St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Activities

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You see the hashtags on Instagram :

#sensoryplay #diysensoryplay #sensoryactivites #sensoryintegration #sensoryexperiences #sensorylearning #sensoryplayideas #sensoryprocessing #sensoryplaytime …. the list goes on and on, but what exactly is “sensory play” and why can it be beneficial to my child’s learning ?

The purpose of Sensory Play, is for your child to be able to safely explore different textures, substances, ingredients and props in which come together to create an overall awareness and stimulation of the core senses. (Look, Listen, Touch, Smell &Taste)

Everything from playdough, water/sand play, sensory bags, finger painting, interaction with animals, music, or light, and many more.

1. Sensory play builds nerve connections within the developing brain’s neural pathways, which trigger a child’s inclination for and ability in competing more complex learning tasks
2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction
3. Sensory play aids in developing and enhancing memory functioning
4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
5. Sensory play helps children learn vitally important sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry, etc)

As an educator for over the last ten years, I’ve been able to witness first hand the benefits that sensory stimulation has on developing these other cognitive skills in children.

The best thing about implementing Sensory Play is that its extremely easy, can be effortless and very cost effective to do so.

My goal is to be able to give you ideas on how you can easily implement sensory exploration with your children of all different ages.

On todays post I’ve put together 5 different DIY Sensory Activities that you can do with your children for St. Patrick’s Day.

*** Disclaimer the supplies used in this DIY are not edible, and if digested would be poisonous. Never leave your children unattended while playing with ANY sensory activity! ***

With older children, it can be really fun and length the amount of time played with the DIY sensory items you make if they participate in making these with you!

 

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bag

 

Supplies needed: (all purchased from the Dollarama)

-Ziploc Bag

-Duct Tape

-Hand Sanitizer ( or hair gel )

-Glitter Glue, green and gold

-St. Patty’s Day accessories, I used rainbow erasers, green coins, and cut up pieces of these necklaces.

Full the Ziploc bag with all of the ingredients listed above.

Make sure most if not all of the air is out of the bag before sealing.

Use the duct tape to tape down all the edges of the bag, I use three layers of tape on the opening of the Ziploc, and then cut off the excess tape on the sides.

 

At first I put Amadeo in his high chair and taped down the sides of the sensory bag, you can tell by his reaction that the gears are turning and he’s interested in this new feeling, texture and all of the different colours inside the bag.

Another reason this type of sensory play is beneficial for infants is that it helps strengthen their fingers and hands, which in turn with help with their different types of grips.

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After a little while of exploring the sensory bag in his highchair Amadeo was becoming a little restless. When you see these signs from your children change it up or stop the activity, they are telling you that they are finished and or bored and if you try to push it they will just become frustrated and the learning experience is no longer happening or doing what is intended. We moved to the mat to see if he still wanted to explore and taped the sides again to the ground so he couldn’t lift the bag.

The last type of exploration I had Amadeo try with the sensory bag was to take the tape off the sides and let him hold and move around bag from a different perspective.

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He enjoyed this one the most!

 

2. St. Patrick’s themed look and find sensory bag

 

Supplies needed: ( most purchased from the Dollarama, the rice from Walmart)

-Dyed Rainbow Rice

-Ziploc Bags

-Duct Tape

-St. Patrick’s Day Accessories, I used half of the cut up ones that I used for the Sensory Bag above

 

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The EASIEST way ever to dye rice to separate the rice into Ziploc bags, adding some paint, sealing the bag and rubbing all the paint into the rice. Then you lay it into flat pans and let dry. THATS IT! Depending on how much paint in on the rice is how long it will take to dry but if there isn’t that much it should take around 30 minutes for the paint to dry.

 

For infants its simply another sensory bag, with different colours, textures and weight to it. For older children when they move around the rainbow rice they will uncover and discover all the St. Patrick’s Day treasure that’s hidden in the sensory bag. You can also take this opportunity to incorporate colour recognition and different shapes and letters into the bag.

 

3. St. Patrick’s sensory bottle ( or calming/quiet time bottle)

 

Supplies Needed: ( all purchased from the Dollarama and the Dollar Tree)

-Plastic bottle

-Hand Sanitizer  (or hair gel)

-Water

-Glitter

-Foam balls or other little light weight items that would be able to move around in the bottle

-Duct Tape

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You need to add 3 parts hand sanitizer, 1 part water, then all the glitter and foam pieces. Seal the plastic bottle with the lid and duct tape the lid to the bottle to help prevent any leaks.

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This was a HUGE hit with Amadeo, he played with it FOREVER. He was so interested in the movement of the glitter and foam balls inside the bottle, the colour and well as the shape and light weight of the bottle made it really fun for him to move around and try to grasp and hold.

 

4. Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin

 

Supplies needed: Are all of these supplies in the 1st & 2nd sensory activity plus a bin of any size colour or shape. Instructions on how to make the Rainbow rice is listed above.

 

 

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I love creating Sensory

bins with loose parts (themed parts are always so fun as well!) have so many play possibilities and your children will end up showing you on their own what the purpose of this play will be depending on their mood and imagination!

 

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Honestly my advice for these types of sensory bin set ups is to just go for it and set them up however you please, my reasoning for the is because within less then half a second it this bin would no longer look like this picture when played with by a child, and that’s PERFECTLY not only okay, but really good for their brain development, creativity and imagination.

 

5. St. Patrick’s Day different textured sensory bin

This is another example about how creative you can get with your childrens sensory bin set ups. you can add different textures, shapes, colours, etc. For older children not only do I recommend they help with the set ups of these sensory bins but also shop for or pull from their toys, that you will use in the sensory bins

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Next weeks Blog post will be simple St. Patrick’s Day Activities to do with your children. Main word in that SIMPLE!

Tag me in your sensory play at @mylittlelambblog, I love to see what you mamas create for your littles!

 

 

 

10 Items To Have With You For Easy Travel With A Six Month Old

10 Necessities To Have While Traveling With A Six Month Old

 

We recently traveled to Dominican Republic with our 6 Month Old, and even though we came home early due to him catching a virus, the traveling to and from was surprisingly a breeze.

I got a lot of great advice from other moms who have traveled with small children and I did a lot of research before even considering going on these long distance adventures with our little one and I think it all really paid off!

I received SOOOO many direct messages asking what we packed for Amadeo that I don’t want to jam pack to much information into one post, so for the sake relaying the information all my wonderful followers are asking for I want to break it up into a couple blog posts for easy reading.

This post will be the 10 items what we packed with us for a smooth “travel”, meaning from the house to the airport, airport to the airplane, airplane to the other airport, airport to my father in laws house.

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We were so blessed to have been able to even leave Ottawa when we did, because our adventure started on the morning of Feb 13th, were we had gotten 40 cm of snow overnight! Most flights were immediately canceled the evening before but we were still holding out hope that we could escape this HORRIBLE winter and get to the sunshine and warmth!

Our wish was our command because out of all the canceled flights ours was one of the handful that wasn’t!!!!

When packing the carry-ons, personal bags, and the diaper bag for traveling to an airport and airplane I defiantly recommend taking into consideration the weather.

We had to think that there could be MAJOR delays due to weather and needed to pack the necessities that our 6 month old would need during an extended period of time.

for example, it was recommended to us that for diapers we pack one diaper per hour, I doubled it. I brought PLENTLY of bottles and formula encase of delays, not knowing exactly when it would be that we would arrive at our destination with our checked luggage.

 

Item #1 – Bring a good backpack diaper bag with LOTS of compartments

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https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/ju-ju-be-reg-b-f-f-diaper-bag-in-the-cleopatra/5216222?keyword=jujube-bff-diaper-bag-legacy

I actually won this JuJuBe diaper bag backpack from a giveaway hosted by @mama.in.a.mad.house right before our trip! ( it pays to tags all the friends you know for a million entries!)

