Distinctive Nurseries

  • As Always, I Did it Myself

    One of my biggest dreams, before I had my child, was to become a clothing designer. But when I had my child, it was like the whole world turned upside down. My creativity became much more focused on making the life of my family more comfortable and enjoyable. I am proud to say that ever since then I have become a DIY type of person. It all started with the decoration of my daughter’s room. Then I just continued sewing clothes, bags, covers, and everything else I needed to make her life more pleasant.

    My child is growing up and her needs have evolved. It’s funny how girls know what they want to wear even at an early age. They know what kind of pattern they want, they choose their colors and are very picky about the materials. And it’s not only clothes. Bed and pillow covers, decorations on the walls, drapes, bags, bracelets. All of these need to be well made and crafted with love. I became really good with the craft of sewing mainly by doing these things by myself, but also from reading various fashion magazines, and of course, watching tutorials on YouTube, on channels like the 5-minute Crafts Family.  

    Room decoration, on the other hand, is a completely different challenge, and I’ve started doing this for other people’s children as well. When you decorate a room, you always need to have the needs and preferences of the person you’re decorating it for in mind.

    When I take over the challenge of room decoration, for example, the first thing I think about is whether I am decorating for a girl or a boy. Two different concepts with different motives and ideas. If it’s a boy’s room, I always tend to put some sports motifs and cars. Boys seem to love that. But I don’t just decide on the theme without asking. After all, many boys prefer movies or cartoon themed rooms as well, so it always depends on the person. If I do it for girls, then my philosophy changes a bit. Whether it’s for a boy or a girl, I always put the same amount of work in order to create a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment in which they can grow carelessly.

    Safety is one of my biggest concerns. I’m aware of any electric outlets, slippery surfaces, and other potential hazards. For instance, in the last room I decorated, I had to think about the DIY air purifier the kid’s father had made using a ventilator – as it didn’t look childproof, my decorations had to be placed a bit of a distance away from it. Children get overly excited when there’s a new shiny thing in their room, so just in case.

  • She’s Growing Up :(

    When your kids are little, they are afraid of the dark. This seems to be a universal trait they all share. Is there a single one who is brave enough to face the depths of nothingness without trepidation? They imagine ghosts and goblins under the bed, monsters in the closet, and scary insects under the sheets. There no doubt are bats flying under the ceiling. What imaginations! They go wild with ridiculous scenarios. They concoct the most frightening possibilities. Hence, they need a good nightlight to illuminate their rooms in order to go to sleep peacefully. Sometimes it takes more than that. They need a familiar and comforting bedtime story that is happy and cheerful, sometimes a nice song that is a nightly routine, and often a hall light blaring through their open door. Bedtime can be a trauma. Kids like to hear their parents’ voices and even a bit of a TV show. Anything to break their feeling of being alone.

    An ingenious parent can devise ways to make the process a little easier. For my situation, I bought a rechargeable flashlight after researching online at http://www.flashlightpro.net/best-rechargeable-led-flashlights/ so I can go into my daughter’s room at night to check on her and illuminate her precious little face. I want to see those closed eyes. I want to imagine her having sweet dreams. I, too, hunt the ghosts and goblins but they are nowhere in sight. I love that I don’t have to turn on the ceiling light in order to see that she is snuggled comfortably in bed. I can now get rid of that annoying hall light. How can she sleep with all that on? I wouldn’t be able to do it. I love to enter slumberland in total darkness.

    As Maya grows older, I hope she will be more relaxed about bedtime and learn to laugh at her imaginary images. Now she finds comfort in her stuffed toys and they surround her on top of her quilt, giving her a feeling of joy that stills the nagging thoughts that can abound. Their presence guards her from the monsters that lurk. I try to get her to laugh at her folly but to no avail. I say that her teddy bear will protect her and she need never worry for a second. She is not alone. Sometimes she seems to believe me and tires of her ever-present concern. She knows that I am nearby with flashlight in hand to scare anyone and anything away. Sometimes she waits until she sees it before falling asleep. But fatigue can overtake her and she falls into a deep, restful sleep nonetheless. This is what I must witness before I can retire for the night.

    You needn’t worry if your child is afraid of the dark as it is perfectly normal. Just have a bedtime routine that can help him or her relax. Tell them that your flashlight is at hand to relieve the pressure of total darkness.

  • Girlie but not too Girlie…

    Setting up a nursery for a baby girl can be a lot of fun. The market is full of options, with gorgeous patterns and beautiful details.I know when I was looking, there were a few things I wished were made for queen sized bedding! Some of it is cute, some of it is outright adorable, and some of it… well, some of it is a bit much, isn’t it? Bedding with mixed patterns, animals, birds, ruffles, AND flowers (and that was just the top selection at one nursery retailer)? It’s dizzying and almost physically painful to look at. The problem is that there’s too much. Too many details, too many options.With so many choices, it is easy to get overwhelmed and desperate. Here are some guidelines to keep you from drowning in pink, bows, and ruffles:

    • Pick a very specific theme. Your theme will stand out more when there arefewer distractions from other items in the room that are competing for your visual attention. Instead of thinking flowers and then having EVERYTHING covered in various sizes, shapes, and colors of flowers (because maybe your set didn’t come with curtains, say, or you want to add some prints or a decal to the walls), pick one type of flower. Say you decide on cherry blossoms, and have a medium stain on furniture (symbolizing the wood from the trees) and then have cherry blossom sheets. Maybe go with a solid color when choosing a glider, or try pink and brown striped curtains.
    • Think Beyond the Pink. There are plenty of other options. And, no, I’m not just talking about purple. There are some really beautiful global bazaar type themes out there right now, with rich golds and reds. I also love the idea of a garden nursery theme, which does not have to be exclusively pink—you can have mainly greens and the flower colors of your choosing—yellows, oranges, blues, purples—any kind of flower you love, stenciled on the wall with a white picket fence design. There’s also some great black-and-white options now, with no pink in sight. And what’s more feminine than white lace?
    • Don’t Go Outside Your Comfort Zone. If your whole family is big on sports or if the thought of cutesy bows makes you feel ill, there’s no reason to make baby girl’s room saccharine sweet. I would never discourage anyone from going cute and girlie.However, if that’s not what you like, don’t bother. You are going to be in the room almost as much as Baby, so choose a design that reflects the personality of your family. Go with what appeals to you. What do you want to see around the room while trying to comfort a crying baby at 3 in the morning? If it isn’t puffy hearts, then don’t buy them. Remember, there is no right or wrong here. If you find a set that has artwork from your favorite childhood story, so what if it doesn’t scream, “BABY GIRL!” It represents something you cherish and want to share with your child. What could be more appropriate than that? Your little girl isn’t going to be in therapy years from now crying that her nursery had a caterpillar instead of the ladybugs she really

    Take your time to choose something that resonates with you.Don’t feel obligated to fill your child’s room with pink flowers and ruffled fabrics if that is not what appeals to you. Enjoy this time because it may be the last time you have any say in what’s on her bed or on her walls!

  • A Quick Update

    I pride myself on my handicraft skills. It sure comes in handy when you want to make things for the home that have your special touch. There isn’t a room in my house untouched by my hands over the years. I love to update things so I can be creative with new ideas and decorating solutions. The family appreciates my effort and I get special requests for a bed coverlet, pillow shams, embroidered towels, and the like. My kids have even resorted to paging through crafts magazines so they can select projects of their own to adorn their walls. I have framed many a stitchery design or a cut out fabric collage.

    You can teach your kids all kinds of tricks and tips to make craft time fun. It is something they look forward to. They also like to watch me fabricate and try to guess the appearance of the final item such as a big sofa pillow or an ottoman cover. While I once wanted to be a clothing designer, you can see that I have branched out. There is so much to do right in your midst beyond the practicality of clothing. I may well get back to that in due time. Meanwhile, I have yet another task. I need to make new curtains for one of the kid’s bedrooms. Now where is that trusty old Singer. I start looking in the basement and closets. I finally find it stored away waiting for its next use. It will come in mighty handy for the curtains. Most of the work is a series of long seams. You can also machine stitch the hem and a casing for the curtain rod. My Singer is my prize possession—a gift from my mother when she discovered my hidden talent. She wanted me to have a good one that would last for years through my children’s childhood. She Likes to Sew and knew how many things there are to make. She personally liked making girls’ dresses that she would embroidery and smock when I was a young child. Then times got more hip and she started to make overalls and shorts. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t make except maybe for shoes. She could make jackets—no easy task—and coats for winter. She let me pick out my own fabric.

    Over the years I have collected dozens of scraps and have made quilts galore which I often give as baby gifts. The curtains are a different matter. I bought a bolt of some sunny yellow lightweight linen which would go with the color scheme of the room. Now that this project is underway, I am thinking about a matching bedspread and maybe a throw for the bedside chair. It will be a fashionable coordinated room. The Singer will get a workout before it goes back into hiding. That won’t be long. I have other ideas for the den and the spare room. I am in the craft mood right now.

  • I Don’t Do Bugs

    Mom to the rescue. In my house, I handle all the difficult problems. If something goes wrong or is awry, the kids know I will fix it. I am pretty handy with light plumbing, I can mend ripped clothing, and I know how to fix a proper meal. Problems are school related as a rule and sometimes I just have to have a minute to talk to an upset child. There is always time for family, no matter how tough the situation. I remember one time there was a school outing and dad wouldn’t let my daughter go. I had to mediate that to avoid a big snafu. I talked and talked for hours and we came to a compromise. She would miss the one trip but get to participate in the next one for sure. Then there is always the matter of homework. Mom is pretty good at spelling and math. It comes in handy.

    Something a little out of the ordinary in this category of mom to the rescue was when my daughter complained of a large spider in her plastic outdoor playhouse. It gave her the creeps. “I don’t do bugs,” she said. She was not about to go get a paper towel and dispense with it. I don’t do bugs either I added. So I ran straight for my husband’s pressure washer to deal with it. A pressure washer is a mighty hose that can wipe away most anything. It isn’t just made for dirt and grime on the car, the walkways up to the house, the garage floor, or the outdoor shed. It is great for these things, but imagine what it will do to a harmless spider. When we bought the best pressure washer, little did we know how useful it would become? I was surprised I even found it as all the neighbors want to borrow it to wash their cars.

    But there it was, the hose coiled and ready to pounce. My daughter’s job was to stay on the lookout for the spider in case it moved. She stared at it dutifully for at least fifteen minutes. I was surprised at her courage. Pretty soon I thought they would become friends and she would balk at what the pressure washer was going to do to it. But no, when she said she didn’t do bugs, she meant it. The spider was history. I set the washer on a medium spray and it took about one minute to dispense with the pest. I had to make sure it didn’t land in the playhouse in its water-logged condition. That would surely freak my daughter out. It did fly through the air and out the door as I had planned. It landed on the lawn but I was not sure in what condition. Dear or alive? If alive, it could find its way back. I scooped it up with a box and carried it to the very back of the yard where I freed it humanely in the flower bed.

  • Great Fair Day!

    Family outings are special. We try to plan a few each month and at least one major one a quarter. It brings everyone together which is important as we are all usually off doing something personal like sports practice or assorted errands. Going to the State Fair counts high on the list for the kids. They adore it. The animals, the exhibits, the people watching, the homemade pies, and just the happy-go-lucky atmosphere.

    Fairs have gotten more elaborate since I was a kid and they were simple country events. Now there are rides and side shows and horseback riding. It is always a great day except for one problem. The mosquitos that come out in droves due to the hot weather. I put bracelets dipped in citronella on everyone because it is safe as a natural mosquito repellent. I don’t like to douse them with toxic mists that come in spray cans. I just imagine them inhaling that stuff. The mosquitos react to the citronella and keep their distance. No one balks at having to wear the bracelets as they remember being bitten last year. Now I have taken precautions to protect the family. It seems that mosquitos are found near standing water and standing water if often near animals in pens. Such is the nature of a state fair.

    This year I heard not one gripe out of anyone. They thoroughly enjoyed everything and appreciated the mosquito-free atmosphere. I am not sure where I found out about this solution, but it certainly works. I believe I read about it in a book on home remedies. These old books are great for ideas for almost anything: what to put on a burn, how to stop itching, what kind of tea to drink when you have the flu, how to treat poison ivy, how to get rid of fleas on your dog, how to treat spider bites, and more. So the natural mosquito repellent had a very good source. The writer guaranteed results. Everything had been personally tested. I have some of my own secret preparations that I should send to the author. Or I could start my own collection. I am particularly concerned about toxic chemicals no matter how good they are at killing mosquitos.

    I have seen other “green” products at the health food store, but we got such good results from the bracelets, that I haven’t been tempted to buy any of them. I do go for the natural flea powder and bathroom cleaning solution. One day everything in my house will be environmentally friendly and safe for human and animal consumption. You can’t be too careful, no matter who the manufacturer is. What I have yet to see is a natural weed killer. This would be handy indeed as I have heard horror stories. It is time we all got wise to the destructive power of chemicals and stop supporting the harmful toxic products. For us, it all started with the mosquito repellent. Now we have a long way to go.

  • Boy Nursery Ideas Without a Single Football


    When you’re going to decorate a room for a baby girl (or even a young girl), the options seem limitless. They’ll make practically anything feminine—bugs (“Oh, look at the adorable ladybug on that pink flower curtain!); even owls (who knew they were really pink out in the wild?). But if you’re having a baby boy, like I did, you may spend weeks trying to find something that you don’t hate.

    How is that fair?

    I don’t know, either. But since I had to wrack my brain for weeks to come up with something I didn’t hate, I thought I would share some of that hard work with you, my lovely readers, in case you were in the same boat as I was. Here are some cute nursery themes:

    • Nautical: While you might be thinking this is a common choice, the designs available can be super boring. You can go nearly anywhere with this theme. Noah’s Ark, old fashioned sailing ships, lighthouses, oceans or fish, or even pirates. For example, instead of using a valence on your nursery windows, hang semaphore flags. If your child’s name is short enough, or your window long enough, you can spell your child’s name with the flags. It is pretty easy to find what letter each flag represents online. If you go with the Noah’s Ark theme, you can easily incorporate stuffed animals into the décor, especially if you get one of those corner hammocks (you’ll thank me for that later when you are drowning in toys); you can dye the fabric brown and make it look like the ark!For the pirate theme, you can use felt and some batting to makeany toy box you already have look like a treasure chest. If you are having trouble finding accessories, pull colors out of the bedding set—typically there is navy blue in there somewhere, and probably white—and buy solid textiles in those colors. It might be hard to find similar sailing ships on curtains, but it isn’t so hard to find the off white of the sails in a solid color for your drapes.
    • Outer Space: The planets come in a variety of colors and shapes, so you have plenty to work with there. Glow in the dark star stickers make a magical touch, and you can even trick out a ceiling fan to look like a satellite by painting the blades. If you are hesitant to go so dark with the colors, any shade of blue will tie everything together nicely. They have super cool star projectors that will make an excellent night light. You can go with a nice shade of grey on the walls, too, and paint murals that look like the portholes of a space ship. Model rockets can make excellent bookends, just like a solar system model will make an easy (and educational) mobile. Just make sure to keep it far enough out of baby’s reach!
    • Planes: There are plenty of car themed bedding out there, so why not think higher and go with planes? You can paint the walls blue and add cloud detailing or white curtains. Hang a toy plane or two (out of reach, of course) with fishing line instead of purchasing a mobile. I’ve seen neat decals available where it looks like Baby’s name is written by a skywriting plane. A fun clock with hands that look like propellers would be a fun accent. I especially like a green carpet or rug in the room to simulate the ground. They also make rugs that double as toy car mats, and those would also look great.

    Don’t let the lack of choices get you down. You just have to think out of the box, and I’m sure you can find something you really love. Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions.

  • What to do with all my Spare Time?

    I have been having an attack of empty nest syndrome now that the kids are in school at least part of every day. It has been a serious adjustment that I had not prepared myself for. Every mom goes through it sooner or later. Okay, it is only a few hours, but I miss them anyway as they take up my time. It just feels strange not to have them underfoot virtually all of the time. I am used to squeezing in personal chores and really budgeting my time. I used to complain about not having the opportunity to pamper myself. No more. I have ample room in my schedule to do my shopping, errands, visit friends and family, and maybe even catch a movie. This doesn’t always fill every waking hour, so now what to do with all my spare time?

    Some people just don’t know how to relax and do nothing. How about reading a book or watching an old favorite movie on TV. Then there is text messaging on the phone and reading emails. I wish I had more Facebook friends so I had more posts to enjoy and respond to. I could start taking photos and posting them on Instagram. Somehow all these ideas didn’t satisfy me that I would have a productive day when the kids were to school. I wanted something more fulfilling so I could report what I had done with pride to the family at dinner. I was forgetting something important: exercise. I have always been into good nutrition so why not add its partner—fitness. I am not one to walk the dog in the park or go jogging. It is also expensive to join a gym.

    Then I had a great idea. We have a spare room that used to house my sewing machine and all my bolts of extra fabric. I could turn it into a workout space. It would be an easy conversion. I would just have to invest in some home gym equipment and from what I see on TV, there is plenty of it. I read some home gym reviews and found the perfect one. You can buy sets that come with a bicycle, a treadmill, an assortment of weights, balls and straps. There are those one piece contraptions that you adjust for different muscle areas and so you have everything in one place and you can tone what you like. They take up less room that having multiple components.

    I think I need to try out a few pieces of equipment at a local supplier and see what suits me best. I would first set for myself a routine or daily program and then match the equipment to my workout. I know I could use my gym room a couple of hours a day and would no longer have to ask: what can I do in my spare time? I am sure my husband will join me and it will get plenty of weekend use.

  • When it Rains, it Pours

    When you have an older home, things wear out over time. One by one the appliances go—first the fridge, then the stove, then the washing machine, and the hand mixer. It is almost as if there were a time clock on appliances that tells it when its life is up. Lucky are those whose appliances last the lifetime of the house. It can cost a pretty penny if the inner time clock is set to the same time for everything. Appliances are supposed to last as the TV commercials will tell you, but someone lied. Some people see broken appliances as an opportunity to buy newer models with more features that use less electricity. This is certainly the case in our house. It just so happens that it applies to the water heater. The old one conked out about the time we were reading reviews about electric water heaters. They are smaller, more efficient, and are built to last. This is no small replacement purchase, however. Even if we have been focused on modernizing and know we need it, we still have to cover the cost.

    It just so happens that the electric water heater broke along with one of our old TVs. Not a month later it was the freezer we kept for extra storage in the garage. When it rains, it pours. Now we have to dip into our contingency fund. We have a budget for household repairs but I hate taking too big a chunk out of it at one time. Fortunately, we started it a long time ago and it is ample to cover everything, while having a bit left over for any unforeseen emergencies. Next it could be the vacuum cleaner or even the car. That would be painful indeed. The kids are very sympathetic and have offered to donate their next month’s allowance to replenish the contingency fund. I am overcome with emotion. It is so thoughtful. I suggested that we have a neighborhood car wash or aluminum can collection instead so they wouldn’t have to sacrifice. They could help clean up someone’s garage or rake leaves in the yard. They could clean the swimming pool or hot tub depending upon what people have. Whatever the task, they will be prepared. This is true family togetherness.

    You have to accept the reality of upgrading and modernizing. It goes with owning a home. The more appliances you have, the more that can go wrong. I haven’t mentioned the lawn mower or the pressure washer among the myriad of items that are useful in mundane ways. Whatever you use for upkeep of your property counts. It will eventually be replaced by money from the contingency fund. If you need professional help for roof repair or window sealing or attic insulation, it is a different matter. It is part of a different household budget which usually covers tree damage, water leaks, broken windows from the neighbor kid’s baseball, and the like. So be wise and set up these different budgets and don’t get caught by surprise.

  • Great Unisex Nursery Themes

    Whether you are looking to invest in quality items for a nursery that will survive more than one child, or you simply don’t want to know if you’re having a girl or boy, a unisex theme is easy to pull together.

    Your best choice for furniture is to stick with something classic. If Baby’s room does not get a lot of natural light, go with white or natural wood stain on the furniture. It will brighten the whole room. Mission style furniture will give the room a classic, clean look. I also love the look of white wrought-iron for a boy or girl’s crib. If lighting is not a problem, or you would prefer to go dark, a rich chocolate or a black will go well with any color palates. Sleigh bed style cribs look especially gorgeous in deeper, warmer tones.

    When you go simple and clean with the furniture in the room, you can feel free to explore a more expansive color palate with your textiles. Here are a few great ideas that work equally well for boys or girls:

    • Animals and animal prints. Children are naturally very curious about all kinds of animals. A nursery with zoo or farm animals using pastel colors like yellow or green as a base tone will be adorable. Stuffed animals without beaded eyes or other choking hazards serve not just as toys but décor. Cats and kittens, dogs and puppies can also be gender neutral when done correctly.
    • Underwater Theme fish come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find a pattern that will work well for a boy or a girl. Pale blues along with pastel green and yellow complement each other and work nicely for either sex.
    • Storybook characters. Winnie the Pooh is a tried and true style that most children love, whether you go with the classic illustrations or the more recognizable cartoon version. There are several other classic stories that you can pull from, and framed artwork from the book you choose will be a wonderfully personal touch. There are several textile options as well as wall decals to liven up the nursery space in whatever direction you choose to take it. Natural colored woods accent the design, as would a bookshelf designed to look like a tree.
    • Black and White. This is not a theme that you see often; however, the sharp contrast between black and white is easily visible to babies from an incredibly young age. That means they may actually find this theme more appealing than others. You can go with any number of patterns and textures for this theme, and it will be easy to find things like furniture and accent pieces like frames or shelves that match!

    These are just a few of my ideas for a unisex nursery. Of course, there’s nothing saying you can’t use a garden or sports theme for a boy or a girl; you want a room that will transition nicely into early toddlerhood (and possibly beyond), so have fun with it. Make sure you decide on something you won’t mind using again for another child. But most of all, make sure it is something you enjoy looking at, too. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in there!

  • Stand out in a Pack

    Kids are reflective of prevailing taste in their age group. They want to dress alike and wear the same brands with the same logos. In this day and age, everything made for them is being licensed and trademarked, especially if it is based on a certain celebrity or animated cartoon. Kids want to be sure they are getting the real thing, no matter what the cost. A case in point are those expensive sneakers kids wear to school—and wear out too fast. It is a lost cause to try to convince kids to be more individual when there is so much peer pressure. If a child stands out in a pack, it may or may not be a good thing. If the child is confident and strong about their identity, they can be the one to start a new trend. So there is actually a way around the let’s copy each other rule. The popular kids know this only too well. They can get away with wearing different tee shirts or shoes and still gain admiration.

    I am one of those mothers who is not in complete agreement with the copycat syndrome. I have always made things for my children and tried to be creative with their looks. I have been told that it is a losing battle, but there was a time when it didn’t hold true. I was looking for new backpacks for school and wanted something unique and creative. I searched online knowing that what is in stores is same old same old. Basically you can buy the shell in the fabric you want, say denim, faux leather, heavy cotton, or corduroy. You select the size of the backpack and the color and fabric of the lining. It could be a print or plain. Then there are dozens of ways to specify zippered or snap pockets inside and out so the child has segregated storage to keep things orderly and arranged. Finally you select the type of strap you want and if it is to be adjustable. Once you have made your choices, you are the artist who designs the rest. This is my forte. I keep scraps of fabric all over the place to be used for such occasions. I can make appliques and quilt effects and just use my imagination so the front and back of the bag are different. I try to use a theme that suits the child who will be carrying the backpack. It must be age appropriate, colorful, and fun.

    Knowing how kids are criticized these days for being different, I was delighted when my child came home from school with the new hand-decorated backpack and spoke of the lavish praise it received. Creativity wins the day, not uniformity. We have to change our thinking about dressing alike. Other kids mentioned that they wanted one and asked where they could be found. They wanted to bring things to me to use in the decoration like sports logos and celebrity memorabilia. I have a new business in the work, I see.

  • Cool Shower Gift Ideas


    Baby shower gifts can be odd. Usually, parents-to-be have a registry and it’s pretty easy and convenient to get them something they want. But what if you dragged your feet and now the registry has been completed?Or maybe you want a little something to add to make it a little more personal? Or what if they didn’t register at all? Don’t worry, readers, I won’t let you down. Here are some fun ideas to augment or act as a shower gift. People will be impressed with your thoughtfulness and creativity, and nobody has to know you read it here first!

    I always advocate purchasing something small for the parent-to-be if it was something that they may not have thought of but you couldn’t live without. With all my research, I didn’t see anything about stroller clips, but someone gave me a pair anyway. Now I return the favor for any of my friends having babies. They are amazing! You just don’t know until you know, right? Or maybe your child had an object that always soothed them. You can always get something similar and let them know how great it worked for you. Consider it a welcome-to-the-club gift.

    Parents tendto overlook the saving grace that is gift subscriptions. For example, a three-month gift subscription to a video service. They’re going to be up at all hours of the night, might as well catch up on some favorite shows while doing it, right? Because let me tell you, there isn’t a whole lot of interesting tv at 3 in the morning. A gift card to a grocery-delivery service or a meal delivery service would also be a giant lifesaver. You can’t grasp how hard it is to get out the door with a newborn until you actually have one. Meals or grocery delivery will allow new parents to focus on nourishing the baby and make nourishing themselves on something other than takeout. If you don’t think they’ll mind, a maid service can also be a big help. Some people are weird about having others touch their stuff, or they might think you’re implying that their house is dirty. But if you know they will appreciate it, I say go ahead. For a cheaper option, you can give them a gift card to a photo service. This way, they can order prints of Baby or make a photobook. They can even use the gift card toward baby announcements or thank you notes if they choose.

    One last thing that is always fun to give is a keepsake creator. I had a friend whose husband was a huge baseball fan. I got her a baseball, one of those clear box display cases, and a washable ink pad. She was able to ink baby’s hand then place his palm on the ball for a special handprint keepsake. There are paving stones for handprints or footprints at craft or garden stores. I’ve also gotten friends who were gardeners little color-your-own flowerpots (the kind with the coloring page sleeves that you slide in and out) and made my own blank template for it. This way, they can do a handprint or footprint on it and have a keepsake flowerpot. I usually include a package of seeds of the flower from the baby’s birth month for a little extra something.

    What about you? Did you get anything at your shower that you didn’t ask for but couldn’t live without? What was a personal gift that you received that you loved?

  • What Not to Put on Your Baby Registry

    In case you haven’t noticed yet, I am great at making lists. This post is a list of items that you may think you need to purchase for the perfect nursery or stuff that you believe you need on your registry. Take it from me, though, as a parent who was successfully brought children into the toddler years, you can definitely do without the things on this list. Read on to find out what my friends and I have found to be a waste of money and space. Hopefully, I can save you some time and money here.

    • A wipes warmer. This is, hands down, the biggest money waster. For one thing, the heat can dry out your wipes. Second, heat + moisture = bacteria growth. Gross! Many of these have been recalled because they caused electric shocks or melted. That’s a huge problem and easily avoided by not having them in the first place.
    • A changing table. I know, sounds weird, right? However, there are two reasons I’m against them. If you have a big house or spend a lot of time on a floor separate from the nursery, are you really going to drag the baby somewhere else every single time you change him or her (we’re talking double-digits every day, by the way). Of course you aren’t! Another issue is that you’re spending money on a piece of furniture that will be obsolete in a few years, and it is hard to make them look like anything other than a changing table. So don’t buy it. Instead, we found a dresser low enough that I could comfortably change the baby and we affixed a changing pad there while we needed it. We also had what I called “diaper stations” in every room in the housethat I would likely be with the baby. These stations consisted of a pretty basket with a foldable waterproof pad, diapers, wipes, ointment, and a spare change of clothes. It if wasn’t in a room that baby and I were in, I could just grab the basket. I changed her on the floor. See? Better than a changing table, and once they served their original purpose, I had organizing baskets to do with whatever I saw fit.
    • The same goes for those diaper disposal systems. I know, I know, you’ve met people who swear by them. First of all, the replacement bags or whatever they use tend to be both proprietary (meaning only their brand works with their system) and expensive. Secondly, do you really want that smell lingering in your house? I didn’t think so. We throw out pee diapers in the nearest trash can because they are emptied regularly. And poopy diapers do not pass go, they go directly outside. They can stink out there, not in my house. It’s less work this way, and my house smells better, too.
    • Newborn shoes. Oh god, these are the worst. First problem: they could restrict the growth of your baby’s feet if you keep them shoed at all times. Second: they never stay on. Whatever money spent on them may as well go in the garbage, because that’s what is going to happen to the second shoe when you come back from your first trip to the grocery store and find Baby has Houdini-ed his or her way out of the other one without your knowledge. Third: shoes are designed to protect your feet when you’re walking. That’s their whole purpose. So unless your newborn can walk (or you are routinely putting their feet on the dirty ground outside, which is a whole other thing), don’t bother with the shoes.

    So there you have it.  A list of stuff that those before you realized they could live without. A chance to right past wrongs. It’s up to you to decide, though. Is there anything on this list you disagree with? Anything I forgot to add?