minted. | Holiday Edition

minted.

As you all know we are in love with minted.com over here. Our birth announcements for Alder were just so beautiful that we decided that we also wanted to use minted for our holiday photos as well. Once I started looking at the the minted website I noticed that they also have really beautiful photo gift options as well so of course I got sucked into all of the options and want one of everything please. Unfortunately our budget doesn’t warrant a minted shopping spree.  That being said we do have some new beautiful family photos that we want to share with family so we will be buying a few photo gifts in addition to our holiday cards.

Okay so on to the holiday cards. I seriously love holiday cards but I’m really not into the whole Merry Christmas thing because we have friends who don’t celebrate Christmas and we aren’t religious at all so Christmas is more a tradition than a religious event for us. We could always go the way of Happy Holidays and while that does give some inclusiveness to all holidays during November/December/January I still find that most of the cards are red and green ie Christmasy. In the end we usually go the Happy Holiday’s route but this year we used minted. and they offer New Years cards (probably other places do as well but that’s besides the point) the perfect alternative!

minted.

I spent far too much time, I’m talking hours, creating and looking at all of the Happy New Years card options. I fell in love with almost all of minted’s beautiful Happy New Years cards and had a really hard time settling on the style and type to go with. Above are a few of the styles that made our top 10 (yes top 10) but ultimately we settled on the Burst Holiday Booklet because we wanted to share a little bit about what’s been happening on our lives this year. While this card is a little more expensive we decided that it would also be a little gift that we could give to our family and friends. Now that we have children and we live so far from family and many friends we want to make sure that we share our lives with them and that they know how much we appreciate them so what’s better than a beautiful card full of photos of our growing children and stories from our year. It’s also just the perfect keepsake for us to tuck away and take out to look at year after year reminding ourselves of the special things that happened that year.

This was our runner-up booklet card.

This was our runner-up booklet card. The cover of the winner is the first photo in this post.

Since we just got out 2014 family photos taken and the holidays are here we also decided to purchase a holiday photo gift. I honestly wanted to buy one of every style of framed photograph they had to offer but ultimately settled on just one for someone special in our family. I’m not going to share it here because I don’t want to give the surprise away but here are a few of the options that made our top choices for framed photos. I’d like to note that adding the frame was seriously so reasonable like $13 for 8×8. I can’t wait for these cards and gift to arrive so I can send them to all the special people in our lives.

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Disclaimer: We were provided with a promo code to purchase a portion of our holiday cards and gifts purchase from minted. As always all opinions are our own. Screenshots shared with permission.

 

PDX Events | Macy’s Holiday Parade & Giveaway

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macysparade EdithWatchingMacysParade

Who else is thrilled for the week ahead? We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for a variety of reasons but I do love that Neil will have both Thursday and Friday off from work and guess what they will be paid days off because he is now full-time! Along with this full-time position came a promotion – woot woot! Anyways I am so excited to have a four day weekend with my love and our babies. We will be laying low on Thursday but Friday we will be up bright and early to go to the My Macy’s Holiday Parade here in Portland.

The My Macy’s Holiday Parade will take place on Friday, November 28, 2014 in downtown Portland. The parade steps off promptly at 9 a.m. and lasts approximately one hour. We attended last year and it was freezing so make sure to check the weather forecast and dress warm! Oh and get there early because if there is anything that I have learned since moving to Portland is that Portlanders LOVE their parades.

I am so excited to attend the parade again this year and I’m excited to see what Edith thinks. She had fun last year but now she is so much more verbal and understands so much more I can only imagine that she is going to have a blast when she sees all the floats pass by. We are lucky enough to be sitting in the VIP section again this year (we won VIP tickets last year) and I am happy to announce that I am able to giveaway four passes this year!

