Holiday Gift Guide – Canadian Made For Kids

Shopping for my baby has got to be one of my favourite activities as Im sure it is yours too, its fun and literally there are the cutest things these days for kids! I wanted to round up my favourite Canadian Kids brands just in time for the holiday season to give you some great ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers!

Hope you enjoy!

Sarah xo

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Top: Urban Baby Boutique Swim Diapers (30% off Nov20-Dec 1st Code: CYVERWEEK17 – This is a newer brand for us that we recently came across at the Make It Edmonton Expo! We love their swim diaper and they also have a line of cloth diapers and tethers!

Aura Leaf Sling If you follow me on instagram you know how much I love Aura Leaf Slings, they have been a lifesaver for me and makes my life sooo much easier! Aura Leaf is made by a local Edmonton mama!

Wylo & Co Harem Leggings – If memory serves me correct Cash has worn every size of these leggings so far! They are made of bamboo, sooo soft, and made locally in Alberta!!

 

Middle:

Otherware Duo Teether We have had both the duo teether and pacifier clip from Otherwise since Cash was born and both have been two of our most used baby items. Whenever Cash is in his car seat these two pieces are essential, and they are made in Alberta!!

Xo One Berrie Towel  – I actually got this towel before Cash was born and we have used it ever since his first bath! One Berrie is made by a BC mama with gorgeous soft, bamboo material and it is seriously a genius design to keep baby dry and warm while helping mom and dad dry after bath time!

Bottom:

House of Hale Teepee  – We were actually gifted a House Of Hale teepee just after Cash was born and it has been such a beautiful and fun addition to his playroom! Its made locally in Spruce Grove and the patterns and craftsmanship are out of this world stunning!

Jack’s Mama Booties  These beautiful crochet booties are made by a local Edmonton mama and are an absolute staple when in comes to dressing your baby for those Canadian winters!

My Mila Pom Toque  – We love these pom pom toques made in Alberta and lovvve the fact that they also have mommy/daddy and mini matching toques!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Friday Deals 2017

Ive been scouring websites, emails, instagram and Facebook to round up all of my favourite sales for Black Friday!!! We do almost all of our Christmas shopping on Black Friday so I wanted to make it easy for you guys to find a variety of deals to fit everyones wish list! I will be continually updating this post as I find new deals/sales!

Hope you enjoy!

Sarah xo

 

Local Edmonton

Miss Boss > Online & In Stores > 30% off Everything! (Starts Thurs 9pm)

Eliasz & Ella > 20% off site wide + gift with purchase over $100 Code: BLACKFRIDAY2017

Bodhi Soul Bead Works> 15% off Sitewide AND free shipping in Canada & USA!!

Cloud 9 Pjs In Store > 20% off Entire Store

West Coast Kids In Store > Up to 50% off Storewide

 

For Her

Lipsense > Kissable Lips By Sarah Pankiw > 15% off Orders over $65

The Body Shop > 40% off

Sephora > Makeup > Up to 50% off

Gentle Fawn >Womens Fashion > 40% off code: FRIYAY2017

Chelsea King > Hair Scrunchies > 15% off site wide Code: BLACKFRIDAY

NYX Cosmetics > Makeup > Up to 50% off

Aritzia > Up to 50% off

Brunette The Label > 30% off with code: BLACKFRIDAY2017

Mac Cosmetics> Makeup > 25% off Sitewide Code: MAC25

Bombay Hair> Hair Styling Tools > Up to 50% off + Free Shipping Code: BFCM50

Morphe Brushes > 25% off Sitewide

La Sensa > Lingerie > 50% off

 

Kids

Wylo & Co >  Children’s Apparel & Accessories > 40% off site wide (Code: blackfriday)

True North Slings > Baby Carrier > 20% off site wide

Beluga Baby Wraps > Baby Carrier> 25% off site wide

One Berrie Towels (best baby/toddler towels!) – 20% off site wide

Baby Bird Creations > Baby/Kids Accessories > Code: SHOPSMALL17 for 15% off any purchase. Also code: FREESHIP17 for free standard shipping on minimum orders of $45

 

Family Fashion

Zara > Family Fashion > 30% off Entire Site

Lululemon > Fashion for Her > Fashion for Him

Nordstrom > Extra 20% off Sale

Roots > Family Fashion> 40% off Outerwear > 30% off Entire Store

Abercrombie & Fitch > 50% off site wide

Joe Fresh > 30% off all apparel Code: BLACKFRIDAY17

Old Navy > 50% off entire purchase

Gap > 50% off with code: GAPFRIDAY plus an additional 10% off with code: GAPY4OU

American Eagle > 40% Off

 

Accessories

Ideal of Sweden > Phone Cases – 30% off Code: BLACK (sponsored)

Jord Watches > Click Black Friday 5X for up to $125 off Men’s & Women’s Wood Watches (Sponsored)

Smart Buy GlassesSmart Buy Glasses: 30% off Prescription Sunglasses/Glasses Code: RX30BFCM

Zenni Optical > Prescription Eyewear > 20% off Code: FRIYAY

Home

Chapters > Tons of sales!

Saje > 20% off instores and online

Vistaprint > 60% off holiday cards

Hudson’s Bay > Tons of sales!

Diaper Bag Essentials

One thing is forsure, I do not leave the house without this bag! I have traded in my purses for a diaper bag and I’m totally loving it, especially because I’m in love with my diaper bag!! There is definitely a fine art to packing a diaper bag, you don’t want to overpack because you are hauling that bag everywhere but you don’t want to under pack for fear of forgetting something critical you may need! These essentials I could not live without and make life outside of the house and on the go so much easier!

Skip Hop Grab & Go Changing Station

This change pad is awesome. You can pack you diapers and wipes in the inside pockets so there is no need to take your whole diaper bag to the changing station, just this handy little clutch! Also once your baby gets bigger and you no longer have to carry their food, you can just take this clutch with you or keep it in the car to have on hand! I also love that the change pad itself is large and can be detached from the zipper compartment if you only want to take the pad! I look around for a while before I went ahead with this change pad and I am so happy with my decision!

The Over Company Nursing Cover

I have used this cover so much its ridiculous! Not only do I use it for nursing but I also use it over the car seat as a cover. Now thats is warmer out its nice to have a cover that blocks out the sun but also allows air flow and although I haven’t used it in a shopping cart, it also converts to be used in a shopping cart. It s win/win for functionality and style, every mom needs one!!

Wildbird Sling

If you follow me on instagram you know through my stories that I love to baby wear. I find it so much easier to put Cash in a sling vs hauling that heavy car seat everywhere. For almost all of our outings and for our nightly walks he is in the sling. It gives me complete use of both my hands while baby is close and comforted in the sling.

Formula Dispensar/Divider

Before I found this cute little divider I was using ziplock bags and lets just say this is wayyyyy better!! We started formula feeding when Cash was only a couple days old due to a bout of jaundice and complications from my breast reduction surgery that resulted in a low supply. For any mamas using formula at all, this little container is worth its weight in gold. Easy to pour out and small enough to fit in any pocket it is a great little accessory that allows you to ration the necessary formula for your bottles.

Another side mention, unfortunately it does not fit in my diaper bag however if you are using formula I HIGHLY recommend the Baby Breeza. This has been one of the best investments we have made for any baby item. It heats the water to the perfect temperature, rations the perfect amount of formula and makes a bottle in less than 10 seconds! I would wait to purchase until baby is eating at least 60mls/2oz as this is the smallest setting however after that this tassimo for babies is brilliant!!

Baby Clothes

I always carry an extra onesie, set of clothes and a couple bibs (hello drool) with me just in case we have a blow out (which has yet to happen when we are out and about, thank god!!) Some of my favourite baby clothes come from local companies HazelberryCo & The Modern Kid Co as well as Joe Fresh and Carters!

Now with summer here as well I always have his turtle sun hat, baby sunglasses, and summer spray (safe for babies) on hand. I also also bring my Tofino Towel with me if we are going to the park or planning to sit outside!

Diapers & Wipes

When it comes to actual diaper products the Burt’s Bee line is so awesome. We have used the Burts Bee’s Baby Lotion as well as diaper cream since Cash was born and have not had a single rash! I also keep the Penaten Diaper Cream on hand just in case his little bum needs come extra hydration or his poops are extra messy!

Another brand we have used since Cash was born is the Seventh Generation Diapers and Seventh Generation Wipes (I also love their cleaning products). I also love that their diapers made with the environment in mind, have zero bleaching chemicals and are ultra absorbent!

Lastly my lovely Fawn Design Diaper Bag (Stone Grey)! I bought this diaper bag off of their Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook page and I could not be happier with the bag. It is functional, stylish and I love that is is a backpack, has so many compartments and is easily worn while i baby carry. It also allows me to have hands free which I have learned is literally a life saver when you have a baby. I initially started out with the Lassig diaper bag which was a beautiful bag however I found carrying the carseat and diaper bag left me with zero hands to open doors or get around!

Hope you guys enjoy!

Sarah xo

 

 

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Balancing Life With A Newborn

Its been awhile since I did an overall life update and so much has changed in these last couple months I thought Id share what we’ve been up to!

Clayton started working out of town in February and this has been an adjustment for all of us (hence the lack of fashion posts and full length photos in general)! With him being gone two weeks at a time it has been a struggle to keep up when I am juggling a 3mth old, a basset hound, a house and myself haha so unfortunately the blog has taken somewhat of a backseat!

I also have been struggling lately with somewhat of an identity crisis. As a new mom, i have zero focus on myself (which of course I wouldn’t change for the world) but it has been an adjustment. Prior to Cash I was busy with the hustle and bustle of my job (which I love and sometimes miss even if it is just for the adult conversation), took pride in my makeup and my outfits, now somedays I barely get out of my housecoat let alone brush my teeth or hair and have a baby glued to my boobs 80% of the time (or so it feels like it)!! Again none of this I would change for the world I’ve just had somewhat of an epiphany of how much time i had on my hands prior to having a baby, seriously what did i do with all that time!!

Also my body has changed so much over the past 9mths and now post pregnancy,. It has been harder to feel confident in my clothes, they fit differently with the added amount of milk in my chest and the additional tummy flab and for someone who loves to get dressed this has been difficult. I should mention that I absolutely admire and am so proud of my body for not only growing and housing a baby for 9mths but birthing a healthy little baby (seriously women are amazing)!! That being said I am trying to focus on enjoying my maternity leave, the fact that I can wear sneakers and a t-shirt everyday if i want to and be content with my focus being on Cash and our time together!

I am also trying to focus on my health and getting back into exercising and eating healthy. This has been a very positive change as I now feel like I have the time to focus on me and my health. It also gets me out of the house which has been exactly what I needed! We are consistently going on daily walks, great for us and also Cali is loving them, we’ve recently joined a strollercise workout program and I able to be home and plan meals which I struggled with previously when I was working and traveling so much. It has given me more of a purpose and an investment in myself! Also since becoming a mom, I want to be better for Cash, be more active, more healthy, more conscious of where and who i buy products from, its weird I never really felt like i had to leave a legacy until he was born. I truly want this world to be better for him and his future.

I am SO grateful for Cash and the love he has brought to our family. I know I have become a better person because of him, more patient, more understanding and more loving, He has truly been the most amazing blessing of our lives but it hasn’t been without its challenges. That being said I am really looking forward to spending this invaluable time watching this little turtle of ours grow!

Sarah

xo

Newborn Photos done by Maxine and Shellaine Photography: The Essence of Newborn Art

Placenta Encapsulation

I should start this post off by saying that there is no scientific evidence to prove that placenta encapsulation does have positive effects, just what mothers have experienced and shared. This is why I wanted to share my experience for those that may be on the fence or want to learn more about it! This post is not sponsored in any way only my experience and opinion!

There are several reasons I decided to go ahead with encapsulating my placenta.

  1. First off, I think our bodies are so unbelievably bad ass. The placenta is the only transient organ that the body produces and then discards. It also acts as more than one organ, lungs to provide the baby with oxygen, kidneys to filter and an immune system to protect. So not only do women grow and birth human beings, we also make organs!!
  2. When I started doing research I found it interesting that there are so many mammals that eat their placenta. I see mammals as very simple creatures, doing what they need to survive and flourish and no more so I thought if they do this for their own benefit maybe we should too!
  3. Ingesting your placenta has been said to enhance your milk supply, increase energy, and balance your hormones. It may also decrease postpartum bleeding, assist in a quicker recovery from birth, increase your levels of iron, assist in contraction of the uterus and may assist in avoiding those baby blues that so many women suffer form.
  4. Lastly, I figured if it did have any positive affects on my hormones, milk supply or energy level, it was worth taking.

After asking around and doing some more research I reached out to Trudi Rumball of Roots of Life here in Edmonton. I asked her some questions and ultimately decided that this was for me and that I would go ahead with it. I highly recommend reaching out to Trudi if you do have any questions or concerns, I’ve linked her website here.

Now the process itself. We notified Trudi when I went into labour and after I had given birth. After I had delivered we asked the nurses to store the placenta and Trudi came to pick it up that morning. The encapsulation process took a day and she delivered the capsules to my home the following morning! The capsules come with instructions as well, when to take them, when not to take them and how many to take so you don’t have to worry about that, the instructions are very clear and concise!

Overall my experience with placenta encapsulation was a very positive one! I experienced no postpartum depression, my bleeding subsided after a week (although I was still very sore), my milk supply has been amazing consider my reduction surgery (I am also taking herbal supplements) and my energy level has been amazing since giving birth, considering all of the sleepless nights! Now I cannot say forsure that this is due to taking the capsules however I definitely believed they helped forsufre! I would recommend women do their research on this, although it may not be for everyone its worth looking into!

Sarah xo

My Favourite Baby Gear

I wanted to compile a list of baby gear that we have loved and used religiously these past 9 weeks! There are soooooo many baby items out there, as new parents we feel overwhelmed and bombarded by everything, what products are safe, efficient, worth the price etc etc so I wanted to sum up items we have used and loved!

Hope you guys enjoy!

Sarah xo

 

Nursing Cover/Car Seat Cover/ Shopping Cart Cover

Initially I was very hesitant about nursing in public, I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable (even though it really shouldn’t bother anyone) but after getting my Over Company Cover my worries have faded and I am absolutely in love with this cover. Not only can this cover be used for nursing, it can also be used for a car seat cover AND a shopping cart cover! Talk about getting a bang for your buck!! I also love that this is owned and operated by a Canadian Mom Boss, who offers a gorgeous array of colours and patterns suited for style!  I initially bought the stripe but am so excited as I just won another cover from them on an instagram giveaway!! Score!! Can you guess which colour I ordered?!!

 

Stroller 

To be honest I have not used the stroller as much as I thought I would because I find baby carrier much more convenient however there is definitely a place for it! We have started taking daily walks, sometimes to Shoppers and having the stroller is so great, especially if I plan on doing any shopping! I had my eye on the Graco Fast Action Jogger and Car Seat Travel System for a while and jumped when it went on sale, it was so reasonable considering you get the stroller and car seat. My favourite features of this stroller are the big rubber wheels, easily pushed through snow, rain, gravel etc, the two cup holders (because I always like to have a water bottle on me and the occasional timmies steeped tea), the large storage compartment under the seat and the fact that it came with a one button release car seat which is so easy to get in and out of the car!! Lastly it is surprisingly easy to pack up with a one pull tab to fold and fits great in my Kia soul, I plan on taking it to the rec centre on days when outdoor walks are not possible due to weather!

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Diaper Bag

I initially had the Lassig Neckline Diaper bag, which I loved, it had amazing storage however i found it very difficult to carry especially when baby wearing (it has a messenger and top handle straps) and found it very heavy when packed. Due to these factors I sought a handsfree solution in a backpack style bag! I decided to go with the Fawn Design Backpack Diaper Bag, I actually bought it used off of their B/S/T Facebook page! It features vegan leather, great storage and pockets and the most beautiful gold hardware! Ive only had it about a week and a half and so far I absolutely lovvvve it!

Bottles and Sterilizers

Tommee Tippee Microwave Bottle Sterilizer 

Dr Brown’s Glass Bottles

We went through a couple different brands before we settled on Dr Browns Bottles after several recommendations and online reviews and it has made all of the difference the world. Cash has had zero issues with gas since switching and anyone who has dealt with a gassy baby knows it is not fun!! I love  the fact that they have a variety of options, we opted for glass over plastic and the 5 oz size for now with #1 nipples!

Initially I was boiling water to sterilize the bottles however this quickly become to time consuming so when Clayton came home with this microwave sterilizer it was a relief. In 4 minutes you can sterilize 4 bottles including all of the middle pieces of the bottle. I highly, highly recommend getting a microwavable sterilizer, it was a life save and time saver for us!

Baby Carriers

If you follow me on instagram you know that I have gone coo coo for baby carriers. I cannot express how much I love them, not only because it keeps baby Cash close to me but it gives me the freedom and accessibility to get dressed, use the washroom, do the laundry and make myself a meal! With a hubby who works out of town two weeks at a time this is the only way I keep my sanity!! If you don’t have one I HIGHLY suggest you invest in one, you will not regret it!! There are a ton of different carriers out there but these three are my absolute favourite. I always have one in the diaper bag, one in the car and the rest in the house!

Beluga Baby                                    True North Slings                             Wildbird Slings

 

Activity Mat

Lastly I wanted to share Cash’s favourite baby gear, his Bright Starts Light Up Lagoon Activity Mat! We actually bought this second hand from a friend and he absolutely lovvvves it! It lights up and plays music, it easily entertains him for a good half hour while he laughs, giggles and kicks the whole time!

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Our Breastfeeding Journey

First off I will state that my views on breastfeeding vs formula feeding is a fed baby is a happy and health baby, period! I wanted to share our own breastfeeding journey as its been an interesting, difficult and triumphant journey. There are so many misconceptions about breastfeeding in general including that all women are capable of nursing, that it is a natural, pain free and easy process and that the size of your breasts indicates your capabilities to nurse and because of this I wanted to share our experience!

I should start by mentioning I had breast reduction surgery when I was 16 so I was really nervous as to if I would be able to breastfeed at all. Many women whether they have had surgery struggle with breastfeeding and some even are not able to produce milk at all. That being said it remained really important to me to give it my absolute best shot. Because of this I did a lot of research on how I could naturally boost my supply without having to go on any medications on the off chance that I could not produce milk or could not produce enough to sustain Cash’s appetite! I cannot advise mamas enough to do their research on this topic  even if you have not had any breast surgery it is so good to know as many healthy women also have a difficult time breastfeeding.

Initially we had started strictly breastfeeding but because Cash was diagnosed with Jaundice and had to spend 24hrs in the hospital receiving photo therapy treatment we had no choice but to supplement. I felt totally at ease with this as I had done my research on what type of formula I wanted to give Cash on the off chance I could not produce enough milk for him. It turns out my supply is pretty great thanks to the supplements I am taking and the initial three weeks of pumping (I use the Medela Freestyle Pump with a Medela bra for hands free use) after every feed but I am still needing to top Cash up with formula after every feeding. I would recommend again to any mama to do the same, you never know how your breastfeeding journey will end up so its better to be prepared and educated in the subject and have some formula on hand just in case.

We ended up deciding to go with a German formula called Lebenswert which is made by Holle. From their website “The milk of Lebenswert comes exclusively from organic farmers, whose species-appropriate stock breeding follows the strict guidelines of Bioland farming. In this way, man, animal, and land are valued and respected. Organic Bioland farmers stand for species-appropriate stock breeding, plant protection, and soil fertilisation without chemical or synthetic agents and with careful management of the soil’s fertility. Produce made under these requirements are sustainable and preserve nature.” The main bonuses of this formula include non-GMO, no added flavors or colours, no added preservatives, is strictly controlled for pollutants, easy to digest and gluten-free.  I also belong to a great moms Facebook group and this formula came highly recommended from there as well. From all of the feedback and research it was the closest formula to breastmilk on the market that I could find and the reason we chose to supplement Cash with Lebenswert. For those wondering we order it from here and price wise is very comparable to the formula you can buy here in the store! Also please keep in mind every baby is so different and it may take a while to find a formula that works for them! We were lucky that Lebenswert was a great fit for Cash!

Another issue we faced early on in our breastfeeding journey was latching. Right after Cash was born we tried nursing about 3 or 4 times with no success. This was devastating to me, I thought forsure our breastfeeding journey would stop before it even had a chance to begin. Thankfully one of the nurses at the Alex recommended a nipple shield, so down Clayton went to the gift shop to get one and just like that he latched! This would be another item I would recommend to new moms to have on hand just in case, they are less than $15 (this is the one I have) and worth it to have in case of any latching difficulties. If you have flat nipples, if the baby has a larger mouth and/or smaller mouth in reference to the size of your nipples you could have difficulties and its impossible to know until they get here and you try it out! The nipple shield is also amazing at protecting your nipples. I have heard so many stories of cracked and bleeding nipples, if this is the case it is so worth trying! Although there was discomfort in the first two weeks it was nothingness unbearable or really painful!

Now lets talk about the herbal supplements I am taking to help with my supply. The product I have noticed the most difference with are the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend Capsules. I have taken 6 capsules a day from day 1 post baby, in conjunction I also am drinking Mother’s Milk Tea 3x a day and also made two batches of lactation cookies early on! Another huge factor is hydration. I notice Cash is much more fussy on the breast when I am not hydrated and we require more formula at the end of nursing for him to be satisfied. Oatmeal is also said to really assist in supply as well so mamas do some research, talk to other mamas and be prepared because breastfeeding can be really tough!

Lastly, one of the most beneficial things I have done as a new mom to breastfeeding was to join several mom groups on Facebook.  I have learned so much from other moms experiencing the same issues that we have been dealing with and I can’t tell you how nice it is to not feel alone, or feel like you are already messing up this whole mom thing!!

This is our journey and although we had a rocky start, the effort we both put into it has made it so worth it and I can only hope this post helps any new moms worried about breastfeeding or moms struggling with breastfeeding!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Sarah xo