Posted on

10 Essential Items for Your Diaper Changing Station

*This blog contains affiliate links which help support this blog.  See my disclosure policy for more information.

10 Essential Items for Your Diaper Changing Station

When you bring a new baby home for the first time, there are a few areas where you will spend the majority of your time.  One of those spaces is the diaper changing station.  

Back when I was pregnant, I was actually discouraged from buying one of these.  I think the individual giving me this advice had good intentions, but as an about-to-be first time mom, I wanted to be as prepared as possible!  

Every mom will have her preferences on how she wants her diaper changing station set up.  In this post, I’m going to share with you 10 must-have items so your baby’s diaper changes will be a breeze.


1. The changing table

So, this may seem obvious, but you actually need a designated space where you’re going to change diapers.  My little one has had more than her fair share of blowouts, and with a changing table, I always have everything within arms reach.  Our area doubles as a dresser and changing table – kinda like this one.  What I love about it is that there is plenty of room up top for the essentials, and once she outgrows it, she’ll still have it as a regular dresser.

If you’re real creative, you can re-purpose a dresser and set up a changing pad on top.  If that’s up your alley (and you have time to do it before baby arrives), then you’ll need the next item on our list.

2.  The changing pad

Well, duh – you gotta have this, too.  πŸ˜‰  If you don’t have a dresser like the one mentioned above, make sure you put a changing pad in a safe spot where you can secure your little one.  Get a changing pad that has “grippers” on the bottom so it won’t slide around while baby is squirming.  Here’s the one I use now.

3.  Changing pad covers

I recommend you have two of these on hand – one to use, and one to spare when baby has a blowout (or when she sneaks in a extra pee pee before you’ve gotten a clean diaper on her).  The ones I use have minky fabric edges, but there is a wipeable center section.10 Essential Items for Your Diaper Changing Station

4.  Diapers/wipes

I shouldn’t have to tell you that you’ll need these.   They’re kinda the whole point of having a diaper changing station…   πŸ™‚

5.  Wipe warmer

When I was pregnant, I actually received advice on these from both sides of the fence.  “It’s not needed” or “Imagine if you had a cold wipe cleaning up your behind.”  I actually went with the latter advice, and put one of these on my registry.  In hindsight, I’ve loved it.  It keeps all the wipes moist and warm, plus it has a tiny little nightlight on it, too – handy for middle of the night diaper changes when you don’t want to turn on all the lights.  

6.  Aquaphor

This stuff is like gold.  Diaper rash helper, moisturizer, salve for cuts/rashes – you name it.  When I was pregnant, I was planning to cloth diaper my little one.  One of the rules is that you don’t want to use traditional diaper rash cream on cloth diapers because it will make them less absorbent.  Aquaphor, on the other hand, was completely fine.  In the past 14 months, I have used both disposable and cloth diapers, and have used Aquaphor like it was going out of style.  Buy 2-3 bottles (one for the changing table, one for the diaper bag, and one to spare), and save a little with this coupon.

7.  Lotion

I keep a bottle of this on her changing table, and rub her down after bath time every night.  My recommendation is Johnson & Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion – it smells amazing!  When you are snuggling your little one extra close before bedtime, you will love knowing that they are wrapped in such a calming scent.  

Usually new moms get flooded with coupons for Johnson’s products, but just in case you need some, you can find them here.  

8.  Hairbrush

Right after I put on lotion after bath time, my little one’s hair gets a nice little brushing.  She’s at the age now where she wants to start doing things by herself.  Nothing is cuter than seeing her put her hairbrush up next to her head and watching her “brush” her hair.  We actually have two brushes now because it’s just getting long and thick.  Our first brush was this one (super soft bristles!!), and now, we’ve started using this one as well.

9.  Nasal aspirator

This is the one thing that your baby will hate more than anything in this world.  My little one did great with it for the first few months.  Since then, it’s like pulling teeth to clean her nose out.  The reason I keep it at the diaper changing station is because it’s easier to use it while she’s already laying down.  

You’ll likely be sent home with one from the hospital that looks like this.  You may also find that a Nose Frieda works a little better).

10.  Hand sanitizer

Last but not least, you should have a bottle of hand sanitizer.  No brainer all the way.  


So, there you have it!  Ten essential items for your baby’s diaper changing station.

Did I leave something off the list that you use all the time?  Let me know in the comments below.


