Sunday, February 11, 2018

Christmas 2017.

The holidays are by far my favorite time of year. This year, we spent Christmas in Omaha, NE and Marshalltown, IA, as well as celebrating with my parents and siblings in the Twin Cities, and Pap Saigh’s parents in Mankato, MN. It was so wonderful being with family, especially the little cousins. We may have been a little tired from all the traveling (ok, a LOT tired), but it was worth it to be with family.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Organizing kids' rooms with the neat method.

With the arrival of Baby Saigh #3 just around the corner, we needed to get our two oldest kids (ages 6 and 2) into one shared bedroom, and transform our youngest's bedroom into the baby's nursery. Since we have our hands full right now, we sought out some help from the Neat Method Twin Cities to lead us in the right direction with our organization, bedroom-merging, etc. I am still in shock with what Lauren and her team were able to do in the little time they were in our home. This week, I was back on The Jason Show to share some of the simple ideas that you can do in your home.

CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH THE ENTIRE VIDEO OF MY SEGMENT ON THE JASON SHOW


SIBLINGS SHARING A BEDROOM

The first thing we did when we decided to merge Linna (age 6) and Jameson (age 2) into one bedroom, was purchase bunkbeds from Wayfair. The treehouse design by Birch Lane Kids that we chose had our oldest super excited about sleeping in the top bunk. The top bunk is her own personal space, and we even added a shelf from IKEA, and baskets from The Container Store for Linna to keep her "special belongings" (AKA, her "nick-nacks") in.

Our oldest, Linna, in her top bunk.

The Neat Method advised us to purchase a second rack for the kids' closet, which made a huge difference. I also got some sleek and adorable children's clothing hangers from IKEA, to make the closet look neat and uniform. Linna loves that her clothes are now at her level, so she's able to pick out her outfits for school in the morning. I love the baskets from The Container Store used to organize our oldest's shoes and other belongings.

Linna's closet BEFORE the Neat Method helped us. Yikes!

The kids' new closet AFTER help from the Neat Method.
Both of our kids' clothes and belongings are in here now!

We also removed all the toys from the kids' new bedroom, and focused on making this room a changing, reading, and sleeping room. Toys were moved to our main living areas (rec room and living room), and organized in labeled baskets. Lauren labeled the baskets with chalkboard tags from The Container Store, using a wet chalk-marker from Amazon. Now all of the toys in our main living areas have a "home" so they're not laying out all the time, and the excess toys are in our unfinished basement (a place that no one sees).

Linna's room BEFORE, with toys and clutter galore!

The kids' room AFTER, with dressers and a simple teepee tent for their reading area.


Two IKEA dressers were added to the kids' bedroom to hold all of the clothes that aren't hung up. Lauren taught me a fantastic folding technique that maximizes the space in our kids' drawers. Plus it makes it easy the kids to see all of their options when picking outfits in the morning.

Finally, we added a DIY bookshelf to the kids' room that we made out of an old pallet. It's under a window, so it's easily accessible to both of our kids.

DIY bookshelf from an old pallet, step 1.

DIY bookshelf, step 2. Just needs paint!

DIY bookshelf from an old pallet, hung under the kids' bedroom window for easy-access.


ORGANIZING PLAY-AREAS

Isn't it funny how kids will play with their old toys as if they're brand new, ONLY if they're neatly organized?! We spent a lot of time "editing" the kids' toys, matching "like" with "like" (cars and trucks with trains and planes, figurines with "little people", etc.), and then placing those toys in labeled baskets from IKEA for easy access, and most importantly, easy clean-up. We plan to rotate toys from the basement, as the kids get bored with the toys in our main living areas.

Arts & crafts area.

The Neat Method also helped us create special areas for arts & crafts, and dress-up play. Our daughter is obsessed with the clear paint cans from The Container Store that she can put her supplies in, and I'm obsessed with the price of these adorable containers. These containers add an organized pop of color to this area of the house.

Papa Saigh also built a super-simple dress-up rack for the kids to hang all of their costumes and dress-up clothes on. For this DIY project, you'll need 4 equal-size pieces of wood, a wood dowel, thick string, and 4 screw circle-hooks. It's literally as easy to make as it looks!

If you want The Neat Method Twin Cities to help organize your home, book a consultation with Lauren and her team by February 14th, 2018 and mention The Jason Show, or Minnesota Baby, to get 15% OFF your services!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gestational diabetes diagnosis.

I am literally sitting in my exam room of my OBGYN, just 20 minutes after I found out that my first and second blood-draw levels during my 3-hour glucose screening came back elevated.

Cue hormonal, ugly cry.

The dreaded drink.

I am 31 weeks pregnant with Baby #3, and had to schedule the dreaded 3-hour glucose screening test after I failed my initial screening. I passed the initial glucose screening with my first two pregnancies, but my doctor says every pregnancy is different. Plus, I'm 35 years old this time around, and have gained a lot more weight with this pregnancy.

The 3-hour test sucks.

I had to fast for 8-10 hours before the test, slam an orange drink with 100 grams of glucose (2X the amount of the glucose in the initial-screening drink), then have my blood drawn every hour (total of 4 blood draws). Plus, I couldn't eat during the test. So, here I sit, waiting for my fourth and final blood draw, even though I now know I had elevated blood levels in 3 out of 4 of my blood draws (AKA, I failed the glucose screening, and have gestational diabetes).

(Videos from our InstaStories the day before, and day of
the 3-hour glucose screening. Follow us on Instagram: @MelissaSaigh)

My glucose levels were...

1st blood-draw (before glucose drink, and after an 8-10 hour fast): 102
2nd blood-draw (1 hour after glucose drink): 230
3rd blood-draw: 188
4th blood-draw: 119

Here's where normal levels should to be...

1st blood-draw: 70-94
2nd blood-draw: 70-179
3rd blood-draw: 70-154
4th blood-draw: 70-139

While I had big plans for driving over to Bruegger's to get a bagel and cream cheese the size of my head following this test, I'm now waiting on hold to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. I met with my doctor in the midst of waiting for my 4th and final blood-draw, and unleashed the pregnant-lady ugly cry. While he assured me that everything will be just fine, all I can think about is how much it's going to suck to have to monitor what I eat and drink during the last couple months of my LAST pregnancy.

How depressing.

Last night, my "last supper" was a steak and a lettuce salad. One of my mom-friends told me that's what she ate before she took and passed her 3-hour glucose (she has 4 kids, and failed 3 out of 4 of her initial glucose tests, but passed the 3-hour test each time). My cousin, who is a doctor, assured me that no matter what I ate the night before, it wouldn't alter my test results (AKA, if I have GD, then I have GD).

Oh well, it was a delicious try.

Now, while I wait to meet with the endocrinologist, I need to watch my carb and sugar intake, and focus on eating more protein and vegetables. Not what I want to be doing during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. However, I only have a few more weeks. At 31 weeks and having GD, my doctor will induce me at or before 39 weeks to make sure the baby doesn't get too big. I'll most likely have an ultrasound around 37 weeks to measure the baby, and I'll be seeing my OBGYN every two weeks, unless something changes.

While I do my best to stay positive, does anyone have any delicious low-carb/low-sugar recipes, snacks, or food that they'd like to share with this VERY hungry and VERY pregnant mama???

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Baby saigh #3 pregnancy: 29 weeks.

This week, I jump into week 30 of my final pregnancy. I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is moving along. While I'm super uncomfortable and tired, I'm not ready to be done... Nor, are we even close to being ready for the arrival of Baby Saigh #3. Baby clothes (the few items I saved) are still in bins in the basement, we haven't transitioned Jimmy (age 2) into Linna's (age 6) room yet, and we're still ordering and collecting the baby gear we got rid of after Baby Saigh #2. But honestly, I feel like I'm in a super "chill" state of mind this time around.

28 weeks pregnant with Baby Saigh #3.

With my other two pregnancies, I became obsessed with having everything perfect and in place MONTHS before the baby arrived. After the birth of my first two babies, my expectations weren't met, and things didn't always go as planned... Which is expected. But I wasn't ready for things to not go the way I planned, and my feelings of "failure" led me down a dark path to postpartum depression and anxiety. A place I never want to end up again.

So, this time around, I'm taking the "chill" approach. Because let's be honest, all babies really need is a safe place to sleep, a boob or bottle to eat from, diapers, warm clothes, and lots of snuggles. While I'll be working on gathering all the other baby "fillers and fluff" over the next couple months, I'm sure we'll be set once this little one makes his or her debut.

Third kid means a third-row vehicle. I'm loving my new Volkswagen Atlas.

Our Christmas card this year. Photo cred: Jayme Peterson

My hips are incredibly sore, and sleeping has become a struggle since I can only sleep on my sides. I waddle, I take a hot minute to stand up or get my pregnant self up from the floor, and I desperately need to start going to yoga. I also have horrible acid reflux at night (and all day), which I try to keep under control with Ranitidine (150 mgs, 3X/day). It often gets so bad that I literally vomit in my sleep, and choke on it.

I know, it's disgusting, right?!

This week, I started sleeping alone in our oldest's bed, while she sleeps with Papa Saigh in our bed. Our bed has become super uncomfortable for me and my ol' hips. I'm also waking up 2-3 times/night to pee. The baby's moves have recently become jabs and punches that often take my breath away. I'm anxious for my exam next week, because I feel like this baby is sitting really low in my pelvis. I can literally feel sharp movements in my nether-regions, but I remember feeling this type of movement at this point during my other two pregnancies. I also failed my glucose test last week, so I have to do the 3-hour test next week to see whether or not I have gestational diabetes. I passed the initial test with both of my previous pregnancies, but I've gained a lot more weight and have been eating poorly this time around. Whoops!

Enjoying a nap with my current baby.

Jimmy getting in some "big brother" practice with my friend's baby Everly.

We're still waiting to find out the gender of this baby, and at this point we don't have a boy or girl name picked out yet. The "plan" is to go into the hospital with a list of options, and wait to see what the baby looks like before we name him or her. It should be interesting around the time of my due date, because my parents will be in Florida, and my mother-in-law will be recovering from knee surgery. My sister is "on-call" when I go into labor, and other than that, we have no plan. Since Papa Saigh works a lot, I'll be searching for someone to come in and help me during the first few months after the baby is born. While my doctor and I have a plan to prevent a third round of postpartum depression/anxiety from happening, I know that asking for and receiving help is KEY when I'm healing and trying to figure out my groove as a mom of three. I'm not setting any expectations for myself, my kids, my husband, or the new baby, and I'm committed to working with whatever comes our way. Most importantly, I'll be taking things as slow and relaxed as possible.

Our kids in their new bunk beds (by Birch Lane).

Oh, and I just realized that my due date lands right around our first-grader's spring break at school. So, if the baby arrives "on time", I'll have all three kiddos home for a week... All. The. Time.

Should be interesting.

We'll be spending the next couple months prepping for the arrival of Baby Saigh #3, but I'm also trying to enjoy every kick and movement in my belly... No matter how uncomfortable they might be. I'm so thankful for this little person growing inside me, and still can't believe we'll have a third child in the house. We can't wait to meet you, Baby!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ridgedale center indoor play-area.

A few weeks ago, the 2-year-old and I checked out the brand new indoor play-area at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka. This FREE, 6,000 square-foot, enclosed play-area has something for everyone (under 52" tall). First of all, I loved the clean and modern design of this facility. It's also located on the second floor (near Nordstrom), and easily accessible to restrooms. If you're looking for a play-area in the middle of a mall, you won't find one here. This play-area is nestled in between storefronts, with fancy illuminated letters telling parents and kids to come and play.


My 2-year-old didn't want to leave. He moved from the giant train table, to the apple tree climber, then over to the fishing pond, and then back to the blocks, cars/spaceships (what are these things, anyway?!), and into the padded fun space. There are so many hands-on activities for little ones to keep busy, and there's even a specific enclosed area for babies under the age of two.

Huge train table

Giant apple tree climber

The two things I didn't love about this place are the layout, and the chaos when it gets busy. The floor plan of the play-area is in the shape of an "L", and there's an exit door around the corner toward the back of the play-area. This makes me nervous in the off-chance that a kid figured out how to open the exit door, or if a creeper makes his/her way into the play-area and takes off with a kid. While this isn't likely to happen, it's something I keep in mind when my kiddos make their way toward the back of the play-area.

When this place gets busy during peak hours, it's a nightmare. If you're one of the first visitors to arrive and park your stroller in the lounge area, good luck getting your stroller out. We watched parents attempt to get their strollers out of the lounge area with little to no success. So, you may want to think about parking your stroller toward the front, or even outside, this play-area to ensure easy access when you're ready to make your exit.

Fishing pond



There's also a party room, and the owners of InnerActive offer party packages starting at $175. The Ridgedale Center website says that classes will begin in January 2018. There's also a sitting lounge with vending machines, and all kids and adults must wear socks and remove their shoes before entering the play-area.

Overall, we love this new play-area... Especially during freezing cold Minnesota winters. It's clean, new, open, and educational for little ones. Our 6-year-old came with us during one visit, and enjoyed playing with her 2-year-old brother. But I'd definitely say that this facility is intended for kids under the age of 5.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Easy holiday appetizers for busy parents.

These days, my pre-kids, "Pinterest Wonder-Woman" life is a thing of the past. I don't know about you, but I basically have a delivery service drop my holiday groceries off on my porch, leaving me about 5-10 minutes to whip up a delicious appetizer for the get-togethers we attend over the holidays. If you're a busy parent, or any human being looking for a short-cut this holiday season, I have a few EASY and delicious appetizer recipes for your next holiday party or get-together.

BACON-WRAPPED BRUSSLES SPROUTS

Ingredients: 

1 lbs. brussles sprouts
1 package (16 oz. thick-cut bacon)
Real maple syrup

This recipe is beyond easy, and are a hit with brussles sprouts lovers AND non-brussles sprouts lovers! Simply wash, dry, then slice each brussles sprout in half. Slice your stack of bacon right down the middle, doubling your number of bacon strips. Wrap each brussles sprout half in a piece (half of a full piece) of bacon, then place in a baking pan or dish. Drizzle all wrapped brussles sprouts with real maple syrup, then bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees (F). Serve hot. You can also place a toothpick in each bacon-wrapped brussles sprout for easy serving.


SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

Ingredients:

1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated/shredded)
6 oz Neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
14 oz. can of artichoke hearts
1 clove of garlic
2 cups fresh spinach leaves (chopped)
1 tsp black pepper (ground)

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and mix well. Then dump into a crockpot, and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Turn crockpot down to "warm", and serve with crackers, ciabatta bread, or veggies.


CARAMEL APPLE DIP




Ingredients: 

2-3 red apples
1 package cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Carmel topping
Chocolate-covered toffee bites (Heath Bar Bits)

I stole this recipe from my super-mom of a neighbor, Amanda. She makes this for our neighborhood get-togethers, and the plate is always clean within the first half-hour of her placing it on the table. First, combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese, then spread onto the center of a serving platter. Cut red apples into slices, and place around the outside of the cream cheese mixture. Right before serving, pour caramel topping over the top of the cream cheese (not the apples), and top with chocolate-covered toffee bits. People use the apple slices to scoop up the dip in the middle, and then salivate while enjoying this delicious dish!




Thursday, November 30, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Holiday decor.

Has anyone else had their Christmas decor up since November 1st?!



No?! Well, even if you're just thinking about getting your holiday decor out of boxes and up around your home, you still have lots of time. This week, I was back on The Jason Show with some easy DIY home-decor ideas for the holidays that you can do with your kids!

DIY DECORATIVE VOTIVES



WHAT YOU NEED: Square blocks of wood, wood glue, Yoplait Oui glass jars (cleaned and dried), rice, and votive candles

I am officially addicted to the new French-style yogurt from Yoplait. We served them at our 2-year-old's birthday party, and they were a hit. These little Oui yogurts come in their own glass jars, which make adorable wine glasses, or can be used to make decorative votive candle holders. For this project, simply enjoy your Oui yogurt, then clean out the jar, and peel off the labels. I went to Lowes and bought a long pine board for under $3, and had Papa Saigh cut it into perfect square pieces for me. I stacked the square wood pieces, and glued them together using wood glue. Once dry (about 12 hours), I used gold spray paint to give the wood blocks two coats. Once the paint was dry, I super-glued the empty glass jar from the Yoplait Oui yogurt onto the top block, filled it 1/4 full with white rice, and places a white votive candle in the jar. These inexpensive DIY decorative votives are placed around our home for the holidays, and make great hostess gifts over the holiday season!

DIY SNOWFLAKE ORNAMENTS




WHAT YOU NEED: Wood clothespins (the kind with the wire spring), wood glue, spray paint and glitter (optional)

This craft is super easy, and is a beautiful way to decorate your Christmas tree. I got a 50-pack of wood clothespins from Lowes, and had my 6-year-old help me take them apart. Then, you place the wood pieces back-to-back, and use wood glue to secure them together in twos. Once those pieces are dry, you can glue the heads of the wood pieces together, creating your snowflake shape. Once they dry, you can spray-paint them white and add glitter, or keep them in their original wood state. These snowflakes make lovely Christmas tree ornaments, and you can make 7-12 of them for about $3!

DISPLAYING HOLIDAY GREETING CARDS




This is the easiest trick for displaying your holiday greeting cards, courtesy of my friend, hair stylist, and Jason Show Contributor, Jen Senescall. Simply take a blonde/gold bobby-pin, and use it to hang your holiday greet cards to garland. We have holiday garland on our mantle, and use the gold bobby-pins to secure our friends' and families' holiday greeting cards to that. Super simple, and it doesn't damage the cards!

This is our family's 2017 holiday greeting card. We use Minted every year because of their free address printing, good deals over Black Friday, selection, quality, and service. This year, we had photographer Jayme Peterson come into our home to take photos of our family. I could not be more pleased with the results. She was SO wonderful with our kids, and was in and out in about 45 minutes. Mention Minnesota Baby or The Jason Show when you book your first session with Jayme to get 20% OFF!

Jayme Peterson Photography
JaymePetersonPhotography@gmail.com
(612) 298-4447


We also display holiday greeting-cards on our home's DIY chalkboard wall:




INEXPENSIVE GIFT-WRAP

Another easy way to save money over the holidays: Simply use non-adhesive craft paper to wrap gifts. I found a roll at Lowes for under $3, and I'm going on my second Christmas wrapping gifts with it! Let your kiddos decorate the paper to add their own personal touch, or simply add ribbon to the packages to dress them up a bit. You can mix these wrapped gifts in with gifts wrapped in designer wrapping-paper. This craft paper is so much cheaper than the wrapping paper you can buy in stores!

ADDING TEXTURE




It's simple! Just use blankets, faux-fur pillows, stocking, etc., and decor such as real or faux antlers to add texture to your holiday home-decor. I found faux-fur Christmas stockings in the dollar section at Target last year, and some great faux-fur pillows and blankets at Lowes this year. Throw pillows and blankets over chairs, sofas, or even in baskets to add depth and texture to any room.