We just got possession of our new house and I started freaking out because when we took Amadeo to there he very enthusiastically started opening EVERY kitchen cupboard and B-lining it right to all the stair cases. I knew that with the parenting approach I’ve been going with since Amadeo was mobile (the sort of laissez-faire approach) I would need to baby proof this home with permanent fixtures, the tape on the cupboards and pressure gate wouldn’t cut it.
You are used to by now me admitting that I’m not an expert on most thing not child education related, and I truly am of the belief that if their are services provided by experts in your area, to hire them. It takes away the guessing, the questions and millions of different opinions on those mom Facebook groups, saves you time from researching and honestly and most importantly to me, gives you peace of mind that something will be done right the first time. No trial and error here.
I knew after I hired Safety Mavens for our at home car seat installation that they would be a perfect fit. (and are the only company in Ottawa who provides this service) They are a wife, husband duo who run the business and a pleasure to work with. They also service Toronto residents.
We had a consultation and found the right fit for our Safety Proofing needs with our family. Its important to do this step because everyone’s home, lifestyle and parenting style is different. It’s great to get a second opinion and recommendations from a professional in regards to child safety.
At the moment our safety needs are:
Installation of a fixed gate at the top of the stairs going to the basement.
Installation of a gate ( we chose fixed and pull adjustable because of the size of the opening) at the bottom of our stairwell on our main floor.
Installation of a fixed gate at the top of our stairs on the top floor.
Magnetic locks (due to the style of our cabinet and the modern look I was going for in my home design) on all of our lower cabinets and pantry.
Here are a couple quick videos of the Installation process.
The products that were installed in my home were gifted to My Little Lamb by, BUYBUYBABY CANADA.
You’ve probably herd many different names or terms for a Calm Down Corner, this is the term most used in Therapy, the School Boards and Daycares to describe a “safe space” where an individual child can go to self regulate their emotions away from others.
I’m almost 30 years old and still go to therapy to learn different strategies to regulate my emotions, it takes a lot of work to be able to gain the skills of self reflection and self help, its not a skill you are genetically born with, its a taught skill.
For children especially, the skill of being able to recognize and self regulate their emotions can be very difficult and may take some time to learn and master due to their brain growth and development. When looking at implementing learning and coping strategies for a calm down corner area like this in your classroom, daycare or home, I truly feel its important as an adult to understand how a child’s brain is working and developing on the emotional scale. (the Limbic system of the brain)
The Limbic System of the brain consists of the Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland, Amygdala, Thalamus, and the Hippocampus.
Hypothalamus: The Hypothalamus is a very small part of the brain however it plays a huge role in many important functions, including: releasing hormones, regulating body temperature, maintaining daily physiological cycles, controlling appetite, managing of sexual behavior, and regulating emotional responses from yourself and others.
Pituitary Gland: The Pituitary Gland is a tear drop looking part of the brain that is a part of your endocrine system. Its main function is to secrete hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones can affect other organs and glands, especially your:
thyroid, reproductive organs, and adrenal glands.
The pituitary gland is sometimes called the master gland because it’s involved in so many processes.
Amygdala: The Amygdala is a part of the brain that is responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergency events. The amygdala is responsible for the perception of emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, as well as the controlling of aggression. This part of the brain is formed during its development is based upon experiential events. The amygdala helps to store memories of events and emotions so that an individual may be able to recognize similar events in the future.
Thalamus: The Thalamus is responsible for relaying information from the sensory receptors to proper areas of the brain where it can be processed. It is a large mass of gray matter in the dorsal part of the diencephalon of the brain with several functions such as relaying of sensory signals, including motor signals to the cerebral cortex, and the regulation of consciousness, sleep, and alertness.
Hippocampus: The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories and is also associated with learning and emotions. Because the brain is lateralized and symmetrical, you actually have two hippocampi. They are located just above each ear and about an inch-and-a-half inside your head.
All of these functions aren’t fully formed or developed until you are 25 years old. This is why it is curtail to learn and develop self emotional awareness and regulation strategies during these formative years and while these parts of the brain are still developing . Experiences will and can have effect on the Limbic System as it develops, depending on the experience it will either positively or negatively impact how these areas are developed in those early years. No matter the case, self help tools can be taught and learned to help a person regulate and understand this part of the brain and how it reacts to the world around them emotionally
A calm down area has been studied and proven to be a great tool for teaching children those self help, awareness and regulation tools and stragies in their early years.
What a Calm Down Corner looks like and consists of
A calm down corner ideally should be separate from an area in your home that your child would usually play in, this area isn’t meant for play, it’s purpose is for centering themselves emotionally and relaxation. (make sure to follow @mylittlelambblog on Instagram to sign up for the email freebie on how to properly implement a calm down corner, in this freebie you will learn at what age this is appropriate for and how to introduce and teach your child to use this space as its intended)
It should be cozy and inviting, choose calming colours for pillows, a blanket, rug or matt , seat extra to help visually promote the idea of relaxation. Maybe include a favourite stuffed animal, a lot of children will use this area to re enact an event out loud and a stuffed animal to confide in can sometimes be very comforting.
Have some quiet activities that can be switched up weekly to keep your child’s interest and books with little to no words, mostly pictures. Puzzles are a great addition as well.
Sensory items are a must. When your child, or even adults, are dealing with a influx to their nervous system, a great way to regulate that is fulfilling a sensory need, something physical that can be touched and focused on to distract and break the cycle (spiralling) of big emotions.
That’s it, at no point should technology like a tablet, iPad, or television be incorporated into a calm down corner, it will be a distraction instead of your child learning how to cope and deal with the emotions they are experiencing head on.
That’s it, to actually introduce and implement a calm down corner will take a lot of time, effort, dedication and being consistent, but once your child gets the idea of it and practices using it, it will be your child’s ( and your) saving grace. Nothing that truly benefits your child’s growth and development emotionally is easy, remember they are still growing that part of the brain till they’re 25 years old, but the pay out and benefits completely out way all that hard work!
I will link below the sensory items I picked up from Scholars Choice. These are NOT affiliate links.
These items however WILL be included in a Giveaway hosted on @mylittlelambblog on Instagram and will be live from Thursday September 12th and the contest closing Thursday September 19th at 7:00pm est. Visit @mylittlelambblog to find out the details on how to enter! (total value : $250)
The infamous Cake Smash brought to you by the pressures of Pinterest and overall cuteness of watching your baby enjoy cake for the first time!
My husband Thomas works in construction and I’m very proud of how hardworking he is and the talent he brings to his craft in the stamp concrete world. (check it out, https://mystampedconcrete.ca/ ) I knew I wanted to incorporate a construction theme into Amadeo’s Cake Smash, and I’m so happy I did because it is the cutest EVER!
Amadeo DID not want to eat the cake that Daina from Daina’s Bake Shop made, maybe its because he’s just not a chocolate kinda guy, he loves his cheetto snacks, but we literally had to force him to try it. In all of his mothers glory there was gagging involved and lots of laughing from us.
Here’s the Shoot…. warning you now there is an excessive amount of cuteness
Then we moved inside to try to get him to really get into the cake!
I’m a planner. I like to have amble time to think, create, and prepare for a big event or celebration. After I became a mother that desire didn’t just poof disappear, but my spear time did. I used to spend so much time hand crafting and creating décor for birthdays and shop and source things for months on end but very shortly after Amadeo started crawling and I started thinking about his first birthday and what that would look like I knew I needed to actually out source EVERYTHING if I wanted to throw Amadeo ( me ) a birthday that would live up to my past parties.
We have had some big milestones celebrated and hosted at Sala San Marco event hall in Ottawa and we knew that to fit the amount of people we would be inviting and have a stress free day with amazing food and drink, this is where we would go for Amadeo’s First Birthday. Sala Released a sketch on Instagram of a new room that would be renovated in time for Amadeo’s Birthday and I knew it was the perfect room for his Where The Wild Things Are theme and even better the room itself is named after the owner Tony’s son Amadeo! The food, drink , and service was exactly to the Sala San Marco gold star standard and it was the perfect day!
Thomas and I had our wedding reception at Sala San Marco and hired the Company Pearl Décor to bring our vision to life, and then hired them for rentals to complete our Baby Shower décor! Rasha is an Ottawa based mom-treprenure who has such a passion for creating the most beautiful events. Her close family also work along side of her for set up and take down and I truly can’t recommend them enough for ANY event! She helped turn the Amadeo Room at Sala into a dream come true, fully decorated with the most stunning floral arrangements, centerpieces, chairs, dessert table, back drop and the most adorable gold highchair! This is the magic that is Pearl Décor.
Tracy Owns and operates her local small decorating business and offers an array of custom clothing, decorations, balloon garlands, party box, almost anything you can think of to perfectly personalize any event! I met Tracy through this platform and the blogging world and fell in love! We have done an Instagram live together and collaborated a few times, our personalities mesh so well and she would honestly do anything in her power to help alleviate your stress as a mom and help make your event picture perfect! Tracy made a custom Wild One onesie for Amadeo, cake, cupcake and donut toppers, crowns, a birthday banner, a highchair banner and crown and gorgeous balloon garland fit for a king! Everything was so beautifully made and such great quality!
These were the top three venders that helped make Amadeo’s first birthday soooo perfect! Thank you Sala San Marco, Pearl Décor and Confetti Events!
When I was trying to settle on a theme for Amadeo’s First Birthday I decided that I would go with that his birthday parties (until he can verbally tell me other wise) will all be themed after a children’s book. Our joint baby shower was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I LOVED the Wild One theme that has been so popular this year so I knew Where The Wild Things Are would be the perfect book to make come to life!
Thank you to all of our family and friends who were able to make it and Sarah from Creations Behind The Lens for documenting the day in the best way, you are so talented!
Amadeo was surrounded by so many amazing family and friends
I Had my amazing co-workers aka my second family come and support and celebrate not only Amadeo’s milestone but shower me with love for being a mama!
Also I had awesome mama bloggers that have been in our life for the last year, we laughed and drank and joked about all the crazy that motherhood is!
And obviously we had an outfit change, this was the third and finally Birthday Outfit for my little Wild thing
Thank you for everyone who attended and all the amazing venders involved!
Caroline and Sam are wonderful friends of mine, Ottawa local small business owners, makers, and the talent behind Crafted Together Co. and the Wood Sign Calligraphy Workshops that myself and Laura, from Make It Laura, were lucky enough to attend in the spring.
Caroline and Sam started Crafted Together co. almost 2 years ago. Caroline took a local calligraphy workshop and continued to practice her lettering for months on end. Caroline showed Sam a wood sign she thought she could create, and without hesitation he said “Let’s do it, let’s figure it out!” The first sign was created as a Thanksgiving hostess gift and the rest is history.
Since then, Sam and Caroline have learned how to run and manage a business, creating hundreds of custom signs for all occasions, and attending various craft markets around the city. Most importantly they have made connections with other creatives in the city and love the notion of community over competition, always up for a creative challenge and collaboration with others.
After some time, the duo wanted to share the experience of creating wood signs with the public and have started to offer wood sign workshops where you can learn how to hand letter your very own wood sign.
The goal is to provide a fun experience in an inviting and creative setting. The hope is that participants leave the workshop feeling like they’ve learned something completely new, and create a piece of art work they can be proud of.
Caroline + Sam
I’m a creative, and I think a lot of us women and mothers are but no longer have a lot of opportunities to take the time needed to spend to indulge that part of us. The Wood Sign Calligraphy course was the perfect Moms night out for us.
Our workshop was hosted at the beautiful, The Wine Bottega in the heart of Westborro, we had great wine to taste throughout the workshop and Delicious snacks provided, anytime there is food and wine involved, COUNT ME IN!
We had beautiful kits created for us with all the materials and tools needed for the class and to make our wood sign, bonus we got to keep and bring home our personalized goodies. Aside from Caroline having a gift for teaching the workshop all the little added bonuses and touches they provide are just fabulous!
We were gifted this experience in exchange for an honest review on the workshop and I HIGHLY recommend in taking part in a workshop coming up in the fall! I went into the workshop not knowing ANYTHING about calligraphy or how to do it and I left with a beautiful handmade wooden sign and knowledge and talent to confidently apply my skills to DIY projects I may want to do in the future.
I wanted to learn calligraphy for a while, and lucky for me was invited by Vanessa to attend one of the Crafted Together Co’s workshops. Caroline and Sam did an amazing job! The workshop was so well organized. Each person received a calligraphy kit and an amazing workbook created by Caroline. We had time to practice our lettering before moving on to planning and creating a sign. Sam prepped boards for each student that were perfectly sanded and stained. They even included hardware for us to hang our creations at home! Since the workshop I have continued to practice my lettering and go back to the workbook often. The skills I learned in this workshop have been invaluable, and the experience was so fun to share with a friend.
– Laura, Make It Laura
Caroline and Sam have Workshop Dates that are now open to book. Visit @craftedtogetherco on Instagram and Click their link for upcoming workshops and booking details.
Scholars Choice is having an amazing sale for Teacher Appreciation Wednesday, July 31st, 2019. I have received MANY requests asking for a list of my must haves and favourite toys so you can take advantage of the sale and scoop them up at 20% off!
My Recommendations for the top ten birthday presents for a one year old
You’ve spent months planning the perfect first birthday for your little one and closer to the date have had all your family and friends ask, what to get them as presents.
This can be a tough and daunting question to answer. On one hand we’ve been taught that asking for gifts (unless it’s to Santa) is rude, so you end up saying, whatever you’d like to get, but then you end up with clothing that doesn’t fit, a whole bunch of plastic ride on toys and things you’d really prefer not to store in your home.
Your child’s first birthday is one of the only birthday’s where you truly do have all the power in decision making for presents (take advantage mamas!). Later on these children start to vocalize an opinion of what they would prefer…. wah wahhhhh.
So take advantage when someone asks you what they should gift your child, because the toys that I’m going to recommend for you, are mostly toys that will grow with your child. These are toys of great quality, are multipurpose and they will use in different ways at different ages.
My recommendations are on the older end of a one year old because realistically the toys and resources you already have for your child are going to still be great learning and playing tools for them for the next couple of months. The toys I’m going to be listing below can be introduced to your one year old whenever you feel they are ready to start exploring but will keep your child busy and interested well into turning two and on.
I work in a partnership with Scholars Choice, to inform parents as an Educator for the last ten years and a professional purchaser of toys and resources from this AMAZING family own and run company. The best part of their website is you can create an account and start a wish list of these products to share with your families!
So without further adieu these are my Top Ten Birthday Present Recommendations for a One Year Old
Puzzle’s: These are amazing toys to help your child develop, learning colours, letters, shapes, spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and challenge their way of thinking. With introducing any new concept or activity it is important that it not be too challenging to the point of a child becoming frustrated and uninterested in exploring the toy itself. I absolutely love all Melissa and Doug products, they are reasonably priced, AMAZING quality ( they withstand years of daycare abuse ) and all produced with early learning and child development in mind.
2. Blocks : These toys have many educational benefits and will be used by your children in different way throughout the years because they are considered toys that are open ended. Blocks help your child to develop hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, Spatial awareness, enhances logical thinking and cause and effect, and helps develop early math and engineering skills. I love the quality and longevity that Hape offers to their consumers. This block set is a great starter set for your one year old and the wooden material will help keep them in touch with natural materials, those are proven to be beneficial for early learning development.
3. Books: I know by now your child probably has a pretty great book collection but their are some books that I recommend in the first year that will help develop many developmental domains. The developmental early- childhood domains that can be worked on through exposure of these books I recommend are, Language, Cognitive, and Social Emotional.
4. Open ended toys and loose parts : You may or may not have herd of the concept of introducing to your child as they grow open ended toys and loose parts. These toys can be used in a variety of ways depending on the child, the day, and their imagination. They foster play, creativity, and imagination. My two favourite brands, which are very hard to purchase and ship to Canada and thankfully Scholars Choice sells, are Grimms toys and GraPat. I’m sure by now you have seen this iconic wooden rainbow in play, those are the types of toys that are perfect not only for your one year old but until I would say around 12-13 years old. These toys are AMAZING quality and truly to be what I consider heirloom pieces.
5. An Active World Tray : I was generously gifted my Active World tray a little while ago and I use it almost everyday! It contains messes, encourages longer interactive play, and you can set up a whole creative world for your child to explore. ( hence the name) This is probably one of my top gifts ever recommendations since I have been using mine. This tray is another example of a toy that will be used over the years to come in so many different ways. You can also purchase accessories and legs to turn it into a table later on as your child grows.
6. Squigz: I’m a HUGE fan of the company FatBrainToy, they come out with amazing quality toys that help develop so many skills in your child. I have used Squigz with all the children at my daycare in a million different invitation to play set ups as well as the child just uses their imagination and directing their own play and using their imagination. I introduced these to Amadeo when he was just two months old to help make tummy time a bit more interesting, and because they are made of silicon they can be put into the fridge or freezer to help with teething. Another bonus is they suction to so many different surfaces, the bathtub, the window, the table, highchair, floors, airplane tray… the list is truly endless, I truly feel that every child should have at least one set of these to help strengthen their fine motor skills through play!
7. Dramatic Play Materials: Depending on your child’s interest its a great idea to start building up their at home dramatic play set ups. The most effective set ups mimic real life. (ie: Restaurant, grocery store, veterinary clinic, doctors office, mechanic, construction site etc) Melissa and Doug sell really great dramatic play sets of again AMAZING quality. These types of toys will be picked up multiple times throughout the early years. The learning skills that will be developed through dramatic play include, Role playing, Pretending and make believe, communication, cooperative play, Social skills and interaction, and problem solving.
8. Babies: So around one years old, children start to show a interest in taking care of dolls, stuffed animals, and babies, especially if they have another sibling or one on the way! Playing with babies can help develop your child’s Social Skills, Responsibility,
Empathy & Compassion, Imagination, and language. What I LOVE about Scholars Choice is all the of different ethic doll options they have to chose from. Weather your child is male or female and which ever ethnic background you will find a baby doll or doll that looks similar to them. Honestly go to the Scholars Choice website and search baby dolls and you can see all of the options.
9. Animals: Starting an animal figure collection will be really benifical to your childs development and play invitations through the years. There are so many activities you can set up with animal figures that will make learning different concepts more dynamic and interesting, as well as how they play with them will change and evolve.
10. Ride on Toy: Scholars Choice has some AMAZING toys that helped develop gross motor skills, and what I love about a ride on toy, is having one that’s versatile and can grow a couple stages with your child. This is the only type of ride on toy that you would truly want, its outdoors and is used in four different stages.