First Valentine’s Day Gifts for Baby (and a few for Mama!)

One of the most exciting things about a baby’s first year is celebrating all of their first holidays. Pre-Taylor I was honestly not super into holidays (I know, such a Scrooge) but I have really enjoyed doing special things for each one this year, even though she is too young to remember. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I’ve been perusing the internet looking for a couple of special gifts to give her. I searched for non-tacky, V-Day appropriate gifts that could be could be enjoyed year round and think I found some winners. As often happens when I’m web surfing, I also found several things I wouldn’t mind receiving on Valentine’s Day myself – or gifting to myself! I’d say as new moms we’ve earned to treat ourselves on a totally commercial holiday, right? Plus, between now and 1/31/17 you can save 15% off ILY Couture’s Valentine’s Day Collection using the Promo Code: HEARTILY. Their clothing is great quality and super cute on ; I’m thinking the “Be Mine” tops Mommy & Me twinning may have to happen this year….

Here are 10 Valentine’s day gift ideas for your Littlest Valentine AND a few that you may just want to pick up for yourself (or hint/pass along to your Big Valentine to get for you!).

For Baby

  1. DIY Family Handprint  framed
  2. Bashful Poodle stuffed animal- Jellycat
  3. Valentine’s Day Board book like: Huggy Kissy, Llama Llama I Love You, Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse, or Love From The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  4. Wooden Heart Teether – this one can definitely be used year round!
  5. Blush & Red Bibdanas – on sale right now too!
  6. Snuggly Pajamas – Red or Pink (why, oh why, don’t they have these in my size?)
  7. Pink Converse Allstars – Chuck Taylor
  8. Teething Jewelry – Mama & Little   – {save 10% at checkout with Discount Code: TAYLORMADE}
  9. “Be Mine” onesie or tee -ILY Couture
  10. Heart Taggie Blanket – DIY by www.lovecreatecelebrate.com

For Mama 

  1. “Be Mine” Top (because I can’t resist a good twinning opportunity) – ILY Couture
  2. Blush Zip Around Wallet – Marc by Marc Jacobs
  3. Perfume –  J’adore by Dior (smells AMAZING)
  4. Rosé Candle – Voluspa
  5. Gift card for massage – Spafinder via Amazon.com
  6. Comfy Robe -Barefoot Dreams

There you have a list of fun gifts for your baby’s first Valentine’s Day, and some things you may want to gift yourself. I still haven’t decided which to get for Taylor – which do you think is the best option? What was your favorite 1st holiday to celebrate with your baby?

If you liked this blog post I would really appreciate your quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs. Click HERE to cast a vote. Thank you!

xo, Ashley (1)

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Bath Time With Baby (featuring IncrediBundles.com)

CONTEST CLOSED 12/22/2016

Make sure to enter the IncrediBundles $50 Gift Card GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!

I can’t be the only new mom to worry about giving my baby that very first bath, right?

I remember being totally freaked out about giving T her first real bath, especially about her slipping into the water or not having the temperature just right. We gave her sponge baths only until her umbilical cord fell off at 9 days old, and then it was game on! The first tub we used was by 4Moms for infants only and it was awesome- it definitely addressed my fears with a built in temperature gauge and a slip-proof surface, to highlight a few features. I only wish she hadn’t grown out of it so quickly. Now that she is bigger (8 months and 28 inches), we give her baths in this tub by Primo which has the perfect amount of room for her to splash and play. However, I missed having the safety feature of the built in temperature gauge.

A shower caddy makes it easy to set up for bath time at any sink or tub.

Recently, I was introduced to a gift service for babies called IncrediBundles. It’s basically a modern twist on the traditional baby gift basket. It’s a little like Baby Bin, which I reviewed in this post, but I have to say I think IncrediBundles is even better service when it comes to package options and gifting! They have a huge range of gift packages grouped by age range (0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 months) and you can opt for toys, sleep related items, organic products, books, bath items or even diapers for your bundle. The bundle items arrive in an adorable reusable storage box (currently re-purposed as a toy storage box in my living room). I also like that there is a range in pricing for the bundles, to suit what you’re willing to spend on a gift or bundle for your own babe. One of the more pricey items IncrediBundles.com offers is a subscription wherein a gift bundle arrives every 3 months filled with diapers, age appropriate books or toys designed for the baby’s developmental stage.  If I would have known about this sooner, I would have signed Taylor up for the book subscription, but at this point her library is already inundated! How fun would it be to receive a book box every few months? I am definitely a sucker for having things delivered to me (thank you Amazon Prime and Door Dash!)

A year’s worth of books sent every 3 months.

 An IncrediBundles baby bundle would make a GREAT Christmas gift for your baby or a grandchild, niece, nephew or friend’s baby! IncrediBundles.com also makes a donation to children in need with every purchase – so it’s also a wonderful opportunity to give back during the Holiday season.

The Learn and Grow bundle would make a great gift.
The bundle items are sent in the cutest re-usable box.

For T’s first IncrediBundle I chose the Standard Bath Bundle which included the following items:

  1. Baby Health & Grooming Kit – a 10 piece set with all of baby’s grooming needs (nail file, medicine dropper, brush, teething ring, thermometer,etc.)
  2. Rubber Frog Bath Toy Set – cutest little family of floating frogs (how’s that for alliteration)!
  3. Bathtime bath book, by Sandra Boynton – this is my favorite part of the bundle, and something I didn’t have for T before.
  4. Bath Thermometer and Alarm – Now I’m able to ensure that her bathwater the right temperature (90-100 degrees) with this ingenious (and cute) thermometer which I missed having once T outgrew her 4Moms tub!
  5. Hooded Duck Bath towel – extra upgrade not normally included included in the Standard bundle – thank you for the adorable added bonus item, IncrediBundles!

There is also a Premium and Deluxe version of the bath bundle which includes organic baby body wash, shampoo and lotion. However I passed on those options as we already use the Noodle & Boo Infant Body Wash, Shampoo and Lotion because it is gentle, leaves her skin oh-so soft and smells absolutely AMAZING.
Noodle & Boo, LLC

Before giving T that first bath, I remember watching a bunch of YouTube videos on “how to give the perfect first bath”. Guess what I discovered? Well, as it is with almost everything baby, there are hundreds of different routines and ways of doing things.  I’m a true believer in listening to the advice of others and doing your own research, but ultimately doing what works best for YOU and YOUR baby. For instance, I know a lot of moms who incorporate bath time and massage before bed, which sounds super schedule-friendly and relaxing. However, I learned/observed that my baby gets stimulated and energized by bath time which serves the opposite purpose of helping her winding down – I learned this the hard way!  

With that said, here are the steps we take for Taylor’s bath featuring the contents of her first IncrediBundle:

1.Run the bath water using the thermometer to make sure the temperature is just right.

2. Give her bath toys and bath book to play with.

3. Use a washcloth (I love these super soft ones by Spa Silk) to wipe the her face only, and Q-tips for her ears. I support/spot her body with one hand/arm and use the other to wash. When T was a newborn and ultra sensitive, I swiped her eyes with cotton rounds. Then, I use that same washcloth to wash her body, making sure to get into all of those adorable little folds! I use a third, clean washcloth to wash her most sensitive parts.

4. Shampoo her hair and rinse with a cup like this one, by leaning her back in the tub so that the water runs off the back of her head. Must be nice : )

She LOVED her new frog friends.

5. Drain the bath into the sink while running clean water to rinse her off (keeping an eye on that thermometer!), while she gets in her last few minutes of play time.

6. Wrap her up immediately in a hooded towel to keep warm and dry off.

My little ducky.

7. Trim/file her nails and brush her hair, now with items from the grooming kit which I can keep in her bath caddy.

8. Massage with lotion or oil (this one with chamomile & argan oil is my fav) before diapering and putting her into pajamas or her outfit.

Thank you to IncrediBundles for the amazing Bath Bundles Gift Box – Taylor’s bath time is now even more safe and enjoyable!

What are your favorite baby bath time routines and products? Let me know in the comments section!

GIVEAWAY (CLOSED 12/22/2016)

IncrediBundles.com is graciously offering one lucky reader the chance to win a $50 gift card. You could use this to purchase your own Bath Bundle, or to go toward a last minute Christmas gift for your babe or for a niece/nephew/friend’s baby. IncrediBundles offers free shipping with a purchase of $49 or more, so you won’t even have to pay shipping fees!

Enter below for your chance to win. Giveaway closes at 12:00 am EST on December 22nd, 2016.

Open to US residents only.
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Good luck mama!

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Baby Girl’s First Christmas Gift Guide

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All the opinions are 100% mine. If you use a link to purchase an item you like too, thank you!

A baby’s first Christmas is such a special time and even though they won’t remember it, you will treasure the memories for the rest of your life. Picking out a few special gifts (and giving Grandparents the opportunity to spoil your babe with all the rest) is just one of the wonderful traditions of Christmas, like picking out the perfect 1st Christmas dress or starting an Advent calendar countdown as a family.  For Taylor’s first Christmas (she’ll be 8.5 months) I wanted to get her a few practical stocking stuffers, a couple toys she can enjoy right away, a few that she’ll grow into in the next several months and one special/sentimental gift she’ll appreciate at some point later. This gift guide includes gifts I have purchased for Taylor, gift suggestions I’ve given to her grandparents, and a few extra ideas I think would be extra special for your little darling’s first holiday. I’m hoping you find some last minute baby girl gift inspiration for your or a friend’s sweet baby girl.

P.S. If you still have some shopping to do for your hubs (or brother, BroFF, etc.), check out my Holiday Gift Guide For Him.

  1. Winter sweater
  2. Converse Allstars – I asked my hubby to get me an adult pair – twinning for the win!
  3. Musical instrument set 
  4. 14K Gold bangle – this is super special gift that can be passed down from generation to generation. There is a less expensive version here.
  5. Alphabet puzzle 
  6. Animal rocker 
  7. Activity cube
  8. Bonds Wondersuits – seriously, I cannot get enough of these for Taylor – she lives in them and has since she was born. Read more about my obsession in this post, and stock up for your babe because they’re 2 for $39 right now.
  9. Personalized arm chair – I love this one because we found a cover color that’s an exact match to our living room sofa.
  10. Wooden baby key set – perfect stocking stuffer!
  11. Bucket of blocks 
  12. Wooden Tooth teether – another aptly sized, and practical stocking stuffer
  13. Baby iPhone – I “accidentally” already gave this to Taylor, and she is LOVING it.
  14. Freshly Picked Moccasins – I bought the style, “Pin the Petal,” but they have a million other cute colors/patterns to choose from. I love that these will have her little footprints embedded in the leather forever!
  15. Christmas Pajamas – we actually have a whole family set of these which you can check out in this post. Right now you can get up to 40% off, while supplies last. Valid 11/7-12/25.
  16. Rainbow stacking tower – or the classic version here!
  17. The Wonderful Things You Will Be – this sweet book has the most beautiful illustrations.
  18. 1st Christmas ornament by Kate Spade

Happy shopping, mama!


Join The Party! Save 25% On Sleighloads of Sleepwear at Hanna Andersson. Valid 11/7-12/25. 300x350

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The Perfect 1st Christmas Dress for Baby

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m so excited to share Christmas with Taylor this year; there is something even more magical about entering the holiday season now that she is here with us. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, firstly because of the meaning and secondly because of all the wonderful memories I have from this special season growing up. From decorating a gumdrop tree and frosting sugar cookies, to our family Advent calendar, my mom made Christmas truly meaningful and special every year.

Although Taylor won’t remember this year, I still want it to be rich with traditions for our little family. To start, my husband and I haven’t had a Christmas tree in years, but now we’re itching to decorate and enjoy one with Taylor. I know she’ll love looking at all the sparkling lights. I just snagged this Land of Nod Advent Calendar, and I’m hoping it arrives before December first. We’ll spend Christmas morning here at our house as a family of three opening presents, emptying stockings, eating Monkey Bread (can I purée that?) and listening to Christmas music via Spotify. Later in the afternoon, we’ll spend time with our immediate families/the grandparents.

On Christmas Eve we plan to attend church, which could get a little “interesting” on account of the service overlapping with T’s bedtime…. Earlier this month I set out to find the perfect first Christmas dress for Taylor to wear to church, and Janie and Jack came through. Honestly, I don’t buy from Janie and Jack too often because it’s a little pricey for me (although when they’re having a sale, you better believe I’m all over it!), but for a special occasion or staple pieces their style and quality is well worth it. Here are all the details for what is, in my opinion, a perfect 1st Christmas dress and accessories {links to each piece are linked in the titles}:

Dress & Headband:

Shoes & Tights:

The bracelet I wore as a baby.


What were the first Christmas/Holiday traditions you established with your baby? If you’re a new mom like me, what are you looking most forward to about your babe’s first holiday season?

xo, Ashley (1)

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Matching Christmas Pajamas For The Whole Family

I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’ve become into coordinating, matching, and twinning with my family. I swore I wouldn’t be that mom, but I’m totally owning it.

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Twinning Exhibit A

After getting my husband to agree, although I’m not completely sure he knows what he signed up for, I could not resist ordering Family Matching Pajamas from Hanna Andersson for Christmas morning this year. Stay tuned for epic Christmas morning pictures. I mean, how cute are these?

Is it Christmas morning yet?
Is it Christmas morning yet?

I am posting this today because, today only (11/13/16), you can save 30% off EVERYTHING at Hanna Andersson, including any of their adorable matching Holiday PJs. They were already out of stock on several sizes and patterns when I bought ours, so make sure to get over to Hanna Andersson asap if this is a tradition you have or want to start with your family too!

Here are some of the other Matching Family Pajama patterns I’m dying over:

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I might take advantage of the 30% off sale today and snag a size that will fit Taylor next year so that we don’t have to buy a completely different set for next year. Or maybe we will sport a new family ensemble each year! It’s so fun to start building family holiday traditions.

What are your favorite family holiday traditions? Would you wear matching pajamas like these?

xo, Ashley (1)

christmas-pajamas-for-the-whole-family-1

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What’s In My {un} Diaper Bag

 

whats-in-my-un-diaper-bag

This page contains affiliate links for your convenience. All linked products are ones I actually use.

I don’t really know how many of you actually care what’s specifically in my diaper bag, but I do think you’ll be interested in an awesome insert created by Tote Savvy that can transform your favorite purse or tote into a {un} diaper bag. I purchased the mini version in soft grey, and am loving it; now when I’m out and about with Taylor I don’t have to bring both my diaper bag and a purse, or stuff all the contents I would have in my purse into and lug around a huge diaper bag. The larger size Tote Savvy insert allows you to fit literally everything you’d have in your larger diaper bag into your favorite tote. I would totally have opted for that had I found out about Tote Savvy before buying this diaper bag. Luckily, I have a really well-stocked baby car kit in my trunk that has spare clothes and other items I can’t quite fit into my purse, that I can always head back to the car for in case of emergency. However, I’m definitely able to pack all the essentials into my {un} diaper bag AND look like a stylin’ mama thanks to Tote Savvy!

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Tote Savvy – a must have for style conscious mamas.
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Organization meets style.
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Toting my {un} diaper bag at the park.

If you’re super uninterested in the contents of my diaper bag (understandable), make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post for a sweet discount code to purchase a Tote Savvy insert and transform your own bag! Tote Savvy inserts are one of the items I think would make a GREAT gift for a new mom (see the others on my list in this post) so stock up for baby showers and/or Christmas gifts for any mamas-to-be or new moms in your life.

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Have you checked out the new Resource page yet? Click here!

Without further ado, here is everything I need to pack in my {un} diaper bag for a day out with my baby girl – it’s my hope that you’ll find something useful to help you feel even a little bit more prepared or organized:

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  1. Purse
  2. Wallet (thanks Hubby!)
  3. Pacifier – I like storing extra pacis in small tupperware containers like these or these. The only pacis Taylor will take are these.
  4. Teether – Sophie (I thought this was so overrated, but it turned out that Taylor LOVES it/her!)
  5. Snack – dried mango slabs which keep her happy & entertained for a good 20 {supervised} minutes. Make sure to buy unsweetened, organic, wide slabs so that your babe can’t fit the mango all the way into his/her mouth. We get ours at Whole Foods Market. Bonus – they can also double as {messy} teethers!
  6. Toy – these rings are easy to pack and by far Taylor’ favorite thing she owns!
  7. Bottle – Comotomo, the only bottle Taylor would take and one of the best for breastfed babes. There is an insulated pouch in the ToteSavvy insert for the bottle if you’re packin’ breast milk or pre-mixed formula.
  8. Book – miniature books like this classic are perfect for stashing in diaper bags AND for entertaining baby hands/minds.
  9. Disposable Bags – I have these Munchkin bags and dispensers in my diaper bag, daycare bag and car kit (click on the links to find out exactly what I pack in those bags!).
  10. 2-3 spare diapers
  11. Wipes – I buy this bulk box of travel packs (16 packs of 18 wipes each) that fit into the Tote Savvy as well as my diaper clutch.
  12. Solid Food – Kiinde squeeze pouch with the spoon attachment (I usually pack applesauce, but you can make tons of other homemade purees as I show in this post or buy your own to fill in the pouch when you’re on the go with your babe.)
  13. Burp cloth – I use these cloth diapers 
  14. Sunglasses – for Mom (similar, AND on sale!) and Baby (aren’t these hysterical!?)
  15. Miscellaneous stuff for mom –
    1. gum
    2. a pen
    3. hair tie/s – you don’t want to be caught unable to throw up a solid mom bun!
    4. hand lotion
    5. mini natural hand-sanitizer – I have theses stashed all over the place!
    6. chapstick
    7. lipgloss/lipstick – my favorite gloss ever is Laura Mercier, in Coral Reef or Nude Rose.
  16. Last but not least, the item that makes it all so stylishly possible…my ToteSavvy Mini which, by the way, also includes a changing pad which you can see rolled up on the right below:img_7346
  17. Not pictured – iPhone (because I was taking a picture with it, duh.)
  18. Also not pictured – a snack for mama (because I was out of my favorite protein bars which I’ve since remedied.)
  19. Pictured below – In December, 2016 Dr. Brown’s sent me these all natural pacifier and bottle wipes and nose and face wipes which I now carry in my diaper bag, which come in incredibly handy when we go out to eat and she inevitably has a messy face to clean up and/or drops pacis, toys, bottles, etc. on the ground:

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20. Pictured below – The Mommy Hook which is perfect for hanging a purse, diaper bag and shopping bags:

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post.

Please enjoy using a 20% off Discount Code: FALLSTYLE to purchase your own insert from Tote Savvy at Lifeinplaycompany.com and turn your purse into an {un} Diaper Bag. Thank you, Tote Savvy!

xo, Ashley (1)

transform-your-purse-into-a

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10 Gifts Ideas For a New Mom

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Opinions and recommendations are 100% mine!

In the last month alone, I know three lovely ladies who have brought new life into the world and are currently in the throes of the newborn stage. Although blissful in many ways, the first few weeks with a new baby are also just plain hard – you’re recovering physically and emotionally from a really, really HUGE event while at the same time giving 110% of your heart and energy to get to know and care for that precious new baby. I can imagine it must be an even more difficult time if you have one or more other kiddos to take care of!  Having been in the newborn/brand new mama phase myself just a few months ago, it got me thinking about some of the amazing gifts I received from friends and family that made me feel super special and/or helped me get through the first few weeks.

Prior to having my own baby, I really didn’t know what a new mom could really use or enjoy during this time, and usually bought something for the friend’s baby instead. There are a lot of things I seriously haven’t clue one about about when it comes to being a mom, but I do know the gifts I personally received (or gave to myself) during the first few months of being a mom that are definitely worth paying forward.

All of us will know a friend or relative who gives birth and could use a special something during those first few weeks, so here are some ideas for gifts that would make any new mama feel spoiled.

What To Give A Mom Who Just Had A Baby:

Your time

Hands down, the best gift I was given in those first few weeks was the time of my best friends and close family. If you can make a few hours to go to a new mama’s house and volunteer to fold laundry, do dishes, cook a meal, make a grocery store run, hold the baby so the mama can shower or take a nap, or whatever they need to catch a well-deserved break, do it. I was blessed so much in this way, and it would be my #1 gift recommendation to give any new mom! And, maybe bring along another one of the items below as well : )

A massage gift certificate

To be honest, I did not get a massage until over 6 months postpartum (I’m actually going in for one tomorrow, yeay!), but I really could have used one within the first couple months. Time just slipped away from me. A mama’s body and spirit go through so much to bring that sweet little baby into the world. A massage is a wonderful way not only to release tension, but to have an hour of alone time to contemplate everything that has happened/changed, and reflect on the blessing of having a new baby. Having a gift certificate for a massage is sometimes more motivating to make and get to the appointment (new moms have plenty of other baby stuff to spend their money on!), and would be a much appreciated gift. If you don’t know of a local day spa, you could purchase a Spa Finder gift certificate that can be used at thousands of spas nationwide.

Scented shower gel –

It may seem small, but this is truly an indulgence that a new mama probably wouldn’t buy for herself that will make those few and far between showers in the early days really count – the shower may be a new mom’s only alone time for quite a while! 6.5 months later I am still enjoying the Philosophy’s Pure Grace body wash given to me by my parents’ neighbors (because I use it sparingly, not because I take so few showers haha). It smells super yummy, plus every mama needs a reminder to give herself the gift of Grace, especially during the first few months that can be so challenging. This was a thoughtful reminder for me to be gracious to myself during a beautiful, yet exhausting time with a STEEP learning curve.

ToteSavvy purse converter –

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I just recently purchased one of these for myself, the Mini version, and I’m obsessed! It’s basically an insert that transforms a purse or tote-sized bag into a diaper bag. This is the perfect gift for the style conscious mama – and something she may not have come across yet! Read more on the Tote Savvy inset and all about what I pack in my {un} diaper bag in this post.

A meal sent straight to the door –

The way to a man’s new mama’s heart is through her stomach – especially if she is nursing around the clock. There are all kinds of online delivery services now that you can use to gift a new mom and her family a dinner they don’t have to cook.  One of my best friends, who lives hours away, used Door Dash to send us pizza and Paleo chicken from one of our local favorite restaurants. Post Mates is another service for local restaurant delivery in many areas. Having food brought to us by family and friend was invaluable, but this is a great option when you live far away, but still want to show the love with a hot meal.

An emergency car kit –

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This Emergency Car Kit for a baby is something that I didn’t come up with until several months after Taylor’s birth, and would have LOVED for someone to  give to me already put together. You can find out all the details on what is in this car kit, and how to put it together in this post. I think any new mom would appreciate being gifted something like this, especially with a cute diaper wipes clutch like this one included:

A Motherhood themed graphic tee/sweatshirt –

For me, mom life IS the best life.
For me, mom life IS the best life.

I recently received this sweatshirt from ILY Couture as a birthday present from one of my best friends in the whole world, and I’m in love with it. For me, the mantra is 100% true, and it’s a truly comfy top – perfect for cuddling with Taylor. This and Lululemon black crops have basically become my uniform on my days off from work – yes, I’m that mom now. ILY is currently having a 30% off sale on their Mom Life collection: Use promo code: MOMLIFE

Below are some other options for fun graphic tees to welcome a mama into her new (or additional) role. I included super cute options for the rest of the family as well if you scroll through:

An Amazon gift certificate for online shopping –

My husband can attest that I did A LOT of online shopping, particularly on Amazon, during the first months after having Taylor. I literally didn’t leave the house for nearly two weeks (read more on my first outing here), and suddenly discovered there were a lot of things I needed but had not registered for/stocked up on (read all about that here)! I can imagine that most new moms find themselves in a similar situation – so many little things to buy for baby, but getting out of the house to the store right away is kind of intimidating/impossible. The Amazon gift cards from the baby shower thrown by my co-workers were an amazing gift that I will definitely be paying forward to my friends in the future as they have their babies. This might actually be my #2 recommended gift for new moms!

An outfit for Her

Maybe not so much the pants part of an outfit, as I know I certainly didn’t fit back into my pre-pregnancy size right away, but a shirt and accessory would be perfect. A new mom is probably not going to be doing any shopping for herself for a while, and sometimes putting on something new and stylish can just make you feel good. My husband’s Grandmother was so sweet and thoughtful to bring Taylor many lovely gifts when she first came to meet her, but also a flowy white tank top for me that was perfect for the summer weather at that time, stylish and comfortable as well. I so appreciated that unexpected gift, and had never thought about bringing a new mama friend clothing for HER… but I will now.



 

 

 

There is a whole line of this really cute teething jewelry by Mama & Little on Amazon right now that would make a great pairing with one of the loose fitting, comfy tops below for a new mama gift:

A comfy robe –

Even is she already has a robe, I don’t think you can have too many for the first month after baby. Particularly if the mama is nursing, she may very well spend a large part of the day in a robe purely for convenience/comfort’s sake. A robe like any of these would be a perfect new mom gift:

These are all gifts I’ve been given and GREATLY appreciated as a new mom. What are some other gifts you received postpartum that could be added to this list? Leave a comment below so that anyone reading this can snag your gift idea to give to a friend. 

xo, Ashley (1)

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Must Haves For Making & Feeding Your Infant Homemade Baby Food

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All featured products I have purchased and use.

Hey mamas –

Are you getting ready to introduce solids to your babe? Do you want to save money, and have control over exactly what is going into their little body by making some or all of their food at home? Well, I would like to share the products I’ve been using to make life easier, cleaner and more organized when it comes to making and feeding Taylor homemade baby food. Initially I thought that, as a busy working mom, I wouldn’t be able to do the whole homemade baby food thing. Fortunately, once I started looking into the tools and products available these days, I found that it’s definitely possible and doesn’t take hours a week for me to do. Plus, making baby food at home saves a lot of money –  according to Mint.com, homemade organic baby food is nearly 45% cheaper than store-bought organic; homemade non-organic is almost 43% cheaper than store-bought non-organic.

Taylor’s Pediatrician gave us the green light to start solids at her 4 month appointment, but I honestly wasn’t ready. It felt weird to give her food when my body had been all that has sustained her for so long. I waited for another month until she starting showing a lot of interest in our food – even imitating us chewing as we ate. I introduced one new food to her every 3 days or so to make sure she didn’t have an allergy. Now, at 6 months old, she has tried about 10 varieties of food, and combinations of those foods (her favorite so far is quinoa + yam + zucchini).

If you are ready to start feeding solids and/or are also looking to make and feed your little one homemade baby food, I’m hoping this list will be helpful to you.

1.  Munchkin baby food feeder – this was an item shipped to me in my first Baby Bin – a personal online shopping service for your babe, which you can read more about here. You can put jarred or homemade purées, or whole veggies/fruit into the feeder and allow your baby to self feed.

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Yummy banana!

2. Béaba Babycook Pro 2X – This is the linchpin to homemade baby food making work with my busy schedule. Yes, it’s a little more pricey than a Ninja , Magic Bullet (also great options) or a blender you already have at home, but it is WELL worth it when you consider the time and money you can save with it. The Babycook steams, blends and reheats all in one! I can put in chopped up fruit or veggies (or one of each since there are two sides in the pro version!), push the steam button and walk away to take care of fixing dinner for my hubby and I, doing laundry, playing with Taylor, cleaning, etc. Just 15-20 minutes later when I hear the timer go off, I can then dump the steamed contents into the same canister, switch to blend mode and purée to the perfect consistency. I can use the residual steam water or breastmilk to get the desired thickness. Days worth of homemade baby food in less than a half hour, and I don’t need to worry about cleaning up more than two canisters? Score! You can watch a video here for more on how the Béaba works it’s magic.

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Applesauce in the making.
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Perfect consistency!

3. Baby Bjorn bibs – I saw my best friend’s daughter wearing this bib one day and totally stole the idea – my bff seriously has the best ideas! Prior to this, I was going through cloth bibs like nobody’s business and it was making me a little crazy. These bibs are great because they actually catch the food that inevitably dribbles down and can be easily wiped off after a feeding. There are lots of fun colors to choose from too.

4. EZPZ bowls – These bowls are dishwasher and microwave safe (although I don’t microwave any of her food) but the best part is that they stick to trays and tables, making it impossible for your babe to push, pull or dump the contents as they could with a regular bowl. There are also versions with more than one compartment to hold finger foods.

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Excited to try a new purée.
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EZPZ storage!

5. Sage Spoonfuls storage containers – these are great for storing food that I plan to feed Taylor within the week. I also use these to reheat frozen baby food in the Béaba Babycook.

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6. Spill mat for underneath the high chair – I bought a mat that would go underneath a desk chair because I liked the idea of clear and simple, but there are some really cute patterned mats made for this exact purpose like this one.

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7. Spoons – these silicone spoons by Béaba are my favorite. They are BPA, lead and Phthalate free and designed specifically for infants who are just being introduced to solid foods. I’m not sure what spoons to go to next, but for now these are perfect.

8. 2 Command Hooks – I bought and placed two command hooks on the back of the highchair so that I could store and have easy access to her bibs and all the little parts and gadgets that go along with feeding. See #12 for the shower caddy I use to store everything.

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Command hooks for the win!

9. High chair – I am obsessed with this OXO high chair. Highlights are:

  • you can wheel it around the house as needed (i.e. getting ready in the morning)
  • it reclines if your babe falls asleep
  • the seat fabric is super easy to wipe/clean
  • It’s also very reasonably priced, at less than $120. If money is no object and/or you care about the aesthetics of your baby furniture and products, I would recommend Stokke high chairs. I have a couple friends who have these chairs and they look wonderful in any dining room and also transition into a chair as the baby grows into a toddler and beyond.


10. Washcloths/Water Wipes – I keep several of these and a pack of water wipes (99.9% water and monk fruit extract) in the shower caddy for after meal clean ups.

11. Kiinde squeeze pouches and spoon attachment – I haven’t used these yet, but bought a whole box of 50 for when we are out and about and having a squeeze pouch would be a lot more convenient than a bowl and spoon.I also purchased a funnel attachment so that I can pour purées directly from the blender into the pouches. Taylor also enjoys trying (key word trying) to feed herself, so the flexy spoon attachment will be just perfect!

12. Shower caddy – This is a super cheap shower caddy that is the perfect size to store spoons, washcloths, bowls, etc. and hook onto the back of the high chair.

13. Ice cube trays – I like to use these by Béaba because they are super easy to get frozen food out of and into a Ziploc for storage. They’re also dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe.

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So far, I’m finding that making baby food is a lot of fun. It is also a great way to introduce lots of new foods to Taylor that our family is eating anyway. For example, I made AJ and I some zucchini with our chicken the other night, and threw a few of the cooked pieces into our Béaba Babycook and served up a purée for Taylor to try. I personally taste all of the purées to make sure they are actually tasty, and it’s pretty gratifying to see her smile or make a little “mmmm” noise when she likes something I’ve make. Am I going to make every single one of her meals homemade? That would be awesome but probably not, especially when we travel, but luckily there are some great organic baby foods to purchase in a pinch! We tried a new recipe today (to help with the constipation that can come along with beginning solids, poor baby…) that T loved: oats + prunes + pink lady apple. 

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What are your babe’s favorite foods? Any combos I need to introduce to her?  I’d love to hear from you!

xo, Ashley (1)

 

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Personal Online Shopping For Your Baby


Hey mamas!

I can hardly wait to tell you about this awesome service I was recently introduced to, Baby Bin. It’s convenient, useful and simply fun. This is the perfect service for busy mamas who value usefulness, relevance and quality yet don’t have the time to run around to a million stores – we’d rather be spending that time snuggling our babies, am I right? As a busy new, working mom, I’m all about online shopping and time saving services (hello Instacart, Door Dash, Amazon Prime, etc.) and Baby Bin fits the bill.  Baby Bin is a personalized online shopping service wherein a personal shopper (a real life, experienced mama) selects age/developmentally appropriate products for your baby that are shipped directly to your doorstep. It’s like Stitch Fix for mamas + babies. I’m absolutely LOVING this concept right now.

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How It Works:

To get started, you enter some information about your baby so that your personal shopper can select items that would be particularly useful for his or her age and stage. You will be sent an electronic preview of the items selected, and get to decide what you want sent directly to your home and what you could do without. You only pay for the items you choose to keep! If you end up deciding that you don’t want to keep anything that is sent to you, Baby Bin has a FREE shipping and return policy for 30 days.

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Babybin - Essential baby products

What I Kept:

Of the many recommended items in my online preview, I chose to have the following six shipped to us:

  1. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash – $8
  2. Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment – $9
  3. Guess How Much I Love You Board book – $5
  4. Goodnight Moon Board book – $6
  5. Munchkin Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pads– $7
  6. Munchkin Baby Food Feeder – $6

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My favorite item and one wish for next time:

My favorite item so far has been the Munchkin baby food feeder – I had never seen this product before, and the timing was spot on as I began introducing solids to Taylor two weeks ago. I put a piece of banana into the feeder the other morning and she seemed to really enjoy gumming it. The only thing I thing negative I can say about my experience with Baby Bin was that I wish that there had been some toy/activity options presented – hopefully next time!

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I look forward to our Baby Bin personal shopper introducing us to other useful brands and products, as well as sending practical items I would need to buy anyway – all without having to give up any of my precious time with sweet T. I can’t wait for next month’s Baby Bin!

Want to give Baby Bin a try this month? Click this link to get started!

If you order a bin, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xo, Ashley (1)

This post contains affiliate links. All views and opinions are, as alway, 100% mine.

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Baby Car Kit Essentials

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This page contains affiliate links for your convenience. All views and pictures are mine. If you purchase an item through one of the links, thank you!

You thought you would only be gone from the house for 20 minutes and baby’s just been fed and changed – no need to bring the diaper bag along…Of course, this ends up being the one time you discover a flat tire when you come back out from the store, baby has an unexpected and rather intense blowout, a traffic accident has you basically parked on the freeway 5 minutes from home, insert other unexpected and/or messy situation…. Well, it’s a good thing you’ve got your emergency baby car kit stocked and ready to go!

Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a Boy Scout Master, but in my book it’s always a good idea to be over prepared. This post will outline all the essential back up supplies you and your infant would need in case of a mess, change in the weather, delay, mom brain forgetting to re-stock the diaper bag, etc. I hope this visual and list can give you some ideas to create or add to an existing baby car kit.

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Baby Car Kit Essentials

1.Soft book – if you get stuck somewhere unexpectedly having a book on hand would be a great distraction and keep boredom at bay. Taylor loves soft books like this classic Cat In The Hat and they can be easily stuffed into your car kit. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is also a great choice.

2. A Toy – for the same reasons as above, a toy or two will come in handy. Taylor is entertained by these rings for shockingly  long lengths of time, and an Oball is another standby favorite. For more on developmentally appropriate toys for 0-4 month olds read this post.

3. Hand Sanitizer – I have one of these Babyganics hand sanitizer pumps in our change table caddy, nursing station basket and in the emergency car kit. I like this brand because it is alcohol and paraben free, yet 99% effective in killing germs. And, trust me, you’ll wand a healthy pumping of sanitizer after a major, on the road blow out.

4. Baby WipesWater Wipes are my go to – they are natural, gentle and only have two ingredients (99.9% pure water and 0.1% fruit extract) therefore you can use them for wiping baby’s bum, hands and even face.

5. Sanitizing Wipes – You may very well need these to wipe down a carseat, trunk bed, etc. I’ll leave it at that ; ) Our new favorite wipes brand is Babyganics; I have been buying these individually wrapped packets and stuffing them in my car, pockets diaper bag, portable high chair pocket, purse, basically everywhere:

6. Spare Outfit for Mama – I have this striped top in several colors. It’s long sleeved, yet light enough to use as a spare in any season. Add a pair of jeans that can be worn with casual or dressier shoes, and you’re good to go in case of a blowout or spit up emergency.

7. Storage Bin – I bought a cute bin for $5 on sale at Target, but these Ikea boxes are cheap and would work perfectly. I have 4 or 5 sets of these. The rest of the set can be used for nursery drawer organization as shown here:

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8. Extra Pacifier – I like storing extra pacis in small tupperware containers like these or these. Taylor will only take the Soothies brand.

9. Nursing Cover – You may or may not be nursing and/or concerned with being exposed when breastfeeding, but I like having a spare nursing cover in the car just in case. Here are

my favorite styles:

10. Swaddle Blanket – my favorites are these Aden & Anais muslin blankets – I use them to cover Taylor’s carseat to shield her from the sun, and also to keep her warm when it’s a little cold or windy out.

11. Baby Sunscreen & Diaper Creams – these are totally up to your preference, but I personally feel most comfortable using this Neutrogena Pure & Free baby sunscreen on Taylor.

12. 3-4 extra Diapers

13. Diaper Disposal Bags – I have these Munchkin bags and dispensers in my diaper bag, daycare bag and car kit (click on the links to find out exactly what I pack in those bags!).

14. Pair of Socks

15. Burp Cloths – I have 4 packs of 10 of these cloth diapers that I use as burp cloths. The will come in handy when wipes just won’t cut it.

16. Spare Pair Outfit for Baby – Seriously, just grab a onesie, a pair of pants and a beanie or hat that you already have – you don’t need anything fancy. I picked up this spare pair changing set on Gap.com when it went on sale because it was just SO stinking cute, and I couldn’t resist. They still have a couple other cute spare pair sets for boys and girls that come with a neat little zipper pack you could throw into your kit. Make sure to keep the size of your spare outfits/diapers updated for baby! I highly recommend creating a “spare pair” set from Primary.com. They have the best baby basics in SO many different colors, for really reasonable prices (all under $25!) – plus, you get 20% off your first order (click the banner below to shop)! To learn more about Primary and some of my other mama must-haves check out my Resources page.

Here would be my recommendation for a spare pair outfit:

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The outfit and changing pad fit inside this pouch!

17. Changing Pad Clutch – there are so many versions of this available. I have this one and really like it, but here are several other great options like this one or this one.

Other Miscellaneous items I’ve found SUPER handy to keep in the car:

A Restaurant Kitcreate a Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to reduce the stress of dining out with babies and eep it in the car alongside your Baby Car Kit. You’ll find a full list of contents for babies and suggested additions for older babies and toddlers, as well as 10 tips to make dining out with a baby less stressful in this post.

Click on the picture to find out more on this bag!

A Grocery Cart and High Chair Cover –  it’s just more sanitary than plopping her down without wiping down the surface with sanitary wipes I may or may not have with me…


Feeding related items

*A spare bottle,single serving of formula and a sealed water bottle to use for mixing. I did not include this in my photos as I am still exclusively breastfeeding, but if and when I switch to formula this will be a must have in my car kit. If you have a toddler or older kiddo, definitely include an emergency snack in case you get stuck somewhere! For babies just starting to eat solids, these Happy Baby meltable yogurt snacks are perfect to keep in the car in case of “hanger” in an unexpected situation:

* I keep a bag of spare pump parts in my car at all times in case I forget to restock  something in my pumping bag the night before work. Read THIS post to find out exactly what I pack in my pumping bag for work. If you’re a nursing/pumping mama I also recommend having a manual pump in your car in case you get stuck somewhere away from baby unexpectedly and need relief.

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So there you have it – everything you need for a well-stocked baby car kit. If you want to know what’s in my diaper bag and how I keep all the little baby things organized, check out THIS POST!

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All the essentials for a baby car kit.

If you liked this blog post I would really appreciate your quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs! Click HERE to vote.

xo, Ashley (1)

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