The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Summertime is here. Here is the ultimate summer bucket list full of fun activities to do with your family.

The Ultimate summer bucket list
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

This post, the Ultimate Summer Bucket List, May contain affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Summertime! It’s the season of pool parties, fireworks, and grilling out. Days are longer with sunlight and the evenings are balmy and sultry. Kids are out of school and us parents are scrambling to find things for them to do.

So today, I’m compiling a list of some of my family’s favorite Summer activities – The Ultimate Summer Bucket List.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Things To Do

We almost always take a small staycation. It’s fun to play tourist in your home town and explore where you live. We also do a summer road trip. This can be to a neighboring city on a weekend or a full trip across the country. Summers are a great time to satisfy your wanderlust.

Here in Texas, we survive summers by living in water as much as possible. This can be in your own backyard, water parks or resorts. But water activities automatically make me enjoy the scorching hot days of summer.

I always consider summer the season of simple pleasures. Sipping tea on a porch in the afternoon, catching fireflies at dusk, watching the fireworks on July 4th. It’s a great time to enjoy the little things in life.

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

  • Go fishing
  • Watch fireworks
  • Eat watermelon
  • Visit a splash pad
  • Plant summer vegetables
  • Go camping
  • BBQ / Grill out
  • Make dye shirts
  • Have a staycation
  • Make popsicles
  • Visit a museum
  • Play softball
  • Sip tea on a porch
  • Ride a rollercoaster
  • Watch a sunset
  • Visit the Zoo
  • Build a sandcastle
  • have a water balloon fight
  • Go hiking
  • Watch a Major League Baseball game.
  • Go for a family bike ride
  • Play with sparklers
  • Collect sea shells
  • Visit a theme park
  • Stargaze
  • Make s’mores
  • Plant a palm tree
  • Sit by a campfire
  • Eat fresh pineapple and coconut
  • Go on a vacation
  • Eat ice cream cones
  • Make & Drink Lemonade
  • Play mini golf
  • Go swimming
  • Visit the beach
  • Catch fireflies
  • Go on a weekend road trip
  • Visit a water park
  • Eat snow cones
  • Play in a sprinkler
  • Go to a picnic
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Watch a summer movie outside
  • Visit an aquarium

Don’t Forget to Pin for Later

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

I hope you guys have an awesome summer with your spouse and kids. Remember, you only get 18 summers with your kids under your roof. Make each one count.

18 summers

I’d love to hear what you love doing in the Summertime! Also, take a look at my other seasonal bucket lists:

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

The Ultimate Spring Bucket List

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List

Happy Planner, Jobs and Hope

Happy Planner, jobs, and hope. Today, I’m sharing a little about the things going on in our lives this week as we continue job hunting and chase dreams.

Happy Planner, jobs and hope

First, I want to thank all the good friends and readers who have asked about our job situation. It’s been a bumpy ride full of highs and lows. So, I thought I would write here about the recent plot twists that have occurred for those interested. If you need to catch up, read my prior post, The Next Chapter.

The Job Stuff

Easter weekend we drove to Houston for an interview and Dan got the job. We felt relieved. We received an offer the following week. However, it was lower than expected and over the next few weeks, hubby tried to renegotiate the terms, but they didn’t budge much. They wouldn’t pay to relocate us to Houston, nor would they allow us to push out the start date so we could afford the move financially. Talk about a rock and a hard place. The deeper into the woods we went, the more it seemed like maybe this isn’t the job for us. Honestly, this whole process has been so stressful and discouraging. But we keep putting our hope in the Lord, that even though we can’t see it, He is working on a solution.

Dan has another opportunity in Houston. So we will wait to see if that produces any fruit. We’ve passed the phone interviews so we are on our way to an in-person interview probably this coming week. Please continue to keep us in prayer that we find the right job.

The Happy Planner

Onto my news. This week, I applied for The Happy Planner ® planner squad. The squad is group of people (fans) selected to represent the Happy Planner as ambassadors online and on social media.

Until now, I’ve been too intimidated to apply for the planner squad. Too afraid of the rejection, if I’m being honest. But I’ve had so many people encourage me to apply this year because they know the deep devotion I have for the Happy Planner. They saw the transformation I had when I first discovered it in 2015. They see me share it enthusiastically with everyone I meet. As one friend put it, “you’re already an influencer because of everyone you introduced it to – this just makes it official.”

If you want to read my full sappy love story with the Happy Planner, read my post, How the Happy Planner Changed My Life. I realize the odds are against me. The Happy Planner fanbase is bigger than ever, but it’s like the lottery. Someone has to win and you’ll never win if you aren’t playing. It’s a dream of mine.

Can I tell you a secret? I almost feel ridiculous for even trying.

It feels impossible to be selected, but we have to chase our dreams no matter how silly or unlikely they might seem to others. Don’t give up on your dreams. Giving up is the surest way to fail.

happy planner, jobs and hope

Hope

The past twelve months has seemed like a “a losing season.” There was lots of loss (friends, family, jobs). But I have hope that things are about to change. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that good things will happen regardless of current evidence. Through hope, we know our situation can change, for the good, in an instant.

I have hope. I believe God has good things in store for us. He can give Dan the right job and me the planner squad. He’s bigger than any road blocks. But even if he doesn’t, I know he still has good, amazing plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I know there are still good things on the horizon, even though things feel bleak now. I have hope.

The Ugly Side of Blogging

So you started a blog. Now what? Blogging may not be what you expect. Here is the ugly side of blogging – the hard truths no one tells you.

the ugly side of blogging

Starting a blog can be a little overwhelming at first. There is so much to learn. Today, I’m sharing the ugly side of blogging. These are hard truths that no one really tells you when you first start. You may see lots of people making a huge income on their blog. It can be really discouraging when you don’t see your blog taking off immediately. That’s why I’m sharing some revelations about how blogging really works.

Before you leave, be sure to read my post What I Learned In Four Months of Blogging. This post will also provide you with a lot of helpful support as you are first starting.

The Ugly Side of Blogging

Your Blog Needs a Medic

Your blog needs a IT person – oh wait…that’s you! Let me tell you, I was totally unprepared for this! As we speak, my comments box won’t work. It was there one minute and gone the next. I’ve checked all my WordPress settings and everything is as it should be. I’ve scoured support forums and asked fellow bloggers – they suggest what I’ve already done. If there is one thing I didn’t anticipate, it was how much my site would need debugging, recoding, and other technical things I’m clueless about!

To an outsider, my blog is functional, perhaps even pretty. No one would guess how many technical issues I struggle with just to keep it up and running. Plug-ins fail and start havoc when they create conflicts with themes or new versions of WordPress. You get broken links, page not found errors, and images that won’t load. Widgets that won’t work. Forms that don’t send. Like any website, there are bugs and hiccups that need to constantly be worked out. Websites need maintenance and your blog is no exception. For me this is the ugliest side of blogging since I’m not very savvy.

What Helped Me

  • Asking other bloggers for help and support
  • Dedicating time every week to learning about the technical aspects of WordPress
The ugly side of blogging
Courtesy of Pexels

You Need to Grow Thick Skin

Blogging is a great way to put yourself out there and share your unique ideas and opinions. The bad thing about blogging is you’re putting yourself out there and sharing your unique ideas and opinions. Seriously. Not everyone will like what you have to say. It doesn’t even have to be controversial!

Being opinionated or even just openly sharing your views will leave you open to judgement, attacks, and arguments. It’s jut the nature of the business. Being in the spotlight means being under a magnifying glass – it’s means you leave yourself open to criticism and let me tell you – you need to grow some thick skin. I am incredibly thin-skinned so this has been an added challenge to blogging.

What Helped Me

  • Remember, just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Consider the source.
  • You can black list people who are perpetually negative or nasty on your blog – use it!
  • Remember that it’s easy to strike body blows from behind a keyboard and screen. It’s easy to be a bully when you don’t have to look anyone in the eye.

Readers Aren’t Interested In Reading Your Diary

I see a lot of start up blogs that read like a diary. The creator is concerned because no one is reading the content. Let me be honest, very few people are interested in reading your diary. Your content should provide something for your reader. Think of it as an exchange for their time. I have found, the best way to do this is to answer a question, debunk a myth or provide help to a problem.

That is not to say you can’t be personal. Quite the opposite, you need to establish a relationship with your readers. Blogging is all about community. But your blog should also entertain, engage, and provide something valuable to your reader. It’s all about finding balance.

What Helped Me

  • Pay attention to the questions people ask about your niche.
  • Balance personal posts with informational ones.
  • Pay attention to the engagement trends – this tells you what your readers are interested in.
  • Use email lists to share more personal things.
the ugly side of blogging
Courtesy of Pexels

You Might Feel Like Your Writing to Yourself

Ugh. This is a tough one because it can make you want to give up. There is nothing more deflating than spending a week creating a great post and knowing that it is full of useful tips and information – and only for no one to read it. When I say no one I really mean just a handful of people. Keep in mind, most people don’t even read – they skim. They pick up the gist and move on. You may try very hard to engage readers only to hear crickets. I know. I’ve been there before in my seven months of blogging. It’s depressing.

What Helped Me

  • Algorithms can often be to blame for this. Facebook for example, doesn’t prioritize the post if it contains an outside link. Sometimes it can be as simple as the social media account not sharing it in a lot of newsfeeds.
  • Don’t take it personal. Even your best followers will not read every single post you write.
  • It takes a long time to build a following. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Promote and Then Promote Some More

This leads us to the next topic: promotion. When you first start your blog, you may be shocked by how much you need to promote it. You can’t be bashful and run a successful blog. You have to be a little aggressive and very consistent in your promotion campaigns.

What Helped Me

  • Don’t assume your readers know what to do with your post. You need to tell them to share or comment on the post and e-mail subscribe or follow every chance you get.
  • 80% of your time should be promotion. Promote your blog, posts, products and services on every social media account.
  • Don’t forget to promote older posts now and then. Every time you promote it, it will reach new people.
  • Bloggers are good about helping other bloggers. Join blogging communities on forums, Twitter, and Facebook groups. Lots of them will share your posts in exchange for sharing theirs.
  • Don’t wait to set up your email list. Utilize it for help build regular traffic.
man writing
Courtesy of Pexels

Money Is Slow

If you’re like me, you see all the Pinterest click bait posts about making money blogging. Like lots of money! But I want to be honest with you. Making money is slow. This is because it takes a while to build up your traffic. It also takes time to learn which affiliates pay well and which ads attract people. A money making blog isn’t built overnight.

If you’re selling digital products, it takes time to create them, post them, and promote them. If you think getting people to read your posts is hard, it’s harder still to get someone to buy something or spend money. Also, when it comes to affiliates, it can be discouraging to see you get mere cents for page views. This is why high traffic is so important.

What Helped Me

  • Keep your advertising relative to your content
  • Utilize every affiliate network you can
  • Monetize every blog post
  • Advertising should not take the place of quality content
  • If you’re selling products, run discounts, giveaways, and FREEBIES to help engage potential buyers

It Requires Investment

Starting a blog doesn’t cost a lot of money. All you really need to get started is a domain and hosting. But there is a rub. If you really want to be successful, it will cost you something. It may be a blogging e-course, a professional theme, or premium plug-ins, but chances are you’ll end up spending money along the way.

You’ll also invest a lot of time. Not just in writing and promoting, but also learning about the industry. Either way you will need to commit to investing time, money, and energy.

What Helped Me

  • Do your research before spending money
  • Set a budget for how much you are willing to spend each month or year
  • Determine how much you will post (set up an editorial schedule) and how much time you will dedicate to your blog. Then prioritize it in your schedule. I’ve found using a planner is helpful.

I hope this post, The Ugly Side of Blogging, sheds some light on how blogging actually works. If you’re just getting started, I encourage you to keep going. Don’t be discouraged, you’re off to a great start!

Super Easy Mother’s Day Card

A handmade greeting card is a gift in and of itself. Learn how to make this super easy Mother’s Day card with just 5 materials.

Super easy mother's day card

Card Making

I love card making. I’ve been card making for almost 20 years. I started when I lived in England in the late 1990’s. I worked in a small commercial art gallery and sold my cards to make some quick cash as an artist. I’ve kept up the hobby for years.

I love giving handmade cards. They give a very special touch to occasions. It’s touching to know that someone has created a one-of-a-kind, thoughtful gift for you. The card itself becomes a gift.

This is especially nice if you aren’t actually giving a gift and just sending a card. If your giving a gift card, it certainly adds a personal touch to an otherwise sterile gift.

Use This As a Template

Today, I’m going to share you how to make a super easy Mother’s Day card. However, you can use this template over and over again for different occasions. We’re using a flower as our focal point and we’re spelling out the word, “MOM,” but you an easily swap this out for other occasions.

Materials

  • Colored card stock
  • Two paper or sticker borders
  • 1 die cut or chip board flower
  • Thickers letters: M, O, M

Instructions

Time needed: 10 minutes.

Super Easy Mother’s Day Card

  1. Select your materials

    Start by picking your floral chipboard centerpiece. You will coordinate all your other materials with this focal piece. You can also use a card stock or die cut flower, but I recommend applying it with foam tape to raise it up and add dimension.

    Borders

  2. Cut card stock

    Use either a pre-made 4×6 card or simply trim a 8.5 x 11″ card stock down the middle horizontally using a paper trimmer.

  3. Apply two borders

    Find two borders that coordinate with the colors of your flower. Apply the first border on the bottom third of the card. Using the “rule of thirds” adds interest to your card. Apply the second border above the first.

  4. Apply your flower

    Next, apply your flower on the left hand side. Overlap it on the borders. Apply flowers

  5. Add your letters

    Add your Thickers letters to spell out the word ”MOM.” I chose wooden letters but you can use any style that coordinates with your theme. Make sure to slightly overlap your borders for added interest.

    Add letters

Super easy Mother’s Day card

When you’re done, place the card in an A4 envelope. Keep in mind, if you are mailing, this card may require extra postage. Cards that are rigid or bumpy require extra postage because they are non-machinable. See USPS for more details.

There you have it, a super easy Mother’s Day card that you can make in just a few minutes. Finally, you’re looking for more crafts, see my Retro Sequin Ball Ornaments.

5 Things I Want For Mother’s Day

Sure perfumes and chocolate are great. But that isn’t actually what I want. Here are 5 things I want for Mother’s Day. FREE Printable Mother’s Day cards included.

5 things I want for mother's day

Mother’s Day is upon us. I love celebrating my own mother, my mother-in-law, and all the lovely mamas in my life. Presents are wonderful and there are always some things I’d love to have, but it got me thinking about what I really wanted. So here are 5 things I want on Mother’s Day.

5 Things I Want for Mother’s Day

To Go to the Bathroom By Myself

Every bathroom break is like a scene out of the Walking Dead. Hands are banging on the walls. Little fingers poke through the bottom of the door. I almost don’t remember what it’s like to go to the bathroom by myself anymore.

My one year old is in a stage where he loves to pull magazines out of the basket, remove trashcan contents and shred an entire roll of toilet paper in 30 seconds flat. Watching me referee from the porcelain pedestal is quite the scene.

To Eat While My Food is Still Hot

It dawned on me the other day that hot food still exists. It’s been about 4 years since my meals were hot on a regular basis. Every mom knows that you are constantly jumping up from the table to meet the needs of everyone’s last minute meal requests. “More ketchup. Salt please. Can I get more ice? I’m out of water. Is there anymore corn?” By the time I sit down I’ve lost the will to eat.

And if moms aren’t getting up, we spend the rest of our meal convincing little people to eat their food, take sensible bites, and try their vegetables. I used to enjoy meals, but honestly – it’s exhausting. So on Mother’s Day, I’d like some piping hot food please!

To Have Someone Cook For Me

Yes, I want to be taken out for dinner or brunch on Mother’s Day. Please give me a break from the serfdom that is meal making. Somedays, I feel like a human vending machine. I spend a great deal of my “work day” dispensing drinks and snacks to toddlers – who are never on the same hunger / eating schedule. Then there is the constant cleaning, wiping and picking up of counters. Most days, I feel like I never leave the kitchen. So yes, on Mother’s Day I want someone else to take over for a day…or a meal…whatever.

To Do Nothing

Yes, I want to shirk nearly all responsibilities on Mother’s Day. I don’t care how ridiculous, selfish, or lazy that sounds. I want to do as little as possible. The laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming can all take a back seat for the day. Honestly, I don’t want a bunch of plans on Mother’s Day – just let me chill and do nothing. Unless it’s crafts. I’m totally cool with doing crafts all day.

To Be With My Family

Yes, I still want to be with my family. I don’t want everyone scattering away. Yes, I’d like some alone time, or maybe more to the point – some down time. But I love my family and I want my babies and my husband around me, loving me, and hugging on me. I want a break from the responsibility, not the people.

Free Mother’s Day Cards

As a special gift to all you mama’s out there, I’m providing some FREE Mother’s Day cards for the mothers in your life. I recommend printing this on white card stock. Trim on the horizontal dark grey line. Fold on the light grey vertical line. Use an envelope suitable for a 4×6 card.

5 things I want for Mother's Day

To all the wonderful mamas out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day! In the comments below, I’d love to hear what you want for Mother’s Day

Biblical Baby Boy Names

Start your son off with a blessing. Here is my list for beautiful biblical baby boy names and their meanings.

Biblical baby boy names

The joy of naming a baby is unlike any other. It’s a special season as you and your partner search for the perfect name for your new baby.

There is a beauty in blessing your child with a biblical name. The search for the perfect name is a very personal one, but I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re interested in some biblical baby boy names for your little man. Here are some tips before we get started.

Tips for Naming

  • Be flexible
  • Consider if any family members should be honored
  • For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead.
  • Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Jeremiah = Jerry or Jeremy) and whether you want or like that
  • You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
  • Say names in full, out loud to hear how it sounds.

Other Advice

Choosing a name can be fun, but it can also lead to disagreements, especially if you are passionate about a name. Maybe there is a name you picked out years ago, but your partner doesn’t like it. That can be a tough pill to swallow. Therefore, I suggest praying before each naming brainstorm. Give your partner permission to veto names they truly dislike.

Lastly, picking a name is a very special event in having a child. Your child’s name will follow him all of his life and may even be passed down. I hope that you enjoy the process of naming your little. Finally, here is the best advice, I can give. Lots of people, family included, will have an opinion about the name you choose. But their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s between you and the child’s father. Don’t let anyone’s comments bother you or rob you of joy.

names proverbs

Biblical Baby Boy Names

Here is my favorite list of biblical baby boy names with the meanings in parenthesis.

  • Aaron (high mountain, exalted)
  • Abel (breath)
  • Abraham (father of many)
  • Adam (man, to make)
  • Amos (load, burden)
  • Andrew (manly, masculine)
  • Asa (healer)
  • Asher (happy, blessed)
  • Barnabas (son of the prophet)
  • Bartholomew (son of Talmai)
  • Benjamin (son of the right hand)
  • Boaz (swiftness)
  • Caleb (dog)
  • Daniel (God is my judge)
  • David (beloved)
  • Eder (flock)
  • Eleazar (my God has helped)
  • Eli (ascension)
  • Elijah (My God is Yahweh)
  • Elisha (My God is my salvation)
  • Emmanuel (God is with us)
  • Ethan (solid, enduring, firm)
  • Ezekiel (God will strengthen)
  • Gabriel (God is my strong man)
  • Gideon (feller, hewer)
  • Hosea (salvation)
  • Isaac (to laugh)
  • Isaiah (salvation)
  • Jacob (subplanter)
  • Jadon (he will judge)
  • James (subplanter)
  • Jared (descent)
  • Jehoshaphat (Yahweh has judged)
  • Jehu (Yahweh is he)
  • Jeremiah (Yahweh will exalt)
  • Jesse (Gift)
  • Jethro (Abundance)
  • Joel (Yahweh is God)
  • John (Yahweh is gracious)
  • Jonah (dove)
  • Jonathan (Yahweh has given)
  • Joseph (He will add)
  • Joshua (Yahweh is salvation)
  • Josiah (Yahweh supports)
  • Judah (praise)
  • Jude (praise)
  • Kenan (possession)
  • Lazarus (my god has helped)
  • Levi (joined, attached)
  • Luke (light giving)
  • Malachi (my angel)
  • Matthew (gift of Yahweh)
  • Mark (the Roman God of Mars, warrior)
  • Micah (who is like Yahweh)
  • Michael (who is like Yahweh)
  • Mordecai (servant of Marduk)
  • Moses (son)
  • Nathan (he gave)
  • Nathanael (he has given)
  • Nicodemus (victory)
  • Noah (rest, repose)
  • Omar (speaker)
  • Paul (Small, humble)
  • Peter (Stone)
  • Philip (friend of horses)
  • Phinehas (Nubian)
  • Ram (exalted)
  • Raphael (to heal)
  • Rueben (behold, a son)
  • Reuel (friend of god)
  • Samson (sun)
  • Samuel (god has heard)
  • Saul (asked for, prayed for)
  • Seth (appointed)
  • Silas (forest, wood)
  • Simon (he has heard)
  • Stephen (crown)
  • Thomas (twin)
  • Timothy (to honor God)
  • Titus (title of honor)
  • Tobias (Yahweh is good)
  • Uriah (Yahweh is my light)
  • Uzziah (my power is Yahweh)
  • Zachariah (Yahweh remembers)

Before you go

Don’t forget to PIN this list for later. Before you go, be sure to grab my Baby Registry Checklist. It comes with a FREE printable to get your registry started. Also, in the comments below, I’d love to hear what names you love and why.

Scripture Reading: When to Be Quiet

Not everything requires our comment or opinion. Let’s take a look at how the bible instructs us. Please join me for May’s scripture reading: When to be quiet.

scripture reading when to stay quiet

I have a major problem keeping my mouth shut. My mouth has placed me in trouble more times than I care to admit.

I overstep boundaries. I give my opinion where none is needed. I’ve been sanctimonious, arrogant, and rebellious. Cantankerous, venomous words have escaped my lips. I have a problem keeping my mouth shut. The truth is, most people struggle with this. We tend to think too highly of our own opinions.

This month, we’re going to take a look at scripture to guide us when to speak and when to bite our tongue.

Scripture Reading: When to be quiet

Never Quiet the Gospel

First, let’s take a moment and look at when the bible commands us to speak up. As Christians, we are called to bring darkness into light by spreading the Gospel.

To Defend Our Faith

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16

To Proclaim the Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” – Romans 1:16

To Lovingly Correct Other Christians

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” – Galatians 6:1 

To Repair a Hurt or Disagreement

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. -Matthew 18:15

For Praise & Thanksgiving

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” – Hebrews 13:15

To Expose Darkness Including Apostasy

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;” – Ephesians 5:8

To Confess

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9

The bible

How To Speak Up

When we are instructed to speak up, it should always be with love. This includes any admonishment. Once corrected, we should be quick to extend the mercy of God.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Ephesians 4:!5

Scripture Reading: When to Stay Quiet

Thank you for joining me this month for Scripture Reading: When to Be Quiet. I know correction isn’t always easy to hear, but it’s important in our walk with Christ. Please and take a moment and read some of my other Scripture Readings like Depression & Grief.In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you.

Baby Registry Checklist

It’s hard to know just what what to buy before baby gets here. So I’ve made it easy with a FREE downloadable Baby Registry Checklist.

Baby Registry Checklist

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps offset the costs incurred with this blog. See my full disclosure policy for more details.

Hey there girlfriend! Congratulations on getting prego! Having a baby can be very exciting, but it’s also overwhelming. It’s hard to know exactly when and how to get started.

Well, I have done a lot of the hard work for you. As a mama of two, I’m sharing easy baby registry checklist to help get you started. There are lots of things I could add to this list, but I kept it to the main essentials that you need.

When To Start Planning

Having a baby is expensive and it takes lots of preparation. My best advice is not to wait until the end. As a mommy of two preterm babies, you just never know when your baby will get here. My advice is to do a little every week. As you may already know, you feel so terrible in your first trimester so you may not feel well enough to start prepping for baby. In your last trimester, you will be very uncomfortable with every passing week. You probably won’t feel like setting up a nursery in the last month or two. Therefore, my advice is to do most of the work in your second trimester when you feel relatively good.

Tips

  • Ask close family to go in together on big gifts or compile gift cards
  • Consider buying unisex colored items for future children
  • Don’t add too many clothes to your registry. You won’t have to twist anyone’s arm to buy you lots of cute clothes, even if it’s not on the registry.
  • You may omit breastfeeding items if you are exclusively formula feeding. However, you may want to consider keeping bottle feeding items on your registry even if you’re breastfeeding. Pumping allows daddy and other family members to relieve you from nursing.
  • Don’t be afraid to register at as many stores as you want. Most stores offer a completion discount shortly after your shower date passes.
  • Your registry should include everything you need for the first year.
baby registry checklist

Where to Shop

Babies R Us, used to be the go-to place for baby registries. But with that gone, you may need to spread your registry over several stores. My favorites include:

Baby Registry Checklist

Feeding

  • Kid’s Utensils
  • Sippy Cups
  • Bottles
  • Sterilizer
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Breast Pump
  • Milk Storage Bags
  • Pacifiers
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Nursing pads
  • Plates
  • High Chair
  • Travel Highchair
  • Burp Cloths
  • Bibs
  • Bottle Drying Rack

Sleeping

  • White Noise Maker
  • Swaddles
  • Receiving Blankets
  • Stroller / Baby Blankets
  • Pack & Play / Play pen or Travel Crib
  • Baby monitor
  • Crib Mobile

Bedding

  • Bassinet
  • Fitted Crib Sheets (3)
  • Crib
  • Crib Mattress
  • Water proof Mattress cover

Other Nursery Items

  • Diaper pail
  • Diaper pail bags
  • Nightlight
  • Changing Table
  • Basket for Nursery Items
  • Changing pad
  • Nursery Rocking Chair or Glider
  • Changing pad covers (2-3)

Out of the House

  • Stroller
  • Car seat
  • Car mirror
  • Diaper bag
  • Car seat cover
  • Baby carrier

Bath, Health & Hygiene

  • Bath tub (with Newborn Insert)
  • Washcloths
  • Hooded Bath Towels
  • Bath Toys
  • Baby Toiletries
  • Faucet / Spout Cover
  • Bath Mat
  • Grooming Kit (nail clipper, file, brush, etc)
  • Medicine Dropper
  • Thermometer
  • Humidifer
  • Baby Vapo Rub
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Desitin or other Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Cream
  • Infants Tylenol

Other

  • Teethers
  • Plush toys
  • Activity Gym
  • Swing
  • Jumper
  • Walker
  • Books
  • Rattles
  • Bouncer

Clothes (in every size)

  • Bodysuits (Onesis) (10-15)
  • Socks (7-10)
  • Newborn hats (2-3)
  • Sleep & Play (10)
  • Sweaters / Jackets (2-3)
  • Dressy Outfits (1-2)
  • Soft pants (10-15)

I hope you have a wonderful and safe pregnancy! In the comments below, I’d love to hear if you’re expecting a boy or a girl and what you are most excited about. Congratulations!

How To Get Housework Done With an Infant

If you’re a mama staring at the tornado that is your house and wondering how to get housework done with an infant, this post is for you.

how to get things done with an infant

When I first became a mom, I wondered, “how in the world do you get things done with an infant?” Girl, let me tell you – I’ve been there!

Friend, let me tell you… I was totally that struggling mom. I struggled to get even the smallest things done. The first six months was a blur. My dishes were piled up. Counters were dirty. Floors were filthy. Errands were neglected. Laundry was spilling over every hamper. I can tell you, you’ll find what works for you – every mother does. But if you’re a new mom and need some solid advice, I’m here to share what helped me.

These days, I have two kids and I’m proud to say I’m amazingly productive for having an infant and toddler who are constantly vomiting chaos wherever they go.


How to Get Housework Done With an Infant

Include Your Baby

One of the main reasons babies fuss while you’re trying to get things done is because they want your attention. You are your baby’s whole world. The sun rises and sets with you. He or she loves you more than anyone in the whole world, and therefore, they want your love and attention. Let’s be real – when we have a to-do list longer than the Great Wall of China, we don’t care about that! We just want a few minutes to get some things done! Ass you already know, babies don’t want to be ignored. They are living, loving creatures that want engagement and attention. So bring your baby with you. 

Your baby also loves to explore! As long as your baby is safe, give them nearby household objects to explore. Sometimes these are better than actual toys! When I do the dishes, I give my little one measuring cups, measuring spoons, a clean sponge, or a pot to bang on. Talk or sing to your little one. These are great teaching moments. Engage your little one by explaining what you are doing. 

If you are folding clothes, give them a colorful towel or one of their own clothes. Let them explore it. Play peek a boo when you grab a new piece of clothing. Tell him or her what color it is. Is it rough or soft? Cleaning a bathroom? Give them some bath squeeze toys or some toilet paper to tear up – just make sure they don’t eat it! The point is, that babies love inclusion and they have lots of fun when you engage them.

Be Realistic

So, I’m gonna share a deep secret. When I first had my son, my mom witnessed firsthand my total and complete frustration. She pulled me aside and gave me the best advice. Gone were the days when I could wash dishes in 20 mins and clean a bathroom in a half hour. Those days will return one day, but for now, things had changed.

My mom said, “you’re still trying to clean as if you don’t have kids. Things have changed. Once you let go of that expectation, you’ll be happier.” I don’t know why it finally clicked, but a light bulb went off. In all my stubbornness, I had refused to let go of pre-child expectations. I was clinging to old standards. My inflexibility was making me miserable. I had to learn to adjust and embrace my new life. This may not be an actual tip, but I can tell you – you’ll save yourself a lot of anger and disappointment if you learn to adjust to your new normal. Dishes take me nearly an hour and bathroom takes about 2. That’s my new normal.

baby playing

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Use a Carrier

Sometimes, our sweet little ones just want to be in our arms and they don’t take no for an answer. When that happens, a baby carrier becomes your best friend! Most carriers adjust for baby wearing on your back or in front of you. Depending on the activity, one or the other may be better. Remember never to bend at the waist with your carrier. Babies can fall out even when they seem snug in a carrier.

Invest in a good carrier. I was frugal and bought an inexpensive carrier. When you have a newborn, all carriers seem comfortable. But as your baby gains weight, the quality of your carrier becomes really obvious. Learn from my mistake – buy a good quality carrier that is ergonomic and evenly distributes weight. Your back will thank you. I recommend the following:

Move Them Frequently

Babies get bored quickly. Naw, I never knew that! Haha. If you’re a mom, you’ve figured this out already. Babies and toddlers have a super short attention span. Working against it by insisting that your baby sit with the same basket of toys for an hour will be frustrating to you and baby. Instead, take a cue and change their scenery. If you’re working up high, put them in a high chair with some toys. Putting them at eye level helps to extend the time you can work with. Folding clothes? Sit on the floor with them. Fold one load in the washroom and do the second load in your bedroom. Sometimes babies just want a change of scenery.

Touch Them Often

Babies desire to be in your arms all the time. If it were up to them, you’d never put them down. Get what you can done. When they start to fuss, pick them up and reassure them, continue with your tasks one handed if you can, then after a few minutes, try putting them down again, this time in another place. Often, they just want reassurance. I’ve found you normally get more time by doing that. We forget about things like that when we are scrambling to get chores done.

I’ve also found if you frequently touch babies like stroking their face, brushing their hair, grabbing their hands and singing while you work – it helps them feel assured. I’ve found sitting babies in between your legs works wonders. They feel like they are on your lap and they can touch you when they want to. Babies just long to be physically close to you. Sometimes you just need to be creative about it while you’re working.

how to get things done with an infant

Break Up Tasks

One of the most helpful things I learned to do was to break up tasks. First, I use a planner. My Happy Planner really saved me when I first became a mom. Keeping a cleaning schedule really helped me. You can read about my planner journey in the post How Happy Planner Changed My Life. But I learned to prioritize my day with 3 things that needed to get done. Then, I would break it up into smaller tasks and work them around taking care of my baby.

For example, I’d start a load of laundry then feed and play with my baby. I’d make my bed. Then take my baby to change the laundry (yes, you do a lot of things with one hand). Then I’d fill up the sink with hot soap water so dishes could sit while I read a book to my little one. Work smart and work small! Learn to take advantage of small clumps of minutes. Over the day, things will get done.

Some people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I always had a hard time with that because it was the only time I could get things done. It’s perfectly okay if you use nap time that way.

Hang in there, mama. This season won’t last forever. I hope I’ve provided some insight with how to get housework done with an infant. In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you are struggling with as a new mama. Trust me when I say, as your child grows things will get easier.

How to get housework done with an infant.

How To Handle Disappointment with God

how to handle disappointment with God

Disappointment in life can actually make you question God’s goodness. I have some words of encouragement and advice on how to handle disappointment with God.

Navigating Crisis

As I write this, I am in the midst of disappointment. Not only are we currently losing, but we didn’t get the job we desperately wanted. We wanted it so bad we could taste it and it seemed like the perfect fit. We prayed so much about it too. So at times of deep disappointment it’s natural for us to ask, “God, what are you doing?”

Our Response to Disappointment

Disappointment is always easy to explain away when it isn’t you. We’re quick to tell a friend that everything will work out. We use phrases like “it’s in God’s time” or “it just wasn’t in God’s plan.” It all sounds good when it isn’t us. But how do we handle disappointment with God when we don’t get our way?

Typically, with a knee jerk reaction. We may think God didn’t hear our prayers. Similarly, we may feel that our prayers don’t matter to God. We want to know why God didn’t give us what we asked for. The truth is sometimes we may never know, but more often than not, I’ve looked back at my life and have been grateful for many prayers that God didn’t answer my way. One thing I do know is that God always answers prayers. It just might not be the response we’re looking for. First, let’s take a look at God’s responses when the answer isn’t yes.

God’s Responses

No

  • Your request is sinful or may lead you into sin
  • It may not be good for you – regardless of it’s appearance

Wait

  • It may not be the right time
  • God is still moving the “chess pieces” and not yet finished with your story
  • He needs you to learn, grow, or do something first

I have something better

  • There is something better He wants to give you

I often equivocate God’s timing to a chess game. There are many moving pieces. There are obstacles. Each strategic move brings you closer to your goal. Sometimes it takes several moves to get into an advantageous position. When you don’t see your prayer being answered, you may wonder if God is moving at all. Throughout my life, I’ve learned that while I was waiting, God was busy moving all the pieces of my life for the best possible outcome to my prayer. When I didn’t see God moving – He was actually moving the most…behind the scenes.

How to Handle Disappointment with God

Stay Humble

Disappointment comes from an expectation not being met. Read that again. An expectation. Could it be we feel entitled?

The Story of Job

Let’s take a look at the book of Job. The devil requests to tempt Job and God sets the parameters. The first tragedies don’t cause Job to curse the Lord. Therefore, Satan tells God it’s only because he was not allowed to hurt Job directly. So again, God redraws the parameters saying Satan can hurt him, but can’t take his life. Consequently, he is tortured by sores and boils. Job wants answers. Chapter after chapter Job complains, grumbles, and accuses – demanding answers from the Lord. By chapter 38, God has had enough. THEN THE LORD SPOKE TO JOB OUT OF A STORM.”

God is angry and He has a question or two for Job.

“Where were you when I laid the Earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!” (Job 38: 4-5) God is making a point. You know nothing. I know everything. God continues for two chapters announcing His glory, then waits for Job’s reply. Job is speechless. “I am unworthy. How can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” (Job 40: 4)

Job has no answers. He’s been humbled and the best thing He can do in a moment like that is to put his hand over his mouth and shut up!

I’m not insisting we don’t grieve. Grieving is important to process loss. However, take a lesson instead from the Psalms. It’s okay to tell God your confused, disappointed, even angry. But those lamentations should immediately be followed by praise and vows of trust. Keep faith that God knows everything – including what is best for you and He hasn’t forgotten about your needs.

Stay Grateful

One of the best ways to ward off disappointment is to be grateful for what you already have. If you are complaining, you aren’t giving thanks. God has already given you many things and He has helped you thus far. As disappointed as you might be, try to focus on the blessings in your life.

Philippians 4:6

I know what I’m saying in this post isn’t vogue. Lots of modern churches would have you believe that God is chummy with you and they focus on messages of prosperity. But let’s take a lesson from Job. God is not a peer. He is holy (set apart) and we should practice reverence. Additionally, while occasional messages of prosperity are uplifting, it shouldn’t be our Christian focus. God is not a genie in a lamp here to grant us wishes. I just think sometimes we forget, He does not exist to do our bidding; we exist to do His. Be encouraged that God wants what is good for us (even if it isn’t what we think it is) and He will bless us. If you need proof of that, count your blessings.

Encourage Yourself in God’s Goodness

When we feel disappointed by God, you may question God’s goodness. In those dark moments, remind yourself of God’s character. This is how to handle disappointment with God.

Just

God is often described as just in scripture. I find amazing peace in knowing God is just! Not only is He just, but scripture says He “loves justice.” Justice is all about making what is wrong, right. No one can mistreat you, no one can take something away from you without God later making it right. He promises to payback what was wrong. Knowing this should curb feelings of disappointment or unfairness.

Merciful

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love,” (Micah 7:18) To be merciful is to extend grace when none is deserved. It means He pardons us, is slow to anger, and does not stay angry. Knowing that God is merciful tells us there are no grudges held against us. God is not spiteful. Take comfort that God is not “punishing you” by not answering your prayer the way you desire.

Holy / Righteous

To be holy literally translates to “separate.” God is separate from us in the sense that there is no evil in his character. Simply put, God is good…all the time. He is separated from sin and the sinful world. He does not participate in sin. Therefore, knowing that He has no evil in him tells us His intentions are good for us and we can trust him.

Compassionate

Have you ever wondered why Jesus came into this world as a baby? Why not come at the age of 30, just in time to start his ministry? Ask yourself, why put up with sickness, temptation, betrayals, and bad days? Why weep over the death of Lazarus when he knew he’d raise him from death only minutes later? So you would know He is compassionate. He understands your pain. God knows what troubles you. He’s been there. He sympathizes with your problems. Knowing that He is compassionate and that he has gone out of his way to show you, should bring you comfort.

Rich In Love

God’s character is loving. It’s a love we can’t even comprehend. But let’s start with the fact that He couldn’t be separated from us and therefore sent His son down to pay the price for our sin. (seeJohn 3:16)

Take a moment and read my earlier post Identity in Christ. Stop and see yourself through the eyes of God. Read what He has to say about you and how much He loves you. Once you remind yourself about how good God is and how much He loves you, it’s hard to feel disappointed for long.

Find the Fruit in Your Wilderness

For Christians there is purpose to our suffering. Everything, including our trials should bring us closer to God. How often do we become complacent when things are smooth and easy? Hardship reminds us we can’t stray too far from God because we need him.

Furthermore, everything is orchestrated to further God’s kingdom and proclaim His glory. If you remain steadfast and hope in the Lord during your troubles, you also become a witness for the Kingdom – a living example of the divine grace that passes all understanding. That strength in the time of adversity invites non-believers to desire the strength only God can provide and thereby the church.

Spread the gospel. When necessary, use words.

We are ambassadors of Christ. Remember…God is in the business of divine self-promotion.

Grateful For “Unanswered” Prayers

When I look back over the course of my life, I’m grateful for prayers to which God said no. Ultimately, what he gave me was far better. In fact, some things were so good, I never could have even imagined asking for it. Time and time again he has proven to me to just trust him and let him work out my problems for me. God’s ultimate solutions don’t disappoint.

If you feel this message has helped you, save it for later by bookmarking or pinning it. Share it with a friend who needs it. I pray the Holy Spirit speaks to you and comforts you.


If you are struggling with how to handle disappointment with God, leave a prayer request in the comments below. I’d love to pray for you.