2015

Lea Clark: American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2016

Girl of the Year Lea Clark

For many people, today (Dec. 31) marks the end of the year, a celebration and a bright outlook for the new year ahead. While I share that same view, this day also marks an end to the waiting; an end to the speculation and an end to the anticipation.

For tomorrow, January 1, 2016, marks the day that we get to meet the American Girl Doll of the Year for 2016. I’m so excited to share an early introduction to Lea Clark with you today.

GETTING TO KNOW LEA CLARKLea Clark Girl of the Year

As we say goodbye to Grace Thomas and her wonderful world of Parisian-inspired adventures, we look forward to getting to know Lea Clarkand her brand new and exciting world. With each Girl of the Year, comes a wonderful adventure, new exploration and loads of fun learning about a new part of the world with valuable lessons for young girls.

ABOUT LEA

Lea Clark, a 10 year-old photographer with a love for animals, discovers a wide world of possibilities when she embarks on a faraway adventure to Brazil. Lea has long wavy hair and warm hazel eyes, plus several tropical-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her Brazilian travels—including Lea’s Rainforest House with over 30 pieces!

LEA’S STORY

Lea Clark Rainforest House

Lea’s story will unfold with the 2016 Girl of the Year books written by award-winning author, Lisa Yee. Lea will go on a family trip to Brazil to visit her older brother, Zac, who is studying the Amazon rainforest. Lea is excited to capture everything she sees with her camera.

Soon Lea makes some incredible discoveries, but she also faces unexpected challenges, including a fear of the ocean, tension with Zac, and finding a baby sloth that has been gravely injured. With the help of her family, her new Brazilian friend, Camila, and her late grandmother’s guiding inspiration, Lea finds the inner strength and confidence to live her new adventures to the fullest.

Check out her books, Lea Dives In, Lea Leads the Way, and Lea and Camila to follow along with her story. Stay tuned for Lea’s movie that will come out later in the year.

GIVING BACK WITH LEA

Lea Clark Pets

Like all American Girl dolls, there is a strong and positive message for your girls via Lea. To show girls that, together, they can make a difference in helping protect animals and their habitats, American Girl has created Wild at Art, a year-long fund-raising campaign in support of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Starting January 1, American Girl is encouraging girls to use their artistic abilities to host an art sale and donate the proceeds to WWF. To launch the campaign, American Girl has made a $50,000 donation to WWF. How awesome right?!

In addition, from January 1 through December 31, 2016, for every purchase of one of the three plush animals in Lea’s collection—the margay, sea turtle, or sloth—American Girl will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $100,000) to WWF.

I really love this message and I’m so excited for Little S to learn of it because she too, has a passion for protecting and helping animals. I think Little S will really identify with Lea and I look forward to her learning more about South American culture through Lea’s adventures in Brazil.

INTERACT WITH LEA

Lea Clark Pajamas

You can start joining in on all the Lea fun starting tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2016 by visiting americangirl.com/girloftheyear. You and the special young lady in your life will be able to download Lea’s app ($) read book excerpts, see movie-related content, play games and quizzes, find fun wallpapers and e-cards and much more.

GET LEA

Girl of the Year 2016

Here in Canada we have three ways of welcoming Lea into our lives. You can visit americangirl.ca, visit an Indigo store to order from the kiosk or visit one of six Indigo, American Girl locations.

To learn even more about Lea and the Girl of the Year line, go to Facebook at facebook.com/americangirl, Twitter at twitter.com/american_girl, Pinterest at pinterest.com/agofficial, and American Girl’s Instagram page at instagram.com/americangirlbrand. To request an American Girl catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005.

STAY TUNED!

Stay tuned to City Mom to check out Little S’ reaction when I surprise her with a Lea doll of her own. Check out the video here. We will also share more information about Lea and her adventures.

Happy New Year & Happy Girl-of-the-Year Day!

City Mom

Upcycle Trimmed Tree Branches for DIY Christmas Garland

Christmas Garland

I’m so excited because this year we are able to have a real Christmas tree. In the past, when we lived in our downtown condo, we weren’t allowed to have real trees, but there is no such rule in our new house.

After we bought our tree and got it home, my husband had to trim some of the branches along the bottom of the tree so that it could fit into its stand. He saved the branches for me, knowing that I’d probably want to find some sort of use for them, he knows me well. He’s a good guy!

DIY CHRISTMAS GARLAND

DIY Holiday Garland

You can find these clippings at stores for $15 to $20, but if you’re like us, and have a real tree, why not make use of what would be garbage anyway.
This Christmas garland took me about 15 minutes to make and it was a lot of fun. You may remember this post, where I shared a ‘How-To’ on creating starfish tree ornaments. As it turned out, these ornaments didn’t make it on the tree so I was excited to get to use them in my garland.

Here are the quick and easy steps to creating your own garland. Mine is beach themed but you can add any decorations and small touches to yours to make it fit in with your colour scheme.

MATERIALS

  • Tree trimmings (ours are from a Douglas Fir tree)
  • Pruning clippers
  • Ribbon in your colour of choice
  • Twine or string
  • Straight pins (I used pins with pearly tops for added decoration)
  • Scissors
  • Themed or coloured ornaments
  • Ornament hooks

STEPS

  1. Gather your trimmings and sort through them to find ones similar in size
  2. Lay half of the branches in one direction, and the other half in the other direction with their ends overlapping
  3. Use the twine to wrap around the centre where the branches meet. Tie tightly in a knot. Tie two of three more along the centre
  4. Cut two ribbon pieces to make loops for the bow. Using straight pins, pin into place
  5. Cut two longer ribbon pieces for the ends of the bow. Pin these into place as well
  6. Using ornament hooks, hang your ornaments and/or other decorations throughout the greenery

We don’t have a traditional mantel this year so I placed our garland on top of a long shelf above our TV.TIP: I lined it with tin foil so that the sap leaking from the cut branches would not stain the shelving.

DIY GARLAND

If you find yourself with some leftover trimmings, I hope that I have inspired you to make good use of them!

Happy holidays!

City Mom

Peekaboo Beans: Gifts for Kids on the Grow!

Peekaboo Beans Gifts

One of my favourite holiday-themed things that I have seen on social media this season is this fun Christmas Wish List printable that helps kids keep a balance when choosing what they want for Christmas.

Christmas Wishlist Printable
When it comes to the “I’ll Wear” part, I have the BEST gift idea for you whether it’s for a boy or girl, toddler or youth, your child or someone else’s…you will love it!

PEEKABOO BEANS

If the brand name Peekaboo Beans is new to you, it’s your lucky day, and if it’s not, then you already know what I’m talking about so get shopping!
Peekaboo Beans is a line of children’s playwear for kids “on the grow”.

We create the best playwear in the world for children to live, move and play in. We design clothes that foster independence and self-confidence. We empower children to dress themselves and grow in comfort and style.

When I was contacted about Peekaboo Beans, I did a quick read on the brand and browsed through the FALL 2015 catalogue, but it wasn’t until we received our outfit that I fully grasped how cool this line of clothing was.

HIGH QUALITY CHILDREN’S CLOTHES

The very first thing I noticed about the garments was the high quality appearance and feel to the fabric. We received the Fossil Fancy Dress, Frill Factor Leggings and the Gemstone Coat all made of cotton and 5% spandex to give a little stretch for ease of play and room to grow.

Little S was so excited about the style of the clothing, she put it on right away and wouldn’t take it off (the jacket) even to eat. We both also loved the fact that the labels are not your typical sewn-in labels. S is one of those children that wants all her labels cut off and dislikes the itch. Peekaboo Beans says “We say no to itchy necks (and bums) and yes to PLAY!”

Peekaboo Beans Review

FUNCTIONAL AND FUN

I’m not exaggerating when I say they have thought of everything…they have the quality and durability that appeals to us parents and the fun style and colours which appeal to the kids and well let’s face it, to us moms too!

I really love the little extras that are included with Peekaboo Bean garments that really go a long way.

All the Peekaboo Beans garments include:

  • Soft, removable labels
  • Custom, quality fabric that is comfy for playing, pretending and even napping
  • Design elements for easy on and off
  • Pre-shrunk to avoid surprises out of the wash
  • Flat-lock stitching for less irritation

Jackets include:

  • No drawstrings and reflective piping (for safety)
  • Chin guard to avoid pinching chins when doing up zippers
  • Easy to use zipper designed for little hands learning how to dress

PEEKABOO BEANS FOR YOUR FAMILY

Peekaboo Beans Clothing

There is so much to say about Peekaboo Beans that I can’t possibly fit it all in here in a single post. From the Peekaboo Beans Play Revolution to their career opportunities as a Play Stylist to their Soiree opportunities for in-home-shopping to their free returns and exchanges policy. I encourage you to check it out in more detail. Be sure to find check out the Peekaboo Beans Holiday Gift Guide too.

