Author Archive | rae

ICE CREAM MAKES YOU HAPPY + 5 THINGS

These pics have zero to do with the context of this post but they do remind me that warmer, sun kissed, ice cream eating days are ahead. Not that we’re ever not eating ice cream but you get the idea.

In the meantime I’m going to try and be better about living in the in-between, i.e. the moments and seasons that are a not as easily enjoyed. I’ve had so many of them over the years  (like, every winter) and when the season passes I’m always wishing I would have squeezed a little more goodness out of it.

In an effort to live more in the in-between, here are a few things that I’ve loved this week!

  1. Tilly (8) shared, after 20 or so minutes of playing family (aka house) with her two younger siblings yesterday that, “Being a mom feels riiiily good.” (Girlfriend you have no idea the richness you kids bring to my life!) Then she continued, “But I still want to adopt!” She is terrified of pregnancy and childbirth and doesn’t even know all the details yet, ha! So curious to see what she ends up doing and being when she’s grown up! Side note, if you have a wide age range of kids I highly recommend encouraging playing house. Tilly ended up giving Poppy and Griffin their baths last night while playing the mom. I still had to check her work and wipe all the water off our bathroom floor, but checking tubbies off the bedtime to-do list at 5 o’clock felt oh so good.
  2. Poppy pronounces waffles, awwwwfuls and it’s about the cutest thing. It’s also been her reply for the last week when I ask her what she wants for breakkie.
  3. Johan and Espen had their first little league baseball practice last night. Seems a little premature seeing as how it snowed here yesterday but who am I to get in the way of boys and their baseball? Also makes me feel like we are one step closer to Spring!
  4. Johan and I have started doing garage workouts more regularly (at 5am — gah!) and I’m kinda proud of us for making the effort. It’s mostly circuit training using movements and simple equipment like burpees, mountain climbers, kettle bells, box jumps and a jumprope. I’d be happy to share a few of my favorite combos if anyone is interested?
  5. We are doing this study with a group of friends and so far it’s been life changing. Last week we discussed the things a soul needs to be healthy: rest, restriction, responsibility/work, and relationship. For anyone with kids I would add date night and wine (ha!), but that’s just me. What do you think of the list? Would you add or take anything away?

  

Big brothers that pinch you with their toes (3 pics up), pretend to eat your birthday cake (2 pics up), and then assume you’ll be okay about picking you up (1 pic up). I remember being so annoyed with Oz for pestering the little kids during the shoot, but am ironically so happy to have these real life kind of pictures in a staged setting.

Even after all that teasing Poppy still asks for her biggest brother about 5 times per day… “Where’s my Ozzie brover?”

    

Also completely unrelated to the pics above, the last few items for the dinning room came in the mail this week so I’m hoping to finish things up over the weekend for a reveal on Monday!!! A finished project is good for the soul too!

What are you up to this weekend?

xo, Rae

(Photos by Stacy Jacobsen to document Poppy’s 2nd Birthday last summer)

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SWEET BITES: HOMEMADE SODAS

I don’t know about you guys but February is seriously kicking my butt. Not sure if it’s the lack of sun, daylight or warmth that has me feeling so blah and it probably hits me around this time every year and I forget, but OMGeeee! Spring cannot get here too soon. And I am not one that usually wishes for time to hurry.

A few of the things that seem to be helping with the winter blues lately: copious dance parties, getting out of the house, and playing with the kids in the kitchen. Thought I would share our latest cooking session recipe with you, inspired by the last few hipster-ish restaurants we’ve grubbed at  that have handcrafted sodas on the menu instead of sprite and root beer. While nothing can really replace a good old fashioned Shirley Temple, these homemade sodas are delicious and less sugary. Plus the fancy flavors and garnishes make them feel extra special.

Our DIY version is a mix of sparkling water and homemade simple syrups. Here’s the how-to…

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh fruit
  • 1 cup sugar of choice (modify measurement for stevia or splenda)
  • 1 cup water
  • sparkling or flavored water (like pellegrino or la croix)
  • mint, basil, lemon, lime, berries, etc., for garnish
  • lemon and lime juice (optional)

TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUPS:

  1. Dice or slice fruit if needed – for instance mango or strawberries.
  2. Heat 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar over med-high heat. Stir until sugar is melted.
  3. Add fruit and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture is a deep color that matches the fruit.
  4. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another pot or heat safe bowl. Resist the urge to press down on the strained fruit to try and get more juice out :) it just makes the syrup chunky and cloudy.
  5. Let syrup cool completely then poor into mason jars or other airtight containers in the fridge. Should keep for a few weeks.

TO MIX THE SODAS:

  1. Set out syrups, sparkling water options, and garnishes.
  2. Pour sparkling soda in each cup. Add syrup and garnishes to taste. We used approx.  a 1:4 ratio of syrup to water (1/4 cup of syrup for every cup of sparkling water… maybe a little less syrup than that).
  3. Tip: a little splash of lemon or lime juice tastes so good in the sodas!

 

These yummy drinks may not make spring arrive any sooner but they will add a little fun to your day and fancy to your tastebuds.

How has February been treating you? Have any tricks for beating the winter blues? I probably should have added Netflix to my list of tricks above :)

If you love this time of year please spill all your secrets and then move next door so your happy winter vibes can rub off on me.

Happy hump day friend!!!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE CITY GUIDE: ALKI BEACH, SEATTLE

Guess what? It’s still the weekend!

Weekends that are still going strong on a Monday? Count me in please! Can we make this a thing? Ha! I mean, there are all those national donut, puppy, pizza, etc. days now… don’t they deserve a day of observance? Totally kidding, but I could get used to Tuesday being the new Monday.

There is only one thing I like more than having Mondays off… starting the weekend a day early, which is exactly what we got to do this past week. My babes had Friday off of school and even better, Johan had the day off from fighting fires too. Since the sun was shining we headed to the one place I think we’ve all been craving since the end of fall… the beach. Here’s a few pics from our morning.

Like most little sibs, Griffin is always trying to keep up with the big kids. Mostly Espen and Tilly. At home he’s treated more like a third wheel than a play buddy, but when we are out and about it seems to level the playing field a little more. Makes my heart so happy to watch.

Caught shooting an Instagram story. Something I am so very inconsistent with but thoroughly enjoy. Almost too much :)

It might sound kinda cliche, but I love watching them explore and take in their surroundings. Even when we are so close to home.

You can’t end a cold outing at the beach where almost everyone wound up with wet feet (just can’t resist running and jumping in those waves!) without something warm to sip on. We initially saw the Starbucks but then noticed a Top Pot next-door so decided to warm up with donuts too :)

Hope you are able to soak up some extra family time this weekend!!!

XO, Rae

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EASY OVEN BAKED S’MORES + A MEAL PLAN

Happy Monday guys! Feeling so behind for all the Valentine festivities happening tomorrow after a sinus cold I can’t seem to kick had me feeling all kinds of achey for most of Saturday and Sunday. But I’m on the mends today and thought I would share the only two things I managed to check off my to-do list this weekend. Some very delicious s’mores you can bake in the oven and a meal plan — both made with Heart Day in mind!

EASY OVEN BAKED S’MORES

10 minutes hands-on, 1 hour start to finish

YOU’LL NEED:

  • graham crackers
  • regular sized marshmallows
  • chocolate chips
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • parchment paper

TO MAKE:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Break graham crackers in half so they are squares and lay on prepped baking sheet. Place a marshmallow on each cracker and put in oven for 2 minutes.
  2. Now that the mallows are gooey, remove from oven and place a graham cracker on the top of each, pushing down gently so the mallow is smooshed between the crackers. Return to oven for 2 more minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. While waiting, place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted — stirring in between.
  5. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut crackers/mallow squares in half so you have two rectangles.
  6. Dip cracker/mallow rectangles in melted chocolate and then sprinkles and return to baking sheet. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so while chocolate sets then eat up! Store leftovers in airtight container in the fridge… they taste so good chilled!

