Scootin’ Around, Stokke Style!

With spring peeking out from behind winter’s cold days, we have been going on lots of neighborhood walks in the evening. Elem has always liked the stroller, and we used to drive a Baby Jogger City Mini. It was a great stroller with not too many complaints. It served it’s purpose and I was happy with it until I started looking around at other strollers on the market. I noticed that most strollers kept kids so low to the ground and I really loved what some companies were doing to get kids higher up so that they could see the world and interact easier. Stokke is a forerunner in this field offering a “higher is better” approach. They have 3 different stroller models with the Stokke Scoot coming in as their most compact version.

This is Elem’s new ride!

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At the zoo!

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Showing Dad the silverback gorillas!

She loves it (me too)! Besides being easy on the eyes with it’s gorgeous Norwegian design, it’s also ergonomic.  I love the grey mélange textile and it’s so easy to wipe up toddler messes! The basket is easy to access and holds all the things we need for a long day at the zoo. The Scoot really shines at the zoo, finally placing Elem high enough that she could see the animals! She loved pointing at the orangutan’s from the comfort of her stroller.

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Hands down my favorite feature of the Scoot is the ability to quickly lift up the seat and change Elem from forward-facing to rear-facing. Brilliant. This is how we like to ride for most of our walks so that we can talk and interact. At the zoo we quickly clicked the seat facing out and were ready to see some animals.

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I adore this stroller. It drives great, looks even better, and most of all it is safe and comfortable for Elem. I hadn’t thought that a stroller purchase was that important until I drove the Scoot!

{Wee Style} Early Spring Toddler Style

So far, 2014 has brought some cold and wintry weather to our typically temperate hub here in Atlanta…and well, we are all ready for Spring to bloom ar0und here!  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about toddler style a lot lately as I shopped for part of Elem’s spring and summer wardrobe at a consignment sale recently.  Although she is too young to totally dictate her own style, there are definitely certain colors and styles that seem to suit her tiny and spirited personality.  I found myself really focusing in on what I considered “Elem’s Style”, so I put together a fun mood board of outfits for early spring.  Just for fun I did one for boys (Liam!) too!

Toddler {Girl} Style

Early Spring Toddler {Girl} Style

Toddler {Boy} Style

Early Spring Toddler {Boys} Style

My favorite toddler shopping tips:
Embrace the consignment sales that happen seasonally and “pop-up” in various locations.  Sign up for their email lists so you know when to plan for them, and always shop the half off days!  Though not everything will be half off, many items will and typically cost between $2 and $8 for stylish and gently used clothes.  This is where I buy the bulk of Elem’s wardrobe each season.  I also recycle her outgrown clothes by consigning them back to pay for her current size needs.  It works great for us, because we don’t want to store extra gear and clothes.

Old Navy and Target are your friends.  Both stores have on-trend and adorable clothes for reasonable prices, but it’s their clearance racks that will be your BFF’s!

Don’t forget to thrift!  As an avid thrift store shopper since high school, I love making weekly stops at my favorite thrift stores.  If you’ve got a good eye for color and patterns, you should be able to skim through the kid’s section fairly quickly.  My favorite thrift finds include lots of Mini Boden and Tea Collection, two brands that I love but can’t justify spending the money on.

On Motherhood…

Katie is due any day now, and as we anxiously await the arrival of Baby Boy Bruckner I can’t help but reflect on the past 14+ months I’ve spent as Mom (Ma or Mamama as she says) to sweet Elem.

My pregnancy with Elem was bittersweet.  I had just lost my Mom to cancer a couple of months before we found out. Elem was due in October…the month of my Mom’s birth, her wedding anniversary, and her death.  It was hard, and wonderful, and well like I said, bittersweet.  When I first saw Elem, I knew she was special…yeah I know, everyone thinks their kid is special, but this is different.  I knew from the start that some of my Mom’s soul was in there.  The best parts.  The beautiful blue eyes, the fierce determination, the smile she was wearing when she saw the world.  That was all my Mom.  She was optimistic.  Always smiling (except through some of our teen years, but you know).  A wonderful teacher.  Most of all she loved me with that fierce determination.  The one that allowed her to live 10 years past the deadline that doctors had given her.

So yeah, Elem was my gift.  She radiates with people.  She is funny (although she’s going to have to work on her material if she decides to take her comedic act on the road, because touching people’s noses and laughing hysterically probably won’t work once she’s an adult…but then again, who knows?)  She knows when I need a hug and promptly throws her arms around me.  She is the best.

There’s nothing like when she looks up at me with her blue eyes–red hair all a mess–graham cracker on her face–only one sock on because she took the other off and carried it around and left it somewhere that none of us know– and throws up her arms in the air to ask me to hold her.

I always do.  Because one day I might not be there to hold her when she needs it, but she will know I loved her with that fierce love.

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{Because really what my Mom taught me was urgency.  We should all have it for the people that matter in our lives.}

Feeding Littles…a fieldguide!

weeDining...on the go!

We really have it pretty easy at our house when it comes to what Elem eats.  The girl loves to eat, and these days there is rarely a mess on the floor unless she’s been “sharing” with the dog (which she only does once she’s finished eating what she wants).  She loves veggies, which we are really grateful for!  Here are some tips for easy toddler feeding…

For on the go:
Buy some small containers so that you can make a little bento style box lunch for on the go.  (We love the 2/$1 ones at the Dollar Tree…perfect size and they have the snap top lids.)  We eat out a good bit and we like to pack a little lunch bag for E with her food and an ice pack.  We are still not ordering off the kid’s menu since, you know, they think chicken nuggets and french fries are kid food.  We will share things that we order though, especially veggies, pasta, and grilled meat and fish.  She is super interested in eating what we eat so we try to have the same things most evenings when cooking at home.

We are starting to use booster seats at some restaurants because she gets squirmy in the highchair and really wants to be close to my plate so we can “share”.  We always pack her own water so that it is spill-proof, and sometimes we even remember a plate!  I always have on hand a couple of extra squeeze pouches for snacks.  Elem’s favorites are by Happy Tot, but we’ve tried them all!  She loves that she can feed this to herself (usually quickly).

Getting Organized in the Fridge:
We steam veggies for her about twice a week and have them on hand in the fridge ready to go.  If we don’t have any grilled chicken on hand then I will add some turkey as her meat.  She isn’t overly into meat really, she is too focused on picking up every.single.pea that she can find.  We try to keep it interesting and rotate between broccoli, corn, peas & carrots, beets (she adores them), green beans, and sweet potatoes.  She also loves avocado when I can find ripe ones at the store.  Her absolute favorite food is tomatoes, so we will definitely be planting E her own tomato garden next year!  Pasta is also great for toddler hands if you don’t have any aversions to gluten!

Gear:
We love the Built neoprene lunchboxes because you can through them in the wash!  We also use the non-skid Boon mod-ware plate and forks.  I love the non-skid bottom and even though it’s not 100% spill proof, it’s saved a lot of cleanup from accidental spills.  We love all of the Skip Hop products because they are cute and durable so it’s Elem’s water bottle of choice (she’s currently into the bee one) and we also have several sets of their forks & spoons.  We got the Zoli snack stacker in one of our Citrus Lane boxes and have loved it!  Super easy to fill up with different foods and take on the go!

Katie’s Baby Shower!

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This past Saturday was the big day…Katie’s Baby Shower!  It was so fun!  At 2 o’clock we all convened at my house to celebrate Katie and her baby boy.  Our friend Allison threw the shower with me and we are both so excited to meet Baby B!

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First up, let’s talk about the cake.  This ‘beaut was tasty too!  How adorable is it?  When Allison and I were planning the shower I did a quick sketch of a possible cake idea and the cake lady actually used it!  She matched the colors and prints of the invites so perfectly.  Everyone knows a gray cake can go wrong (um, Steel Magnolias) but this one is just lovely.  I’m pretty sure Katie loved it too!  If you’re in the Atlanta area, the cake was made by Heather of Sweets to the Sweet Bakery.  Allison has had her do numerous cakes (including my baby shower cake!) and she always does gorgeous and delicious cakes for a reasonable price.
Find her on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/Sweets2thesweet 

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For decor I made another crepe paper ‘b’ for Katie in a fun stripe that’s not too boyish and fun paper decorations.  I just cut out fun paper designs and then ran them through my sewing machine to make various garlands.  I used coordinating (ish) colors to the invites and in the end it all came together!

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Time for presents!
Baby B is super loved already!  Just look at all those fun and useful gifts!

We also asked that everyone bring a book for Nugget instead of a card so that Katie will have a nice start on his book collection!  To round out the afternoon, we had typical southern snacks…sweet tea, lemonade, pimento cheese, chicken salad, meatballs (cause why not?!) and of course a cheese ball.  It’s not a party without a cheese ball.  YUM.

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We had so much fun celebrating our good friend Katie!  We are approaching the final countdown on Baby B’s arrival in early January….we can’t wait to meet him!

Maybe we can get Katie to write a follow up post on some of her favorite shower gifts?!

Throwing a First Birthday Party!

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So, now that we’ve had some time to recover from Elem turning 1…I can talk about her party.  It took a while for us to finally take the decorations down, but with Katie’s shower coming up at my house I wasn’t sure she would appreciate a “tropical” baby shower theme (you’re welcome, Katie!)
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We knew from the start we didn’t want to have an over-the-top 1st Birthday party, but we also knew that that DOES NOT mean we couldn’t still decorate like we were having one!  We just had family and a few close friends come hang out for a while.  We love any excuse for tropical decor (hello…we already have a tiki bar in our 50’s split-level basement!) so this was a great excuse to pull out some decorations we already had and add some new ones.  We went with a loose “Gilligan’s Island” theme since we love all things 50’s-60’s and because we have one of the cutest ginger we’ve ever seen!  I acquired some gold lame leggings (for Elem, of course) and made her a little “S.S. Minnow” shirt to wear with them.  My favorite part was the tiny photo booth with an S.S. Minnow for the littles to stand in!  I also put some bowls of cheerios out for the littles…I had some rubber footed bowls which helped them not slide around everywhere and the kids loved this.  A real toddler ice-breaker!  We also had lots of delicious food, including Chinese style ribs (if you’ve been to Trader Vic’s you-know-what-I’m-talking-about).  They were delicious, as usual with anything my husband Jeff cooks!  The kids drank from tiny hibiscus print straw cups and adults got their choice of a coconut mug with fun silly straws!  You’re never too old for a silly straw, am I right?!

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We didn’t spend much on the party since we already had a good start on decor and I was able to make a lot of the decorations.  We were able to find most of our party goods online on the cheap.

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Things I made for the party:

-cardboard boat
-pinata style ‘e’ with streamers and cardboard
-“fish floats” with big balloons and decorative fish nets
-lots of small balloon “coconuts” for the fish netting and palm trees!
-up-cycled “palm trees” with packing material, green poster board, and balloon coconuts

Things we bought for the party:

-fish nets
-blow up palm tree (we couldn’t resist!)
-blow up fruit
-plastic coconut cups and hibiscus sippy cups for the kids
-paper fan decorations
-plates, napkins, etc.

Total Amount Spent:  give or take $120 (we spent about $80 on decor and $40 on food)

I still can’t believe my girl is ONE!  What a fun year!