Author Archives: Danielle Laroche

Diaper Bag Essentials at 18 Months

dsc_0066I’m totally “that Mom” who leaves the house to run errands and doesn’t bring a diaper bag. It’s not sitting by the door, it’s never fully stocked – as in it’s usually missing a minimum of two essential items. oh well. I’ve been trying to combat this lack of being prepared in a couple of ways… 1. keeping diapers & wipes in the car at all times so I don’t need to bring a bag with me for short trips ( this was a recent #fail because the last time I needed the emergency stash, the wipes were dry and the diapers were the wrong size! ) and 2. using a larger purse and keeping a couple diapers and a small package of wipes for emergencies.

Here are the items I have in the diaper bag ( in our case backpack ) when it is fully stocked!

dsc_0067(Vera Bradley Diaper bag from the Outlet two years ago – similar here)

Diapers
– probably the most obvious item. Over the summer I always had a couple “swimmers” diapers in addition to the regular diapers because you never know when there’s a pool or splash pad right around the corner.

Wipes – behind the diapers, this is second most obvious ( I hope ).

Snacks – in our family, this is probably more essential than the diapers and wipes because Brandon will absolutely lose his ess-aych-eye-tee if he doesn’t have something to eat every 85 seconds. The new Little Journey line from Aldi has impressed us with their snack selection. Brandon devoured the Little Munchers in about two days ( along with my help ) and the Yogurt Bites are full of flavor. They also carry Puffs and USDA Organic fruit and veggie Pouches.

Toys – this doesn’t mean grab every single toy in the house and throw it in the bag. We typically have a handful of toys that ALWAYS stay in the diaper bag which is nice because you don’t have to think about packing some or realizing you forgot his favorite ducky but even better than that is the toys always seem new to him! The toys that are around the house everyday are boring. When that little book with the puppet shark comes out once a month it’s a whole new ballgame.

Powder / Ointment – another necessity. Brandon loves carrying around small containers of powder and now that he knows how to open the cap, we keep the use at a minimum.

Miscellaneous – ziploc bag and spare clothes for accidents, snacks for Mom and Dad, sippy cup, changing pad if one isn’t already packed, pacifier, sunblock and hat for the summer months and an activity books and crayons.

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Thank you Aldi and Influenster for sponsoring this blog post. I received my ALDI Little Journey products complimentary from Influenster and am entering the Brand Challenge for a chance to win a prize.

Pumpkins

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Started the season off early with a quick trip to the Orchard for Pumpkins, Apple Cider and Donuts!

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Brandon found the best seat in the house after trying to step on and pick up every pumpkin in the patch!

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We came home with a couple white pumpkins which is why we went in the first place and a handful of small ones that Brandon picked out. We’ll go to the patch in a few weeks and get “real” carving pumpkins as we get closer to Halloween! Here’s a sneak peak at my white ones! I’m loving the look of them this year.

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Meal Prepping & Back to Work

It’s my first week “back to work” since Brandon was born and I was both happy and sad. Happy for a more selfish reason which is being able to do errands on Fridays and not ruin my weekend with grocery shopping! Sad because it’s one less day I get to spend with my little guy – but I KNOW he’d much rather be with his friends at Daycare than with ol’ Mom!

The added day means more organization, more planning and more prep! Here was the shopping trip and menu.

Sweet & Purple Potatoes with Veggies and Sausage topped with a Fried Egg
dsc_0032Crockpot Pork Enchiladas

dsc_0035Buffalo Chicken Croissants

dsc_0034Turkey, Avocado and Goat Cheese Paninidsc_0033

18 Months

3Age: 18 Months

Stats: Height 34″ (93%), Weight 27lb 6.0oz (87%), Dome 48cm (68%) – I’m going to leave his 15 month stats below for comparison – Brandon had a growth spurt right before his last appointment and he had another one just a week ago before this 18 month appointment. He likes to show those stats who’s boss!

Height 32.5″ (90%), Weight 25-6.5lb (84%), Dome 47cm (55%)

Clothes/Size: Pretty much 18-24 month clothing and some 2T. PJs though – at LEAST 3T because those babies shrink so much! I always buy them second hand to ensure they are pre-shrunk.

Favorite Foods: He has gotten a LITTLE pickier over the last couple months and I think maybe it’s because his taste is developing more. The bland, no flavor, no spice option is NOT an option anymore. Sometimes he can take or leave meat – which is funny because when I was pregnant, ALL I wanted to eat was ground beef in any form. He’s starting to eat pasta and potatoes and LOVES fruit, avocado and anything he can dip in ketchup – sometimes you gotta pull out the big guns.

Diaper size: Size 4

How much am I eating: Still eating a ton. He has no off switch! He’s slowly being able to tell us he doesn’t want anymore which is nice….but that’s not very often. He eats 3 main meals with two snacks in between and sometimes a treat after dinner.

Words: “dada”, “mama”, “hi”, “hi dada”, “uhbuhbuh” (umbrella),”mem”, “owl”, “buhbuh” (bubbles), “apple”, “I mama (I love you mama), “mamama” (grandmama), “bubba” (grandpa), “nana” (snack), “ice”, “wawa” (water), “eyes”, “shoes”, “boo boo”, “shhh”, “up”, “off”

Activities: Climbing onto the couch and then walking all over it. Peeing on the floor. Playing outside (mostly just going to our neighbors house because they give him food), playing in the bathroom with all the hair and shaving products, watching Wheels on the Bus 500,000 times a day and anything to help us – set the table, throw things in the garbage and everything in between.

Sleep: I think we are finally on good sleeping terms! He goes to bed about 8pm and sleeps until about 6-7am. If he wakes up early, it’s usually because the pacifier fell on the floor sometime during the night – we give it back and he sleeps for maybe another half hour.

Favorite Things: Books. Music. Monitor. Remote Control. Phone. Bubbles or any small bottle or lotion tube. Not a fan of stuffed animals or anything like that.

Signature Moves: Giving kisses, hugs and cuddles, waving “hi” and bye-bye. Pulling every wipe out of the container when he’s supposed to be napping. Giving high-fives and putting his head on any animal that is “soft”.

Mom’s Proudest Moment: This is definitely the most fun age. He cracks me up far more than he drives me nuts. He naps great and goes to bed easily. He has started talking a lot more and words are finally starting to emerge. In social situations he is usually so good and goes with the flow, he doesn’t really get too shy (yet) and just walks around doing his thing. He’s got such a little personality.

Dad’s Proudest Moment: Brandon is getting so smart and remembering things. He may not be able to say the words yet but he knows everything we are saying to him. He is really getting good remembering faces and names which is the sweetest thing.

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Friday ( Clothing ) Favorites

Transition clothes are so important for that “in-between” time between seasons when it’s not super hot but not super cold and vice versa. Here are some items I plan to add to my wardrobe this year as well as some staples I think every woman should have!

vestFloral / Hooded Down / Hybrid

Vests / is this even a surprise? I love vests, I own far too many of them and I always want more. Not all vests are created equal, they need pockets, a fold-down collar and preferably a zipper vs snaps or buttons. Hood is optional, it’s never a bad option.

bootsFlat / Low Heel / Black

Riding Boots / I feel like last year I barely wore my boots, maybe because I was always carrying a baby and/or carseat and that wasn’t the best option? Maybe I didn’t feel it was cold enough out? Not really sure, but I love my boots and I think it’s a good investment.

scarfInfinity / Crinkle / Plaid

Scarves / yes, that is scarves plural, you NEED more than one…maybe more like 12. A couple infinity scarves ( wool and cotton), light weight ( black and beige), and maybe a couple unique ones whether it be a fun design or one you can triple wrap. Black and tan/beige are the colors I choose in a scarf because it can be so versatile with any outfit.

Leggings / no brainer, but please wear a chunky sweater or long T to cover the bum because we ALL don’t need to know what color underwear you’re wearing. On my “must-buy” list are the Zella Live-In Leggings which come in the crop and full legging.

Chunky Sweater / finding the right sweater is sometimes difficult I feel. You want it oversized but not frumpy, fitted in certain spots but loose in others, long sleeves but not so much that you look like a child in mommy’s clothes.

jeansJeans / grab a skinny ( or SKIN tight )and a boot cut, all you’ll need for date night and pumpkin picking. I’m also really into black denim lately! You know I love Denim & Supply, and most of these jeans are on sale right now.

Shoes / I am DROOLING over these moccs from Lucky Brand….I need to come into some money, and come into it quick! Toms are my favorite shoe for any season, I wear them to work everyday! Lastly, I’m in need of some fall booties – the last ones didn’t work out so well so those got shipped back. These maybe?

Let me know your favorite fall styles or a new brand I need to check out. I’m always on the hunt for new ideas!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Pineapple

IMG_9021Crockpot BBQ Chicken with Pineapples

Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 6-8 hours ( low )

Ingredients:
6 Chicken Breasts or Boneless Skinless Thighs
1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
1 can Pineapple Slices ( drained )

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot

IMG_90142. Drizzle ( aka douse ) BBQ sauce to cover chicken

IMG_90153. Layer pineapple slices on top of chicken

IMG_90164. Cook on low for 6-8 hours

IMG_9022I like to to serve rice on the side, but you can do roasted potatoes or double the veggies.

*sorry for the photo quality, I was in a RUSH so snapped these up with my phone before heading out the door for work.

Zucchini Fritters

I mentioned before about the veggies we receive every week from a local farm. We love supporting anything local but besides that, the farm fresh flavor is above anything you’ve ever had. However, it ALSO means we get loads of corn, zucchini, yellow squash and carrots every week and sometimes it’s hard to eat everything up before it goes bad! I just showed you zucchini noodles, now here are some zucchini fritters we make on Sunday and enjoy for lunch all week by themselves, on a bun or on top of a salad.

Zucchini Fritters

DSC_0030Prep – 10 minutes / Cook – 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 large Zucchini or Yellow Squash
1/2c Breadcrumbs or 1/8c Rice Flour/Oat Flour1 egg ( if necessary )
Garlic
Parsley / Salt / Pepper / Paprika

*Shred or grate zucchini ( I like the food processor attachment ). Allow zucchini to drain or squeeze liquid out with a towel. Add breadcrumbs, egg and spices and mix. Heat oil on medium high. Form patties with the zucchini mixture and place on pan. Wait until just about golden and flip.

DSC_0031Double Griddle

Fritters can be stored up to a week in the refrigerator. We like to top ours with fancy sauce          ( sriracha and mayo) or a lime/cayenne/mayo sauce. These are so delicious and another great way to get vegetables into our diet. Make this into dinner by adding ground chicken or turkey to the patties.

Marg, Margar, Margarit, Margaritas

After our week long Cinco de Mayo celebration, I was pretty sure margaritas would be put on the back burner for a while…and they were. However, last weekend was gorgeous and what made sitting by the pool a LITTLE better? That delicious Jalapeno Margarita! We aren’t fussy when it comes to tequila, mainly because when you mix it with limeade the real taste isn’t important so there’s no reason to splurge on something costly. I tried Sauza Tequila this time, mainly because they had a $5 rebate through iBotta App ( other money saving apps ). If you follow me in Instagram ( @livinglarochelife ) you already saw this little gem. Makes me drool every time.

IMG_9006Ingredients:
Tequila
Jalapenos – sliced
Frozen Limeade
Limes – sliced in a wedge
Ice

First, I like to infuse my tequila with the jalapenos ( you can choose to add the jalapeno directly to the drinks, but you don’t get the same spicy bite as when it has been infusing for a while ). We don’t have tequila any other way, so a bottle of spicy tequila never goes to waste. Slice 1/2 – 1 whole jalapeno and add it to the tequila. Allow to infuse at least 30 minutes. Prepare the limeade as directed on package.

DSC_0003Fill a shaker with ice, add 1 1/2 oz jalapeno infused tequila, 8 oz of prepared limeade, juice from a slice of lime and shake. Pour into a solo cup and jump in the pool!

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Friday ( Fall ) Favorites

Is September really RIGHT around the corner? I have seen so many posts about the joys of cool crisp air, PSL at Starbucks and flannel shirt season. Me on the other hand, NOT looking forward to the end of warm weather at all. Granted, I love wearing vests, they’re like my second layer of skin but I would REALLY rather be in a bikini for a little longer. Oh well. Fall is coming and there is nothing I can do to change that. Instead, I have rounded up a couple cozy finds to flip your house from summer beach to cool and breezy pumpkin patch.

