Easton’s favourite books (great for ages 6 to 12)

Manfish a story of Jacques Cousteau

Easton (aged 9) has always, since the time he could speak, been obsessed with nature and animals and especially sea life.  One of his first words was ‘dolphin’ and by the time we was three, he knew the names of all the different whales and sharks! As a result, some of his favourite books are ones about the sea.

While he now mostly reads chapter books, both for school reading and for pleasure, I still catch him reading some of his favourite picture books, especially the books about sea creatures and animals.  I thought I would split up his list of favourites into two groups: picture books and chapter books.

Here are some of his favourite picture books:

1. Manfish : This sweet and beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Jacques Cousteau from the time he was a young boy up through his adult life and film-making career.  Easton wants to be a marine biologist when he’s bigger, and I think he really relates to the young boy in this book.

2. Zoo-ology : I have now bought three different copies of this book because it’s one of the most read books in our house (I often find it under the covers in their bed!), and I keep replacing the book due to broken bindings or torn pages. The book features more than 300 animals, each page featuring a different type: feathered, nocturnal, large, small, underground, etc.

the red sea sharks

3. The Red Sea Sharks (The Adventures of Tintin) : Easton loves all the Tintin books, but told me this one is his favourite.

4. Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea : This fact-filled book takes you down from the surface to the very bottom of the sea, showing you all the crazy sea creatures who live in each ‘layer’ of the sea.

5. Maps : I’ve written about this book before here. It is still probably my boys’ current favourite book!

6. Stuck : Another Oliver Jeffers favourite. My boys think it’s hilarious to see all the things that Floyd gets stuck up in the tree in the effort to get his kite down.

7. Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals : Easton is fascinated by extinct animals and by the thought that some of the animals on our planet will one day also become extinct. This is another great animal picture book that shows extinct animals and gives a brief description of each.

the terrible thing that happened to barnaby bracket

And here are some of his favourite chapter books:

1. The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket : I haven’t read this book, but Easton told me it’s very funny and it’s about a boy who floats and can’t control his floating, even when he wishes he could be normal and please his parents.

2 & 3. The BFG and James and the Giant Peach : Both by Roald Dahl, both brilliant and imaginative. What I love about the Roald Dahl books is that there is a teensy element of something slightly scary. I remember reading The BFG and The Witches when I was little, and being slightly scared but also totally intrigued.

4. You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum! : Again, I haven’t read this or any of the other Mr. Gum books , but Easton really likes them. I think it’s another funny, silly read.

5. The Harry Potter books: My mum reads these to my boys when she comes to visit. So far she’s read the first three books, and they have loved them. Quin (aged 7) can get slightly scared at times, but Easton can’t get enough.

6. Where the Red Fern Grows: I selfishly read this to the boys last summer because I wanted to re-read the story I loved as a child. It was one of my favourites! I will encourage Easton to read it again on his own, because it’s just one of those magical books, and probably best read on a sofa all alone, where tears can fall freely.

7. Tom’s Midnight Garden : I bought this book after receiving several reader recommendations to do so. We’ve only just started reading it, but Easton wanted to include it in his list and I have a strong feeling he won’t regret doing so.

Easton isn’t the most enthusiastic reader, especially when it comes to chapter books without pictures… but we’re getting there. He seems to be especially drawn to simple or silly stories, mostly featuring boys as the main character. If you have other book suggestions to share for this age group, please do so below.

x Courtney

p.s. You can see previous posts in this series here:

Thanks for your comments

What an unexpected and crazy ride this past week has been. I just wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave comments both here and on my Instagram account. I have been overwhelmed by all the support but also by all the thoughtful and intelligent criticism. I wanted to let you know that your comments have really made me evaluate my own actions and beliefs, and I am thankful for a platform where we can discuss and debate parenting issues like this.

There has been a lot of media coverage highlighting both sides of this story, and while I think there are some important issues to be raised, I have also felt pretty exposed and vulnerable. A lot of stories have been very sensationalised, many of them have had incorrect facts, but this story from The Southland Times in New Zealand seemed to raise some interesting points (it is also one of the only papers I submitted quotes to). There is also a column in The Telegraph which, although mostly critical of my decisions, also highlights some interesting points, and for many reasons I enjoyed reading this editorial too.

Thank you again for all of your comments.

Courtney x

Sadness and outrage and gratitude all in one

I’m finding it really difficult to write this post and I think it’s because I have so many emotions swirling around in my head. But before the weekend starts, I wanted to share what’s happened and also wanted to thank you all for your encouraging comments. More than anything it is this overwhelming outpouring of support that has made me so emotional.

courtneyadamo_Instagram feed_screenshot

Yesterday evening my Instagram account was disabled due to ‘violating the community guidelines‘. After a bit of research I discovered that if you receive too many reports of ‘inappropriate’ images, it sends a red flag to the Instagram team and their automated service will disable your account entirely, without warning and without notice. Last week I received five different emails from Instagram to notify me of these reports and to tell me they had removed images from my feed. They don’t tell you which images they’re referring to, and even though I looked back through all my old photos, I was never able to decipher which photos were removed. I figured it must be incorrect — I have never violated any of the rules!  Earlier this week I received another couple emails from Instagram to tell me they had removed more images. And yet, still I could not find any missing images. Again, I thought it must have been an error.

CourtneyAdamo_Instagram photo

On Wednesday evening I posted the above photo of Marlow in her yellow rainboots and her ‘big girl undies’. I wrote about how, despite me trying to delay it, she had decided to be potty trained, and how she had kept her undies dry all day. I thought it was such a sweet photo of my baby girl and her gorgeous, round belly (and outie belly button). And I love that her pride is so evident in the photo – such a sweet and innocent shot of a successful day of potty-training. On Thursday morning the photo was gone from my feed and a another Instagram email was in my inbox. At least this time I knew which photo they had removed.

I went back to re-read the guidelines; I read the entire page twice and was positive that I had not violated any rules. Unless a baby’s belly is considered ‘nudity’…but surely it isn’t! She is a BABY!  It is no different than a photo of a baby wearing a nappy, or a little boy in swim trunks, and to entertain the idea that it is even remotely inappropriate is a disgusting thing in itself. Again, I was sure there was a mistake, so I reposted the photo. And by yesterday evening my account was disabled.

I never, ever, ever would have thought that posting this photo of Marlow would lead to this. Instagram has deleted four years of my family photos and memories: all the photos of our travels, my children’s birthdays, all my notes and comments about my children’s traits and milestones, all the comments from friends and family, the messages I received when Marlow was born, the hashtags I created to help organise my photos, and all the direct messages I shared and received from my siblings and family members whom I rarely see. All of it gone. I am sick just thinking about it.

The most infuriating thing is that there seems to be no recourse for the unilateral decisions Instagram makes to delete accounts. There is no contact information, no email or phone number. It seems that an automated system has deleted my account, and I can’t get a single human being to review the case.  If anyone has any ties to Instagram or knows anyone who can help, I would be hugely grateful if you could get in touch or leave a comment below.

In the meantime, I wanted to say just how much all of your support has meant to me. I have broken down in tears several times today, and not because of my deleted photos but because I have been so surprised by the outpour of support, the kind comments, the Instagram posts and re-posts, the emails I’ve received, and all the help I’ve been offered. More than anything this whole ordeal has confirmed for me how wonderful the IG community can be, and it has made it even more difficult to have been kicked out of it.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

xx Courtney

 

Stylish UV rash vests for girls from Rockley Cove

RockleyCove rashvests
UV rash vest from Rockley Cove
We first picked up on the importance of rash vests five years ago when we took our first family trip to Australia. We landed in sunny Sydney, packed our beach bag and headed for the beautiful sandy beach. When we arrived it was evident to us, and no doubt everyone else, that we were the naive Europeans! Our children were the only kids on the beach not wearing a rash vest, or ‘rashie’ as they’re called in Australia! The sun is so strong there, and because you’re in and out of the water so much, sun creams are only effective to a certain point. We bought the kids their first rash vests on our way home from the beach that first day, and they wore them every day for the rest of our month-long holiday.

While I’ll admit they’re quite useful, and certainly crucial for adequate sun protection in certain parts of the world, the aesthetic part of my brain has always found them to be quite unattractive, often featuring big logos and ugly colours.

Enter Rockley Cove. The Rockley Cove rash vests are both practical and stylish. They’re made from quick-drying UPF 50+ fabric and include a high neckline to protect the neck and back. Handy and quite cute as well. We got them for the girls and they wore them on our recent holiday in Italy. I must say, they were the only kids wearing them on the Italian beaches (people probably thought we were Australian! : )) but it’s a lot easier than slathering sunblock on them every hour! (If only they would design some for boys!)

x Courtney

Nori Goes to Bed

Nori Goes to Bed book
I’m back on a book kick, can you tell?! ; ) I think it has to do with Marlow suddenly becoming a little book worm. I’ve been re-discovering all the toddler books on our shelves and it’s so fun to watch Marlow as she ‘reads’ them for the first time.

Nori Goes to Bed is actually a new-to-us book my friend shared with us recently and it’s become a big favourite. It’s an adorable book about a little cat who’s getting ready for bed with fold-down flaps to reveal the actions on each page.

nori goes to bed book2

nori goes to bed

The book is not an easy one to get your hands on — I found a used copy on Amazon, but if you can get one it’s a great little book for this sweet toddler stage.

x Courtney

Quin’s favourite books (great for ages 4 to 8)

Quin (aged 7) had such a difficult time choosing his favourites! He wanted to choose practically everything on the book shelves, and had a hard time separating the books he loved as a young child from his current favourites now. He ended up narrowing it down… but still chose some of his longtime favourites, hence the wide age range. He has started reading beginner chapter books, and of course we’ve read some to him too, but when I asked him his favourite books he didn’t even think to choose those. I think he still prefers to read picture books if given the choice.

Here is the selection of books he chose:

 

Quin's favourite books

1. Bill and Pete, a funny little book about a crocodile and his bird friend, Pete, (who also happens to be his toothbrush). Quin also likes Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile and Bill and Pete to the Rescue. And I only just realised that this is the same author/illustrator who did Pancakes for Breakfast, which the girls really love.

2. Little Boat , a sweet story about a little boat in a big, wide world of water and adventures. Beautiful illustrations!

3.Derek the Deep-sea Doctor , a book that has remained a favourite for many years. (We love all the books by Leo Timmers .)

4. Amos & Boris , the most heartwarming story of a mouse and a whale (I have reviewed this book before here). We also love Sylvester and the Magic Pebble , also by William Steig – I remember reading it when I was a child!

5. Beware of the Frog . I think this might be Quin’s all-time favourite book. I remember bringing it into his classroom two years ago to read to his class and the entire classroom sat there mesmerised by this book – I even had parents come up to me, asking which book I had read because their children asked if they could get a copy!

6. Puff, the Magic Dragon , which comes with a free CD featuring the famous song by Peter, Paul and Mary. The illustrations are so beautiful, and I love that this is one of Quin’s favourite books because it was one of my favourite songs when I was little and I love singing him the song as we flip through the pages.

Quin's favourite books2

7. The Way Back Home and pretty much every book by Oliver Jeffers  (Quin literally selected them all – I had to force him to pick just one!).

8. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. There are lots of versions of this story, but this one is my personal favourite and the only one my kids know. A favourite of everyone in the family.

9. Ira Sleeps Over , about a boy and his first sleepover with his nextdoor neighbour. Quin hasn’t had a sleepover yet, and I think this story appeals to him because it addresses the scared and insecure feelings you can have when you finally decide to do it.  (This is another book I remember reading and loving as a child!)

10. The Three Robbers : Quin was scared of this book for a while and then started asking me to read it to him recently (it’s funny how when something is a tad bit scary, it can really appeal to children because of the emotions they feel when they read it).

11. I Want My Hat Back , which is a silly book we all love!

12. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (not pictured), a story about a boy who has a really bad day for several reasons. A great book which really appeals to boys (I remember my little brothers loving this book as well).

Please feel free to share your children’s favourites below. It’s great for me to discover new books, but also handy for other readers too.

x Courtney

Emily Ulmer photography

four kids in tree_small

Our friend and talented photographer, Emily Ulmer, is in town from Los Angeles and came over on Sunday for a little visit and impromptu photoshoot. We walked over to the park and she snapped some photos of my crazy brood running wild and climbing trees. I never would have thoughts she would have gotten good photos of them — Marlow had just woken from a much-too-short nap and was cranky and tired, and the others would not sit still for a single second.

But…. she got some really cute ones!! I think it’s a testament to her photo-taking skills that she managed to get these shots, and I thought I would share some of my favourites with you…

Easton and Quin_small
mama and marlow2_small

mama and marlow_small

marlow_small

Ivy and Marlow_small

three kiddos_small

marlow in tree_small

easton in tree_small

Aren’t they fun?! I love that she managed to get a photo of all of my kids up in a tree!

Emily will be spending the summer in Europe, mostly in London and Paris (but happy to travel for jobs!). If you’re interested in booking her for your own family photoshoot, please email her to make an appointment. I think she takes such beautiful, natural photos.

x Courtney

Perludi furniture: a cot, junior bed & ottoman (all in one)

Perludi Otto crib
Perludi Otto junior bed
Perludi Otto Ottoman
We were given a hand-me-down cot from friends when our first baby was born and it’s the cot we still use for Marlow. I think it must be at least 15 years old now, and it’s one of those cots that is ONLY a cot, and nothing else.  If I were to buy a cot now I would definitely definitely invest in a cot that transforms from cotbed to junior bed. I’ve always thought this is a brilliant, cost-saving feature.

I love the look of the Perludi ‘OTTO in the MOON’ cot because it goes one step further and gives you the added option of flipping the junior bed over and using it as an ottoman/sofa (with storage space for toys or whatever underneath). So clever! I like the sleek, modern design and love that it’s made from organic materials and is 100% recyclable (none of which can be said for the old cot we have!).

The Perludi range is available to purchase from Little Bou and usually ships (for free!) within 7-10 working days.

x Courtney

Simple tomato pasta

tomatoes and basil
chopped tomotoes for pasta
One of my favourite things about summer time is how much easier it is to make dinner! I’m not a very good planner, so in the winter time when you need time to make soups and stews, I often fail to get dinner made on time.  In the summer, with fresh produce on hand, it’s so much easier to make simple, delicious meals.

One of the easiest summer meals we make is a simple pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil. The only actual ‘cooking’ required is to boil the pasta. Other than that, it’s a bit of chopping and that’s it. Here’s what you’ll need:

-fresh, ripe tomatoes (preferably vine ripened)
-fresh basil
-garlic (usually 3-4 cloves, and I like to use fresh garlic this time of year)
-olive oil
-sea salt & pepper
-pasta (spaghetti, linguine or something similar)
-parmesan cheese

tomato pasta

Chop the garlic finely. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the garlic and crush garlic a bit to make it more of a paste (the salt helps to do this). Add garlic to bowl. Chop tomatoes and basil and add to bowl. Add a bit of olive oil and stir tomatoes to create a sauce with the tomatoes, garlic and basil.  Boil pasta and drain. Add fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Enjoy! (So easy, right?!)

x Courtney

 

Tocotò Vintage at Brebì Little Concept Store

tocoto vintage from brebi


I am absolutely loving the lightweight, summery pieces in the current Tocotò Vintage collection. The colours are all so pretty, and I love all the subtle details. I got this dress for Marlow a while ago, and it has the sweetest criss-cross straps on the back that have little ruffles over the shoulder. Such a darling detail.

Tocotò Vintage is available from Brebì Little Concept Store where you can now get 20% off the Tocotò Vintage collection with discount code: tocoto. The discount is valid until the end of the month. Enjoy!

x Courtney

Ivy’s favourite books (great for ages 4 to 6)

Ivy reading Frozen book

Are your children obsessed too? We have Frozen mania in this house like you’ve never seen (or probably you have…?!). We bought Ivy this Disney Frozen book for her birthday recently and she takes it to bed with her every night. So it was obviously her first answer when I asked her to tell me her favourite books. : )

We went through the little bookcase next to her bed and she picked out some of her other favourites. Here are the ones she chose:

Ivy's favourite books

1. Disney Frozen , as mentioned above.

2. Hector and Christina : This is a used book we found online, and I don’t think it’s in print anymore. But we love all of the books by husband and wife team, Roger Duvoisin and Louise Fatio, for their sweet stories as well as the charming illustrations. (The Happy Lion is one of our family favourites!)

3. Petunia : This is another Duvoisin/Fatio book about a silly goose who thinks she is very wise and goes around the farmyard telling all the animals false facts.

4. Corduroy : A classic! A story about a bear named Corduroy who has been sitting on the shelf of a department store for a long time, hoping for someone to take him home. I think Ivy likes the idea that stuffed animals can have feelings and can come alive when nobody is looking.

5. Olive and the Big Secret : This is another book about Olive (Ivy loves both of them!). In this story, Olive the cat is told a big secret and can’t help but tell a friend, so she tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola… and the secret gets out! It’s another silly story, but one that really appeals to Ivy (and actually all of my kids).

6. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses : Ivy loves all of the Olivia books, but this one is definitely her favourite. (I’ve blogged about this book here.)

7. Sick Day for Amos McGee : I was so glad Ivy chose this one because it’s one of my favourites too. The illustrations are so beautiful, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s about a zoo keeper named Amos who has special animal friends in the zoo. One day, when Amos is home sick and doesn’t turn up at the zoo, the animals hop on the bus and pay him a visit at home.  So sweet!

There are so many others we love, but as promised I am only listing the ones Ivy chose (maybe at the end of this series I should share MY favourites, just so they don’t get overlooked?!). Feel free to share your children’s favourites for this age range.

x Courtney

Armadillo & Co handmade rugs

Armadillo & Co Pinwheel rugs

Daisy-Multi-Bedroom

Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp.  Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.

She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?

Armadillo & Co rug in girls bedroom

rug in ivy's room

Armadillo & Co is an Australian-based company, but you can now find a selection of the children’s rugs from Nubie here in the UK, including the Daisy Weave rug in the girls’ bedroom.

x Courtney

18 months, and an adorable Strawberry Sunsuit

Misha and PUff strawberry sunsuit on Marlow

Misha and Puff strawberry sunsuit

I just received this edible little sunsuit for Marlow after pre-ordering it months and months ago, and I am in love!! (both with the baby and the sunsuit).  Oooh 18 months is my most favourite age — I have always said so. They are still squishy babies, still so snuggly and needy at times, but then so wonderfully independent and determined. And they learn and advance so quickly at this age – Marlow is talking up a storm and impressing us every day with her new words, and even singing lines of ‘Frozen’ songs! So funny.

marlow and mama

And while she is adventurous and wild at times, she is still so sensitive. She’ll ask to ‘walk, walk’ when I’m holding her, and then two minutes later she’ll hear an airplane (a noise that scares her) and she’ll be back in my arms with her little head resting in my neck. Oh, I could just eat her up. Especially in that Strawberry Sunsuit from Misha and Puff. Delicious!

xx Courtney

Marlow’s favourite books (great for ages 0-3)

brown bear
marlow reading brown bear, brown bear
I thought it could be fun (and hopefully helpful) to post the favourite books of each of my children.  Not the books I think are the best — the ones with the pretty illustrations or the beautiful classics we all grew up with — but the ones that really appeal to my children, the books they ask for time and time again. Sharing each of my children’s favourites will hopefully help define an appropriate age range for each book.

I’ll go in order from youngest to oldest, so let’s start with Marlow (aged 18 months)! Her favourite books are quite typical ones, the books my other children also liked at this age. Her attention span is short, so she likes books with little text that engage her with lift-the-flap features and vibrant colours, or most importantly, books with animals (we like to make animal sounds as we read!).

We’ve been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear lately (my copy from when I was her age!) and it’s a good one for teaching colours (and animals). This was my favourite book when I was little, and it’s been so fun for me to read it to all of my kids. Here are six of her other favourites (which I think would appeal to children aged 0 to 3):

marlow's favourite books copy

1. The Very Busy Spider : Another Eric Carle favourite! A spider lands on a fence post in a farm yard and starts to spin a web. She is visited by all the farm animals, and Marlow loves making all the animal sounds.

2. Goodnight Moon : A magical bedtime favourite of all of my children at this age. I can read this book by heart! A must-buy for any young child.

3. I Am a Bunny : Marlow loves the little bunny named Nicholas, and when he goes into his tree at the end of the book to hibernate for the winter, she always says ‘shhhhhhh’ and pretends to also go to sleep.

4. Dear Zoo : Another favourite of all my children when they were this age. There are flaps to lift on every page to reveal different animals.

5. Where Is My Baby? : Another book with flaps to lift and animals hiding underneath. Plus, we love helping the mama animals find their babies.

6. My First ABC : This is a great book for teaching babies their words. We play the game where I ask her to point to all the things in the book, and I’m always surprised by how many words she knows.

What are your toddlers’ favourite books? Please share!

x Courtney

Ace & Jig children’s line

ivy wearing ace&jig

mama daughter ace&jig

I discovered the Ace & Jig women’s line about two years ago, and it has since become my favourite brand. I especially love their easy-to-wear dresses — I layer them over and under other pieces depending on the weather, and they’re as comfortable as they are effortlessly pretty. Aren’t the fabrics so beautiful? I love every piece in the collection!

So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I adore their children’s collection as well. I recently got Ivy her first Ace & Jig dress and when I showed it to her she immediately recognised it as being ‘like mama’s dresses!’. So sweet. We snapped some photos on our recent holiday in Positano last week and I couldn’t help but share.

Ace & Jig is now available from Abacus Kids in the UK, or from Darling Clementine in the US. And you can find the women’s collection here.

x Courtney

Pancakes for Breakfast

pancakes for breakfast
If you know anything about my family, you probably know we take our pancakes very seriously. On Saturdays we make ‘skinny pancakes’ (aka crepes) and on Sundays we make ‘fat pancakes’ (the fluffy American kind). Sometimes we mix it up and make oatmeal pancakes or aebleskivers, but it’s always some form of pancake for breakfast on the weekends. So obviously my friend Sally knew we would love this book when she sent it to us. : )

pancakes for breakfast book

pancakes for breakfast 2

Pancakes for Breakfast is a sweet little book which tells the story through pictures, no words. It’s become one of Marlow’s favourite books recently, and I think it’s because we really read it together, looking at all the images and pointing out all the funny details (and of course making all the animal sounds). It’s interesting how a book without words forces you to really tell the story in an active and engaging way that appeals to children.  It’s also fun because Ivy can read the story too, without struggling over words.

ivy reading pancakes for breakfast
The story is about a little old lady who wakes up one wintery morning and craves a stack of pancakes for breakfast. She sets out to make them, and along the way realises she doesn’t have all the ingredients so she has to go out to the hen house to collect eggs and then back out to the barn to milk the cow and then over to her neighbour to buy some maple syrup, etc. The illustrations are really endearing –  we love the cheeky cat who eyes the milk and the clumsy dog who always gets in the way.  A sweet book for babies and children up to reading age. Available from Amazon (UK and US ).

x Courtney

Father’s Day Giveaway from Tom & Teddy!

TomandTeddy_small
Tom & Teddy is an Australian brand that specialises in stylish swim shorts for boys and men. They have a great range of bold and contemporary designs, including their newly launched ‘Vintage‘ range which includes iconic scooters, speedboats and airplanes, all featured on their signature quick-drying, UV-protective microfibre fabric.  All of their styles are offered in both boy’s and dad sizes and thus is the perfect brand to offer a Father’s Day giveaway! Click here to enter to win three different father-and-son sets of swim shorts (a value of more than £250!). The winner can choose their favourite styles and sizes — how fun are the scooters (featured below)?!

tom and teddy swim shorts

P.S. If you would like to order swim shorts for Father’s Day, please order by June 4th in order to receive your package in time!

Custom stamps from Sycamore Street Press

I recently ordered some custom return address stamps from Sycamore Street Press and I am in love — both with the stamps and with the fact that I no longer have to write out my address! (How did I not do this sooner? What a time saver!) I just got around to (finally) sending thank you notes from my birthday, and I felt so special stamping the back of every envelope with my own personal address stamp.

I also love their custom monogram stamps which can be used for all sorts of things — you can stamp it onto any blank notecard, inside a book cover, or onto a gift tag, etc. I’m leaving my new stamps out on my desk and can’t wait to put them to use!

x Courtney

Little Hanbury, clothes for boys (plus a 20% discount!)


Little Hanbury had a one-week pop-up shop in London a couple weeks ago and I scooped up some great clothes for the boys for summer. I bought these shorts for Quin (love the relaxed fit!), some great tees and hoodies by Nico Nico, and I also scored some cute items from the sales bucket!  The entire selection at Little Hanbury is so stylish, you really can’t go wrong.  And not only that, but they’re currently offering Babyccino readers an exclusive 20% discount on everything in store! Click here for details.

x Courtney

My Father’s Dragon


My mom is visiting for a few weeks and it’s so nice to have an extra set of hands to help with the kids. She started a tradition a fews years ago of reading chapter books to the kids when she comes to visit.  They’ve read a few of the Harry Potter books, all of the Pippi Longstocking books, and a few other individual stories.  She usually reads to them while I make their dinner and then again for 20 minutes before bedtime, and it’s SO nice that she keeps them all quiet and calm during what is normally a very stressful (and loud) time in our house. Not to mention, my kids love it!

My mom remembered a book series she read to my brothers when they were little called My Father’s Dragon , and she’s been reading the stories to the kids this week. (She bought the 50th Anniversary Edition which includes the three tales in one book.) The kids are loving it! The stories, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett in the 1940s, are about the adventures of a boy named Elmer Elevator who runs away to Wild Island, a jungle island inhabited by wild beasts, to rescue a baby flying dragon. The book includes loads of sweet black-and-white illustrations to help younger children interpret the stories (Ivy still likes books to have pictures), and the stories are short enough to keep them all interested from beginning to end. This is a great way to introduce beginning readers to chapter books — had my mom not read it to the kids, I think it would have been the perfect first chapter book for Quin (aged 7).

x Courtney

p.s. A previous post about books for bigger kids with lots of suggestions from readers in the comments section
p.p.s. I’m always up for discovering new books, so feel free to share your favourites below!

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