Lovely Mom-Life: A Stick-y Situation

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So it happened. Today I found a stick in my hair people. A stick. I know, I just can’t get over it. It wasn’t the wayward “a stick fell in my hair and was maybe there for a minute” type thing. It was a full on, reaching back to pull my hair into the omnipresent ponytail and feeling something hard inside my bird’s nest of hair, only to investigate a little further and pull a STICK out type thing. Not a cute dainty stick mind you, but a good 5-inches of stick. Never mind the fact that I have no idea how long its been in there. I swear I shower people.

C’est la vie.

Anyways, some other things around the web:

  • Win a brand spankin’ new Maxi Cosi Mico AP car seat over at Savvy Sassy Moms - I was lucky enough to try this out myself and we love it! Not to mention all the super cute color choices!
  • Adorable Easter basket goodies for the baby set!
  • Apparently “divorce” is the new four-letter word in the celeb set. Just what the hell is an “conscious uncoupling” Gwyneth and Chris?!
  • Would you sign up for a Beyonce dance workout class?
  • I just about died laughing reading this Huff Po piece. So so so true. And my bedtime victory lap looks a lot like the writer’s husband who passes out 10 minutes into “free time”

Happy Hump Day and thanks to everyone who participated in the Freshly Picked giveaway, and congrats to winner Diana Cotes!

Lovely Giveaway: Freshly Picked Moccasins

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You may have seen them on Shark Tank or all over Pinterest, but either way who doesn’t love Freshly Picked moccasins? These buttery soft leather or suede baby/toddler shoes are not only easy to put on, they actually stay on and are super cute to boot! Win-win-win. I mean when I talk about lovely baby gear, this is it people.

And if you’re a big supporter of small businesses like I am, you’ll love the background story  on these. Back in 2009 mama Susan Peterson was frustrated by the lack of well-made and stylish baby shoes out there and started making these at her kitchen table using scraps of leather from a yard sale. (Seriously, I can barely eat a meal at my kitchen table.) Hard work and perseverance landed her a spot on Shark Tank when her business really started taking off.  And while they don’t come cheap at $60 a pair, they last forever. I know people that have used the same pair on several kids and still see no end (or wear and tear) in sight. The mocs come in all colors of the rainbow and then some ( I want them alllllll.) Seriously. So. Cute.

My 2.5-year-old wears these along with my 4-month-old.  I was a little worried at first that there wouldn’t be enough support for an active toddler, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. Little Miss is so in love with her “fairy shoes” and constantly finds excuses to wear them all over.

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IMG_4523And a matching pair on teeny tiny baby feet (anything that doesn’t immediately fall off these adorable feet is a small miracle to me):

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And it’s your lucky day because we are running an awesome giveaway! One lucky reader will win a lovely pair of Freshly Picked mocs of their choice!

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below with your favorite pair of Freshly Picked mocs from their online shop. The winner will be contacted by email so make sure to fill out the email section of the comment form.

2) Get an extra entry by tweeting a link to this giveaway and make sure to tag me @starlitesther

3) Get another extra entry by liking A Lovely State of Mind on Facebook, and sharing the giveaway (make sure to tag A Lovely State of Mind so I see it!)

The giveaway will end on Friday, March 21 and the winner announced the following Monday. Open to US residents only. Good luck!

UPDATE:And the winner of the moccasins is Diana Cote. Congrats, and thanks to everyone who participated!

Lovely Toddler: Raddish Kids Review

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Have you guys heard of Raddish Kids? If you haven’t, it’s a pretty awesome idea (and I’m kinda jealous I didn’t think of it myself!) Started by teachers who thought the kitchen classroom was the tastiest place to learn, Raddish sends you a monthly box filled with 3 super yummy recipes for you to make with your child,  a grocery list (my savior!), corresponding crafts/activities (supplies included,) adorable Raddish apron for your child and even “Table Talk” cards for related conversation starters during dinner. How cute is that?! While I always have these grand ideas for things I want to do with my toddler, the reality is real life and exhaustion often get the best of me and most of these projects never happen. (I mean going to the store with two little one’s just to get some glitter pens? That’s so not happening.) So having this awesome box show up at my door with laminated recipe cards, glitter pens, ribbons, and an adorable kid’s apron inside is beyond praise-worthy.

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Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the recipes they select. They’re tasty, kid-friendly, and don’t require too many ingredients or take too much time to make. And they’re also perfect for having little hands help out. The box we received was an Olympic-themed box (during the Sochi Olympics, natch) and contained recipes for a Gold Medal Omelet, Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and Olympic Torch Cupcakes. While Little Miss is only 2.5, she had a blast helping me make these, and an even better time eating them (especially the “fire” cupcakes that she was just dying to devour.) And when there were parts of the recipe that I preferred to do solo (not quite ready to let her mix raw meat yet,) it was super easy to keep her content decorating the medals that came in the box. I also love how the recipes came thoughtfully laminated to make sure they can a) last forever and b) stay clean. And while I was a little dubious about how tasty kid-friendly recipes would be, I was pleasantly surprised. They were all super flavorful and delicious. The Hubby couldn’t get over how awesome the burgers were, and they’ll now become a part of our regular dinner rotation.

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IMG_4452Not only is cooking together a fun activity to do with your kids, but an important one. As we all know (myself included!) picky toddlers are a dime a dozen. Studies have shown that kids are much more likely to eat foods that they help prepare, and that those that are exposed to various kids of foods early on cultivate a more diverse palate. And by letting your child help out in the kitchen, they gain a sense of independence and self-confidence – I mean the look on Little Miss’ face after she helps me make something in the kitchen is proof enough.  Check it out:

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Obviously, I highly recommend Raddish Kids. While it’s geared towards kids ages 3-6, I can see both older and younger kids enjoying the contents of the monthly box. The boxes start at $20-24/month and can be ordered here. Who knows? The next Julia Child just might be a Raddish Kid! Bon appétit!
*Disclaimer: I was provided with a box to review, but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
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Lovely Small Business: Sunday in Color

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While I don’t do it as much as I want to, I love shopping at small independently-owned businesses and am often in awe of how the owners manage to get it all done. So I’m starting a Lovely Small Business series which will ask seven questions to owners of small businesses that I love. If you ever have a suggestion of a business you think is worth a mention, please share!

To kick off the series is one of my favorite online children’s retailers, Sunday in Color. Have you heard of them? If not, you should. As my nearest and dearest know I’m a huge fan of colors and patterns, which Sunday in Color joyfully embraces, and it’s impossible to peruse their online shop and NOT feel happy. It seriously makes me want to be a kid again. Or get all that stuff for my kids who you know won’t appreciate it as much as I would.

Sunday in Color was started by the lovely (and French) Sonia Imbert, who lovingly selects the most delightful finds from polka-dot animal bookends (sold out, alas) to the most adorable handcrafted stuffed mice in a box (this coming from a mouse hater), to cheerful bunting that would brighten up any nursery. What an amazing job, right? If you’re ever on the hunt for unique children’s gifts, you’ve found your one-stop shop. And now, without further a due, let’s learn a little more about Sonia.

1) What motivated you to start your own business ? And why this particular online shop?

I am French and I moved from Paris to San Francisco 3 years ago. I was 6 months pregnant at this time. San Francisco is a perfect city to launch your own business. People are very positive and are not afraid of undertaking new things. In addition having a business at home allows you to stay with your kids a little more. I chose kids decoration because kids stuff are fun, colorful and happy. I think in the US the demarcation girls / boys ( pink / blue ) is very strong and I wanted to offer something different. I love colors, dots and bright prints for boys and girls.

2) What were you doing in your previous life ?

I was a communication specialist in the medical / insurance sector (not so funny, right?)

3) What has-been the hardest portion of juggling your own business ?

Mak[ing] yourself known! It’s a lot of work and I still have much to do. On the internet there are many shops, people can compare prices, products etc. This is why I try to offer rare and hard to find products and a range of reasonable price! What is also difficult is to know what will sell or not, it must be tested !

4) What are your 5 fave items in the shop right now ?

The gold mushroom lamp by Egmont toys
The Oekaki house magic board by gg*
The metal tea set by Vilac
The red pig cuddle by Maileg
The dotted satchel bag by Pakhuis Oost

5) How do you find these awesome finds for your shop ?

I already knew some brands like Petit Pan, Vilac, Egmont toys or Kuramae before launching my shop. I spend time on Etsy, Pinterest… Sometimes, people contact me to introduce their brand. I love that because discovering new brands is my favorite part of the job!

6) Your shop is so happy – filled with bright colors and patters – all the things I love – what are your inspirations and what draws your eye when you’re looking for new products?

Thank you! I am addicted to colors and prints . When I go shopping, I am always attracted by neon colors, red, dots, stripes etc … It is the same for the shop, when I see prints and bright colors, I can’t resist ! I buy only what I really love without really thinking whether it will sell or not. I need to improve myself on that!

7) Finally, what are three things you couldn’t live without ?

Chocolate croissants, colors, and travels ! And my family of course ;)

Thank you Sonia! I can’t wait to see what fun new goodies you have in store soon!

Lovely Video: Princesses Don’t Need Men

Between work and kiddos and sleep (or lack thereof), I’ve been a basketcase. So here’s a little light fun for a dreary Thursday:

p.s. Am I the only one in a love/hate relationship with the wallpaper in the background?

p.p.s. there’s a slew of awesome posts I’m so excited to share in the works, so stay tuned :)

Lovely Baby: A Day in the Life…

This post is mainly for posterity so that one day if I perhaps have baby fever again, I can look back and go, NO. (I kid, I kid.)

4:30am – Baby awake, has broken out of Miracle Blanket, and we all know that once one arm is free, it’s over! Bring her into bed with me in desperation.

6:30am – Alarm goes off. Wait, didn’t I just fall back asleep? Agh.

7:00am – Nursing the baby as I hear the toddler yelling, “Mooooom, the sun is awake!” over and over and over. Tough luck kiddo, you’re just gonna have to wait. 

7:00am-8:00am – Utter chaos as we rush to get dressed, change baby and toddler (one day I will have the energy to potty train, I swear), gather together all my essentials (purse, pump, bottle parts, laptop, ahhh!) and rush out the door.

8-8:45am – Commute to work while I pump. I’m always terrified of being pulled over and having to reveal what’s under the cover. I am ravenous and my mouth feels as dry as the Sahara, but ahhh… at last some alone time.

9-5pm – Work aka “me time”. Realize I have milk stains on my pants and spit up on my shirt. Oh well. That’s what jackets are for. Finally get to eat some semblance of breakfast at 10am. Dread pumping every. single. day. It never gets easier, just more annoying. The day flies by most of the time. 

5-6pm – Race home. 

6pm-8pm (that’s on a good day) – Chaos again as we rush to get dinner on the table, kids fed, sometimes bathed, in PJs, and in bed. 

8pm-10pm – The toddler did NOT feel like going to bed tonight. Neither did the baby. Crap. Back and forth from girl to girl. Head wants to explode, I’m so tired. 

10pm-midnight – Get the baby down. Wash pump parts, bottles, dishes, etc. How is there SO much stuff to wash everyday?! Get everything ready for tomorrow. Maybe squeeze in a shower if I’m feeling extra motivated – I’m probably not. Too exhausted to even want to watch TV. Finally, at long last…time for bed. Praying the baby does not wake up at 2am and 4:30am like she did the night before. 

Rinse and repeat. At least I get to wake up to this:

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Happy almost Friday, ya’ll!

Lovely Valentine’s Day: 8 Valentine’s Treats to Make With Your Toddler

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Being home alone the past few months with an infant and a toddler, all sense of time and day have gone out the window. There’s a 95% change that I won’t know what day of the week it is (what’s a “weekend” anymore?), and even less clue about the time besides the general – as my toddler would say “the sun is awake!” So you can imagine my surprise when I started hearing people (i.e. the TV) talk about Valentine’s Day approaching. Wait, it’s not still January 2?! So to hop on the love train, here’s a collection of adorable and delicious-looking Valentine’s Day treats that look easy enough to make with a toddler. Because, ya know, anything that entertains a toddler for longer than 5 minutes is pure gold in my book. And we all know what’s going to happen to these goodies once they’re done: Little Miss will get to eat one of them, and then Mommy and Daddy will devour the rest while she’s asleep. Now that’s love. So dust off those heart-shaped cookie cutters, and let’s get cooking!

Cupid Crispies - These would be the perfect Valentine’s treats  to send to school/daycare with your little one, or to munch on at home.

Homemade Oreos with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling  – You had my heart at homemade oreos. At least the strawberry cream cheese filling adds a little bit of protein to this otherwise delectable sweet. Have your toddler help mix up the batter and filling. But don’t turn your back unless you want that whole batter disappearing in the blink of an eye!

Red Velvet & Strawberry Trifle A cool, creamy and refreshing dessert, have your toddler help scoop the different components into a clear glass or trifle bowl (if you’re fancy enough to own such a thing.)

Valentine’s Day Pretzel Rods These adorable pretzel rods couldn’t be easier to make (I made similar ones for Little Miss’ past two birthdays) and the salty-sweet combo makes for a delicious snack. Kids will love helping you dip the rods into the melted chocolate and rolling it in sprinkles.

Valentine Rice Krispie Pops Too. Cute. I love anything Rice Krispy treats-like, and these are no exception. They’re easy to make and involve sprinkles aka the perfect toddler afternoon activity.

Heart Brownie Pizza Brownie + fresh strawberries = major yum. 

Cherry Hand Pies - Confession: I hate making pie crust, but these are so sweet looking that I may just have to lift the ban on dough making in my kitchen. Young kids can help by being the official cookie-cutter wielder, or helping to scoop the cherry filling inside.

Ice Cream Sandwiches with Bittersweet Heart Cookies  – OMG how yummy do these look? (Hubby, I’m talking to you.) Now these look a bit more labor intensive than some of the other recipes, but you know your toddler will adore you for making these with them. Just watch out for the inevitable sugar rush – and crash – afterwards.