Tuesday, September 2, 2014

best, *affordable* shoes for toddlers (and preschoolers) in every season

I'm kinda picky about my kid's footwear (and my own).

My criteria: 
1. They have to be practical. Run, jump, play - they can't fall off, trip her or fall apart with wear.
2. They have to be self-administered (this is also a requirement at O's preschool). This means they have to be easy for her to put on and take off all by herself.
3. They have to be neutral and go with everything and not be obnoxious to look at.
4. They have to be affordable. I find with shoes, more than clothing, that once Olive is in a size for more than a few months, it is sometimes worth it to buy them brand new because they're going to take a beating. In that case, they need to be affordable. I won't ever spend more than $30 on any article of clothing but especially not ones she will grow out of quickly.

So, in shodding Olive for 3.5 years now, these have been and continue to be my favorites (starting at walking age). They all meet the criteria above and they're all unisex.


* I love these shoes. Since they have holes all over they keep feet cool and are safe for the water. In the summer, these are the only shoes you need. We sometimes have salt waters, but I prefer these since they're slip ons. The colors are divine.

* These are comfortable with socks and barefoot. They are very easy to put on (Olive usually picks then first when we have a pair in her size because she likes to do it herself, especially the strap) and since they're made out of canvas they conform to fit well and will shrink back up in the machine if they need washing.


Minetonka infant front strap mocassins $22 (up through toddler size 6) and 
Minnetonka classic soft sole  fringe boot (starting at toddler size 7) $28

* These are just so cute (I have two grown up versions myself) but since they're real leather, they also mold to the foot and are pretty tough with scratches. They aren't waterproof, so you'll have to plan accordingly, but exceedingly comfortable and cute as crap.

Saucony Jazz velcro tennis shoes starting at $15ish, most are around $28 (they're cheaper on Amazon than from the Saucony site and, less annoyingly, don't list boys and girl's colors separately)

* These come in a million great retro colors and are so tough. Your babe could skateboard in these guys every day and they wouldn't get ripped up. They're great for super active kids who need shoes that stay on well and offer good support.


* I love iPlay (and Green Sprouts, their sister). They make safe, well made natural products and have both a small clothing/shoe line as well as inexpensive toy collection with some excellent feeding supplies, too. I'd buy anything from them, but I especially love these boots.

(depending on style/size/color, there is a taller version and one with a hook closure)

* Just as warm as UGGs, but without the hefty price tag, these are my favorite for very cold, clear days. (They also make great indoor slippers, if you do that kind of thing.)

I should mention that we've had all these shoes in multiple sizes and I've bought them over and over again because I love them but almost every time I bought them at thrift stores. The price range on each one is doable brand new, especially if you'll pass them down to a younger sibling. But, like me, you may have luck finding any of these brands at your local secondhand kids store.

Blogger Tricks

Monday, September 1, 2014


olive: with a lot of cranky days lately, i was so happy to see this shot of your usual sweet face. 
*photo credit: tapa

Saturday, August 30, 2014


this incredible photo project was the best thing i've seen online all year

on the multitude of experiences related to breastfeeding and National Breastfeeding Week

how to tie a sarong a million different ways

29 and 30 (my birthday is next month!)

love the regular lunch inspiration I'm getting from #gmmdilunches on instagram

and from the archives:
+ 4/52 (her face is already so much less round!)
+ reflections on my birth from when olive turned 3
+ still my favorite smoothie

Thursday, August 28, 2014

chelan again

Lake Chelan is giant, deep lake situated in a gorgeous valley about 4 hours from home. The water is crystal clear and our gracious host, Abe, has a family cabin there we visit whenever he'll have us. We were particularly excited to go this time since he's moved to Thailand. Our only vacation this summer (see S working non-stop and me puking non-stop) was to head over for the weekend and it was delightful as it always is. I feel a little shaken out of my first trimester by all the beautiful weather and getting away from the daily routine.

When you are pregnant and refuse coffee in the morning, everyone assumes you are the picture of virtue - not doing anything to harm your tiny baby. While I'll accept that (unfounded) sainthood, I am in fact without coffee because I can't keep it down. While I miss it like crazy, it is interesting to be freed from caffeine. No frantic first-thing-in-the-morning hunt for anything black.

We took Alicia, our awesome summertime babysitter with us and it was the best (she took most of these pictures). I really recommend as much help as you can get when sick and pregnant and on vacation. Because it makes it a little like an actual vacation. (Thank you, Alicia, we love you!)

Lake Chelan is the second deepest in the world and Spartacus says that's why it's so clear and beautiful. I say it's magic. You don't even need a rinse when you get out. It's Hawaii-level gorgeousness.

The weather had great timing and only decided to majorly storm as we were leaving. Thanks, weather gods.

And now, though you wouldn't know it by the temperature, Summer is officially over. S stayed home this morning to take Olive to her first day of big kid preschool with me (there was homework and everything!). Happy back to school to those of you who go.

More lake Chelan (which our navigation voice pronouced: "Chillin'". You're not wrong, GPS, you're not wrong.)
+ sunshine and swimming

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


olive: vacation