My Inspirational IKEA Trip

I use a lot of products daily in my life with multiples and a toddler. Occasionally I review those products and get paid for my review. Rest assured, all thoughts are my true and honest opinion.

A few weeks ago, I went to IKEA to accompany one of my friends in buying a bed for her son. We arrived at 9 in the morning with both her kids and husband in tow. I tagged along because recently, I purchased my mama van (mini-van) and she was not sure that their car would be able to accomplish the task of picking up a bed for their son and avoid a pricey delivery charge. What’s funny is that I had no idea that this paradise home center was well mapped out like an amusement park of a sort. It was for the grown ups to come and find inspiration for their everyday lives at home. Each piece seemed like it had found a home in IKEA and set up shop to be chosen by or inspire its perfect buyer.

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This was quite the experience personally, just because I had never been inside. It also seemed that the designs of each piece were well mastered for people who were going through everyday life needed good aesthetics to add to the home. My friends decided to pick up the bed because the delivery fee was a little on the steep side, especially for it to be being shipped within the same city, but hey I get it. People were coming from near and far to come shop here. So I started out by looking at the “Kids” section. This is really what I think sealed the deal for me but there was so much stuff here. I found educational toys, home decor, storage solutions, kitchen aids, cookware/utensils, furniture, and home essentials. Everything also seemed to be very reasonably priced, which for a parent is never a bad idea. Check out some of the things I found and things I bought on my IKEA safari trip! Some of the links are included. Enjoy!

Purchases

 

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Abacus

Kids counting toy. It has 10 of the same color bulbs on each metal line, totaling 100. Things don’t always have to be expensive or technology enriched for a kid to learn problem solving and motor skills. So, I bought one of these for my daughter because we think it is important for her to always be learning, even when she is playing. This is something we are using to aid her in learning how to count. What better way to do it while she gets to play. She likes it so far, hopefully it will be a favorite for a little while.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10311290/

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Ice pop maker

Summertime is right around the corner! This popsicle mold is perfect for making your own natural sweet treats for your kids. My babies are all around the teething stages and this is something that makes it fun and it can also be healthy, depending on what you put in it. I have done this before with low fat yogurt. So whether you have teething babies or want to offer an alternative to overly sugary snacking, this is a cool utensil.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80208478/

Finds

Children’s Potty

I liked the sleek design, color, and versatility of this children’s potty. It can be separated into two parts and purchased that way if you already have one or the other part at home. The price seemed very reasonable considering that the average potty chair can run $15-$25.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60193128/

Play Kitchen

This is a cute little replica of mommy’s kitchen. Your toddler could work in their kitchen while you work in yours! The kitchen costs about $100. While there are all types of play kitchens available everywhere this seems to be the median range in price. When checking around I noticed that the more real that the kitchen looks it also seems to cost more. There were also a variety in the number of pieces. The kitchens with less food items and kitchenware were as low as $30-$55. Other kitchens went for as much as $165 and had more kitchenware and food items.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60319972/

Hanging Organizer/Storage Containers

Organization in a kids world seems like a moot point to try and make but it’s worth it. This is especially important when you have more kids because it keeps toys from being everywhere. Moriah loves to help and is in the stage of “helping.” When she sees something on the floor or  us cleaning up she will bring it to you, throw it away, or put it where it belongs. Now, keep in mind she is still a baby and so some things end up in mommies purse or a hamper somewhere but hey, she likes to help.

These containers and organizers were all attractive and very colorful, this is great for kids and again the prices didn’t make me cringe. The hanging organizer pictured above had 18-20 pouches and large digital numbers on the front of each pouch. Awesome solution for toys, artwork, game pieces, and books. Priced at $7.99 this is a great organization solution for kids and in helping parents keep things off of the floor. Check out IKEA’s children’s toy storage for more organization combos and solutions.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/childrens_ikea/

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Furniture

The chalkboard or easel at IKEA is something that I saw and considered for Moriah since she loves drawing and coloring. It has a matching stool for an additional $18. 

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50021076/

The bed that my friends ended up getting for their son was about $160 for the whole set. Overall, it seems that IKEA inspires some cool, conventional home solutions for the whole family. I will be back!

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/childrens_ikea/

 

 

 

 

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Bed Rest Survival Kit

I use a lot of products daily in my life with multiples and a toddler. Occasionally I review those products and get paid for my review. Rest assured, all thoughts are my true and honest opinion.

During my last pregnancy I was restricted to the confines of my humble abode. It was unexpected and very challenging at the very least. My doctor decided that I needed to be home from work until it was time for me to deliver my twins, so I was. The dynamics that made my situation particularly interesting were two things: my one year old, Moriah and we were in the process of moving into our new place. I had to orchestrate things with my pointer finger and sit down every few seconds. My belly was huge and I was tired just from taking a few steps around the house. Imagine not being able to pick up your one year old which is still very much so a baby. Think about not being able to help set things up in a place you call your own. Your best friends are the bed, the couch, Hulu and Netflix.

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Rules of Engagement

  • NO WORK
  • NO DRIVING
  • NO LIFTING
  • NO EXCESSIVE MOVEMENT

That leaves sleep, TV, and Facebook. Seriously though, taking this lightly could result in injury up to death with you or your baby/babies. By the way you can also be placed on bed rest at the hospital. It is called the antepartum unit. Some people stay there for weeks at a time until they have their babies to reduce risks of miscarriage and serious health issues. I spent three days there and was hospitalized throughout my pregnancy and was freaked out. So, ladies if the doctor says slow down or relax, take their word for it or you could be laid up until your baby arrives. Here is the Bed Rest Survival Kit for Housebound Mamas! Enjoy.

1-TRIBE. Non-Optional Support System

It takes a village! Constantly, I endorse family and exercising your resources if they are options. I realize that everyone has different family dynamics and involvement with their own families. If you have friends, family members, church family, mentors, and/or significant others utilize them as resources, they love helping, I promise! My own family and Emmanuel’s family helped us a lot. They helped us get moved, did the cooking, cleaning, driving, they helped with Moriah and much more! It is important that you let them be your strength to reduce your own stress and risk to you and your baby/babies. Just think, this is only temporary and once it is over you can get back to life as you know it.

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Local Wal-Mart delivers!

2-Home Delivery

One of the concerns that I had when I was home was how I would get simple everyday toiletries and food. My mom actually was the one to start ordering groceries and toiletries to my house for me. Tom Thumb brought the groceries and Wal-Mart sent the toiletry items. What I like about each is that it was convenient for me to just think about putting the groceries away rather than how I would get things home. Tom Thumb brought the groceries and what I liked about that was that I could choose a window for them to deliver my groceries. This helped me still be able to go to my appointments in between.

  • Walmart will send non-perishables to you through the mail, Fed Ex, or UPS.
  • Tom Thumb will deliver groceries right to your door! They have a service fee of about $8 or $9 but by the time you get into your car, drive to the store, bring the groceries home, unload, and put away groceries you have spent that or more. In my case I would be out of more money and in violation of my bed rest restraints. (Also, they will give you a chance to get a free delivery if you do a survey on the service.)

This is also good option for people who may have or take care of people with disabilities and are unable to leave their homes or lift heavy things.

3-Computer/internet/phone

This one is obvious but if it isn’t clear entertainment for me at that time was watching TV and going to the doctor every other day. The computer, internet, and phone helped keep me sane and independent of straining myself to get what I needed. From the home delivery options to the internet connection that helped me surf Facebook and watch Netflix and Hulu episodes and series everyday. Definitely a must to help you survive the short stint of bed rest!

 

 

 

Mom Feature of The Week – Destynee T.

“I want people to see my life as a testament of my faith, experience, and sacrifice that anything is possible. Age does not define you.” -Destynee T.

This weeks mom feature is Destynee, a first time working mother to a beautiful 10-month old baby girl, Hazel. Destynee, is a strong young woman with a thirst for life and mounds of ambition. She recently started her own business and aims to encourage other teen moms to keep pressing forward to a higher calling. She discusses being a first time mom, working mom life, and her initial expectations of motherhood! Destynee offers a great example to women of all ages on how to silence the naysayers and overcome the anxieties of parenthood. All while keeping things moving on a positive note. Check out her interview!

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Q: What were your thoughts and experiences with breastfeeding?

I did not have any initial thoughts about breastfeeding. My mind was all set to formula feed Hazel because I just didn’t imagine myself doing it. No lessons, classes, nothing about latching, operating a pump, or even how to hold her. When I was in the hospital they informed me about it but I still had no idea how to even do this. Once I tried I almost gave up because of how painful it was. The dry, cracked, bleeding nipples would have run me off if my mom had not encouraged me to keep trying. Now we are doing just fine. 

Q: What were your expectations of becoming a mother for the first time? How far were those expectations from reality?

I really expected things to be easy! I had no idea what it would really take to take care of a child. I thought, she’ll cry and I can give her a bottle and watch her sleep. Of course, it wasn’t that simple because in reality there were unexpected spit ups and diaper explosions. I was expecting auto-pilot: feed, change, sleep for at least the first year. The curve ball for me was that it had nothing to do with repetition. It was about the baby, her emotions, and me anticipating unexpected accidents. For example, we may be all ready to go and she spits up on her new outfit. Of course, now we have to change and because of that we are now late. So, making extra time for things to happen and incase they do we are prepared. Ultimately, it takes more patience and understanding than I originally expected. 

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Q: How did you think scheduling outings and events would be once you became a mom?

Before becoming a mom I would go out with my friends. I just thought that since my friends loved babies either I could take her with me or just leave her with my mom. Soon, I found out that parenthood was nothing like that. Before Hazel came I never considered appointments or even how different it would be just to go shopping. Overall, I thought I would still be able to do what I used to. I came to the realization that I had to alter my thoughts because my parents wanted me to be responsible and take care of my own baby. When my mom told me, “Your baby is your responsibility” and was hesitant to watch my baby, something clicked. I realized that she didn’t want me to become dependent on her taking over where I should be. My parents didn’t have a baby, I did, so it was time to step up.

Q: How do you track milestones for your baby?

I track Hazel’s milestones on this app called baby center. They have milestone stickers that remind you each month to be watching for things your baby should or could be doing. It helps me to look back and see how much progress she has made.

Q: Any last advice you would like to offer other first time moms?

IT IS ALL MENTAL. Do not let people fill your head with what all can go wrong. Stay focused on the life that is growing inside of you and being happy. Ultimately, you do not have to disregard every piece of advice you receive, just filter it. At the end of the day you are going to have the final say over this little life. The second thing is that you are not perfect. As mothers, our obligation and natural instinct is to care for and nurture our babies. Nowhere in the “imaginary parent handbook” does it state that we have to strive for perfection in everything that we do regarding that child. Honestly, will the child be taking off points for how we put on a diaper, sing a song, or measure their milk? No. All that matters is mommy is close and they are secure. There is much more to this thing called motherhood but personally I think just keeping these few things in mind will make it much easier during and after pregnancy.

5 Unique Gifts for Baby Showers

I use a lot of products daily in my life with multiples and a toddler. Occasionally I review those products and get paid for my review. Rest assured, all thoughts are my true and honest opinion.

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It is always a pleasure to be invited to someone’s special event, namely a baby shower. You want to get someone something that is thoughtful, useful, and/or unique. This way the person doesn’t end up with 12  bathtubs and 6 diaper genies. (Insert smile here.) That is why it is important to do your homework before going to the shower. Looking at a registry will show you what the mom-to-be needs or specifies what she actually wants. If you aren’t able to check the registry you can never go wrong with all sizes in diapers, wipes, a gift card, or a combination of the three.

Here are some thoughtful gifts you can gift at your next shower. Enjoy!

#1 Diapers, Wipes, Gift Cards

You can never have enough diapers and wipes. All of these items are interchangeable and will always be needed no matter what, trust me. At my first baby shower I asked for everyone to bring diapers, wipes, or gift cards. Needless to say that I did not have to bat an eyelash to buy diapers or wipes until 2 months after her 1st birthday! This gift is thoughtful and timeless and will always be necessary.

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#2 Boppy

Boppy breastfeeding pillow, a moms dream! She and her back will thank you. A boppy helps you nurse your baby while sitting upright comfortably. It is important to remember that this is something that the mom will be using for a while, at least for 6-7 months. It is a little on the pricey side but well worth every penny. I was gifted one after having Moriah and was so grateful because I could feed her virtually anywhere around the house. (If that’s your thing.) Something else I loved was that the slipcover pillowcase is easily removable to wash and reuse.

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#3 – Formula Dispenser

This gift would be a good fit for a mom that has decided not to breastfeed, a mom on the go, or a mom who is supplementing during breastfeeding. The functionality of having a pre-measured amount of formula helps remove the hassle of trying to lug a big can of formula around everywhere you go.

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#4 –  Drying Rack

You can never and I mean never have enough of these! You can use drying racks for everything including pacifiers, storage bottles, bottle tops, breastfeeding pump parts, or your baby’s bottles. Truly anything you sterilize or wash for your baby can go here. I have several different kinds and they have all proven useful. This one just looked cool so I thought it would be a great example of style meets parenthood for those visual parents like myself!

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#5 –  Baby Swing

Typically, bigger ticket items are purchased by the families of the parents. If you are a family member and you want to help out this is actually a great item to purchase. I had one gifted to me for my daughter. This was a real Godsend because it rocked from side to side as well as back and forth. Every time she was in it she could sleep and so could we. Great gift!

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BONUS GIFT – BABY BULLET

If you are anything like me you will want to experiment with making your own fresh baby food. Now it will take about five or six months before you are even considering this option but that time flies so fast. This is a great gift for someone who wants to try out their own recipes once their child gets old enough to eat baby food. This is thinking a bit into the future and is not necessary when the baby is first born but can be useful in the future. Still very thoughtful and forward thinking!

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How to Relax in 3 simple steps

I use a lot of products daily in my life with multiples and a toddler. Occasionally I review those products and get paid for my review. Rest assured, all thoughts are my true and honest opinion.

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Everyone knows that a mothers work is never done. In fact, mothering or parenting for that matter is a 24/8 job! (Yes, I know that there are only seven days in a week.) My point being, if there were eight days in the week, moms would work that day too! What’s funny is that sometimes we work so hard making sure that our kids are taken care of that we forget ourselves. At that point we are no longer capable to even do our best for them. How easy is it though to get lost in the sauce of parenthood? How many of you have forgotten yourself? Sometimes driving until the wheels fall off or the car is sputtering for dear life with no gas in the tank? We have all done this or at least I know I have been guilty.  Continue reading “How to Relax in 3 simple steps”

Mom Feature of the Week – Stephanie P.

“I just do my best from day to day” -Stephanie P.

This week we are featuring Stephanie, a mother of three in the DFW area. Stephanie and her husband have two young boys and recently had a baby girl. She talked to me about having her first girl, potty training her toddler son, and her ideas of success as a parent. She gives us her philosophies on parenting young children from first hand experiences to tracking her children’s milestones. A great source for anyone raising young boys, welcoming newborns, or just balancing life with three kids. Check out her interview!

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Stephanie and her husband Chad. Go Cowboys!!

 

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Wilson (top) Christian (right) and Chasity (left)

Q: What makes you feel like a success as a mom?

I feel like a success as a mom when I can make time for my kids and myself. I make mistakes everyday and when I do I change up my routine so that things fit well for all of my kids. I feel successful when I can learn from those mistakes enough to make changes. I have three kids and I am still learning so much. The last thing that makes me feel like a success as a mom is to be able to keep things organized and the schedule running smoothly. The reason that this is paramount is because it helps maintain order and gives me more time with my kids, which keeps them happy.

Q: What advice would you give a new or expectant mother?

First, do not overwork your brain. It’s great to be knowledgable and I can relate to how hard it is to stay away from Google looking things up while you’re pregnant. You should do so but don’t get overwhelmed. Being knowledgable just helps you know what’s going on with your body and your baby during your pregnancy. I recommend making a list of questions to ask your doctor to ease some of the tension about things you may find on the internet. This is so you can enjoy the experience. Second, enjoy the experience because they grow so fast. Take it all in including the advice you get from others and put it to the back of your mind. I believe that you learn best by doing. Advice is great but sometimes you have to let let life be your teacher. 

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Q: How did you document your pregnancies and kids milestones?

I have a few different ways that I have tracked milestones for my children. Taking pictures, uploading videos to You Tube, and posting updates to Facebook. I can look at the pictures and remember when, where, and how the event happened.

Wilson – I took pictures and filmed his milestones. I placed them on You Tube under “Wilsons Mommy” to share with family.

Christian – I took pictures and made videos. By the time he was born technology had made some changes so I stored everything on a USB and got a larger hard drive to store the media.

Chasity – I take tons of photos and share them on Facebook.  

Q: What were your fears and expectations of becoming a mom to a baby girl when you had all boys?

My thoughts were, girls are fun! I wanted to do her hair and come up with a lot of outfit combinations. Figuring out diaper changes, how my middle son would accept her, and balancing life were all concerns. The funny thing is that everything turned out to be a blessing. Both of my sons are very helpful in taking care of her and love her so much. Christian is like her shadow! He brings me diapers for her and when she cries he’s right there watching over her. My advice about fears is that once you pass a certain peak everything becomes routine and eventually you figure things out that are easiest for you and your family. 

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Q: Any last tips on topics related to parenting?

Potty training was hard! It was hard. Some tips I would give on that would be to travel the potty from room to room, keep the toddler in diapers when you are out in public and put on underwear or training pants inside of the house. Stop all drinks at an early time like 7 or 8 PM.