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Modern, fun and quality handcrafted felt ball decors and supplies - baby mobiles, garlands, flowers and more!

The Felting Dorcas Blog

The Felting Dorcas blog touches on topics that moms care about. Tips on how to save money, craft tutorials, activities for kids, home décor, and more!

Black & White: The Chic Option For Nursery Colours

Cherylyn Ng

Gone are the pink hues and baby blues, in are the blacks and whites. If you are looking for something different from the pinks, blues, and yellows that usually form the themes of nurseries, monochrome is the way to go. Not only is it chic and sleek, but it also serves as a gender-neutral design.

If you think that these colors are too bold for your baby's nursery, don't worry, you can easily soften up the look with textured rugs, comfy pillows, and cozy blankets. You can never go wrong with black and white. If you are not too crazy about your baby sleeping in a room resembling pink or white clouds, monochrome will do. What's best about it is that you will never have to worry about it matching with another color (if you do eventually decide to add one) because black and white match with everything.

Because it is a nursery, you still want it to be adapted to a baby's space. Is this possible without all the splashes of color? Of course! All you have to do is add a few baby mobiles, garlands, and fluffy cushions to space. This is where the fun all starts. Try using different materials to achieve the same color scheme effect. Feathers can make amazing garlands while cotton balls can be used to make mobiles that your child can stare at while lying in bed.

Playing around with prints is another way you can accomplish the monochromatic effect without it looking too dull. Choose one print to use as a theme or mix and match them. For example, you could have throw pillows in zebra print and a fluffy mat with a drawing of a panda. Your child will love growing up in a jungle-inspired bedroom with different animals all in black and white.

For your walls, you can paint them in dazzling white to complement the theme while using black lampshades. Polka dot is another style that looks beautiful in monochrome colors. Use polka dot print on one of the walls of your child's nursery if you'd like.

Bear Lamp Mat1.jpg

The best aspect about all this is that this kind of nursery can be used by both girls and boys without any of them feeling out of place. For couples that like to be surprised with the gender of their little one at birth, this is one of the themes they can use for the nursery beforehand. Whats more, you won't have to worry about your child outgrowing the colors of their bedroom as monochrome works for all ages. Even in their teens, when many kids choose to go the Gothic way, they will still appreciate the black and white theme.

For more inspiration, you can find many images online of what other parents have used for their children's rooms. However, remember that a personal touch is what makes the nursery all the more special.

Tips For Preparing For Baby's Homecoming

Cherylyn Ng

So, you've been carrying your baby with you for 9 months and the little prince or princess is almost ready to grace the world with their presence. Before this happens, you should try as much as possible to prepare for your baby's homecoming not only for their comfort but also for your own peace of mind. Here are a few tips you should consider when preparing for your baby's homecoming.

  • Have someone thoroughly clean the house the week you are due. Coming home to a spotless house after your hospital stay will ensure that baby is in a hygienic environment and that you don't have to worry about cleaning the house thoroughly for a while.

 

  • Make and freeze enough food for a few days after baby. Many women find it difficult to jump back into the kitchen after the birth of their baby. In some Eastern cultures, it is actually considered taboo for a woman to cook right after she has had a baby. So unless you have a personal chef on hand, pre-pack some food that you can easily pick from the freezer and heat it.

 

  • Wash your baby's clothes. You probably bought a few new clothes for your baby. Wash and iron them before you go to the hospital making sure to rinse them twice to remove all the detergent.

 

  • Make sure you have a car seat for your drive home from the hospital. Car seats for babies at this age are rear-facing. Try out fixing it to your back seat ahead of time and adjusting it beforehand. If your baby is premature or has spent time in the ICU, take the seat to the hospital and ask if it is suitable for them.
  • Get someone to stay with you for the first few days or a couple of weeks. Those first few weeks are filled with a flurry of emotion and are most crucial in determining the mother’s emotional health after delivery. Often times, women feel overwhelmed with the whole situation and can easily fall into a depressed state. Having someone you love and trust to help you out with the baby and chores and just offer a sounding board really helps.

 

  • Speak to your partner and family about limiting the number of guests you have at first. As mentioned, the first few weeks are pretty delicate, and you wouldn't want to spend all that time hosting guests. Both you and baby need that much-deserved rest when you get home from the hospital. Also, if your baby is sensitive, they may react to guests perfume, lotion or whatever else, so you want to limit their exposure those first few weeks.

 

  • Ease into the routine. Buy and read books about settling into a routine with the baby so that when he comes, you can easily find what works for you. As a general guide, try to sleep when your baby sleeps so you can regain your energy faster and be able to take care of the baby if they are awake at night.

How To Dine Out With Toddlers… And Actually, Enjoy It!

Cherylyn Ng

Many times, for parents with toddlers, it's just easier to eat at home ALL the time, so just in case food is hurled at someone, it's at a family member who will understand. If you have children aged between 2-5, eating time can be quite hectic. It probably involves whining about whatever is on the plate, playing with food, spitting it out or a complete refusal to eat. However, dining outside is possible and can also be a lot of fun with kids. Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy being at a restaurant with toddlers.

 

  • Pick the right restaurant. This is the most important tip. You can do everything right but if your child does not like the ambiance of the restaurant, chances are, all your prepping will be in vain. Choose a restaurant that has kid menus, kids booster seats, is family friendly and possibly has a play area. Don't choose a restaurant that is too formal. Opt for buffet meals that kids can pick whatever they like – this may not be the time to insist on a half-plate serving of vegetables. A burger once in a while doesn't hurt.

 

  • Let your kids nap before you go. A cranky toddler is not a situation you want to deal with in public. Even if it means having a lunch half an hour later than you normally would, having your toddler nap before taking them outside really helps.

 

  • Carry their favorite toy to keep them busy. Okay, your food has been served and your toddler has gobbled down theirs within 15 minutes and they are ready to go back to the car. Carry a few of their favorite toys to keep them busy so you don't have to leave the restaurant immediately. I can assure you that your food will not go down well with screams of “I wanna go home” served with it.

 

  • Let them know your expectations beforehand. Toddlers are pretty smart and can understand if you tell them what you expect of them when you go out to eat. If they behave themselves at the restaurant, reward them for it so that they know that you were happy with their behavior. Of course, these expectations should be realistic. You don't expect a 3-year-old to suddenly know how to eat with a fork and knife when they have been eating with their hands at home.

 

  • Go early or pack a snack. It seems counterproductive to carry a snack with you when you are going out to eat, but it can really come in handy. If there are any delays in getting your food after you have ordered, chances are, your toddler won't take it quite as well as you. Hunger often translates to crankiness which can manifest itself in kicking and screaming. Pack a light snack that your toddler can nibble on before their food comes. If not, make sure you get to the restaurant early enough before everyone else checks in.

Reduce The Risk Of SIDS With These Tips

Cherylyn Ng

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby between the time they are born and their first birthday, usually happening in their sleep. It is also commonly referred to as crib death. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown but it appears that it may be associated with certain defects on the part of a child's brain that regulates breathing and sleep arousal. However, researchers have discovered some factors that may decrease the risk of SIDS. These include:

  • Put baby to sleep on his back. Over the years, there have been numerous debates about this, but logic has it that babies have more access to air when they are on their backs. When babies are put to sleep on their stomachs or on their side (from which he can easily roll over on his stomach), the mattress or sleeping area can easily smother him. This applies to naps as well as longer sleep periods. Make sure anyone else handling your baby knows to put him down on his back when he sleeps.

 

  • Avoid overdressing your baby. If it's too hot for you to wear a woolen sweater, it's probably too hot for your baby too. Too often, mothers are unnecessarily worried about their babies getting cold and end up overdressing them. This can easily cause your baby to overheat during their sleep.

 

  • Lay your child on a firm bed without toys or blankets. All your baby needs is a fitted sheet to lie on. Put them down on a firm mattress, a crib or bassinet. If it is a bit chilly, swaddle him in a sheet.

 

  • Quit smoking before you get pregnant. Research shows that babies born to women who smoked while pregnant die from SIDS three times more than those born to non-smokers. Second-hand smoke around your baby is also something you should avoid as it increases the chances of SIDS.

 

  • Let your baby sleep in your room. Ideally, your baby should sleep in your room with you, but in their own crib or bassinet for six months to a year. Adult beds just aren't made for babies. So much can go wrong. They can suffocate between headboards slats, the space between frame/wall and mattress or if one parent accidentally rolls over, covering the baby's nose and mouth.

 

  • Breastfeeding for the first six months at the very least also shows to lower the risk of SIDS. Experts say that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives. If there's a chance that breastfeeding your baby may reduce the risk of SIDS, wouldn't you take it?

 

  • Use of a pacifier without a string or strap at nap time and bedtime may reduce the risk of SIDS. However, if you are breastfeeding, wait until your baby is one month old and has mastered the art of breastfeeding before you introduce a pacifier.

Top Baby Registry Essentials

Cherylyn Ng

You've just found out that you are going to have a baby and you are all excited about all the cute little clothes and toys you will buy. This is a common scenario, especially for first-time moms. Having a baby registry is important for you to be able to budget for all the things you will need and get all the essentials instead of having 12 cute bowed cardigans for your newborn, that they will never use especially if they will be born in the summer.

A baby registry is a list of baby products that you'd like to stock up on in preparation for your baby's arrival. Just like a wedding registry, you can share your baby registry with friends, family, and baby shower guests who are just as eager as you – or possibly even more – to shower your baby with gifts. You can choose multiple stores to create registries with or come up with a master list that pulls products from various stores into one.

Most moms start creating their baby registry after their first trimester. If you are waiting to find out the sex of the baby, you may want to wait until you are about 20 weeks into your pregnancy, but don't wait too long. You and every gift-giving friend will need plenty of time to browse through the registry to find the perfect items.

 

It's always a good idea to create a baby registry checklist that coincides with the various stages of your baby's growth and needs. Here is the ultimate checklist:

Clothes

  • 4-8 onesies
  • 4-8 undershirts
  • 4-8 one-piece pajamas
  • 4-8 pull-on pants or leggings
  • Socks and booties
  • 2 hats
  • 2 blankets for a winter baby
  • Mittens and snowsuit          

Nursery

  • Changing table or pad
  • Crib and mattress/bassinet
  • Glider / rocker
  • Mobile
  • Dresser
  • Nightlight
  • Cool mist humidifier
  • Baby monitor

Baby equipment

  • Car seat (these differ according to age)
  • Stroller
  • Baby carrier
  • Portable crib or playpen

Diapering

  • Diaper rash cream
  • Diapers (Of different sizes to fit baby as he grows)
  • Cotton wool
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Diaper bag
  • Diaper pail and liners
  • Cloth nappies

Feeding essentials

  • Nursing pillow
  • Breast pump
  • Nursing bras and cloths
  • Feeding bottles
  • Burp Cloths
  • Formula
  • Milk storage bags or containers
  • 10-16 bottles
  • Bottle warmer
  • Nipple cream
  • Bottlebrush
  • 2-4 pacifiers

Bedding

  • 2-3 washable crib mattress pads
  • 2-4 fitted crib sheets
  • 4-7 light receiving blankets
  • 2-3 heavier blankets for cold areas

Bathing

  • Baby bathing tub
  • 2 bath towels with hoods
  • 4-8 washcloths
  • Baby soap or shampoo
  • Bath time accessories
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Health and safety
  • First aid kit
  • Baby nail clippers and scissors
  • Baby thermometer
  • Petroleum jelly and sterile gauze

 

Stimulating Games To Play With Your Newborn

Cherylyn Ng

Many first time moms wonder how they can possibly play with their newborns especially because they are asleep most of the time and may seem rather aloof at first. Well, you definitely won't be able to play catch with your baby within a month of bringing him home, but you can still enjoy some baby games with him.

Why play with your newborn?

Play is the basic way infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize and interact with their environment. During their first month of life, your baby will learn a lot about you by interacting with you; how you look, your different expressions, the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch against their skin. You can stimulate your baby's senses by simply smiling, giving them gentle caresses and making soothing sounds.

 

Here are a few games you can play with your newborn to not only have fun with them but also develop their senses.

  • Jig along. Babies love to dance! When they are very little, put on some good music and holding them in your arms, sway with him to the beat of the music. If you can't play any music, humming is an even better option as your baby will feel the vibration of your vocal chords as you hold them in your arms so they can literally feel the music. Just make sure you are carefully supporting their neck and do not shake your baby. When you get tired of holding them in your arms, put on a show for them with silly exaggerated movements.
  • I spy. A lot of your playtime will be spent showing your baby stuff. Common objects in your house that won't electrocute, poison or hurt him is fair game. Magazines, colorful spatulas, jars, different textured fabric, fruits, you name it! Your baby will appreciate exploring all the various shapes, colors and textures that all of these provide. With time, figure out which are his favorite toys and keep them on hand for when he needs soothing.

 

  • What made that sound? When your baby is fully awake and yearning for stimulation, simply tap things together and let him search for whatever made the sound. You can also simply snap your fingers as he tries to see where the sound comes from. Try not to make very loud or scary noises that can startle him and make him cry.

 

  • Bouncy bouncy. Tie a toy to an elastic string and bounce it in front of your baby's face. Make a sound every time it comes close and watch them try to get it or at the very least, react when they see it.

Remember that with babies, repetition is key. The first time you try out a game with them, they may not respond to it at all. Once they start getting familiar with the game they will start interacting with you and their toys. All you need to do is keep at it.

Getting The House Ready For A Newborn

Cherylyn Ng

You know how when you are moving into a new home, you'd like to move in when all the paintwork is done, the floors waxed, your furniture arranged and your bathrooms spotless? Well, that's the same way you should prepare for your baby's arrival. For nine months, they have had the coziest, warmest home in your womb and now that they are on the other side, you want to make sure that your baby is comfortable, safe and happy in their new home. This will mean making a few changes in your home to accommodate its new occupant.

 

Here are a few tips you can use to get your home ready.

1. Clean the house thoroughly. I don't mean just regular dusting and mopping. Before you know it, your cute little bundle of joy will be crawling and sticking his fingers in all the unimaginable places so before he comes, makes sure all the nooks and crannies are clean. Take the carpet out to be washed, the seat covers, disinfect the floors and surfaces, especially in the room where he will sleep or spend most of his time in. Make sure you use a baby-friendly detergent that will not react with baby's delicate skin.

2. Safety first. Take a day to just go through your house and find all the potential safety hazards. Baby-proof your furniture (this is the time to do it because you won't want workers roaming around your house with tools after the baby is born). Sharp-edged tables, chairs, exposed sockets, the works! Make sure that when baby starts crawling, they won't accidentally bump their head onto a sharp edge or stick their fingers where they shouldn't belong. Also, remove anything from the baby's reach that can poison him. Detergents and aerosols on the bathroom floor, shampoo, rat poison. Whatever the case, make sure it is all unreachable.

3. Stimulate your baby's senses. Expose your child to various colors and textures from an early age. This does not have to be an expensive job. You can even put up stickers on the wall near the baby cot and maybe have a speaker through which you can play soothing sounds.

4. Create a comfortable space for yourself. For the first few weeks, you will probably be sleeping as the baby sleeps and spending a lot of time in your room. This is the time to buy new sheets or a cozy blanket or that rocking chair you loved at the store. When mummy is comfortable and relaxed, it makes it so much easier for baby to be too.

5. Arrange everything you will need for the baby. Wash and fold his clothes, keep his bath basin close by, clean feeding bottles and have a drawer for baby utensils, designate a 'baby area' in your bedroom. If you live in a house with two floors, have a diaper changing set on each floor so you don't have to keep going up and down stairs when he needs a change. 

Tips For Traveling With A Toddler

Cherylyn Ng

Whether you are traveling overseas or just driving a few miles to visit the grandparents, traveling with a toddler can be pretty stressful if you do not plan properly. Traveling with a toddler can sometimes be no different than traveling with a feisty, diva-singer. You have to plan for each of their whimsical needs in advance otherwise, the whole trip is ruined for everyone.

Here are a few tips you should definitely use:

1.  Extra outfits: Do we really need them? Honey, you definitely do. Extra outfits are not only for infants. Toddlers find new creative ways to mess, completely destroy or worse still, lose some of their clothes. One minute, the little one is in trousers, the next, he's walking around in only his briefs, because he was feeling hot.

 

2. Don't vaccinate just before a trip. You don't want to be dealing with fevers and rashes on a six-hour flight anywhere! Vaccines have side effects that you'd rather deal with at home.

 

3. You aim to please. The day of a trip is not the best day to tell your toddler that they have outgrown their favorite toy Milo and you are leaving it at home. Do they still want to carry a blanky with them on the plane? Let them. Your fellow passengers will thank you for not making them go through screams and tantrums about old Milo.

 

4. All mummies are doctors, among other things. Carry with you a medical kit for any emergencies. From fever medication to band-aids for little cuts and bruises. These will make your trip even more bearable.

 

5. What's even more important than toys? Snacks! Snacks! Snacks! A hungry child is an angry child. Snacks are how you keep your child busy and happy on a trip. Be creative with your snack choices. Dried fruit, biscuits, grapes, whatever keeps them happy really.

 

6. Don't restrain your child to their plane seat for the whole ride. Imagine if you were asked to sit bucked to a chair for a whole week, would you hack it? Well, that's how a 6-hour plane ride can feel to a child. When you are safe in the air, walk with them up and down the plane galley.

 

7. Wipes are your friend! Toddlers always seem to have icky...well, everything! You don't want to have to deal with gooey, sticky fingers when you have a pack of wet wipes around. Maybe even two! These can wipe the grime off almost anything!

 

8. Prepare for their nap. Chances are, your toddler won't stay awake for the whole trip. Plan ahead such that when they do nap, they are as comfortable as possible such that they won't have sore necks when they wake up.

 

9. If you are flying, be nice to the attendants. They can easily offer your toddler a toy to play with if they are cranky or better yet if your toddler is under 2 years, they can move people around such that you're not carrying them on your lap the whole time.

Baby Mobile Hanger - Assembly Instructions

Cherylyn Ng

Baby Mobile Attachment.jpg
Baby Mobile Attachment Parts.jpg

Step 1

Mobile Attachment Assembly Step 1.jpg

Take Part A (with pre-drilled hole at one end) and screw one of the ends of Part B into the ball end of Part A.

Notes:

·         The pre-drilled hole at one of the ends of Part A is the point where you hang your baby mobile. You can thread a cord or attach a screw eye (not included) to hang your mobile.

Baby Mobile Attachment_2.jpg

·         To use it with The Felting Dorcas’ felt ball mobile, you may wind the top string around this end after pushing down the cluster of balls at the top of the mobile to the intersection of the 2 arches.

 

 

 

Step 2

Screw the other end of Part B into the ball end of Part C to form an “L” shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Mobile Attachment Assembly Step 3.jpg

Take Part D and screw it all the way into the internal thread of Part C until the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

Screw Part E over the threads of Part D until it stops at the side of Part C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Mobile Attachment Assembly Step 5.jpg

Place Part E against your cot slat and screw Part F on the other side of the slat over the threads of Part D, ensuring Parts E and F press firmly against both sides of the cot slat.

 

 

 

 

Step 6

Mobile Attachment Assembly Step 6.jpg

Place Part G next to Part F followed by screwing Part H over the threads of Part D to close. This has only a decorative purpose, you may use only Part H or Parts G and H together, or not at all, depending on the look you like for the stand.

 

 

 

 

Your cot slat will be between Parts E and F.

Your cot slat will be between Parts E and F.

Safety:
For the safety of babies and young children:

·         Please ensure all parts are firmly screwed and installed into place and perform regular checks on the attachment of the stand to the cot.

·         Please ensure both the stand and the baby mobile attached to it are always kept out of the reach of the baby or young children.

·         Do not attach the stand and the baby mobile within the baby’s reach or in a place where it could be moved out of place by baby or children.

·         Discontinue the use of the stand and the baby mobile or hang the baby mobile from the ceiling at a height out of reach once the baby is capable of sitting or standing by herself/himself in the bed, or is capable of reaching and grabbing the stand or the baby mobile.

·         Discontinue the use of the stand if there is any damage noticed.

DIY Newborn Photography

Cherylyn Ng

These days, it seems as if all babies are born natural models. After a couple has a baby, it's not too long before they post a picture of their baby in the cutest of positions online or have it framed in their house. Newborn Photography has become a hit! For those with limitless budgets, you can get some of the best photographers in town to take pictures of your baby and frankly, all you have to go is give them a fed baby and the rest is taken care of.

However, if you don't want to spend much money, you can still have very beautiful pictures of your newborn that you can cherish for years to come. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Pose your newborn giving them a natural look. Seems counterproductive, doesn't it? Well, newborns don't have much support of their limbs so placing them such that they don't flail about helps. Also, most newborns burrow their heads on whatever you lay them on and you want to be able to see their face in the picture. Lastly, newborn's legs tend to be long and skinny so it's best if you tuck their legs under them.

