Amazon Fashion Find of the Week!

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll just say it – I have a serious shopping habit.😂 However, it has definitely taken a left turn in the last year. While I still love hitting the mall and outlets, my current situation (aka – mom life) has made me a habitual online shopper! While I am still loyal to my fav stores, I am a new convert to Amazon Fashion!

In my search for some on-trend, comfy, age-appropriate, casual outfits for the fall I was striking out in all my usual places. After hearing about Amazon Fashion and already being a “Prime” enthusiast, I had to try it. I spent several days combing through the Amazon Fashion pages, I was not having any luck. I came across pieces that look like this:

Yeaaaah, um no. That checks NONE of the boxes. However, in looking at the reviews it actually had some potential in the real life pics. I took the plunge and ordered it.

These cotton overalls were actually really cute and comfy (and not nearly as baggy as the pic)! I paired them with a white burnout t-shirt and my go-to Gigi Sandals. They are lightweight enough to start wearing now and you can easily throw on a long sleeved shirt or sweater as we move into Fall. This was such an easy piece and definitely “mom approved” – I could easily chase my toddlers and still feel somewhat pulled together.

This brand has some other really cute pieces, but I will say CHECK THE SIZING CHART! They are 1 to 2 sizes smaller than your normal size. Also, while they are Prime eligible, sometime when they are sold out, they will take 7 to 10 days to get to your house. I got mine in about 4 days.

I have definitely learned my lesson and am now scouring the “reviews” on Amazon Fashion to find cute pieces that look good IRL.

Happy Shopping!

Xx,

Lauren

(Affiliate links included)

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The People You See in the Airport and Other Entertaining Ways to Pass Time

At some time or another, we have waited at the airport, subway, for a bus or even just in the Starbucks or school pick up line. I think we can all agree that WAITING SUCKS! What is the first thing we do when we are presented with a wait (besides uttering four or five choice words)?? Pick up our phones, right?! We start scrolling though social media like a boss (you are MINE Snapchat filters!).  However, sometimes we are in areas with little to no (free) access to the internet – cue people-watching! During my last few kid-less flights (because we all know this isn’t happening when you are wrangling tiny people) I noticed a trend in the groups of people I saw in the airport. They might look a little different, but they all follow these general categories –

People You See in the Airport:
  1. Judgy old people – This is the couple or group of friends that finds something wrong with everyone around them: “those people are too loud”, “why so much luggage”, “that muffin top isn’t going to stay in those jeans for long”, “there are seats all around here [*there actually aren’t], why is this boy sitting right next to me”. Of course they are loud and everyone can hear them. Depending on your mood (and how close you are sitting to them) these people are some of the most entertaining ones.😜
  2. College/Grad students – They are always talking about how busy they are (HA! Get back to me in 10 years), what exams are studying for and what paper they have just written. They love talking about their coffee addiction and you’ll hear: “UUGGGHHH, I need a double espresso mocha latte…I haven’t had a coffee in hours”.☕
  3. Emo high schooler – This kid is wearing all black, has hair in their face and is scribbling in their journal or drawing some dark picture. 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️
  4. People with headphones – They like to pretend that headphones makes them or everyone else invisible, leaving them with no situational awareness. Someone needs you to move your giant bag so they can wheel grandma through the aisle? “Sorry, I neither see nor hear you.” (I have to admit that I am a recovering earbud wearer – they are basically an accessory in D.C.) 🎧
  5. Exhausted business travelers – These people get really irritated (somewhat like my toddler)  when anything delays their mission of getting home (*raises hand*).😴
  6. Over-packers – Its one thing to over-pack your checked luggage (it only harms your back and your wallet), but it is quite another to over-pack your carry on! There is always that girl – and I say girl because it’s 9 times out of 10 a girl – who has so much junk stuffed in her carry on and personal item, plus the 4 to 5 things she is holding, that you are praying that you don’t sit next to her on the plane, because you know that shiz is not going to fit under her seat and will most definitely be spilling into your personal space.👜 💼
  7. Food on the plane – Now I know that it is a necessity sometimes and anyone wearing a military uniform gets a pass on this one, but the people that bring STINKY FOOD on the plane…shame on you, just shame.🤢
  8. Overly friendly mid westerners – Ok, I know what you are thinking, don’t you live around the friendliest people ever? Yes, but while I appreciate courtesy and a friendly smile, I’m usually not looking to make a life long friend and bare my soul to the person sitting next to me on the plane. Sometimes people are interested in convo, sometimes they aren’t – check the body language, people.😂
  9. Over/Under dressed – Just recently I was on a flight with a guy in a full (and I mean full) Gucci get-up. It wasn’t gaudy and believe you me, I took note and appreciated e.v.e.r.y. piece. There are also always those people in their PJs. It’s a jungle out there.😎
  10. Family with kids – God have mercy on your souls. I know your pain but, have also already inserted my earplugs/headphones.🙏

Other Ways to Pass Time:
  1. Zulily – Do you all know about this site?? I think most people think babies when they think Zulily – but not so! You can get everything from Egyptian Cotton Sheets to Swimsuits (for the whole family to yoga mats and kitchen appliances.
  2. Shop It To Me – If you love bargain shopping but hate surfing the web 24/7, Shop It To Me does the work! It is a completely free, daily shopping update for the clothing, shoes and accessories you love. You pick your size and favorite brands, and Shop It To Me searches hundreds of online stores  to find your favorite items on sale in your size.
  3. Poshmark – This is an easy way to buy and sell your fashions! There are over two million sellers and millions of shoppers. I have sold and found tons of great items on this site. Use the code: LAUR_SAV to get $5 when you sign up!
  4. Virtual Library – I have recently rediscovered the awesomeness of my local library! There are tons of books that you can “check out” virtually and read them on your kindle/iPad/phone. If you live in Ohio, check www.clevenet.org. It has one of the most expansive virtual libraries.
  5. Ebates – The Ebates Cash Back Button gives you Cash Back while you shop! It even applies coupons automatically at checkout so you’ll always get the best deals. I was really skeptical of this at first. How does this work? Is there some type of bot that follows my purchases? What are they getting out of this? Well, I have to say, I have regularly been receiving checks since signing up! Sign up with my referral code and you will get $10 right off the bat: Ebates.
  6. Ted Talks – Want to learn about your sleeping disorder? Need some parenting advice? Want to know what it’s like to go undercover in North Korea? Plus tons of other interesting videos? Check out Ted Talks. They are some of the most interesting and inspiring videos of varying lengths.

What are your favorite ways to pass time??

Have a great vacation and here’s to all those entertaining co-travelers!🍹

Lauren

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Packing Hacks and Must Haves for Family Vacations

I have noticed that there are two camps when it comes to packing for vacation. Those who pack everything and the kitchen sink and those who try to take as few bags as possible. I generally fall into the first category. 🤪 This leaves John to try to juggle at least 4 or 5 bags while I wheel the kids through the airport. In this scenario, we usually (A) break down and pay one of the porters to help us, (B) John hurts himself (and is grumpy the rest of the day) or (C) we rent one of the carts (which you can never find where to put them when you are done).

If you’ve been following the blog this year, you know that one of my resolutions is to travel more. So far, I’ve been to the mountains of WV, NYC and now sunny Florida! After each trip, I vow to pack less. Besides the packing and lugging it through the airport, there’s the UNPACKING!😭  This trip I dove in and tried minimalist packing!!

As you all are probably aware, traveling with kids really makes you want to curl in the fetal position changes the game. So, one big caveat to this minimalist packing experience is that I knew that there were (easily accessible) laundry facilities at our condo. Here’s what my minimalist packing looked like for a 4 year old:

Here is what it looked like for my 1 year old:

All-in-all, I was super happy with the experience. It really did streamline our check-in (yay Southwest – and yes, I did sit next to the window; if anyone was getting sucked out it was going to be ME!) and we generally had everything we needed. Believe it or not, we didn’t even use everything we packed! While, I’m sure my over-packing days aren’t over, I am going to try my darnedest to pair down my packing. There really is something to be said for simplicity (especially when you will be spending the majority of the time in a bathing suit).

Just to clarify, the items above are just the clothes portion of the packing. After all of our travels with a baby, baby + toddler and two toddlers, here is my MUST HAVE non-clothing packing list (click on the pink links below to get a better look at the product described):

Pack ‘n Play – If you have a baby, this is the numero uno crucial item. We were lucky because one of my mom’s friends had a smaller pack ‘n play that she gave us after our son was born. This was awesome to take to grandmother’s house and also to travel with! If you can, find a smaller one than your large one with the bassinet and changing table, you will be glad you did. This Costco one is only $50! Not only is is smaller, but lighter! Your baby won’t know the difference and you can have a little peace of mind bringing your own. Another option is to use the one at your hotel or condo. I was weirded out by that with my oldest, but the poor second child has used the hotel’s several times, after a clorox drench wipe down.

Toddler Cot – This might sound weird, but we got this idea after seeing our kids sleep so well on the cots at school. Our kids were introduced to cots at 18 months (or earlier) at their “school” and there’s something about them having their own space. It’s smaller than a pack ‘n play and if you can get away with it, it’s less to pack (it can even fit in a suitcase)! This Regalo one took the cake. It comes with a case and a sheet  – win/win.

Car Seat Cover – We like the J.L. Childress brand for the car seat travel bag. It is durable, can be worn like a backpack and fits most car seats. It’s always a struggle to figure out what will be less of a hassle – taking car seats or renting them upon arrival. What we’ve found, is that if you are renting a car, rent the seats. If someone is picking you up at the airport, take your own. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a rental line after a tiring flight with cranky kids, when everyone just wants to get to the destination.

Umbrella Stroller – We love the UPPAbaby 2015 G-Lite Stroller. Anyone who knows my husband, knows that he researches like crazy to get the best deal. This stroller has proved to be great for ages 1 – 4 (we don’t have anyone older than that, ha). The best part about this stroller is that the shade has an extra extender part, that keeps the sun off the kids. I also love the mesh back and it has a strap so you can carry it over your shoulder. It is crazy lightweight and worth every penny. It made it across the Pacific Ocean and back and still looks brand new.

Stroller Cover – This gate check stroller cover has been super durable and it prevents parts from going missing or wear and tear to the stroller.

Sippy Cups – I seriously might have all the sippy/insulated cups ever created and sold in the U.S. market. When traveling, my fav and go-to is the CamelBak. I like these because they hold a lot of liquid, can clip to a stroller hook and the spout can fold down to be less exposed to whatever gross stuff it might come into contact with. The runner up is the Thermos Funtainer. This is a little heavier and not as convenient to hook to a stroller or backpack. However, the spout is completely covered and it does keep things cold/warm longer.

Sunscreen – Toddler tested, mother approved. My son tans really easily and we haven’t had a burn (knock on wood). My daughter is super fair, like her Dada, and I was pretty frantic about finding a non-toxic sunscreen to provide crazy coverage, without tons of re-application. Here’s what I found, Babyganics. We applied this once in the morning and once in the afternoon and girlfriend didn’t get pink! Hooray!

Bumpers – These hiccapop bumpers were recommended to me by a friend (thanks Brittany!) and whoa!! total GAME CHANGER. Forget lugging those bulky plastic or metal bed rails/guards around. These take up little space when rolled up and have treads that keep them in place under the fitted sheet. Not only are these great for traveling (*read – you don’t have to drag the toddler cot around all of the time*) but, they are also great when transitioning your toddler to a big bed. Buy them, you won’t regret it.

Packing Cubes – I can’t stop talking about these.  Here’s the latest review: packing cubes.

Things to NEVER forget (and might be best in a carry-on):

Blankie

Favorite Stuffed Animal

Sound Machine

Tablets/chargers

Snacks/drinks for take-off and landing

Time Savers

  • If you are going to be somewhere for a week consider ordering essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, baby food from Walmart and have it delivered to your room (2-day shipping 🙌 ). Amazon Prime works for this too!
  • Walmart has free grocery pickup in tons of locations now. You just order online and they will load your groceries for FREE! Here is a $10 coupon to try it: Walmart Grocery Pickup
  • Many grocery stores offer free shipping to your room/condo if you order over $50 (which is super easy with 4 people).
  • If you want to stay in one night and don’t want to cook, check with GrubHub or Seamless. These services deliver from tons of participating restaurants.
  • Look really strung out and desperate in the airport…lol. TSA usually has mercy on our souls and lets us through a shorter line.

Many of you have asked me for these tips, so I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any favorite products you can’t live without when traveling. I love hearing new ideas!

Happy Vacationing!

XOXO,
Lauren

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Ballin’ On A Budget

Our friend Tanner is back and with another hilarious guest post; this time he tells us about his favorite DIYs. Check out these super cute and totally affordable ways to up your decor game:

“Move into your own house”, they said. “You’ll love having a house- what a fun project!”, they said. Well, the cracked shower doors, weedy gutters and dead houseplants determined that was a lie. Moving into your first house is a big deal. Packing, moving, decorating- it’s all a huge adjustment that requires time, patience and a sense of humor. For one, everything you do is a new experience. If you would’ve told me five years ago that I would be using a laundromat and eating leftover hamburger helper, I would’ve laughed straight in your face. But here I am, on a first-name basis with the dry-cleaning lady and loving every minute of that pasta.

However, what they don’t tell you about living on your own is that sometimes you have to get a little creative with what you have. This is where I found one of my new favorite things- DIY projects. Everyone has their favorite sites to find these ideas, but I enjoy Pinterest and Buzzfeed the most! After a couple successes, many flops and few mental health breaks, I found some winners!

1. DIY Frosted Windows

Don’t get frustrated if the paste looks white on your windows, at first. The paste will dry clearly after a few hours. I love this DIY, because it provides adequate privacy on your windows and still lets the natural light in. Plus, the lace adds a great texture to the room to compliment the room’s dimensions.

Materials:

paint brush

water

cornstarch

lace material

It’s easiest to use lace to prevent air bubbles, but you could probably use any type of thin fabric. First, clean your window to remove any dust. Then cut your material to fit the window and iron it. After, mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water and dissolve in a cup and a half of boiling water. Stir until a thick paste is formed, then apply to the window with the paint brush. Once the window is covered in the paste, apply the material to the window. With the material on the window, apply another layer of the paste over the material. Brush the paste from the center to the edges and let dry.

 

2. Floating Bookshelves

This DIY is my absolute favorite, because this project totally gave my living room wall a facelift and I did the entire wall for under $20. These bookshelves are the first things my friends ask me about when they come over and the possibilities are endless with them, because they’re so easy to install- and so, so cheap.

Materials:

1 L-bracket per shelf you wish to make

3 screws that fit through the holes in the size of L-bracket you choose 1 drill driver

1 hardback book per shelf

1 command picture hanging strip per shelf

These directions are short and sweet. Lay the long side of the L-bracket against your wall and insert your screws through the holes of your L-bracket and into your wall. I would place at least two screws into each L-bracket to ensure stability.

Now it’s time to for the real magic. Take one, large hardback book and open the book where the back is swinging open. Place the book on the bracket horizontally, but leave the back hanging down. Pull out your command strip and stick one side to the bottom of the L-bracket and one side to the interior of the back of the book. This creates the illusion that the book is floating on the wall and you can stack more books on top, sit decorations on it or both!

I hope you love these projects as much as I do – Happy DIY-ing!

 

This would be a fun project to help unwind from the week or a group project with the kids.  Let us know how your DIYs turn out!

XOXO,

Lauren

Today’s guest contributor, Tanner Shepherd, currently resides in Ironton, Ohio with his two Airedale Terriers that outweigh him and remind him daily that he’s not ready for children. He is obsessed with coffee, romantic comedies and Hobby Lobby. 

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A Few of Saxby’s Favorite Things – Dog Products You’ll Love

Saxby is our first, our fur child.  She is my (un)registered emotional companion. She has gotten me through a bar exam, two pregnancies, numerous cooking disasters, and plenty of other highs and lows. If you are like me, one of the best parts of the day is coming home to a very very happy little animal who, seemingly, has been waiting by the door for you all day. Saxby is high energy and very athletic, so I have made it my mission to find toys and products that will stand up to this schnoodle, while not killing myself trying to entertain her.

In honor of her upcoming birthday in August (#5, I can’t believe it!) I’ve compiled a list of her favorite things and added in a few of my own.

 

The Kong

This has been one of our best investments.  Saxby has used this since she was a puppy. We put a teaspoon of peanut butter inside the Kong and stuck it in her crate when we were training her.  She always seemed happy to “go home” when it was time for us to go out or for her to go to sleep.  Now, she will chase and bite the Kong mercilessly. No cracks or wear to speak of!

 

Dingo Twist Sticks

These Dingo Twist Sticks have been a great treat for Saxby.  She loves them and they take a little while to eat, so it keeps her busy.  These especially come in handy when we have company and don’t want Saxby to jump or lick.  The Dingo Sticks will distract her enough to stop barking when the many Amazon boxes are delivered to our front door.

 

Racquetballs

This was an accidental find.  John and I like to play tennis and one winter, decided to try our hand at racquetball. After I crashed into the side of the court repeatedly and John got beaned in the back several times, we gave it up.  Our two attempts ended in a literal ROFL situation.  We got dirty looks by the veterans at the club in northern Virginia, and needless to say, we quit. Saxby reaped the benefit of this #epicfail. These balls are super durable and don’t get coated in the same amount of grime that a tennis ball does. We’ve only been through two cans of these balls in the last five years.  (The first three balls went missing over the fence…oops.)

 

Lean Treats

We got these from our vet’s office.  Saxby loves them and they are great for training.  We used these to get her to wipe her paws before she comes in the house, dance, sit, stay, lie down, and speak.  She used to be able to differentiate between her toys when she was a puppy.  These treats were crucial in having her bring us “Pinky”, “green rope”, and “bone”. (These toys have all gone by the wayside or are chewed up.)

 

Bubbles

This was also a coincidental find. My son loves bubbles. One evening, I was blowing bubbles for him and Saxby started chasing them too. Two-for-one! Entertainment for the kids and the dog – major win.

 

Harness

This is the first and only harness we’ve owned.  It is awesome. Not only does it prevent that horrible choking sound your pup makes when she pulls, but also evenly distributes her weight.  The Worthy Dog brand is top notch. I’ve made a few repairs, but it has been a good buy.

 

Doggy Bags

I got this set up at Marshalls, but have linked another option above.  This makes clean up after your pup easy.  No one likes another dog’s poo in their yard.  Don’t be that person; take a doggy bag.

 

Chew Toy

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law dog-sat during one of our vacations and Saxby confiscated their dog’s Nylabone. This particular one is great for very active chewers. There are little grooves on the sides of the white part which also help to keep teeth clean.

 

Brushes (Slicker and Comb)

We use the slicker comb (blue handled one) to go over Saxby first.  This gets out all of tangles and dead hair.  We then use the comb (yellow handle) to get more stubborn tangles and matted fur.  These are super effective and keep her looking well groomed.

 

MOVOFLEX

Saxby’s vet recommended these homeopathic supplement for joint discomfort.  Saxby is regularly contorting herself when jumping to catch balls, ropes, frisbees, etc. Also, she occasionally slips on our hardwood floors while chasing or being chased (by whom I’ll never tell). Our vet recommended this product and it has been awesome.  There are different formulas for small, medium or large dogs, so check with your vet before you use these.

 

 

Saxby and I hope you and your pups love these products and want to hear all about your favorite products!

XOXO,

Lauren

[Affiliate links included]

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My Nightly Routine – Skin Care Edition

Skin.  We all have it and at one time or another have abused it.  It has been burnt, bruised, cracked, peeled, flaky, dry, oily, you name it. While I have been guilty of all of these at times, I am a big proponent of loving your skin and taking care of it.

I grew up with a Korean mother, so my skin care regimen was set in stone, basically from birth. I have memories of my Harmony (aka Korean Grandmother) massaging my nine-year-old face with cleansers, masks, and creams.  (I don’t know why but she seemed to take pleasure in ripping masks off my face…all in love, of course).

I will tell you what I have been told by my family, if you want to avoid looking like this prematurely, read on:

Related image

 

Step 1: Remove your makeup

pre run1 (2)

(Post-run selfie)

FOR THE LOVE…do not skip this step, unless you want tiny wrinkles and lines under your eyes at the ripe old age of 30.

Feeling lazy? When I’m exhausted or generally not in the mood to mess around, I will use the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and Wipes. This does a pretty good job of wiping the day away.

Feeling ambitious?  I try to use the Queen Helene Professional Cleansing Cream, Triple Whipped at least twice a week.  Massage this all over your face and then gently wipe off with a tissue.

Face wipe (2)

 

Step 2: Wash your face with a cleanser

Feeling lazy? I use Cleansing Story, Natural Facial Deep Foam Cleansing – Aloe. I got mine at Marshalls). I pretty aggressively rub this on my skin, taking it easy around my eyes and then rinse off with warm water.

Feeling ambitious? One word, Clarisonic.  This is piece of equipment is transformative. My skin has never felt more exfoliated and bright.  I apply the Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser (which smells amazing) on the brush and use as directed.  This is great because it is rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about changing out batteries.

 

Step 3: Pat a skin softener on your face

softner

softner dime size

Feeling lazy? Clinique Clarifying Lotion.  I used this product for most of my high school years.  It’s a good product, if you are a skin care newbie.  If you need a little boost, see below.

Feeling ambitious? I use the Korean product, IOPE, Plant Stem Cell Softner, Skin Perfection.  This one bottle lasts me at least a year and is totally worth it.  I love it.

 

Step 4: Gently spread the skin serum on your face

serum

serum size

Feeling lazy? Skip this step.

Feeling ambitious? I use about a dime size amount of IOPE, Revitalizing Lifting Serum. I definitely see some lift and firmness with this product.

 

Step 5: Massage a cream on your face

after

Feeling lazy? Clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel. has been my go-to for years.

Feeling ambitious? Try IOPE Revitalizing Lifting Cream. I generally dot my face with the product and then smooth it all over. Ok, even in my early 30’s I want to fend off the early signs of sagging and dullness. This does the trick!

No matter your age, there is still time to get started on a routine that will keep your skin firm and bright.  While fillers and botox are always a fall-back option, this skin care routine will be much less expensive and way easier to keep up. You got this!

Let me know your favorite skin care products! I always love learning about new ones.

XOXO,

Lauren

[affiliate links included]

 

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18 Random Things You Don’t Know Until You Have Kids…

 

When you found out you were pregnant, you may have read up on all the latest information, talked to all your mom/dad friends and you may have even taken child care classes.  However, in my experience (with input from the Husband), there are just some things you can’t prepare for. In the words of the old MTV show Diary, “you think you know…but you have no idea”.

 

 

  1. When kids get a cough, they will sometimes cough until they throw up. This leaves you to run for water and scream, “don’t throw up!!” each time you hear a cough coming on.
  2. A runny nose is a nightmare when your child doesn’t know how to blow his/her nose.
  3. Stomach bugs + pull-ups = certain death
  4. Babies are able to defy gravity with their poo (aka bowel movement or BM).
  5. BM becomes common vernacular.
  6. Onsies can be taken off by pulling them over your baby’s head or more importantly in light of #4, down over the shoulders.
  7. Sometimes your 8 hour work day is the most relaxing part of the day.
  8. You will enjoy certain toys more than your kids do.
  9. Some babies don’t like baby food. It’s super fun trying to figure out what a person with no teeth and a sensitive tummy can eat.
  10. It is a privilege to mow the lawn.  Peace, sweet peace.
  11. Sometimes, NOTHING, even something they really really want, will motivate them to use the potty.
  12. A grocery store run, after school, with 2 kids, is a kamikaze suicide mission.
  13. You gain a supreme amount of appreciation for your dog. She doesn’t talk back or whine and generally obeys.
  14. You should include the following brands in you retirement portfolio: PROCTER & GAMBLE (Pampers) or Kimberly-Clark Brands (Huggies), Abbott Laboratories (Similac) or Mead Johnson & Company, LLC (Enfamil), Nestle (Gerber) and Baby Gap. The amount you (and every other parent) will spend buying products from these companies will certainly secure a plush retirement.
  15. You will have to choose between personal time and sleep.  (Lauren: sleep wins / John: personal time wins)
  16. Buy (at least) two of whatever comfort item your child has. Losing this item = no sleep for 3 weeks.
  17. Sprinklers are magic mood boosters for kids. (Tip: buy one from the home and garden section not the toy section.)
  18. Kisses and hugs from your child and the random “I wuv you momma/dada” will melt you and make you want to be a better parent.

