Trash to Treasure: How to Make Decorative Farmhouse Bottles

The new year has been treating me well so far. New goals and ambitions aplenty. I’ve been trying to make my resolutions small but attainable goals. I’m planning on reevaluating my goals after a few months to see if I need to lower them, or if I’ve been doing them no problem and make them more challenging. One of my goals is doing one thing a week to beautify my house. Week one was redoing some caulking (which in and of itself I need to fix ’cause I did a pretty poor job, haha). This week my goal is a much smaller one, making some cute decorations to match my aesthetic. Now, any of you that follow me on Pinterest might notice I have a board called “Aesthetic”, it’s full of beautiful rustic/farmhouse rooms. One thing that many of those rooms have in common, is that they re-purpose old stuff to make it new. What a great way to reuse things! So this week I’m going to tell you about how I’ve been made decorative glass bottles.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

This project is great because it’s so simple. It doesn’t take much time at all! It’s tasteful, elegant and could be used in any room in your house. You could decorate a nursery with it, or even give it as a gift.

I am a big fan of white and gold. Those two colours seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. I am especially keen on matte/flat white. Something about the lack of sheen is just so appealing to me. Plus, pairing it with a metallic makes the metallic pop even more! In this project, I’m using spray paint, but you could just as easily use chalk paint or a different canned paint of your choice.

Supplies:

Your choice of paint
Empty glass bottle (Wine bottles are great for this)
(optional) Pencil
(optional) Paper
(optional) Scissors
(optional) Stencil
(optional) Metallic Pen
(optional) Small Paint Brush for designs

First things first, you need an area to paint in that won’t mess up your house or yard. If it’s a windy day and you’re using spray paint, you might be in for a bad time. You could paint your bottles inside of a large cardboard box, or over top of newspapers or a drop cloth, to keep things from getting too messy.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

If you have a dowel or something else you can have the bottle(s) upside down on, it makes it easier. If not, you’ll just have to take another pass once it’s dry and flip it over to cover the bottle completely. And honestly, once it’s dry you can call it a day. Or if you’re like me, you can do a little bit more to add more character.

Ways to Add Character:

– wrap rope around it
– wrap burlap around the centre
– write words on it
– draw images on it
– leave a portion transparent in a shape (could even put a photo or other image in the bottle that can be seen through the transparency)
– distress it

For mine, I added a white heart to the gold bottle and wrote ‘Love’ in gold on the white bottle. This way my bottles compliment each other. If you choose to go the same route as me, you should sketch out your lettering on paper before committing to it. After you’ve decided on lettering that you like, sketch it out on the bottle and trace over it with your marker or paintbrush. And just like that, the typographic decorative bottle is done.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

For the one with an image (in my case the heart), you could either freehand it or make a stencil (or use a stencil you’ve found, ain’t no shame in it!). I used paper for my stencil, but wax or parchment paper might be better. Once you’ve got the stencil in place, paint in the desired area and allow the paint to dry a bit but not all the way before removing the stencil.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

I could go into more detail for the other ways to do this, but hey, I think I might be able to make another few posts out of this one if I don’t. Hahaha!

Do you guys plan on making this or have you made something else similar? Do you have other ideas on ways to reuse glass bottles? Or if you have anything you’d like me to attempt a tutorial at, please let me know

How to Style Your Babies Nursery

So, show of hands, how many of you have crawled Pinterest for hours looking at home decor? I know I have, and I’ve totally done the same with nursery decor. Even though my kid’s room is pretty much where I want it to be, or at least I’ve all got it figured out in my head. I can’t help it! They look so cute, and there is so much love put into them that it warms my heart. The decor of a nursery is what a parent envisions their child waking up into from every nap, and growing up into. It’s curated and crafted with love, just for the baby (and the parents aesthetic of course).

So this past year my daughter has gained two cousins (one I planned a baby shower for). And lucky for me, their moms both sent me pictures of their nurseries that I can use to illustrate ways to decorate your nursery, and the artistic liberties you can take when creating the room.

baby's room babies room bedroom kids room

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Statement Piece

You might choose to have one (or two) bold piece of decor. The rest should be more subtle, as to not distract from your focal point. If you do choose to have more than one statement piece, they should be symmetrical, or adjacent to each other in the room. A statement piece could be something colourful, high contrast, or maybe just very large.

Figuring Out Your Colour Scheme

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep to a colour scheme. Paint swatches always have the little symbols on them to indicate what colours go well together BUT, there’s another easier way that doesn’t leave you staring at paint swatches for 4 hours. There are websites (here and here are some good ones) that are specifically for finding shades that go well together. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to avoid too many bold colours in a nursery. If you choose to have some bold colours, using them in moderation is key. Pops of colour here and there, or a feature wall. Maybe you have the crib coloured fire engine red? that should probably be the only fire engine red thing in that room, with the exception of a few prints/photos on the wall.

Murals

A mural can be made to match any room theme. You could go simple, or complex, you could sketch it out in pencil, freehand, or if you have access to a projector – trace something. One of the great things about murals is that it really helps cinch a theme if you’re going for one. One of the downsides is that if you make a detailed one, it might become dead space in your nursery. After all, you wouldn’t want to cover up a beautiful mural so much that it won’t be seen, right? But if you use a minimalist design or a partial mural, the wall likely won’t become dead space. If you aren’t the artistic type, there are wallpapers that make great murals as well, or you could buy some cool wall decals.

Gallery Wall/Wall Collage

I’m sure everyone has seen those adorable signs or boards that say “Dream big little one” or “I love you to the moon and back” or even “let him/her sleep, for when he/she wakes, he/she will move mountains”, right? Yeah, I thought so. Anyways, I don’t know about you guys but every time I see those I’m like OOOOOoooOOOOOOOOO DAYUUUM. I feel like any gallery wall needs at least one of those cute typographical signs with a cutesy quote on it. A good gallery wall can distract from some mismatched pieces here or there by becoming the focal point.

Pick A Theme

Nautical

With a nautical theme your friends are blue, white and red (I say with a grain of salt, red should definitely be used sparingly). Using weathered wood, or distressed painted wood for shelves can really help cinch the image. Buoys, anchors and ropes or nets can be excellent additions to help with the rooms flavour.

Nautical themed nursery

This is my daughter’s room. The mural was an absolute pain to paint but I’ve been very pleased with how it looks. Pro tip, don’t try to paint a gradient on your wall. What you can’t see in this picture is a jar of shells. I plan to incorporate some shelves or a net to store some excess plushies.

Fairy Tale

The colour of a fairy tale room really depends on which sort of fairy tale you’re going for, so I really can’t say much for colour. If you’re going for something with princesses or knights the room should have a dragon somewhere, be it a stuffy or an illustration. The fun thing with fairy tale rooms is that you can get creative with the design. Pinning dress-up clothes to the wall is a cool way to keep your theme, and also add your statement piece. You can use netting or curtains to delicately frame the crib. A barrel or bin with toy swords, arrows, or trusty stick steeds is a cool way to decorate and also keep toys for when they are old enough.

Woodland

With a woodland themed nursery, your colour options could involve blues, greens, greys. Using muted tones for blue and/or green is ideal. Vibrant shades tend to pair poorly together. Wood signs or wood shelves would make lovely accents to this style of room. Add in some stuffies of forest critters, and a play tent or teepee and it’s a perfect woodsy getaway in your own home. The beauty of a woodland nursery is that it evokes the feeling of getting back to nature. If you want to encourage your kid to be outdoorsy, having a room that breeds familiarity with the outdoors will likely make them feel more comfortable in that sort of environment.

Woodland themed nursery

My cousin decorated her son’s nursery with a woodland theme, she did a subtle mural of mountains on the back wall. It’s tasteful and elegant. The curtains have a delicate design of branches, that doesn’t distract from the rest of the room. She used blues and greys for her colour scheme. The plaid change pad liner adds a nice pop of colour while keeping to the theme, giving the room a nice lumberjack-style accent. The illustration of a stag brings some nice artwork to the table without distracting from the room itself. She managed to find baskets featuring critters decorate and add some storage. The wooden dresser and shelves along with the mason jars bring a rustic feel to the room.

Classic

A classic nursery generally uses creme/white/off-white, pastel colours, or even subtle wallpapers (nothing bold). Picture frames and furniture in a room like this are generally white. There isn’t necessarily anything that is meant to stand out in a classic nursery. A classic nursery is more of a calm, serene space with fewer distractions. A nice addition to a classic would be some delicate curtains. The purpose of a classic room is to feel more minimalist. While you could add a gallery wall, I think less is more in this room. A few framed images in a line or a square should be all you need to keep this look elegant. Attach a crib skirt to complete the look.

Modern

A modern nursery has a lot of similarities to the classic nursery but is less rigid in its rules. You can have walls that have a bit more colour to them, and you can have some statement pieces. Modern nurseries still tend to have a lot of white in them but will have pops of vibrancy here or there, without fear of distracting from anything. You could have a funky rug or modern art to decorate. No toys are out of the question in a modern room, I personally am a fan of the ones Ikea sells based on children’s drawings. The wonderful thing about a modern room is that there’s really no wrong way to do it.

modern nursery

My sister decorated her daughters room with some high contrast accents. The navy curtains, black/brown table and black chair with the rainbow pattern are bold, yet don’t clash with anything in the room. Decorating the wall with cover art from the comic Fables (really good series, by the way; you should absolutely read it) gives the room a geeky touch to add personality to the room. The focal point of the room lands on the play mat, to accentuate that this is indeed a child’s room.

Licensed Media (ie. Disney/Pixar/Nintendo/Hello Kitty etc.)

Using licensed media content would probably be one of the easiest ways to style a room. You can find stuffed animals, furniture, posters, pictures, fanart, quotes, ideas for colour schemes… you name it. Basically, if you want to design your room after something that markets itself, you will have absolutely have no problem finding decorations for your walls, shelves, bedding, night lights, whatever else. if you need help picking a colour scheme, try and find an image that uses colours that you like and plug it into this website, It will break down the main colours and set them as a palette.

What does your nursery look like? Does it adhere to a certain style or is it mismatched? Was it a style and you never knew until now? Let us know in the comments, or share your style tips with us.

The Benefits of Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

This week was pretty chaotic. Christmas had us fully booked for from Sunday to Wednesday. Thursday I got to see The Shape of Water with my bestie and her family. Needless to say, I am frantically typing this post on Friday to make sure I have it done for Saturday. Actually, The Shape of Water inspired this post. The main character uses sign language, and I actually understood some of it because I’ve taught Cog some. So, other than the rare occasion of me getting to flex my veeeeery basic sign language skills, signing has been wonderful for my relationship with Cog.

Sign Language, for us, has been pretty rad because we can know what’s bugging her for the most part. Understanding results in fewer tantrums. Toddlers have a lot of tantrums, and a lot of them are caused by trying to communicate something but not being understood. Sign language helps break that barrier a little bit, not flawlessly of course and there is a learning curve, but it still helps.

sign language, asl, gestures, language, baby, toddler, parenting, communication

How to Learn Sign Language

Memrise (language learning app)

I tried out Memrise for a while, it is one of the few language learning apps that actually offer sign language. It was handy in learning a lot of words, many of the words in the beginner tier were not necessarily helpful words for teaching a baby; that being said, it is meant for learning sign language in general, not sign language specifically for babies. One of the pros of this app is that it uses gifs rather than still images. Users can submit suggestions that help them remember the words/signs.

Youtube Videos

Often I found myself wanting to know the sign for something, but many image-based sign language dictionaries were a bit hard to understand. Fortunately, there are plenty of YouTuber’s that will have quick videos that show you some signs. I know with youtube they say “never read the comments”, but in this case, it can be helpful. Some of the YouTuber’s are people who are just learning sign language, and want to share what they’ve learned, and some of the commenters are people who are more experienced and correct or give suggestions that make things more useful. (ie. The sign for help is a thumbs up with one hand on top of a flat palm moved in an upwards direction. A commenter might add that moving the thumb in the direction of who needs the help can clarify things.)

Google

Google is always your friend. If you want to know basically any sign you’ll find something for it on Google. Switching to images help, and sometimes there are gifs. It can lead you to various sign language dictionaries, which I’m not going to list because I feel like some work better depending on who you are.

BabySignLanguage.com

This website offers paid services (Which I’ve never used, I’m just going to make that clear) BUT, it also offers free stuff on their website.  They also have a handful of printable flashcards that you’d have a hard time not seeing on every square inch of the internet when searching up sign language.

Cons of Sign Language With a Child

More!

The first sign my daughter took to was “More”. It’s apparently a pretty common first sign with children. The pro of this being the first one is that… well… you know they want SOMETHING. The downside is that they start using more for any time they want something, even if it’s not necessarily anything they were having in the first place. More could mean more food, more milk, more boob, more play, more funny faces. Just… MORE. Or to a baby? I want that thing that I want. For us, it eventually evolved past that once she learned other signs to specify what it was that she wanted.

Word Avoidance

Sometimes my husband and I found ourselves wondering if Cog was avoiding learning to say the words because she knew another way to communicate what she wanted to get across. For example, she often signs please instead of saying it, even though she knows how to. There are studies though, that suggest that babies that use gestures or sign develop language and cognitive abilities faster than their non-signing counterparts.

Always Being Asked, “What’s the sign for ______”

This is might just be a quirk in my household. So many times Gear is talking to Cog and trying to get something across and he whirls around to me and asks “What’s the sign for ________?”. Most of the time my response is something like “Why on EARTH would I know the sign for that?”, but I’ll admit, a lot of the time it gets me curious and I learn more because of it.

Pros of Sign Language with a Child

Understanding

If you teach your child the signs for some emotions or moods, it can help them express their feelings to you. So if they seem upset you can ask if they are grumpy, tired or frustrated. If they are silly, you can ask if they are having fun, or are happy. This help’s them become more in tune with their emotions as they now have a name to put to the feeling.

Communication

My daughter has recently been signing change when she wants a different song on, or us to change what she’s watching on Netflix or Youtube. It’s been awesome! instead of throwing a tantrum (ok, she still does sometimes) when it’s something she doesn’t like, she mostly just asks us to change it. She’s able to let us know when she wants food, milk or water. She can tell me when she wants music. It clarifies a lot of things that a small child might have a hard time communicating.

All in all sign language has been fantastic for my family. It helps my daughter be able to communicate her feelings and needs. She gets so excited when we know what she’s saying. For a little kid, all they want is their parents to understand them. And while all parents have a good idea of their child’s needs even without sign language, using it definitely helps clear things up.

What are your thoughts and experiences on using sign language with children? Let us know in the comments!

4 Cool Ways To Make a Memory Log For Your Child

When you are a parent, time is fleeting. In an instant, everything has changed and you wonder where the time has gone. When your kids grow up, what will they think of you? How will your relationship be? Though there is no guarantee about how your relationship will be, you can make sure they know how you’ve felt about them every step of the way. This past while I’ve been able to bond with my sister about parenthood. It’s really been a treasure to have someone to talk to about it. On one of our walks, she told me about something she’s been doing for her daughter. Now, I’ve had a similar idea, but hadn’t actually gotten around to it until talking with her. She created an email for her baby. Every once in awhile, when the mood strikes or a silly moment happens, she emails it to her. Things that maybe my sister won’t remember in 10, 15, 20 years. It’s a very special sort of memory log. The beautiful thing about this idea is that there are countless ways you could do it.

Recently, my friend gave me a beautiful leatherbound journal. I am the type to get intimidated by beautiful things, not wanting to ruin them. I had no idea what I could use it for. My friend suggested I use it for story ideas or cute things that Cog does, and while writing down cute things that Cog does was a neat idea I was still intimidated. I held off. My sister helped me gather the courage to write in it. If it’s full of memories, it doesn’t matter if my writing is ugly, or I don’t think it’s flawless; it will be a cherished treasure for my child. It will be important to her. I’m the type who isn’t really great at anything. I am good at a lot of things, though; I’m good at writing, I’m good at poetry, I’m good at art. These are things that I love. These are things won’t mean anything to the world, but they can mean something to my daughter. I can give her the gift of seeing how I see her, and I can show her with my writing, my poetry and my art.

Memory log journal email e-mail diary
Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

The relationship experienced between a parent to their child is vastly different than the relationship experienced from the child to their parent. Both loves are very strong, but I know I’d never experienced a love like this until I had Cog. It makes me view my mom in a whole new light. But who’s to say if your kid will have kids of their own, if they don’t, they might not ever know just how you experience your love for them. Making a memory log could let your child see how you’ve seen them their whole life, as they’ve grown.

In any case, there are various ways that you can do this!

Email Account

You can start an email memory log just like my sister did! One of the bonuses of this is you can reserve an email with their name so that they don’t have to have NameLastname27658@email.com. You can organize it by folders, and by years. If you go this route, be sure to check it regularly for spam, and to make sure it isn’t hacked. After all, it would be awful to present this to your grown-up child with a whole bunch of ads for penis enlargements. Try your best to keep it organized. Also, after digging around the net to see other people who are doing this, over at Rookie Moms they wrote a post on why it’s better to wait until they are older. Another bonus of going this route is that other people can join in too; grandparents, aunts and uncles can send memorable moments to your child too. Ramp up the awesome by attaching photos relevant to your emails.

Journal

This way is a bit more traditional, I suppose. Definitely a good way to use beautiful journals you’ve been hanging on to. I’m using my journal memory log for poetry, art, and stories about my daughter and the way she makes me feel, or the sweet things she does. There’s something to be said for a memento that you can hold in your hands. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s like how many would rather read books than e-readers. Perhaps it’s the romantic idea of my daughter sitting in an alcove with the rain pattering against the window while reading a custom, handwritten book just for her that appeals to me. In a journal you can add in printed out photos, pressed leaves or flowers, or other small glimpses into a moment past.

Cards

Another neat way to make a memory log is by using cards. My husband actually did something similar to this when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Buy (or make) cards for every holiday or special event. Write sweet notes about what happened that day, and what was wonderful about it. Then place each card in an envelope with the date and the event (if an event happens, if it’s a ‘just because’ one, simply use a blank card). When my husband did this for me, it wasn’t done like it will be for anyone making this for their kids, he did this in the weeks approaching our anniversary. He had actually drawn a picture on every envelope to say which event it was about.

Jumble Jar

This way gets to be a bit more of a surprise. In a jar or box, write on cue cards or paper the memories you want to share. When you eventually gift this to your child, it won’t be in any particular order, and that will be the fun of it. They could be pulling something out that’s about them going through puberty, or they could pull something out that’s about the first time they used a potty. Life is like a box of chocolates when you make your memory log a jumble jar.

Are you making a memory log for your kids? How are you doing it? Or do you have grown up kids and have done something like this before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

Spoiler-Free Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi [[Guest Post]]

This week we have a very special guest post. My darling Gear has reviewed Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Now, we saw it on Thursday night and It was so fun. As much as I love Star Wars though, it is my husband’s heart and soul, so I felt it only fitting that he should be the one to review it.

Star Wars, Episode VIII, Episode 8

So without further Ado, here is his review!


The Last Jedi Review

My lovely wife had come up to me on Wednesday saying “I’m going to have a guest writer for this week” and as I asked who a smirk crept upon her face as she gleefully said “You!”

That’s right folks! With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mama Michine requested, nay, demanded that I write a review. A first time for everything, right?
So strap yourselves in as I try my very best to give a spoiler-free review.

First off, a little note on what Star Wars means to me to get an idea of how I view this movie. I Have enjoyed Star Wars since I was a small child, but only became an obsessed fan in the middle of high school. While I understand that the prequels are bad, I enjoy the hell out of them. I can understand where they go wrong and what they ruined. I watch and read almost all Star Wars side-media. The original trilogy is better than the prequels, perhaps because people weren’t afraid to tell George when something was a bad idea. Episode V (The Empire Strikes Back) is bigger and deeper than the original STAR WARS (Episode IV), however, Episode IV (A New Hope) is still the best film of them all. I enjoyed Episode VII (The Force Awakens) up until the halfway point when ‘Death Star 3.0’ came into play. Episode III (Attack of the Clones) is my personal favourite of all the Star Wars films.

Now, with all that out of the way, I went into The Last Jedi very excited. The Force Awakens had set a lot of questions up while sending the universe into a different, if not narratively similar, setting. I enjoyed the new cast a lot and was eager to see where they would go next, not to mention the excitement of finally seeing Luke Skywalker again after his …cameo? in The Force Awakens.

I loved this movie.

The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately where The Force Awakens left us. The resistance is outrunning the first order as Rey (Daisy Ridley) deals with Luke Skywalker. I was delighted to see that it actually worked! I was very worried that this would make them remove the opening crawl, or alter the format that Star Wars has used for 7 movies prior. But it was laid out in a way to give us that satisfying STAR WARS flash across the screen and opening crawl that lead right into the story.

My one major complaint with The Force Awakens was how much it had to borrow from the original Star Wars. It held back on any big changes, avoiding risks and playing it safe (understandably so, as it was the spark of this whole Disney reboot and had to be done right). The Last Jedi however, is brave. It is not afraid to play with your expectations, not afraid to show failure or defeat. This film did it in such a way that I felt nobody was safe and literally anything could happen. Mistakes are made. Characters have to deal with consequences. The Last Jedi feels like the least classically Star Wars film of them all, while still being a great Star Wars film.

There is fantastic acting across the board. Luke Skywalker stole the show for me. I love Mark Hamill in anything he does and it felt like he gave it his all. To not bring up Carrie Fisher would be a crime. I was happy to see her in The Force Awakens but it did kind of feel like pulling someone out of retirement for their obligatory lines. She truly shined in this one.My heart broke every time I saw her on screen knowing that this would be the last time she would appear. I’m very glad they kept everything she filmed for The Last Jedi in tact after her death, and I am curious how they will handle Leia in the next movie.

That’s not to say there wasn’t anything that didn’t work for me. A chunk of the humour they had was really good, while other bits felt incredibly out of place. Acting in a way that feels less like a galaxy far far away and more like a sitcom near you.

This movie was the longest Star Wars yet, and it showed. For the first half of the film they jump between so many characters and story points. There was a whole side story with Finn (John Boyega) and the new character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran). Rose was adorable, her and Finn made a great team, but their mission was tonally off from the rest of the film, almost as though it should have been for a different movie. I enjoyed the character Bellissimo Del Toro played but felt he was too underused to be added to such a large array of characters. A lot of these things really made the movie lag in the middle.

One personal gripe of mine with The Force Awakens was I felt none of the technology had advanced. They were using vehicles and wearing clothes very similar to the original trilogy for the sole purpose of nostalgia. Sadly, this movie continues that.

They really dropped the ball with some of the mysteries. A lot of lingering threads were cut in this film. and while a few were underwhelming, I felt they built up to a message to the Star Wars franchise as a whole that I really got behind. It’s time to move forward and let go of the past.

Star Wars is moving in a new direction, as it should. One reason I enjoy the prequels so much is because of how different they are from the original trilogy. If I wanted more of the same I would just re watch what worked. This movie is going to be very polarizing. I feel that fans who really liked The Force Awakens are going to have a hard time with a few things. And fans who felt underwhelmed are going to get a breath of fresh air. And for all those who didn’t care much for star wars and found themselves surprisingly liking Episode VII, I think this is a great sequel to jump into.


A big thanks to Gear for writing this weeks post. Do you have any thoughts on the newest movie? Do you agree or disagree with my husband’s review? Let us know in the comments!

How to Foster Creativity in Your Child

Years ago, back when I was hairdressing I was trimming a little boys hair. To try and get him to sit still I suggested we make up stories together. I started a story about a cupcake on an adventure. When I asked him to tell the next part of the story he said: “I don’t know that one”. I told him that it was a brand new story that we were making up together. He still didn’t get it, so I tried to suggest that he start up a story with the first thing he could think of. He ended up rehashing an episode of The Cat in the Hat. Now, this isn’t a criticism of his parents, it’s not something that people would generally think a child would need to learn, as kids are usually overflowing with creativity.

Of course, there are the more commonly known ways to encourage creativity, arts and crafts (which you can try so many things, more on that later though). But during play is also another great time to exercise their creativity.

art creative creatively creativity crafts innovative innovation

Children are little scientists. Their brains are constantly learning about the world around them, and the best way for them to learn is being self-guided. Of course, it’s fine to help out if they ask, but try to take a step back. Is your kid playing with a toy the wrong way? “Innovative! I would never have thought to play of it that way” you should say, rather than telling them the correct way. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Children’s brains are rewiring themselves and making connections, and it does so best when they make those mental connections on their own.

Trying to lead, or guide a child’s play too much limits their creativity. If you are always showing them what to do, it holds them back from thinking for themselves. Think of it this way, say you’re having a computer problem, do you understand the problem better by someone coming up and doing it for you, or by figuring it out on your own?

Ask Questions

Asking questions encourages your child to think creatively. It makes them stop and consider things a different way, and while you are helping guide this, you aren’t telling them what to do. You are leaving it up to the child.

Asking things like:
What do you think would happen if _________?
Why do you think that ________?
How do you think ________?

Even stepping away from play time, asking questions during everyday happenings brings an exciting new level to things. It brings out their sense of wonder and has them look at things in new ways. “Where do you think the garbage truck goes after it takes the garbage away?”, or “What do you think your [teacher/daycare worker/familiar person] does when they aren’t [where the child normally interacts with them?]”.

Encourage Encourage Encourage!

One of the best ways to foster creativity in your child is to really show them how interested you are in what they are doing. Did they make a picture? Fantastic, it looks phenomenal! Or maybe they are playing with something in a new way “Ohh! I didn’t think of that! Is it fun to play like that?”. These simple encouragements can make your child determined to continue to think creatively. Are all their drawings scribbles? Abstract expressionism and free-form art. They will draw people and things when they want to at their own pace.

Limit Things

This might seem like an odd thing to suggest when you want to foster creativity, after all, creativity is limitless, why would you want to put down limitations? Limitations can force one to think about different ways to do things. Not only that, but it can help make things not so overwhelming. Offering a limited palette of colours for drawing or painting can produce beautiful results. Maybe a child wouldn’t have thought to make the sky purple or the grass orange otherwise.

Thinking creatively can be really beneficial for children, as they can then grow into creative adults. Creative thinkers can become things like inventors, engineers, artists, authors, video game designers, or web designers. They can become innovators in their fields. With limitless creativity, no dreams are unreachable.

Do you have any ways that you feel help creativity flourish? Please share them with us in the comments!!

Things My Husband Has Said During Paw Patrol

Do you ever have it where you are actually intently watching what your kid is? Because we’ve seen all the episodes of Paw Patrol on Netflix at least three times, some episodes more. It’s actually a pretty cute show with great lessons, it has pretty decent models and animation, too. It handles topics like fire safety, environmentalism, and animal safety. For a show that is a clear toy push, it makes a great effort to be genuinely entertaining for children without resorting to fart jokes.

Dad Jokes, Husband, Skye, Zuma, Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky, paw patrol

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something, I get a commission at no additional cost to you.

With Christmas coming around the corner, if any of you parents want to buy some paw patrol gifts for your kids there are tons out there. I got Cog a couple of Paw Patrol TY plushies and some Paw Patrol Undies (I’m hoping it will get her excited to potty train). They have some really big play sets, some little tiny toys, and DVDs too. No shortage of Paw Patrol love from the toy stores.

Last year we were walking around and I knew of Paw Patrol, but we’d never watched it. My husband and I had a pretty amusing conversation while walking past some Christmas displays.

Me: Gee, that paw patrol sure is getting popular
Gear: Papa Troll?
Me: *gesturing to a giant inflated Chase* yeah, Paw Patrol.
Gear: Oh, that’s papa troll?
Me: Yeah, it’s a pretty popular kids cartoon, I think it’s on Netflix.
Gear: Ooooh, PAW Patrol, I thought you were saying “Papa Troll”.
Me: ???? I was saying Paw Patrol!
Gear: No, Papa Troll, like, a troll that’s a dad.
Me: WHO’S ON FIRST?
Gear: Precisely!

With season four of Paw Patrol just arriving on Canadian Netflix, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of the silly things that my sweetie Gear has said while watching.

Things My Husband Has Said While Watching Paw Patrol

  • Is the Paw Patrol Government funded?
  • Do People in this town not have jobs? Shouldn’t there be someone whose job it is to fix a broken windmill?
  • Why Zuma, why are you even there?
  • Why isn’t Skye pissed off that everyone is able to fly now?
  • The mayor is kind of awful.
  • Why don’t all the other dogs just wait until Marshall is in the elevator?
  • Do they not have stairs in the Lookout?
  • How come the dogs can talk but the cats can’t?
  • It kind of makes me uncomfortable when the dogs are getting pet by the people.
  • [While walking through a toy store] WHAT? They all have boats now? Zuma is even more useless.
  • It’s weird that these dogs that are basically people are forced to sleep outside.
  • Why are they always excited about camping? they sleep outside all the time anyways!
  • I feel like the mayor has a thing for Ryder.
  • How come Marshall and Zuma aren’t girls? they need more girl dogs. Everest hardly counts. She’s not even part of the main crew.
  • Why do they even eat dog food? They eat human food so much.
  • Kind of funny that some are genuine rescue animals when others are just general labour.
  • Does Ryder not have parents?
  • Ryder looks like such a tool.
  • Is Mayor Humdinger the only resident of Foggy Bottom?
  • (Me: Why don’t they arrest Mayor Humdinger?) Because there are no police in Adventure Bay. (Me: What about Chase?) He’s a freaking DOG.

Do you watch Paw Patrol? Have any silly quips? Tell me about them in the comments! I’d love to read what you all have to say.

Parenting Related Injuries and How To Prevent and Care For Them

My little Cog has been growing up so fast. She still enjoys cuddles as much as she always has though. The downside, however, is that the bigger she gets, the more strain it puts on my body to carry her around or pick her up. I adore cuddling Cog; but lately, I’ve been feeling really really sore! My back, my shoulders, my hips… they have been stiff and achy. Parent-related injuries are actually really common. Constantly lifting your kid, bending over to chase them, cleaning toys off the floor… It eventually takes it’s toll, just like any other Repetitive Stress Injury.

RSI, PRI, Parenting Injury, Parent Related Injury, Chronic Pain, Care

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or any other professional on the human body. This is just based on my experience and personal research. If you have any concerns about pain, consult your doctor.

What Kind of Injuries Am I At Risk For

Wrist injuries (‘Mothers wrist’ is the most common)
Hip Problems
Back Problems (from stiffness, to totally thrown out)
Neck Pain
Shoulder Pain

What Can I Do To Help Current Pain

Doing stretches on the sore muscles or joints is a great start. I like to do stretches with my shoulders, hips and back because I find those spots carry the most strain. Keep your stretches low impact. Trying out some yoga poses, or physiotherapy exercises. Make sure to exercise your core muscles, a strong core goes a long way in keeping the rest of your body safe from injury.

I generally stick to easy poses like the cat, warrior, triangle, and child poses. As for stretches doing arm circles, neck rolls, and the cross-body arm stretch. I find it’s much easier to pick from poses and stretches that you are familiar with, because you are more likely to keep up your routine that way.

What Is Harmful and What Can I Do To Prevent Long-Term Pain

Proper posture and lifting techniques are key.

Carrying your car seat can cause back and shoulder pain, and affect your posture. There are a slew of tips to help with that. A common tip is to hold the car seat in front of you with both arms, near your core. Half the time we’re carrying diaper bags or shopping bags at the same time though, so that might not be very practical. Another way to carry the car seat (A chiropractor came up with this one) Is to loop your arm around the handle and grab the side of the seat with your hand facing away from you.

Lifting your toddler by the armpits can cause wrist injury, especially if you are already at risk for it. Grabbing kiddo with Barbie doll hands (with your thumb and fingers creating an L.) is begging for trouble. You can, however, have your thumb relaxed and closer to your fingers to reduce stress. The recommended way to pick up your toddler is under the bum and supporting their back, bringing them close to your body before lifting. Keep in mind, bending down to pick up kiddo is bad for your back as well, so crouching is ideal.

Cracking your back is really bad. Do NOT crack your back or neck. I was cracking my back whenever it got stiff, you know, every once in awhile. Then, every day. And then it progressed to multiple times a day. It feels good in the moment after relieving the pressure, but I did some research and it can cause long-term damage. It can in some worst case scenarios cause a slipped disk or even stroke.

Nursing your baby hurting your wrists? Wrist injuries are common because many mothers support their baby’s head with their wrist at an angle. You can keep your wrist in its natural position, recline and let baby rest on you that way, or you could let baby rest in the crook of your elbow with support from a nursing pillow.

Obviously taking care of your child is your number one concern, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. After all, when your little kid is not so little anymore, they will want you to be in good health so you can enjoy growing with them.

Rescources:
http://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/three-hacks-to-minimize-new-parent-injuries/
http://newlifept.com/repetitive-use-injuries-common-with-new-parents/
http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/new-mom-injuries/

Why Mom-Shaming Should Just Die Already

So this week Cog and I went on our first ever play-date. Maybe it’s weird that it’s our first one since she’s a year-and-a-half old, but whatever. While the other mom and I were chatting she kept saying things like “I know it’s bad, but…” and “I know I probably shouldn’t…”. This is something that I do as well, and you know why? Mom-shaming.

So many moms, and not just moms, really, other people too are critical. They judge every mistake, every tiny detail. When you are a mom people place you under a microscope. This doesn’t happen so much with dads because in this patriarchal world, dads sadly aren’t held up to the same standards as moms. Dads are held up to more human standards, and moms are held up to incredibly impossible standards. Thus mom-shaming.

Moms feel the need to apologize for being who they are, and raising their kid in a way that works for them. It’s not fair. It throws our self-worth in the toilet and causes many moms to have anxiety about their parenting.

Things I’ve been criticized for:

Not letting my daughter have sweets
Not feeding my daughter healthy enough
Nursing too long
Wanting to quit nursing too early
Being too watchful
Not being watchful enough
Not being able to take sexist jokes directed at my daughter
Spending any time away from her
Spending too much time with her
Buying her too many books
Dressing her in boys clothes
Dressing her in a sweater dress
Letting her eat food off of our (clean) floor
Not letting her eat food off of a public floor (“It’ll build her immune system”)

Honestly, it seems like anything that a mom does is open to criticism. I’ve heard people mutter about me under their breath “I wouldn’t let my child…”. In my humble opinion, people who do this can shove it where the sun don’t shine. Being a parent is really hard, made only harder by the fact that everyone has an opinion on how you do it. I mean, obviously, it’s fine to comment and act when there is neglect or where a child’s welfare is concerned, but judging every single decision a mom makes? What you say about others says a lot more about yourself than it does about them. 

In addition to everybody having their own parenting methods, there are other factors at play. Not everyone is on the same level. Some of us are battling mental illnesses, others of us don’t have support, or we aren’t doing well financially, or some of us have strong-willed children. Before you judge someone, you must walk a mile in their shoes. If you can’t do that then you have no right to be mom-shaming them (not that you’d have any right to begin with).

Nobody is perfect. N O B O D Y .

What happened to the days of ‘It takes a village’? When did people decide that the only right way is their way? Is the only way we can feel good as parents by saying other people are bad ones? Shouldn’t mums be understanding of each other’s plight? Don’t you think we should be lifting each other up rather than shoving each other down? What are your thoughts?

 

Other posts you might like:

5 Reasons That Harnesses for Kids are Awesome
Now Hiring: Parents
5 Times Movies Got Life as a Parent Just Right

DIY: How to Make a Wooden Ring

Last month my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary which, for those of you who don’t know, is the wood anniversary. So a month or so ahead of time I came up with my plan. I mentioned to my dad that I wanted to make a ring. My dad works in construction so his garage has a plethora of tools. He chopped up an old dowel and gave me a few disks which he drill pressed into for me, and lent me his dremel. This was the start of my beautiful creation.

Wood Anniversary, wedding ring, gift, wooden ring

Supplies

Wood
Sandpaper rough and fine grit
Dremel with Sanding Mandrel
Drill Press or a Drill with a Hole Saw
Stain*
Waterproofing*
Wood Glue**

*I mean, you could go without but it’ll totally be better with.
**Just in case it cracks after all your hard work

How to make a wooden ring

Starting Off Your Ring

So, I used a dowel, and in a dowel the grain is vertical. You could use a dowel like I did, because it was pretty easy to start off with, but I feel the ring could be sturdier if the grain was horizontal. That being said, I don’t do woodwork that often, so who knows.

Anyhow, first off, cut a hole into your dowel (or other wood. You do you, bra). Don’t cut to the exact ring size that you need because you will need to do a lot of sanding and fine tuning. One of the things about using wood to make rings too, is that you can’t make them too thin. If they become too thin, they become brittle and liable to crack.

I unfortunately had to get my husbands to try the ring on a bunch to make sure it would fit, so the surprise was spoiled. But I’ve since learned a clever trick. You can use the outside of a socket to gauge ring size fairly well. They come in so many sizes, that if you have a set of them there’s sure to be one in the size you need. So if you aren’t making a surprise for anyone you can just slide a ring overtop to see which socket to use. If it is a surprise try and ask someone the ring size, or sneak it away from them and use measuring tape to gauge it.

Sanding

This is honestly the biggest part of this project. I sanded forEVER working on this thing. I used the dremel with the sanding mandrel attachment. It’s a great tool to use because you can adjust the speed. I used it on a lower setting because I was a little bit afraid of sanding my fingers in a bad way, plus it’s a tad noisy and I could only work on it during Cog’s nap-time.

Gear and I have pretty different ring sizes, but I found it very helpful to keep trying it on as I went to see how the width and thickness looked on a finger. After all the sanding and beveling, the width of the band was approximately 1cm and the thickness of the band was about 2mm.

How to make a wooden wedding ring

Stain

The stain that I used was quite a dark wash. The instructions on it said to do two coats, but I only used one. After one coat and allowing it to dry fully (<-Important), it stained exactly where I wanted it to. Lighter stains would probably be best with two coats though. Different stains have different directions though, so follow yours and make sure to do so in a ventilated area.

Waterproofing

Now, I tried to do this on the cheap with clear nail polish. You know what doesn’t work well at all? Nail polish. I’ve found a blog post written by someone who makes wooden jewelry for a living. You really should check the link out as the writer gives a few different recommendations based on different needs. I don’t feel confident giving a recommendation as my way of waterproofing didn’t work out. Do your research and find what works for the type of wood that you’ve chosen; be sure to pick something that is safe to be on skin, or is food grade.

 

If you think you’d rather make a wooden ring a different way I’ve found a guy on youtube that has a very different technique from mine. It really depends on what you want out of your ring.

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like my amateur self make. And super let me know if you’ve tried this out, and how it turned out for you!