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

Every mom LOVES a heartfelt gift from her husband and children. After Instagram stalking and Internet strolling I have come up with an amazing list of gifts for mom this 2018 Holiday Season. Okay, I get it. Shopping for us moms can be difficult. Here’s hoping this list will make the mom on your list super happy this Christmas or Hanukkah (or birthday). Also, this is one big “hint, hint” for my family —ha-ha, just kidding … kind of.

This Multiple Tiny Names Necklace is literally to die for! Not only is it beautiful it is the perfect everyday piece or layering necklace. This necklace is every Mom’s dream! It comes in several finishes and unlike the typical name necklace, you can have all your children’s names on this one (up to five names). This necklace is on the top of my mommy Christmas list.

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$135

Jaysandjewels.com

Motherhood Winging It T-shirt from Mom Culture is a must have for all the mammas out there! Get the mom on your Christmas list this fun and honest T-Shirt. They also have other great motherhood inspired items for the Mom on your list.

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$28

Momculture.com

The perfect Phunny She MugsCoffee Mug to fit your mamma’s personality and sense of humor from She Mugs. Seriously, I love all these mugs, the hardest part is picking just one!

outstanding

$11.99

Shemugs.com

Chat Books make the perfect gift for preserving memories for mom this holiday season. I love ordering chat books to make sure my cellphone photos last a life time. Make Mom a special book from all your great cell phone picks and make her Christmas extra special this year.

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$10+

ChatBooks App or use this link to get $10 off your first book Chatbooks.com

Fab Fit Fun Subscription!This is for the husband or children looking to be on the nice list this year! Fab Fit Fun is a seasonal subscription box with fashion, beauty and all kinds of other seasonal trends and goodies in one box. Splurge and get her a year’s worth and she will be showered with fun gifts Summer, Fall, Spring and Winter.

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$49 quarterly use code WELCOME10 for $10 off your first box.

Fabfitfun.com

A subscription to WINC a monthly wine box subscription … enough said. Give mom the gift of relaxing with a glass of wine all year round.

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$30+ a month use the code IHUSTLEFORHER for $22 off your order.

Winc.com

UGG Slippers! These are not just any slippers. They are super comfy, fashionable and sturdy. Every Mother might not know about these, need or want these, but once she slips them on she will be so excited she has them.

$99.95

on Amazon

FOREO LUNA Play Plus: Portable Facial Cleansing Brush. I got one of these in a FabFitFun box and am in LOVE with it. Every night I use this my face feels smooth and refreshed. I never would have bought this for myself and am so glad I got one because it is now the best part of my nightly routine.

$49

on Amazon

East/West Tote Customized Bag. OH MY GOSH, these are so cool. Get your momma one that is custom to fit her style and personality. You get to pick the mini pom-pom color, trim color and the text style and color. Get creative and think of something you know she will love. For example, my bag would say #ihustleforher or Supermom or pick a phrases like “There is no life like Momlife.” They also have other smaller bag options if you don’t want to splurge for the large tote.

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$168

islandtoeastside.com

A Gift Card to her Favorite Store. Get Mom a gift card she HAS to spend on herself by making sure it is for a store she can’t end up using for the kids or someone else. Places like Sephora or Lululemon are perfect for most mammas! So if you don’t want to commit to a tangible gift, let her have some fun and pick it for herself.

Don’t forget if shopping online use EBATES! you will save money on most small and large online retailers they even have some in store saving so if you are not already an Ebates member register today!

 

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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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Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital: Making Magical Memories

Nostalgic best describes how our recent visit to the Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital was for me personally. As a kid, my family visited the original location and I still remember watching a Cabbage Patch baby being born out of the magical cabbage tree! I was a tad confused then, but it was a magical and exciting place to be!

And it STILL is a magical place to be. The new location opened in 2007 and sits on a beautiful lot with mountain views. Outside, the property looks like an old southern mansion and has huge white cabbage patch statues throughout the grounds. When you walk in they have you sign in as a visitor just like you would visiting a baby in the hospital. In the main lobby, they take you through the history of the Cabbage patch doll and even have a giant cabbage you can sit in to take your picture.

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You walk down a hall with the nurseries and rooms set up like hospital rooms into a large room that has the magical cabbage tree inside. My four-year-old daughter LOVED it! She was so entranced by the cabbage baby being born and all the fun things inside to see. She spent her time going around looking at all the dolls they have set out around the store.To me, it was just a very nice and BIG doll store, but to her, it was a magical place, and that’s all that matters.

If you are driving into the mountains or visiting Helen, GA, AND you have girls, visiting Babyland General Hospital is worth it. We somehow managed to visit without buying a single thing – another bit of magic in and of itself! However, they have several different price ranges of dolls and some other small toys you can purchase if you’re not looking to spend $80- $250 on a Cabbage Patch one-of-a-kid doll.

