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! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Where I am at....on more kids.

This past year has been full of so many emotions for me and I still get a lump in my throat truly wrapping my head around the fact that we are most likely closing this chapter on pregnancy and newborns. The past 6 years have been full of all things babies, between 4 healthy pregnancies and one miscarriage my mind had been wrapped up on due dates and milestones for my children. Typically by the time our babies hit their first birthday we have been pregnant. When Jude turned one I knew in my heart that he for sure wasn't our last.

Sam turned one last month and I really haven't fully accepted it. I don't know why all of a sudden its hitting me like a ton of bricks this morning, just the raw reality of it. So here's exactly what is going through my head. I would love another baby. I really would. Jordan and I have chatted about it BUT here's the thing it boils down to and I have been sorting out in my head and why its not right at this time to have more.

I have always wanted a girl. Call my crazy but the moment I first got pregnant I knew it was going to be a girl. Well fat chance sister, 4 healthy baby boys fill this house and bounce off these walls and while they have meltdowns and scream like girls they are indeed boys. Boys that love trains, cars and ninjas. All things that are foreign to me haha. I love my boys more than life itself and know I was meant to be a boy mom for a reason. But there is still that aching in my heart. Call me crazy but every time I  see a father daughter dance, I cry. I cry because I know just how much I love my daddy and also because Jordan will never dance with a daughter. Thank God for those mother daughter dances I will get. I know Jordan doesn't even care haha so this is all on my heart. I think about my mom and our relationship and how I call her almost daily and were like best friends. I tell her everything and anything and I love having that bond. Boys and moms don't really have that type of relationship....don't worry this is high on my priority list for me and my boys to break.

But let's not kid ourselves, who do you want in the delivery room as a woman, I wanted my mom and Jordan. I feel like with girls they always want their mom and their family watching their children. Honestly I lay awake stressing about daughter in laws because let's face it they will control a whole hell of a lot of who spends time with their children, my grandchildren. Which is another reason why I have to raise the boys to pick awesome ladies as wives.
See my head goes crazy with silly things I feel like I am missing. I have to stop and pinch myself because its downright silly. Just because I imagined something to be a certain way doesn't mean it has to, which I am a full blown testament of.

I know each time I announced its a boy, your hearts also ached a tad for me which sounds stupid as crap over a gender of a child. Please don't take this at all the wrong way because I am blessed to have one child let alone 4 amazing little men. So what this whole thing boils down to is getting over myself and dealing with the sheer fact that we don't control it all. Yes I wanted a little girl to take to dance classes and teach about nail polish and Barbie's. I wanted to help steer her away from mean girls and to look for good hearted boys. I wanted to help her pick out her wedding dress and sob in the front row knowing my baby girl was getting  married. I wanted to be there for her pregnancies when she was worried and to calm her fears and to wipe her tears during delivery. I know how much moms mean to daughters and selfishly I just wanted that. Cue the tears because every time I well up with them. Not because I'm sad at what I have just because I know how much having my mom means to me.
I am ready to break the trend with boys. I want to have the most amazing mother son relationships possible without being weird haha. I know nothing about boys and am slowly learning the super hero's and weird things they like. They are tiny Jordan's which melts my heart watching them do their boy stuff. The cool thing is even though they are full blown dirt covered boys they still are interested in stuff that I like. Vincent just chose to do an after school class and had no interest in soccer and chose cooking classes. I was so excited because he loves baking with me, maybe I won't have cheerleaders but I will have some kick ass chefs, you're welcome future wives. And while I get so caught up in the mother daughter relationship I also have to remember that mother in laws and daughter and laws can equally have a good relationship, I love my mother in law and talked with her a lot so it just shows that as long as my boys don't choose some mega priss we will be good to go.
So for now we really are closing the chapter to more babies. My heart is completely and utterly full and adding another for the sheer fact of wanting a girl (which wouldn't happen haha) is selfish and silly. Choosing to have another kid based on a 50% chance of gender is insanity. I have the sweetest 4 boys, and Sam and his fat grin has been the best thing ever. I am blessed beyond words and to continue having kids at this given moment in my eyes is selfish which is why we have chosen its time to close the chapter and focus on the future of school years and no more diapers. I held on to all of our baby stuff and am finally about ready to start officially clearing it out. I still haven't bright myself to do it yet as I picked up some of Sam's newborn outfits and got all nostalgic about how little the boys used to be and how amazing this ride has been. I don't know what our life would be like with a little girl and most likely I don't ever know but I know that we have 4 boys, 4 boys that despite them loving boy stuff that I have no idea about that I can still teach them wonderful mom lessons, teaching them which girls to avoid and how to be strong. Teaching them to be kind and helpful to others. Teaching them to love unconditionally and to never hold back. I might not understand the games they like or the sports they play but I will be their biggest cheerleader. Maybe God knew there was only space in our house for one crazy high energy cheerleader and that's me!
This year the Darr family will welcome the first baby girl, our neice is due in July and I am overwhelmed with all things pink. I hope to be the cool aunt and have a rocking relationship with her! I can get all my girly needs out on their sweet little one so its a complete win for all! So while there is no pink or babies in our future there is in our brothers and sisters future so there are many years of baby loving ahead and I cannot wait for our siblings to add beautiful additions to their families and to get to spoil and love their children like our own! All the benefits of babies without the work....

Now back to teaching these boys to choose the right wives.....no drama....no caddiness....I will have good daughter in laws....I will have good daughter in laws....that shall be my mantra. :)

Now back to reality Sam just ran in and hit me in the face with a toilet brush. The joys. And back to work, 21 Day Fix Extreme launches today!!!! Happy Monday y'all!