Lila is 6 Months & Blog Hippity Hop

So I’m a little freaked out that time is passing so quickly. I haven’t had time to gather my favorite products for a post for the past couple months, so I’m going blog hopping and finding some for us. I love seeing what has been tried & tested by other mamas and what the coming months may have in store for us.

Lila's 6 Month photo shoot

Lila’s 6 Month photo shoot

First off, our March Bluum box arrived today, and I can’t wait to try some of the new products. Here’s a peek at our box. It was catered to Lila’s age, which is a new feature for March.

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We got a book, homeopathic teething medicine, a rattle/teether, some skin cream, diaper rash cream, tooth wipes, and some coupons. I think I’ve gotten at least 4 different diaper rash creams in all my Bluum boxes, but Lila has never gotten a diaper rash, so I haven’t tried any of them. Can I substitute a toy or book for next month’s diaper cream?!?!?! If you want to check out Bluum, go here.

At Little Baby Garvin, blogger mommy Jessica (can we be Bloggies? or Moggies? jk) is really funny, down to earth and obsessed with holidays. You might be familiar with her chalkboard baby bump pics that spread through Pinterest like wildfire. If not, check this out. She has great ideas and makes being a work-at-home mommy look so easy! Here are her favorites for month 5 & 6.

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Little Baby Garvin’s favorite things

I think I might have to pick up the Aden and Anais lovies. I introduced Lila to a lovey last Friday and she keeps covering her face, which makes us nervous. She had been trying to cuddle her bumper pad, so I gave her a lovey and she instantly was cuddling it. She even spit her pacifier out she was so content. (Good advice, mom!) I agree about the fabric books, Lila loves smacking them on the floor or her lap, chewing on them and covering her face with them. I also hear the Easter bunny is bringing some fruit and veggie mesh feeders….

Lila and her snuggle bunny

Lila and her snuggle bunny

Little Baby Garvin's 7 Month Favorites

Little Baby Garvin’s 7 Month Favorites

The next blog we are swinging by is Dream Book Design, where Adri has gathered some products for 6-8 months. I do need a shopping cart cover and can’t wait until Lila is sitting in the cart and not in her carrier (in the cart). That will be a momentous day- and I think it is quickly approaching…

6-7-8 Month Favorites by Dream Book Design

6-7-8 Month Favorites by Dream Book Design

Tiny Sneakers Blog features the Ergo, which I love and got for Christmas, but Lila wasn’t a big fan of it. She much preferred the Balboa Baby sling. Here we are with the sling. I honestly haven’t tried it but a couple times. I think she wanted to see out, but maybe couldn’t? I should try it again and see if she will like it. Otherwise I’ll MAKE her like it. Just kidding. or not. I also have great ideas for our new downstairs Family Cave that involve the puzzle foam floor. Love that. We will definitely be getting that. And #3 & 4, to learn how to climb and cruise holding on to something.

6-12 Month Favorites by Tiny Sneakers

6-12 Month Favorites by Tiny Sneakers

Hamming it up for the camera, as always. Just like her mama, according to some.

Hamming it up for the camera, as always. Just like her mama, according to some.

We got dressed up on St. Paddy's day for a Tea Party Bridal Shower for a friend.

We got dressed up on St. Paddy’s day for a Tea Party Bridal Shower for a friend.

Thank you to my fellow Bloggies/Moggers/Mommy Bloggers who let me steal borrow your monthly favorites! Visit their blogs and be inspired!

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It’s a candle festival up in here

Layered Candle Upcycle

Layered Candle Upcycle

My Half-Burned Candles

My Half-Burned Candles

Yesterday we started spring cleaning. Along the way, I noticed I finally had enough half-burned candles to combine into new layered candles. I pinned this awesome idea on Pinterest about a year ago, and I am so excited about the results. See picture below for link to Happy-Go-Lucky’s original post about this, which I followed.

Happy-Go-Lucky: Easy Candle Upcycle

Happy-Go-Lucky: Easy Candle Upcycle

Boiling the candles

Boiling the candles

Mason Jars

Mason Jars

Supplies: Candle Wicks, Pencil or Pen, Clean Jar or vase

Supplies: Candle Wicks, Pencil or Pen, Clean Jar or vase

You have to wait for one layer to dry before adding the next layer.

You have to wait for one layer to dry before adding the next layer.

I had several candles going at once!

I had several candles going at once! The pencil kept the wick in the middle as I poured.

My mom gave me a couple candles that were not in glass- so I re-used a vase I had already emptied to heat up the candle.

My mom gave me a couple candles that were not in glass- so I re-used a vase I had already emptied to heat up the candle.

Labels

Layered Candles Complete!

It smells awesome in my house today now that I am finished- it smells like a candle factory!

It took a little longer than I expected, because you have to wait for each layer to dry. I tried to keep the scents within the same family. Florals, Clean Smells, Holiday…Also, I have made a mental note to buy more colorful candles- mine were mostly shades of white and tan! Cute labels would have been nice if you were going to give these as a gift. Ta Da!!!

Love Allie

My Favorite Things: For Mommy

For all you new Mommies & Mommy-to-be’s, here is my list of things I couldn’t live without for the first 4 months. Half of them I didn’t even know about until after she was born. So hopefully this list helps!

Lil' Mama Nottingham's Favorite Things: for Mommy

Lil’ Mama Nottingham’s Favorite Things: for Mommy

1. Philosophy Amazing Grace Body Wash– I used this all through my pregnancy. Very clean smell. I still love it.

2 .Purell Hand Sanitizer- Please don’t touch my newborn with your dirty hands. We have this in the den, in her room, in my diaper bag. Call me OCD, I don’t care.

3. Kalencom Diaper Bag– I got 2 of these as gifts, and I love them. Big enough to carry diapers, wipes, extra outfit just in case, a couple toys, burp cloth, and also my essentials so I can leave the purse at home. I have always carried big purses- so this isn’t a huge transition for me. It comes with a changing pad, bottle carrier, and zippered pouch. Plus the patterns are fun and cute.

4. Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller– I was on bed rest the whole month before Lila was born, and a stroller is one thing we didn’t get around to buying before she got here. My OB actually recommended this to me for quick errands and shopping. It’s really light, and is easy to unfold and collapse in my Jeep. My Chicco Keyfit 30 snaps right into it. Graco also makes one like it for it’s infant seats.

5. Nursing Tanks- I love these. I got a few from Target, and they are awesome. If you plan on breastfeeding in public, then your midsection remains hidden. Brilliant!

6. Medela Calma Nipple– This makes it easier to switch back and forth from breast to bottle. The baby has to “work” for the milk to come out, and doesn’t get lazy! Also, no spills. It isn’t cheap, but it is my choice for when we use bottles. We got one for $17 from the hospital shop, but Babies R Us had a set for a few dollars more that also included (2) 8oz bottles. Plus Babies R Us has tons of coupons and sales, so I bet you could get it cheaper.

7. Medela Milk Storage Bags– If you are pumping, milk storage bags are a necessity. I like these, and storing milk in 2-4 oz portions helps cut down on waste.

8. Lansinoh Nursing Pads– Next time around, I am making or purchasing some fabric ones off of Etsy. But if you want disposable ones, these are comfortable and cheap.

9. Pumpease Pumping Bra– I got mine off of Zulily, and it’s basically a strapless bra with holes in it. You can also take a sports bra and make one easily. Hands-free pumping is so much easier, trust me.

10. Baby Bargains Book– A mom friend reccomended this after I told her how overwehelmed I was with shopping for cribs, car seats, and other essentials. THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. I consulted it before every major purchase, even last week when we bought a high chair. It has everything you could imagine and is updated every year. They also have BABY 411 which is a good book to reference every time your baby sneezes, poops, or hiccups. Just kidding, but not really.

So thats it! Enjoy. BUY THE BABY BARGAINS BOOK. (I swear no one is paying me to say that).

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Remodeling Project: Man Cave to Family Room

When we bought our house in 2009 it felt huge! We had our living room, kitchen, dining area, “master” bedroom (maybe in the 50’s it was big- but now it’s a joke…), spare bedroom (now nursery), and an office. The previous owners had finished the basement, which had a large living area, back yard access, and then a hall to the laundry room, and my studio. On our list of must-haves for our house was a studio for me (I bring a lot of projects home and it’s messy!), a man cave for Joey, and a suitable entertaining area. I did not get some things on my list with this house, such as, a covered front (or back) porch, fireplace, large master bedroom/bath. But I settled for a back deck off the kitchen, and the possibility of combining some rooms to make a bigger master. I’m already making my new list. How much you learn the first time you buy a house! We loved all the space this house had. And it did have a lot. But there is a phenomenon that I didn’t quite understand till now. Like a goldfish that is put in a pond or bath tub, your “stuff” will grow to fit your space. (Weird).

Giant Goldfish. Click to read how this is actually a myth.

Giant Goldfish. Click to read how they say this is actually a myth.

So we decided last January that we would gut the downstairs and make a Master suite and move my studio upstairs to our old master bedroom. Great idea. We ripped all the paneling off (and by “we” I mean Joey and his dad of course!) which we had to do anyways because we were having water leak issues (long and boring story) and proceeded to rip down walls, built-ins, had a big yard sale with extra furniture, yada yada. Then we found out we were having a baby- and the whole project got put on hold to make a nursery.

Manly Man Cave- great for watching Football! Go Hogs GO!

Manly Man Cave- great for watching Football! Go Hogs GO!

Mancave1

My old studio

My old studio was going to be our new closet.

Taking out the wall, paneling, built-in cabinets

Taking out the wall, paneling, built-in cabinets

Wall coming down

Wall coming down

Ripping out the Hallway

Ripping out the Hallway

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

Inside this wall we found the house blueprints!!

Inside this wall we found the house blueprints!!

Looking Good

Joey thinks this is the easy part!

Project supplies.

Project supplies.

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This is the view from the stairs before the tv and cabinets were taken out.

New Floors!

New Floors!

We ended up having to get new floors because the one we had from Home Depot were discontinued, and we needed one more box to patch where the cabinets had been. So we ended up getting some laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators that I just love.

So it was almost October after Lila was born, that we decided that we didn’t want the master suite downstairs, since her nursery is right next to our room now. And we are now putting the downstairs back together.

Our 2600 sq foot home has been missing about 700 square feet of living space and we are going stir crazy tripping over dogs, cats, bouncers, jumperoos…. So we are resolving the water issues, we paid someone to finish dry walling, and Joey and his Dad are finishing putting the floors in this weekend. We will be picking out colors for paint soon. I’m excited. I have great ideas for the space. What color would look good with this deep brown wood? 

I will post more progress pics soon. Stay tuned!

My Favorite Things: Months 1-3

Here’s the post I was promising. My favorite things for the first 3 months. Of course, this is what worked for my family, and you may have something you like better. (Please share if you do!)

Lil Mama Nottingham favorite things 1-3 mos

1. Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer – She started liking this more after a couple of weeks. She still loves it now. I sometimes call it her “Pooping Chair,” because for one reason or another, things get moving in there and nothin’ wrong with that! Thankfully, the seat liner is washable and dries quickly on its own. She loves the vibrations, and she used to sleep in it sometimes. I do have one dislike – the legs of the seat have tripped me, my husband, mother, & mother-in-law on more than one occasion. It probably is the most cursed thing in our living room. (But we have a teeeeeniny living room, and the bouncer wouldn’t trip us if we had it in a larger room. Still wouldn’t trade it for another. It’s amazing how much smaller your house gets with a baby and all their equipment, right??)

2.Vacuum- ok ok. I know this sounds silly but one night in the beginning SHE WOULDN’T STOP CRYING. Actually, because I was sleep deprived and had tried everything I could think of, I was crying too! So we Googled it, and sure enough, the vacuum cleaner calmed her down. You just leave it on, and it’s louder than the white noise stuffed animals or radio static. I really wish I had known this sooner, but that’s why I’m sharing. I’ve only had to use it two times, thankfully. It immediately calmed her so she could sleep.

3. Aden+Anais Swaddling Blankets– I heard these were the best from a mom-friend when I was pregnant. Then I received these as a gift. THEY ARE AWESOME. They are big- much bigger than typical flannel cotton receiving blankets. So for the novice Swaddler, these are great. They are soft, breathable muslin. I never had to worry about her overheating at night. (Swaddled in her Rock n’ Play). Register for some, or buy some yourself. They are worth it!

4. Cloud B Sleep Sheep– We have this one, a travel one, and the Giraffe. And we use all of them . On the back are 4 buttons, with 4 different white noise sounds, and you can choose 26 or 45 minutes for the sound to play. We have one in our room, one in her room, and one for the diaper bag ready for nap time at Grammie’s or GiGi’s.

5. Fisher Price Rock n’ Play– We started with a bassinet that had been in the family for generations. Then we noticed she really slept better in things that were reclined or slanted. So after some research, we got this. We actually got the one pictured on sale at Target for about $20. But I think the one I linked to would be great for newborns, very snuggly with the pillow. As far as the recall goes, I think if baby produces any liquid in the rocker, you should CLEAN IT. We checked as soon as the recall happened, and we found nothing. (Common sense!) Mine is really easy to wipe down, or you can unbutton the liner and throw it in the wash. She slept in hers until the week she turned 4 months, when we transitioned to the crib.

6. Balboa Baby Sling– I got tangled up in the Moby Wrap, and trying to get it wrapped around me seemed a hassle. I know a lot of folks like them, but I returned that and found a sling I liked better. I can put her in easily. For safety – make sure you can “kiss her head.” You want her head to be visable. Make sure to read the instructions. There is a handy pocket on it so I can put my phone there if I need to. I must admit, I was not “wearing” her every day. I used it when I was having to do simple chores or out of the house. It’s not completely hands-free, but for someone who had carpal tunnel, the weight wasn’t on my hands/arms anymore.

Here I am at 38 weeks in the hospital and 2 weeks later with my sling.

Here I am at 38 weeks in the hospital and 2 weeks later with Lila in my sling.

7. Blooming Bath Flower– I received this as a gift at one of my showers. What a game changer! I had bought a tub from Babies R Us and it was a pain. Once I put it on the counter in my kitchen, I couldn’t get a great hold on her because I am short and I was extremely nervous. Also, the tub leaked at one point and was also a pain. So Blooming Bath to the rescue! I put it in our kitchen sink, and it is so much easier! Plus, it’s cushy so she likes the feel, and I can wash it in the washing machine. (Air dry though.)

Blooming Bath Flower

Blooming Bath Flower

8. Taggies Activity Gym– Really, I think any gym would work. I like the Taggies brand because its colorful and there are a lot of toys and fun things for her to investigate. I like that I can remove or add toys to the loops. Also, it is big enough that she has been practicing rolling on it without leaving the mat. I also like the one with a Kick Piano, if I could have two, I’d get that one too. 🙂 Here is the Piano one.

9. Graco Pack ‘N Play– We used our Pack ‘N Play as a changing table and bed in our den the first two months. She slept really well in the Newborn Napper. Having a changing table in the den was really convenient in the beginning. At first, I wasn’t sure we should splurge on the newborn napper and such. Super glad we did.

Some things that didn’t make this list but we still love : Boppy Pillow & extra cover, & Pampers Swaddlers. Gotta love the stripe that changes colors when dirty or wet!

What baby product(s) from Months 1-3 do you recommend?

Lila says, “Good Night!”

Lila’s Changing Table

20121117-175603.jpgI have received many compliments on the dresser that I painted in Lila’s Nursery. While I would love to take most of the credit, really it was quite easy (for an 8 months prego girl) with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. I picked up the paint at The White Goat here in Little Rock. They helped me pick out my paint, and showed me how to use the paints. (They had classes available, I still want to go sometime…)

The coolest thing about the paint is you don’t have to prime your surface before you start. So for someone who like to dive head-first into a project, that definitely speeds up the process.

I used a mixture of Provence and Old World White. I only bought the small tub of Provence as a sample, but it lasted the whole project because I watered it down and mixed white with it! Sweet! I did invest in a quart of the Old White, and have tons leftover.

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I believe the end result was a ratio of 1:6. After the dresser and drawers were dry, I dry-brushed some more white on top. (Dry-brushing is done best with a cheap brush and a little paint on a paper plate. ) LESS IS MORE! You can always add more paint, but it’s hard to take off a big glob if you get too much on your brush. Dry-brushing is a fun way to make the piece look aged. You can also distress your piece by sanding the edges. I used a sandpaper block on mine.

20121117-173812.jpgI used Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax in clear to seal the dresser. (It’s slightly stinky, so I wore a mask.) I applied it with a cloth and wore gloves. Wax on, wax off, Mr. Miagi!! I would suggest doing the top all at the same time, not in sections. This is why: My hubby helped me with the wax, and we split the top. He did not rub the wax off as much as I did, and it was noticeable!! So I re-waxed the whole thing. (Hubby rolls eyes at my obsessive tendencies, but it had to be perrrrfect).
You really have to buff out the wax. I kept using clean scrap cloths as I went.

Lastly, I spray painted the original handles glossy white to finish out the look. Yay, project complete! Love this paint and wax. It really looks and feels like an expensive piece of furniture.