Family · Food · Home

You need this in your kitchen!

What do these three pictures have in common? 

Have you guessed it? … kiddos eating small bites! If you’re a Mama (or Dada!) that prepares meals for your kids morning, noon and night, you know how tedious it can be figuring out what to make, what your kids will eat, what’s nutritious, and of course, making sure it’s in kiddo sized bites- including cutting the crust off any bread! My girlfriend got me a basket of goodies for my baby shower- she was already an experienced mom when I got pregnant for the first time- and one of the absolute best things in it, were these…

I literally use these kitchen shears for everything! Cutting sammies, pasta, bagels, waffles, broccoli, literally everything. If you are spending time cutting your kiddos food with a knife, please, do yourself a favor, and buy these– I’ve tried others and these are, by far, my favorite! (This is also pretty cool!) 

Cleaning & Organizing · Family · Home · Organizing

Day 2 of project massive clean!


Today’s post is brought to you by my incredibly cluttered and crazy messy, no where near organized basement! This is one of those massive projects I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but never ever have the time… I’m trying to best utilize these few days, while the kids are still in school and I’m off, to make a massive dent in these major clean out projects. Plus, we are also having a tag sale on Saturday, so I’d love to get as much out of my house as possible before then! I’ve been trying to implore the Konmari technique as I clean. First and foremost, do not keep anything that doesn’t spark joy! It’s been relatively easy going through the extraneous stuff we have been storing in the basement, Andy have been able to cull a lot of the stuff taking up way too much space in boxes and bins. I’m a self proclaimed pack rat so I’m actually pretty proud of myself with how ruthless I’ve been at getting rid of stuff.

The hardest thing to purge is, by far, is the sentimental stuff…  I have a good 3 tubs of memories that came from my parents house when they moved out of our childhood home and I gathered my stuff from the attic of their old house. A lot of it is photo albums, yearbooks, notes and cards, old journals, movie ticket stubs, prom favors, VHS tapes (I’m dating myself here…) etc… it was all so nostalgic to peruse through, I really couldn’t bring myself to get rid of anything quite yet…I only scratched the surface of going through these boxes, because I really wanted to make sure I was using my time wisely with other clutter. However, some of the treasured ephemera and mementos I did scope out in this first go through were simply soul satisfying. Amongst some great old photos, I also found my switchplate from my nursery (which I’m going to install in Sailor’s room), a box of Uno cards my Nana and I used to play with constantly (stored in an old cut tissue box), my parent’s wedding favor (decorative plate? ashtray?), and the traffic light light pull from my Papa’s apartment in Washington Heights- to name just a few. It was so lovely to run across these items and feel the rush of so many happy memories come flooding through my mind. It also made me excited to show this stuff to Dashel and Sailor one day; I think they will love to look through some of it when they get older. I already started showing Dash some pictures from when I was about his age and when I asked him who he thought was in the photo, he identified it as himself 😌, ‘no, buddy, but I get why you said that.’ 


Do you hold on to sentimental items? Are they stored in a box somewhere? Or do you have them displayed? I’m going to try to pick some of my favorites to incorporate into our everyday lives to keep those happy memories close by. 

BEST WEEK EVER! · Family

Best Week Ever!

This week was the best week ever! June 19th-25th, 2017!

I made the most delicious tofu scramble- with sweet potatoes and mushrooms 🍄


We met this dog (which Dash insisted was Conan- our dog) at the mall 🐶

Sailor is officially standing on her own, all.the.time. (It’s awesome!!)


Yes, these two are standing in a dollhouse. 


Dash discovered peanut butter toast!


My friend Heather and I made these!


And, the summer solstice actually brought summer weather with it!


And…

I’m definitely buying these cute snack boxes/trays for the kiddos

14 of the dreamiest places to sleep over in Canada 🇨🇦 

The world’s most beautiful libraries! (Oh em gee!)  

Love these pillows!

Not that I’m wishing 2017 away, but aren’t these flutes perfect for New Year’s?!

Possibly the best museum gift shop ever.

So much this! 

And…

Did you know this is Steve Harvey’s first name? 

Art · Family · Inspiration

Making family keepsakes

My friend and I went to this awesome place today where you can make your own wooden signs! This family growth chart literally started out as a raw piece of wood and it was so amazing to not only see the transformation, but to also be responsible for it! I literally kept looking at the finished product saying, “I can’t believe I made this!” The place we went to, called Board and Brush is a franchise with new stores popping up in every state. We happened to be at one that was run by the original proprietor’s sister who told us her story. Her sister, who lives in Wisconsin, was looking for a Christmas sign one year and couldn’t for the life of her find what she wanted for under $300- which is obviously ridiculous! So she decided to make it herself! It came out so wonderfully and she got so many compliments, that she decided to start holding parties for her friends in her basement making signs. Soon her friends and acquaintances were asking her to have more and more parties, that she realized she should open a store! And over 90 franchises later, she’s sure glad that she couldn’t find that Christmas sign! 

