How To Make The Perfect Invitation Every Single Time


**Today I'm partnering with Basic Invite to show how easy it is to make an invitation online- And so much cheaper, too!  All opinions are my own.


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asked by a couple of my good friends and a neighbor to help them create custom invitations. My friends think I'm some sort of design whiz the way I make graphics for the blog. The truth is, there are a couple of great (free) online programs that make it super easy for me to make whatever they need. And since I'm telling my secrets, here's another dirty one, I often just do it myself because it's faster for me to make the invitation then sit down and show someone how.

I realize that's not helping either one of us, really. So, below is my Invitation cheatsheet for making beautiful invitations every single time. (Note: I use Basic Invite because it has way more options than any other online stationary creator, and you can order an exact sample of the invite before you buy!)

STEP ONE: Imagine the perfect invitation in your head. The sky is the limit! What is the perfect theme, color, font, images, size... How many do you need? Do you need thank you cards, too? Do you need a formal Sweet Sixteen invitation with matching thank you cards, RSVP cards, direction cards... 



STEP 2: Go to Basic Invite and design it. With over 180 different colors to choose from and a ridiculous amount of templates, themes and fonts to choose from, and the ability to upload your own photos, you can create the perfect invite in five minutes! There is no learning curve, zero. It's that easy.

If you need a little inspiration, there is a birthday invitation maker with loads of premade templates to choose from.  


 




In addition to the virtually unlimited color combinations, themes and designs available on the Basic Invite website, I love how you can get an entire matching set with the click of a button. This is such a money saver for wedding invites and formal parties. TIP: Save money by making a double-sided card where possible--saves on postage, too!




STEP 3: Pick a complementary envelope and address them. NOTE: Through Basic Invite, you can choose from 40 different envelope colors, then send a shoutout to your attendees on social media asking for their addresses. Basic Invite captures the address, and address the envelopes for free! (Most orders are eligible for free white peel-and-seal envelopes.) #Love





I don't care what the occasion is, Basic Invite has a card, in your price range that is perfect. Friends and family of First Time Mom and Dad can save 15% off their purchase at checkout using the coupon code: 15FF51

Diaper Rash Dos and Don'ts + The Mom Hacks That Cure It



*Today I'm partnering with Swipees to talk about the Do's and Don'ts of Diaper Rash. All opinions are my own.*



I don't care how clean you keep your baby's bottom, diaper rash is an inevitable butt-bully that strikes every butt since the beginning of butts time. If a raging diaper rash is wreaking havoc on your baby's booty, don't fret and follow this a three-step process and the dos ad don'ts that make it work.

STEP 1. Stop The Madness 


In order to truly cure diaper rash, you need to figure out what caused the crud in the first place. While prolonged exposure to a dirty, wet diaper is a sure-fire cause, there are a few other diaper rash culprits that could be at work here.



7 Diaper Rash Don'ts:






STEP 2: Treat The Tushy

Now that you know what's caused the crud, it's time to rectify the rash. Diaper rash creams work double-duty in that they bring instant relief to your baby's burning booty while forming a protective barrier between the tush and diaper. Look for all-natural diaper rash creams and ointments with zinc oxide. Or, go with the mom hack and just use Pawpaw ointment, Aquaphor or Coconut oil if you have that lying around. The goal is to stop the rash from raging on by forming a protective barrier of ointment between the beastly bacteria and diaper. NOTE: Cloth diaper users you'll need to be sure to use the creams specific to fabric diaper.

MOM HACK: Speaking of gross bacteria, it is ESSENTIAL you apply the cream in the most sterile way. I love love love Swipees diaper rash applicators. Talk about forming a barrier! Swipees are finger applicators that easily roll-on your finger creating a sterile barrier between your finger, the ointment and your baby's booty-bacteria. Think: roll, rub, remove. No more yucky greasy fingers! 

1. Roll a latex-free Swipee onto your finger

2. Apply the cream as usual 


3. Remove the Swipee and throw it away

The hubs uses Swipees to put on his IcyHot creams and while he's working on the cars. I use them to poke the plants when checking the soil, check heads for lice when there's a scare at school, and anything else I do that I don't want to touch. At under $6.50 for a pouch of fifty, they are just handy little suckers to have around the house. (Swipees are already huge in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, the website is, here. Until they saturate US stores, it's easy to get them on Amazon, here.)


STEP 3: Prevent Pop-ups with these 7 Diaper Rash Prevention Do's

Once you figure out the culprit and treat the tush, the last step is to keep the rash from coming back. Even if your little one's diaper rash was fleeting due to antibiotics, below are seven doctor recommended diaper rash prevention dos, to live by.



Do you have any diaper rash tips? Please share them below!



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That Time My Husband Told The World My Quirks, And We All Laughed Together

In these times of sadness, pain, outrage, and suffering, I always turn to my husband for support, love and a bloody good laugh. He reminds me that laughing is many times, the best medicine. If you need that kind of medicine too, then keep reading because below is one of my favorite posts he's ever written for the blog, and it's all about me and my quirks. He wrote this five years ago, and I'm happy to say, I'm still doing every single one! 

I present: "My Marital Bliss" By my hysterical Australian husband, Mr. Awesome. 


Howdy interweb readers and welcome to the wonderful, wild and wanky world of FTD!  As my wife is consumed with important html, javas and mac-book thingo's tonight, I thought that I would take this opportunity to lead you on a grand tour of cheap-thrills, saucy adventure and bloggedy blog excitements.



So...sit back, balance the 'ole laptop, ipad or other wireless device on yer guts, get a nice big bag o chips, a Pepsi Max, moist towelette etc etc and READ ON...

For TODAY the topic of choice is:

Crazy things that First Time Mom does to PISS me off!
==========================================

Now...before I begin to divulge personal details, traits and other nuggets of information NOT usually intended for those outside our sphere of friends and family, allow me to present this disclaimer:

Honey, I Love you!

You know that I love you. You are the mother of our AWESOME child and you alone make me happy when skies are grey! You are a wonderful, caring, giving, intelligent person and I look forward to the next 50 years or so by your side!  

Ok (phew)!

People...FTM is awesome BUT sometimes displays bizarre and downright crazy tendencies that drive me up the freakin wall.  I'm sure everyone has their own funky little traits that grind away at their partners, family, workmates and friends but I reckon FTM is a CHAMPION of CRAZINESS! Here are a few ways that my wife manages to PISS ME OFF!

STEAMY SHOWERS - Summer, winter - whatever!  FTM has a standard bathtime routine.  Turn OFF the exhaust fan, close the door, turn the shower on to SCALDING HOT and wait for the steam to build up.  When the moist fog starts billowing out of the crack in the door then she's IN for a good 30 mins - the bathroom then stays misty for a good few hours after.  SO WHAT you may ask!? Well...we only have one bathroom and I eat a lot of Mexican food!  Have YOU ever tried to take a dump in a sauna?  You're arse slides about on the seat, the toilet paper melts in the hand, the sweat drips down your back (into the crack) - DRIVES ME NUTS! ANNOYING SCORE = 8/10




STRAWS - FTM is hardly seen about town without a Gallon of Sweet Tea, Iced water, decaffeinated coffee or juice in her hand.  She has an awesome array of plastic mega-cups, the collection so huge that it warrants it's own cupboard.  My issue is not the cups but the bloody straws.  STRAWS...everywhere...bags of multicoloured plastic shitty straws.  My main grievance is that when she comes home, she dumps the beverage dregs in the kitchen sink INCLUDING THE STRAWS!  Why do you put 'em in the sink? Do you want me to wash them? Put them in the TRASH! ANNOYING SCORE = 6/10





IPHONE - WHO gives their $600+ new iPhone to their baby to play with? FTM - that's who! Not only Ollie but every niece, nephew and neighbourhood kid! Suck on the end - NO Problems. Delete a few apps...why not? Use the car keys as a makeshift stylus and scratch your way about "angry birds" - Sure!. ARRRRRGGGHHHH! ANNOYING SCORE = 7/10


MISSING CLOTHES - Where's my shorts? Where the HELL are my socks? GONE AGAIN! FTM has a passion for ultra clean clothing.  If I wear something for an hour or so to go to the shops you can bet that, on return home, I'll be stripped down and they will be neatly folded on the bottom of the clothes-basket, ready for the damn washing machine.  It's reached that point that I have to stash piles of once-worn socks, jocks and T-shirts so they don't get washed every few days! EXCESSIVE! ANNOYING SCORE = 8/10

CAR PARKING - One wonderful thing about living in America are the VAST carparking lots attached to shopping malls. In Australia, it's not uncommon to drive around for 15 minutes only to get a park 10 minutes away from the store (if you're lucky!).  Why then do you suppose that FTM will ONLY park within 5 bays of the bloody front entrance. I SHIT YOU NOT!  She is OCD with parking.  If we can't get a close park then it's a BUST and we go somewhere else.  INSANITY! ANNOYING SCORE = 9/10





FRIDGE WARS - This one is simple...my stuff (that is used daily) sits at the VERY back of the fridge.  Her stuff (used occasionally), takes up the prime real-estate at the front.  FTM doesn't like hot-dogs so they go at the back.  Processed cheese = back!  Baloney = VERY BACK! Organic tofu, used once a week - FRONT!  Nothing worse than trying to reach through packets of "whole foods" branded black-beans, $5 organic milk and wads of BORING celery to get to my glorious "Kroger deli" potato salad! YUM !!! RIDICULOUS! ANNOYING SCORE - 7/10




POT-HOLE WARRIOR - FTM has a certain skill...a mind-boggling talent to somehow discover EVERY POT-HOLE in ANY road in ANY part of the world.  If there's a hole in the road then she WILL find it and happily drive them tires DEEP! She gonna MURDER that HOLE! "Watch out..pot-hole" says me! "I see It!" says she! FTM adjusts the steering and BAM! "wheww...that was close...thought you'd miss that one!"  Yep I'm serious! NUT-WRENCHING! ANNOYING SCORE = 10/10





Anyways readers...you get the idea! Plenty more where that came from too but I don't really wanna sleep in the car tonight so that's all you get for the moment!

What about you lot? Any crazy shenanigans that drive your partner to the WHACKO-FARM? Comment or forever hold your peace!

FTD OUT!

4 Gun Reform Laws That Won't Screw With Your 2nd Amendment Right





Over the years, I've shied away from expressing my concerns about gun laws and mass murders. I live in Kentucky, I'm well aware of how passionate people are about their 227-year-old second amendment right to bear arms. I personally choose not to have guns in my house but understand it's my neighbor's right to own one, and while I'm not cool with it, I get it.

Yesterday, I wrote about how riddled with fear I was to send my son to school. I'm in Kentucky, I haven't finished grieving over the Marshall County High massacre, so to have another shooting only minutes from where I was born and raised, shook me to the core. I no longer feel safe sending my son to school. I'm gutted over all of this. Broken.




I had no idea sharing my feelings would result in so many attacks from internet trolls, friends and family.  It's blatantly clear, there are people out there who would rather blame fake news, mental illness, poor judgment and anything else they can to protect their right to own any damn gun they want-- basically saying, who cares that children are dying, it's our guns that need protection. 




Whether there have been eighteen or eight school shootings in 2018, the fact remains, crazy assholes are running around with assault rifles murdering innocent children and adults. Teachers are dying to protect children from a spray of bullets. Parents are terrified to drop their children at school. Fake news can't make that shit up. It's real. And it's shaken me to the core.

Yesterday and today I have been repeatedly asked, "What kind of gun reform would you propose?"  I've spent the past thirty-six hours trying to figure out what it would take for me to feel safe sending my child to school. At the risk of losing more NRA loving followers, I'm going to share my hopes for gun reform. 

4 Gun Reform Laws That Won't Screw With Your 2nd Amendment Right

1. Psychiatric screening form required as part of the process for purchasing a gun. It’s actually bullshit this is not required since everybody keeps screaming it’s all mental health issues causing these shootings. A mental health evaluation form signed by a doctor should fix that.

2. ALL weapons/accessories that can cause mass murder in under thirty seconds should be banned. There is absolutely no need for a civilian to own one.

3. Create a law that holds parents accountable when their child brings a gun to school--one count of endangerment and negligence for each child and faculty on school premises. I firmly believe this will teach parents to lock up their guns. 

4. Every school district sets up an anonymous tip-line where students can call and report concerns. When a child’s name has been mentioned five times they are immediately flagged and the parents are notified. 


What would you propose? What would make you feel safe sending your child back to school?

I Was Too Afraid To Send My Son To School Today. #GunControlNow


An armed man walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, pulled the fire alarm, and when the children emerged from their classrooms he opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, killing seventeen and wounding fourteen others. That school shooting solidified the eighteenth American school shooting in 2018. That's an average of three school shootings a week in America.

It's clear, American schools are not safe. None of them. Not public, private, elementary, middle or high school, or college for that matter.  The statistics on school shootings over the past 20-years are staggering. The number of innocent children murdered at the hands of evil in their classrooms is almost impossible to accept. The inaction of the American government to stop these heinous acts is criminal in its own right.

After being up all night flipping between hysterical sobs over the loss of so many innocent children and anger over the inaction of American lawmakers, the thought of sending my son to his public elementary school terrified me, so I kept him home today. That decision brought me the first moment of comfort I'd felt in hours.

When I held my son this morning, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and guilt. I'm so thankful my son is alive in my arms. I'm beyond grateful he survived his day at school yesterday because seventeen innocent children did not. The thought of how many children might possibly die today is polarizing.


I was born a few miles from Parkland, Florida and currently an hour away from Marshall County High. These shootings are closing in on me, and I wager to say, every other American.

The USA is averaging three school shootings a week. That's one every sixty hours. HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING???

School shootings are the new normal. Mass murders in American schools have become a regular occurrence. As have the political excuses and agendas. I will never understand why assault rifles and any other weapon that can cause mass murder in under thirty seconds are legal to own in America. Tighten gun laws. Hold parents accountable. Not, remove the gun licensing fee, "to make it easier for citizens of Indiana to obtain a firearm." Come on, Indiana, Really? 





I live in the land of dreams and hope! How can American schools be so unsafe? I just cannot get my head around that. I'm going to take a few days to calm down and consider my options. Since I work from home, Homeschooling is certainly an option. My son is in Kindergarten, how hard can it be? Surely not nearly as hard as it is for me to send him to school.



If I choose not to send my son to school, in the end, it's my choice. A freind tried to call me crazy for even considering it. She made comments like, "Are you not going to let him out in public anymore too? You know he has a higher likelihood of being molested at a recreational sport, or at a friends house, will you keep him from that too?"

My response: Fuck. off. I will never be sorry for making a decision to keep my son safe. I can go with him to recreational events, but I can't go with him to school. Also, recreational events and public settings are not dealing with 18 shootings in less than six weeks, American schools are.

The bottom line is that I promised my son the day he was born I would love him and protect him, and dammit that's what I intend to do. The warning signs are everywhere. If the government won't do anything to protect my child from this senseless violence, then I will.





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