Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yu Kids Island Again

Ant took the day off yesterday and around noon we drove up to Schaumburg for another fun afternoon at Yu Kids Island. With Harry being almost 18 months we thought he'd really be able to enjoy the play place now (here's my post on the last time we visited). There was only one other group there when we arrived which was awesome. Harry basically had the whole place to himself for 20 minutes!

We had a great time. Since he's so good at walking/running he was able to enjoy a lot more of the attractions this time around.



The balloons were a huge hit. I think mostly because you have to take stairs to get up to them.


He loves stairs. Living in a condo we don't have any obviously, but there are a few in our building he does really well with. Harry usually does them the "normal" way with one of holding his hands but we weren't fast enough for his liking yesterday.

At one point he was playing with a 20 month old little boy named Daniel. They played pretty well together, but I was surprised to see how timid Harry was. Daniel was throwing blocks all over and knocking things town whereas Harry kept trying to share the blocks with everyone. He's just an un-aggressive, chill kid. I love that about him. Despite his sweetness, Harry got into an altercation with another little boy. I was actually putting my camera away when it happened so Ant had to tell me about it after the fact.

Apparently this little boy got upset Harry was also playing in the balloon area and got physical with him. Harry's got a few big scratches on his face now. Ant told me that the boy's mother was embarrassed and very apologetic about the whole thing and promptly left the facility. Harry handled it like a champ and didn't cry, just a little whimper. Obviously I felt bad something like that happened, but I know that won't be the last time. Accidents happen when kids are playing so I didn't get worked up over it.

This thing spins!
I'm sure we'll be visiting Yu Kids Island again over the summer. Harry loves it and the free air conditioning is a plus! If you're in the area I highly suggest going on a weekday morning- nice and uncrowded :).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week of the Equinox

If you follow me on Instagram (@LinzTAW), you might have already seen my fun news for the week... a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox!


No, it's not ours to keep, but we get to drive it for seven days. Chevy's marketing company contacted me a while back asking if I'd like to do a week-long test drive. Heck yes! Super popular blogger, Kath Eats Real Food, is the only other blogger I've heard of who's done this, so I feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity!

The Equinox was dropped off Friday morning with a full tank of gas and the instructions to drive it as much as we can. We've driven it quite a bit so far and I can tell you I'm going to have a hard time giving it back! It's a really awesome car and I'll be doing a full write up of my experience next week.

Here's Antie-poo and I in the car on Friday.


Yesterday we were out and about all over town. One of our stops was to the Platt Hill Nursery in Bloomingdale. AKA, my new favorite place! I could have spent hours looking at all the plants they had, but I focused on one type: succulents. I've been wanting some for a while and we picked up quite the collection.


I've been saving the jars from Harry's Gerber meat sticks lately to use as planters. I think they look really cute with the planted succulents. We also got an aloe plant, air plant, mini cactus and a few stalks of lucky bamboo. They're all going on that little hutch I bought at the Salvation Army last month. Which I still need to take over to my dad's to get sanded before painting it yellow.

Not sure exactly where we're taking the Equinox today, but I'm sure it'll be somewhere fun. Have a nice Sunday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips

I was recently awarded the opportunity to try the new Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips.



The company recently came out with two new chip flavors, Zesty Cheddar veggie tortilla chips and Sea Salt sweet potato chips.

I liked both flavors, but the tortilla chips were my favorite. They're similar to Dorito's but a little spicier and less greasy. The chips are made with a bunch of different veggies and whole grains. Nutritionally  they're similar to Doritio's (fat and calories), but the added veggies make them a healthier option.

The sweet potato chips are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. And they've got 40% less fat than other potato chips. Sweet potatoes are a super food after all!

These two bags I was sent didn't last long at our house and we were disappointed to find our Target doesn't carry them. Since the chips are a new item I'm guessing they'll get them soon, otherwise I'll be making a trip to a different grocery store to pick some up.

Left: Zesty Cheddar veggie tortilla chips, Right: Sea Salt sweet potato chips
I really can't wait to try them again!


Disclaimer: I was sent the Green Giant chips for free through a BzzAgent promotional campaign. All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dare I Say... Spring has Sprung!

This past winter felt like it would never end. Never ever ever. It snowed the other day here in Chicago. It didn't stick, but still. Snow in April are three words that should never be in the same sentence. But, yesterday I spotted a glimmer of hope outside our window.




Of the four or five bushes outside this is the only one that's sprouted leaves, so we've got a ways to go still. But spotting the first leaves of spring is always one of my favorite days of the year. Can you tell I'm a California girl at heart?

Since it was so nice out yesterday Harry and I wandered over to the park after his nap. We had a nice time as usual, but for the life of me I couldn't get him to smile for a picture. Oh well.


According to the weather report it's going to be in the 60s all week, yay! I think it's finally time to put away our winter coats. The nice weather couldn't have come at a better time since we have something exciting coming up next week. I can't wait to share it with you guys :).

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Donate Your Coupons to Military Families



I've mentioned a few times before that I've gotten in to couponing. The thrill of seeing our total go down at the grocery store is addicting! I always have too many coupons and I used to just throw extra, expired ones away. Then I started sprinkling them around our Target so other people could take advantage of the savings (I still do this, so if you go to our Target, you might get lucky one day!). But inevitably there are ones that don't make it on to store shelves before they expire.

A friend recently let me know that the military accepts expired coupons and there are a few organizations that collect and disperse them to different bases. Awesome, huh?!? My brother is a veteran so supporting the military is important to me. Even though there are tons of bigger ways to help, sending coupons is a super easy way we can all show our support. Even if you don't use coupons yourself you could still collect and send them to people who will use them.

Here's a list of different organizations where you can mail coupons. Each one has different guidelines for what you can send, so be sure to read up on what each one accepts.

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Grocery Saving Tips

Troopons

Facebook Group

If you know of any other organizations please link up in the comments!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

2T

Last week we bought Harry some new summertime PJs. Size 2T. 2T!!



That's my "little" boy! Not even 18 months and wearing the jammies of a two year old. They're a bit saggy in the butt, but they fit him surprisingly well. I wish he'd stop growing so fast!

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DIY Felt Shape Magnets

I have another fun craft today! This one is perfect for curious toddlers.



Harry loves playing with the magnets on our fridge. I'm all for exploring, but most of our magnets were holding important papers so I put them all out of reach. Obviously that didn't fly, so I came up with a solution- Harry's very own magnets. I chose to do all different shapes, but these would be really cute in letters and numbers, too.

Here's what you'll need to complete the project:

  • Embroidery floss and needle
  • Glue (any craft glue should work just fine)
  • Sharpie marker
  • Craft felt
  • Shape/letter/number templates (I downloaded mine from scrapbookscrapbook.com). 
  • Magnets
  • Polyester fiberfill 
And here's how I made them. 
  • Using a Sharpie, trace shapes on to felt. You'll need two of the same shape per magnet. Then cut out the shapes.
  • Add a ribbon of craft glue around 75% of the shape's border. Adhere second shape to create a pocket. Let dry.
  • Stuff pocket with polyester fiberfill and one magnet.
  • Sew an overcast stitch with embroidery thread all around the edges to close the pocket.
  • Put the magnets on the fridge and watch as your toddler explores and learns!
Harry was intrigued with the magnets, but of course they all ended up on the floor. Oh well, all little boys like to do that kind of thing, right? As he gets older we'll use them to help learn shapes. 



Monday, April 15, 2013

The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013

Even though we aren't currently cloth diapering, I wanted to let everyone know about an awesome event coming up called The Great Cloth Diaper Change. This year's event is taking place on Saturday, April 20th at 285 locations throughout 17 different countries. So there's a good chance there's an event near you.

Vintage Harry wearing one of my favorite cloth diapers

In 2012 over 8,000 people participated and the goal is to beat that number this year to set a new world record for cloth diaper changes. From what I've heard, the event last year was a lot of fun and I'm sure it'll be even better this year.

The event also works to bring awareness of using cloth diapers to families who might otherwise not know about them. I wish we could attend, but it just doesn't make sense for us since we switched back to disposables after our portable washing machine broke a few months ago.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baby Poang Chair

It's been a super boring week. The most exciting thing I've done is some spring cleaning. Woo! I've got a huge list of stuff I want to get this month, and I just keep adding to it.

I feel like I haven't written a blog post in forever,  and this is just a quick post today since I don't really have anything to write about.

Here's baby boy playing in his Ikea Poang chair earlier this week.



He loves this chair! In and out, in and out, in and out... all day long. Harry also thinks it's fun to push the chair all over the living room. The Poang is a great, inexpensive toddler chair if you're in the market for one. I just wish it came in different colors, but the light wood and neutral colored cushion are the only options unfortunately.

Monday, April 8, 2013

17 Month Update

Happy 17 months to my not-so-little boy! Yesterday Harry turned the big 1-7. His recent haircut makes him look so much older!

4/7/13

Weight: I put him on the scale last week with his clothes on and he was right around 24 pounds. 

Height: He seems to have had a growth spurt in the past month so my best guess would be 33.5 inches.


Diaper Size: Size 4 disposables. He was leaking through his regular diapers at night so we recently bought some Huggies Overnites which have worked pretty well.


Clothing Size: 12-18 month clothes, size 5 shoes. Most of his pants are too short but I'm hesitant to buy anymore because soon enough it'll be shorts weather.


Eating:  Eating has been a bit of a challenge this month, he's been very finicky with what he likes. Like one week he'll like a chicken dish I make and then the next week he won't touch it. His favorite foods are fruits and canned veggies (he won't touch most fresh ones unfortunately). He loves: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, clementine oranges, canned pineapples, canned lima beans, canned green beans and canned carrots. With the canned veggies I always rinse them to get rid of as much salt as possible.


Sleeping: Sleep has been pretty good the past month. He hasn't woken up during the night as much and I put a baby gate in the bedroom doorway to prevent him from walking out if he does wake up. Keeping him in the dark bedroom helps get him to sleep faster if he gets out of bed. Naps have been a little up in the air but in general he takes one a day. 

Teeth: 12 still as far as I can tell. However, he was fussy and clingy yesterday afternoon and it looks like his gums are a little swollen. So, a couple more might be making their appearance soon. 


Communication: He has been doing an amazing job with his talking ever since he uttered his first words nearly a month ago. I am so proud of him! He's still mostly in the phase of copying what we say and doesn't say much without being encouraged. He will ask for juice ("joo") sometimes. And he pointed to a little girl at the store and said baby. Oh! And he told me he had a poopy ("puppy," hehe) the other day. But he pretty much tries to say everything we say. Hardly any of it comes out right, but it's so cute and just awesome that he tries so hard to talk now. Some of the words he's said so far: daddy, mommy (just a handful of times), cracker, baby, juice, Pearl, ball, high chair, hi, and poopy. Like I said, he tries to imitate nearly everything we say but those have been the most easily understandable so far.


Some pictures I took yesterday.





Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Festival Craft Fair

"I had a really fun time at the craft show. Thanks for telling me about it!"

Words I'd always hoped, but never expected Ant would say. Hell must have frozen over because he uttered those exact words as we were leaving the Spring Festival yesterday. I saw a commercial for the craft show the other night and randomly asked Ant if he wanted to go this weekend. I really figured he wouldn't want to go, but he said he was game.

The fair is at the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park all weekend if you're local and interested in attending. We arrived a few minutes before the doors opened which was nice since we were able to enjoy the fair for 20 minutes before it got really crowded.

I was on a mission at the fair to find a unique wall hanging in my continued efforts to update our condo. Those efforts fell flat yesterday as most of the booths were jewelry, clothing and outdoor decorations. There was a fair amount of paintings for sale, but they were all too cutesy for my taste.

We didn't walk away empty handed, though. The J-D Stones booth had personalized rocks and we were very surprised to find one with the name Harry on it! They had all our names so we picked up the trio.


Not sure where I'm going to display them, but I couldn't pass up the first ever thing I've found with Harry's name on it.

Along with the stones Ant and I each picked out a treat.


One of our very first stops of the day was the D'Marie booth, for samples of their wine slushies. WINE SLUSHIES. WINE SLUSHIES!!!!!!!!!! I bought a mix and cannot wait to try it out this summer. You have to add a bottle of wine- any kind you like. The samples were made with an inexpensive white Zinfandel and tasted so yummy!

Ant found the Croix Valley booth and sampled a few of their seasonings and sauces. He said they all tasted really good and chose a bottle of their Honey Dijon BBQ sauce to take home.

After we left the fair we did our weekly grocery shopping and hung out at home the rest of the day. Today will be more of the same, but I'm hoping to get to the park this afternoon as the weather's supposed to be very nice. Ant's got plans with some friends tonight so Harry and I will probably be on our own for dinner.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Influenster VoxBox

Have you guys heard of Influenster? It's awesome! Alex from Good Girl Gone Wife invited me to be a part of the website a while back and I'm so thankful she did!

Every month (or so) Influenster sends out VoxBoxes to members to test out various new products. I'm not sure how many they send out each month, but you do have to apply for the program each time a new box is released.

I recently qualified for the Sugar n' Spice VoxBox!



Influenster keeps the contents of the VoxBoxes a secret until they arrive. As soon as I got the box I tore into it to see what kind of goodies I'd get to try.


Included in the Sugar n' Spice VoxBox:

  • BelVita Breakfast Biscuits (I got the cinnamon brown sugar flavor)
  • Vaseline Spray & Go moisturizer
  • Dickinson's Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes 
  • Splenda Nectresse natural no calorie sweetener 
  • Colgate Optic White products: toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash
And here's what I think of each of the products.

BelVita Breakfast Biscuits (cinnamon brown sugar flavor)


My only complaint: I only got one package! I seriously loved these biscuits. I had seen them at the store before but never really paid attention to them. You get four in a package and I split them up between two mornings since they were so filling. The biscuits tasted like cookies and I felt a little guilty eating them for breakfast, but they're actually pretty healthy for you.

Vaseline Spray & Go moisturizer


Earlier this year I blogged about how dry my skin gets in the winter. This year has been particularly rough on my skin and honestly, the Spray & Go doesn't work well on my extreme dry patches, but I like it for my arms and legs. The spray feature is pretty neat and it goes on very evenly. A quick rub and it's completely absorbed. 

Dickinson's Witch Hazel Oil Absorbing Wipes


I had never used anything with witch hazel before, so I wasn't sure what to expect with the Dickinson's oil controlling towelettes. They're pretty nifty, and I can see myself using them a lot over the summer. I've applied the towelettes to my face and it instantly feels refreshed. My skin is noticeably less shiny after using them, too. One thing I'm not a fan of is the smell. It's hard to describe, but it's not very pleasant. I'm not sure if it's just how witch hazel smells or if these towelettes had a specific scent. Since they do work so well I will continue to use them even though I'm not crazy about their smell.

Splenda Nectresse


Splenda's new sweetener, Nectresse, is calorie free and all natural. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? The only kind of coffee I drink is a pre-sweetened Keurig K-cup and I haven't had time to bake anything this week so I haven't used Nectresse in anything. But, I did taste the Nectresse right out of the package. You can definitely tell it isn't sugar, but the sweetener tastes pretty good! No chemical taste like a lot of the other sweeteners out there. I am definitely going to use it in a recipe soon. 



Truth be told, I'm an electric toothbrush kind of girl so I had pretty low expectations for the Colgate toothbrush. What's actually really cool about it is that it's got these little whitening cups in between the bristles. The tongue cleaner on the brush is really effective, too. Even though I currently use a whitening toothpaste, I noticed a significant difference in the appearance of my teeth after just one use of the Colgate brush and toothpaste. I will say I didn't like the whitening mouthwash. It worked fine and my teeth were noticeably whiter after using it, but it tasted pretty gross. I had to rinse with my normal mouthwash to get rid of the taste. Bleh!

So there you have it, my first Influenster VoxBox experience! I do have to complete a few brand activities on the site regarding all the products, but they've been pretty fun.

I've got 5 invites to Influenster if anyone is interested in joining the site. You can leave a comment on this post with your email address or shoot me an email at lindseytaw@gmail.com if you're more comfortable doing that. I'll send invites out to the first 5 people who contact me. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Meal Planning Board

Last year I made a meal planning board for our kitchen. I was really good at using it for a long time but then I lost the chalk. And let's be honest, chalk is messy. Especially the colored stuff I had. So it was time to upgrade.

Here's our meal planning board 2.0.


The frame is an 8x10 table top frame I bought at Hobby Lobby. I cut the stand off the back part so it would lay flat against the cabinet. Instead of a picture I added some chevron fabric and then attached a ribbon to hang it off the ugly 3M hook I have there.

You can write on glass with dry erase markers so that makes changing it every week a breeze.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Baby's First Haircut

Saturday marked a big milestone for Harry, his first haircut! I have been wanting to get his haircut for months but Ant's refused. No joke, his "baby style icon" is Mason Disick (Kourtney Kardashian's son) and wants Harry to have the same long, shaggy hair he does (see a photo of him here). I think that look is adorable on little boys, but Harry just doesn't have enough hair to pull it off yet. His hair is very fine still and was all different lengths - the hair at the nape of his neck just started growing in.

It took some convincing, but I finally got Ant to agree that it would be best to get Harry's hair cut. I always knew we would take Harry to Kid Snips for his first cut, they have a location in Wheaton that I've known about for years. Their South Barrington location is closer to us, so we drove up there Saturday afternoon feeling a bit nervous about how Harry would react to the whole thing.


I honestly can't say enough good things abut our experience at Kid Snips. The staff were all helpful and friendly, something I always judge when visiting a new store. As soon as we checked in the receptionist had us pick out a movie to turn on for Harry. The store has a huge selection of DVDs and even Wii games for older kids.

After picking out a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD we made our way over to the police car station and his stylist, Amy, got him ready for the cut.

One last picture of his shaggy mop top!


Amy was absolutely wonderful with Harry. She knew just how to give a wiggly one year old a haircut-- she was always one step ahead of his wiggles, it was awesome!




Harry did really well and wasn't phased by the hair cut at all. He loved flirting with Amy and watching all the other kids running around the store. I don't think he even realized what was happening to his hair. Here's the finished product.


He looks so handsome! When we paid for the haircut we were given a balloon and a cute certificate commemorating this momentous occasion.


Surprisingly, Ant loves his haircut, too. I thought he'd be indifferent to it since he really didn't want to do it in the first place but he agreed with me that the new 'do suits Harry very well.

Whenever it's time for Harry's next haircut we'll definitely be visiting Kid Snips again!
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