Must-Have Baby Products (6-12 months)

My previous blog, 10 Must-Have Baby Products (0-6 months), I went over my favorite products for newborns. If the list of things you need for a newborn seems never-ending… I’m sad to tell you that as they grow, the list just gets longer. They outgrow one thing, just so you can buy yet another thing. Some of it is a little more simple, while a few things remain complicated with way too many choices.

All I can say is… don’t be afraid to wait to buy the things that they won’t need when they’re newborns. There’s no reason to go buy a highchair when you’re still pregnant. You’ll just have to find a place to store it, and what if you change your mind?

Many of the products on this list, we actually started using a little earlier than 6 months, but I know that every baby is different and every parent is different. So, here are my favorite baby products for the “post-newborn” stage…

1 – Convertible High Chair

Graco Table2Table Premier Fold 7-in-1 Convertible High Chair, Landry, One Size

We actually decided to buy a high chair for Lily when she was about 3 months old. We have a higher dinner table, and when we were eating, we felt like Lily was so far away in her swing/rocker on the ground. We liked the idea of having her “at the dinner table” with us just like it’ll always be in the future.

I found the Graco Table2Table Premier Fold 7-in-1 Convertible High Chair. I love this high chair! We were able to use it right away with the whole tray removed and Lily buckled into the reclined position. She was even able to sit right next to me as I worked at the table. And now she’s 16 months, and I still love it.

The cover is machine washable. The eating tray is dishwasher safe (but doesn’t fit in our dishwasher so I hand wash it, which isn’t a big deal). There are 3 reclining positions. There are 5 height adjustments (we use the highest with our 3 foot table). It folds up, which I thought would be important, but we never fold it out of laziness. The whole seat comes off of the base and can buckle to a chair like a booster. And there’s a little “big kid” seat on the base if you want to use two seats at once (which might actually happen now that we’re expecting again).

I found this highchair was perfect when Lily started Baby-Led Weaning. If you want to learn more about our experience with Baby-Led Weaning, check out my blog, Baby-Led Weaning… it’s worth it!

2 – Joovy Spoon

I know that this is one of those controversial baby items, but I thought this walker was so convenient. When Lily was only 4-months-old, we wanted something she could sit up in. She had outgrown the Graco Duet Sway, but she wasn’t able to sit up on her own yet. This walker really did the trick to keep her upright and engaged with us. Feel free to judge me, but I felt it was completely safe.

At first, we put a blanket or two around her to make sure she didn’t wiggle around too much. We also have mostly carpet in our house, and this walker would not budge on the carpet, so it was more like a stationary bouncer saucer thing. I really love that this walker has just a big open tray. I thought the ones with all of the toys attached were super obnoxious.

We were able to give her any of her favorite toys, and as she got older, any of her favorite snacks! It’s pricier than other walkers, but you can totally tell it’s better quality just by looking at it. To be honest, I didn’t use this much once she started crawling since we don’t have much hard floor for her to move the walker around on. I’m hoping baby #2 will get more use of it in our new home.

3 – Jogging Stroller

BOB Rambler Jogging Stroller, Lagoon

When Lily was 8 months old, we got this BOB Rambler Jogging Stroller, and I cannot praise it enough! It is such a smooth ride, and great for any terrain. I’m sure it’s great for jogging as well, but every time I try to jog with it, my running form suddenly changes and my knees hit together (if anyone has any pointers for running while pushing a stroller, let me know).

Our neighborhood has some crazy sidewalks with lots of bumps and hills, so this thing has been amazing for walks. It also kills ur Chicco stroller at the zoo!

All of the Bob strollers have lots of accessories you can add as well. We added the snack tray and a handlebar organizer with cupholders for me. There are also car seat adapters in a few brands if you’d like to be able to click your carrier car seat into it.

4 – Convertible Car Seat

Unfortunately, they can’t stay in their carrier car seat forever. Which is a bummer, because you can no longer quietly take the whole carrier with you when they are fast asleep. But, alas, they do grow. Lily had to switch to the Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat when she was about 6 months.

I really like this car seat. It is very easy to install. And it has all of the options for rear and forward facing. It’s super easy to get into the perfect position. And I feel like Lily is really comfortable in it. Also, the whole cover zips right off if you want to machine wash it!

5 – Deuter Child Carrier Backpack

Deuter Kid Comfort - Child Carrier Backpack, Midnight

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a must-have for you, but it has been so great for us as active parents! We love to put Lily in it for hikes, walks, the zoo, and we even got to take her shed hunting with us. And she seems to really enjoy it too! She can see everything that we see, she’s comfortable, and she’s more content than in the stroller.

Now, I’m not saying you need to go get this exact carrier, but any carrier in general is really nice to have on hand. We also have this LILLEbaby Six-Position Carrier, which was great when she was smaller, and I definitely plan on using it again for baby #2.

6 – Sippy Cups

Munchkin Click Lock Bite Proof Sippy Cup, Pink/Purple, 9 Ounce, 2 Count

This is an obvious one, but we actually had Lily start practicing with a sippy at about 4 months. I’d just put some water in it and let her play. It was mostly a teething toy for her. But, I’m glad I started so early, because she was off the bottle by 7 months (except for her last feeding before bed).

There are tons of different sippy cups to choose from. These Munchkin Click Lock ones are my favorite right now (at 16 months). But, go read my blog, Let’s Talk Sippy Cups, for my personal reviews on all of the cups that we’ve tried.

7 – Drip Catcher Bibs

These “trough” bibs, as we like to call them, are genius! They are especially great for Baby-Led Weaning, because let’s be real… it is ridiculously messy. But these bibs catch all of the crumbs and drips. And the best part… they are so easy to clean! I either wash them quick in the sink, or if they are super sticky, throw them in the dishwasher. They also roll up, so they are great for throwing in the diaper bag for eating out.

Again, if you’d like to read more about our Baby-Led Weaning journey, go see my blog post, Baby-Led Weaning… it’s worth it!

8 – VTech First Steps Baby Walker

First Steps Baby Walker (Yellow)

This obnoxious toy has been entertaining Lily since she was about 9 months old. She loves all of the noisy buttons and detachable pieces. It was great when she was learning to walk. The toy panel actually comes off of the walker, so if you have a baby who isn’t standing yet, they can still play. I still hear her messing with this thing in her playroom every now and then.

9 – Baby Delight Go with Me Chair

Baby Delight Go with Me Chair | Indoor/Outdoor Chair with Sun Canopy | Gray | Portable Chair converts to 3 Child Growth Stages: Sitting, Standing and Big Kid | 3 Months to 75 lbs | Weather Resistant

This outdoor folding chair is so nice for babies who aren’t mobile yet. You can buckle them right in and it’s super sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about them. It comes with the sun shade and the tray. It even has leg holes if you want to have them stand in it! It easily folds up and goes into a carrying bag.

I actually used this a lot in our basement while I was working out. She’d just sit patiently in it and play with toys. We also used it in the backyard while chilling on a nice evening, and I’ve taken it to some baseball games.

10 – Halo Sleepsack

Lily was one of those strange babies that didn’t like to be swaddled. We went to a sleep sack at a pretty young age. We tried a few different kinds, but settled on the Halo Sleepsack. We used a fleece one during the winter, and a cotton one for spring, summer, and fall. I love the weight and feel of the cotton ones. The zipper starts at the top, so it’s easy to unzip from the bottom for diaper changes.

Halo has many other products, including the swaddles for the little ones. They also have muslin and plush along with the fleece and cotton. Lily actually still wears a sleep sack every night (she’s now in an XL). She seems to just sleep better with one, so why not?

There you have it, my favorite products for 6-12 months (or earlier, or later)! Again, if you’d like to see my list for 0-6 month products, see my blog, 10 Must-Have Baby Products (0-6 months).

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10 Must-Have Baby Products (0-6 months)

There are so many products that everyone says you have to have when you have a baby. Unfortunately, a lot of them are right. Baby’s really are expensive. Luckily, a lot of the products you can use for more than one baby. As I’m packing for our move and thinking about baby #2, I’m realizing how little I’m going to need for him/her.

So, I thought I’d write up a little list of my favorite baby products. I know there are a lot of blogs like this out there, but I’m the In-the-Middle Mom. I’m not a 100% organic, chemical-free, hippie mom… but I do try to keep as many bad substances away from my kids/household. I’m not a “there’s no such thing as holding your baby too much” mom… because for crying out loud, I need to set the kid down once in a while. And a lot of our parenting style has really just come to us as we went, and we learned what worked for Lily and us.

Here are my 10 must-have baby products for those first 6 months…

1 – Kiinde Breast Milk Storage System

I could go on and on about this milk storage system! If you plan on pumping and storing your milk, Kiinde is such a great product. The storage bags attach straight to your pump (the kit comes with adapters for basically every brand of pump). You simply pump, twist the cap on, and store! Then when it’s time to feed, you thaw/warm it in the bottle warmer, pop it into the bottle frame and snap on the nipple. The kit comes with a slow, medium, and fast nipple (and Lily took to them really fast). There’s no transferring of milk from pump bottle to bag to bottle!

Some tips: If you fill the bags all the way (which is what I did to save on bags), they’re too big to fit into the organizer that the kit comes with. I actually just stored all of my bags in recycled boxes/paper bags. And if you’re like me, you won’t fill a whole bag in one pumping… so, I just condensed the two bags into one (so yes, a little bit of transferring). And if I still didn’t quite fill the 6 oz., I’d put the bag in the fridge and filled it completely the next pumping.

Also, if you go to the Kiinde website, you can get a free starter kit (just pay shipping/handling).

2 – Babyganics Products

Babyganics Essentials Gift Set

We love the Babyganics line. It’s one of the more affordable organic, plant-based baby brands. We use the Babyganics shampoo/body wash, lotion, sunscreen (the spray is the best for application), and hand sanitizer. We also used their laundry detergent when Lily was a newborn.

Some tips: As safe as their insect repellent is, it’s very greasy. I keep the travel size in her diaper bag, but I definitely prefer using the Epoch Baobab Body Butter from Nuskin. Go to my girl, Bri Watts, at her shop B. Marie’s Flowers to grab this great bug repellent!

3 – Boppy Pillow

Boppy Original Nursing Pillow and Positioner, Blue Pink Posy, Cotton Blend Fabric with allover fashion

This was an absolute lifesaver when Lily was a newborn. Not only is it awesome for nursing, but it’s great for just propping up the baby. I would just hold her in my lap with her head on the Boppy. And as she got a bit bigger, we would set her in the pillow so she was sitting up more. Then, we used it for tummy time. And later, when she was sitting but not quite able to balance yet, we’d put the Boppy around her. It’s so great for the first 6 months!

Some tips: Definitely get a cover for your Boppy! It’ll constantly be getting milk and spit-up on it. And for one step further… get two covers so you have an extra when your washing the other.

4 – Travel System

Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, Orion

A carrier car seat that simply clicks into the base in the car and also clicks into a stroller is a major must-have. There are a ton of different routes you can take with this. Lots of brands and most strollers have adapters for different carseats. However, we really loved our Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System. For a fairly good price, you get everything you need!

Some tips: Getting an extra base if you change cars often is always a good idea. Also, if you’re like me and go for walks a lot (or go to the zoo every week), you might like a jogging stroller. We got a jogging stroller when Lily was a bit older and I absolutely love it. I’ll talk more about it in my 6-12 months must-haves blog.

5 – Swing w/ Rocker

The whole swing/rocker/bouncer thing can be so overwhelming as a new mom. There are so many different options from inexpensive bouncers to ridiculously expensive swings. At the last minute, we ended up grabbing this Graco Duet Sway Swing with Portable Rocker and it ended up being a fantastic purchase. It’s fairly small, so it didn’t take up too much space in our living room. It’s a simple swing that can swing either front-back or side-side. The seat can easily be removed and just be a portable rocker. We used it both ways until Lily was about 6 months.

Some tips: It’s corded, which is nice to not deal with batteries, but we had to use an extension cord so the swing could be more in the middle of the room. It’s also not the biggest seat if you have a really big baby.

6 – Diapers/Wipes (obviously)

Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes, Sensitive, Unscented, 3 Refill Packs, 648 Count Total

I thought I’d just share with you my go-to’s for diapers and wipes. Thanks to Costco, we are a 100% Huggies family. We buy the large boxes of Huggies diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes. We’ve tried other brands of diapers, and really liked the quality of the Huggies better. We gave the Kirkland brand wipes a chance once when they were out of the Huggies and we will definitely not be purchasing those again. I also love that the Natural Care wipes have natural ingredients that are more gentle.

Some tips: Costco does not sell the newborn size diapers, so it’s actually a great time to experiment with different brands. Also… have a diaper party before baby comes! We didn’t and we regret it… our friends who did it all received enough diapers for like a year!

7 – Sound Machine

MyBaby, SoundSpa Lullaby - Sounds & Projection, Plays 6 Sounds & Lullabies, Image Projector Featuring Diverse Scenes, Auto-Off Timer Perfect for Naptime, Powered by an AC Adapter

I thought these seemed so silly before I had Lily. But, she is now 16 months and we still use it every night. It’s really more about drowning out background noises than the actual sound. We have this very simple and inexpensive MyBaby SoundSpa Lullaby, and it does the trick just fine. We put it on the ocean sound fairly close to her crib and it runs all night. I actually have no idea if it makes a difference because we’ve rarely not used it.

Some tips: This particular machine is only $25, and we don’t use any other functions except the ocean sound. I don’t recommend spending any more than this. But I do recommend getting a second portable battery one. This would have come in handy when traveling and we never did get one. (Note for baby #2).

8 – Aquaphor

This stuff… I tell ya what! A fellow mom gave us a tube of Aquaphor as shower gift, and I honestly have never tried anything else because it’s worked so well for us. It heals Lily’s diaper rashes so quickly. It’s clear, so no mess (and comes right off your own hands on a diaper so no need for that silly applicator). She also got chapped skin in all of her fat rolls when she was tiny last summer, and Aquaphor always did the trick. And my favorite part… no smell! My husband and I have used it on our own cuts and burns too.

9 – Amazon Echo Dot & Smart Light Bulb

Okay, this might seem a bit overboard, but I swear it’s been so nice for us! We have an Echo Dot in the nursery that controls the Kasa Smart WiFi Light Bulb. Believe me, you’ll thank me when you’re running into the nursery, holding out a baby that has poo running down her leg and you don’t have to try and turn on the light switch with your elbow. Just a simple “Alexa turn the light on” is all you need. Not to mention when it’s sleepy time, “Alexa turn the light to dim” is quite nice.

I also ask Alexa almost every day what the weather is as I get Lily dressed. We use the Dot to listen to music. And here’s how ridiculously indecisive I am… I hate deciding between all of her outfits every day because they’re all so cute, so I say “Alexa pick a number 1-10,” and I count from one end of her closet to pick what she’s wearing.

10 – Playpen

Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard, Orion

A playpen is definitely necessary for traveling. We have a the Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard and we love it. Super easy to set up and take down. It has the napper and changing table which are great for newborns. We actually had this in our living room when Lily was first born and she was in the napper a lot. The storage on the side is really handy. It also has a “bassinet” setting where the mattress sits up higher for newborns. Then you can remove the frame and put the mattress at the bottom when they’re older.

Tip: Invest in the Playard sheets, because baby’s stain stuff. Enough said.

I hope this helps all of you parents-to-be as you create your registry! Stay tuned for more must-have blogs in the future. Next up will be my Must-Haves for 6-12 months and later, a blog about the baby products that are not quite as necessary.

If you liked this blog post, press like below! And if you want to share it with others, click the social media links below. And I would love to hear back from you… feel free to leave a comment! 

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Your support is very appreciated!

6 Moves in 8 Years

Today, I’m writing a more personal blog. As we prepare for yet another move, I can’t help but reminisce about our other moves in the past. It’s crazy the path your life takes you on. And if you end up actually reading this, you’ll see how quickly, yet slowly, life’s changes can happen. 8 years can seem like a long time, but it goes so fast.

So, if you are anything like me, and you dream about the perfect forever house as you watch HGTV and browse Pinterest… it probably isn’t going to happen tomorrow. But 8 years? A lot can happen… including 6 moves, 6 job changes, a couple pets, a wedding, a baby (almost two)… and before you know it, your dreams are coming true!

How it all began…

Image may contain: 2 people, closeup
This is Us – 2012

I met my husband, Alex, almost eight years ago. I was only 20 years old, living in a dorm, attending my second year of college, and working part-time. We both worked part-time at Scheels (a Midwest sporting goods store that if you haven’t been to, you probably should). We met, we went on dates, we fell in love… you know how it goes.


After about 6 months, when Alex had his own apartment and I was sharing one with some friends, I decided to move in with him. This first apartment of his is what I like to call “jankety as hell”. It was a $500/month basement apartment with a tiny kitchen, a super sketchy laundry room down the hall, and no security, so homeless people would knock on our door.

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The first apartment on moving day.

So, let’s just say we were eager to move when the lease was up. After a year of being together, we started shopping for the first apartment we could call ours. Alex now had a full-time big boy job and I was working two part-time jobs, so our options weren’t as limited. We made move #2 to The Biltmore apartments.


Now don’t get me wrong, these apartments were very nice. Big brick buildings with all white interiors. The kitchen, dining area, and living room all opened up to one another. Walk-in closets, a good sized bathroom, and in-apartment laundry. Lots of amenities like a huge gym and multiple pools. It’s everything you could ever want.

But, the complex is huge. You are really just a number there, and there are so many people around. Alex and I both came from small towns, we aren’t the biggest fan of being surrounded by others. Not to mention, after a year of living there, they wanted to raise our already pricey rent by over $100. Ummm.. thank you, next.


Move #2 was to the apartment of my dreams! I’m telling you, if we still had to rent, I would totally go back to those apartments. Standing Bear Lake apartments were so perfect for us. They are on the outskirts of town, right next to a lake with walking trails, but still close to everything we needed. It’s a smaller complex, so the leasing office knew us personally, and it seemed like mostly retired people around us.

The interior was so nice but still homey feeling. Open concept, a laundry room that wasn’t right next to the bedroom, a separate sink/vanity in the bedroom with a door to the bathroom (I had more bathroom storage than I do now). I loved that apartment so much, but unfortunately, we didn’t even get to stay for a full year.


Move #3 was when Alex’s work offered him a promotion… in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This move was a little bigger than the others. We made a couple trips to visit beforehand, met with a realtor, and tried to find a place to live with very little knowledge of the area. It was so overwhelming, because if you know Minneapolis, you know there are a LOT of options. So. Many. Suburbs!

We settled in Shakopee, Minnesota. One of the more outer rim suburbs. We got more for our money out there. Our realtor found us a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhome in our price range, and we couldn’t say no. Alex had his own office, guests could stay in the guest bedroom, and no more apartment living.

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Our stuff took up about 1/8th of this truck.

It was a great place to call home for the almost two years that we lived in Minnesota. Home was calling to us and we were ready to start a family closer to our loved-ones. So, we prepared for move #4.


When we were ready to move back to the Omaha area, we decided it was probably time to buy instead of rent. If you know us, you know how important deer hunting is to us. And if you know anything about hunting laws, you know that hunting in Iowa is not easy if you live out of state. Alex and his dad have many properties in Iowa that they are able to hunt on, and like I said, it’s important to us. So, we wanted to find a house on the east side of the Missouri.

So, with our jobs being in Omaha, we started our house search in Council Bluffs, IA. We got ahold of a family friend realtor, Gary Fischer of Heartland Properties, and I made an account on Zillow. It was time to get serious – no more year-long leases… this would be more permanent.

We wanted at least 3 bedrooms, so if we were to have a baby, we would still have a guest bedroom. We wanted a fairly good-sized yard so our dog could finally have the space she was meant to have. We wanted to stay on the east side of town. And we preferred move-in ready.

Did you know buying is a lot more complicated than renting? I wasn’t fully aware of the process when it all got started. We fell in love with an amazing house in an awesome subdivision… 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bedrooms, 3 car garage. It could be our forever home! The kicker… the price was right, but the taxes were outrageous, so the monthly was too high for us. We gave it a shot anyway… we tried to bring them down to our comfort level but they flat out refused – not even a counter offer.

So, back to the home search. But remember… we were still living in Minnesota, so my searching consisted of saving homes on Zillow and sending them to our realtor. Then, we had to wait until we made the trip to go see several homes all in one day. When it was getting down to crunch time, we looked at like 10 homes in a day, and our brains were mush. None of the houses were quite right and we were trying to decide if we just wanted to settle on one that wasn’t awful, or keep waiting and make yet another trip back for more showings.

That’s when I took one more look at my Zillow app. A 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home in our price range had just been listed. The pictures looked promising and the neighborhood looked great. We made the call to our realtor and we were able to get in to see it just an hour later.

I doubt the owners were expecting to get a full listing price offer after just hours of being on the market. But, we fell in love immediately and we needed to get back to Shakopee in the morning… so why not? A month later, we moved into our first HOME.

And it has been a great first home for 3 years now! We’ve made several changes over the years to make it more “us”. This is our daughter’s first home and I will always look back at it fondly.

However… HGTV and Pinterest still had me dreaming. We’ve complained about the space, the proximity to the neighbors, and the amount of storage space. With only 3 small bedrooms and a 2nd child on the way, we’d be eliminating the guest bedroom. Alex is now working from home and needs more of an office than just the corner of the basement. And we are ready to live in a smaller town.


The search for our “forever home” has been going for the past year now. My Zillow app has been set to notify me when a new house in our price range comes on the market. We’ve looked at several homes and attended a few open houses. We’ve even been in contact with our loan officer, Nicki Montelongo (who is freakin’ awesome, by the way), to make sure all of our finances are in order.

But, we were never in a hurry. We wanted to make sure our next house was perfect. No more moving. However, when we found out we had baby #2 on the way, we did start to get a bit more serious. That’s when we decided to check out a gorgeous home in Treynor, IA.

It’s funny to think back to when we first moved back to Council Bluffs… we often drove through Treynor to get to Alex’s parents’ house. For some reason, I always pictured us living there. It’s a wonderful little town, just 10 minutes from the city, and it has a great school. So, when we saw this perfect house in this perfect town… it was a no-brainer.

Image result for treynor, ia

This moving process has been a lot more complicated than years past. Selling your current home so you can buy your dream home is ridiculously stressful. Even after a few complications, the deals are all moving along. We only have two more weeks until closing day!

So, I’m here to tell you that life has a funny way of getting you where you’re going. Things don’t happen overnight, yet changes can happen so quickly. I didn’t plan to meet the man of dreams at 20. I didn’t plan to move in with him after just 6 months or say yes to marrying him after a year and half. My career goal was not “stay-at-home mom” as I was earning my bachelors degree. I didn’t plan to move to Shakopee, Minnesota. Definitely, didn’t plan to settle in the state of Iowa (Go Big Red for life). But I must say, if I had a glimpse of what my life would become in 8 years at the age of 19, I would want it all to go exactly as it did.

So, just settle in for this crazy roller coaster called life, and don’t be afraid to make the moves that make you happy!

Thanks for reading my first more “personal” blog post! If you enjoyed reading it, please give it a LIKE.

Is a Gym Membership Worth it?

A few months ago, we decided to join our local YMCA. And a week ago, I cancelled our membership. It was really nothing against the Y. In fact, I really enjoyed my time there. However, with recent life changes, we decided that the $75/month just wasn’t going to be worth it.

Here were my reasons for cancelling: 1. We’re buying a house and every penny counts. 2. I’m pregnant and would rather do my workouts in the privacy of my home when I’m a giant, sweaty, heavy-breathing balloon. And 3. We’re moving 10 more miles away, so it won’t be as easy to just bop over for a quick workout.

But, like I said, I did really enjoy having a membership. I think group exercise classes are a blast. And the Y offers free child watch while you workout, so it was great for Lily. And great to have a break as a SAHM. Being around other humans is always good for us too!

Anyway… here’s some questions you can answer yourself if you’re ever thinking about joining (or leaving) a gym.

1- Do you need the motivation?

Photo by Gerd Altmann on

Some of us just need a little extra kick in the butt when it comes to working out. And gyms can be a great motivator to get it done. Whether it’s because you want to get your money’s worth. Or you sign up with a personal trainer to take advantage of the guidance, as well. Or group exercise classes are also an easy and fun way to get you moving.

But, if you’re more like me and my husband, you might not need that extra encouragement to exercise. Not to mention, there’s so many at-home workout programs out there these days. My personal favorite is my yoga app, Down Dog! But there’s YouTube videos, programs like BeachBody, or just good old fashioned books like my Yeah Baby! book by Jillian Michaels (obviously geared toward pregnant women).

So, just ask yourself how much motivation you need, and maybe the gym is the right answer for you!

2 – Do you need the equipment?

Photo by Victor Freitas on

You may not have room for the type of equipment you need for your workouts. Especially, if you are one who likes to use a variety of gear. And if you really like to switch it up, buying all of the equipment wouldn’t be worth the money compared to a $10/month membership to Planet Fitness. Like, if you want to be able to use a treadmill, row machine, stationary bike, bench press, pulley machine, and dumbbells… you might just want to pay the fee.

However, it is always possible to get a good workout in with very little equipment. Most workouts don’t require any equipment at all. But, if you do the math, a few simple pieces of exercise equipment are still going to be more worth your money than a gym membership. My husband and I have a bench, a set of Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells, a yoga mat, an exercise ball, resistance bands, and a foam roller. These few things are all we need for a good workout. You could probably pay for these things with a year’s worth of gym membership fees.

3 – What is more convenient for you?

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Perhaps your gym is just a hop, skip, and jump away and it’s super easy to just bop over for a quick workout, or it’s on your way to/from work. Or maybe, you live somewhere that runs/walks are not exactly ideal. Going to a gym might just be the most convenient for you and your way of life.

But getting yourself to a gym might not be the easiest thing to do for you. If you’re like us, and it takes just as long to drive to the gym than it does to actually workout, maybe try an in-home gym or program.

4 – Are the extra amenities worth it to you?

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One of the biggest reasons that I got a membership to the YMCA was for the free child watch. I would just drop Lily off at the little daycare center a minute before my group exercise class started. It was great for her to socialize and great for me to get a break! A lot of gyms also have other great amenities like a pool, sauna, basketball court, jogging track, massage chairs, tanning beds, and snack bars. These might be really worth your money.

It’s really just a matter of if these amenities are important to you. When I was able to get to the Y two or more times a week, the membership was really worth it for the child watch. It’s not as worth it to me now that I can’t go as much, but you better believe I might be rejoining when there’s two little rascals driving me crazy and keeping me from getting my workout in!

Getting your workout in doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to decide what is easier for you… going to a gym or staying at home.

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Let’s Talk Sippy Cups

This probably seems like a really random subject to write about, but I feel like I’m practically a sippy cup expert after trying so many different ones with Lily. So, here’s all of the cups that we’ve personally tried and the pros and cons for each.

Tommee Tippee First Sips Soft Transition Cup

Tommee Tippee 4-7 Months Transition Cup (Just Believe - Green)

This Tommee Tippee transition cup was Lily’s first sippy cup. We actually had to buy it when we went on a trip and this rookie mom forgot a bottle. So, it was great because Lily was still on the bottle and it comes with a regular nipple. The handles are easy for the little ones to grip. And then later, I used the sippy spout to start practicing just with water. It’s also pretty easy to clean since it all comes apart.

A couple things I didn’t like about it… The spout has to line up perfectly with the star on the lid in order for it to line up with the handles, which is not the easiest thing. Then, when Lily went to formula, the measurements just show odd numbers; and if you’ve ever used formula, you know that it goes in increments of 2 ounces.

Nuk Learner Cup

These Nuk Learner Cups were by far our favorite sippy cups when Lily was first starting off. Lily caught on with them really fast since they have a soft spout and easy grip handles. The measurements on these are actually even numbers, so perfect for formula. And it all comes apart, so very easy to clean. No leaking! They also come in different sizes and styles.

The only downside with these was that as Lily got older, she kept chewing on the tips and eventually tore holes in them, which meant leaks… I’ve retired them now.

Nuby Grip N’ Sip

As Lily got older, I decided to try a variety of cups to see what would work best. I grabbed just one of these at Walmart for a pretty cheap price. You can get a two pack from Amazon for just $11. I liked that it was inexpensive, so if we lost it, no big deal. It was also an easy one for Lily to hold and pretty easy to clean.

However, I really do not recommend these particular Nuby cups. The silicone area around the spout twists as you twist the lid closed. Hard to explain, but it’s really weird and if I have to use this one, I can’t close it too tight or it makes a gap at the top. Basically, it leaks really bad. I do know that Nuby makes other cups that I’m sure are better, I just haven’t tried any yet.

Munchkin Click Lock Bite Proof Sippy Cup

Click Lock Bite Proof Sippy Cup - 9oz (Pink)

This was another Walmart grab. They’re also available on Amazon. This is another really inexpensive cup so I’m not worried if it gets lost or ruined. It actually is quite leak proof and it’s easy to clean. It’s probably one of my favorites for milk now that Lily is older and likes to carry it around the house.

However, since it doesn’t have handles, it took Lily a while to learn to grab it. That’s about my only gripe about it though.

Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup

Munchkin 2pk Click Lock Weighted Straw Cup 7oz - image 8 of 8

This was an excellent cup for learning how to use a straw! It’s a weighted straw, so even if baby tips it like a sippy cup, they can still suck it through the straw. It has handles, which again is great for the little ones.

However, I am not a fan of how hard it is to clean, so I never put milk in it. Although, it does come with a straw cleaner, which is nice (I’m just lazy). And with ours, sometimes it would leak and sometimes it wouldn’t. I just learned not to trust it and we don’t use it as much anymore.

Munchkin Miracle 360

I love these 360 cups! They don’t leak and they’re very easy to clean because they come apart. I throw them in the dishwasher. And they are so great for learning to drink from a cup.

It does take a bit of practice for baby to get the hang of it. They have to tip it and suck a little, but it’s amazing how there’s no mess! It took Lily a few months to get the hang of it, but now she’s a pro. Another con… if it’s dropped on it’s top, it tends to spray out, so maybe not for kids who like to throw cups.

Chicco NaturalFit Insulated Flip Top Straw Cup

I recently grabbed these straw cups for on-the-go. I liked that they were inexpensive incase they were misplaced. They’re insulated which is nice for the summer time. I love them for just filling with some ice water and throwing into the diaper bag. They are leak-proof…

However, when you open the straw, it sometimes bubbles up and spills over the sides. It’s also not the easiest to clean with the straw, but it is dishwasher safe.

Contigo AutoSpout Straw Gizmo Flip Kids Water Bottle

I think this one was a TJ Maxx find… Lily’s has dinosaurs on it. There are lots of designs to choose from on Amazon. This is my favorite cup for water! It does not leak even a bit. I love that it closes and can be opened with the button (which Lily hasn’t quite figured out how to do yet). It’s really easy for her to drink out of. I also like how durable it is since she tends to drop it often. The straw and lid and such come apart so you can just throw it all in the dishwasher. Another great one for on-the-go.

However, these are a little bit more costly, so I worry about losing it. And I wouldn’t probably put milk or juice in it since it has so many parts to clean.

Silikids Silicone Straw Tumbler

Silikids 8oz Silicone Straw Tumbler Blue/Green - image 1 of 2

I just thought this cup was really neat. The silicone lid is super stretchy and can actually fit on most regular cups. I bought it thinking it might be nice for stuff like smoothies and shakes.

It’ll probably be great when Lily is a bit older, but it’s definitely not leak-proof. And I was actually surprised how little liquid it actually holds since the walls of the cup are so thick. I let her use it if we are having smoothies outside.

And there you have it! These are all of the sippy cups that we have personally tried. If you have any recommendations on cups that you like (or really dislike), please mention it in the comments! Lily is due for some new ones, and I’d love any feedback!

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Guess What!

Well, it’s happening… we’re expecting Baby Johnson #2! And he/she is due to arrive in February. Miss Lily Lynn is going to be a big sister! Which means two kids, a year and 9 months apart (help me!). But as crazy as this is going to be, we are so excited that Lily will have a sibling that she will get to grow up with!

She has absolutely no idea what we’re saying when we tell her she’s going to be a big sister. And we’re still working on “being nice” to our baby doll. But I know she’s going to be a great little helper when baby arrives.

She already loves to help Mom around house. You should see her come running when I say it’s time to put the dishes away. She’ll take silverware out of the dishwasher one by one and hand them to me. She even tries to tackle the heavy pots and pans, determined to help. She’s also getting quite good at throwing trash away, getting her shoes when it’s time to go, and even putting her toys away when I tell her (we’ll see how long that lasts).

However, as helpful as she might be, I know that raising a newborn and a toddler is not always going to be sunshine and lemonade. I mean, I watch moms do it all the time, but it’s still quite terrifying to imagine. And yes, I know that the lessons that I learned as a first-time mom are going to carry over. I know that I won’t be quite as paranoid with the second. And I know that my instincts will take over, just like they did with Lily.

But, for real, if any of you moms of two or more children want to lend me some advice, I will gladly take it! Leave a comment or send a message, if you’d like!

Let our new adventure begin!

Exercise (My In-the-Middle Approach)

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Let’s be real… most human beings are not exactly fond of working out. And I’m here to tell you that I’m not much different. I know what you’re thinking if you know me… Cassi, you have a degree in Exercise Science, you clearly like to workout.

Here’s the thing… it’s not that I really enjoy performing the exercises. I specialized in the subject because I know how important it is. I just appreciate the many benefits of exercise and want others to understand them as well.

I could go on and on about the never ending benefits of exercise, but there’s always one thing that I like to remind myself about when I’m not feeling all that up to it. Let me be one of those annoying people that talk about the cavemen for just a second here… human beings are not meant to be sedentary!

Take-out, Hy-Vee Aisles, and Hello Fresh have not always existed. Yeah, unfortunately, we used to have to work for our food. And water hasn’t always come out of a tap. And our homes have not always been maintained by someone we pay.

So, since we’re spoiled nowadays… we have to make up for it by doing our own physical activity. And yes, this would involve a mix of aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight-lifting). Unless, you’d like to go hunt and gather for your food everyday… be my guest!

Because I’m also not the biggest fan of working out, here is my #1 way I get myself to do it at least 5 days a week…

Mixing it Up!

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When it comes to exercise, I love all different kinds of activities. And I like to do them all to mix it up and keep it interesting. Who wants to go to the gym everyday, run for 20 minutes, lift for 40, then go home? I mean maybe that’s what works for you… but I’d get pretty bored.

Every week is a little different for me lately, but I highly recommend at least setting a designated time each day to workout. Whether it’s before work (which is what my husband does), after work, during lunch, or a different time everyday (like me). Just try to set aside the time beforehand.

Then, just make sure you’re getting a good mix of both aerobic and anaerobic. You can do this by doing them every other day or incorporating both into one workout.

Aerobic/anaerobic Every other day

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This is typically the approach that I take, but it will take some planning ahead. So, for example, I might lift weights on Monday (usually half of the muscle groups)… then on Tuesday, I go for a walk/jog… Wednesday, I lift the other half of the muscle groups… Thursday, I go to the zoo or for a hike… and Friday, I do a yoga session.

You can do this however you want… you can lift 4 days and go for a run once or twice in between lifting. Or if you’re a fan of running, go for a run 3 days and lift twice in between.

And you don’t have to workout just on the weekdays… if it works better to workout on the weekends and take Wednesday and Friday off… then do it! Sometimes, I don’t feel like working out after a long week on Friday, so I workout Saturday morning instead. Whatever you need to do to get the job done.

Also, if you want to give yoga a try, or don’t want to pay for a membership, or if you’re like me and don’t like doing it in front of others… try this awesome yoga app!

Down Dog is great for any level yogi. You can choose all different options for your workouts and it’s all from the comfort of your home. And the free version is perfect for amateurs!

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Click this icon to download the Down Dog App!

aerobic/anaerobic in same workout

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Now and then, when I’m a slacker I have to incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic into one workout. I, personally, like to do this through circuit workouts. So, working quickly through bodyweight or lightweight exercises. Many of the classes at gyms like HIIT or Tabata are like this. They get your heart rate up while really working your muscles. These are great if you don’t have a ton of time.

But, if you do have plenty of time in your day, you can also get your cardio in and follow it up with weights. The key is to make sure you get enough of both when you do this.

make working out work for you!

My point to all of this is… working out does not have to be boring. It should be fun/interesting/exciting! Don’t be afraid to try something new. Try a new class at your gym, download a workout video you’ve never done before, find a new place to go for a walk/run, or get the Down Dog app and try yoga!

Just make a weekly plan… what time of the day will you workout? What activities on which days? Do you have some aerobic and some anaerobic? Are you staying active at least 5 days a week?

Here’s a couple of my sample weeks…

MondayLift – chest, back, legs, abs
TuesdayIt’s a beautiful day – Push Lily in stroller at Zoo.
WednesdayLift – biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs, abs
Thursday30 minutes full practice yoga
FridayI’m a slacker
SaturdayStill a slacker (but hey, we went shopping and I walked a lot)
SundayOkay, okay… I’ll go for a jog.

MondayCircuit Workout
Tuesday40 min full practice yoga
WednesdayLift – Full Body
ThursdayWalk with Lily
SaturdayGo for a Hike
Sunday30 minutes restorative yoga

So, as you can see… I am not perfect by any means! Everyday is different for me, especially since my schedule is never the same and I have a one-year-old that isn’t exactly easy to workout with. I honestly don’t even plan a week ahead since my days are so random. I literally plan out my next day during my shower the night before.

All I can do is TRY. Try to be active everyday and try to challenge myself in every workout.

And if you want any workout tips or even a personalized plan… I would be happy to put this Exercise Science knowledge to use and help you out! Give me a shout on social media or go to my Contact Me page.

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Tiny Nursery Problems – Solved!

Before we move to our bigger home, I thought I’d write a blog about how I survived the first 15 months with a very small room for Lily’s nursery. When I was first pregnant, I thought there was no way we would be able to fit everything a baby needs into this tiny 8 ft x 9 ft room.

Arranging the Furniture

But, luckily, a baby doesn’t really need floor space in their room. We were able to shove the furniture into the corners to make enough room for everything. And we didn’t even have to sacrifice the good quality furniture.

We found Lily’s crib and dresser at Nebraska Furniture Mart. It’s the Evolur Santa Fe set, and I love it! It looks really nice, it’s super well-made, and the drawers are nice and smooth (which is always important to me). It can also convert to a toddler bed or full-size bed if you buy the converters.

Once, we had the dresser and crib picked out, we had a hard time deciding if we could fit a rocking chair or not. We did the measurements for the maximum dimensions the chair could be and that’s exactly what we ended up with.

We received the chair as a gift and it fit so perfectly. It came with a footrest and we just put that in the corner by the crib when it’s not being used. It’s not one of those big comfy gliders, but it got the job done when I was nursing. And we still use it to read to Lily before bed!

So, if you’re thinking about skipping a rocking chair in the nursery… I wouldn’t! Try to find room for it and make sure you take good measurements.

Dresser Organization

I absolutely love our Evolur dresser! You’ll notice that we didn’t bother with one of those expensive changing toppers. We simply bought a changing pad that had the straps that you just screw into the back of the dresser to prevent it from falling off.

Then, I put this basket off to the side with diapers, wipes, lotion, hand sanitizer, Aquaphor, and yes, air fresheners! One bad thing about a small nursery… the stink tends to linger. I have a couple of the Bath & Body Works Concentrated Room Sprays ready for those times when even taking the trash out doesn’t work. A tiny little spritz does the trick!

 Linen & Lavender Concentrated Room Spray - Bath And Body Works

One thing I love about Lily’s dresser is the different sizes of drawers. I love having a few smaller drawers to help with organization. Here’s how I currently have each drawer organized. But, I have changed it a few times as she’s grown since her clothes have gotten bigger.

First Aid Drawer

I bought the little organizers from Dollar Tree! We use them in the kitchen and bathroom as well. They’re $1 for a pack of 3. (And no, gripe water did not work for us.)


In the center top drawer I just keep extra diapers that are ready to go. I used to be able to fit a lot more in here when she was smaller.

Socks & Swim Suits

I keep her socks in the other small drawer, with her swimsuits and swim diapers behind them.


Like I said, this has changed a few times as her clothes have grown, but right now I keep all of her pants, shorts, and skirts on one side. Then, her onesies and some pajamas that are too big are behind that.

Towels, Changing Pads, Pajamas

This is usually more full… it’s laundry day.

Sheets and Muslin Blankets

Definitely the messiest drawer since Lily enjoys pulling everything out of here on a daily basis. But, this is her extra crib sheets and her muslin blankets.


And then, we have one whole drawer stuffed with blankets. And there’s more in her closet. Oh, and she usually has 2 of them in her crib. Blankets are definitely the hardest thing to store in a small nursery.

The Closet

Lily’s closet is stacked to the brim, but I’m just grateful she has a decent sized closet at all.

On the top shelves are things she no longer uses, for example the Boppy is no longer needed. In the gray basket is all of the breastfeeding paraphernalia. In the pink crates are just random things, mostly things from her newborn days that I’ve just kept.

I have Shout at the ready for emergency stains since our laundry room is downstairs, and sometimes it’s just not convenient to run a poop-stained onesie all the way down the stairs.

Along side that is trash bags… which I actually started to use grocery sacks for since we take her trash out every time there’s a dirty diaper. Feel free to judge me for not getting a Diaper Genie but guess how much a plastic target sack costs?? BOOM!

And then, I have to just stuff the extra diapers wherever I have room. We buy the boxes of diapers at Costco as much as we can to keep them in stock.

I had Alex install another shelf at the bottom of her closet since her clothes won’t go down to the floor. On that shelf is extra wipes, which again we buy the big boxes at Costco.

In the blue basket is where I put clothes that she’s outgrown. And then I cheat… when the basket is full, I take it to my Mom’s and store them in Ziploc Space Bags in my childhood closet.

And in the white basket, (which came in a set with the other white basket on the dresser from Hobby Lobby for like $8) I keep more blankets.

Finally, there’s her laundry basket which is very convenient especially when I had to wash her laundry separately.

I also had Alex install a few hooks on the side of her closet to hang her bags and her coats.

And if you care about how I organize her hung clothes, it goes outerwear, tanks/rompers, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, dresses, then clothes she’ll grow into in size order. And here’s a tip… keep the tags on the clothes they haven’t worn yet, because most places (like Carter’s) will take items back without a receipt.

Extra Storage

I added a few more items to her nursery to give me some extra storage for the smaller things.

On the closet door, I put an old shoe organizer I had, kind of like this one from Amazon. In here, I store her headbands and bows, hats, gloves, shoes, and other miscellaneous small items. I also shove the receipts from clothing purchases in one of the pockets just in case we don’t end up wearing them.

We hung these cute little baskets from Target above her dresser. It has changed a few times since she was born, but right now we have burp cloths in one (which we rarely use now), wash cloths and Boogie Wipes in the middle, and bandana bibs (which I bought way too many of since the drool stage only lasts a few months) in the last one.

Also, the adorable sign was made by one of the artists at The Makery for only like $20!

And lastly, the all-popular outward facing book shelves. I was so in love this this idea when I kept seeing it all over Pinterest. It is super cute and nice to have her books right in her room for bedtime.

However, we went the cheapest route and found the best deal on Amazon. I don’t recommend doing this. They were an absolute pain to install. You can see where we messed up on the middle shelf. And don’t get me started on the bottom shelf. I hid how awful it is in this picture. Lily kept pulling on this shelf and the whole thing, mollies and all, came down. We have temporarily fixed it, but I really just recommend getting better quality shelves.

And there you have it! A somewhat organized small nursery. For what I had to work with, I’d say I succeeded… but I really can’t wait for bigger bedrooms in a month!

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3 Ways to Cut Down on Added Sugars

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Okay, in my previous blog, “My (Mostly) Healthy Lifestyle,” I mentioned that one of our big lifestyle changes was cutting down on added sugars. Again, we didn’t totally stop eating added sugars like the Keto diet. We just started to realize how much we were really eating, and tried to eliminate as much as we could.

I mean kudos to you if you are on Keto or are able to quit added sugars cold-turkey… but you’re probably a vampire or something. I really liked our approach to removing as much sugar from our diet as we could without being miserable.

I could go into so much detail about why sugar is so terrible for us, but that’s what WebMD is for! Check out this article from WebMD called “How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?” It’s really quite appalling that we haven’t paid more attention to this delicious poison.

The American Heart Association recommended daily added sugar intake for men is no more than 150 calories (37.5 grams). And 100 calories (25 grams) for women. This really is not that much, unfortunately.

So, how can you cut it down? Here’s a few ways we did it…

1 – Pay Attention to Nutrition Facts

Image result for clif bar nutrition label

Recognize this nutrition label? It’s from a Clif Bar. One of the protein bars that I used to eat quite frequently for breakfast or a snack. 10 grams of protein is stamped really largely on the front of the package, which is all I used to pay attention to.

Oh, 10 grams of protein in a pretty delicious little granola bar? Let me go ahead and buy this overpriced stick of SYRUP!

Look at the first ingredient… syrup?? And look at the sugar content… 22 grams! Remember the recommendations? One of these Clif Bars is almost my whole daily sugar intake!

So, when we actually started to pay more attention to the labels on the normal foods we were eating everyday… it was time to reevaluate simple things like protein bars.

We found the best of both worlds in these FitCrunch Protein Bars at Costco. You can find them almost anywhere, though. Alex has even bought one while he was traveling at a gas station. They only have 3 grams of sugar per bar and are super delicious!

FITCRUNCH Snack Size Protein Bars | Designed by Robert Irvine | World's Only 6-Layer Baked Bar | Just 3g of Sugar & Soft Cake Core (18 Count)

I made fun of the packaging when we first got them, but I swear they are amazing! It might as well be a candy bar. Plus, 16 grams of protein and only 190 calories! Thank you, Robert Irvine, and your massive arms, for creating this delectable protein bar that I now eat daily.

Now, protein bars are just one example of foods that have a ton of hidden sugar in them. Almost everything you buy at the store has a bit of sugar added. And unfortunately, the products that have “less sugar” usually have artificial sweeteners in them… and don’t even get me started on those.

My point is… read the labels on the foods you’re eating and remember those daily recommendations! I fail almost every day to stay under 25 grams, but I always try, and I know I’m doing way better than I used to.

2 – Pop… just stop!

Image result for Sprite 12 pack

Pop (or soda if you ain’t from ’round here) is LOADED with sugar! It surprises me every single time I look at the nutrition label. In a can of Sprite (which I used to think had to be better than most pops) there is a whopping 38 grams of sugar!

As far as my adult years go, I have never really been a big pop drinker. I already knew it wasn’t good for me, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with Lily that I realized just how bad it was.

Socially, I’ve always loved a good mixed drink… any type of alcohol mixed with some kind of pop. And when I was pregnant and couldn’t have the alcohol part, I just sipped on a can of Sprite or Ginger-ale.

