What To Pack For Travel And Vacation With A Toddler (and what you can expect!)

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

Now that you have a toddler, the word “vacation” has a whole new meaning. From keeping your little one entertained during car or airplane travel to packing ALL of their belongings into one suitcase, travel sure does become more tricky with a toddler in the mix.

Travel with a toddler doesn’t have to be stressful, but it does take a lot of thought and planning to make sure you get everything your family needs packed and stay (at least somewhat) organized once you arrive at your destination. Vacation is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating.

Of course, it won’t be the same care-free time as it was pre-baby, but it does not have to be stressful.  

We just survived got back from our first family vacation since Taylor officially entered Toddler-dom.  Although we took several trips with T when she was under 1 year, flying across the country and spending two weeks in several different locations with our Energizer Bunny was an entirely different ball game.

As usual, I spent a lot of time brainstorming beforehand and reflecting afterward on ways to make my/your #momlife easier and take some of that mental load off of you, mama (because I don’t know of many dads responsible for packing for both himself and the kiddos, am I right?).  

To that end, I want to share a few things you can expect when traveling/vacationing with a toddler, a total Mom Must Have for packing and keeping ALL the things organized, free printable packing lists for you +  your toddler, as well as a few family photos from our vacation.

This post is part of the Packed to Perfection Series. Each post (including one of my most popular – “What To Pack In A Carry-On To Entertain A Toddler On An Airplane”) includes tips for what to pack and printable checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. It’s hard enough remembering what to pack for yourself, right?!  I like to print my checklists, laminate them and keep them in my bags/suitcases so that they are right on hand when it comes time to pack for a trip. I hope you find the vacation packing checklists for both Toddlers and Mamas from this post useful the next time you are getting ready to travel with your tot.

If you are traveling by plane, make sure you check out THIS POST and printable checklist to make sure you have everything you need to pack in a carry on bag to keep your toddler entertained during the flight! If you are going on a vacation where the pool or beach will be involved, make sure to check out THIS POST and printable checklist as well!

Without further ado…

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

4 Things You Can Expect On Vacation With A Toddler

  1. Sleep and nap schedules can and will go out the window… and your little one will be just fine.  Time change + jet lag (especially if you’ve made a long journey), excitement, new faces + environments, general overstimulation and even F.O.M.O. can all be cause for your little one to miss naps, stay up late, wake up earlier than normal, and just generally be off schedule. I learned that this isn’t the end of the world, and worrying about it only serves to increase your stress and decrease the vacation vibes.Your tot WILL get back on schedule when you get home and back to your regularly scheduled programming, I promise.
  2. Reframe your mindset from taking a “vacation” to taking a “trip”. A trip, which is what you’ll be on, is definitely a memory-filled experience, but it may not include laying out in the sun for 3 hour stretches with your beverage of choice, pausing to take and post one of those obnoxious bottom halves of your legs in the foreground + ocean in the background pics ( #guilty). If you are pining for the duty-free vacation days of old, you’ll feel disappointed and like you need a “vacation after the vacation,” so it’s best to get in the mindset of making it a memorable trip with the fam. Unless of course, you have # 3 going for you…
  3. Traveling with Grandparents, friends, and family can make “vacation” with a toddler feel like an actual vacation. If you can plan a trip with friends and family included, I would highly recommend it. It takes a village, right?  I cannot explain how wonderful it was to have my parents and some of our closest relatives around to A) spend time with, and B) help to entertain/care for Taylor. If it weren’t for the help of family, I know I wouldn’t have come home feeling as relaxed as I did. Taylor pretty much played with her cousins from sunup to sundown, which was so sweet to watch. Thanks to the generosity of my parents, AJ and I were even able to sneak away for a date night in Charleston while she enjoyed some special time with them. You could even plan a trip with other couples with little ones and trade off on nights in/date nights!
  4. Your tot is going to have a blast! No matter where you are, what you do,  or even what you forget to pack, YOU are providing an amazing experience for your little one that they are going to love. Enjoy every precious, energy-filled moment.

Pack For Vacation With A Toddler Made Easy!

The EZPacking cubes made packing for and then accessing ALL the toddler things upon arrival at your destination so, well, “EZ”! I purchased the Starter Set (one cube in each of the four sizes) a year ago, and was gifted another set for this trip – Thanks, EZPacking! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… I could go on about EZPacking all day long, but I’ll just give you the top 4 reasons why you MUST have these packing cubes for your next vacation:

Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!
EZPacking Starter Set in gray.
Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!
2 weeks worth of toddler gear -easily packed!
    1. Transparency. I love that the EZPacking cubes are clear. I can easily see the outfits, accessories, diaper cream, etc. that I am looking to find for myself or Taylor.
    2. If you are going to be traveling between several different places, the packing cubes make it so easy to get comfortable and organized quickly. Even if we’re only staying somewhere for a couple of nights, putting things away and getting my suitcase out of sight just makes me feel more relaxed and at home. Throw the cubes into the bedroom or bathroom drawers and you are all set; everything is still in the same place it was at your last stop.
    3. The cubes can be packed to utilize the entire height of the suitcase – so, no wasted space! 
    4. EZPacking cubes come in several different colors (black, green, pink, blue and gray – orange is currently sold out), which is perfect for mamas packing for more than one child and sharing a suitcase. You could even have older children pack their own color cubes. I used a black set for myself, and a gray one for Taylor:

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE!

  1. What To Pack For Vacation With A Toddler:Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

    These are the vacation packing lists I use to pack for Taylor and I.  I tried to include all the essentials a toddler and their mama would need.  “Other” lines are under almost every category within the checklists so that you can add any additional, specific items you need to pack. Please let me know in the comments if there are any glaringly obvious things I left off! Click here or just click on the pictures below to access, download and print copies of the Mama and Toddler packing checklists:

    Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

  2. Top tips for how to pack for travel and vacation with a toddler, without all the stress! Including a FREE printable packing checklist for toddler and mom!

