Here are two toys that I bought from Amazon because I heard a lot of good things about and they were very highly rated. I remember when I first got them I was like why in world do these have such good reviews? They seem SO BORING! Boy was I wrong. These toys are some of Emma’s favorites and I’m always amazed to see what new ways she comes up with for playing with these.
50 Counting Bears With 5 Cups – I first got these because we were trying to teach Emma how to count and also her colors. I really believe these helped with both her numbers and colors. The bears make a satisfying *plunk* sound when you drop them into the cup. Emma loves sorting and these are great for that. She also uses these as pretend food and “serves” us different colored foods in cups and plates. It’s so cute! She is almost always playing with these bears in some way every day.
Skip Hop Dunks Stacking Bath Toy – I remember when I bought these they were the highest rated bath toy. These are so versatile because you can use them as a rinse cup for bath time but they also make great bath toys. It’s great that the set comes with more than 1 so I can use one and Emma can play with the other ones. She loves to scoop the water and pour it into the other cup. She loves to stack. She also loves to tell me what color each bird is and which color she wants and which one I should use. I also love to take these when we travel because I need a water scooper for bath time and it’s also the only bath toy we take when we travel and is able to keep her satisfied.
So those are two toys that I didn’t really “get” but turns out Emma loves them!
For people who know me, I didn’t really get to enjoy my maternity leave last time when I was pregnant with Emma. I got a total of 1 day off before she arrived! This time I’ve already enjoyed a whole week off….and it has been SO NICE!!! I’ve gotten so much done and have really enjoyed this one on one time I have gotten with Emma before baby #2 comes.
I took a few days to really reorganize my house and throw out a lot of trash. I cleaned out my freezer and cupboards of everything that was expired. I sorted through my craft/office room so now I can actually find things when I work on my crafts! I even started reorganizing Emma’s toys and am attempting to do a toy rotation for her so we don’t have toys out everywhere. I cooked a little bit and have attempted at eating a salad a day while I’m on maternity leave and also made beef broth from scratch!
I just hope I last through the weekend because we have 2 big bday parties to attend this weekend and I really want to go! I love bday parties! If I make it to next week, there are some arts and craft stuff that I wanted to work on including making Emma’s felt play mat (will be great for her to play independently when baby #2 comes!), finishing Emma Project Life book and start Max’s Project Life, and also work on my anniversary present for the hubby. We’re celebrating 5 years in a few months…I can’t believe we’ve been married for that long. So happy to have him in my life and by my side as we turn the next chapter in our family. 🙂
Radio Flyer The Ultimate Comfort Wagon – We got this recently and Emma loves it! I love that it is covered and has some really great features like being able to fold the seats down as a table, etc.
Caillou – Like every kid we know, Emma is obsessed with the PBS Kids app and she recently has started only watching one show…Caillou! She loves this show and I am kind of noticing that she copies him a lot which is a bad thing because he is kind of a bratty kid. Ugh…we are going to have to figure out a way to cut back on her watching this show.
Hape Alphabet Puzzle – We just got this alphabet puzzle as one of her bday presents and we love the quality of it. Emma loves doing this puzzle and is able to name all of the letters. Highly recommend if you are looking for an alphabet puzzle!
Trader Joe’s Scallion Pancakes – I get so happy when I find something Emma likes to eat that is quick and easy to make. She seems to enjoy these that are Trader Joe’s version of korean pancakes.
Update #2: A reader commented that Tuft & Needle are discontinuing this mattress. That really sucks to hear since we loved this mattress and it was perfect for this Ikea bunk bed. I was asked for alternatives and I found another 5 in mattress that is also highly rated. I do not own this personally but the reviews are good. Check it out on Amazon here.
Update #1: We’ve since had the mattress for over 6 months now and LOVE it. I highly recommend this mattress for the Ikea Kura. It’s the perfect size and is super comfy despite it’s low height. It’s a great quality mattress for a great price. You can pick yours up at Amazon.
We recently bought an Ikea Kura Bunk Bed for Emma to transition out of our bed (we have been cosleeping with her pretty much since birth). The reason I like this bunk bed is because it’s low to the ground and appears to be safer for younger kids. The bottom bed is actually a floor bed which I’ve always wanted to try ever since I read about it from Montessori blogs. And it will be great for when our other kid grows up and they can share a room.
This bunk bed is very versatile in that you can either use the top, bottom, or both as a bed. Some people use the bottom as a play area instead. After my husband put together the bed, I was tasked with finding a mattress for it. One of my mommy friends told me about this highly rated mattress from Walmart called Mattress In A Box which you can get for under $200. Luckily I found out right before I bought it that it was a little too tall for the Ikea bunk bed. It is 8 inches and since the Ikea bunk bed is so low they suggested using a mattress that is 5 inches or shorter. Luckily, I had another highly rated mattress bookmarked that I had been looking at as well by Tuft & Needle. If you’re interested, there is a short article here about the mattress industry scam and a little bit about the Tuft & Needle mattress and how they are trying to change how we shop for mattresses. You can buy the mattress on their website or Amazon (same price). They also sell queens and kings and a thicker 10 inch mattress. Their customer service supposedly is amazing and if you don’t like the bed they have a free return policy which involves them just having Salvation Army picking up the mattress so you know it doesn’t just go to waste! I love the idea behind this company. I wasn’t too worried about the quality of the mattress when I bought it though because it is rated 5 stars on Amazon with over 300 reviews!
Anyways, if you are looking into the bunk bed…there are countless “hacks” you can also do to make the bunk bed look nicer. We ended up painting ours white and I am thinking of cutting out some decals for the panels but we’ll see. For some inspiration, check out this post on Hellobee: 35 Ikea Kura Hacks
Oh, one last thing that I discovered during my research is that if you decide to do a floor bed, the mattress is prone to getting moldy on the bottom since there is no room for circulation and bodies sweat a lot. To combat this you should really put some slats underneath the mattress or flip it onto its side once a week to let it air out. I discovered Ikea sells this platform for $20 bucks so I think we will just use that.
***Note: If you are a parent interested in hot deals or saving money. Join my Facebook group where I post amazing deals and freebies!
I’m not really sure how much I will get done with a newborn on the way this summer but I thought it would be fun to create a Summer Manifesto. We will try to hit as much of these items as possible with a tiny one in tow! I LOVE summer and definitely don’t want to waste it being cooped up inside like the last time I was on maternity leave. Hopefully I have more experience now and can handle taking the baby out! 🙂
1. Visit a tidepool. Check out this list of 7 family friendly tidepools in OC.
2. Take Emma to the Atlantis Play Center. We still haven’t gone to this popular playground yet!
3. Bake something with Emma. Emma really enjoys cooking with me so I’ll be on the lookout for more kid-friendly recipes where she can help by adding ingredients and stirring things.
4. Eat Afters Ice Cream. We love eating ice cream and this has been on my list to try!
5. Sign up Emma for soccer classes
6. Make Emma a felt playmat. I really like this Easter one (even though it’s not Easter anymore :P) because it’s no sew and Emma had such a blast this past Easter hunting for eggs. I’m always on the lookout for activities she can play with that don’t include the iPad or TV 😛
7. Attend an outdoor movie
8. Have lots of picnics. We LOVE picnics….even if it’s just in our yard 🙂
9. Plant something with Emma. Since I have a total black thumb this will just be for fun. I was thinking of grass in a cute pot or even these cress cup plants. Emma loves watering plants and I think she will get a kick out of seeing something grow!
10. Use up my groupons/living socials deals to Pretend City and The Little Prince Cafe. One has already expired but I can still use their face value so I really want to get these used up this summer!