I’ve been lazy about blogging. I’ve been spending the evenings watching movies instead. Lately we saw Wanderlust and 21 Jump Street, both got me laughing out loud in a really dorky way. We also went to see Brave, which isn’t my favorite Disney Pixar movie, but it was fun to go out to the movies, eat popcorn and enjoy a warm summer night, while my sister babysat.
This week, our friends and their son are coming from San Francisco to stay with us. We, obviously, will have a difficult time watching fireworks since we’ve got little kids who are too young to appreciate pyrotechnics. So we decided that we would have a picnic with the kiddos instead. And the beauty of a summer picnic is that food and dessert can be super simple and still be so, so yummy.
I plan to make these with Gabriel’s help (he’s interested in “helping” these days). I love the idea of making two bite watermelon stars just with a cookie cutter!
And maybe even these without his help with the same cookie cutter. I love rice crispy treats and I make them the classic way, straight from the back of the box.
I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures so I can at least share those.
In the meantime, I can share this little snapshot of our summer so far. Very trashy, blow up pool in a ghetto back yard, but my babies don’t seem to mind too much.
you might also like:
This is amazing. Have you heard about Caine’s Arcade? This young boy named Caine built his own arcade out of boxes and tape in East Los Angeles. He let his imagination run wild and this is a video about him and his work.
Please, please watch it. Your heart will grow at least 4x and if you’re like me, you might ugly cry. Click here for Caine’s Arcade.
you might also like:
This adorable vintagey looking toy is actually an MP3 player for kids. Since it’s made for very young cutie pies who [typically] can’t read yet, the buttons aren’t labeled with numbers or letters; instead they’re different colors, each with a different function, allowing little fingers and imaginations to explore and control sounds freely. Also, it’s battery operated, which means there are no cords or wires for little teeth to chew on. Brilliant, right?
When I saw this, I fell in love immediately. Unfortunately though, I can’t find a source that sells this German beauty in the US. Verflucht!
you might also like:
Does your child have a lovey? What in the world is a lovey? Some sort of comfort item, think Linus’ blanket in the Peanuts cartoons, an item that they find comfort in.
I tried to give Gabriel a lovey when he was an infant, but he wasn’t that into it. I gave up on the idea. His grandpa gave him this funny looking monkey bear stuffie. It’s made of Alpaca fur and is quite possibly the softest thing I’ve ever felt. They’re handmade and crazy expensive, but they’re meant to last for generations… an heirloom doll. Find them here.
So one day, while I was putting him to bed, he decided to tug at my hair, the hair that has JUST begun to grow into the bald spots I acquired after having him (my hair fell out in chunks). Desperate to keep those delicate little hairs, I grabbed this doll and put it in his hands. Lo and behold, a lovey.
He pretty much sleeps with this guy nightly now and whimpers if you take it away! Do your kids sleep with a lovey? What is it?
you might also like:
image via pinterest
What is the etiquette when it comes to gift-giving for kids? I’ve talked about this extensively among like-minded parents, and it’s such a touchy subject, I thought I’d bring it up here.
Here’s the problem: I’m neurotic. I’ll own up to it. I’m probably less neurotic than a lot, but more neurotic than most. I like my house, and I think we live in a pretty cute and well curated home. For the most part, things don’t come into our home without long discussions, frequent visits to the furniture store, taking home samples of fabric and lots of envisioning of what it will look like in the space. It happens, it’s annoying and it’s fun: I’m keeping it real on a sprouting acorn. I mean, you don’t even have to be neurotic about your home, maybe you live in a small apartment and space is limited.
My sister got this rocking horse from the Pasadena Flea Market. It is the biggest toy in our home. She asked me about 8x if I liked it. It was very considerate and I really do like it.
So what happens when someone decides to give your kid a MASSIVE teddy bear? (I need to be clear that everyone has been very considerate of us with Gabriel and his toys). When my cousin and I were younger, someone gave her a GIGANTIC teddy bear. It took up half her room and it took both of us to move it around. She thought it was awesome and I was jealous of her, but I’m not sure her parents felt the same way. Her parents, my aunt and uncle, live in a gorgeous home, covered with antiques and sculptures. He is an artist, she owns a gallery, they both love aesthetics and decorating their homes. Their beach house is actually featured in this book and they rent it out via this facebook page. (Their beach house has a TOTALLY different look than their home in the city, but I really digress).
I never thought about this stuff before I had a kid, but now I’m conscious of it and KNOW that I myself have been this kind of gift-giver. I remember giving my niece a pink princess vanity table, and maybe her parents cringed when they saw it. Who knows? Most of us know what it’s like to want to get the most awesome gift for your favorite kid. And we ALL know that when it comes to little kids, the bigger the gift, the closer you get to being their favorite. As parents, when your well-meaning friend hands over a huge gift to your kid and everyone’s eyes light up with excitement, how can you be the grumpy friend/parent who says “OVER MY DEAD BODY IS THAT FUGLY THING COMING INTO MY HOME”? You can’t because it’s impolite and we’ve always been taught to be gracious receivers. My aunt and uncle lived with this bear (and they still do, because at this point, he’s part of the family).
So, how do you handle this? Do you think you should make a registry for your kids? That’s takes away the fun for gift-givers and it maybe a little presumptuous and impolite? I should note that I did create a list at a store for my own parents after overhearing my dad’s colleagues talking about needing to get Gabriel a motorized car that he could ride on. Maybe you just smile politely, take a few pictures and haul it off to goodwill? Or perhaps you just let go of trying to control the situation and live with the giant bear?
For my family and close friends, I ask the parents what they want for their kids. And if they are being polite and refuse to tell me, I get that kid some books, because they’re timeless, unobtrusive, and you really can’t have enough of them. And if books aren’t your thing (there’s something wrong with you), you will never go wrong with something small and cute (provided it isn’t a living creature). But maybe always include a gift receipt.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
you might also like:
I have to apologize for the insane amount of pictures on this post; it’s really hard to pick which ones I liked most. I also went majorly overboard with stuff for the party, but I had so much fun!
We ended up with not one, but TWO cakes! We originally had one that was 7 layers big, with a cat in the hat and the WORKS, but unfortunately the beautiful cake met it’s match with a sharp turn in the car.
I have to say though, they more than made up for it with a SECOND cake which arrived just in time for the second wave of guests. Both cakes were from Magical Cakes who even did a very special little animation for Gabriel. On small pieces of paper, placed on top of cupcakes, you could scan the image with your iphone or ipad and up popped an animation with Gabriel in a scene from the Cat in the Hat!
First of all, I purchased this package from Etsy’s lee laa loo store, I also did a post on another etsy store that also does party packages here. I didn’t use all the different printouts, but I did use some of it and changed it around on photoshop to use for other things. I also purchased wrapping paper from Amazon in red and white stripes and blue and white polka dots to use for party hats and pinwheels. I downloaded a simple Dr. Seuss font here and used it as I pleased!
From top to bottom.
Homemade rice krispie treats packaged to look like thing one and thing two. I wrapped them individually with wax paper then made a red tissue band with a cut out of either “thing one” or “thing two.” And with the help of my sister and her boyfriend, glued a generous little fluff of blue easter basket paper grass from a party supply store.
Small aqua pod water bottles wrapped with custom labels. And old fashioned popcorn boxes filled with kettle corn. I had originally wanted to pop my own kettle corn since the packaged kettle corn at groceries have partially hydrogenated fat, but fortunately my sister found packaged kettle corn at Trader Joe’s without any funky additives.
Coke bottles. Because really, why not?
Little bags with homemade cookies. The recipe I used is here.
Plum Organics banana and apple puree pouches decorated with pinwheels for our littler guests who don’t necessarily eat sugar yet. I roughly copied this post to make the pinwheels, except I glued on a piece of wrapping paper on one side.
Fishbowls with candy. The candy we had were peppermints, miniature chocolates rewrapped and some with quotes from books, my favorite was one from Happy Birthday to You, “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” white rabbit candies and striped lollipops.
I also made this super simple cutout using a science fair poster board and a giant photocopy of the image from The Cat in the Hat.
It was a pretty sweet little party and people really got into the theme which was so very cute. Not pictured: Gabriel’s super cute giveaway, audio cds with Dr. Seuss stories read by comedians. Find it on itunes here. All in all, Gabriel’s first birthday party was a smashing success and the poor little man fell asleep instantly and didn’t even wake up when I changed his diaper!
My friends are MEGA amazing, thank you to Kyo and Alexis, who spent an entire day crafting with me. Extra special thank you to Kyo who came early and threw on the ergo and set up the party while I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Also thank you to Mendie for the cakeS, my sister and Jeff who bailed on the Grammy’s to be at Gabriel’s first birthday party, Alli who also helped make the party look super smashing, my mom for getting so into it and of course Aidan, who put up with my insane nights of no sleep because I was crafting.
***edit.. I forgot to thank Andrea who came over to my house from MISSION FRIGGEN VIEJO at like ONE in the FRIGGEN morning to drop off some party platter that I just sat on and broke. Andrea, a new one from pottery barn is coming in the mail to you. I suck. But you should check out her blog, here. It is seriously GOOD reading material and insanely cute kids. We may have already begun to plan the wedding between her daughter and Gabriel.
you might also like:
What is it about grandfathers and their grandchildren? It’s amazing and so special, the bond that they can create. Each of Gabriel’s grandfathers are WORLDS apart. I’m talking, WORLDS. My father is a gruff, chain-smoking, wine-drinking, golf-playing, sometimes intimidating big guy. Aidan’s father is soft-spoken and well, MEGA healthy, like started natural-foods-in-the-United-States-goes-for-a-run-every-day-rides-his-bike-to-work-grows-his-own -vegetables healthy. Seeing them in the same room trying to have a conversation is pretty comical. But, one thing they have in common is Gabriel. They LOVE their grandson.
My dad never had a son. It is all he wanted in the world, and now that he has Gabriel, he basically needs to see him AT LEAST once a week. It is THE sweetest thing. And if you’ve ever met my dad, the idea that he has a soft spot for a babbling toddler is SOOOOO not what you’d expect, but my dad has starry eyes for his grandson. And grandpa Paul? Grandpa Paul lives in San Francisco, so he doesn’t get to see Gabriel quite as often, but when he does, he just eats him up! When Gabriel was one month old, he came down to visit and held him until he fell asleep.
I had starry eyes for my grandfather, and he had them for me too. He was super stylish (despite what this 70s Mao Zedong picture makes him look like), and had all the coolest furniture, including an original Eames lounge that Aidan and I hope to get restored to give to Gabriel one day.
I know Gabriel will love his grandfathers as much as I loved mine, he already does. He will call my dad Pappy Poch and Aidan’s dad Grandpa Paul.
I called my grandfather Pappy Pichon (Pappy pigeon in Spanish, weird right?). We called him that because my grandmother called all her grandchildren pichon (pigeons) and my eldest cousin started calling her Mommy Pichon, and it would only make sense that Mommy Pichon would be married to Pappy Pichon!
What do your kid’s call their grandfathers? Pop? Granddad? Gramps? Pops? Lolo? Papa? Grandpa?
Grandfathers are awesome.
you might also like:
Remember Michelle’s post on storage solutions? Loved those! I just saw this one recently that hasn’t been out in production yet, but it’s still pretty awesome.
Find more information about Quackie here.
I’m busy doing stuff for Gabriel’s upcoming birthday bash! I can’t wait to share the crafts and pictures!
you might also like:
New Year’s Eve for us was always about fireworks. We would take our afternoon naps and stay up late watching the spectacular show. This was, of course, not in California, rather, it was in the Philippines (where I grew up). I know fireworks are more of a Fourth of July event here, but I still like fireworks on New Year’s Eve. This was a project that I did as an alternative. It was still pretty fun and simple, and definitely easy enough to do with young kids.
1. Cut circles from the cardboard to fit one end of your toilet paper rolls and cut a slit through the middle.
2. Thread a piece of ribbon or string (I used yarn) through a large button and through the slit of your cardboard. Tie it in a knot to secure the button.
4. Pull the pieces together and add glue all over the tissue square. Glue the toilet paper roll to the piece of tissue with the button on the inside of the tube.
5. Cut a rectangular piece of tissue, big enough to cover the toilet paper roll and more.
7. Roll bits of tissue to create “confetti” balls. You can get really creative here. Add glitter, use a hole puncher and punch out bits of paper. Go wild, but remember that you’ll probably be cleaning up those bits of fun later.
8. Fill the tube with your “confetti,” the more the better. Once you’ve filled it to your heart’s content, twist the extra tissue off at the top.9. Try to stave off over-eager, curious babies.10. Tie it off with a piece of yarn (make sure you do this nice and tight). And hang it up.
When you’re ready, with the countdown to welcome 2012, pull on the yarn at the bottom and stand beneath it! They should give a fun POP and shower you with all the fun stuff you put in there!
I was obviously unsuccessful at step 9.