Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 valentine's day gift guide.

GIVEAWAY: Congratulations to Meghan Thoele! She has won a personalized Snuggle Bunny book from I See Me! on February 4th, 2013. Another big congratulations to Luci Schuler, who won a pair of Michael Michael Kors Baby Sneakers on February 5th, 2013!

Linna checking out her
new owl hat from OneLoopyLady.
Ever since she learned how to say the word, our little one has been obsessed with owls. She has owl stuffed animals, an owl decal on her bedroom wall, clothing with owls, etc., etc., etc. So, it was obviously that the "theme" for the little valentines she's giving to her friends and family this year, would be all about the OWL. After doing a little searching, we found some great Valentine's Day gift ideas that incorporate Linna's love for owls. But, if owls aren't your thing, we have some other great gift ideas for the whole family!

Knit Owl Hat by OneLoopyLady

Not only is this designer a talented designer, but she's from Minnesota too! I found one of Jessica Rivera's owl hats on Etsy, and had to get one for Linna. Jessica lets you pick out the colors, and she creatively makes the hat by hand. When Linna's hat arrived in the mail, she stared at herself in the mirror and said "owl" on repeat. You can have your hat made with the owl's eyes open or shut, and we even had the fun "feather-look" done on the top of Linna's hat. We get comments on this adorable hat everywhere we go, and I couldn't be more please with this Minnesota mom's work.

Cookies by Tank Goodness

Holy yum! We had some delicious, warm, Tank Goodness cookies delivered to our home last week, along with some ice cold milk. Talk about making a person's day a little brighter! Instead of sending your loved one flowers that will die in a few days, send them some warm, freshly-baked cookies that they will really enjoy. Tank Goodness cookies are all about sharing the love, because they come in a box with enough cookies to share with family, co-workers, or the kiddos. We always talk about making freshly-baked cookies in our house, because we love the smell and obviously the taste, but having the work done for you so you can indulge, makes cookies that much more enjoyable! The chocolate chip cookies by Tank Goodness are absolutely amazing.

Owl Cake Pops by Bite Size Delights

I thought it would be fun for Linna to hand out little cake pops to her friends and family members this Valentine's Day. So, when I found these adorable owl cake pops on Etsy, I had to order them. The Bite Size Delights cake pops are made by Annmarie Grimmett who is a Minnesota mom with amazing talent. These cake pops are honestly the most delicious cake pop I've ever eaten, and incredibly well-made, with so much attention to detail. She makes all kinds of cake pops, and will even customize orders for her customers. They are absolutely delicious, and come in all kinds of flavors. She makes different varieties of treats for Valentine's Day, including Cupcake Cake Pops, Chocolate Dipped Licorice, and Cake Bites. I'm thinking I'll have to order cake pops from Bite Size Delights for Linna's 2nd birthday party, because I've seen her Sesame Street Cake Pops and they are amazing! Plus, she will ship these treats right to your home, which makes things very easy and convenient for busy parents.

Snuggle Bunny Book by I See Me!

For under $25, you can give your little Valentine the latest personalized book from the I See Me! collection! I See Me! is a Minnesota company, and our family has been a fan since the day we received our first personalized book for Linna from a family member. Snuggle Bunny is the newest book from I See Me!, and whether you get if for your little one for Valentine's Day or Easter, you know their little face will light up for years to come. In this book, an adorable snuggle bunny counts 10 ways their love your child. I am so excited to watch Linna open up this book on Valentine's Day, because I don't think I can wait until Easter to give it to her! You can also order this book set which comes with a cute little stuffed bunny for your child.

Pink HALO Cable-Knit SleepSack

Safe sleep and fashion are married in the cable-knit HALO SleepSack wearable blanket in pink. We received our first HALO SleepSack as a gift from the hospital after Linna was born, and it was one of the reasons we feel Linna was a good sleeper. The HALO SleepSack wearable blanket is approved as "Hip Healthy" by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, and its design allows room for kicking, but can't be kicked off by your baby. Your baby stays warm all night, and the sleeveless design reduces the risk of overheating.   A portion of every purchase supports non-profit organizations such as First Candle/SIDS Alliance and The Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.  They are 100-percent cotton and available in small (10-18 lbs) and medium (16-24 lbs.), and are less than $35 at Buy Buy Baby.  

Enlarged Photos by Canvas on Demand

Let's be honest, grandparents love receiving and showing off photos of their grand-babies. Before we leave for Singapore in March, I wanted Linna to give her grandparents an enlarged photo of her happiest face ever. I want them to be able to look at this photo on their wall in their bedroom, so they can wake up and start their day off happy! Linna is the joy of my parents' lives, as we live only a couple miles away from each other. They see her every day, so not being able to do so when we move to Singapore is going to be tough on all of us. I found a deal online to get a 16 X 20 canvas print from Canvas on Demand, so I had one made for my parents. They make ordering online super easy, and offer free image enhancements, have a 365-day money back guarantee, have a quick turn-around, and can frame your canvas print for you as well. Taking your own photographs of the little ones is fun, personal, and free! Then you can let the professionals at Canvas on Demand turn your photographs into works of art for your home.

Couples Massage at Zen Experience at Massage & Wellness

My husband and I have had couples massages at a couple different locations in the Twin Cities, but one of the best couples massage we have ever experienced was at the Zen Experience in Edina. On Valentine's Day, there are few things more intimate than spending some quality time alone with your significant other, while being completely pampered during a massage. The atmosphere at Zen allows you to completely relax and be absolutely pampered. I received (and my husband agrees) one of the best massages I have ever received at Zen. Our massage therapists listened to each one of our individual needs, and let us be the "silly" couple that we are. AJ fell asleep during his massage, so his experience must have been amazing. I love that Zen is on our side of town, but even if it wasn't we would make the trip for another massage. A couples massage is the perfect way to surprise your honey on Valentine's Day... or any day for that matter! 

Get Maine Lobster

I love going out for dinner, but on crazy-busy holidays such as Valentine's Day, it's always nice to stay in with your loved one for a romantic meal at home. How does a lobster dinner, straight from the icy waters of Maine, sound? Oh, and you can enjoy this amazing dinner in the comfort of your own home, and the comfort of your own lounge-wear. One of the best, easiest, most romantic, and tastiest dinners AJ and I have ever eaten, is the Lobster for Lovers dinner from Get Maine Lobster. For about $100, they shipped us filet mignon, Maine lobster tails, crab cakes, lobster stew, and dessert. Yum! We're thinking about doing this for Valentine's Day this year, and possibly taking a trip to Maine in the coming years.  Yummy!

Michael Michael Kors Faye Flat

I can't get enough of these adorable shoes for the little ladies by Michael Michael Kors. I got a pair of the black Quilted Faye Ballet Flat for Linna, even though she won't be able to wear them for about a year. This is her first pair of shoes with hardware! Every little girl needs to have a pair of shoes with hardware, right?! I love that they are slip-on, and have a rubber sole. Plus, they're under $50, which makes a pretty cool "splurge" gift for your little fashionista. I love when little girls look like little ladies, without going "overboard" with a high heel, or something along those lines. These ballet flats are the perfect happy-medium, when your little lady is ready to grow up, but not ready for the heel quite yet. These flats fit toddler feet, all the way up to little girl sizes.

Michael Michael Kors Baby Sneakers

I wish I would have discovered the Baby Ivy Sneak when Linna was smaller, because they are too cute! They're pink, monogrammed with the MK logo, and let's face it... babies look so sweet in little sneakers. They're not necessarily practical, but they are oh so adorable! These little shoes can fit newborns, all the way to 18 months.

Owl Always Love You Cards by CafePress

Linna will be showing her little friends and family a little love this Valentine's Day with some adorable "Owl Always Love You" cards by Cafe Press. Not only do I think owls are very sweet, but the "Owl Always Love You" phrase makes me melt. These cards come on a thick card stock, and they have other owl phrases available such as "Owl Love You Forever" and "Whoooo Loves You". Super cute!

Pink Swimsuit Cover-Up by Echo

Unless your wife or lady friend is a fitness or swimsuit model, I don't think it's the best idea to buy her a swimsuit for any holiday... especially Valentine's Day. However, you can get her thinking about the warm weather which should be right around the corner (one can always hope anyway), by getting her this flattering Status Ropes Butterfly cover-up by Echo. I love how stylish, yet comfortable this dress is. It's very bright, classy, and I really dig the empire waist draw-string. It cuts every woman at the most flattering part of her body. This is the perfect gift for a busy mom-on-the-go, who is planning a spring or summer get-away this year! This cover-up dress adds a pop of color to your "beachy" look, and it's so incredibly soft and comfortable. Plus, it's under $50, so this gift won't break the bank!

Large Heart Hoop Earrings by Maggie's Jewelry

If I'm not really in the mood to put makeup on and do my hair, my "go-tos" are big hoop earrings and sunglasses. They help distract from the places we didn't spend as much time on in the morning:) When I found these Heart Hoop Earrings on Etsy, I tossed them right into my check-out basket. The designer of these cute hoops is from Seattle, and she makes them in copper, sterling silver, 14k gold-filled, and she also has some designs with pretty beads on them. Each earring is hand-made, an they have a unique "artsy" look to them. They are sure to draw attention, and have become the topic of conversation whenever I wear them. I always appreciate a piece of hand-made jewelry given to me on Valentine's Day... especially jewelry that I  can wear daily!

GIVEAWAY QUESTION: What is the worst Valentine's Day gift you've ever received???

The car-ride nap.

What is it about a quick nap in the car, that makes toddlers think they don't need any more sleep for the rest of the day. EVERY time Linna falls asleep in the car, that's it. That is her nap for the day. If she falls asleep for five minutes in the car... that's her nap for the day. Even if I carry her into the house while she's sleeping, she wakes up as soon as we walk in the door, and she's up for the rest of the day.

This. Drives. Me. CRAZY.

Yes, they look so incredibly peaceful when they're all snuggled up and dozing off in their car seat... but COME ON! That's all the peace and quiet I get for the entire day?! Today, Linna fell asleep on the way home from the Children's Museum at about 11 a.m., and that quick 20-minute nap was the only nap she will have today. I didn't "fight" today's cat-nap in the car, because she has a cold, and she was obviously exhausted. However, any other day that she starts falling asleep in the car, I start singing songs at the top of my lungs, clap my hands, talk to her about all the cars on the road... ANYTHING to keep her from falling asleep! I give her snacks in the car, toys, etc... ANYTHING to keep her awake!

If she asked me for pop/soda in the car, I'd probably cave, just so she wouldn't fall asleep.

Does your little one do this? Linna is now 17-months old and we've finally gotten her transitioned to one LONG (usually) nap a day. I need this break in the day. However, these quick little car naps are slowly going to drive me up the wall.

At what hour is it considered "appropriate" to have a glass of wine??? 3 p.m.???

Friday, January 25, 2013

Laughing toddler.

It doesn't get much better than hearing the belly laugh of your little one. Today, AJ had the day off from work, so the three of us spent some much-needed quality time together. Linna came down with a stuffy nose last night, so we've been using the nasal aspirator (AKA the "blue monster") to clear her nose. While she doesn't think it's funny when we use it on her, she thinks it's pretty funny to use it on us. Papa Saigh sure had her laughing today, and Mama Saigh couldn't get enough...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Learning opposites.

Tonight, Linna surprised us in the bathtub by showing us what "up" and "down" mean. Out of nowhere, she started standing up, then sitting down, while saying "up" and "down". She's known how to say "up" and "down" for a couple months now, but we have never seen her put them both together while showing us the actions. This just shows what a little sponge she is right now.

Kindermusik with kim.

Wearing her tambourine as a hat.
One of Linna's favorite activities when we were living in Singapore, was our weekly class at Kindermusik. When we returned to Minnesota, I knew I had to find a class just like that for our busy toddler. Luckily for us, there is actually a Kindermusik right here in the Twin Cities!

We have been attending a weekly music class in Chanhassen at Kindermusik with Kim, and it is one of our favorite hours out of the entire week. Linna absolutely loves music and dancing, so watching her thrive in her Kindermusik class is so much fun! We're in a class with about ten other babies and toddlers, and every week all the parents watch our kiddos develop their verbal, listening, problem solving, and social skills, while building their love for music. For one hour every week, Linna and her classmates get to explore the beautiful world of music, and Linna is literally glued to her teacher (Miss Kim)!

We start every class with playtime, and Linna of course loves all of the new toys that we don't have at home. The parents hang out with their kids, but get to chat with one another as well. After the kids help clean up the toys (Linna is finally learning to help with this one), Miss Kim starts the class with a "hello song". From the moment Miss Kim opens her mouth and starts singing, Linna is hooked. She literally stares at Miss Kim and dances to her beautiful voice. We love the "hello song" because each child gets to hear their name in a song, and they get to choose how we say hello to them ("wave hello", "jump hello", "rock hello", etc.). The kids love this!

During the rest of our class, we all learn about new musical instruments, sing and dance using colorful scarves, play games, and kids are learning while having a good time. Some of the children just like to observe, and some are right in the middle of the mix. Every child is different. Linna is always a bit reserved when we're in a new environment, but she now runs to the door to get her coat every time I say "it's time to go to music class"! 

Playing with all the fun toys and her new friends.

This is how Miss Kim says "goodbye" to the kiddos at the end of class. Linna loves it!
Musical instrument fun.

At our first class, we received a bag of materials including a book, musical instrument (an egg shaker), and a CD of the music we sing in class. It has become part of our daily routine to pop in the CD, and dance and sing to the music. Sometimes I just play the CD while Linna is playing with her toys, and she keeps herself content and entertained for a good amount of time. It's kind of like bringing this Kindermusik class into our home!

I really can't say enough good things about Kindermusik with Kim. Our teacher Kim Shiely is a mom herself, and the owner/founder of Kindermusik with Kim. She and her staff do birthday parties, music lessons, and classes for children age 0-7. They offer piano lessons too! The best part is that you can give the class a try for FREE! Kindermusik is definitely a place I can see Linna growing up in, and I hope we can meet some of you in one of the classes.

Brought to you by Minnesota Baby and Bump Club Twin Cities

WHEN: Friday, February 8th, 2013
TIME: 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
WHERE: Kindermusik with Kim studio in Chanhassen
FOR: Children (and a parent) age 18 months to 3.5 years

Thanks to everyone who came out to play! We hope to host another class very soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

17 months.

At 17 months old, we have successfully transitioned from two 1.5-hour naps a day, to one 2-3 hour nap a day! It's so much easier to plan our day when we don't have to be home twice for naps, and I get so much more done when Linna takes one LONG nap. This month, we also started Linna on her first round of antibiotics EVER! She caught some kind of virus over Christmas and was quite the sick lil' bug. Three weeks later, she still had the crummy cough that came along with it. Since her cough was waking her up at nap and nighttime, I took her into the doctor and they thought she might have a sinus infection that just wasn't clearing up on its own, and they prescribed her a 10-day (2X/day) liquid antibiotic. Well, her cough has FINALLY cleared up, so it looks like it worked!

Checkin' out her new owl hat.
Linna is repeating EVERYTHING! She such a little investigator, and wants to tell you EVERYTHING she's doing and seeing. I love hearing her little voice. When she cries, she says "oh my" over and over again, which may be the cutest and most unusual thing ever. Not sure where she picked that one up! We're working on the alphabet with her, as well as colors, and shapes. Right now, if she sees letters on a sign or something she's playing with, she will just shout out a random letter! It's so cute. She's obviously learning the alphabet, even if she doesn't know which letter is which yet. She can say so many words, but a couple of the more impressive words/phrases are "oh dear" and "cupcake"!

Testing out some salsa at lunch.
We've also gotten into some weird eating habits. Linna seriously wants to eat Kashi Cereal Bars, Pirate's Booty Puffs, oatmeal, and toast. We've gone days without any fresh fruits or veggies. She often refuses to eat the Green Egg Cakes she used to love so much too! Yes, it could be worse, but some days I'm having to "hide" her fruits and veggies in her juice (I give her the Naked juices/smoothies) and oatmeal. Like every other kid, she would also eat cookies all day. Whenever she's at Grandma and Grandpa Specken's house, she walks around saying "Cuc Cuc" (AKA "cookie"). When Grandma and Grandpa Saigh are around, she follows Grandma ("MeMaw") around saying "Om-N-Um" (M&M). The grandparents sure love to give our little girl what she really wants:) We (AJ and I) actually got into a habit of giving Linna a "healthy" cookie (the belVita Breakfast Biscuits) every night after dinner, even if she didn't eat her dinner, just to make sure she had SOMETHING in her belly (I have a "fear" that she'll wake up in the middle of the night because she's hungry). I think she caught onto this bad habit of ours, so she decided that she didn't need to eat her dinner because mom or dad would give her a cookie with her milk before bed (smart girl). About a week ago, I finally wised up and decided to say "no" to the cookie before bed, even if she didn't eat her dinner. If she doesn't eat her dinner, she goes to bed with just her milk. The next morning after we tried this, she must have been really hungry, because she ate an entire banana, half a mango and a bowl of oatmeal. I'm slowly learning that if she's hungry, she will eat, and she WILL eat fruits and veggies if we don't give into her wining for "other options". Tonight, she ate a bowl of butternut squash soup, with some rice, and carrots, celery and onions I sauteed in olive oil, after she decided to "skip" lunch.

(We did this video while waiting for Grandma and Grandpa Specken at their house.)

Linna is also really into hiding these days. She hides behind anything she can find (mostly the chair in her bedroom, or the ottoman in the living room) if we say things like "let's change your diaper", or "let's clean up your toys". She's also been a little shy around people. She'll hide behind my legs, but as she warms up, I'll ask her to say "hi" to the person, and she quickly gives them a wave and a hello.

With Grandpa Saigh at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Being silly.
Linna still has a baby mullet, but we just can't get ourselves to have it cut. So for now, we continue to hide it with pigtails. Linna loves showing off her somersault skills, twirling skills, and of course her dancing skills. She's really starting to take direction well, and is FINALLY putting the toys away when she's asked to do so at ECFE, Kindermusik, and The Little Gym classes. She's really proud of herself when she does this! Linna loves reading books, swimming at the indoor pool at the gym, and does a really good job at playing by herself and keeping herself busy. I thank my lucky stars every day that she doesn't need me to entertain her all the time:)

Can't believe our little bug will be a year and a half next month!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kids do weird things.

Not only did I think it was odd that our 17-month-old requested pine nuts for a snack this afternoon (she saw them up in the cupboard), but she also wanted to eat them off the floor. Kids are strange...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Minnesota zoo.

Linna on the tortoise at the Minnesota Zoo.

This morning, we braved the frigid temps and headed to the Minnesota Zoo for their ABC Weekend. Linna has only been to a zoo once before when she was only a couple months old, so we were excited to see her actually enjoy herself this time around. Even though it is nice to walk around outside when the weather is warmer, there is still a lot to do and see at the Minnesota Zoo during the cold winter months. It's actually a great place to go when you're looking to just get out of the house, when you've been cooped up for days during our long Minnesota winters. Everything we did at the zoo was indoors, except for the few minutes that we put on our coats to walk the Minnesota Trail.

Oh, hey fish.
Those are real crocodiles. 

We first checked out Discovery Bay, where we got to see sharks, fish, penguins, and other animals. Almost everything was at Linna's level, so she could walk right up to the glass and watch the animals move about. She loved running around, and we loved that she was wearing herself out and getting ready for a nice, long nap. After Discovery Bay, we went to walk the Tropics Trail, which is basically like being inside a rainforest. It's really warm, humid, and we were surrounded by greenery, birds, monkeys (gibbons), crocodiles, bats, and other creators. There were two gibbons that were REALLY loud, as they played and talked to each other. A lot of the animals were sleeping, but the active ones were VERY active! There were little "caves" for the little kiddos to go in and explore too, and some caves even had windows inside that looked into the animals' homes. Linna's favorite part was seeing all the ducks in the water (she's such a Minnesota baby). We also walked the Minnesota Trail, which is outside and enclosed, but still pretty cold (today's temps didn't even reach the double digits). I loved seeing the wolves, and Linna of course loved seeing the owls.


Spotting monkeys with Papa.

Obsessed with owls... and buttons.

Gorgeous wolves.

We didn't time our day very well, because we missed the storytimes that were part of the ABC Weekend, and the World of Birds Show. We have heard so many good things about the bird show, so we were tempted to wait for the 1 p.m. show, but we knew we had to get Linna home for her nap. I guess we'll just have to go back! Since it was ABC Weekend at the Minnesota Zoo, there were some craft projects going on, as well as other activities to keep the kids busy and entertained (as if the zoo itself isn't enough, right?!). There's also a little Bee Hive play-area (no, there's no real bees in there) for the little ones, and I saw a couple nursing moms in there as well, so if you're a mom looking for a private nursing area, you're in luck. We love that the Minnesota Zoo is so family friendly!

Eating a little lunch before we headed home.

I know there is so much that we didn't get to see because we had to get Linna home for a nap, but I guess that just gives us another reason to head back to the Minnesota Zoo for another visit!

This is how we roll during Minnesota winters. We'll be back Minnesota Zoo!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Linna's first track meet.

At the starting line. Ready, set, GO!
Today, Linna, AJ, his parents, and I went to the U of M to watch our cousin Molly run in a track meet. During the meet they did a little "Kiddie Run" and Linna decided to participate. She was one of the smaller runners, and she did finish second to last, but she did finish! Maybe being a track star isn't in her near future, but she sure enjoys racing, AND she looks super cute doing it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cheap thrill.

Yesterday, AJ came home from work with three balloons for Linna and flowers for Mama. Great husband, right?! I agree. One of the balloons remained in tact through this evening, and Linna has literally been having hours of fun with the surviving balloon. The balloon cost all of a dollar, and is a great reminder of how we can literally make a child's entire day with something as simple as a balloon. For the last 24 hours, Linna has been smiling from ear to ear, every time she sees the balloon in the house. Looks like her Papa is #1... for tonight at least;)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mama's 3-day cleanse.

Day 1: Morning Drink
I should start off by saying that I've never, EVER succeeded at a cleanse, but after months of feeling sluggish, tired, and eating all the wrong foods, accompanied by too much wine... it's time to try again. I've tried all kinds of juice cleanses, and whether or not it's mind over matter, juices cleanses just don't work for me. So, for the next three days, I will be doing Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse. It includes smoothies that you make at home, with ingredients you buy at the grocery store, including almond butter, avocado, and almond milk, so I hopefully will feel more full than when I'm on a juice cleanse. I have no issues sucking down these kinds of smoothies and freshly-squeezed juices. I actually enjoy them. It is a little bit of an investment. Dr. Oz says it costs about $16 a day, but I spent about $70 (at Cub Foods) at the grocery store yesterday on all the food, vitamins, and detox bath ingredients. I'm committing myself to succeed at this 3-day cleanse, and have to remind myself that it's JUST 3 DAYS! I hope that my energy will be able to keep up with our 17-month-old, and I plan to eat better for my body after this "detox". There's no reason I should fail, right?! Here we go...

The dreaded "lunch drink".
DAY 1: Well, it's 8 p.m. on day #1, and I just finished my "dinner drink". I have to say, I'm currently not hungry. However, there were multiple times today (one being when my husband came home and turned on the Food Network - Grrrr!) where I was craving a burger, fries, you name it... I wanted it. It was so tough feeding my daughter her Green Egg Cakes for lunch, and not sampling them for myself. They smelled so good! The "morning drink" is my favorite. I think it's because there's almond butter in it. Yummy! The "lunch drink" was really hard to suck down. It was very "cucumber-y", which isn't my favorite. The recipe also produces almost an entire nalgene water-bottle full of the drink/smoothie. I drank half for lunch and the other half for snack. The "dinner drink" isn't too bad either. It's very green, but I like the kick the cayenne pepper gives it. The best part of today's cleanse was the "detox bath". Hello lavender oil! I feel so incredibly relaxed, satisfied, and proud of myself for making it through day #1. That is, if I don't find myself sleep-walking toward a bag of potato chips or pizza tonight. It's just three days... it's just three days... it's just three days.

"Dinner Drink"
DAY 2: I have to say, day #2 was pretty much the same as day #1, although I did make it to the gym tonight! Afternoons are rough, but I think it's because I really dislike the "lunch drink" (which is also my afternoon "snack drink" because the recipe makes such a large quantity). This morning, I had so much energy, and I wasn't hungry at all. I love feeling like that... and without coffee! It's the little things that I do every day, that I have to remember to NOT do (i.e. lick my fingers when I get Linna's delicious yogurt on them, steal one of Linna's yummy Pirate's Booty puffs, and finishing the food she doesn't eat). These are things you don't think about, and just DO when you have a kid. I'm really looking forward to getting back to "normal" Thursday morning, but a new "healthier" normal. So happy that I've made it through the second day, and I only have one day left to go. Over half-way there!

DAY 3: Day #3 is almost over, and I finally completed this cleanse... with a little dinner on the side;) Ugh, I couldn't resist. I made it until 5:30 p.m., but once my husband came home from work, I smelled dinner cooking in the oven, and we all had the chance to sit down for a hot meal together... I caved. I ate a little bit of the DELICIOUS homemade pot pie I baked for dinner, and let me tell you, it was worth every mouth-watering bite! I feel very proud of myself for making it (almost) three days on this cleanse, and I honestly feel a little bit healthier and happier. I hated the afternoon smoothies, but I could see myself making the morning or evening smoothies on a regular basis. I'm just not a "smoothie for every meal" kind of gal. Let's face it... food is delicious! Food is everywhere, and I want to eat it. I just need to remember to enjoy food in moderation. I will do this cleanse again, especially after spending the money on the vitamins, etc., that we now have in the house. It's amazing how you can feel when you're not eating processed foods, starches, and sugar (not the sugar in fruit), but it's hard when these kinds of foods are everywhere. If anything, I will be incorporating healthier foods into my daily diet, and blaming yet another one of my cleanse "failures" on this little girl...

Linna playing "nice to meet you" at the dinner table with Mama and Papa tonight.

I'd rather share a home-cooked meal while playing games with my family at the dinner table, than choking down a cold green smoothie by myself, any day of the week:)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

One long nap.

A little over a month ago, I wrote about our struggle with getting Linna down to one long nap, instead of two naps a day. Well, we've successfully made that transition (knock on wood). At 17-months-old, Linna is napping 2-3 hours each afternoon, instead of two 1.5 hr. naps a day. As many moms told me, it's easier to plan our day around one long nap, instead of two naps. Now, we have our mornings and late afternoons free, and we don't have to race home by 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to get Linna down for a nap. I can tell Linna is still getting tired as we inch toward 11 a.m., but she doesn't have big melt-downs or anything. It just got to the point where Linna was playing in her crib for a half-hour when I laid her down for her 10:30 a.m. nap. Plus, she wasn't going to bed until 8:30 p.m. or so.

Now, Linna goes to bed at 7/7:30 p.m., wakes up at 7:45 a.m. (on the dot - almost every day), naps at around 12:30 p.m. until around 3 p.m. Oh, and as you'll see from the photo, her crib is quickly turning into a haven for all of Linna's stuffed-animals. Currently, she is sharing her bed with her pals Barney, Cookie Monster, a stuffed dog she calls "RoRo", Elmo, Mr. Bear (a bear pillow), Lots a Legs (caterpillar), Owl, and of course "Snuggles" (or "Shnuh" - her blanket). We do let Linna have a pacifier (AKA her "Wa") during naps and bedtime, and she still sleeps with the O'Neill Brothers Lullaby CD and a fan in the background. Linna doesn't cry when she wakes up, but instead just sits quietly and plays with her stuffed animals. I don't know how we got her to do this, but it's nice not having a kid who wakes up crying. We've actually learned that Linna is NOT done with her nap if she wakes up crying. We rock her back to sleep if she wakes up crying, so she gets the sleep she needs. Otherwise, she is SO crabby for the rest of the day.

One of the biggest things I've learned from this napping transition, is that kids can be very inconsistent. The moment you think you have something figured out, they change. There are days where Linna decides that a half-hour nap is enough (these days aren't often, but they happen), or she'll catch a cold, and then has trouble sleeping. Every kid is different. Now that we have this one-nap-a-day thing "down", I'm seriously dreading the day Linna decides she's completely done with her naps, AND starts crawling out of her crib. When did this happen for you???

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sesame street live.

It's amazing what you'll get excited about when you're a mom. All month long, I have been anxiously awaiting for the day I get to take our 17-month-old to Sesame Street Live at the Target Center... and today was that day!


Linna is completely obsessed with Elmo and Sesame Street. It's one of two shows she will watch on television (Barney is the other - I prefer Sesame Street). She sleeps with a stuffed Elmo in her crib, can spot an Elmo photo from a mile away, and it's a word/name she says constantly. Needless to say, she was very excited to see Sesame Street Live.

Elmo's #1 fan.
My sister Paige is home from college, so she came along as well. We showed up an hour before the show to check out the Play Zone. There was live musical acts where the kids could see the characters up close and personal, interactive character "cut-outs", places to take photos, etc. Linna stuck pretty close by our sides when the big Sesame Street characters came out to do a little performance, but she was completely glued to what they were doing on the stage. She danced to the music, and pointed at the characters from a far, but I have to admit that the big, colorful, furry costumes are a bit intimidating for the little ones.

Mama Saigh, Linna, and Elmo.

Oscar, Linna, and Auntie Paige.

Coloring in the Play Zone.
It was so cute seeing little kids dressed up in their favorite character's costumes. Linna followed around a kid who was wearing an Elmo tee-shirt like a little magnet. Another kid literally wore a full Elmo costume. His mom bought it for him on Amazon (that's right, I asked her). The show itself was very well done. It was interactive, and full of music, bright lights, singing and dancing. The show is about an hour-and-a-half long, and for as little as $10 a ticket, this show packs so much bang for your buck. Listening to all the kids in the audience having so much fun during the show, makes it clear that Sesame Street is very popular in the Twin Cities. We'll be back next year!

Watching the show.

So many Elmo heads.
DECEMBER GIVEAWAY WINNER: Congratulations to Ana Biesterfeld!!! You're the winner of a family 4-pack of tickets to Sesame Street Live in January at the Target Center. Please email me with your address ( so we can send you the tickets. Stay tuned for another giveaway everyone!!!

"Hmmmm, I wonder how I could convince this girl to give me her shirt." - Linna
Linna and Auntie Paige in the audience.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monthly gift-box subscriptions.

GIVEAWAY WINNERS: Congratulations to Laura Wales for winning a one-month subscription to Birchbox, and Ann Haag for winning a a one-month subscription to Craft Coffee! Thanks for supporting Minnesota Baby everyone.

*** Click here for the TWIN CITIES LIVE segment ***

Over the past month, our family has been testing out some monthly subscription boxes. I remember trying out a few "baby boxes"when Linna was born (my favorite being Citrus Lane), but little did I know that there are so many monthly subscription boxes available for literally everyone in the family. Here's a few of our favorites...

Birchbox: These boxes arrive at your door monthly, and include beauty and lifestyle product samples for the guys and gals. The best part is that they aren't expensive ($10/month for women and $20/month for men), and they include some really great products! My favorite sample we received in a box was the Miracle Skin Transformer Hydroactive Microderm. The little samples of perfume, etc. are fine, but this little exfoliate product was a great size for being a sample. My husband loved the tie in his box from The Knottery, and lip balm from Lucky Tiger. This is such a fun gift box to get in the mail monthly, especially when you don't have time to keep up with all the new beauty products out there!

Gourmet Spotting: Who has time to discover gourmet food from all over the world? Not this mom. But now that my family has discovered Gourmet Spotting, we can! We have tried all types of pasta, spices, oils, teas, and truffle infused foods, imported from all over the world. We get to experience different types of dishes using the food products in our monthly Gourmet Spotting boxes. I can't get enough of the Bel Frantoio Organic White Truffle Oil. So amazing, and I've been putting it on everything! Monthly boxes run $29.99 each, and a great gift idea for the foodie in your life.

Cellars Wine Club: First of all, who wouldn't want new and exciting wines delivered to their house every month?! Starting at $25 a month, Cellars Wine Club will send you full bottles of wine. Yes please! I think the best deal is the Premium Wine Club, where for $39 per shipment, you get two different wines, and the price includes shipping. I'm the kind of gal who doesn't typically spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine, but the wines we get from Cellars Wine Club are wines that I have never even heard of or tried. I get excited to broaden my horizons with every shipment, Included are tasting notes with background information on the wineries, and often food pairings. I'm learning so much from the comfort of my own home. Bring on the wine!

Craft Coffee: Both my husband and I, as well as our family members (who visit often) are big coffee lovers. I enjoying trying new coffee blends, but hate making the drive to the coffee shop/store to pick something up. When I heard that Craft Coffee delivered three different coffees from three different roasters each month, I had to check it out. The monthly subscription ($19-$25/month) is a little more than I typically spend on coffee from the grocery store, but when I add in the money I spend on coffee from the coffee shop, it's not as expensive as I thought. Depending on what type of coffee maker you have, you can order whole beans, or ground. I love the smell of the coffee when I open the box it arrives in. If you have a coffee lover in your family, this is the gift that keeps on giving (you can always ask the gift recipient to make you coffee when you visit their home).

Man Packs: If I had a nickle for every pair of my husband's socks and white tee-shirts I threw away because of holes or armpit stains, let's just say that I'd be a pretty wealthy woman. Plus, when I pick him up new socks or tee-shirts to replace the old ones, I always seem to get the wrong kind, size, etc. To remedy the situation and save me a little time (and sanity), I've given my husband the power to pick out the things he needs online, and we have Man Packs deliver him new socks, boxers, and white tee-shirts every three months. Easy peasy! They have so many different brands of socks, underwear, razors, and toiletries that you can have delivered every three months, or whenever you need it. The cost depends on what you buy, but you get free shipping on orders over $30. I've found that the boxers, socks, and white tee-shirts are almost the same price as I'd pay for them at Target. Not only is this a great gift idea for your husband, but it gives you the gift of a little more free (and sanity) time too.

Tasterie: I'm always looking for new and healthy snacks for my family, but until I try it, I don't want to buy it. I've wasted so much money on healthy, but awful tasting healthy food. Tasterie sends you different types of snacks and other foods depending on the type of food you "screen" for. The company was actually created by a mom who is also a pediatrician. If you have wheat allergies, or want to eat vegan-friendly food, they have tons of options for you. For about $15 per month, they really pack in a lot of product for your money. In one box, I received a dip mix, quinoa, fruit bars, sweet potato chips, healthy kettle corn, a gravy mix, and a few other things. Everything was really good, and this is definitely a subscription we'll be sticking with!

Blissmo: This monthly box subscription offers organic, non-toxic & eco-products that promise to be safer, healthier and better than conventional alternatives. We've received cleaning products, snacks, laundry detergent, that I would have no idea where to start to look to find them, if it wasn't for Blissmo. They have specialized boxes for hair and skin, a pantry box, and a box that specializes in fair-trade products. Boxes start at about $25 each, but you can also get a HUGE box for around $100, that could feed your entire office or family for a good amount of time. I love that they include free shipping too!

Love with Food: This is a great option for people that love food, but don't want to spend a lot of money on a monthly subscription. For just $10 a month, you get a box packed with food products and samples. In our box we received salt water taffy, organic baby good, granola, tea, hot chocolate mixes, and a lot more. If you're not looking for an investment in a monthly box subscription, and just want to sample some new food products, give Love with Food a try. It's one of our favs!

Cravebox: This company literally has a box for everyone, since they don't just specialize in one thing. We selected the Coffee Lovers Cravebox, as well as another box with a TON of food samples and coupons in it. The coupons were literally for FREE food products at the store. I love that their coffee box doesn't just include coffee, but coffee syrup, biscotti, and cereal. It's more like a breakfast box! They also have beauty boxes, boxes for new moms and kids... literally everything! Each box is about $10-$15 per box, and totally worth is because they send you a lot more for your money.

JANUARY 17TH GIVEAWAY QUESTION: What is your must-have beauty product???