Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Where I Buy My Kid Clothes (Especially for Caroline)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

This is one of those posts that is ONLY interesting to other people who are currently living fairly similar lives to mine (smallish children who both have and do not have opinions on their clothes but have to wear something because constant nudity is not an option). Or possibly it’s good for aunts/uncles/grandparents/relatives/close-but-childless-friends-who-are-often-stumped-looking-for-gifts, since cute, good quality kid clothes are almost always welcome.

But I feel like I get a lot of compliments on what my children wear, both in real life and online, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share my shopping habits. This was supposed to be a pretty short, easy post to write and instead, I’ve spent almost 3 weeks on it. And I don’t actually get THAT many compliments, besides from my friends who probably already know where I got stuff. I’m sort of regretting how much effort I’ve put into this, actually. Think of all the naps I could have taken instead. But since I’m done now, and I love how adorable my children are, I present to you an extensive list of our favorite places to shop.

Sort of a disclaimer non-disclaimer: I don’t have secret affiliate relationships with and am not sponsored by these companies so this post is just me talking about stuff I genuinely like. I’ll mention any referral links if/when I use them.

STORES:

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Some of Caroline’s many Hanna dresses

Hanna Andersson: Probably my very most favorite of all the places to get kid clothes. The have Swedish roots and a very clean, classic aesthetic that means I never hate what my kids pick out even if they dress themselves. The pajamas really are the cutest and most comfortable we own and the kids always grab them first if they’re available. Sizes go from tiny baby up through kids size 16-18, which should fit Evan until he’s at least in middle school. Things we especially love: dresses, hats, pajamas, underpants. They run sales fairly often and I don’t allow myself to buy things at full price, but if you consider how well the clothes hold up (for your own multiple children or for selling/consigning later) they are a good deal. If you’ve never ordered from Hanna before and you use this link, you get 20% off your purchase and I get a 20% off coupon for myself which I will probably use to order yet another set of matching pajamas for my numerous children.

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Starting at top left: dress, shirt, sweater, fleece jacket, dress, fleece jacket, dress, snowsuit and sweater are all Hanna. 

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I have an actual addiction to Hanna Jams.

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Mini Boden for Evan and Caroline

Mini Boden: If Boden hadn’t sent me clothes (for the bigs and for tiny baby Linc), I don’t think I ever would have actually ordered from the site. Their stuff is not inexpensive. I often throw the catalog away as soon as I get it because I don’t trust myself not to spend too much. But seriously, this is a brand that understands how to design and make cute, fun, quality kid clothes. They have a current print in their girl’s section called Florasaurus that has awesome dinosaurs on it and Caroline gets compliments everywhere. Their boy t-shirts are fun without having cartoon characters printed on them, and their baby clothes are SO soft. Mini Boden sizes start at newborn, go up to 12 years old and their tween/teen line goes up to 16 years old. Things we especially love: matching brother shirts, baby rompers, anything with stars on it.

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Starting at top left: snowsuit, matching shirts, snowsuit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s whole outfit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s shirt & Evan’s shirt, Linc’s shirt, snowsuit, Caroline’s dress, Linc’s whole outfit, matching brother shirts AND Caroline’s romper are all Mini Boden

Polarn O. Pyret: Another Swedish company who makes classic, stripey children’s clothes. I ordered from them during their $5/$10/$15 sale and could not believe how much I loved the thickness and quality of their regular cotton. I’ve been throwing them in the dryer for more than 6 months now and they still look new. I especially love their socks for Lincoln – they stay on and they don’t get holes, which seems to be too much to ask for most boys’ socks. I really wish I had a baby girl to buy their baby girl outfits for, but I’ll just have to settle for gender neutral newborn stuff. Their sizes go up to 12 years old but I think their styles skew a little young. Things we especially love: SOCKS. Totally worth signing up for email to get socks on sale.

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One of Caroline’s favorite dresses is Polarn.

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Some of our Tea in current sizes – there’s tons more in sizes no one is currently wearing

Tea Collection: Tea is hit or miss for me, or more specifically for Caroline, but when I was looking through her closet I realized we own a LOT of it. I’ve bought SO many cute dresses on sale that she has decided are not her style. They base each season’s new clothes on a location/country and when I love the collections I LOOOOOVE them. When they aren’t my favorite I’m not even tempted. I never have quality complaints though, and their cotton is super soft, especially on boy clothes. Their color schemes are not what you usually expect in kid clothes, which can be really refreshing if you’re tired of primary colors and cartoon characters. Their sizes go from newborn to 12 years old and the dresses fit Caroline for at least 3 seasons because they make great tunics. Things we especially love: dresses, boys t-shirt designs.

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Horse dress, Evan’s shirt, flower dress are Tea

SITES:

Facebook Resale Pages: If you’re currently thinking I must spend thousands of dollars on kid clothes if I’m shopping mostly on those three sites, you’d be right. But I only buy directly from those brands a few times a year. I buy far, far more second-hand from resale groups. My favorite is the Mini Boden & Hanna Andersson BST page, but there are lots of them for lots of brands, like Crewcuts and Tea Collection. That’s the beauty of these brands – they last a super long time, through multiple children, and even if YOU buy something full price you can resell it later. So far I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the moms on those boards and I’ve bought everything from bathing suits to shoes for all 3 kids. On the MB/Hanna site people can list other high end or boutique brands on Fridays, so it’s a good day to browse. Be warned though, it can be super addicting, especially since everyone uses Paypal and Paypal can feel like pretend money instead of actual money. This is in bold because it is where I buy probably 75% of our current wardrobe. All the girl’s Tea, three of the Hanna pieces and about half the Mini Boden in the pictures was bought resale.

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Party dresses all from Zulily

Zulily: I have a love/hate relationship with Zulily. I’ve bought some GREAT stuff from them, including a handful of Jelly The Pug dresses, some of Caroline’s favorite shoes and many nice Christmas presents. On the other hand, their shipping can be so expensive it cancels out the savings and it’s sooooo slooooooow. I’ve installed/deleted the app from my phone dozens of times, because I find myself shopping aimlessly and buying things I don’t LOVE love just because they’re available. Sometimes my world’s collide and Hanna Andersson has stuff on Zulily, which can be a great deal if you log in early enough and grab the good items before they’re gone. If you use my links to Zulily, open a new account and actually buy something, I earn a $15 credit. I think I’ve earned 3 total in 5+ years of using them, so I won’t hold my breath.

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All three of Caroline’s dresses are from Zulily

ThredUp: ThredUp is a resale site for kids and women (including maternity!) so I’ve spent a ton of time browsing around their app while rocking a baby to sleep or waiting for the bus. Everything is used but what I’ve ordered has been in great-to-brand-new condition. The good thing about ThredUp is they don’t seem to value brands like Hanna or Boden as much as people on the Facebook sites do, so you can get them for a few dollars less. The BAD part about that is I wouldn’t send those higher-end brands to them to consign. I sent a huge bag of stuff we didn’t need or want hoping to earn some credit but only got $13. That’s less than half than what I would get if I consigned them locally – but it was less than half as much work, too. Even if selling is disappointing, the app is still a good place to find deals – they often have sales, run coupon codes and if you sign up with a referral link you get a free $10 credit to spend (I also get a credit if you spend your’s). I’ve had good luck with all three sizes – big boy stuff, medium girl stuff, and baby stuff. I got an email this morning that you can get 40% off your first order using the code: SUMMER.

BOUTIQUE/SMALL BRANDS:

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Some of our cutest boutique clothes

Rainbow Waters: Lindsay is the talented mama behind this adorable brand on Etsy. These are fun clothes, in crazy patterns and bright colors rather than mature, muted styles but if kids can’t dress like that sometimes then who can?? Obviously everyone needs a dress with dinosaurs and unicorns in outer space on it. Besides fun stuff like rainbows and stars, she often stocks Star Wars prints for both boys AND girls, which I appreciate as a mom with a daughter who loves Star Wars just as much as her brother does. She also does matching sibling pieces (in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of matching).

The Measure: This brand is super popular amongst photographers because it looks beautiful in pictures. It’s also fun, original, eclectic, comfortable and some of Caroline’s favorite stuff. I bought a baby-sized version of that pink stripey dress for my best friend’s daughter to take matching pretend-cousin pictures in Charleston and it was so cute I can barely stand it. She just started making grown-up sized versions of one of her dresses, which would be amazing in a boho/sunset/wildflower family photo session. There’s also a resale B/S/T page on Facebook for The Measure so even if you don’t get more than 2 seasons out of the dresses you can resell (also helpful if you’re looking for a sibling match).

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Lilla Barn: I discovered Lilla on Instagram, although I cannot remember how exactly. They’re a combination of two of my favorite things: a Swedish aesthetic and a small, handmade business. You can order from their website, but I definitely recommend following on social media as well for sales and discount codes. They do a lot of gender neutral stuff for babies, which I love, as well as beautiful girl’s clothes. Caroline is about to outgrow them (sizes go from newborn up to age 6) but luckily Linc and Baby 4 will get plenty of use out of their clothes.

KPea: Cute fabrics, super good quality sewing and there’s very little chance another kid shows up at a party in the same dress (the social horror!!) means Caroline loves KPea. I mostly stalk them on Instagram for new patterns and sales. They do an “outfit of the week” with a nice discount that put prices for a hand-made dress on par with a new dress from Baby Gap or Gymboree. They also do mommy & me matching, so if you’re especially adorable and want something fun for the beach or a holiday or a party you could absolutely find a set.

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From top left: dress Lillabarn, dress Lillabarn, dress The Measure, shirt The Measure, dress KPea, dress Rainbow Waters

Almost all of these pictures came from my 365 (last year) or 366 (this year) projects, because these really are the clothes my children wear and play and live in. Some of them are now terribly stained and faded and we only pass them on as hand-me-downs to friends we know will wear them for playing in the mud. Some of them I’ve treated much better (see also: my obsession with laundry) and I’ll be able to sell or consign so I’ll get quite a bit of my money back – which will probably go towards more kids clothes.

There are lots of other places I shop (Target, duh) and I’m not at all  a snob about brands if the clothes are cute and last longer than one wash. These are just the brands that we consistently love the best. Feel free to leave me links or suggestions to other shops (especially boutiques or resale sites!) I might love!

 

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Last Day of School 2016

Friday, June 10th, 2016

By the end of today, we’ll officially have a first grader AND a second grader in the house. How does this even happen?? It’s really inappropriate. It’s a good thing Linc will never grow up and leave me. Right? RIGHT?????

Both kids are ending the year on really great notes, even though there were some hard days and Evan struggled a little with his social skills and his reading. I’m still really, really happy with our magnet school and the opportunities it gives them to enjoy art, music and STEM activities as part of their curriculum every single week.

Because I am a true End Of The Year Mom, we almost missed the bus this morning because I was taking photos on the sidewalk instead of standing at our stop. I also forgot to feed them breakfast, but let’s be honest – I almost ALWAYS forget to feed them breakfast. School provides free breakfast to everyone and probably does a better job than I would anyway. They’re also getting last-day-of-school school lunch today, which I assume is “eat all the leftover ice cream from the freezers”, but is better than what I had to pack (nothing).

CAN YOU TELL HOW READY WE ARE FOR SUMMER??

(First day of school post for comparisons here)

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 2)

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Our Kiawah trip each year is fun for a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is I LOVE the people we go with. These are my oldest friends, I have known them longer than I have known my husband (although some of them have their own husbands now), and somehow they still like me. They’re basically family, so the kids call them Aunt and Uncle, and they are the kind of people who let Caroline “help” crack eggs or read Linc the same book 15 times. My life would be 1000% less awesome if they weren’t in it.

There is a small…medium…maybe slightly larger than medium chance that we (the Davis family) will be moving in the next year, which means we might also miss a year or two at the beach house. All I can do is make everyone promise they will still go, so when we eventually move back to the east coast we can pick right back up with our favorite week of the year.

In case you haven’t seen all the previous years (here: 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011) and are wondering about The Beach House, it is the vacation home of a friend’s uncle who is incredibly generous and kind and amazing and allows us to use it for a long weekend each year. It’s nicer than any other house I have ever been in, on an absolutely stunning stretch of Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston. There is a bunk room for the big kids to share, separate bedrooms for each adult/adult couple, and approximately one million bathrooms. The toddlers sleep in closets that are actually bigger than some of their rooms at home. It is air conditioned to a perfect 72 degrees, the pool is heated to 88 degrees (I know because the pool guy came to clean it and check the temp for us), and there is a house-keeping staff that scrubs the whole thing right before we get there and right after we leave. It’s basically heaven.

I promise these are the rest of the pictures. I won’t make you sit through a third post.

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The first floor (the one that walks out to the pool, not the basement with the cars) is the movie room, where the kids can control the TV and no grown ups have to watch it.

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All the kids, wearing Hanna stripey jams! Almost all looking at the camera!

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These are from our first, not-s0-good family photo session. It was very dark and I messed up my settings and I don’t like my dress and Linc got soaked within 10 minutes. But I still edited all the decent ones.

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We bought an inexpensive underwater camera for the trip, since we’ve had fun with them in the pool before. When this one eventually breaks we’ll spring for a much nicer underwater camera, because this are not what I was hoping to get. I really need something that shoots RAW so I can edit them nicely.

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ALL THE TOES!

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And the rest are our family photos – the good ones! – from the second try. Instead of a tripod I got my friend Erin (who is also a photographer) to press the shutter button when I wanted the whole family in the shot. MUCH better than a timer or a remote. I am so happy to have these.

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Is it too early to start the countdown to NEXT summer??

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 1)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Once I got to 80 pictures, I decided maybe this year desereved 2 posts. Theese are straight chronological, so there are some random food photos thrown in between actually intentional sessions between pool photos between snapshots.

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Waiting for cookies, because there is ALWAYS something baking at the beach house.

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I hate when people wander wander into my beach photos. Obvious I should get the WHOLE BEACH to myself.

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My college roommate and I (we went to college here in Charleston) took our girls into the city for “shopping and lunch’…but mostly to take pictures. You can tell, because I bought them matching dresses for pictures.

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This is the fence for the church where I got married.

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This is the theater across from the church. I havea beautiful painting of it in the entryway of my house.

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Our church.

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Chocolate cake for breakfast, because vacation.

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Erin and I took the boys to the Angel Oak for their photo opp. It was SO crowded, even at 9 am. It’s a miracle there aren’t tourists in every single photo.

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He’s winking, in case you couldn’t tell what that face was.

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We take turns cooking at the beach, usually the same menu every year (because we’ve almost perfected cooking for 13) but Erin added these AMAZING shrimp and grits this year. They’re extra good because the local shrimp came from a only *slightly* sketchy cooler at the farm stand down the street.

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We went through 6 pounds of strawberries in 5 days.  Also, these babies think they are big kids who can sit on stools. Next year we’ll have actual babies again (mine PLUS another!) for a total of 8 children, so maybe it’s ok that these toddlers will be a little more self-sufficient.

Part 2 will include both our first, mostly failed family photo session and our second, much better photo session. Our stupid photographer (me) messed up her settings on the first one with a stupid rookie mistake. Thank goodness the weather cooperated for a do-over.

I miss you already, Kiawah.

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Mixed Berry Cake With Lemon Whipped Cream Icing

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

CampaignGraphic

A Cake Off you say? Don’t mind if I do.

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When it comes to Team Cake vs Team Pie, I am Team Why Can’t I Have Both? There’s no such thing as too much dessert. When I was looking for inspiration for a cake to submit for this contest, I searched Pinterest for cake and might have ended up eating half a box of cookies because it made me so hungry. This is why I am not a food blogger.

Half way through mixing the batter I realized I needed 3 9-inch cake pans but all I had in my cabinet was 1 9-inch cake pan and 2 8-inch cake pans. I thought really hard about how to make that work before giving up and sending my husband to the store to get the right pans. Be smarter than me and make sure you have the cake pans you need BEFORE you’ve already separated all the eggs and have the mixer going. This recipe has kind of a lot of steps, but I promise it’s worth it for the results: moist but light cake with an amazing flavor and super light frosting with exactly the right amount of sweet.

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Mixed Berry Cake With Lemon Whipped Cream Icing
Adapted from A Latte Food

Cake
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 1/2 cups flour all purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Berry Puree
    • 2 cups mixed berries (I used raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries)
    • 3/4 cup sugar
Lemon Whipped Cream
    • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
    • 1 8 oz cream cheese
    • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (about the zest of 2 large lemons)
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
Extra berries & mint to decorate
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray your cake pans with non-stick spray.
Make the berry puree first: throw all the berries (hull strawberries first) and the sugar in a food processor or blender on high until it’s well mixed. You can strain it if you hate seeds but they don’t bother me. Set aside.
Next the cake: separate your eggs and set aside. In your mixer, whip the butter for a minute or two until it’s fluffy. Add the vegetable oil and mix for another minute. Gradually add in sugar and eggs until everything is well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed.
Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt), then mix your wet ingredients in another bowl (milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and greek yogurt). Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients to your mixer until just combined. Whip your reserved egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold them into the batter, gently but completely. Divide your batter as evenly as you can into the three prepared cake pans.
Add about 1/3 cup of berry puree to each pan, using a knife to swirl it around. The kids really loved this part, so it’s a good time for helpers. Be sure to reserve any leftover puree to drizzle on your plate or spoon over the cake when you serve it.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine was perfect at exactly 25 minutes.
For the frosting: whip the heavy cream on high for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar (add too fast and it will end up all over your kitchen) and then the cream cheese. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Once your cake is done and cooled, put the bottom layer on a plate or cake stand. Top with about a cup of frosting, spreading it all the way to the edge. Repeat for all three layers, with extra frosting for the top. Use a large knife or spatula to spread any frosting that leaked out from between the layers evenly around the sides. You can fully frost them if you want but the golden cake showing through is so pretty I left mine sparse.
Decorate the top with extra berries and mint leaves to make it extra fancy and really impress all your guests. It’s a big cake and serves about 15, as long as no one cuts a piece that’s 1/4th of the cake. Which I totally did when we had leftovers the next day. Be sure to store it in the fridge if you’re keeping it overnight.
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If you think this looks delicious and want to make it – or just add it to your aspirational dessert Pinterest board (doesn’t everyone have one of those??) – you can pin the graphic below! This is a Cake Off and I’m in it to win it, despite not being a food blogger.
Mixed Berry Cake With Lemon Whipped Cream Icing YUM!

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