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Favorite Newborn Products (Or How We Survived the Last 12 Weeks)

8 May

No one warns you just how challenging having a newborn is. Maybe they do, and you just don’t listen. The past 12 weeks have been full of lots of trial and error. Luckily, we had a few successes along the way.

With my maternity leave coming to a close, I thought I would share our favorite products that helped us survive so far. Here are the Top 10….

1) Amazon Prime


I feel like Amazon Prime was made for new moms. Since it’s so hard to get out of the house, it was a godsend to have pretty much any baby product arrive at your door step with free 2-day shipping. The UPS man was here most days. If you are pregnant or have a newborn, this is a must have. The $99/yr. subscription has paid for itself a million times over. We watch movies/tv shows on it too.

2) Exercise Ball


We brought a Gold’s Gym exercise ball to the hospital to help with labor. But what it really came in handy for was bouncing on while holding Kate. It was the only thing that would soothe her. She’s been hooked ever since. We even bought two of these—one for upstairs and one for downstairs. We have spent many a hours bouncing on this thing. The weighted bottom helps you not tip over helpful for those wee hours of the morning.

3) MamaRoo


You can imagine how bouncing on a ball for hours can get tiring. The closest thing we could find to simulate that was the MamaRoo Bouncer, or “egg” as we like to call it. This thing is awe-some. It has several settings such as “car ride” and “ocean wave,” but Kate’s favorite is called kangaroo. It also plays white noise or you can hook up your iPod/iPhone to play music. Definitely worth the investment and really not that much more expensive than your traditional swing. I also have to give the manufacturer, 4Moms, props, as our swing started to squeak and they shipped us out a new base within two days. So far so good.

4) Boppy Lounger


After every feeding, I prop Kate up in her boppy lounger for some play time and tummy time. She loves it. We first just laid her on a blanket but its nice to have her more upright. We also use it for tummy time. It’s machine washable, too.

5) BOB Stroller

bob stroller

We are really happy with our BOB Revolution stroller. It has maneuvered great down our gravel driveway and on non-paved paths at the forest preserve. Kate loves to go “off-roading” with it in the grass and bumpy areas. While a little pricey at full retail, we purchased it via Amazon’s warehouse deal program as an “open box.” I was nervous for it to arrive but everything was 100% new and in its original packaging. If there was an open box, I couldn’t tell.

6) Sleep Sheep On-The-Go

Sleep Sheep

Kate used to hate riding in her car seat until we started using the Sleep Sheep On-The-Go. It plays white noise like waves and rain. Now we use it any time she rides in the car or stroller. The only problem is it shuts off after 45 minutes. I’ve had to pull over to the side of the road to turn it back on after she started crying because it turned off.

7) Rockabye Baby Pandora Station

rockabye baby

Not so much a product, but we listen to the Pandora station called Rockabye Baby all the time. Rockabye Baby are popular songs by artists like Michael Jackson, U2, Journey and Aerosmith put to lullabies. Kate is a huge fan and we have fun guessing the song titles. We play Pandora through our Sonos system. We also have the paid version of Pandora ($3.99/month) so no ads. Totally worth it!

8) Swaddles

Woombie swaddle

Our two favorite swaddle blankets are the Miracle Blanket and the Woombie. We wrap Kate in a swaddle at bedtime and for every nap. These two products make it so easy. Recently she started wiggling out of the Miracle Blanket no matter how tight Ben got it, so the Woombie is great since there’s no way to get out of it because its zippered. When we transition out of the swaddle, I plan to try out Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

9) Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs

burpy bib

These burpy bibs from Aden + Anais rock. Soft, lightweight, and full coverage to protect your clothes. They are huge compared to any others. We have three one for the diaper bag, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.

10) Carter’s Zippered Sleep-n-Plays

sleep n play

Kate has lived in Carter’s zippered sleep-n-plays around the house. A one piece zippered outfit makes dressing and changing her quick and easy. Plus they are really affordable, the patterns are really cute and the quality is great. I personally believe all sleep-n-plays should be zippered. Who wants to fumble with all those snaps, especially in the middle of the night?

While every baby is different, those are the things that have made our lives easier and Kate happier. What are your favorite products for newborns? Anything you wish was invented back when you had little ones?


DIY Nursery Button Monogram

14 Apr

I’ve been having fun personalizing and adding more color and “girly-ness” to our formerly gender neutral nursery. I shared plans to make a K monogram out of buttons last month.

Here is the finished product:


For my supplies, I ordered 200 pink/coral buttons from Etsy, and then picked up a 9×12 frame, Fabritac fabric glue and these neat pre-made burlap-covered boards from Michaels, which made it so easy.

Then I printed a K on the computer and outlined it in pencil on the burlap.


Next came the fun part.. gluing on all the buttons. I started with the biggest ones and then layered on the smaller ones. It took less than an hour.

I debated hanging it on the outside of Kate’s door, but decided we didn’t want to put a hole in it, so I added it to her gallery wall.


You can also see I moved the baby handprint art to the gallery wall from over the chair in order to make room for this…

IMG_4572It was a gift from one of Ben’s clients. I think it is off of Etsy.

More personalizing was framing a photo of her, spelling out her name in blocks, and draping a colorful quilt (handmade by Ben’s Aunt) over the crib.


That’s all I have planned in the nursery for now, but I’m sure the photos and things will rotate over time.

Right now, our sights are 100% set on finishing the deck. Here is a sneak peak of some of the progress.


An update to follow!

Baby’s First Craft

9 Mar

We’re back!! We welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world three weeks ago tomorrow. Here is a photo of our little bundle of joy, Kate, cuddling in front of the fireplace.


It has been a whirlwind three weeks. It’s strange to even be back on the computer. While DIY has obviously taken a back seat, we were able to do a fun little handprint craft project to capture this time when she is so tiny.

handprint close up

To make it, I picked up three colors of acrylic paint, an 8 x10 frame and four pieces of white card stock from Michael’s.

I made four versions knowing we might have trouble getting a good print from Miss Kate.

IMG_4423It’s very important that the baby be asleep when you take their handprint. We tried it with her awake and just ended up with a clenched fist full of paint and a huge mess. Rookie mistake!

With her sleeping, it was still a bit of a challenge but we got three good ones out of four.

We hung the handprint art in Kate’s room above the rocker.


Looking forward to starting on my next craft for Kate which is going to be something like this.



I’m also going to have a final kitchen reveal and an update on the addition very soon!

The Nursery Reveal

29 Jan

With only 5 days until my due date, it’s time to share the completed nursery! The room turned out even better than expected and is probably my favorite space in the whole house. We put a lot of love into this room and DIY’d most of it.

So without further ado, here is the grand tour….





Thanks to building out some shelves and buying some baskets, we have a beautifully organized closet with tons of storage.

Nursery Closet Revised


I was able to fit so much in here that the dresser/changing table is less than half full. I labeled each of the baskets with chalkboard tags, so they are easily changeable.


Now for a little more detail on all the different items in the room.

I shared here how we painted the stripes and built the crib. The two paint colors are Behr’s Powdered Snow and Perfect Taupe (lightened by 20%).

IMG_3853The changing table is a dresser we already had and we painted it with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Pure White. The dresser hardware we refinished using Rub-N-Buff (spanish copper mixed with ebony).

IMG_4249Hanging over the changing table is a musical sheep mobile from Pottery Barn. There are quite a few sheep in here as a nod to Ben’s childhood growing up on a sheep property in New Zealand. I’ll show you my favorite sheep soon.

IMG_4247I tried to include lots of other animals too including this adorable elephant laundry hamper from Home Decorators.

IMG_4256The art over the crib is homemade of course. For those non-New Zealanders, you may not recognize the animal, but it is a kiwi bird, the national symbol of New Zealand.

IMG_4241Ben built the wood sign out of some leftover barn wood that we used on the ceiling beams in the living room. I tried to freehand draw the bird but we agreed to just get a large copy made to use as a stencil. Then I painted it with white trim paint.


Next to the crib is a shelf with some framed baby shower cards, baby blocks, a Harrod’s puppy from a Welsh friend, and a sock monkey which started in my hometown, Rockford IL.


We installed a ceiling fan in the room to create some circulation and help prevent SIDS.IMG_4259The white Ikea Ektrop chair we already owned, except we retrofitted it so that it is now a rocker. We purchased a swivelling rocker base off of this website and then Ben created a plywood bottom and screwed it into that.


I see lots of hours in this chair in my future.


Above the chair are three wire baskets from World Market which hold a few books in quick reach.


Next to the nursing chair is a distressed-wood floor lamp we already owned from Target and a new nightstand from Kirkland’s.

IMG_4275On the gallery wall are a few items off Etsy, a small mirror, clock and childhood pictures of both Ben and I.


Can you spot my favorite sheep? On the right is 8-year-old Ben and his winning sheep, Lizzy.


Also I love this hook on the back of the door from World Market to hang a towel or jacket. It’s the little things!


And last but not least is the amazingly soft rug which came from Lowe’s. Seriously this is the the softest rug I’ve ever felt. Can’t wait to play on the floor with our little one.


Here is a full source list:

Wall paint: Behr’s Powdered Snow and Perfect Taupe (lightened by 20%); Rug: Lowe’s; Rocker base:‎; Chair: Ikea Ektorp already owned; Chair ottoman: Ikea Sandby; Nightstand: Kirkland’s; Ceiling Fan: Menards; Floor lamp: Target– already owned; Wire baskets: World Market; White shelf: Home Decorators Standard Cornice Shelf; Crib: Toy’s R Us Nursery Basics Crib; Changing table/Dresser: Already owned off Craigslist; Crib sheet and crib skirt: Oilo Taupe Modern Berries; Wood kiwi art: DIY; Bamboo blinds: Home Depot; Curtains and clips: Target; Changing pad cover: Carousel Designs; Giraffe art: Etsy; Alphabet art: Etsy; Frames: Target and Home Goods, most already owned; Baskets: Target; Chalkboard tags: World Market; Elephant laundry hamper: Home Decorators; Sheep mobile: Pottery Barn Harper Lamb Mobile; Closet shelving material: Menards

I can’t believe there will be a baby boy or girl living in here soon. Now we wait!

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