Tuesday, 20 December 2016

8 Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Last weekend I was held a beautiful surprise baby shower. And was given so many gifts that I love, I thought I would do a little baby shower gift haul slash baby shower gift ideas post...

1. Baby Gift Bundle and Swaddle Wraps. 

2. Crib Sheets and Baby Towels. Choosing soft, quality and natural materials for baby's sensitive skin.

3. Books, Toys and Teethers. Make sure the books are based in reality and to choose natural materials  like wood and bamboo where ever possible for toys and teethers. Of corse, montessori materials/toys make perfect presents as well, like this newborn pack from Etsy.

4. Natural Bath Products and Organic Washcloths. Stay away form brands like Johnson & Johnson and opt. for non-toxic, chemical free and organic bath products for baby.

5. Baby shoes are something cute that you don't necessarily buy for your own baby so they are a great baby shower gift. 

6. Quilts and Blankies. You can never have enough blankets, these were so cute and gender neutral! 

7.  Sleeping Bags and Baby Sacks. I got given quite a few soft baby sleeping bags which is something that's new to me coming from a warmer country. I'm sure these will come in handy having a winter bub in North America this time. 

8.  And finally baby clothes!

Overall I loved the gifts and can't wait to use them all. As for gift ideas all of these are great and you can't go wrong by choosing natural materials and products wherever possible. 

Nikki x

Surprise Baby Shower

Last Sunday, I was surprised with a beautiful baby shower that my daughters, sister-in-law and mother-in-law all organised. They did an amazing job and I wasn't expecting it at all!

My daughter made a gorgeous three layer vegan cake inspired by Oh She Glows baby shower cake. The recipe can be found here. She also used these printables for the bunting on top.

My mother-in-law made sure there were vegan sandwiches as well, so thoughtful!

My youngest daughter made this adorable watermelon baby carriage, what a sweet idea!

A name suggestion jar is a great idea for parents who have not yet decided on or come up with a baby name.

I loved the onesie painting station, it was such a great idea! My oldest daughter organised the whole thing and even hand cut the stencils. She used a few stencil ideas from here. I now have some beautiful memories and gorgeous personalised onesies for bubba.

My daughter printed off these cute printables for the games and baby predictions. We had a baby word scramble, guess mumma's belly width with string, nappy bag memory game and guess the baby food (She used these bottle wrappers to cover the jars and label with numbers.) For prizes we had chocolates, nail polishes and fluffy socks.

I was so happy with all of the beautiful thought-out gifts that I was given! Beau especially liked helping me unwrap them, I will be doing a separate blog post showing all of the gifts as well as a few other baby shower gift ideas.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Beau's Montessori Kitchen Shelf

I love taking a look at how others setup their practical-life environments at home. So I thought I'd share  how we setup Beau's kitchen shelf area. We keep a selection of essential kitchen items that we use daily at easy reach for Beau. 

The water canister is the perfect size for the top shelf (There is a ledge above it that stops it from falling down) and at the perfect height for Beau to access. Glasses are kept right next the the water canister. These shot glasses are a good size for a toddler's small hands and mouth, while still giving them the freedom and independence of using glass. The top shelf is lined with black non-slip material, to make the water canister extra sturdy. We keep a small, shallow, blue box beside his glasses containing cutlery - one fork, one spoon and one spreading knife.

On the next shelf we have a basket with a few cloths for moping up spills and wiping down his table (We have blue for the kitchen and white for the bathroom). His placemat, which he takes to his table before a meal or snack, you can find the DIY for his placemat here. His small apron for cooking is a new addition, handmade by my daughter. 

On the bottom shelf we keep one of each of his crockery pieces, while the rest of his bowls, cups and plates are kept on the bottom shelf of our cupboard.  His tea cup and saucer are for having tea (warm almond milk and agave nectar) which he loves! You can watch a video of Beau having tea with his big sister here. I am planning on setting up an activity for his practical life shelves so Beau can make his own tea. There is also a small plate and bowl, which he can take to his table when preparing a snack for himself.

Beau getting himself a glass of water.

I hope you enjoyed reading and that you get some inspiration for your own home environments!
Nikki xx

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

5 Ways to Foster a Respectful Relationship with your Child

The Most Important Montessori Principle to me as a Mother and Teacher

Maybe its because the materials are so tangible and visual that they seem to be the first thing that parents grab onto when striving to create a Montessori environment for their child or children. Yes...the materials are important and yes... the prepared environment in which the materials are stored is important, but coming from a teacher perspective they are only one component of a successful learning space where children can thrive intellectually, as well as socially and emotionally.
The interactions we have with our children are what makes or breaks this philosophy. At its core Montessori is about creating an environment that respects the child, the environment and the adults within it. A couple of months ago I visited my school, which I was on maternity leave from and the amount of big hellos, warm smiles and loving cuddles I received left me feeling uplifted and very much loved. It also reaffirmed that the relationships I have with the students are based on trust and respect.  Maria Montessori was amazing in her discoveries of the child, but if there is one important thing that I have learnt from her; it is to trust the child and follow their lead. For he/she knows what is best for them as they strive for independence. As parents and educators our job is simple...create a path free from obstacles but with controlled limits and prepared with love, patience and understandings. 

 Below are 5 simple ways to interact with your child that will pave the way for a respectful relationship… 

 1. Speak with respect to the child… From the moment your little one enters the world (and even in the womb) your words will have an impact on them socially, emotionally and intellectually. Consider your tone of voice; when your child is very young your voice should not be high pitched or too dumbed down. It is also very important to consider the content of your words; the way in which you deliver them and the richness of your interactions. 

 2. Allow the child to concentrate… Be respectful when your child is concentrating on a task. This means not interrupting them with praise and applause. Instead, allow him/her to feel proud of their own efforts without having to rely on the parents for reassurance. 

 3. Respect the child's actions and choices… Giving choices to the child makes him/her feel that you respect his/ her opinion. Choice also allows the child to feel control over their own environment. When the child is young a simple two choice offer is usually enough for them to feel empowered to make a decision.  As the child gets older more choices may be offered.  

 4. Provide a prepared environment… Respecting the child’s right to learn about the world around them by providing an environment that allows them to do so. Make their space beautiful, ordered, based in reality and free from clutter, which excludes toys that have no purposeful learning opportunities.  

5. Respect the child’s freedom... Freedom to explore their environment is essential for positive development of their self-identity.  Apart from the car seat and pram my son doesn't have any baby restraints, like a high chair or Jolly jumper.  If you do use child restraints try limiting their time in them and instead allow more time to explore their environment within safe limits. Take the child out into nature as much as possible.  

Remember that children are a reflection of us. In respecting the child we set an example so they can follow our lead in respecting their environment, themselves, and others. I hope you enjoyed reading,
Nikki xx

Monday, 8 December 2014

How to: DIY Montessori Placemat

The Montessori placemat is a part of the infant/toddler's practical life materials. The shapes of the bowl, glass and utensils is clear and easy for the toddler to identify. Once the toddler is walking and able to carry objects (i.e. there bowl and cup from their shelf) they can independently set their own table. According to Montessori children aged between 0-3 are in the sensitive period for order and beauty in the environment. It is the adult's responsibility to prepare an environment that allows the child to express this. The children greatly benefit from setting their table and preparing their own snacks. It encourages independence and autonomy in the child as well as improving fine motor skills. 

Here is the required materials list if you missed it:
- Ribbed material for the placemat
(With matching colour thread)
- A second colour material for the utensil patches
(With matching colour thread)
- Child- sized bowl/ plate, cup, and utensils
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing Scissors
- Iron
- Pencil
- Ruler
- Pins

I hope you enjoy this super easy tutorial and have a go at making a placemat for your own child. Have a lovely day!
Nikki xx

Update: Beau enjoying juice and berries using his placemat, and very carefully placing his glass down with lots of concentration.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Beau's Story

The first year of a baby's life flies by so quickly, so for Beau's first year my daughter worked on a project to capture one second of footage everyday starting from his birth and compile it into a time-lapse video. The result was something we could have never expected, it is absolutely beautiful and well worth it!

Here it is, I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Beau's Montessori Room 8 Months

Welcome to baby Beau's Montessori Bedroom! 
Where did we start when creating Beau's (Tiny) room... Well the main idea behind the Montessori infant room is to foster independence.  So with this in mind my daughter and I went to work creating Beau's beautiful space. 

There is a low floor bed for Beau so that he can move freely and safely on and off. In a conventional cot the child relies on the adult to leave his sleeping space whereas a floor bed gives him a choice to leave when he wants without feeling like he's locked in.  I've tried to used natural materials wherever possible and his floor bed is made from organic coconut husk.

There's a large mirror hung low which we purchased from ikea. By viewing his own reflection Beau is not only improving his concentration skills (he will out stare anyone, even himself), he is also improving his ability to move around and manipulate objects by observing his own actions. 

There's a soft floor space. Beau's room was initially my study nook so unfortunately it is a small space, but you make do with what you have and create a space that works for you and your baby. The floor is covered in a ribbed mat and soft sheepskin rug.  When Beau was first learning to leave his bed and venture further across his room the sheepskin rug was an ideal landing space. And the ribbed mat is helping him to grip the floor as he tries to move across it. 

There's a low shelf with educational materials that Beau can see and with some support grab. The materials are ordered, age appropriate and have a purpose. The golden rule with the shelf is less is always best! Beau has a small selection of books, musical instruments and toys that we rotate on a regular basis. I try to also keep the toys in the same place so he is familiar with where to find them and where to return them. Of course, he is not at the stage of returning the materials, but its great to start role modelling this process early on. 

My favourite area in Beau's room is his weaning table and chair where he sits, eats, and plays with his toys. The chair is low to the ground so Beau can sit by himself and will be able to move freely in and out once he starts climbing and crawling. This weaning set we made our selves. Beau loves sitting at his table playing with different materials. He is definitely learning the law of gravity at the table dropping and picking up his toys.
Beau's clothes are stored in a small cupboard which will also be an ideal height for when he is older. At the moment he loves pulling all the clothes out of the drawers.

Things that we are changing in his room....
The shelf is a temporary one we purchased from ikea. I am currently designing a larger shelf to match his chair and table with separate cubicles (6). When Beau starts walking the cubicles will help him access the materials more easily and keep the materials in the right space. I will post the shelf on the blog once its finished. 
I'm looking for a good sturdy pull up bar to go in front of Beaus mirror so that he can practice pulling him self up. I would also like to get some artwork that we can hang low on the walls for him. Another thing that i will do for him when he is a bit bigger will be to get some spice racks from ikea to hang low and display/store his books a bit like here.

I hope you enjoyed and gained some inspiration for your own montessori rooms...

Nikki xx