9.19.2016

our geocaching adventure

This weekend's weather was nothing short of the typical Vancouver weather that we know (and love/hate) so well - especially on Saturday.  We started the morning off at Jadon's hockey practice trying to avoid the torrential downpour from the car to the rink and just ended up getting soaked to the bones.  All I could think of was doing some sort of sun dance (kidding, not kidding) because after hockey, Jadon and I were headed to Stanley Park for a geocaching hunt with EnviroKidz at their Ecokeepers Discovery Day.  Thankfully, the wishing and praying for the rain to disappear ended up being successful!

After a quick brief with the Ecokeepers' team, Jadon and I were off on our first geocaching adventure!  Our first destination was the stone stairs leading to the beach, and while we didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into, Jadon made sure he took full advantage of the weather clearing up!

 


Honestly, we weren't the best at geocaching (we found all of the locations, but not the geocaches) and we may have been freezing our butts off, but the one-on-one time with my main guy was well worth it!  After reviewing everyone's #Ecokeepers posts on social media, I can attest that the geocaches were cleverly hidden ;)  It wasn't a total bust for us though - we ended up with a swag bag full of EnviroKidz goodies which made Jadon very happy on the way home (three granola bars happy!).




And Zoe didn't waste any time getting her hands on the swag bag, haha!




About The #Ecokeepers Program

EnviroKidz is a family-focused brand that encourages positive change in young minds.  Their Ecokeepers program is all about getting kids outside and discovering the world around them to develop a life-long relationship with nature.  According to the Ecokeepers website, studies have shown that kids who spend time outdoors:

  • are happier and less stressed
  • see a boost in classroom performance
  • have enhanced problem solving skills and imagination
  • are leaner
  • can experience a reduction in ADHD symptoms, and
  • better understand the need to nurture

Did you know that the Ecokeepers program is free to camps and schools?!  The program provides an interactive explorer activity to encourage children's natural curiosity and sense of discovery, while providing them with free EnviroKidz peanut-free, gluten-free, organic and non-GMO granola and snack bars to help fuel their journey.

If you're interested in bringing the Ecokeepers program to a school or camp near you, email ecokeepers@envirokidz.com for more info!


xo,
kristina

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of EnviroKidz, the Ecokeepers program, and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation in order to complete this review.  


9.06.2016

vintage back to school shoot

Today is the first day of school and it's only fitting that we celebrate (yay!) with an inside look into a vintage back to school shoot that I styled last summer with my friend, Cindy Dueck of Confetti & Sparkle Party Shop.

Our kids + a friend were the stars of the shoot, modelling their best vintage looks while displaying extreme will power in trying to keep the sweets from the dessert table out of their mouths (at least until the end of the shoot!).  The shoot was set in an apple orchard with a ton of kid friendly sweets and treats surrounded by vintage decor.  Jadon had a ton of fun running around freely with his new friends - ones who now meet up regularly for Pokemon trading sessions, haha!

Now it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy some of the images from the styled shoot (more on The Swank Social's blog).  After all, we now have tons of time on our hands now that the kids are in school, am I right?!... so WRONG.


Styling:  The Swank Social + Confetti & Sparkle Party Shop

Photography:  Type A Photography

Cookies:  Whisk

Cake:  Cakes by Kristin

Apple pies:  Tracy Cakes Bakery Cafe

Caramel apple pops:  The Swank Social

Decor:  Spruce Collective

Back to school print:  Kardz Kouture

Florals:  From the roadside

Location:  Apple Barn


xo,
kristina

8.26.2016

back to school wish list

Is it true?  Is summer really coming to an end?  Over the past couple weeks, I've been seeing a ton of back to school posts on social media, stores stocking up on school supplies and parents roaming the malls with their kids in hopes of beating the back to school crowd, and I feel like I'm still oblivious to the whole thing.  I had planned to go to the uniform store yesterday to pick out Jadon's new school threads and completely forgot - oops!  All I can think about are beaches, play dates and the sunshine! After all, summer isn't over yet!

Jadon is going into grade 2 (I keep saying grade 1 and he's going to kill me!) and can hardly contain his excitement at seeing his friends again.  Sasha is starting grade 11 and I thought she'd be dreading going back to school, but I just talked to her via Skype the other day (she's currently in Russia visiting her mom for the summer) and she told me she was really excited - mostly to see her friends as well.  ZoĆ« is hopefully going into preschool, but I haven't even gotten on that yet.  I swear, September came waaayyyy too fast.

So all this back to school craziness made me think of all the new gear that kids are wanting nowadays.  Let me just say, their options are a lot cooler than they were in the '90s when I went to school...



1. Backpack:  Herschel Supply Co. | 2. Coloured Pencil Set:  Design Life Kids | 3. Bento Box:  ECOlunchbox | 4. Cooler Bag:  So Young Mother | 5. Pencil Case:  Herschel Supply Co. | 6. Gel Pens:  Poppin | 7. Water Bottle:  S'well | 8. Runners:  Nike | 9. Tee:  Modern Fort | 10. Hat:  Whistle & Flute | 11. Ruler:  Poppin

xo,
kristina
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8.17.2016

summer unplugged

Summertime should be all about beaches, fairgrounds, playgrounds, ice cream and cotton candy, am I right?

Wrong.

It's more like giving your kids (who are usually at school, but because it's summer....ah, don't get me started!) whatever electronic device you have that will keep them occupied for the next five minutes, so you can start chipping away at your to-do list, emails, orders and whatever else you have up your sleeve.  For five whole minutes.

{All my work-at-home-moms, put your hands up!}

Of course this practice only encourages and enables my children's love for electronics.

Every day feels like I'm fighting an uphill battle of trying to balance our days with outdoor and indoor play, reading, errand running and the 20-odd meals that my children seem to consume, all while limiting their screen time to 30 minutes per day.  Zoe is usually fine when I tell her her time is up, but Jadon can be relentless.  He'll beg me all day long to 'play' on my phone until it gets so annoying, I take the privilege away indefinitely.  It's almost as if I have to wean them off electronics (I've done it before and I'll do it again!).

This obsession just couldn't go on any longer.  I knew I had to do something and I had to do it now.

A few weeks ago, I introduced Jadon and Zoe to IndigoKids' summer reading guide, themed Passport to Reading.  Indigo's experts have picked the top books for every age group and stage of reader, and rounded them up to create their summer reading guide to ensure kids get the most out of reading this summer.  Passport to Reading introduces kids and their families to take countless reading journeys to places they've only imagined, wished for or dreamt about.

Both Jadon and Zoe were given the opportunity to make a list of their favourite books from IndigoKids' summer reading guide, with the intent that they would continue to challenge themselves by reading a book a day.  I saw this as a definite advantage for Jadon, as he had some difficulties with his reading skills during the past school year.  His teacher was able to act on it as soon as she realized that Jadon would benefit from additional resource assistance, and was she ever right.  After only a month of being supported by his school's learning resource teacher, Jadon had already moved up two levels in reading!  Seeing this made me realize what I had known all along:  as soon as Jadon gained the confidence, there was no stopping him.  So why not continue encouraging that throughout the summer?



Instead of packing electronics to keep the kids distracted while we're out, the kids are now bringing one or two IndigoKids approved books and immersing themselves into an imaginative and interactive world of play, dress-up, ponies, Lego and fantasyland.  I see how proud Jadon is when he masters that difficult word, and how attentive and curious Zoe is when she listens to her big brother read to her (not to mention I have full possession of my phone - haha!).  It's a win-win situation here, guys!

Make sure to check out Passport to Reading for this summer's hottest books.  The summer reading list is conveniently categorized according to age and stage of the reader, as well as the genre of the book. Summer may be halfway over, but it's never to late to get started!

xo,
kristina


{win it!}

IndigoKids is giving one of our readers a chance to win a prize pack full of some of the titles from Jadon and Zoe's summer reading list!  To enter, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 9pm PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Indigo and/or their affiliates.  We received all of the books listed in this post from Indigo in order to complete this review.  Note that SwankMama does not accept responsibility for sponsors that do not fulfill their giveaway duties.  Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen at random.

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8.12.2016

introducing our newest family member

Before you jump to any conclusions, let me clear up a few things.  First of all, we do not have a pet and, secondly, it's not a baby (haha!).  Confused yet?  Allow me to introduce you to Bob!


Hopefully you're not thinking I've gone mad.  Bob is simply our 'pet' vacuum, also known as bObsweep PetHair.  I know we technically don't have a pet, but we do have two little ones that are known to make just as much mess (if not more) as say, a family dog.  It seems like every time I sweep or vacuum, huge mounds of crumbs start accumulating within a blink of an eye.  Then they go about their merry way and guess who's stuck with cleaning the mess up?  Well, since we've welcomed Bob into the family, it's definitely not me anymore!

Bob comes fully loaded and you may even feel a little intimated by all of his accessories, but don't worry because he comes with detailed instructions and a help line should you feel the need to reach out to a real live person ;)

Before I could read the instructions, Jadon started unpacking the box and, upon inspection, told me where each piece went and how to install them.  Of course, I ended up reading all of the instructions front to back and came up with the same conclusion as Jaodn.  It's always nice to be schooled by your seven year old.


Once Bob was fully charged, both Jadon and Zoe were ready to put him to work!



So we now have a new morning ritual and a couple of eager kids fighting over who contributes to the 'housework', aka who gets to turn on Bob - haha!

My conclusion?  I found that it took time for Bob to be accustomed to his new home and we had to be patient while he got used to his surroundings.  Sometimes it helped him to move furniture out of his way when he got confused.  We also learned not to leave any cords lying around, as Bob may think it's 'food' and swallow it up.  I love that you can set a schedule for Bob to clean - this includes set days and time (cue cheers from parents all over the world).  With our busy work schedules, it really helps to not have to worry about yet another chore.

Thanks, Bob, for making our lives easier!