Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday {Last One for August}!

Happy Friday, y'all! Brandon has been traveling on business since Sunday and is finally heading home today, so this gal is not only thrilled for the weekend, but thrilled her husband is coming home soon! #allthepraisehandemojis 

I can't believe this is our last Friday post for August, so let's get to it! 

 
-ONE-
Have you entered my giveaway?! We adore this sweet, soft sleep sack from Swaddle Designs and I know those of you with littles will, too! Visit this post to learn how you can enter to win one of your own. 


-TWO-
For some reason, we can never eat our bananas fast enough before they start turning {even when I buy the greenest ones at Sam's!}, so when I saw that I had some over-ripe ones on the counter earlier this week, I knew it was the perfect time to make banana bread! I just used this super easy recipe and it was delicious. Totally not Whole 30 or Paleo approved, but I just couldn't let those bananas go to waste! ;)


-THREE-
The First Years was kind enough to send us a sample of their Breastflow Starter Set to try out on Knox! I was really excited to try it out {because let's be honest, it looked really darn cool}, and I was thankful when they told me that these bottles support every combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding. {Gotta love companies who don't discriminate against us formula feeding mamas!} And, it is designed to help reduce spit-up, gas and colic symptoms, so since Knox has reflux, I was really intrigued.


Although I didn't include both of each bottle in this picture, the sample they sent us included two 5oz. bottles with slow-flow nipples, two 9 oz. bottles with medium-flow nipples, a container for formula {or snacks, or whatever you want!}, four storage lids, and a full-size gentle bottle and nipple brush for cleaning.


I gave this a try with Knox after he woke up from a nap, and to say he was pleased with this bottle would be an understatement. Why? Because the nipples on these bottles allow the baby to use suction and compression, just like breastfeeding. The 2-in-1 silicone nipple works like the breast, letting babies instinctively control the flow of milk they're taking in.


You can actually see here how the outer nipple compresses as Knox is sucking, which is so neat! I did notice that he didn't spit up as much after taking this bottle vs. our other brand of bottles, so that was quite eye-opening. 


But I think my favorite part of this entire thing is that the bottle cover fits onto the bottle base as you're feeding! FINALLY SOMEONE THOUGHT OF THIS! There's nothing worse than feeding Knox when we're out and about, only to find the bottle cover has fallen on the floor, or has gone missing in the bottom of my diaper bag. This is such a handy and unique feature! 


The only thing that I had a little bit of trouble with was Knox sucking out the very last bits of formula from the bottle, as I found it got trapped between the 2-in-1 nipple and he couldn't get it out. But other than that, I was really pleased with this bottle and will definitely be purchasing more of the 9 oz. bottles {for future use in the next nine months} for myself! Want to purchase for yourself? The Breastflow Starter Set is available on Amazon right here
 
-FOUR-
Brandon and I started "Stranger Things" on Netflix last weekend, and we are hooked! I'm so glad he's coming home today so we can continue our binge. Are any of y'all watching? It's pretty creepy, and normally I don't like anything scary or sci-fi, but I'm actually quite into this one.  


-FIVE-
I swear, the Duchess of Cambridge can do no wrong! I absolutely adored her simple red LK Bennett dress and nude pumps she wore yesterday to a helpline center for young people in London. And if you follow Kensington Palace on Instagram {@kensingtonroyal}, they just started Instagram Stories yesterday! I love getting an up-close-and-personal look at William, Kate and Harry!

 

Linking up with:

April + the Five on Friday girls 

 
Andrea + the Friday Favorites girls 

 

 
Katie + the High Five for Friday girls 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thoughts for Thursday: My Favorite Sleep Sack + A Giveaway!!!

So we clearly love sleep in our house...especially when a new baby is involved. I've shared with y'all that we recently stopped swaddling Knox because he's a little Houdini and would just break his way out of every swaddle, no matter the brand. So it was perfect timing when SwaddleDesigns reached out to me about trying out one of their brand new Cotton Knit zzZipMe Sacks right as we were transitioning Knox from the swaddle. (As many of you know, experts and pediatricians recommend babies wear wearable blankets for sleeping as opposed to having a loose blanket in their crib.)


Y'all, I'm not just saying this because they asked me to review it; I'm being totally honest when I say that we LOVE THIS THING and you can totally tell that a mother invented it. I so wish I had it when Walker was a baby! 

What I love most about this sack is that it has a helpful two-way zipper to make those middle-of-the-night diaper changes quick and easy. And unlike other sleep sacks, there's no pesky "hook" at the top that you have to get on track in order to zip the sleep sack; this two-way zips down from the top when you're ready to put them in it, and zips up from the bottom (allowing you to just uncover their legs and bum) for diaper changes! How awesome is that?! No more completely undressing them and getting them cold when they need a change! And they have zipper covers covering the zipper for comfort, and also to keep the little ones from unzipping it. (Which is totally something my boys would do.) 

I also love that the company was founded by a RN, designer and mom of two. So not only is their founder well-respected in the medical community, I completely trust her designing safe, easy-to-use products with both babies and mamas in mind. 


SwaddleDesigns sent us their cotton knit zzZipMe Sack, which is made from soft and stretchy 100% cotton...and that is absolutely perfect for sleeping in Texas in the summer! But, they also have cotton flannel, cotton muslin, baby velvet and cozy fabrics in sizes 0-6 months (which we have), 6-12 months, and 12-18 months (in select styles). They're also available in four TOG ratings, a unit measurement of thermal resistance used to estimate warmth. The TOG ratings are: 2.2 (for a room temperature of 65-70*F); 1.5 (for a room temperature of 68-72*F); 0.7 (for a room temperature of 72-78*F) and 0.3 (for a room temperature of 76-80*F). Most medical experts recommend a sleep environment of 65-70*F.

So: here's the best part! SwaddleDesigns was sweet enough to let me give away one of their Cotton Knit zzZip Me Sacks {open to U.S. and Canada residents only}. In order to win, use the Rafflecopter tool below. I'll announce the winner next week. Good luck! 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with Annie and Natalie

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Second Baby Favorites (0-3 Months)

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: time to link up with Jenn and Jessi for "What's Hap-pinning Wednesday!" 

Now that I officially have a three-month old (and we are out of the super hard and very real "fourth trimester"), I thought I'd share what have been some of our favorite baby items for Knox these past three months. 

What I have learned having a second baby, however, is that you just don't need as much "stuff" as you think you do. (And don't get me started on the clothes! I was pulling bins down from the attic and was astounded at how many clothes I had for Walker -- and have for Knox -- that neither of them wore because there simply were too many! Why did I buy all of that?! Yikes! Tell me I'm not alone!) 

Anyway, here's what we have loved these last three months: 


one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight 

nine || ten || eleven || twelve 

-ONE-
Knox moved into his crib at three weeks when we started BabyWise, but we absolutely loved the Rock 'N' Play during those first three weeks! We didn't have this with Walker, so it was such a change from the traditional cradle (that was mine when I was a baby) that we used for him. I liked that it was so easy to use and could easily be moved around the house to use in a different room, and the vibration was a nice added touch -- too bad Knox hated that part! Ha! But seriously, if we were going to have another baby (which we're not!), I would totally use this again. 

-TWO-
I debated getting a double stroller, but we bit the bullet on this one right before Knox arrived and I have loved using it! Walker is most definitely all boy and likes to run from me any chance he gets, so I have to have him strapped in when we go most places. We have the Britax B-Safe infant car seat, and this clicks and straps in so easily. Granted, this double stroller is a beast (but most are, right?!) and takes up a lot of room in the back of my SUV, but it's definitely worth it. 

-THREE-
I mentioned recently that I'm not nursing anymore, so I'm glad that we were gifted with a new bottle warmer! We used this same bottle warmer with Walker, but ultimately tossed it because it just got nasty after using it for about 8 months (spills, leaks, etc.). We tried so many when Walker was a baby and found that so many models out there leaked! Ugh! Once we found this one, we didn't turn back and this is definitely a repeat use item! 

-FOUR-
These bottles have a ton of parts, but were great for Walker and have been great for Knox; they both had/have reflux and these really seem to help with that. 

-FIVE-
Also a repeat item from our first baby: Wubbanubs! Knox doesn't like the pacifier as much as Walker did (who was addicted until I snatched the paci away at one year and didn't look back), but he does like to have it when he sleeps. These pacifiers are the only ones my boys will take, despite trying many other brands, only to give them away or toss them because those picky guys didn't like them. 

-SIX-
Halo Swaddle Sleep Sacks are great! We tried many different brands of swaddles with Walker (who pretty much loved any of them because he loved being swaddled), but these swaddle sleep sacks are the only ones our little Houdini Knox can't escape from. (He hates the swaddle.) And stay tuned tomorrow for a post about our favorite non-swaddle sleep sacks...and there may or may not be a giveaway!!!

-SEVEN-
We had this tub with Walker and I loved it so much, I hung on to it for Knox! It fits perfectly in your bathroom sink with a simple fold and then hangs to dry to eliminate mold! It's easy to clean, babies don't slip and slide in it, and it allows us to have a practically two-minute bath with Knox, which is always nice after Walker, who would sit in the tub for an hour if we let him! Ha! 

-EIGHT-
Hands down, best "wrap" ever. I could never figure out those complicated wraps (I'm looking at you, Moby) and this one is the easiest ever. It slides over your head like a T-shirt, and then you just tuck baby into the little pockets. I only use it when I'm around the house and Knox is fussing when he should be sleeping, and it puts him to sleep like a charm. (So much so that he snores sometimes! Ha!) I would recommend this to any new mama! 

-NINE-
We had the Diaper Genie with Walker, and I got SO tired of paying for those Diaper Genie refill bags. They were highway robbery for things that held poop! So when my sweet blogging friend Aileen told me about the Ubi, we picked it up and love it! Of course, you can't get away from the smell of poo when you take out the diapers, but I love that this takes regular garbage bags instead of expensive bags. I buy the Glad OdorShield bags and it seems to help with the smell, too. 

-TEN-
I bought this from my friend Liz when Walker was a baby, and we love using it! It works perfectly for tummy time, and Knox also loves to lay on his back and watch the bright lights and see the mobile spinning, and hear the sounds and music. The "legs" come off so easily when you need to wash the mat, too. (Which is a huge win in my book. #cleanfreak) 

-ELEVEN-
These are the best swaddle blankets ever! You might remember a while back that SwaddleDesigns reached out to me to review their swaddle blankets, and I quickly fell in love with them. Since then, these are the blankets I go to when we're headed out somewhere and I need a little blanket on Knox's legs. Of course, it's still blazing here in Texas (and has been since about May), but when you're in the A/C, it can get chilly. So, I love these because they've been perfect for this Texas summer when you just need a thin blanket. I use these blankets for that, for tummy time when we're out and about, and yes, I've even used them to wipe spit-up when I can't find a burp rag quickly! Ha! 

-TWELVE-
Knox has some constipation issues, and I really like these for that. They do seem to help ease his pain and yes, even help him "go." They're odorless, tasteless (from what I can gather) and are easy to drop in his morning bottle. I highly recommend them! 


Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekending

Happy Monday, y'all! And Happy First Day of School to many North Texas students today! 

Let's get down to recapping our boring little weekend, shall we?

-FRIDAY-
I took Walker to a little play date in the morning, then came home and got a meal ready to take to my in-law's since my mother-in-law just had rotator cuff surgery. When Brandon got home for his summer half-day Friday, I took the meal over to them, and ran a few errands. Later, my brother drove up from Waco to finally meet Knox, and he stayed for a good portion of the evening just visiting, eating supper with us and playing with Walker.



-SATURDAY-
We braved the thunderstorms for a fun pancake breakfast on Saturday morning! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw how pumped Walker was to have chocolate chip pancakes and chocolate milk. ;)  



 Since it had been pouring here all week long, Walker hadn't gone outside to play, so Brandon threw a swimsuit and his rain boots on him and took him out to play in the backyard, which he did for nearly two hours! 

While they did that and Knox was napping, I did a major clean-out of the boys' dresser drawers and closets, packing away things that Walker has outgrown; giving away stuff that Knox has outgrown; and just getting things in order for fall. Even though I don't have kiddos in school five days a week, there is something about school starting that makes me just want to have everything organized!


In the afternoon, I ran some more errands in the pouring rain (child-free, woo hoo!) and then came home in time for us to grill out steaks for supper. Brandon and I started "Stranger Things" on Netflix when the boys were in bed and we are hooked! I totally didn't think I would be, but I'm actually really intrigued by it. 

-SUNDAY-
We went to church, where it was Promotion Sunday. Walker is in a new class where they do actual Sunday School-type activities now (as opposed to just playing in the nursery) and it's so cute to see him come out of his class with his little crafts and tell us, "I learn about Jesus, Mommy!" Precious! 

We then came home for a quick lunch of leftovers before we cleaned the house. (Seriously, stuff was everywhere!!!) After that, we just relaxed, and clearly Knox was a big fan of relaxing with Mommy on the couch. ;) 


We had a really low-key afternoon and evening, just enjoying seeing the sun for the first time in a whole week, and enjoying the fact that it's not 100+ degrees outside (and won't be for the foreseeable future)! 

I hope y'all had great weekends! 

Linking up with Biana for "Weekending"

 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday!

Happy Friday! 



-ONE-
We've had one of those weeks that dragged on during the day, yet I look up and it's now Friday. It was so mundane that I'm having trouble even coming up with five things to share with y'all today! I'm not joking when I say that today is the first day since Sunday I have on normal clothes {not workout gear} and actually put makeup on. So when I saw this on Pinterest, I died laughing: 


And all the mamas out there said, "Amen!" 

-TWO-
We were Santa was thinking about getting Walker one of the Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablets for Christmas, but I'm wondering if it's worth it. Any of y'all out there have experience with this little guy and can provide feedback? 



-THREE-
I was talking to a girlfriend earlier this week about Walmart Grocery Pickup {which I've shared with you my love of before}, and that led us into a discussion about ways in which we save money in our household. I will readily admit that I do splurge on some things, but I'm a stickler for saving money on others. Here are the money-saving apps/programs I use; do y'all use any of these? What am I missing out on?! Do share! 

+ Ebates: Money back just for shopping online! I mean, you're going to shop online anyway, so why not get a percentage back on your purchase? {click here for a referral code!} 

+ Top Cash Back: Same deal as Ebates, but it sometimes offers a higher percentage cash back at certain online retailers {click here for a referral code!} 

+ Walmart Grocery Pickup: I mean, it has saved my life since I've had our second kid. Order groceries online at your convenience, schedule a (free) pickup time, they load your groceries in the car without you having to get out, and you can't tip them. And did I mention you can buy wine, too!? I seriously can't grocery shop any other way! {Click here for $10 off your first order!}

+ Walmart Savings Catcher: This goes along with Walmart grocery pickup. Download the Walmart app on your smartphone. If you use the grocery pickup service, you'll get an email confirmation that you've picked up your groceries. At the very top next to "TC," you'll see a long number. Go to your app, click on "Savings Catcher," and type in the long number. Walmart will search around to see if any other retailers offered lower prices on any of the items in your cart, and if so, they'll put money into your Savings Catcher account! Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes as little as $.94 and sometimes I've gotten $6+ back! Pretty cool deal. 

+ Receipt Hog: Download the app on your smartphone and begin taking pictures of practically any hard copy receipt you have {grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, Nordstrom, etc.} and you'll be rewarded "coins" based on how much you spent. Once you get enough coins, you can cash out to your PayPal account or transfer it to a gift card from places like Amazon! I recently cashed out and got $30, which doesn't seem like a lot, but I got a couple of cute things from Old Navy's recent sale with it! 

+ Ibotta: Download the app on your smartphone and then start unlocking rebates on things you are planning to buy {or recently bought} at the grocery store. When you're ready, scan the barcodes of the corresponding items, take a picture of your receipt to submit it, and have the cash deposited in your Ibotta account. Like Receipt Hog, you can cash this out, too! {Use my referral code, 8uf4rg, and you can earn an extra $10!} 

+ RetailMeNot: Use online or via their app; it's various coupon codes and/or coupons for your favorite stores! Just search where you're shopping and if there are any available, they'll pop up. I've gotten anything from free shipping, to money or a percentage off my purchase, to even free items just by visiting them before I checkout. 

+ Cartwheel by Target, Kroger and Tom Thumb apps: I've downloaded all of these apps on my iPhone and I download coupons before I shop, and then let them scan the barcode associated with it for percentage off some of my products! 


-FOUR-
There is no point to this #4 today except to say that I'm writing and simultaneously daydreaming about our trip to Jamaica last summer. I'd like to go back now, kthanksbye. 


-FIVE-
School is starting in Texas for a lot of kiddos on Monday, so I wanted to write a brief little note to you teachers (and administrators, and school district employees, teachers' spouses, and school board members -- or school board members' spouses…and the list goes on and on…) just to say thank you

As a former school district employee myself -- and the daughter of a former middle school teacher and a current school board member -- I know you don't get thanked a lot. In fact, I know it's quite the opposite. You are torn in 7,001 different directions and are asked to be not only a teacher to most kids, but a parent to some, too. You work long hours, spend a lot of your own money on your classrooms, go to meeting after meeting and come home at night just zonked. So just know how much you're appreciated, loved and respected. If you're a teacher (or work in relation to a school in any way), would you comment on this post so I can pray for you? I just want to surround you in prayer this school year. 

And on the same vein, I also want to pray for you who are sending your littles off to the big world of school. Whether you're a mom sending your baby to their first day of Pre-K or their first day of high school, could you comment on this post so I can pray for you, too?


Linking up with:

April + the Five on Friday girls




Andrea + the Friday Favorites girls 


Katie + the High Five for Friday girls 

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thoughts for Thursday: Confession Time!

It's Thursday, so you know what that means: confession time! 

I confess: 

+ I haven't worn makeup all week and I'm starting to think I might need to get some on my face so I don't scare my poor husband. {Ha!} It's just been a long, rainy, nasty week here and we haven't really done anything worth wasting makeup on, so I just am telling myself that I'm giving my skin a break. ;) 

+ I don't know what I'm going to watch at night when the Olympics are over and my fall shows haven't started back up yet. I've really enjoyed watching them and having them on at night…and day…and pretty much 24/7. But can we discuss how I think it's totally unfair that these athletes are disqualified after one false start? I mean, their nerves have to be getting the best of them. Can we just call the IOC and ask that they get a two-false-start allowance?! 

+ I love Walker dearly, but I'm really ready for Mother's Day Out to start next month. Bless his heart, I think he's just had enough of me since his school let out in mid-May, and he just needs a change of scenery. This will be his first time going two days a week, and I must confess, I'm a little nervous about that, but I think it will be good for both of us. 

+ I received the OXO On 9 Cup Coffee Maker from Influenster, and it's probably the coolest, chicest coffee maker I've ever had in my life. I'm pretty darn obsessed with the thing. And I'm not going to lie that I'm kind of finding excuses to make a cup of coffee with this bad boy. {I received this coffee maker complimentary from Influenster, but all opinions are my own.}



+ As part of a thank-you for checking on his house while he was traveling recently, our neighbor brought Walker home a kite from Kitty Hawk, N.C. {And it's totally legit, too; not one of the dinky ones I would have bought from Target, ha!} Anyway, I cannot for the life of me get the song "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from "Mary Poppins" out of my head. I swear to y'all, it was in my dream the other night and I've been singing it nonstop practically all week. 

+ Speaking of dreams, I haven't really been able to turn my mind off at night and haven't been sleeping very soundly. So, I took a Unisom last night and crawled into bed at 8:30 p.m. Yes and amen. 

+ It has been really hard for me to accept that while I may almost be at my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is just not the same after having two babies. I always heard my mom and other women say this, but I totally believe it now. 

+ Yesterday I watched the most recent episode of "Real Housewives of Orange County," and I swear to you that Kelly Dodd has a serious anger management problem. And an alcohol problem. Yikes! Jenn and I texted as I was watching and we just couldn't get over her. Bravo, let's not bring her back next season, please! 

What are y'all confessing this week?

Linking up with Annie and Natalie

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: My Favorite Back-to-School Items

I know I say this every year, but even though I haven't had a first day of school since 2008, I still get giddy when I wander the school supply aisles at Target and see all of the school supply ads online. {Except when they put the stuff out in early July and I'm all, "Go home, Target. You're drunk.} 

Nothing excites me more in August than a new planner, some new pens and a fun lunchbox, along with scheduling the before-first-day-of-school haircuts and dentist, doctor and eye doctor appointments. And while Walker won't be in actual school yet, he will be starting two-day-a-week Mother's Day Out, and of course I had to scoop up a few new things for his first day next month! 

Here are some of my favorites for the littles in my life: 



one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven

eight || nine || ten 



Linking up with Jenn and Jessi