What’s In Your Diaper Bag?

The 10 Most Important Things to Keep in Your Diaper Bag

One of the most important items you need in your Mom (or Dad) kit isn’t just one item… it’s MANY items! Your Diaper Bag is the home of all things baby. Whether you’re Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Auntie, you need to ensure that everything your little tyke will need throughout your day out is right at your finger tips.

I spent the day putting together mine and my husbands’ diaper bags in preparation for our little one. 7 weeks isn’t that far away, and we need to be prepared for anything! I’ve linked the products that I bought for my own baby stock for your convenience!

Boogie Wipes– Your little one is going to have boogies out her nose, in her mouth, in your mouth, everywhere! Rather than digging through your own purse, or even your car trunk, for that spare pack of tissues you know you packed, grab a boogie wipe! This will clean up those dried up snot bubbles without an issue, and leave your baby looking shiny as new.

Dr. Brown’s Pacifier and Bottle Wipes– How many times has that binkie fallen on the floor of the car? How often are you stressing that you’re not near hot water to rinse off that teether? Dr. Brown offers wipes for pacifiers, teethers, and bottles so that you don’t have to worry about those pesky germs.

An extra swaddle- Babies generally stop being swaddled around 3-4 months of age. You may not think that you need to, or should, pack a swaddle in your diaper bag once your baby grows out of them, but a swaddle can have many more uses than just their namesake! A swaddle can be used as a spare burp cloth, a blanket, a nursing cover, and more. Having one in your diaper bag will save you from itchy legs after that impromptu trip to the park. Here is a link to my personal favorite swaddles, which happen to have Winnie the Pooh stamped all over them!

An extra burp cloth- Do I even need to explain? Spit up, throw up, whatever you want to call it- it happens! A lot! Keep an extra burp cloth (or two) in your diaper bag. Just in case! Here are my favorites. They are gender neutral, soft, and machine washable.

Baby Lotion– Babies have very dry skin, and therefore need to stay moisturized more. If you live in a dry climate or have a little one with drier skin than most, it is worth investing in a travel-sized baby lotion. Be careful though- it might make them slippery!

Vaseline– Diaper rash cream has been a staple of many moms’ diaper bags for years- although it may not be the best way to prevent diaper rash. Diaper creams can hold toxins that may not be the best for your child’s health, while at the same time not protecting their bum from a rash. A diaper rash can come about when a baby’s bottom comes in contact with urine or stool while in their diaper. They’re very common, but also preventable. Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is a great and non-toxic way to guard your baby’s bottom from dermatitis. I picked up these travel-sized tubs to pack along in my diaper bag for an on-the-go fix!

Extra Onesies- Blowouts. Spit up. Drops of pureed sweet potatoes. There are so many things that can get on a onesie while you’re out and about with your little one. Having a backup (and a backup for the backup) is extremely important! You can’t have that wrinkly little butt running naked in the breeze. I packed a few plain, shortsleeved onesies in both of our diaper bags for the unavoidable messes that our little girl will make. Here are my favorite ones from Carter’s! (Fun fact: Carter’s has a credit card and rewards program! Save 25% off your order if you sign up today!)

Silicone Teether– If your little one is anything like my sister-in-law, they might come out with a few teeth already poking through their gums. Once your tyke hits 3-4 months old, they’re going to start getting fussy as their teeth start to come in. You’re going to want an extra teether (or two) in your diaper bag for those situations.

A Grooming kit– Fly away’s. Straggly nails. Boogies. Your little one is going to require a lot of attention that a toy and a boob just can’t fix. A grooming and safety kit is an important one to keep in your diaper bag for on-the-go situations! We have two different ones. One from the American Red Cross and a Safety 1st brand.

SNACKS- Mom! Dad! You both need snacks, too! While your little one may have free food (if you’re breastfeeding/bottle feeding with breast milk), you certainly don’t. You need to keep your energy up while you’re out with your babe. Snacks of any kind are great to keep with you in your diaper bag. I am planning on stocking mine with trail mix and granola bars- easy foods that fill you up and are healthy for breastfeeding mamas!

Your diaper bag will become the life source for you and your little one, especially on long days out of the house. It’s am easy thing to pass off to a relative who may be watching them for the day. Keep it fully stocked! Clean it out when you get home at night and replace empty containers and wipe bags with fresh ones. Here are links to the diaper bags that my husband and I have (and love)! Skip-Hop Grand Central Take-It-All Diaper Bag and Jeep Adventurer’s Diaper Bag.

Check That Off! 7 Things You Need To Do In Your Third Trimester.

We are starting our 4th week in the third trimester, and my goodness there is still so much to do! In just a short 9 weeks, our baby girl will make her big appearance.

29 weeks pregnant!

For the past 31 weeks, I have been preparing (dreading) the last few months leading up to her birth. Are we prepared to have a baby? Do we have everything we need to sustain her life? Do I need to buy more underwear?

No. No. And probably no! But it doesn’t hurt to be 100% sure.

I have done my research and have created a checklist of the 7 most important things to do in your third trimester before your water breaks and all of a sudden you’re rushing to the hospital to deliver your first, third, or seventh child.

1. Create a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a helpful guideline for all mom-to-be’s, doctors, and hospital staff to have on hand during labor. When you get to the hospital, you’re not going to want to remember all of the little details of birth you feel so strongly about- nor can you remember! Your mind is going to be in a thousand other places while your body prepares to deliver a child.

Birth Plans go over details such as:

  1. Pain relief
  2. Episiotomy
  3. How you would like to breastfeed
  4. What medical procedures you would like performed on your child
  5. If you would like your child to stay in your room all of the time, some of the time, etc.

And more!

I found my birth plan template on TheBump.com! You can use this template, search the internet for another one that tickles your fancy, or you can create your own!

2. Put together the Nursery

Last weekend, my family and I spent time putting together all of the nursery furniture that Emily will need: Crib, changing table, and dresser. We got our furniture from Wayfair and put it together ourselves (our area doesn’t offer Handy services).

Getting the nursery ready early in the third trimester is extremely important, as you’re not going to want to build furniture or hang pictures when you’re worrying about your water breaking.

A grainy but cute photo of Emily’s room

3. Choose a Pediatrician

This is something that most first-time parents may look over until the last minute. Choosing a pediatrician is something you should do at the beginning of your third trimester, as you will need to give the hospital your pediatricians name. We registered at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Connecticut! They have our name in the system, and all we do once Miss Emily is born is to call them to set up her first few appointments.

4. Clean! Clean! Clean!

Clean that house, mama!

This might seem like something that is insanely obvious, as I sit here writing this post instead of cleaning my own house, but cleaning the house doesn’t just mean vacuuming the carpet or cleaning the hair out of the shower drain.

When I say clean the house, I mean PURGE, BABY, PURGE! Take the time to Marie Kondo your kitchen, your study, your bedroom. In just a few short weeks you are going to have another human taking up space in your home, and you are not going to want to worry about where to keep his or her bottles while you’re on your way home from the hospital. Organize the nursery in a way that feels right to you. Get rid of the clutter thats been sitting in the corner of the living room for months. Enlist family or your spouse/partner to help as well! You are the one who has been building a baby for the past 8 months, after all!

5. Pre-Register at the Hospital

This is something that I didn’t even know was something you had to do!

Pre-registering at the hospital isn’t as scary as it sounds. This just insures that all of your personal and financial information is in the hospitals system for when you go into labor. You’re not going to want to fill out your insurance information while simultaneously pushing a baby out and screaming at your partner.

You want to pre-register between 27-30 weeks, right around the time you begin your third trimester. If something happens and you go into labor pre-term, you certainly want to make sure the hospital is prepared to take you in.

6. Pack your Hospital Bag. And your partners’. And your baby’s!

Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your hospital bag! This isn’t something you want to just throw together the second your water breaks. You want- and need- to plan what’s going in your bag ahead of time. If you get to the hospital and discover that you left your phone with the birth playlist at home, you’re going to be a tad upset (I’m looking at you, Pam!).

If you’re not quite ready to pack your hospital bag, at least create your packing list. This will help you when you reach your final few weeks of life without a baby and allow you to go through the list without thinking.

Hare are some important things to remember to pack:

  1. 2-3 outfits (nursing tops, socks, underwear, etc.)
  2. Breast pump (if you are planning on breastfeeding). You’re going to want the hospital to teach you how to use it!
  3. Going home outfit for your baby
  4. Overnight clothes for your partner (if they are planning on staying in the hospital overnight). Due to COVID-19, there is a chance that your partner will be allowed into the hospital room with you, but might not be able to come and go as they please. Pack for them like you’re packing for you!
  5. Toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo)

7. Stock That Freezer

Once your baby comes, you’re not going to want to spend hours on your feet meal prepping and cooking. You’re going to need that extra time for laundry and sleeping.

Buy or create freezer meals that can be reheated at a moments notice… that notice being it’s lunchtime and your little one is out cold. Your handy dandy Crock-Pot can come in handy here! You can spend a week or two making 1-2 meals per day and then freeze them in meal prep containers for easy access. You can check out my recipe for Crock-Pot Pot Roast here!


There are many other things you can add to your third-trimester checklist- these are just the ones I’ve been working on in the past few weeks. I’m excited to check off the things on this list as I move through the next few weeks leading up to the birth of our sweet baby girl!

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Mmmmmm… who doesn’t like a home-cooked classlic like chicken parm?! I can tell you that it is one of my favorite dishes.

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Chicken Parm has been around since 20th century Italy. Its popularity grew in the States and, surprisingly, Australia, and is now a staple at many italian restaurants and in many peoples’ homes today.

Consisting of only 4 true ingredients- chicken, pasta, sauce, and parmesean cheese- chicken parm is one of the easiest dishes to make at home- even if you are a cooking novice! While most chicken breast is served breaded and fried in oil, I chose to make mine unbreaded, cooked in oil and then baked to allow fresh mozzarella to melt onto the chicken. Check out the ingredient list and cooking directions below for flawless, unbreaded chicken parm!

Downloadable Cooking Instructions

We are giving this rendition of chicken parm 4 stars! We would have given it 5, except for the fact that, as always, I overocoked the chicken by a mear 30 seconds. It came out of the oven just a tad too dry, but still tasted delicious!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Our Happy Place

When you think of your happy place, what do you picture? White beaches and crystal blue water? Rows and rows of books featuring that new and old book smell? Ferris wheels and funnel cake? When I think of my happy place, I think of Cape Cod, and more specifically, our cape house in Dennis, MA.

Growing up in New Jersey, our summer vacations took us to Wildwood and Seaside, not straying far from the miles of boardwalks and beaches of the Jersey Shore.

Fun Fact: First opening in 1870, New Jersey’s Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, tapping out at a whopping 5.5 miles!

Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ

After going away to college, I didn’t frequent the Jersey Shore much, if at all, anymore. Dance competitions had ended in our family and I was working every summer, including my final 2 college summers where I was at a residency in Maine. Summer vacations just didn’t happen anymore.

That statement is only even more true for the summer of 2018. This was the first summer I visited Cape Cod! My boyfriend at the time (now husband) invited me to stay the summer at his familys’ cape house in Dennis before I left for graduate school in California. I immediately took him up on the offer and began looking for theatrical work on the Cape.

I got hired as one of the 2 stage managers for Cape Repetory’s 2018 summer season. This allowed me to live on the Cape for the entire summer while working and prepping for grad school.

Now again, I had never even stepped foot on the Cape in my previous 22 years of living (I don’t count Martha’s Vinyard as a true part of Cape Cod). I was excited to start this new journey with my boyfriend, but also excited to be living in a place that seemed so out of reach for me.

Fun Fact: No county in the COUNTRY has more lighthouses than Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Cape Cod, specifically our cape house in Dennis, MA, quickly became my sanctuary. From the moment we walked in the door, I fell in love. So much so that to this day we are trying to convince my in-laws to sell the house to us so that we could live there! The house is homey, featuring gorgeous natural wood panneling and beams, a large brick fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and just the most wonderful aestetic (all thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law).

Our gorgeous house!

When I think of my happy place, I think of our cape house. This secluded, quiet, quaint little house in Dennis, MA is what I think of when I want to get away. It’s where I can sit on the couch and read without getting distracted by outside forces. It’s our cats’ FAVORITE place in the entire world (thanks to the sliding doors leading to the deck). It’s where my relationship was pushed and prodded and solidified after working with my husband for an entire summer. The Cape is the place I think of when I think of home.

Story Time with Jenn

Hey there! Welcome to Story Time with Jenn. Every week, I will be creating a new video showcasing and reading a children’s book.

I started Story time with Jenn after I learned that my future baby girl, Emily, can recognize my voice in the womb starting at around 20 weeks. I thought it was SO cool! I wanted to bond with her while she floats around in there and get her used to my voice before she enters the world. With all of the baby books coming in as gifts to her, I have chosen one per week to read aloud to her and to all of you.

Thank you to those who come back week after week to join me in our readings. This page will be the archive of all Story Time with Jenn videos! you can scroll down and find each one below. or you can head on over to my YouTube channel, Jennifer Whiteley, and subscribe to receive the latest videos straight to your device.

Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

There is nothing more sweet than making a dessert from scratch.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Cupcakes are one of my favorite dessert. They can be sweet or savory, simple or fancy, bite-sized or a mouth-full. While I have made cupcakes in the past, they have been boxed mixes with Pillsbury frosting- not that there is anything wrong with those! They are sugary sweet and Pillsbury sure knows how to mass produce delicious frosting.

My baby sister graduated high school this past month (yay!) and my mother asked me to make a dessert for her celebration last weekend. I knew the simplest and tastiest thing to make would be homemade cupcakes! I have never made my own batter or frosting before, so I knew I was in for a ride.

The recipe below is so simple and uses many common household ingredients- minus maybe the cake flour and cocoa. If you’re looking for the perfect recipe to ease yourself into baking, scroll down and take a peek!

Ingredients for the perfect cake mix!

Now, I broke one of the cardinal rules of baking while making these cupcakes… I did not taste my cupcake batter! I was so focused on making sure I had 15 cupcakes worth of batter in my bowl that tasting it never even crossed my mind. I was so nervous when my family tried them because to me they felt fairly dense and I was worried they may have been overly salted.

NEVER FEAR! The cupcakes were a HUGE hit. The cake itself was light and sweet, and the frosting tasted JUST like that Pillsbury mix we all know and love. The cake itself could have been a bit more moist- a minute or two less in the oven would have helped not to dry them out so much. Overall, the cupcakes were one of the highlights of the graduation celebration!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.