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LIVING with kids


Feeling Festive and Green | Quick Links 2009.02.10

I received good news twice before 10 am so it is fair to say that I am feeling cheerful all day. My quick links reflect that state of mind.

dandelion clocks paaterns by sanderson :: fabrics and wallpapers

+ I adore the Dandelion Clocks patterns available in fabrics and wallpapers. I imagine this color palette will be soothing in a nursery. Sadly, this is produced by the renowned British brand Sanderson. Their product line does not seem to be available outside UK. I guess, we will have to put a trip to London in our agenda. Via Design Undercover and More Ways to Waste Time

venice\'s carnivale

+ The New York Times has a beautiful slide show about the Venice’s Carnavale. I wish to assist one day to that 10-day amazing event who kicks off on Valentine’s Day this year.

reusable cloth snack bags and food bulk bags plum creek mercantile

+ After the shopping bag, the next frontier of reusable bags is your lunch boxes. The reusable cloth snack bags at Plum Creek Mercantile featured patterns for adults and school children. For kids, the robots and the jumping frogs are cute. Buy individually or a set of 5 assorted bags for $25. Exists in small, medium and large.

+ Bulk Food Bags is another way to save bags at the grocery store. The clear window allows easy identification of the product inside and allows the bin number to be written with a grease pen or a dry erase marker and removed for continued use. $12 USD small, $18 for large bag

Read my next post to see what brought me joy today.


Daily Quick Links | Artistic Orange Tones and Burgers

old typewriter pictures by alicia bock :: pottery banr kids Guitar & Boom Box pillows :: salmon burgers served on a long wood tray

This is my daily collection of noteworthy stuff that I saw online.

+ A delightful scene photographed by Alicia Bock that you can buy on Etsy. She is a completely self-taught photographer. All her pictures exhibit a vintage vibe. Via Apartment Therapy San Francisco

+ Pottery Barn Kids excel in devising amazing kids décor. For the future rock star in your family, infuse a musical in their bedrooms with the Guitar & Boom Box large pillows. With kids, it is best to use a wide theme. Therefore, mix the pillows with Gavin Sheeting designed for kids who loves sports, animals, cars, aviation and music. Via Serendipity and Spark

Gingery Salmon Burgers on a Wood Tray

+ The long and narrow curved wood tray adds style. The tray design accentuates the uniqueness of the gingery salmon burgers by Michael Smith. Sitting on a potato dill roll, watercress and red onion relish complement the savor of his Maritime’s burgers.  I am glad to report that Michael Smith’s fascinating series, Chef at Home is entering its fifth season this fall. Via Food for Thought

Getting Organized at Home

+ If you are cleaning the garage or the shed, you could wall mount a few magnetic knife holders to neatly store paintbrushes. This is another great organizing idea from Martha Stewart. Via anh-minh

+ Eco-friendly back-to-school tips based on the three R’s: reuse, reduce and recycle. The best tips is to invest in reusable lunch box or bag, many reusable containers plus to use real cutlery and cloth napkins.Via The Gazette

Announcement: I am preparing a cool article on wood plates and trays. It is based on a craft project that anyone can do.


Top 7 Links of the Week 2008.07.27

I am introducing my new weekly must read section. I compiled the list on Sunday from what bloggers published over the last 7 days.  Enjoy!

shinki katoh trays :: cookies by la tartine gourmande :: repurposed housewares by real simple

+ I fall in love with the Shinzi Katoh trays with square handles available in the USA at Penelope’s. I have a thing for trays. The drawings of Shinzi Katoh are so adorable. So many cool stuff features his design. Also check out the treasure boxes. Via ohdeedoh

+ The taste of homemade cookies feels second to none. They are great to bring on the road, for a picnic or as hostess gifts. Bea baked her Dark Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies with 5 types of flour. As usually, her pictures add to the pleasures. Via La Tartine Gourmande

+ Real Simple shows us how to refresh a room using boxes, jars, and other household items. Their solutions have style. Via Apartment Therapy San Francisco

+ Do not miss the onesie and the diaper bag mini cakes baked by Cupcake Envy. Guests will be in awe at a baby shower. Via sparkliatti

+ You are babysitting your friend’s toddler unexpectedly, do not worry you can built a homemade bowling set from things you have on the house. It is also a cool idea for a play date. Via tutus and turtles

+ Fabulous Stationery launched a fabulous collection of calling cards. It is a must for every one to have a calling card in these days. It makes things so much simpler. I suggest two sets. The first set has your home address and phone number. Another set shows less information. I suggest publishing only your name, cell phone and a general contact email (i.e. your gmail account). Via Design Crush

+ Strategic lighting across an outdoor space adds moods. You could plant solar outdoor lamps. But if you prefer the charms of candlelight, look at two simple DIY lighting ideas. Via Apartment Therapy New York 


Would you buy a cute design handkerchief to save the Earth?


