What to Get a Mom to Be for Her Baby Shower?

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What to get a mom to be for her?

I don’t know about you but I am really big on handmade gifts or gifts that are helpful. So, when I got invited to my first baby shower since becoming a mom I wanted to make sure my gift would be helpful. I knew that this mom to be had lots of family who had made sure she was covered for baby essentials.  So, I wanted to make sure she had a few items that made all the difference to me. Which led to making a mom to be care box.

Making a care box

Once I decided to collect a few items for the mom to be and skip the traditional baby shower gift. I knew I wanted to add items that were useful.  So, I added the following “somethings”:

  1. Useful- an item that I used a lot once I was a new struggling mom.
  2. For self care- beauty, bath, an item that would make her feel good about herself.
  3. Sweey/cozy- who doesn’t need to feel cozy after baby is here.
  4. Helpful- an item that you wish you would’ve known about sooner.

Something Useful

Think of a gift that helped you get through those early days of being a mom.

For my something useful I went with this laundry backpack.  I was so sore after I gave birth and with our laundry on a different floor I couldn’t hold a basket against my tummy.  I found something similar to this on clearance when I was  postpartum and I LOVE IT!  It made getting laundry done so much easier.

Self care

At my baby shower a close friend made me a little hospital goodie bag of things to pack. It was a super sweet and useful gift and full of things I would’ve never thought of.

Two of those things were dry shampoo and face wipes. So, so simple but made me feel so human after delivery. These were my two self care items for this care box.

Just try and think of the thing that made you feel clean or fresh while at the hospital or when you got back home. What helped you feel “put together?” Include this as your self care item.

Sweet and cozy

This one was easy. What is something that would make your mom-to-be feel cozy or sweet? Maybe she likes a certain kind of chocolate or is she a coffee lover?

For my care box I got her a coffee mug that had a cute Mom saying on it. This is her first baby and I always love getting mugs that make me feel good when I read them. So this seemed fitting.

Helpful

Who doesn’t want something helpful as a first time mom? Think of an item you discovered or were introduced to when you were a new mom that you wish you knew about sooner.

My something useful was Mother’s Milk Tea. 

My friend wants to nurse and doesn’t have any moms around who have nurses so I wanted to include this tea.

This particular tea helped keep my supply up when my son and I were struggling with nursing. Such a simple gift but a game changer I wish I knew about before beginning my nursing journey.

Finishing touches

After I collected all my gifts I bought a super cute box that could be used after she opened the present and of course added a small hand written note explaining my gift.

There is something about personalized gift that always made me feel special and hopefully my friend I gifted this to felt that way. Small things can go a long way.

What would you include in your mom to be care box? Let me know in the comments.

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How to Go From Nursery to Toddler Room

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When we first put Killian’s nursery together we focused on simple pieces, that didn’t take up a lot of space. We also, only baby proofed what we thought he could reach as a baby.  Being a first time parent we didn’t realize how fast he would grow, learn to walk and even climb on things. Now that he is 14 months old he is in desperate need of a toddler room. This lead to the budget friendly update of his nursery to toddler room. With number two on the way I needed him to have his own space he could play in, safely. With a budget of only about $150 this is what we updated in his nursery to make a toddler room.

How to Go From a Nursery To a Toddler Room

The first step is to figure out what you are working with.  I am going to share before and after pictures of our nursery to show you what we updated.

Problem Areas

Take a good look at your nursery and try to imagine you are a toddler (I know that sounds absurd, but bear with me) and answer the following questions:

  • What can be climbed?
  • What can you reach?
  • Are there any cords, blinds, or outlets you can reach?
  • Can any furniture fall over on you?
  • Do you have a space for everything you need (toys, clothes, sleep, etc.)?

Once you identified the problems, make a short list of what you need to update in your nursery to make it a safe toddler room, safety hazards first!  I promise we will get to the fun, cute stuff in a second.

This was our list:

  1. Anchor the dresser to the wall.
  2. Cover outlets.
  3. Move humidifier, monitor and sound machine out of reach.
  4. Clear area under the window so there is no access to the windowsill.
  5. Remove the standing lamp and replace with something mounted.
  6. Make a space for toys that is age appropriate. 

Find Solutions

Many of our problem areas involved our son being able to reach and get to things he couldn’t as a ‘crawler.’  He could’t get behind his crib to the outlet there before, he couldn’t reach his dresser drawers, etc.  So, we set out to find solutions.

  • Furniture– I can’t stress this enough (at least in our case and in yours too I’m sure) our son is smart and strong! He can get into stuff so quickly and he is learning so quickly!  Furniture can fall over.  Especially tall furniture.  We ended up needing his dresser for baby 2 so he is getting my dresser which is a bit taller.  Mounting it to the wall was priority.  Accidents can happen so fast!  These furniture anchors are awesome and super easy to install.
  • Outlets– The next issue we had was outlets and more specifically cords.  When we put our son’s nursery together we used the traditional outlet covers for the outlets that were not being used. But since he can actually pull on things now we needed to toddler proof the cords that were plugged in so we invested in the outlet covers that kept him from the outlet AND plug.  Both of these items are great for making outlet safer and a great solution for this problem.

  • Moving “pluggable’ items out of reach– As you can see in the ‘before,’ photos there are a few items that have cords that he could reach and get into.  If you are having the same issue we opted to hang another small shelf to put things up he could reach.
  • Lighting– We needed to remove the standing lamp or mount it to the wall.  If you are like us and a have a standing lamp OR a normal lamp that could be pulled over, a wall light is a great option.  We bought one very similar to this one that is a cloud.  You can run the cord down the wall and pin it to the base board. The switch is right on the wall and there is nothing to be pulled over.
  • A space for everything This is not necessarily a safety issue unless you are working with a small space (like us).  I wanted to make it so there was an area for everything my son needed.  This also ensured I wasn’t falling over things 7 months pregnant. Which leads us to the FUN PART, DECORATING!

Decorating a Toddler Room

Our son is only 14 months but he is walking, climbing and is pretty mature for his age so I wanted to make an area where he could play independently.  (But he also isn’t old enough for a toddler bed necessarily so I won’t be covering that in this post.)

I had to move some furniture around to make a corner but here is the before and after of the corner we converted for a okay area.

Lots of these items came from IKEA because we have one so close to us but there are similar products you could buy online to make the same look.

When we started to pick pieces for his room I wanted the following:

  • inexpensive (remember we had a budget of $150)
  • compact (for his small room)
  • colorful
  • and items he could use independently

For the decorating, which took place mostly in this corner we picked the following items (the links are similar items to what we bought):

Finished Product

We managed to stay on budget with a grand total of just under $110 after tax!

Here is what the after looked like for our little guy!

This is how we went from a nursery to toddler room on a budget.  What did you need to change in your babies room to make it toddler appropriate? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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I Want to Make My Baby’s Food, Now What?

I Want to Make My Baby's Food, Now What?

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After I weaned my son from nursing at 6 months old I was feeling a bit guilty.  I knew he would be starting solids now and I wanted to give him the best food I could find.  I was talking to my cousin about the guilt I was feeling about weaning him and how I was nervous about starting solids.  While we were talking me explained she had felt the same way and to make her feel a little better she made her daughter’s food herself.  What?! I had never heard of people making their own baby food.  Every mom I had known or baby sat for before just bought food.

She then explained.  She bought simple produce, pureed the food and then stored it.  How simple is that?! So I started looking into what my son could have and when.  There. was. so. much information!  As a new mom everything seemed to be so confusing to me.

This is what I learned.

What You’ll Need

One of the best things about making your own baby food is if you have blender you’re set. When I started out I just used a blender and Ziploc baggies. This got the job done but I wanted to be able to store the food in a more organized fashion so I borrowed a Baby Bullet Blender set from my cousin.  If I would’ve known how much I loved making baby food  I would’ve registered for one of these amazing sets for my baby shower.

This set comes with everything you would need but you can make your own food without this set all you need is

  • something to puree food with (baby bullet, food processor, blender)
  • some containers to freeze food in ( ice trays, silicon freezing trays, Ziploc baggies)
  • fresh foods of your choice

How to Get Started

Here comes the over whelming part..getting started.  You have all your gear ready to go but now what?

Well, you have to decide what you are going to feed your baby.  I started my son on soils after I weaned him around 6 months but *I am not your doctor so make sure you check with them and see what is the best time for you to start your child on solids. Depending on how old your baby is will determine what you can make them.  I use this awesome chart from One Nerdy Momma 

Charts like this one will give you a basic outline of when most babies are ready for each food.  Once you have found what your baby should be trying for their age.. it’s easy peasy.

Making the Menu

There are a ton of ways that I have seen this done but I am going to share how I make my menu.  If you have read my previous post, 5 Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Food then you know that I make my son’s food in bulk.  I take one day a month and make all the food he will need.  It’s quick, easy and I don’t have to think about what he will eat for the rest of the month.  But to get to that point I have to have a plan.

As a stay at home mom and a one pay check household we live on a budget so I try to buy foods that I can use in multiple recipes.  To pick what foods I am going to use I look at the list of foods my son has tried.  I then pick a few foods he’s enjoyed, one he hasn’t and I also pick a few new foods to try.  We follow the 4 day rule.  So, when we introduce a new food we wait at least 4 days until we introduce another new food.

Once we have picked our food I sit down and make a list of those foods and new combinations I can try.  This month I am using the list below to make his menu:

Fruits

  • Pineapple (new food)
  • Peaches
  • Apples

Veggies

  • Spinach (new food)
  • Sweet potatoes (food he LOVES)
  • Peas (food he doesn’t care for)

Protein 

  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey

Then I mix and match.  I do a few fruity flavors like pineapple-peach, some veggies options spinach and sweet potato and then I try to cross flavors such as sweet potato-peach.  Next, I add in proteins.  Any of these flavors can be mixed with turkey or chicken:

  • spinach, sweet potato, turkey
  • pineapple, peach, chicken

and so on… after you have made your menu you cook!

What’s Cookin’ ?

Making baby food is something I enjoy doing and it’s actually a lot of fun.  Once you have picked all your foods it’s time to cook some yummy, nutritious and natural food for your tiny human.

Cooking for your little one is pretty simple, you  basically cook down the veggies and some of the fruits until they are in a form where you can easily blend them.  For this particular menu I will boil down the peaches, apples, spinach, and sweet potatoes.  You can boil them separately or you can steam them all together if you’d like. I will normally boil like flavors together e.g. sweet potatoes and carrots or apples and peaches.

Cooking the meat can be tricky at first if you’re not a great cook like me… For chicken I will boil it in water and then make sure I temp it out until it’s at 165°  and for turkey I will bake it until the same temperature is achieved.

Once all the foods have been boiled, steamed and baked it’s blending time!

This is where you need to keep your little ones age and preference in mind.  Your child’s age will determine the texture you will want to blend each food at.  My son is 9 months so his food is thicker and has chunks of food in it for him to “chew.” If your little one is just starting out then a smooth thin texture is what you will want to have.  You can get that by adding the water you cooked your fruits and veggies in, to the food when you are blending.

Now that you have a bunch of pureed food it’s time to store it so you can easily grab food and go for the next month. Doesn’t that sounds AWESOME!?

Storing Homemade Baby Food

Things to know: baby food has a shelf life of 3-4 days in the refrigerator.  In the freezer about 3 months or so (unless your little one eats like mine, in which case it won’t make it that long).

This is how I do it. I take a little bit of everything and store three days worth of food in the fridge.  Then I take the rest and freeze it.  This is where you can use those awesome freezer trays, whether it is ice trays or silicon trays.  I personally use the baby bullet silicon trays.

They are easy to use.  I also really like them because the food freezes in the shape of the baby food containers I have, making grabbing food to go even easier.  I just freeze one batch at a time.  Once they are frozen I pop them out into baggies, label and date them.  I continue this until all the food I made it frozen.

But when I first started I didn’t have any of that and you might not either so I used Ziploc baggies.  I would store one meal in each bag and freeze them laying flat.  Whatever you have will work.

And There You Have It

Easy Peasy right?!  Just buy fresh produce and meat, boil down, blend, freeze, store and enjoy!  That’s it!  I never would have thought about this if my cousin hadn’t told me about it. I am so glad I did this for my son and myself there are so many benefits but the best one is knowing what my son is eating.

Lots of Love,

Lena

*I am not a doctor please consult with your pediatrician before making any decisions on what foods to feed your child and when.

* Big shout out to Jodi for introducing me to making my own baby food 💛💛💛

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