Here’s my best baby registry tips for all you first time moms who are totally overwhelmed by the number of baby products on the market today! (For the record, I was completely overwhelmed too!)

Make sure to read these baby registry tips before you create your own registry! These smart, savvy and practical tips will help you register for the RIGHT items! Great for first time moms!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!

Creating a baby registry can be overwhelming. Period. You’re trying to decide what products (most of which you’ve likely never heard of before … merlin suit?!) you need to help take care a new person you’ve never even met. It’s also one of a zillion things you’re trying to do before the baby is born. Or just 100 things 🙂 .

Before we had our son, I’d never changed a diaper before. Besides diapers and wipes, I didn’t know what else was needed for a diaper change.

While I had no idea how I was going to take care of our new little one, I was determined to be practical about the purchase we were going to make. Here’s some of the baby registry tips I learned along the way:

1 Rocking Chair: You can spend more on a rocking chair than a used car. While I didn’t go that route, I did research quite a bit. Not all chairs are made the same and some are MUCH more comfortable than others. I was surprised at how few chairs had tall backs. While it’s ideal to test out the chairs in person, reviews are helpful.

I’m so happy we opted for a dark colored chair. Milk spills and baby spit up are an everyday occurrence. I cringe to think of what our chair would look like if it were white or cream. Here’s the rocking chair we purchased. (PS… It has a tall back)

2 Baby clothing: Yes, baby blue, light pink and white make for adorable baby clothes. But guess what’s not so adorable? Light colored clothes that show stains all over. Diaper blowouts are a real thing and stained outfits are no fun. No Declan isn’t dressed in black every day, but I intentionally registered for some darker colored onesies and outfits

3 Same thing goes for bibs. I don’t understand why white cotton bibs even exist. From personal experience, caked on sweet potato puree doesn’t come off. After I learned this, Declan’s bibs got washed maybe once a week. Gross? Yeah maybe. But you probably can’t tell which ones have been washed recently and which haven’t. While it’s inevitable that bibs will get stained, I tried to stick with dark colored ones. Or better yet, these plastic ones.

[Psst! Join me on Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with my latest posts and ideas]

Make sure to read these baby registry tips before you create your own registry! These smart, savvy and practical tips will help you register for the RIGHT items! Great for first time moms!

4 Think outside the box – room decorations, bookshelves, etc. If you need it, people will buy it 🙂 .

5 I really wanted our nursery to be complete well before Declan arrived. So on my Amazon registry I marked all the nursery decoration items as ‘priority’ so that friends & family would select those items first. I’m a huge fan of registering at Amazon. I even wrote a whole blog post about why.

6 I wanted a nice diaper bag. Make sure you think about how you’ll use it. Some people like the backpack one. Others want smaller ones, or larger. Some want fancy leather ones. I registered for a this-doesn’t-look-like-a-diaper-bag diaper bag at Land of Nod. It makes me feel like something I have on is put together even when I’m feeling (and looking) like a mess.

7 Just because everyone else is buying it, it doesn’t mean you should. It’s REALLY helpful to understand what products are useful to others. Just know that there’s no ‘every single parent in the entire world must have this product’.

8 Make sure your registry has a variety of price points. Some people don’t like adding really expensive items to their registry, but keep in mind that your friends/family can join together to purchase those bigger items. (Several of my college friends purchased our crib for us).

9 Consider your storage space. Many baby items have a very short lifespan. A bassinet may only last 6 months, a Bumbo seat may end up only being usable for a month. Do you want items that can double dip (pack & play with a bassinet on top) or that fold up compact when not in use (this bouncer)? If you’ve got limited space, don’t worry. More and more products on the market are foldable and/or have multiple uses!

10 I found it was worth spending on items that would make my life easier as opposed to picking out cutest wash cloth and towel set possible.

Make sure to read these baby registry tips before you create your own registry! These smart, savvy and practical tips will help you register for the RIGHT items! Great for first time moms!

11 Ask your friends for their recommendations, but also take it a step further, WATCH them use the product in action. While you may have never given a baby a bath before, watching a friend bath her baby will give you an idea of what products you may need. (Do you want a foldable bath tub? Do you want a special matt for the floor?)

12 Strollers & car seats: I found that most baby items can be evaluated online. But if I was to go into the store to take a look at an item, it would be the stroller and car seat. (This is the travel system we got. It’s great for tall parents!)

13 Return the gifts you don’t want. Ok, this one sounds mean. A friend gave me this idea and it was a game changer. We all get gifts that aren’t on our registry. Sometimes it’s a fun surprise and something you end up really using. Other times, it’s a duplicate item or something that you just don’t need. Most of the big retailers (Target, Buybuy Baby, Walmart) will accept the item without a reciept if they sell it in their store and give you store credit. Each store will have a different policy on their returns, but if you know you’re not going to use the item, it’s worth it!

14 Sizing: I recommend registering for clothing at LEAST 3 months or larger. You’ll receive clothing gifts not on your registry. People love to buy cute baby clothes. And most people won’t get you the larger sizes. Babies grow so quickly in the first couple months that even if you don’t have lots of newborn clothes, they likely won’t need them for long.

15 No matter how much you prepare prior to your baby arriving, you’ll need to purchase items after they baby’s born. I tried so hard to have everything done prior to Declan’s arrival, including buying everything I thought I would need. But there were still items that I purchased afterwards – gadgets that fellow moms swore by, items I claimed I didn’t have room for (hello bulky swing) that I made room for.

16 Right before my baby shower, I made sure that the only items on my registry were the ones that I really needed at the beginning right after Declan was born. Think: first 2 months of sleeping, bathing, feeding, and diaper changing. I knew these were the most important items for us to have. Yes, there were items, such as sippy cups and bath toys, that I knew I wanted. But Declan wouldn’t use until the later months.

I hope these baby registry tips are helpful for you! If I can leave you with one piece of advice (or words of wisdom??), everyone is overwhelmed with the baby registry! It just comes with the territory!

Make sure to read these baby registry tips before you create your own registry! These smart, savvy and practical tips will help you register for the RIGHT items! Great for first time moms!

 

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Does it seem like you’re ALWAYS on your phone? Constantly checking social media? Wonering where the time goes? Take a look at these tips and tricks to spend LESS time on your phone! 

Does it seem like you're ALWAYS on your phone? Constantly checking social media? Wonering where the time goes? Take a look at these tips and tricks to spend LESS time on your phone! 

After my son, Declan, was born, I started doing more and more work from my iPhone. It’s easier than pulling out my laptop, especially since Declan’s eyes light up as he crawls across the room attempting to climb all over the computer. Needless to say, it’s a disaster.

While utilizing my phone more helps me get work done while keeping an eye on Declan playing, it has also got me much more aware of how much time I spend throughout the day on my phone (and on social media).

Now as someone who makes her living hoping people spends lots of time online (especially on my blog and social media channels) I have to admit, I’m torn as one of MY goals is to stop spending so much time on my phone and social media.

Yes, I like to surf the internet reading random gossip magazines about celebrities and check social media to see what my friends across the country are up to. But at the same time, I can get sucked in and minutes turn in to … well WAY too long on my phone.

As our lives all get busier, time becomes more valuable. A couple “minutes” on Facebook turns much longer and also prevents me from tackling more productive tasks on my phone, such as emailing a friend, look up flight prices for an upcoming trip or listening to a podcast.

So given all this, I want to share just a couple things that I’m working on to keep phone usage productive.

[Psst! Join me on Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with my latest posts and ideas]

Does it seem like you're ALWAYS on your phone? Constantly checking social media? Wonering where the time goes? Take a look at these tips and tricks to spend LESS time on your phone! 

DELETE

To start off with the obvious: I delete some social media sites off my phone. Facebook specifically. This prevents me from just jumping on just a couple minutes ‘here and there’ throughout the day. If I really want to go on Facebook, I have just a couple opportunities when Declan is sleeping (which I always prioritize for doing actual work).

