Things I Love Thursdays

A few favorites for September…

Enchanted Forest Mural at Anthropologie

I seem to be drawn to cute, strange, twee things.  This mural is no exception.  My ceilings are too low, otherwise, you can bet this would already be hanging in my house.

mural

Light Up Balloons

These things are really cool.  We brought these out on the 4th of July and they were lovely – and glowed for nearly a month!  They are probably better for kids who are a bit older than mine; the warnings inside (what is IN there? Glass? Chemicals?) were a little frightening.  But I will definitely buy them again.

light-up-balloons

Unpaper Towels by Marley’s Monsters (on Etsy)

I have a collection of dish towels but it is probably time to spring for some good, flannel towels for use around the house.  I like the fun patterns, and I’m sure these would pay for themselves in no time at all.

il_570xn-906539789_4wm2

 

Hope your week has been great, and as Nature Cat says, “Onward and yonward!”

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Things I Love Thursdays

I’m not sure how, but somehow along the way this regular feature changed from things I LIKE to things I LOVE.  I probably should have stuck with “like,” since I’m a Yankee and we don’t like to over-emote in public.

I’ve been Christmas shopping (duh) and of course have found some lovely fun things that I want to buy for myself.  Maybe I’ll get a few things, wrap them up and put them under the tree.  That’ll confuse ’em!

An Outing for Foxes by Natalie Groves (available at www.minted.com) I’m always drawn to whimsical depictions of anthropomorphised animals. I know that is weird. It may be the result of a childhood full of Beatrix Potter, Frog and Toad and Tasha Tudor, but I’m not sure.  

Look! Foxes riding a bicycle built for two!

Look! Foxes wearing clothes and riding a bicycle built for two!

 

Lorann Oils Lip Balm Making Kit.  My inner 12-year-old is totally pumped about this kit. And even though my 36-year-old self doesn’t wear much lip balm, I still think this is totally cool.  I found this kit (and the photo) at Williams-Sonoma.  You can buy it for more (but why would you?) at Staples and for less at LorAnn Oils and Flavors

Crafty, useful AND scented? Yes, please!

Crafty, useful AND scented? Yes, please!

Emily McDowell‘s, clever, cheeky stuff.  I’m not sure why I don’t own a bunch of her stuff already! (All photos are from emilymcdowell.com.)

Typically, I'm pretty chipper in the morning.  But 2 of my 3 children are VERY early risers so this mug hits home. Photo is from emilymcdowell.com, click on it to be linked there.

Typically, I’m pretty chipper in the morning. But 2 of my 3 children are VERY early risers so this mug hits home. 

As long as my husband and I don't text each other from opposite sides of the bed, we're normal, right??

As long as my husband and I don’t text each other from opposite sides of the bed, we’re normal, right??

I'm probably not cheeky enough to carry this tote, but it cracks me up.

I’m probably not cheeky enough to carry this tote, but it cracks me up.

 

As always, no affiliate links here.  I just think this stuff is great. 

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Three

1. First of all, don’t serve kids rice.  Or couscous.  You’re just asking for trouble.  But if you do, and if (when) they dump it on the rug, don’t clean it up immediately.  Let it dry.  It is so much easier to clean up once it is dry.  If I was going to add a hashtag to this post it would be #WENEEDADOG.

 

2. My kids don’t have dedicated rain gear.  I’m just not going to spend $40 on a raincoat they’ll wear twice and outgrow.  Sorry kids, you’ll dry out quickly enough. 

 

3. It is wasteful and silly, but I throw out bread heels. I know I should freeze them, compost them or make bread crumbs or something, but I just don’t.  

 

4. In the middle of hanging photos I couldn’t find our tape measures. Anywhere.  Even in Pickle’s room.  So I used this:
Measuring the Marigolds

Images from Amazon. Not affiliate links.

Why?  Because the back of the toy looks like this: 
Marigolds

Inchworm indeed!

 

5. I am suspect of juice cleanses, multi-level marketing and artificial sweeteners.

 

6. One of my least favorite things about being a mom (besides the worry, guilt, fear, sleepless nights, etc.) is that I am FOREVER PACKING AND UNPACKING BAGS FULL OF KID STUFF.  I am hopeful the day they can do this for themselves is fast approaching (yeah right). 

Baby Favorites (Giveaway!)

As I switched on the quiet whhhiiiirrrrr of the white noise machine Mr. Pickle’s thumps and yells instantly became background noise.  Plum closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I have my own white noise machine, Plum is a light sleeper, Pickle is loud, and our house is small.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get her her own white noise machine.  She has slept better, and longer with it.  (Of course, the ear tubes and her age could have something to do with that, too.) Add that magical machine to my list of favorite baby things!

What follows is a partial list of my didn’t-want-them/didn’t-know-I’d-need-them/had-no-idea-how-much-I’d-love-them items for newborns/infants/toddlers.

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

There are cuter ones, but I love this white noise machine.  It creates a whoosh of air, so there are no strange electronic loops.  You can change the tone and speed (volume).  It is very portable and does exactly what it is advertised to do.  The only negative? No bells, whistles, music, lights if that’s what you’re looking for.

Carter's One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Carter’s One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Cozy, comfy and inexpensive. I love these. We have all sorts of one-piece sleepers and these are my favorites.  When you’re doing a squirmy-wailing-middle-of-the-night diaper change the zipper is a lifesaver – who decided 15 snaps was a good idea?  These wash well and my little ones seem to think they’re great.  Thank you Carter’s! The only negative?  Pickle has big feet, and sometimes his feet outgrew the sleepers before the rest of him did. Also, they aren’t ideal during potty training.

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

I like old-fashioned mobiles. I don’t want big fluffy, chunky animals, music, plastic.  I like airy, elegant, whimsical, floating mobiles. I like mobiles that dance, and balance.  Thankfully, I found Flensted mobiles. LOVE.  I’m considering getting more of them – like the bunnies (BUNNIES!), or the cycling elephants (CYCLEPHANTS!). I want to put funky Danish mobiles all over my house.  The negatives? A little expensive for paper and wire, and sometimes I fear the mobile will get wound up up up when the ceiling fan is on and it circles in same direction over and over and over.

"That's Not My Donkey..." by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

“That’s Not My Donkey…” by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

It is hard to find books for little bitty ones. Attention spans are short and there are much more exciting things to do, like eating things they should not, sticking fingers in outlets, and tormenting the cat.  However, the “That’s Not My…” series by Usborne has proven to be a huge hit among my under-2 set.  They are short, sweet, tactile, and colorful.  Negatives?  My husband and I disagree about the appropriate emphasis. Is it, “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy” or “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy“?  Also, is “squashy” a word?

Giveaway!  Post a comment here and be in the running for two Usborne books and two Carter’s Microfleece sleepers!  Winner will be chosen at random, and can specify age and size of recipient(s).  (No, you don’t have to have kids/grandkids to win! These make great shower gifts, or donations!) (Update: ends at noon EST on 1/22/13!)

Note: I don’t know anyone at Marpac, Carter’s, Flensted or Usborne.  I just think these baby-related items are great.

I have all of my teeth, so…

Two front teeth? Check!

With that checked off of the list, I’m feeling free to put some other crave-worthy items on my Chrimbo list.  Chrimbo.  That is the abbreviated version of Christmas I heard my friends from Down Under use on several occasions.  Those crazy Aussies (and Kiwis too, to some extent) just love to shorten their words and make ’em cute.  Australian? Aussie. Breakfast? Brekkie.  Presents? Prezzies. Barbecue? Barbie. Christmas? Chrimbo.  I always felt like that last one was a stretch.

Here are a few items that are on my list this year. Nothing crazy and exciting. I’m hoping I’ve been more nice than naughty this year.  I do admit that as I spoke stern words to Pickle the other day (just put yer dang pants on!) he said, “BE NICE, MAMA!”  I’m hoping Santa didn’t hear him.

(Click on the photos for links to the items.)

LL Bean Washable Wool Plaid Blanket in Rustic Purple – Not sure why this speaks to me but it does.  I picture picnics, 4th of July Fireworks, campfires (not that I camp), and passing this down to grand-kids.

LL Bean’s Washable Wool Blanket in Rustic Purple

 

Sonia Kashuk Make Up Brushes – I don’t have any makeup brushes.  Okay, to be honest, I don’t get too far past running a regular brush through my hair most days.  But my sister has lovely makeup brushes, and they make applying makeup so much easier.  I like the curve of these, and the price!

Sonia Kashuk Tools Limited Edition Starter Set

Rubio Balsamic Vinegar – It is Chrimbo! The one time of year when asking for a $32 bottle of vinegar doesn’t seem totally crazy.  I love this stuff. I can make a bottle last (almost) a year.

Rubio Aged Balsamic Vinegar from Salumeria Italiana

Crate and Barrel Parker Nesting Bowls – I have a set and I’m wearing them out!  Time for a new set in some great colors before my first set bites the dust.

Crate and Barrel’s Parker Nesting Bowls

UncommonGoods Felt Birdhouse – I love cute and interesting and useful all rolled into one.  And I love felt.  Something about these cute little bird houses just speaks to me. UncommonGoods is great for a browse on a lunch hour.  Interesting products that you won’t find elsewhere.  It’s like a cool little boutique!

Felt Birdhouse by UncommonGoods

Part of me wants to ask for a good vacuum (we really need one) but I fear if I ask, I might actually get one!  And who wants a new vacuum for Chrimbo?  (She says, sheepishly raising her hand.)  Honorable mentions go to gift certificates of any kind, housekeeping services, a new pepper mill and perhaps a set of mittens with a hat.

What’s on your list?

I’m Listing!

I am a working mom with two small children.  Needless to say, sleep is always short, and my to-do list is always long.  I’m still on that never-ending quest for balance.  Some days are better than others.  Or perhaps I should say that some days are worse than others.  Half full, half empty, yadda yadda.

I’ve started to realize that in addition to the to-do lists I keep a) in my gmail account,  b) on my iPhone, c) on my desk at work, and d) floating around in my brain, I also have the following sneakier non-to-do to-do lists (whoa, that’s confusing – bet you had to read that twice):

1) My house

The way my schedule works, I don’t get vacations.  At all.  Ever.  It is the trade-off I make for having Wednesdays at home with my doodlebugs.  There is an occasional long weekend here and there, but nothing longer, and I’m rarely out of town.  I’ve come to realize that, for me, the huge value of vacation is that I can escape the to-do list that is my house.  There’s the regular upkeep, of course, but as I walk around, it is hard not to notice all of the things I want to do, and the changes I want to make.  Do we still have the same paint jobs in the master bedroom and bath as we did when we moved in 3+ years ago?  Yes, yes we do.  Are both rooms sponge-painted? Yes, yes they are.  Excuse: I have been pregnant or living with teeny people in my house since 12 days after we moved in, so I’ve put up with the paint job by telling myself that too many paint fumes could be/would be dangerous to our health.  But beyond the painting, there is stuff to do in every room.  And even when I escape the house to-do list I have to walk by my garage door and think, “Geez, that really needs replacing.”   The name on our front door knocker?  Yeah, not ours.

Ceci n’est pas une paint brush.

2) My nightstand

When you remove Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Ox-Cart Man and the other 34 children’s books you will see my nightstand to-do list – my to-read pile of books. Has A Farewell to Arms been there for 7 years?   Yes, it has.  And if you’re doing the math in your head, you’re right – it was on my nightstand in my prior abode and I moved it to this nightstand in my new house 3+ years ago.  It might be time to add it to the bookshelf, eh?

3) My DVR

Don’t get me wrong – I love my DVR.  We never watch anything the night-of, preferring to wait a night and fast-forward through all of the commercials.  But I admit to getting stressed out when I see that “78% full” warning as it goes up and up and up. Excuse: the 43 episodes of “Yo Gabba Gabba” do take up a chunk of space.  But really, the “Recordings” list has turned from something I looked forward to seeing, to something that stresses me out.   It is simply a list of things I need to find the time to watch.  And usually, I’m just too tired.

Photo Credit: TV Guide.com

It may be time for me to figure out a way to get out of town for a while, so my to-do list can look more like this:

  1. Schedule massage
  2. Make dinner reservations
  3. Nap

What about you?  Where are your sneaky to-do lists?

Things I Want Right Now…

… besides world peace, a nap and a lottery win…

There is no good reason for me to want this ridiculous rabbit door knocker from Anthropologie.  Who uses door knockers anyway?  In my neck of the woods, a better question would be, “Who uses the front door anyway?” But I like this thing.  I’m beginning to think I have a thing for bunnies (see my post about nursery decor).

Swinging Hare Door Knocker from Anthropologie

I found this when I was looking for nursery items.  I love it. Oh etsy, you are such a time suck. I love the brights and the almost unorganized look.  They’re squares… but are they? How did they make this work?  I want a big one of these for my bed.

Sadie Baby Quilt by GoodWishesQuilts on Etsy.com

Why didn’t someone think of this before?  Sculptural AND practical? Yes, please!  Spread your butter, spread your jam and don’t worry about it getting on the table.  The MoMA store  has such interesting items – it’s worth a browse.

Standing Knife from MoMAstore.org