Easy DIY All Natural Soy Candles

First of all, let me start with saying how when I thought about sharing this DIY project on my blog, I knew how messy my kitchen currently is from all of my recent candle making and felt like I needed to thoroughly clean it before taking any photos that would be shared with the world.

Then I realized that I don’t care if you want to judge me because of my wax covered kitchen and that if I cleaned up beforehand, I wouldn’t be being honest with you guys because; 1. My life and tiny apartment are pure chaos all the time thanks to my constant diy projects and having a toddler. 2. You should be aware what you are getting yourself into when you decide to do this specific project.

It is possible to make this project less messy, but I’ve been pouring these candles while running in and out of the kitchen to tend to Harper, so it got messy REALLY fast around here!

So, here is what I am showing you how to make:

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They are all natural hand poured soy candles scented with pure essential oils. Because they are scented with pure essential oils, they are allergy friendly to most people who are usually smelly candle sensitive. (scentsitive lol) <— I couldn't resist.

I purchased everything that I needed for this project through amazon prime, but you can find everything you need at michael's and the oils from wholefoods.

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You will need:
A microwave and…
1. Soy wax flakes. They sell these at almost every craft store, but Milliard brand off of amazon was the best price for a 10 pound bag. It takes a little less than a pound of flakes to make 1 pint size candle. $25 per 10 pound bag which will make you anywhere from 10-15 large pint size candles.
2. Wicks. I got candlescience brand medium natural wicks from amazon. It was around $8 for 8 dozen 6 inch wicks.
3. mason jars. I really like the wide mouth pint size jars which are cheapest at target or a craft store that accepts coupons, but amazon also has these. They come in a pack of 12 for around $12-16 per pack.
4. Skewers. I used these to stir the wax, hold the wicks in place, and to curl my wicks. I already had these at home but you can buy them anywhere or use chopsticks.
5. Toppers. I already had red sugar and dried lavender on hand. These aren’t necessary, but since I’m gifting mine I wanted them to look extra cute.
6. 2 cup oven safe glass measuring cup. I got mine on amazon and plan to only use it for candles since it is now a waxy mess. I bought anchor brand for around $11.
7. Essential Oils. I tried 3 different brands during this project and NOW brand oils were my favorite. They sell them at wholefoods or on amazon for cheaper for larger bottles. Prices depend on how large of a bottle you want and what scents. The 4 oz sizes I got were $11-15 per bottle and will last a long time. You can use more expensive oils if you’d like but I didn’t find it necessary since you aren’t rubbing these on your skin or swallowing them. I made peppermint candles, “just relax” which is peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus, and lemon peppermint. I was very pleased with all of these scent combinations.

So, let’s get started!

First of all, fill your measuring cup to the brim with wax flakes, the height will shrink in half or lower when melted. I used a plastic cup to fill my glass measuring cup.

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Put the measuring cup in your microwave and heat on high. Every microwave is different, but I found that 2 minutes was a good time to melt most of the flakes. It’s ok if not every single flake melts, you can mix up the wax and melt the leftover flakes when you take the measuring cup out of the microwave. Watch carefully while microwaving your wax and make sure you stop it when the wax is melted. You do not want to overheat your wax. Make sure you use something to protect your hand when removing the wax, the handle gets very hot!!!!

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Add more flakes to your melted and mixed wax and heat your wax again. I typically heated my second dose of flakes for 1-1.5 minutes instead of 2. When you remove the measuring cup mix well.

Now, pour just enough hot wax into your jars to cover the bottoms. Let this wax sit for a few minutes until you start to see it turn, and the place your wicks in the center of the jar’s bottom.

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Let those wicks sit for at least 5 minutes until the wax looks hard.

Fill your measuring cup back up and repeat the first steps until you have a full cup of melted wax. When you do, let your wax sit and cool for about 15 minutes. I could usually tell it was ready by the handle being cool to the touch, or the wax was starting to get very slightly cloudy. When this happens, it is finally time to scent your wax.

You DO NOT want to scent your wax while it is too hot or you will waste a lot of essential oil because the high heat just makes the scent evaporate. When you are ready to add the oils, I found these combinations to work well: for “just relax” 10 drops of each: peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. For lemon and peppermint, I did 10 drops of each. For just peppermint, 15-20 drops of peppermint to start. You can add more if you’d like it stronger.

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Stir the oils into the wax very well, and now you are ready to pour your wax into the mason jar. Pour the wax slowly to avoid spilling, and fill your candles to right where the lid of the jar ends when screwed on. DO NOT pour the small amount of wax that is left in the measuring cup into another jar. If you do this, it will harden and not blend with the rest of the wax you pour in next and you will get weird lines in your candle. Trust me, I have a lot of uglies that I will be keeping for myself because of this. Fill your measuring cup back up on top of the unused melted wax and start over for your next candle.

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Now, set your wick in the center and pull it up straight gently and use two skewers on each side of the wick to hold it in place while the wax hardens.

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If you aren’t planning on using any toppers, then you are finished with your first candle!

If you are planning on topping your candles, then let your candle sit with the skewers holding the wick for about 15-20 minutes. When then top of your candle is still slightly melted but starting to harden, it is time to remove the skewers and top it with your sugar or sprinkles or lavender or citrus zest, or whatever you choose.

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The hardest part is over! You did it! You made your own all natural candle! Now repeat all of these steps above until you have made as many as you desire, or wait for the one candle you made to harden. You will need to wait at least 24 hours before you burn it. Trim your wick to 1/4 an inch before burning it. I curled my wicks, but they will also need to be trimmed before burning.

I hope you enjoyed my DIY project. I can’t wait to see what you make. Connect with me on Instagram if you liked this post @saramaslyn and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below.

Merry Christmas!!

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Feeling Flirty With The Whole 30

Doing The Whole 30 was truly a needed reset button for me. I have always struggled with my weight and eating issues. I battled bulimia and anorexia all throughout high school, and had another eating disorder flare up when I was 19. Unfortunately, eating issues will probably always be a demon that I have to battle from time to time, but I feel like The Whole 30 gave me new tools and knowledge to help stay in control and make wiser decisions.

After I met Jordan at age 20, and settled into a happy and healthy relationship and marriage with him, I started gaining a lot of weight. To be exact, when I met Jordan I was wearing a size 2 and coming off of relapsing back into anorexia and I had become obsessed with running and working out. I ended up gaining over 40 pounds after we got together and at my heaviest I was wearing a size 10. By the way, if you don’t know me in real life, I am 5’2″ so I don’t carry extra weight well.

I had traded letting not eating enough control me, for having no control over making wise food choices at all. I thought that by just letting myself eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and how much I wanted meant that I was winning over the constant battle in my mind over my body.

I thought that I had finally won until I stopped recognizing myself in photos, found myself not able to be active at all without growing tired immediately, and found myself completely unhappy with the person that I did not even recognize staring back at me in the mirror.

Since Jordan and I were married and had the same eating habits, he had gained 50 pounds since we got together. We both decided it was time to get healthy and joined the gym and actually went and started changing how we ate.

I ended up getting pregnant with Harper and was on bed rest for most of my pregnancy,  so I wasn’t able to continue working out, but Jordan biked to work. I stopped buying processed foods, we started eating in, and drinking water not soda. So, while I was pregnant Jordan lost almost 30 pounds and I ended up weighing less after Harper was born than before I got pregnant.

Since Harper was born, we have tried to live a more active lifestyle, and have continued to eat fairly healthy, but we still weren’t where we wanted to be. We kept reading people’s success stories about The Whole 30 and how it helps change your cravings for bad foods into good foods, speeds up your metabolism, and makes you have more energy.

The Whole 30 is basically an extreme paleo 30 day challenge where you cut out all dairy, processed foods, carbs, and sugar. You mainly eat meat, veggies, most fruits, and certain nuts.

We decided that this was doable and that it was the reset that we needed and committed to doing The Whole 30 together over the month of July without cheating.

I seriously cannot say enough good things about The Whole 30. Yes, it was a little challenging at first, but once you start knowing what to buy without having to read every new label, and what you can eat if you have to grab something while you are out, and once you learn how to plan and prep meals a few days in advance, it became second nature.

For breakfast, we ate eggs. Sometimes with spinach or avocado or pico de gallo. I hated eggs before starting The Whole 30, but now I can actually stomach them. If I was in a huge hurry, I would grab a banana and almonds for breakfast. These were also some of my go to snacks. Before we had cereal almost every morning, or I would skip breakfast completely.

For lunch, I would usually eat leftovers from the night before or steam some veggies, or make a burger, or bake a sweet potato.

Dinner was some type of protein with veggies. I made a lot of carne asada topped with pico and avocado with grilled peppers. I always made extra so that we could have leftovers. We would eat burgers topped with avocado. I would grill chicken marinated in approved sauces that I found at Wholefoods. My favorites were the coconut aminos teriyaki and soy sauces. I also found an approved lemon garlic sauce at Ralph’s. If we were on the go, I would bake sweet potatoes topped with cinnamon and pack them up to eat out. I made chicken salad with avocado instead of mayo with dried cranberries, celery, bacon, salt and pepper, garlic, and cumin. I also hand cut and baked a lot of sweet potato fries.

For dessert I would slice gala apples and bake them in coconut oil topped with cinnamon, and they were almost as good as apple pie.

I would drink lots of water, black or green tea, or black coffee.

Cumin is my new favorite spice. I put that and garlic on everything now.

Avocados, eggs, spinach, bananas, approved flavors of Larabars, raw almonds, black coffee, and pico de gallo were my everyday staples and still are.

Chipotle and In N’ Out have Whole 30 approved options.

Jordan ended up losing 16 pounds during the 30 days and I lost 8 pounds. We have continued to lose weight since ending the challenge, and Jordan has lost 21 pounds total, and I have lost 12 pounds total. Jordan went down 2 pants sizes and I now wear a 6/8 instead of an 8/10.

We are still drinking our coffee black, and probably eating 70% paleo now that The Whole 30 is over. I still try to cook Whole 30 at home for the most part and try to choose healthier options while out.

We are trying be more active and sometimes it is as simple as parking in the back of the Target parking lot to walk more, or taking the steps when an elevator is available, or taking Luna on an extra lap or two around the neighborhood.

I feel better than ever. I have way more energy than before. I am anemic, so I almost always feel fatigued, but I feel like it has been so much easier to get out of bed and to get things done. I don’t feel completely exhausted all day everyday anymore.

I crave healthy foods now and I am grossed out by the thought of fried anything. This has made it easier to make wise choices while dining out. We are now eating smaller portions because we know when we are full.

I titled this post “Feeling Flirty With Whole 30,” because I finally feel confident again. Not feeling comfortable in my body had definitely taken its toll on our personal life, but I finally feel like myself again and I feel like our emotional and physical relationship is better than ever.

I am excited about our new lifestyle and working towards being healthier everyday. It has been almost 7 weeks since completing The Whole 30, and I truly feel like it has given me a balance I have never known before and the control I needed over food, and it helps to have my husband choosing health and wholeness along side of me.

Below are some photos of my favorite Whole 30 meals that I made and some of my favorite approved sauces and snacks:

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I wish we had taken real before and after photos, but we didn’t so I tried to find some photos for comparison. Here is the before: 1467312_10202745887672940_980598672_n 10155304_10152389942935761_2480874121984015789_n

 

And here is the after:

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I would love to hear about your experience doing The Whole 30 or answer any questions you may have, so comment below.

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12 Things For Surviving The First 12 Months of Parenthood

Before I had Harper and even after she was born, I knew nothing at all about babies and baby stuff. I basically thought that most diapers were the same, that the only strollers that were out there were bulky ones that were part of a travel system, and that I pretty much needed everything that you could find in the baby section to get by.

Before Harper was born, I packed her diaper bag with about 15 diapers, 2 huge packs of wipes, about 10 burp cloths, 3-5 extra outfits, toys, 6 passies, 3 swaddles, extra clothes for me, and a lot more things that I thought I would need every time we left the house for an hour.

I was so paranoid about not having everything I needed and not being prepared. I am lucky that I had some experienced moms give me some good advice on baby gear and what is actually important throughout this transition into motherhood.

Over the course of this past year, I have learned for myself some of the things that were actually needs and some of the things that were complete wastes of money and wastes of those precious Target gift cards that I was given at my shower.  Hopefully my newfound mama wisdom can help other expecting or new mamas figure out what to skip and what to stock up on.

1. The “BBBBBs” Bottles, Blankies, Bibs, Burp cloths, & Binkies!

You can honestly never have too many of any of these. It seems like they were always going missing or like all of a sudden every single blanket and burp cloth and bib was in the washing machine.

I exclusively breastfed until 13 months, but when I pumped, the bottles I liked were Playtex with the drop in liners to help prevent gas. Harper was never been very picky about which binkies she liked, so I usually stocked up on the Walmart brand, (Parent’s Choice) because they 2 for under $1.50.

My favorite blankies were Aden & Anais swaddle blankets because they are breathable and super cute. I also used these as nursing covers by tucking the corners into my bra straps. I found this much easier than a nursing cover and it made it so I had one less thing to carry around.

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I preferred to use flannel receiving blankets as burp cloths. They are larger than a normal burp cloth, super absorbent, and cheap. I usually purchased a 6 pack of them from Marshall’s or TJ Maxx in fun modern prints.

My all time favorite bibs are from Cotton On Kids. They are large and cover your baby’s shoulders, so they actually protect their entire outfit. They come is super fun prints, and even have band bibs. We have the cutest Rolling Stones bib that I found on clearance, and they normally sell for 2 for $15.

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2. A Sturdy but Lightweight Stroller. 

When I purchased my first stroller I bought the Baby Trend ELX Jogger with carseat. It was a great stroller, but it was huge and heavy, and not needed. I drive a Scion XB, and I had to fold down the seat the fit it in my car.

I didn’t know that simpler options were out there until I saw my friend at church with a snap n’ go cart stroller. I immediately got on Amazon and ordered one.

The cart we chose was the Baby Trend Snap N’ Go cart because we were able to use our Baby Trend carseat in it. It actually will support many other brand carseats too unlike some of the other brand specific options. It weighed about 14 pounds, collapsed easily, had two cup holders and a compartment for your phone, had a very large basket for storage, and fit easily in our car without folding down the seat. We used this stroller until Harper was about 10 months old and we were no longer removing her carseat carrier out of the car.

This stroller was perfect for our busy on the go lifestyle, and handled all terrains well.

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When it was time to look into an actual stroller that didn’t use a carseat as it’s seat, I did tons and tons and tons of research. After going back and forth between expensive strollers like the Uppababy and cheaper strollers like Chicco for almost two months, I finally decided on the Inglesina Trip Stroller.

The Inglesina Trip is an Italian lightweight stroller (14 pounds) that folds with ease, has a large cargo basket for a stroller of it’s size, a cup holder, and a large sun canopy. It fully reclines which is rare on strollers of its class. It comes with a rain canopy which I may never get to use since I live in Southern California, but it is nice to not have to purchase it separately like other brands for $60-$80 if you need it. The Trip comes in an assortment of colors, but I chose the black on black since it is gender neutral and looked so sleek.

The Trip retails for $200, but I scored mine for $150 because Albeebaby.com was having a 25% off of strollers with free shipping sale.

It has been the perfect stroller for us. We take it to the beach, the park, church, airport, and all over crappy LA streets and it has never let us down. It has even crossed the country multiple times without any issues during traveling. I would purchase the Inglesina Trip over and over again for the full price of $200. The good news is that it will hold up, so I won’t need to replace it anytime soon!

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3. Swaddle Me & Sleep Sacks

The Swaddle Me is amazing for newborns. You can quickly swaddle them and there is velcro to keep them swaddled through the night so that you can go to sleep not worrying about if your little one busted loose.

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When your baby is old enough for a little more freedom, but still needs some of the same security from the Swaddle Me, HALO Sleep Sacks are the way to go. They come in light breathable muslin for summer, and fleece for winter, or cotton for any season. There are arm holes, so you can easily layer these over normal pjs for extra warmth without the stress of blankets.

We loved these so much, and used them until Harper was about 8-9 months old and was too tall for hers. They do come in toddler size, but her footie pjs were too cute to resist any longer.

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4. Little Bed (Summer Infant by Your Side)

We were completely obsessed with this. We splurged a little bit more to buy the one that came with the soothing vibrations and soothing noise maker. It was worth it in my opinion.

When Harper was first born, I didn’t sleep a wink. Even when she was sleeping, I was constantly getting up to check on her in her pack n’ play across our room. This little bed was our solution to my sleeplessness.

We bought it when she was a few weeks old and it went in between us in bed. It has a steel frame for protection in case someone rolls over, and the sides are breathable mesh. Having her close put my mind at ease enough to relax and sleep.

Eventually we put her little bed inside of her play yard, so that we could have our bed back. She slept in her little bed for almost 8 months until she she was sitting herself up in bed. This bed made it easy for us to travel since she would sleep in it on any bed anywhere. $75 was a small price to pay for my sleep and sanity.

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5. Target Brand Wipes

Unfortunately, since Harper has been born, Target has changed their wipes to be thicker, so you get less of them in a pack, but they are still the best quality for the best price. We like the scented and sensitive ones. Other sensitive wipes I have tried do not clean as well as the Target brand. I always stock up when they have their buy 2 packs get a free Target gift card sale.

6. A Really Good Swing

The Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle N’ Swing has literally been my best friend for Harper’s entire life so far. This swing is worth every single penny and has actually come down $30 in price since I became a mama. Do yourself a favor and put this swing on your registry.

It has lots of different soothing noise options, Harper’s favorite is the nature sounds with the music. It has several different speed settings, and is super soft. The only con is that this swing is very large, so it does take up a lot of room in your house.

Harper is 14 months old, and this is still her “safe place.” She loves to sleep in her swing or just chill by herself in it for a while when she needs a break from too much stimulation. With its incline, it has come in handy many times when she has been too congested to sleep on her back.

Because of how large this swing is, I am dying to pack it up and store it away, but she still uses it every single day, so I guess we will still have to keep waiting to get some square footage back in our house. (Disclosure, Harper is only about 16 pounds, so she is still far from the weight limit.)

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7. Soothing Sound Machine

This is so helpful! Personally, Jordan and I have always been parents that do not quiet down due to our baby sleeping. We wanted her to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep anywhere and everywhere. Due to the fact that we are a ministry family, we are out at loud church events often and needed this to not be a problem for Harper’s sleeping.

She had a sound machine on her little bed, has one on her swing, and also had a stand alone one with a nightlight. Sound has has been something that would help comfort her to sleep. When she would wake up in the middle of the night, we would simply hit her music back on, and she would usually slip back into a peaceful sleep.

8. Hardwood Floor Look Foam Play Mat

The Tadpoles Wood Print Play Mat set was a great invention. I really enjoy interior design and having a house that doesn’t look like a daycare, so this wood look foam mat was a great solution for me.

We needed a mat to cover our tile floors once she was crawling around, but I could not stomach getting the cliche primary color puzzle pieces abc mat. I searched and searched and finally found a cute alternative on amazon. This mat is thick and cushiony and has stopped a lot of falls that could have resulted in tears.

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9. Sturdy Cheap Stylish Highchair

The Ikea ANTILOP highchair in white and the Evenflo Convertible highchair in dottie lime are my favorites. They are both super cheap, Ikea=$25 and Evenflo=$35 and are both simple and modern. Both are made of plastic which is easy to thoroughly clean. I personally took the cover off of my Evenflo chair because I liked the plain lime color better, and also Harper had a blowout all over it and it was too nasty to save.

I have never understood why people pay tons of money $150-$400 for highchairs. They get covered in disgusting food, and it’s not like they feed your baby for you…

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10. Travel Boppy

This thing is the bomb! It was awesome to keep in the car for nursing on the go, but I would imagine it would be nice for bottle feeding mamas too.

It basically zips in half and has a carrying strap and a pocket. This boppy was great for traveling.

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11. Boon Spoons

These are incredible! I discovered these while stressing over teaching Harper how to east baby food out of the go pouches for when we fly. My friend introduced me to Boon Spoons at Target. They simply screw on the top of the baby food pouch and make it easy and clean to feed your little one anywhere. They come in a set of 2 in a carrying case for $4. Walmart now has their own version for 2 for $2!

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12. Moccs!

I could never get Harper to keep socks on, and she has always had teeny tiny feet, so shoes were always too big or too small on her. She is 14 months old and still wearing a 6-12 months size shoe.

I decided to give Freshly Picked Moccasins a try when they had their semi-annual sale. I fell in love. The elastic around the ankle actually keeps the shoe on. The soft sole is great for babies learning how to walk, they come in amazing colors, are handmade in the USA, and are 100% leather.

Unfortunately, FP Moccs are really pricey! $60 a pop or $45 when they go on sale. They do however hold their resale value, so you can expect to be able to resell them for at least $30 if they are in play condition, or up to $50 if they are very well kept. Harper has a few pairs in a variety of sizes that have been purchased second hand or on clearance, and they are the only shoes she will keep on.

Freshly Picked is the original and best quality mocc, but some other similar mocc brands are Jaxhoo, Moccs with Attitude, Sail East Couture, and Mommy Makes Moccs.

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Runner Ups-

1. A Lifeproof Case for your iphone- These cases are super protective from all of those clumsy mama moments and even waterproof, so you won’t have to freak out if your phone gets drooled on.

2. Keurig– I use mine every single day because I would not survive motherhood or life without my coffee. They are also great when you need hot water for sterilizing or making oatmeal in a snap!

3. Backpack Diaper Bag- I was gifted an amazing Petunia Pickle Bottom backpack diaper bag, but now I use a smaller, simpler backpack from Forever 21. They are way easier and more comfy than messenger or shoulder strap bags.

4. Separate Instagram for your baby- Yes, I still post A LOT of photos of Harper on my personal Instagram, but most of my followers on @saramaslyn are other moms or distant family members. I still post yummy food, selfies, and sunsets though, so I am still me, and it is my account! We created @harpermaslyn her own account right before she was born, so that we can post 5 photos in a row of her for people who actually want their newsfeed to be full of Harper!

For Nursing Mamas-

1. When at home, I preferred the Mombo pillow over the Boppy or Leachco. It was way more supportive.

2. The Madela Nipple Shield saved my nipples! I used it from Day 2 in the hospital throughout my entire 13 months of nursing. I swear it is the reason why Harper had no real trouble accepting any passie or bottle. Most hospitals will give them to you, and you can purchase them at Target.

3. Motherlove Nipple Cream is the best! It is all natural and a little pricey but lasts forever. You can use it on irritated skin and on your lips too.

4. Bravado Nursing Tanks– Expensive, but Target sells their Basics line in store for $26 each. I lived in these! I had 5 that lasted me my entire nursing career. I am not personally comfortable with nursing in public without a cover, so having a tank on which covered everything up when I needed to feed was great.

Things like expensive highchairs, wipe warmers, and fancy bathtubs are dumb. Before you buy something, think about if you want your baby to be dependent on it, like a wipe warmer. You won’t use a changing table very long. Opt for a dresser and changing pad instead. We hated our diaper genie. It’s easier and free to just walk the diapers out to the trash a couple times a day. Just because a crib, stroller, or carseat is more expensive, it doesn’t mean that it is better or safer. Don’t waste your money on trendy items that have cheaper options for a fraction of the price. 

What were some of your most needed and most used items? What could you have done without, and what do you wish you could have returned after opening it and using it once? I would love to hear your thoughts, so comment below! 

 

 

 

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Celebrating Harper’s 1st Year!

Ok, so I am a little late with this post, but things have been super crazy around here. Harper was very sick for about two months with Pneumonia and then Salmonella, which turned into a blood infection, so we weren’t sure if her party was even going to happen.

Luckily, the antibiotics worked and we were able to still have her party as planned. Unfortunately because of the last minute invites we were missing a lot of our friends and family members, but we still had a good crowd of loved ones there to help us celebrate.

I started thinking about about a “theme” for Harper’s party in February, but decided to go with a color scheme and DIY everything instead. I guess DIY is a theme these days though. I tried to create things that I could easily gift to friends to take home from the party or reuse somewhere in my house.

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The glittered cans of succulents are now at some friends’ houses and on our patio. The scrap banner is hanging in my friend’s daughter’s room, and now I have a ton of candy jars to reuse for another party or to lend out if someone else wants to do a candy bar.

My sister in-law helped me with the crafting on and off for the few months before the party. We spray painted photo props, painted tin cans, and glittered just about everything. On the day of the party, my friend Christina helped pot the succulents in the cans, and my friend Megan and her husband Dustin put the fabric scrap banner together.

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We decided to go with a dessert only party, so we had a pink candy bar, and a treat bar with rice krispies, a donut tower, cupcakes, and of course, Harper’s very own cake. My sister in-law made the rice krispies and drizzled them with pink chocolate. I ordered the pink donuts from Krispy Kreme. Jordan’s Grammie made all of the adorable cupcakes and topped them with her homemade icing and edible gold star glitter. I ordered Harper’s cake from a local bakery for only $15! For drinks, we served iced tea and pink lemonade with pink paper straws.

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We had the record player going with some of our favorite tunes, and I set up Harper’s tee pee for the kids to play in. For centerpieces, I found little frames at Michael’s for $1.50, and bought some random white flowers from Trader Joe’s the morning of the party to fill the jars. To pull the room together, I hung pretty cream and gold yarn from each window and used glitter clothes pins to put up black and white photos of Harper throughout her first year of life.

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Harper enjoyed opening all of her gifts but loved the wrapping paper the most.

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The real hit of Harper’s party was her cake smash. She loved it!!! I bought a cheap set of twin size sheets from target for $12 to do her cake smash on. The icing washed right out and now we are using the sheets on the guest bed.

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Overall, I would say that the party was a huge success. I am definitely glad that all the prepping and planning is over with, but I am happy to have the fond memories of her birthday and all of these photos to look back on.

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Saltwater Sandals Deal

Saltwater Sandals are definitely back in this year, and are perfect for ladies and kids. Like, seriously, is there a sandal more classic and cute that matches everything? …The answer is NO!

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image from Modcloth

I have seen so many fashionable ladies that I follow on Instagram pairing them with the cutest outfits. I have been wanting some for a while, but $40 for me and $35 for Harper was just not happening.

If you are familiar with me or my blog at all, you know that I love nice things (especially leather shoes,) but I am super cheap and don’t usually buy anything unless I can find a hot deal on it.

I have been scouring poshmark, eBay, Instagram, and etsy for a deal on some for me and my girl with no luck. Then last night, I finally found my deal!

Amazon has them from infants through adults for $21-28 depending on color and size. Shipping is free if you have amazon prime, which I highly recommend, or there is another listing for the sandals which ship free with a $35 purchase. We all need things like shampoo and makeup, so I’m sure you can find something to add on to make your total $35.

I have been swooning over the red pair, so for $25 and some change plus free shipping, I pulled the trigger!

Here is the link to purchase!

These sandals are high quality and durable leather. They are made to last for years and years and to be handed down from kid to kid. This company has been doing their thing for over 60 years and are being sold everywhere these days, even Modcloth and Nordstrom.

Half sizes are not available, so size down because they will stretch out and be super comfy after a few wears.

Let me know what color you end up buying and what you think of them! Also, follow me on Instagram @saramaslyn

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Harper Had Pneumonia

Last week was crazy. We ended up in the emergency room twice after returning from Palm Springs. Harper’s fever came back and she seemed to be getting worse while I was getting better, so Sunday night around 10pm we headed to the ER.

We found that sweet Harp had pneumonia and she was put on antibiotics for 7 days. On Monday night around 9:30 Harper suddenly jolted out of Jordan’s arms off of the couch and hit her forehead on the tile floor.

We were already on high alert due to the pneumonia and she seemed to be slipping out of consciousness so we called 911.

They arrived in about 5 minutes and told us to take her to the hospital for a CT Scan just to be safe. The Ct Scan showed no bleeding or major trauma, so we were sent home and only  had to worry about her pneumonia.

The antibiotics kicked in quickly and Harper started smiling and playing again on Tuesday. On Wednesday she had her check in with her doctor, and she told us that we could start taking Harper to outdoor activities while she was finishing up her medication.

We were able to make it Disneyland for an hour to celebrate a friend’s daughter turning 13.

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The next night we went to one of Jordan’s student’s lacrosse games, and Harper got to try focaccia for the first time too.

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Jordan’s day off is Friday, so we spent the day down in San Clemente. We would like to move down there once our lease is up, so we spent our time on the beach, house hunting, and checking out an instagram friend’s new coffee shop. The shop is called Bear Coast Coffee and it is a pop up shop inside of The Cellar. We ordered iced coffee and iced tea and they were both delicious.

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Saturday, we went to a student’s horse show. I had never been to one so it was a fun experience. A church friend was nice enough to take Harper for the night so that I could go to dinner and to see Captain America with Jordan and the youth group. It was awesome by the way!

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The barista at Starbucks called me a swaggy pimp because of my fur coat and this is what my drink said…. so embarrassing!!!

Even though it has been a stressful and exhausting couple of weeks, we were still able to have some fun outside. Thank you for all of the prayers and kind words. Harper seems almost completely back to normal now.

 

 

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Friday Fun

Today started out with a weight check appointment for Harper. We overslept a bit, but somehow managed to make it out of the house and to the doctor on time.

Harper is very long and lean. She is 10.5 months old, almost 29 inches long, and as of today, 14.15 pounds. The doctor has been monitoring her weight since she is so skinny just to make sure that there isn’t anything to be concerned about, like if my milk supply had tanked.

Today was a huge relief! We were told we had nothing to worry about anymore and that she is probably just naturally skinny and hasn’t been gaining much weight because she is now so active. As of today she had gained 8oz since her last appointment two weeks ago. YAY!!!

I feel so blessed to have my worried mama mind finally put at ease after a few months of all of these weigh ins.

Harper hates these weigh ins just as much as we do!

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We have had a crazy month so far. Literally, we have things going on almost every day this month. Because of this, and our upcoming crazy weekend, we enjoyed our few free hours at home today playing, and napping, and watching a little bit of Netflix.

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We closed out today with a celebration at our church. We do a 10 week small group type thing that helps get people connected to Jesus and to our church, so the celebration was to close out the session.

I ended up having the absolute privilege to baptize two of my new friends. They had chosen to model their lives after Jesus a while ago, but tonight they decided to go public with their decisions and get baptized.

It has been awesome getting to know these ladies during the past few months, and it was so humbling and exciting to get to be a part their faith journeys.

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This photo was taken at about 9:30PM, so Harper was completely done smiling for the day.

 

The rest of our weekend is jam packed with parties, church hangs, and sharing some meals with good friends. What are your weekend plans?

 

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