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Friday, September 21, 2012

From Bump to Baby Buy & Register Ideas

From the moment you find out there will be a new little soul in your life the urge to buy and spend will be strong, but before you do let me share some items that I found to be helpful and some idea of what to register for, because trust me as fun as it is to run around a store with a scanner gun you don't want to over whelm your baby shower guests.

The BIGGEST & BEST tip I ever received as a future parent was this: With EVERY paycheck, buy at least 1 box of wipes and or a random size of diapers. Seriously! This was the best lifesaver ever! We bought all the way up to size 3 an we didn't have to buy any once our child was born till we started the potty training stage. When you buy just remember sizes Newborn & 1 will be for a tiny period and in our case 3 seemed to last the longest, but each baby is different and this is why I say buy a bunch of random sizes. Honestly do it! You will be happy when the time comes. Plus, if you are lucky your baby shower guests will give you some in addition, check out "Diaper Raffles" as a baby shower party game idea to encourage it.

Also a tip on the prego book buying...SAVE YOUR MONEY! Really there are so many awesome sites out there that will even send you what's going on this week (I still get my Baby Center updates on the kiddo). Really if you buy a book I would skip "What to Expect You're Expecting" and buy the daddy-to-be, "The Expectant Father,"  it's a great one that we past down to expectant dad's in our group of friends. Another book I LOVE and we used through out baby's 1st year was, "What to Expect the First Year." I did have a pregnancy diary, "The What to Expect Pregnancy Journal  & Organizer," but sadly as the pregnancy continued I stopped filling it out. I just felt like I was repeating and it took away from the pregnancy writing down my battles (I had hyperemesis), but if you are one to scrapbook everything you may want this.

The belly items that I couldn't have lived without an think made a world of difference: Coco Butter and Bebe Sounds Prenatal Gift Set.

The butter just helped with the itchiness of my belly. It didn't really stop the stretch marks from coming, so sorry if you were hoping for a cure.

As for the Prenatal Sounds, it really didn't deliver for the whole "hearing baby's heartbeat" part, but we defiantly got to hear our little one kick, but I really liked this item as a means for Daddy-to-be to bond with the little bun in the oven. All day baby gets to hear Mommy talk, but this allows Dad to tell stories to and baby to get use to his voice, just as much as yours. My husband & I made a point every night for him to have little chatting sessions, sometimes he would read a book, other times he would force us both to listen to the stories of the "Legendary Chicago Bears." Btw, I'm a Chargers fan, so those moments weren't my favorite. ;)  In addition to that, it's able to hook up with your ipod, so our Riley got her own baby playlist to listen to in the womb. If you can find something like this & it's in your price range go for it!

Registry Time! Like I said, it's really fun & yes, you'll wanna scan everything, but don't. It really makes your guests have a lot more work and odds are you'll get more items you really don't need that are "cute" and be stuck buying actual items you do need yourself.

Crib (If you can & are wanting baby in your room you may want a bassinet for the first few months) Mattress Pad
Diaper Changing Table
Diaper Changing Table Pad & Cover (You can skip, but I was happy we had ours. Saved my back.)
Stroller, another personal choice, but we used a jogger the whole time. It was much easier to open, close & use where ever we needed it. Eventually we bought a umbrella stroller as back up, but it only got used once or twice tops.
Car seat, typically matches your stroller choice.
Pack N' Play/Play Yard/ Travel Crib, our's was great for time at Grammy's.

*Remember Babies grow FAST! Register for many many different sizes and items that will grow with them you'll get the most out of. Also try to think what season your little one will be arriving in. Obviously, won't want hot clothing for summer or vice versa.

Little Stuff:

Layettes, Onesies, Gowns (sleepers), Tops, Socks
Hats & Mittens, though you will probably use socks over mittens, warning.
Bibs, not the fancy, oh so cute ones. Odds are you'll get those, but the cloth over plastic good for feeding time ones. You won't care if they get ruined.
Burp cloths
Cloth Diapers (these work as even better burp cloths)
Receiving Blankets
Swaddle Size Blankets, swaddling is God's gift to parents! If you are confused, check out Happiest Baby on the Block.

Washcloths (You'll probably end up with a ton, even if you forget to register.)
Bath Tub
Butt Paste, no joke less mess then other diaper rash creams, LOVE IT!
Infant Safe Nail Clipper Set
Diaper & Wipes

Diaper Champ, personal choice, I liked more cause I didn't have to buy special trash bags like the Diaper Genie requires.
Baby Monitor (Get 1 that can move with you, so you aren't stuck by a outlet when you move your end)
Bedding, typically your theme item for the whole nursery
Dry Mattress Covers - Having a few on hand are a big help, you never can predict a diaper leak and it saves  the mattress big time!
Crib Sheets, 4 is a good number.
Boppy! A mom's best friend :) (You may want to register for a additional cover to have on hand.)

Tummy Time Mat/Gym
Jumper/Stationary Entertainer (Walkers aren't recommended anymore.)
Swing & this does not have to be a huge expensive swing, actually ours folded down and was easy to move and our Riley loved it for months!

Baby Proof House Items, look around your house cause you'll need it sooner then you think.
Nursing Bra Pads, we all leak, sorry, but it's the truth.
Lanolin, if you are going to pump or breastfeed.
High Chair/Booster Seat (We used the seat, it was easier to take with us to an lasted a good amount of time.)
Dreft Detergent

Optional, but Recommended:
Baby Record Book!
Another item that we registered for that most people don't was a Jumbo Toy Hammock. Thing has been a huge help with the stuffed animal over load.

There were a few things that I did leave out, like Breast Pump and bottles. Now, there is a reason, check with your hospital because it may work out better for you to rent a "Hospital Grade" breast pump over buying, an bottles come down to choice. We tried to find ones that were the closest to "mommy's boobs" as we could find, an clearly we are not all built the same. I did have a Medela Pump, which my hospital's Lactation Nurse provided tubing for, but I still ended up relying on the hospital's machine more.

Another really random tip: If you get a gift receipt and they happen to have the gift bag on it, an they didn't write on the card attached or anything, RETURN IT! I know it sounds funny, but it was a tip from some wedding site and I applied it to the shower, well you'll be surprised how much extra baby cash you'll end up with.

Obviously, this is just a jumping point an if you see some must have items for your nursery theme or a diaper bag, a must have outfit by all means scan it, but you would be surprised some items I've seen on registries that I don't know anyone who has used, let alone needs. Sometimes it was sooo much that it just looked like a kid went crazy in a store and I ended up just picking random things that I've liked over looking at their list. Hopefully this gives you a starting point an makes you feel a little less lost in a sea of baby items.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learning Before Class Starts

Sometimes we get wrapped up in the "needs" of the school year thinking that it's really a new outfit, a backpack, pencils and paper an we forget that really the "need" is not to forget that we are our child's first teacher in life and what we really "need" to do is start our kid's off on the right foot. Give them a foundation before throwing them into the school setting. If you have been a follower from the beginning you probably have an idea of how strongly I feel our role is in our children's lives. Also, the beliefs that we should always use teachable moments and being our child's advocate. Well, I just thought it was a good time to share some things that have been a help in our house to get Riley the Preschooler off to her first year of school.

Encouragement is Key! So one day we surprised Riley with a starting school gift. Not expensive and of course with purpose. The fun item was a Team Umizoomi Activity Book. If you haven't heard of this show, click the link now! I'll wait here. It's a great math for beginners, with patterns and measurements. Love it! With that I picked up 2 dry erase boards, markers, erasers & a cute little pen case (All Under $7) and a "Wipe-Clean" Printing Practice Workbook. The point was to get Riley excited an wanting to learn on her own before class even started.

We don't push her to do it, we let her push us. What I mean is it's all bundled together and where she can get it and whenever she wants to we let her come to use with the words she wants to learn. I'm very impressed! You never know what words your little one even knows until they want you to spell them. I personally liked when she asked to work on the seasons the most. The best thing about using dry erase board is it cuts down the frustration. Riley can just wipe whatever letter or word and start again, no big. No eraser bits, no wasting papers.

To grow with the changing times us parents also have to adapted to allow electronics into our kid's lives. I personally just feel this if used right can be another way to sneak some teaching in. To be honest am not really big fan of television so prefer I know it buys my a shower break without walking into hurricane. LOL!

*Image straight from email updates*

After trying out a free-app once upon a phone I discovered a great cell phone item was much more then that.  Zoodles! This really is a amazing FREE or pay, up to you item for whatever device you want. Every week I get emails of what my child was up to and how the learning breakdown went. Fun thing is lots of parent controls, if she's using it on the computer she can't leave it until someone types quit for her. Honestly, there is lots to keep your child's mind going even if just on free mode. If you have multiple kid's no worries. each child has a log-in, all they have to do is click on their picture. Another perk is the emails with all the artwork attached, always the option to save or share.

A few other things we've been working on this summer was coin counting and scissor work, of course awesome Pinterest would have yet a few more sites to help with, so let me share them with you: Scissor Skills, some print sheets for them to practice cutting lines & From Mrs. Prince & Co: The Trading Game, Money Style. We had to adapt the game a little but Riley is now understanding 5 pennies equal a nickel and how her face lights up when you say how much to make a quarter! It's cute, an like I said worth a shot.

Let me also put this in your head while were at it, remember your child is never to young to start learning and it never hurts to try. We are working on the K-1st Grade level most of the time and she loves it. Children love challenges and praise, so what if it doesn't work out, try, try again...just make sure you are making it fun and positive and then your child will want to do it, no force needed. Positive reinforcement goes far.

Oh & if you were wondering, of course we got that all to important 1st day of school picture & I'm happy to share it. ;)

Sign was thanks to the crafty ladies at-

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Things To Buy" Fridge Helper

If your house is anything like mine you either are always running out of items or finding that when restocking that the one item you just picked up so did your spouse, gets rather annoying when our fridge is now full of condiments an has less room for actual food. This is where the GENIUS STRUCK, of course I could go the normal route and buy a little paper pad with a pen and a magnet but why do that? LOL! Ok, really I just hate wasting paper so I really don't like it, plus I wanted to try something a little better looking, so here's my idea if you just want something a little different.

This project wasn't as easy as I first perceived. It became a little game of trial and error, but I'll give you what I've learned and you can make the best decision. Let me begin by giving you a list of some awesome sites with some print out organizing sheets that may/may not work for you and your lifestyle needs or at least this project.  The one in my main image came from: Artsy Fartsy Mama (btw, she's AWESOME). There's a huge list of sites complied on: Creative Organizing. I also have a tear off sheet shopping list version idea from pinned from here: Infarrantly Creative. If you chose to go with that sites, you are going to want to tweak the list so you can make it a list but not in the tear off form or go ahead and go with that blog idea, but it won't work this blog. In the end I went with a simple white sheet with a cute script saying "Things To Buy" & a sharpie drawn heart in the bottom corner cause our hand writing was to big for this cute weekly layout. (I'll show you later.)

Whatever style sheet you chose to print you'll put in the frame behind the glass and  use like a dry erase board. Dry Erase Marker whatever you need or to make note of and use your cell phone to take a picture before each store trip so no extra trees killed and just erase off the list whatever you got. Really when do we ever go shopping without our cellphones anyhow? This really makes it easier then finding a little scrap of paper in our purse to.

What you need: 1 Document Size Frame, unless you wanna cut your paper to whatever size this just saves a step. Whatever sheet from the printer. Dry Erase Markers & Erasers. Found ours in the cheap bins at Target. Magnet strips from Micheal's. You will need in addition to picture, craft glue. If you are lucky you will find at the Dollar Store already made magnetic pencil holder. I think intended for "Back to School" locker organization, so check those sections of your stores.

Assembly time. Remove wrapping, blow off dust, the typical fun stuff.

*TIP* If your frame has metal hooks for wall you may want to remove, as to not scratch your fridge.
Now put your sheet in. push Down your tabs and check the width of your magnet strip.

Ours was perfect to go on the cardboard an touch the fridge, if yours won't be so great you may want to cut and glue the magnet into strips to be placed the edge of the frame.

Here's where we had a lesson. We didn't run into any weight issues or our magnets giving out, but originally we didn't add any craft glue. I didn't think of a issue needing to worry about this. I had my husband test slamming the refrigerator door open and shut with out it moving so much as a milometer. We just trusted in the sticker part, well it got so humid that it just let go, we got lucky and it wasn't a issue so I reinforced it with craft glue and now that baby hasn't budged...and it's been even more humid.

It's been awhile now & it's still up an being used, eventually I'll change it out to a cuter piece of paper maybe add a defined Farmer's Market section, but this has really helped us. Hope it helps you just as much.