Greetings from sunny Antwerp! We are having such silly, girly fun this weekend and thought we would share some photos with you. (And if you happened to be in the Park Avenue Karaoke bar last night at 2am, will you please erase the image of three slightly tipsy girls singing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at the top of their lungs.) Oh my!
xxx Courtney, Esther and Emilie
We’re all in sunny Antwerp together celebrating our birthday! And working very hard, of course. And shopping (shh… don’t tell our husbands!), and eating (chocolates!) and drinking (Belgian beer!). Such fun!
Kisses and enjoy your weekend!
xxx Esther, Emilie and Courtney
p.s. We’ll be updating our Facebook page from Antwerp regularly. So check in!
Four years of blogging, discovering and evolving. It has been quite a ride and it has been great. I don’t think I really knew what blogging really was when we started… and look how far we’ve come! Here is my list of five favourite posts from the past year. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
- Turkish Bulgur and Red Lentil Soup, as it has become a favourite staple in our household, for the kids and for me.
- Teaching basic math skills – it is such an easy project and a fun why of learning with children.
- The tutorial on how to draw a penguin, as we love Oliver Jeffers and I love how it teaches kids to draw a character using simple shapes.
- The Kuala Lumpur Weekend Get-Away Guide as it is one of my favourite cities and I cannot wait to visit and use this guide myself!
- Losing my patience, as I think it is such an honest post about something every mom goes through.
How fun to look back at the past year of posts! It always reminds me how much I really do love our blog. As usual, it was really difficult to narrow down a list… but here are five of my favourites from the past year:
- Three children is perfect (for us) because I share the feeling completely, and because Esther so eloquently writes about a sentiment every mother must feel, no matter how many children they have.
- Cabbage and Flea – nicknames for children because it’s so funny to hear all the names we call our children!
- Made by Joel it aint because it reminds us to stop trying to be perfect and that craft projects should be fun for the kids to do, rather than perfect for adults to admire (and I love that Brooke Reynolds left a comment making us all feel better about her reputation as being ‘perfect’).
- Nettle Quiche because HOW COOL that you can eat stinging nettles! (And we made this dish for Easter this year and it was DELICIOUS!)
- La Parisienne because Emilie gave me that book for my birthday, and I have since bought about ten copies as gifts for other girlfriends. It’s the perfect little ‘bible’ of all things chic.
Who doesn’t love a piñata? They make great party decorations, they offer entertainment (if you decide to bash the beauty up), and they’re filled with candy! Such fun! Jordan at Oh Happy Day has recently started a Piñata DIY series and offers all the tips and necessary steps for how to make them. It actually seems quite easy to do — I think I might give it a go for our next party… although I’m not sure I could stand watching it get destroyed after all that work, no matter how many sweets it bears.
Images from Oh Happy Day
It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we first started Babyccino! SO much has happened in the meantime. Happy things, sad things, beautiful things, silly things… It’s been a bit of a challenge at times (and a lot of hard work!) to keep the blog going strong, but we’re happy and proud that we’re still blogging away (AND also that we launched the shopping portal this year as well).
Looking back through the posts of the last year I rediscovered so many cool things, and it was a hard job to pick five favourite posts, but here are some I thought were worth sharing again:
- Customise your summer hats because I love how simple and cute this little project is!
- The funny things kids say because I loved to hear all of the funny things your kids say!
- Dallas Clayton’s Top Ten book list because I love Dallas Clayton and I love our book lists!
- Courtney’s house on Design Sponge because it’s such a cool house and she did such a great job!
- Outdoor Ice baubles because I think that’s about the cutest craft project ever.
There are so many more… Maybe we should do a favourite five every month?
Do you know that sentiment — to be almost more excited to give presents than you are to receive them? I especially have that feeling when I know I have found something spot-on perfect, which will most certainly be well received, and is wrapped with lots of love and care…
This wrapping paper from Lollipop is just perfect for such a present — so happy and stylish with the baubles, printed on 100% recycled paper with lovely veggie inks. (There are matching gift tags and labels available too!) I’m also loving the polka dot masking tape from Petite Alma — cute with the baubles paper, but also exquisite on plain white paper (readily available from your kids’ crafting corner!). More cool party ideas can be found in this week’s Top Ten!
My sewing machine used to be my grandmother’s. She probably bought it in the fifties, and it’s so heavy I have to ask my husband to carry it to the table, but it still does the job wonderfully well!
These goody bags would be perfect as a classroom treat or for party favours at a birthday party (as seen on Vlijtig). I used pages from an old Milk magazine, cut out squares about 15×15 cm (6″x6″) and glued the outer ends together to make a tube. Then I sewed together one end, filled it with a mix of raisins and almonds, turned it 90 degrees and sewed together the other end. Presto! I left some thread at the ends, but you could also use zig zag scissors for an interesting twist.
Sometimes the simplest birthday party ideas work best. My daughter Coco is soon turning five and I don’t think that there is anything more exciting in her world than a sleep-over birthday party. Last weekend she went over to a friend’s house, and five little 5-year-olds had the best time ever slumbering away, eating cake, pretending to be ballerinas, and giggling in general (the photo is of the sleep-over posse — don’t they look like they are having a pretty good time?).
And I can understand it — sleep-over parties are great. I still actually remember my first ever sleep-over party as if it was yesterday — my parents let me and my friends stay up to watch some of the Eurovision song contest and it was the best thing that had ever happened to me!
Sleep-overs are also pretty easy to organise, as far as birthday parties go, because they are always going to be a success. And here are a couple of tips that can help for a successful sleep over party:
I LOVE these paper confetti garlands from the KristinaMarie Etsy shop. What a fun way to cheer up any old wall or room. I can imagine using them for all sorts of occasions — from birthdays to anniversaries, a ‘welcome home’ day or even an ‘it’s grey outside and I need a little colour in my life’ type of day…
(First seen on Oh Happy Day)
If the idea of throwing a birthday party for your kids at home sends you into a total panic, I understand completely. For me, nothing causes more constricted breathing than the thought of having twenty some odd kids over to spend two hours at my place sugar-infused and running wild. I do have to say though, there is something really nice (and financially sound) about having a party at home — I mean isn’t that what we all grew up with?
A friend recently tipped me off to this adorable Etsy shop called Love the Day when she threw a princess-themed tea party for her daughter last month. Love the Day offers customized paper party decor and will help to develop a complete party theme — making everything from invitations, to banners, to cupcake holders to customized water bottles and these adorable chocolate wrappers, and it is all VERY reasonable and with a quick turnaround. The designs are all emailed to you directly and all you have to do is take them to your local print shop to produce the goods. If I do decide to bite the bullet and bring the party home this year, Love the Day will be the first stop in the process.
Birthday parties are always fun, but for kids they take epic proportions. My girls would love nothing more than a fairy, princess or ballerina party. I think the only thing that would top it would be a fairy-princess-ballerina party all tossed together. Unfortunately, I am not as talented in organising these kind of parties as some people — I think I just lack that eye for those little details that make the party come together. But I did find this beautiful idea for a Woodland Fairy themed party on Stephmodo. What a lovely idea.
The big advantage of organising a themed party for kids is that, apart from the party looking nice, a theme gives you a focus around which you can organise games, cakes and activities. For me, at least, that makes the whole birthday party idea a little bit less daunting…
It was tough, as always, to choose just five. But here is my selection of favourite posts from the past year…
1.)Esther’s DIY Stick Horses (pictured above) — because that is the coolest birthday idea ever… and she made those only one week after having her third baby!
2.) Emilie’s Kids Clothes in France Don’t Have to Break the Bank — because I love that you can buy cute clothes at the grocery store in France.
3.) Mo’s Christmas book Advent Calendar — I am soooo going to copy her idea for this Christmas season (and I always love Mo’s book recommendations!).
4.) Esther’s DIY Colourful Lanterns — because we made those lanterns and I love them; they’re still sitting on my dining table and we light them on ‘special occasions’.
5.) Dina’s Listen to Them and They Just Might Listen to You — because my husband and I both read that book and it completely changed the way we want to parent our children (‘want’ is the key word — I don’t always have enough patience!).
I just LOVE wrapping presents. It’s one of my favourite little hobbies. I’m not even very good at it, but I just find it so fun to mix and match the wrapping paper and ribbon. I also have a collection of colourful masking tapes which adds a whole new dimension to gift-wrapping. Such fun! I bought my masking tape from Present&Correct — they have so many options, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one.
When my twin girls were born I really wanted something beautiful and wearable to celebrate their arrival. I loved the idea of having a simple charm necklace that was beautiful and that I could wear every single day. Lucky for me, I knew where to go to get the job done - I turned to Jemma Lulu to help me create what has become my single solitary favorite piece of jewelry ever. Her simple and beautiful disks make for an incredible gift for a new mom or grandmother and although part of me is reluctant to give out my secret, especially in New York where there are a gazillion jewelry designers, I just wanted to share.
Each of her pieces is handmade and can be as customized as you see fit. I chose simple brushed gold disks with birthstones and had her engrave their first names on the front and birth-dates on the back, but you can mix the metals, the stones and the details as you wish. Some people even add charms for their husbands (and pets) as well — hey why not?!. Jemma Lulu ships internationally and be sure to check out the rest of her line because everything she makes is truly beautiful and one of a kind. And even better, she offers a 3-week delivery. This one shown is called the “Valentina”….
As every year, I found it so difficult to choose my top 5 favourite posts, especially as we now have, Mo, Kaela and Sara contributing so there is so much variety.
1) Courtney’s Potato Stamped Penguins (pictured above) — I love potato stamping as it is such a simple craft idea, and I especially loved Courtney’s penguins, I think they are so sweet and I can just see her family making them together.
2) Esther’s Craft Garden — I loved the way that this project came together: a craft project, an empty pizza box and a few scraps of paper lead to a completely new project and hours of fun, I am sure.
3) Our Barcelona weekend get away post by Marta — The first of our series of weekend get aways and I really enjoy it. It made me feel like taking my kids and jumping on a plane and enjoying a new city.
4) Dina’s Date Night — It made me laugh and reminded me about how important it is to take some time away from kids and do something for yourself.
5) Sara’s Top Things to do in Melbourne — It is so great to read about what is going on for kids in a city literally on the other side of the world from us. Sara makes Melbourne sound like a great place to be in with children.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love Rifle Paper Co. — I think their designs are just so darling. (We have the ‘Uh Oh’ print in my daughter’s bedroom and I love it!) Anyway, they have just launched a new collection of birthday cards on their site and they could not be cuter. The assorted birthday set has 8 cards, two of each design pictured above. They also offer party invitations in the same cute designs.
I just spent the past two hours trying to come up with my favourite 5 posts from the past year — I came across so many great posts that needed re-reading or more investigation, that I kept wavering from my task… But alas, here they are:
1. We’ve made these stuffed zucchini flowers a few times now, and they’re just heavenly. And much more simple to make than I originally thought! Thanks, Emilie, for the inspiration.
2. This cool lamp has been on my wish list for the house since Dina posted about it. Along with some other Jonathan Adler items…
3. These caramel apples that Courtney made for school look just beautiful and can’t be anything other than delicious. I’m going to make them for my kids soon!
4. Such a fun project, these Moustache Photos from Mo (pictured above). It’s on my list of things to do as I would like a collection of silly photos like these on my bedroom wall.
5. My daughter is just starting to read and write and I find the process fascinating. Sara’s idea of using Scrabble letters to keep her son busy before dinner is a fantastic idea!
There are some really great blogs around of very talented designers who do nothing better than throw the most beautiful, picture-perfect parties. I love looking at these blogs and imagining that I too one day will be so organized that I can pull together such a feat — that I will be on time with printed invites (for once!), that the birthday cake will be made the day before (and perfect), that the table will be perfectly decorated, and that the favour bags are home sewn and filled with cute, usable objects that are earth friendly on top of it. And that I wear a pretty dress, my hair looks nice and I have some make-up on for crying out loud!
If you’re like me, and love a pretty party but are somehow too busy, un-organized, or maybe not creative enough to organize your own, I suggest you tun to Acme Party Box NOW. How cute, HOW CUTE, are these party supplies? I can’t get over it — if only I knew about them before!! Think about it — the only thing you need to do is order a box! Everything you need for a perfect party is included — the favours, the crowns, the table setting, decorations, invitations… And trust me, it’s all SO cute and thoughtfully put together, you can’t possibly not be impressed! Beautiful fabrics, Holtztiger animals for centre pieces, little jars with straws for glasses, soy wax candles for the cake, and so forth… And, unlike the many plastic party goods that end up in the trash, the Acme products can be re-used over and over again (or composted).
I think the woodland theme is my favourite…
I recently discovered these nifty reusable SmartGarlands from Hip Hooray. What makes them so brilliant is that they look like the beautiful tissue paper garlands I love so much… yet they’re made of a water-resistant, high density polyethylene material which makes them super durable and totally reusable. I can’t tell you how many garlands I’ve had to throw away because our outdoor party got rained out and the garlands got soggy.
You can buy the SmarGarlands in loads of different color schemes to celebrate every holiday imaginable, including birthdays, Halloween, new baby arrival, Christmas, etc. The garlands are hand produced in America, but they ship worldwide. And for the rest of the month, Hip Hooray is offering Babyccino Kids readers FREE worldwide shipping when ordering 3 or more SmartGarlands! Click here for USA shipments or here for international shipments.