mom find: mini pump

For all the breastfeeding (or soon-to-be) moms out there, this mom find is for you!  I saw this mini-breast pump, sometimes called a bullet pump, online and decided to give it a try.  It was pretty cheap, so I thought that I might as well check it out.  The pump is great!  There are many versions of this pump, I’m sure they are all the same, but this is the one I purchased: Silicone Breast Pump  Continue reading “mom find: mini pump”

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registries

A few months ago I set-up two baby registries.  One was though Target, which is one of my favorite places to shop and the other was through Amazon, which is one of my favorite places to shop online.  🙂  Both of these registries offered great registry gifts, so I thought I would share. Continue reading “registries”

my sunday checklist

As a mom who works outside of the home, I have learned a few tips to help my week run a little smoother.  It is hard getting off to work each morning, but these few tips make my week so much easier.  It is amazing to think how much time I now have in the mornings and evenings during the week since implementing this list.

So my checklist includes several simple things.  My goal each weekend is to get these things done before Monday when I start work.  If it is a holiday Monday, I sometimes move my list to Monday.  This is my Sunday checklist.

  1. Meal prep:  I am all about meal prepping each week.  Not only does this make my morning routine quicker, it also helps me to eat healthier during the week.  I prep my breakfast, lunch, and two snacks for everyday I am working outside of the home that week.  I include everything needed in the meal (condiments, side items, etc.) in my meal prep, so in the morning I just grab and go with little, if any additional prep in the morning.  I purposely choose meals that will last for a full week so I don’t have to worry about prepping additional food later in the week.  I even prep my water bottle, since I carry a pretty big bottle and it takes a while to fill. 🙂
  2. Clothes: I try to pull all my outfits for the week (or at least 2-3 outfits to start the week).  This might even mean washing clothes to make sure I have the items I need for that week.  I have found this keeps me from having to wash during the week and in the morning I don’t have to think about what I am going to wear, which also saves time.  I just grab my outfit and get ready.  If you are not able to do a whole week of outfits, at least do a few days, but make sure you have an outfit ready for the next day each evening. This is a BIG time saver for me.
  3. Cleaning: I clean our kitchen, bathrooms, and some of the floors.  I straighten up in other rooms in the house as needed.  My husband helps with this as well.  We try to make sure all the bathrooms and the kitchen get a good clean.  Of course we also clean the kitchen during the week and the bathrooms, as needed.  It just makes me feel good knowing that we are starting the week fresh and clean. 🙂 Plus, if we have any visitors or guests during the week there is less stress and worry about trying to clean things at the last minute.  Having a weekly cleaning schedule really helps alleviate stress for me, plus I get to come home to a clean house.
  4. Change sheets, towels, etc.:  I change all the bedding and towels in the house at least once a week.  This kind of goes along with #3.  It just helps to have a schedule for doing this so I don’t have to think when were the sheets/towels changed?  I know, in general, they were changed last Sunday.  This goes along with starting the week off fresh.
  5. Update my planner/review my calendar: This lets me know what I have ahead of me for the week.  I usually try to do this before I plan my outfits for the week.  I can plan my outfits according to what is going on at work that week, plus I check the weather.
  6. Grocery shopping:  I do this before I meal prep, but this also helps so that we don’t have to run to the store in the middle of the week when we are both tired.  Occasionally, something is forgotten and a trip to the store is needed, but this cuts back on those trips by quite a bit.
  7. Family meeting: I will elaborate on this more in a later post, but a family meeting can help your family get on the same page before the week begins.
  8. Other items:  Depending on your commute and your family, you should prep any items you know you need for the week.  So if you have a long commute each week, you should make sure you have a full tank of gas.  That is one less thing to think about during the week.  If you have school aged kids, you should help them prep their book bags, clothes, and lunches for the week.  Similar to the prep you do for yourself, do it for your kids as well.  That way there is little thought for them in the morning either and this will help everyone’s morning run smoother.  Look for any items you might need for the week on Sunday night.  I HATE when I can’t find an item I am looking for on Monday morning.  I run around like a crazy person trying to find it and then I end up leaving the house later than planned.  It throws off my whole morning.  As much as possible, I try to prevent this by pulling out items I know I will need for the week and planning ahead either on Sunday or the night before during the week.

All of these items do not have to occur on Sunday.  Sometimes if I have a busy Saturday or just want to relax on Saturday, they will all be done on Sunday (it is possible).  It really just depends on how my weekend is going.  Saturday is usually our family day, so we try to focus more on doing things with our family and getting out of the house, so most Sundays this is my checklist.  If I am exhausted, traveling, or have a busy Sunday, some items might not get done, but this is my goal checklist and I try to do what I can and prioritize other items for later in the week.

What items do you include on your checklist that help you have a better week?

❤ K

Cloth Diapers 101

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, who is now 3, I decided I wanted to do cloth diapers.  I have been asked by multiple people about my decision to use cloth diapers.  Initially when I told people that my husband and I planned to use cloth diapers people thought we were crazy.  We were asked why and told that we would probably give up on it, but we used cloth diapers up until my son began potty training.  I also plan to reuse my diapers with my second child.

Here are a few of my tips and lessons learned…

I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers mostly because I try to live a green lifestyle and I knew they could save us money in the long run.  Once we found out we were pregnant I told my husband I would like to try cloth diapers…he was not on board initially.  I think most people picture the old school cloth diapers (that many people now use as burp clothes) with pins and rubber pants.  Cloth diapers have come a LONG way.  I showed my husband the new cloth diapers and explained how they worked, then he agreed to give them a try.  I began researching cloth diapers and spoke to a friend that had tried out several diapers to see what she recommended.  We decided on the bumGenius Freetime All-in-one One-size cloth diaper.  I picked these because I thought they would be the easiest to use, although they are more expensive than other diapers with inserts.  The Freetime diapers are one-size, so they fit babies weighing 8 – 35 lbs and they are considered all-in-one because there are no inserts to use or extra pieces. They also come in a lot of cool colors!

Some of my tips are:

1) Be prepared if your baby is not 8 lbs at birth.  Our son was not so we decided to use disposable diapers until he could fit the cloth diapers.  It took about 2-3 weeks.  Some people choose to buy the newborn size, which is also an option if you don’t want to use disposable diapers at all.

2) GET A DIAPER SPRAYER!  I had never heard of these until my friend told me.  bumGenius makes a great one that I use.  You use a diaper sprayer to clean the diapers over the toilet so you don’t have to dunk your diapers in the toilet to clean poop.  The sprayer works kind of like the sprayer that is on your sink.  It is great for infant diapers since there poop can’t really be caught with diaper liners.  Diaper liners can be used once the baby begins eating solid food.  Then you can toss the poop and liner in the toilet and flush.  I used Baby Sydie Liners (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HV6GXS4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1).  

3) The sun can remove almost any stain or dinginess from your diapers.  I read this online and didn’t believe it.  After you wash your diapers there are stains sometimes, even though they are clean…similar to a clothing stain that won’t come out.  If you lay your diapers in the sun (inside or outside) to dry the stains will come out.  I typically dry my diapers outside on nice days because they dry quicker. I have been able to remove all of my stains so far just using sunlight.  You can also spray a little lemon juice on stubborn stains.

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4) Depending on the diaper you choose, you can’t use regular detergent.  You can make your own diaper detergent.  I found a diaper detergent recipe online that I liked.  Of course, you can always buy detergent from the bumGenius or other cloth diaper brands.  I also tried Nellie’s Laundry Soda (https://www.amazon.com/Nellies-NLS-50-Natural-Laundry-Soda/dp/B001BYBHHE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483490973&sr=8-2&keywords=nellies+laundry+soda).  I started using this when I didn’t want to continue to make detergent.  For really stubborn stains on diapers (or my son’s clothes), I used the Buncha Farmers Natural Stain Remover Stick (https://www.amazon.com/BUNCHA-FARMERS-NATURAL-BIODEGRADABLE-REMOVER/dp/B00CBSMXNQ).  This stick is great on ALL stains, so I recommend it even if you are not cloth diapering.  I was able to get almost all stains out of my son’s clothes.

5) Purchase a few wet bags to store your diapers until they are ready to wash.  I purchased one large wet bag and two smaller ones to send to daycare and to use around the house.  My grandmother also made me two smaller ones that I have been keeping in the diaper bag.  It turned out that my son’s daycare didn’t use the wetbags and would just put the diapers in a plastic grocery bag, so two smaller bags might not be necessary.

6) As your child gets older, consider additional inserts for night time diaper use.  I used Thirsties Hemp Inserts (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002FB7FLY/ref=pe_385040_188349810_pd_te_s_rp_ti/189-4948380-3194815).  They worked great as my son got older and was wetting more at night.

7) Look for sales!  As I said above, cloth diapers are expensive, but they are cheaper in the long run…especially if you use them for more than one child.  I was able to get all my diapers when they were on sale through the Cottonbabies site and Target. You could also include the diapers on your baby registry if you are having a shower.

Some other items you will need are a drying rack or clothes line and clothes pins.

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You will usually wash diapers every 2 – 3 days depending on the number of diapers you have and how many your child uses in a day. I have 24 diapers and I usually wash every 3 days. You probably don’t want to keep diapers dirty much longer than that because it is not good for the diapers. You could also consider a diaper service which is an additional cost (could include on your registry as well) if you did not want to wash.

My son was so cute in his cloth diapers!!

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If you have any cloth diapering questions or experiences, please share!

❤ K

 

make your own baby food

When my son was a baby, I liked to prep meals for him as well.  I pretty much made all of his baby food, except when we were traveling.  He LOVED to eat and I made his food from the beginning.  I plan to do the same thing with our next child.  One of my shower gifts was a Baby Bullet and I definitely put it to work.  It is easier than you might think to prepare healthy meals for your baby and you don’t have to own a Baby Bullet to do it.

My husband and I like to eat organic as much as possible, so we wanted our son to eat organic as well.  As many of you know, organic baby food can be pretty pricey, but making your own food makes it very affordable.

We started with a brown rice cereal and then moved on to avocado, bananas, peas, pears, apples, squash, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.  All of these foods are great foods to start your baby’s eating journey.

As they grow older you can try asparagus, carrots, green beans, white potatoes, oatmeal, and peaches, as well as other veggies and meats.  You want to stay away from honey, peanut butter, citrus fruits, raw berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries), egg whites, whole milk, and shellfish/crustaceans.

To make your foods you need either a good blender, food processor, or some sort of food grinder/masher.  For my son, we usually did a brown rice cereal mixed with a fruit and/or veggie.  To make brown rice cereal you will grind the rice up into a fine powder with your blender and then cook, similar to regular rice, with water on the stove (1/2 cup rice to 4 cups water).  You can add more or less water to change the consistency.

I liked to make big batches of the food to last for a few weeks.  Fresh food in the fridge will last for about 3 days, but food in the freezer will last about a month.  To store my food I used my Baby Bullet containers, but since I made such large batches I also use ice cube trays.  These are a great way to store exactly one serving of food.  Plus once your baby begins to eat more you can give them different foods at one meal, such as a fruit and a veggie cube.  I liked to make two fruits and two veggies, plus rice cereal at one time.  That way and I could mix up different flavors and my son didn’t have to eat the same food everyday.

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Here are some recipes for beginning foods:

Bananas – 1 banana to 1/4 cup water (blend)

Sweet Potatoes – 1 peeled, steamed potato to 1 cup water (I used the water leftover after steaming since it has some of the nutrients from the veggies in it).

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Zucchini – 1 steamed zucchini to 1/4 cup water

Pears – 1 steamed, peeled pear to 1/4 cup water

Peas – 1 steamed cup peas to 1/4 cup water

Squash – 1 steamed squash (remove tips) to 1/4 cup water

Apples – 1 steamed, peeled apple to 1/4 cup water

Avocado – 1 peeled and pitted avocado to 1/4 cup water

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(Note: for all foods you can add more or less water to change the consistency)

With all of these foods you will add them to your blender and then blend until they are smooth.

Do you have any favorite baby food recipes?

❤ K

 

Back to Work as a New Mom

I recently had a baby in October where I took a nice 12 weeks of maternity leave. Coming back to work has been a major change for me. I thought it would be helpful to provide new moms with information to help with the transition.

  1. Try to get your baby on a schedule in the beginning. There are many different books and websites that will give you ideas on how to have a good schedule. This will make things easier when you return to work because you will not have sleepless night where you have to wake up and make it through an 8 hours work day.
  2. Check with your job regarding pumping options. Make sure you know exactly how your job works if you are plan to continue breastfeeding when you return to work. You will need to have a schedule and know if your employer has a shared space or any space at all. You will also need to let your manager know your pumping plan/schedule especially if you work for a place that isn’t very familiar with breastfeeding moms.
  3. Check your options for free pumps. Currently a free electric pump can be received if you have insurance. Look at the pump options and if you have choices make sure you get the one with the best reviews that work for your pumping style. I have become more interested in hands free breast pumps because it makes it a lot easier if you are trying to do anything else while you are pumping.
  4. Make sure you are eating well and have snacks to last throughout the day. This is especially important if you are pumping during the day. Pumping burns a lot of calories and if you aren’t eating right you may lose your production and nutrients in your milk.
  5. Find a daycare that has hours that work for you, people that you trust with your baby, and things that are important to you (camera, in-home, center, uses cloth diapers, works with breastmilk).

I hope all the new moms have success in their transition back to work. Leaving your baby is never easy so making sure you have a smooth transition is always helpful.

❤ A 

pregnancy style

I wrote this post when I was pregnant with my son, but it still applies.  I found myself referencing this post when trying to think of clothes to wear now that I am pregnant again.  So, in this post I decided to share some of my pregnancy style.  I was told several times that I looked “cute pregnant” or that I “wear pregnancy well” and I would always get compliments about my outfits.  So here are a few tips I have found that worked for me.  I didn’t want to spend too much money on maternity clothing, since I knew most of it could not be worn after the baby was born.  I bought a few maternity pieces from Target and worked with the other items I already had.

Since I am a working mom, I need work appropriate outfits, as well as casual outfits.  I bought one maternity dress, borrowed another, bought two pairs of maternity jeans,  two long sleeved shirts, a short sleeved shirt, black dress pants, a black dress skirt, a pair of black leggings and two belly bands (black and white).  That’s it!  Most of the items I bought were on sale, from a consignment store and for the others I used coupons I received when I started my registry with Target.

Here are a few pictures of my outfits and what items I mixed and matched to make each outfit:

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In this pic I was around 23 weeks and my outfit is a dress I found that was a little big on me, so I added a belt, scarf, and some flats.  This outfit contained no maternity items.

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In this picture I was 24 weeks and my outfit included my maternity leggings, a big white button up shirt, a cardigan, red scarf, and a black belt above the belly.  I also wore my black riding boots.

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In this pic I was around 28 weeks and my outfit includes my maternity black skirt and long sleeved maternity shirt.  I also added a scarf (I LOVE scarves) and a white tank top.  I found some great long white tanks that I love to pair with my shirts.  They are cheaper than the maternity brand tanks and work just as well because they are still long enough to cover my belly.

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This was taken at Week 29 and does not include any maternity items, except a belly band.  I paired a turtleneck that I had with another long tank, jeans, white belly band, and riding boots.  Plus I added a necklace.

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This was taken during Week 30 and contains no maternity items.  I wore a stretchy skirt with a big button-up shirt and cardigan.  I love big button-up shirts and I happened to have this one in my closet, but you could probably get one from a husband, boyfriend, brother, male friend, or thrift store.  They are everywhere!  I also added a skinny belt above the belly and flats.

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This was taken during week 31 and contains no maternity items, except a belly band.  I am wearing some stretchy jeans that I had and a belly band, plus I added two loose tank tops that I had and a cardigan.  I also added my black boots.

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Week 32 – This outfit did not contain any maternity items.  It is a wrap dress, which I already owned and a long tank top.  I added some fun jewelry and red flats.

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Week 32 – Here is that button-up shirt again!  I added a white tank under the shirt, a belt, and my maternity jeans.  I also added flats as well.

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34 weeks – Big, white button up shirt, purple tank top, maternity leggings, scarf, jean jacket, and a black belt.  I also wore riding boots this this outfit.

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35 weeks – This outfit included a stretchy, non-maternity dress, maternity leggings, a cardigan, and a black & white belt.  I wore riding boots with this outfit as well.

It is hard to put together maternity outfits that are cute and comfortable, but here are a few tips to save a little cash on your maternity clothes:

  • Cardigans work great in the fall and winter: I have lots of them and they don’t have to be maternity to add something extra to an outfit.  Also, you can pair a cardigan with a short sleeved shirt if you don’t have many long-sleeved options.  
  • Before you purchase maternity items, check your closet:  I found many items in my closet that were stretchy material and could be worn for most, if not all of my pregnancy.  
  • Stop by your local consignment store:  I checked a few consignment stores in my area and couldn’t find anything, but then I checked a children’s consignment store and found several items.  Make sure to check children’s stores, as well as your traditional consignment stores.
  • Purchase a few high waist belts:  If you don’t own any belts that you can wear above your belly, purchase a few.  I use them all the time, especially with my non-maternity items.  They help to make these items fit a little more like traditional maternity items and they accentuate the belly!

What are some tips you have found for maternity apparel?

❤ K

 

Awesome Toddler Items at IKEA

One of my favorite stores is IKEA.  I love the way they style their products, the environment in the store, the MANY items they offer, and good prices.  I don’t mind putting things together, so IKEA is the perfect store for me.  Outside of the many pieces of furniture and household items, I have also found some great baby, toddler, and children items in the store.  They offer inexpensive cribs, that all convert into toddler beds, training potties, and children’s furniture. 

Here is a list of some of my favorite items, but I could not list them all so make sure you check out the store and website:

For eating I LOVE the Kalas (yes, all IKEA items have Swedish and Norwegian names) bowls, plates, cups, and flatware.  We have purchased several sets because after several moves pieces have come up missing.  Each piece of the set is $2.49 for 6 pieces.  They come in multiple colors to make everyone happy. They are dishwasher and microwave safe.

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Kalas bowls, plates, cups, and flatware ($2.49 for pack of 6) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50192959/

Also, if you are looking for a basic, inexpensive high chair check out the Antilop.  We purchased one for my son and just recently stopped using it.  It is easy to clean and with the removable tray you can use it as a toddler chair as well when you are ready to move your child up to the table.  

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Antilop Highchair with Tray ($19.99) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79067506/

The wooden toys at IKEA are amazing.  I really like wooden toys because they don’t break so you can use them forever.  IKEA has A LOT of wooden toys, so these are just a few of my favorites.  The Mula crane with blocks is great for fine motor skills and learning shapes.  Your child will have to match the correct shape block for it to fit on the back of the crane.

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Mula crane with blocks ($14.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20294879/

They also have traditional stacking rings and a shape sorter.  

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Mula stacking rings ($7.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50294887/

Mula shape sorter ($7.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10294889/

One of my son’s favorites is the train set.  We have the 20 piece basic set, but we also have the 12 piece extension.  My son loves trains and the price is great for this wooden set.

Lillabo Train set ($9.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30064359/

IKEA has art supplies as well.  They have one of the best prices around for their wooden easel.  They also have paper, markers, pens, colored pencils, paint, and more.  Make sure to check out this section if you get the easel.  The large roll of paper they sell is great too.  We use it even without the easel for my son’s masterpieces!

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Mala Easel ($19.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50021076/

Mala art supplies (ranging from $0.99-$9.99) – paper, markers, colored pencils, pens, scissors, paint, and chalk http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/childrens_ikea/18735/

I also found that they had great prices for crib sheets.  I bought a few packs and have never needed more.  They are a soft cotton and mine have held up well.  I have only gotten the all white, but they also have pink, blue, and green.  

Crib sheets ($9.99/2pk) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00130879/ (available in white, pink, blue, and green)

For those of you that are near a store (or traveling near a store), it is definitely worth the visit.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to walk through the entire store if it is your first time!

 

❤ K

ultimate baby registry list

Recently, I was speaking with my cousin and sister about my baby must haves and I wrote a pretty lengthy list.  I decided this would be great to share with you as well.  Although this list is kind of long, most of these items you will get at your shower, or are pretty inexpensive to buy.  The items I believe are essentials are in BOLD: Continue reading “ultimate baby registry list”

gift ideas for expectant moms

Ok, here are a few more gift ideas that are focused on the expectant mom or the new moms that you may know.  One item is the Belly Book, an awesome and fun way to track your pregnancy and the other item is the Ergobaby…in my opinion THE BEST baby carrier. Continue reading “gift ideas for expectant moms”