10 Essential Items for Your Diaper Changing Station

Posted on

12 Free Date Night Ideas You Can Try Tonight

I don’t know about you, but nothing is more exciting than to spend a free date night with my hubby, and know that we didn’t fork over $50 or more for entertainment!  Free date nights can be fun, exciting, and adventurous – if you’re just a little bit resourceful and creative.  πŸ™‚  

Now, we do have a little one, so our date nights are usually planned around times when she can have an overnight stay with the grandparents.  Sometimes, those nights amount to nothing more than heading to bed early (hello, my dear friend sleep!!)…other times, we can actually spend some good, quality time together.  12 Free Date Night Ideas that You Can Try Tonight | If you want to enjoy a great date with your significant other and money's a little tight, grab a free date night suggestion from this list. There’s 12 ideas here, so make sure you check them all out. Your next memorable evening could be tonight!

It goes without saying that if you’re not careful, a relationship can grow stale after awhile.  It’s so important to carve out dedicated time that you can spend with your significant other to keep the romance alive.  We have learned this the hard way, and taken each other for granted more than once.  Date nights are a great way to reconnect with each other and make some memories.  It’s a bonus when you can do that for little to no money!

Here’s a list of 12 free date night ideas that have been tried and tested by us. I hope you can find something here to inspire your next date night!


1.  River walk

Living where we do, we have (semi) convenient access to the Mississippi River.  Back before we got married, we drove down to the river a handful of times and simply enjoyed each other’s company.  The views are spectacular, the setting was ultra-romantic…what more could you ask for?  

2.  At-home movie night

This free date night idea has become our #1 choice, and for good reason – it’s super convenient!  With Netflix available anytime and lots of movies on demand, we can narrow something down in just a matter of moments.  Comedies, dramas, and sometimes, a comic book movie are some of our favorites.

12 Free Date Night Ideas that You Can Try Tonight | If you want to enjoy a great date with your significant other and money's a little tight, grab a free date night suggestion from this list. There’s 12 ideas here, so make sure you check them all out. Your next memorable evening could be tonight!3.  Spa night

Now, I may have hit the jackpot here, but my husband should have been a masseuse.  He gives such a great massage!  This free date night idea requires very little except some lotion or massage oil and a comfortable place to lay/sit down.  Foot rubs, back rubs – whatever floats your boat here.  It’s an easy way to relax.  

4.  Stargazing

Grab some blankets, spread them in the back yard, and watch the stars.  Hubby and I have done this several times (the last time being while I was pregnant), and this was a nice and calm way to spend time together.  Bonus points if you live in an area that’s away from the city lights – the stars shine so much brighter.

5.  Game night

We haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy this one in a long time, but game night can be a fun way to spend a few hours together.  Hubby and I both are ultra-competitive, but we’ve managed to win our fair share (in spite of all the times that I’ve almost throttled him for getting to Boardwalk first).  Monopoly has always been one of our personal favorites along with Farkle, Skip-bo, Sorry, Rack-o, and Rummikub.  (Hubby would love it if every game night had us playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, but a girl’s gotta put her foot down, y’know?)  πŸ˜‰

6.  Taking a walk down Memory Lane

Honestly, this can happen pretty much anytime, but this is one of my favorite ways to pass the time with hubby.  Since having a baby, I can’t count the number of times that we’ve just taken some time and looked back at all our pictures of her and how our family has changed and grown.  Other times, we’ll reminisce about some of our favorite vacations.  One of us may have had a bad day, but going back to revisit these memories always cheers us up.  

 7.  Winning tickets to an event

This one has only happened a few times, but it’s always been a guaranteed way to get us doing something different.  We’ve each won tickets to sports events, concerts, live shows – you name it.  The only downsides are that your tickets may be in the nosebleeds, and you may only have a day’s notice or less.  However, if you’re looking to do something out of the ordinary, this free date night idea is usually a winner.

8.  Visit your nearest parkWhy not enjoy a free date night with another special someone? Grab the dogs and the leash and head off to the park for some quality time together.

Grab the sunscreen or bug spray – depending on what time of day you head out.  Get some exercise with each other, and talk about your day, week, etc.  If you have them, take your dogs with you.  They’ll enjoy some extra time outside, too.  Hubby and I have done this several times, and it’s always a great way to de-stress.

9.  Video game night

So, this is similar to game night, but just with video games.  Hubby and I squeezed in a LOT of these right before baby girl was born, and although he is definitely better at it than I am, he does know that he has to let a girl win once in a while.  πŸ™‚

10.  Offer to house-sit

This would be more like a date weekend.  It’s the closest you can get to a free hotel stay, but of course, without the maid service.  In the early days of our marriage, we were asked to do this several times, and it was perfect (considering we lived with family and a few days by ourselves was always welcome).  A couple of days in a different environment can be just the trick to reconnect with your significant other.  Another bonus – you can ignore the ringing phone because it likely will never be for you.

11.  Pack a picnic basket

Picnic baskets are great for lunch or dinner and can be enjoyed year round.  Depending on the season, you can either head outdoors or cuddle together inside on a chilly night in front of the fireplace.   Pack some of your favorite goodies that are ideal to eat later along with a blanket, and head to any memorable spot nearby.

12.  Invite another couple over and make it a double date

A double date is perfect when you have met a new couple and want to see how you all connect.  Fire up the grill with some burgers, hot dogs, or whatever you enjoy.  We have done this several times, and I’ve found that having dinner at home with another couple rather than eating out somewhere helps everyone relax a lot more.  You’re not anxiously waiting for your meal to be served – instead, you’re all helping to create it in some way.



So, there you go – 12 ideas for a free date night! Which ones have you tried, or do you have any others to add to the list?

12 Free Date Night Ideas that You Can Try Tonight | If you want to enjoy a great date with your significant other and money's a little tight, grab a free date night suggestion from this list. There’s 12 ideas here, so make sure you check them all out. Your next memorable evening could be tonight!

*This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.  See my disclosure policy for further information.

Posted on

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready for fall!  Being pregnant while living in the Southern summer heat has me longing to see the leaves change color and sit outside in some cooler temps.  πŸ™‚  I’m also seeing the stores filling up with pumpkins, and it won’t be long before we start seeing carved ones everywhere.  Personally, carving a pumpkin is not really my thing, but I love the idea of decorating with them.

So, that brings me to this list –

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall!

I hope you’ll find something here that you can’t wait to try – I know I have!  πŸ™‚  


2×4 Pumpkins from Today’s Fabulous Finds

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Wreath from Shanty 2 Chic

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Glittered Pumpkins from HGtv

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Twine Pumpkins from Simply Albany

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Scrappy Pumpkins from Mom on Time Out

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Paper Pumpkins from I Heart Naptime – absolutely adorable, and perfect to make with the kids!

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Yarn Pumpkin Garland from Land of Nod – soooo cute!

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Spice Soap from Happiness is Homemade

25 Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Glitter Glam Pumpkins from Thinking Closet

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Binky Pumpkins from Parents – perfect for me since I have a little one on the way, and they’re so adorable!  πŸ™‚

25 Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

White Chenille Pumpkins from Always the Holidays

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Magnets from The Benson Street

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Patch Pudding from Arts and Crackers

25 Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Herringbone Pumpkins from Lovely Indeed

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Centerpiece from Good Housekeeping

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits from Simmer Till Done

25 Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Chalk Paint Pumpkins from Perfectly Imperfect

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Miniature Pumpkin Candle Wreath from Better Homes & Gardens

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Wreath Chandelier from Martha Stewart

25 Pumpkin Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Printables from I Should Be Mopping the Floor

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Felt Pumpkin from Delineate Your Dwelling

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Burlap Pumpkin from Sand and Sisal

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Pumpkin Candle Holders from Good Housekeeping

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Velvet Pumpkins from Balancing Home

25 Pumpkin Craft Ideas for Fall

Sequin Polka Dot Pumpkins from Sugar and Cloth

25 DIY Pumpkin Ideas for Fall


So…WOW – that’s a lot of pumpkins!  I hope you found something that you’re anxious to try as we get into the cool autumn season.  Several of these tutorials are very budget-friendly, which is always a bonus in my book.  πŸ™‚

Which pumpkin craft ideas are your favorite?  Is there one that you just can’t wait to try?

Posted on

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies

Yummy cookies and cream chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips that are next best thing to Oreo's!

Let me just start off by disclosing one thing –

I am not a cook.

Never have been, never will be.


I do love to bake. Cookies, cakes, desserts, you name it – I love it! (Drives my dentist crazy, but I can’t help that I was born with a sweet tooth, and it occasionally helps that I can keep him in business.) πŸ™‚

This weekend, I was itching to make some cookies, but I really didn’t have time to drive to the store for ingredients, and it seemed like every recipe I came across had ingredients that would require a trip to the store. Luckily, I found a great recipe in the nick of time, but it was going to require a bit of tweaking based on what I had on hand. Instead of them being “Double Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies,” my plan was to turn them into “Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies.”

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies

Not only was I itching to make cookies in general, but hubby, brother, and father-in-law have been at my house all day working on an outdoor house project. I knew that something homemade and from scratch would be just the thing to keep them happy.  

All the ingredients in this recipe are things that I had on hand in my kitchen – some I didn’t even realize that I had bought – and it thrilled me that I could finally do something that I’ve always read about: cooking from your pantry. Cooking from my pantry has never been a successful venture until today. I can’t wait to try it again (especially if it involves more baking)!

So go ahead – whip up a batch of these delicious Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies, and enjoy them with a tall glass of cold milk. I guarantee you’ll love every bite – hubby, brother, and father-in-law ALL enjoyed them!

Yummy #cookies and cream chocolate cookies with white #chocolate chips that are next best thing to Oreo's! #baking Click To Tweet


Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies
Yields 36
Yummy cookies and cream chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips that are next best thing to Oreo's!
Write a review
  1. 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  2. 1/4 cup Sugar
  3. 1 stick of Butter (room temperature)
  4. 1 - 3.4 oz. pkg of Chocolate Pudding Mix
  5. 2 Eggs
  6. 1 Egg Yolk
  7. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  8. 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  9. 1/4 cup Baking Cocoa
  10. 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  11. 1/4 tsp. Salt
  12. 2 cups White Chocolate Chips
  1. Cream butter and sugars together until blended.
  2. Add pudding mix, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Gradually combine dry mixture with wet mixture until dough has formed.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop out dough in 2 tbsp. size balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
  8. Let cool for approx. 5 minutes before eating.
  1. I used Hershey's chocolate pudding mix - any other brand should work just as well.
  2. Dough will be stiff when you're folding in the chips - prepare yourself for an arm workout!
Adapted from Living Better Together
The Belle on a Budget
Yummy cookies and cream chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips that are next best thing to Oreo's!

Posted on

DIY: Easy Anchor Earring Tutorial

I’m so happy to start on a project I’ve wanted to do for months – tutorials!  Quite honestly, none of the pieces I create for the Belle on a Budget shop are *too* technical, but if you’re a beginner, you’ve got to start somewhere.  It’s my hope that I can bring lots of suggestions and tips to those just starting out with making jewelry – I promise, it’s contagious once you get started!

Today’s feature is an anchor earring tutorial.  I created these for the first time months ago, and they’ve always been one of my favorites – I hope you enjoy them, too!

anchor earring tutorial


Supplies needed:

Two pairs of 3-in-1 pliers

Wire cutters

Two anchor charms

Two 2″ head pins

Two pearls

Two equal lengths of chain (up to you as to how long or short you would like your earrings)

Two earwires

(While technically the 3-in-1 pliers can cut wire, they don’t cut smoothly in my opinion.  That’s why I included the wire cutters in the supplies list.)


All parts needed for the actual earrings can easily be obtained at your local craft store.  The charms are easily located online.


First, place your pearl on your head pin, and cut off approx. 1/4″ from the end.


Next, create a simple loop (video here if you need to see an example – while she uses three separate tools, you can use your 3-in-1 tool to do it all).


Next, we’re going to assemble the lower parts of the earring.  You’ll need your chain, your pearl, and the anchor.


You’ll use the flat portion of your 3-in-1 plier tool to open up one of the end links of your chain.


After you’ve opened your chain link, slide the charm right on and close your chain link.


Next, slightly open your head pin with the pearl, and attach it to the chain and in front of the anchor.


Finished with the bottom!


Next, open up the loop at the bottom of your earwire.


Slide the top of the chain onto the earring making sure that when it hangs the pearl is facing the front, then close your earring loop.


And voila! – you have a cute pair of easy anchor earrings to wear!


You can view the finished product with lots of other pics here in my shop.

Hope you had fun making these today, and I’ll be back soon with more tips to share!  πŸ™‚


This post does contain affiliate links which help support this blog.