BOOKS

Recently I started getting ebooks from the Seattle library to download on my phone. I’ve gotten in too much of a habit of grabbing my phone to check social media for a couple minutes here and there. Now instead I pick up where I left off on an ebook. Reading books on my phone before I go to bed helps me fall asleep more than browsing social media. #justbeinghonest

EMAIL

I only check my email 3 times a day max. Now I realize not everyone can do this. Some of us are on email all day at work or need to check often on the weekend. I get that. When I’m working with sponsors for this blog, I’m often checking my phone hourly.

But here’s my rule. I ONLY check my phone when I’m in a position to ANSWER those emails. For example, I’m waiting in line at the grocery store and only have about 5 seconds before I need to start unloading groceries. That’s not enough time to respond to an email, so why even check?

Does it seem like you're ALWAYS on your phone? Constantly checking social media? Wonering where the time goes? Take a look at these tips and tricks to spend LESS time on your phone! 

TO DO LIST

I have a to do list app on my phone (appropriately named Todoist) which I sort tasks based on where I can complete the task (home, out, phone, computer, etc). This is really helpful during the times where I have a couple extra minutes and have the urge to ‘play on my phone’. I’m able to easily check my to do list and actually get something productive accomplished.

FACEBOOK

Like many of us, I use Facebook for more than just scrolling down my feed to see what my friends are up to. (Insert Instagram or Twitter if that’s your vice) I’m in several Facebook ‘Groups’: local parenting groups, blogging groups and even a Doberman group. I bookmark each of these groups in a folder on my Chrome browser so that I can check them regularly without getting sucked in to scrolling through all my feed on Facebook.

TIMESPENT ON PHONE

Now if you ever needed a motivator to get off your phone, just take a look at how much time you’re spending on it. For me, this was the kick in the butt that I needed. If you have an iPhone simply go to Settings >>> Battery >> Click on the clock icon. This will show you the amount of time you spent on each of your apps and the % of overall time in the last 24 hours.

Now, I do give myself a break because as I mentioned earlier, I use my phone to WORK. So yes, sometimes being on Pinterest helps me pay my bills. But it’s still eye opening.

How much time are you spending on your phone each day?? TOO much! Here's easy tips and tricks to spend less time on your phone!

I hope these tips are helpful, just a couple ways I’m trying to create a better balance for myself!

 

 

How much time are you spending on your phone each day?? TOO much! Here's easy tips and tricks to spend less time on your phone!

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Are pet supplies taking over your house? Take a look at these tips & tricks for ideas to keep your dog supplies organized! 

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

When we first brought home our little Doberman puppy, our focus was on how to take care of her and what supplies we needed, not how to organize all those pet supplies.

{Here’s our MUST HAVE Supplies, How We Prepared, and What We Wished We Would Have Known.}

But in no time at all, our home was cluttered with pet supplies in a not-so-organized fashion. I spent some time to develop a better system for us keep all her supplies, food and toys organized (and out of sight!). I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to maintain the system for over two years.

Instead of storing all Reagans supplies in one spot, we store them in the location in which they’ll be used (think: dog food near the dog bowls, shampoo near the tub). This is somewhat of a general rule for all supplies for our home, but is especially true for dog supplies.

Medications and treats

Reagan has a lot of allergies so she’s on daily oral medication and does not eat many treats. I keep both her medication and ‘approved’ treats in our kitchen as I typically give her medication snuck inside a bit of peanut butter (which she’s NO allergic to!).

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

Feeding

We strategically placed Reagan’s bowls close to the closet where we store her food. This tall and narrow storage container is perfect for the closet. Plus, it has removable wheels! For easy access, we also keep the food scoop and fish oil (which we give her once a day with a meal) in her food container.

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

Grooming 

Reagan gets her baths in our guest bathroom, so her supplies get their own cabinet.

Her bath supplies are pretty limited: shampoo, conditioner (yes, our dog gets conditioner 🙂 ) and two towels. We designated two old beach towels as ‘dog towels’ to dry her off after her bath.

