MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

Clever Ways To Keep Down Costs And Still Buy Beautiful Gifts


The thing about birthdays and holidays is that they always seem to arrive at just the wrong time. And it’s always when cash is a little short. How can you buy beautiful gifts for family and friends without spending a fortune?

  1. Shop Wisely

Throughout the year, keep an eye out for bargains. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy gifts. Shop ahead of time. The January sales are a great place to pick up items that didn’t sell in the run-up to Christmas. Put one or two aside for later in the year.

Secondhand or preloved products also make wonderful presents. You can often pick up items that haven’t been used from charity or pawn shops. You can pick up quality items at a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking for an affordable gift idea, view it at and other outlets.

  1. Personal Gifts

Personal items such as photographs make memorable gifts for family and close friends. Arrange to have a photograph of the whole family taken and have it framed. You don’t have to use a professional photographer, ask a creative friend with a good eye to do this for you.

And you don’t have to stop with framed photographs. Many companies offer services where photos can be printed onto items such as calendars, mugs, mouse mats, etc. Many of these are inexpensive, especially if you purchase more than one.

If you’re creative, you can create a personalized gift yourself. It’s possible to buy kits for keyrings and snow globes, where all you have to do is add your photo. Take out the glitter pens and add a little sparkle.

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Photographs can also be printed onto fabric. Using this method, there is no end to the possibilities. You can create your own cushions, quilts, and t-shirts.

As an alternative, you could you the kids’ artwork in place of photos.

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  1. Homemade Gifts

You don’t have to be an artist or an avid crafter to make beautiful homemade gifts. There are lots of simple projects you can get involved in that are simple to make but look impressive. Look online for examples. You can make candles, toiletries, ornaments and jewelry with just a few components. And for a simple box of chocolates, follow this recipe.

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  1. Simple Candy Recipe

All you need is a large bar of your favorite chocolate, a packet of biscuits, and a knob of butter. Melt the butter in a pan and crush the biscuits in the packet with a rolling pin. Add the fine biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture onto a shallow baking tray and press into the base with a spoon. Allow it to cool. Next, melt the chocolate. You can do this by placing it in the microwave for a few minutes. If you prefer, boil a pan of water on the stove and melt the chocolate in the bowl over the pan. Once melted pour the chocolate over the biscuit base and smooth with a spoon. Allow it to set overnight. The chocolate will become hard again, and you can break it into rough, manageable pieces. Place into a pretty box with a ribbon, and you have delicious, homemade candy.

Gifts are not about money. You can still give meaningful presents without spending a fortune. And it’s those personal gifts that show care and thought that will make the biggest impact.

Hiring A Family Law Solicitor, and How They Can Help

Many families, especially those going through a rough time, can benefit from the services of a Family Law Solicitor. But exactly what do they do, and how can they help? Read on to hear 5 things Family Law Solicitors can help your family with.


One of the most common things Family Law Solicitors are known for helping families with is divorce proceedings. Divorces are anything but straightforward and a family solicitor can guarantee that your needs are met, and your concerns, voiced. Whether you are fighting for your property or just trying to have the smoothest proceedings as possible, family solicitors are a great resource for advocating for you as you navigate the messy process of a divorce.

Child Custody

Even more complicated than a divorce is the matter of child custody. Children make any divorce more stressful, as there are more people affected by the changes occurring in a household and to a couple. Family lawyers can be a great source of support throughout this messy process, ensuring fair representation for all parties.

Marriage Counseling

When marriages are troubled but not ending, family lawyers can also be a great resource. Marriage counseling and therapy sessions often require some scheduling and coordination, especially if other members of the family are receiving counseling or if counseling goals are not met and further action needs to be taken. Even for the families not seeking out divorce, any serious strife within the family dynamic is a good time to find a family solicitor you can trust and begin a conversation with them.

Domestic Violence

Even more traumatic than counseling or divorce is the issue of domestic violence. Domestic violence affects a surprising number of men, women, and children every year and is something that should be taken extremely seriously. If your family is experiencing issues of this severity, getting a family lawyer involved is not only suggested, but necessary. When encountering grave and violent situations at home, it is important to know your rights and have a plan of action in place for avoiding these situations, and ultimately removing yourself from them.


Lastly, Family Law Solicitors can be a great help in most situations requiring mediation. When any sort of trauma or change is happening to your family, having a mediator can often help to focus on the main issues and resolve them with the help of a neutral leader.

Family lawyers are more than just legal experts. Specially trained in a myriad of tricky situations occurring in the home, these individuals are a great resource for any family undergoing major changes or difficulties. If you are in need of help, you can find a solicitor Solicitors.Guru to help your family through the rough times.

Parenting 101: Preventing TV Addiction In Your Children

Before I start, do not be fooled into thinking this is a rant against modern tech. In moderation, television and video games can be very beneficial to a child’s development. I feel there is nothing wrong with embracing those items. However, there has to be a limit. No parent wants to raise a child who is dependent on their various screens.

The best way to stop this from becoming a problem is to provide alternatives. Embrace the ideas below, and you should pass the test with flying colors.

Embrace Other Toys


The modern child’s bedroom will almost certainly include a TV. And it may well boast a laptop, iPad, and games console too. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t inject additional fun by using non-computerised toys.

In fact, some of those toys can become fantastic room decorations too. Model trams, for example, can add new energy to shelves. Meanwhile, your child can use them in an imaginative manner too. Now that has to be better than hours of mindless gaming.

Being creative is crucial for your child’s development, and another way to promote this is through fancy dress outfits. Let’s face it; dressing up as their favorite superheroes has to be better than playing them on the PlayStation.

Use The Garden



Having those tech features indoors is almost ubiquitous with modern family life. When they’re inside, your kids are likely to use them quite frequently. So why not encourage them to get outside more? As well as fighting the issue at hand, it will promote a more active lifestyle. This can only be good news for their physical and mental health.

Transforming your garden into a kid-friendly environment isn’t difficult. Investing in a trampoline or sporting games can make a world of difference. Meanwhile, a quality climbing frame can provide the perfect venue for their adventures. Besides, it will be far easier for you to keep an eye on them while you’ll also be able to relax in the sun too.

Most kids use their tech devices to stay in touch with friends. Let them invite friends over, and they’ll also have far less need for using social media. Human interaction has to be a far healthier option.

Encourage Hobbies


Playing games and watching films can be a great leisure activity. However, if you want your kids to spend their free time in an effective manner, you should help them find a hobby.

This could mean joining the local children’s sports team or attending classes in dance or music. And if your kids are genuinely fascinated by tech, then they can make videos using a GoPro camera. If it increases their natural creativity while developing communication skills, it has to be a step in the right direction. Who knows, they may even unearth a genuine talent for their future careers.

Even if those hobbies remain a leisure activity only, it’s important for children to have a passion in life. Best of all, though, those distractions should keep TV time to a healthy limit. From a parent’s perspective, that has to be the best reward of all.

Adorable Summer Styles by Zutano

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We are huge Zuntano fans, but most of you know that already. My two little ones are always sporting the adorable styles and fun prints. I also love to hand down the clothes they out grow to my friends.

This Summer Mikey and Shelby were able to have some matching clothes! That is one thing I love about Zutano is they offer the same (well some) print for boys and girls! We love the Maritime – Print by Tom Slaughter! Mikey and Shelby.

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There are tons of different options to choose from in each line too. From shorts, shirts, dresses, one piece rompers and pants/leggings you can mix and match with a lot of options. Here is Mikey in the screen tee and big pocket shorts.

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We love the Mandarin Terry Baby Bodice Jacket too! It makes the perfect lightweight jacket for cooler summer evenings.

Wearing her jacket and Navy And White Stripe Toddler Tiered Sleeveless Dress. This dress has ties around the shoulder which is great because we can adjust it to how we want the dress to fall on Shelby. It also allows for Shelby to wear this dress more than one year too.

Can she be any cuter in this @zutano_inc outfit?!

A photo posted by Amanda (@mommymandy) on


Mikey in his matching Maritime sleeveless suit.

Cuddling with this little guy !

A photo posted by Amanda (@mommymandy) on

We love Zutano and right now the one piece outfits you can get 20% off using the code CUTIETIMESTWO 

*A product was provided.

DIY After Sun Spray with Essential Oils

Summer is here and that means most families are outside and enjoying the sun. If you are fair skin like me then you may find yourself getting red from the sun rather quickly. I have a great after sun spray to help soothe the skin when you may have found yourself out in the sun a little too long!

I love using Essential Oils and this After Sun Spray has quickly become my favorite spray this summer.

DIY After Sun Spray:

20 drops Lavender
20 drops Peppermint
20 drops Frankincense (optional)

Add oils to a 4 oz spray bottle. Fill the remainder with either water or fractionated coconut oil. Shake and apply as soon as possible to the sun irritated area. Repeat every 2-4 hours.

sun spray

If you are interested in trying out Essential Oils feel free to message me and I can get you started!

Shrek 15th Anniversary and our Shrek #Swampathon Party! #Shrek15Insiders


Can you believe it has been 15 years since Shrek came out? I was 17 and loved it back then, now four kids later and they get to enjoy this awesome Ogre too! Relive the magic of Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Lord Farquaad, and all the fairy-tale characters when DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and the Shrek 4-Movie Collection arrived on Digital HD May 16th and on Blu-ray & DVD June 7th.

You’ve never met a hero quite like SHREK, winner of the first ACADEMY AWARD® for Best Animated Feature*. The endearing ogre sparked a motion picture phenomenon and captured the world’s imagination with…the Greatest Fairy Tale Never Told!


Critics have called SHREK “not just a brilliant animated feature, but a superb film on any level” (Larry King, USA Today). Relive every moment of Shrek’s (Mike Myers) daring quest to rescue feisty Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), with the help of his lovable loudmouthed Donkey (Eddie Murphy), and win back the deed to his beloved swamp from scheming Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Enchantingly irreverent and “monstrously clever” (Leah Rozen, People Magazine), SHREK is an ogre-sized adventure you’ll want to see again and again.

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You can pick up the Shrek Four Movie Collection on amazon!



Disclosure: I was given the product featured in this post as part of being a Fox Insider. All opinions are 100% my own.

How Behavioral Therapy with a Speech Pathologist can help Children with Autism

Individuals on the autism spectrum tend to have differing degrees and combinations of symptoms and therefore treatment must be tailored to the individual. It is also important to keep in mind that individuals with autism vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities.While autism appears to be on the rise is unclear whether the growing number of diagnosing these shows the increase comes from an actual increase in cases or improved detection by parents, teachers, and health care professionals.

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Social interaction
  • Communication — both verbal and nonverbal
  • Behaviors and interests

A child on the Autism spectrumoften experiences learning development delayed from birth, though some children seem to develop normally before experiencing a sudden loss in social or language skills at a certain point in early childhood. For others, particular or unusual behavior patterns (such as spending hours lining up toys) will become obvious at a later stage.


Parents are usually the first to notice something is irregular but proper diagnosis of autism is often delayed as some parents and even doctors down play early signs of autism — in fact, many suggest symptoms are just a phase or a sign of a minor delay in typical social and language progression.

Until recently, the types of ASD have been determined by guidelines in the widely-recognized diagnostic manual (known as DSM – IV) of the American Psychiatric Association. According to the Center for Disease Control (or CDC), the three major types of ASD are classified as follows:

  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Pervasive developmental disorder
  • Autistic disorder

The DSM -IV also included two rare but severe autistic-like conditions: childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett syndrome.The new diagnostic manual (DSM – V) has made some major changes in this list of disorders problematizing easy classification of this condition. It’s unclear, though, how these changes will affect the way health professionals define Autistic spectrum disorders, but it is clear from the manual that more attention is being paid to early identification, behavioral analysis, and intervention treatment than ever before.

At a speech pathology centre, such as Toronto’s Simone Friedman SLS, people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are introduced to aholistic Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) approach. The program selected for you or your child is designed to be unique and custom-tailored according to age, ability, availability, and budget. We use both naturalistic methods (including play and interaction) and formal behavior modification (including ABA, IBI) to help people with ASD to develop new skills. Some of the skills developed at Simone Friedman IBI therapy in Toronto include:

  • Communication skills
  • Social skills that include understanding and taking part in social situations and interactions
  • Behaviour (which includes paying attention, as well as coping with restrictions and dealing with emotions)
  • General life skills (such as housework and money skill planning)
  • Motor skills (especially use of the body and hands)
  • Cognition skills (which include learning concepts like colours and shapes)
  • Hygiene (which includes self-help when it comes to bathing, toileting etc.)

If you suspect that your child may be on the ASD, do not hesitate to contact a speech language centre in your area right away. Early diagnosis and intervention can make all the difference in how a child with Autism makes important improvements in language and social skills.

4 Crucial Roles of Parents in Children’s Career Selection


As parents, there are millions of things that you need to keep in mind to secure the future of your children. It is never easy to become a parent, it is actually the toughest job in the world. Being one is absolutely stressful and challenging, yet fulfilling and priceless. That is why all children should be proud of their parents in any way, especially for the unconditional love they keep showing them.

Growing up, your children need more attention and support, particularly with their studies. When the time comes that your children go to college, you have to make sure to guide them in choosing the best course for them. However, your role as parents is to help your children determine what they really want and not dictate what course should they take up.

Hence, the following are your roles as a parent while your children are trying to figure out the right course for them in college:

Become a good role model

Parents are the first role models of children, so be sure to be the person they look up to. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to set a good example to them at all times. Always make time to talk to them about everything, especially yourself. Open up and tell them about your work story, career paths and plans in the future.

Build dreams with them

Always let your children dream. This is a good sign, which just means that they have a goal in life. If you let them have an ambition, you are molding them into someone who they want to become in the future. So, make sure that you dream with them and explain things properly when they ask you.

Support and encourage them

In case your children are having a hard time deciding on what career path to take, your support and encouragement as parents matter the most. You have to help them throughout the whole decision-making process and whatever they choose, be it a Diploma of Accounting, Counselling, Arts, or anything, you have to support them hundred percent.


Aid them in exploring career options

There are numerous career options available out there and it may be a struggle for your children to select one. With that, you have to assist them in discovering the best option for them. It might be difficult at first, but when your children finally figured it out, it will be worth it. Moreover, you can help them get work experience opportunities through your network.

On the whole, your role in the career guidance process of your children is crucial. This is the time when your children need you the most, thus, make it a point that your presence is felt. Your children’s college days is one of the hardest and most defining time of their lives. Therefore, you need to guide them well and never force them to take up a course that they don’t have interest in. Let them decide and be their number one fan.

girls activities


Mikey – 1 year and 4 Months Old!

Wow, Time literally flies when you have a baby and toddler. He makes me laugh every day. And he is very very busy!

Be (binky)
anna (hannah my inlaws dog)
sis (Sam)
neo (nino)

He waves hello and bye and is such a flirt! He loves when the ladies talk to him.

Weight is around 27 lbs and is 30 inches tall.


A Few Staples for the Pantry This Summer


We are on our last week of school and then it is Summer Vacation! My kids are so excited, we already have quite the list of stuff we want to do. From swimming at the lake, pool, visiting GG, a few camping trips and hikes we will be busy!

A long bucket list of fun activities means that we are going to be on the go.. a lot! Keeping the kids fueled and hydrated is extremely important so I have already started updating our pantry with drinks and snacks that will keep the kids happy but also healthier options. I like to keep snack size everything for easy grab and go. We can throw everything into an ice chest or backpack.

Here are a few of the must have staples I keep for the kids and you can pick them all up at Target!

pantry must haves

  • BODYARMOR Sport Drink
  • Annies Fruit Snacks
  • Bananas
  • Justins Classic Almond Butter Squeeze Packs

These all make excellent snacks and keep my kids happy! They absolutely love BODYARMOR Sport Drink which happens to be packed full of electrolytes and is made with coconut water! My kids love it and are sport drink fans so to find out about BODYARMOR I was pretty stoked to switch them to something that is better for them.


You’re probably wondering what exactly BODYARMOR Sport Drink is right? Well BODYARMOR is packed with Electrolytes, Vitamins, and Coconut Water, It provides your body with the necessary hydration to perform at its best.  So when we are at the pool swimming or out on a hike I know that my kids will stay hydrated (and myself at that!)

I myself love having BODYARMOR after my runs or working out. I sweat a lot so I love I am adding back in electrolytes and vitamins. I love the flavors too.

BODYARMOR Flavors include:

  • Fruit Punch
  • Orange Mango
  • Tropical Punch
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Grape
  • Lemon Lime
  • Mixed Berry
  • Blackout Berry

BODYARMOR also contains:

  • 2.5x the electrolytes of the leading sports drink
  • 100% vitamins A, C, E and 200% Vitamin B
  • 10% coconut water
  • Natural flavors and colors, gluten-free, certified kosher, and no preservatives

Be sure to get this Coupon to save on BODYARMOR .

For those of you in Southern California like me you can find BODYARMOR at Ralphs and Target! And you can find a list of retailers near you by visiting the store locator at

*A product and compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Giveaway Winners

Pediped® Debuts Fresh New Styles for Spring/Summer 2016 *Giveaway ends April 7th* WINNER: kristen s. baby *Giveaway ends April 14th* WINNER: Janet B.

Chuck E. Cheese’s and Big Brothers Big Sisters Fundraiser Starts March 31st! *Giveaway ends April 15th* WINNER: Shelly L.

2 Red Hens Shopping Cart Cover *Giveaway ends April 21st* WINNER: JEssica B.

Celebrate Discovery with Yookidoo!

Did you know that June 14th is International Bath Day? Legend has it that on this day Greek mathematician, scientist and scholar, Archimedes, discovered while taking a bath that an object’s volume could be accurately measured by being submerged in water! Unable to contain his excitement, Archimedes leapt out of the bathtub and yelling “Eureka, Eureka!” as he ran through the streets of Syracuse, Greece.


Today, international toy manufacturer, Yookidoo, continues to celebrate Archimedes’ excitement and discovery with their award winning line of bath toys that keep learning and exploration afloat! As a proud sponsor of International Bath Day, Yookidoo is spreading the word that bath time is THE ideal time for learning and discovery.

With bath toys, like Yookidoo’s Flow N Fill Spout, children can learn the basic properties of physics such as empty/full, float/sink, heavy/light, and cause and effect all while having FUN in the tub!


Keep the water flowing with the Yookidoo Flow N Fill Spout. This automatic spout attaches to the tub to draw water up and create an endless stream.  Three interchangeable tumblers each with a different spouting action offer a variety of ways to play and experiment with water. For ages 9 months- 3 years. MSRP: $19.99 Available at

Join Yookidoo in their celebration of International Bath Day on June 14th so little scientists everywhere can rejoice “Eureka, Eureka!” over their own amazing new bath time discoveries!!


*A product was provided.

Hey Pampers Fans! Check out These Savings! #PampersSavings

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Hey all my Pampers fans!I am super excited to share these awesome coupons coming out this coming week! Pampers is now offering amazing money-saving opportunities for parents with little ones, so that you can get the same great diapers . Here’s how to save:

Keep an eye out for this Sunday’s newspaper (May 29, 2016) for an insert from P&G with these Pampers coupon offerings. Use these coupons at any mass, discount or grocery stores where baby care products are sold.

Keep an eye out because there will be a coupon offer for $3 off two bags or one box of any Pampers Diapers or Pampers Training Pants. And there will also be a coupon offer for $3.00 off 2 bags or 1 box of Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants or UnderJams Absorbent Night Wear.

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I am excited for these coupons because I recently had a fun Pampers Easy Ups play date and I can share these great coupons with my friends who came to our play date.

Guess what you can also clip the Pampers Easy Ups  coupons at as well.  zIf you do not already have one you will need to create a account and then you can print, shop, and save – and keep an eye out for more Pampers coupons in the future!

For more information on Pampers diapers and pants, visit or the brand’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter  and YouTube.