DSC_0410After Brandon goes to bed and we are cozied up on the couch, I have already found myself grabbing for a blanket to throw over my legs! One night in the 60’s and I’m freezing. Update your cozy-collection with this Pompon Throw, it’s so cute and adds a little something-something to the average throw blanket.

Pumpkins are always going to be a fall favorite ( for obvious reasons! ) and I like to change those up every couple of years. I thought these cuties would look adorable on our landing and white resin pumpkins down the center of the table ( hobby lobby is having a crazy sale going on right now )

Candles, candles, candles! I love this jar candle too! Need I say more? Next month I will be featuring one of my longtime friend’s shop and may even have a candle or two for you!

Freshen up your bedroom with a new duvet, decorative pillow and front door mat.

Enjoy the last few nights sitting outdoors under a blanket and drape globe string lights around the patio while sipping on warm cider out of these tumblers. I LOVE those drinking glasses and might stock up on different colors to enjoy for every season! How cute would the blue ones be for a summer party? Grab a couple lanterns to sit on the ground or line a walkway. I ordered this lantern in small and medium and cannot wait to set them out ( bonus, they’re also on sale right now ).

DSC_0455Looking forward to taking these same pictures in a few weeks and seeing how much little man has grown!

Many of the products I mentioned are on super sale right now as summer ends and fall beings, back to school is happening and Labor Day is coming up. Grab the deals before they sell out! Stay tuned for some upcoming posts on Small Shops I will be featuring along with awesome GIVEAWAYS to kick off the first day of Fall ( September 22nd ).

 

Eggplant Meatballs and Zoodles

Oodles and Oodles of Zucchini Noodles! We get so many fresh veggies in our weekly CSA share that sometimes we need to be extra creative. That’s when I turn to Pinterest and do some searching until something peaks my interest…I look at the recipe…see if I have all the ingredients…see if there is anything I need to substitute and then make it my own. Last week we got about 7 skinny mini eggplant and another five yellow squash and zucchini. I originally thought chicken parm with eggplant…I know, boooorrrring. Instead, I pulled the trigger and ordered a Spiralizer to hop on the zoodle bandwagon! It was a pleasant surprise to see it was on sale AND had an additional discount!!

DSC_0061Eggplant Meatballs with Zoodles

Prep – 30 minutes / Cook – 20 minutes

Ingredients:
7 small or 1 large Eggplant – cubed
1 small Onion – chopped
Garlic – chopped
Chickpeas – rinsed & drained
1/4 – 1/2c Breadcrumbs
2-3 small Zucchini – spiralized
Tomato Sauce
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

DSC_0041DSC_0042Heat olive oil in pan on medium high heat and cook eggplant, onions and garlic about 10 minutes until just about tender / remove from heat and let cool slightly / in a food processor, add the eggplant mixture and 1/4c breadcrumbs pulse until everything is incorporated ( like a ground meat texture )

DSC_0053Adjust liquid or breadcrumbs so the mixture is easy to form into balls / roll into about 1-1 1/2″ “meatballs” and saute in pan of oil until brown on all sides / meanwhile, make zoodles ( or thin slices on a mandolin ) and allow to drain

DSC_0065 DSC_0062Spiralizer (other options here, here and here)

After eggplant balls are brown on all sides, remove from heat and add the zoodles to an oiled pan and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly tender

DSC_0067Add sauce to zoodles until warm / top zucchini noodles with eggplant balls and serve, topped with cheese if desired

DSC_0070We were so happy with how this meal turned out! It is a little more work and prep than I would prefer, but really not bad at all. I cooked the eggplant, pureed it and formed balls the night before. After work the next night, all Kevin had to do was make the zoodles and heat everything through. This was so delicious and a great way to get veggies into us and our kids! Adding the beans to the eggplant balls gives a little more texture and protein. Definitely something we will be making more often!

If there are any recipes you want to see or an item you want to see me incorporate in a meal, let me know!