review: tiny prints

A good friend of mine is expecting her first child in April, & I was more than happy when asked to lend a hand with her baby shower.  Making things easy, I knew exactly which part I wanted to handle -- the invitations!  If you know me well, you know I have a little thing for paper.  Basically, I could spend all day at any random stationery store out there... from the lovely Kate's Paperie and Paper Presentation to my local Staples.  Paper products make my heart flutter & if connected to a hand-written note, well, I could swoon right here.  Go ahead & can call me old-fashioned (though "classic" sounds so much better).

With not a lot of time to spare (& most of my days spent in front of a computer), I turned to Tiny Prints.  The website has long been a favorite of mine: Husband & I ordered our first Christmas cards as a married couple from the site (featuring a photo from our wedding day) & three years later, we chose Tiny Prints for a combination Baby S birth announcement/Christmas card.  I had such a fun time picking out each design, so I knew it'd be fun checking out their baby shower offerings.

I must admit I wasn't expecting the decision to be so difficult... they have such cute designs!  I wouldn't call my friend a "girly" girl, so I tried to stay away from anything too cutesy, & thankfully with the variety of designs to choose from, it wasn't a problem.  Honestly, I had so much fun perusing the choices -- here are a couple I considered:

And here is the design I ultimately chose:

I love the vibrant colors of this invitation.  Using the "my picks" tab on Tiny Prints, I was able to put all my choices aside, & though the decision was a tough one, I was very happy (as was the mama-to-be!) with the final product.  I found it very helpful that I could edit the back of the invitation -- it was here that I put directions & a map to the baby shower.  Ordering with Tiny Prints was a smooth process, & I liked the fact that you can save your work and come back to it later.  Honestly, the hardest part was just deciding on the actual card.  Although, I must admit, my paper-lovin' heart wishes more of my decisions were like this one!

Disclosure: Tiny Prints provided me with a credit to purchase cards on their site. All opinions expressed therein are my own.


a girls weekend

Husband escaped flew out to Arizona this past Thursday for his annual "boys" weekend.  He and his childhood buddies meet every year at Spring Training to watch their beloved (beleagured?) Milwaukee Brewers play practice games and to gorge on Mexican food.  Their annual trip has become a tradition, and though I kid him about abandoning his ladies, I'm actually glad he's able to go forth and hang with his buds every once in a while.  We all need our "me" time, right?

Toddler S (let's face it, at 17 months, she's a baby no longer - sniffle, sniffle) and I hung out at home, an official girls weekend all the way.  I am really enjoying this time in her development, as it's almost possible to see the wheels turning in her head - she is literally taking in everything around her with surprise and delight.  The little doll is also beginning to have an opinion about things, and when she doesn't like something, well, she's not shy about telling you... at a decibal I'm pretty sure everyone in our building has also experienced.  You're welcome, neighbor!

My extended one on one time with Toddler S begs the question: can the Terrible 2's start early?  I'm thinking the answer is a big ol' fat YES.  While she is generally a very laid back and chill kiddo, she does have her moments... usually when I'm using the word "no".  Sure, I don't like to be told "no" either, but good grief child, get it together.  As we begin this voyage into more & more Toddler S independence, I am frankly curious as to how it'll all go.  For starters, having a power struggle with a person wearing a diaper requires a lot of patience, something that I have difficulty with at times. 

This moment of reflection is coming -- I'm quite sure -- as a result of being a single parent over the weekend. Temper tantrums aside, however, it was really fun having the "mommy & me" time.  We hung out at Appleseeds on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, joined some good friends for brunch at The Park.  We snuggled on the couch with Elmo and played with blocks and her baby doll.  And though I might have breathed a sigh of relief when Husband came through the door, I also felt how truly lucky we are to have this child in our lives.  

Burgeoning independence and all.

Side note: this post is brought to you by my continued support and admiration for all the single parents out there... especially after this weekend.


review: method home for babies

One doesn't normally think of home care products as cool, but if you could place that description on one company, well, Method would be it.  The "people against dirty" brand has long been a source of non-toxic & environmentally-friendly home cleaning products.  I've used their foaming hand soap for years now - we keep the recyclable plastic pump and buy the liquid soap refills when needed.  Sure, it's a TINY little action in the great scheme of things, but in addition to regular recycling, it makes me feel like I'm actually doing something for the planet.  Not gonna lie, either - my love of the modern pump design is a big part of it, too.

A while back, Method was kind enough to introduce me to their baby care line -- who knew?!  Apparently not me.  In addition to their classic foaming hand soap made for kiddies (with fresh, fruity scents!) they also offer various baby wash &
shampoos, body lotion, baby detergent, diaper cream and a nursery/playroom cleaner. 

Over the last couple of months, I've enjoyed trying out some of these products on my own personal little guinea pig, the one and only Baby Toddler S.  I'm a big fan of the squeaky clean body wash (featured at right), the Tiny Hands foaming wash and the playroom cleaner in particular.  In respect to the playroom cleaner, I love that I have a non-toxic cleaning agent that I can use on her toys that I don't have to worry is putting anything nasty into the air or on her things (yes, that's my scientific assessment).  It's reassuring, plain and simple. 

You can read about Method's methodology here.  Their commitment to using safe & sustainable materials is one I can fully endorse, and I'm psyched that they've broadened their product line to include all the little ones out there - after all, it's her environment in the future that we're all trying to protect. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was given products from the Method baby care line in order to conduct this review.


big apple books: larry gets lost in nyc

Larry Gets Lost in New York City

The "Larry Gets Lost" series has finally found its way to the Big Apple.  In this addition, the ever-curious Larry finds himself eyeing a piece of pizza in the subway, and in a matter of moments is separated from his owner, Pete.

Larry and Pete's journey to be reunited takes them on an adventure all over the city, from Times Square to Central Park and beyond.  I think it's doubtful that I'm giving it away when I mention this book has a happy ending (a reunion that takes place at one of my favorite NYC landmarks- for your hint, see here).

I'll tell you what's even better: on each page, Skewes has educational tid bits about each location that Larry and Pete visit.  For instance, as Pete and his family pass by Wall Street, you'll find this splash of info to the side: "Named for a wall that used to stand at the city's edge, this is where traders met in the 1800s."

Larry Gets Lost in New York City takes you on a fun, informative and colorful journey through New York City.  As Larry and Pete get one step closer to each other, you'll become that much more informed about the city you live in.


a new conversation

Some fun news... I'm very excited to be a new contributor on Momversation!  In their own words, Momversation "takes the pulse of women on the web."  All panelists are moms themselves, and each video shares their thoughts and personal stories on any manner of subjects, from "Would You Let Your Kids Into Showbiz?" to "Bullycide: How Can We Keep Our Children Safe?"  I am truly excited to be in the company of some amazing blogging superstars like Rebecca Woolf and Alice Bradley (to name a few... you can find the full list of truly awesome peeps here).

Recently, Momversation decided to expand to newbie moms like myself with New Momversation.  Click below to see me discussing the biggest challenges of life with a newborn (AGH!) along with Jill Samonian of The Fab Mom and Stacee Bucciarelli of Medieval Mom.

Oh, and ignore the bad lighting and lack of enough makeup.  What can I say, I'm a newbie.


the juggler


Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

As a "new-ish" mom, I find myself constantly juggling.  Between a full-time job, spending quality time with my daughter in the morning & evenings, attempting to have a conversation with my husband that doesn't involve poopy diapers and keeping up with the lives of my friends, I find the weeks often zip by, leaving me speechless as to how time elapsed at such a pace.  I can tell you that often, I feel like I'm not doing such a great job at the balancing act and losing sight of myself in the process.  With that said, and acknowledging that life can be overwhelming, I strongly feel that taking time for yourself is vitally important -- even if it's just a few minutes each day.

In no particular order, I'll share a few of my "me" time activities...
and would welcome any of your suggestions, too!

1.) Taking a walk: Pre-Baby S, I used to walk home from work every day.  It was 30 minutes of solitary "me" time and I really enjoyed it.  Now that I race home to meet Nanny A, I make up for it by stealing a few minutes each day during lunch to go for a brief walk.  Fresh air not only wakes you up but we all know walking is easy exercise.
2.) Reading/TV/Etsy time: These days, my reading consists mostly of "Goodnight Moon" and "Moo Cow Kung Fu Cow", but I haven't given up on reading as a pasttime.  I must admit, though, after a long day sometimes just zoning out in front of American Idol (while watching Husband suffer in silence) is a great way to decompress after a long day.  Hee hee.  And don't even get me started on etsy... I could persuse this site all day long.
3.) Morning yoga/stretching: DISCLAIMER- I do not currently do this.  However, I LOVE the idea and am hoping I can get up the motivation soon to wake up a little earlier (before the Little One is stirring) and do this for myself.  I think it'd be particularly helpful since I sit behind a desk all day long.
4.) Shower: Yes, shower! This falls under the category of "daily maintenance" and let me tell you, if I went the day without a shower during my maternity leave, I just didn't feel completely myself.  In addition to the benefits of not smelling (!!), it's also a perfect 10 minute escape zone.
5.) Cooking: Husband and I are making an attempt to eat better. And with Baby S now chomping down on most everything under the sun, menu planning has gotten a little more fun, and I'm actually enjoying my time in the kitchen (to anyone who knows me, this news might be shocking).  I now have her in mind when I'm at the grocery store, as she usually eats a portion of what I'm cooking for dinner that night, which actually makes shopping easier.

Quick tip: Keeping track of everything going on in our daily lives can be challenging, but I do my best to update the calendar on my phone regularly, and I find that having easy access to our activities makes me breathe a little easier. 

Maybe by Baby #2, I'll have this whole juggling act perfected??  Ha!

Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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