Art Show.

Melissa and Doug have done it again. We already love their puzzles and toys and stickers, so I am not at all surprised. But DUDE have you checked out their toddler art sets!? I am particularly referring to the Water Wow! painting books ($4.99). Babystar LOVES this thing. She calls it her ‘art show’. She can paint the pad with water and it will color in the picture plus add a few surprises like birds in the sky or starfish in the sea or whatever. They are marketed as on-the-go activities, and I did not realize until writing this post that the ‘paintbrush’ actually unscrews so you can add water to it and you do not actually need a cup of water for the tiny artist. I did wonder why the brushes were so chunky, but I just thought it was because they were made so perfectly for toddler hands. (I am clearly a genius.) Plus the cup of water is a sensory activity. Right?

Protip: dab the pages with a paper towel when your child finishes to avoid them sticking together. And lay the books on their side with the pages fanned out to dry. They will dry clear and are actually totally reusable. We are on about six times now (in only a few days) and the Water Wow! book is still as good as new.

I also bought a Melissa and Doug stamp pad ($5.99) and a Color Blast marker coloring book ($4.99) at the same time. I’m saving the stamp pad and marker book for later, though.

I like to dole out new toys a bit at a time. Once I show her the stamp pad, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK. I know this. I almost feel like a bad mommy because she got a ton of little stamps in her easter basket but she has no stamp pad. But right now, she still likes naming the animals on the stamps and has not even asked for a stamp pad. She knows that stamp pads exist. She loves to play with them at Nook. So I know that once they are available at home, THAT WILL BECOME MY WHOLE LIFE AND I AM NOT READY FOR THAT JELLY.

The stamp pad totally says washable and I have high hopes. But. I believed Crayola once too, so we’ll see. Washable = it will totally come off but be prepared to scrub really hard, mama.

I also recently purchased a Magic Ink Moana coloring book from Amazon as a fun new toy for her sister to give her when she babysat her recently. It was $6.50 at the time but I see now that the price has gone up. Babystar was underwhelmed, but I think it was just a bit too old for her. The marker tip was a bit too small to hold a toddler’s attention for revealing the colors. Though she did play with it for about an hour, I’m told. Mostly, though, it isn’t just a coloring book but more of an activity book. It would be great for older Moana-lovers on a road trip or something; it has games and mazes and such. I’m hoping the Melissa and Doug marker book will be more toddler-focused.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Has anyone found any truly washable markers? Do tell! Pretty please.



Another Food Post.

I dread these necessary-for-accuracy-but-totally-boring food posts.

The following is a list of food purchased specifically for the ToddlerMonster in June. She does eat OTHER food. In fact, the following is mostly a list of foods offered to and refused by the ToddlerMonster. (Except the fish. We don’t buy extra steak or chicken for her but we buy extra fish because she eats so much fish.)

  • penguin crackers $1.49, $1.49, $1.49
  • frozen pizza $2.29, $3.79
  • frozen french fries $1.89
  • blueberries $1.79, $1.79, $4.99, $3.99, $3.79
  • string cheese $1.79, $1.79
  • strawberries $1.29, $1.29 (Aldi price!!)
  • freeze dried strawberries $1.29
  • freeze dried bananas $1.29
  • oatmeal cereal bar cookies $1.49, $1.49
  • organic rainbow baby carrots $1.69
  • animal cookies $1.29
  • pineapple bits $0.89
  • m&m’s $1
  • peaches $2.98
  • melon slices $2.99
  • bananas $1.74, $1.48, $0.87
  • apples $3.99, $4.99
  • Trader Joe’s mac & cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s apple bars $1.99, $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s blueberry bars $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s strawberry bars $1.99
  • SO MANY POPSICLES $4.69, $469, $4.69, $4.69
  • eggs $4.99
  • salmon $8
  • sea bass $6
  • Caesar salad $4.99
  • Kid’s pasta at Busboys and Poets $6
  • side of fries at Busboys and Poets $5
  • Angelico Pizzeria cheese slice $3, $3, $3
  • Chik-fil-A kids meal $3.39, $3.75, $3.39
  • Kid’s chicken and fries at Boardwalk Fries $4.99
  • french fries at Five Guys $4.19
  • kids meal at McDonalds $2.99, $2.99
  • spring rolls at T.H.A.I. $5.99
  • spring rolls and fried rice at Peter Changs $2.50
  • Robek’s smoothie $4.99, $4.99, $4.99
  • kleenex in a Moana box $1.99*

Not on the list because it is free: mama’s milk.

I have no idea what is up with this new nursing all day, erry day thing that she has going on now. Maybe she’s trying to kick it retro?

Babystar was basically day-weaned, and then the two year molars showed up and everything changed. She wants milk ALL OF THE TIME. I was using the ‘don’t ask, don’t offer’ method of gentle weaning, but apparently just my existence in the world is a reminder that I have milk. And that she wants the milk nownownow.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: To those of you out there that successfully weaned a toddler with little to no tears, HOW did you do it? I have exactly zero ideas. I have googled. I have asked friends. I have googled some more. I have asked the doctor. I got nothing. Please help.


*Yes, I know that this isn’t food but it was purchased at the grocery store and once she saw it, she HAD TO HAVE IT, and we didn’t feel like fighting that particular battle. Kleenex is at least useful. It could have been, like, Moana paper plates or something else that we really don’t use at home.






Our Couch Runneth Over.

Babystar’s friends are taking over the place. We started sitting them on the couch back when there were only a few stuffed creatures, but as all parents know, those babies MULTIPLY. I think they are going to have to be relocated — but to where? Her bedroom is completely on trend with the new tiny house movement, but those tiny houses aren’t meant to house twenty six individuals including a family of bears.

We did purchase some of these — but most are gifts. Plus every time the Teenager visits her grandparent’s attic in Florida she brings back more of her old Care Bears for her little sister. Which is completely sweet and adorable but also STAAAAAHP.

In spite of our overcrowding problem, I just let Babystar bring home ANOTHER FRIEND from Target. We already lived with the Demigod of the Wind and Sea, so we needed Moana of Motunui ($8.99) to bring a little estrogen to Babystar’s boat.

PS: her boat is a salad bowl.


It’s Calling Meeeeeeee.

Babystar sings over and over: it’s calling me, it’s caaaaallling meeeeee.

Have you seen Moana yet? Have you seen Moana one hundred times? I have, and I’m not even mad.

This movie is everything. I feel so lucky that Babystar stumbled onto this film as her I-need-to-watch-it-all-the-time-let’s-watch-it-again-again-again movie. Every toddler has one. And for over a full year it was Frozen, right? My niece was obsessed with Frozen. Who wasn’t? (My nephew is currently obsessed with Zootopia. It’s very good, but I need more singing in my cartoon movies if I am to watch them twenty million times.)

We were all so proud of Disney for making Frozen, a movie with no romantic happy ending (except it sort of did have one with Anna and Kristoff).

We were all so excited about how FEMINIST is was that the princess saved herself. Or at least, her sister saved her.

And the songs, while a bit too EVERYWHERE, were indeed amazing. I still love them. And Idina Menzel. Yes, please!


Is it because she’s not white? Please tell me that it is not because she is not a snow white girl from the snow white north. Please. It’s not, right? Ok. Moving along.

I’m going to pretend that no one saw Moana (ok I realize that a LOT of people saw Moana but only like half as many as Frozen and I have never heard any of the songs unless I played them) because we were all terrified that it was full of Cultural Appropriation. We were all erring on the side of caution. Disney has a pretty bad track record with that kind of thing (*cough*Song of the South*cough*).

We were all wrong. Instead, they actually did a lot of research and had a lot of consultants making sure they ‘got it right.’ So you CAN teach an old mouse new tricks. (SPOILER ALERT) Moana is a movie about a ‘daughter of the chief’ who saves the world. She doesn’t do it for love of a man but for love of her island and her people. There is literally no boy-girl love story in the movie. NONE. It is incredibly refreshing.

See the light where the sky meets the sea, it calls me.

We finally have a capital-F-Feminist Disney ‘princess’ role model and I for one am so excited. Moana does not need saving at all, but the world does, and Moana T-C-bloody-B-ed.

If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me, one day I’ll know how far I’ll go.


You guys, the score was written by Lin-FREAKING-Manuel Miranda. Did you know that? HOW DID IT LOSE THE OSCAR FOR BEST SONG? How!? But whatever about the Oscars, how is our Hamilton-obsessed society not belting out these songs in unison a la ‘Let it Go’??? There is not a bad song in the movie. I’m a big fan of ‘Shiny’ sung by my boyfriend Jemaine Clement. My older kids love both the opening number and Maui’s song ‘You’re Welcome’. Babystar loves when Moana sings about things that call her. THEY. ARE. ALL. SO. GOOD.

And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me.

Moana is on Netflix month so get excited. 

You’re welcome.

Babystar was having a rough go of teething a few weeks ago so we surprised her with Maui to help her feel better ($8.99). She loves chewing on his hook.




April Showers Bring May Hem.

Or something like that, right?

Are you interested in a peek behind the blogging curtain? I usually post about things purchased for Babystar about a week (or two) after we’ve actually purchased said things.  I keep a running list on a Note on my beloved iPhone so that I don’t forget anything. (Well, three lists. One for food and one upcoming holidays and one for everything else.) On Sunday mornings, my darling pious Husband takes Babystar to play in the church nursery while I drink coffee in bed with my laptop. I look at the Notepad, figure out groupings that make sense, write a post or three, and schedule them to post throughout the following week.

Easy peasy, right?

Somehow, April did not go so smoothly. There is even an EXTRA Sunday in April; that’s right, this was a five Sunday month. And I still somehow lost most of those precious mornings to a sick baby or a bunny holiday or something else understandable but STILL.

I did not, however, forget to buy things for the baby. In the interest of accuracy and my sanity, I’m going to simply copy and paste. I’ll add explainations/information/sarcasm in blue. (TBH sarcasm comes in all colors here.) And then do some math, I suppose.

Airplane ticket subsidize $120 Babystar and I flew to Myrtle Beach for four days visiting Grammy and Grampy (the in-laws). My lovely MIL (over)paid for the ticket but we upgraded to first class so $120 was out of our bank account. Worth it.

Suitcase 39.99 omg y’all it has stars and she LOVES it


Water at CLT 3.19 I accidentally put her sippy cup in the checked bag and had to buy a sports bottle-type water bottle at our connection. How do you teach a kid to drink from a regular water bottle? Please advise.

Nook $120 We re-nooked. That place is the bomb dot com.

Target diapers $4.99 x 10 ok, ok, I KNOW, but April was really hard, ok? I did not need diaper laundry on top of everything else. I know I COULD have done it but I really didn’t want to. Mea culpa, Mother Earth.

Chew Tylenol 5.95 She hates these btw.

Liquid Motrin 6.39 She was sick with a high fever for several days after Myrtle Beach. See? April was HARD.

Chew ibuprofen 3.94 She hates these too.

Infant Tylenol $6.99 She hates this too, but can be tricked. Poor baby.

Moana 12.99 We have already watched it, NO JOKE, over twenty times. Don’t tell anyone but I also love it. Babystar signs ‘help’ and says ‘help turtle’ at the beginning when Moana helps the turtle. And she says ‘uh-oh heart’ many times throughout the movie but I don’t want to spoil it for you. But if you have seen it, Babystar slays my heart EVERY TIME because she calls Te Fiti ‘mama’ and I die. Every single time.

$10 bees 2.65 socks Busy Bees is only $10 if you come after 4. Also I was wearing my Birks (#hippiemama) and didn’t have socks in the bag (even though I almost ALWAYS have a spare pair just in case) so I had to buy some. They are super fancy.


Safety latch 4.31 I bought a pack of latches. Again. I still have not installed a single one. But I did move all of the glass to the top cabinets. So, you know, progress.

Cat and jack rocket shirt 4.50 It’s adorable and she loves it.

Bloom wipes 7.99 The Water Wipes are a big NOPE. Sadly. We are trying some others.

Target wipes 4.39 Cheap but I opened the Bloom ones first so I don’t know how well they work. I’ll let you know the verdict on wipes soon. Pinky swear.

Cat and Jack shirts $4 x2 A dinosaur one that she picked and the infamous ‘strong like mom’ because i’m so #basic.

Also here’s the April food and now I’m REALLY caught up. Babystar ate and GREW so much this month. 

  • frozen pizza $3 x3
  • sea bass $7.50 x2 (she fancy)
  • strawberries $4.49, 3.99
  • watermelon $2.48, 4.54, 3.49, 6.99
  • clementines $2.99, 3.99, 2.99, 2.99, 2.99 (she’s addicted yo)
  • bag of apples $3.99, 6.99, 3.99
  • ice cream cup $1.49 x3
  • carrots $1.49
  • frozen waffles $3.59
  • cheerios $1.97
  • blueberries $3.59 x3
  • string cheese $4.99
  • chocolate chip cookies with m&m’s $2.99 (one at a time, usually, shhhhhh)
  • organic eggs $5.49
  • ice cream mini cup $1.29
  • popsicles $4.99 (did I mention she is also teething?)
  • $3 slice of cheese pizza next door to Nook x5 (so convenient)
  • Chick-fil-A 4-piece nugget meal $3.75 x4
  • Burger King kid’s meal (I told you it was a hard month) $4.89
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal (props to them for giving TINY fries AND sliced apples) $2.99
  • Harris Teeter salad bar lunch, mostly fruit $2.28
  • T.G.I.Friday’s pasta kids meal plus tip about $9
  • Longhorn mac & cheese kids meal plus tip about $8

Oh, and we went to Rise + Rhyme which is a cool local kid’s concert with a $5 cover charge that serves full breakfast. The coffee (it’s at 9:30AM what!) and breakfast that I shared was $24.25 with tip. (I gave her ALL of my pineapple and blueberries but kept most of the sweet potato pancakes for myself. April was HARD Y’ALL.) It all goes on her tab though, because I would not have gone to see Culture Queen without Babystar. Even though I love her and yes, we ARE all towers of royal power. She has no idea how much I needed that song that morning. I love you, Culture Queen.