Baby Must-Haves: Binxy + Ollie

Hello January! Another month passing and baby Evalyn is another month older. I’m going to keep calling her baby cause I know I won’t be able too sooner than later.

Evalyn turns 8 months and it’s oh so bitter-sweet. I often find myself looking through pictures of previous months, that are filled with sweet memories and a lot of growth…for the both of us. This whole first time-mom thing is not easy. You can read endless blogs, reviews, and buy a bunch of products, only to find that your baby is very different and from others. Thankfully I have used a lot of recommendations that have worked for me (like the DockATot) but I know this is something I am constantly learning.

So in light of that, I am sharing a couple baby products that we have been using that seemed to work well for us- in the past few months, which I hope will work for you too!

These products were received complementary for testing purposes. This is my honest review, and I always work with brands that personal suit and enhance my niche.

Baby Must Have #1: Binxy Baby

Have you ever heard of this handy cart hammock? Well, this has been a BIG help for me when I have to run out to get a bunch of groceries, without worrying about making two trips or overloading my stroller (cause I’ve been there, done that!). The Binxy works so well for us, and from the moment I put Evalyn in it, she definitely seemed impressed. She was very interested being placed in a new setting, being oo-ed and aww-ed by literally every passing stranger and was easily entertained by the surrounding colours and me (of course!). Oh, and did I mention how much my easier my target trips just got? I love making my rounds at every department at Target which means that items easily add up, so this just made my life 10x easier with when it comes to any shopping trip! A mama-outing must-have!

Just a few points about this awesome Binxy product:

  • It fits most standard grocery store carts, Target being one of them (and a favorite if you haven’t noticed).
  • Holds car seat and supports up to 50 pounds in weight. It has all the buckles and straps to secure your car seat so down fret, mama! I personally like putting baby Ev in the hammock, she gets really excited about the change.
  • Used for babies approximately 6-8 months until they sit up on their own. The last time I used this was last week when we got back from our 3 week family vacation. Our fridge and pantry were completely empty! I made a one-stop shop at a nearby grocery store and loaded up on everything. Ev was much more curious and active at this age so I made sure to keep my eye on her at all times. For safety reasons, that was probably the last use, because Ev has outgrown it. But, I definitely plan on saving it for next baby. 🙂
  • Safety tested: make sure to always buckle up your baby with the provided straps! You know as easily as I do that accident can happen in a blink of an eye or just looking over for a second! It’s always better safe than sorry.

So if you’re looking for convenience and functionality for your shopping trips, make sure to try this Binxy hammock out. You can thank me later. 😉


Baby Must Have #2: The Ollie

Evalyn was born mid-May, in So Cal- meaning already hot-beach weather, so I never knew the importance of swaddling a baby at an early stage. But after reading different sleep training aids, and advice from other moms, I came to realize how important swaddling is for babies- especially in the early months. Well you know what they say, it’s never too early to start! So I started using this swaddle for Ev’s day naps in conjunction with the DockATot and I found that it helped with longer naps, and it kept Ev warm without having to worry about giving her a blanket. There was a period of time where she liked to pull the blanket over her face so ever since then I was very uneasy about letting her sleep with a blanket for naps/bed. And that’s where this Ollie comes in handy!

Here are a few great things about the Ollie product:

  • It’s made from custom moisture-wicking material to reduce the risk of overheating. We definitely needed this feature for our hot climate!
  • Custom fit to allows for fit to be individualized to meet the needs and size of each little one. Because of its design, it’s easily assembled and adjustable (comes with velcro pads) as baby grows, and is a “one-fits-all” size.
  • It’s easy to access diaper changes accessible through the opening at the bottom.
  • Therapeutic benefits ease the transition from the womb, self-soothing, and improves quality of sleep. I also like that it’s an extra layer over the baby while they sleep.

For more tips and FAQ about this product, check it out here. Oh, and how cute is the box that it comes with it? I’m definitely keeping it as a keep sake.

So go on, and try out whatever works for your baby. It’s a very personal thing for you and your baby. It may take a few trails, but once you find what works, be consistent. 🙂

Have a great week!

XO. I.P.

5 New Year Goals of a Busy Christian Mom

January is all about setting goals, right? At least it is for me … year after year I always say this year I’ll start working out … or read more … or do this more, or that more (you get the picture).

But this year I’m all about being realistic. Sure, I want to set goals, but I want to be honest with myself and what I think I’m capable of doing – with the Lord’s strength of course :).

Honestly, I’ve always been a procrastinator. I’m the type to stay up all hours of the night studying or finishing that school paper that is due the next day. The type to start reading ten books that I never finish. That’s me. Well, that WAS me until I had a baby. Yeah, you read right, I’m not so much a procrastinator anymore … although I do have my moments of weakness, I can happily say that I have become more disciplined in many aspects of my life since I had Evalyn.

Now you’re probably thinking that my baby is an angel … well that’s not necessarily true. I have to say I am blessed with her because she is really chill and content for the most part, but for the longest time she would only nap for 30 minute intervals 1-2 times a day … until I got the Dock-a-Tot (read more about it here). Plus, we don’t live close to any family so I’m on full duty all day (until dada gets home), so the only alone time I have is when baby is sleeping. I know it’s a lot of info, but I want you to understand where I’m coming from, since I know many of you are in the same (or very similar situations). Yet somehow (by the grace of God), I am more disciplined now then when I didn’t have a baby. I guess it has something to do with my days being more structured and knowing I have less time for myself (which I don’t mind). Because I have so much less time, it forces me to focus on what is most important, and to make time for those things first. It is true that you are as busy as you make yourself.

With that in mind, I decided to make a few new year’s resolutions that I hope to maintain for this new year – even in the business of motherhood. We one-time mommas know how busy our days can get, I can’t imagine how much more so with two, three, four, or more kids in the picture! But I know little changes in my routine will go a long way in increasing my spiritual growth. Spending time reading/studying God’s Word leads to a renewing of mind, and an improving of behavior. This is true for all of God’s people – including you too, momma!

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

5 New Year Goals of a Busy Christian Mom

1. Buy a daily planner and use it:

I’m so bad at doing this; I always love buying a cute planner each year but have such a hard time using it on a daily basis. So this is my goal for the year. I am going to try to structure my days and write down all my goals, prayer requests, and verse of the day to keep my days as organized (and God-focused and Christ-centered as possible).

Here are some cute planners for some inspiration:


2. Read through the whole Bible in one year:

I know this one is a little cliche, isn’t it? But seriously, no more excuses, for me at least. In the past few months, I started a good and practical reading schedule each morning – its either when I wake up and baby is busy playing with toys, or when baby takes her late morning nap. There is always that short quiet time in my day that I have to myself (in my case I only have one baby so it’s doable). And if I don’t manage to fit in a time during my day, I try to get my reading in the evening when baby is down for bed. I don’t want to make it seem like this is something I am doing out of habit, rather it’s something that I desire and aspire to! Reading Gods word is SO refreshing. It feeds my restless soul, and the truths gives me hope and peace for each day. Even a 10-15 minute read does wonders for me. I highly recommend you mommas try it out. To help me out with this, I started reading “The John MacArthur Daily Bible” which has been an extremely beneficial resource to get me reading the bible in one year! This is not a devotional, rather the Bible broken up with an Old Testament passage, Psalm, Proverbs, and New Testament passage too. It even comes with notes in the margin that help unfold difficult parts of scripture. AND a section of weekly devotionals for the year with selective scripture. As useful and convenient daily devotionals are, nothing compares to reading Gods word on a daily basis – try making that a priority in your life! Ps. I’m not here trying to advertise this Bible, it’s simply something that worked for me, and I hope will be a blessing to you too.

Click here for the Daily Bible I use.

Other great resources (some of which I have):


3. Be a little selfless each day:

Motherhood is selfless enough … right? Well, how about a little more? What about struggling friends and family, or someone you bumped into at the grocery store who is in need of prayer? Personally, when I focus more on other peoples problems, I forget how “big” mine may seem. I like to make a list of prayer requests and date them to help me remember. And this is where my planner comes in handy too! I like to make a weekly/daily note on who I’m praying for. This also helps me stay in prayerful thought throughout the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not too good at sitting down and praying for too long, I get very distracted. So in conjunction with that, I like to pray in my car rides (when baby is asleep, yay!), while washing dishes, and whenever I have moments of silence. It soothes my soul.


4. Make healthy choices one sip at a time:

Honestly, I NEVER liked working out or going to the gym for that matter … such a chore! Instead, I like making healthy food choices and finding ways to cleanse my body naturally. I have been doing this for a while on and off. Lately, I like to drink warm lemon water every morning. Lemon does wonders for your body- like boosting your immune system, and helping with weight loss (read more here). It leaves me feeling refreshed and I know it’s doing good to my body. You know what they say, you are what you eat!


5. Join a women’s Bible study:

I mentioned this before in a previous post, How To Be Joyful in Motherhood, but I want to say it again! Ever since I joined, my life has never been the same. I have a weekly study that helps motivate me to be in God’s Word. I’m also encouraged by other women going through the same life trials as I am – the fellowship is so sweet. As great as my husband is at encouraging me, it’s also nice to be connected with women who understand the daily difficulties/hardships of motherhood experiences. It’s also a great excuse to doll yourself up and get out the house … and it breaks up the week nicely since mine happens to be on a Wednesday :)!


Ps. If you’re reading this and feel a little disheartened ’cause you can’t seem to manage anything on this list because of how hectic your life is now, don’t let that bring you down. Let your heart be at peace, God knows the seasons in your life and the struggles that come with it, because He is sovereign, and has ordained both! Do what you can do enjoy the good days, and take advantage of those days where you do have a little more time by spending them in study. Don’t worry about the difficult days, or the days where you don’t have time for yourself (and your study). God understands, because He has ordained both. What’s important is for you to remain joyful and worshipful always!

 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other. Ecclesiastes 7:14

I hope this inspires you mommas, to rejoice in the year ahead! Every day is a blessing, choose your battles, enjoy the small things, and live your life abundantly.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Your fellow Momma for God’s glory,

XO I.P.

Pom Pom Obsession

Ok, if you haven’t noticed, pom-poms are everywhere now. You’ll find them on hats, blankets, shoes, handbags- you name it! Although, I really don’t mind it, and I’m really hoping this pom-pom trend will stick around. I have teamed up with Lorena Canals and today I’m sharing my favorite pom-pom blanket. It’s so stylish and cozy. I love throwing it over my sofa, on my bed when it’s a Netflix kinda night, and baby Ev loves the pom-pom details too. I’ve gotten so many compliments whenever I have company over, and I always get asked about this unique pom-pom throw. Well, allow me to tell you a little bit about it! Lorena Canals products offer a home collection for sophisticated adult and kids home goods which are loved by top celebs and picked by Vogue as top baby product for celebrity nurseries! If you haven’t checked out their stuff, you need to here, you’ll totally understand why. Their products are made in India, designed in Spain, so the quality is evident! Also, the neat thing about any Lorena Canals products is that they’re all machine-washable and fit into a standard washer and dryer… that even refers to their stylish rugs, baskets, and cushions. Lastly, all their products are made with natural dyes, handmade, eco and contain no VOCs like most carpeting and rugs AND proceeds support the Sakula project provide schooling for children in India. I know that sounds like a bunch of info, but as a mom, I’m always looking out for the best and safest products to have in my house and especially around baby’s space. And if you’re a mom you know that messiness is inevitable, so having the ability to throw a carpet, basket or a fancy throw in the washer/dryer is a life saver! This is seriously every parent’s dream… ok, and secretly mine too because I can be sooo clumsy at times! Check out some more of my favorite products from Lorena Canals here:

*FYI: I received products complimentary from Lorena Canals.

Want more pom-pom inspiration? Who is with me when it comes to pom-pom obsession? Well, check out some of my favourite picks that are the perfect accent from your wardrobe, to your household products. I feel like pom-pom details easily give off a fun trendy look that works so well with dressy and casual items too.

Shop picture here:

pom pom sweater | basket | two toned bag | “going places” beach bag | pom hoop earrings | heels | blanket | pillow | scarf | hat | pink earrings | slippers | basket bag |

Shop more here:

Prepping Your Skin For The Holidays

Today let’s talk skin. I don’t know about you, but skincare routine has always been important to me. I know some people are blessed with flawless, picture-perfect skin and others…need to invest a little more care and time to maintain healthy skin. That someone is definitely me.

For as long as I could remember I had very soft skin, but as soon as I hit 17, my skin completely changed to acne prone, and the oily/dry combination was something I had to deal with. In truth, having acne, dry, uneven, and dull skin sucks. Take it from someone who has been through A LOT when it comes to skin. I spent countless hours researching remedies, and from expensive products to dermatology treatments, I finally feel like my skin is in the best state that it has been in years!

I know a lot of things could have contributed to that… like pregnancy hormones, age, stress etc. but I’m a strong believer in good quality products and a daily skincare routine. I swear by these two.

That being said, I’ve partnered up with Skin Forum to share some of these awesome products that I have been using for the past week.

*Disclaimer* I only use products that fit within my niche and that I personally recommend. This is not an ad, but these products were received for complimentary purposes.

OK, I just had to throw that in there because I wanted you to know that I’m being authentic, and honest when I recommend products.

So what exactly is Skin Forum? They are Korean inspired ingredients, made in New York. That help dry, oily, wrinkled, or dull skin- you name it, their products are the perfect match! I tried their “Botanical Fuse” line, one mask a day which is the easiest K-beauty routine for naturally glowing, flawless skin…and I can attest to that after my 5 days of masks.

Here is a little review of each:

*tip: before placing the mask I highly recommend exfoilating. It doesn’t have to be fancy…you can use seasalt, or baking soda with warm water. Scrub, rinse and apply your sheet mask!

Citrus:
Glowy skin starts with me. Squeezed with orange, lime and grapefruit extracts, I’ll handle your skin’s hangover, toxin and all that.

My thoughts: This mask made my skin feel completely refreshed…it almost felt like I had mint/peppermint sensation on my face.

Herb:
Your skin is safe and supple with me. I’m bulletproofed with Rosemary, Witch Hazel, Green Tea and Aloe to get rid of skin irritation and premature aging.
My thoughts: This mask really helped my tired mommy skin appear more refreshed. As a mom, I often have tired/stressed skin and I feel this really helped with that.

Lavender:
Let me be your skin’s blanket. I’m packed with Lavender Oil, Chamomile, Aloe and Rosemary top wrap your skin in soothness and relaxation.

My thoughts: After applying this mask my skin felt and appeared very smooth! My makeup never looked so fresh. It almost seemed like I had a primer on before applying it to my face.

Charcoal:
Your daily dose of healthy skin. My dark and rich combination of Activated Charcoal and botanical ingredients will banish dry skin and strip off impurities.

My thoughts: Ok, this was my favorite! I had a few dry spot around my eyebrows and after this mask, my skin was as smooth as my baby’s bum…haha! But seriously, this mask was very effective. Also, another neat thing was the mask gave off an “ice cold” effect while wearing it as if I was wearing ice on my face! Really cool.

Oxygen Bubble:
Ready, Set, Flawless! My oxygen-infused wash-off black charcoal bubble mask will give you the plumping and rejuvenate your skin deserves.

My thoughts: This mask was so fun! Totally a mask to a girls night/slumber party! It was so fun to watch this mask in action as it bubbled up! And the result? My pores looked so much cleaner.

Face/body contouring roller:
I’ll be honest, I never thought this roller would be effective when I first looked at it until I applied it to my face! It really helped message my skin- which aids in moving water cells, helping the skin look more awake and plump (this is a theory that came to mind- something I learned in one of my biology classes back in university days lol)! I used it on my mama-tired face in the morning and I feel like it took away that tired face syndrome after a few minutes, you know what i’m talking about, right? I think this is a mama/busy-gal must have!

Summary
Honestly, this was the first time I ever used sheet masks. But now I see what all the fuss is about! I feel like the products were better absorbed in my skin because the mask serum did not dry up during the application process unlike non-sheet masks (in my theory at least), and overall (honestly) my skin feels VERY smooth, glows, and it really helped with dry spots on my face. And if you don’t believe me, ask my hubby! He definitely noticed too. 🙂

Check out Skin Forum today if you feel like you have any of those issues, and how about try this 5 day mask challenge, as I did? It’s always worth a try! And don’t forget to stick to a skin care routine that works for you, consistency is key.

Use ohlafemme15 at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase from SkinForum. 

XOX. I.P.

 

Styled: Embroidery Sweater

With only 5 days until Christmas, my excitement is real! Who else can relate? Since we’re spending the holidays in Canada, I made sure to stock up on all my favorite knit sweaters now that I can finally wear them…meanwhile it’s still summer in Cali-land (but I guess I shouldn’t complain about that).

This pink cut-out embroidery knit sweater from Pink Blush was definitely in my luggage for this trip! I mean, what’s not to love? A chunky knit, blush color, embroidery sleeves, and a neck cut out makes it a perfect-stylish sweater for this season. Also to mention, that it’s a nice length which makes it easy to style with boots or jeans. Buuuuut since I’m not so much a jean-girl, I styled with my favorite black leggings and sock heels. What do you think?

You’ll probably see our little family at the Americana at the Brand (in L.A.)very often because it’s sooo Instagramable- just that’s a word! This time of year they have all the lights, decorations, and Christmas music playing in the background so it has easily become my favorite day trip location. Oh, and they just opened up a Laduree cafe (a cafe originated in Paris) a few months back and needless to say, that may be another hidden motive why we frequent this place so much. 😉

FYI: Cute location=happy blogger. Enough said. 🙂

Don’t forget to stop by and check out more styles from Pink Blush. It’s a one stop shop for in-style maternity, nursing, and women’s clothes!

// SHOP SIMILAR //

 

 

XOX I.P.

How To Make A Whole Chicken And Potato Roast In A Cast Iron

This post is sponsored, but I only work with brands that personally suit my niche. #ad

Let my just start off by saying how much I love using a cast iron for my many of recipes. Seriously, lately I’ve been using it for 99% of my cooking and I feel like I’ve been living under a rock by not discovering it sooner. I mean, I’ve wanted to invest in one for a long time prior and had every intention to get one, but once I finally got my hands on one, it took my cooking to a whole other level. Uh-huh.

So like always, I wanted to do my research (by research I mean Pinterest and goggle—duh!) before I officially started using one because I’ve heard they are a lot of maintenance and that’s the last thing this tired mama needs! After using a cast iron for the past year now, I have come to realize that it’s a total myth (rolling my eyes). Of course, there are methods of taking care of the cast iron, but there is no need for constant maintenance if you’re properly taking care of it after each use. And, using a cast iron has some pretty cool benefits too. Let’s just do a quick overview of this, and I’ll get to that recipe really soon, promise.

Why you should start using a cast iron:

  • It’s naturally non-stick: who doesn’t like this feature when it comes to dishes? Seriously, I can make anything in it and it comes off with a slight rub and warm water…no soaking required (most of the time).
  • Made without Teflon: what exactly is Teflon? Well it’s that bad stuff that manufactures use to coat your regular pans to make it a non-stick feature. And what’s worse is that these chemicals are transferred to your food when cooked at high temperature…yeeks! Needless to say, I stopped using Teflon pans a long time ago.
  • Releases Iron: yup! I found this very interesting because I first invested in a cast iron during my pregnancy and I was not iron deficient at all, which is actually the case of many women during pregnancy, and personally, prior to my pregnancy. You can do your research on the science behind it all, but at high temperatures, and depending on the acidity with certain foods, iron is best absorbs and then released during these processes, pretty cool stuff.
  • Long lasting: if taken care of, these pans can last a lifetime! And the more you use it the better it gets, the smoother the texture of your pan becomes too. When I first bought my pan it was very dry and rough, but now it actually looks better then when I first got it. How’s that for investment?
  • Pretty much indestructible: as you’ll notice this recipe requires baking time at a super high temperature- and it’s able to withstand and function just as well. Also, frying at a high temperature will give your food a nice braised/BBQ effect too.

If you want more information about how to maintain, “season” your cast iron for prolonged uses and ultimate effectiveness, check it out here.

Bottom line, I just love using a cast iron for many of my recipes.

Anyway, I’ve partnered up with Southern Kitchen in order to share this amazing recipe I made in a cast iron. I used this Smithey Cast Iron and it has a nice vintage appearance and the quality of it was evident when I put it to work. And as expected, this chicken and potato roast was a success too!

I have to say, I was excited when I decided to make a chicken roast. I mean, you can easily buy a rotisserie chicken for about $5.99, but then you don’t get to brag about making this splendid meal yourself. 🙂 I added potato, carrots, and onions around the chicken to give it a complete meal. Then I took the chicken juices after the roast was done and made gravy out of it (totally optional). I was pretty impressed with the outcome. It seriously beats buying an already-prepared chicken when you can make it in the comfort of you own home, and then show off too, aha!

Now this particular recipe calls for a cast iron, because as mentioned above, you’ll need to use something durable to withstand the hot heat during cooking time- and I mean hot, this baby is going up to 500 F, but that’s the secret to a nice crispy skin, while maintaining moist chicken meat.

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. And if you have any recipes you’d like to share that are a big hit from your kitchen, submit your own recipe to Southern Kitchen. (Southern Kitchen has regular recipe contests – more info here.)

Lastly, if you’re convinced that cast iron cooking is the way to go…then make sure to get one today. I promise you won’t regret it…I didn’t. Use coupon code WELCOME10 ($10 off first purchase over $50) towards any Southern Kitchen Purchase 

Now let’s get to this recipe, shall we?

Cooks Notes:

  • I like to roast my chicken breast down because it absorbs all the flavour and moisture from the juices during cooking time.
  • You can easily make a gravy by using the remaining juices as a sauce- the cooking juices have all the flavour!

How To Make A Whole Chicken And Potato Roast In A Cast Iron

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Chicken 3-4lb
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil or melted Butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 rosemary twigs
  • ½ cup water
  • Half a lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 F with (empty) cast iron in the oven.
  2. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Coat chicken with olive oil or melted butter, marinate chicken over night if desired. Generously season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Next, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, spices and cheese, set aside.
  4. Once oven and cast iron is preheated, carefully using kitchen gloves, remove cast iron and place prepared chicken in cast iron (breast side down), place back into oven for 15-20 minutes.
  5. After time is up, add the potato mixture, drizzle water on top of potatoes, turn heat down to 450 F and bake for another 30-40 minutes- until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh or the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F when probed with an instant read thermometer (roasting time may vary depending on size of chicken).
  6. Remove from oven, squeeze half of the lemon juices over the chicken, and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes covered with foil. Carve and serve.
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STYLED: Open Shoulder Sweater

So what’s trending? I’ll tell you…open shoulder sweaters and balloon sleeves this season! I wish I could say it’s sweater weather here in SoCal but it’s more like summer. And I never thought I’d say this…but I’m really dreaming of a white Christmas….just like the ones I used to know- cliche I know, but this hot weather makes me want to go to the beach instead of getting in the Christmas spirit! Cause it’s ever so hot here with the unusual heat waves we are experiencing and all I want to do is wear cozy socks, throw on my sweater and feel like it’s Christmas. 🙂

I’m sure you noticed that open shoulder styles were BIG for the past year, but they’re still hot now…only this season it’s all about sweaters. I love this open shoulder sweater from Pink Blush. The material is so cozy, it’s a pretty nude colour (that goes with everything), and I love the balloon sleeves that work so well with this style. I styled it with my favorite (faux) leather pants and some lace-up heels. What do you guys think?

  

This is our dress down look. As fun as it is to wear dresses and look super girly, while always matching, of course, it’s also fun to dress down, casual and cozy. Also, another BIG trend this season is pom-poms (anything), we’ve got our pom-pom obsession going on too. Now, can the cool weather paaaaalease show up in So Cal? Cause let’s be honest, this outfit didn’t stay on for too long, hehe. 😉

Stay tuned! I’ll be chatting about my favorite pom-pom trends soon, too.

Shop my look:

Shop baby’s look:


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XO I.P.

Essentail Oils and Babies

Evalyn Mae is 7 months today! Give me a second while I tear up. Seriously, while living in baby-land the last 7 months, the time has been going by at hyper speed. Can any other mama’s relate?

Well by now you probably know that I love sharing monthly updates on what I’ve been using on baby Ev that have been effective. I’m always searching to treat my precious babe with home remedies, safe homeopathic alternatives, and essential oils. At least I try. I personally try to avoid taking any sort of medication unless it’s my last resort. The truth is that any prescription, and OTC medication that goes into your body, will always have a side effect either now or down the road, so I try to avoid them as much as possible… and now, so much more when it comes to baby.

There is so much to be said when it comes to essential oils. So I have partnered up with an expert, Kayla who will share a lot about the effectiveness, safety, and uses of essential oils, mainly in babies. As moms, we all want what’s best for our babies, and I strongly believe essential oils are a great way to treat, maintain, and benefit your baby’s overall health.

I have asked 10 concerning questions when it comes to essential oils that Kayla so descriptively answered. I have learned that although there are SO many great things about essential oils, you have to be wise on how you use them, cause like anything, moderation is key, especially when it comes to a baby. Also, Kayla is hosting a Facebook class tomorrow where she shares a “Baby Class” on everything you need to know about essential oils and babies in further depth, a chance to ask questions and receive answers on the spot (since the class will be live), and where to purchase any, if interested. But if you have any more questions, feel free to reach out.

10 Q & A on Babies and Essential Oils

1. Which Essential Oils are safe for baby?

Most of all essential oils can be beneficial for baby.  Here are a few that I would say use with caution (not using repeatedly or on a regular basis).These include:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Basil
  • Juniper
  • Peppermint
  • Hyssop
  • Wintergreen

Also, something to keep in  mind:
“Children are in general more delicate and some oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint have very strong smells which can, in rare cases, lead to respiratory distress.  Be careful when wearing strong smelling oils, diffusing or using around a newborn or young child.  Babies also have much thinner, more delicate skin than adults, and tend to be very sensitive to the potency of essential oils.  Diluting with a natural lotion is always a good choice.” – Debra Rayburn, Gentle Babies


2. Is it safe to keep an Essential Oil diffuser in the same room where baby sleeps?

YES! We love diffusing in the nursery for nap time and bed time! Diffusing helps create a calming, peaceful atmosphere that can help induce sleep. Breathing in essential oils directly influences the control center of the brain, the hypothalamus.  This area sends instructions through our body concerning sleep patterns, mood, behavior, appetite, and the release of certain hormones.


