Six Versatile (Uncommon but Worthwhile) Gifts for a Budgeted Mother

~Article contributed by Amanda G.


Pregnancy comes with it a great deal of excitement and a twinge of realization about finances. After all, there’s going to be a new person in the household, which means the normal lifestyle and expenses need to be shifted to accommodate. The last thing an expecting mother wants to deal with are the little things since so many bigger decisions need to be made.

A baby shower or one of the early birthdays are one of those traditions which we participate in to provide the necessary resources to the mother. It’s a fun activity to sit down, talk with the expecting, and others participating; it’s a great opportunity to help a fellow loved one with those items that may have slipped their mind since they do have bigger issues to tackle.

If you’re like me and are absolutely stumped about what to get for these types of occasions, then look no further because I have you covered in the type of items that every mother could use (which may not always be on their list of wants and needs):

  • Footwear – Kids grow quickly and although they don’t exactly enjoy socks as a gift later in life it’s still a great one, overall, because it’s an essential piece of apparel in most climates. A pair or two of seamless socks are a great gift because they’ll grow with the child thanks to a lack of traditional heels; it’ll also be great because they use fibers which prevent the “stink” you’d get with normal cotton. Socks may not be the most thrilling gift but they’re certainly ones that’ll last.
  • Smartphone – A tech device so early on? YES! You can limit smartphones so that children are only able to access information and apps which you deem appropriate. You could use these permissions to setup the device so it has educational apps and access to content that will help them excel in school; it takes a little configuring but smartphones are perfect for youth because it keeps their interest and provides a wealth of new information to learn and grow.
  • Board Games – There are hundreds of board games available online that aren’t readily found in the major retail stores. What’s neat about these games is that many have educational undertones such as teaching mathematics. Classic board games are also fantastic for bonding experiences along with the learning process; these continue to deliver many years after they’ve been purchased which makes them a great gift!
  • Savings Bonds – Most gifts given during the early years are those which will probably be quickly discarded because the child ages so quickly and changes taste. However, a savings bond can be a great alternative to your normal gift because it can be purchased and provide decent returns when they’re ready to enter college. Take what you would from the normal purchase of gifts, move it over to an account, and by the time they’re personally financially responsible they will be reaching their adult lives with a major one-up.
  • Family Tree – How many do you know that have gone through the process of building a family tree? I doubt very many if none. A family tree is quite an interesting gift because when they come of age where they care about history they will naturally want to understand their family heritage; you could be there providing it to them (and the rest of the family in the meantime). Taking it a step further and digitizing it or having it bound in a family book can turn this gift into a family heirloom they’ll cherish forever; it’s certainly unusual but one that will be amazing further down the line as they age.
  • BIFL Items – BIFL or ‘Buy It For Life’ are items which are offered through companies that honor their guarantee for life. As long as you can prove you’re a customer you can receive replacements for any faulty item or worn out piece. Yes, this is aimed at the child but it doesn’t mean you can’t put it into action. Items like shoes, backpacks, and tools fall under this category which may be right in line with what they need over the years. Being able to offer them items that are in the BIFL range means it’s a gift that keeps on giving – way better than a cheap, plastic item that’ll break a few months later or become outdated. It not only keeps their long-term expenses down but also educates them about the value of a quality brand.

Over to you – what are the best gifts you’ve doled out during a child’s birthday? What made them especially helpful (as you noticed) down the line after the pregnancy? Help us out and leave your suggestions with a comment below.

~Article contributed by Amanda G.

My list of must-haves for new babies

You guys, I’m on baby number three. If I thought our house was loud or life was busy before… now I’d describe is as simply chaotic! When this baby joined us last summer, I asked friends for tips and I quickly got things organized so life with three kids could continue more smoothly (and with less stress, haha). We got hanging organizers for the closets to put out sets of clothing, hooks for backpacks and totes, cubes for shoes, and more handy tricks.

Through the years, I’ve also learned to rely on and love certain brands—for everything from baby clothes and baby gear to breastfeeding products and toys. By baby number 3, I need my quick go-to places. Diapers .com is one of those places where I can find everything. So to help you speed up your own learning curve, here’s my collection of baby products to help you make your life with baby (number 1 or number 3!) easier…


A diaper bag that looks like a purse. Heading out with a super functional diaper bag with 25 pockets AND your fashionable purse? Nope, not with 3 kids you’re not. Anything that frees up more space and more hands is a win! One bag for all needs. This one is still filled with pockets inside, but looks like any other purse from the outside. It’s use will continue far beyond the baby years!

A baby carrier is a MUST. Any kind, whatever kind works for you. I personally prefer wraps, especially in the newborn days when they need more support. Soft structured carriers are great when they get a little bigger and you want something a little faster, but I still use woven wraps for my 4 year old! Another product that lasts from baby 1 through baby 3 (and more)!


Diaper changing stations. If you have your nursery all set up with a diaper changing table, that’s great! But you’ll likely be changing diapers most often anywhere but that room. Babies go through lots of diapers! Especially when you have more than one child, you’re going to want the ease of changing the diaper wherever is closest and quickest! Our bedrooms are upstairs, but we have a “diaper changing station” on the main floor. And in the car. And… you get the idea. The one pictured above is also great for on-the-go, throw it in that diaper bag/purse!


Wet bags are life savers. Think they’re just for cloth diapers? Nope. They’re fantastic for wet clothes (when baby’s diaper leaks or it’s covered in spit up), disposable diapers when you’re not near a trash can, swim suits and towels (get a bigger wet bag!), bibs and burp cloths, and even snacks (with the smaller bags). See how I’m a big fan of the products that last through the years?


My last must-have is another that lasts for years. These Gerber “cloth diapers” are not used as cloth diapers in our house. They are THE BEST multi-purpose cloths. They may not be cute or fluffy or covered in puppies, but they’re absorbent and last forever. We still have some of the same ones we used with our first, 7 years ago! They’re in our kitchen. Use them as burp cloths, towels, for spills and spit up, for finger paint and messes… again, from babies to household use years later!

What are some of your MUST HAVE baby products? Or your go-to shopping sites or brands? Life gets a bit easier when you get into a groove and when you have friends to share their parenting tips! <3

Written in partnership with Nakturnal, any opinions are my own.

National Breastfeeding Month!

Nearly five years ago, on August 6, 2011, the month of August was officially declared National Breastfeeding Month by the USBC (United States Breastfeeding Committee). In fact, the first full week of August is recognized across the World as World Breastfeeding Week. To celebrate these wonderful movements that further breastfeeding awareness, I would like to share some wonderful products with you that help make breastfeeding a breeze!

First up, Milkies Milk-Saver! One of the big fears for breastfeeding mamas

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Effective Deterrents to Drug Use in Teens

Submitted by Amanda G.

As a parent, one of your hardest jobs is going to be keeping your kids away from drugs and alcohol. This is the tightest tightrope you will ever walk; yes, even more fraught than talking to your kids about sexual activity. Why? Because the peer pressure surrounding drug use is often far more heavy than the pressure to engage in sexual activity.

At first blush that feels extreme, right? Surely the pressure is heavier than joining in on drinking or drug use? But as anybody who has ever been a

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What is a Genetic Counselor?

Article contributed by Amanda G.

If you are thinking of having a baby, or if you have already received the wonderful news of your pregnancy, you will most likely be doing some research on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. You may have questions regarding your health and the health of your baby throughout the pregnancy.

Genetic counselors work with you to answer these questions and can also help you through decisions such as whether or not you should receive prenatal testing based

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Talking to Your Teen Driver About Injuries: What They Should Know

Article contributed by Amanda G.

Sometimes it seems that you almost need a graduate degree in psychology to be a good parent.

Raising a child to grow up to be a happy, productive, prosperous, and benevolent person is difficult enough, but raising one in a modern world teeming with hidden social dangers raises the ante even higher.

Theoretically, the formal operational stage after 11 years old should be the easiest. After all, the formative years of developing logic are now behind you. Now it’s only a matter of refining what they know rather than

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Get Your Steps in With Style!

Get your steps in with style and so much more with the Withings Activité Tracking watch! Not only does this stylish watch monitor your steps and other physical activities (swimming, running, hiking, cycling, elliptical, weights, rowing, yoga, pilates, etc.), it also tracks your sleeping patterns! The Withings Activité was designed in a way that requires hardly any maintenance. You don’t have to sync it with your phone before you go for a walk or put it on the charger each night. It’s ready to go when you are, and whenever you do have a

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