Sunday, 30 September 2012

The "Whys"

Yes, we have hit that dreaded stage, the "why" stage, with our oldest. Ack! Mom is supposed to have all the answers, right? At least we are to let them believe that for as long as we possibly can. And how do we do that? By answering all. their. questions.

On average we get about five "whys" in any given conversation. Here's one that happened recently, as we were watching fish, waiting for our car to get pulled out of the parking lot (yay for cheap valet in Brazil - super nice when you have a big car on narrow roads and don't want to try to parallel park.)

Lucas: Can I touch it?
Me: No, Lucas.
Lucas: Why?
Me: Because the fish needs to be in water, so you can't take it out.
Lucas: But why?
Me: Because if you take the fish out, it will flop all over the place. Fish need water to live.
Lucas: But why?
Me: Because they swim in the water and if you take it out, it can't swim.
Lucas: But....
Me: No buts, let's get out of here! (distraction technique at it's finest)

Sometimes I think he also has the memory of a fish because I swear we had that conversation at least three times while we waited for our car.

Now, I don't want to brush off my kid and abruptly end every conversation that starts with "why". I want to encourage a love of learning, and it starts with being able to ask questions. I never want my kids to think they can't ask me something. So I try to answer as simply and briefly as possible so he will understand, and stay patient while repeating things over and over and over.

But I don't have all the answers, no surprise there. I do have some questions of my own though.

Why do kids choose the most inopportune moment to have a potty crisis?

Why do kids think the toilet bowl is a good alternative to the sink for washing hands?

Why do kids put everything into their mouth? (including previously mentioned "potty hands")

Why do kids wake up just as you're ready for bed, lights out, teeth brushed and dozing off? It's like they have special radar or something.

Most of these questions remain in my mind, probably never to be answered, but my kids are also the target of "why" questions, usually this one:

"Lucas, why did you do that?"

As my kids get older, develop a better grasp on their language, communication and knowledge, I have an idea as to how to deal with the "whys"...

Lucas: Mommy, why is the sky blue?
Me: Why do you think the sky is blue?
Me: :)

Jellibean Journals

Share your "why" questions (yours or your kids) in the comments!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear weather - What's up? I thought it was supposed to be spring here?!? It's too cold for our non-heated homes. Dear mystery cough - You are tormenting my little boy, not assuaged by nasal spray, honey, cough syrup, humidifier or inhaler. Please. Just. Go. Away. Dear mind - why do you always think of great posts right when I'm about to sleep, and don't have the energy to write it down? Dear Twitter - I'm the newest to join your ranks and not sure exactly what to do now. #clueless (did I do that right?) Dear hubby - I'm really not looking forward to having you gone all next week. Dear Readers - I am so sorry I had word verification on - I thought I removed that a while ago. Now you can comment freely!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Hair Dilemma

A short hair history
1. At a wedding in Jan 2006
2. Maybe my favorite hair cut ever - Feb 2006 
3. Color faded/grew out - July 2006
Kept my hair pretty short and alternated between natural blond and red, 
then left it to grow out as I was expecting Lucas - 2008
 4. With Lucas (2 months old) - Feb 2009
5. Cut again - July 2009
6. Starting to grow out - November 2009
7. Elena is born, back to the pony tail - Aug 2010
8. At Elena's first birthday - Aug 2011
9. Elena is 18 months - Feb 2012
10. It's getting long and CRAZY! Aug 2012
11. Sept 2012
12. An unusual digression from my usual messy bun.

All this to say - What now? I am a pony-tail girl, but can't stand having my hair against my neck, so it's always pulled into a messy bun. It's getting too long for that now and keeps coming out. I am debating a return to the super short cut (see photo 2). I may even be able to get some money for my (rare in Brazil) long naturally blond hair. 

PS. I don't think I've EVER posted this many photos of me on this blog! 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tutorial - Mini-muffin Flowers

Last week I showed you how to make super cute gumdrop favors for your flower-themed party. Today is the last of the tutorials from that party - a mini muffin flower. This was also one of the first things I saw when I was starting to plan this party.

What you need: (For one flower)
- Bamboo skewer
- Green straw
- regular sized muffin cup (I used a thick yellow one)
- mini-muffin/cupcake decorated with icing (I made vanilla with bright pink butter cream icing)

For the display
- Flower pot
- half of a styrofoam ball or florist's foam
- green tissue paper/easter grass

Step 1: Fold your large muffin cup in half and cut to create a six petal shape.
I used a template for the first few and then gave up and did most just by eyeing it. This is a step you  can do a few days before the party.
Step 2: Create your stems by taking the bamboo skewer and placing it inside the green straw. Make sure you have a bit of the bamboo skewer sticking out the top. This makes it easier to insert into the muffin.

 Step 3: Make your muffins and ice. I used a simple butter cream icing that hardened nicely, so I wasn't worried about the icing dripping off. Wait until the icing has dried before sticking them though, just to be sure.
We baked the cupcakes on Friday night and iced them on Saturday morning. Little Sunshine was starting to get sick, so I had to do a lot of this prep work with her on my hip. :)

Step 4: Glue your mini-muffin to the larger muffin cup and then stick the bamboo skewer into the bottom.

Step 5: Arrange in your flower pot. I made about 15 flowers and split them into two flower pots. Make sure people know they are edible - we had a lot left over because they didn't know they could eat them. :)
They really added a nice touch to the sweets table and it didn't take too long to put it together. The rest of the cupcakes we displayed on the table.

Hope you enjoyed this series of Flower related party tutorials. Come back next week to see how I made sheep centerpieces for a baby shower.

You can see more of this party here.

Linking up with: Tutorial TuesdayShow Me What Ya GotTOO Cute TuesdayTerrific TuesdaysHandmade TuesdaysCrafty Tuesday and Take-A-Look Tuesday

Monday, 24 September 2012

New Site, New Insight

If you are new here, you don't know what this blog used to look like. It got a much-needed design update just a few weeks ago. As I began to think about redesign, I thought about how I have changed since I last created my blog banner and "look".

Let's look at the old:

and new:

Quite a difference wouldn't you say? And while the white, modern, minimalist look is quite prevalent these days, I began to think that more has changed in my life than just my design sense. 

My old design had the banner, with dark grey and orange, and the overall blog had a much darker look. When I think back to that time it was by no means a "dark" time in my life, but there were a lot of changes that happened all at once. A lot of adjusting to do.

We had just become parents, changed jobs, moved country - all within 5 months. We arrived in Brazil with a very vague game-plan and set up shop at my in-laws. And I was settling into motherhood and a new culture and language. I started my blog a few months after moving, when I was still feeling the full force of culture shock and trying to find my place here. Having lived overseas for more than half my life, it was not an unusual place to be, but still a challenging one. 

I kind of feel my first blog banner embraces some of those ideas; a jumble of thoughts and feelings flying about everywhere with no real purpose or direction, just trying to make sense of it. Looking to my past, comparing it with my present and attempting to find my place in my new world. 

In the past few years, we've settled in, found our own house, the language is starting to come - and I've come to accept certain facts about my life, it's purpose and direction and while I don't always feel "at home" in Brazil I do feel more "at home" in my own skin. Put bluntly, I often feel like this: square peg, round hole. I think my new banner reflects this. 

But as I think about this life, I am glad to feel this way. Because I don't ever really want to feel completely comfortable with this life, this temporary earthly existence. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

I want to be continually challenged and transformed by God's word in my life. I don't want to become complacent and comfortable. 

So most days, I am ok with being a square peg trying to be faithful to what God has called me to - in this round hole-shaped world. 

For more on the name Dual Voltage, check out my updated "About" section.


You know, those people; the ones who have multiple languages stuck under their belt, switching effortlessly between the two, depending on the person and situation. Those people who can start a sentence in one language and finish in another. I don't like them. Ok, that's not true. In fact, most of the bilinguals I know, I love. :) It's just that I'm jealous that they grew up speaking two languages and can't remember how they learned them. I, on the other hand, despite living 12 years in Asia, got by with English and a little bit of Bangla. Definitely not enough to be considered fluent or bilingual. And so I find myself here in Brazil, struggling to learn another language, wishing I was gifted in that area like my dad is, and raising two kids to be bilingual.

When I met my husband at university, we spoke English all the time. (He is my favorite bilingual) Admittedly he did try several times to get me to learn Portuguese in those early months/years together, but as we were living in Canada and then Bangladesh, it was hard for me to add on another language. It wasn't until we moved to Brazil in 2009 that I really started learning Portuguese. I have since forgotten any Bangla I used to know, and refuse to think about any French I once knew (having studied it for 7 years in school).

There's lots of differing advice out there about how to raise your kids to speak more than one language. Some suggest that each parent exclusively speak one language with their kid. In our case, my hubby would speak only Portuguese and I would speak only English. But what happens when you are all together?

Since we are living in a dominantly Portuguese culture we have done it this way; when we are at home, we all speak English. When we're out, I almost always speak English with the kids and hubby alternates.

It has been interesting to see how our kids are starting to incorporate both languages into their arsenal. Lucas only really started talking a few months after he turned two - a little delay probably because he was getting two languages, and when he started, it was all English. He started pre-school a few months before he turned three, and while the first few weeks were challenging, he adapted very well to the Portuguese-only environment. Soon he was coming home singing Portuguese songs and learning to distinguish between the two languages.

People sometimes ask me how Lucas is doing with Portuguese and it's a little hard to know exactly how much he knows because he usually speaks English with me. For a while he would come home from school speaking Portuguese and if I would respond in English, he would say, "Não, mamãe, fala português" (no, mom, speak Portuguese!) Now I think he understands that it's easier for him to speak English to me. When we are out, however, he happily speaks Portuguese to people around, at church, at the shops, to kids at the park. Sometimes when he's playing by himself I hear him switching between languages. And it's so cute.
We have a lot of books in English and Portuguese at home. 
For now I think I know a little more Portuguese than he does, but I know the day will come when he will start correcting me. :)

So I'd better get back to my language study...

Jellibean Journals

Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday's Flowers

Dear Bright Yellow Flowers - you are so bright and cheerful on this grey and slightly chilly day. I love how you are an instant pick-up to the living room. I hope you last all week until I can pick up some more flowers at the weekly market. Dear Market Lady - I find it really random that I have never talked to you, nor bought anything from your stall and yet you still recognize the crazy blond-haired foreigner and ask where my little kids are. Dear Bubba - I know that whenever I find you hiding in a corner, it's because you are up to something, so it was no surprise when I found a half-drunk bottle of orange juice hiding under the table when I started cleaning up this morning. At least it was freshly squeezed and so good for you.  Dear House - could you please stay clean for more than five minutes after the kids get home from school? Dear Weekend - I am looking forward to a relaxing Saturday with the kids and no commitments. Me thinks we'll watch a movie and cook up some good chicken noodle soup and biscuits.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Mommy to Mommy - Eating with Kiddos

Very pumped to share with my readers my first "guest" post on one of my new favorite blogs Monkeys and Tutus. Misty started this great series called Mommy to Mommy - Check out this week's post and click the links to see more on her blog. 


Today I am so excited for Mommy To Mommy Q&A because we are talking about Eating with Kiddos!  Lots of great advice from some awesome mommies!  Hope you find something that helps you! I know I did! Feel free to leave your advice in the comments as well!  

Lets meet this week's mommies!
Cindy: I am a stay at home blogging mamma and loving every minute with my two energetic boys! My oldest little man is 5 and my youngest is 2.  My husband is an engineer in the food industry.  Our family is vegetarian and our youngest son was diagnosed with a life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies as well a a dairy allergy and gluten intolerance.  We blog about recipes that are adaptable for all eating styles!
Twitter:  @vegetarianmamma

Hi, I'm Sarah Eleanor from Spoon Fed Baby.  I blog about homemade baby food, play time ideas, products I love and well, um, staying sane as a stay at home mom!  My son is 13 months old and thankfully not walking yet (knock on wood). My husband is awesome and sometimes reads my blog (Ha!). 

Coffee drinker, candy addict and self professed introvert, Taara blogs at Dual Voltage on the joys and challenges of living as a missionary abroad and raising her two kids, Lucas (3.5) and Elena (2) in a multi-cultural context. At her blog you'll find everything from craft tutorials to party ideas, cultural observations to parenting epiphanies, and all sorts of random tidbits along the way. 

Q-  How do you get your kids to try new things?  My younger 2 will try anything, my oldest absolutely will not!  
Cindy: Getting to try new food items can be so tricky!  Often times its how its presented to the kiddos that gets them hooked!  Don't be afraid to "play" with your food!  A fellow blogger told cooked that food with love, so put it on your plate with love. That is very true.  Take some time and present a new veggie nicely on the plate, instead of slopping it down (I am so guilty of doing this in the past!) Try mixing a new food with a food that your child likes.  Getting them used to the taste a little bit at a time helps!
Sarah Eleanor: My son has been an awesome eater so far.  He chows down anything you set in front of him.  Now that he is over 1 and is becoming more aware and more toddler-ish, I find that I have to be ok with letting him eat the stuff he likes best (bread and fruit) first and then work in the new food after he is satisfied with the favorites.  Mixing them onto his fork together helps also because he is getting his old standby plus the new flavor. 
Taara: We try to eat a lot of different foods, and get the kids to at least try a little bit of everything that is served. We also have a little song we sing about how if you "try it, try it, you just might like it"  and "it's good to try something new". If a recipe really goes over bad I'll wait a few weeks before trying it again, and if it's still a no-go then we probably won't try it again. Also depends on how mommy feels about it. If I really like it I'll give it another go.  

Q - Do you have creative ways to get veggies in your kidos?  Again my youngest 2 no prob but the only veggies I can get my oldest to eat is Campbells Veggie Vegetarian soup haha 
Cindy: One of my favorite tricks that even my 5 year old still likes is putting their food into a 6 hole muffin tin! My kids will practically eat anything from a muffin tin.  Again, its how the food is arranged.  Try to vary the color, texture, etc of the veggies.  I had a friend that made a HUGE selection of veggies for her 3 kids.  She had them sample all the veggies.  They had to pick 3 veggies that they promised to eat.  She serves at least one at dinner everyday.  Her kids have stuck to the plan because they have ownership in making the choice of those veggies!  Let kids take ownership in the store by picking out veggies and also let them take ownership in the kitchen!
Sarah Eleanor: My son just starting to not care for the veggies as much.  He will eventually eat them but just not with as much gusto as before.  Putting veggies into mini meatballs or muffins is a great way to get them in, because they are in something he loves to chow down on. 
Taara: My kids are somewhat picky on the veggie front so I make a lot of one-dish meals that you can put tons of veggies in without them really noticing. When I make spaghetti sauce I put in spinach and grated carrots and even I can't notice a difference in the taste. We do try to have salad once in a while and get them to eat raw veggies, like carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers (with dip if it helps!). Soups are also a great way of getting their veggies, I especially like a homemade beef barley soup. Soups are good too because you can make a huge batch and freeze part of it. Then serve it with yummy bread and only give them the bread once they've eaten part of their soup. No joke, we bribe our kids to eat their veggies, with bread. :) 

Q - Where do you go to find new recipes or ideas for foods for your kids?
Cindy:  I love visiting websites and surfing the web for recipes. I find many recipes at my Gluten Free Fridays recipe party on my site!  Its fun to have others come and link up their favorite GF foods!
Sarah Eleanor: I use Weelicious, Pinterest (duh!) and Wholesome Baby Food.  I relied on the last one tons as I was beginning to introduce solids.  Each food is broken down with nutrition information, when to intoduce it, and lots of tips! 
Taara: I signed up with and get a new recipe every day - some are really good. I keep a lot of my recipes there. Other than that I also make up stuff a lot of the time and have a few really good stand-by recipes that I can make when all else fails. 

Q-  Can you share a fun kid approved recipe?
Cindy:  This is our favorite kid approved snack! Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites!
Sarah Eleanor: One of my son's favorite meals for breakfast is muffins.  I found a recipe for whole wheat muffins at that include carrots, zucchini and apples.  He chows them down for breakfast and I feel good that he is getting some veggies in! 
Taara: Here is a post I wrote a while ago about getting your kids to eat Spinach, with a super easy recipe (
It's basically a pasta alfredo sauce made with bacon, garlic, cream, spinach and parmesan cheese. My kids love almost all things pasta. (except Kraft mac n cheese!)

Q - Do you let your kids cook with you?  What age did you start letting them help? 
Cindy: As soon as they could hold a spoon I let them "help"  Maybe it takes a litlte more prep work, but they kids love it!  Have them help by pouring or dumping items into a bigger bowl.  They can stir.  Its interesting that my 2 year old will try anything that I am prepping to cook.  He may be apprehensive at the table to try something new but if he's helped cook it....he'll try it.
Sarah Eleanor: Well, baby boy is only 13 months right now, so we haven't started cooking together yet.  He is interested though when I stir something so I will often give him a bowl and whisk and let him stir up his blocks on the kitchen floor.  I hope that soon he can help me by dumping some of the ingredients into my pot or mixing bowl. 
Taara: Most of the time I cook by myself, but every once in a while my son, Lucas, wants to help. He likes to stir the pot, and usually he is pretty careful. I would like to do more baking things with my kids, but they are still kind of young for that - unless it's a really simple recipe.

Q - Whats your best advice for making sure picky eaters get enough of the right kind of nutrition? 
Cindy: Never to be forceful.  We need to provide a variety of nutrution on their plate.  Its their job to learn to eat it.  However, as they are learning, we can certainly coach them.  I have found the more you force the worse of a battle you will get.  And most likely you won't win. 
Sarah Eleanor: I have not had to deal with the "picky eater" stage yet, but I have read to not sweat it.  Kids will go through phases where they love a food, only to hate it the next week.  Take a break from that food and revisit it later. As long as you are giving them a variety of foods on their plate they are most likely getting the right nutrition.  You can always be sneaky and add things in to favorite foods to ease your mind.  For example, wheat germ can be added in to most anything to give the meal a fiber boost. 
Taara: Try a variety and be consistent. I remember reading about how you shouldn't force kids with eating when you are starting to feed solid foods - but as they get old enough to have an opinion, sometimes you have to just make them eat a small amount. Also find fruits and veggies that they like and stock up. I'm also considering starting them on a chewable multi-vitamin. 

Q - Does your entire family eat the same thing for dinner or do you make different things for the kids?  
Cindy: Typcially we all eat the same thing, unless I make something really wacky!  its pretty much been known as a rule at our house, your dinner is on the table.  "I am sorry if you don't like it, but that is what's for dinner."  They will eat it if they are hungry enough.  Most of the time my older more picky son ends up eating it and says "oh wait, I guess I do like this...."  :)
Sarah Eleanor: Now that baby boy is 13 months we are often eating the same thing.  I will sometimes have to alter what we are eating just a bit to make it suitable for baby boy.  For example tonight we had chili for dinner.  I took out a serving of meat and cooked it with the tomatoes, beans, and spices separately so that I could make it less spicy and lower sodium than ours.  Easy! 
Taara: Yes! There is no way I'm going to start cooking individual meals. Sometimes the hubby and I wait until later to eat if we want to have take-out or something, but generally speaking I just cook one meal and the kids have to eat it. Of course sometimes if it's a new recipe and they really don't like it, we substitute some bread/PB etc (after they've tried the food of course!) Did I mention my kids love bread? :) 

Some more fun advice from Taara: My biggest piece of advice would be to make an easy, flexible menu with lots of variety. I make a menu every week and usually swap a few meals here and there, but at least I know I have all the ingredients for those meals. We eat Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Brazilian and all kinds of foods. Have fruits for snacks and focus on veggies during meals. When you cook, make double and freeze the extra. It's super handy for a busy day when you just have no time or energy to think about the next meal. 

I am working on Octobers Mommy to Mommy Thursdays Questions/Topics etc.  I need your help!
What topics are you interested in reading about?  What questions would you love to hear advice from other mommies on?
Next Thursday is Juggling kids and house hold and Our first Thursday in October we are talking about Babys 1st year and I still need 3 ladies to participate!

You can comment below or email me at
I am also looking for mommies to participate and answer the questions!  My goal is to have all the topics and questions ready to send out before October starts! 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday - Pure Sunshine

Isn't she adorable? I love the way the sunshine was hitting her golden hair, I didn't alter these photos at all. We took these at a Baby Shower on Saturday. Can you see why I'd want another little girl?

Linking up with Three in Three and Home of OHM

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tutorial - Gumdrop Favor

This is the thing that first got me thinking about a flower themed party for my little girl. So cute, and would make such a great favor. As a die-hard control freak detail oriented person, I love things that can be made in advance, warding off some of the last minute pressure when preparing a party. Given that the gumdrops are wrapped in cellophane I was able to make them a few days before the party. Didn't want to go too much earlier and end up with stale candy.

So, here we go!

What you need (for one flower)
- 6" (15cm) square of cellophane
- 7 gumdrops, 6 of one color for the petals and 1 contrasting color for the center
- bamboo skewer for the stem
- green curly ribbon
- paper/printer to make tags
- hole punch

Step 1: I started by creating my tags in the shape of a leaf. I used a brush I had in Photoshop to create a JPEG which I then printed out 9 to a page through Preview. I printed the basic leaf shape onto green paper that I had left over from my no-sew banner
Step 2: Cut out the leaves. After the first one I realized the shape was just a little too complicated for easy cutting so I simplified the shape a bit. After cutting out, I punched a hole in the leaf. 

 Step 3: Lay out your cellophane and arrange your gumdrops in the shape of the flower in the middle of the cellophane. Then stick the bamboo skewer into the center gumdrop. Don't worry about your placement of the outer gumdrops. It doesn't have to be perfect at this stage.
 Step 4: Pick up the cellophane and bunch it around the bamboo skewer. I found it easiest to pick up opposite sides (not corners) to keep the gumdrops from falling out and then pick up the other two sides. You can then turn it right side up and push the gumdrops into the right position if they've shifted at all. Then tie a ribbon around the bamboo skewer and cellophane. I wrapped it around once and then tied it to keep the cellophane nice and tight.
 Step 5: Thread the ribbon through the leaf tag and tie a bow. Voilá!
 Step 6: Arrange in a flower pot with a half sphere of styrofoam (or use florists foam).

There you go! See more of the party here.

Monday, 17 September 2012

When a child is sick

When you have a sick little one at home, there's a little tug in your heart, an unsettling feeling that something is just not right. A usually energetic child is sluggish and sleepy, the lightness in their step is replaced by dragging feet and a runny nose, peaceful slumber is displaced by coughing spells and waking cries.
Lucas had chicken pox at 6 months old in 2009. 
When a child is sick it's hard not to feel responsible as a parent, and more so as a mother. When your care is not enough to keep them healthy and thriving. Of course, it is ridiculous to expect that you can always protect your children from the bugs and viruses and illnesses that come their way, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I could have done more...

After all, we decide what the kids wear - is it too cold for shorts? Too hot for a sweater? Should they wear socks to bed or not?

We decide what the kids eat - more juice, more water, less sugar, less sweets. More veggies, less pasta, vitamins or supplements, the options are endless and often what we do is never enough...

We decide what medicine the kids take - do they need inhalation? More antibiotics? Is their temperature high enough to warrant Tylenol or should I let the body fight the infection? When do we go to the clinic/doctor?

So many decisions made every day, often leave me feeling unequipped and unprepared, always feeling I could be doing something more...

This feels like a regular rotation every month or so...
We have had a rough spell of sickness between our two kids over the past few months, actually this whole year hasn't been the best for our whole family in terms of health and wellness. Counting infections and viruses, Elena and Lucas have taken 7 doses of antibiotics between them since March. And I am not one to rush into taking any more medicines than necessary. I feel the antibiotics just aren't cutting it anymore (might be making things worse?) and am looking into more natural ways of boosting their immune system.

Here are a few of my health goals for the next few weeks (mostly taken from this article here)
 - fresh orange juice and other home-made fruit and veggie juices
 - ground almonds onto their evening meal
 - cod liver oil (since we're not really a fish-eating family)
 - season steamed veggies with fresh garlic

Also found a great article with immune-boosting foods here - so we'll be trying to eat a lot more of those vegetables and foods.

How do you keep your kids healthy?

Linking up with

Jellibean Journals

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tutorial - Colorful Cupcake Stand

It all started with a set of plastic bowls. It was a great deal at the superstore - and while the bowls didn't last very long, I was left with several matching lids that were screaming to be used somehow...

When we decided on a flower theme for my little sunshine's party, I knew we were going to incorporate green into the decor. Pink, Green and Yellow were the colors we used throughout the party. And since I had these green lids, all it took was three little flower pots and we had a cute, colorful cupcake stand.

Here we go!

What you need:
- Three matching lids of varying size. (You could also use plates, this is just what I had around)
Mine were 9.5"(25cm), 7.5"(19cm) and 5.5"(14cm)
- Three flower pots (same size) - height: 3"(8cm) width: (at top) 4"(10cm)
- Hot glue gun

You can see I used three different colors for my flower pots, allowing me to incorporate pink and yellow with the green lids.

1. Set it up - Figure out what order you want the pots (if they are different colors). I decided to go with yellow at the top, light pink in the middle and the dark pink at the bottom. (Also, plug in your hot glue gun so it's ready to go.)

