Tim’s Sally: Painting for me, is a nostalgic descent back to my childhood – a time when dolls were a huge part of my life. Today is not altogether different. I think of my paintings as play sets where I dress my dolls up and create their own environment. Sometimes this “land” is a sweet setting of animals, nature, and innate innocence while others are captivated by a mysterious engulfing darkness. I can relate.
Memories of playtime and my special collection of “neat stuff” that I kept in a wooden trunk made specially for me by my uncle were treasures to me. Baby doll heads, vintage dolls, sweet scents of everything yummy are areas of great inspiration. Artists such as Mark Ryden, Joe Sorren, and Casey O’Connell also capture my heart with a sweet tenderness encompassing subtle moments of time we all would like to revisit; a dream state so unique one could only wish to take part.
The story behind Moku Pe Pe is an interesting one. The shop owner, Kellie Crowe, spent eleven years on small sailing vessels, traveling from Europe to South East Asia. She was so deeply affected by the beauty of the islands she experienced, that she wanted to keep those memories alive in her home. What started as a mom making unique clothes and blankets for her own baby, has developed into a full collection of lovely baby blankets and yoga pants. All are hand-sewn by Kellie in her home, when she’s not working her full-time job.
I was immediately attracted to the vibrant colors and patterns. These blankets and yoga pants for babies offer a refreshing breath of island air. Perfect for those looking for a not-so-usual shower gift, or to preserve island memories of your own. And the blankets are made from pre-washed fabric and lined, either with fleece or batting, to be snuggly, warm and cozy.
I love that Moku Pe Pe’s designs are bold (definitely not your run of the mill infant gear), and unisex. With pattern names like Beach Baby, Puff The Magic Dragon, and Summer Flower Power, the infant yoga pants are lightweight and made for ease of movement and comfort, just the thing for an active crawler or toddler. The cuffs are lined with a contrasting fabric and can be cuffed at first, then let down as baby grows.
Kellie doesn’t shy away from sophisticated fabrics depicting dragons and pirate insignia, giving her work just a touch of edginess. Another nice thing is that the patterns mix well, so you needn’t worry if baby is wearing her Batik Baby pants with her Shanghai Blanket, she’ll still look like a little island princess. Stop by the Moku Pe Pe shop and have a look at all of her cute designs.
The idea of recycling isn’t just about separating your household waste into piles of glass, paper and organic waste. Like the above photo from Skip To My Lou, recycling is a cute way of having fun – as well as keeping little people busy and entertained with these juice carton boats.
I love the idea of simple, easy to make crafts and home made treats – especially when minimal mess is acquired making said crafts and home made treats!
Much like these yummy looking Ritz cracker snacks, made by my sister-in-law, Amy.
These are a straight forward make and you will need:
Ritz crackers/a cheaper alternative.
Chocolate (Amy has used white chocolate, but you can probably use just about any variety.)
Melt the chocolate: you can try the bowl in the pan method or the microwave method. Sandwich together 2 plain crackers, spread a little peanut butter in the middle (to hold the crackers together) then dip into the melted chocolate and add sprinkles to them – the last two steps my 4 year old nephew helped out with meanwhile my 2 year old nephew sat that part out and was on hand to taste-test.
I was so impressed with these cute little treats and it further affirms to me that from simple things come great things – and you don’t need to break the banks doing it, or expend a lot of energy making things.
Much like these sweet (literally) building block marshmallow straws from Makes and Takes, a crafting blog jam-packed full of crafty ideas for kids, family time, recipes, home projects and so on.
For instructions to make these marshmallow/straw building blocks.
So when keeping it simple on the craft and making front with kids, make it accessible and inclusive to kids of all ages. Devise tasks for all age groups according to their ability levels, encourage (but don’t over bear) their creative and crafty sides – and remember to get them to help with the cleaning up process, too!
Carry your precious bundle in a lovely ring-style sling made from 100% cotton batik. Think you’re not coordinated enough to pull it off? That’s OK, because it comes with a detailed instruction booklet. From Baby Love Slings.
This week, in the Back-to-School Eats series, I’m going to talk Brown Bag Lunches. From planning to execution, purchase to lunchroom-feast I’ve got tips, tricks and ideas to make healthy, mostly local lunches quick, easy and attainable for even the busiest families. But before we get started on lunch, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Back-to-School Eats: On The Go Breakfast Edition for four wholesome ways to kick off your school-kid’s day. Because breakfast is the most important meal, one that sets the tone for success and health and if your child hasn’t had a good breakfast the quality of his lunch isn’t going to be able to make up the difference.
Have a System – When my oldest started Kindergarten I was still one of those really good parents. I was expending an obnoxious amount of time trying to Do It All and I was succeeding. Most of the remnants of that time are now long gone, ancient history, but a few usable bits and pieces still remain. One of those things is a lunch planning spreadsheet I created. Or, rather, several of them. They’re divided into four categories; main dish, fruit, vegetable and treat. Those categories are color coded and each spreadsheet represents a different season, a different part of the school year. In each of the categories, on each of the spreadsheets, are several items that we usually have on hand during that time of year. Some items make an appearance in more than one season — peanut butter and jam sandwiches and apples, for instance — but many are seasonal with temporary availability — like asparagus in the springtime, peaches and pears in the late summer and early fall. Each day my girls pick one item from each category to make up the lunch of their choice. You don’t have to use my system, though it works very well if you’d like to, but have a system in place to make everything from purchase to packing easy.
Start Big – It’s contrary to everything your mother ever told you — “Start small, deary! Work your way up! — but hear me out. What I mean is not to start big overall, but to start with the big things. To have the biggest impact start with the largest portions of the meal and work your way down to the condiments, the toppings, the little treats. If sandwiches are a common component of your kids’ lunch look for good local sources of bread (or the grains to make it in your very own bread maker) and lunch meat. Worry about the condiments later, for instance.
Understand Your Law of Supply and Demand – And obey it. If you have one child who eats an apple a day, chances are you don’t need a bushel of apples every week. It’s just as easy to overdo it at the Farmer’s Market as it is to not go at all. Buy what you need, eat what you buy.
Plan Ahead – Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in a temperate climate where the growing season and the Farmer’s Market go year-round, you’re going to have to plan ahead for winter. Last year, in On Year Round Appreciation, I alluded to the importance of asking your local growers about year-round product availability now, before the market closes, but that is doubly important when you’re trying to get three meals a day out of the local food scene. Remember, some products don’t have a set season. Meats, eggs, preserves, breads, and even some produce that keeps well in a root cellar like potatoes, onions, apples, hard squashes and garlic can be had in the dead of winter without trucking it in from miles out. Start planning how you’ll access these goods before the cold sets in. You may be able to buy them farm direct, you may need to stock up. Now is the time to know which it’ll be.
Whatever the system you choose and foods you pack here’s to happy, healthy, local and — most important — stress-free back-to-school lunches!