Best Books to Prepare Your Child for Preschool

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Uncategorized

If you have a little one starting preschool soon, you may be nervous about how they’ll handle the transition. To help prepare your toddler for their first day of preschool, I recommend reading children’s books with them that give a fun and comforting look into what their time at school will be like.

Personally, I was a worried wreck about my firstborn starting school when he was 2 years old. He was pandemic toddler who had been stuck at home with mommy for several months prior to his first day of school. I was nervous that he’d miss me, not like his teacher, or have a hard time getting along with other toddlers. I was pregnant and without childcare or family nearby, and I knew that I’d need help caring for and stimulating our toddler when the baby was born. Preschool was the best option for us at that time, but it didn’t stop my motherly worries.

A couple months before his first day of school, I starting reading these children’s books, listed below, to my son about going to preschool hoping it would make the transition easier. After reading together, we’d chat about what he thought preschool would be like. To my satisfaction, he started getting really excited for preschool! I involved him in the process of picking out his lunchbox and backpack. We would drive by the school and talk about what we thought the kids and teachers were doing. We circled the first day of school on the family calendar on our fridge and talked about it every day… “Four more days until the first day of school!”

My son’s first day of preschool

I’m delighted to report that my son’s first day of preschool was a success! There were no tears, and he actually waved goodbye to me like he was glad I was leaving! The second week of preschool was when we started having some struggles saying goodbye. I think he realized that preschool was his new normal and maybe was concerned about how often he’d be away from mom. But, he only whimpered a little bit, never sobbed, and his teacher told me that once he got inside and started playing with his friends that he never asked about mommy again. I was so proud of us for making this transition together, but it also felt bittersweet. My baby was growing and didn’t need mommy all the time!

Help your little one prepare for preschool with our favorite picture books, below.

A few of our favorite picture books about starting preschool

4 Best Books to Prepare Your Child For Preschool:

  1. Preschool Day Hooray!, by Linda Leopold Strauss

Of all the books listed here, Preschool Day Hooray! was my son’s favorite book when we were preparing for preschool. The story positively shares a typical day in preschool from drop-off to pick-up with fun, upbeat rhymes. The children in the book do story time, dance, make arts & crafts, play outside, and even see what it’s like when someone gets an ouchie. Our favorite part was the end of the book when mommy comes back!

2. The 12 Days of Preschool, by Jenna Lettice

The 12 Days of Preschool is a fun book to read (or sing!) because it goes along to the same tune as “The 12 Days of Christmas” song. The book counts all the fun experiences children get to do at preschool in their classroom and outside, like sharing toy trains, riding tricycles, story time, and nap time. The colorful and busy pictures are fun for children to browse, and our book even came with stickers!

3. Our Class is a Family, by Shannon Olsen

I wanted our son to know that he would be safe and loved at school just like he is at home, and Our Class is a Family is a great book for sharing this concept. The book explains that school is kids’ home away from home where they are respected and accepted just the way they are. The book encourages children to build a community and strengthen friendships at their school. I loved this book for preschool prep, because it helped our toddler not feel intimidated by the new teachers and students he’d be spending his days with.

4. The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

This book, The Kissing Hand, is wonderful for families dealing with separation anxiety. The story follows a child raccoon, Chester, who is nervous about his first day of school. His mother raccoon shares a sweet family secret that helps calm his fears and gives him the confidence to be away from home. This book is filled with empathy and compassion for little ones worried about being away from mommy and daddy. You can use it for more than preschool – day care, camp, overnights with grandma, etc. !

What favorite picture books have you read with your child to help with the transition to preschool? Please share your recommendations with me in the comments below! I’d also love to connect with you on Instagram and 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.

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.

 

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

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.

6 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for Mom from Mom-Owned Businesses in the LA-OC Area

beauty, fashion, Holidays, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

I’m so excited to share this list of great gift ideas for mom from some of my favorite mom-owned businesses in the LA-OC area! In addition to sharing the list below, I’m featuring these gifts LIVE on KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles today, Dec. 22, 2021 at around 11:45 a.m., and I’m so hopeful you’ll tune in! *UPDATE* If you missed the live TV segment, you can view the recorded version here.

Monogrammed Travel Bag from The Monogrammed Home in San Marino

Okay, so… You made your list, checked it twice, and… Oops! You STILL need a gift for mom!!

This is when some of you will quickly run to Target to find a mug that says “MOM” or grab whatever overpriced, picked-over item you can find at Tiffany’s or Nordstrom. Don’t be one of those people wandering blankly around the big chain store only to get mom ANOTHER robe or slippers. Didn’t you get her that last year? Crap, you can’t remember!

Y’all… Don’t do this to mom! Yes, those gifts mentioned above are nice… I have thoroughly enjoyed every robe I’ve been gifted… BUT!!! (This is an important “but,” thus needed additional emphasis) … I need y’all to think of what kind of gift mom really deserves after what she has been up to this holiday season…

Those holiday cards your friends and family received? She designed, signed, and addressed those… Not to mention she licked all 75 envelopes!

Your kids’ reindeer antler headband, the “holiday themed red sweater,” and new dress shoes (grew out of last year’s shoes) that their teacher required you to buy and have your child wear for their school holiday performance… MOM.

