“Little Peanut” Baby Shower

Today was a very eventful day as I got to help host and throw one of my best friend’s a baby shower for their “Little Peanut” baby Jax expected to be due in six weeks! The theme was chosen by the mama-to-be, Angela’s maid-of-honor Sara and it was a perfect theme for the location chosen for the new parents’ baby shower! The co-ed shower was held at a pool clubhouse in the Anaheim area and was already set in a blue color theme and tone, which worked out great for this blue, grey, and white party palette!

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Happily put in charge of hosting the game segments of the shower, I started scouring Pinterest and various websites for fun ‘co-ed friendly’ games. Although there were so many wonderful game ideas, I particularly gravitated to the funny ones like “Pin the Sperm on the Uterus” but decided to forgo those types of games since I didn’t feel they suited the couple and their guests at this baby shower. I took a few notes and came up with the best five games that would work for this event, assuming that we wouldn’t go through all of them. Luckily, the games went fairly quickly and the wonderfully competitive guests were excited to start the next game as each one ended. Here are the list of games I put together:

1. “Tinkle in the Pot” – For every expecting mama there comes an array of pregnancy related symptoms and struggles, one those may include needing to run to the potty as fast as you can without peeing your pants! The object of the game is to “tinkle in the pot” without peeing on the floor! We had six players stand in a row parallel to to six wide-mouth large mason jars the “potty”. The players all donned pregnant bellies (using blown-up balloons) and held a ping-pong ball between there knees and waddled across to the potty (mason jars). First one to “tinkle in the pot” won.

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2. “Change the Baby” – When I researched games, I liked two different ideas of this “change the baby” game and decided to combine some of the ideas together while also adding my own ideas into the mix. The idea of the game is to come out with a clean baby with a clean diaper and the diaper must be on correctly! This was another six player game and came with a few surprises along the way! I had set up six balloons (blown-up) with ‘dirty’ diapers on them and faces drawn on the balloon so you know what direction to put the diaper on. The stations included individual wipes, talc powder, and a ‘clean’ diaper. First one with the diaper on correctly, clean and powdered won the game. So here’s how it went. Each participating guest, the “parent” stood in front of their babes and on your mark, get set, go – change your baby! The guests opened the diapers and were surprised to find that baby pooped (smeared peanut butter) eww – surprise number one! Be careful – don’t drop or pop baby, newborn babies are fragile! The guest then opened their wipes only to find that, surprise number two, you’ve only got ONE wipe left so you must get all the poop off with only one wipe! The game was lots of fun to watch! The winner’s baby was checked to see if there were traces of poop (there shouldn’t be) and fresh powder and the direction of the diaper was correct!

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3. “My Water Broke!” – This was a simple and fun traditional kind of game. I pre-cleaned and froze some plastic party favor babies in some large ice cube tray and had twelve guests play at the same time. The object of the game was to melt the ice using only your mouth (not your teeth, because babies are fragile and you have to be gentle with them) and come out holding a clean ice free baby. First one to get the baby out of the ice yells “My water broke!” Wins!


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4. “Baby Bottle Beer Chug” – This is another simple and fun game and perfect for the non-traditional guests and beer drinkers. Of course you can make this more family friendly and child oriented with juice or milk, but we decided to have this be an adult-only game. I found six bottles that were a dollar each and with past trials on this game, I took a scissor to the nipple and added a slit to make it easier to chug. We filled the bottles with beer and handed them to our babies (volunteered guests). The object of the game is to finish the bottle as fast as you can, first one to finish wins!

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5. “Feed the Baby” – Each baby is different, but feeding baby solids and getting to see their reactions for the first time is always an exciting moment in mama and baby’s life! I wasn’t too sure about how this game would go, but turned out to be a crowd pleaser with the guests. We had three teams of two (be sure to have two prizes for this game). I cut out holes at the bottom of three garbage bags to use as bibs. We had one team member stand behind the other who sat in a chair. The team member that stood behind the chair would play mom or dad and was blindfolded. The team member in the chair would play baby with a bib on. I handed each parent an open container of applesauce and a spoon. The object of the game was to have baby finish the applesauce and then quickly switch roles. On your marks, get set, go! First team to finish both cups of applesauce wins!

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Newborn Essentials

Before our first baby girl, Huntley, arrived I had done a lot of research on the best baby products and gear before registering and purchasing ourselves the necessities. I wanted the best of the best, or what other’s (with experience) thought were the best! I read reviews, forums, blogs and even made comparison charts (yes, I made charts!) If you asked me what I thought were “newborn essentials” before finding out we were going to have two under two, it might have been different, but here’s my NEW LIST of newborn essentials with the insight of becoming a second-time-around mommy.

1. The Breast Pump – Madela Pump in Style Advanced is my pump of choice, but of course there are so many brands and styles out there to choose from and with ObamaCare we can all get one now! For more info check this out. I prefer this double electric breast pump since it’s super easy to use and gets more milk out at once versus a single pump. Just make sure to empty out the milk. I once left this running for 10 minutes while watching tv and didn’t notice how much milk I had in the bottle already and the milk back-flowed into the tubes… madela 2. The Chair – The Bumbo Floor Seat is the perfect chair for new sitters/soon-to-be sitters. It helps baby to sit upright and is made of super comfortable and soft material that is easy to clean since there are no grooves on top – simple and smooth to wipe down or wash. You can also purchase the matching seat tray, making it an awesome way for baby play with his/her toys. This tray was also perfect for Huntley when she started baby-led weaning. She eventually transitioned to the Stokke Tripp Trapp as mentioned here when she was a full sitter/eater. bumbo 3. The Bottle – Whether supplementing or full on formula feeding, I find that the ComoTomo bottle to be the best! More info here as I’ve mentioned before why we love it so much and why it’s are absolute favorite. Another bottle that we use around here is the Born Free bottles, which are great for colic babies and have a unique design to simulate a natural flow. Huntley loves these bottles and although I prefer the glass one’s I just know she rather carry around the plastic ones. I also like that these ones (glass or high-heat resistant classic) are dishwasher safe. Which is a plus in my book since I hate hand washing all the pieces! bornfree4. The Easy Swaddle Wrap – SwaddleMe Organic Adjustable Wraps are perfect for newborns and are a cinch to use! Honestly I wish we had brought these to the hospital the first time around when we had Huntley. They’ve become lifesavers through the first nights! The only complaint I’d have about them is although the velcro are fairly quiet and makes the blanket easy to adjust, sometimes in the middle of the night when I want to give a little skin-to-skin bonding while feeding or when needing to change a diaper – velcro isn’t the quietest… However I would like to try the Miracle Blanket for this reason, if anyone has any insight about these please let me know. miracle blanket 5. Swaddle Cloths & Burpy Bibs – If you had follow me on Instagram you might already know how much I love love love Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddle Cloths and we already have a good collection going on!!! I recently bought these ones below which are Nordstrom Exclusives for a girlfriend of mine who we Sprinkled yesterday – love these prints so much and want them for myself!!! The bamboo collection cloths are super soft and I sometimes would even use them as scarves, especially with all the pretty patterns. The Classic A+A Swaddling Cloths work just as well, but without the added extra softness (which to me makes a big difference). However with both kinds of A+A swaddling cloths the size is what is incomparable to the rest! They both measure a nice 47″ square which can also be used as a quick infant carseat canopy when you tie one end together around the hood/visor of the carseat! They also work great as burp cloths, but if you are looking for one in particular I am also a big fan of their Classic Burpy Bib! And when you think baby is ready for a real blanket, the A+A Dream Blankets are amazing and a great transition to the materials baby is already so use to, but more about that in another post. a+ablankets6. For Good Clean Fun – Giving baby his/her first bath at home is one of the most nerve-wracking, yet also most exciting “first” moments, or maybe that was just for us (I taped it and love looking back at it). Anyways, I had registered and was luckily gifted a starter pack of Mustela Bath Time Essentials and am completely hooked! The scent is amazing and unlike any others. (I’ll go into conditioners in another post as well, since we didn’t introduce this until Huntley had had more hair.) And just for fun – although any baby bath will work (some other mama’s favorites Puj and