Mom-Approved Christmas Gifts For All Kinds

A recent project of mine (which is currently on hiatus, simply because I don’t have enough time in the day) is a website called 3 Things for Mom — where every day an “expert” mom shared a Truth, a Tip and a Find.

It was such a fun project and there was wonderful wisdom shared from well-known magazine editors, bloggers, and TV personalities — but one of my favorite aspects ended up being the “Finds.”

Here are some of my favorite “Finds” (big & small!) that would also make awesome gifts for this holiday season. *Note: None of these mamas are being paid by the brands for their endorsements—they simply love these products!

Without further ado…

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FOR THE COOK/FOODIE:

Pampered Chef Pan Scrapers (Under $5)

Contributor Beth from Revolution at Home says: “I guess you could say that I’m easily amused, but hands down, the one household item I most often recommend is my $2 plastic pot scraper. It’s really nothing more than a rigid spatula without a handle, but I’m telling you, it’s the best thing that’s happened to dishwashing since the kitchen sink.”

Kevita Probiotic Drinks (Under $5)

Contributor Amber from Crappy Pictures says: “It is a sparkling probiotic drink. And it tastes like heaven. Especially the mango coconut. Plus, it has four strains of live probiotics, is certified organic and has a trillion less calories than soda. I even like the glass bottle it comes in with the tiny heart on the bottom. Can you tell I like this drink a little?”

Pampered Chef i-slice (Under $5)

Contributor Amy from Resourceful Mommy says: “This bad boy can be used for anything from opening the tape on packages to cutting wrapping paper. It only costs $4 and it sticks to your fridge with an internal magnet. Coolest. Gadget. Ever. (Ever!!!)”

The lettuce knife (Under $5)

Contributor Rachel Jankovic from Discovering God says: “I love this thing. While I am not a fan of most kitchen gadgets, every once in a while you find something really specific that turns out to be incredibly handy. This is that thing! I have my kids cut lettuce for salad with no risk of cutting fingers — they love to help with “real jobs” and it teaches them some good basic skills. It’s also super handy for cutting brownies (and I hear cheesecake) as it keeps them from clumping up on the knife.”

Wide-mouthed mason jars (Under $25)

Contributor Stacie from One Hungry Mama says: “I’m obsessed with these all purpose containers! I use them for holding colored pencils and beads, as extra glasses when all of our other ones are in the dishwasher, to shake up salad dressing when I can’t be bothered with a whisk, for sealing up extra juice from the juicer or soup from the pot (my latest favorite is this Chorizo & Chickpea Soup), for using in place of a baking pan when I want to turn ordinary cake batter into extraordinarily cute individual cake treats, for taking my green tea Matcha Latte on-the-go.”

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Laptop Lunch Bento Boxes (Under $25)

Contributor Peg Moline, Editor-in-Chief of Fit Pregnancy magazine, says: “I love Laptop Lunch kits, especially the ones tucked into colorful carriers. The carriers have pockets and zippers for all the utensils, etc, and the kits are full of sandwich-sized containers (great for anything), smaller-sized bento boxes for fruit or salad, even a tiny one for salad dressing or hummus. You really don’t need all those little Earth-wrecking plastic bags. Lunch ideas and recipes come with it all, and of course you can subscribe to a newsletter that supplies endless ideas, every week.”

Blue Mountain Coffee (Under $50)

This was one of my picks! I said: “Over Christmas break, I discovered Blue Mountain Coffee (from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica) — which I’ve come to learn is the coffee drinker’s coffee. It’s smooth, light and delicious — and though it’s certainly more expensive than my Folger’s breakfast blend, it is definitely a treat worth trying.”

A Heirloom state-shaped cutting boards (Under $50)

Contributor Rachel from The Chic says: “I get asked often for great hostess gift recommendations—and A Heirloom is one of my favorites. Their company creates state-shaped cutting boards that will tickle your hostess pink! Living in LA means a bunch of our friends are transplants from somewhere else and remembering their home state is always a big hit. Instead of the fancy bottle of red wine that no one really wants, why not splurge on a gift they won’t soon forget?”

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Zojirushi rice cooker (Under $200)

Contributor Caroline Campion from Devil and Egg says: “I think my number one find is my rice cooker. I never thought I’d get one until the day I went over to a mom-friend’s house and she started scooping out the most delicious, perfectly cooked, quinoa from this contraption sitting on the counter. She was making her kids dinner and she’d put the quinoa on a sheet of roasted seaweed, add a slice of avocado, and roll it up—so simple and healthy and addictive!”

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FOR THE DOMESTIC DIVAS:

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It by Amy Atlas (Under $25)

Contributor Kathryn from Team Whitaker says: “True to my southern roots and graphic design brain, I love to throw a good party. Last year, I discovered the very best book for drawing fantastic party inspiration (even more than Pinterest, so you know it’s legit). Amy Atlas’ book, Sweet Designs, has me thinking: “how can I DIY that?”, “oh, those colors are rad together” and “my kids will love this!'”

My Little Steamer by Joy Mangano  (Under $25)

Contributor Margo from Nacho Mama’s Blog says:I gave up dry cleaning the day I became a mom and I hate ironing, but this little steamer is strong enough to get the wrinkles out of everything from my husband’s dress shirts to curtains to silk. I never go on a trip without packing my steamer in my bag (I’ve had many hotel ironing mishaps) and after more than 10 years, it’s still going strong! All that for under $25? Come on!”

Downy Wrinkle Releaser (Under $25)

Contributor Wendy from Mama One to Three says: “Downy Wrinkle Releaser has changed my life. I do not know what is in it. And I do not want to know. If you know, don’t tell me. It may be bad for me, bad for the environment; it may support a dictatorship in a small Central American country. But I haven’t ironed in years–there is indeed bliss in that ignorance.”

Slim Grips clothes hangers (Under $25)

Contributor Lisa Hendey from CatholicMom.com says: “I hate laundry — not really the washing part, but definitely the putting away. Laundry life has become greatly simplified since I assigned different colored hangers for each member of our family. For myself, I am transitioning all of my clothing to pink Slim Grips hangers. At the end of each season, I’ve committed to doing a closet clean out and “retiring” any clothing that is not on a pink hanger. These will be donated to our local women’s shelter. After six months of this system, I can already tell a big difference in my closet! These hangers are slim, sturdy, and do a great job of helping my closet look and feel more organized.”

Kiwi Craft Box (Under $25) ($19.95 monthly)

Contributor Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative says: “I love crafting with my kids, but sometimes gathering all the right stuff for a project can be a headache. This is why I LOVE Kiwi Crate, a monthly crafting kit subscription for young kids. It is our favorite thing to do together every month. The crafts have an educational theme, are well-thought out and the crate comes with EVERYTHING that you will need—right down to tape and glue. When that green box arrives, my 5-year-old son goes crazy. He can’t wait to open it and see what he and Mommy are going to make. The time we spend with our Kiwi Crate is such a treasure.”

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Moleskine notebook (Under $25)

Contributor Bunmi Laditan from The Honest Toddler shares her advice for writers: “Get yourself a notebook. Swanky Moleskine or 99 Cents Store variety — it doesn’t matter. I’ve gone through more than I can count. None of them are full. They contain snippets of stories, bullet-pointed ideas, letters, dreams, sometimes even grocery lists. Buy a 10-pack of ballpoint pens (three will be immediately lost) and dump them into the bag you use the most. Carry your book around with you and jot down ideas as they come. You’ll find that some of these scrawled, barely-legible words will serve as diving boards by which you will plunge into the unknown and find stories inside of you that you never knew existed.”

Tea Light Oil Warmer (Under $25)

Contributor Bridget from It’s a Hunt Life says: “I am a big smells person. Having a candle burning throughout the day quickly ups the cozy feeling in my home, plus the vanilla and lavender scent in the air makes me more relaxed. I just bought one of these great essential oil diffusers. It’s even better than a candle, because so many essential oils actually have major health benefits — from cleansing and purifying to relaxation and stress relief. I’m discovering more every day.”

Sky lanterns (Under $25)

Contributor Michelle from Scenes from the Wild says: “You admired these in Tangled, do you know how inexpensive they are on Amazon.com? For $12.14 for ten lanterns shipped, you can create magic. It’s especially fun to write notes and wishes on the lanterns before sending them drifting into the night.”

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Bath & Body Works — Japanese Cherry Blossom Hand Soap (Under $25)

Another one of mine. I said, “I usually buy the economical hand soap for our master bathroom. But for the guest bathroom, I love to put fancy hand soap. It’s one of those little details that I always appreciate when I’m at a salon or a restaurant with extra yummy smelling soap. My favorite scents lately are Caldrea — Cintron Ginger and Bath & Body Works — Japanese Cherry Blossom.”

The FURminator (Under $25)

Contributor Kristin van Ogtrop, Managing Editor of Real Simple magazine says, “In addition to three boys and a husband, I live with two big, shedding labrador retrievers.  (This is when most people say “Oh my God.”)  At certain times of year, there are literally tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling around in my kitchen. I can’t explain how or why, but the FURminator is the only dog brush I have ever found that actually works well enough for me to notice a reduction in the number of tumbleweeds, which impacts my daily happiness much more than it probably should.”

Martha Stewart Discbound Notebooks (Under $25)

Contributor Nicole Bennett from Gidget Goes Home says: “I’ve always loved the convenience of a loose-leaf 3-ring binder, but the compact design of a spiral notebook—and I’ve lamented that there wasn’t something that combined the best of both worlds. It turns out there is! This year as I prepped for back-to-homeschool, I discovered the Martha Stewart Discbound line from Staples. The notebook has a special disc binding from which pages can be removed and replaced, and yet it still can fold over like a spiral notebook.”

