Parklet Party

About a month ago, some of us neighbors decided to plan a parklet party. Wait, what? A parklet? Wikipedia defines a parklet as a small urban park, usually located in the space allocated for a parallel parked car. Geez Louise, why? Well, we’re a lazy bunch, and we didn’t want to experience the time and financial process of throwing a full block party. We decided on a date most of us would be around. Aside from the date and a neighbor with a car reserving a parking spot, the rest of it was pretty very impromptu. People brought food and drinks, and by pure coincidence, the parking spot ended up in front of our house. The balloons as caution “flags” were my idea, and using stop light colors was David’s idea. It wasn’t until the next day when we realized that red, yellow, and green are also Portugal’s colors! If we were really fancy, we could have gotten some astroturf or an outdoor rug to better mark off the area (and cover up the scuzzy street), but I thought the potted plants and chairs got the job done. On the menu were burgers, sausages, sides, fruit, and grilled s’mores to end the evening. Actually, a handful of us didn’t really end the evening until about 1 am. Thank goodness for patient neighbors. It helps that we are generally nice and quiet people, and we invited any neighbor that walked by. It was fun, the weather was perfect…actually a little chilly. I will keep Saturday night in mind as we are sizzlin’ at 95+ degrees in a couple of days. Enjoy the photos!

Before the party:

During:

Bubble gun and Barbapapa Band Aids!

Murphy doesn’t usually like his photo taken, so I feel lucky.

Lola is a bit jealous of Murphy’s freedom, or she hates our music choice. Check out the death stare.

Blurry food shot, sorry!

One last shot, courtesy of my neighbor…

Thar she blows folks, our Parklet Party. I hope it inspires you to gather with friends and neighbors soon.

Stephanie

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Book Review: French Kids Eat Everything

French Women Don’t Get Fat, Bringing Up Bebe, and now French Kids Eat Everything. Come on! I know the French aren’t perfect, so why are we so drawn to these titles?! Admittedly, I was a big fan of French Women Don’t Get Fat back in graduate school. I had been meaning to re-read it, but never got around to it. I highly recommend it if you just need a little nudge to keep your weight under control using common sense and simple recipes. Bringing Up Bebe hasn’t interested me enough, so far. The French don’t do everything right, but they mostly do food right. I’m glad I chose to read French Kids Eat Everything, and I wanted to share.

The author, Karen Le Billon, is a Canadian woman married to a French man. She divides her time in both countries with her two little girls. I trusted her opinion right off the bat. She’s real, she’s honest, and she makes food mistakes just like the rest of us snack-happy North Americans. I’m not going to go into details about her rules and findings, you can read a nice summary here and Le Billon has a blog too. I really encourage you to read this book if you have picky eaters, or if you need help getting back on track with some food rules you already hold dear to your heart (that’s me). If you have a small baby or are expecting a baby soon, you should definitely read this book. The French introduce vegetables first to get babies accustomed to the tastes. Le Billon includes some puree recipes, and a rough guide for introducing new foods. The book is currently on sale for $15 at most retail outlets, and you can find digital copies for even less!

There is one thing that shocked me about the French. Their breastfeeding rates are dismal! Most French women breastfeed for a couple months, and usually put their newborns on strict feeding schedules right off the bat (while in the hospital). I just cannot get on board with any of that, but everything else is pretty great. I had one “duh” moment when Le Billon says that some families give their kids a bath before dinner. Why didn’t I think of that?! Although, that would require two parents…at least in my house, one to cook and one to bathe.

The results? We are only a few days into the experiment, and I haven’t even told David about all of the new food rules we should attempt to follow. He just thinks I’m a Francophile dork, but he knew that before marrying me. Despite the early stages, Estelle is already showing a greater willingness to try new things. As the author warns, it’s a slow process. Since Estelle is still in the “opposition phase” of life (ages 2-4), I have very low goals. I just want her to try new stuff, she doesn’t have to like it or eat it, but she does have to keep trying it. David and I both eat a wide variety of foods, so I have no doubt that if we continue to model good food habits, Estelle will follow suit.

Have I convinced you to read the book yet? I would let you borrow my copy, but I’m the bozo who bought a digital copy for my iPad. It’s just a little difficult to share digital books! French Kids Eat Everything might be my new go-to baby shower gift, paired with a cute set of baby dishes.

Bon appetit, mes amis! It’s almost the weekend! Any fun plans? We’re just staying in town, trying out a new urban party style with the neighbors. I hope my vagueness is intriguing, I will be sure to share the party results after the weekend! The Father’s Day gifts I ordered on Sunday haven’t arrived yet, so David might have to live with waffles, crafts projects, and Camden Riversharks baseball until his gifts get here.

Stephanie

City Pretty: Matthias Baldwin Park

I really thought I would have an easier time finding green spaces in the city! My weekly posts are requiring me to detour from my usual commutes, but only ever-so-slightly. Although, I appreciate that this series challenges me to notice the beauty in the places I walk past everyday.

I’m afraid my quick iPhone photo does not do this park justice. I might have to revisit soon, and add a couple of different angles to this post for good measure.

Official park information was not readily available, but you can find out more about Matthias Baldwin and the recently renamed here. It’s in a strange part of town, 19th and Hamilton, surrounded by an old railroad viaduct, towering apartment buildings, and the edge of Community College of Philadelphia. The stepped terraces and rock sculptures create nice layers for the lush plants to steal the show. There are no water features, but it has a  nice meandering path and plenty of benches.

I feel like a disappointment having the word HOME in my blog name, but not really talking much about our house or creating a home. I do have at least one more blog post up my sleeve for later this week. I’ll give you a hint, it’s about food and French people. Also, we have an interesting/unique neighborly gathering in the works for this Saturday! Stay tuned.

Stephanie

I Mustache You a Question

Did you really think I would forget to update the Father’s Day gift guide from last month? Did you?! Well, I didn’t forget…I added a couple more things.  You can find them on the original post.

I’m probably not going to be back with another post on Friday.  This weekend we will be busy finding gifts of all sorts and celebrating a graduation. If we do anything around the house, it might be minor…like laundry and vacuuming. So with that, I bid you adieu. Have a lovely weekend!

Stephanie

 

City Pretty: Sister Cities Park

We met up with some friends at Sister Cities Park on Sunday. It is a newly completed park and visitor center in between the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and Logan Circle on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

There are two water features, a stream/wading pond and a fountain. The pond was designed for wooden boats, but that doesn’t seem to be the way people are using it so far. By people, I mean mostly kids who are perfectly fine sitting in streams and getting soaked.

The building houses restrooms, visitor center, and a small Milk & Honey cafe. They were nearly cleaned out of dinner food by the time we got there an hour before closing time on Sunday. They have pre-made sandwiches, quiche, soups in the fall and winter, cookies, yogurt, fruit, juice, water, tea, and coffee drinks.

The green roof is looking lush!

We finished up our evening with a picnic, and the kiddos dried off in the sun. Storm clouds started rolling in. We made it under our front door awning just in time for the sky to open up, what luck?!

Estelle approves! It is definitely worth a visit. I suspect it will be a big hit with tourists and Philly residents alike.

Stephanie

Bedroom To-Do List

This weekend was primarily devoted to cleaning and visiting with friends and family. No home projects, which was fine by us! We enjoyed it!

This is our bedroom from last month. If you want more images, you should check out the Our House link above! Yes, that is lazy…our computer is achingly slow tonight. My apologies.

We are letting three paint samples stew on our bedroom wall for a little while until we can agree on a favorite.

A = Benjamin Moore Blue Heather

B = Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue

C = Benjamin Moore Serenata

At the moment, we are using the photograph by Christian Chaize in the image above as room color inspiration. It was difficult to photograph due to the glass reflection. You can find something similar by the same artist at 20×200. The print we have is sold out. Basically, we’re going for something blue and soothing with pops of color.

We have some other inspirations too!

We got the idea of Blue Heather from our local Capogiro Gelato store. David  asked the girl at the counter if she knew the paint color. She went down to the basement to get the name and number, so nice. I love the bright blue and orange with the Blue Heather walls, but I’m concerned that the art we have on our walls isn’t nearly as cohesive as the black and white photos on these walls. The wall color definitely changes depending on the light, and is reading more grey here. It’s David’s favorite, and my second favorite (meaning I could be convinced).

Palladian Blue seems to be pretty popular in the blogoshpere, so we have plenty of inspiration. For the sake of my sanity and a decent bedtime, I will limit our examples to one. I think Katie’s new office over at Bower Power best shows what a neutral Palladian Blue can be. She uses so many great pops of color. We had already agreed to paint the bottom portion of our walls white to mimic a wainscot when we realized this room had a white wainscot too.

Palladian Blue is my favorite. It looks too sea-foam green next to the other two blue samples, which is David’s major hesitation.

Serenata was quick pick when I was in the Benjamin Moore store. Unfortunately, I have no visual examples!

 

Thanks for your input! Here is the promised to-do list. We don’t actually have one in writing, so this might help us get moving.

  • Pick a wall color
  • Buy paint and supplies
  • Paint walls and trim
  • Design and build a headboard shelf in the bed nook
  • Repaint a couple of canvases
  • Hang stuff on walls
  • Neutral/sand color rug
  • Move two file cabinet side tables to the basement
  • Find new side table, something bright?
  • New comfy corner chair?
  • Ditch the curtains, and get white cellular shades
  • Buy new low-profile platform bed, maybe a new mattress, eventually

What’s this headboard shelf in the bed nook I speak of? Here is the image that sparked the idea, granted it’s a bathroom…just use your imagination. We haven’t sketched anything out yet, but it will span the nook where our bed currently is.

The rest of the list hasn’t really been researched much. I have researched beds a bit, but mostly because ours is on its last leg. I haven’t found anything that lines up with what we have in mind and in our wallet!

Hopefully we’ll have bedroom news to report soon. Get your mind out of the gutter, Mom:) It’s a realistic goal that we might be able to pick a paint color, buy the paint, and sketch the headboard this month. I have a lot more bedroom ideas and inspirations on my Pinterest board.

I should be back later this week with a City Pretty post!

Have a good week,

Stephanie

City Pretty: Bel Arbor Community Gardens

Mother Nature lives in the city too.

During David’s bocce match last night, Estelle and I ventured around the corner and were invited in to walk around the Bel Arbor Community Gardens. It was my first time, and I was beyond impressed. They had cherry trees with real cherries growing on them! I tried to get a quick photo of the cherries, but I had to herd the toddler and make sure she didn’t run out of the garden gate (and into the street). Sorry!

I snapped this quick photo, which I actually tried to balance out in Photoshop. Woah. I kind of liked how the building was highlighted by the sunset. If you want slightly better photos and garden history, I would encourage you to check out the garden website.

Bel Arbor Community Garden
10th & Kimball Street
 

Have a great weekend!

Stephanie