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Family, Motherhood, Review

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, Family, Giveaway

5 Reasons Photo Books Make The Perfect Gift!

5 Reasons Photo Books Make The Perfect Gift

Raise your hand if all your kid’s baby pictures are in digital format. Yup, majority of us. And my mom is constantly asking me to mail her some prints.

Enter Artifact Uprising.

A company with a mission to move stories off your device and into your life.

I have been on a quest to preserve memories and to put pen to paper more often so their mission totally struck a chord with me.

This Christmas I’m sending my Mom & Dad and the in-laws photo books filled to the brim with memories of this year passed. Although they live far away, I want them to feel like they were there.

Here are 5 reasons why photo books make the perfect gift:

  1. EASY. Once you choose the type of book you want to create, the Artifact Uprising editing platform makes it a breeze to add photos, change the order, add text, and so much more. & You can download their App from the Apple App store and make it all from your iphone! It took less than a half hour to complete this book and I didn’t even get frustrated ONCE. That says something!
  2. CHEAP. For under $20 you can create a heartfelt gift for your loved ones.
  3. FAST SHIPPING. & they’ll ship it right to the recipient. How easy is that? When you have family all over the country, it’s awesome to be able to buy online and have it shipped directly. It usually ends up being cheaper than if I bought something locally and mailed it myself.
  4. GOOD QUALITY. The card stock Artifact Uprising uses is of impressive quality, even for their cheapest option!
  5. PRESERVES MEMORIES. You can’t put a price on the feeling of holding an image in your hands. Plus the portability is bang on for braggy grandparents 😉

5 Reasons Photo Books Make The Perfect Gift

5 Reasons Photo Books Make The Perfect Gift

5 Reasons Photo Books Make The Perfect Gift

Artifact Uprising is even letting my lovely readers get in on some photo book-making-fun just in time for the holidays! Enter below for your chance to score $50 USD to spend on whatever you please! This contest is only open to US & Canadian readers. Now go enter, why don’t cha!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Artifact Uprising compensated me for my honest review. Read my whole disclosure statement here*

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: I’ll be sharing this post these blogs.

Family, Mom

How We Make Out Of Town Business Work For Our Family

How We Make Out Of Town Business Work For Our Family I’ve been on the road for work a lot lately and it’s been such an adjustment for the whole family. I think it’s weirdest for my husband, oddly enough. He’s in the military so it’s usually him packing his big stupid green bag and heading down to the big stupid boats and going away for a stupid amount of time. So when it’s me packing my bags and hitting the road, I think he can’t help but be a little bit sad!     I thought I’d share some of the ways we make it wall work. It’s not easy having parents who travel for work and the goal is to make it as smooth as possible for our little one.  Google Hangouts! But not too much! Our son is 16 months so he doesn’t quite understand why one of us is in the computer and why we can’t play with him. We tend to limit the time we chat to about 15 minutes where he smiles and says “MAW MAW” and signs mom. It can just be too much for him so we like to limit it. When I’m away I always have internet access at the hotel in the evenings so we like to do a Hangout at dinner time so it feels like I’m there and he’s distracted by food.  Family time before & after. The few days leading up to one of us leaving and the few days following are jam packed with family time. We go to the park, we go on an adventure, we go to the swimming pool… we cram as much family time in as we can. Making those memories are so important. They help us all get through the hard times. Have empathy for each other. My husband and I both go away for work some times so we have both been on either side so it’s really easy to understand what the other is going through. When I’m lonely and miss my family when I’m alone in a hotel room I remind myself how tired and overwhelmed I felt when my husband was away to sea. I can understand how he might be feeling and that is so important. Keep routines. We are pretty rigid when it comes to our routines – it’s so important for us, especially when one of us is away. If we stick to our routines it will be less of a shock for our little guy. I’m the worst when it comes to breaking routines when Daddy’s away, though! I love to bring Oliver in bed with me as soon as he makes a peep where Dad is pretty good about getting him back to sleep in his own bed. Be flexible. Although routines are a god send, being flexible and understanding that things will go back to normal once the other parent is home is so important. I’m not hard on myself when I end up bringing Ollie to bed with me. It’s not going to have long term damage to our sleep if we share some well deserved cuddles! I tend to be hard on myself about breaking routines but most of the time it’s out of necessity.      

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

ps: I’ll be sharing this post on these blogs

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Baby, Family

Letting Our Kid Be A Kid In Nature

This viral video was posted on my mom’s Facebook group and when I watched it I was a bit sad but so relieved because my husband and I have always kept nature and the great outdoors high on the priority list for our little one.

Every summer my husband and I head to his families cottage on Lake Ontario and we spend time walking barefoot, eating from the garden, exploring the shores and swimming for hours on end. Before we had kids I’d always say how amazing it would be to have all this at your fingertips as a kid. My husband grew up on the very same island and spent his summers building forts, playing with other islanders and being a real kid. He had he childhood you could only dream of. It was full of adventures and memories that have shaped him into the wonderful person he is today.

Now that we have our first child, spending time at the cottage is even more important. Giving our son idyllic summers in the sun is our goal. For three weeks this summer we spent time feeding the chickens, watching the lambs, eating vine ripened tomatoes and splashing in the waves. Our goal is to make the natural world a big part of our children’s lives from a very young age.

Here’s how we let our 14-month-old explore nature:

  1. Let Them Be – He takes his time and takes it all in. He is always reminding me to stop and smell the roses. As a busy mom I always have the urge to rush him to day care and home for dinner or off to swimming lessons but what he gains from stopping and touching, looking, and learning is invaluable.
  2. Ask Them Questions – Any chance for our 14 month old to hear new words is so important. When we see a bird he’s never seen before I will say, “Is that a hawk? Do you see the hawk in the sky? Wave hello to the hawk, Oliver.” Sometimes I feel a tad foolish but what’s really foolish is not taking that teachable moment by the horns.
  3. Give Them A Task – We taught our son to pick some grass and stick it into the coop to feed the chickens! He feels a huge sense of accomplishment when he successfully gets his blades of grass into the coop and is so satisfied by helping feed the chickens.

We are fortunate to have a place to take our kids in the summers but through-out the rest of the year we have to be very cognizant of getting our little one outside in nature because we live in a condo with a small porch. Going outside can be a big production if you let it be. A simple walk around the block or a trip to the park to enjoy nature is all it takes to keep building that love of the great outdoors. <3

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How do you help instill a life long love of nature in your children?

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these fabulous blogs!

 

 

Baby, Family, Mom and Baby

Universal Child Care Benefit – Vote Buying?

Universal Child Care Benefit - Vote Buying? | Mommyzoid

Canadian families all across our great land are waking up to inflated bank accounts this week, thanks to the federal government of Canada. But I’m really worried. I’m worried the federal Conservative government is using the parents who need this money the most to buy some votes.

What would I like to see? A national childcare program so women can financially justify their return to work. Now that would be money well spent! It’s hard for a mom to justify forking over apx. $1600 a month for childcare for two kids when she would gladly take care of them her self!

So the Harper government is clearly trying to swindle us families by giving us some money. Heck, us Canadian families deserve that money. But we also deserve to have a national childcare plan. That would be super sweet.

And if you do the math, cheaper childcare vs cheques from the government end up saving more families more money in the long run.

This fall I urge you to exercise your right to vote and research the issues that matter most to parents, families & kids.

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on here blogs!

 

Baby, Family, Mom

5 Ways to Make Dinner Time Family Time

5 Ways to Make Dinner Tim Family Time | www.mommyzoid.ca |

Photo Credit

Before our son was born, we ate nearly every meal around the coffee table, soaking in the news and whatever else was on TV. It was our routine that helped us unwind from our days but we knew it was bad habit to get into. We decided once our son was able to sit up, we would get him a high chair and we would start forming some better dinner time traditions.

Here are some of the ways we are practicing making dinner time family time:

1. Get them involved

Our son either sits at the bar in his phil&teds Lobster Highchair*or I wear him on my back in a carrier while I cook. I show him what I’m cutting up, I give him bits to nibble on, and I tell him what I’m doing as I do it. He’s only 9 months old so he can’t help but he is certainly paying attention to everything I am doing and soaking it all in. If they are old enough, give them little age-appropriate tasks like setting the table, unloading the dishwasher, washing the veggies, etc.

2. Meal plan together

On Sunday we write out what meals we would like to make for each night. This makes grocery shopping a lot easier, too. I’m able to run in, grab what we will actually use, and get out. This also helps when it comes to budgeting. When you run into the store last minute to grab things, you usually end up spending way more money and getting items you otherwise wouldn’t have bought. Getting the whole family involved in the planning process also means everyone has a chance for input, so no complaining (ha ha)!

3. Make the table a screen-free zone

And that includes mom and dad! I am so guilty of checking my phone at the table. Having the TV on or my phone in hand means I’m not actually engaging my family. I mean, I haven’t seen my husband all day long and now is the time where we both have each others un-divided attention where we can discuss important family matters or just joke around. I miss all that if my nose is buried in my iPhone.

4. Engage each other

This is our opportunity to get to know what is going on in each others lives. Not such a mystery when it comes to our 9 month old as I’m pretty aware of what he’s got cookin’ in his world but as he grows up, this will be the time of day where he/they will share what he/they did at school and he/they will be able to ask us questions and learn from us and us from him/them.

5. Start early

It’s never too late to build healthy habits like this but it’s also never too early. From the time Oliver could sit up, he’s been sitting his phil&teds Lobster Highchair* at the table. At six months we began Baby Led Weening and he loves the time we spend at the table talking to him and teaching him how to eat his foods. I swear he was more confident with eating because he had been sitting there for 3 months watching us eat. It was as if he already knew exactly what to do!

Suppertime in our home will always be the time of the day the kids will be able to count on having either mom or dad (hopefully both, not always possible) to chat with, confide in, and vent to. It wont always be possible because of extra curricular activities and eventually jobs but I want them to know we are here for them when they need us.

Does your family have any suppertime traditions? How has it changed the family dynamic at supper hour?

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

 

PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these fantastic sites!

PPS: Asterisk denotes an affiliate link. See full disclaimer here.

Baby, Family

Cloth Diapering: A Dad’s Point of View


basketdiapers

Correct me if I’m wrong but when a mom comes to her partner and says, “What do you think about….(insert parenting style/baby product)?”, she’s probably already made up her mind. That’s true at least for our family. Pre-baby I was researching EVERYTHING because I wanted to be prepared and know I was making an informed decision. Once baby arrived I was too busy to research anything let alone check my email so I was glad I had done it all beforehand. So when it came down to deciding to do cloth, I had already made up my mind when I first saw a clothes line of brightly coloured cloth diapers hanging in the window of our local cloth diaper store, Nurtured, a few years before babies were even on our radar.

Now that we are elbow-deep in cloth diapering, I wanted to sit down with my husband and get his take on the wonderful world of cloth diapers. What’s his favourite things and not so favourite things and about some common misconceptions about the whole deal. Let’s get started, shall we!?

Stephanie: When I first said, “Cloth Diapers”, what went through your mind?

Husband: Well the cloth diapers I knew were the tea towel looking things you had to fold up and put a safety pin in — I didn’t know a lot about cloth diapering and I figured we would just do it for a month and you would hate it or we would just come to the decision that it wasn’t for us. I didn’t think it would be a forever thing.

S: Do you still feel that way?

H: No. I don’t! Although there are tea towel looking things I’m glad we don’t use. The diapers we do use are easy to put on, easy to clean, and easy on the wallet.

S: Favorite diaper style and why?

H: Pockets! It gives us more choice when it comes to stuffing inserts in. We tend to do 1 during the day and 2 at night time. We use Charlie Banana one size. The very best part is the adjustable legs! I’m not a fan of the rise snaps on some styles.

S: Least favorite part of cloth diapering?

H: There’s nothing about cloth diapering that’s any worse than disposables. The fact is you are still changing a poopy diaper!

S: Best part?

H: Savings, definitely! Even the amount we spent on our cloth diapers is way less than we would have spent on disposables thus far.

S: Any myths or misconceptions you want to bust for any partners who are feeling apprehensive?

H: It’s not any more messy or gross than disposable diapers.

S: Given the chance, would you want to switch to disposables?

H: NOPE.

There you have it. He’s hooked on Cloth.

PicMonkey Collage 4

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Baby, Family

Tip 5 Tips For Flying with a New Baby

With our immediate family all over Canada, travelling with babies is a reality for us. We had been told quite a few horror stories about flying with a newborn baby but we’d also been given a few pieces of advice that came in handy.

1. Keep baby on usual schedule.

Our three month old isn’t on too rigid of a schedule. This was really handy for us flying through 3 time zones. When we arrived on the West Coast, we were super understanding that our baby would be off when it came to his sleeping and napping schedule. We tried to keep things as close to normal for him.

2. Keep baby sucking (nipple, bottle, soother) during take off and landing. 

This helps with keeping baby from having sore ears. For us as adults, chewing gum helps but poor little babies need to keep sucking in order to help their little ears. We kept our guy sucking during take off and landing and we had no problems. Once we got moving, he was fast asleep.

3. Know the difference between a non-stop flight and a direct flight.

These sort of travel details didn’t matter much before having kids but now that diapers, bottles, and crying babies are involved, the faster and more direct we can get to our destination the better. When booking this flight we paid extra for a direct flight but had no idea it wasn’t non-stop. Direct means you and your bags stay on the same airplane from beginning to end but you will make some stops along the way — it’s quite the milk run! Non-stop means you wont have any stops and you’ll pay a premium for that if you’re flying quite a distance. We enjoyed not having lay overs or having to unload and re-load back onto a new plane.

4. Read your airlines policies and tips on flying with kids.

Airlines and flight attendants have a lot of experience with children and it’s old hat to them but when it’s your first time flying with your baby, it’s nerve racking. To help ease our minds we read online how flying with a little one works. It laid out everything we would need to know from where to find a change table on board to what to do in the event of an emergency. and when it doubt, ASK! *PRO TIP* find out about baggage limits and gate checking strollers and car seats! Gate checking means you have it up until you hop on the plane and you pick it up when you get off. Some experienced mom’s I know have told me this can help prevent any damage to your gear!

5. Read TSA or CATSA policies on getting through security with an infant. 

The biggest stress for me when it comes to flying is getting through security. We were surprised to find out we got to cut to the front of the line when we got to security. The less time we can spend waiting in line with a baby the better. He loves to be kept moving! I knew what to expect when going through security ahead of that time and that defiantly eased my mind. I was surprised to find out I was able to travel with pumped breast milk, formula, and even a water bottle of water for mixing with formula. All the security people were super understanding that we were slower than the average traveller.

What are your tried and true travel tips? What makes your travels stress-free?

Happy travels!

I’ll be sharing this post on these blogs this week!

Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

Baby, Family

Diaper Laundry: Our Routine at the Cottage

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Cottage Edition via www.mommyzoid.com

 

We’ve been using cloth on Oliver since he was one day old and I don’t think either of us would have it any other way. It’s been so simple and not as stressful as one would expect. One area you can run into issues is when it comes to washing those suckers. If not done correctly, you can get a whole bunch of different problems that can be annoying to try and trouble shoot. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to cloth but I am learning as we go.

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Cottage Edition via www.mommyzoid.com

For the first few months of our son’s life, we have been living at our families cottage. The cottage does have a washer and dryer which has made things seamless for continuing on with cloth even while we’re not at home. The only downside is the water come straight from the lake so it can have a bit of an odour.

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Cottage Edition via www.mommyzoid.com

 

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Cottage Edition via www.mommyzoid.com

Our routine has been working really well for us. We’re using older style top loaders to do our wash. This matters because the old guys tend to use more water than the new fancy high efficient guys. More water = better in the cloth diaper world. We do a nice cold soak for 30 minutes and end with a spin. Then we do a hot wash, cold rinse, and spin with 2.5 scoops of Nellie’s All Natural Laundry soda We love that Nellies has nothing harmful in it like fragrances or dyes because lets be honest, these diapers touch some pretty sensitive areas. After this we might do another cold rinse and spin to make sure all the soaps out. Then it’s out on the line for a nice sun bleaching or into the dryer if it’s a rotten day. Did you know the sun has the ability to get stains on bright white again? I didn’t know this until I began  cloth diapering. *PRO TIP: sun bleaching works best when the articles are wet.

 

Cloth Diaper Laundry: Cottage Edition via www.mommyzoid.com

Easy peasy lemon squeezey! No, we don’t spend half our days doing diaper laundry. It takes up minimal time and saves us SO  much money. We love cloth, it’s worked well for us, and we hope you love it too!

Are you debating using cloth diaper on your children? What are some reasons why you wouldn’t cloth diaper?

Happy Cloth Diapering!

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Family

First Anniversary

At the beginning of 2013 we promised to make it “our year” and dammit, we sure did just that! We accomplished every single one of our goals:

  • We enjoyed our free time (camping, travelling, concerts, etc)
  • Went down south with our entire family
  • Got engaged
  • Got married
  • Got pregnant

It was a big year for us! As we celebrate a whole year gone by since our anniversary, we are about to embark on the next chapter of our lives. Our son is due in only a few short sleeps and we are expecting him any time now.

We are the happiest parents-to-be that we could be! It’s been such an amazing ride and we just can’t wait to welcome him into our world. (Not to mention my belly is really starting to get in the way!)

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Stephanie @ Mommyzoid