Monday, February 23, 2015

Pregnancy Hospital Bag Packing List

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Here you are reaching the end of your pregnancy dying to know what your new bundle of joy is going to look like when he/she arrives into this crazy world, but first you want to make sure you have everything you need for both you and your baby before labor begins.  I gave birth to my first child December 2013. My water broke just before midnight and we welcomed her into the world about 3 hours later.  She was 8 days early and boy was I glad we already had our bags packed and ready to go, now here I am 14 months later and 36 weeks pregnant with baby #2 packed and ready to go for whenever he decides to make his way into the world.

I'm one of those people who tends to overpack for vacations because you never know what the weather is going to be like or where you will end up so when it was time for me to start packing for the hospital I had no idea what to put in my bag. Being the first of my friends to get pregnant, I couldn't go to them for advice and oh how times have changed since my mom and grandmother gave birth so I resulted to google searches only to find a few lists that contain barely nothing or a bunch of things I knew I wouldn't need like a hair dryer ...FAIL... so I ended up winging it and once it was all said and done I barely used anything I had packed in my bag. This time around I packed a lot less (to an extent) and a lot faster since I literally just did this a few months ago. Now I'm sitting here awaiting the arrival of baby #2 and I figured I'd share a list of what to pack just incase you're in my boat the first time around and have no idea...

When to Pack your Bag:

I packed my bags several weeks ago because I'm ready for him to be out and I have a feeling he's going to come early but the best time to pack a hospital bag would be around 35-36 weeks of pregnancy. This way you aren't sitting there staring at them forever only making you more impatient for the arrival of your baby, you most likely have already had a baby shower so should have everything you need, plus the doctors will usually allow the baby to come around 35-36 weeks if they decide to make an early appearance.

What to Pack:

Literally all you need is a change of clothes for you and the baby to come home in, a picture ID and insurance cards. The hospital supplied everything else from diapers to a mini set of shower supplies waiting for me when I got in the room. I was surprised that they supplied pretty much everything without me asking so if you don't have time to pack a bag, the hospital will most likely supply you with it, but using your own shampoo and toothbrush will help you feel more comfortable those 3+ days you're at the hospital.

 ***UPDATE: My sweet baby boy arrived two weeks early so thank goodness I already had my bags packed. The hospital I delivered my son at was different than the one I delivered my daughter at. This hospital (St. Joseph East) did not supply me with toiletries like the other one did. I'm sure if I asked they could of brought me some but I already had some packed so I wasn't worried about it. 

    During Labor:

  • Picture ID (drivers license)
  • Insurance Cards
  • Camera & Charger
  • Something to keep you occupied/relaxed if it's a long labor (book, magazine, coloring book, cards, iPod, phone, pillow, etc...)

    For You:
  • 1-2 Nightgown/Pajama's
  • Comfortable Nursing Bra/Sports Bra 
    • Your breast will most likely be tender whether you choose to breast feed or not, plus your going to be laying in a bed for a few days so push up bras are a definate NO.
  • Nursing Pads 
    • My milk came in the second day so I was leaking through my nightgown. The hospital supplied me with a manual breast pump that I packed this time incase the same thing happens.
  • 2-3 pairs of Socks 
    • The hospital will supply you with a pair of socks
  • Old/Cheap Underwear 
    • The hospital supplies you with several mesh panties that are great because they stretch not putting pressure on you and you can throw them away so you don't have to worry about ruining your own underwear.
    • The hospital supplies you with huge pads that reminded me of mini life boats but they definitely come in handy and they supply stuff to help relief the swelling down below but make sure you have several pads waiting for you at home.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, lotion, deodorant, chap stick, hair brush, hair band, head band, make-up and perfume (not recommended because the sent may mess with your new baby)
  • Going Home Outfit
    • I walked out of the hospital wearing black sweat pants, flip flops, one of my husband's t-shirts and a coat. There is no need to pack anything nice for you because it will probably get ruined, plus who are you trying to impress? 
    • Also remember that you will still look like you're a couple months pregnant so make sure your going home outfit is loose.
  • Cell Phone & Charger


Your Partner:

  • 2-3 Comfortable Outfits
    • They will be doing a lot of standing/walking around and sleeping in the uncomfortable hospital bed/chair.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, body wash, razor, and deodorant
  • Picture ID 
  • Money for food just incase 
  • Cell Phone & Charger


Your Baby: 

  • Hospital Picture Outfit (this can be the same as the going home outfit)
  • Going Home Outfit
    • I packed a couple different size outfits (NB, 0-3M, 3M) because you never know how big or small your baby is going to be. 
    • Baby Scratch Mittens 
    • Socks - They can act as scratch mittens as well if you don't want to buy any.
  • Pacifier if you don't want to use the hospital pacifier
  • Blanket
    • The hospital supplies you with thin receiving blankets but I recommend bringing a warmer blanket for your baby for the car ride home.
  • Carseat: you cannot take your baby home if you don't have a carseat properly installed.

