Archive for February 2017

Our weekend: Street Painting Festival 2017

February 27, 2017

This weekend was the annual street painting festival in our small town and while it's one of our favorite weekends of the year, it's also a challenging one. Daddy works long hours during the festival, going in early and coming home late at night which means it's just Jacob and Momma all weekend. Naturally, Jacob chose this weekend to let his sleep issues flare up again, waking early and refusing to take his normal nap on Saturday. When your toddler's two hour napping period is the only time you have to get things done and then it doesn't happen, you REALLY miss it. Thankfully he made up for it by taking an extra long nap on Sunday. 

That being said, we really do love the festival. We love grabbing coffee and scones from the Starbucks downtown and walking up and down the street together as a family checking out all the art work. We love the arepas, crepes, and sugared pecans from the food vendors, and the way the BBQ stand makes the whole neighborhood smell amazing. We love watching the artists as they craft their masterpieces and figuring out exactly which way to tilt our heads to make the 3D drawings looks just right. 

Jacob loves the children's garden where kids can get their own chalk and marked off space to make their own artwork. Jacob picked out his own five colors - purple, yellow, green, red, and pink; and was very serious about not letting his smudger fly away. I always have a heavy duty load of wash to do Sunday night, to get all that chalk out of his clothing! 

Until next year! XO

Toddler Bathtime Favorites

February 23, 2017

If you play your cards right, bath time with your toddler can be one of the most relaxing times of day. I know that traditionally it's a splashing wet, wrangling slippery noodles kind of job, but it doesn't have to be! What if I told you I read, draw, and even occasionally drink wine while my toddler is in the tub? And you can too! But first, you need your ducks in a row. 

In order for you to relax and have some me-time, your toddler needs to be safely occupied. We use bath treads on the bottom of our tub to keep Jacob from slipping, a faucet cover to keep him from banging his head, and plenty of toys to keep him entertained. Besides bath crayons, books, and letters, he also loves popping bubbles from his bubble machine, pouring water down his bath pipes, and swimming his sharks around the tub. The more things you have for your child to play with independently, the longer they will play! If he's allowed to, Jacob will play in the tub for an hour or more while I sit nearby.

One of the biggest ways we keep bath time stress free, is making Jacob pick up his own bath toys. Get a toy organizer that suctions to the wall and teach your child to put all the toys in there when they're done playing. Voila! You no longer have to break your back bending over the tub to pick up all the toys. When play time is over we scrub him down with our favorite SoCozy shampoo and conditioner. It doubles as body wash and we'll never use anything else - I love the mango smell that much! Carter's bath towels are our favorites when it's time to get out. Make sure you get the big ones, not the baby ones! They are adorable, soft, and hold up for forever! 

Toy Storage // Letters & Numbers
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President's Day at the Dipolmat

February 21, 2017

One of the best parts of growing up is watching your kids form little friendships with your friend's kids. We spent President's Day down in Hollywood at the Diplomat hotel with some friends who are there on vacation and had the best day together as a family. 

Jacob and Allison are just about a year apart in age, both firmly in the toddler age category. Despite only seeing each other once a year, most recently at Disney World a year ago, they always seem to remember each other. Or maybe kids their age are just willing to play with anyone? Regardless, they always have a great time together. 

We spent quite a bit of time down at the pool swimming and eating lunch. The pool is right on the beach with a gorgeous view of the ocean. There are actually two pools, one which has a super shallow end that is great for kids. There's a kids splash area too with fountains and a water slide, but the water coming out of the fountains was cold.  

In the afternoon we took some downtime before dinner. No naps were enforced, but we figured some quite rest time would be a good idea before having to sit for dinner. The kids watched Trolls on the hotel TV and we walked down to the waterfront and watched the boats. The beer garden wasn't open yet but the kids were more than happy to climb in and out of the car and bus down there and to watch the big boats coming down the intercoastal. 

We ended the night with dinner at Brazillian steakhouse, and while it was our first time, it definitely won't be our last. Sign us up for the Rodizio fan club! We got a good laugh out of Jacob calling the lambchops "lollipops" and despite the sweet moniker, he wouldn't eat any of it! I believe he ate one bite of a roll and a few slices of bacon. Good thing kiddos are free!

 We've already decided we need to take a vacation together next year because one day together once a year just isn't enough for all the fun we have! 

Friday Favorites

February 17, 2017
Oh friends, it's been quite the week. Jacob graduated from his mommy and me swim class to a big kid class with no mommy and I don't know whether I'm proud or sad. We celebrated Valentine's Day by going out for Pizza and FroYo after swim class. Little man can now eat two whole slices on his own, which means we officially have no leftover pizza anymore. Proud or sad? I can't decide. Here's a few things I'm loving lately, before we sign off for the weekend!

I got a pair of these PJs for my birthday and immediately got another set. They are the softest, most comfortable sleep clothes ever. I have been recommending them to everyone I know! 

And speaking of PJs, I just ordered Jacob a pair of these adorable bunny PJs for Easter!

I don't know about you but I am seriously looking forward to Spring Break!  Jacob has a new hat and sunglasses on the way, but I've been on the hunt for a new swim suit for him. I'm loving this one!

If your lips have been as chapped as mine have this winter you'll love this grapefruit lip scrub, it leaves your lips so soft! 

How cute are these mini grasshopper pies? I'm thinking they look perfect for St. Patrick's Day! 

If you're looking for some new sleepy tunes for your babes, I'm loving  JJ Heller's lullaby album I Dream of You.

And if you need a flattering top, I have this peplum in two colors and it's the best!

Happy Friday friends!

Best Furry Friends

February 15, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewPetNoStains #CollectiveBias 

If you're a recent follower of our little blog, you might not know that we have two dogs in our home. If you're a long time reader then you know that they got quite a bit more attention here before Jacob came along. Both our dogs were adopted here in Florida, and I thought I'd share a little bit about their adoption stories today.

Layla was adopted locally. I somehow knew deep down that I wanted a black lab. Technically, what I wanted was a couple black labs, but I settled for once since we didn't have space for more. When we went to meet the large litter of puppies they were living on a local farm with their mom. we found that the litter was mostly girls with a few boys. The boys were still too small to leave the mother so we were brought a few of the girls to play with and see who's personality we liked best. Layla was the only one to come right over and cuddle in with us and we just knew right away that she was meant to be ours. 

Leo was adopted as a companion for Layla. We were flying one weekend and I saw a couple with a pet carrier waiting at our gate. A little furry white head popped up from the carrier and I immediately asked my husband what kind of a dog it was. He thought it was probably a white Pomeranian, though a larger one, not the popular tea cup variety. We searched for months, but it seemed only tea cup Pomeranian were ever up for adoption. Finally, a few months later we saw a listing for a littler up near Disney World. We happened to have a day trip to Epcot planned so on our way home we stopped by to see if there were any puppies left who needed homes. Leo was the only puppy from the littler left. His little nose and tail had marks from a run in with an ant pile, and I just knew from first look that he'd be going home with us. 

Both dogs have grown and changed quite a bit since we first brought them home, though they both act like puppies still. Both are very good with our toddler, letting him pet, play and sometimes even rest on them. We taught him from the very beginning to be very gentle and not to yell at them, and they all get on pretty well. He likes to play games with them, and to throw things for them to fetch.

If you know someone looking into adopting a new pet, I have an excellent present idea to congratulate them on their new furry family member. A pet survival bucket is such a lifesaver for us, and any new pet parents would surely appreciate one. It keeps all our supplies for cleaning up pet messes in one spot so we always have what we need to clean up accidents. In a bucket we keep a roll of paper towel, a hand vacuum, a scrub brush, STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover, and an old towel down in the bottom. Add a little bow on top of the handle and you've got one amazing gift!

We recently added the STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover after finding it in the cleaning aisle of our local Wellington Target. I hear that it's not available at all Targets yet, but you can always order it online for either delivery or free local pick up. Trust me, it's worth it! The ODOR REMOVE™ technology both cleans and protects, leaving behind an invisible shield that makes clean up easier next time, without any sticky residue!

Right now there is a cartwheel offer for 25% off until 3/4. Just click the photo below!

Valentine's Day 2017

February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day friends! I hope your day is filled with more love than you can imagine, even if it's short on candy and flowers. Our little family celebrated over the weekend so that we could get our breakfast tradition in. My family always had cinnamon rolls on holidays, but with Valentine's being a Tuesday I knew there was no way I would be able to pull off a cinnamon roll breakfast and still get out the door to work on time. I struggle to get out the door on time without fun breakfasts so there just was no way it was happening. So we fudged things a bit (Jacob's too young to know!) and pretended Sunday was Valentine's. 

We filled Jacob's Valentine box that we've used since his very first Valentine's Day with his presents - a holiday tee, The Land Before Time on DVD and a wooden car transporter. We had one more present, a Minnie Mouse plush, that we saved for today so that he would have something fun on the actual holiday. We let him open his box while breakfast baked. 

I deviated from our cinnamon roll tradition just a bit by filling the rolls with a lemon and cream cheese filling with raspberries instead of our usual cinnamon sugar and butter. The raspberries turned a vibrant pink when they cooked and it was just perfect for a Valentine's Breakfast. I used THIS recipe. They turned out so delicious with the lemon zest frosting on top!

I served the rolls with strawberry yogurt smoothies, coffee, and fresh strawberries. It all turned out perfect and I think we'll probably make this same breakfast every year! 

I'll be spending today in the classroom with my sugared up students, and we'll hit swim class tonight as usual. I hope you all have the most wonderful day. Make sure you let your friends and family know just how much you love them! XO

IKEA hack: BEKVÄM Step Stool

February 13, 2017

Let me start out by saying that this isn't one of those hacks where you start with one thing and by the end you have some other, amazing thing. My project started a step stool and ended a step stool, but I learned quite a bit my first time tackling a project like this and I thought I'd share!

Let's start with the BEKVÄM shall we? We picked it for it's simple, two step design. It's nice and tall, the perfect height for Jacob to stand and help at the kitchen counter, and for me to reach things way in the back of our top shelves. It comes in three colors - black, white, and unfinished birch. I didn't love any of them so I decided to make it my own. I bought the unfinished birch figuring it would be a good starting point since there was no paint to strip away. Here's a little before picture. 

The stool felt a bit shiny to me when it arrived so after assembling it I gave it a once over with our sander just to be sure there wasn't any finish on it. Once it was sanded my first step was to apply some dark wood stain. I picked a color called provincial and got to work. Here are some tips I learned along the way. 

1. Use a cheap foam brush that you can throw away when you are done. Trust me you are NOT going to want to try and get wood stain out of a brush. It's nasty stuff.

2. Apply the stain liberally, going with the grain, covering your surface.

3. Let the stain sit for 5-10 minutes and then wipe any excess off using duck cloth.

4. Allow the stain to set according to the directions on the can, then give it a light sanding. 

5. Repeat. My can actually said to apply 3 coats, so I trusted them and did. 

Once my third coat was completely dry I wanted to add a poly coat to seal in the stain and protect it from any splatters in the kitchen. I used a water based poly seal and again used a cheap brush I could throw away. 
1. Apply a thin coat to cover your surface
2. Wait a minute or two then brush back over to make sure there are no bubbles or drips
3. Allow to dry. 
4. Repeat according to the directions on the can. I went over it three times. 
And here it is! It's not perfect, there are a few spots where the stain didn't take as well, but I'm pretty proud of my first try tackling a project like this!

Valentine Picture Book Favorites

February 10, 2017

I don't know about your bookshelves, but ours have been full of lovey dovey books for a few weeks now, and I'm not sure we're going to be ready to put them away next week. Jacob has been loving new stories from his old favorites Llama Llama and Pout Pout Fish, and I've thrown in a few of my favorites as well. I sadly thought that once I was done nursing/bottle feeding him that we wouldn't get much use out of his big plush rocker, but thankfully I was wrong. Cuddling up in there with Jacob on my lap, a warm cup of coffee, and a good book to read him is one of our favorite ways to spend time on the weekends. This Valentine's weekend will be no different. Here are some of our favorites!

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Sweet & Salty Valentine Crack

February 6, 2017

Whew. How about that game last night? I'll admit we were mostly watching for the commercials and the halftime show. Except Daddy. He was watching for football. I went to bed before it was over, because having the day after the Superbowl off work isn't a thing yet, but I was sure surprised by the outcome this morning! Jacob made it all the way to the halftime show thanks to two unnamed adults who gave him cookies at the party we attended. He was WIRED like 15 energizer bunnies. He loves "Gaga" and Bad Romance from the movie SING! and he was living during that halftime show. Singing, dancing, bopping around all over. Loved every second of it.

Now that football season is over, bring on Valentine's! If you need some ideas for your littles you can check out last year's Valentine's playdate with lots of craft and snack ideas. But this year I came up with something new. Something delicious. It's sweet. And salty. And the secret ingredient is Craisins which give it just the right amount of tang to counterbalance all the sweet. It's perfect for a movie night, filling Valentine treat bags, or just snacking on while working or playing. And it's addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you! 

Sweet & Salty Valentine Crack

Chex cereal
pink mini marshmallows
White melting chocolate
Valentine sprinkles

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil
2. Layer on the cookie sheet pretzels, chex cereal, popcorn and mini marshmallows
3. In a double broiler or the microwave, carefully melt the chocolate. Be careful, you don't want it to burn!
4. Drizzle the chocolate over the mix in the pan
5. Sprinkle Craisins on top
6. Add sprinkles 
7. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden 
8. Once hardened, break into pieces for snacking! 

* If you have little ones under two you might want to leave out the popcorn! 
** I picked my pink mini marshmallows out of a bag of mixed pastels, but you might be able to find all pink this time of year. 

Let me know what you think if you try it!!!