Joanna Anastasia


5 gender reveal ideas that you don’t want to miss

gender reveal ideas

I never did a gender reveal before : with my two previous pregnancies I was simply too impatient to find out the baby’s gender! But this time around, and with my most likely last pregnancy, I wanted to make something special for gender reveal – and I wanted my two daughters to remember this moment in their lives too.

So I have come up with 5 easy ways that you too can use – either on your gender reveal party, or as a photo announcement for your family and friends!

  1. Use a letter board and let your youngest child announce the big news! ( this option is super cute for gender reveal announcement cards!)
  2. Ask a friend to make an envelope photo booth backdrop with pink or blue tissue paper hidden inside ( full tutorial here)
  3. Get a gender reveal cake with matching cupcakes, and cut it to find out what are you having.
  4. Ask a friend to surprise you with pink or blue balloons ( another cute idea for a gender reveal announcement card!)
  5. Make a blue or pink non alcoholic drink for the gender reveal party.

So this first idea is probably the easiest to go with if you already have another kid:  a letter board, a toddler or a preschooler, and some bribing to stand still for a minute, and voila, a super cute gender reveal photo for announcing the news to family and friends is ready! ( just don’t forget to make a second photo with the question answered on a board!) :

gender reveal ideas

However, if you’d like to invite family over and throw a party, then this envelope photo booth backdrop is my favourite idea ever! Everyone will be curious to peak in, and once open it makes for the prettiest photo backdrop ever!

You can find all the details on making one here, at my super talented Johanie’s blog – she’s a photo backdrop pro and one of the most creative ladies online I have ever meet!

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

Of course, another winning idea is ordering a gender reveal cake with a matching cake topper. The excitement on everyone’s faces when you cut through the cake is priceless! Not to mention that you get to share the sweet news with everyone int he most delicious way!

If you’re from Montreal like I am, then you might want to check Little Leah’s Kitchen for your gender reveal cakes and Pompons Events for the cake toppers.

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

Going with the balloons is another simple way for making great gender reveal announcement photos- no words needed just don’t get a confusing colour! This is one of the rare occasions when going with the stereotypes is actually better !

gender reveal ideas

And if you’re making a party simply serve a pink or blue drink!


gender reveal ideas

Here’s all you need for a Blue Punch :

  • Sprite
  • Blue food colouring for the virgin – or Blue curaçao for regular
  • Sparkling water
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple juice

Mix it all together, serve on ice. 

And if you’re looking for a pink drink idea, try this:

Pink punch:

  • sprite
  • pink lemonade
  • ( optional vodka)
  • ice

So if you’re wondering what I did to reveal our baby’s gender at home, well I ordered a cake. And then I used these photos to announce the big news to my extended family and friends. I guess you guessed by now that I’m having a boy, right? 


Cake and cupcakes: Little Leah’s kitchen.

Cake topper: Pompons Events.

Photo backdrop idea and execution: Johanie Creative

Photos made by: Johanie Creative

Ten differences between first and third pregnancy- that you didn’t know about.

10 things you didn't know about being pregnant third time around

If you don’t follow me yet on Instagram then you probably don’t know that I’m currently pregnant with our third child, and that my girls Lili and Rose will have a baby sibling in late June! And since I’m more than half way through this pregnancy, I thought I’d share with you all the differences that have striked me between my first pregnancy 6 years ago and this one now.

