There are so many wonderful children's books out there, and every child ends up with their own special collection. When it comes to the books that we have for our son, we have many...Read More
We are all guilty of holding onto swimwear for far too long. After a few seasons, swimsuits can become stretched out. The elastic can break down, and you are left with...Read More
I had fun shopping for maternity clothes with my first pregnancy, but this time around, I am looking to step up my maternity wear game. It's such a wonderful and beautiful thing to be...Read More
It's summer time, and here in the Midwest, we love to take advantage of evenings where we can eat outside. There are only a few months out of the year where the temperature is nice enough to...Read More
The following post about how to match your baby in the most adorable way possible contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission from sales resulting from this post. Thanks for reading!
I am looking forward to our hospital stay once our second arrives. I have such warm and fuzzy memories of our hospital stay with Theo. Memories of our friends and family who visited, and a sweet new baby to love. And now, I am going to be able to match our little one! I just love being a mom!
We are going the surprise route and are not finding out if our baby is a boy or a girl prior to the big day. This striped set is the gender neutral version in the Olian Maternity Sleepwear line. The women's robe and top (with detachable straps for nursing) have some pink accents, but the baby night gown is simply gray and cream in color.
Olian Maternity also offers gender specific sets, so if you know that you are having a boy or a girl, you can choose a pink or blue set (with matching baby night gown) for you and your little. They have the cutest designs! The material is 100% cotton and has a soft, slinky, luxurious feel to it. Olian Maternity is more that sleepwear - they also have beautiful dresses, tops, bottoms, and nursing tops, how cute is this Olivia Tunic or Mandy Trapeze Top?! They make being pregnant so much more FUN!
Amazon Prime Day is here! It is July 11th, and many people have been wondering, "What are the best deals out there on Prime Day?" Well, I have scoped out many of the products...Read More
I have a love-hate relationship with Costco. I love it because they carry so many wonderful brands, but I hate it because they take all my money. Okay fine, I give it to them very willingly. I'm a Costco addict! There is ALWAYS something else that catches my eye if I am running in for "just one thing".
I have grown to love several products that I will purchase at Costco and nowhere else. I feel that the prices and quality of these items cannot be found elsewhere (at least I haven't found them elsewhere!)
1) Fage Greek Yogurt:
1) Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt: No joke, they have the lowest price in town. I go through a lot of Greek yogurt, especially with my new collagen peptide Vital Proteins breakfast routine. I have tried MANY Greek Yogurts, and this flavor profile is by far my favorite.
2) Creamy Almond Butter:
2) Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter: This is one of my daily staples. It is creamy and flavorful, and goes well with many of my favorite foods! I love having Almond Butter on whole wheat toast and then adding a tablespoon to my afternoon collagen whey protein shake.
3) Pulled Chicken:
3) This extremely flavorful chicken is great for anyone short on time for dinner. Thaw, heat, and eat! Pair with a pretzel bun and you have yourself a delicious meal.
4) Rotisserie Chicken:
4) Rotisserie Chicken: I have not been to any other store who can meet the price and quality of a Costco rotisserie chicken. These chickens are delicious served on their own or turned into something more, such as chicken salad or buffalo chicken dip.
5) La Croix:
5) La Croix: We LOVE having a large assortment of La Croix to choose from in our house. We go through a lot of this flavored carbonated water - and my son loves taking sips of our bubbly water!
6) Chili Ingredients:
6) We LOVE making chili, especially in the fall and winter. I stock up on my chili ingredients at Costco. They have canned corn, beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and either ground beef or turkey needed to make a large pot. I buy these ingredients in bulk since we make a pot about once every two weeks. Shopping at Costco helps be to bring down my cost per serving.
7) Tub Of Feta:
7) Tub of Feta: This goes on top of everything! I shock myself with how many uses for feta that I can come up with when I have my tub-o-feta on hand. I am very particular about the taste of my feta cheese - every brand has a slightly different flavor profile. This one, in my opinion, has THE BEST flavor!
8) Quaker Oats: I go through oats faster than anyone I know. I add them to power cereals, overnight oats, smoothies - I'll even blend them into a fine powder and add them to my son's bath once per week. Oats are delicious. They are a whole grain, and perfect for anyone looking to stay trim and full for a longer period of time (compared to consuming refined grains). This 10 lbs box should last you at least a week! Haha.
9) PBfit: Have I died and gone to peanut butter heaven? I recently discovered this product, and I am head-over-heels for it. For the most part, I add the powder to my morning whey protein smoothie, or my overnight oats. Or, I eat it straight out of the jar. It's that good, and the price point is perfect.
10) Pirate's Booty:
10) This is our favorite snack food to have around the house. And we cannot get enough of the low Costco price. The Aged White Cheddar flavor is SO addicting! Yum!
The following post about stylish play mats for your home contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission from sales resulting from this post. Thanks for reading!
When it comes to play mats, before I had my son I envisioned my house with those primary colored alphabet explosion mats that we all have seen and know. While functional, they certainly take away a bit from your home aesthetic. Many people that I know put these mats in their basement. But this has all changed. With Comfort Design Play Mats, you can now have a stylish play mat for your home, in an area you are often in!
No more hiding in the basement. These mats are gorgeous, and it looks beautiful in our upstairs play space that we have set up for our son. We have the Garden Blossom Play Mat.
This 6.5 foot by 4.5 foot play mat has a soft blush pink design. It is about 1/2 inch thick and is made of comfortable, soft, durable non-toxic foam. Spills are a breeze to wipe up. The best thing is is that this mat is functional and goes fantastically with our decor! His toys are already bright and colorful, the pay mat doesn't need to be as well!
Comfort Design Play Mats has many designs to choose from. You will surely be able to find a design and style that will work with your decor. The days of the bold, primary-colored, alphabet mats are over, and I couldn't be more excited! These mats are an excellent replacement for area rugs in common play areas. They are much easier to clean and have a softer padding for extended floor time.
These mats are also a great area for molding clays and other doughs. And because they do not have interlocking pieces, spills do not seep through to your floor below. All around, Comfort Design Play Mats have been a wonderful addition to our home. You would love them as well!
How Lovepop Can Help You To Make a Statement This Father's Day (use FIRSTTHYME at checkout for 10% off!)
This post is sponsored by Lovepop and contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small percentage of sales that result from this post. Thank you for reading!
You guys may have seen my Mother's Day post last month, where I highlighted several of my favorite things for Mom. Well, it's Dad's turn now! From my experience, my husband really enjoys the simple things in life. We are not big gift-givers, but we always give each other cards for anniversaries, birthdays, and now, Mother's Day and Father's Day. My new FAVORITE cards are by far, the gorgeous, creative, fun, and unique designs from Lovepop Cards!
Everyone that I have given a Lovepop Card to has truly been amazed by the intricate 3-D pop-up designs. These are definitely cards that people hold on to! How fun are these Father's Day designs?! Every card has a 2-D cut out design on the front, and then, when you open them up, POP!
When I opened them all up, our son immediately picked the Fishing Bear Lovepop card for his dad. He knows his dad just went on a fishing trip for a week in May, and he has been saying "Dada Fishing" for the last few weeks whenever my husband is not home. So he knew right away that this card was the one for his daddy!
You can see all of the Lovepop Father's Day designs on their website here (be sure to use the discount code FIRSTTHYME at checkout on the Lovepop website to receive 10% off!) And if you're an Amazon Prime users, you can pick up Fishing Bear, Golf, Golf Cart, and many many more 3-D Lovepop designs on Amazon. Lovepop takes your card-giving game to the next level. Lovepop can even send a handwritten Lovepop card for an additional $5. How amazing are they?!
Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dads out there this year!
Gift Ideas For Your Watermelon Obsessed Friends
The following post about 5 signs you're addicted to watermelon contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission from sales resulting from this post. Thanks for reading!
Have you been eating watermelon your whole life, and are pretty darn obsessed with this summer fruit? I know I have been, and everyone around me knows it! Here are 5 signs that you're addicted to watermelon.
1) You're genuinely excited when you open a watermelon and see juicy red fruit.
We've all been there. Cursing the world when you cut open a melon, one that you spent several minutes selecting at your local grocery store, only to find light pink fruit or a ton of white rind. But this, this is a perfect watermelon. Did you know that most grocery stores will cut into a melon for you before you take it home? I did. But I still take my chances. I am not often disappointed, but when I am, it's a huge grocery bummer.
My Most Disappointing Watermelon. Ever.
2) You're well aware that different parts of the watermelon are better than others.
If given the choice of the watermelon on the left or right, you are 100% going to choose the left. These are watermelon hearts. They are the center of the melon. The best, juiciest, most flavorful part. The watermelon on the right has some of that unfortunate rind attached. Which is almost always the case when you come across a bowl of sliced watermelon. But you, watermelon lover, know exactly which pieces are the best to select!
There are actually many health benefits to watermelon rinds, such as benefits to your skin and immunity due to the vitamin content. However, it's typically not as tasty, so stick with the hearts!
3) It's your number one craving (pregnant or not!)
When I am pregnant, and I am in the pit of food aversion, watermelon will always do the trick. I survived off of it during my first pregnancy. That and cinnamon toast crunch. But watermelon was KEY. It provided hydration, nutrition, and was the only thing that didn't make me want to puke!
4) Your watermelon gene is so strong, you pass it down to your offspring.
This can be dangerous, because now all of a sudden, there might be a new threat in your home for "the good watermelon" pieces. My son's eyes light up as soon as he sees a watermelon being brought home from the grocery store. He will push his learning tower over to the melon, climb up to counter level, and tap it - indicating for a parent to cut it open. It's hard for me to share, but I am getting much better.
5) You're open to trying watermelon in a variety of different ways.
While watermelon is phenomenal on its own, you know that it is awesome when incorporated into smoothies, salads, and appetizers (watermelon, feta, basil, balsamic bites, anyone?!). And don't forget about Tajin! This famous chili lime sea salt blend can add flavor and dimension to any of your fave fruit and veggies, especially to watermelon!
Now, if you have a watermelon connoisseur in your family, there are many different fun gift ideas that you can consider for this unique individual. Such as these:
19 Epic Watermelon Gift Ideas:
1) Watermelon TOMS:
2) Reusable Watermelon Shopping Bags:
3) Watermelon Beach Tote:
4) Watermelon Beach Blanket:
5) Watermelon Travel Neck Pillow:
6) Watermelon Cell Phone Case:
7) Watermelon Pregnancy Tee:
8) Don't Eat Watermelon Seeds Pregnancy Tee:
9) Watermelon One Piece Swimsuit:
10) Watermelon Jumper (for the watermelon-stealing offspring):
11) Watermelon Two Piece Top:
12) Watermelon High Waist Skirt:
13) Watermelon Tea Cup Set:
14) Republic of Tea Watermelon Mint Black Iced Tea:
15) Watermelon Yankee Candle:
16) Watermelon Salt and Pepper Shaker:
17) 5 Pound Bag Watermelon Sour Patch Kids:
18) Watermelon Fanny Pack:
19) Watermelon Socks:
7 Things About Simple Pin Podcast that Changed My Pinterest Life
Two months ago, I had the question "how does Pinterest work?" I was annoyed that I had this question, and that I had not yet cracked the Pinterest code. I had been blogging on and off for the past year, but I was ready to take my blog to the next level. This post is all about Simple Pin Podcast, which is in my opinion, the best Pinterest podcast to listen to when learning Pinterest.
I KNEW that Pinterest was a powerful tool, but I was confused as to how to best use this form of social media.
Hold up. Did I just call Pinterest social media? One thing that I learned from another experienced blogger is that Pinterest is a search engine and that I needed to start treating it like one. Good first step, but I still had a ton of HOW HOW HOW questions! I read a couple of blogs that referred to the Simple Pin Podcast, with host Kate Ahl.
I have listened to approximately four podcasts in my life (before Simple Pin). I had some drive time in my day that I was looking to fill, plus, I was becoming very tired of my political talk radio that I was regularly listening to. It was becoming depressing! I downloaded the Simple Pin podcast and began to listen every day while on my way to and from work.
I was instantly hooked. Each time I finished a podcast, I left inspired by Kate and her guest host of the day (if she had one). Kate has a certain energy in her voice that left me wanting to hear more and more from her after each podcast.
The following are my favorite things about Simple Pin Podcast and the takeaways that I implemented to help drive traffic to my blog through Pinterest:
7 Things About Simple Pin Podcast that Changed my Pinterest Life
1) It taught me that Pinterest is a slow burn.
You need to put time into it and have patience, and soon enough, you will begin to see the hits to your blog from Pinterest grow. I recently became a regular pinner (both a live pinner and a scheduled pinner using Tailwind) and over the past 30 days, I have seen my Pinterest traffic increase every day. Pinterest rewards regular users and content curators. Seeing the growth in the past 30 days has me excited about what is to come in the future.
2) Stay true to your brand.
You don't need to have a Pinterest board for everything. Forget the thought that you need to have a quotes board just because they are popular. You want to be seen and known as an expert in your field. Post content relevant to what you post on your blog.
3) How to keyword, and where to keyword.
Whether you are the designer of your own site on Wordpress, or you use a hosting site like Squarespace, there are various ways to keyword your blog and content. Pinterest looks for these keywords when users are searching for a particular topic. I use Squarespace for my website, so with this information, I then dedicated time searching how to best keyword with Squarespace. I learned many different techniques, such as utilizing alt text in order to keyword images on my site.
4) It taught me why Pinterest is awesome.
Kate interviews many inspiring women and men (mostly women!!) who use Pinterest regularly to promote their businesses. I loved hearing each of their stories. The theme was always the same. These people noticed Pinterest spikes early on without even doing much on Pinterest. From there, they dug deeper. They started to invest more time and attention into Pinterest, and now Pinterest traffic often accounts for most of their traffic.
5) Switch to a Pinterest Business account, and try Promoted Pins.
You want to switch to business because the algorithm slightly favors business accounts. Use a clean and bright picture of yourself instead of your logo - it will resonate further with your readers and people who will potentially follow you.
Promoted Pin campaigns are a great way to drive traffic to posts that you are looking to promote. You can set your price per click and you can also set a "max spend" limit per day. I tried a promoted pin campaign with my Stretch Mark Prevention and Minimization post, and had a huge surge in clicks to my blog!
6) Focus on Growing your Email List.
Kate and her guests talk about all sorts of lead magnets that you can create to encourage readers to join your mailing list. She also talks about email services that have worked for her and her clients. An email list is the one thing that you own. Once Pinterest or any platform changes their algorithm yet again, you will always have your email list!
7) How to Monetize your Traffic.
By using affiliate marketing, you can eventually generate income from your blog. One way to easily do this is by writing several gift guides that pertain to your blog content. Once you are an affiliate with Amazon or Target, you can link to these sites which then pay you a certain percentage of money for purchases driven by your blog.
And that wraps up my seven main takeaways after listening to the entire Simple Pin series. There are SO MANY more key areas that Kate goes into on her Podcast. It is a MUST LISTEN! I have learned so much from her and her guests. Here is how my Pinterest traffic has grown in the last few months:
Audience Size Referred by Pinterest:
As you can see, the slow burn effect is working! These are huge Pinterest number for me. I mean come on, I started with only 4 views back in February!
I could not be happier with these results. I recommend Simple Pin to anyone who is interested in blogging. There are other podcasts out there that discuss these topics, but Kate has the best radio voice and always kept me wanting to hear more information from her and her guests. And you cannot ignore the results that I have seen. I have implemented her tips and suggestions to the best of my ability, and the payoff has been well worth it!
When I got married, I remember thinking that it was time to learn how to fold fitted sheet (NOT because I was now a wife, but because I had a ton of new sheets from our registry!). I was determined to learn how to properly fold a fitted sheet. I never truly strived for excellence in this area, so therefore, my fitted sheet always looked like a crumpled mess.
And don't get me started on changing the fitted sheet. I would try to time it so that my husband was in the room at the same time so that he could help lift the corners up off the mattress. I would also enlist his help for putting the sheet back on as well.
We went through periods of time with my son's crib sheet where we were changing it almost every night. Changing a crib mattress sheet is not an easy task. You have to lift up the entire mattress in order to get the job done.
Recently, this has all changed. I have been using QuickZip sheets for several months on our bed and my son's bed, and they are truly revolutionary. Each sheet has a base, which stays put on the mattress at all times. Our king bed sheet also has a base. When it comes time to change a sheet, you simply zip it off. It is so easy to take off, and then to put on again. And the sheet is a perfect rectangle. It does not have bunchy, impossible to fold corners.
This two-piece fitted sheet system stays put. The sheet comes in several patterns and designs, and also in a super soft minky fabric. We are currently using the minky fabric since it is winter and we are occupying the space in our parents basement while we save for our new home.
The QuickZip technology comes in a crib size, twin, twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King. This sheet makes it easy for ANYONE of any age to change their bed sheets. It's perfect for anyone who loathes the task. I quite enjoy it now - zip on, zip off! Once my son is a little older, he will easily be able to change his own sheets.
I recommend staring with a starter pack for yourself or your kids. The cribs sheets are 200 thread count and the Luxe Starter Pack (for a size twin - cal king bed) are a super soft 400 thread count.
This QuickZip crib package comes with the base sheet and the three zip on sheets. This is the number one item that I recommend to friends who are expecting babies.
If you want to give a friend of yours the ultimate wedding gift or shower gift, one that will really make them go "wow, this is an AWESOME product", then QuickZip is that gift. This is my new go-to gift and also my forever chosen linens for the beds in my home. You will LOVE this product!
Theo is my first born, and like any parents, my husband and I have been embracing all of the "firsts" that we have been fortunate to experience as we watch him grow. I have a baby book for my son. I promise that I had the best intentions for filling out his book in its entirety (there's still time!), but I now have an even better way to preserve all of those early year memories.
Enter the Savor Keepsake Box. This is not your ordinary storage box. My mother recently gave me my plastic storage bin. I know that many of you are familiar with the plastic bin - the one filled with all of your childhood awards, photos, report cards, notes, and many other goodies. These boxes are fun to go through, and can be a real trip down memory lane. The Library: Baby Keepsake Box is not only a place to neatly organize all of your baby's keepsakes, it is a beautiful box that you can keep on display so that you or your family, friends, or child can go through it periodically and bask in the memories!
I LOVED putting my son's keepsake box together. We recently moved, so some of his belongings are in storage. That part drove me crazy. I wanted his memories neatly organized NOW! I envision a trip to our storage locker soon. These boxes would make a perfect shower gift for any expecting parent. It is easy to add stickers to the different compartments and then drop in the keepsake as memories are made. Think about how fun it will be for your child to look through these treasures when they are older.
The Library Keepsake Box, a better alternative to a baby book
The Savor Keepsake Box comes with pre-printed labels to help give you ideas for the many things that you can collect and save over the years. There are two tiny envelops for the First Haircut and First Tooth. As you can see from my photos, one part of the box is a file organizer for all sorts of things such as photos, birth announcements, first birthday party details, holiday cards, baby shower details, birth story, artwork, medical records, newspaper article, etc. The other half of the organizer contains nine drawers for your baby's hospital keepsakes, first locks, first teeth, favorite outfit, letters, first spoon, rattles, and any other of baby's belongings that you think he or she would like to hear about and see when they are older.
Savor Keepsake Box - Drawers to store all your special memories!
The box also comes with letters so that you can personalize the box with your child's initials. This is perfect for if you have multiple children. And when your child is older, Savor offers a School Years Keepsake Box. Since this box is not anything like a plastic storage bin, you can display it on any shelf in your home. Having the box where I can see it is a good reminder for me to add things that are important as life's events take place.
If you are looking for a simple and elegant way to organize your baby's treasures, the Savor Keepsake Box is it. I love that this company donates a portion of their proceeds to organizations committed to helping families in need. I cannot wait to continue to fill up this box as time goes on. I love knowing that I am creating something special that my son can have to look back on later in life.
We were at the mall the other day, and I was talking with a friend near the food court. Theo wandered over to a plant, and popped a squat to the side of it. It always takes me a second, but I knew pretty quickly what he was up to.
Like every mom, I was hoping we could make this quick trip without needing to haul our baggage into the bathroom. Not this time, not this time. My friend was a doll, and offered to watch our belongings while we were in the restroom. I have an amazing diaper bag, but it was buried in the stroller. Once I got to it, I unzipped it, grabbed my Moss & Marsh diaper clutch, and off to the bathrooms we went!
I use my diaper bag as a daily purse, so I like to have the diaper changing necessities within easy reach exactly for this situation. Grab and go. In and out. We were back to our stroller in no time!
Moss & Marsh is owned and operated by Candace Brodmann. She is an extremely talented designer with a degree in Textiles from the University of Georgia. Her vision is to create functional products that make parenting easier. All Moss & Marsh products are designed, screen printed, and sewn in Savannah, GA, by Candace. The quality of her items are superb - she has a true talent and you can see it in her line of swaddles, carry-all bags, bandana bibs, nursing covers, burp cloths, bath aprons, car seat covers, hooded towels, and shopping cart covers. Having a sweet daughter of her own, Candace knows what parents are looking for when it comes to products like the ones she designs for her line.
One of her newest items is a Terry Cloth Bath Mitt. Soft terry cloth on one side, and one of her screen printed designs (of your choosing) on the back. This mitt is perfect for helping to get your baby squeaky clean! Bath time is oh-so-fun with Moss & Marsh products!
Anytime my son sees me wearing my glasses or sunglasses, he instantly wants to grab them, hold them, smear up the lenses, and bend them in his tiny baby hands.
He enjoys doing this to my husband's glasses as well. When he was under one year old, we could not get him to wear his own sunglasses. Now, he loves his shades! Real Shades offers a complete line of sunglasses for babies, toddlers, kids, and adults.
The best part about these Real Shades Surf Toddler sunglasses is that they provide 100% UV protection, and are flexible and have shatterproof lenses. The Flex-Fit frames are made of a rubber like material that can tolerate baby bending. The frames then return to their original shape. They have so many different styles and colors to choose from. All Real Shades frames are capable of accepting Rx lenses as well. How awesome is that?!
Alright, sun, come on out! We are ready for Spring and all of the sunshine that comes with it!