How to Pack Your Diaper Bag for the Office

From time to time, I have to take my newborn to the office. He’s at the stage where I am no longer on maternity leave and he is still too young for daycare. I am beyond fortunate to work for an organization that allows me to bring my little one into the office and basically transform my work space into a temporary mobile daycare unit.

My son is a happy baby, so I don’t have to worry about abrupt outbursts of infant rage disrupting the office. On the flip side, my kid loves to eat, sleep, and poop, which means there are hefty feedings and multiple outfit changes throughout the day.

Since my trips to the office with the baby have increased in frequency, I have perfected my diaper bag to meet the needs of my chunky, gas passing, and giggly newborn babe.

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Diaper Bag Checklist:

  • An awesome diaper bag – I am obsessed with my FAWN Design bag
  • Two to three changes of clothes (appropriate for the weather)
  • 10 to 12 diapers (I take disposable to the office since there are so many changes made)
  • Wipes (wet or cloth) – Creekside Kid organic cloth wipes are great for wiping bums and cleaning up messes
  • Formula and formula dispenser with three servings (unfortunately breast feeding didn’t work out for my kiddo)
  • Water bottle of purified water (18 ounces)
  • One Dr. Brown’s 8-ounce bottle
  • Three bibs/burp cloths
  • Two muslin swaddle cloths
  • Nose Frida
  • Soothie pacifier
  • Rattle or toy
  • Sunscreen (my office is located on the lake)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • AWE Süsse wet bag (for soiled clothes)

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On top of my perfectly composed diaper bag, I bring my bouncy seat, play mat, and Boppy. Essentially, I pack my entire house, including the kitchen sink. Additional equipment is essential in keeping this working mom productive and accomplished during the workday. The larger items will change day-to-day based on my kid’s preferences, but my diaper bag is consistent, never-changing.

What would you put in your office diaper bag? Do you think I should add to my bag? Is there something I included you will include in your bag today? Let me know in the comments below.

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7 Toddler Must-Haves for the Pool Bag

It’s that time of year again. The time where we take everything out of the diaper bag and move into the pool tote. Now last year, my oldest was still too small to fully enjoy the pool, but now as a spritely two-year-old, he was ready to jump in feet first!

Pool Day with Rorie

Like every other family on Memorial Day weekend, we trucked it to the pool with all of our neighbors to christen the pool for the start of the summer holiday. Our neighborhood has both a “big kid” pool and a kiddie pool equipped with a frog slide. To say my son was in awe as we approached the iron gates of the neighborhood watering hole is an understatement.

My youngest is still small enough (8 weeks) where I don’t have to worry about him flinging his body into the crystal blue lagoon, unlike my oldest. The only concern with the newborn is to keep him cool and comfortable, so scouting out the perfect shaded area was the initial mission. Once we found OUR spot, it was time to prepare ourselves for the energy of our two-year-old. I wasn’t too concerned, because I spent the entire night before our pool excursion packing the pool bag full of toddler must-haves.

Here are the 7 items I take to ensure my toddler has a fun and safe time at the pool:

1. Skin safety is of the upmost importance with the little ones (you should also protect yourself), so I make sure my kids are lathered head to toe in sunscreen. Even though he is a redhead, he doesn’t burn easily, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to apply and then reapply multiple times during our time at the pool. Here are three sunscreens I recommend and would use on my kids any day!

Protect All Over Sunscreen by Beautycounter
– Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen
– Tom’s of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion

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Photo courtesy of Beautycounter

2. Swimming diapers are so important! The pool had to temporarily shut-down, multiple times, this weekend, because a certain family refused to put a swim diaper on their kid. If you’ve seen the movie Caddyshack, the scene where the Baby Ruth candy bar is thrown in the pool and mistaken for a “doodie” is what happened in our neighborhood pool. Instead a delicious chocolatey treat, it was actual “doodie.” I never ever want to be the parent whose kids pooped in the pool. Not that I would be embarrassed, just that people are ruthless with their words. With this said, my kid is clad in Pampers Spashlers!

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Photo courtesy of buy buy baby

3. When you have a kid as fearless as ours, you can never be too safe. Since we haven’t put him in swim lessons (I know, I know, I need to get him in classes ASAP), I need to make sure if he flings his body into the pool he will in fact float back to the top. Speedo Swimming Fabric Arm Bands are perfect for my kid. They slide right on, but stay in place while in the pool. As an added bonus to the safety they provide, these floaties are adorable!

Speedo Swim Wings

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

4. Your kid probably plays with toys at home, so they will of course want to play with toys while at the pool. I went to my local Dollar Tree and stocked up on water toys (i.e. water pistols, buckets, balls, etc.) to add a little extra fun to pool time without breaking the bank. I didn’t head over to the mama holy land, Target, as I normally would because of the unspoken neighborhood pool rule – If you leave your toy(s), they get inherited by whatever family finds them or they live a sad life in the moldy lost and found box near the lifeguard’s office. Take my advice, it’s the way to go, on all levels.

5. My son loves to play in the pool, but he doesn’t like to carry the wetness into the car. Instead of mixing in his wet swimsuit in with the other pool bag items, we put them in our AWE Süsse Wet Bag. Listen, this wet bag is wonderful! It keeps the wetness inside and does not leave a mildew smell. Not to mention, my son is obsessed with saying his alphabet and our wet bag has alpha monsters. He practices his ABCs while we carry it to the car.

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Photo courtesy of AWE Süsse

6. My son doesn’t understand the concept of “adult swim,” so when he has to abruptly get out of the the pool, let’s just say a stage-five tantrum ensues. In order to distract him from the ten painful minutes he has to stay out of the pool, I offer up snacks, snacks, and even more snacks! The Munchkin Snack Catcher is perfect for toting around crackers, goldfish, grapes, and other delicious treats while keeping the crumbs contained. As a former lifeguard in my teen years, there is nothing more frustrating (well maybe cleaning poop out of the pool) then having to cleanup soggy cracker pieces from the pool deck. Don’t be that parent.

 

Munchkin Snack Catcher

Photo courtesy of Walmart

7. My son is going through the phase of wanting to be just like mom and dad. When we have our sunglasses on, he always wants to snatch them off our faces and put them over his eyes. Since our sunglasses our too big for his face, he ends up playing with them, twisting and turning them until they break. When I was strolling through Target, their dollar section had mirrored glasses for kids. I grabbed a few pair to throw in the pool bag, diaper bag, car, etc. so my son would have them on hand. Not only does he get to be like mom and dad, but he protects those deep chestnut eyes from the sun’s rays.

 

 

I would say our first trip to the pool for the swim season was a success and it was in large part to my mommy preparation. Now as the summer continues and our trips to pool increase, my pool bag will transform to meet my kid’s needs, but for right now, these items are perfect for keep my toddler safe and entertained while taking a refreshing dip.

What are your must-have pool bag items? Let me know what you would add in the comments!

4 Summer Popsicle Recipes Toddlers Will Love

If you’ve ever met my toddler you would know that he loves his stuffed alligator (Anton), bubbles, Netflix (he binges just as much as his parents), and popsicles. Every morning before he goes to school and every afternoon when he comes home from school, I am approached by the sweetest little voice saying “POPsicle mommy? Peas!” When my son flashes me those puppy dog eyes and sweet smile, I’m done! He gets whatever he wants (not all the time, but most of the time) and it’s almost always a popsicle.

Since summer is right around the corner and my son has an insatiable appetite for a frozen treat, I have created 4 popsicle recipes perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Your toddlers, and even you, will be thrilled with these icy delights.

Blueberry Breakfast

When your little one has a craving for a popsicle in the wee hours of the morn’, these blueberry breakfast pops will give them a full stomach and a great start to their day!

Ingredients

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1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 cup of organic vitamin D milk
3 cups of plain yogurt
1 tablespoon of honey

* Makes six large popsicles *

Steps

1. Mix together the milk, yogurt, and honey into one bowl
2. Pour the mixture into six large popsicle molds
3. Evenly disperse blueberries amongst the popsicle molds
4. Freeze the popsicles for 4-6 hours
5. Serve and enjoy!

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Summer Melon Pops

Nothing screams summer like fresh watermelon and cantaloupe! These sweet, yet healthy popsicle alternatives will satisfy the need for a refreshing frozen treat! Bonus – You won’t feel guilty indulging in these pops!

Ingredients

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2 cups of cubed watermelon
2 cups of cubed cantaloupe
2 cups of organic apple juice

* Makes six large popsicles *

Steps

1. Cut up watermelon and cantaloupe into cubes
2. Combine watermelon, cantaloupe, and apple juice into a blender
3. Blend until smooth
4. Pour mixture into six large popsicle molds
5. Freeze the popsicles for 4-6 hours
6. Serve and enjoy!

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Mommy Needs a Napsicles

Sometimes we just don’t want to do more than we have to. It’s OK; we already do way too much as parents! These two ingredient popsicles won’t add to your exhaustion, but will satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth.

Ingredients

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2 cups of plain yogurt
1 Singles to Go! drink pack (any flavor – we opted for pineapple)

* Makes six large popsicles *

Steps

1. Mix together the yogurt and Singles to Go! drink pack into one bowl
2. Pour mixture into six large popsicle molds
3. Freeze the popsicles for 4-6 hours
4. Serve and enjoy!

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Protein Packed Pops

I don’t know about you, but I worry that my toddler isn’t getting enough protein in his diet. This popsicle gives my kid his icy fix and eases my mind that he’s getting the nutrients he needs!

Ingredients

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2 cups of yogurt
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 large banana
1 tablespoon of honey

* Makes six large popsicles *

Steps

1. Smash banana with a fork
2. Mix together the banana, yogurt, peanut butter, and honey until smooth
3. Pour mixture into six large popsicle molds
4. Freeze the popsicles for 4-6 hours
5. Serve and enjoy!

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Keep your kids cool and satisfied this summer with these delicious treats. My toddler is a fan, and that really says a lot 🙂

Let me know if you try these recipes and if you came up with any yummy combinations!

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When in Doubt, Pull the Bubbles Out

If you were a superhero, what super power would you have?

We’ve all been asked this question at least once in our lives. I used to say I would fly or have the ability to read minds, but now that I have children, I want the power of anticipation. I want to be able to anticipate when my toddler is about have breakdown; a full-fledged meltdown.

Tantrums can be tricky. As parents we are constantly walking on eggshells during our children’s toddler years, because we never truly know when a tantrum is about to take place. For instance, the other day my son had a stage-five breakdown.

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Try to follow this scenario, if you can. I’m still scratching my head as to what happened. My son ultimately wanted to carry his Little Tykes basketball hoop. Cool. Fine. No problem at all, except for the fact that the he kept losing his balance. The inability to standup with the hoop was only the surface-level problem. The true dilemma was when he couldn’t decide if he wanted the post in or out of the base. My poor husband would dissemble and reassemble the basketball hoop over and over again and my son would scream and cry out of frustration. How could we not understand what he wanted? How?!

All aboard the hot mess express!

Now when things like this happen, I have a set of strategies I rely on to tame the tiny beast that is my son. First, I always try to talk him through his feelings. This technique works about 80% of the time. He can be easy to reason with, when he wants to be; however, when reasoning doesn’t work, I turn to the “switch.” The method of “what can we do instead of [insert activity]?” If a trade-off is unacceptable in his two-year-old eyes, I turn to one thing and one thing only – bubbles!

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Who would have thought a bubble wand would be my go-to tool in my tantrum artillery belt? It is a known fact that a liquid sphere containing air can transform anger into bliss. I can understand what my son sees in those reflective soap balls. I too smile when I see a bubble. Let’s be honest for a moment, if you don’t smile at a bubble, I will and should question you as an individual.

I may never have the power of anticipation, but I have one the weapon I know will change my kid’s mood instantaneously. Shout-out to my friend bubbles! You’ve always got my back.

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What do you say, do, or use to tame your kid’s moments of insanity?

Product Review and Mom Approved: Beautycounter Baby

There is something to be said about the products we use, especially the products we elect to use on our kids. I don’t know about you, but I try to pick the healthiest options for my kids when given the opportunity.

With a baby and a toddler, I am constantly slathering on balms, creams, and oils to ensure all the rashes, bumps, and irritations are treated quickly and efficiently. Since my average day requires the use of at least two remedies to sooth and heal, I want to make sure the least toxic products touch the innocence of my children’s skin.

Beautycounter’s Baby line is designed to keep our most precious gifts protected by placing the safest products in our hands. I have been religiously using and applying the Calming Diaper Rash Cream and Baby Soothing Oil on both of my children.

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No matter the age of our little one’s, diaper rash cream is a necessity. Beautycounter’s Calming Diaper Rash Cream “treats and prevents irritated skin with safer ingredients.” I love Beautycounter’s diaper rash cream, because it doesn’t linger and leave a greasy residue after application. The application of this cream is one that I can praise.

If you are privy to the use of diaper rash creams, you know that many of the creams have a strong odor, a chemical smell that is often difficult to eliminate. The Beautycounter diaper rash cream is free of scent; an added bonus. When changing diapers all day long, we already smell far too much, so we shouldn’t have to smell the diaper rash creams as well.

For all of my cloth diapering mamas, the Calming Diaper Rash Cream is safe to use. We, especially Beautycounter, can appreciate the sacredness of the diaper, especially the cloth diaper. If you’re using disposable or cloth, this diaper rash cream is safe to use.

Along with the Calming Diaper Rash Cream, I was introduced to quite possibly my favorite of the Baby line items, the Baby Soothing Oil. With an increased boost in essential oil use, it’s even more important to be careful about the oils we use on our kiddos. We can easily assume all oils are the same, no matter the packaging, but this is not the case. When it comes to Beautycounter’s Baby Soothing Oil, you can trust this oil is safe to use. The combination of jojoba, sunflower seed oils, and organic coconut, keep my children’s skin soft, smooth, and relaxed.

There is often caution to using oils on newborns, but Beautycounter’s formula is safe for my baby boy. When he had a small case of cradle cap, a small dab of the Baby Soothing Oil helped clear it right up. When my toddler is, well, acting like a toddler, I will rub a small dab into his chest and shoulders before bedtime to sooth his nerves.  An additional benefit is that the oil does not leave a greasy residue behind. This soothing oil has become a staple item in our nighttime routine.

*Moms if you run out of eye makeup remover, a small dab of the Beautycounter Baby Soothing Oil will take it right off! *

Just as a mother handles their precious baby with care, Beautycounter is an extension of this love and tenderness. When I was introduced to Beautycounter, I welcomed my family to a world of products that are safe and effective. I encourage all of my fellow parents to take the leap and introduce Beautycounter to your loved ones. This mom approves!

Interested in these products? You can get yours by checking out the links throughout the blog. You will not be disappointed!

5 Lies I’ve Told My Toddler

As my son rapidly progresses through the “terrible twos,” I now understand why my parents told the occasional white lie. It wasn’t because they wanted to give themselves a break, but that they wanted to spare us both (the parent and toddler) from the frustration of all the emotions raging through their child’s tiny body.

My son, for the most part, is a happy-go-lucky kid, but sometimes that unhinged two-year-old makes his appearance. In a matter of seconds, he is a puddle of anger and sadness inconsolably running around the house reeking havoc.

In order to tame the miniature hulk bursting from my son’s body, I’ve had to tell the occasional fib. Here are 5 lies I’ve had to tell my toddler to calm his nerves and give myself a moment to breathe.

  1. I didn’t turn Netflix off. Netflix asked to take a nap. He’s exhausted! As we are getting ready for bed and all he wants to do is continue that one episode of Trollhunters. You know, that one episode we’ve watched over 30 times in the last three weeks. Sometimes you do what you have to do to in order to keep your sanity and get your kid to bed because he boycotted naptime at school.

 

  1. Give mommy one-minute; just one. Mommy really needs like 10 minutes, but you don’t know that. You don’t understand the concept of time, right?

 

  1. The dogs put Anton in the washing machine. They thought it was time for him to take a bath. So blame them, not me! He takes his stuffed alligator (Anton) all over God’s green earth, which means that gator is covered in anything and everything. I’m thinking of my child’s health.

 

  1. Oh man! We ran out of cheese puffs. Sorry buddy. As I make this statement, I stare at the three bags of organic puffs I bought at the store the other day. I really just don’t want to vacuum the couch today. Also, you need eat some fruit. Please take this apple.

 

  1. I have no idea where that book that is. I think it went on vacation. Perhaps to the beach! Moms and dads you know what I’m talking about! I love Peppa Pig, but Easter has passed and we are still reading the “Peppa Pig Easter Egg Hunt” book. Let’s expand our minds and read a new book, please!

What white lies do you tell your kids? Be open and honest. There is no judgement here. Trust me!

Karma at the Department Store

I’ve always heard that how you behaved as a child will be reflected in your own children. Now my parents will gloat my sister and I were good, dare I even say great, kids about 98% of the time. Like any child, we had our moments, but they were few and far between.

My 2% of reckless childhood behavior all took place in department stores. I found it to be a thrilling adventure to hide amongst the racks of clothes at Belk, Hamricks (that’s a throwback), and department stores of the like. There was something comforting about wrapping myself in a variety of cotton-blend garments.

While I found it to be therapeutic, it caused my mother an immense amount panic. She would pace back and forth throughout the store calling my name. Little did she know, I had my eyes on her the entire time.

As soon as she found me, she didn’t yell at me, but I was the recipient of the “mom look.” The “look” that will stop any child in his or her tracks and cause them to crumble in fear. I never truly understood why she was so upset with me; until the moment my kid took off into the racks.

We recently went to our local Belk to return a few items. This was the first time we really went out on a shopping adventure as an entire family; the four of us. My husband was at the counter making the exchange with the sales clerk and I was overseeing the little ones.

I bent down to pick up our newborn’s muslin blanket that had fallen onto the floor and when I popped back up, my two-year-old was no longer at my side. It’s amazing really, how fast the mind can go into a negative headspace when your child has vanished. There were a series of 99 horrible scenarios that raced through my mind, but I took a deep breath and remained calm.

I heard the faint giggles of a red-headed little boy muffled by what seemed to be piles of clothes. At that moment I had a flash-back of spinning around in the center of the clothes rack with my arms stretched out wide. I took action and searched for a little pair of feet in size 6 black canvas sneakers under the racks.

Rorie Ayden for Karma Blog

My Red-Headed Little Boy

At last, amongst the women’s leisurewear, I saw two chestnut brown eyes peering through Lily Pulitzer-like workout pants. I was instantaneously relieved when he popped out of the rack that I hugged him and then gave him the “mom-look” that I had been accustom to when I disappeared into a world of textile bliss. Just like when my mom would give me the “look,” my son stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned to me with apprehension.

There’s a saying, “Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve.” I was definitely served what I dished out to my parents in my youth. To my mom and dad, I apologize. I now fully understand the torment that takes place when you can’t find your child, even if they are enjoying the true bliss that is the clothing rack.