Friday Faves

Hi guys – let’s close out this week with some Friday faves. I’d love if you played along in the comments – what has brought you joy or been especially useful/interesting lately? Here are mine:

1) Grilling!

The weather has been fabulous this week which was perfect timing to start using our grill more often again. We made some really yummy shrimp and pineapple skewers with grilled asparagus and quinoa earlier this week for dinner – recipe coming soon!


I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for lunches – they made some tasty grain salad bowls. The first one I added chickpeas and cilantro to, the second had chickpeas, goat cheese, and smoked salmon since the shrimp was all gone! I hadn’t had pineapple in awhile and forgot how delicious it is – grilled, fresh, in salads, as a snack with cottage cheese or yogurt… all the pineapple!



2) Hiking.

On Wednesday on my day off from work, Riese and I had a fun adventure – a hike!


northern virginia baby-friendly hike

It was warm, lovely weather and Riese loved looking around at the trees (and snoozing a bit, too). We were joined by my good friend Heather and her baby boy, who is only a couple months younger. At one point Riese was looking over at him and giving him BIG smiles – it was the cutest thing! It will be fun to see them start to interact more as they grow.

hiking with babies northern virginia

(Also, since I usually get this question – that’s the Boba 4G carrier! It’s hard to do the buckle on the back by yourself, but otherwise I really like it – more ergonomic/back-friendly than the soft wraps.)

3) Peanut Butter Power Cookies (<- recipe).

I mixed it up from my Oatmeal Banana Coconut Cookies this week and have been having my PB Power Cookies for early a.m. pumping snacks (and pre-workout snacks) instead. I forgot how yummy these are! Give them a shot if you haven’t tried them yet. Also – Zara says hi! :)

peanut butter power cookiese

4) The Merlin sleepsuit.

Riese was going through a sleep regression (coupled with her growing out of her Dock a Tot, which worked really well for us), and I remembered that my friend Gretchen had lent me their Merlin sleepsuit – it’s hilarious because babies wearing it look like the Michelin Man – too cute! We finally tried it earlier this week after a night with 4 wake ups… and what do you know, it worked!! Riese slept more or less soundly all night – amazing. I think this will help us to more easily transition her to her crib soon too (she’s still in the bassinet in our room for now).

merlin sleep suit baby magic

5) A local eating disorder recovery organization, Rock Recovery, has some great blog posts up right now in honor of Mother’s Day that I thought might be of interest/helpful.

First, Smiling in the Mirror – Teaching our Daughters to Have Healthy Body Image – a great reminder that what we say to ourselves and how we treat ourselves really matters because our children will pick up on it. And second, Tips on Cultivating a Lifelong Healthy Relationship with Food – I especially liked the part about offering sweets as part of – rather than after – a regular meal, so they are viewed as just another food vs. as a “reward”. Ditching the “clean plate club” messaging that many of us grew up with is important, too!

And now, before I close out this post, I have two questions:

  • What are your favorite potato salad recipes? Links, please! We are going to a BBQ this weekend and we have a TON of potatoes on hand to use up, so I thought potato salad would be a fun side dish to bring along. I would love some inspiration, especially those recipes utilizing dill since we have a bunch on hand from our herb boxes and I love dill with potatoes!
  • We are taking our first road trip with Riese next weekend – heading up to Pittsburgh for a wedding. It will be fun to have a change of scenery, and for Riese to see her grandparents (Matt’s parents)! Any tips in terms of things to not forget to pack, or things you did that made your baby/you happier while driving 5+ hours for the first time? Also, what are your best recs for transporting frozen breast milk? We’ll need to bring some for Riese’s daily top off bottles at night, plus enough for while we are at the wedding. I’ll also need to pump while at the wedding and transport milk back (we’ll just be gone that afternoon/evening, not overnight, but I’ll still need to pump while away for sure… I may try to just pump in the car vs. while we are at the wedding, but it might be too long to go – we’ll see). Tips/advice welcome – thanks!

Have a great weekend guys, and Happy Mother’s Day to my mama readers! <3

Please note there are affiliate links in this post.


  1. 1

    This is an awesome potato salad recipe – I get so many compliments on it every time I make it. And you can use dill and any other herbs that you have on hand! I’ve used red potatoes or just regular russet – you can really mix it up and it’s a forgiving recipe.

  2. 3

    Also, on the frozen breast milk… I would try to just take freshly expressed b/c it last much longer in the fridge. Once you defrost the frozen you are supposed to use within 24 hours. So maybe on the few days leading up to the trip, pump a few times when you would normally breastfeed (and give her some of your frozen stash to replace what she would get while nursing). That way you’ll have fresh milk that you can just stick in a cooler and keep in a refrigerator on the trip. Do you have a cooler bag for bottles? I have this one and take it with me when I have to be away from a fridge and pump – works great with a variety of bottles (I use it with the spectra bottles and also the medela ones):

  3. 5

    Growing up, my mom used to make the best potatoes with Dill. I don’t know what they’re called, we just called them “Kira potatoes” because they were my sister’s favorite way to eat potatoes. I know my mom would cube the potatoes into like 3/4″ cubes, boil them until soft, stir in with fresh dill (sometimes chives) and maybe a little sour cream or mayo. But definitely not a lot of mayo/sour cream like traditional American potato salad. This might be a similar recipe and I think her inspiration must have been some sort of Finnish recipe because my dad was Finnish-

    Just a thought! :)

  4. 7

    It’s not really a tip on something to pack, but I have a list on my iPhone of things I always need to pack for Brett. Every time we go somewhere I bring it up to make sure I have everything. It’s easier than making a list each time and I can add to it as things change.

  5. 11

    Shrimp + pineapple combo sounds delicious, Anne! I love everything about summer grilling! Just curious, how often are you pumping now?

    • 12

      Twice per day! Once in the morning after the first feed of the day (usually around 5 or 6 a.m. – I have extra left over so I figure I might as well save it), and then once at night right before going to bed (which is a few hours after she ate for the last time since she goes to bed around 7 now).

  6. 13

    I just flew from Boston to Dallas with my 8 month old recently for a wedding and needed to bring frozen homemade baby food with us which I was freaking out about (she has severe food allergies so store bought isn’t an option at this point). We ended up bringing a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice and it worked great! I also brought my pump and traveled back with pumped milk (not frozen) in just my medela cooler/ice pack and it stayed cool for the whole travel day back. As said above, if you are unsure how much milk you are going to need bringing fresh milk with you is easier instead of frozen since the frozen needs to be used within 24 hours. But if you know how much she will drink and you have some frozen in those amounts that works too! Bring some new to her toys for the car ride for when she gets fussy. Good luck!

  7. 15
    Laura Swanson says:

    How did you use the Dock a Tot? In the crib, bed, etc?

    • 16

      We started with it in between us in bed, then moved it to her bassinet until she got too big for it a week or so ago.

      • 17

        I was going to ask the same thing. We have a queen size bed so I’m not sure it would comfortably fit. Would it be worth getting if I’m only going to use it in a bassinet?

        • 18

          We have a queen size bed too – we were just kind of smushed on the sides, lol. But it worked! We loved it because she wouldn’t do the bassinet at ALL in the early days without crying nonstop, so with her in between us in bed we could easily soothe her without getting up. But it totally depends on your child!

    • 19

      My niece has a dock a tot and swears by it! Her baby is 15 months old and still sleeps in it in her crib. There must be more than one size!

  8. 21

    Can’t go wrong with a Smitten Kitchen recipe, ever. Here’s her Tzatski potato salad recipe, which I think you would appreciate as it uses Greek yogurt, no mayo, and dill.

  9. 25

    Those kebabs look so good! I was actually just telling the hubs we should do kebabs this weekend. Have a good one and happy Mother’s Day!

  10. 26

    My favorite potato salad of ALL TIME is from the barefoot contessa. It’s so good!

  11. 28

    I bet he still fits in the docatot. Just unclip the bottom! She seems pretty small and most babies can sleep in the smaller one until 9 months or so!

  12. 31
  13. 33

    This is BY FAR my favorite potato salad recipe – gets rave reviews and is easy to throw together!

    • 34

      Oh! And I imagine you could try swapping dill for the parsley or doing a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture.

  14. 35

    Another vote for Smitten Kitchen, but different recipe—my fave potato salad of all time:

    • 36

      I agree, the Rosanne Cash potato salad is the best!!! It’s classic style – with mayo. But sometimes for a BBQ, you don’t want to have a mayo-based salad sitting out for a long time. My mom makes a great non-mayo potato salad, you just make a vinaigrette with oil/vinegar/lots of fresh dill, salt & pepper, etc. whatever you like in a salad dressing. Toss with cooked potatoes and let it all soak together in the fridge overnight. The key is lots of fresh dill! Perfect for an outdoor event with no refrigeration.

  15. 38

    I love Friday Favorites posts! Grilling sounds so good, especially pineapple! I found Erin Baker’s brand PB Granola that tastes so good, and Cheerios was so kind to send us two boxes of their limited edition Peach flavor. It tastes like summer! Enjoy your trip and your first Mother’s Day, Anne! <3

  16. 39

    This was a staple in our Russian household. I just googled this recipe but it looks similar.

  17. 41

    The one thing I almost always am close to forgetting and then am SO GLAD that I brought on a trip is a bunch of baby books, if Riese is old enough to be into them (I can’t remember exactly at what age they start to become indispensable…). Traffic jam, delay, waiting for something, no toys at a relatives house, etc etc, we always pull out a book. Also helps with bedtime in an unfamiliar place. Good luck with the road trip!

  18. 43
    Samantha says:

    Easiest and best potato salad recipe thanks to the hubs. It’s yummy hot or cold. I typically hate potato and pasta salad, but this is the best! You’re welcome. :)
    Potatoes (duh)
    Poppyseed dressing
    Bacon bits
    Green onions (omit if you don’t like them)

  19. 44
    Allison says:

    We used the Merlin suit from around 2 months to 5 months until my son was too big (he’s always been on the bigger side!). It worked great for getting him to nap in his crib. I had struggled for a few days prior going from the rock n play to crib with a plain sleep sack and it was not happening. Then the Merlin worked on the first try!

    I also was so worried about transitioning from the Merlin to a sleep sack, but it was surprisingly not an issue at all!

    Here’s my one negative about it. I’m not completely sure, but I think it held my son back in rolling over. He has always hated tummy time and rolling, but when we stopped the Merlin he improved by leaps and bounds! I don’t think I would say don’t use it, but just be aware :)

  20. 46
    Jessica says:

    If you use a sound machine bring it with you! Helped us travel, we still bring it. Car rides is so kid dependent,we just stop a lot and brought a blanket for the back part so she could stretch a bit on stops bc L hates car seats. Can’t help you on the milk but those microwave bags are great to clean bottles if you won’t have a dishwasher/pot. Good luck! Traveling always more stressful before than while you are actually doing it!

  21. 48
    Christina says:

    I’m currently away from home visiting family with my 6 week old. My tips would be your sound machine, bottle brush, soap for washing bottles, and the rock n play. It folds so easily settles my son into a nice long nap. Also more wipes than you think you need. :)

  22. 50

    For transporting frozen BM, I bought an insulated lunch bag (PackIt 10” inch 10 h hour Freezable Foldable Reusable Multipal Uses Lunch Bag with Adjustable Strap – Premium High Quality (Dark Black) and “herolily reusable ice packs” (also from amazon) and filled in any remaining space in the lunchbag with newspaper. I had read that you want as little air as possible in the cooler and also read that newspaper is a great insulator. I did not open the lunch bag AT ALL. All my bags were completely frozen solid after 8 hours of travel time. I did, however, read on kellymom that you can still treat the milk as “frozen” even if it slightly thawed.

  23. 52
    Emily J says:

    Hey Anne! I love Riese’s bonnet. Where did you get it/what brand? Thanks!

  24. 54

    Super easy and tasty potato salad recipe: roast a bunch of potatoes in the oven with bell peppers and corn (I use frozen kernels), then add to a mixture of 2 tblsp mayo, 1/2 tblsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tblsp dijon mustard, some scallions and some dill. Delicious!

  25. 56

    I have made this recipe SO many times! I’m not a huge fan of mayo-based potato salads, but can’t get enough of this! You could easily substitute the parsley for dill. I’ve literally made it 3 times just this past week for various cookouts with family/friends. We love it!!

  26. 58
    Jennifer says:


    We used the merlin sleep suit from 3 to 5.5 months, until it seemed like she needed something a little looser, then transitioned to the Zen sleep sack. We LOVED the merlin sleep suit! The first night wearing it she slept 12 hours without any wake ups! That suit really lives up to it’s name—truly magic! With the Zen sleep sack she was doing well too but now waking up about once a night crying. I just go in a lay my hand on her chest for a minute or two and she falls back to sleep. Probably related to teething. She’s almost 7 months next week!

    In regards to the milk….We are traveling for a weekend in a couple weeks. I plan to bring my pump with car adapter so I can pump in the car. I will bring frozen milk with a cooler filled with ice. Hoping that will work. We will have a mini fridge in the room. Was glad to hear the recommendations of others because this will be our first big trip.

    • 59

      Good luck on your first trip, too! :) I’ll have to check out the Zen sleep sack once Riese is done with the Merlin… but for now it’s so great!

  27. 60
    adrianna says:

    i have nothing to contribute to this post ;) but wanted to say happy mother’s day, Anne! hope your day is fabulous!

  28. 62
    Roadrunner says:

    Friday Faves is always a great post – and the Merlin sleepsuit is awesome!

  29. 63

    Hi Anne! My husband and I are actually going to Pittsburgh this weekend as well! My husband grew up there, so it’s always fun to go back. It’s a 5 hour drive for us too, and even though my son is 1 now, it’s still a juggling act to travel with him! But I had the Medela cooler and LOVED it. I took it on car trips and flights, and it kept my milk cold for 8-10 hours. My other tip would be to take fresh milk and not frozen because once the frozen milk thaws you have such a short time to use it! But if you do pack frozen then they should keep each other extra cold in the cooler which is nice! I would also pump in the front seat and then crawl into the back and feed my son the bottle while he was in his car seat so we didn’t have to stop to nurse haha. I’d do pretty much anything not to prolong the trip! Good luck!

  30. 65

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