Friday, December 28, 2012

Thanks For A Wonderful Year!

The end of 2012 is approaching and we can't help but reflect on the wonderful year we've had.

We are so thankful for all of you, our customers, who are the lifeblood of our company. We value your feedback and have enjoyed interacting with you on our social media pages. We have worked hard this year to expand our product line-up, customization options, and to make the ordering experience even easier than before. We hope you like the changes!

It has been a year of exceptional growth for us and we are grateful for your part in making that happen. Recommendations by parents who use our products and love them are the best presents we could ever receive, so thank you for helping us spread the word!

We also want to thank all of our dedicated Agents and the wonderful bloggers we have had the privilege of working with this year. Many of you participated in product giveaways hosted by bloggers, and we appreciate your support and enthusiasm. We look forward to even more fun giveaways and promotions in the New Year, and invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to hear about them first!

2013 promises to be an exciting year and we are so happy that you're along for the ride!

Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity in the New Year, from all of us here at Oliver's Labels.

(…and may your Oliver's Labels always help your lost items find their way home! ;)



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks is for Giving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends! It's a beautiful day here and we hope it's the same where you are.

On a day like today, there's no better way to celebrate than to reflect on what Thanksgiving is really all about. Sure, there's lots of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and other yummy treats. But, aside from all the wonderful bounties we enjoy, today is a day for giving thanks.

It's always been a tradition in our house to go around the table before we start our meal, and have each person express gratitude for something. It's such a great example to set for the children, as give thanks for everything we have - our food, clothing, shelter, wonderful relationships with our friends and loved ones and much, much more.

We have so much to be grateful for, and it's nice to remember that many others around the world - and some in our own communities - aren't as fortunate. Today, and every day, let's make gratitude our attitude. :)

Wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your families from all of us here at Oliver's Labels!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

What chefs do when they're bored...
or, how to make veggies fun so that kids want to eat them!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tips for Navigating the Holidays with Food Allergies

There are exactly 32 days until the start of Hanukkah and 50 days until Christmas.  (I know, it caught us by surprise too!)

With the holiday season approaching, it can be tricky to navigate the sea of get-togethers, pot-lucks and wine-and-cheese events when you’ve got food allergies. So, we’ve put together a list of tips to help those with food allergies enjoy the season a bit more.
  1. If you’re going to a pot-luck make an all-in-one dish, such as a casserole, that can stand alone as your meal in case there are no other viable options. ¹

  2. Talk to the hostess in advance and tell her you’d be happy to bring place cards for the various dishes. Hand them out to the guests as they arrive and ask them to write their name and the name of their dish, so it’s easy to identify on the food table. This will go a long way in helping you determine what’s safe and, if you’re still not sure about the ingredients, you can at least track down the cook to ask. ²  Bonus: it encourages mingling amongst guests and if you love that rice pilaf that Mary brought, you can give her your raves personally… or, better yet, ask for the recipe!

  3. If you’ve got little kids that will be attending a get-together with you, ask your hostess in advance if there will be any bowls of nuts, chocolates, etc (depending on your child’s particular allergy) within arm’s reach. If so, ask if they could be placed higher up. If you’ve got older children, walk around the food area with them and discuss what are safe foods and what should be avoided. ³

  4. Bring a special, yet safe, holiday treat with you so that there is always something festive for your child to enjoy. ³

  5. Label food that you bring to events so that it is clear what is in it. Our Date Labels work well in this instance; simply write the ingredients on it (ie. “No nuts, dairy or gluten”), then wash it off when you’re done. We also carry Allergy labels that are pre-printed with multiple lines of custom text, outlining your child’s allergy information.

Do you have any tips for enjoying the holidays with food allergies? If so, we’d love to hear them!

Wishing you and your family a fun, festive and safe holiday season!
___________________________________________________________________________

¹ http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/food-allergies-holidays

² http://practicalkatie.com/2011/11/21/childhood-food-allergies-tips-for-holiday-parties/

³ http://www.thebloomsburgdaily.com/2011/12/06/food-allergies-holidays-non-pecan-pie/




Monday, October 22, 2012

Great Reads for Kids

My kids love to read. I owe it to the fact that we have read to our children each night before bed since they were very little - a treasured tradition in our home.

Reading is a powerful thing - it can inspire a love of the written word, expand a child's imagination, and increase vocabulary. It is also one of the best ways to bond with your child in a meaningful, yet fun, way. And, I've found that it is one activity that my kids look forward to every night. Even if we have read a lot during the day, they love knowing that there will be cuddle time with Mommy or Daddy and a few favorite books before bed. It's such a special way to connect with them each day and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I love discovering new books to share with my kids and, over the past few years, I've found many that have quickly become my kids' favorites. Here are a few of them...

1. Is There Really A Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis / Laura Cornell — a story about enjoying the journey and living life to the fullest, by helping and inspiring others, so that we leave the world a better place. (I find myself holding back a few tears each time I read the last few pages...it's beautifully powerful and moving.)

