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!

 



MOLO: Week 2 – Lower Body

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The Mother Love Wellness Challenge (aka MOLO) is in full-swing at Baby Boot Camp franchises nationwide, and my girlfriend Ruby over at Westside Mommy and I are tag-teaming the experience by sharing our experience on our blogs. Hit her up for an overview of Week 1, and next week for week 3… and so on.

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So here I am, with the lowdown on week 2 – which focused on lower body workouts at Baby Boot Camp. Lots of squats, lunges, inchworms and cherry pickers left me waddling around for days! But what I love most about MOLO is our daily challenges – bite sized prompts for improvements, reflections, and small changes we’re encouraged to make and share our results in the private MOLO facebook group.

Here are the week 2 challenges, and how I fared: 
Sunday: Focus on water consumption: drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day.
– I’m a bit of a water-holic, and carry a 32 ounce mason jar filled with water around all day long, (even sleeping with one by my side), so this was not a very difficult challenge for me to accomplish, but I was grateful for the reminder to be mindful about drinking it!

Monday: Replace dessert with hot tea and fresh fruit.
– We’ve recently gotten into the habit of enjoying cool, sweet oranges after dinner. They’re juicy, refreshing, and the citrus helps cut through any lingering grease or fat on our palates. But replacing my typical glass of wine with hot tea was a bit more of a challenge! But, I do love a nice warm cup of candycane green tea (decaf) or roasted barley tea (aka bori cha – recipe here), and find them to be a nice relaxing alternative before bed.

Tuesday: Make a family favorite meal, but add a healthy twist.
– My plans to make lettuce-wrapped tacos was thwarted when the farmer’s market didn’t have any good butter lettuce available, so I changed gears and made a hearty-but-healthy chili and skipped the shredded cheese and sour cream with which we’d normally liberally adorn it.

Wednesday: Skip your biggest vice/trigger food today.
– Carbs. If I had my way, I’d eat carbs all day. Refined carbs, to be exact. So today, I focused on protein and veggies, and subbed in roasted sweet potato for white rice with delicious results!

Thursday: Hold a wall sit for 20 seconds every time you send a text today.
– Only sent 2 texts, haha! Thankful for baby keeping me busy! Because after Wednesday’s lower body blitz at Boot Camp, I could barely hold 20 seconds at all!

Friday: No soda for the next 3 days, or track water consumption if you don’t drink soda.
– I quit soda 3 years ago this spring, but I did manage to pour 160 ounces of water down my gullet! Huzzah!

Saturday: Plan next week’s meals and make a grocery list.
– Did this one day late, but made it happen! We’re focusing on proteins and veggies for dinners, making sure to cook enough protein that I can toss some on a salad the next day for an easy, healthy lunch.

Whew! It was an eventful week! I hope some of those prompts help inspire you to make small changes, as they all add up quickly!

Next week we’ll be focusing on our upper body, so make sure to tune in to Westside Mommy for Ruby’s report, and I’ll be back for Week 4: CORE. (Yikes!)

So far, I’m loving the MOLO Challenge. The sense of community and camaraderie in the Facebook group is absolutely wonderful and so inspiring – it helps keep me going on the days I want to throw it all out the window and drown my exhaustion in a bag of chocolate chips. And the daily prompts are just manageable enough to accomplish each day, giving me momentum and small boosts of pride. I can already see changes in my body and feel noticeably stronger than just a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to see what kind of improvement I’m experiencing after the end of the first month!

About Baby Boot Camp
Baby Boot Camp is an innovative stroller fitness program designed to balance the fitness needs of new moms while spending time with their children. Delivered by nationally certified fitness professionals throughout the United States, Baby Boot Camp stroller-fitness classes include STROLLFIT, STROLLGA, 5K Training Program, and Nutrition Solutions. Created in 2001 by Kristen Horler, Baby Boot Camp strives to help moms regain or enhance their pre-pregnancy fitness levels and meet the physical challenges of parenting by emphasizing strength training in a supportive environment.

Click here for the website of Baby boot Camp Los Angeles (Culver City and Marina Del Rey) or visit them on Facebook.

Click here for more info about the 2016 MOLO (Mother Love) Wellness Challenge.

Disclosure: My participation in this 3-month MOLO challenge is generously sponsored by Baby Boot Camp Culver City & Marina del Rey.


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


Getting My Groove Back: Baby Boot Camp

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Welcome back to my fitness journey! It’s a new year, so where’s the new me?! Trust me, I’ve been looking for her, too.

The holidays were such a cliche of a struggle. I was sick for over a week just before Christmas, and then my husband was on vacation from work for the last two weeks of the year. There were so many delicacies to eat, so many lazy, cuddly mornings in bed… and it all led to so much slacking. As the holidays often do, they completely derailed my efforts to be disciplined in my health and fitness.

But, I went to Baby Boot Camp whenever I could. I didn’t give up – so all is not lost! That said, let’s take a moment to focus on what I did lose – like 3 inches from my waist – what what?!? That’s right, even with my holiday dalliances, I’ve still managed to shed a trifecta of inches from my body and that gives me just the hit of inspiration I need to double-down my efforts and approach 2016 with renewed energy. And I know it was all thanks to the exercise I do at Boot Camp, because who’s got 2 thumbs and couldn’t control her diet over the holidays? THIS GIRL. Guilty as charged.

Just in time for a new year and all the self-care resolutions on everyone’s lists… It’s MOLO time! The Baby Boot Camp 2016 Mother Love Wellness Challenge (aka MOLO) is upon us.

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From the Baby Boot Camp – Culver City and Marina del Rey site:

Are you looking to make a lifestyle change through proper fitness and nutrition, but need some extra motivation? The Baby Boot Camp® Mother Love Wellness Challenge (MOLO), held each year from February-April, is our 12-week wellness challenge that focuses on helping moms across America to achieve their health and wellness goals safely and effectively, and to help them make their own health and wellness goals a priority. In addition to fitness and nutrition, we will also be focusing on communication, relationships, self-esteem, and emotional support.

Each MOLO participant will receive the following with their paid registration:

  • A challenge tee
  • ‘Before’ and ‘After’ measurements and photos
  • A week-by-week calendar with 12 weeks full of fitness and wellness challenges
  • Access to private challenge content, including weekly videos, a MOLO newsletter, and a private Facebook group with 1000+ other moms nationwide cheering you onOverall challenge winners will qualify to win national prizes, including a Mountain Buggy® stroller! And to help inspire other girls to get fit, too, Baby Boot Camp Corporate will donate $2 to the charity Girls on the Run® for every 2016 MOLO registration purchased.Gain control of your health and wellness goals safely and effectively by joining our Baby Boot Camp 2016 Mother Love Wellness Challenge!

I love that MOLO isn’t just about fitness or weight loss. It’s about whole-self improvement. Lord knows, self-care is a top priority for new-and-seasoned moms alike! Get in on the fun, and come join me! We’ll motivate each other 🙂 And stay tuned here for updates!

I think I can… I think I can… I think I can…….

 


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!


Getting My Groove Back: Baby Boot Camp, Week 4

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Confession time: Thanksgiving week was an epic fail in the health and fitness department in my world. My sister came to town, which gave me a convenient excuse to skip Baby Boot Camp, and the holiday made rationalizing over-indulgences all-too-easy. I went to class on Monday last week. And it was all downhill from there. As much as I’d love to show up today and humblebrag about my discipline… alas, it was nowhere to be found.

What-Defines-Us

Sunday night, I resolved to make up for it this week. My house is stocked up with healthy choices in food. I boot camped Monday and Tuesday, and took a 1.5 mile walk yesterday (with a 17lb baby strapped to me, no less!). Planning another walk today and boot camp again tomorrow. So far, so good. I definitely feel my dalliances last week in my body this week – I’m slower, my stamina is suffering – but I know fitness is often a two steps forward, one step back game. So I’m trying to practice patience with myself.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I cried a little after Tuesday’s class because it broke me a little bit. But I repeated some kind affirmations to myself afterwards, in an act of self-forgiveness. I never cease to be surprised, horrified, and amazed at how different my body and it’s functions are since giving birth. I used to be so strong! I’m learning to love my new self a little more every day – but that doesn’t stop me mourning my old self too.

On the bright side, this was my view during ab exercises that day. Not too shabby. It was my first time at the Playa Vista location – and I really like the park we’re based in there. It’s spacious, cheerful, and in a charming part of town.

palm trees

And on the even brighter side: this week, my husband is joining me on this challenge, in his own way! He sold his car last weekend, and will be walking to and from work (which is a little less than a mile from our house), and eating healthier meals with me at home. It’s always easier to meet goals with a partner involved… especially a hot and sexy partner that I love 🙂

Tune in next week for more goal and measurement updates! EEK!

baby boot camp fitness

Disclosure: My participation in this 3-month challenge is generously sponsored by Baby Boot Camp Culver City & Marina del Rey. 


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.”
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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!