The Saturday Spruce-Up: The Kid Emergency Bag

March 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up: The Kid Emergency Bag)

Okay, so this bag I keep in my van isn’t for actual emergencies, but more for normal “kid” emergencies. We were at a local indoor playground recently (Going Bonkers) and my newly potty trained two-year-old wet her pants. I frantically searched the diaper bag for anything that would fit her, then ran out to the van while my little girl cried quietly because she still wanted to play.

Out in the van, the only thing I could find was a pair of gym shorts (and it was below freezing out) that my four-year-old hadn’t quite grown into yet. Why did I have shorts in my van in the middle of January? Because sometimes I can be a bit way too unorganized, and this pair happened to fall out of a bag of hand-me-downs we had received from another family.

I brought the shorts, thinking we were just going to have to make them work, when a good Samaritan–another mom I barely know–offered her son’s extra pair of sweat pants without a second thought. All I could do was keep saying, “Thank you! Thank you so much!” And thinking to myself, “I wish I was her right now. I wish I was smart enough to have extra clothes for my kids. Why am I NOT a type-A personality?!”

Then I discovered that it doesn’t take a type-A personality to put together a kid emergency bag. Here’s what’s in mine:

The Van Emergency Bag for Kids

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Extra set of clothes for each kid, including socks and underwear
  • Jacket or sweater for each kid
  • Jammies for the baby

I just put it all in a bag, and it stays in the trunk of my van. Easy as pie! (I never understood this saying… it’s not really that easy to make pie.)


I also found a car emergency kit placed in an adorably decorated plastic wipes case on the blog Rips in My Jeans (found via Pinterest, of course!). So I decided to make my own. Since I know I’ll never make the time to actually cover the box in cute fabrics, I’m just using Tupperware. Here’s what’s in my box:

The Van Emergency Box

I like that the Tupperware is clear so I can see everything inside without taking off the lid. This piece is a square #2 Modular Mate with a blue lid.

  • grocery bag for trash
  • hand sanitizer
  • Wet Ones
  • ibuprofen
  • lotion
  • white petroleum jelly (good to use for diaper rash cream or lip balm or for small cuts)
  • tissues
  • a safety pin
  • a small amount of cash & change
  • non-perishable snacks (I have Craisins)
  • a hair tie
  • a pen
  • bubbles (my maniacs go absolutely nuts for bubbles)

Now I can feel like one of those actually-making-Pinterest-projects, wore-her-skinny-jeans-home-from-the-hospital, super-organized-tidy-house b moms… even though I’m really not.

Make-A-List Monday: My Lenten Resolutions

February 20th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday: My Lenten Resolutions)

I’m never very good at keeping New Years Resolutions, but Lenten resolutions are much easier for me because they actually make me feel closer to God.

I am a contributing writer for and I recent wrote a post about First World Problems and gratitude. If you haven’t heard of “First World Problems,” it’s a funny way of saying “I’ve got a great life, but I complain anyway.”

Part of the graphic I created for the Catholic Mothers Online article - Familiar?

With this in mind, these are my Lenten resolutions this year:

  1. Quit complaining.
  2. Quit gossiping.
  3. Be grateful for all my blessings.
  4. Simplify and de-clutter my home and my mind so I can really appreciate what I have

When I have the urge to complain or gossip, I’ll say a silent prayer instead, thanking God for the blessings in my life.

For a more details about my thoughts on gratitude, please read my article at 

What are your resolutions for Lent this year? What do you plan to do to keep them?

You're Gonna Miss This

June 6th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on You're Gonna Miss This)

When I was in college I was a big country music fan, and I still really enjoy country songs because they all seem to tell a story. One of my favorites came out a few years ago – “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins.

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this 

When we first got married, we had a little one bedroom apartment with the shag carpet. I’d get home from class and prepare crappy simple suppers because at 21, I didn’t know how to cook at all. We prayed before our meals, and dreamed about what it’d be like to own a house, get three dogs (NOT my idea), and have 10 children. Yes. Ten.

Six years later, here we are, proud parents of three children so far [and zero dogs.]:


TT – The Bashful Boy

TT is our oldest, a shy three and a half year old boy who loves race cars, four wheelers, his little sisters and just being outside. He was the only kid who cried on the first day of preschool because he wanted to be home with his mom. 🙂 TT already has an attitude and a good sense of humor. He’s “TT” because when Peach was 14 months old, she started calling him that. His name doesn’t even have a T in it.


Peach – The Wild Card

Peach, our two year old princess, is our wild card. She gives the most hilarious dirty looks, the biggest smiles, and has been feisty since she was born. She started climbing furniture before she even learned how to walk. We’re going to be in trouble when she’s a teenager. She’s “Peach” because that’s the only princess her dad could think of… thank you Nintendo.


Vanilla – The Mellow Miss

Vanilla, our youngest daughter, is just five months old, but she’s already laid back and sweet. She really gets a kick out of her older brother and sister, and she goes with the flow really well. She’s “Vanilla” because that’s what her brother named her when I was 20 weeks along.

Someday, I’m going to look back on these days – when I had three children under the age of four, and these are going to be the “good ol’ days” – as my mom would say. Although I’m almost sure I won’t miss the tantrums, whining, funky diapers, telling them to “knock it off” 50 times a day, etc… there are some things I KNOW I’ll miss when they’re gone.

  1. Movies and a picnic with popcorn on the living room floor
  2. Watching our parents form relationships with each of our kids as individuals
  3. Solos in the van to the chorus to “Love Will Hold Us Together”
  4. Their faces and laughter when we blow bubbles outside (what is it with kids and bubbles?)
  5. When TT asks if I’ll lay down for a nap with him
  6. Random kisses on the shoulder, leg, or wherever Peach can reach in that moment
  7. The way Vanilla looks at my eyes and not my mouth to see if I’m smiling
Okay, this list could go on for pages and pages, but the point is – I better enjoy these moments while I can. Pretty soon TT is going to be embarrassed to give me a hug when I drop him off at school. And Peach is eventually going to think singing in the van with her mom is lame. And Vanilla will be crawling, then walking around and climbing the walls with the other two maniacs all too soon. I’m cherishing today.

“Children have neither past nor future;
they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.”
Jean de la Bruyere

Summertime and Cloth Diapers

June 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Living Simply - (Comments Off on Summertime and Cloth Diapers)

Aaahhhh. Summertime. I know I’ll be sick of the heat by August, but for now… it’s just peachy. Playing outside all day and into the evening, the smell of freshly mown grass, and CLOTH DIAPERS!

Oh how I love cloth diapering in the summertime. It’s so much easier to get cloth diapers smelling clean and fresh when I hang them to dry on the line outside.

My backyard clothesline

For those who remember cloth diapering “back in the day” with those huge diaper pins and rubber pants, cloth diapering sure has evolved since then! I use pocket diapers, which consist of the covers – shown in the picture – and microfiber inserts that are stuffed inside. The covers are a waterproof shell that’s still so soft on the outside and a suedecloth or fleece inner to keep baby’s bottom dry. They fasten with either hook and loop (like velcro) or snaps and are almost as easy as a disposable.

Brands of Pockets (that I have)


There are several different brands to choose from. Pockets are one of the more expensive routes to cloth diapering, but they are more convenient than some of the other available methods. My favorites are my 6 bumgenius one-size pocket diapers. I’ve had them for almost a year and they still look brand new. The newest ones retail for $17.95 apiece for the solid colors and $19.95 apiece for the cool “artist series” which have several adorable prints. You can order them online at CottonBabies or get them delivered free in the Quincy area at Cloth and Carry.


Kawaii One-Size Heavy Duty diapers are my second favorite of the cloth diapers I have. They are also one-size pocket diapers (meaning they snap down to change sizes for different size babies, so baby can use them from about 2-3 months till they’re potty trained). They have held up perfectly – still look brand new after nearly a year, but they run a bit larger than bumgenius, so they are a little loose on my 5 month old 14 pound daughter, even at the smallest setting. They’re perfect for my two year old daughter though, and the inserts that come with it are fantastic. They retail for $8.99 apiece at Cloth and Carry.


The last kind of pockets I have is Nubunz. They were the most inexpensive, and they work well, but they definitely don’t look quite as nice on the inside as the other two. Instead of suedecloth on the inside, they are microfleece, which still wicks moisture away from baby’s bottom, but pills up like crazy after only a few washes. It doesn’t affect how the diaper looks, though and they still look great on the outside. Nubunz run about the same size as bumgenius, so my youngest daughter is able to wear these with nearly no leaks. They are on sale right now for only $4.50 per diaper at, a price that can’t be beat for new diapers! Their website looks crappy and kind of shady, but I’ve ordered from them twice and gotten these great diapers in a reasonable amount of time.

Try it out! And get some good detergent!

If you just want to try cloth diapering, order one pocket diaper and just try it out. It’s not as bad as it seems! One more super-important thing about cloth – get the right detergent to wash your diapers, otherwise your baby could end up with a wicked rash. I had no idea what I was doing when I started, and I got a “free and clear” detergent that gave my older daughter a terrible rash. I’ve had good luck with Rockin’ Green. If you’re just trying cloth for the first time, you can get samples of this awesome detergent here. Our local cloth diaper web store – Cloth and Carry – also has several types of “natural laundry” detergents, so if Rockin’ Green doesn’t work for you, there are other options.

If you have questions about starting cloth diapering, please feel free to comment, and I’ll get back to you via email as soon as possible.

Oprah's Favorite "Things"

May 25th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Living Simply - (Comments Off on Oprah's Favorite "Things")

I just read a blog post entitled “How Oprah Winfrey Implicitly Endorses Consumerism and Materialism”

Read more:

In that post, Brad Tuttle talks about how Oprah is NOT compensated for any of her endorsements (you know, her “favorite things”), so people want them even more because they know that she just likes them. But is that what “living your best life,” as Oprah says, is really about?

I stopped watching Oprah a few years ago when she started getting into The Secret. It seems like that goes along with her feel-good consumerist attitude. It’s like she’s saying that life is all about doing what’s best for ME, doing what feels good for ME. doing only what I want to do – all the time. I honestly don’t believe that thinking of yourself all the time and buying things makes anyone truly happy.

At my funeral (I know, it’s sort of morbid to imagine your own funeral, but anyway), I really don’t want people to say, “Bryn was so great because she had a really nice car and an awesome cell phone and platinum dipped dinner plates.” If that’s all someone will have to say about me, I will have lived an embarrassingly self-absorbed life. I’m hoping they’ll say something like, “She really changed people’s lives for the better. She was a woman of God. She spent her life humbly serving others.”

Real happiness comes from connecting with others – our families, a significant other, friends, and God. Everyone feels uplifted when communities come together to help someone in need. The tragedy going on in Joplin, Missouri right now is a prime example of how people just want to help and serve others. Thousands of people are donating cash, essential items, and blood so that those trying to get their lives back together in Joplin can succeed. And it gives us all that warm fuzzy feeling inside to think about how people can come together in the midst of tragedy.

When it comes to “living your best life,” think about what’s really important.

Oprah, I know people are devastated that your show is over, but I’m sure some other narcissistic hollywood richer will come along soon to tell us all that our possessions make us happy… but they’ll be wrong too.