First time around:
  1.  You count your weeks and days.
  2.  You’re subscribed to three different websites that track your pregnancy week by week and you google your pregnancy symptoms to see if what’s happening to you is normal (every day).
  3. You make a detailed birth plan. You talk about your birth plan. You print it out and give to your partner and health care provider. You compare it with your friends plans.
  4. You always have lots of questions to your obyg /midwife. You never skip a check up. You ask for more ultrasounds!
  5.  You think you’re “huge” at 20 weeks.
  6. You have a really big baby registry with lot’s of trendy must haves. ( that you won’t use for the most part after..).
  7. You have a list of things that you’ll never do as a parent. It’s long. You’re sure of your decisions. You think there’s one good way to raise kids. Your way.
  8. You count every pound you gain and you notice all of your stretch marks. You wander in how long you’ll fit in your tiny bikini. You buy new bikinis for after the baby is born.
  9. You think that you’ll sleep better after the baby is born – you are so uncomfortable now and you never slept so badly in your entire life!
  10. You are really stressed about giving birth and becoming a mother, even if you hide it well and tell everyone how relaxed you feel.

what you didn't know about being pregnant third time around

Third time around:

  1. You never know how many weeks you are now. You know when you’ll give birth and that’s good enough.
  2. You don’t track your pregnancy and you barely notice your symptoms. You know they’ll pass soon anyway. You might be even more uncomfortable than in your previous pregnancies, but you’re more zen about it now then you where before.
  3. You don’t make a birth plan- you know now that it’s not something you can really plan ( other than probably where you’ll give birth and probably with who around, and probably in what way. Probably. Maybe. Who knows how it’ll go.)
  4. You don’t ask any questions during check ups and you forget about every other appointment. You know all the weird symptoms are normal so you don’t even talk about them.
  5. You know how huge you’ll get by the end, but you know it’ll pass too.
  6. You don’t do a baby registry. You just need to find that baby carrier in the basement and remember who borrowed your baby tub. You might get a couple new baby pjs and you’re good.
  7. You know that you already did everything you thought you never would as a parent. You laugh at your old list.
  8. You don’t know how much you gained weight and you couldn’t care less about stretch marks. You don’t own any bikinis anymore. But you know now that you’ll wear these maternity pants for a year after giving birth.
  9. You cherish the uncomfortable pregnancy sleep as you know it’ll only get worse after the baby comes.
  10. You don’t have time to be stressed. You’re a mother for a while now, there’s not much that can still surprise you. But you can’t wait to have another cheeky baby to kiss!

And if you have been there more than three times, then I’d love to know what have striked you the most during your 4th, 5th or 10th pregnancy! One thing is sure, the heart really grows with each baby!


Egg donation dilemmas


Imagine this: a lovely, warm and gentle woman has been trying to conceive for 10 years. She and her husband have tried everything. She can’t get pregnant, but she can’t imagine a life without having a baby, without experiencing pregnancy and birth.

And there is another woman, smart and sensitive. She’s already a mom to two busy toddlers and a pre-schooler. She had no problems getting pregnant. She loved being pregnant, and her babies’ births were beautiful and empowering experiences. She feels deeply touched by this couple who wishes for a baby. She decides to help them, and she offers her egg. She’ll become their egg donor. This woman is my friend.

I’m incredibly moved by my friend’s decision. It’s not an easy process, egg donation; it takes weeks of preparation, it’s painful and rather unpleasant. But she has decided to do it. The recipient is not even her close friend; she’s a woman that my friend sees a few times a year at backyard barbecues. She’s someone experiencing infertility who could use my friend’s help.

I think my friend is an angel. She’ll be giving the recipient couple a possibility to have a newborn in their arms: to have a baby to care for, to kiss and cuddle. A toddler to run after. A kid to craft with. A family. I’m so uplifted by her act and so impressed by her unselfishness.

But I would never do the same. I couldn’t ever give my egg. For me, it would be like giving one of my kids. When I look at my older daughter Lili, it’s so obvious she’s mine. The fact that she speaks Polish like me and loves planes like her dad: that came from us raising her. But her temperament, her willingness to do new things, to meet new friends: that’s me. She would be like this even if raised by somebody else. And she looks a lot like me. My second daughter is still a baby, but I can already tell that she will have a calmer temperament like her dad’s. But she too has my smile. There is this genetic component that influences not only how we look, but also what our temperament is like. In consequence, it influences if we are spontaneous or not, if we are willing to try new things and open up to new people. That’s why, for me, it would be like giving up my kid.

