Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kitchen Mini-Makeover

It's amazing what new granite countertops and a travertine backsplash can do! Our kitchen wasn't horrible, it just needed a refresher. We painted it (and everything else in the house for that matter) when we moved in, and we like our cabinets. They are in pretty good condition and have nice slide out shelves. But the tired laminate countertops and dated backsplash had to go. We'd still like to get new valences for above the window and slider and some new hardware for the cabinets...but baby steps.

I'm most excited about the mosaic behind the stove. It really adds a custom touch to the kitchen. I love the way it turned out!

We also replaced the almond colored outlets and face plates with new bright white. We've been doing this throughout the house room by room since we moved in and the kitchen was the "last frontier". It's amazing the difference something so small can make. Like my rooster platter? I'm slightly obsessed with roosters in my kitchen. They're tucked in everywhere...

And of course the matching plates that go with my platter : )

Friday, February 15, 2013

Traveling by Plane with a Toddler Part 2: In Flight Entertainment

You've boarded the plane, now what?! First, I hope you took advantage of pre-boarding so that you didn't feel rushed and therefore stressed even more than you probably already are. Second, I hope you don't feel the glares of every passenger as they board the plane and then the overwhelming relief when they find that they aren't seated next to you...or in front of you for that matter : ) And third, are some tips on how to keep that toddler of yours corralled so that you can keep your sanity.
  • Visit your local dollar store and pick up a few new toys to keep you're toddler entertained...and if they get left behind, don't sweat it, they were only $1 : ) Keep them in the package...sometimes the packaging is just as much fun as the toy itself! 
  • Pack a role of Scotch tape. You'll be surprised how mesmerized and entertained your toddler can become with something so simple.
  • Bring a couple of your child's favorite books.
  • Mini packs of Play Doh are great to play with on the tray table.
  • Crayons and a coloring book are always fun, but be prepared...crayons can easily roll away. Make sure you pick up a box of Crayola's square crayons. Better yet, pack a small magnetic drawing board like this one from Etch-a-Sketch...
  • Don't forget your toddler's favorite blanket and/or stuffed animal and a small pillow. These familiar comforts may be all they need to doze off to dreamland during the flight.
  • Download videos to your iPad or bring a portable DVD player and DVDs. But, don't forget the headphones! You don't want to be disruptive to people seated around you. I found these for Logan on Amazon HERE ....

  • Pack twice as many snacks, diapers and formula as you think you'll need. Always be prepared for delays and layovers. And stay away from sugary snacks! They'll only defeat the purpose of trying to keep your toddler under control.
  • Let your toddler be entertained by the sights and sounds of the plane...the seat belt, window, safety brochure, tray table latch, people watching, etc. 
  • If you're running out of options, straws and cups from the beverage cart can be loads of entertainment to a toddler.
 Hope these tips come in handy for your next adventure. Safe travels!

Click HERE for Part1: Tips Before Travel.

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Traveling by Plane with a Toddler Part 1: Tips Before Travel

    Traveling with a toddler can be tricky. Here's my little man last February on his first airplane trip! He was 16 months old and did really well. I actually received compliments from people sitting next to me on one of the flights : )

    In two weeks we'll be leaving to stay with PaPa and Grandma for some fun in the Florida sun. Did I mention we'll be there for four weeks? And did I mention I am literally C-O-U-N-T-I-N-G the days? got me thinking about last year's trip and all the great tips I learned. Some from the airlines themselves, some from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) websites, and some just from talking with other mommies.

    In this post I'll write about things you need to know at the airport...FAA child safety tips, TSA security procedures and some other helpful tips from the airlines.

    FAA Safety Tips
    The FAA highly recommends use of a child restraint system (CRS) for all infants and toddlers traveling that weigh less than 40 pounds. A CRS is defined by the FAA as a hard-backed child safety seat that is approved by the government for use in both motor vehicles and aircraft. Make sure your CRS is government approved and has "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" printed on it. Otherwise, you may be asked to check it as baggage. Booster seats are not an approved CRS. If your child is 22-40 pounds, you can use a genius product called the Cares Child Safety Device. These safety harnesses are FAA approved for use in an aircraft. 

