Friday Links

Great tip:
If your little one is afraid of using a public restroom because of the automatic flushing, try this easy tip!

Great activity:
Spring Sensory Box – I think Emma would love this!

To make:
Kid Cell Phone Number Bracelets – a bracelet with your phone number on it in case your kid gets lost! Love this idea especially since Emma loves jewelry right now

To buy:
Write On Wipe Off Learning Letters Cards – We’re all about letters right now so I think these would be fun

For a laugh:
Cute!

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A Mattress For the Ikea Kura Bunk Bed

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!

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Our Summer Manifesto

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! πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜›

7. Attend an outdoor movie
8. Have lots of picnics. We LOVE picnics….even if it’s just in our yard πŸ™‚
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!

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Friday Links

Great tip:
40 ways to entertain your kids while lying down – great if you’re sick or I may use some of these while bfing the new baby!

Great activity:
12 science experiments for preschoolers – it’s never too early to expose your little ones to science!

To make:
Mini hexagon purse tutorial – I just recently made one for Emma…will have to post about it soon

To buy:
Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle – We’ve been needing to buy Emma a new straw bottle because the one we have leaks! This one is so cute.

For a laugh (and so true too!)
Why being a toddler is the world’s toughest job

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Free Or Cheap Movies For Kids Around HB/Fountain Valley

Emma is at the age where she is starting to enjoy movies! Her favorite is of course Frozen. We haven’t shown her many other ones just because if we give her a choice, she always wants Frozen! I thought this summer would be a good time to take her to the movies for the first time either in a theater or an outdoor showing. Luckily I will be on maternity leave for the summer so hopefully I can take her out on one of the weekdays as a special treat (while leaving the baby with my MIL!). My husband and I LOVE the movies and can’t wait to share this with Emma! Luckily there are a plethora of free or cheap movie watching opportunities in the summer for kids. This is great if Emma suddenly gets too antsy to sit through the whole thing….I won’t feel guilty about leaving early!

Here are some that I am thinking of checking out:

Century 20 in Huntington Beach has kid movies for $1 on Tuesdays/Thursdays between 10-11:30am. Here is the movie schedule:
June 24/26 The Croods
July 1/3 Turbo
July 8/10 The Smurfs 2
July 15/17 Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2
July 22/24 Walking with Dinosaurs
July 29/31 The Lego Movie
August 5/7 Rio 2
August 12/14 Mr. PeaBody & Sherman
August 19/21 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
August 26/28 Zookeeper

Movies in the Park @ Fountain Valley Rec Center has free movies including free popcorn and snocones. There will also be food trucks (check the link for more details). Festivities start at 6 or 6:30pm and the movie starts at dusk. Here is the movie schedule:
August 5 Ice Age at Fountain Valley Sports Park
August 15 The Croods at Cordata Park
August 22 Land Before Time at McDowell Park
August 20 Brave at Ellis Park

A few other movie events that are a little further away:

Movie on the Lawn @ Orange County Great Park – starts at 7:30pm
May 31: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
June 14: Despicable Me 2
June 28: People’s Choice – Vote For Your Movie! (Babe, Surf’s Up!, or Big Miracle)
July 12: Lego Movie
FLASHBACK FRIDAYS
June 6: Wizard of Oz
June 13: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
June 27: Back to the Future

D.A.R.E. Family Fair & Movie Night at Heritage Park in Irvine will have police and OC Fire Authority vehicles on display along with a snack bar, bounce houses and activities for kids. They will be showing FROZEN at dusk on Saturday June 14th. Event starts at 6pm.

Splash-In Movie & Recreation Swim @ William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine. This unique event allows kids to swim while watching the movie Planes! Takes place on August 23rd from 6:30pm-9:30pm and costs $2 for children and $4 for adults.

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Friday Links

Great tip:
20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Postpartum – Wish I had read this before I had Emma that’s for sure!

Great activity:
10 Play Ideas To spark Your Kids Imagination

To make:
Build a play-doh tool kit – Emma has never really been into play-doh in the past but I am thinking of reintroducing it to her soon as I think she might like it more now! This is a great tool kit.

To buy:
IOU Letterpress – These cards are perfect for new mamas!

To think about:
5 ingredients to avoid in children’s skin care – it’s been so hard to buy non-smelly baby stuff!

For a laugh:
Drunkenly stumbling baby trashes bar

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The Sticker Chart

Have you heard of using a sticker chart to help improve your child’s behavior? I had read a lot about it but didn’t realize how well it worked until we tried it ourselves! I bought ours from Target in the $1 bin but you can also print out your own and buy separate stickers.

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We use ours exclusively for brushing Emma’s teeth. We have a really hard time brushing her teeth because she always gags when we put the toothbrush in her mouth! We would all dread when it was time to brush her teeth! Now it’s not so much of a battle. I just tell her “Do you want a sticker today” and ask her “What color sticker are you going to choose today?”. She ALWAYS wants a sticker. And you can just tell how torturous it is for her to brush her teeth but now she will do it just so she can get her sticker! Most of the time she asks for 2 stickers so I make her brush her teeth twice since sometimes I don’t do that great of a job the first time since I try to go as fast as I can for her. That’s how much she loves these stickers though!

As you can see from her chart we aren’t using it as it was intended. Instead of doing it for each day, I allow her to pick whatever color she wants and she has to match it with the same color square. I figure at least this way she can practice her colors and matching skills!

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I also like how small these stickers are and how it’s helping her develop her fine motor skills. I was actually surprised she was able to peel and stick the stickers on their herself!

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So if you are looking for a great behavior modification trick…I highly recommend the sticker chart!

I was inspired to use a sticker chart after reading this post on Hellobee!

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Huntington Beach Library’s Storytime

We have been taking Emma to Huntington Beach’s Central Library story time on Saturday mornings when we have time. She loves it!!

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(sorry for the blurry pic!)

She loves it so much that whenever I say I have to go to the store…she thinks I am saying story time and starts crying if she can’t come along. Now I have to avoid saying that and say I am going to go buy something instead πŸ˜›

Every week, they pick a different theme and read 3-4 books relating to that theme. The lady who does the reading is very animated and includes a lot of song and hand movements that the kids love. At the end, you get a stamp and sometimes a treat related to the theme! We’ve gotten cookies, bubbles, and stickers before. Afterwards a lot of the parents hang around in the children’s book area with their kids which is also full of toys for the kids to play with.

You can see the days and times the library has their story time here. There are different ones for different age groups. We go to the toddler one at 10am on Saturdays. The link also includes a calendar of their monthly events. Sometimes they have crafts and plays for the kids. I really love the Huntington Beach library – definitely one of the perks of being an HB resident.

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Friday Links

Great tip:
10 activities for 2 year olds to keep them busy and happy in the car – great if you are planning any roadtrips this summer

Great activity:
25 recipes for play – using ingredients found around the house

To make:
Homemade easy, low-cost light table – really thinking about making this for Emma. I think she would really enjoy it!

To buy:
Travel-inspired nursery – if I were were decorating a nursery for baby #2 I would love to buy

To think about:
I’m done making my kid’s childhood magical – Not sure if I completely agree with this but it is something to think about!

For a laugh:

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Emma’s 2nd Year Birthday Questions

You can see her “answers” from last year here. I had to answer most of these questions again since I’m not exactly sure she knows what the word “favorite” means yet. πŸ˜›

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1. What is your favorite color? yellow (this is only a recent thing….normally I would say pink although she ALWAYS wants to wear green pants hehe)
2. What is your favorite toy? Probably her rice box or her Thumper stuffed animal
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Caillou
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza
6. What is your favorite outfit? This changes daily. Sometimes she will want to wear one thing and refuse to wear it the next day but there is one consistent thing she likes and that is her green pants!

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7. What is your favorite game? Pretending to cook and feed people
8. What is your favorite snack? Baked sweet potatoes or chips
9. What is your favorite animal? I think she is scared of all animals right now
10. What is your favorite song? Brave by Sara Bareilles
11. What is your favorite book? Let’s Go To The Farm (Lift The Flap) Book
12. Who is your best friend? still Mommy I think
13. What is your favorite cereal? We haven’t been feeding her much cereal but she likes Rice Crispies
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? people watch, blow bubbles, and eat
15. What is your favorite drink? cow’s milk (oh how much this has changed from last year!)
16. What is your favorite holiday? I don’t think she has a favorite holiday yet but she really enjoyed Easter last month!

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17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Mommy/Thumper
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Paleo pancakes or oatmeal
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a chef!

A video of Emma saying cheers with her cousin Xander. It probably only cracks me up to watch this.

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