The Busy Giffs: May 2016

May 20, 2016

Writing Then vs. Writing Now

I've been digging through my old writings a lot lately, and honestly they send me through a whole range of emotions.

First I'm embarrassed about how I wrote because honestly, I didn't think anyone would really read it so it's riddled with spelling and grammar issues.  I'm a bit embarrassed when I reread the post about applying for welfare and how stigmatizing that was for me.  And then I'm amazed and proud of how much I was willing to share. And then I doubt my current writings because they are not as raw and emotional as I used to be.

There was a very mean blog post circulating around the internet this week, attacking bloggers like me.  Mom bloggers who came out of the wood work, monetizing with sponsors and writing about products, calling us sell outs.  For a few minutes I believed her.  I mean, where are all those emotional posts I used to write?  Where is the day to day update on my feelings and what my kid ate that day? I really started to become upset, afraid that I had become this new sell-out writer.

As I tucked my kids into bed, it struck me that I did change as a writer, and more than that, I changed as a person. When I started writing 5 years ago, I was newly married, having a baby, and was out of work for a few weeks.  My jobs were managing a restaurant and nannying children.  I had time to sit and write and lacked the contact of real people so I used my blog to connect. I was unsure of myself and where my life was going.  Writing was my escape from the uncertainty of my life.

That's not who I am now. After last year, I am more reserved.  I don't trust people as much on the computer.  Also, I teach high schoolers who can easily google and find this page and my every day thoughts aren't exactly something I want them to read. I work as a teacher. I literally can not write about work. I can't share the frustrations of particular students or anecdotes from the day. Would it jeopardize my job if I did?

When I did monthly updates for Emmalee, I literally only had one baby who didn't do much. Photo shoots and page long updates were enjoyable and easy to make time for.  Now instead of writing about my kids, I'm playing with them. Or we're watching a movie. Or we're outside, away from technology.  I can't give up that time to blog. I am so thankful for the amazing opportunities we've had through blogging and the great toys we get to play with together though.  It's a different type of play because we have photos and sometimes I make them wait to get just the right shot, but it's still playtime.  Sometimes, the toy just isn't what we expect and it never gets to the reader; I won't share anything I don't actually like, but it's still playtime for us.

That very mean blogger tried to shame me for how I've changed as a writer but if anything, she made me more aware of why my writing has changed.

My writing went from emotional and scattered to organized and concentrated because unlike before, now my blog isn't my main source of emotional stability.  I work with amazing people who build me up and make me laugh on the phone at night.  I have two kids who hang on to me and want to do everything with me.  I have an amazing husband who works his butt off for us and when he's home I want to do nothing but wrap my arms around him. I have a job that keeps me so busy but so fulfilled.
I have a blog that brings me joy, rather than comfort. And if my writing changed because I am in a better place financially and emotionally, then I'm okay with not sharing the way I used to.

I am still an authentic voice, it's just my newer authentic voice.



May 19, 2016

New Blind Bag Toys from Tech 4 Kids!

These toys were provided in exchange for our review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Hooray for more blind bag toys! It's no secret we're big fans of blind bag toys (you can see others we've opened here, here, and here) and we're so excited when we received some new ones in the mail!


The first we opened were the small Finding Dory Squishy Pops. We're so excited for the upcoming release and Emma was even more excited to add some Finding Dory ones to her My Little Pony collection of Squishy Pops.  Like all blind bags, you don't know what you're getting and while she was initially bummed that she got two of the same Nemo Squishy Pops, she decided she could share one with her brother so tears were saved and everyone was happy again.

When we opened the Finding Dory Mash'Ems, we found 2 of the same Dory! But never fear, once again, Emma wanted to share!

She did not want to share her My Little Pony Micro LITE packages though! This girl loves My Little Ponies and was thrilled that she got Fluttershy and Princess Twilight Sparkle, who are two of her favorites! She turned the lights off in her room and used the Micro LITEs as little flashlights all night long!

Tech 4 Kids makes some really great blind bag toys and we can't wait to see what great pieces they come out with next month!


May 18, 2016

Which Lillebaby Carrier Should I Use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, I may be compensated for purchases made through these links. For more information, click here.

My love for Lillebaby is well documented on Instagram and in earlier blog posts, but did you know there is a Lillebaby Love Facebook page? It's an amazing community where members get to ask questions about their fit, about carriers, and brag about how amazing we are. ;)

A couple weeks ago, there were a few messages that popped up about a huge Lillebaby warehouse sale and I was able to grab a couple new carriers at super discounted prices! Sadly, the big sale is over but you can still snag a great deal on the SALE page! Because one of the most often asked questions lately is about when to move your child from a Lillebaby Complete model to a Lillebaby Carry On model, I thought I'd show the comparison for you!

The Lillebaby Complete is the amazing carrier that you can use from 7 lbs up to 45 lbs.  The Completes come in 4 types: Original, Airflow, All-Seasons, and Embossed. The Original is made of convas, while the Airflow is mostly mesh.  The All-Seasons is a marriage of the two, mostly canvas with a zip down mesh panel for breathability, and the Embossed is mostly microsuede/microfiber amd feels similar to a golf wicking type shirt. All 4 models come with a lumbar support piece, allow for 6 different carrying styles, and do not require any sort of infant insert! We have a handful of Completes because they work for newborn all the way to 45 lbs and, although she is only 2 weeks shy of being 5 years old, Emmalee still fits in them!

The Carry On is essentially a toddler sized carrier.  According to the Lillebaby website, it fits from 15 lbs to 60 lbs but I have found it's more of a height and leg length than a weight for this carrier. There are 2 models: the Carry On Original and the Carry On Air.  Like the Completes, the Carry On Original is a canvas carrier and the Air is mostly mesh. Both models come with a lumbar support piece and they offer 3 carrying positions.

The Lillebaby Essentials is a streamlined version of their Complete carrier. It can be used from 15 lbs to 45 lbs currently, and when the infant insert is released it will fit 7 lbs and up. It is a cotton carrier and offers 4 carrying positions. Unlike the Complete and the Carry On, the Essentials does NOT come with a lumbar support.

Tyler just turned 2 last week and at his check up was 26 pounds and 34 inches.  He just started wearing 2T pants. You can see that he just fits in the Carry On.  The bunching fabric is his pants, not the carrier. He gets an amazing M shape in the Carry On.  The Embossed Complete is pictured in the middle. Again, a great M shape and the wide panel is knee to knee. I also added a picture of the Essentials because it can also be a great fit for older kids if you don't want or need the extra functions of the Complete. And even when little guy looks a bit lopsided because the only picture your husband took was when you were bouncing him, it is usually a great M seat.

Which Lillebaby carrier for my 20 lb toddler?

While we've used the Completes for the past 2 years, I really love the ease of the Carry On since it offers less 'bells and whistles'.  The New Carry On Air has quickly become my husband's favorite carrier.

Another question that comes up a lot is about extended babywearing.  I wear my almost 5 year old a couple times a month.  She loves being carried around and at 36 lbs, fits into all three types of carriers.  The Carry On offers us the best fit because of the width of the panel, but both the Complete and the Essentials offer a supported seat as well. I find the lumbar support is super important when they're this big because it literally offers me so much extra support while carrying her!

Can I still carry my preschooler in a Lillebaby carrier?

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the Lillebaby carriers, because you can't go wrong when it comes to babywearing, and hopefully, this helped you figure out which carrier was best for you and your little ones.


Which Lillebaby Carrier Should I Use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, I may be compensated for purchases made through these links. For more information, click here.

My love for Lillebaby is well documented on Instagram and in earlier blog posts, but did you know there is a Lillebaby Love Facebook page? It's an amazing community where members get to ask questions about their fit, about carriers, and brag about how amazing we are. ;)

A couple weeks ago, there were a few messages that popped up about a huge Lillebaby warehouse sale and I was able to grab a couple new carriers at super discounted prices! Sadly, the big sale is over but you can still snag a great deal on the SALE page! Because one of the most often asked questions lately is about when to move your child from a Lillebaby Complete model to a Lillebaby Carry On model, I thought I'd show the comparison for you!

The Lillebaby Complete is the amazing carrier that you can use from 7 lbs up to 45 lbs.  The Completes come in 4 types: Original, Airflow, All-Seasons, and Embossed. The Original is made of convas, while the Airflow is mostly mesh.  The All-Seasons is a marriage of the two, mostly canvas with a zip down mesh panel for breathability, and the Embossed is mostly microsuede/microfiber amd feels similar to a golf wicking type shirt. All 4 models come with a lumbar support piece, allow for 6 different carrying styles, and do not require any sort of infant insert! We have a handful of Completes because they work for newborn all the way to 45 lbs and, although she is only 2 weeks shy of being 5 years old, Emmalee still fits in them!

The Carry On is essentially a toddler sized carrier.  According to the Lillebaby website, it fits from 15 lbs to 60 lbs but I have found it's more of a height and leg length than a weight for this carrier. There are 2 models: the Carry On Original and the Carry On Air.  Like the Completes, the Carry On Original is a canvas carrier and the Air is mostly mesh. Both models come with a lumbar support piece and they offer 3 carrying positions.

The Lillebaby Essentials is a streamlined version of their Complete carrier. It can be used from 15 lbs to 45 lbs currently, and when the infant insert is released it will fit 7 lbs and up. It is a cotton carrier and offers 4 carrying positions. Unlike the Complete and the Carry On, the Essentials does NOT come with a lumbar support.

