Things I Love Thursday: Buffets!

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

Let’s review typical toddler behavior:

They are impatient. They don’t really understand the concept of “waiting”. They rely on you to keep them occupied…or else they start exploring and potentially destroying or spilling things.

Toddlers are also picky and indecisive. Again, it’s not their fault; their tiny brains just haven’t learned how to do that yet. But you never know if they will want what you feed them. They might love it and demand more…or they might throw it on the floor and whine and/or scream. (As all parents know, the only sure fire way to know a toddler will eat something is if you’re trying to eat it yourself.)

These two behaviors are never more on display than when you’re out at a restaurant.

Enter: the buffet.

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A buffet is the perfect toddler outing. There is NO WAITING. There is food, immediately. There are many different KINDS of food. They can try a couple bites of something new as well as enjoy things they already like.

Plus, hello–unlimited dessert bar. (I guess that’s *my* favorite part of the buffet experience.)

As fair warning, it’s not a calm or relaxing affair to be at the buffet with small children. More like repeated, alternating trips to the food areas while trying to simultaneously feed yourself and assist the little one. The ideal situation is having one more adult than you have children, to take some of the pressure off.

Now, a place like a buffet chain restaurant may not be a high-quality fine-dining experience, but I’m okay with that sometimes.

HOWEVER!

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Did you know?? Some McMenamins properties do holiday buffet events! We went to Edgefield for Thanksgiving dinner last year and for Easter brunch this year.

See, we aren’t really the cooking type, and I don’t eat a lot of typical Thanksgiving food, so by going to a buffet we get all the benefits–quality food, no waiting time, a fun family outing–with none of the prep time, stress, or cleaning. (And kids under four are free!) WIN-WIN.

This year we will be doing Thanksgiving at the Kennedy School. And I am excited for all of us. 🙂

Long live the buffet!!

Things I Love Thursday: Voice Memos

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

Not long ago, we were in the car, on the way home from Friday night indoor gym, and the boys were singing EIEIO. It was super cute, but it was dark, and I was facing the wrong way. For some reason, I thought about the voice memo function. So I opened that, pressed record, and pointed it in the backseat toward Emmett.

He just kept singing those two lines over and over. That and his emphatic pronunciation just kill me ded with cuteness.

Ever since then, I’ve been working on capturing cute things they say, or their accent/inflections, or their little singing voices.

Voice memos take up hardly any space on my phone, unlike videos. Videos get the whole picture, but for some things it’s worth it to only have the sound.

Here are just a few of my favorite clips:

It’s crazy how much their language and physical talking skills have changed in such a short time–only a few weeks later and they now sing a lot more of EIEIO, for example. 🙂

So in conclusion, I’m finding voice memos to be a great complement to saving some sweet moments that are happening all the time! I will probably do more of these posts in the future because I love sharing the cuteness. 🙂 (I did record one morning at breakfast when they took turns screaming, just for fun…I’m sparing you that one.)

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments–Do you use voice memos? Do you record your kiddos in any particular way?

Things I Love Thursday: Toddler Tricycle

 On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

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Last summer, when they were about 20 months old, the babies always were super intrigued when the neighbors’ bike and tricycle were in their yard…and would try to climb on whenever they saw one (and have a super tantrum when we removed them).

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So we figured they were ready to start trying to use their own tricycles. At the fall resale, we got two random trikes. They were super psyched and demanded to ride them immediately (though they needed help, because their feet didn’t quite reach properly).

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However, they both only liked one of them: the Radio Flyer Fold 2 Go Trike (the one above with streamers). They fought over it, and would refuse to ride the other one. We realized that the other trike’s pedals were farther away from the seat and therefore harder to push. The Radio Flyer pedals sit closer, so their knees are at more of a right angle.

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(Here’s the day that they both actually started riding by themselves–this was early December, so they had just turned two. They both screamed and cried whenever brother had the ‘good’ trike. And rode happily when it was their turn.)

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This went on and on and we just kept trying to convince them to try the other bike too! Occasionally they would, sort of, but it never lasted. Andy kept saying, Oh let’s just buy a new one so they don’t fight so much. And finally, one afternoon in late February, I had had enough of the tantrums, and looked at craigslist on my phone while we were at the playground. I found that trike for sale nearby and I picked it up that night. And ever since–happiness and peace reign! They love riding their ‘bikes’ and there is no more fighting, screaming, or crying over them. Hallelujah!

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Here’s the trike all by itself. It seems to be specifically designed for younger toddlers (the description says 1-3 years). The main ‘feature’ of this trike is that it folds up. It doesn’t get exactly small, but it does make it easier to put into the back of the car, or even in the wagon. It’s easy to carry, too–the seat has a little ‘handle’ space.

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So, if you have a young toddler who seems ready for a tricycle, this one might be a great option!

I’d love to hear what your toddlers and preschoolers are riding — please share links and/or your experiences in the comments!

Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Quiet Book

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

In the last year or so, I’ve seen people online talking about quiet books. When they explained it, I was like, I totally had one of those! I loved it!

A quiet book is basically a hands-on-activity book (unlike a book you draw/write/color in), aimed at toddlers/preschoolers. There are tons of ideas and options out there; here are results from Etsy and Pinterest if you want to buy or make your own.

I asked my mom about it recently, and she just found it! Our guys have already played with some of it.

Here is what our vintage quiet book contains, if you want some ideas or inspiration. The pages are a bit stained, and some of the velcro bits need to be repaired or replaced, but in general, it’s in decent shape for being more than thirty years old!

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(There are three mini ladybugs inside.)

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(This page is how I learned to braid!)

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Did you have a book like this when you were little? Do you have one now for your little one? Would you ever make one?

Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Peg Board Toy

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

My mom bought me this little wooden peg board toy when I was 3 or 4. I remember it vaguely, sorting and organizing the pegs into rows. I don’t remember ever seeing any other toy like it.

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Earlier this year, we were visiting my mom, and she had this out! I was excited to see it again, and excited to let my own babies play with it. It’s still in great shape!

This summer I brought it back to our house, and they were really into it. They liked taking all the pieces out and putting them back again. They also liked to throw them, and chew on them, and arrange them on the windowsill.

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What I like is that it’s classic–solid wood construction, the paint is clearly high-quality and long-lasting (it’s over THIRTY YEARS OLD!), and that it’s open-minded play; there are so many things to do with it.

The only issue with this toy is that every single night, I had to go find all the pegs, which often get scattered all around the living room. And sometimes I just have to put them all in order, correctly. (That’s totally normal, right?)

Occasionally one or more will go missing, and then I try not to fret. Because it’s just a toy, but ack! If one is missing, there’s no way to replace it! So far–KNOCK ON WOOD[EN PEGS]–none have actually stayed lost.

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It’s got a little stamp on the bottom that says TC Timber. I finally looked it up one day, and it’s a former brand that later became Haba–and here it is!  It still exists!!

And look, here’s a fun version, with shapes! Wooden Shape Sorter

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Our boys are not even two, so hopefully there’s still a couple years of play with it. Maybe this toy could even last to be played with my grandchildren. 🙂 As long as we don’t lose any pieces, of course…

Things I Love Thursday: Window Crayons!

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

I read about these on Elise’s instagram or blog and figured our dudes would enjoy it:

Crayola Window Crayons

Crayons for your windows! That is so clever!

We have a big window in our living room, and the babies love looking out of it. We have our DIY Learning Towers so they can stand there by themselves (those dudes get heavy if we’re just standing there holding them!). So I figured–let’s have them stand in the towers and color on the window.

WINNER!!!!!

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They loved it! In fact, they asked to do it again the following day (by pointing at the bin we’d put the crayons in, and saying/signing please). We’re going to try not to do it super often so the novelty doesn’t wear off too quickly.

It’s fairly easy to clean up. I wiped down all the crayon marks easily with a wet cloth (former burp cloth, cloth diaper!), and then used windex to get rid of the big streaks. The crayon marks on the wooden windowsill/trim wiped right off, too.

Some tips: keep this a no-clothes activity. The crayon marks get everywhere. (They seem to wash out just fine, but might as well skip that step!) Also, you may want to invest in two sets at first. They already wore down the tips from this first set quite a bit.

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This is such a great indoor activity, especially heading into the fall and winter! They’re only so-so about coloring with crayons and paper at a table, but they were super gung-ho about coloring on a window! And this is definitely something they’ll be able to use for a long time, since their fine motor skills and drawing skills are only going to keep improving for the next few years.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have these yet? If you have older kids, do you think they’d like these too?

 

*Amazon links are affiliate

Things I Love Thursday: Our New Car!

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

At the end of July, I sold my 1998 Saturn sedan.

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I bought it in 2001, when I got out of college. That car served me well for fourteen years–it got me to work and back, it took two trips across the country, it circled the same Brooklyn blocks forever looking for a parking spot. I listened to countless hours of mix tapes through its tape deck, and when I finally joined the 21st century, I hooked my iPod up through the cassette converter.

When we were expecting twins and moving 3,000 miles, we knew that we needed to get a new car–something more reliable and easier to transport twin babies and all their accompanying stuff. We found a great deal on a 2009 Honda CR-V, and the Saturn became our little ‘extra’ car.

It needed work, so we figured that we would make it last as long as we could, and instead of putting more money into it, get a new second car sometime.

So this summer, it was finally time to sell the Saturn. I found a family who would be able to make the repairs and get some good life out of it.

Our search for a new used car accidentally led us to this little 2010 Nissan Versa.

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It’s a really stripped-down model–no power doors or windows, no cruise control, not even a key entry on the passenger door. But it gets good mileage, the backseat is surprisingly roomy, it has an auxiliary cable plug-in, and it even has that new-car smell! We hope it will last us at least ten years or so–maybe the twins will learn to drive in this car.

It’s our get-around-town car: I drive it to weekend photo shoots so that Andy can still drive the babies in the CR-V, and we drive it for errands during weekdays if we need to.

We bought it on August 1, so it’s been just over a month. We’re really enjoying it; it’s a nice little car–it feels zippy and modern.