Potty Training Essentials

I shared some thoughts on potty training this week over on Orlando Moms Blog, so I thought I would also share some of the essential items that help with the potty training process.

Potty Training Essentials

The Baby Bjorn smart potty and step stool are a must. Both of the kids preferred the small potty over sitting on the big potty at first. This potty is simple and has zero frills but does the job. The step stool is necessary for all of the hand washes after the potty. Both of the kids still use their step stool every night to brush their teeth.

Just as important as the potty itself are the rewards. We used M&M’s for both of our kids, as well as Dum Dum lollipops. I’ve heard of many different types of treats, small toys, stickers, the whole nine yards. Whatever you use, definitely offer rewards and incentives!

I was very particular about the kids’ undies because one brand fit each of them far better than the others. For Kenley, we really like the Carter’s cotton undies. They are super cute, comfy, and fit her well. For Crosby, we like the Old Navy boxer briefs. They fit him really well and I cannot even get over the cuteness.

We swear by the Kandoo flushable wipes and the Up & Up flushable wipes. These make potty time so much better than normal dry toilet paper. Some reviews have said that the flushable wipes can cause clogs, but we haven’t experienced that and use them sparingly. These are also great to stuff in the diaper bag and go!

For Kenley, we used a folding travel potty seat with handles for those lovely trips to public restrooms. She was a little apprehensive of the large, loud potties and I didn’t even want to think about how disgusting those potties really were. The seat was great to stick in the diaper bag and use it as needed on the go.

We already had a Planet Wise wet bag from our cloth diapering days, but these are great to have on hand in case of accidents. I usually stick a clean change of clothes in there to take with us when we leave the house and then use it for the soiled clothes, if needed.

I am happy to be done with the potty training phase but these items were especially helpful during the whole process. What have you used that is not on my list?

 

*this post contains affiliate links

Our Favorites // Feeding

I have shared some of these items on our previous must have lists, but I wanted to do a full roundup of our favorite feeding items. We have retired most of these items since we have moved out of the baby stage, but they will still go down as some of our favorites.

Thankfully we didn’t have to do a lot of shopping around for bottles since both of the kids took to Tommee Tippie bottles immediately. They were very easy to clean and there were no issues with the kids going from breast to bottle and vice versa. The Tommee Tippie sippy cups were good, however, not as easy to clean. They did the job for Kenley, but for Crosby, I was introduced to the Nuby No-Spill Sprout sippy cups and they were by far the best. They were easy to clean, didn’t leak, and Crosby really liked them. Once the kids transitioned to straw cups, we found the Thermos Foogo insulated straw cups and then the slightly larger Thermos Funtainer straw bottles. I cannot stand when cups sweat, so these have been my favorite so far. Since they are both insulated, they keep the water and ice cold for much longer. Another bonus is that they don’t leak! I foresee us using the Thermos brand for a while.

When Kenley was born, there was only the Boon Grass drying rack which was perfect. Later, the larger Boon Lawn came out and once we added another child, we added another drying rack. I love the modern, nontraditional look to these drying racks. They are cute, as well as functional. There are also cute accessories such as the Boon Twig that are great for hanging pacifiers and bottle nipples to dry. We now only use the lawn and it is great for both the kids’ cups, as well as wine glasses. The only bottle brush we’ve used is the OXO Tot Bottle Brush and it is great. Again, still useful for cups and wine glasses even though we haven’t used baby bottles in quite a while.

Feeding Favorites

We registered for the Fisher-Price Spacesaver High Chair due to the lack of space in our kitchen area of our first house. The high chair sat directly on one of our chairs at the kitchen table and it did just that, saved space. We had the option to slide the chair around the kitchen as needed, but most of the time we all sat at the kitchen table for meals. It worked out perfectly. You can also buy different covers, so it it was nice to have a back up when one was in the wash. Once the kids grew out of the high chair, they moved into the OXO Tot Perch booster seat. Both of the kids have their own now and I love them because they aren’t bulky and they are easy to move.

When we first started solid food, the Munckin soft-tip spoons were by far the best. They are cheap, soft, and easy to clean. For plates, we loved using the OXO Tot Plate and Divided Plate. These are really good quality and the rubber bottoms were great for the younger years. We have since transitioned into the Re-play Recycled set, including the flat plates, divided plates, bowls, sippy cups, tumblers, utensils, and snack stacks. I could go on and on about how much we love this brand. They are very durable and there are so many fun colors. This is the only brand we use for meal time.

At school and on the go, there are a few items that we couldn’t live without. The OXO Tot large and small bowls have been in the rotation for years. They are great for sending snacks to school, such as fruit. They are also very durable as we’ve had our current set for well over three years now. Another item that we didn’t learn about until Crosby was born was the Dr. Brown’s Snack-A-Pillar cups. These were so useful when we were sending smaller snacks to school in the infant room because we could just stack them all together. We still use them, but they are pretty small now that the kids are bigger. Finally, we use the Bentgo lunch boxes for the kids. They are perfect for packing bento style lunches with a lot of variety. We use it every single day and they do not leak! They are well worth the money if you pack lunches regularly.

There you have it! Our feeding time favorites!

*this post contains affiliate links.

Our Favorites // Nine Months

I’m slowly catching up on posts so I want to share our nine month favorites! You can catch up on the three and six month favorites.

Dr. Brown’s Snack-A-Pillar Cups

These were recommended to us by a friend when Crosby was starting solids. They are wonderful for sending food and snacks to school. The cups can be used individually since each color has its own lid, or you can send them together stacked. We also love them for travel and airplane rides! They are perfect for offering a variety of snack options. We also use the OXO Tot Bowl Set to send food to school and we love these bowls. I found several of them at TJ Maxx when Kenley was little but not so much recently. You can also get them at Buy Buy Baby with a coupon.

Fisher-Price Workbench

The workbench, as well as the kitchen, is a great interactive learning toy that is good for all ages. It’s small so it can go from room to room, and has different settings for learning. However, it is not sturdy, so when he was starting to pull himself up on things, he took a lot of spills on the workbench and the kitchen because they toppled right over with them. Regardless, these two toys get played with a lot in our household.

Board Books

The Going to Bed Book

Crosby loves books. He is all about them at school and at home. Some of our early favorites include most of the Sandra Boynton books, including The Going to Bed Book and Moo Baa La La La. We also recently started collecting the Good Night series books.

VTech Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train

This is one of the many push toys we have at the house and both kids love it. It was great for Crosby to push around when he wasn’t walking yet, but wanted to get from place to place. He also loved to put the alphabet blocks into the train and have them shoot out the back. It was fun for Greg and I to watch his hand/eye coordination develop. Another good thing about the train is that it is educational! Win/win for everyone.

Tommee Tippee Bottle Warmer

 

We didn’t have a bottle warmer when Kenley was a baby, but I saw this bottle warmer at TJ Maxx for $17 and I couldn’t pass it up. I had hoped I would be breastfeeding, so I figured that Crosby wouldn’t be having many bottles at home, but when he did the bottle warmer was great! Around ten and a half months, Crosby decided he was done breastfeeding and he took a bottle morning, noon, and night. This bottle warmer was clutch! We used it every day until we transitioned fully to the sippy cup.

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What are some of your favorites at the nine month mark?

Our Favorites // Six Months

I know we are well past the six month mark with Crosby, but I wanted to make sure I shared some of our favorite products for this time frame. We were still using almost everything on our three month favorites list, as well.

Fisher-Price Musical Table

Both Kenley and Crosby loved this table. It’s great because the legs come off of the table, so we used it when they both were just able to sit up. Once Crosby started pulling himself up, we put the legs on it and he was able to stand and play. This model is a couple years old and it looks like there is a new one out too, the Fisher-Price Learning Table.

City Select Car Seat Adapter

After we found our stroller on Craigslist, I started looking at the accessories that we may need. I saw the car seat adapter but kept thinking that we wouldn’t need it, not to mention I didn’t want to spend the money on it. I had this big plan to wear baby #2 as often as possible, which is good in theory, until you have a sleeping baby in the car seat. During Crosby’s first week, we made a trip to Buy Buy Baby and I picked up the adapter which turned out to be a very good decision. We got tons of use out of it since he could ride in the stroller with the infant car seat, and as an added bonus, Kenley could also ride in her seat in the stroller too.

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups

These cups are awesome! They stack, nest, and snap together to make a balls that can roll around. These get used on a daily basis in our household. They are great for a wide range of ages as well.

Sophie the Giraffe and Rhino Toys Oball Rattle

 

We love chew toys in our house and these are two of our favorites. Crosby got a new Sophie the Giraffe, but he loves both equally the same. The Oball is also a new toy for us and it’s great for chewing, grabbing, and shaking.

Nosefrida (The Snotsucker) Nasal Aspirator

Before you skip over this one because you think it’s not for you… hear me out. We love the snotsucker. It sounds weird, I know. When we were thinking about buying this, we hadn’t heard anything about it, nor knew anyone who used it. Regardless, we decided to try it, so I am here to tell you how great it is. It’s a lot easier than using the bulb aspirators, and most importantly, its’ easy to clean! The bulb aspirator can get very moldy on the inside while the snotsucker cannot. Don’t worry, no snot even comes close to your mouth. It acts more like a vacuum and we use it all the time. If you ask Crosby, he may not be as enthusiastic about it as I am, but that’s ok because it helps him breathe. He’ll thank us later.

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What are some of your favorite items for this age?

Our Favorites // Three Months

I want to share some of the items that we’ve been loving and using since Crosby has arrived.
Here are our favorites for the first three months.

Baby 411

This book is seriously amazing! We received it as a gift with Kenley and have purchased it for a good number of our friends since then.
I was surprised how much we had forgotten in the last two years, so having this around has been so helpful.
We’ve both gone back and read up on several topics since Crosby has been here. I guarantee it won’t be the last time either.

Motorola Wireless Video Baby Monitor

This was another one of our stellar Craigslist finds back when Kenley was about six or seven months old.
It was brand new and too good of deal to pass up. I’ll be the first to admit this is a total luxury item, but we have absolutely loved it ever since we got it.
Ours came with two cameras, so we didn’t have to worry about getting another monitor when Crosby arrived.
We have it set on scan so it goes from room to room throughout the night.
At this point, I’m not sure how we ever lived without it. (Most of the time) it’s fun watching what they are doing in there!

Aden By aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets

I know I have mentioned before how much I love these blankets, but I seriously love them.
Once we were done using them as swaddle blankets, we started using them for everything else.
We use them in the car seat, in the stroller, for shade, as a nursing cover up, as a burp cloth, you name it.
Kenley still uses hers at school to cover up during nap time.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

Crosby loves this thing. It’s the only way we keep him distracted during tummy time.
He has no idea how hard he’s working when he’s staring at the flashing lights & listening to the jams.
It will be fun when he learns to hit the button himself.

Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play

We love the rock ‘n play. I’ll say it again how much I wish we had this with Kenley.
Even though Crosby isn’t sleeping in it anymore, we still use it everyday.
It moves from room to room with us and he mostly sits in it while we’re cooking and eating dinner.
We also have taken it to Grammy’s house for him to sleep in, which was much better than taking the pack ‘n play.

Boppy Pillow, etc.

I am a huge fan of the Boppy pillow. I loved having it with Kenley and used it every single day for almost a year. I ended up getting another one secondhand so I could keep one in our bedroom for the time I was on maternity leave… you may call this lazy, but it worked for me. I know the Boppy is really hit or miss. If you’re in the market, I know a lot of mommies who love the Breast Friend pillows, so take a look at those too.
While we’re on the subject, here are some other items that have made my life a little easier the first three months:
Bamboobies
Lanolin Cream
Medela Quick Clean Wipes
Medela Pump & Save Bags – I haven’t had good luck with the Lansinoh brand, but I’m planning to try the Target brand.

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These are just a few of the many items out there that have made the first three months a little bit easier.
What are your favorite baby items?

Baby Gear for Baby #2

I love(d) looking at new baby gear lists and must have items that other people enjoy.
This time around was no different. I wanted to see what things I may need since we will have two kids and what new things have come long since Kenley was born (less than two years ago!).
We didn’t need much since we had so much saved from the first time around,
but there were a few things that I knew I wanted that I didn’t have the first time around.

The first thing that I wanted (and definitely needed) was a double stroller.
I am the first to admit I have a stroller obsession.
The two strollers I looked at (and agonized over) were the Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller
and the Baby Jogger City Select Stroller that can convert to a double stroller.
In my opinion, there are pros and cons to each stroller.
Before I definitively decided on one stroller over the other, I found the City Select with the second seat in excellent condition on Craigslist for $280 less than retail.
I immediately jumped on that deal since one of the biggest cons to the City Select was the price.
In the short time that we’ve used it, I can honestly say that I love this stroller. It can be used as a single stroller or a double stroller, which is a huge pro!
There are several ways to arrange the seats in the stroller,
which I am excited to do once Crosby gets a little older.
After the little man had arrived, we decided to get the car seat adaptor for our Chicco Keyfit 30, which we have used so much. It was definitely worth the money.

baby jogger city select with second seat

One thing I wish I would have known about with Kenley was the
Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper.
Crosby slept in this for the first six weeks in our room before he moved to the pack-n-play.
It is very light so we always move it from room to room, where ever we are.
I ended up getting the exclusive Target print, which I immediately fell in love with, on sale for $40!

fisher price rock n play

Likewise, I also wanted to try the Boppy Newborn Lounger, but I was not willing to pay full price for it since it seemed to have such a short life (hence the word “newborn” in the description).
I was so excited when I found one at a consignment sale for $10!
Crosby took many, many naps on that pillow. We still use it during his awake time but I’m not sure how much longer he’ll lay on it.

boppy newborn lounger

I figured I would be wearing baby #2 more than I did with Kenley.
Mostly because I knew how much easier it is to get stuff done and also because I figured I would need both of my hands if I had both kids by myself.
I had a Moby wrap that I really didn’t use much the first time (since I had to watch the YouTube video instructions just to put it on), so I wanted to try a different wrap for when he was teeny tiny.
I went with the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier (I got the Breeze)
and used it about every day for the first two months until I went back to work.
We took a lot of walks in the evening, so it was great to stick him in there and head out the door.
I found this carrier to be so much easier to put on than the Moby wrap.
I will continue to use it, but now that he’s a little bigger, I am excited to stick him in the ERGObaby Baby Carrier, which I loved using with Kenley. I had contemplated getting the infant insert for the Ergo, but decided that the wrap would be less bulky to wear around the house. I can also throw it in the diaper bag too, which is a huge plus!

baby k'tan wrap

Some of the essential items we used with Kenley had to be replaced too,
most of which were feeding and diapering items.
I got all new pump parts for my breast pump. Once I pulled them out of storage, I knew it was a must.
Same with bottle nipples, bottles, and pacifiers. I waited to get these items, so I was able to get some boy colors for the little man.
I still stuck with our favorite brands since Crosby likes them as much as Kenley:
Tommee Tippee Bottles and NUK Pacifiers.
I knew there would at least be a little bit of overlap time where we would have two kiddos in diapers, so I knew we needed another changing pad. Lucky for me, I also found that at the consignment sale too, so I didn’t have to buy a brand new one.
I got five new cloth diapers on sale when I was pregnant and I just ordered a few more for him since I realized how worn our other diapers have gotten over the past 2 years.
I had no problem buying new ones now, knowing they will get used for the next 2+ years.
Plus, I could not resist buying the adorable boy prints!

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Did I miss anything that you used the second time around?

Our Must Have List Part III

Here is Part I and Part II of our list.

Last I left off we had made it through the first seven months.

Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair

We use our high chair religiously, especially now that Kenley is eating solids on a regular schedule.
Even before solids, the high chair was a great place to let her sit and play.
I honestly wish I would have gotten it out sooner, so we could have put her in it when she was younger.
We especially love this particular high chair because it sits directly on a chair at our kitchen table.
Our eating area isn’t huge, so I didn’t want a bulky high chair taking up a ton of space.
When we have friends over, we remove it so we get the chair back, but it really does save space!

Britax Boulevard Convertible Car Seat

Kenley has outgrown her infant car seat, which is both happy and sad.
Happy because she was getting too heavy to lug around in that thing anyway and
sad because that means she’s not a little tiny baby anymore!
A friend recommended Britax to us when we were registering and we received the Marathon
before Kenley was born, so we used the convertible car seat as our second car seat,
and opted against buying a second base for the Chicco.
When it was time to buy another car seat, I definitely wanted another Britax.
I found last year’s model of the Boulevard still available for at a cheaper price, so I jumped on it.

Baby Bullet

This could go for any food processing device, really. We have been making Kenley’s food at home,
and this little guy has helped out in that process immensely.
We have some additional storage containers for the freezer and fridge, like the OXO Tot and Munchkin brands,
but we also use ice cube trays for freezing foods and toss them into a freezer bag.
This works especially well when we make a ton of food at a time.

Fisher-Price Whale of a Tub

This tub could have definitely made the last two lists, but it just missed the cut.
Sorry whale.
But honestly, we love this thing and Kenley loves it too.
We have used it since she was able to take a regular bath and are still using it.
The infant “baby stopper” piece comes out so she can sit in the tub and splash away.
Bath time is definitely one of our favorite times.

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Items from previous lists that we still use regularly:

Boppy Pillow
Medela Pump in Style
aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets
Sophie the Giraffe
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine and the Cloud b Gentle Giraffe

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There you have it, probably the last installment of our must-have list.
What must-haves do you use that we left off?

Our Must Have List Part II

Here is our first must have list, in case you missed it.
Some items we still use everyday, like the car seat (obvi), breast pump, and Boppy,
and there are some things that we’ve grown out of  like the swing and the play mat,
but there are other new items that we’ve grown into that we love, so we want to share.
This list is probably more for months three to seven.

Fisher-Price Jumperoo

This was a hand-me-down that we are so thankful to have gotten!
I feel like it was just yesterday that we had to put my sports law book under her feet so she could reach the ground.
Now she can reach the floor perfectly and loves to jump around in it.
It plays music and lights up with is fun for her.
It’s also great because she can stay in one place and we know she can’t go far.

ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier

I love the Ergo, but we didn’t get it/start using it until she was a little older and weighed more.
We also have a Moby Wrap that was also a hand-me-down and it worked great when I was home with her
during the day and when she was a newborn and didn’t weigh as much.
The Ergo is so easy to put on and is very comfortable.
I’ve worn it on the front, as well as on the hip and would say that I prefer the front better right now.
We may still use the Moby later on, but the Ergo is much more handy to just put on and go.
I also think it’s a little more manly than the Moby wrap, so Greg has no problem wearing it around.
As silly as it sounds, I also love having the zip pocket on the front for my cell phone. It’s the small things.

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether

We love Sophie, but this also goes for any other teething toy as well.
From about four months on, everything has gone into Kenley’s mouth, so having these toys on hand has been great.
We are now starting to utilize the teethers that can be put in the freezer (for small periods of time only)
as well as just a plain damp washcloth that she can chew on.
Anything that can help with the teething, chewing, drooling phase is a must!

Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine

Growing up, I didn’t sleep with any kind of noise maker. Just the silence.
Probably because my dad is the lightest sleeper you’ve ever met!
Freshman year of college, however, Lisa and I slept with the TV on every night. EPSN. Every night.
I quickly grew accustomed to sleeping with either the TV or the fan on at night,
but let’s be serious, I can sleep anytime, anywhere, so it’s not a must for me.
From the day we brought Kenley home, she has slept with the sound machine.
We usually keep it on the rain forest or the white noise setting.
I like to think it helps her sleep, but it also allows us to be as loud as we want
and not have to worry about waking her up, especially when we have friends over.
We also have the Cloud b Gentle Giraffe that we can strap to her car seat or strollers if she needs to sleep.

Burp Cloths

I swear, we have at least 12 burp cloths and I still think I could use more.
It seems like we are going through these like crazy, whether it’s spit up or drool,
we also have them within an arms reach.
I will say that with the Carter’s brand, the cute fabrics fade so fast when you’re washing them so often,
they still do their job, but just don’t look as cute.
I’ve actually started making some for friends with leftover fabric and the plain Gerber burp cloths.
In my opinion, it’s the perfect gift because I know they will get used!
Bottom line, you can never have too many of these bad boys.

***

What other goods do you mommies use that I’m missing?

Our Must Have List

Baby gear.
I spent a ton of time researching, reading, and looking online for all the must haves for moms.
I don’t even want to think about the amount of time spent just searching for strollers.
So silly, but I was obsessed and determined to find the perfect combo of out and about and jogging strollers.

Well, here is our list of  mommy must haves up until this point. Basically from birth to around three months.
I’m sure our must haves will change as Kenley gets older
as we’re already starting to retire some items and move on to new ones.

In no particular order.

Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System, Midori

One of my first purchases was the BOB jogging stroller I found on Craigslist, which is why I became obsessed
with finding the perfect daytime stroller. Like I said, I have no idea why I searched for so long
because these travel system strollers are probably the most purchased strollers out there. I see them everywhere!
The great thing about the car seat is you can just pop it out and take it anywhere when there is a sleeping baby.
The stroller folds up so easily and it’s pretty lightweight so getting it in and out of the car is a breeze.
I have a feeling that we won’t be using the carrier function of the car seat much longer
because Kenley is already starting to get heavy and lugging that thing around doesn’t sound like fun.
** Update: We quickly realized how bulky the Chicco stroller is by itself.
Once we had graduated 
from the infant car seat, the stroller got old very quickly.
I recently sold the stroller portion of the travel system in a consignment sale. **

Boppy Pillow with Slipcover

I seriously could not live without this thing. It helps so much with feeding her.
So much so that the first time we were out and I actually had to hold her to feed,
my arm got extremely tired and we ended up buying an inflatable one in a different brand
so we could take it when we travel overnight. Needless to stay, I love it.
It’s also great because Kenley sits in it and also can do tummy time on it.

Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing

We don’t have this exact one, ours is nature-esque and has bees instead of lambs,
but we scored it for 20 bucks at a yard sale four days before Kenley was born!
I had heard and read that you don’t need a bouncy seat and a swing, so we went with the seat,
but thank goodness we got the swing. Kenley lived in this thing for the first three months.
She would sleep for hours in it if we would let her… which we did most days.
She hasn’t been in it much since we started napping in the crib
and I think we will start using the bouncy seat more now, but I’m so glad we had this!

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

Kenley loves her play mat. Yes, we got the boy version, but I think it’s adorable.
The girl version was a little too pink for my liking.
She plays on this thing majority of the time she’s awake. She bats and pulls at the toys and just kicks around.
This is wonderful right now because we can get things done around the house
while she is playing on this. When she starts to become more mobile, I don’t see that being the case.
We did fold this up and take it with us on a road trip, which was so convenient.

.Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump

My cousin Abbi told me from the very beginning not to go the cheap route on your breast pump
or you would hate it and not want to ever pump. Well, I believe her.
This thing was not cheap (and I even got it on sale plus used a coupon!), but it is worth every penny.
I especially like how it’s not obvious that I’m carrying my pump to and from work every day.
If you are planning to pump, I definitely recommend this one!
Also, if you like to multitask, I highly recommend getting the Easy Expression Bustier.
I didn’t have it for the first month or so because I refused to spend $35 on it,
but now that I have it, I don’t know how I ever lived without it, especially at work!

Aden By aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket 4 Pack

We were really big on swaddling Kenley. She didn’t hate it and we actually just stopped a few weeks ago.
When she was really little, we liked using these blankets because they are huge, light, and airy.
Later on, we moved to the Miracle Blanket and ultimately the Halo Sleep Sacks for swaddling,
but we use the aden + anais blankets all the time! Especially since it’s so hot here, they are perfect.

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What are some of your must have items? I’m anxious to hear what other mommies can’t live without!