Ten Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas UNDER $30

Mother’s Day is slowly creeping up on us y’all! Have you gotten your special momma a gift yet? No worries if you haven’t. I am so bad at sending gifts on time. Literally. My dad got his birthday gift almost a month late this year *face palm*. It’s all good, because this day isn’t about materialistic things. It’s about spending time with & honoring the woman that gave you life! I am a total advocate for love languages though, so if your momma’s love language is “gifts”, she will love these options I have found for y’all! 🙂

Probably like every other momma out there, or woman in general, I am obsessed with Amazon Prime. It is the most convenient & dangerous thing that has ever happened to anyone’s bank account.

Free two day shipping. Need I say more?

Anyways, I was doing some deep searching last week & found some really awesome Mother’s Day gifts for super cheap!

I was basically going off of what I would like as a momma & what I know my momma likes. I tried to find a variety of different products because I know everyone’s mommas are into different things! And all different ages as well. They are perfect for all you mommas out there, & I’m so happy to share them with you!

No. 1: Essential oil set with diffuser OR car diffuser

I put this as the very first because recently I have become a bit of an oil freak. This was actually one of my gifts I got a little early this year & I’m so in love. This is the diffuser we have in our daughter’s room. It’s perfect for a bedside table or even a smaller living area. We had it in our living room for the longest time & it filled the room nicely. Plus is comes with all of these awesome essential oils! I have started using my diffuser in leu of candles. They are just more natural & have so many benefits to them.

If your momma already has a diffuser she loves & uses, I would highly recommend a car diffuser! I have the one below. My husband got it for me for my birthday. It’s such an awesome gift & I get a lot of use out of it! They have some that can sit in your cup holder, but I like this one because it hooks up to the outlet in your car. Plus you can pick your momma’s favorite color!

No. 2: Cute Picture Frames

I feel like this is a universal gift you get for someone that you know they will like. You can never go wrong with a good picture frame. Canvases are a big thing right now I feel like. I love them! But they aren’t the best “last minute” gifts because they are more personalized & take a bit more time to prepare before they are shipped or picked up. Amazon has a ton of super cute picture frames for moms. Here are some of my personal favorites that I found!

Click images to follow link 🙂

My mom’s house is covered with pictures of our entire family & she always loves to add to the collection. I especially love that tree with the hanging birds! My mom always calls us her “chicks” & i just think that’s so cute!

No. 3: Devotionals 

I don’t know about y’all, but there is no greater gift ever given to us than the gift of our God! My momma is such a strong believer & faithful lover of Christ & I know she would love to sit down & read His word everyday.

This is the devotional I got for myself not long ago, & I haven’t been committing to it like I should, but it is so awesome! It’s made specifically for moms. To me, it is such a thoughtful gift!


Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 4: Side-by-side journal

I didn’t even know these existed until I stumbled upon them on Amazon. They are the coolest thing. These would be perfect for a granddaughter & Grandma too! It talks about feelings & family. All things  that children need to be taught about. Seriously I can’t get enough of these. I might just buy it for me & my daughter because they are just so cool! What a special bonding activity to share with your momma or little ones!

Click images to follow link 🙂

I’m totally just sitting her typing this & raving about these to my hubby. These are just the sweetest things I have ever seen. It’s a diary that you & your daughter can share. You can decide who is allowed to read it. You can write in it without the other one & then go back and read it later. I can’t even with these. Too cute. PERFECT if you have a “momma-to-be” friend. ♥

No. 5: Herb garden starter kit

Another amazing find! Who else hates buying herbs at the store?! I have been wanting to start my own herb garden lately. I got the idea from my mom who has also been wanting to start her own. She doesn’t have a big backyard, so these little indoor starter kits would be perfect for her! Any mommas who love to cook, loves fresh herbal tea or throws down some mojitos on the weekends would love this gift! And they are so cheap, too. All under $30 & all organic!


Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 6: Prayer journal

I am just really into these journals, y’all. They make me think of my momma, too. She secretly loves to write I just know it! Writing your prayers down can really help sort out your thoughts, worries & stresses, & struggles. It’s a different way to connect with God that I think all of us mommas could use! Throughout my day I think about things that I want to pray about & honestly I forget a good bit of them by the end of the day. I try to pray throughout my day when I feel like I need to, but little toddlers & life can get in the way. Having a journal is a good way to write down something in the moment when you think about it, & then come back & pray about it later on.


Click images to follow link 🙂

Some journals have prompts and ideas on what to pray about for that day. Even when you may think there is nothing to pray about, there is ALWAYS something. Mommas have that innate need to help others even when we feel helpless. Praying provides help to others more than we realize!

No. 7: Coffee mugs

This is another gift you cannot go wrong with! My mom is addicted to coffee [I guess that’s where I get it from]. Pretty sure every momma needs coffee to get through those days that seem to drag on. Or the days that are so jam packed with stuff, you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep up. Having a cute coffee mug/cup can always lift your spirits!

Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 8: Kitchen gadgets & decor

When looking for gifts, one of my go-tos is anything my momma can use in the kitchen. Great for moms who love to cook. And I found so many cute things for the kitchen on Amazon! I mean anything- dish towels, aprons, utensils, you name it. Every time your momma wipes her hands clean on that quirky little dish towel, she will think of you and smile [if she isn’t already thinking of you, which she probably is].


Click images to follow link 🙂

No. 9 Bath bombs & other beauty items

Ever since having children, I have savored my bath times. It has gotten to the point where I plan out my baths. Bath bombs & salts are THE BEST. If you ever wonder what to get me for any occasion/holiday, get me something I can put in my bath. Bath time for mommas & kiddos are two polar opposite concepts. It is a time we can relax, in the quiet, maybe light some candles & just be. Yet another gift you simply can’t go wrong with!

No. 10: Willow Tree memory box

My final find of these amazing Amazon Mother’s Day gifts are these sweet keepsakes. I have always been a fan of the Willow Tree brand. I have a few figurines throughout my home that I absolutely adore. I had no idea, though, that they made these memory boxes! So cute. They have a specific mother/daughter one that is a great pick for Mother’s Day. And one for Grandmas! They are the perfect size to put small memories like favorite pictures, crafts, tickets from places you went together. Anything that means something special to your momma could be kept in this box. An extremely thoughtful gift that she will hold near & dear to her heart forever! Gifts like these are my favorite!


I hope y’all can find something extra special for that extra special momma of yours this Mother’s Day. Not gonna lie, I have ALL of these in my “Wish List” right now just waiting to be purchased! Also, *hint hint* to my hubby for future reference 😉 If you think any of these amazing gifts would be perfect for your momma, you can click on the picture of that item & it will take you straight to the link! Happy shopping everyone, & Happy Mother’s Week!

As always, God bless †


Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com


8 Engaging Ways to Teach Your Child the Alphabet


Ever get tired of singing the ABC’s over & over again? Do you feel like your kiddo is just singing along with the “words” or do they actually know what each letter is and looks like? I started thinking about this last week. Our daughter has really gotten into nursery rhymes & we love to listen to her sing her ABC’s. She is to the point now where she says every letter! But if I were to ask her, “Where is the letter A?” She would most likely hand me a different letter. She can sing it perfectly, but identifying letters is still a learning process for her.

This lead me to think of some fun ways I could incorporate learning letters into our everyday life with items or toys we may already have in our home. In honor of teacher appreciation week, I am here to tell y’all that learning letters can be so much fun! Learning is not always associated with worksheets! Back when I was a preschool teacher, I remember having to come up with so many different ways to teach the alphabet [and really anything in general]. You have to be creative! You can incorporate modern day ideas & learning techniques to teach your kiddos just about anything. And your kiddo will feel so rewarded after completing each of these fun activities. Which is the whole purpose right?! Enabling that independence that I touched on last week is key!

Learn more aboutHow to Encourage & Promote Independence in Your Child


No. 1 : Letterboard

I see these things all over the place! Like my kitchen for instance ;). But they aren’t just for cute & witty quotes or sweet bible verses you want to read every day. They can also be a wonderful way to teach you child the alphabet! It’s a great visual tool. Your child can be hands on with it, but the letters can be pretty small, so make sure you monitor them during this activity.


If your child[ren] are starting to learn the letters, up the challenge level a bit! Put the entire alphabet on the board, but leave out 3-5 letters. Have them put in the missing letters in the correct places. This can also be a great way for them to learn how to spell their names, & [you all know how much I advocate for this] helps them to work on those fine motor skills. I guess it’s the child development student in me, but that’s always an added bonus that makes me happy 🙂


I got mine on Amazon. You can get it at the link here!

No. 2: Chalk

So simple right!? I did this SO much with my littler clients doing ABA therapy. Mixing the fresh air and kids’ love of the outdoors with learning. My kids love to play with chalk & they can start practicing writing out their letters in a fun way! No boring pencil & paper!


This is the chalk we use & it lasts us forever!

No. 3: Bath Crayons

Bath time is everyone’s favorite time of the day in this house. Our daughter is always singing her nursery rhymes in the tub. When she starts singing her ABC’s, I like to get out the bath crayons or markers & write out some letters on the side of the bathtub. She loves to guess the letters I’m writing. We are starting to introduce the letters to our son too. He’s still pretty little, though. The night I took these pics, I was having her trace the letters I had drawn. She did pretty good! I love watching her try new things & absorb every ounce of knowledge I try to pass onto her! They really are little sponges.

We have always used the Crayola bath markers & crayons. They comes off easy, are non-toxic & are the perfect size for their little hands!

No. 4: Apps

My children are allowed 30 minutes a day on the iPad. I feel strongly about limiting their screen time, but I am totally not opposed to it. I do believe there are some educational apps out there that can help our children learn. This is one of them!


ABC Genius is an awesome app to help children learn the alphabet. They have different kinds of activities you can do as well. They have a simple game that tells you to, “Touch the A”, and gives you a little check mark and tells you, “Great job!” when you get it right. They can practice tracing, matching, differentiating between uppercase and lowercase, and tons of other stuff. The game is free, but you can pay a little to unlock a lot more games for your kiddos. Its very engaging and interactive!


No. 5: Letter scavenger hunt

You can turn a lesson for letter recognition into something super fun for your kiddos with this interactive game! You’ll need a sheet of paper, or whatever you have around the house to write on, for every letter. Then you post the letters in random spots around your house. Or you can make it a fun water play game as well. Get some water guns & whoever finds the letter first gets to shoot it!

This would be a really fun game for those older kids. You can make the hiding spots a little more tricky for them too!

Here are some other fun activities & props you can use!

No. 6: Matching & board games

There are so many types of educational games out there to help your child practice recognizing letters & eventually learning to spell words. There’s matching games, card games, board games, you name it. These can also help with differentiating between upper and lower case letters. They also have games that help you identify letters & match them up with the picture that starts with that letter. All so wonderful in teaching your kiddos the alphabet!

Here are my top choices for y’all!


No. 7: Food

Food is a fun & very reinforcing tool to use when teaching children any type of skill. I recently found some fun foods that come in ABC shapes! My daughter LOVES them. Sometimes I even make a mixture of regular macaroni and cheese and ABC mac n cheese, mix the noodles, & have her find the letters. When she finds them, she gets to eat them! Perfect reinforcement & it won’t feel like the kiddos are doing work, because it’s fun! I’ve also just gotten into this thing where I like to find fun cookie cutter shapes & cut their sandwiches into that shape! You can buy ABC cookie cutters & do the same! Or you can actually make ABC cookies! How fun!

My favs!

No. 8: Foam letters & magnets

My last little items on the list here are so popular! I’m pretty sure if you have a friend with kids they have a fridge covered in those plastic or wooden alphabet letters. I sure do. You might also walk into their bathroom & see the foam bath letter scattered all over the tub! Again…guilty. These two items are perfect for little guys. Especially the foam letters. I really like these when first introducing letters. They can put them in their mouth & can be perfect little teethers. I like to try and spell things out for Paislee & then have her tell me what the letters are. Same with the fridge magnets. I’m in the kitchen for probably a quarter of the day [at least] and the kids are always following me in there. While I’m doing the dishes or cooking dinner I can ask Paislee, “Hey, can you find the P?” You keep them busy [which is always a plus] & they are practicing that recognition!

Here’s what we use!


Honestly, I think I’m going to start setting aside time every day to work on these skills with my kiddos! Working things like this into your daily routines is so important & can really set your child up for success when they enter preschool. When I taught preschool we would spend a week, sometimes two, on each letter. This will really help your child to learn and absorb all the info you teach them. Repetition is key!

Like I always say, I’m no expert, but I pray y’all have so much fun teaching and guiding your kiddos! That’s one of the many blessings of being a stay at home momma. You get to be apart of all the learning that takes place! It’s such a rewarding and warm feeling when you see them “get it” for the first time. Enjoy, & happy learning! 🙂

As always, God bless †


Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

How to Encourage & Promote Independence in Your Child

Does anybody else have an extremely stubborn & headstrong toddler?! This pretty much is the definition of our little girl. Our sassy little wild-child.

I guess my husband and I can take partial blame for that. Seriously. I have never known anyone as independent as she is. But let me let you in on a little secret….THAT’S OKAY! It is so important to allow your children to “fend for themselves”, if you will. It is okay for your children not to need you every second of every day.

One of the HUGE issues with younger generations nowadays is helicopter parenting. This is basically parents who are constantly hovering over their children to help them complete, or totally complete, a task-…like a helicopter. Some parents won’t even let their kiddos talk for themselves. I’m sorry, but if there is one thing I advocate for the most as a parent, it’s to let your kiddos practice independence. One day, they are going to grow up and be on their own. Let’s prepare them now so they can be successful later!


I have learned so much having such an independent girl. My experience working with children with autism has really helped me too! Independence is one of the most important lessons incorporated into all of my therapy sessions. Children need to feel like they can do things on their own so they can feel confident in their own skin.

Let them try new things

Always present opportunities for them to try new things. In my line of work, I have to contrive numerous types of situations and opportunities for children to simply ask for things or complete a certain task. the types of situations depend on their age of course, but you can do it with literally anything.

For example, my daughter is obsessed with taking her dolls clothes off and then subsequently putting them back on. It’s pretty much a constant thing we do all day. When I see her struggling with putting her dolls clothes back on I don’t run over and do it for her. I usually just sit there and watch her. If I see her really starting to get frustrated, I remind her that I’m here if she needs help. Of course, she’s so stubborn & always answers with, “I wanna do it.” Always redirecting that frustrated behavior can save you tons of tantrums. It’s also a good reminder for them that they are completely capable of doing it themselves, but you are always there if they need you.

Dressing themselves

This is such a huge one, especially for toddlers. My daughter is always wanting to dress herself, usually in princess dresses.

Other times, she can really pick out a quirky outfit.

I mean, that lipstick right?

And you know what…we let her. So what if your kiddo is wearing a dress-up princess gown to the grocery store [literally did this the other day]? Or clothes that don’t match whatsoever. Who cares? They’re happy. You know why? Because they feel pride. They may not know what pride is, but you can just see it on their innocent little faces.


And just the basic task of putting their clothes on is such a big accomplishment for them. This is another one of those contrived opportunities you can create. Maybe they put on their socks & shoes, and you help tie them. Or just let them try and figure it out on their own. Trust me, it won’t hurt them one bit. Never forget to always be there for support if they ask for it, but let them at least try. It’s so worth it when you hear them shout, “I did it!” True pride.

Let them explore

When you take them to the park, the beach, or even in your backyard, let them explore it. Let them dig their fingers into the sand. It may even end up in their mouth. That won’t hurt them either. Nine times out of ten they just learn to never do that again!

It’s important to let them “fail” in a sense. By letting them be independent, they will learn how to do things & how NOT to do things. Both are helpful in the upbringing of life.

Let them touch everything [that sounds a little weird, but you know what I mean]. Give them that sensory input. Let them test out the slide on their own if they are coordinated enough for it, and it’s completely safe of course. Instead of just putting them at the top of the stairs on the playground, let them climb. Be there for support, but give them a chance. They may just surprise you.

Don’t overload them with questions

When your child is trying something new, try not to ask them a bunch of questions about it. This is really important if you have an older child. Completing a new & novel task can be stressful enough without you asking them a ton of questions. Simple encouragement would suffice, if needed.


Just like with my daughter trying to put her doll’s clothes on. I tell her, “Try not to get frustrated baby, you’re doing a great job. If you need help, I will always be here to help you.” That reassurance is comforting to them. I’m sure you can relate to that in some way, too. If you’re working on a math problem & someone is breathing down your neck asking, “Why did you do that?” “Are you sure that’s right?” “How did you get that answer?”

Asking questions can give off the vibe that you don’t have faith in them. If you want to ask them something, try to rephrase it into something that sounds more encouraging. Instead of asking, “Are you sure that’s right?” You could say, “Oh nice you completed the problem! Let’s check it!” Adding in some enthusiasm & praise [which we will get to in a moment] will really lift their spirits more than questioning them and making them doubt themselves.

Always provide choices

There is ALWAYS an opportunity to provide a choice. Even if there is a specific thing you are wanting your child to do. When you provide choices, you’re allowing your child to feel like they have some control over what is about to happen. Starting this while they are young is a great way to prepare them for making more complex choices when they are older.


If you are wanting…no, needing your child to put their shoes on so you can go to the grocery store, but you are having so much trouble getting them to comply with you- give them a FUN choice. “Do you want to put your shoes on while we sing the ABCs or Itsy Bitsy Spider?” It’s simple, gives them a choice, some independence, & completes the task you need done. EVERYBODY WINS.


Big one here. The biggest, as you can tell from my larger font size and positioning :). You can let children be independent all day long, but unless you affirm it, their self-confidence will not increase. Some kiddos are independent because they have to be. Because their parents do not pay attention to them or encourage them. But what you can do is contrive opportunities or take advantage of naturally occurring situations where your child shows their independence and praise them for it! Even if it sounds silly to you, it probably means the world to them. I am constantly working on this as a momma. My daily goal is to make sure my kiddos feel heard by me. Appreciated by me. And loved by me.

The little victories are the sweetest! I know this post is pretty much all about our daughter, because she is the independent one. But, the other day our son pointed to something for the first time. He’s was a preemie & has been consistently behind developmentally on a few things. He’s about 19 months old now & just started pointing to things he wants. May sound little to some, but it’s a huge deal in this house. I can’t even remember now what he was pointing at…I think it was his cup. But he looked at me, then looked at the cup, pointed & said, “Ca”.


Big moment here y’all! I smiled so big & told him, “Good job pointing bubba! You’re such a big boy!” And he giggled and hugged me, and it was just a sweet moment. All of the practicing and modeling you do. Then to finally see your kiddo independently do it on their own…it’s an amazing feeling. Now he does it all the time. Because he knows that he will usually get whatever he points to [haha], but he learned from my positive reaction, that what he did was the right thing to do. Positive reinforcement doesn’t always have positive outcomes [confusing, I know], but in these cases it produces the best outcomes! Praising your child will encourage them to be more independent with everything that they do.

I know as parents it can be hard to “let go” of our little babies who constantly need us to feed them, change them, bathe them, & entertain them. As they get older, they need to learn to do all of these things on their own. Otherwise, how will they ever be on their own? It’s difficult, sometimes, having such an independently independent child. Most of the time we don’t have to contrive situations for our daughter to do things on her own, because she just does them. It’s hard not to feel “needed” sometimes by your babies. But, trust me, they always come back. For support, for encouragement, or just some lovins…something to think about 🙂


Items associated with this post:


As always, God bless †


Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Flying with Two Toddlers: From a Momma Who Learned the Hard Way

Confined spaces & toddlers DO. NOT. MIX. Period. End of story. If you have flown with toddlers before, you know this all too well. My family and I recently took a spontaneous trip to Texas & I’ll be honest, the trip there was not well-planned on my part. There were some necessity items that would have made my life a lot easier had I packed them.

We were THOSE people on the plane with the insanely fussy toddler. The whole flight. Two and half hours of a screaming toddler. I mean the whole nine, y’all. Kicking, crying, screaming, throwing his head back, pushing me away kind of tantrum. Needless to say, I was so exhausted by the time we finally arrived I probably looked like a zombie.

It actually didn’t even start on the flight. It started when we were going through security. It didn’t help that both kiddos were trying to get sick & were already not feeling well. Of course, the airport security guards had me pull EVERYTHING out of the diaper bag & fold up the stroller. All the while I’m lookin’ like a hot mess mom who doesn’t have her you know what together. I had one kid in my arms flailing around and crying because….well I don’t even know why…just because. And another kid throwing a fit to the point of me having to drag her over to my sister [who was with me and I’m so thankful] so she could take her through security. All because she wanted to sit in the stroller I had to fold up and put on the track.

I was literally on the tipping point of a breakdown when this sweet old woman came up to me and said, “Sweetie, do you need some help?” I know, so gracious and sweet. I told her kindly, “Thank you, but my sister is just right there and is helping me.” It was apparent that the struggle was real with this momma.

I hope my terrible experience will be a lesson learned for all of you parents of toddlers out there 🙂

Flying with Two Toddlers

My first piece of advice is be prepared for crying

There will be crying. Unless your children are perfect angels and never cry or get upset about anything, there will be crying. The sooner you accept that, the better. If people around you don’t understand and sympathize with you, well you probably won’t ever see them again so don’t sweat it 🙂


This was the 30 minutes of peace I got on the flight. He fell asleep immediately after take-off. He’s my little Tasmanian devil, but he’s still the cutest 🙂



Bring medication. Be prepared for any kind of pain they may experience. Tummy aches from motion sickness, pain in their ears from the pressure changes, and just assume your toddler will be teething during the flight. Better to assume and be prepared than be like me and have to buy a $12 bottle of infant Advil at the airport. Just bring it. You never know. And go ahead and give it to them BEFORE you get on your flight. That way it will begin to work its magic before you even take off. Being proactive is key!

Snacks galore


You can’t go wrong with food! Just like that insane $12 tiny Advil bottle, everything at the airport is so expensive. Just save yourself some sanity and money & pack your own snacks. Then pack some more. My kids almost went through an entire gallon Ziploc baggie packed full of snacks. Gummies, raisins, goldfish, cinnamon sticks, granola bar. You name it, I probably packed it. I may have forgot the medicine, but I never leave the house without snacks. Something I didn’t pack though was some suckers. I think suckers are a great thing to give your kiddos to help their ears pop when the pressure is changing. And what kid doesn’t love candy right?!

Headphones & iPad

Judge me all you want, but some kind of a screen will probably save your life. Luckily, on our flight back to California the plane had those fancy TVs on the backs of all the chairs. Disney movies were all free, too. Score! But on the way to Texas we were not so lucky. Before everyone gets all “too much screen time is bad” momma on me, I don’t normally let my children stare at a screen all day. But if Toy Story 3 will keep my kiddos calm for a 2 hour flight and save me some sanity, you bet your sweet tush I’ll let them sit and watch the whole thing. I was a bit proactive with this one and brought our iPad from home for our 2 year old along with some headphones as to not bother other passengers on the plane [literally laughed as I typed that]. But my little guy didn’t have anything like that to keep him busy or distracted on the flight there.

Also, just do yourself a favor and buy the wifi. It was like $12 for our whole flight home and totally worth every penny.

Comfort item

Proud of myself for this one because I was on top of it. My children are so attached to their blankies. Especially my son. He literally cannot do anything or go anywhere without his blanket. He can’t even sleep without it. It’ pretty much just apart of his anatomy at this point. Throughout the entire flight there, pretty much the only thing that comforted him was his blanket. Whatever comfort item soothes your child, bring it. A stuffed animal, blanket, pillow, a toy, sippie, paci, anything. Bring it and thank me later. Clearly daddy is a comfort item too 😉

Non-screen items


All my non-screen parents out there…if you really wanna stick to your guns and have no-screen time, or you don’t mind the screen time and want to give your kiddos some extra options, here ya go. Bring coloring books, crayons, stickers, stamps, dolls, cars or anything else you know your kiddos are interested in. I made the mistake of not bringing any of this stuff on the way there. Some toy cars or colors may have distracted my little guy for a little while. On the way home, my daughter had two barbie dolls she got from her awesome aunt and uncle while we were home. Those kept her busy and happy for a good bit.

Window seats


I’m pretty sure every little kiddo loves the window seat! If you are able to pick out your seats when you book your flight, make sure you get a window seat for your toddler. My kiddos loved to look out of the window when we took off and once we were in the air. We flew stand-by on our flight to Texas and luckily all got window seats. But if you are in the same situation and get assigned to a middle or aisle seat, I find that most people are nice enough to switch you if you ask nice enough 🙂

I think the nature of your child’s temperament has a lot to do with situations like these. If you notice, a lot of my issues on the flights had to do with our son. He has more of a difficult and fiesty temperament. When my daughter was his age, she did much better on the plane. But their temperaments are very different, she’s much more calm and cautious. So just be aware of your little one and be patient with them. Our flight was rough. Not gonna lie. But I can’t blame a one and a half year old for being squirmy and fussy on a flight. He needs to run around and have a bit of freedom with his movements. A plane does not give you that luxury. It can be an exhausting trip, I know. But don’t forget that. I hope this helps you and maybe gives you a good laugh. Or maybe some of you an relate to my horror story! Either way, I love sharing my experiences with y’all.

Items I used:


As always, God bless †




Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Five Reasons Why Healthy Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships are Important

One of my absolute favorite memories I have is with my grandpa. We were in his living room with my grandma, and I believe my parents were there too. We were listening to music [I wish I could remember the song that was playing] & my grandpa told me to hop up on his feet. He began to move back & forth dancing with me. It was such a sweet moment that was there & gone so quickly, but I will always cherish it and hold it close to my heart.

My handsome Grandpa. I adored him & miss him dearly.

My family & I just got back from a week-long visit to our hometown in Texas. The one thing I am most thankful for is how close our families live to one another. For starters, it’s super easy on us when we travel there because we don’t have to drive far to go back and forth! But mostly, it gives us that much more time to give them to spend with our two babies. It’s the coolest thing watching our parents play with our children. Some people may not realize how important these relationships are to your child’s emotional & social development. I’m here to share with you five big reasons why they are!

It takes a village

This is such an old saying that hits the nail right on the head! In most cases, parents of the child deserve 95% of the credit in the raising of their child. That other 5% is dedicated to all of the other influencers in that child’s life. Teachers, aunts, uncles, nannies, and you guessed it, grandparents! When the nanny isn’t available & you need to run to the grocery store or run some last minute errands before you have to rush back home and make dinner, who watches your kiddos? I bet at least half of you said “Oh my parents do!” Unless of course you are a military family & don’t live close to family [insert ugly cries]. Other than their parents, grandparents are a very apparent and constant role in a child’s life [in most cases].

I spent so much time at my Nana’s house growing up. She definitely helped make me who I am today.

Older traditions

I bet most of us poke fun at older relatives in our lives when we see them struggling with technology or when they say, “I remember when we had to write letters & mail them to a person if we wanted to talk to them.” But views & old traditions can be such a great way to instill some humility into our littles. Older views like how to properly pursue & date a young lady, how to treat elders, holding the door open for others, don’t cuss in front of a lady, and many other things that most young children don’t seem to know these days. Traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation & learning about how those traditions started is also super important & gives the child a look into their family’s past. Which brings me to my next point…

Family history

Grandparents always have the best stories to tell! My husband’s grandpa will sit down for hours & tell you all about things he has done & hilarious jokes he has learned through the years. Grandparents can tell you things that your parents can’t simply because they have been around longer. They can tell you things about your parents when they were growing up & stories about your great-grandparents. Sitting & talking about memories & history creates a strong bonding environment for the grandparent and grandchild. You may learn something about them that you can relate to. Maybe they loved to play hockey when they were growing up just like you. You never know unless you just sit and talk with them and build that strong foundation of a relationship.

The child’s development

This is a big one & has been shown and proven in multiple studies around the world. Having strong & healthy relationships with your grandparents can have a significant impact on your emotional state as you get older. A certain study conducted by researchers at Boston College found that having an emotionally stable & healthy grandparent-grandchild relationship resulted in decreased depressive symptoms in all groups. Children with supportive and present grandparents are more likely to grow up presenting pro-social behaviors & be happier adults. Grandparents can set the foundation for a strong support system in the family overall.

Their legacy

Whether it be a name passed down, a business inherited or simply carrying on something that was important to them- it’s always important for children to respect who their grandparents were once they’ve died. My husband is the most loyal person I know. He has a respect and love for his family that I adore and admire. He was given the option to change his name when he was younger and he took that opportunity to honor two influential men in his life. His grandfathers, Craig & Thomas. He will carry on those names for the rest of his life. It may sound simple to most, but it’s a wonderful way to keep their legacy alive.

I cannot stress enough how influential these relationships are. Watching our children playing with & conversing with their grandparents this past week was such a blessing. Seize those moments while you can! It all happens so fast. So capture the moments, soak up the stories, & never forget the memories made! Don’t wait until it’s too late to spend quality time with them. Trust me, you won’t regret a second!

This post is dedicated in loving memory to Grandad. My husband’s grandfather. He was so generous & had the most kind heart. He are extremely grateful for everything he did for our little family. We miss you more than words can express.



As always, God bless†


The Truth Behind the Scar: A Story of Two C-sections

Aside from marrying the person of her dreams, almost every woman fantasizes and looks forward to the day they get to carry & give birth to their very own baby. It’s a scary thing, but it’s something all of us women think about. And most of us dream and pray about. Ever since I became a big sister when I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be a momma.

When you picture “the scene” of yourself giving birth what do you see? I know for me I pictured me laying in a hospital bed, legs up, doctor down below telling me it’s time to push. My husband is up by my head coaching me and encouraging me every step of the way. Our few closest family members in the room [our moms and my sisters-my SIL included :)]. I would’ve tried going all natural but don’t know if I would’ve lasted. And then it happens. I help pull my baby out. My hubby cuts the cord and our baby was born and here on this earth. Everyone watching and crying with happiness as they witness this miracle of life. So perfect, right? It was my “perfect” scenario. I had watched two of my cousins give birth and that’s how they went. It was so amazing to watch and be apart of. I couldn’t wait to be on the other side of it.


But that’s not how it all happened. My first pregnancy was fairly un-complicated. I was considered “high-risk” about halfway through because my amniotic fluid was measuring low.

I went in about 1-2 times a week after that to get it checked. Hoping it didn’t get too low to the point of the doctors having to deliver her. One morning I began to have small contractions. My fluid was still okay and I was about 38 weeks on the dot. I was considered full-term at this point and was safe to deliver at any time. Due to the fact that she was breech, they decided to admit me and scheduled my c-section. She had been breech for weeks now and never flipped. For those of you who may not know, the term “breech” basically means that the baby’s feet are pointed down instead of the head. Head down is the ideal position for a smooth vaginal delivery. Considering the fact that I’m just a petite person, my doctor did not recommend a vaginal delivery.

Not gonna lie- I was crushed.

I had always pictured things going a certain way and all of the sudden everything changed. And I was terrified. Surgery scared me. Especially being awake during a surgery. I wasn’t going to be able to help pull my baby out. I was so upset that wouldn’t get to hold my girl right after she was born [which I was only half wrong about]. I just felt cheated out of the whole experience.

I just want to quickly note that I might be smiling in all of these pictures but I was so hangry and extremely thirsty. I wasn’t able to eat for almost 24 hours because homegirl decided it was time to come out! Not even ice chips y’all! It was rough.

The surgery overall went very smoothly. The only part that really blew was getting the epidural. They had to poke me with that 50 foot long needle like 3 times because I kept tensing up when they tried to numb me. If you will soon go through this surgery the best advice I can give you is to TRY and relax. It’s extremely hard [I know], but it will go by so much faster if you just take a few deep, long breaths when they do this. Focus on your breathing, not the pain. So much easier said than done, but once I was able to relax, it was over and I couldn’t feel the bottom half of my body [which is a good thing]. The rest of the surgery went by super fast & without any complications. I got to see my girl for a few short seconds. Enough to take a picture with her, before they took her away. She wasn’t breathing when she came out and was turning a purple color. The doctors and nurses were able to get her breathing and everything was smooth sailing after that.


I’m gonna jump ahead a bit to my second pregnancy…now this c-section was expected. I had already had the surgery before and the risks of having a vaginal delivery after c-section were a little TOO risky for me, so I was more accepting to the surgery the second go-round. But this pregnancy was extremely complicated and scary. You can read about it more in detail on my little man’s inspiring NICU story. Long story short, I got pregnant while I had an IUD in place. My water broke when I was 27 weeks and I carried my son to 29 weeks when an infection in my body forced me to deliver him immediately.

That was super shortened, but you can see it was very stressful and much different than my first surgery. I was having serious and painful contractions this time. Whereas the first time, I never even went into active labor. I’m not kidding about the painful contractions. They were intense. The numbing part of the surgery went by much faster this time and only took the doctors once to get it injected. To top it off, ya know as if the surgery isn’t enough, they had to search for my IUD after they delivered my son. So I stayed in surgery for another hour while they looked for this darn thing! Which sucked because all I could think about was my son. Who was being rushed into the NICU. I only got to see him for a couple seconds, if that. I couldn’t hold him or touch him because your arms have to be strapped down so you’re not tempted to touch what the doctors are cutting open. That’s the best way I can describe it- it just sucked.

What makes me sad is that because my second was an emergency c-section, we didn’t get to capture any “happy” moments before he was born. And there wasn’t any time to take a family picture immediately after he was born. He had to be rushed to the NICU as soon as possible. But here’s the first picture I got with my little warrior…


So now kind of going back and tying my experiences together, I have a huge take-away from it all….


The scar.

My little tummy smile 🙂

I look at it everyday and remember what I went through. The weeks of recovery. The pain. The stress and anxiety. To this day I still am not able to do things I once could. Upward facing dog? Forget about it. That part of me just don’t stretch like it used to. But you know what? I look at that scar and think…I would do it ALL. OVER. AGAIN. and AGAIN. and AGAIN. Just to see these beautiful faces every day.

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage” ? Well it’s not about the delivery. It’s about the life that comes after it. The life or lives you created.

Momma, remember that you are strong. Just because you weren’t able to push your baby out of you like those other awesome mommas do, doesn’t mean you’re not just as much a champion. And you know what’s cool? We have a scar to look at and remind us of just how awesome we are! I’m blessed to be apart of this community of mommas & I pray for ALL of you!

As always, God Bless †


P.S. Do any of you c-section mommas have a scar tattoo? I’m seriously thinking about getting one in the future & I would love to see yours or hear what you have in the comments! 🙂


Why Getting Older is Awesome

It’s my birthday! Twenty-six years on this earth I have spent. Twenty-six birthdays and celebrations have now come & gone. It can be a somber moment for some. “Getting older” has a sort of negative connotation & stigma to it. Not for me though. This year I am choosing to enjoy & embrace my age to the fullest!


Although I feel much, much older [kids will do that to ya] I am still “in my prime” as they say. Your twenties are made for “figuring out your life” as people also say a lot. Which is funny for me because I’ve already had two children, graduated from college, moved too many times to count, gotten married, bought two cars, gone through multiple jobs & found my passion and now I’ve started this blog [all of which is not in chronological order 😂].

Isn’t life funny that way? How you sit and plan out how you think everything will pan out, then a bomb hits you. In my case, a bomb was a positive pregnancy test three days after my college graduation 👩🏻‍🎓. Then you accept things how they are & you adapt. Oh but wait here’s another bomb! It’s a constant cycle. But it’s one that allows us to overcome & builds our resiliency as an adult. Helps us grow up.


Not only do you experience more and go through struggles and tribulations that make you a strong and wiser person [let’s hope ;)], but the best thing about getting older are the memories your heart gains through the years. I am constantly taking pictures. CONSTANTLY y’all. I have such a bad memory sometimes when it comes to everyday things that happen around me. So taking pictures is the best way for me to hold onto those moments forever. Anyone else have Timehop? If you don’t, you need to download it pronto! It is a great way to look back each day and see memories that you made. I love looking back 1, 2, 7 years ago and cherishing every picture that swipes across my screen.

Isn’t that what life is all about? Making memories. So love those smile lines. Appreciate those frown lines. For they make us who we are. Birthdays are a time to celebrate the wonderful miracle that is you! Embrace your age & praise God for one more year of awesomeness 🙂

Twenty-six. The downhill slide to 30…eh it ain’t so bad.

P.S. Shoutout to all the April 4th babies out there. Y’all the homies.

As always, God bless †