The Stair Barrier Review

When we bought our house almost two years ago, the thing that I fell in love with was the curved staircase. When you walk into our home, the first thing you see is the stairs, and they feel so grand and beautiful. My daughter was five months old when we bought our house, and to be honest, I didn’t even consider what stairs would be like once she got older. But as my daughter has grown, I have realized how stressful stairs can be with a toddler.

As an independent two-year-old, my daughter could spend hours climbing up and down the stairs. She “knows” that she only goes on the stairs with an adult, but if I take my eyes off of her for a second, she usually heads straight to the staircase. As she’s gotten more mobile, I have concluded that we had to do SOMETHING to prevent her from trying to climb the stairs without supervision.

For the past few months, my husband and I have tried all sorts of gates for our staircase, but we ran into two issues. The first issue is that, because we don’t have any walls at the bottom of our stairs, the gates we found didn’t fit correctly. The other problem we found is that nothing looked good on our staircase and, because it’s the first thing you see when you walk into our house, that was a problem for me. I wanted to find something that would keep our daughter safe, but would also look beautiful.

I searched high and low for something that would work, and then I ran across The Stair Barrier. The Stair Barrier is a fabric stair gate that can be custom made to fit any staircase. From what I read online before receiving my gate, it can be installed in minutes, it looks beautiful, and it is the ONLY gate on the market designed for installation on banisters. But honestly, I was skeptical; it seemed a little too good to be true. Luckily, The Better Options Company sent me a complimentary Stair Barrier to try out and review, and I am so happy that they did!

When The Stair Barrier arrived, I was first taken aback by the incredible quality and the beautiful fabric. I guess I was expecting something flimsy, but it is so well made. I skimmed through the directions, which seemed easy enough to follow, and six clicks later, The Stair Barrier was installed.

Once it was up, the first thing I wanted to try out was how it rolled up. The directions explain that you unhook one side of the barrier and carefully roll it inward so that it stands up on one side of the stairs. “Yeah, right,” I thought; there was no way that my rolled barrier would look like the picture, and shockingly, it did! Once The Stair Barrier is rolled up, it stays up and takes up very little room, so you can easily walk up the stairs.

Now, the real test of The Stair Barrier was my toddler. I let her look at it and then held my breath, waiting for her to maneuver around and find her way up the stairs. As soon as she saw The Stair Barrier, her first instinct was to try to climb on it (of course), but after a few minutes, she left it alone and went on with her day. The Stair Barrier almost hides the stairs from her point of view and has done a great job keeping her off the stairs and giving me complete peace of mind.

Bottom line? After a couple of days of having The Stair Barrier up, we are so impressed! The quality is impeccable, the fabric is beautiful (I went with “Farmhouse Black Lines,” but there are so many fabric options), and it safely keeps our toddler off the stairs. I also really love that it hasn’t caused any damage to our staircase and can be removed entirely and easily stored in a matter of seconds. The Stair Barrier is now the first thing you see when you walk into our home, and I am completely okay with that! If you are looking for a stylish way to keep little ones or pets off your stairs, I cannot recommend The Stair Barrier enough.

Sending love and magic.

Life Lately

I decided that I want to start sharing a weekly update telling you what is going on in my life and what my family has been up to all week. After all, motherhood is more than just cute recipes and movie nights, it’s often monotonous and tiring, and I want to share it all with you! So, I hope you don’t mind these posts that will give you a little look into my life.

Recently, I signed my daughter up for dance class at a local dance studio. Before Covid, I tried to do many activities (music class, playgrounds, etc.) outside of my home to help socialize her. She has always stayed home with me and is very unsure around other people, so I’ve tried really hard to expose her to new people and new situations. Now that we are home all the time, I’ve been struggling to find things for her to do. Luckily, a dance studio that is close to my house, has social distancing measures in place, so I decided to sign her up. She is starting to enjoy going to dance class every Monday, and she is finally warming up to the idea of being around other children (thank goodness).

Besides dance class this week, we also did a really easy craft that I shared on my Instagram, but I figured I would share it on my blog. I am always looking for easy toddler crafts, and the one that I came up with this past week was perfect for Halloween. Essentially, I took a white foam board and cut into the shape of a Mickey Mouse ghost with my Exacto knife. I then covered the foam board with glue and allowed my daughter to stick cotton balls all over it. Finally, I added black construction paper Mickey Ears and a face. It was the cutest craft, and I loved how it looked on our mantle for Halloween.

We finished out all of our Halloween activities this week including our It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Movie Night that I wrote about here.

On Saturday night, my family came over, and we put together a small “Halloween Carnival” in my backyard for my daughter, niece, and nephew. They played games and won prizes. I made a delicious Halloween-inspired charcuterie board for everyone to snack on, and my friend Suzanne made us the perfect Mickey Halloween cookies. If you are in the San Antonio, Texas area, make sure you check out Suzy Homebaker.

We finished Halloween by doing some socially distanced trick-or-treating around our neighborhood on our golf cart. This year, my daughter was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and of course, my husband, puppy, and I had do dress up as the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man. It was such a fun Halloween full of so many wonderful memories.

Today is November 1, which means I have the ultimate internal debate: when do I decorate for Christmas? We usually jump right into it, but this year I am thinking about waiting a couple of weeks and enjoying fall for awhile. Although, I’ve already started listening to Christmas music. I can’t wait to see what this week brings, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Sending love and magic.

Cars Car Wash Activity

It has been so hot outside, and I am always looking for fun water activities to keep us cool. Today I threw together a fun “car wash” for my daughter, and it was a hit! She loved it so much that she cried when we had to put it away.

To start, I grabbed two plastic bins. I filled one of the containers with some soil that I had on hand and then added some water. I filled the second bin with water and added some dish soap.

After getting the bins ready, I grabbed some of our friends from the movie Cars to bury in the mud. I also found a little brush for my daughter to clean with, and then I let her have at it.

At first, she was a little skeptical about digging in the mud to get the cars out. But eventually, she realized how fun it was to dig around and then wash the cars off.

If you need an activity that will keep your toddler occupied for awhile, give this easy car wash a try!

Sending love and magic.

Five Friday Favorites: Traveling with a Baby

As a mom and travel agent, I get a lot of questions about if or when people should bring their kids to Disney. My daughter will be two in September and has been to Walt Disney World four times. Each time we go brings it’s own challenges (like when she was still drinking formula from bottles and I had to sanitize bottles each night), but we also create wonderful memories. I am a big believer that you should bring your kids to Disney no matter what their age, they might not remember it, but you will.

I think the most important thing when traveling with kids is to be prepared! Below you will find my five favorite things to bring when traveling to Disney with a baby or toddler. Please note that I make a small commission if you purchase through my Amazon affiliate links, or you can find these products on your own.

Fan

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This fan is the number one thing that you need when traveling to Disney with a baby or toddler. Not only is this fan easy to clip onto a stroller, it will also stand up on a table if you need it to. I’ve learned that a hot toddler = cranky toddler, so having this fan handy can help calm the situation down. My husband and I have also taken turns using this fan when it gets too hot in the Florida sun.

Travel Bottle Rack

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The first two times we went to Disney World, my daughter was still drinking from a bottle. This traveling bottle rack was a lifesaver! It’s very compact for packing in a suitcase, but so handy when you are in your hotel room. Once she transitioned from a bottle to a sippy cup, I still brought this bottle rack along to dry sippy sups at night.

White Noise Machine

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From the time my daughter was little, she has always slept with a white noise machine (and so have I), so bringing a white noise machine to Disney has always been important to us. But, over the past couple trips, I have learned how helpful that white noise can be! White noise machines help to drown out other noises, which can be very helpful when staying in a hotel room. During the day (ie nap time), there is often construction going on around the Disney resorts and this machine can help your child to sleep through it. At bedtime, this white noise machine can help to drown out the sound of fireworks that you might hear from your room. We have also clipped this to her stroller to help with nap time in the parks while walking around.

Stroller Tag

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I have learned that when you are at Disney, it’s hot, you’re tired, and your kids are tired, all strollers look the same! Bringing a stroller tag, whether for your personal stroller or a rented stroller, will help make finding your stroller a whole lot easier. We have this stroller tag that I purchased from Etsy and I love it because not only is it cute, but it’s great quality.

Travel Mattress

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If you are staying at a Disney owned resort, they have complimentary cribs that you can use for your children. One thing I have recognized with my daughter is that she needs a little extra comfort when sleeping in a crib that’s not hers. I purchased this foldable travel mattress for traveling and it has been a lifesaver! It easily packs into a suitcase and then unfolds to fit perfectly in a Pack n Play or crib. I also wash a crib sheet at home and bring that with us to put on her mattress which makes a difference.

Bonus: Bring your patience.

Even if you have visited Disney 1,000 times, traveling with a child will make it much harder. Pack your patience and lower your expectations when traveling with a baby or toddler. Remember that they will need breaks and naps (and honestly you probably will too), so take it slow. If you have any questions about traveling with a child, leave a comment below.

Sending love and magic.

Disney Dinner & A Movie: Monsters, Inc.

I have come to the conclusion that my toddler might love Pixar movies a little more than classic Disney movies, with Toy Story 2, Cars and Finding Nemo being at the top of her list. This past week we decided to share another one of our Pixar favorites, Monsters, Inc., with her (I also had to dress her up like Boo, because why not?).

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This kid is getting pickier and pickier with her food choices, so I wanted to make something simple for dinner that she would eat. To start, I concocted a really fun “Mike Wazowski Punch”. I mixed equal parts Sprite and Pineapple juice and then stirred in half a packet of Kool-Aid Lemon Lime. I poured the punch into mason jars and tape on a Mike Wazowski eyeball.

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Our “Mike” was made, so now we needed to add something “Sully” to our meal. In a bowl I whipped heaving whipping cream with half a pack of Berry Blue Jello powder. Once the whipped cream formed stiff peaks, I stirred in some sliced up blackberries. I’m not even sure what to call this, but it was delicious.

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If you’re familiar with Monsters, Inc., then you know that Mike and Silvia eat at a sushi restaurant called Harryhausen’s. I really love sushi but decided that a toddler friendly version would be PB&J “Sushi”. This was really easy to make. I started by flattening my bread, then I spread peanut butter and strawberry jelly, finally I carefully rolled and sliced. It was a hit!

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Our Monsters, Inc. night was so much fun, I forgot how great this movie is. My daughter really loved the movie (and the PB&J Sushi). I can’t wait to figure out what we are doing next week!

Sending love and magic.

Toddler Meals (That Are A Little Magical)

When my daughter first started eating “real food”, she would devour pretty much anything that I put in front of her. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore, and our meal times have turned into fights. She has become picky about what she wants to eat and it makes meal times hard on all of us.

Over the past couple months I have found myself brainstorming ways to make her meals a little more fun and I thought that I would share some of those ideas with you! If you are dealing with a picky toddler, or just want to make meal time a little more fun, maybe these ideas can help.

I make a small commission if you purchase through my Amazon affiliate links, or you can find these products on your own.

Here are some of my favorite products that help inspire my daughter to eat the food that I put in front of her:

Bumkins Minnie Silicone Grip Dish

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This Minnie Mouse plate from Bumkins is our absolute favorite! My daughter loves is because well, it’s Minnie Mouse, and I love it because it’s easy to clean and stays on her high chair tray. Most toddler plates have three areas for food, but this one has five areas which means I can give her more options.

Vegetable Cutters

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I honestly use at least one of these vegetable cutters on every single meal that I make for my daughter. I love this set because it comes with a Mickey cutter (I’ve learned it’s much easier to get my daughter to eat “Mickey apples” over “apples”) and it also comes with little animal forks that are fun to eat with. These cutters are very easy to clean and you can use them to cut so many different things.

Mickey Sandwich Cutter

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Just like the with the vegetable cutters, I use this sandwich cutter for everything. From PB&J to grilled cheese, we have lots of Mickey sandwiches in our house. I also use this for cookies, Rice Krispies Treats, beignets, and biscuits!

Mickey Mouse Muffin Mold

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There is something special about having a Mickey Mouse blueberry muffin on a Saturday morning, but I love this muffin mold because you can use it for so much more than just muffins! I’ve made really cute brownies and cupcakes with it, but it would also be great for baked eggs and rolls.

Here are a few examples of our fun meals that I hope will inspire you! Feeding a toddler or child can be such a task, but this makes it a little more exciting for all of us.

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Sending love and magic.

The Cleanest Finger Painting Ever

Before I became a mom I would browse Pinterest and look at all the fun activities that I would one day do with my future child. The one thing that I didn’t realize is that most of these activities also included a big MESS. So, a couple months ago, I set out to find a clean way to finger paint with a toddler. Is that even possible? YES!

To do “plastic bag” finger painting you will need a Ziploc bag, finger paints, and a canvas (I like to use these from Amazon!). You can also add a sticker or vinyl to make a fun design, but this is optional.

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If you are going to use vinyl or stickers, place that on your canvas first. Then squirt small dabs of finger paint all over the canvas. Carefully slide your canvas into a plastic bag and make sure the plastic bag is sealed. Finally, give the painting bag to your toddler and let them go to town! They can squish, swirl, and smash the paint, but they won’t get dirty!

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When your toddler is done painting, carefully remove the canvas from the bag and set out to dry for c couple hours. If you placed stickers or vinyl on your canvas, carefully peel them off once your painting is dry.

TA-DA! A beautiful, mess free finger painting!

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Sending love and magic.