 

They didn’t last very long at our house, but would have made a very fun treat to package up and give to friends!

Now for some meal planning… Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

MONDAY | california cobb salad (wraps for the kids)

VALENTINE’S DAY | crockpot tomato basil soup with heart shaped grilled cheese dippers and oven baked s’mores for dessert (using recipe above)

WEDNESDAY | eat out or takeout (I’ve been craving thai food!)

THURSDAY | crockpot apricot chicken over rice with sliced veggies

FRIDAY | mini turkey burgers with fries and milkshakes, movie and sleepovers

SATURDAY | one pan mediterranean baked halibut with veggies

SUNDAY | eat out or takeout

BREKKIE | strawberry smoothies, heart shaped bacon, easy blender crepes with toppings, toast

LUNCH | cookie cutter sandwiches, yogurt with sprinkles, chocolate covered or plain pretzels, strawberries, + edamame

SNACK | smoothie popsicles, yogurt parfaits, apples + peanut butter

Hope everyone is staying mostly germ-free and healthy ;| if that’s even a thing this time of year? Either way, here’s to a great week with your favorite love bugs!!!

xo, Rae

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MINI STYLE: VALENTINE’S DAY OUTFITS

Gimme all the red, pink, and hearts this time of year, but I think there’s also something to be said for trying valentines day styles and decor that are a little less obvious. Since my kids (mostly the boys) agree wholeheartedly, I decided to keep that in mind while putting together outfits for all the classroom parties next week. While they will most likely be editing what I picked out, I think they turned out pretty cute and (BONUS!) will be wearable long after the Valentine festivities end.

POPPY’S HEART DAY DUDS | heart sunnies, target | hair clips, ryan and wren on etsy | bomber jacket , peek kids on sale | swing dress, june and january | leggings, peek kids on sale | metallic high tops, zara kids (similar here + here)

TILLY’S HEART DAY DUDS | striped tee, peek kids | denim pinafore, mini boden (similar here + here) | heart, eyes + fries before guys patches, ban.do | emoji, ice cream + monster patches from crewcuts | necklace, DIY here | big and small ice cream shooters, amazon

GRIFFIN’S HEART DAY DUDS | navy bomber, zara kids | eyes patches, ban.do | white button up, cat and jack | pizza patch, crewcuts | denim, peek | vans, nordstrom (similar here + here)

ESPEN’S HEART DAY DUDS | pizza shirt, crewcuts on sale | wild thing tee, peek kids (similar) | joggers, crewcuts | new balances, crewcuts (similar)

Espen’s outfit is my fave. If it could talk I think it would say… I like a good party and love pizza but don’t take all the lovey dovey heart day stuff too seriously. Which is exactly what most 4th grade boys are thinking so it’s perfect :)

Happy weekend you guys! Hope it’s a warm and cozy one. We’ll be spending ours running the kids around to their activities and putting all the finishing touches on our Valentine’s. Thankful for activities that keep us busy indoors right now because brrr!

xo, Rae

 

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SIMPLE VALENTINES DAY KID CRAFT

Inspired by our love for eyeballs and faces put on any inanimate object and these adorable jammies that Poppy has, Tilly and I painted some happy little low-fuss hearts yesterday complete with facial expressions and patterned backgrounds. It was hard to stop making them but we’re all snowed in here (10-inches and still snowing!) today so I bet we’ll be painting more when we need to warm our bones!

YOU’LL NEED: poster board or thin cardboard, craft paint, paint brushes, a pencil and a sharpie or other black marker.

TO MAKE: I cut up a poster board (thin cardboard from a cereal box would work great too!) in various sizes. If you are using cardboard and want a white or non-kraft colored background, just brush a layer of paint over your pieces and let dry. Draw a heart on each piece and start painting! Once completely dry, use a sharpie or other black marker to add faces. ;)

Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away, I can’t believe it! We don’t have much in the way of Valentines decorations around here but these hearts add a nice festive touch. They would make a fun post card too.

How have you been getting in the Love Day mood?

xo, Rae

P.S. — Tomorrow is the last day to order Valentines for your little cupids. Head to the Design Shop to order if you haven’t already… It’s been so much fun seeing what design you guys pick when the orders come through and on Instagram so don’t forget to tag me @raeannkelly

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YAY FRIDAY + A SUPERBOWL CHEAT SHEET

I love, love, LOVE playing sports but when it comes to watching them, keeping track of the score, players, numbers and especially the stats, I’m the absolute worst. My kid’s games, of course, being the main exception. The other one is the Super Bowl. Knowing the backstories, what players to watch for and team names (ha!) makes the big day so much more exciting.

Since my husband is a freaking genius when it comes to knowing teams, players and stats I always bug him for the down-low before game time and this year I thought it would be fun to share with you!

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SUPER BOWL 51

  1. The New England Patriots are playing the Atlanta Falcons
  2. Both QB’s are amazing — Tom Brady for the Patriots vs. Matt Ryan for the Falcons
  3. Matt Ryan will probably be the MVP of the regular season
  4. Both coaches are also amazing — Bill Belichick for the Patriots (this will be his 7th Super Bowl and has a 4-2 record) vs. Dan Quinn for the Falcons (this is only his 2nd year as head coach… an extra tidbit for all my Seattle friends, he used to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator)
  5. Patriots are favored by 3 points
  6. The game is supposed to be one of the highest scoring Super Bowls with a total of 59+ points being predicted.
  7. The game is in Houston. The last time the game was there in 2004 the Patriots won and Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction ;)
  8. This is the Falcon’s 2nd and the Patriot’s 9th appearance at a Super Bowl.
  9. Patriot’s Tight End, #87 Rob Gronkowski would have been one to watch for but has been sidelined due to a back injury… he also has 1.7 million twitter followers.
  10. Tom Brady (Patriots QB) is the oldest player on their team at 39 and Matt Bryant (Falcons kicker) is the oldest in the league at 41

 

No kidding you guys, when we started chatting about the game last night, I didn’t even know what teams were playing, but knew exactly who was performing at halftime ;) Super excited to see what Gaga does, but nervous to see how she uses the platform. So ready to see more unity and less protesting in our country — not that I agree with all the changes being made. Ugh. Sorry for the tangent… I’ll save that rabbit hole for a different post.

Now, I’m super curious… what do you enjoy most about the Super Bowl?

  1. the game
  2. the food
  3. the halftime show (and commercials too)

Happy Friday!

xo, Rae

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FEBRUARY ARROW PROJECT: HOT COCOA STAND

Hey friends, happy February 1st!
We’re kicking this month off with an arrow project that I’m super excited to share. The combination of the state of our country and middle of winter weather (hurry up spring!) is enough to throw anyone into a downward spiral, but there is one thing that always restores sanity… connecting with people and chocolate! They are seriously the best medicine. So for our service project this month  Tilly + Griffin put on a pop-up hot cocoa stand in my parent’s neighborhood. Lemonade stands are one of their favorite summertime activities so I knew they would love it! Although their faces in the pic above suggest otherwise, LOL.
A few more pics from our time serving up cocoa…
Filming their sales pitch on Instagram stories and making a sign!
The secret shopper, director of quality control and social media strategist. Little people doing big things, ha! But seriously, don’t you see it?
Tilly + Griffin’s work relationship was slightly explosive. Both control freaks with easy to push buttons. But we lived, still had fun and met some new friends in the process!! It was really a great way to spend the afternoon.
I read a graphic the other day that said, “There is so much life to be lived in the in-between”. Can’t think of a better way to describe this season and put things into perspective.
Here’s to living a full life in the in-between. And lots of yummy hot cocoa.
XO, Rae
P.S. – You guys have been keeping me so busy with Valentine orders and I’m so very grateful! It really is my favorite project of the year!!!
P.P.S. – Today is the last day to enter the Instagram giveaway. Head HERE for the full details and to share the love!
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BE MINE: NEW VALENTINES + A GIVEAWAY!

Sure it’s a slightly manufactured and forced day of love, but I’ve had a soft spot for Valentine’s Day for as looong as I can remember and look forward to designing a new collection of cards every year. They’re perfect for the little ones to give their playdate besties or the bigger ones to give their classroom friends and are easy to pair up with a sweet treat or small toy. Melts my heart every year to see how excited the kids get over assembling and give their Valentines. It’s seriously the sweetest thing to see them loving on others!

Oh and because V-day is just as much about celebrating friendship as it is your main squeeze,  I’ve teamed up with my real life galentine, Kendra from Hen & Co for a giveaway. Details are at the very bottom.

Llamas, pizza and narwhals, oh my… A unicorn is just about the only thing missing! These new designs and all of last years are available in the DESIGN SHOP now. The last day to order will be February 7th (only 9 days away, eek!) so don’t wait too long to order…plus it always feels good to check a few things off the to-do list!

Griffin and Tilly have already chosen the “hello valentine” in the top left along with the ice cream cone shooters and dinosaurs they are pictured with. I kinda like these ice cream cards (or the polka dots) with the shooters for Poppy too and Espen is still deciding between these googley eyed hearts, NY inspired ones (would be cute with chocolate covered pretzels!), and star wars. I guess choosing is sometimes the hardest part!

Can’t get over how adorable Poppy and Kendra’s daughter, Bellamy are with their heart day tops and cards!

A little BTS peek… wish we had a camera rolling in time-lapse to capture all the messy chaos of working with kids while also trying to keep it fun. Let’s just say I was sweating by the end of it. #momcardio

And confetti is always a good idea.

Now for some giveaway details, YAY!

We believe friends are the spice of life and want to hear what you love about yours over on Instagram. All the details will be posted HERE at 1pm today. Winners will receive an adorable tee or leo from Hen & Co and a set of 24 personalized valentines from my shop for you and a friend! I’ll send a second email later today when the giveaway is live so SIGN UP FOR EMAILS if you haven’t already!

This is my most favorite project of the entire year and I had the hardest time stopping at 6 new designs. That being said, if you have a valentine theme request let me know in the comments and I might be able to put something together for you!

Happy Monday you guys :)

xo, Rae

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MOM PRAYERS

Potty training isn’t the only milestone happening in our home this week. While our 2 year old is learning to tinkle on the toilet, our 16 year old will be getting his license. Eeek! Quite the contrast right?! Over the last month as the topic has come up I’ve been asked by several friends how I’m feeling about it.

Terrified?

Yes!

Happy dancing?

That too!

But honestly more than the butterflies and happy dances, all I can think about when I look at my 16 year old is how faithful God is. So many of the things I asked Him to do in and for Ozzie since he was a baby (I shared our story HERE several years ago) I see in him now. As he steps into a new freedom and further away from my protection though, it would be so easy for me to get consumed with worry instead of trusting God and continuing to pray big things for his future.

While I’ll most definitely be praying for his protection every time the butterflies start fluttering in my stomach, God’s been reminding me lately that there is so much more I can do with my time, thoughts and energy. Just thought I would pass that reminder onto you…

So, pray for the sweet small things — what preschool to send your kids to, for friends to play with at recess, that their cold would pass, for more playing time on the soccer team, etc. God cares about those things.

But pray big, beautiful dreams over them too. That they would know how wonderfully made and fully loved they are. That they would know God’s voice, grace, promises, purposes and presence. That they would recognize and use their talents because of the confidence they have in the one who made them.

And then no matter how small or big the ask, trust that God will give you the ideas, direction and wisdom to do your part because prayer is anything but passive.

I’m far from perfect at this parenting thing… Sure there are moments that go smoothly but we also take frequent rides on the hot mess express. Either way, I’ve found that there is nothing like prayer to keep my mind easy and heart light so I can enjoy rolling with my little homies and be the mom they deserve.

Of course coffee, girlfriends and a cute outfit help too.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday!

XO, Rae

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OH FUDGE: 5 POTTY TRAINING TIPS, A SURVIVAL KIT, + POOP EMOJI CUPCAKES

When it comes to raising babies, there are few things I dread more than potty training and this week we’ll be doing it for the 5th and final time. Never thought I could get sentimental over such a tedious, messy and pain in the butt task but here I am with all the feels about it. Guess I’ve been hanging on for dear life to this sweet toddler stage that Poppy is in and seeing her without her adorable diaper bottom takes us one step closer to being a big kid. Which is so rad too. I love watching my kids grow, but the last one is a hard one.

Like sleep training and just about every other aspect of parenting, we don’t have a system that we’ve used for all of our kids that’s been wildly successful, but I do have a few guidelines that might help.

MY 5 TIPS FOR POTTY TRAINING

  1. ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN: For a couple weeks before you start, make going potty on the toilet a big exciting deal. Talk about it, sing about it, read about it, and generally speaking, build the hype. (My older kids have been doing an amazing job of this for me this time around… I’ll share more below.)
  2. BE PREPARED: Like just about everything else in life, it’s good to be prepared. I’ll share a short list and pic of items we keep on hand and easily accessible while potty training, below.
  3. HAVE A PLAN: Are you going straight to undies, using pull-ups, or a combination of both? What about nap time, bedtime, school carpool, errands and going over to other people’s homes? Do you need to clear your calendar for a few days while getting things started? Thinking about these things will help with consistency which is half the potty training battle.
  4. BE FLEXIBLE: Nothing is worse than putting a bunch of pressure on yourself or your child over saying bye-bye to diapers. You know what you and your babe can handle so listen to your gut and try to have a little fun with it.
  5. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED: There will be good days followed by bad days and then eventually a few good weeks followed by a few horrible days and you’ll wonder when the accidents will end and if you’re doing it wrong and if you’ll ever be able to make it through the grocery store without taking a potty break. The answer is yes. And no. All at once. Just remember, no one goes to kindergarten in a diaper and no preschool teacher is caught off guard by an accident. So, just ride the wave… it’s less exhausting that way.

Remember tip no. 1? The hype has been building in our home since Christmas when Poppy got big girl undies in her stocking (I’ve just been dragging my feet). Her siblings think potty training is like the best, most exciting thing ever and have been doing more than enough hype building. It’s really sweet to watch.

Last week Griffin announced that Poppy wasn’t just potty training, she was POOPY TRAINING! Which everyone thought was hilarious and somehow lead to making poop emoji cupcakes. So, that’s just what we did over the weekend and they actually turned out so incredibly cute.

TO DECORATE THE POOP EMOJI CUPCAKES, I scooped chocolate frosting into a pastry decorating bag without a tip/attachment (a ziplock with big hole cut in the corner would do the trick too) then squeezed a swirl out on top of each cupcake and then added candy eyes (target usually carried them too). Easy peasy!

A peek at what’s in our potty training kit that I keep in or near the downstairs bathroom:

  • wet wipes — disinfectant wipes are a good idea too.
  • juiceboxes — lots of liquids makes potty training so much easier!
  • extra undies and leggings
  • small treats — I love little suckers and smarties because they last the longest but the serving size is still small.
  • stickers
  • bubbles — or other activities. This is super important if you are potty training in the winter!

We’re officially starting Poppy in big girl undies tomorrow so I would love to know what other tips or supplies would you add to the list?!

XO, Rae

 

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