Friday, October 23, 2015

Coconut Mocha Protein Smoothie

Good morning! Just had to share the recipie for a protien smoothie I made this morning. I totally made it up but it turned out to be delicious! 
Coconut Mocha protein Smoothie 

2 cups ice
1 cup water
1/2 banana
1 scoop chocolate protein
1 T instant coffee 
2 T shredded coconut 
1 T mini chocolate chips 
1 T chia seeds 

Blend and enjoy! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

{2 Months}


happy 2 months baby girl! 

• You are growing so much! You are now 11lb 7oz (up 3+ pounds from birth) and 24in long (up 3 inches from birth) which puts you in the 98th percentile for height and head size and 60th percentile for weight
• You are out of all your newborn clothes and stretching the length limits of your 0-3 month onesies! We also will be moving up to size 2 diapers next time we have to buy them!
• You study our mouths and faces when we talk to you and respond with smiles and coos
• You are still a great traveler, and still sleep when we drive for more than 5 minutes 
• You love looking around and hold your head up on your own when being held and a little at a time when your on your tummy 
• You like your wubanub and you don't like to be swaddles anymore, in fact you sleep in your crib completely sprawled out. 
• You are sleeping great overnight and finally liking your crib. On a typical night you sleep from 8pm-4am then after eating sleep again until 8am 
• You are such a happy little girl, you are content to play by yourself under your activity mat and bat at toys, kick, and look at your hands 
• You stil get hangry and let us know when you're ready to eat 
• You are standing on our laps when we hold yo and pushing off so we're getting you a jumper soon! 
• You get hiccups a lot and daddy still worries if you can breathe :)

We love you so much & feel so limbless end to be your parents! 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Pregnancy Must Haves

As I reflect on my first pregnancy, I am thankful for a few products that helped me through those 39 weeks. I am by no means an expert but I enjoy hearing about what works for people so I thought I would share a few of my pregnancy favorites! 

1. Home Fetal Doppler- I am an L&D nurse so I was pretty nervous early on and wanted to be able to monitor my baby's heartrate to reassure myself before I could feel movement. It takes a little practice if you're new to it and does NOT replace a qualified practitioner's assessment, but it helped me. I found mine on Amazon for $35 (make sure you order ultrasound gel too!) 

2. Belly butters & oils- just stock up on anything and everything. I used the belly butter and body oil from Burt's Bees Mama Bee line, Cocoa Butter for stretch marks, plain Coconut oil, and a homemade belly butter with shea butter coconut oil and frankinsense, grapefruit, and lavendar essential oils. My opinion on  preventing stretch marks is much more than what you slather on your belly, but I put on something every time I got out of the shower and every night before bed. Staying well hydrated and gaining weight gradually are also key! I avoided stretch marks until the last week of my pregnancy (grrr so close) 

3. Essential oils- I bought a Young Living starter kit out of curiosity two years ago and have never looked back. As a nurse, I believe there is a time and place for modern medicine. But for everyday needs why not replace over the counter medications with something completely natural? I loved using peppermint for nausea, lavendar to help me sleep, grapefruit & lemon oil for energy in my water, and stress away and peace & calming for the moments my hormones got the best of me. I also used a blend called Claraderm that I was told helped prevent tearing. I started using it at 37 weeks, sprayed it a few times a day "down there" and I delivered an 8lb 3oz baby with a 14 1/4 inch head only needing a few external stitches (that my midwife said would not have been necessary if I didn't want them) My sister and sister in law also used it and did not tear with their 2nd and third babies after having episieotomys and 2nd degree tears previously. I wouldn't be endorsing these things if I didn't believe in them myself. (Email me at alyssajoy11@gmail.com if you have questions or are interested in ordering something at wholesale cost)

4. Long tank tops- simple I know, but I didn't want to invest in tons of maternity clothes so nice long tank tops allowed me to stay covered and comfortable but get more use out of my normal wardrobe. I can't rave enough about H&Ms 2/$10 camis and tanks and of course Motherhood Maternity for tanks made specifically for pregnancy

5. Maternity jeans- these were worth investing in! I did the whole jeans unzipped, hair tie across the button trick as long as I could, but when I finally broke down and bought a pair  I lived in my H&M maternity jeans. They are $40 for the cutest comfiest maternity jeans out there. (in fact their maternity section in general was my favorite) 
5. Glass water bottle- hydration hydration hydration. I always had a water bottle with me, especially at the end of my pregnancy on the heat of the summer. **When putting essential oils in water, only use glass cups and water bottles! The strength of Citrus essential oils literally eats through plastic!** and when it's cute it makes it more fun to drink right? I found mine at Target. 
6. Memory foam mattress topper- I didn't use a pregnancy pillow and can honestly say I slept great until the day I delivered. I refused to spend $70 on a huge pillow that took up half the bed and I wouldn't use after those 9 months. Some people love them. I however, invested in a $100 mattress topper from Costco that made our mediocre mattress 100x more comfortable and let me sleep comfortably on my side. My hip and shoulder sank into the memory foam and I put a normal pillow between my knees and hugged another one and voila! I slept great. And now 2 months out from being pregnant I am still enjoying a comfortable bed. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but these are at the top of my list! 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Starbucks at home

As thrifty as I am with clothing, it is way too easy for me to drop $5 on a yummy drink at Starbucks. Do I know it's a ridiculous waste of money? Yes. Does it stop me from doing it over and over? Nope. The Cold Brew I made at home a few posts a go was a major success so I went on the hunt to recreate one of my go-to drinks. 

Especially over the summer, I can't get enough of this drink: Iced Green tea latte with coconut milk and only 2 pumps of classic. (my husband laughs at me for my complicated orders. One time I sent him to order one for me the barista instantly knew he was ordering for his wife) As I was grocery shopping the other day I noticed a matcha green tea concentrate so I had to try it! It was $3.99 for a 32 ounce container. Then I picked up coconut milk for $1.99 (unsweetened because the concentrate is already sweetened and I order 2 pumps of classic at Starbucks for it to be less sweet) So just $6 for all I need to make at least a few drinks equivalent to the grande size I get for just under $5. 

Put some ice in a cup, mix your desired ratio of concentrate to milk and it actually turned out pretty good! At Starbucks they use a powder so it's more creamy and concentrated than the at home version that is more of a tea concentrate. But for the money I save I'd say it does the trick! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Recent Goodwill Finds

Mossimo Jeans (Fall Wishlist✔️) $7.99

Mossimo dress $10.00 (Goodwill splurge)

Forever 21 sweatshirt $4.75

Merona poncho $4.99 (size XL found this in the plus size section)

Mossimo cardigan $3.75

Mossimo Kimono $4.99

Sunglasses $3.99 each

If you notice the pattern, Target surplus is about the best thing to ever happen to Goodwill. You can find essentially brand new clothing for a fraction of a Target's prices which aren't bad to start with! I saw the light-wash destroyed jeans at Target about a week ago and was so close to buying them but didn't have time to try them on. Thank goodness I waited! I found the exact pair for $7.99 instead of $27.99! 

This top will be great as a swimsuit coverup too! (Shoes are LOFT $15 from a friends closet sale) 

(hat and fringe boots are previous goodwill finds)

(scarf is handmade by me and combat boots were $30 from amazon a few years ago)

(hat is $5 fleamarket find, shirt $7 Forever 21 a few years ago, and boots were a goodwill find) 

**sorry for all the low quality bedroom mirror selfies, I do this when I'm home alone during the day so maybe someday I'll take the effort to do a self timer outside or convince my husband to be my fashion photographer? (HA)** 



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Wishlist

Whether summer decides to end or not, I am more than ready for all things pumpkin and cliche fall. Fall fashion always excites me and this years trends are ones worth adding to my closet. I'm loving the cozy textures and vintage vibes I'm seeing in storefronts and magazines. Here are a few staple pieces I will be keeping an eye out for. My goal is to find them all at Goodwill or if not, for under $50. 

Sherpa Vest

Light wash distressed jeans

Timberland style boots 

Fringe purse 


Let the bargain hunting begin! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mommy Documentation Necessities

As a general rule, I tend to go overboard with documenting. Just as I expected, motherhood has amplified this x10. These three products have quickly become must haves for mommyhood documentation. I highly recommend them to all moms out there! 

1. Emily Ley Baby Book ($62) lets just say I did alot of research to find the perfect baby book and this one blew every other option out of the water. It is worth every dollar. 
Order yours here--> http://www.emilyley.com/collections/baby-book

2. Mom's One Line a Day Journal ($16.95)
this sweet journal is pretty and managlble, with a small space for a daily entry that spans over 5 years. Each page has 5 entries spaces that allows you to reflect on what happened in your little ones's life on that day over the years. 
Order yours here--> 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/home-gift-moms-one-line-a-day-a-five-year-memory-book/28517188

3. Chatbooks ($6 for a 60 photo book)
I finally jumped on this bandwagon after hearing good things about it for months. Download the app and start getting printed books of your Instagram feed or make custom books. I am so excited to be getting all off my photos tangibly printed into books since I got Instagram in 2011. And you can't beat the price! 
If you use this promo code you will get your first book FREE! --> 3ULJFQW6

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Goodwill Gold

If you know me, you know thrift shopping is a major hobby of mine. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Cosignemnt shops, gimme it all! I could spend hours digging through pilly sweaters and little league t-shirts just to score one find. Yes, I look for name brands, but I also just love seeing the potential in old pieces that someone else didn't. For how often I go to the Goodwill that is conveniently 5 minutes from our house I'm going to start sharing my finds and how I wear them.

This week I found a pair of White House Black Market boots for $6 and a baggy sweater vest for $4. The sweater is size 2x from a brand that is nothing special but I loved the color and look of it for fall. The secret to thrift shopping: look at everything (and I mean everythingggg) and keep an open mind! Patience and creativity goes a long way. 








Friday, August 28, 2015

{month one}

What a whirlwind of a month it has been! It's hard to believe the 28th has already rolled around and we have been getting to know our little human for a whole month. Thanks to my busybody nature (can you say cabin fever after one week?) we have squeezed in a lot of adventure and "firsts" for Avery in this first month. 

This month we have gone on walks & coffee dates, to the grocery store & a greenhouse, to the hospital to visit another baby friend, going to a "mom's group" I joined, a weekend at the cabin, dressing up and sleeping through Sunday morning church, cheering on Daddy at his baseball games, and of course we paid a visit to Goodwill. (more coming on my finds soon) 


We have learned so much about your personality and how to best take care of you. It feels like we have so much more to learn to "figure you out" but we seem to be on the right track.

- You are a great sleeper and get HANGRY just like your parents. 
- You love your car seat and fall asleep almost every time we drive 
- Some newborn pants still fit but you're mostly wearing 0-3 months
- You don't like diaper changes or baths
- You're happiest when you're held and snuggled
-Everyone's says you look like Mommy (it looks like you're going to have blonde hair and blue eyes)
-You eat every 2-2.5 hours during the day and nap in between. You go to bed between 8 and 10pm and usually wake up at 1-2am and 4-6am to eat. 
-You are taking a bottle well (practice for when Mom goes back to work) and only like pacifiers if you're hungry 
- You are strong & you're trying to hold you head up and roll on your side already! 


We love you Avery Grace! 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Story of Avery Grace

On July 28th 2015 at 1:34am we met our Avery Grace. One week early, 8lb 3oz, 21in long, and that 14.25in head that made Mama work hard. I've put off writing her birth story just because I barely know where to start or how to put into words the events and emotions leading up to her birth. So here goes nothing!


I'll start the story the Saturday before she was born. I was working short shifts to get my hours in so my maternity leave didn't start until after she was born. (and what better place to work than the Labor & Delivery unit I'd be delivering in) Weston felt much better when I was at work too knowing I was where I needed to be if anything happened. We live 30 minutes from the hospital so he was getting anxious we would need to make a middle of the night or stressful, speedy drive in. At the end of my 4 hour shift I pulled the midwife aside to ask if she would check me to see if I had progressed from my 1-2cm dilation on my Thursday office visit. I was surprised to hear I was 3cm and my cervix was soft and thinning. So I went home for the weekend, hoping I would deliver before having to come in for my 8 hour shift on Monday morning. 

Fast forward to Sunday night and I got a sense something was happening. I lost my mucous plug that morning (sorry if that's TMI) and was having contractions that felt like strong cramps about 10 minutes apart. They never got closer together or stronger and I was not going to be the nurse that went to the hospital thinking I was in labor only to get sent home. (This mindset made Weston worry I was going to wait too long at home) That night was a lot of tossing and turning, bathroom trips, and contractions strong enough to wake me up but not strong enough or close enough together to make me think I was in true labor. 

Sure enough to 5:48am rolled around, my alarm went off, and to work I went. 7-3pm felt like a painfully long shift for the state I was in, but I got my assignment and tried to take my focus off my 39week pregnant self. My patient had a beautiful delivery around noon, of course it was a baby girl to help my patience! As I was standing at the computer charting I felt a subtle "gush" of fluid. I went to the bathroom and didn't see obvious fluid so I denied the fact that my water may have just broken. After sharing my confusion with a few coworkers and my husband  via text the general consensus was : go to triage and get checked before you go home just in case! I was still having occasional contractions but in my head I always expected a huge gush and contractions that I couldn't stand or talk through. I wasn't feeling any of that and at that point was scared I would get stuck at the hospital before I was in active labor. My hopes of staying home as long as I could were being threatened and the nerves were setting in. 

After my shift I went to triage and one of my favorite midwives checked me told me I was now 4cm, but there was mixed results over if my water broke. One test said yes, one test said no. I called Weston and told him to come in to the hospital because in the back of my mind, as much as I wanted to go home and wait it out, I knew if there was any chance my water was broken I didn't want to risk infection and let it go too long before I delivered. Looking back this was all an answered prayer that Weston could finish his day of work and take his time coming into the hospital with no stress!!

Another midwife saw me when Weston got there to do more testing and it was decided that I was slowly leaking fluid which still counted as my water being broken which meant: definite admission! I was staying to have a baby! (Ahhhhhhh) She said I was dilated 5cm which surprised me that I was still progressing despite not being too uncomfortable with contractions. I just told myself yes I have to stay, but by dilation Im halfway there!! (It's funny how after all the waiting and impatience the reality that "it" is actually happening is somewhat terrifying!)

I got settled in my room, my family arrived, I chose my nurse who also happened to be my coworker and friend. For the first few hours we laughed talked and watched the bachelorette finale (which also happened to be on TV the day we got engaged...coincidence or fate?) while I bounced on the exercise ball and waited for something to pick up. As fun as it was, nothing was happening and I knew time was ticking. The midwife came in the room at 10pm to recheck me and I was still at 5cm. I wasn't surprised but I knew what I was about to ask for would quickly change how comfortable I was, which was..well...scary. "I want you to break my water the rest of the way" Did I really just say that? I knew all too well what I was asking for, but it was my hope to stay on track for a natural labor. 

I'll spare you the details of how lovely that felt other than that my contractions immediately changed. "Now THIS is what a contraction feels like" I thought. What happened next is somewhat of a blur but I got in my own zone, left my family and husband in the room and went into the bathroom with my worship music playlist to work through my contractions alone in the shower and on the toilet. I came back out to the room and sat on the birthing ball for a few contractions, breathing through and staying focused but they were getting worse and I couldn't find a "comfortable" position. (cause let's be honest nothing is anything close to the true meaning of comfortable at that point)  It was jacuzzi time. In all of my experience as a nurse I knew the jacuzzi was the secret weapon to surviving a natural labor. I always encourage patients to save it until nothing else helps to get them through the dreaded transition phase of labor. I was praying that's where  I was. The jacuzzi helped more than anything else had but the contractions continued to strengthen and as strong as I tried to stay mentally, I was getting close to my breaking point. In my mind I knew if I felt like giving up it probably meant I was close to being able to push, but what if I wasn't? Either way I felt helpless and pleaded with my nurse "I want to get checked and if I'm not close I think might an epidural" If this wasn't what everyone described as the out of body, crawl out of your skin pain that transition is, I didn't know what was. The slow controlled breathing through contractions morphed to moaning/humming or probably something that resembled a dying animal. All I know is I was no longer quiet through contractions and I know now that was the point my husband started praying and my mom had to leave the room. The midwife crouched down at the side of the tub, told me I was 8-9cm and gave me a pep talk. I could do this. I was doing it. I nodded wanting to believe her and realizing I wouldn't even be able to sit still through an epidural at this point. I just wanted to meet my baby. 

Then the pressure came. It felt like right after the midwife left I was experiencing that pressure I had heard about so many times. Just as I managed to tell my nurse what I was feeling my body decided to join in and start pushing on its own. I knew what this meant. Baby was coming. I tried to breathe through contractions in fear that I wasn't fully dilated but my body continued to involuntarily push. "Well you just bought yourself a ticket out of the jacuzzi" someone said. I somehow made it to the bed and got the go ahead to work with my body and start pushing. It was 12:00am, just two hours after my water was broken. The pushing process was so much harder than I expected and I found myself eating my words of advice I gave so many patients. Easier said than done!! Weston was by my side encouraging me and helping me try different positions (let me tell you, you gain a whole new level of comfort with your spouse after you've squatted half naked bearing down like you're consitpated right beside them. It's glamorous folks.) There was a point her heartrate dropped and when I heard the monitor slow the nurse in me thought "oh no, I'm going to need an emergency c-section and because I don't have an epidural I'll need general anesthesia ao I won't even be awake and Weston won't be able to be in the room" (Yes my mind somehow went on that kind of a tangent in the middle of pushing out a baby without pain medicine) Luckily her heartrate came back up and behaved for the rest of the total 1.5 hours I was pushing. I used a mirror which I thought I wouldn't want, Weston watched the whole process which he thought he wouldn't do, and her 80th percentile head was taking its good old time coming out. Each set of pushes I heard "you're so close she's coming!"yet I pushed on. Finally, the infamous ring of fire told me it had to be soon, and just like that her body was on its way out. I reached down, grabbed under her arms and pulled her the rest of the way out and onto my chest. (Crazy, but true and THE BEST moment of my life) "I can't believe she's all mine" we're my first words afte her birth according to my nurse. I was part in shock part in pain and totally in love with this little screaming human that was on my chest. Annnd "Oceans", which is my favorite worship song ever, happened to be the song that was playing as she entered the world! 

9 months of waiting, dreaming, anticipating & worrying, were finally over. Thank you Jesus! To see and hold our baby for the first time was so surreal I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Just kidding the horrible burning down below was more than enough of a reminder that this most definitely was not a dream. After all of the wondering and praying about how my labor would unfold, it had played out even better than I ever could have imagined. And what mattered most is that we were healthy. 

Being the patient after being an L&D nurse for 2.5 years definitely gave me a new appreciation for what I do and I know will make me better at my job when I return. But for now I am going to enjoy my 12 weeks off staring at my baby girl. 

Photos by Kelly Lapp Photography 














Monday, August 17, 2015

Homemade Cold Brew Coffee



Guys: I actually made something I pinned on pinterest and it turned out so good I had to share. 

Maybe it's just in PA, but cold brew is all the rage right now, at Starbucks and local coffee shops alike. Who knew it was so easy to make at home?! 

All you need:
1 12oz bag of coffee grounds (I used Starbucks but will probably experiment with others)
10.5 cups room temperature water
Cheese cloth
*Optional* Your choice of sweetener or cream

Combine coffee grounds and water in plastic container with lid. Stir until all grounds are wet and let "brew" overnight in fridge.

Remove from fridge and pour over mesh colander covered in cheese cloth to separate grounds from concentrate. Throw away grounds. 

Store concentrate in fridge and to make one cup full cup with ice, fill 1/3 with concentrate, add water until cup is almost full. Add any cream or sweetener and enjoy! The original recipie suggested sweetened condensed milk, I had it with half & half and simple syrup, but my favorite combo so far is just plain on sweet cream coffee creamer!! Let me tell you...Yummo. 

Really after you make the concentrate the rest is a "make it how you like it" experiment! Besides it being easy and delicious, it's also total money saver! 

Enjoy! (and if you make it yourself please share your favorite coffee and sweetener combos) 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Last days before baby...

I consider myself a patient person. As a labor & delivery nurse, I always got annoyed when people delivered unnecessarily before their due date. The "I'm sick of being pregnant, uncomfortable and tired of waiting for my baby" syndrome. I thought I'd never be that person. But sure enough, by 37 weeks I was googling "ways to naturally induce labor" and spending hours walking and bouncing on an exercise ball. I ended up delivering 1 week early, who knows if it was the things I did or not, but looking back I wouldn't have done anything differently. I spent those last days read parent books, went on date nights with my hubby and stayed busy to keep myself as distracted from the waiting game as possible.