Tyler just turned 2 last week and at his check up was 26 pounds and 34 inches.  He just started wearing 2T pants. You can see that he just fits in the Carry On.  The bunching fabric is his pants, not the carrier. He gets an amazing M shape in the Carry On.  The Embossed Complete is pictured in the middle. Again, a great M shape and the wide panel is knee to knee. I also added a picture of the Essentials because it can also be a great fit for older kids if you don't want or need the extra functions of the Complete. And even when little guy looks a bit lopsided because the only picture your husband took was when you were bouncing him, it is usually a great M seat.

Which Lillebaby carrier for my 20 lb toddler?

While we've used the Completes for the past 2 years, I really love the ease of the Carry On since it offers less 'bells and whistles'.  The New Carry On Air has quickly become my husband's favorite carrier.

Another question that comes up a lot is about extended babywearing.  I wear my almost 5 year old a couple times a month.  She loves being carried around and at 36 lbs, fits into all three types of carriers.  The Carry On offers us the best fit because of the width of the panel, but both the Complete and the Essentials offer a supported seat as well. I find the lumbar support is super important when they're this big because it literally offers me so much extra support while carrying her!

Can I still carry my preschooler in a Lillebaby carrier?

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the Lillebaby carriers, because you can't go wrong when it comes to babywearing, and hopefully, this helped you figure out which carrier was best for you and your little ones.


May 10, 2016

Wooden Playroom Toys from Svan

Did you see this instagram post two weeks ago?



Over school vacation, we worked hard on our basement playroom! We (read: I) really wanted a place where the kids' toys were so that they didn't have stuff everywhere. I'll admit, there are still toys everywhere, but less, so that's better right? While it's not completely done, it is what we need for now.

May 2, 2016

Gifts for Mother's Day: 2016

Mother's Day is coming up this weekend and I'm excited to share some really great gifts with you!

There are of course, the traditional "every holiday gift" gifts like Godiva chocolates or flowers. Did you know that Amazon does floral deliveries now?! Amazon through Kabloom sends some seriously gorgeous flowers and they seem to be much less expensive than other floral companies I've used before for my own mom!


I will admit, my go to gifts for moms lately have been Lillebaby carriers, since all the latest gifts I've been giving are to new moms waiting for their babies (still should be getting a gift for Mother's Day!) but I also know that not every mom needs an infant or toddler baby carrier! :)

While I would love another carrier, I am also swooning over these gorgeous hand stamped bracelets.  Emma is constantly saying "Love you to the moon and back" or "I love you a million blue M&Ms" so having it as a constant reminder on my wrist would be perfection; it would look gorgeous next to a Fossil Knot Cuff Bracelet. A Kendra Scott Necklace, especially the super on trend druzy stones, would be perfect as well.



Some moms hoard jewelry and some horde bags.  I'm loving this Kate Spade Striped Tote, this Vera Bradley Quilted Handbag, and this Zac Posen Shoulder bag. They just shout spring to me and what mom wouldn't love them?



Maybe your mom is more of a techie and has been asking for a new camera? I just got my new camera a couple months back and these three were my top contenders! Sony a5100Samsung NX500, and the Nikon Coolpix L340 all offer mom the setting and manual capabilities of DSLR without the bulky lens and hefty price tag.


Another big hit for moms is a fancy coffee maker. Seriously, some days a cup of coffee or tea is the closest we get to relaxation so grab a great one like the Nescafe Gourmet Coffeemaker that makes hot or iced drinks as well as the specialty drinks we shell out for at higher end coffee shops. Other high end trusted home brands like Le Creuset, a KitchenAide MixerPrimitive Box Signs in Mom loving themes, or a Jonathan Alder picture frame would be the perfect gift.



Mother's Day has always been a spring signal for me as well! I love getting outside to work in our yard and with my daughter on our planter boxes so a gift card to Lowe's , a hammock and stand, or a garden stand would all be appreciated. I've been eyeing this inflatable jacuzzi since I saw it at TJ Maxx last year! I can't wait until our yard is ready to have one!



If your mom likes working outside, she may like working out as well! I've been huge into watching my steps and monitoring my activity levels so a wearable piece of fitness technology like a Fitbit AltaSamsung Gear2 , or Garmin Vivosmart could help mama meet her goals without coming across as rude.  Die hard work out fans might enjoy yoga and work out shirts or workout headbands from Etsy as well!



Everyone knows after a sweaty workout, or literally just any day of mom's life, we want, and deserve, a pampering and relaxing day off. I love finding restaurant and spa deals through Groupon and Living Social, (especially Groupon's local deals) but if you can't find an amazing deal for a wine tasting weekend or girls trip for her, you could invest in Essential Oil diffuser, some bath bombs, or a Deep Sea Mud Mask to help her relax and at least feel like she's at the spa.




The best part about almost all of these gifts is that they can be bought off of Amazon with free Prime shipping! If you don't have Prime yet, you can sign up for a FREE 30 day trial here and you'll get FREE two-day shipping on Prime eligible orders!

I'm seriously crossing my fingers for a gift off this list! Which one is your favorite for mom?






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