5 Reasons I’d Love to be a Kid Again

5 reasons to be a kid again

Being young is AMAZING.

1. Whenever I’m tired, all I want to do is run. Run like a crazy person.

2. I can eat a bowl full of junk food and feel like a total rock star afterward.

3. Chores are super fun!

4. I don’t need coffee. I’m fueled by 12 hours of sleep and boundless energy.

5. Nothing hurts! I can land face-down on hardwood and be ready to try it again in 10 seconds.

BONUS: When I don’t feel like walking, PEOPLE CARRY ME. It’s awesome.

 

Tell me, why would you LOVE to be a kid again?

The Easter Bunny Doesn’t Poop Chocolate

I know that a mythical bunny leaving candy-filled plastic eggs on your lawn has nothing to do with religion. But it’s a tradition that I love and I love that my daughter is old enough now to get into it. What I don’t want her getting into is a sugar-induced-toddler-frenzy ending in some form of tragedy. So even though I bought 12 different kinds of Easter candy to decorate cupcakes, very little of it is going into those aforementioned eggs. I’m stuffing those plastic vessels with fun non-chokeworthy gifts, including hair ties, stickers, and DIY crayons.

This post is about the crayons I attempted to make. Some were successful. Some were pitiful.

I should have found these tutorials (SheKnows, MakeandTakes, GabrielsGoodTidings) before starting, but as usual, I thought I’d just figure it out and forge ahead.

But here’s what I did:

1) You’ll need: crayons, a silicone mold (for making confections), a ziploc baggie, a cookie sheet, and a blunt object (to smash crayons). Optional: exacto knife to slit crayon peels. And you’re smart people–you know which to give your kids and which to keep away from them.

2) Preheat your oven to 225-250.

3) Follow along:

Start with crayons

Start with crayons, broken or whole.

Peel your crayons.

Peel. This can be made easier with an exacto knife.

Crush 'em. I just put them all in a baggie and smashed with a meat tenderizer. You can keep colors separate if you like.

Crush ’em. I just put them all in a baggie and smashed with a meat tenderizer. You can keep colors separate if you like.

Froggy mold for DIY crayons.

This froggy mold came from Japan, but you can get silicone molds at Ikea.

Melt the crayons.

Melt ’em. Fill the molds completely. This was about 5 minutes into baking.

Fill your molds completely.

I tried adding more bits halfway through. I do not recommend this. Just fill them enough at the beginning.

Some good, some bad, some ugly DIY crayons.

Some came out, some did not. Read my tips below.

Basically, I’d recommend filling your molds overfull. Don’t let them melt to liquid because the colors get really muddy. It’s fun when they swirl a bit, but too much and it’s not as pretty. But what toddler really cares? Right? And don’t (like me) try to add more chunks halfway through to make the molds full. Basically, you’ll have a liquid mess at the bottom, and crayon chunks on top.

Overall, this was super easy. It took about 15 minutes altogether and could be fun to do with the kiddos.

We’ll see what mine thinks of the Easter bunny after she opens her eggs!

In the Bag: The Diaper Bag Dilemma

With a 17 month-old, I’ve officially been through 4 diaper bags, with 3-4 unofficial options as well. Why? Am I picky? Am I destructive? Am I disorganized? Do I get frantic? Kind of.

The thing is, different situations call for different bags. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! You have your big, multi-purpose handbag for everyday outings or when you need to carry the utilitarian stuff. The cute, sassy clutch works for evenings out because you only need a couple of items for the night.

Though you may not be dancing the night away and getting free drinks with your little one in tow, you may have a preference for a smaller bag sometimes.
Here’s what I’ve learned about diaper bags.

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Feeling Flashy: Using Your Flash When it’s Least Expected

Recently, I took a web-based photography class via CreativeLive, taught by the incredibly talented Roberto Valenzuela. Though the class was geared toward wedding photographers, I gleaned some valuable information as an amateur photographer (cough cough). A cool tip I learned, which I’ll share with you here, is how to use your flash to create some beautiful shots.

When you think of flash photography, you think of low light, indoors, red eyes, blown out skin…just BAD…right? Well, it’s a tool, and it can be used in a way you wouldn’t necessarily think of!

This weekend, we visited a pumpkin patch at around 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s a notoriously “bad” time of day to shoot because the sun is still really bright, but lower in the sky, creating deep shadows, too much contrast, and it makes people squint if you try to eliminate shadows and have your subject face the sun.

Enter the flash. 

Sunflower photo no flash

It’s an okay shot, but the flower looks dark and sad.

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Toddling Around Tokyo

I’ve been dying to write this post, but every time I start, it spins out of control. There were so many cool things we experienced in the city that I want to share them ALL.
But I’m going to try and contain this post to “The Unofficial Committed Survival Guide to Playing Tourist in Tokyo with a Toddler.” Or something more concise and eloquent.

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Tokyo by Design

I’m blogging from the road today. Well, more like from the hotel while the kiddo naps. We’ve only been in Tokyo about half a day, but I’m already getting a feel for the place. So far, it’s been easy to navigate, everyone has been exceedingly friendly and helpful, and I was able to get lunch without any common language between myself and the shop! (And no picture menus to boot!)

I really wanted to cover the experience of visiting this city with a toddler, which may happen later, but I was immediately struck by the little design details around the neighborhood. So let’s start there, shall we?

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Even the sewer or water drains are pretty.

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I really loved the geometric floral pattern on this grate.

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This illustration style reminded me of children’s books from the 1960’s. Plus I’m a sucker for graphic illustration and primary colors.

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Everything is so cute, even the sides of busses. I don’t know if these kewpies were selling anything or merely decoration, but I had to snap them.

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I wish I’d gotten a better pic of this gent. He must have been in his 60s or 70s and was the hippest guy I’ve probably ever seen.

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Skinny building. Probably 12 feet wide. I’m noticing a distinct discord in architectural styles and functions.

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Our first adventure was to the Institute of Nature Study near Meguro station. It’s a really affordable (300Y) and quiet retreat from the city noise. Its basically a forest with lovely bird calls in the middle of the city. I really wanted to visit the adjacent Teien Art Museum, but it was closed for renovations.

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I think this was a stamp for some kind of passport system for kids. Regardless, I thought it was pretty.

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Even pork is kawaii! And it’s named after my cat!

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I loved these antique packages I saw in the window of a teddy bear shop.

All in all, I have a great feeling about this trip. All the little old ladies love my daughter, and the language barrier isn’t a barrier at all. Like I said, we stopped in a back alley noodle joint for lunch. All I knew to say was “Soba.” We had a delicious cheap messy lunch (still learning how to feed noodles to a toddler with chopsticks). It was 600Y (about $7), and the lady held my daughter while I picked up noodles and paid the check! She even carried her out and helped me set up the stroller for the rain. I don’t know if I’d get the same treatment if I was traveling alone, but I’m grateful that people are so kind to both of us.

So far, so good!

Free Music in the Key of (Vitamin) D

Seattle is an incredible city in the summer months. Between the long daylight hours (5am-10pm at the longest), gorgeous mild weather, and endless natural beauty, it’s hard to ever leave town.

Compound that with several free outdoor concert series. Free! They’re all kid- and dog-friendly, you can bring or buy food, and best of all, they’re outside.
Here are a few more excuses to stick around and fill your Vitamin D quotient:

UVillage Summer Concert Series

Free Concerts at UVillage: Every Wednesday, UVillage ropes off a large section of the parking lot and put on a free concert. This one is pretty cool–kid and dog friendly, food for purchase, beer for purchase, and activities for kids. Last year, I even got a free full-size Aveda lotion!

 
Free Concerts at Seattle City Hall

Free Concerts at City Hall Plaza: Every Thursday at noon, Seattle artists provide lunchtime entertainment in the sun.

 

 

Concerts at the Mural

Free Concerts at the Mural: Seattle Center puts on several Friday concerts in August. It’s a great location when the weather starts to get really warm. Great shaded area, beer garden, several bands, and you can bring a nice picnic or buy a light dinner. Last year we saw some quality musicians.

So bring your chair, a blanket, a picnic basket, and SPF, and stay in Seattle for the summer!

Keeping up with the Kidless

My husband and I are social folk, and we agreed before our daughter was born that we’d do our best to keep our friends! Parenthood has a reputation for decimating a social life, and that wasn’t an option for us!

Sleeping at last

I get it–new parents don’t go out because they are so. damn. tired.

While we have playdates, take Stroller Strides classes, and we have a wonderful PEPS group, I have an amazing group of friends who do not have children.

Luckily, they have created a few recurring gatherings over the years that successfully get the 2 (or 3!) of us out of the house. Here are a few of the outings. Most are free or cheap, and a great excuse to get together! Continue reading

Buy Buy Baby

I was warned when I was pregnant to keep the toys to a minimum or the house would quickly become a flowing river of crap. With a dearth of space and a single income for a few months, we kept the toy collection at bay.
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