mom + mini: dressing poppy.

dressing-poppy

poppy is almost 8months guys. i can hardly believe it. i can also hardly believe that i’ve had this mom gig for 14 years (wah!!?). so much has changed in the world of baby products during that time and i have to say one of my favorites is all of the cute clothes out there. poppy still wears mostly onesies and leggings with a tee, romper or comfy dress over the top and i do most of the shopping for her and the rest of my brood (minus ozzie) at the usual favorites: peek kids, zara kids and minis, gap kids (40% off with code YAY right now), old navy, H&M, target, mini boden and… who else am i forgetting?

it’s also nice to add pieces that are a little more unique and support all those makers and shakers while i’m at it! thought i would share a few of my favorite indie clothing designers and shops for the little ones in your life and baby showers and birthdays in your future!

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// 01 riley clay // 02 hen & co. // 03 kid + kind // 04 hatch 4 kids // 05 little bow and arrow // 06 the wild // 07 childHOODS // 08 house of mia // 09 whistle and flute // 10 beau loves //

have you noticed all the gender neutral basics out there!? obsessed, but i know it’s not for everyone. what do you think?

happy (almost) friday.

xo . rae

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mini bites: 11 after school snacks my kids love.

baseball season is here! oz, espen and tilly are all on teams and johan is coaching. so. um. yeah. our evenings are about to get crazy busy and unless we want to spend a fortune on unhealthy takeout i’m going to have to bring my A-game when it comes to meal planning. starting with snacks that are hearty enough to tide my mvp’s over until dinner. so i thought a food post would be a great way to kick off the week.

here are 11 of my kids’  snack time faves. these aren’t all super original but they are tried-and-true snacks i know everyone will devour. i’m in need of some fresh ideas too so i hope you’ll share your snack time go-to’s in the comments below!

favorite-afterschool-snacksSNACK IDEAS

  1. smoothie pops – we always seem to have leftover smoothie after breakfast. instead of throwing it out i bought these freezer pop zip-locks. just fill, zip closed and throw in the freezer.
  2. popcorn – popcorn is a staple in our home and was my favorite after school pick-me-up as a kid (with a side of chocolate milk). we eat it several times a week drizzled with a little butter and salt. to feed a crowd or make it portable i often pop a couple batches, dump them in a paper grocery bag, add toppings, shake and go! if you don’t have an air popper, the stove works just as well.
  3. apple cookies (seen here) – a new fave. just slice apples into rounds, cut out the core, top with almond butter (or similar) or cream cheese and top with granola, chopped nuts, chocolate chops, or fresh or dried fruit. fun, easy and the kids can add their own toppings!
  4. chocolate dipped banana bites – mix approximately 1 cup dark chocolate chips in the microwave until just melted. dip chilled, sliced (or peeled and whole) bananas in to the chocolate. drain extra chocolate. dip into crushed nuts, cocoanut, granola, or pretzel or graham cracker crumbs and put in the freezer on a lined baking sheet until chocolate.
  5. baby bell peppers + hummus – this is also easy to pack on the go or in lunches and the baby bells are the older boys’ favorite veggie to snack on.
  6. frozen mangos + blueberries – we always have a costco size bag of frozen blueberries for smoothies but they are also great for snacks. frozen mangos are also yummy, inexpensive and an easy way to avoid the drama of cutting up a fresh one.
  7. corn fritters – one of my personal favorites and i sometimes serve these for dinner (with sides) when johan is gone. here’s the recipe.
  8. parfaits – i don’t think my kids have ever turned down greek yogurt with toppings. head here for a list of parfait pairings.
  9. salami, cheese + apples – pretty self explanatory and easy to pack too! add crackers to the mix or slice apples into rounds for easy stacking. also, i try to opt for nitrate free meat and white cheddar… did you know cheddar cheese is orange because they dye it?!
  10. peanut butter brekkie cookies – full-disclosure, my kids fight over these and they never last more than a day unless i hide them.
  11. apple pumpkin muffins – these have become another fast favorite since making them for griffin’s preschool class and i always make a double batch. keep scrollin’ for the recipe!

i usually add a hardboild egg or deli meat to round out any of the lighter snacks. i also, try to get the most out of my time in the kitchen and serve the muffins and brekkie cookies for breakfast and snack. i often do the same with pancakes (here too) and crepes.

apple-pumpkin-muffinsAPPLE PUMPKIN MUFFINS: 30 minutes start to finish, makes a dozen or 24 minis

to make, you’ll need -

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey (agave works too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice

here’s how -

  1. preheat oven to 350. grease muffin tins or line with cups (i lightly spray these too).
  2. whisk the first 6 ingredients.
  3. in a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and slowly add to the wet mixture. stir until combined.
  4. poor batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full. bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. let cool and serve or store.

i’m always in need of kid friendly food ideas and would love to know: what are your kids favorite snacks?

xo . rae

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tips for taking effortless pics of your kids.

save the date for SATURDAY, APRIL 25th friends because i’ll be with my girl and photography genius stacy jacobsen, hosting The Everyday Workshop and we would love, love, love to see you there.

as excited as i am to speak and teach, i’m even more excited about taking the workshop myself. as much as stacy and i have worked together, i know nothing about camera settings, equipment, lighting, etc. but would love to be able to capture more of the everyday fleeting moments with my kids. you too?

last week we made a pop-up garage studio (one of the things we’ll cover at the workshop) to take pictures of a mini-mock 5th bday party for stacy’s son jack (more pics on the land of nod blog soon) so i thought i would share a few outtakes and talk about photographing children.

as my iPhone (and i’m sure your’s too) proves, snapping pics and keeping them for keepsakes is one of my favorite things to do. her’s a few tricks i’ve learned!

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backgrounds + decluttering – basically you want to eliminate distractions and pick a background that compliments or adds to the person in the photo. for instance this pic of tilly jump roping would have been very different had the garage door been open. in the same way (and similar to graphic design) think about positive vs. negative space and how they can contrast, support or compliment each other to make it interesting! the photo above is a great example, but we’ll get into it more during the workshop!

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be playful. be funny. be smart. – getting real, authentic pics of kids means letting them be themselves and what are kids best at? playing! even if your not trying to capture something specific, it helps if kids have something to play with in their hand – a book, a leaf, their favorite hot wheel – to help keep them engaged, happy and not thinking about the camera. if your shooting more than one child find opportunities for them to play off each other – whisper a secret, make funny faces, tell a joke, throw popcorn and be silly! remember to ask leading questions instead of giving demands. what does that tambourine sound like? do you know how to blow a bubble?

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make it quick and/or make something else the focus. – kids have short attention spans (duh, rae) so find the good light, set the “stage” and then let the fun begin. if your kids tend to be shy the second you pull the camera out try making something else the focus… like the beautiful cake (by 4kids cakes) in the photo above. chances are they’ll be ready to jump right in and ham-it-up!

of course there is a time and a place to “keep-it-real” and not care at all about the tips and tricks for the sake of spontaneity but there is something to be said for being efficient, effortless and confident and i hope these tips helped.

if (like me) you want to learn more about taking beautiful, everyday kind of pics i hope you’ll join us at the workshop. for all the details and to sign up (space is limited and filling up!) HEAD HERE.

if you have tips to share or things you want to learn, spill it in the comments below!

xo. rae

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jumprope DIY + gift totes for kids + freebies

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birthday parties seem to be an every other weekend occurrence around here and while often times we head to menchies or target for a last minute present or gift card, the kids and i love putting together a little gift set (or in this case a tote!) for their friends.

bonus if that gift also includes something handmade. for a long time the build a fort kit was our go-to but lately we’ve been including this really adorable wood handled jumprope that would be a perfect addition to easter baskets too… (keep reading for instructions, gift ideas and free printable bday tags!)

March-2015-104

March-2015-105to make the jumprope you’ll need:

  • 1-inch thick dowel, cut to approx. 4-1/2 inch pieces
  • rope, 1/4-inch wide
  • paint in various colors + brushes
  • drill with 1/4-inch drill bit and 5/8-inch bevel (optional)

here’s how:

  1. after dowel is cut to approximately 4-1/2 inch handles, drill a hole through them.
  2. if desired (to hide the knotted rope), bevel out one end of the handle about 1/4-inch deep.
  3. cut rope to desired length (tip: you can always make it shorter) and burn the end so they don’t fray. twist rope through drilled hole in the handle and tie off on the beveled end.
  4.  paint, stain or leave handles as is.
  5. make extras for all the little people in your life… you can even have them paint their own!

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free birthday tags and notes download (PDF)

click to download (above) and then keep reading for fun kid friendly knick-knacks to fill your gift drawer with… if you have one of those. i need to start one ASAP!

Tote No. 1: diy tote in beach blanket stripe fabric from minted, chalk and bubbles from target, bird whistle from land of nod, sweatshirt on sale at baby swag, and jumprope.

Tote No. 2: diy tote in number fabric from minted, preschool sweatshirt from hatch for kids (a new fave), jumbo jacks (similar), recorder from land of nod, bubbles + chalk from target, and jumprope.

totes cute, right? what do you usually wrap up for birthday boys and girls?

xo . rae

2

DATE NIGHT IN // No. 2, family room fort

johan and i have never been that great about getting out of the house sans kids. in fact, even when we were dating we would usually grab brunch after church or head to a sporting event with ozzie (then 4) in-tow. not much has changed except the size of our brood but when a few weeks ago tilly called us out for having “mean chats” (5 kids and sleep deprivation will do that, ha!), johan and i decided we could really use some consistent date nights. to keep things more doable for our budget and babysitters, we thought it would be fun to take turns planning a date night in once a week after the kids are tucked in. we already do this from time to time (example) and love it so i can hardly wait to look forward to it each week.

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since it will naturally turn into a (friendly) competition of who plans the best dates i’ve gone ahead and done some brainstorming. here’s my first idea:

BUILD a fort using sheets and then make it extra cozy with blankets (on sale) + pillows.

WEAR something cute + cozy like these skinny boyfriend jeans and floral sweatshirt (both on sale!).

EAT yummy cupcakes like these butter pecan ones. store-bought definitely works too!

PLAY a fun board game or make up a silly song. neither of us can play an instrument but a rap would be hilarious. (ukulele)

DECORATE with balloons, lights or any banners you have around the house. (lights + little or big balloons)

what do you usually do for date night? do you stay in, or go out?

xo . rae

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