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What Do Babies Play With?

Okay you guys I have a baby question. Our little guy is 3 months old and he is now more independent and enjoys playing on his own. This is great because we can grab a sandwich, answer the doorbell or take a phone call without him freaking out, squirming and totally melting down. PROGRESS. But. I did something I thought I’d never do and bought a play mat that is obnoxiously colorful, loud, silky, shiny, plastic and well, just NOT pretty. The designer in me is going a little nuts having it sitting in the middle of the living room.

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And the stupid thing is not even “correct” because what rainforest has elephants and zebras? Thing is, Aidan got on that damn play mat and BOOM! I turned on the music and lights and he was silent. He stared upwards as the plastic animals dangled all around putting him into a baby trance. The hypnotic music played (the same music I now hear every second of the day even when it’s off) and sent him into baby lalaland. Oh yes, it was SHOWTIME and now he loves the mat. His eyes glowed like two bright stars – it was love at first sight. How can I deny him of THAT?

So I’m embracing the whole ugly plastic mainstream toy thing. Well okay, that’s a lie because I’m not embracing it. I’m tolerating it. The above monstrosity is the Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym and he is happy as a clam underneath it and well, that’s enough for me. When people come over to hang out, I sort of push it behind something because I never wanted to be that couple with a house that is littered with primary color toys that clang, bang and light up but I fear it WILL HAPPEN though I’m going to limit the number with hopes that I can maintain a stylish home while also maintaining a very happy baby boy.

Yeah. In my dreams you say.

Some of you may think it’s selfish to think about things like how my house looks, but I care not to please others but to please myself. I don’t want my home to look like Toys R Us. Can anyone relate?

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So what do babies play with other than these play mat things? We have other little “toys” in the form of rattles and crunchy things and soft blocks. I sing to him a lot. We do tummy time. I know what to do to snap him out of his grumpy time and make him giggle. But he cannot sit upright and I can only make so many crazy faces and sing out of key for so long in a single day. What keeps your baby happy, interested and but is also educational or at least fun and not going to send him to a therapist someday?

I know lots of you will want to jump through the screen and beat me up for this but we’ve watched two episodes of Wallykazam online and HE LOVED IT. I think maybe one episode a week is cool. Is that okay though? I mean, watching an educational cartoon at 13 weeks old won’t fry his brain will it?

Chime in you guys!

(image: holly becker)

Posted in baby, kids on May 13, 2014

Our Book Party Photos From Vancouver

Hello everyone! I’m just thrilled to share our book party photos from our first book party for Decorate With Flowers held in Vancouver this past Friday. It was hosted by the super gorgeous interior design store, The Cross who helped us so much on our shoots loaning us props for our book. Lovely Leslie Shewring, the author, was on the scene signing books and making flower arrangements for guests to purchase and take away. It was such a gorgeous event that I had to share it with you because we are both so proud! thecross11

All of these photos were shot by Vancouver-based photographer Janis Nicolay? She photographed most of the Canadian interiors in our book. Naturally, she had to be at the book party to share in the fun of the evening. We were so thrilled when she offered to take some photos to capture the spirit of the event. I wish we could have her travel with us and shoot all of our events – she is one of the best photographers out there – I love her eye and style.

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The lady in the middle has her home in our book, her name is Kate Horsman. The stunning woman to her right is her mom and to her left, her equally beautiful sister. What a gorgeous group. Thank you Kate for lending us your home to shoot in – we loved styling one of our entertainment shots in your dining room with your incredible white piano!

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This is Leslie with Megan Close (The Media Relations Manager for The Cross) and Stephanie Vogler (owner of The Cross). These ladies went above and beyond for our book and for this event – we are honored! Thank you so much.

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Leslie with one of the professional photographers who helped shoot Decorate With Flowers, the talented Janis Nicolay, who also writes Pinecone Camp. We love you Janis!

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Leslie shown above with some of our guests, fans who love Decorate With Flowers and Leslie’s blog. I wish I could have been there but soon when my baby Aidan is older, I can start traveling to some of the upcoming events we have in the pipeline. Thank you again to The Cross for this beyond beautiful event that you hosted for us and for selling out of all of our books! Yay!

Our next flower party is in the plans in North America and also in the UK and Europe, but we still need to finalize everything. When we do, I’ll post our events on decor8 so you possibly may join us. To learn more about our new book, please visit our Decorate With Flowers website which is loaded with gorgeous photos for you to use on your blog and to pin to your Pinterest page.

(photography: janis nicolay)

Posted in Books + Magazines, events + markets on May 12, 2014

Food In Motion: Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Would you like to make some Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies with me today? Hello, it’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. I’ve been longing for strawberry season, and am SO happy it’s now on! My picky 4-year-old daughter happens to love them too, so we share a passion for the little sweet & red fruit. We started planting our own strawberry plants a few weeks ago in our greenhouse and it’s so much fun seeing how their pretty blossoms come out, then produce the fruit and turn into these delicous red berries. It’s even more fun to see my daughter’s eyes light up when she discovered the first berries. It was obvious we should bake something this time using our strawberries. I opted for an easy and child-friendly chocolate cookie recipe, filled with cream and strawberries and topped with a second cookie. These little delicious stacks were devoured in no time!

Strawberry Plants

While I was working on the little film, I was also negotiating with a girl in California named Taylor, wrapping up the deal that she would come visit us this summer to be our AuPair for two months. We were emailing and talking through our summer plans when she told me that she was also a musician and songwriter. I asked her if she would send me some of her music, and she sent me her song „home“! I listened to it and really liked Taylor’s music! The song fit in with the theme of my film perfectly because that is exactly what I felt filming my daughter in the greenhouse and baking with me. These small things make me feel ‘home’!

Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies (makes 10)

1 cup of butter
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
whipping cream
strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the butter and sift in the sugar and salt. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and cocoa and mix with the electric mixer. Chop the chocolate into little pieces and add to the dough. Knead with hands, form a ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to 1/6 inches thickness. Use a round cookie cutter (approx. 3 inches diameter) and cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to baking sheets, bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.

Beat the cream into whip cream and put a dollop onto half of the cookies. Cut the strawberries in small pieces and place them on top of the cream. Assemble a second cookie on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Strawberry Stacks
What makes you feel ‘home’? Please feel free to comment below. – See you next month! – Liz

(images/text/video: Liz & Jewels)

Posted in food, Food In Motion on May 12, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day (to many types of ladies)

Hello everyone. I want to first say Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who read this blog and have beautiful children that you cherish enormously, make huge sacrifices for, and do everything you can to make happy. You rock. As a new mother, I can relate to being a mom finally and it feels really, really good. It is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life to give birth to my little boy. But this post is also to other ladies out there who maybe had children and lost them (miscarriage, stillbirth, health problems, accidents, etc.) and to those other wonderful ladies who want children so badly but cannot have them due to health issues – of course you can adopt which is actually the most beautiful thing a woman can do in addition to having her own child, but some of you cannot adopt either because you aren’t financially in that space or it is taking forever to find a child to adopt. In any case, I want to give you all a huge hug, tons of support and love, and much faith that things somehow work out in the long run, in some way, some how. I want to wish you all a happy mother’s day. Let me introduce to you two sisters, one is my mother and the other, my aunt. One is a mother, one never could be.

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This is my mother in her graduation photo taken in the 1960s. Beautiful, right? She is flying here to see us and meet her first grandchild, Aidan our son, in less than two weeks. We can’t wait to welcome her! My mother only had me – she may have had more children but her marriage to my father wasn’t a strong or loving one. In fact, I was born right after they separated (and got back together) when she was 24 years old. Within a few months after they jump started their marriage again, she was pregnant with me and then, I was born. If they’d hadn’t gotten back together, I wouldn’t be here today. So I’m grateful they gave it a second change. I’m an only child and though I would have loved to have had a brother, it just wasn’t possible. I respected my mother’s decision to just have me and grew up feeling very honored and happy to have her all to myself in many ways. She was and still is a wonderful mother. I can’t wait to introduce her to my son!

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See this lady above? This is my mother’s sister. She passed away from cancer in her early 40’s. She always wanted children, so very badly in fact, but her health wouldn’t allow for it. Instead of letting it destroy her (she was so in love with kids!), she used her talent as a fine artist to also teach her methods to children and adults alike. She had her own school! When she died, her young students attended her services and made her beautiful goodbye gifts. She also treated me like gold and as her own daughter. She sent me lovely handmade gifts growing up from her travels, including things she made for me – art, a dollhouse, clothing, bears, dolls, etc. She and my mother put art, craft and a love for decorating and flowers into my heart as a wee little girl and today, my career is based around the very things she and my mother helped grow in me. I put her photo somewhere in all of my books, in fact – not in obvious places but I know they’re there. She is always with me. I will always love her. She may not have been my mother, or anyone else’s mother, but she was a born mother in any case – tender, loving, warm, giving and completely in love with little ones.

Again, I wish all of you ladies a beautiful mother’s day. ALL of you, in whatever circumstances you are in. I say this because I remember when mother’s day came and went each year and I still didn’t have a baby to call my own. Sometimes I would sit on my bed huddled up in a ball and just sob in my pillow – I didn’t understand how I’d ever have time to have a family, if I even could get pregnant once I did try, I wanted a little one so badly but the years rolled by and I thought I had plenty of time. Last year I realized I didn’t and decided it was now or never and I very luckily, almost miraculously, got pregnant for the first time with no help. And now my son is 3 months old and purring nearby sleeping as I type this. I never felt so much love in my life.

So to all of you ladies out there: Happy Mother’s Day.

– Holly xo

 

Posted in uncategorized on May 11, 2014

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