Nursery Reveal for Baby Boy Michels! By Maxpatch Studio

Nursery Reveal for Baby Boy Michels! By Maxpatch Studio

By: Leslie Westendorf, Owner of Maxpatch Studio

 It was January. My son was almost a year old and I had a sudden jolt of energy that I hadn’t felt since before he was born. It was as though the fog of that first year had finally lifted and I felt that I could do more than survive the day-to-day. It was also the beginning of a new year, which meant goals, routines, and resolutions. Shortly after speaking with a college friend, Ciara Burton, who offers personalized mindfulness and leadership programs to women, I started Maxpatch Studio, an interior design studio devoted to growing families. I specialize in nurseries and big kid rooms, play spaces, and family rooms—places to eat, sleep, and lounge.

I bought a domain, filed for an LLC, created a website, and then I contacted Amber Michels, founder of Your Milk Shoppe, which serves soon-to-be and veteran mamas in the Upstate and and beyond. During our first coffee date, Amber revealed she was expecting her second baby, a little boy, and asked if I would be interested in designing her son’s nursery in their new home. It was a no brainer! My fledgling business was off to a good start.

As the weeks went by, Amber and I started planning. For every new project, I start with a conversation. I ask things like: If you could describe your ideal space, what three adjectives would you use? And: How will you typically use this space? I also try to understand color and style preferences, if any existing furniture or accessory items will be incorporated into the new design, and budget considerations. Having majored in architecture and interior design during my undergraduate years, I know professional interior design services can feel out of reach for most people. One of the principles of Maxpatch is to offer affordable design services to families. And a way to do this is with thoughtful design choices, such as intentionally selecting pieces that will last for years and transition with families as they grow and change.

After understanding the hopes and goals for a new space, I create a style board—a combination of inspiration images from around the web and specific product selections from retailers and independent artists and makers. I love to incorporate one-of-a-kind pieces wherever possible (Etsy is a great place to look and makers love to work with you!). With Amber, we started with a mostly blank slate, except for the crib she had used with her first daughter and a vintage dresser she had purchased years ago while living in New Orleans. Both would remain in the nursery, but the dresser would get a face lift with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.

 

Next, we selected an area rug. It set the tone for the entire space. Lots of blues, from deep navy to pretty turquoise, plus the tiniest bit of golden ochre provided a rich color palette for the remaining pieces. We added a new glider/recliner and side table, a tall bookcase, a floor lamp, and blackout curtains, which matched the glider perfectly.

Then, it was time for art and accessories. I recently discovered Audrey Bodisco and immediately fell in love with her work. I sent her the style board and a photo of the rug and she created the most beautiful commissioned piece for baby Michels. It’s easily my favorite part of the room and something he will have for years to come. An oversized wall mirror and animal prints by Sharon Montrose added that necessary dose of “baby” to the space.

Lastly, we layered in the final details: a custom lumbar pillow with golden tassels, a pom pom mobile in saturated hues, a simple strand of wooden beads, baskets, bed linens, and plants! If you ever ask yourself, what is this room missing? The answer is always a plant. Lucky for us, Greenville has several great local plant stores who are willing to answer any questions you might have: Savereignin the Village of West Greenville, Urban Digs on the east side, and Roots on Augusta Road.

There you have it, baby Michels’ picture perfect nursery. We are ready for you baby boy!

All nursery photos beautiful captured by the lovely and talented Courtney Malone.

If you or anyone you know is nesting and waiting on baby and wants the perfect nursery, I’m your girl. If you need a grown-up space for your growing toddler, please reach out. And if there’s something from your dream home wishlist you’d like design help with, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at hello@maxpatchstudio.com, visit my website for more information, and follow me on Instagram!

Shop Baby Michels’ Nursery

Rug, Lulu & Georgia

Wall hooks, Loop Design Studio

Basket, Target

Custom artwork, Audrey Bodisco

Animal prints, Animal Print Shop

Wood frames, IKEA

Leather drawer pulls, Etsy

Changing pad cover, West Elm x PBK

Recliner/glider, Hayneedle

African Mudcloth pillow, Etsy

Safari quilt, CrateKids

Midcentury floor lamp, West Elm

Wall mirror, West Elm

Basket side table, Urban Outfitters

Wooden bead garland, Etsy

Crib, Pottery Barn Kids

Mobile, West Elm x PBK

Crib sheet, Burt’s Bees

Blanket, Rylee & Cru

Bookshelf, Pottery Barn Kids

About the Author:

Leslie Westendorf lives in Greenville, SC with her husband Brad, son Leo (18 months), and rescue pup Elliott. She is a midwest native who has lived everywhere from Savannah to LA to Boston and Providence, and back to the south. Maxpatch Studio is her official #sidehustle. She also works full time as a researcher and strategist for Wondros, a multi-media design studio.

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Laura Solem, Maternity Consultant in Atlanta, GA!

Introducing Laura Solem, Maternity Consultant in Atlanta, GA!

During her nearly a decade of nannying for a number of different families with kids of all ages, Laura learned how to take charge of the household and understand the bigger picture.  Having picked up on all the little things involved with motherhood, she found herself being called on by a number of mommies-to-be to consult them on where to begin and how to make decisions in an overwhelming world of choices.

While exploring how to support mothers from a broader standpoint in a more entrepreneurial setting, Laura discovered Your Milk Shoppe as a perfect platform to help others.

Laura is a native Atlantan and was born in Buckhead.  She loves her in-town life and can’t wait to bring Your Milk Shoppe “ITP”!

Introducing Jaymee Castle, Maternity Consultant in Knoxville, TN!

From grade school through college and up the ladder in Corporate America, Jaymee always found that there was a straight forward formula of hard working equaling success.  Then she and her husband welcomed the first of their three young children and she quickly found that hard work didn’t always lead to what felt like success – hello breastfeeding a baby with reflux issues! Welcoming that first baby opened her heart to the greatest joy it’s ever known and also turned her world completely upside down.

Navigating multiple pregnancies, maternity leaves and back to work transitions, all while parenting three very different babies has led Jaymee to fully understand how critical it is for mama’s to have a strong support system in place.  She found she relied greatly on connecting with other moms.  As days and weeks grew into years, she began feeling called to share her own story in a real, open, honest way to support others.

Jaymee is so excited to bring the mission and services of Your Milk Shoppe to Tennessee.  She is honored to have the opportunity to provide support to both moms-to-be as they  prepare to welcome their sweet babies into this world and to the many busy moms of Knoxville as they journey through their busiest seasons of life.

Jaymee’s “Why”:

My why is my family – my husband and my three beautiful kids.  I am at my best when I am busy and working hard and feel called to work to support women as they journey to and through motherhood so that I can be my best self for my family.

If you’d like to connect with Jaymee, she would LOVE to hear from you! Please feel free to drop her a line at jaymee@yourmilkshoppe.com! 

 

 

 

Creating A Safe Backyard For Kids On The Autism Spectrum

Creating A Safe Backyard For Kids On The Autism Spectrum

By: Ashley Taylor

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, safety can be a real concern. In fact, many children on the spectrum are unaware of the dangers around them. You can help your child, though, by designing a backyard that she can safely use.

Difficulties Your Child May Experience

Your child may have a number of issues that can impact her ability to be safe in any environment:

Wandering

Nearly 50 percent of children with autism have been found to wander away from a safe environment, according to AWAARE, a collaborative group that works to keep kids safe. If your child is in the backyard, you need to make sure she stays there.

Sensory Issues

Heightened senses can make her jump at loud noises and muted senses mean she doesn’t feel the cold. Whether your child is hypersensitive, under-sensitive or some combination of both, she may not be aware of overexposure to the sun, cold, rain, or injuries. Learn more about how poor sensory integration can impact a child on the spectrum at Autism.com.

Poor Awareness of Danger

Children on the spectrum struggle to identify dangers. This complex issue involves a problem with a part of the brain called the amygdala, as well as other functions like prediction, language and more. Snagglebox explains this problem and how to help a child.

Creating A Safe Yard

There are a number of things you must do make sure your yard is safe for your child:

Build A Fence

A fence is a surefire way to protect your child from wandering as long as you build it appropriately to ensure she can’t climb over it or escape under it. If you want to put a door in the fence, use one with a double-sided key lock and make sure your child cannot access or use the key.

Lock Down Your Tools And Chemicals

Gardening tools, like pruning shears, and chemicals such as pesticides can be dangerous so be sure to keep them under lock and key. You might want to avoid using any harsh chemicals on your lawn in case your child is sensitive or allergic to them. Here are some ideas for nontoxic lawn care that are even safe for your pets.

Heat Relief

This blog post from Irie Diva recommends you provide all the heat relief your child needs, including making her come indoors from time to time. Some children on the spectrum also struggle to sweat and turn bright red from too much exertion so make sure she stay hydrated as much as possible as well. If your child drinks from the garden hose, check if it is labeled “drink-safe” by the FDA.  If not, it might contain lead, according to this article at Best Lawn Sprinkler Co. We recommend keeping a water bottle or cooler with drinks on hands as long as your child is outside to avoid the hose.

Pools

Research shows that drowning is a top cause of death for children on the spectrum, according to Science Daily, so unless your child is a strong swimmer, avoid putting any kind of pool in your backyard.

Building Your Yard

There are lots of great ways to keep your child safely entertained when you’re outside. Here are some entertaining activities that you can enjoy together as a family:

  • Take her backyard camping. You may not be able to camp in the woods but you can pitch a tent and put the sleeping bags in the yard. Fire up the grill to toast marshmallows.
  • Build a birdhouse together and then teach your child to appreciate nature as you bird watch together.
  • Create a garden. Kids love growing flowers or produce. Be sure to buy garden gloves so your child can feel like an official gardener while keeping her hands free from sensory issues.

It doesn’t take much to make the necessary adjustments that ensure your child’s comfort and safety. Creating a safe and accessible backyard for her to play in is worth the effort for your child’s fun and your peace of mind.

About the Author: Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Visit Ashley’s website for further information and resources!

 

Pregnancy Wear Must-Haves

Pregnancy Wear Must-Haves

Today, we’re recapping our comfort and support must-haves for pregnancy wear, direct from fellow preggo mama YMS Founder Amber Michels!!

Pregnancy in summertime can be a bit on the uncomfortable side, so chances are you’re in hot pursuit of the most light-weight, flattering clothes you can find. You really only need a few key items, ones that you can wear during pregnancy and after.

Pregnancy leggings.

Blanqi! We live and die by this brand for pregnancy wear. You’ll only need 1-2 leggings and tops and you’re set. This company has truly cracked the code; the pieces are seamless (can we get an amen?!), so supportive, and so breathable. You can wear the top and pants every day- whether you’re at home wrestling kiddos, working out or going on a grocery run, this brand IS IT!

Supportive Bras.

One of the earlier changes you may notice within your body is in your breasts. They begin to grow, and will feel sore at certain stages (especially in the very beginning and the very end). With that said, you absolutely need to invest in some nursing bras that are comfortable and practical enough to wear while you’re pregnant, during the day and also at night when you’re sleeping.

We cannot say enough good things about Thirdlove 24/7 Classic Wireless Nursing Bra. This line of bras is revolutionary as far as we’re concerned. The support is like no other and the quality is noticeable. These bras are seamless, soft and super flattering under your clothes. Plus, they donate bras to underserved woman across the world, and who can’t get behind that kind of double support??

Next up is Motherhood Maternity Unlined Nursing Sleep Bra. Can I just tell you, it’s pure magic?! It feels like a soft sports bra, and offers the support that you’ll need when in bed. This bra will also be great in the beginning stages of breastfeeding because it’s so soft and forgiving.

Body shapers!

You may find yourself really wanting support in other areas, too…. your tummy, your butt and your thighs, especially! If you’re used to clothes fitting a certain way, and have lost that magic look and feel while pregnant- here’s your answer!


Maternity Spanx comes in shorts, hosiery, slips- the sky is the limit here. And, there is really no occasion that doesn’t call for these bad boys! I recommend starting with two pairs of the shorts and seeing if that’s enough!

Maternity Pajamas.

Now that we’ve covered the essentials for daytime support, let’s talk about that nighttime support. Mamas, you will need some super soft and forgiving pajamas from early on. Why? Because your day to day mission will be about one thing: comfort! There will be nothing like throwing your jammies on at night, and putting your feet up.

I recommend many sets of maternity pajamas, but always go back to Belabumbum because of the fabric, the options and the prints. You can buy a few sets at the beginning and wear them all the way through nursing. This is a no brainer if you ask me. I still have my first set from four years ago, and they continue to be my go-to, my happy place at night!

Sending you lots of love and support and wishing you plenty of comfort throughout the rest of your pregnancy!

XO,
YMS

Baby Gear Breakdown: Travel Systems

Baby Gear Breakdown: Travel Systems

In our line of work, we are constantly asked by moms what it is that they REALLY need for their newborn. With so many products and so many tools (ahem, google, we’re lookin at you), it is hard to not over buy the first time around. Our goal with Product Rec Tuesday on Instagram and Baby Gear Breakdown is to give all of you new mamas something to refer to when putting together your registry, to help you pinpoint what items will work best for you and help you answer some of the “why this over that?” questions you may have. Once all of the essentials are knocked out, and your nursery is stocked, you can begin to save some money for the future months & years ahead. Sound good?!?

Today’s focus is Travel Systems. AKA, the infant car seat and stroller combo.

Before we get too far, let’s clarify the key difference between convertible and infant car seats: a convertible car seat stays in the car, while an infant car seat clicks in and out of a base that stays in the car, thus creating a “travel system” with the stroller base.

First question we ALWAYS hear when talking travel systems: “Is an infant car seat really necessary?”
The answer is yes, it really is. Technically, most convertible car seats can hold an infant starting around 5 lbs, so if you needed to choose one or the other, the convertible will give you longevity. However, the infant car seat will give you such ease and peace of mind those first few months and you really can’t put a price on that.
You know the phrase, “never wake a sleeping baby”, so that’s #1. Plus there are other safety factors of transporting this new, tiny bundle in, out, and all around. And for the first time mama, you’ll appreciate the extra time to make sure the straps are just right, baby is comfy, etc., indoors, and OUT of the elements! Take it from us — having the option to click little one in and out of the car, while strapped snugly in her carseat, to take her wherever you need to go will be a most beautiful thing in those first few months.

The Breakdown

When it comes to Infant carseats, there are a few that regularly top our charts. (There are several other great ones that are not on this list, but these are our faves!) What did we take into consideration when choosing these? One word: SAFETY.
 What did we take into consideration when choosing these? One word: SAFETY. . The @nuna_usa Pipa Infant car seat delivers everything you could ask for in a high-end carseat. It is both modern and stylish baby gear inspired by Dutch designers with the idea to keep things simple, practical and stylish while still being innovative. PIPA is Nuna’s first carseat- they did their homework and it shows. . The @britaxus has taken its popular B-SAFE and updated it to be modern, sleek, and able to handle bigger children. The Britax B-Safe 35 has a deep shell that’s designed to keep your child safe from flying debris and give more legroom with a base that is easier to adjust and install. Unlike any other in the market, their SafeCell Impact Protection to the base is intended for the smallest of riders. These safety items, plus other creature comforts, make for a rear-facing only carseat. . The @pegperegousa Primo Viaggio 4-35 is a nice looking car seat that has some interesting features. This seat is very easy to install, no matter which type you choose, but it is particularly easy to manage without the base. When compared side-by-side with the competition this seat really shines and impresses with its quality and comfort. Possibly the only drawback is the slightly higher price tag. However, the price might be justified given how well it performs. . The @uppababy Mesa is an impressive infant car seat. It has a couple of different easy installation options, and it won a Top Pick for City Living award, for its strong performance for installation without the base making it a top contender for families that frequent taxi cabs or Uber. We love the retractable LATCH anchors and the easy-to-use harness height adjustment, and we think it has a lot of features to rave about. While its higher price or heavier weight means it may not be the right choice for every family, its high-quality materials, and sleek design mean it will appeal to many.
The Nuna Pipa Infant car seat delivers everything you could ask for in a high-end carseat. It is both modern and stylish baby gear inspired by Dutch designers with the idea to keep things simple, practical and stylish while still being innovative. PIPA is Nuna’s first carseat- they did their homework and it shows. The PIPA Lite was recently released and it weighs a mere 5.1 pounds, which is especially helpful for a mama recovering from birth.
Britax has taken its popular B-SAFE and updated it to be modern, sleek, and able to handle bigger children. The Britax B-Safe 35 has a deep shell that’s designed to keep your child safe from flying debris and give more legroom with a base that is easier to adjust and install. Unlike any other in the market, their SafeCell Impact Protection to the base is intended for the smallest of riders. These safety items, plus other creature comforts, make for a fantastic rear-facing only carseat.
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is a nice looking car seat that has some interesting features. This seat is very easy to install, no matter which type you choose, but it is particularly easy to manage without the base. When compared side-by-side with the competition this seat really shines and impresses with its quality and comfort. Possibly the only drawback is the slightly higher price tag. However, the price might be justified given how well it performs.
The uppaBABY Mesa is an impressive infant car seat. It has a couple of different easy installation options, and it won a Top Pick for City Living award, for its strong performance for installation without the base making it a top contender for families that frequent taxi cabs or Uber. We love the retractable LATCH anchors and the easy-to-use harness height adjustment, and we think it has a lot of features to rave about. While its higher price or heavier weight means it may not be the right choice for every family, its high-quality materials, and sleek design mean it will appeal to many.
✨Product Rec Tuesday✨ . When choosing a stroller, it is really hard to decide which one works best with your family. We recommend physically trying them out, and seeing how easily they collapse and how much they weigh. . @babyjogger City Select LUX is a great stroller. It’s super versatile and offers over 20 different seating options, and is a great solution for families with one or multiple children. It can be used as a single stroller, converts to a double stroller, or even make it a triple with a Glider Board. It handles all types of terrain and provides very comfortable ride for the baby. . @bugaboostrollers Donkey2 2018 multi-purpose stroller is beautiful, and now even more functional, more convenient to use for parents and more comfy for babies. This is the ultimate convertible stroller that can be customized to suit parents’ style and expanded to adjust to growing family’s needs. . The @uppababy VISTA is an ultra-versatile stroller, and keeps getting better with age! The 2018 model features an extended bassinet, real leather accents on all strollers, and new colors. It will grow with your family from the newborn stage well into toddlerhood. Keep in mind, it’s easy to collapse, but is a bit on the heavy side. . The @nuna_usa Demi Grow is their newest stroller just launched in 2018. We have a feeling it’s going to stick around for a while. It has 23 different seating options, and is Nina’s first expandable stroller. Parents can start using it from birth with a bassinet or an infant car seat. It works with 2 infant car seats, two bassinets, 2 toddler seats or one of each. The stroller is easy to collapse and intentionally lighter than their previous one.

 

When choosing a stroller, it can be really hard to decide which one will work best for your family. We recommend physically trying them out in a big box retailer; see how easily they collapse, how it feels to push, and how bulky they are to maneuver when folded.  A few other things to note: conversion options to accommodate multiples (if you plan on back to back kiddos), the size of the basket, and available accessories, just to name a few.

 

Bugaboo Donkey2 2018 multi-purpose stroller is beautiful, and now even more functional, more convenient to use for parents and more comfy for babies. This is the ultimate convertible stroller that can be customized to suit parents’ style and expanded to adjust to growing family’s needs.

 

Baby Jogger City Select LUX is a great stroller. It’s super versatile and offers over 20 different seating options, and is a great solution for families with one or multiple children. It can be used as a single stroller, converts to a double stroller, or even make it a triple with a Glider Board. It handles all types of terrain and provides very comfortable ride for the baby.

 

uppaBABY VISTA is an ultra-versatile stroller, and keeps getting better with age! The 2018 model features an extended bassinet, real leather accents on all strollers, and new colors. It will grow with your family from the newborn stage well into toddlerhood. Keep in mind, it’s easy to collapse, but is a bit on the heavy side.

Nuna Demi Grow is their newest stroller just launched in 2018. We have a feeling it’s going to stick around for a while. It has 23 different seating options, and is Nina’s first expandable stroller. Parents can start using it from birth with a bassinet or an infant car seat. It works with 2 infant car seats, two bassinets, 2 toddler seats or one of each. The stroller is easy to collapse and intentionally lighter than their previous one.

Happy strollin’, Mamas!
XO,
YMS
This post contains some affiliate links, but only to the items we’ve tried ourselves and can personally vouch for! 🙂
Fun & Inexpensive Sensory Activities at Home

Fun & Inexpensive Sensory Activities at Home

We’re just beyond the halfway point of summer (and we don’t want to talk about it) BUT, that means there’s a good chance mama’s think-tank of activities is running on E. Fret not, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite inexpensive, homemade projects and sensory activities for your kiddos. You can never have too many ideas in your arsenal to keep everyone entertained and happy… especially on a rainy day, too!

Kid-made drum set

We are huge fans of this as it is cheap, easy and super fun!
Here’s what you’ll need:
-cans
-safety can opener that doesn’t leave sharp edges
-balloons – use 7 inch balloons on smaller cans and 9 inch balloons on larger cans
-rubber bands
-dowels and beads for drumsticks

Thank you to @itsalwaysautumnblog for this genius idea. Check out her amazing blog, it is full of wonderful ideas for the whole family

Homemade bird feeder

Reasons we love this idea: it takes minutes to put together, and will amaze your children every time they witness a bird eating the seeds out of the homemade feeder.

You can really be creative with what you will need in order to create the feeder. Here is what we suggest-
-Green apples cut in half with the seeds taken out
-Peanut butter
-Bird seed
-Long screws to put in top of apple
-Hearty string

Once you put the feeder together tie it on the branch of a tree near a window that your littles can reach. This is a great demonstration for them to see the fruits of their labor! (Pun intended ;))

Shaving cream artwork

How cool is this DIY marbled paper from shaving cream?! This is a great outdoor activity for you to provide when your littles have some friends over for a play date. Might we suggest letting them wear a painting bib and nothing else?! 🤪

Here is what you will need-
-Shaving Cream
-Food Coloring
-Water
-Heavier Weight White Paper
-Straight Edge
-Paint Brush
-Muffin Tin
-Medicine Dropper
-Spatula
-Tooth Picks or Spoon for Stirring Food Coloring
-You can cover the table in a disposable plastic table cover to control the mess.
After the shaving cream is covered with the food coloring and swirled around in the muffin tins, that is when they should create the pattern onto a large piece of white paper. You can let it dry, and they can hang up their beautiful art work!
No Mess “Water Balloons”
Who doesn’t love a good water balloon fight on a raging hot summer day?? We love water balloons around our house. (Correction: my son loves water balloons. And I love seeing him having so much fun with them. But the actual balloons?? Not a fan. For the choking hazard factor, but also the cleaning up the million and a half pieces that are left behind afterward factor, too.)
Check out this cute idea for a no-mess-“water-balloon”- fight.
What you will need:
-Non-brilo sponges, assorted colors
-Rubber bands
-Buckets of water
Take the sponges and cut them into strips. Gather a few strips and tie them together with a rubber band, making a sponge-ball (the “balloon”). Fill a few buckets, split into teams, and have a water balloon fight that can last for hours — the ammo is infinite! This is a fun one for tots or older kiddos alike, and will burn some steam while they’re creating and having a blast.
Happy Summering!
XO,
YMS
Does sensory play for your little one interest you, but you’re not sure where to start?? Give us a shout at info@yourmilkshoppe.com, we can help! We have Developmental and Sensory Play Classes where you can get tips and also meet other mamas and kiddos at the same time! If you’re not where we are, we can still share this info with you virtually, all you have to do is ask! XOXO

 

Play-Based Learning Philosophies

Play-Based Learning Philosophies

By Natasha Grogan, Founder of Playful By Design

Play comes naturally to children. It is amazing to observe children exploring their worlds through play. As parents, we have an opportunity to create a home that encourages play and learning through carefully choosing what toys, media and activities we present. There are many philosophers, psychologists, doctors and educators who have done research on the benefits of play with children. New research is released every week on the power of play, all which points to how play-based learning is a gift to children and how their brain naturally learns. Many preschools, daycares and home educators, like to have a “base” or a direction with how they design the environment for play.

Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She developed a method of teaching that focuses on independence and child self-realization. She believed in guiding them, rather than directing them. Montessori believed that the best way to teach a child a skills was to prepare them to learn by teaching the actions or movements required to perform them. Since the 1970’s more and more Montessori based classrooms have been carefully designed. These classrooms are often multi-aged and showcase a beautiful prepared environment.

Loris Malaquzzi was also born in Italy. He founded the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. This method is rooted in the belief that children are people with the power and ability to create their own knowledge. It is very focused on discovery, arts and children’s interests. Reggio schools often have a relaxed approach to academics and encourage a great deal of play and project-based learning.

Rudolf Steiner is the philosopher that the Waldorf Education model is based upon. Waldorf is often thought of as a whimsical and “wonder-like” method of educating in the early years. Waldorf educators often use the term “heart, hands and mind” as it relates to how integrated arts, nature and play should be in a learning day. An interesting component of Waldorf’s academic philosophy is that Rudolf Steiner recommended waiting until a child is seven years until academics, such as reading, are taught. Waldorf schools and families are often very flow and rhythm based.

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who encouraged a liberal arts curriculum.  The Charlotte Mason philosophy is home-based, not classroom-based. The three main pillars of this method are literature, time outdoors and habit training.  She also believed in waiting until six or seven for formal academics. Instead she believed that children should learn along-side their parents, spend great amounts of time observing nature and reading beautiful literature.

Play on, families. Every opportunity that you give your child to play, is an opportunity for them to learn and grow.

About the Author: Natasha Grogan, Founder of Playful by Design

Hello there. I am so glad that you have come into my playful, simplicity seeking space. I have always had an entrepreneur’s mind with an educator’s heart. I am a nature loving mama of a sweet little girl.  I am also a lucky wife to my hard-working college sweetheart, Zach.

When I’m not playing with Lydia, I sneak in some work. You see, I’m a self proclaimed child development nerd. I love learning about developmental levels and how the activities and environment that we create effects our brain function.  I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.

I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, family rhythm and minimalism.

And just in case you were wondering… I can be bribed by black coffee, raspberries and salvage wood furniture.

Here are links to follow Natasha’s blog, Facebook and Instagram!

Mom-Hacks: Family Summer Travel Tips

Mom-Hacks: Family Summer Travel Tips

We’ve still got quite a bit of summertime left, which means there is still plenty of time for vaca — YAY! While packing for trips with littles can feel a little overwhelming, hopefully this list of tips, tricks, and product recs will make it feel a little more manageable. We polled a few of our favorite seasoned family travelers for their must-haves, and threw in a few of our own. Here’s the run-down for a peaceful trip!

Travel entertainment

These Water WOW! reveal pads from Melissa & Doug provide HOURS of entertainment, with just two pieces: the “paintbrush” and the book. Leave the box of crayons and markers (and MESS!) at home.

CozyPhones headphones speak for themselves. With different animal options, there’s a style for every kiddo. They actually stay in place, and can act a bit as noise-cancelling, too, with the additional light compression around the ears. (This link can get you two for less, if you have two little ones!)

If your kiddos are anything like ours, they are YEARNING to be in charge of something. (Let’s be honest… they want to control everything.) BUT, start small, give them a bag and make them responsible for it. These backpacks from Herschel could suit them just right, and these design choices, you just stop it. Plus, it lightens Mama’s load. Win/win!

Be all about that snack life. Bring along a few new snacks as a fun treat! (But, have a few ol’ trusties around, just in case, too.)

You don’t have to pack the kitchen sink.

Chances are, wherever you’re going, you can find a local store to buy a lot of the necessities: diapers, wipes, sunscreen, sand toys, etc. If it’s taking up too much room in your suitcase for air travel or in the backseat of your car for a roadtrip, plan to purchase once you arrive.

If visiting family or friends, find out what large gear items are available to you. There are companies that will rent certain items as well, like Baby’s Away, which might be a good option to consider. They offer most larger items, such as strollers, travel cribs, high chairs, etc., but you can check out each destination they serve for a comprehensive list.

It’s hard not to over-pack clothes. So hard. For ourselves, and the little ones, especially because those little rompers are just TOO CUTE. However, if you’re going somewhere with laundry onsite, there’s space to cut back the number of outfits you’re packing along. Instead, try opting for individual pieces that can be mixed and matched to coordinate different outfits. So, for instance, if there was an applesauce catastrophe on baby’s shirt, but the shorts are cool, you can salvage at least the bottom half for another wear.

For the Beach Bums.

Hydration is key on those hot, sunny days. What you put in “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” is totally up to you, but making sure that drink stays cool and refreshing is everything. If this Yeti Rambler isn’t currently part of your every day, it certainly should be. A day at the beach could be a good excuse to splurge on this!

Shade is key at the beach, especially for the little ones. We love this beach tent from Pacific Breeze as it’s lightweight yet spacious. Pro tip: do a dry run assembly at home before you get to the beach so you know how to pop it up. Either that, or try to park it next to another one on the beach so if you need a hand, you can ask for one. It’s simple once you get the hang of it, but the first time or two it can be a little tricky, especially against those beautiful coastal breezes! This one easily fits 2-4+ kiddos and 2 adults, perfect when someone needs a mid-day nap or a shady snack break.

Speaking of the tent, bring a dry paintbrush to dust pesky sand off feet and legs before kids go tromping in. (You’re at the beach, it’s impossible to keep it ALL out, but this definitely keeps it a little tidier. And you know how we moms appreciate a good tidy.) The bristles are just strong enough to knock the sand off without causing any additional pain to a sensitive sunburn. #momwin

Lastly, this is not beach travel related, but rather something to take with you anytime you’re flying and checking luggage: throw a clean pair of underwear and a toothbrush for each family member in your carry on. It only takes losing your luggage one time to learn that lesson… 😉

We hope this is helpful. Have a great vacation!

Cheers,

YMS

PS, This blog contains some affiliate links. We only recommend products that we have tried and can vouch for, and we are happy to get to share them with you! XO

Small Biz Spotlight: Your Sisters Closet Keeper

Small Biz Spotlight: Your Sisters Closet Keeper

In a few words, who is Your Sisters Closet Keeper?

We specialize in editing and organizing your personal space to create a more functional, useful and joyful home.

Tell us one thing about yourselves that we may not know.

Nikki: I live on a farm with 20 chickens and 2 dogs

Megan: I worked for Diane von Furstenberg in NYC and absolutely love the city life.

In other words we couldn’t be more opposite.😂

We love that you two are sisters by marriage. Why did you two decide to work together?

Our strengths work well together. Nikki is the organizer and Megan is the editor, but we’ve both learned from each other how to do the other’s job.

We’re also best friends. We joke that we feel like we were in the womb together instead of our husbands. Nikki gives me a shot of adrenaline every time I’m with her and I level her out. In short we just genuinely love being together.

There is something powerful in women coming together, and starting a business. What has been the most rewarding aspect of this partnership?

There’s an aspect of this that feeds our soul. On the surface it may seem like a simple thing we do, but it truly can be life changing. The time we get together and with other women allows us to go through the baggage of our lives together – literally and metaphorically. It’s a bit like therapy. It’s healing.

Why is YSCK so important for Greenville’s mom community?

Let’s be honest, we’re all working incredibly hard to keep all aspects of our lives afloat. When you can minimize the amount of stuff in your life and organize it in a way that works in your favor you can do more and be more for everyone else.

It’s definitely an investment to have us come in but it pays off in more ways than you can imagine.

Check out this Before…

…and After!!!!!

What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?

The reactions and the relationships, hands down. It’s not easy to open up your mess to other people, we totally get that. But the one reaction we’ve received with all of our clients was how much fun we have when we do it. And each one has asked us back to do more than what they initially hired us for. Each time we leave a job we honestly feel like we’ve added another sister to our family.

What women in your lives inspire you the most, and why?

Megan: Genuinely all of the women around me have inspired me lately. I see how much passion, emotion, grace, strength, capability, drive, patience and love we all carry around. Amidst life’s troubles I see women wake up every day and move forward like a boss. Women are incredible creatures in my opinion. My mom, my grandmother, our mother in law, my sisters and my daughter all inspire me the most though.

Nikki: I would have to say moms inspire me. Especially because I am not one yet. Watching my friends become moms has really changed my perspective on my own mother. I guess you never realize growing up all that they juggle and being able to watch my friends go from wives to moms has helped me appreciate all that a mother sacrifices for herself, her husband and her children.

Describe your perfect day.

Megan: An early fall day, windows open, candles lit, music on high and cooking in my kitchen. Time to myself for the afternoon and ending with a house full of people eating and drinking good food and good wine into the night.

Nikki: A day on vacation with nothing on the agenda other than spending time with my family and enjoying time to rest and unwind.

What is the one thing you need in your day in order to get through it? (coffee, music, a certain food, excercise…)

Megan: my vitamins, good music, a Starbucks frappacino and a little grace for myself and others. That wasn’t one thing, but I need them all.😂

Nikki: My vitamins and my cell phone.

What benefits will you provide to Greenville moms when they hire you?

I think the biggest benefit from what we do is a sense of control in the chaos of everyday life. It’s a huge weight lifted off when your options are minimized down to just the items that you use. On top of that it brings a sense of calmness to walk in and see things in order (and be able to keep things up easily). You will most definitely experience the joy of having a fresh outlook on your home and personal space

For more information on YSCK, follow Megan & Nikki on Instagram!

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