Modern Rascals

checkout_logo_4_600x (1)

Business Highlight 

This blog post is sponsored and I have been compensated for my time and work put into this piece, the opinions are honest and true to my beliefs.  

36

 

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen Modern Rascals mentioned in my posts, stories, highlights, and IGTV videos. My relationship with Jana and this amazing local business that she owns is on a customer basis, personal basis (we have commonality and passion about business and all things early development) and business. Jana trusted me only a few months ago to take over her Modern Rascals Instagram account and speak to her audience and customers all about my beliefs and expertise with open ended toys and loose parts in regards to early learning and development.

 

 

When I decided it was time to start growing Amadeo’s, Grimm’s ( https://modernrascals.ca/collections/grimms ) and Grapat ( https://modernrascals.ca/collections/grapat ) collection, I wanted to purchase from a Canadian Business, Run by a (bad ass) Woman with ecological and humanitarian ethics behind the brand. Jana- Modern Rascals, checked off all criteria and then some!

 

I asked Jana if she would be willing to share with us her “why”, one of the biggest reasons I rally and support this brand the way I do in this community is Jana herself. She is a kind and caring human being with high standards with the brands she carries from clothing to toys taking into account from the salaries and conditions the makers who creates these beautiful products are in, all the way to how these products will impact and add value for us, her consumers, in a positive way. I’ll never forget she had a question box in her Instagram stories, of ask me anything, while she was passing the time during a tattoo session and I asked, “What do you love most about the products you sell”, to which she responded, “That the workers are making a living wage and the bright rainbow colours make me happy”.

I Absolutely Love that! I’m more then happy to invest in quality toys for my child and support a Canadian business owner who genuinely cares about the impact her company is making on the world the way that Jana does!

Here is Jana’s “Why”

 

jana mr

When my firstborn was little, I cobbled together happy colourful clothes from a variety of big stores. As he got bigger the choices got more gendered and the colours and prints were limited. I wanted clothes to be open-ended (or at the very least not inherently limiting) and so off I went on many late-night google searches. I eventually found bright happy prints in Scandinavian brands like DUNS Sweden and Maxomorra.

Fast forward to a parental leave career change and that moment where I jumped off a cliff and launched Modern Rascals. For the first year we only sold clothes. As we got bigger (and my own kids got bigger) I started looking for the same open-ended and non-limiting choices in toys as well. And let’s face it the toys we carry are just as happy and bright as the clothes that we love 😀


Jana & the Modern Rascals team

Insta: @modernrascals

 

 

To this date Amadeo’s Wooden toy and open-ended toy collection includes these amazing brands purchased from modern rascals:

Grimms : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/grimms

Grapat : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/grapat

Folkmanis : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/folkmanis

Holztiger : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/holztiger

Papoose: https://modernrascals.ca/collections/papoose

Way To Play : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/waytoplay

Wobbel : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/wobbel

Erzi : https://modernrascals.ca/collections/erzi

IMG_9944

When I’m looking at what to purchase in regards to toys for Amadeo, I consider these three things…..

 

1.Safety : This touches on what quality of materials the toys was made out of. Where the toy was produced and what their safety standards and practices are in regards to production of the finale product. Age suitability, I’m a huge believer in more mature play and exposure to toys that may be suitable for older children however safety is always a top priority when thinking of the toys you’d like to offer to your child unsupervised.

2. Life Span : If I’m purchasing a toy especially,  at a higher price point, you best believe it will be open-ended and my child will be playing, exploring and discovering new ways to interact and create with the materials over many years. Spending $120.00 on a Grimms Rainbow that can be played with from birth to 12 years old ( at least) ends up costing you only $10.00 a year! The investment is essentially in the amount of years it will be enjoyed.

3.Will this help my child evolve: Children’s most important work in their early learning and development is accomplished through play.  Investing in open-ended toys will help support your child explore the world, through play.  With play that emphasizes the process or experience rather than the final product children will be able to build on who they are as a person and what interests and makes them happy. This to me is worth ever penny I invest in Amadeo’s Toy collection.

For more on open-ended play and toys visit : https://mylittlelamb.ca/2020/03/28/open-ended-play/

57

When I go through the beautifully designed and incredibly user (  mom brain ) friendly website that is https://modernrascals.ca/ , all of the toys that Jana sources hit my top three credentials of what I look at when I purchase toys, resources and materials either for Amadeo, for my programs or parent and child classes.

What are my Top toy recommendations per age that Modern Rascals sells you ask ……

I created some graphics for when I took over Modern Rascals Instagram account and here they are, keep in mind almost all of these toys, because they open ended will be played with for many years to come not just exclusively for that month.

one month
One Month 
two months
Two Months 
three months
Three Months 
four months
Four Months 
five months
Five Months
six months
Six Months 
seven months
Seven Months 
eight months
Eight Months
nine months
Nine Months 
ten months
Ten Months 
11 months
Eleven Months 
12 months
Twelve Months 
kinder and schoolage
Kinder & School Age 

I put my HUGE stamp of approval on all things Modern Rascals and recommend taking some time to visit their site ( https://modernrascals.ca/ ) to explore their beautiful clothing, reusable’s and extraordinary open ended toy collection!

Because Jana is so amazing she has offered the My Little Lamb community a 10% your entire first toy order with code : MYLITTLELAMB ( this is not affiliated)

Thank you Jana for all that you do in regards to your business!

 

 

Open-ended Play

Open-ended Play

What is it?

How can I provide open-ended play opportunities?

I will be answering and explaining frequently asked questions that I receive about open-ended play in this post.

IMG_9672
Amadeo is exploring the new Lola set we got from Modern Rascals and his Discover castle block set we go from Winners. He spent most of his time stacking ( one of his new skills ) tearing down, and putting the little Lola people in and out of their cylinder homes.

What is Open-ended Play?

I’m going to answer this question as simply and easily as possible, children are naturally curious and explore the world around them through play experiences. This is why experiencing learning through play is so valuable. Open-ended play can be described as play that has no pre-determined limitations, children simply lead with their imagination to allow the play to go in any direction their creativity and interests at that time, takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with open-ended play.

IMG_9643
Amadeo spent most of his play using his whole body to explore and balance on his natural Grimms half circles we got from Modern Rascals. I wanted to create beautiful mandala art but he had other ideas for the play, so I sat back and encouraged the big movements. 

One of the most valuable assets to open-ended play is that its not limited by developmental stages, milestones or ages. How your child explores the world, toys and resources that you provide will be completely controlled and determined by them. Children as they grow, yearn for independence and control, the more open-ended play opportunities available to them the more that will be fulfilled. With play that emphasizes the process or experience rather than the final product children will be able to build on who they are as a person and what interests and makes them happy.

What are the benefits to Open-ended Play?

Providing opportunities for children to lead their own play that supports their early development will have long lasting benefits for your child/children in so many ways.

  1. Helps build confidence and self-esteem; Fear of making mistakes is one of the greatest barriers to learning – adults experience this as well. Open ended play provides a low stress environment where children can take risks. Play is one space where it is safe to make mistakes. This makes play one of the greatest tools for learning. Open ended play can teach children that it is okay to make mistakes, and that making mistakes is one of the most important ways we learn.

2.  Helps build social and emotional intelligence ; As children communicate with one another or parental figures in open ended play, they learn how to read social cues and respond appropriately. They are able to do this because of the low stress environment created by open ended play. Children explore a range of emotions through pretend play, and its a great opportunity to help highlight those and honour those processes throughout. As they express and respond to the emotions expressed by their peers and adults, they develop emotional intelligence.

3. Allows children to teach themselves; when your child/children are playing and exploring, you will see that they are teaching themselves through their play. They will discover physics theories, language, discovery with their senses, the list goes on and on.

IMG_9706
Amadeo is HUGE anything that involves Farm Animals at the moment. We started this play with cars and racing but as he went to get his farm animals from his basket I draped one of his silks over his wobble board and he started placing the animals in the tunnel. As he was placing them I was asking him the name and sound of the animal.  

How can I provide Open-ended Play opportunities ?

My two suggestions to help provide Open-ended Play opportunities more often for your child/children involves which toys, resources, and materials are provided for them to play with as well as environmental and routine changes that can help support open-ended play.

Part 1 ; What kinds of materials and play equipment encourage open-ended play?

Simple materials can provide so many possibilities for developing and fostering your child’s creativity and imagination.  Here are some examples of toys, materials and resources that are considered open-ended. You probably already own many!

Blocks: There’s no one way to play with blocks, making them the perfect foundation for open-ended play. Because there are so many different blocks on the market I recommend starting your child’s collection with blocks that can be versatile and provide many opportunities to explore at different ages and stages.

IMG_6319

IMG_8447
The block sets from Guide Craft are AMAZING for versatility and can grow with your children, they are also professional quality at an amazing price point for parents. 

Play–Doh: Play-Doh is probably already in your home or you can easily whip up a home made batch. Your child can create anything and everything out of Play-Doh that they can think of! I love setting up invitations to play with Play-Doh to help spark the creativity and or set the stage for a theme I would like to introduce, you can also pair it with items that your child’s interested in.

IMG_8651
Adding natural elements to your Play-Doh invitation can be an extra element to the activity as you and your child/children can search for them together. 

 

Small toy vehicles, characters and animal figures : Your child/children can create their own amazing worlds with these kinds of small toys if left to their own devices. I love to create dinner small world, and active world invitations for Amadeo and the children in my programs. Especially if your child/children are older and they aren’t used to playing and creating with their imagination setting up play invitations can be the little spark they need to continue and use their creativity and imagination to continue on the play on their own.

IMG_9663
Amadeo LOVES his farm animal figures, I’ve paired it with the Melissa and doug wooden farm and he spends so much time placing them in and out of the spaces. 

IMG_6107

Boxes, cardboard tubes, empty bottles: Your child/children can build with them, connect them, break them, put things in them … and they’re already sitting in your recycling bin, ready to play!

Sand/ Sensory bases: I’ll use the example of sand, with Amadeo I use kinetic sand in his play invitations because it is the kind of excellent shape-shifter that children will be able to see all sorts of possibilities in.

IMG_6288

IMG_7071

IMG_9681
I set up a turtle habitat invitation to explore for Amadeo with some glass beads. Any time there are potential chocking hazards you need to be supervising at all times. 

Water : Most children LOVE exploring and playing with water and it’s a simple way to foster open-ended play. You can set up intentional opportunities or just know that during bath time they are developing and fostering those imagination and creative juices in their brain. Please be sure to always closely supervise kids when they play with water.

 

Craft materials: Glue, paper, feathers, paint, glitter (the herpes of craft materials lol). Providing these materials with no specific outcome is one of the best ways for open-ended play, creativity and imagination to be fostered.

Part 2 : How can parents encourage open-ended play?

There are lots of ways you can set the stage for this kind of play – and it’s very, very important that you allow child/children to explore and create on their own, as much as possible.

You can help foster open-ended play by:

Scheduling free time: Free time is key, allowing your child to explore with materials and toys in their own time and in their own way.

Reducing screen-time: I’m a believer in having a balance of both, I have screen time and sometimes just the tv playing in the back ground while we do an activity or play in the other room, but finding the balance with your specific, child/ children will be key to helping support their open-ended play opportunities.

Avoiding micro-management: Allow your child the time and space to act out the possibilities of the play and take action – without your help.

Open-ended Play is appropriate for all ages, remember it is providing opportunities for your children to lead their exploration and discovery of what toys, materials, and resources are in front of them.

Happy Playing!

Toy Rotation

Toy Rotation 

IMG_9433
This storage unit is the Ikea Kallax in white. Its perfect for displaying the toys that our out in rotation. Its inviting and less overwhelming for your child, the outcome will be more purposeful exploration and play with their toys.

This has by far been one of the most FAQ and I’m so excited to provide this post as a guiding tool on how you can start implementing toy rotation with your child/children at any age.

What is toy rotation? 

Toy Rotation is the practice of parental regulation of how many toys are accessible to your child/children at one time. The rest of the toys and resources are storage away and in regular intervals swapped out. This helps keep the interest of your child/children play at a high level, which is optimal for behavior management, creativity, imagination and development.

IMG_9460

Where to begin? 

The easiest way to implement toy rotation and being consistent is truly keeping the time of when you swap out the toys as quick and easily as possible, because truly a mothers motto is “I ain’t got time for that”. How to achieve a successful toy rotation is having a organized and easily accessible system for the toys that will be away in storage awaiting to be swapped out.

I wrote a blog post on different ways to implement easy toy storage solutions in your home with different items. Take a look and come back to this page for the next step.

https://mylittlelamb.ca/2019/12/30/easy-toy-storage-solutions/

 

How many toys do I put out at one time?

IMG_9358-2

The toy rotation rule of thumb is 10% of your child/children’s toy collection out and accessible to them at once and 90% away out of sight out of mind.

When I rotate Amadeo’s toys on his Ikea kallax unit, to which he has complete access to ( nothing that is left on this shelf could be unsafe without supervision) there will be 8 individual sets of toys in baskets or displayed in an inviting way in the boxes itself and then top will consist of a couple larger items that don’t fit in the box.

At one time Amadeo has around 11 sets of toys total out in the playroom that are accessible to him to explore and create with.

When you rotate that 10% of your child/children’s toys you are bringing the toys out at different developmental stages, and points of interest, their old toys become new again and more of a novelty. The way they play and explore will most likely evolve and change as well.

IMG_9446

How does Implementing Toy Rotation in our home benefit my child? 

One of the biggest reasons you’re finding that your child is bored of their toys and no longer playing with the majority of them is that by having all of their toys out and accessible at once they become over stimulated and unable to focus on the toy they would like to explore.

Children thrive with new experiences. Usually this is why if you bring your child to a museum, play date or even daycare they are more focused on what they are interacting with an added bonus because they are focused and interested their great behavior goes hand in hand with this. Children’s brains are hardwired to intake information with their senses, when a child is challenged with exploring a new experience or to create and explore something new the brain is creating new pathways of connections in the front end of their brain. It is those changes in the prefrontal cortex during childhood that help with regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems. If they are constantly presented with the same toys or activities they become predictable to your child and that is when they loose interest.

What kinds of toys should be out together at one time?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. How I recommend to approach which items you have accessible to your child during rotations is based primarily on their interest. Sometimes you have to put out a couple different items to see what they are drawn to play and explore.

To start off you can have one set of blocks or building materials, animal figures, a puzzle, cars, dramatic play, loose parts etc. Once you observe and see that maybe your child at that time is more drawn to building you have a couple different options of blocks, maybe a stacking toy, Lego if appropriate to their age etc.

There have been many times that I put out a toy that Amadeo literally doesn’t touch, in that case I try to move it maybe to a different vantage point, if it was in a basket I would try to place it on the shelf by itself to see if he decides to play with it. Even still after my attempts Amadeo still may not touch the toy so that’s when I put it away and will put it back into rotation in a couple weeks.IMG_9467

How do I know when to rotate the toys ?

In a traditional sense of toy rotation you would rotate the toys every couple of weeks, from my perspective and how I recommend rotating the toys that are accessible to your child is purely by their behaviour.

Children will show us with their behaviour if they are interested in playing and exploring with their toys. When they are bored with their toys children usually don’t play with them “as intended”,  engage with the toy for a short amount of time, or don’t touch the toys at all and instead get into other household items to create their own play that interests them more.

IMG_9462

What if my child doesn’t have very many toys to begin with? 

I get asked these questions a lot from parents who are concerned they might not have enough toys to do a toy rotation. I still recommend following the 10% out at a time and 90% away. Less toys around and accessible to your child the better for focus and concentration. too many toys can be overstimulating especially at a young age!

Another thing I recommend to parents who would like to provide more opportunities for exploration and rotate different types of toys more often but don’t have the space to store many toys, to use your cities public toy libraries. Its just like taking out books from a library and its free!

What’s the best way to display toys to help engage my child?

I get asked this question a lot. Having the toys directly on the shelf or in a low basket will be more inviting to your child. They should be able to look at a shelf or into a basket and know exactly what materials and toys are inside to make that split-second decision if its something they would like to play with or not. Having a large bin or basket with many different types of toys is going to overwhelm your child and be less appealing to engage with.

I purchased Amadeo’s baskets at the Dollarama and Walmart a long time ago and haven’t seen them since but I’ve found a couple great options on amazon if you search Montessori toy baskets, many options and price points come up like these.

 

In your opinion what are the benefits to doing a toy rotation with our children?

When you look at the big picture of how a child learns, develops, behaves etc. it all stems back to the environment and routines.

*Implementing a toy rotation will ease behaviours due to your child feeling less overwhelmed and over stimulated with have access, physically and visually in the space.

*Toy rotation will help give a clear picture to your child on where the toys belong, thus making clean up faster and with more ease for you and your child.

*Your child/children’s interest will be clear as you will be able to see what toys your child is gravitating to at that time.

*Toy rotation helps you keep a minimalist approach to your children’s toy collection since you will constantly be cycling through and keeping their current toys new and fresh!

How do I introduce this to my children?

I get a lot of questions of concerns that it may be too late to implement a toy rotation because their child/children have come accustom to having all their toys accessible and aren’t sure how to get their child/children ” on board” with this change.

Explaining what will be happening and getting your children involved (depending on their age) can be beneficial. Having them be involved in the sorting toys and storing them will give them responsibility and ownership in this process. They can help decide which toys they would like to have out and play with.

You can explain that the toys in storage are “resting” or “taking a break” from being played with but make sure you express that the toys aren’t being put away due to punishment.

IMG_7084IMG_9363-3IMG_8893

Will you come to my home and help organize and set the Toy Rotation system? 

I get asked this question on the daily, and if you’re local to Ottawa in the (hopefully) near future I will offer consulting services that would fall under this at an hourly rate. I hope this post will help give you the confidence to implement a toy rotation in your home. Take a step back and know this is suppose to be easy once implemented and we are really bringing things back to the basics for your children’s development, imagination, creativity, emotional well being, and behaviours.

 

 

123 Petits Pas

 

123 Petits Pas 

A local Ottawa business that offers a variety of Parent and Child french educational programs

 

IMG_8983
This blog post is sponsored, however as always my opinions are a true representation of my experience of service. 

 

Last fall Amadeo and I were lucky enough to be invited to attended Mme. Amy’s, 123 Petit Pas Infant French Classes.

IMG_8992

My husband and myself have no french background and like many parents born in the 90s (aging ourselves) french wasn’t pushed as an importance throughout our school educational system like it is today.

I know through my Education in Early Learning that early exposure to song, dance and movement is a wonderful foundation for learning language and conversational skills.

Our hopes are to send Amadeo to school which has a great french program, and in order to do that with my husband and I not being bilingual in French, we knew we needed to have some early exposure to the language for both Amadeo and us. In order get him on the road to being bilingual,  I saw 123 Petit Pas as a great option to help facilitate that dream.

When I attended the classes, to my surprise, there were also many francophone families in attendance. They expressed to me how happy they were to bring their children to an interactive French class with their infants. Since attending Amy’s classes I’m almost hyper aware of how lacking of french toys, literature, resources and classes there are in Ottawa for parents to participate and interact with their children. I know they’re so thankful that they have access to these classes for their children to learn and developed.

Another big difference I noticed was how many Fathers participated in the classes. Its amazing as so many dads are sharing Parental Leave for them to feel comfortable and enjoy interactive activities like this in the city to do with their children!

 

Myself and many other attendees call Mme. Amy , Amy Wiggle. The has the most amazing energy and Ora that just commands the room in such a calm and inviting way. Amadeo LOVED interacting with her and listening to her voice and instruments.

123 Petit Pas offer a wide variety of French Educational classes for all ages. 

IMG_9017

Parent & Infant French (4 – 17 months)

These classes focus on teaching parents action songs, rhymes, and games, that they can use to help introduce the French language to their little ones. With lap & hand games, dancing, toys, puppets, parachutes, and percussion instruments, this class is sure to be a great bonding experience for parents and their infants. The goal of this program is to expose Ottawa’s infants to the French language during an important period of growth, when they are building language pattern connections, in the hopes that it will make their journey towards bilingualism that much easier.

 

Click the link to Find an Infant class : https://123petitspas.com/registration/infant-french-classes/

Parent & Toddler French (18 months – 3 years)

These classes contain sing-alongs, action songs, rhymes, learning centres, and storytime, with a focus on teaching basic French vocabulary. A variety of instruments, puppets, and toys will be included throughout the program to ensure an engaging environment for tots. 123 Petits Pas includes parent involvement in each of their programs, as we strongly believe it is the key to creating a comfortable learning environment for little ones as they take their first few steps towards bilingualism. The goal of this program is to expose Ottawa’s children to the French language at an early age and to help parents learn enough basic vocabulary to continue their education at home.

Click the link to find a Toddler Class : https://123petitspas.com/registration/toddler-french-classes/

 

Parent & Preschooler French (3 – 4 years)

These classes contain sing-alongs, action songs, rhymes, learning centres, and storytime, with a focus on teaching basic French vocabulary. A variety of instruments, puppets, and toys will be included throughout the program to ensure an engaging environment for tots. 123 Petits Pas includes parent involvement in each of their programs, as we strongly believe it is the key to creating a comfortable learning environment for little ones as they take their first few steps towards bilingualism. The goal of this program is to expose Ottawa’s children to the French language at an early age and to help parents learn enough basic vocabulary to continue their education at home.

 

Click the link to find a Preschool Class: https://123petitspas.com/registration/preschooler-french-classes/

Other French Classes

Our goal is to ensure that any child in Ottawa has the opportunity to experience the French language prior to going to school, and that any parent has the opportunity to play a role in their child’s French learning (whether or not they have any prior French knowledge themselves).

As participants, you and your child will learn French through song, movement, sensory play, and educational activities in order to ensure that the learning environment is engaging and encouraging for all.

Classes are divided by age (infant, toddler, or preschooler) in order to cater the activities to the interests and abilities of the specific age groups. Parents attend and actively participate with their child in order to ensure that the learning continues at home as they practice what they learned in class.

Classes also include educational resources to support continued French practice at home.

123 Petit Pas offers French Circles for Daycares, Summer Programs, Primary Programs and Workshops for Parents.

Click the link to see all other Class Opportunities: https://123petitspas.com/other-french-programs/

When you attend the Classes you also as a parent are sent the Lyrics to songs so you can practice at home as well as some French Resources like the one below.  Amadeo’s favourite song which i often sing now is Bonjour, Bonjour, I cant wait to add a lot of these songs with actions to my Circle time at daycare.

unnamed

 

I highly recommend signing you and your child up for a class, I cant wait to attend the Toddler classes with Amadeo in the Near future.

If you have any further questions you can reach out at mylittlelambblog@gmail.com

Merci Mes Amies!

 

Easy Toy Storage Solutions

Easy Toy Storage Solutions

IMG_8893

Before we moved into our currant house, we didn’t have the luxury of a segregated space on our main floor to add a built in for toy storage like the picture above. But good news is that if this isn’t attainable in the current home your living in, you can still achieve organization and implement officiant ways to store your child/children’s toys, in any space.

Step one: Assessing your storage space and needs

IMG_7084

The first thing you have to figure out before you tackle a toy storage overhaul is the needs of the items and the space that you will designate for them.

Get on Pinterest for inspiration and or similar projects that were done in the spaces you have so you can start researching and get excited and motivated for your project!

Example of this is the picture above, I want all of Amadeo’s books to be out on display, and accessible to him for developmental reasons. So I went with having his books in his room and in a open shelving unit from Ikea rather then away in a closet or unit with doors. I also Colour coordinate the spins of the books because a. its so pretty and makes my heart happy and b. it will be easier for Amadeo to put books away. Previous to this I have the books organized by size and every time I had to clean up it took forever and was very frustrating. Having the books colour coordinated make for quick and easy clean up.

storage bins

I get the questions a lot of where and how I store Amadeo’s plush toys. His Stuffed animals and plush toys I store in couple baskets in his room. Some are in open cloth baskets that are easily accessible when we are playing and some are in a wicker basket with lid. The three that we own I have found treasure hunting at Homesense for very reasonable prices.

These two examples are a combination of my preferences of how I want Amadeo’s items to be displayed or accessible to him and the space I have available to me.

Step Two: Figuring out cost associated with optimal storage solutions

Before you commit to falling in love with an idea of how you’d like to store your child/children’s items you need to do a little research after you figure out the space and size of where you are storing the items.

I always recommend if you have smaller storage spaces to work with, skip out on the big expensive Rubbermaid bins and head to the Dollar store and grab clear smaller bins so they can fit on top of each other and create more storage, another plus is you are able to see what your child owns in regards to toys. If your space doesn’t have shelving and you prefer not to invest in a unit, I would recommend larger rubber maids and label them clearly for easy access.

I organize all of Amadeo’s toys and materials in clear bins from the Dollarama and this is what fit into my needs of the space and unit and budget.

IMG_9362
I use the smallest bins for sensory bases, loose parts, magnets, smaller item toys, sorting figures etc. these bins are sold in a set of 3 for $3.00. When I first overhauled his toys I ordered a case 24 units online that was shipped to my home
IMG_9363-3
The 9 L and 15 L bins I use for bigger items, blocks, cars, art supplies etc
IMG_9361-2
Because I have shelving units I dedicate space for baskets, bins, bowls etc that get added in and out of Amadeo’s Toy Rotation

IMG_9365-2IMG_9364-2

I did the math and for all of the small clear containers its cost me around $250 plus taxes and I could probably fit everything ( a little less organized, but it would 100% do the job) into 13 large Rubbermaid bins which average $12 each so almost half the cost. I do have space in my basement to store these toy in larger bins but because I actively do toy rotation, this system allows me to do so quickly and efficiently.

 

Step Three: Know the reasoning behind organizing and storing these items

One of the biggest catalyst for change in behaviour and patterns is motivation and easily implemented systems.

I overhauled my daycares loose parts and art supply cabinets a few years ago because it was getting out of control. pulling out materials and putting them back in a fast pace not much time environment was making for a disaster zone and clean up at least once a week. So I went and bought the bins, we separated and laminated pictures and labeled the contents so it didn’t matter who was taking materials or putting them back they had a full proof easy system to help them do all those steps efficiently.  Still to this day you can open those cupboards at any point and they are perfectly organized!

Motherhood is always fast paced, even on those slower days. We have so many little jobs to do throughout our day and tidying up toys without a good system takes a long time or is extremely frustrating. This system makes it easy for me to implement Toy Rotation in my home. Amadeo has access to 10% of the toys I choose for him to have out so clean up at the end of the day takes no time at all and the storage system allows me to rotate a whole self in less then 10 minutes.

IMG_9366-2

Regardless of the space and the storage system you choose to implement, Toy rotation is key to having your children play and engage with their toys as much as possible before growing out of that developmental stage.

IMG_9358-2

*Stay tuned for an upcoming Toy Rotation Blog Post next week.

Fab Baby Gear Christmas Gift Registry

fabbaby
This is a sponsored post, all that is expressed are my own honest thoughts and opinions. 

Christmas Gift Registry

IMG_8949

Are you worried or concerned about the amount of toys and odds and ends your child/children will be getting as gifts this year for Christmas?

Do you have a clear idea of the types of toys, books, clothing items that your child needs or you prefer to have in your home and lifestyle?

Are you the one who have to go out with your families budgets and do the shopping for your children in a bunch of different stores?

These were all examples of the struggles that you expressed to me with the upcoming holiday gifting that is inevitable.

I feel the same, I have a very clear vision of what I want Amadeo to have to learn, play with, wear, have in the bath, footwear, necessities and extras. I know exactly what Amadeo already owns and I know what brands I prefer to support. I wanted to think of a way that if fun, takes some pressure off of you as a parent, and is super simple and easy for your family and friends to purchase gifts for your child/children if they’d like.

A Christmas Gift Registry

IMG_8979

Do you remember how much fun it can be to go into a store or scroll online and put together that wish list that you know will be perfect for your families needs, well being pregnant as a first time mom I honestly had no clue, I just went with what the experts said. However now I’m in a new territory I have a great sense of what is valuable and helpful as a product, which toys and books I want to have for my child and everything in-between.

I truly believe that children when they are old enough to make a list of “wants” of toys that it should be from their parents and Santa and then the rest be a surprise to them. It helps with the notation that its a gift instead of an expectation, and to be honest what most likely going to happen is those things they SO badly want in November they wont even care for come the spring. I don’t know about you but longevity of play means ALOT to me and I like a toys life span to last longer then a couple months.

You all want to know some of my Christmas recommendations and what better way to show you then my personal registry from one of my favourite Canadian Stores and brands, Fab Baby Gear. So here’s my Christmas Registry filled with some ideas and inspiration so you can go in store or start scanning online just in time for Black Friday sales at the end of the month so yourself, family and friends can get the best bang for their buck!

Follow @fabbabygear on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date on the sales coming up in the near future.

My Christmas Registry: http://fabbabygear.com/apps/giftregistry/registry/86441?limit=100

Books:

When thinking of adding books to your Registry think about your current collection, is it a good time to maybe add some classics that your child will apricate when they are older? Do they have some favourites of a series that you’d like to add to and give more variety ? ( Amadeo is OBSSESED with the never touch a series) These are the favourites I chose and Fab Baby has a BEAUTIFUL selection of books displayed in their store, and even have a couple French to select from!

TRUW3790

Fab Baby Carries this AMAZING line of Magnetic Books in English and French. They are made by Janod and are the perfect item to have during a transition between school and dinner or in-between clean up and a quiet bed time activity, as well they would be PERFECT for traveling with older ones as everything is contained in the box for storage and use. I have the English Alphabet and Moduloform for when Amadeo is older.

 

Toys:

When you are looking for toys to put on your Child/Children’s Christmas Registry I recommend adding items at different price points but still under $50.00 per item. That way it will give a variety of types of toys as well as it will work well with all budgets.

IMG_8892

Fab Baby Gear Carries some amazing toy brands that are some of my Favourites!

Plan toys, Hape, Janod, Btoys, Green toys and some amazing Canadian hand made treasures when you visit in store.

When I think toys I automatically think wooden puzzles, not only are they amazing cognitive tools to help your children develop many different skill sets but the wooden puzzle pieces can be re purposed in play set ups when they are finished using them as puzzle pieces! Fab Baby Gear has an amazing selection of puzzles for all different ages and skill sets.

If you follow me you already know my LOVE for JELLY CATS! Amadeo has a pretty big collection so far, not only are they the softest and sweetest stuffies but they have the funniest corkiest collections that are so unique! There are also mini versions and a Christmas Collection that would be perfect stocking stuffers!

 

Imaginative (dramatic play) Toys are in my opinion where money should be spent. This has been proven to be one of the most important types of play for children developing real life and self help skills. It allows for opportunity to use their creativity and imagination in real life mirrored scenarios. For those with multiple children this type of play is great for building bonds and cooperative play skills. Fab Baby Gear carries beautiful dramatic play set ups and accessories that are amazing quality and sustainable sourced. I have the Green Market for Amadeo, and even though I have put the small wooden food away until he’s a bit older due to safety risks I have substituted for fabric food and so far this is one of his most played with toys!

 

Clothing:

IMG_8814

This section wont get those ouuuus and awwssss from your children butttt clothes are a necessity and I don’t know about you but Amadeo goes like a weed! Amadeo is now in the 24 month and up range so there are no longer awesome hand-me-downs because at that age everything most likely will get some wear and tear to it.

Fab Baby Gear carries my FAVOURITE baby brands. These clothes are AMAZING quality ( they have outlasted Amadeo and all his craziness!) and fit like a dream! So many brands are also Canadian and Canadian made! (can you guess my favourite colours)

 

At some winter boots and accessories in there for some practical fun!

 

Sleep Essentials:

IMG_8931

You always need new sets of cozy jammies, a swaddle or two, blankets, lovies and a sleep sac, Fab Baby Gear carries my favourite brand Kyte Baby and so many other luxurious sleep items for your little ones!

 

Feeding:

IMG_8216 (1)

Fab Baby Gear carries some great feeding accessories for any stage your child is in. Amadeo LOVES his ezpez products and I love the Re-Play products made from recycled milk jugs from the states! (they are also amazing price points and have the most beautiful colours!)

Last but not least my FAVOURITE bath toys!

Amadeo LOVES bath time and playing with his bath toys, I however hate the idea of having bath toys that can’t be cleaned properly and mold and mildew can accumulate, so I LOVE the brands that Fab Baby Gear carries. Our favourites, which we own all of them are all the Boon bath toys! I highly recommend these!

 

IMG_8968

Fab Baby Gear is generously offering all My Little Lamb followers that create their Christmas Registry’s in store,  15% off of one of your registry items.

It was so fun spending time in the store with knowledgeable and friendly staff building up our Christmas Registry with necessities and dreamy wish list items I know Amadeo will cherish.

Happy Shopping Mamas, and don’t forget to check back for those Black Friday Sales!

Winter Sleep Essentials

IMG_8874
This is a Sponsored Blog Post in partnership with Kyte Baby, All Opinions are true, honest and my Own.

I get asked a lot about what Amadeo wears to sleep, during all seasons, but winter is always when I get the most questions! Since Amadeo was a newbie we have always had him in the nested bean swaddle and sleep sacs however my little chunky monkey outgrew those pretty quickly and that’s how I stumbled upon Kyte Baby through the recommendations of you fellow mamas!

If you haven’t come into physical contact with an item from Kyte Baby I must urge you to find a location that sells them and just take some precious moments feeling the insanity that is 97% Bamboo Rayon and 3% spandex. It’s like a cloud! I truly cant find the proper words to describe HOW amazing the material used in their products feel.

Aside from just how luxuriously soft the products are they were actually designed and made with a very important purpose, again why originally they were recommended for me to buy for Amadeo.

The owner and founder of Kyte Baby, Ying Liu, has a daughter who has Chronic Eczema and she found that Bamboo was a cooler material then cotton, fleeces etc , but still would help keep her daughter warm at the same time. This would help prevent flare ups and keep her baby more comfortable during sleep and day time.

Amadeo is lucky, he doesnt have any major skin conditions as of yet, the winter months when the house air is dry and we bundle him up to keep him warm is when his Eczema would flare up. So this year we are being as preventative as possible. He is prepared for these long Canadian Winter months with all his (my) favourite Kyte Gear!

These are my Winter Sleep Essentials all from Kyte Baby!

(don’t forget to join the Kyte club Facebook group for exclusive sales and discounts! https://www.facebook.com/groups/kyteklub/ )

Let’s Talk Sleep Sacs

IMG_8938

Sleep sacs are an important part of our babies safe sleep. They keep them cozy but safe while sleeping and help prevent SIDS ( sudden infant death syndrome) Amadeo has been wearing the Tog 1.0 and Tog 2.5 for the last couple of months and I have to say I’m SOLD!

TOG is a rating system that measures warmth and calculates how quickly a fabric uses heat. It is the standard when choosing the appropriate sleeping bag for your baby depending on the ambient temperature in their nursery. We recommend a thicker tog during cooler months and a thinner size during warmer months.
0.5 TOG: 23 – 26 ?C / 74 – 78 ?F
1.0 TOG: 21 – 23 ?C / 69 – 73 ?F
2.5 TOG: 16 – 20 ?C / 61 – 68 ?F
Exterior: 97% Rayon from Bamboo, 3% Spandex
Filling: 100% Polyester

Amadeo has Mustard & Sage and two of the new winter exclusive colours Steel & Emerald.

Click the link to see the full colour collection and read more about the sleep sacs :

Sleep Bags

Rompers, Onesies & Separates

Kyte Baby has soooo many gorgeous colours that carry through from sleep sacs to baby and toddler separates, onesies and rompers. They recently add zippered rompers and I’m obsessed, I’m not a fan of buttons with a wiggly jiggly child like mine so the zippers are a must have in my opinion! We got Steel and Emerald in the Zippered, footless rompers for Amadeo as he is now on the go ( and cant be stopped ) and I wanted to match his beautiful sleep sacs. We also have a set of toddler separates for Amadeo to use as his Christmas Pjs , we have it in crimson.

IMG_8892

Click the link to see the full colour collection and read more about the Apparel :

Apparel

Blankets and lovies!

Soooooooo In that unreal material that is Kyte Baby, they have created the most heavenly blankets, I’m hoping to save for an adult one in the future but for now Amadeo has one that is perfect for when he transitions to his toddler bed. We have it in sage as well as the crib sheet. He also has a beautiful lovie in Oat and the wood is stunning and acts as his teether in the night.

IMG_8931IMG_8933

 

Kyte also offers tuns of products for infacts including  swaddles and baby blankets and new ring slings for baby wearing!

Visit https://kytebaby.com/collections/all and explore their beautiful products!

 

Child Proofing with Professionals

 

safety mavens & Buybuybaby
These products and installation services were provided by Safety Mavens and BUYBUYBABY CANADA in exchange for a honest review.

We just got possession of our new house and I started freaking out because when we took Amadeo to there he very enthusiastically started opening EVERY kitchen cupboard and B-lining it right to all the stair cases. I knew that with the parenting approach I’ve been going with since Amadeo was mobile (the sort of laissez-faire approach) I would need to baby proof this home with permanent fixtures, the tape on the cupboards and pressure gate wouldn’t cut it.

You are used to by now me admitting that I’m not an expert on most thing not child education related, and I truly am of the belief that if their are services provided by experts in your area, to hire them. It takes away the guessing, the questions and millions of different opinions on those mom Facebook groups, saves you time from researching and honestly and most importantly to me, gives you peace of mind that something will be done right the first time. No trial and error here.

I knew after I hired Safety Mavens for our at home car seat installation that they would be a perfect fit. (and are the only company in Ottawa who provides this service) They are a wife, husband duo who run the business and a pleasure to work with. They also service Toronto residents.

Webpage : https://www.gatemaven.ca/

Instagram : @safetymavens

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/gatemaven/

We had a consultation and found the right fit for our Safety Proofing needs with our family. Its important to do this step because everyone’s home, lifestyle and parenting style is different. It’s great to get a second opinion and recommendations from a professional in regards to child safety.

At the moment our safety needs are:

Installation of a fixed gate at the top of the stairs going to the basement.

Installation of a gate ( we chose fixed and pull adjustable because of the size of the opening) at the bottom of our stairwell on our main floor.

Installation of a fixed gate at the top of our stairs on the top floor.

Magnetic locks (due to the style of our cabinet and the modern look I was going for in my home design) on all of our lower cabinets and pantry.

Here are a couple quick videos of the Installation process.

 

The products that were installed in my home were gifted to My Little Lamb by, BUYBUYBABY CANADA.

Main floor bottom of the stairs:

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/homesafe-trade-by-summer-infant-reg-retractable-gate/1043986125?opbthead=true&ta=typeahead&keyword=baby-gate

Main floor and top of the stairs Kid Co. Angle Gate :

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/kidco-reg-angle-mount-safeway-reg-gate-in-black/1040816203?keyword=wide-metal-baby-gate

Kid Co. Magnetic Cupboard locks:

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/kidco-reg-adhesive-mount-magnet-lock-system/112238?keyword=magnetic-lock

So far all of these products are FANTASTIC and have done exactly what was promised!

Amadeo has given up even trying to open the kitchen cabinets and these locks will also be installed in the playroom once the doors are in.

He cant open any of the gates on the stairs and they are SO easy for me to open up one handed, also BONUS they look AMAZING in my space, and that’s important to me.

 

IMG_8592

 

Thank you Safety Mavens for such a pleasurable consult and installation, mess free and such a beautiful finished product that works!

Thank you BUYBUYBABY CANADA for providing the awesome products!

Now Amadeo is safe and my sanity is saved!

Construction Worker Cake Smash

construction worker cake smash

The infamous Cake Smash brought to you by the pressures of Pinterest and overall cuteness of watching your baby enjoy cake for the first time!

My husband Thomas works in construction and I’m very proud of how hardworking he is and the talent he brings to his craft in the stamp concrete world. (check it out, https://mystampedconcrete.ca/ ) I knew I wanted to incorporate a construction theme into Amadeo’s Cake Smash, and I’m so happy I did because it is the cutest EVER!

Of course the talented Sarah from https://www.creationsbehindthelens.com/ photography came over and captured these priceless moments.

Amadeo DID not want to eat the cake that Daina from Daina’s Bake Shop made, maybe its because he’s just not a chocolate kinda guy, he loves his cheetto snacks, but we literally had to force him to try it. In all of his mothers glory there was gagging involved and lots of laughing from us.

Here’s the Shoot…. warning you now there is an excessive amount of cuteness

15

16

19-2

20

34

Then we moved inside to try to get him to really get into the cake!

43

45

48

Out of no where mommy got this big kiss ! Omg !!! This is why its so important to me that Sarah is there capturing this moments for us because this was the best EVER! 

50

We all got in on the fun! 

Thank you Sarah this day was so special!

Where The Wild Things Are

Amadeo’s First Birthday

Where The Wild Things Are

blog amadeo birthday

 

I’m a planner. I like to have amble time to think, create, and prepare for a big event or celebration. After I became a mother that desire didn’t just poof disappear, but my spear time did. I used to spend so much time hand crafting and creating décor for birthdays and shop and source things for months on end but very shortly after Amadeo started crawling and I started thinking about his first birthday and what that would look like I knew I needed to actually out source EVERYTHING if I wanted to throw Amadeo ( me ) a birthday that would live up to my past parties.

Venue

We have had some big milestones celebrated and hosted at Sala San Marco event hall in Ottawa and we knew that to fit the amount of people we would be inviting and have a stress free day with amazing food and drink, this is where we would go for Amadeo’s First Birthday. Sala Released a sketch on Instagram of a new room that would be renovated in time for Amadeo’s Birthday and I knew it was the perfect room for his Where The Wild Things Are theme and even better the room itself is named after the owner Tony’s son Amadeo! The food, drink , and service was exactly to the Sala San Marco gold star standard and it was the perfect day!

The space, food & service was perfection as always

Décor

Pearl Décor

Thomas and I had our wedding reception at Sala San Marco and hired the Company Pearl Décor to bring our vision to life, and then hired them for rentals to complete our Baby Shower décor! Rasha is an Ottawa based mom-treprenure who has such a passion for creating the most beautiful events. Her close family also work along side of her for set up and take down and I truly can’t recommend them enough for ANY event! She helped turn the Amadeo Room at Sala into a dream come true, fully decorated with the most stunning floral arrangements, centerpieces, chairs, dessert table, back drop and the most adorable gold highchair! This is the magic that is Pearl Décor.

Untitled design

Decorations

Confetti Events

Tracy Owns and operates her local small decorating business and offers an array of custom clothing, decorations, balloon garlands, party box, almost anything you can think of to perfectly personalize any event! I met Tracy through this platform and the blogging world and fell in love! We have done an Instagram live together and collaborated a few times, our personalities mesh so well and she would honestly do anything in her power to help alleviate your stress as a mom and help make your event picture perfect! Tracy made a custom Wild One onesie for Amadeo, cake, cupcake and donut toppers, crowns, a birthday banner, a highchair banner and crown and gorgeous balloon garland fit for a king! Everything was so beautifully made and such great quality!

Check out all her custom listing and party boxes on her Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ConfettiEventsShop?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=682969412

I highly recommend confetti events for all your personalized decoration needs

These were the top three venders that helped make Amadeo’s first birthday soooo perfect! Thank you Sala San Marco, Pearl Décor and Confetti Events!

 

When I was trying to settle on a theme for Amadeo’s First Birthday I decided that I would go with that his birthday parties (until he can verbally tell me other wise) will all be themed after a children’s book. Our joint baby shower was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I LOVED the Wild One theme that has been so popular this year so I knew Where The Wild Things Are would be the perfect book to make come to life!

Thank you to all of our family and friends who were able to make it and Sarah from Creations Behind The Lens for documenting the day in the best way, you are so talented!

IMG_6483IMG_6493

IMG_6497

IMG_6499
I’m not sentimental at all when it comes to keeping Birthday cards but I had these AMAZING custom Where The Wild Things Are prints by the SO talented artist Kyla from Clark and Bell so he can these pieces of art to have as mementos from his birthdays. You can see her work and order through her Instagram page : @clarkandbell

 

IMG_6449.jpg
I always try to make sure that there is a little station for children to occupy themselves at and have some fun! We didn’t have to many little ones at the party but the ones that were there loved the green and Wild Things themed activities.
IMG_6488
Crown yourself , I set up a 12 month timeline of Amadeo’s monthly photos as well as a copy of Where The Wild Things Are book as a guest book for people to sign and leave a message for Amadeo!
IMG_6509
Amadeo and my mom have a very special bond and they were pretty inseparable this day. Anytime we took Amadeo form my mom he was NOT a happy camper!

IMG_6525

IMG_6549

IMG_6551
We are so lucky to have been surrounded by so many family and friends who love and support us and this little man!
IMG_6590
We managed to get somewhat of a good picture of all the Cabo crew and our babies! Its so amazing to be surrounded by so many amazing mamas and baby friends!

Amadeo was surrounded by so many amazing family and friends

I Had my amazing co-workers aka my second family come and support and celebrate not only Amadeo’s milestone but shower me with love for being a mama!

IMG_6635IMG_6626

Also I had awesome mama bloggers that have been in our life for the last year, we laughed and drank and joked about all the crazy that motherhood is!

IMG_6548
My girl Amanda from @littlelotusyoga
IMG_6541
Sarah and Mia from @simplysarah
IMG_6725
Some of our Ottawa Mom Blogger OGs Kaitlyn @mrmrandmama ,Sarah @mom2bean ,Behka @mamainamadhouse and Amanda @littlelotusyoga

IMG_6731IMG_6732IMG_6733IMG_6740IMG_6749IMG_7065IMG_7074IMG_7083

And obviously we had an outfit change, this was the third and finally Birthday Outfit for my little Wild thing

IMG_6856

IMG_7020

 

Thank you for everyone who attended and all the amazing venders involved!