Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Many of you already found out about our big news from my personal blog. Now, it's time to share the news here with my Raising Tacoma friends. You probably already pick up the big news from the title, but to make it an official: Soon there will be FOUR Browns in this family!

We are looking forward to a little boy joining our family! Baby Boy Brown #2 is expected sometime late November or early December -- the official due date is December 2nd, 2018 (we'll see!).

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

Did you miss my first LOL and not sure what this is all about? Go check it out! 

What do you think of that donut? This is how Caleb decided to eat this donut over the weekend. We missed getting donuts on National Donut Day (Friday, 6/1), but we enjoyed them on Sunday instead. To no surprise to any mom out there, my son chose the donut with sprinkles. #nationaldonutday

My favorite local magazines, South Sound Magazine, put out it's annual Best of the South Sound last month. I love checking out what people like and seeing if matches my likes. Some did, some didn't. Here's the article and then here's what I had to say about it. And why do I always want to type Sound Sound? Ugh. 

OMG OMG, summer is almost here…..

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Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

The first day of summer is June 21st. That's not too far away! Plus, we've been lucky with some summer-like weather already. We've already started adding the playground back into our daily routine (not that it was totally out, but the terrible winter weather made it less appealing). One of my favorite parks is Puget Park in the Proctor area. Maybe it's because it's close to our home, but there are some other great reasons as well. 

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Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

We are headed to Chicago in just a few short weeks to visit family and go to my cousin's wedding. We're really looking forward to it, except for one thing, the flight. Dun dun dun. Actually, knock on wood, but the last flight with Caleb went pretty smoothly. With more attention span, it seems there are more ways to entertain. More ways to entertain mean a better flight. Can I get an amen?! 

Growing up my mom had a severe fear of flying. In fact, she had to go to a fear of flying class just like Meg Ryan in French Kiss (my family loves this movie). A few weeks before we traveled, my mom always got nervous and weird. In a way, I have a fear of flying like my mom but for a different reason. It's a fear of flying with a toddler. I picture a manic toddler screaming the whole way and me crying. Just like my mom, I get all weird a few weeks before our flights trying to come up with some magical trick that will keep Caleb happy. 

When I get nervous, I tend to go overboard on research. I scour the internet for ideas, I ask friends, and over think as I'm trying to fall asleep. I hope I'm not the only one like this...please tell me I'm not the only one like this.

Luckily, I'm feeling much more confident this time around as I've acquired quite a few tips from all our previous flights. I figured I ought to share! 

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Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

I was worried about how Caleb's first haircut would go down. He's a very active kid and doesn't like to sit still for long, so I pictured myself wrangling an almost-two-year-old for 20 minutes while a desperate haircutter tried to trim his hair. The reality was far different from this nightmarish vision I had conjured up. In fact, the complete opposite. He enjoyed the haircut and he enjoyed it so much that he didn't even want to leave. Yup, you heard me right, he didn't want to leave. Imagine that.  

Caleb was 22 months when he had his first haircut. I tried to wait until he was two, but his hair was just too crazy and wild. I was also delaying it because I was "mom sad" about his first haircut. Those baby curls are just too sweet. However, the ladies at Wild Child made it a wonderful experience for Caleb and me. 

At 28 months, Caleb just had his third haircut at Wild Child. As I was leaving with a smile, I thought I ought to share this experience. So here I am, sharing my positive experience!

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Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

I'd be remiss if I didn't have a post about the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Seriously, what kind of Tacoma children's blog would this be without it? I'll tell you, not a very good one. This was one of the first posts I planned to write here on Raising Tacoma. I'm ashamed to say it's been over three months and I'm just getting to it now. Better late than never, right?

We go to the museum at least once a week. We love the programs and the open museum play space. It's even where we had Caleb's second birthday. I am so grateful we have the Children's Museum here; it's definitely saved my sanity more times than one. If you haven't been, then you need to drop everything and go. Okay, that's hasty, you probably have questions. I always have questions. Let's tackle some of those questions.

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Best of the South Sound: Raising Tacoma Picks

Best of the South Sound: Raising Tacoma Picks

Have you seen South Sound Magazine has the Best of the South Sound 2018 edition out? I appreciate the magazine put this out every year as I enjoy seeing the places that are considered the best from the community. When the time comes that I need an auto detail or florist (or whatnot), I often check out what is listed in Best of the Sound South. It at least gives me a starting place to what might be a good option. Usually, I take it a step further and go to Yelp and ask friends, too. 

Although I don't know if I love admitting it, I am a foodie as well. Is there a bad rep for foodies? I hope now. I'm a nice foodie. Anyway, it's true so I must admit it. And I am always on the lookout for new, cool restaurants. I even follow Sue Kidd TNT Diner on Facebook and get all the latest on what's coming and going with restaurants. But here's the funny yet sad catch to my foodie life: I'm a foodie that doesn't get out to eat much (hello, toddler). Ha! But we do take-out and date-nights, so there's that at least.

When I started thinking about doing this blog. I originally wanted to focus on how Tacoma is growing and check out all the new places and write my thoughts on them. Then reality hit that doing all that with a toddler isn't going to be so easy. I like where I took this blog instead, but now you know I have a love of food. 

Given all this, of course, I have my own opinion on the restaurants. I agreed with some but shook my head at some others. I thought you might like to hear what some of my favorites are instead. I'm sticking to the restaurant list only. Here goes nothing.

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 1

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 1

Gotcha,  you saw LOL and thought "laughing out loud." Psych! 

When I first saw the LOL acronym I totally thought it meant lots of love. It was a brief misunderstanding and was quickly identified (probably by my loving husband). But since I'm in the game of taking the wrong meaning of acronyms, I'm going ahead and making my own meaning for LOL. Yup, lots of links. 

I am a link hoarder, which is probably why I love Pinterest. Pinterest speaks to me. Another quirk of mine, I will leave a link up as a page on Safari on my iPhone until I get a chance to read it. Anyway, I figured you might be curious in some of the more intersting links I come across. Thus the creation of LOL.  

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5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

The age-old question: What's for dinner? It's a tough one. It was hard when I worked and didn't have a child, and it's hard when I don't work but have a child. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of getting a delicious, healthy meal on the table in a timely manner during the week. If you find it easy, then by all means comment and let us know your secret. ;) 

Also, you may be wondering, why in a bowl? I ask you this, why not in a bowl? Josh and I were talking about it, and we eat the majority of our meals from a bowl. It's just so handy - everything goes one dish, it's easy to scoop up the food, and each bite is exciting. Forever we used small bowls and realized it just wasn't big enough. We're hungry people! We got these bowls from Cost Plus World Market, and they are perfect. 

I have my meal planning method that I'll share some time with you. For now, in short, I plan everything over the weekend, grocery shop on Sunday, make most of the meal during nap time each day and finish up (or heat up) the dinner in the evening. It makes nap time busy, but it's worth it at the end of the day for me. 

For today, I've collected five favorite bowl meals that I make regularly. And five meals will get you through one work week (yay for math)! I do enjoy cooking, but I haven't mastered creating recipes. However, I do feel as though I'm good at finding recipes. I am mostly a true-to-recipe follower, but I do make adjustments based on ease of ingredients, my own likes/dislikes, and whatnot. I've shared what I do differently in case you'd like to try it my way.

Oh, and I get like 98% of my recipes from bloggers. Check out the sources for my recipes - I love all these blogs. Ready? Let's go.

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What we’re Reading: 27 Months

What we’re Reading: 27 Months

One of my favorite things to do is read. According to my mom, I wasn’t always this way. It’s a funny story actually. I was in fourth grade, and it was the first year I had ever earned straight A’s (not that there were letter grades before the fourth grade, but work with me). My mom was a fourth-grade teacher at my school, and her friend was my teacher. When my teacher told my mom about my grades, my mom told her to give me a B in reading knowing that doing so would encourage me to read more at home. I didn’t find out about this until years later. It did work, so my mom knew what she was doing. But really…I deserved that A! 

I like to remind myself of this story because Caleb isn’t the type of kid to sit and “read.” I put quotations there because he’s not a genius toddler that is already reading, but he won’t sit and look at a picture book on his own or have me read to him unless it’s right before a nap or bedtime. While this isn't a lot of reading time, I consider it a win because it took forever to even get to this level. I sometimes would sit there and read to him before bed while he ran around his room. I think it took persistence, finding the right book, and some growing up to get where we are today. 

Finding the right books is key. Once I was able to find topics that interested him, I could get books on that topic. It takes a lot of trial and error. Sometimes I pick a book I think he’ll totally dig, only to see it tossed aside. Luckily, I’m not buying piles of books to figure it out. The public library is heaven sent. I don’t know how we’d discover so many books if we didn’t have the library.

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Checking it Out: Red Elm

Checking it Out: Red Elm

I’m back with another "Checking it Out" post where I go to restaurants and tell you about my experience. In case you missed it, my first one, it was on the Antique Sandwich Company. This time we headed to Red Elm. I feel like this place did a good job marketing to families because most of my mom friends associate this place as a kid-friendly cafe. It opened in spring 2017, and we’ve been a couple of times. I would say our last visit when we went so I could write this post, was our best experience yet. Here are the deets. 

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Shaken, Not Stirred, Rice Colored Easter Eggs

Shaken, Not Stirred, Rice Colored Easter Eggs


I know I said I was going to do Kool-aid dyed eggs this year, but I lied. I didn’t know I was lying, but I did. I was surprised to find the markets all lacking in Kool-aid flavors in the small packets. I wasn’t about to purchase a big thing of Kool-aid powder nor was I ready to go on a crusade to different stores to find it. I went to two different Safeways and Target, but nothing. Sure, I could have gone to Fred Meyers or Walmart, but I decided it wasn’t meant to be. 

I also think the Kool-aid idea went down in favor ever since I came across this rice idea. The rice seemed like a less-mess and more kid-friendly craft. Kool-aid can be a terrible stain to get out. And I imagine Caleb would want to keep trying to grab the eggs in the cups. So I swapped ideas last minute. 

Overall, I felt like this craft a mom win moment. Caleb was intrigued by the whole process and wanted to touch and do all. the. things. I don’t think he would have been able to be as involved in the Kool-aid, or regular dye projects. He’s too hands-on — a curious fellow, I tell you. He wanted to put the egg into the container and then back out when the coloring process was over. He loved shaking the containers, although I did have to get him to go easy on the shaking a few times. When we took them out after shaking, he said, “wow!” Ahh, too cute. He even straightened the egg’s position in the crate. 

The whole activity only took like 30 minutes, or so. We did it outside so clean-up was easy and no worries about too much mess (and thank goodness for no rain!) 

Here’s how we did it…

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Hip Hippity Hooray for Easter

Hip Hippity Hooray for Easter

Drumroll, please…. I am happy to announce my Easter post is finally up! No joke, I’ve been working on this post for over a week. Guys, I’ve been stressing about it, too. I was grumpy yesterday because I felt it was so late that it would all be irrelevant. Shipping is not an option at this point unless you do Amazon Prime. Then again, I think 98% of our purchases are Aamzon, so maybe it's okay. And you have plenty of time to shop still, right? Just say you do, please, it’ll make me feel better. 

But enough of that. Easter is next week, and we have a lot to cover. There are things to wear, meals to cook, baskets to fill, eggs to hunt, and bunnies to visit. Are you with me? Huzzah!

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Toddler Flight Survival: Apps

Toddler Flight Survival: Apps

Do you remember the days when you could go on a flight and just read a book or watch a movie? Oh, or even better, just close your eyes and fall asleep to the drumming of the plane? So dreamy. Instead, I get this knot in my belly before we go on a flight. Will my son be the next viral YouTube sensation like the "Demonic child" that threw the 8-hour tantrum (it's true, check it out)? I hope not! But, I do what I can to prepare to make a smooth, tantrum-free (or tantrum reduced) flight. 

Before my flight down to San Diego to visit my parents (Caleb's grandparents), I decided I better load up on apps. I know there are other tips and advice for keeping a toddler busy on a flight, and maybe I'll write a post on that sometime soon as well; however, I want to focus on apps. I want to focus on apps because when I did my search, I was completely overwhelmed at all the options. Almost like bringing a toddler into a toy shop and asking him to pick just one. How?!? 

So I did what any reasonable mom would do. I turned to FaceBook. I went to all my mom groups and looked for past inquiries from moms on apps. Here's the kicker: every time I saw a mom ask for app suggestions, everyone just gave other tips for flights. That's cool, but they (and I) want to know what APPs we should pick. That didn't go as I hoped, so I took another try: my friends. 

This is when I start singing, "With a Little Help From My Friends" to myself because when I asked MY FRIENDS on FaceBook, I got some real results. Thank you, friends. You rock! 

I couldn't purchase all of them, but I did download quite a few and noted the others for later (likely our next flight). I even created a folder on my phone for all the apps. Here's what it looks like (side note: there is a third page to the folder, but it's like white noise apps, etc.):

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I Miss my Water Bottle

I Miss my Water Bottle

Gosh, I was really hoping to share more posts with you last week. Unfortunately, all the nap time chores piled up coupled with some shorter naps from Caleb, I just didn't get as much done with the blog world. I do have some great posts in-the-works like some of our favorite apps for toddlers, a review of Red Elm, and all things Easter. Whew! My head is whirling with all my research and writing. Be ready for it, friends.

Right now, I wanted to share with you something I love. It's one of those everyday items that you don't realize how much you use until it's gone. You guys, it's my water bottle!

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Park Love: Tot Lot in Fircrest

Park Love: Tot Lot in Fircrest

he sun is out and spring is just around the corner. I can't wait. We all can't wait. Three cheers...

Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!

More sun means more park. And we love the park. The park is great for spending time outside with little ones. Don't know what to do? The park is the answer. Last spring/summer we would find ourselves at the park twice a day sometimes. Parks are a lifesaver, I tell you. And when you find a good park...now that's magical. 

One of our favorite parks is the Tot Lot. I feel like this is a lesser known park, over in Fircrest. I almost hestiate to share it because I don't want it to get crowded. But I'm here for you, friends, and so I shall share this park. 

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Book Club: Boundaries with Kids

Book Club: Boundaries with Kids

Grab your coffee and have a seat, it's book club time! Today's book is Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives. Whew, that's a long title. 

I aimed to read a toddler-specific discipline book since we've had a rise in tantrums and misbehavior with Caleb turning two-years-old earlier this year. I heard "no" crop up as Caleb's favorite word, or he'd lie down on the floor like a fish out of water when things didn't go his way. Time for me to get serious about discipline. It's terrifying as a mom. You hear all the talk of those terrible twos. And now I hear it doesn't stop at two. Apparently, at three you get the threenager. Seriously? Next, I'll be four is the worst. When do we parents catch a break? ... Eh, don't answer that. 

Can you blame the poor kids? They just discovered their independence and want to experience, see, and control everything. And yet, they are limited in what they can do physically, emotionally, and mentally. They are still developing and need your guidance and support. How frustrating, huh?! I try to remind myself of all this when my little guy gets upset and starts heading down tantrum row. And this is also why I wanted a book with some expert advice and real-life tools to handle these emotional rollercoasters my son heads down.

I asked a friend who has three kids what they recommend for a discipline book. I think someone with three kids probably knows what they are doing, right? More than me for sure; they've had three times the practice! Anyway, they listed a few books, and I went with their suggestion of Boundaries with Kids

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Survey Time: Tell me what you want?

In the words of Jerry Maguire, help me, help you. 

But seriously. Help me. I've got a lot of ideas of things to write about. However, having a two-year-old is limiting how much & how often I can write. Help me prioritize what to write by letting me know what YOU WANT to read about on Raising Tacoma. 

Just one question and less than one minute to take. Come, help me out!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/32QS5KB

Thank you!!!

 

 

Let's Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day: Dinner, Treats, Crafts

Let's Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day: Dinner, Treats, Crafts

I feel oddly committed to the Saint Patrick's Day holiday. Or, well, maybe it's not so odd. I do have the maiden name O'Neill. Growing up I thought it was such a cool last name even though that apostrophe caused so much trouble in computer systems. Not to mention, there is enough Irish in my father for him receive dual citizenship. Some of that got past down to me - somewhere about 25% Irish. That's enough to make my Irish eyes smile. Oh, and fun fact, if I had been born a boy, my name would have been Patrick. That's all pretty Irish. 

To celebrate, my mom would cook corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day when I was growing up. However, my dad would tell you that this is one of the last things you'll actually find in Ireland for Saint Patrick's Day. He actually can say this because he has been to Ireland. He's been more than me (I've been once). The first trip was when we all went together as a family. I was much younger - high school, I believe - and all I recall eating was tomato soup and brown bread. Oh, and there was an Italian restaurant I really enjoyed. I also remember being very cold. Beautiful, but cold.

Okay, enough of my Irish jibber jabber and memory lane stuff. Let's talk celebrating. Every year, I make an effort to have a meal, treat, and/or craft. Generally, they end up being something green, Guinness, rainbow, leprechaun, or shamrock themed. But I hate it when someone says, I made avocado toast and deem it Saint Patrick's Day fare. That's all wrong. Just wrong. I want to be a little more authentic, but it's tough to do and not as cute or fun. So I tried to find a middle ground.

I started by consulting Wikipedia to be sure I was accurately informed on Saint Patricks' Day. I learned that Saint Patrick was thought to bring Christianity to Ireland. Green is associated with Catholics in Ireland and that it's said Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity. So we can say green and shamrocks are authentic. Of course, Guinness is authentic. I'm not sure about the rainbows, though. Now that we know what's more authentic, let's talk food and crafts.

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Looking Ahead: March 2018

Looking Ahead: March 2018

At the beginning of each month, I try and take a look through my calendar and see what to expect that month. Is there a friend or family member's birthday? A holiday? Somewhere we're expected to be (fingers crossed that this place is a vacation spot)? Really anything I need to plan for in advance. Mainly, I do this because Josh and I sit down (or at least discuss) at the start of each month to discuss that particular month's budget. By looking at a calendar, I know what items I want to bring into our budget planning discussion.  

The other reason I do this is to see if I need to do any research for a project - art, baking, cooking, etc. For example, in February for Valentine's Day, I did a little art project with Caleb to make Valentine's Day cards for the grandparents. Then I also made brownies as a special Valentine's Day treat. So I had to do some research on Valentine's Day projects that you can do with a toddler. I also needed to secure budget for art supplies. 

Being prepared and organized is tough! I am not perfect, no sir ye. I wish I were, though, and I keep trying. 

I just went through my calendar and here are some things I thought you might want to be aware of as well. 

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