*This post was made possible by iConnect and Pampers. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Our Pampers Easy Ups Play Date


Last week my friends and I got together for an informative park play date and us moms discussed potty training! I have quite a bit of friends who have little ones stating to potty train so it was fun to talk about how we potty trained our older kids and how different each kid is when it comes to potty training.


pampers play date

Potty training is an amazing milestone for toddlers and parents alike, but it can also be stressful. Spring is the time many families kick-off potty training so they are ready for summer fun and then for the start of preschool. Potty training can feel like an overwhelming process, and when minor leaks or accidents occur, it can be a disappointment. Pampers Easy Ups helps makes this journey a little easier by providing better leak protection than the leading competitor.

Training pants support the diaper-to-underwear transition for toddlers and their families as they have a more underwear-like look and feel while still helping to keep messes off clothing, bedding and other surfaces no matter where accidents happen: at home, on-the-go or overnight.

Pampers Easy Ups work during the day AND night, enabling toddlers and moms to confidently and completely transition from diapers to underwear.

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Pampers Easy Ups come in fun Thomas & Friends® designs for boys and Dora the Explorer® designs for girls and a more underwear-like design for growing toddlers. They are also super-stretchy sides to make them easy to pull up and down when using the potty


Available for Boys and Girls sizes 2T/3T through 4T/5T.

Follow Pampers on Twitter and Facebook

*I hosted a potty-training party, in partnership with Pampers.

2016 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and we have some wonderful gift ideas for you!

If you realize you forgot to send out Mother’s Day cards and it is now too late, you can always get Mother’s Day ecards online that you can send out at the last minute.


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Boll & Branch Cable Knit Throw

Nothing says “relaxation” like a cozy blanket and Mom will love curling up under this beautiful 100% organic cotton throw. Made ethically in India of eco-friendly non-toxic dyes.

Rest well knowing you’ve done something good for Mom, the planet, and our global neighbors. The throw comes in various colors to match what your special lady would love. (I’d love the white!)



dunejewelry bangal


Dune Jewelry Beach Bangle Bracelets

Each of the Beach Bangles comes with a special charm . The signature Beach Bangle collection’s allows you to capture some of your life’s most cherished memories and adventures, and to carry them with you on your wrist, and in your heart. Each piece is handmade layered to a gem-like finish with your favorite beach sand.

There are so many beach sand to choose from so depending on that special beach you visited you can now have it cherished in a bangle.


youniqueYounique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+

Who doesn’t want beautiful lashes that pop? Listen up, fiber lash lovers. Younique has improved our wildly popular 3D Fiber lash enhancer to make it better than before.Introducing, Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+!

With a new brush and a fresh look, our proprietary, hypoallergenic formula brings life to tired lashes. Its two international patents pending leaves little wonder about why women are talking about which lash enhancer they use.


origamil owl necklace Origami Owl Living Lockets


Beautiful necklaces that show off what mom loves? Her family! Pick her up the Large Silver twist locket, pair it with the Legacy Family TREE Window Shelf and then the birthstones off all her kids or grandkids!

You can throw in a gift certificate too so mom can pick out a couple other charms!

Origami Owl offers more than just the living lockets. From watches, bracelets, earrings and so much more.



Southwest Sunset Arrows Essential Oil Bag from Red Fox LaneSouthwest Sunset Arrows Essential Oil Bag from Red Fox Lane

The Essential Oil Bag from Red Fox Lane bag is made with individual pockets to hold up to 12 essential oil bottles (depending on bottle sizes) – with plenty of room for extras like rollers or minis!

The roller bottle bag has individual pockets to hold 14 rollerball bottles. Pockets are taller to keep your rollers upright. The XL bag is made to hold 14 of the 15ml bottles, plus an insert or two. It is about 30% larger than the regular bag.

il_570xN.841495241_9kozSurviving Parenthood One Sip at a Time To Go Cup – GlitterSips

This to-go coffee cup has actually been on my want list for a year! GlitterSips has tons of fun sayings and your coffee or tea loving mama will love this! Get it in her favorite color too.