I’m back from maternity leave and, boy, has time flown by. When I first packed up my desk for the leave at 11 months pregnant, I thought that a whole year would be a “long” time to have off. But like any parent knows, time runs like water when you have a child. My little girl is already approaching her first birthday, so all things birthday party related has been on my mind lately. Here’s to re-starting up this blog again with a Pinterest Tuesday, and this time as a new mommy so I can take this crazy journey of parenting along with you.
^Bright and colourful for the children (and the children at heart), and sophisticated enough for the adults. I ran out to get the plates, hats, noisemakers and Happy Day banner already and will be incorporating them somehow into baby’s bday, but who says you can’t take inspiration and create your own colour theme with some DIY? (Image credit 1 and 2)
^My little girl has a love for balloons and would be delighted to see this table set up.
Say hello to the non-traditional cake (Pinata cake, Doughnuts, Brownies). I think the piñata cake may have to be saved for the day I polish up my baking skills, but the other two are great DYI and would still be easy to transport and assemble should the party be at a location outside of home.
Having been to a few children’s birthday parties for my friends’ children, I can say it’s not easy to hunt down a gift. My dilemma is usually that kids seem to “have it all” these days. And if they do not have it, it’s probably for good reason, like the parent does not wish for their child to have it (Ex. A drum set or any noise making devices) or it’s in a price range that is out of budget. So what’s a good “auntie” to do? I have stuck to old fashioned items that I hope still awaken the imagination in today’s children, as much as it did in my childhood.
^The Storkcraft Rocking Horse is my go-to gift for baby showers and birthdays. It’s a piece that will last for years to come and may even be an item that your child could pass down to the next generation.
^To our surprise, my LO has taken a liking to books (Yes, that’s her up there). Whether she flips through the pages on her own or wants you to read her a story, she has yet to grow tired of books that are illustrated by Caroline Jane Church. We can’t wait to add more to her collection.
^Get your DYI on and gift some custom T’s. With this craft project from 100 Layer Cakelet, you’ll be sure that there won’t be any gift duplications.
^How cute and thoughtful would a framed infographic be as a gift for a first birthday? This is taken from the lovely blog, Life Love & Lucy. Not a graphic artist? Me neither. I will be custom ordering mine off Etsy.
Now that I am on week three of my mat leave, I have been trolling Pinterest like never before, looking for recipes, craft ideas anything that strikes this expectant mother in general. Here are a few of my top picks for this week.
With a little one on the way, baby showers, little children birthday parties and homemade toys have been on my mind.
I love the simplicity of decorating with balloons like this by Oh Happy Day. Perfect for a shower, little child’s b-day party or a weekend dinner.
Sometimes the simplest toys make the best ones. Take a look at more DIY cardboard ideas here.
Good, Good Food:
I had initially thought that with the extra days off work while waiting for baby to arrive that I would turn into the baking maven. Talk about wishful thinking! So, my solution? Easy recipes that make me appear to be one.
Finger Food that is handle-ready for potlucks and summer picnics.
For the Little One:
Hello to the most adorable coats by littlegoodall.
A changing or dressing table is one of those pieces of nursery furniture that is often up for debate as to whether it is a basic essential item for baby or not. While it can be argued that you can pretty much change baby on any safe surface, here are the top reason why I have prepped for one to be included in our nursery.
1) Extra surface area: For anyone living in an urban area where space is in short supply and bathrooms do not have long counter tops for baby toiletry storage, a changing table offers the extra surface area that is desperately needed. Living in Vancouver, BC, Canada where real estate is at a premium, our 2 bed, 1 bath suite doesn’t have much counter space. A changing table provides the extra shelving for the diapers and bottles, as well as a secure place for our changing pad.
Better yet is a piece that could offer the changing area top but also transition easily into the extra shelving for when your child no longer needs diapers. The StorkCraft Beatrice and Aspen Cube Organizer Change Table does exactly that. It makes for a great cubby for toys and books down the road.
(Images: Aspen Cube Organizer Changer in espresso)
2) Easy Access: With the shelves situated just below the changing level, all of baby’s toiletries, diapers and wipes are right at your finger tips. No need to separately pull out all the necessities and then having to put them all back, which would be something that would have to be done if changing takes place on a bed or floor.
3) Designated Space: Babies are creatures of habit, and having a set space for the diaper changes lets your baby know that changing time is taking place whenever they go to the designated area. Doing a diaper swap on the floor or some random place each time may seem alright, but baby may think that it’s play time or wiggle around in curiosity as the space is not familiar.
4) Correct Height: For any mommy who is recovering from a c-section or any caregiver with any back problems, doing several diaper changes in a day on the floor or a bed may cause extra stress on the body. A proper changing/dressing table offers the correct height for getting the deed done and eliminates the need to get down on hands and knees or do major bending to lift baby back up.
5) Safety: When it comes to handling baby at any height higher than floor level, safety is always a concern. While beds, counter tops and standard dressers may seem like good alternatives, they do not offer the raised sides that a changing table does. These raise sides keep the changing pad from shifting around especially if baby is particularly active and wants to move about.
When it comes to prepping everything before baby’s arrival, one the best pieces of info that I received was “you will need less than you think”. Perhaps a generation ago, when the marketplace for baby products wasn’t as varied, it was less overwhelming. You simply made a list based on what your parents and other mommies had to say was useful. More so, there simply were fewer options to select from, and there was no need to find out the opinion of 200+ other people on an item via internet forums and ratings. But now with so many different products and brands that promise to be the next “must have” item or to solve the most specific of dilemmas, how does a first-time parent know what is an essential versus a “nice-to-have”, or even a “don’t-even-bother” item?
Currently I’m really liking the newborn checklist on Today’s Parent magazine. It gives a good rundown of the essentials that are generally required, and I particularly like how they split the items into lifestyle too, like “If you are formula feeding” vs breast feeding, and splitting diapering under re-usable vs disposable. The specific number of items that are suggested are a great help as well since new mommies, like myself, are not well versed in knowing, for example, how many crib sheets, change of outfits or bottles are considered “enough” to stock up on. I certainly would not want to be caught short on something and having to send hubby out in the middle of the night for last minute purchases, but yet it would be a waste to over purchase items that do not get to be put into good use. For those of you located in colder climates, taking a look at the the government issued maternity package that is issued to all parents in Finland upon their request also gives a good guide to what sorts of basics that baby will need for the initial first month too.
It’s interesting to see that items like fancy bedding sets, decorative pillows, designer outfits, Moses baskets and even things like a baby wipe warmer are not on the list of must-haves. Shoes and an overload of toys are also products that many would advise as being completely non-essential for the first few months. While all these things may add the extra touch to a nursery or look cute on baby, your baby certainly will not miss these items, and if not, it sure doesn’t hurt to divert the funds that would have been spent into something more useful.
So far, my husband and I have focused on allocating our resources mostly into items that have to do with safety and help with ease of transportation. These include an approved crib and firm mattress for a safe sleep environment (Read more on safe sleeping here. You may be surprised at the items that you will not be needing because they are not recommended!), car seat and ergonomic stroller. As for the cute clothing and toys, these have shown up as gifts. Baby bathtubs and bassinets are things that generous friends have either given or loaned us because they also fall into the category of items that have limited use and can be quickly passed down from one family to another. All in all, I have yet to test out everything that we have purchased and also the items that have been so lovingly gifted to us, but it certainly is comforting to know that it is not necessary to purchase every last product that you see in a store or advertisement. It is good to be assured that the safest and healthiest care for your baby during those first few months at home can be done in a practical and smart way.
Nursury furniture and baby gear safety is a top concern that parents and care givers of young children most often have (Read our tips on crib maintenance and general crib safety), but did you know that baby bedding and soft textile items should also be included in general safety awareness? This past year, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) launched their “Bare is Best” campaign. It promotes how to “keep your baby cozy without the clutter”.
While the trend in the past was to fill the crib with pillows, stuffed toys, and decorative bumpers, the advice is that a safe environment not only involves furniture that meets North American safety standards, but one that is clear of clutter. The CPSC explains that “Bare is best when placing a baby to sleep in a crib. By creating the toughest crib safety standards in the world and urging parents to keep pillows, quilts, heavy blankets, and sleep positioners out of the crib, CPSC has made great strides to ensure that babies and toddlers have a safe sleep.” Read more about reducing SIDS and creating the safest environment for baby to sleep here and here.
(Image taken from CPSC)
So what’s one to do when all those adorable frills and fills for the crib are no longer recommended? Does this mean that the dream nursery that you had already pictured has to remain plain and lack the plush look that we all love? Fortunately for design addicts, quite a few crib bedding companies have made the transition towards creating bedding options that will make you never miss all the clutter. Below are some of my favourites.
Skip Hop’s Complete Sheet bumper-free crib bedding has seven adorable designs to select from. Without that bumper, the crib may seem like it’s missing that extra decorative element, but Skip Hop has solved this by putting the print along the side of the fitted mattress sheet. I’ve already got a few of these sets selected on my baby registry list already!
Got a rambunctious child that you eventually realize does need a bumper to prevent bumps and bruises? Target 365 crib bedding makes sets where the bumper is included should you decide that a bumper is something that is required for your child. But even without using it, those crib skirts with their bold and playful patterns do more than well in keeping the design element present in the overall look of the crib.
Oilo’s crib bedding: Need a set with bumpers? Check! Need a great skirt that can make a crib look great without bumpers? Check! So whichever pattern you have fallen in love with, and whether you go bumperless or not, Oilo’s got the options for all their sophisticated crib sets.
This past Friday, the StorkCraft staff surprised me with a baby shower that included a cake with an adorable pair of icing booties and a desk full of gifts and decorations! Thanks for all the well wishes and the thoughtfulness, StorkCraft!
Tomorrow will be my last day at StorkCraft before I take my maternity leave. I still have not determined the full amount of time that I will be on this “break” yet, but right now it looks like it will be a full year to ease into being a new mom and being able to visit my parents for a few months. Hopefully I’ll be able to document my new journey into new motherhood via this blog during this time.
With the birth date being a month away, it seems to me that I will have a bit too much time on my hands, but all my mommy friends say that taking the one month off before the due date is a God-send for having some rest and getting last minute baby purchases and room organized.
How did you spend the weeks leading up to your due date? Any “must-do” items or things you wished you had done before your baby was born?
We can’t wait for the Target 365 Cribs by StorkCraft to launch in a few months time (Keep tabs on when they go on sale here at Target)! The two tone colour is so versitle as it allows you to play with your accent pieces.
For this espresso/white version, you have the option of selecting white dressers for a light and airy look, or espresso ones for a rich and sleek decor. What do you think of some of these pairings? One makes use of accessories that can grow up with your child and also transition into other rooms of the house if need be, and the other goes all out with everything cute and adorable.
Find all accessories featured below at Target.
For all those parents who have children in school, you’ll know that Spring Break is coming up right along side the Easter holiday. Any plans for keeping the family occupied? Here are some craft projects that I have been stashing away on my Pinterest craft board.
Milk carton houses: How cute is this easy craft idea? Suitable for both boys and girls, your children can create a small neighbourhood to a sprawling city.
Dyed Easter eggs: Ombre is the way to do colour and this mess-free method is one simple option of getting those eggs brightly decorated.
Wee Mouse Tin House: Could this be any cuter? Make use of those empty Altoid tins and scraps of felt and transform them into a little travel play kit that can slip right into your child’s pocket.
DIY jet pack: Halloween is far off, but this DYI project is still perfect for everyday dress-up and running around the yard.
Thank you to all our blog readers for their feedback on the new 2013 Stork Craft cribs! We love seeing your comments that tell us if the designs are a “yay” or even a “nay” in your books, as well as the concerns and inquiries that you may have for cribs and Stork Craft products in general.
If you have been following our Facebook page, you probably have noticed that over the past year we have switched from doing our photoshoots in house to using an amazing studio. Below are the studio’s take on the Princess 4 in 1 Crib and Santino 3 in 1 Cribs. Looking pretty good, don’t you think?
The studio’s interpretation on decorating around the Princess 4-in-1 Crib shows that this crib really works well as the centerpiece of the nursery. With all its little details that make it unique, it doesn’t need whole lot of accessories to make it stand out!
Previously we had shown the Santino 3 in 1 Crib in white, and here it is in a classic espresso finish. This darker colour gives the crib depth and richness, but still allows the piece to stay true to its contemporary design.
If you had told me a few months ago that buffering ample time out for maternity leave is a good idea because it’s hard to gauge energy levels as the birth date approaches, I would have given you an ambivalent, “I’ll see how it goes”. Normally I do consider myself as someone who has stamina and being able to “hang in there” when it comes to tolerating a bit of discomfort or fatigue. The past two days spent out of commission in bed, however, have made me realize how the final stretch of pregnancy can really take a toll on the body. Throw in a cold, slight ear infection that makes getting up quite woozy, and couple it with restless sleep due to the inability to find a comfortable position for this unrecognizable body, and it’s two embarrassing straight days of calling in sick to work.
While my anxiety spikes at the thought of emails and voice messages piling up, I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to for other pregnant women who have children and a larger household to take care of, regardless of whether they are feeling under the weather or not. Kudos to mommies and other devoted caregivers for being on-call 365 days a year. There’s no Blackberries to simply switch off, and you sure can’t tell a spouse or the kids to “leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible”. Over the course of these last eight months, I am often reminded by those who have traveled this road ahead of me to cherish the experience, as “afterwards” is yet another chapter that does not promise anything easy either, but with determination and devotion, it too can be an extremely rewarding journey.