Kid-Friendly West Hollywood: The Best Dining, Hotels and Activities for Families in WeHo!

Lifestyle, Travel

I had so much fun speaking with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger, hosts of the “We Know WeHo” podcast, about all things family related in West Hollywood! One of my biggest hopes in using this platform is to be a helpful resource to parents with young children. As a mommy with two little ones, I know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to make the transition from being young, fun and childless to a new parent. I was one of the first of my friends to have kids and had no idea what to expect from parenthood, in addition to having no clue where to take my children in L.A.! Now, after a few years of experience, I’m here to help you find the best for families in Los Angeles – and, in this case, West Hollywood! Read on to learn more about my history with West Hollywood, and I’ll also recap all the kid-friendly restaurants, shops, hotels and activities that I mentioned in my interview on the “We Know WeHo” podcast!

My West Hollywood Story

I absolutely love West Hollywood. During my 13+ years in Los Angeles (over 10 years living here and 3 years visiting), I have spent lots of time in West Hollywood. When I was single, it was a hotspot for nightlife, dining, and parties. My girlfriends and I used to love going to Skybar at Mondrian Hotel, The Belmont, Rock & Reilly’s, Pink Taco and the now closed Hyde Lounge, Pearl’s Rooftop, Bagatelle, and The Hudson. Once I started dating my now husband, we loved date nights at Laurel Hardware, Eveleigh, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Ysabel, and STK Steakhouse (which has now relocated to STK Westwood). Even after kids, date nights and group dinners with friends are always memorable in WeHo, especially at Catch, Cecconi’s, Gracias Madre, Toca Madera, and E.P. & L.P.

Before Kids! My 30th Birthday in West Hollywood at Toca Madera

West Hollywood is a fun destination for live entertainment. The music scene is legendary on the iconic Sunset Strip, and my husband I have spent lots of time there before and after kids watching live music and even playing live music — my husband used to play bass guitar in a local band! I’ve watched my husband play at The Viper Room and The Roxy, and we’ve seen some phenomenal shows at The Troubadour and Whisky A Go-Go. Our favorite date nights involve a comedy show, and there’s always top talent at Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store!

West Hollywood is a fabulous destination for working professionals, too, with its multiple co-working spaces and walking accessibility to so many great restaurants and shops! In 2017, I started my own PR business and bought-in at a co-working space called The Wing, which is the perfect place for working moms. The Wing is dedicated to inclusivity and lifting up women in the workforce, and the West Hollywood location was a great place for me to network with other working mommies and attend inspirational events hosted by top women in their respective industries. I once attended a screening and Q&A with Maggie Gyllenhaal that discussed her show “The Deuce” and focused on women in film and media’s portrayal of women. It was really cool! The Wing also has beautiful pump rooms for breastfeeding moms, and I’ve often seen strollers and children wandering around the space while moms work. I gave up my membership during the pandemic to create my own work-from-home space, but prior to the pandemic, The Wing offered “The Little Wing” which was a playroom and babysitting service. I’m not sure if they still have that now, but it was such an outstanding perk for moms – and kids!

Kid-Friendly West Hollywood

When most people think of West Hollywood, they imagine the very adult version of the city with its sexy dining, nightlife and music scenes, but I’m here to tell you that West Hollywood can be a very fun destination for kids, too! Below are the best restaurants, hotels, parks and activities that I mentioned in my “We Know WeHo” podcast interview with Tracy Paaso and Felicia Terwilliger. For all the juicy details on each business, you’ll have to take a listen to the podcast! Since Felicia is currently pregnant, we also discussed some of the best places for moms for prenatal and postpartum self-care! Check out the best WeHo businesses for families listed below, and take a listen to the podcast here! The podcast is also on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. My interview starts around the 35-minute mark.  

Enjoying the patio at Hugo’s while we wait for our food

Restaurants:

  • Hugo’s – Expansive menu for adults and great menu for kids! They provide crayons for coloring while you wait for your food! My kids like the macaroni and cheese and sitting on the patio!
  • Mel’s Drive-In – Fun classic diner! Kids food comes in car boxes!
  • Bottega Louie – Kids love the pastries!
  • Justin Quesos – Not necessarily designed for kids, but Tex-Mex is my favorite and kids live the queso and quesadillas! Go early for a more family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Shake Shack – Kids love the fries and frozen custard! Mommy and daddy love the burgers!
  • Carney’s – Iconic LA restaurant in a train car – so fun for kids!
  • Urth Caffe – We enjoy sitting on the patio. Or, you could get the food to go and make the 10 minute walk to Hollywood Park for a picnic!

Shops:

  • Eggy – Not technically in WeHo city limits, but serves many WeHo families with fashionable kids clothes and accessories.
  • Sunset Kids – High-end kids hop – great for gifts and novelty items!

Hotels:

  • Le Parc Suite Hotel – Recently renovated with colorful, artistic decor. All guest rooms are expansive suites with kitchenettes, fireplaces and sleeper sofas, so it is easy for families to make the hotel feel like home. Rooftop pool and rooftop tennis court are nice places for fun and recreation! While most WeHo hotels aren’t necessarily geared toward younger children, Le Parc Suite Hotel and it’s sister properties, Chamberlain and Montrose, are great for kids with their large suites, rooftop pools, access to house bikes and walkability to some of the best restaurants and shops in the U.S.!
  • Ziggy – Not exactly kid-friendly, but an awesome newly renovated property on the Sunset Strip to have a couples staycation without the kids! 

Classes:

  • BOUNCE LA –  An outdoor soft play gym and obstacle course led by fun coaches! Classes are not currently held at any WeHo parks, but they cater to a lot of West Hollywood families at their Coldwater Canyon location. The amazing coaches also host kids birthday parties in local families’ backyards and offer programs for schools!
  • PLAY Music & Art – A great selection of classes for your little artist or musician. This is another business that’s located on the edge of WeHo but serves many WeHo families. They also offer online classes, so you can utilize their classes anywhere!
  • West Hollywood Library Smarty Pants Class – Wonderful music and storytime class that helps prepare little ones for preschool and kindergarten.

Parks:

  • West Hollywood Park – Undergoing a massive renovation that includes a brand-new playground and aquatics center. This will be a fabulous place to take kids once its complete later this year!
  • Kings Road – Quiet, shaded park with a small play structure. Best suited for toddlers.
  • Plummer Park – Nice, small park for a picnic or to play tennis.
Playtime at Kings Road Park

Estheticians for Prenatal and Postpartum Self-Care:

  • SkinLab – Owner Joshua Ross saved my skin from pregnancy’s hormonal acne! He used to be based in WeHo when I was pregnant, but he’s now is located in West LA and South Bay.
  • Dermalogica – This flagship location recently opened in WeHo and has been a great place for postpartum skincare.

Family-Friendly Day Trips From WeHo:

  • Kidspace Museum – An amazing place for children to play and explore in Pasadena!
  • Exposition Park – The California Science Center is a great place for kids to explore and learn!
  • Griffith Park’s Travel Town – If your children love trains, they’ll get a huge kick out of this museum with several old locomotives to explore! There’s also a mini train ride!

Not Mentioned in the Podcast:

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Just outside WeHo city limits, LACMA’s Boone Children’s Gallery hosts drop-in painting classes where their friendly staff provides tips on brush techniques. They even provide high chairs for our littlest artists! They also offer teen classes and camps that you can sign up for on the website. Kids under 17 can join their youth membership called NexGenLA where they can visit the museum anytime for free with a guest for free admission. Even babies can join!
  • The Grove – One of LA’s most beautiful outdoor shopping destinations, The Grove caters to many West Hollywood families (and all families across the LA!). It’s such a fun place for little ones with its trolley and fountains. My favorite restaurants at The Grove with kids are Blue Ribbon Sushi, Umami Burger and The Cheesecake Factory. Everyone loves a special treat from Sprinkles Cupcakes! The Grove has one of my most favorite children’s stores, Janie & Jack, along with a Nordstrom and Gap that offer clothing for kids of all ages.
  • Yardbird Restaurant – Located on the edge of WeHo at The Beverly Center, this is a tasty restaurant with a great kids menu! They serve elevated American classics like fried chicken, shrimp & grits, St. Louis style ribs and grilled blackened salmon. I love their brunch here!

What did I miss? Tell me your favorite family-friendly West Hollywood spots in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

Award-Winning Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for New Moms

Holidays, Mom & Baby

The very first Mother’s Day as a new mama may be one of the most important and memorable. There are so many special milestones in the first year with baby, like first words, first steps, and each month’s birthday, but the first Mother’s Day is a unique milestone because it’s all about celebrating MOM!

If you’re stumped about what to get an expecting or new mom for Mother’s Day, look no further! I’ve teamed up with L.A. Parent magazine to share top gift ideas from the National Parenting Product Awards, which features the best family products tested and rated by real mothers! The NAPPA Awards work closely with L.A. Parent magazine to provide their readers with unique and quality gift ideas, and we think these are the very best for new mamas!! The NAPPA Awards has been celebrating the best in family products for 32 years, and L.A. Parent has been a part of the Los Angeles community for 42 years, so you can trust their tips and guidance as you navigate your parenting journey!

L.A. Parent magazine works closely with NAAPA Awards to feature the best products for parents! Here, I’m wearing the award-winning Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit, which we think is a top Mother’s Day gift idea!

Below, I’ve outlined our top Mother’s Day gift ideas that have been recognized by NAAPA as best products for parents! You also can watch me demonstrate these products live on TV on KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 9:45 a.m.!! If you don’t live in Los Angeles, the show is streaming online at ktla.com!

6 Award-Winning Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For New Moms:

  1. The Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit

This buttery soft robe does just as its name suggests –- mamas feel like they are lounging on a cloud! Designed and sold by Bumpsuit, the new maternity fashion brand beloved by celebrities, the Cloud Robe’s super soft brushed jersey material gently stretches with the body to maintain max fit and support throughout women’s different stages of pregnancy and beyond. The design is elegant yet simple and comes in a timeless beautiful ivory shade. The fabric holds its shape and quality even after washing! What I love most about this robe is that all mama’s will love it no matter where they are in their prenatal or postpartum journey. Help mama lounge while still feeling chic and comfy in this gorgeous robe!

2.     Milkmakers Bath Tea + Foot Soak by Munchkin

Treat mama-to-be to an at-home spa day with these luxurious, all-natural, pregnancy-safe bath soak sachets to help relax tired muscles and moisturize dry skin. Think of it like taking an elevated Epsom salt bath, with bonus itchy belly relief! Use 1 sachet to soak swollen feet or 1-2 sachets for full body bath. Deeply calming botanicals like French lavender and chamomile mingle with rolled oats and pure Epsom salt for the ultimate self-care treat. Pair this soak with the Cloud Robe above for a wonderful pampering gift!

3. Mbrio Pregnancy Earbud Adapters by Mbrio Tech 

Now mamas can easily and safely share their music with their babies with Mbrio – the only patented innovation that uses mom’s own earbuds to share music with baby in the womb! They’re so easy to use – just pop your earbuds into the adapters, clip them to your waistband and feel baby move! Made from medical-grade silicone and independently tested, Mbrio’s adapters are safe for baby’s ears, skin-safe, comfortable and ultra-lightweight. Prenatal music is important, because it soothes baby, helps with bonding, stimulates movement and stimulates baby’s brain and memory! This may be the coolest gift on this list! I wish I would have had these when I was pregnant!

4.     On-The-Go Backpack by TWELVElittle 

Every mom needs a great diaper bag, and this backpack is the perfect stylish bag that can be carried for any occasion — family outings, work functions and travels! For families that travel, the bag’s backside has a zipper pocket with an opening on the top and bottom, to be used as a sleeve to fit through luggage handles. The spacious main compartment has five pockets for maximum organization, and a separate opening for a fully padded laptop sleeve. The D-rings at the back of the backpack allows the bag to be attached to a stroller using the TWELVElittle Stroller Clip Set (sold separately). Made with functional water-resistant materials and vegan leather trim, this bag will hold up throughout all your children’s diaper years and beyond.

5. Sleep Bag by Kyte Baby

Kyte Baby has long been a favorite clothing brand of mine for my babies because of its super soft, comfy materials and variety of colors. This super cozy Sleep Bag from Kyte Baby is the perfect gift to help both mama and baby get sleep — because when baby sleeps, mama sleeps!! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies do not sleep with blankets, so this Sleep Bag is like a wearable blanket to keep your baby cozy and comfortable all night long! The 97% bamboo rayon fabric is breathable and buttery soft to the touch. This Sleep Bag also features a J-shaped double zipper, which makes it easy for mom to take on and off and during middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Kyte Baby’s sleep bag also comes in three different fabric warmth levels, so you can ensure baby’s temperature is comfortable all night. Kyte Baby uses the TOG rating system for measuring fabric warmth for parents to simply select which sleep bag their baby needs based on the typical temperature in their nursery. If you’re confused on what TOG to choose, don’t worry, Kyte Baby’s website helps guide you through it!

5. Crib Mattress by SleepOvation Baby

A crib mattress is probably one of the most useful products a mom can have for baby, and the SleepOvation Baby mattress is probably the safest and most comfortably designed baby mattress on the market! SleepOvation’s mattress is designed to combat plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) with its patented design that reduces pressure on the head while keeping the spine correctly aligned. It comes with a removable and washable cover, and the interior mattress core has built-in air channels to increase breathability, while also providing temperature regulation. What’s amazing about this mattress is that it’s a 2-stage design providing use for both newborn and toddler phases! After your baby’s first birthday, simply turn the mattress over for a softer mattress that insures proper spine alignment. The toddler side also features a waterproof backing that helps keep those leaky diapers contained. One of the things I love most for mom is how lightweight this mattress is! Most crib mattresses are big and bulky, which makes it complicated to change crib sheets. This mattress is much easier for mom to maneuver, which is a big relief when doing laundry!

More Great Gift Ideas:

These aren’t the only great gift ideas for mom! The NAPPA Awards features so many great Mother’s Day gift ideas, and they’re constantly updating their site with new winners, so check back often! Take a look at the NAPPA Awards website and let me know your favorite products! https://www.nappaawards.com/

And, be sure to check out L.A. Parent magazine for additional parenting resources, like family-friendly activities, events and travel destinations, along with community news and parenting advice! https://www.laparent.com/

Mamas! Let me know which of these 6 products you’d like to receive for Mother’s Day in the comments below!

  1. The Cloud Robe by Bumpsuit
  2. Milkmakers Bath Tea + Foot Soak by Munchkin
  3. Mbrio Pregnancy Earbud Adapters by Mbrio Tech
  4. On-The-Go Backpack by TWELVElittle
  5. Sleep Bag by Kyte Baby
  6. Crib Mattress by SleepOvation Baby

Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more family-friendly ideas and content!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

 

Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

Don’t look any further for an Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe… This is the EASIEST recipe that only takes 5 minutes! Plus, it’s made with protein-rich Greek yogurt and herbs, so it’s good for you, too!

When hosting kid-friendly parties, my favorite food options are easy appetizers and finger foods. This grab-and-go food set-up makes it so much simpler for families to eat whenever they’re hungry and spend more time playing and socializing. Can you imagine trying to get several toddlers to sit down for a formal brunch? YIKES! They’re much more interested in playing with friends while taking bites here and there.

I believe every party has to have a veggie option. Living in Southern California, there is ALWAYS at least one person who loves eating veggies or looking for healthier food options at parties. For this reason, I love to make a yummy veggie plate paired with an irresistible dip to upgrade what can sometimes be a boring crudite platter. I like to add festive touches, like special bowls or holiday decor, and fill in empty space with parsley and kale leaves to create a beautifully appetizing veggie platter.

The perfect Veggie Platter for Easter with Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip!

If you know me, I’m all about EASY! I have two toddlers (ages 3 and 18 months), so when hosting a party, I’m not interested in spending hours in the kitchen prepping food. But, the “hostess with the mostest” in me also doesn’t like serving store-bought dips. I want the occasion feel special with food that’s homemade! Plus, sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting in those pre-made store-bought dips, which can sometimes include lots of sugar and preservatives – yuck! This Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe is just as the name suggests – EASY! Most of the ingredients you probably already have at home. To prepare, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and stir! No blenders, no chopping!

I also love this recipe because it’s light and healthy! So many veggie dip recipes include mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese and/or SUGAR (which I think totally defeats the point of eating veggies!), but this recipe features protein-rich Greek yogurt, a variety of herbs, and fresh lemon juice. I’ve always liked to eat healthy, but since becoming a mom, I pay extra attention to what’s in the food I’m serving to our kiddos. This is a recipe that everyone can feel good about eating!

For this Easter brunch party, I put the Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip in an adorable stoneware bunny platter with a dip bowl from Target. I put the bunny platter on a large wooden serving tray and added cut veggies, RW Garcia crackers, and a bowl of hummus for guests to have a couple dip options.

Easter themed veggie platter

Best Veggies for Dipping:

  • Cucumbers – slice into rounds or cut into matchsticks
  • Baby Carrots
  • Rainbow Carrots – peel and cut in half length wise
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bell peppers – Sliced into matchsticks
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Other Snacks for Dipping:

Recipe: Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Yields: 4-8 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (non-fat or 2% fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix well until combined.
  3. Serve with vegetables and/or crackers of choice. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley or dill.
Perfect Veggie Platter

Recipe Tips:

  • If you choose 2% fat Greek yogurt, your dip will be thicker. I like to add more lemon juice to thin it up a bit. You could also add a teaspoon of olive oil.
  • You can choose to use fresh herbs instead of dried, but be sure to double the amount of fresh herbs than what the recipe calls for with dried herbs.

I hope you love this Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip! I’m always looking for easy appetizer recipes, so feel free to share yours in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more family-friendly ideas!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Our Favorite Children’s Spring Outfits from Janie and Jack

fashion, Holidays, Lifestyle

I have so many fond memories of springtime and the Easter season growing up in Texas and Tennessee. My mother always did an outstanding job creating holiday traditions for our family, and this time of year was especially fun! My mother encouraged us to help decorate, as she made an elaborate Easter dining table display, filled our fireplace’s mantel with porcelain bunnies, eggs and other fine collectables, and hung Easter eggs from our front yard tree branches. We made Easter bonnets, painted Easter eggs, and joined in on community festivities, like egg hunts, egg rolling races, egg-and-spoon races, Easter Bunny visits and more.

One tradition that I particularly loved was the importance of picking out our Easter clothes. If my mother didn’t hand-make our clothes (she once sewed the most darling pink smocked dress for me), we went to the department stores to select what would be the finest clothes in our closet to wear on Easter Sunday and throughout the remaining warmer months until we outgrew them. I remember how special it was to pick out a fancy dress with my mother, and I couldn’t wait to debut my new “big girl” dress on Easter Sunday. We’d celebrate the holiday with family, attend church and dine with a large Easter brunch afterward. Of course, there were Easter baskets, treats and egg hunts to make the day especially fun for young kids.

My babies in their Janie and Jack spring outfits | Photo credit: @hye.img

What I love about this “Easter clothes tradition” is that it taught me the importance of dressing up and how to wear and care for special, formal clothing. Growing up, we believed that how you dress shows respect for others around you, in addition to being a reflection of how you feel about yourself. We did not grow up rich – we were very much a middle class family – but my parents knew the value in looking nice, dressing for the occasion, and caring for the way we presented ourselves. My parents ALWAYS look nice: My mother has been known for wearing heels on her grocery store runs, and my father almost always dons a suit and tie to church. Back when I was growing up, our Easter clothes may have only cost a few dollars at JCPenny, but we treated them like gold cloaks. This approach to appearance and clothing may be an unpopular opinion these days, but I firmly believe this attitude has been an important factor in any of my business and life success. It’s always been important to our family to show up appropriately for the occasion and feel our best in our clothes, so I love passing down this Easter clothes tradition to my children.

This year, when it came to picking out our Easter clothes, I took my 3- and 1-year-old children to Janie and Jack, because their classic styles and high-quality materials remind me of the beautiful clothes I wore on Easter Sunday growing up. This was the first time I’ve taken both children to a store to actually try on clothes in a dressing room, and we had tons of fun! I let both kids pick out three outfits each to try on in the dressing room, and they loved standing on the stool in front of the mirror to see how beautiful the clothes made them look and feel. The best part of the day was when my 3-year-old son tried on his spring-colored seersucker button-down shirt, looked in the mirror, gave a big smile and said, “I look handsome.” Be still my heart!

We left Janie and Jack with two outfits for each child, but I really wish I could have purchased the whole store! Below are our favorite pieces, which could be perfect for Easter Sunday, spring school recitals, spring weddings, a nice dinner on Spring Break vacation, or a dressy brunch!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Girls:

I’m obsessed with Janie and Jack‘s color palette of pale pink, mint, and baby blue for little girls spring clothes! The bubble sleeves and smocked dresses are to die for! The shoes have so much beautiful detailing! Complete your little lady’s outfit with a quilted purse, beautiful sun hat, or pink floral barrettes! Every little girl should also have a classic white cardigan in her closet for those chilly spring mornings. Links to all the products are below!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Girls

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Boys:

Classics never die, and that’s why I absolutely love Janie and Jack‘s styles for little boys. I was giddy picking out the blue oxford shorts, seersucker shirt and boat shoes for my little man. Plus, so many of these styles coordinate with the little girls’ outfits for a picture-perfect sibling ensemble! The sweater is so sweet if you live in a place where the winter chill can linger into spring, and your little guy will love accessorizing with these wayfarer style sunglasses! Links to all the products are below.

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Boys

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

What does your family do to celebrate spring and Easter? I’d love to hear about your family’s traditions in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more on modern motherhood, fashion, recipes and lifestyle!

Our spring family portrait | Photo credit: @hye.img

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Cooking, Holidays, Home, Kitchen

Rice Krispy Treats are a classic childhood favorite! I wanted to make our homemade version more special than what you can get at the store, so I added peanut butter to the recipe and dipped them in chocolate! Make these Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy treats festive for a holiday or themed party by adding colored sprinkles. We made these treats for spring, so I used pink and blue sprinkles!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Spray an 9″x 13″ (or 8″x 8″ for thicker bars) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt butter on low heat. Do this slowly, you don’t want burned or brown butter here.
  3. Once butter has melted, keep heat on low and add mini marshmallows.
  4. Once marshmallows begin to soften and melt, add peanut butter.
  5. At this point, you will need to constantly stir the mixture so the peanut butter does not burn and the marshmallows can evenly melt (won’t take too long, about 5 minutes or so).
  6. Once, mixture is combined and melted, turn off heat and remove pan from stove.
  7. Add Rice Krispy cereal to sauce pan and stir until evenly coated with mixture. This is sticky stuff so do your best to get it all combined.
  8. Pour mixture into casserole dish (it will look very loose.) Spray your hand with some nonstick cooking spray and pat down the mixture until firmly compacted.
  9. Allow 30-45 minutes for treats to set up. Cut into small squares or rectangles.
  10. Melt white or dark melting wafers in a small bowl according to package instructions.
  11. Dip one end of Rice Krispy treat into bowl of chocolate, top chocolate with sprinkles and place on parchment paper to set for 15-20 minutes.

This Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats recipe was adapted from The Country Cook‘s original recipe, found here.

I love adding these Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats to themed dessert boards! Check out my tips to make a great treat board here!

Let me know if you plan to try these and what color sprinkles you’ll use in the comments below! Follow me on Instagram or TikTok for more fun ideas for the family!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

How To Make A Holiday Treat Board

Cooking, Holidays, Kitchen, Lifestyle

I love hosting a good themed party, so a holiday themed treat board is right up my alley! I’ve recently created two treat boards for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, and I’m having so much fun that I can’t wait to make more for future holidays, birthdays and other celebrations! The best part? They’re SO EASY! Much easier than intricate charcuterie boards!

St. Patrick’s Day Charcu-TREAT Board!

To Love or Hate Charcuterie Boards? Beautiful charcuterie boards have been trending for a couple years now, and as someone who loves entertaining, I couldn’t help but jump on the charcuterie board bandwagon! Who can resist a decadent board of fine cheeses, quality meats, and all the yummiest snack pairings and accompaniments?! Plus, these boards are gorgeous to admire and make for the perfect photo-worthy party centerpiece!

I’ve loved putting together charcuterie boards for gatherings, but during our last family-friendly party at our house, I realized that the process can often be more time consuming than I’d like. Slicing the cheeses, arranging the board, thoughtfully considering the correct salty-to-savory-to-sweet pairings… I was getting a little bogged down by the process. Plus, if you choose high-quality meats and cheeses, a charcuterie board, which is often viewed as an appetizer, can cost as much as cooking a group dinner! During our party, guests hovered around the charcuterie board (score!), took photos of it, and snagged bites in between socializing and chasing their kiddos in and out of our backyard. At the end of the party, I noticed that no one hardly touched the honeycomb, dried fruit or olives, and what was left of the cheeses and meats had been sitting out for hours and not worth saving. Only a few of the children ate some cheese and crackers, but most of them didn’t have a palette for bold Roquefort yet. My charcuterie board was beautiful for the adults… but was it worth it?

Enter the charcu-TREAT board!! For St. Patrick’s Day this year, I decided to try something a little different… A dessert board! And, boy, did I have fun getting creative with this one! I went to my favorite spots for holiday treats – See’s Candies and Target – and pulled together a fruit and dessert board reminiscent of a rainbow and gold. Like a traditional charcuterie board, it was the center of the party, but this time it got eaten!! It cost me half the price of what it would to put together a fancy cheese board and was more festive for St. Paddy’s Day than charcuterie! Now, treat boards are a trend I can stand FIRMLY behind!

Easter Treat Board

Tips for Putting Together a Charcu-TREAT Board:

  1. Choose a large board – You can use a classic cheese board in a rectangle or round shape, or choose a tray to keep the treats from rolling off your board. Holiday themed serving platters, like this Easter platter, makes the treat board extra fun and festive!
  2. Pick a color scheme – This is easy for holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas. For other celebrations, have the treat board match your party decor colors. For example, if you’re hosting a Spiderman themed kids birthday, look for red, blue and black candies and sweet snacks.
  3. Incorporate party decor – To add some festive flair and help fill space on your board, incorporate leftover decor that you’re already using for the party. For example, I used Easter grass on my Easter board. You also could add a porcelain bunny!
  4. Choose a variety of candies, chocolate and sweet snacks – Candies could include jelly beans, sour straws, gummy bears; Chocolate could include M&Ms, wrapped chocolates, chocolate covered almonds; Sweet snacks can include fruit, cookies, rice crispy treats, or chocolate dipped pretzels, cookies.
  5. Have one or two homemade items – One of the benefits of a treat board is little to no prep work, but to make the boards special, I like to add one or two homemade items, like chocolate dipped rice crispy treats or cookies in cutout shapes that fit the theme of the party.
  6. Utilize small bowls – Make the board interesting by incorporating two or three bowls filled with candy. This also is a good way to corral smaller candies into one place.

Steps to Put Together a Treat Board:

  1. Gather a board and 2-3 small bowls, along with sweets, treats and decor you wish to use for your board.Ideas for boards, candy, chocolate and sweet snacks are listed at the bottom of this post!
  2. Place the small bowls and whatever else you want to be the centerpiece on your board. For example, on the Easter board, I put the small bowls and the chocolate Easter bunny on the board first. For the St. Patrick’s Day board, I made the fruit rainbow first.
  3. Add larger items, like cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, etc. Arrange them in fun ways to add visual interest, like rows, fanned, or a pattern. These larger items are also great for creating barriers for the smaller items to stay in place on the board.
  4. Fill in the rest of the board with smaller treats, like jelly beans, marshmallows and M&Ms, and pay attention to color distribution.
  5. Add small spoons to bowls and offer small plates or cups next to the board for guests to take their favorite treats with them!

Voila! Kids and adults alike will go nuts over a fun themed treat board!

Board Ideas:

  1. West Elm Mixed Marble & Wood Preston Cheese Boards – Feel fancy with marble!

2. Williams Sonoma Boska Oak Rectangular Cheese Board Medium – A classic, gorgeous oak board!

3. Pottery Barn Connor Ash Wood Tray – I like to use trays with edges to keep all the treats in one place. This makes the board easier to move, if needed, without candies rolling off the sides.

4. Texas Shaped Catskill Craftsmen, Inc. Wood Cutting Board – A board in the shape of your state could be great for any gathering!

5. Threshold Wood Bunny Serving Board – How fun would this be for a special Easter treat board!

Board Accessories Ideas:

  1. West Elm Minimal White Ramekins – I love these ramekins to add a modern look to the treat board.

2. Pottery Barn Hammered Nut Bowl – A gorgeous bowl for smaller treats!

3. Libbey Small Glass Bowls with Lids – Corral smaller treats into these easy, inexpensive bowls!

4. CB2 Gold Cocktail Spoons – Gorgeous gold spoons really elevate the board. Use these for guests to scoop up little treats, like M&M’s and marshmallows.

5. Stainless Steel Mini Spoons – Add some drama with black stainless steel!

Homemade Treat Ideas:

Store Bought Treat Ideas:

I’d love to hear your ideas for future treat boards! Share your favorite treat board goodies or theme ideas in the comments below! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more fun family-friendly ideas!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins Recipe!

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle

Hey Mamas! If you’re like me and have picky eaters in your house, it can be a struggle to get kids to eat green vegetables! My solution: Sneak veggies into their favorite foods!

Great for picky eaters: I have THE BEST banana bread recipe (originally adapted from Delish.com) that I’ve converted into muffins with hidden zucchini! My kids have never once said, “Ewe,” “What’s the green stuff?” or “I can taste vegetables!” when I serve them these muffins! SCORE!

Why this is the best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffin recipe: When I say this is the best banana bread recipe, I truly mean it! During the pandemic, I made one banana bread loaf for every month we were locked down in LA County. I tried six variations of banana bread, so I can attest that this is the very best recipe! Utilizing three bananas is the perfect amount of flavor and sweetness, and the full fat sour cream makes the bread so moist! You will never need to try another banana bread recipe again… This is IT! You’re welcome.

Original recipe swaps: I make a couple swaps for these Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins from the original Banana Bread Recipe from Delish.com to make them kid-friendly and mom-approved. First, I add half of a grated zucchini. Secondly, I add mini semi-sweet chocolate chips! My kids go nuts over chocolate anything, so this is a special treat. In my opinion, regular sized chocolate chips overpower the the banana flavor, so I prefer to use mini sized chips. I haven’t tried the muffin recipe without the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips yet, but I have made the original loaf recipe without them, and it was still soooo gooood!

Mix-ins and Frosting Ideas: If you want to add some more oomph to this recipe, add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans and walnuts are my favorite) or coconut! Or, add a cream cheese frosting for a real decadent treat that’s totally approved by the health food gods because we’re already eating zucchini – LOL! My favorite is a vegan cream cheese frosting recipe from Peanut Butter & Jilly found here.

I prefer using mini chocolate chips in this banana zucchini bread recipe!

Tips for the best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins:

  • You can’t have bananas that are too ripe for this recipe. The more ripe, the better!
  • Shred the zucchini with a VERY fine grater. You don’t want chunky zucchini in your muffins!
  • Be sure to drain and soak the moisture from the grated zucchini with a paper or cloth towel. Do not skip this step of the recipe or else you’ll have watery batter!
  • This recipe makes about 18 muffins, so I always give a few to our neighbors and teachers. Everyone will love these muffins!

BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD MUFFINS

Yields: 18 Muffins | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line two muffin pans with 18 baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add mashed bananas and grated zucchini and stir until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined. 
  4. Fold in mini chocolate chips and transfer to prepared muffin pan cups.
  5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe! I’ve had so much fun making (and eating!) these Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins that I’m determined to add zucchini to other favorite recipes! What should I try next: a chocolate-zucchini cake, blueberry-zucchini muffins or chocolate chip-zucchini cookies?! Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram or TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms

Health & Wellness, Mom & Baby

Finding self-care as a new mom is REALLY hard!

The day after my firstborn joined our family, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll never be alone again!” Suddenly, finding time for myself felt almost impossible, and if I did find a moment alone, I felt guilty. As an anxious new mom, my thoughts revolved around the baby while also trying to maintain my pre-baby relationship with my husband. Self-care swiftly moved to the bottom of my priority list, and it became even more challenging to find “me” time once I started working again. So much of my life changed so quickly that I felt like I lost myself overnight! I was three months into life with a new baby, and I broke down… I realized this was my new life, and the excitement of it being new had worn off. I was exhausted and desperately craved some self-care time!

If any of this sounds familiar, I hope it’s brought you some assurance that you’re not alone! I also hope it inspires you not to let yourself get to a breaking point like I did!

Soon after my breakdown, I realized that I had to make a plan to take care of myself or else I’d end up angry and depressed. I loved our newborn and I loved my husband, and I didn’t want to start resenting them. It was up to me to make the changes in my new life to ensure I got the self-care that I needed to be a happy mommy.

Below are my best tips for finding self-care as a new mama. I’m so happy I put these tips into practice a couple months after having my first baby. They became routine habits for me with baby #1 and then made the adjustment to baby #2 (when time is even more limited!) so much easier! With that said, these tips aren’t just for NEW moms… All busy mamas can utilize these tips!

Sometimes, we need some retail inspiration to motivate a new self-care journey! To shop some of my favorite self-care items on Amazon click here!

Getting my hair done with a baby on my lap… Just an example of how finding “self-care” with a new baby can be challenging!

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms:

  1. Take Advantage of Early Mornings

If you’ve never been a morning person, having children will change that. If your kids are anything like mine, you’ll never sleep past 7 a.m. again! My tip: Wake up before your children! While getting up even earlier than your kids may sound miserable to an exhausted new parent, hear me out… Those early morning hours can be PRECIOUS “ME” TIME. If you can take 10-15 minutes to yourself in the morning before your day with the baby starts, I promise you’ll already feel more in control of your life. The days where my children dictate when I start my mornings are always harder than the days I choose when to get up. I personally prefer to wake up 30 minutes to 1 hour before my children to drink coffee, write in my journal, and read the newspaper (yes, I read the good old fashioned newspaper!). But, even if you only woke up 10 minutes before the baby, that’s 10 golden peaceful minutes to be with your own adult thoughts before the chaotic day with kids begins. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much that you’ll become a morning workout person! You could also meditate, read a book, do yoga… make those mornings for YOU!

2. Find Joy in Micro Moments

When there’s a new baby in the house, it may seem impossible to take an hour-long bubble bath whenever you wish. Instead of seeking those big self-care moments, try to find joy in micro moments throughout your day. When I started feeling trapped by my babies, I made a promise to myself that I’d do one small thing every single day that was just for me — for ONLY ME and nobody else! Every morning when I’d make my to-do list, at the very top I’d write one small feasible thing I could do that would bring me joy – a walk in nature, a phone call to my mom, 10 minutes alone to write in my journal, etc. At the end of a day revolved around needy little people, I always felt relief that I was able to do at least one thing for ME. And, as my babies grew and got more self-sufficient, these small things became bigger and longer: an hour-long hike by myself, a day at the spa, brunch out with girlfriends, etc. I believe this practice also taught me to find joy in the simple, which has been such a blessing.

3. Sneak in Exercise

So many moms complain that they can’t exercise because they don’t have TIME. I get it… adjusting to life with a new baby is hard! If you’re used to going to a pilates studio every day after work, but now have to come home to relieve the nanny, it can certainly feel like your exercise routine is a forever goner. This is my tip: JUST MOVE! Movement is exercise! Sneak in all the movement where ever and whenever you can! Take the baby on a stroller walk as soon as you get home from work, run up and down your stairs while the baby is napping, do a yoga video first thing in the morning before the kids wake up… And, don’t forget to plan a time that you can go back to your old pilates class, too! Because feeling like yourself and enjoying your favorite workouts is important, too! You may not be able to do everything like you did before baby, but you shouldn’t have to give it up completely. Personally, I found that I enjoyed working out so much at home that I never rejoined our expensive fancy gym after having a baby. Here on the blog, I’ve shared all my fave home gym equipment from Amazon, as well as my best tips for how to work out when you have young kids!

I go on a run while pushing the babies at least once a week, but I also make it a priority to do a solo run sometimes to feel like myself pre-baby

4. Prioritize Your Health

We mamas get so wrapped up in taking care of our family’s health that we often end up completely neglecting our own! This is your sign to drop everything you’re doing and take inventory of your health! When was the last time you went to your primary care physician? Have you been to the dentist in the last year? Is it time for a dermatologist visit? Put aside 15 minutes, call all your health providers and make those appointments! Your kids cannot be healthy without a healthy mommy!

5. Go to Sleep Early

If you’re not getting adequate sleep, you’ll never feel (or look!) your best — enough said! The best way for me to get enough sleep to is go to bed shortly after I put the children to sleep. I’m often in bed at 8:30 p.m.! I know it’s tempting to stay up late to find more “me” time, but I’ve discovered that limiting my nighttime sleep ultimately makes me feel like crap the next day. Recently, I’ve optimized my nighttime sleep with the help of Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops and Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller, which assist in getting me into a deeper sleep date — and it’s way healthier and more effective than melatonin or any other sleep aid! I’ve explained how Juna works for me in more detail in this blog post.

6. Make a Date with Friends

There’s almost nothing better than a good laugh with girlfriends. But, I know firsthand that friendships can easily take a backseat when you have a new baby in the house. Sometimes, around months 2 to 4 with a new baby, your friends may stop calling or checking in on you. Don’t take this personally, especially if none of your friends have had babies yet. Most likely, they’re assuming your new life with baby is consuming all your time, so they’re giving you space. It’s up to YOU to reach out to friends to fill your social cup. One of my favorite sayings is, “To have a friend, you have to BE a friend!” Make the effort to schedule a time to meet up with friends, and I’m certain they’d love to see you — with or without baby in tow! If you’re struggling getting out of the house, invite them over. Be vulnerable. Tell them you’re covered in breastmilk, haven’t made your bed in weeks, but really just need a gal pal to vent to. A REAL friend loves nothing more than being there for you. I recommend scheduling something with girlfriends at least once a month. If you can, try allowing your partner or caregiver to look after the baby when you meet with friends to really connect without distractions. Quality time with girlfriends is so good for the soul!

7. Join a Mommy-and-Me Class

Joining a mommy-and-me baby class was probably the very best thing I did after my first baby was born! Because we recently moved to the area and knew no one our age, in addition to being one of the very first of my friends to have a baby, joining the mommy-and-me class was the best way for me to connect with other local moms going through exactly what I was currently experiencing! I developed several good friendships from that first class, and now its fun watching our kids go to preschool together! Those ladies were the best sounding board, too, for when we were going through sleep regressions or I needed to vent about anything!! Our teacher was absolutely fabulous and taught me so much about conscious parenting and establishing solid family values, too. I liked the class so much that I signed up for a mommy-and-me class for toddlers! If you want more info about the local class I took, please feel free to contact me!

8. Communicate to Your Partner What You Need

Based on conversations with my other mom friends, I’d guess that maintaining a cordial relationship with our partners is probably one of the most stressful parts of having a newborn in the house. As mamas, we’re going through so much emotionally and physically during this time, and it can be infuriating watching our husbands continue about their lives as if nothing has changed… Must be nice to have adult conversations at work every day… Wow, you can play golf for 5 hours without having leaky breasts?… Why didn’t you know we needed more diapers?… How can you sleep?!… But, here’s the deal… Our spouses cannot read our minds! It would be amazing if they could, but men weren’t granted that superpower, unfortunately. I’m no marriage counselor, but my best advice is to effectively COMMUNICATE to your partner what you need. Tell them when you’re calm and there’s no other distractions. Clearly explain why you need 15 minutes every morning alone or why you want them to start helping with bath time or whatever it is you need! And in turn, ask them what they need! While it may not seem like it on the outside, it’s very likely they’re going through some hard changes, too… They now worry more about providing for the family, they fear they don’t know how to take care of the baby as well as you, they’re embarrassed to admit that they don’t know how to help, so sometimes they do nothing! Empathize with your partner and create a game plan to help each other through this life transition.

9. Start a Gratitude Practice

I believe it’s almost impossible to be depressed when you’re grateful. Instead of wasting energy wishing you could get your old pre-baby life back or grumbling to your partner that they don’t help enough, make a list of things you are grateful for and you’ll instantly feel better. I like to start my day with writing down three things I’m grateful for in my journal, because it sets the tone for a positive day. When times are hard, sometimes I’m simply grateful for a cup of coffee and not much else! But, since I begin my day in gratitude, I find myself adding things to the list in my mind as I go about my day! Look around… What are you grateful for that’s right in front of you?

10. Reconnect With Yourself Doing Something You Loved

If you haven’t experienced it yet, there will probably be a moment when you see an old picture of yourself from pre-baby days and think, “I miss you…” LOL! I promise your old self is still there! Make it a priority to reconnect with what makes you, YOU! Even if you haven’t taken dance since high school, join an adults’ hip hop class or take a virtual class on YouTube! Did you love traveling? Here’s your sign to go ahead and plan your first international trip with baby! Maybe you always loved and appreciated handwritten notes… Try taking up calligraphy! Love yourself by doing something you love!

My self-care time: Writing down what I’m grateful for while enjoying the sunshine. OH! And you can copy my cheapy sunglasses here!

If you need some additional inspiration, below is a list of 20 simple self-care activities! Copy and save this list in the notes section of your phone so you can always reference it when you need some T.L.C.!

  1. Take a walk outside
  2. Read a book or magazine
  3. Take a nap
  4. Meditate
  5. Pray
  6. Call a good friend or relative
  7. Start a gratitude list
  8. Write a bucket list
  9. Watch funny videos
  10. Stretch or do yoga
  11. Pour a special coffee, tea or beverage and drink it slowly
  12. Light a candle
  13. Listen to music
  14. Exercise
  15. Paint, draw or color
  16. Write down 5 things you like about yourself
  17. Give yourself a massage
  18. Paint your nails
  19. Take a bath
  20. Do a breathing exercise, like this one

Do you have any tips for finding self-care that I missed? I’d love to hear what you do to take care of yourself as a mama! Comment below or connect with me on Instagram or TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kids!

Holidays, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Hey Busy Moms! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I want to share two absolutely FABULOUS online marketplaces that are making it so easy to celebrate LOVE with your family – Maisonette and Goldbelly!

If you don’t yet know about Maisonette, you need to log on their website to check out all their adorable clothes, accessories, toys and gear for kids and families. There’s even some fun things for mom, too, plus home decor! The company was founded by two moms in 2017 with the goal of helping modern families navigate the adventure of raising the next generation. The have the most high quality kids products, partnering with the best brands to curate a shopping destination that all moms love! Maisonette is my go-to site when looking for unique specialty gifts for baby, kids and mama!

The next online marketplace that you must know about is Goldbelly! This online marketplace is where you go to find the best regional and artisanal foods crafted by top local food purveyors throughout the United States, like celebrity chefs, restaurants, bakeries, delis, etc. Have you ever wanted to try one of Duff Goldman’s famous cakes but don’t live near one of his cake studios in Baltimore or LA? Well, now you can with Goldbelly, which ships to all 50 states! Goldbelly is great if you need impressive food for a special occasion or want to gift someone an extraordinary treat. For example, through Goldbelly you can recreate Wolfgang Puck’s legendary smoked salmon pizza at home, or gift your friend, boss, mom, client (anyone!) the famous macarons from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Calif. There are so many outstanding culinary experiences for purchase in one place!

I turn to both of these sites when I’m looking for something special for holidays and Valentine’s is no different! Below are some great products from Maisonette and Goldbelly to help you celebrate with your kids this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Mommy-and-Me Matching Pajamas and Sweaters

I’m a sucker for matching with my mini, so I love that Maisonette is offering a variety of mommy-and-me styles for Valentine’s Day!

Fun products and treats to celebrate Valentine's Day with your littlest loves!
Maison Me Valentine’s Pajamas for Women and Pajamas for Baby and Toddler

Wake up in comfy yet chic mommy-and-me matching pajamas by Maison Me featuring a mini heart print and shades of pink for Valentine’s Day. These special holiday pajamas, featured in the Ditsy Heart print, come in adult women’s sizes, as well as footies for babies sized 0-24 months and kids sized 2 years to 12 years. Their lightweight 100% cotton rib is super comfortable for sleep or play and cute enough to lounge in all day!

When it’s time to change out of your PJs, the Love Sweater by GiGi Knitwear is the perfect top for Valentine’s Day and chilly February days! Rendered in a sift and breathable light weight knit, the Love Sweater is perfect for layering and playtime. GiGi Knitwear’s one-of-a-kind sweaters are handmade by a family-owned factory in Bulgaria with super soft fine merino wool to keep you and your mini extra cozy. Find the women’s sweater here and the little girls’ sweater here.

Love Sweater Mini

2. Valentine’s Day Mini Fashion Accessories

Maisonette features some of the chicest kids’ accessories from independent brands, including adorable Valentine’s Day themed jewelry, sunglasses and purses, for your little one to wear throughout the whole month of love!

Children will feel sophisticated and special with the Risa’s Pieces Noa Valentine’s Day Monogram Bracelet Set, which you can personalize with your child’s name. It comes as a fashionable stacking set of three red, white, and pink bracelets.

Perfect for sunny SoCal, GlamBaby Priscilla Heart Shaped Sunglasses are made of durable acetate and offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. They come in the option of red or white for your littlest fashionista.

Complete your sweetheart’s outfit with a Ce Ce Co. Velvet Purse with Heart Patches! The upscale Ce Ce Co. also has this Tweed Purse with Furry Heart for your sophisticated bebe. Is it me or is there nothing cuter than a little girl adorned in mini versions of grown-up accessories!

3. Valentine’s Plant Based Playdough

Get creative with your little one on the Day of Love with The Dough Project’s ultimate box of Valentine’s Day goodies! The Dough Project Much Love Bundle comes complete with three jars of fresh, plant-based playdough, a box of “Make Your Own Playdough” mix and a mini rolling pin for unlimited play! The dough comes in red and pink Valentine’s colors for the celebration! The DIY playdough mix is an especially fun sensory project for kids. It’s a dry mix that you simply blend with water and oil to make your own dough – sort of like making pancakes or cookies! The Dough Project is a product parents can feel good about while being made from all natural, food-grade ingredients and colored from plants.

The Dough Project Much Love Bundle

4. Valentine’s Day Tea Set for Dolls by Sophia’s by Teamson

Make imaginary play fun for Valentine’s Day with the Sophia’s by Teamson Kids Valentine’s Day themed tea set. This Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set features all the desserts your little one’s doll could want with cake pops, sugar cookies and chocolate covered strawberries! Mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream, plates and spoons complete this detailed set. Kids will have lots of fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special pretend tea party! The doll is sold separately, but you can use this tea set for any 18’ doll or with your stuffed animals!

Warm Your Heart Hot Cocoa & Sweets Set

5.    Heart Lunch Box by Dabbawalla Bags and Surprise Lunch Notes by Cheree Berry Paper

Be her Valentine all year long with this adorable pink and white heart lunch bag from Dabbawalla Bags. These quality bags are not only great for tots and teens, but moms and teachers would love to receive these sweet bags as a gift for Valentine’s Day, too! There’s also an option to personalize the lunch tote with an embroidered name! The insulating, eco-friendly material is machine washable and flexible enough to hold a wide range of lunch containers. All Dabbawalla Bags are crafted with TPE, a sustainable foam that is degradable, recyclable, and friendly to the environment. The production of these bags supports fair labor practices and is certified free of toxic chemicals.  

Surprise your little sweetie with a thoughtful love note in their lunch box with this set of 40 notes from Cheree Berry Paper that are playful, yet polished. Cheree Berry Paper is a custom graphic design and stationery company known for creating interactive and conceptual designs full of unexpected details and clever copywriting.  Your little one will love the surprise note that lets them know you’re thinking of them while at school on Valentine’s Day.

Cheree Berry Paper Surprise Lunch Box Notes

6.    Goldbelly Valentine’s Treats from Chefs Cat Cora and Duff Goldman

Goldbelly is known for offering the most unique and delicious food products from the nation’s top chefs, small businesses, and food purveyors, and the company is offering dozens of options of specialty Valentine’s treats to share with your kiddos, friends and family this year!

Drop one of popular Iron Chef Cat Cora’s bite-sized Heart Shaped Rainbow Cookies in your kiddos lunch box for a Valentine’s Day surprise at school or pass out to friends at a Valentine’s Day party! These classic Italian rainbow cookies will brighten anyone’s Valentine’s Day made with three layers of marzipan, apricot jam and a thin coating of chocolate topped with chocolate sprinkles. They come in a set of 18, so they’re perfect for sharing with your children and their friends!

If you’ve spent any time watching Food Network over the past decade, then you know Duff Goldman and his legendary cakes. This Red Velvet Heart Cake is a delicious four-layer red velvet cake with vanilla cream cheese filling, frosted with pink-tinted buttercream frosting and decorated with red fondant hearts – the perfect way to show your love with your little ones! The cake serves 8-10 people – great for a party! It also arrives in a decorative box, so it could make for a fun gift!

Duff Goldman’s Red Velvet Heart Cake

I hope you’ll take some time to check out Maisonette and Goldbelly for your Valentine’s Day celebration needs, in addition to other holidays! I plan to shop their sites in a couple months for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter!

I’d love to hear how you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kiddos! Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

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7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie