Tag Archives: Ollie Hayes

Soft Sole Shoes with Sweet ‘n Swag Moccasins

Thank you, Sweet ‘n Swag, for sponsoring this post, Soft Sole Shoes with Sweet ‘n Swag Moccasins. I was selected for this opportunity by Sweet ‘n Swag; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sweet 'n Swag

Having a roaming toddler in the colder months means finding creative ways to keep their feet warm since they are notorious for pulling off their socks and kicking off their shoes! Ollie never wants anything on his feet. Not to mention, he is sometimes a bull in a china shop and a little boy would love to run, so it has been important that I find footwear that would stay on to keep him warm but also look cute and stylish!

Ever since I was introduced to how important soft sole shoes were for little feet, I have been a lover of baby moccasins. I know there are a ton of companies out there on the market; however, I have tried many of them and want to take a second and introduce you to Sweet ‘n Swag.

They stay put, period. Since Ollie was an infant, I have tried and tested several brands of soft sole shoes and now that we are running and walking, I still swear by them! Many soft sole are slippery for walkers on hard wood and laminate floors and wear out fast outdoors! However, Sweet ‘n Swag are handmade, super soft, and flexible. They come in a huge selection of colors and prints to suit everyone’s taste and style! There are so many other companies out there who make baby moccasins, but what I love about Sweet ‘n Swag is that they’re affordable, but high-quality.

But why soft sole shoes in general?

Well, for starters, hard sole shoes are honestly difficult for younger ones to learn to walk because they are typically pretty heavy. Ollie started taking his first steps at eight months and really walking at ten. With having lightweight soft soles, he was able to learn to walk by extending his toes and grip the floor similar to as if he was walking barefoot. It also helped him continue to improve his balance and coordination as he grew. Soft sole shoes are typically roomier than hard sole shoes as well, allowing Ollie’s feet to be unrestricted without wedges, inserts, high backs, reinforced heels, special arches, or other feature that are typical to hard sole shoes. This continues to help develop their little feet in such a more natural way!

So whether you have a newborn or a walking toddler, Sweet ‘n Swag soft sole moccasins are the way to go. They can also come lined, so for these upcoming winter months, their little feet will stay dry and warm.

Also, a special just for you! Use the code “heathersweetnswag” for a 15% off your entire order, excluding sale items! How perfect is that just in time for the holidays!

Sweet 'n Swag

Sweet 'n Swag

Sweet 'n Swag

Sweet 'n Swag

Here is a little bit more about Sweet ‘n Swag:

How Sweet N Swag started: A life-changing event happened when Shannon’s good friend lost a baby at seven months to a septic infection. The couple were devastated, not only by the loss of their baby son, but the mounting hospital bills and subsequent funeral. Shannon felt compelled to try and help her friend in the only way she could—making hair bows to sell. For two days and two nights she made bows without thought of food or sleep. She had 250 bows to sell.

She put a notice on Facebook and went door to door in her condominium neighborhood peddling her bows. She sold about 150 and gave the money to her friends. She had a hundred left! What she did with them started her on a journey that took her to a place she couldn’t have imagined. She sold her bows on the craft-focused website “Etsy” and they sold quickly. Customers wanted more accessories so she expanded her ideas to include shoes for infants. The uniquely designed and hand-made vegan leather moccasins were best-sellers.

As Shannon’s hobby turned into a full-time endeavor, Brett sold his law firm and turned his attention to helping expand the brand, “Sweet N Swag.” The couple are now completing a new office in Lindon to accommodate the ever-expanding line of shoes and accessories. The latest shoe design is a special designed leather oxford called a “Moxford.” The marketing catch phrase is “We design shoes that stay on baby’s feet.”

What to Pack when Flying with a Toddler

Flying with a Toddler

The thought of flying with a toddler with an attention span as short as they are cute for the first time (or anytime) can be downright intimidating. Ollie had flown with us before, but not since he became mobile and A LOT more active/aware. In preparation for our family vacation to Disney World this past week, I spent a lot of time tapping the brains of all my been-there-done-that mama friends, “researching” on Pinterest, and brainstorming ideas to compile the perfect carry-on bag to keep my toddler entertained and happy on a cross-country flight. Guess what? Our 4.5+ hour flight with a 16-month-old went off with far less stress than I envisioned – without the iPad/electronics or spending a ton of money – so I want to share what we packed, how we packed it and tips for a successful travel day with a toddler based on this experience.

Bonus – the in-flight kit I created could have served as a both a car and restaurant entertainment kit while we were on vacation as well! We were at Disney World so there were tons of things for Ollie to see and do, but I hope you find this post useful when packing a carry-on bag to keep your toddler and you entertained and happy during your travels.

Let’s start with the bag:

I snagged this Mickey tote on Amazon for very little money and think it’s a perfect carry on because A) we were headed to see the mouse, B) it’s small and compact, so Ollie will be able to carry it on his own as he grows, C) since it’s small, we were able to be very selective with the things (and weight) we bought onto the plane, and D) did I mention how cute it was and perfect for our Disney trip!?

What to Pack When Flying with a Toddler

What to Pack When Flying with a Toddler

I want to note that before I get started… we did still take a diaper bag. Southwest Airlines allows one carry-on and one personal item per person. Dusty took the diaper bag and Ollie’s airplane bag onboard and I had a backpack with our electronics for the trip and my purse. Obviously, you will want to include the normal diaper bag essentials (diapers, wipes, snacks, changing pad, change of clothes, lightweight blanket, wet/dry bag, water bottle or bottle, etc.) like you normally would anywhere. This is just highlighting what was in his airplane bag for entertainment purposes. I did list a few notes of things that we have in our diaper bag that came in handy on our plane trip.

  1. A lightweight blanket to put over your toddler if/when they nap. Airplane cabins can be chilly and we carry our Audrey’s Bear personalized blanket everywhere!
  2. Imagine Ink. These are the type of paper that only writes on the page. Perfect, mess free, and ideal for our needs.
  3. Toddler busy board. This was our favorite. We played with this more than anything else. For more information about Montessori play, see here.
  4. Snacks. – In our diaper bag at all times. I stocked up with yogurt covered raisins, organic snack bars, Cheerios, and Puffs for our trip.
  5. Empty water bottles for mama and tot – Again, these are not pictured because they were really in the diaper bag; however, fill these suckers up once you’ve cleared security. I store the water bottles in the outer pockets on either side of our diaper bag.
  6. 1 – 2 tried and true favorite books – Also in our diaper bag 100% of the time.
  7. A novel toy like these that we found in the clearance aisle at Walmart.
  8. An Etch a Sketch, MagnaDoodle, or LCD drawing tablet.
  9. Window Clings. We opted for seasonal but there are also Mickey-inspired ones.

Other things we had in the bag were some glow sticks for our stroller (at the parks) and for the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party that we attended while we were there, as well as a expandable wash cloth from the dollar store. Fun things to have on hand, but we didn’t necessarily get these things out during our flight.

When all else fails, snacks (and a big variety of them!) will be your tantrum tamers on a flight. In our diaper bag, I packed a ton of snacks I knew Ollie would love. Ollie is also really into cleaning things right now so giving him a baby wipe to “clean the seat” was a perfect activity for him to keep busy and occupied for a long time. We also “organized” the safety pamphlets a few times that were located in the back pocket of the seats in the airplane.

What to Pack when Flying with a Toddler

What to Pack when Flying with a Toddler

What to Pack when Flying with a Toddler

Top Tips For Traveling or Flying With a Toddler:

  1. Check the TSA and your airline websites well in advance of your flight for their rules and regulations regarding travel with children under 2 years old. For Southwest, at the time of our flight, we had to obtain a special pass for Ollie prior to security with a copy of his birth certificate and a special tag for his stroller prior to boarding the plane. We asked a lot of questions to triple check that we were ready to board and pass through security when we were suppose to. This helped up save time in the long run by not missing any major steps.
  2. You can bring your own milk or juice in a cooler like this one, but you may have to go through a full on TSA check. One option is to wait until you get through security and buy a milk box from Starbucks (these do not require refrigeration). Some airplanes will have milk depending on the airline and time of day, but if you care for it to be organic, you’re likely out of luck. I think the best option is to bring no refrigeration needed, easily portable milk boxes with you. We feed Ollie his morning bottle prior to take-off, and opted for just water on the trip. When we arrived at our hotel, I ordered a half gallon of organic whole milk using Amazon Prime Now and it was delivered to our room in less than 3 hours. It served its purpose for the week and was cheaper than buying the individual cartons.
  3. I know it isn’t always possible with logistics, but try to plan your flight time around your toddler’s nap if possible. We booked a mid-morning flight to coordinate with Ollie’s morning nap time and a return flight later in the evening.
  4. I know screen time isn’t for everyone, but if you allow it this suggestion is for you. Download shows from Netflix or similar and age appropriate apps onto your iPad or laptop. This will, hopefully, occupy your little one and buy you and your fellow passengers some quiet time. We ended up not having to use this at all on our flight; however, found it really nice as a backup with we hopped onto the Magical Express in between the airport and hotel at Disney World.
  5. Bring empty water bottles in your carry on and fill them up at the airport once you’ve cleared security. Do not fill it up 100% because of the cabin pressure. We use Camelbaks like this one and for whatever reason the cabin pressure does do something funky to them in the air. The only thing you have to do is make sure that the water isn’t in the straw (by blowing down on it) prior to giving it to your little one. If not, they may end up with a watery mess due to the pressure.
  6. Invest in a travel stroller. Our previous adults-only trip, we watched to see which parents looked like they were having the least difficult time with their strollers. Previously, we traveled with our Solly Baby Wrap, but with Ollie mobile now and pregnant myself, wearing him is less of an option. We opted for a use City Mini GT by Baby Jogger and it was amazing. The stroller is easy to fold open and closed and really compact. It also has UV protection for the hot Florida sun. You can check the stroller at the gate right before you board, but make sure to ask the desk attendant at your gate for a tag prior to boarding.
  7. Arrive to check in for your flight early, call ahead, or both to ask for an extra seat if possible. Generally, airlines will go ahead and reserve a seat when a “lap infant” is flagged on the manifest and keep it if the flight is not full. On Southwest with the opening seating, we board with family boarding after the “A” group boards. This allows us to get a full row even though we paid for two seats. Each flight the attendants kept announcing it was a “full flight”; however, we sat aisle and window calming with Ollie on our laps. We were also totally prepared to move closer together if needed. The kicker is neither flight was actually full and everybody that boarded late chose the middle seat not next to an infant or toddler. We kept the middle seat open for more space for us. The extra seat makes diaper changes and naps, and the whole flying experience, a lot easier! By the way, this article by USA today does a great job of breaking down how to deal with how to change a diaper during a flight!
  8. My last, but number one piece of advice, would be to prepare and pack as well as you can beforehand, but then try your best to relax and go with the flow because, as we all know, toddlers certainly cannot be predicted! People are generally understanding and this makes me feel far less stressed when Ollie is making a scene in public!

What to Pack When Flying with a Toddler

Our Fixer Upper :: Ollie’s Nursery

As we prepare for our next little one in this house, I wanted to show you my favorite room today as part of our Fixer Upper series, Ollie’s nursery. When we purchase the home, this was an immediate — “This has to go” — moment. The walls were so bright and loud, and definitely against my style. Although I am sure the older owners loved the bright and cheerful Barney-inspired paint, my inner self just cringed every time I walked past this room.

It honestly took us the first 9 months to invest in the first floor of our house, so the purple stayed well into our time of moving in. Once we found that we were pregnant, I could not wait to redo this room. Once we dove into it, however, we quickly discovered that bright purple paint took a few more coats than normal to cover up… and on the simple removal of a tiny wall paper border was a nightmare to remove. After the fact, we found a bit of left over wall paper in the closet next to some Gorilla Glue… I would have to assume Gorilla Glue is not what the sales associate at Lowe’s recommended, but it made much more sense why we were struggling not to remove the wall along with the paper.

Although they are hard to see here, there was also a bit of love that had happened over the years to our carpet. And by love, I mean, a few little girls that called this their previous bedroom may have attempted to paint their own finger nails bright red. There was actually multiple nail polish-like stain through the upper level, and so we had to invest in new flooring as well. We also did some little things like swapped out the light fixtures, painted the baseboards, and all of the outlets were originally different shades of white/painted. So we changed every outlet and outlet cover in the entire room. It truly made such a difference.

Before:

Our Fixer Upper

Our Fixer Upper

After:

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

crib | dresser | bookshelf | crib bedding | pegboard inspiration | end table | rocker | baskets | laundry hamper | pillows | adventure prints | peter pan quote | adventure awaits sign

Our first purchase for the nursery was this “Adventures Awaits” sign from Hobby Lobby. Pairing that with Oh Joy!’s crib bedding and a few extras from some of my baby showers, Ollie’s nursery came together so amazing! One of my favorite pieces in the room was this hand crafted pegboard that hangs above Ollie’s dresser and changing station that Dusty made for me. Inspired by Shanty2Chic, it turned out perfect.

Another one of my favorite pieces of the nursery is this Peter Pan quote by Ever N After, an Etsy shop that I stumbled upon during my pregnancy and fell in love. Each design is handmade and made to order. Brittany’s wooden signs are beautiful hand lettered calligraphy on stained wood and she never uses any stencils! How talented!!

The quote “Little boys should never be sent to bed, they always wake up a day older” in Peter Pan allowed me to have a bit of Disney in Ollie’s nursery without having a Disney-fied room. I sprinkled a few other Disney items throughout including an Oliver & Company Oliver plush toy, Disney Mouseketeer hat, and Mickey and Minnie, of course. However, this rustic wooden sign is by far my favorite. It is truly something that you cannot get from a store.

It is amazing to see where this room was originally with its “Barney-purple” and wall paper border that took weeks upon weeks to remove, but I am so grateful for how it turned out. We have spent so many hours in the midst of these four walls, and I cannot imagine Ollie in any other space in our home. It was those hours of nursing, millions of diaper changes, and book after book reading to him that really has made this area special, and I love it.

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Adventures Awaits Nursery

Food Pouches and Juices Boxes without the Mess

Thank you, The Flipping Holder, for sponsoring this post, Food Pouches and Juices Boxes with the Mess. I was selected for this opportunity by The Flipping Holder; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Food Pouches and Juices Boxes without the Mess

I would have never ever thought I could just hand over a food pouch to my little one in a million years and let him roam the house freely with it. Just typing those words makes me imagine blackberry and purple carrot all over my white rug. But then I was introduced to this — The Flipping Holder. The Flipping Holder is simply a case for food pouches and juice pouches/boxes that flips according to its use.

The Flipping Holder is different than any other pouch holder product I have seen because of a few reasons:

  1. It holds both food and juice pouches in one unit (not at the same time obviously).
  2. It is one solid piece, which means no clasps for kids to figure out how to open and nothing to break off.
  3. It literally works with every baby food pouch that I have tried including Plum Organic, Aldi’s Little Journey Brand, Happy Family, and Earth’s Best. It also is suppose to work with reuseable food pouches (although I have not tried this yet personally).
  4. We have not made it to the juice stage, but with a flip, it would work with all major brands of juice pouches and juice boxes.
  5. It has super easy to hold handles which makes a closed loop. Super important if you plan on tethering to a high chair or carseat.
  6. Its design needs minimal washing – our little one eats off of the pouch spout, not the holder, so no need to wash between uses unless there is a bit of food dribble (and we definitely have that from time to time but its super rare.

LOVE: The functionality! We cannot get enough of popping in a food pouch in the morning for our little one and letting him go. No more wrapping him up in a IKEA bib full body wrap and locking him into a car seat to turn around to still a mess everywhere. It is literally changing the way we eat our morning yogurt!

LIKE: I am super grateful that it requires minimal washing in between uses but if you find that you do need to wash it, The Flipping Holder is 100% top rack dishwasher safe.

BUMMER: After a week of use, my guy has realized that he can shake it upside down and still make a bit of a mess. It’s harder and less frequent, but happens. The Flipping Holder has been a life changer but I will understand that it isn’t 100% fool proof either. Obviously, there has to be a way to get the food out somehow.

Overall, I love this product, and I cannot say it enough about it to my friends and family. It has changed the way we do eating on the go and food pouches in general. I am super excited that as we move into juices after the age of two that we will have continued use for this item for a long time. What do you use to keep your little ones clean during snack time?

The Flipping Holder

The Flipping Holder

The Flipping Holder

Here is a little bit more about Leah, the owner of LCeeeDesigns and The Flipping Holder:

How did you get your shop started?
This business started as an idea in 2013. I always had an interest in bringing ideas to life, but typically in the context of crafts and sewing. In the spring of 2013, my son and I travelled by plane to visit my sister. He was 1 year old at the time, and I purchased food pouches believing they’d be perfect food for the plane ride. Unfortunately for the person sitting next to us, it turns out he was very good at making squeezy messes instead of eating. For months I avoided food pouches until the idea struck to create a holder that would make pouches much easier for toddler hands. My husband and I created an initial idea – a cup with a lid. However, our son was able to open it and still make a mess. Over the next couple of years we worked on other ideas until this final design stuck. In 2015 we had prototypes in hand and by mid-2016 we had manufacturing and sales underway.

What is the hardest part of owning a shop?
The biggest challenge has been learning the countless necessities required in launching a product and running a business. You need so much more than an idea: manufacturing, materials, packaging, shipping and other logistics, websites, social media accounts, business formation documents, tax details, etc. Small business requires a breadth of knowledge that is beyond what I learned in college or even in my other employment.

What is one thing unique about you?
Besides running this business, I work full time in a professional role as an attorney. Thankfully, I am supported by my stay-at-home husband and my three sons.

What is the best part of owning a shop?
Hands down, the best part is hearing from parents who have found the Flipping Holder to be helpful and stress-reducing. We recently received a warm message from a customer whose daughter with Cerebral Palsy could finally eat by herself like her little brother because of this holder. Those kind words and true connection with a fellow mom meant the world to me.

How did you get your shop name?
My shop is LCeeeDesigns, which started as an Etsy store selling breastfeeding and pumping related products. LCeee is based on my first name, Leah Ceee, which is an acronym for my grandparents’ names (Lois, Edward, Arthur, Helen, Christian, Edward, Ethel, Elizabeth). Specifically about our product, Flipping Holder was chosen because it reflects the holder’s functionality – upright is holds food pouches and flipping it over it holds juice boxes and juice pouches.

What is one way that you keep organized?
My running “to do list” notebook. I must write things down to remember them.

How do you balance family life and work life?
Not easily 🙂 I have come to learn that balance is more about seasons of life. We just welcomed our third son and in this season, my time is heavily family focused. There are other seasons where I am able to put more emphasis on the business. And yet other seasons where I am consumed by my full time employment. One key for me, however, is that I read my sons their bedtime stories every night, which ensures I have at least that time dedicated to them no matter how busy I am.

The Flipping Holder

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Thank you, Fox Family Boutique, for sponsoring this post, Montessori Learning with a Toddler. I was selected for this opportunity by Fox Family Boutique; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

If you have been around Bahorich Abode long, you know that we love anything that is truly intentional in nature. One area of our lives that strive to be intentional is our love of learning around the home. In a previous career, I taught middle school English literature and now I spend my days motivating employees to continue their love of learning throughout their careers. It is obvious that exploring, adventuring, and continuing to learn new and exciting things is important to us.

Because of this, we are continually searching for ideas that interest our little Ollie, capture his attentions, and meet his individual needs and curiosities. There are many reasons why we are encouraging Montessori learning in our homes, but the love of learning is definitely one of them. Montessori creates such a flexible learning environment with a child-centered learning environment and reality oriented through science, math, and things like daily chores. Although Ollie won’t start traditional Montessori schooling for another year, we are definitely allowing him to learn through Montessori-like activities at home.

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Toddlers love to tinker and we have become big advocates for open-ended play, developing gross-motor skills, and providing ample opportunities to explore their surroundings. This is why I have fallen in love with busy board. Busy boards help develop your child’s logic and fine motor skills, and not to mention, they captivate them for a long time. Busy boards help with color perception, coordination of movement, imagination, perseverance, exhibiting own activity, and skills using simple locks, velcro, and zippers.

“It follows that at the beginning of his life the individual can accomplish wonders – without effort and quite unconsciously.” Maria Montessori

The unfortunate thing about busy board is either they are expensive, massive, or take time to build on your own. So I knew when I found Fox Family Boutique, her design was perfect.

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

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LOVE: Beyond the Montessori learning that is happening when Ollie plays with it, it is so compact! It fits perfectly in his on-the-road bag and we plan on toting it with us when we fly to Disney World in a few weeks. It is a great size for him to pick up and it does not have to be mounted anywhere like the larger ones do.

LIKE: The quality is amazing. The handcrafted wooden piece is so sturdy and well designed. I love the different colors and activities that Fox Family Boutique was able to include in such a compact busy board.

BUMMER: Some of the locks are still hard to open for Ollie. All busy boards are definitely to be used with adult supervision; however, these locks are still a bit tricky for our 14 month old and if we are not careful, I could see a pinched little finger. It hasn’t happened yet, so maybe I am just a bit cautious. I do like that the locks are a bit difficult because this means it will grow with him a bit. So maybe the bummer is more of a growth opportunity for us.

Fox Family Boutique is one of two shops that owner Tatiana has. Her and her husband’s shops are their family business. Tatiana focuses on her busy boards over at Fox Family Boutique, and her husband’s focuses on puzzles and crafts made of wood over at Master Wooden. They have three small children, twins boys who are 4 years old and a girl who is 3! They implement their ideas together with their children. Their children help decide what they need for development, what they like to play, and what interests them, which helps with the designs in the shop. How neat!

Residing in Ukraine, it is very difficult to make a living for many folks, especially for those that have such a big family. Tatiana works at home with my husband. They have assistants, as the business is developing and growing and they are not always able to keep up with the volumes, which is amazing for them! All their work is handmade which limits their volumes. In every board or puzzle, they put their souls into, and they love their shops and their customers.

Beyond the intentionality of their shop and why they work each and every day, it is such an honor to help support them from around the world! Their busy boards and puzzles (which Ollie loves as well) are so well priced and well-made.

I am so excited to share with you a 10% off coupon for their shop. This is a great gift for those looking for a different and unique gift for their little ones for the holidays and beyond. We cannot get enough of ours. Use the coupon code BLOG10 for a discount to either of their shops!

Ollie loves his wooden puzzle as well. It allows for spacial learning and it is so colorful and cute. My favorite is the little elephant inside the elephant puzzle. I think it is so perfect!

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

Montessori Learning with a Toddler

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Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Thank you, Smiling Tree Toys, for sponsoring this post, Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys. I was selected for this opportunity by Smiling Tree Toys; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

As Ollie is learning and growing, we continue to try and be intentional with his development the best we know how. Life is all about balance with the good and bad; however, with Ollie’s health and learning, we want the very best for him. When I looking for great things to gift Ollie for his birthday, I knew that a letter puzzle would be the perfect thing as we grow into his second year of life.

When I found Smiling Tree Toys, I just knew that their products just resonated our family’s beliefs. Smiling Tree Toys isn’t just a family business; it’s a defining part of their family. They keep the personal, the passionate, and the eco-handmade touch in every aspect of Smiling Tree Toys. From sustainably harvested American hardwoods, to their homegrown organic camelina oil/beeswax finish, to natural cotton drawstring bags made-in-the-USA, they ensure every aspect of Smiling Tree Toys is respectful of and gentle on mother earth and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Their wooden name puzzles are a timeless and classic gift that Ollie is loving to play with and learning in the process! Made of natural maple letters, it contrasts with the walnut base, and it is something that it honestly going to last him a lifetime! They also give back which is another way of our intentionality reaching beyond just our little home. Smiling Tree Toys donates to Peace Corps development projects in honor of every purchase. How neat is that?

Our Spell Well Name Puzzle is so well made and sturdy. It will honestly ask a lifetime. I know it is something that we are going to continue to use as Ollie further develops his eye and hand coordination, learn letters, and spelling of his name. It was the perfect gift for his birthday and I am so glad that I found Smiling Tree Toys.

Looking to get your little one a great item for his or her upcoming birthday? Use the code “BAHORICH15” for 15% off their Spell Well Name Puzzles this weekend only! Also, use #SMILINGTREELOVE to tag your Smiling Tree moments on Instagram to enter their monthly giveaways!

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

Learning with an Infant with Smiling Tree Toys

What I Learned the First Year of Parenting

What I Learned the First Year of Parenting

Last week it happened. Mr. Oliver Hayes turned one. His birthday weekend has came and gone… it is such a blur.

Over the next month, expect a whole lot of sentimental posts as I reflect on the past year of this family. I may be a slight mess. You would expect this normally from a mom that is getting ready to have a one year old, but I was so consumed with finishing a few projects at work and getting the house ready to host folks for his party, I did not reflect enough for my soul. I know parenting is different for most. You can read a ton of blog posts, books, and articles on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. Living all of this is totally a different story. So here’s my account of what we learned during our first year:

Labor was not that bad. There are parts, but the actual pushing was not it for me.

Breastfeeding is laboring. It is a commitment and you have to believe in yourself.

A baby needs very little, not a registry full of items.

Swaddles are amazing.

So are pacifiers, and in hindsight, we would have given one to Ollie a bit sooner.

The first three weeks of parenting is a complete blur.

Do not be ashamed of loading your baby up in the car so that they will go to sleep.

Walks around the neighborhood are also the best for this.

Always have an extra, extra change of clothes, especially during the “blowout” phases.

You will laugh a lot.

You will feel overwhelmed.

You will cry.

All of this is okay.

Start a bedtime routine on day one and stick to it.

Don’t get too wrapped up in percentiles and developmental milestones.

Trust your gut on food, weight, milk, and the rest. You honestly do know best.

Summer babes do not need shoes. Figure out shoes when it gets cold outside, but don’t worry about them before then.

Take advantage of cuddle time.

If you have a local Children’s Hospital, go there first. Don’t mess with the regional one down the street (you’ll just get transferred).

Baby giggles are the best.

You will end up baby-proofing your life, not just your house.

Nothing is better than the snuggles.

Soak up every moment. The days can sometimes be long, but the year is so fast.

Ollie’s Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday

Thank you, Front Sight, for sponsoring this post, Ollie’s Mickey Mouse 1st Birthday. I was selected for this opportunity by Front Sight; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes is one year’s old! I cannot believe it and I feel like I’m saying this on repeat. This year just flew by and we had an amazing time celebrating this weekend!

Around here, we are Disney people. So I knew long before Mr. Ollie was born that I wanted to have a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party for his first birthday (and maybe every party afterwards). I wanted to keep the decorating simple so we could enjoy our time and worked bit by bit over the past month to keep that famous mouse in the details.

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!
Oliver Hayes turns 1!
Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Shirts | Banner | Chalkboard | Cake | Ears

One thing I really wanted to was have the best matching shirts for us. Knowing us, we’ll be rewearing these in the parks over and over for years to come. I found Front Sight on Etsy and instantly fell in love. Over at Ellie ‘n Ollie, we have opened up our own magically inspired tee shop; however, we don’t design matching shirts for the whole family. Front Sight was just the perfect place to have my whole theme come together.

Front Sight created a coupon code just for you for 15% off of their products at their Etsy shop through August 31, 2017. The coupon code is BAHORICH17. So if you are looking for the best birthday tees (or park tees) for your family to match, look no further their Front Sight!

Also, in celebration of Ollie’s birthday, I have partnered with Front Sight to giveaway a full mommy, daddy, and baby mouse set! Hop on over to our Instagram to find out more about the details!!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Oliver Hayes turns 1!

Transitioning to Solids with Earth’s Best Organic

Thank you, Earth’s Best Organic, for sponsoring this post, Transitioning to Solids with Earth’s Best Organic. I was selected for this opportunity by Earth’s Best Organic; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

So Ollie is officially eating solids now. He actually has for awhile. Honestly though, it took a bit. You see, Ollie is a runt. A 2 percentile kiddo. A little nugget. And although I love aspects of it, it is really rough. People feel free to tell you how much your kid needs more milk, how you don’t feed him enough, and in other words, how you are basically a terrible mom.

None of this was true though. I produced plenty of milk. He ate until he was full, and he was a happy, active baby. Nevertheless, I was excited to start solid foods. I was hoping that it would relieve some of the criticism of having a runt child, but it didn’t. Ollie did not like pureed foods. I was devastated. We tried a whole load of them from homemade avocados mixed with breast milk to wonderful organic Earth’s Best peas and carrots and apples. We tried for three weeks every night introducing new and different foods, the same food, doing everything the books said. Nothing worked.

Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food comes in three stages and I just loved their awesome lineup of organic foods for Ollie spanning stages 1, 2, and 3. Their foods have a vast range of fruits and vegetables to suit even a very picky baby, with Stage 1 options like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, bananas, and prunes. These were what we started baby Ollie with… but nothing worked. I started to think that it was not necessarily the taste (because honestly, I tasted them and they were pretty yummy), but the texture.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

So we attempted Earth’s Best Organic Stage 2 options which are even more diverse, including even some exotic fruits and vegetables, fruit and veggie blends, and fruit and grain blends. These Earth’s Best products are all organic, which that means no additives, no preservatives, and even no added salt or sugar. These are some of the best on the market and we have been consistently impressed with the quality and taste like I said before. Highly recommended, yet still no luck.

Again the criticism started. How he was seven months old and shouldn’t he be bigger? How hard are we actually trying to get him to eat baby food? Why would he not eat baby food? What were we doing wrong? He was definitely interested in what we were eating, but he just would not take the food we were trying.

So we slowly started giving him our food from the table. Soon enough, we thought we were pretty much doing what the cool kids call “Baby Lead Weaning”. I’m not making fun. I did a bunch of research and we aren’t really doing BLW; however, we were giving Ollie only table foods and he’s really been a great eater every since. He loves table food and loves to eat… and still a runt.

Transitioning to Solids with Earth's Best Organic

But then I was posed another problem. Baby food. I bought loads of Earth’s Best Organic baby food along with a few others, trying to get him to like this kind or that kind. What do I do with it? I tried to give it away here and there, but now that Ollie is almost one years old we still have quite a bit. So I brainstormed and came up with two great ways that Ollie is eating all his purees and having a blast while doing it!

1. Baby Food “Ice”

As we learned, Ollie didn’t dislike the taste, but he hated the texture. I bought these great chocolate candied molds (in cool shapes and sizes) and freeze his food into bite-sized pieces. They are great to weave two or three of these in with a meal and it makes sure that he gets a varied a foods during dinner!

2. Baby Food Popsicles

It’s been a long time since I have made popsicles, but I found these great full sized popsicles containers to squeeze Ollie’s food into. He’s obsessed with ice cream so now while mom and dad have a snack, we can distract him with his own “popsicle” too — just carrot flavored! He is just as happy as can be as we are loving him eating a more healthier option than us!

So if you are having trouble with your little one eating baby food, don’t despair and keep trying. Go with your gut but allow others to help too! You have this momma!