Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

{Baby Talk} Diaper Bag Essentials

Diaper bags, and what is considered "essential" to put in them, is a topic with lots of debate.  Each parent will tell you their own opinion, and all are valid - because as anyone with children or who have even just been in the presence of children will tell you, each little one is uniquely different.

With that said, when I was prepping for little E's arrival, I scoured the internet for suggestions on what to put in my diaper bag, and I could never really find a good list.  Some were very vague, saying you only really needed diapers, wipes, and food.  Others were overly detailed, listing things like a camera to take pictures and a change of outfit for mom.  I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have the time, space, or desire to carry around an outfit change with me at all times.

I thought I would make a little post on what I find essential in my diaper bag, focusing on items for E.  I also carry lip gloss, my phone, and my wallet in my bag at all times, but I didn't include them on my list for the simple reason that if you always carry chapstick with you, you don't need me to tell you to pack it into your diaper bag.

With no further ado, here is my list of diaper bag essentials.

1.  Choosing a diaper bag is a very important task, and not just because it is an accessory that will travel with you for the next 12 + months.  When things get crazy with your little one, you want to be able to grab whatever it is that you need quickly and without fuss.  Choose a diaper bag that can hold what you want it to hold, is comfortable to carry, and allows you to organize your essentials in a way that makes sense to you.  Does it have enough pockets? Is it waterproof inside and out?  Will it show stains?  Think about these things when choosing your bag.  I like my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag, pictured above.  It is easy to wipe off inside and out.  The straps are comfy and long enough that I can put them over my shoulders to carry it "purse style."  I like that it is colorful and playful, too.  It has enough pockets inside for me to organize items, and it has optional straps to turn it into a backpack.  

2.  Bibs, bibs, bibs!  We never leave home without them.  We use them for the obvious task of keeping E's clothes clean during feedings, but we also use them to wipe off drool from chubby cheeks, as a play thing, and to clean up little spills of milk or whatnot in the carseat.  I always pack at least two, if not more, depending on how much is on our agenda that day.

3.  Kids are messy.  I myself have been known to spill a thing or two (or three).  Tide to Go pens help a lot.  Enough said.

4.  Waterproof bibs weren't always an essential for us, but now that E is eating solid foods they are really helpful.  Sometimes we just stick with the soft bibs, but having a waterproof bib in our bag is a nice "just in case" item.

5.  Bottles!  We like the Nuk bottles pictured above, but whichever bottle your baby uses, always have one in your bag.  When going out, I like to pack two:  one that is filled with water, and another that is empty.  I keep the water filled one in the side pocket of my bag for easy access, and in a pinch, I can fill it with formula and have it ready to go in about two minutes.  The empty bottle in my bag is a back up, and can be filled easily while we are out an about.  (Hint:  I don't fill the second bottle that I keep inside my bag with water because it can potentially leak.  Even though my bag is waterproof, everything inside gets wet and yucky and it causes a mess until I can dry everything off.)

6.  While I definitely don't consider myself a germ-a-phobe, little ones stick everything, and I mean everything, in their mouths.  Soap and water is always best to wash things off if possible, but other items, like shopping cart seats and restaurant high chairs, can't really be taken to the bathroom to be washed.  Clorox wipes are easy to use for quick wipe downs of items that are big and bulky and that can potentially carry a lot of germs.  

7.  Now that we are into solid foods, I carry two or three pouches with me at all times.  E eats them right from the pouch, and they can be tossed in the trash when done.  Although, Ethan tends to like to hold them once he is done eating, so in our house they can double as a toy.  Sigh. ;)

8.  Diapers.  I don't think I need to explain this one!  I'll just say I usually carry at least five.  Those blowouts come without warning, people.  Just sayin'.  

9.  Diaper wipes are so incredibly helpful, and not just for diaper changes.  They can be used to clean off grubby faces and hands.  They can clean off tables, toys, and clothes.  They can clean up spills that have nothing to do with babies but everything to do with over fizzy sodas being enjoyed by Mama and Daddy.  I think I'll keep diaper wipes in the car for forever, even after E goes to college.  They are that useful.

10.  We have had blowouts that have stained outfits, and not just stained a little, I mean stained-all-over-the-back stained.  We have had massive, Exorcist-style throw ups.  We have had food messes you cannot imagine.  Keeping a little change of outfit in your bag for your little one is helpful, to say the least.  I keep a one piece outfit in our bag just to save on space and keep it simple.

11.  A formula dispenser is a great, cheap, easy item that will keep you prepared and organized.  Most containers hold at least three portions of formula and dispense easily.  We have the one pictured above, that came with our Avent bottle kit.  As an added bonus, you can use them to hold snacks once your little one has moved past bottles.

12.  I know a travel grooming kit seems like a non-essential, and perhaps to some it is.  However, I cannot tell you how many times I have used those nail clippers while out and about, or just given E's hair a little brush after it gets all mushed about after a nap in his carseat.  I can't lie, I like having the emery boards and clippers for myself, too.  

And two other items I forgot to picture ... Aquaphor to Go and Ziploc baggies.  For chapped cheeks, scratches, diaper rash, and more, Aquaphor can't be beat.  Ziploc baggies are great for holding dirty bibs, used spoons, or dirty diapers and wipes when there isn't a trash can in easy reach. 

Just for an idea, all of the items pictured above are the actual items I pack in my bag, same brand and all.  Everything fits in my bag easily with some room to spare for a toy or two, my phone, wallet, and lip gloss.  

Hopefully this list will be helpful for some, and at least give a jumping off point when you are thinking about what to put in your diaper bag.  Now, with our bag packed, E and I are off for some adventures!  See you around!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Teacher's Wardrobe - First Day of School

As I was walking around Target the other day, I turned the corner and was met by a site that teachers look forward to every year.  Glistening folders, stacks of binder paper, and boxes of pre-sharpened Ticonderogas were stacked as far as the eye could see.  Erasers, markers, and lunch boxes filled the shelves.  It's here - Back to School time!

Even though I am not returning to the classroom this fall so I can spend another year with baby E, I couldn't help but get myself into Back to School mode and start thinking of all the things I would be preparing were I going back.  Of course, knowing me, I started thinking of what my first day of school outfit would be, and that got me inspired for another Teacher Wardrobe post.

The first day of school, as all teachers know, sets the tone for the entire year.  I like to project an image that shows exactly who I am as a teacher:  professional, fun, friendly, and creative.  With that in mind, I put together several looks that I would love to wear as a teacher.  I kept in mind that many districts require things like closed-toed shoes and covered shoulders while I was putting together my outfit sets.  I will say that the district in which I work is a bit more casual than others, so you won't be seeing any suits here; with that being said, I still feel all of the looks are professional and would be acceptable in most schools.

Without further ado, here are a few looks for the first day, Golden Poppy Press style. :)

 I love this look for a younger grade teacher especially.  The bright colors are so cheerful, and students will surely notice the cute apple earrings.

What teacher doesn't love polka dots? Okay, I'm sure there are some, but this teacher sure loves them! There is something about them that just screams "fun" and "fresh" to me.

For something a little more sophisticated, this dress from J. Crew is perfection to me.  I love the color and the cut, and with a statement necklace and pumps, it makes the perfect professional statement for the first day.

Looking for something a little more funky, a little more fun? I can totally imagine a cute art teacher rockin' this look for the first day.  You could pair it with a black knit t-shirt (underneath) or a cardigan for a bit more coverage if your district doesn't allow bare arms, and it could transition great to the fall with tights and boots.

Have you thought about your first day look?