The hospital will supply you with diapers, wipes, body wash, pacifier, booger sucker, receiving blankets, white baby shirt, baby hat, etc... I packed a mini lotion, wash rag, Wubanub, few diapers and wipes just incase I needed them. Also an emery board incase the babies nails are long.


  • Boppy Pillow/Nursing Pillow: If you have a toddler, this may come in handy if they want to hold their sibling.
  • Shower Shoes: because you don't know what's touched that nasty floor.
  • Pillow & Blanket: To make you more comfortable or for your partner thats sleeping in the chair.
  • Snacks: The hospital I had my first baby at supplied the family with complementary snacks and drinks but I hear not all hospitals do that so pack your own or bring money for the vending machine/food court.
  • Medications: I could be wrong but I don't think the hospital wants you to bring in medications. This includes vitamins. If you need medications talk to your doctor and I'm sure they will supply you with them.
  • Gift for the Siblings: I'm not doing this because my daughter is only 14 months old and probably won't have any idea whats going on other than pointing and saying "bay-bay" but I've been told that it's nice to have something small for the new baby/parents to give the older siblings so they don't feel left out and forgotten in all the maddness.

There isn't a ton room in the hospital rooms so don't bring a bunch of bags and extra stuff because it will only take up space making it feel more crowded if you have visitors. Also, leave some room in your bags for everything you're going to get at the hospital (pads, mesh panties, toiletries, diapers, wipes, baby blanket, water jug, etc..). They're just going to throw it away due to sanitary guidelines so you might as well take it!

Remember what I said before,  literally all you need is a change of clothes for you and the baby to come home in, a picture ID and insurance cards. The hospital supplies pretty much everything else. I hope this blog helps you when packing your Pregnancy Hospital Bag. Congratulations and Good Luck!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Decorative Beer Box Gifts for Him

When you can't think of what to get your significant other, grab a 6-pack and show up with a smile on your face. Beer is one gift you can keep giving without it ever getting old; that is if your man is a beer drinker.... and just like almost any guy, my husband loves beer. For the past four Valentine's Days I have gotten my husband beer along with candy, etc... I like to keep Valentine's Day's gifts smaller and go all out for Christmas.

Since Valentine's Day just passed I figured I would post my decorative beer boxes from the past few years. In 2011 I got him Bud Light Platinum to try since he had never had it.

Our second Valentine's Day I decided to be more creative by decorating a 6-pack of Blue Moon with the saying "I love you to the MOON and back!":

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Valentine's Decorative Beer 2012

Our third Valentine's Day I decorated a 6-pack of Leinenkugel Berry Weiss (Leinenkugel is his favorite) with the saying "I love you BERRY beery much!":

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Valentine's Decorative Beer 2013

Our fourth Valentine's Day I decorated a 6-pack of Corona Extra with the saying "I'm EXTRA lucky to have you in my life!" and no I didn't forget to buy a lime... :

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Valentine's Decorative Beer 2014
How To Decorate a Beer Box:

1. I came up with a cute and simple saying using a word from each of the beer boxes.  It is easier to pick a beer and then try to come up with a saying to go with it. Examples:
  • Corona Extra- "I'm EXTRA lucky to have you in my life!" or                                             "You're an Extraordinary            (man, lover, husband, boyfriend)"                                       
  • Berry Beer: "I love you BERRY beery much!" or "You're my BERRY special Valentine!"

2. I then used construction paper and sharpies to decorate and write the sayings. Luckily the three beers I've given my husband so far related to a fruit, thus making it easier to decorate. You could always add hearts or just the saying if you can't think of anything else.

3. After I had everything drawn/written I cut it out and figured out how I wanted it placed on the beer box.

4. I then used a hot glue gun to glue all the pieces onto the beer box. It is easier to glue the pieces on the box if the beer is not in it and the box is laying flat.

5. Put the beer back in the box and surprise your significant other with a cute decorative beer box!
I hope your significant other enjoys their Decorative Beer Box as much as my husband did. I have a few more cute sayings to match different beers but I'm keeping them to myself for now to keep the Decorative Beer Box Valentine's Day tradition going!!!

Check out my other Decorative Beer Box blogs:

Friday, February 13, 2015

DIY Wedding under $5000

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I married the man of dreams May 25, 2014. It was a beautiful day for an outside wedding. Being a young couple right out of college and with a baby we had a very tight budget. My husband and I made most of the decorations for our wedding and succeeded in having a wedding under $5000 that was planned in a little less than 3 months. IT IS POSSIBLE to plan a cheap wedding in a short period of time!!!


The most expensive thing was our venue which doubled as both our Ceremony and Reception location. We got married on a Sunday so the price was cheaper and the venue included all the tables, chairs (inside and out), table clothes, arch, kitchen, bathrooms, bridal suite, portable bar, etc... all for $1200- GREAT DEAL for a venue!!! When looking for a venue make sure to ask questions because several of the ones I looked at had hidden fees such as an extra $500 for damages or you have to purchase your own Alcohol/Food license to have alcohol at their location etc...


Since we had three months to plan our wedding we skipped the Save the Dates and just sent out Wedding Invitations. I created my own Wedding Invitation and made it look like a Save the Date/Wedding Invitation combination. I put our picture and date on one side then I made the other side of the invitation a little more formal. My mother in law works as a Graphic Designer so was able to print our invitations but I recommend getting them printed through Walmart, Walgreens, Shutterfly or Snapfish. Shutterfly and Snapfish have promos all the time so you can check into that. They also have templates you can use to create your own Save the Dates. Creating your own Save the Dates and Invitations will save you a lot of money because Graphic Design companies can be very pricy.



We looked into getting a caterer but for 200 people we were looking at a minimum of $1800 and not a lot of food so I came up with a menu and we made a trip to good old Wally World to purchase all the supplies. We then gave each family (aunt and mothers) that offered to help a simple recipe to make. We ended up spending probably a fifth of what it would of cost and had tons and tons of food leftover.

Main Dishes: Pulled Pork, Meatballs, Ham and Turkey Sandwiches, and PB&J's

Appetizers: Cheese, Pepperoni and Cracker Tray, Fruit and Veggi Trays, Potato Salad, Marshmallow Fluff, Puppy Chow, Popcorn Mix, Pretzels, Nuts, Chips and Dips, Rice Krispies, Chocolate Fountain, etc...

Pallet Bar Sign, bar sign
Mini Pallet Bar Sign
Beverages: We bought several canned soda and waters to fill up the bath tub with and had 2 Liters as back-up. I recommend buying extra water because that was the first to go.  2L are a lot cheaper than cans but would of looked funny in the bath tub.  We also had 2 kegs (a friend purchased for us) and 3 Gallon Dispensers, one filled with Lemonade, and the other 2 were filled with Martini recipes we mixed ourself. The Martini's were a huge hit and a lot cheaper to mix it yourself then to have an open bar. This way you limit what your guest are drinking

 Cake: I contacted several people about making our wedding cake and the average price I was getting for the amount of people was $700 plus all the extra delivery fees, etc... Being on a budget, we couldn't afford a cake that expensive. Luckily I found an old teacher of mine that made cakes on the side and was able to get him down to somewhere between $250-$300. He never gave me a set price, just said wait till you see it then decide what you would like to pay.  We ended up paying him $50 more than he asked because he stayed to cut the cake and pass it out for us. We bought the cake topper at Michael's (used a coupon) and the decorative butterflies off amazon.

Here is a cute cake topper on amazon.
Here are some butterflies similar to the butterflies we bought. They also have Edible Butterflies for sale now.
butterfly wedding cake, cake decorating
Butterfly Wedding Cake


Every wedding reception needs music to keep the party going but if you are on budget, a DJ can seem like a waste of money. My husband and I made a playlist on our computer and set it to cross fade the end of the songs that way there wasn't a few seconds of silence. We made a playlist of Love and Country songs to play while the guest were eating. Then of coarse we had our Dance playlist filled with all the songs we wanted to here and a couple slow songs. We put them in order to keep the beat going and had about 6 hours of dance music even though we only needed 3. We backed the playlist onto our phone/i-pod incase something went wrong. We borrowed our friends sound system and speakers. My brother did all the announcing and changed the songs when needed for the bouquet toss, etc... Creating your own playlist allows you to control what is being played, avoid curse words and dirty songs for the families sake, and is FREE!!! That is if you are able to borrow a stereo system. If not I'm sure you can rent one for cheaper than a DJ would cost or you can look into buying your own Stereo System , a nice one will cost between $300 - $500.

Check out my blog on How to DJ your own Wedding along with my blog, Wedding Song Ideas for those Special Moments to help you build your playlist if you decide to DJ your own wedding.



I contacted several photographers ranging from $500- $5000. We almost went with the $500 one not because of the price but she was my favorite out of all of them but decided to go with my husbands aunts brothers sister or something like that. She just wanted DVDs to put the pictures on and gas money but we still gave her $150 because she literally took thousands of pictures and stayed the entire time. So my advice is finding someone who does photography as a hobby or is just starting out to avoid paying the big bucks.



Decorations can add up if you aren't careful, especially if you hire someone to do it for you. Real Flowers alone run a fortune which is why I decided to do it myself. Not only because I love making things but it was so so so much cheaper.

Wood Signs: We cut some old wooden gates in my grandparents barn up and nailed them together to make the signs. I then used white paint to paint what I wanted them to say.
     - Seating Sign
     - Bride & Groom Signs on back of our chairs
     - Bar Sign
     - Wedding Date sign for a picture prop

Wedding Seating Sign
Seating Sign
Chalkboard Signs: I bought frames at the Dollar Tree for $1 and chalkboard spray paint.
I took out the glass to avoid a mess and sprayed the cardboard backs of the frames then wrote what I wanted on them. I also cut some cardboard boxes to size and sprayed them for other signs needed.

*We had a Glow Stick Send off with purple and blue glow sticks we bought online. The send off was set to happen at 10:30 but it ended up being a little after 11:00.

Wedding, Glow Stick Send Off
Glow Stick Send-off
Here comes the Bride, wagon decor
Chalkboard Sign
Table Decorations: A relative cut enough wood circles for the tables and food table. I bought the purple table runners at Hobby Lobby (wait until they are 50% off. No need spending extra money). We wrapped rubber bands around clear bottles we collected and spray painted them purple and blue. We used fake gerber daisies to fill the bottles (I cut up the Bushels of 12, 50% off at Hobby Lobby)

Table Decoration, Centerpiece
Table Decorations
Main Table: We bought Martini Glasses at the Dollar Tree ($1) and glass candles at Wal-Mart to place onto of them. Make sure the candles are in glass. If not they will melt down your glass and onto the tablecloth. Place the top of a gerber daisy under the glass. *see below

*You will probably want to use wine glasses instead of Martini glasses. We used Martini glasses because that is our last name!

Table Decoration, Centerpiece, upside-down glass decor
Main Table Decoration

Aisle Decorations: We had a relative cut 10 tree stumps to line the aisle. We put mason jars on top of the tree stumps with tissue paper wrapped around fake flower bouquets.

  Outdoor wedding Aisle decoration
Aisle Decoration
Backdrops: We bought bed sheets from various places (Target, Walmart, Mejer) in the colors we needed. I folded the sheets and used a fabric cutting blade to cut them into strips about 3 inches wide. I then tied the strips to a piece of twine to make them easy to hang. I did not use all of the bed sheets so saved them for guest bedding.  The backdrops when on the arch outside, behind the cake, and behind our table/where we entered outside at.

Wedding backdrop, sheet backdrop, purple blue grey wedding
Backdrop made from sheets
purple blue grey wedding, gerber daisy fake bouquet
Bouquet, Flower Girl Basket and Tutu

Bouquet & Boutonnieres: I used the several gerber daisies I got 50% off at Hobby Lobby to make all the bouquets. I wrapped the flowers in the green flower tape to hold them together and added another flower until they looked like I wanted them to. Once they were together I used twine and a hot glue gun to wrap the stems of the flowers.

Flower Girl Tutus: I bought silver, blue and purple tulle 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I sewed together a few strips of the headband material then looped the tulle through the holes until it looked like I wanted it to. I used ribbon that went over the shoulders and tied to the back side of the material to keep the tutus up. I added a cheap flower clip to the front of the dress so you couldn't see through the material.

Flower Girl Basket & Ring Holder: I bought a flower girl basket on sale for $4, tore off the ugly decorations that was on it and replaced it with a mini version of the backdrops. The Ring Holder was made for us by a friend who carved the heart out of a piece of wood. I then painted the heart white and attached ribbon and fake rings to it.

*If you can't make your Ring Holder you can buy a similar Rustic Love Ring Bowl here or check out these cute Mr. and Mrs. Wedding Ring Boxes.
                     Wood Heart Ring Bearer Holder
                                Wood Heart Ring Holder
Mailbox for Cards: We painted an old mailbox white then put our hand prints on it and I painted our names on the mailbox to make it look like the mailbox from the movie "UP".

*You can buy a white mailbox here for $18
         UP mailbox, wedding card holder
Mailbox for Cards

Three Months of planning and crafting resulted in a beautiful outdoor wedding. From doing my own hair and make-up along with the bridesmaids hair to making all the decoration and being our own DJ, we succeeded in having an affordable wedding well under $5000. There were a few other things we did/made that I may end up posting as a future blog tutorial. Like I said before, IT IS POSSIBLE to plan a cheap wedding in a short period of time!!!  I hope this helps with ideas on either budgeting your wedding or decorations.

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