How To Clean Your Baby Toys Safely


This post is hosted by Sally Perkins of Penn Jersey.

The Importance of Toxin-Free Cleaning of Baby Toys

Toys are an important part of childhood. Babies get their very first toys the day they are born, and some of those items become their proverbial best friends for a long time. With germs, bacteria, and other seemingly harmful substances crawling around, parents can’t help but wonder how to protect their youngsters from catching various diseases, as they put their favorite toys in their mouth. Naturally, they come to the conclusion that cleaning everything that touches the ground is the best solution.

But what are the best baby-safe cleaning items and methods that won’t harm the child?

Analyze your Cleaning Product for Toxins

Nowadays, we have access to the most powerful and efficient cleaning products that even smell good. Not only do they terminate stains in a blink of an eye, but some of them also leave a protective layer on the surface to prevent new germs from re-attaching. All of these properties sound very appealing when watching a commercial, but have you ever wondered how cleaning products affect your baby's health

Health Risks

Recent data indicates that annually around 1,000,000 young children swallow poison, which originates from cleaning products. This is often an unintended mishap the parents omit to foresee; however, it is definitely worth taking into consideration as some cases have been reported to be fatal. 

Furthermore, asthma, allergies, and eczema are a few additional points to consider. As some of the cleaning products are over-effective, they will likely kill the good bacteria that was actually meant to boost the baby’s immune system. However, due to their absence, the child is more likely to develop allergies. Also, certain chemicals found in store-bought products act as irritants on the baby’s skin and may cause a rash and eczema.

Healthy Cleaning Alternatives

The good news is, there are many household items that can be used to clean toys on a regular basis. Some of the most common ones include natural lemon juice, vinegar mixed with water, and even rubbing alcohol. Vinegar, as well as citric acid found in lemon juice is an effective substance with mild sanitizing properties, while alcohol is a strong germ killer that evaporates within seconds, so you won’t have to worry about the unpleasant smell.

Making sure to use mild yet effective cleaning products is paramount to ensure your baby’s present, as well as future health. Additionally, these safe cleaning alternatives are not exclusive to toys; you can also use these to wipe the floors, kitchen counters, and other surfaces your baby might have access to.


Fill Up Your Freezer With These Great Meals Before Baby Arrives!

freezer meals before baby

The days and weeks after your new baby comes home will likely be filled with joy, anxiety, busy-ness, tears (from mom and baby!), stress, love, and sleep deprivation. It's a whirlwind of a time!

Preparing for this time period before baby is born can help make it easier and more peaceful. One of the things you can do is make some freezer meals ahead of time so that you won't have to worry about prepping, or even thinking about, what to eat for dinner each night. 

We've pulled together some of our favorite freezer meal recipes to help you get started. Happy cooking!

chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas from Happy Money Saver

beefy baked ravioli

Beefy Baked Ravioli from Thriving Home

crispy cheddar chicken

Crispy Cheddar Chicken from Mommy Savers

bean cheese burritos

Bean and Cheese Burritos from Money Saving Mom

Sausage Spinach Stuffed Shells

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells from Kylee Cooks

hawaiian pork chops

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Chops from Stockpiling Moms

tuscan pasta recipe

20 Minute Tuscan Pasta from Six Sisters Stuff

beef taquito recipe

Baked Chipotle Beef Taquitos from Fabulessly Frugal

bacon egg cup recipe

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cups from Our Best Bites

mini pot pies

Mini Chicken Pot Pies from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

If you're looking for even more inspiration, check out these free printable freezer menu plans from Life As Mom.

Style the Woodland Nursery of Your Dreams

woodland nursery design ideas

One of the most recent popular themes for nursery design is the Woodland theme, and this charmingly rustic style shows no signs of fading anytime soon. In fact, Pinterest declared the Woodland aesthetic as the most popular nursery trend for 2017. (source)

Here's a game plan to help you style to Woodland nursery of your dreams!

Woodland Nursery Colors

So, first things first. Start with the color palette you want in your Woodland nursery. Although earthy tones serve as the base layer for most Woodland themes, don't be afraid to add color. The neutral color bases usually include shades brown, beige, cream, light blue, gray, and olive/woodsy green.

Credit to The Creativity Exchange for putting together this fabulous group of paint colors from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. These woodland-inspired nursery paints are top picks from their readers. We love them, too!

We love wallpaper in the nursery. There are many sources of woodland-inspired wallpapers, and many are peel and stick... so you can easily change up the nursery as your baby moves to toddler (and then teen). Splurge a little and head on over to Spoonflower to find dozens of wallpaper ideas. They are a little pricey, but you can also paint three walls and then accent a single wall in the nursery. If you find a busy print you love, putting it on one wall, behind bookshelves, or in a window seat really works.

There is a site on Etsy called BC Magic Wallpapers, and while it may be a splurge item, these custom wallpapers are adorable. Check out the teepee pattern below.

Woodland Nursery Crib Bedding

The crib bedding that you select for your Woodland nursery will set the tone for the rest of the room. We've got the perfect options for you at Liz and Roo!

navy archery woodland bedding

Archery (Navy and Coral) Woodland Bumperless Crib Bedding


archery taupe and aqua woodland bedding

Archery (Taupe and Aqua) Bumperless Woodland Crib Bedding


buck woodland bedding

Buck Woodland (Taupe) Bumperless Crib Bedding

gray woodland

Gray Woodland Baby Bedding


navy woodland

Navy Woodland Bumperless Crib Bedding

Woodland Nursery Decor & Furnishings

After you've painted the room and selected your bedding, the really fun stuff begins. When it comes to accenting your Woodland nursery, there is no limit to the options. Shop at Hobby Lobby, on Etsy for handmade items, and at some of the major retailers like Anthropologie for accessories. We discovered this arrow wall hook online at Anthropologie and the bookends on Etsy. Here are just a few of the many, many fun options you can find.

Hunter/Gather Wall Hooks

 (via Anthropologie)

Stained Wood Mountain Book Ends

(via Etsy)

  woodland nursery art

Woodland Nursery Art, Wood Slices, Fox Bear Moose, Set of 3

(via Etsy)

woodland nesting set

Woodland Nesting Set

(via MagicCabin)

antler pendant rope light

Antler Pendant Rope Light 

(via Etsy)

One of our favorite sites for invitations and cards is They have a rustic framed alphabet (you can order any letter of the alphabet) that you can see here.

The ideas and options for your baby's Woodland nursery are abundant. Make sure you check out our Woodland Nursery Pinterest board for even more inspiration.

We'd love to see your finished Woodland nursery! Send your pictures to

8 Early Signs of Pregnancy

Think you might be pregnant? Here are 8 signs to watch for that may indicate that a little one is on the way!

1. You're Unusually Tired

Extreme fatigue is one of the main signs of pregnancy at the start. Suddenly, you may feel like falling asleep during the day at times when you normally would not. Staying awake in meetings becomes a challenge. Or, you may notice how drowsy you are while driving. Because being tired can be due to so many different things in our hectic lives, it is often overlooked as an early sign of pregnancy.

2. Change in Menstrual Cycle

Women who have regular periods know when they are "late." Sometimes, being late is a result of stress, but it is also the telltale sign that you could be pregnant.

3. Morning Sickness

You may feel nauseous, throw up, or find you have an aversion to certain foods or smells. Even though it is called morning sickness, you may be feeling sick any time of the day. Morning sickness is most common in the first trimester of pregnancy, but can continue into the next two trimesters for some women.

4. Breasts that Hurt or are Tender

You have probably experienced uncomfortable breasts just prior to, or during, your menstrual cycle. This is what your breasts will feel like when you first get pregnant. 

5. Abdominal Cramping or Bleeding

You may not even notice the cramping, as it is not usually really bad cramping. It may just feel like some pressure in your abdomen, similar to what you may feel at the start of a period. You may even mistake it for the start of a period when, in fact, you are pregnant.

6. Enhanced Ability to Smell

This sounds weird, but it is true. Your sense of smell becomes very sharp during pregnancy. Suddenly, you may notice the scent of someone's tea from across the room. It may feel like the scents of everything have become stronger overnight!

7. Gustatory Changes

You may have always enjoyed a particular food, but now it tastes bad (it may also smell bad). You may find that you develop unusual cravings for foods that never interested you much before.

8. Lightheaded

This can be very subtle, but you may suddenly feel like the room is spinning, or you may feel faint. Make sure to eat during these times, as your blood sugar is probably a bit low.

To conclude, some of the early signs of pregnancy have been covered. There can be more, but the ones mentioned are quite common. The next thing that you need to do is find out if you are, in fact, pregnant. The sooner you find out if you are pregnant, the sooner you can begin taking good care of that precious little baby growing inside of you.

How To Increase Your Chances of Having a Baby Girl

Baby Girl

How to Improve Your Chances of Conceiving a Girl

You and your husband have decided you want to have a baby girl. 

Some people choose to leave gender selection to chance, which can be great fun to find out whether they are having a boy or girl on the day he or she is born. But, if you are reading this, our guess is you'd like to tip the scales in favor of conceiving a particular gender. So, here goes.... the "How To" on improving your chances of having a baby girl!

What are the Factors That Can Help you Conceive a Girl?

First, understanding the science behind what creates boys and girls is the easiest way to increase the chances of conceiving the gender of your choice. In particular, knowing the differences between sperm is what is most important.

What are the differences in sperm?

As you may already know, sperm can be X or Y chromosomes. X chromosomes result in a girl baby when they fertilize the female's egg. Y chromosomes result in boy babies upon fertilization. The mother's egg always contains an X chromosome.

  • X (from mother) + X (from father) = Girl baby

  • X (from mother) + Y (from father) = Boy baby

What other differences exist between X and Y sperm?

X sperm chromosomes are heartier and live longer in a woman's body. On the other hand, Y sperm chromosomes are weaker and do not live as long, dying off more quickly inside a woman's body. X chromosomes also swim more slowly, compared to Y chromosomes.

Therefore, to increase your chances to conceive a girl, you will want to ensure that there are no Y sperm still inside your body so that the X sperm fertilize the egg when you ovulate.

How do you make this happen?

If you want to have a girl, you need to plan to have sex about two to four days before you ovulate. By then, the Y sperm will have died off, and the slower-moving, longer-living X sperm will presumably get to the egg to fertilize it.

This is just one factor that can help you in getting pregnant with a girl. For best results, you need to combine several techniques for higher success.

Other techniques include considering the pH levels of your cervical mucus, what foods you are eating, and more. The best way is to get reliable information from someone who has helped couples achieve the gender that they desire.