Baby Registry Favorites

Now that Declan is almost 6 months new (seriously, whoa) I’ve had plenty of time to put to use all the items I registered for.  Here’s a roundup of products we’ve gotten a lot of use out of these past few months:

Stick Girl JAM Baby Registry Favorites 1

 

1. Aden+Anais swaddling blankets are on everyone’s list and for good reason too. They’re soft from the get go and large enough to make swaddling simple. Yes, they’re expensive blankets. Get them anyway. Sevenly sometimes has them in stock, which is neat because $7 from your purchase will benefit a worthy cause.

2. Puj Tub — What a great design! Folds flat for easy storage, has magnets so it can stay hidden propped up between a shower curtain and liner (sneaky!) or if you prefer, it’s got a hole to be hung by a hook on the wall, and it conforms shape inside a sink to cushion your little babe for bath time.  Declan has now outgrown this but we used it exclusively for bath time up until a few weeks ago. If you have a larger sink, you’ll get longer use out of it. Now we sometimes use it underneath our knees as a cushion while we bathe him in the tub in this Primo EuroBath.

3. Even if you plan on breastfeeding, sometimes you need to give your babe a bottle. This was definitely the case for us and we were happy we had some on hand in advance. A lot of people like the convenience of the Playtex drop-ins but it also means you have to keep buying the drop-in liners since they’re a one-time use and throw away type of deal. Like the k-cups of the baby bottle world, if you will. We use Born Free glass bottles and really like them and we also have a few Dr. Brown’s plastic since we didn’t know if our daycare provider would allow for glass (she does).  I also still really love these Lifefactory glass bottles that can transition to a sippy cup top, but keep in mind that glass is heavier for littles to handle (hence the silicone sleeve to protect if dropped).

4. Wubbanub. It’s so fun to say. And a clever little thing too. It’s a small little stuffed animal attached to a soothie pacifier, which helps little ones hold on to it so you’re not constantly fishing it off the floor or the creases of the car seat. 

5. Zippered Wet Bag. This is one of those items I didn’t register for but purchased for my diaper bag after he was born so we could put dirty diapers and soiled clothes in it while on-the-go.  It’s either this or buy dog poop bags and keep a roll in your diaper bag and car. (But note that if you buy the ones specifically marketed as disposable dirty diaper baggies, they’re like 5 times more expensive than dog poop bags. You’re welcome. Check out Arm & Hammer, PoopBags.com (for real, that’s a legit website) or any generic brand.  If you’re like me and shop a lot on diapers.com/soap.com just click on the wag.com tab and buy them there and save yourself some money.) I have this wet bag and we love it. We also bought this multi-compartment wet bag for daycare so they could send home dirty clothes in a separate compartment than the clean ones.

 

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6. I have a pretty floral nursing cover, aptly titled (and embroidered on the cover for all to see) Hooter Hiders that stays in my diaper bag. I love it because it has a wire open top to allow some air flow for the little guy. I also adore the Dria Cover, which stays in my pumping bag for work.  I have the Oslo style, though they’re all quite lovely and I wore it multiple times while pregnant. In addition to allowing you to nurse discreetly, both do triple duty as a car seat cover or blanket (but the Dria is much softer and more breathable fabric).

7.  The NoseFrida. Yes, the snotsucker. I know, I know. Sounds gross but it works. And no, you don’t get boogers in your mouth. Promise. Plus, it’s oddly gratifying to see that you’re actually getting gunk out of your kid’s nose. Especially since they’re screaming and wailing all the while.

8. Alba Botanica Multi-Purpose Un-Petroleum Jelly has become a magic elixir in our house. We use it to combat the tiny red bumps and chapped skin Declan gets from all the drooling and hand-slobbering, and to prevent diaper rash.  Even Mumbles and I keep one on our bathroom sink to use for cuticles (if your nail beds suck), parched lips, and dry skin patches.

9. Speaking of snot, Declan’s full of it. Poor kid has had a rough time getting rid of congestion so we run this cool mist humidifier almost every night to keep the air moist so it’s easier for him to sleep soundly and breeeeeaaathe. The machine is very quiet but it does provide a bit of peaceful ambient noise.