Looking at another woman getting pregnant with my egg, I would feel that she’s pregnant with my baby. I would always feel like I’m also the mom.

However, I can totally relate to this woman who wants so badly to be a mother. I wanted that as well, but I had no problem at all getting pregnant. The minute I thought about getting pregnant, I was. And I really think that my friend is amazing, by giving her egg, her potential child.

Would you do it? Would you donate an egg to your friend? Or maybe it would be easier donating an egg to a family member? I know that even if I had a sister, I still couldn’t donate my egg. I’m really happy for my friend, though: I think that after this she’ll be going straight to heaven!

What all couples should do before having a baby


I strongly believe, that before your life as a couple changes drastically, like I’ve already explained here, there are some things that you should do. As a couple. Things that will let you embrace the changes, and that will help you prepare. Because honestly, otherwise you could end up imagining your life without kids, and the unspoiled freedom aka happiness that you could live in stead of, let’s say, changing diapers at 5 am. And living an imaginary life is never really healthy.

So here are the things that I think every couple should do before having a baby, to prepare yourself for changes, and to live them happily when they happen :

1. Travel together.
First, because it’s much more difficult to travel with kids. Second because while traveling, it’s really only the two of you in a totally new environment. Meaning that together you’ll experience totally new things. And that’s something that usually gets people closer to each other. So either it’ll get you even closer together, either you’ll decide you’re not right for each other. ( Which is a good thing to find out before you have kids. )

2. Move in together.
As with travelling, it either makes you stronger as a couple, either it’ll expose that you’re not made for each other. Cleaning the house, doing groceries, and paying bills is not as romantic as, let’s say a trip to Venice, but it definitely helps you find out if you should live together. It gives you time to adjust to each other expectations. And it’s easier to negotiate who’s doing the dishes before there is a baby to take care of!

3.Have an important event/celebration.
For most of people it’s a wedding. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s really about a moment when you gather your family and friends, and you announce your love to each other. Surly, a wedding gown, flowers and gifts makes it even more special :). Later on, when you’ll wake up in the middle of the night for that crying baby of yours, you’ll have this beautiful memory that’ll help you go thru the night.

4. Talk money.
Think about all the possibilities. What if one of you will want to go back to school? Stay at home with kids? Are you going to put aside money for kids studies? What about insurance? These are some important things to figure out before you have a kid.

5. Have a pet.
A dog or a cat. Fish doesn’t really count because there is not that much work involved to it :). Yes, I don’t think that you should take a pet just for fun of it! I think you should get a pet to live a transformation period from a no-worries lifestyle to a I-have-someone-to-feed-and-clean-after kind of one! Having a pet together, let’s you learn how to care and raise a creature as a couple. It forces you to limit your freedom a bit ( no more last minute vacation) but with a bonus of some furry love. So it lets you live the first stage of parenting, before it actually happens.

6. Learn how to fight and make up.
Everyone fights. What’s important is how you do it, and how you make up : do you hold on to your anger? Can you let go? Do you forgive?
And if your way of fighting is raising your voices, smashing the doors and dramatically gesticulating, than maybe you should raffinate your communication skills before having kids ( it might be stressful for babies to watch you fighting ).

7. Talk about your childhood issues.
It’s great to know what you lived through, which of your parents methods you want to duplicate, and what you would newer do as they did. Make sure that as a couple, you are mostly on the same page here. If one of you can’t imagine a happy childhood with out travelling the world, and another thinks it’s a huge waste of money to travel with kids, cause they won’t remember half of what they’ve seen, then you better talk it through before.

8. Imagine future in 10-20-40 years.
When you think about your life in a long term, do you have similar visions, or completely different? Can you relate to one another’s visions of future? Are there kids and grandkids in your vision? Because if not, than maybe you’re not ready to have kids after all..

Of course these are my personal musts, but I’d love to know what are yours? And if you are a couple with kids, but you didn’t do any of the above, what is your secret to a happy family life?

Before having a baby

How to prepare a toddler for a new baby


I’ve heard some horror stories about toddlers and new siblings. I’ve heard a story about this girl that even though she was potty trained she started to poop her pants. Every day. For weeks. I heard a story about this toddler that asked her mom if the baby can be taken back to the hospital. And another one about a little girl asking if the baby could go back to mummy’s belly. So many people have been telling me about the jealousy and tantrums that are a part of becoming a sister/brother.

So I was scared. I didn’t want to break my little girl’s heart, I wished for her to love her sister and to feel equally loved by me. And now that our baby Rose is four months old, I really don’t see any jealousy in the soul of my two and a half Lili. She really loves her sister, she tells her friends with proudness that it’s her baby. She tells anyone who is willing (or not) to listen what’s her sister’s name, and what she likes (milk). Honestly that poor baby is literally licked by her sister! I really need to stop her from cuddling the baby all the time.

And Lili never told me she wanted the baby to go back to the hospital, in my belly or anywhere. I’m pretty sure she understands that the baby’s place is home with us. And of course, she does have tantrums, she’s a toddler right? But she’s not jealous and she loves her new sibling :). So here are the things I’ve been doing to prepare her for a new baby :

1. Explain the pregnancy.
No, no need to go into details of how it started ;). But explaining that babies come from love of adults, that they slowly grow in mommies belly, that they can hear you, and smile at you even when they are still inside of mommy is ok. Don’t forget to explain that once the baby leaves the belly, there is no way back!

2. Talk about the differences between a big girl/boy and a baby.
Babies can’t eat chocolate, ice cream, bananas or whatever your toddler loves. Babies can have only milk. Can babies watch cartoons? No, but a big girl/boy can. Can a baby play with toys, go to the park or have friends over? No. As you see it’s all about making them understand that it’s cool being a big girl/boy and really boring being a baby ;).

3. Talk about changes.
If you plan to sleep in the same room with your newborn, explain it to your child, and repeat it often. Explain that when the baby comes mommy will do certain things, but won’t be doing others. Sometimes while feeding the baby she won’t be able to play. Maybe it will be daddy who will be picking you up from daycare or making breakfast. Your toddler might be small, but if you repeat often what changes are going to happen it will be less surprised and shocked by the change.

4.Help them visualize what’s happening.
It’s great for a toddler to imagine a baby growing in mommy’s belly. There are many books that illustrate pregnancy to children. My daughter had one and she loved it.

5. Involve them in baby preparation.
Let them help you choose whatever you need to buy. They can choose the colours.
They can help you set the nursery, or just the crib by choosing a stuffy that will be waiting for the baby.

6 Let them feel important and excited.
By involving toddlers in the baby preparation, by explaining the difference between the big girl / boy and a baby, they will start to feel important and excited.

7 Make them feel involved.
Before the baby comes plan with your toddler what you’ll be doing together with the baby. Can they help with bath time ( pass the towel ) or diaper change ( pass the diaper) ? Can they sing to the baby and hand the pacifier ? We planned all that she would be doing with the baby, and she was really exited to take part in all of the above!

8. Don’t lie that the newborn sister/brother will play with them !
Not at the beginning, that’s for sure. It’s better to tell them there will be a lot of crying. And explain that by crying, babies communicate because they can’t talk .

9. Show them other pregnant woman and other tiny babies.
If there aren’t any around you, stalk people at the grocery or at the shopping mall ;).

10. Show your toddler pictures of you being pregnant with them.
Tell them stories about them when they where babies. Tell them that they cried, they drank only milk, and they liked gentle signing.

I wander what are your tips for preparing toddlers for new siblings ?

And here are some books that I recommend, to help you prepare your child for a new sibling
(just click on the image to see more):