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Mother’s Day is one of those special holidays when you want to give your mom the world. After all, she brought you into it (and has probably reminded you a few times that she could also “take you out of it!”). Flowers and candy are great, but if you’re like me, you probably want to give a gift with a little more meaning.

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If there’s one store that specializes in gifts with meaning, it’s Uncommon Goods. Every product has a story, whether it’s handmade, made from recycled materials, or just thoughtfully designed to fill a gap that you never realized needed to be filled.

If the mama on your list also happens to be your favorite style maven, finding a great gift can be even more challenging. Here are five gifts the stylish mama on your list will love:

Books for Mom, by You

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How often do you tell your mom you love her? Well, these books give you an easy way to show her, and be specific about why. The What I Love About Mom book offers pages of prompts for you to complete. Warning: This one may induce tears when she realizes that that you really do love her taste in clothes, and that her encouragement to follow your dreams meant so much to you. For younger kids, the Dear Mom arts & crafts book is full of activities to complete that will make mom smile. For example, what do you think a better name for mom would be? Maybe “Queen for a Day?” Write it down! The illustrated book includes 48 pages of writing and drawing prompts, and even things to cut out.

Price: What I Love About Mom: $10; Dear Mom Arts & Crafts Book, $9 (aff)

Something Shiny for Her Wrist

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What mama doesn’t love to receive jewelry? This fabulous brass cuff is inspired by nature and designed to be reminiscent of a birch tree with lovers’ initials carved into it. You can honor both parents with this gift, or you could personalize it with moms initials and yours. Or if you’d like, you can get the cuff without the initials — just the heart cutout. Either way, she’ll appreciate the sentiment and wear it with pride.

Price w/personalization: $100; Price without personalization: $85 (aff)

Celebrate Her Flock

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Again with the jewelry? Yeah. Well, I doubt there’s any mom in the world who would mind constant reminder of her children she loves so dearly. Whether you opt for the locket or the bracelet, this locket made of sterling silver will make her day. Inside, on nests of copper, she will find up to four Peruvian opal “eggs” symbolizing her children. Way to make mom tear up on Mother’s Day!

Price: Nest Egg Necklace, $68-74; Bracelet: $68-74 (aff)

Something to Hold Her Pretties

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Now that you’ve given her some new baubles, she needs a place to store them, right? This particular box is something special. It’s made of recycled bangles, but not just any recycled bangles. These have a special meaning for Indian women: Married women wear beaded bangles symbolize the bonds of love and marriage. When they break, they usually end up in the landfill, but a group of fair-trade artisans recovers them to handcraft these boxes.

Price: $48 (aff)

A New Purse. Because Purses.

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If there’s one thing in my closet with which I personally have an unnatural obsession, it is purses. I love them. In all shapes, sizes and colors. I get this love of handbags from my mom. Which means that no matter the purse, as long as it’s pretty, she’ll love it. Well, this one is better than pretty. It’s sustainable, too. It looks like it’s made a croc skin, but that wouldn’t be very green, would it? Instead, it’s actually handmade in the U.S. of sustainably harvested cork, which is then pressed into this fancy pattern. That’s what I’m talking about. And while you’re at it, give her the matching wallet.

Price: $60 (aff)

What unique gifts are you planning to give the moms on your list for Mother’s Day? You can find many more ideas at Uncommon Goods.

Disclosure: I have received compensation for sharing these gift ideas with you. However, as usual, all opinions are my own and 100% authentic.

My mom’s dog, Candi, is a 12-year-old beagle. She’s slowed down as the years have come and gone, but there are still moments when she wants to act like a puppy. Specifically, when she goes on walks. Candi is a bundle of energy then, and she is famous for pulling on the leash. So much so that my mom hasn’t been able to take Candi on walks in recent months because of problems with my mom’s ankles and hips. So when Walmart asked if I’d like to try out some stylish new dog collars and a leash designed to help dogs stop pulling, I jumped at the chance to do something for both of them.

First, the collars.

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They’re pretty snazzy, aren’t they? The collars come in three different sizes: small for $4.48; medium for $5.88 and large for $6.88.

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If you know how much I love fashion, you’ll know that plain, boring dog collars just wouldn’t work. Of the two I received, my mom and I both preferred the red lattice design. The collar itself is generous in size and the material used to make it is very strong. It’s easy to put on and take off, and adjustable for a big variance in size. We had the medium, and it fit her with room to adjust it in the event she gets bigger (which she probably won’t).

My only complaint is that the loop where you attach a leash is made of plastic. As I mentioned, Candi likes to pull, and she’s a pretty strong dog. We’re used to loops that are made of metal. While this one didn’t break, I worry that over time, it will. We’ve had her get loose and take off running more than once, and it’s no fun worrying and trying to find her. I’d much prefer that the hook be made of metal to eliminate that worry altogether.

Now, the Sporn Stop-Pulling Mesh Harness.

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We really like this product. When Candi would pull on a collar, she’d eventually end up choking herself and getting out of breath. The harness is designed to fit over your dog’s torso, so instead of pulling at the neck, it’s around the body.

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It comes with a breathable mesh chest pad that allows the dog to move naturally. The idea is that when the dog pulls, the harness “tickles” her armpit. The sensation should discourage her from pulling. Also, the straps that go under her front legs are covered with a soft sherpa material so that if she does pull, there’s a cushion between her body and the straps.

It was pretty easy to put on, and we went off for our walk. My husband took charge, because as I mentioned, Candi likes to pull.

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This time, there was a noticeable difference in how much she struggled against the leash. Honestly. She would start to pull, and within a second or two, stop and walk to match my husband’s pace. It had been a while since he had walked her, so he thought she may have just slowed down with age. To test the theory, he ran with her for a few hundred feet. She took off and had no problem matching his stride, and in fact wanted to keep running. So it was not an energy issue. I honestly believe that the harness discouraged her from pulling.

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The fact that these photos are so clear is evidence of how slow she was walking. As a result, our hope is that my mom will finally be able to walk Candi without being dragged.

The harness comes with a lifetime guarantee and is available in four adjustable sizes to fit any breed and size for just $11.88. Not bad for a solution to a long-term problem.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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When I began my green journey about 5 years ago, I admit I was a bit militant about it. I essentially demanded change from myself and my family, in everything from our shopping and recycling habits to the lotion we put on our skin. It was a tough transition, but it worked. We switched most of those habits within months, and never really looked back.

However, in the years since, I’ve slackened my stance a bit. Often, the kids will outgrow clothes and need immediate replacements, and finding organic cotton in person is difficult. And finding it for myself — a plus sized woman, and now a pregnant one — is all but impossible — in person OR online. I love thrifting, but that’s not always a viable option and I wind up buying what I can find. We also have hobbies that can’t be considered green no matter how we spin them — like playing video games.

But now that I’m pregnant, a little of that militancy is creeping back into my life. Because I WILL buy green for my new baby whenever possible.

This has made shopping at Walmart really challenging. Because truth be told, outside of organic baby food, there’s very little in the physical stores for a mama who wants to buy green. Not even an organic onesie in sight.

However, this is when shopping online becomes useful, and Walmart.com is no exception. The company’s website stocks and sells a LOT more products that you can ever find in store. That means there’s a ton more available for your green baby: From organic cotton sheets to clothing and mattress pads.

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I recently picked up a Boppy Bare Naked nursing pillow, along with an organic cotton cover to go with it, and a pair of organic cotton Boppy swaddling blankets. These are all things that I anticipate needing within the first days after my little lady is born, so I’m glad to have them on hand now. (aff)

But there was honestly quite a bit more to choose from. You can even find eco-friendly nursery furniture at Walmart.com! Affordable stuff, too.

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Baby Mod makes nursery furniture from sustainable New Zealand pine with non-toxic finishes. Had I not found an awesome crib on Craigslist, I would’ve chosen one of these, because they have clean, modern designs and fit into our nursery budget pretty nicely. (aff)

So if, like me, it’s important to purchase organic, natural and otherwise sustainably made products for your baby, and you’re on a budget, I’d definitely consider Walmart.com for those things you can’t find in store.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m one of those people who likes to get my Christmas shopping done early. I make a list and check it twice. Or four or five times. And I check people off as I go, noting when I’ve purchased, orders and even wrapped gifts. I even have an app for that. (aff) But inevitably, there are one or two people who I forget to include until the last minute. When that happens and my time to shop online sales has run out, there’s a frantic scurry to do some in-store shopping. So when Walmart asked me to share some last-minute gift ideas, I knew I’d have no problem doing that.

