Fish Tacos with Lime Crema

Now that I am a mama of two, I am the Queen of easy fast meals. I love Trader Joe’s and on my weekly shopping trip I was inspired when I bought these “healthier” fish sticks for my 2 year old. I won’t lie though.. the thing that really makes these standout is the not-so-healthy lime crema.

 

Fish Tacos:

-Corn Tortillas

-Shredded Green Cabbage

-Pico de gallo or salsa of choice

-1 Lime

-Fish Sticks or Breaded Fish in freezer section

***This Trader Joe’s version is Reduced Fat and lightly breaded!! I love it just      as much as the fattier versions i’ve used.

Lime Crema:

1/4 cup Sour Cream (fat free was honestly just as good!)

3 tablespoons Mayonnaise

Zest from one Lime

Juice from one Lime

1/4 teaspoon Salt

 

Directions:

-Make crema before hand so the flavors can marry. At least an hour before. Combine all crema ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate covered until ready to top tacos.

-Bake frozen fish according to directions on box. I usually cook a little longer to make sure the breading is nice and crispy.

-Heat corn tortillas on stove in dry pan until desired toast. This is usually pretty quick so be sure to watch carefully!

-Once tortillas are off the heat top quickly. Layer a small handful of cabbage, then top with fish, salsa, and top with crema. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

My favorite side for this is a simple Jicama corn black bean salsa. I will post this soon as it makes a perfect healthy side this summer. It’s also a great dip if you serve it with chips.

 

The way I made it this was ONLY 7 Weight Watchers Points even with the side!!!

 

 

 

 

Little ones gift guide

Let’s face it, if you don’t have a little one you probably don’t have the slightest idea of what to get a baby for Christmas!?! Some of my besties started having babies a couple years before me and when it came to the time to buy them a Christmas or birthday gift I would go into instant freak out mode on what to buy!! I often would turn to my trusty bff Pinterest and look up best gifts for whatever age they were. Often after researching though I would look at these lists and think OMG I’m sure they have all of this already?! What’s a girl to do..help!!!

Here is a handy guide of some creative gift ideas that are a little outside of the box:

-My favorite thing that we’ve gotten my son up to this point is this ball pit!! He absolutely loves it and plays in it all throughout the day. The soft shell of it makes it so easy for him to get in and out of on his own and you get to pick the color scheme from many options so it actually looks beautiful in our living room! Only downside about this product is that it ships from Poland so expect a 2-3 week wait for delivery. Great quality though so it was well worth the wait. I just wish I bought an extra set of the balls.

pitpit2

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MeowBallPits?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Memberships to local children’s museums, zoos or kids classes in their area. This is truly a gift that keeps giving. I know I will be purchasing swim classes, music classes and art classes in my area.

-My son LOVES books, which makes my heart so happy. One of my best friends, Amanda, got him a book personalized for him and I can’t wait for the day I read it to him and he understands that it is about him!! I found this site that has 150 different styles of personalized books, so you can find one for any child and they start as low as $14.99.

1

https://www.putmeinthestory.com/

Quiet/Busy Book. I have not bought one of these yet. Because I am waiting to see more of my sons personality before I commit to a theme, but I cannot wait to get him one of these beautiful busy books for car rides and traveling! In addition, he is currently too young for the small parts.

2

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetPeaStitches84?ref=l2-shopheader-name&section_id=21664682

-Nick and I have a large family because both of our parents are divorced so we are blessed to give our son (ready for it…) 3 Grandmas, 4 Grandpas, 3 Aunts, and 4 Uncles!! My mom gifted my son this adorable book with enough slots to include everyone’s picture. I love to go through the tongue twister of all of Price’s family members and their nicknames for him with this book. I can’t tell you how often I find him giggling “talking” to his families pictures.

3

http://www.geniusbabies.com/baby-s-my-first-photo-album-family-n-friends1.html

-I am dying to have a little girl (fingers crossed one day!) so I can buy her a Candy Kirby Designs doll. They are so beautiful and come in all different skin tones and looks. There is even a little boy version if Price wants one. They are also now available at Nordstrom!!

