Official Stork Craft Blog

Around the Web: Thoughts on Parenting

 Just another mouth to feed

Image courtesy of Danielle Guenther Photography

How is your week coming along?  We’ve got so many things swirling on our minds lately regarding parenting.

 

-What do you think of the newborn stage?  Was it everything you had imagined it to be?  This mother gives the green light to admit that “It’s OK to Hate the Newborn Stage“.

 

-Could sleep training really be a feminist issue?  Here’s an interesting take on it.

 

-Are loot bags for party guest still a must-do, or do you find all the “knick knacks” useless and unnecessary?  We’re loving these 10 Goodie Bags with a Twist ideas and think that kids still appreciate a good party treat.

 

-”After all, I had just started to get my body back. My mind back. My marriage back. My life back. I was finally starting to feel like a normal person – maybe even myself again – why would I want to ruin things by having another baby?”  Ever had these similar thoughts?

 

-Have you seen photographer, Dave Engledow‘s pics of him and his daughter in the most hilarious situations?  As wacky as some of them are, we can attest to the fact that we sometimes do feel that life with kids really is like that.

Valentine’s Day for the Time Pressed Parent

While the DINKs (dual income, no kids) are mad scrambling for that restaurant booking and ideal Valentine’s gift, parents all over the world are either A) sighing in envy, or B) too busy helping their kids write those dollar store Valentine’s Day cards that are due this Friday.  Who’s got time to think about how this Saturday could be any different than all the other ones.   But while it’s easy to brush off this weekend as only for young puppy love, it’s a great excuse to cut out some time for you and the significant other.  Here a few easy-peasy ways to celebrate without having to pick up the phone for a babysitter.

 

1) Post-it Up: Who wouldn’t love to wake up to this in the morning?  Arrange one for your loved one in your life and let him/her know how much he/she is appreciated!

post it notes heart

Image courtesy of Life Lives Here

 

2) Pop that Bottle: After the kiddos are all put to sleep, crack open that bottle of wine and kick your feet up together for some catching up and focusing on each other.  Need some extra munchies and not sure how to pair that wine with cheese?  We love this simple guide.

Not a drinker?  Switch out the alcohol and charcuterie plate for a tea and dessert night.

wine and cheese

Image courtesy of In Sock Monkey Slippers

3) Movie Night:  With the snacks all prepped, make a night out of it and pop in a movie for movie night and extra cuddle time.

4) Reminisce:  Go down memory lane and pull out those pictures of “way back when” when you first started dating, or even dust off that wedding video.  It will remind you both of why you fell in love with each other and how far you have now come together as a family.

wedding pic

Dawn

Five Things I Wish They Told Me Before the Baby Arrived

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Image courtesy of Danielle Guenther Photography

 

Just Google “best stroller”, “How to sleep train” or “Increasing milk supply” and you’ll get your fair share of endless reading just on one of the topics alone.  But from all the articles and feedback that I have come across since becoming pregnant and having my Little One is that the heads-up on the real gritty topics are few and far in between.  Puke, diaper rash and bowel movements are suddenly no-barrier topics, but there are a few that still tend to get avoided.

 

1) Finances: Unless you suddenly win the lottery or come across an inheritance, be prepared to buckle down on that budget.  Parental leave usually does not receive 100% coverage of salary (by the government or employer), and not to mention the loss in income if you are self-employed or your partner has to cut down on hours worked.  Don’t forget that this drop in income can also possibly extend longer than a paternal or maternal leave.  This may happen if you chose to be a stay at home parent, require to pay for daycare, or only go back to work part-time.

So what’s a family to do?  Make sure that your expectations on holidays, dining out, and weekend casual shopping are kept in check.  Larger purchases or financing such as real estate and cars should be realistic in relation to your family’s new level of income.  The good news?  Babies don’t need as many gadgets and gear as advertisers would like you to think.  See point #2!

 

2) Baby Gear: Our consumerism-oriented culture would have you believe that good parenting involves purchasing every possible baby product that you can afford before baby arrives.  But that could be further from the truth.  Want to know what the essentials are from the “nice to haves”?  I liked this useful list from Today’s Parent.  It gives a good view of what you need, and how many too.  Who knew that it’s not necessary to have 20+ newborn onesies, crib bumpers, toys or fancy gadgets to warm wipes or bottles?  We already hear the pocketbook thanking us.

 

3) Post-baby Body:  Unless you are Gisele or the 2% minority who have been blessed with exceptional genes, be prepared to purchase a few new basics for the wardrobe or keep the maternity jeans out to tie you over until you can get back into your pre-baby clothes.  I am embarrassed to admit that there were many tears shed over not being able to find anything to wear outside of the house.  I had a Spring baby so was able to live in maxi jersey dresses during my last trimester and forgo the need to purchase any winter or real maternity wear.  But what resulted after the birth was nothing to wear that was not too tight or did not fit like a muumuu.  If I had to do it over again, I would have been more kind to myself and have just gotten a pair of post-baby jeans and also dress pants much sooner.

 

4) Your Past, Your Present:  All those years you spent as a teenager telling yourself that you will NEVER become like your parents will come back to haunt you.  When?  When you suddenly find yourself talking to your child like how your mother/father used to do to you, or when you are explaining to your significant other why your way is the “best way”.  And when that light bulb moment comes on, you will imagine your mother or father smugly saying “I told you so”.

Maybe there’s some science behind it and how to actively change the behaviour.  Hmm…

 

5) Date Night:  It may be hard to carve out the time or energy, but I guarantee that you and your significant other will not regret it.  My husband and I did not go on a date where our Little One would spend a night at grandma and grandpa’s until she was around one and a half years old.  We feared being “bad parents” for not devoting 100% of our time to her, or “leaving her behind”.  But had I known that a date night (even one once a month) would give us the refresher that we needed, I would have started it much sooner.

Date nights do not have to involve elaborate plans for an entire night out.  No babysitter?  Commit to movie night on the couch, or even just crack open a bottle of wine together at home after the kiddos have been put to sleep.  Being able to reconnect, and even just have each person shut down the smart phone or computer screen in order to focus on one another is a recharger for the relationship that is so incredibly worth it.

 

Dawn

Getting Crafty: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to have the whole family roll up their sleeves and get crafty.  This year, we’re thinking of gifts for the kids’ classmates that steer away from the sugary sort, but are just as much fun to receive.

crayons

A great way to reuse all those broken crayons that are lying around.  Image courtesy of Country Living.

goldfish-4

Image courtesy of Babble

friendship-bracelet-valentines

Image courtesy of Dandee Designs.

 ruler-non-candy-valentines

Image courtesy of Relocated Living

Sip-Sip-Hooray-Valentines-Day-Card-Printable-for-Silly-Straws

Image courtesy of Bargain Briana

paint chip bookmark

Check out your local paint store for any paint chip sample discards.  These make for easy and pretty bookmarks and can be in a range of colours.  Image courtesy of Indulgy.

wild-thing-5

Image courtesy of Home Is What You Make It

Web Wednesdays

Five links from around the web that we’re loving this Wednesday afternoon.

1) To the mommies out there who are wondering, “Is anyone else experiencing this too?”, read this and know that you’re not alone.

2) Personal finances is one of those topics that’s still hard to bring up among families, so it’s no wonder that couples often feel the financial shock and pressure when baby arrives.  Today’s Parent broaches this tough topic with five useful and concise reminders on how to financially prep for growing your family.

3) Feeling like the kids “have it too easy these days”?  Well, wait till you go down memory lane to your childhood.

4) Check out this family of five in their bright and airy two bedroom flat in Brooklyn.  It goes to show that small spaces can work for growing and busy families.

Love the children’s bedroom?  Get your own loft bed here.

kids-bedroom-best-bunk-beds-decorating-tips-cupofjo

Image courtesy of A Cup of Jo

5) The kiddos are going to love growing their own food from kitchen scraps.  We love that pineapple one!

Web Wednesday: Super Bowl

Super Bowl is just around the corner and we’re all hyped up for the big day!  With this being one event where everyone of all ages will be in one room, we’re getting ready to welcome guests and field hungry tummies with these Decorate, Make, and Eat ideas from around the web.  Are you and your family ready for this Sunday’s Big Game?

football party decorations

Image courtesy of The Tomkat Studio

[Decorate] Who says that a football party can’t be celebrated in style?  We love the green and brown colour scheme with the football themed props and food toppers. Customize this by changing the colour scheme to match your favourite team.   

DIY foam finger

Image courtiesy of One Charming Party

[Make] Get the little ones involved with a DIY with these easy to make foam fingers to cheer their favourite team on!  This template from One Charming Party is specially designed for tiny hands.

 Cheese Bean Dip

Image courtesy of Recipes That Crock

[Eat] We have yet to meet any busy family that does not like a good crock pot recipe: This cheesy bean dip is quick to whip up, easily feeds a crowd, and keeps fresh and warm throughout the game.  Click here for more adult and children approved munchies to serve up on game day.

 

For those of us who will not be partying the night away after the Super Bowl game, but will be cutting straight to the kids’ bedtime routine, just know that you’re not alone.

 

 

Dawn

Featured Mommy: Esther K

It has been a while since we have featured a mommy on our blog so we’re starting off the new year with our first one of 2015, Esther K.  She is a self described “mommy, a wifey, an adventurer, an aspiring secret service agent, a k-pop fan ajumma, a makeup junkie, and newbie blogger“.  Welcome, Esther!

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The 411:

-Name: Esther K.

-Little One(s): 8 month old girl

-City: Vancouver, BC, Canada

-Occupation: Human Resources

me and aly 2

The Low Down:

 

Q: What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood since you have become a mom? 

I learned to understand what unconditional love really means. All the sleepless nights, breastfeeding nightmare, and lack of social life would make you wonder if it is really worth it to have children. Without hesitation, children are worth it. I am so lucky and thankful for my daughter. She makes me a better person.

 

Q: How has your life changed since you became a mom?

My priorities have definitely shifted. Work and social life used to be pretty high on my priority list but spending as much time with my daughter and husband has become my number one priority. Life is about experiencing it together with the people that matter the most.

 

Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you in motherhood? 

The biggest challenge would be to figure out what the heck I am doing as a new mommy. Half the time, I just wing it. I used to stand in my living room with a baby guide book in one hand and a spoon on the other, trying to figure out how to introduce solids to my daughter. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the patience for me to figure it out. Her screech made me throw the book and come rushing to her hehe! It’s all about experimenting, failing, trying again, until you figure out what works best for both you and the baby.

 

Q: How do you (or plan to) manage your work life balance?

I am currently still on maternity leave but I am looking forward to going to work. As much as I love spending quality time with my daughter, I think it is healthy for both the baby and myself if I get into a work routine. I am fortunate to have a 9 to 5 job and grandparents as babysitters. A break from baby during the day I think is needed for both our sanity.

 

Q: Any advice for moms-to-be or new moms?

Congratulations on your journey to motherhood! It is the most exhilarating and rewarding experience that every woman should encounter. It is truly a blessing to have children and there is no force on this earth that can break the bond of a mother and their child. Cherish your time with your little at every stage because time really flies and you won’t get it back. Take lots of pictures and videos! Get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors together! Sign up for mother baby classes! You are very lucky to called MOTHER.

 

Q: Do you have any recommendations on any baby products that you can’t live without and that every mother should also have?

The Medela breast pump. I cannot live without this device. Unfortunately, I had a hard time breastfeeding my child. This is where Medela came and restored order into our lives. Works superb! Even helped unplug my occasional painful milk ducts.

fireplace

Fun Facts:

-My guilty pleasure is… Korean Dramas. I pretend I live in a K-drama world. It keeps me sane, haha! It happens when you are cooped up at home with just you and the baby 24/7.

 

-My biggest influence as a mother is… Hmm… I don’t know if I get this question but I would say my biggest influence as a mother would be Tamara Taggert. She is a local TV anchor and she is a super woman juggling her career and her 3 kids!

 

-My favourite beauty buy is… Kiehls skin care. Their moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, face pack… LOVE IT!

 

-If I was stranded on a deserted island, I would need to at least have… Sunscreen. A girls gotta take care of her skin even on a deserted island don’t you think?

 

-Favourite place to take my child/children to: Disney World! We have yet to go… hehe.  But I’m sure we will love it! It will be my daughter and I’s first time. We must pack the selfie stick of course!

me and aly

***

Thanks for sharing a bit of your experience of motherhood with us, Esther!  The line that truly hit home was about “experimenting, failing, trying again, until you figure out what works best for both you and the baby”.  It’s such a good reminder that despite all the research and material that is written on every aspect of parenting, there really isn’t a clear cut path for it.  So much of raising children involves going with what you do know and then adjusting for what does not work, until you find what is successful for your family.

Want to read more about Esther and her go-on’s?  Follow her here on her blog.

 

Dawn

Five Baby Shower Ideas

I am hosting a baby shower for my best friend in a few weeks and have been on the hunt for fun activities and party favours.  As the shower is taking place at a local bakery cafe, we will have to hold off on games or any setup that take up too much space, so so far I have narrowed it down to these five ideas to incorporate into the day.  What do you think?

giantballoon_reception_decor

Image courtesy of Wedding Chicks

{Decorate} Oversize balloons and paper tassels?  Yes please!  I love that they can be easily customized to any colour theme.  A few of these placed along or even at each end of the table would make for a fun pop of colour and add visual impact.

wishes-for-baby

Image courtesy of Babble

{Sign} Rather than a traditional guest book, print these wish cards out for the guests to write their well wishes for mom and baby on.

baby shower

Image courtesy of Baby Mine

{Make} Have each guest get creative and decorate a bib to gift to the mommy-to-be.  Bibs are inexpensive to purchase and fabric pens work just as well as paint (Mess-free too!).

high tea

Image courtesy of Tea Time Recipe and Things

{Eat} We’re doing high tea at the local bakery, but it would also work well for a shower that takes place at home too.  Rather than a sit-down lunch, tea time snacks like finger sandwiches, eclairs and pastries would make for a yummy and easy to put together spread (We love the recipes and history of high tea here).

 

lip balm favor

Image courtesy of Catch My Party

{Gift} Simple and practical, these lip balm favors are easy to put together and also transport to the venue.

 

What are some must-have or must-do ideas that you have on your list for a baby shower?

 

 

Dawn

 

New Year Resolutions for Mommy

New year resolutions often receive a lot of flak for “not lasting anyway” so “why bother”.  And while it is true that resolutions are often broken not long after they are made, I am still a big believer in having the new calendar year be a time of self reflection, evaluation, and setting myself some goals for the year.  Here are my three for 2015.

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Image courtesy of Shrinking Single

[Eat]  My husband and I love eating out, and when I say “love”, I mean “LOVE”.  We simply like the experience of trying new food, enjoying a restaurant’s atmosphere, and with this busy life as a parent, the convenience (Can we say “Yay!” to no dishes after a long day at work?).  But with this new year we have decided to make a conscious effort to cook more at home.  It’s simply healthier for both the body and the pocketbook.  So in order to make this an attainable and achievable goal, we have committed to eating dinner at home during the weekday and allowing ourselves the treat of eating out only during the weekends and when we meet up with friends.  I’m starting with some of these yummy “one pot wonders” recipes.

baby on computer

[Shutting off the Screen]  There was a time not long ago when I did not have a smart phone and was so smug about it.  While the rest of the world had its head bent down at a glowing screen, I enjoyed being able to be out and about and letting my eyes and mind rest from all the screen time that I already clock in at work.  But enter the glossy android phone that my husband purchased for me and I have succumbed!  This year though, I am committing to putting my phone down (or shutting off the computer screen) when I am spending time with my Little One.  No more scrolling Facebook, Instagram or pinning away while I am to be enjoying my time with someone who is growing up so quickly.

baby taking a stroll

Image courtesy of @dawn.wm

[Showing Gratitude] When the laundry is piled up, the kids are running around like mad people, and dinner still needs to be cooked, it’s so easy to get caught up in thoughts that begin with “If only…” and “I can’t wait until…”.  So my last, but certainly not least, resolution is to show more gratitude by identifying one thing that I am grateful for at the end of each day.  It can’t be that simple, can it?  Oh, but yes it can!  Research has shown that being grateful- being consciously thankful for what you already have- decreases stress and boosts the immune system.  I think I can definitely start by saying “Thank you” for that!

 

We have just finished the first week of 2015 and I have to admit that I have already caved a few times on some of my resolutions.  At the same time, it has made me think that maybe our evaluation of how successful our new year resolutions are should not be based on whether we have broken them or not.  The reality is that genuine change takes concerted time and effort.  If so, perhaps we should be measuring our success(es) in how we are willing to jump back up and take on the challenge again, even after we have faltered a bit.  Just like any journey or goal that we take on in life, fulfilling resolutions does not come without it’s bumps and detours.  Sometimes they come with complete stops.  But what should make them successful at the end of each year is our choice to dust ourselves off each time and set back on the road to what we had started out for on January 1st.

 

Have you and/or your family made resolutions for 2015?

 

Dawn

Web Wednesdays: Around the Web

With the two day countdown to Christmas, here are five things that have us admiring and reading around the web.

1) One parent’s take on “Why you shouldn’t give out goody bags while flying with a baby“.

2) How gorgeous is this nursery?  We love that it is a shared room, and a simple crib can still look so luxe with the right accessories.

Love this look?  Get a similar crib here.

nursery

(Image courtesy of Trasito Inicial)

3) I’m saving this for next year: A fabric tree mural that is perfect for small spaces or for families with little ones.

fabric tree

(Image courtesy of Ikea)

4) Need to serve an easy-peasy appi dish for all those holiday guests?  We’re drooling over this cheesy pull apart bread.

cheesy bread

(Image courtesy of Food Fu)

5) The best of DIY gifts are the ones that are easy, cost effective, and actually useful!  We think this one may qualify.

make-your-own-texting-gloves1

(Image courtesy of Snap Creativity)

 

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

 

Dawn