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Posts in “Family”

Lego Birthday Theme (My son is 3!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

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Today I’d like to share my second son’s birthday theme for his third birthday celebration, which is – wait for it – Lego! He and his friends had fun playing with water guns, slides, and making candy necklaces in our backyard. For his past two birthday celebrations, we had a Sailboat and Fish theme respectively. 

My kids are big fans of Duplo ever since Brent and my mother-in-law surprised them with their own set. To be honest, I was never really a fan of Lego or Duplo. It’s incredibly messy and painful especially when accidentally stepped on. But eventually, I learned to love it. It can keep my kids occupied and entertained for hours while honing their creativity and imagination. They love to give me pink Legos or something that they created with pink Legos and I make sure to keep them with me all the time. They really are the sweetest kids!

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Here’s the board I made for my son’s birthday. lego birthday theme hello island mama 4

I have Pinterest to thank for helping me out with this idea and that I was able to pull through. I’m not really good with baking, so I’m extra grateful for ready-made fondants you can buy at the store. I used them to design the cake and cupcakes for my son’s birthday. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. The fondants were quite easy to use, too. I never realized how relaxing and calming it was to design until I tried it.

Instead of buying Lego decorations, I used Duplo blocks to decorate the table, Brent helped design the cupcake tower.

Since our kids are half-American and half-Filipino, I decided to make Philippine and U.S Flags as fondant toppers for the cupcakes. I also made a Texas flag because we currently reside here.

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Here are the Lego Duplos set that my kids love to play and some of the sets I used to help decorate the Lego-themed birthday  cake:

My First Cars and Trucks

Town Around the World (they love this set, gifted from Grandma!)

My First Playhouse (I think these are their first Lego Duplo Set)

Push Train (This is the set I used to design around the cake)

World Animal Jungle Set (where I got the alligator Lego)

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I love that the colors worked well together. They really look like Lego!

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Happy Birthday my sweet little boy!

I thoroughly enjoyed the process and preparations for my son’s birthday. When it comes to DIY, the result is always something to look forward to. It can be a hit or miss situation and it takes a lot of work – but seeing my son and his friends happy makes all the work worth it. Every time.

Do you or your kids love Legos?

Don’t forget to pin your favorite image on Pinterest <3

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Summer and new beginnings

Monday, June 25, 2018

 

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I feel like every year there’s a huge change in our family – from being pregnant to moving to a new home. But no, this time, we are not expecting another child. But also yes, because we’ve recently moved to a new home with our very own backyard! Since the birth of our eldest, we lived in an apartment with tenants down our floor. We always had to be careful and considerate with the noises coming from our home – and with kids, this is an extreme challenge. 4678608252085748593

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(Hammock from Eno)

Having a spacious backyard is the greatest thing because when you have active boys, it’s a good way for them to play and use their energy! My kids love playing with water especially when it’s raining. This reminds me of my childhood in The Philippines where we play in the rain and make paper boats that we would later use in small puddles of water.

Brent and I loved the idea of renting a house that we can relax in immediately after dinner. We sometimes walk or let the kids play with their scooters. Our hammock is the perfect place to relax and just be together with the shaded tree in our front yard. We decided to move to a new home since this is closer to our church and our kids’ other activities.

I can’t wait to make more memories here and the kids are also excited to make new friends including cats and squirrels! How about you?

What are you and your family are looking forward to this summer?

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Always Ready With Always® Radiant

Thursday, June 14, 2018

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks. always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama 4

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For women, our monthly friend can be cause of a worry. It’s not just the cramps but also the feeling we get when we have them. Sometimes it’s a task to track them, too. Not everyone gets their period on the same date every month. Since I’m still breastfeeding with my youngest, I have yet to meet my monthly visitor. In this case, I always want to be ready and don’t want to be caught off guard when my period finally arrives. I bring a lot of stuff with me on a daily basis. My planner, nursing cover, and wipes are my absolute essentials and definitely won’t leave the house without. Along with this, I carry Always® Radiant pads with me wherever I go. They are individually and stylishly wrapped making it a breeze to carry in my purse. I even have one in my kids’ diaper bag and in our car just in case of emergency. This is a must for moms like me who doesn’t know when to expect their period.

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I’ve been using Always® Radiant ever since and haven’t encountered any discomfort. It allows me to move freely without the worry. I like that Always Radiant pads are up to 100% leak and odor free. It’s lightweight and absorbs 10x its weight because of FlexFoam™ and the best part is; you won’t even feel it’s there. It stays and sticks in place allowing me to move without being too conscious. For women who are always on the go, we need pads that don’t make us itch and stays no matter how busy our days get. As moms, the tasks we do every day can be a little overwhelming. It helps to wear a pad that is comfortable and extremely absorbent. It’s such good news that Always® Radiant added two more sizes based on women’s unique menstrual flow. Using the Size Selector Tool, it’s now easier for women to find a pad that works best with no added hassle.

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I’m just so happy to find a pad that fits my need and with 10 hours of protection. It’s effective and top quality at a very affordable price.  For more details on Always® Radiant pads, you can visit RadiantlyStylish.com. You can also find Always® Radiant on all Walmart branches.

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Chalk Shape Hop with Dial Complete® 2 in 1

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Dial2in1 #DialCompletesUs #2in1 #CollectiveBias

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My boys and I love being outdoors when the weather is warm here in Houston. If you are following my Instagram stories, you’ll see that we recently moved to a new home with a nice front yard to play in. One of the outdoor activities we love to do together is play “Chalk Shape Hop”. This is great activity for kids to learn about different shapes. I’m partnering today with Dial®, America’s beloved soap brand of 70 years. Dial® has recently released a new line-up, Dial Complete® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Beauty Bar and Dial Complete® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash. I’m partnering with Dial® to share a fun, messy, yet educational chalk activity that you can try with your kids this summer! This chalk shape hop is a hit with my boys and I hope it will be a hit with your kids, too!

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STEP 1 You can use different colors of chalk to make this activity fun. Start by outlining all the shapes you’d like for your kids to learn. I drew a circle, star, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, and crescent. I drew all the shapes close together so my boys could easily hop from one to another.

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STEP 2 Here’s the fun and messy part that my boys love. I let them help me color the inside of each shape.

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LET THE FUN BEGIN! I ask them to stand on a specific shape. Then I call out a shape and they hop from shape to shape as fast as they can until they get to the correct one! It’s a simple game, but my kids love it! If you have bilingual kids like I do, this is also a great way for them to learn shape and color words in both English and another language.

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My boys love to have snack time after playing. I trust Dial Complete® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash to clean off all the bacteria they came into contact with playing outside. It gives me peace of mind to know my  kid’s hands are clean after such messy activities. We’ve actually used Dial® foaming hand wash for many years, as my husband likes how easy it is for the kids to lather up and rinse off. I love that it’s formulated to keep hands moisturized and clean with its antibacterial formula, even after repeated hand washing. It comes in three variants: Manuka Honey, Pearl Essence, and Rose Oil. I personally like Pearl Essence. The scent is calming and feels extra good on the skin!

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I purchased mine from Target, but Dial® is available in all retailers near you. There’s several ongoing coupons that you can use while supplies last:

    • Buy the Dial® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash and receive $0.75 off
    • Buy the 3 pack of Dial® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Beauty Bars and get $0.75 off
    • Buy the 6 pack of Dial® 2 in 1 Moisturizing & Antibacterial Beauty Bars and get $1.00 off

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Bacteria can’t be avoided, but we can arm ourselves with proper products to rinse them away. When it comes to our family, our kids’health is our number one priority. With NEW Dial® 2 in 1, messy activities are worry-free!

What’s your kid’s favorite outdoor activity this summer?

 

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Little Baby Basics by Carter’s

Monday, May 28, 2018

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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One of the many dilemmas we face as mothers is choosing clothes for our babies. There are so many options and sometimes it can get a little overwhelming! I always opt for clothing that is comfortable for my kids, and made with fabrics that will not harm their skin. It’s no surprise that I was excited to come across Carter’s clothing. I started using their baby clothes with my eldest son, and have continued until now with my third son. Carter’s is a one-stop shop for all your baby needs, whether you need clothes for baby boys, baby girls, or gender neutral outfits.

Their bodysuits are the cutest and come in different designs and color. They use quality fabrics that do not irritate my babies’ skin at all. They have all kinds of baby clothes in a wide variety of sizes, from preemie to 24 months old. Each style caters to the different needs of our babies from onesies, pajamas, tops, and bottoms, to footwear such as sandals and shoes.

It’s always good to invest in quality, long-lasting basics for babies that are durable and will stand the test of time (and can be used later for new babies).. There’s a Little Baby Basics line with an array of pieces like swaddles, baby-proof bibs, hooded towels, easy outfit sets, and of course, the original bodysuit.

 

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My personal favorite is the original bodysuit that comes with snaps, making diaper changes a breeze. Dressing is easy too because of the expandable shoulders. The bodysuits are available in five packs on their website in various designs. Definitely a bargain! 

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If you prefer long sleeves for your baby or they’re easily cold, The Little Character Set is also available. It can be worn on days of travel or at night for a peaceful sleep for your baby. Carter’s iconic character art on the knees or toesies can also be spotted in this set, along with a short-sleeve option for your baby. Carter’s is gentle on my babies skin and provides the best kind of comfort.

 

Carter’s clothes are also a great present for expecting mothers. Their The Little Baby Basic bundles are perfect as a baby shower gift. This includes a one-piece, bibs, burp cloths, and blankets. Shopping for baby clothes can be tricky at times. Babies grow faster and can go from size 0 to 10 real quick. Just remember to always stick to the basics. Just like in women’s fashion, basics are the best kind of investment.

Find a Carter’s store near you. Carter’s offers up to 40% off through June 30 using this code: Online CART4342  in store: 066944

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What’s the one Carter’s essential you have for your baby’s first year?




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Sleeping tips for toddlers

Thursday, May 3, 2018
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“Please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up”… sound familiar? ;)

Sleeping is not just elusive for adults but for kids too. Some have a hard time sleeping and parents are usually up with them. Having a good night’s sleep is essential for good health, mind, and body. It also helps proper brain development for babies and toddlers. My husband, a Child Psychologist, recommends apt sleep hours for kids. Our eldest kids, who are 4 and 2-years-old are already good sleepers. We are in the process of sleep training with our 8-month old baby and my husband helps me with this process. I know not all parents agree with this method but sleep training works for our family ever since our first son. I wanted to share a few things that helped our kids sleep better.

White Noise/Sound Machine

We started using a Sound Machine during our first-born. Babies are used to hearing a lot of noise in the womb and it maybe hard for them to sleep in a too-quiet nursery. This device cancels out unwanted noise from your home or neighborhood but provides calming sounds to help babies sleep better. Our eldest, however, stopped using a Sound Machine when he reached 2-years-old. My husband and I have grown quite fond of it. We don’t mind playing the calming sounds in the background.

Sleep with their favorite item

Remember the term ‘security blankets’? Kids love them and need them. Kids always cling to their favorite toy and most of the time, bringing it to bed helps them sleep better. It gives them a sense of security and calm making them sleep peacefully. As for my kids, they always sleep next to their favorite plush toys. My eldest likes his plush owl, our 2-year-old his frog plush, and our youngest his fox plush. The item varies depending on what your kid’s favorite new toy is. Bringing those to bed is a huge plus in helping them sleep soundly.

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Create a routine

Routines are good for kids because their bodies recognize the pattern reminding them that in a few hours it’s sleeping time. As for us, it’s dinner (eating healthy meal with veggies), playtime, cleaning up the toys, bath time, book reading, singing worship songs, and saying a prayer. I’ve discussed this thoroughly in a previous blog post here. Also, refrain from using gadgets of any sort at least an hour before bedtime.

Reading books

Reading books before bedtime is a good cooling down period. It signals the body that it’s time to sleep and helps calm the mind. I’ve mentioned a few of my baby’s favorite books in a separate entry here. For my two boys, their current favorite books are “You are special” (I highly recommend this book! The author Max Lucado is a Christian writer.), “Horton hatches the egg” , and “the biggest bear”.

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Daytime Routine

Sleeping in the afternoon (no later than 4PM) helps our kids sleep soundly at night. We noticed that putting them to bed tired makes them cranky and agitated. My youngest sleeps twice (morning and afternoon). I love to read books to our two eldest sons before naptime too. My husband reads them a story at night to bond more since he’s always at work during the day. Since we speak two languages at home, I expose them to Tagalog books like “Ako si kaliwa, ako si kanan”, “Filemon Mamon”, “araw sa palengke”.

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Do some activities

Let the kids be active in the afternoon so when they’re about to sleep no unused energy will keep them up. Most of the time kids fidget before sleeping because of the unspent energy they have in their little bodies. The best way to address that is to keep them active during the day.

These are just a few things to help sleeping be a breeze for my family and me. What routines or activities work for you and your kids?

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Family Beach Day in Galveston Island

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackWithCreminelli #DiscoverFood #CollectiveBias

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When Brent and I found out we were moving to Galveston Island last year, we kept thinking how fun it would be to go to the beach often. Living close to the beach, we looked forward to time on the sand and water with the kids. We are beach lovers, as I come from the islands of the Philippines (you can see here how beautiful the beaches are where I was raised), while Brent lived in Thailand for a few years teaching kids. That is why whenever the weather gets warmer, we often hang out as a family at beach in Galveston!

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When we went to the beach over Easter weekend, it was like our mini getaway. Galveston Island has gotten a lot of tourists ever since the weather hit the 70s a few weeks ago, so it made us feel like we were on vacation too. We enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and the warm sunshine. Thankfully, our two eldest sons are really close friends. They enjoy the sand, sticks, and running back and forth from the little waves that reach the sand. The boys were also excited about their first kite flying experience with the kite they got as a gift from Grandma.

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Our youngest son is now able to sit on his own and entertain himself with baby toys, so Brent and I enjoyed some quiet and relaxation with snacks. Being the parent to three very active boys, can take a lot of energy. Our two oldest boys love to round around on the beach, like to be chased around, play with balls, and play with sticks (aka sword fighting), so we need to keep up. 😉  Even when we’re not at the beach, that is our everyday life with the boys at home..

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 I admire how Brent really puts in the effort to play with our boys, even when he has had stressful days at work. He needs the energy to play and enjoy time with the boys, so having a snack like Creminelli Fine Meats™  helps him refuel and keep the fun going with our three active boys.

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Since I’m still breastfeeding my little man, protein snacks are a convenient source of protein to satisfy my hunger and keep my energy up. My husband and I really enjoyed the taste of the Prosciutto & Aged Mozzarella and Casalingo, Gouda & Dried Cherries snack trays. Our two older sons loved it too! family beach day Galveston Island 2 (11) family beach day Galveston Island 2 (16)

They are available in a variety of trays at Target or Starbucks. They are the perfect quick and easy on-the-go protein snacks for adventures like the beach, hiking, and wherever else life takes you! Take a look and discover other fun adventures of Creminelli’s on their Instagram. family beach day Galveston Island 2 (4)

Speaking of adventures, this was my baby’s first time playing in the sand. It was so cute to look at the curiosity on his face trying to figure out what all the sand around him was. And yes, he wanted to eat it all… 😉

I hope you all had a lovely Easter! How did you spend your Easter weekend? Any fun adventures? I’d love to hear them!

 

 

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Nobunny’s perfect DIY mug

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

nobunnys perfect diy sharpie mug

I was inspired to create this post after reading Anna Dewdney’s book Nobunny’s Perfect for my kids. It’s a story about bunnies discerning good from bad behavior told through rhymes and expressive illustration. As mothers, we always try to be the best example for our children. However, there are days when it can be a little overwhelming and it can feel like we can’t handle everything at once. Sometimes I get tired, impatient, and weary.  When I start to feel all these, I try to take a step back and ask for forgiveness and strength. I take comfort in knowing that Christ is here to help and forgive us through praying and believing in Him.

Going back, the adorable bunnies from the book gave me a DIY Easter idea perfect for kids and mothers. Below are the materials!

What you need:

Oil-based Sharpie Marker

Pencil

Alcohol

Cotton swabs

Free Printable “Nobunny’s Perfect”

Plain mug

Oven

FIRST Make sure to clean the mug and let it dry. 

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SECOND Use a oil-based sharpie marker to draw the bunny image as shown above.

THIRD  For the text, download this FREE printable “No Bunny’s Perfect” typography. It should fit all types of mug sizes. By using a pencil, shade the back of the paper with the design.

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FOURTH Put the design on the face of the mug. Use clear tape to set in place.

FIFTH Using a pencil, start to trace the design over the paper while applying a good amount of pressure. This will help the pencil marks be more visible for you to start using the sharpie.

SIXTH Begin to draw using Sharpie by tracing over the marks left by the pencil.

SEVENTH Put your mug in a tray and bake it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure to put the mug in the oven before it’s hot to prevent cracks. Turn off the oven after the timer’s done. Let the mug cool for a few minutes.

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Tip: If you need to fix up some mistakes, don’t worry. Just use Q-tips with alcohol to clean the areas you want to fix. Also, this mug is hand wash only.

I thoroughly enjoy doing DIY projects no matter the occasion. It’s always fun to create and customize something according to your liking. Plus it’s a good stress reliever, too! This can also serve as an activity for your kids to home and practice their drawing skills. They can paint or draw their favorite shapes, animals, or letters.

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nobunnys perfect diy sharpie mug pink blush top

By the way, my pink floral off-shoulder top is from Pink Blush. It’s a maternity top that can be used even after giving birth. It’s lightweight and can be used everyday. I love how the print is perfect for Easter!

Have a blessed Easter everyone!

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, photography, motherhood and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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