Five Favorites: Warm Winter Babies

In my imaginary blog world where I actually write consistently, Friday favorites was an idea. However, we all know I am about how consistent I am in keeping up with this blog. I like to keep people on their toes and just when they can breath a sigh of relief that this blog has died I pop back up with my nonsense.

Today schools are closed because the wind chill is a balmy -40 degrees. We may not close for 40 inches of snow, but apparently the Adirondacks draw the line at negative 40. Who knew?

Having now had two babies (one 4 months old and one 8 month old) during the frigid north country winter months I have rounded out my five favorite things for keeping babies warm in the winter. I would like to say it’s having 4 kids that makes me need quick and easy, but in reality when I had just Flynn I was not one for nonsense and needed to keep it simple. Pretty much like all of us because no one has time for nonsense.

So here you have it – my five favorite baby items for the winter.

  1. This Bunting. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.47 AMPatagonia is my all time fav just because they are awesome people and seriously I want to work there so my kid can go to their amazing employee childcare center. That said, their products are also magical. Nola still squeezes her 5T self into 2T vest. Sure it is a tad snug, but it gets the job done. Quince is typically a 2T, however, he still is rocking this bunting from last year in a 12 month. I recently snagged a 0-3 month bunting for well over half off on a kid’s resale site for Navi and while she probably could use the next size up – it works for her at the moment! {Note: I always like gender neutral when possible not just so I can share with my own kids, but also if I ever pass it on or resell it gets more use!}
  2. These woolies.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.06 AM I don’t know if you know this, but I love all things wool, especially Merino wool. My kids daily rock a pair of Merino wool base layers. They are the best for keeping kids warm and easily can layer to provide hours of outside play without the whining. Ella’s wool has a great pair for babies. I love the footie pants and how easily it is to wear alone or layer with another piece!
  3. Zutano fleece booties.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.21 AM These have been my go-to since Flynn was a baby. They are a favorite baby shower gift and a piece that we have passed on from kid to kid. Navi has so many color options because pairs from all my kids are still in play and my sister passed a bunch down from my soon to be 6 year old niece. They stay on great and keep kiddos feet warm with or without socks underneath!
  4. Stroller Footmuff. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.14.37 AMWhen we lived on campus and were a one car family, I bought a stroller that basically served as our “second car”. I found a deal and while it was still WAY expensive, the stroller has been amazing for what we do, especially having two babies less than 16 months apart. Even now that we are off campus, I try to get the kids outside daily despite the weather (perhaps not -40 wind chill, but most other weather). One thing that gives me peace of mind (and makes it not a nightmare with blankets falling off, etc) is a stroller bunting or foot muff. We currently only have one because Navi was still using the bassinet function of the stroller, but as she transitions to the big seat I am scowling the internets (and gilt.com) for a deal on a second stroller footmuff. I believe they make generic ones, but we use the one fitted for our stroller.
  5. An easy hat that does not strap under the chin. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.55 AMThis is a personal preference and really just because my babies always get annoyed with the chin strap. A good hat though is key. Navi rocks around the house and when I throw her in the carseat to pick the kids up we rock the bunting and a hat and go about our business without much fuss. Our favorite hat is one the hospital gave us when we left (a little knit cap), but this one also works now that Navi is larger and outgrowing Quince’s little knit hat.

Winter is Upon Us (Well not all of Us…)

IMG_4962

As many of you know (and if you don’t you sure will find out soon) how much I despise winter. The short days, the cold temperatures, the colds, Flynn’s asthma flair-ups, blah blah blah. I find winter to be beautiful, but have yet to find a way to make it practical for the things I like to do – like be outside and not have dry skin. However, today, my friends, the snow has started (in Lake Placid’s defense it is not sticking) in our gorgeous little town of Lake Placid. And so I spent my morning online shopping for winter gear while my two sick toddlers cuddled up to the electronic device of their choosing. (Don’t judge)

IMG_2260

Since many of you are weeks months away from having to think about winter and snow attire, I figure I would share with you my roundup of favorite boots. Some of these boots are not quite practical for us now that we live in much colder, wetter temperatures, but I included them because well they were cute and not all of you will have dozens of feet of snow this  year. Plus, they might work for us in May. Bah.

IMG_2104

I also am aware that a bulk of these boots are have a pretty high price point. I usually shop around for promo codes or sales before pulling the trigger. I also found a few of them (but in varying sizes) on 6pm or Nordstromrack. Additionally, I always use Ebates when shopping. You can earn cashback anywhere from 1% to 10% for many stores and it sweetens the pot just a tad. I also tend to buy things that are gender neutral – as you will see in the list below. I figure that once Flynn is done, Nola can get a good use out of them. Plus, many of these more expensive brands have a great resale on Ebay, but that is a post for another day.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 3.26.41 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 4.04.14 PM

1. Ugg Butte II' Waterproof Leather Boot

1. Ugg Butte II’ Waterproof Leather Boot

2. Sorel Yoot Pac TP Boot

2. Sorel Yoot Pac TP Boot

3. Osh Kosh Marley Boot

3. Osh Kosh Marley Boot

4. Osh Kosh Duck Boots

4. Osh Kosh Duck Boots

5. Old Navy Sherpa-Lined Snow Boots

5. Old Navy Sherpa-Lined Snow Boots

7. Native Jimmy Boots (Various Colors)

7. Native Jimmy Boots (Various Colors)

7. Gap Duck Boots

7. Gap Duck Boots

8. Gap Duck Boots

8. Gap Duck Boots

 

Dressing on the Dime

IMG_4517

I used to buy myself really nice, cute clothes. Then I had Flynn. And instead of keeping up with the newest Marc Jacobs line, I was busy obsessing over the latest Kickee Pants and Splendid Littles collections and perusing Etsy for the most adorable kid accessories and leggings. I could shop for hours and spend thousands dressing my two little ones, but I would like to stay married and so I have to figure out to indulge this habit without sending Dominique into a tizzy. I have developed a few ways to make kid clothes a tad less expensive.

Amazon Wish List

This is my favorite activity of all time, probably more than Pinterest and Instagram. I create a wish list on Amazon and put all my favorite things in the list. I then periodically check the list filtering for items with a price drop. I can then see items decreasing in price and catch an item while it is on sale. I just recently watched a Splendid Littles Romper go from $42 down to less than $10 in just a few short weeks. Amazon carries some of my favorite brands from Tea Collection to Kate Quinn Organics. The majority of my kids clothes have been purchased from Amazon.

Kickee Pants via Amazon.Com

Kickee Pants via Amazon.Com

Nununu Pants (Amazon) Kickee Pants (Look.com)

Nununu Pants (Amazon)
Kickee Pants (Look.com)

Splendid Littles via Amazon

Splendid Littles via Amazon

American Apparel

This is a great go to store for basic things like leggings, t-shirts and hoodies. I never pay full price here (or anywhere really). There is often a 30% promo code that floats around or a groupon where you can get $40 for $20 or $80 for $40. Sometimes it is a double bonus where you get to use your groupon and a promo code (although I think they caught on to this because last time it didn’t let me!)

Sweater- American Apparel

Sweater- American Apparel

H&M

Most of the things I put my kids in are “soft” and preferably organic. H&M has a socially conscious line that is 99% organic and super soft. You can find organic  t-shirts and onesies for less than $4 a piece. They also have cute accessories like cute scarf bibs.

Etsy and/or StoreEnvy

Etsy can be a hard place to catch a deal. You cannot really search the internet for a promo code and there aren’t really holiday sales. However, I have found if you start to follow some of your favorite Etsy shops on Instagram – they will post a flash sale or 24 hour sale with 10-20% off promo codes, which always make it a great time to stock up on Flynn’s tight pants and Nola’s knotted headbands.

Etsy Pants Ebay Patagonia Jacket

Etsy Pants
Ebay Patagonia Jacket

Consignment Shops

I haven’t really done this all too often, but during the end of Nola’s pregnancy I would stop by a few local shops just to check things out. I have been able to find a few great things from a Kate Quinn Organics pajama set to a pair of Toms shoes for Flynn. You can really maximize your money here if you sell your own clothes and use the earnings to buy items in the store, however, I am not ready to part with any baby clothes, but I may start to consign a few items just for fun.

Ebay

Similar to above, except I use this to find specific items I want. Think about the number of things your kids outgrow rather quickly (shoes, coats, fancier outfits). They often do not get too worn out before they grow out of them. This past winter I wanted to buy Nola a Patagonia coat, similar to the one we loved for Flynn. I was able to find a used one that seemed barely lived in for more than half the price of buying it new. Anytime I am looking for something, especially a high ticket item, I check Ebay first to see if there are any previously loved items that would fit the bill.

Jacket Patagonia (Ebay)

General Tips

  1. Never trust the sizes. Every companies sizes are different and so if your child is in the 3-6 months size, take a look at some of your 6-9 and even 9-12 month clothes. Some of those may fit too.
  2. Never take the tags off items…especially gifts. You will receive a lot of gifts when you have your little one. Some of them may not be right for the season once your kid hits that size or may not fit for very long (especially newborn sizes) when you receive it.
  3. Shop Ahead. When summer ended last year I estimated the size that Nola would be come June. I was able to snag a lot of great items for this upcoming summer dirt cheap. Anytime I see something I like, even if it is not going to be Flynn or Nola’s size for sometime, I grab it. Just don’t forget you have it!
  4. Once Flynn hit size 4 shoes he pretty much needed the next size up every few months. If you find a good price for a shoe in an upcoming size pick it up.
  5. Get a lot of wears. I often put something on Flynn or Nola when it is a tad on the bigger size and then let them wear it until it is a little snug. Flynn has a coat from last winter that was a little big then, but he can still squeeze into now if he needs to. Don’t be afraid to try something on that is a few months ahead.
  6. Think Gender Neutral. Obviously you don’t want to outfit your kids in all yellow or have your daughter rocking navy blue every day, but when it comes to certain items you really can get more long term usage by avoiding gender specific colors. For instance, Flynn had a Patagonia fleece vest with plain brown patches. They make the vest with blue or pink patches, but sticking with the brown it can easily be worn by Nola. Same goes for a navy blue pair of Tom’s shoes Flynn got and Minnetonka booties (maybe a tad girlie for Flynn, but he loved those shoes!)

The Elf May No Longer be on the Shelf, but…

IMG_1495

Valentine’s Day is Right Around the Corner!

Growing up, we lived in a Philadelphia row home with a huge, front bay window. Every holiday my mom would decorate the window…and I mean every holiday (Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, St. Patty’s Day, Memorial Day). Didn’t matter the holiday – the window was dressed to the nines. And if I think about it the mantle was done up too. My mom knew how to do holiday decorating from the Current window clings to inflatable shamrocks or hearts or turkeys or santas…you get the picture.

Last year was my first year as a mom and let me tell you I failed holidays. I didn’t even get poor Flynn a Halloween costume and forget an Easter basket. Between planning our wedding (yes baby came before marriage) and working a full time job- you were lucky I remembered all the parts to the pump everyday. (Good thing Target was down the street from my job for the days when I forgot some part).

With the privilege of being a stay at home mom, I am determined to get holidays right. And so I developed a Valentine’s Tradition. I am going to share the plan here in case Flynn or Nola end up in therapy and I can show them this and say “well I had every intention of being a good mom”.

So the plan goes…There will be a Valentine’s Day Kickoff on February 1. When Flynn (and Nola) head downstairs on February One there will be a new Valentine’s Day chair backer (similar to the PB Kids one, except Nan is in process of sewing them up for half the cost..I hope). Each morning there will be a small Valentine’s related present and a small note. The first few days will include things like Valentine’s Day PJ’s or V-Day book or cup. Other days may have small trinkets like matchbox car or crayons, etc. On Feb 14…Flynn will come down and there will be a smaller wrapped present and little celebration planned. So off to find some cute Pj’s…

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.07.47 AM