10. A Sound Machine. The rule in our house is that baby doesn’t go to sleep without some noise going on.  Because, if he’s put to bed with total silence, the smallest thing like a spoon scraping the first glorious bite of ice cream out of the bowl will wake him up. Not cool, bro.  We’ve got the cute Sleep Sheep from Pottery Barn and it does the job well, though it automatically shuts off after a while. Baaaaaa!

11. Halo Sleep Sack. Since blankets in the crib are a no-no, a wearable blanket is a must. We actually learned about the Halo from a daycare center we interviewed and it’s worked out really well for us.  We might need to get a lighter fabric for summertime, but it helps keep Declan’s feet corralled so he’s not kicking and flailing in his sleep. His arms are another story, however.  We gave the Woombie a try but once he was done with the swaddle phase, he really wanted his arms free.  If you’re looking for a swaddle/straight-jacket experience for baby, give the Woombie a go.

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12. Dressing up your kid is probably one of the most fun parts but the honest side of having a newborn is that you get really sick of changing diapers and outfits two minutes after you got your wiggle worm into the last clean one.  Enter zippered pajamas, aka the best things ever invented.  The most superb ones zip closed from the neck down so in the middle of the night when your baby is all snugly and warm, you can just unzip from the foot to belly and get that diaper changed quick. Genius!

13. I don’t know about your baby, but Declan is a spitty kiddy. I never registered for bibs because I associated them with eating food, but Mumbles and I had quite the “aha!” moment when we realized he should be wearing them for the constant drool and aforementioned spit up. Luckily one of my girlfriends gifted us this one from Cotton On, which quickly became the one we reach for first because of it’s large square size.

14. If you’re doing daycare, a backpack or tote bag (with or without your kid’s name on it) is necessary. The bag will carry extra sets of clothes, pacifier, teething ring, burp cloth, socks, diaper cream, lotion, sunscreen, etc. and if it is big enough, would also carry a cooler with bottles for the day. Throw in an empty wet bag so nanny can put soiled clothes in the wet bag and keep everything else clean. Here’s how we do it: we have this cooler lunch tote from Kipling with Declan’s name on it (so the bottles don’t get mixed up), and a wet/dry bag which has two zippered pockets – one for soiled clothes that’s empty at the beginning of the day and another pocket where we put his clean outfits).

15. Burp Cloths. Sure, there’s lots of fancy ones out there and some of our friends and family even made us some really adorable ones. Buuuut, my favorite go-to burp cloths to keep on hand are old school ones like these Gerber cloth diapers. Super cheap, absorbent and big enough to actually catch projectile grossness coming out of your baby’s face and onto the clean shirt you just put on.

 

3 Things I could live without and notes on other items:

My one big baby splurge was this Graham Glider from West Elm. I love it. It’s in our living room. It’s beautiful.  That said, if I was tight on space, I could probably do without it. Declan’s nursery is quite large so we had room to keep our full daybed in there to act like a couch/sleeping space for nights when little man needs some extra cuddle time.  It’s the perfect spot to nurse and do story time for us.  Speaking of nursing, I don’t use the My Brest Friend as often as I should. I should. I really should. And, I’d recommend you use one or the Boppy…or something.  I’ve gotten in the habit of just propping up my arm with pillows but what I can tell you is that my posture is total crap now. And my neck hurts from hunching down.  Lastly, everyone said that I must get a wipe warmer and while it’s a nice spa-like luxury on baby’s bum, truth is, Declan could really care less. When we’re on-the-go or at Grammie’s house, he’s not getting warmed wipes and he is just as smiley so I don’t recommend that one unless you find that your baby absolutely hates being changed and you need something to make the experience more enjoyable.

More…

Of course there’s a zillion things I didn’t mention like video monitors, diapers, wipes, cribs, bedding, changing pads + covers, toys, books, diaper pails, baby carriers, car seats, strollers…geesh! Little babies need lots of stuff!  If you want to pour over more baby registry roundups (I read blog posts and product reviews for hours on end!), clear your afternoon schedule to check out some of my favorites from Lucie’s List, The Wise Baby, Young House Love, 100 Layer CakeletA Cup of JoBubby and Bean, Oh So Beautiful Paper, and Mint Arrow.

 

 

Mommy to Bee Baby Shower

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I have been dying to share this with you and what better time than now, right?  Have you ever really wanted to throw a party? Since my first pin on Pinterest, I’ve been pretty obsessed with bee-themed parties and last summer I was lucky enough to finally bring the idea to life in the form of a Mommy to Bee Baby Shower for my sister-in-law. I had so much fun finding decor and props, and my SIL’s best friend was a wonderful host with a beautiful home, which made planning and putting it all together quite a lovely affair. I think it’s such a sweet, playful theme with lots of details to incorporate like honey, honeycomb shapes, flowers, and beehives.  Perfect for spring or summer showers for brides or moms-to-be, and also a festive theme for birthday parties too!  Here are some insights from the day:

I found some great hive vases in various sizes and colors that tied in the theme with hexagon shapes on sale from west elm, along with this darling beehive cake stand.

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Hive Vases from West Elm

These cute honey pots and dippers were great props to use on tables and to hold yummy organic honey hard candies (I found them at Whole Foods, and they’re available online at Soap.com).

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Honeycomb botanical vase from west elm and honey pot and dipper from Williams-Sonoma filled with Go Naturals Organic Honey Candy

On the food front we had a nice salad bar with various types including pasta, Chinese chicken, green, fruit, and a wild rice to give guests options.

For the drinks, lemonade and individual pink and yellow bottles of Barefoot wine helped guests stay hydrated and happy.  I stumbled upon the mini wines at Rite Aid of all places, and I think BevMo! has great options for cute libations (like the individual Sofia sparkling wine cans that come with straws).

For dessert, beautiful bundt cakes in red velvet and pecan praline from our trusted favorite – Nothing Bundt Cakes – we’re a big hit. I tried the drizzle frosting on one of them to have a varying look to the dessert table and it was just as yummy in frosting-to-cake ratio, and the folks at the shop had the beautiful flowers already on the cakes when I went to pick them up so all I had to do was put them out!

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Nothing Bundt Cakes and the Beehive Cake Stand dome (10″ cakes do not fit under that dome; see smooshed frosting)

As a thank you to the lovely women who attended, bundles of flavored honey sticks were wrapped with burlap and a little note that read “thanks for being so sweet!”

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honey stick party favors

A wishes for baby book let guests leave messages for baby and mom, a sweet memento of the day, and during the party guests played a mom/baby animal name game which I’d never played before (and wasn’t very good at), and a guess how many game with Burt’s Bees products as prizes.

As a gift for the mommy-to-bee I made some little yellow pom poms and tied them to a basket filled with bath towels for baby, some onesies (including an adorable peacock one from the bodysuit line at Gap), Burt’s Bees products for mom, and a stack of thank you cards I made to go with the theme.

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Mommy to Bee gift basket

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handmade thank you cards

Check out my Baby Love and Party Themes & Ideas Boards on Pinterest for more celebration inspiration.

Is there a theme you are looking forward to using for a party?

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Vintage Circus Baby Shower

I am so excited to share this post with you. My fabulous friend Sarah and I threw a vintage circus themed baby shower for my beloved BFOTB (and henceforth I shall be known as BFOTBM: Best Friend of the Baby Mama – talk about a title promotion!). Sarah is probably the best co-hostess you could ever wish for because she is extremely thoughtful, resourceful and crafty (plus she comes with a handy carpenter husband too! be sure to check out her Pinterest page to see the impressive bean bag toss they made…themselves…from scratch. it was wonderful!) so this was a super fun celebration from brainstorming, buying, pinning, and setting up all the darling details. Here are some notes, sources, inspirations, and lessons learned.  As you can see, we had plenty of pinspiration on this one!

Invitations with a whimsical vintage font were ordered from Tiny Prints.  I should digress to say in a mortifyingly bonehead move, I forgot to include the time of the event on the invitation (gah!) but on a positive note, I’ve never received RSVP responses so quickly as guests needed to find out the time! Ha! Clever little trick, I’d say!  To add some layers of glam to the white invites, we ordered blush pink cardstock (on clearance!) from Paper Source and regal burgundy envelopes, each dusted with a gold stamp ink pad along the edges for some gilded charm.

BFOTB’s main request for the theme was centered around a pin she saw of cotton candy in martini glasses.  Sarah and I had a marvelous time perusing the aisles of local Goodwill stores where we found a three-tier cake stand for $9.95 (!) and I later scored a pristine set of 12 martini glasses for $10. (note: Sarah cleverly used this trick to get a dreamy pink seaglass look on the clear glass cake stands to fit with our theme). Here’s the kicker: cotton candy looks playful in martini glasses for all of 18 minutes on a hot day.  Minute 19 and they are a melted, small, sad looking glob of pink sugar.  Bust!  I’m not even including a photo because it just looks like a pink, sticky mess. So, take it from us, folks, leave the cotton candy indoors or, at the very least, get photos of it while it’s all cute and fluffy and fabulous before it melts the happy grin right of your aren’t-we-so-awesome-for-pulling-this-off-face.

In the battle of crepe paper v. ribbon, ribbon wins.  We had grand ambitions for a circus tent-like canopy of crepe paper, which would have been lovely indoors, however, the breeze (thankfully present on this hot day) was a little too swift for the crepe paper to sit still and look pretty. The ribbon, however, rose to the occasion, fluttering like a lovely dream above.

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Tickets are an easy, creative prop and would even make a great backdrop if you had a bunch of lines hanging down or draped haphazardly behind a dessert table (dang, wish I would have thought of that before!). I found large yellow and pink rolls at Smart & Final and Dollar Tree.

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I adored this impressive elephant Sarah bought at Toys R Us… it was on the pricey side, so we let him preside over the food. The gold bookends holding the nakins together were another fun find from Goodwill.

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Boxed white wine sangria from Target (it’s delish, promise) with frozen fruit slices to keep it cool, organic strawberry lemonade from Trader Joe’s, and the classy lady party staple: chillled water with fruit. The bottles of berry lemonade didn’t get opened but I thought they were cute enough to contribute to the decor.

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a parade of animal figurines from Party City freshly painted gold (spray paint would have been quicker but I had a great Martha Stewart gold paint left over from other projects). I also used a sponge brush to water down the gold paint and washed it over vintage looking old bottles to use as decor.

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The centerpiece consisted of a “Guess How Many?” game with tickets for guests to jot down their guesses, paper pinwheels and starbursts, terracotta pots Sarah brilliantly painted to look like a circus stage filled with peanuts and our animals on bamboo sticks, all on top of stripes of ribbon laid across the table.

The gold animal figurines were inspired by this pin.

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organic lollipops, saltwater taffy, circus cookies and animal crackers in matching round boxes were laid out for guests to snack and sample.

In our circle of friends, desserts sometimes constitute full meals so we didn’t skimp here. Our dessert spread included itty personal sized bundtinis in White Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet and Pecan Prailine from Nothing Bundt Cakes, homemade (by my Mama) cake balls, and Sarah used her Pinterest prowess to find this divine baked mini cannoli recipe (I’d recommend them to a friend).

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Sarah’s superhero husband made this amazing trellis for their wedding (I know, go ahead, take a moment to gush about that) and she created this super cute set up for an easy DIY photo booth, complete with props to make everyone smile!

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While it’s a darling way to present fruit, these sugar cones can’t fit much in the way of fruit.  But, that wasn’t a problem at our party, seeing as we had waaaayy too much food. (pinspiration found here)

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Another ingenius idea: individual veggie cups with dipping dressing at the bottom, made even more enticing by displaying them in a cupcake holder.  Too much goodness, I tell ya!

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The pennant flag banner was made from a stack of vintage pink scrapbooking paper, hot glued onto twine – quick and easy! – and even found a home in my work office for festive decor following the event.

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Check out the stunning view from Sarah’s in-law’s house (where she and her husband wed). It was such a fun and gorgeous setting for the shower!

Beautiful baby Harper Grace arrived a few days fashionably late (already fitting in with our crowd!) on August 26!  It was such a blessing to have a day to celebrate friendship and family, and shower our dear friend with love and joy before she arrived.