Easy Monkey Bread Mini Recipe

Easy monkey bread recipe!

This is a recipe my college roommates and I made entirely too often, back in the days when my metabolism was still moving at lightning speed (thank goodness). Flash forward way more than 10 years and I’m still enjoying this tried and true, easy-peasy recipe. I’ve made this Monkey Bread for my immediate family every year on Christmas morning as the recipe became and instant favorite and tradition When my husband came into the picture, he too fell in love with the tradition of Christmas Morning Monkey Bread; we even made it a couple years ago when we vacationed in Hawaii for Christmas – how’s that for a Mele Kalikimaka! In college, we would throw all the cinnamon-sugar coated dough into a bundt pan, bake and go at a massive pile of pull-apart yumminess with no regard for calories. However, in my post-college years – trying to limit my own intake jusssst a little, I started to make a mini version of this Monkey Bread using a muffin tin. Although my attempts to portion control almost always fail – it’s way too good to have just one -the presentation is super cute, the mini versions are perfect to serve to guests on individual plates.

AJ and I enjoyed the round of monkey bread yielded from the making of this post immensely, and even let Taylor have a little taste of cinnamon sugar. I can’t wait for her to be old enough to fully partake in this tradition with us! We’ll definitely be enjoying this treat, in our matching family Christmas pajamas, for years to come and I hope you enjoy this quick, easy and delicious recipe as well.

 

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Easy Monkey Bread Minis

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 cans refrigerated biscuit dough I used Pillsbury Grands

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium sauce pan on low, stirring regularly.

  3. In a wide bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.

  4. Cut biscuits into 6 pieces each.

  5. Roll the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon sugar until thoroughly coated.

  6. Place 5-6 biscuit pieces into each muffin tray cup (if you're smarter than me you'll remember to put foil liners in first!)

  7. Spoon or pour 1 teaspoon butter/brown sugar mixture on top of each cup.

  8. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, or until done.

  9. Let cool for several minutes, serve and enjoy!

What are your favorite, traditional family recipes and treats around the holidays?

Foil liners on sale:

Easy monkey bread recipe! Monkey bread recipe for Christmas morning

Baby Girl’s First Christmas Gift Guide

FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS

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!

FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS

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, making delectable Easy Monkey Bread Minis on Christmas morning, 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 first christmas 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! And check out this post for the CUTEST matching family pajamas for the holidays (we keep our adult sized pajamas and buy new ones for T each year to save $$!)

Perfect Gift Ideas For A Baby Girl’s First Christmas

    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 a 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 baby because they’re 2 for $39 right now.
    9. Personalized armchair – 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. Rainbow stacking tower – or the classic version here!
    16. The Wonderful Things You Will Be – this sweet book has the most beautiful illustrations.
    17. 1st Christmas ornament -personalized

Happy shopping and Holidays, mama! Check out some pics from our baby girl’s 1st Christmas below : )

FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS

 

FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS

A Busy Mom’s Motivation To Work Out

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Hi Mamas!

I haven’t done a fitness post in a LONG time. That’s mostly because, as much as it used to be my “thing” (e.g. 14 half marathons, competing in CrossFit, wanna-be body building, etc.), since becoming a new mom I’ve been struggling to feel as passionate about working out as I have in the past.

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Pre-preggo/baby, when working out was a top priority and I had free time (what’s that?).

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep (thank you teething/growth spurt/sleep regression/whatever), the minimal time left after trying to be excellent at my job whilst trying to be an excellent new mom (I’m not accomplishing either of those to that standard, FYI), or the general discomfort I feel when I actually do work out, but I’ve been cutting myself a break in the workout department these last few months. Now, I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon, as I am still eating relatively healthily (90% of the battle) and making sure I am active in some form 3-4 days per week which usually consists of a gym workout once or twice, a few walks, and lots of planks and push-ups during crime show commercials after Taylor has gone to sleep…

All that to say that I worked out Sunday night after a really long week (I think I slept a cumulative 21 hours, and I say “think” because I barely can…) and during my warm up thought through the reasons why I continue to make fitness a part of my life even when I don’t feel like doing so. This thinking got me re-motivated and I wanted to share that with you in case you were feeling as lackluster about fitness as I was. It’s easy to want to put it on the back burner, or even give it up entirely, when we’re SO busy as moms trying to do “it all,” but there are many valuable reasons -both physical and mental – to persevere and find some time to move.

At this stage in my life as a new, working away from the home mom, these are the reasons that motivate me to work out, in no particular order:

  1. A clear mind – as moms we have SO many “to dos” running through our minds at all times. For me, working out is the space where I permit myself to turn all of that off and tune in only to what I’m doing physically. Even if it’s a few rounds of 1 minute plank holds (which, by the way, are infinitely harder after childbirth) giving my neurotic mind a mini-break is well worth the effort. If you need one reason to workout, let this be the one.
  2. Alone time – aside from driving in my car to and from work, one of the only times I am alone is when I go for a workout. We have a gym in our garage, but I find that I crave going to the actual brick and mortar gym – it’s so tempting to cut my workout short when I know my precious baby is just a few steps beyond my garage door whereas if I’ve driven to the gym I’ll usually put in at least 45 minutes. As much as I love being with my family, I also need to have time where I don’t have to interact with anyone in the world; As an introvert, this time is integral to my feeling balanced and refreshed. Any other introvert mamas out there who relate?
  3. A confidence boost – when I’m working out consistently I definitely keep my shoulders more square and hold my head a little higher. Working toward a goal – whether strength or aesthetic – makes me feel really good about myself. If you work out consistently, you know what I mean. If you haven’t given yourself this gift, you certainly deserve to.
  4. Endorphins – when we exercise, our bodies release these amazing, feel- good hormones that can be just as addicting as any other vice; I got hooked in high school and haven’t been able to quit them since! I find that, even on sleep deprived nights like last night, no matter how tired I am if I can just motivate myself to move – go for a jog, a short but intense workout, etc. – I get an instant mood and energy lift. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their life?
  5. Getting my “body back” – as much as that phrase irritates me, and I think that all moms (and women) are beautiful no matter what their physical state, I honestly do want to get back into fighting shape eventually. For each mama getting your “body back” looks a little different, but I go by the mantra that the ideal weight/shape is whatever you reach when you are living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living; I’m sure this will look different for me at this stage in my life than it has in the past, and than it may look in the future. The most important motivator is that physical strength & ability translates into mental fortitude – which I for one can always use an extra dose of!

Why do you work out? What is motivating to you to keep moving and take care of yourself physically? If you don’t already, do any of these reasons make you consider incorporating workouts into your (busy) life? Leave a comment and let me know!

Here are a couple of the workouts I’ve done lately, at home and at the gym. If you’re looking for ideas, Pin these for when you find time in the coming weeks:

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gym-workout

xo, Ashley (1)


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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 (check out my Gift Guide for Baby Girl’s First Christmas!), emptying stockings, eating Easy Monkey Bread Minis (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:

Dress & Headband:

(2017 Update: Check out Janie & Jack’s Holiday line HERE)

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)

Shop Janie and Jack

Holiday Gift Guide – For Him

Introducing the NEW Exfoliating Peel Spray

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All recommendations are mine (w/ input from a few men in my life!)

I didn’t discover “gift guides” until recently via Pinterest, and sure could have used them in years past – especially when it came to shopping for my hubby/men in my life!  To create my holiday ‘Gift Guide For Him’, I polled my husband, and solicited suggestions from my friends’ husbands, all who have great taste; You’re sure to find a gift or two from this list that you’ll feel excited to give to the men in your life!

1. Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker // 2. Anthony shave lotion // 3. Wooden phone case // 4. Fitbit (on sale now) // 5. Cocktail Shaker (on sale now) // 6. Billfold (less expensive version here) // 7. Beard oil // 8. Leather toiletry kit // 9. Daddy & Me Converse AllStars // 10. ILY Couture Watch // 11.Herringbone Cuff links // 12. Backpack (Daddy diaper bag) // 13.“Dad” Graphic t-shirt // 14. ILY Couture “Mr. Santa” Mug // 15. Timberland Boots (less expensive version here) 16. Metal collar stays // 17.Wireless in-ear sport headphones // 18. Travel mug (on sale, and 9 colors to choose from) // 19. Watch case (only $12.99) // 20. Beardsman’s Kit  

Have you found any gifts for the men in your family? I’d love to know – I have a few more to shop for this season. Hopefully you’ll snag a few items from this list to spoil your guy!

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. Thanksgiving is next week! If you need some recipe/meal plan inspiration check out this post and download the free meal planner! Annnnnnd, if you don’t already have a super cheesy cute set of matching family pajamas, check out these from Hanna Andersson – I literally cannot wait to wear ours!

Matching Family Christmas Pajamas – A Holiday Tradition Must!

matching family christmas pajamas

matching family christmas pajamas

You guys, I don’t know what’s gotten into me…but I’ve gotten into coordinating, matching, and twinning with my family. I swore I wouldn’t be that mom but I’m totally owning it, and Christmas is no exception! While I couldn’t find an adult-sized taffeta dress to twin with Taylor’s dress at church on Christmas Eve, I did find the CUTEST matching family pajamas for the holidays.

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After getting my husband to agree, although I’m not completely sure he knew what he signed up for, I could not resist ordering Matching Family Christmas Pajamas from Hanna Andersson for Taylor’s first Xmas morning.  I mean, how cute are these?

FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY GIRL. HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR 1ST CHRISTMAS

AJ and I are plannign to wear the same “Dear Deer” pajamas as we did for Taylor’s First Christmas this year (see our 1st Christmas Gift Guide HERE); They were already out of stock in several sizes and patterns when I bought T’s bigger size for Christmas 2017 (featured on the cover their latest catalog, go figure!) 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 and you want a specific style!

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

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I might take advantage of their upcoming sale to buy another, larger, pair for 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 next year! It’s so fun to start building family holiday traditions like this together.

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

xo, Ashley (1)

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A Mostly Gluten Free Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away? I know every mom always says it repeatedly but, time sure does fly. This time last year I was nearly 5 months pregnant with sweet Taylor, and now she is almost 7 months old. What the what?! For T’s first Thanksgiving we will be hosting a meal for my hubby’s family at our house on the day before Thanksgiving, then going to my parents’ home for the day of. I’m especially looking forward to Thanksgiving this year because we will finally get to meet my sweet little niece, who lives out of state with my brother and sister-in-law. She was born only 3.5 months after Taylor, and I can’t wait to meet/snuggle her and see the cousins interact.

This time last year I was planning to host my first ever Thanksgiving Friendsgiving for my husband, four of our best friends, and their 3 babes. I like to cook but, admittedly, I had only ever really cooked for two up to that point. We also only have one oven in our house. Those two factors combined [oh, and being 5 months preggo and exhausted] made preparing a Thanksgiving meal pretty intimidating. How would I time soooooo many different dishes, oven temps, setups, etc…?? As I’ve mentioned before, preparation helps me feel more in control when I actually have no clue what I’m doing, so I rounded up the most delicious sounding gluten-free recipes I could find and planned out a detailed schedule for the day prior to and day of the meal/event. The food all turned out really well (yeay me for being able to follow someone else’s recipe!), but I definitely had to do some post-game tweaking to the timing piece of the plan. I didn’t give myself enough time and we ended up eating about 45 minutes after I planned to have dinner ready. My best friends each brought a side dish (yams and stuffing) so those items were not originally included on my meal planner – I hope the recipes I’ve selected are close to as delicious as theirs were. Now that my game plan has been refined and the extra side dishes selected, I’m totally hopefully ready for this year’s Thanksgiving meal!

Decor wise, I went a little less traditional last year (think brown + yellow + orange) and chose a burgundy/cream color palette, inspired by the dried purple corn and off-white pumpkins I saw/bought at the market. I am pretty sure that everything on the table, except for the food, is all from Crate & Barrel Thanksgiving in case you’re wondering  (serving dishes are all the Marin White collection). I’m planning to use the same table set up this year because I loved the look so much. I wish I had taken more pictures last year, but here is one I could find from my photo archives:

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The rest of the food was to the right, on our serving table.

I thought I would share the plan I used for my 2015 Friendsgiving meal, in case you need some Thanksgiving host-spiration for 2016, or just an extra side dish recipe!

The meal plan/schedule for the day includes:

  1. a grocery shopping list for the full meal (beverages, appetizers, main dishes and dessert)
  2. links to the most delicious gluten-free recipes I could find (including a delish signature cocktail and an AH-mazing Martha Stewart salad that I could literally eat for every meal)
  3. prep and cook time for each recipe
  4. start times for each recipe according to oven temp and prep/cook time to ensure your food is hot and ready when you need it to be.

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If you would like a downloadable version of this plan, enter your name and email in the field below and I will send it straight to your email inbox:

Lastly, here is a super cute blog post from Land of Nod on Kid Friendly Thanksgiving Table decor, that includes several free printable activities for kids to do at the table! Taylor is too young this year, but if you have older kiddos perhaps you can use some of these printables to entertain them.

I’m thankful for so much in life, but most of all my sweet baby girl and our family. What are your Thanksgiving plans this year? What are you most thankful for?

xo, Ashley (1)

Diaper Bag Essentials For Moms On The Go

 

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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. I carry my Baby Car Kit Essentials in the trunk of my car, which contains many of the items I would otherwise need to lug around in my already filled diaper bag. If you haven’t already, check out that post (it’s my most popular to date!)

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 (I link the BEST price I’ve seen for an LV wallet!)
  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 are 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)

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


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10 Gifts Ideas For a New Mom

Top 10 Gift Ideas To Give To A New Mom

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 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.

Instacart – This just might be THE most useful app for new and/or pregnancy moms, especially in those first postpartum weeks. You know, when all+ of your energy is taken up trying to take care and sustain a little life, and the last thing you can think about doing is getting out of the house to go grocery shopping? If Instacart is available in your area you can order groceries from your local store via Instacart, then one of their shoppers will pick them up for and deliver them to you at the time you specify. Say whaaaat?! This was a lifesaver for me as a new mom, particularly when I went back to work and didn’t want to spend any of my non-working time doing anything except being with T! My referral code is ALATIMER14 – you’ll get $10 off your first order and I’ll get $10 too! You can then share your own referral code with friends and get $10 in InstaCart credit.

 LipSense by SeneGence:

Did you know that I am a LipSense Distributor (read more about why and how you can become one too in this post)? I originally became a LipSense Distributor for the discount after getting absolutely hooked on this waterproof, smudge proof, KISS proof, hydrating lip color that literally stays put ALL DAY LONG. It’s the one new mom make up essential; literally apply once in the morning and you look put together all day long – through everything mom life throws your way + all the baby kisses you want – without having to reapply! New moms, like me, LOVE this stuff because it doesn’t kiss off on your sweet little baby : )

Check out in stock colors, shop and place orders here: https://taylor-mademama.com/beauty/

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/sweat-shirt –

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.

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 if 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)

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