Is that a doll?

Why yes, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Why does it matter to you? I know this may sound harsh, but really I don’t need random people giving me their opinions on what my child should be playing with.

H started playing with baby dolls at an ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) class we were taking. He would rock the baby and feed the baby. It melted my heart watching him play with the baby dolls. He always knows when a real baby is nearby and makes a point to say hello. He’s a loving and caring child and I will nurture those qualities no matter what.

I was telling my mom how much H wanted a baby doll and kept asking for one. She sent him the one seen in the photo above. He was beyond excited to get HIS BABY. The joy in his little body was so great, he smiled so big when he opened his package.

Since his baby arrived, they go everywhere with us. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. The baby goes to the gym, the grocery store, to school pick up, etc.

I can’t tell you how many people commented on the fact that my son was carrying around a baby doll. A friend said to me when discussing this issue with people inserting their opinions, “Do you think they would have made a negative comment if he were carrying a stuffed dog?” Honestly, I don’t think any comment would have been made or if there was it would have been, “Aw, so cute!”.

I tend to walk away when people make comments at the store, but maybe I need to take the time to explain to them that there is nothing wrong my son playing with a doll. To me, I see a child learning to be nurturing (he changes the baby’s diaper and feeds them too), caring, and pretending to be just like his Mom and Dad.

H is learning and growing. It doesn’t matter what he plays with, he’s using his imagination and developing important life skills. So, yes, my son is playing with a doll. Playing with his baby is no different than him playing and using his imagination with his tools, cars, trucks, superheroes, stuffed animals, etc… It shouldn’t matter to you what he chooses to play with, what should matter is that we are raising loving, caring, and compassionate children who will one day excellent friends, uncles, fathers, partners, and contributing members of society.

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Potty Training

I am so ready to be done with diapers. For one, they are expensive! I also am just ready for H to go to the bathroom on the toilet.

I remember potty training L like it was yesterday. Our goal was to have him potty trained before H was born, and that definitely didn’t happen. He was showing signs that he was almost ready, like hiding when he went to the bathroom, telling us AFTER he went, and just being really interested in the bathroom. We let L pick out fun new undies and we let him wear them throughout the day while we had a timer set for every 30 minutes. We all were getting very frustrated and decided to stop for a few weeks and try again. After about three week we tried again with L and there were no issues or accidents, HE was ready…we can’t be ready for them.

So, here we are, H is two and he is definitely showing signs that he is interested. He tells me when he has to go to the bathroom (he won’t sit on the toilet unless he wants to…and this kid has multiple options from potties to toilet seat covers). I ask him often if he is ready to sit on the toilet and his response usually is: NO THANKS! ( At least he’s polite about it.) He also loves to flush the toilet and take all of the toilet paper off of the roll.

I think we need to try the same techniques we used when training L but I know we will need modifications because they are totally different children. Firstly, I need to take him shopping for his own undies. H likes to wear L’s over his diaper from time to time, but I want this to be special for him too. I am ready for H to be out of diapers but I’m not sure that he is quite ready… maybe in a few more week we will really be able to start!

So here is where I need you! Send me your tips and ideas! I want to add to my bag of tricks! So please let me know how you potty trained your little one(s) or how you plan on training when you/they are ready. Feel free to send wine too!

What’s for dinner?!

Hello there friends! Here is my meal plan for the week of January 13-January 19!

Sunday: Lemon Chicken with Aglio e olio, served with salad and bread

Monday: Farro and tomatoes with side salad

Tuesday: Lemon and herb roasted chicken and vegetables

Wednesday: Mini bacon and egg tarts served with fruit

Thursday: Bolognese served with salad and bread

Friday: MYO pizza with Trader Joe’s dough

Saturday: Burgers and potato wedges

Breakfasts ideas: eggs, avocado toast, smoothies, oatmeal (sweet or savory)

Lunch ideas: leftovers, panzenella, hard boiled eggs, salads, wraps, protein bars, shakes

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.

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!

Bachman’s

GUYS!!! I was invited to Bachman’s for a sneak peek event at Bachman’s Holiday Idea House! I was able to bring a plus one and I brought my mother in law since she has been telling me about Bachman’s since we moved here (for about 9 months now) that I had to go to this place and how amazing it is!

So the Holiday Idea House was incredible! I felt like I walked into my Aunt Karen’s house (she’s an incredible decorator!) and just made me so happy! I’m all about Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite holiday, but Bachman’s gave me such Christmas cheer!

The House is open to the public today, November 8 and is open until December 16.

This was just one of many rooms!!!

We also were able to explore the rest of Bachman’s and even had some delicious treats from the cafe located there too!

The best part about the house was that you could go to the store and buy anything and everything that you loved inside the house! (This could be dangerous!!!)

I found the most magical trees all lit and ready for Santa!

Since I was there for a special event we were able to make these super cute ornaments too!

I honestly can’t wait to go back to Bachman’s to shop for the holiday season so I can decorate my new home for Christmas!

Below are the list of events coming up a Bachman’s. I know we are excited to attend a few of them!

Holiday Idea House: November 8-December 16.

Holiday Open House: Saturday, November 17: 9 am-3pm *Santa and his reindeer, Albert, will make an appearance!

Who Wants to be a Toymaker? Holiday Play: November 17-December 16

Santa and Albert Photos Only Nights: Monday, November 26, 6 pm-7 pm and Monday, December 3, 6 pm- 7 pm

Inspiration Night: Make it Merry: Thursday, November 29. 4-8 pm

Holiday Design Workshops: Holiday Wreath: December 2 and 4 Trendy Greens Wreath Design: December 9

I gave addition information on each of these events so please feel free to ask for more!!

Huge thank you to MNBloggerBash and Bachman’s for a very merry night!

My #momlife

This. This photo. This is how my #momlife looks most of the time. My husband had come in from the other room to see our two children and two dogs basically on top of me. In this position I usually end up covered in slobber (from both the humans and dogs) but I also know I’m covered in so much love. I wish you could hear this moment, there was so much laughter and I’m so thankful Matt snapped this photo. It’s not perfect, it’s not set up photo, this is our real life…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Ok maybe I would make the dogs not shed, but you know what I mean.)

What does your #momlife (or #dadlife) look like?

Voting

I swore I was taking the boys to vote with me on November 6…just like my parents would take me when I was little. I said it every day, “We will vote on November 6.” I may have said it as a reminder since you know, mom brain.

Last week, two of my friends posted about early voting and voting in general (Hey Danielle and Allison!) I didn’t think about early voting. I decided to look into it and realized I could apply for an absentee ballot. It took me maybe 5 minutes to fill out the online form and by the next day my ballot was in the mail.

I was excited at how fast it came! The real reason for my applying for an absentee ballot was that things come up…I know my life can go from calm to poop literally on the floor in the matter of seconds. I didn’t want November 6 to roll around and me lose track of time or miss my chance to vote because of something coming up.

This morning I made sure to get my ballot in the mail and I will proudly wear my sticker today. (Ohio, I hope you’re with the program now and give stickers to absentee ballot voters!!)

I voted while the boys ran around and sang Baby Shark. L asked what I was doing and I did my best to explain to a four year old What voting was and why we do it. I told him that I voted to help make our world a better place, for me, for him, his brother, my sister, my brothers, and our friends and other family. I want the boys to know that their voices matter and they need to make sure their voices are heard. Their vote might only matter when it comes to meal planning right now, but eventually they will be 18 and voting with the rest of us adults.

Family and Friends…PLEASE VOTE. I will love you no matter how you vote, just please do it.