I watched a lot of Ellen back then and she was always advertising for Bubly. It’s a brand of sparkling water with zero everything, so I thought I’d give it a try!

bubly Raspberry Sparkling Water - 8pk/12 fl oz Cans - image 1 of 4

I know most people really hate sparkling water, but I personally think it’s delicious for having 0 calories and 0 sugar and no artificial sweeteners. It quenches my craving for carbonation and still has some flavor.

I started drinking these while I was pregnant just to mix it up a bit. Then, after Lily was born, I started adding Vodka to make the perfect low calorie mixed drink!

Now that both my husband and I drink these on a daily basis, we get the Ice Mountain Sparkling Water variety packs at Costco.


I personally think they’re the best tasting that I’ve tried so far.

Sparkling water is an excellent way to replace pop. I know, I know… it’s not the same. But, don’t you think it’s worth skipping the tons and tons of sugar???

3 – We still eat Desserts!

Photo by Teejay on

Yes, we still give in to our sweet tooth… just not with this much.

In fact, most nights, you will find my husband and I sitting on the couch with a cup of ice cream. And when I say cup, I mean a Pampered Chef 1-cup Prep Bowl. And we try not to completely fill it.

I mean, if you look at the nutritional facts on most ice creams… a serving size is a 1/2 cup. And in a 1/2 cup of Blue Bunny Vanilla Ice Cream, there’s 130 calories and 14 grams of sugar.

Now think about how much ice cream you partake in and do the math. Staying under that daily recommendation?

And this goes for all desserts. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having something sweet after a meal. Like I said, we do it on most nights.

The key is both portion control and keeping my “two-cheat rule” in mind. If you had that can of pop today, it’s probably a good idea to skip the ice cream. If you had a cliff bar and creamer in your coffee… maybe say no to the cookie.

But if you were good today, and you have an extra cheat to use… just don’t go overboard on your serving size. A small cup of ice cream, just one cookie, a sliver of cake… portion control. You can do it!

So, again, there’s no reason to completely cut out sugar. Unless you’re a crazy person, then by all means, go for it! Just look at your labels, pick the products that have less sugar, and watch your portion sizes!

Okay, I’m gonna go have a brownie now…

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Baby-Led Weaning… it’s worth it!

Lily eating a fajita at 9 months.

I always thought I would be a pretty old school mom and try not to follow what all of these modern moms are doing these days. But when it was time for Lily to start eating solid foods… Baby-Led Weaning really caught my attention and I decided to give it a try.

What is Baby-Led Weaning?

Basically, when it’s time for your baby to start eating solids – you skip the purees and go straight to finger food. No little jars or pouches of mush, no food processors, and no spoon feeding.

You start with soft, easy to grab foods and let your little one go after it. According to What to Expect, baby-led weaning “allows babies to learn how to chew (or more accurately, gum) first, then swallow. It also prevents parents from pushing food, since babies are in control of how much they put into their mouths.”

Why did we choose Baby-Led Weaning?

I think the biggest advantage that appealed to my husband and I was the fact that we didn’t have to spoon feed her. We could just let her eat at her own pace while we ate ourselves, which also developed her independence.

But when the doctor first gave the go-ahead at 6 months, we actually started with purees. We were buying the expensive baby food, making our own, and patiently (somewhat) trying to feed her by the spoon.

That’s when I found information about baby-led weaning while browsing through Pinterest. It intrigued me, so I read some more about it.

How we got Started

I started with something super easy. These Plum Organics Little Teethers were a great way for Lily to practice holding her food, bringing it to her mouth, and taking bites.

Not to mention, she loved them! They kept her busy while I got things done, like cooking. They were also great for traveling. We always had one in the diaper bag for her to munch on at the store or at a restaurant.

Still one of Lily’s favorites and a very easy food to start with – bananas! If you leave part of the peel on it (like a push pop) it makes it easier for them to hold and take a bite. Then you peel more of it away as she eats it (which I needed to do in this picture).

It didn’t take her long at all and she was getting the hang of it. At just 7 months, we started giving her what we were eating (or at least soft versions of it). Like here, she has a mouth full of steamed broccoli when we were eating fish and veggies.

Cooked veggies cut into strips, small pieces of meat, bread, soft fruits… most of it is pretty self explanatory, but there’s tons of websites with all of the rules and pointers. Just type in baby-led weaning into Google or Pinterest and you’ll find so much information. There’s also some fun recipes out there – like these Pea Fritters!

One of the biggest helps for me when we were getting started was a Facebook group. This Baby Led Weaning for Beginners & Beyond Facebook group was such a great resource. Plus, the pictures and videos of babies eating are adorable!

I’ll admit, Alex and I didn’t follow the baby-led weaning “rules” like they say you should. We still spoon-fed her when we wanted to and assisted her when we didn’t want her to make a huge mess. Remember… I’m the in-the-middle mom!

The Down-side of Baby-Led Weaning

Which brings me to the cons. I don’t regret doing baby-led weaning in any way, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t always easy.

Choking & Gagging

First of all, it’s pretty darn terrifying when you first start. You’re constantly afraid she’s going to choke. Alex and I would give up for a day or two at first because Lily gagged one too many times.

All I can say, is trust your best judgement. Follow the rules on how to prepare the food, know how to perform the Heimlich on a baby, and be prepared for lots of gagging.

You’ll freak out every time, but the gagging is normal and it’s good for them to get the hang of it all. Again, read up on it all before you try it!

Messy Messy

Another kicker… the mess! We use these Drip Catcher Bibs from Tommee Tippee. Lots of brands make them, and they are great for baby-led weaning!

Tommee Tippee Roll 'n' Go Baby Drip Catcher Bib 7+ months - 4pk - image 2 of 4

We also have a highchair with a removable tray top. Even at 14 months, I still just serve Lily’s food on the tray and wash the whole thing after every meal. Once I got into the habit of hand washing it every meal, it really wasn’t that bad. Our highchair is a Graco Table2Table, and I love it – it’s easy to keep clean, it folds up, and it reclines.

Graco® Table2Table™ 7-in-1 Convertible High Chair in Sterling™

Is Baby-Led Weaning right for you and your little one?

That is just something you have to answer for yourself. The most important thing is to do as much research as you can before you get started. Join the Facebook Group. Read articles on trusted websites like What to Expect. Maybe even talk to your pediatrician about it.

You can always do what we did – start with purees and work in the finger foods slowly.

I am 100 percent happy with the decision we made. Lily had 100 different foods by the time she was 10 months old! She is super independent at meal times. And she impresses complete strangers at restaurants with her neat eating skills.

Lily and her Christmas cookies at 8 months old.

At 14 months and only 6 teeth, Lily can eat everything that we eat (except the obvious crunchy/hard things). She’s even started to dip her food (she loves fries and ketchup)! I never have to worry about her when I put food on her tray.

I highly recommend giving it a try… and feel free to ask me any questions you might have!

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