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”

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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

 

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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
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Favorite Backpacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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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.
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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??

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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

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Inspired: Project Faceless

A few things have been happening lately, and they’re inspiring some changes in how I approach sharing our life online.

A few months back, I woke to a friend’s comment tagging me in the Instagram post by a baby food brand. A major, household, parent-centric brand. There in the post was my child staring back at me. The photo was: taken from my blog without my permission (strike 1), photoshopped (strike 2), of my minor child – again no permission (MAJOR strike 3), and even if I could have seen past all of that, I wasn’t so much as credited in the caption or a comment. My mama blood boiled, I worked to get the post removed from their feed (and an apology was issued — but seriously, WHO is running their social media that they think is acceptable?). I ultimately got around to being frustrated with MYSELF that the content was out there in the first place to be misused.

I won’t pretend for a second that I’m any “big” blogger, but over the years, I’ve experienced strangers asking me if I’m “Life in Yellow” (much more common than my actual name ha). I always kind of laughed it off and figured it’s par for the course when you put so much of your life online. Then we had our son, and as babies do, he changed rapidly from month to month these early years. He now has hit that stretch where he still looks quite similar now as he did a full year ago, and thus he’s easier to recognize. Something we’ve learned as we’ve had a couple encounters where people who’ve never met him (innocently enough) remark that they know him, and even call him by name. While we KNOW these people mean nothing but good, this recognition coupled with our son’s instant bestie status with EVERYONE, for lack of a better term, freaked me out.

I was moved by this podcast by some of my faves, Young House Love, on protecting their children’s privacy. Once sharing on the same level I have (birth stories, monthly updates, etc) they no longer use names or show faces of their kids. Their children, while older than our own, are that much more in need of their own space and privacy, and as John points out at one point, it’s up to THEM to decide who, if anyone, they want to be online.

This moved me, big time.

Privacy, safety, exploitation (even if the “innocent” kind, by a brand trying to sell toddler snacks) – MORE than enough reason for me to make this call. I shared my thoughts with Page and he was quick to agree it made sense. The photographer in me (and of course the proud mom) longs to share every little bit, but I’ve always tried to find a balance, and now more than ever. There is plenty to share, in creative ways, that allows me to blog about motherhood (hello, cute room decor, outfits, stocking stuffers and party planning!), and still protect my son. I’ve been further inspired by the work of #projectfaceless photographers, like this one, who are beautifully and authentically capturing childhood in creatively anonymous ways. Challenge accepted!

I know there’s no perfect way to do this. Yes, he will still show up in our private social media. Yes, he may still show up in my blog instastories (that don’t get saved) and no, I’m not going to work backward and delete every picture I’ve posted. Yes, I realize he was just on national news for his love of garbage trucks, and there’s no net I can cast to reign that in. So I’m just making the conscious decision now, going forward, to be more aware and share less here and on the blog’s social media. I LOVE following along with the littles of bloggers and others who share their lives publicly, but this is simply the right choice, right now, for US. Thanks for the support as we go faceless! <3

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5 Boy Outfits for Summer

Hat by Joules | Tee by Tailor Vintage | Shoes by Children’s Place | Shorts by Target

I had so much fun digging through Crew’s closet for Spring Outfits, that I had to do it again for summer. We’ve been hit HARD by the heat lately, so the layers are fewer and the outfits much simpler this round, but we also have our sunnies on serious repeat, which has been a fun new accessory to incorporate. (Read: Mom is buying ALL the cute little boy sunglasses!) And of course, we get to do some cute SWIM outfits as well. Bring it on, heat wave!

Hat by Under Armour  | Shirt by Rockets of Awesome | Shoes by Native | Shorts by Target

Rash Guard by Hanna Andersson | Sunglasses by Target | Swim Boardies by Zara Kids

Button-down and Tie by Janie & Jack | Shorts by Gap | Sandals by OshKosh

Tee by CrewCuts | Sunglasses by Gap | Shorts by Monica & Andy | Boots by Hunter

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