Things are a little slow in our household this week. Last week was filled with holiday parties and two days of “camp.” Does anyone else understand this logic? You pay for preschool by the month. Then there are two weeks off in December, but there is an option for you to pay more for another week of “camp” instead of school. Doesn’t make any sense to me.
In an attempt to keep my daughter entertained and allow me to not go crazy, we have been watching baking videos on Youtube.com. My daughter loves to bake, but I have no will power and will eat everything that we bake. Therefore, I try to limit our baking, or I cleverly have my daughter bake with my Mother, so that very few cookies ever reach our house.
The other day my daughter asked to watch a video showing how to make a princess cake. We had watched some a few months ago on Howdini.com This time, I let her click from video to video while I was making dinner – I can see her and the computer from the kitchen. So she now “knows” how to make a fire truck, a castle, a duck and numerous other festive cakes.
Somehow she left cakes and found her way to videos of people making miniature candy ice cream and bento in Japanese. There is no explanation in either Japanese or English. It is called Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ and as far as I can tell it involves pouring water into little containers that have been filled with special powder, stirring, sometimes adding colors and delicately displaying the wares once they have set. It is very odd. And the strangest aspect to me is that some of the videos have literally been viewed millions of times. You have to check them out.
My daughter also found videos people post of their elaborate cakes. Generally there are slow pans of beautiful cakes and stacks of cupcakes with a bit of commentary. Sometimes there is a soundtrack. My daughter doesn’t really like them, but will watch them. I am amazed by the detail and intricacies.
We went to a gingerbread decorating party on Christmas Eve and our house was totally chaotic. I must admit that I had picked up some tips from watching these videos, but they didn’t seem to apply to my daughter. Oh well.
Check out this piece in the New York Times about Moms, who notice a problem and look for a solution. When they see that there isn’t anything available; they design it, make it and bring it to market.
Since the holidays are a time of giving, we thought we’d get in the spirit by rounding up some of our favorite companies to give away their wares to YOU! It’s our little way of saying thanks for being so supportive as we build our little business. These aren’t just any companies, these are companies, all of whom we have personally met with, worked with AND feel that their products and companies share many of the same values as Paper Culture. There are bigger companies like giggle who you’ve likely seen us talk about before, and companies that we hope to introduce you to for the first time. Most are some combination of eco friendly, modern design and family oriented – all themes that are at the core of our ethos.
Paper Culture Note: We thought that what Ashley did with her birth announcements was so fun, that we asked if she wanted to write about it for Inspired and she agreed. Enjoy!
When my husband and I decided to name our daughter Courtland Whaley Cart, I knew instantly that I wanted to find an appropriately themed WHALE birth announcement to mark her arrival. I turned to Mr. Google and scoured the Internet for cute, affordable, and if possible, recycled paper birth announcements. I don’t think any of you reading this are surprised to hear that Paper Culture had cards that fit all three criteria in spades. Not only was a thrilled to find that they had a number of whale designs from which to choose, I was equally pleased to read about the company’s admirable eco-commitment. I know that the most earth-friendly option would have been for me to forgo a paper announcement altogether, but I find that there is nothing better than beautiful, well-designed snail mail to mark such a special occasion as the birth of a child.
As you may know, I recently started writing the “Inspired” blog for Paper Culture. Before I started my job, I did some research — I looked at the site. I checked out the assortment of cards and designs that were available. But I hadn’t really experienced Paper Culture until now. My daughter is turning four next week and I am making, as my Aunt Aleen from NJ would say, a party for her. This year I am doing the tried and true “age of the child plus one extra guest.” I have gone to too many 4-year-old birthday parties recently, where the birthday child has been in meltdown mode for the last half hour of the party. Also my daughter just started a new school, so I wasn’t really sure, who to invite. Here is my experience:
Aloi is an amazing tattoo artist and a visual artist as well. It is hard to have a friend, who does such amazing work, if you are like me and can never decide on an actual image for a tattoo (I suffer terribly from food envy too). But the photos in this book may actually inspire me to finally get one.
Last weekend we were at Todlerbaloo, the most fantastic toddler festival in West Los Angeles. In addition to the hay maze; a whimsical garden where kids could decorate crowns; face painting; an art-teepee; bouncy houses; games; yoga for kids (this is West LA after all!), etc., there were all sorts of booths with people promoting their eco-friendly kid products and services. [read more]
I am this close to signing up for a sewing class. Although, I did take sewing in 7th grade, where I made a strange-looking stuffed-animal from a kit. Saying my sewing machine skills are basic, may be too generous. But I will admit that I am pretty darn good at darning and replacing buttons using the “old school” needle and thread.
“Surrur” is the sound that a sewing machine makes, if you are in Finland. It is ok if you can’t pronounce it, as 40% of Fins including their President, Tarja Kaarina Halonen, can’t trill their “Rs.” It is also the title of the amazing new “make your own Marimekko” book that I had to have from Crate and Barrel. [read more]
All day I stare at my iphone waiting for my client to call. The call is very important. It is so important that I use it as an excuse not to go to my regular Pilates mat class, or to go to the market to get some milk. Everything must wait. My daughter is in school most of the day. But fate has it that my client calls just after I have picked her up. I think fast, run and turn on the TV. Netflix has become my de facto babysitter of choice for client calls and when I am making dinner.
I used to feel guilty about letting my daughter watch TV when I needed to send a few emails, or check out my friends on Facebook, but no more. When my daughter was just three, her school tested the speech and hearing of all the kids. The speech therapist showed my daughter a picture… Her mind blowing answer, “that is an owl; it is nocturnal.” Sadly, I wasn’t responsible for that answer; I hadn’t been reading National Geographic to her. She had learned about nocturnal animals on “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.” But I had proof. I could stop feeling bad for not being Waldorf-y enough. TV can be educational and fun. And CPS wasn’t going to come after all.
Yikes! I really don’t know where the summer has gone. Besides, an unplanned “staycation” in Modena, Italy (the land of balsamic vinegar and tortelloni) and our annual trip to Toronto and NYC to visit friends and family, we seem to have spent most of the summer at the Santa Monica YMCA. Yes. The Y. My daughter was enrolled in camp and swim class. I felt like I lived there — dropping her off, picking her up and going back for swim class — every day. But camp and swim class are over. We have had a few lazy, unscheduled days before my daughter starts a new preschool. Last Spring, I made the agonizing decision to take my daughter out of her super-small and loving preschool to put her in a neighborhood school that is TWO blocks away and offers a better opportunity to be part of a community.
With the new school year and a new school comes the need to buy back-to-school items. Being a big Hello Kitty fan myself, I couldn’t help but get her a new Hello Kitty lunch box. I also had to pick up a sleeping bag for nap time. How could I deny her a Disney princess bag?