How to help a friend who has had a premature baby.

We all know someone who has had a premature baby. After having one myself it always tugs a little bit extra at my heart when I see someone else had one and I want to help. Here’s a few ways you can help someone who has had a preemie and is having a hospital stay, mind you some of these are helpful even once they are home.

1. Bring home cooked food. My sister-in-law did this (among many other things) and it’s one thing I will never forget, it tasted amazing to eat home cooked food while we had been eating our every meal.

2. Use the hand sanitizer. New parents in general are freaked out about all the germs you’re bringing in so do us a favor and use the freaking hand sanitizer. Frankly, maybe you shouldn’t touch the baby at all depending on the situation.

3. Offer to stay with the baby while the new parents go take in some fresh air. The nurses are wonderful but it’s comforting to have someone you know stay with your baby while you go for a walk or grab a quick bite to eat.

4. Take the new parents out to eat but know that going out to eat isn’t always easy and refreshing. Getting out of the hospital is nice but also stressful. If the new mom is anything like me she has a pretty scheduled day for when she needs to pump and feed the baby and drink a million gallons of water, so be mindful and choose a restaurant that is close by.

5. Offer to bring items from their home. We left in a hurry not really knowing we’d actually be having a baby that day. As organized as I like to be my hospital bag was not packed and we had an unplanned extended stay. Thank god for my mother-in-law, who consistently brought us stuff.

6. Keep their home maintained, mow the lawn or plow the snow. These things are necessary but also the last thing the new parents want to worry about.

7. Tidy their house. Likely the new parents were not expecting to go into labor at this time so there may be dishes in the sink or clothes in the wash. Nobody wants to go home to a house in disarray.

8. Buy outfits similar to the one I have shown below, Target for the win. This outfit is perfect for running cords in and out of because it has Velcro “buttons” all the way down and it doesn’t have feet so the oxygen monitor can easily be in place.

9. Let the new parents rest. If you go to visit and notice one or both parents sleeping for the love of God do NOT wake them, any sleep is precious.

10. Don’t be offended if the new parents forget to respond when you reached out. It’s great to hear from people and know they are wishing you the best. However, your text may have came as the doctor was making rounds or the baby was screaming.

Happy helping.

-Kelsey

Girl, clean your makeup brushes

How often do you clean your makeup brushes? I used to do this religiously then along came Sumner and well I honestly don’t remember when I last cleaned mine.

The good news is you don’t need a fancy cleanser to clean your brushes! Simply use a gentle baby wash, for the last ten years I’ve used Johnson & Johnson baby wash to clean my makeup brushes. This was a tip given to me by a consultant at Ulta and it’s saved me tons of money. I’ve never bought a true brush cleaner marketed by the beauty industry. A few of my favorite brushes are 10 years old and still like new.

To get started fill a clean sink half full of lukewarm water, as the water fills add baby wash into the basin, about a tablespoon. Do NOT put soap directly on your brushes.

Gently swirl your brushes around to saturate them then rub them against your palm to agitate and remove built up makeup. Rinse with clean water.

I like brush them out on a clean hand towel to remove excess water so the brushes dry faster. Let your brushes sit overnight and they will feel like new in the morning! Note: It usually takes 12 hours or so for brushes to fully dry.

Getting out the door with a toddler made a little bit easier

If you have a toddler you know how difficult it can be to get out the door in the morning and on your way to work. Here’s a few tips to make your morning go a little bit smoother:

1. Set out yours & your toddlers clothes the night before. If you read my toddler room organization post you know I plan several outfits at a time for Sumner, and I actually do the same for myself. What to wear is one of the last things I want to spend time thinking about in the morning.

2. Know your breakfast options. Again I don’t want to think about this during the chaos. I want to spend any extra time we have playing or reading.

3. Wake up an hour before your toddler. I know this may sound terrible as many of us moms are exhausted, and that extra hour in bed is super enticing. Trust me I know, my 20 month old is still waking several times a night and some days I simply cannot drag myself out of bed an hour earlier. But most days I do. And this time is SO NICE. I can have a glass of water without sharing, read without being interrupted, and get myself ready without little hands in my makeup or trying to curl my hair. Which brings my to my fourth tip.

4. Get ready before your toddler wakes. It goes so much faster! While Sumner’s help can be cute and enjoyable it really slows us down in the morning and he’s getting a little heavy and quick to hold while I try to draw a quick wing.

5. Lastly, pack your work bag the night before. One less thing to worry about in the morning and it gives you a few extra minutes to pay attention to your special little one.

-Kelsey

Stop Wasting Food & Money!

Do you struggle to think of a meals daily? Is finding time to cook a stretch for you? Are you stopping at the grocery store multiple times a week? If you find yourself answering yes to these questions it’s time to start meal planning! Planning our meals has made our life SO much easier and saved us money. Taking time once a week or every other week to plan your meals in advance can save you a lot of time, energy, stress, and money. Note: If you’re looking for tips on meal prep, you won’t find it here, this is meal planning. Meal prep doesn’t happen in our house, meal planning is considered a WIN.

Step 1: Get out some paper. I plan on scratch paper and then transfer to my Organize Your Peace notepad. I typically plan meals from Sunday to Saturday but occasionally I’ll be extra ambitious and plan two weeks out, this can be especially helpful if you’re going to be busier than usual. I also like to have second piece of paper to start the grocery list.

Step 2: Look at your calendar. Are there nights you have plans to be gone over supper? Are there nights part of the family will be gone? Do you have a date night scheduled? Are there nights you’ll be home later so you want something quick or in the crock pot? Are there nights you need an simple meal because the other half is going to be cooking? Mark these nights on your meal planning paper.

Step 3: Look in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. What do you have on hand? Are there any meals that jump out to you right away? Maybe you already have all the ingredients you need for spaghetti; put that on your meal plan. Look for meals which you have almost all the ingredients and would only need to pick up one or two things. Do you have everything you need for meatballs except eggs? Great put meatballs on your meal plan and eggs on your grocery list.

Step 4: Start the search. We like to eat a variety of foods and try new recipes so once I have written down the few things I have everything (or almost everything) on hand for I’ll look through our cookbooks and Pinterest for a inspiration and new recipes.

Step 5: Take your list to the store. And stick to it! Don’t grab miscellaneous items you don’t actually need and don’t go to the store when you are hungry. Remember to take your reusable bags.

A few extra tips:

  • Keep a bread pan in the fridge to thaw meat for the week. This keeps all the meat and mess in one place.
  • If you love pasta as much as I do, buy basic noodles whenever they are on sale so you always have an easy dish on hand.
  • Again if you love pasta, make your own alfredo sauce. Here’s the link for my favorite one, the ingredients are simple things we always have on hand because they are “basics”.
  • Buy minced garlic dried at the farmers market (there’s a Preston local who sells at the Rochester market) or minced in a jar at the grocery store to save yourself a step. Garlic goes in everything.
  • Make your own taco seasoning. It’s an easy thing to have on hand and making it yourself saves you a lot of sodium intake! I omit the salt all together.
  • Include a “choice” night in your meal plan, also known as eat your leftovers and take a break from cooking!
  • Review the grocery store ad before looking for recipes so you have an idea of what’s on sale this week.

I hope this helps you with your meal planning plus saves you time, food, and money!

-Kelsey

Quick & Easy Everyday Makeup

While I enjoy doing full face makeup, it really isn’t practical when I’m trying to get out of the house on a workday with a toddler. The best way to get my makeup done quickly is to do it before Sumner wakes up, while that isn’t always an option – here’s my daily makeup routine.

I start with Josie Maran foundation using a damp beauty sponge to apply, my favorite part about using a beauty sponge to apply is the sponge will take on any extra foundation if you have too much so you won’t look cakey. Cakey foundation is a huge fear after seeing it happen in high school. I use Beautycounter concealer pen under my eyes. TIP: Apply concealer in the shape of an upside down triangle bringing the tip of the triangle down to about the tip of your nose.

After applying foundation, I fill in my brows with a Beautycounter brow pencil in medium. TIP: Let your foundation dry a bit so take a moment to get dressed, do your hair, or brush your teeth.  Then I set my foundation with Beautycounter mattifying powder. I never skip setting my foundation! Setting gives your foundation so much more staying power and helps it last all day. 

Next I go in with Beautycounter bronzer. TIP: To save a few seconds and an extra product you can also use bronzer as your eyeshadow. While I will do this on occasion I prefer to use actual eyeshadow, Naked2 pallet shades Bootycall and YDK to be exact. I take Bootycall all over my lid up, up to my lash line, and slightly in to inner corners then I layer YDK over the lid.

I finish with curling my lashes (this step is important don’t skip it!) and applying Younique Moodstuck Epic mascara.

Beautycounter products are new to me as I’ve began to make the switch to using clean beauty products. The products I’ve mentioned here are all ones I’ve been happy with! Josie Maran foundation is also considered a clean beauty product. If you’re curious how clean your beauty products are check out EWG – Skin Deep. If you are interested in making the switch to clean beauty Sephora now a has a clean section and Beautycouter products are all considered clean beauty. I seriously recommend checking out both of these to learn more about why you should care about the ingredients in your beauty products. 

Organize your little ones room easily & affordably

I love to organize, I love finding the simplest, neatest, and cleanest way to keep our home. I don’t store things we don’t need, in fact I purge every season. I hate having a full house.

In light of us all being stuck inside with this extreme cold I thought I’d share with you how I have organized our son’s small room.

First off his closet. We purchased this storage cube at Target along with the bins. I keep clothes that currently fit him in the top two bins, bottoms on the left and tops on the right. In his shirt bin I have four stacks: long sleeve onesies, short sleeve onesies, long sleeve t-shirts, and short-sleeve t-shirts. Sweatshirts, sweaters, vests, and button-ups are all hung up. Hanging on the left are tops that fit him and off to the right are his next size to grow into. The bottom two bins in his storage cube are clothes for him to grow into. The left is the next size up, the right is the size following it. These two bins are important for us because I love to pick up clothes for Sumner when they are a good deal. I don’t go beyond the next two sizes as you never know when a growth spurt will happen.

To the left of Sumner’s storage cube we keep extra diapers and to the right a skinny clothes hamper we put his outgrown clothes in. I fill this basket until he is ready to go into the next size then I will go through everything and donate any items that weren’t my favorite or didn’t work well i.e. were not easy to take on and off. It’s all about convince and quick dressing for us.

We use the top shelf of his closet to store a couple keepsake boxes, books with paper pages he’s not ready to use, and wipes. I like to keep diapers and wipes visible incase the babysitter needs to find them. For the most part his closet holds all the essentials. Missing from his closet are his pajamas and socks. Sumner has a twin bed in his room with 2 drawers under it where you will find these things in our house. If you don’t have this option I would suggest keeping a small shoe box on top of the storage cube to put socks in and pajamas could go in the three drawer plastic storage I’ll mention next or in a drawer/basket under the nightstand. Be creative and choose multifunction pieces! Target has tons of great options.

This 3 drawer plastic storage isn’t exactly pretty but it works. His radio for sleeping piano music on top, then the drawers host outfits, books and an extra diaper bag. Whenever I do Sumner’s laundry I put together about 10 outfits to keep in this drawer. I find this to be a time saver in the end because I don’t have to think about what he’s going to wear each morning when we are trying to get out the door to daycare. It is also nice for babysitters because we can tell them where the drawer for extra outfits is rather than explain my whole closet system.

Lastly, we do not have a changing table as we use the twin bed. The shelving on the headboard has diapers, a wipe warmer, cream, and hand sanitizer.

Happy organizing!

Harmony Gardens & Floral…more than flowers!

If you haven’t been into Harmony Gardens & Floral lately, or ever, get over there! You are missing out on lots of great items, and wonderful gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Harmony Gardens & Floral is owned and operated by local couple Andrew & Lisa Kingsley. The couple purchased the business in 2016 and has been providing an awesome service to our community since!

As Small Business Saturday approaches it is the perfect time to take a moment to stop at Harmony Gardens & Floral. While Lisa makes gorgeous bouquets of anything you request the shop also has much more to offer, from quality toys to household decor there is an excellent variety that’s sure to please anyone. I tried to pick out a few of my favorites but had a hard time narrowing down my options, so instead below is a sample of all they have to offer: quality toys & books, gift bags & wrap, home decor, Falcon wear, and absolutely adorable Christmas decor.

Whether you’re looking for a gift or new holiday decor for yourself make Harmony Floral & Gardens one of your stops this Small Business Saturday! 

^ These hats are super cozy!

Harmony Gardens & Floral can be found on the north side of Harmony on the west side Hwy 52. 

Harmony Gardens & Floral