Thursday, February 15, 2018

Toddler Airplane Bag

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase 
one of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission.**

We are leaving for Florida in two days and unlike the last time we flew with Little Dude, I have taken the time to prepare his own travel activity bag for him. He is older now (a little over 2) and although he is a good traveller I have no idea what to expect on this multi-hour flight in daylight hours, i.e. there is no hope of him sleeping...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Kitchen Reveal

kitchen reveal
When we bought our new (and our first) home last summer there were two things that we weren't that fussy about. Ok, to be honest there were more than two things, but two things that required talents beyond what my immediate family could easily help with. The two items were kitchen and bathroom - I think those rooms end up on everyone's list, am I right?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Winter Weekend in Montreal

winter weekend in Montreal
Travelling no matter what the season can be challenging, but travelling in the winter is particularly fun. Yes, fun!

With flight delays, snow fall and unpredictable circumstances brings excitement, adventure and fun.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Valentine’s Day Craft Round Up

valentine's day craft

Any excuse for crafting is a good one to me and as the mom of a boy Valentine's Day is the holiday that I can encourage all things pink, red and heart like. Here are 10 craft ideas that are toddler friendly   and worthy of displaying in your home or giving as a gift!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Gaspereau Tidal Bay

gaspereau wine
Name: Gaspereau Tidal Bay
Varietal: Tidal Bay
Country: Canada (Nova Scotia)
Vintage: 2016
Price: $21

Why did I decide to try this wine? During our wine tour weekend back in the fall we visited Gaspereau Vineyard. We didn't try this wine during the tour but purchased a bottle to take home and sample later on.

A post shared by Jenna MacDonald (@jennamac007) on

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? Bottle. Without question, its quite delicious and with an alcohol content of 11% a bottle is ok - right?! haha

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? Classy ankle boots - they match the label on the wine perfectly.

How would I describe the wine? To me this wine is like eating fruit salad...but the good kind that is sweetened with honey and lots of berries and grapes in it rather than means and apples. The smell of this wine reminded me of lemon meringue pie (the kind where the meringue is browned and extra sweet smelling). The Mr. said this wine made him feel like he were walking through the fruit section of Pete's Frutique (a fabulous store that used to exist in our university city of Halifax). If you've been there you will know exactly what he means.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

IKEA DUKTIG Play Kitchen Hack

IKEA play kitchen hack
Little Dude received a second hand play kitchen when he was nearly 18 months old and it was an instant favorite. From the first day he owned it he was happy playing with the dishes, learning to put salt and pepper on food everything and exploring in his very own kitchen space.

When we bought our new home I knew right away that he was going to need an upgraded version. And I could absolutely justify the expense since he loves playing with it so much. I looked at it as though he will likely play with it until he is 4-5 years old (maybe older?) which means it could be in my dining room/living room for the next 2-3 years at a minimum. I quickly decided that a new upgraded kitchen would be Little Dude's big Christmas gift.
IKEA play kitchen hack
I looked at several options before deciding on the IKEA DUKTIG Play Kitchen, I even did a poll on Instagram of my two finalists. The voting was neck in neck until someone commented suggesting that I modify the IKEA DUKTIG play kitchen to match our house. Brilliant! 

Like any crazy mom trying to make their son a perfect play kitchen that would match the rest of the house (there are more of you out there, right?!) I took to pinterest for ideas and to decide on exactly how I would modify the IKEA DUKTIG play kitchen.
IKEA play kitchen hack
I decided to stain the counter top with the goal of matching our dining room table (as best as possible), painting the rest of the wood on the kitchen grey and creating a back splash to add on as a finishing touch.
IKEA play kitchen hack
The process was pretty simple for the hack. But I will break it down into 5 steps to make it even easier to follow:

STEP 1 - Sorting Pieces & Painting
I unpacked all of the pieces of the kitchen, laid them out on an old table cloth that I now use as a painting cloth and determined what would be painted grey (everything that was wood color except the counter top) and then put all of the white pieces, hardware and accessories aside.
Ikea play kitchen hack

I then did a test on the bottom of the kitchen base in order to make sure the paint would stick without me sanding all the pieces and that the stain would go on OK.
Ikea play kitchen hack

After two coats of paint I decided it wasn't going to be worth the effort to sand everything (or the mess in my basement) and pained all of the pieces as is. Any good DIYer will tell you to sand the pieces, but for once I decided to live on the edge and skipped the sanding ;).

And off I went... painted everything, waited an hour and a half and then painted everything again. I did on side so the pieces could lay flat to dry and repeated this process the next evening (really, it was midnight...).
Ikea play kitchen hack

STEP 2 - Staining the Counter Top
The key to doing this well is to use a white rag or cloth to wipe away the excess as you go so it doesn't look like you've "painted" on the stain. Especially since I skipped the sanding it was extra important to use the stain cloth and a rag. In the end it cam out exactly as I had hoped; I was pleased with myself since it was my first time using the stain cloths and I hadn't sanded the wood prior to staining as recommended.

STEP 3 - Assembly of the Play Kitchen
Like all IKEA furniture this piece required following the directions and going through a step by step assembly process. It was truly not that bad though... it took the Mr and I about an hour (maybe a little more) to get everything together.
IKEA play kitchen hack

STEP 4 - Preparing the Back Splash
Let me first start by saying the back splash was the most expensive add on to the kitchen, but in my opinion it was also the add on that made the biggest difference! I cut a piece of foam board the width of the kitchen and made a line to where the backsplash would need to go. Then, while putting on the adhesive tiles I made sure to go above the line I drew to ensure there would be no gaps. I figured it was better to have more tiles on the foam board than not enough.
IKEA play kitchen hack
Due to the size and in order to avoid a crazy amount of cutting/measuring I used 6 self-adhesive wall tiles and they were $3/tile when I purchased them. For this part, I would strongly suggest shopping around or finding tiles you love since they become a focal point of the whole piece.

STEP 5 - Installing the Back Splash & Final Touches
We installed the back splash by making a few final trims to make sure it didn't stick out from behind the kitchen, holding it in place and used finishing nails to secure it in place.

Since Little Dude has been playing with the kitchen I am happy we used finishing nails as he does hit into the back splash while he is "cooking" and taking his pots and pans down from the storage rack. Had we used glue I am pretty confident the back splash would be on the floor by now.
IKEA play kitchen hack

Last, but certainly not least we added two LED battery powered lights I found at Dollarama. They were a small addition but made quite a difference, especially in the evening time when we don’t have all the lights on in the house.
IKEA play kitchen hack

IKEA play kitchen hack

IKEA play kitchen hack

Happy Cooking Little Dudes & Dudettes!

Source List:
Stain - Minwax stain cloths (also available at Walmart and Kent Building Supplies)
Paint - Chalked paint (or whatever you have on hand like what I did...)
Tools - Mini Paint Roller & Tray, Old Table cloth or bed sheet & clean rag
Back Splash - Self-Adhesive Wall Tiles (also available at Walmart & Kent Building Supplies) & Foam Board or Bristol Board (available at Great Canadian Dollar Store or Dollarama)
Accessories - Melissa & Doug Broom Set

My shoes for that: Toms kids classic canvas shoes
Toms classic canvas shoes
Still have questions? Get in touch through my social channels, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Favorite Christmas Gifts [a full month later]

favourite christmas gifts
**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one 
of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission.**

It happens to parents every year... we buy all kinds of gifts thinking our children are going to LOVE them and PLAY with them for a long time but the same thing happens every January...

A whole bunch of toys are thrown to the side and forgotten about while there are one or two key things you didn't anticipate your child really liking that haven't left their side. I asked all of you for your input on Facebook and Instagram and here were the things that your kids are still loving a month after Christmas AND the things that you're finally ready to admit were a waste of money: