7 Black Friday Shopping​ Tips

Black Friday is here, but are you ready for it? Here are seven shopping tips to help you get the most out of Black Friday 2018.

  1. Use Ebates: This is a no-brainer, but I know many people shopping online without it. Make sure to create an Ebates account, if you do not already have one. This will save you even more on top of the regular Black Friday sales. Last year, I saved over $100 on my holiday shopping by using Ebates and continue to use it all year-round.
  2. Shop online: Skip the busy stores and shop online this Friday, as most of the deals will be online and with Ebates you can save even more. You will also skip the hassle of the crowds and most retailers offer free shipping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  3. Do your research! If you must go out, make sure you know what you are looking for. Do your research so you can get in and out without wandering around. The best deals will be gone first so hustle, hustle, hustle!
  4. Use a rewards card: This goes for all shopping but consider using your credit card with the best rewards so you can rack up the points and get even more bang for your buck!
  5. Amazon Prime: Shopping on Amazon is so easy and they categorize their black Friday deals so you can sift through it all easily. Being a Prime member is awesome year-round so don’t forget about Amazon this week when shopping.
  6. Window shop beforehand: If you have time or even on the day of you can window shop and make lists of what you want and what sizes etc. Then just go home and order them online using coupons and Ebates to save more.
  7. Arrive caffeinated: Okay, so this should be #1 but DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT YOUR COFFEE or you will get stuck in 30+ min long line for Starbucks.

Happy shopping everyone!7 Black Friday Shopping Tips.jpg

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

Early Black Friday 2018 – Amazon Deals

Unique Gifts for Mom That Will Put You On Her Nice List!

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Early Black Friday 2018 – Amazon Deals

Here are some 2018 Black Friday Amazon deals you can start shopping now. First, make sure you are shopping via Ebates to save even more on this black Friday! Then start your online shopping!

This set of Adorable Girls Hair Clips (50Psc) for $7.64! What a great deal!

This Diapper Bag Back Pack for only $20.96

Ezpz Mini Mat on sale for on $15.99

Nuk Trasitional Sippy cup! These are the ones we use and they are onsale now for just $5.21

Ummm this nursing cover is only $6.39!!

This awsome trasitional High Chair is onsale for only $89.99 buy it today and it will last over the years.

Going somewhere for the holidays? Grab this check bag carseat cover for only $8.93

A set of silicone bibs $14 or less!

Make sure to check back for more Black Friday deals!

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13 Must Haves for Baby: 10-13 Months​

  1. Push Walker: These stand-up walkers are great for two things; one, stationary play and two, helping them learn how to walk or assisting them in walking with confidence. Fisher Price makes a good one that has activities on it set in three stages, so it grows with your toddler.
  2. Robeez (shoes): These things are awesome! They are made of leather and slide on as easy as a sock. Unlike socks, they provide more protection and traction for tiny toddler feet as they crawl and toddle around. Not only are they easy to put on and take off but they also come in all kinds of fun designs. 
  3. Convertible Car Seat: Your baby is growing now and it is less convenient to carry around the infant car seat. Time for an upgrade! Find a good convertible car seat that can grow with your baby from rear facing until booster if possible.                                                             
  4. One-Year Photo Session: Don’t skip the fun photos of your little one turning a year old! There are so many options these days: cake smash, studio, or fun candid photos. Pick what fits your family’s personality best and go with it! I did some fun themed shots and saved the cake photos for her birthday party. It was fun to compare my oldest daughter’s one-year shoot with her little sister’s.IW5A7011
  5. Nonslip Socks: My youngest has chubby feet, so I always need to have socks or shoes on her so she does not rub the tops raw when crawling around. She is learning to walk at this age so making sure her socks are nonslip is important.
  6. Umbrella Stroller: Now that you are taking baby out of the car seat more often, having a good umbrella stroller on hand is ideal. We love our Summer 3D umbrella stroller. It’s light, sturdy, folds up, and is easy to use.
  7. Ride on Vehicle: We got this as a gift for our first daughter when she was one and it is one of those toys that lasts forever! Babies love pushing it around and will eventually learn how to ride it around. My four-year-old and her friends also love playing on it still!
  8. Foam Picture Books: These are good for introducing baby to colors, shapes animals and other first words. Both my girls love these types of books and it is great for their mental and dexterity development, so it is a win-win.                                                      
  9. Sorting and Nesting Toys: Toddlers love to sort, stack, unsort, and un-stack. Sorting and nesting toys are perfect for working on their early problem-solving skills.                            
  10. Transitional Sippy Cups: The time has come to ditch the bottles and start the transition to big girl or boy cups. It is hard to recommend just one because all kids are different. I recommend just trying out a few and go with what they take to, and stick with it.                                        
  11. Wooden Puzzles: These are great for little ones learning how to use their hands. You can get them in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They love picking up the pieces and moving them around. Eventually, they will put them in their right spots and if you get animals, shapes or letters it is a good way to teach them what those are, too.            
  12. Play Kitchen: These are great for toddlers and preschoolers, male and female. They can move things around and start to learn how to play pretend, especially if they have an older sibling. Unfortunately, they take up a lot of room so make sure you have a good place for it.
  13. Little People Farm or House: These are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers; they are sturdy and will last through preschool.                                                                                       

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13 Must Haves for Baby 7-10 months old

So much is happening and changing during this age! Teeth are popping out; they are starting to eat real food; they are slowly learning how to use those hands of theirs; and are crawling their way around. Here is a list of baby items that helped me survive this stage of babyhood twice around.

1. Activity Table– These are awesome because they can keep your little one occupied and they are transitional. You can start by using it on the floor and when your baby is ready to start standing with support, you add the legs and it is good to go all the way through the first year.

2. Baby Food Maker – Feeding a baby can be difficult and I will tell you from experience making your own food is so much easier and healthier. Having a baby food maker is a must  – these things are a lifesaver. You steam and blend the food all in one place making it quick and simple to use.

3. Freezing Feeding Trays – When you are making your own baby food you have to store it. I learned this the hard way with my first and when my second baby came I knew I would do it differently. Silicon freezing trays are AMAZING. You make the food, lots of it, and freeze it in the trays then pop them out and store them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. I could make tons of food and go for two weeks or more without having to worry about going to the store to buy food or making it every day.

4. Washable Food Pouches – Like most kids my girls are picky eaters but for some reason when it is in a pouch they will both eat it. Who would’ve thought? So these reusable food pouches were (and are) great for feeding them and for when we were on the go.

5. Magnetic Blocks – At this age, babies start to play with things and learn how to pull things apart and put them back together. Magnetic blocks also make great toys for older children and for travel! Here are some more travel tips: 9 Tips For Traveling With a Baby

6. Fresh Food Feeder – These are great for teething babies and babies learning to feed themselves. They can be messy, but both my girls loved them.

7. Ice Soothers– These are just like the ones you and I used when we were little and they are perfect. My baby loves them cold but also likes chewing on them when they are warm. I keep a few in the freezer so I can just grab them as needed.

8. Teething Biscuits –These are perfect for this age because they can grip them and start learning to feed themselves. The biscuits are also quick dissolving so they won’t be a choking hazard.

9. Baby TylenolA teething baby must have! Enough said.

10.ScrubBee – We love our ScrubBee! It is a silicon Honey Bee inspired bath toy and scrubber. My baby loves holding it and teething on it. It is also great for older kids. The best part is they were designed by a fellow Mamma.


11. Crunchy Book – Babies this age love to fiddle with things that make a sound, and crunchy books seem to be a crowd favorite. So if you don’t already have one, do yourself a favor by adding one to your next Amazon shopping list.

12. Linkables for Toys– At this age kids literally toss everything out of their car seat, stroller, playpen, etc. So having Linkables will save you some aggravation and it gives them another thing to fiddle with.


13. Teething Necklaces– These are great for teething babies. I love mine and got one that I knew would look good with my wardrobe. One thing to consider when buying yours is your hair. I got two originally and only wear one now because the necklaces that have beads all the way around kept getting stuck in my hair. Ouch!

There are obviously so many things babies “need” but these 13 items are definitely on my list for age 7-9 months!

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8 Must-Haves​ When Traveling with Babies

Traveling with Babies & Toddlers —Don’t Get Caught Without These Travel Essentials

Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib — We talk about this one a lot but it is at the top of our list for a reason. We LOVE our Lotus Crib from Guava Family. If we had known about it sooner we would have had one the day our oldest daughter was born. Not only is it sleek looking, but it is small, sits on the ground so weight is not an issue, and folds into a small case that can be worn as a back pack. We would set it up in the airport for cross country or international trips. Read more about our Guave family use here 5 Baby Must Haves – The Second Time Around

Good Umbrella Stroller — We use the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller for travel. It is lightweight and comes with a strap that makes traveling with it easy. There are a few other options like the Zoe Stroller that fold down. We have not tried them and they are on the expensive side, but having a small but sturdy umbrella stroller is a must for traveling with babies and toddlers.

Collapsible Boppy Seat — We use this a lot when traveling. You can toss it in your car seat check bag so it doesn’t take up suitcase space. It is good for feeding a baby on the road, in a hotel room, or at a family member’s house. You won’t always have access to a high chair when traveling, especially if you are staying in an Air B&B or visiting family, so having this will provide a secure and relatively mess-free alternative to feeding baby on the road. Read more about feeding baby on the road on my blog here:

Sturdy Car Seat Check Bag — We use the BRICA Cover Guard Car Seat Travel Bag because it is sturdy and a good size for most convertible car seats. Your bag will get tossed around like your luggage, so make sure to get a sturdy one. However, it likely will still need some duct tape after the first few uses, but that’s okay. One perk of this larger sturdy bag is room for things like diapers or Boppy seats.

Gate Checked stroller bag — This does not need to be sturdy. We have the standard bright red one. This is a MUST because if you don’t use one, your stroller will get filthy dirty being gate checked.

Travel Cot — As your “littles” grow, they can move from the Pack-and-Play to the Travel Cot. It is compact and even fits in my suitcase without taking up a lot of room. They are just like camping cots and kids love them. We use ours in hotels and when visiting family. Our oldest daughter loves it so much she requests to use it every now and then in our room when we are home. The best part about them is the price. The one we got was only $25 on Amazon and is great quality. Extra tip: buy one for visiting grandparents and leave it there so you don’t have to bring it back and forth.

Baby Carrier — So there is not one specific one I would recommend. Depending on age and type of trip you are taking there might be one better than the other. If you are not planning on going far you can use a cloth wrap. This will make it easy to wear your baby or toddler onto the airplane, but not take up too much room in your carry-on luggage. If you plan on visiting a place with lots of exploring and walking around I would suggest an Ergobaby or Tula carrier. They work for babies and toddlers alike and have more support than a cloth wrap. If you plan on hiking, I recommend an Osprey Baby or Child Carrier. We have used ours on very intense hikes and it is AMAZING. The Osprey packs are equipped with so many wonderful features to keep babies or toddlers comfortable and safe during light or more intense hikes. It is also easy to wear and helps with the weight the same way a camping pack does.

Packing Cubes — They might be at the end of this list but don’t let that fool you… packing cubes are a MUST have when traveling with kids. These simple zipper cube shaped bags help keep me organized in my suitcase and when I arrived at my final destination. I pack all my daughter’s clothes in a medium size cube, and her socks and undies in a small one. When we arrive, I can pull her cubes out and organize them in the hotel drawers as I please. Read more about how I use my packing cubes here: Packing Cubes- The Best Invention for Traveling with Kids.

There are a ton of great products to help make traveling with babies and small children easy, but these are my MUST haves for domestic and international travel.

More travel tips:

Do your family photos when you travel

9 Tips For Traveling With a Baby

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7 Essentials for Pumping Mammas

Being a pumping mom is hard! When I returned to work after haveing my first daughter she went on a “nursing strike.” This meant if I wanted to continue to feed her breast milk, I would have to get to work and start pumping… all… day… long… or so it seemed. Here are 7 of my pumping momma must-haves to add to your registery list or head over to Amazon today and click buy now!

1.Double Breast Pump that is small and efficient — The Pump, you will love it and you will hate it, but it will be your life for the foreseeable future. Having a good pump is key to a pumping mom’s success. When pumping exclusively you will pump every 2-3 hours for the first several months then taper down as the baby grows. This takes A LOT of time, so making sure you can move around and pump will be a lifesaver. I have the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump the second go around, and it is worth the extra money.

2. Double pumping bra store bought or self-made — For my first baby, I pumped exclusively and figuring out how to pump, work, and feed a baby all at the same time was a challenge. I actually took an old sports bra and cut two holes in the front and used that as my more affordable pumping bra. You can use an old bra that has a back clasp as well, making it easy to put on and take off. For my second baby, I ordered a strap that holds both pumps in place. Depending on your size there are many options for hands-free pumping.

3. Well insulated lunch bag — You will be transporting milk to and from work, so make sure you have a well-insulated freezer/lunch bag to keep the milk cool going to the freezer and fridge from your office, as well as some of those cool packs used in coolers.

4. Storage bags — These will save room in the freezer and fridge, and they also hold more milk then bottles and can be dated with a pen or Sharpie. I started pumping and freezing the second I got home from the hospital. As a working mom, having a good supply of frozen milk ready to go when you return to the office is key to being successful at exclusively pumping. I found that the best bags to use were Lansinoh storage bags. They are easy to use and the store, but they are also easy to reseal when you thaw out the milk for use. In addition to Amazon, these are available at Target and Walmart.

5. Storage Bins for freezer — I did not do this with my first baby and wish I had. Find plastic storage bins that fit in your fridge and can be stacked. These maximize the space you have to store and organize your frozen milk.

6. Drying rack — When you are exclusively pumping or pumping during the workday, your baby will go through a lot of bottles. Make sure you have some counter space cleared and a good drying rack for all those bottles and bottle parts needing to be washed and dried daily. This is one thing I dreaded when I found out I was pregnant again — all the bottles to wash — but being prepared will help. Boon makes a great rack that comes in small and large depending on your needs. I have three: two small and one large. We keep one upstairs in the master bathroom and two downstairs.

7. Bottle cleaners — Just as drying space is essential, so are cleaning utensils.  Making sure you have a scrubber small enough to fit all the cracks of a bottle is key to keeping them clean and your baby healthy. Bottles can pick up bacteria and mold easily if not cleaned and dried properly.

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7 Must-Haves for Baby: 3-6 months

So these are always hard because EVERY baby is different, but with Ella the following items were lifesavers for us.

Bouncy Chair: Have a need to shower, eat or clean? You MUST HAVE a bouncy chair! The best thing is these are not very pricey or big, so you can lug them from room to room. I keep one upstairs in our master bedroom/bathroom so I can shower and get dressed. These bouncy chairs provide a spot for baby to sit and play — OR better yet sleep. Most come with a vibrator, and I have yet to meet a baby that does not fall asleep to a little vibration. When your baby is still in the newborn phase, it is hard to just set them down, and they don’t always like to lay flat so this is a great alternative.

aden + anais Burpy Bib: I registered for these with Ella and did not have them with my first daughter, but wish I had. These bibs are not only trendy, but they are soft and practical. The curved shape makes them perfect for use on your shoulder, but they also have a slam button that you can use for snapping it around the baby’s neck like a bib. Ella Jaye had reflux, so the first six months were filled with baby puke and straight-up exorcist stomach emptying. So I would put one of these around her neck in the car seat, and kept about three in my bag to clean all her mess.

Magnetic Jammies: These things are amazing especially for first-time parents! They don’t have buttons or zippers, just magnets that are easy to snap open and shut when changing the baby at night or any time of day – even with one hand. I had these for my first daughter and made sure to get some for my second. Ella is 10 months old now and still wears magnetic jammies. They are a tad more than button or zipper ones but I recommend splurging on a pair or two. Better yet register for some and cross your fingers you get one as a gift.

Bamboo Towel and Washcloths: I had no idea about these and got them as a gift from my sister-in-law. Oh, my gosh!  They are so soft, making them the perfect towels and washcloths for babies’ soft, sensitive skin. Hands down the best towels for babies or kids in general.

Lavender Bubble Bath: At three months, we make the big transition from the bedside bassinet to the crib, so having a set bedtime routine is key in my opinion. We use the Johnson & Johnson Lavender Sleepy Time Baby Shampoo and Body Wash to calm the baby down and give her a familiar smell at bedtime so she knows it is time to sleep. With both girls, we’ve had great success with setting a nighttime routine that we stick to 100% — as much as we possibly can.

Play Mat/Activity Center: It is crazy how fast babies start playing and interacting. Having a good play mat or little activity center is a must. They can spend tummy time here, then flip over and look up at all the fun things to squeal at and kick around. We have an activity center and play mat that we bring on trips, or even set in the grass outside, that we used for both girls.

Bar Co Bath Soak: Okay so this is not for the baby. BUT, it is important as a new mom to take some time to RELAX. My favorite bath soak is Bar Co. The way it smells relaxes me even if it is just for a minute — before the baby or four-year-

Do you have any must have favorites? Share them with us in the comments!