Saturday, April 2, 2016

7 Best Gifts for New Moms (That Aren’t Lame)

Best Gifts for New Moms

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Great Gifts for New Moms

Best Gifts for New Moms

What the heck is a baby shower?! The baby isn’t even here yet!
Before I became a mom I had absolutely no knowledge of children, child rearing, or how difficult mothering a newborn would be. I was the youngest in my family, and when I graced my parents with my beautiful existence the majority of my extended family was already complete. My first child was the second newborn I had ever held in my life. I was not friends with anyone having children until I was in college. I was clueless when my husband joined the military and everyone around me was pregnant.

Luckily when I was pregnant, and when my first child was born I had lots of people around me who knew what a swaddling blanket was, thank goodness. We fell head over heels in love with swaddling our first sweet child, and I would still swaddle her today if she wasn’t well over the capacity of our beloved swaddling blankets. Since I had so many people around me who knew how to help, I didn’t feel like I was drowning. There were some people who didn’t know how to be helpful to us, and I didn’t know how to ask for help so they just came and held the baby, and that was fine. Once I had my second I was pro. I could ask someone to do my dishes, I could tell my husband I needed another prefold, and he knew exactly what to grab. It was bliss.

I know not all of you have children yet, so I put together a fun list of gifts to get for new moms that don’t suck. I mean, it was cool when my first baby was born and people brought over disposable wipes, but we are a cloth family. So we threw or gave away a lot of gifts I didn’t have time or energy to return. Don't let that be your gifts! 

Let’s get to it.

Camelbak Eddy Glass .7-Liter Water Bottle, Aqua
1. Glass Water Bottle
This is especially true if your recipient is breastfeeding. I can’t count the times I asked my husband to refill my water bottle while I sat, useless, on the couch with our daughter. I loved having a straw because it decreases the amount of effort I needed to function. It’s rough out there in no sleep land. Make everything as easy as possible. Hydration is a major factor in breastfeeding, and lots of new mothers say their mouths feel dry while they breastfeed. 

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads, 60 Count.

2. Nipple Pads
I know. But trust me when I say, every new mom needs these. It is the worst thing to run out of, and the most likely to be forgotten at the store. If your new mom friend is breastfeeding, they also have these awesome ice packs for your nipples. Those poor things take a beating in the beginning. I LOVE reusable nursing pads, but in the beginning you would go through so many that you’d be doing laundry a few times a day to keep up. If they’re NOT nursing, then they’ll still need these. Your breasts will leak for weeks after birth even if you have no intention of breastfeeding, or never breastfeed your child. This new mom could be on her last clean shirt, along with her last shred of sanity. Help her keep milk off it. gift card design
3. Amazon Gift Card.
You can even print it at home, so you can have it all ready last minute. These are so helpful! It’s even better if they have Amazon Prime, or if you get them Prime, because you’re an amazing friend. You really can't beat two day shipping, a free book every month, audible channels, and a lending library that changes every month, all included! My favorite thing about Amazon Prime is the video streaming. My children get their daily dose of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood from Amazon Prime. It’s worth it. You’ll be the coolest friend of all time ever if you get them this.

The Let Down Project Birthday Cake Lactation Cookies
4. Lactation Cookie Mix
Don't you worry about finding the perfect lactation cookie recipe anymore. You don't need that kind of stress in your life. You can buy these in a mix or as already made cookies. You can also buy muffins, add extra brewer’s yeast (for more breastmilk making punch) or get a double batch of the mix to help for even longer. They’re hand made, so you know you won’t be getting any unsavory fillers. These delicious nomnoms also come in BROWNIES now. Lactation BROWNIES. Not a brownie or cookie person? Try the granola! YUM!


5. Take Her Dog For a Walk
If she doesn’t have a dog, then take her other kids for a walk, if she doesn’t have other kids, take her trash for a walk. If she doesn't have any trash that needs to be walked out to the can, give those dishes a good scrub and run her dishwasher for her. 

6. Dual Single Serve Ice Cream Machine

Can we please just take a second and bask in the fact that this is really something that exists? It MAKES ice cream for you, in single serve cups. And you can do two at a time, because husbands. OH MY GOSH. That is all.

7. Clean her house.
EVEN BETTER, would be hire someone else to clean her house, so you can sit with her and collectively look at this cute newborn.

There you have it. Seven great ideas gifts for new moms that can really be appreciated.

top seven gifts for new moms that arent lame

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saving Money as a Doctor for Stuffed Animals and Toys

My daughter wants to be a doctor. Specifically, a doctor for stuffed animals and toys. I'm sure that's familiar to any parent with Disney Jr and a child who loves TV at a specific time. I love when I bring her to the pediatrician and she amazes all the nurses with her knowledge of stethoscopes and checking heartbeats. She's given me HUNDREDS of shots over the last year or two, with a gleeful giggle each time.

