Cat and Jack in the Cold.

This year I will not buy too many clothes for Babystar.

This year I will dress her in hand me downs and work with less and do more laundry.

This year I will just layer a lot and save some money.

HAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA NOPE.

Omg I cannot stop buying long sleeves and sweaters and sweatshirts for Babystar. And it’s alllllll Cat and Jack from Target. I don’t even think I have pictures for everything. But my favorite is this Bear Sweater. It’s my favorite because Babystar loves it. And Babystar loves it because it has a Bear Butt.

Y’all. It totally does.

bear butt

I kept a list, though not everything is pictured. And most was bought on sale.

  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Sweater $16
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants set $8.39
  • Long sleeve shirt and pant set $11.89
  • Sweatpants $6.99
  • Purple sweater $12.59
  • Sweatpants $4.20
  • Long sleeve shirt $3.85
  • Long sleeve shirt $6.99

My favorite is the ruffly purple sweater that works over almost anything.

new sweater

Babystar’s favorite thing to wear are her new Princess Poppy slippers (Marshall’s $7.99). She doesn’t quite understand that slippers are not shoes, so she wears them everywhere. I guess it’s a good thing that we bought her all those boots.

poppy slippers

Hey, did you know that Starbucks will give you a free small cup of whipped cream for your ToddlerMonster so she can stop asking for the whipped cream from your fancy coffee drink? #themoreyouknow

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,562.15

Chick-fil-A vs. McDonalds.

Ok, so I want to be a Chick-fil-A Mom. You know, the kind of mama that doesn’t feed her kid fast food except sometimes we go to Chick-fil-A as a treat. Where the chicken looks like chicken and the toy is a book so I can feel good about my parenting choices.

(And I actually am a literal #chickfilamom this year as I am on the Chick-fil-A Moms Panel which is super cool but I’m still waiting for my free chicken sandwiches. Do I get free chicken sandwiches? Because I want and love free chicken sandwiches. Maybe later? Ok.)

But here’s the thing. If I am having a Good Mom(TM) kind of day, I probably packed a healthy and delicious lunch already. And maybe I fed Babystar some chia seed waffles and a spinach smoothie for breakfast.

And probably we are singing.

Those are usually not the kinds of days that we stop for Fast Food Lunches.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when it is already 3:00 and I have seven things left on my to-do list. And I only started with eight.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when the entire day has been full of tantrums and I am broken and just want to sit down someplace agreeable to the ToddlerMonster so I can calm tf down and think for a minute.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when I didn’t sleep the night before and I kind of just forgot that kids need to eat until I notice that all the other mamas at the park have snacks (and brushed hair) and I am digging in the bottom of my backpack for a squished granola bar.

Those days usually mean McDonald’s. McDonald’s are EVERYWHERE so a McDonald’s lunch doesn’t require too much actual planning. If you want to go to McDonald’s, you basically just drive in one direction for two to ten minutes until you find a McDonald’s.

I now have very strong opinions on both McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

McDonald’s sells a $2.99 Happy Meal that includes a tiny serving of French fries AND a choice of apple slices or yogurt. Fries AND Fruit. Plus four kinda-gross, maybe-chicken nuggets. And a drink (currently Mott’s apple juice but they are switching to Honest). Lately, they have been giving out My Little Pony toys and Babystar LOVES ponies. Also, McDonald’s are literally NEVER EVER crowded because there are so many of them, I guess. And no one wants to go inside. The customer service inside is always lacking. And the dining experience is subpar. But you get fries AND fruit. FRIES AND FRUIT.

Chick-fil-A is always crowded and for good reason. Everyone inside is super nice or faking it extremely well. The tables are clean. I love that they clean the tables. Such a basic luxury. The Under 3 toy is always a board book, and the board books are a big hit with Babystar. She has a stack in every room plus the van. The cheapest kid’s meal at our Chick-fil-A is the one-strip meal at $3.29. Sometimes Babystar eats some of the chicken. Mostly she just wants fries and fruit. Which is not an option at Chick-fil-A. You get chicken plus fries OR fruit and a drink (aka Honest apple juice). I have asked at the counter if I could substitute fries for the chicken. I am pretty sure potatoes are cheaper than chicken, and we were out with our vegan friends (one of whom is two years old). The answer was no. And if they rang in everything separately: fries, fruit cup, apple juice, and a toy, the total was over $6. Annoying.

My Chick-fil-A Hack: I order the fruit cup for Babystar with her meal, and then upsize MY fries from medium to large for an extra twenty cents. Then I  share some of my fries with her; there are always enough for both of us. Of course, this only works if you are getting an adult meal with the kids meal. I always am. If you have a bunch of kids, just get them the fruit and then one large fry to share.

Which is your favorite? Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s? Or is there another, better, kid-friendly fast food place that we should all know?

So, anyway I did at least manage to Babystar in October. We went to McDonald’s quite often. October was kind of a bitch.

  • waffles $2.99, $2.50, $2.50, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99 (I am raising Leslie Knope)
  • bananas $1.47, $1.14. $0.87
  • blueberries $2.99, $2.99
  • turkey pepperoni $4.39
  • strawberries $3.49
  • TJ Mac & Cheese $2.99, $2.99
  • frozen pizza $2.98, $2.98, $2.98
  • salmon $3.00
  • bread $2.99, $2.99
  • TJ potato crunchies $1.99
  • peanut butter $2.29
  • TJ vegan bars $2.29, $2.29, $2.29, $2.29
  • Roast turkey $8.19
  • TJ fruit bars $1.99, $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • apples and pears from the orchard $28
  • cookies from the orchard $4
  • TJ letter cookies $2.99
  • Honest juice $3.99, $3.99
  • eggs $3.99
  • bacon $8.99
  • Cava Mezze French fries $7 with tip
  • Costco hot dog $1.50, $1.50
  • Costco pizza $2.99
  • Barnes and Noble apple juice $1.35, $1.35
  • Barnes and Noble m&m blondie $2.65
  • Dogfish Ale salmon kids meal $12.00 with tip
  • BGR sliders kid’s meal $5.99
  • BGR m&m cookie $1.99
  • spring rolls $6.95
  • pizza slice $4.35
  • frozen yogurt cup $5.98
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99

 

Plus other things that don’t need a post of their own.

  • Laundry detergent $8.46
  • Storage $127
  • Diapers $4.99
  • Diapers $23.49 (I see you raising your prices, Target.)
  • Wipes $2.99, $4.99, $1.49, $4.99 (I’m trying some new brands.)
  • pedicure with mommy $10 (I’ve discussed this before. She loves her blue toes.)

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,473.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Wardrobe: Toddler Edition.

September was the kind of hot that made me doubt Fall even existed. October gave us a few less-than-scalding days, but it was still too warm for a jacket. Or socks. FINALLY, now that is is freaking November, cooler weather has descended upon the us here in the DC area. Praise be. Hallelujah. Amen. Blessings to the Horae. All of it.

Babystar is super lucky; she has a Grammy that loves to shop. And by that I mean that WE are all very lucky that Grammy loves to shop, because we get surprise boxes of clothes throughout the year. Last month we received a box full of 3T leggings and a few other random outfits.

Fun fact: Grammy (aka my MIL) has started removing all of the tags before mailing so that I cannot exchange anything. And almost everything she sends is pink. Or flowery. Or pink and flowery. Grammy is also on board with the star theme so we get a lot of star prints too. I love it. I really do love it. But the tag thing is hilarious.

So obviously, Babystar is SET on leggings this fall. In fact, the leggings drawer literally overfloweth. AND YET I BOUGHT TWO MORE PAIRS OF LEGGINGS ANYWAY. Partially to balance the pink and partially because Target was having a sale on Cat and Jack but mostly because LOOK HOW SWEET. ($3.75 each! Cat and Jack was 25% off of already stupidly low prices. COME. ON.)

Cat and Jack leggings

We also bought a few long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts that should last the season. (Maybe. I do love a good sale. And I kind of hate laundry.)

 

Clockwise from the rocket ship: $5.99, $8.99, $4.50, $5.99, $5.99, $3.75, $5.99. Everything was 25% off except the Ghostbusters tee. But obviously we had to buy the Ghostbusters tee. With tax, everything was $51.62.

I will probably buy her a coat or something this winter. (Probably this one.) If my lovely MIL doesn’t send a box of various coats in various lengths and various weights and various fabrics first. (I love it. I hope that is coming through. I really do love her thoughtfulness, and she waited a long freaking time for a grandchild.)

Unrelated (always related): I have been encouraging the toddler to choose her own clothes. That is my version. Her version might be different and include the phrase “I do what I want.” But the end result is that I have learned a fashion secret. Nobody but NOBODY can mix patterns like a Toddler.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,020.55

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

 

 

 

Pasta Snakes.

When my older children were toddlers (back in the Twentieth Century), I fed them Gorilla Bars. They LOVED Gorilla Bars. Gorilla Bars are granola bars with an adorable toddler pronunciation. And they have stayed ‘Gorilla Bars’ in our family ever since.

Babystar loves penne pasta. And snakes. And once when she was particularly cranky at dinner, the Teenager distracted her by having her penne pasta hiss like a snake. And now they are Pasta Snakes. Probably forever.

pasta snakes

Do you have any unusual names for foods in your family? Mispronunciations that stuck around long past Toddlerhood?

Below is the food we purchased in August SPECIFICALLY for Babystar. So far, I’ve been listing the foods that I bought with Babystar in mind. Although she does share with the rest of the family. And we share with her. She still isn’t eating more than a few bites of my portions. I will have to adjust this food calculating method eventually, but it seems to be working for now.

  • Turkey pepperoni $2.19, $2.19
  • Penguin crackers $1.59, $1.59, $1.59
  • Bananas $0.89, $1.23, $0.95
  • Strawberries $1.29, $1.29, $2.99, $3.39
  • Blueberries $1.99, $2.99
  • Apples $3.99, $3.99
  • Pears $3.99
  • Fruit roll-ups $1.49
  • Honest grape juice for popsicles $3.99
  • Aldi organic cheese puffs $1.99, $1.99
  • Frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream minis $1.39 x16 (She had HFM disease this month.)
  • Baskin-Robbins $2.59
  • Friday’s kids meal $4.99
  • Pizza slice $3.00, $3.00
  • Peter Chang’s spring rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50
  • French fries at the airport $3.50
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Insomnia m&m cookie $1.70
  • Dairy Godmother snickerdoodle cookie $0.95

ice cream

Also every month.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47
  • Storage unit $127
  • Diapers $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $20.89, $14.24  (I have basically abandoned the cloth again. Bad mama.)
  • Wipes $7.99, $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,963.61

WHAT IS YOUR WEIRDEST ‘FAMILY WORD’, THAT EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSE UNDERSTANDS, BUT WOULD CONFUSE THE HECK OUT OF OUTSIDERS?