Baby #2 Registry Essentials

It’s amazing how many fun and useful things have been added to the world of Baby Registry in the short 3 years since I registered for things Cohen.  The first go-round, I decided to forgo the countless lists of registry must-haves online and ask my best friends who have kids for help.  They knew exactly what I’d need and what the other lists would have on them, but I’d never use.  If you’re registering for your first pregnancy, I suggest doing the same thing.  Your friends know you better than anyone and they’ll know not only what was a true necessity for them, but things you’ll actually put to good use.

I wasn’t going to have a Baby Shower for my second pregnancy.  But, my BFF is a ridic party planner and looks for any and every reason to throw together a fun shindig, and she’s not one to take no for an answer, so Baby Shower for #2 is happening.  Besides, I’ve spent the majority of my pregnancy in sweats and laying around the house, so I figured a little time out with my girlfriends doting on me in a cute dress may be fun!  I also wasn’t going to put together a formal registry…but then I got to thinking that when you’re invited to something, especially something like Baby Shower where gifts are given more on a ‘necessity’ basis than just fun, I’d go ahead and throw a short list together.  ((And admit it, opening gifts is fun – even when it’s a breast pump)).

We received the TRUE necessities when I registered for my first pregnancy with Cohen and because we’re having another boy, which really cut the list down because I don’t have to have new things based on gender color, which I told myself I wouldn’t do if in fact we found out we were having a girl, but of course I would anyway.  So this list is just the basics – things that are either new in the world of baby must-haves and things that either get worn out or destroyed with the first kid (i.e. ANYTHING white that you ditched because all of the spit up and poop stains aren’t a good look).

So here’s my list of ‘Round 2 Baby Essentials’:

1) Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

CaptureThis isn’t really a ‘necessity’ per say, but definitely HIGHLY recommended!  We received one of these with Cohen – and when I opened it, knowing I had never seen one before and that I definitely didn’t register for it, I figured it would go in the ‘thanks for the gift, it’s still in the box, in the closet’ pile.  However, this thing was a LIFESAVER.  Cohen lived in this thing from the night we brought him home until he finally outgrew it.  It was awesome to have it beside the bed at night when I was breastfeeding and I drug it all over the house for nap time, or just for him to hang out in.  It’s lightweight and folds up for easy travel.  We still have the first one, but that was one of the first models and they’ve improved a few things, so the old one is being sent to Grammy’s house and we’re registering for a brand spanking new one for home.  Seriously, if this is your 1st, 2nd or 10th (God bless you), register for one of these…and thank me later.

2) Breastfeeding Supplies

breastfeeding storageI’m crossing my fingers that breastfeeding this time around goes as smoothly for me as it did before.  I decided to breastfeed and pump a few times a day so that the Hubs could handle a few feedings and give me time to rest.  This time I’ll have a 3yo running around, so this is definitely the plan again.  Because of repeatedly cleaning and steaming or because of the oils in breast milk, some of my storage containers from before needed to be replaced.  Besides, this is something you can never really have too much of (especially if you’re planning on freezing some).

3) Bottles

dr browns bottles

Even if you saved bottles from your first pregnancy, in going through all of the things I had boxed up to use for my next pregnancy, I realized that although they had all been steamed and sterilized, the oils from breast milk had left a weird residue on some of them.  Plus, I used the Dr. Brown’s bottles because they reduced colic, and because there are a few separate pieces to each bottle (some of which got lost in the shuffle), I only had a few complete ‘sets’.

4) Bottle Steam Sterilizer

sterilizer

If they had these genius inventions when Cohen was a baby, I don’t remember them.  I used to soak all of his bottles in a sink full of hot water, but that didn’t save me from having to individually scrub each one by hand.  The thought of just putting all of the bottles and their included odds and ends in one thing and just being able to ‘set it and forget it’ is awesome.

5) Bottle Brushes

bottle brush

Even if you have a bottle sterilizer like I just mentioned, you’ll still need to ‘quick clean’ a million bottles a day, so you’ll need a ton of these.

