Monthly Archives

November 2011

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

La Chaise Étiquette: a foldable chair inspired by a shipping tag

label chair :: chaise etiquette

label chair :: chaise etiquette

Félix Guyon for Montreal-based La Firme designed a foldable chair that you would not mind to hand on your wall. When the chair is folded, nobody will suspect that it is a chair. Even if some of the customized graphic design elements may be lost when the chair is open, I admire the concept of the Chaise Étiquette (meaning Label or Tag chair).

playful kid storage furniture

La Firme seems to enjoy designing furniture with unusual shapes. This kid storage unit provides surfaces to play and space to store toys. It was a special order.

SOURCING:
+ Chaise Étiquette by La Firme
+ Mobilier Puel
+ via MoCo Loco

LIVING URBAN Living

Urban Living: How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

cycle path in the Netherlands

cycle path in the Netherlands

This video starts with: The Netherlands has the world’s largest number of cyclists, but it is also the safest place to cycling. It says a lot about what is possible when you want to. Even if it is just to see how another nation solved an universal problem, I invite you to watch the video (below).

The suburban lifestyle is not for me. I like too much the proximity to great shops, restaurants, and museums and the creative energy  that you get in the city to settle for less. But as a new mom, I also want to live in a safe environment for my kid. I sometimes wonder how we can raise a child in the city. I was raised in a small town. Riding a bike is part of my childhood memories. I know that my son won’t be able to enjoy the same freedom than I did. Still, most North American and Canadian cities could be more family friendly.

This short documentary called “How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths?” is the perfect example that we can make our cities more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with will, proper government support and imaginative city planners. Amongst the main reasons that triggered the huge city planning change in the Netherlands was a public outrage caused by the high number of kids under 14 who died due to a bicycle accident. The protesters wanted to stop the killing of those children. And they did!

It takes a lot of courage to limit the number of parking spaces available in a city centre or to restrict the car lanes on our road. But it can be done successfully. The transition, like any transition, would be hard and painful for some. But if the people have the gut to give it a chance, they could see that new habits will take shape. In the end, I believe that it would benefit the majority. In the Netherlands, only 14 kids died from a bicycle accident in 2010. This is the best reason to change the way we design our roads. I would welcome a system that prioritizes even more the pedestrians and cyclists over cars.

SOURCING:
+ How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths video

 

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

5-Minute Martha: Greet Your Guests with Tasty Grazing Boards

grazing board pate de foie

grazing board pate de foie

There is no need to rush or to prepare several types of appetizers when you are having guests over at the cocktail hour or for dinner. Instead go with a crowd-pleaser and put on your coffee table a grazing board. Since you are certain to find all the ingredients that you need at a good delicatessen near you, you can pull it off even at the last minute. You save more time since no individual bite assembly is required. When you shop, assume that one board will feed 4 to 6 persons as appetizers.

Chantelle Grady of the blog Little Things proposed in the Montreal issue of Relish three killer compositions. Relish is her food digital magazine.

The first option is a classic. You can serve pâté de foie with caramelized onions and toasted bread. For a non-fuss version, check out the caramelized onions recipe by Chuck Hughes that he puts in his grilled cheese sandwich.

grazing board baked camembert

You can’t go wrong with serving baked Camembert or Brie. It is so good that I suggest that you keep one ready to bake in your freezer all the time. Jamie Oliver bakes his directly on the wooden cheese box. Other chefs line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a Brie baker because it is easier to serve the warm wheel of Camembert or Brie in a dish. Chantelle served her version with Serrano ham and toasted bread.

grazing board pork terrine

The third board displays pork terrine, mustard (you can serve a few), gherkins again on toasted bread. You can go a step further by offering a mustard selection. For the cornichons, I adore the Maille Tarragon & Vinegar gherkins. If you prefer sweet cornichons to the sour ones, try Maille Mini & Crunchy gherkins.

SOURCING:
+ Montreal issue of Relish produced and photographed by Chantelle Grady from the blog Little Things
+ Beautiful baked Camembert recipe by Jamie Oliver
+ Baked Camembert and Herb Oil by Roger Mooking

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Wow for the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Observatory Designed by Snohetta

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion shows a wood construction like I have never seen before. I like how the benches are organically shaped to provide the visitors a stunning view of the wilderness. Wood pegs were used as fasteners for the wood section of the building. The rest is made of raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock.

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

The visitors could sit at the south facing exterior wall and enjoy the warmth of the interior space. The organic nature of the building is stunning and unusual. I dream to see a similar design at a ski resort.

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

You can admire more photos on Arch Daily.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Ketil Jacobsen and diephotodesigner.de
+ via Core 77 and Arch Daily

FOOD + DRINK

Windowfarms Let’s You Grow Food Inside Your Home

windowfarms

If you have a sunny window in your kitchen, this upcoming product might be for you. I like the idea to grow fresh vegetables and herbs all year round. For most of us, it means to do it inside. That’s where Windowfarms can help you. Brita Riley, a Brooklyn resident, founded Windowfarms in 2008. She wants to bring the system to a new level with this prototype. And to do it, she needs the help of potential customers. Continue Reading

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cooking with Kids: Pear Galette

pear galette

pear galette

Galettes, which are freeform rustic pies, are not meant to look perfect. This makes galettes the ideal tarts to bake with your kids. I even prefer their rustic look to the more polished pies; this is probably due to the cozy warm feeling that I get at their sight.

The best thing about the Pear Galette of Lisa Homa is that you won’t need pie plates, just parchment paper. Once it is cooked, serve the galette on a wooden cutting. Depending on how it looks when it is out of oven, you may wish to replace the parchment paper with a fresher sheet. No one can refuse a stylish food presentation that cut on cleaning at a party.

