Well, I took a brief absence, but am finally back and in full gear!
Things have been a bit crazy, especially now with the holidays just around the corner. Planning gifts for friends, family, teachers, neighbors and more can be stressful. You never want to forget someone! This Christmas, we will be having our in-laws stay with us for a few days…of course this adds a lot more stress as I prepare for their visit. I always like things to go perfectly, but it never works out the way I had planned. I am trying to remember to take small breaks just to breathe and relax – it is almost over!
As a parent, one of my favorite things to do during the holidays is choose my children’s holiday outfits! If I can get just one good family snapshot each year with us all looking our best, I am thrilled! I do not typically go super matchy-matchy for our photo, but I do try to coordinate our colors. Last year, we did silver, gray and black and I just loved the way it came out! The year, I am going a bit bolder with the kids wearing red and the hubby and I in black.
I had a chance to take a look at some adorable options for little girls, and here are some of my favorite – chevron patterns!
My favorite of all is this stunning, bold, handmade dress above. The red bow really pops and ties the look together well! I can’t believe this is handmade – I have never been able to make clothing well…this is just perfect! I just love the little arm ruffles! Be sure to check out haddygrace on Etsy for this and many more adorable dresses for the holidays and beyond…including a very sweet Camo dress with a pink bow that would make for a great baby girl gift for a military or outdoorsy family!
Whatever you choose, be sure to order soon to receive before the holidays! I ordered several things from assorted sites during Cyber Monday and have yet to receive them…mail is super slow this time of the year!
Stay tuned for great little boy holiday outfit options…
Store bought snacks, while extremely convenient, can be full of preservatives, dyes and all sorts of unhealthy nonsense that we do not want to feed our children.
One of my husbands favorite snacks is the Goldfish cracker. He eats way too many of them! The bags are small and pricey for the size (unless they are on a super sale), and I know there are so many things in our house that would be a healthier option. Because he loves them so much, of course the kids do as well…copying anything their daddy eats!
I started to think about creating a more nutritious snack – something with more fiber, more whole grains and best of all… homemade!
That is when I came across this recipe for homemade fish crackers! I have made the recipe with several substitutions. First, I used a lowfat cheese. Next, I substituted the 1 cup flour for a mixture of 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup chickpea flour for a healthier option with a touch more fiber and protein. In place of butter, I used 1/2 grape seed oil (I saw this on Dr. Oz a while back!) and 1/2 margarine. For a tastier finish, I was sure to use sea salt instead of regular table salt.
So, ok…mine don’t taste the same as store bought goldfish, but they are healthier! I am still playing with the recipe to come up with a tastier mixture. Even if you use the recipe exactly as is, I am sure it is healthier and fresher than the brand name!
While the recipe also give a tutorial on how to make your own fish cookie cutter, I found a set on Amazon for a reasonable price. It says they are for cutting clay, but I don’t see why they can’t be used for cooking…
Let me know what you think of the recipe!
Hamsters are a big deal with my kids and their friends.
It started when one of their teachers had a classroom pet – they all fell in love with the little guy and wanted one of their own. While it has been a bit of a mess to clean up and a great lesson in responsibility, I myself find that I have fallen for our little ball of fluff!
I have never tried my hand at felting, but thought I might attempt to jump on the bandwagon after seeing these little hamsters below:
This would be a fun project to get the kids involved in while trying our best to get the colors and features looking similar to each of their friends pets. I am sure they would love to have these as Christmas gifts! And even if they end up a little lop-sided and not-quite-hamster-looking for my first attempt at felting… well, they are just kids, right?!
I love the little sunflower seeds, as that is one of our little guys favorites – as well as small pieces of tofu and broccoli!
Visit the Etsy shop link above to purchase the pattern for these adorable little hamster pets. If you or your kids are in to other pets, the shop also sells patterns for many other animals including dogs, cats, penguins and some super cute little sheep. Be sure to check them out!
Scarecrows are a fun way for your kiddos to express themselves.
Have them make their scarecrows to look like themselves and/or the members of your family…pets included! When making crafts or drawings that look like family, I am always amazed at what my kids think of us! HA! I just love to hear their stories of their versions of us and why they used certain colors or shapes to recreate what they see in their minds.
So how do you get your kiddos making scarecrows? Use these fun ideas and tutorials to get started!
This quick paper plate project uses supplies that you probably have at home. Set your child up at the table and have them make one per family member while you cook dinner. Then use the finished products as place settings when they set the table for your family meal!
I love this scarecrow idea using wooden craft sticks. Add one more stick to the back to use as a cute, country style garden pick!
This is a fun project that gets your kiddos in the kitchen for a lesson in measuring! Using crispy chinese noodles for hair and a mixture of candies, cookies and other food items your child can help to make tonights dessert! This would also make a fun treat for grandma and grandpa or their friends, neighbors and teachers!
If you are a Toys R Us or Babies R Us shopper, (which I assume many of you are!) be excited for a special deal!
Today through September 21, 2013, both stores are offering their Friends and Family 20% off in-store and online purchases!
While these stores often have coupon deals, they are usually for regular priced items only. This coupon is valid on regular, sale and clearance items! Hopefully you find some great items to use this coupon for – it is a great opportunity to stock up on birthday and holiday gifts, not to mention those little clearance items that make for great baby shower gift basket items!
To use in the store, print the coupon from Toys R Us or Babies R Us. Just in case the links don’t work, head to their sites direct and you should see the coupon on their home pages. Be sure to read the fine print, as there are a few exclusions.
To use the coupon online, use promo code FRIENDS20 at checkout.
Let me know if you come across any fabulous deals while shopping!
I am a freckly person.
Mostly on my arms, but when I was growing up I had several on my face as well. What non-freckly people may not know is that kids with freckles get made fun of. They are called “freckle face” or get lots of questions as to why they have so many freckles. It can make kids very self-conscious!
That is why I just love this vinyl sticker for a little girls room.
Check out this ADORABLE idea to make for a little girl on her birthday.
These pink plastic forks have little rhinestones glued to them!
Any little girl would feel extra special with a little added bling to her table! What an adorable idea…I know I would have loved this when I was a little girl.
This idea can be made special for any party – any age, boys included. Just glue on little trinkets – like those 5cent toys from Party City – to match the theme of the party. Or head to a craft store for little scrapbook charms or buttons. You could even glue on a wrapped starlight mint for a holiday party – a two in one as guests can unwrap after they eat their meals! This is a huge money saver, as custom place setting items can get really pricey! The possibilities are endless!
Today I wanted to share an adorable owl project that a friend sent my way. Owls are everywhere right now, but this project is one of the cutest I have seen!
This is a fun nature project for your kiddos that they are sure to enjoy!
Think about bringing some felt, scissors and glue on a fun picnic. Have the kids go on a nature search to find acorns in the park, or even brown rocks will do for the owl body. They can use real twigs or sticks as the perch and really go to town with their imaginations! I think these would look cute with those googley eyes – my kids always get a kick out of those!
To see more details on this project, visit the image source above.
Oh, I just can’t wait for the coming holiday weekend!
My husband is completely overworked and ready for a long weekend, the kids have started school and I am already burned out…it has been a long couple of weeks and summer! We are pooped and ready for the weekend. We are planning to relax with a small family BBQ, and maybe filling up the kiddie pool if the weather permits (is it just me or has the weather been really wishy-washy lately?!).
In preparation for the festive holiday weekend, I wanted to share a picnic blanket tutorial from DresdenCarrie – made from bandannas unlike I have ever seen before in a chevron pattern. Bandana quilts seem to have been around forever…a quick way to toss something together…but I just love this updated look!
And to continue the vintage look, check out this ADORABLE one piece polka dot swimsuit below from Etsy shop RedDollyGirls. Complete with a bandana headpiece (be sure to buy an extra if making the quilt above), this just made me squeal “Awwwww ” out loud.
The shop also offers a high waist vintage style 2 piece similar to the one shown above and a whole selection of other adorable looks…
I hope you all have a safe and happy long weekend!
Gender Reveal Parties are becoming more and more popular.
If you are pregnant or have a friend or family member who is, this is a great opportunity to have a get-together and include everyone in finding out what the sex of your baby is. There are so many great ideas out there on ways to make these fun parties a hit. I think it is a super fun idea that can double as your shower!
Here are a couple great party ideas that have gone successfully, just follow the links for more information.
Some couples choose to find out the gender, then surprise the guests at the party while others (I think this is so much more fun!) choose to have the doctor or technician write the gender on a slip of paper and put it in an envelope for the parents to be to give to a bakery or balloon store. The bakery will then make the internal frosting, filling or cake color pink or blue depending on the gender. A balloon shop can fill a box you supply with pink or blue balloons which you can open at the party.
Things to remember:
Be sure to hire a photographer for the party – it will be great to have pictures of the moment you find out the gender! If you don’t want to fork out the cash for a professional, be sure to designate a friend or two to specifically capture your faces at the time of the reveal.
Traditionally, pink and blue are used for parties like this. But don’t settle if that is not your thing! As shown above, you can choose something like Birds or Bees (girls are birds, boys are bees), or go with another set of colors like yellow and green. I have also seen guns or glitter. I think a really fun one would be GI Joes or Barbies, but that is just my random idea.
Pick colors and decorate your home or chosen location accordingly. Finger foods, cookies, candies, table cloths and everything should match to make the event really special.
I always think it is fun at showers to put up pictures of the couple when they were babies or toddlers. Don’t forget this at the Gender Reveal!
Have you thrown a reveal party for yourself or a friend? Have you been to one that was a success? Would love to hear your input on these parties!