6) Meslin Swaddle Blankets

swaddles

When I had Cohen, the swaddle wraps were all the rage.  I got a ton of them and they seemed like a good idea in theory, until the 5th night in a row that my swaddled baby wriggled an arm or leg out of it.  Sometimes I’d go in and he was out of the entire thing.  Plus, you needed different sizes as the baby grows.  So this time around, we’re going with the ultra-soft and lightweight meslin swaddle blankets.  These are really big and can be doubled up for smaller babies, so they’ll grow with your baby.  Plus, the lightweight fabric is really breathable and super easy to work into the swaddle style.

7) Infinity Nursing Scarf

nursing scarf

This may be my new favorite thing.  When I had Cohen I had this apron-like nursing cover that I used mayyyyybe once, but wasn’t terribly soft and just seemed bulky and awkward.  So when I saw a girlfriend open one of these at her baby shower, I knew I had to register for one as well!  The best part is they can be used for a nursing cover, car seat cover, stroller cover, or even a swaddle blanket – ALL IN ONE!  Plus, they’re SUPER soft and fashionable…W-I-N-N-I-N-G!

*BUY IT HERE

8) Milkies Milk Saver

milkies

This. Is. Brilliant.  I was a breast milk making CHAMP my first time around (and praying it’s the same way this time!), but I never really gave thought to all of the milk filling up a breast pad.  This was another new thing I saw gifted at a friend’s baby shower and knew I had to register for as well.  You just put one of these babies into the non-nursing side of your bra when you breastfeed and it collects the milk from that breast that is usually wasted when your milk lets down.  I’ve read the reviews and some moms say that they’ve gotten an entire feeding in a day from the leaked milk that they’re able to use from the Milk Saver.  Again – brilliant.

*BUY IT HERE

9) Bathtime Stuff

towel

We all know baby’s are little puke and poop CHAMPS, so they require a lot of getting clean.  I always seemed to never have enough hooded towels and washcloths, and most of them are made from pretty thin fabric (which became shredded and not worth keeping for another baby), so you won’t regret registering for new ones.  It’s also a good idea (especially if your first child(ren) is younger and still using baby shampoo/conditioner/wash) to register for that since you really can’t ever have enough and it’s sure to be put to good use.

10) Diapers & Wipes

diaper

There’s no need to explain why you’ll need NEW diapers and wipes for your 2nd pregnancy.  Just register for them…and A LOT of them.  Size 1 and 2 diapers are used the most, and newborn diapers are quickly outgrown, so make sure that 1s and 2s are high in quantity on your list.  Also, remember that you can exchange unopened boxes for different sizes at most stores.

So, welcome the idea that your fun-loving friends have for showering you a second time and put together a registry!  There are a million things out there to make your life as a mommy easier, these are just a few of mine.  We’re all in this together, so make sure to comment with your favorites!!

XO LJ

BEST EVER Crockpot Beef Tips {{only 4 ingredients!}}

Y’all – if you’re looking for a super easy, cheap and RIDIC delicious meal, then this one is for you!  This is the recipe my momma has used forever and I’m so excited to share it with you!  It’s so perfect for a momma on the go or anyone who likes to toss everything in a Crockpot and just “set it and forget it!”  Plus, the entire thing only costs about $12 total for about 4 servings (although I always double the recipe because even me – the self-proclaimed leftover-hater – LOVES these as leftovers.  Maybe they’re even better the next day??)  I made these last night and I’m already wondering if 8:33am is too early for lunch?

beef tipsI N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 package beef stew meat  *I usually cut the pieces in half or thirds because unless you’re my caveman husband, the ‘bite sized’ pieces they cut at the butcher are always way too huge for me.
  • 1 package mushrooms (totally optional, but I use Baby Bellas…pre-cut…because I’m all about being lazy these days)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup (you can substitute French Onion soup if you can’t find the Golden Mushroom)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Beef Consomme soup (you can also substitute beef broth if you can’t find the consomme)

D I R E C T I O N S

  • Mix together the 2 soups in a mixing bowl.
  • Add meat and mushrooms and stir to coat everything.
  • Put the Crockpot liner in the Crockpot (trust me, it’s not a necessity, but SO TOTALLY WORTH IT when all you have to do to clean up is take the bag out and toss it.  Again, lazy).
  • SET IT* AND FORGET IT (that slogan will never get old)

*Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. 