It was the perfect bag to travel with, and also very stylish!

Regardless of what diaper bag you have I cant stress enough how helpful a backpack style will be while traveling!

 

Item #2 – Bring a BABY CARRIER !

This was one of the MOST recommended items to traveling airport/plane by any mom who had traveled prior.

You are able to have your baby safe and snug close to you in a busy stressful environment, you are hands free, you can wear them through security, and it is so comfortable and alleviates so much back pressure when they are sleeping on the plane ride.

We brought our Infantino Baby Carrier we purchased from Walmart months ago. It was AWESOME during travel and the duration of our vacation.

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https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/infantino-flip-advanced-4-in-1-convertible-carrier/6000191791230

 

Item #3 – Sanitary wipes!

Planes are literally the WORST breeding ground for germs, so to help kill some of those bad boys off and protect your little ones immune systems, bring sanitary wipes on the plane and wipe down all the seats and trays that your baby will be touching!

*Sadly this didn’t completely protect our little guy because it was thought that he caught his air born virus on the plane ride down but this step will still help a lot!*

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Item #4 – Anything you need to feed your baby liquids during take off and landing!

These are the hardest times for your baby to deal with flying because their ears are so sensitive and all of that pressure can build up and cause ALOT of pain. One thing that’s proven to help even adults is swallowing, to help lesson the pressure on your ears.

If you breastfeed and want a cover, or need other accessories , make sure you have those handy and ready to use during take off and landing.

My little guy is formula fed, so I needed to have everything easily accessible and this is what I found worked well for traveling with a bottle fed baby.

Amadeo’s powdered formula went through security no problem (a lot of moms recommended buying pre made formula because its easy peasy, but my little guy has a sensitive tummy so needs his normal powdered formula)

I brought 8 bottles with me to the airport (again encase of delays) with the formula measured already to go inside the bottles. after we went through security I bought room temperature water bottles to bring on the plane with us. ( if you need warm water you can get that from the stewardess during the flight but not before take off) All I had to do was add the water to the bottles and bam it was ready for my little guy to eat.

We were boarded on time but between de icing the plane and all the turbulence we had on the way to Dominican, a 4.5 hour flight ended up being us physically on the plane for a total of 7 hours!

Item #5- Lots of the essentials!

Like I mentioned before you need to figure out what you use with your baby on the daily and double that. That means , a lot of diapers, a big pack of wipes ( you use them for more them bum wiping!) diaper rash cream, etc.

For the first two hours of our flight we had horrible turbulence and weren’t able to get out of our seats at all, and of course our little man pooped and peed right at take off. So naturally after two hours of literally sitting in his piss and shit his bum was pretty tender and needed cream 😦

Item #6 – A thick blanket!

I recommended this for a couple reasons.

Before boarding the plane you will want your 6 month old to get all that rolling around and playing out of their systems and air port floor carpets are DISTUGSTING! (like seriously gross!) So having our thick muslin blanket was a life saver for those couple hours of limbo waiting to board our plane and Amadeo had a fun time playing before being strapped to me for the next 7 hours!

Another time that having this blanket can in handy was on the flat surfice, impossible to change, change table that’s over the toilet in the teeny tiny bathroom. The first attempt to change Amadeo was a HUGE FAIL. He was sliding everywhere and I couldn’t keep him still. Second time I went in with my husband to help navigate the diapers wipes and sorta hold him still ( remember that HUGE 2 hour poop) and we brought in the thick muslin blanket and it completely helped with him sliding all over the place on this horribly stupid change table (I hate even calling it a change table) Its literally like the tray in front of your seat minus the cup holder!

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https://www.adenandanais.com/blankets/stroller-blanket

This isn’t ours but its the same brand and thickness, we got ours off of our registry from Buy Buy Baby.

 

Item #7- Toys with latch rings, their favourite teethers and their comfort items!

Unless you are on a 1-2 hour flight most likely your 6 month old will be up, alert and ready to rumble! Bring some of their favourite toys to explore and teethers that you know work for them!

Bring toys with latch rings so you can put them in-between the seat in front of you and the tray, that way when your little one is playing it wont keep falling on the gross dirty air plane floor.

These are some examples, of which I’m sure some you already own.

 

Some moms recommended I bring toys that would suction to the tray in front so we actually brought this toy on the plane with us , but never ended up using it, because I found I had no room, between the seat in front leaning back and him on my lap, the tray didn’t go down comfortably AT ALL. However they swore it worked for them so this is the toy they and I brought as well.

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We packed his lovey as well as a couple soothers for comfort to help if he got fussy on the plane.

 

Item #8- Packing extra clothes for all persons traveling!

Having a couple different clothes for baby is a great idea but its also a good idea to now pack the same for mom and dad.

If you have a motion sick baby or a baby who gets REALLY upset and throws up, let me tell you there isn’t a lot of places that it will go but completely onto you.

Luckily that didn’t happen to us but its better to be prepared then covered in throw up for hours in a confined space!

Another reason for extra clothing which did come in handy for us was we left Ottawa with clothing appropriate for -20 but then landed in a country with +35! instantly we were all soooooo hot and sweaty and you know better then anyone mamas, babies bring the expression “hot and bothered” to a whole new level! When we landed we all went to the family washroom and changed into our t-shirts and shorts before collecting our million luggage’s!

Item #9- My favourite….. snacks!

I cant stress enough that travelling with a 6 month old will be very different then your once solo stress free flights. It will be much more difficult to even find your wallet, pull your credit card out and pay for the in flight food when you get hungry. ( again please anticipate delays we were on a 4.5 hour flight for 7 hours!) Also those little cute cheese trays and wine you purchased on flight pre baby will be IMPOSSIBLE to enjoy with a baby on your lap, remember my tray didn’t even fit down!

I packed my husband and I easy to eat snacks from the grocery store prior to our trip and had them easily accessible on the plane!

Fed parents mean more patience and happiness all around!

Item #10- This could be a little controversial but to me was the MOST important thing we did for a smooth, easy and pleasurable travel experience for my husband, myself and Amadeo.

MEDS MEDS  AND MORE MEDS!

Amadeo is in FULL BLOWN teething mode (as most 6 months old’s are) so we new we would be doing the tag team of baby teething narcotics to help keep him as comfortable as possible during our flight ( baby Advil, and Tylenol)

Our doctor also recommended giving him Liquid Children’s Gravel.

*Always ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before giving your babies anything including Advil and Tylenol for the first time!

Amadeo is 21 pounds and fit the criteria to take a small dosage of Gravel which our doctor recommended to do 30 minutes before boarding the plane.

The one thing she recommended before our trip was to test out giving him a dosage of Gravel 30 min before bedtime because it can either make a child REALLY sleepy or REALLY hyper…. there’s apparently no in-between and the last thing you need is a CRAZY HYPER child on your flight.

 

That’s that folks…. the ten items that made traveling with out 6 month old not only easy but PAINLESS!

On our flight to Dominican Amadeo was the only baby and when we arrived in Dominican so many people were shocked and told us they didn’t even realize a baby was on the plane, he didn’t cry once!

Thank you to all the amazing moms who gave their travel advice prior to our trip and all of their amazing suggestions to help make the start of our vacation more pleasurable!

 

 

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

You can’t use up creativity.

The more you use, the more you have.

 – Maya Angelou

 

I have always loved this quote from the great Maya Angelou. She was one of the most influential voices in history and talented in so many outlets. She was a writer, a poet, filmmaker, actress, dancer and civil rights activists, with the most positive outlook on life.

She taught me that you don’t have to focus in on one passion or talent that you may have. You should dabble in all that brings you joy and happiness, it’s what makes you as a person whole.

