How’s your mid-week? Ours is wet and rainy, here in the Pacific North West, but we’re keeping warm and cozy with these 6 reads ‘n interesting things this week.
1. A custom baby’s first words book? We like! What a great gift for the LO for any occassion.
Image courtesy of A Cup of Jo
2. It’s National Waffle Day today! Did you know that there are actually two Waffle Days- One originating from Sweden and the other in the US? Celebrate with any one of these easy recipes!
Image courtesy of The Baker Mama
3. Looking to fit enough sleeping space, storage and fun in a smaller footprint? Check out the Broyhill Marco Island Twin Loft and Bed Collection.
4. The entertainment (and parenting) world has been abuzz with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s little girl’s name. What do you think of gender-neutral names? Are some names simply not gender neutral regardless of which sex they are given to, or is this all relative to changes in society and culture?
5. Going natural for a pregnancy or just for your overall health? Take a look at this Makeup Artist Approved Products from your Local Health Store.
Image courtesy of Cupcakes & Cashmere
As a mom, I am always looking for outfit ideas that are quick to throw on, allow me to chase after the Little One, yet look put together. Since we currently live in a small space, there’s not a whole lot of wardrobe space for me to indulge in having too many pieces of clothing, so I like to make sure that whatever I have is easily mix and matchable and will go the extra mile. Right now I’m loving these as my go-to basics:
1. Classic straight or skinny jeans in a medium wash
2. Chambray/denim shirt to wear on its own or over a classic T or cami
3. Long cardigan or twill jacket for those breezy days
4. Comfy flats
5. A shift dress in some sort of wrinkle resistant and breathable fabric like a cotton or rayon jersey. Its an easy one-item outfit to slip on during warmer days.
6. Cross-body bags have been my best friend for corralling all the knick-knacks that moms always have to carry. They keep my hands free and stay in place even while bending over to pick things up or while carrying the kids.
7. Light weight scarf is a simple accessory to change up. They can cover up spit up on shirts, and act as an on-hand cover for breast feeding mommies.
This denim on denim look is softened up with a plush cardi and some cute leopard flats. Image courtesy of Hemingway & Hepburn
This is an easy outfit with only three items. Dress it up or dress it down with accessories. Image courtesy of Sincerely Jules
Nothing beats the classic jeans and T, and still looks great with a baby bump! Image courtesy of ISSUU
A simple dress and pretty sandals. Change things up with a hat. Image courtesy of Babble
A classic striped Breton top and twill jacket makes for good wardrobe staples. Image courtesy of Zimbio
A light weight scarf. Image courtesy of Pinterest
What are some of your wardrobe staples that you cannot live without?
Spring is finally upon us and we are welcoming the warmer and brighter days with open arms! Here are 5 Spring Things that you’ll be finding us doing in the upcoming weeks.
1. [Eat] A healthy and delicious frozen dessert that’s good for the entire family, AND only takes one basic ingredient? Could it be true? Yes!
Image courtesy of A Cup of Jo
2. [Grow] Bring in some greenery with these adorable DIY “Chia pets”. The kids will love personalizing their own planter and watching theirs grow.
Image courtesy of By Wilma
3. [Read] We’re ardent believers in reading to children as early as possible. These 10 Spring-themed board books are great to read to your little one even year round.
Image courtesy of Scholastic
4. [Clean] You didn’t think you could get away with the “cleaning” part of “Spring”, did you? The good news is this Spring cleaning tip from Eat, Craft, Parent: It’s the perfect method for those with young children whose toys need a quick, natural, and effective disinfecting.
Image courtesy of Eat, Craft, Parent
5. [Play] This stove top-free playdough recipe is right up our alley. We know the LOs will have hours of fun being preoccupied with the new batch of lemony-scented dough, and that means some downtime for all the busy mamas and the papas.
Image courtesy of Learn, Play, Imagine
She’s leaving on a jet plane. Image courtesy of @dawn.wm
Remember the days when traveling meant figuring out which cute swim suits and shoes that you were going to bring? Well with Little One(s) now along for the adventures, the multiple pairs of heels are definitely staying home, but the packing list has still exponentially grown. Here are my top eight essentials for going on the road with Little Ones under two years old.
1. Compact/Umbrella Stroller: The last time that we went overseas, we left our full-sized convertible stroller at home. Knowing that our destination was a metropolis where space is at an ultimate premium, we had a long list of requirements for a new travel stroller: It had to have a small footprint, be light weight, easy to carry up and down stairs, and could stand up on its own even after being folded. After much searching, this proved to be a wise decision as we navigated extremely narrow and crowded streets, and were also able to tuck our stroller in corners in small restaurants (rather than having to leave it outside). Added bonus would be a reclining feature if you have a very young LO under age one so that he/she can easily nap even while you are out and about.
2. Travel Crib: While most hotels do provide cribs/cots upon request, we found that even in the best of hotels, the cribs do not come in the greatest of shape in terms of sturdiness and/or safety. We brought our travel crib/Playard with us in a large suitcase. It served us well for our LO who was 8 months old at that time as both bed and also play area.
3. Backpack: Forget that cute tote you have convinced yourself that could double for a diaper bag. Unless you’re traveling to a destination where you will have access to a car rental or a full-sized stroller to stash your bag in everywhere you go, you will need something that is all about performance. I found a backpack to be the best for travel, especially when going off the beaten path. It will free up your hands, and more importantly, distribute weight evenly across your shoulders for when you need to be on your feet during longer commutes. Some other pros of a backpack include allowing you to also use a carrier at the same time, and transferring easily to either mom or dad to use.
4. Carrier: A must-have for any destination that does not always nicely accommodate strollers. This would be true for any place in Europe and Asia, where they are often short on space, and even a bustling North American city like New York. On our last trip to Asia, my husband and I made the mistake of simply taking a carrier that we received as a hand-me-down before trying it on properly. We soon found ourselves at our destination desperately searching for one that worked better for us, and also forking out a premium for it (The item was not on sale and was priced higher than what we would find it for North America). So the moral of the story? Do yourself a favour and find one that works well for your body type prior to taking off on that flight. Your lower back and sanity will thank you when you find your family navigating rush hour on metros, dusty roads that do not have pedestrian friendly sidewalks, and when going on intensive hikes.
Stroller and carrier in action. Image courtesy of @dawn.wm
5. Wet Wipes: For little (and big) hands, cleaning off dropped toys, disinfecting surfaces that your LO will touch, wiping up the last smells of puke, the list can go on.
6. Medication/Small first aid kit: Don’t assume that there will be a 24 hour drugstore just around the corner from where you will be staying. Bring along that travel-sized bottle of children’s fever/pain medication. You just never know when your LO(s) may feel under the weather. Include some alcohol wipes and band aids in your kit too for any unexpected boo-boos.
7. Muslin Cloths: Prior to becoming a parent, I really wondered how a square of thin linen could fetch such top dollar. But once the LO arrived and they were put to use, they have made my list of top baby must-haves. Good as a thin blanket to cover up LO during balmy days, sun shade, burp cloth, nursing coverup, makeshift bib, clean surface for baby to lie down on, the use for muslin cloths are endless. They pack small, are fast absorbent, and when it comes to doing laundry while being away from home, they are easy to hand-wash and hang-dry quickly. Bring two to three pieces and have them stashed in your bags, ready to go.
8. Be Flexible: With a family in tow, traveling definitely will be much different than before the kids came along, but it also offers amazing new experiences. Say goodbye to watching an on-board movie without interruption, but say hello to the joy of seeing your child(ren) experience new people and sights for the first time.
In order to stay organized and manage expectations, have a general schedule so that everyone can know what activities to expect each day. At the same time, stay flexible about unexpected changes that may come along. Sure, you may no longer be able to knock off that sightseeing itinerary off like a pro anymore, and end up spending more time trying to hunt down kid friendly meals and clean washrooms. But when you look back one day on the memories that your family has created together, you know that you wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
What other essentials would you consider adding to this list?
Image courtesy of Danielle Guenther Photography
How is your week coming along? We’ve got so many things swirling on our minds lately regarding parenting.
-What do you think of the newborn stage? Was it everything you had imagined it to be? This mother gives the green light to admit that “It’s OK to Hate the Newborn Stage“.
-Could sleep training really be a feminist issue? Here’s an interesting take on it.
-Are loot bags for party guest still a must-do, or do you find all the “knick knacks” useless and unnecessary? We’re loving these 10 Goodie Bags with a Twist ideas and think that kids still appreciate a good party treat.
-”After all, I had just started to get my body back. My mind back. My marriage back. My life back. I was finally starting to feel like a normal person – maybe even myself again – why would I want to ruin things by having another baby?” Ever had these similar thoughts?
-Have you seen photographer, Dave Engledow‘s pics of him and his daughter in the most hilarious situations? As wacky as some of them are, we can attest to the fact that we sometimes do feel that life with kids really is like that.
While the DINKs (dual income, no kids) are mad scrambling for that restaurant booking and ideal Valentine’s gift, parents all over the world are either A) sighing in envy, or B) too busy helping their kids write those dollar store Valentine’s Day cards that are due this Friday. Who’s got time to think about how this Saturday could be any different than all the other ones. But while it’s easy to brush off this weekend as only for young puppy love, it’s a great excuse to cut out some time for you and the significant other. Here a few easy-peasy ways to celebrate without having to pick up the phone for a babysitter.
1) Post-it Up: Who wouldn’t love to wake up to this in the morning? Arrange one for your loved one in your life and let him/her know how much he/she is appreciated!
Image courtesy of Life Lives Here
2) Pop that Bottle: After the kiddos are all put to sleep, crack open that bottle of wine and kick your feet up together for some catching up and focusing on each other. Need some extra munchies and not sure how to pair that wine with cheese? We love this simple guide.
Not a drinker? Switch out the alcohol and charcuterie plate for a tea and dessert night.
Image courtesy of In Sock Monkey Slippers
3) Movie Night: With the snacks all prepped, make a night out of it and pop in a movie for movie night and extra cuddle time.
4) Reminisce: Go down memory lane and pull out those pictures of “way back when” when you first started dating, or even dust off that wedding video. It will remind you both of why you fell in love with each other and how far you have now come together as a family.
Just Google “best stroller”, “How to sleep train” or “Increasing milk supply” and you’ll get your fair share of endless reading just on one of the topics alone. But from all the articles and feedback that I have come across since becoming pregnant and having my Little One is that the heads-up on the real gritty topics are few and far in between. Puke, diaper rash and bowel movements are suddenly no-barrier topics, but there are a few that still tend to get avoided.
1) Finances: Unless you suddenly win the lottery or come across an inheritance, be prepared to buckle down on that budget. Parental leave usually does not receive 100% coverage of salary (by the government or employer), and not to mention the loss in income if you are self-employed or your partner has to cut down on hours worked. Don’t forget that this drop in income can also possibly extend longer than a paternal or maternal leave. This may happen if you chose to be a stay at home parent, require to pay for daycare, or only go back to work part-time.
So what’s a family to do? Make sure that your expectations on holidays, dining out, and weekend casual shopping are kept in check. Larger purchases or financing such as real estate and cars should be realistic in relation to your family’s new level of income. The good news? Babies don’t need as many gadgets and gear as advertisers would like you to think. See point #2!
2) Baby Gear: Our consumerism-oriented culture would have you believe that good parenting involves purchasing every possible baby product that you can afford before baby arrives. But that could be further from the truth. Want to know what the essentials are from the “nice to haves”? I liked this useful list from Today’s Parent. It gives a good view of what you need, and how many too. Who knew that it’s not necessary to have 20+ newborn onesies, crib bumpers, toys or fancy gadgets to warm wipes or bottles? We already hear the pocketbook thanking us.
3) Post-baby Body: Unless you are Gisele or the 2% minority who have been blessed with exceptional genes, be prepared to purchase a few new basics for the wardrobe or keep the maternity jeans out to tie you over until you can get back into your pre-baby clothes. I am embarrassed to admit that there were many tears shed over not being able to find anything to wear outside of the house. I had a Spring baby so was able to live in maxi jersey dresses during my last trimester and forgo the need to purchase any winter or real maternity wear. But what resulted after the birth was nothing to wear that was not too tight or did not fit like a muumuu. If I had to do it over again, I would have been more kind to myself and have just gotten a pair of post-baby jeans and also dress pants much sooner.
4) Your Past, Your Present: All those years you spent as a teenager telling yourself that you will NEVER become like your parents will come back to haunt you. When? When you suddenly find yourself talking to your child like how your mother/father used to do to you, or when you are explaining to your significant other why your way is the “best way”. And when that light bulb moment comes on, you will imagine your mother or father smugly saying “I told you so”.
Maybe there’s some science behind it and how to actively change the behaviour. Hmm…
5) Date Night: It may be hard to carve out the time or energy, but I guarantee that you and your significant other will not regret it. My husband and I did not go on a date where our Little One would spend a night at grandma and grandpa’s until she was around one and a half years old. We feared being “bad parents” for not devoting 100% of our time to her, or “leaving her behind”. But had I known that a date night (even one once a month) would give us the refresher that we needed, I would have started it much sooner.
Date nights do not have to involve elaborate plans for an entire night out. No babysitter? Commit to movie night on the couch, or even just crack open a bottle of wine together at home after the kiddos have been put to sleep. Being able to reconnect, and even just have each person shut down the smart phone or computer screen in order to focus on one another is a recharger for the relationship that is so incredibly worth it.
Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to have the whole family roll up their sleeves and get crafty. This year, we’re thinking of gifts for the kids’ classmates that steer away from the sugary sort, but are just as much fun to receive.
A great way to reuse all those broken crayons that are lying around. Image courtesy of Country Living.
Image courtesy of Babble
Image courtesy of Dandee Designs.
Image courtesy of Relocated Living
Image courtesy of Bargain Briana
Check out your local paint store for any paint chip sample discards. These make for easy and pretty bookmarks and can be in a range of colours. Image courtesy of Indulgy.
Image courtesy of Home Is What You Make It