Seriously – that’s it.  Your house will smell AMAZING, and your family will love it!  I promise!  I serve it over rice or egg noodles, but I’m pretty sure you could put it over a piece of cardboard and it would still be good.

E N J O Y ! ! !

XO LJ

DIY American Flag Pallet ((Happy Fourth of July!!))

Hey y’all and Happy 4th of July Eve!!  We’re packing up and headed to Lake Murray for my momma’s annual (huge) July 4th party, but daddy had to work this morning and Cohen and I were up super early, so we decided to craft a bit!!  I wanted to bring a one-of-a-kind hostess gift to my momma (attn ladies – never show up to a party empty-handed, without a gift for your hostess…even if it’s your momma, lol).  I was kicking a volley ball around the front yard with CJ and noticed the pallets I begged Andrew to bring home last year because I just HAD to have them RIGHT THEN, but of course never did anything with.  So, I brainstormed and noticing the lines of the pallet wood, decided this would be a quick and easy DIY!  It’s even quick and easy enough to do today, tonight or even tomorrow morning just in time for your 4th of July celebration!!

S U P P L I E S

  • Pallet (mine is the standard large size)
  • Acrylic* paints (red, white and blue) *make sure to use acrylic if your pallet is going outside – a water-based paint may run if it gets wet)
  • Paint brushes (I had this pack of 3 in the closet, so it was perfect for the 3 different colors)
  • Painters tape
  • A smaller detail brush for the stars

4th pallet 1 4th pallet 2

S T E P S

1.  Use painters tape to tape off the square for the blue section at the top left corner of the pallet (this is pretty since the natural lines of the pallet are already there).  I just taped off where the vertical middle board was on the back of the pallet and since there was space between the horizontal boards I didn’t have to do any horizontal taping.

4th pallet 3 4th pallet 4

2.  Start alternating the red and white stripes by painting every other horizontal pallet board.  This is where the kids can really help.  Just make sure to paint some red or white paint to mark which colors to use on which board (learned this the hard way).

4th pallet 5 4th pallet 6

I left the vertical boards on the back of the pallet unpainted because I wanted to bring out the natural wood color and a rustic feel, but of course you can paint those as well!  May even look REALLY cool with some kind of designs painted on them!!

3.  Let dry (shouldn’t take too long) and peel the painters tape off.  Paint in the square with the blue paint and set aside to dry completely before the next step.

4th pallet 7

4.  My original thought was to use a paint pen to perfectly create the stars, but I was out of acrylic paint pens and like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to use the water-based one I had because I know that with this being outdoors at the Lake it’s going to get wet.

So I found a smaller-bristled detail paint brush and tried to paint a star.  FAIL.  I’m used to using paint pens and I’m awful at controlling a paint brush unless it’s wide, even strokes, so I went with a sort of ‘asterisk’-ish looking star.  I ended up loving the way it turned out because it gave it a little more character (and having to paint 50 perfectly pointy stars stressed me to no end).

4th pallet 8

5.  Let dry completely (always the hardest part!) and display!  Voila!

4th pallet 10 4th pallet 9

(((Cohen VERY quickly tired of me trying to tell him what to paint and where (2 year olds, am I right!?!), so I gave him a small block of wood I found in the garage and told him to go to town.  Easier on him, and WAY easier on me.  So that’s what you see him painting in the picture above…and of course I have to give a shout-out to his finished product.  I think I love it even more than mine!!)))

4th pallet 11

From my family to yours, I hope you all have the best Fourth of July holiday ever filled with fun in the sun, fireworks and LOTS of amazing cookout food!

H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y ,  A M E R I C A ! ! !

XO LJ

While I Was Out…

I can’t believe the last time I blogged was April.  Ridiculous!  And I have no real excuse except for the fact that 1. I run a full-time business, 2. I also have a 2.5 year old who constantly keeps me on my toes, 3. I have a hubby and a home that I have to keep happy and, oh yeah, 4. I’M PREGNANT!! 22 weeks pregnant now, and we’re having another little boy we’ve decided to name Cameron Day Jaroscak.  Beyond! Thrilled!!

If you follow me on social media you’ve known this for some time.  We found out the end of February and although the first trimester was AWFUL for me (24/7 “morning” sickness), it’s been a really healthy and relatively pregnancy.  I can tell you that the 2nd time around is MUCH different and more difficult than the first.  I enjoyed every minute of my pregnancy with Cohen, 3 years ago.  However, this time around I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with him that I barely remember how many weeks I am or (except for the fact that the baby’s kicking like crazy now and I’m huge), I forget that I’m even pregnant.

I feel awful (as most 2nd-time mothers do), that I haven’t dedicated the time to sit back and enjoy this pregnancy the way I did before.  When I was pregnant with Cohen I kept up with a blog called “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me” (wink and nod to one of my favorite ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes).  I updated it weekly, wrote a special entry ‘letter’ to Cohen every month and loved it then. but love it even more now going back and reading it.  While I don’t have the time or energy to devote to one this go-round, I thought I’d share Cohen’s blog with those of you who haven’t read it yet.  It’s hilarious and embarrassingly honest, so keep an open mind…and enjoy!!

Link to “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me”:

http://mommasac.blogspot.com/

XO LJ

“Mouse” Money! {an easy Disney DIY gift}

This past weekend, my Sister-in-Law (who is not only one of the best moms I know, but one of the hardest workers), channeled her inner-Pinterest side and came up with a super creative Easter Egg Hunt for my niece and nephew.  The best part about the hunt was that with each clue came a letter…which, when put together in the end, revealed that they’re headed to Disney World for their birthdays!  ((Talk about the best moment ever for a 5 & 7 year old…OMG, wait – how are they that old?!  And how am I that old!?))  Anyway, while I take a second to collect myself, enjoy this adorable collage Abby posted on Instagram of the event:

aubs will disney

Fun, right!?

Since they live in Michigan and we live in NC, we usually just send online gift cards for their gifts because it’s easy and what’s more fun than getting to pick out your own gift?  But because this birthday was a little bit more special with their trip, I wanted to make their gift a bit more special.  I first thought of the gift cards they have at the register in Target for Disney World or the Disney Store.  But that also seemed a bit less special, so I figured why not decorate my own $20 bills and send that?  Actual money is more fun than a gift card anyway (and $20 to a kid seems like $1M)!

Thankfully, it crossed my mind that I wouldn’t want to hand over a really cool $20 bill with Mickey and Minnie all over it to a clerk at Disney World who would just throw it in with the other plain Jane bills.  So I Googled images of $20 bills and thank God I did because it turns out that coloring a set of Mickey ears on Andrew Jackson and putting stickers all over an actual bill is considered ‘defacing US Government’ and is punishable by law.  {{with my luck, this is totally something I would be unintentionally arrested}}.  So I downloaded a copy of this $20 bill (download yours HERE) and go to decorating!  You can download an image of any bill, in case you’d like a lesser value or if you’re a baller and want a Benjamin or something.

I wanted the stickers to look like they were actually printed on the bill, so I made sure to find some with a transparent background and settled on THESE from Hobby Lobby.  They have the best sticker selection around, so even if you didn’t have a Disney theme, you could probably find whatever stickers themed for you and your gift!

I colored a Mickey ears hat (the pinnacle of ALL Disney World souvenirs!) on President Jackson and decorated Will’s bill with Mickey and Goofy and Aubrey’s with Minnie and Daisy.  I used the rest of the stickers on the card that I hand lettered and on the outside of the envelope to really tie the theme together.

disney money

In the envelope I also included a check for the amount of actual cash that we were gifting (don’t forget this step because in the same way that defacing a dollar bill is a Federal offense, you can’t actually ‘spend’ the printed copy).

So now Aubs and Will have money to spend and a fun keepsake to remind them of their birthday Disney trip!!

XO LJ

Boo-Boo Bunnies {{a fun & sugar-free Easter DIY & a free printable!}}

When I was little we had these little guys all over the house.  My super creative momma would make them for Easter gifts and they were always in our Easter baskets (mostly because while they’re intended to be used for boo-boos, I’d always play with mine instead…and I’m sure my brother would bury him along with the little green army men in the backyard).

In my head I have these dreams of actually sitting down and creating all of these fun mommy DIYs that I remember my momma doing from childhood or that I see on Pinterest, but the truth is I barely know what day it is and rarely do I get the chance to wash my hair.  So I was thrilled when my momma called to ask how many boys and girls were in Cohen’s class so she could make them each a Boo-Boo Bunny for their Easter party.  Considering they’re super cute and kids love them (and it’s an awesome break from all of the sugary-filled Easter eggs from this past week’s egg hunts and parties), I knew these would be a hit.  Plus, ALL kids get scraped knees, bumps and bruises – so putting an ice cube in the back of one of these is a great way to dry up the tears and replace them with a smile!

The best part…they’re super easy and only cost a few bucks to make!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Standard sized washcloth.
  • Small rubberbands (the ones that are used for the Rainbow Looms are really great – and really cheap!)
  • Googly eyes
  • White pompoms
  • Ribbon
  • Glue

bbb2

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

bbb diy

{because I didn’t actually make Cohen’s bunnies and I wasn’t about to ask my mom to take a picture of each step, I found this awesome picture tutorial from The Southern Institute}

BRINGING THE BUNNIES TO LIFE (my favorite part):

Simply tie a super cute piece of ribbon around the bunny’s neck to hide the rubberband, glue googly eyes on the head, a small pompom on the front for the nose and a larger pompom on the back for the tail.  Easy peasy!  (If you’re as imaginative as my son, this is also the part where you give the bunny a name.  This is Cohen’s new bunny – let me introduce you to Sully…we’ve been watching a lot of Monsters, Inc this week).

bbb1

FREE DOWNLOADABLE POEM:

I knew from the look on my husband’s face when he came in and saw 10 washcloths twisted into bunnies that some people may not be privy to the Boo-Boo Bunny, so I found this adorable poem on Pinterest and created a 3×5 print to attach it to each bunny.  I just used a mini clothespin to attach the card to each of my bunnies, but ribbon or twine would look cute too!

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Get your free download of the poem HERE.

Because these were going to each kid in Cohen’s class, I put each bunny and poem in a cute Bunny treat bag, but my favorite way to gift them is to just nestle them into an Easter basket.

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Your kids will love it and trust me, when you’re little and scrape your knee, the Boo-Boo Bunny does actually make you feel better 🙂

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H A P P Y  E A S T E R!!

XO LJ

WORLD AUTISM DAY – Show Your Support!

Did you know that Autism affects 1 in 68 children?

I have friends with autistic children.  I see the way that people stare when we’re out to dinner.  To them, they think my friends just have an unruly child.  What they don’t know is the struggle that the child and their parents face every minute of everyday.

My cousin, Casey, is in her first year of teaching in elementary Special Education.  While the children in her class all have a different special need, her heart and expertise is in Autism and Autism Awareness.  When she came to me and asked me to come up with a design for this year’s Autism Awareness month, I immediately began brainstorming ideas.  She wanted a print for her room at school and as a gift for a few of her peers, but I wanted to take it a step further.  I decided that putting the design on a line of products would be a way for me to not only help raise awareness, but also do my part to donate a portion of the proceeds to Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

The product line consists of 5 products, ranging in price points for all individuals & each order comes with a FREE 5×7 print of the original 2015 LJDCo. ‘Different. Not Less.’ design:

20 oz. Acrylic Tumbler

aa tumber promo

11 oz. Coffee Mug

aa mug promo

Large Canvas Tote

aa tote promo

160-page Journal

aa journal promo

Round Magnet

aa magnet promo

Please help me raise awareness for these amazing children and their families and show your support by shopping today!

XO LJ