Free books for kids!


When I was little, my Grandma always sent off for the free items available from different cereal boxes.  Now that I have a little one, I’m realizing just how awesome some of these free things can be.  Granted, a lot of them involve paying for shipping and handling, but there are still some pretty neat things out there if you just look.  Since my little one is only about 4 months old, we’re obviously not buying cereal or anything just for the prizes, but thanks to Kellogg’s Family Rewards, you can get free books for kids of all ages just by purchasing qualifying products at Walmart!  So thanks to Maddie’s grandparents savings receipts for us, we’re able to score even more free books!  There’s not much time left though, so if you want to take advantage of this awesome freebie, you’ll have to make sure to purchase your items by 9/30/16.

The 5 Baby Products That Got Me Through The First 3 Months

The 5 Baby Products That Got Me Through The First 3 Months

1. Boppy Newborn Lounger | 2. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit | 3. WubbaNub | 4. Skip Hop Chelsea Chic Diaper Bag | 5. ZoLi Baby Nail Trimmer


The first few months of being a new parent has undoubtedly been a learning experience.  Despite feeling prepared and having all my plans in place before she was born, nothing has gone as expected.  I mean, does it ever?  Why would I think things would go the way I thought they would when a baby is involved?!  😛  Basically everything I had planned went out the window.  Baby sleeping in the crib from day one – HA!  She had other plans!  Backup plan: Baby sleeping in the pack and play in our bedroom.  Wrong again!  She wanted no part of that.  Intent: Never co-sleep.  Riiiiight – see where I’m going with this?  The only way the baby would sleep at all was if she slept in the bed with us.  I said I’d never co-sleep, but the baby said otherwise.

Over time, I’ve learned to be more flexible, never say never, and to have several backup plans for when I just don’t know what else to do.  I’ve also learned to have some really great “tools” in my proverbial ‘toolbox’ to help with said backup plans.

So, with that being said, let me share with you the 5 baby products that got me through the first 3 months of being a new parent.

1. Boppy Newborn Lounger – As I said above, Maddie wanted no part of sleeping in her crib or her pack and play, so we found ourselves letting her co-sleep while she snoozed away in her Boppy Newborn Lounger on our bed.  I wasn’t a fan of co-sleeping for safety reasons and I certainly didn’t want to ignore the warnings on the newborn lounger about not letting your baby sleep in it, but that’s the only place she would sleep so we let her.  Definitely not the best feeling as a new parent to not follow warnings about something so serious, but when you have a cranky baby that won’t sleep, you do whatever you can to make her happy.

2. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit – Once the time came for me to go back to work, I knew I couldn’t let the baby co-sleep anymore because I needed to get better quality sleep myself.  One of my friends told me about Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit and while it looked like a crazy little snowsuit that would overheat her for sure, I decided to give it a try.  The day it came, I washed it and dried it then prepared myself for what surely would be a battle to get my 10 week old in this thing.  Turns out, it was super easy to put on and once she was all zipped up in it, she instantly calmed down and was fast asleep IN HER CRIB in a matter of minutes!  She slept through the night in her crib the first night she wore her sleep suit!  It has now been 3 weeks that she’s been sleeping in her own room in her sleep suit and she only wakes once in the middle of the night to be fed.  And as far as concerns over her body temperature, the sleep suit actually feels like a comforter, so it keeps her warm, but doesn’t overheat her at all.

3. WubbaNub – Pacifiers were another thing that I had said I didn’t want to resort to if I didn’t have to with my new baby.  Yet again, she decided what was going to work for her and I just followed along.  Pacifiers worked in calming her down, but they wouldn’t stay in long because she’d spit them out.  My husband kept telling me it would be nice if there was some way we could weigh it down or something to keep it in her mouth better, but would also allow her to spit it out if she needed to.  Enter the WubbaNub.  This crazy little stuffed animal/pacifier combo does just that.  The little stuffed animal is attached to a pacifier and provides just enough added weight that the pacifier doesn’t easily come out of the baby’s mouth.  And now that she can grab things, she like to sit in her swing or carseat and hold on to her WubbaNub while it’s in her mouth.

4. Skip Hop Chelsea Chic Diaper Bag – The Skip Hop Chelsea Chic Diaper Bag has been one of my favorite things that I received from my baby registry.  It has so much room but yet doesn’t seem bulky, and because it’s black, it goes with just about everything!  It also doesn’t look too much like a diaper bag, so you could use it as a weekend bag or large purse if need be.  It has tons of pockets inside and outside that make it easy to carry bottles, diapers, wipes, extra outfits, your wallet, etc…  And, on the few occasions that my husband has had to take the baby somewhere without me, he said he didn’t feel out of place at all carrying this since it has a long strap that can be worn “Indiana Jones Style” (his words, not mine 🙂 ).

5. ZoLi Baby Nail Trimmer – Trimming baby nails is one of the scariest things you can do as a new parent.  You HAVE to do it because their little fingernails become like sharpened weapons if you don’t and they’ll without a doubt scratch their own face, as well as yours if you’re not careful.  Using fingernail clippers though is terrifying as a new parent because you’re afraid you’re going to cut their tiny little fingers because they move so much.  A lot of people say that trim baby’s nails while baby is sleeping, but I never had luck with that.  So, I got the ZoLi Baby Nail Trimmer.  This “trimmer” isn’t a trimmer at all really, but instead is a nail file/buffer.  It comes with little nail file discs that go onto the trimmer and when turned on, it vibrates and files baby’s nails very gently.  It can come in to contact with delicate baby skin without doing any damage or hurting.  In fact, my baby smiles through her little manicure every time!


It’s only been 3 months since our little one arrived, but we’ve already learned so much!  And I definitely couldn’t have done it without the things listed above.  I’m sure the next few months will be just as big of a learning experience and will come with all new “tools” to use to keep Madeline happy. 🙂

What baby products helped you make it through rough times?



See this post linked up at:

Home Stories A to Z

Beyond The Picket Fence



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So much has changed!

Holy cow!  It’s been SOOO long since I last posted!  A lot has changed since my last post a few months ago.  I have obviously finished the baby’s room since she’s now here!  I’ll share pics soon.

On May 27, my husband and I welcomed our sweet baby girl, Madeline Grace, into the world.  We were so fortunate to have an easy experience with the whole pregnancy and the birth and even more fortunate that our baby came out very healthy and happy.  She’s now 3 months old and our life has changed so much!  It’s still a little strange to be “mom” and “dad,” but we absolutely love it.  Maddie changes every day which always gives us something exciting to look forward to.  She now smiles all the time and loves sitting up (with a little support) and has really been in to looking at her hands and grabbing her feet lately.

Maddie recently started daycare and I recently started back to work which has been a little bit of an adjustment, but a welcomed one.  I really like routine and structure, so getting everyone back into the swing of things was necessary for me.  I’ve also started back to the gym which has been so nice since I hadn’t been good about exercising during the pregnancy.

As for blog posts, as you can see, I didn’t do so well with keeping up with that throughout the end of the pregnancy, but now that I’m back into a routine, I’m hoping I’ll find my way with this as well and will hopefully have more to share soon.

Thanks for sticking around and look forward to more coming soon! 🙂

Slight Hang-Up….

Yes, we ran in to a slight hang-up in the baby’s room, that has ironically enough left us with the inability to actually hang anything up in the room!  We had grand plans to redo the closet because honestly, it desperately needed to be completely overhauled.

The closet isn’t a fancy walk-in closet or anything like that, but it has more than enough room for baby clothes and other necessary items.  So what was so wrong with it?  Well, let’s start with the doors.  The doors on the closet seemed ok when we first moved in to the house almost five years ago, but over time, we realized it just wouldn’t work.  They are white paneled hollow-core doors that are hung on a track that have to slide to get something out of the closet.  The main issues with these though is that they were loud when they slid, the hung down really low on the track and didn’t fit correctly in the closet opening, and you couldn’t easily access anything in the middle of the closet.  So, we had a plan to replace the doors with bi-fold doors that would work better in the space.  That plan is on hold though due to our next issue – the closet shelves.

The shelves that were in the closet when we moved in are the same one’s we’ve had in there until a couple of weeks ago.  There were only two of them and one had a metal rod that was used to hang clothes attached to it.  That shelf was secured to the wall in the middle of the closet with a single bracket and rested on a piece of wood attached to the wall in the back/side of the closet.  The top shelf wasn’t secured in any way shape of form, it simply rested on pieces of wood that had been attached to the wall on either side of the closet.  Considering that top shelf was 10 feet long, it sagged in the middle if anything of significant weight rested on it.  So, we took down those shelves and bough a Rubbermaid Closet Shelving system to put up in it’s place.  We have the same closet system in our master bedroom closet and it works really well for us since we can easily move a shelf, add a rod for hangers, etc…

Unfortunately, the shelving system didn’t work out the way we hoped.  Our house was built in the 50’s and has plaster walls.  What I’ve discovered with our type of walls is that it’s hard to get a drill bit/screw/anchor into the wall because it’s such a hard surface, but once you get a hole drilled, the wall has a great potential to basically just disintegrate, leaving a huge gaping hole much larger than you need, rendering it completely useless.

So, what now?  After really racking our brains on how we can hang things in the closet without being able to attach anything to the walls, we finally figured out the perfect solution.  A wardrobe!  A freestanding closet basically that has attached doors that can be closed that we can slide into the closet to take up less space in the room.  This eliminates our need to even put doors on the closet itself and we don’t have to worry about trying to get something to attach to the walls and actually stay there!  After shopping around quite a bit, we landed on this wardrobe from IKEA.  I’m so happy with our decision and can’t wait to get it put together and filled with all the clothes we have for the little one!

Ikea Brimnes 3-door Wardrobe

          Ikea Brimnes 3-door Wardrobe

Baby Girl’s Room Progress

Lately I’ve been busy trying to get baby girl’s room ready for her arrival.  I feel like I’m making progress, but there’s so much left to do!  The past couple of weeks, the hubs and I have been moving furniture out of the room that used to be our guest room into the room I have been using as an office.  The double-duty office/guest room actually works well for me right now…long conference calls + nearing 3rd trimester = happy mama to have a bed to prop my feet up on.  But I digress… 🙂

Aside from moving furniture out of the way, we repainted the room in a really pretty greige color by Behr called Doeskin Gray.  Depending on the light in the room, it appears gray or beige, which means it’s perfect for coordinating with both the dark brown furniture that I have combined with the gray chair that I’m obsessed with and hoping to get fairly soon.

Behr Doeskin Gray - Perfect Greige to coordinate with any color palette.

Since the room isn’t very big and the furniture I have is fairly dark, is was important to keep everything else in the room much lighter so it doesn’t feel too dark and heavy.  I’ve picked out some white sheer curtain panels to pair with some adorable pink blackout curtains that will be hung on a gold curtain rod.  I also have two rugs picked out that I need to revisit in the store before I bring one home – one is a white shag-type rug and the other is a light gray rug with a white quatrefoil design.  I really like the white one, but I’m just not sure about the rug type as far as ease of keeping it clean, so it’ll definitely be a crunch time decision.  I haven’t picked out many other things for the room yet or even done any DIY projects (which I planned on doing TONS).  I’m trying to do a little at a time so I can see how things look and make some decisions at that point.  I know I definitely need some more gold accents in the room, as well as some more pink.  I’m completely obsessed with the pink and gold and I can’t wait to have the room done and ready for the little one.  And I must say, the hubs has been more than accommodating in letting me decorate however I want.  I’d like to think it’s because he trusts my home decoration abilities, but really I think it’s because he has NO IDEA what to put in a room for a baby girl! 🙂

Baby's Room

Here’s what I’ve got so far, or what I hope to have in the very near future.  The crib and bookcase/shelving unit are already in the room, the curtains and curtain rods are on their way here, and I’m hoping to get a rug, chair, and pouf sometime soon.  Over the next couple of days, the hubs will be putting in the new closet system and hanging new closet doors that will work better for the room than the ones we had.  I’ll also get the curtains hung and hopefully we can get a rug picked out this week so next weekend I can take inventory of what else is needed and get back to shopping or DIY-ing. 🙂  Pics of the real room will come once everything has been completely pulled together – at the rate I’m going that’ll likely be when the baby is close to celebrating her 3rd birthday! 😉  Hopefully I’m just kidding…I’m actually hoping to have it all completely finished by early April to give me a few weeks to relax before the little one arrives.  So check back in a few weeks to see how it all turns out! 🙂


See this post linked up at:

Home Stores A to Z

Cedar Hill Farm House

Domestically Speaking