What’s in my diaper bag

This post is going to be terribly exciting.

When I had Amelie, a friend lent me a diaper bag and that’s what I used up until this summer when my friend needed her things back. I was hoping to use it for Cade but planning to borrow things for four years is kind of lot to ask of someone. Returning her baby gear forced me to get a new bag and actually, I’m very happy I had to. I looked into a lot of fancy diaper bags like SkipHop and on Etsy. All were pricy and I felt kinda panicky since I was “investing” in a new diaper bag so late into my “Diaper Bag Days” but finally, I settled on one:

diaper bag

A backpack from Target. For $22.99. It’s the best!

The old diaper bag was perfect initially, but we outgrew it. I knew I had to get something bigger after adding a second baby. The old bag had one big strap you could put over your shoulder or wear cross body but once I loaded it up with all of my crap, it would swing around and bonk me in the legs while I walked no matter which way I wore it. I’d have to use one hand to keep it “steady”…but I needed to be hands-free!

My new backpack is magical; hands-free, spacious, easier on my back, and cute because it’s gray with polka dots! How could I not love it? Often, I’m carrying Amelie and pushing Cade in the stroller (I think I deserve a medal!) and so this has been a big win for me. Wanna see what I cart around everywhere?

contents

These are the essentials. Meaning, I get irritated if Hubs grabs something out and doesn’t put it back. It’s disrupts the Balance of the Bag, you know? I can’t have that.

contents_skitched

Since I need to use all of my cloth diapers and can’t afford a “spare” just for the diaper bag, I usually throw one or two in just before we head out anywhere. It probably would be wise to keep a few disposables in here just in case, but I don’t.

MamaP bought these three snack bags for me at a local handmade fair. They are food safe and can be used for just about anything – food, makeup, a wet bag for swimsuits/cloth diapers, etc.

snacks

I use mine for snacks. It’s a must to be loaded with snacks! These bags save the landfills from plastic baggies and the prints are adorable! I love them so much. They are made by two+two and I bought a few as gifts as well. I’m thinking about getting a few more for Hubs since he packs a lunch for work.

I have a few more things…

contents2

In case you can’t tell what anything is because the picture is blurry (I was holding Cade while taking pictures with one hand)):

contents2_skitched

I got that little bag in the Target dollar section. Perfect for crayons, stickers, a small pad of paper (thank you, Emily). I take this out to keep Amelie busy when we are at doctor appointments. It’s been so helpful!

contents2_closeup

The Extras

  • Amelie and Cade’s nuks
  • plastic bag (for dirty diapers on the go)
  • reusable shopping bag (mine is a Envirosax from long ago)
  • one or two of my handmade burp cloths (these get switched out regularly for washing)
  • extra outfit for Cade just in case
  • sweatshirt for Amelie (if it’s chilly)

That’s it! Maybe it’s weird of me to share but I like this sorta thing. What are the must-haves in your diaper bag?

Home Sweat Home: Playroom

Over a year ago, we put up a wall between our main level and our lower level den. Even though the handy man was super hesitant, I still don’t regret it. A while after that, I finally painted it

And then it sat like this for forever, acting as a catch all for anything that didn’t belong. It drove me crazy but the annoyance obviously didn’t stir up enough motivation to change it.

This summer, we attended a birthday party at a house that has the exact same layout as ours. And the SuperMom Neighbor created the most heavenly play place down here in her home! She actually dedicated the entire den to Toddler Awesome. It served as plenty of inspiration for me so we have been – albeit very slowly – trying to create a play place for Amelie. Here is where we are at currently:

We scored a used play kitchen for Amelie. I love it so. It was dirty but Amelie and I scrubbed it until it sparkled! We purchased a rug from Land Of Nod for way too much money and I wish it were white, not cream. Ah, well. The table and chairs are from consignment that I plan to makeover one day. Maybe yellow? I plan to do a lot of things “one day”…

Just recently, we picked up two STUVAs from Ikea. They are actually intended as wall cabinets but I liked that their depth was almost the same as the play kitchen. I need to purchase legs so they stand up taller. Although I wanted a lot of storage to stash toys, I’m debating on moving one out (or putting it on the wall) because I think two looks weird. I think they’d look better on either side of the crawl space door but those spaces are too small and not symmetrical. Darn!

I do love the lantern cluster though. I scored most of them on clearance. The mint one was originally lime green so I painted it with my Martha Stewart craft paint in Beach Glass, which I had purchased for this Christmas craft fail. I knew it’d come in handy someday!

Originally I wasn’t going to post these pictures because the lighting is so crappy but I decided to anyway because that’s an issue that needs resolving…we need light down here! I’d love to scrape the horrible popcorn ceiling (one day, but not anytime soon) and put in recessed lights and maybe a chandelier.

Amelie hasn’t spent much time here yet, but she ventures down more often each week.

I’m hoping as she gets older, she’ll be able to keep herself busy for longer periods of time and that this playroom will evolve into a fun and creative place for her – and eventually Cade. Although that kid pukes on anything remotely near him so I keep him far away from this over-priced rug!

What you can’t see is all of the toy organizing I’ve been doing lately. It sneaks up on you, I swear. You’re zooming along in Toddlerdom and all of a sudden you start collecting literally anything that will hold her attention for a few moments. I’ve grabbed a bunch of assorted sized bins and now most of her toys have a home. Just like anything, but especially since littles change so fast, her toy collection needs constant attention and pruning.

I’m dreaming of big cork board loaded with art (made by my Amelie, of course!) and I have grand plans for a dollhouse, teepee, art and craft station, a pretend school and much more! The only thing lacking is execution. And money. And talent. And time.

It’s a start though?

 

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Amelie’s Craft Bin

Like I mentioned in the last My Amelie, I’ve been enjoying Toddlerdom. Amelie is a pleasure. Although she is still fairly young/uncoordinated, we’ve been doing “crafts” together. I love it! Granted, our projects generally last 15 minutes or less and then I spend her nap time cleaning up/finishing whatever we started. But hey, I’m so happy I get to do this kind of stuff with her now.

My mess of a craft bin is unorganized and loaded full. Plus it was too heavy to drag out and play with often.

I decided to create a craft bin for Amelie. Something just for her. I put in pipe cleaners, Playdoh, paints (washable!), crayons, paper for coloring (in the black and white organizer), stickers (in the polka dot organizer) and sidewalk chalk (also washable, which is key).

As she gets older, I can add in more fun stuff – like glue sticks, scissors, stamps, colored paper, stencils, etc. But for now, these keep us pretty busy.

I may have to get a bigger bin though. My eyes about bugged out of my head when our neighbor tipped me off that the 48 COLORS SIDEWALK CHALK WAS ON SALE at Target.

Just imagine the possibilities! I can’t wait to play with them! I mean, I’m sure Amelie can’t wait to dive into these even though she tends to gravitate towards one color for all of her art. And that color is usually black or brown…

 

Friday Tidbits

It’s FriYAY!

I apologize for my absence! I can tell that, deep down, you missed me a little. You see, Amelie and I have been sick. Since I’m breastfeeding and Amelie is little, of course there is nothing either of us can do but suffer through it. She’s been up crying 3-5x/night all week long because she’s so stuffed up. And now Cade is congested too…oh please no!

Since I do enough whining in person, let’s get on with the post, shall we?

One Friday long ago, I posted this really gross picture of our newly “organized” kitchen cabinet. Hello there, Fish Oil!

Unappealing? Yes. Super helpful at keeping a little sanity in our kitchen? Also a yes!

Well, after we prettied up our cabinets with lots and lots of white, I knew this cabinet could use some refreshing up on the inside as well. So I did and it took a long time even though it shouldn’t have.

Oversharing:

A closeup:

This system is working pretty well for us. I love that all of my breast pumping supplies are in one bucket. It’s actually the bucket I swiped from the hospital when I had Amelie. What IS that color anyway? Faded mustardy puke?

Where was I? Oh yeah, oversharing. For our keys, I bought the long Command Hook rail from Target. It was pricey at $9.99 but perfect. It has a slot where you could put important mail so maybe I’ll try that instead of piling it on the counters…(maybe). I also picked up a pack of label key rings from Home Depot so we could organize all of the miscellaneous keys floating around. A small To Do with a big impact!

The white basket (also from Target) I use to keep all of our vitamins, medications and sunscreen handy. I hate to mention it to those in frozen land, but we’ve had to pull out the sunscreen already so it’s good to have it close by. It keeps everything together and tucked away. I pull out the entire basket each morning and put it back when I’m done. Why didn’t I do this system a hundred years ago?

The purple tea tin is still holding sunglasses. I put another small Command hook to hold my iPhone charger. Lastly, I bought a wire basket from the Target dollar section and a new pack of pens because our hodgepodge collection was irritating me. That small project was worth the $2.03 that it cost me!

Doesn’t it look so much neater in the “new” cabinets?

Things got hairy

Amelie was born with crazy hair. It was full and dark. With blonde tips! It was gorgeous and strange. Of course I couldn’t help myself, I had to pick up a few hair bows. Then a few more. And a few more. And so begun Amelie’s hair bow collection.

After a while, those tips faded but her hair kept growing. It’s now past her shoulder blades! Her hair is so long, she actually needs to wear hair bows/barrettes/ponytails to keep it out of her eyes. Weeeeee, I love when accessories are required!

I seriously need to learn how to do hair STAT. My crummy attempt at a french braid:

Anyway. I was protective of the hair bows. I wanted to make sure we kept track of them and I kept them neatly on the cards they came with. I went a little hair bow psycho, I admit. One time, Amelie dropped a hair bow on a walk with my MIL and by golly, she went out for a run the next day and tracked that hair bow down! She’s a good woman, I tell you.

In spite of my obsessing, we’ve lost a few here and there. And then Amelie chewed on one of the cards and ripped another. My Type A tendencies flared. I don’t like chewed up cards and empty hair bow slots.

I picked up a bead organizer at Michaels and problem *mostly* solved!

Much better, right? I still need to hunt for a bigger one that can hold her hair brush, elastics, big bows, necklaces and sunglasses but we are moving in the right direction. Little things like this make me so happy!

Update. A friend inspired me to cram more hair goodies in by adjusting the compartments to fit bigger items.

updated2Now I have everything I need to do Amelie’s hair all in one place. I typically do her hair while she eats breakfast. 

updated1

Easy! Pretty! Organized! One of my favorite little projects to date. Seriously.

This has been the year of organizing for me. I think now that we’ve gotten a few rooms painted and some big projects checked off, I can pull back the reigns and work on little things, like hair bows and closets.

And that’s all I’ve got today. Sorry to send you into the weekend with only boring hair bow nonsense.

Friday Tidbits

The big kitchen cabinet redo got me hankerin’ to update our gross mishmash of kitchen towels. We’ve got a wide assortment – all different colors, a few bath hand towels and some holiday ones. But they all have one thing in common: they are worn out!

And then, this happened. It’s like Target crawled INSIDE MY MIND:

Clearance! And coordinating!

You can tell some of the cabinets, like this one, could use a solid round of caulking. One day? Maybe never?

I do need to update our washcloths too but those weren’t on clearance. I wish they’d make gray ones! The little basket that houses them is from the Target dollar section. I go nuts there.

Even though I have the one-in-one-out rule, I haven’t gotten rid of the old towels just yet. I’m going to replace my stash of rags in the upstairs linen closet with the towels that are still somewhat decent.

I’ll cringe the first time Hubs wipes Amelie’s ketchup face with one of these but I do accept that kitchen towels are meant to be used.

Next up, kitchen rugs…

Happy Friday! We are supposed to get loads of snow!

Home Sweat Home: Coat Closet

More closets. Sigh.

You remember how I transformed the outside of our coat closet from its mauve beginnings to this:

So pretty! (If you ignore the stairs).

Well, the inside was atrocious. Our shoe “storage”:

:/

The top isn’t so bad but still somewhat messy, especially now that Amelie has a growing collection of coats herself:

I hauled everything out and cleaned. Shoes bring in a lot of the Eeews.  I removed extra hangers, paired down to the few shoes we wear and took the rest upstairs to the master closet. When the weather warms up again, I’ll do a switcheroo but for now the closet look like this:

Please ignore the Christmas goodies pile on the left. I was still working on putting everything away from the holidays.

I saved my empty gift wrap rolls, cut them in half and tucked them into my boots to keep them upright. Otherwise, they slouch and fall over.

Up top is where we keep a basket for our hats, mittens and scarves. I need sort through these. With our one-in and one-out rule, this would be a good place to start simplifying but I haven’t yet. I removed the white basket and put our camera and diaper bag up there instead. My “diaper bag” is a backpack, which is so super classy.

I ordered a shoe organizer from Amazon that arrived shortly after cleaning out the closet so I’m hoping to keep working on this little space. It needs paint and caulk. I’m sure you can’t wait for an update once I get around to putting some more effort into it?

An update: One, I didn’t realize I had posted this on a Sunday. Forgive me, my brain is clunky. Two, we put together the shoe shelf yesterday and it made a world of difference. How come it took me so long to do this?!

Here is a crooked “After” picture:

And a close up:

Our shoes tend to collect by our front door so I purchased a boot tray from Target for $5 and that has helped keep order and prevent me from tripping over any while carrying a car seat and toddler in and out of the house.

How cute are Amelie’s shoes? So mini!

That rug though? It was left by the previous owners (they were “into palm trees”) and I haven’t replaced it yet. I really need to…

Are you doing any closet cleaning for 2015? Are you tired of looking at my crappy closets? I am too and I’m real sorry about that.

The Green Monster

Many moons ago, I revealed my first big DIY undertaking: Amelie’s green dresser

Even after 20+ months of daily use, I still am in love with it. It’s holding up so far…*says a quick prayer*

But here’s the thing. It wasn’t quite finished. And that super irked me.

Look reeeaaal close. Can you spot it?

See when I painted it, I skipped the inside because we needed the dresser to be DONE and filled with baby girl clothes instead of living disassembled in our garage. Little did I realize, the blonde edges would peek through at me. I’ve spent hours (days? months? years now?) sitting in the nursery holding Amelie, glaring at those “blonde roots” and they glared right back at me.

In addition, there was other unfinished business. I imagined perfect little baby clothes resting neatly and adorably in drawers lined with pretty paper. I spent waaaay too long searching for wrapping paper with the notion I would Modpodge it and Amelie would have the classiest green dresser in all the land. I couldn’t find “the one” and so I finally settled on wrapping paper I found at Target while Amelie was wailing at the top of her lungs. She hated Target as a baby. But then again, she hated lots of things: strollers, sleeping, laying on her back, car seats… I think she may have hated being a baby?

Anyway. On one very sleep deprived day, I decided I needed to finish the dresser so I could feel better about myself. When Amelie went down for her nap, I pounced and got to googling, cutting the paper to size, and modgepodging. I’ll save you the drama by summing up the experience: it was a total flop. The surface of the drawers was too glossy or something because the Modgepodge only bubbled and crinkled the wrapping paper. I could peel it off in shriveled angry bits. I CRIED OVER IT. I cried over the wasted effort when I could have been sleeping. It was one of those days, you know?

Fast forward a year and a half and I finally got the nerve to try again, this time with contact paper that I found on Amazon. This post is already too wordy for its trivial content but let me say that the contact paper was a much better option. It was still tricky to put in. I did half of the drawers by myself over way too many months and roped Hubs into helping me literally days before Cade arrived. One tip with contact paper, take a safety pin to make a tiny prick over any bubbles and smooth it out with a card. Works like a charm!

Surprisingly, the can of green paint living in this closet was still useable so I was able to paint those blonde roots green as well. Oh happy day!

Even though chevron was “so three years ago”, I think it’s fun that it coordinates with my diaper pail too:

Since Cade was two weeks early, I hadn’t had a chance to make room for his itty bitty clothes among all of Amelie’s clothes and accessories. While Dad took Amelie to the mall to play and Cade snoozed, I got to work. It always looks worse before it gets better…

And done! Like, done for real this time.

As with Amelie’s clothes, I only put relevant sizes in at a time so they can share the dresser. As they grow out of things, I add new items in and store the old. Here is how I organized it all, knowing it will change as they do.

How about a closeup so you can see the contact paper peeking through?

Boys clothes. I do love me some greens and blues!

Amelie’s accessories drawer – girl has got hair bows for every occasion!

I’m glad to have this project *finally* finished and everything PUT AWAY. It’s not super convenient since I set up a make shift nursery in the guest room to get us all through the newborn days but eventually the plan is to have the kids share this room.

Gotta run and smooch a baby now. Want to see a photo of him? Ok, I don’t mind.

Ugh, he’s the sweetest!

Home Sweat Home: Master Closet

The closet posts are here to stay for a while. You see, our master closet is one big continuous project. Not only are my wardrobe needs constantly changing due to getting pregnant/having a baby/nursing/not nursing anymore/getting pregnant again/having a baby/nursing/etc, but the closet itself needs a serious redo. It’s a nice sized closet but has an awkward layout. Actually, the closet itself isn’t awkward but the rest of the master bedroom and its adjoining “master bath” is. We have one bathroom for the entire upstairs, plus this odd second vanity right next to the master closet. Here is a picture from our inspection day:

I’m stuck between making a decent looking closet out of what we have or waiting until we redo the entire upstairs bathroom, which will include the second vanity and master closet too. I’m leaning more towards putting some cash into making the current closet functional (and hopefully prettier), knowing that in a few years, maybe even longer, we’ll have to start over with a major reno.

Brace yourselves. I took a deep breath one day and starting taking pictures. I didn’t hide our dirty laundry, I didn’t dust, I didn’t do anything. Here is my shameful closet in all its chaotic glory:

But behold! The door is painted Zinc! Go me! It’s the little things, right?

Inside, my side:

Inside, my side, top shelves (which I can’t reach so I “throw” things up there):

Inside, Hub’s side:

Inside, Hub’s side, top shelf:

And the “light fixture”:

I apologize for the crappy pictures. For one, it’s hard to take pictures of a small space. Secondly, it’s even harder to take pictures of a small space when you have a baby bump that prevents you from squeezing into any tight spots.

Here is what I did one day during nap time:

  • I pruned through my items and donated a bunch to Goodwill.
  • I put all of my maternity clothes in one spot for easy access.
  • Hopefully I’ll be nursing the new baby so I took all of my nursing-unfriendly tank tops and stored them on the top shelf. That freed up a lot of space and hangers. I’ll start to add them back in as the weather changes and/or if I feel comfortable nursing in them with a nursing bra (rather than a nursing tank, which I wore primarily while nursing Amelie). I had borrowed those nursing tanks but had to return them so I’ll be experimenting with nursing bras more this time around.
  • I put away my summer clothes along with the nursing-unfriendly tanks.
  • I organized the remaining clothes. I tried my best to keep like items together and arrange them in a way that the colors weren’t all clashy and angry with each other.
  • I dusted. It was gross in there.
  • I refolded all of my scarves, organized my hats and put my lumpy sweatshirts in a dresser drawer instead taking up room in the closet.
  • I addressed the laundry basket full of shoes and other miscellaneous items that had found their way there.
  • I took all of the baby stuff (potty, pack n play and bath sponge) and put those in Amelie’s mess of a closet.
  • Lastly, I removed any extra hangers knowing I’ll be adding a few back in as I revamp my closet after the baby arrives.

And the after?

My apologies for not noticing the Angry Shoe that decided not to cooperate with the rest by doing a headstand. I’ve since taken care of the situation.

My side:

You probably don’t care but…

My side, up top:

Because I over share:

Here is what I’d like to do eventually but probably not anytime soon:

  • Paint walls, caulk and paint trim and switch out hinges on the door.
  • Put in new shelving. Ideally, I’d love to have a combo of drawers, shelves, a clothing rod and shoe storage because the laundry basket full of kicks irritates me.
  • Buy a light fixture since this one is naked.

An aside, I didn’t address Hub’s side of the closet except for herding the dust bunnies. He can look over his clothes and organize them how he wishes when he wishes. However, I did attempt to make his side less nutty by removing items that didn’t belong there, hiding our paint/work clothes in a bin and corralling the empty hangers in another bin. It’s much better than before, pinky swear.

I’m sorry for the ongoing closet posts but it is really nice going into the holidays with a clean closet. It’ll be fun, rather than stressful, adding any new holiday scores to the mix now that there is space and order.

All of this closet talk lends itself to thinking/obsessing about my clothes. A friend of mine recommended this blog and I found the How To Build a Wardrobe From Scratch series very interesting. I want to go through that exercise and share it on this here blog for you all. Wouldn’t that be so super fun to spend precious minutes of your life reading about? We could even do it together! A working wardrobe discovering journey! As if we are friends in real life!

Hello?

Home Sweat Home: Another closet?

I know. Another closet. My blog is one of those keeps-you-on-your-toes-fascinating-kind-of-blogs, what can I say. And, I just started working on our master closet this week. That means the closet posts are not ending any time soon and I apologize.

Downstairs in the den, we have a mini closet sandwiched between the guest bathroom and the guest bedroom. Here’s is a picture from when we first bought the house:

Remember that paneling and blue carpet?! Oh my.

Considering the guest bedroom is missing a closet altogether, this mini closet is a workhorse. I was storing everything I could in it but the chaos and randomness was getting to me. Big time.

You can understand why:

Since I have so many house projects in progress, this closet was doing its best to keep the lunacy top secret. Just as before, I tried to come up with a purpose for this closet.

In the interim:

  • paint & supplies (so they don’t freeze in our garage)
  • the luggage that will fit (we have more that we are storing elsewhere)
  • gift supplies (bags, tissue paper, cards)
  • “in progress” house items that we are working on (hinges, toilet wax ring, smoke alarms, etc)

Here is my after:

Now, I had to keep the shelving as is and yes, it’s crooked. It’s not spectacular but it’s organized. I feel so much better. Like, a million times better. I moved all of the electronic items to the office so hooray for moving messes. The main problem I addressed was all of my paint, paint samples and supplies. I pruned through everything and I still have A LOT of paint. I’m hoping I can get most of it on the walls instead of stored in here for forever. With a baby on his way in a few short weeks, I think my expectations are a little high in that regard. If not, I figure Hubs and I can work on little projects when the baby comes – such as filling frames with art/pictures and hanging them, swapping out the hinges, etc. At least those items are contained so I can tackle something small without thinking too hard.

Eventually, I want the house projects to slow down and this closet to be instead used for:

  • gift supplies (bags, tissue paper, cards AND wrapping paper, which is currently living in the guest room)
  • craft supplies (I have a huge bin in the guest room as well that wouldn’t fit)
  • board games and movies for the kids
  • extra blankets for the den

The closet door has (obviously) been painted. I still have to caulk and paint the quarter round, as well as redo the shelving on the inside but it’s better than it was before! Weeeeee.

And we’re done for today. Have a happy Thursday, ok?