10 Places to Take Your Mom, Stepmom, or Mother-in-Law on Mother’s Day

Mother's Day activities and places to goSometimes it seems that we do the same thing over and over again every year for Mother’s Day, almost to the point that we can’t recall whose turn it is or what we did last year. Rather than getting stuck in a tired rut of the same old dinner out or dinner in, consider these fun ideas of 10 places to take your mom or mother-in-law on Mother’s Day.

Bear in mind that some of these ideas may be better suited for smaller groups while others may be suitable for larger groups. If necessary, you may want to tweak these ideas just a bit to suit your group size. In most cases, you should be able to enjoy these activities with your immediate family or even with both your family and your significant other’s family if you so desire.

Top Mother’s Day Activities
Consider these places you can take your mom or your mother-in-law to celebrate Mother’s Day.

1. Bowling – Have a friendly little bowling competition with mom and the family.

2. Winery Tour – Treat mom to a wine tasting, winery tour, and a bottle of wine or two.

3.    Miniature Golf – Spark a little competition in mini golf and treat mom to some ice cream or water ice.

4.    Zoo – If younger children are still in the picture (or grandchildren), a trip to the zoo might be the perfect Mother’s Day activity.

5.    Flower or Nature Conservatory – Check out some local botanical gardens, butterfly gardens, wildflower preserves, or other nature settings.

6.    Melting Pot (or other theme restaurant) – A fun restaurant with a unique twist, like tapas or fondue, can be a super memorable Mother’s Day experience for mom and all those involved. (The Melting Pot also has an amazing Yin-Yang martini cocktail!)

7.    Have a Picnic – Take mom and the family to the park for a nice picnic lunch, complete with your and her favorite things – fried chicken, shrimp cocktail, sandwiches, juice, wine, chocolate cake, the works!

8.    Visit the Local Shopping Outlets – Take mom out for a fun day of shopping if you have some good shopping outlets near you. Treat her to a gift or two from one of the stores.

9.    Spa – Get mom together with the girls in the family and take her out for a spa excursion, or treat her to a massage at the very least. You can also look into manicures and pedicures as a fun Mother’s Day excursion for the girls.

10.    Get a Family Portrait – Take Mom to a local portrait studio with the family to get a nice shot of everyone all dressed up. She will absolutely love this great keepsake photo of your family.

If you want a more low-key kind of Mother’s Day, you can invite your mom or mother-in-law over and cook for her and the family. You can also order takeout or go out to a nice restaurant nearby. If your mom or mom-in-law likes movies, you can also plan a movie night where you watch a movie on your own television or one where you all go out to the movies together.

What other ideas do you have for Mother’s Day? What is your favorite Mother’s Day of all time and why? Please share your feedback in our comments below!


Top 10 Things to Do for Your First Mother’s Day as a New Mom

Mother’s Day is a special time of year every year, but you’ll only have one “first Mother’s Day.” It’s that special day when you are included in the Mother’s Day festivities as a mom yourself, instead of celebrating for your mom or your mother-in-law. Whether you plan your own Mother’s Day activities or rely on your husband to create a special first Mother’s Day for you, here are 10 things you can consider for your first Mother’s Day as a new mom.

Before you make any plans, though, think about whether you wish to include your mom and mother-in-law (or stepmom, etc.), so that you can make solid plans rather than tentative plans. You may want to spend your first Mother’s Day with all the maternal figures in your life or you may want to keep this holiday all to yourself. Whatever you decide, don’t feel selfish – you only have one first Mother’s Day!

10 Activities and Ideas for a First Mother’s Day
Consider these suggestions for what to do on your first Mother’s Day as a new mom:

1.    Go on a picnic in a local park with your husband and baby.

2.    Have your husband barbeque some lunch or dinner and you can relax on the deck or patio with the little one.

3.    Go to dinner with your parents and in-laws for a bigger celebration.

4.    Invite your parents and in-laws over for a group picnic or party. Ask everyone to bring a covered dish or dessert and have your husband man the grill so you don’t have to stress over cooking.

5.    Check out a local park, conservatory, museum, or other nearby attraction.

6.    Spend the daytime with your baby and husband and get a sitter for the evening so you can go out on a dinner date or dessert date.

7.    Play with the baby during the day and make dessert from scratch with your sweetheart at night.

8.    Take a day trip to the beach or the mountains with your hubby and baby.

9.    Take the day off – have hubby look after the baby so you can sleep in, stay in your jammies all day, and enjoy whatever he cooks for you (hopefully breakfast in bed!). Maybe even get yourself a mani/pedi!

10.    Stay home and watch movies that you both enjoy, or try new movies you haven’t seen yet. You can also watch home videos from before the baby if you have them (or your wedding video).

These ideas should give you a little inspiration for what you can do on your first Mother’s Day. If your baby happens to come close to Mother’s Day, you may still be in the hospital and your choices of first Mother’s Day activities may be limited. This can also be a very special and memorable first Mother’s Day, though, since your little one decided to come on or around that special day.

What are your ideas for a special first Mother’s Day activity? Please share your favorite first Mother’s Day ideas in our comments below.


Ideas for a Baby Shower Safari Theme

Choosing a baby shower theme can be lots of fun when you consider all the possibilities for each theme and color scheme. A baby shower safari theme is a popular baby shower motif that works wonderfully no matter if the mom-to-be is having a little girl, a little boy, or a surprise. You can find lots of fun ways to dress up a safari themed baby shower – consider these fun ideas to make the perfect shower from baby shower invitations and decorations to shower centerpieces, favors, and more.

As you plan your baby shower safari theme from start to finish, be sure to consider all the key aspects of a baby shower – invitations, decorations, centerpieces, food, drinks, cake, shower favors, and even baby shower games if you like.

Baby Shower Safari Theme for Girls
Hosting a safari theme baby shower for little girls on the way can be such an adorable affair. Consider decking out your baby shower venue in pink colors with animal print like zebra or leopard. Add in some cute safari animals throughout your decorations, centerpieces, and cake.  You can tie coordinating pink and animal printed balloons to a cute safari themed stuffed animal, like a lion, monkey, giraffe, and zebra. Also, check out these adorable zebra baby shower ideas for girls.

Baby Shower Safari Theme for Boys
Baby boys are a bit more rough and tumble, so you can get away with a less dainty safari baby shower theme if the parents-to-be are having a boy. Consider bold colors, like Crayola reds, blues, and greens, or keep it in a jungle to Sahara motif with earth tones and animal prints. You can do cute centerpieces of miniature cakes or cupcake tiers decorated in the safari theme, or stick to cool jungle-looking plants in color-coordinated flower pots. Get some balloons, banners, and other decorations. Don’t forget your khaki safari hat!

Neutral Baby Shower Safari Theme (Surprise!)
When the gender of the baby on the way is a surprise, you can still plan adorable showers with a baby shower safari theme, jungle theme, or similar. Stick to neutral colors like orange, yellow, and green or even earth tones of khaki and army green. Choose animal themed decorations, plates, balloons, and party favors. You can choose cute tropical flowers with lots of big leaves in vases or potted plants for centerpieces. Be sure to have a great cake decorated with a leafy tree or zebra print or miniature wild animals prancing around the tiers or sheet cake.

These are a few basic ideas for a baby shower safari theme, but you should try to plan a few months in advance and let your imagination run wild! You can have fun mixing animal print patterns and actual cutouts of jungle animals on garland and banners to announce best wishes for the baby on the way.

What other ideas do you have for a baby shower safari theme? Please share them in our comments below!


What to Pack in Your Overnight Hospital Bag When You’re Expecting

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for When the Baby ComesAs you near the end of your pregnancy, you’ve likely got a million things on your mind. If you’re like me, you may have quite a few loose ends to tie together – shopping for a bigger car, worrying over the baby furniture that you ordered that won’t be here till after the baby. The truth is, some things just can’t be helped. Most times it is best to worry about the things you can control rather than those that are out of your hands. With this in mind, I’ve polled some experts to help us remember some important things to pack in our hospital overnight bags for whenever the baby decides he or she is ready to make that grand appearance.

Packing to go anywhere – on a business trip, on vacation – can certainly be a stressful experience, so it helps to have a packing list – especially for something as big as having a baby. Here are some of the top things that women and doctors recommend packing in your emergency bag for when you go to the hospital to have your baby.

Experts at Philips AVENT recommend packing one bag for yourself and one for your baby if possible, to ensure you have all the necessities. Packing the bag by 36 weeks is generally a good time frame just in case you go into labor earlier than expected.

“The hospital bag can become a huge source of stress between couples because it never gets packed — until her water breaks, he’s hysterical in his own macho way, and the emotions cycle high into a fight over ‘the bag,’” says April Masini of AskApril.com. “So, my advice is always: Pack it early, and feel free to re-pack, add, or take away any items you want to at any time. But pack it. When? At the six month mark. I know this sounds crazy, but premature babies are born early. And they’re usually a surprise. They’re not that uncommon. Premature labor is stressful and nobody knows it’s ‘false’ labor until the hospital sends you home. Why add to your stress, and put extra pressure on your relationship with your husband, when you can alleviate so much of it by packing the bag early?”

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Mom
–    Your birth plan
–    List of people to call, as well as phone numbers
–    Slippers or cushy socks
–    Knee length cotton night-gowns (2 or 3) for labor and after (preferably not white!) with buttons down the front for breastfeeding or comfortable pajamas
–    Comfortable underwear and maternity pads (the hospital may also offer pads)
–    Nursing bras
–    Nipple cream and breast pads (NEW from Philips AVENT–both Day and Night Breast Pads and more soothing Breastcare Thermo Pads)
–    Standard toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash, face wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste)
–    Your razor (If you plan on nursing, you will appreciate being able to shave under your arms rather than worrying over stubble.)
–    Your own personal towel and pillow with a recognizable pattern
–    Snacks like energy bars, trail mix, granola bars, and fruit
–    Ear plugs (for you and your husband or partner)
–    Makeup
–    Lotion
–    Lip balm
–    Tissues
–    Prenatal vitamins
–    Glasses or contact lenses
–    Comfortable clothing to wear home (maternity clothes will be your best bet)
–    Plastic bag for dirty laundry
–    Magazines or a book to pass the time before baby comes
–    A notepad for gifts – “Visitors LOVE to bring you gifts while you’re in the hospital,” shares Dallas Louis, a mom of three and author of the upcoming The Mommy Diaries: How I’m Surviving Parenting without Killing Anyone (May 2012). “The trouble with this is the card will inevitably get separated from the gift during the transfer from the hospital to the house. If you have a notepad to quickly jot down who gave what, once the fog of just giving birth clears, your thank-you note process will be much easier if you wrote it down.”
–    A calling card, since you often can’t use a cell phone in your hospital room

“Be careful not to take anything valuable or very sentimental,” say the experts at Philips AVENT. “If you take your own pillows or towels, take patterned ones so they are less likely to disappear. It’s important that you are comfortable during labor and having your own pillow can be a real comfort.”

Nicole Atkinson of Push to Start, Inc. recommends bringing gourmet chocolates for the nurses who will be caring for you.

“I brought a few bags of Lindt truffles to give to the staff,” she recalls. “They appreciated the gesture and took great care of me. I’m sure they would have regardless, but I like to think it helped sweeten my care a bit more.”

She also suggests bringing your makeup to keep you looking like yourself.

“You may not want to put on a full face, but pictures will be taken and you don’t want to look like you were dragged by a train when you’re holding your new baby,” she says.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Baby…


Tips and Tricks on Filling the Perfect Easter Basket

Easter basket ideas for kids, teens, preteens, adults, and grandkidsEaster comes along with the urge to enjoy lots of sweet treats amid pastel colors and lovely signs of nature. The perfect Easter basket may have representation from all three of these areas, even if only figuratively. No matter if you have young children, teenagers and preteens, or grown kids and even grandkids, you can find a nice array of treats, goodies, toys, and trinkets to include in the Easter baskets you create.

Remember, Easter baskets can be whatever you want them to be. You can include a lot of little items with lesser value or just a few items with one or two higher value gifts. You can also include different Easter basket fillings for different age groups. Consider these suggestions on filling the perfect Easter basket for your kids based on their age group.

Easter Basket Ideas for Little Ones
Young children will love the thrills of Easter, from finding the eggs to enjoying all the candy and special treats. The magic of the Easter Bunny and other spring traditions will become a favorite piece of this springtime holiday. Though you may not need to go to great lengths to impress your young ones, here are a few suggestions for things you can put in their Easter baskets.
•    Candy
•    Stuffed animals
•    Plastic Easter eggs filled with treats or toys
•    Easter books
•    Easter movies

Easter Basket Ideas for Preteens and Teenagers
Even your preteens and teenagers will appreciate a little something special on Easter. Depending on your budget, consider these Easter basket ideas for teens and preteens.
•    Candy, gum, and treats
•    Music, MP3 players, headphones, and other accessories
•    Perfume, cosmetics, nail polish, etc.
•    Gift cards to their favorite stores
•    Books, movies, and video games

Easter Basket Ideas for Grown Children / Adults
Grown children (think college students) and adults will still enjoy a special treat this holiday. You may not need to go as far above and beyond as you did in your earlier days, but consider these fun basket fillers for grown children and young adults around Easter time.
•    Candy, gum, and treats
•    Cash or gift cards
•    Photo albums
•    Movies, books, games, and gadgets
•    Wine, beer, or liquor
•    Cool items that match their hobbies – golf accessories, cooking gadgets, etc.

Easter Baskets for Grandkids
Filling up an Easter basket for your grandchildren can be so exciting but it can also be an expensive task, depending on the limits you set for yourself. Here are some suggestions on what you can include in an Easter basket for your grandchildren.
•    Stuffed animals
•    Cars and trucks
•    Playing cards or small games
•    Movies, books, puzzles, music CDs
•    Candy, cookies, and other treats
•    Fun crafts or activities to do as a family

These are just a few ideas for what you can use to fill up an Easter basket for your children or grandchildren, depending on their ages. You can also opt for a large ticket item like an MP3 player, handheld video game, a new smart phone, or some other expensive yet popular item.