4

the isabella celebration ballerina doll

Most parents receive a ton of clothes for the first year so I would recommend buying in larger sizes. Most people shop at Carters or Target so if you want to get them something unique check out my favorite kids brands:

Henry & Claire has the cutest rompers around!! They release new styles weekly so you are sure to get them something they do not already have in their closet.

henry

https://henryandclaireapparel.com/

-I am obsessed with these Purllamb pieces for something fun and playful. Who doesn’t love a donut print?! In addition, a portion of their sales goes to orphanages around the world.

purl

https://purllamb.com/

-A cool kid hat is hard to find in store… but only a click away if you checkout George Hats!! This is my go to for a cute summer trucker.

hats

https://george-hats.com/

-If you are looking for something warmer NOXX beanies are the best beanie for a little one. They fit perfect and are such great material! They also come in a nice variety of colors and styles. Once you go NOXX you won’t buy any other brand.

5

 https://www.rocknoxx.com/

-For our baby shower one of my Mother in Laws (I am blessed to have two) got us a newborn photo session. I am beyond happy that she did. I would have felt too guilty spending that kind of money at that time but I am so grateful she did. Most photographers do mini sessions, which usually run about $75 in California area. If you do not want to research a local photographer, you can always get a gift card for a chain photography location in their area like Picture People, Sears or Buy Buy Baby.

I hope you enjoyed this list of our favorites!

XOXO,

Brandy

 

 

 

The good, the bad and the UGLY about Hello Fresh

 

 

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I love cooking I find it very therapeutic and a nice creative outlet for me. Right after having my son, Price, I found we were eating out a lot. It was really hard to find the time to cook and even harder to get out to the grocery shop regularly. Luckily now that Price is almost 9 month I am a lot better at balancing being a mom, working full-time and running our household. I can FINALLY cook again regularly and it makes me so happy! I get so much enjoyment out of making something from scratch and enjoying a meal with my hubby at the end of a long day. In the middle of the desperation of eating out and not having time I decided it would be the perfect time to try Hello Fresh. I had been curious for a while, but thought it was a little over priced (pre-baby). Post baby the convenience of it was worth the cost alone.

Now I want to start by saying this is not a sponsored post!! It’s also not to try to persuade you to use my discount code. This is a true post on my experience. I found it only fair to try it multiple times, so this could be a really good account of the experience of having the subscription.  So, after 4 boxes here are my thoughts:

The good…

-Really convenient weekly delivery system to avoid grocery shopping for dinners.

-This experience taught me how to make new thing like; peanut sauce, risotto, and a crema.

-It took off the pressure of deciding what to make each week.

-You can choose which meals are sent if you do it a timely manner. If I didn’t like the options I simply skipped that week.

-You get each meal bagged with the ingredients you need for just those 2 meals (or 4 if you choose). I found I wasn’t wasting as much food.

-The directions are easy to follow with pictures, and most recipes are quite simple.

The bad…

-The vegetables didn’t always arrive fresh and often wilted before you can complete your box. I even tried changing the day it shipped and making them starting that same evening and found that day 2 and day 3 were still slightly wilted. With this being said most veggies were still completely usable but a couple times I had to re-buy produce to keep it FRESH.

-The first box of 4 items I timed each recipe and found that the meals took about an hour from beginning to plating. Not counting cleaning time. So they took longer than they said on the direction sheets.

-Some of the meals were small so I added a side. I am someone who only eats half of a meal when I go out to dinner so I can eat the rest for lunch the next day to give you an idea of my potions. Some meals though had a good amount of extra sides never extra of the meat.

The ugly…

-The Thai Chicken bowls noodles were literally rock hard!! I even let them boil longer hoping to soften them because I thought they were a little hard but it didn’t help. I later saw on the Hello Fresh Instagram that many customers complained of the same problem.

-While I was more impressed than my husband, when I asked my husband point-blank what he thought he said that most of the meals had a weird twist to try to make them different. Like they were trying too hard to make them have a fancy twist.

 

Overall I definitely would continue this once a month, maybe sometimes more just for the convenience and ability to learn new recipes. I do want to note that I am going to be skipping for a little while because I am working on losing some weight and unfortunately most of these meals aren’t as healthy as I would like. I would highly suggest this subscription to someone who doesn’t know how or doesn’t cook a lot. I could see this really useful for people who need help in the kitchen.

 

If you want to try it out I do have a code for $40 off your 1st box: https://share.hellofresh.com/x/CsFfAy

Don’t be shy if you have any questions, I was trying to keep this short and simple but would be happy to share more. If you have tried Hello Fresh or a similar box share your experience below with us. I am always looking for a way to simplify everyday life.

 

Love,

Brandy

 

Decorating your nursery

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When I started brainstorming for nursery ideas I knew one thing, I didn’t want to go with a traditional theme, that’s just NOT ME. I also knew that I didn’t want to have to repaint the baby room many times so I decided I wanted to choose a neutral wall color that would work for either gender, so that I can revamp it for the next baby easily. I started with the idea of one grey and white striped wall as the focal point. My hubby and I did it ourselves, and while it had its moments of being challenging (prepping the tape definitely caused some small time bickering) we survived and ended up with a pretty good striped wall thanks to the HUBS!! I tend to be someone who likes to wing it, which would have resulted in really crooked lines that varied in width. For the most part, it was a relatively easy process.

Once we found out we were having a little boy I narrowed down my nursery theme to a couple of ideas but settled on a ROCKSTAR/music theme because Nick and I are really into music. To keep the theme from getting cheesy I kept the focus on a neutral color palette with some fun pops that were within the theme.

Here are some tips to style your nursery:

Start with a Vision Board

Before I purchased any items, I pulled a total millennial move, and hopped on Pinterest and made an inspiration board. I am a visual person so I found that having the board made it so much easier to see the look as a whole. If you want to see my board, check it out here: https://www.pinterest.com/msbrandylynn/future-boys-nursery/. Don’t be shy to follow my account for style ideas, decor, recipes’ and life hacks.

If you open my board, you will see that I ended up purchasing a lot of the pieces I pinned. I had to make some substitutions for items that were no longer available, and I did my best to find cheaper versions of pieces where I could.

If you are not into Pinterest no problem! You can build a board on a word document by saving images of pieces you love or you can even go old school and rip out pictures from catalogs, ads, or magazines and make a large collage.

Find Inspiration

While I was pregnant I loved researching on YouTube and following blogs. For stylish and unique nursery ideas, my favorite was this Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/posh_baby_/

Our nursery was actually featured on their account here:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BR_rg3YFQKt/?taken-by=posh_baby_

 

Don’t overdo the Theme

Add fun pops but don’t go too matchy matchy with sets.

Examples I used in my nursery:

*I keep the letter board musical themed (Letterboard: https://www.letterfolk.com/). My favorite so far has been this:

*In his picture wall I have 2 album cover frames that feature some of our favorite artists. Currently we have White Stripes and Leon Bridges (Price’s first concert in my belly) on display.

*Guitar frame and guitar hooks. I keep the hooks hung in the closet to give it some nice hidden detailing in that area.

*Marquee Lightning seemed really rock star to me so I found an amazing large lightning bolt as a huge focal point above the toy box. The other marquee light is a smaller star that was a nice addition to the gallery wall.

*For the rock star theme, I had to add stars so you will find star detailing all around the nursery. I have a metallic silver pillow and mobile which really complimented my gray color palette and the theme. I also chose grey stars for the print of some of his bedding, swaddlers, blankets and burp rags. The Aden & Anais twinkle collection was just too perfect to complement the room.

Last thing I hate to admit is you don’t need to style and complete the nursery before baby arrives (I hope my husband doesn’t see this, if he does, Ugh.. YOU WERE RIGHT BABE!). Our LO is almost 6 months old now and he hasn’t even used his room yet! That being said, it still is my favorite room in the house and it brings me unlimited joy and happiness.

REMEMBER: It’s all in the details..Happy Styling 🙂

Easy Date Night: Backyard Tent

 

Being new parents we realized real quick that we had to rethink our date nights. Now not only do we literally have a mini third wheel, but we needed to come up with some options for at-home dates that actually feel special. With the weather warming up I wanted to think of a fun way to utilize our outdoor space, so when I saw this pop up baby tent it was a no brainer that we needed it in our life!!

 

Now my hubby and I are both foodies, so next was thinking about a fun outdoor meal to enjoy on our date that involved little to no cooking, that is easy to eat while sitting, and quick preparation. I instantly thought of finger foods and then thought it would be fun to make a charcuterie board. The hardest part was narrowing down what to put on my board… so for the first date I decided to go with two. I did a more traditional cheese and meat board and a Mediterranean themed board. Both were so simple to throw together and delicious!!

 

For ambiance we added candles and our favorite oldies mix (we prefer to listen from our record player). Our little guy loved being outside and being able to sit and chew on his teether while checking out the yard so it was a win for all of us!!

 

The best part of this date night idea is that the whole family was able to enjoy it (even our dog, Kingston) and it is really easy to customize to your families preferences. We’ve already redone this date with other themes and setups depending on our mood. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

Here is what you need for the boards:

Cheese and meat board:

Crackers

Meats: Prosciutto and Salami

Cheese Selection: Brie and Cream Cheese (I did this to add with the Peperoncinis to my salami)

Fruits: Grapes, Pear, Apple, Blackberries

**I would have added a nut, but I had that on my other platter

 

Mediterranean Board:

Hummus

Pitas (Fresh, cut into quarters and smaller bite size)

Pita Chips (you do not need both but I wanted a variety)

Feta Cheese

Olive Medley

Nuts: Candied walnuts

Red Bell pepper

Peperoncini

Basil, lemon, or fresh herb for garnish

 

Some other themes I plan on doing:

Game night with finger foods and yard games (large jenga, washers, ladder golf, corn hole)

Wine tasting with a cheese and chocolate pairing

Grill and Chill

Hot dogs and s’mores on the fire pit

Fondue Night

Pizza party

 

How would you do your tent date night??

Easy Buffalo Salad

I love cooking but working full time and being a mom means easy recipes I can throw together! During my pregnancy my hubby and I got hooked on Jack’s Urban Eats (for those Sacramento peeps) Buffalo Chicken Salad. After baby, once I was back into cooking I decided to throw together my own version with the modifications I enjoy. This recipe is super easy to use as a base for your own creation. Enjoy!

What you need:

Buffalo Chicken-you can buy pre-made boneless wings or I got this breaded version at Trader Joe’s which I baked and then coated with Frank’s RedHot wing sauce

Romaine Salad

Green Onions

Feta or cheese of choice

Bartlett Pear or Apple

Candied Walnut or nut of choice

Tortilla Chips or crouton

Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing

Frank’s RedHot wing sauce

Now that you have the ingredients you will start with the lettuce in a bowl. Then layer with the other ingredients. You can make this a single salad or huge helping just add in desired toppings and top with the dressing and a drizzle of extra wing sauce if you are saucy like me!!

You can make this a healthier salad by baking or slow cooking the chicken and tossing it in the wing sauce. You can then dress it with a healthier dressing like my personal fave the Bolthouse Farm brands.

Other great additions:

Avocado

Beans (kidney, garbanzo, edamame, etc.)

Olives

Hard Boiled Egg

Carrots

Celery

 

What is your go to salad recipe for an easy dinner?

5 Must Have Newborn Items

 

 

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First time mom here, and let me tell you to say that registering was overwhelming..is an understatement!! How do you know what you really need and what’s just useless crap? The real answer..you DON’T! I know how annoying it is to hear people say “every baby is different”, but you quickly learn they are right (ugh, I hate that).

While I would love to have the means to buy and try a million things to see what my baby loves, I don’t have the time or MONEY for that. Instead, while I was pregnant I asked my fellow mom friends, researched, and watched every YouTube I could find for advice and started with the most popular items. This is my list of must have newborn baby items. These are items I couldn’t function without.

For easy shopping I added a link to each item either through Amazon or Buy Buy Baby. I am NOT sponsored I just find these easy resources and I have Amazon Prime for free shipping, and free shipping through BBB for registering with them. Don’t forget you can get 20% off at Buy Buy Baby with a coupon (they also take coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond). Again all babies are different so what worked for my LO (little one) unfortunately may not work for yours, but I did try to go with universal items.

 

Baby Brezza One Step Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer

This machine is a lifesaver!! It’s easy to use, fits a good amount of pieces per load, and runs for only 30 minutes. I find that I can prep and load 6 bottles and parts, or 5 bottles and pumping parts in about 3 minutes flat.

After reading various reviews, I saw that a lot of the sterilizers left bottles wet or with droplets of water while this one was said to do a complete dry. Which it delivers on!

The only downfall I have found is that for some reason it leaks a puddle of water under it, every load. I have asked friends and theirs does the same. As a simple fix, I place it over a cookie sheet to catch the water and empty that every couple loads.

https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Brezza-Sterliizer-Dryer-White/dp/B00MYRXSE2/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1497457796&sr=1-1&keywords=baby+brezza+one-step+bottle+sterilizer+and+dryer

 

TRAVEL SYSTEM

I highly suggest for first time parents (or all parents) a Travel System for their car seat and stroller option. It is so much easier to be able to pop your car seat out and throw it onto the stroller in one easy click!

There are many options in sets ranging drastically in pricing. I chose this set because it had really great safety ratings for the car seat and the stroller is really light, has a one hand quick fold and is easy to maneuver.

https://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/britax-b-agile-b-safe-35-travel-system-stroller-in-black/3319562?Keyword=BRITAX+2016+B-Agile+3+Stroller+in+Black

Note to weak armed Mamas: this car seat is a little heavier than others. My spaghetti arms got used to it pretty quickly though.

 

Graco Pack N’ Play

While most people get a pack n’ play for traveling and even to use as a sleeping option. The reason this made the must have list is because we set one up in the living room! Why? It’s the perfect one stop station for diaper changes and napping in our main living area of the house. Our son has a nice changing table in his nursery that is yet to be used because he’s not sleeping in there and it’s on the other side of the house.

https://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/graco-reg-pack-39-n-play-reg-element-trade-playard-and-bassinet-in-darcie-trade/1060924902?Keyword=graco+pack+n+play+metro

There are many options for Pack N’ Plays depending on your style preference. I do suggest getting one of the styles that features a changing table so you can get the multi use out of it. I do not recommend the more expensive version with the bassinet piece, as I am not sure that is a safe sleeping environment.

Boppy Newborn Lounger

THIS WAS A GAME CHANGER! It’s the perfect little spot for your little one to sit when they’re a mini little nugget. I think it was also a great way to get my LO used to sleeping on his back. I would use it to let them fall asleep in and then transition him to his bassinet as it is not a safe sleeping environment. It also served as a nice chair to lay in while we bottle fed him.

Wubbanub Pacifier

I know not everyone is into giving their baby pacifiers and that is fine by me. No judgement here either way. I also know that some doctors (and people in general) suggest waiting to start pacifying..again fine by me. I am ALL for not mom shaming (blog on this to come) and my mantra is if it works for you and your baby then do it.

If you choose to give your baby a pacifier, I definitely recommend the WubbaNub or a similar pacifier product. Say what?! We liked to just call it a Wubba. What makes it special?! It stays in place when your LO is mini because the little stuffed animal weighs it down which also keeps it in the babies mouth unlike regular pacifiers. It is also easy to find and the little animal gives your little one something to grasp on to. I hear that as your child ages they often bond with this little guy. Best of all it is really easy to clean the WubbaNub brand because you can literally throw it in the washing machine (Note: I have only tried this with this brand). We literally NEVER EVER EVER leave home without one.

Downside:Baby can’t sleep with this pacifier.

 

Whoop there it is! Let me know what other must haves I am missing!!? It takes a village..