So who wants to win?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Here is some more info about the passes:
  • These passes allow you entry to the special seating area in front of the Macy’s store on Alder Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues starting at 8 AM on Parade Day.
  • The VIP pass will grant you access to coffee, cocoa and sweet treats at The Red Star Tavern across the street in their Club Room compliments of K103 FM.
  • The parade takes place on Friday, November 28th (the day after Thanksgiving) at 9:00 AM. The line-up includes local high school bands, equestrian units, special inflatable floats and more than 600 costumed characters.
  • Make sure you wear the “flashing” buttons for admission to this special reserved area! (The buttons are Macy‘s star pins that light up and are your VIP passes.)

Hello Friends! | Quick Update

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Hello Friends! I know it’s been a bit since my last post but life is just kind of happening over and here and I haven’t very many free moments to sit down and write. That being said part of this “life just happening” is Neil and I working on some fun new projects including some surprises for Naturally Family.  The other part is a baby boy going through a growth spurt and developmental leap and a little lady who seems to also be going through both as well – talk about the perfect storm! I think we are at the tail end of Alder’s growth spurt (not the developmental leap though so babywearing to the rescue!) and I think Edith is finally coming back into a better place now. As part of Edith’s “fun” spurt period we have been dealing with a bout of sleep regression which results in some challenging days for all of us but (knock on wood) I think the worst is over!

Anyways that is where we are at so this week is all about getting the house back in order and life back on it’s semi-normal track. I’ll be back later this week with a new post but until then you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more realtime updates and tidbits.

 

xo. Lindsay.

Christmas List Planning 2014

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Neil&EdithMacysParade

This Christmas we are trying to stay pretty minimal and focus not on the gifts but on the time we spend together. We are hoping to host a Winter Solstice party and just focus on holiday experiences instead of spending money on lots of gifts. Last year we started the tradition of buying only six gifts per person plus a small stocking based on the categories below. In years passed we have allotted a little more money for the kids and adults but this year we just want to scale back. It’s not that we couldn’t spend more it’s that we don’t need to.

We are trying to declutter our home and lives and are attempting to become more minimalist. So we have actually decided not to exchange birthday (kids get one small gift + new experience), anniversary, Mother’s/Father’s Day gifts and instead do something special to celebrate.

This year in addition to following our five categories (you’ll notice we dropped from six to five) policy and reducing our budget we are also focusing on buying local. We try to as much as possible but when you have an Amazon Prime membership and Target just down the road it’s easy to turn to these stores for all of our shopping. I believe the holidays are a good reminder to give back and part of this is shopping locally and/or from companies that give back.

Budget for Family $250 max total (ideally we will be able to come in under budget).

Gift Categories:

  • Wear
  • Want
  • Read
  • Create
  • Gift to us from the kids/Gift to each child from one another
  • Plus Stocking.

This year 75% must be purchased at local shops, shops that give something back or homemade and this goes for gifts we are giving to family and friends too (separate budget).

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing our five category gift ideas for each of us along with some fun low cost DIY gifts. We will also be sharing our holiday/winter experiences on the blog as well. You can also find a few other gift guides on Running With Tongs and Life Brews.

Five Tot Friendly Shows (that aren’t Daniel Tiger)

I don’t know what world you live in but over here it is Daniel Tiger (DT- yes we watch it so much I have come to abbreviating) all. the. time. Seriously. I’m so over DT and have been working on moving us away from it and on to some new and more interesting shows. That being said I don’t think DT will be out of our life anytime soon but I am hoping Edith is over it by the time Alder starts having an opinion about shows because I don’t know if I can bear to go two or so more years watching it. Before I reveal the other shows we (yes we) are liking let’s first see if you also watch too much DT.

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You know you’re watching too much DT when…

  1. Evening conversations with your partner/husband develop into an over analytical discussion about why Mrs. Tiger is the only one of the tigers who wears pants.
  2. You are constantly singing songs from DT (clean up, pick up, put away…ALWAYS IN MY HEAD). 
  3. You are still singing the songs when your children have gone to bed.
  4. You have playdates and conversation always ends up leading to something Daniel Tiger related such as why the male tigers don’t wear pants or how Mrs. Tiger walked home from the doctors office after just having her baby (and can we talk about the new baby parade?)
  5. Your child says “Daniel Tiger has, does, likes, ect too” to everything. Example Edith is eating oatmeal for breakfast –> “Daniel Tiger eat oatmeal too!”
  6. You read this blog post and at the end say YES, EXACTLY!

So now that we have determined that you are watching too much DT or that you don’t want to become someone who does here are a few better (IMO) options that you and your tot can both get behind.

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Bergen_DinosaurTrain

 

the_hive_logo_and_bees peg+catsacconyjolys

 

So Tumble Leaf is on Amazon and if you have Amazon Prime it’s free. It’s actually an Amazon original show and I don’t remember how I came across it but I really love it. The animation is fantastic and the the story line is actually great. It’s set in the woods (and by the sea and by some snow – they’ve got it all covered) mostly with your traditional woodland creatures except for the funny little chickens that don’t really talk. Anyways each episode features some sort of problem and it shows how Fig the Fox (main character) solves the problem/learns by play and exploration. My description doesn’t do it justice but trust me it’s good.

I know many of you are probably already on the Dinosaur Train but I have to say I really like the show. For one thing there are more episodes than DT so we don’t fall into the trap of watching the same ones over and over. Plus I find it to be educational for Edith and I learn something (hey it’s been about 20 years since I learned about dinosaurs). Edith is really into dinosaurs lately so that helps too.

The Hive is something that Edith actually asked to watch one day when I was flipping through shows on Netflix. It’s a show about a bee family and their insect friends. Oh and it’s British so I think Edith gets a kick out of the British accent and the British phrases. Anyways I think the show is pretty cute and a great alternative to DT.

Now this one is one that I really like and while I was able to convince E to watch Peg + Cat for a short period she just hasn’t been interested in it lately. I hoping to try and guide it to her as an alternative to DT. This show is again like most preschool shows all about certain lessons and I just really enjoy the approach that this show takes.

Okay this last one is the wild card. The SACCONEJOLYs is actually a YouTube channel that I came across last spring and for some reason got sucked into watching it. Since then Edith has become obsessed with their two year old daughter Emilia; I think it’s because they are almost the same age and Emilia has a little brother now just like E does. Anyways they post a new video everyday at 6pm GMT (for us that’s 10am PST) and while we don’t watch this everyday we do watch it a few times per week at the request of Edith. Although I’ll tell you this if there isn’t enough Emilia in it she starts to order the screen to put on more Emilia and will desperately ask “Where Emilia Go? Emilia ARE YOU?? (that’s Emilia where are you in Edith language). So this one really might not be your cup of tea but what can I say I like to be a little nosey and watch other people’s lives and Edith enjoys it (oh and it’s not a cartoon).

So that’s it. This is my current list of shows that I try and persuade my toddler to watch instead of Daniel Tiger. On a side note as I am finishing up this post we are watching Daniel Tiger, oh the irony.

What are your favorite tot/preschool shows? 

Weekend Fun | Forest Park Hike

Happy Daylight Savings! Yeah I don’t know how happy you are about it but I’m less than thrilled. I’m also less than thrilled that Neil moved our clock in the bedroom forward instead of back so he and Edith were up at 5am while he was thinking it was 7am (can we say daylight savings fail?) Anyways we made the best of our extra early morning and after breakfast and coffee we headed out for a hike.

We decided to start our hike at the Audubon Society so that we could first check out the birds at the bird hospital there. It’s also a great place to start and end a hike because they have bathrooms, it’s the little things.

Forest Park Hike raven

>> We checked out the birds first and got to see this amazing huge raven. Edith had to snap a few photos of it was well. She has really taken to “taking photos” and even has to “take photos” while we cook and of her food. I think we might need to consider getting her a little inexpensive digital camera – any suggestions?

Forest Park Hike ma and kids

>> Neil started our hike wearing Edith and here they are looking at the water (sorry it didn’t make it into the photo) but of course Edith had to take photos of the water as well.

Forest Park Hike photos

>> Alder fell asleep on our way to the Audubon Society and I easily transitioned him out of this carseat (seriously one of the best features of our carseat is that is rotates for easy in and out) and into the carrier where he peacefully slept for the first half of our hike.

