Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fear of the Belly Button

I know everyone has different fears about how pregnancy will affect their body.  My biggest fear: the belly button.  I thought one day it was going to make a "bing" sound and pop out like "turkey is done."  The very thought of it gave me the heebie jeebies.

Thankfully, there was no "turkey is done" moment, but it did gradually make its way out.  I tried to ignore it, but every time I got dressed it was hard to find outfits that would press it down.  Then, I found them!  SPANX has a maternity line

For the very few men that read this blog, you can put your tongues back in your mouth and stop drooling.  I know they are some super sexy drawers!  Come on, get focused now!

I know Spanx are typically for slimming and it sounds silly to use them when you are pregnant.  However, they had two great features:  flattening my belly button and providing stomach support.  I HIGHLY suggest investing in these ($32).  They really helped my maternity wardrobe last through my third trimester months at work. 

Keeping it Simple sidenote: Miss Oops Popper Stoppers makes pads for the belly button issue.

They seem like a good option if your outfit is not Spanx friendly. I did not use them, so I am not sure if you can see them through your clothes.  Please let me know if you gave these a try and if you liked them?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

$ave $ome $crilla: Mobile Madness

There are DIY mobiles everywhere!  My Babies R Us Mobile is looking pretty ugly after seeing all of these.  What a great way to add some flare to your nursery!

I stumbled upon a great post on Trashy Decor while researching this topic.  They put together a list of DIY mobiles (a couple of them pictured below). 

I have seen the butterfly mobile they reference copied multiple times.  The $60 Pottery Barn Mobile (no longer available) inspired many crafty moms to try and recreate it. 

Pottery Barn Kids

Pick your fave copycat mobile below and click on the links to see how they did it.  These may be more high maintenance than you are looking for, but if you enjoy crafts, these are definitely for you!

The Penny Parlor

Mama Tots (spent $8)
I love the 3rd one the best!  What a great idea to use a wreath base!

Please send in any of your own DIY nursery items!  Let me know if you try any of the above.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Evolution of Toys

It is really hard to know exactly when and how the different baby gear is used when you are standing in a baby store, so you register for it all!  Your house looks more like something out of Chuck E Cheese than a home (not sure if you have seen Chuck E Cheese in the news lately, but it certainly attracts some people you wouldn't want in or around your home). 

My mom made the comment when I was registering that so many of the baby products are more for the adults than the baby.  She was referring to this baby spa bath tub thing at the time. I have found her comment to be true about a lot of products out there. 

Through the different stages of L's infancy we found we had one go-to toy for each stage.  I wanted to share with you these toys over a series of posts.  There is no need to have more than one of these types of toys per stage.  The biggest thing in common with most toys is the musical part.  L really seemed to react when we played music.

Stage 1 - We used this before L could roll over, around 6 weeks - 4 months - Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Deluxe Musical Mobile Gym

There are so many different activity mats with themes.  They are very easy to move from room to room.  She loved hearing the music and watching the mobile, but have the replacement batteries ready to go because the mobile drains them quickly.  Here is L in action!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funny Friday: Baby Shower Etiquette

Some good advice:  Don't get too drunk at a baby shower.  This video is cleverly titled, "Drunk at a Baby Shower."  Can you say party for one?  I think her head might roll off!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

COUPON ALERT: 25% off entire purchase at The Loft

Start planning your maternity wardrobe for fall, shop now thru Sunday at the Loft and get 25% off your entire purchase.  No coupon  needed.

PS - I am so happy today because I not only get to meet one precious baby at lunch, but two!  Two of my great friends are at the same hospital and delivered 12 hours apart.  New friends for L!!!!

Happy Gifting

Growing up I took acting lessons at the local theatre.  I liked  being in plays and dressing up in costumes, but we weren't die hard about it.  My mom was never the Toddlers and Tiaras type.  She would take me to/from class, help me memorize lines at home, and watch my end of semester plays.  Pretty standard mom stuff voodoo dolls for the other kids or plots of revenge on the smother mothers back stage. 

Initially, I went to these classes because my sister (3 years older) did and I followed suit.  She always got the lead because she could not only act, but sing.  I honestly thought my voice sounded exactly like her.  I had all the confidence in the world at auditions.  I would belt out the song "Daisy" as loud as I could because louder meant better, right? WRONG!  I was horrible!  I could have definitely qualified for American Idol's worst auditions.  I was (and still am) completely tone deaf!  In my head, I sounded fabulous! 

My mom said it was always a difficult thing to tell my sister she got a part in the play, but I didn't.  Pretty big cop out by the theatre to call the house and make my mom do the dirty work, but show business is cut-throat, even at the local youth theatre in Fort Worth.  I cried many tears over these lost parts.  I recently found an apology note I typed (yes, using an actual typewriter) to my sister because I was mad she got the part and I didn't.

In case you are having trouble reading it (I can't see why), it says, "DAER SISTER, CONGRAGLASHANS IAM SO SORRY THAT I WAS SUCH A BRAT PLAESE FORGIVE ME PLEASE I HOPE YOU DO GOOD AS A SNO BUNNY LOVE J."  My mom hand wrote on the letter what had happened because I think she knew we would not be able to make heads or tails of this in the future: "Janann wrote to sister Nov 19, 1989 after sister got the part in Frosty the Snowman and she didn't."

I feel sorry for for the 7-year old me, well, for a lot of reasons.

  1. I clearly did not know how to spell or punctuate.
  2. I could not load the paper into the typewriter correctly.  
  3. For feeling such rejection at such a young age.  
In the long run, I think it was a good lesson to learn I wasn't talented in that department early before I demanded my entire family move to Hollywood to pursue my acting career.  (By the way, I am pretty sure my sister forgave me after receiving this note.  How could she not sympathize with her untalented, tone deaf sister who was clearly not the sharpest crayon in the box.  Plus, I am pretty sure the letter is stained with tear sad!!!)

I have mourned the loss of my acting career and accepted the fact this was left best for my sister.  Acting classes proved to be a very poor investment.  Unfortunately for me,  as I have gotten older, acting comes into play all the time.  Pretending to listen in class, acting like you know what you are talking about at your first job, and gift opening in front of a group are all things that require advanced acting skills and improv.  Not shocking given my acting background, but I am the all-time worst gift opener in crowds!  I can't fake that I like something.  For my baby shower, we displayed unwrapped gifts so I would not have to open them.  During our engagement, Special K and I didn't have any showers, only engagement parties with no gifts.  It gives me so much anxiety thinking about opening gifts in front of a crowd.  

I might be the world's worst gift receiver (and singer), but I am great at gift giving!  When I find the perfect gift for someone else, it truly makes me happy!  I would like to implement a new series today, Happy Gifting, to follow up on "Can You Improve a Classic?" post.  At this stage in life it is so hard to buy expensive gifts for all the different weddings, birthdays, showers, house warming, etc..., so I will periodically post unique baby gifts under $40, but with a higher perceived value (WOW!  I am pretty sure that sentence was not grammatically correct...I am afraid the 7 year old me is haunting the present day me for posting that letter).  I hope I give you the happiness of finding the perfect gift for the new baby in your life.

Today's gift:  A friend gave L a little Polo romper that I loved and hated the day when she grew out of it.  I did some research for a replacement and found out Ralph Lauren has a huge line of baby polos. 

All adorable, but this is no ordinary line!  It is called "Create Your Own Collection."  They let you customize the monogram.  You can choose between outfit style, outfit color, monogram (horse or initials), monogram color, and monogram style (if using initials).  Just a few examples below...

Monogramming makes gifts seem so much more personal.  The best news is this entire line is $35 or less including the customization!  Happy monogramming!  What do you think? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rain Drops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Before I start this post, a friend told me I need to give my husband a nick name instead of always calling him "my husband."  From now on, he will be Special K.  Hope he likes it!

L had her 9 month appointment yesterday. I found out some things that had me stuck on the verse of "My Favorite Things" that says, "When the dog bites, when the bees (or shots) sting."  Things I learned that I am not terribly excited about...
  1. Shots for L are harder to watch every appointment!  Along with pap smears and waxing, why have they not invented a better alternative!  
  2. L has to get a flu shot between now and her one year appointment...add another shot to the list...poor girl!
  3. L will get four shots at her year appointment plus a SECOND flu shot.  Happy 1st Birthday!
  4. It is recommended Special K and I have to get a flu shot (He may be finding this news out while reading this post because I haven't had the chance to tell him yet and I know he never misses a post...wink, wink)
  5. The law now states that L will be in a rear facing car sear until she is 2.  (Inserting registry tip here:  The investment of the rear facing mirror just got more valuable.  Definitely register for one mirror per car in your family.  It is great to be able to glance in the back seat to see what she is up to.  For instance, on the way home from the doctor, L had been very quiet in the back seat.  I glance in the rear view mirror and see she has taken her band-aid off and was chewing on it.  First of all, choking hazard.  Second of all, gross.   I reached back and pulled it out of her hands.  Crisis averted in about 15 seconds thanks to my handy mirror!)  I was really looking forward to turning her around in the car, so was disappointed when I learned it would be a year longer than I thought.

After hearing all of this, I needed to channel some Julie Andrews to help me think of some of my favorite things.

I needed more than raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens to take me out of negative town.  Julie pulled through for me!  I remembered something that made me happy! I enrolled L into a music class at TCU that starts today.  They offer them through their extended education classes.  I hear they are wonderful and it will be nice for L to be around other kids.  She has been cooped up in the house all summer with this heat.  She lights up every time she hears music and every time she sees another baby, so she will love every second of the class.  L can get her "Doe, Rae, Me" on!  I will let you know how it goes.  I thought her first day of college would come much later, but, TCU, here we come! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Danzo Baby

Thanks to Bradley, the Making Diapers Trendy contributor, for emailing me the Danzo Baby website!  She came across it and thought of Keeping it Simple.  They make the cutest, most functional diaper bags I have seen.  They average around $200-$300, so may be more than you are looking for, but I had to share.  You could easily get them monogrammed too!  Check out this awesome selection...

On top of the cute designs, you can customize the interior pockets!  You get 25 different pocket labels with your bag that you can change out to fit your needs (for example wipes, diapers, and ointments, etc...).  The inside labels serve as a checklist before you head out of the house!  Here is a peek at the inside of one of the bags...

Unfortunately for me, they are not currently sold in Texas stores.  Check out their locations to see if there is a store near you that sells these bags.  You can but them online through their website or on Amazon.

Which is your favorite?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Funny Friday: Get Your inner-Angelina Jolie On

Everyone has seem to have forgotten the days of Angelina and Billy Bob Thornton!  Remember when she wore a vial of his blood around her neck to honor him...

Guess what?!?!  You can honor your child in the same way.  Just what every mother wants...

For only $30, you get the following (description taken from Etsy):

"Tiny fetus in a glass bottle with a cork. Filled with reddish transparent placenta-like resin. (I feel like I have to add that this is NOT a real human fetus, I've got some questions about that.)  On a black, hemp cord with silver alligator clasps. Everything is sealed shut, so it won't fall apart when you wear it.  Measurements: Bottle is 1 1/2" long x 1/2" Wide (38mm x 11mm).  A very interesting and unique piece for sure!"

UMMM!  Gross!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Pump-a-thon is the perfect title for this post!  When I think about running a marathon (or actually think about my friends that have run marathons because I, most definitely, have not), I think about goal setting, commitment, time management, exhaustion, preparation and calorie burn. 

ALL of these things directly relate to pumping and going back to work.

WARNING:  I have given this warning before, but if nursing at all weirds you out.  Do not continue reading.

When I began nursing, I set a goal of 4-6 months.   I lasted 4.5…BARELY made the goal.  I am happy to share my experience…what I thought worked, what didn’t, and what I will do differently next time.  I touched on this briefly in my Liquid Gold and Billy Madison posts so please you those as a reference as well.


Things I did right:

  • I used the Medela pump and thought it was great.  No complaints.  If you are planning to go back to work, the manual pump just won’t cut it.  You must have the electric one.  To justify the price…it will cost less than you would have to spend on formula in the long run.  As a cost cutting suggestion, put the pump on your registry.  You will most likely not get it because it is expensive and is a pretty awkward gift to give.  BUT when you close out your registry at most places, you receive a discount.  Be sure to buy your pump at that time to take advantage.

  • You will need more than the 4 bottles that are included when you purchase a Medela Pump. 

  • Use the Micro Steam Bags to quickly clean your pump accessories.

·    Buy some freezer bags for storage.  They sell a few different kinds, but I used the Lansinoh ones. One of my friend’s husbands said they freaked him out when he opened their freezer and had to read “My Mommy’s Milk” every time.  I have to agree with him on that, but they did get the job done.

·    Be sure to get out your pump, figure out how it works and have it charged before you plan on using it for the first time.  It will be painful for you if you are not prepared and have to wait for the pump to charge.

·    A few helpful suggestions on how to start pumping that I read that rang true for me…wait an hour after the first morning feeding to work in the daily pump session because your production is typically lower in the afternoon.  (If you have not introduced the bottle to your baby yet, just pump once a day)  

What I did wrong:

·    I started pumping at 8 weeks periodically.  Next time, I will start around 6 weeks and make sure to do it daily.  I would do it randomly thinking I would have plenty stored up before I went back to work.  FALSE!

·    Try your best not to use the freezer supply before you return to work.  I was careless with them because, again, I thought storing up would be easy.

·    Store 2-3 ounces in each bag.  Once you thaw it out, you are not supposed to refreeze it and are forced to throw it out.  I made this mistake the first few bags by putting 4 ounces in a bag.  It took no time at all to thaw out 2 ounces at a time.  I would run the bags under warm water for a minute or so.  Ask your doctor about further suggestions on how best to thaw out frozen milk...for example, microwaving is not recommended because it creates hot pockets that could burst in your baby's mouth.

Please speak up with other suggestions if you made mistakes when stocking up.  Look for another post about what I did when the time came to head back to work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I love hosting showers for my friends, but I dread being on the initial email chains.  The reply alls get a little cumbersome.  Trying to select a date is overwhelming especially when there are lots of host-i (my plural version of hostess, just seems easier to say) .  Plus, the lead hostess ends up in an awkward position having to pick a date someone is unable to attend. 

I am about to give you a fabulous gift freeing you from said email chains and allowing the lead hostess to use the simple majority rules philosophy when selecting the date.  I was introduced to it a few weeks ago and it is my new love!  I give you DOODLE...

Doodle lets you easily set up polls to send to your fellow host-i to check the dates that work best for them.   I use it for all sorts of things...girls night out, trips, showers, meetings, etc...The administrator of the poll enters their own email address and Doodle sends them a link to share with the fellow host-i.  It takes at most two minutes to setup.  Everyone selects the dates they are available without having to open a Doodle account.  Best of all, it is a FREE service!  Here is an example of what your poll will end up looking like:

Free your inbox from the flooding of reply alls and use doodle!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Literal Cooking

Another great toddler recipe from Literal Cooking!  I never outgrew chicken nuggets, so this would be a good adult recipe at my house.

Off topic - I made her stuffed chicken poblanos last week.  They were AWESOME!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Flying My Freak Flag

Today I am flying my freak flag for you all...

My cat had a sex change operation.  It is true.  From the moment I got Simon, I knew he wanted to be a girl.  I kid!

Before you go off and call the crazy bus on me, let me explain.  Yes, my cat had a sex change operation.  No, he didn’t “want” to be a girl.  He had horrendous health problems as a kitten and the vet recommended this surgery to help ease his chronic blocked bladder that would ultimately kill him if it was not corrected.  A cut here, a snip there, and Simon was officially Simone.

Around the time he became a she, I was shopping for a cat carrier.  I was choosing between the only two options on the shelf…


I contemplated for a little while and decided since my cat was a girl now, I could buy the pink one.  I excitedly purchased it, loaded it in the car, drove home and showed it to my husband.  Oops!  He was NOT amused!  We had a bit of a disagreement that went something like this:

He said, “Our cat will not be a cross dresser.  Simone’s chromosomes are still male.  The pink carrier is just taking this whole thing too far.”  (Although I was getting a bit frustrated with his attitude about this, I thought it was pretty cute he was trying to hang on to Simone’s manhood)

I said, “Really?!?!  The actual amputation of the penis wasn’t taking it too far?”

He moved on with his argument, “I have to carry the carrier too and I don’t want it to be pink.”

Aha!  The real reason he was upset was surfacing!  Good thing this conversation happened.  Years later, when we were discussing the stroller for L, I recognized the fact he didn’t want to be strolling around town with a pink stroller.  I respected that and we went with a gender-neutral stroller. 

The color was the least of our worries when purchasing a stroller.  It is a BIG decision!  You really need to evaluate your lifestyle to figure out which one is best for you.  I will share with you what we did as an option, but I am not forcing it upon you.  Staying with my theme “Keeping it Simple,” we decided not to do a big travel system. 

We registered for the Bob jogging stroller and have been really pleased with it! 

It maneuvers smoothly and folds up in one easy step.  However, it is pretty heavy and bulky.  To solve this problem, we also got the Snap n Go for me to run quick errands and for air travel.  If you decide to get a Snap N' Go, make sure that the car seat you decide on fits into it.

I HIGHLY recommend both products.  We have been pleased with them and haven’t felt like we missed out by not having a travel system.

Other moms out here…what do you suggest? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Funny Friday: Failing You

I am totally failing you today!  I have not had time to research for today's Funny Friday.  Three things did make me laugh this week that I thought I would share...

