The Most Darling Valentine's Gifts For Your Littlest Darlings

By Tammy Woeppel

The Most Darling Valentine's Gifts For Your Littlest Darlings

Looking for something a little different than the normal chocolate-and-grocery-store-flowers for your littles this Valentine's Day? Here are my picks for some sweet treats that they will love receiving.

1. Timex Analog Youth Watch, $28.00- When they move beyond the plastic Disney-theme watches, this is a perfect next step and has so many cute changeable wristbands.

2. Uncommon Goods Personalized Mini Rolling Pin, $20.00- This would be perfect for my 4 year old who as of late, loves to help me cook and also just learned how to spell his own name! 

3. Everyone Says I Love You, $2.99- A book that is more appropriate for the nursery school set that introduces the concept of love.

4. Love Affair Lipstick Painting, $50.00- I have been such a longtime fan of Jen Ramos, the artist/blogger behind Made By Girl. Add a sophisticated-yet-whimiscal touch to their room with an original lipstick painting.

5. The Giving Tree, $11.39- This timeless tale of unconditional love is perfect for a slightly older child.

6. La La Love You Art, $14.00- You don't have to be a Pixies fan to appreciate this fun art print. 

7. Venus Et Fleur Eternity Roses, from $39.00- What Valentine's Day would be complete without flowers? Give the gift that keeps on giving- literally. These roses from Venus et Fleur last a full year!

8. Ultraviolet Kids Bomber Jacket, $115.00- A pink/red chevron faux fur bomber? I think this needs no further explanation!

9. Peaceable Kingdom Valentine Airplanes, $14.99- A Valentine's Day themed activity for those that prefer projects/crafts over toys. 

10. Tiffany Elsa Peretti Color By The Yard Ring, $200.00- Never too early to start building that jewelry wardrobe. Buy it now to wear on the index/middle finger and as they grow, it makes the cutest pinky ring.

11. Decoder Ring, $18.99- Leave mom sweet secret messages. 

12. Oeuf NYC Amour Sweater, $100.00- I am developing an Oeuf handknitted sweater obsession. Love that this is Valentine's Day appropriate, yet not too specific that it can't be worn year round.

13. Uncommon Goods Little Patient Doll, $55.00- For those little ones that love playing doctor.

14. June and January Striped Socks, $11.00- I tend to use holidays as a time to get my kids the cuter versions of their utilitarian items, like socks. These come in such fun colors and instantly up their wardrobe from baby to "little person".

15. Moonlight 3D Printed Lamp, $19.99- They'll constantly be reminded that you love them to the moon and back with this super cute lamp/nightlight.

16. Land of Nod Throw Pillow, $14.97- A gift that doubles as a sweet Vday message while also adding a pop of fun to their room.




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9 Super Healthy and Delicious Recipes to Keep You On Track For 2018

By Tammy Woeppel

The biggest barrier to staying on top of those New Year's Resolutions and 'lifestyle changes' is getting caught unprepared. If I want to maintain any type of healthy eating routine, it is essential that I plan our meals in advance and have a good variety of dishes so that we don't end up with engagement chicken 3x/week (which I do highly recommend if you are actually trying to get engaged- it worked for me!). Organizing all the meals and grocery lists is fun for about 5 minutes before my creative energy has been sapped and I'm ready to order take-out. Scouring the web for new recipes always provides fresh inspiration and excitement to get back in the kitchen so this week I thought I'd share some of my latest finds plus my tried-and-true dishes to help keep you on track as well!


1) Spiralized Beet Noodles with Arugula Pesto from Brooklyn Blonde 
spiraled beet noodles
Having just purchased a KitchenAid Spiralizer attachment myself, I was excited to go beyond the normal zoodles dished AND to add another plant-based meal to the rolodex of recipe ideas. I served this on a bed of lettuce and added bell peppers, cucumbers, avocado, and sunflower seeds to make it a little more hearty. 


2) Stuffed Zucchini from Rachel Ray

stuffed zucchini recipeThis is an oldie-but-goodie that I had forgotten about until recently. I used to make this as a Thanksgiving side dish but after my kids devoured these the other night, I think this will be added to the weekly lineup. The recipe is vegetarian but can easily be made into a main dish with crumbled sausage, or ground meat of choice. For gluten/dairy free, you can sub gluten-free bread crumbs and nutritional yeast.


3) Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad from What's Gaby Cooking

shredded brussel sprout saladMinetta Tavern (of the $33 black label burger fame) used to have a raw brussel sprout salad on their menu complete with a poached egg that was basically life-changing and got me hooked  on any type of variation, including this one with gorgeous pomegranate and filling avocado. While I am normally all for the DIY route, in this case, I do recommend buying the brussel sprouts pre-shredded if possible to save time and your poor little digits.


4) Sheet Pan Honey Glazed Salmon from Laughing Spatula
honey glazed salmon recipeWhen all else fails, a sheet pan dinner is your best friend and a sweet honey glaze stops this salmon/veggie dish from feeling too light & healthy but still keeping you on the clean-eating train. 


5) Vegan Taco Salad from Kimberly Snyder

vegan taco salad recipeDon't knock it till you try it- spiced, chopped walnuts make a perfect vegetarian sub for ground meat in this flavorful salad. If you need something more filling, add in the protein of your choice.


6) 1-Pot Pumpkin Yellow Curry from Minimalist Baker

Pumpkin yellow curry recipeThe perfect antidote for those bomb cyclone temperatures. Be forewarned that this curry gets spicy super quickly if you're not paying attention to the heat level (as I learned when I almost choked and my eyes immediately watered after giving it a taste). I made my own curry paste (also from Minimalist Baker ) but you can just buy premade to save a few steps.  This was a hit not only with my kids, but with the neighbor's kids as well! 


 7) Baked Lemon Chicken from Because I'm Addicted

baked lemon chicken recipeAdding lemon zest and wine take this engagement-chicken variation to the next level. Also, so easy to make in larger batches for big groups and dinner parties. #winning!


8) Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole from Oh She Glows
cheesy bolognese casserole recipe
The words "casserole" and "clean eating" are not typically used in the same sentence but this one is packed with healthy ingredients and will surely fill that void that the truffled mac and cheese left behind. 


9) Whole 30 Super Bowl Pumpkin Chili from The Kitcheneer

pumpkin chili recipeI made this for the first time while on round 1 of Whole30 and I think I ended up eating it about 23 out of the 30 days (only because I discovered it a few days in). The addition of pumpkin puree sounds a little odd but it adds the most perfect creamy texture. The chili is amazing on its own, served over rice or quinoa, with a dash of buffalo wing sauce, over eggs, etc etc you get the idea. Make this now- you won't regret it!


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The Coolest Sweaters to Keep You Warm This Winter

By Tammy Woeppel

If the temperature is going to remain in the single digits, at least we can rejoice that it is really truly sweater season! Knitwear is having a moment with all the statement lengths, sleeves, shoulders, and embellishments. We rounded up our dream shopping list of the coolest pieces to get you through a long, cold winter. 

1. Pixie Market, $108
The scallop detail plus the crop fit plus the flare sleeve. Love.It.All. 


2. Rag and Bone/JEAN, $250
Basic but not with the contrast stripe detail


3. I Love Mr. Mittens, $451

Throw it on over E'ERTHANG.


4. Free People, $128

This is the hero sweater that will instantly look adorable under any blazer or coat in your closet. 


5. Sezane, $135

Just enough frill but not trying too hard- Sezane always gets it so right! 


6. Vince, $185

Part-sweater, part-sweatshirt, this would be adorable paired with a patterned midi skirt and white boots


7. Chloe, $2150

 Uggghhhh Chloe, why do you always have to be so good?!


8. Self-Portrait, $340

A sleeve, shoulder, and stripe detail that somehow still looks basic enough for everyday wear. 


9. Monse, $850

LOVE the black colorblock back detail- great for someone who prefers neutrals but wants a little pop of color. 


10. Goodnight Macaroon, $89

 The piped ruffle detail and cable knit pattern make this sweater. Pair it with a cool, pleated maxi skirt or cropped wide-leg jeans.


11. Co, $775

 The pearl embellishment on this puff-sleeve sweater is just so sweet!


12. Tibi, $495

Tibi has the best ladylike pieces and her knitwear is no different


13. Everlane, $125

Everlane's wide selection of basic cashmere is wallet-friendly and totally wearable


14. Rag and Bone, $275

You'll live in this all winter 


15. Sonya Rykiel, $550

Love. Need. Now. Right? 


16. Stella McCartney, $960

Sleeve details are not going anywhere and this Stella piece is quite the statement.


17. Adam Lippes, $375

Super into the tonal pattern on this marled fair isle number.


18. Sandro Paris, $325

So simple, yet so amazing. The French brands just know how to dress a woman!


So if you've made it through that list without dying from the amazingness that is out there in the form of sweaters, show us your cold weather picks. We wanna see! Stay cool and keep warm Mamas!


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5 Easy Swaps to Green Your Life in 2018

By Tammy Woeppel

2018 is coming fast and you are probably thinking about your goal(s) for the new year. I have found that setting small, attainable milestones (ie, drink more water, meditate for 10 minutes) are much easier to follow-up on than setting a huge, vague goal like "learn a new language!". If upping your green factor is on your list of things to tackle (or even if it's not!), consider these 5 easy ways anyone can implement a cleaner lifestyle:

1) Switch from a conventional toothbrush to a bamboo one. This is an easy way to start reducing plastics in your life. 

2) Purchase glass, bamboo, or stainless steel straws to drink all those smoothies you'll be making in the New Year (bonus points if you keep one on hand for that 3pm ice coffee fix)- yet another super easy way to lessen your reliance on plastic. 

3) Swap out your regular pillows for these organic ones (and your mattress too if you're feeling ambitious!). We eat organic, non-GMO, and drink our green smoothies yet we snuggle up every night into a pile of chemicals. For more on why you should be making the switch, read about it here.


4) Start introducing cleaner toiletries/skincare products/makeup as you run out of your current products. Green beauty has really gone mainstream in the last few years and sites like: Cap Beauty, Meant, and Credo Beauty take all the guesswork out of having to read labels. I recently switched over to Poofy Organics nailpolish and am completely addicted!

5) Buy a stainless steel water bottle and get in the habit of taking it everywhere. You've heard it 1000x but with all the options available from S'well, Pura, Hydroflask, Kleen Kanteen, etc. it's never been easier to make the switch. 


Little by little, Mamas. Even little changes that don't require a total overhaul on your everyday life can make a big difference. So here's to a greener and cleaner 2018! And of course, if you have any go-green resolutions to share with us, please let us know in the comments! xx.

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THESE Are the NYE Looks You're Going to Need to Ring in 2018!

By Tammy Woeppel

Everyone wants to start the New Year off on the right foot, and in my book, that means having the most perfect outfit. I can neither confirm nor deny that I will be in bed by approximately 9:30pm that night (and every other night for that matter), but a girl can dream, right? If YOU, however, have plans that do not include pizza and joggers, read on to gather inspiration for your next NYE ensemble.  

A super fresh take on the sequin mini (from Revolve)


With those arm slits and architectural shoulders, this is anything but your plain old party dress (from Barney's)


And....the more wallet friendly option (from Asos)


Lady-like in lace, but still edgy and party-ready with black contrast crochet panels (from Forward)


Layer a black turtleneck under for day or wear with your sparkliest chandelier earrings to watch the ball drop (from Nasty Gal


You can wear your mini and eat your cake too in this brilliant sweatshirt dress (from Caycee Black)


Modest yet sexy all at once (from Anine Bing)


Channel your inner 70's vibe in this gorgeous velvet number (from The Reformation)


A flirty little number versatile enough to wear long after the clock strikes midnight (from Intermix)


Leave it to Ray Ray to come up with the most perfect glam metallic jumpsuit (from Rachel Zoe)


A sweet-yet-sophisticated romper paired with a moto jacket is a great 

 alternative to your traditional mini dress (from Neiman Marcus)


The high neck countered by the high slit makes this super wearable yet still show-ey enough for a New Year's night out (from Fame and Partners)


A deconstructed take on the traditional allover sequin dress (from LULU the label)


The LBD gets a fresh twist with a subtle sequin detail (from ALC)


Such a pretty, feminine take on a jumpsuit silhouette (from Anthropologie)
If you don't want to commit to the full spangly look, pair this iridescent sequin turtleneck with black leather shorts (from Sammy B)
We're super psyched for 2018, so let's ring it in right! Here's to looking good on NYE and all. year. long! xx. 

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Our Top 10 Nail Art Designs You Need to Try Before the Holidays Are Over

By Tammy Woeppel

Our Top 10 Nail Art Designs You Need to Try Before the Holidays Are Over

Hopefully everyone has completed their holiday shopping and can move on to the things that really selecting which nail art design you will be rocking this weekend! My personal preference is to select motifs that nod to the season rather than wearing literal designs. You will not find christmas trees or santa hats on my nails! But as with all art, it's whatever sparks joy in your life. Here, I rounded up the 10 best designs that hint at holiday rather than scream it.This constellation mani brings a touch of bling without being over the top (source: Olive and June)


This string light mani would also be super sophisticated with a neutral base color (source: Cosmo)


A clever take on the jewel tones of the season (source: love Maegan)


A busy design looks best on a minimal base. ps- these only look complicated! (source: Cosmo


Negative space mani's hold a special place in my heart and the combinations for this one are endless (source: @aliciatnails)


A vampy-yet-not crimson nail (source: @Paintboxnails)


A little playful and whimsical, this mani would be super cute with metallic accents as well (source: @Ladyfancynails)


Love the gradient dots on this one (source: @valleynyc)

A hint of holiday flair with this metallic dry-brush technique (source: @tenoverten)


Use gold nail beads or simply dot with a gold polish for an easy update (source: Lulus )

There you have it! Feel free to show us your mani's or link us to any nails that are making you so very merry this season! x

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Still Need Gift Ideas For the Littles In Your Life? We've Got You Covered!

By Tammy Woeppel

Still Need Gift Ideas For the Littles In Your Life? We've Got You Covered!

Holiday shopping for kids presents its own unique challenges. Most parents I know (myself included) would prefer some sort of experience such as a museum/zoo membership, movie tickets, swim classes, or even a trip. For those that prefer the old fashioned method of leaving a wrapped package under the tree, we scoured the web for the best gifts in each age category with a focus on toys that encourage imaginative play (and hopefully, some quiet time for mommy/daddy).


0-2 Years

123 5                   

6 78910.

1. An adorable kit of baby essentials from Ellie Fun Day .
2. Baby's first Celine (teether) from Lexy Pexy .
3. Sized perfectly for chubby little hands, We Can Too's baby crayons are just one of the nontoxic offerings in their artistic range.
4. The Grimm stacking tower from Land of Nod is proof that baby toys can be fun, stylish and minimal.  .
5. It's never too early to start children on the path to financial success. This classic gift comes in additional colors at Tiffany.
6. The sweetest little rattle and keepsake doll all in one, crafted of organic bamboo from the Seed Factory .
7. The hardest part is trying to choose between all the adorable mobiles at Petite Pehr Design.
8. A book of names and faces to help LO keep their loved ones close even when they're not geographically close.
9. Heirloom quality rattles, keychains and flatware all made out of stainless steel from Kleynimals to replace the plastic versions that they never play with anyway!
10. Elly Lu crafts the sweetest stuffed animals that are also certified organic and non-toxic.

 3-6 Years 

1  2 34 5                     6  78 910

 1. The options are endless with these magnetic wood blocks that can be reconfigured or mixed with any other Tegu sets. 
2. A non-toxic, pliable molding dough from Mary's Softdough will keep little hands busy for hours.
3. The hardest part about selecting a State Bag toddler backpack is choosing just one. Pick one up for yourself while you're at it.
4. Never get crippled by a rogue lego with this handy organizer from Swoop.
5. Available in every language from Arabic to Swahili and even Braille, these Uncle Goose blocks turn each set of blocks into a mini work of art and they are 100% made in the USA as well.
6. Pull-along toys were such a hit in my house and this wooden lace-up shoe from Merci Milo adds building nimbleness and dexterity to the mix. Perfect for the "I do it, mommy!" kid.
7. A genius idea- you can purchase themed gift sets or curate your own for any age (hello, hostess gift ideas?). Gifted & Present is a one-stop shop.
8. Help them conceptualize days/time with this magnet calendar from Melissa & Doug .
9. Step up their make-believe game with this seriously adorable apron set from seriously adorable Wee Mondine .

10. Are books ever a bad gift idea? This bedtime story is good when winding down the little one. 

 6-9 Years

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678 910

1. Foster their love of reading with Bear & Bud book club that offers single book sets (complete with book, related craft kit, activity guide, and snack recipe) or monthly subscription options. Available for all age ranges.
2. A designated place for all their crafting, dining, studying. The Carolina table from Pottery Barn Kids even comes with 2 sets of legs to grow with them.
3. Bad weather will no longer deter playtime when you install a Solvej Swing in the house! Available in baby, toddler, special needs, and child sizes, these are constructed of the highest quality canvas and wood with durability in mind.
4. Pura's stainless steel water bottles are 100% free of plastic and certified NonToxic/MadeSafe.
5. Nurture their inner Einstein with this Scientific Explorer Kit.
6. When their decor taste evolves beyond Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig, this Oeuf pillow adds a sophisticated yet whimsical touch to any room.
7. Tried and true-- Legos have a cult following for a reason and are a great activity for both parents and children.
8. Santa would love to receive a thank you note from the super whimsical Mr. Boddington line. 
9. Build Your Own Kaleidescope Kit from Fawn Shoppe  .
10. An adorable take on the traditional car track. Build your own marble run from Rose and Rex .
9+ Years 


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1. With all the endless lessons on youtube to play just about any song you've heard in recent decades, this wood ukulele is the perfect gift for your little fledgling rockstar. 
2. Journaling is so much chicer these days with this beautiful mint version from Barney's .
3. An imagination and this award winning Droid Inventor Kit will bring your kid's creations to life, and how cool is that?
4. The photo clip with string lights from Urban Outfitters lets them display their most treasured Instagram shots.
5. Sail and fly away at the same time with this super cool kite available from Made You Look .
6. Sometimes you just gotta fling and throw stuff. Make your own catapult kit at Norman & Jules .
7. A levitating Death Star bluetooth speaker- doesn't get much cooler than that!
8. Another fabulous subscription idea with categories for each age group, Kiwi Crate's 9+ category has either "Doodle" or "Tinker" themed activity boxes. Green Kid has a similar concept with a focus on sustainable/eco friendly materials but only goes up to age 10.
9. The Razor Electric Ripstick Caster Board comes complete with wireless remote to help control the skating action.

10. This beginner microscope by California-based, professional grade microscope supplier Amscope is just the right gift to encourage the budding scientist to explore the world around him up close. 











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Read this before traveling with kids!

By Tammy Woeppel

Read this before traveling with kids!

1. Phil & Ted's Nest / 2. Ergo Baby Carrier / 3. Trunki / 4. Potette / 5. NONA Signature Baby Bag / 6. Galt Toys Water Magic Coloring Book / 7. 5 in 1 Sit and Stroll Elite Car Seat / 8. Lil Gadgets Kids Headphones

This is the time of year when everyone's travel schedules really kick into high gear and we all start complaining about the choas that is dealing with holiday travel.  Traveling with young kids, especially babies that require ALL.THE.GEAR. presents its own challenges. Friends with older kids are able to take a more relaxed approach, but for those that haven't yet reached that stage, planning is key. I am no slouch in the travel department and consider myself somewhat of an expert on how to get from here-to-there but adding kids into the mix has required a totally different plan of attack. When my son was 18 months old (and I was 13 weeks pregnant with #2 and very very very nauseous), we spent 2.5 weeks on a super ambitious tour of Europe where we were in a new location every 2 nights. During a crazy 95 degree heatwave. That then dropped to a 50 degree cold front in a matter of hours. It was insane and while I do NOT recommend doing what we did, I still look back on that trip with a lot of fondness and nostalgia and am so happy we took that time. We did some things right, but we were also a little naive about planning the trip for our pre-baby selves versus trying to make it more of a family trip and therefore more enjoyable.

Now that I live at an international post, we are surrounded by people who basically travel for a living. I got together with a few of my fellow seasoned moms to create the following list of all our lessons learned:


Try to coincide travel with naptime/bedtime and adjust to a new timezone

Those long overnight flights can really work in your favor in situations like this! Keep in mind though that even for the older kids (4 years and up), you may still need a stroller if you have a connecting flight. You will also want to bring any bedtime soothers (ie, blankeys/pacifiers/dolls with spares) to recreate the comfort of home as much as possible. Dressing kiddos in layers or a wrapping the in a small sleeping bag is good for a chilly flight. Once you reach your destination, just accept that there will be a cranky adjustment period and get them on local time asap. 


Keep it basic and set your expectations accordingly

If you must travel to multiple destinations, plan for at least 3 nights in the same city/place. Packing up over and over is not fun, nor is the hassle of traveling onto the next destination. It's easy to feel like if we aren't constantly checking new experiences off the list, then we are just wasting precious vacation days. Trust me, if you do this with child in tow, you will end up feeling like you didn't see anything and spent the whole time in transit. If you are still tied to a nap schedule like we were, be ok with slowing down the pace- you are not going to visit every cathedral/museum/winery/beach/park, etc. and eat all your meals out.  


Choose a rental over a hotel

We will someday know the trendy boutique hotels of our former selves again, but life is made exponentially easier when you have separate rooms to let baby sleep/play, a kitchen to have meals on hand, and in-house laundry. We stayed in an Airbnb in Vienna that required 1 tiny elevator ride up 20 something floors then crossing a bridge to a back tower of apartments, then going down 2 flights of stairs. Needless to say it was a process. We pretty much ate every breakfast and dinner there, because once we were in after a long day of sightseeing, we wanted to stay in. Kid & Coe is a newish company that focuses on family-friendly accomodations (rentals/exchanges/hotels), with some pretty dreamy destinations.


Join a Facebook Mom's Group to ask any detailed questions

I am planning a trip to New York City with my 3.5 year old. He doesn't need a stroller, nor a portable crib, and I have friends there who can lend me a carseat if needed. And then I realized that there is still the ride to/from the airport...hmmmm...the thought of schlepping his carseat all that way just for 2 30-minute car rides did NOT sound appealing. Enter the NYC Upper East Side mom's group- with a quick inquiry, I learned that UberFamily is offered there with carseat included! While i was at it, I also got a targeted list of toddler-friendly restaurants and activities recommended. No more searching through those Trip Advisor forums!


Consolidate and borrow whenever possible

Heading to visit grandparents/siblings? Sometimes it makes more sense to just keep an extra set of gear there if you will be visiting frequently enough. Our parents have an extra pack-n-play, umbrella stroller, booster kitchen seat, and a more basic car seat that stays at their houses. Anything else we need is easily borrowed from their network of fellow grandparents. Craigslist or apps like Offerup are also great options for anything else you need, or once again, the trusty local FB mom group. 

If you are going on a true vacation, try to be as efficient as possible. My NONA bag doubles as my carry-on. 99.9% of hotels and most rentals offer cribs and high chairs so always use those over bringing your own. Most destinations will also offer some sort of delivery service of cribs/strollers/high chairs etc for a small daily rental fee which a quick google search should turn up.


If you MUST bring your own:

Try to find things that can do double duty or are super lightweight/portable. My friend swears by this Lilly Gold Sit n Stroll that converts from a regular carseat to a stroller. It comes with a hefty pricetag but I guarantee that you will be willing to pay 3x if you travel frequently enough:

We knew we were going to be traveling a lot in the initial baby stages so we got the Phil & Ted's Nest and Baby Bjorn Travel Crib and loved both (additional options here, here, and here).



As far as carseats and strollers are concerned, that could be an entire post in and of itself. Now that I've gone through it, I totally understand how people end up with multiples of everything based on end use. It only took 1 trip with my full size City Mini GT (which I love, btw, for normal everyday urban living) to add the Uppa Baby G-Luxe to my arsenal specifically for travel. Lucie's List always puts together great gear guides so you can read all her detailed recommendations for guidance on selecting these. 

To keep your own luggage in check, I find it helpful to plan outfits in advance rather than my old methods of just throwing a bunch of stuff in a suitcase and figuring it out on the fly. If you are staying in a location that offers laundry, bring a few detergent pods with you and pack versatile basics: jeans, white tees, lightweight sweaters. Bonus points if you can plan a monochromatic wardrobe that is even more easily mixed and matched! If you are traveling as a solo parent, the goal is: 1 medium suitcase + 1 carry-on + gear. A second set of hands gives you more flexibility on this. Avoid overstuffing your carry-on so full that you cannot navigate it as it just adds more stress. 

Once your child reaches the appropriate toddler age (I would say 3ish) and can actually help carry their own luggage, get them a fun suitcase. Trunkis and Jetkids Bed Boxes are actually pretty genius. 




Use a baby carrier until they are bursting out of the darn thing

If you've gotten on board with the whole babywearing thing then you know that this is a game changer and if you haven't yet, go find a youtube tutorial immediately! These come in especially handy when it's time to fly the friendly skies. Yes, your baby will fall asleep in it just as you are about to enter the security line at which point you'll be asked to wake them so you can place the carrier on the belt and yes, it is super annoying. It still beats having to do the same thing with a stroller. If you plan to carry baby all the way to the gate, then you can bring your stroller packed up in the protective bag and check it right away with your luggage vs. having to wait until you board the plane (try and do the math: baby in 1 arm, collapsing stroller with free hand and god forbid there is a toddler running around!). There are so many good ones available at all price ranges but personally I have used/loved: the Happy Baby Wrap, the Baby K'tan, and the Ergobaby.



Keep the food/snacks coming

I try to feed my family a clean-ish diet, ie- organic, unprocessed and non-gmo whenever possible. That pretty much all goes out the window when we board a plane. This is when they get the fruit pouches, granola bars, cereal puffs, gold fish, etc. and sugar-free candies that they can suck on should there be pressure issues with ears (I have also asked for juice boxes while on the flight for this). Try to limit the sugar intake though because the last thing you need is to deal with are the crashes that go along with those treats. If you are breastfeeding, make sure to take a copy of the airline's policy juuuuussst in case anyone gives you an issue. Plan on nursing your LO upon take-off and landing and most definitely bring a manual hand pump with you (which I loved so much, I ended up using it everyday over my double electric pump). 



The novelty of new stuff is going to be your best friend on a long flight or trip. I always grab a few small toys or books to surprise my kids with (admittedly, this works better with our older one than with the 'baby' right now but we will get there soon!). Alternating a snack food with a new item every 30-60 minutes can keep them occupied for a cross-country flight. These do NOT have to be anything expensive or complicated and household items can work as well. Keep in mind 'roll-ey' items such as hot wheels, crayons, etc will end up on the floor 173 times. Masking tape is always a popular one. Magna Doodles and Magic Ink books were a personal favorite of mine when I was younger. If you really want to up the excitement factor, wrap the new goodies in pretty packaging. Some other recommendations that my friends have used with success:

I know screentime needs to be monitored, but when all else fails, you are definitely going to want that ipad or device already loaded with favorite songs, shows, and movies since wi-fi may not be available. Don't forget kid-friendly headphones and an external back-up battery!

Use any wakeful time in the airport to run those kids like crazy! It is super exhausting, but sometimes its just a matter of creating a fun game or obstacle course that will diffuse a 'i'm about to melt-down' situation. 


Bring a small pharmacy with you

This is less important if you are traveling to visit family who have easy access to pharmacies and/or a stocked medicine cabinet but you will still need to bring just enough of the basic medications to cover you should anything occur while you are en route. A friend's young son developed his first fever at the start of a 6 hour flight but luckily she had brought 1 dose of children's tylenol with her. You'll also want to have a wipes & sanitizer (especially for a plane ride), thermometer, children's benedryl, a few bandaids, and some neosporin on hand.

If you are traveling to a new destination, you'll want to bring the whole kit and caboodle with you. I learned this the hard way when we were in Curacao and both my children came down with hand foot mouth disease. Had we been in Aruba, this probably would not have been a big issue but Curacao is the quieter, more rustic ABC island. We drove around the island for 2 hours looking for an open pharmacy on a holiday weekend before we finally found one. Since then, I always take: a thermometer, children's tylenol or motrin, benedryl, anti-itch cream, bug spray, hylands cough syrup, a stash of bandaids & neosporin, sunscreen, and homeopathic arnica montana tablets. I'd rather have it and not need it. 


These are super nit-picky things but if you really want to dot all the i's and cross your t's, consider the following:

-For children that are potty training or newly potty-trained, bring 2 changes of clothing for your child plus at least a shirt change for yourself (pants if you can fit them too!) plus plastic bags or wetsacks to store any soiled clothing.

-A portable potty seat (for long car trips). This one from Potette came highly recommended:

-Contact the airline in advance to let them know that you will need additional assistance. This is no time to be a hero, just ask for extra help (or even to those immediately around you).

-A small fan (we have stayed in tropical climates where the rooms only offer ceiling fans and this has been a godsend!).

-If bottle-feeding is part of the plan, pack them in a separate insulated case so that it is easy to identify/grab. Skiphop makes a good one, but I've even used a simple lunchbox that we already owned, with an icepack (must be frozen to get through security).

-Look at airport websites in advance to determine if there is a lounge that you can pre-pay for access too.

-If you are traveling alone with multiple kids, consider a harnessed backpack with a leash. I know, I know, it sounds so over the top, but we all know how fast those little animals can move and sometimes you just have to be THAT crazy parent. Piece of mind is paramount. 


Hopfully these tips and tricks will help make for a smoother voyage! What are your best travel tips?

x! Tammy






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