Even adults can put together Easter baskets for each other. A husband may want to put a nice piece of jewelry as the centerpiece of an Easter basket for his wife, while the wife may find a nice watch or some cigars and cigar accessories for her husband. It all goes back to how well you know the person for whom you want to make the Easter basket. Good luck and Happy Easter!


Easter Wishes, Messages, Greetings, and Sentiments for the Ones You Love

Easter wishes, messages, greetings, and sentimentsSending an Easter greeting card can be a great way to show you care, even if you can’t spend the holiday with someone close to you. Parents, in-laws, and grandparents will especially appreciate handwritten Easter cards where you include a little personal message along with the card’s existing sentiments. Share your Easter wishes and greetings with your immediate family, including brothers and sisters, as well as your dear friends, and of course, your significant other – husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

Getting in touch with special Easter messages doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Depending on the person you are trying to reach, you can simply send a Happy Easter text message to your technology savvy family and friends. You can send snail mail Easter letters or Easter greeting cards to your older relatives, especially grandparents, and you can send Easter e-cards to your close friends and coworkers as appropriate.

Sometimes it is easier to make a phone call to deliver some special holiday greetings, especially at Easter. If this is the case for you, just pick up the phone and call your nearest and dearest, letting them know you’re thinking of them and wishing them a Happy Easter. Even if you don’t connect, you can still leave an Easter message on the voicemail to let them know they’re in your thoughts.

Here are a few sample Easter messages, greetings, wishes, and heartfelt Easter sentiments to consider for specific people in your life.

Easter Wishes for Parents and Grandparents
Your parents and grandparents have been a big part of your life for a long time. Be sure not to neglect their feelings on the Easter holiday. Simply put together a nice Easter greeting card or make a quick phone call to deliver a Happy Easter message. Here are a few examples of sweet Easter wishes you can share with your family.

•    Thinking of you on Easter and wishing we were celebrating together. Have a very Happy Easter!
•    You’re in our thoughts and our hearts this Easter holiday. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
•    Sending love and warm Easter wishes your way… Happy Easter!
•    It’s Easter time – the perfect time to remind you how special you are to us. We love you!

Easter Greetings for Brothers, Sisters, and Friends
No matter where your siblings and close friends live – near or far – it is a lovely gesture to take the time to let them know they’re in your thoughts, especially around a holiday. Here are some examples of things you can say in an Easter greeting or message to your brother, sister, or friends.

•    Wish we could be together celebrating like old times! Happy Easter to your family from ours!
•    Wishing you a wonderful Easter. Looking forward to catching up soon!
•    Happy Easter to the best [brother / sister / friend] a [girl / guy] could have!
•    Just wanted to send some love and blessings on Easter. Enjoy your holiday!

If you are particularly close to any of your coworkers, you can also share some Happy Easter wishes or greetings with them. Just be aware of any policies your company has related to religion and holidays.

Easter Sentiments for Your Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Husband, or Wife
At the very least, sharing your love and emotions on Easter with your significant other should be a prerequisite. From something as simple as “Happy Easter – I love you!” to a more complex action, such as penning a romantic Easter poem or love letter, you can choose to express your Easter sentiments with your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend in the way that best suits your relationship. Here are a few suggestions for Easter sentiments you can share with your sweetheart.

•    As each holiday rolls around, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have you. Happy Easter, sweetheart!
•    Happy Easter to the one I love. So glad we get to celebrate a lifetime of Easters together.
•    Easter time reminds me of all the things I love about you.
•    Happy Easter – I’m so in love with you.

These are just examples – you will certainly want to match the sentiment of the Easter message for your sweetheart to how you feel and how serious your relationship is.

Special Easter Messages and Ideas for Your Kids
Last but certainly not least, be sure to share some sweet Easter thoughts or ideas with your kiddos. Your children will definitely appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge the holiday and your relationship with them. No matter if you have a son, daughter, or a houseful of children, you can find a fun and sweet way to show how much you care on or leading up to Easter.

•    Happy Easter – Mommy and Daddy love you so much!
•    Wishing you the best Easter ever! XOXOXO
•    Just a little reminder how much you are loved today and always!

In addition to sweet Easter messages for your kids, consider fun activities you can enjoy together. Dye Easter eggs as a family, make homemade Easter cookies or Easter candy, or plant some flower seeds together. You can also color in Easter pictures or springtime coloring books, make Easter designs out of sculpting clay or Play-doh, or try your hand at another Easter craft idea.

What ideas do you have for sharing Easter greetings with the important people in your lives? Please share in the comments below!


DIY Easter Egg Hunt at Home

DIY Easter Egg Hunt at HomeEaster time is sneaking up on us, along with the warmer weather and now even daylight savings time. Planning a DIY Easter egg hunt at home can be a great pastime for your family and especially for grandparents hosting their little grandsons and granddaughters. Your DIY Easter egg hunt can be custom designed to suit any budget and any number of egg hunters. Consider these tips to help you get started.

Before you get started on your Easter egg hunt with all the trimmings, first consider your guests of honor. You will need to choose appropriate Easter egg fillers like candy, money, small toys, chewing gum, and so forth, but you want to make sure you choose items that are age-appropriate, gender appropriate, and above all, safe. If you have a child with a peanut allergy or a chocolate allergy in attendance, it is best to avoid those allergens completely. No peanut butter cups, not even the Easter egg shaped ones. If you have young children attending who may still try to put things immediately in their mouths, you may want to avoid putting money in the eggs (quarters, etc.), as well as other small trinkets and toys.

Now that you have a good idea of who is coming and what kind of Easter egg prizes you should avoid, consider these tips to help you plan a fun and memorable Easter egg hunt at home.

•    Vary the sizes of the plastic Easter eggs to make it more interesting. Larger eggs can hold larger prizes, and smaller eggs can be fun because they can easily hide in smaller spaces. You can also hide really good prizes inside the smallest plastic eggs for a good trick on your egg hunt team.

•    Choose a selection of fun Easter egg fillers. To keep things interesting, you might want to include a variety of prizes, including candy, gum, money, small toys, and other trinkets. If you have older kids and still want to do the egg hunt, consider including items like lip balm or other makeup, gift cards, and other useful prizes.

•    Fill your plastic Easter eggs at least the night before your egg hunt. Filling the plastic eggs can be rather time consuming. Put on a good movie or cuddle up to watch your favorite show and fill up the Easter eggs at least one day before your hunt. If it is the night before your egg hunt, you can also hide the eggs as soon as you are comfortable doing so. That can also take some time – be sure to hide a few eggs in unlikely places, maybe inside the bathtub or the freezer.

•    Ensure fairness in groups. To keep things fair with multiple kids participating, give all participants the same number of eggs to find. It doesn’t have to matter if the eggs are big or small or a combination – simply encourage the kids to find exactly the right number of eggs so everyone gets the same number of prizes. If you want, you can award a separate prize for the person who gets done the egg hunt first.

•    Take lots of pictures. Once you’ve filled and hidden all the eggs and set the kids loose on the egg hunt, you can kick back, relax, and snap away as they romp through your home or outside if it’s nice enough.

In summary, the Easter egg hunt is a great tradition to enjoy with your family and extended family. Gather all the materials you’ll need – plastic eggs, candy, toys, trinkets, and money – and get all the pieces in place for your DIY Easter egg hunt. Your egg hunt is sure to become a great yearly or biyearly event the entire family can enjoy.


Fun Baby Shower Games and Activities

If you are planning a baby shower want to keep the guests busy and the party interactive, consider planning some fun baby shower games and activities for everyone to enjoy. No matter if you are having a grand scale shower at a special venue or a more intimate shower at someone’s home, you can still find a great balance of baby shower activities and games to play with all the guests. Here are a few of our favorite baby shower games and activities.

Before you get started with this aspect of shower planning, remember that some baby shower activities require more advanced planning than others. That said, let’s take a look at some of the fun options out there to spice up your baby shower!

Onesie Decorating
Buy an assortment of plain onesies and a selection of puffy paint or fabric pens. Be sure to get different colored fabric markers or puffy paint and different sizes in the onesies. Set everything up on a table and allow guests to decorate the onesie of their choice with a fun saying or a pretty picture. Take digital pictures of guests with the onesies they created or have them put their name somewhere so the mom-to-be will know which artist created each design. Tip: You can also find plain maternity tank tops and t-shirts that guests can decorate as well!

Baby Shower Gift BINGO
Make up a blank BINGO card where guests can write in a different gift idea in each box. The center square is “free.” Give each table a few sheets of tiny stickers, BINGO markers, or regular markers so they can keep track of their correct answers. When any guest gets BINGO, you can offer that guest the prize of her choice. You can accept as many guests as you like. This can be a lot of fun with very little maintenance, and it will encourage great interaction as the more competitive guests get a little more vocal. Have fun!

String around the Belly
Let each guest cut a piece of yarn or string as long as they think the mom-to-be’s belly might be. Then use a real tape measure to measure around her tummy for the actual length. The guest or guests with the closest measurements win.

Guess How Many?
Place baby shower themed candy in a glass jar or vase and ask guests to guess how many pieces. Be sure you already know the answer! Tally up the votes and award the jar of candy to the guest with the closest guess. I’ve also seen this done with unwrapped tootsie rolls and a newborn diaper around the bottom of the glass jar. It all depends on your personal preferences and what you think the mom-to-be would like best.

Guess What Age?
Add a nice selection of photos of the mom-to-be to a piece of cardboard and label each photo with a number or letter. Give guests a sheet of paper with a “word bank” of ages and then have a list numbered or lettered the same as the images on the poster board. Guests have to guess how old the guest of honor was in each photo, and the guest with the most correct answers wins. Some pictures will be easier than others, for example, First Holy Communion, graduation, and possibly even wedding day. The guests who know the mom’s birthday will probably have the best shot at getting the most correct answers. For the benefit of your most special guests, try to include a few personal photos of the mom-to-be with her grandmother, best friend, husband, siblings, and other special friends and family members.

Baby Animal Trivia
Put together a worksheet with different animals and blank lines next to each. Have the guests guess the name of the animal’s baby; for example, joey for kangaroo, puppy for dog, kitten for cat. You can also ask a few random trivia questions about baby animals, such as the longest gestation, shortest gestation, and so forth. You can award a prize for the guest or guests with the most correct answers.

What other baby shower games and activities can you think of or which ones have you played or done at a shower recently? Share your favorites in our comments below so that all readers can benefit from the clever and creative ideas you’ve already experienced.


Pink and Orange Baby Bedroom and Nursery Themes for Little Girls

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingMy husband and I are expecting our first baby – a little girl due in the beginning of May. We’ve been struggling over choosing furniture, and a baby bedding set, and painting the baby’s room, and all the other things that go along with your first child. Thankfully we finally narrowed down all the baby bedding options and selected our top two picks.

I am a big fan of the raspberry pink and orange color combination. I had hot pink and orange flowers in my wedding and I still enjoy the color combo very much. While looking for this combination, I found several pink and orange baby bedding sets and patterns that we liked a lot. In case you are also looking for pink and orange baby bedding for your little girl, I’m going to share my favorites out of the styles and patterns that I found.

Cocalo Tropical Punch Baby BeddingCocalo Tropical Punch Baby Bedding
This set is definitely my favorite and I’ve added it to our baby registry. I was originally looking for a cute koala theme for the baby’s room, just because my husband and I like koalas, and I stumbled upon this cute bedding set called Tropical Punch almost accidentally. I love that it has a cute mama and baby koala predominantly on a lot of the accessories, but also has an elephant, zebra, and others. All the animals are very cute, and the color combination of pink, orange, and cream looks awesome together.

You can get this pink and orange nursery bedding set at a number of retailers, including Amazon.com where you can find many different accessories as well. Look for the koala pillow, Sherpa blanket, and child’s lamp for a few examples.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterflies Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Butterfly Bedding
We also included this pink and orange baby bedding set on our baby registry as a backup in case we weren’t 100% sold on the first set. The more we looked at it, the more my husband and I both liked it. This set has a cute butterfly pattern in a bright pink and orange and white color scheme. There are many accessories that go along with the JoJo Designs Butterfly set as well, including a baby hamper, changing pad cover, and diaper stacker, to name just a few. This set is very cute for a girlie girl and gives you the option to paint your walls a different color other than pink.

JoJo Designs Pink and Orange Surf Baby BeddingJoJo Designs Pink and Orange Tropical Hawaiian Surf Bedding
This originally was one of my top two picks for pink and orange nursery bedding sets, but my husband didn’t like it as much as the other two. I think the colors were just a bit too bold and in-your-face for him, plus I wasn’t exactly sold on the surfboard. I really love the hibiscus designs and palm trees but could do without the surf stuff. However, this Pink and Orange Hawaiian Surf set is still adorable and may be a nice fit for lots of babies since they may not grow out of it quite as quickly as with some of the other baby girl nursery patterns.

Hula Baby by Trend Lab Baby BeddingTrend Lab Hula Baby Pink, Green, and Orange Baby Bedding
This set called “Hula Baby” by Trend Lab fell to the bottom of my pink and orange baby bedroom themes list, but only because I liked the other patterns so much more, not by any fault of its own. This set is very cute and simple – I just liked the versatility of the pink and orange baby animals set and the butterflies and the Hawaiian surf set. This baby bedroom set offers a lovely pink and green color combo with white and orange accents – a fresh and fun color combo for any baby girl’s room. Tropical flowers bedeck the bedding and pink and green stripes set off the pattern nicely.

These just happened to be my favorite pink and orange baby bedding sets out of all the research I did – they are by no means the only sets for you to consider. I was looking for cute baby animals and tropical or Hawaiian themes for the baby as well, so these sets seemed to nicely complement the color combination I wanted as well as the nursery theme I was hoping to find.

I am pleased to mention that we also selected “Luminary” by Behr (Home Depot paint) and painted the baby’s room this weekend. We still have a little painting for the trim and closet and also need to get our furniture, but we are off to a lovely start as far as I’m concerned. The Luminary paint color is a gorgeous peach that has a very soft orange hue – I am so excited to see the baby’s room when it’s all done, especially once we get the perfect pink and orange baby bedding set!


Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt Product Review

Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt Product ReviewPregnancy is such an exciting part of life. Knowing your child is growing and developing in the womb is an amazing concept, and parents always want to do what’s best for the baby, especially as he or she is on the way. The Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt is one way the mom-to-be – and even the dad-to-be – can bond with the baby through sweet music. The Lullabelly allows parents to play music to baby in the womb, directly from an iPod, MP3 player, music phone app, or even your computer.

I received a Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt product for the purpose of this review and I am truly excited to have the opportunity to test this device. Lullabelly is made with an ultra soft fabric that has enough elastic to make the belt just about one-size-fits-all. The amount of elastic sewn into the music belt allows it to comfortably grow with your growing belly so you can listen to and play music for your baby as long as you are comfortable, definitely well into your third trimester. You can also play audio books, voice recordings, and lullabies. The sound level is purposely designed to be safe for baby, using a special technology to ensure this safety.

The paperwork included with the Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt explains that a developing fetus can hear and respond to pulses of sound as early as 16 to 20 weeks. According to this information, active listening commences around 24 weeks for the developing baby. As a word of caution, check with your doctor to see how much listening time you should use the prenatal music belt. The Lullabelly documentation suggests one hour or less at a time, only two or three times per day.

Remember also that the amniotic fluid can be a good conductor of sound, so you needn’t play the music too loud. Ask your partner to help you adjust the sound to a reasonable level. Also, make sure the belt is fastened with the correct side inward. There is a little tag that indicates which side should face towards your belly. Also, the music belt has a zippered pocket that houses your earphones and splitter. When in use, you can also tuck your iPod or MP3 player inside this pocket for ease of use and convenience. Don’t forget to make a playlist just for this wonderful bonding experience!

I really enjoyed testing out this product – especially because I have a good reason. My husband and I are expecting our first child and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve delayed my review of this product a little bit because I wanted to ensure our baby could hear – not that I will even know, but it is a good feeling to know you are bonding and both listening to the same music at the same time. Also, I thought it would be nice to announce to our readers that I am actually pregnant and so my review of this product includes my true and honest perspective as an expectant mother.

While I was fumbling with my iPod looking for soft and melodic songs to play for the baby, he brilliantly suggested putting on Pandora and making a channel for Mozart. (In case you didn’t know, they say babies in the womb have shown positive responses to Mozart, but not so much for Beethoven.) I am on my fourth or fifth song and really enjoying the overall experience. The Lullabelly packaging suggests playing the same songs you play during your pregnancy after your baby is born to help with sleeping. Packaging also suggests that music encourages language and memory skills – wouldn’t you want that for your developing baby?

The Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt comes with a sound splitter and earphones so mommy or daddy can listen while the music plays for baby. I found the earphones a little big for my ears but after some twisting I was able to find a comfortable and stable placement. I thought about trading them for my usual earbuds, but I really like the ability to change the volume independently on my earphones with the set that came with the device. I have another splitter upstairs and I may eventually try to add that to the mix so I can see if my husband and I can listen together. It might be especially nice if we go away on a little trip before our baby is born. We both like to sleep on the plane.

The Lullabelly belt is washable and the speaker comes out easily so you can pop it in the washing machine as needed. By the way, if your speaker is damaged or lost, the company will replace it free of charge, at only the low cost of $2.95 for shipping and handling. At the same shipping charge, moms can get an additional 18 inches of extended belt in the same color and style as her Lullabelly – free of charge other than the ridiculously low shipping charge!

Listening to music in general can help to reduce stress, so it seems listening during pregnancy is a great way to keep your mental and emotional outlook upbeat. Also, the Lullabelly product is so comfortable – at 18 weeks along, I felt like I wasn’t even wearing it. Even now at almost 24 weeks it feels cozy and comfy – not tight or awkward at all. This product also seems much more fashionable than wearing big headphones on my belly!

Lullabelly is available in five colors – Apple Green (it is lovely – this is the one I received… green with white polka dots), Sky Blue, Princess Pink, Sunshine Yellow, and Chocolate Brown/Mint.

Lullabelly is available at Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory, at Amazon, and online at Lullabelly.com. Lullabelly retails for $55. If you are interested in ordering your own Lullabelly, you can score free shipping by using a special code – LLB – during checkout at Lullabelly.com. For more information, please visit Lullabelly at www.lullabelly.com.


LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor with Digital Recording and Remote Viewing (LW2401) Review

Lorex Video Baby Monitor LW2401 ReviewBabies and young children require constant attention and careful monitoring for their safety. Parents typically set up baby monitors to do the job, allowing parents to be on another floor of the house or outside while still fully aware of their baby’s safety and current state – sleeping, playing, crying, etc. Baby monitors have come a long way since our parents’ day. Now you can get so many more features, especially video capabilities like in the LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor, which also allows digital recording and remote connectivity, Skype integration, and more.

My husband and I received a LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor for the purpose of this review. I was excited to try it because I feel a video baby monitor offers so much more to parents and caregivers than a standard audio monitor. I was thrilled to notice that my husband was even excited to check it out – primarily because it is a cool tech gadget that he could read about and test all the cool features. This is another huge win for me – if he likes it, I love it.

Video Baby Monitor’s Ease of Use
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it took him only moments to turn everything on and set it up for practice monitoring. He set up the camera in the kitchen and kept the LCD monitor in the family room with him. The dog and I went into the kitchen to see how everything worked. It was a snap for us to adjust the volume, test all the neat features, and even practice recording footage. The most time you’ll spend setting up is charging the monitor, and you can do that while you sleep!

Two-Way Talk Feature
Then my husband tested out the two-way talk feature – very cool! You can actually talk to your baby or child from the LCD monitor unit, even if you are on a different floor or outside your house. I can see this being very useful when soothing your child. The monitor also has built-in lullabies, which we have yet to test, but this is a wonderful feature I look forward to using often.

Video Monitor’s Digital Recording
We also tested the digital video recording feature and found that to be super easy at the touch of a button and fairly easy in playback as well. This one-touch recording has got to be a huge plus for anyone who doesn’t want to miss one precious moment with a new baby in the house. Record playing, sounds, and motions your baby makes while you aren’t in the room. The video monitor is really smart in that it automatically starts recording when it detects a change in audio level in the room, such as your baby crying. The LIVE SENSE alerts you and video begins recording immediately.

Room Temperature Monitoring and Feeding Alerts
You can also rest easier knowing your baby’s room temperature is being monitored for a constant temp. You will receive an alert if the room becomes too cold or too hot – you’ll find the cool little temperature sensor on the back of the camera. Parents can also set the feeding timer to remind them when baby’s next meal should take place.

Remote Viewing of the Video Baby Monitor
When the monitor is connected to a computer via USB, working parents, remote grandparents, and distant aunts and uncles can see the child in real-time, even from miles and miles away. The unit is compatible with Skype, allowing your video monitor system to be viewed anywhere in the world using a Skype login.

Other Exciting Video Monitor Features
The LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor has a gorgeous 3.5” LCD screen for full-screen or split-screen viewing. The device is very portable, roughly the size of a smartphone or just a bit larger, making it a nice fit for your pocket, purse, or tabletop / nightstand. The night-time viewing allows you to get a good night’s sleep without sacrificing your child’s safety. There is a video on/off button for this purpose as well, with the audio remaining intact.

The LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor system is expandable up to four cameras so you can simply add to your system as your family grows. You may also wish to use this unit as a monitoring system for your pets so you can watch your dog or cat while you are at work. It also works nicely as a home security system, giving you peace of mind knowing your home is under surveillance.

The LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor comes with a camera, rechargeable LCD monitor with base, two power adapters, MicroSD memory card, software CD, and three safety clips for assembling your monitor system. The LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor works with iPad™, iPhone™, and personal computers.

For more information about the LOREX LIVE SD3.5 Video Baby Monitor, check out www.lorextechnology.com.


Baby Shower Ideas: Boy on the Way

When a baby boy is on the way, it’s a great time to celebrate with the mom-to-be, friends, and family. Boy baby shower ideas, boy on the way themes, and even gender neutral shower themes can come in handy for the planning phase of the baby shower. Consider all kinds of fun boy themes for the shower, including blue and green color schemes, character showers, monograms, and countless others. From invitations to decorations and everything in between, check out these great boy baby shower ideas.

Give yourself a little time to plan and the baby shower should be a shining success!

Top Baby Shower Ideas – Boy on the Way

Consider these ideas for boy baby shower themes:

•Baby Boy Sports Theme

•Dinosaurs Theme

•Everything Blue!

•Airplane Baby Shower

•Cars and Trucks Baby Shower

•Baby Animals Theme

•Mickey Mouse Theme

•Farm Animals Theme

•Jungle Animals Theme

•Elephant Baby Shower Theme

•Travel Theme

•Tropical & Marine Theme

•Nautical Theme

•Hollywood Theme

•Garden Party for Mom

•Carnival Theme

•Circus Baby Shower

•Winnie the Pooh Shower Theme

•Mardi Gras Theme

•Brown and Teal Color Scheme

As you plan the baby shower, it is also important to keep the atmosphere of the party in mind. Consider baby shower boy decorations like wagons, tricycles, and trucks to create a fun boy baby shower setting. You can also dress up the shower with balloons in the blue and green color scheme as well as Mylar balloons shaped like baby bottles and other baby themed items. Stuffed animals and plush baby blocks can also make great baby shower boy decorations for your event. Consider boy themed baby shower cakes for each table of guests to enjoy, or tiers of blue cupcakes with baby themed toppings.

What other ideas do you have for a boy baby shower?