Date Night at Home: Building Ginger Bread Houses

Having date night at home hasn't been easier. A fun, easy way to date your spouse without leaving the house! A festive Christmas time date at home.

Parenting two children is a lot of work. So naturally some things have to fall to the wayside, and for us, it ended up being date nights. Especially when we added a second kid (hey V!) to the mix. As an effort to get back into some one-on-one time with each other, Kyle and I thought up a huge list of ‘dates’ we could do at home. Thus Date Night at Home was born. We wrote all of our ideas on popsicle sticks and placed them in a jar. When we’re feeling in need of a date we pick out a stick during the beginning of the week which leaves enough time to prep for a Saturday or Friday night date.

With the holidays we added in some festive selections. We bought a Ginger Bread Village Kit for this date night. A total of 7 dollars was spent on this date. That night we put the kids to bed, blasted some Christmas music,  poured some wine (I was pregnant at the time of this date, so I opted for some glorified grape juice) and let the ginger bread house decorating competition begin! And yes, yes it must be a competition because crushing your spouse in a mini house decorating contest is hysterical.

For your own Ginger Bread House Date Night you’ll need:

  • Ginger Bread Kit
  • Drinks of choice
  • Music
  • Additional candies if you wanna be super cool, we added in shredded coconut, Nerds, and mini chocolate chips…basically all the baking things we had on hand. Minus the Nerds, those were leftover from Halloween.

Directions:

  1. Put kids to bed
  2. Turn on music
  3. Pour drinks
  4. Smack talk your partner about who will win said decorating contest
  5. Assemble and decorate houses
  6. Laugh a lot, drink some more, and sneak candy
  7. Go to bed at 9:30 because you’re still raising two babies and you’re tired as fuck

 

 

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2017 Gift Guide for Her

Christmas is about twelve days away! Are you ready? If you answered no, then you’re in the same boat I am! Don’t fret. There’s always Amazon. My husband and I have a slight obsession with Amazon, to the point where we have a Prime Amazon credit card because you get 5% back on Amazon purchases. Yeah. It’s probably an unhealthy habit. But luckily for you, I’ve scoured Amazon to find you 12 gifts for those ladies in your life. And in true Amazon enthusiast fashion, most of them, if not all… are Prime. Boo-ya!

2017 gift ideas for mom, sister, sister-in-law. Shop christmas gifts for the ladies in your life.

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six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

You have your standards: nail polish, the perfect red lipstick, a snazzy 2018 planner, the ultimate face mask…but then you switch it up with a delicate white and gold wireless computer mouse (because no woman likes seeing those gawd awful computer cords), Turkish hand towels and some remote-control candles. Just don’t let the toddler eat said candles because apparently they smell so good that they’ll just want to try them. Speaking from experience here. Not one of my candles were tasted, but two. Just to be really sure they weren’t for eating. Moscow mule mugs, pretty glass lotion pumps because us women always want to put things into different, prettier containers (again, speaking from experience), a leather tassel just for funsies, and a whipped cream dispenser.

Now, if you’re wondering why the hell I put a whipped cream dispenser on there, it’s really for the coffee lovers in your life. A friend recently introduced me to homemade NITRO COLD BREW. Shit was da bomb-diggity. You use a whipped cream dispenser (like above) to create the silkiest, sweetest, smoothest cold brew of your life. Is your mind blown? Yeah. Mine was too. Your welcome and happy gifting.

PS: I am an Amazon affiliate so those links are amazon links.

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Holiday Gift Guide for Toddlers & Infants

With the holiday season just around the corner I’ve created a couple of gift guides to hopefully ease the question of, “What should I get for…”

For Emmie’s Christmas wish list, and for toddlers aged 2-5, I think having a Christmas list or holiday gift guide with several different categories helps make the overall “haul,” if you will, well rounded. For the 3 year old girl I made sure to have art supplies for creating things, dress up to encourage imaginative play, and a scissor cutting book for fine motor skills practice. There’s also play money with a calculator-register to encourage math & financial learning, some pretty fun animal hair clips to wear and a real cooking set for kids to help in the kitchen with meal prep. Lastly, to round out the categories is a book to read. I chose Rosie Revere Engineer because we picked up this doll from Target…which leads to the last category of play with the doll armoire. This guide can also be easily adjusted for boys too!

 

2017 Gift Guide for 3 year old girl. Toddler christmas list. Xmas gift guide for kids. Gift guide for girls age 2-4

  markers || Melissa & Doug coloring pack || doll armoire  || Anna dress || Rapunzel dress

kids cooking set || play money || scissor skills book

hair clips  || Rose Revere Book

 

The one year old infant has a very similar styled gift guide also broken up into categories. We have musical instruments to encourage sound exploration, headbands & soft jammies to wear, bath color drops for sensory play and a rain cloud bath toy for cause and effect exploration. A teether toy covers the incessant need for gnawing & chewing and a nice interactive book to read rounds out the selection.

 

2017 Gift Guide for 1 year old girl. baby's christmas list. Xmas gift guide for kids. Gift guide for infant girls

musical instruments  || mushroom teether  || bath color drops || rain cloud bath toy

 headbands  || purple stripe jammies  ||  Melissa & Doug soft book

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Life with Vera Charlotte: 7 & 8 Months

Being away for September has really thrown me off. In fact, I’m pretty behind with Vera’s monthly updates. She’s quickly approaching the 9 month mark, so I figured it was about time to post her 7 & 8 month updates.

Cute ideas for monthly baby photos | Monthly baby pictures | baby collage |overthedeepend

At 7 months you:

| got your first two teeth! |

| crawl super fast on your belly |

| are either happy or screaming, there’s no in between |

| get up a zillion times a night to nurse |

| are really starting to dig food |

| put everything in your mouth |

| are pretty ticklish and always belly laugh when tickled |

| have been enjoying food in a mesh pouch |

| love playing in your standing saucer |

 

You still refuse to drink breastmilk when I’m not there. I had a clinic appointment this month and you went the whole 13 hours without milk. You are stubborn and set in your ways. You love snuggling when you’re sleepy and have begun “giving kisses.” You slowly lean in and open your mouth to press against someone’s face. You even did it to a little girl at story time who leaned in to give you a hug. You’ve begun playing in your exosaucer this month and really like it. We’ll bring you into the garage while we work out and you’ll watch and play. You also love chomping on berries, broccoli and bananas through a mesh food pouch.

Cute ideas for monthly baby photos | Monthly baby pictures | baby collage |overthedeepend

At 8 months you:

| started crawling on your hands and knees |

| are pulling up and cruising around |

| easily go from crawling to sitting |

| still put everything into your mouth |

| got your first cold |

| met your great-grandparents |

| stayed the whole month in Rhode Island |

| attended your first wedding |

| slept in my bed for the whole month & refused to nap |

This month was a crazy month. We pretty much stayed all of September in Rhode Island bouncing between Mimi & Pa-Rob’s house to Nonni & Pop-pop’s house. There was a wedding, and many get-togethers with relatives. You decided you were not going to nap unless you were nursing or in the car. You refused to sleep in the pack-n-play for more than 40 minutes so I ended up bringing you into bed with me most nights. You’ve gotten much steadier on your feet this past month and I fear you’re going to keep up the tradition of walking before you hit 9 months. We’ll see how you do in the next 4 weeks. Something tells me you won’t be stopped once you learn how to walk.

As always, we love you something fierce.

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The Ultimate Board Game Gift Guide

When we moved to Baltimore we didn’t know a single person there. It took a few months but we slowly befriended a couple, Kris and Taren, at the dog park. We would chat weekly at our weekend dog park outings and discovered we had quite a bit in common. Eventually we exchanged numbers and agreed to get together outside of the park.

It was around that time I had also started up an adult gymnastics class where I met a couple of girls I wanted to befriend. We eventually started going out for drinks after class and lo and behold also had quite a bit in common. It was one particular night where I took a chance and decided to tell my new friend Lauren about a nerdy computer game she might like. Turns out she already played it! I decided that not only should we be great friends, but I also decided Lauren and her husband would get along with our dog park friends too.

One fateful night I invited both couples over for sangria & beer, a fire, and a rousing round of Cards Against Humanity. It was that night where we were all a little drunk, laughing hysterically at the dining room table where Game Night was born. From that point on, we met every Friday at 6pm. We took turns supplying dinner & drinks for everyone and we played countless games. Luckily, Lauren’s husband John was a gaming pro and they had a plethora of board games just waiting to be played.

This tradition lasted a little over 3 years before Lauren and John moved, and then we moved. We’re having a Game Night reunion this December and in honor of our game night shenanigans I’ve put together the ultimate board game gift guide. If you’re unsure of what to get your friends, or even your husband/wife then look no further, I’ve got the answer. I’ve broken my guide into two categories: Board Games and Card Games.

The card games I chose are great for beginners. They are generally straight-forward to learn but still a challenge, perfect for both gaming amateurs and pros alike. These are fantastic party games and most of them can be played with lots of players. They’re usually small, so storing them won’t take up a whole dedicated cabinet…although, if you have a gaming cabinet, we should be friends.

In contrast, I picked board games that go into a bit more depth. They usually take longer to learn and overall game time is longer. These are the games that can be played over and over without losing their excitement. These games are perfect for your nerdy friend, your gaming friend, or your friend who likes a good challenge.

The ultimate card game gift guide. Not sure what to buy your brother in law? This is the answer. Card games for family and friends. The Ultimate Card Game Gift Guide. Like this guide? Be sure to check out my ultimate board game gift guide on Overthedeepend.com

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Out of these card games, again such a tough choice, my favorites would be Joking hazards, Bears vs Babies, and Munchkin. Fair warning, Munchkin can take a long time and you may or may not pee your pants laughing when playing Joking Hazard.

The ultimate board game gift guide. Not sure what to buy your nerdy friend? This is the answer. Nerdy games for geeky friends. The Ultimate Board Game Gift Guide. Like this guide? Be sure to check out my Card Game Gift Guide on Overthedeepend.com

one || two || three || four || five || six || seven || eight

Out of these amazing games I would say my top favorites (which is so hard to choose just two, since all of these are awesome) would have to be Libertalia and 7 Wonders. Every time we play these games I just can’t stop gushing about how much fun they are. They’re always my top choice for playing.

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Out of these card games, again such a tough choice, my favorites would be Joking hazards, Bears vs Babies, and Munchkin. Fair warning, Munchkin can take a long time and you may or may not pee your pants laughing when playing Joking Hazard.

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A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Last year we discovered a pumpkin patch about an hour north of where we lived. Emerson had a blast and was able to pick out her own pumpkin. This year we tried a different farm but had just as much fun. There were rides that Emerson was brave enough to try, a small field of sunflowers, and of course, pumpkins!

Vera got to do some exploring in the sunflower field, but mostly she just hung out with us while Emmie ran from one activity to the next. It was an overcast day which was actually really nice, since it was still pretty warm. The pumpkin patch at this particular farm wasn’t nearly as exciting as the previous year’s farm that we went to. This was more of a few pumpkins spread out in a couple of rows, whereas last year there was a gigantic field of pumpkins to choose from and run around in.

Even still, we had a great time and this year instead of carrying a baby in my belly, that baby was in my arms. What a difference a year makes.

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin Patch with Toddler & Infant | what do you do at a pumpkin patch?

 

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Meeting Great Grandparents

While the girls and I were in Rhode Island we made sure to introduce Vera to her great grandparents. She met both my mother’s father and my mother-in-law’s parents. While Vera may be too young to remember meeting them the pictures we have will be able to spark a conversation about these wonderful people when the girls are older. Kyle’s grandmother in particular would just light up when the girls were around. You could visibly see her love of children. What was most amazing was the sense of lucidity she regained the longer she spent time with Vera. Initially she would ask “How old is she?” again and again due to forgetting, a common symptom of age & dementia. But, as time went on, the repetitive questions ceased and she just drank in the innocence of Vera & Emerson. It is absolutely astonishing how children keep the mind agile. I can’t wait until the girls are a bit older to truly understand how special it was to meet their great-grandparents.

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2017 Fall Favorites

Now that we’re almost done with October and it finally feels like fall here in Florida, I want to share all of my favorite things I’ve been eyeing. 

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I have a major crush on that ballet wrap sweater  (it’s perfect for nursing!) and that warm wooden essential oil diffuser would definitely be an upgrade to the plastic one I currently have sitting in the middle of the living room. And those agate coasters?! I’m not even sure I’d want to put a drink on them, they are so captivating with all those smokey blues.

Then of course, there’s the mid-century modern planter, also good for keeping babies from killing your succulents… because if they are within reach, babies will pluck your little succulent petals off one by one. RIP succulents, RIP.

Lastly, there’s the wooden bowl. When visiting Rhode Island I was able to bring back a wooden bowl my Grandfather had made back when he was still wood working. There’s something incredibly inviting about serving something in a wooden bowl. I’ve been craving all those fall earthy tones, and it doesn’t get more earthy than wood.

What are some of your favorite things this fall?

 

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Apple Picking in Rhode Island

Growing up I lived less than a mile from an apple orchard. In the autumn the air was thick with the smell of cider. I have a vivid memory of getting off the bus after school one late September afternoon where the wind whipped up the distinct smells of fresh apples and cinnamon, and also rotting leaves because it was always soggy in Rhode Island during the fall. But, I remember feeling so completely satisfied in that one moment.

Every year in elementary school we would tour a local apple farm. We picked apples and watched the cider being made. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise when I say I have some sweet memories of apple orchards and apple picking. So, when we vacationed in Rhode Island this past month I made sure to take Emerson apple picking. It was a cloudy, overcast day and misting just enough to see the tiny droplets of water. Yet, even with our finicky weather and the fact that the apple trees were pretty small this year, it didn’t stop Emmie from having a ball. But perhaps her favorite thing about apple picking wasn’t picking the apples at all, it was running up and down the rows of growing pumpkins at the farm with her Grand-dad.  Vera even got in on the action by sampling some dirt. With our apple picking adventure we’re once step closer to completing our fall bucket list.

Looking for things to do with a toddler in Rhode Island during the fall? Apple picking is a great toddler activity for your kids while visiting Rhode Island.

Looking for things to do with a toddler in Rhode Island during the fall? Apple picking is a great toddler activity for your kids while visiting Rhode Island.

Looking for things to do with a toddler in Rhode Island during the fall? Apple picking is a great toddler activity for your kids while visiting Rhode Island.

Looking for things to do with a toddler in Rhode Island during the fall? Apple picking is a great toddler activity for your kids while visiting Rhode Island.

Looking for things to do with a toddler in Rhode Island during the fall? Apple picking is a great toddler activity for your kids while visiting Rhode Island.

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Happy Wife, Happy Life

You know that saying, “Happy wife, happy life” well, that is very true around this house. On days where I don’t get out of the house everyone is a bit cranky in the evenings. If I’m not feeling well everyone is a little agitated because my patience wears thin early on. If I’ve had a great day, or am hopped up on caffeine, everyone is all smile… usually. I mean I do have a three year old and you know what they’re like. *insert eye roll here as 3 year old has a mega drama meltdown over the fact she wanted to go through the door first*

With that said here are a few things that are keeping me smiling recently:

1. All the Halloween things.
Maybe it’s the fact that Halloween revolves around one of my favorite things: dress up & costumes. I’m not into spooky, I’m not into scary, but boy, oh boy am I into dressing up and creating. Maybe this is where my intense love for Halloween comes from. I can remember as a girl painstakingly deciding what I wanted to be for Halloween and creating the perfect costume. Now, as a Mom, it’s even more fun since it combines my love of sewing & creating and of course, my two little love bugs. I’ve made all of Emmie’s Halloween costumes so far, but I’m not sure I will be creating a costume this year for her since she just wants to be Elsa – booooring. Hubby is trying to convince her to be a “spooky rat.” Hysterical. We’re leaning towards making Vera be a skunk just so that when she crawls around her big skunk tail will trail behind her.

2. Essential oils.
I looove me some good smelling candles, but lately candles have been bothering my lungs. So I stopped burning them. But the house is pretty smelly with two kids and a dog. I finally bit the bullet and hopped on the essential oil train and I don’t regret it. I love creating combos to diffuse & I have been slightly obsessed about using it in everything that goes on my body – face-wash, body-scrub, lotion, lip scrub, shave cream, shampoo… my husband has declared it’s my weirdest hobby to date. I am inclined to agree with him, but that won’t stop the crazy. OIL EVERYTHING. Except food. I don’t ingest them since I’m on so many meds that I wouldn’t want to risk an unknown interaction. I use these and these.

3. Sewing.
I’ve been making time to sew a few things here and there. After a mega meltdown about wearing a nightgown for the one millionth time in a row I promised Emerson we would go pick out some fabric together for a new nightgown. She picked “spooky spider fabric” and I whipped up a new nightgown. I also made a pumpkin dress, a ghost dress and have a skirt for both Emmie and Vera in the works. It feels so good to have physical proof of my time rather than a vague mental list of all the things I’ve done all day.

4. Coloring with Emmie.
We’ve been doing a lot of coloring lately and Emerson always begs for you to color with her. If I’m feeling stressed out I will sit iwth her and color. It’s a great way for me to spend a few minutes to relax and reset if the day has been stressful, and Emerson enjoys doing an activity with me. She’s been getting really good at coloring in the lines. We’ve been coloring so much our fancy markers are already drying out less than 2 months of use.

5. New home decor.
This is a lame one, but I recently bought these two big black lanterns. I wanted some more substantial to decorate the mantle with. After thinking about exactly what I wanted I finally gathered the courage to spend 60 dollars on two big lanterns. I also splurged and got remote controlled led candles. Yes, you read that right, remote controlled. They are awesome! Real wax, lightly vanilla scented and turn on and off via remote. The day we set them up Emmie and I took turns like two giddy idiots turning them on and off with the remote. “Ooooh! Look they’re on again. Okay okay my turn!!…oooh now they’re off! This is so cool. You try!” And so on. I won’t tell you how long we spent doing that for fear of embarrassment.

 

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