One Truffle clarity pouches (Under $50)

Contributor Marissa Kraxberger, past writer for Oscar De La Renta’s mommy blog, George & Ruby, says: “I am obsessed with my one truffle clarity pouches. Such a simple concept made chic and easy for any woman. These little pouches keep me organized and help me transition from one handbag to another. I have one pouch for all my personal stuff–sunglasses, lipstick, hair ties, iPhone charger, etc and I have another pouch for kids stuff–emergency pacifiers, organic lollipops, band–aids, crayons and fruit snacks.”

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Oilcloth Tablecloth (Under $50) 

Contributor Carla Naumburg from Mindful Parenting, says: “We have a small house, and so most of the girls’ art projects happen at our dining room table, which is frequently covered in markers, crayons, paper, stickers, glitter, glue, and yes, even Play-Doh. Fortunately, we keep our dining room table covered with an oilcloth tablecloth all the time, which means clean up is easy and I never worry about our table being damaged. They come in bright, fun designs, they’re affordable, and they last for years. After nearly a decade, ours is starting to fray at the corners so I’m looking for a new one. There are some great options on Etsy.”

Nikon 50mm lens (Under $500) 

Another one of my favorite things. I said, “A couple years ago, my husband bought me a Nikon 50mm lens for my basic DSLR camera. A photographer friend told him that it was a great way to take amateur photography to the next level (along with a basic bounce flash — here’s the one I have) for the mommy-photographer who doesn’t want to spend tons of money. However, I never had the correct settings on my camera (hence the amateur statement) — and my fancy-schmancy lens was always a bit lackluster.UNTIL, my brother-in-law showed me over Christmas that I needed to change the aperture to a different setting for this lens to have full effect. And then — as they say in Sleepless in Seattle — “it was like… magic.

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FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN:

Aquaphor Healing Ointment (Under $5)

Contributor Dina Freeman from BabyCenter, says: “One night during my son’s first week at home, he gauged himself with one of his itty bitty fingernails. It was pretty bad, so I grabbed one of those little tubes of Aquaphor you get at the hospital and put it on the cut. The next morning it was gone. Seriously. It was so freaky that I thought I was hallucinating, but my husband confirmed I wasn’t crazy. Since that day, we put it on every cut, scrape, bite or dry skin patch we can find, and it works every time.”

Nosefrida, The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator (Under $25)

Contributor Allison from AllisonSlaterTate.com, says: “I’m on my fourth baby, but she’s my first baby in five years. The baby product world changes monumentally in five years. I’m enjoying the new, improved world of baby gear, but my favorite innovation has been Nosefrida, The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator. It’s made by a Swedish company (of COURSE, because the Swedes do everything awesome — hello, IKEA), FridaBaby. Instead of wrestling with the giant, green, unforgiving rubber nasal aspirator bulb from the hospital, I have been able to rid my baby of nasal gunk in a decidedly disgusting, unarguably primitive, but amazingly effective way: by sucking it out myself through a plastic tube with a little blue sponge filter. It’s not pretty, but it is extremely satisfying, not unlike popping a pimple. I know, I have now completely grossed you out, but admit it — you are intrigued. Totally worth the eww factor. It’s the best thing since Tivo, and Tivo is the best thing since fire.”

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Winnie the Pooh (the 2011 version) (Under $25)

Another one of my favs. Here’s what I said: “We love family movie time, but there aren’t many movies appropriate for the 3-and-under-crowd and still engaging for Mom and Dad. Enter: Winnie the Pooh (the new 2011 version!) Have you seen it? We just watched it yesterday and my husband and I were actually laughing out loud at this clever G-RATED film. It was silly, heart-warming, cute, clever, nostalgic — and the perfect cuddle-on-the-couch movie with little ones.”

Scentsy Buddies (Under $25)

Contributor Anna from My Life and Kids, says: “I have three little kids and someone always seems to have a runny nose or a stuffy nose or some type of cough or whatever. A simple stuffy nose used to mean we weren’t sleeping — but thanks to these amazing stuffed animals, we sleep through every cold these days. They’re called Scentsy Buddies, and they are borderline life-changing! You buy the stuffed animal (which is the softest, cutest thing you’ll ever see). Then you buy a scent pack to zip into his back. I picked “Just Breathe” and when my kids have stuffy noses, they sleep with their Scentsy buddy and they can breathe through their nose all night long.”

Child’s Yard Tool Set(Under $25

This is another one of our favs. I said, “If you have any sort of yard, you know how the kids love to help with yard work. (Well, maybe not when they’re teenagers.) My four-year-old son loves to “help” his dad with the raking and shoveling — and he loves using his very own yard tool set to do it (set includes a garden rake, spade, hoe and leaf rake). These miniature yard tools are just his size and he can work right alongside Daddy.”

