Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baby Prepping: Everything Else

Now that we’ve covered baby prepping in almost every room in the house let’s talk about everything else.

dog food – the dogs need to eat too and I do not want to have to lug a huge bag of dog food from the store with a newborn and some hurting lady parts!

cat food – cats have to eat too

fuel – I am the kind of person who waits for the “dummy light” to go on before I put diesel in my car.  Michael hates that I do this, but I hate getting fuel, so I guess we’re even.  I am trying to make sure my car is full or fuel so I can at least make the trek to the hospital when the time comes. 

oil change – This was Michael’s was of preparing for the baby – he changed the oil in his truck and got the oil changed in my car for me.  Now we are set for a while and won’t have to worry about changing the oil with a newborn in tow. 

car seat installed – This was another thing Michael did to prepare for the baby, it needs to be installed to leave the hospital so you might as well get it done before you are trying to leave!

thank you cards – I bought a cute package on clearance from Target.  I’ll have enough on hand to write a quick thank you to people who bring us a meal or the baby a gift or help us in some other way after baby is born.

stamps – to mail off bills (we pay most online buy hospital bills will require a stamp) and thank you cards

updated address book – If you are going to mail out thank you cards you’ll need an up to date address for the person, so make sure you have addresses or a way to find them quickly 

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birthday cards/presents – If there are any birthday in the month your baby is expected get them before and wrap them!

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diaper changing basket – We have a stocked diaper changing basket that can be moved around the house as needed.  It will be perfect to grab and move into any room.  The baby’s room will be stocked and so will our bedroom, but having something mobile will come in handy (even though our house is small and we don’t need it – it will be nice)!  Diapers, wipes, a receiving blanket or two, burp cloths, a swaddle thing, and some baby lotion are what I put in our basket. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chick update

It has been a few weeks now since we brought our chicks home from the feedstore. They are already looking more like chickens and less like cute chicks. 

They were small enough for the brooder set up for about 2 weeks. But those Buff Orpingtons are giants and we had to move them out faster than we expected. To accommodate their need for more space we decided to build their hen house a bit early. My fantastic hubs found the plans online and built the plywood house you see below. It was pretty simple and only used a sheet of plywood so it was very inexpensive. 

While the chicks still needed heat we kept it in the garage with the hen door closed. The heat lamp clamped on the the side easily and gave them much more space but still kept them cozy. When they could be away from the heat we moved the box outside and took the floor off. This let them start scratching and start getting used the the weather. We moved it daily in our home orchard so they always had fresh grass - and we didn't have to clean anything.

Then this morning we put together a temporary yard for them so they can start going outside and getting used to the dogs. The younger dog really needs to get used to the chickens. This yard we put up with materials we had around the house. With the warmer weather arriving, they need more space yet again. 

Note- dogs love the chase and kill chickens. Usually once they start killing chickens, they don't stop. It is fun for the dog. The difference between a dog killing a chicken and a predator (like wild animal) is that the dog will leave the dead chicken but other animals will eat it. So if you find a dead (and mangled) chicken, odds are a dog got it. Once you find one you need to act quickly to predator/dog proof the pen or you will keep finding dead chickens.


There are several reasons why this is just a temporary pen.
1- after a week or two there would be no more grass left. That is fine but we would prefer to have them move around and help mow the orchard grass.
2- this pen would need to be taller or have a top. Chickens can't fly well or far but they can get up high to roost. Within a few weeks the chickens will be about to escape this top. You can trim their wing feathers to prevent this. It works very well but you would then need a taller pen to keep predators out.

Remember the leghorn (the Prius chicken)? Check out how big she is and notice that she is the brave one venturing outside already. She is actually one of the smaller of the chickens by weight, but a very efficient gal.
These other chickens are too chicken to go outside. The two yellows are the Buffs and in the middle is one of the Barred Rocks. They were not cooperating for pictures. 

We have to fill up their 1 gallon water can daily and have used about 25 lbs of feed already. They are not totally adjusted to the toddler yet, which is part of the goal of this pen too. The kiddo really likes inspecting them: looking at their eyes and feet and feathers.

Eventually we will use the house to attach to a mobile pen to move around our little orchard. The orchard will provide shade, grass and bugs. The chickens will leave behind fertilizer and hopefully help control the grass and bugs. And of course we will get eggs. 





Friday, April 25, 2014

ThredUp - review and coupon link

In a search about StitchFix (see my review here) I found great reviews about ThredUp. Basically it is an online consignment store. It is a way to buy and sell your gently used clothes. I'm a big fan of consignment and thrift stores but don't have the time these days to sort through racks of clothes. When the site sent me a 40% off coupon, I decided to try it out.

I'm needing some more formal dresses for events this spring and summer so I decided on this CK dress. The condition calls it practically new so I was curious to see how new that is. I'm betting some of the more formal dresses on the site have only been worn once. My thought is this could be a perfect source for dresses to wear to weddings without breaking the budget or making me feel like a heavy consumer.



With my 40% off coupon this dress was $22.65 including tax and shipping. Probably pretty close to what I would pay in a consignment store, but way less energy of mine expended to make the purchase. As long as the dress is truly practically new, it will be a good deal. 

As a note, I've started really noticing the difference in brands and quality in my closet. My interest in StitchFix has included wanting high quality items. Things I buy from the discount wear house just don't last very long. The brand names I buy, have great lasting power. No pilling, no threads coming out and no fading of colors. As I'm noticing it more, it pushes me to look for better quality timeless options in place of disposable clothes from the discounters. 

So I made the order online over the weekend and it was at my door on Wednesday. They are based in San Fran which helps but that is speedy shipping. The packaging is cute too. The dress was wrapped in tissue paper even.

The dress!


And, I'm very pleased with the condition of the dress. Practically new was an accurate description. No wear marks on it at all. The color is very vibrant and I'm looking forward to wearing it.

I found this program while searching about Stitch Fix. Other bloggers suggested it as a more budget friendly version. But that is comparing apples and oranges. I think this is more like an online consignment shop. It is very convenient and gets you access to great items at affordable prices. But there is no stylist involved. It is a cheaper way to buy clothing than Stitch Fix, but they are very different services. And I like them both. ThredUp may be a great source for special occasion dresses for me in the future. 

And of course they have a referral program that I'm going to plug. Their referral program is very cool. It gets you $10 off your first order and a $10 credit for me. Follow this link to take advantage of the coupon http://www.thredup.com/r/9S22VP Note: I'm not paid at all for this, just sharing my honest review and feedback. But of course I do love referral credits. :) 

After the dress arrived and I was pleased with the experience, I decided to order a bag to sell them some clothes. They want higher end brands - which I don't have many of - but they take adult and childrens clothes. I'm thinking I will try it out and let you know what I think. 

Have you tried it? What did you think? Or is there a similar service I should check out as well?


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baby Prepping: Pantry

Now that we have an actual pantry (woohoo!!) I wanted to make sure it was stocked for the baby.  I don’t typically buy lots of canned or boxed food, but since our freezer in the house is so small now I will have to buy more canned food (or can more of our food) and less frozen. 
Basics:
flour
sugar
other baking/cooking supplies – baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, spices, brown sugar, and anything else you use regularly. 
oatmeal – I’ve read that oatmeal is good to eat for breakfast if you are breastfeeding.  Plus, it’s delicious and you can make cookies out of it, so stock up!
protein mix – for smoothies to make a quick and healthy meal.
pasta
pasta sauce
rice – great base for a meal and lasts for a long time
coffee – I don’t drink coffee but Michael does sometimes and I have a feeling he’ll be drinking more once baby comes.
tea – I don’t drink much tea but I have a box of energizing tea in case I need a pick me up!
canned fruit – get the no sugar added version to keep them as healthy as possible or can your own!
canned veggies – get the low sodium version to cut down on sodium or can your own.
Meals and Sides:
soup – cans of soup will be a quick meal for lunch or dinner.
rice a roni – I found a recipe for making your own so I have both the real deal and the homemade version.  I love rice as a side dish and not having to measure and mix the spices when we’re exhausted is going to be great!
boxed pasta – I don’t usually buy this since it is not the best for you, but I bought a few for a quick lunch or dinner if we need it.
snacks – maybe the most important of a stocked pantry.  Protein bars, granola bars, crackers, popcorn, and beef jerky will make good snacks for when we need our energy

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hello world!!

My due date was last week and guess who made their appearance two weeks ago?  Our baby girl Avery!
hi Avery
I’ve heard that most people go after their due date with their first, so I was expecting the baby to wait until Spring Break to come.  But, as I told my class – babies come when they want to come!  She was full term and healthy and that’s all we could ask for! 
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She is just perfect!
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The last two weeks we have been busy figuring out what to do with a newborn. 
Any tips?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My April Stitch Fix

I was so excited to get this fix in the mail! As soon as the email alerted me, I was stalking the site to get a sneak peek at what was coming!

If you haven't tried Stitch Fix yet here is the deal - it is a mail order clothing/stylist program. And, it is pretty much amazing for anyone who is a) busy or b) not a fan of shopping. Pretty much for someone like me, it rocks.

Stitch Fix


1. You go online and set up a style profile. This is pretty fun to do helps the stylists get an idea about things you like, the clothing you need for work and your sizing. They don't charge to set up the profile.
2. As often as you request (or you can set it up monthly or every other month) you request a "fix" or clothing shipment.
3. They send you five items that the stylist thinks you will like with styling suggestions. These are not Box Store clothes, these are boutique quality items. And they give you great suggestions on how to wear them.
4. Your clothes arrive at your door step beautifully packaged and ready to try on in your home.
5. You get 3 days to decide what you want to keep and send the other items back in the postage paid bag.
6. Tell them what you liked and didn't and why and your future fixes will get even better. You also get a 25% discount if you keep all 5 items.
You pay for what you keep and only a $20 styling fee if you don't keep anything. Shipping is included in that fee.

Check it out at https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3314914.
Note: I'm not paid by Stitch Fix (I wish) for this post but I do get referral benefits if you decide to check it out and use my link. So check it out!

This was my fix that arrived today:

Everything is packaged beautifully!

I didn't get a photo of the style cards but the stylist includes a card of suggested ways to style each item you get. There are two suggestions for each item. These are really helpful and give me ideas that I sure would not have thought of on my own.

Now for the important stuff...These are the five items that arrived with this fix:

LILA CHEVRON PANEL KNIT TANK $54

This tank is not my normal style but I had wanted to get some Chevron. I'm late joining that train but still. The material is super soft. Crazy comfortable. I do not wear much blue but I think it would be really cute white white pants or shorts. 






ADELAIDE SILK RUFFLE OVERLAY SLEEVELESS TOP $38


This I had pinned! I was super excited to get it but once I tried it on it was a bit on the small side. It just was not very flattering from the rear view. I would have loved it if it was a bright color and a bit bigger. The fabric layering also looks a little odd around the arms.










LEONA TONAL CHEVRON PRINT CROSS-FRONT DRESS $48


I had also pinned this dress and was so excited to see it. But, so sadly it is too small. It doesn't look like it would be and oddly the top part was big enough but not the middle which was a bummer. I didn't love the feel of the fabric either. It ha a lot of texture to the fabric which I wasn't a huge fan of. Bummer. But I love this color! 















 
ISABELLE CROCHET TANK TOP $48


 
I wasn't sure I would like this one, but it might be my favorite. It came with a white cami. I might do a colored cami too. But I should mention that the cami (which was included with the top) was the nicest one I've ever put on. If stitch fix sells these camis, I want more. I have nothing crochet in my closet so this is a fun new item for me. 











ELLYSE FLORAL PRINT FLUTTER SLEEVE DRESS $48
This I had pinned! 
I didn't love this dress until I realized there was a belt and I really like it with the belt. It is very comfy and stretchy. The pattern is floral but a bit neon in the flower colors which makes it more interesting than it appears in this photo. I may even wear it for Easter -so act surprised if you see me wearing it :). 









 
I was hoping this would be the fix where I kept all five items - you get a 25% discount if you keep everything - but the dress that didn't fit put a wrench in that plan. If it had fit I would have kept everything. It actually would have been cheaper to keep 5 items instead of 4. But why keep something that doesn't fit? So I went back and looked at the pictures to decide the keeps and the culls. So...what do you think I should keep? 

My stylist was Jenni B this time and she did a great job. I did some extra pinning to my style board this go round which I think helped too. I'll again leave very specific feedback about the things I do and don't like about each item. I think these fixes will get better and better!

I'm very happy with the prices of this fix! I really stressed in my last reviews that I am not someone who splurges often. While these are not target cheap, they are very reasonable for the quality and a really good value considering someone shops for you and it is shipped to your door! 

I'm already planning to schedule my next fix! I think I'm ready for jeans - I've heard really great reviews of their jeans! So follow the link, try it out and tell me what I should keep!

Note to Stitch Fix - you should consider a quarterly shipment schedule! A monthly shipment is probably too often for me, but quarterly would be perfect!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baby Prepping: Freezer

freezer

When I think of meal prepping, I think of stocking the freezer with ready to cook meals. 

meat – we got a half from my sister so I would say we are stocked up on beef!  To see what is in the half we got go here.  We also have fish left from Michael’s last trip, duck from last season, and pork from our pigs.  We both love bacon, so we stocked up on bacon from Costco (our bacon is gone very soon after we get it back from the butcher).  We also have breakfast sausage.

marinated chicken – I love having marinated chicken in the freezer that we just have to dethaw and throw on the BBQ. 

lasagnaMy favorite freezer meal!  Full of protein and veggies AND delicious! 

crock pot meals – Throw all of the ingredients in a crock pot in the morning and your meal is ready in the evening!  Can’t get much better than that!

soup – some are reheat and serve and some need to be cooked all will make a great meal with little prep

juice – orange and other fruit juice concentrates for when we want more than just water or milk

cookie dough – This needs no explanation – everyone needs a sweet treat in their freezer!  

fruit – for my protein smoothies or I can add it to yogurt for a yogurt parfait

muffins – a quick breakfast or snack I can just pull out of the freezer

prepackaged meals – I had every intention of making all my own meals and having this full freezer or delicious and healthy meals for after the baby comes, but with the move and everything else going on that just didn’t happen to the extent I wanted.  Not the end of the world – we stocked up on frozen pizzas, pasta meals (which are an awesome quick meal I would love to learn how to make), chicken nuggets, and french fries.  I’m pretty sure we aren’t going to die from eating meals that are not the best for us!  At least we’ll have food!

Your Turn!  What would be included in a stocked freezer at your house? 

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Prepping: Kitchen & Laundry

kitchen
We covered prepping the bathroom for baby (well, really for your post partum self, but you also get a baby from that!) now we’ll cover the Kitchen and Laundry Room.
I am going to do food items in a separate post, so this includes everything else.
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Kitchen:
cleaning supplies – the last thing I want to do is go out and buy cleaning products because my adorable baby threw up all over the couch.  So, stock up!  Whatever cleaning products you love – make sure you have enough for at least a month! My favorite cleaning products are even safe around my newborn! 
paper towels – There will be lots of messes to clean up, so stock up on paper towels!
paper plates – this is something we don’t normally have around the house, but I figured dishes are the last thing I am going to want to do.  We’ll still use real silverware and glasses, but plates are one thing we can use the paper version if we need to. 
dish soap – I know, I just told you we’ll probably use paper plates but still I am stocked up on my favorite dish soap for cleaning pots, pans, glasses, and everything else.
dishwasher detergent – same as above – want to be able to clean a mess of dishes in no time? Throw them in the dishwasher and add your favorite dishwashing detergent!
trash bags – I’ve heard babies produce a ton of garbage and we don’t want to run out of bags to put that all in!  We have a jumbo box under the sink. 
extra sponge -  Just in case.  I wouldn’t want to have to run to the store just for a sponge!
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Laundry:
laundry detergent – I’ve heard babies go through tons of clothes and mommies and daddies may go through more too if their bundle of joy spits up or projectile vomits on them.  I have plenty (no baby Schwall – that is not a challenge) of my favorite fragrance free laundry detergent!  Plus, it is concentrated so I need to little of it clean well that my stash will last that much longer!
stain remover – with spit up and poop and all of that other lovely baby things come stains – we have plenty of stain remover to throw in the wash and banish those stains!
dryer balls or dry sheets – I prefer dryer balls.  They are so awesome!
Your turn!  I loved your comments for the bathroom prepping post, what did I miss here? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

All American Baby Shower

Today is baby’s estimated date or arrival, so I thought it would be a good day to show the best baby shower EVER …

My mother in law and sister in law are rock star party planners – they came up with all of the ideas and everything went just perfectly.

The D├ęcor …
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Super cute sign welcoming the guests.
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The patriotic gift area. 
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That wagon with the flag bunting was the perfect place to put the gifts.
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Another chalkboard sign before the food inviting guests to enjoy their picnic out on the blankets or sit at a table if they could not. 
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They used moving blankets as picnic blankets which went perfectly with the color scheme.  A square piece of fabric on most of the blankets brought the colors (red, white, and blue) out to the eating area without distracting from the beautiful backdrop. 
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Like I said – a beautiful backdrop!
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The floral centerpieces were borrowed from another event.
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Adding a flag to the floral piece was the perfect patriotic touch.
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The guests enjoying their picnic lunch. 

The Food …
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The food table was decorated with red, white, and blue fabric.  The napkins are from Pottery Barn and I fell in love with them!  They belong to a family friend, but you can get your own set here.  
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This shower was during lunch, so the menu consisted of a sandwich, carrots and celery, chips, and a cutie all packaged into an adorable brown box tied with a bow. 
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Each box was labeled with the sandwich meat so guest could grab and go. 
Kids lunches were also labeled and consisted of a PB&J sandwich, a cutie, fruit snacks, carrots and celery, and a cheese stick.
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Guests could also grab a fruit skewer – they were adorable and tasty!
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The dessert table was also decorated and even more delicious!
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Pie in mason jars – apple and cherry.
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Red, white, and blue sixlets. Also, not pictures rice krispy treats dipped in red, white, and blue candy coating, dipped oreos, and red & white mints.

Photo Booth …
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Stacey (my Sister in Law) set up her camera on timer in front of this patriot backdrop.
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She also made cute props to go with the photo booth. 
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Here she is!
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My Sister in law, mother in law, me, my momma, and my sister. 
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Michael and me. 

I am not a center of attention kind of person but this shower was perfect!  I wasn’t the center of attention this little baby growing in my uterus was.  The baby was showered with so much love and support.  I truly believe it takes a community to raise a child and Michael and I are so lucky to have such an amazing community of supportive family and friends. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Baby Prepping: Bathroom

Prepping for after baby in the bathroom is more than just stock piling toilet paper. 

bathroom

This is my first, so I’ve only heard the horror stories (and of course the best case scenarios) but I’ve taken that advice and prepared for the worst.  This list includes everything from basic day to day needs in our house to special after childbirth needs to some nice items that might give me a little pick me up!

Here is the list:

Basic care

toilet paper – I plan on bring the peri bottle I’ve heard so many amazing things about home from the hospital but toilet paper is always an important staple to stock pile.

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flushable wipes – like wet toilet paper for when the dry stuff just won’t do

giant pads – for the lovely ruin all of your clothes post partum bleeding I’ve heard so much about

giant overnight pads (read: even bigger pads) – in hopes of not ruining all of my clothes – just half of them

depends (I bought the off brand because I’m cheap like that) – for when the giant pads are just not enough.

extra trash can – to dispose of all those giant pads and depends

witch hazel – soothing and antiseptic yes please!  Plus, you can made padsicles with this and some giant pads. 

Aloe Vera gel – along the same lines as witch hazel

Dermoplast Spray – I’ve read this stuff is amazing so I will be getting a bottle or two!

epsom salt – not really sure why I bought this, but I thought it would be good to add to a warm bath to aid in healing.    

cotton balls, q-tips, cotton makeup pads – all things we use everyday so we have plenty to last a few months

shampoo and conditioner – I love Dove and I got to jumbo bottles from Costco that last like 6 months

toothpaste – You never want to run out of this!  I got a three or four pack from Costco – I think we’re set! 

floss – we have tons!  Pretty sure we won’t need to buy any for a year!

deodorant – we usually have an extra or two on hand for each of us, honestly it’s because I once used Michael’s for a week – he didn’t like that and my do is so much better than his! We’ll have plenty so I won’t have to use his!

hand soap – I love the foaming kind

Face care

make-up – not really a make-up person but if I was I would get  few new shades to try as a little pick me up after baby.  I have the basics which last me months because I’m lazy and am not good with make-up

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face wipes – LOVE these!  Don’t want to wash your face but know you should – enter face wipes.  You can use baby wipes too!

cleanser – I have an extra bottle (which lasts 4 months) of my favorite cleanser

toner – have any extra bottle (lasts 3 months) of this amazing toner that has seriously changed my skin from breakout about once a week to hardly ever – love my face products and I would not want to be without them!

face lotion – I have both daytime and night time lotion that I have plenty of to last a few months.

pampering extras – might want to pamper myself a little after baby – I mean, after all I’ll be bleeding like a mac truck hit me.  So, I have this amazing face mask, also this homemade face mask, and this polisher which makes my skin feel amazing!  Bubble bath would be perfect to get an extra bottle of too – momma (or daddy) might need a bubble bath to relax!  (doesn’t go with face care, but it does go with pampering)

Hair care

hair bands – will probably be putting my hair up all the time, so I got a new package of hair bands.

headbands – same thing as above, I bought some pretty lace headbands that might trick our baby gawkers guests into thinking I showered that day week.

dry shampoo – I have two bottles just in case.  If you haven’t tried this stuff, I highly recommend it!  Go for the suave brand – it’s cheap and works great!  Washing your hair without having to get wet = awesome!

bobby pins – we all need more of these, even someone like me who doesn’t ever do their hair.

I think that’s it for the bathroom list!  If there is anything you use every day then you’ll need to stock up on that too!  I also gave the bathroom a good cleaning and stocked my favorite cleaning products under the sink so I can give it a quick cleaning without too much effort. 

Your turn!  What did I miss?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to clean your BOB stroller

I will apologize in advance for my lack of before pictures. But my BOB (the most amazing stroller ever thank you Sarah R) has really been worked for close to 3 years. It has been the only stroller I have ever used and drug on numerous road trips, the farmers market most Saturdays, various runs and  probably most grime inducing - hauled around in the bed of the pickup. No surprise that it is just a tad dirty. Okay... Embarrassingly dirty. But no mold or mildew to worry about.


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The beautiful after!
I tried several times cleaning it with limited success scrubbing with soap and water. In particular, the area where toddler feet hang was just disgusting. While doing some cleaning last weekend, it occurred to me to try using laundry detergent. Hello, why had I never tried it before.

I had some empty laundry detergent containers that needed to be washed out and recycled. So I added some hot water to them and shook them up to get all the detergent off the sides. Then I poured it onto the BOB and scrubbed. Then rinsed and dried. Note that I didn't scrub for hours or soak it for days. I poured it on and scrubbed for a few minutes. Not a major workout. But holy cow the gross water that came off it.

And... It is the cleanest it has been since it came out of box! Part of my luck may be that may detergent has oxi clean in it which has produced good results for others.

So if your BOB is looking a bit dingy grab some laundry detergent, a hose and scrubber and make quick work of making it look nearly new again!

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