Balloon Life.

Toddlers like balloons.

Toddlers love balloons.

Toddlers are obsessed with balloons.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t generalize. MY TODDLERMONSTER CAN NOT GET ENOUGH BALLOONS in her life. She’s living that balloon life.

This Peanuts balloons has been around longer than the actual Peanuts comic strip. I think we brought it home in late January. I will miss this one when it’s gone. $6.99.

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This lucky little guy moved in at the beginning of the month, but he’s still hanging around looking shiny. $3.99.

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And these superstars were given to Babystar when we left the Children’s Museum last week, or the week before, they are all running together. We drove them ninety miles home because we love that little ToddlerMonster.

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They hang out near the sky because they are stars, duh. Also because one of the strings is only about four centimeters long.

Does anyone else have a balloon-obsessed toddler?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,665.97

 

 

Worker (Ba)Bee.

Babystar likes tools.

Since it’s kinda dangerous and pretty dirty and maybe illegal to let her play with the tools on my workbench, we got her a set of toy tools. (Yes, I said MY workbench. I 100% guarantee that my husband would agree.)

They are cute and sturdy and BPACDEFG-free and made of recycled materials in the USA. This is my first Green Toys purchase, but I totally dig them. I bought them at Home Goods so they were less expensive than usual. Which I also totally dig. ($16.99 instead of $27.99.)

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Babystar digs them too. She took the pliers on the airplane to Florida earlier this month,  and ‘fixed’ the airplane window. Whew. Those other travelers don’t know how close we came to a possible broken window. Babystar to the rescue.

(Note: I had to go to their website to look up the actual retail price since I bought them at Home Goods. They have a pink set. Gross. GIRLS LIKE BLUE TOO. At least the tea set comes in both pink and blue too. BUT STILL.)

And while we are on the topic of fixing things, the living room ball pit has been getting some serious abuse aggressive love by visiting older kids. It’s totally to be expected, and a large part of me wants it to break completely and be out of my life, but alas. Babystar loves it too much. So we bought some Duck tape (yes, Duck, that’s the brand) and fixed the broken loops. $3.77. She picked yellow, so they don’t match the other loops at all but whatever. Also, we took the ball pit downstairs so it maybe gets less abuse and so I maybe don’t have to look at it as much. Win-win.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,654.99

 

Fun in the Sunshine State

Earlier this month, Babystar and I (and my favorite 3.5 year old niece, V) flew to Florida to visit family. My (20yo) son and mom and dad and grandmother and sister and nephew, along with random other cousins, live just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. My nephew just turned three (since the trip, actually), so we were riding deep with ToddlerMonsters.

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We stayed at my parent’s house, so it was actually a really inexpensive trip. Babystar still flies free. (I didn’t buy V’s ticket.) I still would have taken the trip if Babystar did not exist, so I would have had the expense of the ticket either way. I thought hard about this, because I started to list the ticket price as part of Raising Babystar. But. I miss my oldest child, my mom has cancer (and reads this blog like a good mommy — hi mom!), my dad can’t really travel while he’s busy taking care of mom, my grandmother is getting very old (omg I cannot even think about that), my nephew keeps growing, and my sister is too far away and just, you know, life. So, yeah, I would have gone anyway. I DID pay for my dad’s parking ($6) and he only parked to come in and help me with the bags since I had the babies. And I had to bring along Babystar’s car seat, so I bought a car seat cover for $19.99.

I brought snacks from home for the airplane ride to Florida. I did buy a bottle of water at the airport but I always do that. I drank most of it, too. Babystar LOVES the airport! She was excited that we were getting on a plane but her dad had taken her twice already just to watch the planes. (Metro fare $1.75 x 4 but I think I need to tell him that I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t need a ticket. Maybe she just wants her own. He’s pretty cool like that.)

I went to the grocery store in Florida to stock the house with Babystar-friendly food. Mostly fruits and organic eggs and whole wheat bread and ‘hippie’ stuff like that. Of course we shared with everyone, but I totally went just for the Toddlers. $51.95. And I brought a bunch of disposable diapers with me. Not quite two packs but I did buy two packs of Target brand diapers. $9.98.

We were there for only four days, and a lot of the time was just spent visiting. OMG am I eighty years old?? Come on sweetheart, let’s just sit and visit. HAHAHA.

My sister and I took the three toddlers to an AMAZING place in Jacksonville called Bay & Bee. You may remember the name as the place I sent my oldest child last June because they got the Tula Coast the same day that my son flew to my house. I need to thank him again, because Bay & Bee is so far across Jacksonville it is basically in the Atlantic Ocean. But it was freaking awesome. (I will share more in another post.) It was also FREE to first-time visitors, and my sister had never been either. So the Littles played for hours for free. Wow.

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We went to Chick-fil-A afterwards. It was just like home: play place then Chick-fil-A. LOL. $27.64. (Two adults and three Tinys, but I wouldn’t have been there at all if not for Babystar so I guess it all counts, right?)

The next day we drove all the way into Jacksonville AGAIN to play at the Hands-On Children’s Museum. ($20.50…I paid for my oldest son and his girlfriend too, but again, we wouldn’t have been there if not for Babystar.)

It was extra sweet because I remember going to the same place with my first two babies who are now basically senior citizens.

All that driving took all that gasoline so I filled the tank: $47.37.

The rest was all family visiting and family dinners. I did buy an overpriced cup of fruit and a ‘blueberry cookie’ (except it really was a muffin) for the girls at the airport for $8.73.

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On the ride home, my darling niece explained to me the per the pictures in the safety instructions booklet, we were going to ‘fly and fly and then go in the water’. Um. And then when we were landing at DCA, which is right by two rivers, she saw the water and said, loud and excitedly, LOOK I TOLD YOU WE ARE GOING IN THE WATER. I hope the people sitting near us weren’t nervous fliers. HAHAHAHAHA.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,550.19

Snacks, Pals, and SnackPals

AKA That Time I Tried Tryazon.

Have you ever heard of Tryazon? The concept is pretty cool. You sign up and they email you ‘party opportunities’ which is code for ‘free stuff in exchange for free marketing.’ All well and good, fair is fair and all that jazz. When you see an email that interests you, you fill out a short application and Tryazon then chooses a certain amount of ‘party hosts’. (Usually 100 but I have seen less.) You get a box of goodies and have a party inviting your friends over to check out these goodies and then post about it on social media.*

If you check #tryazon over on my Twitter or IG, you will see some pictures of my party.

I invited about a million people, but the party day turned out to be the first 70+ degree day in our area in MONTHS (last Friday), so lots of mamas took their children outside to play instead. I don’t even blame them. I would have done the same thing. Don’t worry, I did take Babystar to a park before the sun set. I’m not a MONSTER.

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Before I knew that only a few (wonderful, stunningly gorgeous) friends would turn up, I went to Trader Joe’s that morning and spent $44.09 on fruit and cheeses and crackers and a few bottles of sparkly stuff to drink. Non-alcoholic because BOOOOOOORING but also because it was the middle of the afternoon and I have too much responsibility for day drinking these days. Which, quite frankly, sometimes very much sucks but here we are.

Oh wait, I ate a 0.19 banana while shopping so that’s actually $43.90.

Tryazon sent me plastic snack dispensers called SnackPals from a company called Wow Gear. They also sent a Wow Cup, a cool looking game to play from Madd Capp Games, and three different types of snacks to fill the dispensers (goldfish, gummis, and Cheerios).

 

Ok, so I signed up to do this to see if I was a ‘Brand Ambassador’ type of person. I am not. I am more of an ‘honest review’ type person. I never really learned that lesson about ‘if you can’t say anything nice, STFU.’ I think I will not be asked back. Whoops.

I WILL say that one mama LOVED the SnackPals dispenser. She went home with two of them — the unopened door prize and one of the demos. She said that her son refused to stick his hand into that other variety of snack containers. You know the kind I mean; there are several on the market but they all have a sort of plastic seal with a scary claw like opening that keeps the snacks from spilling out. We have the ubbi tweat container and Babystar digs it. (We had two and lost one and I don’t miss it enough to replace it. So there’s that.)

The point of the SnackPals container is portion control snacks for kids while on-the-go. Or while at home, too, I guess. You fill it with snacks (goldfish or gummis or m&ms if you are competing for favorite parent that day), turn it upside down, give it a solid shake or two, turn it right side up, then open the top to dispense a small portion of snacks. That totally happened when the adults experimented.

However, a three year old in attendance could not figure out how to work it or even open it. That is unfortunate because I kind of think three-year-olds are about the perfect target audience. The one year olds ignored it, even when they saw that there were snacks inside. The five year old shook and dispensed, shook and dispensed, over and over so there was no portion control aspect other that a parent saying hey that’s enough which we could do with literally any container.

The five year old quickly became the hero among the children there and wielded her power like a proper Snack Princess.

Because we were FULLY COMMITTED to this product review, we even checked to see if it fit in the stroller. It did not (we only checked the one already open and parked out front but dude).

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Also, it has no handles. Little fingers need handles. Mamas holding seventeen things need handles. If it’s not going to have handles, then it should at least fit in a stroller-sized cupholder. Right?

The Wow Cup sippy cup COULD NOT BE SPILLED. If all you are looking for in a cup is that it can not be spilled, look no further. But also, not a single one of the six children at the party could drink from it. (Yes, I washed it in between tries while wishing Tryazon had sent more than one for review. And to be fair, the four month old baby didn’t even try. Lazy baby.) Even I couldn’t get any water out. A couple of other ADULT WOMEN with brains could not get any water out. One of the mamas in attendance luckily had a similar sippy cup for her one year old and told us that we had to sort of squeeze/bite the sides to make it work. We did. It worked. But WHY would you want to teach your child to bite the lip of a cup?!? What about when they drink out of a glass made of ACTUAL GLASS?!? Seems dangerous to me. Hard pass.

(But then later that night I made my husband try it, you know, for research, and he drank with no problem and didn’t even understand my confusion. So, obviously, I need to replace our wine glasses with plastic and metal.)

We did not play the included game at the party. It looks really fun, and it will be played very soon at a child’s birthday party, and I think it will be perfect. It is labeled for players age six and up (which is why we didn’t play it and quite frankly why would you send that particular game along with snack dispensers and a sippy cup??) and it is for 3-13 players. I think the girls will have a blast playing at the party.

The party was fun. Parties are fun. But I would have rather spent $40 on a party on a day of MY choosing and not had the conversation center around baby products. Well, the conversation almost always gets around to baby products anyway because we mamas are #basic like that, and I guess it was kind of fun to have something new to experiment with, so I guess I might do it again but I am pretty sure I will not be asked to do it again.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,882.78

*Now the Tryazon web site has an option for something called ‘Tryabox’ where they ship you something to review and you don’t have to commit to a party and that sounds really cool. I like parties but again: $43.90. Which I know I did not HAVE to spend (and I definitely have leftover snacks) but what kind of host invites adult people to a party and offers them only Cheerios? Not me.

 

Miss Star if You’re Nasty.

Ok, so I took Babystar to the Women’s March in D.C. SHE FREAKING LOVED IT. She loves being outside and watching other people and being sosososoclose to mama and the March had all of these things. She loved chanting and clapping. And she loved holding her tiny sign (made by the Teenager) up high with everyone else.

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Babystar was in the Tula for TEN HOURS STRAIGHT. I only took her out for bathroom/diaper breaks three times in that ten hours. Negligent? Perhaps. But there were like over half a million people there and bathroom breaks were really difficult. She loved it. Now I want a mama-sized Tula because it is clearly the most comfy place ever. And y’all? My feet hurt like whoa the next day and my legs are still a little sore but my back? Nada. Fine. Babystar is twenty-five pounds and change. And Tulas are clearly magic.

Anyway. Her tiny sign didn’t cost us anything extra. We had already bought an eight-pack of poster board and we still have one left over. We already bought the markers. We DID have to buy a clear backpack for the baby. We went ahead and bought three since we were buying one already and most of the cost was in the expedited shipping. (Nothing was available on Amazon Prime. I found cheap clear backpacks on Walmart’s website, of all places.)

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In retrospect, we probably didn’t need to buy them. No one was stopping and frisking.
And we would have simply used small purses for our phones and money and regular cheap drawstring ‘backpack’ bags for our water and snacks. But I could not risk having a non-clear backpack full of diapers and wipes and her cup and snacks and extra clothes confiscated. So that $36.09 goes in Babystar’s column.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,400.46

A Table of One’s Own.

