smith.inquiries@gmail.com  
              

Posts in “Motherhood”

Summer and new beginnings

Monday, June 25, 2018

 

DSC_2952aweb smith update 4

smith update 3

smith update 2

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

smith update

(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?

SHARE Share

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

always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama 3

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.

always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama

always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama 2

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.

always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama 6 always ready always radiant she speaks hello island mama 7

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.

SHARE Share

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.

DSC_1830aweb

 

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.

 

DSC_1866a-648x433 DSC_1854aaweb DSC_1926a-648x967

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! 

DSC_1594a-648x967

DSC_1673a-648x932

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

DSC_1807aweb

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




SHARE Share

Sleeping tips for toddlers

Thursday, May 3, 2018
sleeping tips for toddlers (4)

“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.

sleeping tips for toddlers (2)

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”.

sleeping tips for toddlers (3)

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”.

sleeping tips for toddlers (1)

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?

SHARE Share

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. 

nobunnys diy sharpie mug 8

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.

nobunnys diy sharpie mug 6

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.

nobunnys diy sharpie mug 7

nobunnys diy sharpie mug 5

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.

nobunnys perfect diy sharpie mug pink blush top3

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!

SHARE Share

Easter GIVEAWAY! + 3 month diaper subscription!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

 

incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (5)

incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (1)

This post is sponsored by IncrediBundles, all opinions are my own.

As a mother, I always try to be extra careful when it comes to exposing my kids to different kinds of toys and technology. Lately, video games and apps are the go-to options. One quick swoop and your kids can enjoy a handful of games. While this is easy and practical, I worry it may not be good for their health in the long run. I also don’t want my kids to depend on gadgets all the time. With Easter quickly approaching, it’s the perfect occasion to look for diverse activities to keep the kids occupied creatively.

It’s my youngest’s first Easter and the timing couldn’t be better for my first IncrediBundles bundle. IncrediBundles.com is a website that gives traditional baby gift-giving a new meaning. Gone are the wicker baskets, paper shreds, cellophane, and generic baby care products. Now comes a chic reusable storage container filled with the best award-winning toys, books, and products for babies—selected by child development experts and approved by parents. The result is an innovative line of IncrediBundles, designed to address a specific area of an infant’s development.

 

incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (2)

My package includes books, a Peter Rabbit plush toy, and an equally adorable reusable storage container. I’m excited to read the books out loud to my children as reading early helps develop language skills, concentration, and curiosity, to name a few. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with my kids. My eldest son particularly loves Peter Rabbit books; he got first dibs on the Peter Rabbit plush toy.

incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (4) incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (6)

I’ve always believed in activities that help develop imagination and creativity. With so much technology these days, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype. However, with my carefully curated package of IncrediBundles, I can flick through the pages of a book and have quality time with my children.

incredibundles gifts giveaway peter rabbit books toys diaper subscription (3)

Together with IncrediBundles, we’re giving away a Peter Rabbit Bundle and 3 month diaper subscription to give mothers and kids the best experience sans technology.

To get a chance to win this Incredibundle, all you have to do is submit an entry via Rafflecopter below. One winner will be randomly chosen. This giveaway runs until April 2, 2018 and is open to U.S. residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m excited to share this new experience of baby gift-giving to all the mothers out there! I hope you enjoy your bundle as much as my family and I do!

 

Happy weekday!

SHARE Share

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (9)

 

Hello, first day of spring! Can you tell in this picture how happy I am for this season?! Let’s say goodbye to thick clothes, and say hello to more fun, lightweight outfits. 😉 I love spring because it gives our family a reason to go out and enjoy the weather.  Whether we go to the beach, park, or other fun places, spring makes it all more enjoyable. Also, this season is when I will be celebrating my birthday with my youngest son for the first time! Today on Hello Island Mama, I also wanted to share how I created this spring themed photo with my chill baby. :) Scroll down for some fun!

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (2)

First, I googled an image of a bike, so I could sketch it and tweak some areas to fit my idea for this shoot. The more simple the sketch, the better, since I imported this illustration into Photoshop and added more details there.

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (11)

I did the cleaning in Photoshop by removing the background and decided to make the bike white in color by using “Color Overlay”.

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (1)

I know, I look silly here… Haha! But anyway, I used a counter stool for me to sit down on and pose in the position that I liked for the riding on a bike concept. Take note that you should check your clothes, like your top, to make sure it’s in the right flow. This also helps to add a more realistic look to the image when you’ve removed the background.

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (13)

Here’s the close up shot in my Photoshop workspace.

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (3)

Since I used a biking concept, I thought it was better to add a wind blown hair effect. I used my hair dryer (on the cold setting of course) to do the trick. I selected the hair to manipulate in the main image.

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (6)

I’m wearing a flowy pink top from Pink Blush, with pretty lace details. I also paird it with white jeans and a pair of slide sandals (similar to these).

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (7)

Of course, my little man wanted to join in on the fun too! His big brothers didn’t make it in the photo since they are too heavy to ride on the imaginary bike. 😉 However, it might be possible in real life to ride with 3 kids with something similar to this. That photo was taken in the Philippines. Haha!

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (4)

I hope you enjoyed today’s creative post! What are you looking forward to in this new season?

“As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3

SHARE Share

Family Weekend at Kemah Boardwalk

Thursday, March 15, 2018

kemah boardwalk family weekend 2

Over the weekend, we went to Kemah Boardwalk for some family time with my mother-in-law, who was visiting. We’ve brought our kids to Kemah a few times before and they love this place. The sights, sounds, and fun activities make them so happy! Weekends are the perfect time for us to spend time with Brent since he works all day during weekdays.

Kemah is a great place to bring your kids and family as there are different rides and attractions for the kids, which even adults can enjoy. They also have waterfront restaurants and a playground area for the kids to run around in.

kemah boardwalk family weekend 7 kemah boardwalk family weekend

My eldest two sons always have fun walking around in Kemah. It was great weather too, after we had chilly weather last week. I had a chance to wear a more lightweight chiffon floral dress from Pink Blush, paired with a thin leather belt and a pair of sandals.

kemah boardwalk family weekend 4

My mother-in-law wanted our eldest boys ride the carousel and they got excited when we finally got up to the second level of it. I think the second level is the best place to ride since you can see more of the sights around you.

kemah boardwalk family weekend 9

kemah boardwalk family weekend 3

When you plan to go to Kemah, you might want to check out this 25-minute boat ride on Galveston Bay, which is called Boardwalk Beast. It says to be ready to get wet since it hits speeds up to 40 miles per hour. We haven’t been on it yet, but I always see a lot of people going on and off the ride.

kemah boardwalk family weekend 6

Kids also love feeding the fish!

kemah boardwalk family weekend 10

Brent and his mom rode this wooden roller coaster together. I’ve never seen a roller coaster made of wood, so this caught my attention when I first saw it a few years ago. It can reach speeds of up to 51 mph. I’ll pass if you ask me to ride. 😉

kemah boardwalk family weekend 8

Hope everyone is enjoying the daylight savings time! Happy weekday!

SHARE Share

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

follow me!

          

Everywhere

Categories