It’s Fall, Y’all!

I’m gonna call it now: Corn Pits are gonna be the new Pumpkin Spice.

Next fall, all you’re gonna hear about is CORN PITS.

I didn’t even know what a corn pit was until this month. I somehow failed my two older children. I feel like I need to write them letters of apology.

(Dear Kids, I’m super sorry for denying you what appears to be the greatest joy of Childhood. Love, Your Terrible Mama.)

Imagine a sand box. But with dried corn kernels. That, my friends, is a corn pit. Babystar played in the corn pit at Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farms for a LITERAL HOUR and then went back for more. (As reported by my husband, because I wasn’t there for this particular trip. The two of them spent $17 for admission and $7.50 for food.) Babystar talked about the corn pit for two weeks. In a row. Without stopping. Ever. So we all went back to the farm. ($37 admission plus $9 for three cups of hay pellets plus $23.50 for human food.)

Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farms is legit. Too bad it is one hundred hours away from our house. It was worth it, though. Babystar got to reunite with her beloved corn pit. I got to commune with goats. (I love goats. When I grow up I want to live with some goat friends. That is a serious life goal.)

HEY GOATS HEY!! (And sheep. I know.)

Winterbrook Farm has other awesome stuff. Apparently the Corn Maze is one of the coolest in the area, but the toddler wasn’t having it.

“Too scary.”

(Toddlers, amirite?)

We played on a giant slide and climbed some huge haystacks. We rode a tiny train and raced in potato sacks. We played the most absurdly awesome racing game ever, with rubber ducks and water pumps and it sounds ridiculous but I kind of want one at my house now.

WE MOSTLY HUNG OUT IN THE CORN PIT THO.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,968.93

 

I Took the Munchkin to Oz.

You guys, Emerald City is in Maryland.

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I made up a fun new game called Let’s Find a New Playground. Just kidding. It’s not fun or new and I didn’t make it up. But it is a HIT among my target audience of one specific ToddlerMonster.

We might live in the best area on earth for this particular game. I cannot be sure. I have only had a toddler in one other place. The D.C. area beats Jacksonville, Florida quite soundly at this game. Sorry, Jacksonville. It’s not personal. But, um, get more and better parks. (I know; you have the beach. Let’s call it a tie.)

OMG LOOK AT THIS AWESOME PLAYGROUND.

Not only is it pretty because it is FREAKING OZ, it is a really FUN playground. There are so many cool climbing structures and slides and swings and fun for big kids and fun for little kids and we love it. (You saw the Ruby Slipper slides, right? Look. There are totally Ruby Slipper slides right there.)

Babystar and her friend had snacks in Dorothy’s house. So cute. Thanks Auntie Em!

I totally saw one kid dressed as Dorothy and a set of twins dressed as Emerald City munchkins. Because obviously. (I might have to buy a Dorothy costume if I can find one on sale after Halloween. Does anyone have a 3T Dorothy dress? Please forward; thank you.)

This amazing Wizard of Oz playground is at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. If you get bored of the playground — you won’t, but just in case — you can take a short walk through the woods and visit a nature center. The nature center is pretty cool, and we met birds and turtles and snakes and a hedgehog. But I forgot to take pictures because OZ WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE. It was a lovely break, though. I highly recommend you take the short trek through the woods. If you see the Tin Man, say hello. (He’s not in the woods. He totally should be. Missed opportunity, Maryland.)

There are also cool little spinny toys (poppy flowers) or riding toys (farm animals) and this cool running track/slash/treadmill/slash/toddler hamster wheel. I have been to a lot of playgrounds and I have never seen any playground equipment like this. The toddlers LOVED it. And if I’m being one hundred percent here, the adults loved it too.

Oz spinny toy

This park also has tons of clean restrooms both in the parking lot and right next to Dorothy’s house at the playground. Parking is really easy and you get to FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD to the park. (Ok, technically the Yellow Brick Road starts in the playground at the spiral and goes out to the parking lot which I just realized is a GENIUS way to get your kid to leave if your kid doesn’t want to leave.)

Five stars. Out of four. Seriously — go here.

Oh, and it’s FREE!!

Oz Sign

 

 

Monday’s Mama is HASHTAG GOALS.

Katherine blogs at Welcome to the Nursery and she is every woman. Well, she is every woman who has an engineering background but now stays home to care for two hilarious energetic small children. So, maybe she is you, but she is a hell of a lot more awesome than me.

Katherine is the mom who runs the Puff (1.5yo) and Squish (4yo) nursery. She hung up her engineering hat four years ago to start the mom gig; it turns out her skills of tank driving and bullet design didn’t transfer well to child care, but at least with parenthood you can learn on the job (right?!). Katherine shares her amusements and frustrations along this journey. When the kids are asleep, she nurses a fledgling writing career, obsessively reads English historical fiction, and dabbles in painting and sewing.

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Welcome to the Nursery is full of funny yet thoughtful things her incredibly astute four-yer-old says and some really genius parenting ideas. Katherine is a superwoman, super mom, and probably super fun to hang out with on a mom’s night out. Like, for real, she has so many ideas and they are all so good. How does she have so many good ideas?! When does she sleep?? When does she THINK!? I want to be like Katherine when I grow up.

Katherine answered a few questions and showed that she is COOLER THAN I EVEN KNEW. I mean, Guns N’ Roses? Come on.

1. What is your most favorite grown-up book? Kid’s book?

My blog readers probably know by now that I A) LOVE to read, and B) absolutely adore Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. There are many series I love (by Ted Bell, Daniel Silva, Conn Iggulden, Vince Flynn), but as a standalone book you really can’t top P&P. My favorite kid’s book was Roald Dahl’s The BFG. 
2. Where did your girl’s nicknames ‘Puff’ and ‘Squish’ originate? Are there stories behind those names? Speaking of names, is your blog name a wink to ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ or not? I’ve been wondering.

I think my husband came up with both of them, actually. My 4yo’s full nickname is “Squisher Pants,” because as a baby she was such a squishy thing to hug and cuddle. Adding “Pants” to the end of any nickname – or even a full name – is just silly and fun. We sometimes call our 18mo “Puffer Pants,” although mostly it’s just “Puff” or “Puff-Puff.” She is – you guessed it – so puffy! She’s not a really chubby baby, but she’s just so soft! She also likes to “puff” her stuffed animals. It’s so freaking adorable…. 

As for the blog name, I actually named it after the Guns N’ Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle.” Squish was a few months old, and I could already tell that our house was destined to become a madhouse – and I pictured a wild, loud, messy place … the “jungle” with that song blaring in the background. P.S. I have no idea what the lyrics are actually about!

3. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Oh, homemade for sure! I have a decent reputation for baking yummy things – from homemade soft pretzels to Italian seven-layer rainbow cookies. My mom passed down those handy skills … thanks, ma!

Katherine is basically Pinterest personified. You should bookmark her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Waving the White Flag. (But the Flag is a Diaper.)

No, this isn’t a goodbye to diapers. Babystar is still a looooong way from being potty-trained. And I DESPISE potty-training so I’m not the most encouraging mother in that regard.

I have officially given up on cloth diapering.

But. Please know that we used and loved cloth diapers since the ToddlerMonster was one month old. I took a few breaks during travel or sickness but we always came back because cloth diapering is really easy. If this forty-year-old mama gets another surprise, we will cloth diaper again. I am a huge fan.

But. We go on so many adventures every day. Big adventures for hours in D.C. or small adventures to a playground ten minutes away. Or Target. Always Target. And carrying cloth diapers everywhere got really hard because of all of the OTHER things that a toddler needs (mostly water and snacks and rocks and snacks and extra clothes and snacks). For awhile we were cloth diapering only at home but that often led to only one or two diapers used per day and the laundry was just annoying at that point.

And finally: butt. Yes, more fun poop talk. I don’t want to tote around the USED cloth diapers anymore. The things that come out of a baby’s bottom are not pleasant, but they are certainly less UNpleasant than the things that come out of a toddler’s bottom. I’m going to leave it at that. If you are reading this blog, you probably have a kid. If not, I’ll let you be surprised. (All children are different and blah blah blah.)

So. I surrender. I have so many cloth diapers but I’ve given away or leant out at least half of them by now.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Cloth diaper mamas, how long do they keep? Should I save this expensive stash for my eventual grandchildren? I have college students too, so I could have a grandchild in as early as ten years. (They have moved the earliest age you can legally become a parent to thirty now, right?)

disposable diapers

I am officially buying disposable diapers ALL THE TIME now. I usually buy Target brand. They are cheap, and I change her diapers quite frequently because I am paranoid about rashes (and I am still on the cloth rhythm, I guess). This month we spent $4.99, $4.99, $14.99, $4.99, $14.99, $21.99 (total of $66.94). I did just buy that giant box yesterday so hopefully it lasts for a while. Diapers are stupid expensive.

innobaby bus platter

We are still feeding her, too.

  • frozen waffles $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • cheerios $3.34
  • apples $0.52, $2.46, $3.99, $7.29
  • bananas $1.14, $0.95
  • blueberries $3.12, $3.99
  • raspberries $4
  • pears $4.99
  • cantaloupe $3.99
  • watermelon $4.99, $4.99
  • salad bar fruit $2.10
  • apple bars $1.99
  • mango bars $1.99
  • strawberry bars $1.99
  • jalepeno macaroni and cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • carrots $1.49
  • broccoli (no she doesn’t eat it but I’m trying) $1.69, $1.69
  • (She does eat raw onion like a weirdo when helping me cook but I don’t buy them FOR her.)
  • frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream cups $6
  • Honest juice boxes for popsicles $3.69, $3.69, $3.69, $3
  • pepperoni $2.69
  • Tots $3.34
  • cheese $3, $3, $399
  • bread (yes we basically buy that FOR her) $2.79, $3.29
  • salmon $8
  • cod $6
  • chicken $12
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meals $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Chick-fil-A french fries $1.99
  • Five Guys hot dog $4.79, $4.79
  • Pizza slice $3
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Costco hot dog $1.75, $1.75, $1.75
  • Winterbrook Farms hot dog $2
  • bakery sugar cookie $1.29
  • Dairy Queen kid’s meal $2.49
  • Rainbow Valley Restarant kid’s meal with tip $6

More boring stuff.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47 (no more diapers but lots of clothes)
  • Storage unit $127
  • Wipes $4.99, $2.99, $4.99
  • California Baby bubble bath $14.09
  • Travel baby wash because I forgot to pack some $2.98
  • Children’s ibuprofen $3.99
  • Tissues $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • Little Noses saline drops $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,874.93

 

 

 

Monday’s Mama is Crunchy AF.

Introducing Rachel Barry from Pretty in Baby Food. You may already know her, as she is an AMAZING resource for all things Natural Parenting on both her own blog, Pretty in Baby Food, and the soon-to-be-released Guidance Guide website. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She is full of knowledge AND often hosts giveaways. She is definitely worth your follow!

Seriously, you guys, if you wonder about anything baby wearing, cloth diapering, baby feeding, traveling with baby, or basically any 2017 mama concerns, Rachel Barry is YOUR GIRL. Don’t let her cute name fool you — Rachel Barry is not actually an anthropomorphic strawberry. Nor is she a character from Glee.

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But she probably DOES spontaneously sing throughout her daily life because Rachel is mom to one beautiful and rambunctious toddler (and toddlers love songs). She is also currently pregnant with her second child. Rachel is a natural parenting and cloth diaper advocate. Her hobbies include dreaming of long walks on the beach while drinking her cold coffee during the day, writing while her daughter naps, and cruising. Her dislikes in life are doing the dishes, cleaning, and laundry. (Except diaper laundry. That’s her favorite. 😊)

Rachel answered a few questions for me here and OF COURSE she took the opportunity to school us some more. Thank you, Rachel!

 

1. What would you do with thirty whole minutes all to yourself IN A ROW every day?

Oh man! This is like the holy grail of alone time. I would probably make myself a cup of coffee, and read or write. (Sometimes I might use it to use the bathroom alone while also reading or writing. Ya know. TO see how my husband feels when he get’s to go to the bathroom. Haha!)

2. I love that you use cloth diapers. Why do YOU cloth diaper and what is your most favorite brand out there? (I know. That is two questions. I cheated.)

Haha! I cloth diaper because it saves my family money. In the first year alone of cloth diapering I have saved my family almost $1,000.00. The second reason I cloth diaper is to reduce trash. I was tired of lugging 4 bags of trash to the curb every trash day. By switching to cloth diapering I have been able to get it down to 2 bags of trash on trash day. Many people don’t know but disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to degrade in a landfill where as a cloth diaper when thrown out can take 6 months to a year depending on what fabric it is made out of.

As for my favorite brand that is a tough question to answer. As a blogger who reviews cloth diapers I have a lot of different brands of cloth diapers in my stash. I have specific cloth diapers for day time, nap time, and night time. I also have specific colors for when my football team plays, and certain holidays. I can say I prefer cloth diapers that are made of natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo. 😉

3. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE? 

I am not quite there yet, but I am more inclined to lean towards NOPE. (This might change depending on how involved my children want me to be.) Right now I would rather just donate money then bake something. With food allergies I would not want to leave anyone out or accidentally make something that someone was allergic too. If they wanted me to sell cloth diapers door to door to help raise money I would probably do that in a heart beat. Hahaha! 

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Rachel is super smart and very generous with her knowledge. Pop on over to Pretty in Baby Food and soak up her wisdom.