Best Gifts for Baby

I don’t care if your mama friend is having their first, fifth, or fifteenth baby, there are some things a new baby just needs!

Best Gifts for a New Baby

One thing I never got with my first was real swaddle blankets- and I wish I had. They just never got bought. Then I was almost 40 weeks with baby #2 when I realized I didn’t have any swaddle blankets! I wanted them quickly in case baby came soon, so I just pick up some at TjMaxx. I liked them- very handy, cute and they did the job. But I’m going to be prepared the next time around– and for all my mom friends!

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The first thing on my list for a new baby is swaddles!
I’ve been following Bebe Owl on Instagram for a while and just loved their stuff! They offered to send me some swaddles for Silas, and also a mattress pad that we were in desperate need of (second child problems!). Let me tell you….these are the softest swaddle blankets you will ever find!
I love that they’re made out of 100% bamboo and y’all, the print is adorable. I love the colors! They will go great in the boys room once I get it painted! And, as a side note, the mattress pad is the best one I’ve ever seen! I really had a hard time finding a good one that I felt safe for my little one and this covered it!

Essential Oils for Babies

Secondly, and y’all should not be surprised, are essential oils! They are life-savers when it comes to babies…and two blends in particular are the best. Tummygize is specially formulated and prediluted for babies’ sensitive skin…and tummies! Silas had the hardest time with acid & tummy problems until I figured out he was allergic to dairy. Tummygize saved us many late nights and grumpy & uncomfortable afternoons!

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I also love to gift Sleepyize to new mommies…or mommies of toddlers who are having a sleep strike. Ahem. Again, made especially for babies and its so amazing! I absolutely love the smell, and adding a drop in their lotion for a before bedtime massage is the best!

And my third go-to gift? This should be a no brainer, but so many people forget about it….Diapers! I personally never get people newborn diapers just because my first never fit into them and my second baby was only in them for about a week. I like to gift size one just to be safe. And I’ll tell ya, the diapers have always been appreciated!

Stay tuned….I’m going to share with y’all soon the perfect thing to get Mama for after baby is born!

Question…what was your favorite baby gift ever, that you just could not have lived without?

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Current Reads v.1

Hey, lovely people! Today I want to share with you the books I am currently working through. I love seeing what others are reading, so I thought I’d regularly start sharing some of my current books and why I am (or am not!) loving them!

Current Reads v.1

Humble Roots– Hannah Anderson: this one I am only through the first two chapters. It is SO good so far. I didn’t realize I struggled with lack of humility (pride) as much as I thought, so keeping this theme in my life is really good for me. I love the slogan- “How humility grounds and nourishes your soul”. I don’t know about you, but I need some grounding & nourishing going on in my life!

Oola For Women– Dave Braun & Troy Amdahl: “How to balance the 7 key areas of life to have less stress (and) more purpose”. This is my “business” book I’m reading and it’s been giving me lots of areas to work and grow in as I juggle stay at home mom work and also growing a side business.

The Life Giving Table– Sally Clarkson: who isn’t reading this book? If you aren’t you need to be diving into this one! It’s been so good- I love all of Sally’s mothering books! ❤

Parenting Your Powerful Child– Dr. Kevin Leman: Wow. Y’all. I’ve been diving into all the parenting books because I have a very powerful child. I started this book last night and it is hitting home for me in so many ways! I can’t wait to read more of this…and I have 2 weeks to do it, because it’s a library book. This one may need to be bought and reread!

Spiritual Mothering– Susan Hunt: “The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women”. I’ve been reading this book and discussing it in our ladies’ meeting at church and it’s been a huge encouragement and blessing to me! This is a must-read for all women, in all walks of life for sure.

Beautiful in God’s Eyes– Elizabeth George: I’ve been going through this book with a dear friend of mine and it has so much practical application for a woman striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman. This has been slow going for both of us because there is SO MUCH information to take in.

So tell me, what are you currently reading? What books have been a blessing to you lately? I want to know so I can put them on my list! ❤

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Q & A Post: A Homemaker Tag

A dear friend of mine who blogs over at Courtney Faith recently tagged me in a “homemaker tag” post where tagged stay-at-home mom bloggers answer twenty questions and then tag two more friends when they’re done (read her answers here).

This will be my very first Q&A on the blog so I’m looking forward to it!

1. Have you ever had anyone say anything negative to you about staying at home or working from home? Not really, actually. Anyone who knew me before getting married/having kids knew this is what I wanted to do, so no one was surprised. I do get a lot of comments on “how young I am to be married with two kids”. Well, alrighty then.  Ha!

2. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of staying home? My absolutely favorite thing is knowing that I am doing God’s will in my life. Being a Titus 2 woman is very important to me…obviously, it’s the mandate to Christian women. But I love being home with my babies. My least favorite? How isolating it can be…and sometimes overwhelming by the amount of work that it entails. Y’all…the Lord gives grace.

3. What are your favorite and least favorite chores? My favorite chore currently is washing the dishes/cleaning the kitchen. I put on a good podcast during naptime and get to work!! My least favorite by far is folding & putting away laundry. Like, how does it multiple on the couch? Ahem. And the bathroom? Yeah, mobile home bathrooms are 1,000x harder to clean than normal ones. Not even kidding.

4. What time do you wake up/go to bed? Currently I have a baby that nurses 1-5 times in the night and we’re sleeping on a blow-up mattress in the living room (long story…tell you later) so my sleep is not the greatest. Luke & I both have lots of online/paperwork to do, and it seems to get done later & later in the evenings, so we’ve been going to bed around 10:30 or 11pm. I wake up between 6:30 (if Silas wakes up then to nurse), or 7 when Luke is walking out the door. The boys don’t get up until 8:15/8:30, so I have an hr to an hr and a half for quick online work, a workout, my devotions, a shower and tidying.

5. Do you put anything on in the background while you clean/cook/etc.? If the boys are asleep, I do a podcast (or 3!), but if they’re awake, Caleb’s usually helping me and he’s a chatter box. The boys keep the background noise rather loud themselves. Ha!

6. Do you get dressed most days or stay in your PJs? I get dressed. It may just be jeans & a tee, but I always shower and get dressed. Make-up? Not always, but I’m working on that for my husband! ❤

7. How often do you do your hair and makeup? Besides Sunday? Occasionally. Ha! I’m trying to do it more often, though. And since getting glasses, I’ve been working on keeping my hair back but down since I look like a librarian with it up! Lol.

8. What is your “trouble zone” or area in your home that needs the most help? …we just need more space! Nothing is really “junked up” or unoragnized. Just crammed because of the tight quarters. But it’s getting better since adapting to a more minimalist lifestyle the beginning of the year. Over 25 large boxes have been donated this year and the mindless spending has been cut down on a ton!

9. How often do you find yourself getting distracted? Lots…all the time.

10. Do you enjoy staying home or do you miss going to a job everyday? Since I do work from home…I get the joy of that along with staying home. But I don’t miss working for an employer. At all.

11. What is your “never ending” chore? I said it earlier…but laundry. Seriously. It multiplies once it’s washed before it’s folded in our household.

12. What is your favorite way to relax or have “me time”? try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week at night after the boys go to sleep…but that can be hard. I also try to read a couple chapters in a book with some coffee a few afternoons a week if I get caught up with chores & work. And soaks….ahhhh, my weekly soaks rejuvenate me.

13. How often does your husband chip in? He handles outside stuff, I handle the inside stuff. He’ll help put the food away after supper, but that’s usually because I’m nursing the baby. He always makes breakfast and has recently taken over making supper one night a week, so that’s been a blessing!

14. If you have children, when do you find time to do chores? Caleb helps with a LOT of it, but dishes and “getting caught up” gets done during naptime.

15. How do you balance being a homemaker and creating blog content? Lately…not very well. After Silas was born, my poor blog was put on the back burner, but I’m slowly getting back to it and I’m so excited!

16. What is your favorite room in your home and why? Does our backyard count? Lol. Well, we have one living area and then the bedrooms. The kitchen/living room is definitely my favorite in our little home and I love it. It’s where we live and enjoy life with each other!

17. What is your least favorite room in your home and why? …the bathroom. Only because I hate cleaning it.

18. Do you feel that your home reflects your personal style? Why or why not? Yes, but my style is evolving into a more mature/simple look I feel like. We’re currently working on building our forever home soon, so I’m looking forward to starting fresh in a few years!

19. What does your home smell like? Essential oils. And baked goods a couple days a week!

20. What are your strong points and weak points when it comes to homemaking?  This is the toughest one for me. lol. Like said earlier…this is what I always wanted to do, so I prepared for it. Honestly, keeping up with the changes of seasons of my growing little boys are harder for me than homemaking. So I would say just being flexible and showing grace when I don’t do things perfectly is my weak point.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading! Now I’ll tag my friends at Surviving Toddlerhood and Joyful Adorations, in case they want to have a turn at this fun questionnaire.

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Changes are coming!!

Hey, hey my lovely readers! I hope since I’ve been a little MIA here on the blog, you follow me on Insta & Facebook where I’m more active….but that’s about to change!

I’ve really been lacking in the inspiration department after having Silas, but I’ve gotten my passion for photography and blogging back! Part of that is rebranding and changing the name of my blog. Here very soon Through the Lens (which has been around since ’14!) is going to become Mindful Mama! I couldn’t be more thrilled!

On top of that, I’ve got some new content, and some fun giveaways coming up here, over on Insta and Facebook, so make sure you follow me!

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Welcome to the World, Silas!

I am a terrible blogger. Our newest addition joined our family 2 weeks ago and I’m just now telling you! Oh well, better late than never…. so without further ado….introducing….

Our Sweet Silas Robert! 

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He was born 6 days late, on August 26. He weighed 8lbs and was 21 inches long. Our midwives were expecting a 10lb baby…so we were all surprised when he came out as “skinny” as he was; until I birthed the placenta. His cord was 54.5″ long! Y’all- a normal cord is 24″ and more often than not, they’re a bit on the short side. His was over double the length of a normal cord. I literally had a 2lb cord, and that’s why they were measuring him so big. Who would have thought!

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Today he had his 2 week check-up with our pediatricians. They were SO impressed with how happy, healthy & big he was! Ha….they should have seen my first one! 😉 He’s gained 1lb 9oz and has grown 1.5 inches in length- weighing 9lbs9oz and 22.5in long now. So thankful he’s growing and is healthy!

Stay tuned for his birth story! It was super crazy and about as opposite from my first birth as you can get!

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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How to Cloth Diaper {Frugally}

I’ve been part-time cloth diapering for over a year now….and I’m fixing to begin a journey of cloth diapering 2 boys (ages 2 & newborn)! Believe me, when I saw the prices of some of the brand-new diapers, I knew we could never afford that, especially when they say you need around 24-36 diapers (depending on age) to wash every 2-3 days instead of every day!

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I started my cloth diaper journey by getting 10 $5/$6 pocket diapers off of Zulily. I instantly loved cloth diapers, and I could use cloth for 2 days, then use disposable diapers while I washed & dried the cloth. And like I’ve said before- I only clothed very part time. Then, my then 15mo son developed a chemical burn from the disposable diapers- and we tried every brand….it wouldn’t go away. So I knew I had to cloth full-time, at least until it healed.

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I have never spent more than $8 for a diaper, and have gotten them as low as $3 for one. How do I do that?

Cloth Diaper Auctions

I’m in an awesome Facebook group where you can bid on diapers. That’s where I’ve scored some of my cheapest- and most favorite!- diapers!

Friends/Family

You might actually know someone, or a friend knows someone, who is de-stashing and can usually get diapers for a steal! Ask around!

Consignment Sales

Our twice-annual kids’ consignment sale has had cloth before…although you might have to look hard for good ones or a good price. I won’t pay over $10 for a diaper. That’s just me, though.

Alva Pocket Brand

For someone new to cloth diapers, getting a “starter pack” from the Alva brand is usually the best way to go- although on Amazon, they only have plain colors, not cute patterns. I’ve gotten a OS and newborn size packs before and love them!

Do you cloth diaper? Where do you get your cloth diapers and what’s your favorite brand?

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Easy Blueberry Jam

Blueberry Jam

This past Saturday, my husband decided we needed to have an on-a-whim family outing! We went to a local u-pick blueberry farm, since Little Man loves blueberries. Plus, there is SO much you can make with blueberries!

Blueberry Picking

After we got home and I washed them all, I found a recipe that I could….sorta follow. 😉 Since I don’t like following recipes to a T, I decided I’d share with you all this super simple, so easy, small-batch blueberry jam recipe!

Jam

Ingredients:
4 cups blueberries
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (I erred on the side of less sugar)
6 drops Young Living’s Lemon Vitality oil (you could use about 2 tsp of lemon juice)
sprinkle of cinnamon (believe me, this helps make it!)

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients on medium heat in saucepan, stirring continually. Continue stirring for 30 mins. Don’t stop stirring, or it will begin to stick and burn to the bottom. Yes, I understand not leaving the stove for 30 mins is difficult. It will be worth it. After 30 mins of cooking, pour into glass jar- my batch made 1qt and 1/2 cup of jam. Refrigerate until at least cool for it to firm and turn into jam consistency. Enjoy!

My men loved this on a batch of homemade zucchini bread and a batch of zucchini bread where I added blueberries to the top. Yum!

What’s your favorite blueberry recipe?

Sincerely,
Hannah Diane
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Other Blueberry Recipes:

Coconut Blueberry Cake Lemon Blueberry Muffins Blueberry Banana Muffins