It's that time of year again—time for our annual Holiday Gift Guide where we share what items we are loving for the kiddos and ourselves. Maggie, Melissa and I have each put together a few of our favorites things for newborns, toddlers, school age kids, expectant moms and all moms. Below are link to all the items.
Gifts for newborns. Let's be honest—newborns don't need much. They won't remember this holiday season and can't open gifts. Plus, mom and dad have probably already been bombarded with so many gifts for little one. So keep the gifts small and go for more unique items that you can't find everywhere.
Gifts for toddlers. The challenge here is finding gifts the kids will like just as much as (hopefully more than) the box. Melissa's little ones love building things and then knocking them down and creating things from art to buldings.
Gifts for school age kids. Maggie's boys are loving anything they can ride or build. This is also a great age for kids to learn a new skill, like playing the guitar.
Gifts for expectant moms. These are things I am loving or covetting this holiday season. A pregnancy pillow is a must for any expectant mom. If she doesn't have one, buy her one now! This was my first pregnancy purchase and worth every penny. The other items are gift to spoil mom-to-be that she might not buy herself.
Gifts for all moms. Make mom's life easier with a robot vacuum. You can never go wrong with coffee, a cute new bag or sunglasses.
What are you and your kiddos wishing for this year?
Leslie Vandever shares tips for staying healthy when traveling over the holiday season.
If you’re like most Americans, you face the holiday season—that period from just before Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day—with a mixture of pleasant anticipation and a sort of resigned dread. There are fun presents, goodies, feasts, pretty decorations, parties full of laughter and camaraderie, and the opportunity to spend time with the extended family. It’s the very definition of “the most wonderful time of year,” as the old song goes.
But traveling during the holidays can add its own, special challenges—and nobody wants to face them while fighting off a cold, or feeling run-down and generally unhealthy. This year, stop and take care of your health before you hop in the sleigh to Grandma’s house.
Get vaccinated. If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, get it at least two weeks before your trip. That way, you’ll be far less likely to catch it from someone. Vaccinating against pneumonia, whooping cough, and shingles is smart, too.
Drink water. Try for at least 8 measuring cups full each day. Water helps your body function at its best and flushes impurities that can slow you down from your system. You’ll look, move, and feel better if you’re well-hydrated.
Rest well. Make sure you hit the hay each night at a reasonable hour. Shoot for seven good hours of sleep. During the day, take frequent, short rest breaks—but avoid napping for more than 15 minutes. Consider deepening your rest with simple meditation exercises, like counting your breaths or slow, deep breathing.
Decompress the stress. As busy as the holiday season is, we often forget to take breaks for fun and relaxation, but they’re vital for good mental and physical health. Meditation is a good way to beat stress. So is playing a game, dancing in the kitchen, and doing a little last-minute work in the garden before winter descends.
Eat mindfully. Plan your time so you’re not stuck wolfing junky, high-calorie fast-food on the run. Instead, make it a point to sit down for tasty, balanced, nourishing meals. Mindful eating will help keep your energy levels and spirits high while helping your body function at its best.
Move your bod. Five short minutes of exercise, done five or six times a day, is just as good as 30 minutes of sustained exercise. It keeps your blood moving and oxygenated and helps your muscles, brain, and other organs work at top efficiency. Try running in place, doing jumping jacks, stretching, or using resistance bands or hand-weights.
Dress in layers. Nothing’s worse than shivering or sweating with no way to get more comfortable. Dress in thin layers as you travel. It’ll make it simple to add or subtract clothing to fit the temperature and your activity.
Wash your hands. Traveling means being in heavily used public places, which are teeming with gazillions of viruses and germs. Avoid catching or spreading colds or the flu. Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds at every opportunity. Or, carry a small bottle of antibacterial gel in your pocket or purse and use it frequently.
Take care of you. Continue that mindful eating, resting, hydrating, and exercising. You’ll feel your best and have a really great, really healthy holiday season.
Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in Northern California.
Holiday Health and Safety Tips. (2014, Feb. 5) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on November 26, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/
Two of the most magical times are upon us (or me, at least)—the holidays and pregnancy. I am currently 5 months pregnant with my first child (a boy), and could not be happier. Being part of the Little Green Pouch team for over 2 years, I live and breathe all things babies and kids. But no matter how many moms and dads I talk to, mommy blogs or articles I read, there are some things you just don't understand until you are in the trenches yourself.
I have really enjoyed being pregnany so far, and (knock on wood) have had a pretty uneventful 22 weeks. But being pregant during the holidays has its benefits and drawbacks, so I thought I would share what I have found to be the best and worst things about being pregnant during the holidays.
Can we say elastic waistband? This may be the only time you actually enjoy wearing maternity clothes. I know my husband was jealous during Thanksgiving dinner.
You're Supossed to Gain Weight
As a woman, pregnancy is possibly the only time in your life you will be required to gain weight. While I have been trying hard to stay active and eat healthy, it's still my job for 18 more weeks to gain weight. And what a fun job it is!
Your Hair and Nails Have Never Looked Better
My skin may look like that of a teenage boy, but my hair and nails have never looked better. Not that anyone is looking at my hair and nails (hello, belly), but it makes me feel good, at least.
Avoiding alcohol during this pregnancy has really not been bad. It's so worth it for what we get in the end. But, I'd be lying if I said there haven't been times a glass of wine would have really hit the spot. And when my family is gathered around the fire at Christmas drinking a really good Napa Valley Cabernet is going to be one of them. My seltzer water with lime just isn't the same. I just keep reminding myself how good it will taste in April.
Everyone Wants to Buy Gifts For The Baby
What about me? I know, I know, totally selfish. But I am well aware that once this little man enters the world, it's going to be all about him—as it should be. So this is my last chance to score something for myself during the family Secret Santa exchange.
The Hormones—My God, The Hormones
I have been lucky that my hormones haven't turned me into a raging lunatic (yet), but I will cry at the drop of a hat. I thought the Hallmark commercials were bad before, but this is a whole 'nother level. Any video or clip including a dog or a dad playing with his kids is totally off limits for me or else my husband will find me on the couch drowning in a puddle of tears.
What do you think are the best and worst things about being pregnant during the holidays?
We all know and love the crock pot for its magical powers to make comfort food for the whole family. But have you ever thought of using it to make homemade baby food?
These tasty baby food recipes freeze great and are so simple they almost cook themselves! With just a few minutes of prep, healthy meals can be ready for baby in time for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Here are 5 crock pot baby food recipes to get you started. And don't forget to enter our Comfort Food Slow Cooker Give-away (give-away ends December 5th).
Tell us...What are your favorite slow cooker baby food recipes?
While it's still technically fall, it feels like winter in much of the country. And when it's cold outside, we crave comfort foods that cook low and slow in the slow cooker all day. The slow cooker really is a parent's best friend—it does all the work while you're at the office or running errands. Our slow cooker lives on our counter top throughout the fall and winter.
In addition to the convenience, the versitility of a slow cooker makes it a great tool for Real Food baby and toddler meals. You may already know about one of our favorite crock pot recipes—Pear Applesauce . But what about Herbed Pumpkin and Rice, or Spiced Carrots and Raisins? Or cook up a batch of Beef Stew for the whole family (you can puree baby's portion if needed). Check out our Pinterest board for more great slow cooker recipe ideas.
In the spirit of the holidays and these slow cooker recipes making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, we're hosting a giveaway, complete with everything you need to make slow cooker meals for the whole family.
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