Style in the Heat: 5 Tips for Mama + Kids for the Backyard, Beach and Beyond

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?

Sources

‘Mahalo’ hat and Snow Cone tank- Aloha Kai | Instagram

‘Mermaid’ tanks- Little + Co | Instagram

Watermelon skirt- Lone Wolf Boutique | Instagram

Photo credit:

Akane Kondo Photo | Instagram

 

Canada Day Bunting Printables

Want to add some patriotic decor to that Canada Day BBQ or party you’re having this weekend? I’ve got you covered with these printables! Hang inside on a wall or outside above a patio to add that pop of red and white. Just print, cut, add some string, and hang! Oh Canada? Oh yes! 😉

I’ve got a few options to choose from, so you can pick your favourite: red with white lettering, white with red lettering, a combo version, and a bunting template with stick- on letters (use the shape as a template to cut out your own bunting from paper and then glue on the letters or just print the letters and tape onto twine/ string for a smaller garland). There has definitely been a patriotic theme here around OHP this week and I couldn’t resist sharing something to help celebrate day- of! Big or small, I hope your Canada Day celebrations are full of fun! See below for instructions. T- minus 2 days until Canada Day!

Printing tip: make sure to select ‘fit to page’ to ensure the bunting templates print as they appear. You can also scale the size down if you’d prefer smaller bunting pieces (I scaled down to 35% for letter garland).

 

     

TRIANGLE ‘HAPPY CANADA DAY’ BUNTING

Here’s a sample of what the different styles look like:

 

  

Click on the option you’d like to print below:

Canada Day Bunting- Red with White Letters

Canada Bunting- Red & White

Canada Bunting- White with Red Letters

‘HAPPY CANADA DAY’ LETTERS + BUNTING TEMPLATE

Here’s a sample of what the letters look like:

Click below to print:

Canada Bunting- Round

 

  

Looking for more ideas to celebrate Canada? See the links below!

Canada Day Strawberry Chia Parfait

#RedandWhite Pop Up at The Local Space: Post a Photo to Win!

Oh Canada: 10 Ways to get Your ‘Eh’ On for Under $75

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Hello SUMMER! {Free Printables}

hello Summer free printables

Let me be the first to say: HAPPY 1ST DAY OF SUMMER! Or as I like to call it, my favourite time of year. 😉 Canada Day is right around the corner and there’s some fun stuff coming to OHP to help celebrate Canada 150, but before we get to that I couldn’t resist posting something to celebrate the switch from Spring to Summer. I’ve got 3 Summer- inspired printables for you to download and print at home to bring the season indoors. All you have to do is pop in a frame or use some washi tape to adhere to a space that needs some brightening up. Pick your favourite or go for all 3 for a cute group. Click the links below to download. WELCOME TO SUMMER! <3 

palm leaves hello Summer free printables

Click to download: Summer Vibes

palm leaves hello Summer free printables

Click to download: Girls Just Wanna Have Sun

palm leaves hello Summer free printables

Click to download: Beach Please

Tip: These prints should fit a standard piece of printer paper with a border around the design when printed. Scale up or down to size the image to fit the frame you want. 50% should be about right for a 4″ * 6″ frame; I went for 60% since I had a matte in the frame I was using.

hello Summer free printables

palm leaves hello Summer free printables

   palm leaves hello Summer free printables  

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palm leaves hello Summer free printables

 

Beach Please {Summer Hat DIY}

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat

I never used to be a ‘hat person’. But now I can honestly say I have a little bit of an addiction. And all the cute Summer hats I keep seeing everywhere ain’t helping. I’ve seen a variety of different versions online of big hats with writing on them and kept thinking ‘I can make that’- so I did just that. Hats can get a bit pricey, but I’m happy to say this wide- brimmed cutie cost me less than $10 (the hat I used for this DIY was $5 at IKEA folks!) and is super easy to make. I also love the idea of making a mini version with a kids hat for some cute Summer twinning (if you find one let me know!). Just pick a favourite word or phrase, pick up some thread or twine and glue. It’s. That. Simple. Pair with your favourite swimsuit and sandals for a beachy #ootd! See below for the steps.

Materials

Wide- brimmed hat (I bought mine at IKEA for $5- I also found a similar one on Amazon)

Black embroidery thread or twine (I doubled mine up and twisted it together so the design would show up clearly)

Fine- tipped marker

Hot glue gun

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat supplies

Directions

  1. Start by picking a phrase and writing the letters with the fine- tipped marker on the brim using dots or dashed lines

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

2. Using the glue gun, trace over the letters with hot glue, doing about 2- 3″ at a time so the glue doesn’t cool before you press the embroidery thread onto the design

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

3. Continue until your phrase is finished. For some letters like ‘a’, it might be easier to cut the thread and restart the letter rather than doubling over the thread you’ve already glued down

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial  Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat tutorial

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Summer DIY Beach Please wide brimmed hat

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Summer Bison Burgers

Have you ever tried bison? How about another exotic or game meat? Sometimes stepping out of your culinary comfort zone has a big pay out and these burgers were that for me. If you’re looking for something a little different to grill up this Summer- maybe Dad would love these for Father’s Day, or how about for that Canada Day BBQ?- these won’t disappoint. I love that bison is similar to beef, so it’s not too unfamiliar for those less adventurous, but the meat itself is amazing and these beauties contain no binding (no egg, breadcrumbs, etc). Just good, simple, delicious ingredients. I originally made these as sliders as part of my menu for Will’s surprise 30+1 birthday last month, but wanted to re- create them in full form to share on OHP since they blew away my expectations (read more about the menu at the end of this post). The bison I used for this recipe is from one of my favourite stores that I’ve shopped at for years, Heritage Meats, and after an amazing experience serving up an exotic meats menu for Will’s party, I teamed up with them to recreate and share the recipe. You’ll never look at a beef burger the same way again. Promise.

Ingredients

2 lb ground buffalo/ bison 

2 medium yellow onions

1 bulb + 4 cloves of garlic

Aged white cheddar cheese

Pretzel buns (or your favourite burger bun)

10 mushrooms

 2 cups arugula 

5 large russet potatoes

4 cups organic beef broth

1 tsp organic corn starch

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the russet potatoes and slice into large fries. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Shake onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown/ slightly charred (approx 45 minutes to one hour). Turn the fries after 1/2 an hour in the oven.

2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic and remove any excess outer layers, making sure it maintains it’s shape. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and soft. If you have room in your oven, place it on another rack while the fries cook, otherwise roast the garlic separately ahead of time.

2. While the fries are cooking, finely dice one of the onions and crush the cloves of garlic. In a large bowl, combine onion and garlic with the ground buffalo. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.

3. Form the mixture into patties 1/2″ thick and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Either cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook or cook immediately.

4. When ready, bring your BBQ or grill to medium heat and space the patties evenly over the heat. Flip after 5- 7 minutes and grill until cooked through (approx 10- 15 minutes total at medium heat). Place some slices of the aged white cheddar on the burgers a few minutes before they’re ready if you prefer melted cheese.

5. While the burgers are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/ high heat. Slice the remaining onion and mushrooms and sauté them separately (don’t clean the pan!). Set aside until ready to build the burgers. In the same pan, heat the 4 cups of organic beef broth and add the cornstarch to thicken slightly (if desired) to make the au jus for dipping (so, SO good!). The beef broth will absorb some of the flavours left over from the onions and mushrooms and make for some tasty dipping.

5. To build the burgers, scoop some Dijon mustard and mayo onto the buns, along with some of the roasted garlic. Next add the sautéed mushrooms and onion, followed by the burger patty. Top off with slices of the aged white cheddar (if you haven’t already melted it on) and arugula. Secure the top of the bun with a bamboo skewer and serve with the fries (and au jus, if desired). Now just try going back to your regular beef burger. 😉

This is a delicious twist on a traditional beef burger and one you’ll hopefully love making throughout the year. If serving with the au jus, cutting the burgers in half once built makes dipping easier and (slightly) less messy. 

 

 

    

More about that exotic meats menu…

Last month I surprised Will with a 30+ 1 party (aka a belated 30th) and when it came time to plan the menu I knew I wanted to do something different, a little crazy even. I thought it over and ultimately decided to go with a menu that was waaay different than anything I had ever done before, something totally out of my comfort zone and experience: a menu made up of a variety of exotic meats. I know of restaurants that serve up protein that’s less common than our typical beef and chicken and I had a hunch one of my favourite stores might be able to help me plan the menu. I’ve shopped at Heritage Meats since they opened in 2003- way before kids, going gluten- free, etc- because I love their passion for food and the quality selection they offer. I called to find out what they carried and I wasn’t disappointed, ultimately deciding on a selection of five to try: crocodile, buffalo, kangaroo, boar, and camel- cooked up in different recipes and served alongside some BBQ chicken just in case our families weren’t in an adventurous mood. I didn’t play it safe, I Googled and Googled and Googled how to cook the different meats (and no one got food poisoning, yay!) and Will loved the crazy menu. This was some of the most fun I’ve had with food in a while and I couldn’t have pulled it off so calmly if it weren’t for the advice and help from a few of the staff members at Heritage Meats. 

Please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed. I have shopped at this store since it opened in 2003 and they were the first place I thought of when I decided on an exotic menu for Will’s birthday. When I originally called to ask for help narrowing down the menu, the service and help I received both over the phone prior to visiting and in- store was exceptional (and I did not mention I was a blogger to try to get ‘special attention’). This has always been my experience with the staff of this store and it led me to reach out to them to partner on this recipe. They kindly provided the buffalo and aged cheddar cheese to help me recreate the recipe I served at Will’s birthday and I whole- heartedly recommend you check them out online to learn more and pay them a visit. Whether you’re passionate about food and care about it’s quality, or seek specialty products, this store is a destination worth the drive and the staff will be the finishing touch of a great shopping experience. It’s been a pleasure shopping with them over the past 13+ years and even more so partnering with them here on OHP. Shops like this keep my love for food alive and I’m so grateful to them for their dedication to what they do.

About Heritage Meats

Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.

In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:

– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)

To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:

Facebook: Heritage Meats & Gourmet Specialty Foods | Twitter: @HeritageMeats

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