New Mom Gift Basket with #McCafeMyWay

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias

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 Do you know anyone having a little one soon? If not, now you do…ME! I seriously thought Sprout was coming into the world this week; first because of high blood pressure (luckily it went down) and then because of crazy contractions that turned out to just need a little taming with a whole lot of water! Chickadee broke my water to let me know she was ready, so these contractions are a whole new ballgame this pregnancy. At least I am not alone. It seems to be baby season around here. Besides myself I have five friends due in April and May. So with new moms on my mind I thought I would share some ideas for creating a “NEW MOM” gift basket for those expecting in your life. Filled with all the must haves, plus a delicious pick me up from McCafé.

So here is the low down on what is in the kit, and why? 

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1. McCafé Hazelnut Coffee: Hello, every new mom (and DAD!) need to have coffee on hand. Adrenaline will take you so far, but then you are going to need a little more since you’ll probably be up every 2-3 hours around the clock for the new few months. I wasn’t sure what flavor to buy at first, but you can never go wrong with hazelnutty goodness. We tried some for breakfast this morning, & it is absolute perfection.  The Hazelnut has a rich flavor and a very smooth taste that lingers for a few minutes. Yum! And if Hazelnut isn’t your flavor, it’s ok since McCafé has 8 flavors to choose from. There is the perfect taste for everyone. They also have coffee pods if you want to go the single serve route!

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2. Magazine: A magazine is perfect for those late night feeding sessions or during the day when she just needs a break. 

3. Snacks: Snacks are important to keep mom’s energy up. If she is nursing filling snacks are definitely necessary since she is burning around 500 calories a day just feeding her new little one! I included a granola bar, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate sticks. A little bit of heathly and a little bit of delicious!

4. Candle: Let’s face it, with a new little one there is little time left in the day to clean. A candle will help keep the house smelling nice and fresh and help mom to feel like she can relax in her few moments of down time.

5. Slippers: Plain and simple…slipper are comfortable! And comfort is key right now.

6. Gum: Similar to cleaning, finding time to brush your teeth and shower even feels like a challenge in those first few weeks. At least mom can now have fresh breath!

7. Hand Sanitizer: EVERYTHING has germs when you are a new mom. And everyone who comes through your door wanting to hold your new bundle of joy is covered in those germs. Sanitize first!

8. Thank You Notes: We received so many wonderful meals and gift when Chickadee was born, so having thank you notes on hand was a must!

9. Finger Nail Polish: We all like to feel pretty & it’s amazing what a little nail polish will do.

10. A note of encouragement: Labor is tough. A c-section is tough. Those first few weeks/months are tough. A note from you encouraging your friend that they can do it, that we’ve all been there and you will make it through will go a LONG way. So add a note to your basket.

I picked everything up in the gift basket at my local WalMart the other day while I was grabbing a few groceries. 

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 Is there anything else you would add? Maybe a bottle of wine or a stack of take out menus? 

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DIY Dog Toy – Valentine’s Gift Basket for the Pup!

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TreatThePups #CollectiveBias

I know I have shared a lot about Chickadee on the blog lately, but to be honest she wasn’t our first baby. Four years ago THIS weekend we picked up our first child in Alabama. Sweet Max. We adopted him when he was about two years old and fell in love immediately. He is definitely still a big part of our family although he will probably be the first to admit that being a BIG brother isn’t all we cracked it up to be. And although he doesn’t get all our attention anymore we still love spoiling him every now and then! Valentine’s Day in a few weeks is the perfect time to do just that.

Since we brought Chickadee home from the hospital 15 months ago we have been trying to endear her to Max. I must be honest and say he isn’t the biggest fan of being her playtime buddy (she did after all invade his home and steal a lot of his one on one time!). But we keep praying he’ll come around. One suggestion from the vet was for Chickadee to help when we feed Max and give him treats….thinking maybe this will help him view her in a better light! So we decided to put him together a little treat basket for her to give him for Valentine’s Day including a few of his favorite treats from Milo’s Kitchen & Milkbone. 

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While at Walmart the other day I grabbed these little steak griller treats, a container of dog bones, and a few toys for the basket! We also included a deer antler, which is fabulous because they last forever & they always seem to calm Max down when he needs a little solo time.

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I also decided to make a homemade dog toy for our big boy. And YOU can too!

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All you’ll need are an old towel (a piece of fleece would work great too), an empty water bottle, and some ribbon.

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Start by removing the water bottle label, top, and little plastic ring. Next, cut your towel so that the length of the towel is long enough to wrap around the bottle and overlap about three inches. 

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After wrapping up the water bottle, cut the edges with about 3 inches extra length on either end. Then tie TIGHTLY with a ribbon.

