Tuesday, January 31, 2012

big brother coachy boy

Coach is the best big brother ever. I love taking pictures of my two kiddos. Even if one of them is a fur-baby!

check out les photography & more on FB!

Monday, January 30, 2012

these are a few of her favorite things...

I always wondered... what toys do I buy for her? She isn't playing with toys yet... Well, I slowly bought her random toys that I came across. I got her some for Christmas and others "just because." Ma-lolo picks some up for her here and there as do I. So, here is a list of her favorite toys at 3 months.

Her mobile is awesome- she will lay and stare and coo at it all the time. She loves it!

She has this play mat at our house. She loves to stare at the birds and lay on her belly and look in the mirror!

She's played with this guy for a while. In fact, she has two. It has a lock to set it for now and you can unlock it to let her crawl with it later. She also plays with this on her play mat. She has probably played with this toy the longest of them all. She has two!

This ball is her newest favorite. It rolls around on its own and it is so fun. It was only about $12 at target and so worth it!

She loves her glow worm. She just stares at it in the dark when we are driving at night. The issue I have with the worm is that it only plays one song at a time. That is why we got the glow seahorse... She stays lit for 5 minutes at a time!
The seahorse comes in pink and blue.

Violet is another favorite around here. She is programmable and says Riley's name, plays her favorite songs and sings songs about her! Coolest toy ever invented in my opinion. One of those "why didn't I think of that?" toys!
She has this play mat at ma-lolo and grandy's house. The bright colors always keep her intrigued. We set up her mirror and snail when she is laying on this one. Since she has been rolling, she rolls to look at the bottom on her belly and then she flips back over to stare at the things that hang.

She has this bouncer and LOVES it. Santa brought it to her and she got in it at Christmas. When the lights were moving with the songs, her eyes got huge and she followed the lights. It was adorable.
This is another toy she likes. She got it for Christmas too. It makes sounds and lights up. She has a blast hitting it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

motivation and working out

Below is the photo I posted several months back when I was pregnant. It was taken the summer of 2010. I was was feeling good about myself. While pregnant, I gained 29 lbs and was happy with my weight gain.

I was able to lose all but 7 or 8 lbs by 10 days after delivery and I was fitting back into my clothes. Mind you, they weren't fitting exactly the same as the used to, but they fit. I was happy with the loss and didn't mind the extra 8 lbs or so and they started to drift off slowly. Then, I got stuck. That measly 5 lbs that you just can't lose. You know what I am talking about... Everyone told me about it before I ever got pregnant.

I have to admit, I have always been overly concerned about my clothes fitting correctly. It's not the clothes you wear, but HOW you wear them. SO- no... I'm not fat, wasn't fat, have never been fat... but if my clothes don't fit right, I am not happy.
What did I do about it...??? RUN. RUN. RUN. This has always been my favorite go-to exercise. I love to run. I started at the beginning of January and haven't been too great about keeping with routine until the last week. But, boy can I tell a difference already! This week I have run 5/7 days and spent at least 20 minutes running/jogging and finishing my workout with 50-100 crunches. It's not a lot, but it's something and it's working. It has been so pretty, we have also included walks and jogs with the stroller on top of my other workout.

Anyway- here is my picture from today and I am happy with it. I plan to post weekly until I have my abs back. Who the heck knows how long that might take. But the scale said 126 this morning and that made me one happy lady! I was about 127 in the photo at the top of this post (I am 5'7'').

Moral of my story- lost the weight at 10 days- pretty much toned in 12 weeks- YOU CAN DO IT! I hear people all the time saying "you look great, I'm still fat from my baby 20 years ago." I'm sorry - thanks for the compliment, but your baby is likely not why you are still "fat." Yes, I was blessed with good genes and was sure to eat healthy throughout my entire pregnancy, both which contributed greatly to my ability to lose so quickly. Don't be discouraged if you can't get it off quick. It took you 9 months to gain it and you created a human! But don't tell me in 20 years that is why you are fat... Just sayin'

ok- time to get that sweet, amazing, perfect baby from her nap now.

~let go laughing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

saving tips from a target lovin' SAHM

Yes, we all know I have a MAJOR problem. I, Lauren Brittany, am a Target addict. There, I said it. Someone get me an intervention. One day this week... we went twice. In one day. And if my sweet baby girl falls asleep in the bjorn during said shopping trip- I cannot interrupt her precious nap by putting her back into the car seat. So what do I do? Browse... yes... browse. Annnnnd put one more thing and another and another in the cart. Now, I might add I am a frugal one. My mom says she never would have touched a coupon or a sale until I came along and cut them for her. She is getting pretty good about it! I am proud of her!

So, anyway- We do a lot of our grocery shopping at Target now too. That way we can pick up formula, diapers, and such when needed. The Enfamil AR formula Riley is on is $23.49 at Target and a whopping $29.98 at Harris Teeter. I do love my triple couponing trips to the teeter, but I have to admit, I have been cheating on them since Riley Q joined us.

First off, did you know Target has coupons online? I didn't for a while... but now I do. http://coupons.target.com/ I also have an app on my phone that gives me the weekly sales, updates, coupons, etc. and allows me to make my list on the phone. LOVE IT!

Here is the link to the daily deals... http://dailydeals.target.com/?ref=%20sc_iw_ss

And, here is the link to the weekly deals (this is for my zip code) http://weeklyad.target.com/durham-nc-27707/homepage

Not only do I use these coupons, but Target will use their coupon and combine it with manufacture coupons. For example. If you have a coupon from Folgers and they have one on their website, you can use both!

You also have to look out for the items that you can buy to receive gift cards. This week I have gotten two $10 gift cards. With a print off coupon, I got one for Riley's new Rx at the pharmacy. All I had to do was take the coupon with a new or transfered Rx. So basically, her Rx was $10 off. Then, they had a deal with the K-cups. We all know I love my Keurig (yes, I am still on the search for a pink one!). The K-cups were on sale for $10 something and if you bought two boxes, you got a gift card. Well... why not buy 2 this week instead of one this week and one next week, right?!

I wanted to share with you some of the many many store brand items we have started to use in order to save some money as well. I have always been one to buy the store brand canned items, butter, cream cheese, bread, etc. But lately, we have gone even further... (Side note: my hubby is very picky about his peanut butter and he will eat the target brand!)

Let's start with tampons... 54 tampax - $7.49... The up and up brand are completely comparable to the Tampax brand, just slightly different shaped cardboard. No biggie- 40 up and up = $4.39. You do the math... are 14 more tampons really worth $3.10??? I don't think so!
Face moisturizer- this is a biggie for me, because it has always been something that has to be perfect or my face will break out. Well, I found it. It is comparable to the neutrogena and saves a whopping $6.50. The brand name is $9.99 and I paid $3.49 for this guy!
36 pampers are $9.49- 42 up and up are $6.29. Savings= $3.20
Up and up wipes for sensitive skin - $13.69 for 720. Huggies wipes for sensitive skin = $12.99 for 448. Let's do some math to figure out our savings... 448 x 1.6 = 717 wipes. So, 12.99 x 1.6= $20.78. Savings = $7.09.Up and up formula. This is a tough one. Yes, I have purchased a can of this formula. But no, I have not tried it yet. It kinda freaks me out. IDK why. Likely because we have had so many issues getting what really works with Riley and even though the ingredients are 100% the same, it makes me nervous. We have also started her back on one 7 oz breast milk bottle a day which isn't a lot, but it does make a difference in how long a can of formula lasts. 7 oz times the normal 5.5 days a can gives us a whole extra day per can! Not to mention I am STOKED she can take my milk now! :) Sorry- side track there. Anyway let's compare:

Enfamil AR 22oz can- $23.49
Up and Up with added rice starches (AR) 23 oz (yes, an extra oz) - $14.89

savings = $8.60

So let's put this all together, and just by purchasing 5 things on my list that are store brand and not the "normal" brand, I have saved $28.49.

To some, that may not seem like a lot- but to a stay at home mom who likes to shop... it is definitely a save in my book! So if you have read my entire blog at this point, I hope you have learned... shop store brand! I know not all items are worth it, but these for me and my family definitely are. Some other "up and up" non-food brand items we have around here include hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes (like clorox wipes), window cleaner, trash bags, lotion... I can't think of anything else right now, but I think you get my drift. Just imagine your savings when you add the food into the mix. I know for a fact the peanut butter is around $2 cheaper.

Ok, time to stop blogging and get in bed. Off to save spend more money tomorrow!

~let go laughing!

chalk board paint = obsession

Among many crafty things... one of my obsessions in life = chalk board paint. It all started back in September when I used it on mason jars for Tai and Sean's wedding shower. I kept the can of extra paint and well... I kept finding uses for it. To which, it became an obsession. No really, I have a problem. I am considering painting a whole wall in the house, I just can't decide which one. Eventually I will use some molding and frame a section under the chair rail in Riley's room and paint a box for her to play with. I'll wait until she can at least hold the chalk though. :) I may buy a different colored chalk paint and do the wall behind my desk in the office. I think it would be a neat way to keep notes, to-do lists, etc. on. I also like the black and I am considering a re-do paint job in the office anyway considering the colors were meant for a bedroom two summers ago. Maybe something whimsical and fun that would go with a black wall and just use the black. I'm thinking a bold yellow or red... even green. Obviously, I am thinking a primary color. Oh, why did I have to be an art minor... I spend way too much money on all my little projects in life. I am considering opening an etsy site though. At this point, I think I could have plenty on it... My baby legs, chalk board frames- (maybe people would buy them?), bows (mainly just the rosettes), tutus, canvas'... who knows. It's a thought. Anyway- I would like to leave you with some of my chalk projects. Check out my fb page for more- les photography & more

~let go laughing

'sew' much fun

Mom and I have had yet another fun morning on the sewing machine! I cut the patterns, she sewed them together. I am learning the machine and we are both taking a class in the near future! So exciting! Anyway, I wanted to share the adorable-ness with you all while miss RQ naps!

Happy sewing!!

~let go laughing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy Fried Rice

I can't wait to try this recipe! I love fried rice and I love to use my wok to make stir-fry!

3 cups cooked white rice
3 tbs sesame oil
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce

On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

getting my body back- 3 mos pp

I still have about 3 lbs to go. This is 3 months post baby. I can do it. I MUST have my summer shape back. I've been eating healthy(er) lol and running at least every other day. It has felt great. I feel great! I have my "before" picture posted in front of the treadmill. When I feel like stopping, I look at it. LOL - Anyway, THIS picture is my motivation to get that tiny pouch gone. I know it's not a lot, but it needs to go. I am fortunate to have had a wonderful pregnancy and only gained 29 lbs. I was within 8 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight and back into my jeans at 10 days pp. Let's do this - bikini body- I want you!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 months old

Wow. Could life get any better? As I lay here rocking my baby girl and realizing she is going to be three months old tomorrow... Three months?!?! Where has the time gone. It feels like yesterday daddy and ma lolo were timing my contractions and yelling at me to go to the dang hospital. Now, here I sit with the most incredible thing that I have ever known. My daughter. Mine. I made her. Daddy and I created this little tiny, perfect baby girl. I thank God every night for such a blessing. For showing me how to love this way. For letting me be a mommy to my very own mini me. Yiu look just like me at your age. It's crazy to see pictures. Let's see...

3 months... 13 weeks and 1 day ... Riley you are:

About 13-ish pounds according to our scale
25 inches long!
Sleeping anywhere from 9.5-12 hours at night.
Drinking about 34 oz a day in 5 feedings
Love love loving to talk and sing
Love your bird mobile
starting to love baths again... Just get that water temp perfect
Still can't take my bm :(
Loving your jumper toys - we even got you one for the beach house
Finding your hands more and more every day. We can hear you sucking on them from our room
You've moved to size 2 diapers this week. You've been in size 1 since thanksgiving
your reflux has been making you spit up more but you seem ok with it and it isn't horrible
Mommy is staying home with you while daddy works hard to provide for us as well as finishes up his last two classes towards his business degree!
Coachy loves to sleep by your crib
We say our prayers together every night
You are perfect.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

king cake

{just came out of the oven and they are DEEEEEE-LICIOUS!!!!}

{These are the first ones I made- not as good as the ones I made today. I'm learning! lol}

King cake is a yummy bread like cake.

wikipedia: A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations ofMardi Gras / Carnival. It is popular in the Christmas season (Christmas Eve to Epiphany) in France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland(galette or gâteau des Rois), Portugal (bolo rei), Spain and

Spanish America (roscón or rosca de reyes and tortell in Catalonia), Greece and Cyprus (vasilopita) and Bulgaria (banitsa). In the United States, which celebrates Carnival mainly in the Southeastern region (Louisiana and New Orleans in particular), it is associated with Mardi Gras traditions.

The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus) inside (or sometimes placed underneath), and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.

Anyhow- My hubby has Louisiana origin and loves to devour a king cake each year. His mom decided to make us one and family got sick so she couldn't get it to us this weekend as Michael expected. I have a love for baking and a brand new kitchen aid mixer, so I decided to give it a whirl. I used her new recipe for the first one with a cream cheese filling. It was yummy, but the first was way under cooked. I stuck the second back in the oven and it turned out great. I was sad I only had one though, because I wanted to give the second to my neighbor. She always bakes for me and I wanted to repay the favor with something fun. Michael said he is not used to a cream cheese filling and it is rainy and cold today so I decided to give it another shot. Today, I am trying a recipe I found with a cinnamon and sugar filling. The recipe called for pecans and

raisins, but I am leaving that part out because hubby doesn't like nuts. I also cut the recipe in half and still plan to make two smaller cakes out of it. So here it goes...


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 2 TBS of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1/2 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

**When they come out of the oven, I will post pictures :)

yummy crab, corn chowder

This is by far, one of my favorite winter recipes. I love chowder and this is such a rich, yummy and easy to make chowder. The cost of the crab meat is totally worth it!

What you need:

2 tbs butter

1 medium onion- chopped

1 red bell pepper- chopped,

3 ribs of celery (or more if you wish)- chopped

4 fresh sprigs of thyme

salt and pepper

2 tsp tobasco

2 tbs all purpose flour

2 tsp old bay

3 cups half and half,

2 cups chicken broth,

1 cup of bagged hashbrowns (can be frozen, i usually get them by the eggs at target) -

6 oz lump crab meat, broken up (I have used imitation before and it tasted fine, but I prefer the real stuff)

1 cup frozen corn,

parsley to garnish


In a medium pot, melt butter, add onion, pepper, celery and thyme. Season with salt and pepper- add hot sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add flour and cook for about one more minute.

Add half 'n half and then the chicken broth

Bring to a bubble and add potatoes (hash browns) simmer until the potatoes are cooked and soup as thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. (15-20 minutes)

Add crab meat and corn.

Simmer for another ten mins. or so-

Take the thyme stems out, stir and add salt and pepper if you need more.

*Please comment if you make this and let me know how it goes-

Also, if you like what you read, please click "follow" and follow me! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

photography, bows and canvas, oh my!

I feel like a pretty crafty girl. I've always had a love for art and design. I was an art minor in college and miss it dearly. In the last year while preparing for my baby girl, I began making bows and FINALLY got back into painting. I just wanted to share a bit and send you to my facebook page (les photography & more) to take a look! On the side I also like to crochet and I am learning how to sew! Anything DIY, I'm down! Anyway... I just wanted to share some projects so that maybe you could send your friends to my facebook page to order!



12 weeks old -pink toenails and all

I think it is safe to say that Riley is no longer getting up for a bottle around the 5-6am point. She is usually falling asleep around 8:30 with me or her daddy...we don't usually put her in her crib at this point. She usually stays in our arms, in the bjorn, or on the play mat... Then around 10 she has her last bottle and sleeps until 8 or 9am. It is pretty awesome. She has always been a good sleeper and was technically sleeping through the night around 3-4 weeks, giving us 7 hour stretches. Only back then, they were from about 7pm - 2am, have a bottle and go back to sleep and then go 3 hour stretches from there out. So yeh, not so perfect STTN timing, but still awesome! Around 6 weeks she started going from about 10-5 and then having another bottle and staying asleep until 9:30 or so. We have been so fortunate.

For all the negative nancy's that said "you'll never sleep again." Thanks for that advice. ;) Oh and sure... I need to "just wait..." until she has a tooth (... she already is teething and all is good so far... just some drool!), just wait... until she is 2, until she can walk, etc...

Guess what... I don't care because I love her and I created her and I savor EVERY moment I have with her. Even if it is at 4am. I know I have posted about this before, but I hated all the negativity when I was pregnant and even now. I feel sorry for pregnant women who get such negative comments every time they post anything about their pregnancy... Just wait until the last week, labor, back pain, etc.

I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful pregnancy. I had zero morning sickness, very little pain, only uncomfortable to sleep for the last couple of weeks and it still wasn't awful... Sure, if I ever do have another baby, the pregnancy may be horrible. Sure my labor and delivery was long and some of it was painful, but would I change it for the world? NO! I got my Riley Quinn from it all!

So here's to all the pregnant women out there- first time moms or not. Think positive and don't listen to the BS! You never know how your baby is going to be. People thought I was crazy when they pulled the whole "just you wait, you'll never get more than 4 hours asleep again..." and I looked at them and replied... "you never know, I was a sleeper!" I was thinking positive.

And for all you moms out there who feel the need to say "just you wait." Just stop and think about how it made you feel when you were pregnant. I swear, by 9 months if one more person had said it to me, I may have had to scream... I know it is all meant in a joking way and even sometimes sincere... but, just don't do it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bucket list

I've decided to write out my bucket list. I have had it for a while and just never typed it in...iwill continue to add to it and mark off as I make it through things. Once I get to the computer to edit I will add photos.

Be a teacher
Graduate college with honors
Be a mentor to a teen in need
Be a mom
Stay home with my babies
Own a convertible
Use only reusable grocery bags
Give to the poor
Feed the homeless
Travel to another country (again)
Go on a cruise (again)
Dance in a flash mob
Swim in the pacific ocean
Own a boat (our jet ski doesn't count)
Be a room parent and be good at it
Fly an airplane
Own a home
Ice skate in central park
Go to Tahiti
Play with a real monkey
Own a dominos franchise
Swim with dolphins

Why I hate religion, but love Jesus.

I love this. "It's like wearing a jersey and saying you play for the Lakers."

I've always hated being judged for my religious beliefs and practices.

Dear Riley...

So, you may have seen the commercial on tv... I hadn't. I did, however find a link to the video on youtube here and here. I made Riley her very own email account and began writing her when she was just a few days old. I hope she can one day go back and read them all. I have attached pictures, videos and lots of thoughts. I tell her just how much I love her every single time. I will likely print these out and put them in a book for her. Just because you never know how the internet will be in 15 or 20 years when I decide to give her the password to her email account. I plan to keep it a surprise and give it to her for maybe her 16th birthday. I hope I can keep it up. Often if I blog about her, I send her that too. Sometimes, I send pictures or videos from my phone just for her to see. I'm trying not to write too often because I know it will be a lot. I just want to document the important moments, the special moments and... well... everything. Sorry, Riley Q., you're gonna have a lot of reading to do! I have to log in to the account every now and then. I would hate for it to get locked!

Anywho- I just wanted to share my stolen idea with everyone. Gotta give credit where credit is due... Thanks google!!! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Riley... the blog, not the email

11 weeks old.

I never knew how much love and joy one little girl could bring to my life. Walks in the neighborhood, trips to the mall or target to people watch. She is my everything. She is the reason God put me on this earth. I can't even imagine my life without her. She is eleven weeks old. Where has the time gone? I write her frequently at her address, but I wanted to share some about her on here too. Eleven weeks... Thats 51 weeks that she has been with me now. 51 whole weeks that she has been a part of me. The most amazing part of me there has ever been.

Riley, you have already changed so much...

You smile and giggle all the time! I really don't think I have ever known a happier baby. You talk to us and coo and I swear you want to have a conversation! We send uncle Tyler a video every morning. Well, almost every morning. Sometimes we forget. You love your glow worm...

And anywhere we go, you like to be in the Bjorne. Today we went on a nice long walk to the pond and you were actually content in the stroller. It was exciting to finally use your jogging stroller. You looked so stinkin cute in that hat! Even your ma-lolo carries you around in the Bjorne though. You like to face forward now and you chew on the front of it. I think you have a tooth coming in. We will see.

You aren't a huge fan of baths. Sometimes you like it better than others. You used to love it. In fact, your last two have been pretty good. You do not like to be the slightest bit cold... Which is funny, because you are SO warm natured.

You are such a good sleeper, Riley Q. Some nights you sleep from 9:45pm- 9:30am... other nights you wake up between 4 and 5 to eat and go right back to sleep until 8:30-9. Either way, I think daddy and I are lucky. You like your sleep like we do!

Mommy is so excited to be staying home with you. I never knew I would be a stay at home mom at 26. I must say, I am proud of us as a family to have been able to make it work. We saved for a long time to make it happen and we are so thankful. The military helped us a lot. Daddy worked hard as a Marine and was away for a long time to be able to make this happen for us now.

There is so much I want to tell you and not enough words to tell you how much I love you. You are my everything, Riley Quinn.

~let go laughing