2 sisters 2 cities

January 6, 2011

Winter Warmer Recipe: Tropical Fruit Salad

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 3:04 pm

Since we are in midst of winter with no end in sight, I decided to make a tropical fruit salad today.  This recipe is super easy, but will help beat out some of the winter doldrums!

Tropical Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
-3 kiwis
-1 mango
-2 oranges
-1 tablespoon honey

Peel and slice up the fruit.

Put the fruit in a bowl and stir in the honey.

Sit back and enjoy your tropical fruit salad.  Close your eyes and picture yourself on a warm island somewhere!  (And tune out all meteorologists who keep talking about two upcoming snow storms.)

-m

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December 15, 2010

Announcing the arrival of Baby T!

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 12:37 pm

Well, it’s now officially been well over a month since Baby T has been born so I figured it was about time I get to blogging about it!  He is such a great baby (well, maybe not so great in the evenings, but we still love him very much!)  I knew having a newborn would be hard work, but I never realized how much of a time encompassing life change it would be.  Time just flies by.  I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at the clock and am completely flabbergasted by what time it is (such as now…I’m still drinking my morning coffee at noon!)

My labor went relatively smoothly.  I was in labor at home for over 24 hours starting on my due date before we headed to the hospital.  Husband M took the day off work to go on walks around Castle Island and Thomas Park with me (it was a blustery cold day).  I was still in labor that night, but the contractions were still 10-20 minutes apart so we held off on going to the hospital.  Finally, around 5 or 6 a.m., I decided to get into the shower to start getting ready to head out.  By the time we left at 7 am, the contractions were coming hard every 2-3 minutes.  Once we got to the hospital, I was pretty much ready to push.  I was still able to get an epidural at that point thankfully (sorry Husband M for dragging you to 2 weekends of Natural Childbirth classes…although I did get to that point naturally!)  They gave me a 30 minute break to relax and then it was pushing time!  Baby T came out in less than 15 minutes. It was such an amazing experience to finally meet the little being that was living inside of you for the past 9 months.

Now that we are somewhat getting into a routine (as much of a routine as you can get into with an infant), I am going to try to get back to blogging more often.  On the agenda…very easy to cook dinners (my bon appetit and Julia Child cookbooks are getting pushed to the back of the bookshelf), baby stuff,  holiday ideas, reviewing last year’s resolutions, and mew resolutions for 2011.  Thanks for sticking with us readers!

-m

November 2, 2010

Ready for Arrival: Airplane-Themed Nursery

I’ve been on maternity leave for a little over a week now and I finally finished a few last minute touches to the baby’s nursery this morning.  I wanted to share some photos of the airplane-themed nursery that we put together.  Husband M and I decided (well, perhaps I decided) to go with an airplane theme as Husband M has loved planes since he was a little kid.  Growing up in London, his dad would take him to Heathrow every weekend to watch the planes take off.  When we were initially deciding on buying a place, I think one of the main selling points for South Boston  was its view of the runway approach to Logan Airport.  He spends half his summer up on the roof deck watching planes take off and land.  Hopefully our baby shares the same love of planes!

The final reveal:

We purchased all the furniture from Baby Furniture Warehouse in Braintree.  The crib, bookshelf, and baby station are from the Romina Karisma collection and the glider is from Dutalier.  The bedding, mobile, airplane & boat pictures, and storage containers are all from Pottery Barn Kids.  The airplane lamp was a gift from our good friends at Crescent Harbor Lighting.

As I reach the end of my to do list, all that is left is to wait for baby’s arrival.  Hopefully he is not following the trend of the airline industry and decides to come right on time!

-m

October 10, 2010

Boston Baby Shower

Last weekend, my husband’s aunt T, and my two friends B & L hosted a baby shower for me at the Longwharf Marriott in Boston.  I had such a great time and wanted to share a few pictures of the great party they organized.  The brunch itself was delicious and our waiter did an excellent job.

On each of the tables, they had Boston-based baby books (try saying that 10 times fast) and had left out sharpies for everyone to leave a note in them.  The centerpieces were beautiful hydrangea arrangements in mason jars with really cute ribbon.  For the favor, they made a donation for Toys for Tots and attached a small Sesame Street ornament to the note card at each table setting.

Husband M is really into planes (so we spend a lot of time watching them take off from the airport at Castle Island on our walks).  How cute is this cake from Concord Teacakes?  It was a vanilla cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting.  I love the baby looking out the airplane window!

This week, I have been sorting out all the wonderful gifts we received.  Baby’s nursery is almost finished and I am feeling pretty prepared.  Check out the cool diaper cake on the right-hand side that sister K and sister M2 made for me.

Almost time for baby’s arrival- I will try to post final nursery pictures soon!

-m

October 6, 2010

Baby Shower Maternity Dress Rental

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 12:49 pm

This past weekend, my husband’s aunt and two of my friends threw me a great baby shower.  I’ll do another post soon with all the details and some pictures, but I just wanted to do a quick post on what I wore to the occasion.  At this point in my pregnancy (35 weeks), I am pretty much sick of all my maternity clothes, yet I am past the point where I really want to buy anymore.  I found a great website that rents out special occasion maternity dresses- RentMaternityWear.com.

I rented the Wrap Jersery “Eva” dress by Christian Siriano (my favorite Project Runway designer ever!):

Photo from http://www.rentmaternitywear.com

The dress arrived via FedEx on a Thursday and I had until the following Thursday to return it.  It also came with two sizes of the dress so I could try both on to see which one fit better at no extra cost.  The dress itself retails for about $75 and the cost of the one-week rental was about $43 ($35 rental + $8 in shipping costs).   The package comes with a pre-paid for shipping label and bag.  You just pop the dresses in the bag and drop them off at a USPS location or mailbox before the rental period ends.

Renting a dress probably doesn’t make sense if you need a piece you are going to wear many times throughout your pregnancy.  However, in this case, I thought it was worth it to wear something new and I’m unlikely to have an event to wear it again in the next 5 weeks or so.

As friend B called it, it’s Netflix for maternity dresses!

-m

September 13, 2010

Getting Ready for Baby Lists

As the big day approaches, I have been starting to get ready for the baby’s arrival.  I’ve had a few lists passed on to me of things that other moms have written up of items they found to be useful.

Design MomPreparing for Baby

BabbleBaby Registry Guide

Liz’s Baby Basics

FOR MOM

  • Maternity Jeans – spend some money on these – you will live in them over the weekend
  • Maternity Pants – Gap made some really cute ones
  • Maternity Tops/Sweaters – don’t even need to buy them – just buy larger sizes at inexpensive stores like H&M, Limited, Gap
  • Nursing tank tops
    • The absolute best are Gilligan & O”Malley (Target carries them).  I swear by these.  They look just like a regular tank(black, white, pink or gray) and you can wear them under a cardigan. I wore these every single day while on maternity leave. Much easier than a nursing bra.  Never even bought a nursing bra.
  • BellaBand
    • This is a band that can extend the life of your pants.  You can wear pants unbuttoned and put band over to create seamless line.  Also great for when shirts/sweaters become too short b/c you just see the band which looks like a t-shirt underneath the shirt.
  • Disposable Lansonihl nursing pads
  • Lansonohl breast cream (purple tube for breasts)
  • Email list – put together mass email list for baby’s arrival announcement
  • Birth Announcements
    • Print labels before baby is born and select announcement so ready to go (I didn’t send mine out until baby was 6 months – wish I had done sooner)
    • Tinyprints.com – great selection of announcements
  • Monogrammed thank you cards – If you are really organized and know the baby’s name, you can order personalized thank you cards in advance b/c you will need them as soon as baby is born.  TinyPrints and PeekabooPumpkin have good selections.
  • Breast Pump ( Medela Pump in Style – borrow one if you can b/c you may not take to it)

FOR BABY

  • Swaddles (Kiddopotamus Velcro or any brand) – we used for first 3 months
  • Basic white tees (get the ones that have side snaps rather than ones that have to be pulled over head)
  • Basic onesies
  • Sleep Sacks or gowns – great for newborns b/c much easier to change diaper in middle of night
  • Zipper Footy PJs – once a bit older, I recommend PJs with zipper b/c easier than buttoned pjs to change in middle of night
  • Bibs (velcro on the side of neck is best b/c doesn’t chafe back of babies neck when being bed in cradle position)
  • Cheap burp clothes
    • I preferred the inexpensive ones b/c they were softer.  The cuter ones with patterns were too stiff to wipe babies mouth, so never used them.
  • Bottles (BornFree)
  • Nipples (Level 1 to start….at 3 months go to level 2 and at 6 months go to level 3)
  • Formula (Enfamil is good, so is Nestle Good Start or Similac)
  • Powdered formula containers (3 of them snap together and you can premeasure formula so all you need to do is pour into bottle of water – great for middle of the night!)
  • Pacifiers (try a few different brands to see what fits baby’s face)
  • Diapers (Pamper’s Swaddlers)– Size: Newborn
  • Wipes (Pamper’s Sensitive)
  • Travel size wipes for diaper bag
  • Thermometer (traditional is better – ear is not accurate read for babies)
  • Grooming kit (just basic with curved scissors, hair brush, toothbrush)
  • Changing pad (to put on table – all brands are the same)
  • Changing pad cover
  • PeeWee’s Disposable Multi-Use changing pads
    • These are essential.  If the baby goes to the bathroom while being changed, you don’t need to wash changing pad cover – just throw away disposable pads. I use these every day.
  • Sassy Diaper Bags – blue scented bags to throw dirty diapers in
    • We do not have a diaper genie and don’t even need one with these bags.  We never smell anything once diaper is in these disposable bags.
  • Dishwasher caddy (to put bottle parts in for washing)
  • Mustela Shampoo, Lotion, Bath Gel
  • Baby Tylenol/ Motrin
  • Saline nose drops (for when stuffed up/has cold)
  • Diaper ointment (A&D, Balmex, Mustela – any are fine)
  • Small/ soft washclothes ( not full size b/c too big for newborns)
  • Hooded towel for after bath

FOR BABY’S ROOM/ FURNITURE

  • Bambi Baby (www.bambibaby.com 877-882-2624)
    • I bought my baby furniture here and they will beat ANY price you find.  They beat Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, and other smaller local stores in price by a few hundred dollars.  And their customer service is fantastic.  You deal with the same person every time you call.
  • Glider – Microfiber Upholstered Glider (color: Sage) $379
    • We tried every chair and this one is SO comfortable!  The sage color goes really well in a boy’s or girl’s room and the chair is very comfortable for a man or woman.  Highly recommend.  Carried at Babies R Us…and I think Buy Buy Baby
  • Foot Stool – I found this to be very comfortable when feeding.  I still use it.
  • Co-Sleeper/Moses basket/bassinet
    • I loved the co-sleeper – nice to have baby right next to bed for first month or so before you move them into crib
  • Matress – any brand that meets regulations is fine (some people prefer Organic)
  • Waterproof mattress pad covers (for under crib sheet)
  • Mattress pad sheets
  • Crib Set
  • Hangers
  • Clothes Hamper (I like Kids Line Folding Hamper)
  • Trashcan (If you do not do Diaper Genie, which is not necessary, recommend just buying a SimpleHuman can that you can open with foot.  If using blue diaper bags, won’t smell in room at all.)
  • Baby Monitor (Fisher Price) – don’t need if live in an apartment
  • Nightlight

BABY ACCESSORIES/ TOYS

  • Stroller and car seat

o      Graco Snap & Go is great – definitely the easiest for city living

o      I’d recommend getting car seat for up to 30lbs so that you don’t need to trade up to larger size so quickly

  • Rain cover for stroller (any brand is fine)
  • Head positioner – put in stroller/car seat so head doesn’t bobble all around
  • Bundle Me – will need lightweight and fleece one for winter
  • Sun Shade for stroller – This is a must.  Protect-A-Bub Single Canapy is good and works on any stroller.
  • Stroller Caddy (recommend Joovy Cool Essentials on amazon.com)
    • This fits across handle bars of jogger strollers and is the best. You can put your wallet, phone, blackberry, keys, etc in it.  I wish I had bought this sooner b/c I hated having to put all this stuff in the carrying area below the baby.
  • Toy bar that attaches to stroller bar (for jog type stollers)
    • Kids love this – will play with it and kick at it as you walk
    • Recommend anything like Sunshine Kids AG Twirly Whirly or Whoozit Activity Spiral
  • Once you graduate from Snap & Go (which can be used up until 9-10 months depending on size of baby), recommend Phil & Ted’s if looking to do long walks or MacLaren for around town
  • Britax Car Seat – highly recommend for when baby is 1 year old
  • Bouncy Chair that vibrates (highly recommend Fisher Price Rainforest )
  • Swing ( never used one, but people swear by the Fisher Price Papasan)
  • Baby Bumbo chair (don’t need for first couple months)

o      Great for before they can sit up on own b/c gives them different vantage point – also great to use when feeding little babies before they graduate to high chair)

o      I got a different brand than Bumbo that I really liked – had a tray that attached with a toy that babies love

  • Activity Saucer
    • Highly recommend Evenflo 3-in-1 ExerSaucer Triple Fun
    • This is for babies about 4 months up – they LOVE it
  • Mobile for crib

o      Highly recommend Tiny Love Symphony or Delux Symphony in Motion

  • Boppy Pillow – for breastfeeding
  • Activity mat with overhanging toys (Recommend Gymini 3D or Baby Einstein- all babies love that at some point during first 6 months)
  • Pack and play and sheets for it (any Graco is fine – no need for most expensive….but it is nice to have the changing table)
  • Baby Einstein DVDS
    • These are priceless!  Babies love these from 2 months on.  You can buy entire boxset of 24 DVDs online for $95….or individually for $20/each
  • Bathtub
    • Any of the newborn ones are fine (I liked one that fit over kitchen sink)
    • The BEST one to buy once baby outgrows first tub (around 4-5 months) is the Primo Eurobath – it’s the only one to buy!
  • Leap Frog Learn & Groove Musical Table – this is for when they begin pulling themselves up on things…this is fantastic – hours and hours and hours of fun for baby
  • Highchair (Peg Perego Highchair is the Mercedes of highchairs – it’s a must)

THINGS WE DIDN’T LOVE OR NEED

  • Baby Bjorn – people swear by it, but we thought it was difficult to use
  • Bottle Warmer – baby doesn’t know difference and if you always do room temp, they will be fine with it.
  • Jumper for door way (I never used this – thought it was hard to put baby in/out)

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

  • What to Expect in the First Year (great)
  • Baby 411 (this is a MUST for every mom!  Includes answers at a glance to every question you will have in the first year.)
  • Baby Wise, The Baby Whisperer or other sleep book

Jill’s Baby Registry List

Bathtub and accessories:

Bottles, etc:

Crib and bedroom:

Stroller, car seat, play, travel, etc:

Stuff:

  • Pampers swadlers (Diapers.com)
  • Pampers sensitive wipes – get refills and one box of Huggies sensitive wipes (Huggies has a better box but Pampers makes better wipes) (Diapers.com)
  • Grooming kit http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15131730&
  • Dreft (Diapers.com) and Shout gel (to clean stains)
  • A&D (day time ointment), Balmex (night time ointment), Aquaphor (Diapers.com)
  • Alcohol and baby q-tips (to clean around umbilical cord)
  • Cotton pads to clean for the first few weeks before you start using wipes
  • Saline nasal spray (to use with nasal aspirator – they usually give you the nasal aspirator at the hospital)
  • Thermometer
  • Cloth diapers to use as burp clothes, and pee diapers (cover boys while you change them because they pee upward).  http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15010193&.  You will get nice burp clothes as gifts but can register or buy some as well http://www.buybuybaby.com/searchSKU.asp?order_num=-1&SSTR=burp+cloths&go=1&
  • Musela products (register or get at Diapers.com)

o      Derma cleansing body and hair http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15097752&

o      Body lotion http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15034700&

Mom readers, what baby items did you find to be incredibly useful (or useless)?

-m

September 12, 2010

Last 5 Books I have read

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:17 pm

I’ve gotten the chance to read these books this summer:

1. The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley- I figured since I have some free time now, I should start reading up on how to get babies to sleep through the night.  I figured when I am actually starting to have this issue, I will have the least time to read this book!  It definitely had some good tips, but I will probably need to re-read through the book again once baby arrives!

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp- Once again, I read this one to be proactive for baby’s arrival.  This book goes over the 5 s’s to soothe an infant…swaddle, swing, side/stomach, shoosh and sucking.  Husband M and I took a Newborn Essentials class at Isis Parenting the other night.  After reading this book, I felt I did not really learn much from this class as I had already learned it in the book.  Fortunately, it was not a total bust going to class because Husband M said he actually did learn a great deal.  We’ll see how we do with the tips from the book in a couple months once baby is here!

3. The Happiness Project, Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin- This book is not necessarily for people who are unhappy, just people looking to add more happiness to their life (and who wouldn’t want that?)  The author spends an entire year with different resolutions for each month to try to bring more happiness into each day.  It’s a nice thing to think about doing on a daily basis and she has lots of different ideas on things you can try.  She admits that not all things she does is for everyone…it’s more important to decide for yourself what are some things you can add to your life that  actually make you happy.

4. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson- Thanks to cousin K, she rescued me from being 400th in my library queue for this book and brought her copy out to Nantucket for me.  It was a great book to read on the beach all week.  You definitely need to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo first to understand a lot of the background.

5. Twelve Rooms with a View by Theresa Rebeck- The premise of this book is that 3 sisters find out that they have inherited a multi-million dollar property on Central Park after their reclusive, alcoholic mother passes away.  However, the estate gets challenged by their mother’s step sons and the building co-op board.  The sisters battle it out with their new enemies, and also learn a great deal about their mother’s secret life she lead.

-m

August 19, 2010

Back from ACK

Filed under: M's post, Vacation — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:50 pm

Photo courtesy of Kayak the Rockies via Creative Commons license

We apologize for the lack of posts lately, but Sister K and I have been spending the past few weeks getting ready for vacation, going on vacation, and recovering from vacation.  We spent last week soaking up the sun in Nantucket.

Husband M & I rented a small cottage in Madaket and invited Sister K and the other Sister M to come visit us for part of the week.  We had a great time of hitting up the beaches, going on walks, eating great meals, and napping!  I tried to cook a lot of the meals at our cottage, but we did get a chance to try out or revisit a number of restaurants in downtown Nantucket:

Brant Point Grill at The White Elephant
Black Eyed Susan’s
Cinco
Slip 14
Straight Wharf

I would have to say our best meals were at Black Eyed Susan’s and Straight Wharf.  To get into Black Eyed Susan’s however, you need to wait in a line starting at 5 to put your name on the reservation list for a 7:30 or 9:15 seating.  They also are BYOB, cash only, and do not have a/c.  We joked with our fellow line-mates that we were going to open Sunflower Sally’s across the street where there is plenty of booze, takes all credit cards, and the a/c is pumping 24/7!  Despite all the effort to get into the restaurant, it was well worth it!

Husband M had to briefly take a conference call and need Internet access for a few hours one day…he greatly appreciated the free wi-fi and cold beers at the Brant Point Grill bar area that day.

This weekend, I plan to spend some time catching up around the house (we’ve been traveling the past 3 weekends) and will be posting my special Nantucket birthday clam chowder recipe (especially for Aunt N!)  Check back soon!

-m

July 24, 2010

Last 5 Books I Have Read

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:59 am

In between pregnancy and baby development books, I’ve tried to fit in some fun reading.  Here are the last 5 books I have finished:

1. Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry- Set in crowded, poor Bombay, this book explores the story of a family struggling to take care of their aging father.  I believe I found this book via this list of books to read before you die.  Kind of a sad book, but an interesting read about modern day India and family culture.

2. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See- I thought this book was excellent, but I would not mark it as a light summer read as it has a bit of depressing story line.  Two Shanghai sisters are sold off from their family in desperate times and are forced to move to Los Angeles.  Through a very difficult journey, they are able to stay together and build a life together.

3. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks- This is a typical Nicholas Sparks novel set in a beachtown of North Carolina.  It was a cute, light read, but I felt pretty silly when my boss came over to my desk one day and commented that his 14-year old daughter was reading the same book (apparently Miley Cyrus is starring in the movie edition of the book).

4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson- I finally got on the bandwagon and read the first of Stieg Larson’s trilogy.  It was very interesting to read and I was captivated through the whole book.  I find it interesting to see that this book captures a male and female audience alike…I see a 50/50 split between men and women reading this on the bus.  I currently have the next two books in the series on my hold list at the library (I am something like 450th in the queue for The Girl Who Played With Fire!)

5. House Rules by Jodi Picoult- Definitely not one of my favorite Jodi Picoult books.  It is about a teenage boy with Asperger’s and his mother and brother.  I found two of these three characters (mom and the kid with Asperger’s) to be extremely annoying.

I am now in search of a good summer read in anticipation of the vacation we are taking in August- any suggestions?

-m

June 13, 2010

2 sisters 2 cities announcement!

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:00 am

When Sister K and I started this blog last Christmas, we decided the basic premise of the blog would be to talk about our two different lives in two different cities:

“We are two sisters, K and M, living in two different cities with two different lifestyles. This blog is to share our adventures in New York and Boston. K is single and just starting off in New York City. She works in fashion and loves to cook healthy and inexpensive food on a budget. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, working out, shopping, and partying with her friends in the coolest city in the world. M is married and works in finance in Boston. She loves to experiment with new dishes and focuses on recipes that are easy to prepare after a long day of work. M’s hobbies include cooking, reading, eating out, traveling, skiing, crafting, and letterpress.”

Well, my life is about to change a lot (and for the better) …Husband M and I are expecting our first baby this November!  We found out the gender yesterday- we are expecting a baby boy.  I have found myself reading a lot less cooking and decorating magazines and websites, and have been focusing more on pregnancy and baby-related websites and books.  Here is a list of some of the resources I have been checking out:

Books:
What to Expect When you Are Expecting– I was 11 when my youngest sister was born, and I still remember my mom reading this book.  The lady in the rocking chair on the cover has been replaced with a girl rocking out jeans (although I think the jeans on her look outdated already…put her in some maternity skinny jeans!)  This book has been a pretty helpful week-to-week resource to refer to.  I bought the What to Expect Before You Are Expecting and What to Eat When You Are Expecting in a set of the three as books, but I haven’t used these two much.

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You–  This is a pretty informal, quick-read on pregnancy.  If you are looking for a non-medical summary of pregnancy and what is going to happen, this is a good book for you.

I’m Pregnant– My husband’s aunt gave me this book as a gift…it is split up more by months than weeks, but it gives a lot of great color photos and diagrams.  There is a whole spread as to what will be covered by the anatomy ultrasound which was very helpful to read before I went in for it.

Websites:
What to Expect When You Are Expecting– I really like to lurk on the November 2010 chat forum to read what others are going through at the same time

Babycenter– Also has monthly chat forums and good info by week

The Bump– From the makers of TheKnot.com

Magic Beans– This is a Boston-based baby gear store…I have gotten a pretty good idea of some of the things I would like to get for this baby based on their top 10 lists and recommendations.

Any other mom readers out there that have any resource suggestions?

-m

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