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Monday, February 8, 2016

Nawgum Cactus Teether {Review + Giveaway}

Liam started teething much sooner than Ari, and let's face it- who finds this experience enjoyable? Safe to say I have an arsenal of items that I offer up to him to try and keep him happy and feeling as little discomfort as possible. A recent addition to his chewable items is this Nawgum cactus teether from Mello & Co. It doubles as an easy- to- clean toy when he isn't chewing away on it and I like the fun cactus shape- seeing Liam chomping on it makes me smile. 

This teether is made from a food- grade silicone, so it's strong enough to withstand daily teething sessions and soft/ flexible enough to be comforting on soar gums. Those cute cactus arms are designed to mimic a favourite baby chewing item- fingers!- and each have a different texture to reach the sides and back of a baby's mouth; they also give little ones something to hold onto and make it easier to move around. The main body is smooth with two bumpers for chewing, so your baby has a variety of textures to choose from. Whether your baby needs something to help their first teeth break through, or to lessen the discomfort/ pain of those last molars, this is an effective- and cute!- option, suitable for all stages of teething. See below for more info and some pictures of my little product tester with his cactus. There's also a chance for you to win one for your little one!

- good for all stages of teething: gumming; front & side teeth; back molars (0- 24 months)
- soothes gums, comforts front teeth,  & massages molars
- top rack dishwasher safe
- BPA free
- made from food grade silicone
- designed by a Mom with safety and comfort in mind
- unique textures to soothe painful areas
- easy grip
- made in the USA

On- the- go tip: To make getting out the door easier, keep a bag stocked and ready with essentials like a change of clothes, bib, a small toy, and something to chew on if they're teething. Throw in some diapers and wipes too, just in case. That way all you have to do is grab a snack and baby and you're good to go. This is great to keep in the car so if you forget to add something to the diaper bag you've got back up. I bought the kids canvas buckets for Christmas and they're perfect for this, especially since they're durable and washable.

Want to try out one of these cute cactus teethers with your little one? See all the ways to enter below.
(Contest open to Canada & US residents only)

Liam's outfit: Shirt & leggings- Vonbon | Bib- Paper Airplane | Mocs- Minimoc
I Wuv You More T- shirt- Islands and Castles
Penguin leggings- The Little Moore Shop
Canvas bucket- From the Seeds

Visit the Mello & Co website for more info.
You can also find them on social media: Facebook | Twitter

February posts sponsored by

Monday, February 1, 2016

Yummy Mummy Monday: Gluten Free Rice Crispy Treats

I don't think these sweet treats really need an intro. They're a classic. And after making them with Ari, I have a new understanding and appreciation for why they're such a staple for bake sales and class parties- they're super simple and quick to make! The only changes I made to the classic version were to make them gluten & dairy free: swapping coconut oil for the butter and using gluten- free cereal. These are great if you want to whip something sweet up but don't have a lot of time and they'll be gone in even less time. 

5 tbsp coconut oil, melted 
8 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice crispy cereal (we used gluten free)
Optional: 1 tbsp beet juice or red food colouring

1. In a large pot over low heat melt coconut oil. Once melted toss in mini marshmallows, stirring continuously

2. Once melted, remove from heat and add in rice crispy cereal. Stir until combined (I let Ari help with this part, but if you're nervous about burns you can quickly transfer the mix into a bowl so little ones can help)

3. If you want to make the treats pink, you can add food colouring or reduced beet juice for colour. To make the beet juice reduction: dice up a small beet and pop into a pot and fill with water until pieces are just covered. Bring to a boil for approx. 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce until the beet juice has mixed with the water and the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency. Pour into a glass pyrex jug and set aside until ready to use.

4. Add in colouring and stir until mixed through

5. Transfer mixture onto a piece of parchment paper. Use the sides of the parchment to shape the mixture into a ball (don't worry if it isn't a perfect shape, this step is more to compress the mixture for rolling ). Cover with a second piece of parchment and roll the mixture until it is 1/2" thick (if you like thicker treats, don't roll them as long/ apply as much pressure)

6. When you've reached your desired thickness, remove the top piece of parchment and fold in half (sticky sides in) to place the shapes on

7. Using cookie cutters, cut out the shapes you like and place on the folded piece of parchment

9. Once you've cut out all the shapes you can fit, you can either try re- rolling the mixture or takes pieces that are roughly the same size and roll into balls

10. You can serve the treats like this or insert cute straws to make pops. For the balls, you can leave them as- is or add cute cupcake toppers like the sparkly ones I used from Grace Miller & Co- see below)

11. ... for added fun, dip in sprinkles!

February posts sponsored by

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ombre Photo Backdrop DIY

There are some pretty amazing photo prop/ backdrop ideas out there. For my recent Valentine's Day photo collab with Creative Wife & Joyful Worker and The Cheerio Diaries, we each pitched in to create a pretty & delicate party for 3 very cute little ladies and I offered to create a backdrop we would use for some of the photos (check out these sugar cookies by The Cheerio Diaries and this tassel garland cake topper by Creative Wife & Joyful Worker that they made for the shoot). After scrolling through trusty old Pinterest for inspiration, I decided on one made with dip- dyed coffee filters & streamers. Since this was a girly Valentine's photo shoot, the obvious choice was pink, but I've seen other versions in different colours that are equally beautiful. This backdrop would be great for weddings, parties- pretty much any excuse you have to take photos. It costs only a few dollars to make and you can make it as full or spread- out as you like. All you have to do is run out to the dollar store for a few supplies and you're good to go. My only tip is to give yourself a little bit of time when it comes to stringing this together- maybe pop in your favourite movie or Netflix so the process doesn't get too repetitive. See the how- to (and some of the cute photos from our shoot!) below. 

Coffee filters (I just used a pack of 100, use more for a fuller look)
Food colouring
Fishing twine
Cool glue gun
Shower curtain
Wooden dowel or wrapping paper tube

1. Start by separating your coffee filters into four groups; keep one pile aside that will stay white

2. Fill 3 separate bowls with approx. 2 cups of water. Add increasing amounts of food colouring to each bowl to achieve the vibrancy of colour you'd like (I used 15 drops, 10 drops, and 5 drops)

3. Take the coffee filters in groups of 3- 5 and fold them into a fan shape

4. Dip the coffee filters into the dyed water about half way, holding them in the water for a few seconds so they can absorb the colour. Set aside as you dye the others. Repeat the process with the other two batches of coffee filters and allow to dry overnight

6. When dry, begin making the coffee filters into cones. First fold them in half...

7. ... Then fold in each side to create a cone

8. Staple to hold in place (you could also use a dot of glue or use double- sided tape so you don't see the seam as easily)

9. Continue this process until all of the coffee filters have been shaped into cones (see why I suggested the movie/ Netflix? ;) ). Then measure out pieces of fishing twine approx. 10 feet long and string on the cones from lightest to darkest to create an ombre effect; secure them on the twine by pinching the top of the cones with a dot of glue (this is why it's best to use a cool glue gun, so you don't burn your fingers). Vary the spacing, grouping some closer together and spreading others farther apart

10. At this point, you could simply use the strings of cones and hang them in front of a wall to create your backdrop. But if you'd like a solid backdrop where you can't see what's behind it (such as in front of a door, or to cover a non- photogenic wall), see the following steps

11. Attach a plain shower curtain to a cardboard tube or wooden dowel and then tape varying lengths of streamers to create a pretty layered effect (start with longer pieces, then add shorter pieces on top)

12. Once you're happy with the streamers, layer on the strings of coffee filters, spacing them out based on how full you'd like it

12. Secure your backdrop where you want to use it (make sure the lighting is good/ away from shadows), find some cute models to pose & snap away! 

It was so much fun getting to work with two of my blogger friends for this shoot- we all had a blast and so did our little models. Make sure to check out The Cheerio Diaries and Creative Wife & Joyful Worker for more great blog reading.

Thanks to these great shops for helping us style this shoot (some aren't shown in these photos):
Dresses- Over The Loom
Bracelets- Rachel Rainbow
Noisemakers, Fiesta Balloon & Tassel Garland- Fun Fiestas By Ili
Party Straws- Dixie + Twine
Glitter glassware & gold- dipped wood cutlery- Grace Miller & Co

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