That Time When She Got a Horse for Christmas

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When I was a little girl, I dreamed about having a horse to call my very own. I had no idea what I would name it, but I knew exactly what I would do with it. I would keep the horse up in my room. It would have its own bed next to mine. Whenever I felt bad or sad, I would hop on it and ride it around the house and neighborhood. I would have the horse go fast, faster and faster, until we were running together, feeling the wind lift us up. It would be like flying, but better somehow.

As I got older, my dreams got less grandiose. I became more grounded in reality. I still dreamed about having a horse of my own. But I wouldn’t keep it in my bedroom. That would be silly. The horse wouldn’t fit, for one. For another, it would make such a mess, and my mother hated messes.

I would dream about riding a horse across a huge open pasture. I would ride it off to the sunset, feeling the wind in my stubbornly straight hair. It would be just like the movies. I would feel the lifeblood of the horse rushing underneath me. And I would clutch the mane of the horse for dear life.

Now, I never ended up getting a horse. That was just a dream. Some dreams are destined to come true, and some aren’t. That’s just life. But it’s okay, because we wouldn’t have had the room for a horse. And horses are a lot of work. The fantasy was still amazing, breathtaking, and beautiful though.

Still, even though my own dream of having a real life horse never came true, I was still determined to make it a reality for my daughter. So, the Christmas before last, I ordered a special horse to be delivered to the house. After a few hours of labor and care, everything was prepared on Christmas Eve morning. I was ready to surprise her with this special gift.

When she first saw the horse, she was excited and exuberant. But she was also intimidated and scared, because it was a little bit too tall for her petite frame. With help however, she was able to straddle the horse, wrapping her legs around the horse’s middle very tightly and placing her feet securely in the stir-ups.

She grinned broadly as she led her horse forward. The horse said neigh, neigh, and she said wow. I said wow too, as I watched her go back and forth, back and forth, in a repetitive motion.

Nearly two years later, we still have the horse. It has a special home in one corner of our house. When she remembers, which isn’t that often, she feeds it carrots and brushes its long, black mane. She loves to give her horse a hug. She loves to go fast on her horse. She even begs for her baby brother to ride with her, but he just isn’t old enough to go riding yet.

Click to learn more about the Radio Flyer Interactive Riding Horse!

So, even though I never got a horse for Christmas, I wanted to get one for my daughter. That is one of the best things about having kids. You get to relive your childhood.

What was the best Christmas gift that you’ve ever received?

Toy Review: Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table

(This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.).

It is a well known fact by … well, me … that I don’t normally condone battery operated toys. Noise-makers is what I call them. I believe that most battery operated toys only serve to entertain and not educate. I believe that the best toys are ones that are simple and plain. I believe that toys work best when children can learn a useful skill from them.

But, I have to say that Baby Einstein’s Discovering Music Activity Table is different. Even though it is very clearly operated by batteries and makes a lot of obnoxious noises, there are five distinct and useful reasons why this toy is truly one of the best for babies and toddlers.

1–It Is Multilingual

If you know me and my background, you know that I pride myself on my ability to speak more than one language. As a result, I love toys that teach languages in addition to English. I strongly believe that languages are best learned at a young age — in fact, the younger the better. This activity table in particular features three language modes — English, Spanish, and French.

My four year old was playing with this table the other day. She suddenly looked up and informed me that the number five was ‘cinco.’ I agreed with her, inwardly proud that this toy was enforcing foreign language skills. Even though she is bilingual, my goal is for her to be able to speak as many languages as possible.

2–It Grows With ‘Em

It is common knowledge that baby gear and toys are expensive. That is why it is cost efficient to buy things that can grow with the baby. I love that this toy can be used from the time that the baby is, well, a baby up until age four or even five depending on the the interest of the child. It starts off in ‘sitting mode’ sans table legs and then ends with ‘standing mode’ with table legs.

In my case, both my 8 month old and 4 and a half year old love playing with this table. They are both mesmerized by the colors, the lights, and the sounds. It is a combination that is designed to enchant even the most stoic, stubborn child.

3–It Teaches ‘Em About Music

Music is commonly thought of as the universal language. You can communicate with many diverse groups of people and cultures through music, even if you don’t know how to speak the language. Even though I myself don’t have a lot of experience with music or playing music, I still realize the value of music. I still want my children to be able to see, to hear, and most of all, to feel the music.

This table teaches kids about eight different instruments: drums, guitar, trumpet, flute, harp, xylophone, violin, and piano. You can press and hear the sounds of the respective instruments. You can play the piano keys and watch in fascination as it lights up.

4–It Teaches ‘Em About Numbers, Colors, and Shapes

Now, this table seems to have it it all: multiple languages and instruments. But, did you know that it can also teach the child their numbers, colors, and shapes? I love to repeat the numbers one to five in a fun, sing-song voice, and then watch as my baby smiles back at me. As he gets older, I can ask him what color is this, or what color is that. I can do the same with the shapes on the table.

5–It Encourages Their Creativity

A toy that encourages creativity is a keeper. Now it may seem that this noisemaker of a toy may be limited in terms of creativity. But I can tell you first hand that this toy can in fact encourage kids’ creative thinking abilities. For example, as I sit here writing this, my son just tried — and successfully — to crawl under the table. They can pretend that the table is a tunnel and they have to go solve the musical riddles in order to get to the others side.

As he gets older, I can encourage him to play a tune with the five piano keys Or, I can ask him to play a catchy song using the various instruments on the table.

But, what I love most about this table is that there is a huge smiley face in the middle, as a constant reminder to even the youngest of kids that we should never stop smiling. I look at that smiley face, and I just can’t help but smile back. That is the kind of attitude that I want my children to experience day in and day out.

To recap, the Baby Einstein’s Discovering Music Activity Table teaches babies and toddlers three different languages and eight different instruments. Despite the noise, it is a classic toy that does provide value to small children for many years to come. Also, unlike many baby oriented items on the market, it likely won’t break the bank as it retails for less than thirty-five bucks on Amazon.


Speaking of toys, what was your favorite childhood toy?

My Top Five Avocado Themed Products on Amazon!

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

So, if you’ve read my previous post, it’s no secret that I absolutely love avocado. I love to wake up in the morning, cut an avocado in half, and then dig in. Literally. I love avocados a lot but I actually don’t own anything that is avocado shaped or print. I don’t have an avocado t-shirt, mug, belt, or purse. So, I recently went on the hunt on Amazon.com and found these really cool merchandise that are avocado themed or shaped or whatever. The point is, they look like avocados. How cool is that?

So, without further ado… here we go:

Coming in at number one, we have the Avocado Pool Floatie.

How awesome would it be to have a huge floatie in the shape of a green avocado. It even comes with a pool ball. The shape of this floatie is that beautiful oval shape that we associate with avocados. It’s not just a boring old rectangular floatie. No, this one has character. It has curves. It is round. It is oval. It is just beautiful.

Next on the list is a 28-ounce bottle perfect for water, soda, juice, as well as mixing up shakes and smoothies.

As a breastfeeding mom, I am constantly thirsty, And I mean, thirsty. I am constantly refueling myself with that good ol’ H20. So what better way to show my avocado-love than by using a bottle with a dancing avocado? That dancing avocado on the cup looks so cute. It is even holding its seed in such a careful, deliberate way, like a baby. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of the color green but this shade of green is easy on the eyes. And it’s the same green as the inside of the avocado. Total win for me!

The next item on my list would be have to be this adorable coffee mug:

As an online ESL teacher, I drink a cup of coffee to help me wake up in the morning. Of course, it’s more fun to drink coffee from a cute mug instead of a boring one. The handle is nice and big, perfect for holding. What I love most about this mug is that the avocados are all different shapes — some are more round, some are longer, some are shorter. Also, I like how the avocados are on a plain, white background. It’s a simple design, but it works.

This next item on the list is this adorable looking avocado bag:

As a woman, I am always looking for that perfect purse to carry my essentials, like keys, tissues, and wallet. I don’t know about you, but I like purses that aren’t too big and aren’t too small, for obvious reasons. I also like purses that have a bit of a personality, that are different and unique. This one definitely fulfills that requirement! Plus, this bag is so obviously happy. Who wouldn’t want to carry a bag that is happy? Happiness attracts more happiness.

And finally, the last thing on my list is something for the tiny people in our households:

I love avocados so why not get my little boy an avocado toy? I can pass along my love of avocado to him, literally. And he has something fun and colorful to play with. Plus this toy is cute. You can attach it to a car seat or a stroller. It is perfect for at home or on the go play.

Do you have any avocado products? Which products do you like? Please share in the comments below!

iRobot Roomba 675 Robotic Vacuum Review

A few months ago, I purchased the iRobot Roomba 675 Robotic Vacuum. I purchased this vacuum because, truth be told, I hate to vacuum. It is undoubtedly my least favorite chore. So, if there’s a machine that can do the job for me, then I’m all for it.

The Roomba 675 is the most affordable of the Roomba series. It is sleek, black, and shiny. It just looks good with any decor in the home.

The Good

  • The Roomba 675 can be controlled using the iRobot app or by manually clicking the shiny button on the vacuum. The layout of the iRobot app is white, minimal, and easy to navigate. On the app, you can schedule cleanings for the week and turn on the vacuum. This feature is especially handy if you are away from home.
  • I love that there are only three buttons on the vacuum itself: clean, dock, and spot. By pushing the “clean” button, the vacuum will start a cleaning job, using high tech sensors to detect dirt. By pushing the “dock” button, the vacuum with return to its home, or the charging station. By pushing the “spot” button, you authorize the vacuum to clean a small area of the carpet. What I like most about this button is that the Roomba can give a small area a more thorough cleaning in a small area. This would be good to vacuum under the kitchen table after the kids spilled some cereal.
  • The Roomba 675 can run for at least an hour before it needs to head back home to be charged. During that hour, it does a great job collecting dust and debris. It can also collect debris from the edges and corners in the room.

The Bad

  • The Roomba 675 is loud. It’s hard to hear the TV or music when the vacuum is in the same room cleaning away.
  • This basic vacuum does not have mapping technology like the more advanced (and more expensive) Roomba models.

Basically, the Roomba 675 is a good basic model. It does its job well and is easy to operate.

Do you have a robotic vacuum? Which one do you use? Do you think they are worth the hype?

Photo by Jens Mahnke on Pexels.com

The Best Little Chair

My five month old boy sitting in his Ingenuity Booster Seat.

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

I believe that a good chair works wonders for the body and soul. A good chair can mean the difference between having a sore back and being well rested. It’s why millions of people spend loads of money and time looking for that elusive perfect chair for their office.

Well, it’s no different for babies. Like adults, babies too need a comfortable place to sit when playing, eating, drinking, or just hanging out.

But there are so many baby chairs on the market. How to choose the right one for baby?

I knew that I didn’t want to buy him a high chair. For one, some of them cost upwards of a hundred dollars. For another, they take up a lot of space. Since we live in an apartment, it has taught me that every square foot counts. That’s why it’s even more important to purchase things that are versatile and have multiple purposes.

In the end, I purchased this Ingenuity Booster Seat for my son. I love that it can easily be strapped to the dining room chair. It won’t take up the previous floor space that we desperately need for play and work. Also, he would be able to join us at the table when he begins eating.

I also love that this booster seat is designed to grow with baby. It can be used starting from the moment that baby is able to sit up or around four to six months until the baby is around three to four years old. In fact, my four year old has used it as a booster seat. Just take the support cushion out, store the tray in the handy bottom compartment, and voila! It transforms into a booster seat for the big kid in the family. There’s even a handy dandy seat belt to keep the little one safe.

The seat is not just a high chair for eating. The baby can practice sitting up. Just put a toy (preferably a toy with a suction-base) on the tray for the baby to play with. It’s basically like one of those infamous bumbo chairs but at like half the price of one.

I just love this chair and it is definitely a really great buy for babies, toddlers, and even big kids.

What is your favorite chair?

The Five Best Essentials for Newborn Baby

My baby at 1 month old, sitting in his boppy

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

Four years ago, I published a blog post about what I thought was absolutely essential for a newborn baby. Two kids later, I wanted to update that post with some of the things that have come in handy for baby during the fourth trimester.

1–Muslin Swaddle Blankets

I didn’t use Muslin Swaddle Blankets for my first baby, but did so with my second baby. The difference is unbelievable. Unlike the cheap store brand receiving blankets, the Muslin blankets are so soft and versatile. It comes in so many different colors and patterns so it can match any nursery or furniture.

I love that I can use these blankets to swaddle my baby. It can also be used as a floor mat, a baby security blanket, or a burp cloth. It’s so breathable and lightweight and I am so in love with this particular item. I love the Muslin fabric so much that I also bought a Muslin bandanna bib for my baby.

2–Boppy Original Nursing Pillow

I had the Boppy Nursing Pillow for both of my kids, albeit different ones. The one pictured below is the one that I got for my youngest child. But what I love most about this particular pillow is not the pattern (which I love), but how versatile it is. I can prop my baby in it on the floor, bed, crib, or anywhere really. It’s like a bouncer in that it is a safe place for baby to rest, but a lot softer. I like to think of it as a pregnancy pillow for babies.

As baby gets older, it can be used to facilitate tummy time. When baby starts to sit up, the baby can sit in the center of the pillow, which helps to support and keep the baby balanced.

Oh, I almost forgot its most important function. It can be used to nurse or bottle feed a baby. Just put the boppy on your lap and then put the baby on it. It elevates the baby so that you are not straining your back while feeding him.

3–Skip Hop Diaper Bag

This is the diaper bag I got for my second child. With two kids, I knew that I wanted something bigger with plenty of space for the kids and myself. Well, this bag has plenty of that. There are so many pockets that I don’t even use some of them. I love that there are two huge side compartments, one for baby and one for mom. In one of the compartments, I put my personal stuff, like keys, wallet, receipts, etc. In the other compartment, I put the baby stuff like pacifiers, diapers, wipes, and baby towels. There’s a big compartment in the middle, which boasts the biggest space of them all. Here I put spare clothes and blankets.

The two side pockets are perfect for storing drinks. I love that the front pockets are of different sizes for both functionality and aesthetic appeal. I also love that the straps are too long so that the bag isn’t dragging. I can carry it easily on my shoulder.

All in all, I love love love this bag. There’s so much room and I recommend it to any mom who needs something to put in all the baby paraphernalia. Maybe I’ll do a what’s in my diaper bag post.

4–Gerber 4 Pack Sleep n’ Play

If you have to buy clothes, then buy these. Buy sleep n’ plays and make sure that they have zippers. I repeat: make sure that they have zippers. Zippers are amazing. Trust me, you don’t want to have to be putting a newborn baby in one of these at three in the morning working on all the buttons. The zippers are quick and painless. When you are postpartum, recovering, and sleep deprived, you’ll be glad that you bought these.

5–Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier

I actually bought this when my baby was three months old. But I wish I had bought this sooner. This carrier can be used starting when the baby is a week old until the baby child is three or even four years old. There’s a safety strap for the tiniest of babies inside the pouch.

What I like the most is that there is a breastfeeding cover for the baby. If the baby is nursing or even sleeping, you can throw the cover over the baby for some privacy. There is also a pocket for your wallet or phone. Another thing that is unique is that I can adjust the temperature simply by unzipping or zipping up the mesh fabric.

It’s super comfortable for me to wear, with padded shoulder straps and a supporter for the back. I love it and plan on using it for a long time.

Do you agree? What do you need for your newborn? What do you regret buying?

The Best Jumper for Baby

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

4 months old & jumping!

My youngest child is four five months old tomorrow. Ever since he was a newborn fresh out of the womb, he loved being upright. He loved it when I would gently cradle him against my shoulder. If he was ever fussy, we would just put him on our shoulders and he would (9 times out of 10) stop crying instantly.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to get him a jumper. He loves being upright. He loves it when I support him in a standing position, letting him push off with his strong feet and legs. I bought this jumper and from the first moment he was placed in it he was thrilled. He loves to stand and jump in it.

What I love about this jumper that is different from other jumpers on the market is that it is extremely lightweight and portable. I can pick it up and put it in the kitchen, the living room, or any room in the house. Most stationery jumpers are just that… stationery. And big and bulky. I can just pick up this with one hand and then put him in the jumper and let him jump away.

Another perk about this jumper is that it can be used indoors and outdoors. It even comes with an attachable canopy to help protect the baby from the sun’s harmful rays. I’ve used this jumper on our patio and plan to take it to the beach or the pool soon.

What jumper have you used for your kids? What baby gear do you like the best?

Top 5 Must-Have Toddler Toys

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

Previously, I wrote a post about the Top 5 Must Have Toys for Babies. Today, I will write about the top five toys for toddlers, or kids ages 1 to 3. Similar to the baby toys, these toys were selected based on not only their timelessness but educational value. So, without further ado, here’s the list:

1–Megabloks

This one is such a timeless, classic toy. I bought this toy for my daughter when she was one years old. She is four and she still plays with it, though lately her constructions have become a lot more complex and sophisticated. I loved watching her figure out the individual block as a one year old, and then putting two or three pieces together. Now, she builds houses and castles and bridges with the blocks. It’s such a great educational toy for kids.

2–Kidkraft Kitchen

My daughter absolutely loves this toy. She loves to use her kitchen utensils, pots, and pans to cook up something yummy for me and her baby brother. All kids should have a kitchen to play with to encourage make-believe and imagination. I love that this kitchen isn’t made out of plastic and looks nice against her furniture.

3–B. Toys Meowsic Toy

I am a firm believer that music helps to nurture creativity and imagination. Music is just good for the soul even at the tender age of two or three. I have gotten my kids several different musical instruments because of this very reason. I particularly like this B.Toys piano because aside from being colorful and fun to look at, it boasts several different tunes. It has a microphone that kids can use to sing along to the songs. And the songs themselves are fun and, well, cats. What’s not to like?

4–Foxprint Princess Castle Play Tent

Kids love to play make believe and pretend. They also love stories about fairy tales and princesses. So who wouldn’t want their very own tent where they can be whatever the want to be? My daughter loves to play in her tent. She often calls it “her house.” She loves to look out the window on her tent and look “outside.” I love that this tent is portable and can be easily folded up and set up anywhere for indoor and outdoor play. Plus, it’s pink and what girl doesn’t love pink?

5–Toulouse Lap Trec Magnetic Sketcher

My daughter loves this magnetic sketcher. She loves to draw and write her name on it. And then she can erase it and start over with no mess. I love that it’s red and has a easy carry handle. It also features four animal stamps — rabbit, dog, cat, duck — making drawing even more fun. It’s such a great toy for toddlers and beyond.

These are some of my favorite toys for toddlers.

What toys does your child like to play with?

Top 5 Must Have Baby Toys

(Note: There are Amazon affiliate links in this postAs an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases)

Even before the birth of my first child, I knew that I didn’t want to get any toys that were loud, noisy, and plastic-y. I wanted to get my daughter toys that had some educational value and would endure through some of the more rougher toddler years. Kids are notorious for being a bit hard on their toys so toys that are good quality are a must for me. I also think that toys are engage the five senses — especially sight, hearing, touch — are wonderful toward their future development.

Here is a list of what I think are some of the best five toys on the market. Of course I am no expert and I have only tried only a small percentage of the extraordinary toys that are being marketed as I type this. I chose these five toys after careful deliberation and thought. I chose these five toys that I thought my kids have enjoyed and can continue to enjoy through the years.

1–Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Musical Crib Toy and Sound Machine

My youngest child loves the Baby Einsteins Aquarium. Whether on his tummy or his back, he loves to gaze with wonder and fascination at the moving animals. The accompanying soft lullabies that plays succeeds as calming and soothing him. In fact, even my oldest child (who is four) loves to watch the turtle, octopus, and crab swim in the little aquarium. I expect, and hope, to have this toy for many, many years graduating from attached crib toy to a nightlight. No doubt it will be a comforting presence for my child as he slowly lulls himself to sleep.

2–Fisher-a-Price Rock a Stack and Baby’s First Blocks

OK–this is actually two toys — the Rock-a-Stack and Baby’s First Blocks — but one that I feel are important for baby’s development. Both toys are colorful, built to last for several years, and most importantly, educational. The Rock-a-Stack teaches baby the different colors and shapes and even promotes their auditory sense. My first child loved to shake the red ring, which doubles as a rattle. My second child loves it as well. As he gets older, he will learn his numbers by counting the rings, learn the colors, and then eventually learn how to stack the rings onto the peg.

Like the rock-a-stack, the Baby’s First Blocks toy is just as colorful, and also promotes counting as well as visual and auditory stimulation. My first child loved to play with the shapes and then eventually learned how to fit the shapes into the corresponding holes. This toy teaches young kids how shapes work and that shapes fit into some pieces and not so well into others. This is a useful skill to learn as the child matures into adulthood and has to learn how to pack their own suitcase.

3–Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Around the Town Activity Table

I purchased this table for my youngest child quite recently. He is almost five months old and will soon be sitting. I like how that this table has two different modes. When my child is sitting, I can plop the legs off the table and he can play with it as a floor toy. When my child starts to stand, cruise, and walk, I can put the legs back on and he can play with it as an activity table. I love that this table is not just visually appealing and colorful, but that it teaches so many different songs and words in both English and Spanish. Babies and toddlers can play the piano, turn the light switch on and off, use the phone, and open and shut the doors. I’m sure that my five month old will enjoy it more and more as he grows older. In fact, my four year old loves playing with it too.

4–Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze

This one is a timeless, classic toy that kids age newborn to seven can enjoy. There’s a reason why bead mazes are often found in waiting rooms at pediatrician’s offices. Babies and toddlers can move and handle the small beads without it being a choking hazard. It is a good, safe toy that can help the fine motor skills. Babies can stare with fascination at the pretty colors and listen to the parent as they recite the names of the colors and count the beads. As the babies grow into toddlers, toddlers can play racing games with the beads. This is such a fun toy for all kids and even adults.

5–Fisher Price Fun ‘n Fold Bouncer

I bought this bouncer for my youngest child and he has loved it since the moment that he was placed in it. He has always loved laying in it and looking up at the bright, flashing lights. What I love most about this is that as baby gets older, he can kick the piano keys which makes the corresponding color and sound turn on. This helps to promote baby’s auditory and visual senses from such a young age. Also, as baby gets older, he can reach out, grab, and shake the tambourine and maracas, learning that he can create sound.

These are only five toys that I chose as “must-haves” for babies and even toddlers. I chose these because my kids have loved and enjoyed playing with them.

If you have kids, what toys do you consider to be must-haves? If you don’t have kids, what toys did you enjoy playing with as a kid?