Did I miss any?  Comment and let us know the surprising things you’ve learned since becoming a parent.

Don’t forget to share this post and subscribe to Glitter Jungle so you don’t miss out on our exciting new posts coming this summer!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Baby + Toddler – Five Things You Should Not Live Without

Nothing, literally nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of *insert your choice of expletive here* stuff that comes with a baby.  Now, instead of a semblance of order, I look around and see pairs of shoes my toddler has cast off after I carefully showed him (innumerable times) how to put them on and take them off (independence isn’t that important, why did I teach him to do that so soon? *crying emoji*), numerous bibs and burp cloths scattered around the house (now which ones are clean?), Paw Patrol pups, in various sizes, complete with the Paw Patroller, train tracks, cars and of course the dreaded Legos (primed and ready for stepping on in the middle of the night). As crazy as it is, with the exhaustion, panic and fury – these are the days!

So, how do I deal with it all?? Coffee, a glass of wine, copious amounts of chocolate? Yes, yes and yes. Here are a few other things that I’ve gathered, that I have found helpful:

The baskets:

I picked these up at Marshalls. They are a great catch-all for the toys scattered around your living room. Throw everything in the baskets, slide them under the coffee table and voila, you have a tidy room. The ones we have are awesome, but should I find myself in the market for more, I will make sure they have more ridged sides for easier sliding. We keep these in the living room and kids’ rooms. They also double as basketball hoops and make clean-up more fun.

Basket Options: 

Navy Lattice Basket / StorageWorks Bamboo Basket / Jute Basket / Sea Team Large Basket

The Sit-Me-Up:

These are relatively new on the market; my three year old didn’t have the pleasure. My friend turned me on to these after complaints that my arm was numb from holding the baby for so long. This product is so smartly designed.  It folds down and fits under the couch/coffee table/bed, so it takes up little to no space when stored.  I started using it when baby girl was two months old and she still enjoys it now at eight months old.  The attached toys are chewable, which is a huge plus.  While the Bumbo is helpful for babies with good head control, the Sit-Me-Up seems more comfortable and the baby will sit in it longer. Also, my babies have/had extremely chunky thighs, so they basically outgrew the Bumbo at four to five months old.

Sit-Me-Up

The Sound Machine:

Both of my kids fall asleep to the sound of the ocean each night.  This has been helpful for sleep training, traveling (sleeping in different beds) and drowning out sounds going on outside of their room (e.g. Mom and Dad’s Netflix marathons: “The IT Crowd”, “Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life”, “House of Cards”, “Goliath”, or “Stranger Things”). We also have a portable one, so when we travel, they hear the familiar ocean sounds and pass out. Our toddler has recently become “a little scared” about 100 times a night.  We’ve started cranking up the sound which lessens the number of creaks and sounds he hears inside and outside his room.

Green Sound Machine / ShusherPortable Sound Machine

 

The Amazon Kindle:

For the love.  If you don’t have one of these, drop what you are doing and buy one immediately. (I suppose if you have an iPad dedicated to the kid(s), that will suffice and you may resume your activities.) This has been an absolute lifesaver for us in the car, restaurants, church (shhh), airports, the mall and basically anytime we need some peace.  I cannot recommend this product more.

Kindle 7″ / Kindle 8″

Add ons:

Toddler-proof case: Green / Pink / Red / Blue

Headphones that won’t blow your kid’s ears out: Blue / Pink / Gray / Green

Apps: Two words – “Sago Mini”.  Any apps made by these people are amazing.

 

The Bath Whale:

I don’t know why I had to learn about these the hard way (bumps and bruises at bath time) but hopefully I can spare some of you the tears.  Not only is this thing cute, but it is so easy to slip on the bath spout (and difficult for your toddler/baby to get off) and has left the kids with bruise free foreheads and chins. Get one. It’s worth it.

I will be updating this list as items become “necessary” in our house. I’d love to hear what works for you and what you can’t live without.

XOXO

Lauren

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