The first 2000 days of a child’s life… yes, between birth and kindergarten… are when 85% of the brain’s pathways are developed. This is the best time to introduce the foundations of literacy.
How sobering is that? I took it from a great website Calgary Reads
For the 5 years before my son was born I was lucky enough to be a part-time nanny to 2 different families. Each family gave me great experiences to draw from in raising my own kids. One of my favorite things that one of the families did was create naptime and bedtime rituals of reading a couple of books to the kids before they went to sleep. It was a great way for the children to wind down and interact with you one on one. I can still quote Sandra Boynton's Pajama Time, one of my personal favorites.
Some times I find myself needing just a few minutes of distraction for Max and the Calgary Public Library has just the thing. Storytime Anytime
! It doesn't come close to the experience of reading to your own child or even taking them to a real storytime but when you are in a bind, I think it's pretty cool.
If you are an iPad person you should check out this great review
for a new interactive book for toddlers. Apparently there are several of these interactive books available but this one in particular, The Going To Bed Book
, looks like it would amuse a grown-up as well as a toddler.
Right now Max's favorite book is Pat The Bunny. He loves all of the touch and feel pages.
Speaking of books...the library project continues and I have some pictures to document the process. Unfortunately Weebly won't let me upload pics right now so until later...happy reading and Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Last month I posted about my concerns with Max's appetite
and I am happy to report that we are taking two steps forward and one step back these days! A few days ago he did some real damage to a grilled cheese sandwich and I was super excited. Whole grain bread and a nice extra-aged white cheddar, how easy is that? Today he refused to eat it. Most days he refuses to eat banana instead enjoying the squishyness in between his fingers but today he is eating it. We did discover that he likes grapes, but wait, that was yesterday, I may have spoken too soon. And so it goes. I found a video on Dad Camp
that gave me a scary but funny glimpse into the future.
Speaking of funny videos this one is making the rounds too. Do you think it is funny to scare your kids or not?
Ok, I'm still grumpy as I posted this morning
, but I may snap out of it if I get a little more of the following comfort items.
Food from Jules over at The Stone Soup:
How comforting is this sponge cake?
A wrap from Evy's Tree (There is a giveaway on this item that you should check out on the Evy's Tree site.):
Nothing like a wrapping yourself up in comfortable sweatshirt material and looking good at the same time!
Some black gospel music:
I think I just smiled for the first time today!
When your morning starts with letting a dog out to go to the bathroom, it might be a sign that things are not going so well. Humans are not meant to be slaves to the bathroom needs of animals!
Let’s back things up a little. My parents left yesterday for a 3 week trip to Israel so we have this fantastic house to ourselves. That’s a good thing right? But there is a dog that comes with the house. Normally I like dogs. I just don’t like to take care of dogs. Dogs should be outside, come when called and clean up after themselves. That is how I like dogs. My mom’s dog is worse than the raccoons we had in New York. Last night I left a bag of garbage by the back door, forgot to take it out, left the house and came back to a back entryway full of garbage. So after cleaning up that mess last night, imagine my horror to discover this morning that she had drug some of the extra special garbage into the back coat closet into a special dog fort that she had tunneled underneath my mom’s boots and shoes. What a special smell in that special little space. What a special dog. What a special day!!!
No, this day is not what I ordered.
How about a cup of coffee before you have to change the worst diaper in history?
How about a simple breakfast before 11:30 AM?
How about a single ray of sunshine instead of grey, dismal skies?
Over on The Style Files
Danielle de Lange is inspired by the grey skies surrounding her. And while I would normally feel all warm and cozy about her images, I just can’t summon the strength to be inspired today. Am I depressing anyone else?
Life, ladies and gentlemen, it’s not always what you ordered.
I hope it’s sunny in the psych ward!
It all started late one night in mid-October. Max was sleeping, Josh was doing something work-related on his computer and I was bored. Mix this boredom with a little sleep deprivation and a long-time wish for side-swept bangs and I ended up searching You Tube DIY videos on cutting your own bangs. Yep, you already know where I am going. Two hours later Josh came to find me in the bathroom where one cut had led to another and side-swept bangs had turned into a really bad mullet which I had to chop off. Mmmhmmm...NG ladies and gentlemen, NG!
So, many bad hair days later, I found a style that not only camoflauges my mistakes but is easy and cute. It's a messy side ponytail
and I found it on A CUP OF JO
(one of my favorite blogs right now). Last week Josh and I went out for our 9th anniversary and I did a variation on the messy side ponytail turning it into a messy side bun. All the steps are the same you just take your teased ponytail, twist it around and pin it up. I haven't quite mastered the perfect messiness and bee-hivish height on top but we'll get there.
What I love about this bun is it makes my hair look way thicker than it actually is.
Joanna has several other hair how-to's on her blog. Check her out and let me know if you enjoy A CUP OF JO as much as I do!
It is hard to believe that the tiny newborn I held in my arms last April now has three big teeth, is pulling himself up to stand and look out the window, fake coughing, and is going to be one in just over a month! Being the procrastinating type, I don't have anything planned for his birthday and I can feel it closing in on me. The only thing that makes me more sad than my little boy growing up way too fast is the thought of him having his birthday go by without me putting in as much effort as I can. Isn't that what a loving, stay-at-home mom is supposed to do? So, the search is on for inspiration...and boy is it intimidating! All I know so far is that we are having home made organic chocolate cake with chocolate icing and Max is going to be covered in it at some point.
Check these ideas out...
An alphabet themed party here
.These custom made birthday party hats.
And one of my favorite parties here. (Do people really do all this???)
What do you think is important for a first birthday celebration?
Delightful details in the living room of Annette Rhodes. (Hand-painted wall treatment as referenced in interview below.)
Inside the 'Creative Room' of Annette Rhodes.
“This is a work in progress” she said as she pulled something long and silky from a basket. Layer upon layer of exquisite vintage materials were carefully pinned into a dramatic collared scarf. As we discussed the need for it to be paired with specific clothes we became aware of a new scent in the room. “Man that smells good!” she said. No one says ‘man’ in an exclamatory way like Annette can say it. There is an ‘h’ in there, and the ‘m’ is hummed into the word…’mmmahn’ ! We pulled the rest of the fabric from the basket and found a bar of Chanel 19 soap. It’s a typical visit with Annette. Little treats for your senses popping up everywhere at unexpected times.
There are treats for your senses no matter where you look inside this organized yet chaotic craft room.
If I were to talk about our friendship, this post would have to cover 27 years of Value Village trips, early Saturday morning garage sales, dumpster-diving, Gustav Klimt and Ottmar Liebert, rye bread and cabbage rolls, washing walls with paint and dying old fabrics new colors, late night conversations and always a good cup of coffee, secrets and more secrets, prayers and more prayers, and so much love shared. There is so much I would like to share about my friend, Annette, but it is so hard to put it into words. She is a part of who I am and how I think. She is a feeling. Comfortable yet exciting. Blunt but sweet. Wise but revels in the innocent. Way too much to capture in a blog but hopefully I can offer an enchanted peek into this creative and inspiring woman.
Doing dishes at this kitchen sink is a priviledge not a chore.
Walking sticks and french market bags have never looked so romantic! Annette with her dog, Whiskey Jack, at the back entrance of her house.
Although she has lived in Canada for over 30 years, her charmingly accented English is still peppered with German words and phrases. Sometimes she makes up words and they seem to make perfect sense until you try to repeat them in a conversation the next day. Like the word ‘ta-dah’. She used this word when I asked her about her work as a retail store layout designer.
“Lots of people want to be these designers, I see these blogs, one person said I am a hedonist, I am a designer, I am an interior decorator, I am this and that. There is so much ta-dah about it. Too much ta-dah about it.”
“What is ta-dah?”
“Ta-dah is to make too much fuss, to lift it too high. What is more important in life are things like being a mom. Don’t call me a designer or anything. I don’t want it to sound like I’m blowing my own horn.”
Details are always considered in anything Annette does. From the ladybugs scattered around the luncheon table to the delicate lemon cream sauce on the broccolli she served.
I know you love a good deal but what was your most extravagant purchase ever?
A $100.00 mouse from Holt Renfrew. He was so cute I would walk around with him sticking out of my purse.
The best thing you ever found in the garbage?
A little wooden shelf I found in 1979. I still have it and I still like it. It’s so nice when you know what you like, then you don’t go with the fads. I’ve liked what I’ve liked since you’ve known me. The colors may have changed.
Best thing you’ve ever found in a thrift store?
A chair. I found it about 6 months after spotting it on the cover of a book called Paris Interiors by Lisa Lovatt-Smith. I actually complained to God that they have everything in Paris and why don’t we have chairs like that here! Then I found it in a small thrift store. It was marked $95.00 and was on sale for half price!
How long did it take you to wash the living room wall. (See image at the beginning of this post.)
A week! It was 12 years ago and I won’t change that wall. Every other wall and ceiling in the house has been changed at least 3 times.
1. The mouse from Holt Renfrew. 2. The wooden shelf found in garbage. 3. One of Annette's patchwork skirts, every piece has a story. 4. The chair that is Annette's favorite thrift store find.
Current favorite decorating color.
Baby poop yellow with a little butter mixed together swirly like. I like mostly mixing. Before the living was darker. It was nice to come into for an afternoon but not to live in. The ceiling was blue, it was like a thunderstorm coming down, it was depressing because it was a north facing room and there was no light so it had to be yellow. I am after a feeling. Like when you like things French you want it to feel French. I’m getting these magazines and everything is cream but you have to have the right house and the right textures or it looks too 'put'. You can live in the cheapest house or in the ugliest house but if you know how to put it together and get the feel of what you like then you can make it cozy so you never want to leave. That is what we are after, like a nest feeling.
Annette sells her hand-crafted goods online at her newly opened Etsy store RHODES
, at Different Strokes in Olds, Alberta and at Chateau Country Lace in Calgary, Alberta. Photos of our day together were taken by the extremely talented Kara Melwood
Trapper Hats. Cute, comfy and warm, what else could a girl want? Especially a Calgary girl! I have been obsessing over them for a month now but still haven't bought one for myself.
1. I love hats.
2. Josh always makes fun of me when I wear a hat (I wore them all the time before we got together).
3. I am having many bad hair days so I need some hat options.
4. It is freezing cold here so I need some hat options.
5. I am a Glee fan and keep seeing Brittany's trapper hat in my dreams. http://bit.ly/hDYjMt
6. I have this nagging feeling that I am too old to wear a trapper hat.
Soooo...I emailed my friend and New York based style-expert, KVS for help.
What do you think? 35 years old, a mom, am I too old for this look? She replied:I think a trapper hat is totally acceptable for a YOUNG mom of your age and style. Whether lower priced with fair isle plaids, buffalo checks and shearling lined or much more high fashion with real fur, they are still very strong sellers. I saw some in the Fall 2011 Moschino Cheap and Chic show (kind of obsessed with this line although I still don't think it's that cheap).
I honestly think you can wear whatever you want, that's what style is all about. Plus it has to fit with your lifestyle, an active mom running around. If you had a big puffy jacket, leggings and boots, a cute printed hat would totally spice up your outfit!
What do you think readers? Would you wear a trapper hat? Can you send me a link to your favorite one?
Wow! I didn't know that my interview with Lisa Marie of Enlightened Platypus would cause such a stir. I spent most of yesterday feeling like The Observer from Fringe. Well, to be fair, I also spent some time driving my dad to the dentist, then to the walk-in clinic where he was diagnosed with Benign Positional Vertigo, and then getting my own blood work done at a lab. But in between all of that I would get emails alerting me that yet another comment had been posted either for or against Lisa Marie. So, I observed, a little nervous to wade into an argument that was obviously very passionate to a lot of people.
Please allow me to state a few facts and then let's all move on.
1. I do not personally know either Lisa or Kat.
2. Until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of an elf coat or dream coat.
3. Until yesterday, I didn't know that there were multiple sellers of such coats on Etsy.
From what I can see, both of these ladies are talented and do lovely work. It is understandable and even admirable that loyal customers defend both of them. When you find something you love it is easy to love the creator of that object and to feel protective of them. So, even though the comments flying back and forth made me a little uncomfortable, I hope that both Lisa and Kat continue creating and that if there is a tension that it will be resolved peaceably.
I just wanted to let you know that I am putting together a response to all of the comments posted yesterday on my interiew with Lisa Marie of Enlightened Platypus.