What to register for with your baby registry, and what not to waste time on.

There are a few things that every mom is excited for before the birth of her baby.

Few things are more exciting than picking out colors and a theme for the baby’s nursery. I love the modern look of just a simple color scheme of gold and pink for a little girl, or blue and lime green for a little boy. There’s also the little woodsmen theme with moose and bear silhouettes and a TON of red and black plaid. I’ve seen some precious painted murals of fairy trees, or mermaid treasure coves for little girls.

Then there’s picking out a name. What if it’s a girl? or a boy? Will he be a junior, or the third? Will she have your grandmother’s name? Should the baby have a name that combines both mom and dad’s name? Naming them something that gives homage to the time, place, or significant event surrounding their, ehhrrrrr, conception is fun. You definitely want a strong, remember-able name; something that won’t get them picked on their entire life. And take it from someone who never found their name on anything at a theme park, different can be a good AND bad thing.

Lastly, there’s the baby shower. The last celebration for the mother before everything thereafter becomes about the baby. Let’s face it, once the baby arrives, the mom is chopped liver. Ok, ok, maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but really, it’s all about the baby. Hopefully, your friend or family member does an awesome job of coming up with the decor, menu, and games. But the whole purpose behind a baby shower is for the mother to get showered with gifts for the baby to relieve some of the expensive burden of bringing and maintaining another life into this world.

After having three beautiful babies, and baby showers, I’ve become somewhat of a self proclaimed expert on the subject. There’s a few things that people will know that you need. Diapers, wipes, and clothes. Most people will buy diapers and clothes in various styles and sizes, so don’t waste your time registering for those. If you receive too much or not enough of a certain size or style of diaper, or if you simply don’t like the brand, you can always exchange them. The same goes for clothes. If you receive multiple of a certain outfit, just exchange them later. The following is a list of things that I definitely think are worth registering for so that your friends and family know exactly what to spend their money on.

  1. Bottles- I used Avent bottles for my girls. I breast fed, and the nipple on the Avent bottles was closer to the natural shape and size of the breast and caused less nipple confusion for my girls. The bottle shape itself is very ergonomical and fits the hand well. I loved the wide mouth on the bottles, it really made pouring breast milk, and water and formula in the bottle with one hand while bouncing a baby on your hip, a lot easier. It also had a vent built into the nipple which kept me from having to remove the bottle from the baby’s mouth to vent during the most inopportune times. A lot of my mom friends liked the Dr. Brown’s bottles because of the vent as well.
  2. Bottle warmer- I never had a bottle warmer, but I really, REALLY, wish I had. It would have made things so much easier during those mid-night and early morning feedings. Some warmers that I’ve seen great reviews on are Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer , Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer and Breast Milk Warmer, and Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer.
  3. Wipe Warmer- I highly recommend registering for a wipe warmer, and if you dont get one at your shower, BUY one yourself. Spend the money. Just do it. I mean, imagine being half asleep and waking to go pee. You relieve yourself, reach over and get tissue to wipe yourself, and it’s cold and wet. You would instantly be fully awake and probably a little cranky, right? Same goes for your little cherub. Now, if you reached over and had a warm, comforting wipe to wipe your tooshie with you would feel much better, right? They do too. Sometimes you can even get away with an entire diaper change without disturbing your sleeping beauty too much.
  4. Boppy– This pillow will be your savior. It’s super helpful in holding the baby’s weight while you bottle or breast feed your baby. If you happen to have a c-section (bless your heart), you really need one of these. It relieves pressure off of your stomach while holding your baby. It can also be used later to elevate the baby in a semi-sitting position. They come in many different covers so that you can keep them switched out and washed.
  5. Target Baby Registry

  6. Car seat and stroller combo- This is something great to put on your registry because many times, co-workers or ladies at the church may want to go in together to get you a big gift. There’s soooo many to choose from. They come in many styles and colors, so registering for the set that you like will take a lot of the guess work out for your guests. Make sure to check the reviews and make sure there aren’t any recalls on the set you pick out. A set that transitions as the child grows is ideal. The best places to go to register for this big ticket item is Amazon, Wal-Mart, Babies-R-Us, or Target.
  7. Formula dispenser- These are life savers for when you are traveling with your baby. Avent, Munchkin , and Nuby are some of my favorites.
  8. Diaper bag-You need to register for a diaper bag that comes with a large bag, and a smaller travel bag. The travel bag will come in handy for the average run to the grocery store, the park, or Target. The large diaper bag is for daycare or longer trips where you will need several changes of clothes, and extra diapers, wipes, and formula. Make sure the bag is easily cleanable. Cotton bags are much harder to wipe down.

Now, there’s a few things not to waste your time on. This is either because people are going to buy them for you anyway or because they’re worthless.

  1. Diapers- Like I said above, people are going to buy you the brand and size that they want to. Most places like Wal-Mart and Target realize this and allow for exchanges. My two favorite brands are HUGGIES and Pampers . I know they’re a little more expensive, but they really do hold up better. I wish that the Honest Brand diapers would have been around when I had my kids. If anyone has any feedback for me, please post it here in the comments so that other moms can get a fair idea of that brand. You may also have to try different brands on your baby because, just like with our underwear, different styles will fit each child differently, regardless of what the diaper companies may tell you.
  2. Pacifiers- Love them or hate them, no baby shower would be complete without about a dozen of these. Just save your time and don’t register for them. If you receive some, just return or exchange them.
  3. Burping diapers- This is another thing that people are probably going to get you regardless of what you want. They come in different sizes and patterns but I recommend the cheap, white burping clothes. The clothes are going to be puked on over, and over, and over again. Save your sanity and buy the white ones that you can just throw in the washing machine and bleach the heck out of.
  4. Blankets- You will probably get a couple dozen blankets and receiving cloths. Living in south Georgia, I rarely had a need for thick blankets. The receiving blankets however, they went everywhere with us, and in multiples. They are great for throwing down when you need to change your baby, blocking a spring breeze from the baby’s stroller or car seat, a make shift burp cloth, and a cover up for when you’re breast feeding. This is something that people will buy you because they’re cheap and cute.
  5. Toys- Unless there is something that you just really, really have your heart set on for your little one, chances are you’re going to get enough stuffed toys, rattles, and chew toys to last the baby until it’s fifth birthday.

I could really go on and on with this list….it brings back such fond memories. But, I guess it’s your turn now. If you are a veteran parent like me, what are some things that you recommend picking or leaving out of your list? Or, if this is your first rodeo, what are somethings that you really have your heart set on and why? Comment below!

 

Until next time, xoxoxo

Desiree

 

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Top 5 bloggers to follow if you want to learn how to blog!

farmto tableWhen I first began researching how to start a blog, there was no small amount of resources to turn to. There’s books, audio books, webinars, blogs, Google, and the holy grail, Pinterest! I could literally spend HOURS on Pinterest soaking up all the amazing pins about hosting, affiliate marketing, e-mailing, branding, and product development. It’s really sensory overload. But I started to notice a trend…in the vast sea of blogging professionals, a few names started to stick out to me. Their pin boards and titles were seriously attention grabbing, and once I clicked through and started to read, their personalities and material just really jumped off the screen and made me want to soak it all up!

In the months since starting my blog, I’ve joined these bloggers’ email lists, some of their Facebook groups, and taken several of their courses. I’ve learned so, so much. And I’m working on implementing many of their tips and tricks. I’m really hoping to turn this blog into something that one day another future blogger can refer back to as having made a difference for the development of their blog. And these 5 blogs have done the same for me.

1. Start a Mom Blog with Suzi Whitford- Suzi has a contagious excitement and motivation. She makes learning about blogging enjoyable and personal. She’s developed a signature course called Blog By Number that I’ve learned a tremendous amount from. You go through the course at your own speed, and she is so open to helping you if you have any questions. She incorporates her family into the course and her blog and shows you that you really can balance having a successful business and be a rockstar mom.

2. Mommy on Purpose with Carly- Carly focuses more on home and mommy tips and tricks, so her blogging tips don’t just hit you over the head (and let’s be honest, that’s kind of refreshing sometimes, right?). Her course though…freaking terrific! I really enjoy her e-mails too. They’re personal and full of extras like blog planners, printables, etc. And bonus, she’s not spammy.

3. Believe In a Budget with Kristin Larsen- Kristin is a budget blogger and Pinterest guru. I’ve learned a lot from her about how to grow my blog with Pinterest. Kristin, along with Gina Horkey, has developed a course called Become a Pinterest VA Today. I haven’t taken the course YET, but I’m dying to. The course is so popular that there’s a waitlist!

4. The Sweetest Digs with Gemma Bonham-Carter- Gemma is a DIY home décor on a budget blogger who also knows a thing or two about blogging. I was first turned onto Gemma’s blog because she offered a too good to pass up opt-in of stock photos. Then, her emails sucked me in, and once I joined her Facebook group and saw how much she fosters growth within the blogger community, I was hooked! She has a great resource library for those who join her e-mail list, and her videos are super helpful (plus her Canadian accent is super fun).

5. Writing Revolt with Jorden Roper- Talk about personality! Jorden is an in your face, that’s how it is, REAL person. You can instantly recognize what people mean when they speak of branding when you see her pins and blog. She has a cohesive design to her pins that flow seamlessly into her blog and e-mails. Jorden teaches you how to become a bad ass freelance writer and blogger with personality. Her e-mail opt in includes free lessons on exactly how to get started as a freelance writer which can also be converted over to your very own blog. Just go look her up….you can thank me later!

 

I hope you get something out of this list, I know I sure have. Who are some of your top bloggers, mompreneurs, freelancers? Let me know!

Love you all! XOXO

 

 

Homemade Country Cornbread & Peach Cobbler

Last night I made ham and lima beans with rice and cornbread. Talk about comfort food at it’s finest! My littlest said, “My momma cooks soooo good!”. Talk about making a mom smile! After dinner I realized that I still had a half a pan of cornbread left. My crew doesn’t really eat cornbread for breakfast and I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I pondered up a way to use it. I remembered that my Granny would use leftover cat head biscuits from breakfast for cobbler, and I thought, why not??

So I present to you, Homemade Country Cornbread and Peach Cobbler….

I took the same cast iron pan that I cooked my cornbread for dinner in and placed several cubes of regular salted butter. The pan went into a pre-heated oven (375 degrees) for about 5 mins. This allows the pan to be nice and warm and gives a good base for the next step.

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I then then crumbled up the remaining left over cornbread and spread it evenly over the melted butter. At this point, I could have just eaten the cornbread and butter mixture straight from the pan, but I figured my curvy hips didn’t need any help…..so, onto the next step.

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I had a quart size bag of fresh peaches that I had put up from the summer in the freezer that I popped into the microwave for a quick defrost. If you have fresh peaches that works too. I would add 1/2 cup brown sugar to the peaches and allow them to sit for a few minutes while your butter is melting in the oven. The sugar allows juices from the peaches to release and makes a really nice syrup. If you only have canned peaches, that works as well. As long as you have about 2 cups of peaches it really doesn’t matter. Spread the peaches over the cornbread crumble and prepare the cobbler dough.

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In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup of self rising flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup milk (I use 2% but whatever you have is fine). Whisk that all together and pour haphazardly over the peaches.

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Next, chop up several more cubes of regular salted butter over the top of the cobbler dough and place the pan in the oven.

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Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will begin to notice the sides rising and looking crusty as the cast iron almost fries the dough as it bakes. I mean really, what says southern more than butter, dough, cast iron, cornbread, and peaches?

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You’ll know the cobbler is done by utilizing the wiggle test. No, not the wiggle test you use to fit into your jeans! You grab the pan by the handle (please use a pot holder), and wiggle the pan back and forth. The center of the cobbler will still look a little doughy but when you wiggle it, you shouldn’t see a wiggle in the middle. Maybe a jiggle, but not a wiggle! 😉

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When there is no longer a wiggle, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Get a big bowl, a large slice of cobbler, and plop a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy!

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What kind of dessert just screams comfort food to you? Can you remember making a special dessert with your mother or grandmother?

Until next time, happy baking!

Love you all! XOXO

Wedding Garlands

hero-wedding-garland

Wedding Garlands can make such a huge impact! Try magnolia leaves for a low budget, high impact decoration.

(*disclaimer* this is a guest post from FTD, I have in no way been compensated for this post, rather, I thought it would be beneficial to my readers)
Saying that wedding planning is hard, is certainly an understatement. From choosing the dress, the dinner menu, and the venue, it’s certainly a lot to take in for a bride-to-be. Of course, the goal is to pull off a wedding that both you and your guests will remember forever, and the best way to make a statement is through your wedding decor!
Wedding garlands are one of the most popular ways to decorate your wedding, and there are so many ways to get creative with them. To help inspire your wedding decor, FTD came up with these creative wedding garland ideas below. These unique arrangements include fun elements such as arrangements using florals, ribbons, photos and even paper cranes and will certainly help you make a statement that everyone will remember.
Check out the ideas below and get inspired!wedding-garland-car
photo by: http://jenhuangphoto.com/

Six Easy Steps to Home-made Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

 

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How many of you struggle to come up with new ideas for dinner? I don’t know about you but sometimes the deciding what to fix is harder than the fixing itself. Anytime you ask your family what they would like for dinner you’re probably met with the dreaded “I don’t know!” Ughh!

Well tonight, we had a ‘Take it back Tuesday’ to an oldie but a goodie. We love having breakfast for dinner at our house. Usually that constitutes pancakes and bacon or bacon, eggs, and grits. But tonight, I took it a little more comfort food style. And the amazing part is that it’s soooo easy and quick. We had homemade sausage gravy over biscuits with scrambled eggs. Rarely do my children rave about something I’ve made, but tonight they asked me to make it again tomorrow night! #winning If that’s not something to brag about I don’t know what is!

So, if you’re ready to be a super hero in the kitchen tonight, or in the morning, here’s 6 easy steps to get you going.

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1) Bake some biscuits…don’t feel the need to hand make Biscuits, save yourself some time, and anxiety, and just pop a can of Pillsbury and bake accordingly.

2) Brown a 1 pound tube of ground sausage. I used mild, but you can use whatever you’re family has a taste for. DO NOT DRAIN! I know this is counter intuitive, and uber unhealthy, but…this is comfort food, not fit food. You can thank me later.

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3) Add 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour. Stir thoroughly until the sausage is coated and begins to look thickened. This takes about 5 minutes.

4) Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of milk. I used 2%, but only because that is what I had on hand. You want to cook at medium heat and stir continuously to prevent the milk from scalding. The gravy will begin to thicken after a few minuses.

5) Salt and Pepper to taste. I tend to like more pepper than salt in my gravy. Keep in mind that the sausage itself will have some salt already, so be careful not to over salt! Make sure to taste your gravy before you serve it!

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6) Serve your gravy over open faced biscuits along side some scrambled eggs and fruit for a well rounded meal. Enjoy!

Is there an easy comfort food that’s your go to? What’s your favorite thing to cook for dinner?

Until next time,

Love to you all! XOXO

Desiree

 

Raising the Strong-Willed Child

imageI became really spoiled after I had my first child. She was a very mild mannered, laid back, self soothing, smiling, loving baby. Everyone told me how lucky I was because she rarely cried, she was on a good sleeping schedule very early on, and as she grew she was easy to handle and well-mannered. Fast forward 5 years, and it was time for baby #2.

Almost immediately I could see the difference between my two girls. My new born was the complete opposite of her sister. She was very demanding, cried a lot, and wanted to be held all the time. Often times I would have to wear a Baby Bjourn with her in it to even wash dishes or sweep. Talk about stressing a mom out! When she turned about six months old, her impatience began. She wanted what she wanted, how she wanted, when she wanted or there was going to be trouble. Now, I’m a loving, stern, “because I said so” mom. We had a huge problem!

I loved my child, but I didn’t like her. GULP….that was hard to admit. I mean what kind of mom can say that?! I would literally sit on the porch stairs and cry almost every day and think “Lord, I can’t do this!” Luckily, one day while at the pediatrician’s office, I saw an article in a half ripped magazine that read “Conflicting Personalities in parents and their children.” I was intrigued. It covered intellectual parents vs. sporty child, neat parents vs. messy kid, laid back parent vs. strong willed child, among others.I quickly realized that my child was strong willed.

Strong willed children are often described as impatient, bossy, argumentative, manipulative, fussy, and difficult. I found many of these things to be true with my daughter. She had mood swings of anger and frustration and had a hard time expressing her anger in an appropriate way. She was always very particular about how things were going. She doesn’t like to wait for anything. She always wants to be right, and more importantly to prove me wrong. No amount of discipline would work. If I fussed, she shut down. If I begged, she shut down.  I could promise her the sun and the moon, but if I was going against her I was wasting my breath.Finally, after some research, I figured out a few things.

Strong-willed children need to feel like they’re understood and that their opinion matters. Sometimes all it takes for my child to snap out of her “mood” is for me to allow her to vent to me and explain why she’s feeling this way. I may not agree with how she’s acting, but usually I can understand and relate to her feelings. Verbalize to your child that you do understand! After that, suggest ways they may fix the situation, or offer another option that your child can agree with.

Getting cooperation with your child usually requires giving them choices, but only offer them choices that still end in the desired result. For instance, I have  a list of certain things that must be done every night before my daughter can go to bed. It’s up to her in what order she does them and how long it takes her do them. She is in control of her time. If she takes too long, her TV or free time decreases.

Make sure they know what to expect. From my experience, my child does so much better when she knows ahead of time if something is changing. For example, if every Tuesday night the family goes to the grandparents’ to eat dinner, but this Tuesday night you have a business meeting to attend, let your child know ahead of time and explain why you’re not going to Grandma’s and that the family will go the next Tuesday. Generally, my daughter will be much more level headed and calm because she was included in the plan making. Crisis averted.

Stand your ground. It can be really easy to give in and let your child have their way because you’re tired of hearing the fussing, but if it’s an issue that you feel matters don’t back down! You certainly want your child to feel that they’re a vital part of your family and can have their own opinion. They need to realize tho that you are the commander and chief and have their best interest at heart. With that being said….

Realize that everything isn’t life or death. If your child wants to wear her fuzzy pink sweater with her green and purple polka dotted shorts and black and white Mary Jane’s….who cares. She needs to figure out her own style! Anyone that has kids can relate! If she refuses to eat her dinner, explain to her that she will be hungry if she doesn’t eat and if she still refuses to eat, let her go to bed. She will soon realize, and hopefully learn, that she doesn’t like being hungry and will eat her dinner from now on.

Happily, my daughter and I now get along amazingly (most of the time). And it’s wonderful! I see her being a leader and doing great things one day! Smart, determined, organized, outspoken, and self-assured….sounds like a natural born world changer to me!

Whew!! That was alot guys! If you’ve made it through this L O N G post, thank you!! This post is really close to my heart and I hope it helps someone.

If you have any similar stories, or suggestions, or questions, please drop me a comment!

Love to you all! XOXO

Desiree

Wedding Trends for 2017

imageOne of my favorite things to do is to help people design and carry out their perfect wedding. I get just as impassioned putting together color schemes and flower combinations for other peoples’ weddings as I would my own. I mean really people….I obsess. What makes designing weddings so exciting is that, just like with fashion, trends change every year! Sure, there will be the tried and true elements, but even those take on a new spin every few decades or so. This year is no different.

  • One of the shifts we are seeing is the shift to smaller, more intimate weddings. Smaller doesn’t mean unimpressive though! People, especially millennials, are opting to have 50-100 guests at their wedding. This allows the couple to have more extravagant decor, entertainment, or food.
  • Many couples are choosing to travel and say their vows in a location significant to both of them and combine their wedding with the honeymoon. In order to include their family and friends into the special occasion, the couples will host a large reception full of fun and food when they return.
  • AND THE PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR IS…..Greenery! And the wedding industry is no different! All shades of green are going to be coveted this year for anything wedding related. Sage, emerald, lime, bold, ALL greens.
  • The color wheel is steering away from the pastels, and more into bold, unexpected colors and color combinations. Although, the wedding industry is seeing a huge up-tick in dusty colors. Think dusty sage, smokey grey, dusty ash blue.
  • Speaking of colors, patterns are making a huge come back! We will see more brides focus on patterned linens for tables and chair coverings. Large, bold floral prints in different textures will be a must. I expect to see patterned chargers or plates for table settings.
  • Metallics are changing from bright gold and silver into more muted, flat golds. Silver will tend to be foiled instead of shiny. Copper,bronze, and rose gold will take center stage in the metal categories.
  • Wedding dresses will be more traditional with long sleeves, lace, and low cut backs.
  • Veils are a thing of the past. In their place are emerging crowns made of flowers and dainty, intricately woven metals.
  • Lastly, weddings will be more laid back, intimate, Bo-ho natural inspired affairs.

What are some of the trends you hope to see, or not see this year?

Love to you all and happy wedding planning!

XOXO