Mommy planner

So, I fell into a role with Little Apple Families. My ‘title’ is large group events coordinator. Basically, its event planning for small childrens holiday parties. I will unashamedly admit, I absolutely love doing it. Do I go overboard? Likely. My hubs, mom, boss and fellow leadership team members would probably agree. Do I get credit for being self-aware? Hahaha. As they say, “do what makes you happy.” And it does. I am beyond thankful the team is eager to help. My family also rocks. Dane will occasionally admit he enjoys some of the crafting. My mom loves it no question.

Truly, I think the best part is that it helps E more prepared for everything that happens at these things the day of. Which in turn I feel makes the entire experience go smoother for both of us, sometimes dad too! Not only that but we get to experience each holiday longer, talk about them more, prepare earlier. Now it seems we enjoy the actual day of Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc. because I was planning, preparing and READY before the last event or holiday was finished.

Loads of work at least in the research and planning department. But little man likes watching me cut, sew, draw, paint, glue, destroy my house clean my house eat sleep repeat. I occasionally let him sew which may be his favorite. 🤷‍♀️. I bet its the machine and I spent so long trying to jeep him away from it.

There are challenges involved with everything that goes into it. I actually like limitations. It requires me to get creative and solve problems. First and would have to be budget. We have a decent budget. However, we have 5 large group events to host throughout the year. Valentines, The local Saint Patricks Day Parade, an Easter egg hunt, Trunk-or-Treat, a Winter Holiday Party and a few potlucks in between. Besides new members who join throughout the year we collect dues at the beginning of the year and our last party is our largest expense. Special guests and venues can be expensive! So we have to mindful of doing things on the cheap all year long.

The next biggest challenge would be durability (not even going to talk about storing this stuff but storage is a factor). I have to make things that will last through 60 some kids. Creating things I have no attachment to but that I think will be enjoyed and are worth the time and effort if it doesn’t survive. I don’t need to be secretly crying on the inside over kids party items. This stuff has to be something I truly mind the destruction of. After the first event I helped organize I learned to anticipate damage.

Speaking of lessons learned, at last years Holiday party I realized I hadn’t planned very well. There was no accounting for the amount of work set up. No plan of attack. No concept of how much time it would take to set up. Lets also acknowledge I was not mindful of how long cleanup would take either. 🙄 We had too many crafts, too many tables, too many chairs out, to then put away. I had activities I made that didn’t get set up because I brought decor that took too long to set up. And all of us had small children in tow.

Valentines went smoother. I was for sure more cognizant of set up time, cleanup time and scaled back on how many crafts. This saved me prep time and I learned to start planning crafting deciding well in advance. Evolution? I’m evolving right? Maybe developing & improving are better words to describe the process.

So here I am about a month out from the Winter Holiday Party. Nearly everything is planned out.

Date ✅ Time ✅ Venue ✅ 🎅🏽 ✅ Activities✅ Crafts nearly decided just need narrowed down and I think we’re on track to have costs at HALF of last years!

I even was a crazy person who went and measured the venue. In my defense, I wanted to see how I could set up activities. Where they should be and how much space I should allot….I want set up to happen quickly. I may have mapped it all out too …as long as my spacing for table and chairs is on target I think It’ll all fit.

Not only do I have set up & tear down goals, I also have goals for how much crap I lug with me.

My goals for this Winter Party are:

    one tote for food supplies

– we provide napkins, plates, cups, silverware

    .
    • One tote/box for decor

&

    activities.
    One tote for crafts

– Which may fit in the same tote as decor and activities!!!!

    One chair
    One tree
    And a few items that cannot be boxed or toted.

I’ll confess I have spent my own money on a few things here and there. I try to only do that for things I think would be fun to have as a family over the years, or for E to take to school parties. So far this year I’ve only spent $27. Hot glue being a big chunk of that. My crafter box is becoming hefty. And I’ve set my sights on a Cricut. Maybe, I’ll sell some of my crafts some day on etsy. I have the perfect focus group to test quality, functionality, and interest level. 🥳

Here are sone photos of past events. Keep in mind not a lot of time can be spent taking pinterest worthy photos. and sometimes photos at all. 🤦🏽‍♀️

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Little man and Monarchs

So far E hasn’t been terribly interested in the monarchs caterpillars or butterflies. He’s looked at them and I think is more entertained at how much I like them! He’s held a caterpillar and poked one 🙄 enough to irritate it but do no damage. They are now beginning to emerge from their chrysalis’. I put one on him today and by far that’s the most Interaction he’s had with them all together. Of course it got loose in The house. I was able to quickly capture him so we could release them in the wild.

I have enjoyed doing this, this summer. I may or may not do it again next year. It will be heavily dependent if we have travel plans or not. And if E has more interest. It really is time intensive. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever do it again just that I don’t see my self committing to the indoor reading EVERY year.

If I don’t bring them inside again next year. I will look into at least netting my milkweed to help boost their survival rate.

Anyways down to the good part pictures!

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Monarch update

I have 6 caterpillars 🐛 currently. My oldest one I think is close to making its chrysalis. I will admit I have had a few casualties. (This is frustrating but I have to remind myself only 10% of eggs in the wild make it. And none of the eggs I left out on their own have made it.)

One I accidentally touched cleaning the cage (when it was newly hatched).

One escapee got smashed when I was looking for him.

One failure to thrive.

One fell into a tiny crack and I fed him for days he wouldn’t come out and I accidentally poked him with a lifeline. This one upset me the most. We were so close to a rescue.

I have definitely learned from my mistakes. And the second batch has faired much better.

Here are some photos.

The last photo is my big guy just a couple days ago. I do fear I may run out of milkweed. The 6 of them ate 3 decent sized leaves yesterday.

*update* 9/1/18

He/she is starting!

And the “littles” started or are about to molt I’m not positive bet they are somewhere between 3rd and 4th instars.

That’s all for now!

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Eventful day 

So today was a bit above average.  Started out with me waking up before E. I’d say 7-10 he’s awake before me. I’d showered gotten dressed and had my coffee before he woke up. AND mopped my bathroom!

Most all of this happens during nap time. He naps sort of early for most kids but not always. Day I want him down at 11 he’s up till 1. Days we have things to do around 12 he’s ready to go down by 11. Without fail.

So I had an informal interview or meet and greet if you will. So E got to hang out with his uncle. I thought this would be a half hour max thing and it was nearly an hour and a half. It was fun? It was an adult conversation without interruptions and it had all of my focus! So that was interesting. Haha.

I almost forgot I picked up a hitchhiker on my way!  It sorta stressed me out but this poor little high school girl was walking because she missed the bus. She actually almost caused a wreck or I wouldn’t have noticed her.  I’m not in the habit of picking up hitch hikers. Anyways she made it to second period. I did my best non-lecture lecture. “Missed the bus?” “Yeah.” “What time does the bus come?” “6:40.” “Do you walk often.” “No.” – pause- “I didn’t want to wake my papa up and get in trouble again.” “You miss the bus a lot?” “Yeah (sheepishly and embarrassed).” “You stay up late?” “Yeah (slightly annoyed and embarrassed but also acknowledging my fair point).”

Lecture over. She was grateful she was excited to make it to part of her first class. She was still nearly an hour late!! I would have died! I loved school! Anyways, I still made it fifteen minutes early to my interview.

Then I hustled to pick up E relieve my brother it was 10:30 ish when I made it there and guess who was looking pretty sleepy?? You could guess both and be right. Lol. Sorry E we had a meet up planned! Not sure I’ve mentioned it but I’m in a family group and there been some push by the leadership team for members to create some meetups and some of us met at the strawberry fields to pick your own strawberries 🍓!

E picked some! That was exciting for me!! He really liked chasing some of the big kids the most and seeing the kittens they have. He liked the kittens a bit more than my moms puppies. But the kittens were a bit older I’m guessing. Plus we have a cat. Not that he’s not around dogs because we is a lot. We went back to my moms for lunch and nap. I can help my other brother in his boat shop if E naps at my moms since it’s just across the driveway. There whole set up is super complicated to explain, so I won’t bother but if you saw it you’d get it. I want to call it a compound but then you’d think it a cult. Manor sounds way too fancy but the alliteration their last name makes with it is very nice. Organized cluster f*ck? It’s way nicer than that. Rental repair and renovation?. That’s actually not half bad and tells you a lot about what goes on at my moms house and all the shops on their property.

Okay so back to the day.