2. The Foolish Tortoise by Richard Buckley / Eric Carle — a sweet tale of a disillusioned turtle who learns that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

3. Ollie by Olivier Dunrea — one of many in the popular series featuring Gossie, Gertie, Boo Boo and friends, this book is all about waiting for Ollie to hatch... and realizing he will do it in his own time.

4. Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone / Christine Devenier — a story about how change can be a good thing, with a wonderful rhyming narrative that little girls will love.

5. Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard — about a bird who wakes up cranky but, with some help from his friends, turns his day around.

6. Finn Throws A Fit! by David Elliott / Timothy Basil Ering — a hilarious depiction of a toddler tantrum that young children can relate to.

7. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor / Robin Preiss Glasser — a beautifully-illustrated story about a charming little girl who loves being fancy and using fancy vocabulary, helping readers learn new words (and their meanings) along the way. My 5-year-old daughter has many books in this series (including many of the "I Can Read" stories) and she adores them all.

8. Freight Train by Donald Crews —if you've got a little one who loves trains, this is a fantastic addition to your library. A simple story that describes a train and how it moves through the city and country. My two-year-old loves this book so much that he has memorized it and can read it to me!

I hope this list has inspired you... and if you have a favorite book, please let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear about it. :)

Happy reading!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Halloween Fun on the Cheap

Halloween is such a fun night of the year… adults get to act like kids, kids get to eat a ton of candy and there’s a silly, jovial atmosphere that can’t be beat!

 Halloween is especially fun because of the opportunity to make amazing crafts with your kids. Instead of dropping a bucketful of cash on store-bought decorations and Halloween-themed food, why not get creative, save a bit of cash, and make your own? There are so many amazing ideas to try – especially the creative jack o’lantern stencils to carve the BEST pumpkin on the block!! Check out some awesome ideas listed for you below…

1. Shrunken heads - http://www.marthastewart.com/268080/shrunken-apple-heads

 2. Pickled brains - http://www.marthastewart.com/318853/pickled-brains

3. Creepy old fingers, bones and more - http://inspiringpretty.com/2012/09/20/cute-and-spooky-halloween-foods-for-kids/ 

4. Ghosts, candy corn banner, jack o’lantern masks and more - http://www.bhg.com/halloween/indoor-decorating/easy-halloween-decorations/ 

5. Roasted pumpkin seeds - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-pumpkin-seeds/

6. Jack o’lantern carving stencils
 - http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/mpatterns.htm
 - http://www.marthastewart.com/357874/easy-pumpkin-templates
 - http://www.nickjr.com/printables/nickjr-pumpkin-stencils.jhtml?path=/printables/all-shows/seasonal_halloween/all-ages/index.jhtml 
- http://www.celebrating-halloween.com/pumpkincarving/index.shtml

Remember to put safety first - try to wear light colors, or ensure there's reflective tape on dark-colored costumes. And, if you're taking little ones out for the big night, consider using our Safety Wristbands for a little extra peace of mind.

Enjoy your Halloween! And, keep your eyes peeled for a fantastic Halloween promotion starting next week!!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Take Care and Be Aware

We're delighted to have Jody - wife, Mom of two and writer of How One Practical Woman Sees It... - as our guest blogger this week. Here, she shares her thoughts, feelings and perspective on sending her nut-allergic son to school for the first time.

~ ~ ~

It's back to school time and so off I send my 4-year-old son to his preschool class three times a week. I read all the school handouts we are given, and attend the information night and I hope everyone else was listening as closely as I did.

Did you hear the teachers?

Did you see what the rules/regulations handout said?

There are kids in the classroom with allergies. Take note: there are no nuts allowed, there will be no sharing of food, and the school can not hand out food to the class brought by parents (i.e. birthday cupcakes).

Really it's not that big of a deal; it's only for a few hours. Your kids can eat nuts in the car or at home. Your kids can eat the snacks you provided them and you don't have to worry they only ate gummy bears from their classmate's lunch box. You can bring pencils or bubbles as a birthday treat. Or if you really want you can make cupcakes, individually wrap them, tag on an ingredient list, and hand them out at the end of school so each parent can make their own decision.

As I send my child off to school it's my hope that you all listened and took it to heart. It is HIS allergy but he's only 4 so he still needs adult assistance to make sure he doesn't come in contact with the items he's allergic to. Please listen and abide by the rules; it will help watch out for him until he old enough to assume responsibility for his own allergies.

Jody labels her son's backpack and other
items to help remind teachers and caregivers
of his allergies
~ ~ ~

Many thanks to Jody for sharing her experience. Have a question? Leave a comment!

Have a story you want to share? Email us at social (at) oliverslabels (dot) com, with "Guest Post" in the subject line.

Connect with Jody on...
Her blog
Twitter

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Whirlwind

I don't know about you, but this time of year is such a whirlwind for parents... and for Oliver's Labels! Not only is it back-to-school time for the little (and not-so-little) ones, but it's one of our busiest times of year here at Oliver's Labels HQ.

Picture Santa's elves in the workshop at the North Pole, working away like busy bees to ensure no child is without a toy on the big day. Well, that's kind of what it's like here - only without the festive music and crazy costumes! From the moment your order is placed, our team is hard at work ensuring it arrives on time and looking great. From the technical team who makes sure the website is up and running at all times (and who have made the ordering process as easy as can be), to the production department who checks each product and ships it out in a flash, there is a lot of love and hard work that goes into each order. We also can't forget our amazing customer service department who does a great job responding to all of our customers' inquiries via phone, live internet chat and email. Without each important cog in our wheel, so to speak, orders couldn't be processed in such a speedy manner.

We hope your children had a wonderful first day back to school and want to thank you for letting us be a part of this special time, each and every year. We are constantly striving to offer products that you will find useful, so check out our newest additions - Room-eez™ Growth Charts (U.S. / CAN) and new Allergy Labels.

Feedback is important to us, so if you have any suggestions for new products or just want to say Hi, please email us at social (at) oliverslabels (dot) com.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Peanuts: The Party Crasher - Part 2


This is the second in a two-part series by Brandi Yee - wife, blogger at Yee Wittle Things and Mom of two, one of which has a severe peanut allergy.

~ ~ ~
Continued from Part One

Be Informed

Stay up to date on recalls and allergy-related news. I receive email updates from Anaphylaxis Canada to stay on top of peanut allergy recalls. Inform family members and friends. It's not only extremely important that parents are aware and prepared for any allergy-related emergencies, but it's also extremely important that family members and friends are aware as well and know how to look out for allergens in their homes when having you and your children over. It's important for them to read labels when serving or preparing foods and to make sure that counters, tables and hands are sanitized and washed after using anything that contains the allergen. We have awesome family, and they've all been fabulous at making sure their homes are safe environments for when we come over. You want your child to feel safe not only in your own home, but in close family and friend's homes as well as much as possible.

ALWAYS Ask

It doesn't matter if you sound like a broken record, ALWAYS ask what is in something before consuming. I'm sure I've drove family and friends nuts at times, by constantly asking what is in the food they've cooked or baked, but they are more than happy to tell me the ingredients to put my mind at ease and there's been a couple times that ingredients that were thought to be innocent, contained traces of what we didn't want - peanuts. Don't be afraid to ask questions or politely decline food if hesitant. Do what's best for you and your family and make decisions based on what you feel is safe or not safe.

Party Planning

This was actually one of the more stressful moments for me after my daughter was first diagnosed. She was going to go to a party and I was a bundle of nerves. I made sure to constantly remind others of her peanut allergy and be aware of ingredients and what was being served. Once again, ALWAYS ask questions. Parties aren't hard for me to plan, because I know what's going in everything. Actually, everything is pretty much homemade, such as the cake, for this reason. What I love about making everything myself, is that I know exactly what is in it, and that winds up being a healthier choice for the whole family. There's great party foods that are peanut-free and it's a great feeling to know you've made a cake that is safe for everyone to eat, especially your child. If a cake is being served at another party that you're not sure about, you can always send something separate for your child to enjoy, so he or she isn't left out. I've had to send cupcakes before when there's been "may contain traces..." warnings on ingredients used in cakes at parties she's been invited to. As long as everyone is aware of who they're inviting, most people don't mind accommodating, and if it's an issue, they just know not to invite that child (which seems sad I know, but true). I haven't encountered that as of yet, and am very lucky that most people are more than willing to make things safe and enjoyable for everyone. As long as everyone is aware, parties can still be just as fun and safe.

Educate

It's important to start educating your child early on about his/her allergies. My daughter is still too young to fully grasp why she can't have peanuts, other than that she knows they can make her really, really sick. But I certainly could not rely on her to say "no" if she was offered something containing them or ask questions about what she's about to eat. So for now, we do our best to educate her by showing her how we ask, how we read  labels, avoid peanuts and there's even books that you can read to your kids about their allergies that are very useful! As she gets older, she'll learn how to use her Epipen, ask all those questions and be aware. There's many useful resources for teaching yourself and your children about allergies and anaphylaxis.

I could ramble on and on about ways to cope or strategies to help ease the stress of dealing with severe allergies, but in truth, each family is different. I know families with similar allergies that deal with it in the same way as us, but I also know families who deal with it in completely different ways that work for them. The common denominator is keeping your child safe. It's all about finding your comfort zone and structuring your family in such a way that everyone is aware of what's going on and how to deal with it. The best thing I learned early on, was to take things day by day. Don't rack your mind about the future or what "could happen" and be in fear. Do the best you can, take precautions and focus on each day as it comes.
~ ~ ~

Many thanks to Brandi for sharing her story and experience. Have a question? Leave a comment!

Have a story you want to share? Email us at social (at) oliverslabels (dot) com, with "Guest Post" in the subject line.

Connect with Brandi on...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Peanuts: The Party Crasher

This is the first in a two-part series by Brandi Yee - wife, blogger at Yee Wittle Things and Mom of two, one of which has a severe peanut allergy.

~ ~ ~

Allergies have become a part of society it seems now a days and it's getting harder and harder to avoid. Yes, I'm used to allergies on my side of the family (seasonal allergies, pet allergies, and food allergies to shellfish, strawberries...just to name a few!) and I fully expected our kids to have some form of allergies themselves. With that being said, I honestly never expected one of our kids to develop a life threatening allergy. That was a life altering "surprise" and one that we haven't experienced on either sides of the family...until now. What is the culprit? Peanuts. What's even more surprising, is that peanut allergies are one of the most common allergies in children. I never knew that until my (now 3 year old) daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy herself.

Our Story

All it took was a couple bites of a homemade peanut butter cookie after she was a year old, and our lives would take a different course. I knew to look out for a reaction, as it was her first taste of the nutty sweetness, but don't think I was quite expecting anything to happen. Being familiar with allergies and how to recognize reactions, I knew instantly that when swollen bumps began forming around her eyes and mouth, that this wasn't going to be pleasant. Head to toe hives, swelling throat, ears, eyes and wheezing in a matter of minutes, would be the start of a whole new way of living; for both her and us. We made it to the hospital JUST in time and I'm very thankful for that. It took days for the swelling to go down even after she was administered 3 types of different medication. We were advised to carry an Epipen at all times and keep one in our house as well. What has stood out in my mind the most, is the doctor telling us that the first reaction is MILD compared to future reactions. With hers being such a severe first reaction, we don't want to find out what a future reaction would involve. Changes had to be made and regular caution would become a part of the family.

Two years later and Epipens constantly within our reach, we've learned how to cope and manage with this new addition to our lives. It took some tears and stress-filled moments to reach a point where we felt we are doing everything we can to keep her away from any peanut-related situations. There may be only so much in our control, especially when out in public or at playgrounds, but the caution we use daily has prevented her from (fingers crossed) having a second and possibly more fatal reaction.

Be Prepared

Yes, my purse is almost like luggage now. I'm prepared for anything and people have made comments (jokingly of course) about how much it weighs. But you know what? My purse holds everything I need to help keep my daughter safe if we're ever in a situation where peanuts pose a threat. I not only carry an Epipen in my purse, but I also carry Benadryl and a syringe to administer if such a reaction begins to arise. A cell phone can also be important for any unexpected times when 911 is needed. It's important to be prepared. Better safe than sorry as the saying goes, and it's the motto I live by now.

Know how use to an Epipen. This includes you and people who are close in your lives. There are information packages available and the most important thing to know, is how to administer the Epipen if an emergency presents itself.

Note: It's extremely important to keep Epipens up to date and to be aware of expiration dates on them. One thing I have learned, is that even if you buy them on a certain day, it doesn't mean you have a year from the date of purchase. They have a shelf life that will likely vary from the day you purchased and could even be off by a matter of months believe it or not. You can also sign up to receive email reminders for your Epipen's expiration dates.

Read Labels

This is extremely important, especially for food allergies. I am VERY fortunate that I was already used to reading labels because of healthy choices (such as trans fat, cholesterol content, sodium, etc.), so it was not an inconvenience for me at all to take an extra few seconds to read for allergens. Whether it's the actual allergen in the product, possible traces of the allergen, or manufactured in the same plant as the allergen, you need to be aware of this before purchasing. I'm very fortunate for the better awareness by companies today in regards to not only peanut allergies, but many other allergies as well. And just because something has the peanut-free symbol on it, I still have the habit of flipping over the product and reading the ingredient list.

Location, Location, Location

Be aware of your surroundings and scan areas, such as park benches, picnic tables, playgrounds, sand boxes, grass, etc. for anything that could pose a threat. For us with the peanut allergy, we have to constantly watch for dropped peanuts and shells from squirrels, or people that have flicked them on the sidewalk or grass. I've seen many peanuts and shells laying around, even in our own yard from squirrels. Always assess the situation and the location.

~ Stay tuned for part two of Brandi's story on Friday. ~

~ ~ ~

Connect with Brandi on...

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Google+ 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

You know what this means, right? 
Need more Shoe Labels in time for school!
Thanks to our fan, Ella, for sending this in to us - we got a kick out of it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My first "Back-to-School"

Since my oldest child started school last year, I've been thinking a lot about what this very first "back-to-school" will mean. Let's face it, the train has left the proverbial station and has embarked on an 18-year journey, making the fact that she's growing up all too real.  I wonder if my Mom felt the same.

As a kid, I remember back to school season fondly. Well, the shopping for school supplies and clothes was fun, but the end of summer... not so much.  I remember the last week of August being bittersweet. I wanted summer to go on forever, but I also really missed seeing my friends every day. I hope my daughter feels the same. There's an amazing sense of renewal at back-to-school season that is exciting. A new grade to conquer; new friends to make; old friends to reconnect with.

And, while it's exciting for kids, it can also be a lot of work for parents. My to-do list is already crammed with tasks to prepare for the first week back. I'm not always the most organized person, but I am off to a good start. I have already started a list of items to purchase - some that need replacing or upgrading from last year (I don't think the weeny backpack will cut it in SK!), a few new outfits for her ever-growing body, and of course, our newest tradition that was started this same time last year... letting her pick out new labels. I thought we would have enough to last two years, but I've just about run out of every type - especially shoe and Stick-eez clothing labels, which are always the first to go in our house.

And so the back-to-school countdown begins. Here are some of my tips for a successful - and stress-free - season.

1. Take a wardrobe inventory
Spend an hour or so going through your child's clothing and have them try on anything that looks like it might not fit, come the fall. Make a list of what's needed and start shopping now to ensure size availability. Don't forget to check your child's shoes to see if they fit! Many a parent has been caught off guard when junior puts on last season's running shoes only to find he's grown out of them over the summer.

2. Buy school supplies sparingly
Call your child's school and ask if they have a suggested list of supplies for their grade/class (some do). If so, this will help keep unneeded purchases to a minimum. If not, stick to purchasing the basics for the first day back; here's a great list to get you started. School supplies aren't cheap, so save your money - anything that's still needed can be bought later.

3. Check coupon / deal websites before you shop
Sites like Retailmenot.com and Couponchief.com are a wealth of coupon codes and promotional offers, so don't forget to check them before heading out to shop. If you're not familiar with how they work, it's simple - type in the store name that you'll be visiting, hit "enter" and the website will list any available coupons (or online promo codes) for it. Better yet, do as much shopping as possible online and save your sanity!  

4. Label everything
When I say everything, I mean everything! ;) There is no end to the number of things kids can lose... from pencil crayons and scissors to hoodies and shoes, it's a wonder anything is left at the end of the year. With over 40 designs and 17 fonts to choose from, there's something for everyone. My daughter, in particular, loves the fact that she can customize each kind of label and tag in her package with a different design and font - no other company has such a wide range of customization options. For kids with allergies, our wide range of Allergy Labels, Tags and Safety Wristbands are an excellent way of alerting your child's teachers to his or her allergy/ies, especially the first few weeks of being in a new class.

When ordering, don't forget our exclusive, optional (and FREE!) Found-it™ system - a must-have to help your kids' lost items get returned.  If you need assistance placing an order or simply have a question that isn't answered on our website FAQ, our wonderful customer service team is available by email (info@oliverslabels.com), phone (1-800-398-2060) or online chat (button is on right side of website), so let us know if we can be of assistance! Or, if you're on Twitter, feel free to tweet us!

Happy back-to-school shopping!



Friday, July 13, 2012

Ways To Beat The Summer Heat

We've had a hot spell here the past few weeks and, now that school's out, the days can be tough to fill with activities. Who wants to get active outside when it's so hot?

There are lots of fun ways to keep cool in the summer, so why not turn them into special events for the kids to look forward to on the hottest of days?

Simply grab a mason jar and write down your family's favorite fun summer activities onto strips of paper. You can make it as budget-friendly as you wish, determining in advance how many days each week you'll do a special activity, and what those activities will be. They can range from simple, stay-at-home activities, to more extravagant adventures. 

Then check your local weather listings to find out which days are slated to be the hottest each week, and let your kid(s) choose an activity from the jar on each of those days.

Some ideas to get you started:
Get your kids involved and let them have a say in what goes in the jar - you'll be assured of having active, involved participants in any activity that's chosen.  Make it a special treat, allowing each of your children to take turns picking from it.

Have any other fun ideas? Comment below or share them on our Facebook page, Twitter or Google+ page. And, if you've got some more ice cream recipes or popsicle ideas, our Pinterest page is just the place to show 'em off!!

Here's to a fun-filled summer!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Adventures

It's officially the end of the school year and I'm feeling nostalgic.

My "baby" isn't one any longer - she has leaped into the world of school trips, summer vacations and after-school play dates. For me, the start of this summer signifies her burgeoning independence, and it will be put to the test when she goes to full-day camp this summer. What a milestone! I'm excited for her and I know she will love it.

Camp plays such an integral role in helping children define themselves and build self-esteem. As a kid, I was lucky enough to go to camp a few summers in a row; they were some of the best times of my childhood. Camp was a place where great memories were made, friendships were nurtured and life lessons were learned. For my daughter, this summer is filled with the promise of new adventures and memories that will last a lifetime.

Now all I need to do (aside from keeping tissues close at hand in case I get emotional), is to make sure she's prepared. Needless to say, we'll be ordering some new labels with Found-it on them for all her camp "must-haves" (water bottle, swimsuit, towel, shoes, etc), and she will customize them herself - picking her favorite design and font make her feel like a big kid, which she officially is now. There will be a few safety talks as well because, after all, she's only five... and five-year-olds need a lot of reminders! Last but not least, I will tell her to be herself, have fun and enjoy her first camp experience.

Whether you have a child heading off to camp for the first time this summer, or are a seasoned camp vet, all of us at Oliver's Labels wish you and your family a fun, safe camp season.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day DIY

It's almost Dad's big day and if you find yourself scrambling for a great gift, I've got a few crafty - yet memorable - ideas for you for kids of all ages!

Personalized Picasso

When my daughter was two, she made a special Father's Day present for my husband - a painting with her hand print on it that my husband cherishes to this day.  It's such an easy and inexpensive project, yet it's sure to be treasured. Simply purchase a canvas at your local art supply store or dollar store (this is where I get mine... they have amazing canvases for only $1-2!), and set up a tray with assorted washable paint colors for your child to use; consider the use of a smock.  
Tip: a plastic egg carton works great as a paint tray - it's the perfect size.
If you have a very young child doing this project and don't want the colors to end up turning into brown on the canvas, hand your child a clean brush every few minutes and gently instruct them to try a new color. Be sure to personalize their painting even more by adding a hand print to their masterpiece. It will be a great reminder just how small they were when they made this.

Want to make it even more special? Be sure to document the entire experience (photographs, video) and either print off a photo and slide it in the back of the canvas, or give Dad a DVD of the creative process. He's sure to treasure it!

Fimo Fingerprints

Every kid that has tried Fimo simply LOVES it. Know why? Because they get to immortalize their creations forever (via baking/hardening)! No matter the age(s) of your child(ren), you can create an amazing - and practical - gift for Dad using Fimo and a few other supplies found at art supply or dollar stores.

Key Chain 

Supplies: Fimo, leather cord, split ring

Cut a rectangular piece of Fimo - any size you'd like your keychain to be - and make a hole using an awl or a very sharp pencil at one end of it (it must be big enough to accommodate two widths of leather cord). Next, have your child(ren) put their fingerprint(s) in it and bake per the instructions on the Fimo package; let cool. Cut a 6" piece of leather cord and fold in half around the split ring; put cut ends of the cord through the hole that you made in the Fimo; then, with both ends together, tie a simple knot at the end. (Feel free to experiment with other ways to attach the Fimo and split ring; jump rings also work well, in place of leather cord.)

Bookmark

Supplies: Fimo, leather cord

Follow the instructions as noted above (for keychain), only cut the Fimo larger (bookmark size) and finish the top off with a piece of leather cord folded in half, looped end through the hole in the top of the Fimo, and cut ends pulled through loop to form a sort of tassel.

I hope these inexpensive, last-minute, low-stress gift ideas help make this coming Father's Day a great one! And if you have any fabulous DIY gift ideas to share please comment below, post on our Facebook or Google+ pages, pin them on Pinterest (tag us so we can re-pin!), or tweet us. We would love to share your ideas with the rest of our fans!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just in time for Summer Camp...

We know how busy this time of year can be, with the end of the school year approaching and the start of summer activities, camp, and trying to keep your kids occupied for two months.

If you child is going to camp - be it day camp or overnight camp - it's wise to label all of their items. With all of the fun they're sure to have, keeping track of their stuff isn't going to be high on their list! So, we've got a fabulous promotion just for you... but only for a limited time.

Order our Camp Package for only $38.99 (a $58.99 value!) - our biggest and best pack of labels and tags, sure to cover all your camp-labelling needs!


Be sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and join our Google+ circles to stay in the know about all our contests and promotions!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday!



Our colleague, Mike, had a birthday last week and we just had to celebrate it...Oliver's Labels-style!  

Happy Birthday, Mike - we hope you had a great one!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Letting Go

Tonight my first-born had her first "official" school concert. Sure, I've been to preschool performances, but this one tonight had real, heartfelt significance for me.

It's the beginning of the end of her babyhood.

It's difficult to envision my baby as an honest-to-goodness big kid. But that's what has happened. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of the wonderfully bright, smart, kind and outgoing little girl she has become. But, a part of me doesn't want my kids to grow up.

I want to just stop time...rewind moments of regret to make right some of my mistakes. I need time to etch their milestones on my (notoriously bad) memory and try harder to cherish every second I spend with them. Instead of looking back, I need to look forward to the amazing milestones ahead.

It's tough to admit they're growing up, and even tougher letting go.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Honor of Moms

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I knew being a Mom would be the most amazing experience of my life. I also knew it would be the most difficult challenge, too. My Mother always told me that anything worth doing isn’t easy, so I thought I was prepared for anything.

But nothing can prepare you for becoming a Mom. Really.

It’s harder than you ever thought, yet more rewarding and fulfilling than you could imagine. When you’re sleep-deprived, it can feel like you’re never again going to be normal. But then everything changes; your child reaches a milestone and a mixture of pride and love, like you’ve never known, courses through you.

Seeing my children grow up before my eyes is the most satisfying accomplishment of my life. Nothing else will ever compare. And I will have the grey hairs to prove it – every one of them well-earned!

So, in honor of every Mom… thank you for all the sleepless nights, diaper changing, nose wiping, nurturing, boo-boo kissing, playing, teaching, tidying, cooking, worrying and advice giving. Not only are you a parent but also a friend, disciplinarian, nurse, teacher, housekeeper, chef, psychologist, and most of all…

…the best example of unconditional love.

Happy Mother’s Day


Monday, April 30, 2012

Keeping It Even-Steven

A few short years ago, my entire world consisted of my little girl. Hubby and I devoted all our time and attention to this one, perfect, sweet little being. Then, when we decided to expand our family, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.

 Immediately, the family dynamic changed and I started feeling guilt over not spending the same amount of time with my son than I had with my daughter. She went to Mommy and Me swimming lessons at 6 months of age; he didn't go until he was almost two! If she got a new toy, why didn't he get one, too? That was only fair and right, wasn't it? The guilt and even-Steven-ness of it all could've made me crazy...and it still almost does sometimes.

For the most part, I try and take a step back and realize that it's not about making everything "even", but about tending to my children's individual, unique needs as they arise. To make sure they know they're loved, cherished, taken care of and wanted more than anything in this world, is the best gift I can possibly give them. Sure, there will be times when one of my kids feels slighted ("She got an extra cookie!") or neglected ("You took him to the playground twice this week, and I never got to go!"), but I'll cross those bridges when I get to them.

For now, I'll focus on kissing, hugging, cuddling and playing with my kids. Then, hopefully, they'll be too distracted to notice.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to camp we go!

Is your child going to camp this year? Mine are still too young for "away" camp, but I've always thought that summer camp is an amazing experience that I want them to enjoy someday.

I remember going to camp - the freedom and independence, the sheer joy of making my own decisions. It was like heaven on earth for me. While I definitely missed my family, the experience was life-changing. For me, it was the first stepping stone to achieving self-confidence at such a young age.

While the thought of our kids being away from home is scary for parents, the benefits of summer camp are many. Friendships are forged that last a lifetime; self-esteem and confidence flourish. In today's "helicopter parenting" environment, camp can be the defining time when children spread their wings to venture beyond their comfort zones... and sometimes we, as parents, need to venture beyond ours.

Happy trails!
___________________

Don't forget to label!

Our Camp Package is available all year long, and contains everything your child will need to keep his or her stuff out of the lost-and-found, so don't forget to order some for your little campers! New designs are added all the time, so check back often and see what's new!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Right Where I'm Meant To Be

My kids are forever amazing me. From their ability to make me laugh one minute, yet cry and throw up my hands in defeat the next, to the ways in which they are seemingly independent yet, in the same breath, want me - and only me - on a daily basis. There's surely never a dull moment in my house!

Some days it's like an emotional roller-coaster. One morning there's cooperation, hugs and high-fives, then the afternoon rolls around and it's like World War III has started - all because we ran out of chicken noodle soup for lunch! Yes, the toddler and preschool years can be trying, but also so precious.

Yesterday, my toddler grabbed my face and, for a second, I thought he was going to bestow upon me his newest trick - the head butt. (Lovely, isn't it?) Instead, he almost brought me to tears when he gave me the sweetest nose kisses ever... followed by a heartbreaker smile, dimples and all. What a nice surprise!

It's in these unexpected moments that I find the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment as a Mom. I can plan fun activities and outings, but the most meaningful moments happen spontaneously, usually when I'm least expecting them.  And, while I may sometimes doubt my decision to work from home so I can be with my children every day (late nights = tired Mama), these moments are like bright stars in a dark night sky.

They make me look up in wonder and realize that I'm right where I'm meant to be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - More Easter Room-eez fun!!



More fun Easter Room-eez Wall Decals! Many thanks to our fabulous Agent, Carol, who sent in this adorable picture of her daughter with their new decorations. :)

If you'd like some, too, hop on over to our site and get your own Easter Room-eez for only $5 (a $10 value) with any order, only until April 8th!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Indulgences... and a few for Passover, too!

One of my favorite traditions at holiday time (any holiday!) is baking together. My five-year-old is already a pro at cracking eggs, measuring out ingredients, and mixing everything up. We started baking together from a pretty young age…it’s one of our special things we do together. Our signature dessert is a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but we’re branching out more as time goes on.

As Easter approaches, I’ve already begun thinking of new recipes we can make together. Anything with apples is always a big hit in our house – why, I’m not sure, as my kids won’t eat an actual apple. Yes, you heard it right. My kids will eat applesauce, apple pie - pretty much anything with apple in it - and, of course, drink apple juice, but will not eat an apple. (I’m assuming it’s just one of those childish quirks that will pass with time…. here’s hoping!) So, I’ve included a link to our favorite apple cake, chocolate cake and cheesecake, as well as a few new recipes that I’ve read rave reviews about but have yet to try. Easter is the perfect time to break out the measuring cups, mixer and wooden spoon and try what could be our new favorites! If you celebrate Passover, I’ve made sure to include a few recipes that are suitable for your holiday meals as well (*denotes desserts appropriate for Passover).


Have a wonderful Easter and Passover, everyone! And, enjoy dessert… J


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Easter Room-eez Wall Decals Have Arrived!



Thanks to one of our wonderful Agents, Kristen, for sending in this pic of her adorable daughter with her new Room-eez limited edition Easter wall decals. So cute! 

Hop on over to our site and get your own Easter Room-eez for only $5 (a $10 value) with any order, only until April 8th!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Sprung - Easy Easter Decorations

I love Easter… want to know why? Well, it’s one of those holidays that the kids get really excited about, but I find relatively stress-free. It’s a win-win for all of us! To me it’s a time for having fun with the kids and it signals the coming of spring, which, in and of itself is a wonderful thing!

Since Easter is right around the corner, I thought I’d share some whimsical spring-themed decorations to make with your kids. (And, even if you don’t celebrate, these are sure to brighten up any room!)

Paper Blooms

What you’ll need:
  • Various colors of tissue paper (the brighter, the better!)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic beads
Optional:
  • Small pot with a piece of florist’s foam wedged in it
  • Fake moss
  • Decorations – i.e. gems with adhesive backings, small butterflies, bugs, etc. from craft store

String a bead onto a pipe cleaner to form the base of your flower. Cut flower shapes out of tissue paper then stack 6-8 cutouts, in alternating colors, on top of each other. Poke the pipe cleaner up through the middle then put another bead on the end of the pipe cleaner that is poking out the top of the paper flowers, sandwiching the paper between the two beads. Next, twist the end of the pipe cleaner around the top bead to secure (this forms the center of the flower). Scrunch the layers of paper to make the flower as full as desired, then “plant” it in the pot (optional). Fill your pot with as many flowers as you like, then cover the base of your flowers (to hide the florist’s foam) with moss. Add any other cute decorations you'd like, such as the butterfly and sparkly gems shown at left.

Sun Catchers

What you’ll need:
  • Waxed paper
  • Leftover crayon pieces 
  • Iron (to be used by adult, or under adult supervision)
  • Cloth
  • String
  • Suction cup hooks (optional)

Start off by grating crayon pieces into shavings, putting each color into a different bowl. Set out a piece of waxed paper in front of each child and have them draw a shape on the paper – an Easter egg, a flower, a race car or train… the possibilities are endless! Then, have them sprinkle the crayon shavings onto the paper (sparingly) within the shape they’ve drawn. Place the second sheet of waxed paper on top of the shavings, and then the cloth (as a protective layer between the waxed paper and the iron). With a warm iron, press down gently to melt the wax between the sheets of paper. Once it’s cool, cut around the outline of the shape and poke a hole and add the string. Decorate your windows by hanging them from suction cup hooks, or hang them like ornaments from large houseplants or indoor trees.

Did you know that another fantastic way to decorate is with our brand new line of Room-eez™ Wall Decals? They’re the decorations you can apply, remove, then re-apply whenever – and wherever – you want… without hurting your walls! And, we’ve designed a limited edition Easter pack of Room-eez wall decals that are available from now until April 8th for only $5 with any purchase – that’s half-price! To order, hop on over to oliverslabels.com.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday



Many thanks to our fan, Evelyn, who sent in this adorable pic of her little one using a sippy cup with one of our labels on it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

School Break Boredom Busters

Kids these days have so much – from toys and technology to art supplies and sports equipment – that there is no shortage of activities to do. So why is it that during school breaks, before the week has barely begun, most children will announce to their parents “I’m bored”?

We all love our kids and enjoy spending time with them – that goes without saying. But, at some point, we have to cut the apron strings and let them learn to occupy themselves, if only for an hour. J

The irony about spring break though (for many of us), is that it’s not really spring – the weather certainly isn’t spring-like! So, what’s a parent to do when junior says he’s bored? I scoured the web for some of the best crafts and came up with the following list. I’m sure there are lots more amazingly creative ideas out there, so if you have one, share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. You’ll be helping out fellow parents and maybe, just maybe, preventing at least one of them from hearing those two dreaded words (“I’m bored”)!

Have a wonderful school break!

1. Paint Prints – thanks to Amanda, an Oliver’s Labels Agent, for submitting this fun activity. Please check out her blog, Multi-Testing Mommy, for more amazing craft ideas!

Photo credit: Multitestingmommy.com

2. "Owly" Bowling Pins – this craft does double-duty…as a painting project and then as a game!

Photo credit: canadianfamily.ca

3. Popsicle Stick Bracelets – for the budding fashionista in your family!
Photo credit: ctv.ca


4. Homemade Sidewalk Chalk – make it now and look forward to using it when the weather is *actually* nice! ;)

Photo credit: familyeducation.com


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday



Thanks to our fan who sent in this picture of her daughter with our Large Bag Tag on her backpack!  When everyone else has the same pack, our tags are a great way of standing out from the crowd!

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!!