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Here are three ideas for last minute gifts that are both affordable and really thoughtful.

Warm & cozy teacher gift idea

Bad mommy alert: My daughter’s teacher is usually one of the people I shop for at the last minute. I usually have to give myself a little time to come up with something creative.

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Well, when I went to Walmart headquarters a few months back, I came home with some double walled plastic mason jar mugs from Aladdin, and we have been using them like crazy for everything from coffee to smoothies. At just under $5, I knew it would make a great gift. But not alone. I added an awesome plush chevron print blanket for just $4.96 and filled it with delectable Lindor chocolate truffles for $3. Later, I decided to add a $10 Starbucks gift card.

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I simply put the gift card and chocolates inside the mug, then wrapped it all up in the blanket. Together, they’re the perfect warm and cozy gift, and it took all of 5 minutes to put together. My daughter delivered it to her teacher today, so I hope she loves it!

Wrap a gift in a gift

We are very particular about gift wrap around here, and we’ve been reusing the same gift bags and boxes for years. We even reuse quality, thick wrapping paper. But I always like to mix it up by wrapping some things unconventionally.

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I had this purse to give my niece as a gift, but I didn’t want to put it in a gift bag. Instead, I spent $4.97 on a great blue and white patterned scarf similar to this one and used it to “wrap” the purse. Simple and pretty, and she gets two gifts in one!

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Scarves really make awesome gift wrap, particularly for items that are oddly shaped. How you wrap it will depend largely upon the size of your gift, but I’d opt for the largest scarf you can find to give you some breathing room. Bonus Tip: Tea towels and light blankets are also awesome for this purpose.

Useful stocking stuffers

We do Christmas stockings each year, but I’ve never been a fan of the “throw anything that fits into the stocking” mentality. We used to be, once upon a time, and we learned the hard way that most of those small gifts were completely useless and turned into clutter in short order. So now, my only rule for stocking stuffers is that they need to be either edible or useful. For my kids, that usually amounts to things like soap, deodorant and candy. Boring, I know, but they use them. This time, I stuck with the theme, but at least took into consideration things they actually requested.

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My stepson recently made the basketball team at school, so I grabbed a three-pack of And 1 performance socks for just $4.97 (and he did ask for basketball socks this Christmas), along with a headband, both of which he’ll get a lot of use from during the next few months. My daughter, on the other hand, has been asking for a spinning electric toothbrush for years. Why she wants one, I have no idea, but since the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush is on sale for $4.88, I decided this was finally the year to fulfill her request.

At the end of the day, we’re all happy. I’m not giving useless gifts that will be thrown by the wayside, and they get stocking stuffers they actually want.

What are your “rules” for stocking stuffers? And how do you handle last-minute gift giving? I’d love to hear your tips!

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My husband and I always try to one-up each other at Christmas time: Not with the cost of the gifts we give one another, but with whether we’ll be able to surprise each other. Hint: I usually win ;) But don’t tell him I said that.

In all honesty, the man is a bit tough to shop for. There fortunately is not much we need (or at least not that we could put under the Christmas tree). So for Christmas, we tend to gift each other with things we want, but typically wouldn’t get for ourselves.

For my hubby, that means a brand new pair of Timberland boots. (aff)

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We’ve both been wearing the brand since we were teenagers back in the Virgin Islands, where well-constructed boots designed for cold weather were a completely unnecessary fashion statement. But now that we live in a place where the temperature actually changes throughout the year, I’ve been wanting to give him a pair of Timberland’s eco-friendly Earthkeepers boots for years. I’ve had a couple of pairs, and they are still going strong as some of my favorite boots.

So when the company offered to send a pair for my hubby, I was thrilled! We’d finally get a chance to compare Earthkeepers and their regular boots, and bring my hubby over to the green side once and for all.

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The entire Earthkeepers collection is made with Earth-friendly materials like organic cotton, recycled cotton and polyester, reclaimed and/or vegetable-tanned leather, and more. I love the fact that a company I have loved for years sees the value in offering options for their customers who lean green, but still want to be stylish.

So for Christmas, my hubby will open up a box under the tree to find Timberland’s Men’s Earthkeepers Heritage Rugged Waterproof Boot, and I will officially sit back with a smirk, because I got him.

And before you say it, I’ve been very careful about how I’ve blogged about this. He usually doesn’t check the blog unless I ask him to look at something, so I’m going to need your help. If we’re careful for the next few days, we should be in the clear. So shhhhh!

Are you buying green gifts for anyone on your list this year? If so, for whom, and what are you buying?

Disclosure: Timberland sent me a pair of boots to review. As usual, all opinions are my own.

I can’t lie: Breakfast time at my house basically  boils down to every man for himself (and God for us all). On weekdays, my daughter gets up about an hour before my stepson, because her bus comes a lot earlier. Sometimes I make her breakfast, and sometimes she does, but he is responsible for his own meal. And my hubby and I sort of figure it out as we go. On weekends, sometimes one of us will get up and cook for everyone. But as a general rule, it’s a potluck. Which means that some days, I am tempted to head to the nearest fast food restaurant for a quick breakfast sandwich because I don’t feel like cooking.

So when I was introduced to the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker on a recent trip to Walmart headquarters — and found out I was going to receive one — it was like a match made in heaven. A device that will make breakfast in 5 minutes and allow each person in the family to have exactly what he or she wants? That’s what I’m talking about!

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I couldn’t wait to try it. And it really is as awesome as it sounds.

The premise is simple: Start with bread of some kind and top it however you’d like: With your choice of egg, meat, cheese, veggies, whatever.

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The first sandwich I made was super simple: A whole wheat English muffin with some sliced turkey and an egg. The trick is that the machine has two compartments: One on the bottom for the bottom half of the bread and whatever you choose to top it with, and a section on top with a sliding bottom where the egg will cook, topped with the other half of your bread.

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I followed the instructions for assembling the sandwich. Bread and turkey slices on the bottom, with an egg and bread on top. Of course, I was so focused on the instructions that I forgot essentials like salt and pepper. Nonetheless, 5 minutes later, I had a respectable sandwich, and my hubby enjoyed it.

Once I realized how easy it was to use, I got a little more ambitious. The second sandwich featured bread, cheese and turkey slices on the bottom, with an egg, beaten together with chopped onions, green peppers, salt and black pepper, along with bread on top.

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How amazing does this look?

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And wow, did it taste great! Seriously. Not greasy at all and about a million and a half times better than any breakfast sandwich I’ve ever gotten at McDonald’s.

Like I said, this is perfect for my family, because we all figure out what we want for breakfast when we want it and tend to eat at random times. These sandwiches take about 2 minutes to assemble and 5 minutes to cook, so even if you’re in a hurry, it will be ready for you when you’re walking out the door.

If you have someone on your holiday gift list who, like me, is a lazy cook, this gift will make their entire Christmas the second they use it. Really.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Headphones have been a hot ticket item for the last few holiday seasons, and with a house full of music lovers, I’ve been paying close attention. Quality headphones always make an amazing gift, but I admit that some of the more popular ones — like Beats by Dre — are just out of reach, price-wise, for us, and I imagine it’s the same way for a lot of other people. Finding ones of comparable quality at a lower price point is always a great thing.

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Monster’s N-Tune headphones are a strong contender, which I recently learned thanks to a review request from Walmart. The company that makes these actually engineered the Beats by Dre headphones, so the quality is definitely there. And in fact, their entire goal was to make that technology more affordable for consumers.

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But there are two things that are really unique about these:

1. They can be connected for shared music

Each pair of headphones has a port that allows another set to be plugged in so music can be shared. You can connect up to 5 pairs of N-Tune headphones, but the second set doesn’t necessarily have to be the same brand. This would be fabulous on road trips when the kids are watching a movie in the back, so my husband and I can still listen to music in the front, in a studio situation where multiple people need to listen to the same track, or really, in any situation where music is being shared from a device that only has one headphone jack.

2. They are really, really tough to break.

I’ll explain what I mean with a single photo:

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They’ve been designed to bend and twist without breaking. This is important to consider if you’ll be giving these headphones to teenagers, or even younger kids, who have been known to be hard on their stuff. Breaking an expensive pair of headphones isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.

When I saw the headphones demonstrated during a recent trip to Walmart headquarters, I was honestly sold by both of these features before I even tried them myself. But trying them was the icing on the cake.

On top of all that, the sound quality really is great. The N-Tunes are great at canceling ambient noise so that sound through the music — or whatever else you are listening to — is really clear. In fact, they are the perfect headphones for those times when you don’t want to be disturbed. Though you may have to warn anyone who might try to talk to you while you’re wearing them that you genuinely can’t hear what they’re saying. Can someone remind my daughter of this, please?!

Honestly, I’ve used a lot of headphones in the past year or two. These are my current favorites for my own use — though my husband has his own favorite — and I plan to keep them around for a long time. They’re a lot better than the lower end headphones I’ve used in the past, but not so expensive as to make them completely out of reach. So if you’re shopping for someone who wants headphones, you should really give these a serious look.

The regular price is $129.95, but you can the N-Tunes headphones on sale for just $79.95 right now at Walmart.com, or get the N-Tunes HD headphones on sale for $119.99. (aff)

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I have been known to go overboard with my gift giving at Christmas time.What can I say? My favorite part of the day is not what I personally receive, but the looks on the faces of those people to whom I give gifts. Meaningful, useful gifts that they hopefully will love. But this year, with the baby on the way and other things going on, going overboard just isn’t going to happen. So I’m subscribing to a gift-giving mantra I’ve seen all over the internet in recent weeks and in years past. The concept is simple. Particularly for kids, or at least those in your household, give:

Something you want. Something you need.
Something to wear. Something to read.

When Walmart offered me the opportunity to buy and share some apparel gifts for my family, I knew this would be the perfect chance to fulfill the “something to wear” part of that mantra. Typically, we would buy Christmas pajamas for everyone, but this year, the kids actually need clothes, so I figured I’d try something different.

For the Boys

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Both my husband and stepson are basketball lovers, and my stepson is actually planning to try out for the school basketball team. This means they both practically live in basketball shorts or athletic pants and t-shirts — most of which have seen better days. I was thrilled to find that Walmart carries really high-quality basketball gear not just from their store brands, but from And 1 — a brand I’ll actually be able to get my stepson to wear.

For my hubby, I choose a great pair of And 1 basketball shorts that were on clearance for just $5, and an athletic top that will wick away moisture when he’s playing ball. For my stepson, I chose a pair of And 1 warmup pants marked down to just $9 and the same athletic top as my hubby, though in a different color. The quality of these pieces is really amazing and comparable to the stuff I’ve bought them in the past from athletic stores. Clearly, the prices at Walmart are a ton better. (aff)

For the Girls

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My daughter has hit (yet another) growth spurt, and she’s leapfrogged in sizes all the way to a 12. To put that in perspective, she’s 8 years old, but very tall and — how shall I put this? — hippy. This means she’s outgrowing clothes a lot faster than I can replace them. So for her, I wanted to find a nice piece that she could wear to school or for dress up. I actually spotted this fox sweater weeks ago at a different store and knew I had to have it. I was SO happy to find that my regular store carried it and that it was just $9.98.

And because she has a thing for cool socks and anything fuzzy, I got a pair of fuzzy, aloe-infused spa socks for her and a pair for myself. Mama has to get something too, right? Actually, I got two things. I found a Genie Bra on sale for just $5, and the pregnancy has brought on the need for some new, larger and more comfortable bras. I think I need to go back and get one or two more. (aff)

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I was actually really impressed by the selection of available apparel that would work for gifting, and by how much we were able to get for right around $50. Catching the back end of a couple of Black Friday leftovers, like the Genie Bra, really helped the budget. And even if I hadn’t bought clothes, I also considered shoes (my daughter also needs a pair of boots) and other accessories like scarves and hats, which I would definitely be more comfortable buying for someone outside my immediate family and with whose taste I’m not as familiar. In fact, I believe I’ll be going back to get a scarf that I’ll use to wrap a homemade gift for my daughter’s teacher. There’s just a lot to choose from, both in terms of necessities and things that would be nice to have.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.