Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Tree 2012 - Kid friendly version

Here is out Christmas tree this year. Not as sparkly as last year, but beautiful enough to cheer the toddler in the house.

Some old, some new. Some hand made, some repurposed. Did you notice baby teethers, pieces of her mobile (she is too old for it now, so I cut it out and used the pieces on the tree), rattle toys and stuffed animals?

And the house all lit up, snowman standing by the door, the beautiful wreath on the door (I finally bought it after Christmas last year for $17.99 @ Michaels, 75% off its original price), nativity set under tree and some presents. I usually don't put out all presents until Christmas morning. People get too curious about them, you know, Hubs!!

And some closeup pics of all the ornaments...

 Here is the grand picture of the tree in all its glory.

That's our tree this year. I am linking this post at below link parties.

Holiday Home Link Party - Christmas Trees at Sarah's Thrifty Decor Chick.

House on the Way 

Learning 4 Keeps

I am waiting to see how everybody else decorated their Christmas Trees this year. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pregnancy Journal - Gift Idea

When my lovely friend was pregnant, I was browsing online to buy her a perfect pregnancy journal. She is very special for me and nothing looked good enough to give her. I found some on Etsy, can't find the exact one I liked, but a bit in the lines of this and this. It felt a little pricey, but the reason I couldn't get it was because I couldn't get it shipped by the time I needed it. But looking at these, I felt like I could make one. I searched my stash of craft supplies and found this old scrapbook, in untouched condition. I happened to buy this scrapbook of sorts some time ago (read that as few years ago). I don't remember what I thought I would do with it when I bought it, but it was on sale ($3.99, still had the price tag). Probably that's what convinced me to buy it. So I bought some card stock and stickers at Michaels and got to work. I don't have a before picture, but this is what I ended up with.

I didn't want to dictate what the mom to be should write in each and every page, but wanted to suggest what I thought were good to journal about, so I wrote them on tiny Post-It notes and stuck them on each page.

This last page shows how the original pages looked. Spray-on adhesive saved a lot of time for me to attach the card stock. This book came with a pouch at the end the will allow her to keep some extra photos and ultrasound pics.

I was very pleased with it. It costed me close to $30 in total and about 5 hours of time, but well worth it. And the mom to be loved it.

Linking this post at Stop Look and Link party at Lauren's All Things Homie and at Tater Tots and Jello's Weekend Wrap up Party

PS: I was looking for the original inspiration for this journal on etsy to link it on this post and I stumbled on this. Same prego lady picture I used. Kinda neat to find coincidences.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baby Food Station

I had baby bottles, food pouches, snacks, wipes etc. etc. etc. all over the counter. It felt insane to see all the stuff on the counter. The visual clutter bothered me, so I tackled it. This is how it looked to start with.

Now it looks like this. All the clutter went in to the drawer.

Well organized.

These are the items I need on daily basis. Extras are stored in the cupboard underneath. Though some of the stuff like baby cups and plates are stored along with our stuff, this daily grabbing station is working well. If only I can keep it this way all the time.

By the way, for those of you that wonder why I have baby food for 20 month old, this is my sneaky way to include veggies and fruits into her diet. I can't get her to eat as much fruits n veggies as I would like, but these food punches are sweet and she happens to eat them well at daycare (not at home though). So I send them to be used as snack or part of main meals. The non sweet baby food gets used in pasta sauces. Another sneaky way to feed healthy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TOT-Friendly Christmas Ornaments

With our 20 month old daughter around, it didn't feel safe to keep my beloved ornaments on the tree, within her reach. Though I did not use all our glass ornaments, I wanted to use some of the most cherished ones like Baby's First Christmas, Baby hand and foot prints, Apples and Pears etc.

I have to say, she had been way better with the whole tree thing than I thought. Not touching the Nativity set or pulling stuff off the tree. If she wanted to take off an ornament, she is very careful with them, looking at it makes me smile and kiss her. Even though she tries to be careful, I am still concerned that she might accidentally drop a glass ornament on the stone floor on one side of the tree and hurt herself. We bought a set of tiny soft toy ornaments at Costco and also used some of her baby toys, but they did not fill the tree enough. So I wanted to make some DIY ornaments that are Toddler-Friendly. Shatter-proof in particular. I have searched web for some easy ideas as I can hardly find time to do anything else but the usual chores (I guess time length between my posts shows that, I hope). With some inspiration in mind I went to Michaels and bought some wooden animals, glittery pipe cleaners and some wood sticks, for less than $8. I came up with below.

As you can see, these are very simple. I mean, so simple that I don't have to explain the steps. Wooden Animals with ribbon hot glued for hanging, pipe cleaners shaped as Christmas trees, kindaa... with ribbon loops, wooden sticks with adhesive backing ribbon attached in front and hot glued ribbon for hanging and some paper ornaments that I made with scrapbook paper on hand (inspiration from google images). That's it. 22 simple, tree filling, kid proof ornaments.

Now the tree is filled with shatterproof ornaments at the bottom and my beloved glass ornaments on top. I don't find it as beautiful as it was last year, but the kid is enjoying it. I am not stressing over the Christmas decor as I am back to work and schedule has been tight after becoming working mom. I am trying to fit my interests into it, but it's been hard, really really hard. I am amazed at all of you out there that do so much more along with taking care of family and work. Looking up to you ladies!

Linking this post @ Tater Tots and Jello & Hi Sugarplum and Stop Look and Link party at All Things Homie

Monday, November 19, 2012

My First Design Book - Purchased and Read

OK, the title may seem like I wrote a book, but actually I BOUGHT my first Design book and READ it too. You might be thinking WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? But it is, for me, 2 BIG DEALS. First of all, I hardly buy books. I happened to buy few cookbooks, but not by famous authors. They are from clearance rack of Barnes and Nobles and 2nd hand book stores. I never really went to a book store or online looking to buy a book. But Young House Love is different.

I love their blog and following along their book progress. I have to be honest, I wasn't very impressed when I first saw the book cover, but I checked out some of the pages inside at Amazon and loved the ideas they put in and the way they were laid out. So I ordered it. Actually I added it to cart and waited, until I could find something else I need from Amazon to get free shipping on orders above $25. I found another book, cookbook to be specific, that's a different story on a different blog, and ordered it. Went on for a weekend trip to see a friend and they were home when I came back. So exited to see the book that it kind of felt weird to me that I am happy to see a book. I totally loved the book cover after physically seeing it and the hard cover makes it highend. Flipped through it and fell in LOVE with it. But I couldn't read it all that night. It went to my narrow-wobbly-IKEA bookshelf. All my books go there and never leave that shelf. Seriously. I haven't tried a single recipe out of the 20+ cookbooks and magazines I bought.

After a week, when the kid is in bed and hubby too as I completed my nightly chores, I felt like looking at the book's contents. No intension to read till the end, I started with page1. I'll be honest I didn't read everybit of it, like the intro and stuff. But the ideas were so brief, yet well described that I did not feel bored as I would reading any other book. So I completely read it. All 243 ideas. Till 1.50AM.

There, my 2 big deals. I went online looking for a book & bought it AND I read it all.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my first Design book, I mean, YOUNG HOUSE LOVE's design book that I bought.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Duct Tape for Diabetes

I was catching up on my blog reads and my heart melted when I read this story and one of the comments on it at A Thoughtful Place. I have family members with diabetes and I have had a classmate with juvenille diabetes when I was in Elementary school, but I never realised how hard it is to care for a child with diabetes. I wouldn't have understood it as much before I had my baby, but now when I come across children with health problems I thank god many times for giving us a healthy child. Many of us new moms think taking care of a newborn/toddler is so hard (all those nighttime feedings, sleep cycles, toddler tantrums etc. that we complain about), though it is fun, but don't realise how lucky we are to have a healthy child. I bow in honor to the parents that do so much to provide a normal life for their children with extra needs. I was speechless when I read that Jack's friends, who are about his age, wanted to help and started Duct Tape for Diabetes to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes. They are selling little things like flowers, bracelets and coasters made out of duct tape and 100% of all proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. All products are made by these kids. I don't know how many people read my blog, but if even one person reads this and makes a donation, its worthwhile. If kids can do so much for such good cause, we can atleast spend a little money to make a difference right? Love you Sam, Chase and Grant, God Bless You and your friend.

You can read the full story at A Thoughtful Place.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Polka Dot Baby Shower

We hosted a surprise baby shower for our friends from New York when they flew across county for our baby's 1st birthday. It was 5 months back. They had the baby who is now almost 3 months old. I know, I had been very lazy past few months. Lot of things going on, but back to business. This was the first party we hosted for someone else so I was very excited about the decorations. I love decorating for parties and I don't get those opportunities very often so I look forward to them. Challenge was, it was planned the very next day of the birthday party and they were staying in our house. Good and Bad for planning. Good because I could shop and arrange some of the things along with birthday related stuff and they won't notice (remember, it was a surprise party). Bad becasue there were still some things we needed to do that might be noticed as they were staying with us. I managed somehow, they had no clue about the shower. We were able to send them to meet other friends the morning of their party and informed all friends to come earlier than they did so we can shout SURPRISE!

Here are some pictures and the details of the arrangements. Big birthday party came in very handy as I was able to reuse a lot of stuff, including some food.

They were having a boy and they didn't say they have a prefered color for baby stuff, so we went with bright party colors. Mixed colors polka dots was kind of the theme. You can see it in Cake, napkins, Thank you gift bags (get a peek of them in Wine cabinet on the left), thank you cards, and printed game cards.

This beautiful yet simple cake was made by Frost My Cake bakery. They did an awesome job with our daughter's birthday cake too. 

I made this Diaper cake. Looks like a model of Leaning tower isn't it? It was a quick fix version, only took 15 minutes to do this. My first one, you can see here, took about 2-3 hours. I guess the more time spent, the better it looks. Yellow stand was a vase for $3 and a cake board wrapped in yellow wrapping paper. I made an extra batch of Brownie pops while making them for the birthday party and decorated them with orange sugar opposed to the lavender I used for birthday party. Mom to be was next to me but she did not have a clue.

We served Chocolate fondue, also an extra batch planned along birthday party, with some pound cake, marshmallows, macaroons and fruit. I bought this fondue pot long ago for $7.99 at TJ Maxx. Just enough size for a family or smaller get togethers. Homemade cookies with words related to baby, mom and dad. I baked the cookies before their visit, but I couldn't decorate them 4 days in advance, so I did the night before, after everyone slept. Now you understand the challenge!

Cupcakes, candy were from birthday party the day before.

I have setup a small game station where we had a card for everyone to sign, game cards for Baby Word Scramble, Price it Right etc., which I made and printed to match with the polka dot theme, pencils, 'Mom To Be' badge, 'How big is my Tummy' ribbon.

We played fun games and made Daddy change a diaper too. Here are some games played by the couple.

The couple were very happy and so were we that they came all the way here and gave us an opportunity to celebrate the baby shower. They had a beautiful baby boy this summer. We are looking forward to visiting him. I will post about the birthday party soon. Actually, I am waiting on the professional pictures hoping she might have captured all the detials better than us.

PS: I masked some names and faces in pictures to save privacy of the couple.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Picaboo Photobook Deal

I am sure most of you have made or at least heard of Photobooks. Its the modern take on traditional photo album. Almost every photo printing service offers these nowadays. Picaboo has a deal on these photo books on Living Social. 20-Page Classic Custom Hardcover Photo Book in Large ($10) or Extra-Large ($20) Check it out here!