Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Pictures

Fall Pictures
Fall pictures are some of my favorite. I love the colors! Here are some of my best tips for great school pictures.
1. Pick something that is pretty neutral colored. You never know what kind of crazy background they are working with for school/preschool pictures. 
2. You want your kiddo to be comfy. They are going to be at school all day. I like to do an outfit that is pretty much an everyday outfit- just styled up a notch to look nice and interesting without being formal.
3. Add in interesting details that can be left out. Here the plaid shirt can be folded down and hidden if it contrasts too much with the background. I just let his teacher or the photographer know. A vest or a hat. Something with some personality but nothing that can't be removed if it does not work out.
4. Hair needs to be something they can mess up a bit and still look nice. If I full on gel Sammy's hair I know it won't be too great when they finally take him back. I try to use a pomade to get it mostly looking decent and instruct his teacher to comb it a bit and wet it if there is an issue. Pictures after lunch are pretty much a disaster!
5. Skip trendy/prints/patters/characters... unless you absolutely want to look back on that photo in 20 years and see the outfit and not the child.
6. Keep in mind your child's coloring. If they look great in blue make sure there is some blue near their face. If they look washed out in orange skip it for pictures.
7. Finally remember that you don't have to buy them if they turn out badly. We got three prints last time and just used an actual photographer. I think the cost was pretty similar but you mainly want to take the pressure off of yourself. With this digital picture age, you likely have thousands of great shots to remember these days by- hating a school photo won't be a big deal.
8. If you have instructions write them on a card and hand them to the teacher. Such as - wet hair if sticking up and comb down. leave off blue shirt if clashes with the background. please dont force smiles want a natural look. Just little instructions that might help the pictures go better since you can't be there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014



First quad is from Gap. Set from Carters. Peanut tee: Target. Boots & yellow shirt: Tea.

Truthfully. I did find a lot of great stuff that was interesting. There isn't a bunch at Target I just have to have right now. They usually kill me in the Genuine Kids label but there isn't anything I really would buy without a 50% markdown. 
Tea has just what I put here. Maybe a Patagonia jacket but I can't really justify the price when I have more than enough. 
Carters sets interestingly enough will probably be my next splurge/major buy. They have a bunch that I am interested in. And they only go to a 4T so this will be my last size run for Sammy in these. Kind of sad, but again time prepares us for changes because we've really moved on a lot of the things we bought there. When he was small almost everything came from there. 
We've been really loving skinny jeans for this time of year. Sammy is pretty solidly into a 4T in those. Funny how items meant to fit close to him we're truer to size. If it's baggy we can fit into smaller sizes because he's just a skinny kiddo. 
My process is usually to identify the things I think should be purchased. Then I wait. I won't pay more than 50% MSRP. And no where near that on the Old Navy and Carters stuff. Tea I will pay more because I can resell that on one of the Tea BST resell pages on Facebook. Gap too for the most part. So far I have been hanging onto all clothes for an eventual second child- but I know at some point I will be doing a massive online destash and hopefully sending some of these great pieces onto new homes. 

Tripp Trapp....

Tripp Trapp....

Our highchair journey was pretty intense. We started out having a counter height table and our options were very limited. We ended up first with the Fisher Price Space Saver highchair. It was fine. More than fine. The issue ended up being that my son pushed himself off of the table and landed onto the ground. Anyone that knows Sammy knows that he can be accident prone. We didn't need the stress of another injury.

Even before we purchased the space saver - I just could not find a highchair I really loved. I thought the Stokke would be too expensive and I wasn't sure if the features were really for me. I thought it was cute but not sure it was the best choice. And of course at first we were very limited in what would extend to a tall table. 

To solve this problem I started researching. I moved us over to the smaller table that was normal height. At this point Sammy was nearly two and we really needed something that we could justify purchasing. The highchair we did have did nothing to prevent him pushing back. Relying on a toddler to not hurt himself isn't a go-to plan. After much research we landed on the Tripp Trapp by Stokke. It is a classic and can last Sammy until he's an adult. The features of this high chair directly addressed our two main concerns- will this purchase be worth the money long term? And- will this chair prevent him from tipping back and hurting himself?

First off the chair is rated to 300 lbs. It configures itself in a few ways so that we will be able to use this for a long time.The chair isn't distracting. It blends in with our furniture and Sammy is so proud to be sitting right up at the table. The footrest is very adjustable and we move it around as he grows. It was $150 and worth every penny. It still looks brand new.

There are special feet that prevent tipping. You can see them on the image on the right on the bottom of the chair at the end. Any force that pushes the chair backwards forces the chair to just slide backwards rather than tipping with these little feet placed correctly. I did a little research and all reviews I found with issues, the owner had not correctly installed this attachment.(There were a few ominous YouTube videos where the kid pushes against the table and the dad pushes the child back with his foot... no attachment).

At nearly 4 Sammy cannot undo the buckle himself. He still prefers to be buckled in the chair. He claims it is so he won't chase the cat. Preschoolers are basically hilarious. Most of the time he can buckle himself but sometimes needs assistance.

We plan to get a second one of these after we have another child (whenever that way may be) and have a pair of these chairs. They make baby kits so you can use it earlier than we did. The classic design and function of this high chair remind me why I love Stokke. I just wish their cribs were less expensive.

We did purchase the chair from for about $150. We have the natural signature edition and love it. We also purchased a cushion for the chair and have been absolutely pleased with it. Wipes down very easily, stays in place, and is holding up extremely well. It looks brand new.

A couple of little tips from me to you. First, after you are done using the chair- slip the buckles over the sides of the chair so you can easily use them again. They do have a tendency to get tucked in and under your kiddo. Secondly- the bottom buckle is long and will get tucked under your child's bum. Just make sure it is hanging down before they sit down completely.

Monday, September 29, 2014



These early Fall days are harder to get your kiddos ready! Mostly because there can be a large temperature swing. Mornings here are pretty chilly. Afternoons are warm enough for shorts. Getting Sammy dressed for school in the morning knowing he will be outside later in the day can be tricky. Here's how we tackled this issue today. 
We went with a short sleeved shirt and his Zara suspender jeans. He can run and play in this and it won't be too hot if it hits the upper 70s. The zip off jacket from Gap he can take off himself. It is pretty warm but the knit is loose and breathable. I love his chucks because they don't have any lining that traps in heat so it works out pretty well for both extremes of that day. 


I spent all night watching reruns of Parenthood. Does anyone else every basically thumb their nose at being an adult and make stupid decisions?!

So.. that clearly lead to a great morning. Sammy was pretty good, my patience was thin but I was managing. Until he decided that listening is for other kids. We had a nice talk about that we need to listen. When I say talk I more mean lecture. Because he's 3. Which is my basic excuse for all behavior. He is a three year old and we're practicing being a member of society.

Not sure how I will ever get him to listen though. Sage words of advice are always welcome. Timeouts are ok, they are moderately effective but I know we have a great deal of room for growth in the area of listening.

Today was the first day of a full week back to work after my Aunt passed. I feel like I am slogging through sand when walking and thinking. Sleep and a to do list a mile long isn't making for great days. I know I will get it all under control. My fear is that I am going to get it under control just in time for my Grandfather to pass. He doesn't have too long. Maybe we should just hang out in chaos land so I can put it all back together just once. We'll get there. Cycle of life and all that.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bebe... It's Cold Outside

Bebe... It's Cold Outside
Here are the pieces we've decided on for Fall. Full disclosure... I had some Gap rewards and some 40% off coupons that made this possible. I don't have a clothing budget that allows for full price for these items. (I paid like $25 for each coat and less for the vest)
First off is the Zara cardigan. It was pretty much love at first sight. I love it and know I can resell it someday so the $56 pricepoint wasn't my favorite but I know it will be high quality and since I was able to save other places. It's not the end of the world. But still- $30 would have been so much easier to swallow. 
Going to the right, the bomber brown coat from Gap is very nice. The color brown is great so I know I can get some wonderful snapshots outside picking apples and playing with leaves. The quilting really speaks to me.  
The mustard color warmest vest from Gap is well made and feels great. The details are well thought out and I feel like Gap does an amazing job of little boy's clothing. The color is perfect and goes well with a large range of colors so I don't have to worry about that while pairing with jeans.
Finally, the green dream coat. (OK, that is my name for it, but I love this thing!) Gap wins again. I got this because I had a 40% discount, got the cardmember rewards and had some gapcash. I usually get a coat for Sammy every February because they go on sale and I am able to get a great deal. This year however we had the Polar Vortex and deals were not so plentiful. And getting to the mall in the snow wasn't on the list of priorities. I got a great deal on this coat. 
This past I made the decision to get a synthetic fill coat instead of the down filled option we usually purchase. Mainly because I have a hard time washing the down coat and with Sammy being at school and playing outside during recess- it just has to be something that can easily be washed. I also like having two actual winter coats. It is a personal thing- some people would never feel the need but I like having two so one can be in the wash and one in use. I've just found that can be a concern with Sammy getting his clothing dirty. We have a long cold season ahead with reports that this could be a very harsh winter. I just don't want to put myself in a situation where I am stressed to complete the laundry and machine dry something I prefer to line dry. 
Lastly- keep checking for those sales. Carters has an amazing sale this weekend. 60% off and an additional 25% friends and family. They have some nice coats this year. North Face and Target also have some really standout coats. Don't be afraid to look around- but I recommend getting your choices made and get those coats home. I would just hate for the choices to be limited for a stylish little dude, and for a mom to feel like she didn't get exactly what she wanted! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Preschool Table Favorites

Preschool Table Favorites

Here are some of our favorite items for Sammy to use while eating & drinking. No secret that I love baby gear, I have sussed out some things I love and I will share some of the brands that just didn't work out for us. 
Starting with plates. Most plates will work fine. I love the skip hop zoo line. (1)We have a few of these. You can't microwave them and I do handwash. They've held up for almost three years now and the colors look great. I think it helps with serving sizes and they are pretty durable. I haven't had many issues with it sliding around. I also really like the Tommee Tippee (6) line. These are great for travel and I never feel bad sticking one of these in the microwave. I tend to like the divided plates because Sammy is such a picky eater and often he'll really want a ton of ketchup and this way I can make it look like he has more than he actually does.
Sippy Cups and Drinking Cups were some of the most bought items in my home. Mostly because they get used all of the time. Sammy ended his love affair with the bottle at 12 months. My husband was determined he was getting his son off of the bottle before it became too difficult. Same with the pacifier. Tommee Tippee (3) has always been our first go to line. They are durable and tended to be leak proof for us. Sammy can throw a sippy. The seals were also pretty easy to clean. Now that Sammy is nearing four we use the coffee cup like version pictured. I didn't care too much for the straw model though because it was a bear to clean. The avent is pretty nice and I really like it. We use it for water on the go and is a nice trainer. (2)
The Ikea sippy cups are so loved they inspired this post. The are the Smaska line by Ikea (7) is a favorite of mine. They are not leak proof. We use them to sort of work towards completely regular glasses. We do sometimes use a small child size glass at dinner- but more often than not it is spilled. This is nice because Sammy can get a small serving of milk in the cup and we're talking more like 4 oz than 16 which the larger sippy cups can  hold. It is much easier to say drink your cup of milk and we're moving on to water. While I do believe dairy is a good part of our balanced diet, we try to consume whole foods and the vitamin D milk contains a good amount of calories. For a child that doesn't eat a balanced meal - that can be good and bad. I just don't want him drinking 16 oz of milk and there is no desire left for some veggies. 
Lastly silverware. Skip the skip hop brand. (hehe) We have never put them in the dishwasher and only use method detergent and the designs wipe right off. We have a LOT of this silverware because skip hop actually sent us replacements for the three sets we purchased and the replacements did the same thing. Now I just use them as travel silverware. I purchased the Ikea set (4) of silverware because I really wanted a set I could hang onto that would last. Sort of one day I will be a grandparent and hope to have little kiddos eating a meal at my house and having the honor of telling them that their dad used these when he was little. The plastic ones I used were totally not going to work for that purpose. These were very inexpensive and I plan to go back and maybe get a second set. The sugarbooger sets are pretty nice.(5) They have held up far better than any other plastic brand.  They look great and are a nice size. I really recommend them for day to day use.