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Posts in “Motherhood”

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

finding your daily me time helloislandmama (4)

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

finding your daily me time helloislandmama (1)

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

finding your daily me time helloislandmama (5)

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

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 1

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!
dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 4

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.

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 6 dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 7

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.

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 8

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.

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 2

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

favorite baby books DIY book toy container no sewing1

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

favorite baby books DIY book toy container no sewing 2

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

favorite baby books DIY book toy container no sewing 5 favorite baby books DIY book toy container no sewing 7

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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Our baby’s bedtime routine

Friday, December 15, 2017

nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack

Our youngest son just started to roll over, a few days before he turned 4 months old! I forgot how new milestones make me feel excited. My eldest son was confused why I screamed for joy when I noticed that his baby brother was on his tummy instead of his back, in his play gym. I love seeing these milestones. They give me a priceless feeling, as a stay-at-home mom. Since he is rolling over now, my husband and I transitioned him from a swaddle to wearable blanket. I‘m excited to partner with one of our favorite companies, HALO, and their excellent products that all my kids have as babies.  I also want to share in today’s post what we normally do for our baby’s bedtime routine.

BATHE THE BABY

Since regular bathing can make the baby’s skin dry, I give my son a bath once or twice a week. If it’s the day of no baths, Brent and I make sure to wipe his face, neck, and hands  clean before applying moisturizer. Of course, clean diapers are important too.

nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack 7

PUTTING ON CLOTHES

We like to put him in clothes that will keep him warm during the night, together with the HALO SleepSack Platinum Collection, that we replace loose blankets with. This combination keeps our baby safe and warm at night. I like how it offers a two-way zipper, so that I can easily change my baby’s diaper at night and easily dress him.

nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack 2

READ BOOKS

We love to read books to our kids, and started this when they were at a very young age. I think it also helps to give a baby a signal that bedtime is coming soon. Some of the books that we love to read for our baby include Goodnight Moon and Hello Baby.

nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack 4 nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack 5

NURSE THE BABY

Nursing my baby is such a wonderful way for us to bond and end the day. Although he still waking up every 3-4 hours, I don’t want to complain because that is way better than every 1-2 hours like he did before. 😉 I also love to sing him lullabies and Tagalog songs. I don’t think I have a good voice, but he falls asleep when I sing. 😉

nigh routine with the baby halo sleepsack 6

What’s your favorite bedtime routine with your baby?

Disclosure: HALO sent me this sleepsack to review. All my opinions are my own.

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Our shared room with baby + organic baby mattress

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This post is sponsored by My Green Mattress, but all opinions are honest and my own. shared room with baby organic crib mattress (8) shared room with baby organic crib mattress (3) shared room with baby organic crib mattress (4)

shared room with baby organic crib mattress (1)

Brent and I always wanted to sleep close to the new baby, before he turned one year old. Our first two sons slept in a bassinet as babies, during the first few weeks after I gave birth to them. I found it easier to get up and feed them, most especially when they were still waking up at night frequently. When I gave birth to my third son, I really didn’t expect that he would be the biggest baby I have ever had. He weighed ten pounds at birth! See my birth story here. Just imagine how much he weighs now, after a couple of months… He’s a big baby indeed, and cute!

We are thankful to have found a place in Galveston that has much more space for us. It has bigger rooms that work perfectly for our shared room with a baby crib. We are using an Emily Natural Crib Mattress from My Green Mattress for our son’s crib, which fits perfectly. I wish I knew about this baby crib mattress back when my two eldest boys were babies. They have sensitive skin and one of them has eczema and allergies, so this would have been great. My Green Mattress is a family business located in LaGrange, Illinois. They use organic cotton and 100% natural eco-wool quilted covers. You can tell that the quality of this mattress is astounding since it is hand-crafted. I like how this company prioritizes offering all-natural mattresses that are non-toxic, soft, and comfortable for babies.

shared room with baby organic crib mattress (2)

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I can’t wait for our little son to use this mattress, all the way until we transform his crib into a toddler bed! shared room with baby organic crib mattress (11)

Are you also sharing your room with the baby? How does your little one sleep?

 

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Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

raising-boys-shirt

raising-boys-shirt3a

My sister and I are now both moms and we like talking with our own mom and sharing our everyday lives with our kids. We’ve been saying this to her lately, “Ma, ang hirap mag-alaga ng bata…” (Translation: Ma, it’s hard to take care of the kids.) She teases us and says “Now you know.” 😉 Yes, now I really appreciate how my mom worked so hard for us, her three kids. I still remember that she had a full-time job and woke up before sunrise just to prepare our lunch, prepare us for school, and a lot of other things! Brent and I have been experiencing a lot of craziness in the house lately. This led me to browse for mom-related memes, just for laughs. I thought to share some that made me L-O-L. 😉 It’s true that good laughter is the best (and a free) medicine, especially for parents.

 

Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (1) Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (2) Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (3) Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (4) Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (5)

(I hope Brent reads this 😉 ) Memes for Moms Who Need to LOL (6)

Which one of these memes do you relate with?

raising-boys-shirt-2

These shirts are the cutest! They were made by a good friend of mine Ashli, who owns a shop called Christian Grace Embroidery. She’s a stay-at-home mom, like me, with 2 little children of her own. I love supporting mom entrepreneurs like her! I hope you will too. :)

P.S In case you missed my post, I joined Beautycounter as a consultant, to promote safe, high-performing makeup and skincare products. Read more here.

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Nursing in Public

Sunday, October 1, 2017

nursing in public pink blush dress 2a

When I gave birth to my first son, I wasn’t comfortable nursing in public, even more so if there were a lot of people around me (especially men). I felt self-conscious and nervous, but I learned to overcome these feelings with some help from my friends, who are fellow moms. I saw how they did it and followed some of their tips about nursing in public. Today, I want to share some of these tips that I’ve learned.

Prepare ahead of time.

If I go out and I know that I will need to nurse my baby, I prepare everything inside my diaper bag beforehand. This includes my nursing cover and burping cloth. That way, when I nurse him I can just grab my bag beside me and get the things I need during feeding time.

Wear something easy to breastfeed in.

This is very helpful and makes breastfeeding sessions easy. There are a few styles you can wear which include: v-necklines, loose shirts, or shirts with built-in bras. I mostly love wearing a wrap front v-neckline with stretchy fabric, like this black wrap dress from Pink Blush. It can be worn as a maternity dress too. It makes it easy for me and my baby because I can just drag down the front cover when I need to breastfeed.

Wear an easy-access bra.

I like to use either a bra with removable cups with a hook, or sports bras. It depends on what kind of outfit I’m wearing for the day.

Use a nursing cover.

I’ve been using a multi-purpose nursing cover for my newborn this time around. I mentioned it here in a previous blog post. I like to use this cover often, but if I’m outdoors in the Texan weather, I try not to cover my baby’s whole body.

Pick a spot.

All babies are different. My eldest son didn’t want to feed when there was noise around him. On the other hand, my other two sons were fine with it. Finding a place to sit and support your back is also important while nursing a baby. If I’m at church, I use my nursing cover, but if my little one starts to fuss, I bring him to the nursing room. It’s more comfortable and easy to feed there for me.

 

nursing in public pink blush dress 3 nursing in public pink blush dress

Do you have any tips that make nursing in public easier, especially for first time moms?

Dress sponsored by Pink Blush, but all opinions are honest and my own.

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DIY Baby Mobile Tutorial

Monday, September 25, 2017

diy baby mobile tutorial hero

MATERIALS

Pom Pom

Embroidery hoop

Twine

Thread and Needle

Scissor

Today, I’m sharing a tutorial for a do-it-yourself mobile. You might have seen this baby mobile from my previous post: “6 things you can do while waiting for baby’s new arrival.” This DIY baby mobile is simple, easy, and it is affordable for savvy moms! I was inspired to create this a few months before I gave birth to my third son.  I was browsing through Pinterest, looking for ideas on decorating a changing table area. The materials I used were mostly from Hobby Lobby, where you can find a wide range of art supplies and materials for different DIY projects. Here are the steps I used to make theses baby mobile pom poms

diy baby mobile tutorial 4

First, cut two strands of twine between 18” to 20” long, which can be longer based on preference. Start tying the first strand of twine to the top and bottom of the embroidery hoop. Do the same for the second strand of twine, but tying it to the left and right parts of the hoop. diy baby mobile tutorial 5

Cut another strand of twine, which will be used to tie everything together. This strand will also serve as the top of the mobile, from which you can hang it on the ceiling. You may add a couple of round beads to give the baby mobile a look with some natural charm. Trim excess twine so it looks neat.

diy baby mobile tutorial 3

Now, take another two strands of twine and tie them so that they cross in the center of the hoop. Tie them tightly because some of the threaded pom poms will hang from them. The ends of each strand should be tied to the same places where your previous knots are.  

Once you are done, grab your pom poms and thread them with a needle. You may then start inserting the needles in the pom poms, one by one, and put some space between them. You can measure the thread length you’re going to use based on how long you want it. You can modify any part of this project to suit your style and needs. :)

diy baby mobile tutorial 2 diy baby mobile tutorial diy baby mobile tutorial 6

I created two sets of sizes for thread. The inside part I made longer, while the outer part was made shorter. I tied the longer threads to the cross of twine, and I tied the shorter threads to the actual hoop.

I hope you enjoy this easy and fun tutorial for making a baby mobile! What kind of DIY projects do you love to make for your baby?

 

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, 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. Originally from the Philippines.

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

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