Blog: 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

Blog: 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

 

Blog: 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

Blog: 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

 

Around the web: Web Wednesdays: Venetian Crib

Our Venetian Crib is getting some love over on Instagram!  Keep those posts coming (and tag us with #storkcraft and #storkcraftnursery)!

venetian crib in white @wshughes

@wshughes‘ grey and white nursery is coming together nicely!  We love the bold graphic wall.

venetian crib @obstetricwarrior

@obstetricwarrior has her crib decorated with an adorable animal theme.

venetian crib@djcornish

Crib and pack ‘n play is all set up by @djrcornish

venetian crib in cherry @nycole0138

The cherry colour on @nycole0138‘s Venetian Crib is a classic finish.

venetian crib @HuyNguyen 2

@huynguyen‘s sweet little boy is standing!  The Venetian Crib has an adjustable mattress base which can be lowered as your baby grows and learns to pull him/herself up.

 

 

Dawn

Blog: Holiday Crafting

We survived this past week’s shopping madness (Yay!).  As much as we love that shop-till-you-drop rush, we’re feeling like we need to up the creativity level while we let the credit card take a tiny break.  Take a look at these gorgeous but cost effective DIY projects that you or the kids could make.  It’s the perfect way to include the whole family in prepping for gift giving and for getting into the holiday spirit.

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Would you believe that this winter table snowscape is edible and completely doable with kids?  Yes way!  This would make a lovely center piece for that holiday dinner party.  (Image courtesy of Handmade Charlotte)

DIY Photo Coasters

Easy-peasy DIY photo coasters that you can gift in a set to Grandma and Grandpa… Or maybe just to keep them for yourself. (Image courtesy of Pop Sugar)

how-to-make-a-fabric-covered-book

Got a bookworm on your gift list that you are planning to get a book for?  Customize his/her next read with a fabric cover.  How cool would it be to open up the gift and see the pretty fabric peeking out?  (Image courtesy of Two Twenty One)

Caramel Sauce

Get the older children to help stir the pot and help jar a few of these sea salt and vanilla bean caramel sauces.  The ingredients are oh-so-simple and it’s great for drizzling on top of any dessert.  Wrap a pretty ribbon around them and bring them along as hostess gifts on your round of holiday visits.  (Image and recipe from Baked Bree)

paper hands wreath

It’s not too early to start bringing out the holiday decorations, right?  Have the whole family trace their hands and incorporate it into this paper wreath.  (Image courtesy of My Name is Snickerdoodle)

felt christmas tree

Concerned that the little ones are going to get into the ornaments and tree?  Try this DIY felt tree that the kiddos can actually decorate themselves.  Felt sticks on felt so all you have to do is cut the shapes out and then let the kids arrange and rearrange the ornaments as they please.  (Image courtesy of That’s What Che Said)

 

 

Dawn

Blog: Cyber Week 2014 Deals

graco mattressSC Mattress      beatrice 4       Sorrento Crib White            aspen 3

Graco and Stork Craft Mattress-in-a-Box         Stork Craft Beatrice 4 Drawer Dresser           Stork Craft Sorrento Crib                      Stork Craft Aspen 3 Drawer Dresser

 

 

 *Check back regularly for updates as the deals go *LIVE*!

 

 

USA

amazon logo

Amazon.com

Stork Craft Crib Mattress-in-a-Box Reg: $49.99  NOW: $34.99  *LIVE*
Graco Crib Mattress-in-a-Box Reg: $49.99  NOW: $34.99 *LIVE*
Up to 40% Off Stork Craft Aspen and Beatrice Dressers (Select Finishes only) *LIVE* 
20% Off Stork Craft Destin Dressers with Tufflink Assembly (Select Finishes only*LIVE*
20% Off Stork Craft Concord Dressers with Tufflink Assembly (Select Finishes only) *LIVE*

10% Off Zutano Tivoli Crib  *LIVE*

20% Off Zutano Tivoli 2 Drawer Changer *LIVE*

 

walmart logo

Walmart.com 

Buy a Stork Craft Crib and get a Stork Craft Mattress-in-a-Box for FREE *LIVE*
Buy a Graco Crib and get a Graco Mattress-in-a-Box for FREE *LIVE*
Stork Craft Sheffield II Crib (White and Espresso Only) NOW: $79.98  *LIVE*

Stork Craft Caribou Bunk Bed (Espresso) NOW: $179.98 *LIVE*

Save $200 Broyhill Kids Destin Junior Loft with Slide *LIVE*

Save $200 Broyhill Kids Marco Island Twin Loft and Twin Bed *LIVE*

 

wayfair logo

Wayfair.com

10% Off ALL Stork Craft Products* *LIVE*
20% Off Stork Craft Aspen Dressers *LIVE* 
20% Off Stork Craft Beatrice Dressers *LIVE* 
25% Off Stork Craft Destin Dressers with Tufflink Assembly *LIVE*
25% Off Stork Craft Concord Dressers with Tufflink Assembly *LIVE*

Up to 20% Off Zutano Tivoli Collection *LIVE*

 * Promotion applies to regular priced items only. Not valid with any other offer

 

bru_hdrLogo

 Babies”R”Us.com

Graco Dressing Tables (Lauren-Natural FinishNOW: $49.98 *LIVE*

 

 

simply baby

SimplyBabyFurniture.com

Buy any Stork Craft Nursery Set and get a Stork Craft Mattress-in-a-box for FREE* *LIVE*

*Use the code: STORKMATT at checkout 

 

 

 

Canada

bestbuyCA logo

BestBuy.ca

Up to 35% OFF ALL Stork Craft Cribs *LIVE*

Status Milano Glider and Ottoman Set  NOW $174.99  *SOLD OUT*

 

 

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FutureShop.ca 

Up to 35% OFF ALL Stork Craft Cribs *LIVE*

Status Milano Glider and Ottoman Set NOW $174.99  *LIVE*

 

 

HAPPY SHOPPING!

 

***All prices are subject to change without notice***

 

Blog: Tackling Black Friday… With Children

Every parent of young children knows this much:

Shopping with Kids

Image courtesy of Confessions of A Crazy Lady

 

So what does one do when Black Friday comes along and you really need to take advantage of the deals?  Have a game plan.

 

1) Map It Out- As the old adage goes, “Time is money and money is time”, and never more so when you (and the rest of the world) plan on snatching the best deals out there.  Rather than simply “showing up”, list out and prioritize specific stores that you have in mind ahead of time.  Make sure your walk (or dash) to each retailer is plot out so that time is not wasted shuttling back and forth indecisively between stores or different departments.

funny-memes-when-you-go-shopping

 Image courtesy of Car Meme

 

2) Attire- Throw modesty out the window when it comes to clothes shopping, because if you are going to have to wait for a changing room, be prepared to wait a long time.  To avoid any indecent exposure, wear a well fitted base layer (Like tights and a cami) so that you can quickly throw on the items for a quick fit-check in front of any mirror and then get out the door.  This is the one time of the year when it is acceptable to walk out of the house in winter like conditions with flip flops for easy on-off reasons.  This goes the same for the kiddos:  Forgo looking like the Gap Kids ads.  No laces, buttons or anything that requires nibble fingers.  For anyone 8 and under, if it does not simply slip on and off, then it’s velcro, velcro, velcro!

 

3) Bladder Management- For the adults and older children, pace out your fluid intake and make everyone do that one last potty stop before getting into the car.  As for the little ones, best not to be planning any potty training during the next few days leading to up to Black Friday.  That diaper will just have to do!

Potty training pesty toddler

Image courtesy of To Each Their Own

 

4) Coupons- Ever watch Extreme Couponing?  Take some notes from the experts: Before the day of reckoning, surf the web and newspapers for appropriate coupons, then clip/print them out.  Wait, you’re not done yet.  Organize, organize, organize.  Those little pieces of paper are no good if they are not easily accessible when you need them, and certainly no one in the line up behind you will appreciate it if you’re caught taking too much time rummaging for them.  Categorize the coupons by the stores that you plan on going to and can use them at.  File them in something that keeps them neat and easy to find like an accordion file.

Coupon meme kevin hart

Image courtesy of Meme Crunch

 

5) Teamwork- Divide and conquer.  Prep your troopers to know where they are assigned to go and what they are to look for.  Set rallying points and times to regroup and reaccess.

For the Little Ones that have to follow along with you or other team captains, mutiny can be avoided with small snacks that were brought along from home.

As for the spouses that consider picking up the weekly jug of milk “shopping” and claim they take only 5 minutes to grab their annual pair of Levi 501′s, just leave them at home.  You only need team members who appreciate the fine art of shopping.

When-women-go-shopping

Image courtesy of Smart Canucks

 

6) Be Patient and Friendly- At the end of the day, shopping should be enjoyable.  Don’t sweat over missing out on certain items.  Take on the mentality that “If it is meant to be, it’s meant to be”, and if it wasn’t, that means you didn’t have to spend that money.  Now how is that for a half glass full?

 

7) Plan B- If all else fails, there’s always Cyber Monday.  Sure, the war still wages on: You will need to battle in getting what you want in that virtual shopping card before stock runs out.  But at least you can do it in the comfort of your own home where the kids can have meltdowns without other shoppers silently judging your parenting skills.

 

Feeling ready yet?  In T minus 3 days, you will be able to have said that you survived shopping with the troops in tow!  Success!

Fist Pump Baby Black Friday

 

 

Dawn

Around the web: Thrifty Thursdays

With Christmas coming around and all those expenses that add up, we’re on the hunt for good deals and ideas on how to live well, yet without having to spend a whole lot.  Here are five items that have caught our eye this Thursday morning for doing exactly that.

 

Read:

“At times it can be hard to know that what you have is enough. Really—who cares what others are spending their money on. Comparison doesn’t bring joy. Be happy with what you have, not unhappy with what others have.”  Read more of Oh Dear Drea’s take on “How to Have A Great Life Without Spending A Lot of Money + Saving Some Too“.  We’re inspired!

Ohdeaddrea

Image courtesy of Oh Dear Drea

 

Good Buy:

Simply Baby Furniture is having their Thanksgiving sale going on right now where they are offering a FREE Storkcraft mattress with the purchase of any Storkcraft nursery set.

free crib mattress promo

 

Eat:

It wasn’t until I went back to work after my mat leave did it really occur to me how hard it is to find nutritious, economical and most of all, easy recipes.  The reality is that for busy families, there isn’t a whole lot of time to get wholesome meals together when you are tired from a day’s work.  It’s often just too easy to resort to eating out, which can add up quickly.  So thank goodness for these one-pot-wonders.  They really do just require you to put everything in a single pan or pot.  The ingredients are simple, the recipes can be modified to make larger portions for storing, and (for all parents of picky eaters) these are actually delicious (Do we hear angels singing?).  Take a look at our favourites here, here, and here.

one pot chicken and potatoes

Image courtesy of Let the Baking Begin

 

Make:

We all have that well-loved sweater that we just cannot bear to part with but is no longer fit for wearing in public (OK, so every once in a while we slip it on for that coffee run and pretend that no one notices…).  Now here’s a simple DIY that can repurpose that old sweater into something new.  Depending on the size of the sweater, you could probably fit a few pairs in for the Little One, or reserve a set for yourself!  An extra smaller set for baby can be made from the ends of the sleeves.

DIY mitts

Image courtesy of Soel Boutique

 

Note:

Have you seen this seasonal buying guide from Consumer Reports or this one from Lifehacker yet?  Sometimes finding the best deals for an item that you need requires some planning ahead.  Like that BBQ that the hubby has been pining for.  Rather than waiting for June, the guide says that the best time is Fall/Winter.  Hey, maybe you don’t have to look much further for his Christmas gift already (And need we mention that come summer time the rest of the family benefits well from this gift too? ;P).

seasonal buying guide

Image courtesy of Lifehacker

 

Dawn

Around the web: Web Wednesdays

The world of amazing blogging mommas just never stops surprising me, and in a very good way!  Whenever I think I have found the perfect rotation of blogs to read, I stumble upon more and my “to-read” list just keeps getting oh-so-pleasantly longer.  Here are two more to bookmark for some great the-kids-are-finally-asleep reads.

 

1) Oh Dear Drea: This beauty hails from the sunshine state of Florida.  Andrea takes us on a journey of “simple pleasures, cooking, natural living, veganism, gardening, home and design—- and all things creative and aesthetically pleasing.”

ohdeardrea

 

2) Finding Dutchland: This American transplant now lives in Holland and became the talk of the town with her post on “The 8 Secrest of Dutch Kids, The Happiest Kids in the World“.  You will love exploring the Netherlands through this photographer mommy’s eyes and also seeing how another part of the world raises children.

Finding Dutchland

 

 

Dawn

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