Happy Easter!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend! (Sugar cookies recipe here.)

xxx

Stitch n’ Kids: Easter decoration

With a few sheets of felt and a 6-year-old daughter who now masters the blanket stitch, we’ve had some fun creating the above Easter decoration! If you feel inspired, you can download a template for the bird and the egg-cozy here. (You can also quickly make the egg-cozies on the sewing machine, if you have one.)

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Red! And Finger in the Nose
Rush Hour

Stitch ‘n Kids — DIY Easter chicks from pom-poms

I remember making little chicks like these as a child! The idea is simple: make two pom-poms of different sizes, one forming the body and one the head, and sew them together.
Do you recall how to make pom-poms? Cut out two rings from thin cardboard: a big circle (about 8,5 or 3 1/2″ Ø) with a smaller circle (1,5 cm or 1/4″ Ø) cut out from the middle. To make it easier for children to wind the yarn around the disk, you can cut out a thin wedge from the ring. Start winding yarn around both the rings, until the entire cardboard rings are covered with a few layers of wool (a 4-year-old child should be able to do this).

Now the tricky part: holding the wool together in the centre (pinch it!), cut the wool in between the two layers of cardboard (sharp scissors help). When done, tie a piece of thread in between the two circles and make a firm knot. If you want to sew the pom-pom to something, leave the ends. For the chicks, I didn’t use thread but pipe cleaner to tie the wool together. I left the ends of the pipe cleaner, they became the legs of the chicks! Now remove the cardboard, and there’s your first pom-pom! Repeat the exercise with smaller rings (about 5,5 cm or 2 1/4″ Ø) to make the heads of the chicks (I used smaller pipe cleaner for the beaks). You can make the pom-poms extra fluffy by keeping them in hot steam for a second. Last step is to sew both pom-poms together, and glue on goggle eyes (I used a hot glue gun for this). My kids love their chicks!

xxx Esther

PS Yellow wool would have been more appropriate but I didn’t have any around…

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Little Bean
La Camille cushions

Easter crafts

If you’re stuck for Easter inspiration, check out this compilation of fun craft projects featured by Parent Map! (Including our cute and easy-to-make bunny masks!)

Weekend Getaway: Munich

Courtney and I spent a hilarious weekend seven years ago (pre-children) at the October Fest in Munich. It was great fun: there was a lot of beer, schnapps, bretzels, German sausages, sleeping and card playing involved. I don’t think we had ever seen so many people our age in lederhosen and dirndls. It was definitely not the kind of weekend you would have with kids.

I am pretty sure that a weekend in Munich now would be very, very different, but potentially as much fun — it is a beautiful city, very traditional but also very happening. For some local insight on what Munich has to offer for kids, Mitali, a stay-at-home mom living in Munich, has very kindly given us her tips and recommendations on what to do in the capital of Bavaria. She is a mother of two (son Nilay 6 years, daughter Nalini 7 months) and the proud owner of a crazy dog, Greta. She loves travelling and has lived all around the world, but, in the end, has always enjoyed coming home to Munich. She has some great ideas of what to do in Munich! (more…)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Patchwork Alphabet Print from Ruka-Ruka
Cyber Cupcakes!

Happy New Year!

Happy, happy 2012! May this new year be filled with lots of love, fun, hugs, sleep, tea, laughter, books… etc. Did you make a new year’s resolution? We’ve promised to be a quieter family (less shouting!) but we also hope to have more of all of the things listed above. Here’s to hoping!

xx Courtney

Print found on Pinterest

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Happy 2011!

Happy Holidays!

We send you our warmest wishes for a happy, cosy, and relaxing holiday with your family and friends. We are ever so grateful for your support over the past year, and we look forward to an exciting new year ahead with you.

Love,
Esther, Emilie and Courtney

Making pomanders

As a child, my mum and I made pomanders out of oranges and cloves every year for Christmas. I love that smell, so spicy and Christmassy, so last weekend I put my kids to work. It kept them focussed and busy for quite some time! It’s such an easy and lovely project, great for all ages (even 19-month-old Ava liked to participate — pulling the cloves out of the oranges!). There’s nothing more to it than an orange, cloves and a wooden toothpick to make it easier to get the cloves in. You can make patterns or just let the kids go crazy — it won’t affect the scent of the pomanders! When finished, you can tie a ribbon around them and hang them somewhere decorative. Or, give them away as presents!

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Tamar Mogendorff
Lille Barn Hat, Scarf and Mittens

Do you take your kids to see Santa?

Every year of my childhood my mom took us to see Santa. We would drive into the city, head to the big department store and wait for hours in the queue to see Santa. I still remember standing there with all my siblings, waiting eagerly to see him, and my mom telling us all to behave and stand patiently! My mom has kept all the santa photos in one big album… and it’s hilarious to look through them. From the time I was a baby (crying on Santa’s lap) until the time I was 20 (looking very awkward standing next to him!), there is a photo from every year.

Isn’t it funny how some kids LOVE santa and others think he’s the scariest thing they’ve ever seen? My now four-year-old has cried every year we’ve visited Santa. And he told me the other day that this year when we go he wants to sit on a stool, not Santa’s lap. (Sweet.)

So tell me, is visiting Santa a tradition you did when you were younger? Do you now take your own kids to see Santa? I’m curious to know which countries do and don’t do this!

xx Courtney

p.s. That photo is of my two boys when they were younger (2½ and 6mos) and it’s my favourite of all our Santa photos. I just love how they’re both crying… and Santa looks so perfectly poised!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Snooshy!
Subway Line to Bedtime — A Book of Delays

Happy December!

Can you believe it’s December already?! Wow! It crept up quickly this year, didn’t it?!

This year will be the first year we stay in London for Christmas… which means we get to properly decorate the house and make it nice and cosy and christmasy (!!!). We’re all very excited about it and have already hung our stockings, set out the decorations, and of course, hung the Advent Calendar (which starts today!). And… I’m listening to Christmas music as I type! Oooh Happy December!

Have you caught the ‘holiday bug’ yet? Do you do an Advent Calendar? Any other little traditions you do around this time of year? I would love to know!

xx Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

ESP No.1
Cheese and Olive Cake

Pepernoten, a recipe


Sinterklaas is back in the country! The yearly national craze has started again here in the Netherlands, with an old man dressed as a saint (Sinterklaas, or: Saint Nicolas, who is the predecessor of Santa Claus!). After his long trip on a steam boat from Spain (where he lives), he arrived last weekend and has been personally welcomed by the majors and burgomeisters of every little and big town of the Netherlands. Children are in a continuous state of nervousness and excitement, because the Good Man knows everything and writes every act of mischief in his big book. And good behaviour will be rewarded of course, on those days that the kids may put their shoes in front of the fireplace…
Sinterklaas has a lot of helpers, the so called Black Peets, and they bring the most delicious little ginger-cookie like treats called ‘Pepernoten’ (pepper nuts) with them. They traditionally leave them in the pre-mentioned shoe in front of the fireplace, together with a little gift.
Making your own pepernoten is super easy and a fun activity to do with children (and also really delicious even if you’ve never heard of Sinterklaas in your life). They taste especially good with hot chocolate, I feel.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 150 g (2/3 cup) butter
  • 135 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 10 g (2 teaspoons) ’speculaas spices’ (if you can’t buy them ready-made see recipe below)
  • 250 g (1 1/4 cup) self raising flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp milk

For the speculaas spices, mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground aniseed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 160 °C (320 °F). Cut cold butter in little chunks and knead through sugar, speculaas spices, salt and self raising flour. Add the milk bit by bit until the dough is smooth and supple. Start making little balls (a bit smaller than a marble). Your kids can help with this: if you give them little pieces of the dough, they will love making the little balls! Line the little balls up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten them slightly with your thumb (I make two batches). Bake for about 15 minutes until light brown.

Bon appetit!

xxx Esther

PS If you want to read more on Sinterklaas, please read this post I wrote a few years ago!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Twinkle Toes
Cozy Christmas Blanket from Hopsan

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Hope you all have a spooky, fun, candy-filled day!

Tell us, will you be taking the kids trick-or-treating? Throwing a little party? Did you carve pumpkins? Or… is this just a normal ‘ol day for you? Is Halloween even celebrated in your country? (It is certainly becoming bigger and bigger here in the UK!).

xx Courtney

(Sweet Halloween image from Belle and Boo)

Bell Tents


I snuck off to a music festival in the UK last weekend, leaving my two little lovelies behind. It was great — good music, great company and one of my top favourite things to do: camping! I think my most cherished childhood holidays were spent in a lurid, orange A-frame tent, which always sagged a bit in the middle and wasn’t always water proof.

The bell tent we took last weekend was in a different league altogether and I don’t think I can ever go back to a small tent. My friend Russell had it left over from a film shoot (here is actually a clip featuring our tent!). It was super easy to put up and soo roomy and cosy! I thought we were being wildly original, but these tents are now hugely popular with the Brits and were all over the festival camp ground.

I am seriously thinking of getting one. It would be perfect to pitch up in a garden for the summer, or go for a comfortable camping trip with the whole family. I am even thinking it could work as a spare guest room in the garden, when lots of people come to visit!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Sally Test
Everything in its place…

City Walks with Kids


I just found out about the City Walks with Kids Guides and wonder how I ever managed to travel without them. It is such an ingenious concept! Instead of a book, it is a pack of cards you can take along for the walk you want to go on. The walks are cleverly laid out so that they are easily done with kids and take you to famous and not so famous places that the whole family can enjoy. I love the way the texts are written — they are packed full of little anecdotes and stories that will get everyone’s attention.

I am definitely picking up City Walks with Kids in Paris. Though I live in this city, I have never used a travel guide to explore it with my kids, and it will be a fun thing to do this summer! City Walks with Kids in Paris and City Walks with Kids in London are available from Smallable. The other Cirty Walks with Kids (Washington, San Francisco and New York) are available from the Chronicle Books website.

Happy Mother’s day!!

Hope you all have a spoiled day!

xxx Esther

PS Photo of my husband’s heart-shaped muffins this morning — yum!

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Bubbles and Cream

The Royal Wedding

Have you caught Royal Wedding fever yet? The wedding is this Friday! I haven’t really paid any attention to it… but everyone I know is starting to get excited about it (my mom even came to town for the event!). Every store front in London is devoted to the wedding, and there are commemorative gifts and objects available to buy everywhere (my mom came home the other day with a deck of cards, each card with a different photo of Wills and Kate — too funny!). Here are a couple of my favourites.

Do you know of any other good commemorative gifts?

xo Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Beeswax crayons from Muji
The Lambini Papoose

Happy UK Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas in the UK! Hope you have (had) a splendid day!

xoxo Courtney

PS – Mother’s Day card (above) from Rifle Paper Co.

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Maiike

Weekend Away Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is one of my top ten favourite cities. One of my closest friends lives over there, and so, before kids, I used to visit almost once a year. Kuala Lumpur is such a great mix between a modern metropolitan city and an ethnically diverse melting pot, full of history and buzzing with energy.
We are very lucky to have Vivien, a mom of two and a KL local, do a write up  for us of her favourite child-friendly places in and around Kuala Lumpur. Vivien works with Irene Hoofs on one of our favourite blogs Bloesem Kids. She lives with her two daughters and husband in KL. Do let us know if you have other great ideas of things to do in KL. (more…)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Lucky Voice at home!
Bunny Finger Puppets

Happy Valentines Day!

(Sugar cookie recipe here)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

New Years Resolution 1 of 999,999
Happy Valentines Day!

Caftan cool


Caftan-lover like myself? Well… look no further than Australian bohemian-inspired webshop Rock My Horse because their caftans are AMAZINGLY gorgeous! At this time of the year (it’s Summer here folks) my kids are in and out of pools and sprinkler systems every 2 minutes and running around in next to nothing. Caftans are the coolest, most versatile piece of summer clothing to throw on in between swimming sessions, for any activity. And trust me, these are the coolest I have ever seen… especially if you are partial to paisley prints (which I adore). They are all hand embroidered, made of the finest, softest cotton and their lovely range extends to include boys, girls, babies and even us ladies. So do have a look… even if it is snowing outside and you are shivering to the bone because before you know it the sun will be shining and you will be bikini-clad and heading off to the beach!!

ps. Rock My Horse is now having a Christmas sale with 25% off. They will ship world-wide. Don’t you just love the internet?

- Sara

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