When describing myself in therapy and having to touch and communicate what makes me happy, what interests me, and what brings me joy, a lot of the time I have difficulty speaking to what that is when I’m struggling mentally. That’s truly because when I’m struggling usually its a direct result of feeling a loss of self.

I touch on a lot throughout my posts and social medias about how I’m truly seeing how much of yourself as a women and individual disappears once you become a mother, and the negative impact it can have on your life. It can bring resentment, depression, anger, sadness, confusion, and so much more, which truly will start dictating how you view yourself or better so how you cant seem to figure out how to view yourself any longer.

One thing that has always sparked so much joy in my life is feeding that creative self. That could be, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, interior decorating, event planning and decorating, the list truly goes on and on, but the point is as long as I’m able to expertise that creative part of my brain it seems to bring way more balance into my life.

Since starting My Little Lamb I’ve made AMAZING connections with so many local women who also thrive when exercising their creative parts of their brains. One of those Mama’s is my girl, Sarah Rowland from Creations Behind The Lens Photography. In just a few short months I’m now lucky enough to call her a friend, and one of the favourite parts of our friendship is how we both get so excited to create art and beautiful pictures together! I love doing concept design and designing sets and back drops and well you’ve seen from my previous blog posts that she is SOOOOO freakin talented behind the camera!

One day we collaborated and bounced ideas back and forth about some pictures that would be so much to do with our littles! They were champs, and with a little bit of, the secret life of pets playing and bribery cupcakes we got some amazing shots of Amadeo and Elena.

We filled my kitchen sink up with a luxurious milk bath and strawberries for my little prince to bathe in, no surprise to me that he loved every second of it and also loves the taste of strawberries.

 

 

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This was Amadeo’s favourite set up I think, between the first taste of sweet strawberries and his love for baths, he was in heaven! After the milk bath mommy got some sweet snuggles too!

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The next set up Sarah and I tackled was a valentines shoot with our two little love bugs! Its so crazy cause Elena and Amadeo could defiantly pass as siblings! This was the cupcake bribery at its peak!

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These next few pictures were a ode to Bachelor Nation and this seasons of the Bachelor, capturing Amadeo’s 6 month milestone pictures !

 

The Bachelor Mansion

The baby Bachelor!

 

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These were seriously fun for Sarah and I being huge fans of the Bachelor Franchise as well as almost all Reality TV!

 

We then made our way upstairs to have a fun Milk Bath session with Elena and after she was done Amadeo woke from his nap and last minute we went in. These pictures are stunning and I’m so happy I will have these as memories with my son when he was so teeny tiny!

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I love how beautiful these shots are of me formula feeding my son! Fed is best!

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We are literally the same person

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As a women and as a mother I challenge you all to push yourselves to feed your passions, you will reap all of the benefits and so will your family, who will get the best versions of ourselves!

Thank you Sarah for a very fun and eventful playdate!

 

Toddler, Pre-school & Kinder Valentines Day Play Trays

 

I have accumulated a lot of materials for sensory play throughout my years of working in Early Childhood Education, but I have found some really amazing ways for you to start your sensory play resource stock pile!

I recently discovered the magical land of Value Village because of Behka from @mama.in.a.mad.house, and the bargains on sensory resources are AMAZING! You just have to have an open mind and think like a child when looking at the fine plastic bags filled with nic nacs.

I put together some great examples of some simple Valentines Play Trays that you can re create for your little ones. Valentines Day lands on a “school night” this year so maybe even give yourself some grace (weekdays are hard and they will be doing SO much during the day at school, thank you teachers!) and let your children know that Saturday after breakfast they will have some fun Valentines Day activities for you all to do together.

**These play trays I’ve put together are more appropriate for toddlers, pre-schoolers and kinders, younger children always need supervision when given sensory set ups. These trays can be easily modified for infants, just have pink and red toys that are hazardous on some funky trays for them to explore with their senses!**

 

Busy Basket –  Valentines Day Cooking

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Materials needed ( Some materials were thrifted from Value Village, some from Dollarama and the pots and cooking utensils are from Bed Bath and Beyond)

  • Basket
  • Children’s pots and pans
  • Children’s Cooking utensils
  • Red and Pink loose parts

Just put this fun tray on a coffee table or in their play kitchen and see what Valentines goodies they will whip up for you!

 

Heart Cookie Tray Counting

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Materials Needed (all purchased from Dollarama)

  • Cupcake tray
  • Enough loose parts to fit the number of spots ( look to picture for example)

A tray like this is really great for developing language, number and shape recognition.

When they are exploring the tray you can name the item, name the shape count how many and then what order they go in from smallest to largest in the pan spots.

 

Homemade Valentines Day Playdough Sensory Trays

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Materials Needed ( Thrifted finds from Value Village, Poka Dot Tray is from Ikea , loose parts and silicone cupcake mold from the Dollarama, cookie cutters from Homesense Canada)

  • Play Trays
  • Loose parts Valentines themed
  • Valentines cookie cutters

To Make the Playdough you add to a mixing bowl 2 cups of flour, 2 Table spoons of Oil, 1 table spoon of lemon juice and 1 cup of warm water, add more if needed for texture. Food colouring is added to your liking.

These Playdough trays are really easy to put together and will give you around 45 to an hour of play options. It’s so fun to see what your little ones will create with all of these materials and loose parts!

 

Colour Recognition/ Sorting  Valentines Trays

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Materials Needed:

  • Trays with separation ( the wooden tray is from a Melissa and doug toy set)
  • Loose parts and toys from their collections ( pink and red)

These trays will always a hit with your little ones and the best part is you can pick bits and pieces from all their existing toy sets to make the colouring and theme of your trays. They might choose to build with the pieces or mix them up, surprisingly they will find so many creative ways to play with these “loose parts” set ups.

 

My Little Pony Small World Sensory Tray

( this is for older children that are tempted to put materials in their mouths, again ALWAYS supervise sensory play)

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Materials Needed:

  • Tray with lipped sides
  • textured base ( this can literally be anything, I have white sand, pink decorative filler, mini white plastic diamonds and white glass beads all from the Dollarama)
  • Hearts
  • My little ponies ( these were all purchased from the Dollarama also)

Anytime you make a Small World Sensory Tray make sure your okay with the fact that during the play most likely all of the materials will get mixed together. To see all the fun your child will have with these Small World set ups is truly something magical!

 

Last but not least something good to make and eat….

Valentines Day Cookie Decorating Kit From Walmart $5.00 and peanut free!

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Enjoy your Valentines Day playing with the ones you love most!

 

X0X0 X0X0 X0X0

Vanessa Ravalico

My Little Lamb

Modified Painting for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Modified Painting for Infants , Toddlers and Preschoolers

                 infant toddler preschooler painting activities 2

 

The days in mama land seem to be getting longer and longer as we exit January (which was cold and snowy as hell) and enter February with not much warmth in sight.

All us moms are feeling it, cabin fever to the max! Guess who else is feeling it…… bingo those little gremlins that we’ve birthed! We are all just starting to really go stir crazy with the mixture of a million cm of snow piling up outside our doors and the polar vortex taking in effect any simple creative activity we can implement to break our day up is SOOOOOOO valuable! Doing this can actually help reset those irritable moments of boredom mixed with just a little bit of psycho!

Rekah from @mama.in.a.mad.house is a fellow educator and we started bouncing off the idea that once in while it would be great to collaborate some simple easily activities for parents to implement and it would also be a great opportunity have some adult conversations and our children could get together as well.

Between the two of us we have one infant, one toddler and one preschooler so we thought what better way but to do some simple, easy and cost effective painting activities parents can easily do with their children at any of those stages.

Infant – Ziploc bag painting

When doing any sort of painting project with an infant its always a good idea if they are going to be touching the actual paint that its non-toxic because everything, I mean everything, gets put into their mouths. But there’s a easier no mess (oh yeah mama I said no mess!) way of doing a painting activity with your infants!

Materials used :

  • Paper
  • A large Ziploc bag
  • Paint

Place the paper into the Ziploc bag and add dabs of paint inside, then seal the bag and voilà, its that simple! Give to your infant to explore!

*****Infant disclaimer, anytime you are doing a activity with an infant supervision is required at all times for their safety!

This painting activity is great to help make tummy time more stimulating as well as letting them explore new senses and colours up close. I always love seeing the reaction from infants when you do an activity like this, that in its self is worth any sort of prep.

 

My child also attempted to eat and roll around on the mat with his plastic bag and paints.

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Amadeo was super proud of his art work!

 

Toddler – Simple stamp painting with household products

Bekah brought over different textured items that where around the house for Juni to stamp with. She placed the items into the paint and then stamped them on the paper to reveal an imprint. For each item she used a different piece of paper as well as paint colour.

**** Toddler disclaimer, my kitchen is white from top to bottom so for my sanity and kitchens cleanliness we taped down brown Ikea craft paper and used washable Crayola paints.

Materials used :

  • Paper
  • Scented, washable Crayola paints (I picked these up at Scholars Choice)
  • Tray for paints
  • Stampers used , Duplo block, plastic screw, plastic rake, and silicone brush.
  • Apron of some sort is handy but not necessary (super cute accessory though!)

Juni really enjoyed stamping the different tools and seeing what was left on the paper once she was finished. We used this opportunity to ask her about what colours she was using and what shapes the stamps were leaving on the paper.

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Pre-schooler – Salad spinner marble painting

This is a classic daycare no mess painting activity that’s great for preschool, and kindergarten age children.

Materials used:

  • Salad spinner
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Marbles

All you need to do is trace the inside of the salad spinner onto a piece of paper, cut it out, place inside said salad spinner, dip the marbles in the paint and woohoo spin away! Again this painting activity will leave no mess and your kids will love how fun it is for them to spin and the sound it makes!

**** Pres-school disclaimer, Some children will need help holding the salad spinner so they can turn the top:)

Max was too busy playing with all the toys so Juni our artist extraordinaire did this painting activity as well.

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Bekah and I hope this can easily add some excitement to your everyday at home with your little ones! If you try these simple painting activities please tag us in your posts, we would love to see how it turns out!

Bekah: @mama.in.a.madhouse

Vanessa: @mylittlelambblog

Happy Painting!

 

 

 

Postpartum weight loss pressure is toxic and can be dangerous

 

Postpartum weight loss pressure is toxic and can be dangerous

 

One of my favourite mom blogger, Heather from @mothermoonstruck shared this picture on her stories from @feedinglittles and I just couldn’t shake the outrage I felt the more I thought about it.

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After only a couple days of giving birth to my Instagram account inbox BLEW up with these messages from women promoting postpartum weight loss, diet pills, keto coffee, programs, shakes ,wraps, you name it.

Most messages I just didn’t respond to and a lot I made the point of saying that I wasn’t interested in loosing my baby weight at the moment but thanks anyway. Man now reading this and truly taking the time to reflect back at how frustrating it was to constantly get those messages and honestly the insensitive or the lack of knowledge and experience regarding “health and nutrition” now blows my mind.

I’m a constant advocate of women supporting each other and being kind to one another and the more times that I read this picture that was shared the more I realized that this is a topic we should be discussing even at a level as high as challenging Instagram’s Community Guidelines regarding harassment and bullying.

I felt EXTREMELY harassed by these women trying to sell their pyramid scheme products to me constantly throughout my day and now having many unfiltered conversations with other mothers and women regarding this issue I will completely back that it is 100% bullying.

For the rest of my life I will be in a constant battle and working towards living a happy, fulfilled and balanced life with my Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and currently Postpartum Depression.

I know that if I didn’t have the support I had when I first gave birth to my son and wasn’t as balanced as I was hormonally and mentally, these messages would have severely affected my confident and inner thoughts.

As a new mom you are already dealing with SO much emotionally and mentally and are getting used to yourself, this new body that created this perfect angel, but everything is foreign and everything is really tough , stop adding one more thing to push a women off the edge mentally and can be harmful for her health , mentally and physically.

When thinking about writing this piece I reached out to my followers (mostly made up of the most AMAZING women and mothers) and a few mom bloggers who I knew would have awesome opinions and stories to share to help spark confidence and inspire us to love ourselves just the way we are!

Jessica Chiarello is a first time mom to a beautiful baby girl, Valentina. I reached out to Jessica to see if she would be interested in giving her advice and opinion on this subject being a fitness professional and focusing on her clients health before weight loss.

The biggest issue that I have with these women contacting us about weight loss is that there is such a lack of knowledge about the health aspect and no ounce of gueniune caring and support on the subject. You feel that its all about the bottom line ad the sales pitch and I’m sorry we aren’t here for that.

When you are feeling ready to dedicate some more self care and time to work on yourself mind and body, please reach out to professionals, who are educated and have good intentions about your health and well being, like Jessica does.

This is the piece Jessica wrote :

As a new mother and a health and fitness professional, I know the importance of postpartum recovery. Not only physically but mentally. The last thing a woman needs after giving birth is to have someone making them feel like they need to lose weight with a magic pill, tea, wrap or whatever product that is trying to be pushed. It is a time to recover and nourish your body. Not time to be looking for a quick fix or trying the next fad diet. Eating healthy, whole foods, proper rest and slowly integrating the right types of exercise for postpartum recovery is what the focus should be.

I personally haven’t been bombarded with too many messages as such. Probably because my Instagram bio states that I am a trainer so these companies know not to bug me! I do however get all sorts of offers to join groups or teams so I can “help” other women (or jump on the next pyramid scheme band wagon) which is just as annoying! Although social media can be a great place to advertise and promote any business, I think it’s time we shed light on this issue and let women know that they don’t need to fall into these traps when they are in one of the most fragile states of their lives.

If you’re seeking guidance, my best suggestion is do your research and look for a coach with experience who can make a custom game plan for you based on your specific needs and goals. They should be based off your personal stats including weight, height, activity level, health history etc.. If a coach isn’t screening you first and asking these kinds of questions, that should be your first red flag. There are so many “coaches” out there who sell generic programs, meal plans or other products that claim to get you results in an unrealistic timeframe. In reality, weight loss should be the last thing you’re worried about after giving birth. If you’re taking care of your body and eating well, the weight will naturally start to come off in good time. Your main concern should be repairing your pelvic floor and core muscles and stretching as I elaborate on in my most recent blog post: https://fitmamasblog.com/

As for anyone else being targeted for fat loss gimmicks, keep in mind that if you’re just starting off, a trainer should be helping you learn how to move properly and perform primal movements correctly before decreasing body fat % or building muscle as the primary focus. Yes, these are the result of eating well and exercising but the main focus at first should be mobility and proper movement patterns.

All that being said, don’t feel pressured to lose weight because you’ve been targeted with this type of cyber bullying. Be kind to yourself and love your body no matter what.

Jessica Chiarello
Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach

Blog: https://fitmamasblog.com/

Instagram : @fitmamasblog

 

I also reached out to Heather from @mothermoonstruck, who shared this post on her Instagram. I loved her point of view and opinion on the subject and she was more then willing to be apart of this important conversation.

This is the piece that Heather wrote:

I’m very thankful that I’m mentally strong and I’m able to just brush this targeting off without another thought. I’ve been solicited dozens of times during my two pregnancies and post partum periods and it sickens me every time. My heart goes out to the women who are struggling postpartum and aren’t able to just brush it off. Pregnancy and early postpartum are such an emotionally hard time and especially when women have issues with PPD or are working out issues with their partner or families, this type of targeting can be so detrimental to their healing and mental state. It is absolutely not okay for someone to tell a woman that they are not good enough when it comes on their body or anything else. THIS is exactly why women can develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, and why they can end up passes these things onto their children as they grow.

Heather.

Blog: mothermoonstruck.com

Instagram: @mothermoonstruck

 

I recently started following Kristyn from @mrsdingman.mama for her AMAZING attitude towards loving her post partum body and she wrote a piece for this post!

 

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Kristyn wrote:

Many people can relate to the daily messages sent by coaches, ambassadors and others who target those of us who promote positive body images. Every day, a new business reaches out to get me to join their weight loss program (aka pyramid scheme). Sure, you have a business to run and it’s your job to seek out potential clients, but at what cost? Why do you feel the need to prey on women who are empowering themselves? It has come to a point where it’s not just annoying — it’s extremely insulting. If these people did some research and were genuinely interested in getting my business, they should take a look at ONE of my posts which clearly expresses how in love I am with who I am. Every curve, stretch mark and pound I have is something to celebrate and is worth so much more than your diet pill and shakes. I am enough and I love the skin I’m in.

Kristyn.

Blog: mrsdingman-mama.weebly.com

Instagram: @mrsdingman.mama

 

 

I had many women message me that preferred to stay anonymous, that said how upset these messages and proposals to loss weight make them. One of my friends who’s a nurse and 7 months pregnant already has been propositioned to buy product that she said in her pitch “snap back” right after birth, my friend told her to fuck off!

The thing is some women who are selling this products I’m sure don’t have bad intentions and are just trying to make extra income to support their families and hit sales quotas, but in the end I think an open discussion is overdue with Instagram sharing how detrimental  this can be to women’s mental health.

I propose that anytime we receive one of these messages in our inbox’s and it evokes feelings that are anything but support, body confidence and health based, report the message and account for harassment and bullying.

I’m looking forward to this journey I’ve started to completely LOVING and being KIND to my wonderful body that gave me our son!

I’m partnering with an AMAZING mom of three and entrepreneur Denne, owner of Endless Temptation’s a fabulous ETSY store.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/EndlessTemptations

I’m sooooo sad I didn’t find her shop while I got engaged for my bridesmaids gifts , they are stunning and at SUCH good price points. She has beautiful robes and swimsuits that can be customised ( again at AMAZING prices) for us mama bears!

These are the two swim suits Denne so gracious is gifting me for my upcoming trips down south and I working on getting up the courage to rock this bikini with the confidence of Queen B herself!

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In the next coming months I will be starting a body positive campaign showcasing real life Ottawa moms, their beautiful post partum bodies with their beautiful babies beside.

Get your post partum swim suits now and contact me to join this movement and join in on our photoshoot campaign to help empower all those gorgeous worthy mamas out their who may be struggling with their new mama self image!

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle Shoot with Creations Behind The Lens Photography

Lifestyle Shoot with Creations Behind The Lens Photography

An Introduction to my mama friend and creative genius;

Sarah Rowland

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Sarah and her beautiful daughter Elena aka Bean

 

I came across Sarah and her photography business because she’s a HUGE fan of the reality show, Big Brother and did a gorgeous family shoot with my brother in law Bruno Ielo (who was on Big Brother seasons 3 and 5) and I knew I wanted to book her to take pictures of my new family in the fall. Not only did she completely exceeded my expectations with the actually photos she took of my little family, they were so perfect as seen on the blog post, Memories & Moments, but she has the sweetest personality and soooooo easy to work with. You know when your not a professional model and it feels really awkward to get your pictures taken, well she made me feel MORE then comfortable and took away all that weird awkwardness with her awesome, fun loving personality. Throughout that shoot we got to chatting a bit and in asking her some questions about her business we found out about all the misfortune that her and her husband went through right after moving to Ottawa and before giving birth to their first child.

The photography business is very competitive and it can be especially hard to gain new clients to shoot and make a living, when you first move to a new city, where your portfolio doesn’t match the locations in that said city, and on top of all of that being a normal reality for a photographer and business owner, Sarah had to combat a lot of bad luck that was flung her way when she first moved to Ottawa and was in the middle of her first pregnancy.

The most admirable quality I that Sarah has, is no matter what miss fortune was thrown her way (throughout her entire pregnancy!) she just keep moving forward with the most positive attitude, putting in the time and effort needed to grow her photography business in Ottawa to provide for her family. If that’s not the definition of BOSS.ASS.BABE I don’t know what is!

After chatting with Sarah more and more online we started becoming real life friends and we did more shoots together, again all featured on the blog, and everytime she shoots my family I’m amazed by the end product. For me to say that I’m in love with her work is a huge understatement!

I was hoping that Sarah would share with my followers and with the women in Ottawa her story, all that she faced and went through while being pregnant and a first time mother. I think it will inspire other women who have faced misfortunes in their lives that remind you that no matter what happens you are able to re build your life from the ground up and eventually rise from the ashes so to speak, and achieve everything you set your mind to.

I’m a person of the belief that if you’re a hard worker and a good person that good will come to you and I know for a fact that Sarah is truly a wonderful person and an incredible mama and provider for her family!

I HIGHLY recommend you hiring Sarah to capture your families most  precious moments at all stages and seasons of your lives. You wont regret it!

Sarah is also have a promotion for the rest of the winter season that most shoots (outdoor, family, maternity, newborn, engagement) are $60.00 until April and family shoot in home are $85.00 until April as well!

Sarah’s Story

My first pregnancy with my daughter Elena (aka Bean) was the craziest experience of my life to date, and I’m sure most mothers can agree. Everything is new and exciting, with it comes ups and downs, and I spent the majority of it eating my weight in dill pickle crispers and Greek yogurt every night.

However the events experienced in last few months of my pregnancy were truly life shifting. I was in a car accident a few days before Christmas, we were thankfully all uninjured but the car on the other hand was a right off and it was just really bad timing to have that happen, especially during the holidays. A few weeks after the accident at 22 weeks pregnant I went to the ER as I wasn’t feel well, they thought that I had HELLP Syndrome ( A potentially life-threatening disorder that’s usually associated with preeclampsia, a condition that occurs in 5–8 percent of pregnancies. Most often after the 20th week of pregnancy. HELLP syndrome is a disorder of the liver and blood that can be fatal if left untreated.) and that I would need to deliver ASAP. I was admitted and kept in the hospital for over a week to be monitored and have constant testing done to make sure the baby and I were okay. In the end everything seemed to be ok and I got to go home at last.

We were fully nested and SO ready to meet our little girl at 9 months pregnant, when a evening my husband and I were at the movies for date night I received one the worst phone calls of my life. My neighbour had called to tell me that our home, along with many other (they were Minto row homes) had caught fire. She was telling me that our home was gone. I was frantic in the 20 minute car ride home having full on stress induced contrations and all I remember is pleedy to my neighbours on the phone to safe our pets. Our neighbour was a hero and managed to get our dog out safetly but our cat was missing finally found in the rubble 3 days later in the -25 degree weather. March 12, 2017 you were a real pain in my neck!

After the fire destroyed our home and all of our posesstions, we were living in a hotel with literally NOTHING. Still thinking back to that time its so surreal to know that we had everything ready and we were so prepared for our little bean to join us to not knowing where we would be living when she arrived. We spent the next week in the horrible dead of winter weather having meetings with Minto to try to find a home to move into and trying to put together some things to have ready for the baby. We needed to buy a car seat, clothes, diapers, just even to have some necessities for when she was born. I know how lucky we were to not be home when the fire happened. It started in the home directly attached to ours and they went up so quickly that a few neighbours almost didn’t make it out with their lives.

We thankfully got a place, moved in and that same evening I went into labour. Life wasn’t going to give me a break quit yet, my birth included horrible kidney stones, an emergency C-section and intense pain, but I’ll never forget the moment hearing her first cry’s and seeing that perfect little face was the craziest most beautiful moment that I’ve ever experienced in my life. March 22nd, 2017 our little Elena was born.

We not only lost every sentimental piece ( like photos , hand knit clothing and blankets from my childhood that I had for Elena, etc) but I lost everything that was my livelihood. I lost all of my photography props and equipment that I collected and invested in throughout the years, I lost my lighting tools and my camera equipment that the money from the insurance settlement wouldn’t even come close to covering.

The first 6-8 months after Elena was born came with its own set of first time mom and motherhood challenges. My family was far away and we were kinda figuring things out on our own starting our life from scratch. But in the last year I’ve been working hard at replacing all that I lost business wise. I’ve invested a lot of time and money re-branding my business, and rebuilding my cliental, and all the hard work this past year has really started paying off as it has been one of my best years in business since I’ve moved to Ottawa.

I truly feel that loosing it all was a bit of a blessing in disguise, in that it forced me to push myself to limits I didn’t even know I had in me in order to rebuild my life and make it what it is today. My husband, daughter and myself are happy and healthy and that’s all that truly matters.

I really look forward to what 2019 has instore for me professionally and for my business and I looking forward capturing the moments that matter most in peoples lives. I truly love being apart, capture witness people, couples and families at their happiest most precious moments in life.

Please feel free to contact me at  http://www.creationsbehindthelens.com/ for any photography shoot inquires 🙂

Sarah Rowland

 

My Families Lifestyle Shoot With Sarah

These photos are were really important for me and my husband to capture for many reasons.

  1. I wanted to capture Amadeo’s true crazy personality in pictures and I knew we could do that where he is most familiar and comfortable, in our home.
  2. I really wanted photos to capture our family in the house that Amadeo lived in when he was born. My husband and I completely gutted and renovated this home top to bottom, inside and out, a lot of literal blood sweat and tears went into this home together and while I was pregnant and we are selling this home and moving into our newly built home in August.
  3. I’ve mentioned before that its realllllllly important to me to document Amadeo’s growth throughout his first year and with Sarah’s affordable prices we are able to do that every couple months and beautiful display these photos in our home.

 

I hope you enjoy these beautiful photos of my family and if you book with a family shoot with Sarah please share with me, I always love to see the beautiful shots that Sarah takes of my friends and followers!!!

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The best part of a lifestyle shoot is Sarah is truly capturing you in your real life. While Amadeo was finishing off his morning nap I rinsed off some bottles and my husband came to give me kisses. I kid you not people this is my every day and to be honest 99% of the time it drives me nuts but I know I need to cherish and apricate moments like this more. Also side note while he washes the dishes I usually go behind him and air hump him to make him laugh, not as romantic. In the second picture is our first son Luca who is our forever puppy and protector of Amadeo !

 

My husband is truly my bestfriend and partner in all thing life and I couldn’t be more thankful for him. Cheers to forever darling, you’re stuck with me.

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I’ve been working a lot in therapy on investing time and putting effort into my marriage, after a baby it really gets put on the back burner. You are both tired and burnt out that by the end of the day there is nothing left forever after you seem to both give it all to baby. We now practice daily, ten minutes of mat time as a family , checking in with each others feelings and thoughts after we put Amadeo to bed and take a moment to just hug and kiss each other. A little physical contact with your spouse can be all it tacks to feel a bit more connected to one another 🙂

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Let him sleep, for when he wakes, he will move mountains

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One of the MAJOR bonuses to bottle feeding our son from birth is the bonding that my husband and Myself both get to experience equally 🙂

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I constantly go between wanting you to be my baby forever, to being excited about all the amazing things I’ll get to witness you do in this life. 

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The bromance between these too is my favourite, the love this kid has for his Dad is beautiful!

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I wished for a girl and man do I ever love being a BOY MOM it just goes to show you sometimes you truly don’t know what you want until the choice is made for you. 

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Out of all of our accomplishments daddy and I both agree, you’re our best one!

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Don’t worry little guy, Daddy and Mommy will spend the rest of our days giving you kisses!
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Sarah capturing my daily brainwashing ritual of embedding the word MAMA into my sons brain so that will be his first word, I mean reading time!?

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The day we did our lifestyle shoot we had a doctors appointment were we got the go ahead to start him on solids! As you can see from his face in the first picture he was SUPER PUMPED, I mean we only tease him everyday eating our delicious big people food in front of him while he enjoys yet another bottle. And after the first weird bite , he was hooked! YUM FOOD! 

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We moved to the island for the last bit of his cereal and gave him the spoon, he is my independent Leo after all. I’m so happy Sarah was there to capture these amazing pictures of this first!
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Thank you Sarah for being the talented women that you are and being a huge part in capturing our families most beautiful moments. We are forever Grateful!

Empowered Women, Empower Women.

Empowered Women, Empower Women

 

I had a really hard time enjoying my pre-teen and teenage years and one of the biggest reasons why was as teenagers there seemed to be so much competition between girls. Someone wanted to be the prettiest, sportiest, funniest, most stylish, smartest, most creative, the list goes on and on, but the point is there was very few girls that I found supported each other or at least not more then their own “successes”.  I’ve never been a very competitive person, sports I could have cared less if I won or not, board games, only competitive when it comes to monopoly, but who isn’t, its just never really been my thing to compete with anyone really.

I have always thrived with the support of others and most importantly human interaction, the biggest reason as to why this motherhood thing has been very challenging for me at times. It’s isolating and lonely!

But I’ve really grown to love my adult years because a magical thing happened when I left high school and I started seeing and experiencing the genuine support and encouragement of other women.

The thing when we finally move on from that phase of our lives that is for the most part self-consuming, we are able to start looking at the world from other perspectives. We start to see the value of other peoples strengths and talents as non threats to our lives, success, confidence etc.

I have truly found in motherhood and starting this blog that the empowerment and support given by other women and mothers and for me other mom bloggers truly has added so much value to me life. Seeing other women rock this thing called motherhood inspires me to be the best that I can be and you know what because that women makes me feel that way I should let her know. I should share with my following of women and mothers because I think that they will always get joy from this moms successes.

See the thing is as women we need to start working against the grain of  a society that is trying to convince us that if another women is succeeding it means that we are failing or that they are some how taking away from our success. Trust me when you start lifting other women up and supporting other women in what they are successful at it will only add positives to your life in every way possible.

We are in this together, this thing called life, womanhood, motherhood, etc., and if we are start supporting each other in anyway that we can imagine all that we can accomplish!

Erica Fraser from @mom.break saw value in exactly this and started a Facebook group for like minded mommy bloggers who could come together and support each other in the ways needed. It has been a great resource for our blogs, it has brought together a group of women who can collaborate together and in the end the part that I’m most thankful for is a group of women that can get together and just be ourselves. We can be raw and candid and supportive of our lives and endeavors. We can bounce business ideas off of each other or send opportunities each others way if we see that are fitting to them and their audience.

Shouting out the amazing mamas that were at our play date this morning and definitely recommending giving them a follow and checking out value they can add to your life!

Erica Fraser from Mom break:

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Blog : https://mombreak.ca/

Instagram : @mom.break

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

I love following all of Erica’s content because she’s “my people”. She doesn’t put a filtered lens on her life and the content that she puts out. She is real and extremely honest about the brands she works with and promotes. She is not afraid to talk about controversial topics and start discussions in order to bring awareness to something other women and mothers may be struggling with. She is a supporter of therapy and mental health awareness. She puts out an amazing new letter minus the bs and only the things that you’d want as well as a weekly giveaway from amazing brands and lots of women entrepreneurs that to enter all you do is literally click “enter” and will constantly make you giggle throughout the day with her hilarious insta stories.

 

Sarah Stone from Motherhood Unhinged

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Blog: https://motherhood-unhinged.squarespace.com/

Instagram : @motherhood_unhinged

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

Sarah is just the sweestest mama I’ve ever met. She is so open about the struggles she’s faced in motherhood and in my opinion is a huge inspiration because she handles them all head on in the most loving and graceful way. She is someone to connect with and follow especially if you’re struggling with child allergies as well as fertility. I fell in love with her #tubsnacks but stay for the amazing, positive content that she puts out for women and mothers to relate to.

Marise From Sit Ups and Sippy Cups

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Blog : https://situpsandsippycups.wordpress.com/

Instagram: @situpsandsippycups

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

Marise is an inspiring first time mom who helps you get in touch with what’s going on and realize your not alone in motherhood. She is open and candid about loss, post partum anxiety, sleepless nights, fitness journey, as well as her wonderful successes as a first time mom as well. You cant help but fall in love with her hunk of love and a bonus for me our sons are now besties.

 

Laura From Make It Laura

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Blog: http://www.makeitlaura.com/

Instagram: @makeitlaura

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/makeitlaura/photos/a.1920375511343317/1954965507884317/?type=3&theater

Laura is a crafting mamas dream account. She puts out the most beautiful creative content for both mama and babies to enjoy and spend doing. I love the inspiration Laura gives me to foster that creative side that defiantly gets pushed down to the bottom of the list now that I’m a mom. She is also very open about Post Partum Depression and her story can offer a lot of inspiration to women who are feeling effects of changing hormones. Give her a follow for all things beautiful!

 

Rebecca from Mama in a Mad House

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Blog: https://linktr.ee/mama.in.a.madhouse

Instagram: @mama.in.a.madhouse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mama.in.a.madhouse/photos/?ref=page_internal

Rebecca is a fellow ECE and spends her days sharing her awesome play set up inspirations that she does with her two amazing children with all of us! Bonus! She is a thrifting powerhouse and believes in reusing all things. She has a child with severe allergies and advocates for other children. In the warmer weather seasons she organizes awesome play and art activities at parks in Barrhaven! give her a follow and connect about all things play!

 

Naomi Bianca From NaomiBianca613

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Blog: https://naomibianca613.com/

Instagram: @naomibianca613

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiBianca613/

Naomi is an awesome STHM who fills her days with adventure exploring all that the city of Ottawa has to offer children and families. She takes her boys to such fun places and lets us know all we need to know if we were to visit. If your wondering what’s out there to do in this city with your littles check out her blog to get some great ideas!

Being a mom in the blogging world and putting your lives and opinions out into the world can bring its own set of challenges and obstacles,  and I just cant thank Erica enough for seeing value in making these connections, supporting each other and putting us all together to do just that.

Girls compete.

Women Empower.

Today we had a mom blogger playdate at my home so our children can all interact and play together and mooooost importantly we are able to have women interaction in the flesh. I always leave these play dates ready to take on the world, it give my mama self and bran new life! So thank you ladies for being wonderful, supportive, fantastic human beings.

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Moms deserve some yummy treats and a pretty presentation as well! Baby Mum Mums for the little wee ones, cupcakes because it was a special boys 4th birthday and delicious eats for us!

 

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The kiddos played while we sipped our coffee aka mom fuel and got to catch up on all thing motherhood!

 

 

 

Find your tribe of women supporters and help them grow.

 

 

Top Ten Toys for Babies 5 months and Under

 

Top Ten Toys for Babies 5 months and Under

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Over the past couple months my most requested blog post my followers have asked me to write about is what toys and activities I use daily with Amadeo and what I recommend for which ages. So here it is mamas all our FAVOURITE toys we own and love!

***I will include all links and prices to these items but this is in no way a sponsored or affiliated post, this is purely my opinion of the items I have purchased myself or have been gifted to me and Amadeo by family or friends :)***

  1. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Play Mat – $149.99

I added this play mat from Skip Hop on my baby shower registry from Buy Buy Baby, because I LOVED the modern design that had beautiful high contrast colours that are perfect for infant development. Another bonus to this mat which I have grown to love and recommend a million percent over the foam tile play mats, is that its SOOOOO EASY TO CLEAN, super hygienic, and SO comfy and squishy, I wish my whole main floor was made out of this material. I’m able to run my Dyson vacuum on it on either setting no problem and use non toxic cleaning products to easily disinfect germs! Win Win!

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/skip-hop-reg-vibrant-village-reversible-play-mat/1063104998?keyword=skip-hop-play-mat

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2. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights Activity Mat – $134.99

Same as the Skip Hop Play Mat I chose this Activity mat for all of the features it had for infant development. It hits all of your babies senses and is really great from infant on again because of the high contrast colours and patterns. It also lights up and plays music, so cool! Amadeo has loved this mat from day one!

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/skip-hop-reg-vibrant-village-smart-lights-activity-gym/1061754775?keyword=skip-hop-play-mat

 

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3. All kinds of Sensory Balls – Prices range from $5.00 to $15.00

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Infantino textured ball set, we own a couple different sets and Amadeo loves playing with these balls for so many different reasons. He’s able to explore and feel different textures, some are super easy for him to grasp and suck on, and he is always mesmerized by the beautiful bright colours!

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/infantino-trade-textured-multi-ball-set/5080132?keyword=infantino

 

Oball ( my favourite ball EVER! ) Amadeo has been confidently playing with his ball as young as 2 months old! It’s his favourite toy and likes it so much that I have multiples for outings and at home play. Its light weight and super easy for them to grasp and hold on to, plus Amadeo favourite game is sticking his tongue through the holes and thinks its hilarious.

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Spiked rubber shapes are from the Dollarama, they were $2.50 each and are sooooo cool! Amadeo loves putting them in his mouth and feeling the spikes. We’ve been playing with these from 2 months old till now. He also loves when I take his socks off and put them where he has his naked feet, its a different sensory experience.

 

Stress Balls from Terra 20 were a gift from friends and they are SO cool! I definatly recommend purchasing, they are a really cool texture and feeling and they are good for mommy to fidget with too in stressful situations! Bonus!

https://terra20.com/products/stress-balls

 

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4. Squiz from Scholars choice were a gift Amadeo got from my co-workers at daycare! This hands down is my FAVOURITE daycare toy for quiet table top play. They are so cool and suction to almost any surface including eachother so they can be built up. I add other toys to this for example, I use the green ones as trees and add farm animals, I used all the blue ones and add boats, fish or marine animals, I mean the possibilities for different play set ups are endless. These are also amazing for child directed play, their imagination runs wild and its so cool to see their suction creations. I have been giving these to Amadeo since he was two months. They are AMAZINGLY easy for him to grasp as well as a great teething aid! I HIGHLY recommend adding a set or two to your child’s toy collection for any age range, its a toy that will grow with your child beautifully as they use it in different ways at different stages.

https://www.scholarschoice.ca/squigz-starter-set-by-fat-brain-toy.html

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5. Grimm’s Conical Stacking Tower is such a beautiful hand crafted wooden toy Amadeo got for Christmas. I cant wait to grow his Grimm’s wooden toy collection. Amadeo LOVES the beautiful bright colours as well as the texture of the wood in his mouth, the pieces are also easy for him to hold at 5 months and challenges him because they are heavier then his plastic toys he’s used to. Grimm’s toys are pricey but you have to look at these toys as a true investment, they will be played with by your children 5 months all the way till grade 6 at least! I HIGHLY recommend checking out all of the different Grimm’s creations accounts I have listed on my Grimm’s post on Instagram, its crazy what children are creating independently as well as with their parents!

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6. Anything Eric Carle! As an educator and now mommy I LOVE all of the stories, art work and toys that the company The World Of Eric Carle puts out. I love the brand so much that it was the theme for our Baby Shower, check out that blog post for pictures! So far all the Eric Carle toys and books we own as from a mixture of Amazon, BuyBuyBaby and Winners, Homesense and Marshalls. They are affordable and bring so much to the table developmental wise!

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7. The Infantino Pat and Play Water Mat – $7.99

As an educator I know how crucial it is to have sensory be a big part of a child’s learning and development, however as an infant it can be difficult to incorporate. Amadeo is at the age were EVERYTHING he gets his hands on will go into his mouth and he also hasn’t started eating solids so we are limited to contained sensory play. I love the infantino water mat because its affordable and I hate the diy sensory bags out of ziplocs because its next to impossible to have them not leek fluid, and yes I’ve tried everything after a couple plays or elapsed time they also leek fluid. I use the water mat for keeping tummy time interesting as well as I put it under his feet for a different sensory intake.

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/infantino-reg-pat-play-water-mat-trade/1041526125?opbthead=true&ta=typeahead&keyword=infantino

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8. Teething Toys!

The Zoli Teether – $19.99

Baby Banana Toothbrush – $9.99

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/baby-banana-reg-bendable-teething-toothbrush-for-infants/1016357855?keyword=banana-tooth-brush

I realize there are a lot of AMAZING teethers on the market and I own almost all of them but my son started teething at 3 month ( ugh ) and even now at 5 months its really difficult for him to properly grasp and use any of the other teethers properly because he’s so young. These are the ONLY two that from 3 months to now that he can use 100% on his own with confidence and provides him with relief!

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Follow my Instagram account @mylittlelambblog and you will see these in use almost daily in my stories!

 

9. Stacking cups!

You can find all sorts of different sets and shapes of stacking cups. Amadeo got his as a Christmas present and loves them because he can hold them with use do to the thin lip on the cups. They are light weight making them easy for him to hold for long periods of time and these one even have holes so are perfect in the bath as well!

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We also play a really fun game together as a family with Amadeo when he is in his Bumbo. He ends up throwing and pushing off the cups and my husband and I have to get them back on within 5 seconds, like a the floor is lava game, he laughs and just loves it!

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10. Evenflo Jungle Quest Excersaucer – $143.99

Last but certainty not least is an Excersaucer. Amadeo is 5 months old and has built up enough strength in his neck to confidently play in a Excersaucer which equals the HAPPIEST day in motherhood. You can go pee, do dishes, shower, etc and not feel guilty! They are happily having independent play and entertain themselves for a bit (FINALLY) so in my eyes its a WIN WIN and I 10000000 million percent say as soon as your child is capable get them in one! This Excersaucer is super cool because I actually bought it for my nephew 6 years ago and now Amadeo is using his cousins, woot woot!

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Once you pass the six month mark there is SO much open to keep them entertained and growing developmentally, most of which is extremely cost effective and you can easily DIY.

Let me know if you have any other questions pertaining to our daily activities I always love hearing from you, as well as if you have or purchase anything I’ve recommended let me know how you and your children like using them!

 

 

Medical Assistance In Dying (M.A.I.D) takes love, courage and bravery like none other

Medical Assistance In Dying

(M.A.I.D)

My grandmother Silvana Santarelli was diagnosed with terminal cancer just five weeks ago and since that time and watching a loved one rapidly decline in health and spirit, it makes you start looking at life in a different lens.

My Grandmother was nothing short of the epidemy of someone who has lived their life to the fullest and truly lived in the moment. So much of her life was like a beautiful novel, filled with love of family, friends, travel, culture, music, laughter and romance. I can honestly say that I have never met anyone in my life who truly lived as my grandmother did. She saw so much of the world, spoke many languages, married a handsome Canadian in the army and then moved to Canada to live the Canadian dream raising three truly amazing humans (one of which is my wonderful mom). She spent the better part of her life working in customer service and truly impacted everyone who she came into contact with for the better.

Five weeks ago my grandmother was taken to the hospital by my aunt due to pain in her shoulder and that’s when she was given the news that no one wants to ever hear muttered from a doctor, that she had cancer, or as she put it “I have the big C”. The following days were full of tests to determine a prognosis and to what degree had the cancer spread. Unfortunately the news wasn’t good news and she was told that the cancer had spread into most of her vital organs and it was terminal, with only a few more weeks to live.

Most of us have been effected by cancer or have had a family member effected by cancer. I myself have had a couple scares throughout my life with high concentration of cancerous cells in my uterus, and hearing anything with the word cancer attached is the most frightening words you can ever hear from a doctor.

I now have experienced both sides. I have seen the unbelievable strength, resilience and bravery it takes to fight cancer head on as well as seeing the other side of a terminal diagnoses and how that same unbelievable strength, resilience and bravery applies to Medical Assisted In Death (M.A.I.D).

My grandmothers quality of life had been ripped out from under her so swiftly and in these last five weeks the pain had become unbearable. When there is nothing that can be done to save a life or even make those last weeks that she would have had on this earth more comfortable my grandmother chose to apply for M.A.I.D which was put into place in Ontario in the last few years for these exact circumstances. To allow you to pass away painlessly, peacefully and with your dignity. Seeing a loved one in pain and knowing there is nothing that can be done to relieve it, or make it better is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life thus far.

Once my grandmother was approved she had 10 days to contemplate and still make the decision to either go through with the procedure to end her life or not to. In those ten days she had good moments, not so good moments ( mostly due to bad reactions to the pain meds) but the pain and suffering was always there, either lingering or loud and in your face. Even until the very moment before the procedure is done the doctor is required by law to ask if you still are sure you want to proceed with the procedure and my grandmother was confident with her decision right till the end. She had lived this beautiful life that she lived her way,and wanted to end it the same, not overpowered by the evils of cancer but with the grace of science to help end her and her families suffering.

The actual hours leading up to the procedure were the most emotional but beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced with my family. We played my grandmothers favourite songs and we all sang and cried together. We laughed at her witty humour and we were able to express all of our gratitude for what our grandmother gave to us all throughout her life.

As I said when you experience something like this you start thinking about life and the end of life and my grandmother passed away in the most beautiful way honouring the beautiful life that she lived, surrounded by her loved ones, and painless in her sleep. What more can you hope and wish for someone you love or for yourself.

In those last moments of my grandmothers life she brought all of her family together in one room supporting each other like we never knew we could before. My cousin and I cried and we breathed together and held each other tight knowing that our grandmother would soon be at peace. Those moments are hard to explain because they are mostly felt. I can still feel the emotion of the doctor, nurses, of my family in that room. I can hear in my head when its silent the song that was playing on shuffle at the time of her passing, “Please Release Me” by Engelbert Humperdnick.

And then you find peace at different moments through your grief.

My grandmother bravely passed away Jan 3, 2019 at 3:50pm at the Queensway Carleton Hospital and when my mother spoke those words I realized that this was the first sign that she would be with me always.

I gave birth directly underneath her room where she passed at the same hospital August 7, 2018 at exactly 3:50am and my original due date was August the 3rd.

I know that for the rest of our lives Silvana will be looking after us and helping lead us in the direction of happiness just as she lived her life.

I am forever grateful for my grandmother gifting me with a life full of the most wonderful family and the wonderful memories we have shared throughout my life.

Thank you to the wonderful Nurses and Doctors who cared for my grandmother with so much care and compassion during the last few weeks of her life, we are forever grateful for you.