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Posts Tagged ‘tips and tricks’

I’m not going to pretend like I know all of the little tricks in parenting. But I do know 7 secrets. Yes, these are 7 mom hacks that could blow your mind. I thought I’d share some of my wisdom for the mamas just beginning their journey. Do you know all of these or have any more to add? Here we go:

How to photograph your newborn

1. Fold onesies DOWN for blowouts: When I was in the hospital with Lil’ J I realized they were using long-sleeved onesies as tops and bottoms. So handy! The neckline is so stretchy that you can pull them all the way down over their shoulders when they have a blowout. This makes for less mess in an already yucky situation.

baby-swaddle-blanket

2. Don’t get rid of swaddling blankets: I can’t tell you how in handy these things have come through the years. They start as swaddling blankets, nursing covers and burp cloths. Then they turn into picnic blankets, fort-making reinforcements, and superhero capes. They’re also great on the seat of your car to help protect from the car seats.

playing-with-playdough

3. Making your own playdoh is seriously so easy: No need to run out to get more. You probably have what it takes to make it at home. Flour, water, salt and cooking oil is all it takes. Food coloring if you’d like to spice it up.

birthday party ballpit

4. Outdoor kiddie pools can be year-round fun: Cool down outside in the summer inflatable pool and have fun inside. We filled up Big T’s pool with ball pit balls and the kids loved having it inside.

healthy toddler snack

5. Make a snack drawer: Adding this tiny addition to our pantry has made my kids far more bearable when they’re hungry. I just ask them to take a look at the snack cubby and see what they want to eat. I just have a tupperware container full of mom-approved snacks.

22 princess dresses on a lower closer rack

6. Install a second closet rod for more space (for dress-up clothes!): Kids are so small. Put more of the closet space to use by adding a rack or getting a stand for seasonal clothing, or in our case–Dress-up clothes.

diaper-cream

7. Baby power and diaper cream is great for more than just babies: I don’t know how often I used baby powder on my actual baby. Not very often. But I’ve used it on sweater hot summers on more than one occasion. It’s also great to bring to the beach. Pour it on your kids and it’ll soak up the extra moisture in the sand, then it’s easy to knock the sand off their bodies.

Diaper rash is a pain in the butt (pun intended). Not only is Desitin great for treating your baby’s diaper rash, hang on to it because it comes in handy as a great antiperspirant when you’re in a pinch. Just rub it in real good. Seriously, I have a nervous sweat problem and this helps, who knew?

Visit their website for more information on helpful tips to cure diaper rash.

There’s currently a 25% off coupon you can use with your Target Cartwheel app. So if you’re a frequent Target shopper make sure you check out the coupon.

How many of these mom hacks were you aware of? Have any more to share?

I have the best blog readers! Here’s a $50 Target giveaway sponsored by yours truly. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

How are you hanging in there? Got your shopping done? Getting ready to travel? Are you surviving the holiday chaos?

I feel like every year around this time is especially chaotic for me because our wedding anniversary is two days before Christmas. Oh why oh why did we do this to ourselves?

Getting away to celebrate before kids was a piece of cake, but after, it has become quite the challenge.

I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to help get everything checked off my list so I can enjoy both our anniversary and Christmas. This year is our 10th anniversary and originally I had thought we’d have some kind of vow-renewing ceremony or something, but the time has flown by and a lot of the time I still feel like a newlywed. So, I may revisit that idea in another five to ten years.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

So anyway, over the last 10 years we’ve traveled with kids and done Christmas at home. I’ve been down to the wire with shopping, and I’ve had it all done early. Sometimes I’ve just gotta decide what’s important and let everything else go. Here are five things I keep in mind as I plow through this season.

1. Work hard then play hard
I kind of live this philosophy all year, but there’s so much fun to be had and SO much work to do at the end of the year. My schedule hasn’t always allowed for flexibility, but when it does, I try to plan as best as I can to work ahead so I can fully enjoy Christmas with my family. Sometimes that means writing articles and blog posts at 3am so we can have breakfast with Santa the next day (I try not to sleep through breakfast).

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

2. Find ways to make shopping simpler
I did so much of my shopping online this year. Luckily I have Amazon Prime. When I do venture out to the stores I try to call ahead or use services that will help make my trip faster. Like Sears free In Vehicle Pick Up, Return and Exchange in Five, or Reserve It. Each of these services makes my live easier and the season a little #MoreMerry for me. I could go on and on with shopping tips, but this article sums it up pretty well.
Sears-Infographic

(Click the image to see the chart larger)

3. Make a list, then check it twice
Just like Santa, I make a list, but not just for shopping, for things I’d like to do this month, and things I need to do. I love getting a photo with Santa, making a gingerbread house, and going to see a light display. Then of course I keep track of who we want to get gifts for outside of our family.

4. Travel light
I could do a whole post on traveling with kids, but the main thing I try to remember is pack light, and when possible, bring things that can serve more than one purpose. If we’re traveling somewhere without a crib and other items for my toddler I may bring a play yard that also works as a diaper changer, and a place he can sleep. This one by Fisher-Price is half the weight of other portable play yards.CHP86-ultralite-day-and-night-play-yard-my-little-lamb-d-3

5. Make and document the merry memories
Most important of it all, beyond all the shopping, and hustle and bustle is enjoying the time with my family and friends, and remembering why we celebrate this time of year. I try to document our fun through videos and lots of photos, so once all of the dust settles we can look back and smile at the good times we had. We always record some video on Christmas morning as the kids open or see their gifts. It’s adorable because throughout the year my husband will ask me to pull up old videos of our daughter (and now son) opening up her presents through the years. We’re already planning our strategy for recording one this year.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

 ***

What do you keep in mind as you cross everything off your holiday to-do list? Any tips you’d share with a new parent? Everyone who leaves a comment by Christmas will be entered to win a $140 Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard. Good luck!

A big thanks to Fisher-Price for sponsoring this giveaway and conversation. This post is a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price as an FP Insider and Sears as a part of their #SearsBloggerSquad. All opinions expressed are my own.FP insiders logo

A common question I keep getting about the videos I’ve been sharing is “what equipment do you use?” I get really frustrated when I see a video or picture I like but have no idea what they used to achieve it, so I’m more than happy to share what I know.

Instead of trying to delve into everything in one post I decided to make a video demo explaining the pros and cons of the different cameras I use to make my videos. The only kind of camera I didn’t show in this example was a webcam, which I do use sometimes, but I usually prefer not to. Also, I figured most people have a general idea of what a webcam looks like.

In a nutshell, here’s how I breakdown the different cameras I use to record my video documentations and you can decide for you the best cameras for home videos and vlogging.

Like my nice new jingle? I got it from Freesibs on Fiverr.

Video Comparisons
iPhone 5:
Pros- It’s always on me, non-intrusive/ they’re used to it.
Cons- Video quality doesn’t always look as nice, bad audio, low quality frontal camera, usually running out of space/ no external drive.

Camcorder Canon Vixia HF R40:
Pros- Lightweight, nice HD quality, easy auto-focus, great for being “in the shot”, large internal drive, can flip the screen around and control from my iphone over wifi (my specific model).
Cons- Compared to a DSLR it’s not as good in low light, and it’s lens and zoom is lacking smooth depth of field.

DSLR Canon 5D Mark ii:
Pros- Great in low light, love the ease of adjusting the depth of field. Overall I love this look the best.
Cons- No auto-focus, depth of field can be tricky (constant focusing). The camera isn’t specifically made for video, and I’m not able to see myself when vlogging/no flip screen, which means I often have to do lots of takes. This camera is also the heaviest so I don’t feel like lugging it everywhere.

Later I can go into audio, editing, lenses for my DSLR and artificial lighting, but if that’s totally more than you want to know let me know. I’m hoping to do a couple video tutorials a month, and a couple other documentation videos.

Have any other questions? Ask away! And if you YouTube please subscribe to my channel, I’m excited to resurrect the thing!

Last year I wrote a post sharing the fast and easiest way to backup and print all of your cell phone photos. If you’re like me you take too many, and don’t save enough, so this post helps a lot with that. I mentioned Groovebook—a product that not a lot of people knew about, and now, thanks to me (and a little show called SharkTank) they are on their way to becoming a household name. Today I’m going to tell you about another product that’s still on it’s way to meeting the masses, but that I can now attest to.

If you never take the time to print and hang the pretty photos you take on your camera, either because you never get around to it, or can’t afford to do it the way you picture in your mind, this post is for you.

I literally have tens of thousands of images of my kids but hardly any on my walls. It’s really a shame because I’m so proud of a lot of the photos and I’d love to show them off.

So let’s talk about the options we have to display photos, what’s most appealing, affordable and least time-consuming.

Personally I’ve been drawn to canvas wraps for years. I don’t have to choose a frame, and I love the way they look when hung up. But the price adds up quickly. Even when I get them half-off (that’s most of the time) the total still comes out to cost a pretty penny.    photo-canvas-wall In my living room I have three 16×20 canvas prints hanging. Two I ordered from CafePress when they had 70% off deals (so they were $34 each) the other I got from Zazzle (quality is ok). All are super cute, pretty easy to move around, but take some effort on my part to nail and get just right (in fact, looking at this photo I can see I still don’t have it perfect).

My plan is to get smaller frames from thrift stores and hang them between these canvas prints to make a full photo wall. How long that will take me, I have no idea. It takes quite a bit of time, energy and patience for me to do a project like this.

I wanted to do something similar over my computer but I wasn’t sure how I’d ever manage to get it just right. The wall over my computer is huge, and also in the playroom, so I didn’t want something that could come crashing down on my electronics if a ball came barreling in that direction.

blank office wall

I was looking into invisible frames, with plexiglass and clips to hang in a montage over my desk. But each 4×6 frame is $9 (plus $8 shipping), not to mention I’d like some larger photos displayed. I could see this was going to be quite the investment.

I bought four square 20×20 frames from Ikea, but 1. Again, they’re heavy and I didn’t want them over my computer, and 2. The square dimensions limited my photo selection and required cropping.

Just when I was measuring the wall to risk hanging my heavy frames, I got an email about WeMontage, a new way to display photo art using removable photo wallpaper. On their website they have an example of a gorgeous photo wallpaper collage of the owner’s babies in their nursery.

Nursery June 2013 lo ResImpressed, but still a little skeptical, I researched the company, as well as people who have used it, and looked at how their photos were displayed. I’m pretty picky when it comes to photo prints. Anything larger than a 4×6 that I plan to display I have printed from a professional printer. They said they’d send me one to try and review, so I went for it. Here’s the result:

cheap-way-to-hang-photos

No lie, I’m blown away. I even got teary eyed as I unrolled his huge display. Even my husband who is VERY hard to impress, is in awe. They’re all photos I’ve taken. Photos that woulda taken who knows how long to get hung on my wall. To be honest, I probably never would have gotten them all up, much less as beautifully organized.

This is definitely the fastest, easiest, and more affordable way to display high-quality images in an attractive style.

A few things to note:

1. On price- I gasped of sticker shock when I initially saw the price tag of $120 for a 6ft x 2ft display ($69 for 3ft X 2ft), but then I realized that the regular price of my (tiny by comparison) canvas print that’s less than a quarter of that size is normally $109. I got 12 extremely large pictures for a little bit more (the smallest is a little bigger than an 8×10). You can also use my coupon ‘babymakingmachine’ to get 20% off until March 27th 2014.

photo-wallpaper-collage

2. On using their website It’s super easy to upload your photos and shuffle through the way you want to display your images. I spent WAY too long trying to get it just right, re-editing photos so they matched better, and shuffling through collage styles to get one that looked just right. I made about 10 drafts before I chose one. In the end I realized I was crazy and that they all looked good. That said, I really wanted one that didn’t have an extra white boarder around the edges, so if that’s an issue for you, click the “shuffle” button a few times til you see it go away. The interface is really good about giving excellent options that fit your images and don’t crop them. (It also gives you a warning if your image quality is too low for the size it’ll be displayed. If you have questions about changing your resolution let me know and I can explain more.)

3. On installing- I measured the height I wanted it at from my desk up, marked the wall, then had my husband help me set it up. We had it way crooked the first time, and we were able to easily remove it and re-stick it. I was extremely paranoid about lumps, bubbles, and wrinkles. I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted oopsies around the blogosphere that didn’t seem to be stuck right and I wanted to jump through the photo and fix it for them. It’s not hard to install but for heavens sakes, get help to do it right!

4. How it looks- It’s hard to tell from this photograph but this thing is HUGE. For perspective, my computer screen is 27in. There are smaller size options but I wanted something large for this space. As for picture quality, it’s great. You can see a string that’s dangling from my daughter’s cowgirl boots and individual eyelashes on my kids. Ok, so a lot of that is my lens, but there’s no distortion or quality loss in print. The colors are vibrent and true, and I believe they have a color-correcting service.

photo-wall-collage

There isn’t really anything like this on the market, so the appearance at first is like “wait, what is that?” When shared a preview on Instagram everyone wanted to know what this was. Vinyl? Canvas? Paper? It’s actually fabric. I was looking for a no-frame option for this space (either plexiglass or canvas) so this was the perfect solution. It’s definitely modern, and new, and I think people might not know what to make of it at first, but I love being one of the first people on the bandwagon of what I think will become a new trend for photo art.

5. On practicality- I love that this won’t come crashing down on my computer, it’s like wallpaper, it’s stuck for good—But can come off when I need it to without causing damage to the wall. This is a positive and negative in my opinion. It’s great for renters who don’t want to stick 12+ nails in the wall trying to hang frames just right. But I wonder how it’ll preserve if you want to move it to another room or home. My plan (whenever I decide to remove it) is to get a thin piece of 6x2ft plywood to stick it to so I can re-hang it again in another place. Granted that’s a giant piece of plywood to move and store (or maybe frame like this), but I suppose could always cut the photos out of the collage and stick them individually to smaller pieces of wood if I wanted to only display a few later and store the rest. Ack! I just got anxiety imagining hacking into my gorgeous piece of work.

photo-wallpaper-wall

So there you have it, my latest discovery for preserving and displaying our precious memories. Stop waiting for the perfect frame, or detailed strategy to make that photo wall you’ve been dreaming of. Grab a handful of your favorite pictures from your latest trip and show them off, or do what I did and create a display that makes everyone jealous of your gorgeous kids the second they step foot into your house.

I think I’ve covered it. Any more questions? Shoot! I’m happy to help. Also, you can get 20% off until March 27th 2014 using code “babymakingmachine”.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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