Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Fashion Tips

Here are some quick tips to save a little money and extend that summer wardrobe you loved to your fall wardrobe as well as some buying tips for those must-haves you really want to get.

1) Layer Layer Layer! You can still wear that cute short sleeved top--just pair it together with a thermal or long sleeved tee and a jacket for cooler days. Everything from your summer skirts to tanks can be worn in cooler weather with a little bit of layering. This works especially great for kids too, who look extra cute when you layer their clothes and bundle them up!

2) Color--Use it! Don't be afraid to use bold jewelry and accessories that are traditionally summer-inspired. A pop of bright red next to all your neutral browns and earth tones you wear in the fall can be gorgeous. So don't put away all those accessories that you love, break one out every now and then. The bonus to this is that on a rainy or extra cold and dreary day its a nice boost to be surrounded by lots of color.

3) Buy the basics! If you must add on to your wardrobe, this is the year to do it on staples like an extra-long cardigan which will be super comfy or a nice pair of jeans that you can wear through the whole year. Cardigans, especially long ones which are in right now, are great for throwing on as you head out the door. These are great buys because you can enjoy them when you lounge around the house or well through spring. Jeans are a good investment too if you are in need of a new pair. Make sure you try a cute boot fit to go with all the boots you have been wanting to wear this fall that are in style. Basic things are what is most in style this fall so there is no need to break the bank this fall on anything out there. Simple sweater dresses, cardigans, denim, bulky sweaters, and leather boots are the hot trends this fall.
--The Unique Mom

Thursday, September 18, 2008

'Not-so-guilt-free' Mashed Potatoes

The best thing about fall is all the wonderful, hot and fresh comfort foods on the table at dinner. A family favorite for us is potatoes. Mashed, baked, grilled, sauteed or even in a salad--we eat probably way too many of these. Tonight, just because we all were craving something special, I whipped up some mashed potatoes. Here is the recipe, its very easy to adjust to whatever dinner you are having. Just try not to overdo it since it is soooo rich and creamy.

About 2 lbs of potatoes--peeled and cut into quarter sized pieces
1 pkg. of cream cheese
3-4 large spoonfuls of butter
2 large spoonfuls of sour cream
Salt, pepper, parsley, garlic and other spices to taste

In a large pot cover potatoes with cool water. Bring to boil and cook potatoes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place back in pot. Mash potatoes with a fork or potato masher. Then add cream cheese, butter, and sour cream. Mix together until smooth. Add seasonings. You may also add fresh cheese, herbs, and garlic.
Tip: Make in bulk and store leftovers in casserole dish. Then for next night's dinner you can cover the mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon crumbles. Bake in oven until cheese is fully melted. Serve as loaded cheesey mashed potatoes. Voila~a new side dish!
--The Unique Mom

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fun and Simple Treats

Every once in a while our family ends up with 4-5 boxes of cereal that no one is interested in eating anymore. Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Chex, Golden name it. So to cut down on all those gigantic boxes of cereal, I make treats with them. Here are two of our favorite quick and easy treats that use things we already have around the house and help us clean out our pantry faster. They are great year round because a couple of changes make them fun seasonal treats for our family to munch on during our favorite holidays.

Monster Trail Mix
Ingredients: Assorted Cereals, Marshmallows; Chocolate Chips; Raisins, dried fruits; M & Ms, small candies

Directions: In a zip lock gallon sized bag, pour in all ingredients. Have kids shake bags to mix everything. Makes great on the go snacks for kids, just pour a little into a small plastic bag or plastic container and take with you.

Seasonal Tip: For a seasonal treat, use colored candies like red/green m&ms for Christmas, or candy corn for fall. Also, if you use marshmallows, pick ones that come in fun holiday shapes like trees for Christmas and ghosts for Halloween.

Cereal Bars
Ingredients: Assorted Cereals (Rice Krispies, Chex, etc), 3 Tbsp. of butter, 1 bag marshmallows or 6 cups of mini-marshmallows, and for optional add-ins: chocolate chips, raisins, dried fruit, m&ms, small candies, chocolate pieces

Directions: Melt butter in a large saucepan on low heat. After butter is melted pour in marshmallows. Stir mixture often. When all marshmallows are melted, you may add chocolate pieces and melt those into mixture if you want it to be extra chocolate-y. Pour in cereal(s) and turn off heat. Stir mixture so all cereal is coated. At end you may also add in candies and other optional items. Then quickly remove to a well greased cooking pan or casserole pan and spread evenly. You may pour additional candies or toppings on top of mix. Let sit until completely cool all the way through (approximately 1-2 hours).

Seasonal Tip: Melt chocolate pieces into marshmallow mixture before adding cereals. This will make bars "black." Then add orange candies or candy corn at the end to make a special Halloween snack. Or around Thanksgiving make as directed but instead of adding in candies, add dried cranberries and your favorite type of nuts. This works best with Cheerios as the cereal. Be creative and make something different every time.

--The Unique Mom

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Creative Play

One thing my son loves to do is to dress up and play pretend. We have lots of costumes and outfits that he likes to try on during pretend time. Creative and pretend play can be really great for toddlers and preschoolers because it gives them the chance use all the new vocabulary and things they are learning. It doesn't have to be very expensive either. Here are a couple ideas you can use to 'build' your pretend play resources at home for your little boy or girl:
  1. Start a pretend toy box or bin. Putting all pretend toys and outfits in place will help your child be creative easier.
  2. Don't throw out old Halloween costumes. Save them and add them to your pretend play bin. If your child has outgrown it, donate it or give it to a friend with smaller children so they can enjoy pretending too.
  3. Buy Halloween costumes on sale. Starting around the last week of October, Halloween costumes go on clearance since stores want to get rid of all those extra costumes taking up space. Often prices are slashed quite a bit and you can find very inexpensive finds this way. Year-round you might also find deals by searching online.
  4. Use things from around the house. Old aprons, worn out Tupperware, extra measuring spoons, old spade and gloves, and even shoes you no longer wear yourself can become great sources of inspiration. Common things around the house can be great for getting children to explore new ideas and new things.
  5. Make your own costumes. This can be as simple as taking an old undershirt or a shirt that you can't get a stain out of and letting your child make their own masterpiece from it. You can let them color on it with markers, tie dye it, or even buy patches or cut out felt pieces and help them attach them. So if your child likes dalmatians, cut out little black pieces of felt or even sew on black buttons.
  6. Don't forget the accessories. Have cheap jewelry you no longer wear? Or broken watches? Things like old purses, ties, hats, shoes, jewelry, or even spare change for older children, can help make creative play more interesting and fun for kids. Kids like to be like mom and dad and what better way to do that than to dress up like mom and dad! Just don't be surprised if your child decides to be your pint-size double after that!
  7. Check out your local party supply stores. We were able to find lots of toy badges and party hats for super cheap that doubled as great dress up costumes. Even small finds like these can be great for kids.
  8. Play with your kids! Dress up is even more fun with a friend. Get involved by dressing up with your child and making up detailed stories about what a fire fighter or a tiger does. Make it an adventure for your child by encouraging all kinds of creativity!

Happy Playtime!
--The Unique Mom

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back from our vacation!

Well we are back! My husband and I had a nice little vacation in the Caribbean and now its back to everyday life. *Sigh* We are just about back to normal, which pretty much means everything but our laundry is all caught up on. We have a lot going on right now, with my cousin having her twin babies premature, my sister due any day with her first baby, and school in high gear. Plus its thesis prep time so I need to really start hitting the books.
But to keep me sane I will keep this blog going. So look forward to seeing some new posts again very soon. I hope to post some fun things and activities to do this fall for you as well as some very cute baby and toddler trends. Hope you all will check it out!
--The Unique Mom

Monday, August 11, 2008

Easy & Fun Painting for Kids

Our son loves to color and paint. We do crafts several times a week but painting is the messiest. For quick and easy clean-up, I take 1/2 of a dozen egg carton and put a little bit of each paint color in each hole. I can also mix colors fast this way. Just have a container of water, paintbrushes, and paper ready. Once our little picasso is done making his masterpiece we just toss out the egg carton and hang his art to dry.
--The Unique Mom

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mmmmm Smoothies!

It's Friday and I am wanting a cool non-alcholic drink and a smoothie sounds perfect! I have a couple of favorites, but this one is based on the original Orange Julius. My husbands makes it all the time for me. I LOVE it. When I am feeling different I just play around with it and make up my own smoothie. Sometimes I will just opt for fresh fruit instead of sugar and othertimes I will mix myself up something completely different. The great thing about smoothies is they taste great no matter what.

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

8-9 ice cubes

1. Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in blender.

2. Blend for about 1-2 minutes, adding ice cubes one at a time.

--The Unique Mom

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I LOVE taggies. These things are amazing. My son got his first Taggie as a gift from a friend at his baby shower. I have been loving Taggies ever since then. Taggies now offers lots of clothes, gifts, and blankets just for baby and kids. Their new colours collections is the best though. I love the bright and fun colors. Its great because it offers lots of sensory development for young babies.
--The Unique Mom

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just for Mom!

Okay maybe I am just addicted to this stuff but I love Bath and Body works mentha lip glosses! They are so smooth and are a quick and easy touch-up when I am on the go. My faves are the coral and pink tinted ones but they are all great. Perfect for summer or winter, these are a must have!

--The Unique Mom

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hit the road junk!

It never ceases to amaze me how much junk ends up in our car. Our van is full of essentials but they end up all over the place, especially right by the kids seats. I decided its time to get organized! We found these car organizers at One Step Ahead and they are perfect for our van. There is enough room for my son's wipes and diapers plus his books, cars, mini-maginoodle, sippy cup, and snacks. Now if I could only get this summer weather to cool down!
--The Unique Mom

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bobux Shoes

I found these at a little boutique and just had to get them! I have a rugby striped orange and white newborn one piece for our baby on the way and these match perfectly. They are sporty and fun and I can't wait to dress up our baby boy in his new outfit! I LOVE it!

--The Unique Mom

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Zutano Clothing

I spent the weekend shopping with friends and I can't wait to share all of the fun things I found. My favorite find was Zutano baby and kids clothing because it is so soft. If you haven't discoverd Zutano yet, you are missing out. Zutano has a huge selection of bright and fun clothing for little girls and boys. Also, Zutano has recently expanded by adding a newborn collection to its already big collection of infant and toddler clothing. I really love the Itzy celery dot sytle. You can find Zutano brands in select online stores or boutiques. Check them out, they have the cutest clothes!

--The Unique Mom

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Super Soft Baby Gifts

I love baby clothes because they are so cute and tiny and have the softest fabrics. These Bunnies By The Bay items are perfect because of just that. They offer silky-soft, rich and luxurious gifts for baby and mom. My favorite is their cuddle coats. They are adorable, very soft, and machine washable with special care. They make a perfect baby gift or even keepsake item for the nursery. Check them out!

--The Unique Mom

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Splash Into Summer!

What's a better way to beat the heat than to go swimming! It's fun for babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and adults! Here are some things you might want to bring or try at the pool this summer:
  1. First off, don't forget the sunscreen and a hat! You can never be careful. Remember to reapply often.
  2. Bring cups, buckets, and plastic containers. Little kids love dumping out water into other containers. My two year old can play for hours with these.
  3. Bring soft, cushy balls to toss. These are fun for little and big kids. Big kids can throw these around to play catch and little kids like to make the water squirt out.
  4. Bring squirties. These are fantastic for both the bath tub and at the pool. We bring enough to have a little squirting war. Also great for when mom is sitting on a pool chair and wants to cool down--just spray and enjoy!
  5. Snacks and water to drink if your local pool will let you have it on-site. Our pool doesn't mind if little kids have sippy cups or baggies of small cheerios. These are great for a quick snack during pool checks.
  6. Your child's favorite plastic toy. This will provide endless hours of entertainment. For us cars and trucks are wonderful but for a girl it might be her favorite plastic baby doll. Because its plastic, it won't hurt for it to get wet.
  7. Try showing your child how they can play in the water. Scoop up water with your hands and show them how to use their hands to do this. Or show them how to make waves in the water. You can even make a game of it by encouraging him/her to make the smallest or biggest waves. Be creative and have fun!
  8. A giant beach bag and towel. Pack in a freezer size ziplock bag to put all your toys in so they don't get everything wet and pack a plastic grocery bag if you need to change out of your wet swimming suit.

Have a Safe and Cool Summer!

--The Unique Mom

"Kids" Chocolate Chip Cookies

This special recipe my son loves to eat up. Its extra chocolatey and super fun to make. You just take a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and make a couple yummy changes. But try not to eat the whole plate right up!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 cup cocoa

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • Several varieties of chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate chunks, etc.)

  • Chopped nuts or small marshmallows (optional)

  • 2 tsp. Hersey's chocolate syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. **Note: For best results chill dough before baking for 1/2 hour.**

  2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate syrup. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets, or use an icecream scooper for perfect shape and easy scooping.

  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until done in center. Cookies will be a medium brown. Cool on baking sheets and remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Serve warm with glass of cold milk. Yum!

--The Unique Mom

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Picture Pefect Bows!

I found the cutest little girls bows while looking for a children's boutique in my homestate of Iowa. The Pink Hippo is located in my hometown and offers adorable baby girl and big girl accessories as well as fashion items. I adore their custom made-to-match Gymboree selection of bows and their Iowa Hawkeye and Iowa State Cyclones bows. With the big game coming up this fall between the two teams, I will be recommending this to everyone I know with a little girl. They are too cute!
--The Unique Mom

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun Playtime Tee-Shirts

These days everyone wants to make a statement. Although I don't always go for the sayings tees, these are pretty cute! Food fight tees offers a huge selection of onesies and tee shirts for babies and kids. I really love their Olympic tee shirt. What better time of the year to wear that than right before the Olympics! My other favorties are their organic and big wheeler tees. Check them out, I had fun just looking!

--The Unique Mom

Quick & Easy Craft Tips

If your child loves arts and crafts, here are some quick tips. There will probably still be glue on the table or crayon marks on your walls (thats where wipes and magic erasers come in handy by the way), but here are a couple of neat tricks to keep you organized and your kids happy.

1) Start a craft bin--buy a tote or plastic bin with a lid and use it to contain all of your kids fun craft things. I actually have two, one for all of the crayons, sticker, markers and miscellaneous things we use for crafts and one for anything I have planned for a special project or that needs kept separate. I keep paper plates, plastic baggies of rice and beans, a stapler and tape, and pre-cutouts of shapes from construction paper in this bin.

2) Try something different--don't use just plan old crayons and markers even though they are wonderful. Use glitter sticks, finger paint, watercolors, felt pieces, glue, playdoh, used egg cartons and toilet paper rolls, etc. Anything around the the house can be a new craft!

3) Do art with your kids--this will keep them occupied for longer and give you an opportunity to teach them something new. You don't have to be an aspiring artist to teach your kids something. You can show them how to mix paint to make a new color or show them how to draw silly faces. Staying involved will make it lots more fun for both of you.

--The Unique Mom

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fun Playtime Toys!

These are not your average stuffed animals! These handknit toys are just adorable and come in four different jungle animals to choose from. Plus Pokkadots has lots of other neat baby and kids items to choose from!

--The Unique Mom

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Retro in the Kitchen

I love to cook but I never find really cute aprons and find myself always spilling something on me while cooking. These however are so orginal I want one so bad! Stitch Thru Time offers a huge selection of old-fashioned aprons for moms and daughters. I really love the holidays ones but this red kitchen cherries one is very cool! I might have to get this one!

--The Unique Mom

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mmm! Monkey Bread!

A long time ago I came across this recipe. It is so sweet and delicious no one wants to miss out on it. It's the perfect way to start your Saturday or Sunday morning!

4 cans refrigerated biscuits (Use the mini biscuits, not Grands or the flaky biscuits. I buy a 4-pack of mini biscuits.)

2 sticks butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt cake pan.
2. Shake up cinnamon and white sugar in a freezer size plastic bag. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Break apart pieces and put in bag. Shake up to mix and coat all pieces.

3. Place coated pieces in the bottom of the greased pan. Layer them until full. Sprinkle extra cinnamon/sugar mix over pan.

4. Melt the butter on the stove with the brown sugar over low-medium heat. Let cook and bring to boil for 1 minute but don't overcook.
5. Pour mixture into the pan coating all pieces. Bake for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Pull apart and enjoy!

--The Unique Mom

Fun Rain Gear For Kids!

Its been raining a lot here in the Midwest lately and I haven't been quite able to find a cute rain jacket and umbrella for my son. I have been hunting for a cute one and could not believe it when I found this set. My son LOVES frogs right now and this is just too cute for a little boy. Coco Bonbons carries the cutest things for both boys and girls! I also love their other rain gear collections, which all offer matching rain boots, umbrellas and jackets! It's a great way to brighten up any rainy day!

--The Unique Mom

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cool Baby Shower Gift!

Looking for a cool baby shower gift? Are you hosting a baby shower and looking for a cool centerpiece?

I am! My sister's baby shower is coming up and I am hosting it. Well I found a really cool diaper cake website and since her baby shower theme is baby jungle animals I could not pass this one up. But the website offers all sorts of other themed diaper cakes. I already ordered! Now I cannot wait for it to arrive!

--The Unique Mom

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mama Mia!!! Easy Pepperoni Rolls!

I make these for my son ALL the time. We call them "baby pizzas" and he eats them right up.

What you need is:
--A can of Pillsbury crescent roll-ups (not the crescents, but the mini rolls)
--A can of pizza sauce or your own (a quick tip for picky eater is to puree veggies into the pizza sauce)
--Mozzerella shredded cheese
--Diced Pepperoni (regular is fine, you will just have to cut them into halves)
--Assortment of any other veggies or toppings you like
--Cookie Sheet & non-stick spray
--Cutting board or clean lightly floured surface
--Seasoning if you prefer, I use garlic and italian seasoning

1) Preheat oven to about 350 degrees F. Spray non-stick cookie sheet and set aside.
2) Open rolls over cutting board or clean lightly floured surface. Separate rolls and peel out so they lay like flat sticks of dough. Line them all up together so that they lay next to each other on surface
3) Spread sauce over dough. Sprinkle seasoning and toppings on top at this time. Don't put too many toppings on.
4) Next add cheese so that it light coats strips. You should be able to still see the red sauce through the cheese.
5) Now individually roll up the rolls from one end to the next, like a spiral. Place onto baking sheet with the spiral side visable from a birds-eye view. Finish the rest. Evenly space on sheet.
6) Pop in oven and cook for about 8-10 minute or until golden brown and done in the center of the dough. Let cool and enjoy with fresh fruit!

--The Unique Mom

Fun & Funky Clothes For Kids!

I have been ordering from the Polkadot Patch Boutique for a long time now. They offer so many cool and fun items I can't resist! I love it because they have the COOLEST stuff for kids. I love their clothes because they are so bright and colorful. They are so original and you can't find items like this anywhere else 99% of the time. I especially love their custom-personalized onesies for infants. I bought one for my sister who is expecting! It came all cute and wrapped up like a piece of hard candy! It was a perfect shower gift!

--The Unique Mom

The CUTEST little girls dress up clothes!

How adorable is this!?? I have completely fallen in love with this company's tutu's and dress up clothes for little girls! Check it out--they have tutus for infants all the way up to big girls!
--The Unique Mom


My name is Jessica. I am young mom to an almost 2 1/2 year old little boy, happily married, and living in the Midwest. I am also expecting in December 2008 my second child. I am a modern mom who is also currently busy finishing up my degree. I have passion for parenting--and everything that comes with it. From teaching my kids their ABC's and numbers to showing them the value of love and friendship--being a parent is amazing. I especially love to shop around for my children and family and find one-of-a-kind items. Even if I don't buy things, I enjoy the search for something different. Fashion is something I have always loved and although I am no celebrity, I have a knack for finding really cool things. I am also interested in politics and international issues so I consider myself a pretty hip and global mom. I love to travel, whether locally or abroad. I some day hope to open my own boutique but for now I enjoy shopping in them. I hope to share on this blog not just all the neat things I find, but also maybe a little bit about myself and what is going on in this big crazy world. Hope you enjoy!

--The Unique Mom