Friday, February 6, 2015

Lots of love to go around!

Well... we are in the thick of it at the "W" household... it is Birthday and Love season in our home!  So what I mean by this is that literally January 20th kicks off our birthday season!  Jimmy is the 20th of January then comes my sweet Eva with her 6th birthday on the 18th of Feb., little Luna Mae will be 3 on the 26th, and then mine is the 28th... finally!  I laugh because I used to call February "my birthday" month, ( a good excuse for my hubby to feel like he could wrap Valentines and my Birthday into one celebration) and then we ended up having two children born the same month as me! So here we are the season of birthdays and love!  Between trying to plan two parties,  Valentine's Day celebrations, the 100th day of school, running two small businesses (with a potential new one on the way!) my hubby got us a couple of sweet new pets.... wait for it... a mommy and a daddy New Zealand Blacks (bunny wabbits:) Yeah, surprise indeed.  "Babe- I'm headed to the feed store to buy duck food".  Me- "Okay" and hour later...."I almost forgot the duck food, but look what I did get!"- says the man who slept on the couch that night.

Meet Jack Jack.  He is handsome isn't he?  His other half is Violet, also a New Zealand Black but with spots of gray.  They both love carrots and snuggles (Jack Jack even more so). I know what you are thinking... Like we needed one more thing on our plates.... They are sweet and super loveable which means we will have lots of bunnies soon!  So how do we talk about all this love going around. We ARE going to have to explain how these two bunnies made so many more bunnies! In our house being open and honest is our motto. Like everything else we take on in our crazy lives, we want our children to learn from life. Teaching them how through exploration and discussion.  So needless to say if your kiddo needs a lesson on the birds and bees (or rather bunnies) or if you want a bunny of your own, let me know!  We should have some at the shop this Spring! :)

Valentines Day is around the corner and what better time to talk to your babes about LOVE! I know that Hallmark has taken this day and made it so commercialized but look at it from the eyes of your littles.  They get to see their parents showing affection and love to each other, they get to show love to their siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbors, and whomever else is in their life!  It doesn't have to be romantic love. 
Teach our children that with love comes respect and care for one another...

So around our house we start making our cards and love notes all from scratch so that we understand how much work and creativity goes into our creations for our loved ones.. oh and so Hallmark doesn't get a dime! :) Glue, crayons, stamps, paper, oh and pinterest!! are must haves to create all the wonderful crafts. Leaving little hearts all over the house, their lunchboxes, on their food.... wherever I can put it! All signs of love.
This one can be made two ways:
The Martha Stewart way with melted crayons.  Shave your discarded crayons down, put them between two sheets of wax paper, melt with your iron, cut out a heart, hang form your window. :)
The easy way with coffee filters and markers. Have your littles draw a beautiful creation on a large filter, spray the filter with water so that it "bleeds", allow it to dry, tape to your window! 


Friday, January 2, 2015

I get knocked down but I get up again...

What a year it was... 2014.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin a new chapter of life! After-all, every year is a new chapter in this journey. With every year, birthday, and experience something can be learned.  Good or bad, these experiences make us who we are. I feel that this last year taught me so many lessons, and as I look into what is to come of this next year, 2015, I keep focusing on the words honesty, hope, and success.

Last years lessons of honesty made me so incredibly humble. The most honest moment I've ever experienced in my almost 35 years was when I realized I had to move my store or shut it down completely. Literally this time last year I had one of those "come to Jesus" talks with my hubby, mother, and father. What are we going to do? Can your small business support my small business' move?  Can we maintain and keep a roof over our heads?   My husband and I looked at finances, savings, not paying myself so that I could afford the move, and then what about our kids? Our oldest, started kindergarten, our youngest old enough to be in a preschool but could we afford it? All questions that many families incur when dealing with LIFE! There was such uncertainty in our little nest.  Truly humbling with the whole year ahead of us with unanswered questions.

Well, clearly we made it.  We made many sacrifices and had help and support from friends and family through every moment. We have friends who took our children when we had to work, picked them up from school, dropped off at the store, helped with dinners, contributed to camping trips, and a family that helped us get away on a vacation so that we wouldn't get burnt out.  Thank you if you are reading this, you know who you are. To ask for help can make an un-modest person like myself extremely quite. I love that you never questioned, you just loved us.  Thank you.

So yes, I truly felt knocked down by last year, but here we are the second day into this new year and I am up... again.  Going to work at my small business; closing early to have a staff party at my house, where my friends (again and not the last time) have come through and helped prepare a dinner so that I can feed and celebrate these amazing women and their families that have helped me get by this past year. I am so hopeful for a wonderful evening as I am hopeful for the year to come.  I am hoping I can keep my resolutions of keeping healthy by running and exercising this year, as well as my resolution of keeping my mind sane by meditating daily, thus creating a healthy me so that I can be successful in business, but most importantly I can be successful in all my roles of motherhood, marriage, friendship, and being me... 

I hope that your 2015 is filled with light and love.  If your 2014 was hard, and you've felt knocked down, get up!  It's a new year and the year of the Sheep.  A tranquil year filled of hope and promise.  

"I am a passive onlooker
I let bygones be bygones
Goodness brings me fortune
I believe in the human race
I understand the meaning of giving
My cup is never empty
I am loyal and just and in others I trust


Friday, November 28, 2014

DIY Great Advent Ideas

Well it is that time of year to start counting down 'til the big man heads down from the North Pole!  The idea of an advent calendar is huge for little ones and adults! Hey we need to know how much time we have left to buy, bake, party, and whatever else, but then knowing when we turn over # 24 that we have that one day to sit around in our pj's makes it all worthwhile! :)

So how can I make my own advent calendar you ask?  Here are some of my favorite ideas from my art teaching days and now my pinterest obsessed pinning days!

This printable Santa Beard Advent calendar is super cute and way inexpensive!  24 cotton balls and the printable version makes this project easy-peezy for 2+ years.  As well as affordable!You can have one for everyone to do in the house.  Trust me it's the worst when you hear fighting coming from the advent area of who's going to turn over the paper today! My hubby's the worst ;-)

Paper Ring:
Now who can ever forget the endless paper ring trains you'd make in elementary school.  These are awesome for counting down birthdays, school letting out for summer, and of course advent calendar.  What I love about it is that it can be in green's and reds for Christmas and blues and whites for Hannukah! You can work it one of two ways.  Waxing or waning :)  So you can add a ring for everyday or have fun one day after Thanksgiving and assemble your entire garland or tree (to do this tree refer to this picture to assemble) and then take a ring off for every day!
*Side note when assembling the these rings make sure you splurge for the tape, assembling with glue is a mess!

Christmas book advent:
Gather 25 children’s books preferably Christmas books, consider swapping some books with a friend or get some at the thrift store. Wrap all 25 of them in Christmas paper and let the kids pick a new book to unwrap each night.Great way to bond with your kiddos, get into the spirit and read to your kids!

Now for the more adventurous, artsy parents here are a couple that might require hot glue guns, nails and hammers and lots of prep, but totally worth the time!

This up-cycled #cothespin calendar is awesome if you don't want to get too fancy but still are just itching to make something.  Difficulty level is a 3 out of 5 let's say.  You'll need a printer and paper, paint, sturdy card stock(poster board will be too flimsy, cardboard would be fine too) and ribbon!  We love the green aspect of this calendar!

Another up-cycled calendar is this toilet paper roll calendar.  The simplicity and beauty of the toilet paper rolls makes this easy and so nostalgic looking! The candy doesn't have to be a kitkat obviously, but if you have left over Halloween candy you could use this, you could put healthier snack options like raisin packets, ornaments, crayons, etc...the options are endless!

Finally I save the hardest for last... The reason I think it is the hardest is that you have to come up with 24 daily and new activities to do for the Activity Calendar...for the whole family!  It does require some cutting and gluing and printing and who's to say that you couldn't have some repeats.  I think hot chocolate with a peppermint stick can be used at least 2,3, maybe even 4 times ;-)

*couple of tips... go to a craft store and buy scrap book paper and poster board. If you have  double sided tape that will work best!

Have fun coming up with fun winter activities and enjoy the countdown!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Upcoming events at Naturally Loved

We have several great events that allow you to have some me time!  As mentioned in the previous post and words that you should live by at this time of year!

Mommy's Time to Wine Events:  

Come hang out with friends, get great deals at your favorite Natural Baby Store and drink wine... for free!   When you buy one of our awesome "mommy sippy cups"  you get to drink wine for free at any of our events! 

November 20th and December 5th 5-7 p.m. great time to get started on some holiday shopping!

#ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday November 29th: 

Small Business Saturday, created by American Express in 2010, is the cornerstone of the Shop small movement. Go to to register your American Express card and you can earn up to a total of $30 in statement credits by shopping at small businesses on the Shop Small Map!  Don't worry.... we are there!and we'll have great deals that day!

Milk and Cookies with Santa:

Okay so not so much "Me Time" as great family time! A tradition we started back in Stapleton for the tree lighting festival that we will carry into our new neighborhood here in Park Hill! The Fairfax block will be getting down on Saturday December 20th with tons of activity for the whole family! We will have milk and cookies with Santa, as well as your picture taken and some awesome sales going on in the store and then if  you choose you can walk down to SHARE Denver and check out their awesome handmade craft fair that will be featuring tons of  local artisans and their crafts.  Then head over to Bike Depot.  The gift of giving will continue! They'll be giving away 200 children's bikes to underprivileged children at the Holly St.Rec Center.  Man it feels good to share all that love on one block!

Shopping small and keeping it local is a grassroots movement that can only have the right impact if you really try.  As a small business owner for 4 years now I see the difference it makes in the families that shop small and the families that they support, aka like mine!  Our livelihood is dependent on standing up against the big named stores and creating a space that is special and different.  I have pledged to only shop small businesses this holiday season, I hope you will follow this amazing movement!

Happiest of Holidays!
Aly Warren
owner at Naturally Loved.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Enjoying this Holiday Season...

I. Can't.  Believe.  The.  Holidays.  Are.  Here!  This time of year is wonderful, loud, yummy, expensive, fun, and exhausting!  But most of all can be made of  the most memorable family moments your kids will remember.  My sisters and I always recall the long and agonizing rides in my mom's mini van... My father would drive from Florida to Arkansas the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, in the middle of the night, for hours to get there in time to duck hunt with his brothers early morning the Wednesday before.  It was a long 9 hours of playing "I Spy", the Capital/State game, memorizing movies that we watched on our Sam's special small T.V. hooked up to the cigarette lighter in the van, over and over, and over ( seriously we still have So I Married an Axe Murderer memorized) .  This is before the era of iPads and fancy screens attached to seat backs or that magically come down from the ceiling. *Side note... Eva wants a car with these things so bad and I am so anti, first of all a trip to the grocery store,  minutes away from the house will turn into a whine fest of "Why can't I watch t.v in the car!!"  #meanmomalert
So these fancy gadgets have turned family road trips into a bearable cruise, for both mom and dad, as well as the kids!  Mom and dad get to hear every single word of a movie that they don't get to watch, and children get to veg out in front of a screen... even though they are sitting next to some family member.  Literally within 200 sq ft of people they are going to be interacting with for the next couple of days on this said family trip....Do you smell the sarcasm?  I am laying it on pretty thick.  Take advantage of this time to  talk with your children, I promise it is so much more fun!  Your kids might surprise you and actually open up and quite possibly be really funny.
Here are some tips to getting everyone involved!
  • Have your children be on snack patrol, let them choose what to put in the basket, as well as the good Au-natural snacks you want them to have too ;) This allows them to have a say, they know their options already and they get to be a part of the trip planning!
  • Put some fun travel games in a bag and have someone each hour of the trip pull something out.  Games that are rad for everyone: mad libs, coloring, connect the dots, hangman, and so on. You get the point.
  • My all time favorite games are I Spy, License Plate, and 20 questions.  Here is a great car games site that has the games listed and how to play.  Warning they are trying to sell you a car too, so disregard the comments like " I Spy is great with  a vehicle whose excellent visibility facilitates easy spying, like the Subaru Forrester" :)  
  • And always have great music to listen to!  Dance parties can absolutely happen, even with a seat belt on!Or even sing offs! 
There is also the option of just driving at midnight and letting the kids sleep it off in the car :)  then you don't have to listen to the "are we there yet's"...

As we get closer to December you need to do one major thing to make sure the holidays turn out fantastic...
Whip out your calendar and schedule some "you" time!
The one thing that really helps me get through the holidays, other than spiked eggnog :),  is taking time for myself.  We all get so wrapped up in doing, shopping, partying, caroling, schooling, elf on the shelfing and everything else that we forget that this time of year can be just as magical as it was when we were kids! 
Take the time to shop with a girlfriend.  Make a day of it!  Catch up with one another, grab lunch and get some shopping done.  Set aside a day to bake cookies with your kids, enjoy the cold weather with a hot tottie and de-stress!  It CAN be enjoyable.  I've found that doing yoga and meditating daily can make everything so much smoother... even the Holidays! I know it sounds kooky especially after I am fully promoting drinking around the holidays, but honestly my mind is clearer and I am able to handle little things that pop up if  I practice daily.  Like a surprise visit from in-laws, or the casserole burning in the oven, or the oven deciding to sh!t the bed the day before Thanksgiving... All true stories and all handled with grace.. ha ha says my hubby in the background.  Hey! I never said I was perfect, but the truth is that taking the time to do these things for yourself can help you come to the realization that the holidays can be fun and contagious!  As in your kids will have a blast, your neighbors will get in on the spirit, and even Santa might bring you a little something special for being on the "Nice" list! ;-)

So good luck with traveling, baking, sharing, loving, and making memories that last!
mom, wife, business owner still going 4 years strong with realizing how crazy the holidays are when you own a retail shop but still making it worth it for my littles...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Get creative for Halloween now before it's too late...

Well we are trying this again...  I know I know I've said it before but this time I promise I will post, blogg, share, tweet and use all aspects of social media to increase the presence of Naturally Loved on the web... HA!  If you know me you know my life is crazy...ALL THE TIME.  Life with kids and jobs and going going going... We forget to stop and reflect that "now" is happening. So I'm pursuing this writing business again to implement a practice of being grateful for this "now".  So here is what's going on now...
Eva is 5 and Luna is 2 and  they are so much fun together, a handful for sure, but the sweetest of sisters.  They have a lot in common, like games and characters; favorite dolls, Frozen, giggles, and so on. Yet they can be as different as night and day when it comes to understanding the word no.  One complies and the other wants nothing to do with it. 
So here we are, right around the corner from Halloween and that Fall feeling is in the air! I have to say it's one of my favorite times of the year. Now, it does take me a couple of weeks to get used to the idea, the Florida girl in me wants an endless summer; however, once the boots come out, the season is embraced...  Fall has brilliant color, sounds of crunchy leaves, tastes and smells of harvest in the air and have I mentioned Halloween! I love it! My kids and I walked around our neighborhood last night to look at all the spooky houses.  Eva called to each one saying it was spookier than the last.  It blows my mind how much she's changed from one year to the next. Two years ago she was way too afraid to even get close to a house with lights.
I'll never forget my little Eva's first Halloween... we dressed her up as a piece of Nigiri Sushi! Now I know I've been talking about being present and living now, but every once in awhile. It's good to look at the past to see where we've been and look at a piece of why where here. She was the cutest little piece of sushi. Clearly...  :)

I know it is ridiculously cute and I am seriously creative...   Haha, now this was as time before, brace yourself, pinterest and I was obsessed with sushi.  I think it was because everyone told me "don't eat it when you are pregnant!"  So as soon  as she was born I lived off sushi! I had this amazing orange pillow on my bed and realized I could make it look like a piece of salmon... and voila cuteness created!  Now there are so many cute ideas floating around the Internet that I know some of you mama's will take my sushi idea and improve the heck out of it... as you should!  The point of this entry is that take advantage of your babies not complaining that you are dressing them up as a piece of sushi, mermaid, popcorn bucket or whatever!  I am speaking from experience and a mother of two... yes two... Elsa's this Halloween!  oh it gets better.  We are headed to Disney World and I am pretty certain that we are not going to be the only two Elsa's there. All my persuading and bargaining and trying to get them to accept a creative costume idea was gone the moment the Elsa and Anna costumes came into the store.  In my defense I brought them in because people were paying crazy cash for an Elsa dress and I found a good deal on some so here we are.  Two sisters, both Elsa's... Hey I tried to get one to be Elsa and the other to be Anna.. but nope. My say is completely out the door.

Okay so here are some fabulous first year costume ideas for those of you who have babies that can still just lay there and be compliant with the ridiculous costume you put on them.... hey I am just sayin' take pictures put it in the baby book and show your awesome mom-ness at their wedding album montage many many many years from now.  :)

crochet mermaid tails for newborns... makes a seriously cute newborn photo shoot too!  we have homemade ones in the store from a gal who lives in Ireland, but has family in CO...  she is the crochet master....

have some extra pairs of mix match socks?  turn your baby into an octopus! 

this one I can't even tell you how much I love!  first I wish I had thought of this, two this is so simple!!! cut up paper vegetables, a brown blanket in your stroller and a subway wrapper...seriously so easy!!!

want to wear your baby and trick or treat too!  convert your carrier into a popcorn bowl with some felt and glue, pop some popcorn glue it to a cap and head out the door!

the garden gnome is the sweetest costume for pictures! little babies with beards, are you kidding me?

Okay well I hope that you got some good ideas from this blogg post and I also hope that you took a little piece of advice from me, you know I love to give it unsolicited advice... but no matter what's going on with your life take the time to appreciate now.  Don't say you can't wait till your baby is walking because before you know it they will be running. Take advantage of today and enjoy it.

mama of Eva & Luna 
wife to Jimmy the cheesemaker/shepherd
and bad ass owner of Naturally Loved

ps i promise I will post again soon.. start checking us out every two weeks or promises though!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love this time of year.  Love love love love love. Did I mention I love it?

The holiday season really brings out the best in people.  There is a buzz in the air, everything is decorated and twinkly, and spending time with our loved ones is such a treat.

We are headed home to the great state of PA for the Christmas holiday, and I should have made a paper chain to count down the days until we leave, I'm that excited.  Christmas Eve has long been my favorite night of the year.  We all hunker down at my mom's house for a delicious dinner, wine, conversation and company. Now that there are a few kiddos in the mix, traditions are changing, and it's an exciting time in our family.  I'm starting a new jammies on Christmas Eve tradition, and am excited to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the wee ones this year.

What are everyone's plans for the holidays?  Do you have any traditions that you would like to share?  With the dawn of Pinterest, the Elf of the Shelf craze, and all other things holiday, there are so many ideas out there!

Share your holiday stories with us!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas,

Lori Pratt-Mother of one Christmas Lovin Kid!