For Christmas last year, we got her a great Doc McStuffins station, and lots of family got her more and more doctor's kits. It's great now that her little brother is a bit older, he loves to give check ups too. There are plenty of stethoscopes to go around so the fighting is minimal. For Halloween she was Doc McStuffins. We got her a costume to be a pet vet, and she went as that. It went great with her other Doc apparel. But sadly, her costume was ripped. She still has it, and wants to wear it often, but always notices the little rip in the leg of the pants. It wasn't made to last for longer than one play time, so it's been a struggle.

Enter, new labcoat! Although it's not pink and frilly, it has pockets! Kids love pockets. It's also much thicker fabric and better made. We sometimes add stickers to her new white lab coat so she can decorate it and love it a little more. At the end of the day I take all the stickers off and she creates something new the next day. 

These coats come in several sizes, so you get a great fit regardless of your child's age. We received the 2-3 year old size, and it fits my daughter fantastically. It's huge on my son, who is a year younger than her and on the opposite size of the growth chart but I know he will fit into it later. I think it will definitely last until he's old enough to really appreciate it also.

Here's the kicker. You could spend $25 on a Doc McStuffins lab coat, or even more if you're spending that money at Target. OR, you could spend TEN DOLLARS on this gender neutral, sized lab coat that will last for more than just one playtime / holiday. With the money you save you could get your child a great doctor's kit to go with their new coat too! I'm all about saving money and getting the most bang for your buck.

I received this product in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Last Minute St. Patrick's Day Decor

Last minute is my favorite way to do things. I do everything at the last possible second including making this craft for decorating my house. I even bought my daughter a clover shirt the day before St. Patrick's Day. Someday I will plan ahead. In the mean time, check out this simple last minute clover decor!

I love green. I painted my daughter's room green, I have green curtains in every room I can manage to get them into nicely, and I have green bedding. If something comes in green, it's safe to assume I'd love it. A holiday that's main color is green?! Sign me up!

As a Target stalker go-er, I noticed these pretty wooden shamrocks that were just begging for attention from me. I bought one, and spent a few days deciding what to do with it. Then my friend pointed out to me that I have an obsession with buying washi tape, but I never use it. Now that's ridiculous. I have used approximately 36 inches of washi tape in the year since I've started buying it. There's just so many pretty colors!

Needless to say, since I always have to be right, I decided this was a perfect time to use some washi for a project, and this is the project to do it with. So I went out and got some more washi and whipped this together in an afternoon. All you need is a few rolls of tape that match the scheme you're looking for, and scissors. Bam! Easy peasy last minute craft!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Increasing Flexibility During Pregnancy

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Flexibility is the first thing that usually suffers during pregnancy. It's hard to be able to lean, pull, or even reach your legs to stretch when you have a big belly in the way. If you try to stand up and bend over it's even worse. I'm getting heartburn just thinking about it. Nine months is a long time to not be able to stretch, and it could take a toll on your body. Keeping up with your flexibility will help you during labor, and could even help you bounce back quicker after childbirth. How can we stretch more, or even at all, during pregnancy when it's difficult to maneuver our bodies correctly? We just need a little help. That is where stretchy straps and bands come in to play. I have a set that I received last year that I have used to stretch in the past, but I haven't been able to find good use for them recently.

DanceCrazy Ultimate Stretching Exercises DVD - PIlates and Yoga Stretch Belts and Straps Muscle Relief Step by Step

Then I found this DVD. It's an instructional DVD that breaks down some easy stretches that you can do with your stretchy straps! It's dedicated to learning how to use your stretching straps, but I used a regular resistance band (with folding and knotting to get the desired outcome). There are some stretches I couldn't do because of my huge third trimester belly, but in general this was a great introduction to stretching, and stretching straps! As a pregnant woman, it has really helped my poor achy joints a lot. I hope to be able to continue until I'm in labor, because the stretches feel great.

You can find this DVD here!

I received this product in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

How One Book Changed My Whole Life

It's not very often when we can say that a book has truly changed our lives. A few weeks before I found this book, I thought my marriage was ending. I felt what so many women have felt before. We weren't connecting, I was feeling unappreciated and I was hurting. I thought the end was near, how can you stay in a marriage where you're suffering, and the life you want or the life you imagined with someone isn't what you have. Why should we sacrifice our happiness because of a decision we made years before?

My husband is in the military, I don't get to see him much. At the time we had a one year old and a two year old. Most days were a struggle for me, being a stay at home mom. We struggled a lot trying to cope with the difficult schedule that the Navy had my husband on, as well as taking care of babies. It seemed like our marriage was always the last thing that we bothered to make time for. Looking back now, that wasn't true. It wasn't my marriage I needed to make the time for, it was myself.

When this book became available to me, I was desperate. I felt lost, alone, and hurt. I read it over quickly and implemented as I went. Then I read it again, for good measure. I took a lot time to let those lessons sink in, and really change my life. The first thing I tried was self care. Replenish your spirit with self care. The author recommends making a list of twenty things that make you happy, then doing at least three of those things every day. This is the greatest gift I have ever given myself. I began planning in an Erin Condren Life Planner I purchased for myself, doodling, hand lettering, eating chocolate, having lunch every day, and letting my husband parent the kids while I go to Target by myself because I want to. At first, I wasn't sure how it could help, putting more on his plate, so I could selfishly go look at $1 stationery, and imagine what fun things I could do with them. But my happiness carried over to my husband and my children quickly. I didn't sit there counting down the seconds to have an extra pair of hands to help me deal with my children anymore. I wasn't running on an empty tank, I was enjoying my children and they were enjoying me. It was refreshing. My happiness was responsible for saving our marriage. I implemented the first chapter into my life, and this is how I felt. I couldn't wait to start working on the rest of it. There is another five steps that the author encouraged me to take to rescue my failing marriage. I watched my husband change in front of me, without asking anything of him at all. I could see the steps I was taking making a lasting effect. Some of these steps I found silly, and others I found to not be possible, but I was encouraged every step of the way. This book is full to the brim with examples I hadn't thought of, and ways I was unknowingly guilty of some things I didn't realize was making my husband react to me the way he was. I was shocked when I changed a few small things about my behavior and it actually worked. 

I would rate this book a 9/10. It has so much great that it's hard to understand the negative feedback I've seen. When recommending this book to others (read as, recommending this book to everyone I speak to for several months)  there has been a small amount of backlash, specifically on the internet, when people can say whatever they want behind a screen. There are people who think this author wants you to surrender your entire self into your marriage, and no longer have thoughts or opinions, and become a puppet of your husband's control. I didn't get that impression upon reading this book, nor would I recommend that line of thinking to anyone. I think it's important to speak your mind and I am not a person who will give in to every whim of anyone, or back down just because someone doesn't agree with me. I have not read any of Laura Doyle's other books, so I can't speak to them, but I know that this book is absolutely not a "lay-down-all-the-work-we-have-done-as-women-to-get-where-we-are-today-for-your-husband" book. 

All of that being said, if you're reading this, and thinking you need a pick me up in your marriage, give this book a read. If you feel like your husband isn't the man you married anymore, pick up this book.

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it on Amazon here:

I received this book to write a review of my personal feelings about it. I was not compensated.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Top 7 Round Up: Last Minute Valentine's Day Fun with Children

Here we are, days before Valentine's Day, and I've completely lost track of time. I know I can't be the only one! So here is a great round up of nice, easy, children friendly Valentine's Day crafts and recipes. I hope you enjoy! 

 Free Printable Valentine's Day Matching Game
1. Valentine's Day Matching Game - Via Practical Mommy 
It's so simple, you just print off these adorable sheets on a printer, using normal paper (or even some card stock if you want them to last longer!) and then have a fun match game with your children. We love playing this, so I imagine they would love it with little birds too! For other great ideas for Valentine's Day, you should look at what else she has, there is a wealth of simple and fun V-Day ideas for everyone.

Valentine Bird Feeder Hearts DIY

2. Heart Shaped Bird Feeders - Via Thrifty Jinxy
These are a great way for kids to get messy, but still create something functional. My son loves birds, so this is a great way for him to be able to see them more, and learn a bit, too! This should set overnight, so be sure to remember that while making it! 

melted crayon art valentines
3. Do It Yourself Melted Crayon Art - Via Gym Craft Laundry
These are a fun way to use up older / too small crayons. I plan to use the crayons we have received in gift bags from birthday parties. They're smaller and perfect for something like this!

Valentine's Day White Chocolate Bark Bites

4. Valentine's Day White Chocolate Bark Bites - Via No. 2 Pencil
This craft is great for when you have a little extra time to go to the store and get things, and you want to have something that really wows people. These are so pretty, and only take a few minutes to prepare. You can also change what you put in them to make them fit different holidays. 

easy hand pie recipe feature

5. Easy Valentine Hand Pies - Via Nerdy Mamma
This is the absolute definition of easy. You aren't crafting these things from scratch, you're using things you already have at home, such as SLICED BREAD and PRESERVES. It's so simple, yet the finished product is so pretty!

6. Date Night Jar - Via DIY Budget Girl
I love this idea, so I'm going to tweak it for things with my children instead of my husband. As a stay at home mommy, we need to "spice things up" to keep our every day life from being too boring and tedious! But there are a lot of great ideas if you wanted to do this for your spouse too. ;)

Strawberry Rolls 14

7. Strawberry Roll - Via Megs Everyday Indulgence
Look at those. JUST LOOK AT THEM. I think anyone who can make these, should. How beautiful and fun! I can't wait to make them! I'm going to wake up early and get them all baked and ready for my sweet little children to engulf upon waking up. YUM!

I hope you love what you see! Let me know if you make any of them, I'd love to see! 

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