Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I hope you're having a truly joyful Christmas day (even if you don't celebrate). Mine will be filled with new pajamas that I got last night and I'll wear past noon, peanut butter kiss cookies and almost all of my favorite people in the world. The few favorites that I won't see today, I will see before the ball drops on 2015. 

Here is my go-to peanut butter kiss cookie recipe - SO DELICIOUS. 
Try not to eat the whole batch yourself because it would be highly unhealthy and a tad selfish...though also, probably, worth it.

As if there aren't enough reasons to be happy today, I wanted to share one of the best happy-inducing websites ever. It's called Sunny Skyz and it's all about good news and inspirational stories. You might not have time to check it out today (with all those cookies and surprises and family members milling about). But do check it out. You won't be sorry.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What My 2 Year Old Loves (at the moment)

I'm not sure what your 2-year-old is into these days, but here is what my little lady is obsessing over:

Frozen veggies - You're either gonna think I'm a genius or a bad, bad parent: I've convinced my daughter to eat (and love) frozen veggies. Straight out of the freezer, in their tasteless, frozen state. The story goes that I was making chicken pot pie a few weeks ago and I was behind schedule. My daughter was ready for dinner a good half hour before completion. To tide her over, I gave her a bowl of frozen veggies I had used in the pie. Something new and different tends to be a winner, so (in desperation) I gave it a whirl. She loved them. Frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen green beans, frozen carrots. It was just a generic brand bag from WholeFoods (they were the organic kind...I confess). She actually asks for frozen veggies now. So strange and awesome.

I get the mixed veggie pack, but I'm sure she'd love straight up peas.  Don't judge me.
(image source)

Plastic crayola scissors - Loves them. I got a three-pack this summer (very randomly...most people don't buy scissors for their 18 month olds) because I found them on clearance for almost free. In the last few weeks she's noticed them and decided she wants to cut things all day long. And she can because they're plastic and completely safe. It's like magic - they are dull to the touch but actually cut paper. Her favorite scissor game (probably not a term I should use and encourage) is using the green pair that cuts a jagged line to make "french fries".

This is the exact pack I nabbed. You can see how the green scissors would make great crinkle cut fries.
(image source)

National Geographic Magazine for Little Kids - My BFF got her a subscription to Nat Geo for her 2nd birthday and she's obsessed. It's a treat to get something in the mail just for her. They're the perfect size for her little hands to flip through the pages and they're all about wild animals, which is another thing she loves at the moment (see below: polar bears).  She also loves telling people that she reads magazines. Adorable.

What a great birthday gift - keep this one in your back pocket.
(image source)

Polar Bears - Any kinds and all kinds. Photos of them. My amateur drawings of them (which look like big guinea pigs). Stories about them. Stuffed animals, big and small. I made her "polar bear art" for her bedroom and it's a huge hit. I'll try to pull together a tutorial post if you're interested in trying it for your little one's room...or your room...or your bathroom.

She got this guy for her birthday and named him Duke.
(image source)

Cardigans - She seriously loves cardigans, which is no doubt my influence. But, really, cardigans are very lovable. She loves wearing them. She loves saying the word. Cardigan, cardigan, cardigan. She just loves them.

This is very close to the cardigan we just added to her collection. Hers is cream, but it was nowhere to be found on It must be sold out after all those hot pre-Christmas deals. This one's pretty cute though...
(image source)

What is your 2-year-old into these days? I'd love to hear about it - the good, the unusual, the highly unusual.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Popcorn, Top Chef and Babysitters

I'm back, after about two months of silence, to share nothing of substance.

What's been on my mind these last two months. Let's see:

1. Zebra popcorn
2. What to get my mom for the holidays. She's a tricky one. She gets what she wants. She has what she wants. She doesn't need much of anything.
3. Finding a babysitter
4. Top Chef
5. Babies. Shocker. It's been a real second coming with babies in my life. Everyone is having one, everyone is pregnant. It's a combo of first timers that weren't ready to jump on the train during the last trip and second timers who were ready for another ride (or who thought/think they are).

In terms of zebra popcorn, the obsession started with one of those end of aisle specials at WholeFoods...the place where all food looks (and usually is) delicious. There it was a bag of carmel drenched, chocolate drizzled, salty heaven. I grabbed a bag (I had no choice, no choice I tell you). Hours later, as I shoved fistfuls into my mouth, I was officially addicted. I plan to make a homemade batch. Tonight, actually. I found a delicious recipe on Creme De La Crumb. If you've read this far and still have no idea what I'm talking about, look below. Yup. You want some. Right NOW.

Image Source: Creme de la Crumb

In terms of my mom, I've cobbled together a few mediocre gifts. Some that I've come up with on my own, most that she's sent me via email with a link to the exact item (No Fun). So, I'm still searching for a real winner that will surprise her. Where do you get your unique gifts? What are your go to websites and stores?

In terms of getting a babysitter, mission accomplished. I got me one. And she's (so far) pretty great. I was interested in your standard high schooler with morals. I guess that's an oxymoron? Anyway, I wanted a local teenager who wasn't going to set my house on fire and who was going to bond with my daughter and keep her safe from irreversible bodily harm. A couple great notes for babysitter hunters: 1) references 2) trial runs in low stakes situations (think short day date at local spot) 3) Facebook stalking...this one is sure to weed out quite a few candidates. It shocks me what people put on Facebook, especially those immoral high schoolers.

In terms of Top Chef, I love it. And, for the record, I called Dougy as a dark horse in episode 2.

