Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Wishlist Toddler Boy 2015

Well we are a little late to the party, but better late than never right..... 
Christmas Wishlist 2015

1. Paw Patrol Christmas Fleece Pajama Set: Last week when I posted our Christmas Wishlist Favorites, I mentioned that Myles complains about any pjs that are too tight. So these are my go-to type of pjs at the moment. I got him two pairs; one Avengers and one Paw Patrol. He only just started knowing about Paw Patrol about a month ago, so he is still quite obsessed and wants all things Paw Patrol.

2. Paw Patrol Zuma Ryder Bath Adventure: I wanted to get him one Paw Patrol toy for Christmas. I was super stoked when I found this one because he desperately needs new bath toys and the bath toy market is pretty weak; #jackpot It's a little more expensive than I think it should be, but it is a pretty good find for our needs. I like that it comes with a dog and Ryder (he has been wanting a Ryder). He is super into imaginative play right now, so I think he will have a blast playing with this set.
3. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game: I wanted to get Myles at least one game for Christmas. We have several already but none that get him engaged enough to actually play the game right. This one has great reviews, so I am hoping that he will like it enough to play it as it's intended. 
4. 3DIT Character Creator Molding Machine: I put this on Myles' list because it serves as more than just a toy. He will love to get little guys to play with and I love that he is helping to make them and learning how they are made in the process. I campaigned my mom to get this one! I'm pretty excited to see how it works and hopefully it lives up to my expectations.

5. Robo-Sauce: We already have tons and tons of books in our house, but we could always use more to put in our rotation. I'm sure you all know how fast a book can get old when you are reading the same ones 7 times a day. This one has great reviews and Myles loves him some robots, so I think it will be a hit.

6. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera: This is Myles' big Christmas present from my dad. I decided to get Myles several smaller things and ask my dad to get him his one bigger present. As soon as I saw this camera, I knew Myles needed it. We found him an old school manual 35mm film camera a couple months back and he thought it was so awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't load the film the right way, and the pictures didn't turn out. So I had to make up for my mom fail with this amazing new camera. Because it isn't really intended for kid use, I will keep this put away and supervise when he uses it. It seems to be the perfect size for him and the best part is that he will get the pictures instantly! I can't wait to see what he captures!

7. Marvel Avengers Avengers Mash'Ems: Myles (and maybe me as well) have a slight obsession with Mash'Ems. They are so cute and fun to play with. I love squeezing and sloshing them around and Myles loves that he can go crazy playing with them and they won't break. I picked out several different types (superheroes, Paw Patrol. Ninja Turtles, etc.) and asked him which he wanted the most. He picked the Avenger ones and I decided to go with this pack because he already has some and I don't want him to get duplicates with the capsule ones.

8. PLAYMOBIL Private Jet: I absolutely love Playmobil. They have the most fun sets that are prefect for this age. Some have smaller pieces, but I usually just keep them in a bag or put the really small ones away. For the most part, though, Myles is really good with keeping them together (with a little help). I showed him a couple different sets, but he insisted on this plane. This is still a maybe as I am still trying to get him to change his mind for a more engaging set like the doctor's office, vet office, or police station.

9. Osmo Gaming System: This is the full set featuring numbers, words, Tangram
, Newton, and  Masterpiece. It's a little pricey for me, but I know that it will be something we can use for years. I like that you use it with the iPad, but that there are also actual tangible pieces as well. I wish you could buy them separately. I wouldn't be so on the fence if I didn't have to pay for all of them at once when I am not sure how much use he will get out of the higher aged games. I really just want the numbers and words right now, so I think I will look into getting just those.

What have you already bought the littles for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

FREE Monsters, Inc. Movie

This is a really random post for me, but I just had to share this deal with you guys! A while ago, I signed up and downloaded the Disney Movies Anywhere app on our Ipad so that I could get the digital copy of some Disney movies we purchased. Of course, I forgot, months went by, and I never did anything with it. Then a week ago I got an email from them saying this:

So I logged back in and synced it to my iTunes account. I went to my library and the movie was there! I pushed the little down arrow icon on the movie so that it would download (to watch without wifi) and now we have Monsters, Inc.! 
It says today is the last day, so DO IT! :) 

I'm sure it works on any tablet or smart phone that can download the app.
 Let me know if it works for you!

My Perfect Fall Day

Moving across the county to a place where you know absolutely no one in your late 20s is a little jarring (to say the least).  We moved to California from Illinois two years ago and have lived in our current city a little over a year now. Exploring a new city can be fun, but also very overwhelming. What to do on a beautiful weekday morning or the ever elusive 'parents night out'? Where to start? Luckily in this age, we have the convince of technology and social media. Yelp has been a saving grace on days we can't be in the house any longer. But you can only go to the same places so many times. Que... Eventbrite. Eventbrite offers tons of options for creating and promoting events (if interested use their event management and planning page), but I love it for finding events! It's super easy to search for things that are going on in your area; good for planned day trips or impromptu nights out. I usually check it once a week and save events based on our schedule. We don't always make them, but I love knowing it is always there if we need something to do.   

As a somewhat newbie to the area, I thought it would be interesting to use this prompt from Eventbrite and share with you some of the awesome things we have found in Petaluma.

 One of the best things about visiting or moving to any new place it checking out the food! Mark and I pride ourselves on being (very) amateur local food connoisseurs. We make it a point to try to never eat the same place twice for our weekly date night. Out of all the places we've ate here in Petaluma, I have my top favorites for each meal. So, of course, I am starting out the day with: 

This place... there are no words, really.. I don't know how food critics write! The owners have their own farm and purchase from other local farmers to create amazing dishes with homegrown taste. The menu changes with seasons, but never disappoints! If you do anything in Petaluma go here.. and just stay for all 3 meals!

After the fulfilling meal, a walk downtown is a must. The streets are lined with locally owned quaint shops of many varieties. Downtown offers something for everyone (literally) with boutiques, toy stores, tons of resale, craft stores, coffee joints, salons all intermixed with parks and a river view. My two favorite places to stop are Copperfield's Bookstore and Powell's Sweet Shoppe

Copperfield's is a regional chain bookstore. They have about 7 locations in Sonoma County. I used to be a Barnes & Noble kinda gal, but when we moved I discovered the closest one was about 25 minutes away. So I thought I'd give this place a try. I have to say my favorite part about this store is the customer service. I would go as far as saying it is the best customer service I have had in a store ever. The staff is so knowledgeable, but not condescending. It is very laid back and inviting, with that corner bookstore feel. And for being just a local bookstore, they get a huge variety of nationally known authors to do events regularly. You could most definitely spend hours in this place and you should!

Powell's is a franchised candy shop with about 15 locations (mostly in California). I'm a bit of a candy freak (although I don't eat it much anymore because of sensitive teeth), so I have been to my fair share of candy stores. NOTHING compares to this place. They have everything you could ever want and more. Candies, old and new, sodas, specialty chocolates, and to-die-for gelato. My son loves picking out a couple of his own candies (he likes the gummies) and I have an affinity for the raspberry chocolate sorbeto mixed with the white chocolate strawberry gelato.  When I took my out-of-town parents here, I saw both of their faces light-up as they relived their childhoods' through their favorite old time candies. I'm not even joking when I say this is one of my favorites parts of living in Petaluma! 

After a couple hours of shopping, take a break and enjoy the beauty that is wine country. I'm not a big drinker, but being that Sonoma County is wine country, I have to add a winery into the list. Even if you aren't into drinking, experiencing a winery is a must in Petaluma and Kastania Vineyards is the one to experience. They offer tours and wine tasting on weekends and allow you to bring a lunch (grab sandwiches from Lucchesi's Deli) while you enjoy the views and test out wines. I love that it is family owned; their commitment and hard work is definitely shown in the quality of their wine.

By now you should be ready for dinner and if you're not, just one whiff of the smells coming from Sauced will get you ready for your newest addiction. If you know me, you know that I was super hesitant about going to this place. That is because I don't like barbecue. I have just never liked my meat drowned in sauce; way too overwhelming for me. So when we decided to give it a try, I wasn't expecting much; even reading the menu didn't change my mind. I just wasn't sure how the meat would be with all the sauce on it. BUT the awesome thing about this place is the meat comes dry and you put the sauce on it. They have 4 homemade sauces on the table and you choose what and how much to put on your meat. Oh and the meat.... sooo darn good! The chicken is so juicy you don't even need sauce and brisket is mouth-watering. And the sides are even better; the corn bread and sweet potato casserole are the best I've ever had by far. We've been to this place more times than any other in Petaluma and we have brought every out-of-town guest here as well. 
They also have a really fun event calendar with trivia, bingo, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
 Take it from a non-barbecue lover, go here; this place will change you! 

.After Hours.
End the night at the famous Lagunitas Brewing Company. This place has an awesome history here in Petaluma and recently opened another facility in Chicago. You get to hear the whole story when you take a free brewery TASTING tour. Like I said earlier, I am not a big drinker, but the tour alone is well worth the visit. When we moved here, Lagunitas was always the first suggestion everyone gave us when we asked for things to do. It has such a fun atmosphere with live music everyday and some unique special events throughout the year. 

It is the perfect place for a day date or end to your night. You are sure to leave with happy taste buds and a greater appreciation for the art of craft brewing.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my perfect Fall day in Petaluma. If it sparked your interest... good, come visit us!!!! 
***I'm talking to you family and friends!***

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Toddler Boy Favorites: Christmas Wishlist Ideas

A couple days ago, I started writing Myles' Christmas Wishlist post. It made me think of an idea to share with you all a favorites list of items we already know we love. So here are some Christmas ideas straight from the brain of my three year old, Myles.

1. Melissa and Doug Catch and Count Fishing Game: Myles got this for this second birthday. Almost a year and a half later and he still loves playing with it. It's a toy that has a pretty wide age range and many different purposes. At first, he mostly just used the polls to pick up any random fish. Now, we can practice colors by picking up a certain color I say. He hasn't quite gotten to the actually game part (picking up the fish that the arrow lands on), but that just means we will continue to get good use out of it! And because it's wooden (and Melissa and Doug) it has held together wonderfully.

2. Step2 Easel: Myles got this two Christmases ago from my parents. I put it up for a while and brought it out here and there to see if he was ready to try it out. It wasn't until recently that he has really begun to make good use out of it. We practice learning our numbers and letters and he really likes to draw pictures now. I like that it has a chalkboard side and a whiteboard side and also comes with magnetic letters and numbers. It's also easy to clean and folds up nicely. I can see us using this well into the future as Myles learns to write and draw more.

3. Melissa and Doug Alphabet Puzzle: I picked up a Melissa and Doug alphabet puzzle very similar to this one at Goodwill two years ago. We looked at it here and there, but now that Myles is in school and learning his letters, it has become a great teaching tool. He can see what each letter looks like and a picture of something that starts with each letter underneath. I like it because I can just grab a letter and talk about it without him getting too bored. And again it's wood, so the quality is great.

4. Carter's 2 piece pajama set: These are Myles' favorite type of jammies. He often complains about his pajamas being too tight (totally my son), so I have been buying more of these lately. They are loose and comfortable, but still warm and snugly.

5. Imaginext Batcave: Myles got this from Santa last year, and it was by far his favorite gift. It has so many cool features, for a relatively low price (we got a Black Friday deal). I honestly can't say enough about how much it keeps Myles entertained. It comes with Batman (his motorcycle, helmet, and bat flier) and Robin. It has a jail cell, missile launcher, and a command center. It is also interactive with an app for iPhones. For me, the best part about these toys is seeing Myles really develop his imagination with them. We come up with all sorts of fun and goofy scenarios to put Batman and Robin though. This is definitely one of the best toy investments we've made so far.

6. Rolie Polie Olie: My mom sent Myles this book some months ago and it instantly became a favorite. I have read this story a ridiculous amount of times and I still love it. It is probably the only book he has that I don't mind reading every single night before bed. It never gets old to me: Rolie is so cute, the story is fun, and the rhyming is delightfully infectious. I promise that you and your littles will love this book!

7. Peanut Butter and Cupcake: Our second favorite book is one Myles got on his third birthday. My mom found this one, and I was a little skeptical at first. I didn't think it was something that Myles would be interested in. Boy was I wrong! He thinks this book is so funny and gets super involved when we read it. I like the story line, but the illustrations make this book a top for me. It does get a but repetitive reading it, but I can't deny how much Myles loves this story.

8. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra: This was Myles' big present from my parents last Christmas. I wasn't sure he would be ready for it at that time, but it was such a good deal, I told them to get it anyway. I would say that at 2 he didn't do much on it. He pretty much only listened to some stories I downloaded. He played with it here and there for a couple months, but started really getting into it right before he turned 3. I bought him a preschool pack set of 4 games and he can play them all by himself now. He still listens to his stories and he also really likes the Pet Pad Party game that came already loaded. This is another good investment toy with a wide age range. I think it has games for up to age 8. I love that Myles is learning (a variety of concepts), but stays totally interested because of the 'game' format.

9. Kidoozie X-track: I bought this for Myles for his second birthday. It was set up at local toy store and I knew it would be a total hit with Myles. The fact that these cars race by themselves is pretty amazing to Myles. It comes with a ton of small individual pieces that link together to make the track, so you are able to move and manipulate it however you would like. There is also a bridge/tunnel and a cross piece so both cars can run on two different tracks. Myles loves that at times the cars meet and crash in the middle. This is a super unique race track and keeps up entertained for hours. 

What are some current favorites in your house?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Alice in Wonderland Birthday Party

A few months back, a friend of mine from high school posted pictures on Facebook from her daughter's 2nd birthday. I instantly fell in love with EVERYTHING she did. When I decided to start blogging again, I knew I had to share the party she put together. So here is her fabulous Alice in Wonderland Birthday Party:

Let's start with the entrance:

How ridiculously cute is this entrance with the door made to look like a tree and the "Down the Rabbit Hole" sign.

She also placed this welcome sign in the front yard leading up to the door.

Inside she had the dessert table with tons of yummy Alice themed treats.

Here are some of the details:

 She put cute little "eat me" tags on all the desserts, which included marshmallow "Cheshire Cat Tails", mushroom cookies, cupcakes, and Rice Krispies treat pops.

The table also included her daughter's adorable smash cake.

She also had a snack table with a Cheshire cat cheese ball and grape caterpillars.  

Outside was a drink station. I absolutely love this set up with the sign indicating drinks for kids and adults and the straw tags that say 'drink me'!

These signs 'directed' guests to the different areas outside; such a fun way to bring in the theme!

My favorite part of the whole party is the kids table. She made these mushroom stools herself and put together the cutest little tea party set-up. 

She also had some fun activities for the kids like this Queen of Hearts croquet game and a Twiddledee and Twiddledum photo booth.

Cute color themed highchair tulle skirt:

Some more cute chalkboard signs and banner with movie quotes:

And lastly, an Alice in Wonderland book as a thank you and party favor.

Thanks to Kristin for letting me share the amazing job she did on her daughter's second birthday party! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did through the pictures. 

What's your favorite birthday party theme?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm Back... with 5 things that make me not a normal human

I can't believe it's been almost a whole year since I blogged! The time off was very necessary for me and definitely served it's purpose. I started working again back in February and all my other time was spent focusing on my family and savoring every moment of my ever growing Myles (who is now 3!!!). So many things have happened and changed in the last year, so stay tuned as I will be sharing many of them in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can catch up by checking out some quick snippets on my Instagram

And just for fun I am leaving you with 5 things that make me not normal...

1. I don't drink coffee or have caffeine. I've never ordered a drink from Starbucks or any coffee shop. I may be tired all day long, but I will not have caffeine. I don't like feeling fake awake.

2.  I don't drink alcohol. I have never been much of a drinker. I hate the taste and how full it always makes me. Since getting pregnant with Myles 4 years ago, I have had maybe 5 drinks. After having him, I didn't drink for 3 years, but in this last year, I have had a couple. The last drink that I had was at my birthday dinner and I couldn't even finish it. I think I have finally let go of trying to like it, and am okay with the fact that I am just not a drinker. 
3. I don't eat chocolate. I am just not a big chocolate fan. I like tangy, sour candies. Like twice a year, I will eat a little mini snickers or something, but I prefer fruity desserts/candy.  

4. I haven't watched The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, or Sons of Anarchy. I tired a couple episodes of Sons but it was just too much going on I didn't understand, so I quit. I think I would like Breaking Bad, but I just haven't got the time to watch it.

5. My son still breastfeeds at three years old. I never thought we would still be doing it at this age, but it still feels very normal to me. He doesn't do it in public; only before napping and sometimes when he wakes up in the morning. I'm not sure when we will stop but it will be sometime before he turns 4. I do have a limit.. lol

And lastly because no post should ever be without a picture....  This summer was filled with milestone birthdays. I officially joined the thirties club and my mom the fifties.

What are some things that make you 'not normal' ?