5 Gifts to bring to a One-year-olds birthday party!

This post may contain affiliate links. I’m not sure how they work. Still learning here.

Coming in at $7 is the classic board book that resists the toddlers ability to destroy. This Hero Vs. Villain book is playful and colorful.

This threading apple was a favorite on our recent plane trip. For $8.99 it keeps tots intrigued at a restaurant or in the car while they work on their fine motor skills.


Toddlers are at such a fun and interactive stage! This brush and apron set is convenient and for $12 it makes for an easy gift.

A Doctor Kit is ideal to help toddlers ease doctor visit anxiety. The wood feel adds a nice weight which helps to develop strength and adds to the longevity of the toy. I am a HUGE fan of wood toys. This kit is $20! My toddler loves the stethoscope, and my dogs enjoyed chewing on the syringe.

Play kitchen accessories, like these metal pans are always awesome! If the toddler has a play kitchen, or is getting one, buy these pans! The metal is durable and sturdy. It is also chew proof (from puppies). My toddler likes to bang her various utensils on the pots and pans, and likes to listen to the clink of wood fruit toys hitting the pan. This cute Melissa & Doug set is $20!


Items to help survive months 6-12

You’ve made it past the newborn stage.

What next?

Whats next is tummy time. Park adventures. Sunshine. Teething. Vaccines. Sleep regressions and sleep success. Here are a few items to help you navigate months 6-12, or items you can gift to your loved one. (This post may contain affiliate links, so I may get a small commission off of your purchase )

Buy all the teething items. Our favorite was a teething mushroom my Mombella, $5. However, I bought every single teething item on Amazon. I like this mushroom because I can throw it in the sterilizer or dishwasher, and then toss it in the freezer. I love that it’s easy to care for!

Tylenol and Motrin, $8! This is definitely a must! From teething, to daycare germs and sickness, and shots, babies go through a lot! I personally recommend buying brand name, mainly because I have seen recent recalls on store brand infant pain relief for the dosages being off.


Quiet book and travel book, $12. I love this one specifically because it talks about brushing teeth. This quiet books takes you through the bed time routine. It is perfect for travel and vacations. My toddler loves to use the little bunny and tuck it into her own bed. We swaddle it in a wash cloth as part of our own bedtime routine.


This one is for the parents: And Baby Makes Three, $3-12. Relationships are hard. Babies make them harder. This book is written by the Gottman’s (well known psychologists) to help couples through this huge change. If you are having any relationship issues, or know new parents who are having a rough time, this book is a great start.

A waterproof picnic blanket ($18)! Now that baby is getting older, you can start taking the little one into direct sunlight. I grabbed my picnic blanket on clearance last year and we take it to parks all the time. Add a bottle of sunscreen and some toys and you have yourself an outdoor party! We usually grab some snacks and balls to roll on the blanket, and I usually set up under a shady tree. I personally prefer classic colors so that the blanket is more timeless and you will be able to take it more places.

Now time for some fun: a musical, space themed, pounding bench! This one is $25. I love wooden toys, and I got this one over the Hape branded one because of the space theme. It comes with three balls that you pound through the holes onto the xylophone below. My toddler still loves to play with this, and I love to have it out on display because it’s so beautiful!

Check off the needs list for your 6 month old and up!

This post will contain amazon affiliate links.

Not too much changes in the hygiene department. You still need diapers and wipes. You still need simple washes and lotions.

Toothbrushes: First things first, your little bub is starting to get teeth. What I like about the Nuby set is that it includes 4 brushes – one for every stage. It’s about $5, and will last you about a year. The silicone bristles on the smaller brushes make them great chew toys too!

Toothbrushes: Once bub out grows the Nuby set, get them normal toothbrushes. I’m a fan of bamboo brushes, partly for less plastic waste and also because the bristles are soft. I’ve been eyeing the set below for $10.

After 6 months, your little potoato will become a little bit more curious. You’ll need safe places to put them down on occasion.

Play yard: If you don’t have a play yard already, now is the time. We got the below one with a fun Carnival print for stays at Grandma’s house. $50 on Amazon gets you a simple play yard without the extra diaper changing station and napper (non-affiliate link below).

Foam Play Mat: If you have hard floors, consider getting a foam mat! Many moms in my mom group loved this Skip Hop pattern because it was reverse-able. One side has fun patterns babies can trace, the other side will match the decor. At $88 there are cheaper options, this one was the most popular in the group.

Pillow Pile up: Ok, this one isn’t a purchase, but an idea of horizontal play that encourages muscle development so strengthen core muscles (for rolling and crawling) and their legs too (as a primer for walking and standing). Pile some pillow or stuffed animals on the play mat an just play with your baby. Encourage them to crawl over the animals, around them- talk to them. Tell them what they are doing. It’ll keep you entertained too.

Alright. Now that you’ve made sure their teeth are clean, and they are safe, let’s upgrade the play area. For this next stage, I like anything that encourages vertical play (gets them standing and muscles ready for walking).

Play Kitchen: These are so hugely versatile, and easy to customize and expand. There are items in reach of sitting babies, so they can play and crawl around. tether the kitchen to a wall so it can support babies at a pull up stage, and help protect babies who climb on everything. I personally prefer a simple kitchen, since that’s more timeless and easier to grow with baby. Ikea makes a great one, and so does KidKraft and Step 2. Can you imagine your baby banging on the oven door? Or your toddler banging pots and pans together? Your young child washing fruit in the sink? These will run $80-200, with the below one running $100.

Kitchen Play: Ready to accessorize? If you have old kitchen ware you can give to your little one, please do! If you need to add to your stock since your dogs ate all your pieces, then these are what I recommend. Metal pots are fun to bang together, AND the dogs can’t eat them! Such a win! This Melissa & Doug set runs about $20.

Play Food: We love Ikea’s DUKTIG fruits and vegetables. The plush feel gives babies something soft to chew on, and toddlers something soft to throw. We do have lots off food fights in our house! The tiny garlic and mushrooms make me so happy! These are $10 at Ikea, and you can get them at Amazon, although it’s more expensive.

Play Food: These eggs make an adorable Easter gift and kitchen accessory. My little liked to roll them around on the floor and chase them. She also likes the loud thunk they make when she tosses them into the metal pots and pans. at 18 months, she is just now caring about matching the shapes. This set below is about $12.

Walker: Again, vertical play. Using a walker helped my baby to gain confidence as she learned to walk. I love wood toys for many reasons, among them being the durability and ability to keep them for future babies or gift them used to friends. This Cossy walker is $35, and amazingly adorable!

Activity Table: Tables encourage babies to stand, which we want them to practice! I like that this does not require batteries. There are no lights or sounds to overwhelm. This is a toy I like to wind down time, it bridges the time between active play and nap/ night time! This is $26.

Baby Shark: Look, it’s 2019 and my toddler jams out to Pinkfong songs. Most parents are annoyed by now, but if it keeps baby happy long enough for me to get things done, I’m happy! She likes to cuddle the shark, we talk about it (“Where is Baby Shark? Baby Shark is yellow.”), and we cuddle. Often I will model something on the shark before I do it to her. For example, I diaper and swaddle the shark, I feed and burp the shark. She loves it, and it’s under $10!

And lastly, car seats. If you haven’t already, most babies will start to transition out of the infant seat onto a convertible seat. I use Car Seats for Littles as a starting point. As an American, I often cross reference what is acceptable in Canada and see what is available in America. I do this because Canada has stricter regulations, and our roads/cars/drivers are similar enough. Here is their page: https://csftl.org/recommended-seats-canada/

I personally have Graco Extand2fit ($160). I love the extended rear facing capabilities and all the colors. I honestly got our back when Toys R Us was going out of business.

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertiable car seat had my heart, but my wallet ran away. As your baby gets older, taking out the entire car seat to clean up after diaper blow outs and various car snacks and drinks becomes a chore. If I had $300, I would have gone up to this model. Just…. look at how easy it zips off…. so easy.

Emergency Preparedness Week 2

Get those bags together and your markers ready!

  1. Clean a space for the emergency bags and bins
  2. Gather bags: Ziplocs, backpacks, grocery bags, waste bags, and permanent markers
  3. Papers. print lists, make copies of important documents
  4. Clothing
  5. Hygiene
  6. Mental health, stimulation, and comfort
  7. Water
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Pets

You certainly don’t have to buy everything new. Go through your home and figure what you don’t use daily and set it aside in the nook you cleaned last week. You’ll want a backpack for each family member including animals. Large Ziploc will be used to section EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING will be going into a bag. Stash aside a few grocery bags as well to store dirty clothes and waste. I also out aside a trash bag per family member, as in a true emergency, having a large plastic bag is pretty handy. Figure 1 trash bag per person. Permanent markers will be used to label all the things.

I have a few affiliate links below to help you figure anything you don’t already have.


For backpacks, we personally got ours from Goodwill for $5 each. But Amazon has some great options in case Goodwill doesn’t work out for you.

This one is very economical, for about $15 in a variety of colors. https://amzn.to/2XSq5I9
This one is $30, but comes with a water reservoir, so that’s handy.
Sandwich size for small items and toiletries, $8
Quart size bags for documents and toys, $7

Gallon size bags for clothing and blankets, $8

Emergency Preparedness Week 1

Let’s get cleaning!

I know it’s not a lot to do this week. That’s kind of the point. I want this to be achievable. Your homework for this week is to clean out an area for your gear.

  1. Clean a space for the emergency bags and bins
  2. Gather bags: Ziplocs, backpacks, grocery bags, waste bags, and permanent markers
  3. Papers. print lists, make copies of important documents
  4. Clothing
  5. Hygiene
  6. Mental health, stimulation, and comfort
  7. Water
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Pets

Consider an area that is not directly exposed to the elements. And indoor area would be best. This will protect your medications, water, and food supplies.

Consider somewhere high up. This will reduce the likelihood of pests getting into your items.

Lastly, make it somewhere out of the way from your day-to-day life, but easy to access when you are on your way out the door.

For us, this is the top shelf of our hall closet. Its indoors, high up, out of the way, and it’s easy to open and grab items when we need to leave. I embraced Konmarie and cleaned out much of the closet. I made a few donations, and sold some items on Facebook marketplace. Now I have a nice open space to put my gear!

Emergency preparedness: Prologue

Broken A.C.s, storms, hurricanes, evacuations, and zombies. OH MY. Everything is so much scarier when you are a parent.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to work together at getting ready. Actually getting ready. Really putting things together. The plan is out lined below:

  1. Clean a space for the emergency bags and bins
  2. Gather bags: Ziplocs, backpacks, grocery bags, waste bags, and permanent markers
  3. Papers. print lists, make copies of important documents
  4. Clothing
  5. Hygiene
  6. Mental health, stimulation, and comfort
  7. Water
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Pets

5 Baby shower gifts that will actually get used

This post contains affiliate links. So, if you purchase from one of my links, I get a small commission. I don’t know how much. I’ve never done this before.

  1. Vitamin D drops, $20. I had no idea I was supposed to get these and use them for the first few months. In the USA, most pediatricians recommend using Vitamin D drops for the first 6 months if the baby is breastfed. In cloudier areas, they can be recommended up to 2 years!

2. Rohm sound machine $20. This is portable, so not only can you use it anywhere in the home, but for car rides and hotels too! Sound machines help to lull babies to sleep, and also allow mom and dad to do housework without worry of waking the baby. Get it for them and they will be so grateful!

3. Skip Hop Bandanna Buddies, $11-16. Something fun you can buy the happy family, any of these adorable Bandanna Buddies! My toddler has the unicorn, I also recently bought a friend the fox version and another the dinosaur version. Skip Hop is a pretty solid brand to get fun items from!

4. High contrast baby board book, $5-7. Young babies cannot really process colors, so the high contrast of the black and white will give them something interesting to look at. This will ideally engage baby long enough for the parents to eat a hot meal, or keep the baby entertained enough for the parents to talk about the book to the baby and help those budding language skills!

5. Haakaa, $13. This one is more for mom, but she will be grateful! I found it worth while to go brand name with this. Mom can use it on the opposite side when the baby nurses to catch any drips – it is liquid gold after all. It’s also handy if mom gets stuck in traffic and needs to pump, or is camping or travelling where there’s no electricity. It’s always handy to have this manual pump around!

Mama Monday: Trying to Conceive and Trying for a Baby (TTC and TFAB)

Everything about babies is hard, including trying to make one. Here are 5 useful products to help!

1.) Royal Jelly. This super sweet honey is great in teas. Both parents should take 1 tablespoon once a day. Not only is this super food handy for fertility, but its properties are great for overall health including the possibility of reducing inflammation.

2.) Maca Root Powder. I love taking this in powder form since it makes it easy to blend with smoothies and shakes. It almost tastes like butter scotch, the it is subjectively palatable. It is believed that Maca root helps balance hormones and energy levels.

3.) Fertility tea. Why not? Brew a Pink Stork cup of fertility tea and add in a spoonful of royal honey.

4.) Easy@Home ovulation testing strips and pregnancy tests. I love the multi-pack available on Amazon. It gave me plenty of ovulation tests to track for months, and pregnancy tests to take after the two week wait.

5.) Emily Oster: Expecting Better. There is so much fear and information out there about pregnancy and fertility. Emily is a mathematician who uses number to reassure you. This book is perfect for the mama who loves research.

View the list here on Amazon: http://a.co/1tSfrkI

There are plenty of other handy tools out there when you are TTC. Those are the 5 things I could not live without!

What did you find useful while you were TTC or TFAB?