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15 simple + beautiful holiday gift ideas for the minimalist mama

Sometimes, less really is more. We've found 15 of the best gifts where style truly meets function this holiday season that we're sure the minimalist mama will treasure.

WANT

1. MISSHA The Original Tension Pact, Frida Kahlo Edition

Light foundation + wrinkle care + skin brightening + UV protection all in one stunningly beautiful little package. Add a little blush, mascara, and lip gloss and you're good to go.

The Original Tension Pack, Amazon, $20.62

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2. Artifact Uprising Wooden Photo Ledge

We love the clean lines and modern feel of this walnut wood photo ledge. We also love that you can quickly and easily swap out photos, making it simple to keep everything up to date.

Wooden Photo Ledge, Artifact Uprising, $49.00

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3. Lo & Sons Catalina Weekender Bag

Nothing warms our minimalist hearts more than an item that's simple, stylish + efficient. This weekend travel bag has a perfectly-sized compartment for all of your stuff, is spacious yet lightweight, comfy to carry and folds down teeny tiny when not in use. Swoon.

Catalina Weekender Bag, Lo & Sons, $120.00

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4. Lorena Canals Basket

The first step to a minimalist lifestyle is getting rid of all of the clutter, but the reality is there will still be lots of 'things' you'll need to find a home for. We love the look and feel of this natural basket. It's not too big so it won't get in the way, but you'll be able to fill it up with toys, blankets or those cords you keep losing.

Basket Zoco Vintage Natural, Lorena Canals, $65.00

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5. Roku Ultra HD

Cut that cable cord, mama! Roku makes it easy with simple setup, brilliant picture quality and access to endless streaming content.

Roku Ultra HD, Amazon, $104.48

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NEED

6. Olli Ella Reva Changing Basket

Nursery furniture does not have to look like nursery furniture. This handmade seagrass basket does double duty as a changing station when baby is young and then can be used for... just about anything else afterwards.

Reva Changing Basket, Olli Ella, $70.00

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7. Kindle Paperwhite

Don't get us wrong—we LOVE actual books. But we also love curating our shelf space, saving some trees and being able to hide our love for YA romance. Kindle for the win! Bonus: Add on an unlimited membership plan.

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader, Amazon, $129.99

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8. Rothy's

The perfect pair of loafers to take mama from drop-off to date night. They're incredibly comfy, machine-washable and made from recycled plastic bottles. We 💜them.

Rothy's Loafer, Rothy's, $165.00

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9. Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven

No kitchen should be without this piece of cookware. While it's splurge, this classic dutch ovens are epitome of style + function—beautiful, superior heat distribution and retention, easy to clean and unbelievably useful.

Le Creuset Signature Dutch Oven, Amazon, $329.95

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10. Stowaway 'Be Polished During Playdates' Makeup Set

This pint-sized pouch packs a big punch. Brighten up your day—and your face—with this mascara + blush + lip gloss set that fits neatly into any bag, big or small.

Be Polished During Playdates Set, Stowaway, $29.00

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WEAR

11. Tilden Gift Card

Curated, fashion-forward clothing that flatters you before, during, and after pregnancy? Yes, please. View the same look on models both pregnant and not to see how the fit will change with you. Brilliant!

Tilden Gift Card, Tilden, whatever price you choose!

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12. Sonnet James Reese Dress

A classic, simple piece of clothing that you can dress up or down is the key to the minimalist's wardrobe. We love the easy, versatile fit of this dress and that it looks great during a morning at the farmer's market with kids in tow or on any given work day.

Stripped Reese Dress, Sonnet James, $158.00

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13. Sole Society Oversized Blanket Scarf

Adding a scarf is the perfect way to turn a simple outfit into a standoff. This one's soft, cozy and perfect for the chilly winter days ahead.

Sole Society Oversized Blanket Scarf, Nordstrom, $39.95

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14. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

Ever wish decluttering guru Marie Kondo could come to your house and show you how to tidy up? This illustrated guide walks you through her step-by-step instructions. We feel calmer and more organized already.

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, Amazon, $13.29

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15. Texture Subscription

Texture provides an all-access digital pass to top magazines, no paper required. Unlimited access allows you to totally customize your content and also includes back issues—all at your fingertips.

Texture App, all app stores, $9.99/month

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16. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

"Live a better life with less." Enough said.

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, Amazon, $12.23

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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