MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

Free Printable Holiday Planning Pages


Stay Organized this Holiday Season with these great and FREE Printable. Keep track of who you have bought presents for, sent and wrapped. Keep track of who you have received Christmas cards from as well as who you have sent them to. Also there is a list of Christmas to-dos.



My Christmas Wish List

This Christmas wish list is perfect for everyone! Print out how ever many you need from your kids, spouse, mom, dad, nieces nephews and anyone else you like to shop for. This list has a little bit of everything for the gift giver to get an idea on what to shop for. Clothing size, favorite movies and even items that the receiver may really need.

christmas gift list

Christmas Gift List

Keep track of who you are giving gifts to and what you are getting them. This list is also perfect for keeping track of the presents you have:
– Bought/ordered
– Received (by mail), and
– Wrapped and/or posted


Christmas Card List

Keep all of your names and addresses in one place. The list helps keep track of who you have sent to and received from. Next year you will have an updated list of addresses. (mostly up to date)


Christmas To Do List

A great way to keep track of everything you need to do over the Holidays. From putting up lights, grocery shopping to gift buying.


Christmas Shopping List

Print one out for each shopping lists you need. Christmas parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas day etc




Countdown to Christmas   25 Family Traditions

We have complied a list of fun things to do with your family to get ready for Christmas.

You will see a few games on the countdown! We found these games to be fun! Here is where you can find the printable for Christmas BINGO and Christmas Memory Game.

Christmas Minute to Win It Games from The Link Home, Happy Home Fairy, LifeWay, Your Homebase Mom.

We are also including a blank countdown in case you already have some family traditions this way you can create your very own Calendar!


Amazon Debuts Original Live-Action Special An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win


Amazon announced its first Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win is scheduled to premiere on Friday, October 21 on Prime Video in the US and UK. The first of four original American Girl specials for Prime Video stars Marsai Martin (Black-ish) as the title character Melody.

Based in 1963 Detroit during the civil rights movement, An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win centers around 10-year-old Melody whose eyes are opened to the racial inequality surrounding her, including the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing. As a result, her belief in the “indivisible” promise of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance comes into question as she challenges her teacher on the validity of this given the horrific tragedy. After an emotional journey of self-reflection, her mother gives her the courage she needs by instilling in her that love brings out the best in everyone; reminding Melody that it’s important to “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.”

“The American Girl Melody special is an empowering and inspiring story that will quickly become a favorite for young girls, while bringing families together to help start a healthy dialogue,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. “Although our special is historical, the themes presented are sadly very timely and relevant for the world in which kids today are exposed.”

The Amazon Original Special is based on American Girl’s Melody character and inspirational stories. In addition to the special debuting exclusively on Prime Video, Amazon and American Girl have collaborated to create a destination for fans of Melody’s stories to find a wide selection of American Girl Melody products.

Go to to shop an 18-inch Melody doll, historically accurate 1960s doll outfits, a Motown-inspired recording studio that plays and records music, and more. “We are always looking for new ways to bring our great content to life both on and off the screen,” said Eva Lorenz, Category Leader for Toys. “From toys to books to crafts, Melody’s biggest fans can now discover and shop a wide selection of items available with free Two Day Shipping for Prime members.”


Happy Healthier Halloween from Pure Organic and Sunkist Snacks!


Looking for some Happy Healthier Halloween treat ideas? We have some great ideas from from Pure Organic and Sunkist Snacks!

Pure Organic’s Fruit Sandwiches and Fruit & Veggie Strips are great healthy options available for Halloween shoppers and trick-or-treaters. Unlike the traditional chemical, sugar-filled treats, Pure’s Sandwiches and Strips are made with no added cane syrups, artificial flavors or colors. Pure’s Fruit Sandwiches and Fruit & Veggie Strips are made with organic, non-GMO, vegan fruit and vegetable puree, and you can learn more here.

Quick tip: Cut these treats with Halloween cookie cutters for a festive, DIY snack!


Sunkist® Snacks

Sunkist® Snacks, the fruit-lovers, better-for-you snack brand, has delicious snack alternatives for kids this Halloween. An alternative from traditional sugar-filled treats, Sunkist Fruit Lover’s Trail Mix single-serve bags provide sweetness from premium dried fruit and premium tree nuts. Packaged in perfectly-portioned grab-and-go bags, trick-or-treaters will gobble up these delicious Strawberry Banana and Pineapple Coconut blends. You can learn more about Sunkist Snacks on their website here.

Quick tip: Add these to your Halloween trail mix recipe for a fruit-lovers spin!


Kids and Head Injuries


It’s inevitable. Children are going to hit their heads on all sorts of things throughout their lives. From tipping over into coffee tables because they are learning to walk to riding their bikes into the garage door because they haven’t gotten a hang on the whole breaking thing.

Whenever your child takes a spill your first thought are often, “Are they okay?” or “Am I going to need to head to the ER?” or “What should I do?”

Indications of Serious Head Injuries

The first thing to remember is to stay calm. There’s no situation that panicking won’t make more difficult. The next thing you can do is check and watch for indications that your child has suffered a serious head injury. Common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Difficulty remembering the accident or how the injury occurred;
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy;
  • Severe headaches and light sensitivity;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Problems understanding or forming words;
  • Difficulty walking or maintaining a steady gait;
  • Sleep disturbances;
  • Emotional outbursts, including fits of anger and depression;
  • Feeling excessively nervous or agitated.

If you are seriously concerned that your child has suffered a severe head injury contact your family physician immediately or go into the Emergency Room.


According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) 564,000 children head into the emergency room every year due to head injuries. Fortunately, 89% of those children admitted head home that day and don’t need to be hospitalized.

Still according to the Brain Injury Association of America the leading contributing factors for serious head and brain injuries are as follows:

  • Motor-Vehicle Accidents: This includes car, motorcycle atv and other types of motor-vehicle accidents.
  • Pedestrian/Bicycling Accidents: Injuries caused by children being struck by motor vehicles while walking or riding a bicycle.
  • Falls from Considerable Distance: Falls out of open windows, balconies
  • Physical Violence: Injuries as a result of abuse from parents or caregiver.

Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to prevent your child from getting hurt. However, our best advice for avoiding these injuries include:

  • Teach your children to road and crosswalk safety
  • Encourage the use of helmets and other protective gear
  • Never leave a window open that can easily accessed
  • Never drive distracted
  • When you are frustrated with a child be sure to take a step away and call someone who may be able to come and help

Information and Infographic created by the Los Angeles Head and Brain Injury Lawyers at Fisher & Talwar





Embrace, Encourage and Teach them to Go Big! #YoplaitGoBig


This past week has been pretty rough at our Junior High School, one of my daughter’s friend was kicked and punched and the video of it happening went viral pretty fast. It broke my heart watching this sweet girl getting hurt by another class mate. Many, many other students you can see are yelling for the girls to fight, not a single student is trying to break it up not anyone yelling for an adult to help. When I asked my teenager about it she told me she was across the playground and was trying to get over to help break it up.

Last school year it was my teen who was punched in the face because she WAS the one breaking up a fight between two girls she knows.

This incident is a HUGE reminder to us parents the importance of teaching our children respect, encouraging our teens to stand up against bullies, and to remind them that they are amazing people who can be the good when there is so much negativity.

My almost fourteen year old has the heart of gold,  sometimes I forget how wise she is for her young age, and all of us parents need to remember that these teen years are some of the hardest years you go through! So much from your body changing, your emotions, preparing for your future, it is crucial for us parents/adults to help shape them into adults who can be self sufficient in life. Who will be the one to stand up against the bad.

I wrote this letter to Sam because she needs to know how amazing she is!

Dear Sam,

Sometimes I forget to tell you these things with the craziness of our days. But I see you. I see you every day working hard. You work harder than any teenager I know. You are amazing. You stay up late after I have asked you to help me to work on your homework. I can not believe how hard you work in school keeping a 4.0 GPA is not easy and I commend you for that. 

I see you and hear you working on your music, the violin, piano and signing. Sure sometimes we need the quiet but I love it when you’re in the bathroom singing your heart out in the mirror. I never knew that singing in the bathroom actually helped you hear yourself better.

I see you in dance, and wow you are such an awesome dancer! I love watching you dance. You have a passion for it. Never give that up! 

I see how dedicated you are in sports. Snowboarding and Softball I know much you enjoy it. You never give up, even when you fall you get back up and try again.

I see how you love your friends deeply. You are there for them, all of them and you always have a shoulder to cry on when they need it, or a respectful ear to listen to. You don’t judge others and you see the good in everyone.

No one could ever measure up to you Sam! Keep up everything you are doing, you are going to be one amazing adult in this world and I am lucky I get to be apart of it. I love you and all your craziness that makes you truly amazing,

Love, Mom


I also have a tween, she is about to turn eleven and looks up to her older sister. She cried when she saw the video of the other student being kicked in the face after she was on the ground. She has a gentle soul, she cares deeply for every living being.

I wanted to write Sarah a letter too.

Dear Sissy,

I know the last week has been pretty hard for you. That report that was due today was weighing heavy on your mind, I know it can be overwhelming with school, music and dance and I think you are doing a really good job at trying to juggle everything. These are just learning lessons that will continue for the rest of your life. I know you had a hard time understanding why other kids can be so mean to each other. Hearing of what happened at Sam’s school to how your friend made you feel bad yesterday is not easy. Sometimes our friends say mean things because they are hurting, or upset for a different reason and they lash out and hurt us. But remember that I know how amazing you are and I know how much you try to show kindness to everyone.

I want you to know that I see how much you look up to Sam and how you just want to be her friend not just her sister and she will see that soon. She will want to be close to you but for now you continue to be you, and keep showing her kindness and love.

I absolutely love watching you in your activities! Watching you play the violin and dance brings me so much joy! I could never do what you do. I am shocked and amazed when I watch you dance. You are so dedicated in dance and you work incredibly hard. All that hard work will pay off!

Continue to reach for your dreams because with how hard you work you will be able to achieve them.

Love, Mom


When I heard of Yoplait’s Go Big Contest and how they know teens are amazing I completely agree! I couldn’t wait to write a letter to my girls.  It is so important that we remind our teens how amazing they are. everyday!


Yoplait Go Big is the fuel to help teens crush it, single-handedly in their everyday life,  Go Big is a new, large yogurt pouch designed specifically with teens in mind. Go Big is made with real fruit and just the right amount of sweetness. The Go Big pouch contains the right amount of yogurt to satisfy a teen’s growing hunger.  The Go Big pouch is like nothing you’ve seen before, just grip & rip! Very easy, great for on-the-go!


I bet your teen is amazing too. Why not let Go Big spotlight that amazingness? For a chance to win the spotlight for your teen, go to the Go Big Amazing Teens contest page and share how your teen inspires you. Go Big will select three teens with amazing stories and give them a platform to show the world! For more information, full contest rules can be found on the Go Big Facebook Page.


This post is produced in collaboration with Yoplait Go Big, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Fall Fashion for Toddlers


I absolutely love fall! It is my favorite time of the year. The kids are going back to school in their new outfits. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing and it is crock pot season again.

One of my favorite things is picking out some super cute fall outfits for my little ones! You don’t have to spend a lot of money on outfits for little ones. I like to shop the sales and I will also buy a head of time (sometimes)

For little boys:

Jeans –  They go with everything! You can pick up a couple of jeans and you are set all fall long!

Button up Shirts -These shirts you can find in just about every color. Dress them up or down depending on where you may be heading to.

Hats – My little guy is obsessed with hats! He loves to wear them everywhere. So we are just buying him a bunch of toddler size hats to match his shirts.

As you can see Mikey also has to take his Tommee Tippee Pacifier. Look he even picked his Patriotic pacifier to match his shirt.


I just have to share some of my favorite outfits of Shelby’s too! Shelby started preschool this year and between my mother and I we had fun picking out some cute clothes for her.

Honestly, the majority of her clothes came from either Zulily or TJMaxx.

For little girls:

Fun Leggings – Leggings can be paired up with anything. From Tunics to Sweaters, even dresses.

Sweater Dresses –  Again, on cold days you can pair them with leggings or tights.

Sweaters/Sweatshirts -These are pretty much staples for boys and girls. You can see where I paired a white button up shirt under Shelby’s blue sweater.

Comfortable shoes for school – This is a must parents! I took Shelby to the shoe store and let her pick out the Tennis Shoes she liked. so light up sketchers it was.

BOWS – You have to admit her outfit says it all with her adorable bows.


Shelby looks adorable and we do love hitting up the bargain stores or online!

What are some of your favorite Fall Fashions for your Toddler and Preschooler? 



Mickey’s Halloween Party Returns to the Disneyland Resort, Sept. 9 through Oct. 31

MICKEY'S HALLOWEEN PARTY (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – Guests will celebrate Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort as they interact with some of Disney’s most beloved characters decked out in seasonal costumes, including Mickey Mouse. Mickey's Halloween Party returns for 17 nights in 2016 beginning Friday, Sept. 23. Guests are encouraged to dress up for a ghoulish good time and enjoy seasonal scares such as Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

MICKEY’S HALLOWEEN PARTY (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – Guests will celebrate Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort as they interact with some of Disney’s most beloved characters decked out in seasonal costumes, including Mickey Mouse. Mickey’s Halloween Party returns for 17 nights in 2016 beginning Friday, Sept. 23. Guests are encouraged to dress up for a ghoulish good time and enjoy seasonal scares such as Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

Halloween time, a season for fun-loving spirits of all ages, adds spooky excitement to the Disneyland Resort from Sept. 9 through Oct. 31. Special Halloween-themed attractions–Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy–return to Disneyland Park, while the haunts who reside year-round at The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror invite guests to “drop in” at Disney California Adventure Park.

The separately ticketed Mickey’s Halloween Party also arrives at Disneyland in September with a thrilling new surprise: The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow rides through the park, bringing new chills to the family friendly party. The character is from Disney’s animated feature, “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.”

MICKEY'S HALLOWEEN PARTY (ANAHEIM, Calif.) –  Jack Skellington presides over  the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, which lights up the sky surrounding Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park as part of the entertainment exclusive to the annual Mickey's Halloween Party. Returning for 17 nights in 2016, beginning Friday, Sept. 23, Mickey’s Halloween Party is a time for guests to dress up for a ghoulish good time and enjoy seasonal scares such as Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

MICKEY’S HALLOWEEN PARTY (ANAHEIM, Calif.) – Jack Skellington presides over the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, which lights up the sky surrounding Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park as part of the entertainment exclusive to the annual Mickey’s Halloween Party. Returning for 17 nights in 2016, beginning Friday, Sept. 23, Mickey’s Halloween Party is a time for guests to dress up for a ghoulish good time and enjoy seasonal scares such as Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

Highlights of Mickey’s Halloween Party, a separate-ticket event, include:

  • Highlights of Mickey’s Halloween Party, a separate-ticket event, include: New for Mickey’s Halloween Party in 2016, The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow rides his ghostly black steed and carries his flickering jack-o-lantern through the heart of Disneyland, heralding the arrival of Mickey’s Halloween Party character cavalcade, presented on the 17 nights of this special party.
  • Entry to Disneyland Park before the party is included with a Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket. Guests have the opportunity to play in Disneyland park for three hours before the party starts, and then go trick or treating – for candy and healthy treats – in the ultimate Disney neighborhood.
  • The “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, presented exclusively for guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party, is hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington. Party guests will rock out at Tomorrowland Terrace in a family-friendly dance party.
  • Guests can “Party Like a Villain” as Disney villains appear in select locations for photos and character greetings. Mickey Mouse and his pals will appear as well, dressed in their Halloween costumes.
  • Enhancing the eerie atmosphere along Main Street, U.S.A., animated Halloween images – ghosts, bats, pumpkins and skeletons – appear and disappear mysteriously on the facades of buildings throughout the evening.
  • The ghoulish Cadaver Dans quartet performs Halloween tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft, on the fog-filled Rivers of America in New Orleans Square and Frontierland.
  • Nearly all the favorite Disneyland rides and attractions, plus Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, will be open to party guests.

For more information about Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, see Entertainment and attractions are subject to change without notice. Guests may visit the site for additional details.

Big Savings with Luvs this Week! #SharetheLuv

Luvs Product Pack Shot

The official diaper of experienced moms, Luvs is offering big savings in this Sunday’s paper. Get your scissors out because there will be a high-value coupon that could save you up to $2 on any one Luvs Diaper Pack.

Softer and more absorbent than ever before, with large stretch tabs for easy fastening, ultra-leakage protection and a money-back guarantee, Luvs Ultra Leakguards with NightLock Plus™ provide the high-quality features babies and parents need for less cost than the premium brands.

LUVS (2)

Keep an eye out for this Sunday’s newspaper (Aug. 28, 2016) for an insert from P&G with a Luvs coupon offering $2 of any one diaper pack. Use this coupon at any mass, discount or grocery store where Luvs Diapers are sold.

For more information on Luvs diapers visit

“This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.”

Flash Soul Boom for Frugal shopping-Try it at JollyChic!!

Usually, when most frugal people think to shop, they quickly start searching for clearance items or sales collection at any reputable store. But what I found out, the flash sale stands out from all the other ordinary sales or discounts. Besides the Sale is extra ordinary, these stores have better options of comfort and account for the hardworking running workers.

Jollychic is an exclusive platform for those who really want to satisfy their fashion desires at maximum affordable rates. Apart, from its finest offerings, it’s a reliable platform by all means working all together with highly reputable warehousing and logistic companies and are partnering with a number of decent import and export companies. Catering the needs of customers and offering 50% discounts on kid’s stuff. The brand is providing the latest A-line dresses with O-neck simple sleeveless style plus it also offers a wide range styling of sleeves and other neck designs with enthralling discounts.
The best accessories including clothing, shoes, bags, kid’s toys and a lot more, all you can get exclusively with best-discounted jollychic offers. Jollychic is the best place if you are looking for buying a range of multiple accessories like earrings, eye wears, hats, watches, hair accessories, belts and more.


Jollychic assures to refund the purchased stuff if the customer is not satisfied, it allows a customer to return the item in a saleable condition by post within 9 working days of receipt. Moreover, its cancellation policies are easy to deal with. It allows canceling the order before it gets processed and if the order gets shipped then the return policy will be applicable.

Now, the people who don’t have exact idea about flash sale let me give you a short intro about what it is. Flash Sale means bountiful discounted merchandize. It can be anything, like apparel, electronics, fashion, home-products and much more. These sales actually deliver cheaper products, but the exciting discounts are alive for a short time only. So far I have found too good.
At Jolly Chic, the flash sale is up to 70% Off and its everyday updated. Thus the plus is you are never bored of looking at it.

How to Meal Prep with BeachBody


Autumn Calabrese (Fitness trainer) recently launched FIXATE; a cooking series exclusively presented on Beachbody On Demand featuring delicious recipes prepared to conform to the colored coded portion control container system made famous by Autumn Calabrese and the 21 Day Fix program! I love meal prepping to find the best meals to give your body the nourishment it deserves.

I am really excited for the Fixate On Demand, I hope it is just as awesome as the Fixate Cookbook!

There are great resources out there that helps with your food, which oils are good/bad for you and MCT oils, you can find out more here

I want to share just one easy way to meal prep for the day! Now this is based on Plan A.

Plan A (which is what I do for weight loss) includes:

3 Green, 2 Purple, 4 Red, 2 Yellow, 1 Blue, 1 Orange, 2 tablespoons

Here is a sample menu for a day, you can prep all the food out for the week and put them in containers too! Makes it easy to grab and go. I am counting the tablespoons as the oils used for cooking the meat.


  • 1 scrambled egg (1/2 red)
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast (1 yellow)



  • Shakeology (ice, water) (1 red)
  • 1 piece of fruit (like a small apple or banana) (1 purple)


  • 4 ozs steak (1 red)
  • 1 hard boiled egg (1/2 red)
  • romaine bagged salad (1 green)
  • Italian dressing (from Fixate cookbook) (1/2 Orange)



  • 12 almonds (1 blue)
  • cucumber (1/2 green)


  •  1.5 cups Turkey Chili (from Fixate cookbook) (1/2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow)
  • Salad (1  green)
  • Italian dressing (from Fixate cookbook) (1/2 Orange)



  • 1 piece of fruit (1 purple)

You can download this awesome app to keep track of your food too! Each time you eat something from your container you just log it in the app! The app is called 21 Day Fix Tracker (itunes)

21 DF App

Learn how to make weight loss taste decadent from Autumn and her professional chef brother Bobby with new recipes posted every week to keep your belly happy and your healthy lifestyle on track! 

Fixate on Demand Show

Ways to Bond with Your Baby

formula for happiness 4

I still can not believe that my little boy is growing so fast.This last year has flown by so crazy fast with Mikey and  every time he achieves a new milestone I am so excited for him. Lately he has been saying a new word almost every day!

I still remember that very first day home with Mikey and I have a few tips for a great Formula for Happiness and bonding with your newborn.  The first day with Mikey  was home just a few hours after he was born, the perks of having your baby at a Birth Center. It was absolutely wonderful to just be in my own bed with Mikey and getting to know each other. Cuddles, nursing and looking at every single detail of my little guy. That first day is exhausting yet it goes by so incredibly fast!

One way I found to be a great way to bond and get stuff done is Babywearing! I totally agree that babywearing is a great way to Formula for Happiness when you are trying to still care for other children and keep a happy newborn.

formula for happiness 1

Soothing Baby – There are quite a few ways that babies love when it comes to soothing, rocking in a rocking chair, swaying back and forth, singling, or even using a baby swing.

Another way  that some babies need help with soothing is with the Gerber® Good Start® Soothe Infant formula is specially designed to ease excessive crying, colic, fussiness, and gas while providing complete nutrition.


Lastly, because Newborns grow soooo incredibly fast take photos! Take lots of photos. Of their little hands, feet, back of their head. If you can hire a photographer to take month photos do it!!! Here are a few of the professional photos from birth to 4 months of Mikey.

formula for happiness 3

I hope these tips are useful for you and bonding with your baby. How are ways you found helpful when it came to bonding with your little one?


*I received a free sample of (Gerber® Good Start® Soothe infant formula or Gerber® Soothe probiotic colic drops) from Gerber®. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back to School with Essential Oils

It’s back to school and I have a great list of oils that are perfect for families getting back into the swing of things!


Avoid Gift-Giving Awkwardness By Picking Something Personal

Everyone can tell you at least one story of a gift they received that they didn’t like. They will usually take a bit of probing before they will actually talk about it, because we don’t like to snark about nice things. But we have all been there – whether under the tree on Christmas morning or at a birthday party. Someone buys us a gift that they’ve clearly thought about, so we smile and thank them, but inside we wonder what possessed them to buy it.

In such cases, what usually happens is that we put the gift somewhere safe and only bring it out when the giver comes to our house. Or we regift it to someone who will like it, and come up with an excuse in case we’re asked about it later. These gifts rarely take up pride of place in our homes. So when we buy gifts ourselves, we try to avoid being the one who bought “that gift”.

When we are buying a gift, for any occasion, we will look to get something that means a lot to the receiver. Hopefully it will be connected to the occasion and to the person and be the kind of thing they’ll want to keep around. Most of all, we don’t want to put them through those contortions. The ones we had to go through to convince someone else we really liked that ugly hat or weird mug tree.


When Your Friend Has Had A Baby


After forty weeks carrying a tiny human and several hours giving birth, none of us are at our most energetic. Ensuring that your friend doesn’t have to give an Oscar-quality performance is really gift enough in many cases. A present that simply commemorates the happy event and welcomes the little one to the world is nice here. A good step is to read and such sites, to find something unique and special.

When Your Friend Is Moving Away

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If a close friend is leaving to move to another part of the country, or out of the country, it is an emotional time. Your gift needs to reflect this. It can’t be a punch in the arm for leaving you behind, no matter how much you want it to be. It should be something they can use wherever they’re going. When they use it – it could be a warm jacket they’ll need when they’re living in Norway – they’ll think of you, and call for a chat.

When Your Child Graduates


Graduating high school, college or anywhere else is among the most momentous occasions in a person’s young life. As it is an academic achievement, the impulse may be to buy them something focused towards that. But a really good calculator or a dictionary can feel a bit muted and impersonal. In this case, something fun seems appropriate. Paying for a trip somewhere they want to go can be the best step here.
It’s true that not all of these gifts can be framed and put on the wall, but what they will create is memories that can be shared. They’ll bring utility that will be appreciated and recognition of a momentous life event. And they will never generate that uneasy, forced gratitude we all dread at gifting time.

Fun, Outdoor Activities To Do With The Kids This Summer

Summer is here, time to pack in as much fun as possible with the kids! When the weather is nice it’s great to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine and make some memories. The last thing you want to do is be stuck inside with kids glued to the tv. Here are a few of the outdoorsy, adventure type of activities you could enjoy together this summer.

Hire a Bouncy Castle

Bouncy castles might be associated with kid’s parties, but why not hire one just because? It’s great exercise and a fun and exciting way to spend a summer day. You could even throw a barbeque, and invite some friends and their children round to enjoy it with you. It’s not too expensive to hire one for a day or weekend and gives you chance to get outside and enjoy the garden.

Visit an Outdoor Swimming Pool

If you live in a climate that’s usually quite chilly, when the summer arrives it’s a fantastic chance to do something novel like swim in an outdoor pool. Most cities will have water parks, outdoor pools or something similar so see what you can find near you. Check the weather forecast for a particularly nice day, you definitely want it to be warm and sunny when you do something like this!


Picture from Pexels

Attend an Outdoor Programme

Programmes like Refreshing Mountain for example offer loads of fun outdoor things to do with kids. There’s zip wires, pool parties, group activities and more. Have a look at the types of things that are available in your area, you’re likely to see everything from nature programs to mountaineering. Be sure to check what kinds of age ranges they’re suitable for to ensure your kids can attend.

Go on a Bike Ride

What better way to enjoy the outdoors? Dig out the families bikes and helmets and go on a long bike ride together. If you pack a picnic and some drinks you can stop for lunch, with no need to buy expensive meals while you’re out. You could look online for bike trails, or just head to your local park or woods.

Set Up a Treasure Hunt

You could write up some clues and set up a treasure hunt around your back garden. You can pick up ‘prizes’ really cheaply, it doesn’t have to be expensive at all. The fun is in the finding after all! You could base it on a theme and write up rhyming clues, or just keep it simple. It’s a great way to get kids out in the garden, running around and using their brains.

Whether your budget is big or small, there are lots of fun activities you’re able to do with kids to give them a summer to remember. As long as you’re out spending time together, staying active and making the most of the weather that’s all that matters!


Picture from WikiMedia

Play a Game of Catch

Get a big group together in the backyard or the local park to throw a ball around. With a couple baseball gloves and bats you could even turn the activity into a big game of baseball, to keep the kids active and occupied outdoors for hours.

What are your favorite outdoor activities to do with the kids over the summer?


Failing At Buying Good Presents? Here’s Why

Do you wish you were one of those people who bought presents that people just seemed to love? Not just the people you bought them for either. One of those people who manages to buy presents that EVERYBODY coos over? Some people are naturally good at this kind of thing, but you can learn if you’re not already. If you feel like you’re failing at buying good presents, here’s why:

You’re Not Budgeting Effectively

In order to buy good presents, you need to know how much money you have to play with. This isn’t to say that you need to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a gift, because you don’t. It just means you need to be more financially savvy. Let’s use Christmas as an example. If you don’t budget properly for Christmas, you might end up with hardly anything to spend on somebody important. You might even end up with lots of money left over, which is great for you, but maybe you could have spent a little more and bought an even better gift for somebody? Make sure you know how much you have to spend and budget accordingly when buying a gift.

You’re Buying For Yourself

To buy a good gift, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the receiver. You might just be buying for yourself, rather than the receiver. Sure, you might think what you’ve bought them is great, but that doesn’t mean they’ll think the same. This is something most boyfriends do to their girlfriends without even realizing it.

You’re Not Being Thoughtful Enough

Being thoughtful is essential. Is there anything this person needs? Is there anything they could really use? What are their likes and dislikes? You should know them well enough to come up with the answers to these questions. Again, you don’t have to purchase something that costs the earth. Check out the page for some ideas.

Wow! My friend Julie got me such a beautiful tree of life diffuser necklace!!

A photo posted by Amanda (@mommymandy) on


You’re Not Doing Your Research

Do your research before you buy a gift, especially if it’s a techy kind of gift. You’ll be able to find the best model or version of the gift you want to buy. You’ll also avoid buying rubbish gifts when you see what real people have said about them.

You’re Being Too Cliche

Sometimes, the cliche gifts are the easiest. Unfortunately, that means nobody really appreciates them anymore. Things like flowers, chocolates, and gift cards can make OK presents. But they’re not amazing presents (unless you buy tie-dyed roses and chocolates made by the world’s top chocolatier, it’s hardly original and exciting). Step outside of your comfort zone. There are so many websites out there that can give you some clues and unique ideas to make you better at buying gifts.

Remember, as long as you’ve put thought into buying gifts, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. You can still buy a brilliant gift on a budget. Just make sure you use these tips! Any of your own you’d like to add? Leave your ideas below.