Safe Space for a Wild Child

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When your baby starts crawling at 5.5 months, pulling herself up and cruising at 7 months, and climbing at 8 months, creating a safe playspace for her to explore her abilities and push her limits becomes priority #1. (Wine quickly becomes priority #2.)

A little backstory: Paul and I are heavily influenced by the RIE parenting philosophy, which (among many other things) encourages parents to create an environment that is physically safe, allow time for uninterrupted play, and…

“have basic trust in the infant to be an initiator, to be an explorer eager to learn what he is ready for. Because of this trust, we provide the infant with only enough help necessary to allow the child to enjoy mastery of her own actions.”

(Read more on RIE here.) 

In summary: we strive to allow Maeve space (under a close, watchful eye) to test her limits and express herself physically, without us intervening unless she’s in serious danger. Which includes learning to fall safely. A lot. And that meant dreaming up the perfect playspace!

Our first basic need was a large comfortable, cushioned playmat, for Maevie to crawl on and fall on. Finding a completely non-toxic option was a big priority for us, so when we discovered the Pillobebe CorkiMat, and they generously offered us a mat to review, we were thrilled. The CorkiMat iswhich is made from certified organic bamboo and cork – all completely safe and natural. It is so luxurious, and soft, with handy (and adorable) removeable covers that can be tossed in the washing machine which is incredibly convenient. Plus, it’s independently owned, and we love supporting indie businesses!

Maeve can take big spills onto her CorkiMat and come out completely unscathed. In fact, her new favorite game is to throw herself from her softplay climbing structure onto the mat, and land ungracefully onto the mat, over and over. I recommend it to everyone I know. It’s easily one of my favorite things we’ve gotten. (Stay tuned for a chance to win a store credit towards a CorkiMat of your choosing!)
safe playspace for a wild child

Speaking of her softplay climbing structure… this thing is amazing! Once we recognized Maeve’s instinct to climb, we really wanted to find something safe to practice on, that would work indoors. When I found the ECR4Kids Softzone Little Me Wall Climb & Slide on Wayfair.com, and it was absolutely perfect for our condo living room play area. Maeve took to it immediately, and explores every corner of it, continually finding new ways to make it more challenging for herself. It can be velcroed together in various configurations, which allows us to change it up for variety and to fit various spaces as needed. I always knew of Wayfair as a great home furnishing store online – but I hadn’t thought of it for baby until some creative googling lead me there. It was a great find!

Having such a mobile baby presents many challenges, not least of which is finding ways to use the bathroom or wash my face, or accomplish some other quick task that would prevent me from being able to keep an eye on Maeve to make sure she’s safe. We don’t have a gated-off area in which I could drop her and walk away (yet). Enter the Oribel PortaPlay: a foldable, convertible activity center that grows with your baby, evolving from a bouncer into an adjustable-height play table.

While I generally try to steer clear of using a constrictive device to hold Maeve for very long (or act as a babysitter), nor do I believe that babies need bouncers or jumpers to develop strength (plenty of time on the floor to explore builds that up just fine), it has been a lifesaver in the times that I need to ensure her safety for a few minutes at a time, while keeping her occupied and entertained. And I love that The PortaPlay is not a one-and-done gadget, since we can replace the seat with the included table top, and use it for play for years to come. It’s sturdy enough for her to pull up on and cruise around, the toys attached are simple, analog, and beautiful, and when we need it out of the way, it folds up and slides under a bed, easy peasy.

These 3 items have helped us create a safe-yet-challegning, aesthetically appealing playspace for Maeve, and it is amazing to watch her use them to learn and grow. She’s moments away from walking now, which is going to open a whole new world in terms of baby-proofing and providing her engaging opportunities to play at home – but I’m up to the challenge!

Want to win $150 in store credit to Pillobebe for your own CorkiMat? Stay tuned, we’ll be running a giveaway this week!

 

 

Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links in this website are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This helps cover overhead and keep the blog up and running – so, thanks for your support! I only endorse items in which I truly believe. Special thanks to Pillobebe, Wayfair and Oribel for providing me with their products for my fair, unbiased review. 


Jujube BFF Diaper Bag Review

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I’ve been on a quest, since having my baby. A quest of epic proportions. The quest… for the perfect diaper bag! As a cloth diapering, formula feeding, baby wearing, on-the-go mama – I needed a comfortable, backpack-style bag with plenty of room for bottles (preferably insulated pockets) and big fluffy diapers and all the trappings of daily infant care. Seemed like a simple enough ask, right?

Not so much, friends!

jujube BFF review

My initial research yielded the Jujube BFF as being the best bet. Super roomy, stylish, machine-washable, even convertible from backpack to satchel for added functionality… on paper, it was everything I wanted. Plus, they’re relatively easy to find, feel, and try-on in a store, which makes it a lot easier to commit to than something I can’t “try before I buy.” So I added it to my registry, received it as a shower gift from a generous friend, and packed it up with great relish and excitement.

ju-ju-be-legacy-b-f-f-tote-backpack-style-diaper-bag-the-duchess-16Initially, I loved it. So many pockets! Such easy to clean surfaces! Such wide, supportive shoulder straps (connected by latches which makes it so easy to swivel on and off the shoulder to reach into for quick grabs)! Nice, light contrasting fabric interior which prevents the “black hole” phenomenon in many bags! Convenient top-carry handle! Matching, cushioned diaper changing pad included! Handy, mom-friendly features like a key fob and sunglasses pouch!

legacy-bff-in-the-duchess-11

But I just couldn’t seem to get my “essential” supplies packed in it in a convenient way. And it was kind of heavy, when packed. So heavy, it tipped my stroller forward if I took Maeve out of the carseat while it was hanging from the stroller hooks. Not great, Bob!

 

So I re-packed it.

And wore it on a few outings.

And re-packed it again.

And after a few months of rigorous daily use, I took a good, hard look at the reality of things. The BFF was not my BFF. We just didn’t get along. I needed a lighter-weight, differently-oriented bag that could handle my baggage, but still had all the pockets, the comfortable straps, the convertible practicality and stylish function that I desired and required.

My biggest complaints?
1. The weight when packed.
2. When the pockets were filled, the interior of the bag was rendered quite narrow.
3. My beloved Comotomo baby bottles were too wide for the exterior insulated bottle pockets.

Don’t get me wrong. The Jujube is a fantastic bag, with loads of fantastic features. But for the kind of load I carry, (bulky cloth diapers, multiple bottles, formula container, wipes, bibs/burp cloths, make-up, wallet, keys, sunglasses, cellphone, teethers/toys, extra outfit, wetbag, snacks, and more) it just wasn’t working out.

It’s not you, BFF. It’s me. We’re less BFFs, and more like, frenemies. You’re so cool and popular and well-dressed, but at the end of the day, we just don’t really get along.

I think, once Maeve is a little older, and we’re not carrying so much of her food load around (in terms of bottles), you might be a better match for me. But right now, it’s just not meant to be.

So I headed back on the old internet-research trail, tracking for the perfect bag. Stay tuned for my next review!

 


Korean Wife Camp: Kkakdugi – Cubed Radish Kimchi

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kkakdugi cubed radish kimchi recipe

Kkakdugi, or Korean radish kimchi, is a common banchan (side dish) served with meals such as galbijjim (korean braised short ribs), gomtang (oxtail soup), or tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet). But it’s delicious with any meal, any day of the week, in my humble opinion! (And it has a delightfully scatalogical-sounding name, which pleases my inner 12-year old endlessly. Pronunciation: cock-dooki. LOL.)

Being a kimchi, it is a salted, fermented, (aka pickled) vegetable – and the result is a tangy, spicy, crispy, salty and a tiny bit sweet, refreshing bite that’s chock full of health benefits such as probiotics, vitamins and fiber. It’s got the umami factor in spades, and it’s easier than easy (and super affordable) to make!

Impress your friends, family, and your own mouth with a scrumptious batch of homemade Kkakdugi!

kkakdugi steps

What you’ll need:
1 lb Korean Radish (aka Mu) – cut into 1″ cubes (choose a heavy radish with smooth skin. the higher the ratio of white skin to green skin, the sweeter the radish will taste.) NOTE: if you can’t find Mu, you can substitute Daikon, which is widely available. But if you can get proper Mu, it’s a bit sweeter and more nuanced in flavor. 
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
1 Tbs Honey (or sweetener of your choice)
3-4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger – finely chopped
1/3 cup Gochugaru powder (korean red chili flakes.) There is no substitution for this, but if you can’t find them in your local asian grocery, you can order them on amazon.
2 Tbs Fish Sauce (I love this brand, because it’s just fish, salt, and water – wayyy less additives than others. If you can’t find (or stand) fish sauce, you can use soup soy sauce, or simply plain soy sauce.)


kkakdugi ingredients breakdown

What you do:
1. Toss the cubed radish with the salt and honey, until well coated. Set aside for 45-60 minutes.
2. In a separate container, mix together the garlic, ginger, gochugaru, and fish sauce.
3. Drain the radish, reserving 1/3 cup of the liquid and add both to the spice mix. Toss well to coat.
4. Pack the radish into a lidded container, trying to eliminate any air pockets. Loosely place lid on top. ***Don’t put it on tightly, or the container could explode!
5. Leave the kimchi out at room temperature for 1-3 days, depending on your preference. Taste the kimchi once every 1/2 day, and when you feel it’s done, you can transfer it to the refrigerator for storage. We personally prefer ours best when it’s gently fermented, after about 1 full day, but your mileage may vary.

The kimchi will last in your fridge until, basically, the end of time. It will just get more sour, unctuous, and carbonated as it continues to slowly ferment with time. But honestly, this stuff is so damn tasty it won’t last long at all.

PS: my kkakdugi is much more of a brownish-red color than yours will be, so don’t fret. The gochugaru powder I used is from our family estate in Yeoju, and is much less vibrantly fire-engine red than most commercial brands. So expect your finished product to look like cubes of delicious hellfire, friends! cubed radish kimchi kkakdugi


Maeve’s Faves: a baby gift guide for 3-6 months

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Tis the season for gift giving! So, I thought I’d do a quick round-up of some of our favorite items from the last couple of months to inspire anyone looking for gift ideas for kids in the 3-6 month age range.

Introducing: Maeve’s Faves!
gifts for 3-6 month old babiesManhattan Toys Sqwish: Hands-down, Maeve’s favorite toy for chewing, shaking, banging, and even cuddling. I nearly laughed myself off the couch when I saw her lay her head on it like it was a cozy pillow. It’s my favorite toy for her, because it’s made of wood, not plastic, and offers so many open-ended play opportunities. In a sea of toys that are only fun for a short time frame, this one definitely has staying power.

Baby Bling Bows: It’s no secret that my daughter is large of noggin, and finding bows that don’t strangle her poor noodle with overly tight elastic was a tall order. Baby Bling’s bows are super stretchy and wide to accommodate heads of all sizes comfortably, and come in all shades of the rainbow. They’re just darling. I have a bit of a compulsion with these, so Maeve is rarely seen without one!

Rags to Raches Rompers: These adorable rompers have my heart. They’re ridiculously soft, cozy, cute and stylish. They slip on and off easily through the stretchy neck-hole, so there’s no annoying snaps to mess with. And they’re a good investment, because they can be worn snug or loose, so one pair can last you 6 months of growth or more! I went a little crazy on Black Friday and now they seem to make up most of Maeve’s winter wardrobe. And I’m not even sorry about it.

Kickee Pants Pajamas: We discovered Kickee Pants and their incredibly well-made, adorable jammies when my nephew Grayson was a baby, and they immediately became family favorites for all babies who’ve come since. They’re made of viscose bamboo and spandex, which makes them extra soft and stretchy and they come in a ton of adorable patterns and styles with features like butt ruffles that I can’t get enough of. Maeve’s PJ collection is easily 95% Kickee. Caution: they make babies even more huggable than usual. It’s a bit dangerous.

Angel Dear Lovies: Hi, my name is Dana, I’m almost 38 years old, and I still sleep with my childhood lovie. No shame. So I took finding Maeve her own lovies very seriously. Enter Angel Dear. So soft, so snuggable. But most important, breathable. Two of Maevie’s four lovies are by Angel Dear, and she takes them everywhere she goes. I fully credit an early attachment to lovies as part of Maeve’s magical self-soothing powers, and will forever be grateful for so many peaceful night’s sleep as a result.

Fisher Price Snail: We got this toy as a hand-me-down from my nephew, and it’s a big hit with Miss M. She loves looking at herself in the mirror, swinging her Sqwish and hitting the snail to activate its song and lights, making it a great toy for cause-and-effect learning. And when she starts crawling, it can roll along with her, so it’s not just great for one stage of her life, but can evolve with her.

Chewbeads: These necklaces, toys, and stroller attachments are such high quality teething toys. Made from silicone, they’re super chompable and soothing to a teething baby’s gums. Maeve gives tons of love to the one we keep hooked onto her carseat handle.

Cheeky Chompers Neckerchew: Clever as they are for marrying a bib and a teething toy, I love these most for being the most absorbent bibs we own. Our drooly monster goes through multiple bibs daily, except when she wears these, which somehow last all day without saturating through to her clothes. And they come in an adorable array of colors and prints. But yes, the teething tip is also a seriously awesome feature, and Maeve happily chomps hers whenever they’re around her neck.

Fisher-Price Infant Bouncer: Maeve loves to bounce and bat at dangling toys, and once she learned to roll from back to belly, there were few ways we could entertain her on her back. But contained in this recliner, she would happily lay back, bouncing herself and swiping at the toys, and enjoying the calming vibrations while I got some work done in the kitchen or jumped into the shower. I got it for free from a neighbor in my Buy Nothing community, and she’s just now outgrowing it, but it was great while it lasted!

And if you want a splurgey gift idea, look no further…

Dyson Humidifier: I love this humidifier so much! When Dyson offered me one for review, I jumped at the chance, because we’ve had one of their vacuums and loved it, I know their quality is top notch. It is whisper-quiet, easy-to-use, and very sleek looking. Living in the desert, it’s hard to achieve the perfect indoor humidity year-round. The Dyson Humidifier is the perfect solution for my baby’s nursery, because we can set our desired humidity level and it will run automatically, keeping it at the perfect humidity for her space! Other, unprogrammable humidifiers either over-humidified or under-humidified her room, and now we don’t have to worry about that being a problem anymore. It also kills 99.9% of bacteria using Ultraviolet Cleanse technology to kill bacteria before the mist projected into the room, and boasts features like a sleep timer, intelligent climate control, and a handy remote so you can change settings from the comfort of your own bed (or the hallway outside your baby’s room, so you don’t disrupt their slumber)It’s absolutely wonderful and gives us great peace of mind.*

Hope this list gives you some fun ideas for how to keep a 3-6 month old in your life entertained, well-dressed, and comfortable! I’d love to hear your faves too!

 

*Disclosure: Dyson provided me a humidifier for free in exchange for an honest review of my experience with it. Thanks, Dyson!


Freshly Picked Baby Moccasin Review & Giveaway!

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What’s better than baby feet? Smushy, mushy, kissable toes, and soft, sweet, scrumptious soles. Sigh. I could play with Maevie’s feet all day.

But when you put teeny tiny shoes on those adorable little tootsies, a whole new level of cuteness is achieved. And when those shoes are fun, fringey moccasins, then hang onto your socks, cuz the cute just got turned up to eleven!

So when I was offered a pair of Freshly Picked Soft-Soled Baby Moccasins to review and pair up with a giveaway on the blog, I was all “YESPLEASEANDTHANKYOUVERYMUCH.”
FreshlyPickedGiveaway_600px

Freshly Picked Baby Moccasins are some of the best on the market, but better yet, they have an incredible origin story. Started by Susan Petersen, a mom who saw a whole in the baby shoe market, and born of her own sweat equity and hard work… Freshly Picked Moccs are durable, well designed, and most importantly: stay on your child’s foot.

And the designs are utterly swoonworthy. From tried-and-true solids to playful prints, shiny metallics, pineapples, cats and more… there’s something for every style. Here’s Maevie rocking her heirloom blush moccs with gold dots.

Freshly Picked Giveaway

The leather is buttery soft, and even though I deliberately choose a size too large for Maeve right now, so she could grow into them, they held onto her feet perfectly! I love how radiant the metallic dots and soles are, too. It’s hard to find leather with such gleam. I just love them.

Now that I’ve whet your palate with why you should want as many pairs of these sweet moccasins as you can get your grubby paws on, to cover your baby’s precious piggies… here’s how you can win your own soft-soled moccs, in any style and size of your choosing!

Freshly Picked Baby Moccasin Giveaway!

The contest ends December 8th, and the winner will be announced here. Good luck!

Shop Maeve’s look here:
Romper: Tea Collection
Headband: Baby Bling Bows
Toy: Manhattan Toys Skwish


DreamWorks Adventure to Santa

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The magic of Christmas has always been a very powerful force in my life. I think it’s partly thanks to my vivid imagination as a child, which kept me happily leaving out milk and cookies for Santa long after I learned that he didn’t exist; and partly due to our family being on hard times over many a holiday season, which resulted in me clinging with a death grip to the wonder of the season as a way to keep spirits up. Because while presents may cost money, magic is priceless.

And sharing that magic with my own children is something I’ve always looked forward to with great anticipation and emotion. So last weekend, when Maevie met Santa for the first time ever, thanks to DreamWorks Adventure to Santa and Club MomMe, my heart exploded with such violence that the vibrations were felt all the way up in the North Pole. Honestly, the whole experience was so saturated with magic that my mom and I were choking back happy tears throughout the entire thing!

The adventure begins when you approach the DreamWorks animated LED Christmas house, where beloved characters from Shrek appear and disappear behind windows and doors, getting the house decorated and ready for the holidays.

Families are admitted 3 at-a-time to the house, by appointment, so there’s no waiting in endless lines like many mall Santa experiences. And better yet, there were many interactive features of the adventure as we got closer and closer to our encounter with Santa.

First, we played a video game in order to win our Pilot’s License, to help us pilot the sleigh to visit Santa at the North Pole. Later, we got to virtually decorate Gingy the Gingerbread Man from Shrek. 3-D printed ornaments of everyone’s finished product are available for purchase online at gingyscookiemaker.com.

These interactive elements are a great way to keep families entertained and engaged as they wait their turn to meet Santa, and bring great added value to the experience. It was great fun for my mom and me to do, since Maeve was too young to participate.
Adventure to Santa collageThe ride to the North Pole was definitely a huge highlight. We all piled into a sleigh in front of a huge screen, which transformed into an amazing, exciting, and charming virtual ride to the North Pole with Shrek and Donkey. My mom and I had such a blast on the ride, and even Maeve seemed into it! Check out this brief clip from the beginning to get a glimpse into the magical illusion and excitement of the ride.

Soon after, came the moment we had all been waiting for. Santa’s elves told us to get ready, and opened the door with a cheerful exclamation: “It’s SANTA!” and we were ushered into a gorgeously decorated study featuring the man himself.
Adventure to Santa final

I’ve seen many a mall santa in my day, and let me tell you, this guy was the REAL DEAL. He was incredibly warm and tender and gentle with our wee Maeve, and had all the trappings of your dream Santa Claus conceivable. And when I saw my little girl look up into his eyes with such wonder, my heart burst.

DreamWorks Adventure to Santa is available in 14 locations across the US and even in London – and reservations are required.

Dreamworks adventure to santa

If you’re lucky enough to live near one of the locations for Adventure to Santa, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I’m already looking forward to taking Maeve back next year, when she’s able to understand and enjoy the experience a little more. It was a completely magical day for 3 generations of LaRue women: Maeve, me and my mom!

Thanks to South Bay Galleria, DreamWorks and Club MomMe for the invite! It was a truly unforgettable experience!


Drink this: Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk

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best coconut almond milk

Yes folks, a post about almond milk. Why? You ask? BECAUSE IT IS THE BEST DAMN ALMOND MILK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. How much do I love it? Enough to write a whole post about it, out of the kindness of my own damn heart, to enrich your mouths and lives. That’s how much. Dammit.

Or at least, it’s by far the most exciting new grocery-store find Paul and I have had in the past year.

We’re not huge “milk” people. Don’t get me wrong… I love me some cheese, and all the butter, like any good midwestern girl should. But, keeping cow’s milk around isn’t my super jam. We really only use it in our morning coffee/tea, and our acupuncturist prefers that we avoid true dairy as much as possible. So one day last year I picked up Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk after seeing it in the refrigerated section at Whole Paycheck Foods and thinking the bottle was cute. I looked at the nutritional information, and I thought it was all good – no added or artificial sweeteners or any creepy unpronounceable ingredients. Then I learned Carrageenan, one of the ingredients, is super shady, which put me off it for a while, and it as back to cow’s milk for us. Sad trombone.

But thanks to a recent flare-up of my arthritis, which is exacerbated by too much dairy, I revisited the non-cow’s milks on the market, and my dreams came true. Califia just announced they’ve removed “the C-word” from their products. REJOICE! In fact, it boasts better-than-milk nutrition with 50% more calcium, less fat, less sugar and less calories. So I took it home for a spin. And rekindled my steamy love affair with their creamy, coconutty concoction.

It makes everything better.

Their unsweetened, plain version is also delectable, if coconut isn’t your lover the way it is mine. We all have different predilections. I understand.

I mean, I think you’re a weirdo. But we’re cool.

I guess.

I also got a sample container of their Almond Coffee Creamer last weekend at Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest, and it makes my mouth sing. Takes our quotidien PG Tips tea and elevates it to somehow taste like my most beloved fancy french tea.

But here’s what’s absolutely no bueno, much to our shock and dismay… do not, by all means, buy or drink their seasonal “Holiday Nog” flavor. That shit was foul. I was so disappointed. Also, I wish it came in paper cartons rather than plastic. But you can’t win ’em all. (Califia, do you hear me? I love your sustainability practices, and your bottles be cute, but plastic is persona non grata around my house!)

Go, get you some, friends. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Screenshot 2014-03-04 23.23.02You’re welcome.

(this post was not sponsored by Califia. it really is just that good.)


How to cook the perfect holiday turkey in only one hour.

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This is not a joke, nor an exaggeration. Indeed, it is a promise. A gift to you, from the bottom of my heart. Because you CAN cook the perfect turkey in one hour, and transform your Thanksgiving experience forever. Believe me, you and your guests deserve it. Not only is it perfectly juicy, tender, and flavorful every time… but the skin is crisp and gorgeous, too. It’s everything you want your bird to be… in a fraction of the time.

cook a perfect turkey in one hour

I’ve been cooking turkeys this way for a few years now, ever since my high school bestie posted her father-in-law, Ron’s, youtube instructional… and I’m never going back. Nor are the friends and family that I’ve turned onto this style. Why in gobble’s name should anyone slave over a bird for hours on end, basting and fussing and checking temperatures… when you could be kicking back with a glass (or three) of wine and good conversation and family and friends?!?

So without further ado, I present to you… Ron’s One-Hour Turkey. Beloved by all who dare to try it themselves – satisfying dinner guests with minimal effort and maximum reward!

And to make it even easier for you, here’s a handy dandy link for the Granite Ware Covered Oval Roaster you’ll need. I got mine at Target, but Amazon Prime is even easier!

Welcome to the good life, friends.

(…and stay tuned, folks, because coming up soon is my famous, epic, thanksgiving feast layer cake recipe! I’m full of delicious inspiration and holiday cheer!) 


Fun Halloween Craft for You & Your Infant!

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Whenever I see parent/child holiday-themed crafts, my heart melts. For years, I’d see friends share their own on Facebook, or stumble across them on Pinterest, and yearn for the day that I could re-create them with my own child(ren). And while I’m admittedly not the craftiest beaver in the dam, my feelings of inadequacy with a glue gun aren’t enough to quell my ambitions about attempting crafts with Maeve. I never want my own insecurities or inabilities to be projected onto her, no matter how young or unable to understand yet she may be.

So, for her first Halloween, which is her first major holiday (and one of mama’s favorites), I chose a craft befitting of 3 month old. All she had to do was lay down. And all I needed were a few simple supplies, and the help of my mother, Maeve’s beloved Gigi.

Behold, Maeve’s first art project: Frankenfoot, Toe Bats, and a Bum-kin! So cute, right?!

halloween craft infant child

Supplies:

Steps:

  • For Frankenfoot: Paint your baby’s toes black, and the rest of his/her foot green. Press it against the canvas, and remove. Once dry, add bolts, eyes and a mouth. Voila!
  • For Toe Bats: Paint your baby’s feet purple, press them against the canvas, and remove. Once dry, add wings, ears, eyes and fang-ey smiles. Voila!
  • For the Bum-kin: Paint your baby’s tushie orange, (try not to die from the cuteness of her orange bottom), and press it against the canvas. once dry, add a stem. Voila!

This was the perfect introductory holiday craft to give me some much-needed confidence in creating art with my child, and to make some adorable mementoes (see what I did there?) of this tender, fleeting season in her life.

And hopefully, these memories will make a small imprint on her wee soul, planting a seed that allows Maeve to feel confident exploring her own ability to create art with a sense of fun and adventure, for years to come.

And, I hope she’ll love Halloween as much as I do. Looks like we’re already off to a great start 🙂

larueblog halloween

Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving craft time!


Giveaway: Win Tickets to Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest!

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Club MomMe is a company that’s very dear to my heart. They sponsored the first “mom” event that I went to while pregnant, a prenatal yoga DVD launch party, where I met my first local mom friend, Natasha, who has become a dear companion to me on this new frontier of motherhood. That’s also where I met Rachel, one of the founders of Club MomMe, and fell in love with the brand. So much so, that I became a guest blogger for them, too!

Club MomMeFrom their site:

Club MomMe is a community of moms, expectant parents and families of littles.  We host social + educational events each month in several cities, along with a few big events each year that you do not want to miss!

Our Promise: Join us for an event, and you will have FUN, CONNECT with other parents or expectant parents, LEARN about products, services, pregnancy, babies, toddlers and more, WIN some new products or gear, and LOVE being a mom, dad, grandparent or caregiver.

Our Commitment: We select the best products, gears and companies to share with you. If we don’t like it, we don’t share it!

I’ve since been to a handful of CM events, and they’re always spectacularly organized and executed. They think of everything: entertaining and educational programming for parents, on-site sitters and activities for little ones, great refreshments, hands-on opportunities to get to know cool brands, and (best of all) tons of amazing giveaways, prizes and gift bags. I always come away having learned something new, with a few new friends, and a bunch of great swag.

One of Club MomMe’s most popular events each year is the Fall Family Fest, a day-long experience full of speakers, panels, games, and memorable experiences for the whole family. It takes place this year on Saturday November 8th at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes, from 10:30am – 3pm. 

moms-fall-family-fest-2015-flyer2 copy

 

Some of the activities for the day include:

  • Pamper Lounge, for parents to get some quality “me time” with mini spa treatments.
  • Lactation Lounge, filled with Lansinoh products as a comfortable retreat for nursing and pumping mamas to tend to their boobs.
  • A conversation with January Harshe from Birth Without Fear for expectant parents.
  • Car Seat Safety education, and car seat checks for Platinum ticket holders.
  • A product testing zone full of Club MomMe “must-haves” from brands like Britax, BOB, Chicco, Boppy, Summer Infant, Fresh Wave, and more.
  • Tons of food and drink. And amazing swag bags full of amazing goodies, and opportunities to win prizes!

…And tons more! You can check out a full listing of activities and events for the day here.

To register for tickets, go here. And with your registration, you get a $50 UrbanSitter credit to take advantage of on-site sitters, who can watch your little ones for a bit while you adult around. BUT! Lucky for you, I’m giving away two sets of tickets right here!

One Gold Family Ticket: good for 2 adults and 1 child. Featuring a special Gold Overflowing Gift Bag filled with fun items like a Green Toys Helicopter (a $17 value), a $50 Gift Card to Tieks.com. Also includes a Complimentary Stroller or Car Seat Cleaning at the eventby the Tot Squad, and admission into the VIP Lounge! ($85 value)

One Family Funday Ticket: good for 2 adults and 1 child. Includes an overflowing gift bag filled with fun items you and your little ones will love like a Green Toys Turtle, a $50 Gift Card toTieks.com and tons more. ($60 value)

There’s a fat handful of ways to win!

Win one of 2 ticket packages to Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest!