Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

Happy Halloween! My two biggest trick or treaters are off to school in costumes today. Hope you have a fun and not too spooky day! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss this week's features or the newest post in my Mommy's Must Haves series, Best Pregnancy and Baby Books?




Time to link up your best post of the week!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best Pregnancy and Parenting Books {Must Have List}

Last week, we opened up the Mommy's Must Haves series with a list of essential items for your first trimester. (You can view the whole series here) One of the things I mentioned was using your first trimester to get a hard start on all that reading! This week, I'm going to share some of my favorite pregnancy and parenting books.
Mommy's Must Have series from a Mom of Three! at Serenity Now

Remember, this series is based on what worked for me...I'm a mom of three little ones, so I've had a chance to read a lot, choose the methods I like, and discover what works for our family. What I found to be informative or useful might not work out for you. The key is to learn as much as you can and try out new things until you find your groove! Please no rude comments about how you dislike a certain parenting style or method. Those will be deleted right away.
Best Pregnancy and Baby/Parenting Book List: Mommy's Must Have series from a Mom of Three! at Serenity Now #pregnancy #baby #pregnancytips


What to Expect When You're Expecting- Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
One of the long-time "pregnancy Bibles" for expecting moms. I've seen this book discouraged on some blogs for being too "Debbie Downer," but I'll give the authors props for being thorough. There are so so sooo many questions women have during pregnancy (especially their first), and this book really covers all the bases. My best advice for this book? Don't skip the part on cesarean sections, thinking it won't apply to you. The nurse that led our childbirth class said the same thing when I was expecting my first, and of course I didn't listen. Three c-sections later, I'm a pro, but I do wish I had been more informed going in.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week- Glade P. Curtis and Judith Schuler 
I referenced this one quite a bit during my first pregnancy because I loved reading weekly updates.

Baby Bargains- Denise Fields and Alan Fields
If you're a first time mama and have no clue what kind of gear you need, where to get it for a good price, and what to buy, this is a good one to pick up. I remember doing a lot of research on pack 'n plays, carseats, and strollers with this one.

The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy- Vicki Iovine
Reads exactly as if you are listening to a funny, honest, and experienced mom friend. She gives practical advice and talks about things your doc doesn't usually get to during those routine appointments. A great balance of funny and poignant.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding- La Leche League International and Diane Wiessinger 
T's cousin recommended this one to me when I was pregnant with our first. I found a copy in our local thrift shop and found it to be very informative. Unfortunately, breastfeeding doesn't work out for every mom (and it's okay!!!!), so I worry that this book might cause some new moms undue stress or guilt if their breastfeeding experience (or lack of one) doesn't go the way they had planned. Exclusive pumping was not popular when I was doing it, so I wish my copy of the book had been more helpful in that area...perhaps the newer editions do?

What to Expect the First Year- Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Like it's counterpart listed above, this is a fabulous, thorough look at a baby's first year. I really really recommend reading the sections on the first three or four months before baby arrives so that you have a little bit of an idea of what to expect. It was even a good refresher for me to read with my second and third pregnancies!

Moms on Call- Jennifer Walker and Laura Hunter (not pictured above, sorry)
I read this one when I was pregnant with baby #3 and loved that they practically lay out everything a new mom needs to know, from how to diaper and how to swaddle, to how to give an infant a bath. They also offer some great schedules to try out, as well as a handy iPhone app!

Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care- Benjamin Spock, M.D.
This book is like the holy grail of information on caring for your baby. It may be old, but Dr. Spock's book has been in print for more than 50 years, so clearly something is working. I remember that my mom had a copy of this in our bathroom drawer! The most recent editions have also been updated along with current advances in health.

Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay- Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
A very humorous look at parenting an infant!

The Diaper Diaries- Cynthia L. Copeland
Another humorous read that will make you smile during those tiring first few weeks. I remember feeling so nervous and strung-out over breast-feeding, lack of sleep, and uncertainty...and this book made me smile. I knew the author "got it."

Note: I save these two for last because they truly saved my life. With my oldest daughter, I was exhausted, hormonal, and totally unsure of what I was doing. Reading these next two books and "editing" things to fit our family made mothering during that first year simpler. I loved having a loose schedule to follow and my daughter thrived as she grew older (seriously, off the charts in percentiles) and I set some "bedtime rules." The way the authors do things may not be for you, but they note that you can tailor things to fit your family, which is what we did. I have three happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. They eat well and have been sleeping in their own beds with no problems whatsoever since being a few months old. I call that success. (Again, if you're not a fan, you don't need to leave an ugly comment--I will delete it.)

On Becoming Babywise- Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam M.D.
This is book one in a series. Wonderful, practical tips on feeding philosophies, sleep, day time play, healthy baby growth charts, etc. Again, not for everyone...but I have three awesome kids who harbor no ill will towards me for encouraging them to learn to soothe themselves to sleep.

Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: The Baby Sleep Solution- Suzy Giordano and Lisa Abidin
In the haze of not having slept in weeks, I ripped this book off the shelf at our local bookstore when our oldest was a little over a month old. I didn't follow it to the "T" because we stretched things out and tweaked the timeline/scheduling to suit ourselves. But I loved her tips on soothing a fussy baby, keeping a little one awake to feed, etc.

I also wrote a post with the Best Pregnancy Websites and Blogs last year. I do hope you'll check it out!

Hope you find some of these titles helpful and inspiring!


If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inspiring Project Ideas {link party features}

Hello! Is your week off to a good start? I've got some creative inspiration for you, and today I'll be sharing some Features from the weekend link party. If you're new to the blog, I take a couple of days each week to let other bloggers showcase their project ideas here, and I take a day to feature a few of my faves. We have crafts, home decor, DIY, recipes, party ideas, organizing, tips and tricks, seasonal projects, and more!

Here are some projects that caught my eye this week:

~Navy and Gold Dresser Makeover via 24 Cottonwood Lane


~Candy Corn Cookie Cake via Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


~Black and Gold Striped Table  via Shabby Love

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

TGIF! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss this week's features or the newest post in my Mommy's Must Haves series, First Trimester Pregnancy Must Haves?




Time to link up your best post of the week!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

First Trimester Pregnancy Must Haves {Mommy's Must Haves series}


Welcome, moms, moms-to-be, and moms who want to share this series with their friends. (haha) Today brings the first post in my new series, Mommy's Must Haves...all about the essentials for pregnancy and baby. Written by a mom of three on a budget!


If you just found out you're expecting, congratulations. This is such an exciting (and emotional!) journey you're embarking on. Trust me, now's the time to start planning and preparing for your new arrival. Don't ask me how I know, but it stinks to wait until the last minute. {wink}

If you're planning and hoping to be pregnant soon, welcome to you too! It's a great idea to make healthy choices and plans before you 

As I mentioned in the series opener, every single pregnancy is different! You may have morning (or afternoon, or night) sickness; you may not. You might go up three bra sizes; you might get away with just wearing something stretchy. What worked for me might not work for you, so take my tips with a grain of salt and be prepared to try some other ideas!

You really don't need much for your first trimester, but here are some items that I found to be helpful over the course of my three pregnancies!



1. Saltines
I had awful, terrible nausea with all three of my pregnancies. All day, all afternoon, and all evening until I went to bed. I was the most tired with baby #3, probably due to the fact that I was exhausted from the pregnancy...plus taking care of my two other kiddos. Saltines were something I could nibble on without feeling like I was going to hurl...right away.

You may have morning (or afternoon, or night) sickness; you may not. Find something, anything (!) you can eat without wanting to throw up. With my first baby, fresh fruit helped me feel better. Find your thing and hold onto it!

2. Water Bottle or Straw Cup
Again with the morning sickness! Sometimes the only thing that kept me from "tossing it" was taking little bitty sips of very very very cold ice water. If I felt the nausea coming on, I'd start sipping, and sometimes it would keep things at bay. Also, water is good for you.

3. Ginger Ale
I don't think the brand really matters, but sometimes Ginger Ale also helps curb the nausea...also, it's nice to be able to order something besides water when you go out to eat as a treat. (Especially since you'll be turning down margaritas for the next nine months!)

4. Ginger Pops
I'm adding these (Preggie Pops) to the list because they were recommended to me by so many friends. There wasn't much that seemed to work for me, but friends have sworn by the ginger pops! You can find them at CVS, WalMart, etc.

5. A good OB/GYN
This should be a no-brainer, but I've heard so many mom friends talk about how much they dislike their docs and end up switching when they get pregnant. Find yourself a good OB/GYN! Look for someone who is empathetic, takes the time to listen and answer your questions, and isn't pushy. Also be sure you like the staff! I've had the same OB/GYN since I got pregnant with Natalie, my oldest. Not only is my doc excellent, someone I trust (she's done all three c-sections!), but her staff is fabulous. They are kind, friendly, and don't keep me waiting!!!

6. Pregnancy Journal
I'll level with you. You probably won't have time to do this if this is not your first pregnancy. You have enough on your hands to deal with, so don't beat yourself up. If this is your first baby, a pregnancy journal can be a fun way to record your feelings, experiences, and health. My sis gave me one when I was pregnant with Natalie, and I loved it. You'll also be able to look back and compare if you have more little ones later on.

7. Prenatal Vitamins
Hopefully, you're already taking some for the folic acid. My OB/GYN prescribed some prenatal vitamins during my first two pregnancies, but they were so expensive ($50 a month with our new insurance!!) with baby #3 that I just took over-the-counter ones and never noticed a difference. Ask your doc what he/she recommends, and they probably have some great samples for you to try. 

8. Pregnancy and Baby Books
One of my top pregnancy tips? Start reading those pregnancy and baby books now, and take notes! First-time moms, I don't need to tell you. You probably already have a stack of them on your coffee table. I'll share a list of my favorite pregnancy and baby books next week, but you can also check out my list of best pregnancy websites and blogs! If this isn't your first pregnancy, it's still kind of nice to dust off those pregnancy books and brush up on your knowledge.

Other first trimester tips:

-Nighttime vitamins
If you are unable to keep anything down, try taking your vitamins at night after you brush your teeth. I found I was less likely to hurl them back up, and it also helped me to remember to take them since I was following a routine.

-Avoid caffeine
My doctor told me that small amounts of caffeine (ie. one small cup of coffee a day) are okay, but I preferred to play it safe and went cold turkey. If you're experiencing morning sickness, the thought of that coffee, mocha, Coke, etc. may make you feel gross anyways. I held off until around 20 weeks and then allowed myself a small amount after that so I wouldn't go nuts. Ask your doctor!

-Rest up!
You're growing a human being. I found this trimester to be the most utterly exhausting of all. I suppose it's kind of a shock to introduce a human into your system. When I was pregnant for the first time, I used to come home from working 9 to 5, take a 2 hour nap, and then still go to bed by 10 because I felt so awful from throwing up all day. My husband, who was possibly the least sympathetic partner ever (don't worry, he learned his lesson by subsequent pregnancies!) did not understand this at all, and frequently made me feel awful about wanting/needing extra rest. Don't let anyone give you slack for needing a nap or two! By baby #3, T was the one telling me to go put my feet up and take a load off. 

If you already have little ones at home, start enforcing a nap time or quiet time. I promise, it won't kill them. Take some time for yourself and rest up for your new baby.

What are your top must haves for the first trimester of pregnancy? Any good tips?


If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.

Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inspiring Project Ideas {link party features}

Hello! How are you today? I've got some creative inspiration for you, and today I'll be sharing some Features from the weekend link party. If you're new to the blog, I take a couple of days each week to let other bloggers showcase their project ideas here, and I take a day to feature a few of my faves. We have crafts, home decor, DIY, recipes, party ideas, organizing, tips and tricks, seasonal projects, and more!

There aren't many features this week because, to be honest, I clicked on dozens of links before I could find anyone that bothered to take the time to link back properly to the blog party...which was really discouraging.

Here are some projects that caught my eye this week:

~Craigs List Chairs Makeover via 29 Tuesdays


~Classic Vanilla Pound Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle via Living the Gourmet

~Rustic Harvest Wreath via The Scrap Shoppe








Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekend Bloggy Reading :: Link Up!

TGIF! Welcome to my Weekend Bloggy Reading link party. Fridays are fun because this is the day of the week where other bloggers stop by to link up their best post of the week here at Serenity Now, and readers get to browse tons of fun project ideas. If you're new here, don't forget to "Follow" or subscribe so you don't miss future parties and projects!

*Please be sure to read my guidelines before you add a link--I've had to bypass so many great projects lately because they didn't include a link back to my blog in the post!

This party is a great place to showcase your very best post of the week (home decor, crafts, party ideas, recipes, DIY, tips and tricks, etc.) and to see what else is out there.

Did you miss any of this week's posts? I showed off some fab features and announced a fun new series for expecting mamas: Mommy's Must Haves {essentials for pregnancy and baby}.


**Also, the Best of the Blogosphere will be up at Centsational Girl some time this weekend! Kate and I have rounded up some fab DIY to share with you. Head over to see the BOTB after you link up here!**


Time to link up your best post of the week!

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