123 Petits Pas

 

123 Petits Pas 

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

 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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
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The 9 L and 15 L bins I use for bigger items, blocks, cars, art supplies etc
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Because I have shelving units I dedicate space for baskets, bins, bowls etc that get added in and out of Amadeo’s Toy Rotation

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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.

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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.

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

Fab Baby Gear Christmas Gift Registry

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

Christmas Gift Registry

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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

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

 

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Body Positive Shoot – What our bodies signify to us after pregnancy

Body Positive Shoot With Creations Behind The Lens Photography

What Our Bodies Signify To Us After Pregnancy

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In the photo from right to left : Antea @anteathemamacoach, Erin @mombrainactivities, Katie @mom.shares, Jessica @fitmamasblog, Katie @earlychildhood_fun101, Laura @makeitlaura, Marise @situpsandsippycups, Kaitlyn @mrmrandmama, Sarah @simplysarah, Emily @millennialbossmoms, Bekah @mama.in.a.mad.house, Ashely @beingthismama, Vanessa (me) @mylittlelambblog, Sarah @motherhood_unhinged, Photo Credit Sarah @creationsbehindthelens 

Last year Sarah from Creations Behind The Lens Photography, collaborated with some amazing Local Ottawa Mom Bloggers on pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones in regards to being body positive. We spent the days before with butterflies in our tummies and dreading not only the fact that we would be practically naked in front of each other for hours but then those images being plastered online for the whole cyber universe to see. During that day we found a whole lot of confidence in ourselves, and rocked our post partum bodies in the most fierce way possible! Click below to read that blog post.

https://mylittlelamb.ca/2019/05/06/our-beautiful-postpartum-bodies-are-powerful/

Sarah and I were on a high to come up with another concept for raising awareness with our powerful mama influence! We narrowed it down to making this shoot about what is one positive word that would describe our post partum bodies and why.

So in true Mom Blogger fashion we got personalized T-shirts made with those words plastered on them and went to the beach with our Starbucks, took some awesome photos, but most importantly we felt the INSANELY positive and supportive energy that comes from getting a bunch of wonderful women together.

Tammy from https://www.craftswellwithwine.com/ was up for the challenge and came through with the most GOREGOUS and SOFTEST shirts ever! She is an Ottawa based mama who created this business for herself and family once she became a mom in order to spend more time with her children. Check out her story, there wont be a dry eye in sight I promise!

So here’s our shoot, a day filled of love and laughter between moms, strutting our stuff and showing off those positive words we believe about our bodies with pride!

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BETTER, CAPABLE, FIERCE, GRATEFUL, TOUGH, STILL ME, JOURNEY, STRONG, ACCEPTANCE, BADASS, COURAGEOUS, UNSTOPPABLE, STOMACH, METAMORPHOSIS.

 

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Getting nice and limber for our slow mo beach jog, bay watch style 

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You’re welcome 

However competition makes us faster; but collaboration makes us better. Now cue the Female, Mom Blogger pyrimd and we decided would be a good idea even though half of the group has literal broken vaginas…. BUT WE DID IT and no vaginas were harmed in the making.

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“Unity is strength, when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek 

Meet the Bloggers

What was the reasoning behind the word you chose for your shirt?

Marise @situpsandsippycups

It felt amazing to stand beside these incredible women and celebrate our postpartum bodies. Huge shoutout to @mylittlelambblog @ottawaphotographercreations for driving this initiative and @craftswellwithwine for the gorgeous (and insanely soft) shirts!

When I was asked to pick a word that described how I felt about my postpartum body, I instantly thought of words like “resilient”, “powerful”, “strong”. But then that would only be telling half my story.

To me, the word “journey” represents the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the weaknesses and strengths that I’ve experienced in the last year and a half.

In the beginning, there was so much frustration, anxiety, and disappointment. My story began with losing a pregnancy at 7 weeks and I have never felt more like a stranger in my own skin and betrayed by my own body. Fast forward through a very anxious pregnancy, a 50lb+ weight gain, all sorts of weird pains and discomforts, and I was left with a body I didn’t recognize.

Slowly but surely, with a lot of patience (and some hiccups!) I was able to return to working out and doing things that made me feel stronger and more like myself every day.

And now over a year later I’m more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been in my whole life. And not because I’m more “fit” or “toned” or “lean” than ever, but because I’m starting to own my body and appreciate it in ways I never did before.

I’ve always been super self conscious. I remember being 9 years old and feeling the disapproving looks of my ballet teachers as they analyzed my short, curvy frame next to the tall, slim girls in my class. When I was 11 a girl threw out my lunches because she said my legs were too fat. Cue a couple decades of negative self image.

In a weird way, having a baby challenged all of that. I stopped seeing my body as a commodity and started seeing it as a gift. It created life, nursed that life, and it continues to be a safe haven for that life. That’s pretty powerful stuff. I feel like pregnancy gave me the permission I needed to be able to appreciate and own my body in a way I never did before. It’s unfortunate it took me this long to get there but I’m happy I did.

Do yourself a favour and embrace your body’s journey no matter what phase of life you’re in. Remember that nothing is ever linear or perfect but it all adds up to make you uniquely you! How boring would the world be if we all looked the same! Give yourself a little love and grace today 😉

Katie @mom.shares

I chose the word fierce because to me, it sums up what moms are… juggling ALL the things and being boss.
I want to live this persona, I want to be believe I am fierce and I am working on it on the daily ❤️

 

Emily @millennialbossmoms

Choosing one word was overwhelming. In the end I chose Badass. Only a few weeks after having my second baby and learning that I’d be spending a lot of time solo parenting I felt like a total badass. Not only was I handling the recovery much better than after my first delivery, but I had a new I don’t give a f*ck attitude about busting my ass to ‘bounce back.’ With zero free time, my focus is on being healthy and showing my girls that the number on the scale isn’t what’s important.

It’s taken two pregnancies and two little girls to learn that the bounce back doesn’t exist. You can be in the best shape of your life after having kids, but your body is never the same, and that’s ok. I want to teach my girls to be smart, funny, ambitious and not to get hung up by a number on a scale. And doing that starts with giving myself credit for being a badass and being their mom.

 

Jessica @fitmamasblog

Grateful – I chose this word because becoming a mother has truly
made me understand the meaning of being grateful. I am grateful that my body allowed me to bring a beautiful little human into this world. I am grateful for my new body and my new outlook on life that came along with it, loose skin and all! I am also very grateful to be surrounded by all of these amazing women that lift each other up and make this mom thing a little bit easier and a lot more fun! 💕

 

Sarah @simplysarah

Acceptance

Becoming a mother there was more that changed than I was prepared for.
Society is so obsessed with getting rid of the pregnancy weight and the mom pooch.
Celebrities everywhere are looking like they never gave birth even though they did only few weeks prior. There are so many products and fitness programs feeding off of this insecurity society is telling us we must have.
Becoming a mother changes you. Physical and mentally. Let’s celebrate the journey and accept it instead of stress about how we looked before kids. Our bodies grew human life, that is amazing.
I’m not 100% there yet but I try to give myself grace and tell myself this everyday

-I will not be ashamed of my postpartum body. I will celebrate how much it has done and overcome
-I will accept my postpartum body. It may never be the same as it was before, just as my heart will never be the same. Both are amazing.

 

Sarah @motherhood_unhinged

We were asked to choose our word for our empowerment T-shirts and I stumbled over a few options. I wanted a word that encompasses this stage of my life right now, without shaming the stages of my past. Every step, or perceived missteps, that I took have brought me here. Every choice, change and growth I’ve gone through have made it possible to live my life at this moment. And so I chose the word: metamorphosis. Because that is what brought me here.
And while I generally fear change with a passion, I also understand it’s necessary to move forward. It’s something I’m afraid of but have learnt to embrace. It’s not always comfortable, or easy but it’s exactly what’s needed.
So as I hit week 36 and my dreams start to become filled with toddler resentment and ever looming change – I will take a deep breath and face my metamorphosis head on. 🦋

 

Katie @earlychildhood_fun101

Tough

The road to motherhood can be a tough one. Trying to conceive. Pregnancy. Birth. The changes our bodies go through as we become mothers aren’t for the faint of heart. All three of my deliveries were different; a c-section, VBAC with an epidural, and finally a natural birth. But regardless of how you bring your child into this world, one thing remains the same; you have to be tough. Both mentally and physically; it’s not easy.

Now, almost 8 years since becoming a mom, I realize this is the same word I would use to describe my postpartum body. It’s tough; strong for what is has been through and still getting stronger as I continue to push and challenge myself physically. I’m proud of what my body has accomplished in bringing three boys into this world and equally as proud of where I am now; this is one tough body and I love it.

 

Ashley @beingthismama

There are parts of me who have always been unstoppable. There’s a part of me who’s always been driven despite being a superb procrastinator. There’s a part of me who’s always been loud and proud even though I’m also an introvert. I strive to fight for what I want while also being very lazy.

Becoming a mother has made it very easy to just settle. It’s easy to get sucked into the tiredness, the loneliness, the stress. To wake up and live the same day each day, live the same routine of dishes and laundry and diaper changes.

But I’m choosing not to let it become this.
I’m choosing to be unstoppable.

 

Kaitlyn @mrmrandmama

The word I chose is Strong. Strong means more to me than meets the eye. It’s not always about appearance, but about how I feel inside. I’ve been through hell & back many, many times. The struggles & horrible things in my life started when I was only 4 years old, and it’s been an uphill battle since then. There were many times throughout my life that I didn’t think I would make it this far, that I didn’t think I would over come everything. But here I am, feeling like I’ve conquered it all. And still sometimes I feel like “really? more? I haven’t been through enough?” But because I am strong, I will keep fighting for my family and most importantly, myself. Because I AM STRONG!

 

Sarah @creationsbehindthelens

Resilient is a word that means so much to me. I’m about to get real here guys, I have had pretty terrible health issues my whole life that tested my strength a lot. From severe asthma, weigh gains & weight loss, anxiety, kidney stones etc but all that has created the human here now and I keep growing everyday! .
Another massive test to my body was having a child. I am so thankful for what my body did growing my incredible amazing little human and it truly shows how resilient we all really are.
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All these mother’s are so kickass we all have a story & have been through some big challenges but we are resilient and fucking beautiful.

 

Vanessa (me) @mylittlelambblog

As you can see by the amount and variety of poses and shots that Sarah captured of me, there were many others (lol) I’m there. I’m not only at a place where I’m comfortable with my stomach postpartum but I’m confident in it, in my new skin.

Its not always easy for a million and one reasons but I will continue to push myself when I feel uncomfortable because that’s the space where you grow the most, that’s the space where you reap the most benefits inside and out.

I will keep pushing through my comfort zones and I wish the same for all you Mamas out there, trrrrust me when I say you deserve this happiness, you deserve to love yourself whole heartily and it feels so empowering when you get there!

Thank you to all the Mom Bloggers and my friends for joining in on this awesome shoot and day.

Thank you Tammy for supplying our custom shirts, they are TO DIE FOR!

Last but not least, Thank you Sarah for always taking the best photos , your work always speaks for its self!

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Child Proofing with Professionals

 

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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.

 

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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!

What Is A Calm Down Corner

You’ve probably herd many different names or terms for a Calm Down Corner, this is the term most used in Therapy, the School Boards and Daycares to describe a “safe space” where an individual child can go to self regulate their emotions away from others.

I’m almost 30 years old and still go to therapy to learn different strategies to regulate my emotions, it takes a lot of work to be able to gain the skills of self reflection and self help, its not a skill you are genetically born with, its a taught skill.

For children especially, the skill of being able to recognize and self regulate their emotions can be very difficult and may take some time to learn and master due to their brain growth and development. When looking at implementing learning and coping strategies for a calm down corner area like this in your classroom, daycare or home, I truly feel its important as an adult to understand how a child’s brain is working and developing on the emotional scale. (the Limbic system of the brain)

The Limbic System of the brain consists of the Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland, Amygdala, Thalamus, and the Hippocampus. 

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Hypothalamus: The Hypothalamus is a very small part of the brain however it plays a huge role in many important functions, including: releasing hormones, regulating body temperature, maintaining daily physiological cycles, controlling appetite, managing of sexual behavior, and regulating emotional responses from yourself and others.

Pituitary Gland: The Pituitary Gland is a tear drop looking part of the brain that is a part of your endocrine system. Its main function is to secrete hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones can affect other organs and glands, especially your:
thyroid, reproductive organs, and adrenal glands.
The pituitary gland is sometimes called the master gland because it’s involved in so many processes.

Amygdala: The Amygdala is a part of the brain that is responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergency events. The amygdala is responsible for the perception of emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, as well as the controlling of aggression. This part of the brain is formed during its development is based upon experiential events. The amygdala helps to store memories of events and emotions so that an individual may be able to recognize similar events in the future.

Thalamus: The Thalamus is responsible for relaying information from the sensory receptors to proper areas of the brain where it can be processed. It is a large mass of gray matter in the dorsal part of the diencephalon of the brain with several functions such as relaying of sensory signals, including motor signals to the cerebral cortex, and the regulation of consciousness, sleep, and alertness.

Hippocampus: The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories and is also associated with learning and emotions. Because the brain is lateralized and symmetrical, you actually have two hippocampi. They are located just above each ear and about an inch-and-a-half inside your head.

All of these functions aren’t fully formed or developed until you are 25 years old. This is why it is curtail to learn and develop self emotional awareness and regulation strategies during these formative years and while these parts of the brain are still developing . Experiences will and can have effect on the Limbic System as it develops, depending on the experience it will either positively or negatively impact how these areas are developed in those early years. No matter the case, self help tools can be taught and learned to help a person regulate and understand this part of the brain and how it reacts to the world around them emotionally

A calm down area has been studied and proven to be a great tool for teaching children those self help, awareness and regulation tools and stragies in their early years.

What a Calm Down Corner looks like and consists of

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A calm down corner ideally should be separate from an area in your home that your child would usually play in, this area isn’t meant for play, it’s purpose is for centering themselves emotionally and relaxation. (make sure to follow @mylittlelambblog on Instagram to sign up for the email freebie on how to properly implement a calm down corner, in this freebie you will learn at what age this is appropriate for and how to introduce and teach your child to use this space as its intended)

It should be cozy and inviting, choose calming colours for pillows, a blanket, rug or matt , seat extra to help visually promote the idea of relaxation. Maybe include a favourite stuffed animal, a lot of children will use this area to re enact an event out loud and a stuffed animal to confide in can sometimes be very comforting.

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Have some quiet activities that can be switched up weekly to keep your child’s interest and books with little to no words, mostly pictures. Puzzles are a great addition as well.

Sensory items are a must. When your child, or even adults, are dealing with a influx to their nervous system, a great way to regulate that is fulfilling a sensory need, something physical that can be touched and focused on to distract and break the cycle (spiralling) of big emotions.

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That’s it, at no point should technology like a tablet, iPad, or television be incorporated into a calm down corner, it will be a distraction instead of your child learning how to cope and deal with the emotions they are experiencing head on.

That’s it, to actually introduce and implement a calm down corner will take a lot of time, effort, dedication and being consistent, but once your child gets the idea of it and practices using it, it will be your child’s ( and your) saving grace. Nothing that truly benefits your child’s growth and development emotionally is easy, remember they are still growing that part of the brain till they’re 25 years old, but the pay out and benefits completely out way all that hard work!

I will link below the sensory items I picked up from Scholars Choice. These are NOT affiliate links.

These items however WILL be included in a Giveaway hosted on @mylittlelambblog on Instagram and will be live from Thursday September 12th and the contest closing Thursday September 19th at 7:00pm est. Visit @mylittlelambblog to find out the details on how to enter! (total value : $250)

 

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Construction Worker Cake Smash

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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

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

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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! 

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

 

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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.
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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!
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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!

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We are so lucky to have been surrounded by so many family and friends who love and support us and this little man!
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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!

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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!

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

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

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

CRAFTED TOGETHER CO

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Caroline and Sam are wonderful friends of mine, Ottawa local small business owners, makers, and the talent behind Crafted Together Co. and the Wood Sign Calligraphy Workshops that myself and Laura, from Make It Laura, were lucky enough to attend in the spring.

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Caroline and Sam started Crafted Together co. almost 2 years ago. Caroline took a local calligraphy workshop and continued to practice her lettering for months on end. Caroline showed Sam a wood sign she thought she could create, and without hesitation he said “Let’s do it, let’s figure it out!” The first sign was created as a Thanksgiving hostess gift and the rest is history.

Since then, Sam and Caroline have learned how to run and manage a business, creating hundreds of custom signs for all occasions, and attending various craft markets around the city. Most importantly they have made connections with other creatives in the city and love the notion of community over competition, always up for a creative challenge and collaboration with others.

After some time, the duo wanted to share the experience of creating wood signs with the public and have started to offer wood sign workshops where you can learn how to hand letter your very own wood sign.

The goal is to provide a fun experience in an inviting and creative setting. The hope is that participants leave the workshop feeling like they’ve learned something completely new, and create a piece of art work they can be proud of.

Best,
Caroline + Sam

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I’m a creative, and I think a lot of us women and mothers are but no longer have a lot of opportunities to take the time needed to spend to indulge that part of us. The Wood Sign Calligraphy course was the perfect Moms night out for us.

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Our workshop was hosted at the beautiful, The Wine Bottega in the heart of Westborro, we had great wine to taste throughout the workshop and Delicious snacks provided, anytime there is food and wine involved, COUNT ME IN!

We had beautiful kits created for us with all the materials and tools needed for the class and to make our wood sign, bonus we got to keep and bring home our personalized goodies. Aside from Caroline having a gift for teaching the workshop all the little added bonuses and touches they provide are just fabulous!

We were gifted this experience in exchange for an honest review on the workshop and I HIGHLY recommend in taking part in a workshop coming up in the fall! I went into the workshop not knowing ANYTHING about calligraphy or how to do it and I left with a beautiful handmade wooden sign and knowledge and talent to confidently apply my skills to DIY projects I may want to do in the future.

 

I wanted to learn calligraphy for a while, and lucky for me was invited by Vanessa to attend one of the Crafted Together Co’s workshops. Caroline and Sam did an amazing job! The workshop was so well organized. Each person received a calligraphy kit and an amazing workbook created by Caroline. We had time to practice our lettering before moving on to planning and creating a sign. Sam prepped boards for each student that were perfectly sanded and stained. They even included hardware for us to hang our creations at home! Since the workshop I have continued to practice my lettering and go back to the workbook often. The skills I learned in this workshop have been invaluable, and the experience was so fun to share with a friend.

– Laura, Make It Laura

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Caroline and Sam have Workshop Dates that are now open to book. Visit @craftedtogetherco on Instagram and Click their link for upcoming workshops and booking details.

Vanessa Ravalico