tell me a story

my house is situated about a 10 minute walk from what can be considered the centre of town. as in, i can buy starbucks there.

wait, let’s back that up. my house is situated 25 minutes from town. this recalculation is based on how long it takes me and kids #1, 2, and 3 to actually get from point a to b. this is not an easy task. there’s the initial “no kid #2, you can’t take these pieces of pretend salad (or whatever crazy thing) with you”. also, why are shoes a problem? if it’s not that one has disappeared into thin air, it’s that i’m being argued with around actually wearing them. why is it that i am forced to tell them over and over that wearing shoes is just a thing. like washing your hair. if you want to be a person who is taken seriously and given the responsibility of ordering your own drink at starbucks then you must put them on. both of them. 

why is everything an issue? why can’t we just be a nice family out on a walk together? 

for example: “kid #1, it’s not normal to make shooting noises at everyone we pass. i don’t care that YOU think you’re fighting the zombie apocalypse. other people just think you’re weird. and dangerous”. 

so i have begun to tell stories. i used to make all of them up but this became an issue (as everything does) because later on i couldn’t always remember every detail of every story i had ever told. and requests such as “tell me the one from that day when it was sort of raining and sort of not raining” were frustrating to all of us. something needed to change.

i decided it might be in everybody’s best interests to stick to a story we all knew. something like a fairytale. because everyone knows the story of the 3 little pigs. and cinderella. and red riding hood. no problems. no arguments. nothing.

and then came hansel and gretel.

the issue with hansel and gretel it would seem, was that my story began with “once upon a time there was a brother and a sister and they lived in a little house in the forest”. and BANG! it was on.

kid #1: “the brother was older right? like me? because he should probably be the one to hold the breadcrumbs. gretel might eat them i think. you know, that was a really good idea he had about the breadcrumbs. hansel’s a smart guy. i bet he’d be really good at video games.”

kid #2: “do hansel and gretel have a mommy? do they have a daddy? do they have some friends?”

and on and on and on.

once we had agreed on all of the finer points of the story, such as hansel is 7 and gretel is 2, and the breadcrumbs were actually pieces, and what type of candy should or should not be on the house, and what kind of lock the cage had on it, and how did hansel and gretel lose all the weight they must have gained while in captivity, i could no longer hear myself think. AND i was starting to resent the brothers grimm for their stupid story. AND i still had not had my coffee.

big breath.

i still love fairy tales even though i realize most are about as ridiculous as my kids are. for instance, why didn’t cinderella run into town and get herself some help? how do you even build a house out of straw? what does ‘not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin actually mean?

truth be told, hansel and gretel and our elaborately created version of them (complete with post captivity weight loss program), and that day’s walk to town in the sort of rain and sort of not rain, holds a seriously special place in my heart.

so now we just do our kick-ass version of hansel and gretel on walks into town. and for all their hard work and crazy imaginations, i think my kids deserve this:

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and by this, i mean steve light‘s hand-carved wooden hansel and gretel story box that includes everything you need to tell the original story. my kids will probably have to toss in some lego light sabers and jelly beans while they move their pieces around to tell the story but how awesomely beautiful is this toy? maybe i should just have it for myself. and the details are adorable.

hey look, it’s 7 year old hansel who’s super clever and good at video games.

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and his sister gretel who is definitely younger than him and probably not as clever.

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as a side note, story boxes  are also available in rapunzel,

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the african folktale ‘the girl who loved danger’ (this one comes with a scary lake monster hand puppet)

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and the japanese folktale ‘little one inch’

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so good.

but issue free? you just never know…

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dream attire: misha lulu

i assumed i would be the mother of 3 boys. never one to be particularly clairvoyant i was nonetheless quite certain.

during my pregnancy with kid #1 i spent some time in italy. as in, a country where the inhabitants know no physical boundaries at all. oh, and where i was nearly shamed for not drinking wine at every opportunity. but this story is not about how i was a good non-drinker during my first pregnancy. but kudos to me.

so. italy. a land where i couldn’t walk into a pizza shop without women running up to rub my belly. completely and utterly unsolicited. we just don’t seem to do that in canada, at least not from my experience anyway.

oooh! insert appropriately themed anecdote here: ok, so while i was pregnant with kid #2 a conversation with a group of co-workers was had regarding whether or not it was okay to go up to a pregnant stranger and touch their belly. my call was no. but this one woman didn’t see the issue. she considered it to be fine because, as she explained, “it’s something outside of your body”. “like a boob?” someone else considered.  yes. like a boob. no biggie.

nevermind. the point of my preamble was to say that every time i was accosted by a strange italian lady i was told i had a bambina on the way. every. single. time. yet i was convinced otherwise. i was having a boy. absolutely. besides i told myself, these women were probably exposed to alcohol in utero and thus wrong. very very wrong.

kid #1 did end up being a boy and i was pleased as punch. still am. but feeling that i could now definitely predict the gender of future children, i soothsayed that i would only be the mother of boys.

wow, was i in for a surprise when kid #2 was a girl. i was super shocked and super happy. because i really really wanted a daughter. which for some reason is why i didn’t think i’d have one.  i figured it was a fluke. but baby #3 a girl? awesome sauce!

it’s not that i didn’t want to have boys. my boy is fabulous. it’s just that i wanted to have a girl to wear misha lulu dresses. well not seriously, but it is a huge perk.

enter the world of misha lulu and say hello to karen salazar’s retro-modern, latin-influenced designs for kids.

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ideally i would like to be able to open my daughters’ closets and find that they are filled with every single design from every single misha lulu collection.

oh, misha, do you remember when you had that dolce vida theme?

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or the time you introduced your wallpaper dress?

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or how you inexplicably know how kid #2 thrives on all things hello kitty?

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lately i’ve become obsessed with the idea that i could make misha lulu-inspired skirts and dresses for my girls. i have sewn exactly once so nobody hold your breath.

or they could just wear this from the upcoming woodland themed fall collection.

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much better.

featured series: cozy classics

books are a thing in this house and everyone knows it. i am a book snob. book collector. snubber of e-readers entirely. step on a book or bend its pages and you may as well pack your bags and go. i. love. books.

we have this nightly ritual here that’s been dubbed ‘book party’ and it started back when kid #1 was around a year and a half. i can’t quite recall the origin of the name though. maybe i had party hats lying around from someone’s birthday and was trying to be fun mom or something. or maybe i was trying to get my son’s attention. i don’t know. either way book party was born and it continues to be a non-optional requirement for children living in this home. basically we all squish into bed together and mom reads 3 books out loud. 3 really great quality books. as in, no kid #2, diego and dora cannot be invited to this party. neither can the wonderpets. do not even mention their names.

sometimes the books are ones i’ve purchased, and sometimes they’re borrowed from the library. my kids think field trips to the library are awesome fun times. one time we were out with some friends and had planned to go to the park. then it started to rain or got too dark to play or something so the friend sarcastically said that we should go to the library instead. kid #1 and #2 jumped up and down in excitement until i sadly had to explain to them that this was said as a joke. a sad sad inappropriate joke. 

don’t mess with books.

but speaking of books, i am the owner of one of life’s most useless academic degrees: the english literature one. sure i love books but having a bachelor’s degree worth of experience reading stuff won’t get you paid. (neither will a graduate psychology one but that’s a whole other topic). what i did get out of the degree though was an introduction to the canon of great literature. you know, the classics and such. jane austen everything. war and peace. les miserables. charles dickens. that sort of stuff. the kind of books you don’t read to your kids. the kind of books they don’t read until they get their own useless english literature degree.

but have no fear! the classics can now be fun thanks to vancouver based cozy classics. featuring titles such as moby dick and pride and predjudice, ingenious twin brothers jack and holman wang have created 12-word primers with needle felted illustrations.

here’s one from moby dick:

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and emma:

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and pride and prejudice

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wow, yes? yes. you can also buy prints from the books here

so looking at these really amazing needle felted illustrations i momentarily forgot my long history of craft fail-ness and wondered how hard needle felting could possibly be. while reading a very short excerpt about it i stumbled upon the words “stabbing”, “tangling”, and “painstaking”. so never mind. i’ll leave it up to the pros and get back to book party…

feature shop: maileg

so i purchased #2 a birthday present. because her birthday is not coming up anytime soon. oh, and also a christmas present. same reason. it’s just that sometimes i stumble upon something like the danish line maileg and accidentally happen to have my credit card with me. it happens. also i was out with my mom at the time so she was able to herd kids #1 through #3 to another location so that the store wasn’t torn to shreds by the time i made my purchase.

this is sofia, aptly known as kid #2. she’s the most excited runner i know and thus splats several times a day. or trips on her own feet because it’s pretty easy to get tangled in your own limbs i guess. also she must believe she can walk on air. it’s the only reason i can think of for the way she jumps off of things she cannot possibly land on her feet from. kid #2 is no cat. but she’s pretty damn cute. which makes up for it. sort of.

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there is a small box wrapped in brown butcher’s paper that currently resides on a shelf above my washing machine where even i cannot reach without climbing. i am limber like a cat! i did not pass on this particular genetic trait. the box contains the cutest baby mouse in a glorified match box. baby-loving kid #2 will adore it. or i will. whatever. this is it.

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a whole family of these guys are available in sizes mini to mega maxi. plus you can purchase clothing and furniture separately for them. oh, and they’re also available in rabbit. check it out.

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i want to play with them all. and name them. and arrange them into families. what? i mean kid #2 wants to do that. i preemptively am aware of this.

so…given that christmas was also coming up not very soon, i took the opportunity to purchase maileg’s princess and the pea toy. who doesn’t love a cute little wooden bed, doll and crocheted pea, and cloth mattresses piled high? no one doesn’t love it. that’s who! also it comes with a sweet little illustrated book.

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coincidentally that night i was like “hey kid #2, want to hear an awesome story about a princess and a pea. i’ve just randomly decided to tell you this story so that you’ll be all like “oh wow! yay! a princess and pea toy” for christmas instead of being all like “why does this princess have a pea? is she hungry? is this all her mommy fed her?” see? i have just done my daughter a great service in the category of fairy tale knowledge.

oh maileg, i want your whole line.

merry christmas in advance everyone.

to the rescue…

walk around this house and you’ll see a lot of superheroes. errr…you’ll step on a lot of superhero pieces and parts and helmets and swords and laser beam-ish stuff. and all of this stuff belongs to kid #1 who since i can remember has always fancied himself somewhat of a superhero. there have been moments (many many moments) where i have considered him more of a super villain, but he seems to be of the opinion that the villain role is best played by me.

take yesterday. minding my own business. making eggs. because that’s the job of a super villain apparently. and here runs in kid #1 in battery-powered noise-making officially licensed iron man mask (thank you random relative) and underwear. lego ninja underwear because he rolls like that. his battery powered mask interrupts my egg scrambling and dares me to fight him and suddenly i’m attempting to maneuver mr.superhero out of my way so the eggs don’t burn. because if the eggs burn, kid #1, who will actually be the one responsible for the egg burning, will fail to eat the eggs. and it will be my fault.

as i said, i am always the villain around here.  but as terrible a villain as i am (and i am so horribly terrible!) i can’t resist my weird superhero of a son. nor can i resist these little peg people from pegbuddies. kid #1 loves them too. he’s already added them to this year’s lengthy christmas wish list.

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so since kid #1 thinks he’s a superhero then kid #2 definitely thinks she is because whatever he claims to be she is too. but more. because she’s the dramatic type. if she were honest she’d shed the superhero mask in favour of some sort of baby doll. since the birth of kid #3 she’s been pretty set on playing mommy. her plastic, naked, arm half-ripped off, horror movie looking doll (thank you other random relative), aptly named “purple” because of the purple dress it lived in once upon a time, currently resides in the potty most of the time. kid #2 says she’s teaching it to pee in there which is fine as long as she doesn’t actually pee on it. or maybe peeing on “purple” would be awesome since then she’d definitely have to be tossed. a peed on doll is not a salvageable doll. in fact, i’d love to replace that scary thing with this superhero doll from my little hero designs. 

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right?!? much better.

not to be unfair, kid #3 deserves a superhero something herself. i found these wonder woman inspired caped leg warmers at giggle poo and thought she’d look fabulous hanging out in these cuties.

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right again!

now this superhero is off to bed before the evil toad lord leads his toad-followers into battle out in my yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fox is the new owl

remember when we loved everything owl related? i do. kid #2’s bedroom is a testament to this. i’m still liking her dwell owl bedding but given the new fox craze it’s feeling a little dated.

lately i’ve discovered molly goodall’s website littlegoodall.com which is chalk full of animal inspired goodness. specifically i’m coveting her little fox coat for child #2. check out this awesomeness.

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next in my super-duper fox fabulousness find i turn to my all-time favourite website: etsy.

over at trendytot where jen has been named one of the best etsy moms by disney’s parenting website babble.com, as well as featured in much cooler media such as vogue kids and kidcrave, i kinda want these fox leggings for myself.

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another etsy fox related dress-up fun-ness i found at mahalo where sisters Beth (living in Ohio) and Alisha (living in Florida) somehow manage to work together to make stuff. like this fox mask.

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aren’t foxes great? for today anyhow. elephants tomorrow? stay tuned…

welcome welcome.

Imagethis is me (and one of my kids). i’m a pretend redhead. i have too many university degrees, more children than arms (but less than fingers), and i really really love products for kids. and also i really really hate toys-r-us plastic noise-making, lighting-up, beeping, mass-produced, carbon-wasting crap. so i don’t buy it for my kids. unless it’s lego because my kid loves lego and actually lego is pretty damn awesome although the ouch factor of stepping on a piece in the dark when you get up to pee at night is unbelievable!

wow. i have already contradicted myself. i’m a shitty blogger already.

but let’s back up. i hate mass-produced garbage. i love art and creativity and one-of-a-kinds and attention to detail. and i really like my kids a whole lot. they’re pretty amazing under 8 year-old specimens. so when i’m up at night not being able to sleep due to the fact that farmers have no late night noise restrictions (my house backs onto a farmer’s field) and it sounds like a badly conducted toad orchestra in my backyard (my house also backs onto a swamp of sorts), i do a lot of browsing around the web for clothes, toys, dress-up gear, play stuff, art, books, design and such for kids.

since I think i’ve uncovered a ton of kid-tastic amazingness during my summer of sleeplessness i thought i’d give blogging a whirl. people do it all the time. i should do it all the time! or maybe i’ll just try it for awhile and see how it goes.

wish me luck. i guess.