We have not stopped around here lately. Since the holidays are around the corner, and I'll be into my third trimester by the time they are done, I have felt this pressure to have as much prepared for Chloe's arrival as possible before the end of November.
One thing that was really important to me to get done well in advance of the baby's arrival was to transfer Caleb to his new bedroom and out of his crib. We decided not to purchase a new nursery set and instead we purchased Caleb a twin sized bed that he would be able to use for years to come.
I knew I didn't want a dresser in the room because his closet has great bones and I preferred some toy and book storage in there, so one of the things on my list was a bed with storage underneath. We found this set from City Furniture, and I had my heart set on it since I spotted it. It was clean, had storage, and was sturdy. It was also a reasonable price.
We asked Caleb how he wanted his room decorated and made a really big deal of having him go with us to "pick out" the bed (I actually just led him over to the bed and asked him how he liked it and he said, "Mommy, wike it," and that was that. We made a big deal on delivery day, and that weekend, he announced that he wanted to sleep in his "big boy bed." He cried once or twice the first week, but now he jumps into bed every night and hasn't given us any issues whatsoever.
The sheets, comforter, rug, and pillows are all from Target - I linked as many similar items as I could below.
The letters that spell out his name, the sign over the bed, and the cartoon sound effect signs my parents picked up at Hobby Lobby. I had seen photos of a superhero bedroom where the capes were all hung on the wall, so when hubby ordered these capes (affiliate link) from Amazon, I knew I had to do the same thing.
Heeding my friend Jessica's advice (find her juicy morsels of organizational perfection on her site, Thoughtfully Organized), I organized his books by color. It's really just so pleasing to the eye! The bookshelf and bins are from IKEA - the bins hold SO much, so there are toys stored in there.
The lettering on the wall I had done when the room was Caleb's playroom, but I decided to keep it up and I think it adds a nice touch to the room.
The trunk at the foot of the bed was a gift from my aunt - my dad painted it white and I hand lettered the top of it to personalize it some. It holds all his stuffed animals.
Once his closet was finished, I asked him if he was ready to let his little sister have his old baby room, and his reply was, "Yeah, Mommy. Baby sister Chloe my baby room. I sleep in my big boy bed." So all in all, I'd say it was a successful transition! Let's see what happens when she arrives, huh?
What do you think? A room fit for a superhero?
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A couple of years ago, we completed a major renovation on our house. We updated floors, electrical, bathrooms, and we added just about 1,000 square feet to our home. But after all of that, and furnishing the new areas of the house, as well as giving birth to Caleb (yes - I survived pregnancy while our house was being renovated - AND we lived in the house most of the renovations), we were tired, and didn't really have the energy, or the budget to update our living room the way we really wanted to.
We were still using the media console and coffee table we purchased when we got married. They were good sturdy pieces and they fit perfectly in our first condo, but they were too dark and bulky for our current space. A couple months back we decided to paint the coffee table to lighten up the space some. It tided us over for a few months, but it definitely was not what we needed.
Enter Artistic Wood Finishing, a small local company run by a husband and wife team. Eddie sent Manny & Julie photos of what we wanted, they came out to our house and measured, and in just a few weeks, they delivered. They spent a few hours at the house installing and making sure everything was perfect. Scroll down to see a before, and all the afters, along with some details and shoppable links!
We downsized and simplified the coffee table, and added a small round area rug to break up the space a little. MOST of the decor on the shelves were things we already had. But I did purchase a few items to complete the look.
Instead of glass on the doors, we decided to do a mesh, with the idea that it would give it a little more of a rustic look. We also decided on gold hardware to tie everything together perfectly.
Our space looks so clean and complete now. I finally feel like there are no major projects left in our home - although who knows - something always comes up right?
I hope you enjoyed seeing our living room update!
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If the exact items weren't available, I linked the most similar I could find!
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
I realized recently that Caleb is 2.5, and I've yet to share about his room with you all! When i first found out I was pregnant with Caleb, we had no idea if we would be having a boy or a girl. But I found a nursery I loved and I never ended up finding anything I liked more. So Caleb's nursery was chosen basically from the very beginning of my pregnancy.
I wanted something that was very gender neutral, that was good quality, simple, and that I could use for future babies. We zoned in on this Restoration Hardware Crib and dresser and purchased it during an end of summer sale. We also went ahead and ordered the conversion kit to make it a toddler bed, but since he has been sleeping well, we haven't made the plunge and switched it over yet.
The walls are covered in wallpaper that looks almost like linen. We purchased the wallpaper at Sherwin Williams and had it professionally installed.
We also knew we wanted animals to feature greatly in the room. The two elephant baskets that hold diapers and supplies are from Pottery Barn, as is the bedding, and the white animal heads hanging on the walls are from ZGallerie.
I originally had my heart set on a rocker from Pottery Barn, but by the time we made a decision, they were majorly on backorder and wouldn't have arrived until after Caleb was 3 months old or something like that. So I found an old fashioned rocking chair on Wayfair, and purchased that for less than $200.
About two months ago, I decided that Caleb's closet needed some major reorganizing. So does every other closet in the house, but that's for another day. With some help and guidance from my friend Jessica over at Thoughtfully Organized, I was able to purge a lot of stuff he no longer needed and purchased baskets to organize the odds and ends in his closet. I purchased all the baskets in his closet at Target.
I tried to utilize some of the wasted space by attaching Command hooks in the closet so we could hang smaller backpacks and items.
These larger baskets are perfect for Caleb's collection of hats and for extra diapers. I also purchased these at Target.
What's your favorite part of your child's room? I'd love to hear all about it!
I'm always interested to hear what other parents consider their absolutely must-haves. For some parents, it's certain toys, for others it's a food product. Our top must-haves in our house vary, but these are the things that have gotten the most use in our house over the course of the last 2 years. I'm including links to the products to make for easy shopping (I got you).
And there you have it! The items we absolutely cannot live without in our house!
I'd love to hear your must-have items - leave them in the comments section below!
*This post is not sponsored.
If you know anything about me, you know I am all about ease. Whatever makes my life easier, I'm all about it. So why would I be any different when it comes to making meals for my family?
When it comes to cooking, the less I have to prep, the less I have to dirty, and the less I have to clean, the better! Which is why I absolutely love these Aidells All Natural Chicken Meatballs. They are tasty and I can read every single ingredient in the ingredients list. They come fully cooked, so all you need to do it heat and eat. Best of all, Caleb and Eddie love them too! I actually always have two packs on hand, for nights when I forget to pull something out or plan a meal or just in case we end up with last minute company, I can always throw these on the frying pan and have a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner.
This combination is one of my favorites because it's tasty, and the colors look gorgeous together, don't they? It's also a one-pan meal, so there's that, too.
I buy a packaged butternut squash at Publix, it already comes chopped (again, all about easy) and vacuum sealed so it will last longer in your fridge.
Friends, it doesn't get much easier than that! Enjoy!
Some days, going outdoors isn't really an option. Whether there are sickies in your house, the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like putting on pants (hey girl, I feel you!), sometimes you need to keep those kiddos entertained indoors. And while I am the first to admit that I use my TV pretty often, I also like to have Caleb do engaging activities that hold his interest for a little longer than 5 minutes.
Sensory play is anything that engages your child's senses. Sensory play is important in helping your child explore the world. It also helps them to naturally use scientific processes, problem solve, and develop skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. PBS Parents has a really informative article on why sensory play is so important.
Most of these activities require little prep, and I actually keep everything stored in a box and just pull it out a couple times a week. Once you have all the tools it's actually fairly easy to incorporate these activities into playtime a couple times a week.
If you check on Pinterest, there are hundreds of activities you could do with your little one. I'm only focusing on five that are tried and true in our house..
Sensory Rice Box
I bought an underbed storage box, filled it with rice, and bought a couple of tools so he could play. The same tools are actually used for multiple activities. There are: measuring spoons, fine motor skills tool set, plastic tongs, and little construction trucks. He's snuck a few other toys in there over the months but those are generally the tools he uses in there. I know many people do this using beans, but when we started doing it, Caleb was still pretty small and putting everything in his mouth. Even if uncooked rice would give him a tummy ache, it wasn't a choking hazard, whereas a dry bean could be.
Level of ease: Very easy once you have the tools, but cleanup can be a nightmare if you don't prep for it. Pro tip: use a fitted sheet with the ends propped up on the sides to keep the rice contained and make for easy cleanup!
We did this just yesterday, with zero prep or advance thought. I realized I was out of paper towels and decided to do something with the roll since I had a cranky toddler. I cut the roll in half, and covered one end of each with paper. I had him fill them about halfway. We used garbanzos and couscous because that's what we had on hand, but you can use rice, pasta, any kind of dry bean, cheerios, etc. With the garbanzos, I also practiced counting with him. Once they were filled, we covered the other end and had a dance party! A friend also reminded me that this can be down its water bottles, which probably makes it quite a bit easier!
Level of ease: Easy. But not very independent. If you're looking for something to keep them busy without you having to work, this isn't the activity for you. lol
Pom poms keep Caleb entertained for over an hour. There are so many things you can do with them: counting, color sorting, size sorting. He likes to transfer them from one place to another. A lot of times I will pour them all into a big mixing bowl and give him the muffin tin and his fine motor tool set and let him do as he pleases. This day I just put some on the floor and some in the muffin tin and let him use the tools to move them around as he pleased.
Level of ease: SUPER. Literally just dump everything and let them go.
Strainer & Pipe Cleaners
This is another super easy activity. The strainer is in my kitchen, so I just thread a few pipe cleaners through the holes and have him do the same. Sometimes he does it, sometimes the game is pulling them all out, but it keeps him busy for a little bit.
Level of ease: Eh. Doesn't keep him busy for a super long time, and threading those pipe cleaners can be a pain in the ass.
No Mess Painting
I fill Ziploc baggies with some paint, tape it down to chart paper, and put the chart paper on the window. Taping the baggies down keeps them in place, and I love the effect of the light coming through the paint, which is why I attach it to the window.
Level of ease: Semi-easy. Requires a little bit of prep with the taping and such, but I typically leave this up for days.
There you have it! Five sensory ideas that will keep your kids busy for a good amount of time! Incorporate them as you feel your child needs it - one a day, a couple a week, once a week. Below is a photo of how I store the tools, pom poms, and rice. I usually have the pipe cleaners in there too, not sure where they are at the moment. haha
What other fun activities do you do with your kids around the house? I'd love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments below!
This is not a sponsored post.
Before you start reading, this isn't going to be one of those funny breakdowns of my day where I tell you I had to reheat my coffee three times and I still drank it cold (I actually drink my coffee hot most mornings thanks in part to Disney Junior and a good breakfast for Caleb). But anyway, read on to see what I mean.
If you follow me on Instagram and check out my stories, you might have seen me post this list yesterday. I was cleaning out my nightstand, and tucked into an old notebook I found this list. What is this list, you might ask? Well, apparently, I had very lofty (and quite delusional) goals when we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom. I also clearly did not have a child at that point or realize how much of my day would be consumed by a tiny tyrant. I mean, look at that list. I had photo shoots on Mondays, but never once accounted for the hours I put into editing. I had a field trip one day a week. Get out of the house ONE day a week? That's it? I would have lost my damn mind.
When I showed this list to Eddie last night, we had a good laugh, and he said, "So how's that working out?" When I responded that I must have been delusional, he said, "It's okay - you're doing a damn good job of keeping this house together, regardless of whether or not you have stuck to a schedule." Hey, I'll take that!
So I'm going to break down for you how my typical chores get done. It's not super organized and it isn't fullproof, but it works for me and I typically get most of the stuff I need to get done, done - without being a slave to my home or chores.
Cleaning - I'm going to be totally honest, I have a cleaning lady who comes every other Friday and does the cleaning in my house. So I can't give you a deep cleaning schedule. But I do maintain the house in between her visits. That means that about two or three times a week I clean my floors (they are the most unforgiving floors aside from white floors so I always feel like they are dirty - and I can't vaccuum because Bella goes nuts). My kitchen gets wiped down on a daily basis, because I basically wipe down all the countertops and clean the sink every time I cook. Bathrooms get the wipe down when they look like they need it, or when people are coming over (we have a half bath for guests and we almost never use that, so it's always pretty clean). I use a wet dust rag once a week to wipe down the other furniture surfaces, and that's about it! Floors are the biggie for me.
Food - Okay so I suck at meal planning. I have tried it. I typically have an idea of what I will make in the week, and I don't usually do anything super complicated. I may write a rough outline in my planner of what meals I'll make for the night, but its usually meals with few ingredients that are easy to put together - typically a protein and a veggie, sometimes a starch of some kind will be thrown in there. If it's too complicated, I won't do it, so KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is my motto. I try to get to the grocery store early in the morning, early in the week. If later in the week I realize I have run out of something, I use Shipt and have it delivered (follow that link and get $10 in free groceries and two weeks free). It gets rid of the temptation of stuff I don't need and I don't spend extra money.
Laundry - This is my biggest hurdle. I don't mind sorting, washing, or even folding. I hate hate hate putting laundry away. Sometimes it will sit on the couch in our room for over a week before it gets put away (whoops). But it's clean, right?! I usually spread laundry out over the course of the week. Caleb's clothes on Monday and one load of ours (usually darks since this is what we wear the most). Tuesday I'll do the rest of our clothes. Wednesday is towels and bath rugs. Thursdays is bed linens. I'm also guilty of having to wash clothes a second time because it never got transferred to the dryer. Hey, just putting it all out there.
Ironing - I don't do this anymore unless I have Caleb out of the house for an extended period of time. It's just too dangerous. Anything that needs to be ironed just goes to the drycleaner.
Picking up - I try to pick up as much as possible in the evenings. Once Caleb has gone to sleep is the easiest time to get it done. When I do this it also makes for a smoother morning because I don't feel like I'm walking through a war zone first thing in the morning.
Bills/E-Mail/Editing/Blogging - These usually get done first thing in the morning, while I'm having coffee and Caleb is having breakfast. Whatever I don't get to gets done during naptime and during any downtime we may have throughout the day.
A great tool I have found to help me keep track of chores is Any.Do. It's an app that syncs up with my calendar, lets me know what tasks I have to complete, and since I love to check things off, it's a really helpful visual tool for me. Sometimes the weeks blur together and I don't remember if I have washed the towels, but this app helps me keep track of what I have and haven't done. I can put tasks on a weekly reminder so I don't have to enter them all the time. It's really convenient, and can be installed across several devices!
So there you have it. My fantasies versus my reality. I wouldn't have it any other way, but it is certainly not what I pictured! I hope this helps you if you are still struggling with being a "perfect" stay-at-home mom (newsflash: there's no such thing! You're amazing!).
Have any more tips on how to get your household duties done? Leave them in the comments below!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.