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Top 10 Most Useful New Parent Necessities

useful new parent necessitiesMy baby girl is going to be a year in barely a month, and I don’t think I could have gotten through it without the help of some of these indispensable items. This article has the affiliate links so that you can  easily get all these useful baby necessities.

1. Boppy Pillow

This is my number one, favorite thing I ever received! Whether you are breastfeeding or not, the Boppy offers arm support and the option for multiple positions, so that you and your baby can stay snuggled up and comfortable, without any worries about exhausting your arms.

Added bonus? Boppy will help support baby with they learn to sit, prop them up, or even support them off the ground for tummy time! This pillow is amazing, and has countless different covers for your own style. I chose one that is fuzzy on top for baby comfort, and thin on bottom so that mommy doesn’t overheat.

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner, Sketch Slate Gray

 

2. Digital Thermometer

 

These digital thermometers are great! They’re accurate, AND you don’t have to put it up your baby’s butt! Win/win! There is both an ear, or forehead option.

Metene Medical Forehead and Ear Thermometer,Infrared Digital Thermometer Suitable For Baby, Infant, Toddler and Adults with FDA and CE approved

Normal under-the-tongue digital thermometers have to go under baby’s armpit, and my sweet girl would always scream with frustration while I held her arm down for a full minute to get a reading. Don’t wait until your wee one is sick. Get this thermometer now, and know what their temp is instantly.

3. Fluffy Hooded Towel

I had an adorable 3-pack of infant towels that was only good for about a month, until they were just too small. My favorite towels are soft, fluffy, and they keep your baby warm when they get out of the tub.

Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel with Bear Ears – The Original 100% Bamboo Bear Towel Organic Hypoallergenic Extra Soft Water Absorbent | Great for Sensitive Skin | 34×34” Size for Toddlers and Infant

Towels Don’t have to be boring! Check out this towel that my awesome friend at moderndaymomlife got me! It’s big enough to use for a few years!

4. Breathable Nursing Cover

While I was nursing, I overheated often. My little girl runs so warm, and she was always making me sweat. My mother got me one of these light weight nursing covers and I LOVE it. It was cool and breathable, and easy to put on.


Nursing Breastfeeding Cover.Fashion Infinity Nursing Scarf Best Breathable Privacy Cover for Mom Baby.Multi Use-Car Seat Canopy, Shopping Cart, High Chair, Stroller and Carseat.(Navy Floral Print)

I wasn’t about to go out and buy a bunch of convenient nursing tops that wouldn’t last me that long… this thing saves bucks. I used it as a sun shade for her stroller and car seat as well!

5. Baby Tub with Built in Temperature Gauge

I LOVE this tub!! My baby was very particular about liking warm water, and I was able to make it as warm as was safe for her, keeping both of us happy. The screen turns green for safe temperatures, blue for too cold, and red for too hot, while also beeping a warning.

4moms, Baby Bath Tub, White

It is also padded, has holders for baby wash, holes so that the water won’t get dangerously high, and plugs to release water. This tub is so cool!

6. Baby Full Body  Supporter

This  body supporter is versatile. I used it in the carseat, in the stroller, in the swing, and anywhere else I set my baby down that she needed head support. A lot of car seats come with no support, or crappy support. You’ll want this for your own piece of mind.


BenBat Travel Friends Infant Head and Body Support

7. Mid-Size Stroller

I have 4 different strollers, and this is my favorite. It’s big enough to store some things in the basket, a comfy ride for the kid, but it’s not super bulky, or too short. It’s the happy middle ground.

8. Car Seat Carrier

This is the car seat that I was gifted by my husband’s wonderful aunt. It comes in and out of the base really easily so that it can be used as a carrier. It’s very durable, and very lightweight. This is soooo important when you are carrying around an infant everywhere. I didn’t like wearing my baby, she was too hot for me to handle. This way I could carry her out of the car without having to mess with buckles and wake her up.
Evenflo Nurture Infant Car Seat, Sabrina

I realize there are car seats that have stroller bases they can pop into… hate them. They’re too bulky for my taste, and I’d rather just pop this out and carry it or set it in a shopping cart.

9. Swing

I love swings! Baby can hang out for a while and play while parents get some chores done, and it will even swing and sing them to sleep. So much amazingness all in one. It’s almost like having a live-in nanny. My little one loved hanging in her swing while I did chores, and I really don’t think I would have been able to survive without it.


Fisher-Price My Little Snugabear Cradle ‘N Swing

My little one loved hanging in her swing while I did chores, and I really don’t think I would have been able to survive without it.

10. Car Seat Mirror

This one is for the parent’s piece of mind, and is important to have for the first couple years while baby is rear-facing in the car. This is the one I have, and I love it! It’s not the biggest mirror, but it’s clear and durable, and my baby loves it. She leans forward and gives the bear head a kiss every time she is put in her seat. Makes my heart melt with cuteness!

Carter’s Rear Facing Mirror, Plush Animal Bear, Pink

Well, that’s it for this post! Ladie’s top 10 baby necessities for new parents. What did you think? Let me know which of these you loved, or didn’t. Happy parenting!

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10 Interesting Perks and Pains of Being Pregnant

10 Interesting Perks and Pains of Being Pregnant

There are many, many things that come to mind when listing perks and faults of pregnancy. What applies to me today might not be the same tomorrow. If this list isn’t what you expected, then you need  to appreciate cheese and free favors more!

5 Perks of Pregnancy!

Of the many perks of pregnancy, these 5 are the most important ones to know about.

1. You can eat all the cheese you want and feel no shame.

no guilt cheese

Everything should be eaten in moderation to maintain a healthy lifestyle… unless you’re a pregnant woman. It says somewhere in the fine print of cheese food labels that this rule no longer applies.

2. You’ll find substitutions for things you used to love doing… or consuming.

wind down with wine

I used to love drinking a glass of wine or hard cider at night. When I first became pregnant, I was sad to see this ritual of mine fade away. It took me longer to figure this out than I like to admit, but there are plenty of substitutions! Hot chocolate is my new wind-down drink. I’m sensing a dairy theme here…

3. There’s time to unleash the creative beast inside!

creative beast

I was working and studying as an undergraduate and found myself slacking on many hobbies. Now that I’m nesting, I’ve started this blog, sewed a little, cooked and baked a LOT, and reconnected with Blizzard games. Next up, DIY nursery!

4. Time For a New Wardrobe!

shopping spree

I loved all my new comfy leggings and cardigans that I got! They’re things I can wear after pregnancy too. It was also fun getting new shirts to accentuate the bump and make me feel cute throughout my pregnancy. The massive haul of knee and lounge socks were also necessary.

5. Favors Are Free.

laying jacket over puddle

There’s nothing wrong with taking an IOU once in a while, but when you’re pregnant, these things come for free! I still carry my own laundry basket, even when it makes me waddle like a penguin, but if someone offers then there’s no shame in taking the easy way out.

5 Faults of Pregnancy

There are many difficult and terrible things that go hand in hand with pregnancy, but many are to be expected. No drinking, roller coasters, eating tons of fish, or laying on your stomach to name a few. Here are the 5 of the most prominent faults of pregnancy in my experience.

1. Food can hurt you.

over consumption

Remember what I said earlier about eating in moderation? It’s hard to do when your body is telling you to consume, consume, CONSUME! It’s easy to go overboard, and when you do, you’ll be in a world of hurt. Heartburn, nauseating food aversions (fruit and veggies in my case), and throwing up caused by your newly-squished and slowed down digestive tract are some fun side affects. Taking it easy in the face of hunger is no simple feat.

2. You’ll begin to question your intelligence.

confused muddled illogical muddled disoriented

“Pregnancy Brain” is no joking matter. I found myself forgetting everything I was told, and taking an extra few seconds to respond to people. I started wondering if I had developed a brain tumor. Fear not, for the fog will clear and you will become sharp once more… in a few months maybe.

