Keeping Warm While Looking Cool

A Mama of Many's Top Picks

Keeping Warm While Looking Cool

The chilly season is upon us and I have six active outdoorsy kiddos to keep warm, cozy and stylin’. When they’re not hitting the slopes or playing hockey, my offspring can be found skating on our backyard ice rink or tobogganing around the neighbourhood. I don’t let a bit of cold weather keep us inside. So how do I keep them out in the winter wonderland as long as humanly possible? These are my top picks for winter gear this season:


I have one child wearing a Jupa snowsuit this season and she is the FOURTH child to wear it—and it’s worth noting that a couple of her predecessors wore it for two seasons. These snowsuits are like winter armour, keeping kids warm and dry. The garments are safe, fabrics are washable and their trendy, fresh and colourful styles make it easy to spot your kid coming down the ski hills. Plus, they clearly make good hand-me-downs.


Like you, I spent my childhood with frostbite on my wrists. You remember that feeling – snow numbing that spot between where your mitts end and your coat sleeve does not yet begin. ONS GEAR has solved this problem by creating MITT-ONS™, which feature a sleeve to the elbow and a zipper at the wrist for optional wearing of the mitt with or without the sleeve. Every child in my family has a pair of these, and let me assure you, the “I’m cold” whining has decreased 100%.

My organizational guru friend, Clare Kumar  has one big winter pet peeve—lost mittens. She suggests Smittens for your babies and toddlers because they can’t whip them off as you push those little ones along in the stroller. Smittens are basically attached mittens that are worn under the child’s jacket, making the famous toddler mitten toss an impossibility.


OK, I’m a sucker for hats. About 3 years ago, I was walking through an airport and spotted some sock monkey hats. So taken by the cuteness, I bought one for every member of our family, myself included. Knitwits is a Canadian company specializing in high quality knitwear.

Another hat I couldn’t resist was a Brown Bear Hood, bought recently for my little nature girl from my friends at Shop Belle. It’s a bear—and a scarf—and has paws! It brings cozy to a whole new level.

My kiddo fashion go-to gal pal, Joanne, owner of JetBaby says the Hockey Sockey or Hockey Floppy is the hat to have this season! Madefrom actual fleece-lined hockey socks in your favourite team's colours and logo, these are very popular with the hockey crowd. They’re super warm, super fun and best of all, made in Canada.

Finally, though they’re not exactly hats, Tail-Wags Helmet Covers are so darn cute they have to be included. When my kids are skiing with these, I can quickly identify them on the slopes—plus, with 40 creative designs, the kiddos love them too.


 I have to say, I was a little skeptical when I bought our first pair of Bogs but we’re into our 3rd or 4th season with those things, and I’m a believer. Doubling as a rain boot in the spring and fall makes them great value. One caveat: in extreme temperatures, little tootsies will get chilly if outside too long, but for the “average” Canadian winter temperatures, these will certainly do the trick! I have a pair myself—which complement my sock monkey hat perfectly.

C’mon folks—don’t lose this stuff:

And for goodness’ sake people, once you put out all that cash for these wonderful items, don’t lose them. Head over to Mabel’s Labels and get this gear labelled, stat!



How to Capture A Family Of 8 On Camera

The Next Big Thing: Extreme Family Photos!

How to Capture A Family Of 8 On Camera

Getting a cool photo of a big family can be challenging at best, impossible at worst. I walked out of a photo shoot once, before the camera lens cap even came off. Recently inspired by a very cool photo of blogging friend Christine Young and her children, I felt up to the photo challenge. Seeing her photo made me scream “I want one too!”

But how was I going to find someone who was game enough to attempt a photo like that of my crew? Many photographer friends felt too inexperienced with that style of photography. So where does any savvy social media person go when they want help? You guessed it, Facebook. One status update and an old pal in Ottawa put me in touch with Justin Van Leeuwen. I checked in with photog friend Cherie-Lynn Buchanan and she said Justin was the guy – he had experimented with that kind of photography before and was a genius with lighting.

And so Justin and his trusty sidekick Lee made the trek to our home and after many hours with us (and many hours alone with his laptop), created our Extreme Family Photo.

When I presented the photo at Blissdom Canada in the session on Personal Branding, conference attendees responded extremely positively. They felt it was fun and captured my “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude. Some loved it so much they wanted an Extreme Family Photo as well. Deb Lowther, whose husband is the creator of IronKids Vitamins recently had a session, hoping to capture the fun of their brand and family all in one shot. I think they succeeded:

We’ve used our Extreme Family Photo in many ways – from PR purposes to holiday cards, and now a giant version of it has been made into canvas art by the very funky company Canvas Pop.  It hangs proudly in the foyer of our home and gets a great reaction from all of our guests.

What do you look for in family photography? Do you prefer the more traditional style? Is the Extreme Family Photo over the top or something your family could have fun with?

Image Credits: Justin Van Leeuwen