Babystar sat at the kid’s table. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY TINY BABY.

We went to a friend’s event and I’ve cropped out the other kids but omg look!

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She also sits at her cousin’s little table and eats with her. And crawls into the big chairs at the table at home. I am clearly in denial and it was way past time to get this child a table her size. Where is my World’s Best Mom coffee mug??

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Have I mentioned how much I love Ikea? $24.99. Babystar even helped me put it together. She twisted one of the screws and did not eat any of the others and I think that was a huge help.

Also, here is December’s food tally. I know I swore I would make these more interesting for 2017 and I really probably won’t, but this is technically for food purchased last year so leave me alone. Also, I would like to give a shout out to all of the people that sent fruit baskets to my husband’s office and to my parents for sending a fruit and cheese basket because that really cut down on our food bill for Babystar this month. Please send more for January, and include berries, ok thanks.

  • blueberries x5  $17.95
  • strawberries x3  $12.98
  • apples  $3.24
  • pasta  $2.69
  • zucchini  $3.65
  • squash  $1.15
  • diced tomatoes  $1.50
  • so much cheese  $12.00
  • teddy grahams  $2.99
  • animal crackers $1.50
  • donuts (shhhhh)  $2.99
  • frozen microwavable vegetables x10 (various, hell of a sale)  $10.00
  • HER VERY FIRST Chik-fil-a kid’s meal  $3.35

Y’ALL. My tiny little baby has her own table and chairs and she got her very first kid’s meal toy and WHERE IS MY BABY???

Btw, Chik-fil-a don’t play around with their kid’s meal toys. Babystar got a super cool little board book called Fish Kisses and she loves it and she kisses it and I die.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,364.37

 

Auld Lang Syne.

There is something in that song about old acquaintances, right?

Is that the song about ‘make new friends but keep the old’?

No, I think that was from Girl Scouts.

I know, I know, I could Google this. But let’s start the year on a lazy note, shall we?

To new friends and old friends! Cheers and a very big thank you to all new and old blog followers and Instagram followers!! Happy New Year!

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Look at all these old and new friends for Babystar!

The snowman in the top picture is her BFF from last month.

The penguin came from her sweet cousin V.

The old school half-naked Bitty Baby came from a local mommy listserve ($15) so her human friends would have a baby to play with when they come over (but of course Babystar likes that one best).

The Target baby is still one of her #squad.

The Buckle Bear was the free portion of a ‘buy 2 get 1’ Target promo in December and I bought him because Babystar was freaking the freak out about learning to buckle all by herself thank you very much. He also has a button and velcro and a zipper but it’s really all about the buckle so we call him Buckle Bear.

The tiger was her Build-a-Bear gift from her big brother when he was here in December.

The newer Bitty Baby was from her grandparents a few months ago. Please notice her dashing layered look.

The dinosaur was her Build-a-Bear gift from her big sister. Both her older sibs took her to Build-a-Bear as her combined Christmas gift and let her choose an animal. They love their stuffed animals from BaB (some they have even given to Babystar) and they wanted to give her the first one. She liked the tiger AND the dinosaur so they held them both out to her to let her choose. Babystar looked at them and then pointed to both and said ‘TWO’. She got two. Smart cookie. Cuteness will get you everywhere, little one.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,225.23

It’s Beginning to Look a Tiny Bit Like Christmas.

Just a little, though. HOW IS IT DECEMBER 21 ALREADY? By my math, I still have about three more weeks until Christmas. Right?

We bought a tree. I haven’t bought most gifts. Amazon Prime and I have a hot date tonight. I’m already chilling the pinot noir YES I KNOW IT’S RED WINE DON’T HATE.

The Teenagers and I made gingerbread houses last weekend. We totally had the Trader Joe’s White House kit from July, Haunted House kit from Halloween, and Gingerbread House kit from modern days, and we made them all into Christmas themed masterpieces. We listed to Christmas music and everything. Ta-dah! (Babystar was at Costco with her dad.)

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Why yes, my smartass son did make the White House and updated it to the Trump House. That orange blob is Mr. Trump. That lady on the top is Hillz. When they go low, she goes high? Ah, Millennials.

