Monday, 29 February 2016

DIY Pillow Beds--easiest things to make, best kid loungers ever!

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It was the night of February 13th and I was running around trying to find that Valentine's Day table cloth that I knew I had tucked away somewhere. I wanted the kids to wake up to a table that told them that it was love day. To a feeling that the day was different than the cold, dreary February day before. To a feeling that something great was going to happen that day (even though I had nothing planned). To a day that reminded them that we have to create our own happiness every day--even if it comes in the form of paper heart plates, cheap heart lollipops wrapped in cellophane, polka dot straws and Valentines from mom and dad at their seat.

So thrilled and happy, they were.

So we ate heart shaped pancakes (which may have looked more like blobs than hearts, but they didn't notice) with Valentine's Day sprinkles and chocolate chips hidden in them, and we made cupcakes on a whim when the baby went down for a nap.

And hours later when these two started squabbling over whose toy belonged to who, the words "Don't forget, it's LOVE DAY!!" could be heard echoing through our house.

So as the day winded down and kids were tucked into bed I finally finished putting the last of the velcro on the little project that I had been working on for them.

Because, you see, I had been searching for something for Mya and Carter for a while now.

Something for these two to use for quiet time during the afternoons. Something for these two to use when lots of friends come over and there aren't enough spots on the couch. Something for these two to cuddle up on with a good book or use in their many forts that they make as a comfy spot to hang out in.

And I finally found the solution: PILLOW BEDS.

They're pretty much amazing.

Because not only are they super comfy, but with a quick flip of a pillow they can turn from a cozy bed into a lounge chair in 2 seconds flat.  

AND (the best part), they're ridiculously easy to make. Even if you're not a great sewer. Even if you're not crafty. They're just unbelievably easy and quick to make. 

And another great part about them? Well, they're super cheap to make--especially if you go to the same stores that I bought my materials from (and I pretty much went ALL over town to find the best deals, so save yourself a ton of time and just go to the stores I went to). You'll save a bundle, and a great big headache.  

So, if you want to make these awesome beds for your kids too, all you need are a few pillows (I decided on 5 total since I wanted them to be able to grow into them) and you need the same amount of pillow cases. Then you just need some velcro and you're done.

Buy your pillows from Walmart (for less than $4 each!). Buy your pillow cases from Giant Tiger (if you want some funky patterns--they're 2 pillow cases for $2!). Or, I found out after searching Walmart forever and finding nothing, that Walmart also has $1 pillow cases--but they're hiding on the end rack (near the bedding aisle) on hooks in tiny clear bags (looking nothing like pillow cases, of course). 

Then I got my velcro from Lens Mill (but you can buy it at any fabric store I'm sure). 

So, here's how you do it. 

Pin your pillow cases together, two at a time (make sure that the openings of the pillow cases are all on the same side).

 Sew the pillow cases together, one by one, until you end up with a row of pillow cases.

Add your pillows so you can determine (around) where your velcro should sit.

Remove the pillows, pin your cut pieces of velcro onto the ends, and sew the velcro onto both sides so that you can fold the ends over and keep those pillows from falling out.

And VOILA! Pillow beds.  In about 30minutes flat.

You can wash them. You can fold them up to store them. You can snuggle on them. You can pull them out for movie night or snuggle up with your favourite book. They're pretty much a hit in this house. Big time.

And this little girl?

Well, something tells me that within about a year I'll be making a 3rd one of these beds since someone else will be looking for a soft spot to cuddle up to as well.

Have a great day everyone.
Erica xo

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Super Bowl parties, Chinese New Year and February blahs

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I remember it was only February 3rd and the words "This is the longest month ever" came out of my mouth. 

Because, well, winter is long. And I'm pretty much over it. 

So I've been trying to keep these two entertained inside on those cold days--but with a now very mobile little girl, who laughs at pretty much everything that her brother does...she has thankfully been providing the majority of the entertainment without my help. 

Because a moving, laughing, real life doll is fun to play with. Says every 3yr old everywhere. 

And on those cold February days when a mom is trying to convince her little girl to please keep those adorable little head bands on without tearing them off to eat them--well, big brothers come to the rescue, and show their support.

Which I'll pull out for him when he's 16, just to remind him.

But you know what else you do when it feels like a dreary, long, never ending month? Well, you hatch some plans. Some spontaneous plans that will surely result in memories for your kids. Because that's really what it's all about.

So on a day when Terry had purposely taken the day off of work, we waited until the end of the day, then called Mya's school and picked her up 20 minutes early. And called Jen to see if she wanted in on our plans too. So 2 little surprised cousins packed up their backpacks and walked down the school hallway, excited to have gotten called down to the office unexpectedly, and even more excited to find Terry waiting for them at the end of the hallway.

"We're going to McDonald's guys to play on the indoor playground and have an early dinner".

And the look of shock, excitement and the words "BEST. DAY. EVER!" came screaming out of their mouths.

Because we could have waited that extra 20mins and greeted them as they got off the bus and brought them at that time instead. But there is something pretty darn special about being called down to the office out of nowhere, and feeling like you're leaving school "early"--even though they basically missed the length of time it takes for kindergarteners to get their snowsuits on.

To them though, it was exciting. To them, it was thrilling. To them, it was something that they'll never forget.

Because I still remember when my parents did the same for us, all those years ago.

And for me, it all of a sudden made an ordinary, dreary, cold day feel a little bit special.

Because it was.

And then, just when I scanned the calendar to see if there was anything ANYTHING else great happening in February to look forward to, I realized YES! Chinese New Year. Of course. Chinese New Year and my favourite love day--Valentine's Day.

So February started looking up.

Because getting together with family to celebrate Chinese New Year is something that we've done now for several years and something that we do not only to help teach Oliver and Scarlett about their culture, but also for our kids, so we all can learn.

So we dress in red...

make dragon masks...

put up decorations...

and hand out red envelopes to little kids full of coins and gold chocolates.

And then I looked on the calendar, at that cold dreary month of February, to find that there was also some little ol' game called the Super Bowl coming up too. And although I don't care about the game, I do care to hang out at our neighbourhood Super Bowl party.

 Because our street gets shut down, a big screen is put up on my neighbours garage, the bbq cooks up delicious food, kids play street hockey and man hunt, everyone brings a dish and everyone hangs out until it's so dark out that you can barely see anymore.

And, sometimes we look up to watch the game--when Beyonce comes on at least.

So February has started to look up. A bit.

And when I pulled out the Valentine's Day decorations yesterday and Carter and I quickly put them up to surprise Mya when she got home from school...

well it made me realize that 10mins of Carter and I scurrying around stringing hearts meant that it changed the whole mood of our house--from dreary to happy.

All with just a few little hearts.

(And an impromptu Valentine's Day card making session after school yesterday).

Happy February everyone. Maybe this month isn't so bad after all. Love day is just around the corner.

But I'm still over winter.

Erica xo

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

All hail the parents of a 2 or 3 year old

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Let's just take a moment of silence here for all of the parents of either a 2 or 3 year old.

I bow to you.

I salute you.

Because I fully, fully GET it.

Here's the deal. There's something quite magical about 2 and 3 year olds--there really is. They are flippin' cute, hilarious, curious, adventurous and cuddly. Their little voices, their little words, their excitement to start each day, their absolute adoration for you--it's just the best thing in the world. I mean, Carter--the little boy love of my life, he will hug you and kiss you a million times a day. He will snuggle you, squeeze you and make you feel like you are the most precious thing in the world to him. When Sophia cries, he runs to her, hugs her (too tight most times, but nonetheless...he still tries) and sings lullabies to her when nothing else is working. As I tell him daily, he is my absolute favourite 3yr old little boy in the whole world...and he then, without fail, tells me that I'm his absolute favourite old mom in the whole world.

But, having a 2 or 3 year old also means that they have this incredible ability to bring you to your absolute breaking point--then just when you feel like you're losing your mind...just when you feel like your mind is actually rolling down the street, they take their one little finger and give you a little push to just push you right over the edge. Just for kicks.

"I don't know what happened mom"- Carter
Because 2 and 3 year olds are NOT always easy.

So if you are living with a tiny human who has been alive now for about 2 or 3 years, you know what I mean. Because isn't there always something that you're working on with these pint size humans? There's always something that you're trying to teach them, trying to change in them, trying to curb. Like, in our house for example, we're working on not interrupting and acting out when mom is talking to friends or family members who come over. We're working on not tearing around the house like a madman, jumping on couches, climbing on me or asking me a million questions as I'm focused on talking with whoever has just knocked on my door. Because, you see, these tiny people really do actually believe that the world revolves around them--it's developmental, but it's real to them. So if mom is focused on talking to someone else for even a couple of minutes--well, let's make all hell break loose and be on our worst behaviour. Because we're 3, and the trying threes are real.

So if you happen to come over or expect to talk to me in any way, shape or form at any location, I apologize in advance--we're working on it, daily.

But, if you're sitting there living through what they call the terrible two's or the trying threes, please just know this: with a lot of work, consistency, consequences and boundaries, IT WILL PASS. It really will (I'd like to tell you it doesn't take all of those hard things to get you there...but I can't lie). And on those days when it feels like it's never going to end, well it's also okay to feel like you just want to run away for a while--just to HomeSense for an hour or two to quietly stare at all the pretty, breakable things that you can't yet have in your house, but runaway nonetheless.

But, you see, even though they call them the terrible twos, it's not that 2yr olds are actually terrible--it's just that as a parent, some moments during the day can feel pretty terrible. And when you hit the trying threes, it's not that 3yr olds are always's just that there are moments during the day that can feel pretty trying. Because little people are still learning. Little people are testing boundaries. Little people are looking for guidance (and sometimes in the most reckless, annoying of ways). So hang in there moms and dads of these tiny people. We'll all get through it together. Because every single hard part of parenting is just a phase. Some are long phases. Some are short. But everything really is just a phase that will eventually end--with a lot of patience, boundaries, consistency and love. It will all eventually be a distant memory... *or you might just choose to block it out--whatever floats your boat and keeps you going.

Because with every hard, exhausting part of having a toddler or preschooler in your house comes a million easy, amazing, wonderful parts as well. This is why children are designed this way--I'm sure of us parents can flip a switch as quickly as they can. It's pretty much like giving birth. The moment that it's over and you're holding that baby in your arms, you all of a sudden forget the agony that that baby just put you through and all is rainbows and sunshine again. Childbirth "wasn't that bad" I do remember people telling me before I gave birth to my first. Which is probably what I will say when I have raging hormonal teenagers in my house and I'm reminiscing about how cute and adorable and lovable our kids were when they were little. Because they really are.

So, you see, somehow we're able to forget about that toddler temper tantrum in the grocery store, or the smack that your 2yr old handed over to a friend on a play date, or the fight over putting pants on every single morning, or the pee on your floor. With one "I love you mommy" or unexpected kiss for no reason, or snuggle on the couch, we forget the hard parts and love these little humans to the ends of the earth. Because they really are so flippin' lovable.

So to all of the parents out there with the barely 2 seconds that you have to read this between calming toddler temper tantrums, cleaning up a million messes, fighting over getting dressed, convincing them to eat what you've made for dinner or reminding them that the word "no" can not be the only word in their vocabulary...please know that it gets better, eventually. And those moments when they come up to you and squeeze you, and love on you, and cuddle you, and ask you to lay with them at night--well those are the moments that we'll remember when we're staring blankly at our spouses when our 16yr olds are really giving us a run for our money.

Everything is a phase, I keep reminding myself. Everything is just a phase. 
And if you know someone who has a 2 or 3 yr old in their house, pour them a glass of wine.

Erica xox  

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