Holiday Gift Guide | 4 People + 5 Gifts Each+ Stockings for $250

Only a few more weeks until Christmas! I thought I would share what a $250 budget for gifts looks like. As I wrote in this post we do five categories per person plus a stocking. The goal was to do it all for $250 and 70% locally and so far we are on task. Here are some ideas I had and the grand total adds up to $249.95.

for the tot

To Wear: Zara Printed Shirt - $7.90 – I have a seriously love for Zara and their kids clothes are incredibly cute and while some are a little out of my budget they have some incredibly cute and inexpensive kids items. This shirt is one of my favorites but there are a number of other cute shirts for $10 or less. Also the quality is really great.

To Read: Potty – $3.97 – This is a book that Edith already has and she loves it. Today she was sitting in her room reading it too herself and while she isn’t regularly using the potty yet she likes to read about it and I think it helps to inspire her to want to try.

From Baby to Tot: Melissa & Doug Color Blast Artwork- $4.99 – I know your baby won’t be officially picking out a gift for their older sibling so this year you get to pick something small but fun. Edith loves these Melissa & Doug Color Blast Artwork so I thought it was the perfect gift “from Alder”.  Alternatively this works as a great “create” gift as well!

A Want: SugarBooger Zippee Robot BackPack – $15.00 – now Edith isn’t quite at the point where she is asking for things so this is based off of something I already know she likes. She has the SugarBooger Robot apron and loves it and she has been talking about getting a backpack so I thought that this would be the perfect thing.

To Create: Melissa & Doug Design-Your-Own Bracelets – $4.99 – I bought these for Edith and as gifts for two of her friends and everyone loved them! They are so much fun and Edith still plays with the bracelets today. The kit comes with stickers to decorate the bracelets so your tot can design their own bracelet and then they have a fun bracelet to wear after!

For Stocking: Ickle Baby Bot bath bomb ($3.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Snackimals Animal Cookies ($0.99), Mini Dinosaur Tattoos ($1.99), stickers x2 ($2.00), travel coloring book ($1.00) and Seitenbacher Strawberry Alligators ($1.50).

forbaby

To Wear: Zara Lightning Detail T-Shirt – $6.90 – I bought this shirt for Alder and it is one of my favorites. It’s super soft and so cute on him. I think I need to go back and buy all the other colors.

To Read: Daddy Kisses- $5.13 – This book is so cute and this is the actual book that we bought Alder for his “to read” gift. We found it at a local shop and had a coupon so it was about the same price as on Amazon. There is also Mommy Hugs, Daddy Cuddles and Mommy Loves.

From Tot to Baby: Nuby Wacky Teething Ring- $2.99- If your tot is like mine they have a strong opinion about what they like and don’t like so chances are they are ready to pick out a gift for their sibling. In Edith’s case she gets to pick the gift with a little guidance aka I give her a handful of options that I think are suitable for Alder and are within budget. For this I chose the teething ring because we are reaching teething time around here so it’s the perfect gift and it’s inexpensive.

A Want: Sassy Fascination Station – $5.99 – Alder is not at the point where he wants anything besides a boob, snuggles, a nap and a clean diaper so this is the year that instead of a want we choose more of a need. Soon Alder will be joining us at the table but until he starts solids he is going to need something to entertain him. For Edith we had this Fisher-Price Booster Seat with the toy attachment tray but we left it at my parents house and we now just have the basic one without the toy tray so I thought why not get a suction toy to put on the tray to entertain Alder? Bonus we can take it with us when we go out to a restaurant as well!.

To Create: Green Tones Llama Shaker – $9.98 – You can interpret “to create” as you would like, for us this includes creating music and this little llama shaker is a fun baby friendly toy. It is made from chemical free wood so no worries when baby puts it in his/her mouth and is the perfect size for babies hand.

For Stocking: Zara Pack of Two Panda Socks ($7.90), Bright Starts Theeter – Teethe-a-saurus ($2.99), Nurtria Silicone Teether – Penguin ($2.99), Happy Baby Packet ($1.39) and Weleda Calendula Baby Starter Kit ($9.79).

for mom

To Wear: Zara V-Neck T-Shirt – $9.90 – Again another item that I love for Zara and this time for mom. Everyone needs some basic tees but this one has as few little details like the rolled sleeve that make it a little more interesting. It’s nice, classic and great quality.

To Read: Gone Girl – $2.99 (Kindle) –  I don’t know much about this book just that it is super popular and it supposed to be really good. For only a few dollars for the Kindle version I would definitely put this on my “to read” list. Tip: If you partner has a Kindle go for the Kindle version for them because it can stretch your budget! 

For Mom From Kids: Framed Hand Print Photo – $1.99 – Again another inexpensive frame from IKEA however this time instead of photos of the kids try something a little more creative such as cut out hand prints (idea), paint hand or foot prints or just some basic art work that your kids worked on together. Use what you have around the house for this project and just have fun!

A Want: $25 BirchBox Gift Certificate – Okay I know I said that I’m not big into gift cards but there are about a million things I want off the BirchBox website so a gift certificate is just what I would love to have. Side Note: a BirchBox subscription is a great gift as well at only $30 for a 3 month women’s subscription or $60 for a 3 months men’s <— Neil loves his BirchBox as well! Also not sponsored we just love our BirchBox.

To Create: VELA Notebook - $8.50 – I LOVE notebooks. If you ever find yourself wanting to buy me a gift a notebook is the perfect route to go. I love them all sizes and types. They are perfect for blog brainstorming, recipe ideas and just to jot down anything that I am thinking about. They are a creative outlet for me and therefore my favorite type of gift.

For Stocking: Luxury LUSH Pud bath bomb ($6.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Newman’s Own Organics Licorice Twists ($0.79), Enjoy Life Crunch Cookies ($0.89), Alba Botanica™ Mineral Terra Tints SPF ($2.69), and Chocolove Mini Dark Chocolate Bar ($1.19).

for dad

To Wear: Zara Fingerless Gloves – $9.90 – These ones are little different and something your husband might not think to buy himself. These gloves are perfect for the hubby who likes to use his phone as it will keep his hands warm but his fingers will be free to text, Google and share photos.

To Read: Barista Magazine – $7.00 – Neil is a coffee lover and even roasts his own coffee. This is just the type of magazine that he would love to receive for his “to read” gift. Of course you can sub a different magazine that your love would enjoy.

For Dad From Kids: Framed Family Photos – $2.36 – These IKEA frames are only $0.99 each and have a little stand making them perfect for any dad’s desk. Prints can be done locally at places like Costco, Target or Walgreens for only around $0.19 each making this a cute, inexpensive but thoughtful gift from the kids.

A Want: $25 Clive Coffee Gift Certificate – Now I’m not big into giving gift certificates or cash for the holidays but in the case I make an exception. Neil really want to buy an espresso machine and since that is way far out of our holiday budget I thought I’d do the next best thing and get him a gift certificate to the store that he will be buying it at. This can help jump start the savings process and I know it’s going to be put to good use and that it’s something he would love. Side note this is NOT what I got Neil for his want gift but now I’m thinking maybe I should have because it’s such a good idea. 

To Create: Fermentation for Beginners – $9.79 – Neil has recently really gotten into the idea of homesteading and doing lots of canning. I thought that this would be the perfect book to help foster some creativity when it comes to canning.

For His Stocking: Zara Mercerized Sock ($7.90), Dirty Tooth Tabs (4.95), Sjaak’s Chocolate Nog Bites x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Winter Wonderfuls x2 ($1.30), Sjaak’s Organic Mini Chocolate Cups x2 ($0.80), Primal Strips Jerky ($1.50), Home Free Gluten Free Mini Cookies ($1.09), Giovanni Shampoo & Conditioner ($2.98), and Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bag ($0.69).

Side Note: I included so many things from Zara so that it would be how I would really shop if these were the items that I actually bought for Christmas. I would have purchased $50 worth of items so as not to spend the additional shipping cost.

Breastfeeding | Pumping Sucks

Tonight I am heading out with one of my girlfriends for a little wine and painting date. I am thrilled to get out of the house and have some adult only time but getting out the door is such a hassle. I tell you I love breastfeeding but pumping is the pits. I give major props to those working moms who spend half their day pumping because if it were me I tell you I would have given up on breastfeeding within a week of starting back to work.

I unfortunately am not one of the lucky women who can pump with no issue. It takes me multiple times, I’m talking 5-6 sessions, to pump a 5oz bottle. I just don’t let down to the pump easily at all. Pumping involves me turning the pump up all the way and then I have to keep adjusting to get the flow to come and 10 minutes in there is no more coming out and I have hardly filled a bottle. Needless to say my desire to get out for more than an hour at a time is squashed the thought of having to pump. I sucked it up for tonight but ugh I just finished session number 2 and I still only have 1.5oz.

You might be thinking why not start sooner than the night before? Well I know I could have started yesterday morning or even Monday night and still have had a fine bottle for tonight but I honestly just didn’t even think about it. I mean I knew I had to do it but since it’s just not in my ordinary routine to pump I just didn’t even think of it with everything else I have had going on at home. I also am weary about pumping and freezing because back when Edith was a baby I did this and I had a freezer stocked (with 1-2oz bags) of milk but due to an excess of lipase my milk would go sour making it in edible. The problem is I didn’t know that until after I had already pumped (what felt like) a million times. Apparently you can scald the milk immediately after expressing before you freeze and this can help with the excess lipase but since I didn’t know that until it was too late I have never done that and at this point I can’t be bothered.

Anyways the point of this post is to tell you that yes pumping sucks. Yes 90% of the time I would rather stay home than pump but it is also IMPORTANT to suck it up pump as many times as necessary to get a bottle and get out of the house for 4-5 hours ALONE. I can do it and so can you; seriously stop thinking of all reasons you can’t because trust me I have used them all but the truth is you NEED to make time for yourself. To be honest I am writing this post to convince myself of all this as well. Also when all else fails make plans to do something that you have to pay for in advanced because you are less likely to back out aka why I am going out tonight (and because I need GF time).

How is pumping going for you? What are you pumping highs and lows? Why do you pump? or why don’t you? 

I think I need to get a new pump because one side seems to have more suction than the other. I have always wondered if my pumping issues are also in part due to my pump. Do you have a pump you love? Share with me. Also wondering if I can still qualify for a pump via my insurance – anyone have insight on this?

Baby Gear | Diaper Bag for Two

Here it is! I am finally doing an update to my Diaper Bag Dilemma post from back in July. I don’t know why it has taken me so many months to write this because literally hours after posting I found a diaper bag and took the photos a few days later. I am not updating the photos because nothing has really changed when it comes to the contents except for updating extra clothes. So here it is my Diaper Bag for Two update.

DiaperBagForTwo-PetuniaPickleBottom

I ended up find the Petunia Pickle Bottom Women’s Boxy Backpack Diaper Bag on Craigslist a few hours after posting about my search. It was kind of a fluke thing actually. We spent the morning running around trying to find a bag at a few different second hand stores and baby stores in Portland to come home empty handed. While Edith was napping Neil was perusing Craigslist just for fun and mentioned that I should look there for diaper bags and I agreed. I saw the listing for this bag pop up and contacted them immediately. I heard back within minutes and a few hours later was heading out to pick the bag up.

DiaperBagForTwo-Back

So I ended up going with this bag because not only is it a shoulder bag but it is also a backpack which was one of my top requirements for having two children. I needed my hands free and nothing to be slipping off my shoulder. I also couldn’t really go with a a cross body bag due to babywearing. The second must have for me was that it had to be big enough to fit things for two children plus my phone, wallet, keys and DLSR camera. My third requirement was that the bag not be too sporty since it is my everyday bag aka my purse.

DiaperBagFortwo-Top

Well as you can see this bag has everything I needed! While it could be a bit bigger and the straps are not super supportive for long durations of time it fits my needs and I or rather we (Neil wears it too) are loving it.

DiaperBagForTwo-Contents

As you can see I can fit everything I need in the bag. I have books, small toys, change of clothes, wet bag, wallet, wipes, a reusable bag, a bib, both cloth and disposable diapers, dog poop bags (for dirty diapers) and more wipes. Oh and my DSLR, keys and phone and snacks!

DiaperBagForTwo-Changing

I also love that the diaper storage and diaper bad are on the front of the bag in a separate compartment.

If you are looking for a great backpack bag or a bag for a toddler and a babe this is a great bag. I know it runs for around $145-80 new but at least around here you can find them in consignment shops and on resale boards (Craigslist and Facebook boards) for a lot less. I bought ours for $65 and it’s in excellent condition.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide | Gift for Tots

tots

 

Something To Wear – Fleece Toddler Robe – We actually bought one of these for Christmas but well it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house if we didn’t give gifts three weeks in advance so Edith already has hers and she LOVES it. She is so excited to have a robe just like mama and daddy and its great for post breakfast lounging because of course she always has to strip down to her diaper to eat breakfast.

Something They Want- Learning Tower – Okay lets be completely honest your tot probably won’t be asking you for a learning tower but what they do want is to help you out in the kitchen or basically anywhere that they need to be taller. This is one of our most used items in our home. Edith stands and watches me cook, she “makes coffee”, she helps bake and prepare meals, she practices cutting up fruits and veggies, she dances and soon she will be using it to help wash dishes. Like I said your tot might not ask you for this gift but guaranteed it will help s/he do many of the things s/he wants to do everyday.

Something To Create With- Melissa & Doug Paint with Water – this is one of Edith’s favorite activities to do. It’s painting without too much mess and all you need is a smock, a place to set up and some water. Fun, creative and inexpensive! Also provides hours of entertainment!

Something To Read – Bear Board Book 4-pack – we received The Bear Snores On from a friend and it is one our favorite books. The bear books are super cute with great stories and illustrations and lots of animals.

For Their Stocking – Kuhn Rikon Kinderkitchen Dog Knife with Teeth – we bought E this knife last year and she loves it. Its not very sharp ie. she can basically cut mushrooms, bananas and strawberries but it is great for practicing cutting.

Disclaimer: while this post is NOT IN ANY WAY SPONSORED there are affiliate links included. 

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

I love to give and receive homemade gifts. To me it says that the person has taken the time to create something special just for me with their two hands. It makes the gift a little more special and each time I use or look at a handmade gift I think of that special person. This year one of my special DIY gifts for a few special friends is a Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves coffee, loves body products or someone who just really needs a little TLC.
Brown Sugar Scrub
I have used this scrub myself because luckily this recipe makes just a little extra and my skin feels super soft from the gentle exfoliation, moisturized from the coconut oil and I smell like a vanilla latte (yum). I encourage you to use a coffee that you really like for this recipe because the better the coffee the better your scrub will smell.

Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub

Makes 6-8oz jars (plus a little extra for you)

  • 3 cups good quality coffee, coarsely ground
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 12 oz coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together in a large bowl using your hands to evenly combine everything.
  2. Spoon into jars with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Label and decorate!

DIY Holiday | Coffee Brown Sugar Scrub jolly

 

Side note I used the remainder of a bag of Stumptown coffee that we didn’t drink because we didn’t love the roast. You do not need to go that high quality with your coffee just try to use something more mid-range ($7-10 bag), something you would probably want to drink. 

2014 Holiday Gift Guide | Mamas-To-Be

mamas

 

For the mama-to-be who needs a little self careYour Pregnancy Essentials Kit – I LOVE LOVE LOVE mamma mio and you can bet you’ll see it on my new moms list as well. This kit contains a tummy butter for stretch mark protection, a face wash that I still use and love, boob tube cream to help stop sagging and a leg cooling gel for swollen legs and feet another product I still use and love after a run.

For the mama-to-be who needs a little help sleeping- Bump Nest- This was a life saver with my last pregnancy. It is seriously a must have item and makes sleeping so much more comfortable. Warning you may need to buy one for everyone in the family to avoid conflict.

For the fashionable mama-to-beMOLLY ADES MATERNITY/NURSING BLACK ZIPPERED NURSING TANK – this is one my favorite nursing tank tops but you don’t have to wait until the baby arrives to get this for your mama-to-be it also is an awesome maternity tank. It has a great stretch for mama-to-be’s expanding belly but won’t lose its shape and once baby arrives the zipper feature is great for easy nursing. Find this top and many other cute maternity and nursing items on Belly Dance Maternity.

For the mama-to-be who needs to relax – a spa gift certificate. Do your research and find a spa that is known for their prenatal spa treatments. I’ll tell you this a spa treatment is what every mama-to-be needs so you really can’t go wrong. If you are a Portland area reader I would suggest Zenana Spa.

For the mama-to-be’s stocking- Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler – because sometimes you just need a cup of tea.

Disclaimer: while this post is NOT IN ANY WAY SPONSORED there are affiliate links included. 

minted. | Holiday Edition

minted.

As you all know we are in love with minted.com over here. Our birth announcements for Alder were just so beautiful that we decided that we also wanted to use minted for our holiday photos as well. Once I started looking at the the minted website I noticed that they also have really beautiful photo gift options as well so of course I got sucked into all of the options and want one of everything please. Unfortunately our budget doesn’t warrant a minted shopping spree.  That being said we do have some new beautiful family photos that we want to share with family so we will be buying a few photo gifts in addition to our holiday cards.

Okay so on to the holiday cards. I seriously love holiday cards but I’m really not into the whole Merry Christmas thing because we have friends who don’t celebrate Christmas and we aren’t religious at all so Christmas is more a tradition than a religious event for us. We could always go the way of Happy Holidays and while that does give some inclusiveness to all holidays during November/December/January I still find that most of the cards are red and green ie Christmasy. In the end we usually go the Happy Holiday’s route but this year we used minted. and they offer New Years cards (probably other places do as well but that’s besides the point) the perfect alternative!

minted.

I spent far too much time, I’m talking hours, creating and looking at all of the Happy New Years card options. I fell in love with almost all of minted’s beautiful Happy New Years cards and had a really hard time settling on the style and type to go with. Above are a few of the styles that made our top 10 (yes top 10) but ultimately we settled on the Burst Holiday Booklet because we wanted to share a little bit about what’s been happening on our lives this year. While this card is a little more expensive we decided that it would also be a little gift that we could give to our family and friends. Now that we have children and we live so far from family and many friends we want to make sure that we share our lives with them and that they know how much we appreciate them so what’s better than a beautiful card full of photos of our growing children and stories from our year. It’s also just the perfect keepsake for us to tuck away and take out to look at year after year reminding ourselves of the special things that happened that year.

This was our runner-up booklet card.

This was our runner-up booklet card. The cover of the winner is the first photo in this post.

Since we just got out 2014 family photos taken and the holidays are here we also decided to purchase a holiday photo gift. I honestly wanted to buy one of every style of framed photograph they had to offer but ultimately settled on just one for someone special in our family. I’m not going to share it here because I don’t want to give the surprise away but here are a few of the options that made our top choices for framed photos. I’d like to note that adding the frame was seriously so reasonable like $13 for 8×8. I can’t wait for these cards and gift to arrive so I can send them to all the special people in our lives.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 8.51.39 AM

Disclaimer: We were provided with a promo code to purchase a portion of our holiday cards and gifts purchase from minted. As always all opinions are our own. Screenshots shared with permission.

 

PDX Events | Macy’s Holiday Parade & Giveaway

portland parade

macysparade EdithWatchingMacysParade

Who else is thrilled for the week ahead? We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for a variety of reasons but I do love that Neil will have both Thursday and Friday off from work and guess what they will be paid days off because he is now full-time! Along with this full-time position came a promotion – woot woot! Anyways I am so excited to have a four day weekend with my love and our babies. We will be laying low on Thursday but Friday we will be up bright and early to go to the My Macy’s Holiday Parade here in Portland.

The My Macy’s Holiday Parade will take place on Friday, November 28, 2014 in downtown Portland. The parade steps off promptly at 9 a.m. and lasts approximately one hour. We attended last year and it was freezing so make sure to check the weather forecast and dress warm! Oh and get there early because if there is anything that I have learned since moving to Portland is that Portlanders LOVE their parades.

I am so excited to attend the parade again this year and I’m excited to see what Edith thinks. She had fun last year but now she is so much more verbal and understands so much more I can only imagine that she is going to have a blast when she sees all the floats pass by. We are lucky enough to be sitting in the VIP section again this year (we won VIP tickets last year) and I am happy to announce that I am able to giveaway four passes this year!

So who wants to win?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

PDX Macys_PDX1
Here is some more info about the passes:
  • These passes allow you entry to the special seating area in front of the Macy’s store on Alder Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues starting at 8 AM on Parade Day.
  • The VIP pass will grant you access to coffee, cocoa and sweet treats at The Red Star Tavern across the street in their Club Room compliments of K103 FM.
  • The parade takes place on Friday, November 28th (the day after Thanksgiving) at 9:00 AM. The line-up includes local high school bands, equestrian units, special inflatable floats and more than 600 costumed characters.
  • Make sure you wear the “flashing” buttons for admission to this special reserved area! (The buttons are Macy‘s star pins that light up and are your VIP passes.)

Hello Friends! | Quick Update

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.03.16 AM

Hello Friends! I know it’s been a bit since my last post but life is just kind of happening over and here and I haven’t very many free moments to sit down and write. That being said part of this “life just happening” is Neil and I working on some fun new projects including some surprises for Naturally Family.  The other part is a baby boy going through a growth spurt and developmental leap and a little lady who seems to also be going through both as well – talk about the perfect storm! I think we are at the tail end of Alder’s growth spurt (not the developmental leap though so babywearing to the rescue!) and I think Edith is finally coming back into a better place now. As part of Edith’s “fun” spurt period we have been dealing with a bout of sleep regression which results in some challenging days for all of us but (knock on wood) I think the worst is over!

Anyways that is where we are at so this week is all about getting the house back in order and life back on it’s semi-normal track. I’ll be back later this week with a new post but until then you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more realtime updates and tidbits.

 

xo. Lindsay.