Posted by John on July 30th, 2013
Lately, we’ve been posting quite a bit on web design and development. If it’s not something you’re really into, I apologize. We’ll be switching back to home projects full time very shortly. If you have been enjoying them, or at least putting them on your “must read at some point” list, we won’t be abandoning them completely. In today’s post, we wanted to share with you a super quick project that’s already cleared up some much needed garage floor space: stroller storage.
One of the goals of our garage spruce up effort is to remove as much junk off the floor as possible. We’re doing this primarily for two reasons: 1) we want the garage to be a tidy space and 2) everything that stays in the garage eventually gets covered with spiderwebs and bugs. To that end, Lisa suggested we relocate the strollers that have been hanging out on the garage floor or leaned up against the cabinet.
After thinking about it for a while, there is really no ideal location for these things, at least in the long term. Then again though, we’re probably not going to need baby strollers hanging around for the next decade.
Our interim fix? Hanging them up in the basement stairwell. It’s not perfect, but the space is unfinished, so dirty strollers fit in well. Plus, it’s pretty close to the garage, so Lisa doesn’t need to carry it clear across the house.
I bought a couple of these Blue Hawk hooks available from Lowes. They’re only a couple bucks each.
After locating a stud, I pre-drilled using a bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the hook threads and screwed it in by hand.
The strollers hang neatly from their hooks.
Eventually, when we finish the basement, we’re going to need to come up with a better solution. For now though, this works great.
Posted in Baby Stuff,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,Garage and Tools, organization, strollers
Posted by Lisa on July 24th, 2013
There’s been a lot of new babies in our life lately. In April, we welcomed a new daughter, our second. Both of John’s sisters are welcoming their first kids this summer and our neighbors just had their first last month. Our oldest daughter is around two and a half now and even though that still makes us fairly new parents, we feel like seasoned veterans. Gone are the days of fumbling through baby books, calling up our pediatrician once a month and scouring the internet for answers to “Is that normal? Do they all do that?” Instead, we’ve reached a level of confidence we never thought we’d get to and we got there fairly quickly. With all these new children in our lives and more than two years of bona-fide baby experience under our belts, we find ourselves doling out advice and recommendations regularly. The most frequent topic we discuss is one that had us frustrated for a few months ourselves after our first daughter was born. That topic, is of course, how to get a baby to sleep.
The holy grail of new parenthood, by far, has to be a solid night’s sleep. While it can take several weeks or months of restless nights before newborns start sleeping more than two hours straight, there are some products that we use on a nightly basis that can help us and our daughter sleep longer.
(all Photos courtesy of Amazon.com)
1. Angelcare Baby Movement Monitor. This is the number one product we recommend to our family and friends with newborns. The monitor is a battery powered base that is connected via cable to a mouse pad sized plate that goes under a crib, cradle or bassinet mattress. The plate senses movement and relays that info to the base where it is either illuminated with a bright green LED or an audible clicking sound. The idea here is that if a baby stops moving or breathing, the base will emit an audible alarm. The motion sensing plate is sensitive enough to detect a baby’s breathing and it features an adjustable sensitivity level. This product is pure peace of mind. It helped ease our worry over SIDS. The only down side is the base needs to be connected to the pad at all times and so it isn’t mobile. It needs to stay within so many feet of the crib or cradle. The good news is, however, the alarm is so loud that it normally can be heard through the regular baby monitor. We leave ours on silent to avoid hearing the constant clicking sounds and when we want to check in on her while she’s sleeping, we just look for the blinking green light. Perfect product for worriers like us.
2. Pillow Pets Dream Lites. These little stuffed animals have a mini planetarium on their back that shines a colorful night light onto the ceiling for maybe 20 or 30 minutes while the baby doses off to sleep. I’m not sure if newborns are even old enough to be afraid of the dark, but it can’t hurt to leave a little night light on for them. Our daughter usually seems to fuss less if her pillow pet is on.
3. Cloud b Sound Machine Soother. Another stuffed animal. This one plays a white noise for several minutes until the baby falls asleep. There is an adjustable volume knob and four different white noise options that include rain, ocean, whales and mother’s heartbeat. The only real concern I have with this product is that I miss it when we move our kids out of the bed side cradle and into the nursery. You may want to pick up one for yourself.
4. Swaddles. If we don’t swaddle our infant, she doesn’t sleep well. She tries to roll over or her arms and legs come perilously close to the crib slats. If she gets swaddled, she sleeps 8-10 hours a night, no lie.
5. Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Video Monitor. Bottom line: you need one. There are a ton of baby monitor options out there and I urge you to shop around. This is the monitor we use in our home and it’s worked out well so far. So why is there a baby monitor and a motion sensor on a list of products entitled “How to Get a Baby to Sleep”? These two particular items will help parents sleep more soundly knowing they have nearly full monitoring capability of their child. It works for us.
Always check with a Pediatrician for safe parenting practices and follow the manufacturers instructions for every baby product. Pediatricians are your best source for baby related recommendations and advice. Not every product or method will work with every baby, this is just what worked for us.
Posted in Baby Stuff. Tagged in ,babies, baby sleep
Posted by John on April 18th, 2013
Happy Friday! If you haven’t heard yet, Lisa and I had our baby last weekend. We had a girl Now we have two daughters. We feel incredibly blessed… and also a bit tired. Lisa had a fairly quick labor and delivery. She started having contractions around 3am on Saturday and gave birth five hours later. Baby is happy and healthy and our two year old is excited and curious about her new sibling.
It’s actually been easier this time around (says the husband). When we had our first daughter we were nervous. We were constantly checking her breathing throughout the night. It’s more comfortable this time. We’re less nervous and more confident. It’s more relaxing. I would make a joke that the next three kids will be even easier, but I don’t want to push my luck!
I know a lot of our regular readers have already seen the photo above on our Instagram feed. If you’ve already said congrats, thanks! We’re just checking in to let everyone know things are great on our end and we’ll be back next week with new posts.
See you then!
Posted in Baby Stuff. Tagged in ,baby
Posted by Lisa on April 3rd, 2013
Hey there! I hope you enjoyed our last post about preparing for baby numero dos. With the finish line in sight, we’re pretty much ready to go. I need to write a post about all the baby gear expectant parents need for a newborn and I’m hoping to share a little more in depth about my make-ahead meals later, like the recipes and such, but I can’t make any promises. I’m hoping this baby shows up sooner than later!
Another necessary baby prep all nesting moms do is organize the nursery. Last weekend John completed some touch up paint and gave the nursery a deep clean (thanks!!). After that was complete, my mom and I cleaned the dresser drawers and washed all of the baby clothes. When we first set up the nursery for our daughter, I took the time to line every drawer with contact paper. I’m so glad I did that because this time around cleaning the drawers was a breeze. We used non-toxic baby surface wipes for the drawers and allowed them to air dry while we did all the baby laundry.
I organized each drawer to have a “theme” and tried my best to group like age times together (like clothes for 3 or 6 mo. old). Some items, like bedding for example, will be in the drawers temporarily until the baby comes home and we are ready to use the cradle and crib sheets. There’s no use to put them on now because they’ll just get dusty again. Also, I know once the baby arrives I will be tweaking the drawers since I will end up getting more clothes.
Here are some photos of the drawers in the nursery. We still owe you updated Nursery pics, but to be honest, it’s not much different than the last time. Oh and btw, these photos were taken at night with my iPhone, so the quality isn’t too great.
The top drawer of my changing table houses newborn diapers, wipes, and a cosmetic bag that has a baby brush, baby nail clippers, butt paste (there is such a thing), and lanolin. These are the essentials I like to keep near so I can grab an item with one hand if necessary.
I also have a drawer of washing essentials – all of my hooded towels and washcloths get placed together along with my changing pad covers.
The bottom drawer is filled with crib bedding. I have my mattress protector, waterproof pads, and multiple crib sheets tucked away nicely.
The top drawer of my tall dresser has baby socks, newborn hats, and my burp clothes and cotton bibs. I also have my activity mat in the back until I am ready to use it for baby tummy time.
Below that drawer are my long and short sleeve onsies, sized 0-3 month. I also have my 3-6 month onesies ready to go. Next to those are my gender neutral pajamas lined up as well as my printed onesie and pants. I have these items separated by fabric bins I bought a couple years ago at Ikea.
Next I have my cradle bedding, pack ‘n play bedding, boppy covers, and swaddlers.
Last but not least are my baby blankets.
There you have it – a peek into our nursery drawers. Babies sure need a lot of linens n things!
Do you have any drawer organizing tips you want to share? Anyone else buried in baby clothes?
Posted in Baby Stuff. Tagged in ,baby, nursery, organization
Posted by John on March 25th, 2013
Hey guys! First off, yesterday was Lisa’s birthday. She’s turned 25 again. It wouldn’t be appropriate to tell you how many times she’s turned 25, so let’s just stick with 25. To celebrate, we drove to Delaware to get Mexican for dinner. There aren’t any good places near us unfortunately. Although Delaware isn’t too far from us anyway.
In addition to our built-in project, which we’re nearly done, Lisa has been crazy busy getting us ready for our second baby. We think we know what’s going to hit us in a few weeks, so having one kid under our belts has been helpful. Yet despite our best preparations, we know we’ll be pretty exhausted soon enough (Lisa more so than me). Prepping for baby #2 has involved mainly going though all the infant clothes, taking inventory and washing most of them. Btw, Lisa swears by Dreft detergent for infant clothing. She loves the smell of it.
Since we don’t know what gender the next baby will be, there is only so much clothing prep we can do. Lisa actually bought an outfit for a boy and one for a girl to bring them home from the hospital in and once the baby is born, we can wash one set and return the other.
Aside from going through all the clothes, I spent this past weekend repainting the nursery. The room needed some touch ups. We had our daughter’s name in block letters hanging on the wall. I had to take those down and spackle the wall and do paint touch ups. We actually joked that maybe we should name the next baby with the same amount of letters as our daughter so we can reuse the screws in the wall. Unfortunately, the paint I had leftover from the first time we painted the room was much glossier than the paint on the wall and it stood out pretty visibly. So I had to repaint most of the room with a fresh can. Stinks. The room looks much, much better now though, so it doesn’t feel like a total waste. We’ll throw up some update photos shortly.
Once the baby arrives, we’re both going to be sleeping in shifts for a couple weeks. To help make life easier all around, Lisa made several make-ahead meals. A few weekends ago, she started with a couple chefs knives and some cutting boards and went to town.
She chopped up veggies and put together meal kits both for crock pot cooking and regular stove top dinners.
Even when we don’t have a newborn, Lisa and I are really bad at picking meals and cooking. We’re not picky eaters, we just don’t plan and execute dinner time very well. We end up eating out a little more often than we’d like to. By having a bunch of ready prepped dinners, it will remove the aggravation of having to decide on a meal and then run to the supermarket for supplies. While the menu of made-ahead meals won’t be huge, it’ll be extremely easy to finish the cooking process and have a great dinner.
Here’s what she made:
1. Lasagna. The containers are paper casserole dishes from Hefty and are oven ready.
2. Avocado Enchiladas.
3. Lasagna primavera
4. Peppers, onions and chicken for fajitas.
5. Beef stew
6. Bolognese sauce
So right now our freezer is busting out at the seams. We’ve been tempted to eat a couple of these made-ahead dinners, but so far we haven’t touched them yet. They’ll definitely come in handy.
So stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll be sharing some more baby related posts over the next few weeks.
I’m hoping we keep up the make ahead meal thing even after the new infant phase. It’s so convenient. Do you do any pre-made meal preps or do you tend to cook on the fly?
Posted in Baby Stuff,Cooking. Tagged in ,baby stuff, Cooking
Posted by John on February 21st, 2013
Hey guys! Hope you all had a great week. I’m still making progress with our built-ins. I’m working on the doors for the bottom cabinet at the moment. Hoping I can pull off a quick how-to video on the door construction. It’s not terribly hard, but writing an understandable procedure is probably a bigger challenge. This weekend I may back burner the built-in project for a few hours to work on the Pinterest Challenge next week. One of our favorite bloggers, Michelle from Decor and the Dog, is co-hosting it. Today, I wanted to show you a couple homemade toddler proofing fixes we’ve added.
This will be the third time we’ve posted on our baby or toddler proofing measures. The last post was just a couple weeks ago. We actually had more items to post about, but we figured we’d break it up into more than one post.
One thing that stinks about kitchen cabinet locks is they’re a real PIA to install. The screws they give you are crappy. All the cabinets need to be pre-drilled too because they’re a hardwood. Oh and all the work needs to be done while you’re sitting on the floor holding a 7lb drill over your head for 20 minutes. No fun. To add insult to injury, it’s pretty much impossible to add the door locks to top drawers.
Cabinet door locks have one part that goes on the door or drawer and one part that goes on the cabinet. The photo above show the receptacle piece that gets mounted to the cabinet. It’s easier to install these for cabinet doors since you have the entire space below it to install it. Most top drawers, however, are only 4″-5″ wide and you just can’t fit a normal drill in there. You could go out and buy a $100 right angle DeWalt drill that you’ll use once. Could do that.
Or, you could do what we did. I took a small piece of wood I had left over from our sliding drawer project and pre-mounted the receptable to it, pre-drilled a couple holes into it and then mounted the block into the cabinet from inside the cabinet. So I was able to move my drill from an impossible angle to a spot that was much easier to get to.
How’s it work? It works great. It’s actually a little harder to open these drawers, even for “non-toddlers”, but it beats our daughter opening this drawer up every five minutes.
Other child proofing measures we added are topple restraints to the dressers and night stand in her bedroom. Kids like to climb. Any piece of furniture that can be knocked over by a child climbing it or touching it, needs to be secured to the wall. Ikea provides small kits to attach their products to the wall and so do a lot of furniture manufacturers. These restraint kits literally save lives everyday.
We came up with our own version of these with some zip ties and a couple angle brackets. We used long screws and made sure they were fastened to the meaty part of the Hemnes dresser. We’re not recommending anyone DIY this safety like we did, we’re just showing you how easy it is generally to keep the furniture attached to the wall. In fact, you shouldn’t DIY this. Use the appropriate hardware that came with your furniture.
Last item on our list: keeping the electrical cord slack away from our daughter. Cords are a known strangulation hazard so, we used a zip tie to keep the slack up and out of the way. If the zip tie is tight enough, she won’t be able to pull the slack out.
The things ya gotta do to keep kids from hurting themselves. Ridiculous.
Any exciting weekend plans?
Posted in Baby Stuff,DIY Projects,Kitchen. Tagged in ,kitchen cabinets, toddler proofing
Posted by John on February 7th, 2013
Happy Friday everybody! Hope your week has been a good one. Last Saturday we celebrated our daughter’s 2nd birthday with a small family party. I guess small family is kind of a relative term in this case. Plus we had a few neighbors. We decided to go with a Wiggles theme since she’s a HUGE fan of the show. Lately she’s also into Caillou. It’s not my favorite show, but she lets me watch hockey whenever the Flyers are on and I let her watch Caillou. I think that’s only fair.
In case you’re not familiar with the Wiggles, it’s a group of Australian dudes that wear colored t-shirts and sing and dance. She’s a big fan of their music. There are few things cuter in life than watching a 2 year old try to dance along with a TV show. They each wear a different color: purple, red, blue and yellow. So, the challenge for decorating the party was to try to incorporate those hues into the party decor.
Instead of using our house like we did at her party last year, this year we rented out a local small school house. It was ideal. All we had to do was some light cleaning afterwards and we were set.
For food, we had a decent variety with pasta and potato salad, lunch meats, tomato pie and Chik-Fil-A nuggets (jackpot).
Lisa made some Wiggles colored cake pops for dessert to supplement the birthday cake.
She didn’t stop there either. She also had time to make cookies! Everyone got a little cookie baggie as party favors. The best party favors are ones you can eat before you get to your car, IMHO.
My favorite dessert also made an appearance, pretzel donuts!! While they may look like your average glazed donut, make no mistake, these donuts are something different. They are amazing. I’m convinced they alter the part of your brain responsible for decision making. I’ve seen people snort them. One of the neighbors that attended is now a full blown pretzel donut addict. The thing is, these donuts may not even be the best product this bakery makes. Scary.
We also put together special little goodie bags for the other little kids in attendance.
All the invitations, the cookie bags and the kids’ party favors had these custom made Wiggle graphics. Lisa took a stock Wiggle image, added the stars background in Photoshop and printed them all up. Fun stuff.
So, I think Lisa and I are both hoping that this time next year we’re not posting about a Caillou themed 3rd birthday party. I’m not even sure what that would look like. I presume it would involve a lot of whining and disappointment as is the overarching theme of that cartoon.
What are your weekend plans? Any foods you’re addicted to or is that just me (and now Mike)?
Posted by John on February 5th, 2013
I promised more than a couple posts this week and I aim to deliver. Lately, we’ve been re-evaluating some of our child proofing measures. Child proofing or toddler proofing is a moving target, at least for us anyway. As soon as our daughter started walking last year, I went around the house and added padding to the table corners and locks to the kitchen cabinets. At first I only needed to add a lock to the lowest drawer or door. As she’s gotten older and more mobile, obviously her reach grew. Now she can reach items on the countertop! Oh and she ripped off all the corner pads from the tables. So we’re at the point where I need to add a few more things to keep up with her. I’ll be showing you a couple ideas I have for custom solutions in a later post, but for now, here’s a list of safety items we have around the house that work for us.. so far.
How We Toddler Proof our Home
1. Toddler Proof Door Knobs. Yes. Totally necessary. Especially if your kid is smart like a Velociraptor. We have one on all the bathroom doors and on the inside of her bedroom so she can’t walk out after we put her down to bed. We need to add one to our pantry door now as she opens it every time she wants a snack, which is around 30 times a day.
2. Cabinet Locks. If you need these locks, buy the bottom ones. We installed a set of the locks in the first photo and a few of them broke the rest wouldn’t latch very well. Every drawer and cabinet door in our kitchen needs one of these. They are a snap to install, but I haven’t been able to add any to our top drawers yet. The drawer space is too small for my DeWalt drill. I have an idea on this though, so stay tuned. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
3. Bed Rails. We added these Vikare bed rails from Ikea that are designed to work with Ikea beds, like this Hemnes. Even though it’s not a far drop, better safe than sorry. There is one on each side of the bed. They don’t run the entire length of the bed, but they should still catch her. I love the fact that they clamp on and don’t mar the finish.
4. Baby Gates. These things are great. We actually installed the first two several months before our daughter was even born to keep our dog from wandering around ripping up the place. The first gate photo is a Munchkin and is by far our favorite. It’s rigid, tall and nearly impossible for a child to open since the handle is high up. You need to lift the handle pretty high while swinging open the door. Even an adult can’t open it terribly fast.
The other hall gate is from Summer and it’s okay. Not nearly as sturdy. The gate action is fairly weak. It could probably stand to be tightened up on our end though. So far so good though.
The bottom photo is the gate at the top of our stairs. What I love about this unit is it doesn’t need to be screwed into the wooden newel posts on either side. It gets strapped and taped on. The gate has a bottom and a top catch for added rigidity. We got it at Babies R Us, where we bought the other two.
5. Strapping furniture to the wall. Hugely important. Apparently there have been hundreds of kids killed by furniture falling on them. We’ll show you how we prevent this in a later post. If you tether the furniture to the wall, you can easily prevent this sort of accident.
Since I don’t want to end this post on a somber note, how about a picture to encourage everyone to switch to round knobs…
Posted in Baby Stuff,Kitchen. Tagged in ,baby, baby proofing, toddler
Posted by Lisa on August 17th, 2012
We wanted to share a couple of recalls with our readers.
The first is pertinent to all those mommies of little ones. Bumbo chairs have a recall. Just visit their website and put in your information and they will mail you the fix for the chair. Even if you don’t have a Bumbo chair please tell your family and friends who may own a chair so everyone can find out. I read online there are 4 million chairs affected.
The second is home related. GE is recalling select dishwashers. Visit their website and you can input the model and serial number of your dishwasher and the site will tell you if you have a recalled unit. Again, share this one with family and friends, too.
Thanks! We hope you have a great weekend.
Posted in Baby Stuff. Tagged in
Posted by Lisa on July 10th, 2012
Hi kids! Over the holiday weekend I completed my Pinterest Challenge – Upcycled diaper boxes into decorative bins. The pin I used can be found here as well as the instructions. My unique spin? It’s no-sew! I am not a sewer and I do not own a sewing machine, so I did my boxes with no-sew glue instead.
My supplies included black canvas (the stuff they use on directors chairs), decorative fabric as the liner, glue stick, scissors, measuring tape, no-sew glue, and of course diaper boxes. I purchased everything at that great fabric and crafts store and the fabric was half off AND I used a coupon for 15% off my entire purchase. I also want to mention that I did not own most of the material at the start of this project, so the upcycled diaper boxes weren’t much cheaper than buying decorative bins with a coupon somewhere – BUT I do get bragging rights that I made this myself so it was worth it!
See the fabri-tac in the background? I decided not to use it because it smelled like acetone. I ended up using a glue stick instead and it worked out fine.
First, I taped the handle flaps in the box down with regular tape on the inside. Then I measured the length and width of the box and then measured and cut the black canvas.
I centered the box on the fabric (and made sure that all sides were covered with canvas). Then I measured 2 inches from each corner and made 2 cuts.
The canvas looked like this after all the cuts were done.
I used my glue stick directly on the box then pulled up the canvas. I also used the glue stick on the short sides of the diaper box to cover the extra fabric.
Then I applied my no-sew glue to the flaps and then attached the short sides. Don’t forget to use the glue stick so the canvas will attach to the box.
This is what my box looked like after all sides were done! I trimmed the excess canvas from the top of the box, too.
Next, it was time to make the fabric liner. The full instructions can be found here. I will include some of my instructions, since I used no-sew glue instead.
I used the same dimensions for my liner as the black canvas. I cut the liner fabric as instructed above and the fabric looked like this:
I matched the seams up and applied a line of the no-sew glue.
My seams did not match up perfectly since I wasn’t exactly precise in my measuring, but it did not make a huge difference in the end. The no-sew glue dries pretty quick, so there wasn’t much waiting around.
After the four corners were glued together I put the liner in the box so I could see what I was working with.
Not too shabby, right? I took the liner out to glue the seams down. At this point, I would iron your fabric so the glued seams are tight.
Remember when I said my seams didn’t match perfectly? Well, this is what one of my sides looked like when I was done
Oops, but it wasn’t anything that a little dab of no-sew glue couldn’t fix.
I repeated the steps above with a second upcycled diaper box for myself to be used for a later project, and since I had extra materials left over I up-cycled a baby wipe box!!
I didn’t take any pictures while I was crafting this one, but here is the completed box, staged and all!!
So there you have it! Pinterest Challenge accepted and completed. Aside from recipes, I haven’t actually completed many Pinterest pins – have you!?