We’ve only had our Peekaboo Bean outfit for a couple of weeks and S has worn it multiple times…every time she wears it, we get compliments and questions about where the adorable outfit came from. We have also washed the items a couple of times and we are very pleased with the consistent fit and quality after washing.

I will definitely shop at Peekaboo Beans again for Little S and likely my nieces and nephews! For me, it is worth investing in quality and comfort and to help stretch my dollar further. These clothes will last longer than your average chain clothing store so you will buy less often and be able to pass them down to younger siblings.

Find out more about Peekaboo Beans on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.

City Mom

Holiday Gift Guide: LITTLE LIVE PETS™ LIL’TURTLE TANK {#Giveaway}

Little Live Pet Lil Turtle Tank

Adorable and fun and the best words to use to describe the LITTLE LIVE PETS™ LIL’TURTLE and TANK which make them an excellent gift this holiday season.

We received the Little Live Pets Turtle and Little Live Pets Lil ‘Turtle Tank to check out before Christmas. Here, Little S unboxes them and shares a demonstration:

LITTLE LIVE PETS™

Little Live Pets are a series of various animals such as owls, turtles, mice and more that fit in the palm of your hand and interact with you in various ways. Many of the pets also have their respective habitats that are available to make the experience even more life-like.

Little Live Pets have been rated as one Toys ‘R’ Us’ Top 15 Toys and are very reasonably priced. You can check out the full lineup of pets at www.littlelivepets.ca.

GET YOUR OWN PETS

Little Live Pets are sold at many popular retailers including Toys R Us, Home Hardware and Loblaws (to name a few).

WIN THE LIL ‘TURTLE TANK

Lil Live Pets Reviews

One City Mom reader will win the Lil ‘Turtle Tank and Lil’ Turtle included. This contest is open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who are 18+. Please read the full rules in the giveaway widget.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

City Mom

DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments

DIY Rustic Christmas Ornaments

I have recently shared that I am looking to create a rustic, beachy Christmas this year in our new home as our old decorations aren’t going to fit in with our brand new colour scheme. That is why when I saw my friend Jennifer’s post on Facebook about these rustic tree ornaments she was making, I fell in love. The images she shared were beautiful and I know from following her on FB, that she is quite talented in the DIY and “upcycling” department.

Not only did I want some for myself (I’m buying four) I wanted to know how she did it. I figured that if I was curious, there were probably a lot more people who would be curious too. Jennifer has graciously agreed to share a ‘how-to’ for us so that we can make our own or perhaps just gain some inspiration to get out and discover ways to “upcycle” what is right in our own backyards.

There has never been a better time to do so as rustic, shabby-chic and natural elements design is right on trend.

Please “meet” Jennifer and learn how to make these beautiful, rustic wood ornaments.

JENNIFER’S DIY RUSTIC WOODEN ORNAMENTS

Hello! My name is Jennifer and I’m a habitual recycler and upcycler of just about anything I can get my hands on! I love to create and repurpose items that I often find curbside or in my backyard.

These simple DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments are no exception; they’re made from branches from my yard that came down in a windstorm a few weeks ago. The steps are simple and the tools required are minimal:

MATERIALS

  • Branches (mine were 2 – 2.5” in diameter)
  • Wood-burning tool (I use one from Lee Valley)
  • Circulating chop saw or table saw (I use The Mister’s)
  • Hand drill
  • Pencil
  • Decorative ribbon

HOW TO

DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments How To

  1. Cut branches 1/4” thick, sand away any rough pieces
  2. Drill a small hole in the pieces (for ribbon)
  3. Draw your pattern onto the wood pieces (I did rustic trees)
  4. Using your wood-burning tool, trace pattern on each piece
  5. Repeat for each ornament
  6. String with ribbon and hang!

THE FINISHED PROJECT

These ornaments make great personalized gifts! Be creative…get outside and see what you can find to re-purpose. How inspiring!

DIY Rustic Christmas Ornaments

PIN FOR LATER

If you like Jennifer’s rustic ornaments and would like to save it for later, here is a fun image that you can use to Pin!

add_image_size

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your how-to and for this wonderful inspiration as we head into the holiday season.

City Mom

American Girl Beforever Doll Maryellen’s Poodle Skirt Outfit & Jukebox

American Girl Maryellen Larkin

If you’re a follower of City Mom on Pinterest and/or Instagram, you likely know that we are big American Girl fans in our house. It’s not just Little S who loves AG…I have not outgrown my love for dolls and collectibles, so we share this love together.

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AMERICAN GIRL BEFOREVER

Among American Girl’s wide variety of dolls and accessories is their Beforever line of dolls from different era’s, e.g. Maryellen Larkin from the 1950’s.

Maryellen Larkin

Maryellen Larkin is the newest member of our family (and AG’s), as Little S received her as a birthday present. We love Maryellen because she is just so cute and deliver’s an excellent message for young girls…follow your heart instead of the crowd; an important principle for girls today.

MARYELLEN’S WORLD

Maryellen Larkin's World

Another aspect that we love of all the Beforever dolls including Maryellen, is the education their “world” provides on important times in history.

Maryellen is from 1954 so her clothing, accessories and furniture reflect this era. There are also three books (and perhaps more to come) that provide more insight into the life of a nine-year-old girl growing up in the 1950’s.

THE AMERICAN GIRL BRAND

American Girl All For Girl

We fell in love with the American Girl brand for more reasons than the cute dolls, fashion and furniture; we fell in love with the motivating message for girls to be all they can be and to follow their inner star. From the American Girl award-winning advice books like The Care and Keeping of Us, A Smart Girl’s Guide: Friend Troubles to their All For Girl, Girl for All campaign that will unite 3 billion girls who have each other’s back.

American Girl is a brand that I am proud to share with my daughter and one that I truly enjoy her immersing herself in. It is nothing but positive, showing the strength and inner beauty within all of us.

MARYELLEN’S POODLE SKIRT OUTIFIT & JUKEBOX

Little S and I were fortunate enough to receive Maryellen’s Poodle Skirt outfit and her Jukebox. Little S unboxes and demos these two items in the following video. We will also highlight a few key points below:

Maryellen’s Poodle Skirt Outfit

Maryellens Poodle Skirt Outifit

Poodle skirts were very popular in the 1950s, and Maryellen is thrilled when her mother buys this one for her to wear to her first day of fourth grade! This outfit includes:

  • A black quilted skirt featuring a pink poodle with a stitched leash
  • A pink blouse with a cute Peter Pan collar and contrast polka dots on the sleeves
  • A polka-dot kerchief that can be worn in her hair or around her neck
  • White bobby socks
  • Black-and-white saddle shoes

Maryellen’s Jukebox

Maryellen's Jukebox

In Maryellen’s day, jukeboxes were often found in restaurants and diners. People would scroll through a list of songs, then put in a few coins to play their favourites.

This jukebox lights up and plays six pre-recorded ’50s-style songs when the buttons are pushed. Plus, girls can connect their own electronic music players to play all their favorite songs! Includes a 3.5 mm audio cable. Note: Electronic music player not included. Requires 4AA batteries, not included.

Little S absolutely loved these two items to go along with Maryellen and she says that girls would love to find these items under the tree this year. If your child doesn’t already have Maryellen, she will also make for an amazing gift this holiday season!

AMERICAN GIRL IS FOR CANADIANS TOO

As we enjoy sharing our AG experience on social media, I often get a lot of inquiries on how we Canadians can buy American Girl items and the answer to that is pretty easy. Canada now has American Girl boutiques in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver and hopefully more soon!

If you don’t live near any of these cities, not to worry, you can shop online at americangirl.ca. Sign up for the newsletter and you’ll even get notifications of special promotions like free shipping!

SPEAKING OF FREE SHIPPING

This one you’ll have to act fast on, American Girl is offering free shipping until November 24th, 2015 via americangirl.ca on orders over $100.

We encourage you to get to know the American Girl brand if you don’t already. You will love the quality, selection and “extras” that come with the experience.

Happy holidays from us!

Disclaimer: we received the above mentioned products to perform this review. The opinions are 100% our own.

City Mom

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