2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Preschooler | Wear, Want, Read, Create

I’ll start of this post by saying that this post is in no way sponsored. I have not teamed up with any of these brands they are simply ones that I really like and want to share with you. Most these items are ones that have ended up on a wishlist for my kids are one time or another or are items they have or will be getting this holiday season. I also wanted to keep costs low so all of these items are $30 or less. Enjoy!


Kids Backpack. | Dolly Wrap. |  Reindeer Shirt.

Doctor Costume. | Pom Hat.

gift ideas

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Toddler | Wear, Want, Read, Create

I’ll start of this post by saying that this post is in no way sponsored. I have not teamed up with any of these brands they are simply ones that I really like and want to share with you. Most these items are ones that have ended up on a wishlist for my kids are one time or another or are items they have or will be getting this holiday season. I also wanted to keep costs low so all of these items are under $30 and most $20 or less. Enjoy!


Mittens. I recently found these at one of our local kids boutiques and I thought they were great for little hands. They have a velcro clasp around the wrist that helps to keep them on little hands.
Beanie. This beanie is so cute and it apparently can work for anyone in the family. I was just thinking how cute this would look on Alder and maybe a matching one for Neil.
PJs. These are essential because these little ones of ours seem to always be growing out of pajamas. Plus they are cute and relatively inexpensive.
Bike Tee. NewDuds is a Vermont based Etsy shop who makes amazing shirts, prints, scarves and more. We have a full stock of Burlington Vermont shirts from them and when I was perusing their shop the other day I came across this bike tee and fell in love. If you follow our Instagram you know how much Alder loves bikes so this was the perfect gift for his “wear” item.
Zara Leggings. I love Zara clothes for kids. I especially love their little boy leggings because they just fit so well. I just purchased these cute mountain leggings in my last Zara haul and they are so cute on. Just one thing to note Zara runs a bit on the big side. Alder just grew out of this 6-9 month pants and the 12-18m I purchased him are a little on the very big side.

 Stacking cupsWe have at least 3 sets of stacking cups in various shapes and sizes because they are one of the most played with toys that we own. You little can do so much with them from stacking, using in the sand or in the bath, pretending they are cups or bowls or filling with various things.
Rainbow nesting bowls.  Okay so these are similar to the stacking ups but I feel like they are just a bit cooler and that they will really grow with your little one. As a tot they will use them to stack and fill with things and as they grow they turn into bowls for a play restaurant.
Toy Camera. I don’t know why but we seem to collect play cameras. We have ones that have little images in the view finder, another where the view finder is a prisim and just a plain ol’play camera. Anyway you look at it the kids love them.
Shape Sorter. These are so much fun and are a toy that is also a great learning tool. It teaches your child to match shapes, problem solve and because these ones are filled with little balls they also can be used as shakers!
Rocket Puzzle. Okay I picked this one because I want it. How cool is this little rocket? It’s also a puzzle- how fun is that?


Giraffes Can’t Dance. This is one of our favorite books because it has a good message, is fun to read and is filled with animals.
Trucks Go. Steve Light has so many great books about various things that go. This is perfect for little ones who like things that go and it’s perfect for short attention spans.
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? We have the board book version and the full size book. We love it because it’s so interactive.
Time For Bed. This book is new to our reading rotation but we have already fallen in love. It is such a sweet story about going to bed. It features all kinds of animals going to bed and at the end a little one going to bed as well. Very relaxing.
My Friends. We have been reading this to Edith since she was about a year old and she still loves it. These days she reads it from memory because we have read it so much. It’s a sweet story that connects people with all of their animal friends.

Paints. I know paints are messy but take a deep breath, strip your little one down to their diaper and let them get messy. These paints are also these paints are all natural and non-toxic so no worries if you little one still likes to test things out in their mouth.
Jumbo Crayons. I reluctantly add these two the list because Alder likes to draw on everything. I can’t avoid it though with an art obsessed three year old and a little brother who wants to do everything she is doing.
Paint With Water. These are great for those looking for a fun art activity with little mess. All you need is a paint brush and water.
Art Kit. I can’t speak personally to this art kit but it gets good reviews and it looks like it would be really fun.
Musical Instruments. I know that the banging and chiming of things isn’t every parents dream but they are so much a wonderful way for littles to create music and have fun.

What is on your tots wish list? 

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Babywearing Edition

Babywearing is a bit of an obsession of mine, so much so that I became a certified educator. I have tested out 30-40 (maybe more) carriers over the past 3 years and I have loved some, liked a lot and had only a few that where meh. These are a few of my favorites that I think would be perfect to gift this holiday season.

Solly Baby Wrap

For the parents-to-be: The Solly Baby Wrap. I am incredibly picky when it comes to stretchy type wraps because they often aren’t incredibly user friendly, have too much stretch and are encouraged to be worn past the point of comfort for the wearer and proper positioning for the baby. The Solly Baby Wrap however is a really wonderful stretchy style wrap. The material is light, yet supportive. It has stretch without being too stretchy and it is super soft. I suggest this for parents to be simply because the ideal time to wear this is when the baby is newer because while you can wear it for quite awhile like any stretchy wrap 15lbs is when you start to notice a difference in the way it feels. That being said Alder is newly 16-months and 20lbs and I can still wear him comfortably for 15-20 minute time spans.

2015_10_04_SellwoodAdventures - baby doo 2

For the new babywearing fanatic: Baby-Doo USA. I knew my babywearing love had become an obsession when I found myself searching high and low for a great woven wrap. I don’t know what it is about woven wraps that make them intimidating but they can be especially with the wide range of options and price points. That being said I have found the perfect woven wrap for most any budget. The woven wraps from Baby-Doo USA are high-quality, beautiful wraps that are also affordable ranging from $70-90. I have been wearing both Edith and Alder in ours over the past few months and I love it. I wear them on the both front and back comfortable and wrap with ease. While this wrap is perfect for a babywearing fanatic it is also perfect for any parent from brand new to parents of toddlers; a woven wrap is perfect from newborn through toddlerhood.


For the new parents: Lily and Mama Market Ring Sling. When it comes to carriers my top recommendation is a ring sling. It is perfect for a newborn because it is secure and supportive, it is comfortable for the wearer and it’s great through toddlerhood because you can wear your tot on you hip and it’s easy to take on and off. I found Lily and Mama from Ruthy’s blog, Discovery Street over a year ago. I finally got the opportunity to try one of these beautiful ring slings out myself this Fall and I fell in love. The quality is excellent, the fabric is soft and the fit is great. There are a lot of great ring slings out there so it’s hard to pick just one but I am just so loving this one right now.


For the parents of toddlers: Eventually your toddler will out grow your standard sized soft structured carrier and your stretchy wrap. Ring slings are still great but often once babies hit toddlerhood back carries become the go to carry and ring slings are not as ideal for back carries. Woven wraps are still useful but toddlers are also all about the up and down which isn’t as easy in a woven wrap. That’s when a toddler size soft structured carrier comes into play and my favorite is the one by TULA. The fit is great, the comfort level for both the tot and wearer is excellent and there are so many great prints as well. While it is an investment I do think they are worth all the hype. We love to wear ours on strolls around town, nature walks, travel and hikes.


For the avid hikers: We love to get out and hike and we finally decided to get a hiking pack. I personally don’t love hiking packs because many don’t have a great seat in them and honestly I was anti-pack until it became more of a necessity. We were looking at bags that we could wear while we hiked and nothing seemed to work so we started to seriously look into pack type carriers with a backpack included as well as other storage compartments. After long debate we decided that Deuter had the best carriers for seat, storage and comfort for wearer. We used our REI member sale discount and invest in a pack and it has been a great decision. Edith is obsessed with the pack, it makes hikes so much easier and there is the added benefit that we will be able to use with the Alder one day as well.

2015 Holiday Gift Plan

Streets Of Tanasbourne Tree

It’s that time of year again when we start to think about the holidays and the fun things we want to do and the gifts that we want to give. Last year we attempted to go 70% local and we were fairly successful and we also set a $250 max budget. I’ll be honest while we stayed “in budget” regarding our out-of-pocket cost we did spend more with the help of rewards points so I would say with that we were closer to $350.

Our 2015 Budget for our family of 4–> $350 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 we decided to up the budget a bit because we also had our first full year of not purchasing gifts for other holidays with the exception of Edith and Alder’s birthday when each received one gift and a day filled with fun. We are also really re-evaluating the things that we buy and while things do not have to be more expensive we are looking at quality items so we have decided to increase the budget to match what we spent last year in out-of-pocket plus rewards points.

What kind of budget do you have for gifts? 

*We also don’t do Santa so these are all the gifts plus any of those from friends and relatives.

Holiday Events This Week In PDX | 11.23.15

Who is ready to to kick off the 2015 Holiday Season? We are! I have been taking stock of all of the fun activities going on in the Portland area this week and thought I would share a few with you.


November 26th: You have probably heard of a Turkey Trot but how about a Tofurky Trot? Join Tofurky for a 5k pre-Thanksgiving dinner race. Especially great for plant-based families!

November 27th: It’s the annual My Macy’s Holiday Parade on Friday morning. This has been a yearly tradition of ours and we are looking forward to attending once again this year. The parade runs from 9-10am and goes through downtown Portland – you can find all the route details hereTip: DRESS WARM. I don’t know what it is about the day after Thanksgiving but it is always freezing in Portland so make sure you dress nice and warm for this parade.

November 27-28th: This is one of my favorite weekends of the year because Little Boxes! Little Boxes is a city wide event that really takes Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to a new level. This event encourages you to check out participating local shops and they make a game out of it by including a raffle with really amazing prizes.

November 27th-January 3rd: Another annual event for us is Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo. Another event to bundle up for but it’s so much fun to see all the lights, ride the train and visit the bats. Also checkout their value nights if you are looking to attend but want to save a few dollars.


What holiday events are you looking forward to this year? If you’re in Portland what are you favorite holiday events?

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’d like me to post one weekly for this holiday season let me know! 

12 Moments // 2014 in Review

I know I said I wouldn’t be back until tomorrow but here friends of ours kindly took over New Year’s Eve hosting duties which freed up some time to sit on the couch and snuggle Alder while working on this post. We have had quite the year so lets take a look back at 12 moments, one from each month of this past year.
baby #2
January: We started the year off with a bang and announced that we were once again expecting!
snowday e and dada

February: We got hit with a massive snow storm (massive for Portland) and we spent a few days as a family snowed in and enjoyed playing in the snow.

Falls Hike- E&N2

March: We went on our very first hike of year and first hike at the Gorge. It was a beautiful hike and we can’t wait to head out again this year.


April: We took a vacation back to where our lives started as a family of three – Vermont. We spent 10 days visiting family and friends and showing Edith where she was born.


May: May was all about getting outside and visiting lots of Portland playgrounds.

Sou'Wester- edith sit

June: We took a trip to our favorite vintage trailers at the Washington Coast. Seriously one of our favorite things of the year and we are already planning our trip for 2015.

birthday edith potato

July: Edith turned two!! I didn’t get any good pictures from our little party but here is one of her covered in dirt, chocolate and whipped coconut cream.

AlderBirth-Born crop

August: Alder Grey joined the world August 1st and started our month off on a great note.


September: We headed to the Oregon Coast with my parents for our first mini vacation as a family of four.

Halloween - Tots

October: We celebrate Halloween with great friends and these cuties.

Forest Park Hike photos

November: November was all about family time and making memories. This is from our first family of four hike in Forest Park.


December: December was a busy month with lots of fun moments but this is just one of my favorites. We like to spend one weekend morning each week at a coffee shop and above is a photo of my two little photographers at our favorite Sellwood Coffee Shop Either/Or.

Well that wraps up 2014! We are off to get ourselves ready to enjoy some dinner, drinks and an early bedtime. Cheers!

Holiday Gift Guide | 4 People + 5 Gifts Each+ Stockings for $250

Only a few more weeks until Christmas! I thought I would share what a $250 budget for gifts looks like. As I wrote in this post we do five categories per person plus a stocking. The goal was to do it all for $250 and 70% locally and so far we are on task. Here are some ideas I had and the grand total adds up to $249.95.

for the tot

To Wear: Zara Printed Shirt – $7.90 – I have a seriously love for Zara and their kids clothes are incredibly cute and while some are a little out of my budget they have some incredibly cute and inexpensive kids items. This shirt is one of my favorites but there are a number of other cute shirts for $10 or less. Also the quality is really great.

To Read: Potty – $3.97 – This is a book that Edith already has and she loves it. Today she was sitting in her room reading it too herself and while she isn’t regularly using the potty yet she likes to read about it and I think it helps to inspire her to want to try.

From Baby to Tot: Melissa & Doug Color Blast Artwork– $4.99 – I know your baby won’t be officially picking out a gift for their older sibling so this year you get to pick something small but fun. Edith loves these Melissa & Doug Color Blast Artwork so I thought it was the perfect gift “from Alder”.  Alternatively this works as a great “create” gift as well!

A Want: SugarBooger Zippee Robot BackPack – $15.00 – now Edith isn’t quite at the point where she is asking for things so this is based off of something I already know she likes. She has the SugarBooger Robot apron and loves it and she has been talking about getting a backpack so I thought that this would be the perfect thing.

To Create: Melissa & Doug Design-Your-Own Bracelets – $4.99 – I bought these for Edith and as gifts for two of her friends and everyone loved them! They are so much fun and Edith still plays with the bracelets today. The kit comes with stickers to decorate the bracelets so your tot can design their own bracelet and then they have a fun bracelet to wear after!

For Stocking: Ickle Baby Bot bath bomb ($3.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Snackimals Animal Cookies ($0.99), Mini Dinosaur Tattoos ($1.99), stickers x2 ($2.00), travel coloring book ($1.00) and Seitenbacher Strawberry Alligators ($1.50).


To Wear: Zara Lightning Detail T-Shirt – $6.90 – I bought this shirt for Alder and it is one of my favorites. It’s super soft and so cute on him. I think I need to go back and buy all the other colors.

To Read: Daddy Kisses– $5.13 – This book is so cute and this is the actual book that we bought Alder for his “to read” gift. We found it at a local shop and had a coupon so it was about the same price as on Amazon. There is also Mommy Hugs, Daddy Cuddles and Mommy Loves.

From Tot to Baby: Nuby Wacky Teething Ring– $2.99- If your tot is like mine they have a strong opinion about what they like and don’t like so chances are they are ready to pick out a gift for their sibling. In Edith’s case she gets to pick the gift with a little guidance aka I give her a handful of options that I think are suitable for Alder and are within budget. For this I chose the teething ring because we are reaching teething time around here so it’s the perfect gift and it’s inexpensive.

A Want: Sassy Fascination Station – $5.99 – Alder is not at the point where he wants anything besides a boob, snuggles, a nap and a clean diaper so this is the year that instead of a want we choose more of a need. Soon Alder will be joining us at the table but until he starts solids he is going to need something to entertain him. For Edith we had this Fisher-Price Booster Seat with the toy attachment tray but we left it at my parents house and we now just have the basic one without the toy tray so I thought why not get a suction toy to put on the tray to entertain Alder? Bonus we can take it with us when we go out to a restaurant as well!.

To Create: Green Tones Llama Shaker – $9.98 – You can interpret “to create” as you would like, for us this includes creating music and this little llama shaker is a fun baby friendly toy. It is made from chemical free wood so no worries when baby puts it in his/her mouth and is the perfect size for babies hand.

For Stocking: Zara Pack of Two Panda Socks ($7.90), Bright Starts Theeter – Teethe-a-saurus ($2.99), Nurtria Silicone Teether – Penguin ($2.99), Happy Baby Packet ($1.39) and Weleda Calendula Baby Starter Kit ($9.79).

for mom

To Wear: Zara V-Neck T-Shirt – $9.90 – Again another item that I love for Zara and this time for mom. Everyone needs some basic tees but this one has as few little details like the rolled sleeve that make it a little more interesting. It’s nice, classic and great quality.

To Read: Gone Girl – $2.99 (Kindle) –  I don’t know much about this book just that it is super popular and it supposed to be really good. For only a few dollars for the Kindle version I would definitely put this on my “to read” list. Tip: If you partner has a Kindle go for the Kindle version for them because it can stretch your budget! 

For Mom From Kids: Framed Hand Print Photo – $1.99 – Again another inexpensive frame from IKEA however this time instead of photos of the kids try something a little more creative such as cut out hand prints (idea), paint hand or foot prints or just some basic art work that your kids worked on together. Use what you have around the house for this project and just have fun!

A Want: $25 BirchBox Gift Certificate – Okay I know I said that I’m not big into gift cards but there are about a million things I want off the BirchBox website so a gift certificate is just what I would love to have. Side Note: a BirchBox subscription is a great gift as well at only $30 for a 3 month women’s subscription or $60 for a 3 months men’s <— Neil loves his BirchBox as well! Also not sponsored we just love our BirchBox.

To Create: VELA Notebook – $8.50 – I LOVE notebooks. If you ever find yourself wanting to buy me a gift a notebook is the perfect route to go. I love them all sizes and types. They are perfect for blog brainstorming, recipe ideas and just to jot down anything that I am thinking about. They are a creative outlet for me and therefore my favorite type of gift.

For Stocking: Luxury LUSH Pud bath bomb ($6.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Newman’s Own Organics Licorice Twists ($0.79), Enjoy Life Crunch Cookies ($0.89), Alba Botanica™ Mineral Terra Tints SPF ($2.69), and Chocolove Mini Dark Chocolate Bar ($1.19).

for dad

To Wear: Zara Fingerless Gloves – $9.90 – These ones are little different and something your husband might not think to buy himself. These gloves are perfect for the hubby who likes to use his phone as it will keep his hands warm but his fingers will be free to text, Google and share photos.

To Read: Barista Magazine – $7.00 – Neil is a coffee lover and even roasts his own coffee. This is just the type of magazine that he would love to receive for his “to read” gift. Of course you can sub a different magazine that your love would enjoy.

For Dad From Kids: Framed Family Photos – $2.36 – These IKEA frames are only $0.99 each and have a little stand making them perfect for any dad’s desk. Prints can be done locally at places like Costco, Target or Walgreens for only around $0.19 each making this a cute, inexpensive but thoughtful gift from the kids.

A Want: $25 Clive Coffee Gift Certificate – Now I’m not big into giving gift certificates or cash for the holidays but in the case I make an exception. Neil really want to buy an espresso machine and since that is way far out of our holiday budget I thought I’d do the next best thing and get him a gift certificate to the store that he will be buying it at. This can help jump start the savings process and I know it’s going to be put to good use and that it’s something he would love. Side note this is NOT what I got Neil for his want gift but now I’m thinking maybe I should have because it’s such a good idea. 

To Create: Fermentation for Beginners – $9.79 – Neil has recently really gotten into the idea of homesteading and doing lots of canning. I thought that this would be the perfect book to help foster some creativity when it comes to canning.

For His Stocking: Zara Mercerized Sock ($7.90), Dirty Tooth Tabs (4.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Primal Strips Jerky ($1.50), Home Free Gluten Free Mini Cookies ($1.09), Giovanni Shampoo & Conditioner ($2.98), and Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bag ($0.69).

Side Note: I included so many things from Zara (NOT SPONSORED) so that it would be how I would really shop if these were the items that I actually bought for Christmas. I would have purchased $50 worth of items so as not to spend the additional shipping cost.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide | Gift for Tots



Something To Wear – Fleece Toddler Robe – We actually bought one of these for Christmas but well it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house if we didn’t give gifts three weeks in advance so Edith already has hers and she LOVES it. She is so excited to have a robe just like mama and daddy and its great for post breakfast lounging because of course she always has to strip down to her diaper to eat breakfast.

Something They Want- Learning Tower – Okay lets be completely honest your tot probably won’t be asking you for a learning tower but what they do want is to help you out in the kitchen or basically anywhere that they need to be taller. This is one of our most used items in our home. Edith stands and watches me cook, she “makes coffee”, she helps bake and prepare meals, she practices cutting up fruits and veggies, she dances and soon she will be using it to help wash dishes. Like I said your tot might not ask you for this gift but guaranteed it will help s/he do many of the things s/he wants to do everyday.

Something To Create With- Melissa & Doug Paint with Water – this is one of Edith’s favorite activities to do. It’s painting without too much mess and all you need is a smock, a place to set up and some water. Fun, creative and inexpensive! Also provides hours of entertainment!

Something To Read – Bear Board Book 4-pack – we received The Bear Snores On from a friend and it is one our favorite books. The bear books are super cute with great stories and illustrations and lots of animals.

For Their Stocking – Kuhn Rikon Kinderkitchen Dog Knife with Teeth – we bought E this knife last year and she loves it. Its not very sharp ie. she can basically cut mushrooms, bananas and strawberries but it is great for practicing cutting.

Disclaimer: while this post is NOT IN ANY WAY SPONSORED there are affiliate links included. 

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

I love to give and receive homemade gifts. To me it says that the person has taken the time to create something special just for me with their two hands. It makes the gift a little more special and each time I use or look at a handmade gift I think of that special person. This year one of my special DIY gifts for a few special friends is a Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves coffee, loves body products or someone who just really needs a little TLC.
Brown Sugar Scrub
I have used this scrub myself because luckily this recipe makes just a little extra and my skin feels super soft from the gentle exfoliation, moisturized from the coconut oil and I smell like a vanilla latte (yum). I encourage you to use a coffee that you really like for this recipe because the better the coffee the better your scrub will smell.

Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

Makes 6-8oz jars (plus a little extra for you)

  • 3 cups good quality coffee, coarsely ground
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 12 oz coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Mix everything together in a large bowl using your hands to evenly combine everything.
  2. Spoon into jars with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Label and decorate!

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub jolly


Side note I used the remainder of a bag of Stumptown coffee that we didn’t drink because we didn’t love the roast. You do not need to go that high quality with your coffee just try to use something more mid-range ($7-10 bag), something you would probably want to drink. 

2014 Holiday Gift Guide | Mamas-To-Be



For the mama-to-be who needs a little self careYour Pregnancy Essentials Kit – I LOVE LOVE LOVE mamma mio and you can bet you’ll see it on my new moms list as well. This kit contains a tummy butter for stretch mark protection, a face wash that I still use and love, boob tube cream to help stop sagging and a leg cooling gel for swollen legs and feet another product I still use and love after a run.

For the mama-to-be who needs a little help sleepingBump Nest– This was a life saver with my last pregnancy. It is seriously a must have item and makes sleeping so much more comfortable. Warning you may need to buy one for everyone in the family to avoid conflict.

For the fashionable mama-to-beMOLLY ADES MATERNITY/NURSING BLACK ZIPPERED NURSING TANK – this is one my favorite nursing tank tops but you don’t have to wait until the baby arrives to get this for your mama-to-be it also is an awesome maternity tank. It has a great stretch for mama-to-be’s expanding belly but won’t lose its shape and once baby arrives the zipper feature is great for easy nursing. Find this top and many other cute maternity and nursing items on Belly Dance Maternity.

For the mama-to-be who needs to relax – a spa gift certificate. Do your research and find a spa that is known for their prenatal spa treatments. I’ll tell you this a spa treatment is what every mama-to-be needs so you really can’t go wrong. If you are a Portland area reader I would suggest Zenana Spa.

For the mama-to-be’s stockingEarth Mama Angel Baby Organic Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler – because sometimes you just need a cup of tea.

Disclaimer: while this post is NOT IN ANY WAY SPONSORED there are affiliate links included.