My 10 favorite newborn products

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My sister Mary is exiting the newborn stage with her beautiful baby Elena. Thinking about that, I started reflecting on my time with Maggie as a newborn recently. It was an exciting time, but like all new parents, Paul and I had a hard time figuring out how to care for our new baby. Maggie was adjusting to a whole new way of life too, being outside the womb.

In addition to the invaluable support of family and friends, there were some products that I found especially helpful in the newborn stage. I thought I would share my top 10 list with you all.

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Meal plan vs. reality

snack plate dinner

Sleep hasn’t gotten any better. I have been thinking of doing sleep training with Maggie but I’m not sure how. I don’t know if certain methods would work for us. I hate to hear her cry. But I also want to teach her to fall asleep on her own eventually and not have to hold her until she falls back to sleep 4 times a night.

We had simple meals this week because of the poor sleeping habits. My favorite meal was the barbacoa meat made in the crockpot using the Gimme Some Lovin’ recipe. The meat turned out perfectly seasoned and tender

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Sweet potato oat muffins (Toddler-friendly)

sweet potato oat muffins

My baby is quickly turning into a toddler. She’s a toddler who loves to eat and I’m thankful she’s not picky yet. To try to keep up with her appetite and nutritional needs, I’m trying to give her more healthy “big kid” food and not rely on purees as much. She’s become a lot better at picking food up, putting it in her mouth and chewing it. Adults don’t really think about how eating involves all those skills that babies have to learn.

If you don’t have a toddler to feed, you can certainly still make these muffins. The recipe is very easily adjustable and they make a great healthy snack. You can easily make them more sweet by adding sugar or chocolate chips. If you don’t have mashed sweet potato readily available, canned pumpkin totally works.

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Cranberry pecan spinach salad

This salad is made with a baby spinach and greens mix, pecans, cranberries, and a triple berry balsamic dressing. I was inspired to make the dressing when I came across my cousin Laura’s recipe for Triple Berry Spinach Salad in our family cookbook.

I think this salad would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving table. It feels like a fall or winter dish because of the cranberries and pecans. You could also eat this the day after a holiday get together with the addition of leftover turkey or chicken.

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Meal plan vs. reality

This week mostly went according to the plan. I planned very simple things so that’s probably why. We ate dinner out Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Sunday being homemade food at my mom’s house. I feel lucky that I didn’t have to wash as much dishes.

I ordered groceries from InstaCart on Friday. I didn’t order any fresh meat this time for a few reasons. Last week I accidentally let some ground beef go bad because I didn’t get to cooking it in time. I didn’t want that to happen again.

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Claremont, CA: Restaurant guide

I love Claremont and have been coming here for years. I used to spend time with my family here when I was a kid. I went on dates here in college. Paul and I got married in Claremont, even though we lived in Santa Monica at the time, and now we live here.

Consider this list like Chrissy Teigen’s list of L.A. restaurants, which she was criticized for by L.A Times writer Jenn Harris. (I still care for them both any way, by the way.) I’m no restaurant critic. I may have missed your favorites as I still haven’t been every where but these are my personal favorites.

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Skillet chicken with orzo pasta

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My mom used to make this skillet chicken with orzo pasta when I was growing up. I loved it and started making it myself when I moved in with Paul a few years ago. It’s pretty easy and very satisfying. She got it from a newspaper column that I think was in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

This meal is good for weeknights, especially because there are very few dishes involved. The fewer dishes, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s great for lunches the next day too. I can’t remember for sure, but I think my mom packed this in my lunchbox when I was in junior high or high school. It’s funny to me that I can’t remember high school as well as I used to. It was 10 years ago now, so of course.

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Halloween with my little dinosaur

For Maggie’s first Halloween, she is going to be a dinosaur. I saw a pink dinosaur costume on the Carter’s website and thought that would be the perfect costume for her. Instead of buying that terry cloth costume, I bought separates from Carter’s that she could wear any time and get more use out of. My crafty sister-in-law kindly made the tail, attached it to a tutu, and added spikes to her hooded sweatshirt.

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The shirts I have in multiples

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I got one of these Gap modern stripe ballet back shirts, then within a month I ordered another one. It’s that good. I ordered the first in my current size but it fit loose, so I sized down for the second one. I have it in “coral & blue stripe” and “yellow stripe.” Unfortunately, it’s on final sale now and running low.

I like that it’s 3/4 sleeves because I feel like that’s perfect for fall days when it’s cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon.

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