Angelcare Bath Support, we used the Blooming Baby Bath for the first few months! mustela 7. The Kitchen Counter Takeover – With a dishwasher that hasn’t been so trusty this past year, we do a lot of hand washing of dishes and such, those including our nipples and bottles, etc. The Boon Lawn and Grass have become part of our kitchen decor – LOL. You can even attach cute accessories to help dry nipples and other smaller pieces like your Madela breast pump pieces. I would also suggest getting a bottle drying rack or tree, we use the Skip Hop Splash. A good bottle brush and nipple brushes will help you get all milk residue out! boon grass 8. Binky Baby – WubbaNubs have became our lifesavers, especially for Huntley! We’ve boughten over 15 already, but half have been lost or ruined… It’s become her attachment object, aside from her Angel Dear Pink Kitty Lovey. My favorites are the Mary Meyer collection WubbaNubs! wubbanub 9. For Feeding Support – My original plan for breastfeeding Huntley was to get to the “One and Done” and I loved breastfeeding her and didn’t have any issues with it, however, with our unexpected pregnancy and my production decline I had to wean a bit earlier than expected. Using our Boppy Bare Naked Pillow with slipcover(s) to transition from breastfeeding and bottle feeding made it easier than expected. I would still lay her back to take her bottles and we luckily didn’t have any issues with this. In the newborn stages I would have two Boppy’s floating around our house, usually one in our room or living room and one in her nursery on top of our rocker. I love my Pottery Barn Boppy and Slipcovers for their super luxurious and soft fabrics, also, if you really wanted you can get the covers monogrammed. I would also highly suggest getting the Water Resistant Protection Liner to use in between the Bare Naked Pillow and slipcover for spit ups and such. pbboppy 10. The Bassinet – With our small master bedroom and nowhere to put a real bassinet, we had to use our original Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller Bassinet as Huntley’s main sleep space. We then transitioned her to our bed (co-sleeping) into the Baby Delight SnuggleNest, which we thought worked out well, probably even better if we had a King sized bed. This time around, with our soon-to-be newly constructed master bedroom I am excited to have the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Premier Series and can’t wait to use it! With all the positive raving reviews and the fact that it swivels 360 degrees and has a bendable side is amazing! I also love the pretty silver damask print! I would also suggest having a Graco Pack ‘n Play to use in the living room, preferably one with a baby changer and bassinet, I was lucky enough to purchase my neighbor’s older version, but I just loved the designs and ruffles, similar look without the ruffles here! halograco pack n play 11. Have Baby, Will Travel – When I was researching travel cribs, this is when the comparison charts really came into play! I wanted the easiest to carry and the most lightweight (yet still best quality) travel crib I could buy. I chose Phil and Ted’s Traveller Travel Crib! It’s the lightest in it’s class at only 7 lbs and folds easily into a yoga mat sized bag! I also have dealt with Phil and Ted’s customer service care when I needed to order a replacement seat for my Phil and Ted’s Lobster after an accident I had with washing it…and they were super easy to work with. My second choice was the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib (light), which my sister has and loves, which weighs only 11 lbs and folds into a case.  Another product I would recommend is the OXO Tot On-the-Go Travel Drying Rack with Bottle Brush as it’s the perfect size to throw into your luggage since it’s super compact and does the job while traveling! And how about the Travel Boppy, I personally don’t have one, but my sister does and used it when we had all travelled to Europe for two weeks with her then 3.5 month old. travelcrib 12. Baby Wearing – I loved the idea of baby wearing from the get-go and was excited to try out all the different types of baby carriers (there are so many!) My personal favorite is the Ergo Classic and we have two of them (Camel and Galaxy Grey), although I love the idea of the new Ergo Four Position 360 Carrier and would love to try it out! If you have it already, please let me know what you think. . Another favorite of mine is the K’Tan as it’s super easy to use, I call it the “wrap for dummies” (like me who never got good at the Moby or Solly, I gave mine away) or at least not fast enough for quick trips to the grocery store (although I hear great reviews on both of those other products). What I’m really excited to use is our Sakura Bloom (ours in Maple) I love how beautiful they look when being worn by all the super stylish mamas and papas on Instagram and can’t wait to use ours with baby Penelope! I would imagine it to be a lighter fabric than the beautiful Rockin’ Baby Sling we borrowed from my sister when we had Huntley. All in all, I would highly suggest BABY WEARING for all! sakura 13. The stroller(s) – We had a good run with our wonderful Bugaboo Cameleon and BOB Revolution SE, but as soon as we found out we were having another (as I’ve mentioned, two under two), we knew we would need a double stroller. Again, pulled out the chart-making and reviews and made comparisons between all the top double strollers! It was decided after reading multiple raving reviews (including video reviews and demonstrations), I had to get the Baby Jogger City Select with Double Seat and you know I had to pull it out and start using it ASAP! If I had originally knew that we would have children so close in age, I probably would’ve gotten this stroller from the very beginning. The number one thing that sold me on this stroller from the rest was the fact that it can transition for a single stroller to double and even triple if you count the glider board! It can also work with the bassinet attachment (yes, I got that too, alongside ALL the other add-ons) or with your carseat (with attachment). Also loved the fact that both seats are “full sized” unlike the others I compared it to. And of course (like the Bugaboo) I went with all black! And did I mention all the different seating positions?! city 14. The Bag – Although I love having different variations and name brand diaper bags, those including Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs, it all comes down to the best for a newborn on this list! So I will have to go with the most popular of choices out there, the Petunia Pickle Bottom ‘Boxy’ Diaper Bag, which comes in multiple colors and styles of fabrics (however I must say – glazed is your best bet at keeping it clean longer)! The bag has a zippered fold out diaper changing pad that can be detached. There are so many compartments, the side pockets are perfect for milk bottles and water bottles, the inside pockets can hold just about everything, why there’s even pockets when you fold out the changing pad! pp boxy 15. Toys & Teether – Sophie la Giraffe, aka Sophie, is still one of the most world popular toy/teether you can get and if you say her full name correctly she’s perhaps one of the fanciest named baby toys! She is made of natural rubber and food paint and is one of the softest rubber toys you’ll ever touch! Although she is technically a teething toy (as marketed), she also makes for a nice entertaining newborn toy with her easy to grab long neck and legs and is easy squeeze to squeak. Another toy that I find essential to entertaining baby is a hanging carseat handle toy, preferably one that baby can start to pull and tug at. Like this one we got at Target. I just wished that there were one that would attach to a toddler seat 😉 sophie 16. Baby on Board – A great carseat is an essential-essential, not just talking about for fun, but you really need it!!!!! My choice is the Maxi Cosi line of carseats for their high quality and again, being the lightest on the market for infant seats. I have the Mico and Mico AP (in all black yet again) one in each of our cars, although they do have some newer model infant carseats in the market right now which I would trust with my experience (customer service and all). However, there are tons of different carseats out there! I would definitely suggest trying them out and getting a feel for it before purchasing. mico 17. Hands-free Care – With a newborn it’s easy to want to hold and cuddle all the time, but even mama’s arms need a break! The Fisher Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing we borrowed from my sister was amazing for us! This time around I am hoping to get the space saving Mamaroo since I love the idea that it has a car ride feature which always seems to put Huntley to sleep. A nice bouncer is super light and portable, we have the Fisher Price My Little Sweetie Bouncer, but any bouncer should work well. For those moments when I would crave a warm bath or shower I would place baby in the bathroom with me fastened in the bouncer while she slept with the door wide open (keeping it well-ventilated). This way I could peek over the tub or out from the shower curtain to check on her. mamaroo 18. The Sound Machine – We love the Cloud B Sound Machine Soother Sleep Sheep for it’s “rain” and “ocean” sounds and it’s 45min timer. Perfect for nap time to help soothe baby down. We later realized with sleep training that having a constant white noise is like the best thing ever! I even enjoy the fact that we sleep better hearing it through the monitor! My initial choice after carefully researching was the Marpac, but then realized that the Sleep Easy had ranked just as high but with less reviews, but so many positive reviews and was a fraction of the price!

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19. Sleep Safe, Sleep Sound – Having a baby monitor was absolutely one of our highest priorities! We decided to go with the most trusted Motorola Baby Monitor and we’re lucky enough to have been gifted this as a baby shower gift! Now we just need to buy the second camera for Penelope’s nursery.

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20. For Extra Soothing – We used the Cocalo Perfect Calming Center and loved it! It was a bit sensitive to sound and movement but luckily comes with a remote to stop and start the soothing vibrations. For a inexpensive alternative, perfect for naps to start getting baby to sleep in the crib we got the Munchkin Lulla-vibe prior to moving to a whole pad so that the vibrations would last longer.

If there’s anything missing on my list that you found to be an essential newborn item/product – do please share!

Mama’s Feeding Must-Haves

Since becoming  a mom and being lucky enough to have a baby that eats almost anything and everything, I believe I have acquired quite the knowledge of mama must-haves on feeding. If I knew half as much about the quality, conveniences and other information on products as I do now, I wouldn’t have spent wasted time and money on all the failed products that I have tried. I also understand that each baby is different and I might learn this first-hand once our second little girl arrives, but for now I will share what I think is a universal “yes, I need these items” mama feeding must haves. Also, my Huntley girl has always been a little ahead of herself and is eating way more than I think most one-year-olds do. So here it goes:

The highchair – After tons of reviews and trying out her cousin’s Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair, we fell in love! Huntley loves that she doesn’t have to scoot up or sit high to eat as she is always perfectly positioned in this chair to eat! Mama on the other hand loves the clean beautiful design and quality of the chair, also with it’s adjustably with height and configurations this chair goes from baby, to toddler, to child, all the way to adulthood if you so desire to keep it! And as I mentioned, I have a very messy eater and this chair is so easy to clean! Did I mention with the assorted colors you can find one that matches your style and dinner table!

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The traveling chair – Although a bit more expensive than the Inglesina Fast Table Chair, our go-to favorite highchair is the Phil & Ted’s Lobster Highchair! We love the design and high enclosure to keep baby girl from wanting to stand up as she does with all restaurant highchairs. Bonus: it comes with a removable eating tray and carrying bag and fold up easily and is super compact!

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If your are still breastfeeding, way to go mama! I wasn’t lucky enough to feed to one since I got pregnant and my milk supply diminished. I quickly moved Huntley to a bottle and luckily we already had tons! Our favorite bottle by far is the ComoTomo bottle! This bottle is great for all babies because of it super soft and natural feel of the medical grade silicone bottle base and wide mouth design nipple, but it’s also great for babies with colic because of its uniquely designed venting system. And unlike most colic reducing bottles, this one has only three pieces, meaning less to clean. (I will do a bottle comparison in another post.)

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After our short-lived run with bottles, I’ve moved Huntley to taking her milk through straw bottles, since she already drinks from these her water and juices. (We skipped sippy cups, although I sometimes still use our Boon Sips since we still have some around.) We have two favorite straw bottles: First is the Thermos brand straw bottle, which is stainless steel and is highly durable! Having it be stainless steel is a definite A+ in my book since my girl tends to be rough and has broken multiple sippy cups and straw bottles that were not only hers, but also her friends…this bottle has proven to withstand a lot of falls/throws/etc. It also includes a pop-up handle! Plus, this bottle also comes in tons of assorted colors and designs, those including our favorite Hello Kitty and anything Disney princess!

