This giveaway is for all you mamas of littles and mamas to be out there! I’m excited to have teamed up with The Handpicked Home to spoil one lucky winner with a nursery prize package worth more than $300! Most of the items included in this giveaway are available in shop, so if you see a brand or product you love, find them online and pop by the shop to check them out in person.
Shampoo + body wash, conditioner, and face + body lotion from The Honest Company
Now to get in some entries!
To enter: Follow Our Happy Place and The Handpicked Home on Instagram and like the giveaway image (the one seen at the beginning of this post) + tag 3 friends who you think would love to win. Comment ‘done’ so we can see who’s entered. We will both be posting this giveaway on our Instagram accounts so that equals 2 chances to enter!
Bonus entries: see the contest widget below for bonus entries + earn a bonus entry for every $100 you spend in shop during this giveaway.
Contest closes at midnight PST on October 24, 2017
Welcome to the days of sun, sand, dribbly watermelon and popsicle faces, long warm days, and everything else that comes with Summer. The best. Whether you head to the beach or pool or just hang out in your backyard, these days are meant to be enjoyed and memories made. It isn’t about all the things, it’s about filling up a pool- maybe inflating a floatie or two- and giving the kids a bucket and water as entertainment. Voila, unplugged childhood at it’s best.
This time of year, I can’t be outside with the kids enough. Grab the swimsuits/ Summer clothes, lob on the sunscreen and (half an hour later some days!) we’re outside for as much of the day as possible. We eat all 3 meals outside if I have it my way and they come in for nap/ bed time dirty, tired, and smelling of the sun and fresh air. I loved the idea of sharing about one of our beach days for this post, but wrangling these two for photos requires more than this mama’s two arms. So I figured a backyard shoot was in order, plus it’s where so much of Summer is spent as a family and I love that this wasn’t a super- styled photo shoot. Just me with the kids hanging out in the backyard getting up to shenanigans; some pretty cute moments were captured that will be getting printed and added to our gallery wall.
I had the chance to team up with a few of my favourite local brands to share some comfortable Summer styles (see some twinning mermaids below) and ideas to get you through the hottest season of the year. What was great about this backyard shoot is it doesn’t get any more laid- back than this. Well, as laid back as it gets with two kids running wild and loose. 😉 But that’s what Summer and childhood is about, and when you’re making memories, there’s nothing better. Comfort goes a long way this time of year and finding quality pieces that stand up to the elements and activities that come with Summer can make getting ready for a day spent outside that much easier. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that there weren’t so many cute choices for boys, but that’s changed in a big way and Liam loved hamming it up for the camera. I hope you like our Summer style picks- we’ve got some talented locals around here and they make it easy to dress for these hot days! All sources provided at the end of this post.
5 Summer Style Tips for Mama + Kids
1. Hats– More than a cute accessory, these help protect from the sun, and there are plenty of options out there for all members of the family. For littles, ones that have a strap for under the chin can help keep them from removing them, but as kids get older those styles can be harder to find. It took some getting used to, but Liam now wears a snap back (this Mahalo one is by Aloha Kai) . Even though this style doesn’t cover the back of the neck, it gives his face good coverage and I load on plenty of sunscreen anyways. Styles with adjustable straps also mean you can get a few seasons out of them and they’re great year- round. I like a variety of styles for myself, but my beach hat of choice this year is anything with a brim while I build up my tan for the season (see this post for a cute beach hat DIY).
2. Tops– The classic tee is hard to beat, but tank tops are a versatile option for days when it’s too hot even for a t- shirt and you don’t want anything on your shoulders (you know, those days when it feels too hot to wear anything). Perfect as a quick cover- up at the beach/ pool (buy a size up if you want them less- fitted for this purpose, and get an extra year out of them too) and a comfortable option to prevent chafing from seat belts and car seat straps. They’re a quick/ easy style option that you can throw on with any bottoms and double as great pj tops to wear to bed on hot Summer nights (ie those nights when the kids fall asleep in the car on the way home).
3. Cover ups– Whether you go for a maxi dress, skirt, or another option, a cover- up is a perfect extra layer when you’ve got a beachy breeze or want to layer- up for a Summer picnic. Hooded towels or over- sized tops are a great option- especially for kids- but if you want something to wear from the beach to the dinner table, something that’s comfortable and easy to slip on are two things I’m looking for. A comfortable top (again with the tank tops!) with a skirt work great and still allows you to move as you chase your monkeys kids around (this bright watermelon one is from Lone Wolf Boutique– see this post for another one of her styles perfect for Summer).