3. Where are the best areas on baby’s body to apply Essential Oils?
I started off applying eo’s on the bottom of my son’s feet. Place drops of oils into a bowl, in a roller, or in your hand and add your carrier oil, my favorite is either fractionated coconut oil or avocado oil.  Always dilute when applying oils on infants and children.  When beginning topical use, it is wise to start slowly on the bottoms of the feet and gradually test on other areas for sensitivity. Now my son is 7 months old and I roll his Lullaby roller on his feet, behind his ears, down his spine, and on his chest. His Lullaby roller is 5 drops Lavender and 5 drops Frankincense topped off with FCO in a 10 ml roller, it’s perfect for calming and immune boosting!


4. Which EO’s are helpful for sleep training?
Lots! Here are a few of our favorite oils and blends:
SLEEPYIZE:
Y’all need this oil, especially for kiddos! It is so relaxing and peaceful, and it already comes with a carrier oil in the bottle as part of the Kidscents line—perfectly formulated for use on littles (although adults like it too!). Roll on the bottoms of their little feet before bed, and/or down their spine.

LAVENDER:
It is so lovely and calming, and is such a great oil to use for sleep training!
Diffuse it at night, and add it to rollers for topical application.

GENTLE BABY:
This is an oil that invites a sense of calming for both baby and adults alike! It is a blend of some of the dreamiest oils, including rose, lavender, lemon, roman chamomile, geranium, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and palmarosa. That is pretty much pure magic in a bottle! Diffuse it and make a roller of just Gentle Baby for a dreamy nap and bed time experience.

SLEEPY TIME ROLLER:
I do 4 drops cedarwood, 4 drops orange, 4 drops lavender, and 3 drops vetiver, and fill the rest with a carrier oil in a 10 ml roller. It is seriously the best!!! Good for baby and mama!
 
DIFFUSER BLENDS:
It’s great to start with a calming blend in the evening as you begin your bed time routine and are getting ready to settle down. We also love to diffuse overnight as we sleep. It is such a wonderful support for everyone’s sleep.

Here are some of our favorite diffuser blends:

  • Cedarwood and orange
  • Peace & Calming (I or II) and orange
  • Gentle Baby and lavender
  • Dream Catcher
  • Roman Chamomile and frankincense

5. How early on can you start using EO’s on baby?
Staring at day one you can start, however, some prefer to wait a week or two until both baby and mama have figured out a few things like nursing. Mama’s own scent is very important for baby in those early days! I started at around two weeks old for my son. Here is a good guideline for ages and dilutions:

Babies: One day – 2 years old
Young LIving suggest ⅛ the labeled concentration of all oils on babies from ages 0-1.  Be sure to reference the safe list below to avoid oils not suggested for use under two before using a blend or single.
Toddler and Kiddos: Two – Six years old
Young LIving suggests ¼ the labeled concentration for children ages 2-6. Using carrier oils and lotions is also a great way to extend the use of your bottles! It’s great when you’re on a “mama” budget!

“Using oils neat or undiluted will create a tendency for the oil to evaporate more quickly.  Using  a carrier oil or lotion may also create a more sustained effect and reduce possible over-sensitivities especially in this age group.”

Kids ages 7-11
Young Living suggests ½ the labeled concentration for this age range.

Mama Tip:
When starting with oils, use one at a time always diluted to avoid overloading their system.  Slowly start to add in oils as they adjust. This is a great age for kids to start using their own blends.  Mix up their favorite oil for school or the oils that you use on them daily in a roller bottle and send them on their way.  Be sure to teach them oil safety and to apply oils to the feet first and always diluted.

Kids ages 12+
Young Living suggests full labeled concentration for kids ages 12+. At this age, kiddos will be used to applying oils and what oils are needed and when.  Be sure to teach them oil safety first and to start applying to the feet first.

Mama Tip:
Be aware of “Hot” oils such as Peppermint, Panaway, Thieves, and Oregano.  Hot oils feel icy/hot to the touch.  This can cause irritation of the skin and these oils should always be avoided around the eyes.  Be sure to not rub the eyes or around the eyes after applying hot oils.  We always suggest diluting hot oils no matter the age.


6. Why is it important to dilute EO’s
Diluting is “watering down” the potency of essential oils which is key for babies. Their skin is much more delicate so diluting is just what we do. It also helps stretch your bottle of oils. My favorite carrier oils to dilute with are fractionated coconut oil or avocado oil for rollers and regular (solid at room temp.) coconut oil for massaging onto my son’s skin.


7. Which EO’s are helping during teething?
COPAIBA! This oil is a MUST for teething! It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps the body’s natural response to injury and irritation. It helps numb the area it’s applied to and is known as the “Firefighter” putting out fires so to speak. Use it by itself or with clove. I made my son a roller with Copaiba and Clove topped off with FCO in a 2 ml roller and we use it when needed for teething relief.


8. Can EO’s help with common colds or fever?
The Kidscents line has a blend called Snifflease that we have come to love for whenever he is congested.  Use this in place of Vick’s vapor rub. It’s pre-diluted and ready to apply, I rub it on his chest and diffuse it for respiratory support. You can always rub it on their chest with coconut oil to stretch the bottle longer or if you are applying to a younger infant. Some other things we do to boost immune support during times of dealing with any crud is using Thieves household cleaner to clean allllllll the things in the house, everything! I love having the Thieves hand purifier in the diaper bag, in my car, and on the diaper changing table in his room.

Here are some of our favorite diffuser blends for immunity: (Using 2 drops of each)

  • Thieves, lemon, and frankincense
  • Tea tree, lemon, and lavender
  • Snifflease and lavender
  • German or Roman chamomile and R.C. (stands for respiratory care)
  • Sleepize and frankincense

9. Can EO’s be harmful if not used properly?
Yes, of course. As with anything if used improperly eo’s can be harmful.

However, “Sensitivities to YL’s essential oils are seen very rarely.  Typically, if sensitivities occur, the cause is either that a different brand of chemically adulterated oils used or because they were used in excess which simply overloaded the system.”-Quotes from Debra Rayburn, Gentle Babies


10. Which EO’s brand do you recommend? Why?
I have done a ton of research on this topic because I wanted to know that without a doubt the oils I use on my baby were the best!  I only suggest using Young Living essential oils since YL is the only company out there with the purest oils on earth! Do your research and I think you’ll be impressed to find how different Young Living is from the rest. Check out their Seed to Seal process at www.seedtoseal.com


Thank you, Kayla! And there you have it… an in depth overview of Essential Oil’s and babies. And if you’re interested in following what Kayla has to say on a daily basis regarding essential oils in everyday life, you can follow her on instagram! Here’s a little more on Kayla:

Kayla @floating.feather.essentials

My name is Kayla Williams. I am a wife and a new mama to the sweetest little boy ever! I was born and raised in Boise Idaho and I will probably never leave I love it here so much! I am apart of the best oily community of mamas bettering their families health on oil at a time! I originally bought my kit for sleep support and making my house smell good without the use of highly scented candles which gave my husband headaches because hello chemicals! Two weeks after ordering my starter kit I found out I was pregnant! I was now even more excited and determined to use my oils for everything in life- specially during my pregnancy, birth and on my baby. Fast forward to today my son is now 7 months old and I cannot imagine not having these amazing supportive oils in our life!

My favorite starter kit oil is a tie between Thieves, Frankincense and Stress Away, I mean come on I can’t just pick one!

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XO. I.P.

Dock-A-Tot Review

Today I’m sharing my honest review of the DockATot as a sleep aid for my baby! Honestly, this multi-function lounger is one of most essential baby products I have. I think as moms our biggest desire is to find anyway to get our babies to sleep through the night and take long naps during the day, can I get an Amen, mamas? It’s critical to our sanity, and how we function on a daily basis. You remember, don’t you? When mom is unhappy, everyone is unhappy.

What exactly is a DockATot?

The Dock A Tot is a multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper, and a playtime lounger. It’s made in Europe and designed in Sweden and is 100% cotton, all natural and breathable. It’s so effective (at any stage) because it reinvents the womb; it has been designed to offer a snug and soothing environment for babies. Babies can rest, play and lounge and it’s easy to move it around the house or travel with! It’s ideal micro-climate for babies and toddlers and helps transition toddlers to their bigger beds. Need I say more? It comes in two sizes; Deluxe for 0-8 Months, Grand 9-36 months. So if your toddler is not sleeping through the night still…there is hope for you too!

I love that this is a great lounger with an optional toy arch. It’s nice to keep baby entertained a little once in a while. Also, check out all the different designs available! I currently have the white and floral print, which I can easily interchange depending on my style/mood.

My Story

It has been a tough first 6 months for us since baby Evalyn was waking up 4-6 times a night! Yes, you read right. I honestly thought she would naturally and gradually learn to sleep on her own without any sleep aids, or sleep training. But that wasn’t the case for us. And it almost seemed like each month got worse to the point where I was waking up 5 TIMES consistently most nights. I was able to tolerate that for the first 5-ish months, but then the extreme fatigue started kicking in. I was getting restless, and my husband said it was time to try something. So what did I do? I got on Pinterest and starting reading a bunch of mama blogs on how to sleep train in a way that wasn’t heartbreaking. I tried different things, but nothing seemed to work, and I wasn’t ready to let my baby cry-it-out. I just couldn’t. So that’s when I came across the DockATot. After reading endless positive reviews, I knew it was worth a try. And it has been a huge improvement so far. Honestly, we are not exactly sleeping through the night yet… but there have been some big changes that have been so so helpful. Let me give you a quick background of Ev’s daytime/sleeping schedule before the DockATot became part of the family…

I was a little reluctant of the effectiveness because 1) Ev was already 6 months, 2) she was going through phases of teething- some days/weeks are worse than others, and 3) before the DockATot she only took 30 minute (max) naps throughout the day (usually 1-3 times) and it was difficult to get things done. So with those things in mind, I can say that there have been major improvements since we starting using the DockATot even from the first night.

That being said, I wanted to share a little insight…a 10-day diary of Ev’s first 10 days/nights using the DockATot. As you will notice, we saw changes in Ev’s sleeping/wake patterns, longer day naps (yay), and more consistency throughout.

10-day Dock-A-Tot Diary

Just a few notes: Ev’s bedtime is 7-7: 30 pm each night, we follow a bedtime routine (bath time, essential oil massage, and nursing before bed), I breastfeed her on demand and Ev always wake up to feed. When Ev does wake up for a feeding, it’s for 2-5 minutes.
For this review, I am using the Deluxe (0-8 months- which has been tested for breathability and OEKO-TEX certified). This is NOT an ad, I have received this product for complimentary testing from DockATot and this is my personal and honest review.

Day 1: (first night of use) woke up @ 11:30 PM and 4:14 AM for a feeding, wake up time was 6 AM

WOW! Ev woke up only twice and only once during the night which was a HUGE change for us already since I was used to getting up to 5-6 times. This worked for us instantly, we were amazed how well she did the first night, and technically I only had to be interrupted during the night once because I don’t usually go to bed until 12 am.


Day 2: Day: 1.5 and 1.25-hour nap! | Night: woke up at12 AM, 4:30 AM, wake up time was 7 AM.

This was another BIG surprised for us; after only being used to 30-minute (cat) naps, these long stretches were amazing. I couldn’t believe it, I think I checked the clock over a dozen times because this was a first-ever she slept so long during the day!


Day 3: Day: n/a; I was out all day | Night: woke up at 12 AM, and 5:15 AM, wake up time was 6:30 AM

Now we are starting to see some consistency… in only 3 days!


Day 4: Day: two 1.5 hour naps | Night: Woke up @ 11 PM, 12 AM, and 5 AM.

I finally got a 5 hour stretch! This was huge for me, especially after being used to waking up every other hour at times. I started feeling like a different person on day 4, haha.


Day 5:  Day: 2 naps; 1.5, 1 hour | Night: 1:30 AM, 5:45 AM


Day 6: Day: 3 naps; 1.45hr, 45 min, 30 min | Night: 1 AM, 5:15 AM

Now my days are looking more structured- I am able to plan around Ev’s naps and predict when she will wake up.


Day 7: Day: 1 nap; 1.45 hour | Night: 11 PM, 1 AM, 5 AM

This was a tough day/night, Evalyn was unusually fussy and restless. It took longer to get her to nap and when she woke up at night she had a more “painful” cry, most of these symptoms showed signs of teething.


Day 8: Day: 2 naps; 45 min, 40 min | Night: 11 PM, 1:30 AM, 5AM

This was another difficult day/night. Ev didn’t take long naps during the day and seems to be irritable during the night too.


Day 9: Day: 2 naps; 1.15, 1 hour | Night: 10:30 PM, 12:30 AM, 1:45 AM, 4:30AM, and 6AM

Ok, I think we hit our teething peek! Ev was constantly up and this was the worst night since sleeping with the Dock-a-Tot. Again, it seems teething was to blame for this.


Day 10: Day: 2 naps; 40 minutes, 1 hour | Night: 11:45 PM, 1:15 AM, 5:30 AM

This night was a little more usual for us, it seemed like Ev was back into her sleeping schedule and was not as fussy as the past few nights.

In summary

The DockATot has been extremely beneficial in helping Ev sleep longer stretches during her day naps, and making the nights more consistent (besides the harsh teething nights). The other non-documented days/nights have been consistent with this schedule up to date, and today she took a 3-hour nap! I almost didn’t know what to do with myself, aha! I am truly looking forward to longer stretches of sleep through the night as Evalyn maintains her sleep schedule, and passes through this teething phase.

I would highly recommend this product to any mom, more so from day one to get baby used to this sleep aid, without having to sleep train. My only regret is that I didn’t get this sooner, I have heard countless testimonies from other moms I know personally who swear by it. So I am definitely saving this gem for future babies. 😉

I’m going to continue using the DockATot and hopefully write another review in a few months down the road. I know how desperate we (moms…and dads too) can be when it comes to our precious sleep, and if I can help out in any way to share what worked for me, I know it will be a big blessing for you!

So don’t lose hope, try everything you can and stick to what works for your baby. You’ll start getting those nights back…eventually. 🙂

XO I.P.

 

Christmas Brunch: Set The Table

If you’re not in the Christmas mood yet, then I won’t judge. ‘Cause if shopping, parties, and secret Santa are not your thing, what about Christmas Brunch? I feel like Christmas day gets nowhere near the amount of credit it deserves. I mean we are in preparation for that one day for months, and when it finally arrives, everyone is left with the food coma effect…aaaalong with a bunch of sweet memories too, of course. 🙂

Well, allow us (Ema & I– a guest blogger from my recent brunch post) to share some Christmas brunch ideas, to set the right mood for your family and friends.

Christmas morning is so special, and I love having my family wake up to the smell of french toast in the air, I made this Overnight Baked French Toast with Raspberry Sauce last year, and I will definitely have it on my brunch menu list this year too. You  can find the recipe here.

So go on, make this year one for the books. Merry (early) Christmas, friends!

 

 

Fete Napkins | Pink Teacups | French Gilt Mirror | Mercury Glass Bowl | White Plates

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Check out this Overnight Baked French Toast with Raspberry Sauce recipe… perfect for Christmas brunch!

XO I.P.