Toddler Proofing Your Home: Preparing For Life With Toddlers and A New Baby

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FirstMomentsMadeSimple #ForBetterBeginnings #MomsFirsts #CollectiveBias

It’s April, people! Woohoo! I welcomed the new month with open arms as it means we are thismuch closer to Baby Byrd #3’s arrival. 

Prepping for baby the third time around is so much different than for our first and second. Instead of getting things ready for our new baby, I’ve found myself focusing more on the toddlers and things that will make my life easier while home with all three.  

Seeing as this is our third baby in three years, we have a lot of the basics covered but, one item that never made my “must have” list until now is the Diaper Genie®. Funny how having two little toddlers with wandering hands and a curiosity for every trash can in the house will push a diaper pail to the top of your list 😉

When I was pregnant with Lyla, Alex and I visited our local Babies “R” Us to create a registry so I knew that it would be the perfect place to pick up our Diaper Genie. (Pro Tips: if you are expecting your first and want to set up a registry – visit Babies “R” Us on the first Saturday of every month for their Registry 101 event. Then, once you have had your baby, head back to the store on the 3rd Tuesday of the month to receive discounts on un-purchased registry items at their Registry Completion events)

Simon had fallen asleep in the car on the way there so Alex stayed in the car with the kids while I ran in to pick up my new best friend. I headed towards the back of the store where the diapers and wipes are kept and checked out my options and ended up choosing the Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions™. This little beauty boasts the maximum odor control of the Diaper Genie systems, can hold up to fifty newborn diapers, and is customizable. Win, win, win! 

Once we got it home, Lyla immediately started trying to get the box open so I let her help me take it out and put on the Designer Fabric Sleeve. I’m a big fan of home baby products that don’t scream “this is for a baby!!!” so I really appreciate the Cream Knit patterned sleeve that I chose. 

I also really appreciate my husband who is always willing to be a hand model at a moment’s notice 😉

Now that I have a way to keep those little hands out of the stinky diaper trash, I had to think of something else to keep them busy so I put together a “busy basket”.

I loaded up one of our baskets with some of their favorite toys, a few books and snacks. I can see reloading this basket becoming pretty time consuming but I really think it will come in handy when I need them to be entertained without mom for a few minutes (like when I’m nursing). 

As soon as Simon came downstairs from his nap, he found the basket and dove right in so I think this one will work – at least for a little while. Alex suggested filling a fanny pack with snacks and small toys so that I always have a distraction on my person. I think I married a genius. 

I’m also spending some time looking around the house and designating some “high” areas where I can stash things that Alex and I might need for baby. Things like baby powder, medicines, nipple cream (me, not him), etc. We recently had an experience with a curious toddler and an open container of baby powder all.over.the.living.room. and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. 

Hopefully some of these things will make our transition to life with three little ones a little easier on everyone. You can discover more tips for better beginnings here. Also, make sure to follow along with Playtex on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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DIY Dreamcatcher

If you would have told me three years ago that in a few years time, I would be hanging a dreamcatcher made from an old Chick-fil-A soup container on my daughter’s wall, I probably would have laughed in your face. I’m all for DIY projects but a soup container? Not my medium of choice. 

Thankfully, motherhood has a funny way of changing you. Since having children, I’ve been able to step of out of the “everything has to be perfect” box and now really enjoy turning our “trash” into treasures. 

As a member of the 2016-2017 Chick-fil-A Mom’s Panel, I was recently challenged to take our empty Chicken Tortilla Soup container and create something fun with it. I wanted to make something that I could do with my little crafting queen, Lyla, and since we have been working on getting her “big girl” room set up lately, I decided that we would use this opportunity to build a dreamcatcher together. 

Materials:

1 Chick-fil-A soup lid

craft knife

string in two different colors

Process:

We started with a clean, washed lid and made small cuts around the perimeter using our craft knife. We thread our first string choice through each of the holes and continued to go around until we were happy with the design. After tying up all of the loose ends, we then made a longer cut along the base of the lid for our more decorative string. We cut pieces of that string, attached using a simple knot, and were good to go! Our string had some fun texture and glitter pieces already inside, but next time we might go through and add some feathers and sea shells for a little extra pizazz 😉

 

There are tons of creative moms on this year’s panel – you definitely want to check out their upcycle projects by following the #chickfilamomsDIY on your social media accounts!

What would you make?

 

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DIY Floral Step Stool

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PottyTrainTogether #CollectiveBias

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Here at the Byrd house it’s potty training time. We have great days and we have…well…not so great days. It’s definitely a learning process for all parties involved. Luckily, Lyla has been pretty enthusiastic by the whole thing, especially once she realized that “big” girls get to wear Pull-Ups® Cool & Learn® Training Pants with princesses on them. 

Like a lot of little girls, Lyla is enthralled by all things princess. If she had it her way, she would never take off her dresses or crown so, like any good mom would, I use it to my advantage when I need her to do something 😉

Need to do her hair? I ask her to sit still while I make her hair just like [insert favorite princess of the week here].

Want her to eat a few more bites of dinner? Tell her that meatloaf is food fit for a princess. 

Girlfriend is motivated. 

So, with potty training, I’m using the same tactics. 

On a recent trip to Walmart, I picked up a package of Pull-Ups with Disney’s Princess Sophia on them. Lyla oohed and aahed  at them in the cart, in the car and when we got home. (I told you, she loves princesses). To build excitement, I didn’t let her open them on the first day, but kept talking them up – letting her know that we would open them when she was ready to use the big girl potty.

The Pull-Ups® Cool & Learn® Training Pants have a built-in cooling system that helps teach kids when they are wet. They also have easy-open sides for when you need to help with the changing. 

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Of course, a big part of potty training is learning what to do after you go. You know, the whole flushing and washing your hands thing. So to make that special for her too, I decided to make a floral step stool fit for a princess. 

Back at Walmart, I picked up a plastic step stool and some faux flowers. I love getting my flowers from there because they are so affordable. Less expensive = I can buy more and really make a statement. 

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Lyla was pretty excited to see this step stool come to life so she happily helped me remove all of the flowers from the stems and we collected them into one big pile. 

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Since hot glue and toddlers do not mix (safety first, y’all) Alex kept her entertained with some highly sophisticated hand-puppet action while I got to work on gluing the flowers to the stool. 

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When I was done, my trusty assistant helped me clean up all of the extra flowers while we let the glue dry. Then, we were off to the bathroom to give it a try!

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Find out which type of potty training character your child is at this link. Lyla is definitely a squirrel so I think our approach of making the potty and hand-washing routine a princess game for her is going to work really well. 

Wish us luck!

Ready to start on your potty training adventure? Use this coupon at Walmart for $2 off any package of Pull-Ups (or GoodNights) at Walmart from 8/28- 10/8.

 

 

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Toddler Easter Egg Craft

I realized the other day that it had been a while since I put together a good craft project for Lyla. We’ve been spending a lot of time tracing her hands (and feet, and body) and eating playing with chalk, but no real “organized” craft time. 

Originally, I had visions of us sitting around the table, carefully dying a big bunch of bright eggs. BUT then I remembered that careful and toddler don’t belong in the same sentence. At all. So, I figured construction paper eggs were the next best thing. Plus, decorating paper eggs would be a lot cleaner, right?

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toddler easter egg craft

HA.

While she was napping (and Simon Earl was in his jumper) I cut out four large Easter eggs from construction paper. I was a little rushed and my eggs turned out to be all different shapes and sizes – let’s pretend it was a planned lesson in diversity, k?

I also brought out a bunch of fun craft stuff: markers, watercolors, shiny jewels, feathers, Scrabble tiles, etc. If it was in my craft storage – it came out! We play with markers and paint a lot so I was curious to see if she would into the jewels, tiles, etc. and she definitely was.

I started by placing a big line of glue across an egg and then showed her how to press the jewel to the paper. It was a lot of fun to watch her sort through the pile to find the perfect jewel to put on her egg next. After placing each one, she would look up at me and say “WOOOW”.

She’s a heart melter. 

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White Chocolate Popcorn Mix #MakeItAMovieNight

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItAMovieNight #CollectiveBias

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I don’t know about you, but I am not ready for the holiday weekend to end. For both Christmas and the New Year, we didn’t make any grand plans and just stayed home enjoying each other’s company. It’s been perfect. 

Of course, we have missed our family that are spread out throughout the country, but I have sincerely been enjoying all of the quiet (and not so quiet) moments that we are getting to spend together.

Not having any plans to leave the house (with the exception of Christmas Eve church service) has allowed us to really slow down and soak each other in. I’ve gotten a lot of one-on-one time with both Lyla and Simon which is so great but I haven’t had as much time with just Alex as I hoped for. 

I know, a lack of alone time with your spouse it’s kind of par for the course when you have a newborn but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of times I find myself missing my husband. With Simon still being so young, it’s not very realistic for us to head out for date night just quite yet so we have to find ways to bring date night home and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a movie night. 

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One of my favorite parts about seeing a movie in the theater is grabbing treats from the concession stand. I always get a big bag of buttery popcorn and pour a box of M&M’S® Chocolate Candies right inside. The sweet/salty combo hits the spot for me every time. Pair that with an ice cold Coca-Cola and I’m in movie theatre snack heaven. 

Luckily, my favorite movie night snack is easy to recreate at home. In fact, for this date night treat, I kicked it up a notch and added some white chocolate, pretzels and mini marshmallows to the mix – can’t do that at the theater 😉

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You can watch me make the mix here or follow the step-by-step instructions below.

To make sure your white chocolate popcorn mix is extra delicious, make sure to use Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Popcorn and MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies. P.S. have you seen the new little canisters they come in? Perfect size for the cup holder in your car/stroller #mommysnewbestfriend

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Once you have your treats prepared, you are all set to watch the movie. Now, just because we don’t have time to go to the movies doesn’t mean that we don’t watch movies. In fact, I watch the same animated children’s movie pretty much everyday (thanks, Lyla). So, for our movie nights I like to watch something a little more adult, or at least with real people in it 😉

The movie War Room has been on my radar since our church started promoting it in their bookstore. The film is all about the power of prayer and how it can transform the lives of individuals and families. The story follows a woman who is experiencing marital troubles and is introduced to the idea of creating a “war room” as a place to offer up all of her troubles and worries to God through prayer. It’s a story that is uplifting and inspiring – perfect for movie night with my husband.

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There is an awesome deal happening at Walmart now to help you throw a fun and exciting (and delicious!) movie night of your own. If you purchase all four of the movie night products that I have used above (Orville Redenbacher 6 pack Movie Theater Popcorn, MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies, Coca-Cola 6-pack, 1/2-liter and the War Room Movie) and upload a photo of your receipt here, you will receive a $10 VUDU movie code via email (while supplies last, limit 1 per person)

TIP: take a photo of this URL now so you remember it later – all receipts have to be uploaded by February 9, 2016!

Pretty sweet deal, right?! Make sure you stop by here to check out more fun movie night ideas for you and your family.  

Have you seen War Room? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. Let me know what your favorite movie theater treat is too!

White Chocolate and Candy Popcorn Mix
A delicious snack, perfect for movie night!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bag Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Popcorn
  2. MARS Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies
  3. 1 cup mini marshmallows
  4. 1 cup white chocolate chips
  5. 1 cup pretzels
Instructions
  1. Pop popcorn according to instructions on bag, pour into large bowl
  2. Add M&M’S® Chocolate Candies, marshmallows and pretzels to bowl
  3. In separate bowl, melt white chocolate chips in microwave. Stir after every 30 seconds to prevent burning
  4. Pour melted chocolate over snack mix and stir immediately
  5. Allow mix to cool
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Serve with an ice-cold Coca-Cola for an extra delicious treat 🙂
BRINGING UP BYRDS http://www.natashabyrd.com/
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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.

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Sugar cookies. Total classic Christmas cookie right?

For the past few weeks my social media feeds have been flooded with sugar cookies in all shapes and sizes, beautifully baked and decorated to perfection. 

Aesthetically, my sugar cookies are far from perfect. My stars are a little less than stellar and the edges were a little more crunchy than they should be. 

I left the decorating to Lyla and I think she saved the cookies with her mad decorating skills. (nope, no mom bias here) 

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The actual cookie though is delicious – I followed this recipe with no modifications. Next time, I’ll stay a little closer to the oven to make sure I don’t brown the edges 😉

Do you make sugar cookies at Christmas time? I would love to see your finished products!

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Star Wars™ Viewing Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AwakenYourTastebuds #CollectiveBias

starwarsviewingpartyGrowing up, I was never a big Star Wars™ fan. (gasp, I know) I do remember seeing Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in theaters but that’s pretty much where my exposure to the franchise ended. My husband, however, has always loved the whole series and has brought me to the dark side converted me into a fan. 

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Alex has been sharing his excitement for the series with me by showing me all of the old movies. Of course, with two little ones keeping us busy (and a certain someone who has a tendency to fall asleep anytime a movie comes on at home…hint: it’s me), watching all of the movies is a slow (but fun) process.

We still have a few movies to go, and with not much time until the new movie comes out, we are going to have to marathon it if we want to catch up. So, instead of our usual stay-up-late-after-the-babies-go-to-sleep routine, I decided to set up a movie marathon station in our living room stocked with breakfast goodies so we can get a nice early start on our movie-watching.  

I found everything I needed to set up my Star Wars viewing party at Walmart. Since our party is going to start bright and early, I picked up some breakfast essentials to awaken our tastebuds: a few boxes of General Mills cereal and a fun box of Star Wars™ Go-Gurt.

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I also picked up some [Death Star] donut holes and [Princess Leia] cinnamon buns to add to our spread. 

Because we were going to be in it for the long haul, I wanted to make sure we were extra comfortable in the living room with no reason to get up for anything. Our TV sits on top of a big bookshelf, which I decided would be a perfect party headquarters. 

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I started by pulling everything off of the shelves and then lining the insides of each shelf with black poster paper. Then, I filled the shelf with all of our delicious goodies and some pillows and blankets for easy access. 

As a special treat, I made some frozen banana light sabers. Want to make your own? Here’s how:

  1. Peel and slice a banana into thirds
  2. Cover banana in yogurt
  3. Roll banana in cereal of your choice
  4. Place banana on popsicle sticks
  5. Place light sabers onto plate, cover lightly with saran wrap and place in freezer until yogurt hardens
  6. Remove from freezer, serve and enjoy!

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I love that this franchise is making a comeback. It’s so fun to see fans of the originals share their excitement with Star Wars™ newbies like me. Make sure you check out all the different ways you can #AwakenYourTastebuds here!

Will you be seeing the new movie opening weekend? Which Star Wars movie is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 

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