Who coordinated the family holiday outings? Photos with Santa, holiday lights show, kids’ museum holiday activities, etc., etc. … MOM.

Who made cookies for Santa? Sure, the kids helped… But, it was probably MOM who had to set it up and clean it up! ALL THOSE SPRINKLES AHHH!!!

Gifts for your neighbors, extended family, newspaper delivery person, mail carrier, kids’ teachers, etc… MOM!!

All the dang wrapping… MOM.

And who usually makes Christmas Eve dinner and/or Christmas Day brunch as everyone enjoys their new gifts or watches football… not always but usually MOM!!!

The exception to all these tasks listed above is a mom who has an incredibly helpful and/or available partner, a mom who has the financial means to outsource everything, or the mom who just stopped giving a F—! Nevertheless, the holiday hustle can get to any mom no matter the level of support she receives.

SO, LET’S HOOK MOM UP THIS YEAR, Y’ALL! Let’s get her something that’s truly unique and thoughtful while also supporting a local MOM-owned business!

REASONS TO BUY FROM A LOCAL MOM-OWNED BUSINESS:

  • Shopping local is a great way to give back to your community where you live and want to see prosper. Local stores tend to keep their profits local, hire local employees, and donate to local charities and organizations.
  • It’s the best shopping method to limit your environmental impact. There’s less shipping and typically more local products available, so less transportation needed.
  • The experience is unmatched! You’ll have the opportunity to personally connect with a member of your community who really cares about their customers! Also, the knowledge of their products is superior to some of the big box chains that hire seasonal employees. Because they’re passionate about their products and filling a need in their community, local business owners often go the extra mile to make sure you are a happy customer!
  • If you love your mom, you’ll also love supporting another local mom. Imagine your own mom putting her blood, sweat and tears into a business on top of all her mom-ing… That is one bad mother!
  • Interesting products! Local businesses sell products that fulfill the interests of the owner and the owner’s customers. They are not limited to some national chain store’s sales and marketing plan, so you’ll often get some really unique and special product options!
  • It’s hard to trust last-minute shipping these days with all the supply shortages and shipping delays we’re seeing on the news. When you shop local, you’re typically perusing all the products currently in stock, so you don’t have to worry about your gift not making it to mom before Christmas.

Now that I’ve convinced you that shopping at a local, mom-owned business is the way to go, below is a list of my favorite gift ideas from mom-owned businesses in Southern California. These business stretch from Sunset Beach to Montrose, and all have ways to secure gifts in these last couple days leading up to Christmas. I’ve included gift ideas for every type of mom – the new mom, the expecting mom, and moms who love wine, traveling, skincare and wellness.

6 Holiday Gift Ideas for Mom from Local Mom-Owned Businesses:

FOR THE EXPECTING MOM

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Cognac

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag

This leather bag is so chic and high-quality that you’d have no idea it’s actually a diaper bag! Perfect for the stylish new mom who doesn’t always want to look like she’s hauling around baby gear! The braided detailing on the handle and zipper pulls is gorgeous, and it comes in three different colors (black, moccasin and cognac) to fit any mom’s style. I personally love how this bag is well designed for versatility. You can wear it as a backpack, crossbody, or with your hands for style and convenience. Multiple pockets are large enough to hold all the essentials. I can even squeeze my laptop into it in case I need to mix work with mom life. I fully intend to carry this bag even when we’re out of the diaper phase! Cleobella was founded by a SoCal mom, along with her husband, who desired ethically handmade fashion inspired by her global travels. The brand is deeply rooted in its commitment to sustainability and employment that uplifts independent artisans around the world. One percent of every purchase goes back to charities that support our planet and people who need it most. 

How to Buy: The Taylor Mama Bag is available to purchase in-person at the Cleobella boutique in Sunset Beach located at 16792 14th St Sunset Beach, CA 90742. The boutique will be open from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 22-23. The company website www.cleobella.com offers expedited shipping options from their local headquarters, in addition to e-gift cards for those extra last-minute shoppers. Be sure to use the code KTLA at checkout for 20% off your order! The code is good through December.

FOR THE NEW MOM

Saranoni Mommy-and-Me Matching Luxury Blankets at Babies, Bellies & Bosoms

Keep mama and baby cozy this winter with luxury matching blankets from Saranoni found at Bellies, Babies & Bosoms in Montrose. Saranoni’s Bamboni Collection is made from bamboo fibers that are converted to rayon, so the blanket’s cloud-like fabric is light, breathable, stretchy, and as soft as ever! When you’re snuggled up with this blanket, “you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a cupcake!” said Laura, the owner of Bellies, Babies & Bosoms. The blankets will undoubtedly bring comfort and warmth to mommy and baby this holiday season, and I’m obsessed with the idea of giving a matching mommy-and-baby gift to a new mom! The blankets come in a variety of colors and patterns to match mom’s style and home. If you purchase the “Mudcloth” print, Saranoni will donate a portion of proceeds to Well-Africa, an organization that strives to end child slavery, build schools, and educate children in West Africa. Love a gift that gives back!

How to Buy: Saranoni’s Bamboni Collection of blankets are available to purchase at Bellies, Babies & Bosoms in Montrose, a quaint historic community just north of Glendale. I love this shop because it was founded by a mom in 2003 with the passion to promote breastfeeding, support new mothers and be a sanctuary for all motherhood needs. She carries so many special gifts for new parents and babies! Bellies is located at 2430 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose, CA 91020 and will be open from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. on Dec. 22-23 and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Dec. 24.

FOR THE BEAUTY LOVING MOM

Tinted Lip Jellies from Facile Dermatology and Boutique

Just in time for the holidays, Facile launched its fan-favorite lip moisturizer in a collection of brand-new Tinted Lip Jellies with a plumping complex that instantly boosts hydration and leaves lips looking fuller, firmer, and more defined with each wear. The Tinted Lip Jellies come in three effortless shades: Rose, Rouge, and Berry. I tried all three shades and each of them looked good on my skin tone, but my favorite is the Rose to wear every day for a very natural look. Glossy but never sticky, the Tinted Lip Jellies soften and condition lips with a long-lasting, hydrating blend of Peptides, Jojoba Oil, and Essential Fatty Acids, leaving lips with a wash of beautiful color. Not only are these lip jellies amazing for your lips, every purchase goes toward an amazing cause! Throughout the month of December, Facile will be donating 20% of all Lip Jelly sales to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) which provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. Co-founded by skincare-obsessed entrepreneur and mom Danielle Nadick Levy and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nancy Samolitis. Facile opened in 2016 and quickly garnered a celeb following from beauties like Mandy Moore, Lucy Hale and Dove Cameron. If you really want to win big with mom, accompany the Lip Jellies with a gift card for mom to get a personalized treatment at Facile. They do it all from mini facials to fillers to microneedling and PRP injections! Perfect for any beauty or skincare loving mama!

How to Buy: Facile has two locations in West Hollywood (8457 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, CA 90069) and Pasadena (140 S. Lake Ave., Suite 104, Pasadena, CA 91101) where the products can be purchased on Dec. 22 or 23.

FOR THE WINE ENTHUSIAST MOM

Aervana Travel Aerator from Emerald Forest Gifts

This brand-new Travel Wine Aerator from Aervana is perfect for any wine lover who loves to travel or simply save space at home (glass decanters don’t travel well and take up lots of space!). This aerator is small enough to fit in your purse or drawer, plus, it comes with a cute carrying case and corkscrew. At the touch of a button, it turns tannic wine into smooth-as-velvet liquid in seconds! Simply attach the single tube that accompanies the Aervana Travel to the body of the aerator, slip it over an open wine bottle, and press the button on top.  Perfect for travel, road trips, the beach, picnics – anywhere! To be honest, my husband and I love this aerator so much that we use it at home most of the time!

How to Buy: Get the Aervana Travel Aerator before Christmas at mom-owned Emerald Forest Gifts in the San Fernando Valley located at 12638 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604. The owner, Michelle, started Emerald Forest Gifts in 1987 and is celebrating the store’s 36th Christmas Season! Known for carrying unique, elegant gifts for all occasions, Emerald Forest will even gift wrap your gift to make it easy for you to give to mom! Her shop will be open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 22-23 and from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.

FOR THE WELLNESS WARRIOR MOM

Juna Essential Roller Set

If mom is always looking to optimize her wellbeing (or if she simply needs some help chilling out this holiday season – LOL!), Juna’s new essential oil rollerballs offer a therapeutic mood lifting experience throughout the day. The Essential Roller Set from Juna includes three nanoparticle mood-shifting rollerballs – Balance, Nightcap and Ease – designed with a complex blend of scientifically proven functional botanicals that will reset the mind and shift mood. Roll on temples, behind the ears, wrists, breathe deep and experience the mood shifting benefits.  The Balance helps you feel awake and clear; the Nightcap helps ease you into a deep sleep; and the Ease can help you shift your mood from overwhelmed to calm and relaxed. They are great for daily use, for on-the-go, fast, effective relief. Based in Dana Point, Juna creates plant powered products with over 40+ active botanicals that solve the stress, anxiety, and sleep issues women are facing daily. The wellness company was founded by two busy career women and mothers seeking an effective solution to optimize their every day.

How to Buy: The rollers are available to purchase with expedited shipping for Christmas on juna-world.com. If you use code KTLA at checkout, you’ll get 20% off your order! The code is good through December. Perfect time to consider getting Juna’s bestselling Nightcap drops, too! Juna also sells several of its plant-powered solutions in Erewhon markets.

FOR THE WELL-TRAVELED MOM

Personalized Jewelry Round and 3-Piece Travel Set from The Monogrammed Home

Nothing is more thoughtful than a personalized gift, and The Monogrammed Home can help you secure these monogrammed travel cases just in time for Christmas! I love this adorable Seersucker Jewelry Round and 3-Piece Stacking Set that can be used for toiletries, makeup, hair accessories, and whatever you can fit, ready to be monogrammed with mom’s name or initials! I also love the idea of monogramming the 3-piece set to stay organized around the house with labels like, “cords,” “sunscreen,” “vitamins,” “safety pins,” etc. The stacking set is available for $78 and comes in 7 different colors. The jewelry rounds are available for $38 and come in four different colors. Pricing includes monogramming, and customers can choose from over 100 monogram and font options and over 50 thread colors! You’re sure to find a style that mom will love! The Monogrammed Home is one of my most favorite gift shops close to my home! The shop offers a variety of thoughtful, personalized home and lifestyle gifts for everyone in your life. I seriously get every special occasion gift from this shop! The shop was founded by two sisters in 2014, who are now mothers.

How to Buy: Available online at the-monogrammed-home.com, by phone (626) 405-1153, or at The Monogrammed Home located at 2556 Mission St., San Marino, CA 91108. KTLA viewers will not incur a rush charge for purchases of the Jewelry Round or Stacking Set. Purchases placed today (Dec. 22, 2021) by 3 p.m. will be ready for pick up tomorrow (Dec. 23, 2021) between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gift cards also are available to purchase. 

The Taylor Mama Bag from Cleobella is a perfect gift for an expecting mom!

MOMS! Which of these gifts would you like to receive? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

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.

6 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
6 healthy Halloween snacks that are easy and fun to make with your kids!

Got a picky eater? I’ve found the best way to get my kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in the kitchen with me! And, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with fun Halloween inspired healthy treats! From green goblin smoothie bowls to spider crackers to boo-tiful mini cupcakes, these 6 snacks are so easy and fun to make! Plus, they’re too yummy not to eat! Your family will love spending time in the kitchen together this fall recreating these spook-tacular snacks!

I was so excited to feature these healthy Halloween snacks on KTLA Morning News with anchor Jessica Holmes, who’s a mom and food lover like me! Check out our video, below, for all the tricks to make these treats!

Watch me share Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas for Kids with KTLA Morning News Anchor Jessica Holmes!
Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls

Halloween Snack Idea #1: Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl

Adding spinach into smoothies is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their greens! And, you can’t taste the spinach – promise! For this Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl, make a green smoothie, pour into a small bowl, and have your kids toppings like granola or coconut for hair, dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries for the eyes, and pumpkin seeds or marshmallows for the smile. Kids have lots of fun decorating their green goblin face! 

Here is my favorite easy Green Smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water (or almond milk or oat milk)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Peanut Butter Spider Crackers

Halloween Snack Idea #2: Spider Crackers

Have your kids help assemble these spooky spider crackers made with round crackers (I like Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers), pretzel sticks, peanut butter (or another nut or sunflower seed butter) or cream cheese, and small dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

Ingredients:

  • Round crackers
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter (or your preferred nut/sunflower seed butter) or spreadable cream cheese
  • Small dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzels sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy!
Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Halloween Snack Idea #3: Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins! Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

Spooky Grilled Cheese

Halloween Snack Idea #4: Spooky Grilled Cheese

Turn everyone’s favorite lunch into a frightful treat with Halloween shaped cookie cutters and dark rye bread! You can use wheat or white bread, but the dark rye bread is much more spooky! Plus, my toddler surprisingly loves it! Because of its color, he calls it “chocolate bread,” even though it tastes nothing like chocolate! Your kiddo will have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make ghosts, bats and pumpkins in their bread, but I recommend leaving the stovetop cooking to parents!

Ingredients: (makes 1 grilled cheese)

  • 2 slices dark rye bread
  • 1-2 slices of pre-sliced cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your sandwich!)
  • Butter

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat in pan on stovetop.
  2. Take one slice of bread and use Halloween cookie cutter to cut shape into middle of bread. Butter one side of the bread cut-out bread.
  3. Take the other slice of bread and butter one side.
  4. Place both slices of bread in pan with the buttered side up.
  5. After cooking for a couple minutes and letting the bread get to your toasty preference, flip both sides of bread to cook the other side. Immediately place cheese on the slice of bread without the cut-out.
  6. Continue cooking until cheese is melty.
  7. Place cut-out side bread on top of cheese and press down so the cheese sticks the slices together.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Creepy Eyes Cereal Bar

Halloween Snack Idea #5: Creepy Eyes Cereal Bars

Add funny eyes to pre-made cereal bars (or my favorite 3-ingredient cheerio bars seen here!) by rolling cream cheese into tiny little balls and adding a mini chocolate chips for eyes. If you’re low on time, it’s fun to add these eyes to anything pre-made, like muffins or frozen waffles!

Halloween Snack Idea #6: Green Halloween “Cupcakes”

My toddler loves these green “superpower” muffins, made with spinach, bananas, rolled oats and sweetened with honey! I love the ghastly green vibes of these for Halloween! Top with Nutella spread for “icing” and have your kids add Halloween sprinkles to make healthy-ish cupcakes! 

Which healthy Halloween snack do you want to try with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

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.

Must-Have Items for Safe and Fun Family Beach Days!

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

School’s out and everyone’s ready for fun in the sun! After being in lockdown last summer, I know many families are eager to visit their local beach or travel to a beach destination for vacation!

Living in Southern California, my family goes to the beach all the time. We absolutely love it. My husband surfs, I paddle board, our kiddos dig in the sand and dip their toes in the water. Needless to say, we consider ourselves professional beach goers.

My baby Lucy and me on a recent family beach day

The best part about a family beach day? All the sweet memories playing in the sand and jumping over waves with your little ones!

The worse part? All the STUFF you have to haul to the beach to have a safe, cool and fun beach day. Seriously — why do kids need SO MUCH STUFF?!?! Before kids, my husband and I showed up to the beach on our bikes with two towels and a water bottle. That was it. Man… those were the days!! Nowadays, with two kids under 3 years old, we arrive to the beach with our SUV trunk full!

Let me back up a bit… When my husband and I were kidless, we’d lay in the sand watching all these families struggle hauling all their stuff to the beach, and we swore to each other we would NOT be those people! We’d cringe as we watched dads dragging wagons full of gear back and forth across the sand from their car to their spot on the beach. Moms had their arms full of babies and shoulders weighed down with packed bags. Big kids would drag bags and toys behind them. Watching them go back and forth multiple times in the hot sun looked painful. I always thought, Can’t you just make one trip? The sight itself served as birth control for a few years. We did not want to give up our simple beach days that we loved so much!

Fast forward to today… After a few disastrous beach days with kids (and painfully going back and forth to the car to drag all our stuff to the beach), we finally got it right. We are now SMART about our beach days and have all the best portable gear to keep us cool, safe and, most importantly, have FUN!

While our beach days today aren’t as simple as our lives pre-kiddos, we still love them. And, I want you to love your beach days with your family, too!! Here are my must-have product recommendations to have a great, easy beach day with your family!

SHADE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

CoolCabanas Large CoolCabana 5

First and foremost, shade is a top priority for your family beach days – especially if you have little babies like us! You need a space that is cool and comfortable so your kids can get a break from the sun. I love CoolCabanas because they’re lightweight and easy to setup – even for one person! Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your style. Our family has the medium size in navy stripes and the large size in lemon scarletta – both feel super chic and summery! Use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order at http://www.coolcabanas.com!

Here’s the shade mistakes we made before getting CoolCabanas:

  1. Regular beach cabana – The metal frame of a regular beach cabana is SO HEAVY!! And, it takes more than one person to set up. If it’s really windy out, just forget it!
  2. Beach umbrella – Not enough shade for the whole family, especially if you have active kiddos! My 8-month-old is exploring and crawling, and I can’t keep her under a tiny umbrella!
  3. Three-sided beach tent – If it’s really sunny out with little wind, these tents can trap the air inside and get so hot! We were trying to protect ourselves from the sun but ended up sweating nonstop in the shade of this tent!

Do yourself a favor and make family cabana setup easier by getting a CoolCabana! Check out all of CoolCabanas options at http://www.coolcabanas.com, and be sure to use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order!

STAY HYDRATED AND KEEP COOL!

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Everyone knows YETI makes the most legit durable, high-tech equipment that can withstand all sorts of crazy outdoor adventures worthy of praise from people who live the wildest life. That being said, YETI is our go-to brand for everything we do outdoors because we know we can trust it to last a long time and, most importantly, WORK!

After a few trips to the beach with a couple soft coolers that leaked and didn’t keep our food and drinks cold enough for all day in the sun, we turned to YETI and discovered the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler… It’s a backpack, y’all! GENIUS! Like, why didn’t I think of this?! Instead of lugging our former coolers on our shoulders (with all our other shoulder bags that we take to the beach), we’re now hands-free with an ergonomically designed backpack that promises superior cold-holding, a 100% leakproof zipper, a tough shell and can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer! Get with the program and get this cooler!!

YETI Rambler and Rambler Jr. Water Bottles

Keep your water cold all day long with YETI’s amazing Rambler Water Bottles. My favorite is the 26 oz. size with chug cap for easy drinking. I love that YETI has a Rambler Jr. for kids, too! And, as a well-deserved convenience to parents, its straw cap is leak resistant when closed and both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe. I’m so grateful for one less kid/baby item to hand wash!!

PROTECT YOUR SKIN!

Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen + Supergoop! Sunnyscreen

The face sunscreen made popular by celebrities and influencers now has a sunscreen for the whole family! I started using Supergoop! CC Screen years ago and fell in love with the brand for its clean ingredients, non-greasy feel and effectiveness, so I was thrilled when I found out they have a sunscreen for face and body, called PLAY, that our whole family can use. The SPF 50 formula can be used on face and body, it’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes and made with reef-safe, clean, cruelty-free ingredients. It also smells amazing! It comes in a spray, a lotion and a large 18 fl. oz. pump bottle for the whole family to share.

We like to take Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen in the spray bottle to the beach for the whole family to use!

I’m also so happy that Supergoop! has developed a sunscreen safe for little babies called Sunnyscreen. It’s 100% non-nano mineral formula checks all the boxes, meaning it’s pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic, & fragrance & silicone free. Sunnyscreen comes in a spot-on sunscreen spray, stick and lotion. I personally prefer the spray for our family, because its the simplest to use on my little 8-month-old.

KEEP KIDS SAFE IN THE WATER!

Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest

Our toddler was gifted this Go Splash Swim Vest for his 2nd birthday, and it has been one of the best items of our summer! It has a built-in float system that helps kids learn to swim as they’re splashing around in the pool or ocean. As a former swim instructor, I love that this swim vest encourages kids to use their arms compared to other floaties that keep arms lifted. I need to note that this is NOT a lifesaving device, and you should still always monitor your child when wearing this swim vest in and around water.

My son Landon in his Go Splash Swim Vest

One of the best things about this swim vest is that its lightweight and lays flat, so it’s packable! We brought it with us on vacation to Hawaii recently, and our toddler wore it every day! I was so thankful we packed it with us in our suitcase!

