Finding Balance

Sou'wester hammock

It really hasn’t been my intention to let my posting on Naturally Family fall to the wayside but it seems that it has. I am just having a hard time finding the balance between my life as a mom, a partner, a blogger and everything in between. Unfortunately Naturally Family has taken a bit of a backseat. That’s not to say that Naturally Family is going anywhere; I actually have a good 10-15 posts already started, photos edited or ideas jotted down or recorded in the notes section of my phone. It just means post are coming at slower rate as I find the balance in life. In the meantime you can keep up with us on Instagram.

 

Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout

Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

Growing up my family did a lot of camping. We went tenting, we had a pop-up camper for many years as well and even my first trip to Disney World was a camping trip to the Fort Wilderness (hmmmm maybe this is how I’ll convince Neil to do a Disney World trip). Anyways I am so excited continue the camping tradition with our littles.

This summer is the first summer that we have done some real camping as a family. The past two summers we have gone to our favorite vintage trailers (stay tuned for more on that in another post) but this is the first summer we have done “real” camping. Our first camping trip was to Cape Outlook to celebrate Neil and my 7th Wedding Anniversary. We lucked out and got a last minute yurt which was perfect for our first camping trip. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

Cape Lookout is located on the Oregon Coast so of course our first stop was the beach. Both kids have a deep love for the water and the sand and they played and played until it was time to head back for dinner. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

Of course Alder took a little break with me while Neil and Edith wandered the beach some. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

We cooked up dinner at the campsite something we are still trying to perfect but one of the greatest things was that Edith wanted to help do the dishes. I don’t want to jinx it but this love of doing her own dishes has continued on at home and as she insists on washing her dishes after every meal.Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

We were all exhausted from traveling and our beach adventure so we easily fell asleep. Oh how glorious it was to have beds and a heater in our yurt. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

We woke up to a drizzly day and after a big bowl of berries, coffee and some oats we decided to head out for a drive down the coast. We ended up in Lincoln City where we stopped down by the water but it was a bit windy (see photo below: Edith was hiding from the wind) so we headed to get some lunch and then drove back to Cape Outlook.Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

When we got back to the campsite we decided to get out for a hike and hopefully beat the impending rain. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

Despite these unenthusiastic looks they where having a great time. Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally Family

We finished our hike off with a walk down the beach. We were searching for live crabs but alas we only found parts of shells and a whole lot of what I think were sand fleas (yuck). kIMG_5303Oregon Adventures | Camping/Yurting at Cape Lookout | Naturally FamilyAs soon as we arrived back at camp we started on dinner but unfortunately the rain started and we had to rush into the yurt. Thankfully Neil finished up dinner while we huddled in the yurt. So glad we were able to stay in a yurt because all that rain would have made packing up to go home miserable.

Side Notes Regarding Cape Lookout:

  • The yurt sites are all pretty good but if you can try and get a yurt with a door facing away from the road.
  • Get a deluxe cabin if you can.
  • This campground is popular with RV’s and unless you are staying in a cabin/yurt you probably want to have an RV.
  • There are very few sites that are good for large tents. Most sites will fit a small two or three person tent but bigger than that you might run into some issues.
  • There are private showers, electricity and flushable toilets (!!)
  • You’ve got the beach and hiking/nature walk.

When did you start camping with your little ones? Any tips? 

 

Happy Father’s Day Neil!

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Nei’s first Father’s Day (2013)

It’s crazy to think that this is the third Father’s day we are celebrating and the start of our third summer in Portland. While we are out enjoying some camping and family time I’d thought I would share with you just a few of the many reasons Neil is an amazing father.

He has the magic night time touch to calm Alder. I know it’s a strange one to start with but it’s currently a big thing this week. We are pass the days where just the boob calms and frankly I’m exhausted from being up all night nursing this past month so in comes Neil and his magic abilities to calm. This isn’t a new ability he had it with Edith as well and that is truly a special and magical (to me anyways) thing. This not only makes him an amazing father but partner as well because even on work nights he gets up and spends time calming and bouncing so I can sleep.

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He can multi-task.  It’s taken some practice but by the time Alder arrived Neil is able to eat and soothe a baby to sleep at the same time.

He is a fun playmate. I love how easily Neil can release his inner child and just play. He will run around, be silly, makeup stories, sing (off key) and just have fun. He inspires me to be more playful everyday.

He takes most of the poopy diapers on the weekends. Maybe this doesn’t make him so much an amazing father but an amazing husband. Thank you Neil.

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He makes time for the kids morning and night. As soon as Neil wakes up he is making coffee (amazing partner points), reading books to the kids and playing even though sometimes (most times) this means scrambling to get ready for work. At night it’s the same thing he walks in the door, we eat and he is immediately in dad mode. He plays, reads, takes the kids to the park, or whatever they want to do until bedtime.

He has an unlimited supply of hugs and kisses. I mean what’s better than that? Even if some of those kisses are directed to feet or legs or backs (Edith has some odd requests sometimes).

Portland Area Parks - Dawson Park - Dada & Kids

He shares his food. Even when he is super hungry or it’s a special treat that he would love to keep all for himself he shares it anyways.

He shares his interests and embraces theirs. Neil has a love for all things coffee and he loves to share this with Edith – she even has her own pour over coffee maker. Edith and Neil (and I hope Alder one day as well) both have a love of running and you can find them out running together on the path or running a race together. But that’s not all, he also takes an interest in whatever the kids are into as well and sometimes their favorites become his as well – example Red Yarn.

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While I could go on I’ll stop there because I think you get the point – Neil is simply an amazing guy.

We love you Dada/Neil! 

 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Schools out, suns is shining and the days are longer it must be Summer! For me Summer has always been about trying to get in as many outdoor activities as possible before the snow or rain, since we live in the Pacific Northwest now, comes and we are stuck inside. My family and I are packing our weeks with fun activities and making the most of the beautiful weather.  We have already had fun doing a number of these activities from camping to swimming and of course making s’mores.

Below is a list of 25 ways to have fun this summer and some might even call it a summer bucket list.

Visit a new park or playground. Summers are about trying new things so explore your town/city or a neighboring one to find the best park/playground around.

Go Swimming! Whether it’s the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a pool go take a cooling dip!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go camping! This is the perfect way to relax, unplug and enjoy some quality family time while getting back to nature.

Attend an outdoor music event. Most cities/towns host various music events at parks throughout the summer; this is a perfect event for families with children of all ages.

Have a picnic. What’s more fun then taking a meal outdoors? You can venture to a new park, find a spot near a lake or venture as far as your front yard.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go Berry Picking. BERRIES! One of the best parts of summer is the fresh fruit.  Kids of all ages love to pick their own berries. The trick is to see how many berries actually end up in your bucket to take home.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. Summer is a time for sweet cold treats. Head to your favorite ice cream shop and get a nice big bowl (or if you prefer cone) of ice cream to share (or not).

Attend an outdoor movie. There aren’t many times during the year that you can sit outside and enjoy a movie.  Check out if your town/city hosts any movies in the park or maybe you still live in an area that has as drive-in.  If neither of those options work why not set up a little outdoor “movie theater” in your backyard complete with pillows, blankets and your favorite movie treats.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside. Get the kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch of popsicles. Once they are frozen head outside to enjoy them in the warm sunshine.

Hula Hoop. Yes give it a try! 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Visit a museum. Explore a new museum or one you don’t frequent often.

Have a lemonade stand. Some people, myself included, would say that this is an essential part of summer and childhood. Make up a pitcher or two of lemonade, set up a little table out front of your home and start selling! 

Head to the library and join a summer reading program. Summer reading programs are a great way to keep kids reading.  Most programs are for birth through teens so mamas and papas with little ones can still participate. We just completed our first month of summer reading with Edith (2 years) and after 30 days of reading to her for 20+ minutes per day she was able to pick out a new book.  We are now onto doing a second 30-days!

Go for a bike ride. Grab the kids and get out for a bike ride. If your kids aren’t biking solo yet you can always go with a bike trailer or other seat. If investing in a bike trailer isn’t in your budget find a spot that does rentals! 

Attend or host a BBQ. Get together with friends and enjoy one of the perks of summer a big ol’BBQ!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go down the biggest slide at the park. I’m talking to you too parents!

Blow bubbles. Make your own bubbles or pick up a bottle of your favorite brand and spend the afternoon blowing, chasing and popping bubbles; easily hours of fun.

Create side walk art with chalk. Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk art.  This is fun for kids little and big (and adults too).

Stay up late and lay under the stars. Toss out the bedtime (for one night), grab some pillows and blankets and set up camp outside the stars. Take a look at the stars and the moon and try and find the big dipper.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go hiking. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Find a hike that fits your skill level or maybe a nature walk is more your speed. Either way grab the kids and get outside!

Go for a train ride. Find a nearby train and take a ride.

Visit a Farmers Market. Take your little (or big) ones to a local farmers market. Explore the various fruits, veggies and other local goods.  Take a new fruit or vegetable home to try!

Make s’mores. One of the best parts of summer! Make them over the campfire or the grill at home.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond. One of our favorite summer activities! Grab a few slices of bread and head to the duck pond to feed the ducks.

Kick a soccer ball around. Or maybe head out to a ballgame!

How many can you already cross off already? Which ones are on your list to to do this Summer?

Snack Date | Garden Babies at Luscher Farm

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A few weeks back our little snack date group headed to Luscher Farms for their Garden Babies program that happens every Monday morning from April through October. The program starts with a few stories and then the kids get to head over to feed the chickens. I wasn’t sure what Edith would think about feeding the chickens and she was a little apprehensive at first but that quickly turned into excitement. I actually had a tough time convincing her to move on to the next activity.

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Next we headed over the garden area so the kids good check out the worms and do a little digging in the garden. They spent a good 20-30 minutes running around the garden, playing and digging in the dirt and examining the plants. LuscherFarmsSnackDate4279 LuscherFarmsSnackDate4284

After the program finished we washed hands and found a picnic table to have our snack at. Today’s snack was Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, a favorite among our group. We were able to have a sneak peek tasting of their new gluten free bars which come out this summer. Having always enjoyed the whole grain version of these fig bars I was curious to see what the gluten free version would taste like. Verdict? Hands down the gluten free bars were the favorite among our group.

While the whole grain bars are more reminiscent of the fig cookies I grew up loving I actually prefer the texture and soft bite of the gluten free fig bars. I think the fact they were softer and more moist made them more appealing to our tots as well. I can’t recommend these enough and can tell you at least in our house the gluten free fig bars (will be as soon as they hit stores) a staple in our snack jar.
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Side note the flavor favorite among the group is the traditional fig flavor or the purple bar as it is known among our tots. LuscherFarmsSnackDate4290 LuscherFarmsSnackDate4294 LuscherFarmsSnackDate4297

 

Even the babes are loving the fig bars! LuscherFarmsSnackDate4289

We also brought out some Mamma Chia squeeze packets because we enjoy having a variety of options and these are a favorite of ours.

What are your favorite activities to do with your kids? We had such a great time attending this program. I am hoping to take Edith and Alder a few more times this summer. I imagine the program will be even better as the gardens grow!

What are you favorite on the go snacks? 

Disclaimer: Nature’s Bakery provided us with a bunch of bars for our snack dates. We were not required to write a positive review. We received no monetary compensation for this post. We just love these bars and wanted to share with you. 

Honest Co. Haul + Whole Foods The Honest Pop Up Shop

honest co 6 When I first heard about The Honest Company* I was a bit skeptical. I went through the process and got my free diaper and wipe samples and while I wasn’t a huge fan of he diapers I instantly fell in love with the thick cloth like wipes. Since I didn’t love the diapers I didn’t continue with a subscription even though I loved the wipes. A few months later I tried their Essentials Bundle free trial and I really liked the healing balm and the shampoo and conditioner. After that I decided that the $35.95 per month for the five essentials (including wipes!!) was a good deal so I became a subscriber. Fast forward two years and we are still subscribers and now Honest is finally available in stores so I can get wipes whenever I want! honestco rwt ig

One of the stores you can find Honest in is Whole Foods which is great if you’re like me and basically live there. Right now Whole Foods in the Pacific Northwest (and maybe other areas- let me know if you’re not from the PNW and have seen one at your store) are hosting Honest Pop Up Shops and with that you can chat with reps from Honest Co, the ones I met were super nice and informative and had a desire to hear your likes and dislikes. Not only can you meet some of the Honest team members but you also can save 30% off all Honest products which I have been informed is the best deal you’ll see in retail stores.

That being said I ended up picking up a package of diapers because while we try to cloth the majority of the time with two we do find ourselves turning to disposables about 40% of the time. I really wanted to give them another try as well. I also picked up wipes because, duh, I love them. I picked up a little hand sanitizer for the diaper bag because while I am not big into hand sanitizers sometimes it’s nice to use. I also decided to pick up the deodorant. Now I have been eyeing it every time I go to order my bundle since it’s been released but even with the 25% off I get for up to three add-on items I didn’t know if it was worth the cost. Well I finally bought it and I’m testing it out right now. In addition to what I purchased which for full disclosures sake I received a $20 Whole Foods gift card to go shopping with I also received the cute Honest Tote which you can buy online and I just love it and I received a travel sized healing balm and that super cute succulent.
Honest Co

Moving on from what I purchased at Whole Foods I also recently received our Essentials Bundle and I thought I would share that as well. We get our bundle every 6-9 weeks depending on what we need. When you go look at your bundle you can change the date and just keep pushing it out until you need your order which makes it really easy and I love that I don’t have to get a box every month. So this order I got:honest co 3glass+window cleaner: this is a new product for us and I haven’t used it yet.

multi-surface cleaner: this time I ordered just the concentrate since we already have a bottle we are finishing up right now.
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4-in-1 laundry packs: because they are my favorite.

oxy boost: another item we order regularly because it works great.
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wipes: duh.

bug spray: this was a new item that I ordered since we are doing a lot of camping this summer. I used to this past weekend and it seemed to work!

soothing bottom wash: since I’m too lazy to make my own cloth wipes spray I just use this and I think it works fine.

Do you use Honest products? What are you favorites?

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Disclaimer: All links are affiliate links. If you decide to give Honest a try and want to click my link – thank you! Also I was provided with a $20 Whole Foods gift card and a few free products but I was not required to purchase any Honest products or write a review. As for the Essential Bundle we buy that with our own dollars. 

Picnics In Portland | NadaMoo Ice Cream Social


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This weeks snack date is a pretty special one that not only involves a park, a picnic and ice cream but it’s the first time in months that our three families were all able to get together. Most of our snack dates are just the moms and kids but this time the dads were able to join us as well. It’s always great when we can all get together. MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150883

For our snack date this week we had NadaMoo a coconut milk based frozen dessert. This was the perfect ice cream substitute for our group as some of us don’t do dairy and others don’t do tree nuts so a coconut milk base worked for all of us. Plus really who doesn’t love ice cream or non-dairy frozen dessert? MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150901

If you were directed here from Running With Tongs then you know that we received six flavors and that Neil and Edith got into the Cookies & Creme and I got into the Chocolate Almond Chip before we made it to the picnic. No worries though I think some of the best flavors were in these four cartons anyways.
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These little munchkins seemed to enjoy themselves.MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150919MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150917

The adults seemed to as well. MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150914

Before spending some time rolling in the grass we took an informal poll (of the adults) to see how the flavors ranked. The top flavor was definitely the Maple Pecan and the very close second was the Mint Chip. The babies seemed to like the chocolate …that may have been because it was the least favorite of the adults and therefore there was some left at the end for them to taste. The kids didn’t really express any favorites but I noticed Edith finished off her Maple Pecan and Mint Chip and left most of the chocolate and vanilla – so I’d say she enjoyed those ones.

I was actually surprised that I even liked the Mint Chip.There was something just super fresh about the mint and I loved that it didn’t just have flecks of chocolate in it but rather mini chocolate chips. Mom K said that she isn’t usually into mint chip either but she really enjoyed it as well.

Over all the ranking of the four would go:

  1. Maple Pecan
  2. Mint Chip
  3. Vanilla
  4. Chocolate

I’d add the chocolate almond to my top three but the cookies and creme would go straight to the bottom for me.

MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150965MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150975MemorialDay-CathedralPark-20150935After indulging in NadaMoo we took advantage of the sun, the grass and the time to just lay back and relax (as much as you can with babies and toddlers). We watched/played baseball, bubbles and even got to watch a train pass by our picnic site. We are looking forward to the summer and many more picnics together.

Side Note: Portland Area Friends NadaMoo is coming to New Seasons in June and Haggen this Summer!

Disclaimer: This post contains no sponsored content. Occasionally I am sent products for review but they will only be featured if I truly like them. 

Snack Date | 4 | Space Suits, Super Snacks & Slammers

Space Edith

It’s time for another snack date! This one is brought to you from the K & E Space Station. No but really aren’t these two just so cute with their “space helmets” and tutus on?

Space Kate Space Date

Alder wasn’t sure what to think of the whole situation.

Space Date My Super Snack

Once our little astronauts got hungry it was time for the weeks snack. This week they enjoyed some Organic Slammers flavor Awesome. Long before snack dates I had been buying these for E when I saw them on sale at Target. These snacks are perfect for kids, especially ones who are always on the go because they are filled with energizing fruit including acai. Acai is also a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats.Space Date organic slammers Space Date edith slammer

E was all over the slammers and she slammed two back and left one for K to enjoy at a later date. Space Date apple - My Super Snack

K on the other hand was much more interested in the MySuperSnack granola bites and she helped herself to a few of each flavor of the bites. These little bites are non-GMO, contain no preservatives and are filled with protein and fiber. The granola bites reminded me less of a traditional granola bar or granola and more like a cereal bar which I actually think is better for the tots- easier to eat. K seemed to agree because with a little help she finished off all three bags.

Space Date Kate - My Super Snack chocolate Space Date Snack - Slammer Space Date Kate - My Super Snack

While both girls decided to go a different direction with their snacking they both really seemed to enjoy their snacks. It’s funny how their tastes/interests in food change from week to week.

Portland Area Sites | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Cooper Mountain  Naturally FamilyCooper Mountain - view pano
This post is long over do but a few weeks ago we (finally) visited Cooper Mountain. We have lived in the area for over two years now and it wasn’t until April that we finally made it to this really great nature park. We lucked out it and it was a beautiful sunny day for a nature walk.Cooper Mountain - Edith
We were joined by our friends K, K, & L which always makes a nature walk more fun. Cooper Mountain is made up of a number of short paths that connect together allowing you to create your own nature walk.Cooper Mountain - eidth and kate
Cooper Mountain - nap
We ended up choosing a bit of a longer path and well Edith decided that she needed a bit of a break. Cooper Mountain - Play Structure

Once we made it back to the top of Cooper Mountain we stopped by the playground for a snack and a little bit of playtime before heading back for lunch.

Snack Date - Snack Out Loud Foods Snack Date - Snack Out Loud Foods Crunchy Bean

See our full snack date post here. 

Weekend at the Coast | Out & About in JJ Cole Style

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Happy Be-lated Mother’s Day! We spent our Mother’s Day Weekend at the coast playing in the sun, sand and surf.

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We lucked out and the weather at the coast was just perfect. We rented a house in Arch Cape which is about half way between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. We actually spent Mother’s Day Weekend at Cannon Beach last year as well; I guess we are starting a new tradition. This year however we ventured a bit further south to Manzanita Beach after hearing so many recommendations from co-workers and friends. I have to say it lived up to the hype and the beach was beautiful. We didn’t spend much time in town but there seemed to be a good number of restaurants, cafes and little shops.

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We may have forgot to put Edith in more water appropriate clothes and a change of clothes. Oh well she had a blast but requested a warm cup of “coffee” (steamed non-dairy milk) post wading.

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After our morning visit to Manzanita Beach we headed back to the beach house for lunch and an attempted nap. Since napping just wasn’t going to happen we packed the kids up and headed into the downtown of Cannon Beach in search of chocolate and a spot to lay out and relax on our new JJ Cole® All-Purpose Outdoor Blanket.

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While we searched for chocolate Neil tried out the JJ Cole Agility Carrier.

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Once we finally got our hands on a box of chocolates we headed to the park across the street and unpacked our blanket to sit on. We shared our box of chocolates, read a few books, played a game of tag and then it was time to pack up. We walked around town a bit before finally heading back to the beach house for dinner.

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We ended our evening with a sunset visit to the beach. We seriously rented the best place that was just one block from the access to a super quiet beach. Our first night we went down to the beach as well and it was super windy so Alder hid in the carrier but the second night he was all about digging into the sand.

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For more photos check out my post on RWT and on our Instagram.

*Disclaimer: We were provided product for this review. As always all opinions are our own.

JJ Cole items featured in our post:

JJ Cole Heather Caprice

Heather Caprice (find it at Babies R Us): This has become our primary diaper bag because we just love the style, the color and the size. I knew we would love it because if you remember a few years back we had a JJ Cole bag that we used until we wore it out. This bag has two huge insulated pockets on the side, a great zippered pocket on the front where I store my keys, phone and mom things. On the other side there is an outside pocket that holds the changing pad. In the center is a big zippered section that has four pockets inside perfect for holding diapers, books, changes of clothes and snacks. The only pockets I don’t get are the two mini ones on the front; what are they for? I guess I could store lipgloss in them but not much else. P.S. If you want to see an updated ‘What’s In My Diaper Bag’ post let me know in the comments below.

JJ Cole Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket

Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket (find it at buybuyBABY): This blanket is my new favorite thing. The blanket is 100% Polyester with PVC Coating which means you don’t have to worry about a damp ground or even better taking the beach home with you. When we left the beach we just shook it off, folded it up and off we went. That’s another thing I love, how easy it is to fold up and carry. The cool thing is that it actually has a stiff square that you use as as guide when folding which allows you to get the blanket back into the same shape as when you took it out of the package. Now if only I could find tents and sleeping bags that do the same thing – tell me I’m not the only one that can’t see to get my tent back into the bag without a huge struggle.

JJ Cole Agility Carrier

Agility Carrier (find it at Babies R Us, buybuyBABY, Target, Amazon): I had no idea until recently that JJ Cole even had a babycarrier so I was excited to try it when the opportunity came along. So what did I think? Well I wanted to like the carrier but honestly it just didn’t work well for us. First I think that while the carrier can hold up to 35 pounds in my opinion as a certified babywearing educator I really think that for both the wearer and the positioning of the baby 15-20 or so pounds is the ideal max weight. I also had trouble with the fit of the carrier because it is sized and actually it fit Neil just a bit better than it fit me. I wonder if I went up a size (I tried a large) if it would work but I think that it might have been just a bit too big in an extra large. The thing I would say with this carrier is that it’s better for younger babies and it is something that you want to try on first for size before buying. That all being said it was well made, the fabric was soft, it was easy to put on because basically it was like putting on a shirt and the back panel is a nice feature that adds a bit more support.