    Our Vacation + Travel With Toddler Must Haves:

    • EZPacking Cubes – see above!
    • Travel Sized Downy Wrinkle Release Spray – I roll when I pack in EZPacking cubes because it saves more space, and this spray helps in a pinch when I don’t have access to or time for ironing!s
    • J by Jeep Umbrella Stroller – this lightweight stroller is super easy to travel with and handles surprisingly well, even on the cobblestone streets in Charleston!
    • Portable Crib – although we borrowed a crib from my cousin this trip, we typically travel with our Baby Bjorn portable crib unless we are staying at a hotel which guarantees access to a crib (just make sure to bring your own sheet!). 
    • Bags for your stroller and car seat if you’re traveling by plane.
    • Boxed organic milk – no refrigeration required. You can buy a 12 pack on Amazon and take a few with you for car or airplane travel when refrigeration isn’t convenient or possible.
    • Wet Dry bag – I pack all of Taylor’s suits and sandals in the wet dry bag, and then use it for pool/beach trips if we are going on that sort of vacation. I can’t get enough of these Skip Hop wet/dry bags.
    • Portable Snacks – Taylor’s fav snacks (that include protein) are these Sprout Power Pouches.

     

  3. I hope you find the things I did to plan for, used during and learned along the way on vacation with a toddler help make your next vacation an enjoyable experience for your whole family – including YOU!

  4. P.S. A few of our fav family vacation photos (July 2017)

    (Charlotte, North Carolina + Litchfield Beach and Charleston, South Carolina)

Be prepared for any trip with a toddler! Free Printable Packing List for Traveling with a Toddler (and a packing list for moms too!) + what to expect when taking a vacation with a toddler. This list is a must-have when you’re packing for a vacation with a toddler! CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE! Toddler packing list | new mom | first time mom | travel with a toddler

The Transition From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Whether you carry the title of “Mom” exclusively (“stay at home mom”) or are a “working mom” outside or inside the home, it’s rare that anyone truly sees or gives you credit for ALL you do in your role as a mom.  

You don’t add “Mom” to your resume because the results you’re producing can’t be quantified, even though it’s the most important title you’ll ever hold.

You’re indispensable (the boss!) but there is no corresponding salary, nor performance bonuses to cash in on.

You’re really good at this motherhood thing; you are constantly honing your craft, but there isn’t a career ladder to climb or promotions to be given.

You punch in for this job, but you NEVER punch out…

So, especially as a stay at home mom, how do you respond when you’re asked the question,

“What do you do?”

Before I get into how I’ve been answering that question lately, let me first say that (45 days in) I do not have a single complaint about the stay at home mom life. It is a privilege and a blessing, and it is the life I chose. While there are certainly effects of this major change worth mentioning (and writing future posts on!): financial adjustments,  shifting responsibilities and dynamics in our marriage, acclimating to a new home and town, finding “me time” when I’m an introvert at home all day with two extroverts, etc., life is good. I go to bed each night excited that I get to spend the next day hanging out with my girl. I’m not missing anything. My husband is amazing, supportive and works incredibly hard and well to support our family. This lifestyle, this (at least mostly) undivided time…I’m living my dream and I’m so, so grateful.

Side Note: I  find the “stay at home mom” and “working/career mom” labels obnoxiously pigeonholing and misleading but I’m still going to use them here for sake of clarity; I think we can agree that ALL moms are full-time moms, and stay at home moms do a lot more than just stay at home.

We’re all just doing what we feel is best and what works for our families – and a darn good job at that!

From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom – Update #1

Something I realized during the initial transition period from career to stay at home mom, and not something I’m super proud of admitting, is just how much of my identity is tied up in how other people perceive me based on what I did/do. 

I know a job title, salary or anything else external does not define my worth, but on more than one occasion I found myself responding almost apologetically to the question about what I do sayin something like, “I’m just a mom right now, but I used to…” I reference my previous occupation as if it increases my standing in the eyes of the person who asked; I add words as if they add value – as if being “Mom” is not enough. 

I don’t assess others (especially moms) in this way, I know that being a mom is one of the highest callings + most demanding jobs out there, and I was very confident in my decision to put my career on pause and be a stay at home mom, so my words and reaction came as a surprise. Maybe it’s that I felt competent in my profession, but I’m still getting my footing and confidence in this all day mom/homemaker thing.  Maybe it’s the subconscious influence of the society we live in, undervaluing what we do as moms and overvaluing productivity/money-making/achievements. Whatever it is, I felt the tug of my pride, and a wrong thinking showed itself in need of correction.

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Confidence & Worth As A Stay At Home Mom

Fortunately, motherhood has a beautiful, humbling, refining quality when we reflect upon and act out of the experiences we have along our journeys; Oftentimes this brings a reminder of a simple, deep truth like it did in this instance for me – no matter what we do part time, full time, inside of the home or outside of it, we are defined by who we are.

Not by the title you have or someday wish to hold.

Not by what you do or don’t do.

Not by what you have or haven’t accomplished.

Not by accolades or criticisms from others, and certainly NOT by the amount of money you earn or don’t.

True worth has nothing to do with the external, and everything to do with the internal and unseen – the “who” you were created you to be, the person you are in this world. As moms, we ALL struggle with thoughts that we aren’t enough, that we aren’t contributing enough to our family financially or time wise, or that we’re just generally not doing things right.

Well, I’m here to tell and/or remind you that you alone are absolutely enough and that – as long as your kids are loved, safe and mostly happy -there is no wrong or right way to “mom”.  Feel good about doing what feels right to you and works for your family.

YOU are a gift to your family and this world and you should have every confidence in the person and Mom that you are. There is nothing else you need to prove to anybody.

As for me, I will continue to pour my talents, heart, soul, mind, and skills into my family and raising our precious daughter without the time + mental commitments to another job for this season of life. There will be times in the future when I use my gifts toward other ends and maybe even pick up where I left off with my career, but my current path is “stay at home mom” to Taylor.

That is enough.

I am more than enough.

My role as Mom is invaluable.

The same is true of you.

So, the next time I’m asked what I do, with shoulders square and the confidence and pride ALL mamas should have, I will simply say, “I have the privilege to be a Mom.”

When you’re asked, “what do you do?” how do you respond? Could you relate to any of the thoughts I shared in this post as a working mom or stay at home mom? I would absolutely love to hear from you. 

This is the first in a series of posts on the journey into SAHM life and this big transition for our family, so stay tuned + make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.  Do you know a mama who could use this encouragement? Please share this with them!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in reading:

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.


How To Entertain A Toddler On A Plane – Travel Tips + A Free Printable Checklist

The thought of flying with a toddler with an attention span as short as they are cute for the first time (or anytime) can be downright intimidating. Taylor had flown with us before, but not since she became mobile and A LOT more active/aware.  In preparation for our family vacation to South Carolina, I spent a lot of time tapping the brains of all my been-there-done-that mama friends, “researching” on Pinterest, and brainstorming ideas to compile the perfect carry on bag to keep my toddler entertained and happy on a cross country flight.  Guess what? Our 4.5+ hour flight with a 15-month-old went off with far less stress than I envisioned – sans iPad/electronics or spending a ton of money – so I want to share what we packed, how we packed it and tips for a successful travel day with a toddler based on this experience.

Bonus – the in-flight kit I created has served as a both a car and restaurant entertainment kit while we’ve been on vacation as well! I hope you find this post useful when packing a carry on bag to keep your toddler AND you entertained and happy during your travels. If you have an infant, check out this post to see how we packed for one of Taylor’s first flights/vacations featuring our absolute, must have packing cubes by EZPacking.

If you’re packing for an upcoming vacation, you NEED to snag some of these.

Make sure to download and print the FREE printable checklist at the end of this post (or click the photo below)!

 

How to entertain a toddler on a plane flight

Let’s start with the bag:

I snagged this mesh tote at Target for $9.99 (!!!) and think it’s a perfect carry on because A) they have it in 8 colors, B) it’s durable but mesh, so you can easily see and grab for anything you might need in-flight, C) it can be used as a beach bag upon arrival if you’re taking a beach vacay, and D) did I mention it was only $9.99!?

What’s In The Bag (and how it all fit!):

 

  1. In-Flight Entertainment Kit – I included a section below with all the details on what’s inside this cosmetics case turned toddler entertainment kit. I use this same bag (in this floral pattern) for my Baby/Toddler Restaurant Kit as well because it’s a perfect size and has tons of storage space!
  2.  A lightweight swaddle blanket to put over your toddler if/when they nap. Airplane cabins can get chilly!
  3. Tote Savvy Mini Insert – Stocked with 4 diapers, pack of wipe, disposable diaper bags/dispenser, changing pad, hand sanitizer, lip gloss, wallet, keys, etc.  I pop this in and out of pretty much all my bags so that we always have the essentials on hand and organized. Check out this post for exactly what and how I’m packing my Tote Savvy for a toddler diaper bag these days.
  4. A zippered pouch (this one from Target is only $4.99) to carry a copy of your little one’s birth certificate (most airlines require proof that your toddler is under 2 years old to qualify as a “lap infant”) and headphones for if and when your toddler naps. I stored this pouch in the front pocket of the mesh tote bag for easy access during our travels. I love my beautiful rose-gold, wireless headphones from Sudio – you can snag a pair for 15% off here using the discount code TAYLORMADEMAMA.
  5. Puffs (AKA toddler crack).  I keep these on hand pretty much at all times. We only buy the Happy Baby organic brand.
  6. Empty water bottles for mama and tot  – Fill them up once you’ve cleared security. I store the water bottles in the outer pockets on either side of the tote bag.
  7. 1-2 tried and true favorite books and 1-2 new books having to do with their interests, airplane travel or their destination; I suggest Richard Scarry’s A Day At The Airport, and Amazing Planes.
  8. Spare outfits for you and your toddler.
  9. A novel toy set like this one with a wooden fire engine theme. Check Target’s Dollar Section – I swear, they have the most amazing toys/activities for travel purposes on the super cheap! After I already had everything together for this trip I found mini felt board sets which would be PERFECT for the kit! There is a set of 3 felt story boards on Amazon right now that I’m considering ordering to our beach house for the return flight (another Amazon Prime membership perk!). This magnetic block set would also be a great option.
  10. Packing tape to tape up a box for your car seat if you’re bringing it with you. We had a short wardrobe box as that was the only box that would fit the dimension of our beloved car seat (Maxi Cosi 70 Convertible – on sale for only $199 right now on Amazon!!). We also brought a roll of bubble wrap to line it with. You can also check it in one of these nifty car seat backpack style bags – either way, the goal is to prevent damage. We ended up making a game time decision to put our car seat in our travel stroller bag and forego the box altogether!
  11. An Etch a Sketch, MagnaDoodleor LCD drawing tablet.
  12. Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad (Adventure, Playhouse, Farm or Vehicles and Habitats)

Taylor’s Top Entertainment Pick…


Number 11!!!! Although she LOVES to color, I can’t freely give Taylor crayons or other drawing instruments because, at 15 months old, she cannot be trusted not to try them out for flavor… so, introducing this off-brand etch a sketch during the flight was a total win-win.  There are more expensive versions with lap pads and sound features that would be great for car travel, but this one fit the bill for function, size and the quiet factor. Taylor played with this for nearly an hour of the flight (cumulative), so I would say the $19 price tag was well worth it.  As I was writing this post I noticed that right now it’s on sale for Amazon Prime members for only $10.65! Don’t have a Prime Membership yet? Get a FREE 30 Day Trial here ( I PROMISE it’s worth it – most things on this list are Amazon Prime eligible!). There is also a cute set of two miniature drawing pads like this if you’re packing for more than one little. One of my besties recently showed me her kids’ LCD Writing Tablet like this one which is only $29.99 on Amazon.com for Prime members and an even better option than the traditional etch a sketch.

What’s In The In-Flight Entertainment Kit (# 1):

This cosmetics case is the PERFECT in-flight entertainment kit bag.

Left side = snacks, utensils, wipes, box of organic milk, bib, etc.

The Left Side:

When all else fails, snacks (and a big variety of them!) will be your tantrum tamers on a flight. In the left side of the in-flight kit I packed a ton of snacks I knew she would love: Annie’s organic gummy bunnies, fruit roll ups and cheddar bunnies, fruit + veggie pouches, a variety or bars, 2 milk boxes, a travel set of utensils (LOVE these by OXO!), a Green Sprouts wipe-off bib with a pouch (the best, and so easy to fold up!_, and individual hand and surface sanitizing wipes by Babyganics.

 

Right side = toys, art supplies, flashcards, etc.

The Right Side:

Basically, I raided our local party supply store and the Target dollar bins to stock up on a ton of fun little toys, stickers, flashcards and other packable items that I knew Taylor would be interested in. I brought them out one by one, or let her pick, whenever she began to lose interest.  I actually had WAY more than I needed, so I’m happy we’ll still have some novel entertainment for the return flight and/or restaurant trips on vacation! I’ve heard of parents also wrapping individual toys and letting their kiddo open them up one by one to add to the time/excitement.

A Speech Pathologists I worked with recommended these Busy Baby cards to work on language development. Taylor loves looking at the cute little images and hearing me talk about what she is seeing (i.e “this baby is holding a cat and wearing a hat!”). I definitely recommend any toddler mama to pick up a pack.

What I’ll Pack Next Time:

Although our trip went smoothly, of course,  I’m already thinking about how to make our mom lives even less stressful. Here are a couple things I didn’t bring with us this time, but likely will for the next trip based on our experience:

Snack and Play Travel Tray (top rated on Amazon.com) – good for plane, car or train travel!

A portable, foldable high chair like this one that I almost bought on Prime Day this year! It could easily fit in a carry-on. Fortunately, we were visiting family who let us borrow us their daughter’s old Pack and Play and high chair for this trip, but in the future, we will want to bring those ourselves. The portable crib we have, use and love is this one by Baby Bjorn.

Now, onto my top 10 tips for traveling & flying with a toddler…

Top Tips For Traveling/Flying With a Toddler:

  1. Check the TSA and your airline websites well in advance of your flight for their rules and regulations regarding travel with children under 2 years old.
  2. You can bring your own milk or juice in a cooler like this one,  but you may have to go through a full on TSA check. One option is to wait until you get through security and buy a milk box from Starbucks (these do not require refrigeration). Some airplanes will have milk depending on the airline and time of day, but if you care for it to be organic, you’re likely out of luck. I think the best option is to bring no refrigeration needed, easily portable milk boxes with you. When we arrived at our beach house, I ordered another 12 pack of organic whole milk boxes for the rest of our travel as we will not always have easy access to a fridge/milk.

3. Put your little one (if not already potty trained) in overnight diapers for the flight initially so that they don’t need to be changed as soon as they would in a regular diaper. Leaky diapers are fun for no one. Make sure they are in comfy clothes with shoes that are easy to slip on and off; we opted for Natives and they worked like a charm – definitely our new fav toddler shoe!

4. I know it isn’t always possible with logistics, but try to plan your flight time around your toddler’s nap if possible. We booked a SUPER early flight which was painful at 4:30 in the morning but worth it to coincide with Taylor’s daily nap. We enjoyed watching the movie Lion while she snoozed.

5. I know screen time isn’t for everyone, and to each their own, but if you allow it this suggestion is for you. Download shows from Netflix, Xfinity, etc.  and age appropriate apps onto your iPad or laptop. This will, hopefully, occupy your little one and buy you and your fellow passengers some quiet time. We had technical difficulties and weren’t able to utilize this option on this flight. Luckily, Taylor slept for nearly 2 hours of the flight but if she hadn’t we really would have missed out on having this entertainment option.

6. Bring empty water bottles in your carry on and fill them up at the airport once you’ve cleared security.

7. Invest in a  travel/umbrella stroller and umbrella stroller bag. Previously, we traveled with our  Baby Jogger City Select, but it was just too big and cumbersome with all the other luggage we needed to bring with us. This J by Jeep umbrella stroller is easy to fold open and closed and really compact. It also has a UV. You can check the stroller at the gate right before you board, but make sure to ask the desk attendant at your gate for a tag asap.

8. Walk the aisles if you sense that the native/s are getting restless and it is permitted by the captain. Generally, other passengers are going to want to see that cute little toddler’s happy face when they get to get up and move around the cabin. The walk will give them a chance to check out this new environment and distract them from being confined to a seat. If anyone has a problem with it (or your toddler crying for that matter) then that is their own issue – but truth be told, #momshaming can be real on flights!

9. Arrive to check in for your flight early, call ahead, or both to ask for an extra seat if possible. Generally, airlines will go ahead and reserve a seat when a “lap infant” is flagged on the manifest and keep it if the flight is not full. The extra seat makes diaper changes, and the whole flying experience, a lot easier! By the way, this article by USA today does a great job of breaking down how to deal with how to change a diaper during a  flight!

10. My last, but number one piece of advice would be to prepare and pack as well as you can beforehand, but then try your best to relax and go with the flow because, as we all know, toddlers certainly cannot be predicted!

I truly hope there is at least one piece you can use to make your #momlife less stressful when planning and packing for your next family vacation!

Now, click here or just click on the picture below to access, download and print a copy of the packing checklist:

Be sure to check out the other posts in my Packed to Perfection Series – I’ll be including free downloadable packing lists for each! Print, laminate (this laminating machine is $19.97 on Amazon.com – woo hoo!), stick the list in your bag to reference, and stop worrying about forgetting something every time you head out the door!

What other posts would you love to see in this series?


Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

What To Pack For A Pool Day With A Toddler – Free Printable Checklist

This post is the first in my new, official Packed to Perfection series. Be sure to check back for other posts in the Packed to Perfection Series as they are posted – I’ll be including free downloadable packing lists for each! Print, laminate (this laminating machine is $19.97 on Amazon.com – woo hoo!), stick the list in your bag, and never worry about forgetting something again! You can see other examples of ways to organize and pack for a baby or toddler in these existing posts: Diaper Bag for Baby, Packing Cubes, Working Mom’s Pumping Bag, Infant Daycare Bag, Baby/Toddler Car Kit, and Restaurant Kit for Babies/Toddlers.

Make sure to download and print the FREE printable Toddler Pool Bag checklist at the end of this post!

 

Now, let’s dive into (pun intended) what to pack for a day at the pool with a toddler…

It used to be as easy as grabbing a towel, sunnies and a  suit, sunblock, an issue of InStyle, water bottle, flip flops, then off to the pool for the day. Now that you have a baby or toddler in tow, there is a whole new element to planning and packing for a successful, fun, safe day at the pool. 

I want to show you what and how I pack for a Mommy and Me Pool Day with my toddler. If you’re a first-time mom in the same boat as I was OR a been-there-done-that pro mama, I hope this post will give you some good ideas for things to pack (and what to pack them in!) for a great day at the pool with your toddler.

Swimsuit with built in swim diaper by i play.

Now that we have access to a pool right down the road in our new community, pool days are a part of our weekly routine. Taylor lovingly refers to this special place as the “poooo,” which I find pretty darn funny, but I digress…

Before we moved, I had never taken Taylor to a pool and I wasn’t quite sure what to pack to bring with us that first day. Flash forward a couple weeks and I feel like we have rounded up everything we need with the caveat that, at some point, we’ll probably start bringing some pool toys. Right now, at 15 months old, Taylor is happy to just people watch from her float or splash/walk around in the baby pool. The first few times at the pool for her were about introducing her and helping her become accustomed to the water and new environment.

What to pack for a day at the pool with a toddler:

Tote Bag – obviously, this is a must! The bag shown in the photo above is one I got at our local grocery market because I loved the design, fun color scheme and the size worked perfectly. Here are a few similar and the black mesh tote I am using for a carry on/beach bag for our upcoming vacation (it comes in several colors and is under $10!):

 

1.Babyganics sunscreen stick SPF 50 (for the face bc my fingers on her face is, apparently, torture) and sunscreen in a gallon Ziplock bag – I usually put my own sunscreen on at home and if I need to reapply, I will just use Taylor’s.

2. Skip Hop wet/dry bag with the following inside the dry pouch: the Wet Brush and a change of clothes for a toddler. When we are ready to leave, we rinse off and then I change her into a diaper, put the pool cover up back on her and throw the wet suit into this bag.  I can’t tell you how many things I use these bags for or how many we own!

3. Sunglasses for mama and toddler 

4. Quart size Ziplock bags for electronics

5. Skip Hop cooler for water bottles (I also used this in my Pumping Bag) – Camel Back bottles: mom version, toddler version. If you’re looking to pack snacks that need to be refrigerated I HIGHLY recommend this Freezable Tote by PackIt; you stick it in the freezer and, once frozen, it stays cold for up to 10 hours – no ice packs needed!

6. Floaties – the ones linked are super easy to blow up, well rated, Amazon Prime eligible (as are most items linked in this post) and under $10! If you aren’t yet an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial HERE.

7. Swim Suit Cover Up for mama – I have two pool cover ups I’m LOVING right now. The first is this simple, classy one.The second (shown in the photo above) is by Michael Stars. I got that one as part of the summer Fab Fit Fun box. I’m kind of obsessed with these boxes. Most of the individual items in the box (like the cover up) are worth more than the cost of the ENTIRE box. Use the code TAYLORMADE to save $10, and get your box for only $39.99!

8. Baby or toddler kids sun hat with chin strap (50+ UPF cotton) – I also bring my own hat, similar to this floppy chambray one from Nordstrom.

9. Towels  – I bring one for myself and one for Taylor, but you could probably get by with just one and save bag space.

Tote Savvy Insert = Mom Must Have!

10. ToteSavvy Mini Insert – I use this ToteSavvy insert interchangeably in all my bags these days be it a purse, diaper bag, carry on for a flight or pool day bag;  I love it because I always know where to look for the essentials. To me, this insert is an absolute mom must-have! These days I carry the following inside it’s pouches: Bandaids, mini Evian facial spray (this keeps both toddler and mama cool on a hot day!), a couple small toys, Babyganics Alcohol-Free individually packed hand,face and mouth sanitizing wipes, 2 diapers, pack of wipes, several snacks, keys, wallet and one of the most popular items purchased through Amazon via links on my site – the Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper bag dispenser and bags:

On Toddler:

  • Swimsuit – I bought a couple of these suits with built in swim diapers by I play on Amazon Prime Day 2017, and we’re loving them so far.
  • Swim diaper to wear underneath a suit if it doesn’t have a built-in. We have been using these disposable swim pants by Babyganics, but there are also tons of non-disposable versions as well.
  • Diaper for over the swim suit in the car ride to the pool because swim diapers tend to leak (or maybe I’m using them wrong?).  When we get to the pool we just take off this extra safety precaution.
  • Swimsuit cover up
  • Sandals – these clear Mary Jane jellies are a toddler girl must, plus they have great grip on the bottom. Old Navy has a huge variety of strap-back flip flops for toddler girls and boys.

Additional Items:

  • Floating toys – I’m definitely getting this cute  Shark Fish Hunt Game by Melissa & Doug.
  • Float – Tented Float by Intex 
  • Cooler or freezable picnic tote for water bottles, milk and snacks that need refrigerating. For me, this is just too much to carry – I can only manage a baby, tote bag and float when it’s just T and I.
  • Pop Up Sunshade/Tent – optional depending on if there is shade at your pool.

Now you tell me, what are your pool day bag must haves? I’m on the lookout for some water shoes like these from Carter’s for Taylor, but are there some you like better?

Click here or just click on the picture below to access, download and print a copy of the checklist:

P.S.  If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the American Academy of Pediatrics pool and sun safety recommendations including:

  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
  • On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.

 

Amazon Prime Day 2017  – Toddler and Mama Edition

This post contains affiliate links but, as you already know, I only promote things I am actually into (like anything Amazon.com)!

If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime membership then today is, definitely, definitely the day to become one. If you already have one, are you ready for Prime Day 2017?? 

You can get a FREE 30 Day Trial to Amazon Prime HERE,  just in time to take advantage of all the deals for Prime members only beginning on July 10 at 6pm PT / 9pm ET and runs all day Prime Day July 11.

Why So Awesome, Amazon Prime?

As a side note, my Prime membership easily pays for itself within a few weeks.  I consider Alexa  a bestie (btw, you can get $10 credit on Prime Day for ordering through Alexa).  I save hundreds per year by shopping for everything from the comfort of my home, car (as a passenger, of course), waiting in lines, etc. Groceries, baby stuff, home decor, electronics, clothing, music, movies…is there anything Amazon Prime doesn’t get you access to + free 1-2 Day Shipping/returns on these days ??  Truth be told, I went completely a little crazy on Prime Day last year because deals were just. that. Good. The onslaught of boxes 2 days later totally freaked my husband out, but, #worthit.   So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Free 30 Day Prime Trial HERE and get to shoppin’.

For a full list of ALL the benefits of a Prime membership check out this link.

Okay, so onto some of the deals I have my eye on for toddlers and their mamas. Head over to my Facebook Page for all the deals I’m finding starting…..NOW! I’ll be posting every chance I get when I find a deal for you:


Let me know if there is something in particular you are looking for and I’ll see what I can find!

 

The Healthiest, Non-Toxic Products For Babies & Toddlers

 

Call me ignorant, but I did not realize just how much CRAP is put into a lot of the products out there on the market for babies and toddlers. Mainstream baby products contain numerous toxic ingredients that will enter your baby’s body if used or actually ingested, not to mention toddlers who are putting stuff in their mouths ALL. THE. TIME.  I feel like I’ve  been cognizant of trying my best to avoid buying things for Taylor that might be toxic, artificial, and generally not healthy for human beings, let alone little ones, but honestly I haven’t really had the time to do my due diligence on each and every product I’ve purchased… #momguilt

Now That I Know Better

Thankfully, I discovered a company whose purpose is to make it easier for busy moms (aren’t we all!) and moms-to-be to give themselves and their family the healthiest products, at really good prices, while doing all the vetting and research for us on the back end! 21 Bundles is a personalized subscription box service that delivers baby/toddler products that are sustainable, ethical, and most of all HEALTHY while still remaining super cute, relevant and fun. I LOVE mail like this! The best part is that you can rest assured no product 21 Bundles delivers will contain any of this junk:

source: www.healthiest.io

How 21 Bundles Works

  1. Tell 21 Bundles your stage (or baby’s age)
  2. Each Bundle is ta[y]lored (had to!) to your baby or toddlers age with all natural products. Each and every product in the bundles must meet or exceed these stringent regulations before being considered for and curated as “the healthiest” of products out there for little ones.
  3. Every bundle (4-7 full-sized products along with stickers, samples, and coupons) is delivered in an eco-friendly box packed with safe and chemical free goodies! For example, the cute little owl stroller toy Taylor received in her 14-month-old bundle is made from fair trade certifiably organic Egyptian cotton and chemical free dyes!

Our first bundle was truly loaded with goodies relevant to Taylor’s and stage! Her favorite from the get was definitely the Rainbow Sensory Ball; much to my dismay her delight it has a very, shall we say, distinctive squeak to it; it’s a go-to toy for her now, but at least I don’t have to worry when she mouths it!  Personally, I am anxious to use the Monkey Mat (as seen on Shark Tank!) for backyard and park picnics/concerts this summer, and I’m definitely stashing the non-toxic surface sanitizer in my Toddler Restaurant Essentials Kit.

You can learn more about any product sent to you in your own bundle, or order other healthy family and baby products by visiting the parent site to 21bundles, www.healthiest.io.  From here on out, I’m definitely saving myself the trouble of researching on my own and using this site as a resource.

What do you think of this concept? Pretty awesome, right?  Would you try something like this out for your own babe or as a gift? Right now, you can get 20% off your first bundle using code TAYLORMADEMAMA at check out! 

Hope you love your experience with 21 Bundles it as much as we did!

Thanks to 21 Bundles for sponsoring today’s post.  Please know that I only recommend products and resources I truly believe in.

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

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What I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

This time a year ago I had about 5 posts waiting in the Word Press wings when I pressed “Publish,” and this blogging adventure began. I’m pretty sure that the only people who read those posts, or any subsequent ones over the next couple of months, were my husband, parents and best friends. Flash forward only one year, and I still can’t quite believe when I see that there are hundreds of women who visit this blog each day. Although that’s small peanuts as compared to many bloggers, I’m still excited by that because it means I’m putting content out that my fellow mamas are finding useful.

I remember being kind of embarrassed to put myself out there as a “Blogger” to an extent that those who know me in real life are, I’m sure, surprised by. I’m an introvert to the core, but this year I found a passion in this creative forum which allows me to connect and share experiences with other moms all across the world. Taylor-made Mama is like one big,  borderless, online Mommy Group, and I love it!

I’ve learned a TON this year  (I surely NEVER thought I’d be teaching myself to code!), yet I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I need to know in order to do all I want to here. I started this blog while on Maternity Leave as a way to document my experiences as a new mom and share #momhacks I learned along the way, and hopefully share that with any friends and family who might want to keep up with our little family. Sounds easy, right? I had a personal blog years ago that documented the highs and lows of being a Special Education teacher,  and I didn’t think this one would be much different in terms of effort…Well, let’s just say I was certainly naive to think a {trying to be} legitimate blog would be an easy addition to my already busy life,  trying to balance my version of it all.

The beginnings of my new workspace…

Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy

Quickly, I realized just how MUCH work went into this little corner of the internet, and also the possibilities it held… Blogging is super time consuming; the brainstorming, writing, pitching, photographing/editing,  researching, publishing and promoting is endless work if you allow it to be. However, once I got started I knew this was something I wanted to continue and expand upon despite losing sleep, replacing gym time with blog work or the humbling realization that this isn’t something I would be ever instantly be a pro at.

Today, on the 1 Year Anniversary of Taylor-mademama.com I celebrate sticking with this for an entire – extremely busy – year and all that I’ve learned so far, but even more so I celebrate YOU.  

I’m SO thankful to each of you for the support and encouragement you’ve given me along the way. Thank you for taking time out of your days to open your email or browser to read this blog, comment, email questions, hang out with me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, participate in my Giveaways, etc. There are literally millions of Mommy Blogs out there, but you stick around here with me. I can’t thank you enough for that.  You make all the time and effort worth it.

What’s Next

In January I sent out a Reader’s Survey asking what you’d like to see more of on the blog in the coming year (aside from cute Taylor pics, bc you know you don’t even have to ask for those!) and you let me know you want more time management, workout, organization, and meal prep advice and printables, as well as updates my current Mama Must Haves.

As timing would have it, my last day of work outside the home also happens to be today – June 29th! Now that I’m a full time Stay At Home Working Mom (SAHWM? that’s how I’m labeling myself anyway), I’m looking forward to having more time and energy to pour into this blog and adding more value – I have a ton of exciting things in the pipeline for you. 

I know my strengths and weaknesses as a Blogger, and I recognize I have a LONG way to go, but this is me sharing about motherhood, life and following dreams with you in a way ONLY I can. Maybe it isn’t starting a blog or quitting your job, but I hope I can inspire you to follow your own heart/dreams as a mom and person in this life. You have things to share with your family and the world that only YOU can, and it’s never too late to change direction in life and follow your passion and purpose. You’ll be happier and a better mom for it, I promise.

I hope you continue to find encouragement, motivation, and inspiration here. Thank you so much again for supporting me, friends. I love ya’ll!

Gratefully,

Ashley

P.S. Below are a few of  the tops blog posts from the first year of Taylor-made Mama, in case you missed them:

  1. Maternity Leave Routine For Mom & Baby
  2. The Ultimate 1st Birthday Party Planning Guide
  3. Tips For Making Dining Out With A Baby/Toddler Less Stressful
  4. Baby Car Kit Essentials
  5. Tips For Successfully Pumping at Work

Father’s Day Gift Guide – Amazon.com Prime

Are you a last minute shopper (like me), not wanting to spend a ton of cash, but still want to give your baby daddy (or your own Dad!) something to make them feel extra special on Father’s Day this year? Then look no further – this is the gift guide for you! All of the gifts listed are under 100 dollars and have FREE 1-2 day shipping, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

If you aren’t one already, definitely hop aboard the Prime train – you won’t be disappointed. My Prime membership easily pays for itself within a few weeks. I save hundreds per year by shopping for everything from the comfort of my home, office, car (as a passenger of course), waiting in line, etc. My husband thinks I’m crazy for how many boxes arrive on a daily weekly basis, but it works for our busy lifestyle.

If you don’t have Prime yet you can get a free 30 Day Trial HERE, just in time to purchase a gift from this list. Orrrrrrrr you can just trust me and go ahead and sign up for Amazon Prime HERE. “Once you go Prime you never go back,”  doesn’t really have a ring to it, but it’s still totally true. Check out ALL the cool stuff you’ll get access to with your Prime membership, in addition to free 1-2 day shipping and free returns, here.

Now back to what you came here for: The Ultimate Amazon.com Prime Gift Guide for Guys (all items are under $100, and many are on super sale!):

  1. Echo Dot (439.99) and a customized Case ($19.99) to suit his style.
  2. Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener ($12.46)
  3. The Wire – The Complete Series ($72.80)
  4. Sharpest Tool Socks ($16.92)
  5. Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit ($49.99)
  6. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, by Jimmy Fallon ($12.84)
  7. All Natural Beard Conditioning Oil ($14.99)
  8. 1st Father’s Day Onesie ($21.00)
  9. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife ($24.99)

  10. SENSO Bluetooth Headphones Wireless Sports Earphones ($37.97)

  11. Daniel Wellington Men’s Watch w/ Black Leather Band ($89.99)

  12. Slim Minimalist Genuine Leather Front Pocket Wallet ($12.99)

  13. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player ($39.99)

  14. Vintage Leather Canvas Travel Toiletry Bag Shaving Kit ($18.99)
  15. YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid ($24.99)
  16. Bevel Shave System Kit ($75.95)
  17. Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time ($7.67)
  18. Oversized Canvas Genuine Leather Travel Weekend Bag ($46.99)
  19. Dad Mug ($19.98)
  20. BBQ Meat Branding Iron with Changeable Letters ($15.97)

What are you getting your honey for Father’s Day this year? How are you celebrating?!

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE. Subscribers are automatically entered to win bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!
Pin this list for the next time you need an eleventh-hour gift for a guy in your life:


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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you utilize a link to make a purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you. 

 

How A Baby Changes Everything

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Although they are little, babies sure can create BIG change in our lives.

From the day Taylor was born until today SO much has changed for us. If you follow us on Instagram you probably already know that we moved to our new home/city last weekend and that in about a month I will be leaving a 10+ year, successful career to stay home with Taylor. If interested, you can read more about that decision HERE. The reason for mass amounts of change in a relatively short timeframe? An itty, bitty newborn baby who has grown way too quickly into an {almost} full blown toddler.

Our move represents the incredible way that a baby can change your internal + external priorities and reality…

Before and even during pregnancy, I thought I wanted to be a working mom of 1 child only, and my hubby and I had our life planned accordingly. We certainly didn’t think that, within a year of T’s birth, that we would reorganize our financial and physical life in order to allow me to stay at home with her. Nor did we imagine we would search for a home that would be able to (hopefully, someday, no I’m not pregnant) accommodate another baby! But, as I am sure you have experienced in your own way, a baby can be quite the catalyst for change.

As we packed up the home we spent our first year as a family in I couldn’t stop thinking of all the memories we made in those rooms and how much growing we all did in different ways. However, I’m super excited for this new chapter in our lives. It will be one with undoubtedly less “me time,” but filled with so much more “us” time and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Luckily, through all of the change, Carter’s has us covered.  Taylor has grown up in their zip-up playsuits (hello, easy diaper changes!) and I may or may not have spent WAY too much money during their Memorial Day sale on tons of the cutest swimsuits and outfits for Taylor’s summer.  Carter’s has compiled some of their most classic, tried & true styles (including the zip-up playsuits) to comprise the Little Baby Basics Collection.

Little Baby Basics baby clothes are sized newborn through 24 months. As your baby – and you –  go through all the changes (and growth spurts) involved in the first 1+ year of their life this is a line of baby boy clothes and baby girl clothes that you can count on for consistent quality, affordable prices, comfort and – very importantly – cuteness! I mean, look at the elephant detail…those pant ruffles… *sigh*

The Original Body Suits from the Little Baby Basics Collection, like the ones Taylor is shown wearing throughout this post, are must-haves in any baby wardrobe. They are sold (for incredibly reasonable prices) in packs of 5 coordinating patterns + designs which also makes them an adorable baby shower gift.

Carter’s has offered a generous coupon to my readers, available now through July 4th, 2017. With this coupon, you’ll receive 20% off their already great prices if you spend $40 or more, in store or online. Stock up for now, later or even a future baby shower gift:


Not sure where your local Carter’s store is? You can find the nearest store by clicking here.

Happy Shopping and remember to savor each and every moment with your little one/s – it flies by too quickly not to!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

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LipSense Lip Color – A Mama Must Have

A lipstick that is kiss proof, smudge proof, water proof and lasts up to 18 hours?

Seems too good to be true, right? No way those claims are actually legit.

That’s exactly what I thought every time I saw LipSense pop up in my social media feeds over the last year or so. However, the idea of being able to put on lip color in the morning, kiss Taylor and my hubby goodbye/drink way too many cups of coffee without leaving a mark,  and not have to think about reapplying throughout my entire work day sounded really appealing. When I initially connected with my girl Shana of Montana Lips and More, who offered to send me a Lip Kit to review and potentially share with you,  I was cautiously optimistic to give LipSense a try.

She sent me a Lip Kit which included a super pretty natural lip stain (Bella), clear Glossy Gloss, a pot of Lip Scrub and an Ooops Lip Color Remover. The first day I tried LipSense I could not get over how cool it was. It takes a little longer to apply than a regular lipstick, but no more than a minute for the whole process.  I definitely think I demoed how I could drink out of my coffee cup and not leave a single trace of lip color behind to way too many co-workers that day. I mean, check out this picture taken right before I left work the other day – after drinking multiple cups of coffee, yapping my way through several meetings, and eating a burrito for lunch – with color still clearly in tact:

 

 

9.5 hours later, LipSense still hanging on!
Gloss, Dusty Rose, Heartbreaker and Bella.
I’m not even kidding when I say I don’t think I’ll  ever go back to traditional lip color.  After the initially LipSense experience, I contacted Shana right away and ordered two additional colors to add to my collection. I wore Dusty Rose, a slightly darker yet natural looking color, the day of Taylor’s first birthday party and never once had to reapply. I also wore Dusty Rose  to a friend’s wedding celebration out of town. and had to wait until the next day  to take it off as I had forgotten my Ooops Remover! How’s that for long lasting?!  Lastly, here’s an admittedly ridiculous picture of me in the middle of a work day sporting Heartbreaker, a fun spring/summer color:

Duck face for the sake of showcasing Heartbreaker.
This stuff is a total Mama Must Have, and I wouldn’t be posting about it today if I didn’t think it would be worth it for you to try out. LipSense would also make for a great Mother’s Day Gift, and Shana can hook you up with a Gift Certificate just in time. Check out the colors she has in stock now HERE. To order, comment “sold” on the photo of the item you would like in the in-stock album or just message through her Facebook page. Between now and 6/7/17 you can save 10% with Shana using the code TaylorMade.

What other beauty hacks am I missing out on? Please do tell!