Elite Nannies


Have you guys seen this article from the New York Times Magazine about elite nannies? I was blown away by what I read. It seems that in some small social circles in New York City, it's not unheard of to pay your nanny somewhere in the $180,000 range (plus provide her with a Central Park West apartment of her own). Can you believe that!

Read the full article here. It's amazing what it says about the different skills that a nanny can have that make her more marketable. I'm all for paying whoever is looking after your kids well, but man oh man, that's some serious cash!

In Toronto, childcare is crazy expensive (not by New York standards, apparently, but still). Luckily we've been able to avoid the cost with the help of my mom and a pretty flexible school schedule for me, so I can't complain. But if we did need full time help, I don't know which way I would go as between daycare and nannies. What do you think? Do you think one is preferable to the other? I'm sure the social exposure would be great in a daycare setting, but the convenience of someone coming to you would be hard to beat. I'm curious to know your thoughts!


Image above from the New York Times Magazine

Ombré cake

A while back I baked a cake for a friend's baby shower that I've been meaning to post about ever since. We knew she was expecting a girl, so I seized the opportunity to do something with a bunch of shades of pink (a colour that I love but don't see much of when I look around my house or wardrobe) as well as Ombré which I think is pretty much fantastic in any application.

To top it off I grabbed a bunch of fuchsia carnations and bunched them in the centre.

I think I was inspired by this post.

Does the idea of biting into frosting this colour appeal to you or gross you out? Sometimes I think that cake decorating is more about the look than the taste....just look at all the cake challenges on the food network!

Pallet Garden


The other day I dragged Brigham to the National Home Show and Canada Blooms, a huge show dedicated to showing off all that's new and innovative in the world of residential construction, design and gardening. I'm a sucker for shows like this, but then once I'm there, I wonder what I was thinking! All the crowds combined with a stroller and toddler who would much rather walk makes for a speedy trip through the aisles and back home!

I was happy to get to check out Canada Blooms though. I'd never been to that part of the show before (living in an apartment, there never seemed much point in learning about garden design). But now that we have a house (with a teeny tiny yard), I was more inspired to go.

There was one garden display that really caught my attention and I wanted to share. The designers decided to plan out an entire garden scheme - amazing tree house and sitting area included - using pallets as building material. Normally used in shipping, these pallets found new life in this garden, and I thought the results were pretty cool.

Check out some of the pics I took...
Isn't this a unique way to grow lettuce and herbs and stuff.

Lettuce again...and flowers

In the sitting area, they included a water feature and fire bowl.

Set back in the garden.

This play house was so awesome. I love the telescope at the very top.

This explains a bit of what the designers were going for.

Easy Easter decoration you can make for free

I've said this before, but with the exception of Christmas, I never really felt the need to decorate my house for any holiday until Brigham was born. Now, I kind of feel obligated in a way. I guess I feel like he should be exposed to the visual side of these celebrations, especially now when he's too young to understand what they're all about.

Now that Easter is around the corner, I found this cool egg garland idea here from Modern Parents Messy Kids, requiring nothing more than some paint chips - something I have a ton of left over from school, but which you can pick up FOR FREE at Home Depot or your hardware store of choice.

This was so simple and I did most of the hard work last night in front of the T.V. I cut out eggs (not perfectly, as you can tell, but that's what you get when you do it freehand) making sure that half the egg was on one colour, and the other half on another shade along the same paint chip.

I ran a needle and thread through the top of each egg, making sure they were all strung along the same long piece of string, and that's pretty much it! When you're doing that step, make sure not to let your string get tangled. I did, and had to start over again. It was like trying to un-knot a thin necklace.

The whole project took maybe 45 minutes, and it's so colourful. I love it!

 Do you guys have any Easter DIY projects you're planning for this year? I'd love to see them if you do.

Happy crafting!

Fireplace revamp

When we first moved into our house, we were thrilled to have a fireplace in the living room. Original to the house, the fireplace is almost 100 years old, and still has the cast iron insert that was there back when the house was heated with coal. It's lovely, but it doesn't function. We hope that one day we'll be able to fix it up and enjoy some roaring fires, but in the meantime, it serves a decorative purpose.

I wasn't crazy about how it looked when we moved in. The mantel was a very dark wood finish and was not stained well. The cast iron piece was painted a cream and there was a pink kitchen backsplash tile that had been installed around it. It wasn't living up to its full potential!

This is the 'before' fireplace (and our cat Maybelline). 

One day, tired of looking at it, I decided to fix it. It was quick and easy, and most importantly, done on the cheap, but it makes a big difference I think.

Here's the 'after'.

It never really occurred to me to paint over tile, but I knew we wouldn't be re-tiling properly anytime soon, and I was pretty desperate to make the pink tile disappear. It seems to have worked pretty well with just an acrylic paint, although I don't think it's a long term solution. It started flaking a bit in the corner recently, so fingers crossed that doesn't keep happening.