3. Everyone stares at you in public.

staring creep

Congratulations! The larger that bump gets, the more of a spectacle you become. They’re hosting an internal game show called “Pregnant or Fat?” The woman always loses.

4. You’ll live in the bathroom.

toilet paper live in the bathroom

Oh, you just went pee 3 minutes ago? Guess what, baby shifted a little and now you HAVE to go again, even if it’s two whole drops. Welcome to your new home.

5. People will touch you.

unwanted touching

Strangers that try to touch will receive hand slaps or throat punches. Family on the other hand, is worse. I’ve come to expect their lingering strokes across my belly at every chance they get. Becoming pregnant doesn’t mean I’m the family pet! Hands to yourselves, people.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your most memorable perk or pain in pregnancy was!

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2 Reasons Why Other Moms Suck and How We Can Do Better

You ever feel like other moms are just… sucky? Yeah, me too, except I don’t feel this way because they parent differently from me. I feel this way because I’m disgusted with the way that other parents, mainly moms, act online. From the time when my tiny human was in my belly to now, I’m still finding that I don’t like a lot of other moms. Let me fill you in.

Reflect on all the horror stories about birth you can recall. Now think about when you heard them. Most were probably after you found out you were pregnant, right? Why do other mothers feel the need to make everything sound SO hard or scary?

Or gross… Oh, the poop stories I’ve been told. As if that isn’t bad enough, I am so disgusted with the judgement that I hear and read both online, and in person.

Is it rant time? Believe it.

1. Oh, The Horror Stories

I won’t go into detail here. I am positive that you, dear reader, have heard plenty of terrifying stories. Mothers dying in childbirth, late term miscarriages, babies pooping everywhere, poop all over, in and around your face. So much poop.

Guess what, veteran mothers…WE GET IT! Babies poop. They vomit. They explode with every disgusting sticky and smelly substance that humans can create. Guess I’ll just don a rain poncho every time I get dressed… hopefully I have more luck than George W. here.

Funny Rain Poncho

Sorry to say, but you aren’t Super Mom because you’ve cleaned up massive amounts of fecal matter. I clean up after my dog’s poo-splosions and vomit all the time. Big effin’ whoop, it is expected when you are a parent or pet owner. Now that my little one is 10 months, I’d still say that my dog makes more disgusting messes.

I’d rather hear helpful advice for when crappy (haha, punny) things happen, than listen to one more story about the inevitable shit-pocalypse.

2. Bringing Each Other Down Online

Raise your hand if you’ve ever joined a mommy group online (or daddy groups, You’re loved too, dads!) and it was full of parents that just wanted to complain about the way other people raise their kids.

It was metaphorical, fool, put your hand down!

I’ve tried to find a mommy group online to make friendships with other moms, but they’re too toxic. Who wants to be judged by other parents for every different choice they make? I don’t want to be given a hard time because I chose to feed my kid one way, or clothe them another. I have enough shit happening in my life (last one, I swear) to be tedious about the latest baby feeding fad. We’re all parents here right?

Yes, we are. Which also means we are all adults.  Adults should be able to debate without anger, and admit when they are wrong, or agree that there are more than one ways to accomplish a common goal. I’m so tired of seeing parents put each other down. The loudest voice is not the wisest, and a group of sheep are still ignorant. This parenting thing is HARD, and we should be informing, empowering, and embracing each other. I urge everyone to reflect on how you treat others, especially those that disagree with you, and be more mindful of how you go about arguing a topic, and take deep, deep breath before responding.

moms online

Ladie out.

P.S. Can we all get these shirts?

Requested Meal Prep Recipe: Salsa Chicken Bowls

Salsa Chicken Bowls

These salsa chicken bowls are delicious, filling, and healthy. They have tons of flavor and a nice fun texture. When I need to make a simple lunch for the week that I won’t get bored of, this is one of my top choices. It’s simple and so, so yummy!

salsa chicken

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken tenderloins (approx. 1 lb)
  • 2-3 avocados
  • 8oz sour cream
  • a few sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (I prefer no added salt)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bag of white rice
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup medium chunky salsa

This is my favorite rice for any dish, ever:

You can use Jasmine, brown, or whatever rice you have on hand, but I’m very picky and I ALWAYS buy Botan Calrose extra fancy! Okay, now for the fun part… let’s make it!

Directions:

  1. I like to do a quick sear of the outside of my chicken first. I drizzle avocado oil in the pan, then add the chicken tenderloins and season them with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the salsa, bring to a simmer, and put a lid on the pan. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked.
  3. Get the rice in a rice cooker, and cook according to the directions on the bag that you bought. I can cook anything, except for stove-top rice. Invest in a rice cooker! They’re a godsend.
  4. Drain the corn, drain the beans, and add them to a saucepan. heat on medium low until heated through. Stir gently! Be careful not to overcook, they are already cooked and just need a little warming up.

At this point, all you have to do is portion the rice, salsa chicken, beans, and corn into storage containers. It will look like this:

5. Cover these and put them into the fridge for later

When you want to eat, add a dollop of sour cream, some avocado slices, chopped cilantro, and a squirt of lime juice. This dish is so delicious and it won’t disappoint.

Let me know if you tried it!

Answering the Dreaded Question: “Is Santa Real?”

Christmas is over, and I’ve begun my new job as a school bus driver! The kids are back from break, and yesterday, I was asked the dreaded question…

“Is Santa real?”

 A second grade boy sitting two rows back is telling another little boy that Santa Clause isn’t real. They’re arguing, and I hear his voice cut through the others; “Bus driver, be honest! I need to know the truth!”

Okay, people, this is what I’m great at! Telling the truth! I love honesty. I love the freeing feeling of putting everything out there, of being factual, of crushing children’s dreams, of– oh wait, maybe not that last part.

What should I say?! What do YOU say? I took a moment to pontificate. Then, I replied with a question, and one that I’m pretty damn proud of.

I asked the boy, “Why do you want to live in a world without magic?”

He became silent.

Only a moment later, we rounded a hill to see the clouds part, the sun shine, and a giant rainbow stretched down from the clouds and through the misty day all the way into the hilly trees ahead. It was beautiful.

It was magical.

And that time, I did what I knew I must… I picked up the intercom mic and in my best air-hostess-from-the-60s voice announced, “Attention everyone! Check out the giant rainbow!” The children screamed with delight for about ten seconds until their tiny attention spans took over and moved onto the next thing.

Tell me, parents… What do you say when your kids ask if Santa is real? If you have yet to run into this terrifying predicament, then what do you think you would do? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Healthy Option! 35 Minute Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is a healthy choice for your meal instead of using cans of chicken broth, beef stock, or even the instant powder mixes. This homemade version is quick, easy, and much lower in sodium!

healthy option vegetable broth

For my recipe, I use some of my favorite veggies, however this recipe will work with whatever you have on hand. No mushrooms? Try onion! Out of broccoli? Use celery! These are the ingredients that I choose to use, and I love the way it tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs parsley
  • 2 Quarts water
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions:

Warm butter over medium-high heat in a saucepan. While that’s warming up, cut all vegetables into about 1 inch pieces. Add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic to the butter first. Stir in salt and parsley. Allow these veggies to cook for about ten minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue sauteing for another five minutes.

Pour in water, and bring to a boil before reducing heat to an easy simmer. Add in the bay leaf.

Allow this mix to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, strain the mixture to remove all vegetables, and voila! You are left with a tasty, beautiful broth.

What vegetables did you try? Let me know how it turned out!

*I use this broth for my  Simple and Hearty Crock Pot Pork Stew

Simple and Hearty Crock Pot Pork Stew

Of all the meals that I make, this hearty pork stew is my husband’s favorite! I love how easily it comes together, and that there’s an option to make it (even more) quickly.

Simple and hearty crock pot pork stew

 

This meal has 2 ways to make it!

  1. For the first and healthier option, use my recipe for Homemade Vegetable Broth.
  2. On a day when a quick and easy option is best, substitute vegetable stock for one packet of brown gravy mix. If you choose to use the gravy, just mix it up with water before adding it into the crock pot. Easy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 lb cubed pork shoulder
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

Turn the crock pot to high and add in olive oil and pork cubes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss around and let it sit while you prepare the vegetables.

Peel the potatoes, and cut into chunks. They break down a lot so don’t make them too small. Throw ’em in the pot!

I buy the already peeled and washed bags of baby carrots. One small bag does the trick- just dump it on top of the potatoes.

Next comes the cream of mushroom. Open and dump in. Don’t worry about adding any water or mixing it.

Add in the vegetable broth next. Once the soup heats up in about an hour stir it. They will combine perfectly… try not to drool when you take the lid off.

Top with a bay leaf or two!

Allow the stew to cook on high for about 4-5 hours. It’s done when the pork pulls easily apart.

Enjoy my stew? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

A Nervous First Time Mom’s Impression of Birthing Class

My first birthing class went about how I expected it to. I walked into this class knowing only what I’ve read in books and online (mostly through articles found from sleepless nights of thumbing through Pinterest). I felt prepared to learn more, but also anxious. Very anxious. Not quite biting-my-knees-in-the-shower-wishing-I-could-die-on-command kind of nervous, but nearly. These pregnancy hormones really know how to make a girl hot and sweaty in every way that isn’t fun.

With my husband at my side, I made it through and can say that it was really worth the stress. I learned a lot, and overall I feel more confident about the big day. In this review of my class, I’ll recall some of the key points that I found helpful, and document a bit of my experience.

You’ll Be Fine

Childbirth is a terrifying experience, but probably not as terrifying as every mother wants to make it out to be. Sure, it’s hard. There are plenty of terrifying stories out there, but be real with yourself. No one wants to highlight the uneventful parts. There has to be something that happens that moms can make the focal point of their entire experience to impress eager ears. Examples aren’t needed here, because even people who aren’t interested in babies know all the horror stories. These stories are NOT the norm. They are NOT very common, and frankly, medical practices are much more sophisticated than they were 45 years ago when your grandma gave birth. (Read more about why I think that other moms suck).

You’ll be fine. Probably… It was hard to feel any concern with my husband drawing screaming babies Dragon Ball style two feet away. I definitely recommend bringing someone that doesn’t share quite as much of your fears and concerns along to these classes; his relaxed demeanor was a huge help for me.

No Parent is Perfect

Although I enjoyed my class, I found it hard to relax and participate to the fullest because the other parents seemed so uptight. If you think you’re going to be the perfect mom or dad, go ahead and do yourself a favor… accept right here and now that you aren’t, and that trying to be will only make you miserable and unnecessarily stressed out.

The class was asked, “How do we relax after a stressful day, like if you had gotten fired?” Everyone gave simple, appropriate answers such as “yoga” or “taking a walk.” How boring. Seriously? My response was equally lame: “Pets and Netflix”….but be real! I hypothetically just got fired?! I’m hypothetically going to be drinking a bottle of wine in the bath later. Or now that I’m pregnant, some hot chocolate, since that is my new go to nightly drink.

These classes are meant to be educational, so should you find yourself in one do yourself a favor and PARTICIPATE. It’s okay to speak up and be wrong, you’ll still be given the correct answers.

There were a few fun and educational exercises that we did in class. The first was just getting into two separate groups of moms and partners and listing out what we hoped to cover and what our “mom/dad goals” would be. I said that I wanted to overcome my fear and anxiety of childbirth and just fucking survive. These mid 20s to mid 30s women got silent and awkward like I just committed some giant sin. GUESS WHAT LADIES! Using the F-Bomb doesn’t make you a bad mom and being pregnant doesn’t make us saints. Fuck.

Be yourself, stress is bad for the baby.

You Got This!

The woman leading this class was a huge cheerleader for us all overcoming our fears and feeling like “we got this.”

As a past doula, she has seen hundreds of births, and assured us that even in the heat of the pain and struggling of active labor, the majority of moms felt confident that they could keep going, and determined to make it through. It’s a well known fact that giving birth is not without pain. The goal of a successful birth is not to have no pain, but rather to keep the pain at a manageable level and out of the suffering zone.

If you’re a nervous pregnant woman like me, then instead of fearing pain, feel comfort in knowing that your doctor will keep it at a manageable level and that no matter what happens in your birthing suite, you got this.

Tune in next week to find out if the other moms lighten up. Will they answer questions without being called on? Will I offend more people?

 

 

Probably. Just kidding, I did.

Husband Approved! Simple Ground Beef Shepherd’s Pie

 

Shepherd’s Pie is one of the best meals that ever was. It’s got it all! Thick and hearty through and through, with some veggies to add that health factor. Who doesn’t love anything coated with mashed potatoes?! I know I do, and if you don’t then you’re not in the right place.

Simple Ground Beef Shepherd's Pie

 

Potatoes are life… So without further ado, allow me to introduce my recipe for husband friendly shepherd’s pie!

PREP TIME: 50 min          COOK TIME: 30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs russet potatoes (~3-4)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 packet brown gravy
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 can mixed vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, carrots)
  • salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the potatoes. Cut ’em up into quarters, while pretending they are the pedestrian that stood behind your car at the grocery store while you’re trying to back out and go home finally, but no, they’re oblivious and you have to rev your engine and threaten their life to get them to move…  Put them in a pot of water. Bring to a boil.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up the onion, using the same scenario as above, if you have yet to resolve those feelings of today’s annoyances.

*If the onion makes you cry, try wearing those goggles you bought for that chemistry class you failed in college that are stuffed in your old book bag.

Onion goggles

Saute them in 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add the minced garlic. Add the ground beef, a pinch of ground thyme, salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary. Once it is nearly cooked, add the packet of brown gravy, a cup of water, and tomato paste. Let that simmer down a bit and add the can of veggies, drained.

While your meat and veggies are simmering, drain the potatoes. They’re feeling abused after your earlier display of rage, so give them the rest of the butter and hug them with a fork over and over and over again till they’re nice and mushed. Add in half-and-half, 3 tablespoons of butter, a dash of salt, pepper, and a few dashes of parsley. Mash ’em some more.

Put the ground beef mixture in an 8 X 8 glass casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over top, and rough them up with a fork so that the peaks can brown in the oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and it’s baking time!

Once the juices are simmering and the mashed potato peaks have browned, the dish is ready. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then dig in!

*Side note: My oven is a bitch and is about 15 degrees hotter than a regular oven. I have adjusted cooking times and degrees to what I assume a regular oven will do, but make sure to check on your dish.

A Simple Swap! Feeding Veggies to Hubby.

As a house wife, one of the most important things I do is feed the man I love and take care of him to the best of my ability. I want to make my hubby food that he’ll enjoy coming home to, since I’m not bringing much else to the table. Har har. I mean it though. Cooking has become something that I really care about. Most of the meals I made as a single woman were very veggie-based, and I loved it.

VEGETABLES ARE GOOD.
If you disagree, then you are a devolved form of human and I hate you.

My husband only enjoys peas, carrots, and broccoli… Who the hell even likes peas that DOES eat veggies?! Cooking for this man is a challenge. I rarely make anything that’s really healthy anymore, because I know he won’t like it. I find myself making chili, mac and cheese, and pizza nearly every day. I’m really getting sick of eating so shitty.

A couple days ago however, I had my very first Wife Win! I found a way to feed the shit head whom I love and adore vegetables without his knowing!! MWAHAHAHA!

Introducing, Barilla Veggie noodles!

Your 21st century superhero! They’re like the Justice League for your stomach.

Barilla Veggie Noodles