Since we brush Reagan outside, her brush isn’t stored in the bathroom (keep reading below).

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

Bones & Toys

Just like babies’ toys, dog toys can end up all over the floor. The easiest solution for us was leaving a basket close to ground level for all Reagans toys. This way she can grab and play with them as she likes and it’s easy for me to pick them up at the end of the day.

I placed a basket under our side table for all the toys. It’s both close to the ground and mostly out of sight: a perfect combination!

Now if I could just teach Reagan to put them away on her own 😀.

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

Leash & Rain Jacket

Storing the leash and rain jacket (a requirement in Seattle!) in the coat closet off the main entry made the most sense. It’s easy to grab Reagan’s leash and my coat from the same closet before we go outside.

During the rainy months, we also keep our DIY dog mitt hung up.

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

Outdoor toys

Last year Joe helped turn two planters in to storage benches for our front porch area. One of these is dedicated to Reagan’s outdoor toys (balls, frisbees, ball thrower, etc.) and poop bags. I really love keeping outdoor toys outside to prevent more dirt from getting in to the house, as her toys can get rather dirty from outside play.

I also store Reagan’s brush in the storage bench, as we always brush her outside!

Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

I hope these tips help keep your home a little bit more organized with your furry bundle of joy!

Here’s some of my favorite pet supplies:


Keep your house squeeky clean with this guide to organize pet supplies throughout the home. Smart solutions and tips to keep dog supplies organized!

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Trying to drink more water? Me too! These flavored ice cubes are the easiest way to jazz up my water and encourage me to drink more! 

try these delicious fruit and herb flavored ice cubes! perfect for a warm summer day! #flavoredicecubes A couple weeks ago I posted a project on how I make whole lemon ice cubes in attempt to drink more water. Apparently, I’m not the only one trying to kick the coffee habit. I was so surprised how popular this post was, especially considering I wasn’t planning on blogging about it (lemons and organization don’t exactly go hand in hand).

I’m loving my lemon ice cubes, but I’m also always up for ANY additional flavor that I can add to my daily 8 glasses of water. So, I’ve been experimenting with some other ice cube options.

There’s two ways to make flavored ice cubes: purée or ‘stuffed’:

To encourage me to drink more water, I stock up on these flavored ice cubes! #flavoredicecubes

Puréed fruit flavored ice cubes

If you’re looking for more of a flavor punch, purées are the way to go. I simply add my flavors in to a high-speed blender with a little water until I get a smooth consistency. Then pour the liquid in to the ice cube trays to freeze.

‘Stuffed’ fruit flavored ice cubes

This method is simply placing the fruit and/or herbs into the ice cube tray and fill up with water. In order to get a stronger flavor, I like to stuff the cubes with as much fruit and herbs as I can before filling the rest with water.

The whole point of these ice cubes is to give your water some flavor, pack in the fruit!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!

Tools

  • High speed blender (I like to use our Magic Bullet)
  • I’m a big fan of these silicone ice cube trays as they’re small enough to fit in the very few open spaces of my packed-to-the-brim freezer. Plus, it’s super easy to pop a cube out.
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Making flavored ice cubes is an easy way to encourage you to drink more water!

Flavor combinations

There’s really endless possibilities of flavored ice cube combinations. I’d say that it’s really based on personal preference, so here’s my favorites:

  • Strawberry basil purée
  • Very berry stuffed
  • Stuffed cucumber mint
  • Mango purée & orange slices

Flavored ice cubes make the most delicious water! drink up! #flavoredicecubes


 

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Fruit and herbs are the perfect incredients for flavored ice cubes! This is the easiest way to drink more water each day wtih delicious ice cubes! #flavoredicecubes

Cheers to drinking more water and maybe a little less coffee!

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Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

This post was sponsored by Philips Avent as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

When I was pregnant, I had all the questions that a new mom does: diapers, feeding, sleeping, everything. Honestly, I had barely held a baby prior to Declan. Looking back at the first month with Declan, one of the first things we mastered was bottle-feeding

Declan started bottle-feeding at a pretty early age (read: 2 ½ weeks), so we jumped right in to it. After some trial and error, we found little tricks and tips that made a huge difference in making bottle-feeding pretty easy and really efficient.

One of the questions I get from friends is how much work it really is to keep up with the cleaning, organizing and storing of the bottles. Um, hello have we met? While I barely knew how to change a diaper, let’s just say I rocked the bottle.

Joking aside, I spent a little time this past week thinking about what’s made our bottle-feeding process so easy. It really boiled down to these areas:

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

Use high quality bottles

First things, first. Use high quality bottles. Friends told me stories about needing to test out multiple bottles before finding one their kiddos like.

Fortunately, we never experienced that. Maybe because Declan went straight to the bottle so quickly. Maybe, because we bought the right one from the beginning. Who knows? We’ve been using Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent.

In these bottles, the nipple stays full of milk, not air, during feeding even when bottle is horizontal, so baby can drink from an upright position. While I didn’t totally appreciate this feature when picking out bottles while I was pregnant, I came to be super thankful for it when feeding Declan. It’s designed to help baby swallow less air which means baby is calm and comfortable during and after feedings (basically a win-win for everyone).

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

Own enough bottles for an entire day

As a newborn, Declan was feeding about 8 times a day. You all know I’m more of a ‘less is more’ kind of gal, but I found having enough bottles to feed the kiddo for an entire day without having to clean them was worth it. From the time Declan was born we had 9 Philips Avent bottles. Which leads me to the next tip…

Get efficient with cleaning

One of the first challenges that crossed my mind about bottle-feeding was …. well ALL the bottles that we had to deal with. Our bottles went straight to the dishwasher. You can use a little basket to put the parts in, but we found that allocating one utensil holder got the parts clean.

With the Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle, the AirFree vent is one piece making it really easy to clean. This may not seem like a huge deal, but when cleaning 9 bottles a day, you’ll be happy to have fewer pieces! 

We typically run our dishwasher every day, so cleaning bottles was simply incorporated in to our daily routine.

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

Prep bottles each morning

One of the BEST tips I received from a fellow mom was to make a days’ worth of bottles each morning. Then when it’s feeding time, I simply grabbed a bottle from the fridge. I found this to be SO much easier than mixing formula with a crying baby in hand. It didn’t dawn on me to do this until several of my mom friends mentioned it. #mindblown

Tracking

Since Declan was bottle-fed, Joe and my parents could also help with feedings (#amazing); but that meant there needed to be coordination of who was feeding when. Fortunately, there are so many apps that make tracking feedings so easy (we used BabyConnect).

Whatever app you choose to use, make sure it allows for multiple people to connect to the same account. That way, everyone (partners, babysitters, grandparents, etc) can enter feedings directly to the app.

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

Diaper bag

Getting out of the house often was pretty important to me, especially since we had Declan in the spring and Seattle weather during that time is pretty amazing (winter on the other hand = rain). Looking back, I never really worried about forgetting a bottle when we left the house, as we always had a well-stocked diaper bag.

I included an extra bottle, formula and a small unopened bottled water. Yet the reality was when a baby is a newborn, you NEVER forget about feeding. No matter how you feed your baby, it’s always on your mind before you leave the house.

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

Storage

You all know how I feel about clear counters (#lovethem) so having baby bottles sitting out all over our counters wasn’t going to happen in our house. We dedicated ONE small area of our kitchen counter for bottles.

Read: ONE.

We used a small drying rack that was place on the counter closest to the dishwasher. In my ideal world bottles would be placed in a cabinet out of sight, but realistically it was much easier to have these at arm’s reach on the drying rack (especially during the first few months when Declan was drinking up to 8-9 bottles a day).

 Now that we got in such a rhythm that I’m now dreading transitioning to a sippy cup.

Bottle-feeding can make life SO much easier with your new little baby! Here's the tips and tricks we learned along the way!

 


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