The Bug Bite Thing

One of THE most irritating things about summer in our neck of the woods is the dreaded mosquitos. We have a lovely sliver of spring when they haven’t hatched out of hiding yet, and it’s simply glorious. When they do come out though, they arise with a vengeance.

Nothing is worse than being eaten alive… and then to deal with the itchiness afterwards is the literal definition of “UGH!”

I learned something new the other day. The reason we feel itchy is due to a reaction caused by the saliva/venom the bugs leave behind just under our skin.

Bug Bite Thing is a suction tool that extracts the irritants which in turn alleviates the itching, stinging and swelling!

Bug Bite Thing is reusable, kid-friendly and works on mosquitoes, bees, wasps, ants and other biting insects! The tool can also be used to remove splinters and other embedded objects!

I get it, it sounds a little too good to be true, but they come with a 100% guarantee so there is no harm in trying!

You can find them in black and white here: Bug Bite Thing.

Enter my giveaway over on Instagram for a chance to win a couple for yourself – there will be more than one winner! *giveaway now CLOSED*

xoxo Kate

Let your child get bored

In a world that is so fast-paced, we need to let our children become bored from time to time! Boredom actually allows the brain to recover from the overstimulated world that we live in.

So many parents think that it’s their responsibility to fill every moment of their child’s time with activities, extracurriculars or screens. We all know how it feels to see the moms on social media doing ALL the things— crafts, field trips, baking, sports, dance and so on. I’ve been there finding myself wondering, “am I doing enough?” And that’s one of the best parts about embracing and encouraging this unstructured time— no more guilt! We can let that go because boredom is actually GOOD for them!

Being bored teaches us that life isn’t all rainbows and fireworks because as adults, we all know know that IT IS NOT.

Unstructured down time encourages creativity, independent thinking, and problem solving skills. Allowing that open ended time gives our children the opportunity to explore their inner selves and the world around them, diving deep into their interests and discovering their unique skills and passions! We aren’t nurturing them by giving them a toy that makes all of the noise for them or plopping them in front of the TV OR keeping them so busy that they don’t get to spend any time with themselves.

When a child is bored, it allows their minds to wander. As stated above, it’s not our jobs to entertain our kids but rather give them tools to be imaginative and creative. If we spend our time filling up our children’s spare time, they’ll never learn to do it for themselves. Boredom is good for the brain!

“I think it’s necessary to let kids get bored once in a while— that’s how they learn to be creative.” – Kim Raver

Do you let your kid(s) get bored?

xxoo Kate

How to afford wooden toys on a budget

I’m cheap. I love a good deal. I hate spending a ton of money if I don’t have to. If you’re like me, keep reading… Here’s what I do to afford our wooden toys—

Sell things you no longer want or need.

I often sell random things around the house to fund the toys we want. I’ve been on a semi-minimalist journey for a few years now and it feels so good to get rid of clutter and unused toys from around the house. In return, we can afford those special pieces we’ve been wanting. Utilize Facebook marketplace, BST (buy sell trade) pages, Craigslist, Poshmark, Mercari, whatever works best for you. Another thing to note is that these toys hold their value. Most of the time, if you sell in the right place, you can get back what you paid if not more depending on the item.

*If you’re new to Mercari, here’s a discount for you: click here!

Shop second hand.

As stated above, wooden toys really hold their value so it’s not often that you can get a huge steal, but it happens from time to time. Keep your eyes out on all of the pages mentioned above and you just might find a needle in the haystack! This has happened with us several times so be persistent, it does happen!

Go thrifting.

You don’t need the name brands when it comes to wooden toys. Wooden blocks are wooden blocks and they’re amazing either way! And sometimes, you do find the sought after brands. I come from a small town and I remember thinking “eh, I’ll never find anything like that here” but I was so wrong! One time I found a small set of blocks with different rainbow shakers inside of them and when I looked them up, they were worth over $55 and I got them for $1.49. I’m not trying to sit here and brag about my finds, I’m simply stating that it makes it THAT much more rewarding and exciting when you do happen upon something. Again, keep your eyes out at all times.

A cute toy car I found for $2.49
A cute toy car I found for $2.49

Get crafty.

You don’t need to be super crafty to do some of these things!

Make some peg dolls, they’re super easy and can be purchased for a very fair price. Add some paint and wa-la! I made these rainbow peg dolls for my youngest daughter as a first try and they were really fun. I’m excited to make more and get even more detailed!

Items for purchase: peg dolls, paint markers, paints

Things like these would also be super easy to make too! Volcanoes, houses, wooden rings (purchase here) etc. (pictures below are not mine, used for reference).

Make a list give it out on special occasions.

Many of us know what it’s like to hear “what does little Benny want for his birthday?” And then panic sets in because you can’t think of anything in that moment. If you don’t have present family/friends in your life, the above options are very effective! However if you do, I encourage you to keep an ongoing list of “wants” available for times like these! You could even ask that loved ones go in on a gift together because some can be quite expensive! Encourage them to keep their eyes out for certain things throughout the year because the more people searching for you, the better!

Don’t know what the wooden toy hype is all about? I break it all down for you here!

Those are my tips on how to acquire wooden toys on a budget! Do you have anything to add? Please leave your ideas down in the comments!

xxoo Kate

Wooden toys, what’s the hype?

First I want to start off by saying— The influencers that speak about wooden toys like it ain’t no thaaang to acquire them, are speaking from a place of privilege. To most people, the price points are quite shocking. I’ve been there. Like why on earth are we out here buying $100+ rainbows?! There’s so much more to it, so let me explain.

Quality over quantity.

Yes, that price at first is like *mini heart attack* however, most people investing in wooden toys know that it’s because they want quality goods. I know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t? Many people will choose to buy ONE big set of wooden building blocks vs five plastic-flashy-noisy-toys. The plastic-flashy-noisy toys will not last as long because there are way more moving parts, pieces, lights, etc. that can break or malfunction. (I’d love to touch more on the value of open ended play later on if you’re interested).

They’re open ended.

Oskars Wooden Ark does a good job at describing what opened ended play is- Open-ended play can be described as play that has no pre-determined limitations and no fixed answer – children simply follow their imagination to allow the play to go in any direction their creativity takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with open-ended play. Read more here.

Many plastic-flashy-noisy toys do not allow for this as they do the thinking for the child. For example, a toy truck that makes noises and flashes its lights, does not allow for the child to think for themselves by making the “beep beep” or “vroom” noises or simply imagining the lights. The imagination doesn’t have to work quite as hard. Working our children’s imagination is IMPORTANT because play, IS a child’s work. Wooden blocks are one of the best things you can purchase for your child. The possibilities are endless.

Better for the environment.

For a lot of people, the environmental factor is a huge reason they choose the wooden route. It seems like just more recently I’ve noticed a lot of anti-plastic movements and it’s great. I love that for the environment. Do we personally own plastic toys? Here and there, yes, but we are more conscious of it and I think it’s something everyone should be aware of.

Plastic toys account for 90% of the toy market. On average, the plastic toys are only played with for 6 months. Plastic toys have a shorter lifespan and they’re rarely recycled. It’s not often that a toy actually qualifies for recycling because they’re frequently made with other metals. You know what that means… they find themselves in a landfill. In 2014 Americans generated 33 million tons of plastic. We’ve got to do better.

Healthier for your family.

The health effects of the chemicals used in plastic toys are not fully known. One common chemical used is phthalates. Phthalates are known to cause birth defects and cancer. And don’t get me started on the toys made overseas. Those are even less regulated and many have been shown to contain lead, yes lead! Children are of course at higher risk of being exposed to these chemicals because toys commonly make their way to the mouth.

Fund a neighbor, not a large corporation

Many wooden toys can be purchased from small shops, Etsy, craft shows, local co ops, thrifted etc. I’m sure you’d agree that you’d like your money to go into a neighbor’s pocket rather than one of a big corporation’s overflowing money bags.

*Please don’t be shy about asking seller’s if they’re CPSC compliant. In 2008 Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) – this act states that all manufacturers must pay a qualified lab to test and certify any product intended for children (otherwise known as a “third party test”) and label all relevant products accurately in case of a recall. Read more here.

Can be used as heirloom toys.

Wooden toys last! Heirloom toys are toys that can be passed down from generation to generation and they function just as wonderfully as they did in the past. They’re used as a special keepsake to be given to grandchildren one day!

Cult Facebook pages, not necessary, not recommended.

Don’t join the cult-like Facebook groups unless you’ve got a seriously strong willpower to resist the social pressure and pandemonium. I’ve joined a couple myself and people go CRAZY over new releases, buying and reselling, having the newest and most sought after pieces. I’m not kidding, people are in there forking over thousands of dollars. DON’T DO IT.

So as you can see, purchasing/acquiring wooden toys is done for many different reasons, all of which are pretty good if you ask me. If you’re wondering how you can buy wooden toys on a tight budget, click here!

Also coming soon- popular and loved wooden toy brands, our favorites and more! If Amazon is more your speed, click here to explore some of the toys we adore!

xxoo Kate

Nest Baby Diapers, Eco Plant Based Diapers for Your Baby’s Bottom

I posted around this time last year about our love for Nest diapers (read here). Well, here I am again. Our youngest is now starting to potty train herself but has a little while to go before fully getting the hang of things!

As many of you know, I’m all about finding ways to live a cleaner life for not only my family, but for the earth in which we live. Nest diapers helps me to do that. All three of my kids have had very sensitive skin when it’s come to diapers and wipes. I remember one time we ran out of our wipes and the new ones hadn’t been delivered yet, so we purchased a different random brand from the store and talk about ouch. She got such a bad rash it took weeks to clear. The same thing happened to us on a different occasion when we ran out of diapers. I know, I need to plan ahead a little better but I’m sure you get it.

I pay attention to the ingredients in the things we use, especially when it comes to my kiddos. These diapers pass the test! They’re free of harmful chemicals, lotions, dreaded perfumes and known allergens! Nest diapers are sustainably designed with organic plant-based materials (like bamboo) that are biodegradable and compostable. Another huge plus is that they’re just so soft. Anyways, you get the point.. they’re great!

If you want to purchase them for your baby/toddler, you can purchase from their main site and use the code KATELYN20 for 20% off of your first purchase (one time use only) or you can find them on Amazon. Enjoy!

xxoo Kate

How to Stop People From Touching Your Baby

Most parents know the dreaded feeling of watching a stranger’s hands move towards your baby. Panic, fear, the awkwardness of just wanting to yell “STOP!!!” while swatting away their grubby mitts. That’s obviously not the most socially-acceptable way of dealing with things but it’s quite tempting when mama bear goes into protection mode.

I remember being paralyzed the first time a stranger at the grocery store reached her hands in to touch my preemie baby’s face. I froze… and then after it happened I was angry. “How could she?!” “How could I let her?!” I thought to myself. People usually mean well and follow up with a compliment like, “I just want to pinch her cheeks! She’s beautiful!” but it’s not okay. If you’re reading this and you touch other people’s kids without asking… JUST DON’T.

With my second daughter (also a preemie) I remember asking a family member to please not kiss her and there were some seriously hurt feelings on the other party’s end. Listen, we do what we must in order to protect our children. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I’m sure you don’t either… but likely, we are both willing to do what we need to do to keep our little ones safe.

Before my third daughter was born I thought to myself, there has to be a better way, a way to just put it out there. I wanted to avoid the awkwardness all together but staying home 24/7 and avoiding civilazation isn’t realistic and it’s terrible for your mental health. I started to look around for ideas and that was when I found these AMAZING car seat tags!

HALLELUJAH! My prayers had been answered. A cute, non-aggressive yet bold statement. Look, admire, smile… but do. NOT. touch.

If you are expecting a little one or have a friend or family member with a new baby, this is a MUST-have in my opinion. They come in many different designs and have a few with different wording. This is the one we chose and it worked like a charm.

They can be purchased from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2XHk8Ml Browse around and find one that works for your family. You will not be disappointed.

Also, if you’re anything like me and worry about the safety regulations, they’re CPSIA Safety Tested!

Want to take it a step further? Car seat covers with the same message can be purchased here: https://amzn.to/35bnUOQ

xxoo Kate

Nest Baby Diapers

Quality ingredients are important to me, especially when it comes to my kids. I am always on the hunt for better, healthier options for my family.

Companies are really good at marketing their products as natural, healthy, safe… when most of the time, they are anything but that. Diaper companies are huge offenders of this. They include a leaf in their design, call it natural and wa-la! Except it’s deceiving. Harmful chemicals are often hidden beneath the “good” marketing and it’s hurting our families. I know what you’re thinking and yes, it’s extremely upsetting.

The good news is that you have options!

Nest Baby Diapers are exceptional. We’ve been using their diapers for about a month now to make sure they’re as good as they seem and we have not been disappointed. My daughter is 15 months old and wearing a size 4. She is a heavy wetter at nighttime and they’ve exceeded my expectations. They’re also SOFT… like so, so soft. One thing that I would like to mention is that you need to be a little careful when pulling the tabs open on the sides. Because of the mega-soft materials, you can’t just tear them open vigorously but once you recognize this, it’s not a problem at all!

The best part about them? They’re actually safe for your baby’s bottom. They are made from plant-based materials (wood, bamboo, cane) and free of harmful chemicals, lotions, perfumes and known allergens.

What really sets them apart is that they’re biodegradable, compostable (in industrial facilities) and come in sustainable packaging- NOT plastic.

One scary thing about diaper companies is that for whatever terrible reason, they don’t need to disclose a full list of their ingredients used. For example, everyone loving on Hello Bello has believed their wonderful marketing BUT they would not email me a full list of ingredients. Red flag #1. Nest Baby Diapers discloses all ingredients used. I’m all for transparency.

If you’re looking for a safer diaper company that you can trust, Nest is where it’s at.

They can be purchased here: https://amzn.to/2t77zgB