Category: Family

Super Easy DIY: Baby Block Photo Holder

baby block photo holder

My little sister recently had a beautiful baby girl and I threw her a shower while I was back in Canada a few months ago. My other sister and I made these cute baby block photo holders as a party favors for the shower guests and I really like how they turned out!

You’ll need:

Wooden baby blocks
Wooden clothespins
Acrylic craft paint + paintbrush
Hot glue gun

Paint the clothespins with the craft paint in the color of your choice (I chose yellow). Let it dry (I pinned mine on a piece of cardboard to paint and dry, so I didn’t have to be holding onto it anywhere).

block back

Decide which side of the block you want facing outwards, and hot glue the clothespin to the back of the block.

It’s as simple as that!

The guests had a lot of fun looking for the letters of their choice. We also used them during the shower to hold baby pictures of the future mom and dad! They were a fun and budget-friendly party favor (less than $1 a block when you buy a set of blocks).

block with pic

I think a fun twist on this idea would be to use washi tape to decorate the clothespin instead of (or perhaps in addition to) the paint. If you wanted to make it fit your color scheme you could also paint all the blocks a uniform color. Can you think of other variations?

Sharing over at See Vanessa Craft!

Best Camping Gear for Babies

bridal veil falls

Over the long weekend we took an awesome trip up to Yosemite National Park with a group of friends. I was feeling a bit of trepidation about the trip because A) it’s a long drive with a 1-year old and B) I was nervous about how Baby Brownie would do sleeping at a campsite. It turns out, I worried for nothing. I guess Baby Brownie is just an amazing night sleeper because she went right to sleep at 8pm every night and woke up at 7:30am.

We had an awesome time biking around the valley, admiring the view at Glacier Point, cooking meals at the campsite, making s’mores around the campfire, and spending lots of quality time with friends.

We did bring some key baby gear, however, that made camping much easier, and I thought I’d post about them here in case some other brave parents are taking their babies camping this summer!

essential baby camping gear

baby camping gear

1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib

I’ve posted about how much I love the BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light┬ábefore, when we flew to China and Baby Brownie was just 8 months old. I still love it, and at 14 months, my daughter still fits in it just fine. The Baby Bjorn Crib takes about half a minute to set up, and maybe a minute to fold down once you have it figured out. It’s lightweight (though it is a bit bulky, but that’s not really an issue when you’re car camping) and folds down into a convenient carrying case.

I like how the fabric and mesh of the crib is breathable but comfortable and soft. It’s not a plasticky, rustle-y, tent fabric like many of the other travel cribs out there, so it doesn’t make noise when the baby moves. I also like how the mattress pad is an actual pad, rather than an inflatable mattress; it helps to keeps baby warmer. I added a fleecy plush crib sheet to help keep Baby Brownie warm. You can just have the travel crib right in your tent or camper, and baby has a nice, enclosed place to go to sleep.

2. Sleep Sacks

Baby Brownie is used to the HALO Fleece SleepSack, so that’s what we used. They’re not as warm as I’d like, especially for camping in the mountains, but Halo doesn’t make padded sleep sacks (you can buy padded, duvet-style sleep sacks online, but we just used what we had). I just layered lots of PJs on Baby Brownie — first a long-sleeve onesie, then a fleece footed sleeper, then an extra fleece pullover to keep her arms warm, and then the fleece Sleep Sack. I had an extra blanket to put over her but by the morning it was bunched in a corner of the crib, so it wasn’t much help.

3. Wee Ride Kangaroo Bike Seat

One of our favorite parts about camping in Yosemite was riding bikes around the valley. We’ve tried bike trailers before but found that our toddler didn’t really enjoy them because she couldn’t see anything. With the WeeRide LTD Kangaroo Child Bike Seat, our daughter could see everything and was safely strapped in front of her daddy. Although this seat won’t fit an older child, it was perfect for our 1-year old. We loved that sitting in front, she could see everything, and it seems safer in case of a fall, so my husband could catch her and keep an eye on her.

wee ride collage

4. Baby Food Pouches

I’m so glad we brought plenty of baby food pouches like these Happy Baby Organic Baby Food Pouches. They were so handy when we were on the trail (or in the car) for a snack for our toddler, or just to supplement a meal and to add fruits and veggies. Although Baby Brownie is eating solid food, sometimes camping food isn’t the most nutritious. We also brought healthy finger foods like cheese sticks, bananas, grapes, and crackers.

Are you planning to go camping with your little one this summer? What’s your baby camping gear essential?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Turn Your Kid’s Pants into Shorts (in 3 Easy Steps)

Here’s a quick project that took me all of 15 minutes, and helps reuse something you would otherwise give/throw away, use as a rag, or lose in the bottomless black hole you call the closet (or is that just me?).

With the warm weather we’ve been having, I’ve really been wishing that my toddler had fewer long pants and more shorts. She’s going to outgrow her long pants before the weather gets cool again. Well, duh, I told myself, why not just shorten the pants?

turn kids pants into shorts

You’ll need:

1 pair of jersey cotton pants
sewing machine
thread that matches pants
scissors

I love the neon pink polka dots on these pants but they were kind of a weird shape on my girl. She has skinny legs so the pants ended up baggy around the thigh, but weirdly tapering at the ankle. So I decided that this pair would be a perfect candidate for a redo, and if it didn’t work out, oh well.

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Warning: I am not a seamstress. Not even close. I’m a total amateur who has to look at the manual every time I try to thread my sewing machine. So if I can do it, you can too!

Turn the pants inside out. Fold the pants in half lengthwise and snip off the bottom portion. I just eyeballed it, but remember that you’ll lose more length after you hem the pants.

cut off pant legs

Fold up the cuffs at the bottom of the legs. You could be all fancy and zigzag stitch them, but the knit t-shirt material won’t fray, so don’t worry about it.

diy baby shorts

Besides, who’s going to be snooping in your baby’s wardrobe criticizing your hemming skills? (uh…don’t answer that question.)

Just sew around the hem with the sewing machine. Let the machine pull the fabric through to avoid stretching the fabric. Just make sure you don’t sew the leg shut. If you want to be fancy, you can sew in a double seam (just add another seam next to the first).

hemming shorts

(I forgot to take a picture while I was sewing, so I faked the above picture.)

And it’s as easy as 1…2…3!

turn kids pants into shorts

Is it perfect? Nope. I’m incapable of sewing a straight seam. Does it work and are they comfy? Oh yeah.

I tried to get a pic of my daughter modeling the shorts but she moves too fast. This is the best I could do and it’s a little blurry.

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Of course, when you hem your shorts you will use a matching thread instead of white, unlike me, right?

The shorts are a little loose and flowy which is actually nice for this warm weather. They are the perfect play pants now.

A Garden 1st Birthday Party

We were thrilled to be able to invite the family over for Baby Brownie’s 1st birthday party, even more so that the weather was gorgeous and we were able to do it in the yard.

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We had been so busy with our family room renovation that we started working on the yard area for the party the night before the party! See that grass? That sod was laid THE MORNING OF THE PARTY. Yes. That’s how we roll. But it looked SO MUCH BETTER. I wish I had a before pic but where those two patches of grass are there were just two piles of dirt. Amazing what a difference some green makes.

Of course, after the party we had to pull up all the sod and re-level the ground underneath, which had been all pitted by people walking all over it at the party. But it was worth it.

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You ┬ácan see that some parts of the garden are still unfinished, hence the pile of dirt in the corner. But that didn’t prevent us from having a great time.

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The birthday girl was happy to play with tissue paper.

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And we all enjoyed celebrating our little angel who has grown up so much in the past year; I can’t believe how time flies.

Look, We Traveled to China With an 8-Month-Old!

Despite our many misgivings beforehand (What were we thinking? We are insane.), we successfully toted our tot to China and back. Now that we’re finally over the jet lag, I can talk about it. Just kidding. Traveling to China with a baby actually wasn’t that bad.

I have to give credit to my angelic baby. Baby Brownie was amazing on the trip. Seriously, we heard so many horror stories about kids on the plane, we were prepared for 14 + 11 hours of absolute hell. But Baby Brownie surprised us by playing happily on our laps, smiling at all the people around her, and sleeping for 6 hours and 5 hours respectively on each leg of the round-trip flight.

The hard part was adjusting to the new time zone once we got there (and back). Our sleep schedules didn’t match up, so there were several nights where the baby was up in the middle of the night wanting to play. Fortunately, my parents met us in HK, so they were able to baby sit while we caught up on sleep.

The most helpful things we brought with?

1) The Ergo Baby Carrier — Baby Brownie pretty much lived in this thing for our whole trip. Hong Kong and Shanghai are not particularly stroller-friendly, so the carrier made things a lot easier when we were pushing through crowds on the subway or climbing flights of stairs. The baby could still see what was going on, but when she was tired she could put her head on Chris’ chest and nap. Perfect.

2) The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib — Not knowing what crib options would be available at hotels and friends’ apartments, I had much more peace of mind bringing the Baby Bjorn crib with us since I knew that the baby could sleep in it and that it was safe. Yes it took up half a suitcase, but it was light, and it was a consistent place to lay her down (on a trip full of inconsistencies).

3) Food — We also brought ALL of the formula and baby food she would need. While Hong Kong and Shanghai both have a wide variety of organic baby food, I didn’t want to waste time searching for it, nor did I want to pay inflated prices for imported food. We brought plenty of baby food pouches as well as oat cereal and Baby Brownie did great.

She had just started crawling before we left on the trip, so I was a little nervous that she would be ALL OVER THE PLACE on the plane, but she actually did really well in a small space. I think that it would be a lot harder to take her on such a long flight when she gets a little older and is more mobile.

We had a great time with friends and relatives who finally got to meet the baby for the first time! It was a perfect pre-Christmas trip! Now that we’ve done this, flying to Canada to visit my parents sounds like a piece of cake!

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