Wednesday, 17 May 2017

If you go down to the woods today... Happy 1st Birthday Mason!

Well, it is all over. Months of preparation involving a multitude of cutting and hot gluing, burnt finger tips and all, done in two short hours. BUT what I have been left with made all of it worth it. My memories from that day and the amazing pictures that were taken, I will cherish for my lifetime.


Okay so first things first. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my inspiration comes from mainly Pinterest and then I tweak details from there. The colour scheme was mainly red, with accents of blue and yellow. 

Also.. a note on being prepared some time in advance. Last month my friend took pictures of Mace for his one year photos. Since I had everything pretty much ready for the party at that time, I was able to incorporate a few of the decorations into the photos! Easy props! 



Hmmm where to start. The tables! I used red and white checkered table clothes just from the dollar store and laid these on four round tables for the adults to sit at. Since they were rectangular my birthday party helper and also amazing friend E came through with the idea to gather the sides and tie with twine. This made the tables look so cute. I like to group decor in threes, so I placed a 5x7 of Mason from his birthday photoshoot in a dollar store white frame, along side a vase of fresh cut flowers (bought two bouquets from the grocery store and divided them among the four vases) and a bee nest. OK, I need to focus on this for a second. I was in love with the bee nests. Quite some time ago, my husband (who frequents the second hand stores almost daily) came across a cute game for our eldest son). I lost it when I pulled it out and saw that it had a handful of plastic bees in it. So the bees were taken from the game for a month and they were glued on yellow chinese lanterns I found on ebay. Absolutely adorable if you ask me. I also picked up four squares of artificial grass form the dollar store and used these on the tables as well.




For the food table I was gifted an retro wicker picnic basket. I glued cardstock bear ears on every.single.brown.plate. :) What can I say, I'm obsessed with the details. I took various sized mason jars (I love mason jars, but no that is not where his name came from) and wrapped burlap and ribbon around them, and used these for toothpicks, red polka dot straws and red cutlery. I also had red napkins. We had finger foods for the party, but a couple of cute ideas that I included was a large jar of licorice and a couple small bowls of teddy graham crackers. I decorated the table with teddy bears and another photo of the birthday boy. 


I had a smaller and low table decorated with a yellow checkered table cloth for the party favours. This was a last minute idea I saw online and HAD to do this. Just a cute little pinwheel taped to a bottle of bubbles. All from the dollarstore. The pinwheels came in sets of three and the bubbles in sets of six. Lots left over, but both items that kids use and love all of the time so not a bad purchase.I also had a cute little bear sign framed by the favours. 



For the main table, I hung Mason's month by month banner above. I made the teddy bears out of card stock. Really simple, then just taped his pictures on them. I love these banners and I think most people at the party enjoy seeing how Mason changed and grew over the year. 



At the one end I had a basket filled with teddy bear cookies for guests to take home with them. They were the yummiest shortbread. Literally melt in your mouth. 



Then in the middle I had a large Teddy Bear Picnic book ordered from Indigo for guests to sign, and then to the right I had the cupcakes and Mason's cake. I wrapped random boxes in red gift wrap to give a tiered effect, and the cupcakes were placed on wood slices. Loved, loved, loved how this turned out. The cupcakes had little bees on them of course :)



For Mason's special area I made a fabric banner for the front of his highchair and then bought a piece of minky fabric and literally just taped it onto the back of his chair so he would stand out better in pictures. 


I purchased four balloon bouquets. Each one had a red, yellow and blue balloon. 

I also bought a display board from Micheals to let everyone know what makes Mason so fun and special to us :) I set this up with a little bear beside it.

I always like to have something out in the hallway to let guests know what the party is. For Max's birthdays in the past I have used a display board, a cat in the hat this way, that way sign, and dinosaur tracks. For Mason's teddy bear picnic party the perfect idea was to have headbands for the guests to put on prior to entering the room, because if you go down to the woods today you'd better go in disguise ;) I wrote this on a chalkboard, glued trim around two thrift store baskets, and had a large teddy bear, along with another framed picture of Mason. The headbands were bought off of amazon. if anyone is interest in linked let me know. I used brown felt and then two different shades of brown cardstock, and some red scrapbooking paper I had lying around for the bows. This was my favourite part of the decor hands down. 


For activities for the littles, I had pin the bowtie on the bear (scrapbooking paper and buttons), make your own honeycomb necklace (honeycomb cereal, yellow yarn, plastic needles and a cute sign) and toss the teddy in the parachute. The last activity was a HUGE hit. So much fun. 


... and that's everything! 

We had the best time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the birthday boy was in good spirits and DEVOURED his birthday cake. Let's just say it took quite some time to get him to go to sleep that night. Can you say sugar high :/ Oh well, you only turn one once, right!?






Thanks for stopping by and consider having a teddy bear picnic birthday of your own, it is the sweetest theme, perfect for a spring baby, and there are so many cute ideas.

... and now onto the next project.. and it's a big one :) Can you say Etsy? :) stay tuned!!!

~ K


Sunday, 26 March 2017

It's Easter basket time!!! ... insert fireworks

Even more than stuffing stockings, filling Easter baskets is my thang. I can't even accurately describe why I love doing this so much, I just do, and that's it. 


So can you imagine my excitement when this year I got to fill not one but TWO baskets!!!!??? Cue the marching band! 

Okay so here's the breakdown. Two boys... one will be almost one year old by Easter this year and the other will be just a few months over three years of age. 

Let's start with the babe. I find buying anything for him difficult because I'm trying not to live in clutter and "things" and we already have a lot of toys and books because of our first child. #secondchildproblems. Overall though, I think I was able to come up with a unique basket for my little Mace. 
- Colourful eggs- will be filled with plain cherrios just before Easter. 
- New book! We love this collection of books.. really fun. 
- Squeaky eggs.. developmentally appropriate and festive too!
- Stuffed lamb. Max received a bunny for his first Easter but I could not pass up this sweet little friend. 
- puffs.. because sorry Mace, chocolate is not in your diet yet. You poor poor little boy. It's a staple in mine ;)
- BUBBLES.. because.. they're amazing and fun. 
- the cuuuuutest swim trunks with cactus's on them and a cute little tee. Both from Target. 
- rubber ducky- because I recently threw out all of our rubber spray bath toys. Cut one of yours open and you will be disgusted. I made a silent promise to myself to throw ours out every six months. 
- a soccer ball.. because the boy LOVES chasing after rolling balls. 


... and for my cute little 3 year old..
... bare with me, I went overboard :/
- fun toy measuring tape (toys r us)
- pineapple collared t-shirt, bunny/glitter bouncy ball and robot wooden lacing shapes (Target- dollar section for the last two items)
- Land Before Time DVD (his dad's favourite childhood movie)
- Bob the Builder story and sticker book (he LOVES these, we have done probably four other ones so far), bunny straw and chalk holder (dollarama)- he broke SO much sidewalk chalk last year so this is amazing
- egg chalk and bubble bat (Wal-Mart)- I CANNOT wait to see the bubbles this thing produces!!!
- carrot geometric puzzle and sticker book (Micheals) 
- a little bit of chocolate and soccer eggs (for jelly beans)




And there you have it! I hope that this provided you with one or two ideas for your littles and that you have as much fun filling your little's Easter baskets as much as I do :)
.. and also here are a couple of fun Spring/Easter craft and decor ideas 


~ K

Friday, 24 March 2017

Drama at the drop in

Happy Friday!

So I came on here to start a Easter basket post, and in doing so, I came across this entry that I wrote when Mason was super new. I wrote the entry the same day that the event occurred, but then when it came to posting it, I hesitated. I guess at the time, just getting it out of me was enough and I was not at the point of sharing with others. I recall feeling very 'raw' that day. So ten months later I am removed from that morning and feel okay with sharing this story now, as I still feel it is very relevant and important...

So here it is :)

Sometimes something happens in my life and I think to myself I need to share this with others. Today is one of those days.

This morning I took Max and Mason to one of the local drop in centers. On Thursdays at one of the centers they have a large gross motor room in addition to the playroom. When we first arrived today he started out in the larger room and then made our way to the playroom for snack we had a good time and Max was enjoying himself and acting pretty good but still within the realm of his development i.e. crazy toddler who acts as though he's been caged up for days and was finally let loose. So overall things are going well, until they didn't.

We went back into the larger room to put the baby back into his carrier, as Max had decided he wanted to go home. After doing baby out and changing his diaper Mason was quite alert and enjoying having a stretch and looking around so I decided to give Max a couple more minutes of playtime. This is when the insanity started. Max was clearly overstimulated as the room was packed and very loud with others running amuck. They were a few close calls of him almost taking out other children and at one point he almost tripped over his brother who is lying on the floor. 

This is when having two gets tricky because I needed to deal with this insane toddler while at the same time toting an an infant with me. My attempts to calmly speak to Max about his behavior fell upon deaf ears as he was way beyond calm conversations at that point. His animal instincts had taken over and I was HORRIFIED. All eyes were on us and I felt as though ever step I took was being watched. I also still have post partum hormones running through my body so cut me some slack on my paranoia ;)

Que him dumping a large wicker basket of books onto the floor and spreading them everywhere with his feet.

Mason then started to scream bloody murder because he was put back into his car seat.. something he was not ready for as he was enjoying being free of the constraint of his car seat. 

I walked quickly after Max with car seat in tow and he ran away from me because he was having such a fun time with all of the attention he was receiving from me (we all know they even like negative attention.. sooo annoying). 

This is when it happened. Another mom appeared out of nowhere and literally took the carrier out of my hand and said "I've got the baby you go deal with your little guy." After contemplating kissing her right there, I took off after Max and with free hands was able to get pick up Max, have him help me clean up the spilled books and head to the escape, oh sorry I mean exit sign.

The woman who helped me was there with her two little boys as well, one also being a baby but months ahead of my Mason. She clearly had been in the situation before and knew how it felt. Had she verbally offered assistance I likely would have declined, but she took a risk and stepped right in and took the seat out of my hands giving me to choice but to accept the help (which I really did want but you know how sometimes your pride gets in the way).

Once home and after making the decision that I was having a cookie and a muffin for lunch I found myself thinking about this woman had helped me. I wondered to myself if I would have done the same thing if I had seen a mom in the same situation. Part of me thought that I would not have. I would've stood there and felt awful for this woman as she was clearly having a difficult time, but there would have been a part of me that didn't want to step in for fear of the woman did not want my help and reject my assistance. I also would have questioned any action based on act of taking a strange woman's baby away from her as a very forward action.

Well let me tell you this. After today, my thoughts about helping other moms have changed. There's no way I would've asked a stranger hey can you hold my baby car seat for me so I can go deal with my toddler. Now he struggled and tried to managing the moment. By having the confidence to risk rejection or an uncomfortable moment she made me feel supported and allowed me to manage the situation and the way that I wanted to having my hands-free and being able to deal with the situation

So I suppose the moral of this rambling post is don't be afraid to step in when you see another mom struggling even if you don't know them. Don't be afraid to take control, as our pride often gets in the way of accepting help. We are all in this together and it takes a village mamas!!

Oh and the banana blueberry muffin and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie were both delicious.

~

Update- ten months later looking back, I was a new mom of two at the time and I found this so interesting to read. I can say that if this happened tomorrow, I would have no problem asking a mom or dad who I do not know (in this environment) to help me if a similar situation was to unfold. I guess my mama of two confidence had grown in the last ten months :)

~ K




Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Every Christmas I search for a new book for Max that we can use in ways other than just reading it together. Books that you can create crafts from, themed activities, snacks, etc. For his first Christmas he received Frosty the Snowman, the following year he received Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (I love that book), and then this year he received The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 


The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been used as a birthday party theme, so there are a lot of fun ideas for activities, decorations and food for this book. Again, as I have mentioned before I try to choose activities that are age appropriate. If you don't, it is just not worth the prep and time spent. You will end up with an uninterested or frustrated little person, and that's just no fun for anyone. 

We started by reading the book, and then I put on the CD (it came with our book) where Eric Carle reads the book. I paused it after each page and Max used his story sequence stick to put the story together. He really liked this and asked to do it again before dinner tonight.  


Max is very into numbers right now. He is counting evvverything, so this number identification activity was perfect. He loved it and did it two more times later in the day. It was also great for fine motor. He struggled a little in beginning, figuring out how to pinch the clothespin, but he picked up on it after a few tries and with a little help and from there he loved it. 


I did all of the painting activities back to back because secretly... I have no patience for kid's painting and the mess. But I love the outcome so I power through. Max painted a rainbow caterpillar which took him forevvvver to paint.. but his attention to detail and making sure he painted every little spot (still missing some) was cute. 


We did hand prints which was a lot of fun. He is finally at the age where he follows direction perfectly and has the patience to wait for me to direct him where to put his hand. Mason's turned out pretty cute too :)


The butterfly painting was really neat and Max loved this one the most. Super easy. We dropped four different paint colours that Max picked on one side of the paper and then fold the paper in half and rub. Peel the paper back and tada, you have an abstract butterfly. Ours dripped a little while drying, creating two perfect little antennas. 



The other craft we did was another fine motor craft. I have a ton of beads left over from Christmas so I picked out a bunch of green ones and Max went at it, making a pipe cleaner caterpillar with a googly eye. 


For decoration I made a balloon caterpillar. The boys love balloons so it was an easy thing to throw together. 

For food, Max had a fruit caterpillar with his breakfast, which he was completely taken by, and then an apple and caterpillar cupcake for his lunch treat. Okay, so about that cupcake. Last night I made an entire batch for ONE cupcake for Max today, and he ate the gummy worm, took a few licks of the icing and informed me he was done. COME ON. I know, I'm nuts. Ah well, I froze the rest.


If anyone is interested in the crafts/activities let me know if you are interested in the links for the story sequence and/or number identification activity. 

So it was a hit! It took up our morning, once the babe went down for a nap, which is nice for a quiet day at home (hence the p.j.'s)

Look for my Easter basket post soon for ideas... pretty excited, this year I get to fill two baskets :) :) :)

Thanks for stopping by!

~ K

Friday, 3 February 2017

Valentines fun for your littles

We are in full blown Valentine's crafts and activities mode over here! I am guilty of always starting a littttle too early on celebrating holidays, but whatever, there aren't any rules right!? 

What I typically do is screenshot what I find on Pinterest, and then I make a list of the materials I don't have. I make a trip to the dollar store (because they have EVERYTHING) and then whenever I get get a free moment, I prep the activities ahead of time. This makes it super easy for mornings or afternoons where I need a quick filler (because the boy with the mountain of toys is wandering aimlessly around the house.. go figure). I sit him down and everything is ready to go. Right now I have a Valentine's discovery bin ready to go and a tray of pink glittery playdough with various shapes of heart cutters. 

So far we have made an heart wreath (Max glued the wreath and stuck on the hearts) and an alphabet letter recognition activity. This was a huge hit. We also used marbles (make sure they are the heavy marbles) to paint hearts. Max loved watching the marbles jump around the aluminum pan. 






For Max's Valentines for his preschool buddies I am using a ton of plastic dinosaurs I have left over from his birthday cupcakes (after soaking them in boiling water to clean). I haven't finished them yet, but here is the Pinterest pic I worked off of. The printable was free on the blogger's page. If you follow me on Instagram you will see my finished product in the next few days. I also made two special Valentines for Max's buddy and his baby sis because they are extra special to us :)



And for your viewing pleasure, a couple decor pictures :)



In other news, the other day we had enough snow fall to cover the front lawn. Max and I went outside during the babe's nap for some fresh air. If you have any squirt bottles laying around (or find them at the dollar store), coloured water seems to be a huge hit with littles!! He emptied them quickly but he had fun while it lasted!



Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!! Thanks for stopping by!

~ K