Some tips if you are planning to stop in:

  • Around the holidays, they decorate the building making it an even more magical and exciting experience for the kids.
  • Make sure to bring your camera for the many photo ops they have throughout the experience.
  • Plan on spending at least an hour there so you can look around snap photos and “witness” a “baby” being born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powder Room Renovation — Stylish and Kid Friendly

For months, I have been hitting up my Pinterest and Instagram feeds for small powder room decorating inspiration. There are so many dream designs out there that can seem intangible to a parent because — well — kids.

I was determined to pick an upscale, trendy look (but not TOO trendy) for our main-floor powder room located right next door to our girls’ playroom. I’ve been admiring wallpaper and wall decals for some time now and knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper or decals into the design, so I started stalking my favorites on Instagram.

Rocky Mountain Decals has the dreamiest wallpaper designs and wall decals. Their IG feed was inspiring so I figured I would take the leap. However, as mentioned this bathroom sits right outside of the playroom, and I needed to make sure wallpaper was the right choice for a bathroom frequented by our children and our tiny neighbors alike.

I reached out to Rocky Mountain Decals asking about how easy it would be to keep their wallpaper clean. With a same-day reply, they informed me it was no problem. The wallpaper is sturdy and can be wiped down with warm water when needed. I was SOLD! my luxurious dreams of being a fancy wallpaper home were about to come to fruition.

After “pinning” all kinds of cactus and succulent themed rooms on Pinterest, I decided on RM’s Cactus print (OH EM GEE). Based on this choice, my husband and I decided to make some vintage looking wood shelves with brushed gold brackets and I got the idea to mount the toilet paper off a small shelf from one of my “pins.” Adding this small shelf in the powder room gave us more design appeal and a place to put some cute décor while providing a place to put our TP.

The shelves turned out great (thanks, hubby) and are a perfect complement to the wallpaper. We replaced the mirror with a more modern antique-gold-trimmed mirror and accessorized the shelves with some custom art and Target cactus candles to complete the look.

The application of the wallpaper was so much easier then I’d imagined. Rocky Mountain makes it easy to apply. They number the paper so you know what lines up with what, and the peel-and-stick design is easy to apply and smooth out. My WONDERFUL neighbor came over to help me apply the wallpaper in the cozy space, and it took us less than two hours.

Wow! I never imagined how amazing it would turn out. One pleasant surprise was that the wallpaper design added depth to the room, making the small powder room seem larger than it actually is. This is by far my favorite room in the house now and I’m on the hunt to find my next “reno” project where I can use more Rocky Mountain Decal designs.

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Want to order your own amazing wallpaper and wall decals? Use our discount code Hustle15 to save on your order!

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Thank you Rocky Mountain Decals for providing the most beautiful and quality wallpaper we have ever seen.

Wallpaper: Rocky Mountain Decals  (discount code Hustle15)

Shelves: Wood from Home Depot, crafted by my hubby’s mad skills

Cactus Candles: Target

PowderRoom Sign: Magnolia at Target

Small Shelf NickNacks : At Home

Mirror: TJ Max

Please Wash Your Hands: Made by me 🙂

Gold Frame: Pottery Barn

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I Was So Wrong About Bush Gardens!

I want to start this post off by saying we basically spent the last year of our lives at Disney World as Annual Pass Holders (Our Year of Disney) and are always encouraging parents to take the plunge and take their toddlers to Disney (Stop Making Excuses – Take Your Toddler to Disney). However, when it came to Busch Garden’s I will be the first to say it was not on the top of my list.

When thinking about Busch Gardens, the first things that come to mind are all those huge (awesome) roller coasters. Those are the last things I want to be doing with a four-year-old and one-year-old in tow. I also think about the animals but the sheer size of the park is less motivating than a visit to ZooTampa.

This September I decided to test my theory that Busch Gardens was more for big kids and adults and I brought the girls for the first time. To my surprise I was very wrong and here’s why:

1. Sesame Street Safari of Fun truly is fun for any preschool-aged kiddos and their younger siblings. Our four-year-old had a blast on all the rides in this part of the park. They also put on an adorable interactive song and dance show with your child’s favorite Sesame Street characters. They had rides appropriate for all thrill levels including a roller coaster. Caroline tried out a roller coaster for the first time and loved it but despite all the fun she had, she was reluctant to get on again. While they are riding, and playing they can interact with their favorite Sesame Street Friends as the characters walk through the area greeting everyone.

 

 

 

 

2. Tree Top Trails is another great spot for the kids to climb and play. There are two splash areas — one for bigger kids and one for the itty bitties. The treetop play area is in the shade, making it a great spot to cool off on those hot Florida summer days.

 

 

 

 

3. Splash pads in every corner of the park! Unlike Disney, Busch Gardens Tampa did a great job at adding water features to help patrons stay cool in the Florida heat. The park is huge, so there is a lot of walking around and in Florida, about 11 months of the year are — hot, hot, HOT!

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4. They have designated Kids’ weekends depending on the season where there are more fun interactive activities for young children.

5. The animal hospital is a great way for young children to learn about caring for animals up close but also how NOT to treat wild animals. There are several close encounter options throughout the day (in the air conditioning, I might add) that allows kids to see animals up close and talk with the experts. This was such a fun experience for Caroline. She got to learn about surgery on large animals and see a Screech Owl close up.

 

A few things to consider when taking small children:

Age Limit, things like the feeding the kangaroos and the safari have an age limit so children under 5 years old, for safety reasons, cannot participate. However, outside of the Kangaroo feeding area the woman behind the counter gave us food to feed the ducks and that was more than enough of a distraction for my girls. My oldest daughter (4) was bummed but kept telling everyone how she was going to come back when she is five.

Another thing to consider is the cost: the ticket prices after taxes even for a kid under 5 are more than $100 — yikes! So even though you are not at Disney, you are still not saving much on the ticket. Food and beverages are also on the high end. One thing about Disney is the ticket price is high but the food in the park is always surprisingly affordable, at Busch Gardens this is not the case.

Overall we would recommend visiting Busch Gardens with preschool-aged kids! Our baby tagged along and even she loved her visit. Her favorite thing was the Skyride — she loved having the wind in her hair and yelling at everything below us.

 

Visit the website for more information on all the Kid Friendly aspects at this park: Bush Gardens Tampa

BuschGardens

Oktoberfest with Kids! Helen, Ga. 2018

Last weekend my family and I visited a small Blue Ridge Mountain town in the Northwest area of Georgia originally developed to model a Bavarian Alpine village — Helen, GA­. I know what you’re thinking, “What?” Yes, an Alpine village in North Georgia. So, in true fashion every October the town of Helen celebrates Oktoberfest.

This year was Helen’s 48thAnnual Oktoberfest and for those of you unfamiliar with this celebration, here is a brief description of the festivities:

“German-style bands from around the country and around the world play on the stage for your listening and viewing pleasure. See the Alphorns blown, the Cowbells rung and the Accordion squeezed. Grab your partner and take a spin on the dance floor to the timeless tunes of the Polka. The Festhalle is set up with rows of long tables so you can eat and drink while watching the show.”

At first thought, kid-friendly was the last thing that came to mind when envisioning Helen’s Oktoberfest. However, after speaking with a seasoned local we figured we would give it a try.

The Chamber sets up the festivities in their Festhalle with kid-friendly amenities, such as their own dance floor. Around town, all the bars and restaurants are celebrating too, and since the town is already designed to look and feel like you are in Bavaria, the beer tents and extra outdoor seating puts the icing on the cake.

On our first day we walked the charming village and ate an early dinner at the Heidelburg, a German restaurant nestled in a multi-level building overlooking an Oktoberfest beer garden and the charming shopping area of Helen. We were lucky to get a spot on their balcony. This enabled us to take in the sights and sounds of the festivities while enjoying a beer and some German food with the kids in tow.

Our oldest daughter (four) enjoyed watching the festivities and dancing next to our table. We ordered German pancakes and the Heidelburg’s sausage sampler to share. The food was good and seemed authentic. German food tends to be heavy and less flavorful than I’m use to, so if you get bad German food it is REALLY bad. On our last night we ate at the Bavarian Inn and discovered just how bad German food can get! If you are visiting Helen make sure to eat at the Heidelburg at least once and try to get there for early dinner so you can grab a balcony table.

Another spot worth noting is the Alpine Pretzel Haus on the other side of the street but still on the main strip of Helen. The pretzels come out piping hot and the Beer cheese is some of the best I’ve ever had. My advice would be to splurge and spend the extra $1 for one more cheese — you will thank me later.

Our visit showed us Oktoberfest can be fun with young children. Helen offers plenty to do with kids, while still coming away with an authentic Oktoberfest feeling.

Aside from all the Oktoberfest, we were also able to get some hiking in at Dunes Creek and it was absolutely beautiful. We wore our Osprey carrying pack to tote our one-year-old, but our four-year-old daughter lasted the entire hike on her own! The views were stunning and the weather was perfect. We can’t wait to go back and explore more trails as a family in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Fall in Georgia is a little later than up north but the leaves started to change in Helen during our visit. If fall leaves are on your must-have list, make sure to wait until the last week of the Fest to visit. We stayed at the Loreley Resort, a charming condo style resort right on the river and within walking distance to downtown Helen.

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The property was beautiful and the accommodations fit right in with the Bavarian theme, with enough cabin feel to make it a perfect fit for your family’s getaway to Helen.

We loved our stay in Helen and cannot wait to return to experience the Christmass holiday festivities this year!

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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