Saturday, December 26, 2015

Panorama Test

My has the gender finding out tools changed! I was able to get a simple blood test done last week that will tell us the gender of the baby along with any chromosomal issues, its called the Panorama Test. My doctors up here do not offer the test so I went to my old OB office to have it done! We should have the results in a week or so, which has me on pins and needles! While I was there I had to fill out some paperwork, some of which included my previous births and genders. 
I do not have ANY idea or inkling on what this baby is. Every time I have been 125% sure it's a girl and now I am really leaning towards boy. The boys are all rooting for a SISTER so we shall see. My heart is legit torn, I think I have gotten so used to the idea of being a boy mom over the years and since we thought we were done I never explored the mindset of having a girl. BUT we shall see in about 7 days what this little bean is! And for once Jordan is on board with knowing! If you have followed my other births he did not want to know the gender at ALL for the boys so I am excited that he is excited to know as well!

Hope you all had a magical Christmas with your loved ones! 
Heres the only family picture we were able to snag! 

Cannot wait to share the news with you guys!! Prayers for a healthy baby!!! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Here we go again!

When I started this little blog we only had one child and were expecting #2, I made so many amazing mom friends that have become life long friends through blogging, typing posts has become a not so normal occurrence for me so Ill be documenting a majority of this pregnancy through vlogs on YouTube, its just easier to talk vs type! :) I will be sharing the whole pregnancy this way, for 52 weeks, showing the good, the bad, the awkward and the beautiful, I have always been a pretty open person and talking about my anxiety and fear I think will help a ton, I know making this video already released a lot of it for me. So here is the start. Cannot wait to document it all!!

Yesterday we had a teeny scare which I will be sharing in this weeks video but all is good today, tomorrow I go in for blood work for the gender scan which I have never KNOWN this early before, so hopefully the first week of January we will receive the news or whether this bean is a boy or a girl. EVERYONE and their mom has told me the odds are NOT in my favor for a girl and I kinda agree that I think its a boy so finding out as early as possible is HUGE for my mind haha! We have some names and honestly I have been more focused on the boy name because that is the reality of my life these past 6 years. So here we go, next summer we will have 5 kids under 7. Is that even normal? I think not, but its our reality haha Lets do this!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

And time for the next chapter!

I cannot wait to share this journey through our 5th pregnancy in 2016! I will be documenting the pregnancy and postpartum weekly on YouTube for 52 weeks. I am hoping this sharing will help me cope with the raw and real feelings of being overwhelmed but overjoyed over this new adventure! Heres to a new adventure! 

Ill be documenting on Instagram and YouTube! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Elderberry Syrup (Cold + Flu Protection)

Repost from last year! Well, its that time of year again. Fall sickness is just around the corner and every year I get the same way. ANAL. haha. I become a freak washing my hands and making sure to stay away from people who look sick. I just hate being sick and having my kids be sick so I am all about trying my best to prevent it before it hits! Last year was the boys first year at preschool and shockingly we did not have many sick days! I was kind of shocked and I survived Sams pregnancy without getting sick, minus the typical head cold but we had a fairly calm flu season last year. 

This year I still want to be prepared. I did elderberry pills last year so this year I am upping the ante and made Elderberry Syrup. I was going to buy it until I saw the price tag. It was like $25 for 5oz. No thanks! So I decided to make my own. You know since I am all Martha Stewart like over here brewing my kombucha like a pro! It was SHOCKINGLY EASY!
So whats the magic about this syrup??

It is packed full of antioxidants. It is said to relieve symptoms of colds and the flu, some swear it's more effective than TamiFlu! People use it also as a preventive once fall begins, which is what I will be doing! I have read such amazing things that I had to try it! 

Here's what you need!
(I ordered it ALL on amazon for like $35)
::I am stocked to make a ton of syrup::
2/3 cup Dried Elderberries (bought 1 pound bag on amazon
3 1/2 cups water
2 TBS Ginger Root (amazon
1 tsp Cinnamon (amazon
1/2 tsp ground cloves (amazon
1 cup Raw Honey (amazon

Directions: 
Bring water, spices and elderberries to a boil. Cover and Simmer for 45 minutes.
ENJOY THE AMAZING SMELL IN YOUR HOUSE. It's awesome.
Drain the elderberries and discard them saving the syrup in a jar.
Once it has cooled add your honey.
BAM. 
Elderberry Syrup is complete. 
Seriously one of the easiest recipes I have done. 
Dosing is easy too.
For kids 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp
For adults 1/2 TBSP to 1 TBSP.
We are going to take daily for immunity boost!
If and when sickness occurs take the dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
I am so excited to see how our family holds up this fall. KNOCK on wood. I pray this helps! The kids love the taste and have no problem at all taking it! I use a syringe so it's easy for them to just pop in their mouth and suck it down! 
Let me know if you guys make it!!! Would love to hear your thoughts!!
Happy Flu and Cold Season!!
xoxo

Friday, October 9, 2015

Outside that Comfort Zone!!

I am a huge lover of my comfort zone, that warm fuzzy place where I feel nice and safe. I usually dont like to leave that zone but since having kids I have definitely had to take risks and chances to expose them to life. If only I could keep them inside a little bubble, but that isnt realistic. I want them to be go getters and take life by the reins and run wild with no regrets, which mean this mama needs to face her fears as well and pave the way. 
So this summer I stepped WAY outside of my comfort zone and did a few new things, the first comfort zone breaker was taking on a brand new hobby. Stand up Paddleboarding and SUP Yoga!!! Jordan and I took a class earlier this summer and fell in love and since we have a river across the street we decided to invest in some boards and live it up!!!! 
We even made it into a family event and took the boys as often as possible!
Second up was CIZE, which is a dance program and I AM NOT a dancer but oh my goodness this program rocked my socks off. I was sweating insanely, way more than I do in normal cardio BUT I was having FUN!!! The best part is you do not need any equipment, you are just DANCING! He breaks it down into 8 counts just like a dance class and its amazing! Here are my results! 

What I lost: 3 lbs and 6 inches!!! 
What I gained:
Confidence in myself and actually not HATING dancing!! I am usually that person who never dances at weddings and this allowed me to figure out how my body moves and not be so nervous and self conscious about what I look like. It was shockingly good for my soul! 

If you want info on Cize email me at alliej86@gmail.com

Both of these things might not seem that big of a deal but they have been huge for me. I feel more free and weirdly more positive in every aspect of my life. I will do a separate post on the world of Stand Up Paddleboarding and how amazing it is and WHY you should get one asap!!!


Happy Friday, attack those fears! 






Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies- 21 Day Fix Approved!

This recipe has become almost a weekly treat in our house. These are the first cookies I have ever made without real flour and sugar and while they are different its a GOOD different!!!! They are sweetened with maple syrup or honey and are seriously such a great alternative to regular cookies!!
Here is the recipe:
3 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4c melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

optional addition I have been doing is about 1/3 cup peanut butter! 

Preheat over to 375. Mix all ingredients. After batter is ready I place in the fridge for it to harden and then I drop by TBSP full onto parchment paper and bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown! 
Jude basically tries to eat them off the pages. The cool thing is these cookies are UBER moist and dense so you dont need many to fill you up! And since they fit into the 21 Day Fix they are a winner in my book! 

If you would like further info on the 21 Day Fix or FIXATE and how I have lost 40 lbs from the program please email me alliej86@gmail.com or follow my journey on Facebook or Instagram 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Frappe

I am a pumpkin spice frappe obsessed lady! But I am not a fan of how calorie high they are so I sought out to make a healthier version. I used vanilla stevia drops to sweeten to my liking and it was tasty!
 I also topped with homemade whipped cream (not low calorie haha) but I use organic heavy cream and whip it with some powdered sugar and its a million times better than cool whip (without the nasty ingredients, I never knew how bad it was) once you make your own you will never go back!!!!
Enjoy loves.  Xoxo

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cooking with Kids SIMPLIFIED


I love cooking, and I love baking but I wish I loved doing it with my kids. We do cook and bake together sometimes, usually I try to when its just me and the oldest but more times than not the littles want to join in the fun and it turns into a WWF brawl no matter how prepared I think I am for the madness. This weekend we decided to make cookies and I no joke kept pushing it off and pushing it off until finally at 6pm on Sunday I couldnt push it off any longer. I got everything out and looked at the directions and thought, what the heck? Why dont I just premeasure it all into cups so there is no fighting over who scoops what and who cracks which egg. So I measured everything and put the ingredients away before the troops piled in on their chairs! It was FLAWLESS!!!! Minus they both wanted to do the chocolate chips so I just split them up into two cups and voila, no drama! By far the quickest and most stress less batch of cookies ever made in the Darr house. Hope this helps you mamas as much as it helped me!

Friday, July 10, 2015

The END of exerCIZE!

Okay I AM NOT a dancer! I did cheerleading in high school and college but I was always the tumbler and not so much the dancer. Homegirl doesnt have rhythm at ALL!!! Shaun T is launching a new dance program which TERRIFIED me at first because I usually get UBER embarassed at dancing but since I am at home I dont really give a crap....unless Jordan walks in, then I STOP! So I gave it a shot and tried the sneak peek of it on Beachbody on Demand (our netflix for workout programs, free 30 days if you're interested just holler and Ill get you set up) and I WAS IN LOVE!!!!

Shaun T teaches you step by step a dance routine, and breaks it down to a beginner level, sure it took me a lot longer than the normal person but HOLY SWEAT pouring off me. I HATE cardio so to be dancing it didnt feel like work but you are working your buns off! Here is a sneak peek of me mixing in some GOD AWFUL cheerleading facials and the sneak peek dance. I had to make it fun with facials or else you would focus on my not so hot moves hahahahaha

ENJOY


The program officially LAUNCHES on July 20th. We are doing a fun TEST GROUP starting in August! If you would like to join us leave your email below or email me alliej86@gmail.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

4 kids and hundreds or pregnancy tests.

“I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for First Response. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

When you have 4 kids you become very familiar with pregnancy tests. You can see a faint pink line a mile away. I have always bought First Response to check with each of the boys pregnancies. Even if my cheaper brands read clear, I always retested with First Response pregnancy tests because they are over 99% accurate!
I honestly have a cupboard full of them for each month. I am that person who takes a test 5 days before a period is supposed to start just because. Taking tests has become second nature to us but I am honestly obsessed with First Responses early detection tests. I am that person who has to know the MINUTE I am pregnant! Jordan totally thinks I am insane at how many tests I take but it's just a ritual and something I have to do or else I will be anxious until the minute my period arrives. Jordan and I also use plenty of tests because we do not use birth control. I get asked a lot why that is and how it is even obtainable. We do not use birth control because of our faith first and foremost and I am honestly not a fan of birth control and added hormones, I have enough crazy hormones that I don't want to pay around with them! haha We have never actually "practiced" it to its full effect until after Sam, clearly 4 pregnancies and 1 miscarriage in 5 years proves we werent very accurate but now we honestly have it down to a science with Pink Pad tracking and paying close attention to other details (I will do a while post on NFP another time) but pregnancy tests are still a part of my every month routine because no matter how closely we follow our charts I am a very anxious person who has to take tests regardless a few days before a period is due just to clear my anxious heart! The best part is that their technology can detect up to 6 days before a missed period which means less anxiety for testing ladies! Their new design has them easier to handle as well with a curved shaped design to fit perfectly into a womans hand, there is also longer handle and a 50% wider tip to ensure you get the correct amount of urine for the test. So every month you will find me with a bright pink box in my cart because the tests are available at drugstores and grocery stores and easy to spot! The best part is that you also can test ANY time of the day so you dont have to worry if you missed your first or second bathroom break of the day, you can test ANY time! You can read more about their tests here http://www.firstresponse.com/ 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Insecurities...and Keeping it REAL!

I get comments on social media all the time thanking me for sharing REAL life vs just the pretty picture perfect version and I honestly spent years trying to pretend life was perfect. When I would snap a picture I would angle it so you couldn't see the messy kitchen sink full of dishes or the dirty clothes and shoes sprawled all over the floor. I didn't want people to start assuming that I was a slob or not a good housewife, so I would angle the kids just right to get the most picture perfect shot. 

That was the old me. Through the years of play dates and meet ups I have loosened up a tad. I have met other real women who arent afraid to share the real details of life and the truth that God forbid they dont have it all together. 

I cant tell you how REFRESHING it is to find other women who are open with the fact that life isnt perfect and that their kids also eat off the floor and that there is really NO 5 second rule, let's not kid ourselves, there have been days where Sam finds food from yesterday and downs it like it's filet mignon. I have the two of the most amazing friends that shockingly are both named Sarah and married to a Matt and have 4 kids....we all live on the same street weirdly enough. (Talk about friendship fate) but I feel at home in their homes. I dont feel like I am walking on egg shells when I am with them because they are so real and raw. When I told the one that her house was so clean so drug me upstairs to show me the bedroom and the piles of clothing and it made me LOVE her even more. 
We assume that everyone has picture perfect homes and their children are dressed to the nines each day. We assume that they have perfectly portion meals and their kids never spill their drinks on the floor. That their bathrooms are sparkly and clean. That their children never fight or hit eachother. That them and their spouse never EVER fight. That their children stop at the first "NO" and never push the limits. We assume that their house is a magical land of rainbows and butterflies with cleaning fairies and glitter. 

But lets be real. 

Some days my house is clean. But more times than not there is dog hair all over. Their is dirt everywhere. I steam the floors and within minutes the giant dog runs through with muddy paws. Our mud room which could be a beautiful picture perfect room with lined up shoes in their cubbies....is a legit MUD ROOM with dirt chunks all over and shoes covering the floor.  My kids want to wear only PAJAMAS. All day long. They even cry if they cant wear their PJ pants under their real jeans. Even when its 70 degrees out. Our dinner, while always at the table is far from conventional, most nights are side dish is just red peppers and broccoli (not steamed or cooked). Jude spills drinks at least every night of the week. I cannot tell you the amount of times the entire jar of honey or maple syrup has spilled. Our table is sticky almost daily and covered with glue and glitter. Our bathrooms no matter how many times I clean them still smell like urine. Sam never fails to PEE all over the floor the minute I take him out of the bathtub. We have numerous times out a day and sadly I raise my voice a LOT! I feel like a complete failure of a parent at least a few times a week, if not daily. The boys can be downright amazing or downright hellish. Just depends on the day :) Our house is complete and utter madness but it's our madness and I love it.

So please I beg you not to compare yourselves to others. Some just share the picture perfect pictures but that's not the real deal. We all have madness in our lives and our children make us want to drink a lot of vodka and slam our heads into walls. We all lose our cool and yell. We all say things that we regret. We won't always get along with our spouse and see eye to eye but it's OKAY!!! Life isnt about comparing...it's about making the most of what YOU HAVE. Some days you might have it all figured out and go to bed feeling like a rockstar and the next day your baby rips his diaper off during naptime and spreads poop all over his crib and the other flushes a wash cloth down the toilet and floods the bathroom to where it is leaking through the 100 year old walls into the office below while your husband is out of town.

Enjoy the madness of life, you guys. 
We all have behind the scenes madness and that is why I love sharing ours with you. 
xoxo

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Postpartum Hell {feels good to get this out there}

I finally made a video on my journey through post partum depression and anxiety. I talk a pretty good chunk about it to my close friends and family but decided that I needed to get it off my chest because it is a very heavy burden to carry along and I want to try to completely free myself from it. This wonderful situation is the sheer factor of why I am terrified to have more children. The fear of living that hell again is far too much for me to consider at the time being. Also there is not a lot of information out there because a lot of women do not want to talk about it which is why I felt that I needed to. 

This is nothing to be ashamed about. EVER. Your hormones are all out of whack and its such a hard transition as is, so this just creates a firestorm within you. Although I never ever want to feel this again,  the fact that I went through this and made it out stronger is a huge blessing. It has formed me into who I am today and I am a much better person than I was before. 
I pray this helps someone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Time Management (from a trainwreck planner)

I won't lie...managing my time makes me want to stab my eyes out. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to schedule my weeks and days with lists and sticky notes and NOTHING has ever worked. EVER. I finally found the most amazing way to manage my time. I am two weeks in and things are flowing so much better not only in house cleanliness but also in my marriage. DOUBLE WIN!!! Here is the video I made on time management and how I have been using Google Calendar!
What are your issues with managing your time? Have you tried this?

My favorite part is that it alerts me 30 mins before my next thing on the list so I can get it in my head and can start wrapping up whatever I am doing to prepare for the next thing on my list!!!
xoxo

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From Blogging Mom of 1 to Work at home mom of 4 in 5 years!

A few years ago when I started blogging I finally stopped feeling alone. I started blogging honestly at first to have a place for our family to follow our lives without having to call everyone weekly. Soon I started finding other moms out there in the interwebs that were just like me and semi lost in the world of motherhood. As the years went on I stopped pretending that life was all rainbows and butterflies and loosened up a tad on what I blogged about. I started to share a real look into our lives and honestly I have pulled a tad back on blogging and started IGing the madness but I hope to come back to blogging in the coming months. Instead of blogging about how amazing my children were ( I mean hello child prodigies) I started shifting the focus to the real behind the scene things that was going on. My children wreaking havoc through our house (that Jude is special) and letting go of what I thought motherhood should and would be. Through the years I went from being an expert mom of 1 to a mom without answers of 4 little men. I have thrown in the towel on pretending to be perfect and have embraced the craziness of mom life. Instead of trying to be supermom I have decided to just rock out as a normal mom.  There are so many stigmas attached to motherhood and I hope through the months as I revamp this blog I can confront so many of those issues a lot of my friends and I also have felt the past few years. I still can rock out some crafts from pinterest and sometimes I bust out my fancy camera to document them. 

I have made so many amazing friends and have grown so much over these years JUST from blogging and surrounding myself with motivating people. I haven't chatted much about this on my blog because I have been so busy switching from mom mode to working at home mom mode this past year. A year ago I teamed up with one of my mom blog friends from years ago for a new job as a fitness coach. When I started I had 30 lbs to lose so I was far from a fitness expert so I did not expect much to happen. I started with a program called the 21 Day Fix and honestly just started for the sole purpose of getting myself back in shape. (The past 5 years contained 4 pregnancies, 1 miscarriage and a combined 200lbs gained) so I had a lot of work to do. Well I summed it up in this video because like I said videos are easier for me. But this past week I was sent on an all inclusive vacation with our company (that company I just started with a year ago...insane) and felt compelled to share a tad more of my story. 

I cry through this so please do not hold it against me. Hopefully my feelings on motherhood will help you work through your life as well. I love my children more than life itself so it was hard to finally get those words off my chest.

Here is a peek at the vacation. Cannot wait to share the full details on Jenn and I's blogging love affair that brought us together and opened this amazing door for me. Who would have thought blogging would have brought my best friends into my life....and now we are coworkers!?
So with that said it's time to jump back into blogging....more to come on motherhood, marriage, and the madness of life. xoxo

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mothers Day Gift Idea ::Our Family Trees::

My amazing and talented best friend just opened a new shop specializing in the cutest personalized family plaques. They are clothespin families and the way she paints them blows me away. Here is the one she made our family. 
I seriously about fainted when I saw what she dressed Jordan in....OVERALLS and he is BAREFOOT!!!!! Spot on!! And then the boys in bowties. This is going to be the most treasured family keepsake. She just opened her shop and its the perfect time because Mother's Day is right around the corner. I hope you all will stop over and give her some loving. Even if you don't purchase follow her on IG to see all the adorable stuff she makes. Rumor has it she is doing a GIVEAWAY this week so dont miss it! 


 I am literally obsessed and have a feeling this will be my new go-to gift for weddings and families. 
Happy Shopping lovers!! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SIX....

Vincent turned six on Monday. I didnt get a chance to blog because the poor guy got an ear infection. I am stunned just how much can happen within 6 years and I made a video chatting about what was transpired. I never imagined any more children than Vincent so to have 4 now is insane. On my drive home from the airport (will share my whole Cancun trip soon) I was talking to my mom about Vincent turning 6 and honestly I block out a lot of our past because it doesn't really do much to dwell on things but 6 years ago I was about to give birth to our little Vincent, Jordan and I were only engaged and I had no insurance so I was on medicare (or medicaid I get them mixed up) and Jordan was working 40 hours a week and doing his MBA at night so we barely saw him. We were struggling bad with finances and I honestly am not sure anyone knew that about us, because I wasn't on social media back then. But anyways its insane all that can happen in such a short time. I never imagined 4 kids, I never imagined having a kick butt job (sans a college degree) and being able to stay home with my children. I honestly feel like a lot of my drive comes from seeing Jordan bust his butt for us during those rough years. Its insane to think of all that has happened and I hope this makes sense.....this is me. Sun poisoned no make up raw off the plane but I just had to share this and get if off my chest. PS videos are easier for me than typing clearly! ;) 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kombucha 101

I made a video last week on what Kombucha is. I have so many questions and emails regarding this amazing wonder drink that I am obsessed with. I have been brewing it every since last summer and it's so darn easy and saves so much money! Here is a quick video on the details!!! And yes the scoby terrified me for months. I refused to touch it and used tongs to move it! haha!

PS I got my hair cut and got bangs. I am loving the change up!! It has been such a fun switch because I wear my hair in a messy bun a ton so now I semi look put together because I have bangs! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2 HEALTHY treats for your family.

Last month I was invited to share some recipes on Rebecca Regnier's show Full Plate. I love Rebecca because not only is she a boy mom, she is so laid back and cool! I shared two of my favorite treats for my sweet tooth addiction! I love chocolate and getting my body healthy again I decided that the only way to make it work was finding ways to incorporate healthier sweets in my diet. Here is the clip from our segment! 




Here are the two recipes in full:

Cookie Dough Balls. 
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup nut butter of choice (i love almond butter)
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Melt the coconut oil and mix all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper and freeze. Transfer into a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer.

Shakeology Protein Balls-
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup honey
1 cup chocolate shakeology powder.

Mix all together and roll into small bite sized balls. I store mine in the fridge.  

Thanks again to Rebecca for having me on the show! If you have any questions about these recipes or other recipes let me know!  xoxo

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Citrus Lane Box

I seriously love these boxes! Its such a nice surprise every month. I am not much of a toy buyer and I threw away so many baby toys so its nice for Sam to get some age appropriate toys vs Lego's and choking hazards that the older boys play with! Here is a peek at this months box!
Sam who is a cup snob actually loves the sippy cup! It will be great for him to grow into. Jude really liked the flash cards and its nice because they are on a ring hook so they don't get lost! And the bath game is Vincents favorite! So the box made all the boys happy! I had the hot cocoa on a stick for a treat one day when the boys aren't looking. I mean it wouldn't be fair to pick one of them so I'll sacrifice and drink it myself!!!

Here is a link for 50% off your first box. It brings the cost to $15. Also a little insider tip. If you go to cancel each month they will offer you 50% off the next box if you stay! So you never really have to pay full price. It kind of rocks!!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Baby Must Haves

Well it only took me 4 babies to fully narrow this list down to my all time favorite items for a baby in their first year. If you would have asked me after baby 1 I would have said things like a boppy or bumbo seat or a swing but as we had more kids we barely used those things and noticed we didn't need near as much baby gear! So here if my refined list!
1. Jennifer Ann baby set- This was hands down the BEST purchase I made from all the boys baby years. It was so worth it for those tiny personalized leggings, lovie, hat and blanket. I had millions of compliments on them and Sam still uses his blanket. Its such an amazing keepsake and the fabric is 100% organic and Jennifer is AMAZING!! A mom made business! 

2. Sophie The Giraffe So Pure teether- The older 3 had the normal Sophie that squeaks but I found this one for Sam and these are WAY better. Easier to grip for their tiny hands and no noise! Plus there are two different teething textures. Double the fun! haha

3. Sleep Sacks- I LOVE THESE!!!! I just had the Carters brands fleece ones and they were a life saver. I am a huge psycho about babies and blankets so this was the best of both worlds. They were in a nice cozy cocoon while they slept and I didn't have to stress about anything in their face! 

4. Rock and Play Sleeper- YOU HAVE TO HAVE THIS!!!!! They were not around for babies 1-3 but holy crap we had one for Sam and it was a life changer. He slept next to us in our room in this for 6 months or until he started rolling over at night. It was so handy. Lightweight so you can move it all over. I would carry it downstairs for naps and play time. Its the BEST!  

5. Cloud B Sound Animal- We call him Mr. Foxy and Sam is obsessed. He sleeps with him every nap and at night. The sounds totally help calm him and he loves to cuddle and play with him. They have all different animals but we loved the Fox! 

6. Munchkin Straw Cup-  The best cup we have EVER had! Its a straw cup but the straw is weighted so they can sip from any angle. So they can flip it up and still get the flow. Its seriously a game changer. Sam is OBSESSED and it's bad because he gets angry at any straw cup that doesn't act the same!! We have created a monster! But it's a great cup! 

7. Sqooshi Reuseable Pouches-  Sam sucked those food pouches down so darn quick that we started to make our own. These are easy to fill and clean. I would just mix food up in the blender and pour directly into these and feed him. So much cheaper than buying them! 

8. Phil & Ted's Clip On High Chair-  This chair has been the best. We used to have a high chair that attached to an actual chair which was great but it used up seating for an adult so this chair is amazing because it clips onto the table! I also clip it onto the island counter. Its easy to pack up and take along on trips as well. Amazing purchase. 

Those are my refined must have baby items!!! What are your must haves? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#40KINDDAYS

I usually am horrible at lent and end up always giving in to whatever it is that I give up!!
This year I decided that the things I were choosing to give up really did not have a huge effect. If I gave up chocolate who is that helping. Yes I understand it is teaching me to sacrifice and not always get what I want but I would rather DO SOMETHING for others and impact other people during this lent season. For my birthday I did the #bdaygiftsoflove and it was so much fun. I gave 29 gifts of love and it was honestly the best birthday ever. Giving to others gave me such a warm feeling in my heart and it was honestly such a high. To do something that someone isn't expecting is awesome!
Today Luke and I had a lunch date before Mass and gave our waiter a bigger tip than usual to jump start our #40kinddays It was just something simple and easy to do. The acts don't have to be big or elaborate. There are so many ways to spread love for free. Send someone an email you haven't been in touch with in awhile. Write your childs teacher a thank you note. Open a door for someone. Bake your neighbor a treat. Invite friends over for dinner. Volunteer somewhere. I have a board on pinterest with tons of ideas I had for the birthday gifts of love and a lot of them are FREE! 
So please consider joining along with my besties and I as we spend this next 40 days spreading love!! I promise you will be so fired up and love life more by trying to make someone elses day brighter! 
Post your pics and hashtag #40kinddays 
xoxo

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

29 #bdaygiftsoflove

Yesterday was hands down the best birthday I have ever had. 
A few weeks ago a mom friend of mine posted her birthday where she gave away acts of love all day on her birthday. I followed her journey and it inspired me to follow suit and do the same for my 29th Birthday!! It was fairly simple and honestly the best way to spend my birthday. So often people are only concerned about what THEY will get for THEIR birthday so I turned the tables and boy did that feel good. I gave my mom a gift card, surprised a few friends and family and also surprised complete strangers. I hope that I made their day and gave them a smile! Here is a peek at the day! 
My wish is that others will carry this trend out and follow suit! Vincent already wants to do this for his 6th birthday coming up so I am excited to see what he plans for his 6 gifts of love. So this year instead of spending the day just for you give this a try. I have a feeling you will see the world in a brand new light!!! Thank you so much for all the LOVE and support and well wishes yesterday on IG through my posts!! I have never felt so much love!!

If you do follow suit:
 hashtag #bdaygiftsoflove 
and
 tag me @alliedarr so I can cheer you on!!! 

I also started a board on pinterest if you want some inspiration
Much LOVE!!! Spread that LOVE!!! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My face.....is MELTING!

Okay the title is not for real! Haha my face wasn't really melting but it sure as heck looked like it when I caked on this homemade biore mask thing. I had to try it out and learn the mistakes before I could post and boy did I learn them!  
You will only need two things
1 1/2 TBS milk (I used almond)
1 packet gelatin

I will cut this in half next time because I had more than enough. Microwave or heat on the stove for 10-15 seconds until hot and apply to your face. I did the entire face and I would recommend just the T zone. Your forehead and nose and maybe chin. Let's just say it glues to your face and doesn't feel too great as it rips off teeny hairs haha. 

Allow to dry and peel away! That's it. Its a homemade biore strip! It is grossly fascinating seeing it grip your blackheads. I even ran into Jordan's office to show him my my nose. He wasn't as fascinated as I was, buzz kill! So peel away and enjoy your baby bum soft skin!!! 

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Homemade Marshmallows

I have been promising Vincent, my oldest to make homemade marshmallows since Christmas break. I couldn't for the life of me find unflavored gelatin at the grocery so I had to order from my trusty Amazon! I was so excited when the gelatin arrived. I actually used it for another project that I will blog about tomorrow, a face mask! But today is all about these amazing marshmallows and how to make them at home. Clearly the first step is get your hands on some unflavored gelatin. A few of my friends found it in the baking aisle haha the same one I looked in but now that I know the brand and box I bet I can't find it. Its by Knox and comes in an orange box
Here is a rundown of what you need!
3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 cup water 
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar for dusting 
In your mixer combine 1/2 cup water and the gelatin. Using your whipper attachment whip the gelatin and allow to sit. It will harden but no worries because you will be adding a steaming syrup to it soon.

In a sauce pan bring to boil 1/2 cup water, the sugar and your syrup. Boil until it reaches 240 on a candy thermometer. Yes you will need a candy thermometer because a meat thermometer won't go that high haha trust me I looked. 

Once it reaches 240 take off the heat and add to the gelatin in your mixer. Add in vanilla. Whip on high until it forms a very thick mallow whip. I am talking thick. Like putty consistency. The next part is the hardest because its sticky. Powder your 9x13 pan with powdered sugar and get the marshmallow mixture to the pan! Since its sticky wet your hands to push the marshmallow into the pan. I had to wet my hands a lot but it's the best way to not become a sticky mess. Dust the top with powdered sugar and allow to dry uncovered overnight. 

Using a bread knife cut the marshmallows out. I even used scissors to help me cut them. Then place in a container. They are like crack. They are so freaking good.
We did hot cocoa with them and also just ate them as is. I did smores last night with them and they were hands down the best snores ever. The coolest part is they don't catch fire like a normal marshmallow. The outsides just turn a nice golden brown. Even if you catch them direct on fire, the fire goes away. Makes me wonder why store bought marshmallows do that? But none the less Smores with these are a MUST! 
Smores tip. Ghirardelli squares are the bomb! And cinnamon grahams. I love the Carmel squares with a toasted marshmallow on cinnamon grahams. Makes me want to jump out of bed and make one right now! 

Since its winter we make them inside on the gas stove haha. Probably not the safest way but it works. You can also microwave of bake them in your oven. Gotta do what you gotta do when the smores cravings come and there is a foot of snow outside. 

Happy Marshmallow making!
Xo

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fish Owning 101. RIP Bethenney Frankelfish

Over Christmas break Jordan decided out of the blue he wants to get fish and walks in with an aquarium and all the goodies. We get it set up and think the next logical step is to add fish, so off we go to the pet store to buy our new friends. When we got there the lady asked if we had our tank set up and we excitedly said yes, because after all, we're pretty much fish pet pros at this point. She said the water should be in the tank for a week or so and we just laughed it off, its just fish, how hard can it be....little did we know. So we all picked out our fish. The boys were so excited about this new adventure. I picked a bright pink one and named her Bethenney Frankelfish, and I honestly don't think we named the others because Bethenney was the boss clearly. With a name like that you run the freaking fish community. We also grabbed the normal fun stuff like fish caves and treasure chests. I am pretty sure Jordan was more giddy then the boys. By the way taking 4 kids to a pet store is an awesome dose of birth control. Holy moly. So if you wanna borrow my kids for your teens, just let me know!
 PS how cute is this England phonebooth I found to remember our trip there. Score!
So we got the fish home and slowly added them into the tank. They were so excited to get out of the plastic bubble bag they were in and explore their new domain. All was well....until a few hours later. They all lost their spunk and started swimming uber slow. One by one they died. It was so awkward. "Mom, Bethenny Frankelfish isn't moving anymore". So within day 1 of being fish professional owners they all died. 

So....maybe that girl at the pet store was right about having your tank set up for a week or so before adding the fish so proteins can build up. RIP Bethenney Frankelfish. 

We decided to let the tank be for a good month before we added a new fish family. This time Jordan and I went to the store and stocked up on fish. It was awesome because they were BOGO sale. Let me tell you, those darn colored fish are not cheap, almost $10 each so a BOGO sale was exciting also because we had killed 4 already haha so we got 8 fish and headed on our way. The lady at the checkout told us about their 2 week return policy on fish, clearly we missed that memo on round one of fish buying. So home we went with our new crew of fish. I named mine instantly, still mourning the death of Bethenney Frankelfish I then pondered on a new awesome name, thus Vicki Guppleston was created. 
Home we went with our new surprise fish family for the boy . They weren't as excited as we hoped, haha they were hoping for candy. Sorry bros, get pumped for the fish! We added the fish slowly into the water that had been sitting in the tank now for a month and waited....and nothing bad happened. So we let the boys name some fish. Our fish family is now complete. Vincent named the pink.one Charlotte, which was our baby girl name haha, then we have BioLizard, Bowser, Zip, Zap and Zoom, Molly and Vicki Guppleston aka Queen Bee of the fish community. 
Its been about a month and our fish are still kicking. Errrr....swimming. They are actually a really cool addition to the family. Jordan loves having them in his office because it calms him and the boys love staring at them! So round 2 of fish owning has went swimmingly well. Vicki Guppleston is the queen on all the fish in the land....tank! So there you have it, if you get fish listen to the pet store pros vs snubbing off their info like we did haha. 

Happy Tuesday!