Spring #OOTD for Little Ones with Watermelon Tree Kids

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!

Ari’s dress- WHEAT

Liam’s shirt & shorts- Ben Sherman

Both provided by Watermelon Tree Kids

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!

Photo credit: Creative Wife and Joyful Worker & Discovering Parenthood

Find Watermelon Tree Kids online: watermelontree.ca | Instagram: @watermelontreekids

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No Toy, Cup or Bottle Left Behind

Who else has been loving this amazing warm Spring we’ve been having? It’s been fun getting outside more and two of my favourite things to do during the warmer months are picnics and beach days. On days when the kids get restless or are grumpy, having the option to take them outside without layering up can help make the day go more smoothly. Everyone is usually in a much better mood after we’ve had some fresh air and sunshine and we’ve got some great parks nearby that Ari loves. 
I’ve shared some of my on- the- go must haves before and I always try to keep a bag packed with things like wipes, snacks, blankets, sunscreen, etc to save time getting out the door (I swear it sometimes takes longer to get ready than it does to actually do whatever it is we’re doing!). Liam is currently in the drop/ push everything off the highchair phase, so basically anytime I give him something, he tosses it to see what happens (usually followed by a cheeky smile or a fit of giggles, so it’s hard to resist playing along). Pair this with the general forgetfulness of mombrain and there’s a good chance something will get behind (how often do you get home and realize something’s missing?). 
To help wrangle some of the things I pack up to go, I’ve been testing out some items from HNY Baby including their Sippy Strap– an adjustable strap that fits around bottles/ cups and clips to highchairs, carseats, bags, etc- and the Toy Along– similar to the Sippy Strap, but for wrangling toys- and I love how handyand multi- purpose they are (you’ll also see Liam rockin’ one of their super soft bandana bibs in this post). Below are some photos of one of our recent picnics at Annieville Park in Delta where we put them to the test- scroll to the end of the post for some more info on HNY Baby and the products we’ve tried from them, and what I like about them.

Sippy Straps– These are compatible with all sippy cups and bottles. All you have to do is squeeze the release button to adjust the strap on one end (made from a non- slip fabric so it stays in place) and clip the other end onto a secure object (also adjustable- I think this would be perfect for older kids with water bottles and backpacks). I love that these make toting drinks easier and harder to lose. If you run out of space in your bag, just zip one of these around the strap and hang the cup.
Toy Along– These straps have two adjustable lengths with snaps so you can fasten one end around a toy and the other around a car seat, highchair, or bag like I did. Even though they’re designed for toys I could see these having a lot of other uses. 
Trip Clips– These are super handy. These are adjustable straps with clips at each end, so you can do pretty much anything you want with them: turn a receiving blanket into a nursing or carseat cover, wrap up wet beach clothes in a towel and use as a handle, or turn a branch into a tent/ sun shield like what we did; I also like the idea of using them to attach mittens together for the Winter. The options are endless and something you’ll always find a use for
What are your must haves for getting out the door with kids? 
Thank you to HNY Baby on collaborating on this post!
Help wrangle everything you need to get out the door with the kids- visit the HNY Baby website to see their full selection and order your favourites to have on hand this Summer. 
Follow HNY Baby on social media: InstagramFacebook 

The Many Ways to Use a Swaddle Blanket

When you have a baby, you get loaded up with all sorts of items, many of which end up only being used for a short period of time and then they become clutter or get stored away and forgotten about. But some things can be repurposed after they’ve served their initial use and worth holding onto. Swaddle blankets are a great example of this, they’re multi- purpose from the newborn phase all the way through the kid years. I received some as gifts after each of my kids was born and they’ve been one of the most- used items for at home and on the go. Even now that we’re heading out of the baby phase with Liam they’re still getting a lot of use.

Since having kids and starting the blog I’ve found some great companies whose products I love and the swaddles from Narra Nest are among my favourites. They’re made from a lightweight organic cotton that is super soft (I mean really soft- like flannel) and breathable. Liam has a warm body, so the airy, breathable fabric gets a thumbs up in my books. With the warmer months coming, they’ll be great to tuck him in without getting too hot, but still keep him cozy and comfortable. I like that they’re larger than some of the other swaddles I’ve used- which I find makes swaddling easier- and means they can come in handy when the smaller options just don’t cut it. I think the hardest part is picking which prints you like the most, (I had a hard time choosing!), but love the colours and pattern of this chevron one.

They’re also great to use outside, at the park, or take to the beach. My favourite way to use our swaddle blankets is to get the kids into the fresh air and set- up a little play area. If the ground is damp I’ll put down our waterproof picnic blanket and lay the swaddle on top to avoid wet bums. The best part is that everything can go in the wash after and since these are made from a durable organic cotton, they can stand up to the abuse a young family puts them through. Just fold them up and tuck into your diaper bag or keep some ready to pack for camping, travel, etc. For Moms with smaller babies, these make great carseat canopies or nursing covers; and let’s not forget about being a catch- all for drool, spit- up, and all the other messes our little critters whip up. These are definitely worth packing up in hospital bags for bringing baby home as well. 

If you’re making your own baby wish list, have some gifts to buy, or are stocking up for your own family, make sure to check out the amazing swaddles from Narra Nest.
Don’t miss their swaddle launch sale happening right now until March 20 and stock up! 

Product Features:
– GOTS certified organic cotton
– extra large sizing
– versatility of uses 

Visit their website and find them on social media for the latest updates and info: Instagram Facebook | Twitter

March posts sponsored by

Play Dates Gone Bad: If & How to Discuss Concerns About Other Children’s Behaviour

Picture this: You’re on a play date with a friend you’ve been close with for years (think of someone you’ve known since before having kids) and your kids are playing together. All of a sudden her child does or says something that you consider inappropriate and feel it should be addressed (maybe a rude word is used, a toy is grabbed away from your child, or they act out), but your friend ignores it or brushes it off. If it’s the first time, do you mention it or wait and see if it happens again? Maybe this has happened before and you’re starting to become concerned with how this other child behaves and their influence on your own. Do you try and avoid getting your kids together and just go on Mom dates to avoid an awkward conversation? Do you address it with your friend? And if so, how? Even if your kids are a little older- say school age- the issues may be different, but the challenge about how to address behavioural concerns and how other parents are addressing them remains fairly much the same).

As Moms- parents- how do we- or can we– address other kid’s behaviour, especially when it’s the child of a friend or loved one? When chatting with my friends this concern has come up a few times and can become quite tricky to handle, especially when you start to notice a negative influence on your own child’s behaviour, whether it be in how they react or if they start to act out in the same way.

It’s a sensitive issue that can come between friendships, especially when your parenting/ discipline style is quite different from others you know and are close with. With most of my friends, we have fairly similar approaches with most things and luckily feel comfortable discussing those things we differ on. However, it can be awkward in the moment to address something and talk to a friend if their child does or says something you feel is inappropriate; this is especially true if the other Mom is out of the room when it happens. Respect, trust, and good communication are key, but it doesn’t  always make it less awkward or easier to deal with.

To help address this tricky situation, I asked parenting coach Paula Milbradt from Empowermil  for some advice about how to effectively communicate these kinds of concerns with friends and loved ones (check out the other great post by Paula about fostering healthy relationships with your kids from toddler through the teen years here). See below for her great advice.

How can you nurture friendships and relationships from a considerate
and respectful place?
 This can be tricky when it comes to parenting. Here are some simple things to keep in mind if/ when a situation arises that you feel you need to address with someone about their child’s behaviour:

Communication is key
As we all know relationships can be challenging, and this
normally is based on how we communicate our feelings or viewpoints with one
another. Parenting is normally based on how you were raised and what
your known virtues are.  Make sure you discuss what you think is acceptable behaviour for your child (especially good to know for when you leave the room during a play date) & have your friend(s) do the same so you both know if and how to address certain behaviours, and make sure to communicate anything of concern with them when they return, so they can address it themselves. I do believe that people can support their
friends, and to remain in their lives and offer acceptance, patience, and
kindness. How we nurture our friendships will be the same way that your
children nurture their relationship with peers, adults, and you. 

Nurture your relationships with mutual trust & appreciation

Mutual trust and appreciation is very important for parents to
have for one another. When we
express appreciation for our differences we are teaching our children tolerance
and kindness. 
Try to focus on the positive aspects of your friend and
what the learning opportunity is for both of you.  Trust that the right thing will
occur when you address it with kindness.  
Respecting how you feel is important and when you share your
feelings with your friend you are communicating that you trust that they also respect how you feel about something. 

Some examples of how you can communicate your concerns:  

I feel very nervous with how your child treats my child
and I am wondering if you have the same feelings?
”  

or

I really
enjoy our time together, however, I find I am always watching our children interact with one another because I am worried about how they are playing together
.”  

-> Note from Katherine: I like how Paula suggests using ‘I” statements to communicate the concern being addressed vs ‘you’ or ‘your child’, which can come across as accusatory. I feel this opens up the conversation to discussion, rather than having the other person feel they have to go on the defensive for their parenting style or child’s behaviour.

Be honest about how you feel
By being open with your emotions you communicate your confidence as a person and as a parent, and that you hope that your child will develop this strong
self-identity and confidence.  


Have empathy for the other parent(s) & don’t jump to conclusions 
Empathy is an important emotion as
well.
  When we show our friend compassion by asking how she/ he is or if
she is needing support with challenges, we may learn that there is much
going on in her/his life.  Environments impact behaviour and for this
reason, they may not even fully “see” the behaviour that you
“see” in their child, because of stress or sadness. 

When we can collaborate, share and, communicate openly with one
another we teach our children how to do the same. 

Ask yourself: How will you strengthen your friendship today?  

Have you ever had to address a tricky situation about your kids with a friend or close one? If so, how did you do so? How did they respond? What other advice would you add?

Thank you Paula for another great article! I hope if you ever run into this situation this post will help you address it. 🙂

Paula Milbradt is a Parenting Coach and Early Childhood Expert specializing in supporting families develop positive relationships and guide behaviour that is respectful and developmentally appropriate. With the company she founded, Empowermil, she has worked with children and families for the past 20 years providing the tools and techniques to help empower both parents and children to foster healthy relationships.  She has worked with educators, coaches, and teachers in addition to families, working with ages 0- 18. Paula is passionate about teaching the importance of communication and social emotional support to create a healthy environment for individuals to thrive.

If you would like to learn more about Paula or would like her help, visit her website or contact her via email at paulamilb@gmail.com.

You can also find Empowermil on Facebook & Twitter: @childnurturer

Image Sources:
Be brave- Feels Like Home
Parenting is the easiest- LDSSmile
Behind every great kid- We Have Aars
Empowermil logo courtesy of Paula Milbradt

May posts are sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Pull Up Your Pants! Testing Kid’s Belts with Doonbug Designs

How many times have you gone to dress your kiddos and their pants either fit their waist but are too long/ short or are the perfect length but too big in the waist? Sigh, Mom problems. A little while ago I was talking to one of my friends about this issue and she was mentioning how she’s been on the hunt for a belt for her son because he’s long & lean and always having to pull his pants up. There don’t seem to be a lot of options out there and of course cost and quality are 2 common concerns when it comes to buying anything for our youngsters since they grow out of everything so fast; plus these little ones can be rough on things once they become mobile!
Sound familiar? If you’ve been on the hunt for something to fasten those little pairs of pants, you’ll want to check out Doonbug Designs. These quality, handmade accessories are made for active kids right here in BC by owner/ creator/ Mom, Andrea. The belts are made with 3″ of adjustability so your youngster will get a lot of wear out of them and there are 3 closure styles to choose from: velcro, velcro & d- ring, and double d- ring, so you can select the style that’s age- appropriate for your bumpkins. These belts combine function & fashion and are available in a variety of prints- the hardest part will be narrowing down your favourite designs!
Jena and I got the chance to try 2 of Doonbug’s belts with our own little product testers. Ari got the velcro- only closure style and Nico got the velco & d- ring closure style since he’s a little older. 
Ari’s belt- the velcro- only closure style
Nico’s belt- the velcro & d- ring closure style
From moi:
Ari is long and lean and there’s been plenty of times I’ve gone to dress her and the pants I’ve chosen for her don’t fit her waist. Since she runs all around our house, up and down stairs, and is constantly on the go I don’t like the idea of her tripping over pant legs that are too long from drooping down. The belt Ari got to test out fit her well with room to get plenty of more wear out of it. 
I like how quick and easy the velcro closure makes it to get the belt adjusted to fit my little wiggle worm. She seemed really curious about it at first and then continued about her toddler business. The belt is well made & sturdy, so I’m not worried about it being tugged and pulled on by me or Ari. It’s also cute to see her romping around wearing the belt & she’s received compliments on her new accessory. I’m a fan that they’re made here in BC by a Mom- someone who understands what kids need & understands the challenge of dressing them- and that they’re a quality item that are not only cute, but serve a purpose. They’re also an affordable purchase at $16.50 each. 

From Jena:
My son comes
from a long line of lanky humans. So trying to fit pants on him, has been
challenging. His legs grow faster than his waistline and we are constantly
tightening the elastic button waist adjustment thingy’s in his new pants.
When Kat asked me to trial a belt made specifically for kids by Doonbug, I
thought: so she’s noticed how bunched up his waistline looks? Haha.
First
impressions: Love the Velcro. I am currently trying to teach my 2.5 year old to
dress himself, so this is super easy access (in the non-adult way) for him. I
imagine that when I finally stop putting off potty training…when he is about
ten… this will also come in handy. They also feel pretty sturdy, which is
essential, because rather than softly pulling the belt off, my toddler likes to
yank until he is free of his pants and can run around in the nude.

We received the
blue camo print, which we liked. If you’re not a fan of camo, there is a wide
variety of designs on Doobug’s Etsy store that you can pick from. I love that
these are handmade in Williams Lake, British Columbia, by a Mum. Win, Win,
Win.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable, quality option to cinch your kiddos’ pantaloons, these belts are a great solution. Doonbug Designs also offers up other great accessories for kids, including non- slip hairbands that are worth checking out. 

To see the full selection of items available & for sizing info, check out the Doonbug Designs website and Etsy Shop. You can also find the brand on FacebookTwitter & Instagram.

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting