Holiday Gift Guide for Him

Hey friends!

It’s officially just about my favorite time of year, the holidays! I thought I could give you some guidance in shopping this year and created a few gift guide. The first is for the men in our lives. This includes many different price points to find what may be a perfect fit for you.

I do make a small commission when purchasing from some of the links provided. Your info isn’t shared in anyway, I actually have no idea who used my affiliate links… It’s just a great way to support my blog and family!

Let’s get started! You can find the links to the products all in one place or listed below.

1. Omaha Steak box, even better if you can find a local butcher to get a box from. I haven’t met a guy who wouldn’t love food as a gift!

2. Beer can shower holder, it’s silly and low cost! Click to shop.

3. Ear buds for under $20 bucks?! Yup. My husband loves these! Click to shop.

4. Ugg Slippers. A splurge but will last. I’ve had mine since college which was a long time ago now. Ha! Click to shop.

5. Skagen watch. My husband loves these watches because they are so lightweight and thin. Click to shop.

6. Meat thermometer, because it’s always getting lost. We love this one! Click to shop.

7. Wood Phone Docking Station. A nice little place for all things to be set after emptying their pockets. Click to shop.

8. Beer can chicken holder. Have you ever had beer can chicken?! It’s amazing. Click to shop.

9. Portable Bluetooth Speaker. We love this little thing and use it way more than anticipated. Click to shop.

10. Ridge wallet. All the men in my life LOVE this wallet. It thin, lightweight and just awesome. Click to shop.

11. Yeti mug. Everyone needs this. That’s all. Click to shop.

12. Hooray Hero’s book. This is a sweet personalized gift from the kiddos that they can read together. Click to shop.

13. Chipping practice nets. A must have for the golfer in your life! Click to shop.

I hope you find some ideas that work for you and your family. Happy shopping!



Finding Confidence in Motherhood with Henne Jewelers

Hey friends,

It’s been a minute to say the least as I adjust to being a mom of two, a career transition and holy smokes… having a kiddo in school! There has been something on my heart to share so I thought we should chat!

Becoming a mom rocked my confidence, which is actually super ironic considering I look pretty damn put together in these photos you’re about to see and I truly believe all moms are superwomen. That is literally one of the only things I remember saying immediately after my first son was born… that I felt like a superwoman (ask my husband!) So if anything I should feel more confident than ever right? Well, I don’t.

I struggled with this when I had Henry almost four years ago now. He was a super challenging baby at times, ok most of the time, and it caused me to spiral in anxiety and a lot of self doubt in my role as a mom. Thankfully a few years later, now with some experience in this whole mom thing and some help, I see myself learning my way as a mom of two with clearer eyes. It was something I truly hoped would happen the second time around, so I could savor and appreciate all the small moments that rocked me the first time.

This happens to so many of us, whether it be hormones, deciding to stay home majority of the day, the changes in our bodies or the enormous weight upon our shoulders to raise these tiny humans right …all while gripping on to our last bit of identity before we were born into our new role as a mother. Oh and add in learning to navigate a global pandemic! Whew. Read that again. Because that’s A LOT. A lot of newness and a lot of quick change of things that are really, really important to many of us.

Navigating confidence on top of all this can get confusing or just get accidentally lost in the long list of things. But I’m here to remind you that you are superwoman and we are ALL a work in progress. Whether you bounce back “quickly” or not, it’s OKAY. It’s taken me years to really feel a build on my confidence again since becoming a mom. I wish I could wave a magic wand over all of us and poof it would be there… but I don’t. What I can give you is lots of support, encouragement and like many have done for me in this process.

Back in July, Henne Jewelers invited me to spend a morning trying on and modeling their beautiful jewelry… with the boys. Eek! I was so excited to bring them along, but at the same time, photos with them can be, well, challenging to say the least. My favorite part of being a Henne Partner is their acceptance of everyone. And that just so happens to include my noisy circus that barged right through the doors that day with allllll the bags, outfits, snacks and bribery!

