Archive for February, 2010

Right now…

1. I am in a photography funk… and feeling overwhelmed at the task of beginning my business… yet hopeful and grateful that this could in fact be my path.

2. I never thought I would be that mom who wears sweats to bed and tennis shoes out in public… but somedays I am. Even on my good days I am far from my more fashionable days and I wonder how did I let that happen but that is as far as it goes… wondering

3. I love staying home with Ava… Staying home with Ava can be exhausting and repetitive… Ava is the best and biggest challenge of my life!

4. I want to be that mom. You know the one who always has a clean house, a planned day of adventures for the kids, a delicious dinner on the table, sends thank you notes birthday notes or notes just because, creative, crafty, sexy, and happy everyday… but that woman is fiction. Reality is much harder!

5. Sometimes I am so confident in my decisions as a mother, my talents, my choices and other days my head spins with doubts. Sometimes I am extremely happy and sometimes I am not.

Life is a constant challenge without the downs you would never appreciate the ups or even recognize them. Just felt like passing on a little truth today…

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Yummy Earth

The BEST lollipops ever and one of Ava’s favorites!!! There are several flavors or you can opt for the vitamin C pops!  They are even Organic!   Yummy Earth has their own website or you can always find them on Amazon.

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Small Spaces

Since her first visit to Gymboree almost a year ago Ava’s appreciation for small spaces has been obvious.  The tunnels, cubby spaces, tubes and hideouts are a must do every week!

At home we build forts with sheets but she also has a small house and tunnel of her own.  Although she loves them and they were a good buy they were not my first choice.  Is it all moms or just me that sometimes does not care about the best value when I am going to have to look at it for months, maybe years.  My first choice for a tunnel was the $20 Ikea version which is a very pleasing blue.  As for playhouse spaces I originally arrived at Costco to buy a plain cardboard house with opening doors and windows.  The plain version is also like purchasing a giant art canvas ripe for imagination.  Note to wives:  When you have plan in mind never bring your husband. The cardboard house was all loaded into the cart when Larry spied the Ryan’s Room set.  The set included a tent house, tent and two tunnels for only $5 more than the plain version.  A better deal, yes!  But the bright primary colors would not have been my first choice!  Oh, well Ava’s play spaces are now bright, homey and eclectic!  Ava has gotten hours of use from both the tent and tunnel  and Larry was right it most likely will hold up much longer…

The Ryan's Room Set

Ikea Tunnel

Target's Version

I also like the modern feel of this overpriced version at Anthropologie!  If you are artistic it would be easy to recreate on a less expensive surface!  Also check out this homemade house that used an exsisting table as a foundation!!!!! CLEVER, oh how I wish I could sew!

Of course as with any child toy there are also wonderful versions of small spaces that are way out of my stay at home mom budget!!!  Here are just two of my favorites:

Love a beautiful Teepee $225

Haba Play Tent $135

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Parental Advisory

Perhaps some TV shows should come with warnings!  ATTENTION YOUR CHILD WILL BE IMMEDIATELY HOOKED!!!!

Five minutes… just five minutes I left the room and what came on but The Wiggles! By the time I walked back in Ava was dancing and totally engrossed… AMAZING!  I continued letting her watch it until the end turned off the TV and on we went with our day. The next day however, as we sat down for some TV time what did she say… “The WIGGLES… watch wiggles!”, as she wiggled her ears!  WHAT she even remembered their name shocked I obliged and The Wiggles have been a staple in our house ever since and Ava dances away!!!  It is hard to say no when they are having so much fun!

Interesting Side Notes: Larry and I are complete dorks (that is not the side note!)  Let me just say I would totally be up for a A&E biography special on The Wiggles!!  After a few days of the Wiggles we became curious and googled away!  Partly because we noticed that one of the original wiggles was no longer a member.. GOSSIP…DRAMA… no health concerns… Ahh we will miss Greg!  After over 15 years of preforming the Wiggles have surpassed Nicole Kidman and Russel Crow becoming the top entertainers out of Australia. In just one year of their career they made over $47 million imagine 15 years!!???  Tours, DVD’s, platinum albums the list goes on and on and on!!!!

I have heard them described by many parents, “they will drive you crazy but your kids will LOVE them”  I could not say it better myself!

Just incase you are curious or want a Wiggles fix:

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Ava is a collector!!!  Each week it seems that a new group of trinkets are chosen to be carried EVERYWHERE!  She stashes her treasures in her Ikea purse like a little old lady and can not sleep or travel without a tight grasp!  What a silly little girl!  The funny thing is that rarely are the objects inside toys.  Over the past month her treasures have included: our toothbrushes, toothpaste, measuring spoons, key chain bracelets, bottle of bubbles (never been opened), keys and paint chip cards to name a few…

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Tools of a Successful Chef

Now that my little chef will have a kitchen I had to come up with ideas of what to fill it with….????? After searching toy site after toy site here is my ideal chef starter kit list:

All items can be found on Amazon

1. Plan Toys Pots and Pans (Although I also like the stainless steel Ikea version with utensils sold separately)

2. Melissa and Doug Cutting Food (This wood set has grains, vegetables and fruit.  Ava already has this and Loves it.  It is a great hands on toy and teaching tool!)

3.  Melissa and Doug Four food group set (contains a great starter set of wood food for a budding chef)

5.  Haba half dozen eggs

6.  Haba fried egg (tin egg… when you open it out comes a fried felt egg… Ava will love this)

Beyond a starter kit here are two other favorites:

Children's apron from Anthropologie

Melissa and Doug wood cutting cookie set

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What’s Cooking?

I simply love pretend play and could not wait until Ava was old enough for a play kitchen.  I had planned on waiting until next Christmas just before she turned three.  I still think that would be a great age to introduce such a toy.  When I stopped to think however, next Christmas would not work. We will be traveling to Michigan and that is just not a shippable item so I bumped the gift to her Second birthday!  Although she is not quite to the imaginary play stage completely she will love washing in the sink, open and closing the oven and fridge filling and emptying the pots and pans.

With limited space and funds I set out to research options. The two I originally settled on was the Ikea all in one play kitchen or a similar version from target.  Both were compact and reasonable priced at about $140.  I like the lack of color in the Ikea version but then stumbled upon two before and after shots of the target version and decided that was also an option! Just a few simple changes and WOW!

The Target versions with just a little twist:

Of course nothing is that simple $140 is still a chunk of change.  With a Pottery Barn Kids gift certificate sitting in my wallet and a sale on their classic kitchen set we saved A LOT out of pocket, enough to also get some accessories!  So here it is Ava’s birthday gift she is getting the oven/stove and fridge.  I am still thinking that the pink section on the fridge can become a chalkboard surface changing both the versatility and appearance from being too girly?!!!  Or maybe girly is just OK!!??

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