Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Apps for Toddlers

As we're getting ready to fly cross-country with Baby C (for the first time!), I'm definitely starting to get a little nervous. Will she be a good traveler? Will she scream the whole time? Will she sleep? What will I need to pack? It's making me crazy!

We got an iPad for Christmas, and I think when we travel, it's going to be worth its weight in gold...not that it weighs very much, but you get the point. I've already loaded up on a ton of good apps that I've tested with Claire and so far, here are the favorites!

1) Bubbles - yep. That's pretty much it. This is actually a challenge to find a kid who doesn't like bubbles. It's just like it sounds - bubbles come up on the screen and kids pop 'em. ($1 on iTunes)

2) I Hear Ewe - this is a great game for babies and toddlers to get to know sounds. There's 12 farm animals, 12 jungle animals and 12 cars/planes - do the math - that's a lot of time to be entertained. (free on iTunes)

3) AlphaBaby - a fun game for even the littlest toddlers, AlphaBaby has a simple concept - touch the screen and a letter, number or shape comes up at the same time a cheerful voice tells you what it is. It will be a great way to learn. Claire just likes dragging the letters across the board. (free on iTunes)

4) The Wheels on the Bus - Claire's favorite song? There's an app for that. It won the Parents' Choice Award in 2010 for an outstanding educational/fun app. Check out other apps by the same developer (Duck Duck Moose) - they have Itsy Bitsy Spider or Old MacDonald if that's more your speed ($1 on iTunes).

5) Piano - We've had this on our iPad for awhile, and Claire just loves it. We've decided that although she's not the next Beethoven, she loves slamming her little fingers down on the "piano" and making music to her ears (free on iTunes)

Most of these apps are available for the iPhone and Droid, too - even if your trip is just across town, it's nice to have something to entertain the kiddos.

Have you discovered a wonder app you'd like to share?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Snack Time!

Just so you know, 30 for 30 is still happening. I have worn outfits almost every day since starting my self-imposed challenge....but I've been reeeaaalllly bad at taking pictures. Maybe models have it harder than I give them credit for? No, probably not.

I thought I'd actually have some real mom stuff on here as opposed to fashion-y stuff. Not that the two are mutually exclusive...anyway, since Baby C is basically a full-blown toddler now, I want to make sure I have snacks on hand at all times. When we're home, Claire eats fresh fruit and vegetables (or things that make more of a mess). But it's tough eating on the go, which we are most of the time.

Here are some items I make sure to pack in the diaper bag so many very hungry caterpillar can get her fill:

1. Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Raspberries - Claire has a come into a recent obsession with these. I love that she loves them because it's the benefits of fruit without the juicy mess, need to be refrigerated, etc. I can keep these in my diaper bag for if they'd last that long. The freeze dried strawberries are great, too! Plus, I love to sprinkle them on cereal or yogurt...or even sneak a few out of the bag when Baby C's not watching.

2. Trader Joe's Crushers - applesauce is like crack to Claire. She asks for it ALL.THE.TIME. I suppose there are worse things for her to want. Enter Crushers - they come in 3 flavors (apple, apple banana, and Claire's favorite, apple carrot). Plenty of companies make these now, but I find the TJ's ones a pretty good deal ($2 for a box of 4, where most competitors price around $1/pouch) and the ingredients are just fruit puree and juice.

3. Babybel Cheese - Claire's not quite into string cheese yet, but Babybel is great! It's easy to break up (still getting things in bite sized pieces) and a good source of fat and protein.

4. O's cereal - these are a staple in most houses with young children. I make sure to have a container of these in my diaper bag wherever I go. But make sure to check the ingredients - O's cereal can be high in sugar. They are also a great base for "toddler trail mix" - add dried fruit, pretzels, crackers, chocolate chips - whatever your little one desires.

5. Happy Baby Puffs - similar to Os, these are great little crackers for little fingers. They quickly dissolve so they even are good options for younger babies. I get the greens variety because it's made with kale, spinach and collard greens. It's not like it's a serving of vegetables or anything, but any little bit helps.

Bonus item: the Munchkin snack catcher. These genius inventions make snack time much less messy and I would definitely add this to the list of products that will make your life better. They're BPA free, dishwasher safe and you can pick them at Target.

Any snacks I missed? What do your bebes clamor for at snack time?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

White Out

(#7, #17)

This was the best picture my husband could muster today. I'm sorry. I'm tempted to start training Baby C to take pictures...but I know she'd just run away with my phone with a maniacal laugh.

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day in Seattle (i.e. not raining and above 60), so I felt I needed to embrace the summer-ish weather with white. And not surprisingly, it took me less than an hour to get dirty. Wearing white for me is like tempting the gods (and little hands).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


(#4, #15, #22)

Hi all! Sorry for the delay - I was out of town for a few days, I had a friend's wedding with events all know how it goes.

Are you predictable? I am. My favorite color combo is black and white, my favorite color to wear is green and my favorite accessories are turquoise. I'm surprising myself that not everything I've worn up to this point has been black and white with green plus turquoise accessories. This is good for me in so many ways. But I allowed myself to put on one of my favorite turquoise necklaces (yes, I have more than one - I told you it's a problem) and not feel bad about it. At least I'm not wearing a green sweater.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Neon, Neon

(#3, #13, #22)

I love fedoras. I love them because everyone looks good in them, they add effortless style to anything, and they protect your face from sun (hello cancer and premature aging!). But mainly, I love fedoras because I didn't feel like doing my hair today and I have a zit the size of Mt. Everest right in the middle of my forehead. Not cute. So cute headgear it is.

I love pairing neon with neutrals (it's pretty hard to screw up), but I love also pairing them with other colors. How happy are we that neon is back in style?! But I'm afraid of other 90's-era trends that I'm seeing - I'm looking at you, floral denim and crop tops. 90210 and New Kids on the Block have already made a comeback. Everything really does come full circle... I just hope not scrunchies.

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Easy Being Green

Sorry, Kermit. In my green jeans, I love living the emerald life. I could really pair everything with these pants (#5), but for everyone's benefit, I'll refrain. Some people are afraid of wearing anything colorful with bright pants, but I boldly accept the challenge in my multicolored silk top (#23).

Anyone else love the new colorful bottoms this season?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Every Time I Come Around (Bling Bling)

(#2 and #17)

Mama put her fancy shoes on today! Little factoid - these are actually the shoes I wore at my wedding (see - even at my wedding, I didn't wear heels!). I love breaking them out occasionally, and it makes me reminisce about that heavenly day almost 4 years ago.

Today's outfit was nothing fancy - literally a t-shirt and shorts. But put some sparkly shoes and a bright patterned scarf and it feels complete. Just goes to show what a few accessories can do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Four Eyes

Excuse the glasses. Me and my contacts are usually at odds on overcast days, as it's been in Seattle the past few days. Plus, I had to take a test for my Econ course, and my glasses make me feel smarter. I need all the help I can get - supply and demand, "no such thing as a free lunch"....oh Econ.

Although the picture is a little blurry, I hope you can still tell I'm wearing a black t-shirt (#20) with my white linen skirt (#7) and my oatmeal cardigan (#26). I am absolutely in love with my necklace (found here at Le Mode accessories). My awesome necklace is making up for the fact I'm not wearing shoes. Hey! I'm studying! Do you wear shoes when you're studying? Didn't think so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Attack of the (Almost) 5 1/2 Foot Woman

Look how good I am at candids! You can't even tell I know a camera is there! In accordance to the "no getting out of my seat" rules of my photographer (also known as my loving husband), now you see my living room due to an intense game of Legend of Zelda that I'm curiously watching. But I have no idea I'm getting my picture taken.

In other news, I. LOVE. maxi skirts (Item #1). It's sneaky because people think you're dressed up since you're wearing a skirt, but really, it is the most comfortable item I own outside of pajama pants. Top it with a gray tissue t-shirt (Item #19) from J. Crew and I might as well be in pajamas. And even though I am standing on stairs, don't I look tall? I always thought I was too short to wear maxi skirts (I'm 5'5), but I feel like it lengthens me. Actually, it's so comfortable, I don't care if I look like a hobbit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breaking All the Rules

So I'm wearing navy and black together. Just call me a rebel. And I'm wearing multiple striped items. Might as well lock me up and throw away the key. I've got on my seersucker shorts (#3) with my black thin strapped tank (#15) and my black and white striped cardigan (#25). Oh, and if you've noticed my shoes the past two days, they will all be flats or sandals. I just don't believe in heels. Never have, never will. It's pretty much a holiday around these parts when I put them on.

Oh, and you may have also noticed my plethora of sweaters for a June-July clothing experiment. Here in the Northwest, you may think summer begins on June 21st like it does everywhere else. But I'll let you in on a little secret - it doesn't actually start until after the 4th of July. So it's still raining and getting up to a balmy 55 degrees right now. Yep, my heat is on in June. It's cool.

I hope my husband's picture taking skills get better as this experiment goes on. Right now, it's "I don't want to move from this chair", so please have a look at my lovely heating vent in my hallway. I mean, thanks Husband for your support...

Monday, June 11, 2012


2+8+11 = 21. Oh wait, this isn't a card game? If you're keeping up, I'm wearing the taupe shorts (#2) with the sleeveless coral top (#11) and my navy long cardigan (#8). I tied it together with a patent yellow belt and some braided leather sandals, which were both recent purchases from Target. It was a super easy outfit for finger painting (which is what I supervised) and running errands. I also ran...just not in this outfit. I always get weirded out when I see people running in street clothes, mainly because I'm convinced they are running away from something. Does anyone else think that or is it just me?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

30 for 30

Confession before we start? I got lazy and it's really 27 for 30. I just couldn't pick out any more bottoms. That'll probably come back to haunt me around Day 24, but whatever. I'm up for the challenge.

Another confession? Most pictures will probably be taken on my phone. I hope that doesn't bother you. I can't seem to find my camera when I need it (like now) and my phone is just easier.

Last confession - most pieces are at least 3 years old (white linen skirt = 8 years old!), so unlike other people who do this, I probably won't be linking back to specific items as to where to find them. If you're REALLY curious, leave a comment and I'll let you know where I found something. Most things are from Gap, Old Navy, Target or H&M.

So, without further ado, I went shopping in my closet and found:

Seven bottoms/dresses.

They are:

1) Black maxi skirt
2) Taupe shorts
3) Seersucker shorts
4) Bootcut jeans
5) Green jeggings
6) Orange jersey dress
7) White linen skirt

Twenty tops.

They are:

8) Navy long cardigan
9) Gray cardigan
10) Coral hoodie (sometimes, a girl just needs to wear a hoodie)
11) Sleeveless coral top
12) Gray ribbed tank
13) Pink ribbed tank
14) Green ribbed tank
15) Black thin strap tank
16) Purple crewneck t-shirt
17) White crewneck t-shirt
18) Black and white striped t-shirt
19) Gray v-neck t-shirt
20) Black crewneck t-shirt
21) Blue and white striped button up
22) Yellow cardigan
23) Silk top
24) Purple cardigan
25) Black and white striped cardigan
26) Oatmeal (it's a color) cardigan
27) Short sleeved black and white polka dot cropped cardigan

Just to remind you, I'll be making 30 different outfits out of these 27 pieces. Accessories and shoes won't count against my number, just FYI. Oh, and I'm clearly not a model. Most pictures will probably be taken at the end of the day after makeup has worn off, hair might be frizzy, and outfit may be stained. But if nothing else, it's honest. Just preparing you.

See you next week for the first 30 (27) for 30!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Did You Miss Me?

Oh Em Gee, readers. I am SO sorry. A few updates of why I've been MIA:

1) Having an energetic toddler. 'Nuff said.
2) Said toddler has moved from 2 naps to 1 nap. BOO.
3) Preparing for my Masters program to begin in August, but I'm currently taking an Economics course as a prerequisite. Homework, reading, tests and more homework. DOUBLE BOO.
4) I have channeled my blogging time into A) reading "The Hunger Games" trilogy, B) scouring Pinterest or C) searching fashion blogs, which leads to D) online shopping. TRIPLE BOO.

Don't hate me.

I do have some stuff planned, mainly involving my love of fashion blogs and the fear of spending too much time/money online shopping. Yes, 8 friends, I will be doing a 30 for 30 (please see the lovely Kendi Everyday for rules/my inspiration).

"What's this?", you ask.

Well, ever feel like you have a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear? And don't say no - because I know you're lying. To show myself and the blog world that I do indeed have a versatile closet, (and to tell J. Crew Factory Store, Target and Old Navy they cannot have any more of my money), I will be taking 30 items from my closet and mixing them up to make 30 separate outfits. I will be posting pictures of all the items I'll be using AND my daily (or kind of daily) outfits. EXCITING!

Okay, maybe not that exciting. But kind of? If you feel so inclined, I'd love to have some company! If you have a blog and would like to do your own 30 for 30, we can be buddies and I'll link back to you!

Be back soon with my 30 for 30!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yep...I'm Still Breastfeeding

So Claire's first birthday came and went....

(That's a whole other post...)

And I'm still breastfeeding. And like the snow in one of my favorite holiday tunes, it doesn't show signs of stopping. It's still recommended by pediatricians to breastfeed up to baby's first birthday (it really is the most perfect food), so I don't feel like I'm some sort of weirdo yet.  I remember when I was in the thick of things and breastfeeding every 3-4 hours (and each nursing session taking 30-45 minutes), I thought "I just have to make it to 6 months, just make it to 6 months." And Claire's half birthday came and went...and I was still nursing. And now, here we are, six months later and she's still happy to be getting her breast milk on. It doesn't bother me anymore - we're down to two or three nursing sessions a day and they take 15 minutes tops. But it just goes to show you once you get used to something, it's really not so bad.

Don't worry, I'm not going to be breastfeeding my 72 month old (that's six, in case you needed help with that). I agree with my favorite Sex and the City character Miranda, who said "If you can ask for it, you're too old to have it." But I'll reserve complete judgment until Claire is fully weaned. Ha ha.

And honestly, I will miss the extra 600 calories I burn by doing nothing but feeding my baby. The other day, I had a cake a snack! Who snacks on cake pops? Breastfeeding women...that's who.

 So yep...I'm still breastfeeding. Wipe that look off your face.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Products That Will Change Your Life

Okay, "life-changing" might be a sliiight exaggeration. But there are numerous items I wish I would have known about earlier in my mommyhood that would have made life easier and me and my baby happier. I give you PRODUCTS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

California Baby Calendula Cream

This is such a great cream for all types of babies' skin, but especially if your baby has eczema. Claire started out with great skin, but soon developed red and dry patches on her back. A few nights of putting the calendula cream on and it was gone! We don't use it all the time, but whenever Baby C's skin acts up, the calendula cream takes care of it instantly.

California Baby Diaper Rash Wash

I would like to toot my own horn for one sec - my baby is almost 11 months old and has had ONE instance of diaper rash (I blame the disposable diapers while we were traveling). This is actually quite a big feat! I most often credit that to the use of cloth diapers, but another saving grace is California Baby's diaper rash spray. I use it as a spray for cleaning Baby C's bottom at changes. And for diaper stuff, it smells really nice. No artificial powdery smell...just clean and a little herbal. You caught me, I'm a hippie. It's also marketed as a boo-boo spray and although we haven't had to use it in that capacity yet, I'm sure it'll come in handy soon.

Kirkland Brand Wipes

No matter what anyone says, do not bother getting another brand of wipes. I did and I sorely paid for it. Other wipes are thin or fall apart (uh, you do not want these when it comes to diaper situations). Honestly, if you don't have a Costco membership, get one just for the wipes. I promise you will not be sorry. Once you have a bad wipe experience, you don't even mess around. And that's all that needs to be said about that.

Nose Frida

When Claire was about 3 months old, she got very sick with RSV, a respiratory virus. This can be especially bad for newborns, particularly if their airways get blocked. My husband and I tried to clear out her nose with a bulb syringe and it was totally ineffective. Enter the NoseFrida, or as it's better known, the Snot Sucker. Yes, it sounds COMPLETELY disgusting. One end of a tube goes in your baby's nose and the other end of the tube goes in your mouth. Don't worry - there are filters so you're never in danger of getting germs (and no snot gets in your mouth). And it works like a charm!

Motherhood Maternity Nursing Tanks

I spent $80 on a nursing bra at Nordstrom. While it's great and pretty, the varying size of my breasts (prefeeding, postfeeding, etc) make it somewhat useless (something I wish I knew when I was picking out nursing gear). Enter the seamless convertible strap nursing cami at Motherhood Maternity. I tried a very different brands, but this one is my favorite! For one thing, there's SPANDEX! Spandex is a gift to postpartum women everywhere. Plus, it's very easy to work (no complicated clasps). My only complaint is the two colors...and really, just one. Don't get the white - the pads show through the material and your boobs look like saucers. For $25, it's a steal.

Hyland's Teething Tablets

I don't wish a teething baby on my worst enemy. It sucks. And it's never ending. Babies can be in the process of teething for months. It takes awhile for all 32 teeth to come in. While Claire has been a pretty good sport about it for the most part, sometimes she is a bear. And it's understandable - it has to be painful! I swear by Hyland's teething tablets. If Claire's slightly irritable, her mood changes instantly. Now that she knows what they are, she actually gets excited when she sees the bottle. They were recently put back on store shelves after a voluntary recall (the bottle was not childproof), but Hyland's is a very reputable brand, and this was its first recall in over 80 years. I'm so glad they came back because I don't know what we'd do without them.


Mama needs a break! RELAX! Wine will save your life. You can drink, even if you're breastfeeding. A tip I learned from my doctor - think about drinking and breastfeeding the same way you do when driving. If you can't drive, you shouldn't breastfeed. For most women, that means about a drink an hour. Just be sure to drink some water in between for hydration. If you don't want to risk it, just "pump and dump".  Also, allegedly some beer can help with milk production - porters and stouts! So cheers!

There you have it - LIFE CHANGING PRODUCTS! :) Of course, I also compiled a list of registry items if you're expecting or know someone who's expecting that I would have found quite helpful.

Do you think I missed something? Any products that have changed your life?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mahvelous Meal Monday!

Hi all! A little late, but better late than never, right? I haven't done a mahvelous meal in awhile, and I thought I'd share one of my recent Pinterest faves (are we Pinterest buddies?! Find me here) - baked chicken fingers!

I pinned this recipe from Sweet Pea's Kitchen (a great food website to discover - again, thanks Pinterest!), and it's super easy! Get the recipe here!

While Baby C took her afternoon nap, I prepped pretty much everything: the flour mixture, the egg white mixture, and toasted the panko breadcrumbs. I also sliced 2 chicken breasts into tenders and made a salad. I waited until dinnertime was near to actually bread the chicken. I used a fantastic Asian peanut dressing from Trader Joe's (my all time favorite grocery store) for the dipping sauce, but it would be just as yummy with whatever you choose (bbq, honey mustard, ketchup, etc).  Prep time (including a salad) was about 15 minutes, and about 10 minutes to bread the chicken.

The result: YUM! So good! There were also quite a few leftover chicken fingers for lunch - bonus! Plus,  baked chicken fingers are a much healthier alternative to fried. Toasting the panko gave it a great crunch, so you don't even miss the fried-ness.

Any yummy recipes you'd like to share? Let me know and they can be featured next Monday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Defense of Working Parents...From a Stay at Home Mom

As you know, when Baby C came into our lives, my husband and I decided that we were in a good position for me to stay at home. For one thing, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.  This is time I won't be able to get back in Claire's life - and who cares if I have to work an extra year or two to make up for it? Claire will never be a baby again, and I wanted to be around for it - the good, the bad and the ugly. And it made sense financially. After taking a look at my nonprofit paycheck, I would be coming home with less than $300/month after childcare, an extra car payment, and all the other expenses that come with working. I know that $300/month definitely makes a difference in people's lives (hey, I'd like to have that money!), but it made me come to a realization that you really can't put a price on everything, and staying at home for awhile was something I wanted to do.

After 10 months of being a stay at home parent, I have to admit, it's quite challenging. There's the constant entertaining/redirecting of a very curious baby (exhausting), doing several loads of laundry, daily cleaning, cooking, etc. But I can't say I view it as my "job". I mean, I occasionally find time to blog, I Facebook (is that a verb?), I play Words with Friends...

I came across this article that tries to put a "salary" with the job title of being a stay at home parent - and it amounts to $96,000 by combining jobs of private chef, childcare provide, maid, driver, and a few other careers.  I have to tell you, even as a stay at home parent, it really struck a chord with me. I think many stay at home parents feel they are devalued by society. Maybe they had careers before, and the only way they feel they are making a contribution is if they are pulling in a salary. Not true - I think there is tremendous value in staying home with your children. But can we just call it like it is and say it was something that made sense for my family or something I wanted to do instead of trying to put a monetary value on it? PS - I'm a pretty good cook, but I'm not going to pretend my meals rival that of a private chef.  

Besides, working parents have to do ALL that plus work 40+ hours. I commend my husband, who gets up at 4:30 every other morning (regardless of if we've previously been awake with Baby C) to go to the gym, then catches his bus at 7:45 and after working a 9.5 hour day, comes home. But wait! He even gives me a break and plays with our daughter until she goes to bed at 7:30. He still does laundry, he still cleans... in short, he's pretty amazing. And most working parents I know are the same way.

Ultimately, being a parent is hard work, and it's full time. Being a parent is all-consuming, and you especially feel that way when you stay home. Even if you have a job outside your home, you're still an on-call parent. 24/7, 365 for the rest of your life.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mahvelous Meal SUNDAY!

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends and yummy food! We had a great first Christmas with Baby C. Her favorite gifts? Whatever box her presents came in. :) I think Claire got more presents this Christmas than I've opened in the last 10 years!


We all had a great time, and we're still recovering from all the, uh, let's say less than healthy food we've been eating since Thanksgiving. Cookies and homemade fudge and fast food while crossing things off our to do takes a toll, that's for sure.

So let's start the new year off on a healthy note, shall we? While muffins aren't a meal, per se, it's a great snack and a HUGE bonus - it's a good choice for your little ones! These muffins have a cup of zucchini, a half cup of carrots and a quarter cup of applesauce while only having 2/3 cup of sugar! Plus, they're made with some whole-wheat flour for some good whole grain action. Obviously, you'd want to check with your pediatrician before making these (I'm not a doctor nor a child nutritionist), but Baby C eats them up like they're going out of style!

Zucchini Carrot Muffins (adapted from Women and Weight Website)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground ginger
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated zucchini (I used one large zucchini)
1/2 cup grated carrot (I used about 9 baby carrots)
1/4 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened applesauce)
1/4 cup oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl and add to dry ingredients. Be sure to moisten batter, but be careful to avoid overmixing.
4. Pour batter into greased muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of muffin and wait for it to come out clean.
5. Makes about 10-12 muffins (it makes 10 for me, but I eat a little batter and I make slightly bigger muffins), or one 9 inch loaf of bread.

Fresh from the oven!

If you can see vegetables in your baked goods, it's a good thing.

Yum! These are so good! Although I'm always worried about substitutions in baking, I think this recipe would be awesome with a handful of raisins added, or adding a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon! Each muffin comes about to be about 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar.

Okay, I hope that 2012 has all kinds of good things in store for you, dear readers! I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions, but I will definitely be trying to blog more often, enjoy my baby at every single stage (as frustrating as it may be sometimes) and GET A BABYSITTER! :)