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2 In Gift Guides/ holidays/ Lifestyle/ minimalism

Minimalist Christmas Gifts for Kids of Every Age


As the holidays are quickly approaching, I am excited to release the first edition of my Minimalist Christmas gift guides.  One of the main reasons my husband and I decided to adopt this idea of minimalism this Christmas is to help cut down on clutter. (If you didn’t see my original post on a minimalist Christmas you can read it here). In the one short year since we’ve brought home our baby dude man, our house has accumulated an unfathomable amount of toys and clothes, half of the things have gone unused.  It’s no secret that staring at the piles and piles of stuff has contributed to my anxiety.  So in an attempt to help keep our home organized and be more intentional, this year when it comes to gifts we’re abiding by the Rule of 4 – something wants, something needs, something to wear, and something to read.

Now I in no way want to be a fun-sucker or offend anyone, and I realize this may not be for everyone.  But in addition to helping cut down on “stuff”, it’s also important to my husband and I that we teach our son how to be more mindful and the real meaning of the holidays – getting together with family and friends, being grateful, and giving back.

So here are some great gift ideas for the kids, all available on Amazon (because let’s be real, I’m no Pinterest mom, I’m more of an Amazon Prime mom).

(Disclaimer: I am 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



something they want - christmas gift guide for kids

1.) Gears Gears Gears – I love this toy because it helps build fine motor skills as well as helping foster STEM.

2.) Mega blocks and table set– very easy to pack up and take on the go so your little one can create anything, anywhere.

3.) Water and Sand Table  -helps encourage outdoor play during the nicer weather months.

4.) Art set -because every kid needs colored pencils, watercolors, and crayons.


something they need - christmas gift guide for kids

1.) Art easel – Inspire creativity in your budding artist

2.) Ezpz mat – It’s a placemat and a plate that is super easy to clean and suctions to the table

3.) Montessori animal match -teaches kids their animals and allows them to compare similarities and differences.

4.) Melissa & Doug basic skills board -Let your little one explore how to dress this smiley bear with zippers, buttons and ties.

something to wear - christmas gift giude for kids

1.) Freshly Picked -ok so these are a little pricey but they’re 100% leather, super soft, durable and will stay on your little one’s feet.

2.) Northface fleece -lightweight and great for that in-between weather, and I love that the fabric doesn’t pill.

3.) Skip hop backpack – let your kids carry their books and supplies in style with many cute creatures to choose from.

4.) Flannel pajamas – everyone needs a pair of flannel jammies and I love these from Burt’s Bees. They’re so soft and 100% organic.

something to read - christmas gift guide for kids

1.) Melissa and Doug water wow – ok so it’s not exactly a book but it teaches letters, numbers, and there’s no clean-up.

2.) National Geographic Book of Why – very interactive and answers all those pressing questions inspiring conversation with your kiddos

3.) The Day the Crayons Quit – such a cute little story, you will never color the same way again.

4.) I Wish You More – this book brings tears to my eyes every time and it’s one of my favorite books to read to my little Maxwell, everything you could wish for your child.

If you enjoyed this post and want to save this list for your future reference you can pin the image below. And be on the lookout for gift guides for her and him coming in the next few weeks!


christmas gift guide for kids

13 In holidays/ Lifestyle/ minimalism

A minimalist Christmas – how you can be more intentional this holiday season

I love the holidays, they are my most favorite time of year.  Some of my best childhood memories are from the holidays. Making cookies with my mom and the smell as they bake in the oven.  All of the family going to cut down our tree together. Listening to Christmas carols while we hang our ornaments on the tree. And of course Christmas shopping and wrapping all those gifts.

However, the holidays can also be stressful.  There’s pressure to find the “perfect” gift for all your loved ones, keep up with family obligations and attend all those parties that sometimes it begins to feel more like a hassle than enjoyable.

This year I’m approaching the holidays with a new attitude. We’re having a minimalist Christmas. You may have heard of the term “minimalism” – it means focusing on things that you value and getting rid of all the other “stuff”.  And for me, this has become even more important as a mother and we start our own traditions with our son. When I think of the holidays, there’s a lot of stuff – we stuff our faces and waistlines, we drop lots of dollars on stuff (decor, gifts, cards,) that sometimes we lose the true meaning.

Now I’m not saying we’re going to go all “Christmas with the Kranks” and be Scrooge-like.  We’re just going to be more mindful and intentional.

Here are some simple ways you can practice minimalism and enjoy the most this season has to offer:

1.) Mindful gift giving – The thought of inundating every room of my house with even more toys gives me so much anxiety, I’d rather step on a lego. This year we’re going by the rule of 4 – something you want, something you need, something you can wear and something you can read.  Not only does this help avoid excess clutter but it also helps to be more mindful of the person we are buying for.  (Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some gift guides for your friends and family following this “Rule of 4” guideline)

2.) Focus on experiences – One of my favorite Christmas memories was when my parents, sisters and I went on a cruise for the holidays.  All of our friends thought we were crazy foregoing gifts and going on vacation during Christmas, but to be honest, we had the best time with each other as a family and we still talk about it to this day.  For us, the experience will last a lifetime and that is a true gift.  Find ways that you can have meaningful encounters with each other whether it be a Friendsgiving, getting the kids dressed in their jammies and driving around to look at Christmas lights or skipping gifts with your sisters and spending the day at the spa.

3.) If it stresses you out, nix it –  Dread sending out all those holiday cards? Procrastinating on baking cookies because you don’t feel like doing a cookie swap this year? Don’t feel like going to that annual Christmas Eve party? Skip it. No one says you have to do those things. Talk to your partner and your kids about the traditions you enjoy and you want to keep and those new things you want to do this year. Make a holiday bucket list.

4.) Give back – use the holidays as an opportunity to teach your kids the true meaning of the holidays – being grateful for all you have and giving back.  Volunteer at a local food pantry, help sponsor a family in need. These are experiences that will leave a lasting impression and show that this season is more than receiving gifts.

 I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas.  What are some ways your family is intentional this time of year?

Also stay tuned for my minimalist gift guides over the next few weeks!

2 In chemical free/ Lifestyle

6 Easy Ways to a Chemical Free Home

I’m not ashamed to admit that becoming a mom brought out the nervous, worry-wart in myself. Naturally, I want what’s best for my baby, our family and our home.  So like most moms I really started scrutinizing many of the household products we were using in our home.  As I read all of the labels I found many contained ingredients I didn’t even know what they were let alone couldn’t even pronounce. After some research, I learned that almost all of the household products we were using contained many toxic chemicals that are known hormone disruptors and carcinogens.  After suffering from PCOS and infertility this was even more of a reason for me to start looking for healthier options.  From cleaning products to personal products, one by one I’ve slowly been switching to products that are safer for my family.  We are not 100% chemical free yet but have made a commitment and it is a work in progress.

Here are 6 easy ways you can make your own home cleaner and more “chemical-free.”

1.) Say no to candles, air fresheners and plug-ins -I have always been a huge smell person. In the fall, I would break out all my pumpkin spiced candles, and I always had a clean cotton scented plug-in in every room to keep the house smelling homey. However more and more research is becoming available stating that burning candles, scented air fresheners and plug-ins are actually a health risk as they have been known to cause cancer, asthma and allergies.  So instead to get my fragrance fix, I switched to essential oils.  In addition to making my home smell fresh, our family has also enjoyed the many other benefits such as sleep support, immune and emotional support to name a few. 

2.) Get rid of that traditional deodorant -If there is one thing that you implement from this post I hope this is it! According to the National Cancer Institute, there is a link between traditional antiperspirants and breast cancer.  In fact, a family friend of ours has a history of breast cancer and one of the things her oncologist advised her was to switch to a safer deoderant. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum which can mimic the effects of estrogen, thereby stimulating the growth of cancerous cells. In addition, deodorants and antiperspirants plug up our sweat glands and prevent our body from trying to get rid of unwanted toxins which has been shown to cause hormonal and autoimmune disorders. There are many aluminum free deodorants on the market but I love Schmidt’s! It keeps me dry, they have a variety of fragrances (I personally love the geranium flower and bergamot and lime), and you can get it on Amazon! (Sounds like a no-brainer to me!)

3.) Throw away those dryer sheets -This is probably one of the easiest and quickest switches.  Dryer sheets contain several harmful chemicals including camphor and chloroform.  After drying our clothes with these chemicals we then put on our clothes, exposing our skin, our biggest organ to these harmful neurotoxins.  Instead use wool dryer balls. I got a 4-pack on Amazon real cheap, I dab a couple drops of essential oils on and throw them in the dryer with our clothes. 

4.) Get a houseplant – Not only is it more visually appealing but they are a natural way to purify the air and boost your mood. Hello all the pretty succulents and greenery!!!!

5.) Nix those kcups – This switch was one of the hardest for me. Me and my coffee have quite the love affair but the research is scary.  Kcups are made with plastic which many times contains BPA which is a synthetic form of estrogen, therefore disrupting our hormones and autoimmune system. Quite the mouthful but if that isn’t enough BPA has been linked to infertility, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and behavioral problems to name a few.  Yes, they do make those filters where you can add your own coffee grounds, but the keurig also harbors mold and other bacteria. While I do miss the convenience of being able to wake up in the morning and simply have my hot cup of French Roast with the touch of a button I have switched to french press coffee which not only tastes better but is safer.

6.) Switch to nontoxic cleaning products -Many of the cleaning products that are on the market are known to contain “harsh chemicals” and be irritants.  If you think about it we wear gloves many times when we clean our homes with these products so why would you clean your floors and then let your kids crawl around exposing themselves? Furthermore non toxic products are better for our environment and many times more cost effective. Vinegar and baking soda can be found in most homes and make great cleaners. I also swear by the Thieves household cleaner through Young Living. A little goes a long way, you can use it on almost any surface and it smells like Christmas in a bottle!  

I hope you all found this post informative.   If you’d like more information about how to get started with essential oils or any of the Young Living products, I’m your girl just send me a message or an email

2 In Lifestyle/ Motherhood

I have been nominated for the Liebster award!

I am so excited and honored to have been nominated for the 2017 Liebster award.  The lovely Wendy Lemeric of Times With Kai – A Mommy Blog selected my blog as a nominee. Wendy is a pharmacist turned mommy who left her job to enjoy being a mom to her sweet little boy Kai and to grow her love of writing. She shares motherhood tips and and her daily adventures with Kai on her feed.

So what is the Liebster award?  As stated by the Global Aussie “The Liebster award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers as a way to support the blogging community” and recognize new bloggers.  (You can read more about the award here)

Since the award is all about recognizing bloggers, I’m going to feature a blog that I love and think everyone should love too:

Meet Stephanie from The Darling Mama

Stephanie is the face and mama behind her blog The Darling Mama. I found her page on Instagram and like me, she is a wife, furmama and new boy mom to sweet little Jacob. Not only are her photos beautiful, but her page is so inspiring. She shares her experiences on entering motherhood and how it has changed her. As new mamas, I think its helpful to connect with each other to share our stories so that we can see what others are going through so as to feel that we are not alone.  What I love about Stephanie’s blog is that she has created a “Thankful Thursday” post where every Thursday she shares things that she is grateful for and she will also publish others affirmations if they would like to share as well. Motherhood and life in general can be hard sometimes and I think this is a wonderful reminder of all we have to be grateful for. Go check out her blog and follow along!

Ten Random Facts About Me:

1.) I am left-handed and I think my son is going to be a lefty too!
2.) In high school I was voted “most likely to be a soccer mom”
3.) I once had a patient name her daughter’s middle name after me, coolest moment as a labor and delivery nurse ever!
4.) I could live off of watermelon, cheese and crackers and ice cream!
5.) My celebrity crush is Channing Tatum – Jenna’s a lucky woman!
6.) My husband and I met in Boston, we lived in the same apartment building in college.
7.) I want to one day travel to Bora Bora to stay in one of those overwater huts and Africa to go on an African safari.
8.) I am a cancer through and through – emotional, intuitive, protective, homebody
9.) When I was younger my dream job was to be a marine biologist.
10.) The most rewarding thing about blogging for me has been connecting with other mamas and women and all supporting each other.

As part of the challenge I have to answer Wendy’s questions. 

1.) What is the most fun thing about traveling? I love meeting the people, hearing their stories.
2.) What is the most extreme thing you have ever done? Hmmmm, I’m not the extreme type. I’d have to say I quit my successful job as a sales/marketing director and went back to nursing school while my husband and I were newly engaged and in the process of house hunting. I’m lucky he’s super supportive!
3.) Bike or Train? Bike
4.) What’s the most unique dish you ever tasted? – Squid ink pasta!
5.) Batman vs. Spiderman who do you think will win? Batman
6.) How long would you survive the zombie apocalypse? ummm not long, I hate zombies!
7.) When do you find time to blog? I’m my most productive self in the morning so usually in the morning when the babe is still asleep I sit down with a cup of coffee and write.
8.) If you were going to be a character in someone else’s book who would you like to write it? Elin Hildebrand. I love the way she intertwines stories between the characters and all of her stories take place on gorgeous Nantucket.
9.) What is the scariest thing you have experienced while traveling? I don’t like flying it makes me very anxious and one time I was on my way back from a conference by myself and I woke up on the plane and we had hit alot of turbulence and I thought we were crashing.
10.) If you could give someone $1,000,000 who would you give it to? My parents. They are such amazing parents and have worked so hard to give my sisters and I the best childhood and everything we could ever need.
11.) Apple or Samsung? Apple

My nominations:

1.) The Darling Mama – Stephanie
2.) The Refined Mama – Courtney
3.) My Beckett List – Keenie
4.) The Millennial SAHM – Kermilia
5.) Hugs & Messes – Katie

 My questions for the nominees:

1.) How do you start each day?
2.) What is one blog post you are most proud of and why?
3.) Coffee or Tea?
4.) Favorite place you’ve ever visited?
5.) What has been one of the most challenging things as a blogger?
6.) If you could see one musician or band, one dead, one alive who would it be?
7.) What is your favorite TV or Netflix series?

If you have been nominated you will have to follow a few easy rules, you can find out more here.

I had so much fun with this challenge! Be sure to share your Liebster award post in my comments section below and in the comments at The Global Aussie. I think it’s an awesome way to get to know each other and support each other’s journey in blogging and motherhood!