Tag Archives: toddler

The Trouble with Shopping Early

As I recently explained, my Grinchiness is waning. My tiny little Who has brought out my long-lost festive side, and now I’m really starting to get into this whole holiday thing!

The only problem: I can’t stop buying gifts! 8O

Believe it or not, I like to start my shopping in January, right after the previous year’s holiday season ends. I begin by watching the many daily deal sites I belong to, stacking up half price vouchers and great deals to spend later. I enter some online contests, and buy things when I find an exceptionally good coupon code…and by the time Little Man’s birthday and Christmas roll around, I’m usually have quite a nice stash of things ready to be wrapped up and gifted (without breaking the bank all at once.)

It’s a good plan. I’m sure of it. But it has one glitch: When you’re done shopping midway through the year, what do you do when you find yourself feeling unexpectedly “spirited” in December? Especially when Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the like bombard you with so-good-you-can’t-pass-them-up deals?

I’ll tell you what you do. You spend more. And you end up with more gifts than a 2-year-old needs or expects.

When I was preparing to be a mom, I always said, “Oh, who needs lots of toys? A few blocks, a ball…he’ll be fine. Books are better.” I wanted my son to interact and be imaginative, not rely on some toys to entertain him. But then, as reality set in, I realized how important it is to have a good array of developmentally appropriate, stimulating toys around to encourage growth and challenge your child.

Plus, he just so darned sweet I just want to give him everything! I know. I’m a sucker. That smiley, happy, squishy little face just kills me.

So what does it hurt? A few extra Melissa and Doug toys here, a couple of wooden cars or animals there (Not to mention a few new diapers or some snuggly Aden and Anais blankets, especially when you find a rockin’ deal!) I mean, what could be more fun than finding truly great products your kid will love, at great prices to boot? I’m not quite sure if it does hurt anything, really.

But one thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want our holidays to become all about the stuff. Too much stuff is too much stuff, even if some of it happens to be free from a Twitter party or sweepstakes win. We’ve made some very carefully planned changes in our lives over the past several years in an effort to simplify and plan our escape from the proverbial rat race, so I really think I need to stick to those same ideals even when it’s challenging, like in December.  Hoards of presents under the tree may be fun on Christmas morning, but I don’t think the long-term effects will be.

Note to self: You’ve caught your mistake early, now it’s time to reign it in, mama.

(But I’m still ordering a few new Aden and Anais swaddle blankets for nap time at Grammie’s…What? I have a great coupon code! :roll: )


What are your thoughts? Do you set limits on the amount of presents your children receive during the holidays, or do you go as far as your budget allows?


1 Comment

Filed under Parenting & Family, The Everyday

ABE2 Sponsor Spotlight: The Soft Landing

Every once in a while, you find a company that just “gets it,” a company that shares your values and priorities on a fundamental level. For me, The Soft Landing is that company – and that’s why I’m thrilled to have them as my sponsor for A Blogtastic Extravaganza!


You shouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to choose safer products for your family. ~The Soft Landing

If the statement above is music to your ears, we just might have a lot in common. :)

For years now, I’ve been on the hunt for simple, useful products that I can bring into my home without having to worry about the harm they might cause my family. It’s a shame, but today’s market is flooded with toys, baby items, kitchenware, etc. made from plastics that contain  BPA, PVC, phthalates, melamine, cadmium, lead and flame retardants.

So what’s a health-conscious and eco-friendly mama to do? Well, you could search high and low, research into the wee hours of the morning, and shop at 100 different stores looking for safe versions of the many things you need….


you could just do your shopping in one trusted place – The Soft Landing!

The Soft Landing was created to help busy parents navigate the sea of unlabeled mama and baby products. In short, they do all the work for you! They work with manufacturers to locate tons of products (primarily plastics, but also plush toys, mattresses, and more) that are safe, non-toxic and worry-free, and they bring them to you, all in one easy online shopping experience. You don’t have to read packages, or comb through product websites – just browse The Soft Landing’s online selection and buy what you like. It’s that easy! Read more about their commitment to your family’s health here.

And the stuff they sell is super cute! Sometimes, when you want toxin-free for your family, you have to settle for functionality over eye-appeal. Not so at The Soft Landing! You’ll find plenty of things in their online store (like bath toys, popsicle molds, storage containers, lunchboxes, sippy cups, etc.) that are cute, fun, and kid-friendly while still giving you the peace of mind you want.

For example…this Beaba Feeding Set, a Soft Landing exclusive!

I gave this set a test run, and I am just in love with it (and so is my son!) It’s a great quality set, and since it’s from The Soft Landing, I don’t even have to give a second thought to the fact that it’s plastic. I know that it doesn’t contain any of the icky stuff I don’t want.

Why we love it:

  • The bright, fun colors! (A total toddler magnet!)
  • The dish and bowl are deep and roomy, with soft, slip-resistant bases to keep them from sliding – whoops! – right off the table! (check out the close-up of the bases, below)
  • The cup, also slip-resistant, is the perfect size and shape for little hands.
  • The fork and spoon included are rounded and deep to keep food ON, and the fork isn’t so dull that it can’t pick up a bite of food (a toddlerware pet peeve of mine!)
  • The whole set is very sturdy and well-made to stand up to lots of use. And, it’s top-rack dishwasher safe!

This Beaba Tableware set has become a favorite in our house, and since my son has been using it at every meal, I love knowing that it’s perfectly safe for everyday use. As a mom, that kind of reassurance is something you just can’t put a price tag on.

What’s even better? The Soft Landing has offered my lucky ABE winner a Beaba Set of their own! (retail value $29.50)

That’s right! You can win this set during my ABE giveaway as part of my “Hungry Toddler” prize package, starting tomorrow! And, since you’re here now, you can leave me a comment below for an extra entry in the giveaway!

BONUS ENTRY: Just visit The Soft Landing, then come back and leave a comment on this post telling me another safe, non-toxic product you’d like to try from their wide selection, and you’re entered! (Just make sure to come back tomorrow and complete the mandatory entry.)

Good Luck!


Entries on this post will serve as extra entries for my A Blogtastic Extravaganza Giveaway, starting 8.17.11. Comments on this post will be added on at the end of the main post’s giveaway entries, and will be counted as the highest numbered entries. Mandatory entry must be completed or entries on this post will be deleted. Thanks for entering!


Filed under giveaways, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, Uncategorized

My Top 5 Tips for a Successful Date Night

This past Saturday night was a fun one – my high school reunion! I was never the type to go to those kinds of things, but this time around it sounded like fun, and my husband and I decided that after 20 months, we were ready for our first date night since becoming parents!

Yes, I’ve left my son plenty of times. He spends 4 days a week with my mom while I work, and he’s fine there. But I’ve never left him at night before. When I’m not at work, he’s with me. Period. He’s nursed to sleep every night since birth, and I’ve never not been the one to tuck him safely into bed at night.

There’s also the fact that my mom and dad take care of him while I work, so I hate to ask for extra babysitting. But since he’s comfortable there, I wouldn’t consider leaving him anywhere else for his first (partial) night without Mommy and Daddy. I think my mom knew even better than I did how much my husband and I would benefit from a real date, so she happily took on the challenge and off we went!

And you know what? It was a total success! I’m still processing the actual reunion and the memories that came with it (high school was not a great time for me…) but all in all it was a ton of fun! I felt totally reconnected with the man I married, my best friend. I’ve missed that guy! Not only did I get to spend some QT with him, but I really felt like myself again. Or rather, the new “Mommy” me, with some of the old me thrown in.

Anywho, I think there were a few reasons why our night went so well.

Here are my 5 top tips for a successful Mommy/Daddy date night:

Be really, really sure of your child care. Like I said, I was a little worried that my son wouldn’t go to bed well without my being there to rock and comfort him, but all in all I was 100% confident in his safety and well-being. A night that is meant to be relaxing is not the time to try out a new babysitter. Save that for your dentist appointments or daytime errands.

On the same note, date night is no time to be trying out new hair products, either. Trust me, rewashing your hair to get the weird gunk out is not what you need…especially when it was supposed to make you look and feel like a million bucks. :(

Is it a treat for you? Then make it a treat for your little one, too! A new toy, new movie, maybe a favorite dinner. They all go far in making the night a little easier, a little more fun. We stopped on the way to my Mom’s to get a pint of fresh blueberries for dessert…and it worked! Who can be sad when there are blueberries around?! :D

Do do it until YOU are ready. That might mean 2 months or 20 months, but only you will know when the time is right for you and your family. I hear it from others all the time - You need to get OUT for a little while without your kid! – SO annoying! Don’t let the opinions of others push you. You won’t have a good time if you’re spending the night hovering over your phone or working against your gut instincts, questioning whether you really should be out or not.

Leave the guilt at home. I’ll admit it – I feel a little guilty when I do anything for myself, especially when it doesn’t involve my baby boy, and I’ve been defending my lack of date nights for a long time. I adore my little man, and I really want nothing more than to spend every possible minute with him…but I didn’t really understand how much I needed a night out until I had one. I’m glad I waited until we were all ready as a family, because it was a great evening, and feeling rejuvenated will surely help make me a better mommy in the long run.  I can’t wait to do it again!

(…but many not right away. ;) )


How old was your child when you left for the first time to do something fun?

Do you have any tips for us first-timers? Please share!



Filed under Parenting & Family, The Everyday

So, how’s that weaning going?

It’s been a little while since my last post about weaning, so I thought it was high time I followed it with an update…but somehow, every time I sit down to write about this whole process so that someone – anyone – might benefit from my experience, I can’t seem to put two coherent sentences together.

Why? Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about weaning, it’s that I know nothing about weaning.

I never wanted to wean my son. Since day one, it has always been my intention to let him lead the way and decide when he was good and ready. In fact, I’d love to nurse for another year or two – but, alas, our breastfeeding relationship has prevented us, thus far, from becoming pregnant again and the thought of no siblings is just about the only thing that could persuade me to start persuading.

So at around 17 1/2 months I started nudging and making small changes, trying to eek out a careful balance of still providing as much milk as possible while cutting back enough to jumpstart my body into fertile mode again. I cut out my last pumping session during the workday and stopped sending milk with Little Man during the day. From that point on, he got milk only when Mommy was around.

I was shocked at how easy that transition was, and I was thrilled to finally be free of my pump! :D (Although it had definitely served me well!) Since we were going 12 hours at a time without nursing, and attempting to night nurse was next on the agenda, I figured my supply would dwindle and we’d be done altogether in a few weeks.


My supply dipped, but maintained just the right amount, probably because night nursing did not happen. Not even a little bit. It increased. Hey wait…this whole weaning thing is supposed to mean a little more sleep for the mama, right? :?

Wrong again.

Maybe it’s because I work all day or maybe it’s just because it’s normal, but my little milk monster has only slept through the night a few times since he was born, and attempts to night wean him only led to more determination on his part. I will admit that I was looking forward to some of this elusive “sleep through the night” action I’ve heard about  ( My nickname for STTN is “The Unicorn,” because it’s such a lovely, imaginary creature that I’ve only read about in books… ) Oh well…he’ll probably sleep as a teenager, right?

Fast forward to now (nearly 20 months.) After several attempts at limiting middle-of-the-night milk only to be met with a crying, rejected baby and a brokenhearted mommy, I decided I just couldn’t do it. Weaning to regulate my cycle and gain sleep made NO sense when the end result was less sleep and more stress! Withholding the one constant source of physical and emotional nourishment he’s had since birth just went against every iota of my mothering instinct. Plus, the benefits of nursing well into toddlerhood are just too great to deny (here’s a great fact sheet from Kellymom.com that I have kept on my desktop for months.)  So I backed off and decided that cutting out pumping and daytime milk would have to be enough, and took the rest out of my hands and put it back in the hands of my happy little nursling.

