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Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Baskets

Admittedly, I love pulling together ideas for Easter baskets.  Last year baby girl fit into hers when the teething rings and bunny were emptied out of it ((tear)) but this year I am excited to watch her rifle through her goodies.  

Her basket will be filled with the kitty pictured above, as someone is really into "eee-ows" these days (and let's be honest, I'll use any excuse to buy another jellycat which is the closest she will come to owning an actual kitty given a family full of allergies).  And she is also being gifted a cute bunny sippy cup I recently picked up at Target but can't find a link to because UGH their website is awful, is it not? As well as the Alphabook set, as suggested by E at Oh Apostrophe.  

I am going to make her some felt bunny pouches using this tutorial, and fill them with some Annie's bunny grahams. That's as close as she'll be coming to sugar this year because the human coffee pot needs no help in the energy department.  And as a public service announcement to parents of toddlers I feel obligated to share with you the Peek 'N Peep egg set.  We were recently gifted a set of our very own (thanks, Aunt Jenny!) and those little eggs have allowed me to drink an entire cup of coffee, uninterrupted, for two mornings in a row.  I am not sure what it is about those little things in their yellow container, but pay heed and get some for your own self toddler!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

To say that our lives have become more hectic after baby girl arrived would be a wee bit of an understatement.  I feel the need to be more efficient than ever (seriously, what did I do with all that free time before having kids? Did I spend time lying around and staring at the ceiling? I genuinely can't remember, but it seems I must have been a sloth).  When it comes to things like cleaning, groceries, meal planning, and general household maintenance there seems to be more of it than ever and less time to get it done.

The thing is, I like a clean house.  I don't function well when there is clutter all around me and the nagging feeling that the rugs haven't been vacuumed in weeks and the sheets need changing stresses me the hell out.  After we entered toddlerhood I was sure my dreams of a clutter free house had sailed.  So my solution was two fold - learn to make some peace with the clutter during the day because there is nothing to be done about trains strewn across the living room and stepping on blocks in the bathroom (honestly, how do things end up in the bathroom?) and also find some sort of a systematic solution to the cleaning so I can free up head space for things like worrying about when babies need to go to the dentist for the first time and whether tea tree oil helps to clear up a diaper rash (in our case, it does not).

I went looking for answers to the latter question in my favorite place - blogs!  When another mama says "this is what's working for me" I always pay heed.  In my search I remembered Jenny's cleaning schedule on Little Green Notebook and immediately knew that she was onto something.  On first glance it looks overwhelming, but I assure you it is not.  And more importantly....it's working for us.


The gist is that there are a few standard things that have to be done daily - wipe off counters, take out the trash, load & empty the dishwasher, etc.  Things we were doing anyway for just general household maintenance. Then every day you add in one additional chore that doesn't take more than 20 minutes.  I would say my daily hands on cleaning time is about 30 minutes after the babe is in bed (with the exception of vacuuming the rugs obviously, which has to be done while she is awake).  Essentially this has eliminated the mass house cleaning situation, since we are just doing a little bit each day vs. scrambling around like crazy people and trying to get it all done in one Saturday afternoon effort. You can read Jenny's post to get all the details, but I also thought I would share the chart I made to hang on our fridge so it's easily accessible.

Just click here (or on the image itself) to download the pdf!

Another suggestion of Jenny's - the clutter basket.  It's a simple idea but pure genius.  At the end of the day, instead of making 47 trips back and forth to put toys back in one room, shoes in another, and 30 travel size bath products that a certain tiny person has removed from the bathroom drawer and strewn across the living room, you make one trip around the main living area to pick up all the clutter in a basket.  Then make one trip through the house to redistribute said items to where their actually belong.  It's revolutionary, I tell you.  I leave our basket under the hallway console table so it's easily accessible and reminds me to use it.

So there you have it - more words than I ever though I could possibly write about household chores and clutter.  My college self is wondering where it all went wrong.  What tricks do you use to keep your house in order?  Are there are any other game changing tactics out there that I am missing?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Girl Shoes

baby girl shoes
I never really thought this would be the case, but since the little is on the brink of walking any day now (she is toddling around behind her little push cart all the time) I've been looking for soft soled shoes.  And honestly? Most of the little girl options are pretty "meh" for me.  They either have butterflies or princesses or ribbons all over them, or look like they're fashioned for the geriatric set.  So after some online searching...admittedly, there are worse things than spending my evenings on the hunt for baby shoes...I found these four options that are definitely my favorites.  In case any of you are in the same boat, I thought I would share!

1. See Kai Run   2.  See Kai Run    3.  Toms (dying over these)   4.  Saltwaters

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Favorite Baby Products - First Three Months

When I was pregnant I loved reading about other Mom's favorite baby products.  When a momma who has been in the trenches sincerely says they can't live without something, I always take that to heart!  We didn't register for anything revolutionary, and I am happy to say we used almost all of what we thought we would need (the one exception really being the bumbo chair, but baby girl sat up by herself pretty early).  My registry gurus were the ever fabulous My Life in Transition and Oh! Apostrophe...I am not sure I have much to add to their lists because I copied them pretty closely.  So instead of reiterating what they've already said so well, I thought I would share a list of the things I wouldn't have wanted to live without those first three months.  And oh what a glamorous three months they were!

1. Em had a pretty serious reflux situation when she was smaller, so bibs and burp cloths were staples of our first few months...I am pretty sure there was one thrown over about every surface of our house at any given moment.  The Aden + Anais burpy bib combined both of those things into one, and honestly it looked cute to use when we were out of the house.

2.  The boppy lounger graces probably 80% of the pictures from our first couple months at home.  It was such a great place to lay her down when we wanted to sit on the couch (she would just hang out in between us) and for the rougher nights we would also put it in between our heads in bed.  She spent so much time in that bad boy there is worn spot from her little booty!

3.  We're still nursing, and this is still the only bottle baby girl will take.  They're designed to make the transition easier for breastfed babies and even though a lot of the Amazon reviews talk about them leaking, we've never had a problem. 

4.  Our little wiggle worm had to be swaddled until she was around three months old, so we tried a lot of different blankets.  We did love the aden + anais swaddles (the regular ones are great and the bamboo are so soft I could cry about it) but when she got a little older and could bust out of those pretty easily we needed something more substantial.  I am not sure why these worked, but the swaddle we both reached for in the later months was this one from giggle.  It's cute, not quite as soft as the others but worked well for a really tight hold.

5.  If I had to pick one product I absolutely couldn't have lived without those first few months, it would be the moby wrap.  It's not an exaggeration to say that Em spent the majority of her time cuddled up in there her first few months (daddy even got in on the action).  Maybe it was her colic/reflux situation, but when we couldn't make her happy that worked every time.  Plus, it meant I had my hands free...I brushed crumbs off her head more times than I care to admit.

6.  As previously mentioned, we used a LOT of burp cloths.  We had the standard Gerber cloth diapers, but these Bumkins prefolds were our favorite...much more absorbent than the others.

7.  I read The Happiest Baby on the Block while I was pregnant, but had no idea how much I would use it or how those techniques would improve our overall existence.  I think I read it around 6-7 months pregnant, so by the time I needed the info at 4AM on our second night in the hospital I couldn't remember a damn thing I read.  Enter the DVD!  I have a vivid memory of Brad and I sitting on the couch watching it and thinking "yeah right, there is no way this is working" and nearly falling out of our seats when it did work.  We're pretty sure people should be sent home from the hospital with this thing and will definitely be investing in the toddler version when the time comes!

8.  This seems gross, but those nose aspirators they give you in the hospital are worthless.  The snot doesn't actually get in your mouth (there are filters) and when you need to clean out some nostrils in the middle of the night you'll be glad you have this around!

9.  The Rock 'n Play Sleeper was another staple that I wouldn't have wanted to do without.  Again, the reflux might have been the reason Em liked this so much (it's an incline vs. lying flat) but she also logged a lot of hours sleeping in this.  It's super easy to travel with and move from room to room because it folds flat.  As she got older it was also the perfect place to sit her while we were having dinner.

I think that about sums it up!  The only other thing I can think to mention is an iPhone app to track eating, sleeping and diaper changes.  I know a lot of people like the Itzbeen, but I pretty much always have my phone with me (and used it to entertain myself during marathon nursing sessions) so it made more sense for me to just use that.  I heard great things about the Baby Connect app, but honestly that was a little too much for me - I wanted something simple and easy, and didn't like using a timer/stopwatch to record her meals because I could never remember to start or stop the thing.  I just needed to write down when and how long she nursed, so the Eat Sleep app worked perfectly for us (and it's free).  I am still using it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Savannah Beach House

The husband and I dream of our own beach house one day, and this one designed by Joel Snayd of Rethink Design Studio is perfection. The white walls throughout with the pops of color make the space looks so relaxing and inviting without a lot of kitsch. I love that it quietly says "beach" without screaming it through giant anchors on the walls and tiny sailboats in every corner. And the practicality of the outdoor shower with the washer & dryer right off the entrance? I would like to move in tomorrow, please!

{Found on houzz via Stephmodo. PS - have you seen Stephanie's recent posts on using Pinterest and about comparison? Love them.}