2017 Must-Have Gift Guide for Expecting Moms

When you’re an expecting mother, you can sometimes lose sight of yourself among the preparations for your upcoming bundle of joy. It seems even more so if you are having a baby close to the holidays. One thing that my mom has tried her hardest to do during my pregnancy is to make sure that I haven’t been forgotten. For my birthday, she picked out gifts for me, not for Lil Bean. The same can probably be said for the Christmas holiday as well.

So I wanted to share some of my favorite gift ideas perfect for giving to the expecting mom in your life! These gifts are perfect for the upcoming holiday season or whenever you want to spoil that mama-to-be.

She deserves it.

Here we go!

Black Floral Pajama Pants from PinkBlush Maternity

PinkBlush Maternity has been my go-to for cute, comfortable clothing throughout my pregnancy and their pajama pants absolutely ROCK! The print is gorgeous, the fabric is so soft that the pants feel like butter against your skin, and the drawstring allows you to adjust the waistband as needed.

You can’t go wrong with pretty much anything from PinkBlush Maternity. Seriously.

Want more ideas on what not to get for a new mom? Then you need to see this gift guide from Priscilla at Multiwear.

Floral Bouquet from The Bouqs

When you’re pregnant, there will be days when you just aren’t feeling your best. Sometimes all it takes it a sweet little bouquet of flowers to brighten your day and The Bouqs has been my source for flowers for quite a few years now. The arrangements change frequently throughout the year and what I like most about the company is that they really work to build a relationship between the growers and the florists.

[Bonus: Order November’s Bouquet of the Month – the Chai Bouq – and Save 10% using coupon code NOV10! Valid 11/1-11/30]

Ecocentric Mom Gift Subscription

Ecocentric Mom box

I’ve waxed poetic before about how much I love receiving the Ecocentric Mom Monthly Subscription Box. The boxes are a mix of practical and pampering items tailored to the stage of motherhood. The contents vary every month but include some of the best non-toxic, organic, natural and unique products for moms, their babies and their homes.

[Bonus: Get 30% off your first monthly box with coupon code GETSTARTED]

Lavender and Calendula Hand Salve from The Southern Belle’s Garden

Filled with nourishing oils such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and my favorite, kukui nut oil (which is known for its soothing properties helps sooth sunburns and chapped skin), this salve is perfect for dry skin. The added bonus of lavender, lemongrass, and cedar wood essential oils creates a relaxing sensation as you apply this salve to your hands. It’s a great pampering product to gift.

Looking for more of the best gifts for new moms? Alyssa over at Feathers and Stripes has some great suggestions.

Guided Pregnancy Journal from Studio Oh!

Time WILL fly by when you are pregnant. I’ve tried to keep up with my pregnancy journal the best that I can but even I have slacked off at times (right about the time I started blogging more up here actually). This pregnancy journal from Studio Oh! is super-cute and a great way for any pregnant woman to keep track of some of the most memorable moments of her pregnancy.

Milestone Pregnancy Cards from Our Green House

As I have learned during my pregnancy, it is amazing how quickly time will pass by. These cards will help a mom-to-be document the special moments of her pregnancy. The set includes a card for weeks 8-40 of pregnancy as well as other special moments such as “first kick” and “pregnancy cravings.”

Better Grip Yoga Mat from Clever Yoga

These yoga mats come in a wide array of colors and are made from premium 100% Recyclable and ECO friendly TPE material which is UV resistant, odor-less and free from PVC, Phthalates, Silicone, Latex and other toxic materials.

Kinesiology Tape Pro from Mytape

An odd choice, but I know that this would make a great stocking stuffer for any expecting mom. Kinesiology tape (which you’ve probably seen mostly athletes wear up until now) is a safe alternative to medication that can help to relieve many pregnancy symptoms including swollen feet, back pain, sciatic, etc. It serves to lift the skin and help promote better blood circulation to relieve pressure on pain receptors.

Amazon Gift Card

This is a no-brainer. Even though a lot of people think that giving gift cards might be tacky or impersonal, I LOVE to receive gift cards. It allows me to purchase what I really want. Get that mom-to-be a gift card to her favorite store and let her pick out what she really wants.

So there you have it – some of my top picks for holiday gifts for expecting moms. I hope this gift guide gives you some wonderful ideas for the holidays and after!

This Gift Guide is in participation with a Gift Guide Blog Hop. For the full list of Gifts for new or expecting moms, click here.

Week 32 & 33 Update [Trav-L-Park Day Trip]

Eep! 33 Weeks!

I had my 32 week check up last week. My blood pressure measured great, my weight was good (I gained 3 pounds since my last appointment), Lil Bean’s heart-rate was nice and strong, and I’m actually measuring at 33 weeks. Lil Bean seems to be positioned right where he needs to be (for now) which means that what Robb and I have been feeling is likely to have been his butt or thigh. We had been thinking it was his head.

Everything has been going well. There has been some stiffness/aching around my pubic bone but that doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. It’s only when I do certain things – stand after sitting in one spot too long, step out of the shower, put on pants, etc. It’s not all the time thankfully. Apparently it’s due to a hormone (called relaxin) causing my  pubic bone to loosen to make birth easier.

I thought that I might have been catching a cold – especially with the weather in North Carolina finally turning more fall-like last week – but after my appointment, I seemed to have perked up and feel so much better. Maybe it was just the blahs.

I did have an incident last week where something didn’t sit well with my stomach and I threw up (first time since my first trimester) but I wonder if that had more to do with the mixture of ingredients I ingested (stir-fry and a Yoohoo) and less with my actual pregnancy. I’m starting to master the art of sleeping while sitting up. Sometimes my heartburn is so bad that nothing will help it so I’ve started building myself a little nest of pillows on the couch. It allows me to still remain upright but to lean to my left enough that the back of the couch supports me and I can sleep. It’s pretty comfortable actually.

I spent this past weekend up at the Trav-L-Park Campground in Virginia Beach. My family goes up there on a regular basis but October is really a BIG month up there. My uncle goes all out decorating his campsite. It’s actually pretty neat because the campground has a lot of activities that goes on – such as hayrides, trick-or-treating, etc. I’m excited about taking Lil Bean next year, even if I don’t spend the night because of the dogs.

One of the biggest perks about going to the campground is the food! My mom fixes an amazing clam chowder, so I ate several bowls of it. Lil Bean seemed to enjoy it as well!

I also made it a point to go sit down with our Human Resources department this week to discuss my options for maternity leave. Even though I know that it is very, VERY likely that our plan will change (we based it on Lil Bean arriving right on schedule), it was nice to be able to have at least somewhat of an idea of how my time will work out and when I should plan on returning back to work. I want to make the most of my time with Lil Bean that I can and am planning on taking the full 12 weeks of leave that the FMLA allows (even though about half would be unpaid as I will quickly go through any time I have accumulated).

33 Weeks and 4 days!

Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook [Review/Recipe]

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook written by Miranda Couse of the popular blog Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt. I love cookies but typically find myself fixing the same ones over and over. This cookbook is amazing though. It includes 150 recipes for all-time classics and modern twists on not only cookies, but brownies, bars, and no-bake treats. The recipes include easy-to-find ingredients, many of which are already in your pantry (if they are somehow magically in my pantry, then I know they will definitely be in yours).

I couldn’t wait to try her recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. I LOVE anything with chocolate and even though I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake, I figured that I could allow myself to indulge in one or two.

The verdict?

Nom. Nom. Nom. I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.

It amazed me how quickly this recipe came together. It took no time for me to measure out all of my ingredients, mix them, and bake the cookies. The cookies all turned out perfect in my mind as well – deliciously fudgy without being overwhelmingly sweet. The cookies themselves looked lovely with the cracked topping and would be the perfect addition to your holiday table or potluck.

Instead of baking all of the cookies at once, I ended up splitting the dough into thirds, rolling them up, and freezing two batches (without rolling them in confectioner’s sugar). I figured that once our Lil Bean gets here, it’ll be nice to just pull out a few pieces of cookie dough when I need something to perk me up.

The Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook will be released on October 31st, but don’t wait – preorder yours now and get ready to do some baking!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Recipe posted with permission from the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, oil, and both sugars until light and creamy. This will take about 3 minutes if using an electric mixer or 5 to 6 minutes if creaming by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed or by hand until the dough comes together.
  4. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl for rolling.
  5. Using a medium (11⁄2-tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop the dough into balls, drop them into the confectioners’ sugar, and roll to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are cracked on top.
  7. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Tip: You can roll the cookie dough first in granulated sugar and then in the confectioners’ sugar. This will help dry out the dough, giving your cookies even more of a cracked effect.

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Janie and Jack Holiday Collection

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that I’ll receive a commission if you purchase from this link. I was compensated for this post.

Janie and Jack recently released their new holiday Mommy and Me collection and I am in love! The collection is inspired by the special memories created between a mother and her child during the holiday season. As a first time mom due in December, I’m excited about the memories I that will soon create with Lil Bean.

The collection features a range of clothing for women and girls/boys ranging in age from 0-12 years old. The price point is very reasonable, ranging from $7-$169. It includes a wide array of styles in classic red hues and luxe velvets, perfect for a festive holiday get together.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the collection:

Embroidered Rosette Socks ($7) – I am a sucker for itty bitty baby socks as I think most people are. There is just something so adorable about their smallness and these socks, with their dainty embroidered rosette, take the cake. Even though these are geared more towards a baby girl, I don’t see why little baby boys couldn’t wear them as well!

Plaid 1-Piece ($42) – This is a wonderfully festive one-piece perfect for dressing your little one in when it’s time to celebrate. Chances are, I’m going to be too tuckered out this year on having just had a baby to really make the effort in dressing our Lil Bean up but I love this for maybe next Christmas. Besides, anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with plaid.

Dog Bib ($14) – I only just now noticed how well this adorable dog bib matches the Plaid 1-Piece (above). This is a soft cotton bib, machine washable, that is perfect for wiping up any holiday spittle that might dribble out from your little one partying too hard. The little embroidered dog adds just a touch of festive cuteness.

Faux Fur Sweater Dress ($69) – Even though my eyes tend to gravitate more towards boy items, I couldn’t resist sharing this knit dress with you all. Wouldn’t it be adorable for a little girl and I love the faux fur collar.

Velvet Tie Dress ($148) – This elegant velvet shift dress is not just for moms, but for anyone looking for a festive dress for their holiday party. It even has pockets which is a nice touch for someone like me who really doesn’t carry around a purse all that often.

In honor of the collection, Janie and Jack also released an exclusive video moderated by author/nutritionist/mother Daphne Oz featuring mother-child duos and fans of the brand to talk about their relationships and dress themselves and their mothers in their favorite looks.

Watch the Full J&J Holiday Collection Me and Mommy Video

Do you make it a point to buy a festive holiday outfit for yourself or your little one?

Berry Crumb Pie for Pi Day [Recipe]

It’s Pi day! Get it? March 14 – 3.14? No? Hmm.

Moving on. Pie is one of my boyfriend’s favorite desserts so what better way to celebrate Pi day than to bake him a pie? Regardless of what he might say, I am not good at making pies and often wonder why his favorite dessert couldn’t be something like brownies – a dish that I can knock out of the park.

But being that I love him, this is the 3rd pie that I’ve made for 2017. The first was a lovely berry pie with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The second was a lemon meringue pie (using fresh meyer lemons) that nearly kicked my butt.

That lemon meringue pie was a mess. My meringue fell, twice, because I got distracted when I dumped out half of my pie as I tried to readjust it in the oven (note to self: always place your pie on top of a baking sheet). I threw a hissy fit, threatened to the pie in the trash, but still continued to cook it. I never tried the pie but Robb said it was delicious.

I went simple with this pie. I have a freezer full of frozen fruit that I need to start utilizing so I decided to make him another berry pie (which I think is his favorite kind of pie) with a crumb topping. I ended up going with a mixture of red currents, strawberries, and blueberries.

IMG_0896

Berry Crumb Pie

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Filling

  • 4 cups of thawed berries (drain some of the juice if necessary)
  • ¾ cup sugar (I used Florida Crystals Organic Pure Cane Sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Topping

  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine your fruit with granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Pour into pie shell.
  2. Combine brown sugar, rolled oats, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, and butter until crumbly Spread the topping evenly over the pie filling.
  3. Place on foil-lined baking sheet in lower third of oven. Bake until fruit bubbles and crust browns, approximately 1 hour. If topping begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil. Let cool.

Did you celebrate Pi day?