MOTHERHOOD: FAVORITE BOOKS FOR TODDLERS

“And what book are you reading?” Anyone who knows my Bobo (grandma) will know that this was always the first question she would ask you upon arrival to her house. Reading was very important to her, and although I may have laughed at the question as a young tween, I so appreciate her passion for reading as an adult. Every year for our birthdays she would give us a book, usually a classic, that was related to our passions and I’m grateful I have such a robust library because of her.

My parents and Rob’s family also love reading and it’s important to us that we share this gift with Lilly. From a very young age we started reading to Lilly. We used to read to her when she was just a wee infant, doing tummy time on her caterpillar. And I’m so happy that Lilly finds so much joy in reading. Some days we just sit in her playroom and read every book on her shelves and that makes my mama heart so full.

I truly believe you are never too young to start reading and appreciate the power of a good story. There are a few books that have been favorites for us recently and I’m so excited to be sharing them with you all. All of these books have a purpose, as well as a magical story. I hope at least one of these stories will resonate with one of you mamas (or dads) and your little one. And if you need more options, be sure to check out two of my friend’s blogs – Sarah at Cozy Little Joys and Stephanie at Linen and Littles. Both of these ladies have babies around Lilly’s age and there is nothing better than a bond forged by motherhood and books.

ABC’s What Can She Be

This is a relatively new book for us but we LOVE it.  This book has everything a toddler loves.    It teaches the alphabet in a bright and colorful way with eye-catching illustrations.  It encourages a little girl that she can be anything she wants to be – whether it’s a mechanic, zoologist, neurologist, or interior designer – there are so many options and possibilities.  But I think my favorite part about this book is the fact that all girls are represented.  This book celebrates color, shape, size, and ability.  It’s truly a wonderful book about diversity and encouraging girls to follow their dreams.  

You can shop this book for $12 here.

Baby Feminists

A timeless edition to any toddler book collection, Baby Feminists is probably our favorite book. Lilly LOVES this book. She loves it so much that we bought Baby Feminists II. This book offers such an inspiring message that anyone can grow up to make the world a better place for everyone. This is an interactive book that not only teaches you about famous women who have made a difference, but also shows them as a baby – which toddlers love. And to be honest, this series has taught me about important women who have shaped history, some of which I’m embarrassed to admit I knew very little about! This book is definitely a must have for anyone who wants to teach their children about inspirational individuals.

You can shop this book for $6 here.

My First Baby Signs

Since babies don’t begin communicating with words until around 18 months or later, it was important for me to teach Lilly sign language. My mom bought this book for us and it’s been amazing! I swear Lilly learned how to communicate “more,” “all done,” and “eat” from this book. Toddlers and babies love interactive books and this one has pull tabs that illustrates each important sign. We have read this book so many times that all the pull tabs have been ripped out (eeek!). It’s one of our most well worn and most well loved books.

You can shop this book for $17 here.

The Rainbow Fish

Such a classic children’s book. And really is there a more beautiful book to teach about the power of friendship and sharing? We love this book, but it’s been a relatively recent love. The past couple of months Lilly has really shown interest in the glitter pictures and the story. And now we read it every night before bed. This international best seller is a must for toddlers to start learning about how to be a friend and how to share.

You can shop this book for $8 here.

The Gift That I Can Give

My sister (who is Lilly’s godmother) gifted her this book for her Baptism and it’s so special. The beautifully written and illustrated story shares such an important message. It teaches that all children can make a difference and make a positive impact on others. Not only does this book celebrate your child’s gift – whether it’s the gift of song, dance, or sports – but it also encourages and celebrates empathy, kindness, gratitude, and encouragement. It’s a lovely read and one that all families should consider adding to their collection.

You can shop this book for $8 here.

Goodnight Ohio

And last not but not least, is a bonus book that is specific to our beloved state of Ohio! Goodnight Ohio celebreates the many wonderful sights and attractions that make up Ohio. From the Ohio State Buckeyes, to the Toledo Museum of Art, Lake Erie, Cedar Point, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is a classic toddler book that any native Ohioan should have in their library.

Shop this book for $7 here.

I hope these suggestions spark your interest, whatever they may be! Don’t forget the power that reading and sharing stories with your children has on developing their language skills, helping their mind grow, and their ability to listen. And as they get older, don’t forget to ask them, “And what book are you reading?”

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: AMONG THE WILDFLOWERS

Last week my mom and I took Lilly to a local flower farm.  I’m always looking for outdoor, social distance activities that L and I can do together and I’ve had a handful of friends recommend this activity to me.  I was truly thrilled with the experience and the farm itself, and I’m so excited to recount our adventures for you guys.  

A hidden jewel of Northwest Ohio, GardenView Flowers is a 60 acre family-run farm that specializes in designing beautiful bouquets for weddings. Not only does the farm offer the most gorgeous fresh-cut flowers for brides, but they also offer a U-Pick Garden and seasonal flower design workshops.

My mom and I had never been flower picking before and it was so delightful. It was seriously a very relaxing and very fulfilling activity! The flower farm opens daily at 8:00 a.m. We arrived around 10:00 a.m. and there were only a few other people there picking flowers. Upon arrival, we headed over to the cutest farm Flower Stop. The Flower Stop offers bouquets to go, dried flowers, and other gifts. It’s the most charming little building.

Adjacent to the Flower Stop is a check-in table where you pay for your experience and pick-up clippers and a cup/vase in which to place your picked flowers. Because Ohio is now under a mandatory mask order, I felt extremely safe. All of the staff and visitors were wearing masks and people were practicing social distancing. I was very pleased too with the disinfecting precautions the farm took to ensure the clippers and other supplies were cleaned in between uses. Plus, they offered hand sanitizer and complimentary bottles of water (it does get hot out in those flower fields)!

After we checked-in, we chose a field of wildflowers and started picking! The farm plants over 30 varieties of fresh-cut flowers and there was a colorful mix of varieties and textures from which to choose.

L and I were drawn to the bright pinks and purples, so we picked a lot of Zinnias, Cosmos, Dahlias, and Sweet Williams. There were also plenty of Sunflowers, Gladiolus, Snap Dragons, and Blue Ageratum. There were so many different varieties and colors and you could easily come home with multiple bouquets depending on the look and feel you are going for.

We picked flowers for almost an hour and I was actually kind of sad to leave! L absolutely loved smelling the flowers, helping us pick them, and frolicking through the many fields. Her face of pure joy really just sums up our experience. We definitely plan to return again and again. If you are local to Northwest Ohio and are looking for a family friendly, safe activity, flower picking at GardenView Flowers is a must!

Be sure to check out their website and follow them on Instagram!

Slainte,

Shannon

BRAND SPOTLIGHT: MADDIE AND CONNOR CO.

I’m exceptionally excited to share this latest brand spotlight with you all! A few months ago I connected with a fellow mama, Sara Feeney, on Instagram. We quickly bonded over motherhood, classic children’s clothing, the coastal life, the list goes on. Early on, Sara mentioned a dream of hers to create her own brand of children’s clothing that was preppy and classic. Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Sara bring her dream to life. And so, without further ado, I introduce you all to Maddie & Connor Co.!

Maddie & Connor Co. offers timeless and classic clothing that captures the joy and essence of childhood. All of the styles are designed by Sara herself and her attention to detail is top notch. Think stripes, seersucker, embroidery, eyelit, and scallops. The designs are so timeless that they can be passed down from sibling to sibling, and generation to generation.

One of my favorite designs in the new collection is the Lighthouse Beach Dress. You guys know I’m a sucker for blue and white stripes so I knew right away this style would end up in Lilly’s wardrobe. The ricrac along the ruffle and hem make this dress so incredibly sweet. And the fabric is really lightweight – perfect for hot, summer days down by the water.

When I’m shopping for clothes for Lilly, I look for quality, style, and price. And Maddie and Connor Co. hit all three of these criteria. The quality is beautiful (the Lighthouse Beach Dress washes so well!!), the style is timeless and classic, and the price is completely affordable. If you are looking for a great children’s clothing brand, I highly recommend shopping Maddie and Connor Co.!

Slainte,

Shannon 

STYLE: FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP FOR TODDLER CLOTHING

As soon as we found out we were pregnant with a baby girl, I knew I would have a problem with shopping for clothes for her. Although I’ve had my moments, I’ve actually done pretty well splurging on items for special occasions and keeping it realistic for everyday clothes. Because let’s be real, kids grow SO FAST. Also, the wear and tear on their clothes is pretty intense and I would rather get the best bang for our buck on her everyday wear.

But, I do LOVE buying her special occasion clothes and I have found some top notch children boutiques. Almost all of these boutiques are small businesses and I’m more than happy to support them. And in all honesty, the quality of the clothing for these specialty boutiques is fantastic. If you are looking for well-made, high quality craftsmanship for your littles, specialty boutiques are the way to go.

I’ve broken down my favorite places to shop based on special occasions (birthdays, baptism, holidays, etc.), everyday wear, and local.  

SPECIAL OCCASION 

Lilly Pulitzer 

Bella Bliss (based in Kentucky)

The Bella Bean (based in Columbus, OH!)

Shrimp & Grits

Coming Soon: Shop Maddie and Connor (This shop opens later this spring, but follow them on Instagram for some teasers!)

EVERYDAY STYLES 

Baby Gap

Old Navy

Cat & Jack for Target

LOCAL BOUTIQUES

Kids Klotheslines

Bowinkles

Hopefully this list is helpful! I love sharing where I find the cutest baby and toddler styles.  If you know a great place to shop for toddler clothing that I haven’t listed, please feel free to comment and provide a link!

Slainte,

Shannon 

HOME: PLAYROOM UPDATE

We learned long ago that home projects take time, money, and lots of patience.  One of the items we realized we need sooner than later in the playroom is an adult sized chair.  No joke, there is no furniture for an adult. I’ve been scouring the internet for some comfy and stylish chair options that won’t break the bank. Below are the pieces I’m currently eyeing.  

BEST ROCKING CHAIR

The DaVinci Adrian Swivel Glider in Cream is one I’m eyeing for style, color, and the simple fact that it has an ottoman.  This chair is very similar to the chair we have in the nursery and we love it. I want something that will be comfortable and practical.  This option would definitely be a good option for all the snuggles and reading. ($429.99)

BEST OPTION FOR EXTRA STORAGE

The Million Dollar Baby Classic Sadie Swivel Glider is another great rocking chair option that comes with an ottoman.  The ottoman top opens for extra storage, which is always a win in my book.  This option comes in three different colors and I think the white linen would match the aesthetic of the playroom the best. ($599.99)

MOST LUXURIOUS

The Newton Chaise Lounge from Birchlane is my dream chair.  I’m eyeing this one for the playroom and our living room.  This chair would be insanely comfortable and provide plenty of room for all the snuggles.  The color is also perfect. But it’s definitely the most expensive option and quite a bit more than we want to spend for the playroom. ($827.50)

BEST PRICE

This ivory feather filled chair from World Market is definitely the best deal.  And even though the color is ivory, the material appears to be pretty durable and able to sustain spills, crayons, and everything else that comes with a playroom.  Crafted of pine solid wood frame with polyester-nylon performance upholstery, feather filling and swivel base, this chair looks like it will be so cozy.  I’m happy with the reviews and price point on this one. We could potentially even purchase two of these which would be a win. ($279.99)

BEST IN PRICE AND STYLE

The Joey Armchair and Ottoman from Joss and Main is also a great option.  It’s priced extremely well, has exceptional reviews, and is very stylish.  It appears to be slightly oversized, so reading with L will be cozy and comfortable.  This is definitely high on the list as a possible contender. ($299.99) 

I might spend some more time looking, but these five chairs have so far been my favorites.  Leave me a comment below with your favorite or send me a few other suggestions if you know a great chair for a playroom! 

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE AT HOME


A week or so ago my friend Katie (Sunshine Style Blog) shared her morning routine and I loved reading about that glimpse into her life!  I’ve realized that an easy way to connect with others in this digital age is by sharing something we all can relate to.  Everyone has a schedule or routine, and my family is no different.  Although it varies from day to day depending on if I’m working or at home, we still stick to a general structure to our day. 

I’m at home two days a week with L and boy do we have fun! Enjoy this fun glimpse into what we do each day!

7-7:30am: I get up and make my coffee, chat with my hubby before he leaves for work.

7:30-7:45am: L wakes up and we sit and watch a show for about 15 minutes (usually Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig). 

7:45-9:00am: I make breakfast for L and me.  This usually consists of eggs in some form, French toast and an organic purée packet.  After breakfast I clean up the kitchen and then we head upstairs so I can get ready for the day. 

9-9:45am: We read books, play kitchen, practice fine motor skills, engage in sensory activities, etc. 

9:45-11:30am: We venture out and run errands, go to a park, the aquarium, the library, Local Roots (local juice shop) or the 577 Foundation (local spot that has a greenhouse and tons of outdoor activities).

11:30am-12pm: Come home and start prepping lunch.

12-12:30pm: Lunchtime! I eat and clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up in the house. 

12:30-1:30pm: Playtime (reading, playing outside, anything and everything).

1:30-1:45pm: We head up to the nursery and get ready for a nap.

1:45-4pm: Naptime usually lasts about two hours, sometimes less and sometimes more.  While L naps, I do household chores and rest a bit myself.  This is also usually my time to dedicate to my blog – writing and planning out posts, taking pictures (with my trusty tripod), etc.  I usually wash my hair and blow it out during this time.  There is always lots to do during naptime, which makes this time go by far too quickly. 

4-5:30pm: Wake up and have a snack.  We then play some more, go for a walk, or run last minute errands before Daddy comes home.

5:30-6pm: Usually all of us are in the kitchen, prepping dinner and catching up on the day. 

6-6:30pm: Family dinner time.

6:30-7pm: Playtime with daddy while mommy cleans up the kitchen.

7-7:15pm:  Bath time.

7:15-7:30pm: Relaxing and watching Peppa Pig, Blue’s Clues, or Paw Patrol.

7:30pm: Bedtime. 

And there you have it!  If I’ve learned anything over the last 16 months, it’s that everyone’s schedule looks different and you do what works best for your family.  We’ve changed our schedule many times based on L’s needs.  I’m sure it will change again at some point, but for now, we are happy with this stage and are embracing the every day. 

Slainte,

Shannon