Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby R is Three Months Old

My sweet girl.  You blow my mind every day.  I love you with all my heart.

xo, Momma

Chalkboard Cupboards

Let me just start by saying....


How are there so freakin' many awesome ideas out there?!

I'm a little obsessed with chalkboard paint.

Remember C's Chalkboard Cupboard?

someone put this kid to bed... mom fail.
... introducing the newest member of our chalkboard family...

Kitchen Chalkboard Cupboard
We gave this bad boy 2 good coats of chalkboard spray paint to make it nice and even
     This cupboard used to be a big waste of space.  It once, very awkwardly, housed our broom and dust pan.  That got old fast, so we put in screw hooks and now it stores our pots and pans.  
     I have two very good reasons for the switch.  First, trying to struggle with pots, pans & lids that were piled on top of one another in a small cupboard, while C napped in her nursery above the kitchen, was a bitch and a half.  And two, I refuse to have a repeat of what happened in our old apartment... I never wanted to deal with the chaos of finding a matching lid to a pot... so we ordered pizza ALOT.  
     It really doesn't sound like that big of a deal...but TRUST ME... it caused much frustration.  I wasn't having it and I'm a much happier person this way.  

So ... Ta da!
Organized Pots & Pans hells yes!

In love with this paint.  Awesome gun handle = clean fingers and no cramping
Then I did my thang
Not too sure about this list... it's a nice idea...but come on, let's be real.

Now ... What can I paint next??

xo, Kiara

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Photo Journal of All Things Summer

...The Yummy Things...

...The Wet Things...

...The Pretty Things...

RIP Summer 
xo,  Kiara

Monday, August 27, 2012

End of Summer Salads

     I'm so sad that summer is coming to an end.  This has been the best summer of my life and we've had so many good times with our friends and family.  These are my two go-to summer salads. They're delicious, super easy, and perfect for summer afternoon BBQ's.

Broccoli Salad

 The Goods:
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
How to Make It:
  1. Bake bacon on a cookie sheet until crispy. (this is by far the best and only way to cook bacon)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds and bacon.  In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mayonnaise. Pour over broccoli mixture, and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
     Sometimes I make this one vegetarian if I make it as a side dish for us at home.  But come on, everything is better with bacon so I wouldn't dare deprive my friends.  This is the only way the hubs will eat broccoli and he LOVES it.

     It's especially good the second day, once the broccoli has time to soak up the dressing. YUM!

Oriental Salad

The Goods:
  • 2 bags of coleslaw mix
  • 6 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
  • 2 packs of Oriental Mr. Noodles (noodles only, put the seasoning aside for the dressing)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil because it's healthier, but it does have a stronger taste than vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 packs of oriental seasoning from the Mr. Noodles.
  1. Combine coleslaw mix, crushed Mr. Noodles, onion, sunflower seeds, and toasted almonds ( I toast them in a frying pan on the stove with a little butter).
  2. Mix dressing and pour over salad if you're serving it within 20 minutes, otherwise leave the dressing off until you're ready to much.
     I just made this salad yesterday.  My mother in law gave me this recipe when P and I were first's pretty much the best salad ever and it's always a hit.

xo Enjoy,   Kiara

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Little Change Goes a Long Way

I came across this picture the other day and thought to myself...

So of course, I had to get the hubby to wake up early, before he went to work (he loves me), to help me rearrange our room.
 Here is what we accomplished! (Apologies for the dark pics, but you get the point.)

Makeshift Vanity... Eventually I'll be refinishing this...and buying a real stool.

We're pretty happy with the results.  Now all that we have left to do is...

Paint Trim & Walls
Refinish ALL furniture (yikes big job) & mirror frame
Add some better art
Add some better framed pictures
Buy a small bench for in between the vanity and dresser  
... keep alive the floor plant that the hubs is bringing me home (I'm the furthest thing from a botanist)

     I'm trying to keep in mind that this is our temporary bedroom until we have Thing 2.  After which, we'll be moving to the main floor, into a bigger bedroom, and away from the crying. (he! kidding kinda)

     We aren't planning on splurging on anything new until operation income suite is complete, hence the second hand furniture from our old party apartment & horrible decor, so for now I'm just making it comfortable & functional.  The sheer fact that we even own a house is a blessing.

xo, Kiara

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sleep Training Success!

     I literally had to run over to my MacBook and type this out right away because I can't even believe what I have just accomplished.  C is fast asleep at 6:50 pm.  Not only is she asleep but she fell asleep on her own, without even a single peep.  I had to go check on her because it just felt too weird and too good to be true.  But yes, ohhhh yes, it's true!

     Since attending the sleep seminar, C and I have been working really hard at getting a good nap schedule going.  It's been three days and she's happier than ever, falling asleep on her own, and sleeping through the night.  And not just 5 hours "through the night", like the entire night... a whole 12-13 hours.  What 3 month old does that?!

    So either we're really lucky, or all of the research I've done has seriously paid off.  It's probably a combination of both.  Either way, sleep training works for easy babies.

     These are the things I think have helped the most:

  • Continuous White Noise - we now use an old radio set to static, and it's fairly loud.  I know some people think it's creepy and it attracts ghosts or whatever, but seriously bring on the ghosts, my kid sleeps through the night.  It's also good for naps because I can be a little more carefree around the house and she doesn't wake up.  Or get this... SoundSpa.
  • Consistent Naps - C is never awake longer than 2 hours... she is usually napping again by an hour and 45 at the latest.
  • Big Feeding before bed.  I usually don't feed C after her last nap and until she is ready for bed.  Get her nice and full so she sleeps all night.
That's all folks... again...Hope it helps!

xo, Kiara

p.s. I am rewarding myself with a glass of wine...(probably a bottle)

Income Suite Ideas

Paint Colour

Living Room

Taupe Fedora by Benjamin Moore

Decatur Buff by Benjamin Moore


Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore

Woodlawn Blue or Sea Glass by Benjamin Moore


Dune Grass by Benjamin Moore

Flooring Ideas

We've already decided that we're going to put carpet in the bedroom and living room.  Since it is a basement, it will be level and nice and warm.

Love this! It may be a little dark for a basement but the texture is bang on.
 For the kitchen and dining room I would LOVE to put in cork floors because they're green and beautiful, BUT...and that's a big but...they are pretty costly.  We will probably just go with a nice laminate.

PLEASE PLEASE can we get cork?!

...It will most likely be something like this...

The bathroom will either be ceramic tile or we might even flow the laminate from the dining room right in there.

xo, Kiara

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Operation Income Suite

     Who starts a major renovation 4 weeks before adding a baby to the mix? We do!  Throw in a few unexpected electrical and plumbing problems, and lots of new drywall, and we're finally seeing some progress.  Our goal is to have a completely separate, one bedroom basement apartment that we can rent out to my Dad, so that we can pay our mortgage off super fast.  I already have a million design ideas for this awesome space!  So many that I can't keep them all straight in my head ... hence this renovation post!

We're planning our attack in two halves because it's just way overwhelming to think about everything all at once... well for me anyway.  The first half includes the bedroom, living room and bathroom, and the second half is the kitchen and dining room.

Awesome wood paneling & flooring

Soon to be living room

Bedroom entrance from living room

He re-wired the electrical completely and installed new outlets and switches to meet current codes since the existing wiring was from 1960! :/
 With the first phase of electrical finished, we began to drywall/tape/mud the bedroom and living room. It's finally beginning to look like an sweet basement!


Before the drywall is complete, he'll be putting insulation in the ceiling to soundproof the floors as well as make it fire-resistant (just in case!!) ....mostly so that we can't hear my Dad and he can't hear us...because....weird!

Man size bathroom
I can't wait to remodel this bathroom.  I always want to make small bathrooms really girly and pretty but this time I get to go in the opposite direction and make it bold and masculine. We decided to keep the existing shower (complete with 80's tiles), but we are going to install a new toilet, sink/vanity, storage cabinets and  hardware. We're looking into replacing the floor tiles in the shower but might end up leaving them for now....

Dining room (kitchen at the back)

     We aren't 100% sure what we're doing with the kitchen yet but we know the sink will be under the back window.  Hey! ... at least it's a start.  We're thinking cabinets with medium stained wood, dark grey counter tops, a matching breakfast bar from the post to the wall(it will be where the deep freezer is in the picture to give you an idea) and laminate-hardwood flooring. For lighting we will be putting in low-profile fixtures in main areas, and pot-lights everywhere else.  It's pretty cool watching it all come together!

Once all the hard labour is done, I will be taking over with choosing paint colours and flooring...the fun stuff!

xo, Kiara

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sleep Seminar

     Yesterday I attended an Infant & Toddler Sleep Seminar.  I wanted to see if there was something I was missing, since C was having some difficulty napping and falling asleep at night by herself.  I'm just going to summarize a few things that I wish I had known and that they don't really tell you in the books I mentioned.

  • Sleep crutches, ex. pacifiers, nursing, rocking. are not only difficult habits to break, but when baby makes the transition from light sleep to deep sleep, usually about 20 minutes after they pass out, they wake up briefly and realize that their pacifier has fallen out or they're not being nursed or rocked and they get pissed.
  • Early bedtime is key.  Even a bed time as early as 6pm is beneficial if baby is having a difficult time napping for long periods (min 45mins) during the day.
  • A quick bedtime routine lasting no longer than 40 minutes is best.  Dragging it out will only bring baby past the point of exhaustion... then... good luck.
  • Instead of rushing in as soon as baby makes a peep, wait 10 minutes.  There's a magical moment that happens in between the 5 and10 minute mark when baby will settle after a freak out.  However, it doesn't always happen, so console that kid if they're still lost at 10 minutes.
  • BLACK OUT BLINDS ... no one wants to sleep when it's bright and sunny out.
  • BIG FAT FAIL on my part.... mobiles with bright lights and sounds are a horrible way to relax a baby.  Duh! ... C's previously mentioned Fisher Price Aquarium will be heading back to Walmart today... or I might just move it to the playpen.  It just makes more sense, since the playpen is for playing and the aquarium is definitely a toy.
  • White noise is great.  As long as it's not on a timer.  If the noise that baby used to drift off to sleep disappears at those 20 minute transition intervals, they're gonna lose it.

  • Nighttime Sleep should last 10 -12 hours ( for a 3-6 month old)
  • Daytime Naps should last 45mins - 1hr.  (anything shorter than 45 minutes doesn't count)
  • Baby should nap a total of 2-4 hours a day.  (again, for a 3-6 month old)
Here's a sample schedule that C and I currently 'try' to follow...
  • Morning Nap : 9:00am - 10:00am
  • Noon Nap : 12:00pm - 1:00pm
  • Afternoon Nap : 3:00pm - 5:00pm 
  • Bed Time : 7:00pm  (bedtime routine starts just after 6pm)
     It also varies depending on when C is actually sleepy.  I always watch for the basic signs of sleepiness and start to soothe her for a nap right then, and not once she's already tired.  Once baby is tired and cranky, it's too late and it'll be a lot harder for them to soothe themselves to sleep.

Hope this helps all the sleepless Momma's out there!

xo, Kiara

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sleep Training

      C was a really good baby right from the get go.  When she was newborn she was always tired and slept for what felt like 20 hours a day.  Then she hit the 6 week "fussy" period and like clock work she hated sleep.  She would get so overtired and fussy that putting her down for a nap was at least an hour long process.  At around eight weeks things started to look up and we began sleep training her.  I've been in between two books, The Lull A Baby Sleep Plan and Healthy Sleep Habbits, Happy Child.  So far a combination of the two have helped me come up with something that works well with our lifestyle. 


     It says somewhere that sleep training should take a week to perfect for both baby and momma so I decided to cut off all contact with the outside world and devote myself to helping C with her sleep schedule.  It's really not a whole lot to ask if the outcome is a baby who puts herself to bed and sleeps through the night.... sounds too good to be true...but here we go!

     I made a VERY big mistake the week before we began sleep training.  Since C's nap schedule had been pretty random in the sense that she napped when she wanted and for however long she pleased, I wanted to first try to get her napping at the right times.  So my way of thinking was that as long as she gets her nap in at the right time, I didn't care HOW or WHERE she fell asleep.  WRONG... apparently both are very important.  I began nursing C in our bed while laying down beside her with hopes that she would fall asleep at her "scheduled" nap time.  It worked! and C dosed off every time and napped for a good two hours in our bed.

"Hi Momma! I'm not sleepy!"  
     Let me just add that C slept by herself, in her crib, in her nursery since she was one week old.  Why I decided to take her out of her crib and teach her to sleep in our bed is beyond me now that I look back at it.  At the time it seemed like the only way to get her to nap when she needed to.

     At her bedtime, we took C up in to her nursery after her bath, nursed her, swaddled her, read her a bedtime story, turned on her Sleep Sheep and placed her all peaceful into her crib.  And then it began...  first fussing, then ear tugging, then full out death screams.  While researching sleep methods, I learned that... WAIT.... C is yawning and it's 8:45 am .... pause this post for a few minutes because if I don't get this kid into her crib before she passes out in her swing, she'll be screwed up for life. but that's the kind of mindset you have while sleep training.  Okay she's asleep... success!!  To continue with my last thought... What I learned from my research is that timing is everything, and watching for sleepy signs is the most important thing you'll take away from either of the two books.

"Nope I'm not ready for sleep yet"
     Once I realized that somewhere along the way I messed up and C was way off track with the sleep training, I desperately cracked open the sleep books and learned a few things that I guess I skipped over the first time.  I realized that... 1. I taught my once independent baby to depend on me to fall asleep and 2. I taught her to become comfortable in a different bed than her own.  What is wrong with me?!  Blame it on the ma ma ma ma ma mommy brain.

     I knew I had to get her back on track, so we began our new and improved sleep training routine.  It's intense... like training for the Olympics.  And it really sucked for the first few days.  C was not having it, and I'm pretty sure I consumed a few more glasses of wine than I should have once she was asleep. 

     Now that C had established a pretty solid napping schedule, I just had to get her to fall asleep on her own, in her crib, at those times.  Easy enough right?  WRONG again.  I spent quite a bit of time at the side of her crib trying to comfort her and negotiate with her.  I think I even bribed her with extra long bath time.  It took a couple days of me pulling my hair out while trying not to cave and put her in our bed, for her to come around.  She got used to her crib again and learned, for the most part, to soothe herself to sleep. 

     Don't get me wrong, we hit a couple of speed bumps along the way, but we stuck to the plan and things got better.  Now C puts herself to sleep at every nap time, she's starting to phase out her third nap of the day, and she sleeps 12-13 hours a night, waking only for a quick 5 minute feeding.  She actually slept right through the night a couple times last week.

"Okay I give in, I am Le Tired!"
     Sleep training works. I'm not a psychologist and I really have no idea why it's so important to teach your baby how to sleep, but it works.... for now...

xo Kiara

Monday, August 13, 2012

C's Nursery & Her Favourite Things

Here it is!  The only freshly painted and finished room in our entire house.  She was spoiled before she was even born.  I wanted to keep it simple, clean and most importantly, functional.


I refinished the change table that was a gift from P's aunt, and painted it white.  I also refinished the toy chest that was a gift from my Mom.
I wanted a really simple white crib and this one was perfect, also a gift from my Mom.
A few cute accessories and of course, Sophie, who is C's favourite right now.

 And a few things that C loves and that have maintained our sanity over the past couple months.

This is the Fisher Price I Luv U Zoo Swing... it's by far the best investment we've made as far as baby gear.  C hangs out in it for hours at a time, watching the mobile and listening to the awesome music.  Around 6 weeks old, when she went through a rough patch where she didn't want to nap, we would put her in her swing and she would fall asleep with a smile on her face.

Her Bumbo chair.  She can finally sit up in it for about 5 minutes before she gets tired.  It's quite the work out for her tiny muscles.  I just think it's cute.

Her Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium is awesome.  We bought it for her around the fussy 6 week mark because we were desperate.  It worked for a couple of days until she caught on, so we gave it a break for a while.  She's right back into it now and loves it for morning naps.
This is the exact moment that C focused on something for the first time.  We call it her Lion.  It is also the first toy she ever smiled at and she still loves it.

Sleep Sheep.  Enough said.... no, but this little guy is the reason C falls asleep every night and it's also the reason that Mommy and Daddy are loving parenthood.  THE BEST!

C loves being read to.  Her favourite books right now are Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See and The Gruffalo.  When I'm feeling sappy I read her Love You Forever and when I'm feeling impatient I read her Go the F*#k to Sleep (minus the swears... because how horrible would it be if her first word was bulls*#t?).
C is the happiest baby in town.  We could not have lucked out more with our first child.  She's the reason I bug Daddy every day to make her a little brother or sister.  He has to cave eventually, right?

xo Kiara