More puppies. E got to play with his friend Alexander. Dirt more dirt he did very good sharing a little tikes car. He got to play outside with his grandma. I guess he even made it in bed early.  I stayed behind to help finish working on a boat. It’s so close to done I can’t stand it but my brother isn’t feeling great and couldn’t stick around anymore and of course it’s stuff I can’t do without minimal but still needed help. So back tomorrow we go! After we go to the park and rode trains of course!  Another adventure awaits!  

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Baby gear must have list 



This is  a little collection of a few things you probably know you need for your new baby, but want an opinion as towhat to buy or put on your registry.  As well as few things you may not have heard of.  Especially if you or someone you know is having their first baby! This post is riddled with affiliate links, just warning you now. Also I have more ideas for baby shower gifts listed  here Baby Shower Gift Ideas for the Clueless.  See also Baby & Toddler Book Suggestions.


Sound Machine

Marpac Dohm Sound Machine. The sound machine isn’t something we even considered when creating a registry. It was one of those gifts I thought about returning.  But OH so THANKFUL we didn’t.  This is a lifesaver.  We keep a pretty quiet house so any noise is something E heard and still hears.  We take this on all of our trips too, older houses seem to carry more sound and when big groups of family get together noises seem to be plentiful.  This brings him a little home comfort and peace for all. 

Baby Lounger

Boppy Newborn Lounger – Geo. We were told about the lounger by family. They loved it and so did we. You probably have heard of the Boppy Nursing Pillow (adorable one with a fox and an owl here) which is also wonderful and quite the arm saver.  It was nice to be able to keep our newborn close everywhere while he was sleeping.  This is where he slept on some of his first trips too.  Not only are they cute but they aren’t super huge, they keep your baby at an incline and almost cuddle them, which is apparently awesome for colicky babies and babes who have a little reflux.

Butt cream

These are a few of our favorite butt creams we’ve tried.  They all seem to work great. my favorite part of these three, besides the working part, is that they don’t seem to linger on your fingers forever even after multiple washings. So you can eat you at some point in the day without tasting diaper cream.  Boudreaux’s is my mom’s favorite from when I was a baby.

  1. A & D
  2. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee
  3. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

Aquaphor

Recommended to us by our pediatric doctor to help with little E’s eczema. And apparently mine and also the hubs.  Neither of us knew we had eczema until E came along.  You take care of yourself so much better when you have a child! Just to add I’ve never had any problems other than dime sized patches, my whole life that my mother explained as dry skin and that I needed to moisturize better.  The husband hasn’t ever had any problem until these last couple weeks, and the Aquaphor has helped him tons!

Gripe Water/Gas Drops

Mommys Bliss Gripe Water. Gripe water, we had a huge hiccup problem, supposedly hiccups can be a sign of tiredness and I DO believe it.  However, these seemed to cure our hiccups and they are all natural.  Plus this brand doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge because it doesn’t mold, like some of the others on the market.  The original is fennel flavored and not terrible tasting, yep I tried it. They also have apple, flavorless, and drops for constipation, which we haven’t tried but if the problem should arise for a future child I not hesitate to try this brand.

Car seat with base and stroller

We ended up with the Chicco Bravo Stroller Trio System.  It folds up fairly nicely and you can use stroller with or without the Car Seat.  I love that you can leave the base in the car add another for your husband or grandma or nanny’s vehicle so there is constant swapping and readjusting! You can buy it all separate or as a trio but we do love how it maneuvers and has couple cup holders and a basket down below for all those extras you need for baby! Or you know if you decide to take off your jacket or need a spot for a picnic blanket.

  1. Chicco – Bravo Stroller Trio System
    1. Carseat and Base
    2. Stroller
    3. Extra Base

Bottles 

Dr. Browns bottles these were recommended to us by family as well. The standard size (NOT the wide mouth) fit our Medela pump travel system. So I was able to pump directly into most of his bottles,  which was great.   Although, now they have some sort of options bottle (feel free to tell me more about them if you’ve used them)! They also now have them in colors, pink, blue, lavender. And for those of you who prefer glass over plastic they carry them in glass too and you can buy them with or without silicone sleeves as seen below!

  1. Wide Mouth
  2. Standard

We learned E did better with the wide mouth bottles when he was little because  he’d put the entire little nipple in his mouth and get too much air. Speaking of nipples having the bigger sizes on hand would have been helpful you will eventually need to graduate in size as your little one grows!  Here you can find Level 2Level 3, and Level 4 wide mouth nipples.

Boon Products

We saw these and thought it was just the cutest way to make decor out of the necessities.  I will say my favorite is the Silicone bottle brush because it keeps you from scratching the inside of your bottles which could create spaces for mold to grow! Yuck!

  1. Drying Grass
  2. Silicone Bottle Brush
  3. Boon Stem

Glider

We received ours on loan from a family member.  I guess they heard we were looking and offered it up.  I think that was a total a win-win.  They needed it stored and we wanted one.  We use it everyday for reading and rocking! We are so grateful thank you B family! This one here is similar to the one we use. If we buy one in the future I would go with the same model no hesitation, however if I sat in one of those big chair gliders and loved it I may consider going for a fluffy swivel glider type.  I just took a quick glance and saw they make swivel glider recliners! WHAT?!.

Muslin swaddle blankets

E was a hot baby.  So having muslin blankets that were breathable was awesome.  Some people swear by the Aden + Anais brand and they have some super adorable sets with prints like this indigo one. Check out this Winnie the Pooh set, or this completely heart melting Bambi set.  I am getting baby fever just looking at all the new prints.  Ours were from target, and I must confess I love them, I think they were/are Swaddle Designs brand.  This is a super cute woodland theme pack by them. I may get roasted for adding this but honestly I think this brand is softer than the Aden + Anais swaddles but that could just be the ones I felt and not consistent to all of their swaddles.

Diaper Bag

So when shopping around for a diaper bag I let D in on the selection process.  I wanted him to either have his own, or one that we could both be comfortable carrying around.  I showed him both the black & grey skip hop versions and he liked the grey?! I think I was partial to the black but I have fallen in love with our grey one.  It has a nice amount of pockets and isn’t too small or too big and has a couple spots for bottles or cups.  It also now comes in Stripes, what they call Feather, Chevron, and a cute colorful triangle pattern.

Sippy Cups

Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup. I saw these before I even thought about getting pregnant and knew we had to have them.  I was amazed.  They aren’t 100% leak proof especially if you drop them but turn one upside down and you’ll see their magic work. I probably should mention E prefers to drink water or juice out of these and we have a completely different cup we put milk in that we go at our local grocery 4 for a $1.  He likes that he can take the lids off.  Which is why we only usually allow them for milk, at home and supervised.  He is actually proficient at drinking out of glass cups.  Yeah my MIL just thought it was crazy watching him drink out of a baby glass the other night while we Facetimed.  The Munchkin cups are our on the go and less supervised drinking glasses!

Milk Saver

Milkies Milk Saver. I breastfed and for those of you who will be new to this. Be forewarned the other boob with leak, while your nursing.  This little contraption catches it and saves it! Amazing! I bet you’d be shocked to kow how much you were losing into pads. Plus is saves money on Disposable Nursing Pads (this is the kind I preferred to me they felt less noticeable, and one thing as a new mother I had no idea I’d need right away), only thing is you have to buy more bags to store that extra milk in but thats a good problem to have! I will add I wish I would have had 2 so I wasn’t constantly washing and drying them in the beginning but I made it work with one! 

Wubbanub

I was so against those pacifiers with animals hanging from them.  I would NEVER let me child use one.  We got one as a gift from a couple of our closest friends.  I begrudgingly opened it one day.  The first time I gave it to E was more as just a toy to play with in the car.  He was crying and a put it in his carseat with him, he was very little at the time.  He quieted and when I glanced back he had managed to put the paci in his mouth and I was a changed woman.  When he got lost briefly my mom bought 2 more identical frogs on amazon, one for her house and one for mine incase I forgot to bring it over because I did that way too often.  See all the oh-so-adorable animals they have!

Well there you  have it my product reviews that I give my new mom friends. So here it is for all the world.  Good luck out there new parents!

If you haven’t yet started your registry for your new baby you can register on amazon from here! I get like $3 if you do. 🙂 haha

  1. Baby Penquin
  2. Dragon
  3. Elephant
  4. Fox
  5. Hippo
  6. Frog
  7. Turtle
  8. Monkey
  9. Lamb
  10. Dino
  11. Puppy
  12. Kitten
  13. Lion
  14. Tiger
  15. Longhorn Bull
  16. Duck
  17. Giraffe
  18. Little Mouse
  19. Owl
  20. Zebra

 

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