The Perfect Cozy Blanket

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Who doesn’t love climbing into bed, or cozying up on the couch after a long day with a warm blanket and a good TV show or book? The Blanket Shoppe has the perfect blankets for just that, and they’re completely customizable too!

Based in Toronto and made with yarn crafted in Canada, these quality blankets are soft, warm and durable and the perfect size for your little one.

 

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The Blanket Shoppe offers a huge selection of designs, languages and a choice of 18 colours to mix and match to make your blanket perfect for you. They are also open to any ideas and creative suggestions to work with you on making your blanket exactly what you want it to be.

 

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From fire trucks to hearts, and everything in between, you’re bound to find and create the perfect blanket for your little at The Blanket Shoppe. Nothing beats warm, snuggly, quality, and personalized Canadian made coziness. They make great gifts too!

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How The Zen Sack Changed Bed Time

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My oldest son was always an amazing night time sleeper. At 11 weeks, he was fed, changed, snuggled and put to bed and would consecutively sleep through the night. (day time naps weren’t quite so successful)

Oakley, at 19 weeks, has slept through the night already on several occasions-but as for making it a daily occurrence, that has yet to happen.

Oakley loves touch, loves to be snuggled and cozy and loves being held. I’m not a personal fan of co-sleeping, as it just doesn’t work for our family, and so I needed a solution.

 

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I’d seen Nested Bean’s Zen Sack on other blog sites and mama run Instagram accounts-and it peaked my curiosity.

With it’s lightly weighted pad (that cute little chick on the chest) and a plush upper panel, it simulates the pressure of your touch, which for a baby like Oakley, was perfect.

With adjustable shoulder tabs and a two way zipper system, these cozy, soft sleep sacks are functional, warm and come in a variety of super cute prints and colours. And as an extra little tidbit, if you have a babe that enjoys sleeping on their tummy-just simply flip the sack around so that the weight is on their back.

The sack is also available in swaddle form for those tiny one’s who aren’t quite ready to have their arms free.

We now have a much more rested little dude, and mama. 😉

 

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And lucky for us in the this great country of Canada, Nested Bean now has a site created just for us!

Cozy up over to their great new Canadian site here and enjoy free shipping on orders over $60.00 CDN and be sure to use the code PR-CANADA15 at check out to enjoy 15% off your order!

This post was sponsored by Nested Bean with an exchange of product for my honest opinion.

We Love Gray & J

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We love supporting small, Canadian, mama run shops and Gray and J is one of them.

 

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Run by beautiful mama, Ashley Chapman, and named after her two littles, Grayson and Jordyn,  Gray and J is where you want to look if you’re looking for cute, one of kind accessories and apparel  for any stylish littles in your life. From bandana bibs, slouch hats, girls headbands, knotted beanies or infinity scarves, like the one pictured on Ryker, Ashley makes it all with amazing skill and quality.

 

Ashley has graciously offered my readers 15% off your first purchase- just use the code  SHOPSMALL15 at check out. Link to her store is below. Trust us when we say, you will love Ashley and her products as much as we do!

 

Please go visit her Etsy shop here

Back to School Essentials

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My baby boy is starting kindergarten this fall. Cue the ugly tears. He’s only going to be 3.5 years old since he’s a December baby, but as much as it’s bittersweet watching him grow up so fast, I’m also really excited for him.

He’s a little social butterfly and wicked smart, so I think school is going to be good for him. And I wanted him to look forward to it, and be excited about going-so why not have fun with picking out some fun and cool things that are all his own to take along each day?

 

Mabel’s Labels

We went with the best of the best when it came to choosing labels for all of Ryker’s school things. Mabel’s Labels have been around since 2003 and were created by Canadian mom’s, which makes me love them even more. Not only are they dishwasher and microwave safe, but waterproof and completely customizable. We chose the rocket ships-but you can choose your own here.

 

Go Green Lunch Box

Most schools in our area are big on promoting a litter less lunch, which I think is an awesome idea, as it makes sense not only environmentally, but cost wise as well, when you eliminate constantly having to buy brown paper bags, plastic wrap and Ziplocs. Ryker is a big eater, and as much as we found other bento style, fun lunch boxes, the Go Green was the best choice for us. With each compartment individually sealed, I can throw in some of his favourite Rolling Meadows Dairy Greek Yogurt and not worry about it making his sandwich, or crackers and hummus soggy. Added bonus, it comes with a cute, insulated lunch bag that has a white board for messages, as well as an gel ice pack and stainless steel water bottle. Find them here.

 

Parkland Design and Manufacturing Backpack

I first came across Parkland backpacks at Indigo when Ryker was about 1.5 years old and I was looking for a backpack to use instead of a diaper bag. We bought a camo print one that held up great after two years of being drug around, that he still uses on sleepovers to the grandparents house or day trips. When this space obsessed kid saw the cool rocket ship print one while back to school shopping, we knew it was time for an upgrade. Not too big and not too small, with comfy, padded straps, they’re perfect for starting school.

 

Re-play Snack Containers

This little guys are awesome. They hold a substantial amount of munchies, and you’re able to stack them together to save on space in the knapsack. Made from recycled milk jugs that are BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, melamine,and phthalate free, and available in a variety of fun and bright colours, they’re durable and dishwasher safe. Find them here

 

Hope you all have a safe and happy new school year!

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter and Jam Pancakes feat. Rolling Meadow Dairy

I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with dairy.

Growing up, I ate it with no problems on cereal, in recipes or a yummy bowl of yogurt or ice cream-to no ill effects. But I noticed as I got closer to puberty, I was becoming more sensitive to it with stomach upsets and unmentionable bathroom visits. So I began to just strategically avoid it as best as possible.

When R was born, I was unsuccessful with breastfeeding-so we ended up bottle feeding him. Very quickly we noticed he began showing obvious signs of a lactose sensitivity and made the choice to put him onto a lactose free formula-and had great success with it.

When he turned 1, we attempted cows milk to the discover the same lactose sensitivity he’d had as a newborn. Soy products made me nervous and we tried goat milk with some positive results, but ultimately ended up choosing to have him on nut milks as they were the easiest to come by and the most affordable.

While researching the best alternatives for R to have, I also unfortunately discovered the downside to the dairy industry. Cows kept in tiny stalls, fed processed feed, pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones (this is somewhat better controlled and monitored in Canada then in the US) and just living a miserable existence hooked up to pumps daily. It bothered me to find out that a food group so widely consumed was not being run very ethically.

We ended up deciding to just eliminate dairy entirely from our home.

R has never been a picky eater, and ate a wide variety of fruits and veggies and whole grains, yet we always struggled with his protein in take as he was not an avid meat eater and seemed to have a distaste for eggs.

Diving into the world of nutrition, it kept leading me back to dairy. There’s no doubt that dairy offers a growing body a lot nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin A-and as much as we enjoyed trying the vegan lifestyle-I’m a huge believer in eating balanced and clean, as opposed to eliminating certain foods from your diet.

But the ethics behind the dairy industry still bothered me.

That’s when I came upon Rolling Meadows Dairy. A company made up of farmers from Southwestern Ontario, the milk is 100% Canadian and from happy, healthy cows that graze on pasture as long as our weather allows-and then are fed stored grasses throughout the winter.

Grass fed dairy is not only higher in Omega 3 (up to 300% compared to non grass fed), but also CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a naturally occurring fat with numerous health benefits) and easier to digest. It is also milked from cows that live the way a cow should, grazing and munching on pasture for as long as the weather permits, and treated with nothing but love and respect.

Check out our yummy recipe below for peanut butter and jam pancakes featuring ingredients from Rolling Meadow Dairy.

Peanut Butter and Jam Pancakes (batter recipe courtesy of Tasty with our personality added to make it our own)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2cup sliced strawberries

Mix milk, egg and peanut butter in a bowl and whisk until blended. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl, then blend with peanut butter mixture-whisking until smooth. Ladle batter into a greased pan. Place strawberry slices into batter in pan. Flip and fry until cooked through. Top with maple syrup or topping of your choice and enjoy!

Zoocchini Organic Cotton Underwear 

I see London, I see France, I see super cute, organic cotton underpants.

Zoocchini, an awesome brand of children’s products, ranging from hats and backpacks, to wash cloths and underwear-really abide by their motto of being beautifully different. Promoting a love of animals, nature and colour, the company only uses materials that are BPA, phthalate and lead free and strictly work with manufacturers that abide by their same precise standards.

 

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Made with super soft, organic cotton, these boys boxer shorts are not only incredibly comfortable to wear, but also bright and whimsical-and easily help my 3 year old determine front from back with quirky little friends printed on the bum.

While sized a little generously, the fit is comfortable and loose and they’re easy for independent potty goers to pull on and off, while the elastic still maintains it’s shape.

If you’re looking for quality, fun products for your little one, I encourage you to visit Zoocchini’s official web site to find these adorable boxer shorts, and all the other amazing products they have to offer.

This post was my honest opinion in exchange for product.

Squeasy Gear

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This post is my honest opinion in exchange for product.

 

I hate plastics. I try to avoid them as often as I possibly can (although they seem to control the world), especially when buying products for my boys. So when searching for an easy-to-take-along, non plastic water bottle that wasn’t quite as costly as stainless steel or glass, I was delighted to discover the Squeasy Gear Snacker and Squeasy Gear Sport 100% food grade silicone squeeze bottles.

 

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These bottles are seriously the best. Not only are they fun to drink from because you can squeeze and squish them, but they’re also leak free, incredibly easy to clean with no small parts, and can be used for purees, apple sauce and yogurt as well-making them that much more versatile.

 

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The Squeasy Snacker is 6 ounces, and I’ve loved using it for quick snacks in the car or for after parkour class or trips to the beach. They’re quick and easy to fill with whichever squeezable snack you choose, and won’t soak up the water from melted ice in a cooler. These will be a staple for snacking while we’re camping this summer.

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The Squeasy Sport is 16 ounces, and we’ve absolutely loved using this one strictly for drinks, especially in the hot summer heat. It’s a must have for us to take along on any day trip as it holds a perfect amount of liquid for my older son, and because it’s fun to drink from really encourages him to drink a lot more water. The added bonus of it being silicone, is that when you do choose to put juice in them, the bottle won’t stain or absorb the smell.

 

Squeasy Gear bottles are now available in Canada at Wal Mart, or online at Squeasy Gear’s official web site.

GoumiKids

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This post was written with my 100% honest opinion in exchange for product.

 

 

Working in the children’s retail industry and in child care, I’ve seen a lot of different children’s clothing brands. Some are certainly cute, but the quality isn’t there. Some of it isn’t exactly my personal style but is functional and well made-and some of it, well, some is just plain ugly and cheap.

When I had my boys, I didn’t realize how much enjoyment I’d get out of dressing them in not only clothing I felt was top quality, but clothes that were cute and functional.

Enter Goumikids!

I was first introduced to Goumikids when I started working at my current job at a local baby boutique. A company started by two mom’s who were friends in high school, both on a mission to find scratch mittens for their wee little babes that would actually stay on, they created their Goumimitt. From there came their booties, hats, preemie mitts, Jamms and ‘Alls.

I fell in love with their super soft, bamboo and organic cotton Jamms for Oakley’s first outfit in the hospital. (pictured on him in photo above).

Not only did this classic style infant gown make those first diaper changes easier, but it was handy to have his teeny new toes kept warm, but also at easy access for when the nurses came around to unfortunately prick his heels for the required newborn screening. The other feature I loved about the Jamms was the built in Goumimitts ; with a high contrast pattern on one side, to help stimulate brain and eye development, and to keep his hands covered and germ free when being held by visiting family.

We’re excited to try the next stage up, in the Goumi ‘Alls-with pant legs that convert to toes-free for plenty of wiggle time, a super cute bum flap to make night time changes easier and the same built in mitts as the gown.

