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Breastfeeding is hard

April 22, 2014

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I’ve been wanting to write this post since Cielo was born but I thought I’d wait a little to see how things pan out. One month in and I stand by the statement that breastfeeding is hard. And you know what? Every single mom that I have spoken to since Cielo’s birth has said the exact same thing. One even told me she thought it was almost harder than labor itself!

So why is this something I never knew before having the baby? Why isn’t this topic shared in more birth classes and prenatal appointments? Why didn’t my midwife tell me I may have a hard time with one of the most elementary aspects of being a mom? Breastfeeding has been the number one topic of conversation concerning the baby in my household. And after speaking to so many moms and hearing similar stories to mine, I thought it was time we had an open and honest conversation about the trials and triumphs of breastfeeding. I want to know your stories. Did you find it hard to nurse your baby? How did you cope? Were you more successful? What can you share with new moms to help them along?

I encourage everyone to comment on this post (the more advice, stories, knowledge, the better), but let’s all be supportive of each others thoughts and parenting philosophies (including mine). How you feed your baby can be such a hot topic and I don’t believe in parent shaming. We all do what we need to do to keep our kids safe, happy and healthy, right? Right!

So let’s talk about breastfeeding… Read more…

Make ahead meals: Short Rib Shepherd’s Pie

April 14, 2014

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Sometimes you take two days making a recipe – you gather your ingredients, you season your meat and let it sit over night, you chop, you dice, you mince, you carefully style each and every detail, you take hundreds of photos…you delete all of said photos, you stare at your computer for the next fifteen minutes in complete disbelief…then, you smile, you pick yourself up, you remember you took photos with your iPhone, you take a deep breath, you write this post.

Short Rib Shepherd’s Pie, my friends. So good, nothing could stop me from sharing.

p.s. I originally made this recipe close to two months ago and we’re having it for dinner tonight! Keep reading for the freezer directions.

Read more…

Hello, I’m Cielo Love

April 10, 2014

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Friends, she’s finally here! Meet my new best friend, Cielo Love Parsons. She was born March 21, 2014 at 7:37am, weighing 8lbs and measuring 21 1/2 inches long. She.Is.AWESOME! There really are no words to describe the feeling. I love her. So much. I have so much to share about her birth and our first few weeks with her but for now, I just wanted to share the news of her arrival.  You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything new to the blog in over a month! Needless to say, I’ve been busy. This little girl is my full-time job now so until I get a better grasp on this stay-at-home-mom thing, the blog will be taking a back seat. I really can’t say when I’ll get back to regular postings but I’ll do my best to check in every so often and CANNOT WAIT to get back to recipes and DIY’s. Please stay tuned! xoxo, Paola.

P.S. It’s been easiest to stay active on Instagram so follow me there for more regular #cielolove pics. My handle is @loveandcupcakesblog.

Make ahead meal: Chicken Tortilla Soup

March 11, 2014

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Chicken tortilla soup is one of my absolute favorites but I’ve never made it at home – it always seems way too complicated and full if complex ingredients, like it took all day to make (but really, it couldn’t be more simple). So when Evan requested soups for some of our make-ahead meals, it was first on my list. Store-bought rotisserie chicken is my secret ingredient for making any delicious chicken soup. It takes a few steps out of the process and you can make your own stock from scratch which is something I love to do. This chicken tortilla soup is the right amount of spicy, savory, brothy and hearty. It was one of those meals where we couldn’t stop “Mmmmmming” and smacking our lips, and talking about how delicious a bowl of soup was. It was exciting to know that we’d have a few more servings waiting for us once baby is here. And the fact that one little store-bought rotisserie chicken could make so much food was really satisfying – like getting an extra discount at the register when the item you’re purchasing is already on sale. This soup was a true triumph! Ready to make it? Let’s go!

Read more…

Make ahead meals: Classic French Toast

March 3, 2014

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Hi friends! I’m alive! And still pregnant! Sorry for the radio silence over the last two weeks. Evan and I have been super busy baby nesting and it’s been so hard to do anything that isn’t related to this little bubs living inside me. But I’m happy to say that we’re done…at least until baby arrives. We really can’t think of anything else we can do in preparation for her arrival – except make tons and tons of freezer foods. Which brings me to this post. I’ve been a busy bee making everything from entrees to snacks to desserts and I’ll be sharing a few of my favorites with you in the next coming weeks. Most of these recipes are doubled (some even tripled) so consider these large crowd meals or size them accordingly to suit your needs. First up, classic french toast! French toast probably isn’t the first food you’d think of when it comes to make ahead meals, but, like pancakes and waffles, french toast freezes and reheats beautifully. And since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, I’ve made sure to have plenty of tasty morning eats around for whenever the mood strikes. This classic recipe is simple and delicious– and the perfect canvas for creating your favorite version of french toast. I love mine with berries and gobs of maple syrup.  Read more…

Happy Valentine’s Day + My worst date EVER!

February 14, 2014

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Happy Valentine’s Day all! What are your plans for tonight? We’re making dinner and having a House of Cards marathon in our pajamas. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re doing it with someone you love. -xo

Now lets talk the dating game. On this day of love, I thought it may be fun to discuss some of our not so awesome love connections. Truth be told, I’ve only been on four first dates. Three of those dates resulted in long-term relationships, one of which turned into marriage! The fourth first date was a complete disaster and easily my worst date ever. Here’s what went down: Read more…

DIY “You Complete Me” Donut Valentine

February 13, 2014

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Edible gifts are some of my favorite. They’re perfect for everything from holidays to hostess gifts to party favors. One of the best parts of giving treats as gifts is that you don’t always have to make them from scratch. There’s a number of store-bought goodies that can be turned into special gifts with just a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease. This Valentine was inspired by a darling little mug I found at Target a few weeks back. Could these be any cuter?!! Nothing says “you complete me” like sprinkle donuts and donut holes. And what’s best, is that all you have to do is visit your favorite donut shop, package your donuts & holes in small bakery boxes or cellophane bags and finish with a cute tag (downloadable below). Done and done! These are great for school, work or friends and family. I guarantee you’ll hear ooh’s and aah’s over this simple but completely unexpected Valentine. -xoxo Read more…

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