There are tons of different variations of signs you can make and I decided to make a growth chart to measure the kiddos on. When we first moved into our home, we found markings of the concrete in the basement of the kid’s heights from the family that lived here before us. I love the idea of having a growth chart for your kiddos, but felt bittersweet when I saw it, because it’s a bummer that the family had to leave that memory behind when they moved. Now with this chart, I’ll be able to take it with me if we ever leave this house. Do you have a growth chart for your kiddos, or a special family sign? 

The transformation

Entertaining · Family

A beautiful documentary

Have you heard of the documentary ‘Given’ ? I hadn’t either, and then I stumbled across mention of it when I was posting that surf shack chic post a couple days back. In the article that I linked to about a couples dream surf home in Hawaii, the owner of the home mentioned he had just come back from filming it. I was intrigued and after watching the trailer, I couldn’t wait to see the entire film. Although at first blush this may seem like something you may have seen before, but trust me, this is not your age old travel documentary. First of all, it is told through the precocious eyes and words of a 4 year old boy, which, when paired with the amazing cinematography and awe inspiring visuals, makes this film beyond beautiful for your whole family to enjoy together. (Even if it makes you a bit jealous!) Take a quick gander at the trailer below, will you see it? I can’t wait to show it to my family! 

Family · Home · Motherhood · Shopping

Car shopping …

Car shopping is something that sounds like it should be fun- a new car! Captain’s chairs! All the cup holders you could want! How exciting! But in reality it’s a bear. The part where you get to look at cars and test drive is fun… but the financial part is the worst! It’s a whole lot of sitting in uncomfortable chairs, sometimes with the sun in your eyes, feeling hungry and thirsty, and the waiting… oh the waiting… while you go back and forth and quibble about mileage and money down and monthly payments.. ugh… it’s enough to make your head spin…

Steve and I also have very similar personalities when it comes to wheeling and dealing… neither of us like it. I’m not a super pushy person and feel uncomfortable in situations where confrontation is involved… so even though everyone is supposed to be making everyone feel like family, it’s actually an incredibly awkward situation. Steve’s aunt, on the other hand, is super confident when it comes to car shopping. She literally comes in, tells them what she wants, and what she’s going to pay, and that’s it! Boom! She makes it happen. We should have brought her tonight. Ha!

How about you and your partner? Is one of you more the take charge deal maker? How do you deal in situations where you are making major purchases? The whole thing feels so heavy and important and I feel way too much like an adult…

but… we got a new car!! With a third row of seats! And it’s a big, juicy, van! (I’m totally embracing #momlife amiright?!)

Family · Motherhood · Parenting

A great trick to calm your toddler

IMG_0670

So, we have officially reached the stage of toddlerdom where Dash will sometimes get so upset about something that he’s in tears and cannot catch his breath, and therefore cannot articulate what’s wrong- although I’m fully aware that there may not be anything wrong except for the fact that he’s 2 and the world is a tough place… I started using this little phrase to help him calm down and catch his breath…

Smell the flowers & blow out the birthday candles. 

I say this little phrase to him and then demonstrate a nice deep breath through my nose (smelling the flowers) and a nice deep exhale through my mouth (blowing out the birthday candles.) I only have to do it a few times while rubbing his back before I start to hear his breath slow and the tears start to subside. I love this little trick! It really helps to get your child focused and relaxed and gives them a moment to regroup. I can’t remember where I first heard this little trick, but apparently it’s totally a thing because I googled it and found this.  Have you used this trick before? What tips do you have about calming your little one down when they are seemingly inconsolable? I’d love to hear- every little trick to add to our toolboxes helps!

Family · Inspiration · Motherhood

The wisdom in children’s literature

IMG_0665.JPG

Raising our children to be lovers of literature is important to Steve and I; so we are trying to get our kids excited about books and reading right from the start. Dash is already a little bookworm who gets giddy for trips to the library and at buying new books. When I think back to some of my favorite books as a child, I think so fondly about reading exciting tales spun by Roald Dahl and the real love I could feel while reading The Velveteen Rabbit. I recently stumbled across a great article that articulated some of the most profound passages and quotes from children’s literature, that we may not have understood when we read them, but can certainly appreciate the gravity they carry now. (Excuse me, while I go read A Wrinkle in Time again.)

Here are some of my personal favorites;

“When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend that you do not notice them.”

Horseradish by Lemony Snicket

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

“And so for a time it looked as if all the adventures were coming to an end; but that was not to be.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

“Believing takes practice.”
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“‘What day is it?’, asked Winnie the Pooh.

‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.

‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Submitted by Rose Freil via Facebook
Photo Credit

IMG_0664IMG_0663IMG_0662IMG_0661

IMG_0669.JPG

Family · Motherhood · Pregnancy

Hospital bag!

IMG_9175
Steve carrying in our hospital bags

My friend is having her baby on Thursday! I’m so excited for her! We were chatting tonight about what to bring/pack in her hospital bag…here’s what I packed and recommend! (Disclaimer: I’m a certified overpacker- you were warned)

Clothing: The key to this category is all comfort!

-Tank dresses, loose t shirt, bathrobe or this!!!!, loose fitting lounge pants, <nursing>tanks and soft comfy bras, cardigan/hoodie/light sweater, slippers, a comfy outfit to go home in

*You will probably end up wearing the hospital issued mesh (I know) underwear! If you have a few pairs left in your room, take them home with you- you will want them for the first days home! The hospital will also provide you with pads during your stay.

Toiletries:

-Makeup face wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact case, glasses, eye drops, body wash/shampoo/conditioner, shower cap/dry shampoo, hair brush/hair products/ moisturizer, chapstick/gloss, hair elastics, and I liked having a basic makeup set- eyeliner, mascara, highlighter, under eye cream- you don’t absolutely need it, but I felt a little more put together when all those photos were being snapped.

IMG_8868
Steve reading Red Sox news to Dash

Comfort items:

-My own pillow, a soft roll of your own toilet paper, face mist, a few snacks for you and hubby (a couple of Cliff bars, your fav candy), mints/tic tacs, flip flops for shower, chargers, small bluetooth speaker, camera, blanket for your spouse (for that seriously comfy pullout couch),  a book/magazine, ipad, earbuds and some music/downloaded podcast, anything you might want for breastfeeding (nipple cream, pads)

Nice to have:

An extra duffle/tote bag, notebook and pen, a place to save and remember this amazing day! sleep mask, your own towel

Baby stuff:

-A going home outfit, car seat and newborn insert for car seat, cotton swaddles, (do yourself a favor and get the one’s with velcro!) a soft baby blanket, boppy pillow, burp clothes

Hospital will provide: diapers, pacifier (only some hospitals provide this- so if you want one, you might want to pack one, Sailor really took to this one), formula/bottles, breast pump, undershirts, vaseline, wipes, baby blankets, newborn hat

Also: Don’t forget you picture i.d., insurance card, any hospital paperwork you may already have and a basic list of the most important things you envision for your birth to give to the nurse.

IMG_8675
Welcome to the world Dashel!
IMG_1872
Ahoy Sailor!

 

Family · Fun and Games · Gift Guide · Shopping

Heirloom toys

IMG_0094

When Steve was younger, he was very into Star Wars (o.k., he still is, but understandably, amiright?) One Christmas, he wanted the hot toy at the time, a model of the Millennium Falcon. However, it was sold out, everywhere. His mom searched and searched but couldn’t get her hands on one, remember, this was all pre-internet, pre-ebay, pre- apps that notify you of where you can score sold out toys, etc. So, his mom went to the one place she thought she would still be able to buy one, New York City. She got on a bus, took it all the way from Hanover, Massachusetts, into NYC, by herself, and set her sights on Han Solo’s fateful ship. She found one! And rode all the way back with it on her lap. (It was a pretty large model too!) This is a story Steve has shared with me on a few occasions, because, A. it’s a pretty cool story, and B. it totally exemplifies the stuff we are willing to do to make our kids smile. Unfortunately, that version of the Millennium Falcon is long gone, who knows where most of our childhood toys went at this point, but the memory of that story and the feeling that Steve had on Christmas morning when he opened that gift will stay with him for life. Fast forward about 28 years later to Steve’s 40th birthday, a couple of weeks ago. I had come across a cool model of the Millennium Falcon online and couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it would be to get it for Steve, to even just relive that excitement for a little bit, plus, I loved the idea of Steve getting to play with it with Dash! (Even though Dash doesn’t know Star Wars yet at all…)

This got me thinking about the idea of heirloom toys, toys that can be passed down throughout generations, that will withstand the test of time, and the wear and tear of little hands (and mouths.)

Here are some that I think would be perfect gifts for a new Mama and baby team. (…that can later be enjoyed by siblings, and maybe their own kiddos one day!

tops
Wooden tree (spinning) tops
slingshot.PNG
Wooden slingshot with felt “ammo”
midcentury dollhouse
This amazing mid century dollhouse with furniture and accessories
foret stacker.PNG
Forest Stacker
hape bike
My first bike

koi1

koi2
Counting Koi- Comes in b&w and color!
dolls.PNG
Custom handmade dolls
car
Woody car
water
Grimm’s water stacker
hape1
Multi-way puzzle
rainbow.PNG
Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker