Boo at the Cape May County Park & Zoo – Things to Do in Cape May County

 
Growing up in the Philadelphia and south Jersey area the Cape May County Zoo was one of my favorite places to visit. What’s not to love about it? You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get in (visitors are encouraged to donate money when they enter the park) and they have all of the fan favorites including lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
 
This past weekend was Boo at the Zoo, the parks last hurrah for the summer tourist season. They encouraged the kids to dress in their Halloween costumes for a costume contest and the entrance of the zoo was filled with craft tables and bounce houses.  The Monster Mash was on full blast through radio speakers and cornstalks decorated light poles. It was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day.
 
The friendly spooky activities didn’t cost anything extra to enjoy (we donated $40 at the entrance) and my 1 year old really loved seeing the lions even though they were napping in the sun. I found her little witch costume from Pottery Barn Kids. It’s fit her perfectly and she loved wearing it but eventually gave up the hat.
 
We didn’t have too much time to enjoy there because we had a birthday party to go to later on in the day but it was definitely worth the drive down.
 
The only bummer is that their drink choices were limited and they were out of funnel cake. Also, the cost of the carousel and train ride was way too much in my opinion for what they were. But if you’re just going to enjoy the tricks and treats it’s worth going to!
 
Here are some photos from our weekend 🎃
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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My Top 10 Must Have Products for Newborns

Top 10 Must Have Products for Newborns

 

As many of you already know, I gave birth to my little Arya at the very end of February. Time is seriously flying by.

I absolutely love the newborn phase though. Seriously, all she does is eat, pee, poop, and sleep.

Now that she’s sleeping so much, I have a lot of time to catch up on blogging. I figured I would take the time to write about my top 10 must have products for newborns.

And, just in case you’re interested, you can check out what was in my hospital bag!

Now, onto the products.

 

 

Swaddle Blankets

My absolute favorite product for my newborn has got to be swaddle blankets. Back when I was expecting my first child, I did a lot of research and found that many women recommended the Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets. So I bought like 3 packs of them.

Guess what? I hated them. They were too stretchy and light that it made my swaddles fall apart (and I’m a really good swaddler).

The swaddle blankets that I absolutely love are the receiving blankets that are given to you at the hospital. They have just the right amount of stretch to make a perfect swaddle.

If you’re a first time expecting mother then I highly recommend learning how to swaddle. Both of my girls couldn’t fall asleep without being swaddled. Oh, and um, take a few of those receiving blankets home from the hospital if you can.

 

Rock n’ Play

The Fisher Price Auto Rock n’ Play Sleeper is also a top favorite of mine. I love it so much that I bought 2 of them. One for each floor of my house (that way I don’t have to carry it up and down stairs).

The Rock n’ Play is the perfect solution for a sleepy newborn baby. It automatically rocks the baby and also plays music or white noise! It also looks super comfy.

 

Perfect Pull Wipe Dispenser

You never realize how much you need both hands to change a newborn. One hand to hold the wiggly legs up and the other hand to quickly wipe. It really sucks when you’re using a pack of wipes and 3 wipes pull out at the same time when you only needed one.

That’s why I love the OXO Tot PerfectPull Wipes Dispenser. The weight that’s used in the dispenser is perfect for pulling out only one wipe at a time (I guess that’s why it’s called the perfect pull?).

 

Podster Pillow

When I need to set my newborn down for a minute I’ve found that this Podster Pillow does the job of keeping her snug.

In fact, my 14 month old is still using her Podster Pillow to nap in!

 

Travel Wipes Dispenser

For a while when I would go out with my first daughter I would just throw a pop top pack of Pampers wipes in my diaper bag. After a while I realized that my diaper bag was really heavy and turns out the package of wipes was the cause.

The OXO Travel Wipes Dispenser is the perfect size for any diaper bag or purse. You can fit plenty of wipes in the container.

 

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

This activity gym is great for entertaining your little one. The dangling toys will help him or her develop hand and eye coordination. 

I personally use the Podster pillow to place my infant in under the play mat if she can’t reach the toys.

 

Graco Pack n’ Play with Reversible Napper and Changing Playard

If you’re looking for the perfect playard to purchase for your newborn then I highly recommend the Graco Pack n Play with Reversible Napper and Changing Playard.

I actually use the changer part during the first couple months then once she’s old enough I’ll use it as a playpen.

It’s also great to use as a crib if you’re ever traveling with your infant.

 

Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack

I have to admit that when I first saw the Boon Lawn Drying Rack I thought that it was tacky looking and I didn’t want anything to do with it. But, when I started washing bottles on a daily basis I realized that it might actually come in handy.

And, now I absolutely love it. It’s so great just to wash a bottle and quickly stick it into the “grass”.

The only downside is that it can get yucky after a bit so I would recommend sticking it in the dishwasher every couple of days. I don’t think it’s possible to wash all of the grass sticks by hand.

 

Triple Paste

There’s no doubt that you’re going to run into a diaper rash with a baby. Thankfully my first born didn’t have very sensitive skin and we haven’t had too many rash episodes. But, when she was about 9 or 10 months old she developed a very bad rash. It looked so raw and painful that it made me cry just looking at it.

I tried every cream you could think of – butt paste, desitin, etc. But, the rash wasn’t healing as fast as I thought. That’s when my mother in law recommended Triple Paste. I went out and bought the biggest jar. It’s a bit pricey, but it lasts a long time. More importantly, it cleared up my daughters diaper rash overnight!

 

Sleepers

When you’re a first time mom you’re most likely going to be tempted to buy all these cute newborn outfits (you know, the onesies with the matching pants and socks). But, to be honest newborns don’t need all of that. Sure, the outfits are cute but they’re too much of a hassle. Putting a onesie on a newborn is tricky because their head isn’t very stable.

That’s why I love using sleepers for the first 3 months. I love sleepers because they’re so easy to put on a newborn. Just lay the sleeper down flat, then lay your baby over it, slip in their little arms and legs and button them up. I also love the fact that they cover the feet so there’s no need to put socks on.

 

And, that’s it! I hope that this list has helped you in your journey to finding newborn must haves. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

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What’s In My Hospital Bag as a 2nd Time Mom

What's In My Hospital Bag as a Second Time Mom

*This post may contain affiliate links for products I love. I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. For my full disclaimer, click here.*

 

Well ladies, I’m officially 36 weeks pregnant! That’s right, it’s almost go time. For those of you who are new to my blog and may not be aware, I’m due to have my second child around March 22nd.

I had my first child (Savannah) on January 15th of last year, 1 day after her due date. So yes, if you do the calculation I will be having 2 kids under 2. They will be about 14 months apart. Am I crazy? Yes.

With that being said, I’m all about being a minimalist this time around when it comes to packing. I overpacked way too much for my first so now that I’m a second time mom I have a better idea for what I’ll need.

And, if you’re a first time expecting mom reading this looking for some guidance then I have 1 major tip for you … ask the hospital what they will provide you and baby with.  If the hospital that you’re planning on giving birth at offers a tour for expecting mothers then take it. Ask the tour guide if there’s a list of things that they provide for you and baby.

Luckily for me, the hospital that I delivered at provided almost everything I needed for myself and baby.

Diapers? Yes. Nipple pads? Yes. Swaddle blankets? Yes.

Needless to say, I didn’t need much from home.

I will preface this by saying that I do not intend to breastfeed this time around. Breastfeeding just did not work out for me. So if you’re planning on breastfeeding you may want to bring along a boppy and a few nursing bras along with the following recommendations that I have.

 

My Bag

When I realized that I was going to have 2 under 2 I realized that I was going to need a big bag. I had my eye on the Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM for quite some time and I decided to finally purchase it before I gave birth. That way, I could use it as a hospital bag and also a diaper bag later on.

I love that this bag is so big. I also purchased a bag organizer from Divide and Conquer on Etsy. The organizer definitely comes in handy for giving the bag shape and organizing all of the small things (well, duh).

 

Heating Pad

I was blessed to have the oh so dreadful back labor with Savannah. Every time I had a contraction it felt like someone was bending my lower spine in half. The uncomfortable hospital bed didn’t make things any better, which is why I’m not leaving my house without my Sunbeam XL heating pad this time. It might also come in handy if it’s cold in the hospital (which it usually always is).

 

Pajamas

Let’s face it, those hospital gowns suck and they’re down right ugly.I’ll also admit that I feel more “decent” wearing PJs when other people are visiting. The hospital gowns are just too open for me.  Which is why I’m bringing my own PJ’s that I purchased from Target. I would suggest finding a pair of PJs that button up in the front if you’re breastfeeding, but also because nurses and doctors are going to be checking you constantly.

 

Bras

I also plan on bringing a few bras with me because, well, I don’t like the puppies hanging out, especially if friends and family are going to be visiting. If you’re planning on breastfeeding then I recommend bringing a couple nursing bras.

 

Extra Underwear

I feel like no one warns you about how much fluid and blood comes out of you after birth (sorry, tmi I know). You’ll most likely be provided with mesh underwear after birth, but I’m going to pack some good ole granny panties just in case. You’re going to need them when you go home anyway. I purchased 2 packs of the Fruit of the Loom Women’s Beyond Soft Bikini Panties.

 

Socks, Slippers and Sandals

Hospitals are frickin’ cold, which is why I’ll be bringing lots of socks and my ugg slippers. I’m also going to bring a pair of sandals to use in the shower (if I’ll be able to take one).

 

Going Home Outfit

I plan on looking somewhat decent when going home, even if I’m justing going from the hospital, to the car, to my house. A comfy pair of maternity jeans and a long sleeve shirt will do the job.

 

Toiletries

There are some toiletries that I absolutely know that I’ll need at the hospital. Here’s what I plan on packing in that category:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Hair brush
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair ties
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Wash rag
  • Soap

Basically,I’m going to bring with me anything that’s part of my “bare minimum” morning routine.

 

Makeup

Yes, makeup. Even if you think that you’re not going to have time to apply it, just bring it. Especially if you’re planning on doing pictures with your new little one.  You’ll be surprised that your baby will nap so much that you just might have time to apply it. But, just bring the bare minimum, or what you would do for a “no makeup, makeup” look.

 

Extra Long Phone Chargers

I also made it a point to purchase these 10 ft long iPhone chargers off of Amazon. It’s great that they come in a 2 pack so my husband and I can both have one. The 10 ft long cords are amazing because as we all know the standard length cords are like being handcuffed to an outlet.

 

Going Home Outfit for Baby

Notice that I’m only bringing one outfit for baby? Well that’s because the hospital will provide baby with a top and plenty of swaddles to keep her warm and snuggly during her stay. I won’t need to actually dress her until we leave (which is great because I don’t want to worry about the umbilical cord falling off prematurely because of constant changing).

And, that’s seriously the only thing that I am bringing for baby. I know you’re probably shocked. But the hospital provides everything else needed for baby including diapers, wipes, formula, blanket, hat, etc. Like I said earlier, just double check with your hospital first. 

 

And, that’s it! Luckily my husband and I live fairly close to the hospital that I’ll be delivering at so we really don’t need to worry about packing too much for him since he can travel back and forth. But, if you’re not close to the hospital then consider packing clothing and toiletries for Dad.

Is there anything that you think I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thin Mint Recipe with Ritz Crackers – 2 Ingredients and No Bake!

Thin Mint Recipe with Ritz Crackers

Can you believe that there’s a way to make thin mint cookies in the comfort of your own home?  Well, I mean I’m sure that it was possible, but I had no idea that you could make them with only 2 ingredients! That’s right, only two ingredients!

Want to know something even better? You don’t have to bake these cookies at all!  This recipe is perfect for a busy mom.

All credit for this recipe goes to my mother-in-law’s best friend, Ruth.  Apparently she has been making these cookies every year around Christmas time, and this was my first year participating in the tradition.

Anyways, back to the cookies. They are serious so delicious. I really can’t taste the difference between this copy cat recipe and the actual thin mint cookies.

And, don’t take this post the wrong way, I’m definitely not saying that you shouldn’t support your local girl scouts. You absolutely should support them! I’m just saying that this is a quick alternative when girl scout cookies are not in “season”.  I think these cookies are an awesome treat during the holiday season. They will definitely be a hit at your next cookie exchange!

Before we get started, let me just list a few things that you will need:

  • Candy melter (or your preferred way of melting the candy)
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie trays
  • Small ziplock bags (optional for decorating)

Thin Mint Cookie Copy Cat Recipe
A delicious dark mint chocolate dipped cracker that only requires 2 ingredients and involves no baking at all!
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Ingredients
  1. A box of Ritz crackers
  2. Dark chocolate mint candy wafers (I found some at A.C. Moore)
  3. White vanilla candy wafers (optional for decorating)
  4. Sprinkles (optional for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Melt the dark chocolate mint melts in a candy melter or by using your preferred melting method
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet
  3. When the chocolate is fully melted, dip a Ritz cracker into the pot and toss the cracker around until it is fully coated in chocolate.
  4. Using a fork, lift the cracker out of the pot and tap it along the side of the pot to shake off the excess chocolate, then place the cookie onto the parchment paper.
  5. Repeat until the entire tray is full and place the tray in the refridgerator until chocolate is fully hardened (about 10 minutes or so)
Decorating the Cookies (Optional)
  1. Melt the white wafers and spoon some into a small plastic baggie
  2. Cut a tiny piece of the corner of the bag to make a small hole (similar to a pastry bag)
  3. Squeeze white wafers onto the cookies in a zig zag motion
  4. Immediately after putting the white design on the cookie, shake some sprinkles on top of the cookie before the white candy hardens
  5. Once you're finished decorating the cookies place them back in the fridge for another 10 minutes or so
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 And that’s all there is to it! So easy, right?!

 

Thin Mint Recipe with Ritz Crackers - 2 Ingredients and No Bake

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