My Three MUST HAVE Baby Gear Items

I was sorting through Peanut’s stuff this past weekend and thought, “Man… if only I knew then what I know now.”

Peanut is my first little bundle of joy, so, naturally, I wanted to have ALL THE THINGS baby related. Now that he’s almost 15 months old (How did that happen?) I have a better look at what’s “needed” and what I actually thought got good use. Just to clarify – the crib, clothes, car seat, etc. are obviously must haves. These “must haves” are the extra baby gear items. These are the things that I would definitely want to have again.

1. Baby swing* OR glider*

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Peanut absolutely loved his swing. I think he liked the cuddliness of it (opposed to just laying flat on his back) and the swinging motion. (I didn’t use the swinging part of the swing until he was about four weeks old. It may have been “first time mommy” worries, but it just seemed too fast even at the lowest setting.) This swing has a reflective mobile and plays different sounds, which Peanut seemed to love. He napped really well in it too. Around 6 months or so, Peanut got really congested and did not want to lay flat in his Pack n Play. He threw a fit whenever I tried to lay him down. It was realllly early in the morning and my tired brain told me to just go downstairs and set him in his swing. At least that way he wouldn’t be laying flat and maybe he’d be able to sleep. It worked. And we both slept peacefully (me on the couch). I will say this though – the swing does take up a lot of floor space. If I have another baby, I think I’d go with the glider instead.

2. Pack n Play with the bassinet option*

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I didn’t even know that Pack n Play’s came without a bassinet option to be honest. We use the heck out of our Pack n Plays. (We have three.) As an infant, Peanut slept in his Pack n Play (with the bassinet attached) until he was about 6 or 7 months old. He slept on my side of the bed and having him in the bassinet portion made it SO MUCH easier to soothe him if he fussed in the night. He was normally just looking for his Wubbanub* or I’d reach over, stroke his cheek, and off to sleep he would go. If the bassinet option wasn’t in there then I would have always had to reach alllll the way down to comfort him. I know that sounds lazy, but let’s be honest. During the few first months of adjusting to life with a baby (and your lack of sleep) any easy convenience is much appreciated. Also, when you have an infant that isn’t yet rolling or sitting up, having to get them in and out of the Pack n Play withOUT a bassinet is killer on your back. (Ask me how I know.)
Also, as baby gets older, all you have to do is take the bassinet portion out and it’s ready for babies who are sitting up and pulling up to stand. I still have mine set up (both upstairs and downstairs) because it’s a safe place to put Peanut if I need to use the restroom, take the dogs out, tend to cooking food in the kitchen, etc.

3. Sound machine*

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The one I have is about $10 and it’s the best little sound machine ever. We were not quiet around Peanut on purpose. We didn’t whisper when he was sleeping and we didn’t freak out if the dogs barked at the door. We just went about our normal lives and let Peanut get used to that, so we never had to worry about waking a sleeping baby. I mean, we didn’t go around banging pots when he was sleeping, but I could vacuum and it wouldn’t bother him. However, having the sound machine was great for helping to soothe him. This particular machine has music, white noise (static), and a heart beat sound. It also has a timer for an automatic shut off (15 minutes) which is really nice. Plus, it’s small enough that I can hook it to his car seat. I took it with me to a company picnic and when Peanut started getting sleepy, I just covered the car seat with a canopy, turned the sound machine on, and off to sleep he went. He even got to the point where he can turn it on and off himself – which he does during the night all the time.

I know new parents can get caught up in Bumbo’s, Boppy’s, Rock N Play’s, bouncers, etc. So I hope my little blurb here helped you narrow down some options. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section!

Oh, and as I mentioned above, this list is just what I felt got tons of use. The Pack n Plays and sound machine are still in use. The swing got put away when he was about 10 months old.

We did have a Boppy, bouncer, Rock n Play, etc. but I felt like those things didn’t get used for very long, so going forward and knowing what I do now, I don’t think I really needed them.

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Organizing DVDs

Once upon a time I realized we had too many DVDs. I asked Hubs (very nicely) if I could ditch all of the cases and put the DVDs into a CD binder and he (very nicely) said no.

Looking at all of the DVDs was seriously driving me insane. I found out that I could stack the DVDs on top of each other (instead of standing them side by side) to fit more on one shelf (so I could actually use the shelves for books), but it was still unsightly.

I scoured Pinterest for other ways to organize the DVDs and came up with this:

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I went to Lowe’s and got a 1×6 board cut down to 28 inches (the width of my book shelf) and made a “shelf within a shelf”. (I got an 8 foot board and it was about $7.) I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I searched around my house work for things I could use to raise the board up. I found these white packing blocks (made of foam) at work and decided to just use those. The floral foam blocks that you use for floral arrangements would work well too, and you can get those at the dollar store!

It wasn’t a DRASTIC improvement, but I’m happy with it. It looks way less cluttered, at least.
(My next mission is to purge books and magazines. Do we really need the Hunting Regulations and Guidelines book for 2011? I think not.)

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organizingdvds

Yay for small victories!

Tips for Organizing Your Closet

(All product links are Amazon Affiliate links.)

This past weekend, aside from everything else we did, I really wanted to clear out and organize my master closet. (I didn’t get around to it, but I thought putting together this list of how to tackle the mess may help me later on.) I’m very fortunate to have a large master closet. The only complaint I have with it is how everything is laid out. It’s a long narrow room with a high bar on one side and two bars (one high, one low) on the other. (And it’s a wire shelving unit which drives me nuts.) It has ZERO shelf space. Boo!

If you remember form this post, I did recently somewhat do a closet purge. Before I returned to work after having Peanut, I needed to get some new clothes because I was about a size bigger than what I was pre-pregnancy. Since I HAD to shop for new clothes, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start building a wardrobe I was happy with. I still have quite a few things in my closet that I can probably do away with, but I feel like if I do anymore purging, I’ll be left with only two outfits. LOL! Oh well, slowly but surely.

So, back to organizing! After browsing Pinterest, here is my plan for some organization!

I really want to get one of these hanging shelf organizer things…

That would give me some much needed shelf space. I could put my bulkier sweaters in there (I leave all of my clothes out throughout the year, I honestly don’t have enough items to switch things out every season). I could also put my skirts and shorts (that I don’t hang) in there as well. (I do have a dresser in the closet but it’s kind of just wasting space.)

I do have my belts and scarves organized pretty well. I use one of these…

It’s really “supposed” to be for hanging multiple dress pants, but it works really great for hanging scarves and belts.

I really want to find a way to hang my camisoles. I don’t know why, but I wear a camisole every stinking day. I guess it’s my security blanket – ha! Right now they are folded up in a drawer, but I feel like that’s wasting drawer space. I’ve been thinking about using a hat or tie rack to hang them up. Something like this…

I want to find something that has hangers that stick out, so I can hang one camisole on each hanger. (I don’t want to use a swing arm hanger because then when I need the one in the back, I have to take them all off and yada yada. Yes, I’m being lazy.) Something like a tie rack would work too.

(At only $3.45, this may be the winner of the camisole problem.)

I need some tips on how to store my purses that aren’t being used though… Any ideas?!
What are some tips/hacks that have helped in organizing your space?

Organizing Make Up

I’m a girl and I like make up.

Whew, okay. I got that off of my chest.

I used to keep my make up in a regular ‘ol make up bag in the corner of my sink. That got old pretty quick and I moved on to one of those hard plastic, acrylic holders.

organizingmakeupThis worked okay for a while. Just a little side story here – I wake up at 5:30 AM during the week (30 minutes before Hubs) and I try my hardest to be as quiet as possible as I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth, washing my face, and applying my make up. Let’s admit it – don’t you hate waking up thirty minutes before you actually need to be up!? Well, it never fails that every time I’m TRYING to be quiet, I drop something on the floor with a clatter, I pull out a make up item and everything beside it goes crashing against the side of the holder/smashing into each other, etc. I fail at being quiet.

Until I came upon this awesomeness!

organizingmakeupUm… isn’t this JUST THE CUTEST?! I love it!! Admittedly, (in my opinion) it was a little pricey at $17 plus shipping, but I just had to have it. I love all the little pockets, I love the easy clean/wipe-able interior and exterior, and I love that it helps me be quiet in the morning. =]

organizingmakeup

organizingmakeupI found this on this site – and you can click there to see more pictures of the caddy as well. (Just a quick run down – there are pockets across the front, on both sides, and on the backside of the interior. The exterior back side is flat so you can fit it flush against the wall, like I did in the first picture.)
And here is the link to the Clever Container representative that helped me order one – click me.

How do you organize your make up?

My Two Cents: Baby Tips

mytwocentsbabytips1Now that I’ve been a mommy for almost four months now, I’m pretty much a pro. ;] So, I thought I would share some of the baby tips that I’ve learned from my little guy. (I’m really not a pro, in case you were wondering.) I downloaded the BabyCenter app when I found out I was pregnant and they sent me weekly updates on how my baby was developing. It was pretty cool. Now that Peanut is actually here with me, I turn to BabyCenter with questions or concerns I may have. (Web MD freaks me out.) Of course it’s always best to turn to the doctors for anything serious, but for the little things that are more “opinions” than they are facts – it’s nice to have a little forum of experienced mommies to tell you what they tried – what worked for them and what didn’t. (Of course you still have to use common sense – these are other people’s experiences and opinions, not hard core facts.)

These will be in no particular order because I’m just typing them as they come to mind.

– Stock up on baby clothes until AT LEAST 6 months. I have clothes for Peanut until now, 3 months, and I thought that would be “enough”. I do have a few things that will last until 6 months, but I’m definitely going to need more soon. Now, just to make things clear, when I say “6 months” I mean size “3-6 months”. That’s where I messed up. I was thinking, “oh 6 months is far enough away, I’m good for now…” WRONG. Because 6 months isn’t really 6 months, clothing wise it’s 3-6 months. And trust me, that 3 month mark comes at you pretty quick! Peanut will be 4 months old in a few weeks and he does still fit into his 0-3 month clothing pretty well, so I think I can hold off a little longer before going on a shopping spree for him. His onesies still fit really well, but his sleepers are starting to seem a little short in the legs. (I don’t know why I just told you that. =] Maybe it was to imply that just because it says 0-3 month doesn’t mean he can only wear that size during those ages? Everyone knows that already though, right?) OH! And another thing about clothes – I have definitely noticed that Babies R Us brand clothing runs smaller than Carter’s brand clothing – just thought I’d throw that out there.

mytwocentsbabytips1– I highly recommend getting a swing or a glider. We have this one*, and it’s a blessing! Peanut loves to just sit and swing and watch the mobile go round and round. There’s a little mirror too and he enjoys looking at himself. (Who wouldn’t enjoy looking at themselves when they’re as cute as he is!? ;]) The one we have also plays music, which is nice and soothing. Sometimes Peanut just wants to be rocked and when my arms are burning from holding him for so long already, the swing is soooo convenient. We are very blessed to have a baby who really doesn’t fuss that often. He is perfectly content to sit quietly and watch the world around him. More often than not when he’s in his swing or play pen, I can look over at him and he’s just wide eyed and looking around. (Side note – we didn’t actually use the swinging part until he was around four weeks old. Even at the lowest setting it just seemed too fast for a newborn.)

mytwocentsbabytips1Some may not agree with me on this, but don’t be afraid to introduce a pacifier. The pediatrician told me to hold off on offering Peanut a pacifier until he was about four weeks old. Something about nipple confusion and wanting to make sure that nursing was well established. I gave Peanut a pacifier when he was three weeks old and we have not had any problems whatsoever. I could tell when Peanut was “comfort nursing” and when he was actually feeding, and the comfort nursing happened pretty often. Some may not agree with me on this either, but mommy’s are not pacifiers. If you’re baby is wanting to constantly comfort nurse, pop in a pacifier. I was really careful to be sure that Peanut wasn’t actually wanting to eat before giving him a pacifier though. I kept a pretty good record (and still do) of how often he eats and I used that to make a judgement call on whether or not he was hungry or just wanted to be soothed. Most of the time, if he was actually hungry, he just wouldn’t accept the pacifier. Another side note – the Wubbanub’s are great because of their shape (and cuteness) so I suggest starting with those if you are concerned about nipple confusion. Peanut started with a Wubbanub and still uses one. He nurses, takes a pacifier, and gets four bottles while I’m at work and we haven’t had any problems at all. (We have this Wubbanub* – so cute!)

mytwocentsbabytips1– If you have to supplement with formula, first of all, don’t feel bad, second of all, definitely ask your pediatrician for samples! Even if you already know what formula you are going to use, it doesn’t hurt to have some more – formula ain’t cheap. And the little tubs they give you are great for refilling and keeping in the diaper bag.

– Tying back into the previous one, if you were dead set on breastfeeding (and/or doing exclusive breast milk whether nursing or pumping) and then find that you have to supplement with formula, DO NOT FEEL BAD. This happened to me. Even before we got pregnant I knew I wanted to breast feed. Even if that meant exclusively pumping (because I was once afraid of nipple confusion and thought to myself that if he took one over the other, I would rather he took a bottle since I had to return to work and wouldn’t be there to nurse him. Side note – I am no longer afraid of nipple confusion. Don’t be too concerned about that because thinking about it now, I’ve never heard of a baby actually having nipple confusion. (Not saying it doesn’t happen…)) Peanut gets no more than two bottles of formula a day and as much as I didn’t want to HAVE to, I have to.

– If baby doesn’t seem to like baths and is super fussy afterwards, feed him AFTER the bath. I’ve tried feeding Peanut before a bath to calm him down but that didn’t last long. I found out that if I feed him after, it calms him down and then he sleeps. Fuss fuss fuss during the bath, feed, sleep. Glorious. (Peanut is getting better about his baths. He actually fusses when I take him out of the bath now.) We have this baby bath*.

mytwocentsbabytips1Some may not agree with me here, but if you find that baby doesn’t sleep well in the play pen, try softening it up with some blankets. I know, you’re not supposed to do this. But, Peanut would sleep in his swing just fine but he did not like sleeping in his play pen. At first I thought it was because he just didn’t like laying flat, but then I realized that he slept really well in our bed (side note, he does not sleep in bed with us throughout the night). When I’m awake and getting ready in the morning, I let Peanut chill on our bed and I noticed he would fall asleep really well. So one day I took some non-fluffy blankets and folded them up enough to fit into the play pen. I did this just to make it softer for him because let’s be honest, the play pen “mattress” is as hard as rock. I piled the blankets on top of each other for cushion, but not in a way that he would “sink” into the blankets. It’s just like putting a sheet over the mattress, except it’s blankets. And guess what? Out like a light in the play pen.

mytwocentsbabytips1I could probably go on forever (and ever and ever) but I’ll stop here. I can’t think of anymore that are like light bulbs that truly helped me get sane again. Maybe later on I’ll do a baby tip post of one liners, simple and sweet. =]

What are some baby tips you have??

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