What will be will be.

And you know what “be”?  In the past week and a half, my son has enjoyed 5 full nights of sleep, and so have I. Hallelujah! I’ve been thinking a lot about why, and I’ve come to the conclusion that weaning would not help him sleep, but rather his being developmentally ready to sleep would help him wean. I had it backwards! Ah, the perfect sense of it all!

And it doesn’t stop there. I was really concerned that at some point I might get pregnant and have to deal with being super exhausted while dealing with a still-nursing, still-night-waking toddler. But now, as he starts to sleep more, my cycle is returning (albeit verrrry slowly. But we did just buy a new house, and everyone tells me that is a surefire way to get pregnant! :lol: ) I think relaxing about weaning and letting things happen naturally, organically, has allowed our bodies to synch up and figure out each other’s needs the way only a mother and child can. And I thought the biology of pregnancy was amazing…little did I know that was only the tip of the iceberg!

As of right now, I don’t know how much milk my son is getting, but I am so glad he’s still getting some. Setting my worries aside and follow what feels right has allowed me to relax, and is undoubtedly much healthier for both of us.

Hey, maybe I do know a little something about weaning, after all!  ;)

An added bonus that I never thought we’d see – Instead of running up to me the second I get home from work and signing milk, we officially have a new word for nursing!


1 Comment

Filed under Breastfeeding, Parenting & Family

I’m craving dirt!

No, I don’t want to eat it, silly. :roll:

I want to dig in it!

Spring just didn’t feel like spring without our garden this year, and I’m thinking summer is going feel a little empty, too. With my husband in overtime, my work picking up, and our family getting ready to move in a few weeks, we decided not to put the usual focus on our garden.

It’s tough. When you love to garden, it can become much more than just a hobby. It’s a way of life. A way to feed your family, alleviate stress, feel productive, save the world. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating. But only a little.

But as much as we both identify as gardening folk, we just didn’t see the point of planting what we usually plant this year. I wouldn’t mind so much if we had to leave some veggies for whoever may end up buying our house, but that’s a lot of time to devote to something that doesn’t bear real fruit for us. Time is a hot commodity these days, and we have to use it efficiently.

So in a few weeks we’ll be packing up and moving onto our new 6-acre lot, and there will be lots of gardening to go around. The herb garden taking shape in my head is just stellar. But until then, it just feels a sad to be missing our buds and shoots and blooms and baby veggies.

What’s our solution?

Well, we have two.

The first thing we’re doing is caring for a few choice plants that will help us feel “gardeny” while allowing our son some of the learning experiences we’re just not willing to let him miss. At 19 months, this is the perfect time to get him interested, so we did plant one little tomato plant for him, along with the dill volunteers from last year. (I even got a dilly bouquet today!) and a little spinach.

But the real star of the show is Little Man’s strawberry plant.

One potted plant, kept by the front walk. Every day when he gets home, he inspects it for new berries, which we allow him to pick (only if they’re red!) and pop into his mouth. He then fills up his tot-sized watering can and gives the plant a drink so it can grow more berries for tomorrow. Watching my son tend to his plant and snack on fresh berries, warm from the sun, is quite possibly on of the most gratifying experiences of my entire life. And nope, I’m not even exaggerating this time. :)

The other thing we’re doing to get us through this sparse year is exploring more local markets. We tend to miss them because we are too busy, or because we don’t need to buy more than we grow. But this year, we’re taking time when we can, as a family, to find out where the good local stuff is, and we plan to call and schedule tours at a few local farms in the next few months, too. I’m betting we find some real gems that we never would have found in a normal year, and we get to do our part to support our community farmers. It’s good karma, after all…you never know when we might be among them. ;)

This week, our local farmstand finds included blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers and green tomatoes. Can you tell they were a hit?




Leave a Comment

Filed under Green Living, Home & Garden, Parenting & Family