Forest Park Hike

>> Half-way through the hike and we stopped to eat a huge honey crisp apple and of course Alder wanted to eat as well so we took a seat and had a snack.

Forest Park Hike breastfeeding

>> SWITCH! We switched babes and Edith wanted to ride on my back which I was thrilled about because it is so much easier to hike with a child on your back even if they weigh twice as much as the one previously on your front. I don’t get to wear Edith quite as much anymore so I was thrilled to have that time with her. I have to say she is a pretty supportive rider as well- when we hit a steep point and I slowed down a bit she would say “mama, make it?” and I’d say “Yes Edith, we’re going to make it” and then she would reply “mama gots this”.

Forest Park Hike Edith back

>> Once we made it back to the top I convinced Edith to give me a break and to walk back to the car. She agreed but she needed to have her own walking stick.

Forest Park hike Family

>> After our hike we were all ready for lunch and so we headed to Harlow to refuel. Edith insisted on having a bowl of oatmeal (odd request for her) so luckily it was still brunch time and we ordered her a big bowl which she proceeded to eat almost all of it.

Harlow Oatmeal

>> While we are feeling pretty run down after the early wake-up we had a fun and successful day. Edith made it to bed at the new 7:30pm and was asleep quickly after so here’s hoping that she wakes up at 6am tomorrow and not 5am!

What did you do this weekend? How did Daylight Savings go for your and/or your little ones? 

Photo Dump

Hello! I know it’s been awhile since we have written much here but don’t worry we are still around! We are refocusing and organizing the blog (and our house).  Speaking as myself (Lindsay) I have been stepping back from the computer more during the day to focus on our mountain of laundry, piles of dishes and of course the kids. That being said we now have a clean and mostly organized office so Neil and I have started spending out nights down in the office working on things which means more focused energy on our sites and various projects. So for now I am going to share some photos from our phones that we have been holding on to. Enjoy!
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ErgoDual ErgoWholeFoods

Cloth Diapering with Two

I started writing this post back in July but for some reason it never got published. I figured I’d publish it now and I’ll do a follow up next month.

totsbots

So I was just reading Char’s update and her pros and cons of cloth diapering and felt inspired/reminded that I really should do an update on our situation over here. Well come to find out I haven’t done a cloth diapering update since April 2013…..yeah over a year ago and things have certainly changed since then.

So over the past 24 months our stash of diapers has really changed. There are some diapers that we have just loved, many we simply just like and then there are those that are our “backups”. While we have not tried all the cloth diapers out there we have tried a huge variety and have really settled on a few favorites but I’ll get to those later.

Here is our stash based on our last update at 9 months:

Since then we have also had:

  • 1- Buttons Diaper
  • 1- Lil’ Helpers
  • 5- Applecheeks size 2
  • 3- Fuzzibuns size medium
  • 3- Thirsties AIO
  • 3- Happy Heiny
  • 1- GroVia
  • 4- Sustainablishbaby
  • 2- (more) Tots Bots Easy Fit
  • 3- Bumgenius Elemental

Finally what we currently have for Edith and baby #2:

  • 8- Bum Genius all-in-one newborn (6) and elemental (2)
  • 1- Omaiki Cloth Diaper
  • 2- Charlie Bananas size small and medium
  • 9- Green Mountain Diapers Newborn Workhorse + 4 Thirsties Duo Covers
  • 4- FuzziBunz size x-small (1), small (1), & medium (3)
  • 1- Applecheeks Cloth Diaper size 1
  • 1- Applecheeks swim diaper size 1
  • 3- Happy Heiny
  • 1- GroVia
  • 4- Sustainablishbaby
  • 5- Tots Bots Easy Fit

Current total: 23 newborn, xsmall, small or medium (for baby #2) and 19 for Edith. 

Cloth Diapers

That being said the Sustainablishbaby ones require covers and we have wool covers that I just hate/don’t make time to clean since they need special care. Edith wears these ones just at home and I have to check her regularly to make sure she isn’t wet so they are not ideal. Also for baby #2 we have mostly newborn sizes which they will eventually grow out of depending on how big they are.

Edith was tiny and she ended up wearing her newborn diapers until close to 3 months but that might not be the case this time around. So our stash for #2 will quickly go from 23 to 7.  While most of the diapers that E can wear will be able to be made smaller for #2 we will still need more diapers for them to share. Edith is getting bigger and growing out of her FuzziBunz and Sustainablishbaby diapers so those can be saved for #2 but we are going to need to replace those ones for E’s size. I know some of your are probably wondering about potty learning and right now we are taking a relaxed approach to it so I am not sure how long E will be in diapers for and I’ll take time to blog specifically about this at a later date.

So honestly now that we have had prefolds, fitteds, AIO’s, AI2’s, hybrids and pockets I have to say that we prefer AIO’s or AI2’s over any other type and are specifically huge fans of Tots Bots Easy Fit. Also I prefer snaps over hook and loop for fastening however Neil prefers hook and loop. The thing about hook and loop is 1. more wear and tear and 2. you may have a husband like me (or wife) that 9.5/10 times does not fold down the velcro before tossing in the dirty bin which just drives me nuts when it comes wash time.

So what happened to all of those other diapers we had? Well I ended up selling almost all of them and a few ended up getting left in a dirty bag for far too long and so Neil and I ended up tossing them (I know not ideal but it’s the reality of the situation). The Applecheeks size 2 just didn’t work out for E and her petite body. We could never get them tight enough around the leg so they wouldn’t leak and there is nothing worse then a leaky diaper. The gDiapers were ones that we actually really liked at first but ultimately found overtime that they also were prone to leaking at times especially when using the cloth inserts v. the disposable.  We used them for awhile and liked them for traveling but because we were more interested in sticking to cloth we chose to sell them and buy something else. The Thirsties AIO were okay at first but just SO thick that they never seemed to fully dry even when tossed in the dryer and so again we sold these.

What about disposables? We use disposables at night now because we have had issues with ammonia build up in Edith’s diapers specifically after a night of wearing them.  We actually were using cloth 90% of the time from August 2013 through January 2014 but then we faced the ammonia issue and E experience ammonia burns so we switched to disposables at night. Neil did a ton of research into what might be causing the build up and things to do and will have a post up soon with more specifics regarding this.

One thing I am not proud of is how often we turn to disposables now during the day. I think a big part of this is having them in the house more because of night time use and also because sometimes I am just lazy. Also pregnancy + poopy diapers = wonky stomach <– negative side effect of pregnancy and a big reason why I sometimes use disposables during the day until Edith has had a bowel movement.

I know this post ends sort of abruptly but I’ll fill you in on what we are using now three months into having two kids and our plans for future diapering. 

TOT IN THE KITCHEN | Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

Edith loves to be in the kitchen. Seriously the Learning Tower (similar/similar) is one of the best purchases ever and gets use multiple times per day. Today we headed to the kitchen to make kale chips. This is one of our favorite snacks and they are so much fun to make at home.

I usually like to make them in the dehydrator but we had a “must have now” hankering for them so we turned the oven on and went the quicker route.

You can find the full recipe right here.

Tots in The Kitchen - Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips spinner

Edith was my little helper for this recipe. She helped me de-stem the kale and the she spun in it in the salad spinner for me (seriously awesome kitchen tool for kids). After I added the seasoning and kale to the zip bag I zipped it and let her get down to massaging the kale. You could just do this in a bowl but this method cuts down on mess as the kale is flung around the room due to enthusiastic massaging and mixing. It also means no oily hands that you just can’t seem to get fully clean. Plus it’s just more fun!

Tots in The Kitchen - Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

tots in the kitchen kale chips action shot

Here’s an action shot for you. Looks like someone is having a blast despite being sick, not sleeping and being cranky.

Tots in The Kitchen - Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips muncher

 

The best part for tots about making their own food is eating it. While Edith loves kale chips anyways I do think she enjoys them even more when she helped make them.

Does your child like kale chips? What’s your/their favorite flavor?