Unexpected Baby Essentials

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Motherhood is a lot about instinct, and it's also a little about trial and error too. In the last six months, we've discovered the diapers, creams, body washes, shampoos, and pacifiers that work best for Greer. Part of that came easy, and others did not as we tried our way through way too many pacifiers until we found the right fit. The baby basics, while not always easy to determine when it comes to preference, are really no-brainers. They are the items that go first on your registry, and the ones people talk about most. 

Then there are the items that you discover down the line and wish you had known about from the start. We have most certainly found ourselves in that boat, and thankfully we discovered some amazing products to use for our babe while she's still of the appropriate age. And I thought I would share some of our unexpected must-haves that change the whole parenthood game. Put these on your registry now, and you can thank me later!

1. DockATot || This dock has been incredible in our home, as a place for Greer to sleep and play. I wish we would have had it for her when she was a newborn. I think she would have slept so much more soundly in it, especially since she was not a swaddle baby. Oh the extra sleep we could have gotten. These days it's the spot she naps when she's not in my arms. It's also where she lands after her first early morning (5 AM) nursing, giving her and mama + daddy a couple more hours of sleep. She loves feeling snug and secure in it. 

2. Wood Teething Rattle || Greer loves the noise the beans in this rattle makes, and like any teething baby she loves putting it in her mouth. Since it is it finished with natural vegetable seed wax, and the Indian hardwood is untreated, it is safe for her to put in her mouth. And this mama loved that it was a camera!

3. Shopping Cart Hammock || The grocery store has never been such a breeze with a baby in tow. Literally, this cart hammock changed everything for us. Greer can go straight into it, or her carseat can sit nestled in it. Both options allow for secure latches to be buckled, keeping baby safe. It keeps you from pushing a stroller + cart through the entire store, puts baby in your view, and gives them the opportunity to be entertained by all the sights and sounds going on around them as you shop. This would make a great baby shower gift, and most definitely needs to go on your own registry. I can't count the number of people that have complimented it and asked where we got it as we go through the grocery store. 

4. Lorena Canals Rugs || Like any mama, you want to decorate your tot's nursery from the moment you find out your expecting. Finding items that are not only baby safe, but baby friendly can be a challenge. As the mom to a baby that has dealt with some reflux, tummy time almost always causes some kind of spit up. And spit up on your new nursery rug is just not welcome. Not to mention all the drool! These rugs are genius because they are washable. As in, stick them straight into your washing machine, and you've got a fresh rug! Their selection is endless, and lovely! Plus the price point is great for such an exceptional rug!

5.Two Piece Stroller Set || These toys have been great entertainment for Greer while she is in her stroller or carseat. I love that they attach, and can't be knocked or dropped to the ground. Plus, they're super cute!

6. Coverall || This outfit has been perfect for days when it's not quite cold and it's not quite hot. The snaps make it easy for diaper changes, and the pattern is the sweetest. If you're looking for an outfit that is 100% organic cotton with eco-friendly dyes and inks, and is easy to get on and off of baby this is the perfect one.

7. Milestone Baby Cards || These aren't pictured above, but they have been great markers for big milestones in Greer's life. The sweet little cards offer beautiful illustrations and include everything from monthly ages to the first time baby rolls over and walks. They are perfect for adding to any photo to document your little one's development. 

I hope this list was helpful for you mamas, soon-to-be mamas, or gals gifting mamas!! We love all of these items! What are your unexpected baby essentials?

Thank you to to each of these companies for providing the mentioned items! The review and thoughts are all my own. 

BBQ Chicken & Red Onion Naan

Monday, June 27, 2016
Happy Monday, friends! Let's kick this week off with a delicious recipe that takes no time to make and satisfies that evening hunger. Husband and I have discovered a new favorite meal that has been on repeat in our kitchen this summer. We love it for its flavor combination, its simplicity, and the little time it takes to put it together. It allows husband to fire up his grill after a long day of work and soak in the evening air while he's cooking the chicken, and it keeps me out of the kitchen. That's a win, win  right there, folks!

The combination of the bbq chicken and the crunch of the red onion is perfection. Throw in the naan and the cheese and it's just scrumptious. To round out the meal, we like to pair this with a side of fresh fruit, such as sliced nectarines. It's such a summer dinner, and one that is sure to not disappoint. Add this to your weekly meal plan or pin it for later, you'll want to I promise! It's on the menu tonight in the Hill household. Yes, please!

  • What You'll Need
    • 3 chicken breasts
    • BBQ sauce (we are Sweet Baby Ray's Original fanatics!)
    • 1/2 red onion, sliced 
    • Shredded cheddar cheese
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1 package of Naan (two flatbreads per package; found in the deli section)

  • What You'll Do
    • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Then cook it; we opt to grill it as whole chicken breasts and then cut it up.
    • Place the naan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400°.
    • Shred or cut up the chicken into chunks. Pour a small amount of bbq sauce over the chicken and stir well.
    • Spread some bbq sauce over the naan, and lightly sprinkle the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses overtop. Top with the chicken and the slices of red onion. Do not sauté the onion ahead of time.
    • Bake for 5 minutes. 

This recipe was adapted from this recipe.

TFF + The Pick No. 25

Friday, June 24, 2016

I'm late posting today because, well I just didn't feel like putting this together last night.  Ever have those moments?? I was more interested in watching New Girl with husband and watching the lightening out our windows instead. #truestory Now I sit here under my sweet sleeping six month old pecking out the entire post with the fingers on my right hand. #momlife

This week was fast, but slow. I never thought today would arrive, but here we are, the 25th Friday into the year. Summer has officially begun, my girl is half a year old (someone hold me), and life is moving by at supersonic speeds. These days I'm feeling more behind than ever, and I haven't figured out the trick to catching up. For now, I'm just happy it's the [almost] weekend!


T H I N K I N G  > About how I'm going to tackle cleaning my house. A) I have no motivation B) I have no motivation 

P O N D E R I N G > This tinted lip treatment. Victoria mentioned it in her post today, and since I'm always on the fence about wearing lipstick (I really want to, but I'm not sure that I pull it off) maybe this is the way to go?!

N E E D I N G > To take the time to sit down and paint my nails, both hands and feet. What is your go-to polish for this time of year? I'm starting to use my fall shades because I love them so much, but I need a good summer hue.

L I S T E N I N G > Little baby snores :) Head to my snapchat (astleigh_hill) to hear them too!

D R E A M I N G > Of some time by the water. Yes, please!

S W O O N I N G > Over these white jeans. I really want a pair for this summer. Any recommendations on a pair that you've found and just love?

Cheers to weekending, lovelies! 

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
what about Snapchat?? @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Spread the blogging love! Tag me if you like! Encourage your blogging friends to join!

Affiliate links were used in this post, which means if you clicked on them I may earn a commission. 
Thank you for supporting this blog! 

Husband's First Father's Day

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
All day Sunday, Greer and I celebrated our favorite guy on his first Father's Day, and it looked like a lot of man food (he did 95% of the cooking!), cuddles, and outdoor time. Husband deserves to be celebrated everyday just because he is him, but mostly for his commitment to us, for the way he selflessly gives of himself and his time, and for his unconditional love. His love for us and for the Lord is evident in all that he does, and as the leader of our family, it makes following him a joy. I'm thankful for a day meant to put the spotlight on the men in our lives who have gone above and beyond to be incredible, outstanding fathers. Parenthood makes you appreciate your parents more than you ever could, and I'm beyond blessed to share this newest adventure with him. 

Greer is head over heels for her daddy, and it goes without saying that she is most certainly a daddy's girl. She lights up the moment she lays eyes on him and she can't get enough of his goofy side. Our peanut is the luckiest to call him dad, and it melts me watching their relationship grow. You've never seen something so cute or more special. The fact that they are so crazy about each other is enough to make me want to have a million babies. So as much as I could keep gushing over our love for him, for the amazing father that he is, I'll leave it at this...I'm so very thankful that our daughter has an example of a godly gentleman in her life, one who shows her how a husband loves his wife, how a father loves his children, and how living a life for the Lord is what really matters. 

We love you husband/da-da! Thank you for loving us like you do! xoxo

TFF + The Pick No. 24

Friday, June 17, 2016

So we started this week off on a good note, thanks to our fabulous weekend, and the week just kept getting better. There have been so many answers to prayers over the last seven days. I love watching God's will unfold, and feeling like the puzzle pieces are starting to make sense. I know you must be curious about what I'm referring too, and I'll share in due time!

Currently, we're gearing up to celebrate my sister's birthday (it was on Monday) and husband's first Father's Day. Plus, the Festival Around Town in my hometown is happening this weekend, and my love for all things funnel cake and freshly squeezed lemonade cannot be contained. Last year I was toting a tiny baby bump at the festival, and this year I'll be toting an almost 6 month old! Crazzzzy! I can't wait to get my celebrating on for my favorite people. And I sure hope Greer girl loves the festival as much as her mama does! #funnelcakesforever 


T H I N K I N G  > About being an ESFJ. I took the test (and you can too) earlier this week out of curiosity, and the description could not have been more on the money. Just read the first two sentences: 
Guardians of birthdays, holidays, celebrations, ESFJs are generous entertainers. They enjoy and joyfully observe traditions and are liberal in giving, especially where custom prescribes.

Fun fact, I have a minor in Leadership and Social Change. Second semester of freshman year I took a class on emotional intelligence, which covers all of these tests and then some. It was a fun class to dig into.

P O N D E R I N G > How quickly Greer grows. I got all nostalgic and kept clicking through old blog posts from the time she was born until now. And oh my, how she's changed. It's a funny thing that you don't necessarily realize the changes until you look back at photos. You always think your baby looked the way she does in the present moment, but then you compare and the differences are undeniable.

N E E D I N G > A candle wick trimmer and the other two cute accessories! Oh my, this would change my candle game 100%!

L I S T E N I N G > To the storm whirling on outside. Since I was little, I have always loved a good thunderstorm, and nothing has changed in adulthood.

D R E A M I N G > About actually getting into bed at a decent time. I always have the best intentions and then I procrastinate like it's my job. #priorities #thatwassarcasam 

S W O O N I N G > Over this, but so sad that it is currently out of stock!

Happy Father's Day weekend, lovelies! 
We'll be celebrating our favorite dad for the first time over here!

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
what about Snapchat?? @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Spread the blogging love! Tag me if you like!

Affiliate links were used in this post, which means if you clicked on them I may earn a commission. 
Thank you for supporting this blog! 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cheesecake

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Yesterday, we celebrated my sister's 25th birthday, and in honor of her special day, I whipped up a dessert for her. Did you see me sharing the process in my pajamas yesterday morning on my snapchat?? I was looking good, y'all ;) But, the dessert looked even better, and my tiny helper was all kinds of cute.

This Chocolate Chip Brownie Cheesecake turned out so well, and it tastes even better than it looks! Don't worry, it only has 2 blocks of cream cheese in it....oh and a cup of sugar. Completely worth it though! Truly, it's the perfect summer dessert for these hot days. It takes minimal time to make, and a bite into the cold cheesecake, followed by fluffy brownie hits the spot!

  • What You'll Need
    • 1 box brownie mix (I used the chewy fudge kind)
    • 2 blocks cream cheese (16 oz)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 8 oz whipped cream
    • 1 TSP vanilla  
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    • Strawberries for garnishing

  • What You'll Do
    • Prepare the brownies according to the box instructions. Bake in a pie dish. Let cool completely. I made mine the night before and covered it with aluminum foil over night.
    • In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate chips. 
    • Gently spread the mixture over the brownie crust.
    • Slice strawberries to garnish the top of the cheesecake.
    • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
    • Serve cold. 

How We Weekend

Monday, June 13, 2016
I've got all the praise hands for this weekend. It was a good one, friends. Refreshing, delightful, sunny, and lovely. It was all the happies wrapped up in a pretty bow. And I hope yours was the same.

We started our weekend off on a high note Friday afternoon, and spend the next two days soaking in the almost-summer goodness. Saturday morning our bright-eyed and bushy tale babe woke up at 6:30, ready to start the day with a million smiles and lots of drool (thanks teething). After breakfast [fried eggs, toast, avocado, bananas, and iced coffee] we napped, well Greer and I did. And once we were up we headed out to the farmer's market. I would buy everything at a farmer's market if my wallet would let me. I love the atmosphere, the smells, the small town feel. It's cozy, and it's eclectic. We took away some fresh peaches, a sampling of strawberry rhubarb lemonade, and basil plants (pray I don't kill the basil). 

The farmer's market was followed up with a walk around campus while Greer snoozed in her stroller. Come this August it will be 8 years since husband and I were freshmen at Virginia Tech. What?! Doesn't even seem possible, yet somehow it is. Our Saturday wrapped up with a Sonic peach slush for me and cherry limeade for him (hallelujah, happy hour!) on our front porch; a couple more naps for baby girl; an early dinner; some frisbee throwing after Greer's bedtime; and New Girl before we called it a night.

Sunday started with Starbucks (amen and amen!) followed by church, which we ended up leaving early when Greer decided she wanted to make all kinds of joyful noises to the Lord while the sermon was going on :) A long nap on daddy for our peanut, the grocery store, some baking, and a casual, impromptu cookout with friends concluded our Sunday.

Like I said, this weekend was good. It just what our little family needed, and it's got us starting our week off on a high note. I'm so thankful for my sweet family, our people, our home[town], baby laughs, wild flowers in my kitchen (that husband picks for me), and fresh peaches. 

And a very Happy 25th Birthday to my sister!! xo

TFF + The Pick No. 23

Friday, June 10, 2016

I can't even believe I'm wishing you another Happy Friday! This week was FAST. Husband has been working longer hours, baby girl has been hitting new milestones, and this mama feels like she can't stay on top of her to-do list. Anybody else?? I'm glad for the weekend and hopefully some time to get all of my thoughts straight and some chores done. Even though I'd much rather forget the chores. 

This weekend it's supposed to hit 92° out (pray for me). I'm not a fan of the heat, I'd be happy as a clam if it stayed in the high 60's year round. Yes, that's one of the reasons I love fall so darn much. Speaking of, my husband surprised me with a caramel apple spice from Starbucks yesterday, and I did my best to resist lighting a pumpkin candle. While I didn't strike a match, I did however pull out my favorite lotion of all time. Let's hope Bath & Body Works brings it back this fall. I'd ask if you fault me for enjoying a bit of fall in the spring, but you'd probably say yes ;) I know, I'm ridiculous. 

What will you be doing this weekend?


T H I N K I N G  > About a million new ideas and projects. I can't keep them all straight, and I don't feel like I have the time to sit down and think them through. I'm hoping to devote some time tomorrow to do this. 

P O N D E R I N G > When those baby teeth are going to pop in for Greer. Sweet thing has been gumming any and everything. We've been using baby Tylenol and cold teething toys for some pain relief, but she is still having a hard time.

N E E D I N G > To get more of this! My eyebrows are desperate! 

L I S T E N I N G > To the chatter on RHONY as I paint my nails. Bravo is my guilty pleasure. Who else? I know you're out there!

D R E A M I N G > About laying out on a float in the pool.

S W O O N I N G > Over pastel spring/summer nail polishes.

Happy weekending, lovelies! 

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
what about Snapchat?? @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Spread the blogging love! Tag me if you like!

Affiliate links were used in this post, which means if you clicked on them I may earn a commission. 
Thank you for supporting this blog! 

Naptime Diaries || DockATot Review

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Oh, naptimes! How I love you, but only when you are effective. My girl is like clockwork, and she appreciates a schedule more than I do. Napping is so vital to her day, and we make sure to keep those napping hours a priority around here. If not, we've got a bunch of unhappy campers in our house...a grumpy baby and two grumpy parents. So when little bit started to wake just 30 minutes into her nap while sleeping in her crib (we're thinking it's due to her body not adjusting well to deep sleep; a common theme amongst babes her age), we began holding her to rock her through those wake-ups and keep her snoozing. Because even though she was getting a short nap, it wasn't giving her the rest or energy for happy wake times. 

And that seemed to work. But, when you need to stop everything you're doing to hold your baby for an hour+, three to four times a day, you start to feel like those nap times aren't allowing you to get any of your to-do's done. That is the pickle I find myself in lately. While I absolutely love holding my sleeping baby, there really is nothing sweeter, by that third nap I find myself feeling restless and unaccomplished. The pile of laundry and dirty dishes are glaring at me, and the nail polish I have been waiting to apply is being left by the wayside.

When DockATot sent me a dock to try out, I instantly felt a glimmer of hope for what naptimes could be. For months I had heard rave reviews over these docks, and I couldn't wait to try one out for Greer. And you know what?! She loved it right away. After singing her to sleep, I was able to put her into the DockATot and go about with my to-dos and a little me time. It felt glorious, people! 

Her DockATot gives her the comfort that she feels when sleeping nestled in our arms. The creation of 'mama's arms' that the dock provides keeps her asleep when I place her down. She feels comforted and secure, which is exactly what I've been looking for. Trying to put a sleeping Greer down into a wide open crib at naptime only results in a very (suddenly) awake baby who has now missed the sleep window. And this helicopter mama has never been comfortable with tucking rolled blankets around her (I'm a worrywart).  DockATot has cured that problem for us. So while we still find that she wakes up around the 30 minute or 45 minute mark due to that transition into deep sleep, I can put her down during naps without waking her, thanks to the security of the DockATot.

An added bonus of the DockATot is that it also gives Greer a soft place to play during her wake hours. She loves to lay in it and play with her feet. I can easily put her on the floor in it and she's as content as can be. I think it all has to do with the pillow-like sides that keep her feeling comforted, instead of out in a wide open space. 

I love that it's easy to carry around wherever, is super easy to clean (just remove the cover and throw it into the wash), and is baby friendly through naptimes and playtimes. If you've got a trouble sleeper on your hands or just want a secure spot for your little to nap and or/play you should give the dock a try. They offer two different sizes for babies and toddlers (we use the deluxe), all of which come in fun patterns. This dock has been a baby essential around here, and we're huge fans around here!

Thank you to DockATot for providing a dock! The review and thoughts are all my own.