A Mama Must Have For Under $100

The Gathre Mini 

Not Just Another “Must Have” Collecting Dust

We all know there are a TON of baby and kid products on the market. They get cooler and trendier by the day it seems like. Looking back at what was available twelve years ago when I had Noah to what is on the market today blows my mind. Of course we see all the pretty pictures on IG and instantly think ” I need that “. Well for somethings that will actually be true and others you purchase, use once or twice and then store it for years in hopes you’ll “need” it again some day. The Gathre Mini does NOT fall into that last category at all and here’s why…

Reason’s Why I Love Our Gathre Mini

First of all, if I can use one item for multiple purposes it’s an automatic win in my books. We have had our mat for about a month now and I’m obsessed! Cruz is at that super fun I’m a two year old and I can do whatever I want stage.  You know the one where once he is done eating he decides to dump his plate on the floor?! (If none of your kids have done this I envy you) Picking up shredded hash browns might be our least favourite, My husband actually started laying down newspaper under his high chair. Hello he’s a boy not some animal we are trying to train. Anyways, gone are those days because now we just lay our mat under wherever Cruz sits and it does all the work for us!

My boys also LOVE popsicles and ice cream but they have far from mastered how to eat them without making a big sticky mess. No problem now, they can sit and eat whatever they want on the mat and have little picnics and parties and I can just shake it off… shake it off! ICYWW I totally just sang that like T.Swift.

Ok so there’s a few ways the mat has made my life less messy and more convenient. But wait, there’s more… It folds up nice and small and hardly weighs anything so I can easily pack it in my diaper bag or throw it under the stroller when we are on the go. I’m an over packer and with our mini mat I don’t have to sacrifice a ton of space which gives it a plus plus ++! Saving the best for last. Are you ready for it? This baby doesn’t go in the laundry… Ever! Spot clean only which is basically a hail mary in my house because I am already fantastic at neglecting our laundry.

About Gathre + The Mats

Another reason my love for these mats is so real is because they were made for moms by moms! Two moms, Marilee and Jessica, out on a girls night met through mutual friends and totally clicked. Navigating through motherhood together they came up with the idea of a wipeable blanket for kids. They ran a Kickstarter campaign where they raised $78K in 30 days. They hustled for many all nighters in Marilee’s mother in laws garage. Since then they have moved to their own studio.

All mats are made of bonded leather. Bonded leather is water impermeable, regulates well in heat and is stain resistant. Top surface is made with a synthetic layer of polyurethane which makes it very easy to wipe clean. Bottom side is made of soft suede leather. As I mentioned earlier, all mats are spot clean only. You can use a wet cloth, cleaning wipes or paper towel until area is clean. To remove wrinkles you can lay the mat out in the sun or steam the underside. Do not iron.

The mat pictured here is the Sail Mini. A collaboration with Rylee and Cru x Gathre. I know this is my first mat but with so many beautiful designs, it will definitely not be my last. I’m currently obsessing over the Pier Midi+ , their tablecloths and their scallops which might just be my FAV!

Hope you love yours as much as I love mine and if you do or even if you don’t, drop me a message and let me know because I love hearing from you babes!

xoxo

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Two Sweet

Cruzie’s Ice Cream Themed 2nd Birthday Party

First things first, all party planning starts with a theme. Lucky for us parents you can pretty much turn anything into a theme these days. Use something your child is into at the time, be creative and when in doubt… Pinterest will ALWAYS save the day.

To be completely honest I was procrastinating hard on planning a party for Cruz because I was in major denial about him turning two. It was not this emotionally hard for me when Noah or Joey turned two. Must be because he is our last, officially out of the “baby” stage and onto toddlerhood. It wasn’t until a shopping trip to the states with my sister that she brought up the party and I realized how soon it was coming up. While in Target *hallelujah* I found some cute party cups, plates and colouring table clothes. Then at Home Goods I found ceramic ice cream cone holders and the theme was decided just like that!

Joey and Cruz both love Whistle and Flute designs so naturally I had to incorporate their ice-cream kawaii print into Cruzie’s party! I used a cricut to design and cut the lettering and shapes for the backdrop. I also used the cricut to make the ice cream cone banner and cake topper. If you love crafting, scrapbooking, or just making party decor you need one of these machines! (not sponsored actually obsessed)

Click the pic to shop all ice-cream apparel from Whistle & Flute.

I picked up the balloons from Paper and Parties . They also sell balloon garland strand (I’m not actually sure what it is called) but it makes it SO easy to make the garland! I blew up the balloons with a little hand pump from the dollar store and just popped the balloons through the holes on the strand! Took less than an hour and I got it all done start to finish while Cruz napped which was a lifesaver because what kid wouldn’t want to play in a room full of balloons?!

Steph from Little Cookie Co made the CUTEST cookies to match the theme perfectly! She totally nailed the design without even knowing much about what I was doing for decor. The two scoop cookies are basically an exact replica of the W&F design. I almost couldn’t handle how cute they were and trust me when I say, they tasted even better than they looked and they looked GOOD!

Cruz + Joey are both wearing Whistle & Flute tanks and hat paired with Jax and Lennon co shorts, Natives and People Footwear.

I always make my boys birthday cakes. It’s a little tradition and means a lot to me to make them something special for their birthday. This year his cake was a chocolate fudge cake with buttercream frosting and white chocolate ganache drip. Ice-cream party wouldn’t be complete without ice cream so we also set up a sundae bar which was a huge hit with all the kids and lets be honest, the adults loved it too!


Most importantly he was surrounded by so much love and fun on his special day with his family and friends. He opened presents, jumped in his bouncy castle, played on the trampoline and ate candy, cake and ice cream. Two days later on his actual birthday Cruz, Joey and I spent the day at the beach. Birthday boy wore his Bday crown and carried his balloon around all day. Joey made him a special #2 cake to celebrate!

To Cruzie,

You are one of a kind, wild and fun! You love french fries and chup’ (ketchup), your favourite treat quickly became ice cream, second would definitely be cookies! You are so playful but still so snuggly (please don’t stop snuggling any time soon). You say so many cute things now and repeat more and more every single day. words can’t even explain how much I love you and how blessed I feel to be your mommy. I hope you felt as special on your birthday as you make our lives every day.

xoxo

Mommy

xoxo

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Baby Wearing 101

Why Baby Wearing?

There are many reasons why baby wearing is so great. Convenience being at the top of my list. You guys, I don’t know what I would have done without a form of baby wearing for any of my three boys. Two words for you: Hands Free! Hands free is a big enough perk if you ask me but the added bonus that your babe or toddler is attached to you and can’t terrorize everything in sight is like pure bliss. You name it I have probably done it with one of my carriers. House work, laundry, cooking, walking and travelling. On the daily I use a carrier for school pick up and drop off as well.

Not only does baby wearing make motherhood dare I say it easier at times, there are so many benefits for mom and baby. Carrying babies is good for their physical and mental development. Carriers improve yours and babies core muscles and posture. 50% less crying and fussing when carried. Keeping babies close when sleeping can reduce the risk of SIDS and increase your peace of mind. Moms who baby wear are twice as likely to successfully breastfeed. Babies tend to be calmer, more alert, observing and taking in the world around them. Regulates body temperature.

I’ve had several different carriers but here I will only compare the 3 most recent kinds that I use and love. Ergo Baby with Petunia Pickle Bottom, Beluga Baby Wrap & Lille Baby Ring Sling.

Choosing the right carrier for you

Ergo Baby w/ Petunia Pickle Bottom Carrier

Ergo carriers are considered soft structured carriers. Weight recommendation is from 5lbs up to 45lbs. 100% certified organic cotton twill body and 100% certified organic cotton sateen lining. Supports front and back baby wearing. Features a sleeping hood with elastic edge and snap to snap attachments. Hood supports babes head while sleeping in the carrier and protects from sun and wind. Adjusts with 5 different levels for babies growth. Padded waist band and shoulder straps  made with high density foam. 

Beluga Baby Wrap – The Rachel

This is a wrap style carrier. Suitable for babies newborn to 25 lbs. Beluga wraps are 4.2 meters in length. Made from sustainable and eco friendly bamboo. Unique four way stretch that wearers and babies love. These carriers are honestly the softest I have ever felt. Folds up into attached storage pouch. Fits perfectly in diaper bag without taking up space or adding extra weight. Made locally here in Vancouver BC!

Lille Baby Ring Sling

Sling style carrier suitable for infants from newborn to toddler. Recommended from 7lbs to 35lbs. Made from 100% natural premium linen fabric. Beautifully engraved zinc alloy rings are durable and easy to adjust. Removable pouch for storage. Optional padding provides extra comfort. Available in one adjustable size measuring 27 inches by 78 inches.

My Experience

All three types of carriers give the benefits mentioned above as well as so many others. I have used a structured style carrier for 11 years and just newly discovered wraps and slings. Ergo feels very supported and distributes the weight evenly. It’s honestly been my go to being so easy to use with two simple clips. Love being able to use it front and back. Some days this thing has saved my life and my ears. Makes long days and trips pleasant with how happy each of our boys has been in it.

While pregnant with Cruz I discovered the Beluga Baby wraps at a local baby market. Haley is super helpful and showed me how easy they were to put on and tie. I had always been interested in trying one but felt like they might be difficult to use and lets me real, no mama wants anything that makes things harder. After trying one on, feeling how incredibly soft they are and how easy it actually was to use I knew I needed one before little Cruzie arrived. I really loved how soft it was against my newborns skin and how it mimics a womb like feeling for baby after birth.

The Lille Baby carrier is the newest we’ve tried but really fell in love with it from the moment I tried it on. I absolutely love that baby is in a side carry position like a little koala bear. Cruz is all smiles feeling like he is being hugged 24-7 in the sling. To be honest, I was a little unsure of how secure the ring sling would be with a 25lb baby starting out in it. Well those thoughts were completely unnecessary because it felt well supported on me and didn’t slip around or loosen at all when wearing him. Cruz loves being next to me in the sling and not just because he can grab my face and tries to rip my top down to find his oh so precious milk makers.

Baby Wearing Safety Checklist

Keeping your baby safe with K-I-S-S-E-S:

  • Kissable
    Keep your baby close enough to kiss! While you don’t want to constantly be bumping your little one, their head should be close enough to your chin that you can easily bend your head to kiss your baby on their head.
  • In View
    Keep your baby in view at all times. When wearing your little one, you should always be able to glance down and easily see your baby’s face.  The fabric of the carrier should not close over their face. (this would be more of a problem with a sling or a wrap).  If the baby is in a cradle position, they should be facing upwards and not toward your body.
  • Supported Back
    Your baby should be held close to you so that their tummy and chest are against you. Keep their back supported in a natural position. If you gently press your hand against your baby’s back, they should not uncurl or move closer to you.
  • Supported Hips
    You want to always be sure that the carrier you’re using is supporting your baby’s hips and thighs. Ideally, the baby’s legs should be in a “M” position with their knees higher than their bottom. Their weight borne by their bum and thighs. If the width of the seat portion of a carrier goes from knee to knee, then this will also ensure that gravity pulling on a baby’s weight isn’t putting too much strain on their hips.
  • Easy to Breathe
    Keep your baby’s chin off their chest, so that their airway is open. Always be sure that you can fit the width of two fingers between your baby’s chin and their chest while they’re in a carrier. Little ones should never be curled so their chin is forced into their chest, as that will interfere with their breathing.
  • Snug
    No matter whether you’re using a wrap, a sling, or a soft-structured carrier (and anything in between!), make sure that the carrier is holding the baby very snug against your body. While you obviously don’t want it overly tight as to cut off circulation, keeping your little one tight against you will prevent the baby falling out of the carrier. Any slack or loose fabric can also cause an especially young baby to slump over, possibly restricting their breathing.

Acronym based on the T.I.C.K.S rule for safe baby wearing from the school of baby wearing & the ABC’s of safe baby wearing from baby wearing International.

Honestly all three styles are excellent options. I would have a hard time choosing just one. (Which is why I have all three). I would definitely recommend testing out the different options available. Borrowing them from friends or family to see what works best for you and your baby before purchasing a style you may not like.

If you have one of these three what do you like/dislike about it? If you have another kind you absolutely love drop me a comment I would love to hear about what you are using!

xo

 

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To Dockatot or Not?!

Dockatot they said, it will be fun they said, it will change your life they said and they were right. After hearing all the buzz about these we had to join the club. I don’t know about you but one thing I always treasure as a mom is sleep. Isn’t that what any parent craves? Then to hear numerous people rave about how well their babes sleep in this thing it almost sounded too good to be true.

As you all know and incase you don’t I have three boys that are all spread out in age. Where oh where were these Dockatot’s 11 years ago? 5 years ago? (I may have just not known about them then – my loss) Honestly when I was pregnant with Cruz I needed to find a sleep solution that would work for him to be as close to me as possible but didn’t really look into the dockatot. I had seen a Facebook add ( you know the kind that basically read your mind and know exactly what you are thinking about) yeah one of those for the Halo Bassinest.

Halo swivel sleeper was great for the first time Cruz would be put down to sleep every night until he woke up to feed. Then he would want to nurse and be next to me for the rest of the night. I often found myself too tired to put him back in the halo and would just leave him next to me all night long so I could function the next morning. After all I did still have two other kids to take care of. Anyways he outgrew the halo way faster than I had ever really thought about it and he was no where near ready to transition to his crib. I’m sorry, I’m not interested in sleep training my young baby, nor am I interested in never sleeping again so we co-slept.

Fast forward to a couple months ago, we got the Dockatot Grand.

About Dockatot

Dockatot is a portable lounging dock available in two sizes. Deluxe 0-8 months and Grand 9-36 months. They are designed in Sweden and handmade in Europe using all natural 100% cotton.
Some of the ways you can use your dockatot are:

  • lounging
  • supervised tummy time
  • bonding
  • playing
  • cuddling
  • resting
  • bed transitioning

and best of all is you can take it anywhere in your house, someone else’s house or on vacation. If you ask me anything that makes life more convenient with kiddos is a mega winner!

Our Dockatot Experience

Absolutely love it and to be honest I’m a little jealous. Is there a mama version? Don’t you feel like there should be? I promise if there ever is one I will totally share. I love that it’s light weight and it can be used everywhere in the house. Carrying it from room to room is super easy too with the handles. Cruz will hang out just lounging in it while I get things done off my daily to do lists. Nap time has also never looked so good. It’s also super easy to wash but that doesn’t mean I’d go changing dirty diapers on it, lets not get carried away.

Will it make my baby sleep?

I can’t answer this question because dockatot or not once Cruz transitioned to his crib he  inherited his fathers sleep genes. He will sleep sitting up or laying down, in our arms, his bed, the car seat, the dockatot, grandparents floor pretty much anywhere and yes my husband also sleeps in all those places too. Do I believe his ability to sleep has anything to do with the dockatot? No, just has to do with who he is. Also won’t claim the dockatot is a miracle sleeping baby maker. However I Definitely will recommend it as an extremely convenient portable lounger and that’s exactly what I love about it!

I wish I had the dock sooner to help with our co sleeping and the transition to his crib. I look forward to using it when we make the big jump from crib to big boy bed. I’ll definitely update you all on that experience. If your babe isn’t sleeping at night I feel for you, I really do. It took a full year for Cruz to be ready to sleep all night without breastfeeding. I like to think all those sleepless zombie feedings at all hours of the morning earned me this wonderful sleeping toddler. Being well informed about sleep expectations helped me cope and realize my children don’t hate me; they are just little people trying to figure shit out.

( I received this product compliments of Dockatot however the opinions are my own and I would not share something with you I didn’t truly love)

So the answer is YES YES YES! Dockatot is definitely on my mama must have list for babies and toddlers! If you are considering getting one, don’t miss out like I did for the first year of Cruz’s life. Don’t worry we are definitely making up for lost time with this beauty.

What’s your experience been like with a dockatot? Likes or dislikes?
I’d love to hear from you

xo

 

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Oh Hey, 2018

Alright you guys, I know I’ve been a little MIA lately. I made the choice to unplug over the holidays. I have to say it’s the best choice I’ve made in a while. As much as I love you all here and all you insta babes, I love my babes more. (sorry not sorry) Time off my phone and off social media meant spending more time with the boys enjoying every little thing about them. It felt so refreshing to really be present with them this holiday.

The beginning of  a new year is prime opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned and experienced in 2017 and how you would like to grow in 2018. It’s safe to say there were highs and lows but overall it was a very memorable year. Highlights of my 2017 would include many firsts with the boys. We took our first family vacay to California, many baby milestones with Cruz including his first steps and celebrating his 1st birthday, Mike and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, I turned thirty (no I’m not upset about it). I launched this blog and met so many wonderful and supportive mamas that have really become friends and some more like family. The hardest part of 2017 was losing my cousin Cory. This devastating loss is still hard to believe at times and doesn’t seem real.

On my little hiatus from insta I spent a lot of time really thinking about what I’d like the next 365 to look like. The start of a fresh year is always full of promises and resolutions that most people don’t follow through with or forget about after a few weeks or months. Instead of setting resolutions that will come and go I like to set intentions for myself so that is exactly what I have done. Originally I didn’t plan on sharing them with anyone but then I thought if I put them out there then I can hold myself accountable.

Setting Your Intentions For The New Year

 Try setting intentions that will help you live as the best version of yourself every single day. Setting intentions helps to focus your mind, prioritize what’s most important and start making transformations from within.

Here are a few tips for deciding on your intentions in 2018:

  • Sit alone and reflect on what parts of your life are most important to you. What brings you the greatest joy?  What fills you with a sense of purpose?
  • Make a list of your intentions, goals and desires. Share it with someone who will be supportive and help keep you focused.
  • Create a short mantra that will serve as your daily reminder. Use it during yoga, meditation and any other quiet moments when you can set your focus. ” I love my life ” or “I have the power to create change” are a couple examples.

The first thing to really resonate with me was balance. This year is all about finding the right balance in all areas of my life. Balance with family, friends, social media and most importantly me. I began to notice towards the end of 2017 how little I was doing for myself, my own health and my own happiness. I am really hard on myself and was seriously lacking in the self love department. Then I had to ask myself “how can I be the best mom, wife, friend, daughter or sister I strive to be if I don’t take care of myself?”

Getting back into the gym 2-3 times a week was the perfect start. Finding the right fitness routine that works for you can be intimidating. What works for someone else might not be the right fit for you. As I found myself settling back in to old routines at the gym I became motivated to push myself further. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve tried out several different types of classes at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness. Being back in the yoga studio feels so good for the mind and body. Getting a physical work out, leaving with such a positive outlook and clear mind is worth every 5am wake up. When I get up early and go to class I find myself so much more productive around the house. I notice I have more patience with the boys as well and in general feel a lot lighter spirited.

I’ve always eaten a healthy diet. As much as I love food I have been on some ridiculously restricted diets before for the sake of my children. As they outgrew their restrictions I have added those things back into my diet. I don’t deprive myself of treats or something “bad” for me. I think its good to indulge once in a while after all, we only live once, it’s about moderation. We will continue to create healthy eating habits for us and our boys this year.

Making more husband wife time is high on the priority list. I’m not quite sure what I did so right to end up with such a wonderful, supportive and caring man. He really stands behind me and supports me needing to spend more time on myself. He’s the first one to find a way to make it work for both of us to get our weekly work outs in. Always juggling all the boys sports, activities and routines on top of his own work. Life gets busy and I honestly feel guilty that we don’t get more quality time alone to connect, nurture our relationship and grow together as a couple. Starting off this year I have set us up with some couples cooking class date nights. Trying something new might be fun. I mean how could it not be? There will be food and we won’t have the kids asking for 100 different things before we even sit down to eat! Our wedding anniversary is this also this month. 3 years married and almost 7 together.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in insta life. It becomes habit to open that little app every single time I pick up my phone. Being more present this year is really important to me. No this does not mean I am leaving any of you. You’re stuck with us *kiss kiss*.

It just means my time with my kids is going to be a lot more unplugged. I want to really get down on their level and experience each stage of their lives. Each of them have such different interests, strengths and weaknesses. I want to be front row cheering them on, teaching them, lifting them up without my phone in one hand. (unless I’m recording them then totally fair game). Part of this is also stressing less about the mess they make. NO this does not mean our house can look like a bomb went off- hello OCD is real over here. I want them to be responsible for their things and appreciate the stuff they are lucky enough to have. I have a plan for this so I will put it together, test it out and if it works I will share it here in a later post!

As for my friends, new and old I love you all. You motivate and inspire me on the daily. I hope you all know my door and my heart are always open for you. Being at different stages of our lives, single, in relationships, married and having kids can cause distance in some friendships. I’m going to make a stronger effort to keep in touch more often and let those I care about know it. Communication goes both ways but sometimes you just have to make the first gesture. Yes this totally means more girls nights just like old times.

My insta goal for 2018 is to hit 10k. To continue to connect with amazing mamas from all over. To lift one another up and grow together in 2018.

Set goals, smash the shit out of them, clap for your damn self and repeat.

2018 – We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s do this! Remember every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

xoxo

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Cruz’s Christmas Wishlist

Alright you guys, shopping for a third child is HARD. What do you get a baby that has two older brothers and so much stuff handed down to him already?! I started shopping early, like in October, yet here we are just 14 days away from Christmas and I’m so not done yet! I am super excited for Christmas morning this year since it’s really like Cruz’s 1st Christmas because he was only 6 months old last Christmas. I really want it to be special for him. Here are a few items we have come up with for Cruzie this Christmas.

First – up is this adorable play kitchen that I found at Homesense! You know that gold is going bye bye bye! Hubs and I are going to make a few little changes like painting the hardware, adding marble counter tops and a couple other little surprises. You’ll have to stay tuned to see the finished result but I can tell you right now I’m a little jealous of this thing and totally wish I had a play kitchen like this when I was younger. I found the same kitchen on Wayfair here.

Second – is this Melissa & Doug giant white tiger. This stuffed animal is just over 5ft long and weighs 4.5lbs. Cruz has a Schleich Toys plastic tiger that takes everywhere he goes. I say Cruzie “where is your friend?” and he will run all over the house and find this little tiger so I know he is going to love this giant tiger. Also because he loves to climb on my back and ride me like I am some kind of animal so really the tiger is giving me a break.
Chapters/Indigo has the tiger here.

Third – is the ride on push car from Amazon. This thing is bound to be a blast for him to cruise around on. There were many different kinds of vehicles available in different price ranges. Theres a Mercedes linked here and the Range Rover linked here.

Fourth – Every man & boy needs a set of tools – especially if he’s getting a kitchen – says the hubs. This cute monochrome tool set from Design Life Kids seemed like the perfect find!
Fifth – That monochrome pots and pans set is also from DLK. It was a pre order and not currently listed on their site but as soon as I see it come back on I will post to my stories on IG for anyone interested!

Sixth – Cuddle & Kind is a charitable company that donates 10 meals for the purchase of every doll. When I first came across this company i immediately fell in love with all the cute animals. Cruz got two of them for his first Christmas last year. This new bear is Hudson. He is too cute and almost fully monochrome plus he supports a a great cause. Gifts with purpose for the win. He is currently sold out but I’ve linked the site here so you can shop all the other cuties!

Last but not least I picked up a few of these mini Schleich toys for his stocking since he loves his tiger so much. they can be found at Toys r us, Chapters/Indigo, Michaels & Mastermind Toys to name a few.

That’s a wrap! No seriously its time for me to wrap these before he finds them in my hiding spots.

What are you getting your babes this Christmas?

xo

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5 Small Shop Christmas Items That Just Made Your Shopping Easier

5 Must Have Small Shop Christmas Items

It’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas gifts. Christmas can be one of the most celebrated yet equally stressful holidays of the year. Holidays should be fun and enjoyed with family and friends while creating memories that last forever. I don’t know about you but I like to do most if not all of my shopping online to avoid the mayhem that is our local malls and retailers. I’m also all about supporting local small shops.

Here I have put together a list of 5 small shops that are kicking off the Christmas season with some adorable handmade items for your littles and they are monochrome! ** cue angels singing** All items are available for order online so you can shop quality pieces from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Little Navy Customized Stocking
  2. Ole Design Minimalistic Deer Pull Over + Leggings
  3. Bambi + Birdie Winter Plaid 2 Piece Pj. (Also avail in sleepers)
  4. Pacific Knot Chunky Merino Wool Toque + Mitts
  5. Sprig West Laser Cut Wooden Ornaments

Little Navy

Let me just start by saying the second I saw these stockings I went CRAZY over how cute they are. I’m a total sucker for stuff that can be customized. I love the personalized touch it adds to any gift and makes these items life long keepsakes.

Jen is a stay at home mom that taught herself how to sew and started her business after her second baby was born. She makes personalized name blankets, bedding and apparel that now ship to over 14 countries. Every item is designed and handmade with love and let me tell you that’s the truth. I recently purchased a personalized blanket for a friends baby and I was blown away over how nice it was when it arrived. These stockings are no different. The quality and every detail are amazing.

Cruz likes to put his toys in it and pull it around with him everywhere he goes. Does this kid not realize it’s white and mama would like to keep it that way? For all of you monochrome lovers and minimalists there are black and white options available like the stocking we have here for Cruz.

The stocking measures approximately 18″ long with a 6.5″ opening and is the perfect size to fill with all of those wonderful holiday gifts and treats.  Each stocking is handmade with super soft fleece and is designed especially for you.  It is lined with a soft batting and topped with a fuzzy cozy cuff!  Perfect for hanging on the fireplace.

You can check out all the items from Little Navy here or on their instagram here. Holiday order cut off for Canada and US is November 24th. Check them out on IG & Facebook too see all the cute creations and follow along for special announcements and offers.

Ole.Design

Olena Gurr is the creator and maker behind the trendy clothing brand Ole.Design. Inspired by her son she began making and designing children’s clothing. Her creativity (that is off the charts), love for fashion and business experience quickly pushed her to try and make more of her hobby.

Ole Design is a Canadian company based out of Calgary Alberta. Dedicated to using only natural high quality fabrics in creating the most stylish and comfortable apparel for babies and kids. All pieces are made from organic cotton from Europe and I can honestly tell you it is like no other.

Cruz is wearing the minimalist deer print modern pull over and leggings. Olena designs all her patterns and hand makes each item to guarantee the highest standards. The modern pull over has a slightly slim fit that I absolutely love on Cruz. The leggings are a relaxed fit with drop crotch, basically making him look super g while being cozy and comfortable.

All prints are limited so if you are as obsessed as I am with this print (or any of her other prints-because lets be real – they are all so damn cute) you will want to order fast! Order deadline to ensure your items are received in time for Christmas is December 1st for international orders and December 7th for all orders within Canada. Click here to shop or on the images below for direct links to the leggings and pull over.

Pull over, scarf and leggings by Ole Design. Basic black long sleeve, Nixon Sneaks & Beanie from Little Bipsy.

Bambi & Birdie 

Bambi & Birdie first started earlier this year by longtime friends Ali & Brittany. As moms it was important to them, as it is to so many of us, to dress their kids in comfortable, ethically made and eco friendly pj’s. That is where the inspiration came from to start the perfect sleep wear line and that is exactly what they have done.

All B&B pyjamas are made with ultra soft bamboo, the perfect temperature regulating material to keep your babes comfortable all year round. Not only are these Pajamas like the softest thing you will ever feel their designs are mega trendy for pjs. Like I’m talking acceptable to wear in public trendy.

If you are like me and LOVE to twin with your littles then you are in luck because this summer they launched matching MAMA pyjama sets and you can bet I was first in line for those! Just like their summer line the new winter line will also include Mama sets that come with a relaxed fit t shirt in a solid colour ( totally wearing this all day long ) and printed bottoms to match your littles pj’s.

Winter line launches TODAY (Monday November 6th) so make sure you check them out here and get them before I buy every single one because I might just gift everyone I know a pair of these pj’s for Christmas. Two special holiday prints will launch November 17th. Order deadline for Christmas orders is December 13th.

Pacific Knot

Nikolina is the super talented and creative maker behind Pacific Knot. She taught herself to knit from watching youtube videos and let me tell you this girl is a natural. I recently had the pleasure of witnessing her arm knit a chunky merino wool blanket for the first time and she whipped it up like she had made 100 of them before. Who knew it was so fascinating to see and well the blanket is gorgeous! You may have noticed it in my last IG post and ICYMI you should go check it out because she is going to be listing them on her site soon!

Pacific Knot was inspired by her love for the outdoors and staying cozy. She lives and works in the city of New West and wanted to incorporate a piece of her city in each of her designs. All her items are named after various streets in New Westminster BC. She takes pride in each piece she makes and that shows in the quality of each and every knit.

You name it this girl can most likely make it. I have without a doubt kept her busy with my sometimes crazy ideas and she comes through every single time. She made the pom garland that is pictured on Christmas tree. Both merino wool toque’s pictured – one of which she just casually created her own pattern for – and the thumbless baby mittens to keep Cruz’s hands warm on our early morning walks to the school.

All toques, scarves and blankets can be ordered from the listings on her site or can be completely customized to your colour preference. Nikolina hand purchases each skein of yarn she uses to make your items and would never sell something she wouldn’t put on her own kids. Oh and did I mention she also makes mommy and me matching toques?! As we head into winter these knits will be an absolute must have to stay warm in the cold and will make the perfect Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Current turn around time is 2-3 weeks. Order deadline for Christmas orders is December 7th. Shop her knits here or check her out on instagram here.

Sprig West

Sprig West launched in December 2015 by Jeff and Amanda Penner. Borealis Manufactory is their company name and Sprig West and Minimoc are their brands. They make trendy and minimalistic embellishments for your home and life. Some of these items include ornaments, peg boards, wall hangings, pennants, cake toppers, coasters, banners, magnets and book bags. Located in the hippest part of Abbotsford you can find them at their store front Borealis Manufactory. If you are in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by and checking them out.

All ornaments are designed by them. They operate the laser machine to cut and engrave them in right in their factory. The ornaments are all made of 3mm birch plywood. Natural wood is used giving each ornament a unique look. The natural white grain will pop against the background of your tree. All items are made in Canada. These would make the perfect little topping for a gift or stocking stuffer.

I like to think my style and decor is pretty minimal although when it comes to Christmas ornaments I am more traditional/sentimental. Since I was a baby my mom & dad have bought me a Christmas ornament every year for my stocking. Sometimes they would have significance to what was happening in my life at the time and others would just be because they were pretty. When I moved out of my parents house she handed me a box with all of my ornaments from each year of my life to have for my own tree.

I absolutely LOVE seeing them come out of the boxes each year while remembering each special memory that comes with every single one of them. So my favourite ornament from Sprig West is hands down the “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments. There are several options avail including: tree, circle, snow globe & bunny for 2017 babies & bear or fawn for 2016 babies.
All orders should be placed by December 15th to receive in time for Christmas.
Shop Sprig West here or check them out on Instagram here. You can also catch them at the Shop Sweet Christmas Market on Nov.18th.

Nikole Culo Design

Nikole is a Vancouver girl living in Edmonton. She is my go to for party invites, prints, special projects, birthday boards, you name it she can create it. She is currently preparing to become a first time mom in a few short weeks – Eeeeek! Can’t wait to find out if she is having a girl or boy! She will remain open for orders while she adjusts to motherhood and having a newborn. I already know her baby is going to have the cutest birth announcements & party invites.

You can check out her work on her Instagram here  & on her website here. Keep her in mind for your future projects!

We’ve partnered up to check one thing off your Christmas shopping list! Gift tags!
Attached is a FREE printable with 4 different gift tags created by Nikole Culo Design.

Click here for FREE printable gift tags.

There you have it – 6 amazing Canadian makers and some of their amazing products for Christmas that I hope you love them all as much as I do. Happy Shopping! Drop me a message with your favourite small shop Christmas items! I love hearing about new shops and fun gift ideas and would love to hear from you!

xo

 

 

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Community Over Competition

Women Supporting Women

This is something that has really been on my mind lately. A few months ago I struggled in a situation where I felt like I was being cyber bullied by someone I know in my heart I went above and beyond for as a friend. I take a lot of pride in being a loving, genuine and generous friend. Those of you that know me know I am first in line to offer my help, lend a hand or teach others.

I won’t get into details about that situation because then I would be wearing the same shoes that person wore when they walked all over me. Writing this post gives me mixed feelings because it’s not to satisfy myself and it’s definitely not to satisfy any bullies out there. It’s to raise awareness that if you are experiencing something similar, you are not alone.

“when a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth, just like you did.”

After having two separate conversations lately where people I know and care about have gone through similar scenarios it really made me think about why this keeps happening? Enough cattiness. Enough treating people poorly. We as women and moms need to come together. We need to support one another. In doing so we are stronger, we are better and we can fight harder for what is right.

Let’s all be in one big girl squad where everyone can be a part of it and no one is excluded. Yup you heard me, everyone. This isn’t high school, this isn’t a clique where you have to do a certain thing or look a certain way. Let’s look at one another as equals because we all deserve that. We all have feelings.

“The truth is that once you’ve been bullied, you always wonder about peoples’ intentions and trust is hard and feels unnatural. Once you’ve seen and felt for yourself how cruel people can be, your perspective of people is forever altered and your instincts to be cautious are on high alert”

3 Steps to Help Someone Who is Bullied.

  1. Listen
  2. Encourage them to talk
  3. Remember that healing takes time

In relation to social media I think a lot of this negativity comes from their own insecurities or dare I say it jealousy. What is suppose to be a community is being turned into competition. Don’t spend your time comparing yourself to others. Try to avoid thoughts like ” How did that photo get so many likes?” or “I’ll be as good as so and so if I collaborate with that company too.”

Instead allow yourself to be creative and different while staying true to yourself. If you consume yourself with what everyone around you is doing you will be the only one left behind while everyone else reaches new successes. Always remember, it doesn’t matter what other people think and hard work always pays off.

” You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up instead of tearing each other down”

Community Over Competition

So, how do you embrace competition? Ask yourself what this means to you?
Community over competition means acknowledging that the whole point of life is *not* to be “the best” at anything, really, beyond being the best YOU. It means using your time to serve others via what you do best, lifting them up even higher than you’ve been lifted yourself. Building others up does not bring you down. Helping someone out does not inherently hurt you. Light only gets brighter by being shared.

” Find your tribe. Love them hard”

Community Over Competition + Blogging

Embrace your community like its your job because in a way, it is. As bloggers our whole schtick is to create a supportive online community. Give of yourself expecting nothing in return. Don’t expect people to follow you back, or exactly reciprocate whatever you do for them. That’s NOT relationship building – that’s mooching and trying to manipulate the system. It’s fake. And at the end of the day…it’s useless.

Long term growth and success only comes from genuine giving – building genuine relationships. Friendships built solely on tit for tat things, I hate to break it to ya: will not pass the test of time.

I would rather put in the effort and time to be a person with real, lasting friendships, and a real, genuine community, whose journey takes a little longer, than someone lacking friends and lacking community who “arrives” much faster than I do.

Community over competition means giving, giving, giving, knowing that karma uuuuusually comes full circle, but not expecting her to right this very second. By helping others you can simultaneously grow into your bigger, better, best self.

” In a world full of look at me girls be a come with me girl “


( Babes supporting babes sweater worn by me can be purchased here. Boss Babe sweater worn by Nikolina – Owner and Maker behind Pacific Knot can be purchased at Minted Method Shop. Arm knit blankets are coming soon to Pacific Knot and you can check her out on IG here in the mean time)

Thank you to the amazing babes that have welcomed me into their community. I am blessed and beyond honoured to call you my friends. Some of you have even become more like family. Stay kind and continue to celebrate each others successes without questioning our own. Cheers babes!

xo

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Frannie + Lilo Interview

Not Just a Shirt, a Motherhood Movement

Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with two amazing mama’s Francesca Brunsden and Lysanne Louter. These strong and inspiring ladies are the founders of Frannie + Lilo. In honour of October being International SIDS, Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness month I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to these two special and very brave ladies. They are totally killing this motherhood boss babe thing.

Francesca and Lysanne have both struggled with child loss, depression, anxiety, and post-tramatic stress disorder. They met in a prenatal class and quickly became friends when they had their baby boys Bodie & Finn 10 days apart.

Francesca is originally from Britain and now lives in Toronto. She is a queen-crafter, hair stylist and one brave bad ass mama. After her first miscarriage, Francesca’s son Phoenix was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at 24 weeks in utero. A condition that is often “incompatible with life”. After 15 hours of labour — and against all odds — Phoenix was born alive. He lived for 5 hours in his mothers loving arms. That day marked the beginning of a journey through grief that may never be over. Phoenix’s younger brother Bodie was born almost exactly one year after his due date. Bodie’s birth was a gift that has helped Francesca find her voice and passion again. Through Frannie + Lilo she hopes to raise money to support other mamas faced with this kind of tragedy. Click here to read Francescas full story on losing her son Phoenix.

Lysanne also lives in Toronto. She is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and one sincere, caring mama. After witnessing the horrific aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed 1100 people in Bangladesh Lysanne decided she wanted to start her own made-in-Canada clothing line. Lysanne was overcome with nightmares, panic attacks and deep depression for years after meeting the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy. When her son Finnley was born her depression returned. It wasn’t until she began working on Frannie + Lilo did she imagine a way to move forward and turn her experiences into something positive for other moms.

Together their mission is to raise awareness about childloss, miscarriage, postpartum mood disorders and fight the taboo of disgussing these traumatic experiences. Knowing first hand how difficult motherhood can be they would like to support women wherever they are in their motherhood journey.  Inspired by the brave mamas they meet everyday. Inspired by each of their stories of child loss, miscarriage and struggles with depression and anxiety. They are making a difference in others lives by sharing their stories and empowering women to be proud mamas.

Frannie + Lilo began in July 2017 and is based out of Toronto. All shirts are ethical, eco-conscious, designed and made in Canada. The company was started to help support mamas in need. A portion of every shirt sold is donated to five different child loss and postpartum charities. We The Mamas is not just a t-shirt it’s a motherhood movement.

I asked Francesca and Lysanne these questions:

  1. What is the inspiration behind your design?
    Designs are inspired by all the brave women and mamas out there who struggle every day to take care of themselves and their beautiful families.
  2. Who do you look up to?
    Our mothers and grandmothers for teaching us unconditional love and patience.
  3. What does your ideal Saturday look like?
    Our ideal Saturday would start with an early morning run along the beach. Then we would pick up breakfast sandwiches and coffee and take Bodie and Finn to the park to play. The boys would have a nice long afternoon nap while we worked for a couple of hours. In the evening, we would make dinner with our husbands, put the boys to bed, and watch Netflix.
  4. What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
    Lysanne: I wanted to be a journalist and a photographer because I felt I saw things differently than most people and wanted to help make a difference in people’s lives.
    Francesca: I wanted to compete with England’s Olympic swim team because I loved the water and wanted to inspire other young girls to swim.
  5. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
    Lysanne: Vanilla dip donuts with rainbow sprinkles
    Francesca: Reality TV shows
 (both these ladies are seriously speaking to my heart right now)
  6. What three things make you happiest in the world?
    Lysanne: Spending time with family, walking my dog on the beach and helping people.
    Francesca: Watching my son learn new things, spending time with family from abroad and traveling.
  7. Fill in the blanks:
    We believe… Being a mother is the hardest and best job in the world
    We love it when… Our boys do something they couldn’t do yesterday
    Words you live by are … 
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Important dates & Statistics:

  • October 2017 is International SIDS, Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Month
  • October 9th-15th, 2017 is Infant Loss Week
  • October 15th, 2017 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
  • One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage
  • Up to 25% of mothers face some kind of postpartum depression or anxiety

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know these incredible mamas as much as I have. I would like to say thank you to Francesca and Lysanne for sharing so much of yourselves with me and everyone following along. If you would like to follow along with these two check them out on all their social media channels linked below: Facebook– www.facebook.com/wethemamas/
Instagram- www.instagram.com/wethemamas/
Twitter – www.twitter.com/wethemamas/
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/wethemamas/

Shop the entire collection here. Sign up for their newsletter and save 15% of your purchase and for the month of October receive free shipping!

Motherhood is something I myself am extremely thankful for. Being a mom brings out the best parts of myself and it’s all because of these boys. Check out all three of us below wearing our shirts to support these mamas and their cause. To anyone out there struggling with any kind of loss or trauma please always remember you are not alone, you are strong, you are beautiful and there is always someone you can turn to.

xo

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Top 3 Trendy AF Kicks Your Babe Needs Like Now!

Little Bipsy Conor High Tops

Okay you guys we just got our first pair of these amazing kicks and lemme tell you they are the best fricken shoes everrrrrr. The new rubber soles make for easy walking and give new walkers stability and balance. They have elastic laces - um hello! smartest idea ever - have you tried keeping a baby still long enough to tie shoes? It doesn't happen. These elastic laces also make them super easy to get on and off for mom and sometimes dad. The velcro strap at the top is basically the icing on the cake because this keeps the shoe on babes foot so they don't slide on and off.  I would hate to get home from somewhere and realize we had lost a shoe. If this hasn't happened to you yet, it's most likely going to but not with these kicks! Lastly I need to just say how cute they look! A basic black shoe is never ever going out of style and works with every single outfit, every single time. Now all I need to hear is that they will be expanding their sizes so I can put these shoes on Cruz until he's 20. Then the kid can buy his own shoes, right?

Minted Method Shop Aigle Rain Boots

These boots are made for walking and that's just what they'll do... through every single puddle, wet field, muddy pumpkin patch you name it these are going through it. If I can be completely honest up until last year I pretty much hated the way rain boots looked. I was always the solo Vancouverite wearing anything but rain boots until I got my first pair. Legit dry feet for our 9 months of straight rain pour & never slipping into a wet pair of shoes again. Obviously with this revelation Cruz had to have his very first pair too. These are definitely the way to go. My older son has a pair of Hunter boots and in comparison I would have to say these Aigle boots from Minted Method Shop actually feel a lot nicer and seem better in quality. They are easy to slide on and off so no fuss needed and the stripe detail makes them look way cuter too. Click that button below to shop these boots!

Pretty Brave Electric Boots

Coolest looking shoes ever. Those of you who know me know I am slightly obsessed with bolts so the second we saw these boots it was love at first sight. I knew they had to be mine, ok well Cruz's. The distinct side elastic lighting bolt gives these boots an edgy cool factor that basically justifies throwing practicalities out the door but with these you don't even have to. The rubber sole and leather boot make these durable for all those wet & cool fall days outdoors. There's a convenient side zipper making them easy to put on and take off. Pretty Brave also makes all of their boots chemical free which is really important to me when dressing my kids. JTLYK before buying these bad ass boots, get ready for all the compliments because everyone that has seen these on Cruz has gone crazayyy over them and honestly I don't blame them at all. If you are local you can shop these boots at one of our fav baby boutiques Little Nest & Co. (Linked below)

Our seal of approval

Cruz and I fully approve of all three pairs of killer baby/toddler shoes and know you won't be disappointed with any or all of them. If the hubs asks if babes really needed them just say we said yes.  So when you grab them or if you already own them drop me a message or tag us on ig (@adventuresofcruz) and tell us what you love about them! I'd love to hear from you. If you still need convincing you can check out Cruz rocking them all over our insta feed because these are easily our favs and always get picked first.

ps. none of the links above are affiliate links these are just products and shops we genuinely love and think you will too.

xo

 

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