As a mom, representing a business like Henne Jewelers who truly appreciates and values your authenticity makes all the difference in this special season of motherhood. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I encourage you to stay true to yourself, surrender to the changes and the growth that comes with motherhood and it will attract what you’re meant to be doing, the relationships you’re meant to be nurturing. The rest will follow, I promise. When they first reached out to me, I thought “wow, why me?” now I know it’s because I’m me.

Jewelry Details: Locket Necklace, Bee Bracelet, Gold Chain Bracelet, Halcyon Days Bracelet, Hoop Earrings

Jewelry Details: Locket Necklace, Hoop Earrings, Cable Chain Bracelet, Paperclip Necklace, Chain Bracelet

Special thank you to Henne Jewelers for sponsoring this post and the wonderful Jenna Wallace Photography for the beautiful images.

Xo, Anna

Jack’s Birth Story

Just like that 12 weeks have passed and I told myself I would type this all out before my leave was over, here we are right in time. Time truly does fly with a newborn and toddler at home! There is never a dull moment and often times feels like we are a circus show, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A nauseating pregnancy, a million blood pressure readings, to no rooms left at the hospital, to dropping heart rates, all lead to the most peaceful moment of delivery and meeting our baby boy. Our family is now complete with Jack!

Just like my pregnancy with Henry, around 35 weeks my blood pressure started to rise. My first offense of a high blood pressure reading, I got sent right into triage at the hospital to be monitored and to do some more testing. Thankfully, my blood pressure remained steady at the time, but had some flags in my blood work so was sent home with a 24 hour urine collection. Oh yes, I had to collect all my pee in a jug for 24 hours. It was just as glamorous as it sounds. With a gestational hypertension, borderline preeclampsia diagnosis the weeks to come were followed up with additional growth scans, monitoring and non stress tests twice a week until he made his appearance. Thankfully I was trusted to take my own blood pressure readings at home and call in with updates as needed. The nurses and I at my doctors office got pretty tight by the end of all this! Haha! Unfortunately my blood pressure was on a steady incline. Each time I went in for a check up, I knew there was a chance it could lead to a delivery. The ultimate goal was to get me to 39 weeks, but main goal was 37 weeks.

My 37 week appointment had come and as usual I was set up with the routine tests. As I was hooked up to the non stress test this time, my heart sank… it kept beeping, I knew something wasn’t right so much that I texted Nick telling him today is the day. When the doctor came back in, I was right, she wanted to get him out as my blood pressure was getting uncomfortably high and he wasn’t as safe and cozy in there anymore. It wasn’t necessarily an emergency, but we didn’t want to prolong it anymore. My induction was scheduled for the following evening.

(Waiting at hospital.)

We were now familiar with how our hospital handled inductions since it was now my second one. They call you when a bed is open anywhere from 9 pm- midnight. It’s kind of annoying, but I get why. Henry was sent off with my parents while Nick and I just hung out at home anticipating our call. Waiting, waiting, waiting, I get a call from the nurse saying it’s a super busy night and she felt bad leaving me hanging, but to come in at 1 am, there should be a room. So we headed to the hospital, got there right at 1 am like we were told and we waited, and waited, and waited. Active labors kept coming in and little old me had to wait my turn as they all took priority. At about 3 am, they apologized and decided to at least get things going, buttttt there still was no room for me so we set up in triage. At this point, I broke down crying. I was just so exhausted before the actual labor and delivery even started. If I could change one thing it would be how they handled this. Apologies don’t really cut it for exhausting a mother BEFORE inducing labor, in my opinion. Thankfully, we were in triage for about an hour before getting our room to get settled in.

(Masked nap, ha!)

Once we got to the room at about 4 am, it was basically time to just rest up and let the cervical pill do its magic. Though getting rest when adrenaline is running high can be difficult. A new day had begun at the hospital before we knew it and we met our new round of nurses. They started Pitocin to begin ramping labor up at about 9 am. I was managing well with the contractions fairly well, with bouncing on the ball, heating pads and counter pressure. I have to add that Lexi, my new labor and delivery nurse was a literal angel. She helped teach me all the tricks and positions that I had no idea existed at the time. Her overall presence and helped make for an extra positive experience, I just loved her! As things picked up I knew the time for my epidural was coming. I wanted one so badly, but the actual procedure of getting it last time was the worst part of my delivery. I shared my concerns and fears with my care team and they couldn’t have been more understanding and helpful. Lexi made sure the anesthesiology team knew me and my concerns so when the time came they’d be prepared for my anxieties about it. As I kept dilating the doctor suggested it would be a good time to break my water, but I may want to get the epidural first so I agreed. Chuck, from anesthesiology came in out of the gate with true empathy from my last experience and got the job done in like 5 minutes. Like what?! He did such a good job that my pain was basically gone, haha! Yes I remember their names because the quick relationships we built with their amazing care I didn’t want to forget them.

Things were progressing as they should, I was cool as a cucumber and was at about 8 cm, and suddenly the monitor kept beeping. Jack’s heart rate kept dropping. The mood in the room totally shifted. I picked up on the energy as I saw Lexi and the doctor talking knowing that something could be going wrong. I actually completely lost it, I was just so scared, I couldn’t stop shaking and making me need an oxygen mask. They assured me everything was okay and would be okay, they were just keeping a closer eye on me and Jack. Thankfully, his heart rate started to remain steady again after some time and everything went back to normal.

As time went on, they kept asking me if I was ready to push and I just kept saying, nope I don’t feel it yet even though my contractions had picked up to every 2-3 minutes. Thanks to my pal Chuck, I was carrying on conversations with my contractions with pretty much no problem. Finally, Lexi was like “Anna, do you mind if I just peak and see whats going on down there?” I said sure, so she did and she laughed telling me I was full dilated.

My original doctor got called in to an emergency c-section so we had the pleasure of working with another doctor we had never met before, but loved in an instant. She came in and agreed with Lexi that it was go time, so much that she asked if I wanted to feel Jack’s head before I pushed. So I felt his little head down there before one or two pushes and he was earth side. The cord was wrapped around his neck, which what was causing his heart rate to drop, but he quickly let out the sweetest cry. It was all so calm and surreal, I’ll never forget it. It was just me, Nick, our new doctor and Lexi the nurse… then Jack. Considering the slight chaos of pregnancy, his a actual delivery was peaceful as it gets. He happily laid on my chest for an hour, Nick cut the cord and there truly was an unforgettable calmness surrounding us. Though, at moments I was sad family was unable to met him due to Covid, the uninterrupted moments with him and Nick will be something I’ll always cherish. There was no rush to do anything but relish in our new baby boy. There he was, Jack Joseph Hinkle, in all his perfection.

When I think of his birth story, I often forget about the pandemic side of things. During pregnancy it was my biggest fear that he would need NICU time knowing he would probably come early and I would have Covid then be unable to be with him. Thankfully that didn’t happen and thankfully we were at a time in it all that healthcare workers were vaccinated to ease that concern. Though Nick had to wear a mask when someone would come in the room, they really didn’t require me to have one on during all of this …especially when in active labor. Overall, our thoughts were on our baby as it should be and not the pandemic which was actually really refreshing. We soaked in those following 48 hours at the hospital and I felt very safe with all things pandemic there.

Our stay at the hospital was smooth sailing and we really enjoying someone cooking all our meals for us, haha! We just love the hospitals food. But the time had come to be home and begin our time as a family of four. Little did I know what was to come.

The following week things went back to a stressful level as Jack was looking more and more jaundice and had lost more weight than they like to see. Nothing is worse than seeing your 5 day old screaming as they get blood tests. In the midst of this stress I noticed my legs and feet had swollen up like balloons and I was extremely dizzy. I immediately took my blood pressure and it was the highest it’s ever been landing me a trip to the emergency room. I was monitored, tested for preeclampsia and then was eventually diagnosed with postpartum hypertension then to be put on medication right away. It wasn’t how we envisioned our first week home, as we were barely home and we hadn’t spent anytime with Henry, my heart ached. I just couldn’t wait to spend time adjusting as a family of four. Thankfully by the following week before we knew it Jack and I were on our way to healthier days and a couple less doc visits.

(In ER.)

With almost entire pregnancy of nausea, the continual blood pressure issues, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back to a more normal everyday. Jack is worth all the trouble a million times over, but whew I’m so glad we are on the other side of it all!

Thank for to everyone who sent texts, messages, gifts, and food. Your love and care for us is so appreciative. I don’t take it for granted one bit!

And just like that this will be the last birth story I ever write. I cannot wait to watch my boys grow!

Xo, Anna

Henne Jewelers X Anna Hinkle

Hello, my friends!

I was so excited when Henne Jewelers invited me out to their store for an afternoon of shopping! If you’ve lived in the Pittsburgh area, you know they are the go to destination for jewelry. But then the real thoughts came in… is it safe to be trying on jewelry right now? Do they even have pieces for a simple mom like me on a budget?

As we all know, I’ve been staying at home more than ever since being pregnant so I was a little hesitant to take them up on their offer to visit and try on some pieces. Henne Jewelers was quick to calm my nerves by answering my safety questions about how they are handling things in the pandemic. Every piece of jewelry is sanitized after someone touches it, masks are required and they are even offering virtual appointments! Whew! The answer was yes, it is safe to be jewelry shopping… at least with Henne!

Then came to the budget question. Is this visit even realistic for a gal on a budget? All I knew is that they had gorgeous diamonds, Rolex watches and lots of other pieces that are amazing options for those special occasions. Plus, if you know me, you know I’m not typically covered in diamonds while chasing my 3 year old around, ha! I was excited to learn that they have so many beautiful options that are $100 and under! So that question was met with a quick yes, too!

When the day arrived for my afternoon of jewelry shopping (how fancy of me, right?! haha!), I was a little nervous and intimated. I’m now giggling at these initial feelings because Henne Jewelers is not a place to ever feel like this! Every single person that I interacted with was so nice. I even saw gentleman in there with his kiddo, making me realize I could’ve brought my son along if needed and it’d be a total judgement free zone. But for the time being, I enjoyed my solo mom’s day out!

Lucky for me, I got to spend the afternoon trying on and showing off some of my favorite pieces in their $100 and under collection to share with you all. Spoiler alert: Keep scrolling for a special surprise for my followers!

This first look features the 14K white gold diamond-cut hoop earrings which are truly versatile to wear everyday. As for the necklace it is a sterling silver 36-inch three-strand necklace with faceted balls accents. I love that it doesn’t get tangled with the three strands! The last item in this look is the sterling silver textured cuff bracelet which looks extra cute with a baby bump, if I say so myself. The earrings and necklace actually came home with me this day and I have been living in them since! No joke, I shower, sleep and live in the earrings which is a busy mom’s dream come true.

Click these links to shop the pieces: Earrings, Bracelet & Necklace

Next up is this sterling silver double circle drop earrings and bracelet. This set is simple, but they really can elevate a casual outfit like I have on in the photo!

Click these links to shop the pieces: Earrings and bracelet.

This blue cat’s eye beaded necklace with pearls will totally have you thinking spring. It can bring a subtle pop of color to your look to spice things up! I’m personally loving it with all the different shades of blue like it’s styled in the photo above.

Click this link to shop: Necklace

If you need a gift, this sterling silver necklace and dangle earring set is a STEAL! These pieces add a subtle sparkle which I love. Plus, the necklace is actually adjustable to give you that perfect length. The complete set is $100 and I think just about anyone would love it.

Click this link to shop: Necklace and earring set

Last, but certainly not least, is the sterling silver double pearl drop lariat necklace! Something about pearls and lace together makes for such feminine and fun look, don’t ya think?

Click this link to shop: Necklace

If you’re swooning over any of these pieces, I think this is your sign to visit next time you’re in the need for a day out! Henne Jeweler’s is giving my followers a 10% discount when using “AnnaHinkle10”. Special thank you to Henne Jewelers for this exciting partnership and Jenna Wallace Photography for the photos.

Xo, Anna

Postpartum Recovery Kit

Hey guys!

As I’m going through the pregnancy journey again and I’ve been taking you along with me so I figured I’d share somethings that I am doing to prepare myself for postpartum recovery. I know very well that it takes sometime to heal and life will just be plain easier if you have all these things prepared! Now, in my experience the hospital gives you most of these things to take home. With that being said, I personally liked to have two stations set up (one upstairs and one downstairs) because I was too sore and tired to worry about where everything was at. So having the hospital versions plus some of your own is the winning ticket for me! I will also add, that I delivered vaginally so I don’t have any experience in c-section recovery. Here we go!

  • Peri Bottle, I absolutely LOVE the Frida Mom version.
  • Disposable Underwear or mesh undies with heavy pads.
  • Dermoplast Spray, gives relief to stitches/tears down there.
  • Perineal Ice packs, last time the hospital gave me plenty to take home.
  • Witch Hazel pads, I’m trying the Frida Mom version this time versus Tucks since they are so much larger.
  • Water Wipes, toilet paper is rough down there when things are healing and sensitive.
  • Pain relief medication, self explanatory
  • Stool Softeners, these will help ease the pain when that special time comes.
  • If nursing:

Bonus: Treat yourself to some new dark colored comfy pajamas! You deserve it after your first shower to put on some cozy new pajamas!! The dark color will help hide any leaks. I also opted for buttons for ease of nursing!

You can find product links to all of these by clicking this (affiliate) link.

You got this and I promise you’ll feel like a super hero once you deliver. Good luck, mama!

Xo, Anna

How to Get Collaborations as a Micro Influencer/Blogger

Hiii! My inbox has been receiving a lot of questions about blogging, influencing, collaborating… all of the things so I thought it was time to write it all out for you guys. I asked on my Instagram what questions you all had and you’ll find them all answered within this post! By far the most asked question is “How do you get collaborations?!” I feel like I shock people in this topic because I have what is considered a small following in this industry and I still land collaborations. When these offers started coming up, I was shocked myself but after some reflecting and asking my some friends in the biz, I’ve started to learn why they choose me. So keep on reading to learn how you can too!

Build an authentic following. I’ve never done any loop giveaways that you will see others doing or any other sneaky follower gaining tactics, which in return has left me with a pretty awesome engagement rate at 11% (Here is a quick way to figure out yours.) It’s been a slow and steady build that sometimes I get frustrated with while I watch others take short cuts, but I’m really proud of it. My followers are a small but mighty group that I appreciate so much! Some brands require a minimum follower count to work with them, and thats just the way it goes, but I’m finding that the engagement rate stat is meaning more and more to companies. Why? Because they are catching on to some disingenuous tactics influencers are using. Just because you see everyone else taking short cuts, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Listen to podcasts, read articles, find people that know the ins and outs of the platform to learn from and use those skills to help you grow. Plain and simple, just do the work!

Networking. Oh yea, that good old word you heard a ton about in college! It’s true. As soon as I started not being as shy about my blog and instagram outside of the internet I saw a difference. Companies are really starting to look into this type of marketing, so when the topic comes up during a meeting you want your name to be thought of! Lucky for me, I have some great friends that have thrown my name out there in those meetings and it’s what got me started with collaborations. I can’t stress the importance of in person networking in this digital world, I truly think it makes a huge difference. Is there a local boutique you love and always shop at? Is your friend from high school a manager somewhere you think your followers would love? Talk to them in real life and see if they interested in working together!

Engagement. Engaging or digital networking plays a huge role in your success. If you want people to engage with you, you gotta engage with them! But, you can’t except to grow an engaged following when you don’t even keep up with the one you have. Answers messages and comments as promptly as you can. It shows you really care! Comment on your friends posts, engage in your favorite jewelry company’s IG stories, whatever it is just. Nobody wants to talk to a digital wall and they will appreciate your effort in building a relationship, I promise. You truly never know what a single DM could bring. It could evolve into a really awesome relationship over time with a brand or person and in return opens more doors. Bottom line, don’t sit there waiting for people and companies to come to you! Get talking! Spoiler alert, they probably won’t… at least at first!

Pitch to brands. This is something that I’ve more recently started doing in the last year and to my surprise has paid off a few times already! Don’t get me wrong, you will hear a lot of no’s, but it doesn’t take much time at all to send a quick IG message to a brand you love and share why you think your followers would love to learn about them too. I’ve always kept it pretty short and sweet. Just simply mention why you would love working with them and ask if they have any collaboration opportunities available! Be prepared, if they asked to send an email, do it or have a media kit ready to send if they ask! (I used a free Canva template to make my media kit.)

Stay true to yourself. It can be easy to fall into a trap of doing what everyone else is doing because it seems to be working for them, but it may not work or feel authentic to you! Being yourself can truly go such a long way and brands can see that. They will want to work with and appreciate you just being you! I promise. Each of us click and resonate with different people and that’s the beauty of it all. In the veryyyy beginning of all this I did a collaboration with a company because I was new at it and didn’t want to turn any offers down. At the end of the day, I felt crappy about it. Why? Because it didn’t feel like me. I just felt like I was selling something that I wasn’t even that into and the stats on the post showed. From that day forward I vowed to only work with companies and brands that I really like! Also, my time is precious and I just don’t have the time and energy to spend promoting something I’m not 100% behind. It just feels icky anyway! We all can think of an influencer we know that clearly takes on every offer thrown at them for free product and you’re not buying what they are selling.

Treat your brand like a business. I say this sort of lightly because I think there is a fine line when sharing your authentic self and also treating it like a business. What I mean when I say treat your brand like a business is by learning/knowing how to sell yourself in a professional way when working with companies. Make sure brands see you’re open for business by having your profile set up to do so! I also really suggest creating separate blogger email address for these coordinations versus relying on Instagram messaging. Make sure you have your media kit updated and know when/how to ask to get paid versus doing all this work for free (something I’m admittedly still learning). Manage expectations in coordination with companies so there is no confusion and follow up once your collaboration is complete. In general, just remember to keep yourself organized as you would as a business! I feel the need to add that I did go to school for marketing/sales so a lot of these type of things are already engrained in me, and sometimes I forget others haven’t had all the classes that I have.

To conclude, I just want to encourage you to keep going. Keep trying and keep working toward those goals in this process of growing your brand. Like everything it takes time! As long as you are being true to yourself, these platforms need your voice and nobody can do it like you.

I went Live on Instagram to talk about these topics and answer some additional questions that came up! Click here to watch! (Fast forward the first minute while I wait for people to get on.)

I’d love to know if this brought up any additional questions that I can help answer. I hope it helped!

Xo, Anna

Pregnancy Update + Baby Name Announcement

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to pop in and give a little pregnancy update now that I’m officially in my third trimester! I appreciate everyone asking and checking in on me. But whew, this pregnancy has been a doozy pretty much right from 6 weeks. Thankfully my nausea has really subsided, though I still take some over the counter medication for it because when I don’t, I’m in for a rough day …still! I still have some weird food aversions, but I can actually cook again. Now it’s mostly just the exhaustion and standard aches/pains of growing a human. If you’ve been following for awhile, you know that my pregnancy with Henry took a turn with a spike in my blood pressure toward the end landing me with a gestational hypertension diagnosis then leading to an induction 3 weeks before his due date. Hopefully this time my BP stays level stable, though there’s about a million more other outside stressors happening in the world today!

Navigating pregnancy during Covid has been a little more anxiety inducing than I had originally anticipated. Some days, it’s just a lot trying to know and feel confident in the right decisions to make for our family. All while trying to work, entertain a toddler, grow a baby, and keep the household running with little help from the outside world. Thankfully, I have a super supportive, level headed husband that I can tackle these challenges with! So when I say I’m tired, it’s pretty physical and mentally. There is so much unknown with the virus, especially with pregnant women and the baby. What we do know is that the virus gives me a higher risk to complications and my doctor advised us if we have the luxury of staying home, with the high amount of cases this winter, we should do so. So we’ve been basically staying to ourselves as much as possible, to keep us safe as possible. In the mean time, I’m starting to feel those nesting vibes so the baby clothes are already washed and put away in the smallest sizes, haha! With all that being said, we are obviously so excited to meet our next little man.

With no baby shower to share the name with our closet family and friends like last time, we decided to share on social media! Our immediate families already know, of course. We had a short list of names going in to the 20 week scan when finding out the gender and once I heard “it’s a boy!”, I knew he was Jack. The same kind of feeling happened when we found out Henry was a boy, I knew he was Henry! I never really feel if it’s a boy or girl like a lot of people do, so it feels kind of special to have this. After a day or two of “thinking” about it with Nick, it kind of just became his name naturally in conversation. Plus, it helped that we would run names past Henry and “baby Jack” stuck with him. If you’ve happen to talk to him he probably spoiled his little brothers name to you, haha! We had already decided if it was a boy, his middle name would be Joseph as a representation of my family. My dad and brother’s name is Joseph, so it feels really special to pass that down! As we’ve grown our family we realized middle names are what we prefer to use as the more meaningful names. As for first names, there isn’t much behind it beside that we just go with names we like!

So that’s that! I’ll be here washing baby clothes, laying low and anticipating the day we get to meet Jack. Thank you all for all the support!

Xo, Anna

2020 Christmas Activity Calendar

Hey guys!

With 2020 being a weird one, I wanted to make it a little extra special with all the time we will be spending safely at home. What started with wanting to put a few activities in Henry’s advent calendar (mainly things we already do) it quickly turned into an activity a day so we wouldn’t rush through all the fun! Also, it makes typical things I give him (like Christmas stickers) more intentional. I kept things VERY simple because, let’s be honest, pregnancy has my energy pretty low and I don’t want to commit too much! You can always add a little something more to the activity. I’ll include some ideas I have for that possible spike of energy. Everything that requires an activity is something we just already have laying around or I’ve already bought for the season so I’d assume other parents might too. Full disclaimer, a week a go I did a huge holiday Target run, because with covid on the rise, I wanted to limit my trips so I came out with allllll the Christmas things that are just sitting in the basement already. So let’s get to it!

Here is our official calendar along with a blank one! Printable PDF file (click here):

Use these ideas to make your own calendar in what fits in your schedule, you’ll notice some are even easier than others or the things on weekends are more fun with both parents present! Here is my full list of ideas along with some explanations.

  1. Play with Christmas stickers

2. Get out and read all of the Christmas books

3. Decorate something (I have window clings to decorate front door)

4. Bake cookies (Pillsbury ready to bake dough, anyone?!!)

5. Build and decorate gingerbread house (bought a premade set at target)

6. Make a Christmas craft for gifts, I ordered this set! (I put this early in the calendar because his attention span usually doesn’t allow for him to knock out the same activity multiple times, so we have all month to work on them)

7. Make paper snowflakes

8. Learn about Christmas colors (red/green) and color a picture

9. Read the Polar Express then watch movie

10. Find the hidden candy canes (will put them around the house) then eat one!

11. Drive around to look at the neighborhood lights

12. Set up the train under the tree

13. Learn about how another country celebrates Christmas (I grew up celebrating St. Lucia Day the Swedish Christmas tradition)

14. Write a letter to Santa

15. Find and count all the trees around the house (meaning all the decor), you could easily add some sort of Pinterest tree craft to add in here like this one!

16. Talk about Jesus and the nativity set

17. Finger print light activity (like this)

18. Christmas music dance party! (or you could do karaoke depending on your kiddos willingness to preform)

19. Drive thru Christmas lights (we have tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo for this)

20. Build a fort by the “fire” and drink hot chocolate (I’ll put on the TV fire screen saver)

21. Have a Christmas movie marathon

22. Find and count the snowmen around the house (mean all the decor again), you can add on cotton ball snowman activity to this like this one.

23. Make reindeer food (oatmeal, red/green sprinkles)

24. Open one gifts! (we always do this Christmas eve)

Some extras weather/covid dependant:

-Decorate cookies

-Sled ride in snow

-Build snowmen in snow

-Donate toys

-Donate food

-Visit Santa

-Christmas Pjs all day

I hope you found this helpful and not too stressful. Be sure to tag me if you plan on joining the fun! Merry Christmas!

Xo, Anna

Toddler Gift Guide

Hi, guys!

I’ve been a little MIA because if you’ve been following on Instagram, we are expecting baby number two! I’ve been feeling pretty rough, but I did want to make an effort into gift guides for my followers this holiday season.

Everything included in this one are products we already have or a few he is asking for this year. I do plan on following daily sales and posted in Instagram stories when I see them so be sure to follow along!

Why so early? Well it’s not that early to me, I like to get a head start so I’m not buying all at once. But this year there is expected delay in shipping and lots of places are doing all month long deals versus one day!

It is all linked in the free app which gives me a small commission for your purchase. Feel free to reach out with questions.

Links to all products shown:

Happy shopping!

Xo, Anna

5 Potty Training Must-Have Products

A while back, just before Henry was 2 1/2 we decided to take the plunge into potty training. After doing some research, talking to a few fellow mom friends I got the “Oh Crap Potty Training” book. I took my time reading and then we decided to take the plunge! I followed it mostly, but did make a few tweaks along the way due to Henry’s personality and with him being in a crib we decided to wait on night training. Now if I would’ve known we were going to be quarantined a month or so later, I would’ve just waited because you really have to stay home and concentrate at this big task… oooh, the irony!

I’ve been meaning to do this but am finally getting around to sharing my 5 favorite products we used during this time for anyone else that is getting started for this big milestone!


Oh Crap Potty Training Book, click here for the link. Like I had mentioned, we followed this pretty much fully, but I did make some tweaks like prizes the first week or so and holding off on night training.

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Bjorn Toilet Training Seat, click here for the link. So I know, this is a little expensive, but it really is my favorite. Henry preferred this over the actual potty seat from day one. It has the pee guard and is just super sturdy for your wiggly toddler.

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Training Undies, click here for the link. These have extra padding to help catch any leaks getting to the potty which are great when you’re on the go in the newly trained stages.

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Potty Chair, click here for the link. To this day, I always have this in my trunk because I realized how gross toddlers are in public bathrooms. They. touch. every. thing. Plus, you know, COVID. I got it originally thinking it’d what he train on, but he preferred the seat like I mentioned before!

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Travel Potty Seat, click here for the link. This little guy folds up in a neat little bag and you can throw in your diaper bag for that middle of the Target trip scream of “I HAVE TO GO POTTY!”.

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Bonus tip: Grab a pack of Post-it notes to cover the automatic flusher in public bathrooms! The last thing you want is a toddler scared of the potty!


I’m always here to answer questions on what worked for us! Good luck and congrats!

Xo, Anna