Friday, July 19, 2019

Our Amsterdam Trip

Hi friends, and happy Friday! I'm back with part 2 of our summer vacation, this time to Amsterdam! The boys were 5 and 3, and here's everything we did while there. 

We landed late in the afternoon on a Tuesday and took the train from the airport directly to the main train station, Amsterdam Centraal, and walked to our hotel, luggage in tow. Space is TIGHT in any city center residence, but I'd highly recommend The Highland House if traveling there with kids. The hotel has options for two (or more) rooms, so the kids were able to sleep on one side while we stayed up and had a glass of wine on the other. 


After dropping off our luggage, we headed back out to stroll Dam Square, the historical center of Amsterdam. This is a great location for shopping, as well as casual restaurants with tables outside. We headed straight to the STROOPWAFELS, the most delicious caramel filled thin waffle crisps dipped in your choice of topping. The kids couldn't gulp theirs down fast enough. We then walked around the Jordaan area, across countless canals, soaking in the sites. Truly, it was one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. 






We capped our evening with a light dinner and headed back to the hotel for bed. Luckily, the kids were adjusted to the time already since we were in Finland first, so everybody slept great and woke up raring to go for Day 2. 

I had heard amazing things about a place called The Pancake Bakery, so we headed there first thing to line up before they had even opened (at 9). We did the right thing, because as soon as their doors opened, people flooded in to eat the very best Dutch pancakes OF MY LIFE. We got seated and ordered up a Caprese pancake and a ham, mushroom, and cheese pancake, while the kids ordered a "Fireman Pancake" and a "Surprise Pancake". Turns out, both of these come with toys on the side of your pancake, so the kids were super into it. Note: Make sure you try the Stroop syrup if you ever have a chance to go, a delicious molasses/sugar concoction that is a spoonful of heaven.

Next, we had purchased tickets to the Anne Frank house for an arrival at 10:30a. It was a harrowing experience that moved every single one of us. Even August asked, "How can people be so bad?" I had just finished reading Anne Frank : The Diary of a Young Girl before we left for our trip, and had read excerpts to Oskar, so he was really interested in the entire experience, too. Pictures aren't permitted inside the house, understandably, but we did capture a few on the outside. Note: tickets to the Anne Frank house are listed for sale 2 months ahead of the arrival date. Make sure you purchase yours WELL in advance, or you won't be able to get in. 


After the Anne Frank house, we headed to a near by playground, which really are all over the place and are mostly all public. The Dutch have come up with "toy grave yards", which serve as a place for people to take any of their kids' old toys or bikes. What's old becomes new again, and the kids were thrilled to ride around on old two-wheelers or tricycles and got out some energy on a jungle gym with the prettiest views. 



After this, we headed back to our hotel to relax and get ready for a Canal Cruise, an absolute must-do while in Amsterdam. There's nothing prettier than seeing the city from the water, and our tour guide even let Oskar steer the boat for us.  He was beyond excited and couldn't wait to call everybody to tell them all about it. They serve drinks aboard, and I don't think a gin and tonic ever looked or tasted so good.




Afterwards, we walked to Rembrandt Square for dinner, which was a bit of a hike for the end of a long day, but was still scenic nonetheless. We walked via the Damrak so we could see the famous Gingerbread houses. So dreamy. The kids were hangry and tired, so we ate our dinner and headed back to bed. 



The next day, we tried to grab breakfast at a place simply called "Pancakes Amsterdam" along the Damrak river (which also came very highly recommended) but the line was wrapped 5-fold around the building. We ended up at a little cafe instead, and planned out our first try at the public transportation system down to Museumplein, where all of the museums are located. Turns out, they sell tickets to buses and trams on board and provide change, so the whole process was super simple and the conductors were very helpful. We had pre-purchased 10:30a tickets to the Van Gogh museum (again, make sure to do this 2 months ahead of time), and was a toss-up on how the kids would do, but it went better than expected. They had a scavenger hunt for kids with the incentive for a prize if completed, so Oskar jumped on that and selected Van Gogh's famous "Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette" postcard when we finished it together. So much for the Sunflowers painting...#boys. We walked through for about 2.5 hours and had to call it at that because the kids were nearing their limit, but I could've easily spent another 2 hours more.  


We headed immediately to lunch at one of the restaurants nearby, then decided to find the kids a park to run around in. Museumplein has a great playground, although a bit too challenging for August. So, the two of us grabbed ice cream while Oskar and and Matt stayed behind. We brought back cones for the 4 of us and hung out for an hour or so as we figured out what was next.


We decided to take a walk over to the Albert Cuyp street market in the De Pijp area, about 15 minutes away. The market is MASSIVE and has over 300 stalls. The boys picked out new sunglasses and Amsterdam shirts, while Matt and I just looked around. Tons of herring, pancakes, and stroopwafels, which is the best of Amsterdam's food in a nutshell. It had been a LONG day already, but I still really wanted to see the Floating Tulip Market, so we jumped on a tram toward Rembrandplan and found the prettiest row of Dutch tulips (Bloemenmarkt), all floating along the Singel canal. 



We finished off our trip with a dinner outside along the canals, taking in the city one last time. Though we definitely saw (and smelled) a lot of marijuana, if you steer clear of the Red Light district the city is extremely family friendly, easy to navigate, and totally do-able on foot to spare you the expense of a rental car.


We flew out the next morning, and if I were to do it again, I would've opted for just one more day. Overall, a perfect city to travel with small kids who aren't quite ready to take on a Rome or a Paris just yet.  Vaarwel, Amsterdam. We loved you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Prime Day T W O !

Here's what I'm excited about so far this morning. I'll be back with more by category as I make my way through Prime Day 2! Happy shopping, friends!

For Baby

Ergo 360 - this is the carrier I recommend to all of my mama friends! 

Britax High Back Booster - grabbing this for Oskar for when we transition him this year. I love this seat because it has BOTH a shoulder and lap belt positioner. 

Puppets - Both of my kids were obsessed with puppets and with us making them "talk" to them

Burt's Bees Crib Sheets - an additional 20% off today at checkout!

Marpac Hushh - The Cadillac of sound machines. This goes wherever you go, and has a clip to attach to a car seat or crib.

Rocking Chair - this is the chair we have in Oskar's room. We still read to him in it every night.  

Sleeper Gowns - if you have a baby, you need these for night time diaper changes. 

Zutano Booties - the BEST for staying on babies' feet. These are marked down to $15 now but will definitely sell out fast!




Random Finds

Sheets - These have almost 57,000 5-star reviews. Insanity! I got a set for us!
 

Professional Blowdrier - I have this and it was life changing when I got this a few years ago! Dry your hair in less than half the time--my most hated task--and move on with your day. Couldn't recommend this any more!


Foreo Luna Mini 2 - The BEST for beautiful skin and a clear complexion. The queen herself, Chrissy Teigen, worked on this launch for Prime Day because its one of her favorite beauty products.
Storage Basket Side Table - Always a best seller on days like today, this handy side table looks just as great as it functions.


Tassled Farmhouse Rug - This rug is so gorgeous. I can see it in a baby boy's nursery, for any of you expecting mamas.
Air Fryer - I think we're finally jumping aboard the air fryer bandwagon after my friend raved to me about how much they make in theirs for their kiddos and how FAST-- chicken nuggets, french fries, apple chips, grilled cheese--just about every toddler delicacy. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Finds and Deals

It's one of my VERY FAVORITE shopping days today, Amazon Prime Day! It's my third year covering this sale of amazing discounts and some of the best deals out there, all on Amazon, available exclusively to Prime members. If you're not a Prime member, Amazon is offering a 30 day free trial here, which is worth signing up for to have access to all of this goodness! This is an especially great sale for any new or expecting moms, anybody looking for the best deals on items for the home, and for solid deals on lots of electronics. I was also SUPER pleasantly surprised about some their home decor in their Stone & Beam line, so hoping for a repeat of that this year to spruce up a few spaces!

For the first time in Amazon's history, Prime Day will be a 48-hour event (!!!) running on July 15 and 16, so I'll be continuously updating this page for the best of the best. I'm doing lots of my Christmas shopping in July again this year, so hooray for the best prices, AND for being way ahead of the game. Now that that's all out of the way, here are my absolute FAVORITES so far, in no particular order!

FOR HER:

adidas Women's Cloudfoam-30% off of my FAVORITE Tennis Shoes Ever. Seriously, these are like wearing CLOUDS. I’ve never seen them for a price this low.


Adidas Hoodie - Classic and cute for just over $20 today. This fits like a dream and is perfect for chillier summer evenings. 


T-Shirt Dress - I have this little t-shirt dress and I throw it on all the time. It’s super flattering, washes well, and is marked down to just $10 today!


Stilla Eyeliner – This cult favorite eyeliner is 30% off today. 


Apple Watch – I got an Apple watch for Christmas and haven’t taken it off since. One of the best investments Matt’s ever made 😊


Levi’s Hi Rise – These puppies are all over every fashion blog. Supposedly the most flattering jeans that don’t lose their shape. 


Silicone Rings – Great for working out or to  wear with sweats. These are one of the deals of the day today.

FOR HIM
 
Under Armour Pullover – Matt’s favorite light weight pullover on sale for $28 (!!!)


Working Hands Hand Cream – the very best for dry, chapped hands. We’ve sworn by this for a long time, and this is a great time to restock!


Cold Brew Coffee Maker – neeeeeeeed. 


Golf Shoes – These are the best of the best, and an additional 30% off of an already deeply reduced price.


Sonos Speakers – Matt has been dreaming of Sonos for a REALLY long time, and this is seriously an insane deal. This comes at a super discounted price with an additional $50 back via an Amazon gift card. Run!


 
DECOR TOP PICKS (all so pretty!)






 



 FOR BABY
Sit to Stand Walker- This is the holy grail of walkers. If you haven’t scooped this up for your baby yet, DO IT.


Foam Gym – we got this for Oskar when he was 6 months old, and he still plays with it now that he’s 5. 



Wooden Curved Blocks – These are big in Montessori style of play, and my kids still gravitate towards them at 3 and 5 years old. 


Diaper bundle – A really great price on a one month supply of diapers and wipes in one. 

Hanna Andersson onesies – Hanna Andersson released their line of baby clothing for Amazon today. Check out these sweet little onesies. Swoon. 

Play Yard – this is EVERYTHING for summer months. So easy to transport and pop up outside for baby to play in comfortably. 

Jumperoo – one of the most popular jumpers for an additional 20% off. 

Convertible carseat – save 30% on ALL Graco today. This one’s one of their most popular convertible carseats. A great time to grab an extra for Grandma’s car.

Pop Up Toy – every kid that comes to our house gravitates towards this toy. It was a favorite of both of our boys.

Hape Xylophone – musical toys are (almost) always a yes. 


For The Home


Pressure Washer – a must have for getting the outside cleaned up in the spring and summer months.


Roomba - put a Roomba in your life already. No really, just do it. This is the lowest price I’ve seen, even lower than Black Friday. 



Al Clad Set – If it’s time to re-up on nonstick pots and pans, these are where it's at.

Instant Pot – if you don’t have this already, you’re crazy. A weekday dinner staple. 

Dyson – If you’re going to take the plunge, today is THE DAY to do it. This thing is AMAZING.  
             
Soda Stream – for as much as we love La Croix and selzer water, this only makes sense to buy.

Luggage Set – A seriously great deal on two pieces of luggage. Snag these ASAP if you’re in need!

Water Flosser – any mom knows that pregnancy totally destroys your teeth. The reviews on this are INSANE and comes highly recommended to me by my dentist. 
 




Random Finds

Pillow - Matt has this and SWEARS by it for the most restorative sleep. It's currently on lightning deal for $49.99!

Revlon Hair Drier and Volumizer Brush - People love this thing to achieve a salon quality blow-out at home.

Magic Makeup Eraser - on lightning deal right now for only $15! This thing is incredible and removes all of my makeup with one swipe. 

My Favorite Pajama Set - a deal of the day! 


Toddlers and Kids


Schwinn Bike – the cutest bike I ever did see. 

Climber Dome – amazing reviews and great for perpetual movers, like my two

Fire Tablet – crazy good deals on the Fire Tablet. I have two sitting in my cart right now because I’m not sure we can pass them up another year.

Our Moments – I thought this was a sweet idea. This set comes with thought provoking questions for you and your kiddo ask each other. Getting this for Oskar, my little thinker. 

Bluetooth Microphone – great for little performers

Star Wars LEGOs – certain LEGO sets deeply discounted right now, including this one! Grabbing it and setting it aside for Christmas!

Pokemon Switch Game – a great deal on select Nintendo Switch games. Pokemon is big in our house right now, so this one was perfect for us!

Boxer Briefs – our favorite undies for boys on sale!

Easel – I love the wooden easels so much more than plastic ones made of primary colors

Floating Book Shelves – cute to display favorite books or décor pieces

Playground Balls – we use these to play just about everything outside

Operation – Lots of Hasbro games discounted today! Adding this to our family game night rotation



 
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