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Hush Little Baby (Under $25) Children’s Book by Sylvia Long 

Another one of mine! I said, “Hush Little Baby has been one of our favorite bedtime books to read lately. Because it’s a play on the classic song by the same name, I actually sing the book and my little ones just love it. But more than that — I love the message. Instead of “Mama’s going to buy you…” Silvia’s version is “Mama’s going to show you,” and it’s a beautifully illustrated book of a mama and baby rabbit discovering all sorts of comforting, beautiful things together. Just lovely!”

Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays (Under $25)

Contributor Megan Brooks from Texas Health Moms, says: “I loved making big batches of homemade baby food and freezing it. The Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays worked so well for this.They’re flexible enough to pop out the little pureed cubes easily once they’re frozen, plus each slot is exactly one ounce so portioning for baby is easy.”

Child’s Glass Pitcher (Under $25)

Contributor Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions, says: “It’s hard for little kids to live in an adult-sized world, where everything is too big, too heavy, too dangerous or out of reach. One product that I love is the child-sized pitcher found here. It enables kids as young as three to fix their own drinks (or breakfast cereal!), and helps them feel capable and independent. Of course, it’s plastic so it won’t break, has an easy-open lid to keep spills to a minimum and is nearly dripless. Brilliant!”

All the World Children’s Book by Liz Garton Scanlon (Under $25)

Contributor, Kristin from Two Cannoli, says: “Austin-based Liz Garton Scanlon is one of our favorite children’s authors. Her beautiful book, All the World, is a regular on our son’s nighttime reading rotation. When he hands it to me to read to him, my heart soars.”

Harvey the Child Mime by Loryn Brantz (Under $25)

Contributor, Lindsey Gladstone, Editor at DailyCandy, says: “I discovered this book a few years back while editing the Kids edition of DailyCandy, and it remains one of my all-time favorite kids’ reads. It’s the story of a mime who teaches a spoiled princess that you have everything you need inside your mind. Presents, parties, and ponies have nothing on an active imagination. Every time I read it to my girls, I get a little weepy.”

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Ok to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock and Nightlight (Under $50)

Contributor Devon from The Huffington Post, says: “Until my son turned three, he seemed to think there was some invisible forcefield surrounding his room.When he woke up, he would not leave his room until my husband or I went to get him. Initially, this was fabulous. He would get up and sing, play with his toys, and generally amuse himself until we stumbled out of bed. One day, though, he grew weary of the forcefield and started yelling for us at 5:30 a.m. So I came up with the clever idea to explain to him that, instead of screaming, he could just come and get us. That did stop the screaming, but that’s only because he didn’t need to scream when he was standing right next to our bed telling us it was time to get up. Then, I found the magic clock. It has many wonderful qualities, but the best is that you can set it to turn green at a time you deem acceptable to start your day. We bought it, told our son that if he got up before his clock turned green, he was welcome to get up and play, read, or color in his room, but he could not leave his room (trips to the potty were exceptions). It was, without a doubt, the best $30 I ever spent.”

Buzzy 4 Shots (Under $50)

KJ Dell’Antonia from the New York Times Motherlode, says: “If you have a child who loathes shots, or for medical reasons needs a lot of them, Buzzy 4 Shotscan help. I met Dr. Amy Baxter, a pediatrician and pain researcher, while she was in Washington advocating for global vaccination through the Shot@Life campaign, and she showed me Buzzy. He’s a small vibrating bee with an ice pack, and he amounts to natural pain relief (for a variety of reasons, cold and vibration change the way our body perceives the pain of the needle) I have a child who has had to be restrained for shots, and I know she’s going to be thrilled to gain some control over the experience. I can’t wait to try Buzzy — people who have say he’s a game changer.”

Hop-A-Long Pony (Under $50)

One of my favs. Here’s what I said, “If you want to help your child burn energy while you sit still and cheer him on (i.e. relax for a moment), you need a Hop-A-Long Pony. Seriously, this Bouncy Horse Ball is like a trampoline workout. My 3-year-old son received it for Christmas and it’s his new best friend (and mine).”

Marpac Noise Machine(Under $50)

Contributor Hallie from Moxie Wife, says: “I’ve auditioned a million sound machines. In the beginning, I opted for the loveliness of sending my sweet ones off to sleep against a backdrop of waves crashing or rain falling. Perhaps monks chanting would kick the soothing factor up a notch? Birds singing? Whale songs? Perfect! Much to my disappointment (wink), my kids sleep best when accompanied by nothing more than a little white noise. Enter the Marpac Noise Machine. I won’t pretend that the Marpac comes with lots of bells and whistles. It doesn’t. But it gives my kids the gift of peaceful slumber and that, my friends, is absolutely priceless.”

