Oh My Baby ehh I mean Toddler

Well H turned 2 at the end of the new year and he automatically became a full fledged 2 year old. He absolutely hated having “Happy Birthday” sung to him and he does not like having his picture taken anymore.

He is still so sweet and loving but he is giving me a run for my money. The best way to describe him would be that he is a Sour Patch Kid.

He is constantly learning and growing and while doing that he is figuring out brand new ways to do things!

H is in a big kid bed now since he’s been climbing out of his crib since he was a year old. L moved to a big kid bed around 2.5 years old. L never got out of his bed and always called to us if he needed us. H however would get out of bed and bang on his door! That lasted a few weeks until last week when he figured out how to open his bedroom door and really all of the other doors too!

One night he ran into our room and yelled, “BOO”…that was fun! I can’t hide out in the bathroom any longer either (we need to get a new lock for that door).

We remind him all the time to be safe!

Matt and I were talking the other day about how H will be the kid we are called to the school for because he did something like bring a frog to school because he found it on the way there and he needed a friend. Totally harmless but not really what he should be doing.

I have been blessed with two very loving children and I couldn’t be happier. H is really lucky to have L as his brother because I think even if they get into something together, they will also figure it out together.

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Questions for my Mother

I sat down with my mom and asked her a few questions! We laughed and cried and enjoyed some great conversation. It was really nice to share this time together and I am so appreciative of her. Love you Mom.

Photos by Erin from Hello Photo Photography

What’s the hardest part (to date) about being a mother? Making sure that everyone’s needs are met and keeping everyone happy at the same time.

Why do you think it’s your job to keep everyone happy? I don’t know.

When you were a new mom, is there anything you weren’t prepared for? I wasn’t prepared for what needed to be done and how to do it. After the birth, there were so many things that needed to be done, such as appointments and managing relationships.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Rebel, Creative, Hardworking

Describe me in 3 words: Rebel, Adventurous, Super-Friendly

How do you think we are alike? How are we different? We both like to be with people (who want to be with us). We love life and our children. We are different because I am obsessively organized and you are not.

How are you different from your mom? Alike? We are different because our generations are different, for example, women were expected to stay home when they had children. I stayed home for a while but eventually went back to work in the school where my kids went to school. We are alike because I share the creativity that my mother has and the creativity that her mother had.

Is there something as a parent you swore you never would do, but you did anyway? I don’t think there is anything.

Biggest achievement? I have accompanied several shows at University in NYC and that’s the closest I’ll ever get to Broadway.

Biggest regret? That I did’t go to music school my freshman year, I went to school for math for two years. I finally switched because that’s what I needed to do for me.

Is there anything you wanted to tell me, but never have? I am an open book, Kate.

What’s the best thing I can do for you right now? Just love me for who I am and take care of me when I am old, even when I am difficult.

When did you realize you weren’t a child anymore? When I had you.

What’s your biggest insecurity? Caring about what people think about me.

What do you love most about yourself? I love everything about myself. I love the things that I can do, my talents, my family. I love my looks, I am 60 and I think I look ok.

What did you think I would grow up to be? Honestly, a singer, either opera or on Broadway…but I am happy with what you are doing but I wish you would sing again.

What’s your first memory of me? The doctor was holding you upside down measuring you and my dad came in to the room taking pictures and was kicked out of the hospital.

Did you ever lose me? If so, where? Nope. Never did.

Which one of the parents at my school annoyed you the most? Haha not mentioning names on record.

Any of my friends really annoy you? No.

What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t care what people think about you and do what’s in your heart.

What’s your favorite family tradition? Camping.

What’s one thing you want to ask me? That’s a good question, I never thought about that. Actually, why are you not singing, Bitch.

What’s for Dinner?

Well we are back home and in meal planning mode. This week will be the last week that I just meal plan for dinner and I am going to give it a try at planning breakfast, lunch, and maybe snacks too!

Sunday: Crock pot pulled pork with slider buns, salad, coleslaw, and rice pilaf

Monday: Skinny Taste’s Corn Chowder, salad, bread

Tuesday: Steak! and potatoes wedges, salad.

Wednesday: Out to dinner with Family

Thursday: Pasta Night or Fish

Friday: TBD

What’s For Dinner?

Well, I should have thought about not starting my meal plan before the holiday season! This upcoming week and the following week are going to be so different with Christmas and New Years and our traveling! We will get back to normal once the New Year is here!

Sunday: Chicken Parmesan with homemade sauce, salad with a homemade lemon garlic dressing, and L requested mashed potatoes.

Monday: Christmas Eve Dinner with my in-laws. We will have prime rib, potatoes of some kind, veggies, etc… This dinner is always delicious!

Tuesday: Christmas Day! (Breakfast- egg bake and baked apples with cranberry mimosas.) Dinner will be a recipe from my friend Rana (rana.monet on instagram!) I will make the crock pot version of her Beef Daube Provencal and serve it with a spinach salad with a homemade lemon dressing

Wednesday: LEFTOVERS

Thursday: H’s second birthday! This kid loves to eat so tentatively we will have pizza and cotton candy for lunch and burgers for dinner! Of course we will have cake too!

Friday: Honestly, NO CLUE!

Saturday: Travel Day!

Duck Duck Grey Duck

No, no, not the game…the bags! Have you heard about the Grey Duck Bag Company? If you haven’t you have got to check them out. https://greyduckbags.com/

I received three bags and a wrist strap: The Market Tote, The Adventurer, and The Minimalist. I am going to review each bag for you! First you should know though, these bags are WASHABLE, not just in a sink, but machine washable! The bags are made out of a super soft laminated cotton and they contain 0% lead, BPAs, or Phthalates. These Grey Duck bags are HANDMADE in Ely, Minnesota. One of my favorite things about this company is that a portion of every sale goes to the Ely Community Resource.  You can learn more about this here: http://elycommunityresource.org/

The Minimalist: This is a lifesaver for me. My wallet just doesn’t fit into my Coach wristlet and my wallet is always a mess then. I can easily fit my wallet, my keys, and some essentials (MAC lipsticks!) in my Minimalist. This will be a great asset to my summer pool/beach bag, I will be able to keep everything important zipped and in one place, and if the bag gets sandy or dirty I know that I can wash it and it will be good as new!

The Adventurer: THIS BAG IS EVERYTHING in my opinion. Right now, I have a few diapers and wipes in this bag. I can attach the wrist strap if I need to. I know I will use my Adventurer all the time. We are almost at the potty training point with H and I will add undies to this bag and I can also use this bag if I need to put in soiled clothing if we are out, BECAUSE the bag is washable!!! This bag will also be an essential in my summer bag, this is the perfect bag to keep all of our sunscreens in (yes, we have a few varieties!). 

The Market Tote: I know the first thing I always check in larger bags is the pocket situation. This bag has three deep inside pockets, on the Grey Duck website, it says you could even put a wine bottle in there, and I think I am going to have to try this out! Honestly, the pockets are great, and I know I won’t lose anything if the bag falls over, or is knocked over by  a toddler. There is also a pocket on the outside, which is a great place to put your keys and phone until you are able to get them into your Adventurer or Minimalist! I know this bag will have many uses for me, the bag with many hats, I have been needing a bag for the gym because I really don’t want to put my stinky gym sneaker back in my diaper bag after  workout, the Goldfish crackers don’t need that smell. This bag is a great fit for my shoes, a towel, a water bottle, and my sneakers. I know if I drop my bag in the slush and snow, I can wipe it down and then wash it once I get home!

I really need you to go to the Grey Duck Bag Company website and look at all of the patterns. These bags aren’t only great for moms but these would be a great addition to your child’s backpack, or uses in the car to hold toys, books, and crayons! These bags are a great teacher gift idea, or a gift for a friend or family member. The wrist strap can turn these into sweet wristlets for anyone to use! 

I know I love my bags and you will too. Even my children love my bags, and I don’t have to worry about a water bottle ruining them. Remember, these bags are handmade, and made with love. You can feel the love from Ely, MN when you are using your Grey Duck Bag.

Full Disclosure: I was sent these bags from The Grey Duck Bag Company. The review of the Grey Duck Bag Company is my honest opinion.

Customized Hair Care: Formulate

I was seeing different posts and review about customized hair care and I was curious, could this really work or is this just another “Instagram Thing”? When Formulate and I partnered up, I was excited and slightly nervous.

Could this formula, created for me, really help me achieve the hair goals I had? Would my hair get some of its pre-baby boost back? I recently was getting really bag tangles on the back of my head, and I tried a few different hair masques and leave in conditioners, and honestly, nothing was working. 

I didn’t really notice a big change in my hair after L, but after H, my hair changed completely. My hair went from being super straight to wavy. I was super excited to have wavy hair but I had ZERO idea on how to tame it! 

So fast forward, we are about two years after H’s birth and I’m three weeks into trying my own customized shampoo and conditioner: FORMULATE. 

I used the hair wizard to pick and choose what was right for me. I even was able to choose my scent…and strength of the scent. Abby from Formulate was very helpful and answered any questions that I had. (They also have an app you can use!)

Formulate’s formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, dye free, preservative free, and cruelty free. They also give you a pamphlet that lists all of the ingredients and also gives you insight on some of the specific ingredients chosen just for YOU.

Since using, I am able to get a comb through my hair with ease. My hair smells great all day long (yes, even after the gym before I can sneak away to shower). My hair just feels healthier. 

I do think the next time I receive my Formulate shampoo and conditioner I will change a few things to try to achieve different goals or maybe the scent. 

Overall, my experience with Formulate has been positive and I would recommend to friends and family! Oh, and a fun thing I noticed the other day: They have braille on the bottles to label which is which! 

If you are even a little curious, ask me some questions, enter the giveaway, or let me hook you up with a coupon! Trust me, it’s worth it!

Disclosure: Formulate sent me these products as a launch partner. Even though they sent these products to me, my review is my honest opinion. 

Becoming our bar: The tale two hutches

I’m probably posting this for accountability. We need to get this project started! I’ve been dreaming about it for months now.

As you can see these beautiful hutches are still filled with things that need to be unpacked. BUT most of the boxes and things that are there are going to be going in/on our finished products.

We plan on sanding these down a little and updating them with a new stain, a grey. The great will fit perfectly in our living room.

The one hutch we will make into our at home bar. We have plans to hang some wine glasses, although I recently started buying plastic ones since Matt is really good at breaking real ones 😆.

I think this will be a great addition once finished to our living room area and a plus when entertaining!

The other hutch we want to put our more grown up games that the boys are too young to play, like monopoly, and I hope I don’t destroy their souls the first time we play…I’ve never lost 😂 and I’ve always been playing the cheaters edition for as long as I can remember. We also will use this as our bookshelf for our books and cookbooks! I love a good cookbook, I know we can use our tablets and phones, but I like having the recipe on paper in front of me.

I know this will be a project, but the outcome will be so fun! I’ll share updates as we go along and I’ll share the final product and take suggestions on what we should add to them!

Who is coming for drinks once it’s done?! Just know we have children and dogs, so your cocktail most likely won’t be enjoyed in peace and quiet!

Urban Forage: Winery and Cider House

I’m writing this post while I enjoy a nice cold cider from this fun winery and cider house I got to check out today.

Matt and I like to venture out and find fun and new place to go, with and without the kids. Today we drove across the Mississippi into Minneapolis to Urban Forage.

We walked in and we were greeted by Jeff, the owner. Jeff is extremely knowledgeable about his wine and cider and we enjoyed talking with him about his bar and the details that go into making their wine, cider, and mead.

We started with a tasting of the ciders, Urban Forage currently has four ciders on tap: Dry Cider, Pear Cider, Spiced Cider, and a Semi Sweet Cider. We also tried the dry red wine and the sangria (you have to see what this is a combination of!…go and order! You won’t be disappointed!)

I have to say, my favorite was the seasonal Spiced Cider, it tasted like Holiday Cheer in a Cup! I even left with a growler (that what I’m drinking now).

The Pear Cider was another favorite. The Pear Cider reminded me of growing up since my parents have a pear tree in the backyard and the cider tasted like fresh pears. All of the pears are gathered from all over the Twin Cities and Metro area, it really was incredible to speak with Jeff and see how much love he and his wife put into their production of their wines and ciders. I really love that everything they use is locally sourced, I feel like it makes it feel like home, even though the Twin Cities are heavily populated!

I feel like Urban Forage is the place to go where everyone would know your name, there was such a welcoming and calm feeling in the tap room. The Urban Forage also had a cute game hutch included Hungry, Hungry Hippo! The Urban Forage is family friendly! I know my children would love to play a game or two while snacking on the cheese plate and Mom and Dad could enjoy a drink or two.

I wish I tried the Wassail, their warm spiced cider! Next time!

Jeff offers tours on Sundays at 1:15, you can purchase you tickets online. Their hours are as follows: Thursdays 4-9 (GAME NIGHT), Friday 4-11, Saturday 2-11, and Sunday 2-6. They are located at 3016 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. You should check them out and follow them on social media. I truly cannot wait to go back, visit with whoever I am with, drink delicious, locally sourced ciders and wines, and fill my growler!

Who is coming with me to game night?! (Fun Fact: Jeff comes up with all the themes and trivia questions!)

Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

Disclosure: This post is an honest review based on my experience. This post is sponsored by Urban Forage.

Wildkin Luggage

Traveling with children isn’t a walk in the park. Lucky for me, my boys have been traveling for a good part of their lives and are decent travelers. Since L was about 2, he was carrying something of his own when we traveled. It gave him great pride to have something that was his, that could be filled with his things. I think this was a start of instilling responsibility in him.

Now that H is almost two, and he will be 2 when we fly across the country next, he will also have to carry something of his own.

When I came across the Wildkin luggage, I knew it was perfect for our family.

I partnered up with Wildkin to share with you about their luggage for children, and oh my goodness it couldn’t be cuter!

We received two pieces of luggage, a rolling suitcase and a duffle bag.

The Roller Bag:

This bag is lightweight and the wheels roll nicely. Either child (4.5/2) would be able to successfully use this bag. We plan on using this as a carry-on. The bag also comes with a strap that you can attach to the back to carry as a one shoulder bag and there is a loop that you could use to connect to a larger bag.

The Roller Bag also has a water bottle holder and a front pocket. L is already planning on what snacks and books he can pack in there!

The Duffle Bag:

It is so cute seeing L holding the duffle bag! He fell in love with the bag instantly! The bag has a padded shoulder strap and a small front zip pocket. Perfect for a weekend getaway or toys, books, and snacks!

Both bags are wipeable and should only be cleaned with a cloth. Make sure to let them dry complete before closing them up!

Whether the boys are flying to Revvie and PopPop’s or driving down the street to Gert and Papa’s, these bags are perfect! The boys know that these bags will be used for special times and are excited to use them ASAP! I know these Wildkin bags will be with us for a while! Oh and did I mention how many fun patterns they have?! You have to check them out! Wildkin Luggage

Disclosure: I received these bags from Wildkin and this review is my honest opinion about the luggage. This post is sponsored by Wildkin.

The Question of Cutting Cable

This is something that we have gone back and forth on for a very long time. We pay for so much cable and we barely use it. We do our best to keep screen time for the boys to a minimum but there are days we have something on in the background. We try to be outside as often as possible (although it’s gotten so cold so fast here) and encourage play and learning when we are inside.

The TV tends to come on in the late afternoon when I try to get dinner started…sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I always enjoy winding down to something mindless or funny at the end of the day, but life gets crazy and I’m trying to read more! I’ve even joined a book club!

On top of the cable we also have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon (through Prime). And these companies have some great shows of their own, for both adults and children. We sometimes pay for extras, like Showtime, we love ending our Sunday nights with the Gallagher family when they are on.

I mean this list is excessive and we watch over the air channels and maybe three others. So we have decided that now is the time we CUT it, at least for now. We have narrowed our choices down to HuluLIVE or YouTube TV. Does anyone have any either of these? Pros/Cons? Let me know your opinion!!! These options will be significantly less expensive than cable. Now, if only we could find a way around the cable company’s cancellation fee!