Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.

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This delicious Vegetable Cheddar Soup– perfect for the final days of winter.

Looking for something to do on a beautiful day in NYC? The Seaglass Carousel was amazing! My teens enjoyed it as much as my 19 month old.

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I’m loving this new-to-me app called Scannable. Scan anything with your phone! Easy enough for my tech-challenged husband to embrace. Can I finally stop scanning things for him? Only time will tell…

 

 

 

 

 

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Have Baby, Will Travel- traveling with an infant under 6 months

First post in awhile! Life’s been pretty busy with five kids, go figure 😉
I’ve actually written a few travel posts previously because I love traveling and we frequently travel with our kids but, let me tell you, I was quite stressed about traveling with a five month old! We had a trip to Florida planned when Jules was about five months and then a trip to Puerto Rico planned a few weeks after that, just shy of her turning six months. What did I really need? How would I keep her on any type of schedule? Would it be enjoyable for any of us?
Well, after the two previously mentioned trips, I’m here with exactly what you need and what worked for us.
The Gear, Specifically For Babies 6 Months and Under~
Infant car seat and base
Snap and go (or similar)
Large bag to gate check car seat and base
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Travel Sound Machine- a lifesaver!
Packing for the Baby
I packed each “day” outfit, complete with socks and a headband (of course), as well as pajamas, separately, each in large ziplock bags. At this point I didn’t see a need for “night” outfits for her.
I also packed in 4 separate ziplocks—
1. Three extra complete outfits
2. Swimsuits, swim diapers (two for each day), her sunscreen, and her bug spray
3. Bibs (two bibs for each day)
4. Medicine (thermometer, teething tablets, gas drops, cough syrup, vapor rub, saline spray)
Ziplock full of medication- none of which we needed, thankfully!
In our checked bag, I packed an entire, unopened can of powered formula, her daily food (not much at this point), extra spoons, an entire unopened pack of diapers and wipes, the mat that she loves to lay on, and quite a few toys. I picked up this mat for our PR trip and I can’t say enough about it! It was perfect for her at six months because she was rolling all over the place and it’s huge. I can see us using it later at the park and beach as well.
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Jules on her favorite mat in Florida, before she was rolling over
Traveling
First, check everything you can. We checked our own bags, including a suitcase packed exclusively with the baby’s stuff mentioned above and her travel crib (I highly recommend the Lotus crib- super light weight and very easy to put up and take down). We carried on a very well-stocked diaper bag, plus a backpack with extra bottles, formula and the ziplocks with the medicines (all under 3.5 ounces) and the extra clothes just in case we were delayed or our bags were lost.
We elected not to buy her her own seat. I figured at this point she’d be in my arms regardless. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had a spare infant car seat and snap and go so I borrowed that instead of bringing our own. Most people will need to bring their regular car seat and base and snap and go, which would still work beautifully. We used this throughout the airport and gate checked it right before we boarded the plane. We put the car seat and base in the travel bag to keep it clean and prevent damage.
On the plane, she was pretty good. We timed the flights to coincide with her nap time so I fed her during take off and she fell asleep shortly after. Normally she sleeps for two hours but she slept for about 45 min both times (one sleep cycle) and then was up. I don’t normally use pacifier clips but they are so necessary when traveling so the damn pacifier doesn’t keep falling on the floor. I definitely had to walk her back and forth a bit when the crankiness began but overall all she did great.
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I’m in love with this travel crib!
Schedules
I am the first to admit I can be a bit neurotic when it comes to schedules (this is what works for us; no judgement whatsoever to all the non-scheduled babies and mamas!). Jules is a great napper and sleeper and I attribute that to her consistent daily schedule so I wanted to keep to it as much as possible without sacrificing our vacation. Here’s what worked for us~
  • 7:30am- Wake up at normal time. Because there was an hour difference in PR, that meant an hour later- score!
  • 7:30-9am- After her morning bottle, I’d get her dressed and take her down for a walk around the hotel while I grabbed coffee and breakfast. We’d check out the beach and pool area and it was nice and quiet. This was actually one of my favorite times of each day.
  • 9am- Time for her morning nap. I’d put her down, then quietly sneak out for my alone time by the pool/beach (leaving my hubby sleeping- must be nice!)
  • 10:30- she’d typically wake around 11 so I would come back up at this time. By now, my husband was up and ready to go down to the pool. He’d leave, I’d get her up and fed and then bring her down to hang with the family at the pool/beach. We’d all have lunch and by the time she was ready for her afternoon nap around 1, I was ready for a break from the sun too. I’d put her down and read my book or take a nap, depending upon how many cocktails I enjoyed by the pool 😉
  • 3pm- She’d wake up, have her bottle, and then we’d do our afternoon activity (we checked out the rainforest and Old San Juan in PR and visited family in FL)
  • 7pm- Dinner for all of us. I’d already have her in PJs and feed her her bottle at dinner. She’d typically fall asleep during our dinner but transitioning her to her crib wasn’t an issue.

