Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Happy Holidays! xox

I applied the last coat of varnish on my DIY nativity scene. I'm super happy with the results, I saved a lot of cash by making it myself and it was easy to do once I got the right system. Installing our little nativity scene in our living room is our first family tradition.

We also went to the Montreal Children's Hospital and donated an awesome wooden baby rattle at the Annual Toy Fair. This is our second family tradition. You are never too young to get involved in philanthropic activities (I also sent a check to the Maternity Ward at the hospital where Alice was born in her name when she was a still a newborn).

Christmas is a time of intense consumerism. If you read my blog, you probably know that I prone a more simplistic approach to the Holidays but it is not my place to tell you how to spend your money...especially if it brings joy to your life and the life of other. After all, giving is pretty awesome :)

On our way to the hospital, in a great philosophical moment, I told Dan how wonderful it would be if each family would take some of their time or their money to help a non profit organization. Think of all the great things that we could achieve as a society.

So, on those "propaganda words", I would love to wish you an awesome Holidays full of delightful traditions and great presents for the kids and the kids at heart!

Take care xox

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Relaxing according to Claudia

There are many ways to relax. Some people go to the spa or to the movie theater. More rebellious people take a few drinks or smoke some weed! Would you like to know what I did to chill out this weekend? I dipped pinecones, that I gathered a few weeks ago at my mom's house, in latex paint using a pair of pliers! I'm so freaking zen right now ;)

1. Put leftover latex paint that you had in your basement or in your garage in a container!
2. Add a bit of water to thin the paint and mix.
3. Dip pinecones in paint.
4. Remove excess paint using the pliers (or a tool of your choice) to hold the pinecone.
5. Let pinecones dry on a piece of wax paper.
6. Repeat if you want more coverage (I did 2 coats for a "ceramic look").

Other people take naps when they want to relax but this is too easy for me!

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vanessa - lynn david handbag co.: Oh yes, I loved "hunting" rabbit or deer hoofprints in the snow. And it was a "party" when we discovered a pile of deer poop ;)

jen: Um? What is helicopter soup? Wow, what a cool cardboard house you had!!!

di: My mom told me that when I was a young kid I really REALLY enjoyed her saucepans, wooden spoons and plastic containers. Dan was really into lego so he can't wait to play with Alice.

gimbo: Thank you so much. It was a fun little project. A pet rock? This is fun!

rita: Oh, send me a picture of your little Lucia.

suite henry: I don't know where my baby teeth are?!?

tania: I'm so happy that you enjoy my blog. I think that I will write more about simplicity parenting soon.

maria w: Wow, this is cool! I didn't know about the fine art of newspaper toy crafting. I must investigate.

the franglaise: Oh, c'mon, you are a very creative person!

pj: You don't have a Christmas tree? This is my favorite thing about the Holidays. You could get a mini (like super small) tree and make a mini tree stand cozy.

ruby may: You could do it with so many things: sea shell, driftwood, pieces of ceramic...of the possibilities.

ele: I love my little stone collection (I have about 30 stones). I don't know what Alice will collect when she will be a bit older.

Friday, 16 December 2011

So easy it doesn't need words

How to reuse your semi precious stone collection that you had as a kid:

I have nothing against Old Orchard Beach fridge magnet but you know!

Now if I could only get one of those awesome retro fridges.

note 1: I will answer your lovely comments in my next post because a baby crawling at the speed of light is draining!

note 2 : Look at the cute couple on the picture (Dan and I at our prom...14 years ago).

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Favorite fucked up toy

WARNING: You might think that I'm crazy!

Recently, I read an article on a blog called Geek Dad. I'm not sure how I arrived there but the title "The 5 Best Toys of All Time" is probably for something. The first item of the list totally tugged at my heartstrings. A stick.

I remember my beloved stick. Made out the wood, it was about 3' tall and had a "pointy" extremity. I'm pretty sure that I found it in the forest next to my mom's house but it is not clear. I just know for sure that it came with me on numerous adventures...especially during spring when the melting snow would bring the coolest thing ever for a kiddo who wanted to become a veterinarian: a dead semi frozen deer in a semi level of decomposition!

First of all, I have to tell you that my mom's house is situated on a natural deer path. Snowstorm + car + deer in the headlights + badly injured forest critter + more get the picture. Second of all, my mom really didn't like the idea of her daughter playing with a dead deer and a stick in the backyard ;)

Anyway, back to the stick. If I think about it, I have a hell lot of childhood memories that involves my wooden stick (other then pocking various organs in a deer!). Going on walks in the forest to dig up acorns, making frogs jump away from me (I don't really like frogs), looking for very old pieces of broken dishes in the stream (many many many moons ago, that stream was used as a garbage know, that was life in the country in my part of the world), playing "warrior princess" type games or "golf" with snow balls, etc.

Now living in the city, I know that Alice won't have the same stick opportunities than me. And god forbid her to poke a dead cat on the side walk...this is totally different and extremely gross according to my standards! However, I will give her a stick that we will bring at the park, at the country house and, obviously, at my mom's house on a warm spring day!

As a kid, did you have a favorite fucked up toy that you could not find in a Toy's R Us aisle?

And for your information, the 5 toys are a Stick, a Box, a String, a Cardboard Tube and Dirt. Pretty cool don't you think?

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I have a friend in Sweden that is going through a difficult time so I made a mini felt crown of candles for Alice. I hope that my very young St.Lucia will brighten her day!

I think that we will also "celebrate" St. Lucia (December 13th) / Winter Solstice with Alice...yes, we are that kind of parents ;)

God Jul!

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ali: I love doing (I'm still doing it 95% of the time) the challenge but taking the pictures was really not my cup of tea! Sorry :(

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

(very) Simple tree stand cozy

A Christmas tree in a basket looked like an amazing idea but getting a container that could fit my enormous (and ugly) tree stand turned out to be complex and, honestly, I didn't feel like waisting hours in various stores to maybe find a perfect match.

So I had an idea: a wool stand cozy. Therefore, I created the dumbest DIY tutorial ever. It only require 3 things, absolutely no skill and about 5 minutes (and this is if you have to deal with a crawling baby at the same time).

You will need:
an enormous (and ugly) tree stand
a wool sweater (that you don't want to wear anymore)
an elastic (and a pair of scissors to cut the elastic)

1. Pick a wool sweater with preferably cables at the bottom.

2. Insert the stand in the sweater (neck at the bottom).

3. Insert the center in the neckline and warp the sleeves around it.

4. Put your stand on a flat surface and adjust the sweater pattern.

5. Tie the elastic (firmly enough to hold by itself) with a few knots.

6. Fold the sweater (part with the cables) beneath the elastic.

7. Adjust the excess fabric evenly around the stand and voilà!

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janet: The dog bowl is the object that made Alice crawl for the first time!

daniela: I know, so cute :)

taryn: I just love forest critters...even better on baby leggings.

regina: I love what you said about "thank you". Good to know your opinion about rewards and grades. Alice is still a baby but I get your point. I might re-evaluate what I said about giving rewards for good grades. Thank you so much for your comment.

Like mother like daughter

Last weekend, with Alice comfortably installed in her baby carrier, we went to Smart Design Mart.

Luckily for me, Christmas came early since I received a beautiful necklace from Judy. She is an Internet / baby puree workshop friend and happens to make super stylish lasercut jewelry. She was the one who invited me to Smart Design Mart. Therefore, she is also responsible for screwing up our gift budget ;)

Like mother like daughter, Dan got a cute pair of fox leggings for Alice and, also from Supayana, a dress for me...with a fox illustration printed on the fabric. Since the dress is a Christmas present, I can't take a picture but here is a link if you are curious.

However, I had a chance to snap a quick picture of Alice's little forest critters leggings while she was trying to reach the dog food bowls (for the hundred time today!!!).

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lina: I think that your little recipe will be a new tradition in our home :) Thank you so much!

jen: There are many recipies (like for each seasons) but, you are right, I'm also the kind of person that would forget it on the top of the stove.

kim u: OMG, you went to Japan with a toddler. You need to write a post or something about it. I would love, love, love to know all about your trip. Going to Japan is at the top of our list but I didn't think that it would be possible with a kid. I must admit that it is a bit bizarre (taking pictures of a blond kid) but at least they were nice! "Our" homeless people are also very interested in our dog!

Lovely Holidays Ideas - n.3

I decided to write quick little posts about the Holidays. They are mostly for me because I still have "new mom memory problems" and it is driving me crazy. So no personal picture, no blah blah blah, just an idea (in words or in images) !

Idea n.3 from the amazing Lina
(take a look at her lovely blog for more Christmas ideas)

"Mix of all the above ingredients with 2 cups of water and a cup of apple juice in a saucepan. Gently simmer over a low heat for a few hours, making sure that the liquid doesn't evaporate. Once you're done, remove from the heat, let it cool and you can keep it in the refrigerator and re-use it again a few times. There really is no exact recipe, it's just trial and could use cranberry juice, oranges, clementines, add a few sprigs of evergreen...whatever takes your fancy."

This easy Christmas simmer pot could definitely help me feel a bit more Christmassy (I want snow...not rain, rain and more rain)!

More recipes here.

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vanessa - lynn david handbag co.: We will get our tree next weekend and I must admit that I don't know what will happen with our curious baby. I will let know how it goes ;)

daniela: Your first Christmas tree ever??? This is so exciting (I'm totally excited for you since it is my favorite part)! I want to see pictures. The 4 gifts idea is also for Dan and I...not just for Alice.

lina: We don't have too much Christmassy clutter. However, it is like that because our cat loves to breaks small objects like ornaments or any cute Christmas items that he could push on the floor.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lovely Holidays Ideas - n.2

I decided to write quick little posts about the Holidays. They are mostly for me because I still have "new mom memory problems" and it is driving me crazy. So no personal picture, no blah blah blah, just an idea (in words or in images) !

Idea n.2 : A small tree in a basket with simple ornaments...stylish and much easier to bring in and out of our home than our usual 6' - 7' tree! (Beautiful images from

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hoola tallulah: That's the plan! You could always start that after kids are used to many (many many many) gifts but the transition might be a bit complicated (especially the first year, well, I think).

sandra: Oh, thank you so so so much. Sometimes I ask myself why I blog (no real answer yet) but, you know, getting wonderful comments like yours makes me want to write even more :)

lina: Lina, no surprise here, you are the best :)

taryn: Here, we use Christmas stocking to "spoil" kids...and adults. Yes, I still have a stocking (and I love it). As you said, I can't control other people but I can control what I do (and Dan). Better than nothing!

janet: This book is totally my baby-kid-life bible! So happy that you also enjoy it. You are so right, parenting can be intense. Also no TV here but there are some exceptions nothing is perfect).

bess callard: Good idea! We do a lot of handmade stuff in my family so it will be pretty easy to include it as one of the 4 gifts or in the Christmas stockings.

one claire day: Oh, you know me and my obsession for simplicity ;) xox

bec hem: Dan and I decided to do the 4 gifts idea between us (between Dan and I but with a budget limit). In the future (when Alice will be excited about getting presents..obviously she is too young now), it will be fun to each have our 4 gifts under the tree. I like that :)

Rebecca: Thank you for your comment. What you wrote is super interesting and it totally makes sense. I almost completed week 2 with Brian (my second reward : Dan will have the battery in my watch changed...easy, inexpensive but it will make me very happy).

anneemall: While at school, I took a few "world religions" (some fucked up religions were also was interesting but very bizarre) class and it was super cool. General culture is so important.

Lovely Holidays Ideas - n.1

I decided to write quick little posts about the Holidays. They are mostly for me because I still have "new mom memory problems" and it is driving me crazy. So no personal picture, no blah blah blah, just an idea (in words or in images) !

Idea n.1 from Simplicity Parenting (quote from the author)

"A good friend told me that they just focus on 4 gifts for their children: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. This framework of 4 gifts I think really helps to eliminate potential stuff that isn’t needed."