Musical Stuffed Animal Review: Worth The Purchase?

We have three musical stuffed animals at our place and I would say they are for different kids and toddler ages.  Here are the three we have and what C thinks of them:

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy $30

C could not get enough of this puppy when she was 12 months – 18 months.  It sang, it lit up, it totally captured her attention.  This toy was a wonderful distraction when C was playing or if we needed her to sit still for a little bit.  Even as a 27 month old she likes to look at the puppy and mess around with it, but at this stage she has definitely outgrown the fisher price puppy.

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Little Baby Bum Stuffed Panda $25

C got this panda as a Christmas present when she was about 18 months.  She played the little music box a few times but didn’t pay that much attention to the stuffed animal.  It wasn’t until closer to 24 months that C was able to sing along with the songs and understand how to push the button inside the Panda’s belly herself.  Now at 27 months, Panda is her favorite stuffed animal in the world and she sleeps with it at night (minus the music box).  The fun part about this Little Baby Bum stuffed animal is that there are tons of nursery rhyme cartoons on netflix and youtube.  Your little one can watch while holding her very own panda.

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GUND Baby Animated Flappy The Elephant Plush Toy $30

C got this elephant around 24 months and she had polar opposite emotions.  At first she was scared that the ears moved.  Then she thought it was HILARIOUS and tried to hide things under the flapping ears.  The elephant talks to you and sings to you.  Now at 27 months, C likes to use the elephant as her patient or tuck the elephant in for “nite nite” time.  It’s very sweet.  I would say that the perfect age range for this elephant is 12 months to 18 months.  It’s when little ones are obsessed with peek-a-boo and the songs of the elephant will keep them nice and distracted.  After C received this as a gift, I literally bought 6 online and gave them out for birthday presents.  lol

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Gyeongbokdong Palace and DMZ in South Korea

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While we were in Korea we had the most awesome day with a tour guide and a personal car.  It was the sweetest treat from our Samsung hosts!  our family + one coworker decided to go to the Gyeongbokdong Palace and the DMZ.  Both places that would have been really difficult to get to without a tour guide.

The palace was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous.  I mean i’ve been here before as a child/teen but man…seeing it again makes you kinda wish there were more palaces still around!  The new trend now is to wear traditional hanboks and take pictures around the palace (or Seoul) with friends.  We saw TONS of selfie sticks and groups of people in their hanboks.  If it weren’t so hot i would have seriously wanted to do that too!!

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The coolest detail for me was seeing the traditional palace set against all of the modern city high rise buildings.  The juxtaposition really took my breath away.

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Every single pocket and detail of the palace was gorgeous.  There were rooms and houses and sections for every person in the royal family.  Huge houses just for parties and entertainment… SO SO stunning.  I think as a child I never appreciated it, but seeing it as adult~~ man oh man~~ breathtaking.  If your’e ever in Korea there are a few palaces that you can go and visit.  This wasn’t the main one, but it was just as amazing as the others (I’m sure).

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In Korea, being happa (half Asian) or being non-Asian altogether is a sight for people to see.  People crowded around C wherever we went.  If I left Mike and C alone even for a second, crowds like this one below formed.  Crazy right?  C was a total celeb at every restaurant, hotel, tourist place.download-5

We ended the long day with the fanciest sushi meal I had ever eaten on the top floor of Shinsaegae Mall.  I’m drooling just THINKING about the bomb food!!

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Everywhere in Korea there are sweets or places to eat sweets.  Store owners and hotel workers gave C chocolate whenever they saw her.  And our relatives often gave her ice cream.  Hilarious huh?  LOL  C ate more sugar in Korea in that one week than in her entire life.  LOL

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Pororo Park in Seoul, South Korea

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if heaven were created by a 2 year old, it would be pororo park.  i mean, man oh man, this place was like a total wonderland for c.  there are 7 main characters and they each have a home/play area inside of the park.  there’s a small bouncy castle, a carousel, a ball pit, pourer’s house, bumper cars, train, ferris wheel ride, pororo show, cafe, gift shop, small wooden cube pit, baby room and SO MUCH MORE.  honestly there were so many little areas for c to run around in and the part that was super fun for her was that each room was completely different.  her favorite areas were the ball pit, the bouncy castle, and the ferris wheel.  img_8677img_8680

c’s first ride and she LOVED it!img_8675 img_8656 img_8638 img_8620

meeting her HEROO for the first time!!!  unfortunately she HATES to be touched so after this picture, c ran away screaming “no touch! no touch!!” and stayed away from him the entire rest of the visit.  LOL
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got a little bouncy ball from here (in her left hand) and she held it in her hand the entire way home so that daddy could see it.  it was the sweeeetest thing in the whole world.  she also took a bite out of it in the cab ride home… >.<  hm… img_8661
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i’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to climb that thing…but c was all up in there.img_8608 img_4141

this show literally blew c’s mind away.  i’ve never seen her so focused and so happy.  she danced the entire time and jumped up and down like a true fan. ^^

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this car ride cost like 50 cents per ride and I swear I would have paid like $5 a ride for c.  she literally had SOOOOO much fun exploring this park and seeing every single room, toy, figure, play area in the park.  if you have a toddler, i seriously recommend coming here!

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at the very end, there was a gift shop (brilliant).  c wouldn’t have known if we bypassed it, but she had SOOOO much fun that i wanted to end the day with a special gift.  a little symbol of the first amusement park c has every been to.  there were SO MANY toys and different show characters~ pororo, tayo, hello kitty, etc.  i pointed out huge toys for c, stuffed animals, dolls, kitchen sets… but the one and only thing c wanted was this small box of cars.  i even pointed out all the other huge cars and boxes with MORE cars~ but NOPE.  this small box of three cars was all my little one wanted.   img_4158img_8587 img_8596 img_8703 img_8614 img_8700

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International Flight Must-Haves For Toddlers

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back in May, our family went on a very spontaneous trip to Korea.  it was honestly the most fun vacation we have ever been on.  one for the books.  here’s an account of our flight below and how I got rocked on the flight.  I thought I was SUPER prepared and well…Toddler tantrums and time differences can really throw you for a loop.  The last two trips to Hawaii went so well I never expected C to be so naughty on this flight.  The big difference was the length of time that we were flying, the fact that C wanted to only watch youtube kids (we didn’t have wifi), AND that C wanted none of the snacks that i had brought.  Awesome.

On the way TO Korea, we took a red eye.  Perfect right?  C sleeps 10 hours, the flight is about 12.  I’ve only got to prepare 2 hours worth of activities.  Unfortunately, I didn’t expect C to sleep as soon as we got into the plane and then only sleep for 6 hours.  While everyone else was settling in and eating their first meal on the flight (which was about 1 hour in) C was PASSED OUT.  Then when C woke up, the whole airplane was fast asleep (like total darkness and silence).  From 6 hours in until about the 10th hour, C was CRAY.  GF doesn’t understand how to whisper.  She screamed for snacks, she screamed out colors when watching videos, she kept jumping and laughing on the seats… it was HARD.  She wasn’t naughty, but it was so hard to get her to quiet down since she didn’t understand that the whole plane was in quiet mode.  She had a couple of cray cray crying meltdowns around hours 9-10 and then Mike literally rocked her to sleep in .5 seconds.  UGH  I suffered for four hours and Mike got her to sleep in .5 seconds.  WTHHH.

Then on the way back, C didn’t take her nap b/c we wanted her to take it on the plane.  Bad idea.  She had a MELTDOWN on the flight and it was so bad that the flight attendant came over and gave her a sticker book.  A sticker book that C threw aside.  SIGH.

Anyway…after a week long trip to Korea where C and I were mainly alone + the two flights that we were alone (Mike was on a different floor), here are my tips on traveling with a little one on 10+ hour flights.

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  1. A backpack for Mom–this is a must for the flight and your trip.  Having a fancy purse is great, but not practical if you’re running after your babe and exploring a new city.  On the plane I keep my important documents (our passports, itinerary, wallet, computer), a change of clothes for myself, makeup, and a few essentials for C in the small pockets (like wipes).  The purpose for this backpack is to have everything I need in one place~ these things are not replaceable.  I can lose all my suitcases but not this one bag.  Pictured above are the two I really love.img_4405
  2. A duffle bag for each toddler–so this sounds like a lot but I swear there’s a reason behind it.  One entire bag is filled with essentials JUST for her.  Busy Bags, snacks, diapers, a change of clothes, wipes, medicine, drinks, blankets, etc.  This entire bag is to keep C busy and hold things she will need for the flight only.  (also be prepared for delayed flights so bring a few extra diapers!)  NOW the important part about this… If you get the right size bag, it will fit underneath the seat in front of you during take off and landing.  BUT ALSO be used as extra leg room for your little one to use as a foot rest or even extra bed space.  This is kind of hard to describe but I brought three bags to fit under three seats (we had an extra seat next to us that I knew would be empty).  So during the flight I propped the three bags up so that it was even to two of the seats and put the airplane blankets down to smooth out the surface.  Once they were down (three in total), it was soft and comfy like one flat bed.  The plane gives you little pillows for international flights and I used two out of three to even our areas that were lumpy for C.  It sounds like a lot of effort but on a long flight, this even surface gives C more space to play, a wide bed to roll around when she’s sleeping, AND it gives me a place to lay down next to her during a long flight.  One huge tip for us was booking a window seat and an aisle seat on a three seat row in the middle/back of the plane.  People hate middle seats and if they do book it, it tends to be at the front of the plane.  We were in Row 37 and 45 on our flights and always had the middle seat free.  That extra space is CLUTCH on long flights.  With that extra space C didn’t need to walk up and down the aisles like the other kids.  She had her own little play area with toys, electronics, and bed.download-1
  3. Electronics up the WAZOO–ipad, iPhone, extra chargers, ear phones, back up ear phones, game boy, kindle…freaking WHATEVER will keep your little one from bouncing off the walls and screaming down the aisles.  LOL  International flights all have a plug and a USB port for you to charge everything but I’ve totally been on flights where mine has been broken.  SOOO just make sure you have a back up and you know where the back ups are.  EEEK.
  4. Snacks for days–NEW snacks is what I learned.  BAD sugary snacks you normally never give your baby.  I brought like 70% snacks I knew she would like and was screwed when she didn’t want a single one of them (THE ENTIRE TRIP).  So the new snacks I bought along the way killed it with her and held her attention like no other.  One thing that I will never forget from this trip is that new, sugar snacks are the way to go for long flights.  I know that it’s not ideal for your baby BUT you have to remember that other people are sharing the flight with you.  It’s for the benefit of those around you.
  5. Comforts from home (like a blankie)–c has a favorite sheep blanket that she calls “baa baa”.  I didn’t want to bring it b/c she loves it so much, but mike felt differently.  He thought it would help soothe her to sleep and make her feel comfortable in new spaces.  He was totally right.  This “baa baa” was SOO important to her on the trip.  She held it everywhere and always looked for it when falling asleep.
  6. Comfortable Clothes + Shoes for both of you–The flight is LONG.  You’re definitely going to have a booger or snack or piece of food wiped on you.
  7. Use the extra time you get to set up your area–Families always get to go on before the rest of the crowd.  Take the extra time to get 2-3 busy bags out and store them in the pockets in front of you, get wipes at the ready, have electronics in an easy to spot place, and let your little one explore.
  8. Humor + a Positive Attitude–The flight is going to be CRAY.  Just expect it.  Expect that nothing will go your way, nothing will go as planned, and well… shit happens.  It’s ok if your baby has a tantrum, it’s ok if your baby can’t sleep.  The flight isn’t forever.  Just try to make the best of it and think of back up options for your little one.  For instance, I had lollipops in my bag for tantrums, there are goofy songs that ALWAYS make c laugh, and she loves a good chapstick.  And when all of that doesn’t work~ take a walk.  A little change of scenery will quiet a fussy baby and give them something to look at.img_9120

I hope these tips that I learned from my trip help you mamas and families out there!! xoxo

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Lake Arrowhead & Lake Gregory

a few weeks ago our family + many of mike’s friends went to Lake Arrowhead to celebrate his very belated 31st birthday.  this was my first time to arrowhead (i think) and bringing c along i wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  (if you don’t already know, i’m not a huge fan of the ‘outside’.)

but this trip to arrowhead was AMAZING.  not only did c LOVE being outdoors, but it felt awesome to spend the weekend with mike’s friends trying new things.  i was worried about how c would adapt to all the changes but she was a total champion~ i mean what kid doesn’t love staying up late and eating cake every night right?

there were so many restaurants and places for kids & dogs in arrowhead.  the little town had playgrounds, patio areas for our whole group, water bowls for dogs, and so much more.

one of the main activities we did was visit lake gregory.  if you are not a member of lake arrowhead association, you can’t use the lake.  (it’s very fancy about that) so we drove 20 minutes to lake gregory and had SUCH a ball.  there are plenty of places for you to pop a squat.  so many groups/families bring canopies, lawn chairs, coolers, and lake toys.  if you don’t have any of those, that’s totally fine.  there are picnic tables strewn all over the lake where you and your party can hang.  with so many people we grabbed two picnic tables and rented some equipment at the lake like this lawn board below and a canoe.  there are TONS of families and kids all over so it’s the perfect place to bring your family and spend the day.

after this trip i realized that i needed to take c outdoors more and let her really enjoy nature.  when i was growing up in sacramento we went camping every year and rafted down the sacramento river often.  i guess it’s time for me to buy a huge sun hat and water shoes so i can be one with nature every summer.  lol  from what i saw at lake gregory, i’m guessing c will be just as adventurous as her dad. ^^

if you’re looking for a place to take your little ones this summer or for labor day weekend, i highly recommend lake arrowhead and lake gregory.  SUCH a fun place for families and fur friends!

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New Biossance Line

Um, can we talk about this bomb line called Biossance???  I am obsessed with this company because of how my skin feels and all the natural ingredients.  I’ve been using biossance oil, night cream, day cream, eye cream and face wash for over 2 years now~ and I’m PSYCHED to try this new product line!! =DDDDD  Get yours at Sephora!! xoxobiossance

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San Diego Trip

In July, my small group went on their annual SD weekend trip~ C and I joined the fun for one day and C had the TIME OF HER LIFE.  She ate oscar’s fish tacos (SO BOMB), played at pacific beach and swam in a pool with aunties and uncles that were dying to spoil her.  ^^  This is a trip that I hope she never forgets!

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Hello Kitty Pop-Up Cafe in Irvine, CA

O EM GEEE~~

This was a total dream come true.  I have been wanting to check this place out since it opened and I FINALLY got the chance to go!!  It’s located near the gorgeous ferris wheel and faux lawn area.

I literally made c go with me and we ordered 5x too many things for us and we had sweets for breakfast a few saturdays ago. ;P I would say after trying the strawberry lemonade, strawberry cake, macaroons, and hello kitty pop tart… it wasn’t all good.  lol  C loved the macaroons and the strawberry lemonade but not anything else.  i ate all the things she wouldn’t touch and well…it was aiite.  the desserts and drinks were over priced, but for me, worth it since i wanted to see this place SO BADLY.

If you go down and check this adorable pop-up out, definitely get their macaroons! =)  The other items…meh.  very cute, but not a lot of flavor.
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Pregnancy Style Ideas from Pinterest

my first pregnancy i was so sick and so cheap~ that i didn’t really care how i looked.  i didn’t want to spend a lot of money on pregnancy clothes so i basically wore the same 10 things for like 6-7 months.  NOT a good look, and it for sure doesn’t help make a sick pregnant woman feel any better about herself.  this next time around i’m hoping that a little investment in my clothes and looks will help me feel better and somehow make me feel less gross/big.  possible???  i’m hoping so~~ ^^

here are some fun looks i pupped from pinterest!

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