The Bug Bite Thing

One of THE most irritating things about summer in our neck of the woods is the dreaded mosquitos. We have a lovely sliver of spring when they haven’t hatched out of hiding yet, and it’s simply glorious. When they do come out though, they arise with a vengeance.

Nothing is worse than being eaten alive… and then to deal with the itchiness afterwards is the literal definition of “UGH!”

I learned something new the other day. The reason we feel itchy is due to a reaction caused by the saliva/venom the bugs leave behind just under our skin.

Bug Bite Thing is a suction tool that extracts the irritants which in turn alleviates the itching, stinging and swelling!

Bug Bite Thing is reusable, kid-friendly and works on mosquitoes, bees, wasps, ants and other biting insects! The tool can also be used to remove splinters and other embedded objects!

I get it, it sounds a little too good to be true, but they come with a 100% guarantee so there is no harm in trying!

You can find them in black and white here: Bug Bite Thing.

Enter my giveaway over on Instagram for a chance to win a couple for yourself – there will be more than one winner! *giveaway now CLOSED*

xoxo Kate

The Ultimate Budget List

We don’t know what the future holds and that’s exactly why it’s a good idea to have a plan. Creating a budget is a wonderful way to get on top of your finances. By laying out each expense, you are able to see where your money is going, what can be adjusted and then you can figure out how to save up and become debt free!

Becoming debt free is a huge goal of mine so I created a budgeting list and wanted to share to help others with similar goals… or if you just want to see where the heck all of your money is going!

Below is my ULTIMATE BUDGET LIST print off.

Here’s to saving, becoming debt free and enjoying financial freedom!

Other valuable resources:

Budgeting Journal

Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover

Cash Envelope System

My cousin also shared with me this super cool debt free chart that can be found here!

xxoo Kate

Gift guide for active toddlers

We all know what it’s like to get ants in our pants. Kids especially need to burn off their energy because they have so much of it. Some kids are just climbers, others could use a little help with coordination but nearly all kids just need to move. These gifts are perfect for just that!

1.Pikler Triangle I just found out about these within the last 2 years and they’ve fascinated me ever since! They’re perfect for climbers and can be used before your child can even walk. Additional attachments can be purchased like slides and more! I talk more about Pikler triangles here.

2.Toddler Slide If you decide against a Pikler and you want something a little more simple, you can’t go wrong with a slide. Kids love slides and no one says you can’t have one indoors!

3. DIY balance beam This year we’re asking Santa’s elves to make this beam and a Pikler for Christmas. I must say, the triangle is kind of complex to make but even I could make this balance beam! Balancing is a skill that must be mastered so why not make it fun?

4.Bilibo seats These versatile play objects are multi award winning and perfect for open ended play! The possibilities are nearly endless including rocking , hiding, spinning, standing on and more!

5.Balance board The balance boards were originally found in Waldorf schools but made their way into people’s homes. These are great for imaginative play, strength building and exercise. They can be used by children of all ages.

6.Mini trampoline It’s important for kids to stay active and this is the perfect pastime activity! My middle child loves to bounce and I’m here to tell you that this trampoline provides an exceptional energy-burning outlet for toddlers.

7.Gonge hilltops My girls got these for Christmas last year that they’ve been a hit ever since! They are one of the few things that get used every single day. Hilltops develop children’s ability to estimate distances and make them familiar with heights.

8.Pod swing These can be used indoors or outdoors but we plan to use it inside because my kiddos and I get some serious cabin fever (we have 8 months of snow). These hammock swings help develop a child‘s sense of balance and body awareness but at the same time can be used for relaxation.

9.Rock wall Our home is a child-centered zone. I want space for the kids to explore and have fun because why not?! Who says you can’t make a rock wall inside your house?

10.Bounce horse The only thing my oldest daughter wanted this year was a pony. She suggested a real one but we decided he or she would be too cold outside and too big to live inside so she decided to ask Santa for a “toy pony that she could ride on.”

11.Tunnel I don’t know what it is about tunnels but kids love them. They’re great for imaginative adventures. As a parent, I like these ones because they collapse down and store very easily!

12.Basketball hoop I’m going to be honest and say that we use the basketball hoop just as much as our girls do. There is something so satisfying about throwing a ball from across the living room and making it. Things get pretty heated between my husband and I but hey, the kids like it too. It’s a fun family activity!

13.Indoor play gym Also known as a Swedish wall, this play gym comes with it all- ropes, rings, climbing wall, ladder, ramp, swing. All of these features are great for climbing and coordination skills!

14.Sit n spin My girls love to spin… and spin and spin! They always end up smashing themselves off of things and getting hurt so with this sit n spin, at least they’re sitting down!

15.Indoor climbing dome These domes can be used outdoors but if you have the space, indoors too! They’re great for climbing and hours of fun!

xxoo Kate

Hospital Bag For Labor and Delivery

If you’d rather watch the video click here.

The following items are not all necessities. I’ve given birth twice already with no bags packed due to my water breaking early so we were extremely unprepared. With my first, my husband ran back home and threw some things together. With my second, we were cramming things in a bag and heading out the door (and it’s a good thing because I showed up to the hospital dilated to a 7)!

If you showed up to the hospital with nothing, you would be just fine, however, the belongings I’ve listed below make things much more comfortable, at least for me.

  • Wallet, Insurance card and photo ID: It just helps everyone out and you never know if your husband is going to need some dolla bills for the vending machine! If you have a will or advanced directives, include that too!
  • Robe: You could pick a cute one for photos and/or visitors or a fuzzy one for comfort. I’m going with my old fuzzy one.
  • Snacks: I will be sneaking a snack because let me tell you, soup broth, jello, and ice chips do NOT cut it. These Clif bars will be in my husband’s bag as well.

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  • Blanket: I’d prefer my own blanket over a bleachy hospital one any day!
  • Body pillow: Because I cannot WAIT to snuggle it while sleeping on my stomach like I was able to do pre-pregnancy!
  • Fuzzy Socks: I just like being comfortable, okay!? I prefer fuzzy socks to slippers which a lot of people like to pack.
  • Birth Plan: It’s always nice to have an “ideal” birth plan laid out ahead of time. You never know what’s going to happen. Here is mine.
  • Tea: Laugh all you want but tea makes me happy and calms me… therefore, it made the cut. Here is the kind I’m bringing along.

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  • Oil Diffuser + Oils: Not all hospitals allow this but I absolutely love a familiar smell in the air while I’m in labor. Once again, a comfort thing. Here are some of my favorite oils.

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  • Hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, make-up: Chances are, I won’t even use my makeup but it’s nice to have on hand just in case. My hubs and I are due for new toothbrushes anyways so we are packing our favorites from BambooRoots. And of course, my favorite anise flavored toothpaste from Dr. Bronner’s!

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  • Reusable nursing pads: My favorites are from Kindred Bravely and they’re much better on the nips than disposables.

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  • Pump Bag: I’ve had to start pumping almost immediately to stimulate my milk to come in with my past two births because my babies were taken straight to the NICU. I love this bag from Sarah Wells and the convenience of all the little compartments!

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  • Nursing bra: I love my Ollie Gray bra because it’s comfortable and extremely easy-access if you’re planning on nursing your little one.

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  • Long charger: It’s just always nice to have on hand.
  • Cloth pads: Don’t get me wrong, I love the coverage of the mesh undies that the hospital provides but I love the healthy fabrics used in my cloth pads even more. I’m bringing some from FemmeCloths on Etsy!

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  • Shampoo + Body wash + Deodorant: You know, for when you’re ready to attempt to smell nice.

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  • Heating pad: When your uterus is shrinking back to size, this is a life saver. I remember thinking I was dying after I had my first baby because I didn’t realize you had contractions AFTER labor as well.
  • Natural gum: It’s just nice to have something to chew on, during or after labor. Some of my favorites are Pur, Tree Hugger bubble gum, and Glee Gum.

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  • Glass Water Bottle: Helping the planet one bottle at a time. I’m bringing my pretty purple one from The Life Factory!
  • Hand Sanitizer: Dr. Bronner’s makes a really gentle, yummy smelling one!

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  • Prenatal vitamins: It’s important to keep taking your prenatal or a post-natal vitamins after birth as well! I have used RainbowLight my entire pregnancy and plan to continue after birth because I love them!
  • Thayer’s Witch Hazel: I have a slight obsession with witch hazel and this kind just so happens to be my favorite. It’s great for hemorrhoids and healing in general. You can add into your postpartum spray bottle (which is probably my favorite thing ever).

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  • Clothes: This is kind of a given. Pack things that are comfortable, this isn’t a fashion show. Two pieces I’m for-sure including are my nursing nightgown from The Savi Mom and my Blanqi leggings to wear home because they’ll suck everything in and that support after a baby is exceptional!

Obviously everyone’s hospital bags will be tailored to them but hopefully I’ve offered you some fun ideas you may not have thought about yet. Best of luck ladies!

xxoo Kate

Pumping Mama Advice and Must Have Products

Where are my fellow pumping mamas at?!

First off, GO YOU! Pumping is hard work! I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite things that all pumping ladies need. I mean it when I say, these will make your life so much easier.

Whether you are working, going to school, or heading out for a girls weekend, I think we can all agree that hauling our pump, pump parts, storage bags, nip-nip cream and all of the little membrane parts and tubing is such a hassle, am I right?!

I’ll start first by bragging about this Sarah Wells bag and why it has changed the pumping game for me!

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I use my pump quite often because I am “blessed” with an oversupply and like to have some stashed away, but also to make donations to local ladies and their babies. This bag is so miraculous that I know I’ll continue to use it well after my pumping days!

Let me tell you what I love about this bag….

The Storage – If you know me, I’m all about storage. I love when all of my things have a designated place to go. It saves time when you know where things are. Don’t waste your precious 15 minute pump break at work searching for all the pieces to your pump! This bag has a special spot specifically for your pump, how cool is that?

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It’s Versatility – I can use this bag as a diaper bag, an overnight bag, gym bag, tote bag for a lunch date- honestly whatever I need it for! It can fit any style of portable breast pump and when you’re done with your pumping journey, use the pump compartment for MORE storage!! This bag also gives you the option of using it as a crossbody bag which as my fellow mamas already know, the more hands you have free, the better!

It’s Stylish – All of the Sarah Wells bags are well made and on trend! The one I have is the Abby in Navy Stripe, but all of their patterns and colors are gorgeous. It was really hard to pick just one! I also loved their newly released Claire bag in brown.

It’s Lifetime Warranty – I love when companies are run by people who truly CARE for their customers. The owner of Sarah Wells strives for 100% mama satisfaction so you can reach out to her with any questions or concerns. This feature is awesome when you have a busy life, and destructive children. These bags are going to hold up so they’re worth every penny!

A couple of other cool features include thermally lined side pocket(s) and they’re even water-resistant with easy-to-clean materials!

Now that you have the bag, what should go in it? I’m going to tell you 4 must haves and why they’re key….. 

1. A water bottle is a must. If you want to produce enough liquid gold for you precious little human, you need to drink enough water. I am in love with my new S’ip by S’well bottle because it’s cute, functional, and it’s made of stainless steel which is much safer than plastic.

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These bottles keep your liquids cold up to 24 hours and hot up until 12! Ditch your single use plastic bottles for one of these pretty things and I’m willing to be you’ll never look back. (On sale at Target now, click here to browse their fun designs!)

2. Snacks on snacks on snacks. Keeping up a good breast milk supply can be daunting. I remember going all day and then thinking, “Oh wow, I haven’t eaten anything yet today.” Kids will do that to you! Stay on top of things and stash away some of your favorite, easy to grab snacks. You’ve got to take care of yourself if you want to take care of that baby! I’m in love with Annie’s organic granola bars! I buy them with the intention of giving them to my toddler but I end up eating them all because they’re so good!

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3. Booby pads. I know I’m not the only one who’s been out and about only to glance down and see a leaky milk stain on my shirt! It can take months for your milk to regulate, which is why these are a serious embarrassment saver. I started off using disposables but I went through so many and they’re really not cheap. I invested in some washable organic nursing pads and I will never be going back to disposables.

From Kindred Bravely, four pairs only cost $12.93 and they come with an adorable little waterproof pouch bag. The bamboo is soft against sensitive skin, they never show through your shirt and I never had a leak!

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4. Wipes! These re-usable wipes from Marleys Monsters are some of the most multi-purpose products I have ever come across. They can be used as cloth butt wipes, napkins, tissues, “paper towel” in your kitchen, toilet paper… Am I branching out too much for your taste? Well that’s fine, but you need to have these on hand. Ever feed your baby or pump from one side, only to have the other spewing uncontrollably? I kid you not, I use to yell in a panic to my husband to bring me a towel so I could stuff it in my bra because the leakage was that colossal. These wipes are perfect to have on hand for drying your pump parts after a cleaning, wiping up spilled milk (I pray you don’t experience this) or packing your bra during a pumping session!

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Not only are they covered in fun patterns but they’re made of 100% soft, cotton flannel. You can even customize your set by choosing your favorite patterns! Click the following links to see which ones stand out most to you – flannel or cotton!

Whether you’re expecting, not knowing where to start, or just trying to simplify your life, these products have saved my sanity and I know they’ll help yours too!

Happy pumping ladies!

xxoo Kate

Natural insect repellent

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It’s that time of the year people – at least in my neck of the woods! It’s finally summer, which means outdoor fun, camping, hiking, traveling, sunshine and, wait for it…. bugs! My family loves to get outside and go for walks, head out to the campground or camp and just be outside enjoying the nice weather. The thing that comes along with warmer weather that is not so enjoyable are the bugs and I’ve found a healthy way to keep them off of me and my babies!

My mom actually discovered this stuff at our local co-op but you can also order it for literally half of the price we paid in-store. I’ve attached a couple of links below. What I love about it is 1- THE SMELL. Oh my goodness it’s so good. 2- It actually works. And 3- It’s healthy. DEET free my friends.

Don’t know what DEET is? It’s not good for you or your children to put it simply. DEET is in almost all insect repellents because it’s the ingredient that actually repels the insects. The Herbal Armor insect repellent repels with six natural oils, clinically tested to be 100% effective. Its sweat and water resistant and upholds strict standards for natural ingredients. It’s perfect for sensitive skin and your precious children.

You can get the kids kind, the adult kind or even some for your petsI just buy a big bottle of the kids kind and our whole family uses it. Currently swear by it guys! It’s a must have if you ever go outside… so yeah, I’m talking to you!

xxoo Kate