A Family Outing

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This past week was looooooong. Henry had full days at school or work and then other commitments and assignments all night long. By the time I hopped in bed yesterday night I was just so filled with relief that the weekend was finally here and that we didn’t have too many things planned. I wanted to rest and I wanted to spend some time with my guy. That’s it.

So after sleeping in (a little) I joined Henry + Hadley for breakfast and we decided that it looked like we were going to have beautiful weather so we’d be spending the day outside. After a trip to the grocery store and a good long nap for Hadley, we headed out to the forest for a short hike and a fire cooked lunch. There is nothing better.

Hadley was being a little adventurer and climbing all over the place. She’s taking a few steps on her own here and there now, so she had a blast exploring the forest and hunting for pinecones while Henry cooked. We bought our favourite chilli-cheese sausages and I prepared some veggies to be grilled before we left (hoooooray for asparagus season!) and it was so. freaking. good. I want to eat like this every day.

Henry took Hadley out to his friend’s place to watch a hockey game, so now I get to do the resting. I see snuggling with my pups and a whole lot of Netflix coming up. This day is pretty much perfection.

toy rotation: the how & why

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toy rotation

Play time at our house can be… chaotic. If you have a toddler, I’m about 1000% positive you can say the same thing. Having a VERY high energy little means that when she goes, she GOES, and there’s usually a path of destruction in her wake. When Hadley was about 9 months old Henry and I decided that we wanted to keep toys at a minimum, buying her things that would engage her and aid learning, without getting excessive and just having a mountain of toys she never uses. I know parents who have buckets and buckets of toys for their children. And I know others that have very few. I don’t think either is right or wrong, but I do think that managing a child’s access to their toys can be very beneficial to their play time. If you haven’t heard the term before, let me introduce you to ‘toy rotation’. It’s a game changer, people.

The beauty of toy rotation is that it means less toys scattered across your floor (quicker clean up) but it also has some really great benefits for your child. It reduces overstimulation, encourages children to use toys in new ways and engage their imaginations, and they become more immersed in the toy they are playing with and learn more fully about how it functions. Also, as children become more deeply engaged in their play it gives you the freedom to leave the room and do some of your own stuff, teaching independence and the ability to play on their own. Win, win, win, win, win. Oh, and it also decreases the risk of pieces getting lost or ruined. Win.

toy rotation

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toy rotation

So, how does one go about setting up toy rotation? It’s suuuuper easy. First, gather up all of your child’s toys. Then you want to take away any toys that are favourites, you want quick access to, or you notice are being used daily.

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

For us, we kept out her blocks, her teethers, and her soft toys. The blocks are kept in a basket on a shelf, so we still decide when and for how long she can use the blocks, but we can access them quickly if she wants to play with them. It also helps us keep the blocks all together, instead of mixed in with other toys or hidden in various dusty corners of our apartment. The teethers aren’t really in use right now, but when she starts teething again, I don’t want to be digging around looking for them. They stay in her toy drawer, but they don’t get switched out with the other toys. She doesn’t have many soft toys, but the ones she has she loves. Especially this puppy, which she hugs, carries around the house and sleeps with. We let her play with her puppy whenever as it’s a clear favourite.

Next you want to sort the toys by function. Here’s some of the categories we use to sort Hadley’s toys.

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

toy rotation

Stacking + sorting, puppets, push + pull, puzzles, musical, sensory, and soft books. We also have a misc. pile that includes all the random toys we can’t categorise or the household items that Hadley has just claimed as her own (remote controls, old keyboards, walkie talkies – she likes to push buttons).

Once you’ve sorted the toys by function, you them simply divide them by however many rotations you want. If you have a lot of toys, your can probably make more rotations. We have only 3.

toy rotation

The toys that Hadley has in use are in her toy drawer in her dresser, but the toys from the other two rotations are in boxes in her closet. We switch them out about once a week (we sometimes forget) or when we feel like she is bored with the toys in the current rotation and needs a change.

toy rotation

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toy rotationtoy rotation

Her favourite activity by far is just running around the house with her Brio toddler wobbler. She’s learning to walk on her own right now and is getting better all the time, but she loves using the wobbler because it means she can go fast!

The other thing that Hadley has full access to is books. We have a separate drawer for her books beside her toy drawer, and she is always allowed to get a book. We do supervise her play with books most of the time though, as she’s not exactly gentle with them and we’d like to keep them in good condition. In the past few months she’s really developed an interest in books and I LOVE IT! I adore sitting down with her and reading, and I hope it’s a love she keeps throughout her life.

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toy rotationtoy rotation

toy rotation

 

What are your thoughts on toy rotation? Have you tried it before? Do you think you might give it a go? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

p.s. This is not a promo for Brio. We just have a ton of their toys because, well… they’re awesome.

 

 

Hadley’s Birthday Party

Hadley's Birthday

Hadley's Birthday

Hadley's Birthday

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Hadley's BirthdayHadley's Birthday

Hadley's Birthday

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One of the things I missed sharing with you while I was taking a break from the blog was Hadley’s 1st birthday. It was amazing. We worked really hard and late into the night (with a few awesome friends as volunteers) to get all the food and decorations finished, but it was so worth it. It was a party that will not be forgotten.

We had lots of our friends over to our home for the afternoon, including TONS of other kids. It’s so interesting to see how quickly our gatherings became filled with littles. It is a real blessing to have other families with young kids around us, and we have many.

Hadley got some new clothes (including lots of pj’s, which were very much needed), some new plastic dishes because I don’t trust her with the ceramic Muumi dishes we’ve been collecting for her quite yet, and a few new toys. She was thoroughly spoiled, though completely disinterested in her gifts. She opted to bask in the overflow of attention instead.

It felt so crazy to be celebrating 1 whole year of Hadley. The year has flown so very fast and while a part of me certainly wishes I could freeze those little baby moments, I am SO enjoying the little girl Hadley is becoming. I love her personality – she is so funny and loves to make us laugh and make funny faces. She says hello to absolutely everyone she sees. She walks on her tiptoes like she’s destined to be a ballerina. I love that she is developing mentally at such an incredible rate that even I notice the day to day changes. I swear I can see the wheels turning in her head. I will miss her tiny baby days, but this new age is oh so sweet.

My life has changed SO drastically over the past 5 years (moving abroad, getting married, having a baby), but while starting a family young has it’s challenges, I think it has blessed us more than we ever thought possible. I remember when we were expecting Hadley we were so frustrated by how many people told us that ‘our life was over’ or something to that effect. Having a baby is not the end of your life. It’s the beginning of a new life that is so much richer. We love our Hadley Bear to the moon and back.

I am so looking forward to all the joy and new experiences that Hadley will bring into our life in the next year.

Natural Dye Easter Eggs

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Hey friends! So – after an unplanned and reeeally long hiatus, I’m returning to blog-land. I’m not really sure why I stopped, I suppose that between looking after a rambunctious little and moving forward with my business, those spare moments that I had were used for napping instead of blogging. BUT, with the encouragement of some friends, I’ve decided to give it another go.

SO much as happened since I blogged last. Our first Christmas as a family of 3. Hadley turned 1. I took another trip to Canada. Henry is studying, and working, and being the best dad ever. To name a few. And then, of course, life happened – on all the days in between. I have been so abundantly blessed by my little family.

natural_dyed_eggsThis week we tried dying Easter eggs with natural ingredients we already had around our house. We used green tea, turmeric, coffee, paprika + chilli powder, and black coffee. Again, I only used these because it’s what I already had in my kitchen. If I did a bit more planning on this, I would have also tried using beets, red cabbage and blueberries.

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Before you dye your eggs you need to prep them somehow. You can either hard boil them if you plan on eating them later, or you can blow them out, which will allow them to last longer and stay at room temperature out on display. If you do blow them out, make sure you wash them with soap and room temperature water first. I chose to hard boil them.natural_dyed_eggs

After you’ve got your dye ingredients in individual bowls, add very warm water. I have a temperature control kettle, so I added 70°C water. Just don’t add boiling water. You also need to add about 1 or two tablespoons of regular white table vinegar to each bowl, as this will help the eggs to retain the colour of the dye.
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After adding your eggs to the dyes, just leave them to sit. Natural dyes take a lot longer to take effect than store bough dyes or food colouring, so just be patient. But trust me, the beautiful colours that you get from the natural dyes and the fact that there’s no yucky chemicals on your eggs makes it totally worth it. Stirring the eggs in the dye every hour or so will help them soak up colour evenly.natural_dyed_eggsnatural_dyed_eggsAfter your eggs have retained the desired amount of colour, remove them from the dye using a spoon and set them on a paper towel to dry. Some of the spice based dyes may require that you gently brush any residue from the eggs, but I’d wait until they are completely dry to do that, so you’re not taking off any extra colour from your eggs.

My favourites were the turmeric and coffee dyed eggs. I also added some plain white eggs to the mix for some variance. I don’t have any memories of dying eggs as a child – so I’m calling this my first adventure in egg dying, and I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I will certainly be doing this again!

What do you think? Have you ever tried natural egg dyes before? What are some of your favourite dye ingredients? Do you have any tips to get a more intense colour result? I’d love to hear what you have to say, so leave your comments below!

 

Hadley // 8 Months

edit-5466edit-5468edit-5508edit-5511edit-5613edit-5638Watch out – this girl is on the move!!! She’s not walking on her own yet, but she’s getting up on every surface she can find and walking around the couch, table, chairs, etc. She loves our kitchen since she can use all the drawer handles to manoeuvre her way about the room. She also walks with her brio toddler wobbler, but we had to put a 8kg kettle bell in it to keep it from rolling forward faster than her legs could keep up with. She does move pretty fast with it, still.

While I’m convinced Hadley has chronic ants-in-her-pants, Henry and I have been getting a slightly increased amount of Hadley cuddles now that she seems to be playing shy a little around some people. While I obviously don’t want Hadley to be afraid of other people, I am enjoying the feeling that I’m the only one who can make her feel safe. And besides, it lasts about 30 seconds, if that, and then she’s off adventuring again.

Due to her ever-increasing mobility, there’s also been a fair share of tumbles and head bumps in our home lately. Hadley hasn’t figured out falling on her bum, which is kind of a problem. To go back to sitting from standing she wants to lean forward and put her hands on the floor, then her knees, then roll on to her bum. The problem here is, she’s got a reeeeally big head which makes this trick a bit difficult to execute. She is getting better at it now, though, and she’s extremely careful on the way down.

Right know Hadley loves watching Miffy (she actually laughs out loud), mango puree, making a break for the dogs’ water bowl when my head is turned, daddy time, drinking water from a sippy cup, the dogs’ tails, playing with people’s mouths (specifically teeth), morning cuddles while I try to convince myself to get out of bed, and play dates with her best friend/boyfriend/future husband Joakim.

8 months is a fun age.

Hadley // 7 Months

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I’m having trouble with this 7 month mark. She’s past the half year mark now and I can no longer remain in denial about the fact that she soon will no longer be a baby but a toddler. There are days when I am beyond excited to see what kind of little girl she will become, and there are days when I want her to just fall asleep in my arms again. Surely these words are familiar to most parents, yes?

Anywhooo, Hadley is tummy-crawling like a pro and she has figured out how to go from her knees to to standing when holding onto something and then she immediately wants to start walking. She’s having some trouble with balancing on her feet at the moment a) because she’s 7 months and shouldn’t be trying to walk just yet and b) because she has a ballerina spirit and wants to walk on her toes all the time. In addition to her walking ambitions I’ve already caught her standing up in her crib in the night when I thought she was dead asleep, just looking around her room and smiling to herself. Thankfully we had changed her crib to the lower setting a few days before. And now for the past few days it’s took her about an hour to fall asleep at nap time because she just hops right up and starts walking around the perimeter of her crib. As you can see from the last picture, I’ve had to take some extended measures to keep her lying down. She still escapes…

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post we bought her a potty recently and have begun the process of potty training and I’d say so far it’s going pretty well. I certainly don’t expect to be ditching diapers and time soon, but I’m hoping that getting her into the habit of using the potty will help the process when we do decide to quit diapers. We go into the bathroom and just hang out for 15-20 minutes, until she goes potty or gets too bored to sit there any longer.

Right now Hadley loves her jolly jumper, porridge with banana, chasing after iphones, shoulder rides, evading nap time, doing yoga with Mama, walks in the forest and, of course, smiling.

ps. isn’t that little tooth adorable?

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OYOY MINI

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Remember when I wrote this post about my love for Danish design company OYOY? Well they have recently released a line of products tailored to littles and thus I am falling for this brand even harder. Some of my favourite pieces are the animal mobile, the teepee pillows, and the cork side tables. What do you think about OYOY? If you’re as smitten as me, what are your favourite items?

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A Family Day

VauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusVauvasaurusAs Henry has recently started studying, our daily schedules have been blown to oblivion. And as such, we haven’t had too much time in the past couple of weeks to spend all together as a family. But now that we’re all beginning to get used to this new phase of our life and having to purposefully make time for each other we decided to drop everything we needed to do on Sunday and just spend the day together.

We did a little shopping – got a new pillow for Hadley’s room, new bedsheets for us and a potty for Hadley as we want to introduce potty training really early. It felt almost luxurious to just wander the aisles with both Henry and Hadley with me, not in a hurry. It’s funny how sometimes just having excess time can make you feel so rich. Afterward we headed to Pyynikinharju to location scout for an upcoming photo shoot I’m doing and to walk the trails with the dogs. We stayed for coffee at Näkötornin Kahvila (lookout tower café) and then took advantage of the fall ice cream sale and both got two big scoops of yumminess.

After we got home the dogs cuddled on the couch (are they not the most adorable puppies on the planet?), Hadley did her very first pee in the potty and then skyped with her mummo, and I made dinner and cleaned the kitchen. We all ate together and then Henry and I had coffee before putting Hadley to bed. Afterward we made a big bowl of popcorn and watched a movie. Perfect day, if I do say so myself.

This week we’re back to busyness and schedules but I’m so thankful that I got an entire day with my whole gang. How was your weekend?

 

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A Place At The Table // Cloud Placemat

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Over the summer I won a gift certificate to Design Boulevard and I finally got around to using it today. The weather has been so icky here that I haven’t really wanted to venture anywhere by bus, and neither Henry nor I am a fan of taking the car downtown. But today seemed like it was going to be the nicest day we’re going to be getting here for a while, so Hadley and I set out for a day on the town.

I was able to buy a few things with my gift card, among them being this adorable cloud placemat from KG Design Sweden. I’ve actually been looking for a placemat for Hadley for a few weeks now and have been hemming and hawing over a few, but then I stumbled on this and it was just perfect! The cloud shape makes it so sweet and just right for a child, while the colour makes Mama happy and fits with the decor. Win-win.

While we were testing the placemat out today it got me thinking about how happy I am to have Hadley sitting at the table with us. I love family meals and even at our tiny table they are so special to me. I have been enjoying motherhood so very much and it seems like every new stage is more wonderful than the last. Right now I’m enjoying how crazy interactive Hadley is and how I’m beginning to see more and more personality in her in those interactions. Having her sit up at the table with us while we eat really solidifies the fact that I have my own family now, and it’s such a wonderful feeling.

And, now that she has a bit of designated table space, I had fun letting her get messy and experience food all on her own today. Henry and I are usually trying to keep things with Hadley as neat and tidy as possible, but I do think that getting messy is good sometimes, and with this placemat being so easy to clean – why not? It actually took me a whole 10 seconds to rinse the placemat off. Hadley on the other hand, needed a bath.

Also shown: Marimekko bottle + Arabia Muumi bowl 

p.s. Haldey has a tooth! It’s still barely visable, but I’ll post photos as soon as I can actually capture it!

 

 

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Hadley // 6 Months

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Wow, so much has gone on since the last time I posted. Sorry, for that, by the way. Didn’t mean to neglect you. I thought that going home to Canada would mean I’d have lots of time to blog and share photos and be creative but – nope. Between all the things going on and a general laziness whenever we had free time, I hardly posted at all. And then I missed Hadley’s 5 month update. Whoops. 

Anyway, so my little Hadley Bear is not so little anymore. At 5 months she was rolling over like a pro and walking several meters when holding somebody’s hands and just beginning to sit unassisted. She also found her toes. Now at 6 months she’s able to sit all by herself and is beginning to work on crawling. It’s bit of a frustrating process for her as her big head tends to get in the way of forward motion. It will be a great relief when she does finally figure crawling out because her desire to move is intense. She actually NEVER sits still. Ever.

We had a wonderful time in Canada visiting with all of our friends and family and watching them fall in love with Hadley. She is a charmer, that’s for sure. We are glad to be back at home now, though and back to our normal(ish) daily rhythms. But we’ve been busy here too, going to a few weddings, road trips, and many days on the beach. We’re kind of in awe at the weather right now as it’s never this nice in Finland, especially for so long. A day or two here and there, okay. But weeks? This is amazing.

In writing these monthly updates I think I get a bit more sense of the time passing and how Hadley is actually growing. It’s a bit of perspective so I can see what I don’t notice in her daily growth and development. Today I looked at the photos of her still in the hospital and cannot believe how much she has changed since that day. She is growing more and more beautiful every day, stealing our hearts with the most beautiful smile and a sense of humour that needs no words.
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