DOUBLE DIGITS (A BELATED BDAY NOTE)

Our No. 2, Espen, is 10… 10! Which is halfway to 20. Surely I must be dreaming. Yes?

No. It really happened over the weekend and I’ve been teary-eyed ever since. It doesn’t help that summer is flying by as well (ugh!). Time is not a friend of mine but I can’t let this milestone bday pass by without a HBD note.

Here are just a few of the millions of things we LOVE about YOU Espey —>

espen-bday-post-3Your glass is always half-full. You get excited about the big and the little things. You have the best comic relief and silly faces. You are everyone’s favorite and everyone’s friend. Your heart is full of adventure and possibilities. Your work ethic and problem solving skills are better than most adults. You are up for trying just about anything and quick to adjust. And the list goes on.

Your family is head over heels for you and I hope you never question how amazing and loved and appreciated you are!

Now stop growing please.

Love you so!!!

XO, Mom

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LITTLE BITES: FROZEN YOGURT DOTS

It’s safe to say the kids are getting tired of the snacks that have been gracing our pantry and fridge this summer. All we seem to do lately is snack so I guess I can’t blame ’em! But I was shocked when they hadn’t gobbled up all the noosa yogurt I’ve been buying at Costco. It could honestly pass for fro-yo! When questioned, they admitted it was just that they had been eating so much of it. So earlier this week we decided to try freezing some into dots, hoping it would rekindle their enthusiasm for the delicious yogurt.

To my delight, they loved the dots and ate them all up. As did I, and will now be eating all yogurt in frozen form — so good! The “recipe” and steps are so simple and easy for little helpers too. Details below.

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YOU’LL NEED:

  • favorite kind of yogurt, refrigerated and stirred
  • small zip locks or pastry bags
  • parchment paper
  • cookie sheet

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Fill ziplock with stirred yogurt and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners.
  3. Squeeze small dots onto prepared cookie sheet and place in the freezer for a couple hours, until frozen… Freeze longer or overnight if wanting to store and keep for later.
  4. Peel off of paper and eat, scoop into a bowl and serve or place in airtight container and store in the freezer!

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Don’t those little yogurt dots look delicious and refreshing?

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Poppy thinks so! And suggests trying to make some this weekend :)

What have you been snacking on lately?

TGIF!

XO, Rae

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LIFE LATELY + AVOIDING SUMMER BURNOUT

We’ve been summering so hard lately it’s hard to keep the days straight! Johan has been promoted (yay, hubby!) and training overtime for his new position. The kids have baseball, swim and soccer and our calendar is full of summer fun and celebrations. As much as I love the business and being with all the kids, all the time (and I really do love it!), I can feel the fatigue starting to set in.

So last night I sat down and wrote a list of ways to avoid summer burnout and thought I would share it below.

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10 WAYS TO AVOID SUMMER BURNOUT

  1. Hire a babysitter or plan kid swaps with a friend and run an errand (or 5) all by my lonesome.
  2. Schedule workouts at least 2 days a week instead of hoping I can fit them in…
  3. Read my Bible, check my calendar and write down my to-dos in the morning. Something I do most days during the school year, but forget to do when our days are less structured and routine is out the window.
  4. Read with the kids during their quiet time.
  5. Go to bed by 10 on nights we are home that early :)
  6. Eat more salads… always feel better after a salad.
  7. Mani-pedis are always a good idea.
  8. Say “no” to something I’m not excited about.
  9. Plan a girls date (sans kids) and remember it doesn’t have to be at night.
  10. Remember what my goals are this summer — To spend quality time with the fam bam and friends, love on people and go on adventures. So far I think we’re doing a pretty good job and it’s encouraging to know!

Would love to know how you avoid burnout during the summer months or just in general. Add your suggestion in the comments!

Now for a few pics from Espen and Tilly’s swim lessons at the cutest backyard pool (there aren’t many of them in the PNW) and garden out in the country. There’s an outdoor fireplace to sit by on colder mornings, a picnic table to hangout at and blueberry bushes to pick from when the littles get restless….

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//So proud of my not so natural swimmers. They have been working hard, having fun and improving everyday!//

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//These two already fighting over technology (yay, me!)! Click here if you missed the roundup of our favorite kid apps + downloads.//

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//Pokémon Go has sparked an new appreciation for Pokémon cards in our home (also yay, me! Ha!). I used to think those things were evil and still don’t love them, but have talked myself off the ledge of parental paranoia.//

swim lessons-6165 swim lessons-6219 swim lessons-6220//I could look down at a cute face and little arms wrapped around my legs forever. So grateful for this season of life.//

Happy whatever day it is, friends!

Don’t forget to share how you avoid summer or just mommy burnout in general, below. You know I need all the help I can get!

XO, Rae

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HBD GRIFFIN (CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE 5)!

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Being your mama is such a treat Griffin William. You give off the best vibe and make everything more fun. Most of your time and energy is spent trying to keep up with all the big kids in your life but I have a hunch you’ll be the one leading the way when you’re older.

You love your friends, family, and people in general, legos and saying prayers at bedtime and hate eating anything that grows in the ground, getting your face wet and mascots (those darn guys!). You say the most random, hysterical and relatable things sometimes. Like this morning when you said, “I can’t believe I’m 5!” and took the words right out of my mouth.

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Happy 5th Birthday to my bestest sidekick. You have a heart of gold and the smile to match and are loved more than words!!!

XO, Mooooom

PS – A cute pic from his party this morning if you are curious!?

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HAPPY (SUMMER) TRAVELS WITH KIDS: 10 OF OUR FAVE APPS + DOWNLOADS

I so appreciate all the fun travel games and ideas floating around pinterest but the times I’ve flown or taken road trips with the kids I’ve found that an activity or book is nice, but a tablet is king (and way more simple). So are snacks, but that is another blog post. For all of your traveling with kids needs, here’s a roundup of all our favorite apps at the moment…

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  1. ENDLESS NUMBERS, READER + ALPHABET: Don’t let the age range deter you because Tilly (7 yrs) still enjoys these. Education, entertaining and totally cute which is not an easy combo to pull-off!
  2. YOUTUBE KIDS: Simple to use and has endless options. My kids love to explore and learn while picking out short episodes, videos and playlists they love!
  3. MIXIMAL: Silly sounds, adorable animation and endless combinations all while mixing animals and syllables… I might enjoy this app even more than my kids!
  4. MINION RUSH: Oh the power of the minions! This game has zero educational value, but if your little one is old enough to swipe back and forth (eating up coins) then they will most likely get sucked right in. Our older 4 kids (4 years and up) would play it non-stop if we let them.
  5. SAGO MINI SUPERHERO: Super cute and entertaining app that we recently downloaded. Griffin (almost 5) loves it. Not sure how long it will keep his attention but it would be a perfect app to download as a surprise before a trip!
  6. RUBY’S STUDIO: Engages kids in a fun and clever way on important topics such as safety, friendship, siblings and feelings. I’ve worked with Ruby’s Studio for the last several years so I might be biased but my kids are truly obsessed. Download full episodes or shorter segments from the episodes (Elise and Louise is a fave).
  7. TOCA ROBOT LAB, TAILOR FAIRY TALES, + BAND: We love the toca app series, but these are the current faves.
  8. HEADS UP: More like a game (think charades or headbands) than an app and great for older (reading level) kids and adults too. Easily a new fave. Tilly (7) and her friends played for at least an hour on our front porch yesterday. I might have snuck in and joined them for a few minutes too.
  9. THINK ROLLS: Different levels for different age groups makes this app a crowd pleaser and easy for siblings to share and take turns.
  10. GO NOODLE: This is not an app or download and it might not be that effective for a trip but it is a genius web site with all kinds of videos that get kids thinking, moving and being silly so it’s worth mentioning and you should totally go check it out!

What kid friendly apps and downloads are you loving and using right now?

XO, Rae

PS – Another summer travel post if you missed it, HERE.

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