Train Playroom

It was 65° outside yesterday morning ♡ December 17th. 

By the time I took the kids to the playground in the afternoon it was 32 and windy 😦 

We can’t avoid Winter forever. I also can’t avoid Christmas forever. I’ve been slowing getting all of Little Man’s presents in the mail and pilling them in his room along with anything else I want to procrastinate on. After he laid down for a nap, yesterday, I decide it was time to get motivated. I’d gone to At Home and found a wire flatware holder that I planned to repurpose as a train shelf. 

It worked perfectly! 

I put together his Train Table and Gorilla glued the bridge together. The other pieces I left loose so he could rearrange. The top flips over and the other side is a chalk board. 

This wooden sign was given to us by a dear friend when he was born. 

I wanted this to be an uncluttered space where he could play and be creative without being over stimulated. 

I read about Toy Rotation about a year ago, and I love the idea. Last month I went through all his toys and clothes and donated almost 4 boxes worth of stuff. I tried to be purposeful with what toys he kept. In his closet are 2 shelves neatly stacked with toys that he can take out one at a time and play with in the open space on the other side of his room. The closet locks so he can’t just drag everything out and make mayhem. It’s been studied that children do better and are less overwhelmed when they do not have too many stimulating factors around them when they play. So we are implementing toy rotation. Also, the walls are not too busy. 

I picked up a few baskets at the Dollar Tree for his wooden train and blocks. I still need to find some clear contact paper to make the window so you cannot see into it (the parking lot is RIGHT there and my toddler doesn’t always keep his clothes on).

In the other corner of his room I will be installing these wire baskets on the wall along with a few small wall lamps. Then a few oversized throw pillows and his reading corner will be complete (I love how many books he was giving for Christmas. Thank you to family for understanding the power of reading).

The last thing I did was unpackaged all his gifts (make them play ready) and wrap them (STAR WARS wrapping paper found at the Dollar Tree!) 

If you have any creative Play Room ideas, I’d love to heat them! I’ll be sure to update with pictures of the reading corner once it is complete.

Happy Holidays! 

Update:

Today (December 23rd) I finally put the finishing touches on Little Man’s Playroom. His reading corner is set up. 

thThese baskets are from At Home. They are perfect for his board books. Instead of throw pillows I used some of his character pillow cases over new pillows. I put a spot light on the wall for better lighting at night. 

The window treatment I was looking for was $15 and I wasn’t ready to commit. I ended up getting some contact paper from the Dollar Tree that did the job perfectly. 


I decided the leave the final corner of the room empty for his to play and use his puzzles. 

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Holiday Gift Idea Guide 2015

It is the biggest shopping day of the year. If you are out and about today I hope that it is with friends and family and you are having fun (because that is what Holidays are about, not stressing and yelling to get something that is just… a thing) If you are anything like me you will be Celebrating Cyber Monday in your yoga pants with a warm cup of cocoa, followed by weeks of pouring over Pinterest and making as many gifts as possible.

 

Below I have complied a list of some small business, businesses that give back, made in the USA companies, and just plain old fun gift items. I hope it helps you find some creative and unique gifts that feed into the Holiday spirit of giving and less into the commercialism. 🙂

 

 

10891860_1036928119670888_8865607233591300579_nIf you know a little dancer, Honey Bunny Crafts and Stitchery makes gorgeous tutus, hair pieces, and bags. Small business run by a SAHM.

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Jamberry nail wraps are made in the USA and free of the 5 most harmful chemicals in most nail wraps and polishes. They make great stocking stuffers and teacher gifts.

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31 Bits sell 100% recycled Bead products made by Ugandan women. They empower these women through earning an income enabling them to provide for their families. They care for them holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. After five years in their program, the beneficiaries are ready to graduate. A graduated beneficiary has her own business and is educated, healthy, and confident. She is empowered.

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The Little Bamboo is a Florida based company specializing in all natural bamboo products. The Little Bamboo has a growing product line from Bamboo Utensils. My family loves their charcoal soap. 

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It Works has tons of great products for those in your life who want to improve their health or already lead a healthy lifestyle. Their Greens help balance your body and Alkalize your blood.

1546463_959593117431773_8682779872435900694_nTree Change Dolls are based out of Australia, but are so amazing to me. She takes old dolls and makes them something that the average kid can identify with. Great for the young girls on your shopping list.

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Do you have a Gamer or Nerd on your shopping list? Treno Nights makes gorgeous tiny clay charms of all types. Earrings, bracelets, key-chains, etc. She is a small business run out of her home in TX.

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Coffee lover in the family? Three Avocados takes their profits and provides clean drinking water and education for those in Uganda.

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Glasstic Water Bottles are great gifts for just about anyone. You can even customize them. I love mine because I know it won’t shatter when my toddler uses it, I can put essential oils in my water, and I waste less plastic cups at work.

 

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Trades of Hope is another Fashion line that helps empower women through your purchases, and they have super cute stuff 🙂

 

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Inspirational Illustrations in Print or on Journals. She has new designs daily on her Facebook. Rose Hill Designs.

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Hand painted wooden signs created by a SAHM. Dezarea’s DeSigns.

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Tripp Tribe has Homemade body products created from simple, natural ingredients you can feel good about! Family Business. They are currently trying to raise enough money to bring their adopted sons home from Russia.

 

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Sassy Doe Soaps are wonderful soaps made from Goat’s milk, olive oil, and essential oils. It was the only thing I could use when pregnant on my face.

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Maple Syrup is one of my favorite Winter comfort foods. Tomapo Farms has Maple Candy as well. They will ship.

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What about the person on your list who has everything…and then some. How about the gift of Simplicity and Organization. Courtney Carver’s Project 333 has been a life saver for me. The Clutter Free Course is also an amazing book.

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Kids on your list? Or maybe that one person who LOVES purses? Abintra Designs has custom made handbags as well as Dino-sores (mini rice packs for hot or cold needs).

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If you have that Fashionista that is difficult to buy for, Chic Origins has vintage wear unique and affordable. Check out her small business on Etsy or Facebook.

 


Gifts That Keep Giving: 

  • Purchase them a class. Dance, Yoga, Zumba, Painting. Better, yet… sign yourself up too so you an spend time with them.
  • Museum passes, season tickets, State Park pass. Add a note saying that you will be joining them on one of their adventures to this place.
  • Donate to an Organization or Charity in their name.

 

P333 Fall 2015 – Working Mom

As a working mom of a toddler living in a one bedroom city apartment, I don’t have room for clutter or time to try on 10 outfits before I rush out the door in the morning. That is one of the many reasons I am grateful for discovering Courtney Carver’s Project 333. (more information at her website) Minimalist living gets rid of STUFF and makes room and time for family in my life. (don’t get me wrong, I still love stuff. I am just learning what stuff is worth having and what takes away from the things that matter in my life)

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Today I am sorting through my closet and getting together my Fall 33 (It is more than 33, I use Courtney’s P333 as a guideline). I love Thrift Shops and Secondhand Stores. I have added 8 new items to my wardrobe this season for under $30. One of my favorites is this scarf I snagged for $4. It can change an outfit in a second and it is very versatile because of its colors. Copy of 12017641_525769387590740_4659812728136200054_o

I love accessories in a minimalist wardrobe. Today I was wearing some active wear around the house, when I decided to run to the library for Story Time. A scarf and some classic earrings… I was good to go (without looking too much like the mom that didn’t want to get off the couch). I’m not strict about how many accessories I have, but I do try to keep it at a reasonable level. If I haven’t worn something in the last 6-9 months…it has got to go! My worst clutter is jewelry. I wear the same 3 pairs of earrings…but I have sooo many. I’ll get there eventually. We all have room to grow. 🙂

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As usual I begin by putting all of my clothes in one spot and start sorting. One pile for this season, one pile for storage (and under the bed storage bag), and one pile to be donated. Then I hang up all the clothes I want for this season and separate by type. Work, short sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, pants, dress. Then I see if I have way too many of one type (do I really need 12 work shirts when there are only 5 work days in a week?) In the end I always feel better and more organized. It was so nice to see some of my favorite fall clothing and add it to the new items.

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A rule I stick to in every season, in with the new means old must go too! For every new deal I find while Thrift Shopping, I get rid of something that is torn, I never wear, doesn’t fit well, etc. Last month I gave over 3 trash bags of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing to a local outreach.

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Another great way to change up your look is by doing your nails! I love Jamberry. They are durable, cute, and chemical free. A manicure takes about 15 min to apply, costs about $5, and lasts up to 2 weeks. Check them out! Jamberry.com (if you like what you see, don’t forget to tell them I sent you 🙂

Best and Worst Places to Shop for WIC

If you’re a new mom, you have enough challenges as it is. Now you are walking through the grocery store, sore with leaky breasts, searching frantically for the approved items on your WIC check. With the folder in one hand and trying to sooth your screaming baby with the other, you accidentally pick up the wrong size bread. After an exhausting 30 min of shopping and 15 min of waiting in line to pay, a cashier with a scowl on their face tells you this is not an approved size bread and calls for a CSM. You want to crawl in a hole and die as the impatient man behind you sighs and your baby starts screaming again… sound familiar? I’ve been there, more than once. (we won’t talk about the 2 times I forgot my wallet with a cart full of groceries and a screaming child). My goal today is to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made and to have a peaceful shopping experience.

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Stores I have not shopped at with WIC: Kroger, Aldi, Albertsons (if you have any tips for these stores I gladly welcome them)

Store: Wal-mart

Rating: 1- The lines are usually very long (screaming baby). The cashiers (in my experience) are not knowledgeable in the WIC Program, they almost always have to call a CSM over to approve the transaction (and with all those tired people behind you in line, this always feels awkward to me).

Store: Shaw’s

Rating: 3- Their system is set up to recognize WIC items and only scan approved products. Unfortunately some times it is not up to date and needs an override.

Store: Hannaford

Rating: 5! I love shopping here for WIC. They have awesome carts, (perk for my energetic 1 yr old) the staff is very friendly and helpful, their price tags have WIC printed on them if it is an approved item.  (saves the guessing)

Here is a few snapshots of my last grocery WIC trip to Hannaford.

On the price tags there is a “WIC” symbol if the product is a WIC approved item. This helps with guess work. Cereal is especially hard to me to figure out, this makes it so much easier.

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Here we are in the canned veggies, fruit, and bean section. See that little WIC symbol?20150711_091510 20150711_092105

Again in the cheeses…

The only sections I did not see this symbol was breads (ugh careful to only get the 1lb bags) and eggs. (it may vary by store).

Here is Little Man enjoying the Race Car cart.

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I hope this helps you as a parent to shop easier and stress free with WIC.

Let me know of any tips and tricks you have for shopping and don’t forget to check out my Post

“5 Things you Didn’t Know About EBT (SNAP) “

Father’s Day Gift Basket – Under $10

Father’s Day is almost here, and since there is no way I can top last year’s gift (our son was born on Father’s Day last year) I decided to go super creative and hope that it is good enough 😉

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The book was one I reviewed recently, “How to Tie a Tie”. I hope he is as excited as I am about it!11390345_10206585712262501_3977384607533210576_n

The shaving balm and shaving cream I snagged at the Dollar Tree (they look classy to me). I had wanted to buy him a straight razor (something he has wanted for years) but instead I am going to let him pick out his own razor and strap.

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There is also a Super Hero eye glass cleaner in there (to wipe tiny finger prints off his glasses).

Little Man made the card (with help from mommy and the crayons Aunt Sarah bought him)

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Last but not least, I bought some of his favorite candy and wrote him a note ❤

There you have it!! Under $10!

What did you do this Father’s Day?

Pirate Birthday Party

Our son turned 1 this week, so we threw a Cook Out to Celebrate!!!

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His nursery and Baby Shower were Pirate themed, so we followed suit.

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He LOVES VocabuLARRY from Baby First TV.

My MIL was able to snag him one for a review. He was SO EXCITED!!!

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My SIL made his cake. It came out soooo good. How cute is this!!

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She even made him his own Smash Cupcake!

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Everyone had such a good time. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

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For the Kids we has a few kiddie pools set up. Instead of pre-packaged Goodie Bags we set up a Fun Table where the kids could decorate their own bag and grab toys to use throughout the day.

Mini Beach Balls, Squirt Guns, Pirate Mustaches, Crazy Straws, Cake Bibs (disposable bibs), Bubbles, and Sun Block.

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Simple was best for his First Birthday. It was an enjoyable day for everyone (me included).

🙂

Reusable Food Pouch Review

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Have you seen those cute food pouches that are so popular? Have you seen the recalls and dangers of ones in the stores? Now companies are now making reusable ones that make it easy for you to give your kids fruits and veggies fresh from the blender. A few years ago I saw the ones where you had to buy a special machine to squeeze the food into the pouch (no thank you), then someone realized that making resealable pouches was way easier. I love using reusable food pouches with my 9 month old. He can feed himself and there is minimal mess. It is also convenient for travel. We still receive baby food from WIC. I just pop a jar into the pouch and dinner is served! Easy.

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These were all received for review purpose and have been reviewed for those companies and purposes already. Today I want to compare and contrast the difference in the different brands to help you choose which one is best for you and to let you know some of my favorite features. All of these pouches are BPA Free and food safe. They are also dishwasher and freezer safe as well as use only choke resistant caps.

Brand: Tubbki

Features:

  • BPA-FREE Tubbki is BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, making it a safe choice for food storage for your child.
  • SAFE Tubbki is unbreakable and uses an anti-choking cap. This means that our cap is designed according to anti-choking regulation, making it too large to be swallowed.

Perks: Stickers for labeling. Good size.

Rating: 8

My Thoughts: I really liked these ones. They were the first reusable food pouches we tried and we both loved them right off. My 8 month old was feeding himself without a huge mess!! After a few uses, food was getting stuck in the corners and the seal. They are dishwasher safe, so it would not be a big deal if I had a dishwasher to run them through.

You can see my original review here. Or check out my video review.

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Brand: Easy Anywhere

Features: Freezer Safe, BPA Free, Dishwasher safe.

Perks: Has an ounces marker so you can see how much is in the pouch. Has a place on the pouch to write contents. Fills from the top, so no chance of accidental popping and spilling.

Rating: 5

My Thoughts: While it has a few cool features, I do not like the side spout. It is not very easy to eat from. Also the packaging looks like something that holds soap not food.

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Brand: Natures Little Squeeze

Features: BPA Free, Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Hour glass shape. Spot on pouch to write owner’s name.

Rating: 9.9

My Thoughts: The shape it PERFECT! Great for any age kid to grab and eat. I like the spout on the top. I wish the bottom opening was a tiny bit bigger. The material it is made from rinses much easier. The color and design is cute.

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Brand: Basic Best

Features: BPA Free, Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Larger bottom/fill opening. Larger pouch. Place on pouch to write date and contents.

Rating: 9.5

My Thoughts: I love the larger opening at the bottom. It makes it much easier to fill and to rinse. This one is the quickest to clean. The brown is pretty ugly though.

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Brand: Little Squeeze Me

Features: BPA Free. Dishwasher and freezer safe.

Perks: Shows ounces. Place to write contents on pouch. Fills from top, no accidental pops and spills.

Rating: 4

My Thoughts: The fill opening is very small. I do not like the side spout. It seems smaller and to hold less than most of the reusable food pouches. The color is cute,

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So there are my thoughts, honest and unbiased. Hopefully this will help you find out which brands works best for your family.

I cannot wait until summer! (They’re freezer safe…fruit slushies to bring to the beach!)