I feel like we’ve just finally got our place back whipped back into shape from the whirlwind that was Christmas. It feels good to have a little more room in our living room (although, I miss the tree lit up at night). Hudson was a lucky, lucky boy this year and was spoiled with SO MANY presents from friends and family. See proof of this here.
Growing up both of our parents made sure we always wrote and said thank you for anything we were given. Of course this is something we wanted to pass down to our kids (although it’s turned me in to a bit of paper product hoarder!). I searched Pinterest and Etsy for kids thank you notes and didn’t find anything I loved. I really wanted Hudson to be involved in the thank you note writing.
Since he’s yet to master his writing skills, I dictated his thanks and he added pizzazz to the front of the cards with the help of some new crayons. The project was definitely over his head in terms of understanding saying thank you but I really wanted to start a tradition and practice of it.
The artiste adding just enough flair that says, “I really really love my new mega blocks!”
I think kids even a little older than Hudson (maybe 2 or 3?) would really grasp the concept of the project. Anyway, I thought I’d make my template available for anyone who could use simple thank you notes for their kids.
Download it here!
Now that I’ve rounded week 39 of this pregnancy I thought it was time to pack up our hospital bag. This time I’ve been more relaxed (sensing a theme with the second baby?) and haven’t even really thought about what I’ll be taking. Last time, we WAY over packed. We practically brought the whole nursery to the hospital. I was joking with my girlfriend the other day that I would probably be ok with just tossing a clean pair of undies in my purse on the way out the door. Here’s what I whittled our packing list down to this time.
I packed so many outfits and what not the first time it was ridiculous. All you need is a comfy pair of PJs and nursing tank tops. Honestly, when you’re first getting the hang of nursing the hospital gowns are the easiest to manage. I’m also including some leggings and a cardigan for the ride home. Flip flops were a must for pacing the halls + shower stall. I also threw in some comfy (cheap!) socks (I threw them away afterward).
Don’t forget your makeup + dry shampoo. A shower after having a baby is amazing, drying your hair in a tiny hospital bathroom isn’t. Embrace the dry shampoo ladies! Sounds vain but there will be plenty of pictures!
ipad/iphone/camera + chargers! You’ll be taking tons of pics of your new bundle of joy. We also face-timed with all of our out-of-town family so it was essential to have all of our gadgets. I also thought it was nice to have internet access since it got a little boring just sitting in the room without any visitors.
Dad doesn’t need a lot but a comfy pair of pants for sleeping after baby arrives is nice! We’re also packing this Hudson shirt for the ride home to pay homage to our first born (we know we’re cheesy). Matt was super sore from walking and giving me a 10 hour back massage so I’m throwing in some Tylenol this time. Snacks are also a nice addition since the hospital really only takes care of mom.
You really don’t need to pack anything for baby, the hospital gives you everything from binkies to diapers. We’re taking a couple of cute going home outfits (a gal needs options!), a hat and hair accessories and some cute swaddle blankets for pictures.
Was there anything that made your stay or that you forgot and were cursing yourself for? I forgot a hair tie last time (who does that?!) and had to use an actual rubber band from the nurses station. Yeow!
I’m sure you have all seen the cute DIY toddler tents making the internet rounds. When I first saw them, I knew we had to make one for Hudson. He loves forts and crawling under things so I thought he would love it. Matt and I both contemplated just buying a premade version but they were going for $70 on Etsy all the way up to $200 at the Land of Nod. So DIY it was!
I used these three (1/2/3) tutorials as my main guides. Those tutorials cover the how-to pretty well. I’m not sure my building prowess could really give an additional insight on how to make one. We made our tent a little shallower to allow for smaller apartment quarters. That meant I had to hem the sheet, so keep that in mind!
I did sand, stain and seal the bejesus out of the frame before adding on my $5 Walmart sheet. I thought about using my handy freezer paper stencil trick to make the arrows but in the end decided to just wing it. I used the same gold paint from our DIY Advent Calendar.
I think it came out really cute and couldn’t wait to see Hudson’s face on Christmas morning! See below for his super impressed face (and our super classy TV fireplace).
One thing we added that I really love are these LED fairy lights. I think it’s going to be the perfect place for hiding or book reading.
So that’s what Santa’s dropped off at our place this year! I know it is so cliché but man I love the holidays even more now that we have kids. It is SO fun!
Posted by Brittney | Filed under Baby Ahrens
You may have seen that we’ve taken the official plunge into a family of four, the double stroller has arrived. A couple of people (and I mean literally, two) have asked what kind/why we bought the one we did. I aim to please my vast readership so here’s my rundown of all things double stroller. Which, unfortunately (fortunately?) I’ve done an exhaustive review of.
We went with the City Select Stroller with a double seat in Onyx. We bought the City Mini for Hudson and you know how much I love that stroller. I felt really good about buying again from the same company.
Price// Let’s just get down to the nuts and bolts here. Double strollers are ridiculously expensive. Even the lower end strollers are going to run you about $175-200. The City Select is usually around $650 on Amazon (that includes the second seat). I know. It’s a lot. BUT! I knew I wanted a really durable and well made stroller since I use it everyday. We still only have one car so that means I walk to the gym, the grocery store, lunch dates, etc. (can I get a bumper sticker that says ‘my other car is a stroller?’). Luckily Baby Jogger has a blow-out sale every year (they’re still on sale!) and the price was knocked down to $499 and that price included the second seat (usually about additional $175). My sister works at Buy Buy Baby and was able to score us an additional 30% off (if you don’t have a hook up, save your 20% off coupons!), so our grand total was $375 for the whole whammy. My best ever in-laws graciously gave us the stroller for a baby gift. So, yes, there was no out-of-pocket expense but hopefully what I’m getting across is waiting for a sale! Save your coupons! Don’t pay retail!
Tandem or Side by Side// As I’ve waxed on about the City Mini, you might be wondering, why didn’t she just go with that in a double? The City Mini Double only comes in a side by side configuration. This is actually how most doubles are set up (BOB/Bugaboo/Maclaren). Our sidewalks here are SO narrow that I knew the double would be a nightmare. Also, pushing it through the grocery stores would also be a struggle. I love the versatility of the City Select, it comes with 16 different configurations for the seats. See them all here. The other tandem strollers (Phil&Ted/UppaBaby) that we looked at all had what I call a jump seat. Basically, the second seat is under the original seat and much lower to the ground. I didn’t like that one kid never got to see anything but the back of a seat and it just seemed like it would cause problems/fights on who sat where as they get older.
Size// Size matters gals! At least when we’re talking about strollers. We drive a Hyundai Elantra and we needed that sucker to actually fit in our trunk. The City Select is no petite stroller but it folds down relatively small for a double and the seats detach. I will forever mourn the one-handed fold of the City Mini.
Quality// This stroller is built so well. It has a ton of storage in the lower basket, has a telescoping handle and rides really smoothly. I also love the large sunshades (which seems to be a Baby Jogger trademark). The only negative is that all of the accessories (drink holder/parent caddy/snack tray) are sold separately. I appreciate that you get to choose what to buy based on your needs but the extras add up quickly!
Bottom Line// We love the City Select for a double stroller! I’ve already taken it for a spin with Hudson solo and I think it’s going to be great for us. I am super happy with our decision and can’t wait to push both of our babies around town. Would I recommend it for a single? No, not really. It’s really bulky for a single stroller a doesn’t collapse as small as a conventional single stroller. So if you travel solo (like I do) you’re going to have to ask for help. That being said, my sister has it as a single and loves it. I think I was just spoiled by our City Mini which is always my hands down first recommendation for a great (single) stroller.
So congrats to you if you made it through this post! Any other stroller aficionados like to weigh in?
PS- no affiliate links were used, I just linked up for your ease. I’m nice like that.
I posted Hudson’s Christmas wish list a few days ago. He is getting most of those gifts but they’re coming from extended family (we are SO spoiled!). Earlier this year I was perusing Pinterest (obviously) and ran into two things I thought he would really love. A little A-frame fort and a fishing game. More on the fort in an upcoming post, let’s focus on the cute fish game! I will warn you right now though, this is a pretty time intensive project. Easy to make but tedious. AKA, don’t start this on Christmas Eve or you will hate yourself.
This is the pin that inspired our game. It provided a great fish template but the instructions were to print on paper and have the kids “fish” using attached paperclips. That seemed like more hand eye coordination than I had so I turned this into a felt + magnet game.
As you’ve all come to expect, directions to follow via iPhone.
1// Print out the fish templates from here. We decided 10 fish was plenty so cut out 20 fish pieces. I also added stars/stripes/polka dots to my fish. Don’t be like me. It was a huge pain in the ass to top stitch around. I do think the additional decoration look cute but I would recommend doing simple shapes (think square, large circle, triangle).
2// Hot glue your shapes to the fish. Make sure to keep the glue away from the sides of the shape as you’ll top stitch around the border. I used a zig-zag stitch around all of my decoration. I think it makes it look a little more finished than just the glue. This is the part that takes THE LONGEST TIME EVER! So no in progress picture for you. Sorry.
3// Sew those fish right-sides together! I used the machine and was done really quickly. You could definitely hand stitch these if you don’t have a sewing machine though. I left the tail open for stuffing.
4// Hot glue your magnet to the fish. Please, please, please be sure to secure your magnets safely! Magnet ingestion is really dangerous for children.
5// Flip your fish right side out and stuff it with some poly-fill. Make sure they’re fluffy but not overly full (you want your magnet to be strong enough to pull them up! I used 1/3 of an 8 ounce poly-fil bag for all ten fish.
6// Close those tails up and top stitch around the fish. This may be overkill but I really wanted to make sure that the magnet couldn’t slip out of the fish if the glue gave out. I also think it gives the fish a more finished look.
7// Decorate your fishing pole. I just used some basic craft paint for stripes. The fishing line is twine with another magnet on the end, covered with some leftover ribbon.
Boom! Cutest DIY fishing game ever, right? It definitely looks like it was crafted at home so I’m sure I’ll have no problem convincing Hudson that it was made at Santa’s workshop. Again, a super easy (and cheap!) project but time consuming. But you know what they say about more time than money!
With Christmas around the corner I thought I would put together a little toddler wish list. I always love seeing what is on other friends’ lists so here’s our best guess for a 17 month old!
1// Hudson loves these blocks! His music teacher uses them each week to teach the kids about colors. He’s also really into building towers (and knocking them down!).
2// I thought this shape sorter puzzle looked fun. Our little friend loves to sit and figure out how things work. I mean, he also loves a good light up toy but I thought this would be a nice quiet time activity.
3// Bath toys! Hudson loves the tub and these looked like a fun addition to the bath.
4// We are finally coloring over here! I love it but have to watch him like a hawk as crayons are apparently quite delicious. I’m hoping these twist up ones discourage the gnawing. I also think these stackable ones are cute but am not sure our little shark can keep his teeth off them just yet.
5// More blocks! Matt and Hudson love making a good tower and these look like the perfect addition to their building.
6// What does a fox say? I thought this was adorable, Hudson could probably care less.
7// The classic Brio set. Matt and his brothers built an epic set of Brio trains throughout the years. Since that set is staying at grandma and grandpa’s house, Santa thought Hudson needed his own starter set.
We are trying to stick with classic, simple toys for Hudson. Hopefully ones that will last more than a year or two! I’m also busy making a couple of Santa gifts for him. I’ll share those soon (hopefully they aren’t epic failures). What is your go-to kid gift?
PS-no affiliate links used. Just spreading the Christmas joy.
Posted by Brittney | Filed under Holidays
I hope everyone has recovered from their turkey coma! We had a nice little family Thanksgiving here! Lots of turkey and pie leftover for the rest of the week makes this large marge happy! Now that we’ve given thanks for all of our blessings, we have set our sights on the big show! Christmas!
We are staying put for a California Christmas with baby girl’s due date looming (please Lord, all I want for Christmas is a December baby). Both Matt and I are excited to start our family traditions here and one that we both grew up with is an Advent calendar. Matt’s family had a felt wall hanging that had little treats and toys tucked into it while my family had a calendar that you opened the doors each day for a little candy treat. I tried to incorporate both of these into our calendar and I tried to make it as easy (and cheap!) as possible. Behold, our easy DIY hanging advent calendar in 4 easy steps! Documented via iPhone for your squinting pleasure.
1// I was inspired by this calendar but unfortunately I couldn’t print the numbers out on iron-on paper since we have a laser printer (I also wanted to keep the color palate a little simpler). So I printed and traced all of my numbers on to freezer paper. I followed the same method making these two shirts. This was tedious but really easy.
3// Get your paint on! I used stencil brush + Martha Stewart’s metallic gold paint for our numbers. I picked he paint up at Home Depot for about $4 a long time ago. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it but knew it belonged in my crafting stash. I would recommend using a light touch on the paint and slipping some cardboard in between the bags to prevent bleed-through. I did two light coats, which in my humble crafting opinion is better than one gloppy thick coat. These dry very quickly. In fact, the painting was the quickest part of this whole craft.
4// Peel those freezer paper stickers off and enjoy your handiwork! I hung ours up with 3M hooks and some twine. Basically, just replacing our Thanksgiving banner. Let’s see how long those suckers last on the wall with grabby little toddler hands around!
Each bag is hung with a mini red clothes pin. I found a pack of 25 for $1.99 at the Container Store.
I really wanted to included the treats and activities part of advent + some toddler friendly scripture. I found this list of daily scriptures that I thought was perfect. I just re-typed them on cardstock (reusable!) and slipped them inside the envelopes.
Then I got a little cray. This year Matt and I really want to make Christmas fun and special since it will be just our little family (and the last time we’ll be a family of 3!) here. I took some time earlier this month to print out a December calendar (it’s the TomKat Studio printable that I use for our monthly meal planning) and filled it up with our must-do Christmas activities and added some new things we wanted to try and daily treats/activities for Hudson and I to do during the day.
On second glance, it looks like a little much and we know Hudson could really care less about what we do. We thought we’d take the opportunity to try out new things around town and decide what we wanted to make yearly family traditions. So hopefully I can blog about our fun this month leading up to Christmas!
T-minus 6 days to Turkey Day folks! We’re having a California Thanksgiving with my due date around the corner. It’s just going to be us 3 for dinner (and possibly friends stopping by later for dessert) but I couldn’t help but get a little festive!
I printed out this cute banner from the TomKat Studio and strung it up in about 5 minutes with 3M hooks and some twine. I probably could have tried a little harder to decorate for fall and Thanksgiving but if being 8 months pregnant isn’t the appropriate time to be lazy, I’m not sure when is.
Sorry for the glare but my amateur photog skills do not include snapping clear pictures of glass frames. I also made a little felt turkey for Hudson to play with…action shot ahead! Somehow I managed to create the illusion of a sweet rat-tail on him. Felt turkey template found here. He really loves the felt board (also hung with 3M strips) and I figured he can practice his colors with the feathers. It’s been a win-win for everyone around here. We’ve also been reading a few Thanksgiving books nightly to get into the festive spirit. Get them here: 1/2/3
Last but not least, I finally put the finishing touches on our Thanksgiving menu and went shopping today for all of the fixins. We’re going pretty traditional as I am not known for my culinary execution. Recipes for the curious in the links below. My gal pal Elizabeth helped me track down the turkey breast recipe. If you want a delicious meal, head to her place ASAP. Girlfriend knows her way around the kitchen. I am mostly just looking forward to the pie. And wearing my turkey eating pants.
Yay Friday! We made it. In an effort to be the most slacker-y blogger I will be linking up with the 5 on Friday crew again. I promise I have more to share with you than a bullet point list of awesome but I’ve been crossing off to-do-before-baby things and Christmas stuff and Thanksgiving groceries and whoo-doggie, Hudson’s nap isn’t giving me enough time to get it all done. So, onwards!
1. GymPact// Have you heard of this app? My gal pal, Alexson told me about it. Essentially, you set your pact of working out x number of times a week and set your penalty for missing a day. I love it! I’ve made over $25 just for getting my booty out the door. I only bet $5 per missed workout (I’ve only missed out on one!) but it is enough motivation to get me to the gym.
2. ThredUp// Maybe I’m the last person on the internet to hear of this but holy cow, game changer! It’s an online consignment shop. They have a ton of cute stuff for cheap-o prices. I just picked up a few maternity shirts. PLUS, you can send in your old threds for cash. I just sent in my second bag of clothes in a fit of pregnancy induced nesting. Here’s a link to sign up (you get $10, I get $10).
3. Revlon// Is it just me or has this brand really ramped it up lately? Whenever I heard Revlon, I immediately thought of my Grandma. She loves a good red lipstick and I think they’ve cornered the market on that product. I just bought some of their lip balm/stain that I love and their nail polish is giving my Essie polish a run for it’s money. Plus, it’s a steal! Our CVS was having a 2 for $7 promotion. Winner, winner!
4. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate// We were out early Christmas shopping last week and Matt ordered one of these babies for me at Starbucks. Y’all can keep your PSL, this is my holiday drink of choice. Target is selling it in packets too (Archer Farms Brand), just as delicious!
5. TV// We finally hooked our cable back up after a four year hiatus. Our cable plan came with HBO/Showtime for free for a few months. Holy cow. I’ve never been so unproductive. Newsroom has sucked me in! I feel like I’m power watching all of the past seasons of awesome shows. Homeland is next on my radar. So much TV to watch, so little time!
So that’s what has been tripping my trigger lately. I’m knee deep in advent calendar planning, birthday present perusing and my Dad is flying into town this weekend (Disneyland, here we come!). Hope you all have a fab weekend!
Tags: Five on Friday
We had a great time trick or treating with Hudson last night! I almost bailed on the activity this year since we (read: me) are still really tired from our whirlwind trip to Iowa. Matt convinced me to persevere and it was hilarious fun. We took him to Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. All of the stores go all out with the candy and there were so many people there. It was pretty festive!
Our little sock monkey was a little confused the first few stops. Once we started handing him the candy to put it in his bag he was in hog heaven. His favorite activity is putting things away.
We felt super spoiled to be able to trick or treating in 70 degree weather, no winter coats for this crowd! Hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween!