Saturday, March 22, 2014

Colour Me Happy: Pasta Dying

I love making crafts--and when possible I prefer to make my own supplies as well, rather than buy pre-made stuff, because that's half the fun! I've started looking after a two-year old in addition to the boy-o, and I wanted to come up with some fun craft ideas that she would enjoy doing while the boy-o was napping. One of the things that was always a huge hit at the daycare was making rainbow coloured jewelry. I've used all kinds of materials in the past including FruitLoops (edible accessories!), beads and pasta. I didn't have FruitLoops or beads on hand, but I had tons of pasta and some food colouring, so I dyed my own "beads" for necklace making. It's super easy and the colours turn out nice and bright! I made Yellow, Green, Blue, and Red.

What You Need:

- a bunch of pasta noodles
- a ziplock bag for each colour you want
- as many colours of food colouring as you want
- rubbing alcohol
- wax paper
- paper towel


1. Place desired amount of pasta in each of the ziplock bags.
2. Splash a little rubbing alcohol into each bag.
3. Add a few squirts of food colouring to each bag, one colour per bag.
4. Roll the bags around and around to make sure the pasta gets well coated with the food colouring mixture. You can let the pasta sit in the bags for a few minutes to make sure it soaks in well.
5. Dump the ziplock bags out one at a time onto a thick pile of paper towel to absorb any extra food colouring mixture.
6. Transfer pasta from paper towel to wax paper to dry. (It really doesn't take very long!)

And when your pasta is all dried you'll have beautifully coloured "beads" all ready for necklace making or any other threading activity you want to use them for!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mamas in Business For Themselves

You know who's awesome? Mamas. You know who's super lucky? Me! I have the very distinct pleasure of having TWO groups of mama friends to share the journey with. One of them in an online group that's been together since our babies were little beans in our bellys, and the other is a group of local moms I met when Peter was just a couple months old. Our family has been incredibly blessed to have these ladies and little wee ones in our lives, and today I want to show you just how amazing some of these ladies are!! Not only are they busy with all the demands of being a mama (some to multiple kids!) but they've taken on the task of starting up their own businesses to become Work From Home Moms as well.

Today's blog post is going to look at some of the businesses and products that my online group of mama friends have to offer. They range from things like homemade clothes such as Tutu's and Bows, to sewn stuffed creations, and even re-useable cloth diapers!

Clothes and Accessories

Tutus galore! This work from home mama has two little ones on the go and just recently started up her own children's clothing business where she specializes in tutu's and dresses for your little princess! I've also seen pictures of her wee prince in one of the tutu's as well, and he looked fab! Located in the UK, Jammy Pops Creations welcomes custom orders and would be more than happy to work with you to create exactly what you've dreamed of! 

This fab mama creates headbands and hair accessories that range in size from bitty baby to classy lady! She has two wee ones at home and still manages to find time to get creative. Her darling daughter does most of the modeling and it's hard to say whether the head pieces or the model are more adorable--but the two combined is an AWWWW! overload. Based in the USA, Pretty Little Things by SweetPea welcomes custom orders and designs. Let this mama create something amazing for the little diva in your life!

Tutus and hair bows are the specialty over at TUTU Pretty and Accessories! This hard-working mama has four kiddos and her darling baby girl is the model for most of her outfits. These amazing outfit combinations are the perfect way to create exactly what your little princess desires. The Tutus are available in sizes ranging from infant to five years old and would make an excellent "Cake Smash" outfit, or for any fancy occasion. Based in the USA, TUTU Pretty and Accessories welcomes custom orders and would love to chat with you about your special order needs!

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers have come a long way from the kind your grandma used! If you're looking to start into the world of cloth diapering, or if you're already old hat with terms like AIO2 and Pocket Inserts and are looking for some new and exciting ways to make and use cloth diapers, then you need to check out Fluffy Duff! These diapers are made by a cloth diapering mama to two little girls who wanted to improve on the options that were already out there, while also offering super fun prints. Located in the USA, Fluffy Duff welcomes custom orders, but only accepts so many at a time to keep wait times down--so get yours in today!

Handmade Keepsakes

If you're looking for some unique home decor with a family orientation to them then look no further! Whether it's the perfect Mother's Day gift or a special pick-me up for an amazing mama in your life, Handmade by Her has got what you need! Mama to two little kiddos, and based in the UK Handmade By Her welcomes your custom orders and requests for wooden plaques, artificial bridal bouquets and much more!

2. Get Stuffed: Handmade Creations and Keepsakes:

This busy mama of four (!) specializes in stuffed creations including sewn animals and fabric crowns for your little prince or princess. Owls are how it all began, but there are new additions to the Get Stuffed family arriving, including Pegasus and Mini Dinosaurs. Custom orders are welcome, and this Austrian based mama would love to hear from you about your special requests for the little ones in your life!

Share the love and support your fellow mamas!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

World Book Day!

I've posted before about the importance of reading to your little ones to help foster a love for reading from an early age, help develop language skills, and stimulate the senses with bright pictures or "Touch and Feel" books. But with today being World Book Day it seemed like an opportune time to visit this important topic again. We read to the boy-o every night before bed, and sometimes during the day too when he's willing to sit still long enough for a little cuddle. Some of his old favourites are still strongly preferred, but we've introduced some new favourites into the mix as well.

Currently the boy-o's favourites include: The Belly Button Book, The Barnyard Dance, and B is for Bear. We have a lot of Dr. Seuss books that we read pretty frequently as well. There are so many excellent children's books out there it can be hard to choose which ones to buy--which is why I'd suggest that if you don't already, register your child for a public library card and go speak to your local librarian! They're excellent at providing age appropriate books that will be of the most interest your little one. 

Some of my favourites that we don't currently have which are aimed for more of a pre-school audience are:

1. Oink-A-Doodle-Moo: My sister was actually the person who introduced this book to me and I think it's so fantastic it's now become my go-to book gift! It's basically barnyard telephone gone horribly wrong! It's very short with only a few words on each page and full page pictures. It provides lots of opportunity to be silly and explore how the game of telephone can go wrong..

2. The Llama, Llama Series: There are several books in this series and they're all fantastic! They help teach concepts like patience and feelings in a fun way. The Llama Llama books are very creative and are written in a simple rhythmic style that helps to keep the attention of littler littles. The illustrations are also wonderful and you'll certainly enjoy accompanying Llama Llama on his adventures.

3. The Lady With the Alligator Purse: This book was always a big favourite at the daycare I used to work at. There's an accompanying song you can sing the book along to, but even just reading out the rhymes is great fun. It's a silly book with excellent illustrations that stretch the imagination to the world of the impossible. 

Canadian Authors:

Guy Gavriel Kay:

And finally, being Canadian I have two Canadian authors whose work I really love that I'd like to share with you as well. The first is an adult author, and I own ALL of his books and eagerly await the announcements that a new one is coming out. Guy Gavriel Kay writes Fantasy books and the worlds that he creates are truly astounding. I've listened to him do a book reading before where he explained that his books are loosely based on historical cities and civilizations and that makes me love them even more! My favourite books by him include The Finovar Tapestries, Ysabel, and Tigana. 

Melanie Watts:

The second Canadian author that I'd like to share with you is Melanie Watts. She writes children's books and is quite well known for her Scaredy Squirrel series, but she also writes a fantastic series about a cat named Chester! We have two of the Chester books so far, and although these are definitely meant for pre-school+  I look forward to being able to read them to the boy-o one day because they are quite funny and very creative. Chester the Cat likes to try and take over the story and "re-write" it as it goes along with his red marker. I highly recommend this series to everyone! 

But most importantly, whatever kind of book it is you enjoy reading today on World Book Day pick it up and do some reading--and read to your little ones. The love for reading starts early and as parents we should do all that we can to help that love grow!

Your Turn: What's your favourite book and who introduced you to it?