Baby Favorites

Baby FavoritesBeing a first time mom is a lot like preparing for the apocalypse. You aren’t sure exactly what you’re going to need, so you stockpile everything in sight and hope for the best. The third time around, I’m feeling like I could probably do this Hunger Games style with a single backpack of supplies and everyone would live to tell about it.

Contrary to what most pregnancy web sites and registry builders will tell you, babies don’t need a whole lot. What exactly do you need? Besides the obvious things you need to clothe, feed, clean, and diaper this new little human (read: Hunger Games backpack), there are plenty of products that make life a lot easier! AND they’re things you will actually use (read: not a wipes warmer- your baby is not Beyonce).

1 // In those first few months when all baby wants to do is eat and sleep around the clock, the Rock and Play Sleeper is a lifesaver. We kept it in our bedroom in lieu of a pack and play (and also in lieu of sleepwalking to the baby’s room every three hours) and it definitely made 4AM feedings more manageable. It’s also easy to close up and move to a different place in the house, so little one can snooze in the kitchen while you’re stealth-eating gummy snacks cooking dinner.

2 // I love swaddles like these because they can be so many things- blankies, nursing covers, carseat covers, a place for baby to lay while big brothers play in the yard. And they’re so cute!

3 // We keep an on-the-go changing station in both of our cars and they have saved us so many times! Grab a shoebox-sized storage container and toss in a diaper clutch like this one, a change of clothes or two, and maybe even a backup paci or bottle or whatever else you want to have around just in case. You will forget to restock your diaper bag (or forget your diaper bag altogether) and having extras on standby will keep you from driving home from grandma’s with a half-clothed baby- been there, done that.

4 // We’ve never bought an actual high chair because our dining room is pretty small, but boosters like this one have done the job just fine! I love that it functions like a high chair initially but transitions to help the littles eat at the table, and it’s easy to take with you when you travel.

5 // Landon wasn’t much for baby-wearing, but Alex was like sign me up from day one. Izzy has no choice but to love it because otherwise I will never get anything done. The Baby K’Tan is awesome because it’s already looped- less of a job wrapping baby up as opposed to the Moby Wrap- and it’s what I used with Alex. A blogger I follow is all about the Wildbird ring slings, so I ordered one to try with Izzy!

Heading into round three of life with a newborn, I’m looking forward to having all of these things around! What are your baby favorites?

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Izzy’s Room

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Crib Sheet // Curtains // Heart Print // Swaddle Set // Ballerina Doll

This is our third (and last!) baby, and the first time we’ve had an actual nursery ready before our due date. Landon had a pack and play in a faux-nursery we set up in one half of the spare room in our first apartment, and Alex’s room was finished when he was about three months old. Here’s the thing about that- no one cares, especially not the baby. Do you have diapers? A place for it to sleep? Clothes to put on its body? You’re doing just fine 🙂

This time around, we are generally more adultier adults and have the resources and time that mean all of my blogger-inspired nursery dreams can come true. I fell in love with the nursery this blogger put together for her youngest, so that’s essentially how I designed Izzy’s, with some adjustments to fit a sliiiiiiightly lower budget (and minus her gorgeous hardwood floors).

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Bookshelves // Print // Basket // Heart Blanket

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Jar

I still haven’t decided what to put above her bed (if anything at all) or above her cube shelves. I’ve been tossing around the idea of ordering her name from this Etsy shop but I’m not sure how I’d stain it or which font to use. I’d like to incorporate something from the boys- maybe some artwork to hang- and possibly a space to display some of our maternity and newborn pictures- without making it too busy. Stay tuned!

To maximize space in both of the kids’ rooms, I strategically organized the closets in lieu of having dressers. Hanging organizers like these are great for clothes that need to be folded and semi-organized. Sterilite drawers can be stacked however you need them to be and are perfect for socks and diapers and all of those loose ends. Highly recommend!

This is easily my favorite space in the house. I love how the paint color catches the light in different ways. I love that it’s classic and feminine without being too over the top, that it’s a space that can grow with her from a nursery to a big girl room. But those days are a million years from now, right?

We’re ready for you, Izzy girl!  Only about ten more weeks to go.

Currently // 1.19.18

Sharing a few odds and ends because that’s about all I have capacity to write these days, apparently. I mean, really, it’s after 9PM and I’m still awake so that’s a pretty big feat in itself 🙂

Reading (and rereading) a few memoirs and a (relatively) new book from one of my favorite authors! Seriously, if you haven’t already read Evelyn Hugo, it’s so good. And Yes Please? This is the third time I’ve read it and it’s every bit as amazing as the first time.

Watching Victoria and The Crown and pretty psyched that season two of The Handmaid’s Tale is going to be released just in time for my maternity leave to start (only sixty-seven more school days, but who’s counting?).

Recommending this bow subscription! They are the cutest and make for a fun surprise every month. And given how indecisive I am, it’s saved me a ton of time scrolling through Etsy. If you want to sign up for a subscription, use this referral link!

Dreaming of this ring sling in all the colors, but the gorgeous lavender one will do 🙂 I plan on wearing this baby roughly from the time she’s born until forever #lastbabyproblems

Speaking of that little nugget, I think we finally have a middle name! And she’s becoming more and more of a wiggle worm every day. It’s starting to hit me that this is the last time, with less than fifteen weeks to go and I know they’ll fly by. Bittersweet for sure!

Feeling pretty large these days, so if I’m not at work, you can pretty much be guaranteed that I’m wearing these jogger pants. A little less sad looking than actual sweatpants but equally as comfortable. You can find a code for 30% off AND free shipping on Retail Me Not! Buy a pair or three and thank me later.

Looking for summer camps and activities to keep Landon from asking to go to the pool every day with a threenager (how is THAT possible?!) and an infant in tow. Definitely signing up for a few weeks at Antietam Rec, and I might have talked him into a few Kids on Campus classes at FCC and a performing arts camp, too! I can’t wait to take the whole motley crew out for lots of fun adventures, but this momma is going to need some breaks for sure because sanity.

Is anyone else already dreaming of spring and working on summer bucket lists? This cold weather has got to go! We are ready for bike riding and picnic lunches at the lake and not freezing to death when we walk outside.

Stay warm, friends!

Five Things to Love: For Izzy

Six Things to Love_ For My Izzy Girl

One // Two // Three // Four // Five

Ok, it’s official- buying things for girls is twenty zillion times more fun than buying things for boys. Sharing a few of my favorites (so far!) with all of the other girl mommas out there and trying not to buy all of the things 🙂

1 // This was the very first thing I bought, literally within hours of finding out we were having a girl. It’s a (huge) swaddle blanket from Clementine Kids, and it’s going to be perfect for snuggling a spring babe!

2 // These swaddles are from Little Unicorn and I’m in love. This particular set is only available on their web site, but they have a lot of other things (like these bandana bibs) at Target.

3 // This ballerina pillow from Pillowfort is something I spotted to coordinate with the nursery I’m planning for Izzy, which is hopefully going to look something like this!

4 // These. Books. I’ve been dying to get my hands on these! There are plenty of titles for boys, but A Little Princess? My heart, you guys. And they will look gorgeous on her bookshelves!

5 // I found this little bow shop via a photographer I follow on Instagram. How sweet are they?! There are a ton of shops on Etsy I’ve favorited recently, too, but I’m trying to pace myself 🙂

Happy weekend!

Six Things to Love

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My rookie style board creating abilities aside, how amazing are all of these things?! Sharing them with you because back to school shopping doesn’t have to be just for the little people in your life 😉

1 // The shirt that’s pictured was a Marshalls find (in a gorgeous green-gray) that I can’t find anywhere online SO here’s a link to something similar! I could- and probably will, sorry in advance- wear it every day because it’s that comfortable. If you live local to me, head over to Marshalls and grab one before I buy them all (literally).

2 // How perfect is this scarf? It’s lightweight and a fun pop of color in my otherwise neutral wardrobe. It’s especially perfect if you, like me, are in denial that summer is basically over. On sale at Old Navy!

3 // These rose gold studs are a great way to dress up any outfit without being over the top. LC Lauren Conrad at Kohls for $10, but don’t pay that because I’m sure you can snag at least 20% off if you head over to RetailMeNot 😉

4 // I love a good light pink neutral nail color, but always seem to buy shades that either err on the side of Barbie or her great-great-grandmother. This one was a win! Do a quick Google search to see it actually on (which is what I did in Target) and you’ll see it’s amazing and totally worth the $10.

5 // TOMS. Why am I so late to this party?! I have always loathed buying shoes of any kind with the exception of sandals. I can never find a style I like, they’re uncomfortable, etc. etc. And then I ordered these shoesIt is taking everything inside me not to order them in multiple colors. Free shipping through midnight tomorrow, and 15% off if you’re a teacher or student!

6 // This. Bag. It’s been in my online shopping cart for a month and I’ve visited the page so many times that it pops up as an ad on literally every other web page I open. I haven’t taken the leap yet, but it’s coming! We let Landon splurge on his backpack in exchange for chores around the house.. maybe I can strike a similar deal?

I don’t shop for myself often, so when I do it’s pretty intentional! Each of the pieces I’m sharing fill some sort of a gap I noticed in what I already have. If you haven’t lately, it is so worth the time to take stock of what’s in your closet- donate the things that don’t fit or that you don’t actually wear. Put things on individual hangers so you can see what’s in there! It might sound silly or tedious but it’s definitely made a difference in how I shop for myself, and helps me not wear the same three outfits on rotation 🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

Easy Weeknight Dinners

via The Little Things
Actual footage of what I am not doing at 6PM on a Thursday. (via The Little Things)

By the time I made it through the torrential downpour last night and survived the drive home, it was pushing 6:30PM and I had exactly zero motivation to cook or clean or be vertical, really. Luckily, Mike already had the kids and the dinner situation under control (my hero, as always), but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes he’s working late or the kids are a tornado of crazy and before we know it, it’s way past dinnertime and we’re reaching for whatever we can pop in the microwave.

Because stress-eating Nutella does not count as a meal, I’ve had to put some work into a little endeavor I’d like to call, “Making Dinner That Doesn’t Include Hot Dogs or Chicken Nuggets After Sitting in Traffic for Approximately Two Hours.” Since that isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing title, we’ll just go with Easy Weeknight Dinners.

And they are! Pinky swear. They are also low-maintenance when it comes to ingredients- things you probably already have on your grocery list or in your pantry. Get yourself a sheet pan, though, because that’s where most of this is heading. My favorite is this one from Target 🙂

Sheet Pan Fajitas // This literally could not have been any easier. Chop up a couple peppers, two or three chicken breasts, and put it all on a sheet pan. Mix olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt and drizzle it on top. Bake for about 25 minutes, done and done! No hot dogs in sight.

Mini Meatloaves // I grabbed this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers (follow the link to check out her post about this and other weeknight meals!) and Landon gave it all the thumbs up. I’ve never actually made meatloaf before, probably a result of the time my dad made “porkloaf” and the whole idea of meat in loaf form lost its appeal- love ya, Dad 🙂. These little minis can be made in a cupcake pan! Just a handful of ingredients, low-prep, big hit.

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia // This is such a great, light, summertime meal! The lemon garlic butter makes the tilapia taste very Bonefish. Mike plated his so that he got a little asparagus, tomato, and tilapia in each bite and it was ah-mazing.

Chicken Fried Rice // This one is slightly more high-maintenance, but still something that can be thrown together in about thirty minutes! All you need are two cups of cooked white rice, frozen mixed vegetables, soy sauce, vegetable oil, two scrambled eggs, and chicken. Sometimes I grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home. If I have a little more time, I bread and fry the chicken instead- whatever works! Combine the rice and vegetables in a large skillet with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and soy sauce to taste, then add in everything else.

Tortellini and Breadsticks // This is probably the least earth-shattering of the recipes I’m sharing, mostly because it isn’t so much a recipe as it is boiling frozen pasta and heating up a jar of pasta sauce. However, when you’re crawling toward the weekend, it’s a great secret weapon. Add some Texas Toast breadsticks and a salad and no one would ever know the entire process of “cooking” this meal took all of ten minutes. You’re welcome 🙂

Sheet Pan Nachos and S’mores Dip // Ok, so these aren’t meals. We’re having some friends over this weekend though, and I’m looking forward to trying them out!

What are your go-to weeknight meals? I feel like I always end up with the same handful on rotation, so I’d love to get some new ideas! You know where to find me 🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!

 

Currently // 7.28.17

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1 // So excited to share some official branding for ETG! I fell off the face of the blogging planet for most of 2016 (new job, small children, unhealthy amounts of Netflix) and I’m realizing how much I need this space. And even if it’s just for me, investing in it feels like a kind of self-care that is so necessary when everything else is for everyone else.

Jamie Sebby is nothing short of a rockstar when it comes to hand lettering and custom design! This is the third time I’ve asked for her help with a project, and I am in love with the banner she created. Definitely check out her shop on Etsy!

2 // Living that commuter life for the next couple of weeks! I can’t say it’s something I would want to do every day, but I’ve figured out how to manage it with lots of iced coffee and low expectations. Yes, I’m talking about you, Friday Rush Hour.

The Coffee + Crumbs podcast is my go-to in the mornings, brought to you by the writers of The Magic of Motherhood, which I’ve already raved about all over social media. So good. Each episode is roughly the length of my drive, and it feels like I’m sitting in on a conversation with my best friends.

This recipe for breakfast-on-the-go gets all the thumbs up! I made a batch on Sunday night (with sausage instead of spinach) and they were good for four days. I have a solid hour of planning before the kids arrive, and having a real, non-donut breakfast after the drive in was a great way to get the day started.

Speaking of…

3 // Teaching a course called “Be a Scientist!” with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth! So far this week, we’ve explored chemistry, biology, forensics, genetics, and physiology. PHEW. It sounds very Ms. Frizzle but feels more like my brain is going to explode. The last time I had to know/care about the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells was ninth grade but ask me now! Forensics has been my favorite to teach so far overall, but the gross-factor of the digestive system model we made today might make it a close second 🙂

4 // Taking Landon shopping for school supplies and back-to-school clothes this weekend and I can’t even. Kindergarten? KINDERGARTEN. It’s happening. Pre-K graduation wasn’t all that long ago, and even in this short amount of time it’s crazy how he’s grown up. We’ve started reading chapter books at bedtime, he’s newly obsessed with playing video games, and he’s figuring out sarcasm and trying it on for size (and it’s hilarious). Who is this big kid???

Oshkosh is having a huge sale on all of the back-to-school essentials, so that’s where we’re heading! I’ll be the one crying over the baby clothes that are conveniently positioned right outside the dressing room while my five-year-old tries on jeans by himself 😦

5 // Leaving you with these words from Grace, Not Perfection in case you need to hear them, too.

We’re all looking for someone to give us permission to slow down- to be perfectly imperfect and uniquely different. So here it is. You have permission.

If we take care of ourselves the way we take care of everyone else, we’ll find all sorts of joy and be better for everyone we love.

PRAISE. HANDS. Right now that self-care looks like podcasts and breakfast-on-the-go and investing in this corner of the internet, but even those small things matter when we have to be so many things to so many people.

Happy weekend, everyone!