What’s going under your tree? We’ve got lots of ideas for your last minute shopping!

What’s going under your tree? We’ve got lots of ideas for your last minute shopping!

This time of year is full of hustle and bustle. Finding the perfect gift for the loved ones in your life should be a joy, but let’s be honest, it can sometimes be a chore. As my children get older I miss the simple days of gifting the perfect toy or activity. So it is with great pleasure that I share with you some of my favorite gift choices from Bluebird Day for this holiday season (even if my own children have outgrown them). Everything I choose for the store has been carefully selected to check specific boxes. Those boxes include being high quality, having an educational or creative purpose, produced by smaller manufacturers, and striving for earth friendly and non-toxic materials. What you won’t find is anything that lights up or buzzes, or will end up in the landfill any time soon (you’ll be able to pass them down or on to a friend when it’s outgrown).

Our littlest customers have a great selection of soft and sweet items to choose from. New to the store is Tikiri Toys and its sister brand Bonikka Collection. They are a small family owned company based in Sri Lanka that uses only sustainable and natural materials. We have an assortment of winter themed natural rubber teethers, my favorite being the Polar Bear from their Arctic Animal Collection. Another popular new item is the Aurora or Angelina Doll from the Bonikka Collection, made with 100% organic fabrics. We also have new teether styles from store favorite Ollie & Carol. My absolute favorite is Ramona the Radish, but we also have new Chewy-To-Go styles in Poppy and Clover. Part pacifier & part teether they look absolutely adorable in your babies mouth. And finally, you can’t go wrong with the soft and sweet lovies from Albetta. Made from organic cotton cloth, they are perfect gift for baby’s first Christmas. My favorites are the Duck (which we think looks like a seagull) and the Bee.

What about the first two years? It’s a time of growth and exploration and deserves it’s own category of toys where babies can feel, hear, taste, and sometimes even throw the toys designed just for them. Some of you may be familiar with Tegu’s magnetic wooden blocks which are great from age 1 through 99, but they also have a newer collection of magnetic toys specifically for toddlers. Fan favorites include the Magnetic Floating Stacker and the Magnetic Racer. The options get even broader when you move to the 18 months and up category. Tender Leaf Toys has some great choices. All of their products are handmade at a family run factory in Indonesia, using reclaimed rubber wood (a byproduct of the latex industry). They have eliminated single use plastic and use only non toxic plants and glues. We love the creativity encouraged by their charming Rainbow Tunnel and the sensory learning of their Touchy Feely Animals chunky puzzle set.

Tender Leaf also has several popular toys in the age 3 and up category. This year’s favorites include the hours of imaginative play children will find using the portable Rosewood Cottage (perfect for toting to grandma’s house) or the Till with Money for children to use while playing pretend. Playing “shop” is a perennial favorite for kids of many ages. Or try the old fashioned goodness of the Castle Blocks from Plan Toys. What kid wouldn’t love to build the castle of their dreams and defend it from a fire breathing dragon? And for the kids who like wheels? We have an amazing new selection in from Brooklyn, NY based Candylab Toys. Go with a smaller vehicle like the new NASA Bus or Zebra Drifter to put in a stocking. Or grab a full size vehicle like the new Longhorn in Red or the cool Wanderer off road style vehicle. We have carried Candylab since our opening and they have never failed to be a crowd pleaser.

Beyond age 3, we shift our focus to art and science based activities. You will still find non-toxic and all natural products in these categories, like the ever popular natural play dough from Land of Dough. This season we have reindeer and snow man dough, and even the man in red himself. For those who like to color we continue to carry both the full size and pocket size posters from OMY Maison. This season there is a new offering for younger kids that features the ABC’s so even the youngest kids can get in on the action. In the pocket collection, we continually sell out of the New York City Pocket Map. It’s a perfect companion if you are planning to hit the city to take in the holiday decorations or a show. Or grab an Ooly Carry Along Coloring Book for planes, trains, and restaurants.

On the science side of things, we have several popular items from Copernicus Toys. We currently have the crystal tree growing kit in the seasonally appropriate Douglas Fir. And the DIY Bouncy Ball Kit and Bubble Gum Chemistry Kit are always a hit with kids 8 and over. New this season are the Touchable Bubbles of Steel. Kids can touch the bubbles and they won’t pop…they can even build bubble towers and sculptures that will last for several days if you are careful! You will officially blow their minds with these (pun intended).

Finally, for the kid in your life who loves beauty and glam we have lots of options. We have a variety of all natural play make up and nail polish from Klee Kids. This season we have a large kit that includes everything a young diva could desire: makeup, nail polish, body glitter, and lip balm all in one set. Or grab a single nail polish or Two Sisters Bath Bomb to throw in a stocking. You can also up the bling factor with a necklace from Pop Cutie (available in store), or clip on earrings from Girl Nation (available in store). And what girl could resist one of the gorgeous dolls from Albetta, new to the store this fall. I love the bright pink hair and fairy stylings of Neon Fairy Linen Doll. Or maybe you prefer the cozy stylings of the Audrey Linen Doll in her fair aisle sweater and skirt? Either way, a little one in your life is sure to love any of these beautiful new dolls.

With so many options to choose from, we hope you will choose to shop local this year as much as possible. Shop owners throughout town spend months carefully selecting items that will be loved by our local population. While we know it’s easy and convenient to shop online (especially for busy moms…I’m totally guilty of it when time is short), there are people and families in our community who depend on your support. This season many small businesses are experiencing decreased sales, so please make sure to dine out, shop local, and celebrate the spirit of the holidays with your fellow South Eastern CT neighbors!

To learn more about local events, shops, and restaurants visit the Stonington Borough, CT website. It’s a great resource for what’s happening in our area, and Stonington in particular! Click the link to visit: https://www.stoningtonboroughct.com/

How to Spot Santa & other free holiday events in town!

How to Spot Santa & other free holiday events in town!

We are so lucky to live in an area with an abundance of holiday spirit. And given our unique seaside location, we get some amazing nautical twists on our holiday events. Like what, you might ask? How about Santa arriving by tugboat or a tree made entirely out of lobster traps. Read on for a list of some of our favorite holiday activities to do with kids in Stonington, Mystic, & Westerly.

The big favorite for many families is watching Santa arrive to Mystic River Park by tugboat the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I mean, who needs a sleigh when you’ve got the coolest ride in town??? This year Santa will arrive Saturday, November 26 at 2:00 pm in downtown Mystic at Mystic River Park. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Grab an early dinner or do some holiday shopping, and return to the park at 6:00 pm for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Immediately following the tree lighting is the annual Lighted Boat Parade starting at 6:15pm. If you haven’t watched the parade before, you’re in for a treat. Dozens of boats will travel the Mystic River decked out in lights and other holiday decorations to the delight of spectators lining both sides of the Mystic River. The decorated boats are judged and prizes are awarded in multiple categories.

A newer event to our area, which made a huge splash last year, is the Lobster Trap Tree at Stonington Town Docks in the borough (see pics above). Promising to be bigger and better than last year, the tree made national and international news and drew crowds from all over. This year the tree will be decorated with lights and 420 lobster buoys painted by local artists, schoolchildren, our local fishing fleet, and more. The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 26th at 4:30pm. And with Bluebird Day just 2 blocks away, we will be open until 6:00pm so you can conveniently shop before or after they light her up! It’s Small Business Saturday so you will find sales and specials at many of the shops and restaurants along Water Street and a great way to support local businesses this holiday season. Following the lighting ceremony, the Lobster Trap Tree will be open for viewing and pictures from dawn until 9:30pm daily through early January.

Can’t make the Lobster Trap Tree Lighting? Then come down Friday, December 2nd for the Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting in Stonington Borough. Santa and his carolers will help light the tree in Library Square at 5:30pm, then stroll down Water Street to visit the stores that will be open late for shoppers. Check out the decked out windows that are competing in the Borough-A-Glow competition for best decorated window. Stop at Bluebird Day for our “Letter to Santa” station and sweet treats for the kiddos! Then grab dinner at one of our fabulous local restaurants.

Need even more festive outdoor fun? Visit the Olde Mistick Village and neighboring Mystic Aquarium on Friday, December 9th for the Festival of Lights from 4:00-9:00pm. Walk the grounds illuminated by glowing luminarias and take pictures with their lighted decorations scattered though out the village. Or head to Downtown Westerly for their Light Parade on Sunday, December 11th at 6:00pm. With so many amazing ways to get outdoors and enjoy the holiday season it’s hard to pick just one.

All of these outdoor events can be chilly for your little ones. At Bluebird Day we’ve got just the right cozy jackets and beanies to keep you kiddos warm and stylish while they celebrate the season. A few favorites from Rylee + Cru include the Quilted Longline Jacket for girls, the Long Quilted Coat in Navy for boys, or go for the unisex styling of the Shearling Chore Jacket in Dusty Blue. Although, my son’s favorite that he won’t stop wearing is the super cool BX Bomber from Appaman. Part hoodie, part bomber jacket, and totally cozy! We’ve also got great hats in stock from Rylee + Cru, Appaman, Tiny Whales and more. I’m partial to the Tiny Whales Beanies, especially in the Camp Print for boys or girls. Or for true over the top style, try the a Beret in Soft Rose for the little fashionista in your life!

Upcoming Events:

Santa arrives by Tugboat – Mystic River Park – Saturday, November 26th @ 2:00pm

Lobster Trap Tree Lighting – Stonington Town Docks – Saturday, November 26th @ 4:30pm

Lighted Boat Parade – Downtown Mystic – Saturday, November 26th @ 6:00pm

Stonington Borough Holiday Stroll – Friday, December 2nd @ 5:30pm

Festival of Lights – Olde Mistick Village & Mystic Aquarium – Friday, December 9th 4:00-9:00pm

Westerly Light Parade – Downtown Westerly, RI – Sunday, December 11th 6:00pm

It’s Time for Holiday Dressing!

It’s Time for Holiday Dressing!

These last few years many of us curtailed our holiday travel and festivities due to Covid. In our family, we avoided large social gatherings and spent Christmas Day at home in PJs (albeit cute ones) rather than our traditional visits with extended family. But this year, we are ready to get back to it. What will you be doing this year that you may have missed out on the last few years?

For our family, we will once again venture in to New York City to see a matinee of the Nutcracker at the Met. Or catch it nearby with the Eastern CT Ballet at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Unfortunately, my kids have grown out of meeting Santa at the Ocean House, but I highly recommend one of their weekend brunches offered on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m guessing there will be plenty of holiday parties this year as well. We are feeling so lucky to have these events back in our lives, but our closets may be slightly lacking. Not to worry, we are here to help!

I think my favorite new arrivals for girls are from Ollie Jay. Their twirl style dresses have become a bestseller at the shop in a short time. And it’s easy to see why. They are made of a soft, thick jersey fabric, with pockets to hold treasures and a full skirt that twirls to perfection. For baby girls under 12 months there are matching rompers. Pair any style with tights and you’re ready to roll. There are several colors and prints available for the holidays (and already sold out at many other stores). Follow this link to see the new holiday arrivals from Ollie Jay: https://bluebirddaykids.com/ollie-jay/

For the boys I’m really loving the Button Cardigan from Rylee and Cru. Back this season in a soft Marine color way, it looks great over the Long Sleeve Tee in Fox Forest and paired with the Ryder Pant in Putty.

For baby boy, I’m completely obsessed with the Retro Corduroy Romper from Angel Dear in Chive. Pair the Long Sleeve Bodysuit in the Tractors print underneath it for the sweetest combo in town.

Or perhaps you are in need of Christmas PJs for the ever popular Polar Express ride on the Essex Steam Train? Or you still plan to stay at home on Christmas Day (sounds good to me). If so, stop in to see our new holiday PJs that are arriving now.

Welcome to the blog at Bluebird Day Kids!

Welcome to the blog at Bluebird Day Kids!

Some of you may not know this, but when I had my first child in 2009 I was living in Manhattan and had recently left my job to raise my daughter full time. I had a little too much free time on my hands (wait, didn’t she say she just had her first child?) and lots of friends expecting their first babies and asking which stroller I liked or if I had a favorite sling or pacifier. My husband recognized my need to fill my time with more than just parenting and suggested I start a blog for my friends so I could respond to their questions all at once. That began a two year journey as a “mommy blogger” at the dawning era of that age. “Momfluencer” was still years away from fruition waiting for the invention of Instagram and Tiktok. I had a great little blog called Life with Pooka, and it garnered a small crowd of readers amongst my friends and fellow Manhattan moms. If you are wondering about the name, “Pooka” was a nickname for our daughter that we decided to use to keep her (and me) anonymous on the internet. It was 2009 and we were all convinced that people would want to randomly steal our children if we put them on the “web.” Anyways, I began speaking at new mom lunches and being invited to baby shows. Companies began sending me products to test and giveaway on the blog. It was a fun side gig to keep my mind busy and get some free schwag. Then came baby number 2, and big surprise, I actually no longer had the time to blog through my bleary eyed exhaustion.

Eventually my family of four moved back to my hometown of Mystic, CT and rapidly became a family of 5. I spent 9 blissful years (well, perhaps my rose colored glasses are showing…you could easily insert exhausted, overwhelmed, or incoherent here instead) raising my three kiddos before I got tired of ordering the majority of their clothes on the internet. It was an endless cycle of returns, or worse than that, keeping something I didn’t actually like because it fit and I couldn’t muster the energy to send it back. I had been spoiled in the city, easily finding the latest styles and cool indie brands while tromping around to my favorite children’s stores. I realized there was space in our town for something different in the children’s market, and when the beautiful space in the old Yellow House Coffee Shop became available in Stonington Borough in fall of 2018 I sprung in to action. Bluebird Day went from concept to fully stocked boutique in a matter of months.

I would not say it has all been sunshine and roses. It’s been a lot of pandemic and inflation too. And while it is an amazing creative outlet, it also comes with boring back office work and trying to remember if I paid the electric bill yet this month. And then there are the times I startle awake late at night because I just remembered the kids have a dentist appointment and I forgot to get the shift covered. At some point I may need to tattoo #momfail on my forehead. Despite all these challenges I would not want to spend my “spare” time any other way.

Which brings me to this point…I am so thankful for all of you! My loyal customers, or the new ones I meet who wander in off the street. Or maybe you found us on the internet because we were the only shop that had “that” dress left in the exact size you needed (this happens a lot). Whatever your reason for finding Bluebird Day we are so happy to be here for you. Wether we are helping you pick a gift or put together the perfect outfit you bring the joy to our little world.

So this blog is me getting back to my roots (although they were relatively short roots) in an effort to share a piece of the magic of Bluebird Day with a wider audience. Come visit often for posts about our latest arrivals, upcoming events of local interest, best spots to visit with littles in our area, answers to some common parenting questions, and probably the occasional mom venting session (please feel free to join in on those in the comment section). I am so looking forward to this new extension of Bluebird Day!

And if you are interested in reading some of my old blog posts on Life with pooka the are still available at: lifewithpooka.blogspot.com

A particularly popular article was my post on the things I “really” needed at the hospital, it’s viewed thousands of times: https://lifewithpooka.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-i-really-needed-at-hospital.html

Hilary and Pooka in Fall of 2009