I don’t know why, but when it comes to kids’ Halloween costumes, my daughter can never choose something simple. I love her originality, but DANG does it create a lot of work for me. While all the other girls were busy being Sofia, she wanted to be Totoro. When Aurora was all the rage, she requested to be a “pink bakery chef.” And while I could easily have gotten a Moana costume off the rack last year, she insisted that I get her a kids’ Candyland costume.
And, as luck would have it, I DID find it on the rack. But it was more like Sexy Candyland Fairy, and she’s four, so that was never gonna fly with me.
Which means that, yet again, it was up to me to make it happen in the DIY toddler Halloween costume department. I typically sew her costumes (like Totoro), keeping it as simple as possible. But as (bad) luck would have it, my sewing machine broke down just before it was time to assemble her Candyland Halloween costume.
The good news is that this was actually a HUGE blessing in disguise. It forced me to get a little more creative with the costume (and, frankly, a little less crafty). Which means that anyone with a hot glue gun, puffy paint, some felt, and an Amazon Prime membership could make a kids’ Candyland Fairy Halloween costume, too. Follow along below for the instructions!
For years, I thought wheat basically gave me life. I love to bake, and I love to eat all the gluten-filled things. I am known for my creative recipes, and my Browned Butter Cookies have been a potluck staple for as long as I can remember. So when my doctor told me I should limit my gluten consumption, it was like a punch to the gut. No bread? Only gluten free cookies?!? For now, I’ll spare you all the tears, but saying it was an adjustment would be an understatement.
Now, a year later, I still enjoy baking and sharing what I’ve made with my friends. Some recipes, like this one, still contain ALL the wheat in their original form. But I also find a slight thrill in trying to make things gluten free. If there are any other gluten-free friends out there, this recipe is easily adaptable, and equally delicious. You can use any cup for cup flour exchange. I also recommend adding an extra tablespoon of cream cheese to help make these Gluten Free Cookies amazing. However, for the sake of this post, please know all the photos use wheat flour.
My favorite part of this recipe is the bag of Nestle Triple Chips. I typically have to buy one bag of white chips and one bag of semi-sweet chips for this recipe. And while I don’t mind having extra chocolate around the house, I loved being able to just dump the whole bag into the dough. We even get the extra flavor of some dark chocolate- yum!
Nothing says summer like lemonade- even though here in sunny Southern California, the lemon season is happening now, in this little space between winter and spring. My sweet friend Cynthia gifted me dozens of lemons over the last couple of weeks, and we are definitely making use of this little burst of sunshine. We got the kids involved in washing, cutting, and juicing the lemons (using these kid safe knives and this juicer). Then we put some of the juice in the freezer, placing one-cup portions in Ziploc bags, and froze them flat for future, less-lemony seasons. Finally, when the big jobs were done, we celebrated by making a big pitcher of our favorite homemade lemonade recipe.
We are gearing up BIG TIME for an upcoming cruise with our MomSquad, and we are so excited we are pretty much beside ourselves. And thus, we are buying alllll the things. We like to go all out with our Girls’ Trip Swag- we’ve got matching pajamas, we’ve got matching shirts– and we’ve got matching cruise tumblers, handmade by yours truly. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you might know that bringing your own tumbler is kind of crucial, both for bringing your complimentary water and lemonade with you wherever you go, as well as making your adult beverages easier to drink in the hot tub. And honestly? It’s just more fun when you match your girlfriends.
So if you’ve got a Bachelorette Party, or a Girls’ Trip, or a Moms’ Weekend Away coming up, snag your cups here and then ask your ladies which color they want to claim. Then pick your path- the Time Saver or the Creative Cricut Type– and you’ll be sipping pretty in no time.
2. You may have heard that we won free Chick Fil A for a year, but we ALSO won a free Valentine’s Day Meal. Seriously y’all, we are SWIMMING in free chicken. You may not be willing to sleep in a parking lot for free chicken (because…well…REASONS), but PLEASE tell us you have the Chick Fil A One app installed on your phone. All you have to do is scan when you order, and you’ll get points that add up to free items. And if you’re anything like us, those orders- and those points!- add up fast.
3. Have you done one of those kid interviews that’s been floating around Facebook recently? We did them with our kids, and the answers were equal parts hilarious (Q: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? A: A grown up. So I can make the rules) and so sticky sweet we could die (Q: What Makes You Happy? A: Hugging You). Our friend at All in A Dad’s Work asks his kids questions like these on the regular, and their answers are super insightful, and also sometimes super funny. We particularly liked this week’s questions. Go check them out!
5. We busted out our Marbled Shaving Cream Art at a playdate this week and it was a HIT. Each kid made five or six hearts a piece, and it totally stopped them from fighting was a great way to get some art in. And can I say, I kind of felt like super mom handing it off to their Mamas when they got picked up. We recommend busting out the green paint and some shamrock-shaped cardstock to bring it into the new season.
6. Our cruuuuiissseee is coming uuuuuuup! Look for some themed posts that will be going up this week, and get your rainbow tumblers ready. We’ve got a fun DIY headed your way so you can either A.) Cruise with your momsquad in style or B.) Have a virtual drink with The Salty Mamas.
I’m not gonna lie- maybe my favorite thing about having a baby (besides getting the baby, obviously) is decorating that sweet baby’s new room. Is it necessary for an eight pound person to have a space of their own? Of course not. But when you’re a creative person, there’s something magical about prepping for your baby by getting a space ready that’s just for them. When Abram was born, we knew he’d be sharing a space with our guest room (and my crafting space- yeah, there was a lot going on in there), so we decided to go for a feel that wasn’t too “babyish.” We chose to make a blue and gray nursery for him that used lots of letters and sweet, homemade touches. We finished the space just in time for his newborn photo shoot, and were lucky to have Biancca Wallace Photography capture them for us.
As a preschool art teacher, I have to say that I strongly favor process-based art for kids. The research all shows that the true benefit of art for kids comes from the process of making something- mixing colors, experimenting with lines and swirls, and getting hands-on experience with creative expression. Your average Valentine’s Day art projects, with their prescribed colors and shapes and outcomes, are typically not in line with process-based activities.
I’m also a mother. I want some art for my dang refrigerator, gosh darn it.
So I’ve created this fun, process based art activity that will end with a product that you can display. By limiting the colors you present the kids with (pink, purple, and red for example), you can ensure that the project stays on theme- and the kids will be none the wiser. (Or feel free to go rogue here- this project can be accomplished with any colors and any shape of paper- including a plain old rectangle.) Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Marbled Print Art”→
You think you’re done with your holiday prep. You’ve baked. You’ve shopped. You’ve even wrapped. You have done the impossible- you’ve finished Christmas a full week ahead of time. You pat yourself on the back for a job well done and prepare yourself for a blissful evening drinking a glass of wine and watching “Love Actually” one more time.
And then you get a sweet little note from your child’s lovely teacher (and I mean that. She is SO wonderful), asking that you send twenty identical kindergarten class gifts to school the day after tomorrow. And since said teacher is seriously SO wonderful, you decide to oblige her one last request.
I mean, you cry first, of course. But then you get to brainstorming.
So, if you’re like us and find yourself with one more twenty little preschool class gifts to buy, might we suggest a few ideas…
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You know those times when your kids have to just sit quietly for a really long time, and you are out of data and/or don’t have enough phones to go around and/or they’ve already watched 75 hours of TV today? Like when the doctor is running behind, or if you’re flying to Hawaii, or when your husband sends you and your two children to stand in line for a few hours at a Best Buy for a video game system at 6 am on fifteen minutes notice?
No? Is that one just me?
Well at any rate, I don’t always feel like a super mom, but the thing that is sure to make me give myself some major kudos is my fully-stocked, always-so-ready-it-lives-in-the-trunk Busy Bag. My bag of choice is the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote froFr Thirty One (which I love because ALL THE POCKETS), but it can be done with any similar bag.
(Side Note: A fully loaded Busy Bag makes an INCREDIBLE family gift for Christmas, or when a new baby is on the way. If you are giving this as a gift, I would definitely go with the Thirty-One Tote. It definitely gives it an extra polish, and can be embroidered. Yes, Christine sells Thirty-One. But I’m being completely objective here- it’s got Wow Factor.)
The most crucial aspect of the Busy Bag, besides the bag, is the little tray that lives inside of it. It’s just a cheap cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree, but it operates as a desk, magnet board, flannel board, and snack tray when we are out and about. And as a bonus, it fits PERFECTLY across the armrests of my kids’ carseats during road trips.
So once you’ve got your bag and your tray ready, it is time to fill it with all sorts of cheap, won’t -break-my-heart-to-lose-it, engaging little activities for your youngsters. What’s in mine changes constantly, which is probably part of the allure of the bag for my kids. I am always on the hunt for little Dollar Bin finds to fill it with, and dollar stores are a surprisingly rich treasure trove of everything-included projects.
Here are a few of the items that make regular appearances or are permanent fixtures in our bag:
I’m telling you, this bag makes me look like I have my stuff together. And after the initial setup, it just takes a little refill here and there to keep it fresh and exciting. Beyond that, I am ready to look like one of THOSE moms at any time, in any place. Like while watching the sunrise in a Best Buy parking lot.
Want to see the Busy Bag in action? Head over to Facebook to watch a video that shows the bag’s features and what I keep inside!
Let’s preface this one by saying- you don’t HAVE to be creative just because you’re a mama. Your parties don’t have to have carefully paper-crafted banners. Your kids’ sandwiches can be sandwich-shaped, your kids water cups don’t have to be personalized with vinyl, you don’t have to make your own home décor, and you CERTAINLY don’t have to sew your daughter thematic skirts for every holiday.