How to Pack the Essentials for Little Ones || Family Travel Tips

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own .

It’s time to ditch the layers and get ready for spring.  A lot of us are planning some fun trips and special outings this season.  We just took our first trip to the lake as a family of four, we had so much fun.  Packing can be stressful, especially when traveling with a baby or a toddler.  I’m here to help make your vacation with little ones fun and enjoyable.

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Joovy Groove Ultralight Stroller

Joovy gifted this stroller in exchange for an honest review.  However, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

I never thought I would own, or need, more than one stroller, but I do!  As a mother of two, a 3 year old and 8 month old, I’m always looking for baby gear that makes outings with my little ones an easy task.

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Toddler Hairstyles || SoCozy

The older Madisyn gets the harder it is to have her sit still for longer than a minute.  I remember when she’d let me play with her hair, I’d take my time and she was perfectly fine with it.  Now, there are times when my three year old won’t let me come near her with a comb.  She grabs her little Elsa hair clip, clips a few hair strands together and says, “See mama, I can do it myself.”  I don’t blame her, she’s three.  Why in the world would she want to sit for so long when there is so much to do?  Get my hair pulled or run around and play?  Play!

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My One Big Happy || Family 

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Season’s greetings!  Halloween just passed and now it’s time for fun family gatherings.  I know, I may be a tad bit too early, but the holiday season approaches quickly!  This year I will be getting two babies all dressed up for the holidays!  I never thought I’d want to dress my son and daughter in similar outfits, but they just look SO cute when they match.  Plus, my daughter, Madisyn absolutely loves matching her baby brother!

We received these darling little outfits and accessories from Gymboree.  I love the fact that their emerald party collection carry similar holiday outfits for both boys and girls!  I told my husband this will finally be the year we mail out holiday cards.  I’m excited I have the outfits for Madisyn and Joseph set!  One less thing I have to worry about.  Now, I just have to go shopping for the grownups.

Madisyn is just a little princess who loves dresses, glitter, shoes, and bows!  She was ecstatic when I showed her the accessories and dress!  She had her bracelet and headband on within minutes.  Her purse hasn’t left her sight since we received it.  I am so glad she loves her little outfit.  Joseph’s outfit is just as adorable.  The elbow patch sweater with the plaid shirt underneath is the cutest!  I never thought dressing up a boy would be as fun as dressing up a girl, but it is.  He was so comfortable in his little outfit that he even left his tweed cap on.

My lovely friend, Eneri Photography, captured some amazing photos of my little ones.  I just love her work!

 

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Checkout the Emerald Collection HERE.  Comment below and tell me all about your favorite holiday looks!

I will also be hosting a Gymboree giveaway!  To enter, visit my Instagram page to get more details.  Good luck!

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Traveling with Kids Hotel Extended Stay

This post may contain affiliate links.

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Let’s talk about hotel stay.  Free breakfast every morning AND I don’t have to keep an entire house clean?  Sign me up for that!  Now add a 3 year old and 3 month old to the mix.  I was thrilled to find out my husband’s promotion required him to travel and stay in Nebraska for a few months.  Since I’m a stay at home momma, I was ready to tag along for the ride!  New scenery, different weather– a completely different environment for me.  But, of course, that came with dealing with hotel living.  How was I going to make living in a hotel comfortable for my 3 year old and 3 month old?  Almost everyone I knew called me “brave” for even considering it, but I was ready for our little adventure.

Third week in Nebraska and I must say, it is going great.  I thought hotel living was going to be a little unbearable, but it’s great so far.  Other than the long walk from the vehicle up to the room (which isn’t very long, I was just use to our garage) it is going really well!

Traveling with toddlers and babies is challenging.  We don’t have a lot of room to work with here, but enough to make it enjoyable.  One thing that is very important is making the hotel stay feel like home as much as possible.

That being said, here are a few tips and things we brought that have helped us make this experience fun.

Safety – Always latch the door whenever you walk in the room.  Make it a habit.  You just never know if your curious toddler might want to go running back outside to ride the elevator or “alligator” as my toddler calls it.  Children are mesmerized with hotels, so the curiosity to go exploring will be there.

BOB Double Stroller – In my case, I NEED a double stroller, but here is a link to a single Bob stroller that I’ve heard great reviews about as well.  I cannot do without my Bob stroller, it is the BEST.  It’s great for jogging or  simply running errands.  The seats are nicely padded and comfortable for babies that are 8 weeks old and up.  Both my babies have fallen asleep while we’re out jogging.  We’ve used it countless times since we’ve been here.

Graco Pack ‘N Play  – We love having our baby in the same room as us.  When our baby was a newborn, we loved using the bassinet.  I love that the pack n’ play grows with your baby.  When your baby outgrows napper and changer, it easily converts to a full-sized play-yard.  It’s portable and includes a travel bag.  I love the music bar, it has soothing sounds that help my little one fall asleep easily.  My favorite part is that it comes with built in shelves to store diapers, wipes, or other late night necessities.

Lunch Box – The first thing I did when we arrived was look for parks in the area.  We love being outdoors and just had to take advantage of the beautiful weather here.  We came prepared with a lunch box for picnics.  This Disney Tsum Tsum lunch box has an insulated interior with a holding strap.  Great for packing up a picnic and heading out.

George Foreman – I am not a huge fan of eating out.  Especially after just having a baby, I try to watch what I eat.  Bringing the George Foreman has been a life saver.   The sloped nonstick grill allows you to cook without oil  while fat and grease drain off.  You can cook up a healthy meal in minutes.  Burgers, chicken, fish, panini sandwiches,  grilled cheese sandwiches… the list is endless!  Cleaning is a breeze.  After you’re done using the grill disconnect it.  Wait a few minutes, then layer a few lightly damp paper towels on the grill plates and close the grill.  When you’re ready to clean it, use mild soap and water to wipe off the remaining residue.

Lysol Wipes –  Yup, Lysol wipes!  Let’s be real, housekeeping can only clean so much!  If you’re nuts like me, you have wipes in your vehicle and hand sanitizer in your diaper bag!  You know, just your typical mom trying to block any germs from touching their little one.  Okay, I’m not that extreme, but wiping down remote controls, light switches, thermostat, door knobs, and bathroom handles is a must.

Lorena Canals Rug – I promise I’m not a germ freak, but packing the rug  has been incredibly helpful!  I was honestly able to fold it up and pack it in its original bag to bring with us.  It was crucial we bring it because of tummy time for my little one and playtime for my toddler.  Not only is it eco-friendly, it’s 100% machine washable!  You can read more details about it here.

DockATot – Great for lounging, playtime, resting, and as a changing station for both my little ones.  Made of breathable material and machine washable.  The bumpers allow my little one feel nice and snug, helping him ease into nap time.  Find out more about the DockATot here.

Books – A few books we packed include Super Sticker Activity Book, 5-Minute Princess Stories, Sesame Street Alphabet Educational Workbook , Sesame Street Numbers Educational Workbook, Crayola Frozen Color Wonder, and If I Could Keep You Little.  Majority of these are activity books, filled with puzzles, mazes, and fun things your little one will enjoy doing.

Organic Happy Baby Wrap – I love the fact that I can have my baby close to me and still be able to things with my toddler.  Bringing a wrap was definitely a must and I just love the Happy Wrap.  It is lightweight, comfortable, and very breathable. You can read more details about it here

Get out!  We didn’t want to stay stuck in a room 24/7 so I found tons of things to do in the area.  Find out what’s around and go out exploring!  We became regulars at a near by museum.  Free entrance and fun activities for Madisyn.  Most cities have a website with a list of things to do in the area.

Hotel stay with a toddler and baby is extremely fun, you just have to be prepared to entertain a little.  Hopefully, my tips will help you get through vacationing with little ones a little easier.  Vacationing is all about making memories, so make the best of your trip.  If you have any tips when it comes to traveling with toddler or babies, leave a comment!

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Lorena Canals Washable Playroom Rug

Lorena Canals rugs are not your normal rugs.  They are eco-friendly, made with non-toxic and natural dyes.  They are handmade, so every rug may vary in color and shape.  Making your rug unlike any other.  The rug is lightweight, so it’s easy to pick up and move around the house.  It’s flexible yet sturdy.

There are so many gorgeous and beautiful designs to choose from.  They give a nursery room, or any other room, a pop of elegance.  Yet, the rug still makes the room feel cozy.  The best part of it is that all of their rugs are 100% machine washable!  Isn’t that every parent’s dream?  You can throw it right into the washer and not worry about a thing.

We are in the middle of moving at the moment, but I know it’ll go great anywhere we decide to put it.  We turned our current playroom into a storage.  In the meantime, the rug has been working out great for us in the living room.  Once we are settled into our new place, I am looking forward to having it as a children’s playroom rug.  The classic star pattern we picked out looks great anywhere!  It gives me a piece of mind knowing they are laying down and playing on a clean, eco-friendly rug.  The rug is so soft, not a scratchy feel at all.  I wish I had one in every room!

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DockATot

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I feel incredibly lucky to say that Joseph has been pretty good when it comes to sleeping at night.  While he is waking up every three hours or so to nurse, he immediately falls right back to sleep on his own.  At three months now, he still LOVES being swaddled.  Hearing so many great reviews about the DockATot, I was excited to pick mine out.  It’s designed to create a nurturing and cozy surrounding to feel comforted.  Joseph falls asleep within minutes, and that’s without being swaddled.  Right away we discovered it helped so much with his startle reflex.  He’d startle himself and immediately wake up.

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A DockATot is multi-functional lounger for babies and tots.  The DockATot comes in two sizes- Deluxe, which is intended for babies 0-8 months, and Grand is for tots 9-36 months.  It can be used for lounging, tummy time, playing, bed transitioning, and so much more.  Although Joseph is only three months, we still ended up getting the Grand.  I wanted to make sure to get as much use out of it as possible.  The dock is breathable, so your baby won’t get too hot while they’re in it, not to mention very lightweight.  Great for on the go or simply use around the house.  It keeps babies calm by imitating the mother’s womb, keeping them nice and snug.

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We chose the DockATot Grand in chevron, I figured both Joseph and Madisyn  (my 3 year old) would get a lot of use out of it so I picked a neutral design and went with the bigger size.  She’s never been one to nap anywhere other than in her room, or my room, but she has napped in the DockATot a number of times.  I was shocked when I first found her asleep in it.  The dock is also perfect for movie nights.

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The DockATot has got to be one of my all time favorite baby products.  A multi-functional dock that is great for newborns and tots, love it!

“DockATot™ is both a luxury and a necessity for any parent who wants their little one’s earliest years to be nestled in a happy and healthy cocoon of comfiness.”

 

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Finn + Emma (100% organically grown)

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I am loving Finn+Emma.  Being a huge fan of natural and organic products, I was excited when I was given the opportunity to choose a few items from their shop.  Their garments are made with certified G.O.T.S. organic cotton and non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes.  Which means my baby’s skin will not get irritated with the fabric.  They have the loveliest gender neutral toys, accessories, and clothing.  They’re simple, yet so cute.

 

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As soon as I saw this boat bodysuit, I knew it would be perfect for baby Joe.  I am fond over this shade of blue.  A few months before I was pregnant, we painted the guest bedroom this shade of blue.  Now a year later, it’s his room!  Mommy intuition, maybe?  The clothing is so soft and high quality.  Incredibly breathable, he doesn’t get as hot in it.  The garment snaps are lead and nickel free.   Very cute and simple detail.  The ships offer a playful feel to it.

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Finn+Emma’s teething toys are adorable.  Although he isn’t teething just yet, we figured we’d get something for Joseph’s little gums.  We ended up choosing the robot heads teething ears.  They are made from untreated Indian hardwood and a non-toxic vegetable seed wax finish.

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“To be G.O.T.S. certified, textile products must contain a minimum of 95% organic fibers. All inks, dyes and process chemicals used in manufacture must meet basic toxicity and biodegradability requirements. Heavy metals, formaldehyde, nickel, and PVC are prohibited from the manufacture process.”

 

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Playtime with Little Tikes

 

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When we brought our newborn son home, my husband and I made sure that our daughter didn’t feel left out.  She was use to getting all the attention from us.  We wanted the transition to big sister to go as smoothly as possible.

Madisyn has been “mommy’s little helper” from day one.  She absolutely loves that title.  By letting her help, she feels so involved.  I’ll have her grab a diaper for me so I leave them within reach.  This way she can grab a diaper on her own.  She helps pick out what he is going to wear.  During story time, she’ll even read books to him.   She’s already learned so many words by sight.  I am amazed with how much love they have for each other.

I love having her as my helper, but I have been anxiously waiting for the moment they would begin interacting and playing together.  These past few days Joseph has been so alert and aware of his surroundings.  At almost 3 months old, I have been witnessing my two little angels share their first playtime moments.  Smiling and cooing all day.  Madisyn is loving this stage, she talks to him and loves that she gets a response back.

With Little Tikes Hide n’ Seek Hermie and Little Tikes Shake n’ Raddle Crabbie Ring Madisyn and Joseph have enjoyed a lot of playtime.

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The Little Tikes Shake n’ Raddle Crabbie Ring is bright with a bead maze.  The rattling noise keeps Joseph entertained and engaged.

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The Little Tikes Shake n’ Raddle Crabbie Ring is a toy they both love.  The little claws open and close, gets both of the kids so excited!  He hears the beads move around and automatically turns and looks for the toy.  It encourages him to try and grab it himself.  The ring is a perfect size for little hands to grasp.

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They also enjoy playing with Little Tikes Hide n’ Seek Hermie.  Madisyn pulls the ring and Joseph’s little eyes keep track of the hermie as it hides back in its shell.  It encourages visual stimulation.  What parent doesn’t love a toy that helps their baby achieve their developmental milestone?

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He has been using the Little Tikes Hide n’ Seek Hermie as a teether.   He grasps his tiny fingers around it and puts it in his mouth.  It helps promote his hand-eye coordination.  The colors are bright and fun.  It includes a link to easily attach to strollers or car seats.

There is something to look forward to in every milestone.  I have always been of fan of Little Tikes.  They offer baby toys that are fun and help with the development of little minds to help them explore.

You can also add Little Tikes Sooth ’n Spin Octopus to the Little Tikes Shake n’ Raddle Crabbie Ring and Little Tikes Hide n’ Seek Hermie collection.  Creating your own under the sea baby toy theme.  My daughter is crazy about water and sea animals.  These Little Tikes baby toys are a great way to have her and my son interact.

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12 Weeks Old + Milestone Baby Cards

My handsome boy is 12 weeks old.  These last 12 weeks have been amazing.  I can’t remember the last time I was able to get more than 3 straight hours of sleep BUT I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  So much has happened in so little time.  Time is a precious thing.  It is something we cannot get back.  I am cherishing every moment of it, every milestone.

 

12 Weeks Old  

Weight: 13.4 lbs

Smiles, smiles, and smiles.  You love when mommy and daddy talk to you.

You are cooing so much these days.

You love to look at big sister when she reads to you.

You’ve mastered thumb sucking!  Your hand eye coordination is so good.  You also love to grab your tiger when you’re on your play-mat.

 You’re a milk monster.  But sometimes mommy has to avoid eye contact during nursing sessions because you love to talk and forget to eat.  (just like sister)

You love to be swaddled.

You hate when you’re in the car-seat and car isn’t moving!

Finally starting to enjoy bath time.

 

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My handsome boy, you’re all smiles.

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All I could hear during our mini photoshoot were your cooing sounds.  I LOVE the way your little lips perk up when you’re trying to coo.

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I used Milestone Baby Photo Cards to capture this special moment.  Such a cute way to take pictures of all his milestones.  We have also been using Milestone Baby Album + Scrapbook. Fun way to preserve special moments in your baby’s life and create your own crafts!

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You were calling sissy.  She was running all over the place and didn’t want to pause for a photo.

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My sweet angels.  Sissy is crazy about you, we all are!  She adores you, wants to kiss and hug you all the time.

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