Fish Cakes, an easy recipe

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I start the New Year every year with great resolutions, one of them being to always have a kitchen full of prepared, healthy, delicious food, so that I don’t need to think about cooking from scratch in the evening when we walk through the door at 6.30pm on a cold winter night. I manage to stay organised for about 3 weeks and then my enthusiasm starts to wane a little bit, BUT I have to say, for the first part of January, we eat fabulously well and early(ish)!

Fishcakes are something I have always loved and they are so easy to prepare in advance and freeze.  There is no hard and fast rule in making them; you can use any kind of fish (even tinned tuna or salmon at a pinch) and so the recipe is easily adaptable to each family’s taste. I served them with a nice green salad or peas or kale – basically anything nice and green.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-500g floury potatoes
-300g fish (salmon and cod are great, but you can even use a tin of salmon or tuna if that is all you have)
-1 leek or spring onions or chives or even capers (whatever your family likes, I like the little taste of leeks with fish)
-a handful of  chopped parsley
-salt and pepper
-table spoonful of flour (or a wee bit more)
-1 egg

Peel and boil the potatoes until they are soft. While they are boiling, gently fry the thinly sliced leek and let it cook down. Blanch the fish until it is just cooked and let it cool down, then put it in a mixing bowl with the leek and break it up with a fork. Add the egg and the flour, salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes are ready, make them into mashed potatoes with a potato masher. Let the mash cool off a little and add to the fish mix. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon. Put some flour on the kitchen surface and into a plate. start forming the fishcakes and once they are formed (you might have to add a bit more flour at this stage, depending on how wet the mixture is), toss them in a bit of flour on the plate until they are coated. (I like to make quite small cakes so this mixture makes about 16 cakes for me).

This is the point you can freeze the cakes (I lay them out on a small baking tray and freeze them like that so that they don’t stick together. Once frozen I then chuck them into a bag, which takes a lot less space in the freezer).

Whenever you need the cakes, defrost them, panfry them in a bit of oil and serve with a nice green salad or whatever you fancy!

– Emilie

Happy New Year! (And let’s get organised!)

babyccino kids weekly planner final web KopieHappy New Year everyone! Here’s to a splendid, happy and healthy 2015 for all of you! Only a few more days of vacation for us, and then, on Monday, the children will be back in school and we will be back behind our computers — and behind tons of laundry to catch up with, fridges to clean and fill, birthdays to prepare, dentist appointments to make, etc. etc. This year though, we’re going to be so organised, because together with the talented Sara Betz from Litte Cube, we designed a super cute weekly planner which will help you to organise everything! We’re so excited by this, and we can’t wait to start using it on Monday.

You can just download the PDF here, and print to use. Happy New Year!

xxx the Babyccino Kids team

This month’s fabulous give-aways!

win_decEvery month we run amazing give-aways on our shopping portal, and now is this year’s last chance to win fabulous prizes! Here’s what we have lined up for you this month:

  • We have £100 of sweet girls-wear from Ses Petites Mains to give away — timeless designs created in San Francisco, for girls aged 12 months to 14 years!
  • Dutch label Koeka are offering one winner the super functional and sweet Oslo Sleeping Bag AND Florence Maxi Cosi Cover, both in the popular waffle fabric. The winner can have their choice of colour for this set worth £100!
  • Pepa & Co offer elegant, contemporary and handmade Spanish clothing brands for babies and children aged 0-6. These are pieces you won’t find on the high street. One lucky winner may choose the perfect holiday outfit to the value of £100 for your baby, girl or boy!
  • Kallio take vintage shirts and gives them a new lease on life by turning them into unique and timeless styles for children. Each piece is exquisitely re-crafted by hand in Brooklyn, NY and in limited quantities. You can now win $160 worth of unique, stylish clothing!

You can enter for all of the give-aways here; good luck!!

Draw a map of your city

Quin drawing map of London
Quin drawing
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In the days leading up to Christmas when the kids were home from school and looking for activities to keep them entertained, I suggested they draw a map of London with all their favourite things to do and see in their city. We had an extra piece of poster paper lying around and I suggested they draw the map and paint the details. I gave them some rough guidance about the layout of London and where some of the important monuments are, but for the most part, they really took the lead to draw their city all on their own. They looked at some maps of London and some guide books, but again they did most of it all on their own and a lot of it from memory. I was so impressed with their drawings of the buildings and love the way their map of London turned out. I also loved seeing what they included on their map — Big Ben and the London Eye, of course, but they also included Ruby Violet ice cream parlour, Thanh Binh (our favourite Vietnamese restaurant), Hampstead Heath, their dad’s office, Maltby Street Market, our favourite pizza restaurant, and of course Emirates Stadium, home of their favourite football team.

Easton drawing map of London

It took the kids a good couple hours to finish their map and they stayed really engaged with this activity throughout the whole process. They also learned a bit about their city — we talked about distance and direction and the layout of London, and they now have a better idea of where everything is in relation to our house.

Plus, I love their map so much I’m planning on getting it framed to hang in our entrance way. Such a sweet visual representation of the way they view London.

Courtney x

 

Last-Minute Christmas DIY: Hand Print Santa Ornaments

Santa Ornametns

A couple of years ago my sister-in-law and I decided to start a tradition of no gift buying for us adults for Christmas. Or at least no big ones. It can be something tiny like our favorite chocolate or tea or something of that sort or we can make them ourselves. So this year I decided to do just that. I made these cute Santa Ornaments from salt-dough hand prints of my kids for the whole family. They didn’t cost much (nothing even since I had everything at home already) but they are worth more than money could ever buy. It won’t really be a surprise for them since they will probably see them here already but I know they will be super happy to get them.

I love this craft for several reasons: it’s super fun to make, kids are involved, they make a perfect keepsake for the family, they look absolutely cute and as I said – the things you need to make them don’t cost much. Unfortunately this time I can’t say it’s a super quick diy but it’s the perfect holiday craft and fun for the whole family. I think I’ll make them every year just to track the growth of my two Santas! ;)

So, to make these Santa hand-print Ornaments you need:

Santa Ornaments

Santa OrnamentsFor the dough (to make the prints) for about 3 kid-size prints

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 120 °C and line baking tray with baking paper
2. Mix flour and salt in the bowl then gradually add water, stirring until combined
3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, roll out until about 7mm thick and transfer to baking tray
4. Press your kiddo’s hands onto the dough and cut them out leaving about 2mm edge. You can make ornaments with the left-over dough, just use some nice cookie cutters
5. Use a knitting needle or a chop stick to make a hole at the top of the palm, about 1 cm from the top edge. This will be used to string the twine through
6. Bake for at least 3 hours, turning them once after 2 hours. You can easily leave them in longer or even over night!

Santa OrnamentsNow, for the fun part you need:

White, Red, Black and Skin Tone Acrylic Paint
Acrylic Gloss Varnish (optional)
Twine

Santa Ornaments
Santa Ornametns

Santa Ornaments First paint the entire print white twice, waiting about an hour between coats
2. After the second one dries completely sketch the outline of the hat, the pom-pom and the face with a pencil
3. Draw a face (without the eyes, nose and mustache) and a hat (without the dots) using two coats again. But always remember to wait for about an hour in between! You probably have some red paint left so use that for the nose.
4. Now draw the fur on Santa’s hat and lastly the rest of the face (eyes and mustache) and the tiny dots on the hat. Leave to dry.
5. You can stop here and string the twine through the hole or you can seal the ornaments with two or more coats of Gloss Varnish, which will make the ornaments last for ages! Plus they look so much nicer with some extra gloss on them ;)

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Christmas recipes from the archives

We’re going through flour, eggs and butter at an impressive rate here in our house right now. There are just so many yummy treats to make (and lots of little helpers around the house to help lick the spoons clean!). Here are some of our favourite Christmas treats from the archives…

butterhorns
My mom’s Butterhorns (cinnamon rolls). We make these on Christmas morning and eat them while they’re warm, straight off the tray!

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Æbleskivers (Danish pancakes)! We eat these throughout the year, but I think they are traditionally eaten at Christmas time.

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Emilie’s ginger biscuits — spicy, crunchy and perfect to dip into a cup of tea!

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Kristina Kringle — the taste of Christmas!

View More: http://maudfontein.pass.us/tlt2

Esther’s Dutch Pepernoten recipe. So fun to make with the kids!

chocolate mint patties

Chocolate mint patties (or ‘mint patios’ as we call them in our family).

cranberry muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (or muffins). So good!

cinnamon swirl buns

Cinnamon swirl buns!

sugar cookies

Our favourite sugar cookie recipe! We’re planning on making these today. It’s my family’s Christmas tradition!

Which recipe tempts you the most? My mouth is literally watering as I type… !

Courtney xx

A Berlin Christmas market

ChristmasMarket_Star ChristmasMarket_Smoked_Salomon ChristmasMarket_Candy ChristmasMarket_Nutcracker ChristmasMarket_Roasted_Almonds ChristmasMarket_Angels ChristmasMarket_WoodWorks ChristmasMarket_Toasted_Almonds2 ChristmasMarket_NativitySceneOur new Amsterdam team-member Nina just sent me some photos of her visit to the Christmas markets in Berlin, and I just had to share them with you here! I’ve never been to a German Christmas market, but now that I saw these photos I just know we’ll have to go next year. Aren’t they just amazing? Such an atmosphere, and I love the artisanal products, and the old-fashioned candy and nuts and traditional smoked fish. Thanks Nina, for sharing!

xxx Esther

Chic sweatshirts for mums (and papas!) at émoi émoi

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Boy am I a sucker for anything French. I really never thought I would wear a sweatshirt with a slogan, but when that slogan is written in French it suddenly just looks so much more chic, no? And how could I resist the Maman Poule (‘mother hen’) version? I love it!

These ever-so-chic sweatshirts are available from émoi émoi, and there’s also a version for papas too! (Christmas gift?)

Happy weekend everyone!

Courtney xx

A Bag Full of Goodness, and hearty soups

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It’s the last day of school for the children here in Amsterdam before the holidays! I just took them there, it was still dark, and so stormy and cold and wet. In two days it will be the shortest day of the year here in the Northern hemispheres, and then, we’ll be counting down again to warmth and light.

This Bag Full of Goodness will be transformed in hearty and warm soups over the weekend, and will keep us healthy and happy! I really desire soups this time of year, and I’m always on the lookout for new, delicious recipes. Here are some soup recipes we’ve posted over the years and that have become family favourites, but I would love to get your suggestions for your favourite recipes, so please share!

  • My minestrone — full of veggies, one of my favourite soups and super healthy.
  • Pumpkin soup — my favourite pumpkin soup, the recipe comes from Courtney’s grandmother.
  • Turkish Bulgur and Red Lentil Soup — a recipe from The Guardian, delicious and healthy and I can always find the ingredients in my pantry.
  • Simple Tomato Soup — again, from the cupboard. Great for lunch, or for an easy dinner with good bread or a toasted cheese sandwich.
  • Celeriac Soup — this soup is delicious and healthy and perfect for a cold winter day. And so easy to make!

xxx Esther

PS That perfect Bag Full of Goodness is from Children of the Tribe, a cool Australian based lifestyle shop.

l’Asticot waterproof coats

lAsticot

I’ve been looking for a winter coat for Pim, and it’s not the easiest job. Plenty of cool choices around, sure… but I do have a little list of requirements.

Children here in the Netherlands are often exposed to rain — not only because of our wet climate, but also because (despite that wet climate) the Dutch like to cycle a lot. So when I’m looking for winter coats, I look for waterproof coats. Other characteristics I look for in the winter coats for my kids are: a simple silhouette, a neutral colour (so it can be passed down to siblings), warmth (obviously, but without being overly thick or puffy so it doesn’t restrict children in their movements), natural materials, and practicality. Also, the coat needs to be strong and durable (I bought a new winter coat for Pim last year and it’s full of holes already!), and, well, it has to have a certain ‘cool’ to it — of course!

Casper has already been wearing the above l’Asticot waterproof winter coat for a few weeks, and I really love it. It meets the above characteristics easily: it’s made of 100% organic materials, it’s warm (lined with organic polar fleece, and with a longer back, warm cuffs and high collar and hood), it’s not puffy, it’s machine washable, it’s durable, and it’s cool, with the contrasting stitching and lining. So… I actually just ordered Pim the exact same coat!

Now, I’m not saying it can now start raining (or snowing) here in Amsterdam, but if it does, the boys are ready for it!

xxx Esther

Merino wool basics from Smalls

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smalls long underwear
I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to find thin, stretchy merino wool tanks for the kids to wear under their clothing as an extra layer of warmth on these cold winter days… and literally the next day I discovered the range from Smalls. It could not be better timing.

Smalls is a new British company started by two kiwi mums now living in the UK. They’ve created a range of the softest, non-itchy New Zealand merino wool base layers perfect for this time of year. Their merino shirts and tanks are thin and naturally stretchy, easy to layer under other clothes for extra warmth. Equally, they’re stylish enough to wear on their own — the colours are all so nice.  And as if that’s not enough, Smalls supermerino is machine washable, naturally breathable, flame retardant, anti-allergy and itchy label free!

The range is designed for kids aged 2-12 years old. I’m thinking of getting one for each of my kids!

Courtney x

Wool and the Gang, cool knitting kits

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I’ve been feeling so much like knitting lately, so the Wool and the Gang kit I ordered came right in time! I’m going to be knitting the Mini Tartan Hula Hoop for Sara, and if I hurry a little I might just be able to finish it before Christmas.

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Do you know Wool and the Gang? It’s a super hip company, providing über cool knitting kits with everything one might need for one project — wool, needles, the pattern, and very easy-to-follow instructions. (If you love the Wool and the Gang designs but are not so into knitting, you can also purchase a ready-made piece, knit with love by one of the ‘Gangstas’, a global-wide team of knitters.)

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I love their branding, the quality of their materials, and their belief in handmade and sustainable fashion. Knitting their projects is so fun!

In spring, I made the Sailor Jumper (modeled by Pim below, after a rough and dirty game of football!) and I love how easy it was to knit that jumper and how nice it turned out when it was finished.

pim_WATGThe Wool and the Gang knitting kits make really great presents too — everything comes wrapped in a cool paper bag, and anyone who has an interest in knitting (even if they’ve never knit before!) I’m sure would love to receive a kit like this.

xxx Esther

Our favourite Christmas books

We keep our Christmas books tucked away on the bookshelf behind our sofa all year long until the start of December when we dust them off and stack them up on our coffee table. I think the fact that they’re hidden away for 11 months of the year makes it that much more special when we finally bring them back out at Christmas time. The kids pounce on them like they’re a long-lost treasure, each one finding their favourite book in the stack.

Don’t you just love this time of year with all the traditions — the favourite books and Christmas songs, the family recipes passed down from generations, the special ornaments carefully unwrapped and hung on the tree, everything drumming up feelings of nostalgia and anticipation and… magic!

I asked each of the kids to choose their favourite Christmas books, and apart from a small argument between Easton and Quin over a shared favourite, they each happily narrowed it down to one. I quickly snapped some photos on my phone, and here they are:

Dear Santa
Marlow loves the Dear Santa book with its lift-the-flap features.

Ivy's favourite christmas book
Ivy chose Olivia Helps with Christmas , which has been her favourite for the past couple years. We always laugh because Olivia tries to help, but isn’t very helpful. Classic Olivia!

quin's favourite christmas book

Quin chose The Night Before Christmas because I think he’s on a mission to memorise the whole story before Christmas! (I normally don’t read this one to them until Christmas eve, but we’ve broken the rules this year for Quin.)

Easton's favourite christmas book

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is the book the boys argued over because it’s really both of their favourite, but Easton won in the end and got to take a photo with the book. : ) This really is such a cute rhyming book and a very sweet story too.

Some other favourites in our family are:

1. Christmas in Exeter Street , about a house that gets filled to the brim with visitors on Christmas eve. There are so many people in the house – even a baby sleeping in the kitchen sink!
2. The Polar Express , a classic!
3. The Twelve Days of Christmas , a beautifully illustrated book based on the song — we can’t help but sing when reading!
4. My Wonderful Christmas Tree , another beautifully illustrated counting book.
5. Christmas in Noisy Village , an Astrid Lindgren book that perfectly captures all the sweet activities leading up to Christmas. The illustrations are so good!
6. The Christmas Wish , a new-to-us book this season which the kids really love (especially Ivy), featuring photographs of a little girl on a snowy adventure to find Santa.
7. The Snowman , which isn’t technically a Christmas book, but still captures the magic of this time of year.

Please share your favourites below!

Courtney x

My thoughts on TV and other electronics

Kids building towers

kids drawing in front of fire

I’ve had lots of questions recently about my parenting ideas, especially when it comes to electronics, so I thought I’d answer the most common questions in one post. I want to emphasise that this is what works in our family and for our children. I know it won’t work for every family… and it may not work forever for us. As our children grow, so will our parenting style. Below are some answers, and as always I welcome your thoughts and comments.

1.) Do your kids ever watch TV?

Almost never, except for the World Cup and the Olympics. But let me explain a bit… Both my husband and I grew up in big families and in homes without cable TV. Growing up, my family had a really old television that on good days, broadcast three channels. As a young child, I watched the occasional Sesame Street show, and sometimes, if the antenna had blown in the right direction, we could watch cartoons on Saturday morning with clear reception. Watching TV was not something we did as a family. Instead, we played a lot outside (I grew up on a farm), and we played a lot with each other (a benefit of having loads of siblings). Apart from the odd conversation where I couldn’t contribute my views on Doogie Howser or the Wonder Years, I don’t think I missed anything. I am really thankful for a childhood filled with imagination and adventure and I hope to create the same sort of upbringing for my own kids.

We don’t have some absolute no-television-whatsoever rule. We have a TV. We just aren’t really interested in TV. And we keep it in a cupboard—out of sight, out of mind. I also encourage my kids to play and find creative ways to entertain themselves without a screen. There was a short period when we allowed the boys to watch Scoobie Doo on Saturday mornings. After a few months I started noticing that, instead of crawling into our bed and enjoying a slow-paced morning, they would wake up and run straight downstairs to sit in front of the television. They stopped helping to make pancakes, couldn’t be bothered to set the table, and were cranky at breakfast time. It was then I decided that I prefer Saturday mornings without Scoobie! It really only took a couple weeks to break their interest and they went back to helping with the pancakes.

We DO let the kids watch the occasional movie, usually an old Disney classic (Robin Hood, The Rescuers, Peter Pan!) or one of the pretty films by Hayao Miyazaki, etc. In my dreams we would live in Australia or somewhere sunny and my kids would play outside and would never sit in front of a screen. But… a good family film on a cold, dark winter’s day is a nice treat every once in a while. Now that my kids are on school holidays I’m looking forward to the next rainy day so we can all sit down and watch ‘The Sound of Music’. My favourite!

2.) How do you keep your kids from the commercialisation of Disney? Do they ever ask you to buy them t-shirts with Disney princesses or super heroes on them?

I think I’m lucky with this one in that my kids never ask me for Disney t-shirts or Disney toys. Living in Europe I think we have less exposure to these things (and they don’t see them on TV). We also try to keep our kids out of shops. Most of our groceries are bought online, clothing is bought when the kids aren’t around and we avoid malls at all cost (which is easier to do when you live in a big city).

Even if they were to ask, I’d be unlikely to buy these things (mean mama, I know). Perhaps they don’t ask because they know they won’t get, but I like to think they are generally not interested. Here again, our policy is not absolute. I once bought Ivy some Hello Kitty underpants and this year I bought some miniature ‘Frozen’ figurines for the Advent Calendar. But… I rarely buy the kids anything pink or plastic, branded or battery operated, and I hate the idea of kids being sold to everywhere they look or feeling like they must have the latest branded toy.

It’s not always easy (given my business), but we try not to make a big deal about ‘new’ things—especially clothes or toys. We hardly ever give them a new toy unless it’s a special occasion, like a birthday or Christmas, and even then we only give them a few things, placing emphasis on quality over quantity.

My kids are young and so I’ve been able to influence their wants for now. I know that may change someday and so will my strategies, but I hope the values will stick with them.

3.)Do you let your kids play electronics? Do you bend the rules for educational games on the iPad?

Not really. We believe electronics are addictive. No matter if it’s a Nintendo game or an educational one on an iPad, once picked up they are hard to put down. And you rarely walk away from a long session on a device feeling wonderful—mostly the opposite. I notice this firsthand — I have to give myself breaks from my iPhone and remind myself to be more present. Like other addictive things in our lives, limiting our children’s exposure to electronics just makes sense to us.

We also believe they get only one childhood and the rest of their lives to be tethered to a device if they choose. Their education, their careers and their social lives may demand it some day, but for now we would love for them to find joy in the ‘real’ world. And most importantly — play together! Every once in a while, they will ask to play a game on the iPad or watch a movie because they are bored. When I tell them to go play, they might moan for five minutes, but then ten minutes later I’ll find them building towers or playing games together. If we gave our kids an iPad every time they told us they were bored, there would be far less imaginative play in this house!

As above, we know this all will change someday. Already Easton has math homework on the computer three times a week and I’ve noticed how it has changed the play in our house on those afternoons. As our kids grow our parenting style will grow with them, but we will always maintain our focus on family, friends, nature and activities.

4.) Do your kids fight? Do they moan? Do they throw fits? Do they nag, make messes, and sometimes torment each other?

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Do I feel compelled to reach for my camera in these moments? No. Does anyone? My photos are about celebrating the joys of bringing up kids — the simple and the beautiful things in life. I would never pretend parenting isn’t hard work. It is. It is the most difficult and the most important work in our lives. I choose to focus on the positive side of family life and I hope it comes across as honest and loving (and hopefully inspiring too).

Courtney xx

p.s. I’ve written before about electronics here, a post which stirred up quite a healthy debate!

Stay warm with cosy knitwear from Miou

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miou kids
miou kids knits 2
Brrr… It’s so cold all of a sudden! No snow yet here in London, but we’re waking up to a frosty lawn every morning and I’m sending the kids off to school layered in knits!

How gorgeous is the knitwear from Miou? The colours are so rich and the baby alpaca wool soooo soft! I got this coat for Marlow which she wore as an outer layer during the Autumn and is now wearing under her jacket as an extra layer of warmth. It’s so perfect. Plus, how adorable are the hats? My favourite is this one with not one, but two pompoms!

And oh my goodness, that little snuggly baby suit!! Scrumptious.

Courtney x

Soor Ploom, a beautiful brand for girls

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sarah winborn photos girls bedroom
Little Years 7
Last month, the talented photographer, Sarah Winborn, came all the way from Berlin for a little photoshoot at our house.  She took photos of our home and family for an interview I did with the Little Years blog. You can read the interview here — I answered questions about work and family, including my least favourite bits about motherhood… and also my favourite thing too! Of all the interviews I’ve done, I think this one offers a really honest reflection of my thoughts on parenting. Also, that top photo Sarah took of Marlow — it melts my heart.

In these photos the girls are wearing outfits from Soor Ploom and I wanted to include a mention of this brand because it’s one of my very favourites. That suspender skirt Ivy is wearing might be my absolute favourite thing she’s ever worn. I LOVE it (and so does she!). You can find Soor Ploom at these stockists.

Courtney x

Cosy house suits for my boys from Shampoodle

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It’s getting so chilly here in Amsterdam… It’s been warmer than usual for this time of year, but this weekend it was definitely time to get all of the woollens out of the storage boxes. Our house has big steel windows — very cool (but also very literally so)!

Speaking of staying warm… I recently ordered our boys each a Shampoodle ‘Home’ suit — a sweater and pants made of warm, organic knit cotton to keep them cosy and warm in the winter months. And they’ve been living in them! I have a lot of trouble convincing them to take them off for a wash. (My husband wondered if I could order him such a suit as well. A lot of the Shampoodle styles come in adult sizes, but sadly not these Home suits… I would have, otherwise!)

Shampoodle is a socially aware Swedish brand known for their comfortable clothes which are equally perfect for boys or girls, young and old. The clothes are are designed for an urban life style and are perfect for playing, inside or out.

Shampoodle_1

And of course… I couldn’t resist ordering this adorable teal coloured friendly Ghost romper for Casper — that was a given, right?? ; )

xxx Esther

 

Super Simple Christmas Paper and Gift Tags DIY

Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags DIY

Hi there, it’s me again! Here we are one post later and we’re already in the middle of December rush. Is it just me or does time fly faster every year? It feels like just yesterday it was still summer, doesn’t it? But it truly is the most delicious time of the year for me. I love the cinnamon smell, the beautiful carols and songs, even all those cheesy Christmas movies and cartoons and the different anticipations this time of the year brings for Tila. Like tree decorating, Christmas crafts and of course presents that St. Nicholas and the big almighty Santa Claus bring.

Last year I decided to start making my own wrapping paper and gift tags for these two men simply because Tila is one very smart cookie and I’m worried she’d get suspicious if she noticed they use the same paper and tags as we do.
This year for St. Nicholas I used this super simple technique of pencil-eraser stamping that literally takes you a few minutes and I made gift tags that even people with no drawing talent can do. I posted a picture of both on my Instagram and many moms loved it so I thought you might too.

Wrapping Paper

For the paper you need:

-Wrapping Paper (I used the plain brown packing paper you get at the Post Office)
-Pencil With an Eraser on the end
-White Paint or even better (and much less messier) a White Inkpad

First measure and cut out the amount of wrapping paper you need for your gift.
Tape it to the table so it doesn’t roll down while stamping.
Now tap the eraser onto inkpad or paint and press firmly onto paper.
When you’re done you move the paper on the wall and leave there to dry completely.

What You Need for Tags

In the meanwhile the gift tags can be done and all you need for those is:

-Thick brown paper or Thin Cardboard
-Scissors or Craft Knife
-Black Drawing Pen
-Small Pom-Poms
-Glue
-Red and White Twine
-Hole Paper Punch

Xmas Gift Tags Xmas Raindeer Gift Tag

Cut out rectangles (mine are the size 6 x 10 cm) and draw this simple raindeer you see on the photo above, glue a pompom where its nose should be, write a name of the recipient and punch a hole in the center about a centimeter from the top edge.

Now cut about 20 cm of twine and slip it through a hole.

Voilá! Simple as that.

Ps. Don’t forget to get rid of any evidence. If there are any failed tags, throw them away! Don’t leave any pompoms lying around! And wash the eraser! Kids are sometimes (many times) much smarter than us… ;)

-Polona

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Casper, potty training (and a sweet onesie from Piupia)

Piupia_2 Piupia_1

Unlike his girlfriend Marlow, who basically potty trained herself when she was 1 ½ year old, Casper isn’t into the potty thing at all. When his daycare decided a few weeks ago that now that he’s 2, the time is ripe for him to be potty trained, I agreed to give it a go. We’ve potty trained all of our children between the age of 2 and 2 ½ so it sounded like the natural thing to do. But he clearly wasn’t ready — he hated the idea and didn’t like the potty at all! So we decided to try again in a little while…

Advantage of it all, is that I can dress my ‘baby’ in bodysuits just a little bit longer. I just love those skinny little boy’s legs sticking out of those nappy filled onesies!

Piupia_3

Piupia_4Here are a few photos that I took of Casper wearing his fox body from Piupia. Super soft and cosy, and made entirely out of certified organic cotton. And here’s a photo of Casper in a Piupia onesie a year ago. Sigh — what’s the deal with our babies growing up so quickly?

xxx Esther

Scoot Basket

Scoot Basket
Scooter basket

I don’t think I know a scooter-riding child who wouldn’t love one of these Scoot Baskets on their scooter! My girls each have one and they love filling their baskets with little nature finds on our walks in the park (lately they’ve been collecting pretty leaves, nuts, and sticks).

The Scoot Basket easily attaches to any scooter with two velcro straps and stays in place perfectly. It also looks quite cute on their little scooters, don’t you think? Available from Scoot ‘n Pull, which also sells the Scoot ‘n Pull strap.

Courtney xx

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