Before I unplug for the weekend, I wanted to share my usual Thing I’m Loving Friday roundup of favorites with you guys! Please see below for a short list of things that made me smile this week and, as always, please feel free to share a little bit about something that you’re loving right now in the comments section of this post.
Have a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!!
Things I’m Loving Friday
My mom signed Ryder up for Lovevery Play Kits just before his first birthday and after receiving a kit, I cannot rave about these beautiful baby and toddler toys, books and puzzles enough. Lovevery Play Kits are designed by experts (researchers, academics and practitioners in the fields of psychology, development, occupational therapy, and education) and are especially created for a child’s specific learning stages. They’re all about “playtime with a purpose” and use science-backed research to create toys to engage the brains of babies and children in a way that’s both purposeful and age-appropriate. The play kits contain a research-backed play guide that explain what the toys included in every box do and offer tips and activity ideas for increased bonding with your baby or child. All products in the kits are made with organic cotton, sustainably forested wood and baby-safe plastics and aesthetically I can tell you that they are all absolutely beautiful.
Ryder’s most recent play kit, The Babbler (for toddlers 13-15 months old), arrived soon after his birthday and he’s been infatuated with the toys in this kit ever since! Chase also loves Ryder’s play kit and seems to really enjoy showing his brother how to use the various toys and creating new games with them as well. I think this is the kind of product that would make such a wonderful gift for a new mom or a one-year-old’s birthday that feels personal yet practical.
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
This book was a recent blog reader recommendation (thank you, Andrea) and it was unlike any book I’ve read before. It is very disturbing but also completely engrossing. The book follows the life of Stella Fortuna, a strong-willed, beautiful, contemptuous woman, from her birth through old age, as she narrowly escapes death a multitude of times. As told by Stella’s granddaughter, the story is challenging to read at times, intense, heartbreaking, eye-opening and captivating. Now an old woman, Stella and her younger sister, Tina, haven’t spoken in many years, a rift that began after one of Stella’s many accidents. As young girls and adult women, Stella and Tina were incredibly close, a bond that began during childhood as they lived in poverty in a small Italian village and strengthened through their journey to America when they emigrated with their family prior to World War II. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna attempts to explain how this rift came to be while also detailing Stella’s life, her struggles against her father and men and her intense desire for independence.
I stumbled upon this article on Wednesday and loved the way it offered a simple piece of parenting advice that seems like it would make a huge difference: “Let your face speak what’s in your heart.” When your children walk into a room, do they see a face that’s happy to see them or a critical eye? Do you light up and smile at your children or glance over them and tell them to fix something about their appearance? It’s a simple piece of advice but so, so powerful. The article is short but absolutely worth a read.
Ancient Harvest POW! Pasta
On Wednesday night, our family dug into pasta that was made solely with – get this – lentils and quinoa. What!? Isn’t that awesome? The Ancient Harvest team sent me two boxes of their POW! Power Protein Pasta to try and since we’re big rotini fans in our house, I broke into the red lentil rotini first. I topped it with a turkey bolognese sauce and our family loved every bite. We will absolutely be buying more of these pasta in the future!
Mason Jar Chia Seed Pudding (I made this to have on hand for an afternoon snack yesterday and was reminded how much I love this easy recipe!)
20 Minute Total Body Workout (A fast-paced workout with picture demos of the exercises!)
Question of the Day
What is one thing making you smile this week?