Country Showers Bring Sweet … Horses!

Indulge

Ever since I was little girl, I’ve had an obsession with horses and ponies. When a friend of mine, who just happens to live on an equestrian farm, offered to host a baby shower for us it didn’t actually occurred to me what that meant: horses would be part of our fall shower!

Thank you, Shan, for the most warm and loving day of celebration. I’m grateful – always.

Turns out that my shower dress matches our nursery! It was a short drive out to the country – for cake, food, great friends and an autumn walk around the farm.

Nursery Reveal

Home Sweet

As we get ready for a little one’s arrival, things are all falling into place. Her nursery will never look like a STYLE AT HOME magazine, but it certainly does have lots of personal touches. The gallery wall is full of images, culled from our wedding, our travels, my childhood nursery, hand drawn art from the Disney studio and the decor is mostly second hand, repainted and made over … with lots of love. It’s eclectic and busy with a soothing palette, and I can’t wait to sit in that chair with baby in my arms.

A Week of Bump Style

style

Clockwise from top left:

H&M tunic with tassels, bright lip and hoop earrings – over maternity jeans.

Zara rust coloured XL dress with ankle boots and chunky necklace.

Maternity tank with cutoff denim button up and gunmetal necklace, quirky bracelet found at a market and striped maxi skirt (Grey).

60s-inspired polkadot Zara dress with a vintage necklace from my mother, over black Nulu leggings with black ankle boots and a red lip, with topknot.

Coming to the end of 34 weeks! Keep your fingers crossed.

Money-saving Mama

DIY

I’m a big fan of shopping, but I’m an even bigger fan of recycling and reducing. Especially when there’s a great deal to be found! So, as an expecting mom, how do I save money while preparing for our little one, and making sure we have all the essentials?

I’m anticipating the strain on our budget when I move from a full salary to EI; I’m sure that I’ll find more great ways to save, but for now, here are my top tips:

Reuse! I googled the maternity and baby stores in my area that buy and sell gently used items, and found that right around the corner for me was a great place: Once Upon A Child. I sold five or six items and they paid me cash. In turn, I browsed the racks and racks of adorable baby items, everything from clothes arranged by size and type, to mobiles and baby gates. For less than $30 I got:

Three sleep sacks, swaddles for $3-$5 each

Then, mixing and matching sizes, I grabbed 5 items for ten bucks from the ‘sleep’ section and ten for $10 clearance items; supplementing the wonderful gifts from our shower with these great finds will have our little babe well outfitted. Definitely see what is happening in your local area.

Next, check out Facebook Marketplace and online ‘Mommy Groups’. I got a lead on our stroller AND car seat, which my parents ended up offering to get us as our shower gift, still in the box, never used and with all the warranties and manufacture boxes checked for a cool $200, retailing online for $450. I’ve also been able to locate items from our registry at great prices, so if you happen to have your eye on a particular item, like I do on the Halo bassinet, scouring the Internet and checking reviews on the seller might lend you the item you’re looking for at way less than store price.

Amazon Prime. Save tons of money on your shipping, search for and save items to your wish list and get notifications when the prices go down, and when you create a registry you can get a 15% off completion discount if you decide to purchase items from your registry.

BUNZ it. What is BUNZ, you ask? It started as a local swap site in Toronto, but has expanded to many other major cities and suburbs. The motto is no cash, all trades. Sounds suspect? I have traded lamps I no longer wanted for laundry soap; pants that no longer fit for handbags; a cactus and succulent for picture frames. Now I have my sights set on trading items that of been cluttering up my basement for things like baby wipes. One person’s trash, as they say. Now BUNZ even has an app.

Sign up for store email lists, you can Always unsubscribe later! By registering at Thyme Maternity And Snugglebugz I received a whole bag full of samples:

Use gift cards, trade gift cards, enter raffles. If you have a gift certificate for The Keg, but you’re a vegetarian, why not trade it for one to Babies R Us?

Borrow from friends and accept hand-me-downs! This is especially great if you have parents or in-laws who might need to have items that they use in frequently, like car seats and play pens. Some very generous friends have given us items to keep at my moms house so that when we travel we won’t half to take an extra car seat for Nana to cart our little dude around.

One neat thing about our shower is that people know us really well, and knowing how much we love supporting local, we were gifted a store credit to use at an Etsy store where the owners make handmade baby accessories. So, I picked out three reversible bibs and a teething toy that is also a soother clip. Perfect! Shout out to Urban Rustic Baby Co.

Last but not least, see if your place of employ has a buy and sell for its members. As a teacher we have our own version of Kijiji. Here, from someone I assume it’s not a total creep as they work in the teaching profession, I was able to get a crib mattress, mattress cover and she threw in two sets of sheets … for $125. No kidding. She still had all the assembly instructions and because I picked it up at her house, I was able to see the immaculate place where the crib used to live and feel confident that it had a nice life prior to coming home with me.

That’s my two cents about saving a ton of money. If you have tips please post them in the comments. I am eager to learn!

DIY baby shower decor

DIY

I’m all about reusing things. And they say, fortune favours the bold. But I’d like to add crafty to that. In preparation for one of our baby showers this summer, my friend and I got down with the glue guns and twine.

How do you create a festive look while saving your cash and diverting items from the trash? Reuse and repurpose, craftily.

Our gender neutral shower is going to feature a flora and fauna theme, with lots of personal touches, like the gold and silver animals from our wedding centrepieces – which will find new life as jar toppers for candy, tea and body scrub favours. Or the hundreds of paper flowers made by students for our school’s Arts Banquet, saved from the recycle bin, which we’ve turned into a photo backdrop and some Pom Pom garlands, using a hammock chair bar and some fabric leftover from our wedding.

Other sweet details that aren’t overly fussy, are some more sentimental touches like advice to the ‘mommies to be’ – which we’ll surely need, and a guessing game of bizarre baby items and trivia.

For a backyard, poolside barbecue, the breezy boho decor will be as sweet looking as it was fun to make and the whole thing was eco friendly with all the reusing. I can’t wait to celebrate (and to meet this little guy once he decides to pop!)

For now, we are ready for our closeups.

Eating for Two (sort of)

Foodie

Eating in pregnancy has been a challenge at times. I am turned off by foods I used to love (sorry, Hummus). I plan a meal and sometimes have no desire for it by the time I am ready to make it. I also have to eat small meals, frequently. This was tough on my work schedule, but now that summer is here I’m finding it a pleasure to shop locally and get fresh items as they pop into my head. Here’s what’s on the pregnancy menu:

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Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin and ricotta pasta with parmesan. Homemade gazpacho with avocado and tortilla chips on the side. Pork chop on the grill with roasted pears, apples, green beans and potatoes. Breakfast egg, asparagus and grapefruit.

I make batches of foods like frittata and gazpacho (I toss in whatever fresh ingredients I have and hide all the nutrients I can in the mix). I am loving the Oh, She Glows cookbook’s Gazpacho recipe and the local tomatoes and red peppers are making this a fave to drink straight from a mason jar.

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Clockwise from top left: Baby arugula salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans and strawberry with apple cider vinegar dressing. Shaved carrot, tofu, asparagus, goat cheddar on crostini. Homemade rhubarb and custard pie (thanks, Aunt Jan!). Strawberry salad with mustard dressing and fresh cracked pepper. Steamed broccoli, grated carrot, sesame tofu and snap peas in a peanut sauce with basmati rice. Mouflata (baguette with goat cheese, garlic, olive tapenade, basil and roasted red peppers).
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Clockwise from top left: Banana bundt cake with chocolate icing! Chocolate pudding with local strawberries. Pumpkin ravioli with sage and pine nuts, cranberries and spinach. Chicken spaghetti Alfredo. Fried chicken and waffles!

I am following an intuitive eating plan – I look up what I’m not allowed to eat, strike that from the record – and eat whatever my body is craving. Grapefruit. Steak. Broccoli. Asparagus. Cereal. Papaya. Peaches. Cashew butter on English muffins. Strawberries and cherries.

Baby is getting lots of good stuff. Plus I’ve found (thanks to my sister-in-law) a great sub for my daily icecream cravings: PC makes a fantastic Skyr frozen yogurt bar in three flavours (berry, mango and caramel) – they are high in protein and delicious. There are also great Motts fruit freezies in a variety of apple and berry blends.

I’m not saying no to foods. This has been a huge blessing. I am enjoying the full palate available and really giving myself permission to eat what I want, when I want it. What a nice, guiltless approach. Sometimes it’s not so healthy: “Babe, I need you to go get me Chinese food and a Dairy Queen Blizzard.” But more often, I’m eating fresh, whole foods and feeling pretty great.

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Clockwise from top: Banana flax bread. Zucchini noodles with avocado, pine nuts, tofu, tomatoes, nuts and dressing. Mushroom pizza and steamed broccoli. Butternut squash soup with croutons and veggie burger with cheddar and bbq sauce. Fresh bowl… again.

Even though the ‘eating for two’ excuse is a bit of a cheat, I am loving the variety and healthy (with some great indulgences) that pregnancy has encouraged me to consume.What are your go-to recipes?