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LIVING with kids

FAMILY LIVING with kids

A Lot Happened in 3 Months | Being a First-Time Mom

I can’t believe that my little baby son is already 3 months old (he reached it last week). I met lately a few parents-to-be who ask me what to expect, which gave me the idea to share my impressions so far. They say that the first 5-6 weeks are hard and they do not lie. I recall the first days where I wore a PJ all day and was wondering when I could go back to a routine where I do my hair and wear make up every day. But it happened quicker that I imagined at that time. We all need some “Me” time. I feel that it boosts a new mom’s morale to try to look good on a daily basis.

The wonderful thing about being a new parent is that it gets easier every day. I would say that you grow with your baby. You get better organized and always fine-tune some kind of routine. I say some kind of routine because your baby will dictate when you will do things. Right now, I am in heaven. His feedings are going well and are pretty regular. I have a pretty good idea of when it is the right time for quick naps during the day. I have a set of activities to entertain him during the day. I am able to run errands with him during the afternoon. I cook dinner and we are able to enjoy our meal most of the nights. As a bonus, my son sleeps 9 to 10 hours a night. Nonetheless, I am still impressed by how much time you must put to take care of a young baby.

Baby Nasal Aspirator

nasal aspirator for baby

Since he was born, I learned new skills and discovered baby products that I would have never imagined. One of those is the baby nasal aspirator by hydraSense. I received a sample from a PR person in Montreal. I must say that we hesitated to use it at first. When we finally did, a day where it was obvious that my baby needed it, we were impressed by its effectiveness. Our son doesn’t appreciate the process but it works. We use it with Easydose, a seawater nasal drop dispenser that you use to liquefy mucus.

I started an incredible journey and I know that the next 3 months will bring even more adventures. I am leaving you with a cute photo of my son.

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Sweet Paul Magazine: Spring 2011 edition

sweet paul magazine spring 2011 kids

sweet paul magazine spring 2011 kids

Sweet Paul magazine is never short on inspiration and the spring issue doesn’t disappoint, with a special focus on DIY projects, shops and food created with kids in mind. Here are a few of our favorites.

Cupcakes On A Stick (above)

As if cupcakes couldn’t get cuter, Paul topped skewers with miniature cakes to create a decorative and delicious bouquet (page 46).

Tips for Decorating Kid’s Rooms

This seaside circus-themed bedroom is a triumph of imagination and functionality. Reclaimed wood throughout the room gives a nod to bygone boardwalk days. With space to stash toys, books and extra blankets, the “store and spin” ferris wheel-inspired storage system puts modular storage to shame! (page 32)

sweet paul magazine spring kids bedroom

Play With Your Food

Forget candy necklaces: the bread and tomato necklace is this season’s tasty, healthier alternative. The Play With Your Food feature is filled with clever ways to encourage little ones to play with their food, including puzzle sandwiches, fried rice boats and mini pies on a stick. These would be fantastic options for birthday parties or play dates. (page 98)

sweet paul magazine spring food

In The Box

It never fails: kids unwrap a great gift and find more fun playing with the box than the toy. That’s the inspiration behind these upcycled cardboard box projects: a rocket ship, a doll’s house, a dog and more. These projects would be an awesome way to teach kids about reducing waste by recycling and reusing materials. (page 78)

sweet paul spring issue cardboard box

There are so many sweet things to love in this issue of Sweet Paul. Check out the complete edition for project instructions, recipes and how tos!

SOURCING:
+ Sweet Paul Magazine – Spring 2011
+ Cupcake on a Stick
+ Tip’s For Decorating Kid’s Rooms
Play With Your Food
In The Box

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Toy Car Storage Solution

toy car knife rack storage

toy car knife rack storage

When you think outside of the kitchen, magnetic knife racks are incredibly versatile for storing all types of tools and objects. I use one in my craft room to organize scissors and other craft supplies, and my husband uses one for screwdrivers and pliers.

Turns out they’re also a clever option for keeping toys out from underfoot. Danielle at The Style Files shares how you can put one to work in kids rooms to store toy cars. It’s a great way to keep toys organized yet still accessible for small hands.

One thing’s for sure: post-playtime clean-up will be a cinch.

SOURCING:
+ Toy Car Storage Idea from The Style Files
+ Grundtal Magnetic Knife Rack $14.99 CAD at Ikea
+ Asker Magnetic Knife Rack $18.99 CAD at Ikea

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Prenatal Courses and Birth Plan | Getting Ready for the Baby

birth plan template

birth plan template

Since this will be my first child, I am glad that my husband and I took a childbirth class. I know more what to expect during labor. Our teacher was a nurse who had two kids and worked for 10 years in a delivery room. She gave us good tips about how our live is about to change.

Amongst the excellent advices she gave us, these struck me as the most important ones:

  • It is easy to forget since the baby requires so much of our time but the first priority of new parents should still be their partner. She made her point by saying that: 1) it’s best for the kids when parents are happy together 2) if you want more babies, you need a strong couple and 3) one day your kids will leave you, so pamper your relationship with your partner if you do not wish to be alone.
  • You should not be afraid to say no to people who want to visit the baby if you are too tired to entertain them. A girlfriend, who is also a mom, told me at my baby shower, you simply say “This is not a good time.” You may need to explain to friends and family members without a kid why you suggest another day, but parents will immediately understand what you mean.
  • Be prepared for a hard time during the first 6 weeks. Then, it will get easier. After the first 6 weeks, schedule one day or night out as a couple. Go see a movie, eat at a romantic restaurant, or do whatever you like to do together.
  • Do not do a birth plan since you will, most likely, be disappointed. Deliveries rarely happen as you planned them. It could be for medical reasons and simply because your preoccupations changed in the heat of the moment. I have a friend who prepared CDs with the music she would like to play during the labor. When the time came, she forgot to play the music.
  • A list of what to bring to the hospital and a list of the essentials for taking care of the baby.
  • The infant care session taught me a lot. I feel more prepared now.

Having said that, you must have an opinion on how you wish to give birth. Throughout the childbirth class, the teacher explained what are our options. This enabled me to determine what was important to me. I discussed some points with my husband when the decision had an impact on him. I believe that looking at a birth plan template is useful. The point is to simply see the plan as a set of guidelines but to keep in mind that you must stay flexible.

Here are two great sources for birth plan:
+ Tips on writing a birth plan at babycenter.ca
+ Birth Plan template at Women’s Healthcare Topics

FAMILY LIVING with kids

A Toddler-Friendly Bathroom | Getting Ready for the Baby

pack splat and water bugs by boon

pack splat and water bugs by boon

We are in the middle of a facelift of what used to be the cat bathroom to make it prettier for my upcoming son. I updated the tiles on the walls and the floor. Plus, I bought a new bath sink and a new toilet. What I found is that safety and practicality limit your options to the standard bath fixtures.

At first, I selected a toilet with an elongated bowl. They are prettier. But after talking to a baby supply store, they recommend that I get the classic round bowl because it will be easier to find a toilet training seat. Even though I know that more brands are planning to launch models for an elongated bowl and chances are that by the time he will need it the market will have evolved, I prefer to be safe.

More Standards to Consider

As a future parent, I believe that we must consider proportions and select bathroom fixtures that are adapted to a little child’s scale. Let’s start with the toilet height. Opt for the standard 15-inch high instead of what they call ideal height.

I kept our old bathtub which looks brand new for the same reason. I tried to find a nicer tub but all the new models are at least 17 inch high; most are 20 inches high or more. We have a 20-inch high bathtub in our master bathroom. I find it hard to reach the bottom when I wash it. There is no way that I will be able to safely and comfortably bathe my toddler son with a high bathtub.

Nonetheless, his bathroom will look great. I was creative with my choice of sink, faucet and ceramic tiles. I will show you the results once it is finished. In a few months, I will start to look at bath toys to learn skills and stimulate his imagination.

Update:
As it turned out, I made a last design change that reduced the space between my finished wall and the C/L of outlet. I had to buy a 10″ rough-in toilet, instead of the standard 12 inches rough-in toilet. The store only carries it with an elongated bowl. I then discovered that the Baby Björn Toilet Trainer has a dial adjustor which allows you to customize the seat for the precise size and shape of your toilet seat opening. Therefore, problem solved.

SOURCING:
+ Boon Bath Toy Combo Pack Splat and Water Bugs $12 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Baby Björn Toilet Trainer $27.43 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Dinosaur Sandwich Cutter

dinosaur sandwich cutter for a kid lunch or party

dinosaur sandwich cutter for a kid lunch or party

This is an adorable kitchen gadget to bring fun to a kid lunch. It is fast and easy to make dinosaur sandwiches for a kid’s lunch or to serve at a kids birthday party. The mold will produce two sandwich pieces when you use standard sandwich bread. A sandwich cutter, like this, reduces waste compared to most cookie cutters.

You can use it to easily design a superb bento box lunch such as Biggie demonstrated at Lunch in a Box. At a party, it means no fights with young kids that do not eat the crust. If you are hosting a tea party for a baby or a bridal shower, you may prefer the heart sandwich cutter.

SOURCING:
+ DynoBytes Dinosaur Sandwich Crust Cutter $2.99 USD
+ Dino Cutter £1.99

FAMILY LIVING with kids

5 Simple Ways to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen

kids who give a hand in the kitchen

kids who give a hand in the kitchen

I am glad to introduce Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, a mother to two little chefs-in-training and editor at Simple Bites, a website dedicated to bringing whole food to real families, simply. When she is not planning her next menu, or eating her way around Montreal, Aimée can be usually found out enjoying nature and occasionally hugging a tree. She accepted to share tried and tested ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen.

Parents of young children will agree that kids like to be right where the action is when they’re trying to make dinner. That’s right, directly underfoot.

Why not invite them to pull up a chair and lend a hand the next time you trip over them? Yes, it requires the patience of a Saint, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Just think: during this worthwhile bonding time, your children can practice basic math skills, learn basic cooking techniques as well as valuable lessons in nutrition – all while fostering creativity.

kids learning how to cook

Here are five simple ways to get started; remember, patience is invaluable, as is plenty of praise for the little cooks.

  1. Invite All Hands on Deck. Get ready to get dirty and set your mind at ease by expecting a mess! Choose tasks that are safe for little hands and that will sharpen fine-motor coordination.
  2. Be a role model. Approach cooking with enthusiasm, and not as a chore, as your child will emulate your perspectives. Those picky eaters need you to set the example, so keep food likes and dislikes in check.
  3. Educate & Create. Learning doesn’t have to happen just in the classroom. In our kitchen we “Talk & Taste”: children are sponges for information, so we ‘Talk’ and learn about everything we do. As for ‘Taste’, well, that just happens on it’s own!
  4. Involve Your Child in Decision Making. This will help him to feel you are taking his tastes into consideration. Something as simple as choosing the add-in for these best muffins ever will give him some ownership and instill a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Teach in the Field. Visit local farms and teach kids where food comes from. This will help them make the connection between ingredients we buy and food we serve. In doing so you will encourage them to embrace foodreal food.

Attention, c’est chaud! Along the way, remember to teach your children the importance of kitchen safety and be sure to set boundaries early.

As parents, we have a responsibility to make eating about more than just putting food in our mouths.  Take the time to make the gathering and preparing of food, as well as the crucial sitting down together around the dinner table, central to eating.

Thank you, Aimee for your sound advice. I would add that cooking also teach kids about the need to clean after themselves. Any professional cook or chef will tell you that the first rule is to clean up spills the moment they happen and to clean up after each dish.

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Bulles de Nua by Red Edition

bulles de nua by red edition

Any time I see a beautiful way to store toys I like to share it with you. Aesthetically pleasing storage solutions can transform a necessity into a piece of art. This series made with bamboo certainly qualify.

The superb Bulles de Nua were created by a duo of women designers for the French furniture maker Red Edition. Marie Macon and Anne-Laure Lesquoy took clues from the traditional Vietnamese craftsmanship to design the collection. The baubles comes in 3 sizes, which means that they can be used as a desk valet, to store jewelry, to keep your scarfs and gloves next to the door up to string magazines and toys.  The inside comes in 3 colors.

+ Photos: Bulles de Nua by Red Edition
+ via Minor Details

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Kid-Friendly Cafes in Toronto and Montreal

kid-friendly cafes in Toronto

Earlier this year, I told you about Maman, Bébé et Café, a coffee shop in Montreal that was more a community center for parents than a typical coffee shop. (October 4th, 2009 update: A friend told me that Maman, Bébé et Café has closed their door.)

It seems that Toronto are catching up with two new kid-friendly cafes opening in trendy neighborhoods with a good concentration of strollers. Lil’ Bean N’ Green opens this week in Leslieville with a fun play area for kids. You can read on BlogTO that Leonor Filipe opened the Gingerbread House Family Café in the Junction three months ago with a similar goal of providing not only food, but a social service for parents at loose ends.

I like the idea that moms and dads have spaces where they can hanged out with their babies and toddles while meeting other parents. I think we will see more of these places once they figured out a viable business model.

About the Play Fee at Lil Bean N’ Green

Some people complained on BlogTO about the fact that the play area is not free at Lil Bean N’ Green. As an entrepreneur, I see why they are doing it. The store owner pays to set up the area. They have to pay the rent on for a retail space in the city. They have a business to run and they can not survive on having moms with kids hanging there for hours while buying one coffee. After all, maintaining a playroom costs more than supplying Wi-Fi. Finding the right price to charge is the challenge.

I invite you to read the post on BlogTO to learn more about these 2 family-style cafes.

MORE:
+ BlogTO’s review of Gingerbread House Family Café
+ Images via BlogTo

ENTERTAINING LIVING with kids

Friday’s Quick Links 2009.02.27

modernist temple NYC apartment

+ The Modernist Temple New York apartment of this Indian affluent couple with kids is striking. Ms. Luthra’s grandfather was an engineer who helped build Chandigarh, a planned city in northern India partially designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s. I love their space. You can admire the details of the apartment on the New York Times.

daisy cut mason jar lids

+ The pewter Daisy Cut Lids embellish the Mason jars. The center hole is big enough to insert a straw. It is adorable for a girl birthday party, a family barbecue or a garden bridal shower. About 31 cents each lid at Candle Soylutions. Via Hostess with the Mostess and Brides.com

Market Kitchen at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto

+ Torontonians can learn how to cook in a sleek modern kitchen filled with Miele appliances. The Market Kitchen is located at the St. Lawrence Market. The place is only 3 months old. You will be glad to know that the cooking classes are more affordable than at similar venues. The space is available for events. Via Food for Thought

HOME + GARDEN LIVING with kids

Hand Printed Housewares by Inklore | Etsy Finds

hand printed products by inklore

A self-taught block print artist named Sam founded Inklore in 2008. I like her organic, natural style. She made adorable products for your home and to take care of your family.

My Favorite Products from Etsy seller Inklore

1-2-3 Grow With Me is a growth chart. Sam got the idea because she didn’t like the idea of leaving the growth chart if ever she moves. She created a natural canvas with hand printed numbers. She used vintage block numbers as her support.

1-2-3 Grow With Me would make a wonderful birthday gift idea for a first birthday. Kids receive plenty of toys anyway. Why not give them sometimes they can keep as a memorabilia?

Tea cozies are a must for any tea lover. The Branches Tea Cosie looks modern. Although the pattern is on the feminine size, men would not mind. It fits regular size teapot.

Other gift ideas for women are the Love-ly Sachets and the Hugs and Kisses Freezer Bag. These are $16 and $14 respectively.

SOURCING:
+ 1-2-3 Grow With Me $38 USD
+ Branches Tea Cosie $35 USD
+ Via Design Milk