If you follow me on instagram you know I take (and post) lots of pictures. I mean A LOT of pictures. I mean I do love my kids and think they are cute but the main reason isn’t so everyone will see my cute kids- its really so I can add all of these cute pictures to my kid’s photo books. About a year or so ago I stumbled upon Chatbooks and have been hooked every since. Chapbooks allows you to customize, create and print photo books in zero time. It’s quick, easy and super affordable. You can “subscribe” and get a photo book every 60 pictures of your instagram feed shipped to you for $8. Or you can do what I do and create your own book whenever you want.

I use Chatbooks to create photo books for our kids.. birth to 1 year, 1 year to 2 years and so on. The really nice thing about Chatbooks is you can search a specific hashtag in your account and it will pull all of the pictures you have posted using that hashtag. The means finding all of my son’s pictures from the past year in no time! If you forgot a picture or two or changed your mind about one you can also easily add or subtract pictures. The date is automatically included (but you can also remove that feature) and the caption is as well (but you can delete it if you want to). It’s such a simple (and did I say easy!) way to create custom photobooks that are an excellent quality.

I HIGHLY recommend Chatbooks. Check it out, use my referral code and get your first book free (6J46PC7V) and then let me know what you think! Enjoy!

*For reference, pictured above are 2 hardcover books of about 350 pages (they are also the two on the far right below). 366 pages is the photo limit for one book. The skinniest book in the center below is about 55 pictures and is the smallest I’ve made so far. 50241956530__186a1199-94dc-46ff-b310-a8f350211793

Nap Time. Baby Book Time.

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Nap time and bed time often mean baby book time around here. I’m slowly trying to keep the girls’ baby books updated so I don’t forget the early days while they still feel somewhat recent.. emphasis on “somewhat.” 9 months seems like a long time and most of it definitely has become a blur. Thankfully I use a baby book that doesn’t seem overwhelming, the pages and prompts are simple- and I love the sleek modern design. Mushybooks has become one of my favorite baby items and I use them for all of our kid’s baby books.

When you order a Mushybook you choose your design and then it arrives with a nice cover protector. The baby book covers everything you could need from birth to 1 year. Bonus features include additional pages for showers, toddler years and more. I just completed the first toddler page for Jude now that he has turned 2.

For the pictures in all of the books I like Social Print Studio (formerly Printstagram). Social Print Studio pulls from your Instagram account (or your camera roll and albums if using the iPhone app) and gives you the ability to select the photos you want to print. I use their 4×4 square photo option to print pictures. 24 pictures for $12 (plus $6 shipping) isn’t horrible. Especially if you plan out the pictures you need for each page ahead of time and knock it all out in one or two packs of 24. The pictures are a matte finish and arrive on a thick white paper. I love how they hold up and I love how they match the modern look of the Mushybooks.

I’m an overall happy customer and big fan.


Toys for 1-2 Year Olds

Over the last couple of months I’ve notice a transition as Jude has stopped playing with some toys and become more attached to others. Below is a list of some of our favorite toys for ages 1-2 (and still favorites for growing 2 year old). In no particular order…

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OK so I realize this isn’t a toy but seriously anytime I unlock the “Tupperware cabinet” and let this little boy dive in and pull everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, out he LOVES it! It honestly captures his attention for a good solid 20-30 minutes (which is a long time in baby/toddler world!)


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Kid Trax Toddler Quad

We got this on sale at Babies R Us right before Christmas. As you can see Jude LOVED his Christmas morning ride. This is a motorized ride on specifically for 18 month olds. It goes slow enough for this age group but is also an introduction to a motorized car which is a lot of fun.


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Sidewalk Chalk and Play Doh

When I need some “me” time 🙂 or time to get some stuff done chalk and play doh are some all time favorites. They are perfect for toddlers because it keeps them busy and they can do it on their own. When it comes to playdoh I usually put Jude in his highchair and he will play for a good 20-30 minutes. These are great toys that don’t take up a lot of space and are a “must have” for your toddlers.

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Little Tikes Lawn Mower

Jude is in the stage where he wants to mimic everything we do. He still loves any toy that lights up and makes sounds and has pieces that come off and on – but he also loves being able to do exactly what we are doing when we do it. The little tikes lawn mower is super cute with lots of little features and special additions. We liked it better than a bubble mower. And before you think this is only for little boys, we also have the “Just Like Home” vacuum cleaner as well that makes sounds like a real vacuum. Jude loves to follow me around and help me vacuum and then will take his mower outside and help his dad mow. We love these toys!

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Mr Potato Head

We took Jude to the store in hopes of picking out a Woody or Buzz doll for Christmas when he was 1.5. Instead we left with Mr. Potato Head. There is something special about this little guy.. it might be the addiction Jude has had to the movie Toy Story but all of his little pieces also make him very fun to play with and provide hours of entertainment. “My Head” is played with everyday and is a must have in our home!


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Little Tikes Car 

And saving the best for last.. Jude actually received this for his 1st birthday. It has remained a long time favorite (and still is). There are many different colors and version but the little tikes red car is an all time favorite.


Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 9.27.25 AMOther ideas (especially for boys of this age) include duplo blocks, balls, cars, firetrucks, dump trucks, school buses, planes and trains 🙂 Seriously.. when it comes to boys you can’t go wrong with some trucks and balls to play with.

Toys for Under 1

Most of my blog posts are the result of friends asking me questions about my experience. Having 3 under 3 doesn’t make me an expert but it does mean that babies and toddlers are on the top of my mind ALL THE TIME. I love our 3 and I love talking baby. Probably because its something I can get excited about and feel like I know at least a little something about. So this post is in honor of a dear friend who has a baby boy a couple months younger than our girls and was looking for some toy recommendations for babies under 1. While we try to stay minimalists in the toy area (we try- I didn’t say we are successful) we certainly have our share of toys around the house.  These stick out as some of our favorites that all of our kids have used and enjoyed.

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LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table

This is actually a great toy around 9 months when babies are starting to try to pull up and stand. Jude didn’t start walking until he was about 13/14 months so this toy was still great in the early 1 year old days for him to stand and play and push buttons.


Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 8.31.26 AMVtech Walker

Another great toy for the early stages of walking as you can adjust the wheels to have more or less resistance. The girls also sit in front of this toy and can push and play with the buttons. Jude is 2 and will still grab this occasionally and push it around.


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Baby Einstein Walker

We actually got this toy for Jude when he turned 1. He liked it for about a week and then quickly realized he could move around a lot more not “constrained” in this walker. He then went to pushing it around instead of riding it which kind of defeated the purpose. Our girls are now 8 months old and one of them is in this at least once a day. They love it and they can move around in it really well pushing on the floor with their feet. It is perfect for their age and will be used a lot until they start walking.


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Evenflo ExerSaucer

When one baby is in the walker, the other is in the exersaucer! This has been a family favorite for all of our kids. There is lots to look at and play with. It has lights and sounds and is great for jumping as well. You can even take it apart when they get older and change the shape to make a “table” that they can stand at and still play with. While exersaucers do take up space – having one has become a necessity.

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Rattles, shakers and other miscellaneous toys

I still have no idea how we accumulated all of these little random rattles and stuffed shakers.. but we did. From soft toys that make noise to harder toys that light up to balls with shakers inside and little dolls with rubber hands and feet that act as teethers- all of these random little toys seem to mysteriously appear all over our home but at this age they are actually perfect for our girls to play with. When your baby is too small to sit up or is just learning to sit up but can’t move around yet, having some small teether toys that they can learn to hold and pass from hand to hand and chew on is actually pretty important. It helps them learn and gives them something to do at this stage. So while these toys might add to the clutter they are a helpful addition for this short time frame.


Battling Reflux

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This has been a pretty incredible week- life changing to say the least! If you’ve ever dealt with a baby (or babies) with reflux you can certainly relate!

When our girls were born they started Similac NeoSure to help get their weights up. After about 2 months we went to Similac Advance. We quickly then switched to Similac Sensitive. Why all the changes? REFLUX. It really is one of those things that makes you feel helpless, frustrated, sad and overwhelmed all at the same time. There are different types of reflux. Our girls started with the spitting up phase (which basically resulted in one or both throwing up their entire bottle immediately after finishing it) and then silent reflux where they would constantly push away their bottles and struggled to even get 2 ounces down at each of their feedings.

After trying two different medicines and switching formulas I went to one of my mommy boards (twin moms to the rescue!) and begged for help. The result.. Similac Alimentum. It’s a different formula I hadn’t heard of .. more expensive and it definitely has a different smell to it that reminds you that your baby is drinking something man made but IT WORKS. It works! After a week of mixing it with their previous formula (so we could slowly get them used to the new taste) our girls are finishing their bottles and wanting more. With over 4 months left of formula this has already become a game changer for us. (Not to mention the girls also started holding their bottles on their own this week as well!)  I can’t get over the difference and in just a short time. We’ve even stopped their medicine completely. So if you’ve got a baby with reflux give Alimentum a try – it just might change your life.

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Baby Girl Clothes

So I love to shop. Seriously. I absolutely LOVE IT. It’s one of my favorite things to do. When I was single it was for clothes, once I got married it was for furniture and home decor. But now that I have kids its all about the kids…mainly their clothes! I absolutely love shopping for baby clothes! It’s so fun! I enjoyed it with Jude but now having two girls I’m obsessed! My latest obsession and newest discovery.. Matilda Jane.. don’t get me started- I know nothing about the brand but have already fallen in love with all the patterns and styles and I’m trying to figure out how to get a trunk keeper to become my very best friend. But of course, as with everything else, my wallet can’t support my taste and so I’ve been stalking Matilda Jane Facebook resale groups (I’ve already joined eight.. that’s right eight!) trying to find the latest deals. Which I might add is nearly impossible when you need two of everything.

So in between the hunts for the “perfect” MJ outfits our kids still need some clothes… and inexpensive.  When the girls were first born we were given some outfits which I thought were pretty cute and then every time I put the girls in them I got an overwhelming amount of compliments. Pretty cute indeed! And so I googled the brand wondering where they had come from and you’d never guess.. Wal-mart! Yep you you got it. Garanimals at Wal-mart has some super cute stuff including these cute outfits. I love dressing our girls in their “colors” of pink and purple and these outfits were prefect.. and only $3.88 each might I add and with free shipping which is an even bigger bonus as a mom of 3 under 2 years old. So while I save up for Matilda Jane for these two giggly girls I’ll be shopping at the local Wal-mart. 🙂

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Favorite Baby Products Part 2

Last year after our son was born I wrote a blog post about all of my favorite baby products and “Registry must haves.” While I still love and agree with all of those products here are some new favorites to add to the list (in no particular order)..and stay tuned as this is a growing list!

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.28.51 PMBasq Stretch Mark Butter

I used this cream with our first and had zero stretch marks. Awesome! However what sold me on this product was being pregnant with twins and still getting zero stretch marks! I also got the pregnancy rash pups on my belly. After using this cream for a couple days it went completely away. One jar lasted my entire singleton pregnancy and then I use 1.5 for my pregnancy with the twins (i.e. bigger belly!) I love this stuff!

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.32.13 PMUbi Diaper Pail

I originally wrote about the Arm & Hammer Diaper pail which is great however the Ubi is definitely a step up. There are no special bags you have to buy – you can use regular trash bags – or if you really prefer you can buy their bags. There is no smell and you slide open the pail to reveal a hole to drop the diaper in. Completely one handed – and you don’t have to physically push a potentially squishy diaper into the pail like you do with so many others. Just drop and go. This is definitely a new favorite! (oh and it comes in lots of different and fun colors- enjoy!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.40.31 PMLollipop Labels

One of my neighbors is super talented and owns her own Etsy shop called Lollipop Labels. She makes labels that are super cute and durable! My favorite is her “back to school”
bundle which includes labels that are dishwasher & microwaves safe, iron on, laundry care labels for clothes and shoes and 2 bag tags. It is the perfect set for daycare or school. I already put in my order for labels for the girls so I can start labeling some of their things (like pacis) that I want to keep separate. You won’t be disappointed!

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So this isn’t something you will need right away but the amount of slippy cups options available is a bit daunting. Especially when you finally choose one or two or serval to try out and they ALL leak. It’s so frustrating. These cups are the only ones we have found that are essentially spill proof. They are awesome. So easy to use, dishwasher safe and no spills- even when our little man drops it on the floor, bangs it on the table or throws it in his toy box. Note- these are pretty expensive ($10/cup) at the baby stores but you can get them for less than $5/cup on Amazon. Enjoy! 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 10.24.30 AMSimple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump Bra

I wish I had found this pumping bra with my last pregnancy. I ordered about 6 of the medela hands free pumping bras with my first because the zipper kept breaking and because my size increased as my supply did. The Simple Wishes bra is SOO much better! It has a zipper front but velcro on the back so you an adjust as needed as your body grows or slims and changes. It also has more coverage in the front and can be used with or without straps. This is a must buy if you plan to pump!

Showers for the Twins

This month we were blessed by two wonderful showers for our baby girls. The first one was hosted by my mother-in-law and was a diaper and gift card shower and the second one was hosted by 6 dear friends from work. Both of them were so special and so thoughtfully planned and I thoroughly enjoyed them both so much. Kyle and I feel so blessed by the love and support of so many who are helping us prepare and celebrate as we await the arrival of our daughters!

Some favorite gifts for our twins if you’re looking for items to add to your own registry or give to someone having twins (remember these aren’t our first children so our needs are different than someone having twins as their first and second children as opposed to their second and third).

  • DIAPERS (its not fun for the person who buys it but its so so helpful!)
  • WIPES (same as above- the big boxes from Costco are awesome!)
  • More bottles, bibs, blankets, pacis and swaddles
  • A second bouncy seat, pack n play, carseat, and camera for our monitor
  • A double stroller and double snap n go with accessories
  • Another changing pad and cover
  • Sound machine for the bedroom and for travel
  • Sheets and bedding for two cribs
  • Bath sponges, towels and toys
  • Coordinating outfits (and/or matching outfits)
  • Lovies and toys
  • A git for the big brother! (My sis got our little man a Little People playset which he loves)

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Gift Ideas for 1 year old Boys

We are headed to my friend Haleigh’s son’s 1st birthday party today! For the first time buying a gift for a child’s birthday party wasn’t an overwhelming task. For years as friends had birthday parties for their kids I was constantly faced with, “What is the world do I buy a “X” year old boy/girl that he/she will absolutely love?!” I was clueless. Now that we have a 1 year old boy (and am around other 1 year old as well) I finally have a grasp on what boys, at least, love to play with at this age and hope this helps out anyone else who might need a tip or toe on what to get a little one..

Gift ideas for 1 year old boys:

  • Fisher Price Little People playsets
  • Trucks/cars that he can push around- big chunky ones that are easy for him to crawl or walk and push as opposed to little cars
  • Balls
  • Board books
  • Water table
  • Little Tikes car
  • Swim suits and personalized and/or matching beach towels (more for the parents – but my bestie got our little guy this for his 1st and I absolutely love it)
  • If they are still learning to walk then anything they can stand and push to walk with like this.

Happy Shopping!


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Diaper Rash Remedies

For the last couple of weeks our little man had a rough case of diarrhea which caused an even rougher outbreak of diaper rash. We tried Aquaphor, Desitin, Desitin maximum strength and Butt Paste and nothing seemed to be working. I finally resorted to calling in the “moms” for help- one of my Facebook groups of neighborhood mom friends. Here are their recommendations for diaper rash:

  • Tori: “A&D ointment will start to heal it in a couple of hours!!! The same thing happened to my baby and we ended up changing his formula…..but his bottom was so raw it was bleeding! Also try using a wet paper towel very gently … Sometimes the wipes can make it worse. And warm baths help too! We also put him down for a nap on his tummy and kept his diaper open so it could air dry. The moisture in the diaper doesn’t help the situation either.
  • Sarah: “We used a concoction of Desitin, LotriminAF, and Neosporin. Equal amounts. Definitely recommend. I prefer the maximum “rapid relief” Desitin, and if that doesn’t work, this is our miracle spread. If diarrhea starts, we try and start aquaphor to prevent a bad rash.
  • Emily: “Coconut oil is my go-to for just about everything, including diaper rash. It’s antibacterial and anti fungal. It’s also inexpensive and can be used for many more things other than diaper rash treatment.

In the end we ended up trying A&D ointment (specifically for treatment of diaper rash – there is more than one kind) and it finally worked! I also tried letting him “air out” a little after wiping and before applying the ointment. We also did a couple 20 minutes sessions of him laying on a towel and completely airing out. Result = Success!

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