Joanna Anastasia

Lifestyle

Whimsical dolls for imaginative girls

A couple of weeks ago I started to look for a gift for my daughters 4th birthday. Even though she was born in December, this year I decided to give her my gift ahead of time. You see, between Christmas with my family, Christmas with my hubby’s family, her birthday party, and the European tradition of the 6th of December (Santa’s little gifts) it seemes like she doesn’t care anymore about gifts from us.(So actually as a lazy mom that I am, I could not get her anything for birthday at all..but then she would find out as a preteen and feel hurt..then move out too soon and fall out of college..you see where I’m heading..)

The prettiest hand made doll on etsy

So this year I wanted to give her something she’ll remember receiving, a gift that’ll stand a test of time. Something that might be in her room and by her bed, in a couple of years when she’ll grow out of Dora and Elmo. I didn’t want a toy from a toy store, even though we do have lots of these, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them. I just wanted something lovely, made with care and different than her other dolls and toys.

I was looking through different Etsy stores selling hand made dolls, and I found HERsparetime. I literally fallen in love.

Whimsical, colourful, a bit vintage. Very detailed. And lots of choise. Fairies, princesses, sleeping girls, unicorns and serious dolls. And every one is hand made and one of a kind.

Doll

And yet, these dolls are made for kids. Easy to dress and undress. Soft and durable..

Whimsical dolls for imaginative kids

I fallen for this one because of the floral fabric, that reminds me of vintage Polish patterns. And because it’s a princess, and my daughter starts to be interested in playing the fairy-tale, princess inspired imaginative play. (And me, I prefer so much more this hand made princess, then any of the plastic, too-thin-to-actually-live, Disney inspired dolls.)

My new etsy find and my daughter favourite doll

We named her Ruby The Fairy princess, and she’s one of my Lili’s favourite. Perfect for imaginative play and for snuggles with a blanket and a book. And such a pretty addition to their bedroom!

Doll

And if I’m to be totally honest with you, I think I might get one more for me my younger daughter..

Doll

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

How to turn your handwriting in to a personalized necklace

How to turn your handwriting into a personalized necklace

If you know me just a tiny little bit, then you know that I love jewelry. I have been collecting necklaces, earring, bracelets and rings for the last 20 years (yes, you got that right, I’m 31 now, so basically I got this need to sparkle since I was like 11). I always have at least two pieces of jewelry on me. My weeding ring and a necklace. My wedding ring and earrings. Earrings, necklace and two rings.. And so on. Only comfort is my limit.

Personalized necklace

And I just love personalized items.My key chain has a letter J attached to it. My cellphone case and my iPad, both are monogrammed with the same letter. And ever since I give birth to my second daughter, I wanted a necklace with their names on it. I just couldn’t find the right one. And so, when Ginny from CentimeGift reached out to me a month ago or so, asking me if I’d like to give their personalized jewellery a try, I was really thrilled. Finally something for this sentimental momma!

I started with writing down my daughters full names. I usually use a bunch of different nicknames while speaking to them, but here I just wanted their sweet names. Then I photographed my handwriting, and sent it to Ginny. After two weeks I got this lovely silver and gold coated necklace with both my daughters names on it!

Now you know me, I’m not a fashion blogger, so I won’t be styling it and smiling to you while wearying high heels ( I don’t think I have any). But my sentimental mom heart is just so happy! And I think that it looks really nice on me!

How to turn your handwriting in to a personalized necklace

So at the moment, this Personalized necklace is among my favourite little things that makes me smile on a rainy, sleep-deprived-tantrum-full-kind-off-a-day.

This is how I turned my handwriting in to a personalized necklace !

And what I really love about their site, is that you can find a personalized gift to fit any person and any occasion really! Here are some of my favourites:

Personalized jewelry

1. http://centimegift.com/initial-necklaces/coordinate-necklace-vertical-bar

2. http://centimegift.com/name-bracelets/personal-signature-bracelet

3. http://centimegift.com/initial-necklaces/bar-signature-necklace

4. http://centimegift.com/name-rings/mothers-ring

And now, I have a surprise for you! You can now treat yourself, or someone you love, with one of these beautiful, one of a kind, personalized pieces without breaking the bank!

Until the end of the moth, you can use this coupon code for 10% discount on the entire website: LAZYMOM . It can be used multiple times until Oct 31st, 2015.

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

5 reasons why your child needs merino wool clothing

I discovered merino wool 5 years ago when I was in New Zealand with my at-the-time fiancé ( now hubby). We spend almost 4 months in that amazing place, hiking, exploring and having the best time in our lives. That is, until our daughters came along, because obviously the best fun ever is being a parent 😉 .

Why merino wool clothing is the best choice for active kids and busy moms

Back then, everyone had something made from merino wool and I remember that it wasn’t until I got myself a long sleeve shirt when I understood why. It’s the perfect keep-me-warm-yet-never-too-hot garment of clothing! It lets you breathe, it feels soft against your skin, keeps you warm and cozy and never, ever gets to smell bad!

So obviously as soon as I had kids I wanted a merino for them too.

Something to keep them warm, but never too hot, something soft, cute and perfect for any occasion. The only problem was that, merino wool is usually used in high-end sports wear for adults. As if kids wouldn’t be in constant motion, getting dirty and smelling funky!

And then, one day I found thorough Instagram Luvmother . Sourced in New Zealand and Australia, and then made in Canada. And best of all : designed especially for kids!

Why merino wool is the best choice for your child

These beautiful basics have all of the best merino wool characteristics: soft, warm and breathable with the cutest kid friendly features. The hoodies are longer in the back, with pretty prints, soft hues and practical little pockets. No big distracting logos, just a subtitle double stitch in the back.

Why merino is the best choice for your child

I actually contacted them and said that I really, really want to try their clothes. And so I took Lili for a mother-daughter date. We went for a walk by the river, where the wind blows and it feels like vacation ( my daughters words!). We looked at the boats passing by. We run. And it was great knowing that even when the wind was blowing harder she wasn’t to cold, and when the sun was coming back she wasn’t too hot neither. I could really concentrate on her.

Why it's the best choice for your child

And so, here are the reasons why I love merino wool on kids:

1. Merino keeps kids really warm.
Merino has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio compared to other wools, so it’s trapping body heat similar to the way a sleeping bag warms its occupant.

1. But they never feel too hot, or wet in it!
Merino wool draws sweat away from the skin. Since this fabric is slightly moisture repellent it helps to avoid the feeling of wetness.

2. It never smells bad.
It’s because merino wool has antibacterial properties ( so you get to do a bit less laundry, yay!).

3. It’s really soft, so kids can wear it directly on bearskin.
Merino is one of the softest types of wool available, so it doesn’t scratch.

6. It’s a perfect garment for active lifestyle : aka for being a kid.
Thanks to it’s properties it’s used a lot in high-end athletes clothing. So it’s a perfect choice for anyone who runs/climbs/jumps/and guests dirty a lot.

Merino

And then we went apple picking. I really wanted to test these cloths in both colder and warmer weather, to see if they are really as great. And they are. It was a sunny fall afternoon, with a bit of clouds, and my girls seemed to be very comfortable.

Why merino wool is the best choice for your child best choice for your child

My younger one got all wet from all of the apples that she had (just imagine a messy creature bursting in to a very juicy fruit. 10 times in a row.) And her cute birdie sweatshirt dried so fast that I didn’t even had to change her!

Why merino is the best choice for your child

As for Lili, she didn’t even know we were testing anything here. She was just happy that I let her climb that tree and wear her dad’s hat. And that her little sis couldn’t climb that high!

Side note : luvmother clothing is made to fit. But my almost four year old is a very tall little girl, so I got her a Aha Hoody in a 5-6 size. She totally rocks it as a tunic, but originally it’s meant to fit tighter. As for my almost-toddler Rose, she’s officially wearing 18 to 24 moths, and so I got her the smallest available size 2.

Why merino is the best choice for your child

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

Harvest quinoa salad

Harvest quinoa salad

This is one extremely satisfying harvest quinoa salad, that also happens to be a very healthy vegetarian meal! Made with grilled (or slow roasted) fall veggies, Parmesan cheese, red quinoa and sweet balsamic vinegar, satisfies even the pinkest of eaters!

Since I discovered GoGoQuinoa earlier this summer, quinoa salads have been my go-to vegetarian dinner. Because I try to feed my family with vegetarian dinners 3 times a week, sometimes I’m short on ideas. But a quiooa salad is always a fast, easy to make and a super nutritious meal.

I always add some sort of cheese ( my kids are obsessed with cheese) and herbs. Parmesan works great with the sweetness of rosted vegetables, and fresh basil and romarin add this extra flavour to the salad.

Being honest, I first introduced red quinoa to my kids as a sort of rice.. And then, when they tried it and approved it, I explained what the real name was.

What I used:

1 cup Red Quinoa

3 big carrots
1 medium eggplant
2 medium zucchini
4 garlic cloves
Fresh rosemary

1/4 cup Parmesan flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil

2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Maple sirup
( roasted garlic cloves)

Cut vegetables in cubes,add garlic cloves and roast on 350F until soft( around 40 min). After around 20 min outs add garlic cloves and rosemary. When the veggies are ready, let them cool down, and take the roasted garlic cloves out. You’ll need to add them to your dressing.

Harvest quinoa salad

Meanwhile cook one cup of quinoa according to the instructions on the box.

When your veggies are roasted and the red quinoa is cooked, mix everything together, add Parmesan cheese and dressing.

If you feel adventurous, add rocket salad! I love the mix of grains with leaves, but if you’re cooing for a family it might be a bit too much for some picky eaters..although my almost 4 yearly old loved it! It was my soon-to-be toddler who really didn’t appreciate this upgrade.

Harvest quinoa salad

And if you’re looking for a very children friendly quinoa recipe, have a look at this one here:

Kid friendly quinoa salad

I got this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.

“A fish in foreign waters ” book review

" A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual children

When children’s books author Laura Caputo-Wickham asked me to review her newest book, I got really exited. You see, this book was written for bilingual children! And as you probably know, I’m raising my kids bilingually ( you can read about it here and here).

And even though here where we live ( Montreal, Canada) there are many bilingual families, sometimes we’re still attracting attention. And that makes me wonder, how my growing daughter feels about the fact, that she is a bit different. A friend told me recently that even though Lili’s vocabulary is pretty developed, she speaks in French with a bit of hesitation. And I never noticed that in a language that we speak together. So it made me think about my daughters perception of bilingualism. Is it positive? Does she see the difference between her and some of her friends as a disturbing one, or rather as an advantage?

And so, when the author of A Fish in Foreign Waters has approached me, I was really happy to see that this book addresses exactly the same issues: the differences between a bilingual kid and the peers, the feelings about belonging (or not) to the group, the family members being different (talking differently) then other people.

So we snuggled and read it aloud. Of course I had to translate it in-to our language (which is Polish) and that’s a bit of a pity, because the rhymes are really lovely. ( don’t you miss the rhymes in children’s books? There’s almost no contemporary books with nice rhymes anymore!) And even though I’m a pretty good translator, and I tried my best, it is better in original ( Laura, you rock!)

But Lili did love it. She loved the illustrations: the cute and whimsical fish family with a pet-crab, the detailed coral town, the colorful undersea party. And she loved the fact that Rosie Ray is just like her. Bilingual.

"A fish on foreign waters" a book for bilingual children

Then she wanted her dad to read it with her. They speak together in French, so he translated it in to French.And again, the lovely rhymes have suffered a bit, bit the story stayed the same.

"A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual kids

Then, just for fun we read it in English, as it’s written. Did I already mentioned that the rhymes are so pretty? And the melody and the rhythm of the repetition makes it a perfect bed time story too!

" A fish in foreign waters" a book for bilingual kids

So now the A Fish in Foreign Waters became her new favorite book. The one that she takes with her to the patio to read while we snack, and that she wants to read while snuggled in bed with me.

She even decided that it’s time to explain to her little sister that being bilingual is fun ( and lets be honest here, Rose just starts talking, so that conversation could wait a little!).

"A fish in foreign waters " a book for bilingual kids

They sit together on her bed, while Lili “reads” aloud ( I know, too cute!)and my heart melts.. (only to fight 3 minutes later over who’ll hold the book..)

Sisters

And I loved the lesson that it teaches them, that : “doubling the languages doubles the friends!”

"A fish in foreign waters " a book for bilingual kids

This book is a really valuable tool for parents. It’s a great conversation starter. We talked about the different languages that we speak, and how fun is it that we do have more friends because of that. We listed all the families that we know that speak in more than one language at home. We talked about how we may like different food because of the different language that we speak ( therefore the different culture that we’re from) and how it’s ok.

[bctt tweet=”Even if you don’t raise your kids bilingually, this book is great to teach them empathy @InForeignWaters “]

I also think that even if you don’t raise your kid bilingually, this book is a great way to teach empathy to your child. It’s a great way to teach them about kids who have just moved in from a different country, and how they may feel lonely or sad. And how just by being a friend at school they can help.

And I’m sure that bilingual or not, any kid will enjoy this charming story.

You can also get it on Amazon ( just click on the picture) :

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

Quinoa burgers

Amazing quinoa burgers that your family will love

Couple of weeks ago I decided that we’ll be having three vegetarian dinners a week. I was stuck in the summer grilling routine, and it just wasn’t healthy nor exiting anymore. I needed a change and a challenge: something beyond meatless pasta recipe. And so I discovered quinoa, and it’s many surprising uses!

This is, hands down, one of the best burger recipe (and, I’ll humbly admit, one of my best creations) They are so full of flavour: the Mexican quinoa burger patties are served with creamy lebneh cheese, chunky guacamole and salsa! And honestly, they were so filling and satisfying that even meet lovers ( my experimental bunnies aka my father in law and my husband) forgot that these were vegetarian (and, the patties on their own are gluten-free!)

Quinoa burgers

What you’ll need:

GogoQuinoa Texmex burger mix
European style burger buns

Chunky guacamole:

2 ripe avocados
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes ( red and yellow, for the colour)
1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Chilli pepper
1 tablespoon Lime juice

Creamy labneh:

1 cup labneh cheese
( you can replace it with cream cheese mixed half in half with Greek yoghurt)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Salsa ( ok, you can buy this one like I did)

Quinoa burgers

Form the quinoa burger patties according to the instruction (it’s really easy and rather relaxing). Then you can follow the instructions and cook them on a skillet, or like I did, you can cook them on a grill ( ok, so I did left that part to my husband). Either way, they should be ready after around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your guacamole (you know, mix the avocado in to a creamy paste, add the tomatoes cut in pieces, cilantro, tiny pieces of chilli, salt, pepper and lime juice) .

And labneh. If you’re asking yourself what is it, and why am I insisting, then just imagine a marriage of cream cheese with Greek yoghurt. The result is this really creamy and smooth cheese, but with a delicate taste of Greek yoghurt. (But if you don’t see it in your store, then as I mentioned , just mix cream cheese with Greek yoghurt.) And add all that fresh cilantro. It tastes amazingly with the quinoa burgers !

Quinoa burgers

As for a side dish I opted for the grilled corn and nachos. Simple and fast.

Quinoa burgers

And please just forget about the ketchup, the mustard and the relish. Don’t even put them on the table! I promise you that the mix of flavours from the quinoa burgers, guacamole, labneh and salsa, are much better then these old guys!

So while assembling your burger, start with the chunky guacamole, add the quinoa burger patty,then a bit of salsa, and a nice spoonful of labneh!

Quinoa burgers

I’ll be having these soon, that’s for sure. And do you have any fun vegetarian burger recipes?

Amazing healthy quinoa burgers

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

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