Super cute name labels from Mooo


Summer holidays are coming to an end (phew — I need a break from all the cleaning and washing a ’stayvacation’ entails). Aussie children are back to school, the start of a brand new school year. And that means labels. Lot’s of them. Especially for my son who starts his very first year of school (so exciting) and who would be prone to losing his beautiful head, were it not so well attached to his body. These adorable name labels are from Mooo. They also do the coolest personalised books which I have always intended to get for my children but which I have never got around to organizing. Also personalised bags, pencil cases, wooden puzzels, stationery, canvas art and an array of other personalised goodies, all of which make fabulous birthday present options.

- Sara

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Call mum
Hope & Greenwood

Another favourite toy: Bonz!

Apart from our collection of Schleich animals, these Bonz must be the toy(s) my boys play with most often.  We have both the Exo Bonz kit and the Sea Bonz set, and all the pieces have been thrown together into one big bin… meaning my kids can create the most unusual creatures! Every day I find at least one new creation in their bedroom — and it’s so fun to see how imaginative they can get.

The Bonz construction kits are great because each piece can be connected to the next, so the possibilities are endless. Plus, the sets come with cool pieces like eye balls, wings, jellyfish tentacles, and special connector pieces which pivot 180° to allow the creatures to pose, bend and move. Even I like playing with these!

Available from Amazon (US).

-Courtney

My daughter’s favourite toy — Baby Dolls

Again, no surprises here — my 22-month-old daughter loves ‘baby’ (currently it doesn’t matter which one). We have two babies in our house.  On your left you will see Winnie (the winker).  We bought Winnie from the Early Learning Centre for my son about a month before my daughter was born to get him into babies (which seemed to work quite well). On your right you will see Polly Dolly (for ease I have called most of my daughter’s soft-toys ‘Polly’ – we have a Polly Parrot, a Polly Princess, a Polly Polar (bear) and of course Polly Dolly).  My husband bought Polly Dolly for Lioba the Christmas before she was born.

Polly Dolly is a Kathe Kruse Bade-Puppe (bath doll).  Kathe Kruse is a wonderful German brand famous for dolls (but a brand I personally love for all their baby toys and music boxes*).   (more…)

My son’s favourite ‘toy’

For this theme week I asked my son, Elias, what his favourite toy is. Elias is 3 (nearly 4) and so it will come as no surprise to most mums with a 3 (nearly 4)-year-old boy that he answered, “my scooter”. Elias loves his blue Micro scooter and goes everywhere on it.  A boring trip to the shops can be turned into an exciting adventure if his scooter comes too.

However, the unoriginality of this choice brings me to tell you about another of Elias’s favourite toys (if it can be called that). Elias likes his ’stuff’ — everyday he carries around with him 3 – 4 random objects and can not be with out these ‘things’, whether they are tied to him in some fashion or stuffed in his pockets or in his back-pack.  He is lost without them, he goes to bed with them and they are always the first things he asks for the next morning.

I did find the whole ‘thing’ obsession a little strange for a while, but now I love it about him — all his ‘things’ form so many ideas for games and imaginative play throughout his day. So what are his typical ‘things’? Well I just checked his pockets (see picture for proof) — this is what I found: (more…)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Muji Christmas
Les 400 Coups

Favourite Toy: Zingo!

Zingo was the first real board-game, so to speak, that we played at home on a regular basis.  The concept is simple — it’s “Bingo” but using pictures and words.  What I like about it is that it’s not only great for teaching visual recognition and learning first basic words but that it helps to plant the seeds for learning how to “take turns”, “help each other out”, and for one of my daughters, perfect the fine art of “cheating.”  It’s a game that young kids like and one that an adult won’t mind playing as well.  Available on Amazon (US and Europe).

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Muji Christmas
Les 400 Coups

Silver rattle (Ava’s favourite toy)


When we moved to our current house in the beginning of this year, we quickly found out that we had a very sweet, very old neighbour, who has lived here since our houses were built in the 1950s! She had her three children here, sadly lost her husband here, recently turned 90 here, and still enjoys living in this house, and hopefully she will be able to for a very long time.
When Ava was born, she gave us the most beautiful and thoughtful gift: a silver rattle with a teething ring, engraved with Ava’s name and date of birth. Such a timeless present, and something she will keep for the rest of her life.
And it is this silver rattle that is Ava’s most favourite toy. She loves playing with it, looking at the reflections on the silver, chewing on the ring, shaking it to hear the bell. It is easy for her to grasp and hold, and it is the one toy she looks for when we put her in her playpen. (Similar rattles can probably be found at your local jeweller, or in Europe here.)

xxx Esther

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Muji Christmas
Les 400 Coups

Favourite Toys : Just what the Doctor Ordered!


This classic doctor’s bag  has been, I am guessing, our most enduring, regularly used toy. Of course it helps that it is made of wood and not plastic and has withstood the test of time, over-zealous budding anesthetists included (that would be my son I am referring to!) My daughter was gifted her kit when she turned 3 and the role-playing is showing no signs of decline – it is just a little more sophisticated these days! She is now 9.  Over time we have added other items like cotton wool and bandaids, a pad and pencil for prescriptions and a real but broken mobile phone/pager… (more…)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Blossom maternity jeans
Doll’s wooden bed from Ikea

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.)

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Blossom maternity jeans
Doll’s wooden bed from Ikea

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

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

A Babyccino Party!
My Neighour Totoro

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:

(more…)

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

A Babyccino Party!
My Neighour Totoro

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)

-Courtney

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.

-Dina

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

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Dinner. Ten Minutes. Done.
Very portable kid’s desk

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!).

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Dinner. Ten Minutes. Done.
Very portable kid’s desk

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.

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

I love Aztec
Paperless Post

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”….

-Dina

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

I love Aztec
Paperless Post

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

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

I love Aztec
Paperless Post

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.

-Courtney

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Let Them Eat Cake!
Win a personalized silver bangle!

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

ONE YEAR AGO WE WROTE ABOUT:

Let Them Eat Cake!
Win a personalized silver bangle!

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

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