Have You Heard of Chatbooks?

Christmas is right around the corner (I know you’re tired of hearing it already but its true!) and the hunt for the perfect gift for everyone is on. I know my family loves to have photos of my kids and finding a way to share them that isn’t time consuming or costly takes serious effort. I used to scrapbook, but with 2 kids and a busy schedule I just don’t want to find the time most days. I got behind like a whole year and just gave up! I began searching for an easier way to store my memories, that wasn’t just on a hard drive in a drawer. A couple of years ago I came across a startup company called Chatbooks. The problem with me is I never print my photos. I take hundreds upon thousands every year, and I’ll upload them to social media, but never to take the time to go through and choose the ones I loved and load them up and print them in physical photos. Sure I’d do a special moment here or there but I was printing less than 20 photos a year. Enter Chatbooks.

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They took 60 memories from your Instagram account and put them into a sweet little 6×6 inch softcover photo book so you could have your digital memories in print without the mess of 60 individual photos. Chatbooks is an app, you give permission to access your Instagram account or your camera roll on your phone. I’m subscribed to a series, so it’s essentially on auto print. I receive an email saying my next book will go to print in 3 days, and I can hop on edit or delete photos, rearrange them before the book is sent to print. For a mere $8 (+ shipping) I get a book full of my memories. Depending on your frequency of uploading pics (it takes me a few months to complete a book) it will take a matter of months or a few weeks.

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As time has gone on Chatbooks has grown and added new features, such as custom books, where you can load certain pics from your Instagram, or based on a hashtag up to 366 photos into one book. The pricing varies from $12 and up on these so check the website/app for details. They then added the option for hardcovers to your books, making them look more luxurious and sturdy. The option was added to upload photos from your camera roll, cloud, Dropbox etc. You don’t even need an Instagram account to make a book anymore! They have a new option to subscribe to a Facebook series for those of you who aren’t about that IG life. There is even an option for 5 inch square prints now! In the past year or so they even do collaborations for limited time with various artists! Their current holiday collab is with Anna Rifle Bond of Rifle Paper Co. and it is freaking adorable. I am seriously contemplating making books from last year just to get all the limited time covers. This year they’ve added an option to snag your friend’s most popular photos and put it in a book for them!

Another great thing about these books is the option to customize them. You can add date, location and description. Perhaps not everyone in your family knows you took a trip to the beach this summer. Caption the photos with a play by play of that day. Or write down memories as you would in your scrapbook! And you’ll love it or you’re guaranteed your money back! They also have top notch customer service. I received a book with weird marks through some of the photos, I contacted customer service through the app and the next day my book was reprinted and shipped to me, no hassle or shenanigans or anything.


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I personally love to use them for gifts, it’s a great way to share photos with family that aren’t online, or don’t have social media accounts. It also prevents me from having to text or share all my private photos in a public forum. I started sharing Chatbooks a few Christmases ago with family and have been told time and again they are an awesome gift. So awesome some members of the family have copied my idea and they too hopped on the Chatbook Christmas gifting wagon!

If you are interested in trying out Chatbooks click my here and receive your first book free!

 

Christmas Decor before Thanksgiving?

I know it’s early to be thinking of Christmas, but I have serious fomo when it comes to cute decor. Hobby Lobby has had their decorations out since July. I may or may not have used some for O’s party…someday maybe I’ll get around to blogging about it. Or at least sharing some photos.

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Back to Christmas. Target has an awesome promo this week! Spend $40 in the Wonderland Shop get a $10 giftcard for later! Duh it’s a no brainer. I may or may not have purchased a number of adorable items that I am hoarding for Black Friday (aka the day after Thanksgiving). E as at the age where everything is magical and wonderful and I LOVE it. We perused the aisles when they were Halloween and now we take a good half hour looking at Christmas. The greatest thing about this promo and about Target is you can shop online! Meaning you can buy your goods in your jams, rocking a solid mom bun and a glass of wine in hand. I mean I guess you could were pjs to the store but I feel like dependent on your state, alcohol consumption while driving around Target would be frowned upon if not get you sent straight to the big house….anywho

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This whole collection makes me swoon. And makes me want to move back north. There will be no snow in North Texas. It hasn’t even been cold here. I hate it. That is another story for another day. These snowmen are freaking amazing! And I love the little yarn wrapped trees so much I was gonna try to DIY them myself to save some dough, but alas even with coupons it still cost more. So you’re welcome for saving you the time and effort and mathing. The ornaments in this collection make me want to throw out all the red and green and start fresh. But I know my husband would murder me sooo maybe next year?

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Camp Christmas is more in line with the decor I currently have. So I can jump on board with this. The camp fire is gonna go fast if your store isn’t already sold out. There is also an adorable felt pine wreath and tree set that is to die. It’s basically a cuter version of the ones I got from last year. The ornaments in this collection can be mixed and matched with what I have, which is very rustic Christmas. I probs will share pics on social once I get my tree up, but we use a real tree and so it has to wait or it’ll dry up and fall over before Christmas.

Basically I’m saying run to your local Target snatch up all these goodies, and don’t wait bc the good stuff will be gone in like 2 weeks max. AND be sure to check out Spot’s Playground/Dollar Spot bc they have bomb decor for $5 and under!

 

This posts contains affiliate links: meaning if you click the links and purchase anything I get paid!

 

I’m Baaaaaack.

todolistI’ve been taking a break. I seem to be doing that a lot lately, BUT in my defense I just had a baby.  3 months ago… transitioning from one kid to two was no joke. My delivery didn’t go exactly as planned and baby O arrived a few weeks before I anticipated which threw me for a huge loop! After an extended recovery period I’m feeling more like myself and getting a handle on this mom of 2 thing. I’ve even ventured out into public with the 2 kids SOLO not once, not twice, but 3 times! That my friends is an accomplishment.

Things that have been happening since we last spoke: I had a baby (duh) potty training is a thorn in my side. She was doing so good, and we sold our house and moved into a townhouse. After a couple months we welcomed her baby brother into the world and her whole life was turned upside down and we suffered another set back. She regressed and quit telling me she had to go and would just go. We moved AGAIN this time across the country to a new state and a new house and she just couldn’t cope. We have fully regressed back to a diaper and she has her moments, but mostly she isn’t interested anymore. I hope that we can get back on track but, we have a few really good days and then we have poop days. Literally take your diaper off and take a dump in the corner of your room days (this is an unfortunately true story). E learned to escape her room quite awhile ago now shortly after she began climbing the baby gate. She just army crawled across my room one night and climbed up the bench at the foot of my bed and I hear a sweet little ‘hi mom I climbed my room’ yup. So there’s that. All the while I was planning the most complicated move of my life. Sure movers came to pack out my house and ship my boxes across country, but I had to plan to not have all of our goods for  2 weeks. And to no sh*t be trapped in the car with a 2 year old, newborn, and an aging dog who needs to pee every 2 hours. It took us 5 days to make it from DC to Dallas!

Back to that baby thing: he is everything right now. He loves to be held ALL THE TIME, and really only by his mama! All the squish and the smell of a newborn, I swear I don’t even care that I haven’t really slept in months. I can’t remember so many things about E being a babe it was so long ago. There have been so many sleepless nights between here and there and I can barely remember what life was like before she started walking and talking! She’s an opinionated little butt and took forever to warm up to him. I don’t understand how all these people post sweet pics of their kids ‘loving’ each other from the start. My husband says it’s all the way people want life to be perceived, all they need is one sweet moment to plaster all over social media and make you think they are a big happy family. Regardless it broke my heart she wasn’t all about him as soon as we brought him home. I expected her to immediately love him and accept him into the pack. My dogs were more accepting when we brought O home than E. They sniffed him and kissed his head and were like come on in guy, you can’t be worse than the girl one. Home girl was like um no ma’am. I don’t know who this little crying baby is you’re carrying around but imma need my mom back. Seriously, it took her a month to even acknowledge him. She would hold him and investigate him, but she’s like whatever. That was super stressful for me, I had visions of love and hugs and kisses. And help bringing diapers or just general oogling him, she wanted NONE of it. I’m happy to say now she loves him and wants to hold him and kiss him and bring clean diapers and share snacks and toys! But it was a long road to get here.

Must Haves for Baby 2

As my due date fast approaches YIKES! I thought I’d put together a list of my fav must haves for baby boy!

Aden + Anais swaddle blankets: I love(d) these for E. They are huge in comparison to most blankets making it easy to swaddle a bigger baby or an older baby. You can use it for a nursing cover, a blanket in the car, a ground cover in a pinch, picnic blanket, something to change your baby on. E still uses hers at night and when it’s chilly out for rides in the car. A lot of people are wary of purchasing such an ‘expensive’ blanket when there are so many other options available. In my opinion these are one of the best investments I made! You can find them at many of your local retailers, but be aware they aren’t all the same quality which will reflect in their price. The more expensive ones will be softer and you’ll be able to tell the difference, while the ones from ‘box’ stores will be not quite the same caliber. Don’t get me wrong they’re still amazing blankets but it’s not quite the same!

4mom MamaRoo: I swear I didn’t see/hear about these with E. I went to the store bought a similarly priced swing and it worked wonders for her. BUT since she swung it to its death we were in need of a new swing for the little guy. So it only made sense to hop on the bandwagon and snag this one. While reviews vary I’m hoping he loves it.

Noodle and Boo (everything): Sooo I found this stuff several months ago, and I fell in love with the way it smells! And have implemented it into E’s bath routine ever since. They have cleansing cloths for the days when baby doesn’t need a bath or can’t have one yet due to the whole umbilical cord stump being attached. The lotion makes baby’s (or toddler’s) skin oh so soft and I can’t even describe the soft sweet smell that the whole line provides. It smells like I want a baby to smell!bringing home baby boy

Bringing Home Baby Outfit: There are a ton of options out there. Literally a million, I was having the hardest time deciding what to bring baby home in. I want it to be an heirloom quality piece, not too trendy, adorable, comfy and appropriate for his September birth. A lot of the things I loved, my hubby thought were too feminine and wouldn’t agree on.  And then I found these little numbers. They are 100% GOTS organic certified with coconut buttons and dyed with ingredients free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants! I mean who doesn’t want something soft, organic and natural to be the first thing to touch their little munchkin’s skin? The only problem I’ll have is what color to choose!

Carseat: Speaking of bringing baby home. A carseat is a MUST! How else are you gonna drive home your little bundle of joy? In your lap Britney a la 2006? Not on 495 people! I am currently torn between a convertible carseat or an infant. My choices are here and here. We have the Peg Perego for E and I love it, but she didn’t start using it til she was over a year old. I’m nervous about the whole 5-70 lb aspect of it, so I’m still on the fence. Some part of me can’t justify spending the money on an infant seat, since the life of them is so short!  Update: The hubs decided to have an opinion. So we bought an infant seat for now! He should be able to use it for (hopefully) about a year and then we can move him into a convertible seat. We went with the Graco Click Connect 30, for safety ratings, cost efficiency and because E had the same type and we can use her stroller and car seat base!

Diapers: uhhh duh like I should even have to say this. BUT my fav for newborns are the Pampers Swaddlers! I love that they have the wetness indicator and I pretty much used this brand and style until we moved on up to 2s. At the hospital we were given Huggies but for some reason I just didn’t loooove them on a tiny babe as much as the Swaddlers. And as E got older I became a loyal Huggies lady. And at Target if you purchase 2 boxes of select diapers this week get a $10 gift card for your next purchase!

Wipes: I used the Pampers Sensitive wipes for E. They are soft and seem to clean better to me than any other brand I tried. The Huggies brand just seemed so rough like it’d chap your butt, and if I don’t want a chapped butt why would my baby?

Butt Paste: Yes I call it butt paste judge. Desitin is by far my favorite, it was recommended by E’s doc when she had a gnarly rash on her rump several months back. We were told it’s even better than prescription strength stuff y’all! I have tried natural holistic organic blah blah and they just don’t work. When in doubt use what you know will get the job done. There is nothing like your babe suffering because you refuse to use anything ‘unnatural’.

Sleep: I’m going to be blatantly honest here. I’d prefer a crib for baby boy BUT we are moving approximately 2 months post birth, and the room in our rental is sizably smaller than the house we just sold. I fit E’s crib, a swing, changing table, glider/ottoman combo along with 2 dressers and king sized bed, a vanity etc in my house. The room in our townhouse there is still space for all our bedroom furniture, BUT some massive rearranging is going to have to be done in order to make a bassinet and glider fit in there. Not to mention the fact movers will come pack out my house a few days before we move and I will be DRIVING (ok riding) cross country with a newborn, toddler, and 2 dogs. So I’m still hunting for the perfect bassinet/co sleeper for this nugget. Update: After talking with my sis in law I was recommended the Chicco Lullago! I’ve placed my order and can’t wait to see how it works out! It is a ‘travel bassinet’ so it will make it easy to break down and take with us on the go!

White Noise: I need white noise in my life, I cannot sleep with the whir of a fan or the ac. And let’s face it if the baby is sleeping in my room he’s gonna need to block out some of my loud coughing or dogs barking, husband snoring or E yelling from down the hall. Enter the sleep sheep. I actually am considering the fox bc it’s just darn adorable and matches the foxy/tribal theme of his nursery BUT we need noise. Constant

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Baby Book: This go round I stalked out baby books from the beginning of my pregnancy. I knew for certain I would be going with the brand Lucy Darling for boy or girl! Well it turns out it’s a boy and I love the animal book. It could be considered gender neutral if you like it for a girl or to give it as a shower gift! I loved these books so much because of how cute the illustrations are and they go up to several years after birth. It’s just one page per year but still! How sweet to have all those memories in ONE book!! And it has a little section for ‘before we met you’. Which is fun to be able to snap a maternity pic and put it in there for the little one to see later in life. And it prompted me to HAVE to take a pic.

Baby Monitor: Currently E has this monitor in her  room, I loved everything about it for the past 2+ years. It comes with a under mattress sensor, that made me feel safer knowing she was still breathing while she was asleep and I didn’t have to be that awkward creepy mom and go over and touch her or put a mirror under her nose to ensure that she was in fact still alive. With baby 2 well on his way, I really want to use that for him! I want to have that same reassurance that he is still alive and kicking even though he isn’t moving around like a toddler! This lead me to an new issue. E won’t have a monitor. Now that she sleeps in her own ‘big kid bed’ I need to be able to see what she is up to in the middle of the night. On occasion she wakes in the night and I don’t want her wandering around her room unattended! Enter this little gem. I scoured the internet for the best dual video monitor and this is what I found to be the ‘best’. Until we are ready take away the under the bed sensor for little guy, I can use just one monitor, and once he moves out of my room and into his own he can have his very own monitor on the same system as his big sister!

When planning for your 2nd or 4th were there items that were on your must have list? Feel free to share in the comments and let me know if I’ve missed anything!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click a link I get paid.

Boden Fall Preview

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You guys, Boden is having their sneak peek pre-order sale right now! They basically choose some of the best customers and share a preview of the next season’s upcoming line. AND since we all know I LOVE me some Boden, I got the inside eye! I picked out some of my favorites for E, who is almost rolling into Boden’s  18-24 size. If you are going to order, IMO Boden runs a tad big. She can still wear the 12-18 dresses I got her last summer! Soooo since fall is right around the corner, I clearly mean 6 months from now, I thought I’d share what I am pre-ordering for E, just in case you care or want your little to be twinsies this year…

Pretty Collar Jersey Dress: I’ve ordered this dress for the past 3 years, each time a new print comes out I snag it for E. It is really soft and can transition well through most all seasons, and they usually offer prints that can transcend seasons as well. Currently they are offering a bunny in sage or a flower print in light gray. I might be ordering both…

Ribbed Tights: I love love love these tights. Boden makes such amazing colors that match their clothing as well as pretty much every other brand of clothing. Being a girl I love her wearing dresses, (while I can still dress her) and even in the cooler months she can wear them with these tights! They are thick and soft and as long as she can fit in them, they’ve held up well. I plan on snagging all 4 plain colorways as well as a fun patterned tight in bird and floral print!

Hat and Mitten Set: Last year I grabbed E one of these cute floppy bunny hats and mitten set. I’m not going to lie she has a rather large noggin (it runs on my husband’s side of the family people!) so I have to size the hat up in order to make sure it lasts the entire season. This causes the mittens to fall off her tiny delicate hands. HOWEVER the hat is to die adorable, and matches this year’s jacket!

Cosy Quilted Reversible Jacket: The first year E was alive I couldn’t force myself to buy her a coat. Luckily I had a friend who gave E a warm puffy coat so I got away without getting her one. I had been eyeballing the Boden cosy quilted jacket since I was pregnant with her! So last year I bit the bullet and snagged this little number! I ordered it a size up and rolled the sleeves back, it still fits, but I’m not sure she will make it through the winter. It is forgiving enough to layer under, and warm enough I don’t worry about her freezing when we meander about outdoors in February. This year they made it even better, it’s REVERSIBLE now! One side is a solid color and the other is a fun print! Needless to say I’m torn about which color to order the pink or blue…

Soft Muslin Blankets: If you follow along you’ll know I’m pregnant. I’m not telling the gender yet (I have a super fun way to do it, duuuh) but these swaddles are great for baby. I’m showing the girly print here because well I love it most! They do have 2 other prints one is boyish and the other could go either way. I love these so much because of the sheer size of them! They are bigger than the usual swaddle, making it easier to swaddle a bigger baby. We still use the ones E has for picnic blankets, nursing cover, or for car rides when it’s chilly out. They also make a great cape in a pinch!

Sock Box: I love everything British, and Boden basically encompasses that. Which is why I am ordering these socks…E  has a pack from last year and they still fit! They are pretty much your basic baby/toddler sock with the grippy bottoms so your little walker won’t slip.

Fisherman’s Cable Knit Sweater: I died when I saw this little number. Literally it’s gender neutral and so British. Again whether baby dos is boy or girl this will work for this little nugget’s first winter! AAANNND for the win E can get one too and MATCH. Yes don’t worry I’ve been planning on matching/coordinating outfits for my baes!

I want to point out a few things: Boden isn’t expecting the fall line to ship until July, but they will ship it as the merch arrives! I’m only sharing my picks for my girl, they obviously have sizing from newborn to grown woman/man. If you aren’t interested in children’s clothing Boden is positively British, and amazing. I own several pieces and they are worth every penny people. They are also going to put a ‘hold’ on your card for the amount of your impending purchase. They aren’t going to CHARGE you, just say those funds are unavailable, a lot of people are butt hurt about this, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable. If you order $500 worth of stuff and you don’t end up having the funds available when they are ready to ship it can cause problems for Boden. Do they go ahead and ship the merch or do they hold onto it and let you know that your card declined? Needless to say I don’t really think it’s too big of a deal. So here are the deats you’ve been waiting for. The site you need to visit in order to see the preview is:

http://www.bodenpreview.com/

and the coupon code you should put in at checkout to save a whopping 20% (this is one of Boden’s biggest discounts y’all) is: 7D4N. If you go to the checkout first and then add the code in, it’ll show you all the pricing at the discounted price. Another big thing is they are offering free shipping and returns! Typically Boden charges you $10 for shipping, so basically by ordering before May 24 you are winning.

 

Here’s the Thing.

So I have been sort of missing. There’s a good reason, I promise. As of late, we prepped the house for sale, listed it and sold it in 2 days. That coupled with packing, raising a toddler, and looking for a short term rental life has well been exhausting. To top it all off…I’m expecting baby #2! That’s right! Miss E is going to be a big sister!! 

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The first trimester has kicked me in the metaphorical face this go round, I’m not joking. Maybe it’s the having a 2 year old, or the fact that I’m a few years older. I literally nap most everyday. When E goes down, so do I. For the first 3 months I ate one meal a day to avoid heaving, and let’s get real changing a stank poop diaper while nauseous SUCKS. I don’t know if I left the house except for doctor’s appointments more than once every other week during those first months! Crazy how different each pregnancy can be.

Back to the house. We called our realtor out to list it, and he put it up on a Friday evening, we had 12 showings over the weekend and 5 offers by Monday! Thank goodness because this pregnant lady was not about dragging 2 dogs and a 2 year old out of the house all day everyday for more than those 2 days. The excellent news is we are coming out ahead waaay more than we thought, the not so great news is I have been packing a 1500 square foot house with the help of a toddler.

Sooo long story short, I’ve been busy. We have about a month to pack this house, and move into our new townhouse. I am looking forward to my husband’s 40 minute commute turning into a 9 minute one! I am really going to try to update more regularly! Key word being try…