I know it isn’t quite Valentine’s, but I already let Max preview his basket. The Milo’s Kitchen and Milkbone treats were obviously a hit. I will admit Max wasn’t so sure about this new DIY toy at first, but once he took his first bite and heard that crinkly sound of the water bottle, he was hooked!

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So do you include your pups in your Valentine’s celebration? #TreatThePups

 

Witches Brew & Spider Cider | Halloween Snacks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpookySnacks #CollectiveBias

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Last year for Halloween you might say that III and I were posing as zombies…not because we are big fans of Walking Dead, but because Chickadee was only 12 days old. I’m sure a lot of you know the exhaustion and lack of sleep that come with the first few weeks/months of baby raising, so it seems like a perfect costume for new parents. Needless to say we really didn’t celebrate Halloween; we were too focused on survival. 

This year it’s a new ballgame! Chickadee just turned one and we already have her ladybug costume laid out and ready to go. We plan on pulling her around in a wagon and frankly just showing off her cuteness :o) So Halloween is in full swing folks and we can’t celebrate without a few “spooky” treats! Today I have two Halloween drinks sure to get everyone in your house in the Halloween spirit.

While grabbing a few must haves at Walmart this weekend I also picked up some Fanta Orange and the cute small bottles of Dasani water. 

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First up is Witches Brew. This recipe is seriously soooo easy and perfect whether you are preparing for your child’s class or a huge neighborhood Halloween bash! Along with the Fanta, you’ll also need to pick up fruit punch & either vanilla or orange sherbet ice cream. 

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Witches Brew
A simple recipe perfect for your next Halloween bash!
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Fanta Orange
  2. Fruit Punch
  3. Orange Sherbert
Instructions
  1. 1. Fill your container/glass halfway with Fanta Orange.
  2. 2. Add fruit punch until the container/glass is 3/4 of the way full.
  3. 3. Top with several scoops of orange sherbert.
  4. 4. Serve & Enjoy.
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

When you add the orange sherbet  the punch will begin to fizz and eventually foam. It will continue to do so as the ice cream melt adding to the “spookiness!” It’s quite tasty! Also since it’s made with Fanta, it’s caffeine free, so feel free to serve it late at night! 

If you aren’t up for dealing with mixing and dealing with ice cream I have a NO FUSS recipe for you! Dasani bottled water, or as a Halloween party host would call it, Spider Cider.

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Perfect to hand out at the party or to thristy trick or treaters! Simply cut out and attach with tape. You can download the labels here

So, what are your Halloween plans? If they don’t include Fanta and Dasani I think they should now :o) 

You can follow along with Fanta on both Facebook & Twitter. Dasani is active on Facebook & Twitter as well!

 

Day by Day Cleaning Schedule & Free Printable #SparklySavings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#CollectiveBias #SparklySavings

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I’ve been at stay at home wife/mom for about a year and a half now. I must admit when I started this new chapter in our lives I thought since I was no longer working I would have all the time in the world to manage and maintain a clean, 100% of the time, house. Unfortunately, I realized quickly I was oh so wrong. 

What usually ended up happening is I couldn’t remember when I had cleaned what and something like dusting would get skipped for weeks until I sneezed and noticed it was snowing on the bookshelf. I needed some accountability and a routine. So I created this printable for basic daily cleaning chores day by day. And to make it even more user friendly….they are cleaning alliterations that match the day of the week. You know like, clean towels, tubs, and toilets on Tuesdays! I suppose it is the former teacher in me. 

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To save the printable, simply right click and save as.

While a lot of these chores are spread out over the week, there are still daily tasks that must be accomplished each day to manage a tidy house. Most of those daily tasks happen in the kitchen…it’s the heart of every home after all.

I wanted to share with you one simple change I made in our kitchen that has made a big difference. In the past I had been super frustrated with our dishwasher detergent because it seemed our glasses always had water stains. For a while I blamed it on our water. However, I was at WalMart and noticed their Rollback prices for FINISH All in 1 Powerball tablets. I decided to give them a try.

I have been super pleased with the results! No more water spots & always sparkly clean dishes. Just look how clear that glass is! It’s truly the best dishwasher detergent.

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Chickadee is even excited about clean dishes! I can’t wait until she can help load and unload :o)

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Do please note that this detergent it a tablet, and like all cleaners, please keep it out of reach for little exploring hands.

You can find FINISH detergent and it’s Rollback price on the cleaning aisle at Walmart through October.

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Use this coupon for $1.00 off!

So, do you have a weekly cleaning routine that keeps your house sparkling all the time? I’d love to hear your tips! 

 

What is in Your Diaper Bag?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

#BabyDiapersSavings #CollectiveBias

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When you are pregnant with your precious little bundle of joy, you will get so much advice. Advice from those you may expect like your mom, sister, and friends, but also from those behind you in the checkout line or sitting beside you at church. Everyone wanting to bestow their “expertise” in diapers, sleeping, and all things baby. While most advice is probably unsolicited, they usually mean well and if you listen closely their might be something to hold on too. With that being said….I’m here to offer you unsolicited advice :) 

Packing everything you could possibly need in your diaper bag is an art. An art I can’t claim to have perfected, but one I do think I am getting closer to now that I am 10 months in to carting Chickadee around from place to place! 

A well stocked diaper bag is essential to being able to to break out of baby jail and keep baby happy out of the house, however packing one sometimes feels like you are going on vacation instead of running to WalMart. Here are a few things that, lately, we have never been leaving home without!

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First, let me share that I started with a very traditional looking diaper bag, but after a few weeks went by of me trying to carry both a purse and a diaper bag, I traded the old for something new: Carter’s Front Zip Diaper Tote. I love this diaper bag a) because it has a lot of pockets inside and out b) because it is made of the kind of material you can quickly/easily wipe down and c) because you can almost get away with looking like you are carrying a purse. LOVE IT.

Now onto what is in my diaper bag…

01. Diapers – This one seems pretty obvious since it is in fact a diaper bag. I usually only carry one or two diapers in my bag, but I always have extras in the car! I have tried so many different diaper brands with Chickadee. Fortunately, she doesn’t have a sensitive tush, but we did have some containment issues early on. After a little trial and error though we are on track. Right now I have Parent’s Choice diapers in my diaper bag from Walmart. If you are lucky to live near one of these stores you can try out their new and improved diapers! Not only are they super absorbent, they also are hands down where you will find the biggest savings! An average of $240 a year over other brands! And you will save even more with this coupon! Who doesn’t like to save money? Give them a shot.

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02. Wipes – You are going to want A LOT of these because they aren’t just for your babies booty. So while the little wipe cases are cute, you will go through them in about two seconds. Save yourself the stress of running out and just throw in a pack. 

03. Hand Sanitizer – Because let’s face it…things get dirty with a little one!

04. Extra Outfit – I learned this one the hard way. Basically, a blow out in the car means you are doing an entire wardrobe change so be prepared. You don’t want to be the mom running into WalMart with a baby in only their diaper because they clothes are covered in poop and you don’t have another outfit. Believe me. Oh, and make sure as they grow you replace your spare outfit with a bigger size.

05. Sippy Cup or Bottle – If you are a formula mama in the early months you are going to want to make sure you always have a bottle/formula on hand. Those little ones are hungry all.the.time. Now that Chickadee is a little older I like to make sure and always have a sippy cup of water. It’s perfect entertainment for her when we are out running errands and during the hot summers in the South a sippy helps her cool off!

06. Pacifier – Always great for calming your little one down or helping them fall asleep in the car. We love the ones with the animals attached!

07. Blankets/Burp Cloths – Again these are great no matter how old your little one is. Blankets are perfect for covering up your baby in their car seat, or once they are older laying out on the ground for them to play. I know it depends on the season but I love the muslin blankets for Chickadee, so lightweight. And burb cloths…..it’s amazing how much spit up that little body can produce!

08. Placemat – Whether you buy disposable or reusable, once your little one starts eating food, a placemat is a must when you are out at a restaurant. While putting little one’s food on a plate is a nice idea, it soon becomes a toy and food begins flying everywhere. Therefore, a placemat that sticks to the table if perfect for laying out their lunch!

09. Snack Trap – This is a recent addition to our diaper bag, however along with the sippy I have found it is a must when we are out running errands, especially if nap time is getting pushed. Fill it up with puffs or Cheerios and you easily have an extra 30 minutes to work with. Although figuring out the “trap” part of the container took Chickadee a little bit of time to figure out, once she did it was mess free snacking!

10. Sophie – Oh, the little teether that could. We LOVE Sophie because I am pretty sure she single handedly saved us from teething horrors. Chickadee would gnaw on her for hours when her teeth were first coming through so we made sure to always have her on hand. If not Sophie, just make sure you have a teether/toy on hand, because those pesky pearly whites will start pushing through when you least expect it!

11ish. There are a few other things in my diaper bag for me personally since I carry it as a purse. So you will also find my wallet, keys, chapstick, sunglasses and iPhone.

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So, what is in your diaper bag? Am I missing something that will change my diaper bag carrying life? 

Remember, if you want to check out Parent’s Choice diapers, to print and take this coupon!