#1...I got an email yesterday from the club where we are members that said...NO JOKE..."Due to the storm and Fecal Contamination, the pool will be close on Thursday."  Can you say TMI?  Using only "contamination" would have gotten the point across just fine or eliminating it all together.  The poor kid that did that will be scarred for life!

#2...This video you may have already seen, Boys will be Girls.  It is eerily dead on, but hilarious!

#3 A new blog, The Adventures of Lolo. 

I was so excited to have two shout outs this week on The Hub of the Hubbards and One Day at a Time.  Thank you Tessa and Emily!

Have a good weekend!!!  I hope to be back on my game next week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SALE ALERT: Gilt Groupe

Gilt is having a sale on maternity and nursing items featuring Boppy, Mayreau, and Elle Macpherson starting today at 11AM CST.  If you don't know about Gilt, you must join.  Maternity products are only a tiny part of their inventory, so check it out if you are prego or not.  They provide member-only shopping and it is free to join.  Here is a little blurb from their website:

Gilt Groupe provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels, at up to 60% off retail. Become a member and find something new every day for women, men, kids and home as well as exclusive local services and experiences, and one-of-a-kind travel packages. Sign in and see what inspires you today.

Their sales are first come first serve.  Be ready at 11am! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wonder Woman # 2

To continue my Wonder Woman series, I have asked my friend, Wynne, for her product recommendations for twins.

Wynne has 4 children (that's right, I said FOUR) under the age of 4 and makes it look like a breeze.  I am not sure where she found the time to email me this, but she did!  Her twins are her youngest and here is what she had to say...

Wynne says "I put the JJ Cole Body Support into the BOB (double) seats so I could walk with the babies when they were newborns. Tip: do that instead of adding the car seat adapter that has a 70 page instruction manual to install!"

Wynne says, "I just got a portable swing that folds into nothing for when we travel. This is key because if 1 baby wakes up in the night on vacation they will wake up the other one, solution = swing. We don't leave home without it." ***Keeping it Simple Side Note***  These run around $50-$65 and there are multiple different kinds.

Wynne says, "A friend gave me those little boppy seats and I love them!" (You know Keeping it Simple agrees with this one)

A general nursing tip from her for twins:  "Rent a pump from the hospital. It is so much stronger and faster and with twins you need every minute and every drop of milk you can get!"

Thank you so much for your input, Wynne!  You are the best!

***Keeping it Simple side note*** I read this great story about implementing Babywise (my fave) for twins that you multiple mom's might find useful. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Can you improve a classic?

Someone emailed a request to post my fave off-registry gifts L received.  I am more than happy to share and hopefully give you some unique, baby shower gift ideas. 

I still love all the books I grew up reading...The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Are You My Mother to name a couple.  I would consider these books classics since they have stood the test of time, but can you improve a classic?  This is not always easy and you could easily offend your original audience.  Just look at Saved by the Bell: The New Class.  They were never going to be as cool as the original gang!  Trying to replace Screech with Weasel, come on!

The powers that be have managed, however, to do a GREAT job improving these popular children's books.  They enhanced the reading experience without changing the storyline and pictures.  They now sell them complete with a stuffed animal character from the book.  I long for the day when L is cuddled up in my lap hugging her Caterpillar begging for me to read the The Very Hungry Caterpillar to her.

 The Goodnight Moon Gift Set comes as a prepackaged gift set for $11.55

Are you My Mother comes as a prepackaged gift set for $16.95

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Plush Toy comes as a prepackaged gift set for $11.55.

You could give one of these individually or even buy all three of them as a gift basket for a total of only $40.  I think the perceived value is way higher than that! 

Another way they have improved on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Pop-Up Book...How much fun!  My sister gave me one and I love it! 

I applaud all of these improvements on these classics.  Anything that can improve the reading experience for your child is a plus in my book (no pun intended)!

Also, please see this great post by my friend, KK, at Small Town Lovin on creating a reading space for your child.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Go to Girls

To echo what I said last week in "Sweet Mint Studio," decorating on a budget is not always easy!  A few girls from my neck of the woods keep a great catch-all blog, Go to Girls.  They post recipes, fashion tips, decorating ideas, and more.  I wanted to share a recent Go to Girls post that is a really inexpensive way to spruce up a nursery or any room for that matter!  I have seen these trellis screens on a few blogs and wanted to make sure you knew about them!  GENIUS!

Click here for more details.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...