Inspired by…black & white

We are going on hour 12 of baby sleep! He woke up at 5:45 to eat, but other than that, has been out since 9pm last night 🙂 I’ve been doing a little trial and error as far as sleep routines go and we may have found a good balance yesterday. I’ll keep it going for a few days and report back if continues to be this successful.

I’ve been having trouble finding inspiration and getting projects done these days, mostly due to lack of time to just sit around surfing Pinterest or having an extended period of time to accomplish anything. I started my first building project since Landon was born about a week ago and, so far, I’ve only completed step 1. Insert face palm emoji here. I think I need to learn to let go a bit, especially the expectation of always having a clean house. I wake up when baby wakes up. Take a shower and get ready for the day during nap #1. Pick up the house, do dishes and laundry and check emails, Insta and Facebook during #2. Run errands during nap #3. By this time it’s usually 2 or 3pm and it leaves 1 or 2 more naps, one of which is usually spent getting dinner ready. This 12 hour sleeping situation could really help me out if I just stay awake after that 5 or 6am feeding, so, Landon…let’s keep this up…okay?

I am excited to share my first building project in a long time with you guys! I am building floating corner shelves in the nursery. They are actually pretty easy and are such a great way to fill space in a functional way in those awkward corners that you never know what to do with. Anyway, until then, I thought I’d hold you over with some inspiration. I’m loving the combination and contrast of black and white right now. I still LOVE all white neutrals but I really like to add black (especially wrought iron) or wood accents.

Enjoy!

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Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta

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Any stay at home mom’s have trouble keeping track of what day it is? Everyday, literally, everyday, I have to double check what day of the week it is! I guess it doesn’t help that the little man and I don’t have a set agenda, like classes or school, to keep me on track. And, my husband started a new job so his regular schedule has changed as well.

None of this really bothers me, just makes me feel a bit crazy 🙂 I might start looking into Mommy & Me type classes. Is that a thing for babies this age? 3 months…it seems a little young to be in classes? I guess I need to do some research, any mamas with advice, comment away please!

So, I’m not a huge spaghetti fan. At least, not traditional spaghetti, basic noodles with some ground beef and a jar of red sauce. But this…this is not traditional spaghetti…this is INCREDIBLE spaghetti. Slow cooked beef brisket, a rich homemade red sauce made from the juices of the slow simmering beef and noodles soaked in sauce before serving. This is the ultimate comfort food, with hands on time of only 20 minutes, put it on the stove on a Sunday for an amazing Sunday supper and have plenty of leftovers for later in the week. And, by the way, this recipe is from a food blog that I have become OBSESSED with over the last few weeks, Recipe Tin Eats. I have made a few of her recipes and they have all been so delicious.

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta
For the Ragu:
2.5 lb beef brisket cut into 4 equal pieces
1 Tbsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
28 oz crushed canned tomatoes
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 beef bouillon cubes
3 cups water
3 dried bay leaves
Extra salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
1 lb dried spaghetti
Fresh grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

1. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat in heavy based pot (I used my Calphalon Stock Pot). Add beef and sear each piece on all sides until browned (around 3 minutes total), then remove onto a plate.
3. Turn stove down to medium low and add remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
4. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and sauté slowly for 5 minutes.
5. Add remaining Ragu ingredients (except extra salt and pepper) and return the beef to the pot (add the juices too). Turn the stove up and bring it to a simmer, then turn it down to low. Cover the pot and let it cook for 1 hour 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook for a further 30 minutes until the beef is tender enough to pull apart with forks and the liquid has reduced to be a thick sauce.
6. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper. You can also add a bit of sugar (1/2 tsp at a time) if it is a bit sour for your taste.
7. Turn the stove off and remove the beef from the sauce into a large bowl. Shred it coarsely with 2 forks. Then return it to the sauce.
8. Cook pasta to package directions but cook for 2 minutes less than package directions and save 1 cup pasta water. While pasta is cooking, place 5 cups of Ragu in a very large fry pan (I used a Wok) and heat over high heat.
9. When the pasta is ready, transfer is directly from the pot into the fry pan using tongs. Add 1  cup pasta water to fry pan.
10. Gently toss the pasta for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce water evaporates and leaves you with a thick Ragu sauce that coats the pasta. Add pasta to the remaining Ragu, toss to combine and serve. Top each serving with parmesan and parsley and stuff your face!

 

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Inspired by…Grain Mill turned Farmhouse

My mom is really going to LOVE this post 🙂 Pretty sure her dream is to turn an old barn into a home. Or at least into an event venue that she can run a business out of. Well mama, here is your inspiration! This is a 161 year old grain mill that was bought and remodeled by a couple of antique dealers, obviously they knew what they were doing.

The first image is the before…and the transformation is just magic. Now let’s go find a barn to buy mom!

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Original article from Country Living

Nursery Crib

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Someone contacted me asking about some of the furniture details in Landon’s nursery and I realized that I never shared the finished crib! No time like the present…

I remember sharing a while back that I was having trouble finding a crib that I liked. I wanted white distressed wood. Everything I was finding in white was smooth finish and everything in a distressed finish was off-white or almost yellow. Of course, I have no problem painting a piece of furniture 🙂 but if I was going to put work in to it, I didn’t want to spend a lot. I searched some thrift stores but there’s not a lot of cribs out there. Enter Wayfair.com.

I went on Wayfair.com just to see what they had. I had purchased my office chair from Joss & Main, which is a sister company of Wayfair.com, and loved it so I thought I’d check it out. Turns out, there are a lot of options under $250! The crib I chose is by Viv & Rae, called the Rocco Kokopelli Convertible Crib.

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What I loved about this crib was the “shutter-like” look on the endcaps. I knew the raised edges would give great texture when I distressed it. Unfortunately, this crib is sold out 😦 However, if you go on Wayfair.com and search cribs, there is an option on the left side of the screen to select “cribs under $200” and there are lots of options to choose from.

My favorites, to get a similar look to what I did would be…
Camden 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft
Harbor Lights 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Graco
Watterson 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft
And, the first 2 options come in multiple finishes, in case you don’t want to refinish or paint.

To refinish the crib I used Heirloom Traditions chalk paint in A La Mode. Heirlooms Tradition, as most chalk paint, is non-toxic and safe to use on furniture that a baby may put it’s mouth on. You just want to make sure to let the paint cure for a few weeks before baby would have it’s mouth near the furniture. The thing you don’t want to use in this case, is the soft wax. I didn’t use the soft wax this time and it didn’t really affect the distressing. The biggest benefit of the wax is that it seals the paint, protecting it from chipping and stains.

*Quick tip: assemble your crib before you paint it!

There are so many nooks and crannies and areas that will not be visible and therefore don’t need paint, you will save so much time if the crib is assembled first.

Once painted, I used 100 grit sandpaper to sand the edges. I used a coarser sand paper because I really wanted the dark brown to show through. I didn’t sand any flat surface, just ran the sand paper along each edge.

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That’s all folks! Pretty simple transformation. And for those wondering, the crib bedding is the Vintage Ticking Stripe and Vintage Washed Percale Collection from Restoration Hardware.

Vintage Scoreboard was made by me and you can find the instructions here.

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Lemon Pepper Flank Steak Tacos w/ Mango Cabbage Slaw

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Both my boys are sleeping at the same time so I finally have some time to post! And by both my boys, I mean my son and my husband. Hubby has been home the last few days; you would think it would be easier for me to get things done when he is home because there is someone else to help take care of the baby. Nope. Somehow, I get way less done. When the baby finally naps we end up watching a movie or making breakfast, just doing things that I wouldn’t normally do during my free time (a.k.a. naptime) when he is at work. I promise I’m not complaining though! Having him home means he gets more time with the baby and seeing and hearing him play with Landon is the sweetest, heart melting thing ever!

I made these tacos a while back and the flavor combo of the lemon pepper steak with the sweet & spicy mango cabbage slaw was perfection! And they were pretty easy to throw together too, great for an easy weeknight meal.

Lemon Pepper Flank Steak w/ Mango Cabbage Slaw
For the steak tacos:
1 1/4 lb flank steak
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
12 tortillas
1 ounce queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
For the mango cabbage slaw:
3 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
1 cup ripe, peeled, julienne-cut mango
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 serrano chili, seeded and minced

1. Sprinkle steak with lemon rind and pepper, pressing to adhere.
2. While steak stands, combine all ingredients for mango cabbage slaw in a medium bowl, toss to coat. Set aside.
3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; grill 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place steak on cutting board, let stand 5 minutes.
4. Combine juice, oil, soy sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Drizzle steak with soy sauce mixture; sprinkle with salt.
5. Heat tortillas on grill pan coated with cooking spray 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide steak among tortillas. Top each taco with about 1/3 cup mango cabbage slaw and 1 tsp queso fresco.

Original recipe from Cooking Light

Top Posts of 2016

Yesterday was the epitome of new motherhood. We spent Christmas weekend with family, traveling to and from different houses to celebrate. By the time Monday rolled around, I was exhausted and thought I was coming down with the flu. I think I was just very tired because it never turned into anything, thankfully. But I spent 2 days just resting, not doing much and not leaving the house. Then yesterday, I got up and got ready for the day. As I finished, I went to do what is always my last step of getting ready, putting on my wedding ring. Except, my ring wasn’t there. Since having Landon, I take it off regularly because I keep scratching him with it when he is feeding. It is always in 1 of 3 places, (so responsible, I know) next to my bathroom sink, on my nightstand or on the coffee table in the living room. I checked each of those spots…no ring. Then, I thought, I must have taken it off on our way home from Eastern Washington and put it in the diaper bag. Nope, no ring.

I spent the entire day searching the entire house, retracing my steps, panicking, being so hard on myself for how messy my house was (as if that was the reason I couldn’t find the ring), and all in between feeding and taking care of Landon. By the end of the day I was stressed, panicked and exhausted all over again. I had taken apart my bathroom sink after looking down the drain and convincing myself that I could see the ring down there. I called my mom panicking, thinking I had left it there when I put lotion on my hands. She even searched her entire house, including taking apart the bathroom and kitchen sink drains!

Then my husband came home from work and I burst into tears as I asked him not to be mad at me and told him what happened. Of course he wasn’t mad. He searched for a bit but found nothing.

All that was running through my head at this point was what a bad mom and wife I am. How disorganized my life had become. How I couldn’t get anything accomplished that I needed to on any given day. Obviously I was overreacting a bit, but I was so mad at myself for losing something so valuable. I decided to give up for the night and try again the next day, with a clear head, to search each room in the house very slowly and from top to bottom.

This morning, for some reason, I decided to search the diaper bag for at least the 4th or 5th time. Guess what I found. Yep. In the side pocket. That I checked each time before! WTH!?!? I was seriously ecstatic to find it. And then I started thinking about all the things that had run through my head the day before. Why am I so hard on myself? Why am I so critical of my shortcomings? I am not a bad mom or a bad wife because the dishes or laundry aren’t done.

Being a new mom has been quite an adjustment. The biggest being the lack of time I have to do all the things I used to do. I’m getting used to it and slowly adjusting but every once in a while, I need to stop and remind myself and I’m doing a good job as long as my little boy is safe, happy and healthy.

Anyway! On to the top posts of 2016! I love that these are the top 5 because I LOVE every single one of them! One thing I learned while looking into this post…I didn’t post a lot in 2016, I think baby prep took over most of my time 🙂

Click the links to check out the original posts and here’s to 2017, not being so hard on ourselves and enjoying the little things!

#5 Crispy Coconut Kale, Roasted Salmon & Coconut Rice

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#4 Breakfast Nook Table

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#3 Dressing the Bump

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#2 Inspired by…Joanna Gaines’ Laundry Room

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#1 Nursery Closet Makeover

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Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

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This will be my one Christmas themed post of the year. I think I failed on the holiday preparedness front. But in turn, I’ve had lots of baby snuggles instead.

These cookies are so yummy! The original recipe, from Liv for Cake, called for Black Cocoa which I couldn’t find so I just substituted more regular cocoa. The cookie batter also has peppermint extract which is tasty but you can leave it out if the candy cane pieces are enough peppermint for you.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder or 1/4 Dutch-processed and 1/4 cup black cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1 bag white chocolate (melted)
crushed candy canes

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars on med-high until light and fluffy (approx. 2-3 minutes). Reduce speed and add egg and peppermint extract. Beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
    3. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.
    4. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
    5. Portion dough onto baking sheet, approximately 1 Tbsp each. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the middle is set. Cookies will deflate and crinkle a bit upon cooling.
    6. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    7. While cookies cool, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t), bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil. Place white chocolate in a small mixing bowl that will rest atop the sauce pan without touching the water. Continuously stir white chocolate as it melts.
    8. Dip in melted white chocolate, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Allow to set.

Enjoy!

 

Inspired by…Dining Rooms

So, here I am, 6 weeks into maternity leave. I had all these grand plans to accomplish so many projects in the house while I was on leave…yep…haven’t tackled one and every day the only thing I want to accomplish is eating and taking a shower. That’s right…that little 9 lb munchkin is running the show around here. As my husband would say, “you’re only job right now is to take care of our little man”. And I get that, I really do. But for someone who was constantly busy before baby with no downtime whatsoever, it feels a little unproductive to be home all day and have my biggest accomplishment be making it to grocery store with the baby without him having a meltdown 🙂 I love him to pieces but this whole newborns sleep all day thing…not our little one. He loves to shut his eyes for about 20-30 minutes, just to fake you out and make you think you can have some “me” time. Maybe one day we’ll get the napping thing down.

Lately, I’ve been sitting in our breakfast nook when I have things to do on the computer…in those rare moments that Landon takes a good nap. When I do, I look directly at our dining room, which has looked the same for about 2 years now, meaning, I made a beautiful farmhouse dining table (click the link to check it out) and never made the benches to go with it. So we have a beautiful table that we never sit at or use and a half decorated room. Boo. Time to get it in gear. So, I’ve been searching for some dining room inspiration to help me do so and posting some of my favorites for you! Head over to my Pinterest page to see my inspiration for more rooms. Enjoy!

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DIY Blanket Ladder

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Can we talk about the LIFE-CHANGING discovery I made a couple weeks ago. It was an average night, we had just eaten dinner and were sitting on the couch when the inevitable conversation came up…”Did you get anything for dessert?” my husband asks…
I hadn’t…fail.
Me: “No, but there is still vanilla ice cream in the freezer from Thanksgiving pie”
Husband: “Do we have anything to put on it?”
In case you can’t tell, I’m not good at keeping my fridge/pantry/cupboards stocked with the basics. I’m the type who goes to the store and buys just what I need for that nights dinner.
Me: “There are some leftover chocolate chips in the cupboard…”
Husband: “Can you melt them?”
We have really interesting conversations 🙂
I proceed to melt the leftover chocolate chips, dish up some ice cream and then drizzle the chocolate on top. Basic, right?
Umm…it hardened pretty quickly just like magic shell, but I hadn’t added anything to it! Is this normal?!?! Mic drop! I was so excited!! That’s the easiest dessert ever!
I’m not sure why I was so excited, apparently it doesn’t take much these days. Anyway, I was pretty stoked about this discovery, and please don’t burst my bubble if I’m like 10 years late to the party and you all knew this fact long ago.

You may recognize this blanket ladder from a couple years ago if you’ve been following me from the start…wow, that’s crazy, that I’ve been at this blogging thing for a couple years now! Since my time is a bit preoccupied these days and I haven’t had time to complete any new projects recently, I thought I’d repost one of my faves and one of the easiest, who knows, maybe you know someone that this would make a great holiday gift for. Or maybe you just want one for yourself. Either way, this whole project took me less than hour from constructing to stained.

Supplies
2 2×4 @ 8ft
1 2×6 @ 8ft
2″ wood screws
skill saw
kreg jig
drill

1. Use your skill saw to make the following cuts
2 2×4 cut to 5ft each
4 2×6 cut to 17in each

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2. Use your kreg jig to drill 4 pocket holes (2 on each end) into the 4 2×6 pieces for 2″ wood screws

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3. Lay one of the 2x4s on flat, level ground. The left side of the 2×4 will be the front of your ladder. Measure and mark every 12″ along the front of the ladder where your rungs will sit. Take one of the 2x6s and set it on the 2×4, turned slightly diagonal, so that the bottom of the 2×6 is even with the front of your ladder and the top of the 2×6 is even with the back of the ladder. Attach with 2″ wood screws.

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4. Continue with the other 3 2x6s at each of the 12″ marks.

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5. Once you’ve attached all 2x6s, measure and mark every 12″ on the other 2×4, lay it on flat, level ground and turn the ladder over onto the 2×4 so that the rungs meet up with the opposite side and attach with 2″ wood screws.

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Easy peasy! Now paint or stain to your desired color, let dry and add blankets!

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Changing Table Organization

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The fourth trimester…I saw things on Facebook and Pinterest about this topic when I was pregnant but I didn’t really read anything about it until now. Essentially, it speaks to baby being in the womb for 40 weeks and how shocking it is to them when they are born to no longer have hunger & thirst needs constantly met, to not be rocked to sleep at every moment by mom’s movements and to not be constantly warm, “snuggled” and comfortable. It makes so much sense!

We are still learning so much about Landon on a daily basis and it feels like every few days, you master one thing and then something new comes up. Right now…we are working on Landon’s feeding. Meaning, for the first 3 weeks, he never seemed to have gas, never spit up and was never fussy while nursing. Then, all of a sudden, in the last few days, he is nursing at such a fast pace for the first few minutes that he gives himself a tummy ache EVERY TIME! Any tips that you mamas have on getting baby to slow down are much appreciated! So far, I am trying the following…
1. Anticipate baby’s hunger, feed baby at the first hunger cue or beat him to it and not let him go more than 3 hours without nursing to keep him from getting agitated.
2. Laid-back/Biological position or Football/Clutch hold with baby sitting up rather than laying for breastfeeding. Laid-back position means, mom is laid back in a semi-reclined position (I usually prop myself up on pillows in my bed) and baby lies on your chest/stomach. This is how the lactation specialist showed me how to breastfeed in the hospital and is also a great position for skin-to-skin time. When we got home, Landon seemed to do best in the football position, so we changed things up and I position him so he is more seated than laying flat and propped up against my leg. Basically, I just avoid keeping him as upright as possible so gravity is doing it’s job.
3. Burp baby every 5-10 minutes, especially if he seems to be eating ravenously. (Making sure to anticipate baby’s hunger can help with this though. He will eat slower and not need to burp more than once or twice). After the first 5 minutes, whether he stops or not, I pull him away to burp, as the first 5-10 minutes are when he nurses the fastest. Typically, I burp him after 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes and end of nursing session.
If I can manage to make all of these things happen, he stays happy and there is no upset tummy or spitting up.

Anyway…on to my original topic for the day…changing table organization!
Not sure why I felt the need for an exclamation point there 🙂 This is my life now, getting excited about having time to post on the blog, no matter what the topic, and about getting a new shipment of diapers from The Honest Company. I’ll take what I can get these days… you know…when showering is no longer a part of daily life but rather a luxury that happens when dad is home and baby happens to be napping well. Ahh, mom life 🙂

My changing table is a 6-drawer dresser with a changing pad on top. I filled the drawers with all the essentials for diaper changing, nursing and bedtime. I really could have done with just 4 drawers, so if you’re trying to save on space you could get away with that, however, I still found stuff to put in those 2 extra drawers that would need a home somewhere else in your nursery.

Drawer #1: Diapers & Diapering products (i.e. Diaper rash cream, powder, ointment, baby body lotion. Note: Wipes are kept in the wipe warmer on top of the dresser (not pictured because it was added later) with extra packs of wipes kept in a bin in the closet. If you have room, certainly keep extra wipes here as well.)

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Drawer #2: Onesie sleepers and swaddle blankets

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Drawer #3: Nursing supplies (i.e. burp clothes, nursing pads, nursing covers)

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Drawer #4: Extra changing pad covers, diaper genie bags and scent fresheners

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Drawer #5 (Extra): Crib & cradle sheets, car seat covers, breast feeding pillow and sleeping cushion covers
Drawer #6 (Extra): Baby wearing & carriers (i.e. Moby Wrap, Ergo carrier, etc)

Hopefully this was helpful for all you new mamas out there. I know I was totally lost as to what to include and how to organize before I started researching so I hope this makes things a little easy, even if just for one person 🙂

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