Recharging and Reconnecting tips.

Any other moms feel so overwhelmed sometimes? I have been trying to get a new post out for days but both of my kids have sabotaged my one time in the evenings to get some writing done! Hayden Renee one night decided she wanted to wash her hair with play doh. Yes, you read that correctly, play doh! It took a 30 minute soak in the bathtub with conditioner, than me slowly combing through her hair for probably another twenty minutes before I got It all out! So after that situation I spent the evening (what was left of it) and drank a glass (or two) of wine and thought about my life decisions of allowing play doh into my house. 

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We are currently planning a family camping trip and are so excited for it so I thought for all you fellow campers (or fifth wheel) like us I would just do a tips and tricks I have learned from having just Hayden Renee to camping with Kasalina Grace as an infant who is in cloth diapers! 

I love camping and we are so incredibly blessed that when my in laws upgraded their fifth wheel they allowed us to take over their old one! We have on occasion taken their’s but my father in law usually enjoys going with us so we take both! I absolutely love our times in the fifth wheel as a family, they recenter and re-energize us. If you are wanting to have just times together as a family I really recommend camping and exploring, even if it is just your state! We made a list at the beginning of the year of places within two hours of our house that we wanted to explore and we try to go one of those places every two months. 

The best thing I have found when it comes to these trips is planning ahead is key! When it comes to meals, clothes, toys, everything pretty much I plan ahead. I have made my life easier and there are certain things that I have already in the fifth wheel that doesn’t have to be moved back and forth. It can be expensive to essentially have a second of everything, a lot of things I got on sale or on black Friday deals! We keep a sound machine in the camper because both of my girls sleep with one! I also have a toy box in the camper that is just for the camper. Hayden Renee loves this because she has exciting “new” toys that she gets to play with when we go explore! After each trip I wash all the sheets and towels than put them all back into the camper so when we go to leave the next time its one less thing for me to do and think about! 

 

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Now as far as meal planning goes when we are exploring, I tend to be a little less strict with what we eat while out. BUT I still make a meal plan that I can for the most part do all the preparation before we leave and it makes my life so much easier! I absolutely love foil meals for dinners! I can pre marinate and make all the vegetables and meats that go in the foil packets and have them in bags ready to be put into the foil! So much easier than having to do it all in a small area with little to no counter space! Lets be honest campers do not have much extra counter space to spread out and cut everything! Lunches are another fun experience and my first couple trips I would bring ALL the sandwich supplies and make them at the time. Not so much anymore! The best thing i’ve done is to take the Hawaiian bread rolls (which are amazing) cut the whole slab in half sideways, and put all the meat and cheese on them. I usually do a packet for every lunch we are there and do half ham and half turkey. They packages just sit onto of each other on the shelf in the small fridge in the camper (which anyone else who camps wish that you could fit a full size fridge in them!) I stock up on all those tiny packages of mayo and mustard and ketchup and those go into a plastic bin labeled condiments on a shelf in a cabinet because there are ATON of those! Now this all took me about five or six times of camping before I figured it out! The first couple solo trips kinda got rough and thank god for my amazing mother in law who has does this a lot more than me and has a fifth wheel stocked better than my house! I promise you as much preparation as you can do ahead of time will allow you to feel like you are on vacation. I do a lot of things that can be put on the grill because that is my husbands area and I get to sit down and relax while he cooks! 

Another huge help for me is to put my kids clothes for each day and pajamas in pre labeled bags (that I reuse every time!) All I have to do is reach into the cabinet and grab the bag I need and don’t even have to think about it! The less I have to think about in the moment and the more I get to relax and have fun the better! Now I have a dock-a-tot for Kasalina that I take EVERYWHERE! She sleeps all night in it and as all moms know taking that away is not an option if you want to maintain your sanity! I love organizing, I love having things organized because it allows me to have fun outside and truly enjoy the time away because everything is already done! 

One big thing thats hard in a camper is there is no bathtub, so with little kids we have a sprayer shower head with a long hose! Hayden Renee is easy because she can just stand in there and I can just spray her down, she thinks its so much fun! The sprayer turns on and off so I don’t have to readjust the temperature each time! Kasalina is a little tougher but we usually just have one of us in there holding her while the other stands outside of the shower ready to take the baby. I have a wash cloth for each girl in the camper and a hook for them in the shower so I can just let them dry in between uses! One thing you will learn fast when camping is minimalism is key. A towel for each person is enough for the short amount of time you are gone! It’s so incredibly freeing to not have so much stuff around you and just have people! 

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 Now for you cloth diaper mommas or those who are considering cloth diapers! I absolutely love our decision to cloth diaper. It was a slow decision to get to this point because I barely have time for myself now and to add in one more thing I needed to do seemed daunting. But, both of my girls are allergic to the bleaching in both diapers and now Hayden is potty trained and I have to use a certain brand of toilet paper to keep her from reacting! So needless to say this switch has been an amazing option for me! At home I have an easy setup with a can with a liner for the diapers and it works well for me! In the camper I had to get a bit creative because I couldn’t have a bulky bin sitting around for many reasons. I found on amazon reusable liners that were large and zipped shut. I also have seventh generation spray and that handy sprayer in the shower that helps me deal with the number two diapers! I than use my amazing mrs. Meyers spray to spray down the floor of the shower! This system works well for me and I bring enough diapers for all the days we are gone. If you cloth diaper you know that you know how many you use a day! We also use cloth for Kasalina Grace’s swim diapers and I have three of those on hand because she doesn’t tend to stay in the water if we do go swimming for long so she doesn’t soil those as fast as her cloth diapers! 

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I will always encourage having a salt lamp and diffuser with your favorite oils taken with you! I love to keep my family in the same routine of there oils and if you don’t believe in a salt lamp you should!! They are the most amazing way to clear the air of negative energy and get rid of anxiety! My diffuser in the camper is a smaller one because it is a small area but my oil collection is just as big as in my house because you never know what you may need for what ailment! The bug spray I use on my girls and the bug bite balm are all made from my essential oils. I try to use as little of chemicals as I can. Hayden before bed every night asks for her essential oils (rollerballs) on her feet and chest. I LOVE that she loves to explore but with exploring comes with bug bites and bruises! I love doterra Terra Shield in both the oil and spray! The oil can be diffused to keep the creepy crawlies out of your area, while the spray can keep them off of you! Lavender and Cedarwood are amazing separately but together are great for restful sleep! I diffuse this while getting my kids wound down for a nap or bedtime or use it in a rollerball to clam them down! I never go anywhere without these oils. 

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My last tip to getting away with your family is to put the electronics down! The phones, the tablets, the laptops, all of it goes into a bin in the camper and we may check it at night once the kids are in bed but during the day we don’t pick it up! It gives us a chance to unplug and get away, it gives us a chance to truly reconnect as a family! I find it gives me and my husband and chance to just be with each other and talk and not have one of our phones blowing up or facebook open or instagram! I love these trips and one weekend every two months won’t kill your following, and your facebook won’t disappear! What it will do is allow your family to truly reconnect with each other and have fun! These memories that you will make will last forever! 

A few of my favorite things.

Top 10 mom products we couldn’t live without. 

  1. Dock a tot: https://dockatot.com
  2. Owelet: https://owletcare.com
  3. Cameras: 
  4. Mommaroo swing: https://shop.4moms.com/
  5. Books: https://www.babylit.com
  6. Smilo bottles/sippy cups: https://www.smilobaby.com
  7. Hatch scale/noisemaker: https://shop.hatchbaby.com
  8. Nose Frida: https://www.fridababy.com
  9. Naturesutton pacifier : http://www.natursutten.com
  10. Ryan and Rose clips: https://www.ryanandrose.co

So tonight I thought I’d give you momma friends who are either pregnant or have fresh newbies a top ten list of my absolute favorite products! Some of them have products for the older kids that I also use with Hayden! But for the most part these are mainly baby products! 

 First product I wish I had bought for Hayden Renee, she may be sleeping in her own room now instead of with me currently! The dock-a-tot has been my saving grace when it comes to Kasalina’s sleep schedule. I can take in the fifth wheel camping with us, or even to my moms house when she watches the girls and she will sleep in it without a fuss! Along with this is the Mommaroro Swing, I had a swing for Hayden but when my mom bought the mommaroo for us when we had Kasalina it was a game changer! She will play in it while I cook dinner or am cleaning up around the house! It is a bit on the pricy side but I would definently recommend it for moms with toddlers who run around the house like the hounds of hell are behind them! This Swing has held up to Hayden laying on-top of kasalina and trying to sit in it herself! 

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She loves this! 

Now Smilo is a smaller bottle company but I absolutely ADORE there products! The bottle has a patented nipple shape and vent that works together to reduce colic, and I know there are other companies that say they do that, but this is the first one that actually worked for Kasalina. I tried six other brands before stumbling across this one! The material is BPA, BPS, BPF & Phthalate free, which was another big factor in me wanting to try them. They have four stages from preemie to stage three. I also use their sippy cups for Hayden and have been the only ones I have found that don’t leak, and there are no hidden crevices that collect mold no matter how much you take them apart and scrub them! (Can you tell ive been through 1000 sippy cups with Hayden!) 

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Smilo Bottles! 

Now if you are a mom like me and like to track weight and feeds (really helpful for breast feeding mommas) than you’ll like the Hatch scale as much as I do! Now I mainly got this scale because I had a preemie and one of our contingency for getting to go home was tracking her weight carefully and regular pediatrician visits so they could take down her weight! Hatch linked to my phone and automatically kept a log of Kasalina Weight and if I wanted weighted feeds. If you are a preemie mom I for sure recommend this product! It gave me peace of mind that she was gaining! I also was gifted a hatch sound machine, I NEVER used a sound machine with Hayden because she just slept with me and I had the tv on most of the time. We now all sleep with the sound machine on and I have since bought one for the Fifth wheel for camping trips so we have one on hand at all hands! Along with a scale if you are a mom like me the Owelet monitor is such a huge lifesaver! It will allow you to sleep with such a peace of mind. I have used mine for every nap and bedtime since we came home from the hospital. With Hayden I had angel care and it was ok but I love the Owelet! I can track her heart rate and oxygen levels from my phone and it alerts me if either drops! Kasalina has a ASD which is an Atrial Septal Defect, which is a hole is the wall that separates the top two chambers of her heart. She will hopefully not have to have surgery and it will close on its own by the time she is one. But she isn’t sitting up on her own yet and you have to watch her closely when feeding and eating because she will turn blue if she gets over taxed. I COULD NOT sleep if I didn’t have a way to see her heart rate and oxygen levels. 

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This is Kasalina on the Hatch Scale!

Kasalina does take a pacifier, and I love the nature Sutton ones for her! My mother in law says they are ugly but the are all natural, toxin free pacifier. Kasalina Absolutely ADORES them! To hold these pacifiers to her I LOVE Ryan & Rose pacifier clips! They are absolutely adorable and have all kind of styles! They sell Naturesutton on there site and also have adorable rattles! Every mom loves the Nose Frida and I am no exception! I have there thermometer for Hayden because she will randomly spike 103-104 degree fevers. So if before bed she feels a little warm ill stick that on her and it gives me peace of mind that it will alert me if there is a spike. 

So lastly we have my overprotective slightly paranoid husband favorite item, cameras. We have a camera in every room except the bathrooms in our house that link to one tablet not on wifi because he was worried someone would access them through wifi. We did this mainly because he wanted me to able to shower without being scared to death (the tablet is waterproof). I at first thought he was insane but now that we are four years into cameras I actually enjoy them. I can see Hayden destroy her room (yay) and I can see if Kasalina is asleep or awake (which lets be honest she wakes up as I scrub shampoo into my hair every time.) I would have to say find some good ones and use them because they are worth it! 

Now I will say some of these items can get expensive, but I bought them over nine months. I honestly don’t put a price on some of the peace of mind it gave me! With my post party anxiety I honestly couldn’t have functioned without some! (A topic for another time) Some of these items I wished I had with Hayden and others specifically are needed for Kasalina. If you don’t have a high needs baby you may not need some of them. Others of them are great for kids of all ages! One thing I have done for both girls I highly suggest for everyone is invest in books! For baby showers and birthdays that have come and gone I have asked instead of cards to get books! Books teach them they can be anything anywhere in the world! Books give them a place to learn and escape. I will forever be grateful for my mom instilling in me and my brothers the love for books we still carry to this day! I LOVE babylit books for my girls! They have classics to introductions to ABC’s. Every night before bed I love our time reading a book (or two or three) and for a little while we are in a faraway land or exploring a jungle. For a short minute in time I can imagine my girls aren’t swiftly growing up before my eyes! 

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These are just a few of our Babylit Books! I love the classics for them. 

I hope this helps you! If there is ever any product you want to know about ask me and Ill do some research or just go to the source and talk to them! 

Who am I?

Hi all! I am Sarah McKinney, mom of two gorgeous and amazing girls! I have been married to my sweet country boy for seven years now and we live in a small town called Christmas Fl. You may be wondering about the title of the blog. Hayden Renee is my oldest daughter, my first born, my sour patch kid. She is her momma all over again with her daddy’s smarts. The world is a better place for having her in it! 

This child of mine has figured out every childproof lock I have put up in this house! She can climb over any gate you set in her way and has the steely determination of someone beyond her years! She is sassy as can be with a vocabulary beyond her sweet age of two. She tests every boundary I give her and pushes every button in me on any given day. I find myself yelling no less than 100x times a day to get out of the fridge. In fact if I even hear that fridge open I just automatically yell “Hayden get out of the fridge.” This my life, I argue and loose often to a two-year old! I find her toy kitchen food and plates in my fridge and freezer constantly! As I tried to come up with a name for my blog that represented me and my family and our story a good friend looked at me (after I had hollered for the billionth time that evening for Hayden to get out of the fridge!) and just said “thats it, thats your name.” So here we are! 

My blog, this is my safe place for you to come! If you never admit you have read even one of my posts im ok with that! But I want this to be a place for you to find solace, to laugh, to see a topic thats been bugging you and have it explained! If you want me to help you find an alternative product for your family I will! If I cant make it for you (for a small price) ill steer you in the right direction! 

I am so excited for this adventure! I want to help you, if you need something let me know. If you wanna talk let me know! If you need a place to laugh come on over and read because I can guarantee I have a story of some kind of antic that my two year old and seven month old have done! 

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