Friday, September 28, 2012

My Go-To Gift For Baby Showers :: And I'm Giving One Away!

Bitsy Brand

Oh, do I have a treat for you today, Loyals. I have never been so excited to introduce you to a baby product since I first came across this fancy thing a little over two years ago. 

This is a Bitsy Bag

It's a traditional blanket and wearable blanket hybrid that is downright amazing. As a mom to a baby who very quickly grew tired of the swaddle very early on (we're talking as soon as we arrived home from the hospital), I hated the idea of having to struggle with sleep sacks and zippers and snaps in the middle of the night but wanted something extra to keep him warm and cozy.

I also couldn't justify putting him to sleep with a loose blanket over him and spending half the night lying awake wondering and worrying if he was going to smother himself. 

The Bitsy Bag easily slips over what baby is already wearing and is such an ease to remove and replace during those midnight or early morning diaper changes. For those moms who are transitioning their baby out of the swaddle this would be an excellent product to use as it still gives baby that "snug" feeling while keeping them warm and safe during sleep times. 

When they're smaller, the Bitsy Bag fits snugly under baby's armpits, still allowing them plenty of room to kick and stretch. As they get older, the Bitsy Bag can still be worn securely around their waist, still allowing them room for movement.

As you can see, baby can easily roll, kick, twist and even sit up while wearing the Bitsy Bag, all without the worry of it becoming loose and migrating towards their face. 

It also works great with car seats and isn't just for sleep times! I know when we take the crew pumpkin and apple picking over the course of these next few {chilly} weeks, I'll absolutely bring our Bitsy Bag along for the ride!

I absolutely adore all of the bright, bold patterns and colors used in the making of the Bitsy Bag and it has quickly become my newest go-to gift for all baby showers and new baby welcomes! 

Bitsy Brand just launched brand new designs as well as a collegiate line! Each of the Bitsy Bags are lined with the softest minky fabrics and are made by moms for moms. 

I have been in contact with creator, owner, designer and mom, Mandi, and she is just the sweetest. You can tell she truly cares about her product and the moms and babies who use it. I am so happy she reached out to me and introduced me to such a wonderful product! 

The Bitsy™ bag currently comes in 0-6 months and 6-18 months sizes. Larger sizes are being considered, although not yet available.  If you would like to cast your vote for a larger size, cast your vote at

Mandi has graciously offered ONE lucky loyal the chance to take home their very own Bitsy Bag! The winner will get to choose ONE Bitsy Bag of their choice from the online store! Use the Rafflecopter widget below for easy entry. 

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Outsmarted By My Toddler... Again.

Some days I swear my toddler is out to get me. 

Despite my Bachelors degree in saving lives and curing cancer there are days when I have to step back and seriously consider how it is that my toddler, my uneducated or rather educated by my own hands toddler, has the wits to outsmart me yet again.

Just yesterday he walked me over to the couch, sat me down, handed me a book, draped me with a receiving blanket, patted my hand and lovingly whispered "night-night." Now, don't be fooled like I was, Loyals  As I sat there, my heart overflowing with pride and emotion that my kind, sweet boy was thinking of others with such an altruistic heart, my kind, sweet boy was hiding behind the drapes, emptying an entire box of Vanilla Wafers and sliding them between the slats on the heating duct while alternately tossing one to the dog. 

A day before that, he walked upstairs from the playroom and closed the door behind him, leaving me to play trains and read books by my lonesome, an activity we had both been enjoying together just minutes prior. 

As I crept up the stairs and quietly opened the door to the kitchen, I found him pulling a chair up to the counter where he had lovingly placed his leftover mac-n-cheese in front of the fish bowl, muttering "Choo-Choo Fish, eat! Choo-Choo Fish, cheeeese!" I can only imagine where he was headed with that one. 

He's a smart cookie, that C. A smart, conniving, wily cookie. 

A cookie that purposely goes through the motions of distraction so that he can, once again, slip out the sliding glass door unattended. 

A cookie that uses the dog or his brother as a scapegoat for ill intentions. 

How does he even know how to do these things? 

Last time I checked, Thomas the Tank Engine didn't release an episode on Outsmarting Sir Topham Hatt. There isn't a Veggie Tales movie on Pulling The Wool Over Your Mama's Eyes. 

So what gives? He's only two. I can only imagine what his teenage years will bring. Somebody hold me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maclane Allen :: Month Three

Weight:  8lbs 1oz at birth, 20 inches
                      10lbs. 11oz at 1 month
                      15lbs. 4oz at 2 months, 24 inches
                      17lbs. 5oz. at 3 months
(We're going to start calling him Gigantor)

Hair: I think it is safe to say that Maclane's hair is not only staying dark brown but it's also getting longer! He's pretty much the spitting image of me and it makes me giggle every time I think about it. Sorry, Husband, you already have one baby that looks like you. It's my turn!

Eyes: His eyes are definitely a' changing. Dark navy at birth, it looks like they are most definitely turning green to a green/hazel. The Husband has blue eyes, I have dark brown. Apparently without drawing up a Punnet Square, green/hazel is a possibility. 

Diapers: Still wearing size 2's although certainly not for much longer. We're still diapering his tush in Pampers Swaddlers and Luvs and we've been lucky in the blowout arena. He rarely pees or leaks through a diaper. We did try a short stint with Huggies Lil' Snugglers during Maclane's first trip to New Jersey and let's just say our experience was quite the opposite. Once we're finished with our current stash I have a feeling we'll be moving him up to 3's.

Clothes: It's official. Maclane is wearing all 6 month clothes. I've packed everything else up until that size. Not even 3-6 months are still hanging in his closet. We're talking legit 6 month clothes. Sigh.

Eating: I'm still exclusively breastfeeding and Maclane makes it so incredibly easy. Not only am I exclusively breastfeeding but I'm also only doing so from one side. It was around this time that we started adding rice cereal to Carter's bedtime bottle but since Maclane isn't too fond of a bottle at the moment (or anything else with a rubber nipple for that matter) we'll be holding off on the cereal. 

Sleeping: We continue to co-sleep, much to my husband's dismay. He's ready to have "our bed" back but I can't quite give up the ease of pulling Mac over to me around 4 or 5am for his "nightly" nursing session. He's been typically going down to sleep between 10 and 10:30pm and waking to eat between 4 and 5am. After a quick nursing session and diaper change, he goes right back to sleep until 8am. He's up for a bit to eat and play and then he's usually asleep again until 10:30am. After 10:30am, he only takes a long nap from 1pm-3:30pm. He's been napping in his crib for a few weeks now.

Nicknames: Mac, Mac-A-Doodle, Mac-A-Rooney, Mac-A-Pie, Mac-A-Boy, FattyMac (I'm sorry about the last one but I just can't help myself).

Maclane Allen, 

You continue to be the sweetest, easiest and most mellow baby. I know I say this a lot but you hardly every cry and you are always content no matter where you are. You smile all the time and have even begin to laugh on occasion! 

You are absolutely enamored by your older brother. You just love to stare at him and he loves you so much. You've recently begun to blow raspberries at each other and it just melts this mama's emotional heart. 

You're not doing a whole lot other than laughing, smiling, cooing and yelling just to hear yourself yell. Although you absolutely love tummy time, you're such a fattie that it's difficult for you to roll over, no matter how hard you try. You just can't do much with those chubba thighs of yours. It's okay though- we don't hold it against you!

You took your first trip to New Jersey this month and did amazingly well during the 4 hour car rides there and back. 

You still refuse to take a pacifier but will suck on your pointer finger and middle finger at every chance you get. You have become a drool machine this month and it makes me wonder if you'll be getting your teeth a bit earlier than your brother. 

You had your first sick visit to the pediatrician this month when you suddenly broke out in a head to toe rash. At first we thought it might be because I made you wear this ridiculously cute wool romper one day but it turns out both you and your brother came down with a case of strep throat. Despite such a terrible sickness and angry rash, your mood, sleep and eating habits hadn't changed one bit! Hopefully the ammoxicillan does the trick and you're better in no time. 

We love you so much Mac Allen! 

Monthly Stickers via the incredible Haily of LucyDarlingShop!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Toddler Toys :: Activities For Your 1.5-2.5 Year Old

As requested by a handful of readers, I put together this post sharing some of the "toddler toys" that help Carter and I get through our day. These toys are broken down into categories that focus on a specific area of learning and fun! Girl moms, I apologize in advance that this post will be particularly train and truck-heavy. I'm sure you could substitute with doll strollers and princess little people!

This is just a smattering of toys that we use on an almost daily basis to incorporate a little bit of learning into our fun. 

1. Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads Under careful and close observation, Carter loves these beads. After demonstrating to him the lacing technique, he picked it up in a matter of minutes and now he loves to sit and string beads. This is a great activity as it encourages fine motor skills and as he grows, will help him learn more about colors and patterns. 
2. Melissa and Doug Puzzles Currently, Carter's favorite puzzles are the Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzles. Although they aren't incredibly difficult puzzles to master, I would be lying if I said he didn't learn at least 8 different animal sounds and vehicle sounds by playing with them. We have the Zoo Animals, Farm Animals and Vehicle Sounds puzzles.  Word to the wise: Place all puzzle pieces in a zip lock bag and tape it to the back of the puzzle for easy storage when not in play.
3. Mega Blocks Building towers and knocking them down provides a great activity that can be done anywhere. The perfect size blocks for tiny hands, Carter loves to build and tear down. This is one of my go-to activities for him when I'm sitting down to nurse the baby. 

With easy to manipulate controls (no more than two buttons) Carter loves zooming around the house with these toys. The perfect size for little hands, these toys are great on-the-go! He was given all three of these as birthday presents and they each have their own great qualities. For instance, Steam n' Speed Thomas toots kid-safe steam and Jumbo the Jet is not only a remote control plane, but he is bilingual and a shape sorter!
1. Melissa and Doug Multi-Activity Wooden Table Hands down this is Carter's favorite "toy" of the moment. We currently have this table set up as a train table with this set of trains and he will spend hours playing with it each day. It encourages great imaginative interaction as well as fine tuning motor skills as he helps build and deconstruct the tracks and pushes his trains around. I love that this table in particular comes with a drawer for extra storage of all those pieces of track and train. 

2. Green Toys This is one of my favorite brands of "truck" toys out on the market today. I stumbled across them in a local "learning" store and have been hooked ever since. These toys are often made from recycled milk jugs and are all around environmentally friendly. They also have a myriad of working parts, doors that open and close and they don't make noise which encourages imaginative play in toddlers. Again, here are Carter's favorites!

Many of these toys we keep out in the backyard or on the back deck but in a pinch, we drag them into the playroom (or the kitchen, who am I kidding) for some extra "new" fun in the house. When in doubt, give your toddler a ball (or three) and it will encourage them to work on gross motor skills like running, kicking and balance. 

Although the following toys may drive you to the brink of your sanity, toddlers love to bang things and make noise. What better way to encourage that than with musical instruments? I'm a big fan of B Toys and this drum (and accompanying instruments) has provided endless hours of fun for Carter. He is especially fond of the maracas. 

We recently discovered Play-Doh (once again, under careful parent supervision) and Carter is obsessed. We purchased an activity kit that came with scissors, a rolling pin, cookie cutter shapes and a doh press and it's a great activity for little hands. With different textures and the ability to roll, press, cut, shape and mold, it provides an out of the ordinary sensory activity. Pipe cleaners by the handful are also a great sensory activity and with endless options to bend and create!

Not only are these great toys for this age grouping but they are also excellent gift ideas for little toddler birthday parties! 

What is your little one's favorite toy or activity?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Project Pinterest :: Stacked & Painted Pumpkins

Oh hi! Welcome to Week Two of Project Pinterest! 

If you're new here, this is a WEEKLY link-up that encourages you to not only pin, pin, pin but do! do! do! I know I'm not the only one who finds it SO easy to pin beautiful rooms, creative crafts, delicious recipes and gorgeous outfits. But how often do we actually DO what we pin?

This link-up was created to change that. Each week I ask that you bake, make, decorate or create just ONE of your pins. Take pictures, write about it, include the Project Pinterest button that you see in my sidebar and return here to link up your post. [In order to copy the code in my sidebar, highlight it and use your Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut.]

For every post that links up, I will be pinning it to my Project Pinterest pin board! Easy as pumpkin pie. 

Speaking of pumpkins, this weeks Project Pinterest idea came to me from this pin. I've seen similar stacked pumpkins display carved house address numbers, spooky Halloween faces and holiday-appropriate words. I knew, however, that I wanted to do something a bit different. 

I also knew I wanted to use fake pumpkins with the hope that I could pack them away at the end of the season and use them again for years to come. After seeing my final product and how it didn't quite turn out the way I saw it in my head, I can't say with any certainty that these suckers will be making any repeat appearances. 

Here's where you can learn from my mistakes:

I think next week I'll bake something, no? So, what are you waiting for? Link-up below! I cannot wait to see what you all have whipped up this week! Happy Monday!

StarlightWoods Earring Giveaway & Monday's Must Read

We are The Chirping Moms and we are so excited to be one of I Love You More Than Carrots' sponsors this month. 

Julie & I (Courtney) have 2 very little ones & can relate to AP’s adventures as a Mom! We hope you will come on over to The Chirping Moms & share in our adventures as well. 

We have a great week of Halloween Planning going on starting today. We’ll have fun finds from Etsy, a giveaway or two & tutorials on making your little ones a trick or treat bag! Stay in touch in October as we spend a month pampering Moms. 

Speaking of a treat for Moms (or anyone with pierced ears!) we want to share one of our favorite Etsy shops with all of AP’s Loyals. This giveaway was a big hit with our readers & we hope you enjoy it as well.

Starlightwoods makes eco friendly jewelry from storm damaged trees & fallen branches. They are each one of a kind designs and they couldn't be prettier. I have a pair of their chevron print earrings & wear them all the time. Be sure to check out all of their awesome jewelry!

For this giveaway, Starlightwoods will award one lucky winner with a pair of earrings of their choice. Good luck everyone & thank you for having us AP! Be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!
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