Author / Liz

Fangirl Favorites: October

Back with my latest and random as ever round-up of stuff we love around here this month (and beyond!). I say it every time — but I so value the opinions of others rather than having to trial and error myself. It’s nice to just know when something comes highly recommended!

Lolleez throat pops — Cold season has hit our house hard, and with it comes all the sore throats. I love that unlike lozenges, these pops on a stick don’t pose the same choking hazard. They are Crew-approved and when I sampled one myself, I was pleasantly surprised they taste nothing like medicine, and DID help ease my sore throat.

Cookies interactive book — I’ve blogged about this Cook In A Book series multiple times and for good reason. Crew continues to LOVE these books and pulls them off the shelf regularly. They just released the newest title, and Santa is stashing it for a stocking stuffer.

Bota Box Wine — Yet another example of why you need cool friends to keep you in the loop. When we hosted a casual friends and kids dinner, a couple brought along this Pinot Noir. I’ve always been a box wine snob…until now. Page only liked it, but I thought it was really good (perfectly light and NOT sweet like other box reds I’ve tried), and especially for the price (about $20), it blew my mind you got the equivalent of four bottles. For a special occasion I’d defer to something else, but for a regular weeknight glass (or two), I’m all about keeping this one on tap.

BeautyCounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel — (No, I don’t sell BC – just love this item!) I am selective about my “splurgier” facial products, but this one has been worth its money and then some. While I haven’t seen as much lightening of age spots as I hoped to, my skin FEELS so much better and my makeup glides on in a way it never did before. I love no-fuss application stuff, and this one couldn’t be easier. Just slap one pump’s worth over your freshly washed face at night, and wait a minute or two before applying your moisturizer. I noticed a difference in my skin’s texture after the very first night.

Huckberry boots — Page added these to his shoe lineup last year and I’ve admittedly stolen them now and again for a quick jaunt out to the garage or the mailbox — and now I think I need my own pair. SO soft and warm and cozy — I’m a fan of anything that feels like slippers but can pass as a real shoe.

Diamond Dazzle Stick — These will be stocking stuffers for every gal on my list this year. I’m so bad about cleaning my ring on the regular at home, I like this little to-go stick so if I’m killing time in traffic or waiting at an appointment, I can do a quick shine. Would be a fun gift for a new bride or bride-to-be!

As always, comment here with the things you’re loving! I’m all about adding to cart based on your recommendations ๐Ÿ™‚

Age 3: Q3

Another quarter of age 3 has flown by. More independent than ever, so many little day to day details are changing and oh so grown up. You climb up on your stool and brush your own teeth (with a double check after), bring your dishes to the sink after dinner, rarely need a reminder to try and use the restroom, get your own clothes on (depending on the shirt – those are still tricky!) – and they’re usually on the right direction ๐Ÿ˜‰ More than once, you’ve woken up and come downstairs without us hearing. You grab your milk cup out of the fridge and climb onto the couch with the iPad and let us continue sleeping ha!

Summer was oh so good to us. There was SO much swimming and trampoline jumping and running around with the neighbor kids. Again, new levels of independence as you’ve been allowed a yard or two over – I won’t lie, we’ve enjoyed it, too, able to have a glass of wine on the patio or grill dinner while having an uninterrupted conversation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Your vocabulary and complex thoughts continue to amaze us. Just today at the park you told me you could do something that was a “big kid skill (skill?!) and I can do it because I’m a big kid because I’m almost four”.

We are equally as entertained by the mix-ups that still happen. As of late, you replace the word “respect” for when you mean “expect”. So instead of “that’s what I expected to happen” it comes out more like, “that’s what I’m respectin!” (You still rarely put a -g on the end of any word that ends in -ing. It’s all “pizza toppins” and “jumpin” and “roarin”.)

Speaking of roaring, the Jurassic Park love is real and you will sit through a good bit of any of the movies, captivated. You can name many of the kinds of dinosaurs and often impersonate them for us. The planets and stars are a new thing in your world and you ask almost nightly if you and Dad can go outside and look for them, after rockstar Dad showed you an app on his phone that lets you point it at the sky and learn what’s what. I do love that you’ll still enthusiastically take on some art projects with me – painting continues to be your favorite. You still want to clarify on Thursdays that it’s garbage day, but the need to run outside every Thursday is dwindling. How funny is it that I can’t quite type that fact without a little eye-watering. ๐Ÿ™‚

You love to do your version of break-dancing, and your favorite jams vacillate between “Ice Ice Baby” and “I Wish (I Was A Little Bit Taller)”. You’re obsessed with the idea of Easter and desperately are trying to grasp the concept of weeks and months to get a grip on just when that bunny will show up again with eggs.

Breadsticks are probably your favorite food at the moment, and you can take down nearly a whole slice of Costco pizza in one sitting. Donuts still rank high for you, but you still won’t touch chocolate milk. You’ll eat a handful of various vegetables but if we make a salad, you’re disgusted that we’re “eatin’ leaves!”. A lot of play revolves around pretend food and food prep — you still love to play restaurant or food truck with your tent or kitchen and take orders and deliver them. Maybe a restaurant career in your future?

Letters and sounds and early reading is clicking for you at a rapid rate. They’re in no linear order, but you can write each letter of your name without having to look at an example. It’s hit or miss but you can often tell us which letter a word starts with, and vice versa if we name a letter, you can (usually) come up with a word that begins with it. You’re sounding things out and you like to follow printed words and make up what they say, but sound as if you’re really reading them carefully. Long story short – you’re pretty desperate to be a reader, and soon.

Like any kid, you have a couple “hard no” things that you’re afraid of (tunnel slides are still one!) but when it comes to people, you are so certain of yourself. You’re always the first to initiate a new friendship, walking up and starting the conversation, and I can actually SEE you match pace with another child as a way to get closer to them — if they’re into something specific, you match their interest in it, or ask questions, or laugh at something silly they’re doing as a way to engage. You are sometimes annoyed if I jump in to the conversation — like if you could, you’d say, “Mom get OUT of here, you’re ruining my cool factor”. ๐Ÿ™‚

You’re high on life, that’s for certain. You love as fiercely as ever and tell us as much all the time without any kind of prompt. I hear you repeat things we say to you, but you MEAN them when you say them — “Oh Dad, I’m so proud of you for moving that big box all by yourself you must be so strong” or “Mom it makes me really happy that you brought me that snack, I’ll give you a hug because I know you love hugs”. <3

You can stall bedtime, be the most selective listener, and (annoyingly) pout and cringe at meals we put in front of you, but you make up for it all with a huge heart, great manners (most of the time), the silliest sense of humor, and an attitude that is all-in for any kind of adventure. We’re so crazy proud of the little person you’re becoming as you transition out of these toddler times and join the ranks of truly being a “kid”.

Love you fiercely.

Mom

Dragons Love Tacos Halloween Costume

I spent weeks taking this 3.5 year old to the store, browsing online, and generally asking him what he might want to be for Halloween. Anything I suggested was met with some variation of “meh” — until I proposed a character from one of his favorite books. If you have a kid in your life and haven’t read Dragons Love Tacos, do so immediately!

The ONLY opinion that was voiced was that he wanted to be a BLUE dragon with green wings. So off to Primary I went for their hoodie and joggers to get started.

If you are familiar with this book, you know the whole story unravels when the dragons get ahold of the spicy salsa. I grabbed an orange pumpkin bucket from the dollar store, spray painted it red, and we loosely followed the illustration as a guide, using scrapbook sticker letters for the label.

Dragons Love Tacos Halloween Costume | lifeinyellow.com

I bought a yard of the most dragon-ish green fabric I could find for the wings, tail, and horns. I am NOT a seamstress, but I managed to make a simple cone shaped tail, turned it right side out and stuffed it with stuffing. I added a single triangle “horn” to the end of the tail, and tacked the other two onto the hoodie. I bought a pair of children’s fairy wings at the dollar store to use as my base, covered them in the green fabric, changing the outline of the wings to be a bit more dragon and less butterfly. I sewed the top of the tail to the underside of the wings so he could put the whole thing on as if it were a backpack.

To drive home that this wasn’t just any dragon but a taco-loving dragon, I bought an “I Love Tacos’ button on Etsy and pinned it to his hoodie. We made a couple cardstock and tissue paper tacos and stuffed them in each pocket — after all, you have to have “pantloads” of tacos to host a proper taco party for dragons.

Oh no, dragon! You know what happens if you eat that spicy salsa!

Happy halloween — and happy costume creating — from our home to yours! <3

Fangirl Favorites: September

  1. I have to begin with this ridiculously well priced set of chairs. You can buy them individually or in sets of two and four — I needed two for the current project of turning my “office” (previously the nursery) into more of a creative art room space. We’ve been sitting on them for weeks now and still love them!
  2. I was gifted this planner and would have never otherwise looked twice at it. I’ve never been a planner girl, but this is slowly changing my life (yes, dramatic). I am the classic “too many ideas, not enough time” and this planner has totally helped me break down big goals into actionable (realistic) chunks and I’m seeing so much progress two months in on so many of my big goals. There’s a monthly, weekly and daily component but there’s so much room for interpretation and to use it as it best works for you.
  3. We ALL love this lavender wash, but it’s particularly great for winding Crew down at bedtime. It’s very reasonably priced for a giant bottle and we’re maybe a third of the way through ours, which I bought at the beginning of the summer.
  4. It’s soup season and Page is the biggest fan. He ordered this thermos as a way to pack his Trader Joes tomato and roasted red pepper soup (have you tried it? SOOO good!) for the office.
  5. I should preface that I am NOT a cookbook purchaser. I rely heavily on my Pinterest boards and a handful of friends and family recipes that I keep in a binder. But Healthyish captivated from cover to cover and every single recipe I’ve tried out of here is so ridiculously good and full of flavor, without being overly complex. And while I can feel good about it being pretty good for me, the recipes aren’t SO stringent that it feels like “diet food”.
  6. I always notice that my skin acts up during the change of the seasons. I’ve been giving myself a little extra TLC with this hot clothย cleansing balm. I’m a HUGE fan of the one made by Beautycounter, but the price tag is just too hefty to justify on an ongoing basis. I’ve found this one to be very similar and paired with a set of muslin washcloths I can give myself a little facial while in the shower. (These two products together also make a great gift!)
  7. My mom finds the greatest stuff and this one nailed his obsession with food prep pretend play. Kiddos can “serve” different flavors of juice (his favorite part is using the menu to take our orders) into glasses and add ice cubes with this drink dispenser toy. Sounds so simple, but it’s provided HOURS of entertainment. In fact it’s been such a hit, I think we might add this set to expand his menu. And as always, we love Melissa & Doug toys for their long lasting durability – they’re the toys that get saved and packed away for my grandkids someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Classroom Halloween Treats: Witch’s Brew Bath Bombs

We’ve been busy over here whipping up all the magic potions so that Crew’s classroom friends can create some of their own for Halloween!

You may have guessed it — we made our own bath bombs, complete with spooky surprises inside!

This project was much easier than I expected (I was fully counting on some crumbling bombs and preschooler – and Mom – meltdowns) but I’m happy to report it was really pretty simple and straightforward!

It DOES help to have all your stuff ready, premeasured/open, so you can work quickly. (Once everything is mixed, you want to make your bombs before the mix gets too dry.) I did two batches; the first I followed the recipe below exactly (this made about five medium-sized bombs), and when those turned out well, I quadrupled it to make enough for Crew’s class of 24 and a couple extra friends.

My best tip is to spend a minute on YouTube watching an actual video of how to make these, because I picked up a lot of hints and it helped me understand better than all the written directions out there. In all I’d say we spent about $20 on everything (although I did already have the essential oils on hand). And if you keep scrolling I’m sharing a printable of the label we stapled across the top, so you can gift these as well!

After reading a few reviews of silicone versus plastic versus aluminum, I settled on this set of molds. I don’t foresee using the small one much, but the medium was perfect for stretching the batch enough to make decent-sized bombs for 24+ kiddos (and I’ll be making my own and gifting some at the holidays with the larger mold, which feels even more grand/luxurious). They worked like a charm with no sticking.

For our bath bombs, we knew we wanted them to be green (but not so pigmented they stain anyone’s tub ha!) so we used green food coloring accordingly.

THE RECIPE:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid (cheaper online than in stores)

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup epsom salt

3 Tbsp almond oil or grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp water (add your drops of food coloring to this for even mixing)

Essential Oil as desired (for our quadruple batch I did about four drops each of lemon, tangerine, sweet orange, and bergamot)…Crew could not get enough of smelling them ha!

Our final “ingredient” was a bat-shaped ring (I bought a bag of 30+ at WalMart for a dollar) and they fit perfectly inside the medium sized mold. I thought these would be a fun surprise when the bomb fizzles apart in the tub.

TO MAKE YOUR BATH BOMBS:

After gathering your ingredients, whisk together all the DRY ingredients first. Combine the wet ingredients separately and pour them SLOWLY into the bowl, constantly whisking. The consistency should feel ALMOST as damp as wet sand – a tad more powdery, but still “wet”.

Scoop the mixture into both halves of your mold. Don’t PACK it in, but gently press enough to firm it up, and make sure both halves are overflowing. (At this point, I pressed the bat ring into one side.) Stick your two halves together and press them together, wiping off any excess that comes out the seam. Use your knuckles to tap firmly on either side of the mold so the packed mixture will slide out easily. I used a slight “twist” motion (like unscrewing a cap) to remove one side at a time, and laid them out on a sheet of wax paper to harden up. A lot of recipes called for 24 hours to dry but I think it only helps to give them a solid 48 hours before handling them in any way.

I was nervous about how durable these would be when loaded up dozens deep and handed out at school. My coworker had the genius idea to add some cobweb stuffing to the little ziploc treat bags (found at The Dollar Tree). I added a bomb and some stuffing to each bag, and printed and cut apart the following printable. (They should be about the size of a business card, before folded in half lengthwise). Stick them over the tops of the bags and staple in place. Voila! Witch’s brew for all!

Grab your free printable treat topper by clicking the attachment link below:

Witch’s Brew Printable

Happy Halloween!!

Fall Book List

Just give me alllll the fall reads — I’m not sure who is more excited for the season, me or my mini!

Our current list of must-reads:

The Scariest Book Ever has the boldest, most “popping” illustrations that are so fun to look at. This was a big hit last year when he was only two, but loves it all over again this year at three, and it’s funny for the adults reading it, as well.

Gilbert the Ghost I’ll admit, is better loved by Crew than by me. But it’s not too spooky and gets at the moral of being inclusive.

No Such Thing ย is probably my favorite of this list — from the beginning the character doesn’t believe in ghosts and explains away all the weird things happening, only to find out maybe there IS such a thing, in the end.

How To Make Friends with A Ghostย is a little wordy yet for Crew, so I shorten it as I read. He laughs out loud out the antics of befriending a ghost, and I love the idea that your ghost is “with you” from your youngest to your oldest days.

Thankfulย is obviously a good read with the message of gratitude — I haven’t found many “Thanksgiving” books but of them, this is my favorite.

The Little Children’s Halloween Activity Bookย is sure to keep Crew busy when we need a time-filler (restaurants, road trip, etc) and it’s nice to have something fresh in the mix, and relevant to the season. Always love Usborne’s activity items!

Vampirina Ballerina is one we checked out from the library to test run. I thought it was adorable, but based around a girl’s love of ballet, it didn’t hold Crew’s interest. I’d definitely recommend it for the girls, though!

Stumpkin is one I stumbled on at the bookstore the other day and will be going back to pick up. I’d never heard of it, but at first flip through, I love the story sentiments around the idea of being “perfect”.

Ghosts is another on our wish list — I try to add a new title or two each year, and this will likely be one of them!

Which titles did I miss???

5 Boy Outfits for Fall

I can’t tell you how much fun I have going through Crew’s closet each season. Maybe it’s the fact that kids literally get an ALL NEW wardrobe every year because they’ve grown, maybe it’s that everything is just cuter in little sizes…maybe it’s just that kids clothes are so much FUN! It was so hard to choose, but I kept it to five outfits (and one jammie set, of course!) using a bunch of my favorite pieces. Some items are purchased new this year, and some were bought ahead last year and are no longer available (NLA). I’ve linked exact products where I can, but at the very least, you hopefully come away with some fun *BOY* outfit ideas!

chambray shirt | cranberry tee (Target NLA) | numbers joggers | shoes | beanie (Etsy NLA)

velvet blazer (Target NLA) | pie tee | (SandiLake NLA) | pull-on jeans (Hudson NLA) | saddle shoes (similar)

sweater (Hanna Andersson NLA)| long sleeved tee | striped joggers | olive boots

FriYAY tee | yellow tee | pull-on jeans | Hunter boots

plaid buttondown | navy sweater | olive harem pants | moccasins

PSM tee | jammies

Fangirl Favorites: August

It’s no secret I spend too much time finding all the things that need to come exist in my house. But I so appreciate reading from other blogs about finds that they’ve tried and LOVED — it takes the guesswork and review reading out of the purchase process for me!

I’m inspired to start sharing things we’re loving (and expand beyond just Crew stuff!) on a regular basis. Only stuff I’m a total fangirl of makes the cut!

Without further adieu…

  1. I’ve started more than one conversation with friends lately like this…”Did I already tell you about my air fryer obsession? I did?” because we’re that into it. I’m not a “more is more” in the kitchen — I hate multiple little appliances specific to tasks, all of which require cleaning, organizing, and storage space. But this one is worth all of the above. Originally to simply heat up (quickly! no preheating required) “kid food” like chicken nuggets and fish sticks (without the mushiness that comes with the microwave), I quickly made the leap into using it for myself to health-ify some favorites like french fries (it captures extra grease in the pan at the bottom – calories saved!). You can be as healthy (hello sweet potato fries and kale chips!) or as unhealthy (ummm the most EPIC donuts made from biscuit dough) as you like. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But either way, this little gadget is changing the way we eat.
  2. YOU. GUYS. I was recently gifted a pair of these faux leather magical butter-pants, aka Spanx leggings. Until now I had only purchased undergarments from this brand, known for sucking it in and smoothing it out in all the right places. Be prepared for heavy rotation of these in my feed!
  3. Page and I both ordered a pair of Goodr running sunglasses after they were recommended by friends. I had never heard of them and expected them to be much more than their $25 price point. Amazing for going to the pool and working out – they really DON’T slip, and without the normal “pinch your nose to stay in place” technique of the others I’ve tried in the past. Plus, you have to love the hilarious names of each style.
  4. I jumped on the natural deodorant bandwagon earlier this year and never looked back. While I still love the scent of the Ursa Major I wrote about here, as summer has heated up, I feel like it’s starting to fall short on the sweatiest of days. Enter my brilliant blogger friend Ivy of Wake Up for Makeup. (Seriously, whatever she talks about, I just go buy without hesitation. She’s a genius about anything beauty/body products.) I immediately noticed better and longer-lasting coverage with this Smarty Pits brand (and love the subtle eucalyptus/mint scent!).
  5. Usborne magic painting books are the easiest, cleanest, way to get your kids into art. Crew loves to use a paintbrush more than any other art medium, but if I’m only half paying attention, I can’t risk leaving him with open jars of tempera everywhere. He LOVES this book (other themes available) and it’s also so easy to throw in my bag for a restaurant — all you need is a glass of water from the server.
  6. I feel like it’s so hard to find bath toys for kids beyond the age of about 18 months. Crew can keep himself busy in the tub until the water turns cold if he has some good entertainment. He is ALL about food service lately (see more evidence below!) so I had to give this bubble ice cream machine a go. Worth every penny, all you need to supply is some bubble bath.
  7. Continuing the theme, despite only visiting a couple ever, Crew became ALL about the food truck, I think because it combines his love of all things on wheels, and the ability to cook up orders for people. He still plays with his little kitchen on a regular basis, but this food truck tent has been such a fun new spin and a new way to use all the play food we’ve accumulated. He literally plays with it at some point every day and he’s learning to assign prices to things. I must say, I’ve never had a better make believe $100 slice of pizza.
  8. Last Crew toy/food reference ha! My parents gave him this ice cream set to go WITH the food truck, of course. Melissa and Doug can do no wrong anyway, but this set of play food is particularly fun because of magnets inside to help grip/release the scoops and build double decker cones. I know some kids can totally take or leave the whole play food thing, but for our guy, this set is worth its weight in gold.
  9. You have to swoon a little when your hubby gets a random Amazon gift card…and promptly spends it on an item from your wish list. <3 36 Hours showed up to my surprise and I’m obsessed. I do still love a physical book when I know I will reference it again and again, and this one is so pretty sitting out on a table. Organized by region of the country, it documents how to spend 36 hours in all the best spots across the USA and Canada. Road trip planning is in full swing!
  10. Perhaps saving the very best for last…also known as Page’s fathers day gift that has become just as much mine as his ha! This cold brew coffee maker has taken up permanent residence in our fridge and until the snow flies, it’s not going anywhere. Our coffee pro friend was the first to inform us that iced coffee is NOT the same as cold brew, and that the latter is the ONLY way to go. You can absolutely taste the difference, and we’ve since learned that cold brew is much less acidic than regular hot brewed coffee, so an extra win. Keep in mind it’s extra concentrated — I usually do a third of a glass with brew, a third milk, a third water, and add ice. Sip and enjoy the ecstasy.

There you have it, the top ten things that are changing our lives around here! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have something you can’t live without?! Shoot me a link – I’m ALWAYS all ears to hear what others are all about!