    Be prepared, these restraints are a little pricey when purchased new from the Kid's Fly Safe Cares Airplane Safety Harness website HERE. For a third of the cost to purchase a new one, you can rent one from Cares Harness Rental HERE or from caresrentals on eBay HERE.

    TSA Security Check Point Tips
    Children ages 12 and under can leave their shoes on during screenings (hooray for small miracles). TSA agents will not ask travelers to do anything that will separate them from their child. Although the TSA recommends children who can walk without assistance should walk through the metal detector separately from their parent or guardian, infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector. If the alarm sounds, an officer will have to conduct additional screening on both the passenger and the child. If a baby is carried through the metal detector in a sling, additional screening may be required even if there isn’t an alarm. All carry-on and child related items that can fit in the x-ray machine, should go through the x-ray machine. Such as toys, blankets, strollers, baby carriers, car seats, backpacks, and baby slings. If any equipment will not fit through the X-ray machine, security officers will visually and physically inspect it. Ask a security officer for help gathering bags and equipment, if needed.

    The 3-1-1 on Carry On Beverages & Snacks for Babies & Toddlers
    Currently, each passenger is allowed one quart size, zip-top bag in their carry-on for liquids, gels and aerosols that are 3.4 ounce or smaller. This is referred to the "3-1-1 rule". Baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are exempt from the 3-1-1 rules, and are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3.4 ounces limit and are not required to be in a zip-top bag. Officers may ask you to open these items to conduct additional screening and you should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint.

    Other Useful Tips
    • Although children under two are allowed to fly for free in your lap, did you know if you bring your child's car seat and there is an empty seat on the plane, airlines are required to let you use that empty seat for your child's CRS? Ask at the ticket counter when you check-in about this and the possibility of getting seat reassignments.

    • Strollers and car seats are not counted as part of standard baggage and can be checked for free at the ticket counter or right at the gate before you board. Don't forget to tag them with your name/address and phone number.

    • Be prepared and organized before getting in line to go through security. Having lots of loose items, stuff hanging off the stroller, and in the basket underneath will make it take longer to get through security and you could risk leaving something behind. Some airports have family lanes at security to help you through with extra agents.

    • Once you're through security, use this time to pick up any extra drinks or snacks you will need during your flight. Not all flights carry milk and bottled water supplies can be limited. Buy what you need now. Trust me, I learned the hard way. 

    • Lots of airports have designated play areas where kids can run around, climb, and slide. These are great places for kiddos to get out that extra energy before boarding. Even if your airport doesn't have a designated area, find a safe place in the terminal where they can get out some extra energy. There will be lots of time for sitting when you board the plane.

    • I found this great suitcase made by Melissa & Doug. The Trunki is a carry-on sized suitcase for kids that they can also ride on. I'm hoping this will be a fun diversion at the airport while waiting to board our flight. Here he is trying it out...

    • Babies and toddlers do not know how to clear their ears to reduce the pressure during takeoff and landing. Sucking on a pacifier, or drinking from a bottle or sippy cup will work.

    • I have found flying during nap time works well. The less time your toddler is awake means the less time they have to cause trouble or bother the people around you : )

    Click HERE for Part 2: In Flight Entertainment on ways to keep your toddler entertained while in flight.

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Powder Room Mini-Makeover

    I think the photos speak for themselves. Our powder room was so outdated. We painted it and put up a new towel bar, toilet paper holder, and light fixture when we moved into the house four years ago (OMG, have we really lived here for four years?!). Other than that, I don't think anything had been done to the powder room since the house was built in the late 90's.


    It's amazing what granite, a new faucet, and a $35 mirror from Target will do. You heard me right...found the mirror on clearance at Target. Gotta love a good bargain : )

    We also had granite counter tops and a new travertine tile back splash done in the kitchen. Those makeover pics to follow soon!

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Super Cute Valentine for Toddlers & Template

    Have any toddler Valentine's Day parties coming up? Here's a great idea for putting together a simple, yummy treat and message for all their little valentines.

    Just download the template below, print on a heavy weight paper, add your own message or picture (or both like I did), stick to a fruit squeeze pouch, and you're set! : )

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