16 December 2012

Christmas Photos

Along with our Christmas update which you can read here, I thought I would include a few of our favourite Christmas photos of Kai.

It has been an eventful year with this little one around! We can't help feeling truly blessed this Christmas and can't wait to see what 2013 will bring. From our family to yours we wish you a joy filled Christmas season!


A Potter Family Christmas Update

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2013!  Check out our Potter family update by clicking here or by clicking the image below - enjoy!

Homemade Christmas

This year, since I am revamping my Christmas attitude I also wanted a Christmas makeover for our home.  Our Christmas decor was lacking a bit mostly because it came from the Dollar Store or a thrift shop somewhere in Vancouver as this is where we had our first Christmas together.  The bright colours and flashy cartoon figures aren't really my style anymore, but as you might know Christmas decor items can often be expensive and add up pretty quickly. So I decided to revamp Christmas without getting rid of too much by giving it a facelift, so to say.

Another personal goal for me this past month and a bit was to actually complete some of the DIY projects I have been frequently pinning on my "it's the most wonderful time of the year" Pinterest board.  I thought I'd share a few below as well as a few projects I came up with on my own.

I took all of our Christmas bulbs and covered them with burlap, linen, yarn and rope.  I love the finished look!

Pom Pom garland - These are so easy and stringing them together creates a fabulous garland.  I did also make a few stand alone pom pom ornaments and they work well too.

No sew Tree Skirt - I whipped this tree skirt up in no time by gathering burlap and using my handy glue gun.  I will admit I would have liked the skirt to be a bit longer but I ran out of burlap so I will add to it next year. I also made a similar table runner which is not shown here. The fleece for this project was on sale for $7 which lasted for both projects and the burlap came from the dollar store.  Now, I must say that burlap is a bitch to work with and I have no secrets to pass on to make it easier to manage but I will say a little patience goes a long way.

Stocking holders - My wonderful father-in-law cut these for me from a fallen tree in his backyard.  I added the pegs by cutting dowels and gluing them in pre-drilled holes.  I have seen a similar project using the stumps to hold photos by adding a wire circle to the middle but I decided that I liked the simpler look a bit better, plus the photos would obstruct the chalkboard on my mantle.

Chalkboard Frame - I had a chalkboard adhesive on my fridge for a while and was excited to put it to better use then my husbands random notes of phone numbers and what we need to pick up.  It looks much prettier framed!

No water snow globe - I own a ton of mason jars so when I saw this pin I knew I had to put some of them to use for this project.  I think I will add some more white snow but right now the soft touch of glitter is quite pretty.

Nativity set - I love how this looks displayed in an old Pepsi crate.  My husband thought of this as we were trying to figure out where we could put it which would be safe from baby hands.

So in the end I only purchased new stockings, the trees on my mantle and the NOEL sign, all of which I got on sale for 50% off allowing me to revamp my Christmas decor for under $100.  Yippee!  I am in love with our living room right now and am so excited to have our daughter open her first Christmas stocking under the soft glow of our lights.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas indeed in our house!

Rules to a 'no obligation Christmas'

In my last post I shared a bit of my struggle with the busyness of Christmas and mentioned I would share some rules I am trying to follow in order to achieve a more peaceful and stressful season.  Thus my rules to a 'no obligation Christmas'.

#1.  Admit it -  If you are a people pleaser like I am you have to admit to yourself that some of the ways you may pull back on Christmas may not be highly admired by family and you basically have to become okay with this.  For instance, we have decided Christmas Eve and Boxing Day will be family days in our household and we will avoid any Christmas parties on these days.  This new rule means we won't be attending a Christmas Eve celebration we have in the past and we also won't be attending any extended family Christmas gatherings on those days so as to avoid multiple busy days and evenings in a row. "You can't please everyone" they say and I am still learning and re-learning this one.

#2.  Compromise - So like I said above, if you are a people pleaser like me it may kill you to know a family member might be bothered by a change such as this so we have opened up our family days (to an extent) to close family members.  For instance, we attend a Christmas Eve service at our Church in Toronto and we have invited our family members to join us if they wish.  Other activities we may do on these days include: skating, a walk to look at Christmas lights, hot chocolate at a local cafe, basically any sort of Christmasy activity which does not take up the majority of the day, nor involve gifts and is more active in a low key sort of way. Family is welcome to partake in the low key festivity.