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Although the Thermos brand is one of the best quality, I’ve learned that some mom’s don’t like the heaviness and hard to carry design. This leads me to another favorite of ours – the Zoli Baby Bot straw cup! This BPA free plastic straw cup has a unique Siliflex straw that allows a nice flow for your baby or toddler without spills! The only downside is that it’s a bit temperature sensitive in heat. My girl loves having handles to hold and can even flip her straw out without any help. Also, my number one concern is durability! Our Zoli cups have withstood a lot falls and throws and are all still holding up and functioning nicely.

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With a very messy eater I’ve come to realize that placemats are a must unless you want wasted food on the table. I’ve tried multiple reusable placemats, since at first glance it seems like a brilliant idea. However, I’ve quickly come to learn that many many reusable placemats suck! Since then I’ve committed to disposable placemats, unlike the reusable counterpart, these ones actually stick to most table surfaces (plastic, glass, wood grain, etc.) and won’t keep flipping off the table or can’t be easily pulled off by your tiny tot. Best of all – all that food that drops on the side of the mat, on the highchair, and on the floor can be scooped up with some napkins and thrown into a ball of trash with the placemat so you don’t feel terrible about the mess you’ve left for the busser that comes to clean your table afterwards. We are avid customers to Amazon and have found that these packs of Neat Solutions Neat-Ware Table Toppers can be bought in 60 count and work perfectly for our dining needs!

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Next up is our traveling food container favorites! We love love love the LunchBots Thermal Stainless Steel Insulated Food Containers after having borrowed one from our cousin and getting to try it out first-hand. This is by far the best food container out there that we’ve used – not only to store take-aways for baby but also for mommy and daddy! Never a spill in sight even after toppling, rolling out, and dropping it! Your food always stays warm or cool for hours!

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Even though we prefer the LunchBots container over any other container, with its hefty price we’ve come to try out other similar versions and would say that our second favorite is the Thermos Funtainer Food Jar which like the straw cup counterpart is highly durable and also comes in so many assorted colors and cute designs! It also keeps your food warm or cool for hours, but not as long as the LunchBots. However being almost half the price makes it well worth stocking up on!

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Since starting baby-led weaning (self-feeding) at the dinner table, we’ve learned that investing in good stick-on stay-put bowls and plates are very important! We’ve tried many many brands those including Sassy, OXO Tot, Munchkin, and Dr. Browns and have come to a conclusion on our favorite! The one we find that stays on the best and is the easiest to clean is the Boon Catch Toddler Bowl with Spill Catcher and Boon Catch Plate with Spill Catcher. Unlike the rest we’ve tried, there is only one piece to clean and with it’s minimalist design – it’s seriously the easiest to clean! The spill catcher and suction base are very flexible and soft and the whole piece can be washed in the dishwasher! I’ve also heard that the Calibowl Suction Bowls work great too, but for us Boon bowls work excellent!

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Utensils are the least of my concerns for eating since we’re still working on this concept for baby girl. She already mimics us when using utensils and we haven’t had a problem with any kind of utensil, even disposable forks and spoons. So if you have any suggestions or favorites, please let me know! I’d love to hear! The Gerber Graduates Kiddy Cutlery has worked just fine for us and are quite inexpensive.

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The catch-all bib! We’ve tried a few brand that make the silicone catch-all style bib and haven’t had an issue with any of them. We’ve found the Tommee Tippee Explora Easi Roll Bib to be the cheapest with the same function to work just as well as the rest! Although Huntley would probably tell you that her favorites are the Bebe Bib or Baby Bjorn Soft Bib since the neck part isn’t as thick as the TT Explora and is more comfortable for her, but for half the price, we aren’t discriminating.

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I think that’s a wrap for now on our Mama’s Feeding Must-Haves. Would love to hear what your favorites are and any things I haven’t touched on.