I used acrylic paint on the wood, mostly because I hate the smell of oil paint and I like the low/no-VOC stuff that's out there. I didn't prime though. Big mistake! I'll be doing another coat in the next month or so to cover up where it's chipped. The 'measure twice, cut once' rule has never really applied to me. I don't have the patience! Lesson learned - always prime!

For the metal grate, I just used black acrylic and it seems to be holding up well. That's a nice change!

What do you think? An improvement or do you prefer the look of stained wood to painted? I feel like on design shows, the men always like to keep the wood dark, and women always want to paint it. I usually prefer painted myself, but I'm curious to know your thoughts.

Vintage ads just in time for Mad Men


I'm curious to know if any of you gasp as loud as me when you see some of these ads that Joanna from A Cup of Jo put together. It's so timely with the new season of Mad Men starting on Sunday. I think the one below is the worst of them, although the Heinz soup one is a very close second. Check them all out here.  I'm very happy we've come so far, but it's pretty scary to think that this wasn't that long ago.

Letterpress App worth a try

For any iPad users reading this, I saw this app featured on Design Mom and went a bit gaga for it! The app lets you try out different letterpressing techniques. So fun! How many hours could be wasted away with this, particularly for the graphic-obsessed out there!


A first birthday celebration

I said I would post pics of the big first birthday party celebrations last week, but the week seemed to get away from me somehow...as usual!

The party was a great success and Brigham couldn't have been a more perfect honouree! He devoured all of the attention, the gifts, and most of all, the cake.

It was a fun (and exhausting) day but I'm so glad we did it. It's a pretty cool thing to have a 1 year old!

The cake before....

...and the cake after!

Chocolate chip cookie bowls

Gone are the days where I serve ice cream in inedible bowls. This is so much better!

We had friends over on Saturday and I made chocolate chip cookies. With the leftover batter, I experimented making cookie bowls, and the results are delicious! All you do is take a muffin tin, flip it over and put the batter over and around the individual muffin cups (it helps if the batter is slightly chilled so it's easier to mold). I baked them for 10 - 12 minutes, let them cool and then, voila! An instant sundae base that's just as yummy as what it holds. I think peanut butter bowls with chocolate ice cream is next on my list.

Inspiration found here via Pinterest.

It's snowing.

Here in Toronto we've had an extremely mild winter. I lost my mittens early in January, and never really felt the need to replace them. It's been that warm. I thought it was just about over. It was, after all, double digits (Celsius) on Wednesday, and that will give hope to just about anybody, especially Canadians.

But, I just looked up from my homework to see the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes I think I've seen all year, and while they are pretty, I think I want to cry! It's March!


Why can't the weather just make up it's mind? I'm ready to surrender my winter boots to ballet flats, and my parka to cute jackets and blazers. The rest of the world seems to be moving towards spring. Why can't we!


A DIY chair for kids


I'm pretty much in love with this idea. If your kids are old enough to draw and doodle (mine is not yet, but this is going in the 'to do one day' file), wouldn't this be an awesome project? I found this on Pinterest - of course I did - but it comes originally from this great and very colourful blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things. I'm having one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments as I read her post. She and her husband had this little chair covered in white fabric, and they drew all over it with fabric marker for their little boy's first birthday. Such a good idea that will last him ages.

Kids parties and Brigham's first birthday


So Brigham is turning 1 tomorrow. Turns out, if you have a baby, you shouldn't blink because if you do, an entire year passes and you are left feeling completely dumbfounded at the speed of time.

Really, he'd be happy if we gave him a roll of toilet paper for his birthday (his 'toy' of choice for tearing apart and scattering around the house when we're not looking), but who are we really kidding? A first birthday party is totally for the parents, and these parents are not exception (by these parents, I mean me. Cam is going along with me because he's a great hubby, not because he thinks party decorations will provide any lasting memories of happiness for our son).

In scouring the Internet for party ideas, I have discovered that some parents take this stuff really seriously! Pony rides, hired performers and catered lunch will not be part of this celebration (sorry Brigs), but some of the DIY ideas I've found look cute and relatively easy enough. Here's a taste.What actually happens at his party on Sunday will be reported next week.

Who wouldn't love a candy table. And customized cupcake toppers. Image 
I love the pom poms, and have made these already. They're hanging in our dining room. Image from

A Twister mat as a tablecloth. Cute idea for bringing pops of colour to a party. Image
This is a cute alternative to pendant banners. Image
Kid-size banana splits. What a cute idea. Image
So I can promise I won't be doing this for Sunday, but I love the idea of making a favourite character and having guests pose for photos. Idea and instructions from Oh Happy Day

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