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Monday, June 29, 2015

Seventh Generation Review {& Giveaway}

Before Ari was born I had the best of intentions to use cloth diapers. I really did. Then she came along and I saw how much work and extra laundry they would be and that idea got tossed (kudos to those of you who cloth diaper by the way). And so began our relationship with disposables. I don't love them or the added waste that they represent, but something that really stands out to me is this: what are they made of? What makes them absorbant and is it really safe for that tender skin that they are up against all day every day (and night)? We put them on our babes but how much do we really know about them?

Seventh Generation diapers have no bleaching chemicals, dyes/ fragrances, or lotions all while promising safe and effective leak protection. And really, when you think about it, why should diapers have any of those to begin with? Especially when they touch the most sensitive skin there is.

When I got the chance recently to try their diapers and wipes with Liam and Ari I was really curious and excited since I had heard good things from one of my friends who already uses their products. Plus it was a good opportunity to compare how well this brand performs with different ages; Liam is a wiggle worm but is usually still lying on his back while Ari is always on the go, both posing their own unique challenges when it comes to leak protection and comfort.

For the past week I've been using only the Seventh Generation diapers and wipes to see how they compare to the others products we've used; this was a special focus of mine when it came to Ari's sensitive skin and I didn't want to use anything else so I knew how her skin reacted to the Seventh Generation diapers and wipes (it didn't). I've been putting each kiddo in a Seventh Generation diaper for naps and over night to test how leak- proof & comfortable they are and have been impressed. I did notice that when wet you can be fooled into thinking your bumpkin has had an explosive poop since the dye- free material goes a darker shade of brown (similar to unbleached coffee filters when they get wet) and without the fragrance there's no masking the scent of whatever is in the diaper, but neither of these things would deter me from buying them. 

Liam sporting the size 1 diaper

Ari modelling the size 6 diaper

They've also stood up well to the constant movement that an active toddler puts them through and the occasional explosive poop by Liam (ah, the things you talk about when you're a Mom! ;) ). I'm a big fan of the bleach/ dye- free material they're made out of, especially since Ari has sensitive skin. On that note the wipes have also been a success and I appreciate how thick and strong they are (again, with the ages my kids are at we have different, ahem, needs when it comes to wiping; one eating solids and the other exclusively nursing). I also give them a thumbs- up for being free of baddies like parabens and pthalates. The ready- to- go packaging is also great since all you have to do is toss them in the diaper bag and it makes for easy dispensing (I'm not such a fan of the uber refill packs from other brands that you have to separate into travel dispensers, I know this isn't a major thing to do but it's one less thing to think about). 

If you've been looking for diapering options that are free from chemicals like bleach and fragrances I would definitely suggest giving Seventh Generation diapers and wipes a try. And if I haven't quite got you convinced to try them, Seventh Generation is offering up $50 in products for one lucky reader! Go to the blog's Contests page to enter.

For more information about Seventh Generation check out their website & find them on social media:
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

You can purchase Seventh Generation products online at Well.ca

Friday, June 26, 2015

Teething in Style with Lou Lou Lollipop Finery

Any parent who has experienced a teething babe or kiddo knows how tough this can be (and I think 'tough' is putting it politely). Miserable babes and endless coffee drinking induced by sleepless nights aren't uncommon, leaving parents to try anything and everything (see this post for more on teething).

Something that's become popular with Moms to help sooth aching mouths and soar gums are teething necklaces. These chompable accessories are worn by Mom as a stylish & convenient solution that your little one can chew on while you carry them or enjoy a snuggle.

Having lived through one teething kiddo and now with another one to get through this tough phase I'm always on the look out for different options to help ease the pain. Loulou Lolipop Finery recently sent us their Mint Julep silicone teething necklace to check out and I'm sharing about it below.

This Vancouver- based company offers up handcrafted teething accessories that are as stylish as they are safe. These necklaces are made from 100% food grade silicone and are BPA and PVC free and free from other baddies including phthalates, lead, cadium, latex, and heavy metals, which is good to know since they'll be getting chomped on by some precious little users. Founded by sisters Ellie & Angie, these Mamas know what Moms look for when it comes to soothing grumpy babies and are offering up a stylish solution.

On top of the quality material that these necklaces are made out of, I love the colour combos available- the mint julep is their most popular design- and that you can pop one on with a cute outfit without it screaming 'teething necklace'. The beads are different sizes, shapes, and textures, so your little one has a variety of chomping options to get different relief/ comfort. Two other features that I like are that these necklaces are fastened with a breakaway safety clasp (safety first!) and that they are easy to clean: simply wash with hot soap and water or pop them in the dishwasher.

The necklaces come in a standard length (22") and designs, but custom pieces are available. Options include making the length longer/ shorter & customizing the beads/ colours used (simply contact the company to make a custom request).  And if you're like me and have a 'mature teether' in your home, the company also offers options especially designed for toddlers/ young kids in their Littles Collection which is worth checking out (how cute would one of these necklaces be as a gift for your favourite toddler/ kiddo? Perfect since you won't have to worry about yucky chemicals if they pop it in their mouth). 

The Mint Julep design retails for $30 CAD, with other styles ranging from $18- $30 CAD.

Find Lou Lou Lollipop Finery online: Shop their necklaces on Etsy and find them on Facebook & Instagram. Aaaand the lovely ladies at Lou Lou Lollipop Finery have offered up an exclusive discount just for TPB readers:

Enjoy 20% off your purchase when you use promo code PAMBABY20 at checkout

Thank you to Lou Lou Lollipop Finery for sending us this beautiful necklace to review. :)

For other great products to help sooth your little one's soar gums during teething, click here.

June posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6 Tips on Dressing the Post Baby Body

Here's something interesting to think about: we give quite a bit of attention to maternity wear but don't always think about what our bodies will be like once we've had a baby. As much as we might hate to admit it, our bodies take time to bounce back after giving birth and there can be an awkward phase where your pre- pregnancy clothes don't fit, but you don't want to wear maternity clothes any more either. To help you navigate this tricky time with your wardrobe, Samantha Dempster from The Family Jewels is offering up 6 tips to help you dress your post baby body in style.

After giving birth, and living in maternity clothes for the last several months, you are eager to get back into your closet and return to normal clothes. However, there is the in between stage after having baby, and losing the remaining baby weight. This stage can be somewhat unpleasant, as you are not always feeling your most confident.

Here is the important fact that you must not forget: You just grew a human inside of your body, and carried them for nine months - cut yourself some slack. You should feel accomplished and overjoyed about your new baby, and this is not the time to be hard on yourself. Be patient, you will get there!

That being said, you should always feel good about the clothes you put on your body. Now that you have a little one, your priorities have changed, and you no longer have the time or energy to think about what to wear each day. You can make this process easier by considering these six tips..

Wear loose fitting tops  - If you are nursing, and would like to avoid having to buy nursing wear, opt for a loose fitting top that is non-restrictive to make breastfeeding your baby easier. You don’t want to have to fuss with tight fitting clothing while your baby is crying and hungry. This is also the more comfortable choice and does not cling to your body.

Wear pants with a drawstring or an elastic waist – I strongly recommend this style of pant post partum, especially if you have had a cesarean. This allows you to be out of maternity pants much faster, but still avoid zippers and buttons in a sensitive area on your body. These pants are comfortable, stylish and forgiving when it comes to the waistline!

Wear comfortable shoes – There’s no sense in rushing back into heels. You will now be carrying either a baby, diaper bag, baby carrier, and/or pushing a stroller, so comfort is key! You don’t have to sacrifice style when it comes to footwear though, just simply choose a sandal, flat or boot that are easy to walk in (and easy to take on and off!).

Wear a hands-free bag – Yeah for crossbody bags!! These must have been invented for moms. Don’t bury your belongings in your diaper bag (you will lose them amongst the million other baby items in there), and keep both hands free; you are going to need them! This way you can easily access for phone, keys, money, etc. without carrying a bag on your shoulder.

Buy cheap sunglasses – Why?? Because once your baby develops a good grip, they are going right for those glasses on your face! Spare yourself the upset (and money) and avoid designer sunglasses. Inevitably they will end up being crawled/rolled/stepped on and in turn will not have a long life.

Wear simple jewelry – For the very same reason as the sunglasses, avoid wearing too much jewelry. Be cautious of the pieces you choose to wear, as they could scratch your baby. Keep it simple with your favorites, and avoid long chains. Babies will pull on anything they can, and you are just asking for trouble by wearing chunky or long pieces.

Thank you to the lovely Samantha from The Family Jewels for contributing these 6 tips!

The Family Jewels is a Fashion & Lifestyle Blog by Samantha Dempster that caters to the busy mom on the go. Samantha believes in less is more, simple style and making the most out of your wardrobe. She is passionate about healthy living and supporting local brands. You can find The Family Jewels on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Outfit Details:
Sweater: loft 
Drawstring pants: MICHAEL Michael kors
 Sandals: j.crew (sold out, different version here)
 Bag: aritzia
Sunglasses: urban outfitters

Photo Credit: Feather & Fern Photography

June posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ari's Under the Sea 2nd Birthday Party {aka low pressure birthday party planning}

I really love party planning but I'm definitely guilty of biting off more than I can chew. Having Ari and now Liam has taught me to lower my expectations and accept that I might not get everything done the way I want it, and the same goes for planning parties (does anyone else feel like planning kid's parties is almost like planning a mini wedding with everything that can be involved???). I've learnt one trick that has saved my bacon many times: start in advance and give yourself lots of time. That way you won't get as stressed if something goes amiss. This year that really paid off since Ari was sick the week leading up to her party and if I hadn't organized everything the week before and enlisted two of my talented friends (Brownyn from Mama B's Treats & Jena from Pacific North Photography), the day would have gone very differently.

We had the party on a Saturday and by the Friday before I was exhausted from running my little lady to doctor's appointments all week. I did most of the set- up the night before the party and only left the food set up for the day- of. It was a busy week, but I was looking forward to the party all week and was glad that Ari had recovered enough by Friday to not cancel the party (last year I had to re- schedule her party because she was sick and it's becoming a bit of a running joke that her birthday parties may be jinxed). Thankfully my Mum helped out a lot with prep the night before and day- of and wrangled the 2 kids while I set everything up. But even with Grandma available for extra snuggles Ari was clingy and still a bit cranky the day of her party. Instead of getting photos of her with all of her friends I felt like a mama koala bear toting the birthday girl with me everywhere and only got a handful of my own photos. Ah, the many mishaps that come along with birthday parties ;). Thankfully Jena did an amazing job capturing shots from the day and I can't thank her enough. Despite the chaos leading up to party, it was all worth it and I'm sharing about Ari's mermaid/ under the sea themed party below. 

The Cake & Food
Even though Ari has been gluten/ dairy free for a while I didn't want to tackle the cake myself. Thankfully one of my close friends also has these dietary restrictions and just so happens to have a little baking business (see her Facebook page here). I scoured Pinterest and sent her a few ideas around the mermaid/ under the sea theme (she also made cookies & the cake pops for the goodie bags). I was so happy with the results.
In addition to the sweet treats I also served up fruits & veggies and Will grilled up some salmon. There was also some popcorn and 'pet fish' jello for the kiddos and parents to nosh on.

The Decorations
Before Target closed up here (who else misses Target???) I stocked up on party decor including bunting, lanterns, a cute table cloth, and a few other things. I repurposed some of the decorations from Ari's birthday party last year (see that post here) and made the food table the centre of attention with the decorations. Ari and I also had some DIY fun making a salt dough starfish garland for the table and a splatter- paint treasure chest (made from 2 diaper boxes + paper mache) for the goodie bags.

The Fun
When planning the party I wanted to make sure there were things for the kids to do inside or out, in case the weather wasn't the greatest. Thankfully we had a beautiful sunny day to let the kids run around outside. We put out little pools, a playhouse, and a sensory play tub for the kids to play with. Yay for fresh air & sunshine! The kids were all sent home with little prizes like hair accessories, a wooden beaded necklace from Coral and Cloud, bath toys from Bag O' Swag , and stickers (originally I was going to set up a fishing game, but with Ari being clingy I didn't get a chance to set it up, but they seemed more than happy just to play with the sensory tub and the toys in it).

To make the sensory play tub uber bubbly I mixed:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup dish soap
1 tbsp cornstarch
bath dye tablets 
I then filled the tub with water and added the bubbly foam mixture.

For the sensory items I went through our house and collected things that have an interesting shape and/ or texture. I used some of Ari's old baby toys, a loofah, and a squishy ball to name a few.

The Goodie Bags
I love thinking of ideas for goodie bags and putting them together. Making some or all of the items can help save moola and doesn't have to take a lot of time to put together (check out this post for great DIY crayons). But if you're strapped for time or ideas you can also buy the goodies or pre made goodie bags online (check out Bag O' Swag for some great goodie bags for kids of different ages- I really love their selection of goodies that you can add to bags or custom make your own). 

This year I kept the goodie bags simple since I also gave little prizes to the kiddos that were supposed to be for the fishing game.
Each goodie bag contained:
A homemade colouring sheet
A cake pop from Mama B's Treats

Photos: K Petrunia

Each little guest also got to take home a mystery prize:

Photos: K Petrunia

Bath/ bubbles goodie bag- Bag O' Swag
Hair clips- Cutie Pie Boutique
Wooden beaded necklace Coral and Cloud

My Tips for Stress- Free Party Planning
This year proved that taking the pressure off and planning in advance can really pay off. See below for my other party- planning tips.

- Give yourself lots of time (I started even earlier than usual- 2 months before- since I didn't want to leave all of the planning for after Liam was born). That way if you've got lots of time to organize things without getting stressed out.

- Pick up things like decorations & paper cups/ plates when you see them, that way you don't have to stock up on everything at once.

- On that note, use paper cups/ plates to save yourself doing dishes. Simple tip I know, but one worth noting. I like paper over styrofoam so they can be recycled. 

- Be inspired by Pinterest, Instagram, etc, but don't be too tough on yourself/ expect everything to be perfect. Pick a few things that you'll focus on and then relax about the other things. Decorations and DIY projects are two passions of mine, so I enjoy putting time into them, but I picked just a few projects and then kept the rest simple.

- Outsource the things you don't enjoy/ have time for. Whether you have friends/ family who can help or you hire/ buy, you've got plenty of options for everything from the decorations to the food. Baking a gluten free/ dairy free cake was not something I wanted to tackle this year and was so grateful that Mama B's Treats could take care of that and the other baked goodies for me. Another great time saver is to get pre- made goodie bags; check out Bag O' Swag for their great bags and goodies. The other thing that I wish I had done was pick up pre- made veggie and fruit trays. I spent a lot of time the night before with my Mum prepping everything and I could have used that time on other things.

No matter how the food and decorations turned out, what was really important was celebrating my little lady turning two and I'm so glad to have shared the day with some of our closest friends and family. Even with the stress of the week leading up to the party, I was so happy everything worked out. Now to go track down a good glass of wine and unwind... ;)

All photos by Pacific North Photography unless otherwise labelled

A huge thank you to these partners for helping make this birthday party so special!

Photo: K Petrunia

Pacific North Photography (day- of photos)


Mama B's Treats (gluten/ lactose free cake, cookies, & cake pops)

Cutie Pie Boutique (Ari's outfit & hair accessories)


Coral + Cloud (wooden beaded necklace- given away as a prize)

Bag O' Swag (bath/ bubbles goodie bag items given away as prizes)

Glitter & Spice (Ari's necklace & bracelet)

*** Enjoy 20% off your purchase from Glitter & Spice when you use promo code TPB20 at checkout! Promo code valid until June 29, 2015.

June posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting