Our Kids’ Favourite Toys

Can you believe we have less than 6 weeks until Christmas? Where did this year go? Suddenly it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! So… with the countdown to Christmas now on, we thought it would be a good idea to do a series on our kids’ favourite toys — the toys they play with every day, the toys that have lasted years and years, the ones they always go back to despite receiving something new…

So, if I had to pick one toy from my kids’ playroom, their absolute favourite toy of all time, it would have to be their collection of Schleich Animals . My boys take their Schleich animals with them into the bath, into their beds, to school in their coat pocket, to the park, to the beach, etc. etc. We always have at least a couple animals with us at all times, be it a dinosaur , a sea creature , or a farm animal

(Image found here.)


DIY Goody Bags

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.

xxx Esther

Sleep-over Parties

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:


Cute Confetti Garlands

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…

I love the Recycled Hymnal Paper Garland (how cool!) and the Goldenrod Confetti garland… or even the Poppy. Which ones would you choose?

(First seen on Oh Happy Day)


Insourcing the Birthday Party — Customized Decor by Love the 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.


Woodland Fairy Party

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…

– Emilie

Birthday Week: Courtney’s Top Five

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!).

Colourful masking tapes from Present&Correct

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.


Happy Birthday to ME! Jemma Lulu’s Charm Necklaces

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”….


Babyccino Birthday — Emilie’s Top Five

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.

– Emilie

Rifle Paper Co. Assorted birthday set

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.


Birthday Week: Esther’s top Five

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!

xxx Esther

Acme Party Box Company

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…

xxx Esther

Water-resistant garlands from Hip Hooray

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.


Happy 3rd Birthday to us!

This week we celebrate our third birthday of blogging! Can you believe we’re three already? In honour of our birthday, we will be devoting the week to all things birthday-related: party ideas, decoration, birthday gifts, birthday stationery, and other festive ideas. We will also each list our five favourite posts from the past year.

But before we begin, we thought we would remind you of some of the great birthday-themed posts we’ve already mentioned here on our site…

-Give good Karma — the best gift of all

-Mo’s cute ideas for a Toadstool Tea birthday party

-Cute decorative tape from Famille Summerbelle

-These super cute candle holders will make even the plainest cake look good

-Beautiful wrapping paper from Rice

-Make your own birthday cards with these great rubber stamps

-Birthdays are even better when there’s carrot cake involved

-These crocodile clothespins look great on top of goody bags

-Mo’s animal-themed birthday party and the matching goody bag idea

-Make your own birthday bunting, or if you can’t be bothered — just buy these!

-The best birthday crowns we’ve ever seen (we each have one!)

Retro-inspired Personalized Lunchboxes

These gorgeous personalised lunchboxes by Feterie are high on my birthday list for my children this year. With a bit of a retro-cool vibe, they are of lightweight tin construction and as functional as they are stylish. I think they’d be great for toting around paper and coloured pencils too, or whatever knick-knacks it is kids love to drag around (footy cards in my son’s case).  I can also imagine them being great for keeping all my daughter’s hair paraphernaila together — those elastics, clips and ribbons crop up all over the house, yet when we need to tie her hair each morning for school, there’s never one to be found! Feterie ship world-wide.

– Sara

Melbourne’s top 10 in Caos Magazine!

Recently, wonderful Spanish magazine Caos asked Babyccino if we could compile a list of the 10 top things to do when visiting the city of Melbourne. We were very excited to oblige! Here is the list written up which was of course then translated into Spanish (and which, most will agree, makes everything sound just so much more wonderful). (more…)

Weekend Get-away: Barcelona

To introduce our new weekend getaway feature, here is our first post from Marta in Barcelona. Barcelona is one of my favourite Mediterranean cities. It has the perfect mixture of culture, beauty, beach life and beautiful weather. It always strikes me as such a relaxed city that is easy to explore and perfect to visit ‘en famille’.

Whilst searching for someone with inside info about visiting Barcelona with kids I remembered Marta. Marta lives with her husband and little son in the wonderful Gracia part of Barcelona. She is a professional translator and also a blogger. Her blog English in Barna, is about life in Barcelona, her blog A Bilingual Bébé gives tips to Spanish speaking parents on how to raise their child bilingually, and finally she  also blogs for the international organisation Pocket Cultures. All in all Marta is the perfect person to start off our new feature. I do hope you enjoy discovering Barcelona through her post. And please do leave us any comments or recommendations you have about Barcelona. The more ideas the merrier… (more…)

Things to do with BOYS in Paris

I have been discovering lots of BOY friendly activities here in Paris — a far cry away from the usual shopping and coffee-drinking that you normally associate with this city. I reckon our Babyccino Boys Theme week is the perfect opportunity to share them with you…

The Argonaute at the Parc de la Villette: The Argonaute is a 1950’s submarine that was taken out of commission in the ’80s and is now moored in the Parc de la Villette, right beside the Cité des Sciences, Paris’ science museum. It is fascinating. The submarine has been kept exactly the way it was and you get a real feeling of what it was like to live and work in such a confined space. The motors are completely exposed and the audio tour (available in several different languages), describes the life on a submarine really well.

Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais: All the boys I know are going wild about the Dinosaur exhibition at the Grand Palais. The exhibition is not too big to be overwhelming but it is a great way to get to know this species that fascinates so many boys. The animated models are VERY realistic, so small children might be slightly scared. Children discover how dinosaurs lived and ate and there is even a replica of a dinosaur poo (somehow poo never fails to get a rise out of the under-18 crowd).

Play area at the Parc de Belleville: This play area is our favourite place to go at the moment. It has been built specifically for city kids to get them to use their imagination and get to know their physical capabilities better. It is such an unsual structure that every kid interprets differently: for some it is a boat, for some a village, for some a jungle and for some just a great place to let go of some steam.

– Emilie

Parking Garage by Plan Toys

I actually bought this lovely little Parking Garage (or car park..if you will) to make sure I wasn’t completely succumbing to gender programming.  I also wanted something for the boys to play with when they came over to visit   The garage itself has an elevator and ramps to run cars up and down – not to mention plenty of parking spaces!   While most of us know that the quality of Plan Toys is unsurpassed —  they do tend to suffer from my greatest complaint… as in… “I love the way it looks but will my kid actually play with it?”.  In this case, I am happy to report that they did play with it quite a bit and the boys were always happy to see it.  In the end though, it doesn’t really matter — it’s just so sweet looking that even if it does sit on a shelf collecting dust, it looks impressive.


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