Stuff we love: 6 months old

My baby was born half a year ago. What? Like, for real?

I blinked, and Samuel is 6 months old. He is the light of my life and is SO FUN. More on him in his upcoming 5 & 6 month update posts. (The 5 month one is written, just yet to be published. #betterlatethannever)

Today I want to talk about a few products we love to play with. These are things that I have chosen to talk about because they will keep him entertained for more than just a couple weeks. These are products/toys that will grow with him and be around for quite a while.

stuff we love

Dr. Seuss Board Books – These little books (4″ by 6″ or so) are great for sticking in the diaper bag for story time on the go. Or, for baby to hit repeatedly (Sammy… I’m looking at you!) or to open and close over and over again. Why should babies/toddlers/kiddos listen to Seuss?

“Repetition, rhythm and rhyme help children in crucial ways to process the speech they hear, and fine-tune the connections between auditory and language networks in the brain. Eventually kids use those networks to master phonological awareness, the ability to break spoken language into its component sounds. That is a critical gateway skill for reading.

The link between sound and reading has been getting intense attention from researchers such as Kenneth Pugh of Haskins Laboratories and Usha Goswami of Cambridge University. Studies have shown that how a child’s brain responds to sound on the first day of kindergarten correlates to how many words per minute that child will read in 4th grade. How fluently a child reads in 4th grade has everything to do with how well that child will be able to tackle more sophisticated tasks such as working through word problems in math and reading for evidence in science and social studies texts-the very skills being asked of American students in the new Common Core Standards.” Taken from this site.

Foam Floor Tiles – If you’ve got wood floors, or not-so soft-carpet, invest in foam floor tiles. While they aren’t the most fashionable piece of home decor, this extra layer of padding is awesome for baby as he learns to sit up, crawl, and walk. They can be cleaned easily (who likes scrubbing spit up out of carpet?) and are portable to an extent. You can find them nearly everywhere, in fact my mom got a great deal on them at Aldi for $15! And, I’ve seen them in a faux wood finish.

Bright Stars Finding Nemo Jumper – This is my answer to “where can I put you for 5 minutes while I poop?”.
One thing I love about this jumper is that it is different. I am sick of every baby toy being jungle themed! My guy loves these sea creatures and their exaggerated black and white eyes. He jumps like crazy in this thing, and since it is suspended he really gets some air time! Keep in mind, the supports do have 4 height settings and the weight limit is 25 pounds. The seat cover does come out and is washable. Oh, and the batteries last forever in the little toys. We accidentally leave them on more frequently than I’d like to admit.

Soft Stacking Blocks – We received these as a Christmas gift and my first thought is that they were boring. But, I’ve come to realize that “boring” is completely necessary when you have a big bin of electronic light up toys with an overwhelming amount of features, sounds, lights, and colors. Did you know… the ability to stack blocks is a baby milestone? At 6 months old, I am stacking these 3 or 4 high and letting little guy “crash” them down and knock them over. He hears us count and then goes in to knock them over. These also are helpful for teaching colors later on.

Silicone Teether – This cheap little teether is my guy’s fave. I bought one for my cousin’s baby and she loves it too. It is so much more flexible than other teethers and has little silicone bristles that I would compare to velcro. I don’t doubt that it feels good to chew on! This is called a “step 1” teether by the brand, but I’m not sure if that is a marketing ploy to make you think you need to buy the next step up as your baby grows. Something for you to decide for yourself!

Boppy Pillow – If you’re looking for a baby shower gift that the new mother and baby absolutely will need, it is the Boppy. No doubt about it. We had to have this while nursing for the first 2-3 months, but it quickly transitioned into a product that was more for baby than for momma. We used this to prop up baby during tummy time, and as “training wheels” for learning to sit on his own. We love this slipcover design particularly because of the grass made from ribbons. At 6 months old, babies love tags, and my guy plays with the design on his Boppy every night after nursing (if he isn’t asleep! 😉 )

Sit-to-Stand Walker – An awesome transition toy. Right now, we are using the “console” part of the toy on the floor during play time. The features, lights and sounds, are perfect for my 6 month old. As he becomes more mobile, we will snap the console into the walker and he can take his little farm on the go! I’m embarrassed to say that hubby and I have the songs this toy plays memorized quite well. We traveled with this toy 2 weeks ago, and while I was nervous about it being a little bit big to take with us, I was happy that we brought it along.


 

There you have it – a snapshot of stuff we love! I would love to hear about anything that was a lifesaver for you when baby was 7-9 months old. We’ll be there before I know it!

 

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Mid-week notes

What a dreary Wednesday it is in Missouri – it’s cold, windy, and pretty unbearable to be outside for any length of time. I’ve got a few thoughts floating around in my noggin’ that I thought I would blog about before it’s Friday and I don’t have time for a Five on Friday post.

Free Coffee February

Yep, you read that right! During the month of February, Chick-Fil-A has free coffee! Let me tell you, I had never had CFA breakfast before, but now that I’ve had a chicken breakfast burrito I am a changed woman. Their iced vanilla coffee is SO YUMMY. Sweet and delicious!

…and FREE!

6 month milestone

My sweet boy will be 6 months old on Friday. 6 months, can that even be true? We have known our little Sammy for half a year already. With the 6 month milestone comes another doctor appointment and (most likely) the go-ahead to start giving him pureed veggies and fruits.

Truthfully, I am nervous about how my milk supply will be effected. After all, he has been exclusively breastfeed and has not had a drop of anything other than my breastmilk. I know I shouldn’t stress because I have always produced & pumped WAY more milk while I’m at work than he drinks… but I am still nervous. I’m passionate about breastfeeding and proper nutrition for little ones – but that’s a post for another day!

Babyganics toy cleaner

I really like this stuff! I make a point to clean all of Sammy’s toys once a week and have loved this product since I bought it. It doesn’t have much of an odor, mists easily, and makes me feel good about him putting the toy right back into his mouth after I wipe it off.

As a self-proclaimed Clorox wipe addict, I am glad there is a plant-based safe cleaning option for baby toys. You wouldn’t want to chew on something that was wiped off with chemicals and has a strong smell, now would you?

Plus, it’s Amazon Prime eligible. About $8 for a 2 pack of normal-sized bottles.

Colourpop Cosmetics

My girl Melodie works at Sephora and gives makeup reviews on her Snapchat story. I love it! Recently she was raving about the Colourpop liquid lipsticks. I had heard of the brand before (because I love watching makeup videos on Youtube) and knew that I needed some new lip colors in my life!

I ordered a glossy nude “lippie stick”, a matte liquid lipstick, a neutral blush, and a super metallic eyeshadow. I know these will be blog post worthy when they come in. I’m expecting them mid-week next week! Can’t wait to share more.


 

Tonight we are having Mississippi Roast for dinner. I don’t know if I am more excited because it will be done when I walk in the door, or because it is so. darn. good. This time I am trying mild banana pepper rings instead of pepperocini peppers. The main reason for that change is because… I grabbed the wrong jar.

Sammy and I are hoping to stop by a friend’s house and drop off a gift for her little guy arriving in May/June. GAP Factory had a killer sale last week and I picked up some adorable gifts for my mommy-to-be friends. Let me tell you, this is the season for baby boys and I am thrilled for Sammy to have baby friends!

Here’s a photo of my guy taking a much-needed morning nap on the way to see his grandparents in Arkansas this weekend. I love riding in the back seat with him.

hodling hands

I could stare at you ALL DAY, Sammy.

Have a great rest of your week!

Andrea

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Five on Friday – For the Face

It’s FRI-YAY! This week has gone by surprisingly fast and I’m looking forward to a weekend with NO plans. Count ’em… zero! Not even Super Bowl plans! I like it that way.

Toward the end of last week, our little guy was hit with a stomach virus and I took a day off work to care for my baby. I loved every second of it. We snuggled, played, rested… it was perfect. On Saturday I managed to sneak out of the house for a couple hours to have my hair cut and colored and Sammy felt well enough to go to his grandparents so hubby and I could go on a dinner date. We had an early dinner at a local Italian restaurant and treated ourselves to an appetizer and wine. It was nice to talk, laugh, and relax… and shop for work shoes at JCP. #romantic We picked up little guy and got him as close as we could to his normal bedtime. At 10:30 p.m. the evil virus struck me and had me down for the next day. Man oh man, it was rough!

I fought through it and went to work Monday morning and have had a very productive week!


 

Let’s talk about this week’s Five on Friday, the Face edition. I’ve made a few new purchases (some unusual ones) for skincare/makeup lately and have a fave worth mentioning.

1. cleanser & make up remover

neutrogena fresh

This stuff is the bomb.com. My hands-down favorite cleanser to wash off my makeup each night before bed. Yes, even mascara and eyeliner! It has a creamy lather and takes off the fullest face of makeup with minimal work. I squirt half a pump into my wet hands and rub it onto my face and all my makeup comes right off. Does it sound too good  to be true?

Many cleansers leave my skin feeling tight and raw. Not this stuff! I do apply a moisturizer after using this stuff, but I am not in a rush to do so. (I’ve used some products that left my skin feeling so tight and dry that I couldn’t put on moisturizer fast enough!).

At $6ish bucks, this is a total bargain and something I will (and do) continue to repurchase.

2. yes, this is aftershave and yes, I put it on my face

I’m not crazy, I promise.

And no, I’m not shaving my face.

One of my besties works for Sephora and as you would expect, has an intense love of all-things-makeup. When she told me that she was wearing Nivea Aftershave as primer I could not believe her! Her skin looked greatly and she swore by the staying power.

So, next time I was at Walmart I searched the men’s shaving products for this little gem. It was about $6 so I thought, eh, if I hate it maybe Jeremy will like it.

Well, I love it. A pea to penny sized amount, rubbed into my palms and then evenly across my face is a god-send. This product keeps my makeup “stuck” to my face all day long. There is a man smell that comes along with it, but fades away after a minute or so. It’s nothing your coworkers will catch a whiff of.

It feels slightly tacky on the skin about 2 minutes after application. I apply my liquid concealer, liquid foundation, and then a little bit of powder and I am set for the day.

Try it. Trust me.

3. I never knew dark circles til I had a baby

I’ve always had dark circles, or rather dark pigmentation under my eyes, no matter how much sleep I get. However, since becoming a mother I can tell that they are only darker. No surprise there!

As far as concealer goes, I’ve been a fan of the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer for the past couple of years. It is affordable, easy to use, blends like a dream and doesn’t crease under the eye. Recently, I couldn’t find my shade at Walmart so I went searching for another brand,

I remembered reading rave reviews about Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer one of my favorite blogs and decided to give it a shot.

I’ve been wearing it in the shade ‘light’ and have been really happy with the results! It reminds me of the Kat Von D tattoo concealer I used to wear in college… when I thought my dark circles were a big deal 🙂

{I am now realizing I only have 3 face products to talk about… so… I’ll make an obvious transition from dark circles to coffee…}

4. liquid cinnamon rolls, please

Still haven’t fixed the damn Keurig, but my MIL is kind enough to prep their Keurig for me when I drop off Sammy in the mornings. I’ve been bringing along my travel mug and creamer and pouring in this absolutely delicious Cinnamon Roll flavored coffee. It’s one of those things that smells just as yummy as it tastes… mmm!

5. bachelor obsessed

How can you NOT be? My final 3: Lauren B., Jo Jo, Caila with Lauren B. as the winner!

After last Monday’s “to be continued”, I think Ben will warn Olivia to settle the heck down and will let her keep her rose. But, I don’t think she will be around much longer. I would love to hear your predictions!

…Oh, and thank goodness he sent Jubes packin’!

 

Happy Weekend!

Five on Friday

Whew, we made it to Friday. Am I the only one that felt like this week was a loooong one? I have been looking forward to the weekend since Wednesday. No reason in particular, just to spend time with our little family of three!

Here is a Five on Friday post, just a random collection of products I want…

1. Now taking blender recommendations!

Ninja® Professional Blender and Single Serve

Got a blender that you love? Tell me about it! Please!

I hate the blender we have. I’m pretty sure it was a hand-me-down (hey, nothing wrong with that) but it’s just the worst.

I’ve heard great things about Ninja blenders, but they are pricey. Is it worth it?

Hubby wants to do the smoothie thing… I’m thinking more along the lines of fresh daquiris, pina coladas, all that good boozy stuff! Speaking of booze, I had my first adult beverage in over a year on Christmas Eve. I treated myself to a Merry Christmas Scarlett – a simple frozen drink made with Southern Comfort and cranberry juice. Sweet, tart, and oh so delicious.

2. Shark Tank Obsessed

I love that dang show. Lately, they have been hitting it out the park with the kid/baby products.

When my little Sammy is toddler-age I plan to buy one of these ezpz silicone place mat/plate/bowls! How awesome does this look?

3. I see you 4 moms

… and I’m waiting on you to release that new high chair. I want it. Bad.

Gone are the days of day dreaming at my desk about spending the big bucks on purses, shoes, jeans… that ship has sailed. I’m drooling over baby products… especially their high chair design.

Colors

Magnets. This baby is all about magnets. The tray magnets on. Then, it comes with a bowl that stays on the tray with the magic of magnets. So simple. So genius.

I was a little worried about its cost ($299, ouch!) but after browsing the pages of BuyBuyBaby, I’m learning that the price isn’t crazy high compared to the other modern high chairs on the market. It comes with just one bowl, but you can buy the starter set of accessories (fork spoon, plate, bowl with lids for $39.99).

So, I’m asking the mommas out there with babies in high chairs – is the money worth it?

4. This mirror

Adele Distressed Green Framed Mirror, 25x33 | Kirklands:

Insert heart eyes emoji. It’s $50 online from Kirklands, and they are offering 15% off online orders. I love it.

It doesn’t quite match my rug, though. Sigh…

5. a fun little announcement

This is my own blog, so I can toot my own horn, right?

I had a life insurance physical this week, which is a quick little appointment. Urine sample, blood draw, height and weight measurement and you’re out the door. I haven’t been necessarily avoiding the scale since giving birth in late August, but I haven’t been making an effort to weigh myself. I knew about a month ago that I was really, really close to getting back to pre-pregnancy weight, but I wasn’t sure exactly where I stood.

Well, I did it. Oh, and I’m 3 lbs. lighter than I was before getting pregnant. WOO HOO! I credit the following for this 45 lb. weight loss: (1) having a big baby and big placenta. That takes care of most of the weight. (2) breastfeeding. (3) drinking a ton of water (4) carrying around a baby ALL THE TIME.

I still eat whatever I want. Donuts, yes. Candy, yes. Cookies, gosh yes.

My body isn’t the same shape that it once was, and I could not care less. My pre-pregnancy size 8 jeans kind of fit, with the help of a hair tie. I can button them, but I won’t be comfortable for the entire day.

I do plan to exercise again at some point. I’m nervous about that impacting my milk supply, and making time to do so is at the bottom of my priority list. I’ve had great success with Weight Watchers and plan to do it again to shed a little more weight, but I’m not ready for that yet.

Any way, just a fun little announcement and something I’m proud of.

Have a great & safe weekend!

XOXO

 

Adios, grocery shopping

Grocery shopping with a newborn baby is… challenging.

Maybe your baby is on a super schedule and you can time the shopping trip with a long nap. Maybe you have a huge baby car seat that doesn’t safely sit in the top part of the cart and takes up nearly the whole cart, leaving nowhere to put your groceries. Maybe you try to take the baby in a wrap carrier the next time. Maybe your back feels like it could snap in two by the time you’re finished. Maybe baby sleeps the whole time until the very end until he has an explosive blowout, and you & baby are wearing poop when you finally leave the store.

Maybe you have better luck than I do.

If not, this is life changing news. This week I discovered that a grocery store SUPER close to my office offers online shopping. I would have never thought something like this existed in the suburbs of the Midwest. I used the service for the first time this week and let me tell you, it’s a GAME CHANGER.

I logged into my account with HyVee with my grocery list in hand. I used the search box to find what I was looking for. Shredded cheddar, breakfast bars, ground chuck, chicken breast, sweet potatoes… you get the idea. Search for the item, pick the brand and quantity, and add it to my cart. So incredibly easy… almost too easy.

When I finished – it took no more than 5 minutes for me – I browsed my list to make sure I had everything, checked a few boxes, entered by debit card number, and selected a time frame for when I would be picking it up. Once again, it was almost too easy.

Yesterday after work, I pulled into the special parking spot, called the phone number and in less than 2 minutes a friendly man was at my car loading the bags. I don’t think I would have had to get out, but I wanted to thank the man and make sure it looked like he had the right order.

He brought my groceries out in plastic crates. They were bagged appropriately and the cold items were in an insulated crate. He was super friendly and told me a little bit more about how the process works at their store. I am still in awe. It took about 7 minutes start to finish and I was off to pick up my little man from his grandma’s.

Benefits of grocery shopping online:

  • No need to take an hour or two out of your evening or weekend to battle the aisles!
  • No impulse purchases. I stuck to my list. Although, I did wish I had an Oreo (or five) to snack on last night.
  • No added stress of a busy store during the holiday season
  • No long check-out lines
  • This cost me $2.95 – not kidding. If I would have spent over $100 that fee would have been waived.

Draw backs:

  • No price-matching – but come on, if you are that worried about saving 23 cents you belong in the store with all the other crazies. Trust me, cutting down on the impulse purchases will save you more.
  • The grocery store I shopped at doesn’t have EVERYTHING like Walmart does (where I would normally shop), so I did skip out on a few things we could have used, but they weren’t urgent and I can grab those another time. No biggie.

Have you done your grocery shopping online? What was your experience like? I know I will be using this service again and again… leaving the grocery poop-free? I’ll take it.

A great deal on a great bassinet

Momma’s to be, listen up!

I just saw Chicco on Zulily and noticed that the Lullago Bassinet that we LOVE is on sale for a smokin’ price of $67.99. We paid $99 for ours at Target!

The pistachio color is the only color available. We love our bassinet for its size – pretty big; its simplicity; its minimalist look – which also makes it safer for baby since it doesn’t have cushy padding around it; and its portability.

Here’s the link to the item: http://www.zulily.com/p/green-lullago-travel-crib-161857-30790720.html?pos=7&fromEvent=161857&

Here’s a link to join Zulily if you do not already have an account: http://www.zulily.com/invite/agraddy121

I’ve been checking Zulily daily for Christmas presents, and you should too!

Current faves

Between my weekly pregnancy updates and unpacking – I haven’t had much time to post about my Five on Friday faves, Weekend in Photos, Recipes, or any other random topic I have on the mind.

Today I’m taking time (at my work desk, I’m bad) to do a quick update of my current faves.

1. brown sugar cake k-cups for the win

2. FACIALS ARE MY OBSESSION

Gotta keep this skin in check, even during pregnancy! My old friend and esthetician Kristin researched the EmerginC Organics line that her spa carries to make sure if was pregnancy-friendly and gave me the best facial yesterday. Complete with a little brow and lash tint to prepare me for the many make-up free days to come with a newborn. I’m feeling totally refreshed – and that cucumber mask… OMG.

3. scentsy, please!

I’m either an all-Scentsy or an all-candle kind of gal. Right now I’m in a Scentsy phase. Currently enjoying Serene Green in our hall bathroom, which is at the end of the hall and makes the bedroom side of the house smell fresh and spa-like. In the living room I’m using up Soft Amber Cashmere (all time fave by the Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart – $2). I haven’t bought a warmer for the nursery, but I have a bar of Newborn Nursery (thanks, Sydney!) opened up that is giving the room the perfect baby smell. I told Jeremy that I loved seeing and smelling Sam’s nursery when I walked by and he gave me the strangest look and said it smelled like diapers. To each his own 🙂

4. all things baby

Obviously. This weekend I took a trip to Babies R Us and dropped a few Benjamins on the remaining essentials from that registry. I need to do the same at Target, but I’m trying to pace myself with the major expenses. The diaper bag I wanted wasn’t in stock and I had to order it. I’m obsessed with it. Hopefully J won’t mind carrying such a fashion-forward diaper bag around…

I did order the orange arrow crib sheet from Land of Nod, and unfortunately it is on back order until mid-August. My parents bought a light-mocha colored sheet as a backup that is on the crib and ready to go in case Samuel Hayes arrives before the crib sheet. I know, I know… he won’t actually be in his crib for a long time.

5. “crazy bitches night”

… That’s what my husband calls Monday nights. We got wayyyy too invested in the last season of The Bachelor, so naturally we’re all about The Bachelorette.

I aggravate myself by even liking this show because I’m not the biggest fan of Kaitlyn’s sense of humor or her sequin dresses, but I do love the drama. And come on, we all know she’s going to pick Nick even though the finale isn’t until next Monday.

Will we be recording/watching Bachelor in Paradise? You better believe it. It looks too good.

6. make-up wins lately

7. those kate spade glitter studs

Yeah, the same ones floating around pretty much every blog I follow. They are perfect. Damn you baby budget! I’ll take them in any color because they are so perfect.

kate spade new york glitter stud earrings | Nordstrom

Have a terrific Tuesday!