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Shopping Guide – Christmas Pajamas

Fun fact ~ my 4-year old son, Big P, loves Christmas pajamas so much that last year he accomplished a feat I had previously believed to be impossible. He destroyed a pair of Hanna Andersson pajamas. These St. Nick pajamas in fact, which may be my single favorite pair of kids pjs of all time.

In case you don’t know, Hanna pajamas are extremely well made and usually last us for several years/ siblings with very little sign of wear and tear. So impressive it was indeed when Big P wore his beloved St. Nick pajamas so much that they ended up in the trash can. Believe me when I say we got our money’s worth out of them!

Christmas pajamas are one of my very favorite parts of the holiday season, and I’ve rounded up some of our favorites below. Many of these are already on sale or will go on sale later this week, so stock up before they sell out (and I know from experience that the Hanna ones ALWAYS sell out)!

H17-family-matching-pjs-feature-bn-stnick

1/ Hanna Andersson St. Nicks + Elves PJs (starting around $25 on sale) – For the past 3 years Big P has had St. Nick pjs and Little P has had coordinating pairs (both St. Nick and Elf ones – Big P refuses to dress as anything but St. Nick). This year Big P made it very clear he also expected Baby P to be rocking an elf suit, and I wouldn’t dare break from tradition. These PJs are our absolute favorites and we wear them constantly from November (ok October) to February (ok until March or they self-implode).

primary-kids-pajamas_zpsskpesnaw

2/ Primary Classic PJs ($20-24 or potentially FREE) – I love Primary’s solid colored basics, and their classic pjs in red or green are perfect for Christmas. And right now you can actually get a pair for free when you spend $50 on additional items using the promo code GETPJS17 (expires 11/27/17).

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Instant-Pot Recipes

We love our Instant Pot. While I had a slow cooker before, it rarely got used. Our Instant Pot, however, regularly sits on top of our counter because of how often we use it. I love that I can cook beans quickly, even if I forgot to soak them. I also appreciate that it doubles as a slow cooker. My favorite feature, though, is the saute function because then I don’t have to dirty a second pan. Additionally, it’s a relatively safe cooking apparatus for our toddlers who love to help cook vegetables (with the saute function) or dump things in for us to cook. It’s perfect for making bone broths and stock, but also great for full meals.

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite pressure cooker recipes, as well as some that we want to try. When I use the pressure cooker/slow cooker, I prefer recipes that aren’t fussy, meaning I can dump everything in at the same time (though I am willing to saute things first). While I don’t mind multi-step cooking for traditional methods, my Instant Pot preference is set-it-and-forget-it, so the recipes below don’t include ones that require you to keep adding things back into the pot at different times. These recipes are also all meals and don’t include some of the great other ways to use a pressure cooker, such as for baked potatoes, artichokes or eggs. All of the recipes below have meat in the them; I’ll be posting a collection of our favorite vegetarian pressure cooker meals in a future post.

chili lime chicken

Chili Lime Chicken – Not at all spicy and the kids love it. We use it as a taco filling, with burrito bowls or even with just a side of rice and veggies. One of our favorites and, best of all, it only takes 5-6 minutes at pressure. Note: this recipe says 6 minutes, but I’ve found that 5 minutes is better for us; it’s fully cooked without getting dry or rubbery.

congee

Chicken congee – We don’t really use a recipe, but this is a great one to start with. I love making turkey congee after Thanksgiving. Our family loves adding in whatever each person’s favorite toppings are: eggs, crispy shallots, radishes, pickles and more!

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Gift Guide for Dads and Fathers-In-Law

Like I mentioned in my gift guide for moms and mothers-in-law, after 7+ years of marriage, I’m finally figuring out what and how to gift our parents. Today I’m sharing with you my gift giving tips and ideas for the dads and fathers-in-law in your life.

My basic rules of thumb for my dad & father-in-law:

  • no clothes that require me to guess a numerical size (I can usually guess letter sizes in men’s attire);
  • extra focus on practicality – in my experience, dads simply don’t use things they don’t have an immediate use for;
  • again, whenever possible, give tangible gifts – I always try to avoid just giving a gift card, although with dads sometimes I have to settle for gift subscriptions.

Here are 10 gift ideas, at various price points, for the dads and fathers-in-law in your life (price listed subject to change and hopefully drop during this week’s big holiday sales):

dollar shave

1/ Dollar Shave Club gift set + membership (starting $55)I’ve heard nothing but good things about Dollar Shave Club and am planning to gift a membership (with a starter set to wrap and put under the tree) to several Dads in my life this year.

luminoodle

2/ Luminoodle ($20) – I read about this nifty waterproof light rope on another blog and really couldn’t think of a guy in my life who wouldn’t like it, or at least get good use out of it (seriously read the reviews!)

aeropress

3/ Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker ($30) – Just this morning, my mom suggested somebody buy my dad a real coffee maker (since, despite claiming he only likes iced tea, my dad drinks coffee anytime it’s hot and available). Bonus points if you include dad-friendly instructions on how to brew the perfect cup with the Aeropress. Double bonus points if you pair it with a coffee subscription to Craft Coffee, Blue Bottle, or Misto Box, for the perfect, thoughtful gift for any coffee-loving dad. If your dad prefers his coffee and his tea both ice cold, consider a cold brew coffee maker instead.

