The Year to Read (30 Books)

This year I have pledged to read 30 books.  I used to be a big book nerd, but the older I get, the more I seem to get “too busy” to sit down and actually finish an entire book.  So this year, I’m making the pledge to read more!

I’ve tried this before and clearly have failed, but I picked up my first book of the year this past Sunday and I forgot what a great stress reliever reading can be!  So far, each night at bedtime I read a few chapters to help me unwind without technology and the harsh light of computer or phone screens keeping me up late.  It’s hard to put the book down and it’s definitely hard to keep myself from reading throughout the day too because I love the author.

The first book I got for this year is Chaos by Patricia Cornwell.  I’ve read several of her books and I love them all!  The Scarpetta series is by far my favorite as it follows one main character, Kay Scarpetta, throughout the years and is a mix of murder mystery mixed with science and forensics.  It may sound nerdy, but the storyline is so well developed, the books are quick reads as they suck you right in. 🙂

The first book on my reading list for this year: Chaos by Patricia Cornwell. Check out my bookshelves on Goodreads and see what else I want to read this year!

Wanna follow along with the books I read this year?  Or maybe you want to make your own pledge to read more this year?  Check out Goodreads – it’s free to join and allows you to create a virtual bookshelf of books you’ve read, are currently reading, and want to read.  It also lets you rate books you’ve finished and recommends others that you may like based on your ratings.  You can also set up or join book clubs or friends groups to share your thoughts on the books you’re reading with others.

Check out my bookshelves on Goodreads – where you can see what your friends are reading.


My Favorite Things

Every week I seem to have a few new favorite things that I seem to be using more than usual, so each week I’ll round up my favorite things from the week and feature here.  At the end of the month, I’ll be hosting a giveaway that will include some of my favorite things from throughout the month.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Things

Que Bella Sheet Masque | Old Navy Felt Sneakers | Pengems Pen | OPI Berlin There Done That | Apple Watch Series 1

Que Bella Professional Oxygen Sheet Mask 0.5 Oz • $2.49 • Target – These face masks are the perfect item to pick to on your next Target run if you’re in need of a little bit of relaxation.  They’re awesome for a quick little timeout for yourself and for only $2.49, you can afford to treat yourself every week or two at least. 🙂

Felt Sneakers for Women • $16 • Old Navy – These shoes are perfect for a lazy day running errands. They’re simple and comfortable and on sale for only $16!

Pengems Ballerina Autograph Crystal Pen • $10 • Pengems – These are my favorite pens! I now have 3 Pengems pens and I’ve got several more on my wish list.  I LOVE these pens!  They’re only $10, they write better than any other pen I’ve ever used, and they come with an refill for the ink!  Oh, and did I mention how cute they are?!  Everyone will want to steal these pens! 

OPI Germany Nail Lacquer Collection • $10 • Ulta – I’m loving OPI’s Berlin There Done That color right now.  It’s a great fall/winter color as it’s a little grey and a little purple.

Apple Watch Series 1 38mm Rose Gold-Tone Aluminum Case with Pink Sand Sport Band • $269 • Macy’s – The Apple Watch is something I’ve had my eye on for a while now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend a couple hundred dollars on myself when I’ve got an adorable little baby girl to spend my money on now.  🙂  However, my awesome hubs decided I needed this watch and surprised me with it for Christmas!  So far, I’m absolutely loving it!  I love being able to get texts right on my watch so I don’t have to be constantly glued to my phone.  I’ve also found it really helpful in getting me to relax with my current favorite app, Breathe, that reminds me to breathe when I’m getting stressed.

***This post contains affiliate links.***

Changes are coming!

The new year will be bringing new things around here.   I’ve been spending the last several weeks making updates and plans for the blog to give you more content, more DIY, more recipes, giveaways, and much more!  So stay tuned and see what’s in store in the New Year!

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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