#3.  Shop Thoughtfully - I love gift giving, it's basically my favourite part of Christmas.  But sometimes I can go a bit overboard and buy an extra gift or two for a person when I've already bought them plenty.  This year Brett and I have decided to change a few things about the way we gift.  Firstly since we always do stockings to most of our immediate family we have decided that along with a few odds and ends we are going to write letters to that person as a more personal touch.  I'm not trying to go overboard with the sentimentality here but I think it will be nice to take time each year and think through why we appreciate those who are closest to us and to then tell them this.  I am hoping this will make our stockings a bit more special then something you quickly rip through to get to the good stuff.

#4.  Shop Early - Enough said!

#5.  Incorporate Traditions - I think establishing traditions help with the overwhelming nature of the season.  You know what to expect, you know when it will happen etc.  In many ways it helps organize Christmas and organizing helps alleviate stress.  We have always put our Christmas tree up the first week of December thus we know what we are doing on this weekend and since we also exchange a ornament each year we know we have be prepared by this date. Traditions don't have to be complicated they just have to be consistent.

So there it is!  I am hopeful that in sticking to my rules this year that this Christmas will be one of the best yet but with that said here is my final rule for myself.

#6.  Be Realistic and flexible - This one may be the hardest to follow for me but it is very much the most important.  I will often come up with an idea at the very last minute and kill myself to make it happen so this year I am going to try my darndest to be realistic in what myself and my family can handle during this stressful season and focus on the good stuff - family, friends, yummy food, giving gifts, Christmas music, Christmas lights, nativity sets, hot Chocolate, ah the list could go on and on.

The No Obligation Christmas

Well Halloween is over, the costume was worn and candy was collected, Kyla was a Starbucks Frappucino (you can check her costume out here) and she was a cute one at that, even cuter when she scored her dad and I free coffee at our local Starbucks! But now that the dust from Halloween has settled I will admit I have moved on to full out Christmas mode.  I am determined this year to be organized, deliberate and calm this Christmas season creating what I hope will be a stress free first Christmas for my baby girl and family.  So since Christmas is very much on my mind I thought I would share a little in my own journey to what I am calling the 'no obligation Christmas'.

I grew up celebrating only one Christmas and this was always on Christmas day.  December for me was pretty laid back; my Dad's work Christmas party, a few other family social engagements once or twice in the month but mostly my immediate family spent our December evenings and weekends watching Christmas specials, tobogganing, building snowmen etc.  Sounds pretty magical eh!?  It was, it really was and I have spent a lot of time thinking through why my Christmases in the recent past have been filled with stress, fatigue and a general sense that the month and holiday season was moving too fast.

I know part of this reason is that I have grown up and suddenly I am the one who has to shop for presents and organize social engagements with friends and family but I can't help but wonder if I could do something more deliberate to slow Christmas down so as to experience a little more of the magic I did when I was a child.

This past Christmas seemed to be the worst as I was planning a major event at work and was almost 8 months pregnant.  I was so tired by the first week of December and was an awful wife by the time my husbands birthday came around not really having time and energy to pull off the usual festivities that coincide with a birthday in the Potter house (we celebrate birthday week in these parts). Christmas came and went, I honestly can't recall much of it, and by New Year I was spent.  I remember sitting on my couch depressed that I could not partake in wine as the bell dropped and basically immediately went to bed exhausted from what had been a long month.  Once the Christmas season had past and we had recovered my husband and I began to think through what kind of Christmas we wanted to celebrate once our very ripe at the time baby would arrive.  We talked a lot about how we had lost the anticipation of Christmas and that giving had become more of a chore then out of love.  We both desired a Christmas season filled with family time and activities which would remain special to this time of year. So now that the Christmas season is upon us we are beginning to think through how we can make this happen.  Lots to think about indeed!

Stay tuned for my next post:  Rules to the 'no obligation Christmas'.

02 November 2012

Fall around these parts...

The past two months have been quite busy, too busy actually and along with this our laptop is on the fritz which means my posts have been few and far between.  So since I have the shortest amount of time on our other computer, (my husband has taken the baby out) I will be brief.  Here are a few things I have been working on and a few upcoming events in Toronto I am very much looking forward to.  Hopefully a longer post will come soon!

Reasons why homemade Halloween costumes are awesome:
  1. They don't cost much - Kai's first Halloween costume cost $6.50
  2. They can get you free stuff - for us it was coffee which basically is the same price as the costume itself therefore the costume in the end didn't cost a thing.
  3. You can get really creative, let's face it inanimate object costumes are awesome!  A few of Kai's runner up costumes were a bag of popcorn, a garden gnome (I still really want to do this one year) and a peanut; this list could go on. So why not plan on going homemade next year - could be fun and you have a whole year to prepare!
Reasons why homemade Christmas gifts are great too:
  1. Again they don't cost much - I better not say what I am making this year but last year I ordered mini calendar Pdf's off of etsy and they were seriously cheap.  I printed and cut them and then attached a bit of yarn and mini clothes pegs so they could be hung up in an office or even magnetically on the fridge.  These little puppies were good for everyone - co-workers, mums, the in-laws as hostess gifts etc.  If you want to really get fancy you can design them yourself - whoa, really homemade!
  2. Nothing says homemade like edible gifts cause really who doesn't like Christmas cookies!  Just make sure to bake them fresh, they are better this way no matter what any website might say.
  3. You can start making gifts early like me (currently working on a few) and save yourself the hassle and pure terror of Christmas shopping at the mall.
  4. If you can't think of any ideas we now have Pinterest to help us out!
Events to check out this month:
  1. This weekend is the Day of the Dead celebration at Harbourfront which my husband and I have really been looking forward to.
  2. The Santa Claus Parade is coming up on November 18th and since it is Kyla's first Christmas we will be making an attempt to be festive, yet not freeze, while waving to Santa.  Here is a great article with a few helpful tips to help you and the fam enjoy the show.

06 September 2012

August picks of the month

Two very neat places we stumbled upon this month are definitely worth a mention and are my picks of the month if you are down in our neck of the woods (Queen St. E.).  The first pick opened recently quite near our home just east of Woodbine and really tugged at my inner child heart strings.  One night Brett came home from running an errand and mentioned he had somewhere to take me the next day as a treat and so the next afternoon with baby in her Bjorn we went for our walk and wandered up Queen, I had actually forgotten we had a destination in mind until Brett suddenly piped up.  There is was in all of it's glory, a tiny storefront dedicated to a childhood favourite - milk and cookies. MooMilkBar is what I would define as genius!  Now the only downfall I see for this fun after school gathering is that there are no seats so it is for sure a snack on the go or snack to bring home kinda place but regardless their cookies were great!

Number two on my list is a place we came across when mattress shopping - not a fun experience so it was nice to stop in for a tasty treat to make up for the confusion which ensued while laying on beds.  Tori's Bakeshop was just the right spot.  This eco-friendly, all-natural organic bakery is gorgeous and their treats are awesome too!  If you are looking for a relaxing yet inspiring place to work, read or meet a friend check this place out.  I like everything about this bakery from the chocolate cupcake I had (which was so good!) to the decor. My fav about this spot - the mason jars, you'll just have to check it out to see what I mean!

13 August 2012

And then there was food - a dedication of sorts part two

As mentioned in my previous post (which you can read here) my summer has been quite busy thus far and we have just wrapped up a garden party in celebration of my daughter Kyla's non-traditional baby dedication. I had a lot of fun planning this one and decided to go with a loose sea theme as the name Kyla means beautiful water and her nickname Kai means sea. I wanted to focus on easy to grab food items and add a whimsical touch to my food selection since it was a party in celebration of our baby girl.

Some of my favorites from the party:
1. Easy and inexpensive tissue paper pom poms. Super easy to make!

2. My awesome cupcake stand find - thank you Port Perry Home Hardware for an item which didn't look much like a cupcake stand but with a little love and spray paint fit the bill quite nicely I think.

3. Popcorn station - such a fun and easy idea. I thought this would be the biggest hit with the kids but the adults were chomping away too. So fun!

4. Mason jar vases - have I ever mentioned that I own 200 mason jars? We used them at one of my husbands video installations and now that I have them on hand I am always trying to think of creative ways to make use out of these gems. I picked up the flowers from my favourite florist (Jong Young flower market) for under $10, added some ribbon and voila easy and cheap decor! Seriously, get yourself some mason jars they are good for so many things.

5. Meringues -
I was so pumped when a local bakery we pop by from time to time started making tiny meringues. This was one of my favourite desserts when I was a kid. They were very inexpensive and were made in coral as per my request. You will be seeing many a meringue at future parties planned by moi, I just love them. Thanks Bobbette & Belle!

 6.  The paper goods - the invitations, programs and thank you cards turned out great! I used the program 'Pages' on our Mac as I had a clear idea of what I wanted them to look like.  We have a great printing company we use who rounded the corners on the programs and printed for an awesome price!  I added an oversized popcicle stick to each program so they could double as fans for the hot summer day that it was.

7. Kai's outfit - I found the dress at the gap and loved its lacey/vintage feel. I made her headband and finished it off with a small gem from one of my grandmother's necklaces.

Her sweet bangle is from my Aunt Janette all the way from Scotland and her necklace was given to Kyla from her Dad and I in celebration of her special day. I found a wonderful shop on Etsy (Coastal Sea Glass) where simple pieces of sea glass are transformed into beautiful jewelry and so we had a custom piece created for Kai. It couldn't be more fitting for our little girl as the aquamarine colour is her birthstone not to mention it's beachy beginning which is well suited for a little girl whose name means water. My husband and I also love the symbolism in this simple piece of glass as it has been molded and changed to become something more unique and beautiful.

I was so excited when the necklace arrived in the mail and to my surprise the package included a similar necklace for me so Kai and I would have a matching set. How special! A big thank you to Laurie, be sure to visit her site, her creations are so beautiful!

There are so many more things I could say about this day as it was so perfect! Here are a few more photos in slideshow format (sorry mobile users) for your viewing pleasure also check out my Project Nursery page where there are lots more photos of the big day.

With 7 months until her first birthday I guess it won't be too long before another party is in the works - good thing I love party planning!

09 August 2012

A Dedication of Sorts - part one

Well as always I have failed to keep pace with my blog entries but I do have a bit of an excuse and that is because it is summer. As you all know, summers are busy with vacationing, spending time with family, BBQ's and my favourite, garden parties.  Speaking of which we just had a very special party for our daughter Kyla.

Taking a bit of a non-traditional route we had Kyla dedicated in my mum's backyard surrounded by family and friends.  It was a very special day and we were so thrilled to be celebrating our love for Kai while showing our gratitude for this tiny life that we have been blessed with. When planning our ceremony we did a lot of research on the Internet for non-traditional baby ceremonies and we couldn't find too much but what we did find helped us out a great deal so I thought I'd add ours to the mix for those out there who might be searching as well.  Here is a copy of our full service.

My husband is a PhD student studying theological aesthetics - what is that you might ask, well it is better to ask him but in a quick sentence it is the relationship between beauty, art & God.  Even though he is a theological student we don't always fit into a certain box when it comes to our faith. So we decided rather then go the traditional route of baby baptism, christening or dedication (all part of the Christian faith) to
combine our beliefs and create a one-of the-kind
ceremony more personalized for Kyla.  We set out to celebrate love and new life!  

Although it was a daunting task to write out the ceremony ourselves it was a fabulous exercise for my husband and I to really think through our
hopes and dreams for Kai as well as our promises to her as her parents.

We centered the ceremony around the word Shalom which in Hebrew is a word for peace; as our friend/officiant Jeff quoted at the ceremony, “Shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight... Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” With this in mind we focused on six values - wholeness, love, peace, justice, creativity and restoration.  Our hope is Kyla would come to realize and experience these values in her own life and live them out as she grows.

Including Kyla's Godparents was really important to us as she is blessed to have wonderful Godparents who love her very much.  Kai's Godfather, Bill is Hindu and chanted three prayers for Kyla during the ceremony.  They were beautiful both in meaning and as they were chanted.  Kyla's Godmother, Christine, read to her from the famous Dr. Seuss book "Oh the Places You'll Go".  It was the perfect combination of spiritual and whimsy which is exactly why we chose them for their special role in Kai's life.

With readings and a very special song for Kai written by my husband which you can read here  the ceremony was beautiful and perfect for our little girl, who was also very well behaved.  We could not have asked for a better day and are so grateful to those who were able to share in it with us.

My next post - which will come soon, I promise is devoted to the fun stuff - the party!  Stay tuned!

29 May 2012

Oh so tiny...

For those of you who know me you might know I have a small obsession with miniature items.  One of my favourite place as a kid was the miniature village quite close to my house - what an awesome idea, a whole village made really small - brilliant.  Each year for Christmas my husband and I exchange ornaments and one year I found him a miniature Egg McMuffin and hash brown (a guilty pleasure of his is McDonald's breakfast). I was so pumped about this miniature dish and love pulling it out each year and putting it on the tree, probably even more then my hubby does.

Anyway, the main reason for me writing about miniatures is because I came across this amazing blog post about miniature food sculptures by artist Shay Aaron who also blends two things I love - miniature items and jewelry - Fabulous! 

I just had to share it - check it out!

Incredible Miniature Food Sculptures

PS:  Hubby, if you are reading this - super great gift idea for moi!

23 May 2012

Living room decor - baby vs. mommy

I promised myself I wouldn't be 'that kind of mom'. I told my husband to restrain me if he noticed even a glimmer of me being pulled over to the dark side (or what I thought was the dark side). You know the mom - the one whose whole house has been taken over by primary colors and large plastic thingamabobs. Swings, bouncers, exersaucers... the list goes on. For practical reasons I did an exhaustive amount of research on space-saving baby items for our city apartment. We got a nice, neutral swing which folded up and called it a day.

Then Kyla arrived and turned our world upside down. She would sleep in the swing once she was already super sleepy if we were lucky but hated it otherwise. We attempted putting her in her crib for some play time but that would only last for a few minutes before she would fuss. I created a makeshift mobile, finally gave in and purchased a mobile (and returned it the next day) and then really went nuts and bought a bouncer. Now my living room had two baby items which should have been my husband's signal that I was on the edge of full-blown baby blowout in my living room. Just when I thought I was at the end of my rope with no place baby enjoyed other then my or my husbands arms (both wrap and carrier didn't cut it either) all hell broke lose and Kai decided she didn't like napping during the day anymore either. So now my baby was always awake, eventually super cranky and the only place I could calm her down and keep her content that wasn't our arms was her change table. So we would stand, taking shifts watching her on the change pad as she cooed and smiled happy as could be. We tried moving the change pad to the couch so we could sit - tears! Moving it into the crib proved hopeful but we still had to stand over her or she would fuss. My husband suggested stealing the Justin Bieber life size cut out from our local Shoppers Drug Mart. Sadly, in desperation I actually considered this.

No one really warned me about the intense need a mother has to find something which can entertain your baby for, at the very least, the length of time it takes to step in and out of the shower. Naively I always thought these baby products were for babies' development and fun (which they are as well) but I was very quickly learning how helpful these products could be if my child seemed to like one of them, even if only for a little bit.

Then the day came; the day when your role as a parent really gets tested.
The first time your child is sick.
It seriously was the worst day of my life. Screaming, crying, tears and whimpers coming from not only my baby but my husband and me as well. We took temperatures - none, Googled symptoms, called nurses we knew and contemplated the emerg. "Is this normal," we asked, "a growth spurt maybe?" My mom came to stay with us as we endured 2 days of complete discontentment and finally we headed to the walk in, stood in line with many other parents and crying babies and were told after all the three of us had endured that it was simply gas and there was very little we could do.

And with that I became the mom who would put anything in their house to sooth my sad little one. I went online and searched for soothing products which could help a tired mom and dad out. Reading review after review I found it; as my husband calls it - the Rolls Royce of all baby products - the Mamaroo. So with a screaming baby in our hand and my phone in another I began calling around starting with used Mamaroos found on Craigslist (this seemed to help rationalize an impulsive purchase of this space pod look-a-like), but of course I couldn't find one so I began calling stores for the best price. We all jumped in the car and drove a good distance rushing to get to a store that closed at 6:00, or so I thought. When we arrived at 5:30 they had just locked the doors and I almost had a complete breakdown. So there my husband and I stood with crying baby outside the locked doors cursing that we didn't look up the time it closed before making the trek out there. We looked at each other and without saying a word we knew what we had to do. So we both took a door and in complete release of all frustration on all our parts started banging and screaming - "please let us in, open the doors." Tears streaming down my face and babies in a sleep deprived, mental breakdown I hit that door with all my might. People stopped on the street to stare, one women asked if we were okay but I was not going to give up! AND THEY CAME - a shocked sales attendant cautiously opened the door to hear our fumbled plea to please let us in so we could buy the Mamaroo which will hopefully sooth our baby and allow us to all get some much needed sleep. I'd like to think the women saw our desperation and in sympathy let us in but most likely she saw two crazy parents willing to pay a stupid amount of money on a space like looking pod of sorts.

To end this long story of our three days of hell, cross-over to the dark side of baby product purchases and test on parenting sanity. I will close with two photographs. One taken the moment we returned home and set our new Mamaroo up and the next taken just a few minutes ago as I typed this post.

All I have to say is thank you to the makers of this incredible product it was worth every penny - we love you Mamaroo and thankfully I was able to find a nice neutral grey so although my house is slowly filling up with baby products I still have a little colour control in my back pocket!

25 April 2012

Oh baby, baby....

I'm still very much adjusting to motherhood - what a ride! This post will be short and sweet for many reasons.  Mainly because a certain baby is wiggling with a sliver of an eye open which means nap time won't last for much longer.

This coming weekend is the Baby Time show in Toronto. I went to this show in the fall when I was expecting and got great deals on some much needed necessities so I am looking forward to checking it out now that we have welcomed our baby girl. Here are the top five booths I am looking forward to visiting.

1.  Aleva Naturals - We use their bamboo wipes when we are not using cloth wipes; so far they have been great so I am hoping I can pick up a few cases for a deal, as well as learn about other Aleva products I haven't tried yet.

2.  Baby Leggings - Our apartment is pretty warm and I have found myself wishing for leggings for Kai to wear with a onesie so we don't have to do the full pj's or onesies and pants which have to be taken off and on for diaper changes.  I am looking forward to "trying a pair on for size" (as they say) to see if this solves my too hot/too cold problem.

3.  Clek Inc. - Their car seats/booster seats just look so cool, I want to see them in living colour.  Check out their video for the newest seat, the whimsically named foonf.

4.  Rattle & Stroll - This store has a location my aunt and cousin have been to in Oakville and they give it rave reviews so I am excited to see some of their selection.

5.  Birth Solutions - The Sleep Doula - A friend mentioned hiring a sleep doula and she swears it saved her life.  I am interested to learn about services offered by Birth Solutions as we bravely move from sleepy infant to the unknown baby sleep stage.  Here's hoping our baby will stick to a perfect routine and we will wave good-bye to our sleep deprivation and baggy eyes - this could happen, right?

26 March 2012

Keeping me busy these days....

This little peanut is what has been keeping me busy over the past few weeks.  Kyla Adair McKinnon Potter was born on March 9th in a rather dramatic fashion and she has been rocking our world ever since.  The past two weeks have been filled with many a sleepless night, hours upon hours spent searching the net for mothering advice, various trips to breastfeeding clinics around Toronto and numerous visitors dropping by to get a peak at our little one.

I don't think any of the classes, books, articles or advice I heard before Kyla was born could have possibly prepared me for motherhood, we are learning together and it is quite a ride indeed.  I hope to fill you in on our trials and triumphs soon - once we somehow muster up a schedule (apparently this is possible at some point - I can't wait!)

09 March 2012

It's a...

We are very happy to announce the arrival of baby Potter!  More details to come in the coming days.
To follow our tradition of video announcements here is a little something we cooked up:

05 March 2012

Favourite baby items, I think!

Our lives for the past few months have been consumed with getting ready for our first baby (who was due on Friday but has not graced us with his/her presence as of yet).  During this time we have, as I am sure you first time moms can attest, been bombarded with the many, many baby products out there.  Researching the various brands of baby essentials can be exhausting, there are seriously so many choices!  I have spent a lot of time asking other moms, visiting babygismo.com (great website for moms) and doing general internet research (thank you to other blogging mothers!) and am very excited about some of the items we have purchased and although I can't give full reviews on these yet, (having not been able to use them - come on Baby P., let's get this show on the road!), I thought I'd include my Top 5 items thus far - basically the baby items I am most excited to try out.

#5. Live Clean Baby Products - We came across the Live Clean collection last year and have been using it ever since.  These products are made in Canada and center around the ethos - 'Good for You, Good for the Earth'.  We also very much appreciate the fact that none of the products are tested on animals or use any animal ingredients.  You can buy these products at Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart and there is not a huge price difference compared to other baby wash products out there. Of course not having a need to try out this part of the Live Clean line  I am eager to test them out.

#4. Stroller - UPPAbaby Vista 2012
With two dogs in the house I knew we needed a stroller we could take to the beach, on the boardwalk, into a dog park etc.  In other words we needed an all-terrain baby pushing machine!  I was so excited to hear about the changes made to the UPPAbaby Vista for 2012 and crossed my fingers that we would get ours in time for Baby P.'s arrival, which we did.  I love the new black frame and the changes made to the wheels sound great as well as the new bassinet features.  I am very impressed with UPPAbaby's Green Minded focus for not only this stroller but the company as a whole.  Along with the 2012 Vista, I am also super pumped about the new cup holder and parent organizer.  I am very much looking forward to our first family walk with the dogs in tow. A big thank you to Gran for this fabulous necessity!

#3. Kidco Go-Pod - As I have previously mentioned we live in a small space so any baby products that fold, tuck away and are not as obtrusive in their design get five stars from me.  I know we won't be using this one for a little while but I am very excited for when we do.  Basically acting as a portable exersaucer the Go-Pod can be easily packed away for storage or to take on an outing.  I also love that you can attach your own toys around the outer edges for baby play.

#2. Diaper Bag - I am not sure many get a thrill out of a diaper bag but this diaper bag is like no other as it is my one luxury item which my wonderful husband bought for me.  This Petunia Picklebottom - Earl Grey Boxy Backpack is simply so pretty and I find myself just dropping in on the nursery to look at it.  I also do have to say from a practical standpoint the attached diaper pad seems like a great idea which I am eager to try out on route.


#1. gDiapers - Most people look at me like I am
nuts when they realize I am planning on using cloth diapers and let me be honest, I don't exactly advertise it but it seems to creep up in conversations.  I have learned pretty quickly how defensive other moms can get when it comes to parenting choices and for some reason cloth diapers is right up there with having an epidural - touchy subject for many.  Nevertheless here are my reasons as to why I hope we can cloth diaper and are willing to give it a try.  This is not to say it is any better then any other said choice of diaper, it just feels right for me.
a.  I would like to save money and I'll be honest this is basically my top reason.
b.  In beginning to do research into cloth diapering I learned a lot about what goes into a regular diaper so even if we don't end up using cloth diapers I think we would for sure use biodegradable diapers.
c. I really like the idea that cloth/biodegradable diapers will lessen our environmental footprint which is important to me.
d. I also just like the idea of being more natural/organic and rolling with this when it comes to parenting in general.
So - I am most excited to see how our first choice in cloth diapering after so much research works out for us.  I can't help but already love the gDiapers we have purchased, they are adorable and seem to be really easy to use so fingers crossed all systems are a go and expect a full review to come.  It is a bit scary but hey what's new as a first time mom!

29 February 2012

Ready & waiting for Baby P!

We finally finished our nursery after many months of reorganizing, painting, and DIY projects! We are thrilled with the result but more so thrilled that it is complete – phew! Check out my earlier post on the things that inspired our design, I think we came pretty close. Here are some photos and links to what is what. Enjoy!

Crib – Babyletto
A special thank you to Brett's parents for this important piece of our nursery.  This crib is fabulous, it doesn’t take up too much space and the drawer at the bottom is a wonderful help for storage. We went with a crib which converts to a 'day' bed rather then a double bed mostly because of space issues as well as the look of the frame.  This was a perfect choice!
Bedding – A wonderful friend of my mother’s made this bedding for me and I couldn’t be happier. The fabric is Dena Designs and I ordered it off of Etsy here. This fabric is awesome, I love the simplicity and freshness of the design and it washes up great!  I'm so glad I came across this fabric designer online!

Mobile – Hand made by me using driftwood we picked up on our recent trip to the California coast and these sweet owls purchased off of Etsy here. I had every intention of making these owls myself however my belly won the battle on this one and finishing this project by any means possible became my main task so when I found these online for a great price I couldn’t resist. I should have started this DIY a little earlier in the game but am happy with the end result nevertheless.

Dresser – Awesome find off of craigslist. Good as new with a little updating of the handles.
We are getting a box made for the change pad to keep it in place and give it a bit more height but how awesome is a dresser with 9 drawers!

Crates – We got a fabulous deal on these antique crates and are using them for books. We put pads on the bottom but at some point might add small wheels so they can be pulled out for easier access.  I love this random accessory in the nursery as it is a touch of our personality (we frequent antique stores regularly) pulled into the overall design of the room.  A little piece of us, so to say.

Chair – A special thank you to Ikea.
I have to say finding a chair was my biggest tribulation in this nursery project. I searched high and low for a rocker or glider with a more modern design but may I just say bluntly - the really nice ones are wildly overpriced and I just couldn't justify spending so much money on a single seat. I have heard if you rock your baby to sleep they will expect to always be rocked so in the end I decided cozy comfort and price would win this battle. This chair is incredibly comfortable so I think we made a good choice plus we can use it in another room later in life.  I am still looking for a pouffe or small footstool.  This may be a project I take on after baby P. arrives with leftover fabric from the bedding.  

Tree Stump Table – I love the end result with this one.  Check out my earlier post on this DIY project.

Bench – Martha Stewart at Home Depot.
This little bench is so great and fits into the room perfectly. It is nice to have an extra seat and of course more storage doesn’t hurt anyone as well. I like the fact our baby can grow into this and pull out toys themselves or we can always move it somewhere else for another use. Multiple options with this one which is right up my alley! I ironed on the fabric animal shapes for a touch of added whimsy.

Terrarium –West Elm
I have become slightly obsessed with terrarium making recently mostly because of the many terrarium containers selling at one of my favourite stores, West Elm, which I just happened to have a gift certificate for.  I will most likely post on this again later as I have had so much fun putting a few of these together and think they make adorable gifts.

Pots, trash can, diaper bin – We got these at Ikea and Zellers. The large and small trash cans came together for $14.99 so we are using the large one for our dirty cloth diapers. We attached the pots to the wall with Velcro and added chalk board stickers to all. A chalk pen really helps the labels stay on. An easy project to help organize a messy space!

Accessories –  We have picked up many small items along the way since deciding on a theme for the nursery.  Some of our favourites are listed below which make the room more personalized - it's very 'us'. 

Owl - Pier One (so cute).  My mum bought this for us very early on in our pregnancy and I have imagined it sitting on a shelf in the babies room for months now.  It fits in perfectly.

Nikki McClure 'Collect Raindrops' Book - One of my favourite artists!  Brett bought me this book last Christmas and I can't think of a better place for Nikki's wonderful illustrations to be.  She also has a baby book called 'The First 1000 Days' which we bought and wonderful childrens storybooks my favourite of which is  'All in a Day'.  You can purchase these online or at Chapters.  If you live near the Beaches in Toronto you can also find many of her books at Ella Minnow on Queen St. E. (This store is so sweet!)

Zuny Moose/Deer Bookends (actually paper weights) - We found these cute little guys at Chapters over the Christmas holidays.

We are so excited for baby P. to arrive - any day now! - and with the nursery finally complete we are even more ready to meet our little one!