Author / Liz

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. 😉 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! 🙂 Have something you can’t live without?! Shoot me a link – I’m ALWAYS all ears to hear what others are all about!

The Guest Bedroom

This room has been painted, with a door, and a bed for quite some time. But when we learned we’d be hosting company last week, we kicked it into high gear to finish out some of the details.

While Page worked in the bathroom next door, I did my best to pull together some little details to make this room comfortable for our guests (and yes…maybe benefit us long after they leave when one of us is sick or snoring – the other often ends up down here!) 😉

I scored a dresser at our local HomeGoods for a song, and we added a spare TV from storage, connected our Hulu to it, and framed all the passwords for our guests. 🙂

I’d like to find a prettier standing mirror eventually, but for the time being we hung a smaller one behind the door for getting dressed.

There’s nothing worse than being too hot or cold — this room runs particularly cold in the basement, but I made sure a spare blanket was easy to find if needed.

I’m so pleased with how light and airy this space feels for being a basement room with only an egress window to provide light.

When Crew was over his sound machine from babyhood, it made sense to keep it down here for those who like white noise. (Dohm makes the BEST sound machines, if you’re in the market!) I also added a wall USB/iphone charger because I am the POSTER girl for traveling and forgetting a charger cable.

One of my favorite details in the room is the “Hotel” print — and the colors work so perfectly on the wall color.

Much of what we used in this room was repurposed from elsewhere in the house and no longer available to link online (sheets are Garnet Hill, and the duvet, bedside table, and lamp are all IKEA, if you can luck out in store), but sharing what I can!

house tissue box pennant fixture  |  Dohm sound machine  |  paint color is Sherwin Williams “Faint Coral”

Finished! The Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom in our basement level is completed! Do you hear the angels singing?!

Some out of town friends coming to visit was just the push we needed to pony up the last dollars and burst of energy needed to bring this three-quarter bath to completion.

We are thrilled with the result and I’m swooning in bathroom heaven. Per usual, Page whipped out his mad DIY skills to build the vanity to scale. He did all of his own plumbing work (seriously…I did not even know this about him when I married him…score!) hooking up our shower and sink and toilet and installing all the plumbing fixtures.

I don’t like when things get too “matchy” so combining fixtures in both shiny chrome (already in our door handles) and matte black (to echo the dark floor tile and shower grout) struck the right note for me.

My very favorite part is thinking through all the little details — spare (stylish) toothbrushes, the cutest little overpriced travel toothpaste I’d never splurge on for myself, soaps, lotions, and everything else someone away from home might need.

The beauty of a bathroom that isn’t heavily used on a regular basis is that you don’t end up with all the “stuff” of a daily use bathroom. All we needed in here were a couple of towels and a bath mat stashed under the sink with a basket for extra toilet paper, and a quick spray paint “first aid” box project to hold some basics for our guests.

Thanks for peeking in! And if you need me I’ll just be over here tile-gazing and soaking in the success of (finally) checking this project off the list!

Products used:  shower curtain  |  curtain rod  |  curtain hooks

faucet  |   sink  |   sconces  |   shower head set

hair dryer bag  |   towel hook  |   toothbrushes  |   TP holder

 

The Best Lunch-Packing Products

As a follow-up to my favorite toddler/preschooler-sized backpacks, I’m turning my attention to all things lunch-related as we enter the first week of the school year. We don’t often have to provide a lunch yet, but as we approach kindergarten (say whaaa?!) I’m paying attention to my oh-so-smart mama friends who have all the best recommendations. I do pack my own lunch for work frequently, and have used a similar style lunch box and the silicone cups to keep things separate. And some of these things make lunches at home with littles that much more fun to prepare.

  1. We love this set of cutters — that includes sandwich cutters (who wants crust, anyway?!) little ones that are fun for fruit and cheese slices.
  2. Genius move by parents everywhere to use these little silicone cups to keep foods separate within lunches. (I personally like them to hold almonds and other stuff I want to stay “crunchy” on top of my salads until I’m ready to eat.)
  3. I love the idea of Bento boxes for kids because they hate when stuff “touches” — I like the price point of this box, and as my neighbor so smartly pointed out — you can afford to purchase a week’s worth, pack and stack them all in one night in the fridge, and have ZERO to do all week long.
  4. We’ve been using this stainless water bottle since shortly after Crew was off bottles. They are indestructible and great at keeping cold drinks cold (perfect for all-day summer outings). I’m picky about water bottles because they MUST be easy to clean — this one is my winner.
  5. I love the idea of these pre-printed lunchbox notes! They don’t make much sense until your kiddos are at a reading age, but I love the idea that they don’t require as much time to prepare, but still offer a touchpoint of “I’m thinking about you!” during their school day.

And if you’re looking for some lunch-packing inspiration, here are a couple of my favorite sources:

  • Lunchbox brand, Lunchbots, has a great Instagram feed full of ideas
  • My friend, Lisa, shares her healthy and creative ideas over at Love You Lunches

Favorite Backpacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8

It’s that back-to-school time of year and there are SO many cute backpacks out there — but so many are HUGE and nearly impossible for the littlest of students to carry.

Today I’m sharing my favorites for the “pint size” packs — so many of these come in additional colors and prints, and BONUS, they’re all available on Amazon! 😉

Post contains affiliate links.

The Book List at Three (and a HALF!)

If you’ve spent a minute on this blog, you know we are total suckers for children’s books around here. I always manage to find room in the budget for the bookstore, we go to the library on the regular for even more, and I’m always on the hunt for new recommendations from others as well. I blogged our most recent list here for age 3 here (and our 12-24 month list here) and only six months later, the interests continue to evolve and we discover even more awesome titles. Nothing is set in stone yet…but I think we might have a Halloween costume this year based on a favorite book. 🙂 Below is a rundown of a few of the current favorites:

Square and Triangle (of the Shape trilogy) — I love the monochromatic illustrations in these books and the simple stories between the character shapes, that are laced with a little humor. After Triangle was a hit, I quickly reserved a copy of Square when it was released…and Circle is due out next spring.

I’m a big fan of Jon Klassen’s books, and similar to the shape series, there is some comedy woven into I Want My Hat Back, a simple tale of a a bear who’s lost his hat.

I wasn’t sure how Be Kind would go over (would there be enough “action” to the story to keep him interested?), but Crew was captivated by all the practices of kindness, and has been asking ever since on the daily, “that was kind, right Mom?”

I had added Stuck to our Amazon wish list, and happened upon it at the library shortly after. Let’s just say after out-loud giggles, this one will likely become a permanent fixture in our house. A funny story of a boy who gets his balloon stuck in a tree and throws item after item into the tree to knock it down, and by the end is throwing larger than life objects.

Another Oliver Jeffers book, we love the illustrations in Here We Are, a quick run-down of what it is to live here on Earth. The page with alllll the things living in the sea is particularly captivating and always generates a lot of questions. 🙂

We received Shh! We Have A Plan as a board book when Crew was born, and I loved the illustrations (do you sense a theme here?) from the get-go. But recently, it has received all new life now that Crew really likes the STORY behind the pictures. (Crew lives out this story in our yard now with the birds — hilarious!) (We’ve loved every title by this author, and I think we need to own Little Owl Lost, next!)

The Book with No Pictures is in heavy rotation lately. Funny and silly, I love that it encourages more listening to the words and less relying on images to follow along. Be prepared to sound ridiculous when reading this one. 😉

All of the above can be found on Amazon but I currently have a big Usborne order en route as I type this — we’ve never been disappointed by any of our reads from there and I’m anxious to check out the newest releases and share favorites from there, soon!

What are your kiddos’ current favorite reads??

Age 3: Q2

It’s the summer your freckles arrived. <3 Just in time for Three and a Half.

Let’s jump right in!

We got a SLOWWWW start to spring (snow through April!), but we managed to tough out plenty of adventures while we waited for the warmer temps to show up.

It helped that you’re getting more and more content to play with one activity at a time, for a longer period of time. Water beads and this science kit have been a serious win lately!

Some of the latest details about you and your world…

You detest stickers, but love stamps and temporary tattoos.You’re clocking in at 37 pounds and change, and stand about 39″ tall on a good day.

You love nothing more than when it’s “daddy, mommy and me — ALL of us!” doing something together, even better if the family is extended beyond just us.

You truly hate to disappoint us or be in trouble, and I’ve gotten a much better understanding of the term “threenager” this quarter — lots of dramatic emotion when you’re sad/upset and you can well up with real tears at the drop of the hat!

This seems to be especially true on days you skip a nap — which is why we’re keeping them for now! You fall asleep around 9 most nights, still often end up in our bed somewhere after midnight, and are up at 7 or so, still napping 1.5 to 2 hours most days.

Your eating habits continue to improve…your yes category is still significantly smaller than your no category, but you’ve expanded which veggies you’ll eat, you’ll try a taste of most things with coaxing, and you blew my mind when my HARD NO TO PASTA kid asked for spaghetti for dinner. We ordered some, assuming it would be our next day lunch for work, but you proceeded to eat a ton of it. Now if you would just give mac ‘n’ cheese a chance….it would change your life.

You’re trying really hard to grasp the concept of time – minutes, hours, months, and annually occurring events like holidays and birthdays. “How many minutes?” “What comes after Easter?” and “after I wake up from bedtime?” are common questions as you try to piece it all together. Even if it’s still months away, every week it’s something new you want to be for Halloween (most recently an acorn, before that a butterfly, before that a ghostbuster). Good thing you have some time. 😉

We took our first vacation in over a year that was more than a quick overnight road trip, back in May. Let’s just say you were born to vacate — you ask weekly to go somewhere new again. It was such a treat to unplug for a few days and just be super present with little itinerary. I think you picked up on our lack of stress and distraction — in short, we had FUN!

Your coordination and bravery are increasing — we opted for a Ziggle for a new outdoor toy lately and it did not take you long to figure out how to propel yourself around and spin out in circles!

By far a highlight this quarter was a trip to the McNeilus plant on our way to a Twin Cities weekend with friends. After your news segment about loving garbage trucks went viral, the incredible team at McNeilus invited you to come tour the campus where they manufacture trucks for, among others, Waste Management. To say you were in heaven is putting it mildly! 😉

We were so touched by the generosity of this company – they gave up their afternoon to show you around, let you test drive some of the trucks that were ready to ship out, and sent you with so much swag to take home!

The same trip took us to catch up with good friends who moved out of town, and they showed us around their new digs including the Minnesota Childrens Museum, and some other favorite kiddo haunts around town. The shot above doesn’t do this museum justice — you were literally bouncing about four floors up and surrounded by windows, among the St. Paul skyline!

You live for trips to the pool and are all about swimming independently as much as you can — you’re at that tipping point of being able to swim independently, but you aren’t nearly as good as you THINK you are — so we are watching you like a hawk, and when we want a little backup, we still bust out the puddlejumper. 🙂

Three, just like every other age, is proving to be oh so fun. And as much as you love to tell us we’re “your favorite mommy and daddy” — you are OUR favorite, through and through, Little Man.

Keep spreading your magic.

Love,
Mom