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Month: January 2017

How to Tell Twins Apart

How to Tell Twins Apart

I have previously mentioned that twin moms are asked a lot of questions. If you want to know the most common ones I’m regular bombarded with, catch up with ‘Questions Twin Moms are Repeatedly Asked and the Quickest Possible Response.’ (Yes it was a long title and my Search Engine Optimization tool didn’t like it but hey-ho, it hasn’t broken the internet quite yet). As an identical twin mom I get a bunch of other questions too, loosely based around how to tell twins apart. Here are the most common:

  • Can you tell them apart?
  • How do you tell them apart?
  • Do you think you’ve ever swapped them without realising?
  • How can you be sure?

how to tell twins apart

I’m hoping my ramble below will satisfactorily answer these questions and more. I may then have to print pamphlets and dispense them from the stroller. I get it, identical twins are totally weird, we’re a walking freak show every time we go out in public. They are also totally adorable, and who can resist? I know I can’t.

Expectations in Pregnancy

I’ve never really known many twins before, certainly not identical ones. I did teach high school science to a pair for a while, and I’ve got to say I couldn’t tell them apart. It didn’t help that the girls carried the same backpack, had matching beehive hair buns and enjoyed testing their teachers. Still, I always presumed that their family and friends would have no trouble telling them apart, after all, they are individuals and their family will know every quirk, right? 

We didn’t know if the boys were identical or not when I was pregnant, we knew it was a high possibility but with moving house I missed a couple of appointments and it turns out there’s a window for being able to tell for sure on the ultrasound. When this came up in conversation at the dog park, with the twin bump in tow, I was asked:

  • Do they zoom in on their faces to see if they’re identical?

The answer to this is no. It is more scientific than taking a picture of their faces and deciding if they look the same. Pretty much all babies look the same on an ultrasound – weird alien beings floating around in a black cocoon. Pretty nightmarish if you think about it too long. Doctors are in fact looking for whether Mom has grown one or two placentas. One placenta = identical twins.

How to Tell Twins Apart in the Hospital

tell twins apart newborn

When those little nuggets of joy arrive and it is confirmed that they are identical, you need to name your babes. But because no-one likes to rush these decisions, the hospital sticks with ‘Baby A’ and Baby B’ as they do during regular checkups.

  • How do doctors know which baby is which inside the womb? Baby A is the baby attached to the lower umbilical cord. The babies might move around but the cord position doesn’t.

Ours were even given hats with A and… well the pen ran out so it was ‘Baby A’ and ‘Blank’ for a while. They were also given wrist bands just to make sure. We wouldn’t want to get them mixed up on the first day now would we? With these measures in place we had nothing to worry about, although we totally confused hospital staff by calling ‘Blank’ Arthur. Yes, George wore the A hat even though his brother’s name starts with an A. I have no idea why we did that but it was too late by the time we realized. 

How to Tell Twins Apart When You Come Home

Once at home we left the hospital bands on for a few days but were eventually brave enough to remove them. Don’t worry, we didn’t go totally bare, we replaced the medical grade wristbands with beige and blue wool. George had the blue wool, Arthur had the beige wool. I thought this was a fool proof plan until I found a blue piece of wool in amongst the washing one day. I frantically checked wrists with a big sigh of relief when I found Arthur was still wearing his.

At our two week check up with the doc we were warned that because the boys were extremely identical (they measured and weighed the same to the oz at this point), we should be taking careful measures to identify them. He told me a story of a poor mom that had made an appointment in tears a few weeks after her babies were born, because she was hoping doctors could help her identify them. He said the emotional distress for a mom, in mixing her babies up, can be very traumatic. What do you do? Eeny Meeny Miny Moe and then just stick with it from then on out?

At this point I remember the wool incident and decide to take the doctor’s advice to paint George’s toenail. He’s man enough to pull off a single scarlet toe. He wore the paint until he was 6 months old, by which point there was no way I was going to get them mixed up. No-one else could tell them apart (even Dad struggled for a while) but I could, and I almost believe I always could.

Looking Back

I have been putting together my annual photo book this week and have been sifting through last year’s photos. Unfortunately I’ve come across a problem. Although in person I have no doubt who is who, photos are a different story. When people ask me how I tell them apart, I usually say George has a slight birthmark on his cheek, or Arthur is the tiniest but slimmer in the face. In reality I don’t look at any of those things, I can just see them. It’s a personality thing, the soul if you like. They have slightly different mannerisms, a different look in their eye. They hold their mouth slightly differently when they squeal. None of which can be seen in a photo. 

I have always dressed my boys in their own clothes. I love to coordinate their outfits but I never switch them – George has the blue hoody, Arthur the grey, and that doesn’t change. And thank goodness I have always done this because the only way I know who is who in this photo is that George wore the blue romper:

tell twins apart rompers

It is strange looking back on old photos because I think I’m seeing what other people see. Two identical babies. 

Moving Forward

I really don’t think I can remember outfit combos for more than a year at a time, so I’m going to have to keep up to date with my photo albums otherwise my past-babies are going to get all in a jumble. I bought the boys new clothes this week, adorable Batman and Superman t-shirts, and whenever I go shopping I have to decide who gets which outfit. As they have been Batman and Superman before, I thought it best to stick to the same superhero identity so as not to cloud my memory. So, from here on out, George will be Batman and Arthur will be Superman. Play nice now boys…

tell twins apart batman superman

Tell Twins Apart FI

I hope I’ve answered all your questions about how to tell twins apart, do let me know if I’ve missed something!

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Extraordinary Plates for People with Personality

Extraordinary Plates for People with Personality

This was to be a interior design post all about the different things you can hang on your walls. I was going to start with plates, but I got totally carried away, and I’m now delivering to you a whole blog post on plates… whoops. I had no idea how many creatively designed, extraordinary plates there were available, so I just have to share a few of my favorites.

extraordinary plates

** This post contains affiliate links.**

You can be sure that when you pull these out of the cupboard at dinner time, everyone is going to be surprised. And if you’re looking for a gift, there’s something for every personality…

For the Traveller

Map fanatics everywhere need to get their hands on the ‘City on a Plate’ collection by notNeutral. There are multiple cities to choose from other than classics like London and New York, and I love that some of the smaller cities like Austin make the cut. I’ve picked Seattle, Washington DC and Chicago to feature because they’re all cities I would love to visit and haven’t yet managed to yet. I’m thinking about making a dinnerware bucket list…

Seattle
Washington DC
Chicago

 

For the Casual Comedian

I was excited to find these plates by British designer Jimbobart available in the US, partly because I think they’re awesome. I’m also hope featuring them will remind my dear friend Max Halley that he needs to go to the post office and send a limited edition Jimbobart plate (only available at Max’s Sandwich Shop in London). If you’re in London, go get an epic sandwich. If you’re not, but you love good food, ducks and foul language, I highly recommend following @lunchluncheon on Instagram. You’re welcome Max… where’s my plate?

Doughnut Destroyer
Cake Crusader
Cheese Sloth

 

For the Fashion Lover

Who knew the eccentric french fashion designer Christian Lacroix had branched out into homeware? Amazing. 

The Christian Lacroix brand subsists through timeless values. The result is a fabulous and richly entwined universe, which can be continually reinterpreted, re-mixed and illuminated. (christian-lacroix.com)

I was just going to say these plates are really pretty, but – what he said.

Dona Jirafa
Queen Bull
Woman

 

For the Sci-Fi Geek

These Star Wars dessert plates are an absolute bargain, and come as a set of four – sorry Luc Skywalker, I didn’t have space for you. Despite their price, don’t underestimate how cool these plates would look on your wall, I love the monochrome simple design. Of course they’re good for cake too.

Yoda
Darth Vader
Storm Trooper

 

One for the Kids

These melamine delights from designer Jackie Shapiro are adorable, and I know my daughter Elsie will think they are totally cool. I love that each band member comes complete with their own instrument, and what kid won’t enjoy those bold colors? Bring out your kids’ inner musician, and dish them up some nuggets on these beauts…

Guitarist
Drummer
Singer

 

That’s it for today… I got so carried away with extraordinary plates I haven’t had a chance to think about anything else. Let me know what your favorites are!

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Cabin Fever: 5 Ways to Combat a Case of the Crazies

Cabin Fever: 5 Ways to Combat a Case of the Crazies

Last week brought with it the onset of cabin fever, and Thursday evening went a bit like this:

“When was the last time I left the house?” I started to tremble as the thought rushed through my mind.

“I’ve dropped and picked up Elsie from school, does that count?”

“I’m pretty sure it doesn’t because you don’t get out of the car.”

“Have I been to the grocery store?”

“I can’t even remember.”

“Do you realize you’re talking to yourself right now?”

My brain started to jitter, my eyes felt like they were sinking back into my head. Panic set in, along with the sudden urge to run down the street naked into the wind with my hair loosely flowing behind me. Then I remembered I don’t live on a farm surrounded by open lavender fields, and in fact live in a family friendly city neighborhood. Nudity was probably not an option, plus it’s January. However, if you’ve forgotten what’s outside your door, it’s probably time you left and found out. Time for a personal intervention.
cabin fever

What is Cabin Fever?

Cabin fever is not a formally diagnosed condition, and instead is associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) because it happens during the winter when people become housebound by the weather. Whoever came up with this linear connection has unlikely spent time as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). It’s even in the job title, they might as well rename us cabin-fever-moms (CFM). I assure you this condition can occur at anytime of year, and it’s severity is directional proportional to the number of young children you have. 

WebMD claims cabin fever will make you:

  • irritable;
  • unmotivated;
  • lethargic;

It’s basically a mental hangover that even fried food can’t cure. To be honest I had been feeling it all week, my children’s whining has been extraordinarily grating, and I even blogged less than usual. I’ve been crazy tired, yet waking in the middle of the night with to-do lists on auto-repeat. So… what’s the plan this week?

5 Methods to Combat a Case of the Crazies

On Saturday we booked a day sitter from 2-8pm. We have never done this before as we usually do date nights, not days. How novel… I went window shopping without the double stroller. It was actually pretty weird to be out and about without the babies. I soon realized that the only reason everyone is so kind and friendly is because they have love eyes for the Twinkies. In reality the general public don’t hold doors open, and don’t smile at each other – I’ve had rose tinted glasses on for the past 14-months. Still, I highly recommend it, you can even do happy hour and get home early enough to sleep it off. 

The obvious remedy for cabin fever is to leave the house as we did, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Here are some suggestions of how to pick up the mood while you’re stuck in mom jail:

Lay off the Carbs

‘Lean proteins high in omega-3 fatty acids have been repeatedly linked to improved moods, and many of these foods—like lean beef and wild salmon—are also high in B12 and vitamin D, nutrients important for emotional regulation.’ Brian Krans, Healthline.com

Carbs can make you feel bloated and sluggish, not very conducive to boosting your motivation. I’m not suggesting you go full Atkins diet, but try a meal a day without carbs, it’s surprisingly energizing and encourages you to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Look After your Gut

Many fail to realize that your gut is literally your second brain, and can significantly influence your mind, mood, and behavior. Your gut actually produces more mood-regulating serotonin than your brain does.’ Dr Mercola, mercola.com.

Dr Marcela explains the best way to look after your gut is to eat fermented foods. Unfortunately I don’t think he means drink more beer, he actually means foods such as yogurt, soy sauce, kimchi and sauerkraut. If you’re wondering ‘what am I supposed to do with that lot?’, take a look at 25 Ways to Use Sauerkraut… wow, how much sauerkraut can one person eat?

Refined sugars can not only negatively affect the brain, they also promote the growth of bad bacteria in the gut. So it’s less ice cream and more fermented veg I’m afraid. If that’s not enough to make you want to leave the house to binge at the mall food court I don’t know what will.

Gardening

I spent an hour in the backyard yesterday, despite the drizzly weather. Although I was still in the vicinity of the house, I got some fresh air, some exercise and a change of scenery. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re 3-feet deep in snow right now, but even if there’s a chill in the air, wrap up and have a tinker outside. The kiddos can join, little ones love weeding!

Exercise 

According to Mayo Clinic, exercise improves mood and helps with depression by:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

If you’re not the jogging stroller type, I would highly recommend a workout video. Kids love to bounce around and join in, and watching them doing warm-up stretches alone is enough to bring a smile to your face. It’s a win-win because laughter produces endorphins and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.

Relax

It’s extremely difficult to reduce stress when you are engulfed by children all day. As a working Mom of one child, I used to imagine the day of a SAHM filled with finger painting, reading books and long cuddles. In reality, children are surprisingly cranky, and a lot of the day is spent dealing with tantrums, bumped heads and fumbling around the cupboard to find alternatives to the lunch they’ve just thrown on the floor. They’re really very anti-social… can you imagine if adults behaved like-one year-olds do? We’d be arrested before the day was out.

Having said that, we need to find moments to relax, even if they are short. If your littles are young enough to still have naptime, make the time to sit quietly, read a book, drink tea, and all those wondrous things. If not, try your best to plan and assign a time when the children are likely to be chirpy (the boys are in the best mood immediately after breakfast) and use the opportunity to take some mom time out, even if you have to use Kids Netflix to babysit. I’m talking to myself as well as you, I am terrible at this and know it would help.

If daytime relaxation doesn’t get a look in, try some bedtime relaxation exercises to help switch off at the end of the day. I’m going to try the ‘The Relaxing Staircase Technique’ found at Mind Body Green this week.

 

Cabin fever intervention now in motion, I’m hoping for a more productive happy week. Are you feeling a case of the crazies? Do let me know if you have any genius remedies!

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This post is linked up here:

Diary of An Imperfect Mum
One Messy Mama
Hot Pink Wellingtons
Home Design Trends 2017: What’s Hot & What’s Not

Home Design Trends 2017: What’s Hot & What’s Not

In lieu of a nap time makeover this week, I’m getting some inspiration for home design trends 2017. What colors should you be looking towards to keep ahead of the trendy folk? What materials should we be considering for fixtures and fittings, and what’s the all round vibe for the year?

home design trends 2017

Following my New Year Resolutions, we will be looking at what’s hot and what’s not on a sliding scale, so keep up, it’ll get cold fast…

Home Design Trends 2017: What’s Hot & What’s Not

140°F Jewel Tones

Hooray for some new color in our lives. Forest greens, deep magenta… it’s all rather decadent with a little feel for the Moulin Rouge. I think it’s great, decor trends have been rather masculine or country twee for a while. It’s time to get sexy…

jewel-tone-sofa
Source: alexanderandjamessofas.com
 

I love this sofa by Alexander and James and the color is bang on trend for 2017. 

131°F Black Framed Glass

Whether it be an internal partition, an entry door or a shower cubicle, black framed glass is the way to go according to design trends 2017. I personally don’t want a big glassy door at the entrance of my home because it feels a little voyeuristic, but once in the house, it’s all fair game, love it.

black-steel-frame-glass
source: airows.com
 

124°F Dark Blue Kitchen Cabinets

It seems navy and blue/grey accents have become so popular these days people have started to paint their kitchen cabinets. I absolutely love this white and blue kitchen by Troughton Residential, if only we all have a kitchen big enough for one of those extra long island bars.

blue-kitchen-cabinets
source: www.troughtonresidential.com
 

105°F Cosiness & Texture

Chunky knit throws, velvet, reading nooks and layering. Is this a response to what many consider a rather bleak 2016? Who knows; but it seems we’re feeling the need for warmth and comfort in our lives. Whether these home design trends 2017 will last the summer is still to be seen… We don’t really do chunky knits in Arizona. 

cosy-bedroom
source: archerinteriors.com.au
 

See more of this modern Australian house by Archer Interiors here.

94°F Hexagon not Subway

Maybe you’re considering those gorgeous traditional hexagon mosaics you see in HGTV shows like ‘Rehab Addict’? Very on trend, but before you dive in, also consider something a little more daring, like these fantastic large hex tiles in the home of stylist Katy Thomas.

hexagon-tile-kitchen
source: adoremagazine.com
 

Other popular tile trends of 2017 include herringbone arrangement, patterned tiles and pretty much anything a little extraordinary. Step away from the subway tile though, it’s time is finally over.

89°F Mixed Patterns

According to Elle Decor,  because mixed patterns were big in New Year Fashion week, they are soon to hit our homes. They recommend this comforter from Nordstrom to go full mis-matched pattern, and I’m almost sold… almost.

mixed-print-comforter
source: nordstrom.com

70°F Edison Bulbs

“I’ve been over them for a while now, but I’m ready for them to die… Too many Brooklyn bars got really into the trend, and their ubiquity got stale really fast.” Says Orlando Soria, creative director at Homepolish. (Source: mydomaine.com)

Say it like it is Orlando, straight for the kill on the Edison bulbs. I do totally agree that they’ve been overdone but I’m not ready to take down my Edison Bulbs just yet.

edison-bulbs
source: houzz.com

 

58°F Copper, Rose Gold & Brass

domain.com‘s “experts almost unanimously agree that copper and rose gold will be out by 2017”

We do it to ourselves… like the subway tile and the Edison bulbs, it’s just been overdone. And cheap imitation copper products swarming low budget stores has ruined the luxury feel of it. Quantity too, a hint of rose gold is good… a hint. But that doesn’t mean every metal trim and vase in your home has to match. Apparently bronze is the new metal of choice, and like patterns, you’ve been given a trend pass to mix metals. 
copper-grey-decor
source: www.homedesignideas.eu 

Despite home design trends for 2017, I’m still rather enjoying this snippet of a home from ‘60 Lifestyle Home Design Ideas: Copper Madness‘.

40°F White on White

Thank goodness, people with kids can catch a break. The minimalist, Scandinavian white style has been hanging tight for some time now and grey was the color of choice for most in 2016. But we feel a need for color again, and walls are swinging towards warmer shades of taupe and ‘greige’. As for those that are looking for something more bold, mustard and avocado are back with a vengeance…

mustard-avo-color-palette
source: color.romanuke.com

32°F Macramé

Apologies to boho Pinterest folk everywhere, but the trend is passing… step away from your rope and give your fingers a rest. But do not fret my hippy friends, instead pop out and get yourself some artisan woven baskets. I’m personally excited for this 2017 trend because Arizona is busting with them and they bring texture and character to the home just like macramé did.

woven-baskets
source: pinterest.com

 


What’s hot and not in your decor plans for 2017? Are any of these home design trends 2017 floating your boat? Let me know what you think?

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This post is linked up here:

Hot Pink Wellingtons
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Double Trouble: Twins Behaving Badly

Double Trouble: Twins Behaving Badly

As I previously mentioned in ‘Toys for Twin Toddlers‘, my boys’ first birthday brought with it a sudden surge of squabbling. Unfortunately it hasn’t improved, and we have a major case of twins behaving badly. They’re adorable when they play together, giggle and cuddle each other, but they’re pretty infuriating when they fight over everything in sight, including Mommy cuddles. So… what’s happening, is it to be expected, and will it ever end?

twins behaving badly

Twins Behaving Badly: High Chair Theft

The double trouble pretty much started when they started feeding themselves. The temptation to snatch a little snack from your brothers high chair is just too much. The grass is always greener, and you’ll be sure his mac n cheese tastes better than yours. Drinks too, why bang one cup on your chair when you can grab your brothers sippy cup and have a full percussion kit? To start with there was little reaction from the inflicted twin, but as time went on they soon realized this is pretty annoying, especially when you want two cups to play with yourself.

Things have got progressively worse, and I even caught George stealing Arthur’s ham to feed to the dog below him last week. Naughty George, although quite genius – you wouldn’t want to waste your own ham on the dog now would you? Obviously this is easily remedied by increasing the distance between their high chairs, although Arthur has mastered the high chair shuffle which really is quite a talent.

And it’s not just high chair theft we’re dealing with either, I Tweeted this a couple of months a go…

Yes, poor George thought his brother was coming in for a kiss, when in fact he was after the cracker hanging out of his mouth at snack time. I now see why George wanted to feed Arthur’s ham to the dog.

Twins Behaving Badly: The Airplane 

Despite the success of their shared toys, there is still always something to fight over. Santa made the grave mistake of thinking the Little People airplane was of equal stature to the Little People tractor and trailer. I assure you it is not. Everyday we have tug-of-war over the darn airplane, good job Santa. They will fight over the plane until one gives up and cries, only so they can press the pilot’s chair which plays the exact same tune as the farmer’s chair on the tractor… I’m happy they’re both aspiring pilots though, does that mean I’ll get free upgrades?

Twins Behaving Badly: Just Outright Territorial

The TV seems to be a hot spot for the Twins behaving badly. Despite the 40″ screen it seems there is only space for one of them to stand immediately in front of it at the TV stand. One will barge the other out of the way with an impressively tough butt smack, knocking their brother to the ground in a snotty pool of tears.

Then there’s Mom and Dad, the best prizes of all. When Arthur comes for a cuddle he will glance around to get his brother’s attention, just so he can pass him a smug grin… “Look, Mommy is cuddling me and not you.” Of course this is retaliated with the immediate requirement for a double cuddle, just darling you might think. And yes, there’s a moment when you have two adorable bundles in your arms, a head on each shoulder. Living the twin mom dream.

But it quickly gets competitive. Who can get closer to Mommy’s face? Who can climb higher onto her shoulder and get more direct body contact? It seems winning this Contest of Mom Hugs depends on three things:

  • Maximum height reached while climbing Mom;
  • Amount of eye contact with Mom;
  • Surface area of baby body making direct Mom contact;

Because it is impossible to take a photo during a Contest of Mom hugs I have constructed a diagram to help.

twin-pickle-cuddles
oh… what lovely cuddles…

As you can see, at this point I can still see out of one eye, but soon the second baby will catch up and it will just be a big bundle of competitive face hugging.

Twin Escalation Syndrome: It has an Actual Name

“Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES) is the tendency for multiples to intensify and expand their behaviors in reaction to each other. For example, when Twin A cries, Twin B cries louder. In turn, Twin A cries even louder. And so on… Until the parent are crying the loudest of all.” (Pamela Brindle Fierro, verywell.com)

Yep, that pretty much sums it up Pamela, who goes on to say it’s ‘incurable”… sigh.

But, all is not doom and gloom, Pamela does offer sensible suggestions on how to control TES:

  • Separation. Now I’m sure no-one is suggesting this as a permanent measure, but I did find it necessary on occasions when Arthur’s screaming was so loud it used to make George cry. More on that here in ‘A New Challenge Every Month‘.
  • Distraction. We find the ‘high five’ works well at the moment. And if all else fails there’s always Cheerios.
  • Reduce Competition. Hmm… this is a tough one. It’s not like I’m sat there saying “look, George is covering more of my face that you are.” I can see when they’re older I can explain it is time for George’s cuddle, and time of Arthur’s cuddle, but for now I think I’m just going to have to deal with the face scramble and referee where possible.
  • Remain Calm. Well, yes, wouldn’t that be nice.

If there’s no cure… Will it ever end?

I’m pretty sure the answer here is no. Twins are inherently competitive, even though it is common for one to be dominant over the other. The identical twin NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly claim there is no competitiveness between them, however in interview with Time magazine…

“Scott flew first,” Mark says,
“but I flew twice before he got his second flight. Then I flew my third before he did.”
(Interview with Jeffrey Kluger, Time)

Come on boys, you’re both grown men and successful astronauts, time to stop fighting over the Little People airplane.

Bon’t worry, I can’t leave without some twin cuteness…

Despite all the whining and fighting, the Twins do absolutely adore each other’s company and make the best play companions (when food, the plane, TV or Mom are not involved). Even the dog agrees…

Have you got competitive twins or siblings? If so, do share!

twin-pickle-signature

 

 


This post is linked up here:

One Messy Mama
Ideas for Laundry Rooms: Naptime Makeover

Ideas for Laundry Rooms: Naptime Makeover

It’s not sexy and exciting, but most of us have one. It’s easy to ignore, but you’re probably spending more time in the laundry room than you would like. When was the last time you stepped back and thought about design ideas for laundry rooms? For me it’s been a while; although I did have a client about 4 years ago who was very particular about a jam making station in her utility room – safe to say she was more domesticated than I am.

ideas for laundry rooms

I have a crisis going on in my laundry room, and I’m pretty limited on space, time and budget. But, I like to dream a little, so lets see what fancy people with time and money are doing and get some inspiration before I get stuck into another Naptime Makeover.

Ideas for Laundry Rooms

Jumbo Scale:

Caliterra Parade Home - Dripping Springs, Texas
 
This is one serious laundry room, designed by Texan based Architects, Geschke Group. I love the herringbone floor, it makes all the difference to this space; and you can’t go wrong with traditional shaker cabinetry. Do notice the barn door in the foreground with the black hardware, perfect.

Small Scale:

Living Spaces
 
We don’t all have Texan scale laundry rooms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be tidy and stylish. This is a laundry cupboard – double doors, a modern counter top, a couple of cabinets and a little bit of bling with the backdrop… and why not.
 

Traditional

Holley Residence
 
If you love traditional, country, beachfront homes, check out the rest of this gorgeous house designed by Geoff Chick & Associates. The painted shiplap and open shelving bring a cosy comfort to a luxurious pad. And don’t forget the traditional laundry baskets.

The Clean Look

Courtsfield Ave.

No room in my house has ever been this clean, however the look is enhanced by the shining white work surfaces and the bright white mosaic wall. This more sensibly scaled room is the work of Barlow Reid Design. I love the idea of having a hanging rail, and there’s something wonderful about a ridiculously neat pile of folded fluffy towels. Or is that just me?

For a more Masculine Look

Clean Lined Transitional Home
 
If you need a bit more bachelor pad into your laundry room, go dark cabinetry, stainless steel, black countertops and tiling to match. But hang on… these guys have double machines – yes, people actually do that! Not so bachelor pad now are we Mr Practical Family Man?

For the dog lover

Roswell Home
 
A bit like jam stations, I had no idea this was a thing – a dog washing station in your laundry room – it sound dangerous to me. Just make sure you’ve put away the clean laundry before you get the dog wet. I absolutely love the blue subway, it goes perfectly with my pooch’s eyes. I can’t resist, here’s just one more…
 
Home in Toronto 8
 

Ideas for Laundry Rooms – Naptime Makeover

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However mundane it may seem, the laundry room is the first room I see when I get home and the last thing I see when I go out. We, like many, have a laundry room that connects the garage to the rest of the house, so it’s essentially our welcome lobby. This is what I, and any guests arriving from the airport, see when they enter my house…

laundry room ideas

“Welcome to my humble abode… did I tell you I have a Architecture degree?”

Yes, in the 18months we have lived in our home I haven’t even managed to remove the efficiency sticker from our washing machine. Time for an intervention. I have a very tiny space, a timescale to match, and a pretty non-existent budget, but surely anything’s an improvement on the above?

I decided my main problems with the space were:

  • Clutter. Since I had the Twins, my organizational skills have gone out the window, and I’m suffering from a major case of Chaotic Mom Syndrome. I definitely need to do some sorting, it’s a mess.
  • The Cabinets. They are the cheapest, most basic cabinets you could get in 1987, complete with plastic handles.
  • Lack of anything pretty at all.

In de-cluttering I also thought about storage. I had a good browse of various storage boxes, baskets and bags – things that would be practical, yet bring some style into the space. Then I had to tackle the cabinets. I decided the only advantage of the crappy cabinets I had was that they were flat, so I decided to alter them to create a shaker style cabinet door. Here’s how I went about it:

Creating Shaker Cabinet Doors from Existing Flat Doors

DIY cabinetry

  1. Cut 3 inch planks from 5mm plywood. I used a ‘project board’ piece which costs less than $10.
  2. Fix the plywood strips to the face of your cabinet doors using cabinet tacks (tiny nails). I tried using ‘heavy duty instant grip adhesive’ and it was a nightmare. You need so many clamps to hold it while it sticks and it peeled off overnight anyway. Nails work… although as you can see by the picture, you curse a lot because those tiny nails bend easily! And I lost my tape measure so was stuck using the one from my sewing kit.
  3. Fill the cracks between planks and the tiny nail holes using wood filler. Sand when dry.
  4. Prime and paint.

To be honest, I surprised myself with the outcome. They looks great, and it cost a total of $30 by the time I had bought primer, paint and wood filler. I even had a couple of new handles left over from our kitchen remodel so that cost me nothing.

Nap time Makeover Results

This was a bigger makeover than one nap time, especially because I had paint drying time to account for. But I did finish over a couple of days and it’s totally worth it. Here’s the result:

laundry-room-makeover

It’s not high glamour but it is tidy, and the splash of blue with the storage baskets makes all the difference. I even have somewhere to hang my bag, which is needed now the Twins enjoy pulling everything out of it. The cabinets are quite the transformation, although difficult to see in the pictures due to our fluorescent light – I think I’ll look into changing that and get myself a prettier light fitting to go with my prettier laundry room. I spent very little and picked up the extras bits to finish it off from Target. I even used my Red Card and saved an extra 5%, winner winner chicken dinner.

Total $98

laundry room makeover

 

For a couple of hours work and less than $100 I think it went pretty well. What do you think? Feeling inspired to do something about your laundry room?

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Child Fashionista: Cringe and Smile

Child Fashionista: Cringe and Smile

As a child fashionista myself, I distinctly remember picking out a pair of leggings from C&A in the late eighties. THEY WERE AWESOME. White with multicolored swirls on them, a bit like lollipops melting in a tornado. Sky blue, red, yellow, no color was excluded, I was equal rights right from the start. To go with, C&A were offering a bright blue t-shirt with one giant lollipop tornado in the center, perfect. I looked at my Mom with puppy dog eyes, my Mom looked at my sister, 7 years my senior, and the coolest person I knew at that point. And there it was… cringe and smile.

At the time I thought they had no idea… This outfit was The Bomb, and I was going to be rocking it at the roller disco that very evening. Unfortunately, while waiting for my pick-up a few hours later a bunch of horrible older boys walked past, laughing and pointing at my outfit. I wanted the world to open a hole right there and swallow me up. My sister and Mom were right… the t-shirt was too much. I wore the leggings many times after that, but convinced the t-shirt had pushed the assemble over the edge, I never wore it again.

child fashionista cat

My husband and I have since quoined the phrase – “I love a bit of wacky.” This is nothing to do with wacky-backy or unusual bedroom preferences, simply that although my fashion tastes are fairly mainstream and filled with monochrome, jeans and cardigans; I like to throw in a bit of flare every now and again. A wacky color pair of shoes, a crazy print here and there, and his personal favorite ‘the yellow blazer’. If I am asked my opinion on something that he is considering a little too crazy, my response is and will always be ‘I love a bit of wacky.’ Because I do.

Despite leaving my child fashionista behind, it was only inevitable that my daughter would end up the same way. She is six and three quarters (you all know the quarters are important) and has been dressing herself for a while. A couple of years ago I would pick her clothes out for her but she’s old enough to know what to do… or so you’d think. If you’ve read ‘Why are you still naked?‘ you’ll know some days I’m lucky if she puts on any clothes at all.

What amazes me is that Elsie has quite the selection of nice clothes. Some bought my myself, some lovingly sent over from Grannies in France and England. Yet, why does she always pick the washed out psychedelic zebra print running shorts I bought from Walmart last year, as ‘a little bit of wacky’ to wear under a skirt and stop the constant knicker flashing. No more knicker flashing occurs because we don’t wear skirts anymore, just the tiny psychedelic shorts instead… I tried to sneak them into the recycling pile a few months ago. Totally busted and they are now back in her drawers. Tops – she has numerous fancy numbers from Jacardi, Paris – beautiful and expensive. But no… always the M&M t-shirt we brought her back from Vegas.

So, should I just leave her – cringe and smile? Or do I intervene when it’s just so awful I can’t bear it? My parenting guru tells me to allow her to pick her own outfits, gain independence, and confidence in her own style and identity. My public mom-shame streak wants everyone to see my family with rose-tinted glasses. Those families you see at Church with coordinated outfits, collared shirts that remain tucked in at all costs, and perfect Lego hair doesn’t seem to move at all.

My parenting guru got a boost when Elsie started a new Montessori School last August. In the welcome handbook it asked that during out-of-school hours we allow our children to pick their own clothes and dress themselves, for the very reasons I mentioned above. Guru wins, down with the Lego hair. But recently I’ve been struggling, we’ve had some child fashionista corkers, so I decided to share. We did a little fashion show, Elsie picks three outfits from her wardrobe and Mom does the same. Here’s the difference:

Child Fashionista 

child fashionista

  1. First up we have leggings bought for Christmas 2015 which came with a navy reindeer top. The top was outgrown this year but the leggings unfortunately still have plenty of give, meaning they need a new companion. Cue the hideous fleece top bought from Walmart in an emergency ‘I had no idea how cold Flagstaff was’ situation. It is literally all they had in her size and we had 20mins to get to the North Pole. Of course, it is now a favorite…
  2. Those shorts… they are literally the stuff of parent nightmares but she loves them. They either get worn with this t-shirt, or something so long it looks like she’s not wearing any pants at all.
  3. I love this dress, she looks adorable in it, the boots too. But somehow with these two comes her ‘little bit of wacky’ in the striped socks that I literally bought for wacky sock day at school. But you know what, I’ll let her off this one, the splash of flare is tickling my wacky streak.

Forgotten Child Fashionista – aka Boring Mom

child fashionista

  1. This was a recent purchase and sparked this blog post. As Elsie seems determined to stick with elasticated waists I thought this tunic sweater from J Crew was the perfect replacement for the Walmart hearts above.
  2. She was actually pretty happy I picked this t-shirt. “I love this cat, I had totally forgotten about it!” Win for Mom as long as it doesn’t end up on top of the psychedelic running shorts. 
  3. You just can’t go wrong with blue stripes, can you?

But hang on a minute…

I carried out this exercise to have a play around with my new photography equipment, have fun with Elsie and blog about kids picking wacky clothes. What came next was totally unexpected. Take a look at the two photographs, what do you see?

In the top picture I see and six-year-old. In the bottom photo I see a nine-year old. I do prefer the clothes, don’t get me wrong, but am I dressing a kid or am I dressing myself? In my post ‘Totally Impractical Baby Clothes we all Love to Buy‘ I talk of the urge to dress your baby like Justin Bieber. Why are we insistent on dressing our children like grown ups? Do I want my 9-year-old dressing like a 16-year-old? No. Do I want my 12-year-old dressing like an 18-year-old… definitely not. So what kind of example am I setting when I’m making her dress older now? Hmm… food for thought.

What does Montessori teaching have to say about it?

I decided to delve deeper into why Elsie’s Montessori school had requested that she dress herself. Tips for letting your child dress him/herself published by Apple Montessori Schools says:

“When your child is old enough to dress him or herself, it may be time to teach them that polka dots and stripes don’t match.”

Oh… unexpected. So I am allowed to give fashion advice? It seems offering limited choices is a reasonable method in teaching a child to dress themselves. To be honest, the reason Elsie forgot about the cat t-shirt is because too many clothes float around in her drawers. The classic Montessori classroom is filled with neutral colors and natural tones. Montessori by Mom suggests a similar approach to clothing:

“If you are concerned about colors and patterns clashing, it’s easy to control for this by sticking to neutrals or mix-and-match styles.”

So it’s not out of question to expect your child to conform to certain fashions; you give them the choice but limited with a mom fashion-filter. But is it really giving your child the freedom to express themselves? Isn’t it like saying you can eat anything you want… as long as it’s a cheese sandwich because that’s all I’ve got? A sneaky method of control when you’re promoting freedom of speech. Am I a communist? I feel confused I know that much.

” When she picks out her own clothes and walks down the stairs saying, “Look at what I picked out?!” It’s important to give her the satisfaction of saying she did a good job. If a child makes a fashion faux pas, it’s not the end of the world.”(Apple Montessori Schools)

That much I can agree with.

What am I going to do about it?

  • Sort through Elsie’s clothes and purge. Her personal favorites that I want to get rid of (aka psychedelic running shorts) will be put to one side and a conversation will be had. They are too small, they are worn out, they have to go.
  • Pack away clothes that don’t fit the season. We had a tiny summer romper on at the weekend in early Jan. We might live in Arizona but she was still freezing at lunch – don’t worry I did make her wear a token cardigan.
  • Organize clothes so that the newly reduced selection is fully visible. Although I’ve thrown out some of her favorites, there are gems lurking at the bottom of the drawers.
  • Cringe and smile. Let her wear wacky socks and mis-match a little. Try to give advice if you think she’ll end up on the wrong side of a roller-disco bully, but let her be her.

After all, we all love a little bit of wacky.
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Diary of an imperfect mum
What’s Hot and Not for 2017? New Year Resolutions

What’s Hot and Not for 2017? New Year Resolutions

It’s 2017 people, and that means its time for optimism and planning. This year will be better than last year… it’s important to believe it, even if you’re proved wrong by the end of the month. So, what’s about to change for 2017? When coming up with New Year resolutions, you can end up with a long list. So instead, I’m thinking about what’s hot and not for 2017. This helps me:

  • Prioritize. What’s THE most important thing I want to achieve this year?
  • Add and Delete. Don’t just add a whole bunch of new stuff to your life, and don’t omit everything either. Find a balance – what’s hot and not for 2017.
  • Sliding Scale. Maybe something new isn’t quite what you thought it would be? Maybe it slides down the scale. That’s OK… organic fluidity baby.

Without further ado, here’s my plan for a better year – what’s hot and not for 2017?

What's hot and not for 2017

120°F Time

Unfortunately Santa did not bring me a time machine as requested – I was obviously on the naughty list. After spending every moment of 2016 in the company of the Twins I can safely say I am going insane. I will be investing in time to myself, and get a regular babysitter/nanny for a couple of afternoons of freedom. I am more than excited about this, cue little mom jig…

101°F Photography

Blogging is a multi-skilled endeavor and it’s time to up my game. My husband was kind enough to kit me out with all sorts of computer and photography goodies for my December birthday, so I’m pretty much at ‘all the gear and no idea’ stage. 2017 is officially going to be prettier than 2016. (I know you noticed the new look of the site already 😉

98°F Walking

More walking for the me and the dog, we both need more fresh air and exercise. Our dog is getting so fat from all the highchair appetizers, her legs are starting to disappear, intervention required. Any walking at all by the Twins would also be good, come on twinkies… you’re 13months, you can do it. Of course once walking is mastered my walking is going to be upgraded to running, in two opposite directions at once.

83°F House Plants

In the past, we haven’t been big on house plants. Partly because I have a talent for killing them, partly because we used to travel a lot and this often finished off the ones I hadn’t already murdered. Now we have three kids we’re just not so jet set… so, project house plant commences. They look great and they are increase air quality, win win. There will no doubt be casualties along the way, but we’ll get there.

72°F Black

Black accents in the home – picture frame, coffee tables, door handles, window frames… yes, everything is looking cool in black right now. And it doesn’t stop there – when I left my profession as an Architect I made an effort to wear less black. I thought I needed more color in my life but I was wrong. I want my black back and because I don’t practice Architecture at the moment I’m not even a cliche.

68°F Sleep

I have three kids and I’m tired. I’ve spent the past few months trying to get more sleep, but whether I get it or not, I’m still tired anyway. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that when you’re in your mid thirties and you have three kids you are going to be more tired than you were ten years ago. That’s OK, take it easy when you need to and stop freaking out about getting more sleep, because frankly it’s not going to happen any time soon.

54°F The Gym

Following ‘To Gym or Not to Gym?’ I did quit my membership, and I have no plans to return just yet. It’s difficult to find the time to go, and your conscience tortures you all day long until you get there. Having said that, I do want to be healthy and fit – see ‘walking’ above, and I want to get back into yoga… it’s been a while and I miss it. Good for the body and the mind.

49°F Illness

We have spent the past three months battling cold after cold. Strep throat, ear infections, weazing, rashes… ugh. I’m done. Everyone is on the mend now and I’m ordering the whole family to stay that way. More fun, less snot please.

41°F Meat

We eat too much of it. All of us. I’m not going vegetarian just yet, but I will be eating less meat in 2017. If you’re not aware of the impact mass farming is having our environment and ecosystem, I highly recommend doing some reading. The basics are covered on whyeatlessmeat.com and if you haven’t seen the documentary Cowspiracy I highly recommend it, quite the eye opener. My Mom is going to read this in horror because I grew up on a beef farm, which she still runs. Sorry Mom.

32°F Super Mom 

I put my hands up… I tried it and it’s not healthy. You can’t do it all. So, along with ‘time‘ as featured above, I am going to stop doing it all. I’m not picking up the shoes that are constantly scattered all over the house – put them somewhere tidy yourself. I’m not picking up your knickers from the kitchen floor every morning (don’t ask), do it yourself. Tidy your own room; I’m not the only person that can make a bed; and it is possible for a man to work the washing machine. Goodbye Super Mom, welcome Delegator.

 

So come on, spill the beans, what’s hot and not for 2017 in your life?

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Hot Pink Wellingtons
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