scottsdale tweetup!

me = still beaming (ear-to-ear style) from this past weekend's "tweet up" with Alana! we spa weekended it like royalty, crossed paths with LL Cool J (I thought his private room at our restaurant was the bathroom and almost crashed in to pee, eek!), ate a LOT, drank in moderation (ahem), slept through the night two whole nights in a row (moms, I know you're drooling over this one), and spent so much time by the pool it's kind of beyond awesome. i love this girl and i'll be riding this happy wave for a while!

we even brought along some of our twitter friends!

here's us the night i almost peed on LL Cool J... same night we also met an Iron Chef!

eat. drink. tweet!

smile. eat. spa!

Le sigh! While I am very happy to be home again with my boys, these days in the lap of luxury with this girl made my heart sing. We got along like old chums, it was just awesome, and felt so natural taking our online-mom friendship to the IRL-mom friendship level! How lucky we blogging and tweeting moms are to have these tools that let us socialize and make friends even if we're going, going, going 24/7 working and being moms every day. I love it. And I loved my weekend with Alana! Lovefest 2011, whoohoo!



a guest post & a tweet up {no peek stew}

gah! how excited am i to post this guest recipe post from Alana? words cannot describe! but i will try. and it's not just because i have a weird thing for stew, either. that would be inappropriate excitement. but my excitement is appropriate because in addition to the stew-love i am meeting up with Alana this weekend at the Sanctuary resort in Scottsdale (our first time meeting, aren't we fancy pants?) for a weekend of sunshine, cocktails, snacks, pool swims, hot-tub sits, cupcakes, bad tv, massages, chit chat, and naps! how do you spell heaven? wait... that joke only works in spoken word. anyways...

i can't wait to share pics of this heavenly meet-up with you guys in my next post. in the mean time catch me and alana on twitter where i'm sure we'll both be jabbering away all the while about our adventures!

and without further ado... stew! ps. I had to edit a bit because this was supposed to run a couple weeks ago while we were on vacation but due to technical difficulties got postponed until now.

Thank you to Lindsey for having me guest post today! I adore this lady and am so glad I could do her a solid and post something while she is off on vacay in freaking Scottsdale! soaking up the sun and drinking yummy drinks by the beach pool with her hubs me! Sounds horrible right?!?! Who likes to sit on the beach in a lounge chair and not worry about changing a diaper, cleaning dishes, or folding laundry? Not me! {insert sarcastic tone} All kidding aside I am thrilled to help her out and offer up a yummy recipe that is so easy to make and will be your go to for a quick, yummy, comfort food!

I am constantly on the look out for super yummy, easy to prep, and cheap to make dinners now that I have a 15 month old! Time is short chasing a toddler! I am a huge fan of stews. I love them any time of the year. Meat and potatoes taste just as good in the winter as they do in the summer in my opinion! Imma meat & potatoes gal!

This is my grandma’s recipe for No Peek Stew. I have such fond memories of her prepping this meal as I ran around her kitchen. This stew was a go to meal when I spent weekends with her which was often! Every time I make this I think of her and all the fun we had together. She is no longer with us but I like to think she watches over us when we eat this and is proud that I make her recipe for my own family!

No Peek Stew

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Your ingredients:
1-2 pounds of stew meat
1 can of Cream Of Mushroom Soup
1 small can of Mushrooms (Stems and Pieces) *I didn’t add this to my recipe because Mushrooms and I are not friends these days*
2-3 (depending on size) potatoes
1 Package of Baby Carrots
1 Package of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix
1/4 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Red Wine
Salt and Pepper to flavor

I usually dice the meat into smaller pieces depending on the amount I purchased.

Dice up the potatoes and add the baby carrots.

Add the can of Mushroom Soup, Lipton’s Onion Mix, water, red wine, salt and pepper. There is ALWAYS red wine in our house so I use whatever we have open.

Mix all of the ingredients together.

Cover with foil and cook for 3 hours until meat is tender.

See how easy that was! I usually serve this with biscuits or crescent rolls!


***I often mix everything together in the morning when the baby is napping and put in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook it.***


dice dice dice... isn't that nice?

We invented a super easy little dice game that has been keeping Otto (and mama) pretty entertained lately and I thought I'd share. It's totally age-appropriate for Ot (who is almost 2 1/2) and is a way to work with numbers, patterns, sorting, etc. Plus it's fun!

Warning: This is sooo not one of those "oh my god the blogger did something really crafty and cute and it's an heirloom forever keepsake piece of crafty amazingness" posts (I'm not good for those very often). I guess if you crocheted the cards instead of making them out of paper? Ummm anyways... This is, in fact, a "throw it away do your part and recycle it when you're done" post --> as you'll see at the bottom of the post that's pretty much what we did. In short - It's just this fun, easy little game we made to engage with the kiddo.

dice dice dice!

1. After you make 6  playing cards as shown below (one for each side of the dice, I used 4x6 index cards) then you pick one card and roll the dice

2. Then together, look at what you rolled and find the ones that match the card.

3. Then either keep rolling the rest til it's all dice that match or what we do is... Otto really likes to manipulate the dice and find the right number. Then sit back and admire your work!

Easy peasy fun, right? Otto takes so much pride in the cards once we've "found" all the right dice. Here is a little graphic I did up so you can see how simple the cards are...

 Of course fun dice games can quickly turn into crafty sticker fun projects. ps. Check out Ot's milk-face, awww...

So sticker fun was fun too! And I can remake the cards again in two shakes whenever we want to play again.

What do you think? I love coming up with imaginative play and games like this. Do you guys have games like this that you play at home with your kids? If so, please share! We're always looking for new, easy fun learning games to play at home.



what he wore {a lil fashion shoot}

we did this little impromptu fashion shoot the other day to showcase my new favorite vintage kids find OF ALL TIME and some other sweet things...

i loved these pics so much i redid my header! look above, you'll see it - all new! now for more cuteness...

Ot's wearing top (my new favorite, from lil' peeps vintage) and bottoms (wonderboy).
Benji's wearing polka dot collar & matching leash (c/o dog collars boutique).

whoa, doggie! haha. he is so fun.

Anyways, I am so in love with this outfit on Otto that it's kind of making me crazy that he won't be able to wear it for months (arizona, summer, meh). I hope he doesn't outgrow the top by then or i will seriously be scowling in the cool Oregon breeze. Sidenote on Ot's pants: I won them! Won! From a giveaway on Baby Blackbird (check out yesterday's post here for more amazingness from this kids fashion blog).

Official verdict: Cuteness!

Benji there is sporting this cute polka dot collar/leash ensemble (ahem) that we are going to give to Harley, Otto's Nana's new golden retriever puppy.

If you are in the market for dog fashion items you might check this place out and you can use the code BLOG5 for 5% off your order of anything on the site.

Thanks for sharing in our lil fashion shoot! Makes me wish I had a "real" camera and the time (and money, sheesh) to do this kind of thing all the time! Oh well, once in a blue moon will have to do.  


Some more links to dog collars boutique: dog toys, retractable leashes, bling dog collars, dog id tags


{Guest Post} Baby Blackbird's Vacation Stylings for Mr. O

Brandy from Baby Blackbird is one of my favorite blog mamas and I stalk her site on the daily to get fashion ideas for my little man (and myself). Brandy is the cutest thing (fashionista extraordinaire) and she dolls her kiddos up in the perfect mix of hipster modern, etsy awesome, her own creations, & vintage wassup. I always say she's like Rachel Zoe for kiddos! While I was on vacay last week, Brandy was cool enough to do this special guest post! But then (womp womp) blogger froze for a couple days and I wasn't able to schedule it in time. Boo! Luckily it's cuteness doth not require me to be on vacay so I'm running it today. pssssst, after you're done drooling over this cuteness (I so went bulldog slobbery when I saw this), then you should clean yourself up and go check out Brandy's awesome blog. Thanks, Brandy!!! xoxo

Hi there, I'm Brandy from Baby Blackbird | The Kids's Fashion Destination, I'm a fashion designer by trait and a mommy to two little kids. Baby Blackbird is about all things fashionable for kids, fashion trends, kids' street style, and so much more...come by some time and have a look around!

The lovely Lindsey let me crash Otto's Mom Blogs while she's vacationing it up in the sun. I thought I'd put together a couple outfits for Otto. I know Lindsey is on this vacation Otto-less {this time} but IF Otto was laying on the beach with Mom and Dad, this is totally what he'd be wearing:

Daytime on the beach, wouldn't this outfit be perfect for Otto?

