{Happy Mondays}


Let's face it - nobody really likes Mondays. Mondays are not happy days. It's back-to-work, back-to-school, back-to-the-grind day. So to make Mondays a little cheerier, I've decided to make Mondays a day to share something that makes me happy. Something that whenever I see it, makes me smile a little. I invite you to do the same.

So for this week's Happy Monday, I'm sharing these pussywillows. They remind me of my grandmother. They're in our hallway, so I get to smile whenever I pass by.


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{The Girls' Room}



We've been very busy the last few days trying to redo the girls' room. It's not quite finished yet, but it's on the way.

We had the usual problems of not enough space, too many toys and books that aren't in use, access to toys and books, etc., as well as our newer problem of places to keep Princess Pea's 'big girl' things where Sweet Pea can't get into them (e.g., all her thousands of tiny hair clips and bits of Playmobil!). Plus up until now, all of Sweet Pea's clothes were stored in the hall closet, as there wasn't any space in the wardrobe or dresser for her things.

First we got rid of the old wardrobe and dresser. Actually, we just got rid of the wardrobe because when we moved them out of the bedroom into the hallway as a temporary storage solution, we discovered that the dresser fit quite nicely in the hall, where we had planned to buy a cabinet! So we kept that. It's now in the hallway, and we added a couple of framed paintings by Princess Pea. Looks quite good I think! And it turned out to be just the perfect place to put some of the dining chairs that are always kicking around (with the kids' chairs at the table, we just have too many chairs now but nowhere to store the extras).




Then we bought a new wardrobe/dresser/shelving unit thingy from IKEA. I think it's pretty cute, and I like the green as it matches their other things. We had someone come to help with the assembly, as it's quite impossible for us to do it ourselves while watching a baby and a preschooler. Especially the baby, who makes a mad dash towards screwdrivers whenever she can.

I wanted to make sure the shelves were placed at the right height so that we had a space for 'oversized' books - you know, the ones that don't fit upright on a regular bookshelf and you have to turn them on their sides instead. I don't know why, but that irritates me. So we found our biggest book and used that as the guide for shelf placement.

I also wanted to make sure that the wardrobe rails were hung at an appropriate height for the size of their clothes, so I found the longest dress of Princess Pea's I could, and used that as my guide. I considered hanging Sweet Pea's lower and then adjusting it as she grows, but I decided to hang it at the same height and just use the space below for storing some of the bigger bulky things, like the travel cot.

I still plan to get some nice boxes for on top and for the shelves inside the wardrobes.

After that was all taken care of, I had to rearrange the rest of the furniture to fit it all back in. The other things we need in there are Princess Pea's toddler bed, Sweet Pea's crib, the toy tray storage thingy, and the chair. This proved difficult because of the awkward placement and design of our heaters, as well as the need to be able to open the door out to the balcony (which is where I hang all the laundry in warmer seasons, so it's a high-traffic area). I decided finally to put the chair in front of the side of the door that we don't usually open, and I think it works really well. I love sitting there snuggling Sweet Pea just before bedtime!



I thought it might be nice for the girls to have their beds next to each other. This also works well because now they can share the mobiles (Princess Pea has been lamenting the loss of her mobile since we used the stand for Sweet Pea's mobile instead.)




We also had a little bookshelf that was doubling as a night table for Princess Pea. But instead, I decided to turn it into a 'reading corner' by adding a cushion on top, and placing it by the window across from the end of the tray storage, where her wooden ABCs are posted. I love this little corner! I put down a couple of foam squares to make an imprompt area rug, but will look out for something better.




The only thing I really don't like now is that we don't have a suitable night table, and are currently using the dress-up box, which is ugly. Will have to figure out what to do about that. It does have quite a handy top that flips open half at a time, so it's possible to access its contents without moving everything off of the top. But the plastic tub is ugly. Will keep an eye open for something nicer.

I still have to add some more poppies around Princess Pea's bed, and finish putting all their things on the shelves, but it's more or less done now.

I think it's now my favourite room in the house. :-)

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{Baby Movers}


If you're like me, you probably have about a million and one ways to transport your baby, and a million and  one different contraptions for doing so (much to my husband's dismay!).

When Princess Pea was a baby, we didn't have a car, but of course we still needed a carseat for taxis, rentals, and just getting home from the hospital. So we bought a MaxiCosi infant carseat. We mostly used it as a portable chair.



We also had a Baby Bjorn carrier, which was great when she was tiny. But around the time she reached the 7 month mark, she was just too heavy for me to carry on the front anymore.



And our main form of transportation was her Teutonia stroller. (I spent hours and hours pushing that stroller every single day as it was the only place she'd nap!) The stroller is one of those seriously heavy-duty German ones, which was perfect for the cobbled streets where we were living at that time. It cost a small fortune, but we used it so much it was well worth every penny.



Then we once took the Teutonia stroller on an airplace - big mistake! First, the airline lost it for 3 days! Very stressful, and by the time they'd found it there had been a huge snowstorm so we couldn't take it out anyway! Then on the return flight, some nitwit had packed a jar of pickles or something in their suitcase, that broke and our stroller REEKED of vinegar. After that trip we learned our lesson and bought a little Chicco fold-up travel stroller for future trips.



And, of course, there was also the hiking backpack for bigger hikes. (Though she met with an unfortunate accident in this one, resulting in her first trip to the emergency room.)



Then Sweet Pea came along. By this time we had a car, and we still had the MaxiCosi carseat. We also still have the Bjorn carrier, but Sweet Pea is a lot bigger and heavier than Princess Pea was, so she quickly got too heavy for that. I'd heard that slings were somehow better, so I decided to buy a sling too, but Sweet Pea never liked it. I think she found it too restrictive on her body.



We also still had the Teutonia stoller, and we got a step board attachment for the back so that Princess Pea could ride on it too. But we found the Teutonia is not ideal for where we live now, as we live up a steep hill and the stroller is a bit heavy to push up, especially with a three year old riding on it too (ok, so I really just need to get a bit fitter, but in the meantime, it's a pain in the bazooka pushing that thing up the hill!).



We also went on a trip when she was 4 months and needed a travel stroller for her. By this time the Chicco stroller had broken, and we had a temporary borrowed umbrella stroller from a friend, but of course those strollers are only for babies 6 months and up, so we ended up buying a Quinny Zapp that has adapters to fit her carseat on the top. We love our Zapp, it's really light and folds up super small - it even has a carry bag so we can fold it up and sling it over our shoulders as carry-on luggage when we fly! It's great for shopping centres and easy to toss (yes, toss) in the back of the car. But it's got small wheels so is not good for 'off-roading', which around here is also 'on-roading' as the roads and sidewalks are very broken.



Still determined to 'babywear', I took one of those wrap carrier classes and learned how to tie it so that Sweet Pea could ride on my back. So I went out to buy a wrap carrier. The first one I got was in a packet and when I got home I realised that the fabric was really rough, which I didn't like. Since returning things is not really very acceptable here, and since I had travelled half-way across town to get it, I never did end up returning it. Then I found a much nicer, softer one (which also cost a rather ridiculous amount). But by this time I'd pretty much forgotten how to tie it, and Sweet Pea had reached an age where she was very wriggly and I just couldn't get her to stay still long enough to put it on. So it's also unused (this is a rather sore point with my husband!).

In the meantime, a friend lent me her Ergo carrier, which can be worn on the front or back. I used it on the front quite a lot at first, as it was more comfortable than the Bjorn, but just for quick trips - from the car to Princess Pea's classroom and back again, for example. It is very comfortable on the back and when someone is around to help I use it that way for hikes. I've used it a couple of times if we walk to pick up Princess Pea from school, but I still have a bit of a hard time getting her on my back by myself and she's not all that cooperative about it, probably because by the time we get all our winter gear on we're already sweating to death in the house, and then it takes me another 10 minutes to get her on, by which time we're both dripping in sweat and she is screaming!



Anyway, baby moving is a constant struggle for me, I still don't feel like I have the perfect solution at my fingertips, even with all this paraphernalia! For example, when we drive Princess Pea to preschool and Sweet Pea falls asleep in the car, how best should I take her in? She's too heavy now for me to carry her in the carseat, so if she's awake I just carry her on my hip and then let her crawl around on the floor when we get inside. But if she's asleep....well, I'm still trying to figure that out. Any suggestions welcome!


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{Decorating Inspiration}

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I'm currently redecorating the girls' room. I came across this post at Little Eco Footprints and love, love, love it! What great inspiration! After I finish their room, I'm going to try to rework their spaces in the rest of the house too.

{Sweet Pea's Sensory Fabric Box}



Following from the last post, I put the fantastic idea at The Imagination Tree into practice and made a material box for Sweet Pea. It was super easy and took about 5 minutes, mostly spent trying to find fabric I didn't mind cutting up.


In the end, I used an old washcloth that is soft on one side and rough on the other; another old washcloth with an embroidered pattern on it and frilly edges; a piece of velour from the sleeve of an old baby jacket; a piece of cotton from the lining of the same jacket; a piece of an old cloth diaper; a sleeve of an old onesie; a brightly coloured fabric coaster (not shown), a roughly woven coaster (not shown); and an odd baby sock that has rubber grips on the sole.


Sweet Pea got into it right away and needed no instruction as to what to do with it!



Stuffing them back in again.



Oops, need to pull a little harder.



"Hmmm....tissues....I know what to do with these!"

I'd prefer to have more colours (other than the coasters, everything is pink and white!), but I can add to it as things become available. I'd also like to change to a different tissue box as this one is already getting beaten up after just 2 days of use. I have one exactly the same as the one in picture at The Imagination Tree, but I've already removed the plastic flappy part to use it as a crayon holder. I think I'll buy another one like it next time I'm out, though, as it's sort of plastic-y so is sturdier.


For more ideas of what to do with a tissue box, see the Tissue Box Challenge at JDaniel4'sMom!

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{Material Box for Baby}


Great homemade toy idea for Sweet Pea from The Imagination Tree - she loves to pull all the wipes or tissues out of the box! This is a box full of different fabrics - great for sensory learning! Will post the outcome later.


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{Princess Pea's First Valentine - The Follow-Up}


After delivering her Valentines to her friends in the building by taping them to their front doors, Princess Pea discovered these on our door the next morning when leaving for preschool. She was thrilled!
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{Princess Pea's First Valentine}




Last week we started talking about Valentine's Day and how it's a special day when you tell people how much you love them. Princess Pea, of course, absorbs every detail.

On Tuesday she went to a kids' concert. The musician is a popular local kids' singer. His music is actually very good, even though I can't understand most of the lyrics. Anyway, Princess Pea loves his music and thinks he's one of her friends. So when we got to the concert she bravely sat herself down on the floor at the front, in amongst a group from a local preschool (Sweet Pea and I sat further back on a chair). When he finally came out onto the stage, Princess Pea jumped up and started waving wildly - very cute!

At the end of the concert, the performer waved goodbye to all the kids, and Princess Pea again jumped up and started waving wildly. He saw her and gave her her own special wave and big smile - wow! She was sooooooo thrilled!

So on the way home she announced that she wanted to make him a Valentine's card ("I think I love him!"). Too cute! So all last week she's been working on making Valentine's cards. Here are the results - pretty good I think!

For the one above (this is the one for the musician), I made a cardboard heart template, which she traced and cut out by herself, then she decorated it with stickers.


For this one, she used a heart-shaped stamp and red and white paint to stamp hearts onto the pink paper, then she glued it onto a folded paper that I had cut and folded for her.


For the next one, she first used her heart stamp marker to stamp all over a square of pink paper. Then she traced and cut out a heart from it using the template, then used the 'negative space' to stick onto a square of paper then stuck that onto the card. 


This is the heart that she cut out from the space in the card above, which she stuck onto another heart that she had traced and cut out using the template.


The last one is the card I made for her from Daddy, Sweetpea and I.



I used a ribbon to hang it on her chair, so she'd find it when she came out for breakfast.

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{Sweet Pea's Apple}



Sweet Pea's very chuffed with herself for starting to eat apples 'whole'. Up until now, she'd only had them grated (or pureed), but Princess Pea brought out an apple from preschool the other day and the little one went crazy for it.  Since Princess Pea and I were busy trying to get her dressed to come home, the apple seemed like a good way to keep Sweet Pea occupied in the coatroom, so we let her have it to play with. Sure enough, she bit right in and scraped away at it with those little front teeth, like a squirrel. Worked like a charm at keeping her busy the whole time. She loved it! And was not at all happy when her big sister was ready to have it back. So when we got home, I got Sweet Pea her own apple, and just peeled it all the way around and gave it to her like that. She thought it was great! She nibbled, scraped, munched, and rolled it all over the kitchen!

{Sunrises}

The girls and I have been watching a lot of sunrises lately (read: every day!). We get a fabulous view of them through our living room and kitchen windows. The pictures here definitely don't do them justice. The sky is always pink and purple, and the sun appears first bright red just as it comes over the horizon, then as it rises further it gradually becomes a dark, burnt orange colour, then bright orange, then .... well, then we are too busy getting ready for preschool to see what happens then. But our whole living room lights up orange inside, and there are bright orange patches of light in the hallway too. Almost (but not quite) worth getting up so damn early for. They do provide an excellent source of discussion about sciencey-type stuff though - seasons, time, daylight, colours, etc. I'm sure I'm passing on all sorts of educational nuggets of wisdom in my semi-conscious state!
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{About Mama Pea Pod}



HELLO + WELCOME!

My name is Jane, and welcome to my blog. I am a mother to two bilingual, third culture kids (Princess Pea - aged 6 - and Sweet Pea - aged 3), a teacher, and an endorser of play time! Children grow up so quickly, so I'm trying to savour these precious moments with my little peas by playing, creating, and getting outdoors with them - while they're still small enough to want to spend this time with me. 


If you're looking for simple, creative play ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartenersbabies, or even mamas that you can do today, you've come to the right place! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+


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Now, what do you want to play today?




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