Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mom Advice Part II: What to read

This is the second post in a two part series on mom advice. Like I said earlier, I'm not an expert yet, these are just some thoughts on the subject. I do not have it all figured out!

1. The Babywise books

I didn't do absolutely everything by the book, but this was such a huge help in the first few months! When I had my first child I didn't know anything. I kid you not. It's embarrassing how little I knew... like babies eat all through the night. Whaaaat???? I have to wake up in the middle of the night. Seriously... I had no clue!

So, a friend recommended this book. When my little cherub was 5 weeks old and not sleeping at all. I desperately ran to the bookstore. As I read each chapter, I implemented it. She was sleeping in her own bed for 2-3 hours at a time at night within two days. She slept through the night at the appropriate age and has done so ever since. It works people!

Babywise 2, Toddlerwise and Preschoolwise are also good.

2. A New Kid By Friday, by Dr. Kevin Leman

I seriously think this guy is a-maz-ing. This book is more about older children, but it's good stuff. His parenting advice is brilliant. I want him to be a little angel on my shoulder telling me how to parent my kids. All his books are full of great advice.

3. Making the Terrible Twos Terrific, by John Rosemond

This is a great book about the 18 months to 3 years age range. His advice is also great. It's reassuring. It's low-stress. It helps you realize that this too shall end. And when you have two 2-year-olds, you really need that! I leave this one out and go back to it often.

So those are my top three. I've read other good ones, but these are my favorites. I also highly recommend Focus on the Family's daily broadcast. They have an iphone app too. It's so encouraging to parents and gives godly wisdom on how to raise your kids.

Now a word about what not to read.... There is a lot of bad advice on parenting out there. And a lot of it comes from people who are supposed to be "experts" on the subject. And maybe you think mine is too. But since you're still reading...

Here's two things to remember. 1. Take parenting advice from someone who has been successful at it. 2. God gave your kids to you. You get to decide how to raise them.

I hope this was helpful. If you have an awesome parenting book to suggest, please share it in the comments section. I can always use the help too! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It doesn't take much to make me smile

I have two new things in my living room that put a smile on my face every time I walk into the room. I'll start with the biggie:

I made a slipcover, y'all! And I am so stinking proud of myself. Is it perfect? No way. But that's not what I was after anyway. I just wanted pretty.

Here's what I started with:

I found two of these Old Hickory wingback chairs at a garage sale a few months ago. I paid $40 for the pair. I originally thought I would reupholster them, but slipcovers seemed more practical. I followed Miss Mustard Seed's video slipcover tutorial here. It was not easy. I'd say I'm an advanced beginner when it comes to sewing. This was a challenge!

I used bleached drop cloths for the fabric. The slipcover cost about $35 in materials and took several long nights and nap times. But it was worth it.

What a transformation! I love my "new" chair. And I'm sure the next slipcover will look even better. 

The other reason I'm smiling is two brass candle sconces I found at an antiques shop.

They were $15 for the pair. I love them on either side of the TV. Now, I'm not sure what else to put up there. Suggestions?

Maybe I'm an old lady at heart, but I just love these. Or maybe I really am an old lady. I have about 20 gray hairs right in the front of my head... Ugh... I digress...

It really doesn't take much to make me smile. And when I find or make something pretty and inexpensive, I just love it even more. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mom Advice Part I: What to buy

A good friend of mine is having her first baby and asked for any advice I could give. So, I decided to do a little two-part series on the subject.

Let me start by saying I am in no way, shape or form an expert. But I'm happy to give my two cents. I'll start with a list of what to buy and what not to buy.

Delta Winter Park 3-in-1 Convertible Crib - Espresso Java
So, for starters, you'll need a crib. I wouldn't break the bank here. I'd look for one that's convertible to a toddler bed. I'd also go gender neutral if you're planning on having more kids. It's very tempting to think that you need to buy the best, but they outgrow it in no time. And then you have to buy a real bed that they'll keep for a lot longer. Some beds convert to full-size or twin beds, and maybe it's worth the money. I didn't do it that way. But I had twins, so it wouldn't have been practical for me anyway.

While we're on the topic of beds, make sure you have at least three crib sheets. You never know when you'll need an extra (or two)...

You also need a place to change diapers. I bought a nice dresser to match the crib and added a changing pad on top. Easy peasy. And when baby is out of diapers, you have a pretty dresser.

This little swing was a life-saver. It's the Boppy Rock-in-Comfort travel swing. It's inexpensive, can fit in your car and my kids loved it. You may also want a bouncy seat. They are great for colicky babies.

This Fisher Price booster seat is awesome. It's space saving, portable and will take your child through their preschool years.

Finally, get a good pack n play. You will use it when you travel, and you can use the bassinet in the first few weeks when baby sleeps in your room. It's also good practice to let your little one practice napping in it. Then when you're gone during nap time, it won't be so hard to get him down for a nap.

Dream On Me Umbrella Stroller with Child Tray in Blue - 453-B
If you can, get a used full-size stroller, and buy a good umbrella stroller. They're portable and light. You'll use it often. Look for one that comes with a tray.

Absolutely DO NOT buy tons of toys. Keep in mind that the best toys are those that have been around forever and are not expensive. After hauling loads to the Goodwill, I've learned my lesson about buying things that last.

Well, that's about it for what to buy. Keep in mind that the lists from the store are made by people who want you to buy more stuff. And it's so tempting to want the best of everything, but it's not really necessary. So many things can be purchased used through Craigslist or local resale shops.

If you have any other advice, please share it in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by Doing More Than Laundry!

I also write a blog about design and my furniture business:
The Little House. Check it out!