 

2. Don't rush the process. Taking pictures of Newborns needs a great number of patients. As soon as you carefully put them in one pose, they might just decide to stretch and undo all your hard work. Take heart and try again. There are techniques you can use to soothe the child such as gently stroking their back to relax them or lightly running your finger down the bridge of their nose to make them fully shut their eyes.

3. Make sure they have fed before the Photography session. Plan such that photos are taken immediately after they have fed and burped and are drifting off to sleep. Newborn pictures taken when the baby is asleep have some serenity that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Remove the baby's clothes after they have fed and cover her with a blanket as you coddle her in your arms. Once she is asleep, gently place her on a surface and put her in position.

 

4. Set the 'stage' beforehand. Whether you are going for a manger-like shoot or a princess shoot, you should plan this beforehand. Put everything in place so that the only piece of the puzzle left is the baby. Put all your props within reach, especially if you need to change them during the shoot. This may include tiaras, bows, shawls, tutus… whatever the case, have them ready.

 

5. Make sure your baby is not unwell during the shoot and has not just recently had her vaccination jabs. These may make her irritable and cause the photo shoot to be a fail.

 

6. It goes without saying that you should try and have good equipment for the shoot. Novice photography skills can at times be compensated by the use of a good camera with a high-quality lens.

Mothers: Self-Care Is Important

Cherylyn Ng

Becoming a mum is one of the most magical things anyone can experience. From how our bodies adapt to accommodate a whole new being inside us to the way our hearts seem to expand overnight. Motherhood is an experience that you can only fully understand once you are holding that new life in your hands. This doesn't mean that motherhood is easy. With it, comes some of the hardest challenges you will ever face. It's one thing that women agree on, regardless of status, creed or origin. Motherhood definitely changes your life forever.

With all this, it is important that mothers take care of themselves not only for their benefit but for the benefit of the family as a whole. Here are ways you can start taking care of yourself today.

1. Throw all your guilt in the trash. You do compare yourself to other mums or to what you had thought you would become. If you are a working mum, that's great, and if you decide to stay at home, that's equally great. Don't feel guilty about choices you make to better your family.

2. You need time to yourself. Take the kids to their grandparents, ask your spouse to watch them for a night… Do whatever you need to do to recharge. Unlike batteries which can easily be replaced when they run out of charge, there's only one of you.

3. Ask for and accept help whenever possible. Sometimes, we put all the weight of our children and the household on our shoulders when we shouldn't. If someone offers to watch the kids, do your laundry or cook you a meal, accept the help. You can spend that extra time taking an extra long bubble bath or getting a manicure done.

4. Treat your body well. Eat right (you can still afford a cheat meal though), exercise(just a walk every day will do) and most importantly, get enough sleep. There is nothing wrong with taking a nap with the kids.

5. Connect with other mums, they are going through a similar journey as yours. Find other mums you can relate to. Those that you can break down and cry when you need to and still have a good laugh about it the next day. Build a community of people you can trust who in future could even babysit for you when you need some time off.

6. Do something you love but don't do anymore. Whatever it is, rediscover that passion for it again. Whether it's a sport you enjoy, a glass of wine after a long day or simply a TV show. Do things that are devoid of your motherhood status.

7. Be informed but don't get engulfed with all the information out there. Make choices that are right for your family, not just because everyone else is doing it because this is a recipe for disaster.

8. Be kind to yourself. Don't speak negatively about your body if you gained a few extra pounds than you hoped. Don't speak of all the things you haven't done as failures.

Lastly, love yourself always in all ways.

Fun Ways To Document Your Baby's First Year

Cherylyn Ng

As a mum, when you are in the thick of it, your baby's first year seems to drag on forever. The sleepless nights, the constant diaper changes, the breastfeeding… It may seem like you are stuck in an endless year. However, speak to any mum with an older child and they will tell you that the first year goes by the fastest.

Given that it is the year with the most milestones to be achieved within a short period of time, it is a good idea to document as much of it as possible so you can look back at the memories in future. Here are a few creative ideas you can adapt to document your child's first year.

1. Time-lapse video. Don't you just love those videos that seem like the camera was recording during every single moment of your child's growth? These are a happy, adorable way to document that eventful first year. You can create one using just the highlights, create a month by month time lapse, or if you are really dedicated, compile a video capturing a second from each day of the year.

2. Create a Milestone info-graphic. Instead of focusing as much on photos, take note of firsts – first steps, first words, measurements, favorite food, the day when each tooth came in and more. Put this together in a fun image either digitally so you can share with others or on a board that you can hang up in your house.

3. Sew a quilt. If sewing is your thing, this is an activity you will love. Sew a quilt using outgrown clothes from every month of the year. If you are sentimental about outgrown clothes, this is one way you can always keep pieces of all your favorite baby clothes.

4. Travel to a new destination every month. If you are really adventurous, travel around the continent with your baby. If you are a bit more reserved, take a trip to a new place every month. It doesn't have to be fancy, it can even be a picture at a Starbucks you have never been to.

5. Social media. This must be the easiest way to document your baby's first year. All you have to do is click and share. It's not rare to find people posting baby photos on their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Some of these sites even put together a video presentation of all the pictures you have shared within the year. Be careful about the content you put up on social media as it is up for public scrutiny and opinions.

With all these, all you need is a creative mind and the time to put everything together. Ask your spouse to help you and take it up as a couple's project. If you have older children, they definitely will have a lot to add to the piece through their own interactions with their baby brother or sister.

Pom Pom Craft Ideas For The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Cherylyn Ng

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With Mother's day just around the corner, its time to get creative and resourceful. A perfect mother's day gift doesn't need to cost a lot of money. A gift of true genuity and love is not always found hanging on the rack of some expensive gift shop.

Sometimes, in order to portray appreciation and gratitude for your mum, you have to do it yourself. Thanks to the internet, we can now arm ourselves with endless ideas and crafts. Handcrafted gifts allow you to share something that you made yourself.

For the purposes of this article, we shall be looking at the different gifts you can make by using pom poms. Let us take a look.

Pom Pom Necklace

As women, Jewelry is the next best thing after a bouquet of flowers. Making it yourself will make it even more special. In order to make this necklace, all you'll need is some cord and felt balls.

You can attach the cord to a needle if you want. This will make it faster and easier to pull the cord through the felt balls. When choosing the felt balls, try selecting your mother's favourite colour. You can always add a note to compliment this gift.

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Pom Pom Earrings

Pom pom earrings are cute and can go with almost every outfit. Compliment mom's style by adding something unique to her earring collection. To make this gift, all you will need is some studs/earring hooks and felt balls.

 

Knitting stitch markers/progress makers

This can be an invaluable gift to your mom. All you'll need are some rings, clasps and felt balls. Simply take a felt ball and attach a clasp on one side and a ring on the other. Simple, but very practical and useful.

 

Pom Pom Car Diffuser

This gift is not only thoughtful but achieves an aesthetic and practical purpose as well. It will help your mom relax during this long and stressful commutes. Also, every time she sees it, she'll instantly think of you.

So, you'll need some felt balls,  an essential oil of your choice, pegs and glue. Take the peg and brush some glue on one side of it. Then, on the side, you applied the glue, neatly place the felt balls.

Wait for the felt balls to dry on the glue before pouring some essential oil on them. Be sure to use an essential that your mom loves. Don't forget to be creative with the colours and the design.

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Handbag charms

Handbag charms have the ability to redefine and revamp the look of any bag. Its decorative nature makes the handbag stand out. You simply make a handbag charm that goes well with one of the moms' bags. Or you can even purchase a handbag, and make a charm to go along with it.

You will need a string, some felt balls, clasps and tassels. Select felt balls that can either match or contrast with the bag of choice. Tie the string to a needle, which will allow you to thread through the felt balls. Then at one end, sow on the tassel, and add a clasp to the other end.

 

Felt ball coasters/trivets

Moms love protecting their furniture, and one way they do that is by using coasters. Why not allow them to do it in a colourful and stylish way? You can make them some beautiful and unique coasters out of felt balls.

All you'll need are felt balls of different colours, and voila, you're coasters are ready.

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8 Activity Ideas for Young Kids

Cherylyn Ng

Keeping your little ones entertained can be difficult at times. The internet has given us invaluable tools to keep them busy - and we don’t mean endless videos. A quick Google search will give you a mountain of ideas and don’t get us started on the magic of Pinterest! You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to keep kids engaged and learning, all it takes is a little ingenuity and imagination. Don’t underestimate the power of crafts or a simple walk through the woods.

 

You may even create an adventure box (or bowl or bag) with slips of paper or even popsicle sticks and then choose an idea at random - an idea that can grow with you as your children grow.

1.       Simple crafts with paper plates

2.       Make your own toys

3.       Make a treasure box with blocks, rings, felt pieces, and other items to provide a colorful and tactile experience.

4.       Go on a nature walk/stroll

5.       Draw with crayons and sidewalk chalk

6.       Put on a puppet show

7.       Make your own rock candy

8.      Song time

 

Go wild! Your imagination is the limit. Often, things we don’t consider things that we do every day as "activities", but dressed up with colors and special-ness. With the right flair, you can turn anything into a fun activity!

Money Saving Tips for Young Mothers

Cherylyn Ng

Building a nest egg isn’t just about bringing money and setting it aside. True financial stability comes from creating healthy money habits and integrating tips and tricks into your everyday life that reduce spending. When creating a plan to save money and reduce expenditures, friction is key. Reducing the friction to save and increasing the friction to spend frivolously is key. Below are some tips to save money without giving anything up.

 

Budget

You may already have a budget created, but if you’re reading this it may need a tune up. Times of energetic shifts, be them holidays, birthdays, or (of course) New Year’s are a great time for evaluation. At this time, take a look at your spending habits, current budget, and savings goals. As unglamorous as it might sounds, creating a budget allows you to live your best life. After all, what’s fun about having your stress level tied to wavering finances?

There are thousands of templates online to give you a strong start to your budgeting practice. Some choose to stick with the traditional pen and paper while others prefer a spreadsheet. Choose whichever makes checking in with your budget easy, accessible, and friction-free for you.

Begin by identifying your monthly income. Next, subtract your monthly expenses bill by bill - mortgage payments, car payments, groceries, utilities, etc. The remainder should be portioned for extracurriculars. One of the most important things you can do (and should do!) is to pay yourself. That means putting money, however much or little, away into a savings account.

 

Spending Habits

You don’t have to give up everything you want in order to save money, but the first step is to examine how much you spend and where the money goes. Not only does this give you a baseline for the amount you spend, it gives you a snapshot of your spending habits. Sales, coupons, discount codes, and sticking with generics will work to shave quite a few dollar bills off your monthly expenses, but it doesn’t help if you spend that money on something else you don’t need. As you consider saving tips, tricks, and methods, really evaluate your spending habits. What do you value the most: material things or experiences? Can you readily set a spending limit for yourself? Do you associate the newest, shiniest things with happiness? With social acceptance?

 

Tips and Tricks

●        Free (Or Cheap) Fun

Seek out opportunities for free events, plan craft times, or go for a hike at a state park! Your imagination is the limit!

●        Make Friends With Pinterest

You can make your own toys, games, and more!

●        Buy in Bulk

Buy in bulk, but focus on non-perishable goods. After all, if it expires before you use it then you’re not saving!

●        Get Thrifty

Thrift stores are your friend! Just remember to wash and treat everything immediately! Not only might you score some cheap swag, it’s an inexpensive and fun way to spend an afternoon.

●        Automatically transfer money to your savings account.

Remember to always, always pay yourself first!

●        Pay Bill on Time

Even if you can’t pay your bills on time, always call the utility company (or whomever) and be honest with them. Often times they’ll waive the late fee and even coordinate an extension.

●        Menu Planning

Planning out your menu for the week can help you maximize your money and reduce waste.

Practice packing lunches and snacks, not just for your children, but also for yourself!

 

Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, the easier you make it, the more likely you are to do it. We’re just scratching the surface of saving here, but the internet is rich with resources to help you reach your saving goals and financial security.

Planning a Breathtaking Baby Shower: The Ultimate Checklist

Cherylyn Ng

Your favorite mother-to-be is about to pop! It’s time to plan a baby shower, but there are so many odds and ends to remember. Whether you’ve been planning for months or you have to throw the ultimate baby shower together by the end of the week, this ultimate checklist will keep you on task and on time!

 

Who, What, When, Where, How Much

Who

❏      Who is going to host the event? Will there be a co-host? Don’t forget about a guest list, be sure to include all of mother-to-be’s VIPs.

What

❏      What kind of baby shower will it be? Themed? Co-Ed?

When

❏      This one is self-explanatory. Remember to speak with the mother-to-be’s VIPs (family and best friends) to be sure that they’ll be available and keep her available for party time.

Where

❏      Where will you hold the party? Does someone in your group have room for a party? Does the mother-to-be have a favorite restaurant with a party room?

How Much

❏      Set a budget for yourself. Will you be paying for the entire party? Will others contribute?

 

Decorations, Favors, Snacks, and Games - Oh My!

Research

❏      Get on websites like Pinterest to gather ideas for decorations, favors, games, and even invitations.

Games

❏      You may want to stick with traditional games, but there are plenty of games you can play that you can work into your theme.

❏      How long do you want to spend on each game or playing games in general?

❏      If your party is co-ed, will the games be fun for everyone?

Shopping!

❏      If you’re going the DIY route, make a list of all of the materials you need and call some of the party attendees together for a craft party!

❏      If you’re not so craft savvy and prefer the store bought route, make a list of everything you need, go shopping, and store your swag away until it’s time to decorate.

Menu Planning

❏      If your venue is outside of a restaurant, decide whether you’ll be providing a meal, snacks, or a potluck style dinner.

❏      Planning for a cake or other pre-made goodies? Put in your order early on to ensure availability.

❏      Don’t forget about plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery when making your shopping list.

 

Gifting and Invitations

Baby Registry

❏      Though the mother-to-be will put together the baby registry, it’s important for you to get the registry details to the guests.

Invitations

❏      Send out the invitations to the previously mentioned guest list.

 

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Stragglers

❏      Follow-up with invitees that haven’t RSVP’d or were unsure of their final answer.

Assemble!

❏      Gather the troops together and assemble decorations, favors, and make ahead snacks. Get all of your decorations set up ahead of time if possible so you can spend your time greeting guests and cooking, if necessary.

❏      Ensure that you have enough seating available at your baby shower venue.

 

Day of the Event

Loose Ends

❏      Do a final tidying.

❏      Set up any necessary seating and decorations.

Get cooking (if applicable)

Thank You's!

❏      Keep track of who brought food (if applicable) and who provided which gift so you can issue out Thank You cards later.

 

Planning a party is a lot of little moving parts. Keep party planning organized so you can enjoy the process of celebrating your loved one and her little baby-to-be.

To Quit or Not to Quit: Deciding Whether You Should Go to Work or Stay Home

Cherylyn Ng

From the first doctor's appointment to the first outfit, there are so many decisions to make when you have a baby. One of the most important (and heavy) decisions a mother can face is whether or not to return to the workforce after having a baby. Between traditional gender and family roles, the idea of missing out on milestones, and weighing the added responsibility of parenthood - it can be difficult indeed to decide the right choice for you.

 

It’s important to remember that no matter what your friends, your family, or society says - it truly does come down to making the right choice for you. There are so many weighty factors to bear in mind. Here are 4 of the most common concerns that we’ve found:

 

Missing Milestones

It’s only natural to feel a bit guilty that, by returning to the workforce you may be missing out on events in your children's’ lives. Working doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on these important events, but on the other hand, you won’t be there for the everyday. The only right answer here, is the one that’s right for you.

 Finances

There are few things to take into account here. Daycare is an extra expense, but unfortunately many mothers find themselves in a place where they have no choice. Weigh your current expenses against the added expenses of daycare if you return to work part time or full time. 

 

Putting Career/Dreams on Hold

We all have lives before we have children. Some of us dream of being mothers, some dream mostly of careers, and still others dream of having it all. This is the time for a little soul searching. Many studies have been done on how women are affected by this decision and the overwhelming factor in future happiness is alignment with preferences.

 Traditional Family and Gender Roles

Although ultimately, the decision rests upon you and your family, many women wrestle with the opinions of others. When it comes right down to it, traditional family and gender roles color the way many people perceive our situations, but what makes you and your family happy is the only thing that matters.

 

Studies show that embracing happiness as a major part of the decision is key in how women look back on the decision to stay at home or work. ‘"It's not about simply being employed versus being a stay-at-home mom that makes the difference," said Suniya Luthar, an ASU Foundation professor of psychology and leader of the research group. "We found that women who were living in sync with their own preference exhibited overall positive adjustment. Conversely, the 'misaligned moms' experienced considerable distress and unhappiness."’ (ScienceDaily.com)

 

It’s important to remember that, regardless of your decision, happiness is not a side effect of living life, but a necessity of living your very best life. It’s a vital part of being fulfilled, healthy, and productive which will, in turn, lend itself to being the best parent you can be.

 

 

 

Kids’ Room Organising Tips

Cherylyn Ng

There’s no way around it - most times, where there are kids, there’s clutter. Between toys, clothes, and keepsakes, it can feel like taming the toy tiger is next to impossible. With a few key tips and the right tools, you can retire your “Clean your room” battle cry.

Timing

Take advantage of built in energetic shifts. Birthdays, seasonal changes, moves, and even new furniture! These are all good occasions to take initiative and assess your clutter. Create a ritual around these times and your little ones will feed off the exciting energy.

Eye-catching Storage

Both you and your children are more apt to use storage that's visually appealing. Baskets, drawers, bins - oh my! The options are limitless. Though there are many wonderful choices ready for purchase, putting your own artful touches on plain storage with your children is a fun way to add decorative storage to their rooms. They'll love using their new personalized bins time and time again!

 

Review and Reduce

Many people misunderstand the concept of minimalism. The underlying principles of minimalism aren't based on getting rid of everything, but rather about truly embracing and savoring the things you love the most. First, you must go through your collection of toys, books, clothes, and more to reduce excess. The energetic shift times mentioned before are great occasions to review your items and ensure that each has a purpose or precious meaning and is regularly put to use.

Create a Habit

Routines are the basis for a happy, healthy productive life. Help you children create a habit of tidying as they go and there'll be little to no need to go through huge cleaning spells. This is a habit they will take with them throughout life! Additionally, when you create a routine or habit it becomes so second nature that it isn't necessary to think about doing it and you're less likely to view it as a "chore".

 

With these little tips, you can tame the "toy tiger". Incorporate fun, decorative storage solutions to entice little ones (and yourself) to keep things organized and tucked away. Take advantage of holidays and the changing of the seasons to review and reduce your clutter. The time to tidy and organize doesn't have to be a battle, instead use it as an opportunity to help your children create lifelong habits to stay tidy and organized.

Meal Tips for New Moms

Cherylyn Ng

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It doesn’t matter how many books you read or classes you take, nothing prepares you for motherhood quite like the real thing. Whether it’s your first child or your third, each inevitably comes with their own personality and unique challenges. The early days of motherhood are a beautiful and joyous time, but it can be all too easy to let the hustle and bustle overtake you. It’s important to take care of yourself and that means nutritious meals and making things easier where you can. Meal prepping is a wonderful way to cut down on your time in the kitchen while making sure everyone has a hearty, healthy home cooked meal.

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It can be difficult to ensure that you get in the recommended amount of vegetables every day, especially if you have a fussy eater or two at home. Get creative and hide vegetables in your meals. It’s easy to get away with vegetable laden soups and stews, but you can also use veggies in your frittatas, smoothies, spaghetti sauce, burgers, and even waffles.

You’ll quickly find that the freezer is your best friend when you begin meal prepping. Many women and men choose one day a week to do all of their heavy cooking for the week. While others prefer to make double portions throughout the week and freeze the remainder for a busy day. Whichever way you decide to integrate meal prep into your home, take some time to become acquainted with the best practices for storing and freezing.

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Ultimately, there’s no right and wrong when you’re trying your best. There will be days that are filled with little laughs and days that are filled with tears, but one thing remains true of motherhood – every day is a new adventure.

Stir Your Child’s Imagination With Adorable Animal Lamp Mats

Cherylyn Ng

Childhood is the most important time in your child’s development and stirring imagination is key. Not only does a well-developed imagination stoke creativity, it increases confidence, develops problem solving skills, and interpersonal skills. Fun, imaginative decor is a great way to encourage your little one’s growing imagination and inspire sweet, dreamland adventures.

Our awesome new lamp mats are made with soft felt balls and come in colors ranging from pale pink to deep black so there’s something for everyone. Choose from two styles fuzzy, friendly bears or bunnies. These mats boast a minimalist style that’s anything but boring.

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Minimalist style is key in crafting a bedroom decor that will grow with your child so you can keep the same decor from nursery days to preteen years. For the same reason, these lamp mats are the perfect baby shower gift for any mother-to-be. There’s no need to guess what will match the nursery decor with these elegant colors and minimalist style.

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Let this adorable new fuzzy friend guide your little ones through endless adventures, imagination playtime, and the sweetest dreams while protecting their bedside table from scratches and scrapes. Your little one is sure to cherish the memories for years to come.