In terms of babies...this is a baby blog after all...the conversation has been all over the road and nonstop:

  • Baby showers (decor, themes, registering, non-registry gifting, the whole thing)
  • Name selection process
  • Ugly baby clothes
  • When to go to the hospital
  • Inappropriate bump touchers
  • What to do with your first born when you're delivering your second born
  • Facebook birth announcement
  • Pregnancy gifts
So, based on the list above, there's a lot for me to discuss with you. I just need to find the time to do it. Maybe 2015 will be my return to NS(A)B? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Girl's With Boy's Names

I'm tempted to use this entire post to discuss all the tabloid/legal gossip that came out this week about Real Housewives cast members - there's just so much.

There was the sentencing of Teresa and Joe Giudice after their guilty plea to a number of financial crimes back in March. has a nice little article quoting the sentencing judge who informed Teresa that because she is almost completely devoid of any morality, he couldn't bring himself to give her just probation. So he didn't. She got a year and a half and her better worse half got over three years. In prison. Federal prison. Well, orange is the new black...

Before I move on to the real topic of today's rare post, I also feel compelled to discuss Bethenny Frankel's legal shenanigans. She was told by the judge in her ongoing divorce and child custody case to stop wearing her daughter's pajamas. You may (or may not, if you're me) have missed it this summer when Bethenny posted a photo of herself wearing her four year old's pajamas on Instagram. She caught a lot of slack from fans and haters alike. Well, this week, she also caught slack from a Manhattan judge who told her, in sum, to knock it off.

I'll let you be the judge whether this is "knock it off" type behavior
Image source: Bethenny Frankel Instagram

Okay, onto today's topic: Girls who have boy's names. Specifically, Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher and Lincoln Bell Shepard.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher had a daughter a few days ago (congrats to them, if they happen to read...) and they named her Wyatt. In March 2013, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard named their daughter Lincoln. Wyatt and Lincoln. They name of two very important, very masculine figures in American History. Of course I'm referring to Wyatt Earp and the 16th President of the United States. Is this the start of a new wave of boy names making their way to the girl's side?

I admit that this "trend" has been trending since...forever. Allison was originally a boy's name. True story. People love naming their daughters Charlotte and Alexandra for the sheer joy of calling them Charlie and Alex. Elliot and Cameron have been very popular crossover names in the past decade. There's Evan and Dylan and Hayden and Rowan and Taylor. The examples are too numerous to list. So, maybe the only thing different about Lincoln and Wyatt is that they're the first of their kind and in a decade or two, they will be obvious adds to the list. Maybe Ashton Kutcher is a formerly unrecognized innovator and, at last, deserves some credit...

Thoughts? Anyone in your circle who has used a crossover/unisex name? 
Do you like the trend? Hate it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Dig That Tom Guy From Maine

First, a disclaimer: I was given a free tube of toddler training toothpaste (say that 3 times fast) from Tom's of Maine. With that being said, everything you're about to read is my own opinion.

Typically I don't accept free stuff in exchange for posts or reviews or any sort of advertisement. Next Stop Baby has never been about me getting rich quick...or getting rich at all. So, I've turned down many a handout in an effort to stick to that general idea. Don't mean to brag. Too late. I have made a few exceptions over the years and this offer from Tom's of Maine seemed like an obvious one to add to the list for two reasons: 1) I love Tom's of Maine products. I use them in my home on a daily basis. 2) It was a tube of toothpaste being offered, not a bucket of cash. So, I accepted the offer with no strings attached. Meaning, I didn't promise to write this post. But, I feel a bit of a moral obligation to give this training toothpaste a shoutout anyway because I genuinely like the stuff. Or, more accurately, my daughter does.

Toddler tooth brushing has not been an urgent issue in my house. My daughter is quickly approaching two years of age and she has only eight teeth. A few more have finally broke through her gums, but they're barely visible. I know a couple two year olds who are working with a full set plus molars. So, with only eight teeth to her name, my husband and I didn't worry too much about jumping on the tooth brushing train in a real way. Sure, we got her a cute mini toothbrush and we talked about how to use it and persistently showed her how we brushed our teeth, but that was that. For a while.

Eventually, she started "using" her toothbrush with water. Using = sucking on. I've tried to teach the concept of spitting a few times, but it has not worked. Though, as my mother says, I'm sure she'll figure it out sometime before college. My mother consoles me frequently with the phrase "she'll figure it out sometime before college". After a couple months of water brushing sucking under her belt, I got the email from Tom's of Maine and accepted. The tube arrived in my mailbox shortly thereafter:

I initially worried about my failed spitting lessons, until realizing that it didn't matter because this toothpaste is "training toothpaste" and can be swallowed by the gallon, though I don't believe that's recommended. My daughter has used it for about a month and the biggest positive affect has been her improved interest in tooth brushing. In general, it's been a great addition to our tooth brushing routine. We've made no progress on the spitting front, but (again) with only eight teeth, time is on our side.

Now, I should probably give a bit more detail as to why I like this training toothpaste:

  • Like all Tom's of Maine products, it's made with their stewardship model (natural, sustainable and responsible) in mind
  • It's preservative free and artificial flavor and color free
  • The flavor is "mild fruit" and is genuinely mild flavor. I'm not interested in my daughter brushing with something that tastes like a lollipop.
  • The tube is a "no mess" dispenser so there's not gooey paste everywhere
A downer that should be noted: it costs $3.99 per tube. Not wildly cheap. But, each brushing uses such a minimal amount of toothpaste that I can see this tube lasting us quite a while. And, most naturally derived toddler toothpastes don't come wildly cheap. I did a quick search and found some reputable brands going for $10 for the same size tube. Wowza.

Final thought: I'm so glad it's fall. Bring on the cool weather and apple pie.