2. Mark - You can see from my lids that it was pretty easy to see where the middle of each one was, but if you are using something without a clearly marked center make sure to mark where the flower pot will go. When you're using hot glue it's best to only have to stick it down once.

3. Get Gluing - I started with the top and worked my way down, first gluing the yellow pot to the bottom of the top tier of the cupcake stand then to the top of the second tier - making sure it was in the middle. This way when I turned it upside down to glue the pink pot it was steady and also reinforced the glue a little bit. Then I glued the pink pot to the bottom of the second tier, and to the top of the first tier. And so on and so forth...

4. Ready to go! The good thing about the hot glue gun is that if you get it totally off center it's pretty easy to clean off and try again. Also, after the party I was able to take it apart very easily (that also means it's not a suitable toy for your kids before the party!)

All set up at the party! In the end we didn't use it for the cupcakes, but for a Brazilian treat called Brigadeiro. The top tier will definitely only hold mini cupcakes, but the bottom two tiers would hold regular cupcakes.

See more of this party here.

Linking up with Tutorial TuesdayShow Me What Ya GotTOO Cute TuesdayTerrific TuesdaysHandmade Tuesdays, Crafty Tuesday and Take-A-Look Tuesday

Monday, 10 September 2012

To 3 or Not To 3

That is the question. Or rather, to be or not to be a family of five. 

It's a question that's not easy to answer. And one that I flip flop on about every other day. Yes! It would be great to have another. Babies are so cute and cuddly. And mine are growing up so fast. No! After a day like today, I never want to have another baby ever

And my hubby thinks I'm crazy for going back and forth on this issue. He just laughs at my hormonally induced mood swings. He has basically left the decision up to me since I'm the one who has to carry the baby, give birth, and do most of the caring, especially in the first few years. Now you might wonder how we got to this point in our family...

Lucas is our first and definitely a planned pregnancy. Before he was even one, I was already missing the baby stage and we were starting to talk about another one. I think we always knew we would like more than one. But before we could really start planning (or trying for) another baby, Elena surprised us! In fact, we announced our pregnancy at Lucas' first birthday party. It really was kind of crazy. So before Lucas was 20 months old, Elena was born. And there were times during the pregnancy when I wondered just how I was going to cope with these two. (read more about their completely opposite birth stories here)

And yet I remember how wonderful it is; the excitement of a pregnancy, feeling your little one moving around inside, holding them for the first time, cuddling and swaddling and bathing and just resting with this tiny bundle of love who has all their needs met in you.

But I also remember the morning sickness, fatigue, blood tests and doctors visits, not to mention labor and delivery, recovery, breast-feeding, (I love breast-feeding, but the initial days/weeks of getting used to it can be painful) sleepless nights and dirty diapers.

And to do all this again with two pre-schoolers running around. Hmm, definitely not a decision I want to make lightly.

But come on, look at these two cuties. Who wouldn't want another one running around?
snack time! 
making a mess (they are particularly good at this one)

One girl, one boy - by Brazilian standards, we are set. Why would we need another? Others have said, "they're so cute, you should have more."

We've got a boys and girls set of baby clothes and shoes, strollers, toys, car seats, everything we need. Quite unexpectedly we moved to a bigger house and got a bigger car. Hubby says now it's time to expand the womb.

Some days I think I could handle it. Another baby to care for, another mouth to feed.

Other days, no. way. These two are sometimes pretty challenging. And have I mentioned I'm an introvert?

So here's my plan. Get a calendar. Mark each day with a check (I'd love another kid) or a cross (no way josé)
This is kind of how I feel things would be about now. Most days it's a no, a few days I feel like "Mom of the Year" and some days start out great and would get crossed out when bedtime turns into a waking nightmare.

Of course, it's not just another baby we're talking about; it's another toddler, pre-schooler, school-ager, tween,'s a whole other person! (I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes we forget what babies turn in to!)

And we have time, of course we do, and we don't have to have a third right now, but I kind of think I would like to get the baby stuff done all at once, and have the kids grow up together. I already wonder how a third would fit in with the older two being so close.

So then maybe we need to have two more....

(Please don't take this post too seriously - obviously a checked off calendar is not the way to make a decision about growing your family. We feel very blessed to have our two kiddos, we love our family and the crazy ride that is parenthood. We also believe God has a plan for us and our family (including future children) and while we may dream and prepare, we are trusting trust in His plan and timing.)

Linking up with:
Jellibean Journals
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