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Category Archives: Ideas

  1. DIY Project: Organize your kids’ art table!

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    1)  This DIY project comes from my brilliant friend (Ms. Barak).  The “Lazy Susan” is from IKEA ($9.99). 2)  I gathered some sippy cups with missing lids.  However, I would recommend using cups with a flatter bottom so that more surface area comes in contact with the wood.  I used crazy glue to adhere the cups but you can also use velcro or screws. 3)  Done!  Rather than a big messy box of crayons, markers and pencils, we now have an organized and practical apparatus 😉

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  2. Marshmallow Snowman

    A cute little activity to do with the kids during the break!  This one is from Canadian Family (Originally excerpted from Kids in the Holiday Kitchen by Jessica Strand and Tammy Massman-Johnson.  The instructions are quite simple, enjoy!

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  3. My Tissue Art On A Cold Saturday Morning

    I love this art activity and think it makes for a great gift OR a fabulous piece to stash away for when you need to whip out something new to keep the kids busy for a while.  The best part is that no glue is required.  No scissors either.  The pictures come with a peel-off adhesive surface and the tissue paper comes in a multitude of beautiful colours, already cut into small squares.  As the box says, you really just peel, crunch and stick!  I recommend this activity for ages 3+.  The box says 2+ but it definitely wasn’t suitable for a two-year old.  This week at Toys R Us, you can find this item as well as others by Alex (great company!) for 20% off ($10.37 ea).  The promotion is on until Dec. 3rd.

    Posted in Deals, Gifts, Ideas, sale.

  4. Storing and Displaying Your Child’s Artwork

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    To keep or not to keep?  That is the question.  I am sure that many of you have had the Recycling Box Moment…when your child finds his/her cherished pieces of work in the Blue Bin and you pretend that you have no idea how those papers got in there.  If you are like me, you keep way too many masterpieces.  Here are a few ideas for storing and displaying your child’s work:

    • Take digital photos and keep them in a folder on your computer.  No piles of paper, but you still have a nice record of your child’s work.
    • Keep 8×10 papers in a binder.  Your child will love browsing through their work.
    • Use a large magnetic board (like this one from IKEA).   Magnetic clothes pins can be useful too.
    • Display on a large cork board or group a few smaller ones on a designated art wall.  You can paint the board or cover it with wrapping paper to give it some umph.
    • Create a photo-book of your child’s work.  You can make one at the end of every school year to keep neatly in your child’s library.
    • Last but not least, as in the above photo from Ohdeedoh, you can use Ikea’s curtain wires ($9.99 with clips!) to create this amazing display which I just adore.

    Posted in Decor, Ideas, Useful Info.

  5. Best Teacher Gifts

    teachergiftThe holidays are a great time to show teachers (you know, those special people who take care of your kids for 8+ hours a day and teach them important things?) how much we appreciate their hard work.  Mamapicks asked thirty teachers about their favourite gifts and let me tell you, teachers are a consistent bunch!  Here are the winners:

    • Gift Certificates, namely Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Indigo, and Yorkdale Mall.
    • Personalized Stationary
    • Movie Passes

    Please resist buying candles, picture frames, mugs and chocolates….and oh ya, from my own teaching days, I NEVER ate anything baked by a kid.  The most important part of your gift is your card – a few personal words from a parent or child letting a teacher know that he/she make a difference fills the heart and recharges the batteries.

    Posted in Gifts, Ideas.

  6. More Costume Ideas

    I ran into this adorable Tom Arma costume and thought it might be something rather simple to make if you have a white snowsuit for your baby.  I would also very much like to mention that I want to eat this baby’s face.  See more costume ideas here.

    Posted in Holiday Goods, Ideas.

  7. Pumpkins Don’t Have To Be Orange…

    Check out the cool painted pumpkins on Parents magazine.  They have some really neat ideas for those of you who have time and odd passion for the pumpkin thing.

    Posted in Ideas.

  8. My Favourite Source of Advice

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    I read a lot of blogs.  I thought I’d share one of my favourites:  500 Pieces of Prudent Advice for My Baby Daughter.  This mom is witty and smart and I love every word that she shares with her baby daughter as they both grow.   One day, when she publishes a book, I will be sure to buy it for my girl.   I feel like she says the things I want to say but don’t even know I want to say them…

    #191 Wear your seatbelt.

    It’s one of those things you aren’t overly concerned with until you get older and your own mortality starts to gnaw at you, so for now do it because your mortality gnaws at me.

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  9. Vegetarian Noodle Bowl

    I found this adorable costume on Etsy.  For more costume ideas, see my Holiday Goods section in the column on the left.  Maybe some of you are crafty mamas who can whip up a home-made costume.

    Posted in Cool Products, Holiday Goods, Ideas.

  10. Making Crafts with Kids

    As it pours outside, I am reminded that we all need a good stash of indoor activities to keep us sane this coming Winter.  I blogged about this website when Mamapicks just started out so some of you may already be familiar.  Kids Craft Weekly sends you a newsletter full of easy craft ideas (with photos of the step-by-step process) every week and it’s free.  It’s fabulous…and we are going to make flowers today.  I miss the summer 🙁

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  11. Cool Costume Ideas

    It’s all about the tutus for this Halloween!  Check out this adorable clown costume 🙂  You can be creative and put it together yourself, or buy it on Etsy from Lulabugs1 Shop for $40US.

    Posted in Cool Products, Holiday Goods, Ideas.

  12. Creative Costume Ideas

    Halloween is coming up and I am going to try to bring you some creative do-it-yourself costume ideas.  This adorable Lego costume is from Country Living and comes with complete instructions.

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  13. Donate a Backpack

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    Kidfest is an organization that helps support kids in Ontario who live below the poverty line.  You and your kids can help by donating a gently used, pre-washed backpack.  Guest Services at Hillcrest Mall (Yonge & Rutherford, Richmond Hill) will accept donations until Sept.30th.  With your donation, you will receive 20% off a new backpack at Sportscheck and $10 off at Boathouse.

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  14. Printable Magnetic Meal Chart

    Giving kids an active role in meal planning can make life a little easier.  If you are already dreading making lunches, this printable meal chart may help.  You can print out the chart on a magnetic sheet (sold at places like Staples).  Type out the lunch choices on the ready-made labels and print those out on a second magnetic sheet.  Cut out the labels and post them on your weekly chart.  If you don’t have a magnetic surface in your kitchen (damn those stainless steel appliances!), you can print out the chart on regular paper.  I use this chart for breakfast with pictures on the labels (for my toddlers).  It has been my best strategy for getting my picky eater to eat.  He knows what he is having for breakfast every day and sticks to his choices readily.  Thank you Martha Stewart!

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  15. The Gems of West Queen West – Part III

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    This is the third part of  my walk on West Queen West ( between Bathurst and Trinity Bellwoods Park).  See  Part I & Part II.  The stores in this area are so unique.  Lots of artsy stuff, original fashion, lovely furniture stores and lots of great finds for kids.  The things you find here, you won’t find anywhere else.  Stores here open rather late and are closed on the odd day so if you have something specific in mind, best to call ahead to check their schedule. 

    Click “Continued…” to read about the first 3 stores.

    Continued…

    Posted in Activities & Events, Cool Products, Coupons, Decor, Gifts, Ideas, Useful Info.

  16. The Gems of West Queen St. West – Part II

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    This is the second part of  my walk on West Queen West ( between Bathurst and Trinity Bellwoods Park).  Click here for Part I.  The stores in this area are so unique.  Lots of artsy stuff, original fashion, lovely furniture stores and lots of great finds for kids.  The things you find here, you won’t find anywhere else.  Stores here open rather late and are closed on the odd day so if you have something specific in mind, best to call ahead to check their schedule.  Check in for more of West Queen West tomorrow.  Maybe you’ll want to head over this weekend!

    Click “Continued…” to read about the first 3 stores.

    Continued…

    Posted in Activities & Events, Cool Products, Decor, Gifts, Ideas, Useful Info.

  17. The Gems of West Queen West – Part 1

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    I don’t get to go downtown very often but when I do, my favourite area to explore is West Queen West.  I start my walk on Queen and Bathurst and stroll to Trinity Bellwoods Park.  The stores in this area are so unique.  Lots of artsy stuff, original fashion, lovely furniture stores and lots of great finds for kids.  The things you find here, you won’t find anywhere else.  Stores here open rather late and are closed on the odd day so if you have something specific in mind, best to call ahead to check their schedule.  This is part of a 3-part series so check in for more of West Queen West over the next couple of days.

    Click “Continued…” to read about the first 3 stores.

    Continued…

    Posted in Activities & Events, Cool Products, Decor, Gifts, Ideas, Useful Info.

  18. Personalized Clothing @ Simply Colors + Mamapicks Exclusive Discount

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    When my kids received personalized shirts from a dear friend in Vancouver, I knew I had to find out where she got them.  Simply Colors! This amazing online Canadian store is all about personalizing clothing for kids.    They offer a great variety of styles and sizes run from newborn to 8 years.  The quality is superb and the price is just right ($15-$25).  If you are looking for an unforgettable gift, you will easily find it at Simply Colors.

    Mamapicks readers get 10% off any order! How exciting 🙂  Just click here and enter code pick09 upon entering the website.

    I love how the site allows you to choose everything from style, font and colours…and then shows you an image of what your creation will look like.  Gifts can be shipped worldwide and can arrive in a gorgeous gift box.  Browsing through the site will give you tons of ideas!

    Posted in Cool Products, Exclusive Discounts, Gifts, Ideas, Personalized.

  19. Playroom Storage

    The IKEA Eina storage unit goes for $89.99.  Useful and reasonably priced…but it could use a coat of paint to spice it up a little (chalkboard paint perhaps?).  You can also glue LEGO base plates on top to make it into a LEGO table.

    Posted in Cool Products, Decor, Ideas.

  20. Free Printable Shopping List

    …grocery shopping is a real pain in the rump.  That’s why I like this “Pain in the Groceries” list.  Print out as many as you like and put them together in some creative way that I am too tired to think about right now because I have to go grocery shopping.  Courtesy of Vale Design.

    Posted in Cool Products, Ideas.

  21. Take A Look At This Shelf!

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    This shelf caught my eye today.  It is called The Toy & Crayon Shelf and it’s made by a sleek Spanish furniture company called Nine To Nine.  The neat thing about the shelf is that it comes with ready made holes for those stuffed animal legs.  Isn’t it an adorable idea?  So…I was thinking…you can buy an IKEA Lack shelf for not-so-much and drill big holes in it.   And VOILA!  You’ve got yourself an awesome shelf for your nursery.   If any handy mama/papa takes this project on, be sure to send me a photo.

    Posted in Cool Products, Decor, Ideas.

  22. The ZAZA is a lovely hammock for babies which doubles as a play-hammock and swing for older kids!  It is made of the sturdiest recycled cotton fabrics and heavy duty professional ropes.  The hammock can be hung easily from one or two points and extra ropes are included for hanging from beams or branches when outdoors.   This amazing product comes with instructions, a carry bag and is machine washable.  Made all the way in Israel…but worldwide shipping is FREE! Great gifting potential 🙂  Check out Robyna’s Shop!

    Posted in Cool Products, Ideas.

  23. Munch Family Restaurant – Why not in TO?

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    I am not asking for much.  Just a quiet meal.  Munch, The Family Restaurant is a dream…in North Vancouver.  Sophisticated food for adults and a special menu for kids – but the real swish deal here is the play area.  I am waiting for someone to open a place like this here!

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  24. The Nanny Toolbox + A Special Giveaway!

    A new nanny arrives to help take care of the things you value most…your home and your family.  Every family has a zillion routines and very particular preferences that are not easy to communicate.  Conveying all of this information to the new nanny can be a very overwhelming and time-consuming task.  Lisa is a mom who learned from her own experience  and created The Nanny Toolbox to help parents and new caregivers.  The Nanny Toolbox is a digital family manual filled with schedules and forms that are designed for you to fill out with ease.  From meal plans and feeding instructions to laundry and play date information, Lisa has thought of every possible detail.  I think The Nanny Toolbox is BRILLIANT and have personally used it when our new nanny arrived.  It helped me to stay organized, save time and alleviate a lot of anxiety!

    Mamapicks readers have a chance to win a copy of  The Nanny Toolbox! It’s easy – be one of the first 3 readers to e-mail me the answer to this question:  What handy poster is included with the Nanny Toolbox?  Find the information on the website and write to me at info@mamapicks.comYou must be a Mamapicks subscriber to win.

    Posted in Cool Products, Ideas, Useful Info.

  25. Kids Craft Ideas

    handprintI have often used this website called www.kidscraftweekly.com where you can subscribe to get weekly craft ideas.  The projects are great and don’t require a trip to Michaels.  Crafts are such a great way to keep the kids busy doing something constructive and fun.  True quality time!

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.