Why not introduce your kids to the joy of baking while you are cooking for your Thanksgiving or Christmas party? They will be proud to share that they did the fruit or savory galettes themselves.

You will find Lisa Homa’s Pear Galette in the Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine on pages 40 and 41.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Alexandra Grablewski – Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Happy Baby: Will It Be Day Care or a Babysitter?

babysitter daycare

babysitter daycare

Many questions came to my mind before I took my decision. What would be the best for my baby? What about the development of his social skills? Where can he interact with other kids if he doesn’t go to day care? How much schedule flexibility do I really need? What are the costs associated with each option? Can I find a vacancy at a good day care close to my home?

I experienced the typical guilt and worries of working moms when it’s time to return to work. Ideally, I would like to spend time with my son in the morning and to send him to day care in the afternoon. On the other end, I wonder if kids under 2 years old are not too young to go to day care. I worry that he will not get enough attention from the caregivers if he goes to day care. Many parents that I know sent their kids to daycare around 1 year old. Their kids enjoy it and they are well-adjusted. Maybe that my fear comes from the fact that I never went to day care. I couldn’t decide what to do.

As it turned out, the final decision came from medical reasons. My son’s neonatal pediatrician suggested to delay day care until next spring, if we can. This is a precautionary measure to avoid the flu season. So what would I do? I want to return to work this winter. Babies and toddlers that go at day care benefit from being with other kids and from being outside the house without their parents. And I read that kids who do not attend day care could be more shy around kids. Can he catch up later? To find the answer, I investigated the impact for a baby of not having daily social interactions with kids of his ages.

I wanted a professional opinion. So I asked the occupation therapist who followed my son when he was at the hospital. She reassured me when she told me that developing proper parents-baby relations are what really count up to 1 year old. If he needs to stay away from day care for a little bit longer, say until 2 years old, he should be able to catch up later.

I do not know yet when I will be ready to send him to day care. I just know that he will at some point. In the meantime, I am looking for baby and toddler activities where he can socialize with kids of his age. Who knows, it might be him that tells me when he’ll want to go to day care?

My Conclusion

A part-time babysitter will take care of him for now. After considering all factors, this is what I am the most comfortable with at this point. It’s a smooth transition that addresses his and my needs. The babysitter will allow me to work for a set numbers of hours per week, without baby distractions. I will be able to attend meetings and events, like I used to do.

There are still many unanswered questions. How do I set the boundaries between my work and my family life? Is it feasible to maintain those boundaries while working mostly from home? Time will tell if and how long I can manage being a mom and running my business from home with the help of an in-house childcare provider.

I am curious to know how you did it? Which childcare arrangement worked best for you and your baby/toddler: a babysitter, a nanny or day care?

SOURCING:
+ photo: Zoo Packs by Ship Hop $20 USD

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Deck the Walls with Umbra Snap Frames

deck the walls

deck the walls

Here is a fun party activity or decor that you can use over and over. You could use the Umbra Snap frames to display your favorite photos of the guest of honor or to enhance the party theme. If you have a photo booth at your party, use them to create a place where people could hang their photos. I like the fact that your guests can write on them to comment their photos or give you their wishes.

Umbra Snap frame for a party decor

The Snap frames come in white, black and red in a pack of 9. I prefer the white ones for their versatility.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians: Umbra Snap Frames in White $19.99 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]
+ For Americans: Umbra Snap Frames, Set of 9 $17.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Pick up a Grade 4 and 5 SnowPass for Your Child from Canadian Ski Council

snowpass

snowpass

Alpine ski has always been my favorite sport. Ski is a big part of my life during winter. I learned how to ski when I was 2 years and half. My husband is an excellent skier. In fact, he earned lots of points when I saw him skiing for the first time. 🙂

Now that we have a son, we can’t wait to teach Zack how to ski. We are counting the number of winters until he is ready. This is why I am happy to share this great initiative by the Canadian Ski Council. Grade 4’s and 5’s can pick a Snowpass to ski and ride for free. You can fill the form online. Just visit www.snowpass.ca, complete the registration form, upload a photo, proof of age/grade and payment to cover administration and delivery fee. Your child’s very own SnowPass will be mailed straight to your door giving you hundreds of ways to save this season.

SOURCING:
+ Snowpass.ca

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cute Angry Birds Cake Pops from Montreal

angry birds cake pops

As an Angry Birds fan, I am doubly happy to feature these cute creations from La Popshop, a baker located in Montreal. I put her on my local watch list.

We are behind when it comes to creative bakers in Montreal. This fact troubled me even more since I became a mom. I would need access to talented suppliers with flair to celebrate in style my son’s birthdays. Plus, it does not help matters that many bakers lack a proper online presence. It is sad because all they need to do would be to start a blog and to keep a Facebook page plus a Twitter account.

If you are interested, her cake pops start at $30 for a dozen of classic cake pops and at $35 for a dozen deluxe cake pops. The Angry Birds are a deluxe version.

SOURCING:
+  La Popshop

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

It’s OK to Play with Mr. Potato Head Cookies

mr. potato head cookies

mr. potato head cookies

This is one fun idea where your kids can play with their food. The baker behind Oh, Sugar! Events made her own paper templates and cut the pieces by hand. She took the time to nicely decorate each piece. She did a body base on which the kids can design their own face. Her Mr. Potato Head Cookies had been all the rage in Facebook this weekend.

These cookies would be a hit for a play date or kids party. You could bake one Mr. Potato Head body with his face pieces for every child. Or better, wait until Oh Sugar! Events commercializes her Mr. Potato Head Cookies. I am sure that many of us would buy them.

SOURCING:
+ Mr. Potato Head cookies by Oh, Sugar! Events
+ via Pizzazzerie on Facebook