Baby Gifts with Parents in Mind

Baby

It is baby season my friends.  I tell ya.  I have 5 friends that have had babies within the last few months! Yes. 5 sweet babies that I get to snuggle and love on.  And with new babies comes gifts.  So what do you get for a new mama? A seasoned mama?

When Adam and I registered for George, I swore a domestic was going to happen in the baby aisle of Target.   It was supposed to be this happy bonding moment for us where we picked out all the wonderful things for our new baby that was set to arrive in just a few months.  And yet we were entirely clueless.   Which diapers do we buy?  Diaper Genie?  What kind of lotion?  Shampoo?  Shampoo and Body Wash in one?  Bottles?  I mean, we were going to breastfeed, but should we get bottles just in case?  Which bottles? Oh.My.Gosh.  I needed a cocktail.  And of course I was 6 months pregnant and hormonal so that was not going to happen.  By the end Adam was scanning golf balls and TVs and I was the one trying to navigate the baby aisle on my own.

After 2.5 years of being mom, I feel like I have a little experience under my belt and can offer some suggestions to new moms or seasoned vets.

George was born in the dead of winter. It was 22 below zero when we brought him home.  The idea of taking him outside was off the table. I ordered EVERYTHING off Amazon after he was born.  Prime is totally worth it.  I had everything I needed within 2 days. Running low on breast milk bags? Yep, Amazon.  Baby hangers? Yep, Amazon.  So while I realize all of these posts go to Amazon, it was truly my go to (and still is) for ordering essentials (that we either didn’t get during our showers or entirely forgot to stock up on)!  You can even make a baby registry on Amazon!

(This post contains affiliate links –  which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I trust!  Up North Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com)

Great Gifts and Must Haves for Baby

  1. Diaper Genie – This is our family’s #1 recommended, must have, go-to gift and registry item. We LOVE ours and absolutely cannot live out out it.  (Not everyone agrees, but we definitely find it very convenient!)
  2. Rock and Play – After we tried co-sleeping, crib sleeping, not sleeping, this was the biggest hero in our house.  The Rock and Play sits at an angle (which helps with reflux) and does just that, it rocks.  It’s small enough to fit bedside. So while you’re on 45 minutes of sleep you can roll over, and attempt to rock the baby back to sleep.  It was definitely a life saver in our house.
  3. Swaddles (Halo Sleep Sack was our favorite) – George was born in the winter and we swore by the swaddles that the hospital sent home with us.  They were made of thick fleece material that velcroed shut (swaddles for dummies).  That sweet boy was a perfect little burrito every single time.  Combined with the Rock and Play (see #2) this is what allowed us a few hours of sleep!  (They also make cotton ones for summer, I’d highly recommend these!).
  4. Bath Flower – Babies are squirmy and slippery little buggers.  When you try and give them their first few baths you are already terrified enough!  (This is after the “sponge bath” phase..)  This flower can get wet and fits right in the sink, or you can lay them on it in the bath tub.  Hang it up to dry and/or toss it in the washer.  Very easy!
  5. Grass.  We loved our grass drying rack for bottles.  (Note: water does collect in the bottom, don’t forget to clean your grass.)
  6. Anything that zips.  Think middle of the night/afternoon for the 10th time. Babies poop…. The LAST thing you want to change is anything that goes over their head (although onesies were made to be pulled down so they don’t have to go overhead!).  I also like these for bedtime: Sleep Sack
  7. Shampoo and body wash – I absolutely love the Just Hatched Brand.  It’s an all-natural product and budget friendly.
  8. Diapers and Wipes – Always a great gift!  I’m thrifty.  Amazon does subscriptions where you can get a discount and have these delivered monthly.  Target does that as well.  You can usually get gift cards in return with the purchase of 2 or 3 boxes add coupons, and cartwheel and you’re saving big!  Also, I LOVE Pampers, but know that every child is different and parents are different. These are simply my preferred brand.
  9. Baby Carrier – This is handy for any mom!  George used to fall asleep when I’d put him in it.  Everyone has their preference on which type they’d like. We used the Bjorn, some like the Ergo and others prefer a wrap type.
  10. Something for the Big Brother or Big Sister – I always try to think about the big brother or sister who basically just got evicted as the center of his/her parents universe.  And really everyone else’s for that matter as everyone is cooing over the new baby.  Depeding on the age of the child, something that just recognizes them will make them feel special!  (I like: Crayola Color Wonder – these only show up on the paper. Total win).

Gifts for a New Mom (Regardless if this is your 1st or 10th)

  1. Sleep.  Cut the woman a break by offering to snuggle baby for a few hours or if there are older children, take them and give mom time to simply relax.  Help her with laundry or by tidying the house. She WILL appreciate it!
  2. Amazon Prime – 3 kids in tow to Target or online shopping at 2 am while you’re feeding?  My package will arrive in 2 days please 🙂
  3. Flowers – Get a mason jar and some fresh cut flowers.  I personally love flowers and anything that is bright and cheery is totally welcomed!
  4. Meals – When we came home from the hospital, we came home to a counter full of snacks and a fridge stocked full of meals. Our neighbors were so kind and clearly knew what we needed.  Fresh fruit, breakfast foods, anything that can be eaten one handed is highly recommended!
  5. Epsom Salts and Essential Oils – I am NOT a bath person. But after having my sweet boy, I took more baths than he did. It was my respite, it was my way to de-stress. I am a huge fan of Young Living for essential oils. Lavender is an excellent oil and it’s wonderful with Epsom Salt in the bath. My sweet friend Steph sells Young Living and if you have any interest in oils – check out her site!  The Gentle Babies book by Debra Rayburn is an excellent reference guide for using oils during pregnancy, childbirth and for baby/young children as well.

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This isn’t an entirely comprehensive list, but it is a good start if you aren’t sure what to buy for mom or baby (or if you are like me, what to register for!)  No one tells you what you might need and these are things we really liked and truly appreciated.  Do you have a favorite gift to give? Or are you a mom with a must-have?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

XOXO

Kristen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August Goals

I always admire other bloggers who post their “goals” for the month. I did the ONCE. Yes. one time and it was like 2 years ago – and who knows if I even remotely came close to accomplishing them. Let’s just go with probably not.  I’ve been really trying to push myself with writing so why not set some goals, right? 


My goals.. For August… 

This is the dirt pile in our front yard… 


1. Landscaping.   We have been working on this landscaping since we moved in.  Last summer I pulled a ton of pavers out of the front yard with the hopes to plant grass by fall.  That never happened and this is what our front yard looks like now.  (I cannot wait for another year to show the ENTIRE progression of start to finish!).  Didn’t quite get to this but are starting THIS weekend!


2.  Running.  My running has been so limited because of my back injury. However, I can start running again (slowly) by adding some biking and other low impact activities.  I only have 1 race scheduled for August and it’s a 5K this weekend (Gopher to Badger).  Last year I was in top shape and ran a great 1/2. This year I’ll be cheering on all the runners looking forward to my next one! (Which I swore last year was my last… but hoping to do Grandma’s in 2018 and MAYBE gopher to badger 2017?!)  Ran Gopher to Badger 5K and didn’t have my best run 🙁 


3.  Cleaning/Organizing/eBaying. I am a clothes hoarder.  This has been a bit of a revelation as I’ve gained and lost (and gained) weight. I cover up with new clothes.  So I’m slowly paring down my closet and selling my shit high quality clothes (several with tags) that I couldn’t live without and have never worn 🙂  Typical, right?   DID it.  Got rid of a ton of stuff!


4. Weddings.  Not mine. HA HA HA.  Two of them.  One which happens to be on my favorite weekend of the year.  Adam is in one so we’ll be doing wedding festivities all weekend the last weekend in August.  They will both be fun 🙂  handled.  One I spent two days recovering from.


5.  Pub Crawling.  Erin Adams’s Hargrove’s 10th Annual Polar Pub Crawl (North St Paul, MN) is this upcoming weekend.  I can’t even handle that it’s been 10 years since she started her pub crawl.  There have been a lot of fun memories, and some not so fun memories (headstands and card cheaters) okay that fits in both columns 🙂   We haven’t made it to all 10 but are really excited about making it this year.  See Instagram. Had a blast!!


6.  Pepper Fest See #4.  My favorite weekend of the ENTIRE year is in North Hudson, WI.  I grew up down the street from Pepper Fest and L-O-V-E going every single year!!  This year will be cut short by a wedding …ahem… please be considerate and check a calendar next year folks… j/k.  Parades, Italian Food, Beer, Music, and old friends!  What more could you ask for?  (Pepper Eating Contest, Spaghetti eating contest, a 5k/10K race, rides for the kids, bags tournaments… ) Seriously, one of the best summer get togethers around!!  Only made it to the parade this year.


7. Help Dad.  Dad is having knee replacement surgery August 15th.. So while he’s pretty humble about his health and what’s going on, he is going to need his army behind him for this one!  While I’ll be covering most days and a few nights, the rest of the family will be helping as well.  So grateful for all that he has done for us and am so happy to be able to give back and help him 🙂    Did this!  He is recovering like a champ!

Grandpa and George taking Sam for a walk


8. Unpack.  Seriously.  We STILL have boxes at Adam’s parents… and we STILL have several unpacked boxes in our basement.  I think until we actually paint and get each room the way we like it, we will have boxes of stuff just waiting to make its debut!  I tackled TWO WHOLE boxes this month.  Hoping for more next month!


9. Go to Church.  I am baptized and confirmed Catholic but have never felt as connected as I once was in Arizona (99-01).  I recently went to a funeral (good time to think about your Faith) and admired how connected the Pastor is to the community.  The following Sunday George and I went to service and the minute we sat down, the pastor walked over and introduced himself. I felt welcomed and knew that was where I needed to be.  George and I have been going to church the past few weekends there and plan to continue going.   This one sadly fell by the wayside.


10.  Be in the moment.  That was last week’s church message.  Just appreciate where you are when you are there.  Put the phone down. Put your tablet down.  Put any and all distractions aside and simply live in that moment.  How often do we meet a friend for coffee, or take our kids to the park only to find ourselves with our heads buried in our phones or thinking about something else?  I AM SO GUILTY!!!   I am trying to simply put my phone down and enjoy a few minutes of whatever it is I’m doing. Simply be.  Oh how I need to remember this one.


11. Live in front of the Camera.  I read a blog post another woman wrote, where she recognized that she was capturing all of her children’s milestone moments but was never visible in any of them. She was behind the camera.  There was nothing to show that while the child blew out his birthday candles and opened presents she was there.  She was taking the pictures.  This hit home with me. I was looking for a recent picture of myself with George and my storage is maxed out but none of them have me in them.  So when I stumbled upon this it truly spoke to me. My goal is to post one picture a day for the next 365 on my Instagram Account.   Go check out my Instagram (shameless plug) @upnorthmama1 for my daily post of in front of the camera!  While I didn’t get a post in every day, I am definitely better about being in front of the camera now!

Dinner selfie – no filter, unedited. 

XOXO

Kristen 

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6 Educents Must-Haves Cheaper than Amazon

I’d love to be able to shop around for the best price always, but sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day!  

I received a list of items that are cheaper on Educents, (one of my favorite online stores for educational resources) than on Amazon. I was shocked to find some items were $100 cheaper on Educents than Amazon. So, of course I wanted to share this time-and-money-saving list with you!


Hot tip: Use code GETREADY to get free shipping on every order, no minimum required or WELCOME16: 15% off + Free Shipping with no minimum for new customers

Hooked on Phonics Learn To Read Kit for PreK-2nd – Save $170.00

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Hooked on Phonics is one of the most trusted brands in teaching children how to read. This set is for Pre-K-2nd graders who are looking to create a strong foundation in phonics. This set includes workbooks as well as access to the HoP online learning portal. Retail Price – $299.99 / Amazon Price – $265.00 Educents Price – $129.99 

Maestro Classics Musical Stories Set – Save $112.00

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This 12 CD collection features perennial classics you’ll remember from childhood like Peter and The Wolf, The Nutcracker, and The Tortoise And The Hare. Each disk also includes activities to complete for students after they have finished the story. Retail Price – $200.00 / Amazon Price – $93.43 Educents Price – $88.00

Times Tales Animated DVD  Save $10.00

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Times Tales is one of the best ways to teach kids multiplication – period. One mom said, “Best money spent on math. It really worked. Within a week my 9 and 11-year-old completed 110 problem text with scores of 99% and 100% respectively. Wow.” Audio, visual, logical – what’s more to ask?Retail Price – $29.99 / Amazon Price – $28.99 Educents Price – $19.99

Reusable Human Body Sticker Set – Save $9.00

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The Mona MELissa reusable sticker playsets are an amazing way to create a hands-on learning experience in your home, classroom, or anywhere with a wall. Teach kids all about anatomy – and make it stick (literally!) – with this scientifically accurate set. Retail Price – $28.99 Amazon Price – $24.99 Educents Price – $19.99

Tegu Magnetic Building Blocks: 40 Piece Set – Save $27.50

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Tegu blocks are the wooden magnetic blocks that are captivating children’s attention worldwide. Aside from being an outside-of-the-box toy, Tegu cares about creating social good, and hires workers in Honduras to create these wonderful toys. Plus they plant a tree with each purchase. 🙂 Retail Price – $110.00 Amazon Price – $110.00 Educents Price – $82.50

Hooked on Phonics Spelling Program  Save $20.00

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Spelling Bee here we come! The Hooked On Spelling program is no exception to the quality of Hooked on Phonics programs and teaches spelling in a way that’s unique and fun at the same time.

Retail Price – $79.95 / Amazon Price – $130.22

Educents Price – $59.95

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Staples: Back to School Supplies! Under $10!

It’s that time of year again!  Wait… it’s only July. Yes! It’s time to start thinking about Back-To-School already!  School supplies are on crazy discounts right now at many of the major retailers.  Although I don’t have school age kids, I am a teacher at heart and can’t resist a fresh pack of new markers…crayons..notebooks… you get the idea 🙂 (I’m also SUPER thrifty and love finding a good deal… you can read my post about other ways to save here and here).  This is not a sponsored post but may contain affiliate links.

One of my favorite bloggers is Collin over at Hip2Save.  If you aren’t already following her, get on her email list. Yes, you will get daily emails full of amazing deals.  Trust me, it’s the only email I religiously look forward to and read, every-single-day.   I was able to score an amazing deal on several school supplies.  I didn’t grab all the supplies in her bargain, but I did get some.  Staples in Woodbury, MN has an AWESOME supply of all these items, so no worries about fighting to get them.  The sale is on through July 23rd. Don’t miss out!

What did I get?

10 Notebooks (5 College/5 Wide Ruled).   These were .17 each = $1.70 (limit 30)

2 Packs of Markers – .97 each = $1.94 (limit 30)

2 Packs of Crayons – .50 each = $1.00 (limit 30)

1 Pack of Erasers – .25 =  $.25  (Hard to pass up, but I think I have plenty of these on hand!) (limit 5)

4 packs of Pens (1 Black, 1 Blue, 2 Purple) – $.75 each = $3.00  (limit 5)

Colored Pencils – .97 each = .97 (limit 30)

My total BEFORE tax was $8.86.  I simply cannot complain!!  There are other great deals out there as well. I know Target has .50 crayons this week as well as ongoing school supply deals.

Here are a few other deals at Staples:

Purell Hand Sanitizer $2 (reg. $2.49) – (limit 30)  (.75/1 Purell Coupon here – making even less!)

Two-Pocket Paper Folders $0.17 each (reg. $0.55) – (limit 30)

Buy 1 Staples Composition Notebook $0.50 (reg. $2.29) – (limit 30)

Also, if you’re in the market for a new backpack, when you purchase one you get an additional 25% off on your school supplies!

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