Date Night at Home Ideas

Do you and your spouse spend time alone together?  We all know that it’s important for our relationships but finding the time to get a sitter, pay a sitter and then pay for a night out, isn’t something we can do very often. 

Why not have a date night at home?  Wait until after your little ones have gone to bed and have a romantic night at home together. 

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Create a Special Meal

What is your husbands favorite meal?  Make it or a version of it for supper!  We love pizza, so when we had a date night at home, I made a delicious Margherita Pizza!  This was something my kids wouldn’t normally eat but we love!

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Set The Mood

Create a romantic table setting for two.  Use your “fancy” plates or china, cloth napkins and lots of candles!  Make it feel like you are at a nice restaurant! 

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Have Fun

I created a “Date Night” jar with lots of fun ideas with things we could do together on our date nights at home.  Be sure to pick out of the jar and give yourself plenty of time to prepare, see my list of ideas below!

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Do you and your spouse spend time alone together? We all know that it’s important for our relationships but finding the time to get a sitter, pay a sitter and then pay for a night out, isn’t something we can do very often.

Why not have a date night at home? Wait until after your little ones have gone to bed and have a romantic night at home together.

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How to Create a Date Night At Home Jar

Find an empty jar or container of some sort and add a simple label on the front.  Next, find popsicle sticks, colored markers and Washi tape. 

Add one date night idea to each stick and a small amount of Washi Tape to the top of the stick!  Very easy! 

10 Date Night At Home Ideas

  • Cook Dinner Together
  • Talk
  • Work on a project
  • Play a board game
  • Rent a Red Box Movie
  • Make milkshakes
  • Play cards
  • Foot rubs
  • Play a video game together
  • Watch funny You Tube videos

Spending time together, even if it’s at home, can be wonderful for your marriage!  Enjoy the time you have together, no matter where it is and have fun!  Do you have ideas for a fun Date Night At Home?

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  My name is Chrissy and I blog at The Taylor House.  I love sharing recipes, crafts, home organization and cleaning tips and even gift ideas.  My husband and I live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and I am blessed to be able to stay home with my two boys. 

I would love to connect with you! You can find me on

Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

Felt Christmas Tree Tutorial

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Hi Grant Life readers. My name is Michaela and I blog over at Covered in Mod Podge. I am a wife, a mom to a very active eighteen month old little miss, and an MSW student interning with a large, urban school district. After all that, I try to find time to sew for my daughter and craft to stay sane!

I am so excited to be contributing sewing and crafty related tutorials here at The Grant Life. I’ll be by about twice a month sharing whatever project I’ve been working on lately. As you all know, Kelley has to be one of the sweetest women in blogland. I am so excited to be working with her!

As I mentioned above, I have an eighteen month old daughter who is nothing but energy. She does not stop. Ever. We already had enough of a problem with our Christmas tree due to our three cats. We can only decorate the top half. Emma is at the age where she’s old enough to want to be in the tree all the time but not old enough to understand to stay out of it. Rather than pull my hair out this Christmas season, my husband and I decided not to put up the tree this year.

I still wanted something festive in our living room. Hence, this felt tree. Felt sticks to itself. Emma can go nuts decorating and redecorating the tree. I’m hoping she’ll play with it over and over again!

Want to make your own? You’ll need:

Green Craft felt sold by the yard. {It’s 72 inches wide so you’ll only need to buy the width you want. I got 3/4yd just to be safe and had tons left!}

Various Colored Craft Felt Squares

Hot glue

Craft ruler, scissors, and large cutting surface {I used a rotary cutter for cutting my tree}

3m Command Strips

Start out by evening up your green tree felt. Then, cut it to height according to your space {and child’s height}. For me, this was 30 inches.

To make the tree shape, you’ll start by folding the green felt in half hot dog style.

To explain how to cut the tree shape, I’ll give you the dimensions I used. You’ll need to adjust these according to your desired height. It helped me to have a picture of a clip art Christmas tree open while I was cutting.

Starting at the bottom, cut in 12 inches at an angle. Next, cut out parallel to the bottom towards the outside 6 inches. Cut 12 inches inward at an angle. Now cut parallel to the bottom 7.5 inches. Cut on an angle 9.5 inches and out 6 inches. Now cut your top point on a 15 inch angle.

Now, its time to make the presents to line the bottom of your tree. I made five different presents.

I made three squares measuring 8 inches by 8 inches, 10 inches by 10 inches, and 9 inches by 9 inches. I made two rectangles measuring 8 inches by 4 inches and 11 inches by 3 inches.

Decorate your packages as you desire. Use hot glue to attach these decorations. Hot glue the presents together into a long strip and then glue them to the tree.

Almost done! It’s time to go nuts making ornaments. I used various sized cups and bowls to draw the circles onto my felt. I also cut small rectangles to look like ornament tops. Be sure to use either a marker close to the color of the felt or a disappearing ink pen. If you create decorations for the ornaments, hot glue them on.

Don’t forget to make a star for the top of the tree!

Now, use the command strips to attach the felt tree to your wall in several places. You don’t want curious hands pulling the tree down.

Let your little one loose to enjoy their new-found Christmas fun!

Send me an email at coveredinmodpodge {at} gmail {dot} com if you have any questions! I’d also love to see any of your cuties playing with their felt tress!

Thanks again, Kelley for having me over today! I’ll see you all next month for easy and affordable wrapping ideas!

Monogrammed Baby Blanket Tutorial [Guest Post]

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Hi The Grant Life Readers! My name is Michaela and you can find me over at Covered in Mod Podge. Drop on by for lots of sewing, some recipes, fun crafts, and other random adventures that I get myself into.
As you all know, Kelley is one of the sweetest women in all of blogland. I’m thrilled to be here with you all while Kelley if off having fun with family and friends!
One of my friend’s just had her second child. She is now momma to two kiddo under two! Since she already had a boy, she was already set for the essentials. While she didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new bibs and blankets, she did want some special girly things for her little Lila.
I was all too happy to oblige! Enter the super feminine, pink, pink and more pink monogramed baby blanket.
Want to make your own?
You’ll Need:
* 2 one yard cuts of coordinating cotton fabric {or larger!}
* 1 yard of batting {not pictured}
* scraps for monogram
* iron on adhesive
* coordinating thread 
*sewing machine and other basic sewing supplies
Start out by pre-washing and ironing your fabrics. I know is tempting to skip this step. Don’t! Cotton will shrink. Babies make lots of messes. This blanket will need a lot of washing!
Start out by evening up your fabrics and batting. Is it just me or is the cutting counter at Joann’s getting worse by the day at cutting a straight line!
Next, you’re going to cut out your monogram. I used my Silhouette and the Silhouette brand iron on adhesive. You DO NOT need a Silhouette {or any kind of craft cutter} in order to make your monogram. You can always trace your letters on the back of your iron on adhesive {something like Heat n’ Bond} and cut them out with a craft knife or scissors.
Follow the instructions on the adhesive you’re using to adhere the adhesive to the fabric. Make sure that you iron your scrap of fabric before adhering it. You don’t want to end up with a wrinkly monogram!
If you are using a Silhouette, I’ve found it helpful to double cut. Also, turn the speed down by one. It will give you a nice, clean cut!
Once you have your pretty name all cut out, figure out where you want it on the blanket. I used my quilt ruler to make things nice and even. Since I wanted it near the bottom right corner of the blanket, I measured three inches up and two inches in. When you’re deciding on name placement, don’t forget to factor in seam allowances!
Follow your brand’s instructions for ironing your name onto your blanket.
Use the shortest and smallest zig-zag stitch {or a satin stitch if you’re luck enough to have one!} to permanently affix your monogram.
Then, stand back and admire your work!
Now, its time to get your blanket ready for sewing. Start of laying one of your fabrics right side up.
Next, place your other fabric right side down.
Finally, top it all off with your batting.
Pin, pin, pin! I am normally too lazy to pin. Trust me on this and take the time. The batting likes making things go wonky.
Sew your blanket using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Make sure you leave a 5 inch gap for turning.
Next, clip the corners and turn your blanket. Use a pen or chopstick to make sure the corners are turned all the way out.
Now, fold the raw edges into the gap and pin the gap closed. Top stitch all the way around your blanket. I like to use my presser foot width as a guide. 
I was going to add a second row of stitches. However, my flower pattern hides the stitches so I decided to skip that step. I think it could be fun to do three rows in different colors!
Next time, I’ll use thread that matches my monogram color rather than thread that compliments it. Since my machine doesn’t have any fancy stitches, I had to use a basic zig-zag stitch. With a satin stitch, the coordinating color would have looked really cool!
Now you have a cute, cuddly blanket that is perfect for tummy time. As the kiddo gets older, it will make a great stroller blanket. It’s also the perfect size for the kiddo to drag all over the house!
I used scraps from squaring up the blanket to wrap it all up!
Feel free to stop by any time! While you’re over, you can find:
I hope to see you all soon!
Thank you Michaela for sharing such a cute blanket tutorial!  Yall.. make sure to check out Covered in Mod Podge for lots of other amazing tutorials!  
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Labor of Love – Kelly’s Story!

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Hi everyone!  My name is Kelly & I blog over @ The Houtz House Party. After you are done reading come by and say hello!  I’d love to meet you!

I’m REALLY happy to be sharing the birth story of my oldest child Ian here on Kelley’s blog today! I wrote this letter for him just a couple days before his 3rd birthday back in June.  

Isn’t this very thing why so many of us start a blog in the first place?  To document stories about our lives as a keepsake for our children someday?  

Ian, our story begins here.


And now let’s fast forward to 20 weeks.  We went to get our ultrasound and you looked perfect!  It was at this ultrasound we found out we were going to have a boy, you, OUR Ian.  

We were SO excited about what your new life was going to be like.  You still made Mama sick you silly kiddo!  You know you made me sick almost from day one.  (BUT,,,of COURSE my little love bug you were so worth it.)

At 36 weeks Mama got a lot of pain in her back.  It made me sick and hot and just feel terrible.  I went to the dr and the dr THOUGHT I was in the early stages of labor.  I thought if THIS was the early stages of labor, WHAT WAS REAL LABOR like?!?!?!?!?

It took about 2 weeks of feeling miserable before I was FINALLY diagnosed with a kidney infection.  Phew, glad THAT wasn’t 2 weeks of labor.  Turns out THAT hurt worse than anything else!  My Dr prescribed me an antibiotic and I felt better within one day!  Yay!

the day I went to the hospital
At 39 weeks I went in for my regular appointment feeling WONDERFUL and wouldn’t you know it my blood pressure was elevated.  I was immediately sent to the hospital for more tests and sure enough I had preeclampsia.  Well, darn!  I was feeling SO good!  BUT, the exciting thing in all this was that I WAS FINALLY GOING TO MEET YOU buddy!

I got hooked up to some yucky medicine that made me feel a bit woozy, but it was important for yours and mama’s health.  The drs and nurses took good care of both of us that day! 

I went to the hospital at 11:00 am on Tuesday the 15th and you were born at 7:20 am on Wednesday June 16th.  


Daddy was right by my side every minute.  At least I had a nice bed to hang out in.  Daddy had a silly flip out chair.  Not exactly ideal sleeping arrangements for him but he was a trouper! 

When you were born you didn’t cry much at first so the drs checked you out a bit and then FINALLY they gave you to me to hold and cuddle skin to skin. 


I felt like I was in a bit of a dream.  I couldn’t believe you were actually HERE. 

You were SO sweet and SO cute and Daddy and I loved you SO much! 


Sweet baby Ian, I can hardly believe you will be 3 on Saturday!  Mama has changed into such a different person since your birth.  You made me so much better my man!  So much better! 

I’m so proud of the sweet, kind, loving little guy you are.  You are smart and appreciative and are the BEST big brother to your brothers and sister.  I couldn’t ask for anything more. 


I hope you will read this someday and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were wanted and loved more than anything in this world.  I am so grateful to God for you sweet boy.

Mama loves you.

Yall.. go visit Kelly’s site!  She’s such a sweetheart and youll get to see more pictures of her adorable kiddos!  


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Labor of Love – Liz’s Story!

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As I sit to write this birthing story for Kelley, I have to think back to how the day actually went. For those of you who read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien in high school, you’ll remember he talks about real truth and story truth. The book was about combat during the Vietnam War and how the men each recounted their experiences differently. And not merely from a different perspective, but literally, having the memories form uniquely in their minds.

I’m sure the memories of my daughters’ deliveries are more on the story truth side of things. It would have to be, otherwise women would only ever have ONE baby after the trauma and pain. But the bundle they place into your arms magically washes all of that horror and gore away, doesn’t it. Thank goodness. Otherwise we’d be laid up for a lot more than 2 days in the hospital!

Here’s what I remember from the day Avery was born:

I was induced, just like I was with my first. I was contracting and dilating, but not always at the same time, so at my 38 week check, I was at a 5, so my doc scheduled an induction for two days later (when she would be on-call and available to be present for the delivery)

For Olivia, we brought in a portable DVD player because we’d have all kinds of time to relax in the hospital after the baby was born. HA! I used it to watch Ocean’s Eleven in the early stages of my labor and that was the only time that sucker ever got switched on.

This time, I planned to distract myself with movies again. Worked well enough the first time. I packed Ocean’s Thirteen (in honor of the first go-around) and The Hangover. Don’t judge.  The Hangover is hilarious and laughter is the best medicine. I wanted to try to go a again without an epidural. 

I’ve done this before, how bad can it be.
Wait, this kinda hurt. 
I don’t remember it hurting this bad.
I am an idiot.

My labor progressed rather quickly; all told I’d been in the bed for about 3 hours now. I went from mild discomfort to overwhelming agony – I called the nurse back, who was just in checking on me. I went from a 7 to a 10 in a contraction.

I am ripping in half.

My water still hadn’t broken at this point, and when my doctor poked her head in the door, my nurse said “You’d better go change before I break her water, or you’re going to miss it.”

Yeah right lady. You’re just trying to be encouraging and make me think things are going faster than they are.
Wait, you’re taking the bottom of the bed out – that means we’re close, right?

They broke my water, and I swear it felt like Avery was just going to come out with the rest of it. The pressure was so intense and I was scared to move, let alone push because I didn’t want it to hurt anymore. My nurse encouraged, “Push against the pain, it will feel better.”

Easy for you to say, lady.
It still hurts, but I don’t hate you as much as I did a moment ago.

Four pushes,
five minutes
and out she came.

Now, if you’ve read my blog, you’ll remember that Avery wasn’t exactly in the schedule and I had a lot of anxiety about her arrival and integration into our family. {more here and here} To this day, I have a lot of guilt for that, but know that it was a stepping stone in our relationship – required to make the bond that she and I have today. In that moment, that first long moment she was wrapped and handed over, when she and I were the only people in the whole world – I knew she had chosen right when she picked me for her mom.

After everyone was cleaned up, I looked at my doctor and said a very tearful “thank you,” and she choked up and said “You’re welcome.”

My baby was here in this world. And I still work every day to make her proud that she made me her mom.

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What a sweet story about a beautiful baby girl!

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The Mommy Panel – Taking Away Paci!

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What are some tips for taking away a pacifier?
Michaela – I have no actual experience with this. Emma never took a pacifier. I’m thankful we’ll never have to take it away. But man, there was a lot of screaming early on that a pacifier would have been wonderful to help. 
I know my cousin had the pacifier fairy come. Basically the binkie fairy collects binkies from big kids and gives it to babies who need them. My cousin talked to her daughter for a couple of days about it. They put the binkie under her pillow and in the morning there was a thank you note and a present. It worked well. 
A friend told me that she sent her son’s binkie to a new baby. They talked about how this new baby needed it and how he was a big boy. Then Logan got to pick out the card and wrapping and sent the binkie to the family friend’s new baby. In return, the baby sent a present (I think a DVD). He thought it was so cool that a friend got his binkie. 
Liz F – It may sound crazy, but do it during a time when they’re out of their normal routine, like a vacation. When my husband and I vacationed in Mexico last year, my son stayed with his grandparents for over a week, and he was having so much fun, he didn’t even think about his pacifier (that we forgot to pack!) When they’re out of their normal routine at home, it’s easier for them to forget about it! And when all else fails, tell them the Paci Fairy is coming to your house tonight, and when they wake the next morning, they have a big surprise waiting under their pillow!
Missy Rogers – My answer is this. Take it away cold turkey as soon as possible. The doctor may recommend that your baby keep it for a while as they need the sucking. As soon as the doc gives the okay take it away. The longer you wait the more screaming you are going to hear when you take it away. That’s the honest truth. I know it is hard. It is like taking the bottle away. A warm bath Rocking them to sleep and singing them a lullaby might help at bed time. Get them into a new routine that does not require a pacifier. Although that is my answer. It is not that easy. My son and daughter both suck their thumb and I actually thought of giving them a pacifier to break them of thumb sucking so I could take the pacifier away. You can’t take their thumb away! :)

Meredith – YES!!  This was my question.  HELP!!!  My son just turned one and it seems that he’s becoming more and more dependent on it, especially when things don’t go his way!
Janette – Omigosh, I wish I had the answers because we are dealing with this too.  My 2yr old daughter uses her to sleep and sometimes just to calm her when she’s having a meltdown.  She literally bites a hole in them so that they are unusable.  I thought this was the ticket– she doesn’t want it if its damaged.  I know when we send her to school they don’t give her one there, so I know she can handle it without- but its really a matter of ME being patient enough to give her the chance to go through withdrawls and teach herself to self-soothe.  I am very impatient, so I have been buying paci’s in bulk to replace the ones that she’s ruined… plus, I have a younger baby girl who takes one– and my 2yr old will rob my 9mo old of hers.  So its like I have to take it from both of them to make it work and suffer a few days, or just go broke buying them.
Liz – I wish I had more experience.  Unfortunately, I have two thumb suckers at home, and I can’t cut those things off!  Or at least not without some serious reprocussions.  I’ve heard good things about packing the pacis away for “new babies.”  My oldest has quiet the “mommy gene” so I think that would have worked with her.  Sadly, she does not want to give her thumb away to new babies.  Being a cry it out mom, I would also be tempted to go cold turkey.  The first few days would stink, but over time, the absence would become the norm.
Tricia – All of my kids have had (or still have) pacifiers.  With the older two kids we took it away when they were about 2 1/2.  We cut the nipple off and told them that it broke.  (And that’s what happens when you are too big for a binky.)  We offered for them to hold the handle part if they wanted (neither did).  Of course both thought we were the dummies and that we should go to Target and get new binks…which we made sure didn’t happen.  :)     
   
Kristine Foley – Cold turkey – and stick to it! Get rid of all of them so you aren’t tempted to just give it back “just this once” YOU CAN DO IT!
Pamela – There are many ways to take it away, but for me I had to take a different approach with each of my children.  My oldest was the one that really LOVED the pacifier, and he was almost 2 and still had it in his mouth, I told him we had to find all the pacifiers around the house and give them to the new babies that I was expecting (I had twins 1 month later) and he did just that, and never asked for them again, even when he saw the twins with pacifiers.  With my last baby, when I told her it was time to throw pacifiers away, she was upset, would cry, I wanted to give in but I didnt, it worked but then she started carrying a blankie which is fine with me, better than walking around with a pacifier. 

Want more info on the Mommy Panel?  Check it out here!

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Labor of Love – Liz’s Story!

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Saturday, March 13, 2004

My Mom had arrived a week before my due date and we’d spent the past week buying and prepping the final touches before our first daughter was born.

Way back in August my husband and I had bought tickets to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Handel’s Messiah. At that point I didn’t realize I was pregnant. When I found out my due date was March 14, I figured the chances of having the baby (especially my first) on time were small.

I had been to the OB the day before, 0% dilated, 0% effaced. I told her we had tickets to the symphony the next day. She said, “you should be fine, but these kids make liars of us all the time.”

My husband and I were looking forward to one last night out pre-baby and had made a reservation at a restaurant we hadn’t tried before. My husband was post-call and resting, my Mom and I were hanging out in the kitchen struggling with the Saturday crossword, when I had to go to the bathroom. Something felt different, and instead of pee it was clear. Since this was my first time, I wasn’t really sure, but went in to where my husband was and told him I thought my water had just broken.

We called the OB, and she suggested I come in just to be sure. On the ride to the hospital we called a couple of friends to see if they wanted the tickets to the symphony but at 4pm for an 8pm concert it was pretty last minute. We called the Symphony and donated them to last minute sales.

We got to L&D and sure enough my water had broken, but I was still not effaced or dilated. They hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor and gave me some Pitocin to speed things along.

The hospital I delivered at was a teaching hospital, so I had nurses, students, residents and attendings checking on me. Since my husband is a doctor and I know they all need to get their training somewhere I figured it was fine, although I got a little annoyed at repetitious questions.

I had told my doctor early on that I knew I wanted an epidural, and when I started feeling some contractions they gave me a muscle relaxer first which made me kind of loopy. I was still progressing very slowly despite lots of checks, so they decided to let me rest for a while (ie the OB wants a good night’s sleep and will see me in the am). I tried, but around midnight the nurses came in and said that the fetal monitor was registering a little bit of irregularity so they thought I might be lying on the cord. They suggested I switch to sleeping on my left side, and sure enough the heart rate slowed down. They also gave me an O2 mask in case the baby’s oxygen had been compromised.  At first I was a little nervous about that, but the nurses made it seem like it was not uncommon, so no need to worry.  Unfortunately the sofa my husband was resting in was on my right side so now we couldn’t really see each other or talk easily. 

They continued to monitor me through the night, and at some point the Pitocin really kicked in and I started having what felt like severe menstrual cramps, and I called for the epidural. Luckily it was a quiet night and the anesthesiologist came pretty quickly.  Once the epidural kicked in, I felt pretty good and went back to sleep with people checking on me occasionally. Finally around 7 am, they told me that I was good to go and the OB would be in shortly to deliver me.

At this point we called my Mom, so she could cab it to the hospital to be there when her granddaughter arrived. 

By 7:30, everything was set up, the room was transformed from a “on-deck” room to a delivery room, the OB came in, and asked me to start pushing. Unfortunately (and I didn’t realize this at the time) the anesthesiologist had given me a higher dosage of the epidural than I needed and I couldn’t feel a thing below my waist line. I thought this was normal, so didn’t say anything.  While I’m glad I couldn’t feel pain, it’s very hard to push when you can’t even feel pressure. When the doctor or nurses would see a contraction coming they would tell me to push, and I could move my upper body, but had no idea what was going on below. After a really good push, they would tell me to do the same thing again, and I had no idea what I had just done.

Because of this the actual delivery went pretty slowly.  I didn’t realize I was slow, but my husband (having done OB as part of his training) had enough insight to ask the nurses to find my Mom in the waiting room and tell her everything was fine, just slow.

I ended up pushing for a while, and at one point the OB (not my regular), asked my husband what his line of work was. Upon learning he was also a doctor, she started asking about his specialty (general surgery) and their focus (bariatric). I purposely did not deliver at one of the hospitals he is on staff at (in case they tried to call him away). He got annoyed and admittedly a little curt with the OB as she continued asking him bout his practice.  Obviously she was killing time between contractions, but as he puts it, ” here I am at one of the most important moments of my life, the birth of my first child, and she’s asking for my CV”.

In the end after 2 1/2 hours of pushing, our little girl was born at 10:03am on her due date (only 15% of babies are). To this day she is punctual to a fault, and a budding classical music aficionado.  She bit the doctor on the way out.  I think that was payback for making small talk earlier and not focusing on the delivery ; ) 

We joke that we expect her to someday treat us to a CSO performance of Handel’s Messiah. Of course the second part of that joke is that thank goodness my water didn’t break in the middle of the Hallelujah chorus. Our punctual daughter is also considerate ;)

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Getting ready to go home.  Despite being full term she was tiny.  6.0 lbs.  We had to go to Babies R Us the next day to get her some preemie clothes as everything else was too big. We used the crib from day one but ended up putting the Moses basket inside the crib and then she slept in that.

Everyone (myself included had bought lots of 3-6 month clothes as everyone always advises you to do.  The fleece is supposed to be a jacket not a nightgown : ) 

 
 
What a sweet angel girl!  Make sure yall stop by and say hello to Liz!  
 

The Mommy Panel – Three Essentials!

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What are your three mommy essentials?

Jelli – At this point, with a nearly 9 month-old, I cannot live without my Glamourmom nursing tanks. These are my go-to for daywear, layering under dress-up clothes, and for sleepwear. So comfy, and oh-so-practical. 

#2: Washable nursing pads. Indispensable to avoid embarrassing leaks. Love, love, love. 
#3: Wrap-style baby carrier. Makes grocery shopping and daily outings a breeze. It’s especially useful to me since the uneven sidewalks and poorly paved Costa Rican roads aren’t stroller-friendly.

Ann – One and only 1 – my calendar!  With 2 kids in a bunch of activities, I cannot function without my calendar.

Janette – {1} Patience:  While I lack this very virtue, it is still something I think even in the worst of times, I am relying on to get me through.  

{2} Hugs/Kisses & I love you’s:  Teaching my kids that hugs and kisses are fun and comforting and saying I love you helps show them how to care and receiving those from my kids are what puts a smile on my face everyday!
{3} Klennex:  I think my kids might be overly full of snot so it is always packed with every car ride.  {substitute baby wipes if ya have to!}

Karen – My Ergo! I think everything else, in the end could find a substitute. The Ergo has gotten us from 8 to 27 months and I’m having to start to wean my son from it because he is getting too heavy. No other carrier I’ve tried could have made it possible to carry him anywhere near this long though. Once I got it as an early Christmas present I realized how much I could have used it right from the beginning. Back pain was gone!

Liz – Diet Coke, Archer Farms dried fruit and my iPad (with games, movies and kid books installed)

Janiene – {1} Noise machines in my kids rooms. White noise has been an AMAZING blessing!! I love the Homedics brand one because it is the loudest and it has so many sound options.

{2} Aden & Anais Baby Swaddling Wraps (made out of muslin) – They are ginormous! They are breathable (for summer time swaddles or snuggles). They are machine washable/dryer safe. They are my favorite nursing shawl, burp cloth, baby blanket, floor play mat, etc. Love them!
{3} A Mom’s group. I am a part of an awesome Mom’s group and we have such a strong community. You seriously need community when you are a Mommy – especially when you have a newborn. You are alone a lot those first few weeks/months and need support and a group of ladies that you can ask questions from, share experiences with, cry with (those silly pregnancy hormones can be crazy and having friends that understand you and can encourage you is vital!), and raise your kids together. 

Sallie – I could not live without:

Wipes, these are essential, even the 18 and 16 year old need these!! I always have some in my handbag, but I use washable ones at home as they are greener.
Coffee, not really a mummy item, but I need it in the morning after a night of breastfeeding the 2 year old. She doesn’t seem to want to stop anytime soon.
Pens and paper, there travel in my bag too and are great for entertaining the little ones when we are out.

Emily – 1) iphone because it has everything: shopping list to keep me focused at the store, calendar to keep me on track, video camera/camera to capture those sweet candid moments…and, games for emergency toddler situations! :)

2) my big bag that holds everything from bibs to hair ties to bandaids. It’s a must have! 
3) comfy, stretchy, wear-everywhere yoga pants. ‘Nough said. “

I agree with everyone!  You have to find what works for your family.  For me I had to have a travel system [we use Chicco.. love and highly recomend], a big huge diaper bag that looks like a purse [because come on.. Im not carrying both] and some me time.

Want more info on the Mommy Panel?  Check it out here!

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Labor of Love – Tiffany’s Story!

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Hey yall!  Welcome my good friend Tiffany from blabbering thoughts.  I heart her and her babies are adorable and shes hilarious and I could go on forever!  Ill let Tiffany do the talking today though..

I love being pregnant & it was my last me being pregnant, unless God has other plans. I had 2 amazing pregnancies & births, but today I am going to share my 2nd ones birth because it is the most fresh to me.


I was about to hit 40 weeks, went into the doctor as every pregnant woman does, hoping, praying for great news that you are dilated 3cm & effaced 100% {what? I told you I was hoping}. But no that was not the case. 1cm & maybe 25% effaced. BORING. I was ready to get this show on the road. With my prior pregnancy I was induced a week early, everything went accordingly, so I asked my doctor say my due date comes around will I get induced? This was on a Wednesday, my due date was on Saturday. She said she would. So I had my appointment to show up at the hospital at 9am on Sunday. Now, I tried every trick in the book to get that baby to come out but it just didn’t work.

Sunday morning rolled around.. 9am.. I mean that’s a perfect time, not too early. We left our house at 8:30, rolled through Starbucks just in case it was a really long day for daddy. Of course the line was out the wazoo. So I waited impatient & anxious. Of course we were 5 minutes late. 

Walk into the hospital & into the labor & delivery unit all smiles because I was hoping today was the day we got to meet our baby boy. I get all checked in, comfortable in my bed. My doctor strolled in around 11:15am with the intentions of giving me some sort of pill to start my labor, but as she checked me I was 4cm dilated & 50% effaced :) I was a happy camper MINUS the whole she stripped my membranes, she let me know she was doing it while DURING IT. Painful

Obviously my contractions started then & very frequent. They were hesitant to start the pitocin, but then did but monitored it so closely.

They came in at around 2pm to give me my epidural, yes ladies, I am not a super hero. Props to all you out there that could handle it. 

3pm – knock knock .. Change of shift, a male nurse. HEY I’ve had male doctors before never bothered me, I looked at Chris and he thought the same thing. 

BEST NURSE I’VE EVER HAD. His name was Ron. He spent so much time with us the next couple of hours, checking, talking to us, answering questions, being comforting. And I mean come on we all need that comforting feeling from your medical provider during this amazing experience. Chris, loved him. I think I can say that ;) {A little insight about this nurse, a few months after Henry was born we were at Sears buying appliances & chatting with the sales man that just had a kid at the same hospital. His comment was, we had the best male nurse ever. And I said RON?!! I told you he rocked.}.

Now, I got to fall asleep for about 5 minutes. Then I woke up with the statement, “Chris, this catheter is becoming so uncomfortable it needs to come out or something.” {Previous pregnancy they did not do this so it was a first for me}

Ron came in & I told him so he checked me & he said no my dear that is you are 10cms & ready to push. Oh I am sorry, it was 6pm. Where the heck did the day go? Already? AHH.


He came back, and when I said he, I mean like 234352 different people to help with the process. 

So the pushing began. I pushed maybe 6 times. And welp there came little Lloyd Henry. His little head poked out & everyone is saying, oh my I wonder how big he is. I mean really? Can we wait for that until after he is completely out

All 8lbs 15oz of that baby boy came out squealing at the top of his lungs, at 6:43pm. 







Everything was perfect. 





That night, everything was perfect. He didn’t cry. I woke him up to feed him. That night I had my 2 boys sleeping next to me & then to go home & complete our family of four.

–[Lovely July Sponsor]– 
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Closet Copy Cat [Fashion Series]

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Hi friends! I’ve teamed up with Natalia from Ma Nouvelle Mode to bring yall a fun new series!  Each week Natalia will email out some style inspiration and I am going to humbly attempt to copy it.  Outfit, hair, shoes.. the whole thing.  Were calling it ‘Closet Copy Cat’.  Pretty clever huh?  Ha!
So here is Natalia’s inspiration:
Gorgeous!  My first thought was.. I want those shorts!  But the whole point of Closet Cop Cat is you shop your closet and put together a similar outfit.. so no shopping for me.  Although I will find those shorts and buy them.  Pinkie swear.
And the hair:
Again.. gorgeous!  
And my version:
This is what I call real.  Kids toys under the bed, laundry in the corner, boxes and smudges on the mirror.  Clearly not a fashion blogger.  I tried to have my husband take pictures for me.. pffffffft.. fail. Love you honey.  
Shirt – Motherhood Maternity [For real], Shorts – Target, Shoes – The Loft, Belt – Kohls
[For the record.. I cleaned the mirrors.. not sure why they came out all smudgy.  Ahh well.]

I was really happy with how cute this outfit turned out.  I knew I wasnt going to be able to copy the shorts but found a similar shirt and shoes for the outfit.  I threw in a belt for a little contrast.  
Makeup – mother nature and some mascara.  I went pretty basic on the makeup.. like I didnt put any on basic.  I love the summer because I can go to the beach, get a little tan and ditch my makeup.  And my hair?  Well I slept in a bun and pulled it up in front.  I really love Natalia’s hair.. but there was no way I was going to put a straightener anywhere near me when its 97 degrees out.  So I went.. natural. Im starting to see a theme here.  
When I put on this outfit I was instantly happy.  I felt confident and was excited to wear it out today.  Minus the shoes.  I stubbed my baby toe on a box yesterday and there was no way I was squeezing it into those wedges for an extended period of time.  Real talk friends.  
Do you want to get in on this awesome new series?  Sign up below to have a new outfit emailed to you each week.  Then starting next week we will have a Closet Copy Cat link party for all to join!  So grab a button.. sign up and lets get stylin’!  
the Grant life


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