Joanna Anastasia

Lifestyle

4 simple ways to enjoy winter

These four simple ways to enjoy winter with young kids have saved my sanity !

If like me you live in a winter wonderland, aka a-place-where-winter-is-long-and-cold, then you know how important it is to actually enjoy winter. It may be hard when the temperatures drop drastically, or when it’s snowing so badly that you barely see where you’re going. But when doing winter sports with young kids is not your thing (it’s really not mine), then you’re tempted to stay inside, and that can end up in a seasonal winter depression!

Enjoy winter

Yes, my first winter as a new mom, four years ago, was the darkest I can remember. I was too freezing cold to leave the house, and I was scared to expose my small baby to the snow and cold. So I stayed inside of the house for four long months! At the end, I was depressed, I hated winter, and I was getting constantly sick. Since then I’m doing my best to conquer winter, by dressing better and doing more winter activities, even when I have to drag myself to it!

So when I found Noujica back in November, I knew that I needed their winter gear. Because when you’re dressed warm enough, if your mittens stay dry and your ears are covered, then it’s easier to enjoy winter, even if you’re stuck in the city. And this winter gear is not only super warm, extra soft, and really cute, but it’s also meant to tough through the coldest Canadian winter, as it’s made and designed locally, from resistant organic materials.

And so when the big snowstorm did finally came, I felt confident enough to actually go outside and play with my daughters. I even came up with new ways to enjoy our cold Canadian weather. So here are some simple ways to enjoy this snowy season, even when it’s really cold, even with young kids, and even in a city!

1.Go on a winter hunt with your kids.

This is a great activity even for toddlers! All you need, is a list of things to find, and you’re ready to go. I printed mine here, and then I’ve put it in to a plastic cover. We were supposed to find birds, branches, berries, traces of animals and pinecones.

Nature hunt

It’s all about staying focused and encouraging your kids to observe carefully what’s happening around them!

Nature hunt

And will you believe me if I’ll tell you, that it was -16 C, and that we really didn’t mind it?

Nature hunt

We found everything that was on our list, and we even found birds to feed. Of course Lili couldn’t stand still, so the birds never really approached her, regardless of the fact that she was trying her best to sing like a bird so they would come!

Winter nature hunt

And despite the weather, we walked, and we picked tiny pine corns, and we spotted animal traces all in that crazy cold weather! And our hands did stay dry!

Winter nature hunt

2.Dress similarly with your kids in coordinated mittens, hats and scarfs.

It may sound silly, but it did cheer my daughter to see that we can be dressed similarly! Our scarfs, mittens and hats from Noujica are similar, and it made my daughter so happy to be dressed like mommy!

Enjoy winter

3.Play in the snowstorm in the backyard.
My usual respond to a snowstorm is making sure that we have enough of hot chocolate with marshmallows on hand. But, last time a snowstorm did happen, we just dressed warm, we grabbed our winter gear from Noujica, and we went to make paths in the snow, and some snow angels in the backyard!

Enjoy winter

And it may sound a bit crazy, but I think that this afternoon of snow-angel-making, was one of the best that or backyard have seen!

Ways to enjoy winter

But obviously, we did have some hot chocolate afterword!

Winter nature hunt

4.Have your coffee outside, even if it snows!
Just make sure you’re wearing some winter gear, and enjoy the beautiful winter wonderland!

Enjoy winter

And if like me you have young children, and your stuck in the city, how do you enjoy winter?

Disclosure: I got this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

DIY electro dough kit

Let your child play with light and sound while discovering science! Such a fun way to teach your kids about electricity while playing with play dough!

While I really enjoy playing with my daughter, what I love even more is helping her learn and discover while playing. That’s why I’m always on the look out for new and inspiring activities. And today I’m really happy to share with you my new favourite one!

Whenever you’re a homeschooling parent, or just a mom who’s looking for fun, rainy day activities, this DIY electro dough kit is definitely something that you’ll enjoy as much as we did! It’s a great tool for helping children understand how electricity works and it lets them build electric circuits, while playing with light, sound and play dough.

Electro dough kit

But if you’d ask me if I liked science while I was at school, I’d tell you that I hated it (let’s keep that a secret from my kids though). And that’s exactly why I want to raise my daughters differently! I hope they’ll feel as comfortable with science in the future as they do with play dough now.

The DIY electro dough kit comes with instructions on making your own play dough, and many cool accessories to build your own circuits. However if you’re a busy parent (or if you just don’t feel like it) you can totally use a regular play dough, juts like I did.

Electro dough

We started by creating a simple electric circuit with LEDs, and Lili understood pretty fast how to place the LEDs “legs” and how the direction does matter. I had as much fun as she did, and we were both pretty exited when it worked for the first time!

This lit lets you experiment with light and sound while playing play dough! Great educative toy!

Then we’ve made a simple “button” with play dough, and Lili was pretty amused with the fact that it’s not the switch, but her little hand touching the play dough, that controls the LEDs:

This electro dough kit is such a great reasons for homeschooling parents! It lets your kids discover how electricity works, while playing with play dough!

And then she asked me if I could make her some figurines. I did my best, though as you can see they turned out a bit clumsy:

Electro dough

We used the LEDs as if they would be little lanterns: Lili was imagining that her figurines are dancing and singing while holding lanterns, and she even made up a song about it. (Don’t you love it when your kids make up songs? I do, unless they repeat them over and over again.. And then when you go to sleep you still have a weird version of “The wheels of the bus go round and round” in your head! )

Great kit for experimenting with electricity while playing play dough

We’ve spent almost two hours, creating, experimenting and laughing. (Except of the moment when I had to remodel all of the figurines for the third time, because she wanted them bigger and bigger! It’s hard work playing with play dough..)

This kit lets your kid discover hoe electricity works while playing with okay dough, so cool !

I’m sure we’ll be playing very often with our DIY electro dough kit, and I hope that I inspired you to try it too!

Disclosure : I received this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Why I choose organic baby clothes and accessories

Why, whenever I can, I choose organic baby clothes and accessories, and why it's actually saving me money.

Sometimes it’s all about the little things. A calm and smiling baby, wrapped in a super soft blanket. A joyful toddler running around dressed in nothing else then a pair of adorable leggings. A four-year old imagining that a penguin pillow is a friend who’s lost and needs to be guided back home. And then when they are fast asleep, and I look at their sweet sleeping faces, I can’t help but smile thinking about these moments.

organic baby leggings

I do believe in sustainable lifestyle, and that’s how I try to raise my kids. But I’m not always getting new and organic things for them. First I use the hand-me-downs (because reusing is always the best, for the planet and for my wallet) and then, when I’m missing something I try to get them either locally made items, or organic ones.

Also, when I choose the locally made and organic items, I actually
:
1. Save money.
Because I plan on having more kids, I know I’ll be reusing everything that I buy. And while buying organic, I buy the better quality product, that’ll stay in good shape through the years!

2. Teach my kids about the value of money.
If I choose the pricer product that I use with care for a long time , it teaches kids respect for money. Rather then buying cheap bad quality items, and frowning them away when they get broken/ shrink /or loose their colours.

3. Help small business grow.
We all know, that everyone profits when local economy grows, right?

Organic baby clothes

So I first saw LelefanOrganics on Instagram. I was instantly attracted by their simple and fun black and white design.

Since I have two little girls, most of the clothes that they have are pink. As I mentioned, I believe in reusing, so even though I’m not the biggest fun of pink, they wear it a lot. That’s why when I get to choose clothes for them myself, I go for simple gender neutral style.

At first all I wanted was a pair of organic leggings with a hat for Rose. They are so soft, yet still really warm, and I love how they pair with everything!

Organic baby blanket

I also got this adorable and super soft baby blanket, big enough for Rose to nap underneath. You can get this penguin pillow to go with it (it’s also 100%organic) that I think is the cutest thing ever. I imagine that it would work really well in a gender neutral nursery, or as a toddler pillow ( because it’s so soft). But even though I thought I’m gets this for Rose, it was my four-year old Lili who got obsessed with the pillow!

Organic clothes for babies

I’m really regretting that I don’t have a tiny little baby on my hand now, so I could get some more of their adorable and super soft rompers and leggings! And it’s such a pleasure to see your kids happy about something that you know is ethically made, while being really soft and warm!

Organic baby clothes

Do you get organic clothes for your kids ? What are your favourite brands ?

Disclosure : I revived these products free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Shop small gift guide

I’ve searched for weeks to bring to you this ultimate, shop small gift guide. I love getting gifts for my family, and usually by the first of December I’m ready to wrap them all up. Sometimes though it’s thought to find just the right gift, and the big shops look-alike objects just don’t cut it.

That’s why I suggest you to make it easy this year. Put your kids to sleep. Get yourself a nice cup of tea, or an even nicer glass of vine. Get on the couch, and open your laptop, tablet, iPod, whichever you like. Shop small, online, and get everything shipped at your front door. Sometimes even you can get your gifts already wrapped up! You’re saving yourself time, stress, and you’re getting original, made with love gifts, while supporting and encouraging local business! So let’s get started!

Let’s start with babies. If it’s your first baby ( or your friends, or sisters or sisters in law) then it’s kind of obvious, you need everything. But what if it’s the second, third or fourth? Don’t the baby and the mama deserve something lovely too? These beautiful and hand made gifts will be perfect, even if you don’t know the baby’s sex just yet!

Unisex baby gifts

1. Organic cotton lion print baby leggings
2. Wooden toys set
3. Baby quilt
4. Children’s art print
5. Personalized bookplates
6. Organic baby romper

Bigger kids usually get plenty of toys, but instead of getting the plastic, china made toy, why won’t you get them something that will stand the test of time, educate them and inspire? Here is a collection of great educative and creative toys:

Educative gift guide

1. Camping DIY craft kit
2. Felt doorway puppet theatre
3. Travel kit
4. Space rubber stamps set
5. Felt campfire set
6. Kindergarten toolkit

If like me, you’re a girl mom, or you have a niece that you’d like to spoil with something more girly, here are some lovely ideas that girls will love, both cute and practical:

Gifts for girls

1. Merino wool hoodie
2. Hand knit dolly
3. Dress
4. Clara, the fairy doll
5. Fairytale blocks
6. Fox socks
7. Tiger cape
8. Doll house
9. Black and white softie doll

Are you’re scared that your hubby won’t know what to get you? You can just show him this list, or get yourself inspired while looking for a gift for all the ladies in your life:

Gifts for her

1. Spa kit in a box
2. Chunky headband
3. Ceramic candle holder
4. Colourful earrings
5. Rose gold personalized necklace
6. Coffee mug
7. Leather bag

And if you’re stuck looking for a perfect gift for him, just have a look here :


Gifts for him

1. Logs original print
2. BBQ rub set
3. T-shirt
4. MacBook felt bag
5. iPhone stand
6. Apron

I hope this gift guide have inspired you to shop small, and that you’ll have a stress-free-online-gift-shopping-this year!

Easy homeschooling with kindergarten toolkit

This is the best method for homeschooling!

For a while now I was looking for a complete method to homeschool my daughter Lili. Unlike many homeschooling parents, I teach her only half time. Our situation is quite special, with me raising my kids bilingually, and them being at daycare only halt time. But whatever is the reason for parents to homeschool, whether full or part-time, for sure it’s all about good preparation.

I know for myself, that preparing different kind of activities isn’t always easy. They need to be educative, that’s for sure. Yet kids learn through play, so they should be playful. Also, we shouldn’t rush things, as kids learn at their own speed. But activities shouldn’t be repetitive neither, because boredom is as bad as overstimulation. While teaching letters and numbers it’s easy to overwhelm kids, so we should be careful not to do so..

If you were never a teacher, and you didn’t study education or pedagogy, then you probably know how I felt. A bit lost at times. That’s why I was looking for an overall method on homeschooling preschoolers. A method easy to follow, flexible and useful. And that’s how I found the Kindergarten Toolkit.

Kindergarten toolkit

It’s a method created by a former kindergarten teacher, turned WAHM of three boys. I think it’s a perfect tool for any homeschooling parent. I can’t even stress enough how useful I found it! Within the two weeks that we’ve been using it Lili have already mastered new writing skills, and Rose started to recognize shapes!

What you get is a booklet with mini lessons that support each of the 10 kindergarten goals, flash cards with shapes, letters, numbers and words, and white board with a pen. Each goal is concentrated on a specific skill , so you don’t double guess yourself, wondering if the activity that you found on Pinterest is appropriate for your child’s developmental stage or not.

Kindergarten toolkit

It’s really easy to use by any parent, and it gives you 3 to 4 different activities for each goal. That’s over 40 different lessons, plus some sanity saving ideas for activities while you’re on the go.

Toolkit

What I love about it, is that I can use it with both of my daughters, because there’s so many different lessons. Lili already knows her shapes and colours, so I’m more concentrated on writing skills with her, while Rose is a toddler who’s just starting to learn colours.

Toolkit

Within last two weeks we had 5 learning sessions of around 30 minutes each. Every time I got to try a different activity, while keeping track of Lili’s progress and skills. Honestly, I feel like homeschooling just got so much easier for me!

Kindergarten toolkit

So now, while homeschooling Lili, Rose sits just next to us and does her own activities. It’s so much fun seeing them both learning one next to another!

image

But most of all, I love the overall approach of the Kindergarten Toolkit: encourage you kid, have fun and built a foundation for kindergarten!

Toolkit

Disclosure : I received this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

Salted Carmel Mocha

This home made Salted Carmel Mocha is so easy and so delicious !

I’m a born homemaker and a huge coffee lover. Whenever I move in to a new place, before even everything is unpacked, I hang art on the walls and I light candles so the space would smell like home. And, as a WAHM, making our house a home is even more important to me then ever before: spending so much time at home is only worth it, if you really love your home (for me, at least.)

So when Allison from HouseBox contacted me asking if I’d like to try their new subscription homemaking box, I got really exited.

House box

Among lovely scented organic dryer sheets, peppermint essential oil, nontoxic delicate wash, and heirloom dish washing liquid, there were these lovely paper straws (and I’m a sucker for pretty straws!) and amazing organic coffee. These last two have really grabbed my attention, because for a while now I wanted to upgrade my coffee game a little bit.. So this here inspired me to try this home made Salted Carmel Mocha Coffee. Served with a pretty straw obviously!

Here’s what you need:

Good quality mild coffee
Salted Carmel sauce
Instant hot chocolate mix
Milk

Salted Carmel mocha

Brew you coffee. It can be a double espresso with extra shot of hot water, or a nice big mug of filter coffee. You choose. Add 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate mix, top it with foamed milk (or whipped cream, if you prefer, I won’t judge you, you know that!) and salted Carmel sauce! And don’t forget about a pretty straw.

The best home made salted Carmel mocha ever!

But I need to be honest with you. Some of the samples where really small. So I contacted Allison, and she told me that it won’t happen again, and that next box is supposed to be bigger, and the samples are getting much larger. So that’s great news, if you’d like to subscribe, and get bimonthly new homemaking products directly go your doorstep, like I might be doing now! And I think that it also makes for a great gift : practical surprise every month for around 20$? Yes please!

So, do you like subscription boxes? Which are your favourite?

Disclosure : I received this product free for review, all opinions remain my own.

1 10 11 12 13 14