Happy Friday: War Cry

by Cat on September 21, 2012

What I would give to see inside of a little boy’s mind. Conquer. Divide. Save. Spit. I just had to  share this photo of Designing Mom Jackie’s son having a romping good time with the boys for his birthday.
Here’s to a Happy Friday and weekend!


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Make: Fort

by Cat on August 16, 2011

by Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado and Papaya:
I just love when the boys are delighted by quicky DIY projects that not only recycle things we have laying around the house, but inspire them to expand their play into creative new arenas. Over the weekend I put together a fort for the boys in all of five minutes (plus a little extra consultation time with my junior architects about location), inspired by G’s (age 6) newfound love of camping (at least the pretend version). Made of string and burlap repurposed from this party, this summer time abode has an instant hit with the littles!
I had two eager builders excited to help with the construction. We borrowed some wickets from our croquet set to ground the sides, and I put G & S to work hammering them in with their mallets. (If you don’t have a croquet set, a simple hammer and thick nails will do the trick). I threw in a blanket and some pillows to make it more comfy and the boys crawled right in. Today it was the perfect spot for a lazy lunch al fresco, followed by some lounging and quality time with their current favorite books (Where the Wild Things Are and Trashy Town).  And, of course, a hard to resist location for a doting mom’s photo shoot! A little burlap can go a long way!

Here is a link to the complete post.


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Make: Preschool Year Book

by Cat on June 14, 2011

Without fail, Designing Mom Jackie always wows me with her projects. This time it’s her preschool year book.  Let’s just say she’s set the creative bar high for this lucky little graduating class!

by Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado and Papaya

As the school year comes to a close, many of us parents scramble to figure out the perfect way to send a little love to the teachers who take care of our kiddos day in and day out. I’ve often found myself in that predicament, trying to dream up something perfect and settling for a gift card in the end because I run out of steam, time, or brilliant ideas. Not that there is anything wrong with a gift card (many teachers actually prefer them), but when time permits, I like to go the handmade route to show our teachers just how much they mean to me and my little lads.

This year, a great opportunity to do just that fell right in my lap. One of the parents in Simon’s (my almost 3 year-old) preschool class asked for help putting together a “year book” with photos of all the kids for all the parents and teachers. I quickly volunteered to help with this project, excited for the opportunity to document his adorable school and even more adorable classmates in all their glory. Here’s a peek of the cover:

We asked each parent to submit a photograph of their kid and a quote describing their favorite thing about school. The quotes and photos are equally adorable – such cuties. I gave each child their own page so that their individuality would really shine. Some of the quotes were hilarious, it’s a very clever bunch. I also asked each of Simon’s teachers for a picture of themselves when they were younger. I scanned their black and white photographs and inserted them in the book with a quote about their favorite thing about the school year. The kids are going to flip when they see their teachers as little girls! Here’s what Simon’s page looks like:

To mix up the format a bit, I interspersed these pages with images from around the school and classroom. Then I paired them together and organized them by the seven days of the week, which was my favorite part of this project. The school has so many vintage treasures,

it was hard to pick.

I printed the books through My Publisher and am really pleased with the color and quality (and they send you coupons galore when you register, which helps too ). They arrived yesterday and I wrapped each one with some string and a name tag for each child and one each for the teachers. I will hand them out at our class picnic later this week, I’m excited to share the book with everyone!

Now that the book is printed, wrapped and ready to go, I have to face the reality that school is almost over and my little one is not so little any more. Boo hoo…

Happy Summer!


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Finally, sunshine breaking through weeks of cloudy uncertainty here in San Francisco.  It’s about time for those of us in the city to start thinking about tree houses and other summer paraphenilia.  Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado & Papaya has a great roundup of inspiring tree houses for summer dreaming…have a look!


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Apps for Kids

by Cat on May 31, 2011

by Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado and Papaya

I’m still a newbie when it comes to the world of apps, but am increasingly appreciating how loading up my iphone with just the right ones can certainly make my life easier. And more stylish. And more organized. And instantly save me a la Mary Poppins when I’m in a pinch with the kiddos. I surveyed our designing moms to see which apps they recommend for their work, play and the kiddos. A special thank you to Designing Mom Mari for her contribution to this post. Here is a round-up of some favorites.

For Kids:

  • Paper Town – Adorable paper doll animals that are great for boys and girls, sweet papercut illustrations!
  • Doodlejump – Better for older kids, but the function is easy – keep the little jumper moving upwards on the mini platforms by tilting the phone. Easy and addictive.
  • Interactive Alphabet by Pi’ikea – Every letter leads to an illustration with hidden features to find, nice sound effects, and constant interaction. My 2 year old enjoys this one longer than most. Which is saying something!
  • Anorak Mag – This Brit mag’s app has a little of everything or kids over 3-4. There’s read along stories, a couple of fun games (whack-a-mole!!) and sketching. All with the adorable sounds of a little British Child narrating along! The illustrations are bright and graphic too.
  • Balloonimals – To make the balloon animals – you actually blow into the phone! Then you shake and shake to make the creature. My Tot has already figured it out, and the animals and animation are top notch.
  • Peekaboo Forest – Includes quieter, subdued illustrations that will remind you of BInth and Dwell Studio. Touch the images to see various animals peek out, with sound effects and the word for reinforcement. Beautiful to look at.
  • Scoops – Lets you tilt your screen left or right to sort falling scoops of ice cream. You can make patterns with same-colored scoops, while dodging the veggies.
  • iWriteWords – Turns the letters of the alphabet into dot-to-dot puzzles.
  • Scribble – This is one of many drawing apps that turn the screen into a tiny easel. You can also import pictures from your photo library to put a mustache on Grandma. A quick shake erases the photos.

For Mom:

  • ZenBound – It’s really hard to explain this app! It’s a puzzle game of sorts, your goal is to wrap paint-soaked rope around various wooden shapes. Tricky, but fascinating. It’s also very relaxing – which is the kind of game us busy moms need!
  • Cartolina – Gorgeous E-cards using vintage collages all from your iPhone, easy to personalize, easy to send.
  • Shazam – Quickly listens to almost any song you hear and it tells you who and what – sometimes even with song lyrics. (Mari even used it on an old Cary Grant movie and it worked!) It links you to iTunes for purchasing, and stores your list for later.
  • Hipstamatic – Turns your iPhone camera into an old-school camera with interchangeable lens and film options. Lots of fun, highly interactive. It’s not the best for quick snapshots because of all the options – but super fun to play with.
  • Lo-Mob – Takes any photo and gives you dozens of previews of various effects – lots of subtler vintage filters, black and white, etc. etc. Really fun to get lost in the options. Great for taking any image you’ve already taken and making it more visually appealing.
  • 8mm Vintage Camera – Gives you some great vintagey looks to your videos as well, easy to use, and fun to see the results. Just watch out for the mute button on the bottom – I’ve accidentally bumped it a couple times and lost the best part of the action I was trying to record!

For Work:

  • Evernote – This app is like a visual bookmarking system with “notebooks” for big categories, tabs, and search functions. It will sort links, your own notes, photos, etc. Combine it with FastEver Snap, it takes quick pictures on the go and catalogs them directly into Evernote for you.
  • Pulse – This is a newsreader/RSS feed that pulls everything into an easy to navigate, image-first list.
  • Calvetica – This replaces iPhone’s standard calendar, the interface is much more pleasing to look at, and offers more reminder. It syncs with your regular calendar as well, so you’re not loosing any functionality either way.
  • Teuxdeux – Along with a website for laptop use, this app will keep you on task. Functionality is basic, but intuitive and useful for everyday tasks and quick organization of your weekly to-do’s. Designed by SwissMiss!
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