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Newborn Survival Guide : My Favorite Baby Items

Our little Lucy girl is already 4 months old! The first 3 months of her life were fabulous, but the past month has been really fun! She is awake more during the day and interacting with us. We’re getting lots of smiles and chatter! :) So much fun! She’s also sleeping a lot longer at night. PRAISE.THE.LORD.

Newborn Survival Guide

Bringing home your baby is one of the most joyous occasions of your life. And snuggling your new little squish those first days and weeks is one of the best things ever….but those first days and weeks are also hard. Your life is thrown for one big, wonderful loop and you’re running on sleep fumes. It’s great to have a few things on hand to help make life a little easier. I thought I’d share my favorite baby gear items that helped me survive the first few months of motherhood! 

Baby Carrier

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Baby carriers are a must. Baby wearing not only helps keep your hands free, but its great for bonding with your baby. Babies that are worn are typically calmer and better sleepers. The Hava Sling has been my favorite for the first few months. I wear it around the house, to church, and the grocery store. Lucy pretty much always falls asleep when I wear her in the sling and is great for calming her when she gets fussy. One of the reasons I love the Hava over other slings, is the padded rails on the top and bottom of the sling. It makes it a little more comfy for mom and baby, and provides the support they need under their legs and especially behind the neck. 

Burp Cloths

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You can not have enough or too many burp cloths. Babies are messy, and unless you want to be doing a ton of laundry every day….you need burp cloths. I love the Carter’s Burp Cloths for tucking under her chin while feeding. They’re soft and easy to get under there to catch any extra dribbles. Just your average, cheapo burp cloths are great to catch spit up.

Swaddle Sacks

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Swaddling is awesome and helps baby sleep better. They feel cozy, safe and secure and it keeps baby from waking herself up with that startle reflex. We love swaddle sacks since they are easier to use than a blanket and you don’t have to worry about the swaddle coming undone. No blankets in the face! The first two months we used the Summer Infant SwaddleMe sleep sack. It is simple to use which is a huge bonus during middle of the night changes. Once she got a bit bigger and turned into a Houdini baby, we moved up to the Miracle Blanket. It truly lives up to the name! Once you get over the fact that it feels like a baby straight jacket….you will love it! ;)

Snuza Sleep Monitor

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I was worried I would be one of those moms who stayed awake making sure my baby was still breathing instead of catching sleep when I could. Our Snuza Monitor was a life saver! It just clips onto the baby’s diaper and senses breathing and movement. If it doesn’t sense movement for a certain amount of time, it will vibrate to stimulate the baby. If it still doesn’t sense breathing, it will sound a {loud} alarm. The Snuza has given me such peace of mind! I definitely sleep better when we use it. We’ve had a couple of false alarms since switching to cloth diapers {sometimes the night-time diapers are a bit bulky and it’s hard to clip on}, but other than that it’s been great!

Wubbanub Pacifiers

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We love our Wubbanub! They are like the soother pacifiers that you will get in the hospital, but with a small light weight stuffed animal attached. The benefits to these are endless! They’re easier to lose, I can find and reach it one handed in the car, and it’s easier for the baby to get the paci back into his mouth {once they are able to start grabbing}. Plus, they’re really cute. We have the Longhorn Wubbanub…because Texas. :)

Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Click Connect Travel System

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I love love love our stroller and car seat combo. It’s so nice to just click the car seat into place, whether in the car or stroller. The stroller is the best one I have ever used. It is a jogging stroller…but I’m not a jogger. However, I chose it because it is so smooth and steady. I can push it one handed without the stroller swaying to one direction or another. It also has a lot of storage and even a place to clip your phone in. It can also be closed with one hand. It is by far the best stroller I have ever used! We have enjoyed using it for walks around the neighborhood or at the park. I’m sure it will be getting a lot more mileage this fall one the weather cools off a bit. Amazon often has this stroller system on sale. I bought it after Thanksgiving for about $100 off the normal price. 

Graco Soothing System Glider {bassinet, swing, bouncer – all in one!}

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I have never been a fan of buying a bunch of large baby equipment that will only be used for a couple of months. It’s a pain finding space to store such bulky things. I was super resistant to buying a bassinet for that very reason. I knew we’d only use it for a few weeks, and then it would take up space in the attic or garage. I was super excited to find the Graco Soothing System. It has a base that is a glider {swing} that can play music or nature sounds. Then, you can either place the bouncer seat onto the base and use as a swing, or the bassinet attachment to use for sleeping. The bouncer also vibrates for soothing. I loved not having 3 separate pieces of baby gear in our small house! 

What are/were your favorite baby items for those first few months? 

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Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery

I started working on the nursery early this year. I had only gotten so far with this special room makeover when we got our surprise call from our agency and got to meet our daughter 24 hours later. In between feedings, diaper changes, and naps I’ve been working on getting our girl’s room looking cute and cozy. 

Luckily, I already had the major items on the to-do list checked off, so I’ve mainly just been working on the final touches. I’m actually really glad it worked out that way, because it turns out you might do things slightly differently when you actually know who your child is and can make it a bit more personal. Right now my main focus is getting wall art together. 

Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery …and it must be monogram season around here! Because I have yet another monogram project for you! This one could not be easier. It was the perfect simple craft to work on during nap time, and could be easily customized for any space. 

To make your own you will need : a wooden letter {this one came from the new Target craft section…that I’m obsessed with}, fun patterned paper, washi tape, mod podge, scissors and/or Xacto knife, and either a picture hanging sawtooth or Command strips {I used the velcro kind}. 

Whimsical Monogram for the NurseryI decided to paint the edges of my letter white with craft paint, but it would also look fine “naked”. It’s up to you!

Trace your letter upside down and backwards on the wrong side of your paper. { Ha! – Does that make any sense?}. Carefully cut the paper version of your letter out. 

Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery

Whimsical Monogram for the NurseryApply a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden letter. Smooth out the paper onto the letter to make sure it’s stuck well and without any bubbles. Allow it to completely dry before applying your sealing layer. 

Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery

You will just need one to two thin layers over the paper to seal. Always make sure the Mod Podge is dry before adding any more, otherwise you will be dealing with bubbles and wrinkles in the paper. 

Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery

As a final touch, add a bit of coordinating washi tape to the edge. I found some sparkly gold tape {by Scotch}. It’s like the pot of gold at the end of the heart rainbow! ;) I wanted my stripe to a be bit thinner than the tape, so I just let it hang over the edge and trimmed the excess with and Xacto knife. 

Whimsical Monogram for the NurseryAnd voila! A cute initial to hang on the wall. I just used a picture hanging Command Strip to adhere it to the wall. I’ve been collecting other L’s to have a little collection. 

Whimsical Monogram for the Nursery

 

I have so many nursery projects to share with you in the coming months! I’m so excited with how it is looking in there so far. But no worries! I’ll be sprinkling some non-nursery projects here and there as well. :)

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Homemade Scented Candles

This post was previously published on All Things Thrifty. 

I have been on a major candle kick lately. I think maybe it has been all of the gloomy weather we’ve been having lately in Texas. When it’s grey and chilly outside, I just want to make the house as cozy as possible — fluffy blankets, a good book and the warm glow of candle light. I’m picky about my candle scents and ingredients, which unfortunately means the ones I’m drawn to are on the pricier side.  I thought I’d try my hand at making my own homemade versions! I was a bit intimidated by the task, but it turned out to be so much easier than I thought….and fun, too! 

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To make your own homemade candles you will need the following: 

  • Soy based wax flakes 
  • Candle wicks with metal base
  • Wooden skewers or chop sticks
  • Glass bowl 
  • Sauce pan
  • Containers like mason jars, small glass dishes, or tea cups
  • Ingredients of choice for scent

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To melt the wax, you will want to create a double boiler with a glass bowl and sauce pan. Fill the pan about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Pour the wax flakes into a glass bowl (about 2-4 cups depending on the size of your container) and set it on top of the pan. 

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Stir the wax every few minutes until it is completely melted. While you have the wax on the stove, go ahead and prep your candle container. You will want to dip the metal base of the wick and then stick to the bottom of your container, making sure that it is centered. Once that is dry, wrap the end of the wick around a skewer until it it sitting on the edge. This will keep the wick centered in place. 

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Once the wax is completely melted, carefully and slowly pour into your prepped container. 

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Next you will add your ingredients for the scent of your choice. I opt to use natural ingredients like essential oils or items you probably already have in your pantry. 

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To make a “Vanilla” candle, you will use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour it into the melted wax and stir well with a skewer or chop stick to make sure it is blended well. I also added some coffee beans after the wax had set for a bit, but was still soft. This makes a subtle vanilla latte scent.

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For a “Lavender Lemonade” candle, use 20 drops each of lavender and lemon essential oils. Stir with a stick to ensure it is blended well. You can use just one essential oil scent or try your own combination of favorites. 

homemade-candles-6 You will need to let the candles set for 24 hours before using them. Once enough time has passed, you can trim the wicks down to about 1/8 of an inch and enjoy! 

Aside from having lovely candles to have in your own home, these make lovely Mother’s Day, birthday, house warming or hostess gifts! Embellish the jars with ribbon, fabric, or a cute label. I tried some hand lettering with a chalk pencil on black card stock and wrapped around each jar. 

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