Mom tips on how to make healthy and tasty choices for a first time foodie on the go!

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Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and PC Organics Baby and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.

As a mom to 3 little vegan babies, and a Certified Plant-Based Holistic Nutritionist (CHN), when it comes to food for my littles I place a lot of focus around finding quality ingredients, but I also always want to make sure that meals that are still fun to eat!

A common question I get as a mom raising plant-based babies, is how do you make the food fun and tasty?  No, my kids do not live off of hemp seeds, raw veggies and smashed avocado (although they do love all those things!)  They probably eat quite similar to your little ones as well.

No matter your families dietary requirements, when starting your LO on solids you want to focus on high-quality food choices, but again you do not have to sacrifice nutrition for flavour or convenience.  So here are my tips on how to make healthy choices for a first time foodie on the go!

1. Chose foods that have their own packaging

These foods travel well, are quick to grab, and I have even been known to pull into a grocery store and grab an avocado if I forgot to pack food for my LO.  These items are perfect because they have their own packaging, so they can live in your purse without going bad for a couple of days.  Along with this, these are soft foods that are easy to smash or be handheld if you are doing 'baby led weaning'!

Some of my favourite options are:

  • avocados
  • bananas
  • peaches
  • kiwi

2. Use Home Made Squeezies

Make your own smoothies, or purees and bring them on the go.  This way you can ensure you, that baby is getting the foods you want, and in a pinch, you can even toss something as simple as applesauce in your own squeezie pack!

3. Pre-bake muffins or healthy green pancakes

This is a great option if you can do this before you head out the door.  I usually make a few batches of mini quinoa muffins or monster pancakes (I used spinach puree for the wicked green colour) and freeze them.  I then can pop out a few into a cloth travel bag for easy on the go meals for babe.

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4. Finger foods like PC® Organics™ Baby Foods

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I love bringing foods that are not only healthy and yummy for baby, but all moms know that things like rice cakes and cheerios are time passers for babies practicing picking up finger foods with their newly developed pincer grasp! A favourite in our home is actually some of the delicious and organic options you can find from PC® Organics™.  These finger goods are also quick and convenient for mom to pack and bring along! The best part is that the New PC® Organics™ products are packed with balanced nutrition and flavour for your self-feeding little one. Also, PC® Organics™ Baby Food is 100 percent certified to Canadian organic standards. It’s healthy, it’s tasty and it’s easy for busy, but health nut moms like me!

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Making introducing solids fun for baby - with Plant-Based Options! | #PlaytexMoms 

Recently, I’ve heard moms asking how they can switch out dairy and meat for more plant-based options when they are introducing foods to babe.  So  #ForBetterBeginnings around starting solids. I thought I would give 5 tips for making starting mealtime with baby easy, fun and also include some plant-based options!

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1. Have Fun!  Choose mealtime plates, bowls, and spoons that are colourful and fun!  Your little one will be so excited that they finally get to join the big people at meal time, this is the icing on the cake.  Make sure when you are selecting cutlery for first-time feeders to choose a spoon with a Soft tip, which is gentle on baby’s delicate gums and teeth.  All of my littles have just loved the Playtex® Infant Spoons, which also features a flat soft edge- that make it easy to wipe food off little mouths.

2. Try different textures.  When you are ready to feed baby more than one item at meal time, focus on different textures, and move away from only feeding purees.  This is key to do before your little one loses interest in learning to chew and swallow solid foods.  We like to use the Playtex® Mealtime Use 3 Ways Plate.  It keeps the different textures separate and transfers easily to a fridge if not all the food is finished.

3. Let your baby feed themselves. YES this will be messy, yes it will take longer, but it is so much fun, and SO cute to watch! Your little one is full of curiosity now, so let them explore what it feels like to hold the spoons, squish the foods in their hands or even rub it all over their face!  

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4. Get creative.  Protein and fat do not have to come from meat and dairy sources.  You can toss chia seeds or hemp seeds into your baby's food.  You can also sprinkle ground flax seeds into a bowl of smashed avocado.  Beans, lentils, and peas are other amazing sources of easily digestible protein.

5. Drink Water! Make sure to have your baby sipping water once solids are introduced.  This will help prevent constipation!  Malachi has loved the Playtex® Sipsters® Stage 1 Soft Spout Cup because he can use the handles to hold his sippy cup all by himself!  

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So those are my tips for introducing solids with plant-based options, share yours in the comments below!

xo

Melissa

Certified Holistic Health Coach- Plant Based Nutritionist

3rd Times A Charm ... The Best Bottle For A Stay At Home Working Mama! #Forbetterbeginnings

It never dawned on me that with my third baby, things that I was good at with baby one and two, I might not be as good at, or even successful with the third time around. That saying, “third times a charm", rings a bell, however with this little guy, he had is own agenda.  

Each baby truly is so different, and nothing could be more true with our third.  After a high risk pregnancy, a premature birth, and a short stint in the NICU, my little man arrived home calm, and happy to be here!  He slept, ate and cuddled like clock work and this mama had felt like she hit the jackpot.  With a previous GERD baby, and one COLIC baby, my husband and I were expecting it to be way different.  However, while baby was rather easy, my milk production and breast feeding was not.

My milk came in late, and because he was premature I had to pump around the clock.  Along with that, while in the NICU he was being supplemented via NG tube every three hours so his blood sugars would not crash.   

When we were finally released he was nursing just fine, and things seemed perfect.  However, as each week passed he hit rapid growth spurts, and my milk could not keep up.  I knew as a third time mom what I needed to do, I just wanted my baby to be fed and happy.

I turned to the bottles which I trusted for all of my children.  7 years ago with my colic son (in image below) we used the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners. He loved those bottles, and mama felt the same way.  I also loved using the Playtex Baby™ VentAire®, which has a unique  Anti-Colic Bottom Vent helps prevent air ingestion for less gas, spit-up and fussiness! (Once you have had a colic baby you know just how important this is!)

I also looked to Playtex Baby for the soothers, because in the NICU all the babies are given soothers.  So I made sure to transition him to a Playtex® Ortho-Pro® Pacifier which was perfect for his tiny mouth.

 

I knew with the sterile liners, it was one less step for mommy and daddy when prepping bottles.  Daddy also felt more confident at just how easy it was to pop in a liner and have a bottle ready to go right away.

As a busy working mom of three, only needing to sterile nipples quickly in the microwave, is one reason I found the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners so much more convenient. 

 Along with that, because I am a working mama, my babe joins us on filming days, in meetings or comes along for road trips.  Instead of having to pack a handful of bulky bottles, the liners allow me to only bring one nurser bottle, a baggie of sterile nipples and a few liners!  Easy!

Having a colic baby in the past I have dealt with the gassy bubbles a well!  This was another reason why we loved the PlaytexBaby™ Nurser® bottle.  With the liners, we are able to push all the air out of the bottle, meaning no air was getting into our little ones tummy.

Lastly, as a third time mom I knew that giving the other two children opportunities to share in special moments like feeding the baby would be key to making a happy transition once the baby arrived.   

One of the tips we received on our social media, when asking how to help our youngest adjust to a new baby- was to let her feed him.  This was an amazing idea, as you can see in our vlog below- she just LOVED that chance when she got to feed her little baby brother.

Oh, actually I have one more reason why I loved having baby on the bottle.  It meant that mama could actually get some down time or a break because now anyone could help with the feeds!  Mamas, if this is baby one for you, I can’t tell you just how important that is (and how amazing it feels).

xo

Melissa

#Forbetterbeginnings

#PlaytexMOMS

If you are looking for a bottle to help with colic or that are super easy to use (especially for hubby) you can find them here:

·         Nurser Bottles amazon.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/ivr3

·         Nurser Bottles toysrus.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/f38m

·         Nurser Bottles walmart.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/6sd5

·         Nurser Bottles playtexbaby.cahttp://tr4ckit.com/4wot

·         Soothers amazon.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/k68i

·         Soothers playtexbaby.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/lclg

 

 

Our family tradition, the Gingerbread house!

Okay moms, it is officially December.  If you follow Vanessa and I, then you know we are both OBSESSED with all things Christmas.  Our elves arrived first thing on December 1st, and yes, our tree was already up and decorated in November!

When the month of festivities arrives, we have a tradition to map out all the things we want to do! Like watch Elf & Home Alone, go see Santa, drive through the festival of lights, and of course, make our family Gingerbread house!

Remember, when you're creating anything with little ones, it's all about the process not the outcome. So expect taste testing, and sampling when you create any type of gingerbread house. 

We just loved the Gingerbread house kit we tried from Sobeys, for many reasons. Firstly, this was the easiest one we have put together to date.  The instructions were simple, with pictures so the littles could follow along, and 'tell mommy what to do". 

The icing held the house together perfectly (no slipping) and it even fixed the crack! 

Want to see all our fun? Check out the video!!

The littles loved the unique cartoon characters that were included (Santa and a snowman) along with a wreath for the front door!

The best part of our Christmas gingerbread home was... eating it of course! Plus the cookies and goodies were fresh and yummy for sampling.   I think they were both surprised when I let them chow down on Santa and Frosty (after we got a few snaps first).

If you are looking for a fun, stressless activity to do with your kiddies over the holidays, this is for sure one that I recommend! Not only can you purchase these kits at a Sobeys near you, Sobeys has thought of it all- the are hosting gingerbread house building workshops through December for only $6.99!  That includes the house, icing and unlimited (let me repeat that.. UNLIMITED) candy to decorate with in-store and take home.  Hello mama, can you say leave the mess to someone else, score!

So get out your own December list of "Fun Things To Do", and add this to it for sure! If you make one from Sobeys like we did, make sure to share your pictures on social media with Sobeys and use the hashtag #MADEBYME

 

Must have baby items, every mom needs to know about!

As two moms with 5 children between us (and one on the way) we know a lot about what you do and what you do NOT need in the first year of your babes life.  So we compiled a list, and featured some of our favourite products on a recent segment of our talk show, "Vanessa + Melissa". Watch the segment to hear just why we loved these items, and click on the images below for for information on each.

What are some of your must have items, share them in the comments below!

xo

V+M

Phil & Ted Dash Double Stroller

Ollie Swaddle

Playtex® VentAire® Bottle Set 

Kleynimals

DockATot

Lorena Canals Machine-Washable Rugs

Best Baby Gifts For The New Mom

As two seasoned moms, we're quite confident that we know what a new mom will need once her baby arrives. Although, we have to admit, before we became moms, this was not the case. Admittedly, we both purchased some very unpractical baby gifts in the past, because we thought they were cute. We still feel like we need to apologize to our older sisters and a few friends for some of the silly gifts we bought. At least we had good intentions. In hindsight, small frilly undies for a new mom, who just gave birth, probably wasn't the best gift. Whoops! Was just trying to let her know I was thinking of her, when everyone was focused on the baby. Or that ridiculously poofy dress, with a ton of crunchy bows I bought for a newborn. Pretty sure that was never worn.

With this is mind, we've happily partnered with Playtex Baby, to share our top baby gift ideas that we know any new mom would love, need and appreciate.

Have a look at these perfect bundle packages Playtex Baby have created. With an excellent variety of products, you're covering so many of Moms needs with her baby, and that's what it's all about, right?   

Right now at Babies "R" US Canada, between Sept 30th – Oct 31st if you spend $40 or more (before tax) on Playtex Baby products (Diaper Genie products excluded) you get a $10 gift card to use in store or online!

So moms or moms to be, send this to your family and friends so that they know exactly what to get for you and the new babe!

Go to: www.babiesrus.ca/PlaytexBabyGifts for all the details!

My Baby Won’t Stop Growing!

This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Carter's | OshKosh #CartersComingSoon sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

I guess it's a good thing that my baby is growing like a weed, but I just can't believe twelve weeks have passed since I gave birth to this amazing little babe. It almost feels like the birth was a dream at this point. Isn't it funny how that happens? The details become a blur and we tend to remember the glorious moment of the baby's arrival, over the intense and painful labour. 

And then life with babe begins. It's so incredible the amount of changes babies go through in the first year of life. Already from day 1 to now, Minnie has grown and developed so much. Every day she's doing something new: smiling, grasping small rattles and dangling toys, laughing and now pushing up on her tummy.

I know I shouldn't say it, but so far I've been blessed with a good sleeper. She LOVES her sleep and l love getting her all cozy each night in a onesie plus sleeper, from Carter's | OshKosh.

Last week Melissa and I went on a shopping trip to Carter's | OshKosh with our littles to stock up on sleepers, onesies, summer gear and newborn clothes. Since Minnie is growing so much, I literally go shopping every few weeks to keep up with her. My shopping is all about quality, affordability and style of course. Melissa's sister just had a baby girl, so Melissa was all about the cutesy newborn outfits. 

Speaking of summer, since Minnie won't even be 6 months (so… no sunscreen) by the time summer hits, it's so important that I keep her precious skin out of the sun and protected. We also found the cutest sun hats, sunglasses, plus adorable bathing suits and swim shirts with SPF. Swim shirts are an absolute MUST for my fair babes.

Now that the weather is heating up, it's the perfect time to get your kids summer gear organized. Have a peek at our shopping trip to Carter's | OshKosh! BTW, normally shopping with kids is traumatic, but there is always a kids movie playing in the Carter's | OshKosh store. They also have toys and a nursing room, so trust us, you can bring the kids with less drama than a normal shopping trip. Yay!

P.S...Some exciting news to share! Carter's | OshKosh is throwing a baby shower for one lucky new mom or mom-to-be at each of their new store locations from now until the end of the year. They're opening a whole bunch of new stores. Each winner will get a $250 gift card, a complementary in-store baby shower and prizes for 10 of her closest friends. Sounds amazing, right?!
                        Click here to enter #CartersComingSoon

                      Click here to enter #CartersComingSoon

Keep an eye on the Carter’s | OshKosh Facebook page to see when even more new locations are added to the contest!

5 Fun Finds

If you're anything like us, we're always looking for fun, functional and affordable things that make our lives easier. 

So stay tuned, as we start regularly sharing our fun finds, that we know you'll just love! This week's finds are convenient, fun, and include a great activity to introduce your kids to gardening, by creating their very own vegetable garden.

1. Travel Perfume Bottle

Last month we travelled to L.A. and we all know that traveling with liquids is now a thing of the past (unless its frozen breast milk LOL).  Our favourite drug store has lots of options for little containers to bring shampoos, conditioners and creams, but what about perfume?  We got you covered. Check out this fab little new product, that you can actually transfer your favourite scent into.  No waste, or overbearing smells. Through its unique pumping system, it pumps the perfume directly into your carrying container! This is a must have for any travel moms! We used it, and just loved how easy it was!

2. Thermacell Lantern: Get LOST MosquitoEs!

Vanessa and I both love to entertain outdoors in the summer months, but right around 7 or 8pm those pesky mosquitoes arrive. Let's be honest, mosquitoes are a pain and can end a party. Introducing.. the Thermacell Lantern. Not only does it deter mosquitoes, black flies, and other little pests, they look great!  The lantern uses butane to heat a repellent pad to evenly and effectively vaporize a repellent in the air that biting bugs really HATE!  It does not kill insects, just repels them, and the lanterns are EPA approved!

 http://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/mosquito-repeller-lanterns

http://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/mosquito-repeller-lanterns

3. Kid friendly GPS System

We're not trying to scare you with this one, we promise. But we have to admit, we were intrigued when we heard about it. We're talking about a GPS tracking system for your littles. Personally, this is not something that we would use everyday, but there are times we certainly would. Have you ever been to a packed amusement park with a bunch of crazy kids? Even crowded malls, or a school field trip. Not Your Child, is a new GPS tracking system that your little one can wear on their belt or on a lanyard under their shirt. You can even place it discreetly in their knapsack. This system will immediately notify you if your child is going over a certain speed (ex. in a car they should not be in) or is trackable to their exact location if they get lost (can you say Disney?!)  We recommend this for mama's doing solo travels, day trips, or even camping!

4. Get Ready For Sleepovers with Camp Nana Papa

Summer is the best time for camp outs and sleep overs, but for some little ones a night away from mom and dad can be more scary than fun! That's why we LOVE the Camp Nana Papa book, that includes a firefly stuffy (that has a night light in it!) The story focuses on sibling love, and their special relationship with Nana and Papa. A beautiful read for kids of all ages, and prepares your babes for a night away from mommy and daddy. You might even get a date night with this one! www.campnanapapa.com

5. Self Watering Planter

Okay, so admittedly neither of us have a green thumb. However, we value the importance of teaching our children about food sources. Kids love learning about the earth and where all our food comes from. We just love the self-watering planter we discovered from Lee Valley. In addition to having fun, creating and growing their very own veggie garden, this is excellent way to support healthy eating. Not only is it the perfect way to get kids started in the garden, but the planter can actually can be left for up to three days, cause we know how busy life gets. But don't forget to teach the kids about watering.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=74022&cat=2,51603

YOU CAN SEE HOW THE SELF WATERING PLANTER FROM CEDARCRAFT WORKS IN OUR SEGMENT WITH HGTV HOST CARSON ARTHUR

We hope you like this week's finds.

xo

Vanessa + Melissa

Gluten Free Chickpea Apple Cookies

As if cookies could get any healthier!?  This week on " COOKING WITH SOUL" we are baking cookies with chickpeas, which means protein, fibre and with the apples in it, this is a sweet treat that the kiddies wont even guess that you hid all that goodness inside!!! SCORE!
AND...of course as always, we are having a blast in the kitchen with little Miss Soul, who has lots to dish out!

How to raise a veggie lover!

With Palatetraining

Vanessa and I both love our veggies, but we will be the first to admit that our kids don't!

We know how hard it can be to get little ones to eat the greens, so we scoured the internet for someone who was doing it right!  Dr. Laura Lefkowitz, is an M.D. out of Florida and  specializes in nutrition.  She's taught us so much! Did you know that the baby palate is developed while in the womb? Or that you should never mix veggies and fruit in the same meal?  Well, take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy this video, because we know it will help you raise a veggie lover!

TIPS FROM DR. LAURA

Top 3 rules of Palatetraining are:

1) Always start non-sweet Vegetables, then Sweet Vegetable, and finally fruit.

2) Never Mix Fruits and Vegetables.  You can mix Vegetables with grains and Fruit with grains or avocado, but never mask the taste of vegetables with fruit.

3) Serve every puree/food independently on a flat sectioned plate (like pain on a painter’s palette) and aim for 2-3 different colored food at each meal.  i.e. green peas, orange sweet potato, and yellow squash. or  Green zucchini, purple potato, and orange butternut squash.

For more information on Dr. Laura Lefkowitz:

How We Were Charmed by Little Charmers

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Not so long ago, we were drawn into the world of Charmville, where we found 3 adorable Little Charmers-In-Training; Hazel, Poise & Lavender, each one with her own magical powers.  These girls bring the meaning of true friendship to life. If you haven't had a chance to watch this fun, sassy, sparkletastic show, aimed towards preschool girls ages 3-5 (although our sons like it too!), you can catch it on Treehouse TV. Through their magical misadventures, the Charmers quickly learn that true friendship, teamwork and self-confidence can overcome whatever mayhem their magic creates. Another great lesson they learn, is that even though they have magical powers they realize they don't have to rely on magic to solve or overcome every problem or difficulty they encounter.      

So let's introduce these Charmers:

Firstly, we have Hazel. Hazel is the lead charmer with the most magical power. She's a fearless, curious, pint-size go getter who flies (leaps) before she looks. We can all related to having a little Hazel amongst us, are we right? Her magic wand adds even more sparkle to her big heart and passion for friendship, and don't forget her mysterious cat, Seven. 

Then we have Posie. Think Phoebe from friends, but the sweet child version. Posie is a "spellerina" who can come up with spells for any occasion with a harmonious song and dance you'll describe as sweet and quirky. She is accompanied by her magical flute-wand and pet Owl (named Treble). They're a real hoot! 

Lastly, but certainly not least we have Lavender. Lavender is  a "potionista" in training, and a "fashionista" at heart. Her funky potion bottle wand helps stir up the perfect potions...and outfits too. We can only dream! ;-) Lavender is adored by her friends for her patience, honesty and Flare (her goofy but adorable baby dragon). 

These 3 Little Charmers live in a magical land called Charmville, surrounded by fairies, leprechauns, ogres and more. 

We loved this show from the minute we were introduced to it. Here's why; there are many shows out there marketed towards pre-school and elementary aged school girls and boys, and many of the characters in those shows just aren't very nice to each other. They're often cruel, judgemental, rude, inappropriately dressed for the age that's watching them, and just all around a bad example. 

 As Moms, we love the messaging and thoughtfulness, behind each episode of Little Charmers. Teamwork, kindness, learning from mistakes, true friendship and good intentions. These Charmers are learning to put their magical powers to good use, and send positive messages to the children watching the show. 

We had a chance to meet the Producers and Creative Artists, behind this wonderful series Co-produced by Spin Master & Nelvana, at the Corus head office, in Toronto.  Take a look at the video:

Our little ones have just fallen in love with this wonderful TV show, so we are going to be throwing them a little "Potion (tea) Party" with a magical twist! We can't wait to share all the magical details with you, so stay tuned! 

We're going to show you just how easy it is for you to host your own Little Charmers, Potion Party and enter the fantastical, magical, sparkletastic world of Charmville.  

Your kids can continue the magic with the full Spin Master toy line up available at: http://www.toysrus.ca

xo

Vanessa + Melissa 

Favourite Baby Stores

By: Nicole Leger

When I found out I was pregnant in May of last year, it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. It now feels like centuries ago that I scanned through the aisles of Toys “R” Us desperately trying to figure out what I would need. As I gained experience with my own baby (and read a ridiculous amount of articles online), I started buying items that I thought were practical but also items that caught my attention because they were unique. Stores such as Carter’s, Gap Toys “R” Us, etc., have a great selection of items but sometimes you just want baby items that you can’t find in the big box stores. Luckily, the Internet has made it incredibly easy to find the cutest and unique baby products and has allowed me to do so while supporting Canadian business owners, many of them mamas themselves. When I was asked to write a post for Diapers & Lipgloss, I jumped at the chance. I had spent countless hours browsing through websites and Facebook pages over the last 7 ½ months to find the cutest baby items and I was excited to share the amazing Canadian creations I had found. 

So without further ado, let me introduce you to five of my favourite baby items.

#1 Maxaloones

One of the biggest issues I experienced with the clothes I received at my baby showers is that my little one always seems to be between sizes. It would be so nice to have pants that could adjust, I thought to myself. Fortunately, after many web searches, I discovered pants called maxaloones. These pants offer a huge range in size. This is due to the stretchiness of the fabric used and due to the waist and leg cuffs that can be folded or unfolded as the child grows. These pants are often marketed to mamas who use cloth diapers since regular pants are not usually big enough to comfortably fit over the cloth diaper. This doesn’t mean these pants don’t look just as good on babies who wear disposable diapers. 

There are many vendors who sell such pants but Sew Hip Designs and Pure Colour Baby caught my attention due to their cute patterns.

Sew Hip Design
Victoria, British Columbia
Cost: Maxaloons from 3M to 12t, $34.80 and 12M to 4t, $39.80
Where to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SewHipDesignsCA

Kate Coles, owner of Sew Hip Design, has always has a passion for sewing. As with many mom entrepreneurs, she started out by making unique clothes for her two boys. Friends were drawn to her designs, then, friends of friends, and from there the business blossomed. All Sew Hip items are made from 100% organic cotton and feature unique and custom printed designs. They have two sizes for most pants: Baby (3m-12m) and Toddler (12m-4t). The best part? These pants get softer as baby wears and lives in them. I love clothes that is made to last! 

The grey Maxaloones with anchors are my favourite but I really do love all the designs.

Pure Colour Baby
Kingston, Ontario
Cost: Miniloones, $32 and Maxaloones, $38
Where to purchase: http://purecolourbaby.com/  

I first heard about Pure Colour Baby when I was shopping at a local craft market. The fun and modern prints caught my attention and I knew I had to reach out to Lindsay Down, the owner, to feature her shop. Her desire to start this business originated from the lack of modern, stylish and well-made baby items on the mass market. Lindsay had sewn home decor items for many years but her children inspired her to create this beautiful line of clothing. The most popular items on Pure Colour Baby’s website are the maxaloones, harem pants and slouchy beanies for the Fall/Winter season. 
I purchased the camping bear maxaloones for my little guy and was amazed at the quality of the pants. They are incredibly soft and although they are a little big right now around the waist (my mini is tiny for his age), I can easily adjust the pants to fit the length of his legs.

#2 Night lights

Veille sur toi
Montreal, Quebec
Cost: $44

Where to purchase: http://www.veillesurtoi.com

As a child, I was terrified of the dark. I remember always having a night light in my room but they were always so boring. If only Veille sur toi had existed back then. Veille sur toi, which means watch over you in French, produces the cutest glass nightlights you will ever see. In fact, Karine Foisy’s creations are so memorable that she won a contest that pitted her against the best Etsy shop owners from Quebec. Additionally, one of her nightlights can be seen in the movie Southpaw featuring Jake Gyllenhal. How cool is that! I know I am not the only one who has fallen in love with her many adorable designs. 

I knew I had to purchase the fox nightlight as soon as I saw it as it matched the décor in my son’s room perfectly. At night, the nightlight provides the perfect amount of light for late night feedings and diaper changes. During the day, it is the perfect piece of artwork for my little one’s room.

#3 Teething Necklaces and Accessories

Teething necklaces have been a lifesaver for me over the past couple of months even though my 7½ month old has yet to start teething. I am still adapting to life as a mom and at times I’m not always on top of things. I have so many things to pack when I leave the house. Inevitably, I always forget something to keep my baby occupied. Luckily, teething necklaces allow me to always have a toy within arms reach. These necklaces have been useful when trying to keep my little monkey busy while nursing and during diaper changes (seriously, he refuses to stay still while I change his diaper). They have also allowed me to wear jewelry again. I had given up wearing necklaces as my little guy kept ripping them off my neck. 

This category was difficult to put together. There are three teething jewelry companies that I absolutely adore and I couldn’t leave any of them out. These shops feature non-toxic silicone accessories that are safe for kids, with proper adult supervision of course. All necklaces feature a breakaway safety clasp, are washable with soap and water, or if you’re like me and never seem to get dishes done, they are also dishwasher safe. 

Loulou Lollipop Finery, Vancouver, Canada 

Cost: Necklaces priced between $24.64 and $36.96; Donut Teether is $34.22

Where to buy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/louloulollipopfinery

Loulou Lollipop Finery was founded by two sisters, Eleanor and Angel. Eleanor, an interior designer, was working crazy hours every day in her previous job. After having her first baby, Eleanor realized this wasn’t in line with the family life she wanted, so she decided to stay home with her baby. The idea of creating a line of teething accessories came to her in 2014 as she was searching for accessories to wear that were safe to chew and tug while still being stylish. It was only in April 2015 that Loulou Lollipop Finery was finally created. 

Loulou Lollipop Finery offers beautiful and stylish teethers, bangles and necklaces in set designs and also provides the option to customize products to suit any taste. My favourite items from this shop are the Grace teething necklace, which I bought to match my favourite Boob Design nursing sweater dress, and the Donut Teether, which is a Loulou Lollipop Finery original design.

Glitter and Spice
Vancouver, British Columbia
Cost: Necklaces priced between $27 and $40; Cookie Teether is $34
Where to buy: http://www.glitterandspice.ca

Glitter and Spice was created by Lorene Mah’s desire to find a stylish, chic and safe necklace for her child. While she did not experience any teething issues with her first child, it was a different story with the second. Her initial searches for fashionable teething accessories had been disappointing and she took it upon herself to create a line of fashion forward teething products. Since opening her shop in March 2015, she has enjoyed enormous success. Her products have caught the attention of several trendy fashion magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue U.K. and Glamour U.K. Not to mention she was invited to the Emmy’s Gifting Suite to show off her gorgeous designs. What an accomplishment! 

My favourite products include the Laurel and Olivia necklaces, as well as the Cookie Teether. I purchased the Laurel necklace to wear at a wedding. The necklace did not disappoint. It suited my formal dress perfectly and also helped my little one keep quiet during the entire ceremony! He was the last baby standing and I couldn’t have done it without Glitter and Spice’s gorgeous necklace. 

Mini Chic
Montreal, Quebec
Cost: necklaces are priced between $20 to $28
Where to buy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/minichicaccessoires

Mini Chic, owned by Joy Delgado, was the first company I discovered when I was looking for a teething necklace. Similarly to Glitter and Spice and Loulou Lollipop Finery, Joy was not satisfied with the teething products available to her. She wanted to create products that would meet her needs, as well as those of her baby’s. Passionate about DYI projects and everything that involves maternity, Joy created a colourful line of teething accessories that would be sure to please any mom’s taste. It was love at first sight with one of her designs and to this day, the necklace I purchased from Mini Chic remains my son’s favourite teething item. The variety of colours and bead shapes helped distract my son over the course of a two-week trip to Prince Edward Island this summer and kept his little hands busy during the 13-hour drive. 

#4 Knitted hats 

Princesse Zhibou
Quebec, Quebec
Cost: hats are typically priced between $32 and $36
Where to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/princessezhibou

 

There are few products that have gotten me as excited as the beautiful creations in the Princesse Zhibou shop, owned by Sophy Gill. I wish I could be a kid again so I could beg my parents to buy me a hat in each of the animal designs. Sophy’s passion for knitting and crochet began shortly before finding out she was pregnant.  Her first projects were blankets and hats for her little one on the way and eventually her business grew beyond that. Her objective is to create cute items that both parents and kids can appreciate and she has definitely succeeded in doing so. The hats she sells come in a variety of sizes (0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-24 months, 2-4 years, 5-10 years) but would be perfect to gift to an expectant mama for baby pictures. Although the animal hats caught my attention the most, she also makes hats and clothing for adults, scarves, stuffed animals, personalized blankets, and other items upon request. 

Sophy was kind enough to send me a hat for my little guy to test out. Picking out my favourite animal hat was such a difficult task. I ended up choosing the Koala due to the neutral colours but I honestly loved them all. I was even more impressed not only by the quality of the hat but also that the picture on the etsy shop was an accurate representation of the product I received. 

#5 Babywearing hoodie

Belly Bedaine
St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
Cost: 84$

Where to purchase: Find a Belly Bédaine retailer near you (look for one with an English name if you want to order in English) or shop directly from their online boutique (French only).

When I was shopping for registry items, I never thought that a baby carrier would be one of my most treasured items. My carrier has helped me keep my sanity while caring for a colicky baby. My dilemma was that my little guy was during the winter months and the weather made it difficult to go outside. What was I to do? Belly Bedaine’s babywearing sweater was the solution. This sweater is perfect for the chilly Canadian Fall or Spring weather and is available in black or grey and in sizes XS to XXL (sizes 3XL and 4XL available upon request),

I love this sweater not only because it is designed and made in Quebec but because it is so versatile. It can be used as a standalone sweater without the baby by cinching the opening, as a nursing sweater and as a babywearing sweater with the use of a baby carrier. It is perfect for wearing for both a front and back carry and looks great worn either way. There’s even a version available with a pocket at the front and the back for mamas with twins or two young children. The material is perfect for keeping both you and your little one cozy and the side zipper allows you easily put the sweater on or to take it off. 

You can follow Nicole:

Instagram: @nicole_emma25

Twitter: @_nicole_emma

 

 

Introducing Fur Babies to a New Baby

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My husband and I welcomed our third baby, Miia, into our family in January 2015. Our first baby, Dublin, is a Jack Russel / Chihuahua / Beagle mix and our second baby, Sally, is a street dog from Mexico who we adopted through T.E.A.M. Dog Rescue.  We always knew our first baby was not fond of human babies as we experienced a few scary situations (scary as in biting tots, yikes is right) and we weren’t quite sure how our second baby would fare. She came from the streets and probably never interacted with human babies. So, we had quite the challenge ahead of us. We read a bunch of books, researched websites and watched a few good Caesar Milan episodes and we felt prepared. Note that, if it failed, we (luckily) had TWO families (mine and my husband’s) that were willing to adopt our pups until human baby grew to human size but we obviously didn’t want it to come to that.  
So here it goes, a list of all the things we did for our fur babies, pre and post human baby arrival.  

1)    TUMMY TIME: No, not that kind. I put the pups on my belly ALL THE TIME. I let them nap there, listen to the heart beat and get all warm and cozy around my belly. I talked to them about what was in there and how awesome it was going to be when he/she arrived. I made sure that they never jumped on my belly or got too excited around that area. My belly became our chill zone.  
2)    OUR NEW HOUSE: We got the pups used to the new things in the house: the stroller, the crib, the playpen – all the places human baby would be hanging out. Who knows if this really made a difference but it was fun to talk to the dogs as if they totally knew what was going on.  
3)    SMELLS, SMELLS AND MORE SMELLS: We brought blankets and clothes home from the hospital and let the fur babies sleep with them. Note: Miia was born 7 weeks early and we spent 5 weeks in the NICU so we had A LOT of time to get the pups used to her new baby smells.   
4)    THE BIG INTRODUCTION: So this is a really important one. When we brought human baby into the house, we made sure the fur babies knew that they were still important and loved.  So Dad held the baby while Mom said hello and held and pet the pups. And then Dad gave the baby to Mom and paid attention to the pups. 
5)    BRIBERY: In this particular case, I was all about the bribery. When the pups behaved well around human baby, we rewarded them with treats. We also just gave them treats whenever they were close to the baby so that they would start to associate treats with human baby … which brings me to my next point. 
6)    ALL GOOD THINGS: We associated all good things with human baby. Walks, cuddles, treats, playtime. If you do this, your dog will start to think, a- ha, this baby ain’t so bad, good things happen when we’re around this little person.    
7)    HELLO! EVERY MORNING: Every morning, to this day, I bring Miia downstairs and say “Hello!” to the pups individually. She is at the age where she recognizes them and tries to pet them and pull on their ears. I stress the word “gentle” to both the fur babies and the human baby during this interaction.  
8)    TRUST: Trust them, like 90% of the way. Never trust them 100%. They are animals. All of them. Lol.  
9)    LOVE YOUR DOGS: Love your dogs. Shower them in love. Make sure they know that no matter what happens in life, they will always be important and loved. 

Now for the burning question: Did this work for us? Well … for our street mutt, Sally, yes. She was an instant lover and protector of human baby. Dublin on the other hand HATED her. HE HATED HER. He would lunge at her and growl and snarl at her. I walked around the house constantly on guard, stressed and, well, sad. I couldn’t take it anymore so after a week of hell, we sent both dogs up to the in-laws for a few weeks. Dublin was happy to be away from human baby and was spoiled and loved by the in-laws. Then we would go there for visits (with human baby) and love him and spoil him. We brought him home again a few weeks later and something miraculous happened. I sat on the couch to nurse Miia and he sat beside me. He just chilled there for a minute and then he gave her a kiss on her little tiny foot. I could finally breathe. Now, I actually have to pull him off of her because he loves kissing her so much.

I’m not sure why there was such a drastic turnaround but I think Dublin finally realized that he wasn’t being replaced, that he would be loved unconditionally … and that this baby wasn’t going anywhere. 
I guess, sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much you read and research and train and bribe and preach and scold or praise.  Sometimes, the only answer is love. 

Guest Blog Post
Author: Joline Matika-Raty

A contribution from Joline Matika-Raty – Group Account Director at kbs+ (http://www.kbsp.ca/wp/), event coordinator at T.E.A.M. Dog Rescue (http://teamdogrescue.org/), social media and community manager of Mama Raty’s Authentic Finnish Meat Pies (https://www.facebook.com/mamaraty), wife, and mama of three*. Joline shares her funny and insightful experience introducing her little baby Miia to her two fur babies, Dublin and Sally. Follow Joline on Instagram at @jolinematikaraty. 

 

 

 

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Some of our favourite items and Back-To-School ideas...

A few weeks ago we got the chance, along with some other mommy bloggers, to attend a great back-to-school event. We met some fabulous brands and received some goodies for mommies, the kiddies and the entire family. Perfect timing, as we head back into school season!

We love all these products so much, we wanted to share with you.Take a look! You can click on any of the images to go directly to their websites! :)

Back to school means, muddy play grounds, glue in hair and paint all over! Oh the joys of being a kid again! Both Vanessa and Melissa LOVE The Honest Company, and well.ca just announced that you can now purchase all Honest products to be shipped within Canada!  So bath time can be clean, pure and natural, while still getting rid of all those grimy school germs!  

We were SO excited to learn about #NetNanny! We both have little ones who are starting to learn about the internet and the NetNanny is here to save the day and save your nerves about them using the internet.  The 'Net can be scary.

Net Nanny® is the #1-rated parental controls software that protects your family from pornographyonline predatorscyberbullying, and much more, keeping your family safe online.

Okay mamas! We know that our babes are just starting JK, but now is the time to be thinking about their future!  Did you know that without even putting money into an RESP account, by simply starting one, the government actually puts money in to get you started!  This is one company we think that all mommies and daddies should look into!

Let's talk READING, because it is so important, yet we both realize how hard it can be to get your kids to sit down and read.  We were both so excited when we saw the amazing leveled readers by National Geographic for Kids and all the super interesting books that are a part of the collection! This will be a new addition to our family's reading library!

Label everything (said every mom!) Because we all know what it is like to go and buy a bunch of new supplies for school, then to have it all lost within the first few months!  So we went online and purchased our kids these adorable and easy to use Mabel's Labels.  Check out our Periscope video, where we purchased our labels LIVE to show moms just how quick and easy it is!

School is just around the corner and some of our kiddos might need a little extra help, or you might just want some extra help to stay ahead of the game. Whatever your needs are, Prep Academy tutors have the answer for you!  All Prep Academy Tutors are Ontario Certified Teachers, providing the highest quality teaching and tutoring. They work around your schedule, to help make sure your kiddies are ready and feeling confident in their school work. 

We love Staples for many reasons! Their hilarious commercials that play every year right around Back-to-School, reminding us that the time is near!  We also love how they have stylish, fun, and thoughtful school items for children of all ages!  Definitely a fantastic store to find lots of great  back-to-school supplies!

Let's not forget about schedules and how they rule our daily lives throughout the school year. There are a ton of programs, after school activities, events and more, that moms and dads need to remember! We got a chance to try out this amazing Calendar/Agenda from De Ja Vous .  What we liked the most about this cool calendar, is the detachable plastic cover that you can re-use every month.  You can stick regular activities (such as Hockey 6pm, Tuesdays or Mortgage Due 24th) that happen every month on it, so that you do not have to re-write the same items every month! Talk about easy and convenient!