An added bonus to shopping with Goumikids, aside from all the bamboo softness-is they have a line called GoumiGiving-where 100% of the profits accumulated from purchases of that specific print, and 10% of their entire profits go to organizations against human trafficking, such as Solid Ground International.

If you want small, purposeful, organic and superior quality made baby essentials from a company that loves to give back, I strongly urge you to check out Goumikids.

 

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Oakley’s Birth Story

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I’m not one who believes in birth plans. I didn’t with the birth of my first son, Ryker, three and a half years ago, and I didn’t with Oakley. I didn’t want to get my mind set on having things go a certain way and then be frustrated or disappointed when they didn’t.

Child birth is not a predictable thing-at all. I learned that my first time. With Ryker, I was induced due to some minor issues with high blood pressure. Part of me was ok with being induced-it gave me the satisfaction of knowing when he was going to make his entrance-but part of me was somewhat disappointed I wasn’t going to experience natural labour. To keep the story short, the birth was quick; to the point that my husband almost missed it. On top of that, the nursing staff I had were somewhat cold and unsupportive, we had some scares with baby having low blood sugars and gagging on mucus, and a complete lack of breastfeeding support-among a few other things.

 

This time we chose to be under the care of the amazing Barrie Midwives. And what an amazing choice that was.

I was due on May 21-but after getting through the day without even experiencing anything birth related, I went to bed somewhat disappointed that I seemed to be ending up going overdue. Unlike my first pregnancy, this one was rough on me. I was sick through most of it, suffered through a lot of back pain and acid reflux, and was just exhausted. Being pregnant and caring for an incredibly active 3 year old was a lot different then being pregnant with your first.

 

The morning of May 22, after getting a much better sleep then I had in months, I was awoken around 7:20 am with some stinging, consistent, what I assumed to be cramps-as to be completely honest, felt like I simply had to use the facilities. I lay in bed for a few minutes, riding a few out and trying not to get my hopes up that they actually meant anything. Yet they seemed to be coming steadily every ten minutes. Hauling myself out of bed, I tried seeing if I was able to get any relief, but seeing as they still continued coming-I started feeling that little flutter of excitement that maybe something was finally happening.

With my husband Ryan and Ryker still sleeping, I tried to see if I could get some extra sleep too, but that wasn’t meant to be. Ryker, unfortunately, is a morning person like myself, and within five minutes of me lying back down, he was calling for me to come take the baby gate down from his bedroom door, because as he puts it “the sun is up on my clock, Mommy.” (darn you, Gro Clock). As I got up to get him started for the day-changing pull-ups to underwear and heading down the stairs to let our dogs into the backyard-I realized the cramps were still very much coming frequently.

 

Ryan followed down the stairs about ten minutes later, to find me leaning over the kitchen counter in the middle of prepping Ryker’s breakfast- as the contractions were slowly starting to intensify, but weren’t coming anymore frequent. He asked me if he should be going into work that day, or if I felt like this was the big event and that he should be staying home. I sent him to work. The contractions were strong, but between them I felt perfectly at ease, and I knew they weren’t coming close enough together to think that things were going to start happening soon.

Reluctantly, he left, after I promised him that after I finished with breakfast, Ryker and I would get packed up and head over to my parents home across town, and closer to the hospital-so that in the event that something was to happen, I was with someone and there was someone able to care for Ryker.

I arrived at my childhood home with Ryker and hospital bags in tow around 10:30 am, still experiencing contractions that were refusing to come any closer together. My mom distracted Ryker with activities to do, while I rested on the couch and tried to time the length and the frequency of the contractions. They had moved to being now eight minutes apart, and I called my midwife, who advised to call her when they began coming closer to five minutes apart.

 

We hung out, ate lunch, chatted. Around 12:45 pm my mom went to bring Ryker for a nap-and that’s when things changed-and quickly. My contractions went from being eight minutes apart, to having three intense ones within ten minutes. When my mom came back down, I told her I needed to call my midwife again cause something was happening. Getting a hold of Andy, my midwife, she knew right away from the sound of my voice-and told me to meet her at the hospital as soon as I could to be assessed. Ambling around, the pressure was there, but I managed to collect my things and leave Ryker’s things with my dad, get into my mom’s car, and get a hold of Ryan to tell him to start heading home because we were heading to the hospital.

Arriving at the hospital, we headed up to the birthing unit and I was given a temporary admittance as I met up with Andy, and my other midwife Amy, to be assessed. Things were calm and we chatted amongst ourselves as the midwives did their jobs. Much to my mine and my mom’s surprise, I was already fully dilated and baby was right there, ready to make his entrance-yet my water was still intact. Andy told me if they broke my water now, or my water decided to break on it’s own-baby was going to be here quite quickly. We chose to ride it out until they either broke on their own or to break them when Ryan arrived.

 

 

In the hour or so before Ryan was able to make it, my birth photographer Amy (who also did our Fresh 48 session) arrived, and the group of us women enjoyed each other’s company-laughing, chatting, pausing for contractions here and there. A smoothie for me, coffee and tea for others. Things were so light and fun that we had nurses commenting they didn’t believe I was fully dilated, as my mom, Amy and walked laps around the birthing unit hallways. Pausing for a few contractions, Ryan soon arrived and I waddled back to the room with him-ready to get things on the move.

Having come straight from his job site-and me forgetting his change of clothes in our vehicle at my parents home-Ryan was given the full doctor get up-minus the work boots of course. We were ready to go.

 

 

Andy wasn’t wrong, that once they broke my water-things began moving quickly. Trying several different positions, to try and get comfortable, I ultimately ended upon my back again, as my contractions began to slow down. My uterus was tiring out- and our little man wasn’t out yet. After a quick examination, it was discovered my waters hadn’t broken all the way, and after they were broken again, things began to progress again- for a short time.

As it turns out, baby was deciding to come out with his arm in a Superman pose beside his head-making it extra difficult to get him out. On top of now having a tired uterus again, with contractions quickly disappearing-the muscles in my right leg kept seizing and my hip was locking, causing extra pain on top of labour. I was exhausted, nauseous and felt defeated.

But with the encouragement and support of my amazing team, husband, and mother- after several more excruciating pushes- our little superhero entered the world at 6:21 pm.

 

Welcome to the world, Oakley Willem Jakob! We couldn’t imagine life without you!

A huge thank you goes out to our amazing team from the Barrie Midwives-don’t know where I would’ve been without you ladies. And to Amy from Amy D Photography-you’re a rare talent and a true pleasure to have around.

 

A Meeting of Brothers

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Boy crazy. My mom and dad always told me that’s what I was growing up. I liked boys-hanging out with them, crushing on them, bantering with them. I wasn’t a tom boy, per say-but I’ve never been super feminine or girly either.

 

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So, when we found out at our 20 week ultrasound that baby number two was going to be a boy, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Not only was I going to be a mom again, but I officially got to claim the status of boy mama-and how awesome is that?!?

 

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We knew we wanted someone to capture the first moments our boys met each other, so we went on a hunt for a local photographer who did Fresh 48 sessions. On a referral from the wonderful talent, Lauren (see our post on her amazing photography with our maternity pictures), I met Amy for a juice date at RIPE, and knew immediately she was the one we needed to hire.

 

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Amy is a not only an incredibly talented photographer, but a genuine and kind soul, a person you really want to get to know-and a true joy to work with. She went above and beyond capturing these treasured moments for our family-and is someone we now consider a friend. (I also love the fact that she happens to be a boy mama herself. )

 

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If you live in the Barrie area and are looking for a true and genuine talent to capture your family’s moments, please check Amy D Photography out. You can find her on her website here. You will love her as much as we do, I promise.

 

 

My floral robe is courtesy of Pink Blush Maternity. A special thank you to Royal Victoria Hospital and the Barrie Midwives for the excellent care we received. All photos taken by Amy D Photography-and be sure to check back for Oakley’s Birth Story, featuring more stunning photography from Amy.