Be sure to read to the end to learn about our giveaway with True North Ring Slings.
When a new baby joins the family, the pace of life inevitably slows. The priorities shift to feedings, diapers, cuddles, and nap times. One thing that doesn’t go away is the daily routine of meals, errands, laundry, and tidying. Mom’s hands are full and her plate just got fuller.
I remember well how overwhelmed I felt as a first time mom four years ago! Simple tasks like folding laundry suddenly seemed impossible… they needed to be done, but not at the expense of sacrificing time with my baby.
Enter the time-honored, global tradition of babywearing. I loved that I could snuggle my baby and still stay on top of the daily happenings. With my second born, I discovered another plus: it made snuggles easier during those long, hard days of teething. Now, with my third baby, I’m loving that I can still keep up with my toddlers and keep my baby close by.
What carriers have I tried? What are the pros and cons?
Wrap Carriers. My wrap-style carrier (think Moby, Solly, etc.) was my initiation into babywearing. It gave me the courage I needed to go grocery shopping for the very first time alone with the baby.
Pros: Soft and stretchy. Readily available. (Even stores like Target and Walmart offer this style)
Cons: Hot. Difficult to use. (Unless you like feeling like a ninja all while juggling a baby)
Soft Structured Carriers. After becoming frustrated with the complicated wrap carrier, I purchased a soft structured carrier (such as a Boba, Ergo, Lillebaby, etc.). It was a great experience, but lacked a few conveniences I desired.
Pros: Supportive. Great for long carries and bigger babies.
Cons: Bulky (you can’t just toss it your diaper bag). Difficult to safely situate newer babies (who often want to be worn more frequently).
Ring Slings. My third baby has been much more picky about being worn. He’s had some pretty difficult tummy issues and needs a lot of Mommy snuggles, but my wrap and structured carriers were met with very low tolerance. At the suggestion of my midwife, I pulled the trigger and purchased a ring sling. He slept for two hours the very first time I wore him. I’ve tried a few different ring slings for fun since they’ve worked so well for us and can safely say, linen (from a company such as True North Ring Slings) is my favorite. The sling took babywearing from something I did for convenience to something I did because I truly loved wearing my baby.
Pros: Even picky babies seem happy in a sling. Easily adaptable from tiny newborns to toddlers. Quick to adjust (I love having an alternative to lugging around a heavy car seat). Strong supportive fabric that’s still soft enough for delicate babies. Compact (can easily fold and stash in your diaper bag for on-the-go days).
Cons: Slight learning curve (well worth it!). Needs a short breaking in period (there are lots of great short cuts and resources for this!)
I strongly believe that next to a quality car seat, my ring sling is the most worthwhile baby equipment purchase we have made. Hands down.
We are THRILLED to be partnering with Alberta-based True North Ring Slings to bring you a giveaway! I recently purchased a beautiful gray ring sling (with to-die-for rose gold rings) from this amazing company. I’ve been nothing short of impressed by their quality and their customer service. I’ve received almost instant responses from them when I’ve reached out with questions – and they’ve been so personable (even giving me the fun fact that I was their first Texas customer!).
Using high-quality linen sourced from Europe, they offer a wonderful range of colors from classic neutrals to vibrant hues. They are unique in that they offer several lengths to choose from (no worries if you’re tall or broad shouldered! They’ve got you covered!). Their slings meet all safety standards (both mandatory and voluntary), so you can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe. More than anything, I love that is company is mommy-owned!
True North is partnering with us to GIVEAWAY a $50 STORE CREDIT* to one lucky reader and a 10% OFF COUPON CODE to all the rest of you!
To enter the giveaway, head over to Instagram and follow us (@canvasandtable) and then (@truenorthringslings). Tag your friends on our Instagram about this baby wearing blog post (you’ll receive an entry for each tag). For a bonus entry, “regram” our post to your personal Instagram!**
To save 10% on your order, simple use this code when you check out: canvasandtable. Offer good through April 20th.
Do you “wear” your baby? Leave a comment below and tell us.
*$50 store credit is CAD (Canadian dollars) as True North is based in Canada.
**Find complete entry instructions on Instagram post
What makes a gal, born in a traditional hospital setting herself, consider home birth?
Before I share my personal reasons for choosing this route, I would like to clearly state that I in no way wish to disparage the many hardworking and well-educated doctors and nurses that are in our nation. They have my utmost respect! Additionally, my intention is not to indicate that home birth is the only right way. It’s not for everyone — and it doesn’t have to be! That’s a completely personally decision and I respect each mama and the avenue they have chosen. My sole desire is to share a brief glimpse into my own experiences and to satisfy some of the everyday curiosity I encounter when people learn that I birth my babies at home.
I didn’t go into my first pregnancy with a set birth plan in mind. I was born in a traditional hospital setting and I knew several women that I considered peers who had recently chosen home birth. Perhaps the most important thing I could suggest would be open-mindedness. As I did my research, I came to the conclusion for the method of care that I felt was the best fit for myself and my baby. Some of those considerations were….
Age and Health History. I was 22 years old when I got pregnant with my first child. Being young and healthy (really a completely nondescript medical history), my chances statistically for complications were very low. That opened up my options for prenatal care and the actual labor/delivery substantially.
Research. A lot of mystery and misconception surrounds home birth. There are absolutely cases that render it a less safe option, but for the mother with no complications, it’s a great option. Over the summer I attended a premier of a home birth documentary highlighting the pregnancies and home births of more than half a dozen women who were in the medical field (both doctors and L&D nurses). They’ve assembled a lengthy set of websites and articles that lay out the statistics of home birth. Instead of rehashing those numbers here, you can view the entire list on their website (additional information here as well). It’s a great place to get started on researching the safety.
Midwives and Their Training. While the stereotypical image of a midwife includes something like an old grandma in the backwoods, modern midwives are incredibly intelligent individuals. There are a range of certifications and the requirements vary by state, but generally the individual must have completed a 3 year academic course, 4 years of hands-on training and have attended a minimum number of births as an assistant. All in all, this gives them a well-rounded education with a specialty in pregnancy and birth.
Customized Care. With a midwife, you have standard prenatal care: monitoring Baby’s heart rate, growth, position, and overall wellbeing, as well as frequent monitoring of Mom’s vitals and overall health. A bonus that appeals to me is access to the extensive knowledge that a midwife offers for nutrition and alternative medicine. The result is comprehensive care for mother and baby, particular to the needs of that pregnancy.
Contingency Plan. Perhaps one of the most common concerns I hear voiced to me about home birth is the question of what happens if something goes wrong during labor. Mom and Baby are under close watch during labor and delivery. If anything begins to take a turn, a good midwife quickly makes arrangements for more involved medical care. (I’ve heard both midwives and L&D nurses in my area describe the working relationship they have with each other as one of the best in the nation.)
Familiarity. One of the biggest appeals to me is that the midwife who has seen me from week 12 of my pregnancy on will absolutely be the one who delivers my baby. In addition, the assistant midwife is often introduced to the mama before labor ever begins, adding to the familiarity with the birth team.
Home Sweet Home. Your first contractions are at home, you transition at home, you push at home, deliver at home, get all cleaned up at home, and then crawl into your own comfortable bed with your cuddly newborn when your hard day’s work is complete.
That’s all well and good… but have you actually HAD a home birth to speak with any experience? Yes’m, I have! Twice. My firstborn was delivered in my living room and my second son was born in our bedroom. Both very different experiences and both equally endearing, successful, safe, and peaceful. Our third child is due within a month and if all goes as planned, we anticipate his arrival at home, as well. What all is involved in prenatal care when choosing home birth? In my experience, it’s included lab work (both for basic OB panels and for addressing hormonal imbalances), sonograms (at least one at about 20 weeks to do a full anatomy scan of baby), frequent prenatal check-ups (something like 12-15 exams before delivery), and more. What is it like preparing to have a baby in your home? In addition to the usuals (i.e. setting up the crib, washing and organizing baby clothes, buying hundreds of diapers), your midwife will give you a list of things to have rounded up for the actual birth. In my case, my midwife tells me where online to order my actual birth supplies, plus a few general things (like lots of towels) to have in a common spot. Is it messy? I’ll wager that birth in any setting is “messy”, but as far as any lasting evidence… No, it’s not messy. Within a couple hours of giving birth, any lasting evidence (aside from a snuggly newborn) is completely gone. My team of midwives are angels – cleaning Baby and myself up, scrubbing bath tubs, starting loads of laundry, disposing of used supplies, etc.
Here’s the bottom line… Home birth isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s an option that everyone should research and give value to. Birth in a home or in a hospital bed is miraculous and memorable!
Leave a comment below and tell us…. Where did you birth your babies and what did you love about the experience?
I recently had the opportunity to share something that was on my heart as a devotional to a women’s ministry. Today, I wanted to share this with you. As you take the time to study the seasons of life and the purpose for each and every one, I hope this blesses you and encourages you in your walk with the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
The sunlight seems happy, shining upon the backyard. The breeze blows gently through the trees, creating the familiar sound that comes with the leaves turning. Wrapped in my sweater, the cool, crisp air seems invigorating and a feeling of satisfaction is in my heart. It’s fall. The season of pumpkin spice, sweaters, and boots has arrived and my heart is content. I find myself wishing it could feel like this every day, just to be reminded of something so important, in a soft, still voice- there are seasons for a reason.
Have you found yourself wishing away the season you’re in, pining for the moment you can metaphorically pull your boots out of the recesses of the closet? Because we don’t share spiritual seasons with everyone around us, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the season has a purpose, and failing to tend to that purpose can create heartache in our lives and close the door to blessings God has in store for us. Let’s take a look at the reason each season exists and how this applies to our spiritual lives.
The purpose of Winter is for evaluation, reflection, and putting in the work ahead of time for the spring that is coming. Oftentimes Winter comes in the closing of a chapter, and that may result in a very full heart of emotion with seemingly nowhere to release. For the reason of Winter to be recognized, its purpose must be allowed to play out. Psalm 37:3 (ESV) says, “Trust in the Lord and do good…”. In the season of Winter, it is especially important to invest yourself in your relationship with the Lord and trust Him while tending to the seasonal purpose of what He has laid before you. Joyce Meyer says, “Just as winter prepares plants and trees for warmer weather, a spiritually dormant season is a time of preparation- when our inner character is developed and strengthened. Strong character is essential for withstanding storms that will come during seasons of growth and harvest.” How often we tend to find this season very uncomfortable and wish it away, but when this season is fully invested in, we are fully prepared for Spring to arrive.
The purpose of Spring is a time for planting. Often, this season is accompanied with the invigoration of new excitement in your relationship with God. We have a tendency to desire for God to bring us into a new season and find the purpose of it to be a bit more work than we would like. It is so important that we embrace the moment at hand and delve into the work of planting the seeds of vision, purpose, and responsibility that God has given each of us as individuals. “No discipline brings joy, but seems grevious and painful; but afterwards, it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, AMP)
The purpose of Summer is to tend the fields. This is sometimes the most easily identifiable season in our lives as we play and wait and work among the fields in our lives. It is essential that we don’t lose track of our purpose during the long, hot hours of summer fun that so easily entice us to lose focus on the purpose of this season. Without Summer, there can be no harvest, so “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” (Proverbs 4:25, NLT).
The purpose of Fall is a time for new life. The long, still hours of winter spent in planning, the toil in the new dawn of spring, and the lively hours of waiting amidst the heat have all paid off with the harvest at hand. The barns are filled and the vats full of wine, in Bible speak. The Fall is the time for reaping what we’ve sown- and the season that so evidently reminds us of what we have put in. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV). The Fall is a time for being filled to overflowing, to store up for the Winter, and enjoying the fruits of the work put in for the past 9 months.
Through the spiritual seasons, we see that sometimes we don’t always have a view of the full picture of the process God is putting us through. It is a choice to recognize the season God has put before each of us and to “do good”. Recognize the good God has set before you in the season you are in, and put your hands to doing it well and purposing to maximize on the purpose of this season through faith in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…” (Philippians 4:11, ESV)
According to Ecclesiastes 3:1, there is a time for every season. Spiritually, we know that not all of us go through the same seasons at the same times. What season of life are you going through right now?
What do you think is the purpose of the spiritual season you are in right now?
Scripture is filled with the exhortation to “trust God and do good”. These two go hand-in-hand and fill us with the ability to approach God-given assignments and glorify God through serving Him. What is the “good” God has placed in front of you to tend to in your season right now?
What is a blessing of the season you are in and how can you share the benefit of that to bring life to others?
Study: Spend time doing a topical study of Scripture on the season or purpose you have identified in your life. Read Ecclesiastes 3 and spend time journaling or drawing as you spend time in prayer looking to God for growth, thanking Him for His plan, and glorifying Him for all He has brought you through.
Act: Share with someone in your life what you’ve learned from your study of your season or purpose and how that is a blessing & encouragement before your next meeting. Share the good news of what God is doing in your life!
Do you have something to share about the season you’re in or one you’ve been in? We would love to hear it- please share in the comments below!
I’m a people watcher. I’m really not trying to be rude… I’m simply intrigued by the personalities various people have and the way they interact with others. So, not surprisingly, I found myself people-watching in the slow-moving check out line at Wal-Mart one day. Directly in front of me was a mother and a couple of her teenage daughters. As they emptied their overflowing carts onto the conveyer belt, the following conversation ensued: “Ugh! Look at all of this crap food. It’s embarrassing!” You could tell they felt that the food they were buying wasn’t the best and regretted the effect on their health, but likely their reasoning would be the belief that it costs much less than healthier options.
Next to the belief that a gigantic bowl of “whole grain” cereal is a healthy breakfast, I think the greatest myth we believe when it comes to food is that eating healthy means added expense. Eating well does not have to cost you any more – and with a little work, will likely cost less. Case in point: Three years ago we made some pretty major eating changes. As I piled my cart with more protein and produce and fewer packages, I really anticipated my grocery bill to be higher. Instead my bill was less on average. What?!
So, what are some easy tips to follow to make eating healthy a possibility on your budget?
Choose your store wisely. Shopping at Aldi has been the single best decision for our grocery budget. On average my grocery shops are about 30% less than I would spend for the same thing at any other grocery store. Obviously, not everyone has one located conveniently, so consider your local options for budget friendly shopping.
Shop in season. It’s not new advice, but it can save a lot of money to enjoy produce that’s currently in season
Shop the ads. Plan your weekly menu around the weekly specials where you shop. Remember: the goal is eating healthy food. Focus on those produce and protein pages of the flyers.
Cut the junk food. Junk food isn’t good for you, doesn’t truly fill you up, and it’s expensive.
Consider shopping at Sam’s or Costco on a regular basis. Prices for meats, fruit, and veggies can be hard to beat at these stores. Let me advise you to make a list before you go and really stick with it! It’s super easy to get sidetracked and overly attached to seasonal gift sets, beautiful (and giant bottles) of shampoo, etc. That kind of shopping won’t save you money.
Take an honest look at your fridge and pantry and determine whether you NEED to go shopping or not. How often have you (or I!) stared into the refrigerator and bemoaned the fact that there was nothing to eat… when really there was. Before you go shopping, look through the food you already have and honestly evaluate what you have to work with. You’ll most likely find that you have plenty of meals waiting for you to put together.
Comment below and tell us your favorite grocery budget-slashing, health-increasing tip!
For years, I had been wanting to create a vision board before I bit the bullet and created mine. I don’t know why I waited so long- it is something I love having in my office every day, reminding me of why I do what I do and inspiring me to keep at it. There were some very helpful things that made my vision a reality (pun intended) and today I want to share those with you.
What is a vision board and why should you make one? A vision board is some sort of board you can hang things on to serve as inspiration and reminders of the “why” behind the “what” you are a part of and working towards! It can sometimes be called a dream board, inspiration board, or mood board, but I most prefer vision board because I found in the project something I could connect my vision with for each area of my life in a visible way. This serves as a tangible reminder each day for the vision behind these activities.
Throughout my long process, I’ve collected a lot of tips and information! Find below some of the best tips and tutorials I’ve discovered and come across!
Just buy a board that works- don’t overthink it. I searched and searched and searched for the “perfect” board for almost a year before going with a black-rimmed cork board. It has worked wonderfully and in retrospect, I think I kept putting off buying the board so as to not feel guilty about not starting it because I was making it too hard.
Don’t make it too hard. Sacrificing on the cutesy factor a bit for the sake of getting it done isn’t a bad thing if you won’t do it otherwise! (Case in point: I put mine off for almost a whole additional year after buying my board(!!!)- and only got it done when I decided to just start with the basics and not try to do something I didn’t have time for.)
Make time to get it done. It’s worth it!
Make sure to include inspiration for all of the things you have your hands to. For me, that was school, work, ministry, personal development, future, and relationships! Now, when I’m in the midst of a busy season across all areas, I have inspiration that serves to remind me of any I’m doing what I’m doing!
Close to My Heart presents a streamlined process for creating the content of your vision board, and ultimately I very much copied the entire look of the vision board presented here! Check it out here to find out how to get started with the plan for your vision board.
Cover a cork board in fabric for a lovely look that adds beauty to any space! Homemaking Rebel provides all of the info on how to do this here.
Go simple and chic with a monogrammed board. Landeelu does a spectacular job of making a beautiful board very simple here.
Get fancy with fine frames. Bachelors Way has a great tutorial on an easy way to upgrade your board here.
Go for another type of frame with this one from the House of Smiths. Find out step by step instructions here.
Get burlapped! Learn how to create this rustic look curtesy of All Things Heart & Home here.
Use printables- Dawn Nicole Designs has some beautiful ones that easily add inspiration to your board! Check those out here.
Set practical content in front of you with this fabulous example from The Fit Switch- find that here.
Take a look at this formula for inspirational success from Studio McGee to take your board to the next level. Find that here.
Go more simplistic and understated with this beautiful example from Nicole at the Odyssey Online here.
Which of these is your favorite? Have you done a vision board before? Tell us in the comments below!
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There’s something that’s been on my heart all year long: there is a time to say “yes” and a time to say “no” to everything. Early this year, God started drawing my attention to a level of over-commitment in my life that was creating an atmosphere of stress & busyness in my life that was unhealthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, & physically. While some changes were immediate, others have taken the course of the year and others have started migrating from a “yes” to a “no”. Today I want to share my journey with you.
Saying “no” isn’t something new to me- I’ve always managed to be fairly straight-forward and bold in what I allow into my life. However, after ending the year last year in a state of exhaustion, it became apparent to me that while I had my hands to many good things, they weren’t all God things. What’s the difference?
A good thing is just that- it’s a good thing to do. You believe in it, and you think it’s a wonderful activity, but the grace isn’t there to do it. It isn’t what you were created specifically to do, at least for this season of your life, and it isn’t something you feel God has directed you to be a part of.
A God thing is something you’ve specifically seen God lead you into and not lead you out of. It’s something that goes towards your “why” in life, and for which you’ve been specifically anointed & set apart to be a part of in your life. This can include your vocation- not just “super-spiritual” activities.
I don’t know about you, but when I started looking at my life in that light this year, I could see where there was no grace, where there was abundant grace, and the places where God was beginning to lead me out of in my life.
I’m writing this today because I think there are a lot of us doing good things that cause us to neglect the God things. The God things are those things that make up your purpose, those things you should be doing in this season of life. The good things are those things that sound good, but that you know you’re only doing at this point because they are just good things to do. And there is a difference.
God things connect to your core while good things tire you on a deep inner level. This all has to do with grace. If you have three children, God has given you the grace to deal with them, and while it may be tiring, it’s purposeful. If you’ve decided to help your neighbor with her three kids and this isn’t something you’ve seen God lead you to do, you are going to be a different type of tired, because the grace isn’t there for doing it- it is literally just a “good thing” you are doing, not a God thing.
I challenge you today to consider the activities that make up your schedule. Walking away from good things can be difficult, especially when you feel as if you are leaving a hole behind for someone else to fill and when you really care about the way that good thing affects others. Yet, when you pray about it and have peace about leaving that activity behind, trust that God will fill that hole with the person to fill it for the new season. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there, and He does it every time.