I came across this little design studio in Vancouver that is making cute, 100% organic cotton handkerchief. Hank and Cheef can also custom make handkerchiefs for weddings corporate events and promotions.

A Little Bit of History

Kleenex was intended as a facial removal tissue at first. It became a handkerchief substitute later when some employees with allergies at Kleenex started to use the disposable tissues.

Let face it, handkerchief should never be used in our modern societies to blow your nose. What about our other facial little cleanup needs?

In Our Daily Life

We use disposable tissues for things that we could do with a piece of cloth. So maybe for these facial tasks, we could envision a more eco-friendly alternative. People with allergies and parents with young children will find them useful for drying the tears.

I am not ready to do it at this point. Maybe at some point, handkerchiefs will become fashionable as the reusable shopping bags. I cannot predict.

One thing for sure is that if you want to try the experience, Hank and Cheef makes it easy for you. The current collection is split in 7 themes. Each handkerchief on a pack display a different illustration. You can distinguish them all the time. Everything is designed, printed and sewn in Vancouver, BC. The patterns are cute, modern and fun.

What do you think of this product? Do you think the eco-friendly movement will revive the handkerchief?

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Organic Cotton Handkerchief at Organically Hatched – price: $39.99 CAD for box of 7
Learn more: Hank and Cheef – navigation is at the bottom of the page
Via: Sustainable Sniffles []


Gourmet Baby Food hits the US Market

pomme bébé fresh organic baby food california

Recall my story last month about Menus Bébé, a brand in France that produces Ready to Serve Gourmet Baby Food. I have found a similar company in California.

Why to choose Pomme Bébé?

Pomme Bébé produces small batches of fresh organic baby food. The food is simmered slowly to retain the maximum amount of wholesome nutrients that your baby needs.

You get the basically same advantages that Menus Bébé provides. The food is more nutritious, displays vibrant colors and is tastier. The menu changes every season at Pomme Bébé. Their menu relies heavenly on the freshness of seasonal produces.

You can buy Pomme Bébé food at their Newport Beach store, online or by phone. The food can be opted for next day delivery at your door or quickly pass by the store for a curbside pick-up.

Bébé Bar, Bébé Lounge

What is cool about Pomme Bébé for Newport Beach residents is their cool store. Sit your baby in an egg shaped high chair and indulge in a tasting session. Your baby can try out fresh food samples at Pomme Bébé bar. There is also a Bébé lounge where parents can meet in a hip and inviting atmosphere to enjoy a wholesome treat or fresh-squeezed juice.

Bébé Party

No need to clean your house for your next playdate. Simply host a playgroup at Pomme Bébé. Your kids will be able to sample their organic ready to serve baby food, you will receive nutritional information and the babies can play with toys in the nicely designed Baby Lounge.

Pomme Bébé
2043 Westcliff Drive, Suite 106
Newport Beach, CA  92660
p  949.200.7430
open Monday-Friday 9:30am-5:30pm, Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Pomme Bébé online store – price: $3.25 – $4.50 per 4 oz container


Ready to Serve Gourmet Baby Food by Menus Bébé

homestyle baby food  by menus bebe

I am persuaded that kids can eat anything if you trained them early to expand their taste buds. Several of my friends succeeded with their infants. My husband never ate the kid menu at the restaurant. He was ordering snails when he was 4 years old.

Different continent, different eating habits

In Europe, kids are used to eat more aliments at a younger age. At least, it was true in the past where they did not rely on fast food as we do in North America. In Italy, eggplants with chocolate is a children treat.

Even though, you cannot find Menus Bébé outside France, I think there are good lessons to be learned. I presented this brand on my blog because it conveys the stylish living message I am aiming for. This baby food brand is about variety, fresh products and developing taste at the youngest possible age.

Menus Bébé was founded by Jenny Careno, a French mother of Swedish origin. Like many small businesses, the adventure started when Jenny gave birth to her little girl Maya.

April 12th, 2008 Update: Unimpressed by the baby food on the shelf at the grocery store, Jenny learned how to make baby food at home. She asked advices to her pediatric doctor and from Alina, a woman Chef who serves an impressive infant menu in her restaurant. Later on, Jenny founded Menus Bébé.

A Practical solution

Menus Bébé delivers frozen home style baby food. The packaging looks great. The freshest of the ingredients is well highlighted. The design feels European with lots of white spaces. Does it shows that I went to a breakfast talk this morning about retail packaging and the added value of design?

The great news for parents is that is save them time, lots of precious time. Parents can now serve superior home style meals to their babies in less than 3 minutes. The texture of Menus Bébé is not as smooth as the processed baby food. It is important since texture plays a role in experiencing food. The main ingredients are more diverse. The list is impressive in length.

What is the difference?

The quality of the end results is superior because:

  • 90% of the pot is the main aliments versus less than 50% in mass produced baby food
  • The meal comes in 2 pots: the main dish and the side. The idea is to develop the taste of the baby
  • The food is also tastier and contains no additives
  • The conservation process is quick-freezing instead of sterilization
  • Quick-freezing preserves the colors of the food so there is no need for artificial colorants
  • The natural vitamins are preserved as much as possible

Need for diversion

Medical researches proved that the best prevention against diseases is a diversified alimentation. There is no miracle food. Each food has its own function and they enhance each other. Babies, children and adults must eat a vast array of aliments to stay healthy. Think about it!

Eating delicious healthy food improves our quality of life at all ages. Being a gourmet is a part of stylish living. Menus Bébé becomes one element that helps families to live in style and stay healthy. I hope that it is the start of a trend that will cross the Atlantic pretty soon.

Learn more: Menus Bébe
Top Row Photo credits: Jean-Claude Amiel for Elle à Table No 57


Ideas for Baking with Kids

The family kitchen book plus tips on baking with kids

The best way to teach children good eating habits is by teaching how to cook at a young age. And since kids like to imitate grownups, they are typically excited by this activity.

Cooking tools for kids

This idea is born while browsing through the catalogue of Sagaform for another post. If you wan tot develop the habit to cook with your kids, it is best to get gears designed for them.

From Sagaform, teach your kids good taste by giving them a cute hand painted Pastry Board with Rolling Pin made of birch. Sagaform To make cakes, get the Baking set completed with a Spatula, a whisk and cake tins.

A mother herself, Sophie Conran proposed a Mummy’s & Mine cooking set.  Part of the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion collection, it has everything young boys and girls need to start baking. This gift set contains a child’s hat and apron, two star cookie cutters, a porcelain mini-jug, a mini pouring bowl, plus a box paper cups.

Do not let the name distract you, it is for daddy too. Cooking with kids, when it is not done in the middle of the afternoon is a pleasing way to pass time together.

Recipes for cooking with kids

Specialized books target the family with kids. The Family Kitchen invites kids into the kitchen to help, teaching them kitchen skills, encouraging them to discover new flavors and bonding with them. Each breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe lists tasks that kids (even little ones) can enjoy doing.

Another favorite is Williams Sonoma Kids Baking. Reviewers commented that they cook with their kids of 3 to 6 age old with this book. Parents enjoy receiving gifts that involved their kids. I am adding family cooking books on my best list of unique hostess gifts.

Since you may not have time to go shopping for books, try out the Chocolate Pudding recipe from Martha Stewart. This week-end, go ahead and plan a baking session with your kids and their friends.

+ Pastry board with rolling pin by Sagaform – £22.95 at Forma
+ 4-piece Baking Set by Sagaform – £14.95 at Forma
+ Sophie Conran Mummy’s and Mine Set – $59.95 CAD at Linen Chest
Sophie Conran by Portmeirion Sets Mummy’s And My Cooking Set – $50 USD at Amazon
+ The Family Kitchen – $18.25 USD at Amazon
+ Williams Sonoma Kids Baking – $13.57 USD at Amazon


Perched tree cabins set the tone of a magical party decor

The Chateau Perched Tree Cabin at Domaines de Ormes

In our house, we need to transform the room to create a magical atmosphere for a party. But if you utilize a magical location you do not really need to add decorative items to plan the best party ever. One such place is a perched tree house.

An inspirational tree house in Brittany, France

The July-August 2007 issue of Maison Française published a nice article about an outstanding perched tree house in the Domaine des Ormes. Standing 10 meters from the ground, the Cedar tree house is impressible. The terrace is a perfect spot for a small party during the day.

I know that tree houses for adults are not common but if you search on the Web you can rent some.

If you want to build your own, it can be a fun group project at the cottage. Make sure to consult a tree expert to help you select the right tree and guide you with design requirements. When you built a cabin around a large tree, you should ensure that the tree will continue to grow and live well.

At the Domaine des Ormes, the Sequoias cabins are even more fun. Reachable by a mini adventure course: a ladder, 2 zip lines, a suspension bridge (Sequoia 2) or a net (Sequoia 1). Wow! You can organize a trail excursion first and finish it up with the adventure course. Then, you offer a nice cool drink to your guests on the terrace.

A few safety issues

luau portable lamp by Vessel

Always make sure that the structure can supported the number of guests you invite. And plan for more spaces per person to move around since it is a constricted area. A party does not need a huge guest list to be exciting. Having between 2 to 6 attendees is the norm for a perched tree house party.

If you wish to host a night party, I suggest you make the latest in wireless lighting. Candles in the wood are a huge fire hazard. If you use candles, put any candle in a fire resistant lantern.

The best option is to bring out several polar powered lights and rechargeable portable lamps. Check out the luau portable lamp by Vessel that can be hanged or rested on a table or the floor.

Be careful when you bring children up. Try to select a lower perched tree cabin if you invite kids. Some people are afraid of heights or not athletic (say if you have an adventure course) so tell your guests in advance about the location characteristics.

Often, you must bring stuff up by lifting them up with cords. Do not bring items that are too heavy and pack light if you stay over. Tree houses get almost no sun. So bring warmer clothes and mosquito repellent to be comfortable.

It can be a fun family getaway if your kids are old enough. This is an adventure that your kids will remember for a long time.

A new trend: Tree house hotel accommodation

The Chateau cabin, shown here, was built three years ago as a wedding gift to the sister of the owner of this French hotel complex. The intent was to create a magical refuge for the first wedding night of the couple. It did not take long for friends of the family to ask to stay in the tree cabin.

The tree house is built with the ancient wood craftsmanship techniques without nails or screws. The Chateau cabin for 2 persons covers 20 square meters. A nice terrace let you take a romantic breakfast, read peacefully and enjoy the view of the golf course and cricket pitch. You get up by a rope ladder.

The complimentary breakfast is delivered at the foot of the tree supporting your cabin. Ecological toilets are available in every cabin. The Domaine des Ormes has a total of 5 tree houses.

Located 25 minutes from Saint-Malo, the Domaine des Ormes is one of the biggest tourist attractions of France within 200 hectares of greenness and pleasantness. The Chateau cabin is 96 ? per night for 2 persons, breakfast included.

Learn more: Tree Houses on the Web site of Domaine des Ormes
Photos credits: En Bretagne, rêves perches published in Maison Francaise issue number 548 – photos by Marie-José Jarry et Jean-François Tripelon


Fun and colorful patterns for ISAK kitchen and home collections

ISAK kitchen and home collections

ISAK is a brand of coordinated home accessories for the modern kitchen, lounge and kids room.

Designed by the creative Swedish-born Sandra Isaksson, the first range of ISAK products was launched autumn 2006 in UK where she now lives. “Beautiful happy things” is their motto.

ISAK whimsical patterns are modern with a retro mood. Having a tulip cutting board, a green apple serving tray, a bird plate or a daisy espresso cup is out of the ordinary. Sandra Isaksson repeated several patterns in every product of the line to make it easy for you.

The catalogue includes patterned cutting boards, round and rectangular serving trays, kid breakfast trays, cups, plates, canvas prints, wallpapers, cards and books. The plates are large enough to be used as place mats.

ISAK’s own online shop ships worldwide. Retailers in the UK, Sweden, the US and Canada also sell the line, although I cannot named any at this moment.

Catalogue and online shopping: Web site of ISAK products
Via: Fredagsintervjun! on Akvis stilblogg


Easy Like Sunday Morning: My Take on The Backyard Brunch in Blueprint magazine

Easy Like Sunday Morning by Blueprint

Last month, I talked to you about the fact that with many of my friends having babies, inviting family and friends over for brunch may become more popular than my late dinner parties.

I saw this article in the May/June edition of Blueprint magazine. They arrive to the same conclusion: parents with young children prefer brunch parties.

By the way, I did not forget to do the amazing muffin presentation I promised you. It is coming!

The Blueprint magazine set the brunch in a cheerful backyard setting. The basic idea is to plan in advance the playing areas with the right toys for the kids that will be coming.

Then set a beautiful table for the parents to relax but make sure that it is easy for them to watch the young children. I like the way they lined up the breakfast buffet.

The Backyard Brunch in Blueprint magazine

I encourage you to read the article in May/June edition of Blueprint magazine. It is interesting. After go to Martha Stewart Web site, you will find additional planning tips plus the brunch recipes.

Little note: Starting with this post, you can now enlarge the photos. I updated my publishing method to better serve you.

Update: I received the Blueprint magazine through a swap I made with Carrie from Notes of a middle child. In her blog, she chronicles her adventures in sewing, escapades in the kitchen and whatever else strikes her fancy. Thank you Carrie.

Via: The Backyard Brunch from BluePrint on
Link: Notes of a middle child blog