Friday, March 30, 2012

Links of late

Winter Love Care to Share?

This weeks smile inducers...

I have lovingly gazed over many play teepee's since before Stella was even born, and now that I know I am having two girls, I am even more determined to have one! We found This pattern online to make your own teepee, and I plan on roping Nick into helping me create a little book reading haven for our girls very soon!

*  My cousin has entered the world of blogging! Make welcome to one of my most favourite relatives (Shhhh!) and follow her journey of wedding planning and healthy living.

* has given me so many inspirational parenting articles to read lately, I am becoming quite the regular reader! This post really struck a chord with me, it is about how we micromanage our children and hover over them like 'heli-mamas'. Definitely a recommended read this week!

* How damn hard is it to find sweet, designer boys clothes? Very hard. Until now that is! My friend Airlie has released her line of baby boys clothing and it is to-die-for! Make welcome to Sweet Monster.

* Nick and Stella both love muesli bars, so I am currently on the lookout for some homemade alternatives I can whip up for them (feeding our loved ones feels so good, doesn't it?) This recipe for Sinless Snack Bars sounds delish!

* Are you a Pinterest user? What do you think of the concerns over Pinterests terms and conditions? Are you going as far as deleting your boards? Personally, I'm staying aboard...I am a huge fan.

A {rather long} DIY

creative goodness Winter Love

Usually when I post about my DIY adventures, they are either done in two minutes or ten minutes. I tend to have a fleeting attention span and quick-but-pretty DIYs are definitely my forte. However, on this rainy day...I set out to do something a little too intricate for my liking.

It was a dark, rainy, mystical day; my favourite sort. Stella and I were restricted to inside only activities and I have been wanting to try my hand at more child friendly crafts. So, we gathered doilies and mama chopped away at them, making snowflakes! It turns out that making snowflakes isn't as child friendly as I first thought, and other than singing "Snoooowwflake, snooooowwwflake" around the house Stella really didn't get anything out of it.

Stella Winter

With all these doily snowflakes cut out, I wanted to do something decorative with them. That's when a not-so-bright spark lit up the dreary sky and told me to stitch them together to make a wall hanging. Originally, I was dreaming gigantic and had visions of a delicate snowflake curtain. But was brought back down to earth preeeetty quickly. I don't know why I didn't settle for double sided tape or craft glue, instead I spent the entirety of Stella's nap time hunched over pieces of paper with a needle and thread, cursing.

The end result is pretty, but gosh! What a tedious, frustrating DIY!

What craft activities to do with your children? Do you have any child-friendly ideas you can share? I'd love to see what other mamas spend rainy days doing with their little ones!

Plenty of love,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Baby Gear Wishlist; the perfect feeding basket

baby gear wishlist Winter Love
One of the things I didn't have during my first few weeks of being a feeding zombie with Stella, was a feeding basket. A pretty little way to store and carry around everything I may need at feed time. With feeding time also being toddler time once baby #2 is born, I will need to have everything at hand, easy to grab and ready to go; Breast pads, remote control, tissues, book, baby wipes, chocolate, a hand held mirror for unexpected knocks at the door and many, many more multi-purpose-time-saving goodies.

So to start off with, I have been trawling the shops, markets and Internet for that perfect feeding basket. I want something small and compact as well as mandatorily pretty and sweet. These are some of my favourites I have stumbled upon, although I am yet to make a decision (one of lifes hardest I'm sure!)

1. A sweet print and strong fabric. Fabric storage basket by Yk Bags. 

2. Compartments for added organisation. Komplement storage by Ikea 
3. This one would fit perfectly with our loungeroom decor, unfortunately I have no idea where to source it from! Any suggestions?

4. I love the look of this classic style. Hand woven storage basket by Tene Basket

5. Organisation and style, it looks like a winner! Fabric diaper caddy by Hip Baby Boutique

Did you have a feeding basket to help you through the newborn weeks? What did you have in your little supply? Did you find it useful? Filling the basket will be next on the list!

Plenty of love, 

Little Pitter Patters

Winter Love shoe wisdom

Stella loves shoes. Not just loves, but is totally obsessed with them. When visitors come for an afternoon cup of tea she will greet their shoes before greeting them, then spend the next hour or so modelling their choice of footwear around our house. She takes delight in choosing and putting on her shoes before an outing, however her colour combinations don't always delight me.

Whenever we take a trip to the mall we visit her fairy-shoe-mother (my boss from the shoe store where I have worked for the past 8 years) for Stella, that place is like shoe lovers heaven. I seem to think that fitting and selling shoes may remain in the family! Having a daughter who has a very fast growing foot and a love for anything with buckles and velcro has bought back many memories of my shoe fitting days. I remember mothers coming in and being grateful for quick, efficient service so they could head for the park as soon as possible, I remember hearing tales of feet growing at the speed of light and velcro being a recipe for shoe-losing disaster. I am now on the other side of that service desk and instead I am one of these mothers.

I thought I would share with you some valuable wisdom I have gained from working in the shoe industry for so long. Not only have I learnt about whats hot and whats not, but I've also learnt a lot and been trained in how childrens feet develop and the best way to care for their growing little feet. Much like we care for their teeth and their immune systems, we must also care for their feet. For those chubby little feet will carry them on a journey for the rest of their lives.

Description of Photo

At 6 months old, your baby's foot comprises mostly of cartilage and can be deformed by an ill-fitting sock or onesie. At this age children don't need to wear shoes, if you can't resist buying those cute little Converse take-offs keep them loose fitting. Make sure anything you put on your baby's foot accommodates for width; feet at this age are renowned for chubbiness and irresistible rolls. In summer, let your baby go barefoot as much as possible, leave the socks off and let the fresh summer air tickle their toes.

At two years, the bone structure of your child's foot is still developing. There are still large gaps between the bones. These gaps allow distortion in development from tight shoes without pain. So although your toddler may seem comfortable in her shoes, it may not always be so. If you need to twist, poke and push to get your toddlers foot into a shoe, chances are it isn't the right fit. Have a look at your child's foot at the end of a long day playing, is there redness and indentation in any specific areas?

Take a little extra time when buying shoes for your little one and don't always settle for the cheapest or most fashionable. This is one of the most crucial times for development and ill-fitting shoes are the biggest contributor to foot problems later on on life.

At eight years, the bones in the toes and mid-foot are developing and beginning to fuse together. These will still take a further ten years to fully fuse. This is when searching for the right school shoes and keeping an eye out for problems is really important. Get your child's foot properly measured and fitted by a professional and don't be tempted to purchase a size too big, it may save you money in the short term but long term the health repercussions are definitely not worth it.

In adulthood, the bones of the foot are now fully formed with only small gaps between them, Although damage can still occur, the foot is far more resilient

The best tips I can give you for purchasing shoes for children are;

* As patience testing as it can be, make sure your child is with you when you shop for their shoes.

* Visit a store with qualified staff who can measure and fit your child's foot for you.

* Accept the fact that you will need to buy shoes often, children's feet grow incredibly fast.

* Embrace your inner hippy and let your baby go barefoot as much as possible (avoiding the cold of course)

* Don't be tempted to buy too big.

* Where possible, buy leather.

* Remember to care for your children's feet as you would the rest of their health, feet are very important!

{The Clarks Website is fantastic for giving you a guide on fittings and measurements, Clarks is also where I received my training for footwear fitting.}

I hope that has given you a little insight to the world of shoes and foot development in children. If Stellas love for shoes continues to grow, I may find myself working alongside her 'fairy-shoe-mother' again in order to fund her fetish!

Plenty of love, 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today I...

Winter Love

Today I...

* Struggled to wake at 6:00am when Stella started her day
* Am wishing that I could break my addiction to sugar
* Got a slight tan on my shoulders from the fifteen minutes I spent in the sunshine
* Baked heart shaped scones
* Ate heart shaped scones (they were pretty damn good!)
* Am anticipating the arrival of Easter!
* Started to search for Easter craft and cooking ideas online
* Vowed not to nap when Stella did...successfully
* Vacuumed toddler crumbs from the floor four times
* Felt frustrated by my body image
* Watched Stella giggle (numerous times). This never gets old
* Talked about buying a slow cooker with Nick
* Pinned some pretty Wedding Inspiration ideas to Pinterest
* Daydreamed about a new hairstyle
* Found chalk, playdough and flour under my fingernails
* Kissed my daughter 8 times before bed
* Cursed my posture whilst doing some sewing
* Sat in silence cuddled up with my Fiance

This post is inspired by one of my favourite reads; Bleubird Vintage. What small treasures did your day hold? Any you are willing to share?
Plenty of love, 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stella Winter; 20 months old.

Stella Winter 20 months old

The age of discovery and learning self-reliance, the age of constant chatter and endless giggles. Stella is now 20 months old, and counting down to the end of her second year.

It really is hard to comprehend that she has been on this earth for less that two years. At times she seems so wise and knowledgeable that I forget how young and 'new' she is. How much she still has to learn and how many experiences await her.

I see so much more personality in Stella now than ever before, she was born with a stubborn nature and cheeky grin but it was always just an underlying inkling I had about who she may be. Now, everyone knows who she is! She knows who she is and is certainly very confident in herself. She is in no way shy, forever yelling "Hiii" to strangers or waving to a passers by. I watch her play and experience the world around her with barely a tingle of doubt in her mind, she holds her head high and has an urge for Independence so strong that it hurts me to let go a little. Sometimes this confidence is a blessing and one I wish could remain untainted through to her adulthood, but other times it can be a worrying trait. She doesn't often show caution or trepidation and will adventure with not so much as a glance backwards, which means that I need to be always aware and alert. One of these days she is going to take a tumble or a fall I swear!

Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a slight change in Stellas show of affection for me. She has always favoured her Dad and Nick over me for play, but has increasingly began to rely on me for her comfort. I am totally gobbling up all that cuddly goodness and making the most of it while I can. I have a strange feeling that perhaps she is sensing and understanding my growing belly more than I know, maybe her increase in affection is brought about by her comprehension of the baby, and what the future holds.

Stella's most noticeably reached milestone has again been in her vocabulary. Gosh, that girl can talk! She is now clearly saying in abundance of 50 single words and learning a new one each and every hour. Some of her newest favourites include "Careful!" When navigating a dangerous climbing adventure or "Motorbike" when she hears a roaring engine drive up our street. She has began pairing two words together with ease and practices whenever she gets the chance. Some of the most popular phrases are "Lets go!", "Shoes off", "Drink please" and "Luff you" (Love you). However, there have been some phrases that have come with a silent set of giggles from mama. How do you react when your sweet little girl comes out with "Oh gawd!" and "That sucks", at totally appropriate (yet not so) times.

Stella still pushes us to the limits of our patience with her dinner time stubbornness. We try and try for new and exciting things but are going through another phase of plain pasta or plain noodles only. Everything else ends up on the floor or on mama, or as I have been told by her childcarers, up the wall. Despite her refusal to eat a varied diet, she is definitely a healthy little girl. We rarely get a cold or snuffle anymore and can count our stars lucky that she still loves fruit as much as she did the first time puree was put into that little mouth.

She still has a 2-3 hour sleep each afternoon, which at her age warrants a gold medal! I have friends with children of similar ages who have given up their daytime naps and I have no idea how those mothers cope. I am so lucky that she is still getting such a large sleep in during the day and I am touching every wooden surface possible in the hope that it remains that way when baby #2 comes along.

With all the challenges and frustrations that come with parenting an energetic toddler, also comes a sense of pride and victory. We made it this far, we are still smiling most days. I am ever so grateful that Stella is a healthy and happy child, her happiness is reflected and shone onto all those around her, like the warmth of a star. She really is living up to the meaning of her name.

I can't wait to see you become an older sister and watch you mature and grow more each and every day, Stella. 20 whole months! Oh, the adventures the next few months will bring! 

Plenty of love,

How far can my heart stretch?

This is the question that has been plaguing my thoughts a lot lately, it's one of my biggest insecurities about becoming a Mother of two. How far can my heart stretch? Do I have enough love to give two children the utmost adoration and care they deserve? 

I often ponder what our new lifestyle will be like once baby #2 arrives and find that I am becoming increasingly nervous about the concept of balance between my first born and second born. With being a SAHM and also having been single for the first 12 months of motherhood, Stella gets such a highly concentrated dose of 'Mummy'. She is used to having my undivided attention and sharing me with only a few household chores. As a mother it is important to me to spend the time I have during the day being physically involved with her play and exploration. Occasionally I'll leave her to chitter chat to herself whilst building towers out of blocks, but a lot of the time I sit there with her, creating my own tower by her side. 

I wonder how Stella is going to cope with the change of dynamics once the new baby arrives. Will she be able to cope with having her mama's attention elsewhere? With the extensive time and concentration that feeding can take in those first few weeks, I have a vision of being tied to the couch with a baby at the breast while Stella is feeling left out and vying for my attention by misbehaving, which will lead to feelings of resentment towards baby #2 as everyone is just paying it so much damn attention!

At the other end of the spectrum is the question of "Will I have enough room in my heart for another child?" I know I will (and already do) love this baby very much, but the love I have for Stella is overwhelmingly indescribable. Can I feel that for two children? How will my heart cope with all this intense love! In the late hours of the night when these thoughts are running through my head I often wonder, how does anyone successfully raise two children?! What have I gotten myself into!

I'm hoping my brain decides to rest up a little soon and leave my train of thought to more pleasant things, like cupcakes and bubble baths. I am really interested in hearing your thoughts on transitioning from one child to two (or three or four). Did you have these insecurities that kept you awake at night? How did you manage?

Plenty of love, 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Care to share?

This weeks smile inducers...

* Cots are such a huge expense in the world of babies, and then come the second year they are finished with. This post shares some really creative ways of re purposing old cots, both clever and pretty!

* Do food dyes really make our kids hyperactive? This explains the effect they may or may not have on our children and debunks some myths whilst uncovering truths.

* A mustard coloured cushion? I need it badly! I found this beauty on Etsy.

* How sweet are these prints by a local Tasmanian? Even sweeter that they are currently at 50% with free postage within Australia! Head over to admire and support a local artist.

* We are currently going through another eating low with Stella, I'm always frustratingly searching the net for answers. This article gives super inventive ideas on hiding vegetables and tricking children into eating them.

* This article would have to be my favourite of the month. Motherhood and parenting is riddled with chaos, chaos that we are forever trying to control. It talks about why it is important to let go and enjoy the wild swirl of kids, chores, mess and motherhood. Whenever I am feeling out of control or stressed, I am going to refer back to this article.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Wish-list

I get a little overexcited about baby gear. I love discovering new and modern gadgets, furniture and gear for babes, and over time have created quite an extensive wishlist. A new feature here on Winter Love is called The Wish-list, sharing with you some baby gear that I am literally drooling over. Gear that has me itching to take out a personal loan and keeping me awake at night. You know the feeling right?

Here are some things that are currently topping The Wish-list.

The Stokke Sleepi cot. This convertible nursery bed transforms from a bassinet, to a cot, to a junior bed. So not only is it pretty, it's useful and a wise investment (as I keep telling Nick). Baby #2 will be spending the first six months sleeping in our room until we move house, so we need something that is small and compact yet we don't necessarily wish to make numerous purchases as our baby grows.

The Miyo hammock. This purchase however would be totally impractical and purely beautiful. It can only be used for the first few months while baby is unable to roll and move (however, it claims to be suitable for up to 9 months?) It does come with big, enticing promises such as 95% of babies will be asleep within ten minutes of being placed in the hammock, I am definitely feeling tempted.

The First Steps rug. This rug by Bug Rugs has teeny tiny little footprints embedded into it. It's so simple and sweet. A perfect nursery addition!

Crocs Chameleons. These crocs magically change colour in the sun, perfect for a summers day at the park and for throwing on before heading to the pool, I love the 'Shirley' design for its girly appeal and slimline look, no chunky dreaded clogs here!

Alex and Charli Love Birds tee. I love red on baby girls, and nothing is sweeter than red and little birdies. This shirt is only $10 right now, what a steal. If only they made a baby girls size and a big girls size; matching sisters! I'm not sure yet if that would be adorable or strange!

What baby gear goodies are you currently lusting over? Anything new and amazing you'd like to share? 
Plenty of love, 

Stop! Potty time.

Stella has hit that age, the age where her Mother is reading chapters and chapters about toilet training and constantly questioning her on needing to do a 'wee wee'. Toilet training is imminent.

If she see's me head to the bathroom (considering I have a pregnant woman's bladder, this is quite often) she spends the next twenty minutes embarrassingly but adorably chanting "Mama do a weeee, mama do a weeee, mama do a weee!". I know she is psychologically ready, and almost physically ready, but I am still a little lost as to how to start. Toilet training is a whole new world of confusing. 

I stumbled across Potty Time online a few weeks back. I have been browsing the website for tips and tricks as well as showing Stella cute little animations and sing alongs about needing to go to the toilet. Who knew toilet training could be so fun! My favourite part of the website is easily the potty training resources section. I have printed the training chart and accumulated a supply of glittery star stickers, as well as downloaded the app for my iPhone. Seriously, this website is a godsend for the 21st century mama.

We are still in the learning process currently and I am happy to take the entire experience as slowly as it needs to go. Each tiny step by each tiny step!  I am currently waiting to receive a copy of the Potty Time training DVD. I cant wait to share it with you all and begin our little adventure to Independence! Why oh why do our children grow up so quickly!

Plenty of love, 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oh so pretty!

I feel pretty, oh so pretty... 
Winter Love is now so pretty and witty and bright!

What you are now looking at is the new face of Winter Love, how beautiful is it?
The talented Kaelah Bee from Little Chief Honeybee has worked her magic to create a stunning new design for this little corner of the Internet; my little corner to share this journey called motherhood.

I am so very happy with the facelift she has given us and truly thankful, It makes me feel all renewed, refreshed and inspired.

Do you love it as much as I do?
Plenty of love, 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I do...Flowers

David Austin Roses and Peonies are the main inspiration behind the flowers I'd love to feature throughout our wedding. White is my favourite, perhaps paired with soft shades of peach and pink with tones of creamy-yellow. I don't know a lot about flowers, but I do know which ones I find beautiful! Here are some of my recent finds around the Internet of beautiful bouquets I adore.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baby can bake!

Since being bitten by the strange baking bug during this pregnancy, I have adventured a little further from the standard cupcake (This is a really big step for me). I also went out on a limb by deciding to involve Stella in one of my out of character bake sessions. I propped her up to the bench with her highchair and got started on a simple, kid friendly cookie recipe. Her eyes widened with joy as she had her first beater licking experience, and she concentrated hard whilst stirring imaginary ingredients in a bowl with a sneaky mouth full of cornflakes. I neglected to take photos of the actual baking process, I was somewhat distracted and multi-tasking to my limit, however I did catch a few candid shots of Stella licking, mixing and helping.

The messy yet fun bake session resulted in scrumptious little snacks to keep on hand in the pantry (that are far more economical than buying pre-packages biscuits and crackers). We may have had a broken mixing bowl along the way and had a kitchen floor covered in flour, but it was well worth the little extra time and trouble to involve Stella in the fun.

I found this recipe for easy cornflake cookies via an amazing website called The Stay At Home Mum (The secret to living on one wage). I have also downloaded the app for my iPhone to easier access the recipes and cleaning tips at all hours. I highly recommend this recipe as a simple one to start with if you are looking to do some adventuring in the kitchen with your child.

Have you baked with your children before? Was it disastrous or delicious? Worth the extra effort?
Plenty of love,