All posts by Mama Next Door

About Mama Next Door

mama to Caden. wife to D. wannabe photog. instagramming fool. weird obsession with domo and the hulk. world's worst baker yet i can't stop, won't stop. finding joy in the [extra]ordinary days of motherhood and hoping to one day finally find my inner Martha Stewart.

Kid Approved Recipe – Sausage and Kale Soup

It’s finally sweater weather here in Texas! As much as I hate the cold (I still blow dry my jeans in the morning!) I love layering up clothes (probably because I don’t have to suck in as much),  and eating a big bowl of hearty soup. One of my favs is good ol’ Olive Garden’s Toscana soup. I found a copy cat recipe that little man gobbled up, and if you know my kid, he is such a good little Asian child and only likes rice. Dinner time is such a stressful time of day for me bc all my kid will eat is carbs and is on a 24/7 food strike against veggies and protein!

This recipe is modified from the amazing Pioneer Woman, and came out just as tasty. I omitted the half and half and whole milk and just used the heavy cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches Kale, Picked Over, Cleaned, And Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
  • 5 whole Red Potatoes, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  • 6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  •  1 cup Of Heavy Cream
  •  Black Pepper To Taste

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November 1

Someone educate me on the history of Halloween. Whoever thought it was a good idea to give little kids candy for free is EVIL. Sugar high is the real deal.

I’ve never been a fan and it probably stems from the fact that my parents being paranoid Asians, never let me go because they thought all the candy would be poisoned…but even as an adult, I never once dressed up with my friends in hooker costumes aka lingerie. It all just seems like so much work! But alas, on Thursday Husband and I took off work a little early to take Caden trick or treating for the first time. Of course, my love/hate relationship with Pinterest was in full effect and instead of just grabbing a $15 costume at Target, I decided to take on the role as semi-Super Mom and make one. It ended up costing $20 for the material, but I think it turned out pretty dang cute!

Poor Caden was so confused at first when we came to the first door like a deer in headlights. He had such a confused face like “mom, who are these people, are we going in??”. After a few houses, he was a professional Trick or Treater!

Prince Charming or Mommy's Little Dictator?
Prince Charming or Mommy’s Little Dictator?

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My monster last year! Doesn’t he look like a little baby!?

Monster and Daddy
Monster and Daddy

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And with Halloween now over, it is OFFICIALLY my favorite time of year bc Thanksgiving is around the corner!!! How the heck is it already November 1st? Time surely flies when you’re old.

And of course, my little man’s birthday is 2 weeks away. We’re going with a firetruck theme this year and am super excited to share the details!

The Texas State Fair

One of the traditions we had in my family growing up was going to the Texas State Fair every fall. My mom took us without fail whenever we got our free tickets from school. It was a big deal – bc you know, Asians don’t take off work for anything, but if it’s free – then you know we can’t pass that up! It’s a fond memory for me and I’ve gone pretty much every year all throughout adulthood and wanted to keep the tradition going, so of course this is Caden’s 2nd year to go.

I’m not so sure this is something we should embark on EVERY year bc it literally costs an arm and a leg, roughly equivalent to 1/8 of Caden’s college fund. It was almost $50 just to get in the door! I don’t remember it being that much last year, but maybe I’m just getting old, cheap, and grouchy.

Taking an active toddler to a hyper packed event probably is not my smartest move in the mom playbook, but we packed on a few pounds and went on a few rides, so all in all – a good time and successful funday Sunday in my book. 

Thank god this is only once a year. 😡

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Wednesday Wishlist

This weeks’ roll call! Loving that the weather is cooling down and it’ll soon be boots and sweater season! Time to let it all hang out under some warm cable knits and a little cashmere! 🙂

 

Blank Denim Vegan Leather & Ponte Jacket

Blank Denim Vegan & Ponte Jacket – under $100!

 

Sabine Naomi Lace Sleeve Top | Piperlime

Sabine Naomi Lace Blouse – $69

The All in One Bag, Indigo Embossed Python

Monogrammed Embossed Clutch – Every girl needs a monogrammed clutch. The color selections are gorgeous

Free People Dress - The James

Free People James dress – This entire look is perfect, paired w/ a leather jacket, no?

Free People Tie Dye Scrunch Skirt

Free People Tie Die Scrunch Skirt

Mini Vacay in LA

Made a quick 4 day trip out to LA for a mini vacay/a good friend’s wedding this past weekend. We left the kiddo at home w/ Grandma (thank goodness for G-mas!) It was both of ours first time in LA and we were determined to eat at as many places as possible. Funny how the older you get, the mark of a good time is determined by the deliciousness of the meals consumed on said trip. Or is that just me, being my gluttonous self? I Yelped the hell out of every possible restaurant, and then we ended up just forgetting all our plans, and played it all by ear. Isn’t that the LA way to do things anyway?

Places we ate:

1. Korean – duh. Ktown was a no brainer, and I’m still thinking about how damn good it was. Dallas has pretty good Korean food, but I’m not sure anything is close to being on par with Kang Hodong Baekjong. It was a 2 hour wait, but totally worth it. Daydreaming about it still.

2. Ramen – ever since we had Ippudo in NYC, we’ve been on the hunt for something comparable. It’s the new “it” food it seems these days, and why not find the best spot in Japan Town? Several friends recommended Daikokuya. So off we treked to downtown and put our name on the list to wait another 1.5 hours. The broth was satisfying and pork was fatty enough for my liking, but overall – not amazing. And definitely not Ippudo. Sad face.

3. Umami Burgers – heard a lot of hoopla over this place. Truffle burger with truffle cheese and glaze, whaat? Kind of disappointed to find out it was a chain.  Yeah, I’m a burger snob and bougie when it comes to chains. It was just meh. The sweet potatoe fries made an honorable attempt to redeem the meal.

4. Newport Tan Cang – we drove an hour for this place (with no traffic) after everyone and their mamas told us we HAD to have the lobster here. Husband wasn’t sold as we’re not big lobster people and it probably would taste like the lobster special at every Asian wedding. But when in Rome, right? We got here right as it opened and the place filled up immediately. 5lbs of lobster, bo luc lac, and $100 later – we were SO bloated. But a oh so happy and content kind of bloated when you’ve had a very good meal. My people didn’t steer me wrong on this one. I’m only sad I was too chicken to ask to take a picture with the ginormous alien crabs in the tanks.

 

Our friend’s wedding was in Malibu, atop a mountain (might I add, it was a scary as shit drive and much scarier down) with the most amazing view. Gorgeous venue, beautiful couple, and a lovely wedding.

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By Sunday, we were so ready to get home to C. My mom and dad told me that he was looking for us all weekend and waiting for us by the window. SO SAD, poor baby. As much as we enjoyed some adult time together, nothing beats being home with my main little man.

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Wednesday Wishlist

It was bound to happen. C caught his very first cold from school (on his 2nd day) so he was home on Monday. This also meant that there was very little sleeping at the N. house. Having a sick child is the worst. Boogers, tears, forcing medicine down a screaming banshee baby’s throat is nothing compared to the thrashing and crying every 2 hours. Thankfully, we’ve powered through to Wednesday on waves of coffee fueled endorphins and little man is feeling better – clingy, but better.

In between zoning out and trying to stay awake at work, I did a little window shopping 😉

Currently lusting over:

alice + oliva drixa pumps – hot!
parker finn dress – perfect date night dress
rag and bone harrow booties – love the added detailing from their popular classic newbury boots
danielle nicole shoulder bag – loving this color for fall

 

First Day of School

I’m sure everyone’s feeds has been blowing up with photos of their favorite little people’s first day of school for the past week or so. Caden isn’t in school school per se, but a Kid’s Day Out program at church, twice a week, 9-2:30. He gets to socialize and learn stuff – so hey, that’s school! There was a lot of anxiety for me leading up to that first day for some reason. I remember how exciting it was for the start of school when I was younger. Buying new school supplies, going shopping for brand new clothes and of course planning THE cutest outfit possible to wear on the first day. I guess I was vicariously living through my 20 month year old again because picking out his little firetruck backpack and lunch box was serious business people.

We’ve had a successful first week – a few tears at drop off – but I’m proud to say that I’ve received an email or two about how great little man is doing. #proudmama

I mean, look at that face. A little scholar in the making, am i right??

KDO - C\

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Citrus Lane Review

There are so many product subscription services today for just about every interest for the beauty product junkie (Birchbox for guys and gals), to the foodie and coffee snobs (Love with Food, Craft Coffee) to even our furry friends (BarkBox). I signed up for Citrus Lane, a children’s subscription service,  a few months ago when I found a 50%  coupon code which would send Caden a surprise box for only $12.

I read a few other reviews online and found that most moms were pleased with what they received in their first box so I was excited to see what would come in C’s first delivery.

And so we waited. and waited. It was almost two months before we got it. When I went to Citrus Lane’s FB page, it seemed that a lot of moms were frustrated with the length of time before they received their boxes. I’m assuming that 50% off code brought in a lot more business than they were anticipating and operations might not have been able to keep up with the demand. Understandable. After making a comment on their page that they should at least have the status of the order somewhere in our account, I noticed that I was able to see where our order stood when I logged in a few days later.

What we finally received:

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  1. iPlay Reversible Sun Hat; retails for $15; this was cute however the toddler size is for kids 2-4yrs old and ended up being huge for C. He also hates anything on his head, so we didn’t have much use for this. But this item alone made up for the cost of the box for the month, so score!
  2. Sand Toy Set from Haba; an entire set retails for $11.39; however we did not receive the whole set, only the scoop and sand sieve.
  3. Happy Tot Plus in Blueberry, Apple, and Purple Carrot; $1.99 at most stores – C gobbled this up and loved it! It’s a struggle sometimes to get him to eat veggies, so I need to buy some more of these for him.
  4. Sunny Sunscreen SPF35 from Episencial – the 4oz retails for $11.95, but this was only a 1.5 oz sample. I wish there was a little more because we used it for one day out at the park and pool and it was all gone!

Final Thought: while I think the concept is great, I felt this this box really didn’t compel me to continue with the subscription. It may have been that because this was a “discounted” box, the items fell a little short for me. The sun hat pattern we received is discontinued on iPlay’s site, the incomplete sand set, and new packaging on the sunscreen from Episencial in the store now leads me to believe this sample is old. In addition, the fact that I received these must have summer items in July, I had already purchased Caden all these things already. It just wasn’t timely for us. However, I will continue one more month to see what a full priced box will bring us. I’m hoping that we receive our July box in the right month and the items are better.

 

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Caden Approved!

I’ll update when we get it!

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Our First Injury

We had a little scare yesterday and went to the ER for our first toddler injury (and hopefully our last for at least a very long long time). It’s inevitable that having a very curious and rambunctious toddler will lead to accidents,  and I’ve accepted that fact that there will bumps and bruises along the way. However, we had lots of tears and blood yesterday.

Little man tripped on a bath rug and got into a fight w/ the edge of the tub. Just when I thought we had done a good job w/ baby proofing the house as we have avoided any ouchies for the most part, I’m proven wrong. 4 hours at the hospital, a bag of Cheez-Its and Lays potato chips, and a $150 copay later — we are all fixed up. Thank goodness it was just an abrasion and he didn’t need any stitches.

Who needs to bungee jump, go sky diving, or speed race when you’ve got a crazy toddler at home?  That alone is enough of an adrenaline rush that this mama will ever need.

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my little trooper still smiling before heading off to the hospital

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waiting patiently w/ Daddy

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ok, now I’m tired of waiting

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K.O.ed