We hung felt ornaments on the tree that the Girl Teenager and I made a few years ago. Babystar keeps taking them off the tree and putting them back on and taking them off. So sometimes there are twenty and sometimes there are zero.

We also made some ornaments this year out of card stock and stickers, and we bought some foam and wood ornament making kits at Target but have not made them yet. Scratch that. The OMG NOW HE IS 20yo and Babystar made one. One. But he’s gone on the airplane now, so luckily I’ve got a date tomorrow with my 3yo niece to help make some more ornaments before Santa gets here. I bought washable markers to replace the ones in the kits because I am smart. And I bought a cute zipper case with bunnies on it to replace the delicious looking semi-edible cardboard marker boxes because I like when Babystar makes the ‘sniff sniff’ bunny face. I also bought some art paper and sparkly ribbon to hang the card stock ornaments (not pictured) and everything was from either Target or Marshall’s (the bunny case) or Micheal’s and most of it was on sale. All of the ornament making craft supplies purchased this month are BECAUSE of Babystar so it’s all going on her tab. Total: $34.97. At least the markers and paper can help stock the Toddler Craft Closet that exists only in my mind right now.

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I also built bought a snowman at Marshall’s because Babystar loves her ‘That’s Not My Snowman’ book and is mildly obsessed with snowmen (and mittens) these days. And the snowman has mittens. Dude. $7.99. She loves him btw. We took him to the theater last week.

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Oh, right. We went to the theater. Actually, we went to a baby play were we sat on the floor but it was really good and held her attention for the entire thirty minutes. I was impressed. And surprised. Totally worth the $9 per ticket ($19.75 with fees). No, we didn’t have to buy a ticket for the snowman. And we have been to Busy Bees twice lately. But I finally got smart and bought the $36 gift card that covers three visits. Which saves $9 over the course of three visits. And we still have one visit left on the card. Yay!

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,796.18

 

 

 

Birthday Balloons.

No, we don’t celebrate half birthdays or anything although holy bananas, Babystar is zooming up on 18 months. Big Brother is here visiting and he turned 20. Two. Zero. TWENTY. I have been a mother for twenty years. You would think I would have this thing down by now. Whoops.

Babystar’s squirrel balloon lasted a loooong time but was on the floor when we came downstairs two days ago. So we went to the party store to get balloons for Big Brother’s Birthday (but really for her). A snowman, three stars, and a dinosaur happy birthday balloon. Babystar can’t read; I think she thinks it says RAWR. Plus we bought noisemakers and party hats (again for the kids — Babystar and my 3yo niece, NOT for this grown up man that I apparently gave birth to) for a total of $25.69.

Don’t worry, I bought desserts and actual birthday gifts for the birthday boy. But we all know these things were for Babystar so onto her tab they go.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,697.47

A Very Kacey Christmas.

Last weekend, my husband and I went on a date. By ourselves. It was awesome. You see that picture up there? Damn, we look so tired. We needed it.

I see lots of parents on social media going out without their babies so I think I have a PARTICULARLY clingy little monster because she can only be left for a little while and not very often and only with her sister so I’m thinking I have to ban the Teenager from going to college, right? Just kidding. I’ll just send Babystar to college with her sister.

Anyway. If you have ideas, please help. My MIL told me that my darling husband was the same way. She had to quit her job because he cried at daycare all day long and got kicked out. Like a BRAT. So I do not wonder where she gets this from but DUDE HAVE SOME CHILL.

We went to dinner and then to see the Kacey Musgraves Christmas show. It was lovely. Both the show and the moving about freely without a tiny shadow. I PEED BY MYSELF MORE THAN ONCE.

We pay the Teenager for babysitting even though we also pay for her food and shelter. And shampoo and stuff. Her babysitting time is in high demand. Plus, I was the oldest growing up and very much resented the forced babysitting gigs. (Anyone else?) Did you know the going rate for babysitting around here is $10/hour?! (It really is — I checked.) I’m thinking I should totally start babysitting.

We also bought them pizza. Yes, them. My oldest is in town! But I still only paid $10/hour + pizza. I let them work out the details. Problem solving is an important life skill.

According to several Snapchats I received, Babystra played for a bit and then slept on her sister all night. Until fifteen minutes before we got home, apparently. She greeted me at the door at 11pm crying for MAMAMAAMMA.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,671.78