Thursday, October 23, 2014

Favorite Holiday Kid Books

Each year I plan to pick up a few new holiday themed books for Olive to slowly build her baby library.  Of course, I'd love to just click away and add tons of books to my Amazon cart, but that's not very realistic.  I thought I'd share some current favorites with you that I've found for Olive.

It's no surprise that Llama Llama makes it into the favorites once again.  Cute rhymes, silly costumes and lots of laughs guaranteed.

Adorable book with soft kitty ears for tiny readers to feel as you read.  The illustrations are adorable and the story is so sweet.  It's a sing songy read and your little one will definitely want you to read this book over and over again.  I found it at Sams for $4.98 so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for it there.

Darling book with great illustrations.
It just so happens that many of the little nick names we've called Olive are in this book - pumpkin, peanut, sweat pea and more. 

This star shaped board book is perfect for toddlers!  It tells the Christmas story along with the significance of the star in terms that any little kid could understand.  I loved that it connected our Christmas traditions back to the story of Jesus' birth.  The illustrations are really sweet and it's well written.  I can't wait to read this with my little one during the holidays so she understands the significance of the star atop our tree.
*I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

What are your favorite holiday books for kids??
Olive would appreciate your recommendations. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mississippi Eats

We've been trying some local restaurants lately
and wanted to share them with you.

 1. Cozumel Mexican Restaurant
VERY generous portions, tasty salsa and really fresh.
We'll definitely be heading back to this place and it helps that it's named after one of our favorite spots - Cozumel, Mexico!!

 2. Daylight Donuts
Such a sweet little donut shop with the nicest people working there!
They are so friendly and their donuts are delicious.  I love their cake donuts, my hubby loves their white icing filled long johns and this bacon topped maple donut was heavenly.  The donuts are so fresh and tasty.  Infinitely better than donuts from a big chain store.  We visit this shop about once a week.

3. Newk's Eatery
A delicious bistro type restaurant with tons of options
and delicious desserts.
Their mac & cheese was really tasty and everyone else enjoyed their sandwiches.  I love that they have GIANT cups and their kid cups are the perfect size with big straws.

4. Papitos Mexican Grill
Delicious, fresh salsa, great lemonade and very generous portions.
Loved it and will definitely be going back to this affordable spot.

5. Beagle Bagel
Great bagels, good salad and tasty chocolate cake.
I love their sugar cookies!!
*Be sure to go early in the day if you want to see their whole menu because they often run out of key things like soup and salads.  Also, don't get their red velvet cake.  My husband loves RVC and said it was nasty.

 6. Popeyes
Great chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and a biscuit.
This is our favorite, southern chicken place.

 7. Amerigo
Delicious Italian food!
Make reservations to avoid having to wait very long and go between 4-6pm for early bird specials.  We made reservations for 5:00pm and we basically had the place to ourselves.  Their specials were about $6 off regular priced meals so we saved a bundle.  I got lasagna and it was amazing.  Their bread was so fresh and tasty.  Everyone loved their food - salmon, chicken marsala and fettuccine.  They serve local beer on tap and the wait staff is really friendly and nice to kids :)  I think I might request to go back here for my birthday next month.

Do you have a favorite restaurant for me to try in Mississippi??

Toddler Roller Coasters

Toddler life is one crazy roller coaster.

There are UPS and DOWNS
smiles and frowns
and lots in between.

If I'm being 100% honest, I was naive in thinking that the terrible twos and threes were light years away and that life with a little one under two was always pretty fun and pleasant.  I had no idea that babies start throwing tantrums well before they turn two.  I'm sure that's hilarious to all you seasoned parents or caregivers out there.  Truth is that I was clueless about babies before I had my own.  I did a lot of babysitting, but I obviously blocked some things out since they weren't my children.

Olive definitely has an opinion about most things.

She's getting more and more vocal.
It's adorable and terrifying all in the same breath.

I love hearing her babble and say new words:
Oh my
What's This?
Hey Ma
and lots more

She's also using her newfound voice to share her opinions with us.  Olive wants us to know that: She does not like riding in a shopping cart for very long, she gets bored in her car seat if no one is talking to her, she wants to climb our stairs all day every day, she loves being in our backyard, she is not a fan of having her diaper or clothes changed and she would much rather eat off of my plate than her own.

Toddlerhood is a wild ride.

I often joke that toddlers are from another planet.  

They are unpredictable, yet love routines.  They love something one day and think it's torture the next.  They love green beans one day and throw them the next.  They have a wonderful day one day and fall apart the next even though you did everything the same.  Oh and they are frequently teething - which means all bets are off and you just have to pray their teeth come in quickly and that they are sprouting teeth and not horns - haha.

I've learned patience is the key.  

It's so easy to react when your toddler hits you, screams at you or turns into a limp noodle and refuses to do what you are asking them.  Not reacting is better than getting upset and I pray for patience e.v.e.r.y. day.  Olive could easily get all of my attention all the time if I let her.  I try not to give in to her tantrums and try to minimize the toddler hoopla.  It's easier to do this when we are at home in familiar settings and much more of a challenge when we are out and about.  We are both definitely practicing patience and being well behaved in all settings. 

Olive has thrown tantrums in the car, in Target, at story time, at church and everywhere in between.  She will have a complete meltdown and then be fine 10 minutes later.  She seems to have a short memory and DISTRACTION is usually our go to method for dealing with her outbursts.  She's too tiny to rationalize with right now so we try to move on to the next thing.  It's working for us so we'll probably stick with it.  I know it's important to get out and about so we do, but I'm not going to lie, it is a bit exhausting.  Amen??

She's our little tornado and she gets into everything.  She watches our every move waiting for us to leave a chair pulled out or something within her reach that we don't normally allow her to play with.  We've found her on top of the desk, tables and walking around with a knife left from dinner.  We are getting better and better at knowing her tricks and being one step ahead of her.  She's a sneaky one and we are constantly on high alert.  Being a first time parent is a bit crazy at time.  Sometimes my husband and I just look at each other and laugh because we can hardly believe our eyes.

We sure love our daughter, but we had no idea how wonderfully hard parenting can be.

 Olive is giving kisses, understanding simple commands, interacting with people, repeating us (slightly frightening) and eager to do things without our help.  She brings us her shoes when she wants to go outside and will walk to the door when we say we are going bye bye.  She thinks she's pretty funny and wants us to laugh at her silly things.  Favorite books and toys captivate her interest during play time and we are loving watching all the new things she's learning every day of this toddler roller coaster.  She's a joy and a handful all wrapped up in a cute little girl package.

So the moral of the story is... 
toddlers are fun, wonderful, sweet, sassy and a challenge.
Love them lots and remind yourself that they won't be toddlers forever.
I take lots of pictures to document this wild ride.
I have a feeling she'll think it's funny to hear stories about her toddler days.

A glimpse of toddlerhood at our house...
NEVER a dull moment :)

 Sure do love you Olive.
Love, Mama

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Best of Halloween

I thought I'd round up some of my favorite Halloween posts from the last few years to give you some ideas to do with your family.  There are recipes, crafts and fun Fall festival ideas that are easy to DIY.  Hope you enjoy the Halloween ideas!!  I have a few crafts and projects I'm hoping to do with my toddler this week so stay tuned for those in the coming week.

is much easier than carving them!

are the perfect accessory to your Halloween treats

Create a Fall Festival at home for your kids, nieces/nephews or neighbors
click the link to find food, game, craft 
and tons of other fun ideas for your very own Fall fest!

PolkaDottyPlace etsy shop

Did y'all know that I have an etsy shop??
It's been a little neglected lately so I wanted to shout from the rooftops that
the shop is stocked and ready to go!!  I opened the shop in 2012 and am looking forward to filling it with new accessories for the holiday season.

I've got earrings & flower pins.
Come on over and check them out
I hope you find something that you just have to have.
Everyone could use some new accessories!!!

A little sneak peak...

Neutral & Gold Vintage Button Earrings