowl and then slowly add to the wet mixture. Fold in oats and chips.
  • Roll dough in small balls, softly press and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

This recipe will yield about a dozen and a half cookies, but if you don’t need that many at once, I’ve found the dough freezes fantastically so you can scoop and bake 1-2 as your cravings and milk supply see fit!

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit about breastfeeding, if you’d like to peek at my journey, here’s a link to all my breastfeeding posts. You can also find me on Facebook and my favorite, Instagram! -Gretchen

Sensory Play for Small Children

I’m so excited to have my friend Kelley here today! Kelley and I are kindred spirits, you guys. She is way cooler though because she has an awesome menagerie of animals. ;) She put together a fabulous round-up of sensory play activities for small children – all things that Addie and Ingrid are going to LOVE to do while I tend to new baby Margot! Enjoy!! xoxo, L

Hello everyone!  I am Kelley.  Over at Casa Crafty I write about crafting and my family ( I have 2 boys).  Like Lacy, I have a small farm.  Mine is slightly more inhabited by critters though…
Old mac Kelley had a farm…
with: 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 guppies, 2 bearded dragons,
3 goats,
8 chickens,
aaaaannnd 10 rabbits (currently) …
 you know how it goes.

I am so excited to be here today to bring you a roundup of a few things I wish had tried when I was sewing, nursing, cooking and/or cleaning (some at the same time) with my then 3 year old and new baby. I can remember the exhaustion, the frustration, the snuggling and the explanations that go into the status of the new sibling. There were so many times when all I wanted was a nap, and instead there were tears. Here are a few things to make that time a little easier:

Have fun with your new family member Lacy!

P.S. – Because toddlers are well… toddlers, be careful when using any tutorial. I tried to make sure these made allowance for the “everything in mouth” sensory play.  Also, watch out for “everything up nose”, and the ever popular “will this fit in my ear” style of play. Have fun!

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie – The Perfect Meal for a New Mom

Pot-Pie

Today’s post is from a dear friend of mine, Bonnie. Bonnie is a wife, mama, and homesteader living in California. We share a love for all things homemade, chicken farming, and living a simple, meaningful life. Make sure to check out her gorgeous blog, A Golden Afternoon. Enjoy this delicious recipe! – L

Chicken pot pie is one of my most favorite foods.  I have yet to hear someone say they don’t love flaky, buttery crust that leaks creamy sauce, chicken, and veggies when cut into.  I could eat it every week, but especially when I need some comfort food.  This post isn’t about me and my pot pie obsession though, it’s about bringing a little comfort and warmth to the new moms in our lives.

The sigh of relief that follows a new mom receiving a home-cooked meal is to be cherished.  It’s a privilege to come along side our friends and neighbors, with joy, as they begin their new life.  After almost 10 months of preparing, waiting, and hardly sleeping with a giant belly, their special day finally arrives.  The child is here.  For many, the days of giving birth never come and YET they experience the uncomfortable “pregnancy” of tears, paperwork, waiting, more paperwork, hope, and more tears.  They too have waited.  Finally, their day arrives.  The child is here.  Children come into our homes in many different ways.  What a joy to share with these families, the gift of food, as they greet their new children.

So excited for you and your family, Lacy!

Below is the quicker version of this recipe, using phyllo dough instead of a homemade crust.  To make this faster, I like to have a jar of pot pie filling in the freezer ready to go with chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas, and onions  that have already been steamed and seasoned.  I just double the recipe when I make it fresh so I can toss one in the freezer.  It’s a 2 for 1, people!  Then, I just have to defrost the jar, the phyllo dough, and make the sauce.  So much easier, especially when planning a meal for a new mom.  You could also give her the extra jar for another day. ;) Pot-pie filling

Chicken Pot Pie

For the filling:

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 cup pearl onions, leave whole

1/2 cup fingerling or red potatoes, chopped

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (cremini preferred)

sachet with: 1-2 sprigs of thyme, 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, and 4 cloves of garlic

1 cup cooked chicken, chopped (rotisserie chicken is fine)

1/2 cup peas

Phyllo dough, from freezer section (2 pieces)

For the sauce:

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

3 cups almond milk (or regular if that’s your style)

1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

salt & pepper

pot-pie-ingredients pot-pie-sauce chicken-pot-pie First thing, set the phyllo dough out on the counter,  It usually takes about 2 hours to thaw.  Take out your veggies if they were pre-cooked in the freezer like mine.  Next, in a medium pot, put the first four ingredients, along with the sachet. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low heat for about 45 minutes or until the veggies are softened. If you add fresh veggies to a pot pie, they will be crunchy, just so you know.  Preheat the oven to 350 now.  Meanwhile, you will start the sauce/roux.  Melt the butter, then whisk in the flour, let it bubble for about 30 seconds while whisking, then whisk in the milk.  Whisk continually until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes for almond milk (because it has a natural thickener in it) and WAY longer for regular milk…maybe 30-40 minutes.  Just turn on some music or chat with a kid nearby.  It will pass quickly. ;)  Add the chives and some salt and pepper while you wait and whisk.  Once thickened, remove from the heat.  In an oiled/buttered 9x9ish dish, add the first piece of phyllo dough, gently pressing down the sides into the pan.  Next, add the veggies (sachet removed), peas, chicken, and the sauce.  Lastly, place the second piece of phyllo on top of the filling, slightly covering the edges of the baking dish.  Bake for about 45 minutes, making sure the dough is golden brown and crispy.

Enjoy and share with someone in need this week!

bonnie I live with Purpose.  That is me.  I have bad days just like everyone else, but I can’t help but to feel great comfort in the blessings of every day life. I love the way light shines through the curtains and reflects on the wall.  I love laughter and friends being around.  I love the simple flavors of fresh food.  I love how pieces of cloth can be made into a dress that the wind blows through to show its presence.  I love how God gave us so many things around us to remind us of Him.

I live a full and blessed life.  Come visit me at agoldenafternoon.com or on IG here.

-Bonnie

Meet Margot…

announcement1 Our little lady finally joined us! After a rough 24 hour labor, Margot Joan Stroessner made her debut. She was born on Thursday, April 10 at 4:17 in the afternoon. She weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 inches long. She’s got tons of dark, fuzzy hair and deep blue eyes. She’s basically the sweetest thing ever and I can’t believe she’s finally here with us. The past few days have been a beautiful whirlwind. We haven’t slept much, but we’ve been soaking up our time with our new girl. We came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon and have been slowly adjusting to life as a family of 5. The girls are absolutely in love with her, but are certainly fighting for attention as well. So far, Baby Marge (one of her funny nicknames!) is a peach. She’s either sleeping peacefully or wide awake, observing the new world around her. She’s only been fussy a handful of times, mostly because she’s ready to eat. As you can imagine, we’re over the moon. I’ll certainly try to post more about our new babe soon – including her (long) birth story! In the meantime, please enjoy the guests I’ve lined up for you guys. Their posts are amazing and I can’t wait for you to “meet” some of my favorite bloggers and friends.

Thanks again for all of your congratulations! We have been overloaded with sweet comments about our new addition, which is just so lovely! Hop on over to Instagram if you need a baby fix. We’ve been posting lots of photos there…

xoxo, L

While We Wait…

Well my friends, baby girl has still not made her debut. My due date is tomorrow so hopefully she’ll come soon. I’m slowly starting to lose my mind while we wait. Seriously, the end of pregnancy is so hard. The wait is not like anything else! I’ve been trying to relax a bit by taking it one day at a time. We are just praying that she’ll come on her own. (Feel free to do the same!)

While we wait, I’ve got a few things for you..

First up, is a sneak peek of her nursery. It’s about 95% finished. There are still a few things I’d like to do – like recover the rocking chair, cover up the weird outlet that’s in the middle of the wall, and organize her bookshelf. All of that can wait though. I’ve posted several nursery pics on Instagram. Just search the hashtag #livingonlovenursery to see!

sweet-nursery

Next, I’ve got a super sweet giveaway going up tomorrow morning on Instagram. Make sure you are following me (@LacyStroess) so you don’t miss out! It’s only a 24 hour thing so don’t delay!

Lastly, make sure to check out my latest posts over on Disney Baby. I’ve been writing about all sorts of things – from the end of pregnancy to Easter crafts & activities!

Thanks so much for stopping by, friends! Keep checking in here and on Instagram. As soon as our new little love has arrived, we’ll announce it to the world! :) Oh, and I hope you are excited. When our new baby is here, I’ve got an AMAZING line-up of guest bloggers that will be sharing here on Living on Love. Their posts are awesome and I’m so excited for you to “meet” them! xoxo, -L

 

While We’re Away: Activity Bags for the Girls

Soon, Phil and I will be at the hospital welcoming our new baby girl and Adair and Ingrid will be at home with my parents. (Of course, they’ll visit the hospital to meet their new baby sister!) To ease the girls into life with a new baby, I thought it’d be fun to put together some activity bags for them to enjoy while we’re away.

while-we're-away-activity-bags Most likely, we’ll only be gone 2 or 3 days. To be on the safe side, I went ahead and put 3 activity bags together. 1 for the day we go to the hospital, 1 for our stay overnight, and 1 for the day we’ll most likely come home. Each bag has a  little note from us, some fun things for the girls to do while we’re away, and a fun treat, too! My hope is that the girls feel a little bit special when most of the attention will be on the new babe. At the same time, it’ll give my parents something fun to do with the girls.

activity-bag-day-1 Day 1: It’s a Girl balloons, tattoos, bubbles, silly putty, nail polish, and m&ms.

activity-bag-day-2 Day 2:  birdhouses to paint, beads to string, and bunny marshmallows.

activity-bag-day-3 Day 3: foam bunnies to decorate with all kinds of fun things and yogurt raisins.

activity-bag-letters All in all, I spent about 20 bucks putting these fun activity bags together. I think the girls are going to love them! Tell me, how did you ease your children into welcoming a new baby? Any tips or tricks for making the transition a little bit easier? xoxo, L

And Two Will Soon Be Three

Adair and Ingrid,

In just a handful of days, our lives will be forever changed by the birth of your baby sister. You probably won’t remember life without her, but I want to do my best to share with you just how wonderful our time as a family of 4 has been. For over 2 years, the 3 of us have spent our days together. While dad is at work, we play and create and make and imagine and dream. It’s not always easy or even fun, but there is something special about getting to spend our days together, at home. I pray that you remember how wonderful this time of our lives was. I hope you know grateful I am to raise you and how much it will mean to me as you continue to grow up.

2 While I wish I could say I was your favorite, the truth is that you are both crazy about your daddy. (Addie, you’ve always been this way. But Ingrid, just in the past 6 months have you really become a daddy’s girl. I guess I’m okay with it.) You ask for him during the day. You wait for him when it’s time for him to be home. If you are scared or hurt and daddy is around, he is the one you run to. I’m so thankful that you put your hope and trust in him, girls. He loves you beyond your wildest dreams and we are all lucky that he’s the man in our lives.

1 At this time in your lives, the two of you couldn’t possibly be more different from each other. Addie, you love to play and dress up and build things. Ingrid, you love to draw and color and explore. But you share so much, too. Your smiles are the same, the way you ask for your daddy when he’s at work, the face you get when you don’t like what’s going on, the face you make when you’re being ornery. You both love to go to the park or help with the chickens or watch a movie. You are both sensitive and strong, funny and smart. Ingrid, you mimick your sister so much. You long to be like her. You try to keep up with her all day long. If she wants a ponytail, you do too. If she wants to take a doll and a purse in the car, you have to take a doll and a purse in the car. If she is running around the yard with the big kids, then you have to be a big kid, too.

3 Just like all sisters, you girls have finally started driving each other crazy. Sometimes you argue about the silliest things, like who gets to claim their favorite color as blue or sharing a bowl of imaginary candy. But at the end of the day, you love each other deeply. Not because you are told to and not because it’s expected, but because you really do love each other so much. When you are apart,  you ask where your sister is. When one of you is sick, the other is by your side, making sure you are okay. As your mama, there is no greater gift than seeing this love grow between you.

When your new baby sister comes home to stay with us, life is going to be different, and at times, difficult. But after the first few weeks, we’ll get in a rhythm and our new normal will make us all feel complete. You’ll find such joy in your new baby sister and you’ll soon forget that there was ever a time when she wasn’t here with us. Instead of the two of you always being in cahoots, you’ll soon be a trio of little adventure girls, spending your days together, driving each other crazy, and loving each other so very much.

I can’t wait!

I love you, I love you, I love you…

-Mama

 

Make Someone’s Day: The #livingonloveproject for April

It’s a brand new month! (Well, tomorrow!) Now that Spring is really, truly here and all of that winter funk is behind us, let’s be inspired. Last month, the #creativemamas made my day when they surprised me with a baby shower. Because of their unbelievable thoughtfulness, April’s #livingonloveproject will be all about making someone’s day.

make-someones-day Here are a few ways you can make someone’s day:

  • Give them a handmade gift
  • Leave a surprise on their doorstep
  • Say YES to your kiddos
  • Plan a date for your love
  • Fill up their gas tank
  • Deliver coffee to a friend
  • Write a thoughtful letter
  • Make them breakfast in bed
  • Cook them a meal
  • Pay for the person behind you
  • Make them a mixtape
  • Let them sleep in
  • Mail them a fun package
  • Help a family in need
  • Pamper them
  • Donate to a shelter
  • Give them free babysitting
  • Plan a day trip

Sometime between now and the end of April, MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY. Take a photo (or several!) to share what you did to make someone feel special. Then, use the hashtag #livingonloveproject and share them on Instagram. Check the hashtag often to be inspired by what others are doing to MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY this month. 

I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! xoxo, L

Springtime Playlist

Happy Friday, loves! To start your weekend off right, I’ve got a brand new springtime playlist for you today. It’s the perfect soundtrack for rainy weather and country drives. From oldies like Bob Marley to new favs like The Head and The Heart, you’ll love this springy music mix! Have a good one and enjoy! xoxo, L

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