VeraTemp Non-Contact Thermometer (Under $50)

Contributor MaryAnn Zoellner, producer at The Today Show, says: “The VeraTemp Non-Contact Thermometer has changed my life! I could never take my kid’s temperature before I found this.  I never got the hang of the forehead one and was too lazy to put on the covers for the ear probe. This non-contact thermometer is great because it gives me an accurate reading without touching my child.”

Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets (Under $50)

Contributor Sarah from Clover Lane, says: “I love Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets for babies — the more you wash them, the softer they get.”

The Cinnamon Bears (Under $50)

Contributor Alysa Bajenaru from Inspired RD, says: “I love these custom handmade dolls from The Cinnamon Bears on Etsy. My daughter has her own “Clara” doll and it’s the only thing she wants when she’s sick.”

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Ready, Set, Go Board  (Under $50)

Contributor Julie Cole, Co-Creator of Mabel’s Labels Inc., says: “Tired of being a nag in the morning? Feel like a broken record barking out things like “Don’t forget your lunch!” and “Have you packed your homework?”  Stop the insanity. Set up a simple system that will get them out the door while keeping your frustration levels down. The Ready, Set, Go Board is a great tool I use with my little ones so they can manage their morning routines. The Ready, Set, Go Board has visual cues along with lists of the morning duties to assist in self-organization.”

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Ride-On Carry-on airplane-friendly stroller (Under $50)

Contributor Princess Ivana from PrincessIvana.com, says: “The “ride on-carry on” must have been invented by a savvy on-the-go mom. Perfect for airport travel, it combines a carry-on bag with a stroller, solving a number of traveling mommy challenges in a single go.

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Fisher-Price Little Superstar Sing-Along Stage (Under $100)

This is one of mine. I said, “This is probably the most popular toy in our house — among all three of our kids. It’s the perfect height for babies to learn to stand and for sitters to gaze in the mirror and play.”

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Patchwork Bear personalized teddy bears (Under $100)

Contributor Kyra Phillips, host of HLN’s Raising America, says: “I know all of you moms can relate to this when it comes to our babies’ first clothes, blankies, shoes, etc: What do I save? What do I not save? What should I pass down? Give away? Put in a hope chest? Consider a keepsake? HELP! That’s when I discovered the “Patchwork Bear.” Jennifer Cura was a blessing to my “what do I save” stress. I threw all those special socks, onsies, burp clothes, bonnets and baby caps into a box — and within just a few weeks, I had an AMAZING keepsake! The twins love to snuggle with their patchwork bears — and every day I get to remember every precious moment that they wore that very special piece of clothing.”

Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper (Under $100)

Contributor Alyssa Hertzig of The Sparkly Life, says: “I am completely obsessed with the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. It works as both a baby seat for hanging out or napping during the day, as well as a cradle at night. Since it keeps the head elevated similar to a car seat, both of my babies slept so much better in it compared to a flat surface. Plus it’s lightweight and folds flat easily, so you can tote it from room to room or take it on car trips. It’s amazing. In fact, at this moment, my son, Nate, is napping in it right next to me, and I’m gently rocking it with my foot as I type. How awesome is that?”

Oeuf reversible alpaca hoodie sweater (Under $200)

Contributor Pilar Guzman, Editor-in-Chief of Martha Stewart Living, says: “I am a huge fan of the Oeuf reversible alpaca hoodie sweater that zips from top of the hood in the back down, which means you never have to try to make that initial zipper connection on a squirming toddler in the dead of winter. It’s very thick and functions almost like a jacket in the fall. It’s the most brilliant (and beautiful) piece of children’s clothing I’ve ever bought.”

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Kokopax Eco Classic Carrier (Under $200)

Contributor Christie Matheson, Editor at Stroller Traffic, says: “The Kokopax is the best lightweight baby-carrying backpack around. People always ask what it is and where I got it. It’s so easy to use, and kids (up to 35 pounds) are really happy in it because they’re up high enough to see. And it’s comfortable enough to use on fairly long hikes.”

BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller (Under $500)

I love, love, love this stroller. This is what I said: “I have had several strollers over the past few years — but my favorite by far is the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller. Here’s why: 1. It’s a double stroller, so yes, perfect for two kids. But it’s the MOST COMFORTABLE double stroller ever — the seats recline and are padded, so my little lovelies nap while Mama gets a workout in. 2. The front wheel “swivels.” On a lot of jogging strollers (all others that I’ve seen), the front wheel is “fixed” so it won’t turn, which makes it incredibly hard to maneuver. 3. The canopies over the top of the stroller are great protection from the weather for my little ones — and they have little windows you can open and peek through to make sure they’re happy. 4. The suspension system is seriously like a car — so it makes carrying 70 lbs feel like 5 lbs. 5. Even though it’s a big stroller to fit big kids, it folds up like a master yogi in just a couple of easy moves and you can quickly throw it in the back of your minivan. Seriously, I love, love, love this thing. It’s a bit pricier than the other double strollers out there — but if you can budget for it, it’s worth it.”

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FOR PRETEENS/TEENS:

American Girl magazine (Under $25)

Contributor Tracy from Sellabit Mum, says: “Whether or not you actually own American Girl dolls or any dolls for that matter, this magazine is such a great resource. It’s full of positive messages for tween girls — with craft ideas, giving ideas, inspirational stories, friendship tips, and ways to get involved with your community and world.”

Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms by Meredith and Sofie Jacobs  (Under $25)

Contributor Lindsey from A Design So Vast, says: “Just Between Us has been a terrific tool for facilitating communication with my 10-year-old daughter. As she gets older, keeping us talking feels like my highest priority. And Just Between Us, which has blank pages with prompts and questions for mother and daughter respectively, is a great way to talk back and forth about some things that are hard to discuss in person.”

Wreck This Journal (Under $25)

Contributor Catherine Newman, Modern Manners columnist for Real Simple magazine, says: “Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith is our go-to birthday present for kids of all ages—from 5-year-olds to teenagers. It’s an interactive, crazy creative book that encourages you to tear, draw on, shower with, drag around by a string, dirty, and otherwise destroy it. We like to give it wrapped up in brown craft paper, with a super-sharp black Ticonderoga pencil tied to it with kitchen twine.”

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K’NEX Model Building Set (Under $50)

Contributor Erin from The MOB Society, says: “K’NEX are the best present we ever gave our oldest son. He would build with them ALL. DAY. LONG. if we let him. He has learned to follow instructions very closely and has also come up with some amazing creations on his own. Legos are still popular in our home, but his creativity has really soared with K’NEX. And I had some growing up, so I love the nostalgia of helping him build every once in a while.”

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FOR THE BEAUTY QUEENS:

VO5 Antifrizz and Shine Cream  (Under $5)

Contributor Renee Schuls-Jacobson from Rasjacobson.com, says:”Alberto VO5 has a new Salon Series line of products that totally work for curly girlies. Their Anti-Frizz & Shine Styling Cream is incredible! I’ve been using this product for 2 months now, and it is better than any other, more expensive product I’ve tried. It tames my curls without making my hair crunchy or greasy.”

Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker lipgloss (Under $5)

Contributor Amy Pence-Brown from Doin’ it All, Idaho Style, says: “I’ve been using this since I was sixteen years old and I still can’t get enough. Not only does it smell like teen spirit, it tints even the darkest lips a fun berry color. It’s cheap, so you can buy one for each purse and jacket pocket. Plus? I can share it with my girls.”

Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo (Under $25)

Contributor Shannon from The Scribble Pad, says: “My find for motherhood is the perfect dry shampoo – Aveeno Pure Renewal. It makes a world of difference — and a single can saves me countless hours and bad hair days over the few months that it lasts. My favorite part, it is available on Amazon or Soap.com, where I already shop!”

REM Spring® Hair Remover (Under $25)

Contributor Leslie from The Bearded Iris, says: “I’m a hairy woman, hence “The Bearded Iris” moniker. And it’s getting worse the older I get. Yeah, yeah, I know all about laser hair removal. It didn’t work for me. And I’m too cheap and lazy to go get waxed or threaded on a regular basis. So I do it myself and I recently discovered a tool that makes it so much easier and faster than individual plucking, particularly given my newly developing presbyopia. It’s the REM Spring® and I found it through a friend on Twitter. It’s a flexible stainless steel spring that costs about $15 and it works wonders! It does hurt, I’m not going to lie. But you get used to it. And hey, if it doesn’t make you cry a little, you’re probably doing it wrong. At least that’s what my hair stylist tells me.”

Glittery eyeliner by NXY Cosmetics (Under $25)

Contributor Shannon Lell from Shannonlell.com, says: “For a mid-thirties woman whose makeup routine consisted of three products, glittery eyeliner was a bit of a stretch at first. I bought it for a “fancy” night out, but soon realized that I liked it for everyday too. It’s just the right amount of pizzazz. And you know what else is cool? My kids love it. They call them my sparkle eyes.”

Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes (Under $25)

Contributor Jessica Wolstenholm from Grace for Moms, says: “Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes is a must-have product in your makeup bag. Smooth and soft, this concealer covers under eye circles {hello tired mama} and also acts as an eye shadow base for your lid. One product with two miracle purposes that all moms must have to brighten their eyes.”

Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure (Under $25)

Contributor Grace Patton from Camp Patton, says: “I paint my nails every week. I love Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in almost any color but I especially like Caf’ Au Lait. It dries quickly, goes on thick enough that it looks great after just one coat, is shiny so it doesn’t necessitate a topcoat, and is really cheap at your local Target/Walgreens/drugstore.”

Birchbox Beauty Subscription Service (Under $25) ($10/month)

Contributor Kara Fleck from Simple Kids, says: “Have you tried Birchbox yet? It is a beauty sample subscription service a friend told me about a couple of years ago. It is a fun way to try new beauty products in sample sizes and a neat treat to receive in the mail every month — usually arriving just when I need a bit of pampering and mama time.  One of my favorite budget-friendly indulgences!”

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Klorane Oatmilk Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray (Under $25)

Contributor Ashley Muir Bruhn, from Hither & Thither, says: “I’ve been singing the praises of dry shampoo for awhile among friends (particularly new mothers), but I just finally got around to trying the Klorane Oatmilk Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray that everyone raves about. Now I get it. No white residue, great smell, and gets you out of the house looking like you did something with your hair that morning.”

Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer (Under $50)

Contributor Alicia Ybarbo, Producer of The Today Show, says: “I work in morning TV, which means I often leave the house before the crack of dawn (and my eyes haven’t quite woken up before I’m out the door). Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer is my secret to looking more alive than I often feel.  It is a spackle for the eyes without feeling cakey or gross.”

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (Under $50)

Contributor Jane Maynard from This Week for Dinner, says: “I couldn’t live without my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick. My friend Sarah told me about it years ago. She’s the kind of person who has a glowing countenance. She is always smiling and radiating light. One day I noticed her makeup looked pretty, and she told me about the Shimmer Brick. We decided the glowing light had been Bobbi Brown all along!”

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Egyptian Magic All Purpose Hand Cream (Under $50)

Contributor Hollye Jacobs from The Silver Pen, says: “Chemotherapy and radiation made my skin as dry as the Sahara Desert. My skin felt like a dried and crusty sponge (with a hard and rough surface)… after being in a microwave. Actually, I am under-exaggerating. Every time I put any kind of moisturizer on my face it was sucked up in a nanosecond. Even the expensive ones! Grrrr. Then, I found Egyptian Magic and the cancer clouds parted. It is truly magical and was the great Silver Lining that saved my skin. Post-treatment, I continue to use it every single day.”

Library of Flowers Handcreme (Under $50)

Contributor Katrina Anne Willis from Table for Six, says: “If there’s a 12-step program for lotion and potion overuse, someone is going to have to turn me in. Because I’ve recently discovered Library of Flowers handcreme, and I cannot stop using (and inhaling) it. In fact, I sometimes get a crazy little hankering to to eat it—that’s how absolutely yummy it is! My favorite scent is Willow and Water, but all the selections are decadent. And the product presentation is creatively, gorgeously inspired.”

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COLOR.BUG by Kevin Murphy (Under $50)

Contributor Jennifer Sbranti, Creator of Hostess with the Mostess, says: “We all get bored with our hair at times, and sometimes you just want to try something fun and unexpected!  I can’t commit to any sort of long-lasting crazy hair color right now due to work, but my hairdresser put a “wash out” pink hair color on me that ended up being the perfect solution. It’s called COLOR.BUG by Kevin Murphy and is basically “make up” for your hair. You can apply it yourself at home, and it washes out with your next shampoo.”

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Cle de Peau concealer (Under $100)

Contributor Jill Herzig, Editor-in-Chief of Redbook magazine, says: “Wow, is this stuff good.”

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FOR THE FASHIONISTAS:

StitchFix Personal Stylist (Under $25)

Contributor Lisa-Jo Baker from lisajobaker.com, says: “So I’m trying to get out of my minivan driving, sweat pants schlump and you guys I LOVE this site StitchFix — have any of you heard of it before? It’s basically an online stylist who shops for you and then delivers a sweet little package of 5 items of handpicked clothing to your doorstep. It’s $20 for the styling fee which gets applied to any items you purchase. Return anything else you like at no charge and free shipping. It may be changing my life.”

Alex and Ani’s bangles (Under $25)

Contributor Danielle from Extraordinary Mommy, says: “One of my absolute favorite new finds has become a ‘go-to’ place for gifts, birthdays, inspiration, a pick-me-up — or just when I need a reminder of the goodness in my life. I am drawn to gifts that have meaning and Alex and Ani’s bangles allow you to pick something that matches the personality of the person to whom you are giving. Each charm has its own meaning, its own significance. I wear a fleur de lis on my wrist — it is my favorite symbol. And I’ve given more than I can count.”

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Mossimo fedoras from Target (Under $25)

Contributor Rachel Stafford from Hands Free Mama, says: “I encourage everyone to find a good hat. A stylish piece of headwear that can be thrown on when you want to give yourself a little more time and a little less stress. I love the Mossimo fedoras from Target (maybe a little too much—please don’t look in my closet).”

Five Bamboo Holiday Dress (Under $50)

Contributor Heather from Rookie Moms, says: “A fellow blogger and baby-mama, Sabrina, turned me on to this Holliday Dress from Five Bamboo and I love it. It is comfortable, washable, nursing-friendly, and extremely flattering around an adult woman’s mid-section if you know what I mean.”

Stella & Dot Bellissimo Angelo Necklace (Under $100)

Contributor Melissa from The Fresh 20, says: “Every now and then, I buy something special for myself. These Stella & Dot angel wings have become a daily reminder of life’s blessings.  And the compliments I’m receiving on the necklace are definitely a mood booster.”

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fashionABLE Genet scarf (Under $100)

Contributor Christine from Boston Mamas, says: “I am a huge, huge fan of FashionABLE, a company I visited when I traveled to Ethiopia with ONE Moms. FashionABLE works to lift Ethiopian women out of poverty and prostitution by teaching them a sustainable trade. Simply buy a scarf and you’re supporting these women (100% of the proceeds from scarf sales go back into the program).”

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Sorel ’88 Boot (Under $200)

Contributor Nici from dig this chick, says: “I love to spend time outside. And I live in Montana, where it is cold and snowy many months of the year. I struggled to find winter boots that satisfied my criteria: functional (warm and tough) and beautiful (hip and fun). Most boots that can stand up to my sledding, hiking, schlepping were some variation of large and brown. And the ones I like aesthetically, were poor performers. Until! I discovered the Sorel ’88 Boot. This boot was created by Sorel for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary and rereleased to the public a few years ago. They are funky and cute AND, most importantly, super warm, waterproof and durable.”

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Newton neon sneakers (Under $200)

Contributor Lyss Stern from Diva Moms, says: “I can’t live without my Newton neon sneakers. I love the bright colors. They add a little skip in my step when I’m running around the city, picking up my kids from school — or running a thousand different errands. They also give me an edge up from feeling too dressed down, and are perfect on a gloomy day when a little color goes a long way!”

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FOR THE NATURALISTS:

Red Earth Motion Stop (Under $25)

Contributor Mary from Owlhaven, says: “The one thing I didn’t like about vacations when I was growing up was the carsickness that assaulted me on driving trips. To my dad’s despair, I even got sick on a needle-flat freeway driving across Kansas. A couple of my kids have the same tendency. Thankfully, we’ve discovered Red Earth Motion Stop — an herbal motion sickness remedy that soothes the queasiest of tummies. It contains cinnamon and ginger and other natural ingredients that help sooth sick tummies. It doesn’t taste great, but it works within minutes.”

Lemon Essential Oil (Under $25)

Contributor Rivka from So Be Organized, says: “I have become a huge fan of lemon oil. I bought mine in a health store for under $10. I keep it right next to me in the front of the car for a 3 pm pick-me-up when my 3rd cup of coffee isn’t kicking in. It works wonders!”

Envirosax Reusable Bag  (Under $25)

Contributor Amber from Strocel.com, says: “I heart my Envirosax. They fold up super-small to fit in a purse or diaper bag, so I’m never without a reusable bag. This is great for a green mama like me, because I try to avoid taking a plastic bag whenever possible.”

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Local CSA Subscription (Under $500 per year)

Contributor Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief of Parents magazine, says: “Our family joined a community supported agriculture group a decade ago. For 23 weeks out of the year, we pick up a weekly batch of fresh produce grown by a local farmer at a school near our home. More than simply a food source, a CSA is a way to meet neighbors, feel a connection with the farmer who, along with his family, grows our food—and stay in touch with the seasons and growing cycle in a way you can’t do by shopping only at a grocery store where food is trucked in from hundreds of miles away.”

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FOR THE GYM RATS IN YOUR LIFE:

CamelBak water bottle (Under $25)

Contributor Stacey from Justice Fergie, says: “What’s been key to my increased water intake over the last few weeks is my trusty CamelBak water bottle. The design makes it so easy to drink and actually works to have you consume more water than you normally would using other typical water bottles.  Plus? They’re pretty. I have one in green and one in blue.”

Enell Sports Bra (Under $100)

Contributor Wendy from One Tough Mother Runner, says: “I’ve been blessed with a Rubenesque figure, and us full-figured gals need athletic bras that are more supportive than the average sports bra. I’m able to be a runner today because I discovered Enell Sports Bras. The support they provide is unmatched, and they give me a “no bounce” factor when I’m running or working out.  At $64, they are a little pricey, but they last forever. In my collection of Enell bras, I have two that I’ve had for over seven years. They are still just as supportive as they were when I first got them.”

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*Note: Some of the Amazon links in this post may include affiliate links

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Happy shopping, all! What are your favorite time-testing, hand-stamped gifts to give?

 

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