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Posts in “Motherhood”

Family Weekend at Kemah Boardwalk

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kids also love feeding the fish!

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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. 😉

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

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maternity and nursing wrap style dress

Friday, March 9, 2018

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I’m thankful for this month that my baby is now 6 months old, and I am still breastfeeding him. Of all my sons, I have breastfed him the longest. I had a challenging time breastfeeding my second son due to what I suspect was d-mer. Now, my baby and I enjoy the bonding from our breastfeeding sessions! Breastfeeding brings me so much joy as I watch him grow healthy and strong. It also brings joy to my husband as well, since we save money from it. hah! I think my favorite part of breastfeeding is that it’s easy to feed at night, especially during the first few months when I lacked sleep.

maternity and nursing wrap style dress (1) I also wanted to share this cute wrap dress that is easy to use during breastfeeding. I picked a few other floral prints from Pink Blush that you might want to check out. They are perfect for the new season of spring!

wrap dress pink blush

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This wrap dress can be used if you are expecting. You can pair it with booties, wedges, and add accessories like a floppy hat or pouch. maternity and nursing wrap style dress (3)

Here’s a photo tip for today! I like to use a liquid based moisturizer, like coconut oil, on my shoulders and legs. When the light bounces off the skin, it creates a healthy, glowing look in pictures. Just make sure you don’t over do it so you don’t look greasy!

 
 

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What kind of dress styles do you like to use for nursing?

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Kid’s play area + machine-washable rug

Sunday, March 4, 2018

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How sweet to watch them play together! I really love this stage that my youngest son is in now. He’s able to sit on his own and watch his Kuyas (Tagalog for big brother) while playing or browsing through books :) Now that the weather is not gloomy and super cold anymore, we are enjoying our play area with bright sunshine. This is where we mostly read stories, learn some Tagalog words from Filipino children’s books, play with legos and have other fun activities! Lorena Canals sent us this gorgeous rug to enjoy in the kids’ play area. One thing that makes me excited to use this is that it is machine washable! If you have three boys, you’ll probably need a rug that is easy to throw in the washing machine. You’ll also need one that doesn’t worry you about stains, dirt, and spit up from the baby. 😉 This one rug checks off all those criteria. Who else can relate??

The one we have for our kids’ room is called “Bereber Beige”. It is simple and super soft, whether for your kids’ room or for the living room.  There is also this runway rug with a similar print for use in the kitchen or hallway.

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The rug is 100% super soft cotton, which is so nice for my baby to lay down in, especially for his tummy time. Lorena Canals rugs also use natural dyes, so there is no irritation for babies and kids like mine with sensitive skin. kids play area machine washable lorena canals rug (8)

Here are some of my favorite pics from their site that you should check it out for your home. There is also a wide selection of cushions with unique and cute designs, blankets of varying colors and shapes,  stylish baskets to hold items like magazines, scarves, toys, and wall decor! Be sure to check out their website to browse these super cute pieces and for inspiring images to see!

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Tropical Green

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Azteca Natural

rug2

Round ABC

I think this is attractive for a kid’s room. I like its simplicity and how it’s educational at the same time.

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Hippy Mint

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Do you love to use machine-washable rugs at home?

Don’t forget to follow me and Lorena Canals on Instagram!

 

This post is partnership with Lorena Canals Rugs. All opinions are honest and my own.

 

 

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Handling tantrums (VIDEO Q&A with child psychologist)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

talking about tantrums and more child psychologist cover

I was supposed to share this video on my Instagram story, (that is why it’s in a vertical orientation) but I thought it would be more helpful if it’s on my blog so my readers can also watch and hear. This is a continuation of our Q&A from Valentine’s day activity we did in Instagram story couple weeks ago. My husband rarely participates in my social media photoshoots or campaigns (haha) but when it comes to his field in child psychology, he is happy to share something that can be helpful for both parents and kids. He shares his advice regarding how to handle tantrums, why yelling is not effective, and some thoughts on depression, since that happens in our stage of life. This is a very quick video, but it has lots of great tips!

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A sign you need a MOMCATION (+ photo editing tips)

Monday, February 26, 2018

sign you need a momcation helloislandmama

Do you ever take a vacation all by yourself, leaving the house and mom duty for a few days? As much as I love my kids, I sometimes wish that I could take a few days away from the noise, refresh my mind, and spend time alone. Maybe I could have a spa appointment, go to the beach, stay in a hotel, and eat my favorite treats without hiding from my kids? Yeah, it’s all just daydreaming right now. 😉

Here in Galveston Island, we’ve been getting lots of tourists these past few days, since the weather dropped down to the 70s. Brent and I brought the kids to the beach over the weekend too. As I was walking with my baby by the shore, someone stopped me to ask if I had 3 boys. I replied that I did. They are a couple from Canada who have 3 boys too, but are all grown up. They were on vacation here in Galveston Island. How wonderful it will be when you reach the age when your kids are all grown up! I’ll be able to travel with my husband like that couple! Brent and I are looking forward to that. Today, I want to also share photo tips and a behind the scenes look at this creative shot! I thought it’d be fun to share what goes on behind my creative shots. It’s fun to look at, especially if you have an interest in photo editing and photography in general!

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I took a picture of myself wearing this pretty ivory floral wrap dress. It can be used during pregnancy and nursing as well.

 

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I used a chair for my toddler’s table set, so I could take a picture of my baby, pretending he was on top of the suitcase.

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As for the floral wallpaper, I laid my dress down on a flat surface and took a photo of it to transfer on Photoshop. I then edited it for use on the wall. I adjusted the levels and used the “Multiply” tool to make the photo look realistic on the wall.

Again, I used my Nikon DSLR (an oldie, but it still takes good images), a tripod, and my remote (like this one)  to make the shoot easier.

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This is an image I took in Austin, TX while Brent and I were on our honeymoon. I thought the image was beautiful, so I decided to use it for what was outside of the window. sign you need a momcation photo editing (8)

Hope you enjoyed today’s behind the scenes topic!

Where do you want to go and what do you want to do for your “momcation”? Give me some ideas!

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Finding your daily “me-time”

Friday, January 26, 2018

finding your daily me-time helloislandmama adventure captain america photoshop

As a parent, we all have different struggles with how to find time for ourselves. Before I had my third son, I tried to wake up a few minutes before my two eldest, so I could start my day quietly. But now, since our 5 month old still wakes up a few times at night, I’d rather wait for our human alarm clocks (our two older boys) to wake us up. I thought to share a few ways that help me recharge as a full-time mom with my three boys.

GIVE YOUR TIME FIRST

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House messes and to-do lists such as laundry can be overwhelming to think of and can easily distract me as a stay-at-home mom. But my husband Brent, always reminds me to give our kids time to bond, whether it is a few minutes playing with their Legos or sword fighting… I can really notice afterwards that they are more independent and happy when I give them my time to play and bond.

CIRCULATE TOYS

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Like I have mentioned in my post about “Mom life with 3 boys under 3”. Brent and I learned to circulate the kids’ toys so they will be excited when they see the toys they haven’t seen for weeks. This keeps them occupied and gives them some time to play on their own. I kept the big toys in their playroom, but I made 4 boxes and separated different toys into each box. I thought to put different colors to make it more exciting to the kids’ eyes. I find this simple way of circulating toys makes the house less chaotic from mess too. Plus, I believe that kids can concentrate on playing when there are no huge mountains of toys on the floor.

SCHEDULE NAPTIME

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Since my 5 month baby is getting into a naptime schedule (Twice a day! Hallelujah!). I tried to put my eldest boys on the same nap time as him in the afternoon. This is such a big “me time” solution to get 100% silence and get things done, such as cleaning, chopping ingredients for dinner, blogging, or shooting for a product, etc. I feel thankful that my boys continue to sleep for at least 2 to 2.5 hours! (Knock on wood!)

READ BOOKS WITH NARRATOR

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I grew up in a family that had the TV on throughout the day. My husband Brent who studied child psychology opened my eyes to the fact that TV can be very addicting and not healthy for a child’s brain, especially for young ages like our boys. We try to use screen time on Fridays (as a reward or for popcorn night) or weekends. They love Daniel Tiger and Animal Planet. During normal weekdays, letting them watch is my last resort if I’m totally overwhelmed and I need some space. If I I do, I let them watch a quick Youtube video with my supervision (I often show them videos about how to learn Tagalog words, I like to use this Youtube channel). Another effective way is when I let them browse through books like “The Grounch Lady Bug by Eric Carle” and use this Youtube video of the book to let them hear a narrator reading the story for them. All the while, they listen and browse the book. You can simply open a new tab, so they can’t see the Youtube screen.

Any other tips or effective ways to have few minutes of your own time?

 

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Dreaming of tropical weather (+ photo editing tips)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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How’s your weather, my friend? How’s mine, you ask? Cold. That’s why I was inspired to create this image of my boys. This time of the month last year, we brought our two eldest sons to the Philippines for the first time. Even though it was the longest and most tiring trip I ever had (and to think I was pregnant at the time), the 20+ hour trip was worth it. We enjoyed the tropical weather and the fresh food and fruits that my mom and my brother prepared for us. I really miss the beach and how relaxing it is to stay on the island of Marinduque.

I wanted to share today a few behind-the-scenes images at how I created this fun and tropical style image of my boys. Scroll down for some photo editing tips!
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Use the same location if you are using natural light for the shoot dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 5

Use a tripod and remote to make the shoot easier, especially if you need to assist your kids. I also like to plan beforehand what position they will be in for the photo idea. For my baby, I want him to look like he is climbing a tree, so I carried him to get the angle and positioning of his body that I needed. I used clone in Photoshop to remove my hand.

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For the legos, I still try to take photos of them in the same location, so I can avoid doing lots of adjustments for the lighting. I love to use the pen tool to remove the background and transfer the lego onto the the main background.

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I try not to show the whole faces of my children here on my blog and Instagram, since my accounts are public.  I love to use props like this toy camera my eldest is holding to cover parts of their face.

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Hope you enjoyed this post for today! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my blog. :)

 

Baby’s Pajamas / Toddler Blue Short Sleeve (similar) / Toddler Blue Short (similar) / Toddler Khaki short

Safari Duplo Legos / Toddler table and chairs

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11 Favorite Books for the Baby + DIY Book Container

Saturday, January 6, 2018

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If you come to our place, you’ll see the books of my kids everywhere. Brent and I love to read books to our kids, especially before naptime and before bedtime. It’s part of our kids’ routine and it’s one of our favorite bonding time activities. Books have been my life saver too when my two toddlers need to have quiet time or a calm-down moment (this is also to help me 😉 ). Since my baby is turning 5 months, he’s showing some interest at the pages of the books I’m browsing through and reading to him.

Here are 11 of our favorite books for our baby, which my two toddlers loved when they were babies too.

  1. Can you choo choo!
  2. Good night Moon
  3. I love you stinky face
  4. First 100 Words
  5. Red Truck
  6. The very hungry caterpillar
  7. Dear Zoo
  8. Baby Einstein: Mirror Me!
  9. Toes, Ears, & Nose! A Lift-the-Flap Book
  10. Peek-a-WHO?
  11. The Beginner’s Bible All Aboard with Noah!: A Lift-the-Flap Book

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I also thought to make a book/toy container out of an Amazon box without sewing. I have a thing with cardboards, it’s hard for me to let them go. 😉 Check out my other works using cardboards such as DIY Playhouse, DIY Play Kitchen, and more.

Materials:

Box

Fabrics (for outer part and for the inside of the box)

Natural Jute Rope

Glue Gun and Stick

Scissor

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Instructions:

Start by folding the upper flap of the box inside and seal with tape. Choose the main fabric you want for the outside of the box. Cover it with that fabric and trim the excess. I did some folding as shown in the image shown above. Make sure to pull the fabric as you stick it with hot glue so it won’t get loose.

For the interior, I used a free canvas bag that Brent brought home. I removed the zipper part and handle, and covered the inside of the box with it. Again, trim the excess fabric. I left about a ½ inch of fabric to glue over the top edges of the box

Lastly, use a natural jute rope to put an accent and add natural charm to the container. That’s it! You can also use this container for diapers or small toys.

favorite baby books DIY book toy container no sewing

I hope this tutorial inspires you to recycle some boxes and make them useful at home. :)

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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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