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Bottles
This was the part I had the most difficulty wrapping my head around before the trip for some reason but it really wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. I picked up this great travel bottle washing kit and drying rack and these microwaveable sterilizing bags and packed enough bottles for a full day, plus one, which meant we had to wash/sterilize bottles every day. I designated my husband in charge of this and he did great. He set up a nice area on the counter (bathroom in FL/small kitchen in PR), using lysol wipes to wipe everything down, and made space for clean/dirty bottles. Then, every night, he’d wash the bottles in the sink and then sterilize them in the microwave using the bags. It worked perfectly. We stocked up on bottled water upon arrival and filled the bottles with water so they were ready to go for each feeding. She is ok with taking bottles at room temperature so we didn’t have to worry about heating them.
Fun?
My final concern was would these trips even be enjoyable. Admittedly, traveling with a young baby is definitely more work and not as relaxing. However, what can compare with your baby’s first time going into a pool or watching their expression as waves touch their feet for the first time? Nothing! The older kids had a blast and we created some very special family memories, which to us is the point of family trips. It was fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
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First time on the beach
I hope these tips help if you are planning a trip with a young baby.
xo,
Tanya

Southampton

Many moons ago, in what seems like an entirely different life, a girlfriend invited me to spend a weekend in the Hamptons. I was conflicted- how could I hop on a plane for an indulgent weekend away? This isn’t what single mothers do! But then I thought, when will I ever get another opportunity to go to the Hamptons? That was all the convincing I needed. Bags were packed and the rest, as they say, is history! (For those that don’t know, that was where my husband and I began our relationship)

When I pictured, “The Hamptons” I pictured Puff Daddy, glamorous parties and ultra-luxe clubs. I was confused as we pulled into the town and a family of deer ran across the road. We were in the middle of nowhere!

I quickly learned what the Hamptons is really all about- relaxation. For the hurried souls who call NYC home, a reprieve is needed where they can decompress. Yes, there are fabulous parties, amazing restaurants and clubs, and I’m sure P Diddy is there often but all of this is contained in quaint towns with corner grocery stores and lots of trees.

The Hamptons are a group of villages and hamlets in the townships of Southampton and East Hampton. I just spent a week in Southampton and thought I’d share some of my favorite places.

Friday evening we ate at Tutto Il Giorno, owned by Gabby Karen, Donna Karen’s daughter. That may be the draw for some but the food holds its own. The risotto was the taste of summer and, paired with a glass of Whispering Angel Rose, sitting outside under the stars, I felt myself exhale.

The next day was mainly spent on a float in the pool. We dragged ourselves inside for a nap and awoke just in time for dinner. Georgica, an East Hampton staple, is as hot as ever. The restaurant turns into a club around 11:30 so make a late reservation if that’s all that’s on your agenda for the evening. We wanted to check out Nammos, formerly Nellos, so we left when the party was just beginning.

I had heard great things about the food at Nammos, but the lounge wasn’t too exciting the night we were there. It was a bummer for a Saturday night.

Sunday’s plans got moved to Monday due to the rain. We took the ferry over to Shelter Island to eat at Sunset Beach (you can stay there too!). Great food and an amazing experience. Maybe I like it because it reminds me of St. Tropez; it’s filled with beautiful people, cool lounge music is playing in the background, and the sunset is really unbelievable.

The last restaurant we visited was Osteria Salino in Bridgehampton. This place was the find of the trip! Everything was fresh and oh, so good!

Here’s a few more of my favorite spots…

Plan a Trip With Your Children to Somplace You’ve Never Been

I didn’t get to experience family vacations as a child. Money was tight and, understandably, traveling didn’t rank as high on the priority list as making sure the bills were paid. I’m not quite sure where I got the travel bug from but, for me, there’s nothing better than traveling to an unfamiliar place and experiencing new sights. I made this a priority and planned for it, using my yearly income tax return to pay for a family vacation. You can’t put a price on memories and experiences and I feel that money spent in this area is money well spent.

“5-4-3-2-1…New York, Here We Come!” I can still hear my oldest, then five years old, shout as we made our way through the mid-town tunnel. Our first trip was to New York. We left the little one at home because she was just a few months old. To this day, this remains the best trip I’ve ever taken. Seeing New York City for the first time and sharing that experience with my daughter, so young and curious about the world around her, has now become a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Over the next few years we took a cruise, rented a beach house in Ft. Myers, and went skiing in Vermont (my first time seeing snow and getting on skis was another amazing experience I got to share with the girls), and took quite a few trips to Disney. Nowadays we are blessed to be in a situation where we do a whole lot of traveling sometimes more than we’d like. Even so, throughout the past year I felt I was missing out on that special bonding and excitement that the girls and I had shared so I decided to plan a weekend girls trip to Washington, D.C.

When planning a trip to an area I’ve never been, I make sure to do my homework. First and foremost, I ask my friends for advice on visiting the area and jot down their recommendations. I then check tripadvisor.com and look for travel blogs about the city that I’m visiting. I then take my list and think about my children. What will keep them engaged? What will be meaningful and what will they enjoy?

For this trip to D.C, I decided upon the Monuments by Moonlight tour which was amazing and served as a great way to see the monuments and memorials without a whole lot of walking. With so many museums to choose from, I had to really do my research and narrow it down to three that would be interesting for all and unique to Washington. I chose the American History Museum (The Spark Lab keep them busy for an hour+), the Holocaust Museum (the children’s exhibit only), and the Spy Museum (so, so cool!) We walked the streets of Georgetown and grabbed dinner and cupcakes (Sprinkles, not D.C Cupcakes~ the line was ri-dic-u-lous!) to enjoy later in our hotel room.

We were just there for the weekend and although I could have fit more in, I make it a point to leave a little down time on our trips. Day-to-day, the girls don’t spend a ton of time together and on these trips they just have each other. One of the highlights for me was when my younger one decided to take a bath in the “sick” tub (as in uber cool) and my older one went in to help her wash her hair. Hearing them talk about their life plans and their bucket lists at ages 12 and 7 put a smile on my lips as wide as the Potomac River.

Stop procrastinating and plan the trip you’ve always wanted to take with your children. Each stage passes with the blink of an eye so now is the time. If finances won’t allow for something this year, begin planning for next year. Enjoy the process~ the anticipation is to be cherished and appreciated as well!