Evening out for dinner, how cute would Otto look in these duds?

I hope Lindsey is having a great time sunning it up, come by Baby Blackbird some time, check out some cute kids's street style and some of the hottest kids fashion trends.


Parents of the Caribbean

I'm breaking my silence, yo! Sorry for the white noise. We've been off on vaca for the past week in Turks & Caicos (stayed at the Gansevoort, and holy gorgeous) while Otto stay-cationed with his grandparents. Me, now? I am well rested, well fed, rainforest showered, and my ruddy pink skin is now ruddier and pinker than ever!


ps. that picture is meant to be viewed while listening to Sade and sipping a mojito. Are you with me?

I have so much to say I don't even know where to start! It's taken me and my crackerjack phone alllll day to upload our pictures to Picasa and I'm too pooped to edit them or lucidly write a post. I missed Otto a LOT LOT LOT during this trip but it was also really good to just veg OUT for a few days and catch up on 2 1/2 years worth of lost sleep, haha. So anyways, I wanted to share a few more pic favorites and then I'll be back later this weekend with wordier stuff.

parents of the caribbean -->

You guys, for reals, this was heaven on earth. But just so you don't go off thinking I vacationed gracefully, check out what I spent all day Wednesday doing...

That's right, I spent a whole day in bed watching reality tv, drinking beer, and reading Washington A Life because ::drumroll:: allergic reaction to sunscreen! Hello hives...

Honestly though, chilling out with my itchy legs in a crisp hotel bed with a giant TV showing a Millionaire Matchmaker marathon, guzzling cold beers, and dozing with my GW biography does not a terrible day make! Happy hive mama, right here.

Also! While I was away Brandy from The Baby Blackbird and Alana from Life on the Mom List were going to guest post, but then blogger (they host this blog) crashed for a couple of days before we left & I couldn't schedule those posts. So stay tuned in the coming days for Brandy's amazing kiddo fashion stylings and a truly nommy looking recipe from Alana's family recipe box!



♥ Soap Sale! Get Your Soap! ♥

Here's a fun one! My fabulous sponsor, The Northwoods Goat has some new soap "flavors" and is hosting her very first sale to make way for the new stuff. Check out the goods!
  • 32% off Oatmeal Honey (to make way for Oatmeal Honey & Shea)
  • 32% off Cornmeal Scrubber (to make way for Cornmeal Poppyseed Scrubber)
  • 32% off Avocado Rose
  • 32% off Tomato Clay
  • 32% off Mint Chocolate
  • 32% off Baby Calendula
  • 42%off Spiced Pine Shaving Soap
This post wasn't sponsored, by the way. I'm just having a little case of writer's block and when Hilary from TNG emailed me about the sale last night I thought "this is perfect, this is my post"... If you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact me using the link on the right sidebar for rates & info.



{may flowers} Lil Boy Fashion Gone Floral...

I was just putting together some new posts for CupcakeMag --> ideas for floral fashions for chic mamas and their casas with the theme of may flowers. Then I thought how fun it would be to find flower-bedecked items for my metro-hipster boychild. I'd love (love love!) to put Otto in these petals...

{neckties ♥ by The Belle and The Beau Etsy shoppe}

{button-up and boots ♥ from PFI Westsern}
psssst. I want matching boots for mama!

{daisy belt ♥ by Old School Leather}
psssst. I want a matching belt for mama, too!

{many tees ♥ from Common Threads non-profit}
psssst. guess what? yep, wanted: matching tees for mama!

Anyways, Ottobot would look so sweet in may flowers! It's cute, edgy, and cool to mix it up a little. Not alllllllways put boys in sports, cars, sportscars, and dinosaurs driving digger trucks. What do you think? Agreed? Cute and cool?

Now to find these things at the thrift store, haha!



Hey Mama! Hey Mama!

Wow, this past weekend was yet another super oober wildly busy one. We are managing to fill every single weekend leading up to our move with events, occasions, parties, and lonnnng road trips. I am pooped on all the activity. And pooped starts with P and that rhymes with T and that stands for Tired. Zzzzzzzzzz.

Wait. But! Lots of fun was had this Saturday/Sunday what with a wedding to attend Saturday night and Mother's Day festivities Sunday.

I'm doing this almost purely as a "Stepping Out" post because in all the commotion I completely failed to take a single picture of my child. Bad mom! But really, I am a good mom. I swear. I was just busy momming, is all.

So here goes, What I Wore {Mother's Day Weekend Edition}

My handsome husband NEVER lets me show his face on this blog but just for Mother's Day (and I think because this photo is so durn cute) he gave me the greenlight! Yay, aren't we dashing? This is us before heading off to the wedding. Rob's wearing shirt/belt/pants (Banana Republic), dress-up shoes (Natha Studio from DSW), and tie (Alfani from Macy's).

In addition to the sunbomb that went off in these pics (and I'm NOT talented enough to fix this in Picnik)... It turns out I need a new blogger pose! Rob took 3 pics, if you can spot 5 differences I'll get you a year subscription to Parents Magazine (no joke!). Haha, look at me be the same...

I'm wearing dress (Pepper "thrifted" from Buffalo Exchange which isn't really thrifting, is it?), necklace (vintage, thrifted) and shoes (Antonio Melani from DSW).

I got these rockin 3" heels 6 years ago to be Maid of Honor in my best friend Megan's wedding. So even though I've worn them maybe only twice since then, having them in my closet never ceases to bring me joy. I just have to mention that these days Megan is an amazing mommy to one of Otto's best friends, 3-year-old Elliot. Yay for hot shoes and even hotter moms!

So that was Saturday. Dressed up, stepped out. Sunday was way more low-key but I want to share this pic of me with my own mom (aka Nana Lee). We did waffle breakfast this morning for Mother's Day -->

We're both wearing super-cute pedicures we got on Saturday. My mom's also wearing an "I Tree Nature" tee (haha, cute) and khakis that I would bet good money are from LL Bean or Anne Taylor. I'm wearing shirt (BDG thrifted from Buffalo Exchange which yeah yeah I don't really consider thrifting), skirt (Necessary Objects thrifted for reals), and flip-flops (Birkenstock).

Speaking of "Steppin Out" & all my blabberings about what is/isn't really thrifting.
I WON a $50 gift certificate to the Vintage shop Opal!
Which is the lovechild of Mandy who founded Steppin Out.
So double-shout-out because I love that shop and Mandy's blog is amazeballs!

Naked Baby Scandal! It's actually probs good that I don't have any pictures of Ot in this post since he spent a large majority of the weekend in his birthday suit or just a diap. Am I the only one who rubs sunscreen onto/into their kid's hair to protect their little toe-headed scalp? Makes for cool hair, yo! ps. You've seen the kid --> He was and always is the cutest thing since baby chickens and he MADE my Mother's Day by running up to me at 5:30 this morning as I shuffled my way into my parents' kitchen for coffee and greeted me with a big, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!"

And THAT is what it's all about.



little mister clean

a few weeks ago our preschool teacher gave us some awful news. our perfect (perfect!) child? well, he has a flaw. a tragic flaw. he is...

[Dun! Dun! Dun!]

... a mess-ophobe.

now honestly, who cares? right!!! right??? except... the more i thought about it the more I realized that a 2.333333 year old who doesn't let himself get messy is probably having a bit less fun than one who smears cheese in their ears, squishes playdoh between their toes, or stores mud pies in their pants. Those are fun times! 

then I thought if i smash cheese into his ears i am just going to horrify him and make this phobia concrete so instead, I thought we could start doing some fun-if-messy projects at home. actually his wonderful preschool teacher also told me, "start doing messy fun things at home." 

yesterday we took the sponge farm animals from this unmessy project and took you guys' advice (thank you to all of you who suggested this rad idea) and did a fingerpaint project.

I had FUN! Ottobot (carefully and oh so seriously) humored me for about five minutes, then realized his hands were DIRTY! Horrified...

I racked my tiny brain. I was saying, "it's ok to be dirty now because we're playing now. When we're done we can get all cleaned up." To which my analytical child didn't miss a beat, "ok, done now! done now!"

So of course I smeared paint on my face. See, no harm done. Look, this is fun!

Ot wasn't buying it. In truth, I felt a little silly. It was, in fact, not that exciting to have paint on my face. i thought Otto might love it though. Instead he looked at me like I was plagued (and an idiot).

the wins: Otto loves and is proud of his painting. we hung it on the fridge and he looks back on the painting experience fondly.

the to-work-ons: being OK with being messy (he did NOT get this phobia from his mama or her housekeeping example). being OK with imperfection (he DID get this one from me. i think i hold myself to too high a standard sometimes. probably i could work on myself in this department too)

And now it's Saturday morning and we're getting ready to pack up some gifts, cards, bottles of the hard stuff, nicer clothes, and swimsuits and head off to Phoenix for a wedding tonight and Mother's Day breakfasts and lunches tomorrow.

Happy Mother's Day to all my readers. We're all touched by motherhood and I sincerely believe that good moms make the world go round. Some of the best "mothers" I know do not or have not yet had children. But being a good mom is inherent in who you are: taking care of those around you, helping them to grow into their best selves, caring, loving, laughing, baking cookies. To those of you whose blogs I read, you inspire me as a mom every day --> To be a better mother. To take a shower. To get creative. To buy a belt! And to share my journey here. Thank you guys!



2 years 4 months

As of Sunday Otto was 2 years, 4 months old. Le sigh! He walks like a boy. He quacks like a boy. I'm so proud of his every achievement but the window of time between now and his babyhood seems oh so short...

 and he's just up to so much lately that is real kid (real person!) stuff. I wanted to share a few of the milestones that put a smile on my face every day. First, my kiddo at the splash park (where he pretty much refused to go near the water, then splashed for two minutes, then talked about splashing "a LOT!" for the next 2 days).

Do you see the future seventeen-year-old in these pics? It scares me, but I do. Especially the close-up. Boy oh boy -->

So what is Otto up to these days?

- Well, as you can see, he's now posing for photos. We've got the cheesey "cheeeeez" face and the classic Otto sticking-tongue-out pose. I'm still hoping for the sm-eyes (smize?) to make its appearance. He'll get there.
- He can sing his ABCs
- And count to 13 reliably, after that it's number salad but he knows a lot of numbers. So it's like, "...10, 11, 12, 13, 27, 18, 19, 100!"
- He can negotiate which for now seems to be working to my advantage. Me: Please just try it; take ONE bite. Otto: No! Five bites! Me: You win, five it is.
- If you look closely, above, his feet are finally big enough for the mandals without socks! Just in time for 95' temps. I'll miss my little Florida tourist.
- He's really starting to appreciate rhyme, onomatopoeia, and alliteration. Thank you, thank you Dr. Seuss and Margaret Wise Brown!
- He tells reallllly funny jokes. He tells one-man knock knock jokes. My favorite, said all at once, he came up with at the thrift store and had me dying! "knock knock who's there bear ahhhh! run away! it's just a joke"

And 1,000 other amazing, wonderful, funny things. I just love him. Love.

Looking forward to a quiet, loving Mother's Day this weekend full of great-grandmas, nanas, moms, pops, siblings, kiddos, my stupid dog, and Nana's new puppy! I wish you all amazing weekends and would love to hear what your little kiddoooos are up to these days.



Verdi the Monkey Doll {Bla Bla Kids} Giveaway! CLOSED

I have a really fun little giveaway for you guys c/o my friends over at Tiny Birds Organic Baby . If you're like me, you've been seeing Bla Bla Kids dolls everywhere lately. They are blowing up! Because why? Duh, look!

Verdi the Monkey is 24" of fair trade, handmade, cuteness. He is a green monkey you see there (image via blablakids.com) and would be the sweetest addition to any little munchkin's doll collection ♥

How to enter the giveaway (any or all of these, nothing mandatory):
- Tell me any other item you'd like from Tiny Birds Organic Baby
- "Like" Tiny Birds on Facebook
- Follow me on Networked Blogs and/or Blog Lovin (see right sidebar, I'm new to both)
- Tweet this up to 3 times daily (then let me know you did each time):

Win Verde the Monkey BlaBla doll! He's bananas! #giveaway @OttosMomBlogs http://tinyurl.com/4ywkcj2

Leave a comment for each entry please. Giveaway is open through May 31. A winner will be chosen using Random.org. Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win. Open to US and Canada only.


Good luck!

Not an entry... If you like this blog, I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for me on TBB. But I want to be clear that this is not an entry. But please vote anyway, thanks!

Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory