Thursday, November 29, 2012

Would you like one nap or two.

Mid 4 p.m. meltdown.

This week has been a frustrating one as we've been trying to figure out whether or not to take away Linna's afternoon nap. To some, this may seem trivial. But for a mom who is used to a two-nap-a-day kiddo... THIS. IS. TORTURE.

For 15 months (give or take), Linna has been an excellent sleeper. She naps in the morning for an hour and a half or more, and again in the afternoon for an hour and a half or more. She also sleeps 12+ hours at night.

Yes, we're very lucky.

However, lately when we let Linna take her afternoon nap (usually between 3-5 p.m.), we have a hard time getting her to bed at 7:30 p.m. So this week, I started taking away Linna's afternoon nap, which is currently resulting in a VERY crabby 15-month-old come 4 p.m. She's clearly exhausted and still needs her afternoon nap, but it's too difficult to get her to bed at night. I was hoping that by going to one nap a day, she'd then sleep for three hours.


Her one nap a day lasts about one and a half to two hours. I think if she did a three-hour nap, she might not be so tired when 4 o'clock rolls around.

Hello, wine o'clock.

So far, the only conclusion we've come to is that we'll let Linna nap twice a day when we know she'll be up "late" for a dinner, event, or with her grandparents (they keep her up until 9 p.m. or so). Otherwise, I'm totally torn as to what to do about this nap situation. I either have a two-nap-a-day kid who has issues going to bed at a decent hour, or a one-nap-a-day kid who has major melt-downs at 4 p.m.

What's a mom to do?!

Quinoa & legume dish my one-year-old will eat.

Linna eating her "cakes" with a fork.
After days of our healthy eating "rules" out the window because of travel, sick baby, etc., I started looking on Pinterest for some healthy recipes that could possibly be one-year-old friendly. I wanted Linna to eat more beans, lentils, quinoa, etc., like she used to as a baby. I found a recipe for quinoa cakes, and decided to formulate my own little recipe that I knew Linna would at least try.

All I did was soak some dry black beans, lentils, and quinoa overnight, and then boil them. I mixed about a quarter cup of that with an egg, some parmesan cheese, and herbs (rosemary, parsley and thyme), and poured this mixture on a hot non-stick pan. Then I basically cooked it like a pancake. When it's finished, it's basically an egg pancake with legumes and whole grain! I wouldn't soak/boil too many beans, lentils, and quinoa at once, because they'll just sit in your fridge and go bad. I make about a cup of the beans/quinoa mixture at a time, and we eat these little "egg cakes" about 2-3 times a week (mostly for lunch). I also wait to mix the egg and cheese with the beans/quinoa until I'm actually going to cook the "cake". It's such a yummy and easy little dish, and you can give it to the kiddos with some fruit and a veggie for a really balanced meal! Linna gobbled it up,and I liked it too, so we'll definitely eat this again.

Our yummy egg, bean, lentil, quinoa cakes. I'll have to come up
with a better name;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012 holiday gift guide.

After consulting with various "experts", parents, and children about their "must-have" holiday gifts, we are pleased to bring to you Minnesota Baby's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide, with gift ideas for the entire family! Plus, starting Monday, November 26th, we're doing 5 Days of Giveaways, where one person will win a gift off our list each day through Friday, November 30th! Winners will be randomly selected from the Minnesota Baby Facebook followers and Minnesota Baby blog followers, so make sure you "like" us on Facebook and follow our blog!


FRIDAY'S GIVEAWAY WINNER (11/30): Congratulation to Minnesota Baby Facebook follower Melissa Stein Pickert!!! She's won the ultimate Minnesota get-away gift for a parent in need of a break... a one-night stay at Mystic Lake Casino and two tickets to the Big and Rich concert on January 26th! Thanks for participating everyone:)


I See Me! Personalized Children's Books

We received our first I See Me! book for our daughter Linna when she was born, and one year later we are quickly starting quite the collection. We love the beautiful illustrations in these books, as well as the personalized stories, AND the fact that this is a Minnesota company. Check out their personalized Holiday book collection, and order books for all the kids in your family to get FREE shipping on orders over $95. Congratulations to our Facebook follower Lindsay Thorne Hutchins, and Jackie Gerken for winning a personalized children's book from I See Me! on Monday, Nov. 26th!


Thomas & Friends: Track Master Risky Rails Bridge Drop

Like many toddlers, our 15-month-old is all about trains, so we got her this Fisher Price Thomas & Friends train track system for Christmas. It says it's for ages three and up, so we're hoping it keeps her attention for at least a few years. This train set had great reviews on Amazon and we've heard it's pretty durable, so we ordered it! We're hoping for hours of entertainment and learning opportunities for Linna and her little friends during playtime.

Stroll-to-Ride Trike

Every child had one of these little trikes in Singapore, and until I lived in Singapore I had never really seen them before. The Fisher Price Stroll-to-Ride Trike takes children from 10 months to 3 years, has a telescoping parent handle, adjustable sun shade, padded headrest, bottle holder, folding foot rest, 3-point harness, a storage bucket and even a storage bag for mom. Even though they come in pink, we got Linna one in green, because at $140 (you can buy them at Toys R' Us) we'd like to use it for baby #2 (no I'm not pregnant).

Lululemon's Ivivva Athletica

In November, Mall of America welcomed Lululemon's Ivivva Althletica, which specializes in cross-functional athletic apparel for girls ages 6-14. If you're a mom who loves Lululemon, you're little girl is in luck because Ivivva is similar in quality and technical design to Lululemon! They have brightly-colored clothing that works for dance class, gymnastics, yoga, or just having fun, and several key items are reversible to maximize use. My little cousins would LOVE these fashions, and I'm a big fan of the Ivivva Routine Jacket II in the purple color!


If you know a mom with a baby, this is a go-to gift idea. I received a pair of Robeez before Linna was born, and she basically lived in them as an infant. Robeez are the original soft-sole shoe for babies and toddlers (up to age 4). They offer an adorable gift box featuring their socks, which are perfect for the holidays! This box set, cleverly disguised as a block, includes 6 unique pairs of socks with two set options for boys and girls and retails for under $20. Most of their shoe styles are under $25 too! Congratulations to Heather Dionne for winning a pair of Robeez on Tuesday, No. 27th!

Nabi 2 Tablet

If you have a child who needs to be entertained on long car or plane rides (like mine), and you're not keen on handing them your smartphone, only to have them delete all of your contacts, photos, and videos, then the Nabi 2 Tablet may be the holiday gift idea for your little one. The Nabi 2 is the fastest, most powerful seven-inch tablet for kids, with educational programs, games, music, books, camera, etc., for kids of all ages. It also includes a drop-safe bumper. At $199, it's definitely an investment, but if you buy this for your child at a younger age, they'll get plenty of years out of it!

Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic

Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic at the Xcel Energy Center for eight performances, Dec. 6th-9th. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends from Disney’s Mulan, The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Toy Story take to the ice for this grand celebration. Your little one(s) will watch 60 unforgettable Disney stars that span the decades, in a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music, stunning choreography, and elaborate sets and beautiful costumes. I can't wait to bring my daughter to opening night! Tickets are on sale at Ticket Master. Congratulations to Jamie Kistner Anderson for winning a family 4-pack of tickets to the show on Wednesday, Nov. 28th!

Personalized Gifts from Makaboo

The older my daughter gets, the more toys she accumulates, and there's only so many places to store them. I am in LOVE with these 3 Sprouts Storage Bins, especially the one with the owl on it! My 15-month-old is all about owls, but no matter what animal your child is into right now, 3 Sprouts probably has it. Plus, these storage bins are large enough to store many toys, and can be personalized with your child's name on it. Our owl bin sits in the living room, and doesn't look too "kiddie". This is a holiday gift that both the parents and the child will be excited to receive!

Molar Muncher

Praise Jesus for this little invention, as I am the mom of a teething (molars) 15-month-old! The Molar Muncher is a hands‐free teether that soothes the entire gum line simultaneously. It's constructed of a single mold injection of FDA approved food grade non‐toxic silicone, and is refrigerator and dishwasher safe. They are under $10 and aren't only a soothing gift for babies and toddlers, but for stressed-out parents too!

Enzo Jumper Boot

What better way to give your little fashionista a little style creativity, than with a boot that can be worn three different ways?! The Enzo Jumper boot is a short black boot that your little one can add different shafts to give two additional tall boot looks. Enzo is a Euro-inspired line, and this year they have incorporated the popular equestrian look in this boot. The Enzo Jumper is available in sizes 13 through 5, and are under $90 at Nordstrom.


Echo Touch Gloves

The Echo Touch Gloves are perfect for men and women on the go. There are many styles to choose from, and what sets them apart from other gloves is that they have an eLink fabric sewn into the index finger and thumb of each glove that interacts with touch screen devices, making them compatible with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, or other touch-sensitive digital device. You can order them in just about every color, style, and fabric, and they would make the perfect gift for the "tech lover" in your life... especially the tech lovers in Minnesota! My husband and I both have a pair, and when we have our daughter on our hip, these gloves let us ditch the extra step of taking off our gloves, just to answer our phones!

The Polar Express 25th Anniversary Edition

Every Christmas, my mom puts The Polar Express book out on the coffee table. However, after a couple decades of little children getting their hands on it, this book has seen better days. We decided to get Linna's grandparents The Polar Express 25th Anniversary Edition, so they can have their own tradition of reading this story to Linna every Christmas. We found the book for under $10 on Amazon, in the gorgeous silver anniversary hardcover.

Obagi Skincare 

I was introduced to Obagi by my sister-in-law, as a skin-care system that actually works. Obaji is sold in higher-end salons, and some of their products require a prescription from a dermatologist. My sister-in-law knows her beauty products and is a big fan of Obaji. The Nu-Derm System has made a big difference in the evenness of my skin tone, and I'm excited to start using the ELASTILash System! A great skincare system isn't always something every woman buys for themselves, so this would make a great gift for the deserving mom, grandma, or sister in your family.


If you're looking for a go-to hostess gift, or a gift idea for the "hard-to-buy-for" family member, L'Occitane is a great pick! L'Occitane Lavender soaps, sprays, and candles are my favorite, and we always get compliments on the scent of our L'Occitane Lavender Liquid Soap in the bathroom. You can find L'Occitane stores at the Galleria in Edina or at the Mall of America. Many of their products are around the $20, so you don't have to spend a fortune to give the gift of luxurious beauty!

Sonicare DiamondClean

Not sure what to get mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa?! Chances are they don't have a Sonicare Toothbrush Set, and I'm sure they'd be happy to have one. Again, this is a product that people don't necessarily splurge on for themselves, but it always makes a great gift. We received our Sonicare Toothbrush Set as a wedding gift, and we'll never go back to using a "manual" toothbrush. The DiamondClean is the newest innovation from Philips Sonicare. 

Moving Comfort Urban Gym Capris

Whether your mom, sister, or grandma likes to go to the gym or not, she will love Moving Comfort's Urban Gym Capris. These capris are perfect for lounging around in and look so great on, that she'll want to go to the gym! These capris offers an adjustable lower leg gather, and hidden front stash pocket. Plus, the waist band provides flattering compression support, giving women slimming and lasting stay-put power for whatever may come her way.

MAC Cosmetics

MAC is my go-to eye make-up and I'm loving the Perfectly Plush Brush Kit and the Holiday Mini Lip Kits as a holiday gift for a sister or mom. Do you remember the last time you bought yourself a new make-up brush set? Me neither. And do we ever have enough lip gloss? I think not. These are two perfect gifts for any woman who wants to feel a little bit prettier around the holidays. Plus, you can never go wrong with a great black mascara, or tinted lip glass from MAC. These are two go-two make-up products for even the "non-make-up wearing ladies"!

Stella & Dot

Stella & Dot jewelry is the perfect statement piece (large or small) for mom, grandma, or sister. They literally have something for everyone, and Stella & Dot is a favorite of celebrity moms like Bethenny Frankel and Katherine Hiegl! I have been looking for a pair of not-too-big/not-too-small jade earrings, and the only ones I liked were the Stella & Dot Serenity Stone Earrings. So I may have purchased myself an early Christmas gift. If you're looking for a lovely necklace that would look great on any woman, and isn't too flashy, check out the Stella & Dot Andrea Pendant Necklace. This would dress up a simple jeans and white tee-shirt! For the lady in your life who likes to make a little bit bigger statement, give her the gift of the Stella & Dot Olivia Bib Necklace. I could see this paired with a cute white and navy striped cardigan, a pair of dark denim skinny jeans, and riding boots, for a dressed-up, but casual look.

Keurig Vue Brewing System

Whether you have a coffee drinker in your family or not, the Keurig Vue Brewing System brews beyond coffee! From tea to hot cocoa, the Vue is the latest in Keurig's single-brew systems, allowing you to brew stronger, bigger, and hotter beverages. The Vue allows for eight sizes of brew (from 4 ounces to a travel mug size of 18 ounces), as well as a brewing temperature range between 187 and 198 degrees Fahrenheit, all at a touch of an easy-to-use interactive touchscreen. My parents gave my brother's girlfriend a Keurig last Christmas, and she uses it every day!

T3 Single Pass Flat Iron

Whether you want go glam with sleek, straight locks or smooth tresses the SinglePass takes the "flat" out of flat ironing while leaving hair glassy smooth, hydrated & perfectly in place all day long. For busy moms, this is the perfect gift to get get hair done in minutes. I have very coarse wavy hair, and this iron can smooth my entire head of hair in five minutes. Plus, my hair stays completely straight for a few days! There's also a little "bling" on this tool's case, and the one-inch tourmaline ceramic plates heat up to 450-degrees. At $160 it is a bit of a splurge, but I have owned this straightener for three years without any problems!


This is a holiday gift that will have any new parent thanking you over and over again, for giving them some stress relief during any kind of travel. Created for families on the move, the journeyBee is a lightweight portable crib that's safe and easy to use anytime and anywhere. This portable crib was made by parents, for parents, and literally sets up and closes in seconds. The last thing parents want to deal with after a long trip in the car, is setting up a difficult Pack N' Play, and the journeyBee is the answer parents have been looking for. At under $150, it's comparable to the cost of Pack N' Plays, and will be available to ship in early December 2012!


Rugs make a great addition and accent to any room in the home, but they can be expensive, hard to clean, and expansive to keep clean. That was the case until the Ruggable came about! The Ruggable is a 2-Piece Rug System that can be cleaned in your washing machine. The cushioned, non-slip rug pad acts as a solid base to a variety of stylish covers, and the covers firmly attach to the rug pad, but are easily removed, machine washable and interchangeable. I am in love with the zebra and chandelier print. Give your parents a couple rugs for the kitchen, and they can select new printed or solid colors that they can interchange. Get 25% OFF your online order through December 31st, 2012 by using the code "MNBABY" at checkout!

A Christmas Carol at The Guthrie

My mom and I just went to see A Christmas Carol at The Guthrie this past weekend, and both o us agreed that we should make this a yearly family tradition. It's on of my mom's favorite shows, and whenever her birthday or Christmas rolls around, someone always gives her tickets to the show as a gift. In it's 38th year, the new adaptation by Crispin Whittell, tells Scrooge’s story of redemption, and remains as powerful and uplifting as it ever was. The cast, staging, props, lighting, and music are unbelievable, and this is a must-see holiday show! The Guthrie's stage is unlike any other, and completely draws you into the show. Tickets to this show would make a great gift for the entire family, and will be something you can share the experience of together!

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

It's a mask with activated charcoal to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers. My sister-in-law, who KNOWS her beauty products, was actually told to use this mask by an esthetician who doesn't sell or endorse the product. She just knows it works! This is one of those masks that you can feel working, and your pores actually do look smaller after each use. This is a great gift for any mom, sister, grandma, or even a DAD who deserves a little pampering without having to go to the spa!

A Posh Pantry

In 1993, a busy Minnesota mom with two little girls started making baking mixes for herself. She would blend and package big batches of mixes to save time in her kitchen. Friends started asking to purchase her tasty treats, and that's how Posh Pantry came about! They offer convenience mixes with 100% all natural, homemade flavor. With everything from pancake mixes, to fudge brownie mixes, these little packages would make a great gift for a busy mom or dad, and would also make a great holiday hostess gift!

Looj and Mint By iRobot

Think of your most tedious housecleaning task. Now think about never having to do it again. Indoors and out, iRobots are engineered for cleaning performance and convenience, bringing the latest robotic technology to real-world homes. As I am writing this, the Mint iRobot is sweeping and mopping my hardwood floors for me, and my husband is outside with the Looj, as it is cleaning out our gutters. These gifts are a bit of a splurge for mom and dad, but they will pay for themselves with all the time and energy you'll save on your housework!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My kid has squeaky shoes.

Yes, I'm eating my words. About a month ago, I blogged about children wearing squeaky shoes and how annoying I think they are. I wrote about them after I saw a little girl wearing them in the MRT in Singapore and thought to myself, "Who in their right mind would ever put their kid in those things?!".

Well, this morning, I was getting Linna dressed in this adorable little outfit that my Aunt Jenny and Uncle John gave to Linna when she was born. I have been dying to put her in it for the last 15 months, and FINALLY it fits. As I was putting the shoes on her, Linna stood up in them and all I heard was "SQUEAK". OMG... my kid has the same squeaky shoes I had just written about my annoyance for.

Although I still think squeaky shoes are one of the most annoying inventions ever, I must admit that they're pretty cute on my kid... said every mom ever;)

Thanks John, Jen, Maris, and Charlie for Linna's Thanksgiving outfit!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Full-time walker.

Her preferred mode of transportation is still crawling, but today while my sister was over at our house, Linna just stood up and walked over to me! She takes steps here and there, but I think it's safe to say that our little 15-month-old is becoming a full-time walker...

Monday, November 19, 2012

15 months.

We're still waiting for our 22-pound 15-month-old to become a full-time walker, but she's slowly getting there. Linna will take at least 10 steps at a time when walking from person to person, but crawling is still her preferred mode of transportation. We're still adjusting to life back in Minnesota, where we don't have a pool right outside our front door, and we actually have to wear boots and coats. Linna is working on getting over a nasty cold, but has finally "recovered" from her jet-lag. She's back to two naps a day, each lasting about an hour and a half, and sleeping from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. I'm so thankful she's finally waking up happy again, instead of crying.

I can't believe we have a toddler!

Fall in Minnesota.

Linna's vocabulary is quickly expanding too. She can say "hi", "bye", "Papa", "Mama", "Bompa" (grandpa), "Nana" (grandma), "ball", "block", "owl", "no", "yes", "please" (sounds like "tease"), "up", "pack" (her fruit/veggie puree packs), "John" (Uncle John), "Elmo", and "Linna". If you ask her to say a word that she can't quite say, she will at least try to say it (i.e. "apple" is "ah" according to Linna). If you ask her what a puppy, kitty, duck, cow, or lion says, she'll tell you! Linna loves stacking blocks and can build a pretty tall tower all by herself. She's really into taking things apart, off shelves, and emptying bags/purses/wallets. She loves taking things out of compartments (i.e. credit cards out of wallets), and handing them to people. Linna has figured out how to screw and unscrew caps on bottles too. Such a smart cookie!

She's basically eating anything and everything. She doesn't have much of an appetite right now because of her cold. Linna starts her day out with a pretty big breakfast, which usually consists of yogurt, banana, and granola, and either a piece of peanut butter toast, or a scrambled egg. She discovered ketchup the other day at a restaurant, and loves to dip french fries in it (yikes!). She drinks whole milk from her sippy cup with some meals, and at bedtime. I think she averages about 8 oz. a day, otherwise she drinks water mixed with a little orange juice.


Waiting for the doctor... in a basket. She LOVES climbing into baskets.

Linna is all about dancing to music, playing the drums, and loves the show "Super Why". She always wants to be outside and in a swing! We're dealing with her molars right now, and they have been quite a pain. One is already through her little gums, but we're still waiting for the second to sprout through. Her little gums were so swollen for the last month that we were in Singapore:( We are so excited for Linna to be able to play in the snow this winter, and are looking forward to watching her open Christmas presents this year! We'll be heading to Iowa to see AJ's side of the family for Thanksgiving, so it will be nice to have Linna play with all of her little cousins that she doesn't see every day. So much to look forward to, and we are having a blast watching out little bug enjoy life!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What a mom can do with a fedex box.

Before we left Singapore, I gave my friend Steph (mom of two) a FedEx box that we used to have our belongings shipped from Minnesota. We didn't have as much stuff to send back to Minnesota, so she said she wanted to turn the FedEx box into a little house for her children, Max and Lottie. I thought she would cut some squares into box to make windows, and POSSIBLY make a little cardboard door, but I never thought she would take "cardboard house-making" to the extreme. She did...

I gave Steph the box that Linna is standing in.
She put paper mache on the FedEx box.

The final product. A French cafe just for Max and Lottie.

I do believe this mom deserves the title of "Mom of the Year"... at least for the day;)

Beautiful singapore babies.

During our three months in Singapore, Linna made friends with children all over the world. When you think of children in Singapore, you may think of lots of gorgeous little Asian babies (I initially did). However, Singapore has many expats (people temporally living in a country, different from their upbringing). By the way, I had no idea what an expat was until I "became one" for three months, and had to look up the definition online:) People come from all over the world to live and work in Singapore, as they have a growing economy. Linna now has little friends from the U.K., Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and of course Singapore, and all of these children are gorgeous little babies. Linna would like you to meet some of her friends...

Felix is from the UK and Linna met him in music class.
UK twins Elsa and William. Hard to get all three kids to look at the camera at once.

Nora is from Denmark. Linna and Nora are the same age, and do the same facial expressions!

Myla Grace from Australia. Such a cutie!

Linna with her girls at the pool. She loved Bella and Millie from the UK (on the right).

Seb and Alex from the UK. These boys have lived
all over the world, including Mumbai in India. They
have some of the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen!

Linna meeting her tiniest friend Clare for the first time! Clare
is from Singapore, and her mom is Chinese & her dad is Irish. Gorgeous!

Babies Elise and Emily with their Mamas from Australia.

Our coffee group - Max, William, Samue, Linna, Lottie, Elsa, and Myla Grace (resting
in the background). Again, difficult to get a group of smiling children all at once!

The curly-hair boys! No they're not brothers. Max (right) is from the UK,
and Samuel (right) is from New Zealand.

Linna's best friend Lottie (short for Charlotte) from the UK.
Love her!
Linna and her friend Kai from music class.