Friday, March 29, 2013

Bunny Eggs ... A Family Easter Tradition

Perhaps I should clarify . . . "Bunny Eggs ... MY Family Easter Tradition."

I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook earlier ... and the response was so surprising, I decided a blog post was in order!
No one seems to know what bunny eggs are!??
(Isn't it funny how you just assume everyone shares the same traditions?)

Easter mornings in my childhood were just as much fun as Christmas mornings . . . my sister and I would wake up early, pester our parents until they got out of bed, grab our baskets, and head out the door in our pajamas.  
We found the eggs that we had dyed the day before, but hidden along with those eggs were always the "mysterious" brown eggs, which my mom always said were bunny eggs!  

We absolutely, 100% believed the Easter Bunny had laid those eggs . . . and we thought they were the COOLEST thing!  Finding the bunny eggs was a BIG DEAL in our household.  

So . . . now that I have a kiddo old enough for egg hunts on Easter morning, you better believe the bunny eggs are happening!  

They are quite simple to make (and yes, I had to ask my mom what the secret was to making them brown!) -- just boil the eggs, as you usually would, but with onion skins in the water!

At the time I was making this batch of bunny eggs (and taking this picture with my phone), I had no idea I would be writing a blog post about it, so these pics are kind of pathetic . . .  but you get the idea!

I don't know if we're the only family hunting for "bunny eggs" on Easter morning . . . and it might be a silly tradition, but it's certainly a special tradition to me, and I can only assume my kids will feel the same way!

Happy Easter to all of you, whatever your traditions may be!  
He is Risen!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baby Essentials & Favorites!

Now that Max is 4 months old, I am finally getting around to showing you my baby "must haves" and favorite things!
**Notice I did not say anything about budget-friendly, most practical, or most popular ... these are simply MY favorite baby items! I know the graphic says 0-3 months .... but that's not to say these are ONLY used in those few months -- they're just the items I have loved the most SO FAR (and I'm sure I will continue enjoying most, if not all, of the products, for months to come!) This is not your typical list, but I like it -- and hope you will, too!**
Many of these items are fairly expensive -- and definitely not the "cheap" version ... but given this was my second go-round at the baby thing, I knew what I needed and what I did not need -- and therefore, saved money by not buying the non-essentials, but splurged on other things!

1. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets.  These are HUGE, especially in comparison to the other swaddling blankets you'll find in a store.  (My other favorites are the double-sided flannel ones made by my grandma!)
2. Aden + Anais "nibble" bibs.  All of the Aden + Anais products are a muslin fabric, which doesn't seem so soft at first -- but after washing - are SO soft and absorbent.  The more you wash these products, the softer they get!
3. Aden + Anais "dribble" burpy bibs.  If I had to pick one ULTIMATE favorite A + A product, these would be it.  They look like burp cloths, but are contoured to fit perfectly over your shoulder AND they have snaps, so they can be snapped right around baby's neck and used as a bib as well as a burp cloth!  Brilliant!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!!!
4. Little Giraffes blankets.  Lucy and Max both have the "luxe" SUPER-soft blankies ... but I found this one - the Dolce Knit Blanket - this time around for Max, and I love it even more than the luxe blankets! It's not only soft, but stretchy, so it works perfectly for wrapping up your little bundle!  

1. Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play.  These are a new product since Lucy was a baby ... and I'm not sure how I lived without it last time!  This is what Max slept in for the first three months - for naps and at night.  It folds SO easily, so it was super-simple to transport from one room to another.  Baby sleeping on an incline seemed to help him sleep better and longer and kept me from worrying so much about him choking!
2. BOB Revolution Stroller.  A great stroller is a MUST.  And if you are looking for JUST ONE stroller that will "do it all", I think the BOB Revolution is your best bet.  Yes, it's a little on the big side for strolling through the mall - but it's totally workable.  My runner friends all love it for running with their babes (I wouldn't know about that one!) ... and it is great on and off-road!  There are also adapters for just about every brand of infant car seat, so you can snap your infant carrier right in when baby is still tiny!
**If you can afford an "off-road" stroller AND a "mall-type stroller" ... then I HIGHLY recommend the newest member of the Uppababy family -- the Cruz.
I seriously LOVE this stroller. 
It's lightweight, extremely well-maneuvered, lays all the way flat to accommodate the smallest of babies, HUGE cargo basket (the biggest I've seen), and very easy to fold.  I also have an adapter that allows me to snap Max's infant seat right in so I don't have to wake him up to put him in the stroller! 
Yes, it's spendy.  
But in my opinion, totally worth it ... and if you're like me and take excellent care of your baby gear, you will be able to turn around and sell it in a few years for 3/4 of what you paid, anyway!  
(**The Cruz also has a scooter board that can be attached to the back for older siblings to ride along! FUN!)

3. Fisher-Price Swing.  Both of my babies have LOVED their swings.  This one is great because it can sway from side-to-side OR front-to-back.  (Oddly, Lucy loved side-to-side and Max loves front-to-back!)  It is Max's favorite sleeping spot (and was Lucy's, as well) - and though I try to only let him nap in it once a day, it is so nice to know he will have at least one nice, long nap a day - thanks to his swing!
4. Beco Butterfly.  I know baby wearing is VERY popular these days ... and I can tell you, now that I have two kids, I am finding it much more necessary and helpful!  I can put Lucy in the stroller (or the grocery cart) and wear Max ... or just use it for that fussy hour (right about the time I'm trying to make dinner every night).  The Beco is very similar to the very popular Ergo - but I prefer the Beco because baby is easily moved from front to back (when they get old enough to be on the back, of course!).  The Beco also comes in many more cute fabric options than the Ergo -- although I just have the chocolate one, pictured above.

1. Angel Dear Blankies. (Or lovies, as we call them.)  These can be purchased separately - or in this awesome three-pack.  Max lights up the second he sees his lovie ... and he sleeps with his face buried in it (and it's thin enough I don't need to worry about that!).  He LOVES it!  (FABULOUS gift, if you ask me!)
2. Romeo the Toad (by Lilliputiens).  Kinda a silly "must have" maybe, but I L-O-V-E this toy!  First of all, it is adorable.  Second, it is very well-made and with high-quality materials.  And finally ... Max totally digs it!  The mirror was the first thing he loved ... now he loves all of the little creatures that hide inside Romeo's mouth.  Again - it's not a cheap product.  But it's several toys, wrapped into one - and personally, I'd rather have one QUALITY toy laying around my house than five or six cheap toys that aren't going to last long!
3. MAM glow-in-the-dark pacifiers.  These things ROCK my SOCKS.  The fact that I can walk into Max's dark room in the middle of the night when he's crying for his binkie .... and actually FIND it WITHOUT TURNING ON THE LIGHTS is GENIUS!  (Okay, that's a lot of capitals, but seriously folks.  So. Darn. Smart!)
4. Twilight Turtle (or Ladybug) by Cloud B - or the Dream Lites work, too!  These things have been a total lifesaver for us.  We started using Lucy's Ladybug when she was just days old.  During night feedings, rather than turning on a light or lamp (and waking her up more than necessary), I would just turn on the stars!  It gives just enough light to be able to see what you're doing - yet it's not too bright!  And babies love to stare at those stars from the get-go! (At least mine did!)  Lucy (4+ years later) still INSISTS on going to sleep under the stars. :-)

1. Baby Gap jammies.  Why Gap?  Well .... let me tell you.  
And show you:
See that GOLD snap? (pardon my scary fingers)
On Gap's baby clothes . . . the very middle snap on the top and the bottom is GOLD.  (The rest are silver.)  And let's be honest, moms . . . how many times have you snapped those suckers up and ended up with an extra snap in the wrong spot!?  Ugh!  So frustrating!
With Gap's baby clothes, this problem is solved!  Love it!
2. No Rinse Wash.  Okay, call me lazy . . . but I just don't wanna give my baby a bath EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.  And quite frankly, they say it's not great for their skin, anyway.
Especially in the first week or two - before the umbilical stump has fallen off and you can't submerge them in water, anyway - this No Rinse Wash is AWESOME.
It's just a bubbly foam that you rub on the skin, then wipe away with a dry towel! Easy-peasy. : )~
3. Robeez kick-proof socks.  I know I'm brand-name dropping again, but ya gotta go with what works, people.
And Robeez socks STAY ON BABY FEET!!!  It's a big deal.  Trust me.  I had at least a half-dozen other brands . . . they all fell off.  Maybe it's me.  But all I know is me, myself, and I like Robeez socks for baby feet!
4. Grass Drying Rack (and accessories) by Boon.  These came about right after I had Lucy, so I missed out last time.  (Not this time around!)  I love it!  It's kinda funky to see a patch of grass sitting on your counter, but it's just cute and unique, and I love how it holds bottles, bottle parts, pump parts, and anything else you need for baby.  (*Note: It comes in two sizes.  I got the smaller size and wish I'd gotten the larger size!)

And my final favorite baby item?
A GREAT diaper bag that you LOVE . . .
This is my diaper bag.  The Organic Sashay Satchel in Daisy Dewdrops by Petunia Pickle Bottom.
Nope.  Not cheap.
But you know what?  I carry this thing around on my arm every. single. day.
It is not only functional -- with PLENTY of room for baby needs, snacks for Lucy, AND my wallet/keys/etc. -- but it's also fashionable and doesn't scream "DIAPER BAG!!!"  It's just a cute bag.
I seriously love this thing.  (AND I actually scored it on sale, so I paid around $90 ... worth every penny and more.)

That was exhausting.
I know my list is a little different from the "norm" -- but I hope maybe you'll find one or two (or more!) things you like, too!
(*And if I know you - and you're expecting a baby - you can be expecting some of these things for your showers! ... you can still pretend to be surprised : )~

Which of YOUR favorite baby items did I leave off my list? :-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Max = 4 Months!

Baby brother is growing up!
(I keep telling him he can stop doing that any time now ... )
I even had to move his monthly picture out of the big chair in his room . . . because he and the chalkboard just don't both fit in there very well anymore!  So ... to the floor we went.  (That's a safer place for him these days, anyway!: )~

This month seemed to bring lots of new tricks for Max.  :-)

His most exciting new trick is probably rolling . . . but Mama's favorite is giggling! :-)  
Makes my heart melt!

He gained almost two pounds since last month!  He seems SO big to me -- although, he's really only in the 50th percentile for weight, 65th percentile for height.  So technically, I guess he's not really that big.  Lucy was exactly 12 pounds and 24 inches at four months though, so Max is definitely much bigger than his sister was!  (Probably why he feels HUGE to me!)

One of the other big differences between them is how AcTiVe this little bugger is!  Everyone has told me their boys were much more active than their girls . . . now I understand!

Case in point:  when buying for Max's nursery, I chose not to buy a crib bumper.  Why?  Because I took Lucy's off to wash it once -- and never put it back on the crib!  She never got anywhere NEAR the rails of her crib!  I would lay her down at night . . . and that's exactly where I would find her the next morning.  No joke.  
So . . . as far as I was concerned, why spend the extra $100+ dollars on an item I didn't even need???
Crib bumpers are a waste of money!  

I stand corrected. 

Max has certainly proved to me WHY they invented crib bumpers.  
He is ALLLLL over the place.  
(And yes, I paid a visit to Pottery Barn Kids yesterday, so his crib is now adequately bumpered. : )~

We love to watch him scoot and roll around on the floor . . . and big sister is finding him more and more fun to "play" with every day, too.  

Just look at this cuteness!

He currently has his very first cold, so he's not super happy . . . but I did capture one little grin!

Hug the cow...
 ... or EAT the cow!

EVERYTHING is in his mouth these days.  I keep expecting to see a tooth, but it seems like the "teething" process is often a long one!  Lucy didn't get her first tooth until around 7 months, so if he follows in Sister's footsteps, we've got a ways to go!

The laundry basket is getting smaller, I think!? : )~

First 4 months!

Oh, how I love this little guy!
Yesterday was the anniversary of the day I discovered I was pregnant.  
Biggest and BEST shock of my life!
God is so good . . . and miracles DO happen!

Keep up with me on Facebook or Instagram!  Those seem to be the best places to find me these days! : )~

Friday, March 8, 2013

From Bi-Fold to Barn Doors - Max's Closet!

I showed you Max's nursery way back HERE -- and I mentioned then there was one last project I was hoping to complete in the room.
Well, it's finally done!
The barn doors on the closet . . .

This is what Max's closet doors looked like before:
Boring ol' bi-fold doors.
Because of the vintage farm theme in his room, I knew from the get-go I wanted barn doors on the closet -- but we had a couple of obstacles.
First, the sliding track and hardware for a "barn door" is EXPENSIVE.
And second, even if we were prepared to fork over the money for it, there wasn't room to slide the doors completely open because of the placement of the closet (very close to the door!).

So . . . my next suggestion was to make barn doors that would swing open (into the room).  But doors swinging into the room wasn't the best idea, either, as that would take up a lot of space (and the room isn't THAT big to begin with).

Finally, we decided on building bi-fold doors that - when closed - would look like barn doors!
Not my first choice . . . not my second choice . . . but the only choice that would actually WORK well in the room.
Gotta go with what works, peeps.  

I'm very fortunate to have a carpenter for an uncle -- and after a quick explanation of what I wanted, he was able to bring my vision to reality.  :-)

Here are the finished doors . . .

You can see, he added the thinner boards on top of the 2x4s to add the frame and X details . . .

We stained the doors with "Vintage Walnut" by Minwax . . .

Here is the end result:
(Because the doors are bi-fold, we had to place the handles closer to the middle than you would on a "regular" barn door.)
We just used the hinges from the old bi-fold doors . . . and yes, in a perfect world, I would have thought ahead and spray painted them black before attaching them. : )~
Oh well!  You can only see the WHITE hinges when the doors are open . . . and I highly doubt Max will care, anyway! :-)

I think the barn doors just add a little more character to the room and helped to complete the overall farm theme!

I added the barn pics into the initial nursery reveal post, also . . . if you missed it and want to see the rest of his room, click HERE!

Bottom line:  this is a very simple and affordable way to get the barn door look on a closet with existing bi-fold doors.  (Simple, if you have some basic carpentry skills -- or a carpenter in the family, that is! :)~

I love Max's room!  And I'm glad it's finally complete!
(Until I dream up another project . . . )