Mar. 30, 2012

Easter Bunnies


If you're looking for an Easter present for your little one, why not give them an Easter Bunny? Timohandmade's are so beautiful, don't you think? Since we already have a present for Thomas for this Easter, I'm filing this idea away for next year!



Mar. 28, 2012

Teepee


For Easter, we splurged on a teepee for Thomas! It's arrived from the Netherlands, and because it's plain, I'm thinking of affixing it with a splattering of confetti, like this table cloth. I'm debating whether I should use a circle, triangle or square motif... hmmm. Images via Oh Happy Day.

Mar. 27, 2012

Breakfast in Bed




Now that our social life revolves more around enjoying simple pleasures at home, the idea of breakfast in bed has such appeal. Wouldn't these trays from Huset make the perfect assistant to serve your sweet a glass of juice and plate of fruit and pancakes in bed?

More Prints

Kind of loving picking out even more artwork for our playroom. I plan to hang them in green frames (Michaels' Brights are my go-to frames these days. I've used them for a variety of projects). Prints by Mrs. Eliot Books.

Mar. 26, 2012

How to: Ensure You're Prepared For Birthday Parties



Everyone I know with a toddler or older child talks about the endless stream of birthday party invites that come home in book bags from daycare and school. Personally, I love birthdays and all celebrations of life, so encouraging and enjoying Thomas' participating in the parties of his little friends is important to me. What's less desirable is thinking of spending hours at a big box toy store buying gifts (not because I don't believe in gifts or am not generous, but rather because I dislike big box toy stores). Enter my solution - a major book purchase once (or twice) annually to prepare for these parties. With a stack of books tucked away and a spreadsheet to keep track of which books we've given to which kids, making it out to all those parties should be painless.

I love children's literature, and think books make great gifts. I always aim to find a unique book (maybe something newly released or perhaps re-released) for my recipients. Here are some of my favourites:
What are your favourite children's books? Images via 36 pages.

What I Order: Piatto





This Saturday, my mom kindly watched T so that Greg and I could go out and celebrate my birthday. We chose one of our favourite casual places - Piatto. It was a delicious and fun meal with my dream date, what more could a girl ask for? Thank you Gregory for a beautiful birthday.

Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca
, 377 Duckworth Street, St. John's, NL
Monday - Thursday 11:30 am - 10:00 pm / Friday - Saturday 11:30 am - 11:00 pm / Sunday - 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Antipasti
Olive Brushetta
Prosciutto Pacchi - fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto and baked in tomato sauce

Pizze Rosso
Della Terra - fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts + grana padano

Drink
San Pellegrino

Dessert
Limoncello Tart

Images via Piatto.

Mar. 25, 2012

Confetti Bunting




This simple Dutch bunting makes me smile. I'd love to hang one in Thomas' playroom. Photos taken by StyleCookie.

Mar. 24, 2012

Musings on Where to Raise Our Family

Greg and I are from the bookends of this country - St. John's and Vancouver. When we decided to leave Edmonton, we thought long and hard about where to go because both of our hometowns were appealing to us. In the end, access to policy work and an affordable (and colourful) real estate market won out and we packed our bags for St. John's. We moved into a little salt box in Fort William, and soon upgraded to a Victorian row house in Georgetown. With our son's arrival, we're continually rethinking the use of our space and our living arrangements. We have plenty of space for our family, but sometimes wonder if a little more or a little less would be better. We keep our eye on real estate listings in our 'next step' neighbourhoods -- Churchill Park, 'Elizabethtown' (aka North of Elizabeth) and Larch Park. And we debate whether a new city entirely might work for us in the future.

I love raising Thomas around my family and want very much to spend lots of time in Vancouver as well. But I also want him to see the world. Right now, I'm obsessed with committing to spend three or four weeks each year in a different foreign destination (my short list of destinations includes New York, Berlin, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, London, Paris and San Francisco). These experiences would be different than a typical vacation because we'd rent a flat and focus on adopting the daily life of a family there, not racing from tourist destination to tourist destination while staying in a hotel. This way, Thomas can see the world but also know the joys of having family close.

I think making other sacrifices - remaining a one car family, not buying a larger home, not buying a cabin - are worth it to have these sorts of experiences. How did you decide where to raise your child/children? Photo via Children with Swag.

Mar. 21, 2012

Wear to Work Dresses: Which to Buy?


After a little visit to our office today (yes, my husband and I work for the same entity, though not on purpose!), I'm thinking about work wear and am tossing around the idea of buying myself a birthday dress that's also work appropriate. I've been searching for something special (I have tonnes of black and grey shift and suiting dresses in my wardrobe already). Here are some of my favourites. I'd love your thoughts on which to choose! xo

P.S. Many thanks to friends who sent recommendations on where to shop. I've found some beautiful dresses at your suggestions! xo

Mar. 20, 2012

The Perfect Heels For Wearing With Baby This Spring



Found: the perfect shoes for wearing with grey jeans and chasing a belly scooching 7 month old this spring! Upon noticing these on Emerson Fry, I remembered a very similar (albeit leather not suede) pair of pink peep-toe chunky sole sandals in the back of my closet. I'll be pulling them out as a go-to shoe once this snow melts!

Anticipation





With our playroom waiting on a few postal deliveries before completion, I'm in the anticipation phase. I'm imagining all the fun we'll have in that room playing with a car mat, drawing pictures and playing on the floor with wooden blocks.

Images via Weekday Carnival, Trula Kids and Wee Textile.

Mar. 19, 2012

Question: Do you give Easter Presents?



Like everyone, Greg and I both brought our own sets of assumptions about any number of things to our new roles as parents with the arrival of Thomas. One of the first times that we noticed a difference in our assumptions was during our Easter planning. For Thomas, I expected Easter to include (though obviously not this year as he's too little) chocolate eggs and a present from the Easter Bunny, while Greg expected it to include chocolate and an egg hunt. Does the Easter Bunny bring presents to your house? Beyond birthdays and Christmas (if you celebrate it), on what other special occasions, if any, do you give gifts to your children? Valentine's Day? The Last Day of School? Thanksgiving? Upon returning from a work trip? I'm so curious!

While we're happy to give gifts to our son regularly and for no reason at all, we're keen to minimize the occassions where others in our family and near to us feel pressure to give gifts to our little man. Instead, we've asked them to make donations to our local food bank in his honour (we did this for his Christening and plan to do so again for his first birthday). Once Thomas is older, we'll ask him whether he wants to continue the food bank tradition.

As we look forward to this next holiday, I'm excited to think about how we can put our own stamp on Easter and make it something special and unique for our family and our son. Image via The Foodie's Kitchen.

Mar. 16, 2012

Pantone Desserts






Genius and beautiful!

How to: Deal with a Baby Who Doesn't Sleep Through The Night



I've grudgingly accepted that Thomas doesn't sleep through the night (after MUCH prodding from my husband who has long accepted this). We've decided that sleep training won't work for us (at least right now) so we're co-sleeping and have found that this arrangement works best for us. Thomas sleeps tucked next to me or Greg, and wakes every two hours (or less or sometimes (very rarely) more). Sometimes we sing him back to sleep (Away in a Manger and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star are his favourites), sometimes saying "shhhhh" and rubbing his belly works too, but most times I nurse him. He's back to sleep and I am too, within minutes of waking, and often with minimal tears. He starts the night in his crib, after being nursed to sleep in our den around 7 pm, and then the first or second time he wakes we normally head to bed with him. Before getting to this point, we've experienced (in order):
  • a baby who slept swaddled in a bassinet that was next to our bed and woke less and less until eventually he slept through the night (once) and normally woke once a night between 1 and 2 am;
  • a baby who slept in sleep sac in a crib in his nursery and woke a few times a night;
  • a baby who slept in a crib but woke regularly and who became increasingly difficult to put back down upon waking without lots of tears; and,
  • a baby who co-slept with mama beginning at 6:30 or 7:00 pm every night (Greg would normally lie with me and we'd watch DVDs together until nodding off somewhere between 9 and 10 pm).
It took a long time (about six months) for us to come to our present arrangement - a combination of crib and co-sleeping that finds a happy baby at night and in the morning, a (decently) well rested mom and dad, and some time at the end of the day just for Greg and me.

Throughout these arrangements, two things have helped dramatically:
  1. If you nurse sitting up - play the TV lottery. Before heading to bed, check the late night TV offerings of your favourite channels and note the best show on at every hour. When baby was little (this worked really well when Thomas was 3 or 4 months and used to nurse for up to 1 hour straight at night, once a night), I'd motivate myself to get out of bed by recalling the best show on at that time and then watching it while nursing. I'd purposely skip my favourite shows in the day in hopes that I'd catch them on reruns that night. It worked. If Thomas happened to wake in time for me to catch the latest episode of Project Runway, I'd feel excited to get out of bed.
  2. If you're co-sleeping and have mastered nursing while lying down - stop looking at the clock. The nights I ask Greg to tell me the time every time Thomas wakes are the worst (as in 'baby, why are you awake every hour?' or 'baby why have you woken three times and its only midnight?'). When I don't know what time it is, I can assume he's slept for hours and I rarely recall how many times he woke in the morning.
Of course, the greatest motivation for me to wake up at night is to calm or assist Thomas in whatever issue he's experiencing that's causing him to wake (room too bright, sleeper damp, soiled diaper, hunger etc.), but from one tired mom to another, I can say that sometimes an additional trick or form of motivation can be welcome.

Mar. 13, 2012

Alternatives to Birthday Cake

I love cake and I secretly think Greg does too (at least the carrot or orange cake variety). But this year, he requested an apple crumble instead of a cake for the little dinner party my mom's throwing for him. I recall having a lemon meringue pie stand in as a cake for one of my teenage birthdays, and a friend recently made a Swedish seafood sandwich cake for her husband's birthday because he'd given up sugar for Lent. Here are some other fun options:


A trio of mini tin can cakes?




Stripes: To Wear on Your Husband's Birthday

Stripes: To Wear on Your Husband's Birthday

Whether you're celebrating quietly together over a romantic meal or at a party fit for the gossip columns, this outfit is sure to delight. Dress by Ax Paris, jacket by Top Shop, clutch by Nina Luz, and pumps by Rupert Sanderson.

Mar. 12, 2012

Birthday Week


This week, Greg (and his twin) will be celebrating their birthday! In honour of him, I'll be sharing fun things about birthdays throughout the week. We're celebrating with a mini getaway this weekend, and I can't wait. I also have a tonne of little surprises woven into our week for my love.

Happy birthday my sweet. You mean the world to me and Thomas and we're so lucky to share our lives with you! xo

Image via Indyish.


Mar. 10, 2012

Playroom Inspiration


Kenzie's playroom is one of my favourites! I've been looking back at these images that I saved in my inspiration folder last summer as we prepare to dip brush in paint and transform our basement into Thomas' play space this weekend.

Mar. 9, 2012

Ikea Slide

Why isn't this awesome slide available for purchase online? I'm convinced Tom would love it in his playroom!

Mar. 8, 2012

Raising a Foodie: At Six Months


Like many aspects of parenting, I began with one set of intentions regarding feeding our son and have modified as reality has sunk in. A friend recently divulged that she had hoped to raise a foodie baby, but has since found out that her little one is less keen on variety than she'd expected. I imagined the same and have met a similar fate (a baby more keen on breast milk than solids), but with a few modifications I can happily say that Thomas has taken to solids more easily than seemed would be the case when we first began a few weeks ago.

To prepare to begin solids, we gathered with the following gear:
  • A beautiful Stokke Tripp Trapp that we received as a present - About a week before we began infant cereal, we started sitting Thomas in his high chair. This way he could watch us eat more closely and begin to be socialized into eating meals, before he actually had to do it himself. We found he responded positively to sitting with us at the table with this type of high chair, as opposed to sitting away from the table in a high chair with its own tray. There's a great round up of high chairs here.
  • Nylon bibs, including a fun Dr. Seuss patterned one that was a gift - Being able to wipe down the bibs after each meal has been very handy.
  • A place mat with suction cups to protect our dining room table that we set out in front of Thomas' high chair.
If you're making your own baby food, which I recommend, I suggest stocking your kitchen with the following:
  • A submersion blender - This makes pureed foods the smoothest in my experience, which is perfect for starting off. Later on your can try a regular blender or food processor to make your food.
  • A fine mesh sieve - I push thicker purees through this to remove any particles that might make the food harder to swallow for my six month old. It helps remove any seeds or pulp that might remain after pureeing.
  • A set of little spoons and bowls
  • Ice cube trays to freeze pureed foods
  • Mason jars to thaw your puree cubes
  • A fun lunch bag to tote baby's eating supplies when out and about (I love ours)
  • A steamer basket or sieve that fits inside your regular pots
Before starting, I read a booklet given to me by my public health nurse regarding feeding your six to twelve month old. I supplemented this information with a fantastic book - Cooking for Baby.

Here's a brief overview of what's worked for us:
  • We started with organic rice cereal mixed with water for breakfast, which didn't go over well, so I tried mixing it with breast milk, which was much preferred. However, pumping an ounce or two of fresh breast milk for each meal didn't seem feasible for me in the long run, so we soon moved on to a barley cereal that was designed to be mixed with water only (meaning it's a little creamier than the organic type). This was my first concession - I had wanted my son to eat only organic cereals, and here we were a few days in reaching for the mainstream variety. This was more successful, but we were still only managing a few small spoonfuls per feeding each morning.
  • So I decided to skip cereals and breakfast all together and we switched to an early suppertime meal instead (normally about 4:30 or 5:00). Here's why: Thomas isn't a great sleeper and he nurses about every 2 hours all night long, so he's not really all that hungry in the morning. He goes much longer in the day without feeding (every 3.5 to 4 hours) so introducing a meal an hour and a half or two hours after his mid-afternoon nursing has been more effective. I always follow supper with a nursing afterwards.
  • At six and a half months, and now that supper time is a consistent 1.5 - 2.5 tbsps of food (before adding liquid to thin), we've moved back to breakfast and have had more success. I've noticed that Thomas is still waking at night, but now can be calmed and put back to sleep without nursing occasionally (simply saying 'shhhhhh' and rubbing his belly for a minute or two has started to work).
  • I plan to increase the size of breakfast (now 1/2 a tbsp) to 1 tbsp by seven months, and will then work on introducing "lunch", which I am hoping will be consistent by the end of eight months. So basically, I've set a goal of consistently having one meal per day at six months, two meals per day at seven and three meals per day at eight. I'll begin some baby led weaning then too.
In terms of the order of introducing foods, this is what we've done -- rice cereal, barley cereal, avocado, sweet potato, zucchini, butternut squash, chicken, pears and peas. I'll be adding lentils and apples next. If a food was disliked, I've thinned it out and each time this has improved Thomas' desire for it. We started with 1 tbsp of cereal and reduced to 1/2 tbsp for breakfast, and feed 1 -2 ice cube sized portions of food for supper.

I'd love to hear about your experiences in introducing solid food to your little ones. xo

Stickers




I love these stickers!

Mar. 7, 2012

My Favourite Family Blogs


Lately, I've been looking at blogs (literally, I can't read my two present favourites as they're in Spanish and Finnish). I adore the family style, decor sense and DIY projects on these blogs (thank goodness for Google Translate when I just have to know where something came from or how to make it). You can check them out here: