The Chirping Moms: November 2012

November 30, 2012

Friday Favorites: Sweet Seat

As the holidays approach, many family members might ask "what do the kids need this year?". I have a suggestion: Ask for a Sweet Seat
This seat has quickly become a favorite item in our house. Maggie is still too small to sit in a chair, too big for a high chair & refuses most boosters. They "are for babies" she says. To Maggie, the Sweet Seat looks like a fun chair you put on the big chair. I love it because it's so well made. They are a great investment if you have a few kids/ plan on having more. They are hand constructed & built to last through the years for many children. 
Alex has just started to try out the Sweet Seat & before long it will be hers.
 Sweet Seats are hand made in the USA. They are made by an amazing family. I love their story:
"SweetSeat is made up of five best friends; one husband, one wife, and three handsome and energetic young boys. We live on a working farm outside of San Antonio, TX enjoying the simple life. We spend a lot of time eating around here and got tired tripping over that big, clunky high chair in the corner. Then came that hard-to-clean plastic booster with all of the straps. We knew there had to be a better way. Thus, SweetSeat was born out of a desperation to find high-quality, long-lasting, small-footprint children’s goods to fill our tiny barn home. What we couldn’t find, we decided to create! Each and every SweetSeat is handcrafted on our farm, by our own hands. We love working together as a family to produce a product that your children will use and love for years to come." 

Another bonus: the beautiful patterns! Now, there are even matching bibs. 
Remember when our parents used to make us sit on the phone book? These are far more fashionable right?
All seats are shipping the same day, but please order soon to ensure delivery for the holidays. 
Be sure to check them out on Facebook & Twitter too.
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Friday Favorites: Wild Things - Funky Little Dresses

Maggie has her first "favorite outfit". Her two favorite things are animals & playing dress up. So, when this darling mouse dress arrived from Wild Things - Funky Little Dresses, she couldn't put it on fast enough. 
I love Wild Things because they are adorable & so well made. Also, before this dress came Maggie preferred to wear a big puffy fleece bumble bee costume most places. I want Maggie to have fun & dress up (even to the grocery store), but it sure makes it easier if it's a lovely dress like this!
Wild Things- Funky Little Dresses, is a fun line of dresses for little girls (there are also a few items for boys). Kirsty Hartly, the shop owner, makes all of the dresses herself in her home studio in Lancashire, England.  Wild Things clothes are "made to excite and inspire little ones’ imaginations, while also being simple and practical."
Maggie wore her mouse dress to school for the first time this week. When we got to school she ran into the classroom as fast as she could & ripped her coat off in front of the teacher. I was in the hallway & could hear her sweet voice telling the two teachers "Look at me, I'm a little mouse today". 
I think this dress matches Maggie's funny little personality perfectly. I've been browsing the shop trying to decide which one will suite Alex. I'm thinking maybe the fox!
Wild Things dresses would make a fantastic holiday gift for any little girl! Be sure to head over & browse their wonderful clothes. In addition to the Etsy shop, you can find Wild Things on Facebook. Please note that they are only taking orders for Christmas delivery until Monday, December 10th. 
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November 29, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Tradition: Reading Holiday Books with Your Little Ones

For more holiday inspiration,  please follow our Pinterest boards for our latest pins, including all our favorite holiday ideas!

Can you tell that Courtney and I are getting into serious Christmas modes at our houses?!?!  One of my friends was out visiting last weekend from the city and compared my husband and I to Mr. and Mrs. Claus, because we seriously love this time of year so much!!  One idea that I started last year, thanks to the wonderful knowledge of other bloggers, is a Christmas Book Countdown!!!!!

Countdown to Christmas Tradition : The Chirping Moms


Here's the idea...wrap 25 Christmas related books and lay them under the Christmas tree.  Each night starting the night before December 1st all the way through December 24th...we open up and read one book a night as a family before we head up to beds (and sometimes many more, on the requests of my boys)!  Starting the last night of November, we read Elf On the Shelf and magically, he appears for the whole month of Decmeber.  Then, every night we choose a new book to read.  For Christmas Eve, I wrap up a new book that is a new addition to the collection and we also make sure we sneak in one last reading of The Night Before Christmas!

The kids LOVE it and so do I---a perfect way to end the night this holiday season!

Countdown to Christmas Tradition : The Chirping Moms

I have a few more days to get the books wrapped, but just pulled them down from the attic and wanted to share the idea with you visually!  Where do we get most of the books???  Gifts, store deals, library sales (are amazing!), and garage sales!  

I like to look for books that are cute/fun/festive, but also like to include some that share the true meaning of Christmas (that is simple enough for preschoolers to understand!).  I wanted to include some of our favorites for you, in case you are on the search for some good children's Christmas books.  

Llama Llama Holiday Drama:  We are huge Llama Llama fans in this house!
Max's Christmas:  Cute story with the characters Max and Ruby
 Babys First Nativity:  A really simple version of the Nativity---perfect for toddlers
Duck & Goose, It's Time for Christmas:  Got to love Duck and Goose?!
The Elf on the Shelf:  A household staple!
 Santa Roo:  Featuring Pooh and friends
Frosty the Snowman:  We LOVE our Hallmark recordable version, but it's one of our favorite holiday movies/stories in this house.
 A Star So Bright: A Christmas Tale:  Cute little addition to the collection
 The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever:  I think my husband would like to be a character in this story, if only we had giant ceilings.
Merry Christmas, Curious George:  Got to have Curious George in the mix, right?
 I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles:  My boys love the I Spy collection---now they can enjoy it holiday style!
 Merry Christmas Mom and Dad (Little Critter):  Little Critter, another must in our house. There are several holiday stories from Mercer Mayer.
The Night Before Christmas:  This one has awesome illustrations.
The Story of Christmas:  Another great book to teach the Christmas story to toddlers.
Franklin's School Play:  This may be perfect to add to our collection this year as Aiden will be in his first Christmas play at preschool this year. 
Mooseltoe:  Part of the "Moose" series!
Joy to the World:  This one is really cute---it plays Joy to the World at the end.
Snowbear's Christmas Countdown---LOVE this one, definitely check it out.
The Little Christmas Tree---Mercer Mayer does it again!

So those are some of the ones that we have in our collection, but I'm always on the search for more?  Share your ideas with us in the comments below---we would LOVE to hear them!  And get your books ready, Christmas is coming soon!

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Cute & Easy Christmas Craft for Kids!

For more holiday inspiration,  please follow our Pinterest boards for our latest pins, including all our favorite holiday ideas!

I just wanted to share a really cute idea that I did with Aiden a couple years ago.  I just pulled it out of our Christmas boxes and LOVE it as much as I did two years ago...


His footprint made a Christmas tree, while his handprint made a Rudolph.  It's on plain canvas and I made a simple border around the edge!  

What an easy craft for little ones...and a great item to gift or keep:)


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November 28, 2012

Where to Wednesday: Children's Museum of the Arts

Last month, Julie & I had the privilege of bringing our four kids for a day at the Children's Museum of the Arts in New York City. We all had a wonderful time & can't wait to go back. If you live in the area or will be traveling to NYC, I would put this museum at the top of your list of places to visit. 
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is a very hands on art museum. They are "dedicated to engaging young artists in innovative programming, workshops, and self guided art exploration."
We started our day joining one of their Wee Arts classes. There was art & music & our kids were enthralled. They made some great projects & had time to explore the various art stations. Then when the music & stories started, the boisterous team kept all of the kids engaged & even handed out instruments. It was a lot of fun to watch all of the kids joining in. You can register for these classes for an entire session or just join one as a "drop in". 
After the Wee Arts class, we headed to the The Ball Pond. This was probably the highlight of the day for our kids. It's like a ball pit but with GIANT balls instead. All four kids bounced around for a while. It's great because they divide up each hour by age for the kids safety. 
It's amazing to me that there is a great place for kids to burn off some energy amongst their day of art. For me, this is a big plus of the museum!

Then we took the slide down to check out some art. Actually our kids took quite a few slides down the awesome green slide!
We explored the The RAMMELLZEE Galaxseum exhibit next. This exhibit will be at the museum until February 3rd. It's awesome & will surely catch your kids attention. What I truly loved about this children's museum is that while you are exploring the exhibits, there are activities for the kids everywhere. I love that they can sit & play, all while being surrounded by beautiful art. 
Check out this virtual tour of the exhibit. 
In addition to areas for the kids to explore on their own, there were also spots for the kids to stop & create something with a Children's Museum of the Arts staff member. Their staff was wonderful with the kids. They took time to really help the kids create something they were proud of. 
Our kids had a blast at the Children's Museum of the Arts (ages 1-4), but there is so much for older kids as well. I can't wait until my girls are a little older & can enjoy the Clay Bar
This winter they are offering the following drop off classes for kids 6 & up:
Art in Focus Weekend Drop Off Classes
Ages 8-15
Saturdays 1-3 PM 
Art in Focus is a two-hour drop off art session for ages 8-15, and features a different topic each week. Taught by professional Teaching Artists, these weekend classes are designed to teach and build upon age-appropriate art-making skills while introducing students to new creative and imaginative expression.
Winter Art Colony Day Camp
December 26-28
Ages 6-12
Art Colony day camp at CMA allows campers to immerse themselves in  innovative arts courses, while exploring our professional equipment and state-of-the-art facilities.

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November 27, 2012

Two Simple Ways to Make Christmas Shirts

For more holiday inspiration,  please follow our Pinterest boards for our latest pins, including all our favorite holiday ideas!

I love finding festive clothes for the girls around the holidays. Maggie is really into Christmas this year & loves wearing anything related to the season. This year I was determined to make some shirts for the girls. So far I have made these two. They were both easy & came out really cute.  Be sure to check out the "freebie" at the bottom of the post. 

Christmas Tree Ribbon Shirt
I saw a few ideas on Pinterest, combined them, added a few ideas of my own & came up with this:
I had some gold glittery buttons (no idea why) & you all know I can put ric rac on just about anything. 
This was actually really easy to do & I am making a few more right now as gifts. I used a sewing machine BUT if you don't sew, they make rolls of iron on adhesive tape that would be perfect for this project. 
Basically you cut ribbon & ric rac to make the shape of a tree. Then add some brown ribbon at the bottom for a tree trunk. Last, sew something "glittery" at on the top for the star. 
I lined all of the ribbon up first & pinned it in place & then sewed one straight line across. If using the tape, you would just cut a piece the length of each piece of ribbon & then iron across the whole tree. 
For the button on top, you could hot glue it on, if you really don't want to sew anything! 


Simple Iron On Holiday Shirts
For an even easier idea: order an iron.
I always use Once Upon A Design. Their iron ons are great quality & price. I have been ordering from here since Maggie was born. I love feeling like I "made" a onesie or shirt even though Once Upon A Design is doing most of the work. 
Last year I ordered a bunch for our playgroup. I had all of the moms bring a onesie or shirt & while the kids played, the moms took turns making a shirt. It was a lot of fun (if you do this make sure that you have a separate place for the iron, for the kids' safety). 
For this "project"all you have to do:
- Pre wash whatever you are going to iron the applique to 
- Place the applique in place
- Place a clean cloth over the applique & then iron!
Be sure to check out the Once Upon a Design Etsy shop. There are so many fun appliques to order. If you place an order, mention this blog post & you will get a FREE 3" heart applique (it's never to early to start crafting for Valentine Day!).
As always, if you have any questions while making these shirts, just comment & i'll get back to you. 
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Talking Diapers Today...Featuring The Honest Company!

So now that I am expecting my third child, diapers are an everyday essential in this household.  One that graduated from them less than a year ago, one that is currently wearing them, and now we are collecting them for the one on the way.  Diapers, diapers, diapers:  a BIG part of our day!!!  We have tried all sorts of brands, but I am so excited to share a little insight into The Honest Company and the diapers that they bring you.  
We all know that there are SO many toxic chemicals out there in the world today---and as parents we do our best at trying to keep our house as eco-friendly as we can, but we also have to watch our budgets, right?  I have slowly tried to find ways to become a little more ecofriendly, although I have to admit that I have a long way to go still.  We have started using cloth napkins more often, use "green" cleaners around the house, switched to an "one car" family, and try to limit our waste as much as we can.  Not only is this important to keep my kids in a healthy environment, but it also teaches them the value of our planet.  I love that my three year old asks to help take out the recycling and wants to help with our "not always successful" garden. 

 
I would love to admit that I have switched to cloth diapers, but no, I just haven't done it yet!  With two busy kids as a pregnant mom, I just find disposable to be easier for me.  Well, I am so happy to find The Honest Company diapers.  These diapers come in adorable prints (plaid, boats, dinosaurs, and more).  They are easy to put on and take off.   The Honest Company diapers do not contain chlorine, perfume, phthalates, lotions, optical brighteners, PVC, heavy metals, and other harmful materials.  And my little one was as happy as a clam in them---he didn't even notice the difference.  The Honest Company also carries swim diapers and training pants. 
 

Another great item that we got to sample are The Honest Company wipes.  I am all about durability in my wipes--and these passed the test.  These wipes are plant-based and biodegradable.   they are super thick and infused with a botanical blend of pomegranate (antioxidants), chamomile & cucumber (to soothe).  The Honest Company also offers home essentials such as bath, skin, and cleaning products that are eco-friendly.  Such a great selection for families:  laundry detergent, shampoo, sunscreen, and so much more!

We love companies that give a piece to people who need.  With every purchase you make, The Honest Company donates time, money, and product to their current charitable partner Baby2Baby.org. This worthy non-profit supplies families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for children up to age 12.
Want to know the background of The Honest Company?  Read below and click on the link below to get your own free trial of diapers in the mail!

The Honest Company was started by a mom and a dad who, like many modern parents, were increasingly worried about products made with questionable chemical ingredients. But the alternatives they found were often expensive, inaccessible, bland, or ineffective. In response to this clear need for something better, they created The Honest Company to ensure that parents (or anyone for that matter!) could easily find natural and non-toxic eco-friendly products that are beautiful, effective, and affordable. From customized product bundles to diapers and wipes to an ever-expanding line of cleaning and personal care products, you can find everything you need at Honest.com and have it delivered directly to your front door.
Give it a try! 


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Honest Company. The opinions and text are all mine.
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