Category Archives: quality items

A Conundrum

There are dozens of things you “need” to buy for a baby-to-be.  The question is – how much of it is really necessary?  And must it all be bought new, top of the line?  I’m sure the answers are 1) not as much as you’d think and 2) no.  The conundrum then becomes – which items are essential to buy, and which are important to spend a bit more on?

Searching all of the websites out there just made me more confused than before, but in an attempt to get organized before the summer rummage sales begin, here’s a list of potential baby items to keep my eyes peeled for.

To buy new

  • crib
  • crib mattress
  • fitted crib sheets (2)
  • disposable diapers for infant
  • diaper wipes
  • baby soap/shampoo
  • bulb syringe nasal aspirator
  • baby nail clippers
  • BPA free bottles (4 oz and 8 oz)
  • bottle brush
  • baby first aid kit
  • breast pump/breast milk bags
  • infant car seat
  • baby hair brush
  • teething rings (non-plastic?)
  • baby-friendly laundry detergent
  • non-plastic sippy cup
  • diaper pail
  • nursing bra
  • baby powder

To buy used or get as hand-me-downs

  • dresser (or baskets for closet)
  • rocking chair or glider
  • waterproof mattress pad for crib
  • infant gowns (open elastic bottom)
  • swaddling cloth
  • clothes
  • hat
  • baby bathtub
  • bibs
  • diaper bags
  • baby toys
  • stroller
  • baby swing
  • infant seat
  • high chair
  • ring sling
  • boppy pillow (c-shaped pillow)
  • baby spoons
  • board books
  • safety gate
  • outlet covers
  • toilet seat lock
  • cupboard and drawer latches/locks
  • toy basket
  • hamper

To Make

  • crib mobile (black/white/red)
  • cloth wipes
  • changing pads
  • burp cloths
  • bibs
  • baby toys

Wait and See (or ask other people)

  • changing pad
  • sleep positioner
  • cloth diapers
  • separate thermometer
  • calibrated medicine dropper
  • baby monitor
  • baby washcloths
  • breastfeeding accessories (lanolin, cloth breast pads)
  • pacifier
  • night light
  • dishwasher caddy for bottles
  • bumpo seat

Goal Update

It’s about time … *shudder* … to check in on my goals.  All of my goals.  Which I have been “working towards.”  In theory.

It’s not so bad, really.  I think I’ll find that I’m not doing quite as well as I thought, though, which is the reason for the shudder.  Here goes nothing…

1)  Make delicious, home-made dinners a non-event

OK, this is the goal that I’m probably doing the best on (so I’m really glad it’s first!).  I’ve gone from burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and soggy PastaRoni to oven fried tilapia and martini mac and cheese.  My current goal is to find some lighter recipes to try.  Grade: A

2)  Buy and make quality pieces for our home

I’ve given more thought to the amount of time any given item will last, and if it’s worth putting in a few extra dollars for a better product.  Sometimes it’s not – a book at Half Price Books will be the same as a book at Barnes and Noble – but if it’s something that will be an obvious quality difference (for example, the watch H wears daily), I’d rather buy one that will last.  I try not to balk at spending more on an item I know we can get for less, and instead focus on the quality.  We haven’t had any major purchases in the past few months, though, so I’ve only put this into action on a small scale.  Grade: B

3)  Continuously improve our marriage

I read The Five Love Languages (and I’d highly recommend it to any person, married or not), and I’ve put a good dent in my second reading of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus.  In a stroke of what can only be called brilliance, I put that book on the shelf behind the toilet.  Best marriage move  yet.  That may be an exaggeration, but it really has been a success – I could never convince H to read a marriage book so frequently otherwise.  Grade: A

4)  Be confident in my appearance

On the positive side, I’ve started wearing makeup on a regular basis, and I’ve started styling my hair once in a while instead of pulling it back every single day.  I haven’t been able to lose the weight that I wanted, though, so I’m disappointed most of the time  I look in the mirror.  Grade: D

5)  Be proficient on the sewing machine

I haven’t spent much time on this goal, so there’s not much to report.  I’ve only done one sewing project in 2010 (an apron), and it turned out well.  It’s nothing that I couldn’t have done in high school, however, so I’m going to have to give myself poor marks for this goal!  Grade: F

6)  Keep an organized, clean home

I’d say the house is organized.  We have a place for everything, anyway.  Everything in it’s place?  Not so much.  H is organized.  His jacket is never on the floor, his books are never left lying about, and his keys are always on the key hook.  I am a little more scatterbrained.  If I can see my desktop, it’s a good day.  I am working on it, though.  Whenever I get a spare moment, I play a game where I put away five things in every room.  (We only have six rooms, so it doesn’t take long.)  It’s made a difference.  Cleaning doesn’t happen quite as frequently as it should, but it could be worse.  Grade: B

7)  Act instead of plan

I used to waste a lot of time blog surfing.  I truly mean waste, too – I was subscribing to every semi-interesting blog that I came across, which quickly snowballed into over 250 subscriptions.  I’d fill up to 1000+ items in three days if I didn’t keep on top of it .  I’d spend hours just hitting next, next, next, next, on Google Reader.  I am very proud to say that I’ve kicked the habit!  I do still love reading posts, but I found a way to dramatically reduce wasting time on blogs that I wasn’t getting anything out of.  This left me with quite a bit more time to live in the real world, and I am getting only quality, interesting information daily.  Grade: A

8)  Keep a healthy household

After hundreds of dollars in dental and eyecare bills, I’d give myself an A just to make myself feel better about spending so much.  And that’s AFTER insurance.  We also joined the YMCA and have been regularly attending.  My $1 per half hour plan has been largely successful.  I’m still using and loving it, and H has made such a good habit of working out that he doesn’t even need to use the program anymore.  We’ve cut out chocolate and chips for Lent.  Next up: portion control and cutting the calories!  Grade: A

9)  Be confident in our finances

I use to track all expenses, and I know where nearly every dollar goes.  That’s not to say that I rigidly follow our budget, however.  Something always seems to come up that we weren’t expecting, or that I thought would cost less.  I also would like to have a better “big picture” idea of finances.  H typically handles all larger transactions (stocks, mutual funds, etc.), and I do day to day items.  It would be better if we had a little more overlap… or at least if I had a better idea of our finances on a whole.  Grade: C

10)  Be a friend

After a long hiatus, I’ve made friends with Facebook once again.  As much as I dislike it in theory (more on that later), it does have quite a few redeeming values, and at this point I’ll use it for the purpose of being a better friend.  Also, another good mark: by the end of this weekend, I’ll have spent time with three different groups of friends – a really good weekend for me.  I’m still not making the grade, though.  One of my best high school friends moved into a duplex about a mile down the road two months ago, and I’ve seen him ONCE in all of that time.  Grade: B

11)  Give back to the community

Big fat failure.  Nothing else to say about this one.  Grade: F

That wasn’t so bad!  I think I need to check in on my goals every month – it has been eye opening, and it’s motivated me to get up off of this couch and get going!

This is why I want to learn to sew…

Date Night Apron from Quilted Treasures

On the Bookshelf: IndieBound

Combining file cabinets with H has been quite a task, and we’re only about halfway through.  Though tedious, it’s about time.  As a bonus, I’ve stumbled across lots of great info that I’ve tucked away.  Included in my “Books” file were a few pamphlets from our local bookstore called “Indie Next List.”  I finally visited their website, and I’m HOOKED.  This’ll be my go-to book list from now on.  Here are a few that peaked my interest.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Home by Marilynne Robinson

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic

Wish List

It’s sinful to have a wish list this soon after Christmas… however… we’ve got gift cards to burn from the wedding, so it doesn’t hurt to keep track of a few things that we could use around the house.

Without further ado…

Steel Potato Masher

Cordless Telephone With Caller ID (to go with our brand new phone line!)

Cooling Rack With Small Holes

Brown, High-Heeled Boots (not this exact pair, but close enough...)

Camp Grill

Hot Glue Gun

TV Antenna (we're a cable-free household)

Grocery Bag Holder

Needs?  No.  Good uses of a gift card?  Perhaps.

*Note – all photos are from

Merry Christmas To Me!

My birthday was a few months ago. and I received some “fun money” from relatives and in-laws. It’s just been sitting in the checking account, waiting to be used for just the right purchase. Well…. I finally found it!

Sony DSCH20

Unfortunately, I don’t have a memory card yet. It has 11 mb of internal memory, which is a total of about two pictures. I’ve been doing quite a bit of “shoot and delete,” but it’s getting old quickly. I ordered a memory card from, and it’s due to arrive tomorrow – fingers crossed! I’ve been itching to see what it really can do. It’s quite a bit nicer than my last camera. It has lots of fancy features (such as a “smile detector”), and those will be fun to play with, but I am really excited that it has a “Steady Shot,” especially in low lighting. That was my biggest frustration with all of the point and shoots that I’ve used in the past.

Here’s to hoping that I’ll love it as much as I’m expecting to!