Easy, One Pot Creamy Tortellini Tomato Soup

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMealSolutions #CollectiveBias

We all know the holidays are a super busy time. There is so much hustle and bustle that it can be hard to get dinner on the table. Well, I want to share one of my favorite recipes that we make. It is tasty and super easy to put together. This easy, one pot creamy tortellini tomato soup is delicious and everyone in my family loves it.

Easy, One Pot Creamy Tortellini Tomato Soup is a great family meal to enjoy during the holidays. #HolidayMealSolutions #Sponsored

Flawed Breastfeeding Advice

When I started out on my first breastfeeding journey after my daughter was born, I thought it would be so easy. It’s natural, right? So that means baby and I should be able to just automatically get the hang of it and we would have a beautiful breastfeeding journey together. Right?

Wrong. The first 6(!?!) months of breastfeeding were terrible. Mac was tongue-tied and by the time it was snipped 5 days later, she had done so much damage to my nipples that it took me months to heal. I’m talking super painful breastfeeding, cracked and bleeding, scabs being ripped off, not even being able to wear a shirt sometimes because it hurt when it rubbed and pumping part-time because it didn’t hurt as much as nursing.

Now, there is a happy ending to this story. I ended up nursing Mac until just past her second birthday. By then, it was only part of the bedtime routine, but it was a nice way to end something that started so painfully for me.

As I write this, I gave birth just two weeks ago to my son and our breastfeeding journey so far has been totally different. Of course there was some discomfort at the beginning and it took some time to get the hang of it. But we asked them to check Leroy right away to see if he was tongue-tied also. He was and we had it snipped while we were still in the hospital. And we are already totally in the swing of things.

Looking at my two stories, I was curious what the differences were. The one thing was flawed breastfeeding advice. Before I had my first baby, I read all I could about breastfeeding and there were two pieces of advice (one biggie!) that kept popping up. And the advice wasn’t wrong, but it was definitely flawed. So I’m hoping I can help some other first time mom and her poor nipples by correcting that advice.

Breastfeeding is hard, especially when there is so much flawed breastfeeding advice out there. Here are three bits of flawed advice and the truth about them. quirkyandthenerd.com

Second Labor and Delivery: Why I Didn’t Need to Be Scared

Just over a week ago, I had my second baby. Coming up to the time of delivery, I am going to be completely honest in saying that I was scared. You would think that having gone through the process once would put me at ease, but instead the second labor and delivery scared me to death. See, my first labor and delivery were rough. It was long and hard and it scared me to think that I would have to do it again. But here is why I really didn’t need to be afraid.

Every labor and delivery is different. After a long and hard childbirth with my first child, I was scared of my second labor and delivery. Read about why I didn't need to be so scared. quirkyandthenerd.com

 

A Baby Registry for a Second Baby

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RegisteringForBaby #CollectiveBias

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I needed everything. So the baby registry I created had everything on it: diapers (cloth in my case), wipes, clothes, pajamas, even baby furniture. But what about when you are pregnant with your second baby? In my case, I had relatives ask me to put together a registry of things I needed. Can I tell you how excited I was to learn that I could make a baby registry with my beloved Target without even having to leave home? Because being pregnant with a toddler means I don’t have time to traipse around registering, even if it is at my favorite store.

So instead, one day I took a few minutes to register online. It was short, sweet, and super simple.

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

All I had to do was go to the Target website, click on the registry page, and fill in a few details. (P.S. They even have a Target registry app that makes it even more simple to register!) I would definitely recommend every expecting parent make their registry with Target. Here is the link to Target baby registries. They offer things like group gifting if some of your bigger items are in bad shape from the first baby and people want to go in on them together. You also get a 15% off discount for anything left on your registry that you’ll receive two months after your due date. Score!

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

I went ahead and ordered a few things while I was there!

The registry welcomed me with this cute page:

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

Adorable! I started adding things to my registry right away. Some of the things I recommend adding for second babies:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • bottles if you are bottle feeding
  • nursing pads/cream if you are nursing
  • baby socks (how do they always go missing?)
  • a few cute outfits so poor baby doesn’t only get hand-me-downs
  • bathroom supplies

One of the nice things is that the Target baby registry pre-populated some items that everyone will need for babies. In fact, I already have some of these items to help me prepare! (In fact you can purchase them just by hovering over the picture below!)

 

I’ve already started to prepare the bathroom for the new baby. The Johnson’s® Bath Discovery Set is full of amazing products every parent needs. Instead of putting all of these items separately on the registry, I was able to just put this kit. It contains:

  • Johnson’s® head-to-toe baby lotion
  • Johnson’s® head-to-toe baby wash
  • Johnson’s® baby shampoo
  • Johnson’s® baby bubble bath
  • Johnson’s® baby powder
  • Desitin diaper rash cream
  • Johnson’s® safety swabs

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

I also put Infant TYLENOL® on the registry because it is always useful to have around the house! I tuck it and all of the other products up in a high cabinet that Andrew and I can reach but where we don’t have to worry about little ones getting into it.

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

The great thing is that the Johnson’s® Bath Discovery Set comes in a super handy plastic tote that I keep all of the bathtime stuff in and pull out just for bathtime. Simple!

There is some debate about whether you should make a baby registry for a second baby. I say why not? Here is how I registered and what I registered for before my second baby came. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #sponsored #RegisteringForBaby

What else would you add to a registry for a second baby?

Getting Fit After Baby: Putting Together a Postpartum Exercise Kit

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AGummyYouCanTrust #NatureMade #NatureMadeAdultGummies #USP #CollectiveBias

Very soon (hopefully sooner rather than later!) I will have given birth to two babies in less than three years. After I had my daughter, I kind of got back to exercising and eating right, but it was hard knowing we wanted children that were pretty close in age. What was the use of getting back in shape just to get pregnant again?

But after this second baby, we are probably complete as a family. (I mean, I’d never rule out another kid completely, but two might be right for us.) So after this labor and delivery, I am so excited to get my body back.

Getting my body back doesn’t mean getting super skinny or going gung-ho to get fit ASAP. It just means making myself and my health a priority and focusing on making forward progress to be strong and healthy. After having your body house a baby for nine months, it is nice to feel in control of it again. This time around, I put together a postpartum exercise kit so I am ready to move towards my goal of being healthy once I am cleared to exercise.

After this baby, I am determined to get my body back. Not in a "get super skinny" sort of way, but just reclaiming myself and my health. So I put together a post-partum exercise kit to help motivate me to get it done. quirkyandthenerd.com #ad #AGummyYouCanTrust

Dressing Your Child for Colder Weather

One of my biggest pet peeves once fall and winter come around is when parents don’t send warm enough clothing for children at school. I understand that it can be a little confusing what to send because you don’t want to send too much but you also don’t want them to be cold. (Make sure you also check out my post about winter tips from a Minnesota mama. I talk about some great mittens and boots to keep your little one warm!)

How do you know how warm to dress your child during fall and winter? Well, here are the guidelines we use and an important question to ask your child's school. quirkyandthenerd.com

Weather Guidelines

Here are the guidelines my school goes by:

  • 60 degrees and warmer: Short sleeves are okay
  • 50-60 degrees: Child must wear long sleeves
  • 40-50 degrees: Child must wear a jacket
  • 30-40 degrees: Child must wear a winter jacket, hat and mittens
  • Below 30 and if snowy: Full set of snow gear (winter jacket, snowpants, hat, mittens, and boots)

Every child is different. If your child tends to be cold or is very skinny, they may need a thicker jacket at 45 degrees than other children need. Make sure you use these guidelines as a minimum, adding layers if your child needs them.

Temperature Guidelines for Outdoor Play

Another important thing to know about your child’s school is what their temperature guideline is for going outside. I work at a school in Minnesota, so we are used to cold and snow. We go outside unless the wind chill (feels like temperature) is -10 degrees. Toddlers are a little different and they go out unless the wind chill is 10 degrees. It is important to know the temperature guideline because we have had parents assume we aren’t going out because it is “too cold.” Well, our school places a high priority on outdoor play, so we go outside and unfortunately have cold children who aren’t dressed warm enough because their parents thought we would stay in. (If you want a tip on some good mittens and boots along with other tips, check out my winter tips from a Minnesota mama.)

Do you have guidelines like this at your child’s school? Or are they a bit different?

Picking Grandparent Names (Or How My Parents Ended Up With Weird Names)

How in the world do you pick grandparent names? I never thought about it until I was pregnant. It actually ended up being a lot easier than I thought, although my parents have the weirdest grandparent names I’ve ever heard. Here’s how they all got their names.

How in the world do you pick grandparent names? Well, here is how my parents and in-laws got their names. (And how my parents got the weirdest ones I've ever heard!) quirkyandthenerd.com

Finding Moments of Yes in Motherhood

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WellYesMoment #CollectiveBias

#ad Sometimes, I feel myself becoming a mean mom. Just being so negative and automatically saying no. But recently, I've tried to have "Moments of Yes" in both big and small ways. Read about my moments of yes and how I was inspired by Well Yes! Soups by Campbells to not be a "mean mom" anymore. quirkyandthenerd.com

I often joke about being the meanest mommy ever. You know those times when your kid refuses a totally reasonable request, like putting their toys away so they can leave school to go home or leaving the park after being there for an entire morning, and so you have to do the mean mommy act and put your foot down? Well, I’ve started to look more carefully at some of those requests and sometimes even saying yes. And you know what? These Moments of Yes are making our life so much smoother and more fun.

Obviously I can’t say yes to everything. That would mean we’d only go to work and school half of the time, every dinner would be applesauce and french fries and Grandma and Grandpa would be living at our house 24/7. But there are so many things I can say yes to.

(Like letting her ride “trikey” in the house. That is a fight that I have since given up trying to have. The tires are free and she rides in circles while I get things done. It works for us.)

#ad Sometimes, I feel myself becoming a mean mom. Just being so negative and automatically saying no. But recently, I've tried to have "Moments of Yes" in both big and small ways. Read about my moments of yes and how I was inspired by Well Yes! Soups by Campbells to not be a "mean mom" anymore. quirkyandthenerd.com

On the first day of school this year, I had a super cute, matching outfit all picked out for Mac. And then she woke up that morning and decided she wanted to pick her own outfit and that it wasn’t anywhere close to the one I wanted her to wear. Instead of starting the school year off with a fight, I decided to have a Moment of Yes and let her wear what she wanted. (I mean, she looks cute no matter what, right?)

Not only did this help us have a good morning, but it set off a new standard for school this year where, now that Mac is in the big kid room, she can make more decisions for herself. And letting toddlers and kids make their own choices is so important. So I started looking for more Moments of Yes.

Recently, we decided to have soup for dinner. Great, except we all wanted different kinds of soup. So I said a Moment of Yes to Well Yes!® Soup. Usually I would make us all just eat the same soup to make things easy on Andrew and I, but with this line of soups, how could I say no to individual requests? Not only is there something for everyone, but these soups are full of nutritious and delicious ingredients.

#ad Sometimes, I feel myself becoming a mean mom. Just being so negative and automatically saying no. But recently, I've tried to have "Moments of Yes" in both big and small ways. Read about my moments of yes and how I was inspired by Well Yes! Soups by Campbells to not be a "mean mom" anymore. quirkyandthenerd.comI’ve posted before about how we eat as a family of both vegetarians and meat eaters, Well I was able to find something for everyone with these soups. Andrew loves a good Chicken Noodle soup, so his choice was obvious. Mac loves tomato soup, so imagine how happy I was to find Tomato Carrot Bisque. Her favorite soup now has an even more delicious twist with the addition of healthy carrots. And for me? It was almost hard to choose because there were so many vegetarian and vegan options. But I settled on the Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. I’ll admit, corn chowder isn’t usually my first choice. But this was absolutely delicious!

#ad Sometimes, I feel myself becoming a mean mom. Just being so negative and automatically saying no. But recently, I've tried to have "Moments of Yes" in both big and small ways. Read about my moments of yes and how I was inspired by Well Yes! Soups by Campbells to not be a "mean mom" anymore. quirkyandthenerd.com

And you know what? After saying yes to Well Yes! Soups, we had a lovely and fun family dinner taste testing all of the different soups. And as a mom, I could feel good knowing I was feeding my family a soup with non-gmo ingredients, no artificial colors or flavors, and nutritious ingredients. So I encourage everyone to have a Moment of Yes with Well Yes! Soup.

I’m so glad I was given the opportunity by Collective Bias to share my love of these soups with the world. There are so many other varieties that my soup loving family will be trying out. I’m also excited to share two more things about these soups. First of all, there is a great coupon that you can use to try out these Well Yes! Soups. I mean, I think this soup is definitely worth full price, but who doesn’t like to save a little money?

#ad Sometimes, I feel myself becoming a mean mom. Just being so negative and automatically saying no. But recently, I've tried to have "Moments of Yes" in both big and small ways. Read about my moments of yes and how I was inspired by Well Yes! Soups by Campbells to not be a "mean mom" anymore. quirkyandthenerd.comThe second thing is that Well Yes! is currently hosting a sweepstakes with a $500 VISA gift card as a grand prize! Make sure you have a Moment of Yes and enter. That grand prize could mean you are saying yes to even bigger Moments of Yes! Say a vacation? Or maybe a staycation?
#WellYesMoment #Sweepstakes (10/14 to 11/17)

Tell me about some Moments of Yes in your life. Maybe an impromptu outing or a movie on a school night? Maybe it was as simple as a second scoop of ice cream or an extra 5 minutes of cuddles? Let me know what you’ve said yes to in the comments!

To the Parent of the Kid Who Struggles Through Swim Lessons

To the parent of the worst kid in swim lessons:

It is hard to show up to swim lessons or gymnastics class or soccer practice knowing your kid is the worst one out there. You worry and try not to compare, but how can you not sometimes.

My 2-year-old daughter Mac has been in swim lessons for over a year. She loves the water and swims like a fish, which makes her dad extremely happy. He was part of the swim team in high school and is so excited to share his love for the water with her. They still do the lessons where he is in the water with her, making it a special bonding time.

But this lesson session, it has been hard. See, the other kid in the class isn’t a great swimmer. He has fun, but he isn’t up to where Mac is and the other day his dad made a comment about it to my husband.

“She is such a fish in the water. I wish my son was like that.”

And even though he didn’t mean it in a way that he was disappointed in his son, it made me sad.

See, his son and my daughter are taking away two totally different things from these swim lessons.

It feels terrible when your kid struggles and is the worst one. But guess what? Sometimes swim lessons aren't just about swimming. quirkyandthenerd.comMac is an independent, super confident girl and she has been her entire short life. For her, swim lessons are about building up swimming skills. She’s learning to paddle and kick and climb out of the pool. She’s trying out going underwater, jumping in from the side of the pool, and even wearing goggles.

But this other little boy isn’t to that stage. The biggest thing he is taking away from these lessons is confidence. He is working on believing in himself and trusting that he can do it.

He doesn’t need to learn how to put together his kicking and paddling until he learns that he is fully capable of doing it by himself and trusting his abilities.

But I’m going to let you in on a secret: we put our little fish into gymnastics class last year and while the older children learned to do somersaults and walk on the balance beam, my kid ran around just enjoying the gym time.

And I accepted that what she was getting out of the classes was not exactly what we signed up for, but it was still important. She was learning how her body moves in space and how to interact with other children around and how to wait her turn.

So when I look at the differences between the kids in swim lessons or whatever classes my kid is taking, I don’t judge children on their surface abilities. I look further down and try to see what they are really learning.

That kid who is slower than the rest in soccer might be working on his coordination. That girl in ballet who is always a step behind may be working on sequencing skills. Maybe the socialization of a class is the most important part for another child.

Instead of feeling embarrassed or concerned, feel proud with whatever skill your child is working on and look at the improvement in that skill at the end. Swim lessons isn’t just about learning to swim.

It feels terrible when your kid struggles and is the worst one. But guess what? Sometimes swim lessons aren't just about swimming. quirkyandthenerd.com

Tips and Tricks for Using a Nebulizer with Your Child

It is no fun when your child has breathing issues. When you add in a nebulizer, it can be an even bigger pain. Not only do you have to watch your child be sick, but you have to struggle to get them to take their medicine. As someone who has been giving their toddler medicine with a nebulizer for over a year, here are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way.

Using a nebulizer with your child (especially your toddler!) is hands down the worst. After a year of using one with my toddler, here are some tips and tricks I picked up. quirkyandthenerd.com