keepcup

4/ KeepCup Reusable Coffee Mug ($26) – Speaking of coffee, these reusable mugs look ultra-cool and get rave reviews.

block print

5/ A thoughtful & masculine photo gift ($25) – Photo gifts for dads are a little trickier than for moms (otherwise you risk looking like you really bought a gift for your mom but gave it to your dad instead … or maybe that’s just me). This understated yet tasteful wood block print would look great on any dad’s desk. Print out a handful of your favorite grandkids with their crazy grandpa photos, and you have the perfect photo gift customized just for him. Artifact Uprising has several other dad-friendly photo gift ideas including this wood calendar and this brass desk calendar.

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6/ Box of chocolate & booze flavored candy ($28) – Who knew such a perfect edible gift existed for the dads in our lives? All the bonus points for pairing it with a bottle of your dad’s booze of choice.

away suitcase take2

7/ A carry-on suitcase that charges his beloved iPhone ($225) – Both my dad and my father-in-law live in different states and thus spend a lot of time in airports and traveling to visit the grandkids. This carry-on suitcase gets rave reviews and most importantly charges any USB device. Pro tip – if you don’t want to lug a suitcase to your holiday gathering this year, consider one of the pre-packaged gift sets from Away that come with a curated set of TSA-approved travel essentials and a gift card for dad to pick out his own ultra high-tech and fashionable suitcase.

echo-dot

8/ Echo dot ($50 but will be on sale for $30 on Black Friday) + really nice bluetooth speakers ($179) – I’m not going to lie, I’m still a little confused about Amazon’s various Alexa/ Echo options. But I have figured this out – pairing an Echo dot with really nice bluetooth speakers gives you a more versatile, portable version of the full-sized Echo with much better sound quality. And dads often appreciate good sound quality (or at least think they do). This combo is at the top of my list for a really nice gift for dad.

patagonia

9/ A Patagonia better sweater vest ($100) – What dad doesn’t love a sweater vest? Seriously though these vests get rave reviews and come from an ethical, easy-to-love company.gloves north face

10/ NorthFace eTip gloves ($45) – Any dad who lives anywhere cold (or routinely visits his grandchildren anywhere cold) needs these gloves. They allow him to snap blurry photos of his grandsons pummeling each other with snow balls without even taking his gloves off. What could be better?

Bonus ideas for long distance dads and fathers-in-law – If your dad or father-in-law lives far away and you won’t be getting together for the holidays, gift subscriptions are a great idea. My favorites for dads include: Audible (I recommended this for moms too); Cairn outdoor gear boxes; and Hot Sauce of the Month.

What Anxiety Feels Like to Me

I’ve always been anxious, even as a little kid. I am sure that some of this was due to the instability of my environment because of my parents. I felt like I had no control. I can remember freaking out internally that one of my toys had been left outside overnight. I spent an entire night laying awake panicking because it was outside and I needed to get it, but I was scared to go outside alone at night. This continued through my teenage and young adult years, with everything coming to a head after I had Little Bug. It’s basically been 33ish years of anxiety and I am now really coming to terms with what it means for my life.

The anxiety changes day to day and now that I am on medication, it has been much less intense, but it is still there. When I was younger, the thoughts racing in my head and the inability to turn them off was the thing that made me most uncomfortable. I fought the feeling but I never felt like I got a hold of it. There were weeks where my brain just wouldn’t stop. It was exhausting, and I think that it ultimately had an affect on my life in ways that I can’t even begin to understand.

By the time I had children, I had gotten some control over the anxiety, but once the kids were here, it was not even remotely in my control anymore. The feelings were always there, the sleepless nights continued, and eventually I felt miserable because it was so frustrating to feel like this and not be able to turn it off. The few things that really stood out were my fear of driving and the panic that surrounded the idea of anyone else taking care of the kids. It was awful driving the kids anywhere, with me going longer routes to avoid driving on busy roads. I never drove at night, and any amount of inclement weather sent me into an absolute panic. I thought about the kids all day long, worrying that whoever was watching them was abusing them, or letting them cry too long, or any other number of scenarios.

When Little Bug was about 10 months old, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was completely exhausted from the constant anxiety and the lack of sleep and I confided in one of my close friends all of what I was feeling. She encouraged me to call my midwife and let her know how I was feeling. So I did and she got me in to see her immediately, She encouraged me to start medication and to contact a therapist she recommended. I started the medication slowly and began meeting with my therapist weekly. It felt really strange to me to be taking a medication for something like this, but I could feel the difference. Where the thoughts were before and I couldn’t control them, I started being able to use logic to stop the thoughts. Driving became easy again for the most part, even though I really don’t like to drive. And the biggest difference for me was my anger level. I felt more in control of my life and that cut a significant amount of my frustration. I had felt a lack of patience for a ling time prior to starting medication and having more patience as a result was an effect I was not expecting.

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Target Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is just a few days away, and this year I’m planning my shopping by scouting deals and bookmarking them ahead of time. Here are the online deals that caught my eye at Target, as well as all the important details about when and how to shop.

WHEN TO SHOP

Target’s online Black Friday Sale begins at midnight on Thanksgiving Day (11/23). There will be deals all week leading up to the big sale event, however, and on midnight of Black Friday (11/24), some of the best deals will launch online. Looking ahead even further, pre-sales for Cyber Monday should begin on Saturday (11/25) and Sunday (11/26), with official Cyber Monday deals launching at midnight on Monday (11/27).

HOW TO SHOP

With 3 little kids, I vastly prefer to shop online whenever possible. You may miss out on a few doorbuster deals, but you’ll also miss out on the massive crowds and anxiety that come with shopping with thousands of your not-closest friends. Plus Target offers free shipping on almost everything (alternatively, you can choose to pick up your items at your local store for no charge)!

Also don’t miss extra deals this year

Finally, if you plan to do a lot of your shopping at Target, it may be worth it to open a REDcard, which gives you a ton of benefits (namely 5% off anytime you shop at Target) plus early access to Black Friday deals on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (11/22).

ONLINE DEALS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST

For the adorable, drool-prone new (or newish) baby on your list …

smart puppy

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn First Words Smart Puppy ($25, normally $34)

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Gift Guide for Moms & Mothers-in-law

Mr. Peas and I have been married for 7 1/2 years, and I finally feel like I’m getting good at holiday shopping for our parents. My basic rules of thumb for my mom & mother-in-law:

  • no clothes that require me to guess sizes;
  • no generic “this is what I bought everyone else” gifts;
  • bonus points for any gift that feels personalized, indulgent, or expensive.
  • give tangible gifts – whenever possible, I try to avoid just giving a gift card. I recognize the flexibility and ease of gift cards, but they also transfer the work of picking out a gift to our moms. Plus tangible gifts allow you to involve your kids in the gift giving process in a more meaningful way.

Here are 10 gift ideas, at various price points, for the moms and mothers-in-law in your life (price listed subject to change and hopefully drop during this week’s big holiday sales):

pencils_for_crossword_puzzles_large

1/ Crossword puzzle pencil set ($9.50) – I recently listened to a podcast with the owner of CW Pencil Enterprise, a NYC-based store that sells, you guessed it, pencils. As the daughter of a crossword-loving mom, I instantly fell in love with the idea of gifting my mom a crossword puzzle pencil set, possibly paired with a gift card for her to purchase her favorite pencil (option a, bc, or d), a crossword puzzle book, or better yet a gift subscription to the Sunday Times.

feed the resistance

2/ “Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved” by Julia Turshen ($10) – After the 2016 election, my mother-in-law made a concerted effort to become more involved with local politics. This handbook for political activism (with recipes!) is the perfect way to acknowledge and support her important efforts to make a difference. If your mother-in-law shares the same political leanings as mine (and it’s perfectly OK if she doesn’t!), it’d be fun to pair this book with a donation in her name to a progressive organization and/or the new perf ect-for-coffee tables book, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” from Pete Souza, the official White House photographer.

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Link Roundup – November 20, 2017

We’ve been posting lots of great sales on our Facebook page, and most of them only last a day so be sure to follow us there!

Lots of interesting parenting links this week!

E D U C A T I O N

I Decided to Send My Kid to Private School and, OMG, the Judgment! via Mom.me

How Mass Shootings Are Forcing Schools To Re-Evaluate Safety via NPR

School “Share Tables” Are Taking on Child Hunger and Food Waste via Good Housekeeping

H E A L T H

The Extended Rear-Facing Car Seat Movement Is Looking at You via Romper

Your birth control options, ranked from most effective to least via Daily Dot

Sleeping on your back increases risks of stillbirth via Salon

You Should Read the CDC’s New Breast Pump Cleaning Guidelines via Fatherly

Vitamin K, Antibiotic Eye Treatment and Hepatitis B Shots For Newborns via Fit Pregnancy

What It’s Like To Survive Postpartum OCD via Huffington Post

‘I did it for Remy.’ Her 8-month-old died, but now her breast milk nourishes other babies. via Washington Post

‘It tears every part of your life away’: the truth about male infertility via The Guardian

Medical Exemptions Triple After California Vaccine Law Goes Into Effect via CBS Local

We Lost Our Newborn Baby. Can This Marriage Survive? via New York Times

P A R E N T I N G

A Thoughtful Alternative to Elf on the Shelf that Will Teach Your Kids Lifelong Lessons via Thoughtful Parent

Move over, ugly Christmas sweaters. Famjams are here. via Washington Post

How to End Screen Time Without A Struggle via Parent

It’s science: Why your kids are obsessed with those unboxing videos on Youtube via Motherly

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do via Forbes

A letter to dads of daughters on the sexual misconduct epidemic via Medium

After-school restraint collapse is real—here’s how to help your child via Motherly

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