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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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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Valentine’s Day has dramatically changed for us over the years. From the days of booking the hottest restaurant in downtown Chicago to wiping the baby spit up off of my clothes before eating dinner (that’s parenthood?!). As we’ve gotten older and a little bit more domestic, nothing made me realize this transition more than taking a look at our Valentine’s Day plans!

Easy and fun ways to celebrate Valentines Day with the kids! A delicious meal, pink lighting and a little dance party will make for a fun family evening!

Our quiet dinner at home may seem like the easy way to celebrate Valentine’s Day; yet, cooking a nice meal can be a little hectic for families with kids.

You all know I love finding those simple little tricks & tips to make life easier. Whether it’s apps on my phone or cutting down on my laundry routine, I find a ridiculous amount of joy in making daily tasks simpler.

So over the summer, we incorporated smart home technology in to our house with Hive. When we first started, I was pretty eager to find ways to utilize this technology to make to make life a little easier after the birth of our son, Declan. Yet, I wasn’t exactly sure how we would incorporate it all in to everyday life. But by this past fall, we were hooked. Between preparing our home for fall and even helping with the daily light savings transition, the Hive smart home technology was a smart solution for us (pun intended 😊).

Are you too celebrating Valentine’s Day at home with the kids? Here’s some of the fun ways that we’re utilizing our smart home technology for a simple, yet festive family evening:

Cooking 

Let’s be real, cooking a nice meal while watching a very active 9-month-old isn’t an easy task. It’s even more challenging when you’re trying a new fancy recipe. My rule for any nice dinner is to incorporate ONE fancy recipe and keep the rest of the meal simple. Whether that means a new side, a fancy dessert or an expensive piece of meat. In the past I would try to throw down all the stops making a killer 4 course meal and would end up with each course slightly underwhelming.

Chasing a toddler around the house means never really giving my FULL attention to cooking. Well that’s the excuse I’m giving for my less than stealer meals anyway!

Joking aside, being able to control our appliances remotely allows me get dinner completed while Declan insists on climbing the stairs.

Using smart home automation to create a perfect Valentines Day!

Using the Hive Active Plug, I’m able to check-in and control kitchen appliances from every room in our home from my phone. #thekidneversitsstill

The slow cooker gets turned off in time (what’s worse than a burnt slow cooker meal???) and the cappuccino maker is turned on while I’m following Declan up the stairs.

For special occasions I whip out our electronic fondue maker. I plug it in earlier in the day and heat it up right before Joe comes up form work via my Hive app, making the perfect fondue while playing with Declan in the family room!

Colored lights are a perfect addition to our Valentines Day decorations

Lights

All those fun decorations that I used to put up (err… here, here and here) are permanently stored in our closet until Declan learns to not be so destructive. (So when he’s 18?) Instead, we had a bunch of fun ‘decorating’ the house with Valentine’s Day colored lighting. Declan got a kick out of the changing colored lights. (We used the Hive Active Color-Changing Lights) It’s actually a really easy and fun idea for all the holidays. (Looking at you Saint Patrick’s Day).

Color-changing Hive Active Lights let you choose from 16 million colors to find the exact hue you’re looking for. (Yep, 16 million)

Side note: we also use Hive Active Lights to adjust the brightness on a daily basis. In attempt to get Declan in to ‘sleeping mode’, we dim all the lights an hour before it’s time to go to bed.

Changing light bulbs to make a colorful display for Valentines Day!

Music

Typically, when Joe comes home from work, he enters the house as Reagan (our rambunctious Doberman puppy) is running around, Declan is getting in to his fussy evening phase and I’m struggling to balance both while attempting not be burn dinner. Needless to say, it’s not exactly the most relaxing atmosphere to come home to.

A fun surprise that Declan and I did for Joe was to use our Hive Door Sensor to set the music on our Alexa and adjust our entry way lights to turn on as the front door opens. Nothing says ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ like pink lighting and Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ playing as you walk through the front door 😊.

Utilizing smart home automation for amazing Valentines Day decorations!

Temperature 

Earlier this year, we also installed the Hive Active Thermostat on our main floor. This means I’m in complete control of the temperature in our house (much to Joe’s dismay) with a touch of a button and will keep it at a toasty 75 degrees! Perfect for a cold winter February night!

crank up the thermostat on Valentines Day!

While we may not be rocking the late night hot spots this Valentine’s Day, I’m excited for a relatively easy festive night in with the family!

If you’ve been considering home automation, now is a great time. Use the code HIVEVALENTINE to receive $40 off the Hive Starter Pack!

Hive’s got several different packages to fit exactly what you’re looking for:

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine.


 

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I’ve never been the creative type. I’ve never been the best at picking unique and creative gifts for others. So when we were invited to a Christmas party with white elephant gifts, I panicked. While I didn’t need to have the funniest gift at the party, I atleast wanted my gift to be FUNNY.

Fortunately Amazon has us covered. I found tons of hilarious gifts. I was intending to only share my top 10 favorites, but some of these were just good good to skip. All these gifts below can be delivered to your doorstep in two days. Right in time for your party! Enjoy!

the absolute funniest white elephant gifts for your next party!

Funniest White Elephant Gifts on Amazon

1 Sriracha Hot Sauce Keychain Bottle 

{get yours here}

 

2 Social Media Shower Curtain 

{get yours here}

 

3 Microwave Smore Maker 

{get yours here}

 

4 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings Book 

{get yours here}


 

5 Pick Your Nose Cups

{get yours here}

6 Muffin Top Baking Cups

{get yours here}

7 Bacon Flavored Toothpaste 

{get yours here}

8 Tool That Grabs Where You Can’t Reach 

{get yours here}

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Well, technically, here’s what THIS mom wants. Practical, useful and fun gift items. These gifts will be used well after the holiday season.

This is what every new mom really wants for Christmas this year!

What to buy a New Mom for Christmas

1 A Starbucks Gift Card

This might seem like an ehhh type of gift. But think again. There’s some days (well nights) that a new mom just doesn’t get any sleep. Something as simple as a cup of coffee can make or break that next day. It gets mom out of the house either by walk or car. Starbucks gift cards make great gifts or even stocking stuffers. Plus you can order them online.

 

2 A Portable Phone Charger

Before I had Declan, I had no idea how much I would be on my phone. It’s my lifeline to texting with other moms, Googling every parenting question in the book and late night shopping on Amazon. With that said, my battery seems to be under 20% at all times. Having this portable charger has been a life saver. No exaggeration.

 

3 Day of House Cleaning

Or week. Or month. Enough said.

 

4 Baby Registry

I know I know. Mom needs stuff for HER. But, are there items that no one bought you on your your registry that you really wanted? Or really needed? If it makes mom’s life easier, I say it’s a worthy Christmas present. Plus it’s way better than a gift she’ll never use.

 

5 Nice, New Flats

High heels got stored deep in my closet once my belly popped and haven’t been pulled out since. Most moms are worrying less about extra height and looking more for stylish comfort. These flats are an great option, especially since they slip on. Try tying your shoes with a 6 month old crawling at warp speed to chew a dog bone. Just saying.

 

6 Spa Day

Or a day for mom doing anything she likes. Spas aren’t my thing, but a day child free to oh say …. re-organize my closet is. I know. I’m weird. But giving mom a way to relax and do something she enjoys will always be appreciated.

 

7 Pretty, Flattering Top

Finding flattering clothes post baby is never fun. Maternity clothes are now too big, but pre baby clothes may not fit yet. Giving mom a top like this is dressy enough to wear out for dinner or around the house will ensure it gets a lot of use.

 

8 Comfy Sweatshirt

This fun comfy sweatshirt is perfect for those chilly winter nights or the mornings that she just doesn’t get out of her PJs until …. oh 2pm. Just saying.

 

9 Tablet

Tablets have come down in price so much lately, especially the Amazon Fires. This makes it a really nice, but not totally unreasonable gift. It’s a perfect way to read a book … or check Facebook 🙂 .

 

10 Magazine Subscription

For the mom who prefers hard copy reading or just wants a fun ‘surprise’ in the mail each month. Magazine subscriptions are constantly on sale, making it a really affordable gift or stocking stuffer.

 

Bonus …. When in doubt no mom I know has ever turned down a nice bottle of wine. 

 

 

Share with a new mom (or gift giver 🙂 ) who can appreciate!

 

 

 

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