4. Swim suits– I don’t think I could write a post on beach/ pool/ Summer style without including this seasonal staple! When it comes to kids, you can find everything from UV- protecting styles to ones that are just plain cute, and everything in between. This is a time of year to have fun outdoors and you want everyone to be comfortable in the heat. Choose options that suit your lifestyle when it comes to shopping for both the kids and your own suits. I can’t resist a cute pair of swim shorts or a bikini for my two, but they also have fuller- coverage UV protecting styles for long days when the sun is scorching hot. And for Moms, I know the swim suit debate is a personal one. I love a 2- piece, but some days a 1- piece is the better choice based on our activities. And if you prefer more coverage there are plenty of stylish 1 and 2- piece suits out there. The 1- piece I’m wearing in this post is from All Twerk and No Pray and it’s my go- to 1- piece (also great paired with a skirt or shorts!). For a fuller- coverage 2- piece style, see this post.
5. Bottoms– When it comes time to pack up and head to the beach, shorts and skirts are essentials, but for cool Summer mornings and evenings, having comfortable pieces that provide more coverage from the shade and breeze are good to keep in mind for everyone. Comfortable leggings for all are a great choice and allow for plenty of running, swimming, and other movement. As the day warms up, simply swap for those shorts/ skirts, or swimsuits. For Moms, they’re a comfortable option that offers more coverage if you don’t love shorts (a capri- style is perfect if you don’t want to wear full- length ones in the heat) and can comfortably slip over a 1- piece or paired with a bikini top. Pick a pair made for yoga/ working out; the material will provide optimal comfort and movement in the heat. Two of my favourite local brands that combine quality, comfort, and style are Inner Fire and Kristina Benson Art (see this post and this post).
So there you have it. A few ideas to help get you and the kids through the Summer in comfort and style, and hopefully some new ideas to arm you for the hot days ahead. I’d love to hear what your essentials are for this time of year and your favourite Summer staples! Like these ideas? Or not? What would you change/ add?
Every Spring as the weather is getting warmer I start to get everything organized for the heat of the Summer- water shoes and sandals, hats, beach essentials, swim suits… and sunscreen. And each year I try to find a natural option that isn’t loaded with chemicals while keeping my family from turning into lobsters (no olive skin/ 5 minutes to bronzed over here, we fair- skinned folks have to build up a tan over a looooong time). There seem to be some general things to look out for, some questionable, and some that you want for sun protection. As I did the research for this post I tried to simplify the information and make recommendations based on what I found* (I’ve also included the sources that I referred to at the end of the post so you can do some research for yourself if you wish). It’s sometimes hard to find quality options in grocery stores, so all of the options below are ones that you can easily find online (you can also find them in natural/ health food stores). See some of the good and bad things to look for in sunscreens and a few suggestions to try this Summer below- just add sun!
For more natural sunscreen options available online check out Well.ca and Amazon– if you’re unsure about some of the products you find, Google search them by name and you should be able to find their ingredients listed along with information about how they really measure up (that’s how I discovered one of my old go- tos wasn’t as good as I thought).
One other thing I learned while researching the sunscreens to include in this post: if you like sunscreens in spray form (ie in an aerosol/ pressurized can), look closely at the ingredients, as they may not be cause for concern when applied to the skin, but inhaling them has it’s own set of concerns (this article was informative on this topic). This opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, so I didn’t include any aerosol suggestions, just a cream that you can spray on without it becoming a mist).
* Please note that these recommendations are based on research and information I found online. I am not making medical or scientific recommendations, and as with any skincare product if in doubt, apply a small amount to a test area prior to use.
We spent a fun morning yesterday morning at Ritual Ice Cream in Fort Langley shooting photos for an upcoming Easter collab with Creative Wife and Joyful Worker and Discovering Parenthood. Considering there were six little ones running around, I think we pulled it off pretty well and the kids handled it like champs. It didn’t hurt that there was the promise of sweet treats after the photos either. 😉 Sugar rush and all, it was a fun morning spent with friends and the perfect way to spend the first day of Spring.
There will be plenty more of all things Spring and Easter from that shoot coming soon to all three of our blogs, but until then I wanted to share the sweet outfits my two little blondies got to model from Watermelon Tree Kids, a sweet children’s store in Fort Langley, that stocks a variety of quality baby and kid’s items ranging from larger, well- known companies, to a variety of local brands. I had the chance to check out the store before Christmas with a girlfriend and love everything about this store and the mother- daughter team behind it. They were very generous helping us dress the kids in the sweetest outfits for Spring and if you’ve been looking for an outfit for your kids, they’ve definitely got plenty of cute items to choose from!
I’m a sucker for getting the kids dressed up, even if it only lasts a short while. Ari’s dress was super soft and comfortable, and Liam killed me with cuteness is his button- up and shorts. (If you follow the blog on Instagram you’ll also know that he loved when they came off and was running around in just the shirt and diaper- what is it with boys?!). I also love the added bonus of supporting a local family- run business that cares about the quality of the items they carry (Sidenote: they also have a great play area and couch in the back of the store to help entertain the kids and provide a space to breast feed if needed while you shop). You can tell the owners really care about their customer’s experience and I appreciate that it’s a kid- friendly place to shop. The next time you’re in Fort Langley I hope you pay this sweet shop a visit. <3
Thank you to Ritual Ice Cream for letting us shoot the photos at your beautiful location and Watermelon Tree Kids for providing the outfits for all of the kids!
Spring Break starts for a lot of schools next week and it never hurts to have some ideas lined up to keep the kids entertained. Colouring, books, and games are a few crowd- pleasing options that are good for a variety of ages and I’ve teamed up with Raincoast Books to bring you a few activity and game ideas to help keep the kids happy (and your sanity intact 😉 ). I’m sharing about 2 activities from their Spring Break #PlayTestShare collection along with a giveaway for your choice of any one of the games/ activities from the collection to help you have fun with the kids this Spring Break.
We’ve enjoyed several of the books and games from Raincoast books over the last year or so and I love the variety offered for kids of all ages in their #PlayTestShare collections (scroll to the end of this post for a list of other books, games, and activities that have been featured on the blog). Old MacDonald Had a Truck Bingo and Towering Tree Puzzle are just two of the options from this recent collection that I’ve been enjoying with Ari since we’ve been spending more time than usual inside (I think our weather has forgotten this is the Westcoast & we’ve had an unusual amount of snow making for some cozy inside days). She has enjoyed puzzles from a young age and I thought it would be fun to teach her how to play Bingo (she’s become a pro!), so I picked options suited for her, but there are plenty more ideas if you’d like more reading material or another activity (you can see all of the activities/ games/ books from the Spring Break #PlayTestShare collection here).
The Towering Tree Puzzle features illustrations by Teagan White on 17 large double- sided pieces with Spring & Summer on one side and Fall & Winter on the other. Each piece shows woodland creatures who call the forest home and is about 3 feet long when finished. This is perfect for kids who enjoy puzzles and is a sweet way to teach your kids about nature and the four seasons- Ari kept mentioning how cute she thought they all were. The large pieces make it a fun floor activity and we had fun putting it together- we just had to keep Liam from taking apart our hard work!
This is the Spring & Summer side of the puzzle…
…And this is the Fall & Winter side
Bingo is such a classic game and can make for hours of fun (and yes I mean hours, Ari has asked to play this game a few times a day, every day since we got it). Once I explained the game to her and showed her how to look at the letter and picture she understood how to play within a few minutes. I hadn’t thought of this until we started playing, but it’s also a fun way to teach younger kids letter recognition. This is something we’ve been working on and it was a nice little bonus to go with the fun. This version comes with 6 double- sided boards and features artwork based on the book Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz (there are also counting cards available if you’re a fan of the book and looking for other activity ideas). If you’re a fan of family game night this is a fun option for younger kids- and let’s face it, who doesn’t love Bingo???
Old MacDonald Had a Truck Bingo features barnyard animals and construction vehicles and helps little players learn object recognition, vocabulary, and concentration skills. Good for up to 6 players.
More About the Activities Featured:
Old MacDonald Had a Truck Bingo A classic family-friendly game gets revved up with a winning combination of construction vehicles and farm animals, featuring artwork from the picture book Old MacDonald Had a Truck . With six illustrated, double-sided game boards plus a set of colourful bingo calling cards and chips, this easy-to-learn game is sure to be a hit at any playdate or family game night.
Towering Tree Puzzle Join adorable critters as they navigate the seasons and make new friends in their towering tree. Imaginative play and puzzle logic intersect as each interlocking branch of this innovative puzzle tells a new story, providing hours of entertainment. Adventure is just a branch away!
Visit the Raincoast Blog for more details and a full list of available titles from the Spring Break #PlayTestShare collection.