My Favorite iPad Apps

Friday, August 22, 2014

I "inherited" my iPad from Seth after we got married. He had gotten for himself, brand new, the summer before but soon after he bought it there was a little accident and some random kid made it fall off a table and the screen completely shattered and had to be replaced. When it fell it got some nicks and cuts on the body of it so the new screen didn't fit quite perfectly. But whatever. It still works, right? A few months after I "inherited" the iPad the screen got what I will call a "hairline fraction" in one corner and ever since then it just keeps cracking and breaking just at the touch. I am actually so cool that I have two pieces of scotch tape holding in pieces that have started to break off on the screen and the frame around it. I know, you're jealous. But I honestly don't care about all that, it still works and gets the job done.
I use my iPad every day for everything from reading recipes on Pinterest while cooking, quickly checking emails, organizing documents in Evernote, and of course for playing games because I'm a dork like that. I also have a weird obsession with downloading a ton of apps at a time, putting them in a folder called "To Try" and trying them out until I decide what I like and what I don't. I find it really entertaining. I've downloaded hundreds of free apps on my iPad. It's the searching and downloading of the apps that I find so entertaining. Again, I know, I'm strange. After all of my experimenting I've found some apps that I find either helpful and/or entertaining.
Twitter // I'm not so sure that this can be fit in with productivity apps but this is where I thought it fit best. I am highly impressed with the Twitter app (both on iPad and iPhone) as a whole. I find that it loads quickly and has an overall pleasing aesthetic. Twitter has been doing a great job with app updates as well. Follow me on Twitter @abbybarstow

Evernote // I planned my entire wedding on Evernote and have recently started keep tracking of my entire life on there as well. If you don't use Evernote you are missing out. Basically what you do on Evernote is create notebooks and within those you can create documents. For example I have a notebook called "Little City Adventures" and in that notebook some of the documents I have are Blog Post Ideas, Media Kit Draft, Ideal Reader Profile, etc. I would feel so unorganized and overwhelmed without Evernote.

Gmail // Since my personal and blog emails are both via Gmail I find that the Gmail app is much easier to use rather than Apple's Mail app. 
Yoga Studio // Yoga is the only thing that keeps my back pain at least slightly at bay and this app is gorgeous and easy and use and full of fantastic routines. They have a huge catalog of classes at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels and you can schedule classes for the app to remind you to workout. The routines are super calming, the narrator's voice is relaxing, and the routines are easy to follow as well. 

MyFitnessPal // I also have this app on my phone and you can log in and sync your account on both devices. This is a great app for keep track of your workouts and your meals. I don't keep track of both everyday but I've been trying to keep track most days. I've tried out a lot of fitness and meal tracking apps and this is by far the best.

Pocket Yoga // Yup, another yoga app. This one is more computer generated than Yoga Studio but it does offer more routines which you can customize by duration, difficulty, and environment. Pocket Yoga has a sister app called Pocket Yoga Builder where you can build your own routines and is absolutely fantastic as well.
Neybers // I just found this app and it's awesome, awesome, awesome. As a kid I was weird and loved computer software for interior design. I was obsessed with making floor plans. Like weirdly obsessed. I still kind of am a little bit. Anyways, you pick a blank room to start with and then you get to decorate it with amazing designer products and choose flooring options and paint options. The graphics are extremely high quality, color me impressed.

Jelly Defense // The days leading up to William's late arrival were filled with off and on contractions and one day I spent the entire day in bed watching tv and playing this game. It is so addicting and the little jelly monsters are adorable.

Tiny Thief // This is another new addition to my iPad and it's a great adventures game. High quality graphics, cute little characters, and a fun adventure make this game a lot of fun. I know, I sound a little nerdy but this game is challenging which makes it a great stress reliever.

5 More Tips for New Moms

Thursday, August 21, 2014

William will be eight weeks this coming weekend and two months old on the 29th! I can't believe how fast my little man is growing up. Next week I'll share his two month update but here's a little mini update right now: last night he slept in his nursery for the first time, he is laughing and smiling more often, he is better at following faces and looks towards voices, and he is moving into some size 0-3 month clothing and size 1 diapers. 

Last week I shared 5 Tips for New Moms and this week I am back with 5 more! Just five tips wasn't enough, being a new mom is complicated and overwhelming and we should all help each other, should we not? After reading all of my tips, feel free to leave tips from your experiences in the comments. 

1. Buy a Portable Baby Swing.
When we registered at Bed Bath & Beyond the salesman convinced us to register for this portable swing and it turned out to be such a fantastic idea. The swing is light and folds up much smaller than most other swings making it easy to move throughout the house. My closet/office is on the third floor of our house so when I'm getting ready in the mornings I sit the swing upstairs beside me while doing my make up. When we're eating dinner on the first floor we sit the swing beside the dining room table. It makes life so much easier.

2. Before Baby Arrives, Make At Least One Weeks Worth of Freezer Meals.
Prior to William's arrival I made three meals to freezer and also went to Costco and bought two Costco sized freezer meals and dived those up into serving sizes. Friends and family will (or at least should) bring you some meals the first few weeks but there may be a few days in that first week where you don't have meals coming and trust me, those freezer meals will be a life saver. And once baby is older and the meals stop coming it might be a shock, but not to worry, you have those handy freezer meals!

3. Buy Some Nursing Camis as well as Nursing Bras.
One thing I didn't really think about before having William was the fact that I have to wear a bra 24/7 in order to wear nursing pads because of breastfeeding. Nursing cam is are fantastic, they are easy to nurse in and so comfortable. As for nursing bras, make sure you have at least two that are wireless and comfy to sleep in.

4. Stock Up on the Next Few Sizes.
Baby grows so fast the first few months. All the sudden his newborn clothes will start getting tight and hard to button making it helpful to have the next few sizes on hand. You should also have the next few sizes of diapers on hand because diapers are the last thing you want to run out of.

5. Forget Your Old Body, Embrace the New.
Don't compare your post-baby body to your pre-baby body. Your body now is completely new and different. Your hips have changed, you have stretch marks that may never go away, and your boobs are bigger (and leaking milk). Work on getting in shape rather than getting back to the "old you." You can loose the baby weight but your shape may not change and that's okay. You created a beautiful human being with your amazing body so embrace it, it's okay.

Recipe // Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hello perfect banana bread recipe. I have dared to declare it but yes, I think that I have found the yummiest and easiest banana bread recipe. It's a simple recipe that is delicious as is but you could easily add chocolate chips or even unsweetened coconut flakes or a streusel get the picture. It's just perfect. This bread is moist and fluffy and full of wonderful flavors. Seriously, I can't stop thinking about how good this is and I'm going to have to type faster so that I can run downstairs and much on some. It doesn't even need a spread on it, it's moist and yummy on it's own (not to say that cream cheese wouldn't be delicious on top). When you hear "coconut oil" you may be thinking of a coconut flavor in this bread but in this case the bananas take over and it has a traditional banana bread taste despite this "different" ingredient. All the coconut oil really does is keep it moist and fluffy and allows you to cut out butter from the recipe. Okay, I need to go eat some now...

Yields: 1 9x5" loaf          Prep Time: 10 minutes          Bake Time: 45 minutes         Total Time: 55 minutes

2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
4 Tbsp milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9x5 in. loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl mix eggs, coconut oil, milk, sugars, banana, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet until just combined, do not over mix.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you notice it browning or hardening on top (shouldn't be a huge problem), place a piece of aluminum foil on top halfway through baking. Let cool in pan for at least ten minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.


Have you made this recipe or another recipe from Little City Adventures? Share a shot of your take on the dish on Instagram and use the hashtag #littlecitykitchen

Updated Tea Collection Storage

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Remember my cute little shelf that used to hold my loose leaf tea collection? It died. Turns out we didn't screw the shelf into studs. And the little glass mason jars got heavy along with all of the other items that were on the shelf. Luckily, when the shelf fell, none of my tea jars broke! Call that lucky! After letting my teas live in a reusable shopping bag on the floor of my kitchen for months I finally reorganized and found some room in my awkwardly large drawer. 

Since this drawer is so wide that it was impossible to organize, we picked up these drawer dividers to create three sections and now it's just about perfect. My teas fit wonderfully in the far left section and there's still some room for a few more teas if I want to add to my collection (but I shouldn't until I use up some of what I have).

I am so happy with how my little collection looks now. It is now so much easier to find exactly which tea I'm searching for whereas on the shelf it wasn't so easy since the jars were piled on top of each other. I have done a lot of reorganizing around the house since I had William, I guess it was more nesting? 


5 Tips for New Moms

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Being a new mom is scary, overwhelming, wonderful, and strange all at once. There is nothing you can do to change all of that but there are a few things you can do to make your life a bit easier. I have survived the first seven weeks as William's mom and have discovered a few things that consistently help us get by day to day.

1. Stock Up Before Bedtime.
If baby is sleeping in your room in a pack 'n play or bassinet for the first few weeks, be sure to stock up before hitting the hay to make your nights just a tad smoother. We have this Graco pack 'n play and it is by far the most used and best baby item we chose. Each night I make sure that we are completely stocked.
- Fully stocked with diapers
- The box of wipes is mostly full
- At least 3 back up onesies
- A back up blanket
- 2-3 back up burp cloths
- An extra pacifier

2. Don't Stress About Having a Stylish Baby.
We all want to have one of those stylish kiddos that takes Instagram by storm. But let's be honest with each other: Those moments are few and far between. Baby will spit up, poop, and pee all over himself quite often. Sometimes a plain white onesie is best and will make your life so much easier. Plus, they are cheap and come in packs of multiples, making it easy to have a few on hand everywhere (diaper bag, pack 'n play, etc.). Do what is easier for you, not what makes you look cool. Also included under this tip is: don't turn away free clothes. Baby doesn't have to wear the hand-me-downs regularly but trust me, they are wonderful to have as back ups.

3. Pump Milk So Your Spouse Can Help Too.
Some mamas prefer to only feed from the breast and not offer baby bottles with breastmilk and that is perfectly fine. For us we find it helpful if I pump enough during the week for a few extra bottles throughout the week as well as for the weekend. Seth has off on Sundays and Mondays so Sunday nights he usually helps with at least one feeding and often takes another one for me on Monday afternoons so I can nap or just have time to myself. We also like to have a bottle handy for when we go out with friends or are out of the house for a few hours just to make our days easier and so I don't feel like I'm missing out on life.

4. Put a Bib on Baby for Feedings.
If you're like me and you never stop lactating, as in you are constantly dripping a little bit of milk and when baby eats milk ends up all over him and you and everything around you, a bib will be a huge help! We love these ones from Aden+Anais.

5. Ask For Help When You Need It.
This is the most important factor in surviving the first few weeks as a new mom. Once hubby goes back to work, suck it up and ask your mom/dad/brother/cousin/sister/uncle/grandmother/neighbor/etc. over to help you, even if it's just to do a load of laundry or the dishes. Don't be afraid to ask! Your friends and family (even strangers on the street, but that is not recommended) will do anything to visit with the baby for awhile. So ask someone to come over so you can take a twenty minute nap or paint your nails. 

What tips do you have for fellow new mamas?