Thursday, December 29, 2016

Linna & jimmy update: Surviving winter.

Lately, I've been posting most of our day-to-day videos of our family on my InstaStory (basically a video story-line on Instagram) and SnapChat (look for me at @melissasaigh) accounts. I do this every single day... Multiple times a day. However, I know some of you aren't InstaStory and/or SnapChat users. So, I'm goin' "old school" and sharing some of our recent moments on the blog.

I mean, this blog IS where it all started, right (note to self... more blogging in the new year)?!

Let's see... Where to begin? Linna (age 5) and Jimmy (age 1) got to meet Santa earlier this month, at the Hopkins Fire Department's Christmas party (my Dad is the Hopkins Fire Chief). Linna now looks forward to seeing Santa, but Jimmy has some warming up to do...

Jimmy is now walking EVERYWHERE, and getting into EVERYTHING. But his preferred mode of transportation is still crawling...

Linna put on hockey skates, and hit the ice for the first time this winter (this might actually be her first time EVER on the ice) at our local Rec Center. She LOVES it. This is video of Linna and her friend Paytin (our neighbor), after Linna had only been on the ice for about 5 minutes. In a complete "mom fail" moment, I thought the Rec Center rented skates, so we just brought ourselves.


I had to ask some random dad if Linna could barrow his son's skates, because I didn't want to break my daughter's little heart by leaving without getting to skate. I'm so thankful for kind Minnesotans. This dad and his little boy didn't even hesitate to let Linna use his skates for a few minutes before his hockey practice. We bought her some new hockey skates for Christmas. And yes, Linna will be wearing a helmet on the ice next time...

We've also had quite the bad string of luck when it comes to health around our house. Jimmy seems to catch virus after virus this winter, and he's currently trying to bounce back from RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). I feel like Linna was rarely sick as a baby, but Jimmy is a little Petri dish. I guess this is what happens when your second child lives outside the "bubble" that your first child lived in for her first two years.

(This is video of Papa Saigh rocking a sick little Jimmy over Christmas break in Iowa.
Jimmy was so relaxed and wiped out.)

Two sick kiddos, on the ride home from Iowa.
We were all over the place for Christmas this year, but we were able to see a lot of family. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my Mom's side of the family, Christmas Day with my parents and siblings, and then headed to Iowa on the 26th to celebrate with Papa Saigh's sides of the family. 

5-year-old Linna wrote her letter to Santa this year... In the nude... Naturally.

Linna and Jimmy with Papa Saigh's Grandparents (John & LaVonne - AKA "GiGi and Great Grandpa".)

Opening presents on Christmas morning in our home in their Christmas jammies.

All dressed up for Christmas Eve.

Jimmy and his cousin Theda, in their Christmas jammies in Iowa. Jimmy and Theda are named
after Papa Saigh's late Grandparents, Jimmy and Theda Saigh.
Linna and her cousin Bella, in their Christmas jammies. This is a tradition we've continued since the
passing of Papa Saigh's Aunt Jean. She had the kids in Christmas jammies EVERY Christmas.
Over Christmas break, I got to spend some much-needed, one-on-one time with my first born. Linna and I hung out at the Mall of America one day, went grocery shopping, and ice-skating together. Stuff that we never really get to do, just the two of us. While I struggle with Linna's dramatic/diva/challenging personality on a day-to-day basis, having the opportunity to leave the baby at home and just hang out with my girl, makes me appreciate her so much more than I already do. She is seriously THE MOST amazing kid. Everyone else tells me how funny, smart, whitty, and sweet Linna is. It's just difficult to absorb her amazingness when Jimmy demands so much of my attention. Papa Saigh took a week off from work over Christmas, and it's been so wonderful having him home. I'm pretty sure he's counting down the minutes until he gets to return to his "happy place" (AKA, his office), as the reality of my "job" (stay-at-home-mom) is making a strong statement over the past couple weeks.

Matchy matchy. Me and my girl.

While 2016 has been a pretty good year, I'm looking forward to 2017. I still can't believe how big our kids are getting. Wasn't Baby Jimmy a newborn like a few months ago?! Happy New Year, everyone.

Goal for 2017: Get IN more photos WITH my kids.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

DIY with mama saigh: Holiday decor.

It's been awhile, but this week I was back on The Jason Show with some easy holiday decor ideas that you can make yourself. It's not easy being a stay-at-home mom of two little ones while trying to pull together TV segments, but I love doing it! So here you are... Let's start with these pretty DIY snow globes for your mantle...


Aren't they pretty?! And they're beyond easy to put together. I got these apothecary jars from Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts before Halloween this year, and filled them with white rice (cheaper than fine sand) to create a snow effect. Then, I buried the battery pack of these LED String Lights that I got at Lowes, and TAH-DAH! I have one of these pretties on each end of our mantle.


Opening holiday cards is one of my favorite things about Christmas. But, where do you display all of those gorgeous cards once you've opened them? We created a little chalkboard wall in our dining room by mixing regular wall paint (this color is Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore) with powder grout that we found at Lowes (FYI, Lowes can mix almost any color paint in-house, even if they don't carry the brand). This is a great option if you don't want to be limited to the dark chalkboard color of regular chalkboard paint. Just apply a couple coats and you can turn any paint color into a chalkboard wall! Oh, and the deer head is from Target. And one more thing... Minted has some of the BEST holiday cards. Just in case you were wondering.

Who knew this process actually had a name?! Apparently, turning your Holiday greens into pretty snow-covered decor, is called "flocking". Well, Papa Saigh and I know how to get a little crazy on the weekends, because last week we stayed in "flocking" on a Saturday night. Haha! All you need is some white paint and some glitter. Then, use a paint/sponge brush to cover your wreaths, trees, and greens with this mixture. Let it dry for about a day, and you now have fluffy, sparkly decor for your home. We used exterior paint for our outdoor wreaths.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

SALE: Mom-life tees (org. $29.99 - now $13.99).

Mom-Life tees - Over 50% OFF 12/7 to 12/9 ONLY

I love my "Mama Bear" top, and now you can get your own for $13.99! Jane is running a sale starting TODAY (through 12/9/16, or until stock runs out) on "Mom Life" tees that were $29.99. The tees come in 11 different sayings, and in sizes S - 2XL. Get them before they sell out! They'd make a great gift for any Mama.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Baby jimmy is walking.


Here's the deal... I love both my kids equally. And now that I've said that... Confession time.

1. I'm pretty sure that Jimmy has been "walking" for at least a week... when I'm not around. My parents and sister told me that Jimmy took 5 to 8 steps while he was at their house this past weekend. Eh, I didn't see it... So, it didn't happen.

2. Papa Saigh told me a month ago that Jimmy took his "first steps" when he was playing with him. He tried to recreate the event for me, but failed. So, if you ask me... It didn't happen.

3. Today (in Mama Saigh's world), Jimmy started walking!!!

Baby Jimmy, 11 months old.
When Linna started walking, I could tell you the second - of the minute - of the hour - of the day that it happened. It was one of my proudest "Mom Moments". We recorded the very second she took that first step. Papa Saigh and I cried together as we watched this historical moment.

It was incredible.

I can put fluffy words and decorative excuses all around it, but the truth is: Our second child's first steps were a much different experience than our first child's.

Today, as I watch my baby boy start to walk, I am overcome with emotions (SO. Many. Emotions). I feel incredibly proud of him, as he takes his first steps toward his independent life. I feel incredibly lucky to have our first-born watch in amazement, as her baby brother takes his first steps. I feel sad (SO sad) to think that these "first steps", might be our last (don't even get me started on this topic). And, most importantly, I don't feel guilty for the possibility of "missing" my baby boy's "first" steps.

Honestly, I have no idea who witnessed Baby Jimmy's first steps. And when I think about it, I'm not 100% confident that I was the first person to witness our first-born's "first steps".

But... does it really matter?!

Knowing that the people who love Jimmy just as much as we do, could have possibly witnessed his first steps, makes me SO proud and happy. If these people felt the happiness and fulfillment that we did, as we watched Jimmy take his "first steps"... That's all that matters.

Because this kind of feeling is what makes LIFE. WORTH. LIVING.

To my beautiful baby boy: Watching your tiny feet make their way across the floor, leaves me breathless. You are an incredible little human. A fiesty, ambitious, determined little human. Your Papa loves you. Your Big Sister loves you. Your Mama loves you (more than you will ever know). SO many people love you.

You may not have been our first baby, but your "firsts" are just as important. We are so proud of you, and beyond thankful to have you in our lives.

You are incredible.

Baby Jimmy: Please stay little.

NEW to little passports: Science expeditions.

While our kiddos are a bit young for this one, we're super excited about Little's Passports' latest subscription for the bigger kids. Science Expeditions is recommended for kids age 9+, and introduces them to an exciting world of science, with a focus on STEM/STEAM principles. Each month, your kiddo receives a package in the mail that includes a comic book adventure, featuring the characters Sam and Sophia. They have a mystery to solve, and of course, fun science experiments. All of the included materials are designed to help kids with problem-solving, observation, and note-taking skills. Give the gift of learning, and the excitement of receiving a package in the mail each month, by subscribing the the newest edition of Little Passports: Science Expeditions.

If you have younger kiddos, check out the monthly subscriptions made just for them, and see why our 5-year-old is a fan.

* This post contains affiliate links, but all thoughts are my own.

Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 holiday gift guide for the dudes.

Check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Dads, Grandpas, Brothers, Uncles, etc., in your life. And yes, we included a mop on this list, because it's THAT good...

American Apparel has all the Dad staples, like these joggers and this rugby sweater. They've also extended their Cyber Monday sale (60% OFF using code CYBER at checkout) through November 29th, 2016 at Midnight!
American Apparel Joggers: $34 (on sale as of 11/29/16)
American Apparel Shawl Collar Rugby Sweater: $32 (on sale as of 11/29/16)

Virtual Alacrity Smartphone VR Headset: $49.99, Modcloth (30% OFF through 11/28/16, using code CYBER16)
Moscow Mules are my favorite drink, and they taste better when they're served in a copper mug. I love these copper mugs from Williams-Sonoma, and they'd make a great hostess gift for holiday parties. These are on my list!
Cook no matter where you are! Set your meal up in the morning and  tell your app what you're cooking, and your food will be ready when you get home. What?! Amazing.
Anova Precision Cooker: $126.65, Amazon

Anyone else annoyed with the super short phone charging cable that Apple gives you with your iPhone?! Put an end to the frustration with one of these 10 ft. charging cables.
10 ft. Bungee Charging Cable: $3.99, Jane
This hands-free, bluetooth speaker is controlled with your voice. It plays music, provides information, news, sports scores, weather, and more. All you have to do is ask!
Amazon Echo: $179, Amazon ($139 on Cyber Monday)
Never know what type of clothing to get the men in your life? Join the club. Brand new this year, Stitch Fix offers personal styling for men! Instead of getting your husband, dad, or grandfather the same, boring, holiday sweater AGAIN this year, let him decide. Give the man in your life the gift of style with a Stitch Fix gift card for as little as $20!
Stitch Fix Styling Gift Cards: $20+
This camera spy drone retails for $169.99, but it's on sale over at Jane for $59.95 until it sells out!
Striker 2.4GHz 4.5CH Camera RC Spy Drone: $59.95 (FREE SHIPPING), Jane
The BoseBuild Speaker Cube is on many experts' lists of "Top Holiday Toys" this year. It's recommended for kids, age 8+, but this techy gift is also on Papa Saigh's Christmas list. You can now build and customize your own, durable, high-performance, bluetooth speaker!
BoseBuild Speaker Cube: $149, Online

We love our new Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop, and it was a dual gift we got for our household. This steam-powered mop allows both Papa Saigh and I to clean our entire main floor, without the use of chemicals. It has a touch-free, washable dirt-grip pad, that attaches and removes very easily. It maneuvers easily, and gets into corners and under furniture with little effort. It is seriously the best mop we've ever owned!
Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop: $99, Target

*This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 holiday gift guide for the ladies.

Check out these gift ideas at all price-points, for the mom, grandma, auntie, or other special ladies in your life! Happy holiday shopping. Give her what she REALLY wants...
I think we all have an auntie in our life who could use this tee.
Aunt Squad Tee: $13.99, Jane
Burst Your Bauble Necklace: $24.99, Modcloth
(Get up to 40% OFF on Black Friday, using the code FRIDAY40)
(Get 30% OFF EVERYTHING Nov. 27th - 30th, 2016, using the code CYBER16)

I ordered these foiled silhouettes of the kids from Minted, when they were running a 20% off sale. I am so happy with the way these art pieces turned out, and can't wait to get them hung in their bedrooms. You can customize these pieces however you'd like, including framing, text, and design. They are absolutely gorgeous, and would make a special gift for any parent.
Custom Silhouette Art: $32+, Minted
(Get 20% OFF through November 28th, 2016, at midnight using code BF2016, on orders of $150+)
Where do I even begin?! Jane online seriously has something for everyone on your shopping list, at like 80% OFF. From women's clothing and shoes, to home decor, and  accessories, the sales on Jane are always changing.  And the prices... They just can't be beat. This is a great website to shop online for stocking stuffers for everyone in the family.
Jane: Up to 80% OFF

This is one of Mama Saigh's favorite line of daytime, skincare products, as they go very well under make-up. The Lait-Creme Concentrate, and Radiant Eye Cool Stick are reasonably priced, long-lasting, and make-up artists and European women swear by Embryloisse skincare products. Papa Saigh is getting the Shave Balm for Christmas.
Visit Embryolisse online for retail locations

We've died and gone to vacuum heaven. Talk about the PERFECT vacuum! No longer do we get down on our hands and knees to sweep and scrape food off the floor after the kids' meals. We are proud owners of the Dyson V8 Absolute, and it is a must-have for any parent. The cordless (yes CORDLESS!) handheld vacuum can go for 40 minutes, without having to charge it. I can vacuum my entire house on one charge, and sucks up everything. The extension wand is incredibly helpful with two messy eaters, and it allows me to easily vacuum under my kitchen cabinets, sofas, etc. This vacuum is simply amazing.
Dyson V8 Absolute: $599

Whether you're shopping for an expecting mama, your own mom, or wife, a personal-styling gift card from Stitch Fix is the perfect holiday gift. Stitch Fix offers personalized styling of maternity and women's clothing for the lady in your life. You can mail, print, or email a Stitch Fix gift card of any amount (as small as $20), so your special lady can select the fashions that she really wants. You really can't go wrong!
Stitch Fix Styling Gift Cards: $20+

Love these "Joggers" by ILY Couture. They come in black and charcoal too!
ILY Joggers: $58 (free shipping on all orders over $20)
(Get 25% OFF your entire order, using code GIFT25, on Black Friday)

A gold "love loop" with her babies' names engraved on it... What Mama wouldn't love this?! Posh Mommy also has a complete list of gifts under $50, $75, and $100, so there's something for everyone.
Posh Mommy Engraved Loop Necklace: $90+
(get 15% OFF November 24th & 25th, 2016)

Like most 30-something women, I'm always looking for ways to stop the aging process, as well as treat unwanted hair growth. I've thought about doing Botox and some hair removal at a professional clinic, but those types of treatments are expensive! Plus, I'd need continuing treatments (including downtime/recovery), which requires childcare. I recently started using the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4XAge Defying Laser, and Eye Wrinkle Correcting Laser. These are the first, at-home, FDA-cleared laser treatments, that use the same technology that dermatologists use. While I'm still in my first few weeks of use, let me tell you... These babies WORK! I can feel them working, and I'm slowly starting to see results. While these products are a bit pricey, they are less than what you'd spend on a single treatment at a professional clinic. Plus, you can use them in your own home and at your convenience.
Tria Beauty Lasers: $250+
Once the kiddos are in bed, bring this game out for some great laughs. Players put mouthguards in their mouths, and take turns reading phrases on cards while their teamates guess what they're trying to say. We've played this game at our family cabin, and there were definetly some hillarious tears!
Speak Out: $19.82, Walmart

Moscow Mules are my favorite drink, and they taste better when they're served in a copper mug. I love these copper mugs from Williams-Sonoma, and they'd make a great hostess gift for holiday parties. These are on my list!
Copper Mugs: $29.95, Williams-Sonoma

*This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2016 holiday gift guide: Minnesota "experience" gifts.

While we don't make it out to the Science Museum of Minnesota as often as we'd like, we have enjoyed the few trips we've taken to this St. Paul destination. Household memberships are $139, but individual tickets are also available. We love that the Omnitheater is here too!
Science Museum of Minnesota: Memberships as low as $34.95 (for those who qualify)

The Crayola Experience at the Mall of America is one of our 5-year-old's favorite places in the Twin Cities. We bought an annual pass after just one visit to this permanent exhibit at the Mall of America. Get tickets online for just $13.99 (reg. $19.99), and the cost of your ticket can be used toward the purchase of an annual pass!
Crayola Experience at the Mall of America: $13.99/person, and annual memberships are $29.99 (through 12/31/16)

Give the gift of a monthly, or annual membership to a Twin Cities indoor playground like InnerActive in Minnetonka. InnerActive is a brand new, 18,000+ square-foot, indoor playground, open 365 days a year. They have a huge playground for bigger kids, a play area for younger kids, sport courts, and an amazingly fun jump-pad that adults can enjoy too! Our 5-year-old loves this place, and it will be our go-to spot when we're trying to survive the long, cold, winter months in Minnesota.
InnerActive Memberships: Starting at $21

A friend of mine gave both of our kids an annual membership to the Minnesota Zoo for their first birthdays, and our family loves taking trips to this Apple Valley destination. Family memberships are $139 for the entire year, and the Minnesota Zoo always has fun events going on all year long!
Minnesota Zoo Annual Membership: Starts at $59 (individual membership)
Our oldest spent so much time at The Little Gym of Edina when she was little, and it's a place where we met some of the friends we still have five years later! A gift certificate for classes at The Little Gym is a great way for parents and/or grandparents to spend quality time with little ones, while the kids are burning some energy. They have classes for kids as young as 4 months, up to 12 years old.
The Little Gym of Edina: Classes start at under $20/class

Consider giving the little ones in your life the gift of music and imagination, with an experience at Kindermusik with Friends. Our daughter started going to Kindermusik with Friends when she was a baby, continued going when we moved to Singapore, and then did an "Imagine That" class with Miss Kim in Chanhassen last winter. Grandparents, nannies, aunts, uncles, moms, and dads can experience these amazing classes with their special littles, once a week, during a time that works with your schedule.
Kindermusik with Friends: Your first class is always FREE

Our kids are both little fishies, and we attribute their love for the water to Foss Swim School. Both of our kids started lessons at Foss in Chanhassen as infants, and our 5-year-old is now an incredible swimmer. Giving parents and children the gift of swimming lessons at Foss is also giving them the valuable gift of water safety. Not only do the teachers and coaches at Foss make swimming lessons fun, they also focus on the importance of water safety. There's a reason this swim school has had a strong following for over 20 years: They are the best!
Foss Swim School (various locations): Gift cards available for any amount
Cinderella, Dr. Seuss, or A Year with Frog and Toad: Take your littles to see a fun show at the Children's Theatre Company! Gift the gift of a Festive 4 Pack, individual tickets, or even the experience of taking a stage class.
Children's Theatre Company: Festive 4 Pack, $120 for 4 tickets

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 holiday gift guide for big kids (ages 6 to 12).

Welcome to PART TWO of our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide series. We've looked into what the "big-box" retailers and experts have on the top of their lists for the older kids (age 6 to 12), and put together our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Big Kids. Check it out, and stay tuned for our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Moms, Dads, and our NEW guide featuring "Experience Gifts". Plus, don't forget to check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Littles (ages 1 to 5)!

Ages 6 to 8

Experts are calling Hatchimals one of the "must have toys" of  this holiday season, but they are going to be difficult to get your hands on. Hatchimals are tiny creatures that live inside eggs, and each egg contains one of two interactive animals. Kids can watch their Hatchimal hatch from its egg, then love and care for it like a real pet.
Hatchimals: $59.99, Toys R Us

Dash and Dot are real robots that teach kids to code as they play. Using free apps that are compatible with smartphones or tablets, your child can make Dash sing, dance, and navigate all around the house. These robots react to the environment around them, including your kids. Dash will play hide-and-seek with your child, and can even learn to play instruments.
Dash and Dot: $49.95+, Online

The Zoomer Chimp is one of Amazon's hot holiday toys this year. This toy moves like a real chimp, doing flips, rolls, crawling on all fours, and even stands on his own. You can train Zoomer with voice commands, and he has color-changing  eyes so you know exactly how he's feeling.
Zoomer Chimp: $119, Amazon

Little Passports is an adventure subscription-plan for kids ages 3 to 12.. Every month (you can pick a plan that runs as long or as short as you'd like), the recipient receives a package in the mail filled with fun and educational activities, games, and projects. We ordered a 3-month subscription for our daughter when she was 3.5 years old, and she loved opening her special package that came in the mail each month! Over a year later, the colorful map of the world that she got in one of her packages is still being utilized... By BOTH of our kids!
Little Passports: Subscriptions start at $11.95/month 
(save 60% on the first month of any subscription using the code SAVE60, November 21st-27th, 2016)
Kids can build their own light show, arcade game, doorbell, alarm, etc., using Snap Circuit electricity from Elenco. The Discovery Kits and Project Kits contain dozens of parts, so your curious kiddo can build over a hundred projects. The kits are designed for kids age 8+, and they're a fun project for the family to work on together!
Elenco Snap Circuits: $17.50+,  Amazon
Kids can capture their own footage anywhere, with this wearable, on-the-go camera. The Spy Go Action Camera is a portable camera that you can clip on just about anything (head, bike, etc.). Once your creative kiddo has finished recording, he or she can upload the video onto their tablet.
Spy Go Action Camera: $24.99, Target

Ages 9 to 12:

The 3Doodler is the world's first 3D pen, and the 3Doodler Start kit allows kids to create drawings in 3D. It's a heated, wireless pen, that extrudes melted plastic that cools almost instantly. The possibilities with this are endless!
3Doodler Start$49.99, Target

There's the original RipStik, and now there's an electric version. When I asked a couple pre-teen boys what was on the top of their holiday lists this year, this was on both of their lists.
RipStik Electric by RazorWalmart, $149
The BoseBuild Speaker Cube is on many experts' lists of "Top Holiday Toys" this year. It's recommended for kids, age 8+, but this techy gift is also on Papa Saigh's Christmas list. You can now build and customize your own, durable, high-performance, bluetooth speaker!
BoseBuild Speaker Cube: $149, Online
Each car in the Anki Overdrive System is a self-aware robot, that is able to learn any track you build. Drivers can battle opponents, on hundreds of custom race tracks. Players can also modify their cars with weapons and build-outs.
Anki Overdrive Starter Kit: $149, Target