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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Amazing Mom Feature: Alaina

There are great experiences to be had out there 
and they are yours to take. 
Go get them.

I think the whole month of May should be about celebrating Moms, not just one day. And what better way to end the month than a feature on an amazing lady? No matter what your mix is in life- stay at home Mom, working full time, or a combo of the two, it's important we try and find some balance (see what I did there? I said TRY- I know how hard/ impossible it can be, but we have to carve out some time to do something just for ourselves. You have to make yourself a priority too mama!). The lady I'm featuring today has found a way to be there for her family while still enjoying something for herself and conquering some personal fears and pushing herself in new ways while doing so.

The most important thing is to find something that is a fit for you. It doesn't have to be a crazy plot to get rich or change the world, what's important is that it makes you happy. Here's how one Mom is finding happiness.

"I took my last $30 and invested it in my own business" I never had a lot of friends growing up and as a mom making friends can be HARD! We are fairly new to the coast so I've got a couple roadblocks ahead of me in terms of friend making. When we moved here I was a stay at home mom, and BROKE, I was not used to living on one income. Last October I met a lady selling Tupperware at the Baby & Tot show in Abbotsford- I didn’t even know they sold Tupperware anymore. After thinking about it for a week or so I took my last $30 and invested it in my own Tupperware business. I thought 'Well, I'd love to get a discount, and help out some neighbours if they want anything...' It was a low risk opportunity with a company that has a name for itself already; I wanted to do something different, yet didn’t have the desire to create a business that was completely my own idea (I can't sew and I'm not crafty)I also wanted to find a way to get out of my shell and meet new people while earning some extra income. 

"I've learned more about myself and how to grow as a person" For me the biggest part of starting this business was doing something to help get me out of the house, out of my comfort zone. I'm
 a caregiver at home, all day & night in addition to my position as a personal care aide that I entered into last Fall. 
I really wanted to be in control of some sort of income other than what I was earning in that job. This has taught me to get outside my box and do things regardless of being turned down (which there is a lot of). It's teaching me that saying no to something I'm offering is different then saying no to me as a person. Having this business has been a great icebreaker for me and I've  made friends through a few gals at work. It also allows me to spend more time at home since I can work on stuff after the kids are in bed. It's even improved my people skills and helped me overcome differences with neighbours! Most importantly at the end of the day, I've learned more about myself and how to grow as a person- that’s the most important thing I take home. And making a bunch of new friends is a plus. :)

"If you never leave your comfort zone you will never know what you can achieve" If I have any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to start their own business: DO IT. You will never know unless you try. I have always been the type who talks about something I want to do for ages and then change my mind at the last minute because I'm too afraid of failure. If you never leave your comfort zone you will never know what you can achieve!! There are great experiences to be had out there and they are yours to take. Go get them.

You can check out Alaina's Tupperware business online & on Facebook.

May posts are sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kiddo Style: Accessorizing Little Dudes & Ladies with Lille Mus

I have a confession: I'm a sucker for accessories. Ari has a whole drawer in her dresser full of headbands, clips, baretts... you get the picture. The way I see it, if she's a bit of a tomboy when she gets older I'll have got my girly fix while she's still young enough that I get to pick out her outfits and what goes with them.

And now that I've got a little dude to dress, that opens up a whole other area in the style department! While there still seems to be more options out there for girls, I'm starting to see more and more cute pieces for boys too (one word: bowties!). Oh geeze, I think I might have a problem here! ;) 

One of my favourite local brands, Lille Mus, makes accessories for both boys and girls handmade right here in Canada. Their fashion- savvy products are made from organic, eco- friendly fabrics and founding Mom, Merete, has been expanding the Lille Mus product line. And now with Liam to dress up it's fun to check out her offerings for little fellas in addition to her adorable accessories for little ladies. When I got the chance to  try out some of the pieces from the Spring/ Summer 2015 collection it put a big smile on my face.

Ari rockin' the Arrows infinity scarf in mint 

Why we <3 Lille Mus
I love that the fabrics are organic and eco- friendly and that they're high- quality; they're also incredibly soft but can stand up to the wear & tear a toddler puts them through. The other headbands we have from Lille Mus still look as good as new and take a lot of abuse from my little missy. They're a perfect accessory for when you're dressing up your kiddos, but they're also made from a soft, durable fabric that make them perfect for play time (we're needing something to keep Ari's hair out of her eyes, so the headbands from Lille Mus are perfect).

Who doesn't love bows???

How cute would it be to do a spa day with these? Or how about styling a spa- themed big girl party with them & giving them away as birthday favours instead of goodie bags? You could also put together a really nice gift with pieces in coordinating prints.... Again, can you tell I love accessorizing this little chica? I love the prints that Lille Mus uses and that you can mix & match them (some of the pieces are also gender neutral so you can get even more wear out of them- like the adorable infinity scarf Ari's wearing in the first photos. I know it'll look cute on Liam too ).

A little Mama daughter matchy matchy ;)

I couldn't resist popping on one of the headbands while I was getting ready with Ari one morning- did I mention this accessory brand is also Mama friendly??? (Confession: I borrow some of my daughter's accessories. And I'm not afraid to admit it! ;) ).

Next time you're on the hunt for some cute accessories for the little guys & gals you know (or mamas!), make sure you check out this awesome Mama- owned brand!

A huge, heartfelt thank you to Merete from Lille Mus for sending us more of her beautiful accessories to enjoy! No surprise, they're getting a lot of love in our house. 
oxox TPB

To view the complete selection of organic & eco- friendly products from Lille Mus- including tees, scarves, headbands, bow ties & more- visit their website & find them on Facebook and Instagram.

For other posts with founding Mom, Merete, & Lille Mus, see here and here.

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide

What do you give the guy that's got everything? I don't know about you, but I usually find men are tougher to buy for & sometimes simpler is better when it come to gifts for them. Think of what that special guy enjoys/ likes to do and use that as your gift inspiration. What are his hobbies? Favourite food? Drink? Is he into sports? Or even think about something special you can do together. See below for some ideas to help get you set this Father's Day.

This Father's Day give Dad...

... tools of the trade
Does your man or Pops think of himself as an expert in something- ie king of the grill? Why not set him up with everything he needs to fire up the barbee (or replace those well- used tools with some new ones)? For some great ideas that include everything he'll need, check out Man Crates, a company that offers gifts just for the fellas (they even come equipped with a crowbar to open them!). They've thought of something for all the things men love, including a crate for video game lovers & zombie enthusiasts. This is great way to give Dad a fun, personalized gift without having to do all the work yourself.
Prices vary

... some help in the style department
Is the dude you're buying for into clothes? Or does he hate shopping? (I have one of each on my list- my Dad's into clothes & Will would be happy to have me pick out his closet). Fashionable duds for Father's Day are win- win (for him since he's wearing them & for you since you're looking at them!). I love this hoodie by Locomotive Clothing & it's positive attitude. Make Dad smile & everyone who reads his hoodie as he walks by. Putting good vibes out there for Father's Day= bonus gift. 
Life is Rad zip hoodie- $69 CAD

... his favourite brew
Whether the Dad on your list considers himself a connoisseur of his favourite grown- up drink or just enjoys a cold beer at the end of the day, why not treat him to a cooler full of his favourite brew? Perfect to enjoy on a day at the lake, after a game of golf, or with a Father's Day BBQ.  We've been trying out different beers at our house & I love that Pacific Western Brewing (a BC brewery based in Prince George & makers of Cariboo beer among others) offers non GMO options. I'm also loving this cooler they've just introduced, perfect to stock up for Pops- add some good eats to toss on the grill and you've got Father's Day in the bag. 
Prices vary

...a tradition to share
This idea really is about the guy who has everything (you know the one who says 'I don't need anything' when you ask him what he wants). Growing up, what did you love doing with your Dad? Encourage your kids to start up a special tradition with your hubby or re- live a special one with your own Dad. Organize what will be needed- equipment, appropriate clothing, a packed lunch, etc- and have it ready for Father's Day. A fun twist is to give clues & see if Dad can guess what he'll be doing. PS- take lots of photos, you'll always want to remember when the tradition began with your kids & hubby or to compare with the ones of when you were younger with your own Dad.
Priceless ;)

What's on your Father's Day shopping list?

I hope your family has an amazing Father's Day!

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Friday, May 22, 2015

60 Minutes of Bliss with Pampr Mobile Massage

Mother's Day might be over, but that doesn't mean it's too late to treat yourself to a little pampering. I recently had the chance to try out the mobile massage services offered by Pampr, a company that offers in- home massage services (why go to the spa when the spa can come to you???). If you're in need of some TLC but it's been tough finding the time to get to the spa, this option is perfect- especially if you can't find a sitter- since you don't even have to leave home. And taking an hour for yourself every once in a while won't only leave you feeling relaxed, it's good for your health.

Health Benefits of Massage:

  • stress relief 
  • soothes anxiety & depression 
  • improves sleep
  • immunity boosting
  • relief from headaches & other pain
... And what parent doesn't need help with some or all of those from time to time???

Relax From Head to Toe
Once Pampr made the arrangements around the date & time I was available- thank goodness for  the help of Grandparents!- I enjoyed an amazing massage by a lovely lady named Gwen. Once she had arrived and set up she asked me what areas I wanted focused on (back, neck & shoulders) and gave me the choice between massage oils (sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil- I chose sweet almond after learning that it leaves your skin silky soft afterwards). When I was ready Gwen turned on some relaxing music and began my massage. 

I was spoilt with a full body massage from head to toe that was a combination of European Lymphatic Swedish & Deep Tissue with some Accupressure for the areas that needed some extra attention (my neck and shoulders always seem to be tight and have knots from working on the computer & picking up kids). Since she's also trained in Reflexology I had some extra attention paid to my feet, which was heavenly. It's hard to pick a highlight since the whole massage was blissful but I loved having my hands and legs massaged; it's amazing how tired these two areas of the body can get. At the end of the massage I felt light as a feather, as if a huge weight had been lifted. My whole body felt relaxed and re- energized and my skin was soft and moisturized from the sweet almond oil Gwen used. 

I was so grateful for this hour of pampering. We're all so busy these days that it can be hard to find time to take care of ourselves, but Pampr makes it so much easier & convenient with their on- demand service that comes to you. If you've been craving a massage and some time to relax I'd definitely recommend you give Pampr a try (how about an in- home couple's massage for your next date night???).

About Pampr
What makes Pampr unique is their mobile on- demand service: You can book same- day massages as soon as 1 hour away (perfect for busy Moms & Dads to enjoy after a hard day when the kiddos are in bed) or schedule a date/ time in advance that works for you.

All you have to do is decide:
- The kind of massage you want (choose from Swedish, Deep Tissue, Couples or Seniors) 
- The length of massage (60, 90, 120 minutes)
- When you want it 
...and Pampr takes care of the rest.

They even accomodate special requests such as booking a half Swedish/ half Deep Tissue massage, or booking a 2 hour session split between a couple. All of the massage therapists that Pampr works with are certified, in addition to having some RMTs on their roster (perfect for those who have coverage through medical benefits); note that RMTs may require more notice than the 1- hour on demand lead time.

If you would like to learn more about Pampr & want to book a massage for yourself, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook & Twitter. 

Use coupon code THEPAMPEREDBABY to enjoy $25 off your first massage! (please note the coupon code is only valid for first time users & can only be redeemed once per person/ household)

Thank you to Gwen & Charlie from Pampr for treating this mama!

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Motherhood, Raw: The Mamas Project

Since starting this blog I have been so blessed to meet some amazing women that have inspired me and given me courage and strength in this journey I am now on as a mother. One of these ladies is a good friend of mine and contributor to The Pampered Baby, Jena. Through her I have also had the pleasure of meeting her best friend Sarah, collectively the two faces behind Pacific North Photography. I am proud and excited to announce a joint project that we'll be working on together celebrating Moms and exploring their honest journeys in motherhood: The Mamas Project. In these features we hope to share about the reality of motherhood. Not the glorified, photoshopped version, but the real version where we celebrate our post- baby bodies, the small wins each day, and share about what we can learn from each other rather than judging. Here's a sneak peak of The Mamas Project:

Motherhood, Raw
 It’s 5:45am, my 6 month old is wide awake, I am on the first of many coffees, and my husband and I have already bickered about how awful it is to have to wake up this early. 
Parenthood is tough. It’s like the ultimate battle, with the best prize, but a million different obstacles to overcome. I’m staring at our baby, as he crawls around the play room, and in walks my 2.5 year old.
                                N: “I awake, I slept of hockey.” 
                                Me: “You dreamt of hockey?”
                                N: “Ya, I slept of hockey.”
He cuddles up to me. Away washes the self pity and in floods a warm fuzzy sense of completion...for now. 
This is the everyday struggle and success of motherhood. A while back, Sarah and I introduced ourselves. We now want to share a bit about why candid, un-photoshopped, real life imagery is important to us. And at the centre of this, is a purpose and a project: The Mamas Project. 
One of the goals we aim to convey as a photography duo, is people in REAL life. 
We want to show what your family is like. We want to share stories of families and their journey. And we want to open an honest discussion about self love and self acceptance in the journey of motherhood. 
Have you heard of Raw Beauty Talks? [@rawbeautytalks on Instagram]. We love their campaign promoting a conversation about beauty, confidence, and self love. We love that the Raw Beauty Talks campaign is about moving away from altering media images, and showing people free of major post-production, and we choose to support their message because of PNP’s dedication to capturing honest moments. 
In the last three years, we have both been fortunate enough to become mothers. The gift of motherhood has been one of immense joy, but it has also been a personal struggle for each of us. And we aren’t the only ones. It has been a battle with our identifies, and how we see ourselves physically, emotionally and as a part of our greater communities.
Physically, our bodies were never perfect, but post-baby, they are further from the general consensus of perfection. Stretch marks, check. Loose skin, check. Varicose veins, check. The list goes on. STOP. We are not perfect, and we are starting to realize we don’t need to strive to be. We choose to say, there’s no need to air brush our images, you are beautiful and real and important, just as you are.  
We make a choice to TAKE CARE of our bodies, rather than compare. The changes to our bodies show the life we were lucky to give and that is a source of PRIDE. 
How we identify physically has changed, in some small and large ways, but how we identify mentally and emotionally has changed to an even greater degree. This transformation was in some ways even more difficult to digest. You have a baby, and not everyone immediately falls naturally into the role of motherhood. Taking maternity leave from the job you love and the purpose you once had is overwhelming. The nurse, accountant, lawyer, entrepreneur you once were, is replaced with a job that is rewarding at its core, but often exhausting and terrifying. 
And your new boss can’t verbally tell you how amazing you are, for the first two years. 
It’s the ultimate unknown. It is for many a struggle, a beautiful, life changing struggle. The ultimate act of selflessness, and learning to see that and putting what was your life before on hold to parent, is a battle of self worth versus self pity. 
We are learning to accept that motherhood in its own right, is a success. And less is more! It’s about the little things that make us a success. It’s a healthy meal on the table, a trip to the library, a morning of snuggles...these are all small successes. Putting motherhood ahead of your individual needs and dreams, or learning to incorporate motherhood into that dream, is a true success.
In being honest and showing self love to ourselves, and the people we photograph, we are honouring the children we have born.
We want to showcase these women, and explore their journeys in motherhood and their new definitions of success, so we can all learn from other mothers - those celebrating the small wins in the big picture. 
In a joint project with Pacific North Photography [@pacificnorthphotography on Instagram], we will be bringing you a monthly feature on inspiring moms. Stay tuned for our launch in June, with the big hearted and full of love, Kim. 
Images courtesy of Pacific North Photography
May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BBQ Season Must Haves

Bring on BBQ season! I love the late nights and spending time with friends & family long after the sun's gone down. When we have BBQs there's always got to be something for the kids- a blow- up pool or sprinkler and/ or a game, good drinks for the grown ups & good music. With Father's Day (and Summer!) right around the corner Man Crates asked me what I would include in a crate for BBQ season, so I asked the expert (my hubby) what his 'must haves' are when he's manning the grill. See below for his suggestions!

King of the Grill

BBQ Must Haves:

- good tools (tongs, a flipper, skewers, a grilling wrack & a meat thermometer for starters)
- good tunes to cook to (an outdoor iPod dock = great gift idea!)
- cold drinks (beer & mojitos are favs)
- a man apron for grilling those messy, saucy meals (bonus if there's a pouch to hold a beer!)
- drinking games (have you ever tried playing badminton after a few bevvies???)

What's on your man's 'must have' list for grilling?

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Monday, May 18, 2015

Yummy Mummy Monday: Taking Some Time Out with Tea Sparrow

How do you find a few minutes for yourself? Since becoming a Mom, life is never boring, and now with two kids I know I'll never be bored again. ;) But it means that I have to consciously make time for myself, whether it's enjoying a shower without the supervision of my toddler, going for a run with a friend, or enjoying some peace and quiet during nap time. Something as simple as enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea can be therapeutic for us busy Moms. Sometimes all it takes is a few precious moments to help us relax before we dive back into our busy lives.

A few minutes of peace and quiet and a good cup of tea can do wonders in the midst of a busy day and it's a simple pleasure I've come to really enjoy during nap time. (Tea fact: Did you know that different teas have health benefits? See this post for more info on that). Ladies (and gents too, we can't forget about those busy Dads!) we have to remember to take care of ourselves and taking a few minutes each day can make a big difference to our health and overall well being.  So this week instead of a recipe I'm sharing about one of my favourite bevvies (2nd only to wine! ;) ) with one of my favourite local companies: tea.

Just before Mother's Day I received a tea box from Tea Sparrow featuring their May tea selections and have been enjoying them as a belated Mother's Day treat. If you're not familiar with this Vancouver company, Tea Sparrow offers monthly tea box subscriptions with each box containing four loose leaf teas: a black, green, roobios, and a herbal tea (2 caffeinated, 2 non- caffeinated). I had the pleasure of working with them last year and this little treat from them has been very much appreciated by this mama.

The May box contained an organic fruity herbal tea, a chocolate blueberry black tea, a blood orange roobios tea, and an organic citrusy green tea. I love herbal teas and both the Organic Cheery Fruit and the Blood Orange Smoothie Roobios teas  were delicious. I enjoyed sharing some with my Mum and we couldn't decide which one we liked more. For some ideas to try with herbal teas, see below. 

The green tea- called Clouds and Mist, how pretty is that?- included in the May tea box had a nice, sweet flavour. I find some green teas can be a little bitter, but this one wasn't. We've got a pitcher of it in the fridge waiting to be enjoyed on ice one of these beautiful sunny days. (Health fact: Did you know that green tea is associated with helping to fight cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, and prevent other common ailments? Another excuse to enjoy a cup ;) ).

Even though I love a nice caffeine- free tea- especially to enjoy in the evenings- my absolute favourite in this tea box was the Chocolate Blueberry Organic black tea. This tea tasted even better than it sounds. As per Tea Sparrow's instructions on the packet I added some honey to mine and it really is like dessert in a cup! Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

I love that you get to try four different high- quality teas (many of them are organic and/ or contain organic ingredients) sourced from quality tea makers from around the world. If you like one (or more) of the teas included in that month's tea box you can contact the vendor directly to order more. Each tea comes in it's own pouch complete with brewing instructions for optimal flavour. For anyone who considers themselves a tea connoisseur- or who simply enjoys a good cup of tea- you really have to check out Tea Sparrow for yourself (you can try a single tea box, or enjoy 3 or 6 month subscriptions, plus ongoing subscriptions that you can start/ pause/ stop at any time). To view Tea Sparrow's May tea box click here.

Fun ideas to try with tea this Summer

- Try giving your kiddos iced herbal/ caffeine- free tea instead of juice for a hydrating boost.

- Use cooled tea to make freezies or popsicles; add fresh fruit wedges for an added nutritional punch See here and here for more info on the herbal teas mentioned in this post and to order some for yourself). 

- Enjoy a sparkling water infused with tea (great for herbal, fruity teas). Brew a pot & allow to cool, then freeze in ice cube trays and pop into your favourite sparking drink for a refreshing sipper.

-Chill some coconut, almond, or cashew milk & make ice cubes with a roobios or black tea. When the tea cubes melt you'll enjoy a cool drink with a subtle flavour. 

To learn more about Tea Sparrow, check out their website & find them on Facebook & Twitter.

Image sources:
Relax quote- Suzanne Bowen Fitness
Photos- K Petrunia
Popsicle image- Paper N Stitch
Logo courtesy of Tea Sparrow

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Friday, May 15, 2015

Baby Bjorn Bouncer Mini Review {& GIVEAWAY!}

One of my first outings after Liam was born was going to the Canadian product launch of the Baby Bjorn Bouncer Mini. This nifty new product will be available exclusively in Canada and the timing couldn't be better with the arrival of our little man to test it out. I'm really happy to be sharing about it with TPB readers and excited to be able to offer one to one lucky Canadian reader! (See contest details at the end of this post).

A Little Bit About the Bouncer Mini
  • The Bouncer Mini was developed in collaboration with paediatricians and is ergonomic- the fabric contours to baby's body to give proper support to their neck and back (it can be used from newborn up to 6 months- or up to 20 lbs/ 9 kg). 
  • There are two positions: upright and reclined. For younger babies, simply use a hand or foot to rock them; when they're older it's powered by baby's natural bouncing, so no batteries are required (a great way to help your baby develop their motor skills). 
Baby Bjorn recommends keeping the seat in the reclined position for newborns (like my lil guy). To adjust the position all you have to do is remove & turn the legs (minus sign showing indicates the lower/ reclined position; plus sign showing indicates the higher/ upright position). 

This is what the Mini Bouncer looks like in the lower/ reclined position:

And what it looks like in the higher/ upright position:
  • The fabric used for the Bouncer Mini is 100% cotton and is soft & gentle against their skin, it's safe to chew & suck on, and free from allergens and other substances that can be harmful to a baby's health. The fabric is also washable and is easily removed for cleaning (the fabric attaches with two elastic pieces at the base, simply loosen from the base & slide the fabric off the frame). 
  • The Bouncer Mini is easy to assemble - just pop the frame into the base, attach the legs, and pull the seat cover onto the frame & attach it to the base.

  •  It can be stored flat- simply remove the legs from the base. 
  • The Mini Bouncer is available in two colours: Silver and Light Pink.
Here's my little product tester hard at work (tough gig, I know!) ;)

Why We're Loving It:
  • It's a safe & cozy place to prop up my babe. Liam loves his Bouncer Mini and has dozed off it plenty of times. It's great for when I'm making dinner or doing an activity with Ari and need both hands; I just pop him in and keep him close so I can bounce him with my foot. 
  • The fabric. I love that it's safe for a young baby and I don't have to worry about Liam ingesting yucky chemicals in the fabric if he decides to chomp on it. I also love how durable and washable the fabric is; it's super soft but holds up well to the abuse a little baby puts it through (hello leaky diapers & spit up!)
  • It's easy to put together, adjust, and store. I love that the Mini Bouncer is compact (it's the same width as an IKEA Expedit bookcase) and stores flat- I can fit it under my couch or Liam's crib when it's not in use.
  • It's Dad approved- Will loves how easy it is to bounce it 'the perfect amount' & I love that I've got help to keep my lil guy happy.

The Bouncer Mini is available exclusively in Canada and will retail for approx. $160 CAD.
If you've got a little one on the way or already have a babe or two, the Mini Bouncer is a great seat to pop your bumpkin in when you need two free hands. 

For more info & to learn more about the Bouncer Mini, click here.

...And I mentioned a contest didn't I??? ;)
Thanks to Baby Bjorn I'm giving away a Bouncer Mini to one lucky blog reader!
Hop over to the blog's Contests page to enter! (Make sure to follow TPB on Instagram @ ThePamperedBaby for bonus entries!).

***Please note: Due to safety laws & guidelines, this contest will be open to Canadian residents only

Photos- K Petrunia
Product images & logo- Baby Bjorn 

May posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting