Monthly Kids Box Review: Kiwi Co

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Today I wanted to share a fun subscription box for kids. It's called Kiwi Co and it's a monthly box that provides a STEM based learning toy that is created specifically for your child's age. We signed up for the Tadpole crate which is for children age 0-36 months, although so far I would consider it more like 12-36 months based on our first experience.

Each crate includes:
  • -- Developmentally appropriate toy (based on age)
  • -- Wonder magazine with helpful info and a guide to additional online resources
  • -- Card explaining how to use the toy, as well as another activity you can use with the box
  • -- Board book

The box is $19.95 a month, although you can save $10 off your first box by using my code, it's free shipping, and you can cancel anytime. It's definitely worth trying out for a least 1 month to see if you like it. I just noticed after going back into my account that I can preview next month's crate and it's a music themed crate. Little guy is obsessed with music these days, so that should be a lot of fun.

The online resources include:
  • -- Recommended books you can purchase on Amazon that go along with the monthly theme
  • -- Recommended articles with developmental tips
  • -- Printables for more games that you can use with the balls from the box

When I first opened the box, I was a little disappointed with the amount of stuff in the box for the price. But once I started figure out what all was also included, the additional ways to play with the box, the magazine with tips, the extra printables online, the articles, etc, I did feel a little better about the price.

The toy is very well made, and almost feels like a handmade toy and would make a really nice gift. At first I had to show our little man how to drop the ball into the toy and how to get it out. I kept showing him how to get the ball out of the toy because he was getting frustrated. I then read in the provided magazine that it is good for them to struggle and get frustrated. It's a form of problem solving, which is the whole point of the toy. So from there on out I just sat back and watched him figure out ways to drop in the ball and then get it out. I then gave him praise when he figured it out. There are actually multiple ways to get the ball out, which again the whole purpose of the toy is to problem solve.

I would definitely recommend trying out at least 1 box for yourself, and I think this would make an amazing birthday or Christmas gift, especially for the little one that already has it all. You can also purchase 1 box as a gift for only $25, or try the subscription with my $10 code and cancel after your first box.

Have you ever heard of this subscription box? Have you tried any other kid boxes that are worth checking out?

Note: Head over to my Instagram later this morning as I'm going to be sharing an unboxing with our little guy in my stories :)

Currently: March 2019

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Today I'm linking up with Anne's Currently Link-up.

We recently bought this for our little guy. A few weeks ago we went to We Rock the Spectrum and they had one of these play tunnels and he loved crawling all in it. So thanks to Amazon, it was in our living room 2 days later. It doesn't fit very well in our small living room, but we make it work. I like that it easily collapses and comes with a storage bag. So when he is done playing, we pack it up and it stores away pretty easily.

Not sure if this really counts as scheming, but we are currently planning little man's Baptism later this month. I've been searching all over for a cute outfit for him to wear. Since he is no longer an infant, I didn't think a traditional baptism outfit would work, but I just couldn't figure out what would be most appropriate. I really loved this outfit, but it didn't look like it was going to make it here in time (unless I paid a ridiculous amount for shipping). So I ordered a few things from Carters and Oshkosh and I'm hoping to recreate that outfit. Of course I still have a few weeks to change my mind, or come up with something else if my options don't work.

We have family coming into town, so we are planning some sort of lunch after church. I'm debating on getting a cake to celebrate. Do you get a cake for a baptism? I'm not sure what the protocol is, but I like any reason to eat cake.

I just finished reading When Life Gives you Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger. This is the same author who wrote the Devil Wears Prada, which I loved back in the day. It was a cute book, but I had a hard time getting into it and it took me forever to read. It might just be because I'm just so tired and in a different season of life right now (#seasonofbaby).

I'm supposed to get my copy of Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis from Amazon today and I CANNOT WAIT to dig in. I feel like in this season of life I'm a little more into inspirational books and podcasts than fiction (I need so much encouragement these days), so I'm little more excited about digging into this book. I really enjoyed Girl Wash Your Face, and I love listening to the RISE podcast (Rachel's podcast), so as you can see I'm super excited about this book. Here's to hoping USPS doesn't let me down today. 

Rick and I have been working on a growth chart for little man (similar to this). We are almost done and I just need to figure out how to make the numbers. I'm debating if I want to stencil paint them, or cut them out of vinyl with my Cricut. I like the idea of the vinyl because it will give the numbers a little raised dimension. I think it will also make the numbers look more crisp than trying to paint with a stencil. I'll be sure to share the finished project when we finally do figure it out.

I feel like in this season of life I'm struggling to accomplish anything. I'm trying to figure out the best method for organizing my tasks and to do list. I've tried a paper planner, electronic lists, sticky notes, reminders on my phone, and so far I think what I've learned is I just need to accept the fact that right now not everything is going to get done like it used to pre-baby. It's best if I just focus on one key area at a time and call that an accomplishment.

I have done so much better the last 2 months with meal planning, and I feel like we are doing a better job of eating up left-overs and cleaning out our pantry to eliminate so much food waste. I've also been meaning for months to come back to my little blog and just get my thoughts out on paper as my own form of therapy. Here we are at week 2 and going strong! 

If you are stopping by from Anne's linkup, welcome! And because it's Hump Day, I'll leave you with a little more cheesin from my little guy 😂

First Birthday Smash Cake Session

Monday, March 4, 2019

As I mentioned the other day in my First Birthday Puppy Themed Party post, we had a smash cake/1 year session for our little guy. I went back and forth if I wanted to invest in a smash cake session, especially since we had just taken family pictures a few weeks prior. Rick was the one who finally convinced me to do it. He said if I didn't do it, I would probably regret it. He only turns one once. These photos by far are my favorites, and I am so glad that I decided to move forward with this photo session.

Laurel also took his newborn photos when he was 2 weeks old, so it was fun to go back to her a year later and have her take his 1 year/smash cake photos.

You will notice the banners in the background were also used for his party. Laurel provided the balloons and the cake stand. I also ordered a second smash cake from Holly so we would have a matching cake for his photo session. I picked it up the day of his party, which was the weekend before his photo session, and placed the extra cake in the freezer for a few days to keep it fresh. I pulled it out of the freezer the morning of, and it had defrosted in time for our photo session at 6 pm. You can find more details about his cake topper in my first birthday post.

Laurel was a miracle worker. We actually had a few meltdowns during the session (it was getting very close to dinner time) and I was so worried we were not going to get any good photos. Also, you would never notice from the pictures, but little man had no interest in eating, or really playing with his cake. Laurel actually broke it apart and then stuffed veggie sticks inside. He was all about the veggie sticks and pulled them out of the cake and ate them instead. We used the yellow veggie straws which really blended in with his cake so you didn't realize he was actually eating veggie straws. We joked, what kid chooses veggie straws over cake???

While we were there, we also took 1 year photos. I found this shirt on Etsy and it was perfect for 1 year photos.

If you are debating on getting either newborn photos, or 1 year/smash cake photos I say go for it. Babies change so much the first year and you definitely don't want to forgot those sweet moments. I mean look at this sweet boy above—1 year versus 2 weeks old.

Plus if you are like me, you are so exhausted and overwhelmed and a lot of times we forget (or are too tired) to pick up the camera. It was nice not to worry about trying to capture the perfect photo of him digging into his cake at his party because I knew we had this photo session coming up and we could recreate the moment.

First Birthday Puppy Themed Party

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

My baby turning 1 year old was so bittersweet. I was so sad he was no longer going to be a "baby," but I had so much fun planning his first birthday party and I could not wait to celebrate and watch him dig into his cake!

Right now Little Man's favorite thing seems to be dogs...of any kind. Dog was actually one of his first words, behind Dada and Mama of course. It's funny because he actually calls most animals "daw" these days. Since "daw" is his favorite animal, a puppy themed party just seemed perfect. I started off by finding the cutest birthday invitation on Etsy which fit the theme perfectly.

Side note: last week he came up to me and pointed at my sweater and said "daw" very loud and very mater of fact. At first I thought...are you yelling at me? Why so rude? And then I realized it was because I had a dog on my sweater and he was pointing out the "daw"...silly boy 😂

Since our house is kind of small, we only invited close family, and it was just perfect. We served pulled pork and sloppy joes from crock pots, warmed up a few cans of green beans on the stove, and heated up a few pans of mac and cheese from Costco in the oven. If you are looking for an easy way to serve a crowd, I would highly recommend this menu as it involved very little prep, was easy to keep warm, and guests could serve themselves whenever they wanted.

*Note: I cut the #1 with my Cricut using glitter card stock from Michaels. I then taped a wooden skewer to the back of it, and stuck it into the cake. It was the first thing he grabbed of course.

You can see his full reaction to the cake through my Instagram Post (click through to the 4th picture and play the video).

The cake turned out so cute and was so tasty. My VP at work recommended Holly (A Cake for Leroy), who made a puppy themed cake and cupcakes for her daughter's birthday a few months prior. She had brought some of the cake into work and it was so delicious I immediately asked her for contact info. I had found the puppy center piece on Etsy, but had no idea how I wanted the cake to be decorated. I sent pictures of the cake topper, and some of the party decorations to Holly and she suggested the gradient. She actually made 2 smash cakes for me, and I froze one of them to use a week later for his smash cake session (pics to come).

Holly also made these adorable puppy cupcakes. I sent her a photo I found online of what I wanted, and she made them exactly like the photo. I may or may not still have 1 of each stored in my freezer, I just can't bear to eat them they are so cute (just don't tell my husband...ha!)

I didn't go super crazy with decorations because as I mentioned our space is super limited, but I do love a fun centerpiece. After browsing some inspiration on Pinterest, I saw where someone had used their Boon grass drying rack as a grass stand for a centerpiece. Since I actually have 2 of them I thought it would be perfect. I found the little dog at Home Goods and had Rick spray paint it blue (it was originally gold). The little balloon dogs I found at a local home decor store, and the little fire hydrant was an ornament I picked up at Michaels. I thought the fire hydrant ornament would be fun to have on our tree as a reminder of his first birthday, and the little dog decorations I now have displayed in his bathroom and bedroom. The flowers came from Costco, and the blue mason jars and the burlap table runner were used as part of the centerpieces at our wedding. 

This banner was actually used at my baby shower (scroll through the pictures to see), and is also a decoration I use in his room. For his birthday I wanted a cute way to display the photos from his monthly photo shoots, so I figured this would be the perfect way to display them. I cut out numbers with my Cricut from royal blue glitter card stock and just attached to the photos with pieces of photo adhesive. I then attached the photos to the banner with gold paperclips.

We had a lot of fun opening presents, although Little Man really didn't get the concept of opening presents. But his cousins/friends had fun helping him, and he really enjoyed playing with and eating all the wrapping paper 😂

It was a fun party, and although I'm not ready for him to turn 2 anytime soon, I secretly can't wait to start planning his next party 🎉

PS: We are already thinking dinosaurs or possibly Taco Twos-day.

Back to Blogging

Monday, February 25, 2019

Welcome back to my little space on the Interwebs. I've taken some time off to adjust to Mama life, but have missed this little space and having a creative outlet. I have some fun posts planned, and am hoping to get back to sharing some regular content, as well as documenting the fun things that have happened, and will happen in our lives.

One of the things I love most about this blog is going back and looking at all of my old posts and seeing all of the fun recipes I've tried, or the trips we have taken. Note that Photobucket really wrecked my photos, so I have taken down a lot of old posts. I have left my travel posts and my recipe posts, which I regularly to refer back to, and am planning on fixing all of those photos at some point. I'll likely re-share some of my favorite recipes and refresh those posts with any tweaks I've made since I last posted them.

My plans for this blog may look different these days, being a working Mama, but one of the things I love about reading blogs is learning different tips or tricks to make life better and easier. I've learned a few things in the last 16 months of being a Mama, so I'm hoping to share some of my favorite life hacks that have made our lives easier. I'm still trying to figure things out, and probably will never have it all together, but the best part of this blogging community is learning from others, so I definitely want to share inspiration in hopes of helping others.

No worries I promise not every post will be Mama related. I do want to share some non-Mama related topics as one of the things I've really struggled with over the last year is still keeping up with my interests. It's hard as a working Mama and being away from our little loves 40+ hours a week. I want to spend as much time as I can with my little babe, but that doesn't leave much time for myself or my husband, friends and family. So my goal for 2019 is to find a way to balance out being a Mama with my own personal interests, as well as spending time with the ones I love. If anyone has any tips or tricks on how to have a work/life/Mama balance, I'm all ears.

So what's new? Well I now have a 1 year old! How that happened I have no idea. I swear it feels like one minute he was just a little babe snuggled on my chest, and now he is getting into EVERYTHING. He is a very good boy, but a very curious boy so he loves to investigate all the things. He has recently learned how to flush the toilet and open the fridge, so who knows what we can expect from that. Hopefully he won't flush all our food down the toilet. 

His little personality is really starting to develop. He LOVES watching songs on YouTube (i.e. Baby Shark, Cocomelon Nursery Rhymes, Super Simple Songs, and especially this Afro Circus remix song). He also loves playing with the toilet paper, getting all the Tupperware out of the cabinets, and is obsessed with our dogs (they do not share the same interest unless it's meal time - they are Best Food Friends).

Life is a lot of fun with our little man, and what I love most about being a Mama is watching him experience things for the first time. And the cuddles, I'm a sucker for all the cuddles even though they are few and far between these days.  

If you previously read my blog, thank you for coming back. If you are a new reader, welcome! 

I'd love to hear if you are old or new, and what your favorite blogs or social accounts are that inspire you or have taught you the best tips and tricks for living your best life (could be Mama related or not). I'd love to feature these in a future post, so please share below in the comments.

Our Independence Day + Weekend Rewind

Friday, July 6, 2018

Happy Friday!

We've been enjoying the HOT weather and celebrating all the things the last few days, so I wanted to share a little recap:

Rick had to work on the 4th of July, but I was off and daycare was closed, so I got to spend the entire day with this little dude.

We obviously dressed for the occasion and were all decked out in red, white and blue! 

It was ridiculously hot out, so we spent the good part of the day lounging in the pool at Grandma and Grandpa's. This was Little Man's first time in a baby pool and he loved every minute of it.

We also visited with Grandma Libby, who had some fun beads that were very tasty to chew on, despite the numerous times Mama tried to take them out of his mouth.

Over the weekend Little Man got his first taste of ice cream.

He was highly offended that his first taste was Salted Carmel. He was like "where's the cookies and cream?!?"

We also visited Grandma and Grandpa on the farm and Little Man got to meet all the farm animals, including some new baby chicks.

He was very intrigued by them and loved petting their soft feathers.

It has been a fun couple of days, and we are so excited the weekend is here once again!

Currently: July 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July! I thought it would be fun to kick-off the holiday by participating in Anne's Currently Link-up.

Our 4th of July celebrations will be low-key this year. Rick has to work, and Little Man is still too young for the parades and fireworks. We are going to grill something yummy for dinner, and I've got a fun cocktail I'm hoping to try. 

Over the weekend we visited Rick's family on the farm and Little Man got to meet all the farm animals for the first time, including the baby chicks. He was very intrigued by them and did try to pull on their wing a little. He didn't seem as interested in the cows or the goats, but there was a lot to take in, so he might have just been a little overwhelmed.

This afternoon we are visiting my family and we are going to have a little "pool party" (i.e. enjoy cooling off in the baby pool). It should be fun for Little Man to splash around in, and I'm sure I will be sharing pictures and/or video over on my Insta account if you want to check out all the fun. We sure know how to party!

I have not baked in forever, but I am loving that blueberries are in season. I'm craving either blueberry cobbler, or a pie or something. The Pioneer Woman made this Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Bruschetta on her show last weekend and I seriously can't stop thinking about it. Or maybe even this Blueberry Lemon Bread. If you have any delicious recipes that use blueberries, please share as I'm hoping to make something this weekend with the big batch of blueberries from Costco.

Little Man will be sporting his 4th of July muscle shirt today, and I will be wearing this cute tank from Target with these chambray shorts that I've been living in this Summer. I love that they can look somewhat dressy, but are super comfortable and not super short. I'm also loving this chambray shirt, which I pair with white jeans, and this fun flamingo tee that I get compliments on it every time I wear.

One of the things I'm really loving lately is that we are finally having family dinner time at the table. Pre-baby, we would sit on the couch and bing on Netflix or spend time on our phones. Now we all sit at the table, and well sometimes we still watch a show, but at least we made it to the table! We realized if we sit our little guy in his high chair and eat the same time he eats, or shortly after he eats, we get to enjoy our dinner without a kid jumping all over us (not rocket science I know). Give him some high chair toys (we have this, this and this) and some puffs, and we can get at least 10-15 mins of quiet time after he is done eating.

Another thing I'm loving lately are listening to podcasts. I cannot find the time to sit down for more than 2 mins to read a book, but have been enjoying listening to podcasts while I get ready in the morning or am cleaning the kitchen at night. Some of my favorites so far are: Young House Love, Sorta Awesome and The Girl Next Door. I'm looking for more, so if you have a favorite podcast, please share. 

If you are visiting from the link-up, thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a fabulous 4th!