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My Baby Starts School + Looks Cool in Reflective Gear!

[This blog post has been sponsored by Zapped Outfitters, although opinions expressed are still mine. View my complete disclosure policy for more information.]

And just like that, my first born baby is off to big kid school and he’s beyond ready for the exciting new challenges ahead of him! The first few weeks have gone really well for him and he’s digging the independence. He doesn’t have me to help him get his shoes off in the morning, hang up his jacket, and put away his backpack — it’s all on him!

We are trying to walk home from school together as much as possible and as the days start to get darker earlier and the sun turns to grey cloudy skies, we’ll be switching out shorts and runners for reflective water resistant gear. Enter Zapped Gear — I seriously never thought a waterproof backpack with built-in reflective designs could look so cool! You really don’t have to sacrifice style for safety anymore, you guys.

At first, I thought the designs were glow-in-the-dark but they are actually Zapped Outfitters custom designed fabric embedded with glass beads that reflect light at night. So think a car’s headlights driving down the road and bouncing off the material and showing off this super cool hi-vis design:

The best part about this brand is that they are CANADIAN! and to top it all off, they are based out of a cute little village in the Kootenays in BC where I spent many of my childhood summers hanging out. The mom wh0 started Zapped Outfitters (she’s got an 11-year-old, btw) is no stranger to the outdoor active wear scene. She’s been designing products for brands like Under Armor, Columbia, and Marmot, so its no wonder she decided to create the first fully reflective line of kids essentials!

He loves how stylin’ his new big kid backpack is and I love how safe he’ll be!

Head over to Zapped Outfitters and snag your little one some goodies with my 20% off code!! Use code MOMMYZOID20 at checkout!

Wait until you see their jackets and shoes! eeee! I can’t wait until Oliver gets a little bigger and can get into those high-tops. Don’t let the laces fool you though, these shoes are easy on! Can I just say how glad I am Zapped Outfitters has come on the scene!?

 

Baby, Mom

My Post-Pregnancy To-Do List: Home Teeth Whitening + GIVEAWAY

Before kids, I loved doing my makeup, my teeth were always sparkly white and my hair was always nicely bleached. Once I transitioned into being a mom, I was either too depressed to keep up any of that stuff or there was just literally no time for it. Somewhere around 7 months pregnant with Elliot, I started thinking about the things that I wanted to make a priority after the pregnant, and one of them was my self-care. Self-care looks different to everyone and even to me, it can look different from day to day. I made myself a post-pregnancy to-do list for once the baby is born: I wanted to go back to being blonde, buy myself a bunch of new makeup, and get my teeth whitened. So when Smile Brilliant approached me to try out their custom teeth whitening system, I was beyond excited to knock something off this to-do list.

Need to whiten your teeth? Stick through until the end for all the giveaway details! 

When I was younger, I had braces for 5 years and it sucked. My teeth weren’t too crooked, they were just misaligned and it took forever to get them to where they needed to go. In the end, the midline could never be lined up on both the top and bottom. My dentist hooked me up with some custom trays to do whitening at home and it was quick and easy. But it cost an arm and a leg. Plus I had to go to the dentist to have the impressions made of my teeth so they could create the custom trays.

Smile Brilliant is the exact same product I received from my dentist, except there were no trips to the dentist. I was able to create my impressions at home, mail them off to Smile Brilliant’s lab and they sent me back the custom trays for me to start using. I was able to create my impressions quickly and easily while the kids slept. Guys, I didn’t even have to leave the house!

Once the custom trays arrived at my doorstep, it was time to start the whitening process.Within about 2 whitening sessions, I saw a noticeable difference in the color of my teeth. Yahoooo! Buh bye coffee stains, hello white teeth.

Since becoming a mom, my coffee intake has like, quadrupled, and so has the staining on my teeth. And let’s be honest, the coffee ain’t going anywhere. I’m going to keep drinking my coffee! But now I have my secret weapon to combat the coffee stains. and what a boost in confidence I have now that my teeth are whiter and brighter! Still have questions about teeth whitening?


How Much Is Teeth Whitening

 

Now for the fun part. Enter to win your very own custom home teeth whitening kit so you can get those pearly whites in tip-top shape. The winner will receive $139 store credit to www.smilebrilliant.com*Giveaway open to UK, Australia, Canada, and USA residents*

If you just can’t wait, here’s a coupon code for 5% OFF: mommyzoid5

HAPPY WHITENING!

 

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post has been sponsored by Smile Brilliant. All opinions (and teeth!) are my own. Please read for disclosure policy for more information.

Baby

A Proper Diagnosis: The Road to Recovery

I’ve been pretty open and honest about my experience with depression and anxiety during my first pregnancy and during my second pregnancy. It’s been cathartic for me to share my journey, but also really awesome because I know I’ve helped some other women out along the way. I know this because they’ve reached out to me and thanked me, which was so brave! It’s because of those people and their kind words that I’m able to keep on sharing so others can read through my experience, see themselves in my story, and maybe get some answers to some questions they’ve had, or even get a proper diagnosis like I finally did.

The first time I really felt depressed was when I was 17 and I had just moved out on my own. I would have daydreams about driving off the highway and crashing my car on my way to class, wondering if anyone would even notice or care. This was the first of many times in my life where I would attempt something new, not enjoy it/lose interest, and feel like a complete failure. This cycle has been playing out for years and years and years and it wasn’t until very recently that it become clear that this wasn’t just a flaw in my character, but rather a really common disorder that I had no idea I had been living with my entire life.

Lets back up to the feelings of depression and anxiety. Since I was 20, I’ve been taking medications to help ease those feelings, and they worked, somewhat. I was certainly less depressed and less anxious, but still not living my best life. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child when I started receiving really amazing care at the children and women’s hospital in my city and I was given a whole new diagnosis. Sure, I was depressed and anxious but the underlying reasons for those feelings was because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Say what? When my psychiatrist told me this I was so shocked. I mean, surely she was mistaken. But she wasn’t.

I was under the impression OCD looked a certain way because I’d only seen it portrayed in movies and TV one way. But there’s a type of OCD called Pure-O where you have these really intrusive obsessional thoughts. Here’s an example of an intrusive thought I have quite often. When my husband says goodbye before leaving for work and I wish him off to work, tell him to be safe, and that I love him, the second he shuts the front door I think back to what was the last thing I said to him in case he dies on his way to work and that was our last exchange. and instead of just leaving that thought there and thinking about something else, I’ll create this entire narrative about how I’ll be a widow with two kids. I let myself wander down this really unhelpful path.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my therapists:

There is no such thing as good thoughts or bad thoughts. All we have is thoughts and some are helpful and some are unhelpful.

With the help of my psychiatrist, we found the right medication that actually helps me with the real problem, which was these scary and unhelpful thoughts, and it was these thoughts that caused me anxiety and depression.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

This journey has been like peeling back an onion — each layer that gets peeled back reveals even more.

The intrusive thoughts were all but gone which meant the anxiety and depression lessened considerably. But then I started noticing other aspects of my life that weren’t improving and becoming glaringly obvious as other aspects of my health improved. For example, I could stand in the kitchen and look at the sink full of dishes, go to wash them. But then I’d see something else I needed to do and start working on that, meanwhile the dish water is getting cold and the dishwashers half unloaded and the washer has wet clothes in it that I forgot to switch to the dryer last night and the garbage needs to be emptied and then I remember that thank you card I need to send, an appointment I forgot to book and my to-do list is growing and I can’t seem to focus on one thing long enough to finish a task. In these moments I feel like I’m spinning in circles but going nowhere.

I had all but accepted that this was just who I was. This was part of my character. That I just wasn’t cut out to be an adult. I would go to the store to get a specific thing and leave with everything but that one thing I needed. Then I’d beat myself up about forgetting something so basic. I would cause myself to become depressed and anxious over these things that felt out of my control. I was trying so hard to stay on track but nothing worked. It didn’t matter how many reminders, day planners, calendars, and to-do lists I had. I couldn’t get my s-h-i-t together.

But then a friend posted an article on Facebook about Adult ADHD in women. As I was reading this article the tears were streaming down my face. WHAT? Who wrote this? How do they know exactly what I’ve been through? But then I was confused because I thought ADHD was for hyperactive little boys.

What I didn’t know is there are different types of ADHD and girls don’t get diagnosed like boys do because boys generally have the hyperactive ADHD while girls trend toward inattentive or impulsive. I fall somewhere in the inattentive zone and I can see so much evidence of this behavior all through my life.

For a moment I was really sad. I thought about all the time I’ve lost and how much of my life I’ve spent beating myself up, calling myself a failure, starting things and never finishing them. But then I became so happy. Happy that I finally have some answers. Finally able to start living my life and enjoying it. The way I felt before was that I was just getting through life but never really enjoying the journey. The journey was agonizing and arduous so why would I enjoy it?

It’s been such a journey to get to this point and I know it’s just beginning but I have to say it’s such a wave of relief to know I’m on the right path, surrounding myself with the right information and learning lots of new skills to help me cope with my new diagnosis.

The moral of my story is if you think something is going on, trust your instincts. Talk to your doctor and keep digging. My doctors were never wrong. I was depressed and I was anxious but that was just a symptom of a much bigger issue.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: All photos c/o Morgan Webb Photography

DIY & Home

Celebrating Canada 150 in our Lush Backyard Oasis

Canadians are pretty humble, but once every 150 years we like to brag just a little. We have such a gorgeous country and we are really proud to live here. Every summer on Canada Day when the weather is at it’s warmest, we celebrate Canada’s birthday This year is a really special milestone and over at our house, we aren’t letting this celebration go un-celebrated! Our backyard is feeling like the perfect spot to celebrate Canada’s Birthday.

This post is a part of the ECM #Canada150 Blog Hop where some of my fave East Coast bloggers are sharing everything from recipes and DIY ideas to activities and travel to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. So at the end of this post, click around and see how everyone else is celebrating this summer.

East Coast Mom Media Blogger Celebrate #Canada150

While our backyard is tiny, it is the perfect size for us and the kids. When we bought our townhouse, the patio was already installed and to be honest, it was a huge selling feature for me. I am a huge fan of having no grass to cut but still have lots of green space to enjoy. The best of both worlds! I know my husband is also thankful we don’t have the spend our weekends doing “YARD WORK”, whatever that is! Our first summer in our place we didn’t go crazy planting anything because we weren’t sure what kind of perennials would pop up. We were pretty surprised when we saw all the lush greenery, the bamboo shoots and the shade our lovely maple tree throws on the patio. I am the worst at keeping plants alive so the fact that our backyard and garden takes care of its self is really such a blessing!

During the warmer months, our back patio is just a continuation of our living space inside. On days when it’s just too hot to be inside, we’ll cook everything outside on the deck and eat out there under the shade of the maple tree. Getting a nice patio set was a priority for us so we could maximize the space. We found this awesome set that also has a bench seat so we have ample seating for the kids and any guests.

I hit up the thrift store to find some decor pieces to add to the table to make it feel more like the inside of our home. I didn’t want to spend much money on these pieces because I know I don’t want to have to bring everything in every night, so they are going to get a little worn. I’m in love with this vintage basket that plays double duty as a tray. The braided leather handles are my favorite! I love the detail. I also picked up a nice tall basket that I’m using to store all the kid’s summer toys so that I don’t have to look at a bunch of toys scattered everywhere. Once the kids are done outside, I can quickly zoom around and toss all the toys into this basket so it’s out of sight. I can’t relax until all the toys are picked up.

My son loves to paint and I love to watch him create, so this summer I’m keeping his easel right by the back door so I can easily bring it outside for him when he feels like painting. I love it because it means he’s doing a nice quiet activity and he can get as messy as he wants. As long as the paint is washable, have at it!

I think the greatest part about our little slice of the Canadian dream is that when you’re in our backyard, you wouldn’t even know it but you’re right downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s so nice and peaceful back here with the trees blowing in the wind and the birds tweeting away. Ahhhh, bliss!

What do you think? Want to come over and have some sparkling water or my new favorite fizzy iced coffees!?


Now on to the blog hop! See how my East Coast blogging friends are celebrating #Canada150!


 

 

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy for more information.

DIY & Home

Fizzy Iced Coffee

Fizzy Iced Coffee | Mommyzoid

A few weeks ago I was drinking a hot coffee while on a walk with the kids and I remembered that it’s iced coffee season, FINALLY. I’ve really upped my game this year, too. We have a Soda Stream that we use just to fizz our water. We’ve never used it to make our own pop or anything, just fizzy water. I know, we are so plain.

Anyways I was at one of my favorite local shops and I picked up a bottle of Low Point Coffee Co. Cold Brew Concentrate. I had the amazing idea to not just add regular water or milk. BUT FIZZY WATER!!

I was hesitant to try it at first. The thought of fizzy coffee seemed so wrong, but friends… it’s so right!

This just elevated my nap time iced coffee session to a whole new level.

 

Here’s what I do:

Grab a glass and fill it up with ice.

Pour 1/4 of a cup of the cold brew concentrate over the ice and then fill the remainder of the glass up with fizzy water. I use carbonated water that I make with my SodaStream, but you could use any kind of sparkling water or tonic water.

Then I take a taste test and add in more concentrate if it needs it. Or more fizzy water if it needs it!

It’s potent stuff, so go easy! A little goes a long way.

ENJOY!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. Please see full disclosure policy.

DIY & Home

8 Ways To Maximize Your Sunday

8 Ways To Maximize Your Sunday | Mommyzoid

We’ve all seen the quote:

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content

But how the heck can us moms maximize our Sundays so our weeks can start on the right foot?

  1. On Sundays, I meal plan & meal prep. I start brainstorming by going through the cupboards and seeing what we have and what we need to use up. I ask the family what they feel like having that week for dinners. It’s great when my toddler tells us what he wants because then he’s excited to have the meal he asked for!
  2. I start prepping whatever I can ahead of time. I like to make up a big greek salad or a nice roasted veggie orzo pasta. A salad that keeps well in the fridge is great for the first half of the week.
  3. I make up a batch of muffins and fill them with flax, hemp hearts, and loads of frozen fruits.
  4. I fill 5 mason jars with all the dry ingredients I put into my overnight oats. Then the night before, I fill it up with almond milk so it’s ready the next morning when I wake up.
  5. Fill the coffee maker up the night before so I just have to hit start! The faster I can get my coffee, the better!
  6. Crock pot meals are a life saver. I like to cut up all the veggies and throw in the meat with all the spices the night before. Then in the morning all I have to do is grab the crock pot from the fridge and turn it on low for the day.
  7. Sunday is the day I earmark for laundry! I do the sheets and all MY clothes. For some reason, my clothes are the lowest on the priority list now! Making sure I have clean clothes for the week ahead is pretty essential. Here’s my go-to AFFORDABLE yoga pants and my fave nursing tees! Perfect for momming around!
  8. Cleaning the bathrooms and giving the kitchen a nice deep clean help set the tone for the rest of the week. I find it easier to spot clean throughout the week if I start the week off with a nice clean slate, so to speak.

8 Ways To Maximize Your Sunday | Mommyzoid

These little tips and tricks are working for me lately, but I’m always down for learning more ways to keep my family on track! Leave me a comment and let me know what you do to keep your weeks running smooth!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

Mom

Spring Beauty Picks

I recently did a massive makeup purge, restocked my must haves and also picked up some new products that I am really loving. With the warmer months coming I wanted to add few key things to my beauty routine that are waterproof, light, and protective.

Here’s what I got:

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

If I do nothing to my face, I at least do my brows, and boy what a difference! One end of this pen is the color, and it’s super light and easy to blend and build up. The other end is a spoolie so you can get that brush out your brows and blend the color in until it’s nice and soft.

Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream

When the weather heats up, I turn to a nice creamy foundation that’s light and has a good SPF in it to block out the sun’s harmful rays. This foundation is buildable, which I love, but one layer gives the perfect sheer coverage I like to have day to day.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

This is my first time trying this one, but I’ve tried lots of other mascaras by Benefit and none of them have disappointed. It’s good stuff!

Smashbox Always SharpWaterproof Kôhl Liner

I’ve been searching for an eyeliner that doesn’t rub off throughout the day. Once this one dries, it’s not going to budge. I went with gray because I wanted to try something a little different. I usually go for brown.

Dr Roebucks Face

A major part of my self-care routine is washing my face at night and putting on a nice moisturizer before jumping into bed. The smell of this one is so luxurious. I love how thick it is and how when I wake up, my skin feels nice a dewy and ready for the day.

Loreal Colorista Semi-Permanent Color

If you’re anything like me and DIY hair dyes scare the living daylights out of you, you’ll love this stuff. I think I’m going through a mid-twenties life crisis or maybe my rebellious stage is just really late! I have been having a blast putting in pops of colors into my hair. At least once this summer I want to do a whole head of this pink, because YOLO. and I’m on maternity leave!

See anything you want to try?!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.

 

Baby, DIY & Home, Recipe

3 Easy Toddler-Friendly Popsicle Recipes

Healthy popsicle recipes that are sure to delight everyone this summer! Perfect for toddlers and teething babies, but still yummy enough for mama!

I’ve always loved giving my toddler smoothies. They are such a wicked way to make sure they get all their fruits (& veggies, too!) without them even realizing it! Plus we always have lots of fun creating new flavors and Oliver loves having a say in what we throw into the blender. With the warmer months coming (I swear they are coming!) I see lots of smoothies in our future. But another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM!

Another fun way to have our smoothies is frozen in popsicle molds! YUM! Jam packed with fruit and real ingredients, these are some of our favorite popsicle recipes that are sure to cool you down in the hot sunshine. My advice is to have these outside, because of the STICKY MESS! Our popsicles are reserved for an afternoon hangout on the front porch or a post-park treat on the deck.

I’m also going to be busy making these to have on hand for Elliot who will be able to start baby-led weaning in June when he’s 6 months old! He’s also teething like crazy so it will be a yummy way to soothe those little gums while getting some nutrients and cooling down.

Chocolate Fudge

1 Cup of yogurt 

1 Scoop of Chocolate Protein powder

1 TBSP of Peanut Butter

Mix everything up in a bowl using a spoon until it’s a pudding consistency. Scoop mixture into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger size. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

Pineapple Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Coconut

1/2 Cup of Frozen Pineapple 

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk 

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

 

Mixed Berry

1 Cup of mixed berries (I use a mix of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)

1 Cup of Coconut Almond Milk

1 TBSP of honey (optional)

Blend in blender until nice and smooth and then pour into a popsicle mold. This recipe makes about one popsicle in the molds I have, which are on the larger side. Freeze in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

If you try one of our favorite popsicle recipes, make sure to let us know! Tag me on Instagram so I can see what you made. and if you discover a fun new concoction, let me know! I want to try making as many new recipes this summer as we can!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: This post contains affiliate links. Please see full disclosure policy here.

Baby

A Letter to my Pre-Motherhood Self

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

I can’t begin to describe to someone who’s about to become a mom how motherhood is going to feel. It’s just impossible to predict how it will feel for any given individual. My story has been remarkably normal, and not because it’s been without trials and tribulations. That’s exactly what has made it so terribly normal. It’s normal to have highs and lows. Every emotion & experience I’ve had has been completely and utterly normal. These kids of mine have changed me in ways I didn’t know were possible. Motherhood is a beautiful thing!

Not only is Mother’s Day in the month of May but May is also National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. In honor of this very important topic, I’m sharing a glimpse into my experience with motherhood, anxiety, depression and OCD. It breaks my heart to think of the thousands of women out there suffering in silence. I won’t be silent any longer because by sharing my story I know other women might see themselves in my words and seek the help they deserve.

This post is part of the ECM Media Mother’s Day Blog Hop! Stick through to the end to see all the posts from other east coast bloggers.


Dear Pre-Motherhood Self,

Happy Mother’s Day! You’re going to become a mom very soon. It’s going to be both everything and nothing at all like you’ve always imagined it to be.

You’re going to be amazing, even when it feels like you’re failing miserably. Your hardest critic is going to be yourself, but you’re going to learn how to parent yourself in the process, and you’re going to come out the other end stronger than ever.

There will be days, weeks, and months that feel like you’re just treading water, and I know this sounds scary, but your darkest days are yet to come. It may feel like a setback at the time, but wait until you see what a leap you’re going to make. You’re going to grow and it’s going to be beautiful.

Right now you’re studying up on all the different parenting techniques and figuring out what kind of humans you plan to raise. But what you aren’t preparing for is how these tiny humans will raise you. They have a gift for you and that gift is hope and healing.

There will be times when your world is void of color. You’ll have black days and gray days. But eventually, you’ll have days filled with color again, I promise!

Your children will be the greatest gift you’ll ever receive, and not in the material sense. Your two babies will be the reason you get help. The reason you reach out and access the care that you so desperately need and deserve.

Just relax and just breathe. It’s going to be a wonderful journey. And like every good journey, it’s not about the destination. Everything that is about to happen will happen for a reason. Be strong and please, for the love of god, just hold on.

Love from,

You as a mom of two!

Photo by Morgan Webb Photography

Now on to the blog hop! Check out some of my blogger friends below and see what they’re up to on their blogs for Mothers Day!

East Coast Moms Blog Hop - A Collection of Blog Posts Celebrating Motherhood


Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

Baby

Gifts Mom Really Wants

For Her

// Phone Case // FitBit Alta // Art Print // Mascara // Straw bag // Sandals // Lamp // Bar Cart //

 

Maybe I’m the odd one out but I really don’t like getting gifts. They make me feel uncomfortable and indebted to someone, which is NOT the point, I know. But it’s how I feel. It’s also extremely tough for my husband and me to get each other gifts because there’s really nothing we need. Since becoming a mom though, I don’t really spoil myself and I tend to gravitate toward gifts for the kids. I mean, I can justify pretty much anything for them. It’s a little harder to justify a new pair of Birkenstocks for myself or an upgraded FitBit, right? Even frivolous things for the house are harder to justify! I mean, I really don’t need artwork or a bar cart. I don’t even drink! But that bar cart would be totally adorable styled in my dining room! But sometimes you have to just do you for a moment and buy yourself the dang bar cart!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid