1. Ever since Tory moved out of the high chair and onto the family table during meals, I've racked my brain for a way to protect the quality of my dining room table. Our wooden table was a gift from my in-laws when Andi and I moved into our first house together. I love everything about it, and we've taken very good care of it over the years ... until Little Miss Messy joined the party. Dried food is forever stuck in the cracks of the table and the wood is turning dull at her spot where I continually wipe up after her meals. Don't get me started on how many table runners have met the trash can after being stained with grape jelly, yogurt and wine (okay, so the last one wasn't her fault).
I bought a placemat for Tory to use and it helped a little bit, but she'd smear food outside the covered area. I thought about using a cloth tablecloth, but it'd be stained and need washing after every single meal. I even considered purchasing a plastic tablecloth that could be wiped down after every meal, but I hated the idea of covering up my beautiful dark wood table. Then, one day I had an idea and it's been the solution to all my table woes. I moved Tory's toddler play table from her bedroom to the kitchen and started feeding her meals there. What purpose was the little table serving in her bedroom anyway, other than to look cute with tea cups and plates set up for a doll party? Tory enjoys eating meals at her little table and believe it or not, she actually sits down and eats there vs. standing on the wooden bench or getting up and down from the big table 50 gazillion times per meal. I do end up stumbling around that little table while I'm cooking in the kitchen or unloading the dishwasher, but it's saving my nice dining room table from destruction, so WIN.
2. A while back, someone left a comment on my blog suggesting I purchase baby mittens on Etsy to prevent Aden from scratching his head. I did just that, and to you I say -- thank you! I ended up buying two pairs of these waterproof baby mittens for him, and they're so wonderful. The size fits Aden's hands better than the cloth newborn ones available in stores, they're waterproof so the material isn't soaked within seconds of putting them on his hands and best of all, Aden's head and neck look so much better now they're not scratched all over. One of the many reasons I love the blog-o-sphere so much. People helping people. Thank you!
3. Andi bought a rotisserie attachment for our grill at the cabin and we're ... kinda obsessed with it. I rolled my eyes like I always do when another Amazon box showed up on my doorstep one day, but then we used it and now I think it's the most awesome cooking accessory we've purchased in a long time. (One point for Andi.) So far, we've made a few roasts and whole chickens on the grill and they were so delicious. Cooking with the rotisserie is easy too, especially for me because I don't have to do a thing. Last weekend, I planned to have rotisserie chicken for a meal at the cabin and asked Andi to shred the leftovers to use later in the week for recipes. (See what I did there? Weaseled my way out of preparing multiple meals.) For some reason, those rotisserie chickens in the grocery store deli always yuck me out and while it seems like such a convenient thing to pick up for dinner, I can never bring myself to do it. Now, problem solved. We make our own!
4. Let's talk about flax - another one of my new favorite things. Tory had some (ahem) bathroom issues a while back, which is understandable considering Girlfriend lives on yogurt, toast and cheese -- not exactly the most balanced diet. We bought some Pedia-Lax for desperate measures, but I also knew I needed to improve Tory's overall diet. Though, getting a toddler to eat something she doesn't want to is easier said than done. We've started offering Tory a larger variety of food and have had a bit of success. I also started sprinkling ground flax onto her toast every morning and it's been the best thing ever. She's none the wiser and it's really seemed to regulate things, if you know what I mean. With this big win, I've started sprinkling ground flax into other things, like homemade cookies and granola bars, ground beef for enchiladas, etc. You seriously cannot tell it's in there and it works magic.
5. I discovered mini-size bobby pins in the beauty aisle the other day, and I love them. At first I wasn't so sure because the small-sized pins were a little tricky to place in my hair but now I've got the hang of grasping them, they stay in place so much better. I use the little bobby pins on Tory's hair too, and they're perfect to pin her wisp of bangs off to the side.
6. Andi got me hooked on a series of books about families who travel around the world. So far, I've read A Life Without Borders (which I loved), Freeways to Flip-flops: A Family's Year of Gusty Living on a Tropical Island (which was just OK) and One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children (which was interesting). These books are easy, happy reads and have me wishing we could drop everything and travel the world with our kids. Someday, I hope.
7. This girl turns THREE at the end of the summer and man, I'm going to miss Age Two something fierce.
Mostly, this year of Tory's life has been so much fun - many, many laughs (and a few frustrated tears). It may very well be my favorite age yet. Tory's requested a "pink" birthday party, so I've got my crafty wheels rolling to dream up something adorable for her big day. Lately when you ask Tory if you can come to her birthday party, she'll sweetly say, "if you bring me presents." Ha.