Starbucks Pick of The Week: An Awesome Book of Love

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Starbucks gives away free media via their Pick of the Week program. Patrons can pick up a business card with a code on the back to redeem a book or song from the iTunes store for free. The cards are typically available near the register or the toppings station. You can also download the Pick of the Week on your device via WiFi while visiting the store at http://promo.yahoo.com/starbucks/.

Why does Starbucks do this? Well, according to the website,

“what would the coffeehouse be without great music? Well it wouldn’t be Starbucks, for one thing. We’re just as passionate about music as we are about coffee. That’s why we handpick all the tunes you hear in our stores. We take pride in creating unique compilations you can’t find anywhere else. Because helping people discover their next favorite artist or recording is one of our favorite things to do.”

Whatever the ultimate reason, free music and books are pretty awesome. I pick up a card everytime go. Most of the time I don’t actually bother doing anything with them, but this week I’m so glad I did! The featured title was An Awesome Book of Love! by Dallas Clayton (also available in print and Kindle edition).

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The words contained within this tiny gem are a perfect expression of everything I have in my heart for both Scott and the kids. Reading through the first time made me tear up. I’m so glad Starbucks brought the book into my world for free, although I would have gladly paid to share its sweet sentiment with my family anyday.

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cupcake stand to fruit storage

So, I thought I’d share a repurpose/organizational tip with you. I bought this cupcake stand from World Market for Kaylee’s first birthday. It looked cute and worked out great but it has been sitting on a shelf above the washer and dryer ever since. I was cleaning said shelf the other day and was about to put the cupcake stand in the garage sale pile when I thought of a new use for it.

We are also big fruit eaters and Kaylee adores apples, pears, and bananas so I try to keep a lot on hand. We have lots of cabinets in our kitchen and decent counter space, but no pantry. As such I have had to come up with some creative ideas for food storage. We also have a small fridge so our cold fruit storage is limited to berries, everything else has to sit out. So while apples would keep much longer in the fridge, there simply is not enough room for the amount we eat.

I had been keeping all of the fruit in bowls on the counter but it was ripening, and sometimes spoiling, before we could eat it. Enter the cupcake stand. It works out perfectly and makes it easy to see exactly what we have. Plus the fruit hasn’t spoiled yet, perhaps because there is less physical contact and more air circulation.

I’m looking forward to seeing it filled up with all of the lovely fruit we’re bound to bring home from the farmer’s market this summer.

 

things i love: evite

We have a pretty large guest list for Kaylee’s first birthday ~ 50ish people give or take. I toyed with the idea of getting invitations printed up, but decided against it since it seems like a waste of time and money for something that will just end up in the trash. I opted to use evite instead and I think they turned out really cute, plus they’re free! They even had a theme that matches Kaylee’s bedroom colors and, all I had to do was decide on which picture to use, fill in the details, and add my guests’ email addresses. Evite takes care of notifying everyone for you and provides a space for people to leave comments and invite other people too (if you let them). It works out really great as a party planning tool. The only downside is when your less tech-savvy guests (Kaylee’s grandma) make things hard for you by inviting other guests without going through evite and you lose count of who is coming. Not a big deal unless you’re trying to figure out how many favor boxes you need…

things i love: garage sale finds

Our dear friend had a family garage sale over the weekend and Kaylee made out like a bandit. She got lots of new toys, including a Little Tikes climber. The first thing she did after we assembled it was climb up the slide, all the way to the top, and all by herself. She’s our little daredevil.

We played outside for quite a while, and by the time we got back inside our little one’s feet were as black as they could possibly be.

Hooray for summer! and baby toes!

and chubby thighs!

and grass!

and silly hair!

and putting your feet up after and long day!

Things I love: Teething Edition

Kaylee started the teething process towards the end of her 3rd month with the onset of tender gums, excessive drool, and occasional sleeplessness. We found a few items that make life with a teether easier for all of us:

  1. sophie: Hands down our favorite teether. Perfect size, texture, and pleanty of different spots to gnaw on, with an interative squeak that incites delight. I wrote a seperate post about Sophie here.
  2. Razbaby RaZberry Teether: Our second favorite teething product. We introduced it at 3 months and her mouth wasn’t big enough and she was still a little too uncoordinated to benefit much from it. We revisited it again at 5 months and it has become a staple of our teething arsenal. Kaylee likes to chew on every part and seems to like the red bumpy part for her front teeth and the green parts for the sides. The small size makes it very portable. We often attach it to her carseat with a pacifier clip when we are on the go.
  3. sassy teething feeder: These are meant to introduce chunks of fruit to new eaters, but the mesh is pretty difficult to clean so we use this item solely as an icecube cage. It makes the perfect teething pop and cleanup is super simple. Kaylee loves this special treat and it really seems to help soothe her gums. You can also try frozen cubes of breast milk or baby food purees too if you’re up for the additional mess.
  4. wet washcloth: The cool temperature helps numb while the texture soothes and keeps her hands occupied.  Also works as a drool catcher. We put one in the freezer occasionally and she happily gnaws away on it while it thaws out. Magical and cheep.
  5. Infant Ibuprofen: A definite must have. We give her a dose before bed at night to help her make it through when she has had a particularly uncomfortable day. Works like a charm.
  6. Oral Pain Relief Gel: I’m not totallly convinced, about the effectiveness but it makes the list only because it seems to calm her down when all else fails. Relief is short lived though since all that extra drool just washes it off. It also interferes with feeding if we put it on before a bottle. We mainly just give it to her right before putting her down for naps, to help her settle when she is overly crabby.
  7. Winkel: Great first toy and nice teether for early months. Kaylee was able to hold on to this and get it to her mouth without trouble from 3 months on.
  8. Healthy Times organic teething biscuits, Vanilla: Very hard and dense, difficult to break. We give them to her after meals, while we’re still finishing up. She loves to manipulate them with her hands, suck and gum them. They smell good, but can be quite messy. She never finishes in a sitting, so we usually rinse it off and let it dry out for a second round of chewing the next day before finally tossing them in the trash.

Things we tried but can live without:

  1. Humphrey’s teething pellets: I bought these when I was looking for a more natural alternative to oragel. We have used them a couple of times and they seem to work, but application requires melting tablets in water and applying to the gums. A process that can be quite messy and seems to take lightyears. When Kaylee is uncomfortable enough to require intervention, time is of the essence.  
  2. playtex teething pacifiers: Kaylee likes the Playtex ortho pro pacifers so when I saw these in the store I picked them up. She didn’t get it when we first gave them to her and tried to suck. We give them to her occasionally now and she’ll chew on them a bit before tossing them asside for something more interesting/soothing.
  3. Sassy flutterby teether: Has a lot of different textures and can be chilled in the fridge. Nothing wrong with it, and it’s definitely affordable, just not the miracle that Sophie and Ras have been. We pop it in the fridge and give it to her before or after meals.
  4. Soft teething beads: Better for early months of teething. Kaylee gets bored with them quickly now at 6 months.
  5. Bright Start chill and teethe: Seem to provide some relief. She likes them better frozen, although this is not recommended by the manufacturer. We give them to her when she is hanging out with us in the kitchen. They wash easily and are cheap but have not been essential.
  6. Sassy rattle and rings: This is one of the first toys we bought for her and was overshadowed by the winkel. We keep this in Kaylee’s toy basket and she plays with it occasionally but wouldn’t miss it if it was not there. I like it more than she does.

Snow Day

The storm of the century has been all over the news lately. We got 18 inches in our neck of the woods, most of it in a 6 hour span overnight. This is the view out our front window. That bush in the lower left, is 4.5 feet tall. The snow drift in our backyard is all the way up just below to the fence line (6ft). Our county issued a statement that the main roads were officially closed for the better part of yesterday because they were unable to rescue stranded motorists. We got 2 and a half snow days out of the deal. AWESOME!

On a related side note, we’ve got frost on the inside of our windows…probably not a good sign.

things i love: Ebay and fisher price flutterby crib soother

One of the babies I used to sit for had a fisher price ocean wonders aquarium crib soother – it was magical. I knew I wanted something similar for Kaylee and I was all excited when I found out about the flutterby version…It perfectly matches bird/forest theme of her room. Not to mention the seriously cute factor. The baby birds fly in a circle while one of them is trying hard to leave the nest as the mommy bird looks on. It also projects a happy sun, moon, bugs and birds on the ceiling. unfortunately we were about 9 years too late to purchase it new. Enter Ebay!

Kaylee loooooovvveeess it. She can turn it on by herself and now that she can sit up in her crib, she likes to sit and talk to the birds while patting on the window. This was the first electronic item I have purchased from Ebay and I am so glad I took the chance. It looks practically new, works great, and was only $16, less than half the price of a new crib soother.

things i love: sleep sheep (travel version)

Cost: $20

Age: 5 months (wish we had it sooner)

Why we love it: I had this on my baby registry but didn’t get around to buying it until we had to prepare a bag of supplies to send with Kaylee to daycare. She got so used to sleeping with the sound machine on the pack-n-play that we wanted her to have a similar experience for her naps away from home. I picked out the travel sized sleep sheep (there is a full sized version too) because the smaller size seemed more manageable. We attached it to her car seat the day I brought it home from the store and, to our surprise, it also did wonders to calm her down in the car (which used to be torture for everyone in earshot — Kaylee HATES!!!!!!! the car). After discovering this precious little treat I couldn’t bear to part with it so we (I) make sure it comes back home with us after each visit. After 2 weeks of use, Kaylee’s eyes get droopy as soon as ‘ocean’ starts to play and it soothes her right to sleep. Needless to say, we use it all the time now (so far we found it to be a miracle cure for everything from middle of the night fussies due to teething & colds, car ride drama queens, and overtired-crabsters-who-don’t-want-to-fall-asleep-no-matter-what!). It has 4 sound options, we prefer ocean, and 2 time settings, 25 and 45 minutes. The volume control is awesome – I wish all of her musical toys had this feature. An enthusiastic, must buy!

Things I love: Sophie the giraffe

Cost: $15 on sale at Amazon

Age: We gave it to Kaylee @ 5 months (wish we had it sooner)

Why we love it:  She’s cute, easy to grab, perfect soft rubber texture, produces a happy squeek with a gentle squeeze. Super easy for the early months of teething before baby is coordinated enough to get items accurately into thier mouth. Kaylee loves gumming on Sophie’s ears and her whole face lights up whenever she hears the squeek. A great first toy and the perfect teether ( and the only one you’ll need).

loving Sophie while practicing her new sitting skills

In her giraffe jammies from Old Navy