Improvising Easter eggs

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This Easter, we were determined to decorate eggs in Seoul! Nasty colds kept us from decorating with our friends, and so we decided to improvise. Finding white eggs is hard enough in Seoul (Homeplus is the answer to that mystery), but find them we did. A rumage through my baking cupboard uncovered blue and green food colouring, and our art box provided stickers and sharpies! Perfect!

In the end, I had the most fun with this project, with Ben checking in every few minutes to watch the eggs change colour! But decorating these eggs made me realize that fun and beautiful holiday projects can be done with very minimal preparation (I’m sensing a theme in my life), and I’m looking forward to next year’s eggs when Ben will be excited to make something too!

What easter traditions do you do with your family? Did you try any great art projects with kids this year? This great site has a million ideas!

Weekend Picks: holiday fun!

An unreliable internet connection eliminated an entire week of blog-writing and so here we are at another weekend, which also happens to be the first Advent, or the first of four Sundays before Christmas. I’m new to Germany and so new to the whole advent thing, and discovered very quickly the best part of being 4 weekends from Christmas: Weihnachtsmarkts!

1. Christmas Markets: 40 weeks pregnant and waiting for baby in a small German town surrounded by rolling pastures and livestock has been uber relaxing, but this city-girl needs a bit more excitement and if a Christmas market is the new thing in town, then I am there. We spent the weekend wandering through our local Bavarian market, tasting some delicious Christmas treats and smelling the gluhwein with envy.

2. Movies: Our second new discovery in town has been our local video store and I’m sad to say that it was the highlight of our week. I’m sure there are other mamas out there who might relate to the excruciating boredom and crazy uncertainty that comes with waiting for potentially the most painful and fulfilling experience ever to occur in my life, and in my opinion a little distraction is in order. Add to this that watching a Christmas movie is second only to a hockey game in my husband’s eyes and you have two happy campers. We have also discovered that for a Christmas cartoon quick-fix, youtube has some of our favourites.

3. Music: I say this with tongue in cheek as my husband, who some might say is Christmas-obsessed, has a favourite Christmas album that drives me absolutely crazy: Boney M. It happens to be the only album that he has downloaded on his computer and has therefore been on repeat all weekend. Here is a glimpse at the nightmare that is my Christmas music reality at the moment.

4. Cookies: I brought my cookie cutters and rolling pin to Germany with us and planned to make Christmas cookies as a labour project. I read that it’s a good idea to plan an activity to keep yourself busy with when labour begins to keep your mind off of contractions and to let labour progress while it is still easy to deal with. Always the optimist (and cookie enthusiast), I thought that perhaps starting on the labour project would help to kick-start actual labour and have baked (and consumed) at least 6 dozen cookies since arriving 2 weeks ago. No labour yet, and the baby feels humongous. Yep, that back-fired.

5. Snow: Okay, there’s no snow here yet, but it’s been hovering around 0 degrees every day and I’ve been promised snow very soon by a very reliable source. According to said source, 0 is very warm for this time of year, and I am inclined to believe it as it seems as if the locals think it’s summertime. As I was tromping through the town in my Ugg boots this weekend and shivering in a scarf and toque and jacket that doesn’t close in the front anymore, the locals seemed happy as clams eating in outdoor cafes in sweaters and jeans! And just last night as we were walking back from the Weihnachtsmarkt in the crisp and clear -4 degree night, we saw a couple laughing together, coats unbuttoned, eating ICE CREAM! Let me tell you, Germans are sturdy folk.

I came from a very “Christmas” family, and my husband’s family is equally festive and so the holidays are typically the highlight of the year for us. This year promises to be extra special as we are returning home to Canada the day before Christmas after being overseas for a full year, and with a new baby to boot. So even though it is still November, I’m happy to start the countdown to the holidays on this first advent!

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? Do you have any songs/movies/activities that you just can’t live without during the holidays?

Weekend picks: favourite websites

Ever since I discovered I was pregnant, I have been trying to prepare for birth and parenting in some way or another, and in this day and age that means scouring the internet for help. Here are some of my favourite websites and blogs:

Baby Center – This by far has been my most well-used resource. Weekly updates tell me what the baby’s up to, what I should be feeling, and compares the babies size to a fruit or vegetable, which is endlessly entertaining. Especially when I catch myself freaking out in the produce aisle of Carrefour, or at the market. “reeaallly, a PAPAYA???!”. I’m immune to it now. I know this because this week baby reached watermelon and I barely flinched.

Swistle Baby Names – I am constantly checking this blog, because at 38 weeks pregnant, I still have no idea what we are going to name this child. Actually, this is a small lie, because we have about 3 solid names picked out for a girl. The problem is that we have a 50% chance of having a boy, and in that case we will be screwed. Or our son might get a really feminine name. This blog lets people write in with their naming dilemmas and it has been super informative. It’s given us lots and lots of maybes but I am still checking daily just in case “the one” turns up just in the nick of time.

Cup of Jo – This blog is by a writer/mother in New York who has great taste in just about everything. She posts about everything from fashion and restaurants to breast-feeding in public, and I love hearing what she has to say.

Lay Baby Lay – Nursery inspiration at its finest! I’m not even very in to home decorating (and have very little skill in this department) but I find myself checking this website often for inspiration and just to check out the new and beautiful things! My favourite is “Zoe Ellen’s nursery” which is filed under “turquoise”. I think that if I were to design a nursery for Baby (which I suppose I will eventually) I think I would go for something like that one; gender neutral and eclectic.

You Can’t Call it “It” – Another great baby name site with lots of cool articles and ideas on baby names. I am getting desperate so I spend a lot of time on baby name websites. This one is particularly good!

What are some of the websites that you visit for pregnancy/baby/parenting advice? And how the heck did you find and decide on a name for your child? (I would love some tips! …and suggestions too!)

Weekend picks: Children’s books

It’s amazing the memories that stand out from childhood. Some of the most vivid for me were reading with my sister and my parents. Now that I am awaiting the birth of my own child, I am thinking back to some of those classics that I want to have around again! Do you recognize any of these?! What were your favourites growing up?