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    MY FAVORITE SHOWS (LATELY).

    So you may be thinking…wait, I thought you didn’t have cable? If you remember this post here I talk all about how we nixed our cable when we moved to San Diego. No new news here, we still don’t have cable. And, I will say, the longer we go on without it, the less I long to ever have it again. If I could subscribe to Viceland, separate from having cable, I’d be set as that is the only channel I really even miss. I suppose it’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” concept. I won’t go into too much detail on how I am able to watch the shows I talk about below, but you can snatch up all the information in the blog post I linked above! Read more

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    OUR FAVORITE APPS (PART 2)

    Location: Toddlerville

    best apps for kids

     

    Over the past few months, we’ve gone back and forth on allowing more technology into Luca’s life, and cutting back on screen time. Its hard to navigate this territory as there hasn’t been any precedence to this situation, and likewise, the foregoing continues to advance quickly therefore, studies on the subject become outdated faster than they can be published. Even Miles and I are on a hamster wheel trying to keep up, especially since both of us are heavily within the realm of social media. Read more

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    HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016: FOR HIM

    “Ho Ho Ho” and a bottle of Tums.  This is MY holiday theme song.  All I really want for Christmas is Pizza (capitalization is required as Pizza should be recognized as a sovereign nation). BUT with Chelsie as the Holiday Boss, I must tell her other things I want “other than just PIZZA…”  Here are a few items that will deter my cravings for the day. Read more

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    HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016: FOR HER

    Every year, I get most excited about making this gift guide, “for her,” because, in a way, it’s like making my own personal wishlist or giving you a peek into a few of my favorite things. It’s obviously the easiest to compile, and this year I put together items ranging from 7.00-129.00, so there’s something for every budget! I love the idea of picking two or three items that compliment one another to put together–the cookbooks, herb stripper, and tumblers…the phone case and phone printer, maybe some extra film…you get the gist.

    1. Tea | Thé  I’ve sampled all types of teas, and I usually love a good cup of tea before bedtime, especially in the winter months, but this is by far my favorite one. Let me tell you why…First off, you don’t need sweetener! If you’re like me, the last thing you need before bed is sugar, so the fact that this tea is naturally sweet because of the licorice it contains makes this a huge plus. It tastes pretty mellow until you swallow your sip and then you get the most amazing sweet taste. It’s caffeine free too–I’m highly sensitive to caffeine and so I only stick to herbal teas at bedtime. They sell it loose leaf and in tea sachets but it’s much more worth your money to purchase the loose leaf version and invest in an infuser like this one or if you love tea as much as me, I’d recommend this gadget–it’s only $20 and it’s worth every cent–it’s how I brew my tea every time. I’ve had mine going on 3 years now and it’s still going strong. And what a perfect gift, right? You could grab a bottle of the Aveda Tea and bundle it with a tea infuser or brewer, put them in a pretty box filled with crinkle cut craft paper, tie a red ribbon around the box, and voila!
    2. Floral Phone Case I’m looking for a new phone case, and I’m super bummed I can’t invest in the extra battery pack apple case (they don’t make it for the plus). I came across this floral one though, and I’m loving the minimalistic design of it–simple, yet makes a statement.
    3. Love & Lemons Cookbook I’m a huge sucker for a good vegetarian cookbook. My collection is slowly expanding. The two I have my eye on next are The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking Book & Love & Lemons. I’ll have to do a post on all my favorite vegetarian/vegan cookbooks, there are just so many I love!
    4. Holiday Candle We’ve been burning this non stop in our house, and it smells so good. It’s smells like sweet pine. Target came out with these candles this year, and the design on the glass was too cute to pass up, so it was just lucky that it smelt so good! I like to burn holiday scents well into January, so I’ll probably grab another one of these soon before they run out!
    5. HP Sprocket Being a mom, I’m always wanting to print out pictures of my boys. I stumbled across this device and couldn’t help but think it would be a great gift. It seems really cool and isn’t necessarily something you’d buy for yourself. It’d be a great gift for anyone into photographs or even scrapbooking. The film it takes comes with an adhesive backing so you can stick it to whatever.
    6. Herb Stripper This is a perfect compliment to go with one of the cookbooks. It’s such a pain in the ass to de-stem Kale, or strip herbs (I always do it by hand, ugh) and so this will be a huge help in the kitchen, and it will inspire me to cook more with those stubborn herbs I usually pass on because I don’t feel like dealing. Hashtag lazy?? lol
    7. 23andMe Ancestral Kit I’m sure most of you have a grip on your ancestry, but I have so many questions about mine. My mother’s biological father has always been out of the picture–I know nothing about him. My dad’s side of the family always describes themselves as Scandanavian–but that encompasses such a wide range of countries. I’m so curious of my ethnicity and have been all these years, so this was at the top of my list. You can purchase the kit with a health and genetics component as well, but I just went for the ancestral kit. I can always add the genetics portion later. I cannot wait to find out all the answers I’ve been wanting for so long and to finally be able to tell people what I am when they ask. I have a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern looking features, so no one can ever quite put their finger on what I am, which is why I get asked so frequently. My sister is just lucking out that this is what I want because since we share the same gene pool she’ll get the answers too!
    8. Textured Glass Tumblers These tumblers in green are so pretty. You’d have to see the color in person to truly appreciate them. And I know it’s a tumbler, but I’d use it for wine, iced coffee, whatever! Mugs and cups are my weak spot.

    Let me know if you’ve found these guides helpful! You can see the guide for babies here, and the guide for toddlers here. You can also search “gift guides,” in my search bar to the right, to find ones from previous years! Tomorrow I’ll post the final gift guide, for him, and I’m so excited because I had Miles pick all of the items and write the post, so you’ll get his personal narration on the gifts he curated and have a male perspective on here, for once! Ha! I’ll catch up with you tomorrow! Happy shopping! Only 19 more sleeps until Christmas! Cheers!

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    NATURE WALKS: OUTLETS & A FREE PRINTABLE!

    NATURE WALK SCAVENGER HUNT

    NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTWe had a few days of really hot weather here, and we’d be cooped up in our house, all fans running, until the sun’s rays began to relieve themselves a bit. We like to be out as much as we possibly can, especially with two little boys. I try to put some sort of learning activity in all we do, especially with Luca who is such a sponge. So I quickly put together a little nature scavenger hunt, and totally underestimated what a hit it would be. Luca had tears streaming down his face as we walked back to our house saying “But we didn’t find the berries, mama!” “I know, I know, next time,” I reassured him. I love that we can reuse this little map over and over again and experience different finds each time. (P.S. if you can’t find some of the items on the list where you live, I suggest grabbing a few items from in your home or where you can, and then scattering them about as you go. Even if they aren’t in their “natural habitat,” it just makes it more exciting for littler ones to be able to check everything off the list.)

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe colored the sheet before we left (ahem, I colored the sheet because L was too anxious to get his shoes + backpack on– he just wanted to get on with the hunt, go figure. #boymama) but I intentionally left the printable in black and white so you and your little ones could make a coloring activity out of it too!

    NATURE WALK SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE WALK SCAVENGER HUNTWe did most of our scavenging in our complex’s yard because I knew there wouldn’t be any poisonous plants that would be dangerous to touch within our private grounds, but if you are deep into nature just be sure the leaves you are picking aren’t poison ivy or anything! I found this app to be helpful for foraging, which offers to identify what plant or flower you’ve found by simply snapping a photo of the flora on a white background. Also we made sure to wash Lu’s hands the second we got home and before he touched anything. Currently loving this foaming hand soap for small hands!

    NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE WALK SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE SCAVENGER HUNT^^^We found a mushroom + the smallest pine cone I’ve ever seen along our way too!^^^

    NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE SCAVENGER HUNTThe patch of clover was such a trip for Lu as well! He thought it was so amazing that each leaf on each clover was shaped like a heart. Nature really does put on a good show for us, sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.

    NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE SCAVENGER HUNTDandelions were by far, the most “fun” find, as they seemed to be everywhere, which left Luca to blow tirelessly at each one he’d come upon until they were stripped bare.

    NATURE SCAVENGER HUNTNATURE SCAVENGER HUNTUPPA BABY STROLLER REVIEWNATURE WALK SCAVENGER HUNTOnce we walked further towards the coast, we found all sorts of exotic flowers and leaves of all different shapes and colors. When we go on walks, I always wear my favorite New Balance athletic shoes. They are light weight like Nike Free Runs (but half the price, woop!), and so, so comfortable. I can walk and run for hours in these without the slightest discomfort.

    UPPA BABY STROLLER REVIEWUPPA BABY STROLLER REVIEWUPPA BABY STROLLER REVIEWI love that these walks require me to get active too without really even thinking about it. Harlow loves just cruising in our lightweight stroller and when Lu baby gets tired, well, it’s a piggy back ride for him and a good sweat for me. What type of outdoor activities do your kiddos love the most (aside from the traditional park going)? We are always looking for new ways to explore our town and be outside. I hope one day L + H look back and remember how much fun we had together. I know I will. Heck, I already do.

    nature hunt printableI’ve created this free printable for all of you to enjoy with your little ones too! I hope you love it as much as we did!

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    SUMMER LOVIN’

    best summer activities for kids best summer activities for kids best summer activities for kidsEver since we’ve moved back to San Diego I want to be outside all. the. time. The weather where we live is just too good. We are in the middle of a huge heat/humidity wave, so going out between 12-4 isn’t always ideal, but it’s always worth a shot. Yesterday I decided to brave the day and take the boys downtown to the museum and a splash pad. We visited The New Children’s museum in the heart of San Diego proper, and it was a super educational and fun outing, although I should note I was sweating through my shirt nearly the entire time we were there…& with Harlow wanting to nurse for most of the day, I was ready to get to the splash pad sooner than Luca was. Let’s just say I was serving up a salty helping of milk.

    best summer activities for kidsbest summer activities for kids best summer activities for kids best summer activities for kidsWe molded some clay, Luca helped paint an old carriage, and we danced our hearts out in the dance box exhibit. I loved how interactive everything was–maybe because I’ve always been a hands on learner, and everything at this particular museum appealed to my tactile nature. It truly amazed me how Lu would walk up to each exhibit and just figure things out for himself. I just let him lead the way, and I would follow behind. I was a bystander of childhood imagination. It was beautiful. He also lead me to the elevator once he was just as sweaty as I was from dancing. Let me tell you, the kid has moves and he don’t care who knows it! His carefree spirit and curious heart really makes me feel like I’m doing a good job as a mom. Isn’t it funny how we are always trying to reaffirm to ourselves that we are doing well as parents? If only we had that same type of approach to every other area of our lives. We would never be content! But it’s good, these are good things to engulf yourself in. I always try to parent how I would want to be parented. As a child, I was always free to explore myself and my surroundings creatively, maybe that’s what nurtured my writing skills? Anyhow, I found it so encouraging in forming my independence and decision-making abilities. I can already see Lu gaining those same principals and understandings, and there is nothing more rewarding than watching him find those significant things in his own way. Sappy, sappy over here, aren’t we?!

    best summer activities for kids best summer activities for kidsAnd Mr. Harlow. He is coming out of his little shell day by day, and his personality is just sprouting out of him! I’m in love.

    best summer activities for kidsbest summer activities for kidsThank you for letting me be here to pour my very full heart out onto your computer screen, that feels really good too. So, after leaving the museum we headed down to the Harbor and we drove right past the Star of India, which Luca proclaimed, “Mama, a pirate ship! A pirate ship! I’ve never seen one of those before!” So I went with it, and started going on about where I think the treasure is hidden and how it’s most likely the “black pearl.” “But what’s the black pearl doing in New York City mama?” Luca saw big buildings downtown and automatically assumed we were in NYC, touché Luca, touché. We’ll go with qualitative reasoning on that one. We parked and walked to Waterfront Park, which to be fair, has been said to be San Diego’s Central Park…It’s not the same, not even close, but if I can’t afford New York City, I’ll take what I can get here. I watched Luca splash around in the “pond” (it’s a centimeter deep you guys), and then the child in me said screw it, and I rolled up my jeans and splashed around in it too. That was the highlight of my, and most likely Luca’s day too. It felt so good to jump around barefooted along some giant puddle. Freeing is the only word I could come up with. I think it is so important for your children to see you at eye level sometimes, it’s good for them to realize we are just as imaginative and playful as them, but also good for ourselves to remember what it is like to be green in the way of the world. These are lessons I’m learning all the time.

    We played hard, and we forgot we were even home, it felt too much like a vacation, and that is when I knew we had made the right decision in moving here. It felt fast and too spontaneous at first, and I wasn’t sure what things would feel like for me once we were settled and the initial shock of moving wore down. I worried a lot about my anxiety and my overall mental health (harsh change, good or bad, is always something that shakes up the balance of my mind’s chemistry, and so I knew to be on the look out for signs). But, feeling like I was on vacation with my two boys in the realm of our own city was so assuring, and just so good for the soul. Home has really taken on a new meaning for me as I age, and I can say that a house is where you live, but a home is who you live with. Home has become my people, Miles, Luca, and Harlow. As long as we are together I am home.

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