Enough kid talk….here are some things that Mommy enjoys!
Burts Bees Blemish Stick – I kept reading how amazing this stick was for treating pimples so I finally bought it. I don’t break out too often but every once in awhile I get one and it’s great to have this trick up my sleeve for getting rid of it ASAP! I’ve only tried it once so far but it really did work for me!!! Love this.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – This is one of the most talked about book amongst bloggers. It’s not the typical book I read but I’m still enjoying it. Unfortunately, it’s SUPER long and finding the time to read is few and far between so it’s taking me awhile to get through it.
Avarca Pons Sandals – These are my favorite shoes right now. I wear them with everything and always get compliments on them. They are super comfortable too!
Garlic Dip – This dip is SO addictive. I love eating it with pita bread or as a spread for my sandwiches. Also a great dip for your veggies! You can buy it at Whole Foods.
I’m really tempted to buy these super expensive flats, Tieks, which have been touted as the best travel shoe and have been getting rave reviews from most people. I have a hard time swallowing the price tag of $175 though. Perhaps I’ll splurge when they have a coupon?!
I can’t believe Emma is going to be TWO in less than a month!!! This year since I’m pregnant, I didn’t really want to throw a big party for Emma. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want her day to be special!! Here are a roundup of some fun ideas I’ve been saving to possibly do for Emma on her birthday.
DIY Surprise Streamer Door – This seems like an easy diy that even at a young age Emma will really enjoy waking up to! I am thinking of doing this to the door of her bedroom!
With the impending arrival of baby #2, we’ve been talking a lot about how Emma will deal with having to share our attention. She has always been a very clingy kid especially to me so I’m not sure how she will deal with not having all of my attention like she currently does! One of the more popular ideas people have for helping the older child adjust to their new sibling is to present them with a gift that is supposedly from the baby. Here are some ideas for gifts that we’ve heard other people have gifted or that we are considering for Emma. I know it will be especially hard for Emma to see the new baby breastfeeding and how much time that will take me away from her so I am hoping the gift will be long-lasting and fun enough for her that she will play with it independently of me.
1. A play kitchen – This seems to be extremely popular on those lists of toys kids will play with for years. I always see people recommending kitchens as one of those toys that kids just love! I know Emma enjoys opening and closing cupboards especially. This one is the highest rated one on Amazon but it is quite pricy. There are of course cheaper ones including Ikea’s play kitchen which I love for its simplicty.
2. Train Set – Whenever we go to Toys R Us, Emma always spends the longest time playing on their Thomas the Train trainset table. She also LOVES trains.
3. A basket of small gifts that she can only play with at certain times when we need her to be playing independently. It would include:
4. A dollhouse – I’m not sure how interested she is in something like this but I think she is getting to the age where this might engage her more. Or maybe I’m just fulfilling my childhood dream of owning a dollhouse!! hehe
5. iPad Mini – I know I know…talk about spoiled!!! But we are really considering this option because I know she will absolutely LOVE it. We already let her play with our iPad and it’s sometimes too bulky for her. Plus it’s a really old version so it would be great to have a new version with the retina screen!
We’re in the midst of trying to choose a daycare for Emma for when the 2nd kid arrives. It’s been a pretty confusing process for me. I wish there were more reviews for daycares kind of like how Yelp is for restaurants. Here are some tips I’ve discovered along the way.
1. There is no “best” kind of daycare. From the many people I’ve talked to including educators, they say you should know the personality of your own child and find the best daycare that suits their personality and a place where they can thrive.
2. There are 2 main philosophies – play-based and academic. Within that, there are more specific approaches such as Montesorri, Waldorf, etc. Some even blend the 2 philosophies.
Play-based: most preschools use this philosophy, children choose activities based on their current interests, classrooms are usually broken up into sections (home or kitchen, science area, water table, reading nook, space with blocks and other toys, or other areas). Kids are encouraged to play and to develop social skills and cooperation among their peers.
Academic: more teacher-led, more structured, and aimed at preparing kids for the kindergarten setting. Classroom time is devoted to learning letters and sounds, shapes and colors, telling time, and other skills.
Huntington Beach seems to have a plethora of Montessori options. Since I’ve heard such good things about Montessori, I’ve really been looking into those schools a bit more. Here’s a little bit more info about Montessori:
I find that Montessori is a mix of the 2 above philosophies. It seems to be a bit more academic focused than other preschools but is also very child centered. Children will learn at their own pace and the classes are more age mixed allowing for children to stay with the same teacher for longer and to develop a close relationship with them as well as leadership skills and independence mixing with both older and younger children. There is a lot of structure, quiet time, and independent work.
3. Other things to consider: size of class, student:teacher ratio, what kind of activities are offered, what is the focus on reading, assess the teachers and staff, how much play-time is offered, how are parents involved and how is everything communicated to parents, how are emotional and disciplinary issues resolved, accreditations, class schedule, safety, and referrals.
Since Emma is a very timid, shy girl who craves schedule and structure I thought it would be best if she was in a Montessori environment. It turns out of the schools we looked at, My First Montessori, had the best ratio. For Emma’s age when she would be starting (age 2), we have the choice of putting her in a classroom with a ratio of 1:6 or 1:8. I like that she can learn at her own pace so if she turns out to be bright she won’t be “held” back by her peers (we can only hope, right? hehe). When we visited the school, it did seem to be a calm environment which I know Emma would do much better at. She gets easily scared with loud noises and aggressive kids. So you can see why I was drawn to a Montessori school. Lastly, we had a friend of a friend that goes to this specific school and highly recommends it!
Some other notable schools in this area you might want to look into if you are interested in other styles of preschool/daycare:
Brightstar Learning Center – My husband’s brother sent his son here and recommends it. Good reviews and good ratio (1:8) but the price was higher than what we wanted to pay for.
Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley – We have several friends that send their kids here and it comes highly recommended. If their ratio was smaller (1:12), we would have definitely considered sending Emma here. It is play-based and very well-kept and clean.
There are also a few popular Montessori schools in HB/FV like Le Port and Fountain Valley Montessori. We visited one of the Le Port schools and was completely turned off by the teacher. She ignored us to the point where we just left because it was getting awkward not being acknowledged!
If you’d like more information about the school we will probably send Emma to, check out their website:
Emma LOVES pancakes. And these are probably her favorite breakfast food. I started out making these with just 2 ingredients – eggs and pancakes. They are super easy to make and I usually make a big batch of them to put in the freezer. I recently started trying to make them even healthier by adding spinach! She seemed to still eat them so yay!
Spinach Banana Egg Pancakes (adapted from Hellobee)
The following are some optional things we usually add
a pinch of baking powder (I usually add this to make it fluffier)
a small handful of spinach (you might want to start with a small amount and work your way up to see how much your child will tolerate eating)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter
1. Blend all of the above ingredients until smooth. If you don’t already own one, I suggest buying a hand stick blender. I seriously love mine because it’s so much easier to clean than a blender (just throw into the dishwasher!) and use it all of the time to make purees and other foods for Emma.
2. Heat a dishpan with oil, butter, or coconut oil (I actually use ghee which you can buy from Trader Joe’s) and ladle some of the batter onto the pan. Once one side is browned, flip to cook the other side. I usually make them mini size since it’s easier to flip and also easier for Emma to eat!
Emma’s complete breakfast that morning. I don’t usually cut the pancakes into shapes but I did today just for fun. On the side are some chicken apple sausages and some grapes. See the toothpick in the sausage? I found out I can get Emma to eat pretty much anything if I use a toothpick! She loves to pick it up and eat things on a stick.
To think about: Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework – I’m always amazed at how much parents help their kids with their homework nowadays. I grew up with immigrant parents who barely spoke English let alone knew anything about what I was doing at school so this article really struck a chord with me. But it does feel like all of the other parents are doing this now so I wonder if I’ll feel the pressure to do it too when it comes time for my kids to start school
For a laugh:
Some hilarious texts from a funny dad:
Ikea Circus Tent ($20) – What a steal! Emma is at an age where she loves going into play houses and under covers. It’s also pretty easy to set up or put away.
Kirkland’s Real Sliced Fruit ($17.64 for 20 bags) – These come in 3 flavors: apple, apple cinnamon, and banana and strawberries. Emma especially loves the apple ones. Recently these were recalled from Costco though so that kind of turns me off of them!
Appu Series on Youtube – Emma LOVES nursery rhymes and music in general. She really likes these youtube videos and can watch them all day long!
I’m A Big Sister – We were given this book from a friend to help Emma adjust to the idea of being a big sister. She LOVES this book and will almost always ask us to read it multiple times to her before bed.
Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD – This 5 star DVD teaches kids letters and the sounds they make. I wasn’t sure if Emma would enjoy this but so far she loves it. I was hoping to find something educational that she can watch and this seems to fit the bill!
Thumper Stuffed Doll – We went to Disnelyand with Emma for the first time this past month and before we left we let her pick out one souvenir. Surprisingly she picked out a stuffed animal (she’s never been super into stuffed animals) but for some reason she LOVES Thumper! She’s never even seen Bambi! I can’t seem to find the exact one we bought but he’s not particularly cute like the usual Thumper. He’s looking off to the side in a weird way. We actually tried to convince her to pick something “cuter” but she was stuck on Thumper ha ha.
These are some of the foods I try to have on hand for Emma that are pretty easy or quick to prepare and usually require no cooking or a minimal amount of cooking:
Chobani Greek Yogurt Tubes – Supposedly greek yogurt is healthier than regular yogurt and Emma seems to enjoy this brand
Grapes – Just wash and eat! Some people are paranoid about choking so you might want to cut these in half if your little one hasn’t mastered chewing and swallowing yet
Watermelon – I like to buy the mini ones from Trader Joe’s and just cut it up to have ready when Emma wants a few pieces. Buying the smaller ones makes it easier to cut!
Bananas – One of Emma’s favorites! I also use it to make “healthy” ice cream and pancakes which I will write about in another post.
Raisins/Cranberries – Emma loves eating those little red boxes of raisins. We will also add cranberries to her oatmeal sometimes. I also recently discovered you can buy reduced sugar craisins so I might try those next time
Frozen Peas/Carrots – Sometimes when I make Emma’s meals I make her a bunch of little sides bento-style. This is an easy way to fill up one of the compartments.
Sweet Potatoes – These are great because they keep for awhile and you can either microwave them for a fast and tasty treat or cut them up into fries and bake them. Emma loves them either way
Dr Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes – One of those frozen foods that I have on hand since it incorporates veggies and Emma loves any type of pancakes
Trader Joe’s Microwavable Mac N Cheese – Surprisingly, Emma doesn’t really like mac n cheese except for this TJ’s version! Hey, at least it’s made of organic wheat macaroni hehe.
Trader Joe’s Veggie Sausage Patties – These are the best tasting veggie patties I’ve had and Emma loves them too
Green Chopsticks Frozen Dumplings – I love Green Chopsticks! They offer “all-natural” Asian food that are quick and easy to prepare. You can buy these at Costco!
Roasted Seaweed – Emma loves these but they can get a little messy!
To make: 5 Minute, 5 step, $5 Leggings – I’m a beginner sewer and this project was pretty easy!
and No-sew Elsa Cape – It seems like every little girl is OBSESSED with Elsa! I love the idea of having a frozen party and letting girls decorate their own cape too.