Thursday, May 21, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week 17

Catch the Moment 365
A picture a day, for one year.

 So many things to love about this picture. I'm not a huge Mariner's fan, I mean - I'm from Seattle, have lived here most of my life and I will go to a game for the food and company. There, I said it. However, the grandparents are sports fans so every once in a while I oblige and send them a picture like this one. But seriously, when did my baby grow up? She's wearing K-Swiss sneaks, for gosh sakes.

 These are a few of my beautiful sister in laws. We celebrated a couple birthdays at the local trampoline park, which ended with two glamorous injuries (including yours truly) thanks for a moms vs. dads dodgeball. Yes, on trampolines. It's a long story, but basically an 11 year old sprained my ankle and it was so awesome because the next morning we flew out for our trip to Dallas! Yay! Because babywearing 2 kids and hauling a stroller with carseats and carry ons isn't hard enough to do; we needed to add a sprained ankle into the mix to make it interesting.
 Our trip to Dallas was flight #2 in the last year with both kids - and we have our third trip planned in December to fly across "The Pond" to see my parents over Christmas. Our first trip was to Long Beach in October, which was a mere 2 hour flight from Seattle. Seattle to Dallas is about a 4 hour flight, so we learned a few more lessons about how to fly efficiently and sanely with two littles. One huge travel tip came from That Mama Gretchen, who had recently flown to Texas with her littles too, and that was to put the ticketed non-lap child in their carseat for the flight. Penny was comfortable and calm for the flight. She's used to sitting in her car seat for sometimes hours at a time, so this wasn't that different. Miss Ruby, on the other hand.. well, she was a wiggly 15 month old who wasn't allowed to adventure like she wanted to. Again..more lessons were learned, but this was the exciting start for our super fun week in Dallas, which I will share more full details with you soon!
 Due to that (im)perfectly timed sprained ankle, I had to take it easy for the first part of our trip. But that wasn't going to stop me from taking the girls up to the infinity pool at the Omni hotel. How did I manage a 3 year old and a 1 year old in the water, by myself? Babywearing, of course. 
 Ok, I seriously lucked out on the hotel's restaurant. Texas Spice rocks my socks. The breakfast buffet was to die for. My glutinous, eager fingers made this photo come out embarassingly blurry, but what you'll find on that plate are eggs, breakfast potatoes, breakfast veggies, bacon, bread pudding, rice pudding and waay up there at the top were blueberries and raspberries. Why don't I just eat like this every day??
 More poor quality, but this was taken with a cell phone in a pretty much pitch black room so you'll forgive me. Both girls nap for 2 hours in the middle of the day and I was very thankful for their flexibility in our routine. I wasn't sure how it was going to go down with putting them to sleep in our hotel room each day, but it worked perfectly. Watching them sleep together on the bed made me dream more about them one day sharing their bedroom and perhaps even trying out sibling co-sleeping if that suits either of them. 

This picture won't do it justice but I hope you can get a good look. This is a pano of the view from the Giants of The Savannah view point at the Dallas Zoo. I actually ended up visiting the Dallas Zoo on two separate days because there was so much to see on the first day that we didn't get through everything. Thankfully I have an annual membership at the Woodland Park Zoo, which gave me reciprocal membership benefits of discount tickets. Zoos are kind of my thing (here's a list of zoos I've visited), so keep an eye out for what we thought of the Dallas Zoo. 

These aren't on Instagram, but most others are!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week 16

Catch the Moment 365
A picture a day, for one year.
Prepare for a week of mostly chicken pictures :)

We've lived in our current town for almost 3 years, and I'm amazed at how connected this community is. I grew up in a small-ish town for 16 years and never felt this involved. Maybe it's because I'm a parent and it matters now. Anywho, our local YMCA hosted an open house / community day and we got to tour the facility and there were literally dozens of local businesses and activities for the kids. Ruby surprised me when she picked up a crayon and grabbed a piece of paper and started coloring along with the toddlers.

Finding the balance between finishing and taking a break from projects is something that my husband and I have been working on for as long as we've been married. We've made the commitment that every Sunday morning we go on a family hike that's not too far from home. This is my favorite part of the loop.

 The Pierogie Flock almost doubled in a single day! I picked up 2 7 week old Cinnamon Queen chicks and 2 yearling Easter Eggers. This little lass is Sugar Cube, the more docile and sweet of the Cinnamon Queen pair.

 Easter Eggers will lay blue or green eggs. I was happy to find that mine lay blueish eggs! There's no difference from any other colored egg; it's just the shell that's different. What the hen eats, how she lives and her quality of life depict the quality of her eggs.

 I'm not a professional thrifter by any means, but some times I luck out. Once or twice a month we hit our local Goodwill and on this day I happened to stop in on furniture discount day. The manager wanted these pieces out, so I struck up a bargain with her and got all of this for $22. !!!!

 Miss Penny was so enamored by the little chicks. She sat next to them, talked to them, convinced them that she was not mean and wouldn't eat them. They were skittish, but we're working on getting them accustomed to being pet and held.

Our older girls (and by older, I mean that they're 2 years old) are so sweet with her. They've learned that she's gentle, safe and brings treats often.

These aren't on Instagram, but most others are!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week 15

Catch the Moment 365
A picture a day, for one year. got the best of me and I am severely behind in posting my pictures. This week, for whatever reason, I am super mushy and reflective. Here's pictures of my life.

 This is another post in the making, which is regretfully also way behind schedule...but lately I've been partnering with my local women & children's consignment shop and I co-hosted our local Great Cloth Diaper Change event with Grow With Me Boutique. This year I've made it a goal to be present in my community; whether it's as a cloth diaper educator, proponent or encouragement to mothers.

This silly girl of mine. I thought that a 2 year old with a newborn was tough - but I've learned that 3 is even harder. Does it ever actually get "easy"? Probably not. But in the midst of the "no you're not"s and the bazillion questions, she sneaks in one of these silly little smiles and my heart just about bursts out of my heart.
 Lately we have been taking evening family walks, usually keeping the kids in our double stroller so that Adam and I can actually take a brisk walk and focus on conversation between each other rather than making sure that Penny stays safe from the quite steep drop into a creek that's next to the trail. On this evening, Penny gasps with wonder at the field of "bubble flowers," and wanted to pick some. These normally pesky weeds were seen as magical wonder in the eyes of a toddler, who picked each one delicately and presented me with a huge bouquet. She very quickly followed up with "ok, now let's blow them out!" and she blew with all her toddler might, pretending that it was nature's birthday cake. This memory I will treasure close to my heart, forever.

So this day was one where the trenches of motherhood were deep with sticky mud and I was just stuck. I try very hard not to complain about it ever, because in all reality it is such an amazing gift for me to get to spend this time with my children. It is a short season and one day I'll be an old woman who will look fondly back at it. But this day, I just had enough. Somehow my husband knew and he brought home an extremely special treat - a whole pie from our local boutique pie shop - Snohomish Pie Co. It reminded me that even though the days may be hard, my partner will always be at my side and will pull me out of the muck.  

 I guess this week is a very reflective week for me! We were hanging out in the backyard because again, it was an unseasonably warm April day and we had to take advantage of sprinkler time with popsicles. Miss Ruby had finally gotten over her aversion of grass so I was happy to watch her toddle around as she watched her older sister run and shriek through the sprinkler. Adam came home early that day and snapped this picture of Ruby and I. Sometimes it's so hard to come to terms that I am a mama of two, that I've been entrusted in the very important task in raising these girls.

While being a mom of a very opinionated, head and heart strong 3 year old can be hard, it has so many rewarding moments. Sometimes when I am upset with something silly, disobedient and ultimately not important, she stops me and holds my hands and just tells me how beautiful that I am. She compliments my long hair, or my pretty smile and great hugs. She thanks me for making a snack for her earlier that day, and strokes my cheek. Where did she learn this??? It stops me in my tracks and I take a breath to slow down my frustrated heart. On this day she had grabbed my camera and I was showing her how to use it and take pictures. She turns it over to me and says "now you take a picture of me. See how beautiful my shirt is?" This also stopped me and I tried to explain to her that it's not that shirt that makes her beautiful or worthy of a picture. Her sincere heart is just gorgeous to me, and I hope that it teaches me a lesson or two about what is important in life.

On the very rare occasion, Penny wakes up earlier than Ruby. Penny is so much like her dad, and their sleep habits are no exception. They could sleep in until noon if I (and Ruby) let them. This morning she creeped into my bed and whispered "can I give Wooby a kissy-kiss?" and ever so gently gave her little sister a kiss. She silently crept over to the other side of the bed and snuggled in on my other side.

These aren't on Instagram, but most others are!

Win a 3 pack of Lotus Bumz Cloth Diapers or a pair of Doodle Pants leggings!

For the second year in a row, I am excited to be a part of the Cuckoo for Cloth giveaway event! Zephyr Hill Blog and ConservaMom are two of my favorite cloth diapering bloggers and they've coordinated a fun giveaway event for us cloth loving families too. After reading my post, be sure to check out their grand prize package (includes items from Funky Fluff, GroVia, Wink Diapers, Margaux & May, Zookaboo and Geffen Baby), as well as the link up of bloggers at the bottom of the post, because we each have a fluffy giveaway of our own too!

I've been a cloth diapering mama for 38 months and through two kids. Whew! As a blogger I have gotten to try out over two dozen brands of diapers and countless cloth coordinating accessories. But wanna know about two of my favorite fluffy items? Lotus Bumz and Doodle Pants! Keep reading to find out how you can win!

Lotus Bumz diapers are pocket style cloth diaper, meaning they made of two layers - an outer layer of waterproof PUL and an inner layer of moisture wicking fleece. The back end has an elastic secured opening that you "stuff" an insert into which is what soaks up the mess. Lotus Bumz cloth diapers come with a microfiber insert, but are compatible with pretty much any brand or material of insert available. My own stash is made of probably over 20 different brands, styles and material choices of inserts and they all fit in very well.

The diapers are called "one size," meaning that they will grow with your baby from newborn to potty training. You adjust the diaper size by the rows of center snaps and fit around the waist using the hip snaps. My girls are 2 years apart and for about 10 months I cloth diapered both of them - it was super easy to adjust the fit for the infant vs the toddler.

You also can't beat the seriously adorable prints that you can find! 

Click over to read the full Lotus Bumz cloth diaper review

Enter to win a 3 pack of cloth diapers from Lotus Bumz. The winner will get to choose boy, girl or gender neutral prints (based on stock availability). 

Doodle Pants have been a long time favorite over here. It all started when Penny was learning how to walk and I realized just how hard it is to dress a cloth diapered little girl. Because seriously, diaper bulge is just unnecessary. Since then I've been in love with them because they are such a comfy fit and are versatile throughout most of our temperate weather here in Washington.
Because I'm a baby wearing mama, I also try to make sure that the clothes my kids wear are comfortable for them too. I've worn Ruby for at least 6 hours a day for the first year of her life; including visits to the grocery store, running around at the zoo, play dates and cooking dinner. Most pants ride up when a baby is in a soft structured carrier and it would be so sad to find her poor little chubby calves and ankles cold. Doodle Pants always stay where they need to be and stretch just right to keep her comfortable. So not only are they fluffy butt ready, but they are babywearing friendly too! Double win in my book.

You can now coordinate your favorite Doodle Pants leggings with their new clothing line, like toddler sweatshirts, onesies, t-shirts and play dresses to match your Doodle Pants.  I especially love the sweatshirts because the hole is a little larger than standard to easily fit baby and toddler heads through. Doodle Pants is also offering  a 15% off discount on by using the code PIEROGIE15!
As a separate prize, Pierogie Mama readers can enter to win a pair of Doodle Pants leggings too!

Disclosure: The Pierogie Mama, The Zephyr Hill and ConservaMom blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please refer to the terms and conditions particular to each giveaway. Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Beech-Nut Organic review and giveaway!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Beech-Nut. I received a free coupon to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Let's face it, not all baby food is created equal.

For the most part, my kids are fed exactly what I am eating. It's called baby-led-weaning. I allow solid food to be an explorative experience rather than worrying about their calorie intake, because they will eat when they are hungry (and in Ruby's case, she is still breastfed so I can rest assured that she will still get the nutrition that she needs). But there are plenty of times where solid foods aren't as convenient as pre-made baby food. But some baby food tasted down right bad. Like, I'm not even surprised that they don't want to eat what I'm trying to feed them. So I've learned (thanks to the pickiness of my own kids) which baby foods are actually tasty.

Recently I put the Beech-Nut organic line to the test. I chose the "just apple, raspberry & avocado" flavor combination because avocado smoothies are a big hit around here.

Silly me, I tried feeding Ruby with a spoon to give her a taste. She obliged me for one try, but quickly gave me this look like "I can do this myself, mom!" and started grabbing the spoon from my hand. We played this game for a few seconds, while she furiously signed "more! more" and pointed to the jar. So I pulled out a straw and let Little Miss Independent go for it!

Do I need to say that it was a hit? Yes, it was a hit! It honestly wasn't that surprising because when I tasted it myself, it was pretty yummy!

My main priority in prepared food purchases is always the check the ingredients. Do I know and understand what's inside? No worries here - there aren't even any preservatives listed. It's just like as if I made it at home myself! They use a special technique which includes cold puree and deaeration that keeps the food looking, smelling and tasting natural.
Beech-Nut can be found at  Kroger, Babies “R” Us, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Wakefern,,  Winn-Dixie, BI-LO, Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, A&P, Pathmark, Albertsons, Hannaford, Raley’s, Meijer, Nugget Market,, Harris Teeter, Shaw's, ACME, Shoppers Food and Cub Foods. But that's a really long list, so you can just use this handy store locator to find a Beech-Nut retailer near you!

Want to try Beech-Nut too? Enter the giveaway below to win a coupon for free product!


Monday, May 11, 2015

A Fairy-Dinosaur Party

Yet another post that has been a few months in the making! The girls celebrated their birthdays in March, and I'm just now getting around to filling you all in on the details. Whoops!


Penny and Ruby shared their birthday celebrations again this year. Last year we held off on Penny's birthday celebration because we weren't quite sure when Ruby would be born (she was born a week after Penny's 2nd birthday), then we rolled together a "meet the baby" with Penny's party. We decided to keep the tradition going and celebrated them together again this year.

To give myself a few months of preparation I asked Penny (who would be turning 3) what kind of party she would like. She thought about this and very seriously responded that she wanted a fairy party with a "sharp tooth" birthday cake. We had watched the original Land Before Time and she was also quite in love with Dinosaur Train, so it made sense that this would be combined with the overall obsession with all things princessy that has lasted the last 9 months or so. And thus, the idea behind the fairy-dinosaur birthday party was born.

I wanted the party to be a memorable one for Penny and her friends. Alas, I'm not terribly crafty thanks to the wonders of Pinterest I was able to pull off a budget-friendly themed party by thrifting and asking around for most of our items.

First, I have to show you this.
Isn't she adorable? I talked to Carly when I was planning the party and she came up with this little cutie. I had a clay cake topper made for Penny's first birthday as well, so I guess this will be our first birthday tradition in our family. Carly's shop is full of different cake topper ideas. Once I found the little dino that I liked, she got the colors down and added the adorable touches like the little hair bow (which actually ended up being very similar to the hair bows that Penny and Ruby wore at their party) and even the little eyelashes for the final girly touch. There's a special shelf in my Sister Room that I have in mind to display these special treasures. Be sure to check out her shop for a handmade cake topper!

No party is complete in my mind without delicious food, so I made sure that our menu was catered towards toddler appetites, keeping a minimum on sticky fingers and messes as well as having a dinosaur theme.
On the menu - 

  • Watermelon T-rex heads
  • Stegasaurus eggs (deviled eggs with a twist)
  • T-rex teeth (cheese triangles)
  • Pteranadon wings (chicken wings)
  • Corpolite (meatballs)
  • Bronto Chow (veggie platter)
  • Chips and Lava (chips and salsa)
  • Primordial ooze cups - instead of traditional cake, I made dirt cups and added gummy dinosaurs on top. My husband made this awesome platter!

You've probably seen something similar floating around on Pinterest, but it's truly not that hard to make. Just make sure that the models that you use are solid and not hollow.
I also made this awesome paper birthday banner, which is the pinnacle of my craftiness but it came out really well! I learned a lot from making this one, so I think I'll try my hand at it again for different seasons or events.
The only other decoration that I used were thrifted dinosaur models, which I added tutus and wings to. A little bit of frilly pink lace, hand cut wings and hot glue did the trick.
Ok, I've talked about food (check), decorations (check), now for the fun, right? The weather was forcasted as an unseasonably warm 65 degrees, so I decided that we'd have a dinosaur egg hunt. It was about 3 weeks before Easter, so sourcing the eggs wasn't hard. We hid over 200 eggs in the yard and with almost 2 dozen toddlers in attendance, it wasn't a very long egg hunt at all!

My mom also painted a cute mural inspired by the shark birthday party that we were invited to last summer.
We ended with a little birthday song and more fun time with friends.
Can't wait to see what next year's theme is!
Did you love this post? Please re-pin if you do!

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific - Our Family Trip to Long Beach (Part 2)

Read about our visit to San Pedro, Downtown Disney and how to babywear at the pool:

Visiting zoos and aquariums has kind of become my thing when I travel with the kids. This past year we've tagged along on three of my husband's work trips - Long Beach, Whistler & Vancouver BC and Dallas, Texas. The Aquarium of the Pacific was my favorite part of our trip to Long Beach.

We have an aquarium in Seattle, but to be honest it really hasn't been updated since I visited in high school. I didn't know what to expect at all when we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and in hindsight, it was one of my favorite days ever.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is right in the harbor at Long Beach. One of the first exhibits that we walked into was the deep sea exhibit which featured a recreated "whale fall." When a whale dies in the ocean, it falls to the ocean floor and becomes a source of nutrition for many animals. The Aquarium recreated the habitat that it would have become. When I saw it in October, it had already been on display for several years and it really wasn't as gross as you would expect. The crustaceans that were working on it kept everything very clean, so there were several spots where ribs and other bones were exposed but picked clean. I've always had a fascination with the ocean, especially whales and the deep sea, so I geeked out a little bit and texted pictures to my real-life marine biologist friend, who had participated in several whale decropsies. She geeked out too!

The most impressive view at the Aquarium of the Pacific if their Blue Cavern exhibit. It's modeled after Blue Cavern Point near Long Beach, a popular diving spot.

Several times throughout the day they got a team of divers in the water. They cleaned the glass, fed the fish and were mic'ed so they talked to the crowd about what they were doing, who they were feeding and conversation information.

We also visited the penguins, seals and jellies. Then I got kissed by a ray.
Penny was in a pretty intense shark obsession phase, so it was only perfect timing that the Aquarium has an area where we could touch different types of docile sharks. We worked up our courage and Penny was able to pet one. I could tell that she was not expecting the skin to feel like sandpaper!
When big sister took her regularly scheduled nap in the stroller, I took little Ruby out and she got to get an up close view of the colorful tanks without Penny's toddler agenda pulling us around. This is one of my favorite pictures of Ruby as a little baby.
We easily spent 6 hours at the aquarium that day. I walked through all of the exhibits several times, each time finding a different tank that we missed because of too many people crowding it. The outside area had toddler story time, a splash park and more climbing structures to give the kids something to play with.

At dinner that evening, Penny asked me to draw a few of her favorite animals that she saw. All I had was a napkin, but she was happy to color them in for me too.

Have you been to The Aquarium of the Pacific? What was your favorite part?

See what zoos The Pierogie Mama has written about


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