Category Archives: uncategorized

Simple Summer Fun: Seashell Painting

Simple Summer Fun Painted Seashells | Mama Papa BubbaWhile cleaning out our vehicle yesterday, I realized that we still had a big stash of beach shells we’d collected a couple months hiding in our hatch (you know you’re a parent when…)  We’d originally collected them with the intent of painting them, so that’s just what we did.  

IMG 0693First, we gave our shells a good scrubbing in some hot soapy water and laid them in the sun to dry for a few minutes.

IMG 0691Then Miss G chose a few colours of acrylic paint, and we got started.

IMG 0694Since acrylics will stain clothes, Gracen often wears a painting shirt or no shirt at all while using them.  And with the Okanagan weather being as hot as it has been lately, going without was a perfect option.  She quickly chose a shell, a paintbrush, and her colour, and got started.

IMG 0699While I often like setting out an activity, letting Grae discover it on her own, and standing back to see how she engages with the materials, I love sitting down and creating with her too.   I find that many times, some of our very best conversations take place when we’re sitting beside one another, hands busy.  Today we chatted about our upcoming move to Kuwait and some of the changes that will soon take place.  Just as it’s always been, she seems nothing but excited about it all.  We talked about her new bedroom, how she’d like purple things in it, how she’s anxious to have her very own bathroom, and how she’s looking forward to being closer to Uncle Daniel (our very dear friend who will live just 7 floors above us).  We also chatted about how, although we’ll be in the exact same apartment we had last time, the nursery she had as a baby will no longer look the same (she was excited to jump in her baby crib, but everything was sold when we left and we’ll be returning to an empty apartment).

IMG 0707Our conversation carried on shell after shell…  While we talked, Gracen experimented with different colours, colour mixing, paint layering, and painting both the insides and outsides of her shells.

IMG 0704Here are some of our colourful creations in progress.

IMG 0701After seeing my pink shell with aqua polka dots, Miss G wanted to do some polka dots of her own.  She painted her entire shell aqua, waited patiently for it to {mostly} dry, and then dabbed blobs of purple on top.

IMG 0710Like rock painting, collecting seashells and painting them seems like a summer staple to me… Something that just begs to be done year after yet because of its simplicity, beauty, and all of the possibilities. 

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Crispy Rice Treat Eggs

Crispy Rice Treat EggsOur healthier {butter and marshmallow-free} version of rice crispy treats have been a huge hit in our house since we first created them a few months ago.  For Valentine’s Day we made a heart-shaped strawberry version, and I knew I wanted to come up with an Easter version too.  As it tends to, my mind went to getting more use out of the plastic eggs I still feel guilty about buying (even though we reuse them year after year, use them for sensory play, turn them into bath tub toys, and make fun popsicles with them).

IMG 7655While I had grand plans of creating a little hallow in the centres of the eggs and placing a couple of small treats in the middles, we ended up just making solid eggs.  To do so, all we did was fill up each side of the egg generously with warm crispy rice treat mix, packed them down a little, and shut the eggs while they were still warm.

IMG 7659We let them cool and ended up with perfectly formed eggs that pop out of the shells effortlessly and make great on-the-go treats (the plastic eggs double as containers until you’re ready to eat them) .  They were also a lovely addition to Gracen’s egg hunt and she’s been enjoying one every couple of days since.


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Animal Sink Bath

IMG 4828Since returning home from a long vacation 2 weeks ago, playing independently has been  a lot more difficult for Grae.  Instead of playing on her own, she wants to be right beside Mama {if not right on top of me} all. of. the. time.  When I explain that I need a little bit of personal space to get something done or encourage her to play, she responds with, “But Mama is the best…” or “But I just want to watch what you’re doing” or “But I LOOOOVE you!”  Oy.  It’s not easy.  

The one time she seems to be happy to play on her own right now is while I make dinner (thank goodness for that).  She often does puzzles, reads, or plays dress up, but tonight she set up one of her long time favourite games…  A sink bath for her animal friends.  She pulls up a stool, collects her sea creatures (sometimes it’s a baby or rubber ducks), and grabs a wash cloth while I fill up the sink with warm water, get out a squirt bottle or a sponge, and retrieve some soap or a little chunk of FUN.  Together we add a drop or two of food colouring to the water, and that’s it.  She plays and splashes and washes her animals in there for a good long time, and by the time she’s done, I usually have dinner on the table.  

A sink full of water… Who knew?  Works like magic every time.


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Currently // 1.14.13

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Watching:  Strangely enough, this video.  Brad and I laugh about it all the time.  Not only is about all things spooky {and our little girl has been known to be frightened of a loud sneeze}, but the song itself is hilariously odd.  It’s slow and soft, yet surprisingly upbeat all at once. “Spooky things doing a spooky dance….”  Kills me every time.

Singing:  Right now, every song she hears.  This little lady is a total music lover who chooses to watch music videos over television and can often be found dancing and singing while doing other activities.  New favourites added to her repertoire include Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Rock-a-Bye Baby, Spooky Spooky, and I’ll Love You Forever. 

Playing:  Dress-up. Constantly.  Poppop recently made her a wooden dress-up centre and she got all kinds of costumes and accessories for it for Christmas.  It’s not unusual for us to have a fairy, jester, or cat roaming around the house nowadays.  In fact, yesterday I took a pink poodle out for a walk around the neighbourhood.

Talking about: Everything. Non-stop. Our days are question after question after question.  “What’s that?”, “What’s it called?”, “Why for?”, “Who’s dat?”, “What his name is?”, “What dat sound is?”, “What’s Mama talking about?”

Reading:  Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex.  She and Papa picked it our at our latest library visit, and despite the fact that she can be ultra sensitive and the book is about a ‘cold gray tomb with a black lagoon, and two slimy claws, and a couple of jaws’ etc., we’ve read it every day before both nap time and bedtime since we checked it out.

Eating:  During our 3 weeks of vacation, I think she ate her weight in pistachios, cashews, and other fancy nuts we don’t normally keep around.  Now that we’re home and getting back into a routine, we’ve been making smoothies each morning (which has been great for getting a good amount of green veggies into our breakfasts) and she loves the whole process – gathering ingredients, making the smoothies, and slurping them up.

Danielle from Sometimes Sweet, a blog I’ve followed for a very long time now, does regular Currently posts which inspired my Gracen-modified ones. ☺

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iPhoneography // Baba’s House

We’ve had such a lovely time at my Baba and Opa’s house the last couple of days…  Besides being a wonderful host, amazing cook, and very talented painter (giving us wall after wall of art to gaze at), she’s so, so great with Grae.  I swear she still has all of the patience, motivation, and creativity she did when my brother and I used to stay with her as kids, if not more.  She’s read books, played memory, fashioned doll clothes from scarves, crafted mini snow ladies from styrofoam and toothpicks, and served all of Grae’s drinks in fancy teacups and glass goblets since arriving a couple of days ago. She’s also given Grae full permission to roam and the four levels of their giant house as she pleases and swears “There’s nothing she can break.  And if she does break something, then great.  It’s one less thing I have to clean.”

IMG 8542Baba s HouseGracen absolutely adores her, and so do we.

Love you, Baba!

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Home for the Holidays

After a fairly uneventful drive home yesterday, we’re back in the Okanagan to kick off our Christmas holidays.  Today involved sled rides, icicle pops, and plenty of snow – the perfect winter combination.

IMG 3882IMG 3885IMG 3899IMG 3902Upcoming destinations on our Christmas 2012 adventure include Cochrane, Edmonton, and {the wee little town of} St. Paul.  Fingers crossed the nearly 40 hours on the road will go easy on us…

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Last Day of Ballet

Today was our last parent and tot ballet class. Grae was so excited about it (and so thrilled to hand out her ribbon wands), that she didn’t have a nap beforehand.  She just couldn’t fall asleep. Of course, we all know how that turns out… 

IMG 2996IMG 3000IMG 3001Needless to say, come time for class, she had some of her classic overtired crazy energy going on.  

IMG 3005Of course it all turned out alright.  She proudly handed out her gifts, danced her little heart out, and said goodbye to her dance buddies. 

IMG 3006Miss G loved this class so much that we will definitely be signing up for the next session starting in January.  Billie is amazing with the kids and the class was the perfect blend of ballet moves, good old fashioned dancing, singing, and ‘acting’.  

For more info on the classes Billie teaches around Vancouver, visit her Facebook page here.  I promise you’re going to LOVE her!

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3 Kisses

Gracen: (as she slowly walks towards the kitchen while giving me a adorably sly  sideways smile) Grae Grae have some yogurt raisins?

Mama: (raises her eyebrows)

Gracen: (in a sing-songy voice mastered only by hearing it time and time again) It’ll cost three kisses… (she quickly jumps into my lap, takes my face in her hands,  delivers three very purposeful kisses, and jumps down again)

Mama: Thanks for the kisses, Love.

Gracen: Grae Grae has yogurt raisins now. Dat’s a treat.  Grae Grae has a treat, Mama has a treat. Mama has TWO treats!

This girl’s got skills…


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SweetSalt Baked Goods & Playscapes

Though we had a particularly dry summer / early fall, the rain has officially made its way to Vancouver and it looks like it’s here to stay.  It’s the time of year when park visits, beach days, and walks around the neighbourhood beg to be broken up by time spent in the warm, cozy indoors, and preferably not always in your own home.  With the amount of rain we get here on the coast, coming up with new, fun ways to spend your days with little ones isn’t always easy.  And though we’ve found many favourite indoor spots around our lovely city (the aquarium, Coquitlam’s Kinder CafeThe Outpost Cafe, the many indoor pools, the airport’s public viewing area, play gyms, the Bloedel ConservatoryScience World, the local libraries and story times…) it’s always nice to add another spot to the rainy day list.

I originally learned about SweetSalt Baked Goods and Playscapes on and couldn’t have been more excited to visit.  Authentic German baked goods {all made with local organic flour}, hot drinks, a play area for munchkins all in a stroller-friendly shop? Yes please.  So this afternoon, with the rain doing what it does best, we made our way down Fraser Street to check it out.

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Located on the corner of Fraser and 19th (not far from our other munckin-friendly cafe, The Outpost), SweetSalt is super bright and inviting, even on the gloomiest of days.  We ordered some hot drinks, a couple of baked treats, and settled in.  

IMG 1097IMG 1102The coffee was strong, the pretzels were exactly as they should be, and Brad’s hot chocolate was ridiculously large and served in a beautiful bowl (we also ordered a cinnamon bun, but it disappeared so quickly that I didn’t manage to get a bite… I take it it was delicious).

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The cafe, though beautifully decorated, maintains a very laid-back vibe, making parents visiting with children feel completely at ease.  Gracen (along with two other little ones at the cafe at the time), played freely in the kids’ corner, made her way back to our table for a bite of pretzel now and then, and then back again for more fun and at no point did we feel like she was in the way or bothering other patrons.  The play area was fully stocked with a mini kitchen, cooking tools, a chalkboard-topped table, colouring pages and crayons, wooden building blocks, nesting cups, and toy trucks, which was perfect for keeping our little lady happily busy for our entire visit. And though we didn’t bring ours in, there was plenty of aisle space for strollers, not to mention a big bathroom, complete with stroller space, a change table, a step stool for hand washing, and possibly the most adorable alphabet-cards-turned-wall-art I’ve ever seen.

IMG 1114On the way out, the super sweet owner, who is also a local mom, sent us on our way with a loaf of pumpkin seed bread and this adorable little dragon-shaped chocolate chip pastry (we visited just before closing on a Saturday) and both were absolutely delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that we may have to make a weekly trip just for the bread alone. 

SweetSalt is located at 3497 Fraser Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Take a look at their amazing space & baked goods by joining them on Facebook here.

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Tea Time With Gracen

Looking back on my childhood, some of my favourite times were the ones when we got to play with “the real thing”.  Using Dad’s real tools, playing with Mom’s real make-up, creating a store using real pantry items and real money… Those times were the extra special ones.

So today, Gracen and I set up a little tea party using some real things… Real snacks for one, and while I’m not quite ready to let her drink real tea, real water was a substitute she was perfectly happy with.

IMG 0910IMG 0914IMG 0915IMG 0919IMG 0940IMG 0936IMG 0928IMG 0926IMG 0930IMG 0937Sure, her tea pouring skills haven’t yet been perfected and most of our blanket and snacks were covered in little “tea” puddles as a result, but at the end of the day, blankets can be washed and puddles can be wiped up.  What matters is that our little lady spent a special afternoon tea-ing with Mama and Sophie and got to practice all kinds of everyday skills by playing with ‘the real thing’.

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