DON’T BRING THE BEACH HOME WITH YOU!

Tesalate Sand-Free Beach Towel

When you go to the beach, sand gets everywhere – especially when you have kids! Luckily, Tesalate has made the ULTIMATE beach towel! Made with AbsorbLite Microfiber, Tesalate’s beach towel is engineered for sand to slip off easily. It’s also ultra-absorbent, retaining up to a liter of water, and it dries in half the time as regular beach towels. I love that its compact and light, so easy to pack – no more bulky towels! Our family has two XL sized towels, which are great to lay next to each other for our whole family to spread out. The towels come in individual and XL size and a variety of beautiful designs. The regular size are $59 and XL are $99 and available at http://www.tesalate.com.

PROTECT EYES, EARS AND FACE WITH AFFORDABLE, PACKABLE SUN HATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I often purposely left my beach hat at home simply because I didn’t have a place to pack it in my suitcase or didn’t want to have to carry it around all day. Now that I know better about the importance of protecting my skin, I refuse to step out of the house for a day in the sun without a hat. Luckily, there are so many great packable hat options out there nowadays, and tons of options can easily be found on Amazon for an affordable price!

Lucy and me rocking our packable sun hats on vacation in Hawaii!

When shopping for sun hats for your family, it’s important to find one that has a wide brim to cover your face, ears and neck. Here’s a few great packable sun hat option for the family:

For Women: FURTALK Rollup Packable Visor

I love this visor because, not only is it packable, it’s super cute! It’s especially great for really hot days when I want to wear my hair up off my neck or if I want to swim around without getting my hair wet. It’s rolls up, so it’s compact and easy to stash in your beach bag or suitcase. It comes with an adjustable velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing the correct size!

For Men: Quicksilver Bushmaster Bucket Hat

Okay, I know bucket hats are coming back around in style, but I have to admit that its been hard for me to jump back on the trend I used to wear in the ’90s. One great thing about bucket hats, though? They’re soft, so they’re easy to pack! I like this Quicksilver option for men, because it’s wide brim will protect the back of guys’ necks – something the usual ball cap or trucker hat does not do!

For Babies: SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat

Both of my babies wore this SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat, which offers UPF 50+ UV ray sun protection! I love that it comes in a variety of colors to match their little swimsuits or outfits. My favorite is the white eyelet for little girls!

WIPE OFF SAND AND KEEP LITTLE HANDS CLEAN!

Yipes! Wipes

How is it that little kids always find the yuckiest things to get their hands into?! With all the digging in the sand at the beach, kiddos hands can get particularly yucky! And that sand sticks! To clean little hands, I’m really excited about this new brand of wipes called Yipes! because they were developed to help foster a culture of hygiene while making it fun and approachable with their mascot, Yolanda the Yipes! Yak. They even created a kids’ board book about hygiene featuring Yolanda! And, it’s a product that parents can feel good about while being 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! are available in large canisters, as well as in individual, easy-to-use pocket-sized sachets (sold in pouches of 12), which are ideal for on-the-go—perfect for lunch boxes and beach trips! Find them at http://www.YipesWipes.com.

Here are some other important tips when taking your family to the beach:

  • Go early! Don’t wait until high noon when the sun is at its strongest. Plus, the earlier you go, the the less crowded it will be, so you’ll have an easier time finding parking and a great spot in the sand. Early evening also is a nice time to go for same reasons.
  • Don’t skimp on water. We always bring more water than we think we’ll need. And, we typically end up drinking all of it!
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! There’s something about being near water that makes kids (and grown-ups!) extra hungry! Make sure you have enough to go around!
  • Be wary of the ocean, as most waves may not be manageable for little children. Our family is very familiar with SoCal beaches, so we know what to expect with our waves. I recommend watching the ocean for its wave size and take time to understand the strength of the undertow and which direction the current is going.
  • Appropriate shoes! On hot summer days, the sand can get really hot! I recommend buying water shoes so your little ones can run around without burning their feet. Sandals and flip flops are too challenging for little kids to keep on their feet in the sand.
  • Bring some fun beach toys that encourage exploration! For my kids’ ages (an almost 3 year old and 8 month old), we stick to toys that can be used to play on the sand rather than the water. We put all the toys inside one large sand bucket to make carrying them manageable. A blow up beach ball is also a great idea, because its inflatable which makes it easy to pack.
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go to the beach. Little ones get too excited once they arrive to the beach to slow down and put on sunscreen. Plus, you risk giving them an accidental exfoliating massage, because they’re likely to get sand all over them immediately!
  • Remove sticky sand with baby powder. If you don’t want to take your baby into the ocean or under the public showers to rinse off sand, sprinkling baby powder on their skin and hair removes moisture and helps sand dust off easily.

Do you have any questions or additional family beach day tips? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

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.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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.

Diaper Bag Essentials

fashion, Mom & Baby

The baby product industry is always working to convince us that we need MORE STUFF, so I’m determined to keep our approach as minimalist as possible. With all the options out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed guessing what you truly need in your diaper bag – for baby and mom! Rather than carry half the nursery with me “just in case,” I personally prefer to stick to just the essentials.

The first step is choosing the right diaper bag. I have two: the Freshly Picked Classic Backpack in black and my new favorite Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin.

Here’s what’s important when shopping for a diaper bag:

Backpack style – Only once did I attempt to carry a large shoulder bag with me when out with the babies, and it was so challenging! Backpacks keep your hands free and the bag off the dirty ground – especially important when changing diapers in public restrooms!

Pockets! And more pockets! – Staying organized on-the-go is necessary when you’re quickly trying to clean up a mess or wipe a runny nose. Sometimes, you only have one hand to quickly grab a wipe! Pockets provide a place for everything, so you’re not digging toward the bottom of your bag for the loose hand sanitizer, sunscreen or whatever it may be.

Just big enough for a small laptop – Our family loves traveling and I’ve even brought the babies with me on work trips. In my opinion, there’s nothing more annoying than carrying additional bags through the airport when you also have kids in tow, so having a diaper bag that’s large enough for a small laptop – but no larger – is ideal.

Chic – As someone who considers herself a “cool mom,” there’s nothing more annoying to me than an item that screams baby. Like, I want carry a diaper bag, but I don’t want to look like I’m carrying a diaper bag. I like that the two bags I have can also function as stylish backpacks without looking like I’m carrying a pack of baby wipes with me.

Quality – This bag will go everywhere with you for a couple years, so you want it to be durable.

My diaper bags:

Freshly Picked Diaper Backpack in Black

This was the bag I had on my baby registry, and it has been such a wondeful gift! This Freshly Picked diaper bag has survived almost three years of baby and toddler craziness. I’ve brought this bag everywhere with me, and I really don’t see why a mama would need any other bag. In addition to the zipper closure, it has a flap that goes over the top, which is so handy when you only have one hand to close your bag and go! Because its black vegan leather, the bag can be dressed up and doesn’t stand out when I’ve had to take it to more formal occasions. I’ve brought this bag with me to present at work conferences! Bonus: It comes with a portable changing pad, so you don’t have to buy a separate one!

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin Leather

Y’all, I am so obsessed with this Cleobella bag that I’ll probably continue to carry it as a chic travel backpack even when we’re out of the baby stage. I got this diaper bag after having my second baby, Lucy. I’d been carrying the Freshly Picked bag for the last 2.5 years and was ready for a change. I’ve been gravitating toward more neutrals since having a girl, and I think the moccasin color is perfect for spring and summer. The leather is so soft, and there’s so many pockets and compartments inside making it so easy to stay organized. I love that it also comes with a long shoulder strap to wear as a cross body. The braided detailing is very stylish. When my mother and husband first saw it, they did not think it was a diaper bag – WIN!

What’s in my diaper bag:

Portable Changing Pad

For diaper changes on-the-go, an easy-to-clean portable changing pad is vital. I like this portable changing pad from Amazon because its small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I love these aden + anais Muslin Blankets because they are multifunctional while being beautiful and long-lasting. I use these as a nursing cover, a swaddle for baby, a blanket for baby to wrap up in or lie down on, or to cover dirty surfaces baby may touch, like a grocery cart. They come in several beautiful colors and patterns that are easily washable. I like that they can cover a large surface while still being able to fold small to fit in my bag.

Burp Cloth

My favorite burp cloths are by KiddyStar, because they are thick and hold their shape. I’ve ended up with spit up all over me when using other brands’ thin, short, floppy burp cloths.

Disposable Diaper Bags

I carry these Munchkin Diaper Bag Refills in case I have to change a yucky diaper on-the-go and there’s no where to dispose the diaper. Believe me, you don’t want to have to keep an exposed yucky diaper in your beautiful new diaper bag or inside your car – ewwww!

Backup Clothes – Kyte Baby Footies

Spit-ups and blow-outs are just a part of everyday life when you have a baby, so always keep an extra change of clothes for baby in your bag. I especially like to have Kyte Baby Footies, because they’re sooooo soft and fold up really small inside your bag! They come in so many colors, so when you’re making your baby registry, register for a bunch!

Huggies Diapers and Wipes

After trying every brand of diaper out there, Huggies Diapers seem to be the best at keeping blow-outs at bay – very important when you’re out and about with baby! We also use Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

Extra Teething Toy

I always keep an extra teething toy or two in my bag to give something “new” to the baby that she’s currently not playing with in her stroller. It helps when she’s starting to get bored and fussy. I like these natural wooden teething rings because they’re non-toxic and have fashionable neutral colors.

Cuyana Wristlet

After carrying around my heavy wallet for a year with my firstborn, I finally wised up and got this cute, slim wristlet wallet from Cuyana. This wristlet has been so handy, especially when traveling. I keep my diaper bag on my back and this wallet around my wrist as I’m going through the airport and have to consistently pull out ID’s, tickets, credit card, etc. I also like this for quick errands when I don’t want to carry my diaper bag to the store. Now, I don’t need to transfer my wallet to another bag, because this wristlet does it all. It also has a pocket big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Cuyana has become one of my favorite leather goods brands. It’s such good quality at a perfect price point. And, the brand works to be as sustainable as possible.

Quay Sunglasses

I’ve owned several pairs of Quay Sunglasses, and these are my newest pair. I like that they’re fashionable, good quality, and at a good price point, so I don’t feel guilty buying a couple new trendy pairs at a time to try.

Other items that I always keep in my diaper bag include disinfecting wipes (to wipe down yucky surfaces), hand sanitizer, chapstick or lip color, and snacks for my toddler and me.

Our matching outfits:

While I have you, let’s talk about how cute these matching mommy-and-me dresses are from Cleobella. My mother and I used to wear matching dresses and jumpers back in the ’90s, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I got so excited for our future matching outfits! The main difference is that my mother actually used to sew our dresses back in the day, and since I’m no seamstress, it makes my heart so happy that Cleobella sells these adorable dresses. I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural.

I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural
Holding my Cuyana Wristlet

I hope this post was helpful for new mamas trying to plan outings with their littles or for experienced mamas looking to revamp their diaper bag! Comment in the posts below or let me know on Instagram!

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.

Our Favorite Baby Products (4-6 months)

Mom & Baby

Wow, we’ve moved past the newborn stage already! Lucy is changing so much every week! With all the recent baby changes, we’ve also had to make some changes to the products and toys we’re regularly using. Below, I’ve listed all of our favorite products we’re currently using – everything from nap time to playtime!

(PS – If you’d like to see my ultimate baby registry list, which includes TONS of great products to use for baby the first 4 months, click here.)

Best Baby Products for 4 to 6-Month-Old Babies:

Skip Hop Activity Center

Lucy’s starting to get busier and mommy still needs to do chores around the house, which is why the Skip Hop Activity Center is perfect for both of us! We did not have this activity center for Landon when he was a baby, and I wish we had! I truly think its helping with Lucy’s development, in addition to keeping her busy! She’s been able to practice keeping her head and body steady and getting her legs strong while standing. I love seeing how her interactions with the toys changes week over week. She used to just stare at the toys while I played with them, and now she plays the piano, pushes the spinner and moves the beads along the wire. Love it!

Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat

This was a leftover item from when Landon was a baby, and I honestly wasn’t sure if we’d use it for Lucy. At dinnertime, Lucy started getting bored sitting in her bouncer while we were all dining at the table, so we started placing this Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat on the dinner table so she could sit and join us. She loves it! She feels a part of our family dinner while also having the option to play with toys in front of her.

Little Giraffe Baby Blanket

We were gifted a 14×14 Little Giraffe Baby Blanket when Landon was born and its such a soft, sweet blanket, but I didn’t think much of it than that. Starting around 8 months, Landon really grew attached to it, and now it’s his lovey, known as “B,” that he MUST have when he sleeps. I thought it was so sweet that I had to get one for Lucy. I introduced it to her as a lovey at 4 months to encourage self-soothing and help her sleep longer stretches at night. It’s a beautiful little blanket and such amazing quality. I recommend adding this to your registry or gifting it to any of your new mommy friends! If not used for lovey, it’s a nice blanket to put over baby in the stroller and car seat.

Organic Silicone and Wooden Baby Teething Ring 

Lucy has a couple silicone and wooden baby teethers that she likes to chew on, and I love that they come in muted colors and don’t look super baby-ish. We took a trip to Palm Springs this past month, and it felt good hanging out around the resort with these toys rather than something bright, loud and colorful that would distract the other guests (and me!) from an adult vacation.

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

Lucy’s transitioned out of her Love To Dream Swaddle and moved on to the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle, which seems to be much easier for her to roll around in. We also use the non-swaddle version of the Halo Sleepsack for naps. We’ll be using these sleepsacks until she’s old enough to sleep with a blanket, so its a very good investment to have a couple on hand!

Kyte Baby Footies

These Kyte Baby Footies are sooooo buttery soft and come in so many beautiful colors! These are the best rompers to have baby in all day that look fashionable without looking like PJ’s. Plus, they’re made with bamboo, so they’re organic, natural, hypoallergenic and eco friendly!! They’re a little pricey per one footie, so make sure these are on your baby registry. They also make for an awesome baby gift!

Soft Interactive Baby Book

We were gifted this Soft Interactive Baby Book when Landon was born, and it was one of his favorites for over a year. The same is now true with Lucy. She loves to grab on to the book’s different elements and feel the different fabrics. I love that it’s soft, so it’s light and easy to throw in my diaper bag to take on-the-go.

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit

Lucy’s now spending nights and naps in her crib, and I love the Babyletto Hudson Crib because it’s so aesthetically pleasing to the eye – it’s perfect for our modern home decor! It’s also Greenguard Gold Certified and made with sustainably sourced wood (who doesn’t desire more clean products, especially for baby?!). We used the same crib for Landon for 2 years and will use it for Lucy even longer, because we’ll convert it to a toddler bed when she’s ready.

Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket

My mama friends and I agree that this Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket is the best for outdoor adventures and playdates with your little ones. This blanket has become especially essential for our family during COVID when all of our activities were moved outside. We use this at our mommy-and-me class, at the beach and when we take big brother to the local playground. I love that it’s so easy to clean and waterproof – perfect for all the messes! It folds so easily and has a shoulder strap, which is necessary when you’re wrangling two kiddos! It also comes in a variety of sweet patters. We have the tropical leaf pattern.

These are the products that we are currently using ALL THE TIME that were not on my master baby registry list! Is there anything I missed? I’m always down to add a new baby product to our routine to make life easier! Let me know your favorite baby products by connecting with me on Instagram.

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.