Will & i

Category: Products & Decor

Father’s Day Gift Guide

1) Bag O’ Books by DaddyScrubs– this cute bag includes 6 books for dad and child to read together, plus a guide to being a new parent. 2) Coffee Mug, $12.99 – I know it’s a little cheesy, but ever since Will was born, Billy has been asking me for a “Dad” coffee mug. 3) Me and You Picture Frame, $45.00 – How adorable would a father/son or daughter picture look in this reclaimed, royal blue, wooden frame from shoponelove? 4) I Love My Daddy Onesie, $13.50 – Choose from a variety of cute onesies from Baby Onesies by Nany. 5) Your Red Shoes by John Hutton & Illustrated by Leah Busch (my cousin!) $17.99 – a beautiful picture book about the special moments shared between a father and child, especially a daughter. 6) Daddy’s Lil Dude T-shirt by Trendy Treehouse, $20 – We picked up one of these t-shirts from a kid’s boutique in Chicago, but you can buy them online. For the girls, they have “Daddy’s Lil Cutie”.

What are your gift ideas for Father’s Day?

The Best 1st Birthday Toys

It’s that time of year! All of Will’s friends having been turning one, which means we have been attending a lot of awesome 1st birthday parties. I tend to rely on trusty board books as gifts, but I’ve asked around and observed what toys Will is drawn to at play spaces and there are some perfect gifts for 1 year olds that I didn’t even think about (take notes, dad 😉 ).

Crawl Tunnel by Melissa & Doug, $20.99. My friend, Meredith, sent this as an early birthday gift, and it has been a huge hit in our home. It folds up flat for easy storage.

crawl tunnel by melissa and dougPlanToys Plan Preschool Rock N Roll, Push and Pull, $27.64. This push and pull toy is perfect for newly walking 1 year olds. Thanks for the tip, Gina!

plantoys plan preschool walk n roll

Step2 Up and Down Elephant, $44.95. Will loves the big kid slide at Little Beans (this place is so much better now that Will can move) but this elephant slide is more his height.

step2 up and down elephant slide

Melissa and Doug Shopping Cart, $48.50. Billy calls this toy the “death trap” but it can really be a lot of fun under the right supervision. Make sure you purchase the plastic food ($14.72) to go along with the cart.

melissa and doug shopping cart

Lego Duplo My first Set, $30.99. Every kid needs a set of legos, and this is the perfect starter kit.

my first set of legos

Nesting Block: Read to Me Tot Tower, $19.99. Will loves this gift from his Grammie so much that he has eaten half of the smallest block. I would highly recommend this toy for babies and toddlers.

nesting blocks

Step 2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table, $39.98. We’ve had a couple of sunny days this week, and it’s starting to feel like Spring is around the corner. This water table looks so fun, although storing it doesn’t.

water table

Sensory Ball Mega Pack, $29.95. You can never have too many balls. Will has loved these sensory balls since he was 6 months old.

sensory balls

Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug, $45.17. This is another one of Will’s favorites at the play spaces we frequent. The size of this push and ride toy is ideal for a city resident, and it’s just plain cute!

prince lionhearty wheely bug

Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Bat and Wobble Penguin, $19.99. Anything your child can smack over and over again is guaranteed to be fun!

fisher price go baby go bat and wobble penguin

What toy do you recommend for a 1st birthday? Does your child have a favorite toy that they received on their big day?

P.S. A toy kitchen would also be on my list, but it’s a larger, more expensive purchase that you can kindly request from a grandparent.

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Toy Kitchens

I may have dropped a few hints to my mom that a toy kitchen is an awesome 1st birthday gift. A play kitchen encourages creative thinking, while also allowing a toddler to practice their fine motor skills as they manipulate the various pieces and appliances. There are so many great options to choose from. How adorable are these toy kitchens?!

Creative Cookery by Hape, $82.19

creative cookery by hape

Melissa and Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen, $169.16

melissa and doug classic kitchen

Vintage Kitchen by KidKraft, $129.99

KidKraft Kitchen

Duktig Mini Kitchen by IKEA, $99.99

IKEA Kitchen

What’s Cooking Kitchen Appliances by Land of Nod, $229

land of nod kitchen

Picnik Duo Kitchen, $150

Picnik duo kitchen

Gourmet Chef Kitchen by Hape, $104.60

Hape play kitchen

What toy kitchen did you purchase for your child? Would you recommend it?

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Play Room Toy Storage

Will’s favorite room in our new home is his very own play room. We are about to begin a little rehab project down there, but for the time being, I’ve had fun searching for good storage units for his toys.

A couple of things I’m looking for: attractive, low (reachable), safe, open (no lids), and unisex (just in case 😉 ) Here are some of my inspirations, but not necessarily my purchases.

1) Target Threshold Round Woven Basket $29.99 2)Aqua Herringbone Woven Floor Bin $45.00 3) Half Moon Storage Basket  $80.00 4) ruelala gold and white basket  5) Jasmine Simply Home Storage Basket $32.99 

Below are some larger storage units that I’m dreaming about. You might notice that a lot of the furniture I like is from Land of Nod. I can’t help it! I would buy the whole store if I could!

Good Read Book Caddy, $149 – This color would be so fun with a pair of white bookcases. It’s the perfect height for Will to be able to pick out his favorite books.

Good read book caddy

Land of Nod Kids’ Play Table, $199 – A circular table seems so fitting for a kids play room, and this one has the added bonus of storage on the bottom.

land of nod bin table

Wall Storage for Toy Cars (houzz.com) – I love this idea for storing race cars, buses, trains, and trucks. This would be perfect for Will when he gets a little older.

storage for toy race cars

Land of Nod Low Rider Bookcase, $399 – This bookcase is pricey, but it’s exactly what I’m looking for in toy storage. I love that Will can stand up and reach the shelves. Also, the white paneling in the back, and the divided shelves make it attractive, but also useful. I’m hoping this unit goes on sale!

Low rider bookcase from Land of Nod

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Must-Have Mondays: Ashley

Ashley and Harrison

Today’s guest post is from my first friend at Stroller Strides, Ashley! Will and I love having play-dates with Ashley and her little cutie pie, Harrison. Ashley’s items are practical and perfect for mothers of busy babies. Check out her must-haves below: Infant bath seat

Baby Bath Seat – Harrison is a wild man in the tub so we put him in this little contraption which we call his barcalounger. We’ve used this for months because he wants to crawl around and explore the tub, and put his face in the water…which means a lot of work on our part to keep him in one spot, so this does the trick beautifully.

Handheld shower head

Hand Held Shower Head – Although we are impressed with his flexibility of bending his body flat to the ground, we really just want to keep his head above water during bath time. So we don’t fill up the bath, at all. Like the kid doesn’t sit in an inch of water. We started out just filling up a cup and pouring water on him but that proved exhausting. We finally purchased a hand held shower head and it’s made bath time so much easier. He loves the warm water pouring over him and we love how easy it is to clean him. One day he’ll graduate to a proper bath.

Homedics sound machine

Sound Machine – Everyone informed me to get a sound machine and I’m so glad I did. I don’t believe you need one with all the bells and whistles, just the white noise is all you need. Especially living in the city when you have loud neighbors above you with dogs (two in our case), daily buzzer rings from the FedEx guy who presses them all so someone will let him in, and a mom and dad who walk by your room 50 times a day. It drowns it all out.

Saucony infant sneaker

Shoes – At 6 months + and only in the winter before they can walk. Shoes before that age are so unnecessary, but Harrison learned around 6 months that he enjoys taking his socks off constantly, so shoes keep his feet nice and toasty during the winter months and socks on.

Thanks, Ashley! How funny are these three musketeers, Will, Harrison and George hanging out at one of our play dates? Love these little guys!

Will, Harrison, and George

Home Makeover

As I mentioned last month, we have become permanent city residents, and with the help of our decorator, Michelle Sasveld, we are hoping to give our new home a fabulous makeover. Here are some of the fun ideas we have been dreaming about:

Foyer/Mudroom with Storage


Porcelain tile in Foyer

Porcelain tile in foyer

Banquet seating with a bench and Tolix chairs 


Lighting over the Island

kitchen stools

Marble Mosaic bathroom floors 

bathroom mosaic

Small Laundry Room with storage

laundry room with shelving

Seating arrangement for Family Room

family room seating arrangement 

Decorating is a process, (and a fun one at that!) so these changes definitely won’t happen right away (check back with me in a few years 😉 ). I’m excited to share our slow makeover process with you!

Holiday Gifts for Kids: Under $20

Shopping for toddlers and kids can be expensive! I have five nieces and nephews between the ages of 2-5, so I am always looking for great gifts at a reasonable price. The gifts below range in age from toddlers all the way up to school age children (Check out Will’s Wish List for baby gift ideas). I hope you find them helpful as you shop this holiday season!

1) Studio Skinky Playon Crayons, $12 – I’m a sucker for art materials, and these are so cute. 2) Band in a Box, $24.99 – A great gift for toddlers. Many of our friends have this box and their kids can’t get enough of it! 3) Janod Giant Alphabet Train Floor Puzzle, $19.99 – Love that this puzzle is stored in this cute carrying case. 4) The Polar Express, $10.99 – This book will definitely get your child in the holiday spirit. It’s so well written, you feel like a character in the story. 5)MALA Easel, $14.99 – This IKEA easel is a steal! I know, I know…you have to build it yourself, but how hard can it be? 6) Tiny Transportation Trio E-Copter, $15.99 – Giggle sells the cutest toys! My nephews would love playing “Rescue 911” with this adorable wooden helicopter.

(Check out Gifts for Grandparents for more shopping ideas)

Gifts for Grandparents

1) Prints on Wood, $18.00 – There is no better gift then a picture of your grandchild, and it’s even better when it’s a cool piece of artwork. 2) Personalized Notepad, $16.99 – A small, but useful gift. (I actually got one for each of Will’s grandparents…shhhh). 3) Crunch Brunch Frame, $85.00- How amazing would a picture of your baby and his grandma or grandpa look in this youthful, Kate Spade frame? 4) Oval Grandma Charm, starts at $36 – add more charms to this necklace and create quite a statement piece for grandma. Stella & Dot lets you design your own keepsake. Plus, shop this Stella & Dot Trunk show before December 22, and support a great cause! 5) Adopt-a-Family – We have so much to be thankful for, so why not help out those less fortunate this Christmas. Write your child’s grandparents a beautiful card describing how you adopted a family in their name. 6)The Gifts of Being Grand: For Grandparents Everywhere, $13.98 – A cute story that celebrates the joys of being a grandparent. This would also be a fun way to tell your parents that you are expecting!

(Check out Will’s Wish List for gift ideas for babies)

Will’s Wish List

Obviously at 8 months old, Will has no idea what he wants for Christmas, but I’ve been taking mental notes about what toys interest him when we visit friends or family. Check out Will’s Wish List below!


1) Bath Squirters – Will loves bathing at my mom’s house because she has so many fun bath toys, and he has completely lost interest in the rubber ducks we have at our house. These bath squirters would make our nightly bath routine more exciting!

color wheelers

2) Color Wheelers – When Will hangs out with his cousins, ages 3-5, he is always around toy cars and trucks. He loves playing with whatever they are interested in, but sometimes those toys have tiny pieces. These little trucks from Land of Nod are safe, age-appropriate and adorable!

neo 2

3) Neo Tobbles – These stackables are so cool! This toy won the ASTRA award because of its bright colors, and unique design, which allows babies and toddlers to easily stack and knock over the pieces.


4) Sort n Tip Truck – I love this wooden truck shape sorter from Pottery Barn, and I think Will would too! The shapes may end up in Will’s mouth for a few months, but eventually this will be a very fun and educational toy.


5) Fire Engine Rocking Horse – You are probably starting to notice a theme here…lots of cars and trucks! Will loves playing on his friend Annie’s rocking horse, and this is a double-whammy because it’s also a red fire truck!


6) Boikido Bongo Drum Trio – I know this toy will probably drive me crazy, but Will loves banging on the big drum at all of the music classes, so I know he would go crazy over this toy.


Swaddleme blankets for babies

Billy and I spent way too much time trying to learn how to swaddle when we were in the hospital. The nurses were kind enough to repeatedly demonstrate the swaddling technique, but we still were never satisfied with our own swaddles.

Despite our failed swaddling efforts, one thing stuck in our minds from our hospital stay: make the blanket EXTRA tight. “Babies like it snug as if they are in the in the womb” and “you don’t want the blanket to come unraveled because it can be a sleeping hazard”. I heard these things over and over, and they were always in the back of my mind as I wrapped Will up like a burrito during his first couple days of life.

Recently, I’ve come to learn that maybe tighter wasn’t better, and swaddling does have its risks. The Today Show article, Swaddled Babies at Greater Risk of Hip Problems, says that swaddling can cause hip dysplasia because it holds the legs firmly in place. To avoid this potential health risk, try the SwaddleMe. It provides plenty of room for the legs to move freely, and it makes for an easy transition to a sleep sack.

When we got home from the hospital, we decided to make our lives a little easier and switched right to the Summer Infant SwaddleMe.  We never touched the swaddle blanket again. For all the soon-to-be-moms out there, don’t sweat the swaddle, you can cheat like us and use the SwaddleMe. Plus, it’s the safer option!

Will swaddled in his Swaddleme blanket