As an editor for Daily Mom, I get pitched so many products and as a natural mom, I spend countless hours researching for the best products for Lexi and I, so I end up having a lot of recommendations based on the research I do and the access I have to new products. So once a week I will continue introducing one cool product or service that I either use or think would be really cool for others.
So for her 4th birthday (which was a few months ago but of course I am just now writing about it, because, damn, I took lots of pictures and had to edit them and also… LIFE), we partnered up with Micro Kickboard to do a scooter birthday party.
Towards the end of winter, I decided to take Lexi with me to Minnesota for a week. I wasn’t sure what we would do there but I wanted to go somewhere with her and since I was already planning a trip there, I took her along. My one goal for the trip was to show her snow. She had been asking about it and we just hadn’t had a chance to make it to the north that winter, so this trip came in handy.
She did see snow and actually managed to get on skis and do some snow tubing which was an absolute blast, but the most unexpectedly memorable experience was Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.
I am not sure what I was expecting… I guess being spoiled by Disney just three hours away, I didn’t think some indoor amusement park was going to impress me. Or Lexi, for that reason.
But wow the Mall was fun!
Here are the 5 things that Lexi and I both loved at the Minneapolis’ Mall of America
Oh boy! That spells both danger and glorious moments of freedom. The Lego Store at the MOA is equipped with tables full of random legos and at any time you can see crowds of kids sitting at the tables assembling Legos with their bored parents staring off into the distance. I made the mistake of taking Lexi there before dinner and needless to say, I could not get her out. If you’re planning on visiting the mall, make sure that you bring your laptop or a book and go there right after a meal. This way your lego obsessed kiddo can happily ignore you while building with all the other kids and you will actually be able to relax and do something for yourself while watching from the side.
A video posted by E @ The Art Of Making A Baby (@prebabyblog) on
Wow! This was really cool. For any girl, whether she is interested in dolls or not, whether she is an American girl fan or not, this experience is a MUST. Lexi has never been into dolls and she certainly didn’t know what American Girl dolls were (in fact, the only toy she picked out was a kitty, out of the whole store of dolls). Despite that, she was in 7th heaven.
Who doesn’t want a little friend having lunch with them? She sat at the table and quietly played with her doll, feeding her cupcakes (the doll gets food too), and talking to her and enjoying their lunch together. No entertainment required, I was kind of a third wheel. Once in a while she would get up from the table and start dancing with her doll, but then sit back down and continue eating.
The make your own cupcake desert activity was really fun too. I seriously just sat there watching her play on her own and taking pictures while she enjoyed the experience. The food was really tasty. A little too oily for what I am used to, but tasted really really good. Lexi had salmon which she loved (and I did too) and I had shrimp scampi.
Think of these rides as gateway drugs to the rollercoaster world. If you have a kid who is like mine, who LOVES excitement and thrills but due to young age can still be tentative about something that is a little bit too jarring or scary or even exciting, then these two rides are perfect.
Pepsi Orange Streak is like a hybrid of fast adult coasters (fast, smooth, exciting), but small enough with average drops where a 4 year old will have no problem handling the excitement (unless you have a particularly cautious 4 year old). Lexi asked me to ride it 3 times in a row. Luckily, at Nick Universe, most bigger rides allow the parent to go in for free to accompany a little kid.
Splat-O-Sphere is an entry into the drop rides. I was concerned Lexi would be scared (but then who am I kidding, the girl cried when she found out she couldn’t go on Dr Doom’s Fall at Islands of Adventure), and she was nervous at first, but quickly the excitement of the drop overpowered any fear she had and just like Pepsi Orange Streak, she asked to go on it 3 times. I love that she was able to experience somewhat adult rides that were toned down for kids who outgrew the lack of excitement of the true kiddie rides.
And then, of course, for those needing way more excitement ( height restrictions apply), there is always the Mutant Ninja Turtles ride
Now this is brilliant and I wish more parks would get a clue and do something similar.
Every Tuesday the Mall of America provides events, free entertainment and discounts for toddlers. Special character appearances, crafts, and story time are all available. Kids eat free at the participating restaurants and you can buy a Toddler Tuesday ride special for only $11.95 plus tax (good for 5 hours which is plenty to ride EVERYTHING their heart desires). Only toddler rides are included and they can ride them unlimited number of times.
5. Number of Kiddie Rides
This park is DESIGNED with small kids in mind. While there are a few more exciting adult rides around Nickelodeon Universe, this is a mecca for preschoolers. I counted 15 small kid rides plus 6-7 more that braver souls can venture on (and those who are in the higher percentile for height). One day is NOT enough here, but it’s better than nothing. I would recommend planning for at least 2 days, because you will want to return. I want to go back now, but I am probably not taking Lexi to Minnesota until later this year.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO MALL OF AMERICA? If so, what is your favorite experience there?
Some of you who follow me on IG might have noticed me mentioning Melody Lane a few times and I am sure you saw the announcement and I have finally found the time to talk about it and give you some background information on how it came to life and what it is. ( and a coupon just for my readers at the end)
You understand and use concepts and words like “dehydration” or “cumulonimbus.”
You make hilarious jokes and laugh at ours.
You are not shy at all. You will talk in lengths about everything on your mind with anyone who will listen. And will walk up to total stranger. Will actually seek people out to talk to.
You think it’s funny when someone farts. You use sarcasm in responding to us.
You have a love and hate relationship with homeschooling but will sit through 2 hours of it without complaining.
You are a rule follower. This makes you an absolutely perfect child. I am going to have to teach you how to break some rules when you’re older 😉
You eat pretty much everything we offer you, except for cooked peppers or spicy food.
Your favorite foods are so varied I would have trouble naming only one. You love fish, soups and vegetables.
Your favorite snack is edamame peas which you call “mommy peas” because that’s what you heard initially and you just always thought those were mommy peas
You still don’t eat meat and don’t consume dairy except for in ice cream and occasional kefir. You don’t seem to have any interest in cheese or cow’s milk.
Your favorite treat is ICE CREAM.
Anyone who comes in contact with you usually ends up saying the same thing about you ” Wow what a sweet little girl!” Because you are really really kind and sweet.
You are 43 inches exactly and have just graduated to a front facing seat, because you’ve reached Clek’s limits.
You are incredibly empathetic like you have always been.
Your personality, if described in a few words, is: extroverted, friendly, very sensitive, imaginative.
You still never throw tantrums, but instead pout and get sad which then has to be remedied by one of your favorite things: hugs, a treat, a talk.
You take everything to heart and very seriously. A few months ago we told you that there are certain foods that make you strong and others that make you weak and you have been making sure that you eat enough strong foods and will eat them with pleasure, proud of what you are doing. If you want a treat, you will always ask us to give you some “strong” foods first. Same goes for any other things we tell you or rules we set. It’s honestly an absolute pleasure to parent you.
You go to different classes: art, gymnastics, ballet, cooking, basketball, t-ball, soccer
You love going to the gym with me and exercising on the elliptical and the treadmill.
You strongly dislike being even slightly hot or very cold.
You prefer taking showers and can fully wash yourself
You’re becoming more and more self- sufficient and I can now use you as my fetch-it buddy 😉
You have a strong love for travel and change of environment and at the same time you love being home. You are just incredibly easy going.
So far in your 4 years you have visited: different parts of Florida, Mexico twice, Costa Rica, Tennessee, Minnesota, St Thomas, St Martin, California twice, Las Vegas twice and we are planning trips to Russia, Canada, Hawaii, more Mexico, Colorado and hopefully more exotic places as you get older. And you talk about all the places you’ve been ALL THE TIME.
Your favorite toy this whole year has been without a shadow of a doubt: Lego Friends sets. You play with 8-12 age group sets and are getting really good at assembling them yourself. (not completely capable, but that’s what you like to play with so we help you)
Your favorite books are still Dr Seuss and Cat in the Hat Learning Library, as well as any Mo Willems book.
You don’t watch shows or movies anymore, you sort of lost interest. Instead you use a lot of educational and school curriculum based apps and play strategic games, like Where is my Water? and Plants Vs Zombies.
You understand the most complicated concepts and hear and pick up on EVERYTHING, even when we think you’re not listening.
There are a million other things about you that make you who you are. But it is 2:45 am and you’ve been waking up every hour asking for me to come to bed. So I’ll do that now…
Interview with Lexi when she was 3.5 ( one at 4 years old coming up)
Note: Kohl’s has provided us with a $50 gift card for the giveaway and the products listed above.
With spring approaching and Lexi getting older, I have been thinking a lot about taking her camping. She keeps seeing camping references in books she reads and shows she watches and has become pretty interested in it. While we were in Chattanooga on a press trip ( post coming up), she bought a little lantern at Ruby Falls and has been inseparable with it, talking about camping with her lantern. Now my experience with camping equals to zero. I grew up in a city and during my adult life never had anyone who was even remotely interested in going camping (and who wants to go alone?). So I always wished I could camp, but never had the opportunity to make it happen. Andrew always said “ugh, bugs mosquitoes, why???”.
Despite all that, I have planned out all the camping spots I wanted to go to years ago and have had that on my to do list periodically looking it over.
Obviously when Lexi was little, going on my own first camping trip was out of the question. Now that she is 4 and is herself interested in it, it would be a shame not to get it going. Two females against one male. We know who wins there. So we started shopping on Kohl’s for their camping sale event.
I will start this post with a few words that will hopefully get the right people to read the rest of it: THIS MATTRESS SAVED MY BACK
If that phrase brings up ANY kind of emotions in you, if you wake up sore or with a painful back, then you need to continue reading. If you don’t, read up anyways, just in case you’re ever in this situation.
I know it slightly sounds like an ad, and, while technically any review is an ad, every single word I am about to write is coming from me and my experience. Pinky promise.