Jellybean’s 2nd birthday is fast approaching, not to mention the holidays, and the brainstorming of gift ideas has officially begun.  When it comes to buying presents I often feel like I don’t have enough options OR I’m totally at a loss as to what to buy.  Trying to decide on the perfect second birthday gift has actually made me think a lot about the things Jellybean has really loved over the past year.  Some of them we bought for her, others were gifts and a few we just enjoyed using at a friend’s house.

So if you, like me, sometimes draw a blank here are some of my favorite gift for a toddle who’s 1 to 2 years old …

Christmas, Hanukkah and birthday gift ideas for a toddler.  Perfect for 1-2 year olds  |  Life's Tidbits

  1. Corn Popper // I will admit this toy can be a tad bit annoying.  The constant popping noise might be annoying to us ‘adults’, however the kiddos love it!
  2. Magnetic Drawing Board // Perfect for a toddler who loves to color or one who’s just starting to build those motor skills.  Jellybean found this gift particularly entertaining when we were on vacation and on those morning’s when I’m running late and she has to sit in the bathroom while I shower.
  3. Radio Flyer Scoot-About Bike // I wish we had known about this bike earlier.  It’s great for scooting around the apartment and outside the little toddler bike posse is pretty darn adorable.
  4. Little People // Perfect for learning to play pretend or you know just chuck the different farm animals around.  Haha.  Oh the life of a toddler!
  5. Take-Along Shape Sorter // Great learning toy for colors, shapes and fine motor skills.  Also the perfect size to fit in the diaper or carry-on bag when traveling.
  6. My First Chair // This is probably in the top 5 favorite things Jellybean loves, and I’m a huge fan as well.  She loves to sit in her chair for snacks, tv, playing with a toy and often sets up all her ‘babies’ for tea or story time.
  7. MegaBlocks // Great for building, stacking, counting and identifying colors.
  8. Laugh & Learn Tea Set // Love the songs on the tea pot and it’s pretty adorable when Jellybean asks if I would like some “mor’ tea”.
  9. Chat & Count Cell Phone // This toy is great when you are on the go.  It fits in a purse or pocket.  It’s my go to toy for trips to the store, doctors and trips, especially, on the airplane!
  10. Jumbo Triangular Crayons // My daughter is not gentle with her toys and these crayons have held up really well over the months.  While Jellybean didn’t love coloring at 12 months, by the time she was 18 months it was one of her favorite post-nap activities.

So there you have it, our favorite gift ideas for a 1-2 year old.  And, seriously with all the toy choices out there toddlerhood is pretty darn fun on a birthday or holiday!

What are you favorite gifts for toddlers?


Run Jump Scrap!


Time is flying and we have just about hit the 3 month mark as expats in Bangkok.  Not surprising, but we’ve learned a few more tidbits about Bangkok, being an expat and we are really starting to find our groove living abroad.

The funny thing about living abroad is, just like being where you used to call home, eventually it starts to feel normal.

It’s normal to start sweat almost immediately after leaving the house.
It’s normal that most people around us are speaking in a language I barely understand.
It’s normal (or at least starting to feel normal) not to be going off to work each day.

Not to say I’m taking for-granted this amazing experience, but it’s nice that life is feeling more normal and less like I’m on constant sensory overload.  :)


Some tidbits about Bangkok …

  1. Unlike the Metro, the BTS isn’t a free for all when it comes to boarding the train.  People actually line up and board in an orderly fashion. It took me a while to realize it wasn’t proper social etiquette to just rush the train doors once people finish disembarking.  {See picture above of Jellybean lining up at the appropriate arrow.}
  2. Right now the exchange rate range is about 35 baht to the dollar.  My brain cannot do the math quick enough.  One day soon I know it’s going to click and the calculation won’t be necessary, but until then I often whip out the cell phone to figure out how much something is.
  3. When I switched to a Thai SIM card a lot more changed than just my phone number.  Instead of having a monthly plan I now just ‘top off’ my cell phone phone when my balance is running low.  The craziest part is I can add money at the 7-11!  The other day we were running late to a playdate and my cell died (that’s what I get for ignoring 5 text messages my balance was low) and all I did was pop into 7-11 to add money to my cell phone.  I was nervous it wouldn’t work, but it was seamless!
  4. Speaking of paying things at 7-11 … a lots of bills can be paid at the 7-11 OR by doing a direct deposit into a company’s account.  Few places take check or credit card as far as I can tell.  You pay in cash, direct deposit into their account or just go to 7-11.  Who would have thunk?
  5. There is an abundance of trash cans in DC.  Here, in Bangkok, trash cans are few and far between.  I’ve become strangely adept hoarding trash in my backpack {or back pocket} and discarding it at home or bathroom trash cans.  I don’t really understand why there are no trash cans, but I kind of miss the trash cans on every corner.
  6. Recycling is nonexistent, as far as I can tell, in Bangkok.  I was obsessed with separating out bottle/cans/paper in DC and now it all just goes in one bag.  I feel guilty sometimes when I throw a can into the trash.
  7. Bangkok is a foodie city, similar to DC and NYC, you can find just about any type of cuisine you would like.  While we haven’t been out to eat as much as I might like the places we have tried are really good!
  8. I am now ‘adept’ at telling the taxi driver to turn (leow) left (sai) and right (kwaa).  I can also tell him the number of my street and the number of one other street that we visit frequently.  Some of the taxi drivers correct my pronunciation and others pretend they have no idea what I’m saying.  I’m learning slowly, but in all honesty the Thai language isn’t easy and being tonal one word can mean 5 different things depending on the inflection in your voice. Ahhh!
  9. Buying food labeled in a foreign language can be interesting.  Like the time we bought that strange milk for a couple weeks in a row since it ‘looked’ like whole milk containers from the States.  Turns out it was ‘sweet milk’ or whatever that is…  Or the all-to-common experience of buying street food and convincing yourself it’s probably chicken, or beef, or pork (ish).  But it’s sooo tasty!
  10. Personal space is fairly limited here.  It is socially acceptable to stand super close to someone, touch their child or push past someone without even an excuse me.  While I’m still not comfortable with the person behind me in line practically touching my back as we wait, I have had to adopt the pushing past people in order to get where I’m going … though I do try to say excuse me (or thoot in Thai).

And if you missed it, please check out the first installment of Bit of Bangkok.  More of our Bangkok adventures, to date, can be found here or please follow us on Instagram.

What kind of Bangkok tidbits would you like to know more about?






Run Jump Scrap!Let's Talk Mommy

In an effort to continue exploring Bangkok and taking advantage of our time abroad we decided to check out the Jim Thompson House and Museum a few weekends ago.  I found it in one of the travel books we have for Bangkok we have and hoped it would be fairly toddler friendly.  It’s probably worth nothing Jim Thompson House is #7 on the TripAdvisors list of ‘Things To Do’ in Bangkok.

Side note – why is the BTS Skytrain #2 on TripAdvisor?  I mean sure it’s a convenient way to get around, but I wouldn’t recommend visitors go on the BTS just for the sake of going on the BTS.  Okay … stepping off soap box.

Visiting the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok Thailand  | Life's Tidbits

The guided tour provided a lot of details about Jim Thompson who was an American and moved to Thailand after WW2.  He was known not only for his silk business, but his antique collection.  Touring his house, seeing the antiques he collected and learning more about Thai culture was really interesting and definitely worth the trip.  It was kind of kid friendly, but the hubby missed out on part of the house tour because Jellybean wanted to see the fish.  Mor’ fish, mor’ fish she shrieked. :)











After the tour and snapping some photos we made our way to the restaurant.  There was a beautiful koi fish pound next to where we ate.

Koi Fish Pond at Jim Thompson House | Life's Tidbits

The hubby and I celebrated the successful sightseeing trip with a beer.  It came with phet (Thai for spicy) peanuts.  The perfect little snack to compliment a nice cold beer!

Beer and Spicy Peanuts at Jim Thompson House & Museum Restaurant | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Food at Jim Thompson House & Museum Restaurant | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Seriously delicious coconut ice cream.
Coconut Ice cream at Jim Thompson House & Museum | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

A few Tidbits for Visiting the Jim Thompson House and Museum:

  • It is located within walking distance of the National Stadium BTS station.  DO NOT let a Tuk Tuk convince you a ride is required as you leave the skytrain.
  • Admission is 150 BHT per person (bring cash)
  • As part of the admission fee guided informational tours are provided (in multiple languages) and last about 30 minutes.

For more information visit the Jim Thompson House website.

Have you been to the Jim Thompson House?  If you have any recommendations on where we should visit, eat, etc?? I am open to hearing any and all suggestions (even if it’s outside of Bangkok … we do plan to do some traveling around Thailand)!!


A few weekends ago the family took in the sights and went to Wat Pho for the morning.  It was beautiful and truly felt good to finally ‘see the sights’.  The best part was I didn’t feel rushed or forced to see everything all at once.  When we couldn’t take the heat anymore we stopped had lunch and headed home.  It was SO nice to know we can always go back … we have 2 years (or really t-minus 22 months)!

We took the BTS (which I can’t stop calling the Metro – thanks DC!) down to the Chao Phraya River and then took a boat up the river to the stop closest to Wat Pho.  Next time I would have taken the smaller boat (see picture below) instead of the big touristy passenger boat, but we weren’t really paying attention and bought tickets to the first place we stumbled upon.

Bangkok River Boat | Life's Tidbits

Less than a 10 minute walk later we arrived at Wat Pho.  It was HOT, which shouldn’t be a surprise anymore!  Admission was 100 BHT per person and you must have exact change.  We just happen to have exact change, but I was definitely surprised by the requirement.  We wandered around for a bit and took some pictures along the way …

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits


As I’ve mentioned before, Jellybean is a bit of a celebrity around these parts and as we walked around her photo was snapped many (many!) times.  The most interesting was when we were visiting one of the Buddha’s, pictured below, a young man asked to take a picture of her.  My husband graciously agreed at which point the man’s iPhone was aggressively pushed in the hubby’s face.  Faster than either of us could comprehend what was happening the man gently grabbed Jellybean, plopped her on his lap and smiled for the camera!  I couldn’t help it and started to chuckle.  The husband gave me the side eye to stop it.  I couldn’t help, but smile back.  I don’t think I will ever get used to people we don’t know taking Jellybean’s picture (with or without our consent).

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

The last thing we saw was the Reclining Buddha.  It was truly amazing.

Wat Pho - Reclining Buddha | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho - Reclining Buddha | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Wat Pho - Reclining Buddha | Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

A few tips when visiting Wat Pho …

  • Bring exact change for entrance fee – 100 BHT (mentioned above)
  • Wear comfortable shoes, but if they easily slip on/off easily that’s for the best.  You can have to remove your shoes to visiting many of the Buddha’s so it will make things a little easier.
  • You must cover your shoulders and knees to visit the Reclining Buddha and some of the other Buddhas in the area as well.  There are skirts, robes and scarves available to wear while visiting specific temples, which is very useful.  If you are apposed to wearing the provided clothing I definitely recommend wearing short-sleeves and pants/skirt/dress that covers your knees.
  • Bring a bottle of water!  Near the Reclining Buddha you can redeem your entrance tickets for a bottle of cold water, however we were thirsty and hot while walking around.  I was glad we had water on hand prior to the seeing the Reclining Buddha.

Have you been to Wat Pho?






Let's Talk Mommy


Before having a baby my favorite thing to buy parents-to-be was baby clothes.  They are so cute, tiny and just down right adorable.  I could easily spend $100 without even trying … my husband would probably interject at this point and mention this is an addiction I’m still battling.  But, have faith, I have limited sed addiction to my own child’s wardrobe for the time being.

Having a baby changed my perspective a bit on baby gifts and I have steered myself towards choosing necessity items off the baby registry and/or putting together some of our favorite gear for the expecting parents.  I don’t expect everyone to love everything that we did, however I found it extremely helpful when veteran parents recommended or gifted us their favorites.

Go-to gift bag items …

Baby Shower Gift Ideas | Life's Tidbits

  1. Onsie/Outfit
  2. Nuk Sippy Cup
  3. Bright Starts Lots of Links
  4. Burp Clothes
  5. Wubbanub
  6. Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads
  7. Book {favorites picks: this, this, this and/or this}
  8. Snack Catcher

Some additional items I sometimes include …

I like to add everything to a cute baby shower gift bag OR arrange them in a pretty basket.  Either way, the gift is a mix of things the parents can use immediately as well as items for a few months down the line.

For more ideas check out this super cute baby welcome basket my friend put together for me!

What are you go to baby shower gifts?




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