Saturday, November 30, 2013

All Things Life & Air Force Wife {Guest Post}

Today's guest post is from my adorable 'Spicy' sponsor Livia from All Things Life & Air Force Wife. Let's get in the holiday spirit and check out a few of her favorites! Don't forget to stop by her blog and give her some love!
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I do a lot of “my favorites” posts on my own personal blog and was thinking, why should a guest post be any different? This is my absolute most favorite time of the year and that, combined with Pinterest, creates a long list of things to make (crafts or food), things that I want, and things that I must have. So here we go! 
1. Holiday Wreaths!
 I made this for my mother for fall and plan on attempting something similar for Christmas. Maybe some red and green garland woven in with ornaments? We will see. I love making my own decorations. It’s affordable and I get to make it exactly how I like it. 
2. Holiday flavored coffee creamers.
Peppermint Mocha and Pumpkin Pie Spice are the best! I wait all year for these to be back in the grocery store and then I stock up. As Lorelai Gilmore would say “I like coffee like I like breathing.” Hopefully you all got that reference! 
3. Winter Clothes!
Jeans, Sweaters, Boots, Scarves… I love them all. My latest must haves include a Fossil bag and Carlos Santana Boots.
4. Comfort Food
One could argue that this can be enjoyed at all different times of the year but I find that winter is when I am most craving mashed potatoes, pasta, among other amazing delicious recipes. My favorite by far has to be Parmesan Basil Orzo. I add a little bit of fresh garlic to kick the flavor up a notch! Find the recipe here. 
5. Family Time
This year is a little different for my husband and I. This is our first holiday being a military family and as fate would have it, we were stationed across the country from both of our families. We miss them greatly and it's hard being away this time of year but we are making the most of it together. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Datevitation Review & Giveaway

Have you ever heard of Datevitation.com? It is an adorable website where you can create custom love coupon books! With the holidays coming up, this is a great gift idea and it's super easy to do. The website walks you through the process step by step. There are over 500 creative date ideas to choose from (some are even naughty, but I kept it classy for you all). You can choose how many dates you want to include in the book, you choose a cover, can add a personalized message AND my favorite part...you have the option to add your own pretty little faces! Being that I have absolutely no patience whatsoever, I already made mine and gave it to Stephen. He got a big kick out of it! Check it out...
 I'm worried about the technology free day! I told him I need at least a few days warning beforehand to mentally prepare myself! 
Be sure to enter the giveaway below to win a custom coupon book with free shipping!
Good Luck!
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

{via}
This year there is a whole new meaning to the word "thankful" for me. Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful - what more could you ask for. I'm thankful for my incredible husband, our amazing family, friends...and the life we have created for ourselves. We really do have everything we need. It's important to remember this not just today, but everyday.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by everything you love!
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mamma & Baby "Must-Haves"

I've been meaning to share this with you all since FOREVER ago! I kept thinking of different items I wanted to add to this list, and I wasn't able to make it happen any sooner. Now that I am three months in, I have a much better sense of the things that are essential for not only Baby, but for Mamma too! These are the things that I couldn't have done without...
Mamma & Baby Must-Haves
Mamma & Baby Must-Haves by stephanie-skoblicki

1. Target Tanks - I wore these pre-pregnancy, during my pregnancy, and now post-pregnancy! I love them because they are nice and long. Get them in every color! I pretty much live in these!
2. Pandora Radio - Whenever Ella is getting fussy, I just pop my phone or iPad on the dock and blast some tunes. Our favorite stations are Rockabye Baby (amazing), Disney, and Hip Hop Road Trip Radio (of course). 
3. Gilligan O'Malley Nursing Bras - Since I knew I would be nursing, I bought quite a few nursing bras. These are by far the best (got them at Target), honestly they are the only ones I wear - especially if I'm just hanging around at home. 
4. Boon Grass Bottle Drying Rack and Flower - Love, love, LOVE! Not only are these incredibly functional for drying bottles, nipples, and pump parts...they also look totally adorable on my counter. Thanks to Ashley from Wannabe Green for this! I also ended up buying the twig for even more space to dry small parts. 
5. Loreal B.B. Cream - After all those sleepless nights your skin really starts to show it! This cream helped me look somewhat human, especially during that first month. 
6. Leggings - ANY leggings will do. Lately I've been loving all different colors and patterns. I would like to increase my collection. You could find me in them about 95% of the time! It's going to be a reality check on Monday when I officially trade them in for my work attire! 
7. Fitness Ball - You need one of these especially if you have a fussy baby who needs to be rocked and bounced CONSTANTLY. It was a lifesaver many times...for Ella...not our backs! Use it for emergencies only!
8. Dr. Brown's Deluxe Bottle Warmer - This thing rocks! My cousin recommended it and I'm so glad I put this on my registry. It doesn't take up much space at all and is super easy for heating bottles up to the perfect temperature. 
9. Itzbeen Pocket Baby Care Timer - I know what you're probably thinking... "Isn't there an app for that"? Yes, there are about a thousand I'm sure. I tried them, and I still like using this timer better. For some reason it was easier to just press the button to start and stop the timer rather than unlocking my phone and going into an app. A coworker gave this to me, she used it to keep track of diaper changes, and feedings for her twin boys. I just keep it by me and use it when I'm breastfeeding and reset it when I switch sides. 
10. Medela Freestyle Breast Pump - I don't have anything else to compare this to but I love it! It's small, portable, and super easy to use. Yes, it's expensive...I was lucky enough that someone let me borrow theirs (I only had to buy replacement parts for it). Honestly it is worth the investment if you have to buy one! If I needed to return this pump for some reason, I wouldn't hesitate to go out and buy this exact model. 
11. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads - I like these better than the Medela ones, they don't show creases through the nursing bras. I have some washable ones too that I use when I'm at home but I like these better for when I go out...they are more seamless. 
12. Graco Glider Elite Gliding Swing- Brompton - We live in an apartment and I figured this would be a good way to save on space. Ella LOVES it! It took her a little while to warm up to it only because we couldn't put her down for those first few weeks at all. Now she loves taking her morning naps, and cruising in it. The chair comes off and is also a bouncer. Two in one....that's what I'm talking about! 

There are SO many products out there, I know how overwhelming it can be! All of these products really helped keep both me and Ella smiling as I adjusted to Mommyhood. Hope this helps you too! 

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

$150 Black Friday Visa Giveaway

I've teamed up with some pretty amazing ladies for this awesome sauce (yup) giveaway!!! Thanks to Erin from Love the Campbells for setting this up! Make sure you enter to win a $150 Visa gift card! I don't know about you, but for me that would be QUITE helpful around this time of year!

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Sweet Butternut Squash Soup

I'm a fairly new fan of butternut squash. It's not something that I grew up eating, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to watch a video on YouTube to figure out the best way to cut one the first time I made it! Giada has a delicious recipe for butternut squash soup. I've made it a few times and love it. This time though, I wanted to try something a little different. I thought I'd try making a sweeter version by adding apples, and topping it with crunchy toasted pecans. This is good stuff! My Hubby loved it too! It's the best feeling when a new creation comes out better than you expected it would!
Ingredients:
2 medium sized butternut squash (about 4 lbs)
1 tbsp of butter - melted
1 carrot - peeled and chopped
1 apple - peeled and chopped (I used Fuji)
1 small onion - chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 cup of milk (I used almond milk because I'm dairy-free...it was delicious)
Toasted pecans for topping
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the butternut squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, put on a baking sheet cut side facing up, spread a little butter on top, and roast for an hour. (Should look amazing like in the photo above)
2. In a large pot over medium heat sauté onions and carrots for about 2-3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add in the apples and cook for another 5 minutes until everything softens.
3. Using a spoon - scoop the squash out of the skin and into the pot, then add the chicken broth. Add cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
4. Bring soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer cover and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Add milk, then use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Serve the soup - top with toasted pecans (the BEST)!
Enjoy, I hope you love it!
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Kitchenspiration {Link-up}

It's time for another round of Kitchenspiration!
Chelsea and I are SO excited to bring you this weekly link-up! Kitchenspiration is all about ANYTHING that inspires you in the kitchen. 
This can be:
-Recipes you've tried or want to try
-Weekly meal plans
-Pinterest recipe ideas
-Food related tips
-Your favorite kitchen essentials
The possibilities are endless!
You can link-up a brand new post OR link-up anything food/meal/recipe related from your blog that you posted within the previous week.

Before you scroll down to link up:
***Check out some Kitchenspiration from this past week on NTSST:
My Weekly Meal Plan
Never The Same Spice Twice
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's cooking this week?

It's a short week in the meal planning department because of the holiday, but I'm not cutting any corners. Starting next week I will be a full time working Mommy. I figured this might be my last chance (at least for a little bit while I adjust) where I could get a little fancy. During a late night feeding about two months ago, I came up with a risotto recipe I've been dying to try out. Risotto is easy but very time consuming. Ella is a little too needy to be stirring risotto constantly. I'm going to attempt it today since Daddy is home. We had a very cranky day with her yesterday, so hopefully today is a little better. My fingers are crossed!
Sunday: Mushroom Risotto with Chicken
Monday: Crock Pot Black Bean Soup
Tuesday: Pomodoro Pasta
Wednesday: Sweet Potatoes (prepare for Thanksgiving)

Ella is so happy to have her Daddy home from Chicago, I just know it! They have been getting lots of snuggles in to make up for lost time! Yesterday they watched Doctor Who together. Stephen kept calling her his little companion....it was adorable! We didn't quite get to any Christmas decorations, not even close. Maybe later? We do things according to Ella's schedule these days. I hope to at least get the tree up!


We are leaving Wednesday evening for South Florida. I can't wait to watch the parade with my girl on Thursday morning! This will be our first big excursion with her, it should be interesting! As long as she doesn't scream for the entire 4 hour drive I'll consider it a win!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

God Bless Ella Rose

Last Saturday was Ella's Christening Day. We were surrounded by friends and family, everything was perfect! Hubs and I are truly grateful for everyone who was able to celebrate such a special occasion with us. The weather was yucky and drizzly (my hair was poofy and destroyed instantly) but it didn't matter. The ceremony was beautifully done, Ella was the only baby so it was nice and personal. Dinner afterwards was at Luigino's, one of our favorite Italian restaurants...YUM! A wonderful time was had by all, here are some photos from our baby girl's special day!
 
Poop Explosion....of course!
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Friday, November 22, 2013

A Bittersweet Friday

My time home with my girl is quickly coming to an end! This is my last Friday with her. Next week we will be down in South Florida for Thanksgiving, and I go back to work on December 2nd (for realsies this time). At this point I'm wishing time would stand still! Wow, what an amazing three months it has been! Talk about being thankful!

This past week was definitely one of the highlights of my maternity leave (besides the actual birth of course). I will share pics from the Christening in another post, but here are a few from our family visit for my "Friday Five". There are so many to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down!
1. My brother is one of the coolest dudes I know! It's safe to say I'm his biggest fan! I miss him terribly and cherish the time we get together during family visits!
2. On Monday Ella and I celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents, and Stephen's parents. My Dad asked me for an apron so he could carve the turkey. LOL!!! Unfortunately Hubs had to go to Chicago for work and he missed it. Good times though!
3. Loving this photo of Ella getting snugly and sleepy with her Godfather! Awwww!
4. I know I've said it before and I'll say it again....I could stare at her all day long! Basically, I do!
5. On Tuesday my parents and I took the Little Miss out to a nice lunch. We sat outside, and enjoyed the beautiful Florida weather in November! She was such a good girl too!

What are you all doing this weekend? We are decorating for Christmas, so that when we get home from our Thanksgiving trip...everything is all ready!!! Enjoy! XO

Linking up:
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Boys Behind The Blog {Link-up #6}

Happy SIXTH round of BBB!!! 
If you are new to this link-up...welcome! If you have been here before...welcome back!!!  As usual, I'm looking forward to reading all about what your boys have to say! 

Let's hear from my favorite guy...
1. Who is your favorite band/musician? 
Right now I’m really into this whole strange amalgam of music which includes Imagine Dragons, Two Door Cinema Club and Phoenix, among others. 

2. What was your first CD/tape? 
I’m almost certain the first CD I purchased (CDs were certainly the “in” thing at the time; I’ve never in my life purchased an audio tape) was Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut album. I’m sure the first tape was a radio-copied mix-tape, which was gifted to me. I’m also sure that it went over my head at the time that when someone of the opposite sex gifted you a mix-tape back in the day, there were deeper meanings involved. C’est la vie. 

3. Who was your first concert? 
I’m not so much a concert-goer. I’ve seen many a band in clubs/bars, but my first actual concert was Paramore headlining the Honda Civic tour a few years ago. 

4. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? 
Sweet potatoes, hands down. 

5. Finish the sentence: I am thankful for... 
I have way too much to be thankful for this year, but my number one clearly is going to be my beautiful daughter and of course my amazing wife. I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to top that anytime soon. 

Now grab a button, and link up with us!
Never The Same Spice Twice
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

$50 Pearls N Stitches Giveaway

Guess what day it is! It's a lovely day for a special giveaway! 
Jessa is the sweetest lady who blogs over at Life of a Sports Wife, and she is giving away $50 (whoa) to her Etsy shop Pearls N Stitches! Make sure you stop by to give her some love, and enter below to win...
Hi! I'm Jessa and I own Pearls N Stitches. I started crocheting and knitting in 2010 while living in Michigan. I had seen both of my aunts knit and crochet for years, and love the stuff that they made. I finally decided that I want to make the items for myself. I started off making scarfs and now I have expanded to a variety of items. I made Ready to Ship items as well as custom items. I would love to work with you on creating an item for you and your family.

Also starting Thursday I will be doing a giveaway on instagram. It requires you to repost and like me on instagram. Each day is something different that I will be giveaway.

Enter below to win! Good luck!
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