My Holiday Gift Guide for Children: Creativity, Beauty, and Imagination

Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Holidays!It’s the season for gifting and giving. Looking for Last-Minute Gifts? I Got You Covered! SHOP HERE NOW

Christmas is just around the corner. How’s your shopping list look? Need an extra stocking stuffer or two? I know gathering gifts for everyone can be a bit overwhelming and I often get asked what type of toys and books we buy our children so I decided to put together my favorite holiday gift guide from infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond.

If you have been following us on Instagram for a while then you know we love wooden toys, they are timeless and so durable. What I love most is that they encourage creative and imaginative in every play. My children love using their imagination when it comes to play, we try to get as creative as we can around here plus most wooden toys grow with your child. What’s not to love!  I encourage pretend play as much as possible because I truly believe children benefit a lot by thinking outside of the box and letting their imagination take over. I have gathered some of my favorite items below. Many of these we actually own and many are on my own wish list for my children!. When shopping for toys I suggest, keeping materials as simple and as natural as possible. Avoid things that are too flashy, heavy or complicated. Instead, focus on beauty and function!

Something for the reader in your home.

A collection of our favorite books with fun, colorful engaging illustrations. Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and kids when they read books together. Books help kids develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies—much more than any other media. SHOP HERE NOW

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01. My First Bible and Prayers by Cottage Door Press , Rachel Moss , Catherine Allison 

02. A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem

03. A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Aston 

04. A Treasury of Five Minute Stories by Parragon Books

05. Magic Tree House Boxed Set by Mary Pope Osborne 

06. A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa

07. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (Author)

08. Loteria by Patty Rodriguez

09. The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett

10. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak 

11. Toy Story 2 (Little Golden Book) by Christopher Nicholas (Author)

12. My Strong Mind by Niels van Hove (Author) 

I ALSO CAME ACROSS THIS GREAT BOOK DEAL CHECK IT OUT! FREE Dr. Seuss’s BOOKS

Something for the little pretenders in your home.

Imagination-driven play builds your young child’s developmental skills. The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. Social and Emotional Skills. When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, he or she is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Super important to my husband and I. SHOP HERE NOW

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Something for the creators in your home.

Creative play incorporates a whole range of activities, which use the imagination of the child, such as singing and dancing, musical instruments, craft activities, cutting and pasting, building blocks, baking, and even gardening. Your child is exploring the world through play and imagination. I love having creative activities at home to boost my kiddos imagination and creativity. Always praise and encourage your child when they engage in an activity and give them compliments when they have created their masterpiece this gives them a sense of achievement and instills confidence and self-esteem. 

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I included Kiwico in our list because they have a clear goal on encouraging kids to learn STEM skills while having fun! Designed by experts, tested by kids, and just plain awesome!

KiwiCo is a monthly subscription crate that comes filled with age appropriate STEM projects for kids, from toddlers to teenagers.

Every crate explores a different theme designed to spark creativity, thinking, and learning. I absolutely LOVE THAT! KiwiCo provides an activity booklet for each crate! And everything required for your child to create their projects is included in the crate.

A subscription to one of KiwiCo’s lines is the gift that keeps on giving! Receive a new fun-filled crate every month. Want to subscribe? 

I really put a lot of though into this holiday gift guide and I hope you find new treasures for your kiddos, you can SHOP HERE NOW all items here.

With Care,

Donna

 

 

Postpartum Must-Haves: What’s inside My Postpartum Recovery Basket

It seems like the first thing we do when we are expecting is prepared for the new baby we will soon snuggle in our arms. We gather up things for our hospital bag and collect tiny baby essentials we will soon need. It took me three pregnancies to realize that I never stopped to think about myself, recovery and the after birth must-haves.  I don’t think I truly prepared for my recovery like I did this time around, or maybe because no one really talks about the unglamorous reality of postpartum recovery.

Maybe because of our excitement of soon meeting our new baby that we forget about ourselves. Something very important I learned throughout my previous pregnancies is, preparation is the key to a quick recovery and transition. If you have things on hand for the post-op period, you’ll breeze through it, I promise. Your recovery should be about feeling comfortable and slowing getting healthy again. Not about fitting into your skinny jeans right away, be patient and caring to your body. Trust me you will have plenty of time for that later.

What essential products do you need for a post-partum recovery?

+ Belly Binding 

I’m a firm believer of belly binding after giving birth and the benefits it provides. After you give birth, your midsection is deflated, and it takes a while for the abdominal muscles to regain strength and return to its normal size quicker.

You will specially need one if you had a c-section delivery (like me), they add great incision support and help recovery immensely. Wearing a girdle or belly band can relieve lower back and muscle pain. It can also help with posture and repair diastasis recti, which can occur from the uterus growing and stretching out the abdominal muscles. I’m currently wearing a Bellefit Corset and I’m obsessed, the support it provides is incredible I plan to wear it for 30 days, I will provide an update on a separate blog post here on my site. The Bellefit Corset helps new moms recover their belly after giving birth. Made with Medical-grade & Hypoallergenic Fabric, this Corset provides support and compression to help moms have a faster postpartum recovery.

There is a big difference between using a postpartum girdle and waist training, and I wouldn’t want you to confuse the two. Using a postpartum girdle is completely safe and it provides the support your body needs after giving birth to slowly get active again.

+ Sprays, Balms, Lotions and Salves

  • HYDRATING LOTION – Jergens Skin Firming Lotion, the formula features a unique illuminating HYDRALUCENCE blend, Collagen, and Elastin. Improves skin’s resiliency, elasticity, and firmness. It also relieves dryness and replenishes moisture to improve skin’s tone, texture, and luminosity.
  • LIP BALM –  Day and Night
  • ALOE VERA – Apply aloe vera all over your stomach and breast to hydrate your skin.
  • LANOLIN – Nipple cream for breastfeeding provides safe and effective relief for sore nipples

+ Stool Softener

The scariest thing for me after delivering my boys has been passing the first bowel movement, TMI I know but its the truth. This was my third c section and my biggest fears after delivery have been passing gas/bowel movement, sneezing, coughing, or feeling menstrual cramps. Right after surgery you feel like your insides will fall out with the slightest movement. If you had a c section before, then you know exactly what I’m talking about, even laughing hurts. Ouch! I strongly recommend taking a stool softener to make that first bowel movement easier and less scary. Always make sure to ask your care provider before using.

+ Peppermint Tea 

It helps you increase your fluid intake and ease trapped gas to help with bloating and discomfort. Regular use of peppermint extract is known to reduce breast milk supply. However, you will only need a few doses to shift the trapped win

+ Ginger Tea

Perfect for indigestion, soothes pain, menstrual cramps, headaches and helps with bloating and inflammation. I’m currently drink 3x cups a day, one after each meal.

+ Peri Bottle

Use your peri bottle every time you use the restroom, keeping your self dry and clean is essential to avoid any infections or urine tract infections. You can get a fancy and purchase a Frida baby MomWasher, I just used the free bottle they gave me at the hospital, its free and gets the job done.

+ Disposable Underwear and Flushable Wipes

Instead of using the mesh underwear and adding a maxi pad like they tell you to do in the hospital I found using disposable underwear like Always Discreet Boutique Underwear a lot more comfortable and helpful. No matter how you deliver your baby, you will have a bloody show after giving birth for a few days, maybe 2 weeks. I used these for the first week, then switched to cotton high-waisted underwear and regular  liner pads.

+ Cotton Underwear / Boy Shorts

Big cotton underwear or boy short panties are essential after giving birth, if you have a c-section like myself you want to make sure you buy comfortable high-waisted underwear maybe with 25% spandex.

+ Hot/Cold pack 

Keep handy to relief back pain, if needed.

+ Nursing Bras and/Pads

Finding a nursing bra to me is simple, if it fits and you feel comfortable get it! Keep in mind that if you’re shopping before baby arrives, consider buying one or two sizes larger than usual, so you have one ready to wear after birth. Current nursing bras I’m loving.

The Mesh Trim Maternity Bralette

Wireless Full Coverage Nursing Bra

+ Pain Killers

Lastly, keep your pain killers close by, I tried my hardest to deal with the pain instead of reaching for pills. Keep in mind that taking too many pills can cause constipation.

Well there you have it, it truly hope this helps and if you have any question please feel free to email me mrsfriastorres@yahoo.com. 

with care,

Donna 

 

December | Present Over Perfect

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Present over Perfect: Living Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living By Shauna Niequist 

“Present is living with your feet firmly grounded in reality, pale and uncertain as it may seem. Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairytale. Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.”

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and realize that the best thing about me was I was organized.”

This is just but one of the many wonderful phrases in this book. The author talks about the things that drag people down and back, leading to a busy, frenzied life with lots of motion and activity on the outside, but a grueling emptiness on the inside.

This book is an invitation to remake our life. Maybe we feel disconnected from our soul and the people we care about. Maybe our life is full, and have lost our balance. Niequist dares us to be present over pretending to be perfect, to allow others to love us in all our imperfection.

This stunning book leads the reader on a journey of seeing grace, joy and to simply slow down. She encourages us to lay down our burdens in exchange for a life of simplicity, both physically and spiritually. Have your highlighter, pen, and journal ready as you read!

with care,

Donna

Mama & Little, the original on-trend teething jewelry! + Giveaway

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When I first had Sebastian I wasn’t quite sure how to soothe him when he first started teething, I think the only thing I used was oral baby gel and store-bought teething baby toys, which were a hassle because Sebastian would constantly drop them on the floor and then would want to put them back in his mouth, it became a pain to rinse and disinfect every five minutes. It was then, that I went online in search of a more practical teething option, something that would work not only to soothe my baby but something that would also make my life easier.

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I had seen some teething jewelry at Target, but I wasn’t too convinced because they were bulky, ugly and had the most hideous range of colors to choose from. One day as I was mindlessly strolling through Instagram, I came across a picture from Mama & Little and instantly I was blown away by how beautiful their teething jewelry is. It’s perfect to soothe and entertain baby, practical, affordable, super cute and stylish for mom to wear. Immediately I went ahead and purchased a teething necklace from their site, in hopes that our teething jewelry search was over.

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Arleene along with her husband, Hyrum and their son Archer, run Mama & Little, created after their son was born, Mama & Little is the original on-trend teething jewelry, and you can read more about their story here! What I love about Mama & Little is that is founded by real parents and moms of teething babes know how painful it is to watch your little babe in pain and not be able to make it go away. They also know that their little ones will grab just about anything within reach and start chomping. Fortunately, specially designed teething jewelry like MAMA & LITTLE is made to wear by mama and be gummed by little mouths. Made from 100 percent food-grade silicone teething necklace for mom (not intended for babies to wear!) and their signature hexagon shaped silicone teething beads promote tactile awareness and are perfect as a nursing necklace.

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Necklaces are approximately 14″ drop length with safety breakaway clasps and exposed cord around the neck to prevent hair from getting pulled, huge plus. Also, something I really like is that their teething jewelry is dishwasher safe on the top rack making this silicone baby teeter easy and convenient to clean. Mama & Little will become the perfect alternative baby teething toy that you’ll want to wear every day to soothe your teething baby, but way prettier hanging around your neck or wrist. Available in a rainbow of styles and colors. 

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They recently launched their first apparel items and I am obsessed with one of them, there ‘MAMA’ t-shirt. I’m a huge fan of this t-shirt its ultra comfortable, with a great stretch for day-to-day wearability. If you are on the hunt for the perfect T, your search for the ultimate basic mom T-shirt is officially over. This tee is soft enough for even the most sensitive skin. It’s available now and you can dress it down with your favorite jeans or dress it up any way you way! No matter how you wear it, it’s guaranteed to be soft and stylish to wear. I love this company so much I have partnered up with them to giveaway a $50 store credit to shop on their site, head over to my Instagram to enter!

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“The Wear Everywhere Jewelry For The Mama who does it all with style” – Mama & Little

with care,

Donna

 

JOIN THE SWISS FAMILY

“Let us explore and learned the beauty and importance of a more natural way of living.”

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Welcome, Everyone! I’m so happy you are here! If you don’t already know, my name is Donna and I’m extremely excited to be here sharing wonderful products for the body, and mind, all the way from Switzerland. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post talking all about herbs and oils, their history, and their magic abilities. If you missed it and are new to using essential oils and would like to learn more about them, you can read more here!

Essentially, essential oils are the true “soul” of the plant and contain a tremendous amount of power and Just products are meant to soothe and provide well-being. Just products are rich and concentrated blends of potent plant ingredients that provide a unique feeling of well-being.

Please be reminded that no product mentioned here will replace the qualified recommendations of your health care provider or physician. Just products are not intended to diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Dermatologically tested. Just prides itself on always pleasing its customers. If the product you purchased is not to your entire satisfaction, we will replace it free of charge, or refund your purchase price within 30 days of purchase. Restrictions may apply. 

First off, I would like to clarify this is not a sponsored post or affiliated to SWISS JUST, I joined SWISS JUST to share with others my love for essential oils and how they have helped me and my family to feel and look great the natural way. I was introduced to this magical product line three years ago by my mother in law, who has been using this product for over thirty years now, since and before my husband was born.  Swiss Just is a product line that is sold in 36 countries and has been on the market for 85 years. Eighty years ago, in 1930, visionary Ulrich Justrich decide to tap into the natural power of essential oils to bring the human body in to balance. In a tiny village in Swiss Alps knows as Walzenhausen, he created the Just company, now run by the third generation of the family in that same village. Today the company is much bigger, with five hundred million in worldwide sales! Swiss Just products have been my secret tool to having a more natural approach to treat my family and I when we are not feeling so good or are a bit stressed.

You are in the right place if you want:

+ Natural solutions for your family medicine cabinet

+ Quality products that are easy to use

+ The opportunity to share and earn

Continue reading “JOIN THE SWISS FAMILY”

Only Love Today | Conclusion + Reflection Questions

Hello, my book club readers! October fly by just like this book! I devoured this book page by page, and I think I underlined every single word. Wow! She is so spot on how motherhood can be so overwhelming, life in general. How much we are consumed with the meaningless things instead of focus all of our energy on the meaningful and important things in our lives. She talked about finding glory, joy, how to heal the past and learn to move on to expanding the future, and how to choose LOVE first. This book was the perfect reminder I have been looking for!

What brought me to pick this book?

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Honestly, I think the book came to me, one night while I was walking the empty aisles of Target, I remember feeling completely out of energy, I remember not being able to breathe because I felt so overwhelmed with trying to do everything and getting frustrated when nothing would get done. I felt like the kids were driving me insane, like the house chores were never-ending and I simply couldn’t keep up. Just the other day I told you guys on an Instagram post that every morning I would wake up feeling like crap, I had no energy, lacked inspiration and motivation. I kept comparing my self to other Instagram moms, you know the ones with the perfect little squares and million followers. I was so consumed with social media and felt the need to constantly post something all the time and at that exact moment, like if I didn’t share it the world would end. Why? I have no idea. Like who the hell cares? Continue reading “Only Love Today | Conclusion + Reflection Questions”

Part I: The Power of Essential Oils

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Happy Monday, Friends! Do you feel that stress makes it hard to unwind? Does anxiety keep you from a good night’s sleep and prevent you from feeling confident and relaxed? My secret to feeling refresh, renew, and rejuvenate is by incorporating essential oils and infused products in my daily rhythm and rituals. Essential Oils and Herbalism (also known as Herbal Medicine) has been used for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until I had my first baby, four years ago that I started looking for a more natural approach to take care of my family and my self.

Did you know that by using an essential oil diffuser will break down a pure essential oil into a fine mist which will travel through the air and neutralize chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and eliminate bad vibes? Yes, it’s true! Making it easier to improve the air quality of your home by refreshing up the air with natural fragrances. CONTINUE READING!