Pumpkin Patch Time

We had an impromptu pumpkin patch visit last night.  That’s why ladybug is in a dress and not typical fall clothing fare.  Granted, it is Socal and part of the hottest time of the year, but still, I wouldn’t have sent her to a hay lot in a dress otherwise.

In the comments below, tell us what your favorite fall traditions are…

In our household, we go Apple picking in Oak Glen every year since we were married as an annual, to synthesize as though we aren’t living in Socal where the weather is usually predictable and the seasons are slightly cool, June Gloom, HOT, Windy & Fires, slightly cool, hopefully rain, rinse & repeat.

The crowds hit Oak Glen typically on weekend afternoons in October.  We always are certain to leave our house very early on a Saturday morning to make the hour drive.  This gets us in front of the line for mini-apple cider donuts!  ladybug at the pumpkin patch


Mall Entertainment

I suppose I always knew there was “Mall Entertainment.”  Somehow though, it never pertained to me, even though I vividly recall the Mallrats scene, involving a mall and a TV show.  Chocolate pretzels have never been the same for me, but I digress.  Facebook as an app seems to be smarter than I am these days and shows me content that I actually would click on, in direct contrast of how I used to actively avoid clicking on any suggested ad or post.  The other day, Ella The Elephant’s Live Show at a local mall was suggested as an event I attend.  Okay, I will bite, click.

Sure enough, Ella is coming to one of our local malls today, but of course, it is during the hours I need to be at work.  I can’t really justify having Ella-phantitis to take today off, cough cough, so I asked my aunt if she would take Lana to see one of the show times.  She obliged and hopefully will send me a picture or two as I daydream about missing this moment with my daughter while I frenetically attempt to meet deadline after deadline.  I suppose having a kids’ Live Show on the weekend might draw Easter Bunny or Santa Clause level crowds, but I can’t possibly be the only working parent who would enjoy taking my kid to something like this?  If we want to be stereotypical for discussion purposes, so all of the SAHM (stay-at-home-moms) get to take their littles, but no daddy wants to see their little mesmerized by a dancing Ella? (I am being provocative, so SAHD readers please don’t bite my metaphorical head off ;P).

So, if you are a caretaker during the week of little ones, check out these free events that travel throughout the malls of our country, providing entertainment to our little ones!  Often, they have crafts, photograph opportunities and various activities.  I never had considered the mall for entertainment until Facebook suggested I do so. Clever, clever Facebook.  Knowing what I want before I even know I want it!

For the Socal readers:

Ella the Elephant is at the Westfield Culver City this Thursday – September 18th

Curious George StoryTime at the Palm Desert Westfield’s Barnes & Noble – Saturday, September 20th

Elf on The Shelf StoryTime at the Palm Desert Westfield’s Barnes & Noble – Saturday, September 27th

Peppa the Pig is at the Westfield Culver City on Friday, October 3rd

Playdate with Anna from Frozen at the Westfield Century City on Thursday, October 9th

Brobee of Yo Gabba Gabba is coming on October 16th to the MainPlace Mall


For all other areas and if you want to find non-kid events like say, the local Williams & Sonoma hosting a knife skills class (it’s a thing at the Fashion Square Westfield Mall!):  then go to the main Westfield page and scroll to the bottom to “change Westfield” to find your local Westfield Events.  There are lots of Happy Hour events for mamas needing some adult time!

I searched Simon Malls but their website didn’t have a lot of events at our local malls.  I did find this:

Kidgits – “themed crafts& activities, giveaways and much more”

Saturday, September 20th at the Brea Mall – this mall also boasts a new Kidgits play area – Located on the Lower Level Near Macy’s Women

Saturday, November 8th at the Westminster Mall in the Target Court




Dress Up Dolls

Let me preface this post with, I am not an Alex Toys affiliate, whatsoever!*  My previous post about the Alex Toys’ craft kits were purely coincidental!

A few months back, I bought the Alex Toys – Learn To Dress Kitty on Amazon.  Lana was starting to show curiosity toward buttons, zippers and snaps, so Dress Up Kitty seemed like a perfect fit.  Normally, I wouldn’t pick an obvious gendered toy, but in this case, Kitty wasn’t terribly “girly.”  Alex Toys does have the Learn to Dress Monkey as an option too.  For months, Lana would randomly play with Kitty, but about a week ago, Kitty became her favorite toy.  Kitty has been going with Lana in the car, to my aunt’s house, pretend plays with Lana, and even sleeps with Lana.  Kitty sits next to Lana during bedtime storytime, and we remove Kitty’s shoes for bedtime!  At first, my husband was worried we were allowing something bad, but I explained that this is great for her to pretend and use her imagination with Kitty.  Somehow Kitty has also assisted in calming the sleeping issues we have had recently.  Once when Lana was hysterical during bedtime, after asking Lana if she was scared, she hugged me and then I asked Kitty the same thing.  Lana immediately started gently petting Kitty, followed by a huge.  It was so sweet and innocent!  Maybe I am screwing Lana up by personifying Kitty, but I am trying to teach Lana how to express what she is feeling.  Lana laid down and hugged Kitty all night.

I’ve seen Lana reading to Kitty, showing her how to color, talking to Kitty while playing and even sharing a cup of pretend tea with her.  Hopefully I am not writing about Lana in 12 years and how she won’t part with Kitty on her first day of Junior High.  I kid!

While researching for this post’s images and media, I stumbled upon a fairly hilarious Alex Toys’ item.  GIANT Dress Up Kitty!  Lana’s Kitty is already almost as big as her, I can’t even fathom a GIANT one?!!?  For nearly $200???  That’s terrifying and expensive!  Can you imagine waking up to a giant kitty looking at you??  Maybe I have seen too many Puppetmasters or Chucky movies?Giant Kitty

But, on the upside, today I discovered that on Alex Toys’ website, they have free printables and a great search function by age and type in their toy section.  That being said, Amazon and Target usually have better prices, Kitty is nearly $44 on Alex Toys’ site and in contrast is $29 on Amazon.  Today, I did read the reviews for Kitty on Amazon and people mention the snaps coming off or being poorly made, we haven’t had any issues related to that, but I will agree with other reviewers that the button is frustratingly difficult for little hands.  Here is the promo video of Monkey & Kitty by Alex Toys:

There are many other brands and options, some with well known characters, like say Elmo as a dress up, learning toy.  Montessori has gear for sale that is supposedly superior to Kitty and all dress up dolls (based off reviews out there by Montessori teachers, so that’s biased).  You can find the Montessori frames all over the internet, but here is an example off youtube:

For a comprehensive overview of the stages of learning to dress themselves, I find this the more encompassing and informative:


All in all, Lana is only 19 months, so I am not as concerned with imposing the Montessori ways or spending a ton of time trying to get her to figure out buttons and zippers (she can unzip my purse now, egads!), so Kitty works well for now.  As time progresses, I will look at other options if she isn’t where she should be developmentally.  But for now… I leave you with a picture of Lana in my trainers:

Lana with Mama's Shoes

*disclaimer – nappies + milk is an Amazon Affiliate to help pay for the site costs

Grandparent’s Day

I’ve been looking into what Lana will get her grandma, poppy, nana and papa for Grandparent’s Day. Last year, we didn’t do anything because the day skirted right by me without remembering its existence, after all, I wasn’t a kid in elementary school being barraged with reminders and I was a first time mom in the midst of the plethora of “firsts.”

This year, I saw something that reminded me, I better up the ante a bit and do something special! Aside from the usual trinkets, flowers and whatnot, there are lots of Pinterest ideas out there too. Since I am a working mom, I can’t dedicate a lot of time to something homemade, here are some ideas that I can get behind (some require purchases and more time, but maybe this will stir the creative juices):

UPDATE:  Apparently even one of nappies+milk’s own mamas didn’t know what Grandparent’s Day was so here is a quick link to read up on it:  http://grandparentsday.org/

Butterflies & Nature

I decided to take Lana and check out a free Butterfly House in a local Nature Center here in SoCal. The entire nature center is geared toward kids and education. Even in places with urban sprawl, nature centers are a great weekend activity to spend interactive time with your kids for little to no money.




11AM on A Weekday??

Sure, I would love to do nothing more than take Lana to a storytime at a local library at 11AM on a weekday, but uh, I generally can’t, at least not regularly.

On any given weekday at 11AM, I am likely knee-deep in a conference room full of men ranting about why our eCommerce site isn’t faster or what new product needs to be developed.  Perhaps at 11AM, I am sneaking away for a quick bite of food that doesn’t require me shoving said food down my throat, while chasing an 18 month old or dealing with an emergency at work.  Hell, maybe my head is down on my desk pondering how I am going to get all of my priorities done for work, home and our side consulting business.  I don’t know exactly what 11AM will bring, but it surely won’t be a lovely storytime with my daughter.

My husband and I read to Lana before bed.  We both look forward to that cozy time of night, but I grew up going to a storytime at a local library.  I want Lana to experience the magic of the group storytime setting!

Thankfully, many libraries are now offering weekend and evening storytime options.  If a library around you doesn’t, check out the local bookstore, as many of them have children storytime offerings as well.  If neither exist, request that your library and/or bookstore start one, you likely aren’t the only one around looking for storytime options.  If you are feeling inspired and are deep down not only a working mom, but a pinterest-y working mom, start your own local storytime!  If you live in an association, maybe start a community based storytime in the clubhouse.  Many associations will donate the clubhouse rental, as long as it isn’t prime rental time, for such a community friendly activity.  If you go that route, don’t be a supermom and forget to ask for help from parents who bring their little ones to the storytime.  Get others in your community involved so it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders and push you to be a burned out mama!