Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Perfect Host

My daughter celebrated her 5th birthday on the weekend and, I must say, I think I've raised the perfect little hostess. I'm quite amazed, really, at how comfortable she is in social settings. She barely hesitates when putting on performances for an entire room (her creations, of course!), and has no issues with standing up and thanking her guests, stating with great aplomb, "Thank you all for coming... this has been the best party ever!"

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, as I'm a pretty social person, myself. But she's five! She's got more self-confidence and gumption in her pinky finger than I had at that age...heck, probably more than I have now! It makes me wonder if this will remain - if the wonderful, carefree, self-assuredness that I see in her now will stay with her throughout the tumultuous teen years and beyond. In this age of negative female body images, bullying and "mean girls", I sure hope so. It is exactly those traits that I want my daughter to possess so she can weather the teenage storm, so to speak.

While I often shake my fist at the frustration of dealing with a stubborn 5-year-old, I must remember that this willfulness is really just my little girl's independent spirit learning to fly. She's testing her boundaries because that's what kids do. So I need to realize, in those moments, that I wouldn't want her to blindly follow my instructions, but instead question, reason and rationalize what I've told her and make her own decision about how she'll respond.

After all, I'm raising a leader, not a follower.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Springtime Silliness

When my daughter started Junior Kindergarten, the curriculum was “learning through play”. I’ve since read studies showing that kids learn mathematical skills, gain spatial intelligence and increase their creative thinking and problem-solving skills by playing. While TV has a place in our house (I’m a work-at-home Mom that really needs a few minutes to get supper made in the evening!), I try to encourage as much play as possible.

Not only does play help children’s brains develop, but it has other amazing benefits, too – it’s a great reason for us, as parents, to get down to their level and partake in some silly, fun, memory-making play time with our kids. I don’t know about you, but with all the craziness of life, I sometimes forget to do that! I need to remind myself daily to forget about my phone, email and paperwork, and simply enjoy playtime with my kids. It’s amazing to realize just how happy that makes them… that I have the power to make my kids’ day! That, in turn, makes my day! See how it works? ☺

So, do something good for your kids – and you! – by taking time each day for some silliness. There’s no better time to do that than in the grey, dark days leading up to spring. With all the snow/rain and dullness, a little silliness and fun is sure to brighten up any day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks to our fan Bonnie who sent in this cute pic of her son with his labelled cup!

If you'd like to see your child featured on our blog, send us a pic to social (at) oliverslabels (dot) com. We'll send you a $10 gift card toward our products as our way of saying 'thanks'!
(One submission per household, please!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks to one of our fans for sending in this adorable picture of her "bedheaded son with his morning sippy cup of milk".

Thanks for being a fan, M! As a small token of our appreciation, we will be sending you a $10 Oliver's Labels gift card - enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I ♥ Valentine’s Day

There’s no denying Valentine’s Day is a "commercial" holiday, but for some reason I can’t resist. I don’t buy into the notion that gifts and fancy dinners are required, however, I do think it’s important to tell our loved ones how we feel about them every day, and Valentine’s Day presents another opportunity to do so.

My favorite part of February 14th is the sweet tradition of sending valentines to friends and family. There’s something about writing and receiving a valentine that takes me back to another era, when composing letters on paper was practically an art form. I, for one, get very excited when I receive mail (real mail, not email... and, bills not included ;)… my daughter even more so. She received her first Valentine when she was two and a half and, since then, every time she gets one her face lights up.

And who can resist the yummy treats that accompany the special day? Chocolates, cookies, candy… I love them all! As a self-proclaimed sweet-aholic, I’ll take any excuse to indulge. ☺

But, probably the best thing about Valentine’s Day, apart from the cards and candy, is the opportunity to show each other a little kindness and brighten another person’s day. Valentines may seem trivial to some, but they do spread smiles! Children are evidence of this – they get just as much enjoyment out of making Valentines for their friends as they do receiving them. What a great feeling to get, and what a great lesson to learn.

So, even if you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day, take a moment out of your day tomorrow to pay someone a compliment or spread a little kindness. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most.

P.S. If you are looking for a gift for Valentine's Day, check out our Sweet Hearts line of labels and tags... so fitting! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks to one of our fans who sent us a pic of her daughter with her favourite "fantasy" themed mini bag tag... too cute!

Have a pic you'd like featured on our blog? Send it to social (at) oliverlabels (dot) com! If we use your photo, we'll send you a $10 Oliver's Labels gift card!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beating the February Blahs

It’s officially February, and although the weather is getting a bit nicer here, I’ve officially got a case of the February 'Blahs'. You know, the time of year when you just want to banish the cold weather and usher in spring; when you’re eager to shed the winter coat, boots, hat, scarf and mittens in favor of a t-shirt and shorts. And, most of all, when you don’t have to worry about bringing every possible cold-weather item with you when going out with your kids. I mean, really, the amount of stuff that you need in the winter is atrocious!!

So, what’s a mom (or dad / grandparent / caregiver) to do? Well, you can either stay inside and get really creative with fun kids’ activities, or you can bite the bullet and brave the great outdoors. If you choose the latter, you need a plan!

Here are some helpful tips to help get you out of the house in the winter…
  1. Create a “travel bag” and leave it by the door
  2. Have your bag ready with all of the items you normally take with you, such as sippy cups/water bottles for the kids, snacks, diaper bag/change of clothes & travel activities (colouring books & crayons, games, etc.). Ensure this bag is always ready to go, so that you’re not scrambling around at last minute.
  3. Assign each child his/her own cubby or box 
  4. Mittens, scarves and hats are a lot easier to find when they have their own “home”. Teaching children to put these items back in the same spot each time they enter the house helps ensure they’re easy to find each time you want to leave. In my house, we have the “mat” rule… boots stay on the mat, not only to keep the house clean, but so that we know where to find them when we’re ready to leave again.
  5. Keep extra wipes and a few snacks (like granola bars) in the car
  6. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve looked in my diaper bag and found an empty container of wipes, I’d be rich. That’s why I always have a small emergency stash in the car; same goes for snacks. Nobody wants a whiny child because Mama forgot to bring the goldfish crackers! ☺
I hope these tips help you get out of the house a bit more this winter - even if it is just to visit your local rec centre! Staying in the house can be fun, but we all need a change of scenery and it feels good to get out and have an adventure now and then.  Stay well!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks to one of our fans who sent in this *adorable* pic of her son with his beloved train - labelled, of course, with Oliver's Labels!!