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Easy Ways to Enjoy Outside With Toddlers

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In honor of Earth Week, let's take a look at some great ways to unplug and get outdoors with the little ones! 
  1. Eat Outside. This has become a new favorite activity for my toddler as she finds it is exciting to eat outside on our porch. I also find that for some reason she eats even better than usual when we eat outside. It's nice in the summer evenings to enjoy nature and get out for some fresh air. 
  2. Go for walks. We go for a walk at least once a day, sometimes more. She loves strolling in her wagon or stroller and taking in the scenery around her. She'll point to birds, chickens and airplanes and shows excitement over each and every one of these. Often times we end up visiting the chickens down our street which leads to picking flowers and learning about the animals (and that we can't feed them the flowers we pick).
  3. Incorporate learning. Lately I've been working on incorporating her colors with our walks and playtime outside. Asking simple questions such as "what color is the grass" and so on, can stimulate learning and curiosity for her. Asking "how many flowers do you have" or "what does the bird say" shows her that learning can be fun and happen any time. 
  4. Create a safe zone. I'm fortunate that we now have a porch that we can gate off the steps and let Little Bug play safely as much as she wants. While not everyone can have the ideal setup, it helps to create a zone for your child and to teach them the boundaries of where to play outside. Start early with keeping them from playing near the roads unattended and from disappearing (easier said than done). 
  5. Involve water. As a southern mama, I know just how much heat sucks. It gets so hot here and most of the times we just want to stay locked up indoors with the A/C. Try and incorporate as much water play as you can, whether it is with a splash table, a small pool, a sprinkler or a trip to the local splash park. Water takes outside play to a whole new level! And it's a plus if mama gets involved and can cool off too!
  6. Visit the nurseries and farmers market. These can be easy trips that allow you to take care of business such as buying groceries, but also allows you to get out of the house and get outdoors for bit. 
  7. Make scavenger hunts and make crafts. This is an easy activity to do with your little one depending on their age of course. Make it easy scavenger hunts and with simple pictures. Give them a basket and go out searching for your fun items! You can also take activities like coloring and painting outside for a change of scenery (and for easier cleanup). 
  8. Plant something. I can't say I'm huge at doing this as I have no green thumb and no space for flower beds or gardens (we currently rent), but this is always on my mind. While I don't necessarily need 1,000 plants, a few would be nice and I can't wait to involve my girls with it. Especially a garden -- talk about a learning experience for everyone! 
  9. Invest in a good sunscreen and bug spray. We can't let the fear of sun burns and bug bites keep us from enjoying outside. Invest in a good, non toxic sunscreen and bug spray to safely protect your family. Wear hats and always keep water on hand! Find some sunscreen and bug spray in our shop
  10. Visit the Park. While at the moment it sounds like a hassle to load the kids up and pack the bags, park days are fun and help tire down little ones. Hellloooo nap time! 
I love that getting us outdoors means unplugging from everything, enjoying nature and learning about the environment around us. It is so much more relaxing to do some front porch sittin' instead of running around like crazy indoors. Enjoy nature and teach your children all about it...no matter how outdoorsy you are (or are not)...they deserve it! 

What do you do with your little ones outside?

Moments of Being Mommy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some days motherhood is downright exhausting. A toddler who is two going on ten can be a handful and the growing bundle inside of you is wiping out your energy faster than the Energizer Bunny can. Some days there are just no pit stops to put your feet up or to indulge in twenty minutes of "me time." Heck, most days you're not even sure if you drank the recommended amount of water and if you even peed when you had too. Laundry piles up, dinner needs to be cooked and suddenly you're just ready for bedtime already.

However throughout those moments of pure exhaustion, chaos and limited patience, you have those moments of being mommy. You have the moments where your toddler who was just previously testing your patience decides to randomly hug you and lay a big wet one on you. And you have moments where all of a sudden your mommy body has caught a second wind and has a burst of fresh energy that you break out all of the art supplies and decide that baking cookies sounds grand too. You have moments of pure and wonderful mommyness that fades away all of the exhaustion and chaos.

It's moments where you're strolling your little one in their beloved red wagon after a fun morning at the park, with the sun beaming down and the spring breeze blowing that you realize just how precious motherhood is. Time has flown by and that small, little baby that you once nuzzled on your chest is now laying back in that red wagon taking in the sunshine, talking to the chickens and pointing to the trees. It's that moment of realizing that the little being you brought into this world is growing up before your eyes and becoming more and more independent each day (no matter how hard you try to fight it). Time is slipping away and you hope to remember that exact moment.

It's the moments of being mommy where you just want to stop and freeze time and thank God for his blessings. You want to relish in the sunshine and dance in the flowers as you grasp the sweetest, chubbiest little hand and hear infectious laughter that makes your heart skip a beat. It's the cheesy grin from the little being you've raised thus far that makes each and every second worth it. It's the moments of their exploration and curiosity that you realize just how much you've already taught them. It's the moment of being mommy that you realize you're rocking this whole motherhood thing more than you often think.

It's that special moment where you just want to hop in that little red wagon and take in the sunshine while receiving the warmest cuddles in the world. A moment of taking in the scents of the sweetest smell of baby detergent and cookies and taking in each and every "Mama" that you hear.

It's that moment where it doesn't really matter what you fed them for lunch or how much Mickey Mouse they may have watched that morning. It's the moment of throwing the idea of perfection out of the window and grasping your role with every ounce of love you can; while stripping away the labels, the rules and the recommendations. It's the moment of being mommy to your little being in the best way that you know how to.

It's the moments of being mommy that you realize just how important being a mother is. It's the most important thing you'll ever do; the most exhausting job you'll ever have; and it's the most precious days of your lie.

There is no other thing that I'd rather be, than just being mommy.

Natural Babies Giveaway Event!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Natural Babies Giveaway Event

Are you ready for a month-long event full of giveaways and all things related to natural pregnancy, birth, and babies?!!!

I hope you are because I'm teaming up with 3 other amazing natural bloggers for a fun-filled month of May! All four of us are expecting and are all due between the end of April to the end of June. We are obviously quite excited to meet our new little ones and we decided to share our excitement with our fans!

Your Natural Babies Giveaway Event Hosts:

Brittany of The Pistachio Project (due April 24th)
Susanne of My Mama Adventure (due May 11th)
Sasha of The Mushy Mommy (due June 7th)
Farrah of A Fulfilled Mommy (due June 25th)

What will this look like? We have a total of 10 giveaways that will happen during the month of May. You can enter as many as you like! We'll have a range of prizes from pregnancy products to new baby items... well how about I just tell you! Here are the lovely brands who are working with us to make this month-long event happen!

Your Natural Babies Giveaway Event Sponsors:

Mountain Rose Herbs - Starts May 1st
Happy Baby Wrap - Starts May 5th
Bitybean - Starts May 8th
GroVia - Starts May 12th
Planet Wise - Starts May 15th
Hazelaid - Starts May 19th
Earth Mama Angel Baby - Starts May 22nd
Pink Lemonade Shop - Starts May 26th
Bumkins - Starts May 29th
Motherlove - Starts May 31st

We can't wait to kick off these fabulous giveaways from some amazing companies. Look forward to May 1st when things kick off and YOU can begin entering to win some amazing, natural baby prizes! 

New in Our Shop!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Last week was wonderful because we were able to launch TWO new product lines to our shop! In addition to that, we had an awesome week of sales and many of you placed orders for the new Episencial products. Thank you all for your awesome feedback and for sharing our posts! You guys completely rock!!!! 

So what's so awesome about these products? Well first off, Episencial is a wonderful natural and organic skin care brand for the whole family. Even though their cute little packaging is geared for babies, the products are actually great for every age. Episencial is the number one brand of natural and organic skin care products in hospitals and birth centers. What I love about their products is the amazing reviews that have come along with them as well as their ability to be used on baby's with super sensitive skin. In fact, the Soothing Cream that we have stocked the shop with is great for tackling eczema issues! 

Our most popular sellers so far have been the Sunny Sunscreen and Mighty Bug Shield because let's face it...summer is coming and we NEED these products. We need to protect ourselves from the summer sun and from these pesky southern mosquitoes, but no one wants to do that with toxic items or ones that can irritate sensitive skin. That's what we are here for...to provide you with a place to get some of the best! We also carry their Playful Wash and Peaceful Bubbles products

And say hello to some of the cutest diapers on the block and quite possibly my new favorite diaper brand, Funky Fluff. I can't speak enough about Funky Fluff and how amazing and GENIUS their diapers are. First off, the fit is amazing and is slightly trimmer which fits better under clothes BUT isn't too small for bigger babies (mine is two). The colors and snaps are just adorable and the prints are unique! 

What I love about Funky Fluff is that this isn't just a pocket diaper or an All In One diaper, it's actually a diaper that can be used three different ways. Yes you heard me right...you can stuff the insert like a pocket, snap it in the pocket like an AIO or snap it over the pocket like an AI2. It's GENIUS I tell ya and my little description didn't do it any justice I'm sure. It's the perfect diaper setup for daycares, daddies, grandmas and anyone really. 

Below are some images I've captured of some of the sales we had going out in the last week as well as our new items. Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful week of sales and for loving these products already! 

Your continued support means the world. 

Things I Now Know About Motherhood {for baby two}

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Becoming a mother for the second time isn't as scary as the first time. While it has its own set of fears too, you also feel so much more prepared the second go around. Who needs fancy baby registries and who needs to worry about whether or not your baby has enough newborn clothes. You'll manage just fine because now you know some important things about motherhood that mean much more than fancy baby gadgets and how many receiving blankets you should have.

Things I Now Know...

I will know what to do. When we are becoming a first time mother, many of us often have that fear that we won't know what the heck to do when we come home after having a baby. Everyone says that "when it's your baby you just know what to do" and we now know that it is definitely true. While we still won't have all of the answers, we aren't going into it scared of motherhood.

I'll hold my baby as much as I please. Everyone tried telling you that if you held your baby too much that you would "spoil" them. Well if you're anything like me you probably didn't listen, but you may have always had it in the back of your mind. Well now that you realize just how fast time flies by, you know that you'll hold that little bundle of baby cuteness as often as your heart desires.

All babies sleep differently. If there is anything that I have learned about motherhood is that each and every baby is different. Some sleep all night at an early age, some don't. Some wake to nurse frequently just because and some other breastfed babies just don't. Some sleep like crap during teething and some could care a less about what's going on in their mouth. I've read enough articles and books to assure me that I should never feel any less of a mother just because my baby doesn't sleep through the night. Sleeping through the night is not actually expected; it's just luckily achieved for some and wished upon for others.

Grandmas, mothers and mother in laws aren't geniuses. Sure they raised babies that turned out pretty dang good (I think my mom did a pretty dang good job) but times change; research changes and old wise tales go out the window. I know what's best for my baby and I also have the power of Google; I don't need a village to tell me I should start solids at three months old when all of the research is there to show just how bad that is.

Use your gut. It's hard to stand up to doctors, to voice your opinions and to stand up to those insisting on keeping your kid overnight when you're just not ready. Here's to hoping you worked out those issues with the first and will grow a pair stand your ground with the second.

Babies and toddlers cry for reasons. I'm still learning this as I go. Nothing feels more awful than being annoyed that your two year old kept you up all night for what you thought was their version of an all night party only to realize that the next day they were sick as can be. Growth spurts, mental leaps (The Wonder Weeks), teething, belly aches, sore throats and just a regular ole desire for comfort can make any good baby or toddler a handful. They have bad days for reasons and unfortunately they can't tell us why just yet. Patience and understanding is key.

Everyone believes in different things. From parenting choices to snack choices, each and every mama believes in something different. Just because I don't do CIO and others do, doesn't make one way right or wrong. You do you and I'll do me and we'll all raise each other up!

Toys are nice but really not needed. I remember the day my daughter started sitting up and playing on the floor. I thought I had to run and buy a few toys to help engage her. I now know that a few wooden blocks, a doll or two and a stacking ring would have beat the battery toys that are now sitting in an electronic toy hell because they don't work anymore. Less is more.

Your house will not always stay clean. Infant days are easy peasy for keeping your house clean. Aside from an extra load of laundry and some bottles and pump parts to wash, there's not much mess going around. However once you have a walking, talking and independent little toddler, you realize that you pick the same toys up four times a day on average. And now there's another living room destroyer on the way.

Sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes you lose patience and may yell a tad bit louder than you wished you had and sometimes you may wake a sleeping baby to please others. Sometimes you give in to your toddler and sometimes you stand firm. You have days where you totally rocked motherhood and days where you feel like you failed. Perfection during motherhood is hard, yet the job is so perfect.

Your heart now beats outside of your body. My heart is in the child running around jumping from the sofa, running in the dirt and climbing on the table. She is my heart and based on the love I have for this unborn child already, I know my heart is about to be split into two little human beings. I know longer own my heart, they do.

You'll love deeper than you can imagine. Becoming a mother introduces you to a deeper love than you would have ever imagined. While it is crazy to think at times of loving another person as much as you love your child, you know that having more kids just means that your love will grow and deepen into each of them. I am mom and my heart is endless for the children I created with the man I love. My heart will grow, love and ache in ways I never knew possible and my life will be even more complete when this new baby enters our family.

I am mom. I may not be perfect, I may not have all the answers but I'm doing a good job. I love endlessly and steal kisses frequently.

And that's what I've learned about motherhood so far.

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