Category / Motherhood

Favorite Places to Shop and Top 3 Tips for Dressing Boys

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

cardigan Beau Hudson // tee Jean & June // jeans Hudson // boots Hunter

There’s no question if you’re into kid fashion, it’s easier to hunt down original stuff for the girls than for the boys. So far, we’ve managed to stay away from character clothing (yes, I’m THAT non-fun mom), and I’ve never been one to do the cliche “little slugger” type stuff. And…I can only do so much Under Armour. Beyond those categories, it can SEEM like there’s not much to choose from for the boys. But boy mama fashionistas, you know better!

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com  

shirt Janie & Jack // suspenders Little Mister // olive chinos Oshkosh

Embrace the hunt, because it IS a hunt — and look in unexpected places…and LIVE UP the fact that most little boys (unlike girls, accordingly to my friends who have them) don’t CARE what you put them in — so pick what you like! As a boy mom who loves fashion, (and married a guy who happens to love it as well), I truly believe that dressing boys really IS just as much fun, if you’re willing to look a little harder. I a believer that a sense of style is NOT something reserved only for the female half of the population and I take personal pride in the fact that Crew (as much as a three year old can), LIKES clothing and notices what people wear!

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

shirt Gymboree // linen blazer Janie & Jack // carrot pin Etsy

I get asked a lot where I shop for Crew, and thought it made sense to compile my list all at once and share it out. (You’ll see I don’t stick to one style — we go from classic and preppy to whimsical and wordy!) While I certainly do pick up something from Target and Carters from time to time, I don’t often have much luck, and while I definitely buy Gap and Old Navy items (they consistently nail cuteness!), I only do so much there, too, because EVERYONE is wearing the same thing (again, so few resources — means boy moms are all going to the same spots!).

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

shirt Gap // shorts Gymboree // sandals Target

Ultimately, I do most of my shopping online to get outside the bubble of what Des Moines has to offer. Below is a list of the stores/brands I have purchased from and would recommend to my best girlfriends, because of the high quality, sense of style, expansive selection, or some combination of the three. (Note that several of these are Etsy shops or small independent brands — I love to support small businesses in this arena!)

My top 3 tips when it comes to shopping for boys:

1. Shop the sale racks. Most people buy kids clothes based on growth spurts and needs for the current season. I like to shop the sales for the following year(s) and not just to save money, and to be able to fit more pieces of higher-quality kidswear into my budget, but doing so also reduces the chance that you’ll see the same item everywhere if he’s not wearing it the season it was released. (Nothing worse than paying good money for a cute item only to see it everywhere and it becomes less special!) Additional tip: when shopping at a retailer with both store locations AND online space, look for the items that are “online exclusives” — you’ll be less likely to see these around, because they aren’t in the stores.

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

shirt Ralph Lauren // shorts Gymboree // pink Converse Von Maur

2. Shop the girls’ section. Yep, you read that right. If the (already much larger!) girl department gets to offer dinosaur jammies and other “traditionally boy” things for little ladies, then I say the boy department gets to borrow right back. One of my favorite looks ever on Crew was the spring/Easter season this year when he rocked some pink Converse tennis shoes. Paired with a linen blazer, or a Polo button-down and some chino shorts, or any other decidedly “boy” pieces, the pink shoes made a fun statement (and he loved them!). Another favorite girl department item I’ve bought three years in a row? H&M black fleece-lined leggings (they technically show up in both departments) — the skinny look works on boys when paired with a cool sweatshirt and tennis shoes, and they’re comfy for napping, stay up on skinny waists, and are warm for Iowa winters!

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

coat Old Navy // sweater Childrens Place // bow tie Etsy // shorts Beaufort Bonnet // saddle shoes Amazon

3. Shop small/local. Because they have to set themselves apart, local/small online shops get some of the BEST stuff that blows the big box-store styles out of the water. Their entire business is childrenswear, so they do it WELL. Yes, the price point is typically higher, but so is the QUALITY and the ORIGINALITY – two things that rank high in my book. Plus, you’re supporting small businesses who often make their purchasing/creation decisions based on their first-hand experience with their own kiddos — the same ones you’re supporting by choosing to spend your dollars there.

tips + resources for dressing boys | www.29thanddelight.com

navy and gray layered tees Old Navy // yellow chinos Old Navy

Above are some of my favorite outfits from the past year or so, from all seasons (if items are still available, I’ve linked them below each photo). I’m excited to start pulling together quarterly posts with seasonal outfit ideas for boys, if you’re looking for some “look book” inspiration! Stay tuned later this week — I’m starting with looks for SPRING!

The “Crew”Neck — Personalized Patch Kid Sweatshirt

You don’t have to look far to see the patch trend is everywhere — and particularly big in kid’s clothing. One piece of  this trend goes a long way for me, but I thought it would be such a fun way to capture everything that makes Crew, CREW right now, at age 3.

He LOVES to spot the letter C everywhere, and 3 is his current favorite number, so those were easy places to start. But it was when I was able to find a garbage truck patch on Etsy,  that I knew this project was a must-do.

 

 

I pinned a few example pieces to get a feel for arrangement and relative sizes of patches. I ended up ordering this  sweatshirt, as Crew isn’t super big on zip-ups right now (he thinks anything with a zipper is for going outside only, he has yet to understand the heavenly-ness of a hoodie!) and I didn’t want this piece to be limited to outerwear.

The C patch and the 3 patch came from Amazon, everything else was from a variety of sellers on Etsy, although Ebay is a great resource as well if you’re looking for something super-specific. For a 4T sweatshirt, I’d keep the patches smaller, around 1-1/2″ average size. I actually started with a much bigger slice of pizza (admittedly, I wasn’t paying close attention to  the size description) and ended up swapping for something smaller.

When you’re shopping for your patches, I’d recommend varying the sizes and colors and shapes of the patches — I opted to start with a focal point (I knew I wanted the letter jacket “C” to be prominent) — and then built everything else around that. It SEEMS random to throw them all on there, but it took me a few minutes of arranging to get everything to “work” on here and keep it balanced.

Yes, this was a project for my enjoyment, but I’m happy my model is thrilled with it, too.

Classroom Valentines: Heart Crayons and 3-D Suckers

I have to say, I’ve loved every stage, but three is proving to be particularly fun with all of its enthusiasm. When I started to explain Valentine’s Day to Crew, and that we were going to make valentines to give his friends, he was ON. BOARD. to say the least.

I started with something he could truly make — you’ve seen these all over Pinterest — heart-shaped crayons. I will say, grouping these into like colors is key…they look like a hot mess if you just mix random hues. Also — tip: Soak the crayons in warm water to make the paper wrappers easier to remove. Once bare, break them into pieces and bake for 15 minutes at 250, popping them out once they’ve cooled. We used this silicone mold and it was the perfect size and super easy to remove the hearts.

I thought about making the crayons part of his cards, but instead we focused on the holy grail — suckers. Another idea I can’t take credit for, as it already exists around cyberspace: 3D sucker cards. I put Crew in his VDay shirt and among MANY outtakes, (so much “cheeeeese” and eyes closed lately — coupled with holding his arm the right way!) we finally got a shot we could use.

If you attempt this, definitely ask your kiddo to hold his/her arm out in FRONT of them (so the hand is as large as possible to give you space to poke the sucker through) and also out to the SIDE (so the sucker doesn’t end up in front of their face). Don’t shoot too close, allowing plenty of room on the sides to hold both the weight of the sucker and any message you want to add. I laid my text out in photoshop, sampling the red font color from his shirt. I can’t say enough good things about printing with Mpix — I send all my photo clients there! — and when wallets didn’t seem quite big enough to support the suckers, but 4×6 seemed like overkill, I went with 3.5 x 5 prints.

You might say we’re suckers for a good holiday project. 😉

 

Our Favorite Christmas Books

I have the fondest memories of pulling out favorite Christmas books each year as a kid and it’s been so fun to continue that tradition with Crew. Our stash has grown quite a bit this year, as we’ve moved firmly out of the baby/board book phase, and into the “real” storybooks. It’s fun to pull out old favorites, and discover new works and authors.

WHEN SANTA WAS A BABY. For a little boy who LOVES to talk about how he used to be a baby, and thinks Santa is his bestie, this book hits all the right notes. Love the illustrations in this and the story is so charming.

THE POLAR EXPRESS. Of course. Whether or not you have a train fanatic, this is a classic. And hit home especially hard this year when we were able to ride a “Polar Express” train in a nearby town and Santa handed out bells. The movie has been captivating as well!

OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER. Crew is drawn to stories with animal main characters, so I knew this one would be a favorite. Love the clever take on the classic song lyric.

WHY CHRISTMAS TREES AREN’T PERFECT. This is one I remember loving as a kid and while it’s still a bit wordy for an almost three-year-old, we paraphrase it to get the message across.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Another classic and we are big fans of Dr. Seuss in general. Crew is starting to find the silly words and quirky characters funnier as he gets a bit older and understands the oddity of this writing style. Again, we love (both) movie versions of this fun story.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. We have a couple versions of this story but this one is, hands down, the coolest pop-up book I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a work of art, and Crew is fascinated with each page (some of them interactive). For a rather wordy and old fashioned story (who is this St. Nick they speak of?! And why is he smoking?! LOL) the elaborate art keeps him engaged and following along.

OLIVIA HELPS WITH CHRISTMAS. Crew has been an Olivia fan for a while — he gets a kick out of her naughty antics. So of course, this was a natural pick to keep the mischief going.

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS. This was one of the books that really helped Crew to “get” the whole idea of getting ready for Christmas (decorating, baking, etc) but also that Santa just comes on ONE night, not all month long. 🙂 Plus the scratch and sniff stickers are a fun sensory way to experience the season.

(Looking for younger readers? We’ve loved both Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – complete with twinkling lights at the end! – and Dream Snow by Eric Carle — love that you can feel the bumps of snowflakes!)

I’m a sucker for children’s books in general, so I love to hear what others are reading. Which good Christmas reads did I miss??

Halloween Classroom Treats

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.29thanddelight.com

I’ve always loved Halloween — it’s smack dab in the middle of gorgeous, festive, fall and the costumes, treats, and traditions are all so much fun. It’s a new (less spooky!) kind of fun with a kiddo, and this is the first year that Crew can actually understand reading and talking about trick-or-treating, answer people who ask him what he’s going to be, and (somewhat) understands how far off it is…(“I think Halloween is in two more tomorrows, Mom!”).

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.29thanddelight.com

The minute the merchandise hits the stores, I’m all over it. Because we can’t bring homemade treats to school, I kept an eye out for individually wrapped candies, and per Crew’s interest in bugs, found some little spring spiders that you push down to “lock” and then a few moments later they jump a couple feet in the air, to the delight of a certain two-year-old. Sold. I can’t take credit for the “bugs and kisses” — I saw it somewhere on Pinterest at some point and it stuck in my head! The spiders are from Target and I used these treat bags), and whipped up a business card size design to fold in half length-wise and staple across the tops. Quick and cute!

Toddler Halloween Garbage Man Costume

I always appreciate some costume idea inspiration sooner than later — so today I’m sharing Crew’s costume he’ll be donning in a few short weeks (and who are we kidding, several times before then!).

It was no surprise that of course Crew wanted to be a garbage man for Halloween (the first year he’s had any kind of say!). I had grabbed the vest at IKEA for dress-up (he’s a size 3T and it’s the smallest size they make — Youth XS). To make it a little more special, I ordered an iron-on patch with his name. As much as I love to make his costumes as opposed to buying them, we just had to have a piece of legit merchandise directly from Mecca — this youth size trucker hat was perfect, and he was SO excited when I showed it to him.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

Obviously, the best way to haul his loot this year would be in what else — a garbage can. We bought a black Sterilite flip-lid style, hit it with some green spray paint, and added a WM decal bought on eBay. Even though it said it was meant for plastic, the spray paint is pretty delicate and scratches/flakes easily, so right before Beggars Night arrives, I’ll probably hit it again for touch-ups.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

Page added two replacement 7” plastic grill wheels by running a threaded rod through the back-bottom of the can. Eight washers, two nuts, and two stop nuts later, Crew was mobile.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

To make it easier to pull, Page added a wooden handle that he also sprayed with the same paint. He drilled it directly into the back of the can.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

Crew has himself a mini-version of the big guy, and he could NOT be more excited!

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

And if you’re in search of more ideas…see how we embraced the pacifier last year when Crew went as a scuba diver (and Dad was the shark who chased him!) and his very first Halloween when he went as Albert Einstein (scroll to the bottom of that post). 🙂 Happy costume planning!

Finishing the Basement: the play space

I definitely jinxed myself saying we’d have flooring in for the next post — nope, backordered, then backordered FURTHER, and the latest update is that the mill is now making a whole new run of our carpet, so yes…more waiting.

So I figured in the meantime, I can still share some updated “in progress” pictures — this time, of the play space. This little cove wraps around the bottom half of our stairwell, forming an under-stairs clubhouse spot on the right, and a closet designated solely for toys (and storing baby gear up top) to the left.

IMG_7006

I have since finished arranging all the components just the way I like them (we went with the Ikea “Algot” system, and so far, I’ve been very pleased!). I’ve also been slowly relocating a few toys from upstairs down here — which will be a fun rediscovery for Crew when he can get down here to play in what is (hopefully!) a couple more weeks.
toy closet in progress

We still have some work to do on the clubhouse. Since the first photo above was taken, our electrician installed both a light inside, and the “porch light” on the outside. We’ve purchased some plank style paneling that Page will rip into the shape of a house, and edge with some leftover trim we have on hand. Finally, when he builds a sliding barn door for the bottom of the stairway to help muffle some sound, his plan is to create a mini version to serve as Crew’s front door. I’m thinking a mailbox and/or a flower box of some sort is in order to make it especially homey! 🙂

PlaySpace

I’m waiting to take pics of the inside until it’s truly finished, but decorating this little spot has been so much fun! We will back soon (fingers crossed!!) with the reveal!

our favorite baby gear

toptenbabygear

There are about a million too many products on the baby gear market, so narrowing down choices is SUPER hard. It goes a long way for me if I’ve heard first-hand that something is particularly awesome, holds up, washes well, etc. On a nearly daily basis I come into contact with something that I think “ahh, I’m so glad we decided to buy/register for this”. (There are also those items you thought you’d need and are still in the packaging…sigh.) But in an attempt to focus on the former, I give you our “must list”, nine months into this baby gig!

  1. All the swaddle blankets. I thought people were crazy when I was told to register for 8-12 of these. Seriously? Seriously. Crew was a winter baby, so he was constantly bundled in one of these lightweight layers over his outfit, as well as at night. I worried for the investment that the short swaddle stage would be over and we’d have to pack them away, but as it became safe to put him down with a blanket, I felt better knowing these were “breathable”, and he’s become attached to them. He loves to snuggle with one of these at bedtime, nine months later. They also weigh nothing and can wad up pretty small, so they’re fantastic for travel — we’ve thrown them on an airport terminal floor for layover playtime, covered a sleeping baby from glaring sun while we moved him in or out of the car, used them as impromptu changing pads in a pinch, and for countless other nose-wipes, spit-up dabs, and other events you just can’t always plan for and reach for the nearest piece of fabric. 🙂 Aden swaddles are very popular but my favorites were more unusual designs from some newer brands like Lulujo, Coveted Things, and Addison Belle (whose stock hits Amazon exclusively the end of this month). All three are SUPER soft (and get even softer with each wash!).AddisonBelleFOX05
  2. Munchkin Loft baby gates. I was a little taken aback at the price tag, but for something we use daily and provides safety for our child, (and okay…they LOOK good in our house, which was important!) I love that these babies just kind of blend in, don’t scream “baby on board!”. They open/close smoothly, and don’t have the frame across the floor for people to trip on (so annoying!). They also have a quick release feature, so you can take the whole gate off the supports at a moment’s notice — fantastic if you have people over and don’t want them to have to keep maneuvering around all your baby-proofing.
  3. Boon highchair. Another item that we use daily and the ease-of-use factors just make everything a little bit easier when it comes to mealtime. I love that the tray cover pops off to rinse or run through the dishwasher, the whole chair glides around the room if we need it to, the height adjusts should we want him to sit at the counter while we prep, or at the table while we eat, and the style again (ours is grey with green insert) just BLENDS with the house a bit more – no obnoxious baby colors or designs to bum me out.11056629_10103242907609099_132718121208992064_n
  4. The Jolly Jumper. All the credit goes to Page on this one — after my request that a jumper not be “ugly and babyish” (do you see the theme here??), he found this gem that is not only unobtrusive to look at, but folds away flat to stash as needed. And of course the most important part…Crew lost. his. mind. bouncing away!jollyjumper
  5. The Boppy Lounger. If I could, I would go back in time and put this one on my baby registry. We ended up borrowing ours from a friend when Crew hit about three months, and used it daily until he was comfortably sitting on his own. This “dog pillow” as Page refers to it (ha!) is the perfect landing spot for a babe who wants to sit just a bit more upright and see what’s going on – and it’s lightweight and easy to move from one spot to another, as opposed to something larger like a swing or cradle.
  6. Sophie. I didn’t get why a teething toy needed to cost more than twenty dollars…until I saw this thing in action. It was one of the first toys Crew could really get a hold of and maneuver. It’s still one of his favorite things to gnaw on as he works on each new tooth!
  7. Dohm sound machine. A key ingredient to Crew’s sleep was white noise, but as we quickly learned, most devices that provide this turn off after 30 minutes or so. Which would be fine…except that the sudden lack of sound would wake him up. We’ve plugged this machine in on the floor under his crib and it runs all night. The switch is easy to hit with your toe, so if your hands are full with a drowsy baby, no need to bend over and fumble around for the on/off button.
  8. Ktan wrap. Yes. Yes. Yes. At so many points this thing came to my rescue. I admittedly didn’t even get it out until Crew was nearly a month old, after hearing from other mom friends that you need to acclimate babies to wraps early, otherwise they don’t like them. (Not sure if that’s true, but I followed the advice!) When Crew hit his hold-me-all-the-time phase from about week 4 to week 6, this was the ONLY way to keep him calm as we moved to our new house, and just went through daily life in general. As he was able to hold his head on his own, we tried a couple other positions but ultimately didn’t start using it heavily again until he could face out (his favorite) at which point it was awesome for running errands in which we didn’t need to haul a stroller around, or when I wasn’t up for lugging his carseat with us.

  9. NoseFrida Snot Sucker Yes, I was horrified, too, until I saw it in action and the relief Crew felt during his first cold. Have a drink if you need to beforehand, but this sucker (literally) is the bomb when your babe is under the weather.
  10. Natursutten pacifier. I wish they were a bit cooler looking, but this was the pacifier that won out in the long haul for the Crew-man. He began with a wubbanub animal and the newborn stage soothie pacifier that came with it. But as that got too small, he wasn’t interested in the same pacifier next size up, but still wanted something to suck when he fell asleep. This little wonder showed up in a Blum box one month so I offered it to our mini man and the rest is history.

Always curious to hear what others just couldn’t live without! I’m sure I missed some things here!

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