Author Archive | rae

PLAY-OFFICE ROOM MAKEOVER

Our play-office makeover is finished and even though I never in a million years thought I would be willing to share an office with my little people, I couldn’t be happier to be sitting and working in a freshly painted, decorated and kid friendly office space. It’s been getting lots of use, staying relatively clean and working out really well for everyone so far! Now, instead of my kids annoyingly moaning and rolling around on the floor while I finish up an email or save design files, they have lots of toys and activities to keep them busy. For all the mamas who understand what it’s like to try and finish a task while kids are awake, you know what a blessing that is.

Enough of me chit-chatting… welcome to our play-office! Take a peek at the pics and let me know if you have questions! I’ll work on a post with sources to share tomorrow or Wednesday.

(The dress-up corner)

(A favorite addition to the room… I think they need names!?)

(My desk area… Wasn’t sure if I would like my desk and computer in front of the window, but really love it! Bonus that it makes keeping an eye on scooter riding, street hockey playing, baseball throwing kids, super easy. Something I will be extra grateful for come summer!)

(Nothing like a pretty ceiling light and rug to make a room feel pulled together and a little more grown-up.)

(Play kitchen. The stove and sink was an ikea hack – see the post here – and the refrigerator is new and a total god-send since it easily stores lots of kitchen accessories.)

(Favorite part of the room makeover is this wall! I asked the kids to draw simple pictures and then scanned, made some small edits and had them printed as posters. Working on a full tutorial to share! The TV was another thing I was unsure of, but it’s been nice to have… you may have seen the kids following along with a yoga show on my Instagram stories last week :)

(Last but not least, a comfy reading area complete with an oversized beanbag and cute basket to hold books.)

Are there any spaces in your home that you swore you would never share with your kids, but find them using often?

For me, another room would be our master bath. In our last home the 2 upstairs bathrooms were basically the same size so there wasn’t much sharing going on. When we moved into our current home, I swore the master bath with giant tub and double sinks would remain free from kid-sized clothes, towels, and toys. However that didn’t last long, LOL. Choosing a big open space for bathing all the kids is too good to pass up, plus I get a chance to tidy up the counter and closet floor while they splish-splash for a few minutes.  It’s a win-win for all of us.

XO, Rae

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WATERMELON PIZZA, LEMON SPRITZER + A MEAL PLAN

Happy Monday after Mother’s Day! I hope everyone was able to celebrate the beautiful women in their lives either in person, over FaceTime, or in memory and that all you mamas felt extra loved.  Johan was at the fire station all weekend so Sunday looked a little different for us this year, but the kids stepped up their game and made me feel like a million bucks with handmade gifts (aren’t fill-in the blank “all about my mom” worksheets not the best thing ever!?), maple bars for breakfast, and slightly better behavior than usual for at least the first part of the day :)

As a belated Mama’s Day gift, I’m sharing a simple meal plan (full of classic crowd-pleasers) and the recipes for watermelon pizza and a lemon and thyme spritzer for Friday night happy hours!

WATERMELON PIZZA – Slice watermelon into rounds, spread a layer of honey or vanilla yogurt (I like to use greek because it has a thicker texture) over the top, then let the kids ‘decorate’ with favorite berries and fruits. Garnish with mint for fun!

LEMON, THYME + TEQUILA SPRITZER, (makes 4 cocktails) – For the simple syrup, add zest from 1 lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Stir often while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, then strain into a pitcher or large jar. Stir in juice from 4 lemons, 1/2 cup silver tequila, 3 cups seltzer water (lemon le crouix is my fave!), and let chill in refrigerator. Pour over ice and garnish with sprigs of thyme and lemon.

Sip while snacking on watermelon pizza, chips and guacamole for a yummy happy hour that just might be filling enough (with the help of a few quesadillas) to bail on dinner plans!

 

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

MONDAY | bbq chicken cobb salad

TUESDAY | burrito bowls

WEDNESDAY | favorite spaghetti recipe + broccoli

THURSDAY | takeout, please.

FRIDAY | breakfast for dinner (french toast maybe!?)

SATURDAY | slow cooker french dip sandwiches, fries or chips, raw veggie plate

SUNDAY | eat-out or takeout.

BREAKKIE | egg tacos, smoothies, cereal, and lots of fruit!

LUNCH | leftovers, PB&J

SNACK | watermelon pizza, veggies + dip, no-bake energy bites or zbars

After last week (which was crazy with work, baseball, appointments, and family stuff), I’m ready for some downtime, routine, and a return to basics. Which is the inspiration for the meal plan… how about you guys? What’s on your classic dinner menu?

xo, Rae

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IT’S (ALMOST) SUMMER, COUNTDOWN CHAIN

It barely (if at all) feels like spring around here, but that hasn’t stopped my kids from asking, thinking, and talking about summer non-stop. Not that I can blame them. The chatter started a month or so ago when Griffin and Tilly began asking how many sleeps until summer (aka the last day of school). After a week of trying to figure it out in my head and give them an estimate, I gave up and started keeping the day calculator site open on my phone. But even that was getting old, so over the weekend we decided to go old school and staple together a countdown chain. Now the next time they ask, I can say, “you should go count and let me know!” Plus, it looks summery and cute hanging in the kitchen.

I’m sure you guys all know how to put together a chain, but measurements always help! I used 12×12 sheets of craft paper and was able to get 10 — 8 x 1.5 inch strips out of each sheet.

Who’s ready for suuuuuumer!? These guys are. Poppy can hardly keep her pants up she’s so excited :)

Now we just need to figure out what our summer schedule and calendar looks like. Even though we still have 50 days to figure it out, I know it’s going to fly-by! So far swim lessons and our annual camping trip is all we have planned… What’s on your schedule this summer!?

xo, Rae

GRIFFIN | tee (old from peek but on sale in baby sizes and so many other cute ones to choose from), shorts

POPPY | mauve stripe outfit, sunnies

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HOW TO BE A HAPPIER MOM + LIFE LATELY

(Cookie eating + smoothie + coffee drinking at the park.)

With Mother’s Day just a week and a half away, my mind has been spinning with thoughts of motherhood. One of the quotes I read recently and can’t seem to get out of my head is, “In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life” by, Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard. So true, right? I’d add that it’s also one of the best gifts we can give our kids!

So, I started taking an inventory of the days I’m feeling happier and more myself and why I think that is. Excited to share what I found along with a pics from life lately!

I’M A HAPPIER MOM WHEN…

  1. I’m doing things to take care of myself on a regular basis (getting ready, working out, eating well, etc.)
  2. I’m in community and spending daily time with God (journaling, reading, praying) and people (playdates, coffee, walks, meals, chatting, etc.). Oh, and of course date nights with your hub or friends!
  3. I’m getting enough sleep. I read the other day that getting good sleep makes people more happy than making more money and I totally believe it! I’m so much more playful and fun when well rested. 7 or 8 hours per night is my happy place and allows a buffer for the nights I’m up late working or one of the kids is sick. This of course is tricky with a baby bump or newborn… and sometimes even toddlers, a “sleep walking” 5 year old that climbs into bed with you, or if you have FOMO (like me!) and can’t sleep in!
  4. I’m able to be present! Still need to be better at this because even when my body isn’t multitasking, my mind often is. Keeping a planner where I can jot down lists, ideas, to-do’s and a plan for our day is a huge help! Love these large agendas by Ban.do and this monthly organizational set by JDC. Getting out of the house for a bit each day helps too.
  5. My priorities, values and goals all lineup. If I find myself getting frustrated or losing my mind, it’s usually because one or more of these things are off. On the flip side, when all 3 line up it can be a huge mood booster. For instance, if my goal is to have the kids catch the bus at 8, my priority is to encourage independence, and my value is in my relationship with my kids then letting Tilly pick out her outfit is a no brainer! It saves both of us time and energy and helps our relationship too. Although, you know I’ll be throwing out some suggestions, ha! Just can’t help myself :)

(Yummy Starbucks cookie, but we made these big batch cookies a couple days ago too!)

Made this fish taco with mango salsa recipe last Taco Tuesday and it was so yummy.

(Burning off some energy on the tennis court during Ozzie’s game last week.)

(Shoes on the wrong feet… gosh I’ll miss this stage when it’s over.)

(Weekday errands with daddy… one of the perks of being married to a firefighter :)

(The sun has been out off and on this week so it was time for us to stock our car caddy with a picnic mat, snacks, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. Makes baseball games + park dates super easy!)

One last thought on being a happier mom… Raising good little humans is a big job. But that sense of purpose and value can often get buried under the mountain of laundry, to-dos, and tantrums and with it the joy too. So for all the mamas that could use a reminder or haven’t been told lately, you have a big, beautiful, important and hard job and your doing better than you think you are… we all are!

How do you keep your heart light and happy amid the demands of momming?

xo, Rae

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WE’RE COMIN’ FOR YA, NY!

(i heart ny)

Eeek! In about a month, Espen, Tilly, + I will be packing our bags and hopping on a flight to New York to visit my brother, sister (in-law), and nephew! We’ll have 3 full days to adventure and play around the city and since you guys always have the best ideas I thought I’d ask if you have any must do, eat, or see suggestions for us…?

So far Espen wants to go swimming and Tilly wants to see the emoji movie while we’re there (“Are there movie theaters in NY?” she asked. Ha!). These kids are in for the surprise of their lives and I can’t wait to see it all through their eyes!

Johan and I have been chatting about taking the whole fam bam to NY ever since our visit several years ago (you can see the post here!) for my Birthday, yet have had a hard time figure out logistics (i.e. affording the trip without blowing college funds, etc., etc.). Booking a trip for just the three of us seemed like the next best thing even though I hate to leave the rest of the kids and Johan behind — we’ll miss them soooooo much! — but, I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer to make it happen.

Are there any trips you’ve been dreaming of taking!?

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know if you have any NY food or activity suggestions for us! We’ll be staying in Brooklyn.

xo, Rae

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A GIVEAWAY WITH OLIVIA + OCEAN

Packing up the kids and heading to the beach, lake or pool, is one of my favorite ways to spend a summer day. While it might not be swim season in the PNW yet, it is the perfect time to pick out new swimsuits for my beach babes!

Olivia + Ocean makes the cutest swimsuits around (like this one!) and I’m so excited to team up with them for a giveaway over on Instagram! Head HERE for all the details and to enter. Contest closes Sunday, but you can also get 15% off of your first order with code: RAEANN15 (YAY!!!).

All these cute swimmers and sandy pics have me wishing (even more) for summer! How about you?

xo, Rae

 

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LITTLE BITES: OUR 5 FAVORITE SMOOTHIE RECIPES

Smoothies might just be the best culinary creation ever to happen to motherhood. (Either that or baby food pouches, amiright?) The refreshing, slushy, delicious and lightly sweetened concoction is the best way I know to stuff my kids (even the pickiest one!) full of whole foods, healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. They also take away the mom-guilt that comes from letting them consume one too many donuts, cake pops, or french fries.

If only they had the same effect for me, LOL!

Even though smoothie season is a year round thing, our blender game is stronger in the spring and summer months. Lately we’ve been trying new combinations so I thought I would share some of our favorites along with a few pics from snack time last night at Ozzie’s baseball game!

When it comes to mixing up smoothies I do a lot of eyeing and tossing ingredients into the blender, but tried to break things down into measurements. You may need to adjust the amount of ice, liquids, and sweeteners (yogurt, honey, + banana) to desired taste and thickness.

Makes approx. 32 oz. which Serve 2-4 people

POPPY’S PINK BERRY SMOOTHIE – 1 cup Orange Juice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (or sub for mixed berries), 1 or 1/2 of a banana, 1/4 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, 8 ice cubes

ESPEN + GRIFFIN’S PEANUT BUTTER + COCOA LOCO PROTEIN SHAKE – 2 cups almond (or other) milk, 2 scoops favorite chocolate protein powder (or vanilla protein powder and add tablespoon of cocoa powder), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional), 8 ice cubes

JOHAN’S GREEN GOD(ESS) SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut or almond milk, 1 cup kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, drizzle of honey to taste (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

RAE’S COCO-NUT – 2 cups almond milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 scoops favorite vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons flaxseeds (optional), 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional), 8 ice cubes

OZZIE + TILLY’S MANGO TANGO SMOOTHIE – 1 cup coconut (or other) milk, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt, drizzle of honey to taste (optional)

*Often times we’ll make the fruitier drinks ‘dirty’ (especially in the morning) by throwing in a handful of spinach, rolled oats, and a couple tablespoons of flax or chia seeds… but the kids prefer them ‘clean’. :) 

(top-knot envy!)

    

If you watched any of my Instagram stories since last night, you may have caught Tilly’s (strong) reaction to my coconut shake… She’s not a fan and the video is pretty entertaining if you want to go check it out. Also, I promise the recipe tastes nothing like “rotten eggs”. Ha!

A few items we keep stocked to make smoothie mixing easy: lots of frozen fruit, almond and/or coconut milk, greek yogurt, bananas, orange juice, flax seed, chia seeds, Baobab superfruit powder (from costco), and these plastic cups with lids for when we are on the go!

What are your favorite smoothie combos and ingredients?!!!

xo, Rae

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HAPPY FAMILY TRAVEL: A SEAESTA IN SEABROOK

We’re back from our long weekend away with our friends Ryan and Emily and their 4 kids, in Seabrook Washington where we played and ate our way through a self-declared long weekend. Considering Spring (aka sunshine!) hasn’t arrived to the PNW yet, a little break from normal life was just what we needed to recharge. I shared bits and pieces of our getaway on Instagram through posts and stories, but thought I would share some little love notes highlighting my favorite parts of our getaway.

Dear Seabrook, you were the perfect spring sea-esta, complete with a slow pace, storybook town, the cutest cottage to call home for a few days, miles of beach, kite flying winds, community pool, lots to do within walking distance, and the yummiest cinnamon rolls and pizza. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long before we’re back!

Dear bubble bath beards, you never, ever, get old. Especially when you are made in the pretties tub, in the prettiest powder room.

Dear friends, time with you sharing meals, playing games, and talking about life was oh so good for our souls. We miss you already. Can we make this a yearly thing?

Dear mamas of babies and toddlers, it’s hard to compete with those newborn cuddles and slobbery toddler kisses, but life with kids just get’s better and better. As they grow, so do their brains and wittiness, and creativity, and heart and friendships and it’s all just so much fun to be around.

Dear cheap kite from Fred Meyer, you were worth all 800 pennies.

Dear Pacific Northwest beach, I’m more of a swimsuit wearing, warm water beach enthusiast, but you are perfect for my kids who love to run, explore, dig and get dirty. For providing the space and tiring them out, I am beyond grateful.

Dear FaceTime, thank you for making leaving behind our 16 year old behind (for baseball games), just a bit more tolerable for this mama’s heart. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of our love affair.

So many highs over the 4 days… It was hard to leave. If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Seabrook. We’ve been a couple other times (read about one of the trips here) and still can’t wait to go back!

My stylish and home dec savvy friend Emily shared a few more pics and details of the pretty town and house we stayed in on her blog and instagram and you should defiantly go check it out!

xo, Rae

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HAPPY TRAVELS: 10 WAYS TO MAKE FAMILY TRIPS (MORE) AFFORDABLE

We made it to our second Spring break destination last night and I can’t wait to soak up some beach time, sunshine (hoping it lasts!), and family and friend hangs! Traveling with kids can be a little daunting and cost a lot of money, but it’s one of the things I never, ever, ever, regret doing. Figuring out how to do more of it has been at the top of my to-do list lately. Which brings me to today’s post… an ongoing list of ways to make travel more affordable.

// Balboa Island, CA //

// Leavenworth, WA over Thanksgiving //

TRAVEL IN A PACK | with friends or family! There are so many ways to split costs if you don’t mind being flexible. For the trip we are currently on, we are sharing a house with friends, which helps with rental, food and entertainment costs… especially since the kids have other little humans to play with!

SKIMP A LITTLE | Probably my least favorite tip because vacays are usually the perfect reason to splurge, but if the choice is, skimp or don’t go, then it’s totally worth it! Before leaving try cutting out a monthly bill or expense (cable, Starbucks, eating out, etc.) or use Birthdays and Holidays as an excuse to travel instead of giving expensive gifts or parties! Once arriving save money by eating during happy hour, booking a cheaper hotel, walk or take uber instead of renting a car, etc. if most activities are within walking distance. My husband’s favorite way to skimp is to stay somewhere with a good continental breakfast! He is usually the one to book our hotel so I have no idea how common that is (do most places offer that?) but thought it was worth mentioning :)

DO THE RESEARCH | There is so much info out there on traveling and specific destinations so start googling!

GET TO KNOW SOME TRAVEL APPS/SITES | (Travel apps and sites are always a good idea too. A few favorites are roadtrippers, Google Flights, Kyak, and Airbnb.  This one looks like fun for group traveling too!

CASH IN ON INCENTIVES, BONUSES, COUPONS, MEMBERSHIPS + MILES | Kind of a no-brainer, but also time consuming and easily overlooked… aside from airline miles and hotel chain incentives, and depending on the type of trip, look for National Park Passes for camping or day trips, and city or museum passes that let you get into more than one activity. Purchasing passes ahead of time usually helps too!

BOOK IN THE OFF-SEASON | As opposed to the peek season. Traveling during weekdays is usually less expensive too.

STAY SOMEWHERE WITH A KITCHEN | or kitchenet and plan meals, snacks and bring groceries ahead of time.

MAKE IT A GOAL | It’s easier to save, research and get to the destination if you know where and when you want to go!

LOOK CLOSER TO HOME | this one is kinda a no-brainer but, stay cations equal less travel expenses. We have a short list of places within driving distance, that we would like to visit and are always asking friends for ideas, too!

BOOK AHEAD | keep an eye out for flight, hotel, and car pricing and be ready to make reservations when the prices drop. Every once in awhile, last minute bookings and reservations pay-off too.

 

As always, I would love to know any tips you have to share… or even destinations that are family friendly!!!

xo, Rae

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OUR VERY HOPPY EASTER WEEKEND!

In so many ways, I was completely unprepared for Easter this year. The few weeks leading up to it, my mind and energy was being used for other life happenings… (the sorta things that come up when you have kids and careers and people in general in your life, but nothing earth shattering!) We unintentionally skipped egg dying and holiday decorating and almost everything for their Easter baskets was purchased just 2 days before. To top it off, on the day of Easter I forgot the bucket of stuffed eggs to hide at Gigi and Papa’s house later that day. Basically mom-failing left and right, but you know what happened? It ended up being a magical weekend anyways. The kids freaked out (in the best way) over their very simple Easter baskets, no one noticed or even mentioned the lack of decorations or egg dying, we got lots of family time with ALL the kids, and an “egg” hunt still happened at my parents house.

A few pics of our weekend…

Tilly was in tears on the car ride to the egg hunt at church because of the size of her basket which I strategically picked out for that reason. But because kids are so ridiculously resourceful, they found away to collect all the eggs their little hearts desired by stuffing them in their pockets and boots too, then emptying the eggs and going back for seconds and thirds! We now have way too much candy in our pantry (something I was trying to avoid) but the whole situation was completely comical.

Poppy wouldn’t sit still for the youth group girls hosting the face paint table so I took a stab at it and painted a few whiskers and a pink nose on her. Safe to say I will not be adding “face-painter” to my list of skills or volunteering for future events. Ha!

Someone at our church made the cutets photo backdrop, but getting the kids to look at us while taking a picture in front of it, instead of their candy or the bounce houses was impossible! Out of the 10 or so we took, this is the best one, lol.

After an early church service and a quick bite on the run, we finally made it to Gigi and Papa’s for some fun, a yummy dinner and egg hunt!

And of course a little dancing and glass of wine, too!

(…Excuse the totally comfy grandma sandals I dug out of my mama’s closet, but the healed huarache sandals were not working with all the gravel in their yard :)

The show (errr, egg hunt) must go on even without plastic eggs or things to stuff them with! After stopping at three different stores with no luck, we settled for a box of dixie cups, a bag of chocolate eggs, and quarters from my mom’s change jar. It worked perfectly!

(Love them… A slightly unexpected duo so I especially like seeing them together.)

Currently sitting here wishing I could turn our weekend into a metaphor for how life-giving and powerful Jesus is because He is and because I love sharing my faith with you guys, but my thoughts are much more simple this morning.

I know He loves me.

And not just because he died for me 2,000 years ago and then raised from the dead, but because He is moving and active and I can see His goodness in the best, worst and most mundane of circumstances.

I know He loves you too, which is possibly one of the more cheesy Christian things to say but it’s also the truest.

xoxo, Rae

Outfit sources:

ME | dress, jeans

OZZIE | polo

ESPEN | t-shirt, shorts

TILLY | dresses

GRIFFIN | top, shorts, navy shoes (couldn’t find online, but from target!)

POPPY | jumpsuit, dress, pink shoes (couldn’t find online, but from target!)

 

6

DIY EASTER BUNNY FACE PAINT + EARS

Aside from the spiritual significance of Easter, fluffy bunnies and egg hunts are my absolute favorite parts of celebrating the holiday. However, my kids are terrified of grownup sized bunnies with neckties and baskets (who could blame them) so this year I figured we could make our own simple costume using card stock, headbands, and a little face paint. Hoping the ears will make it until our community egg hunt this Saturday! Keep reading for the how-to…

You’ll Need:

  • 1 piece of card stock
  • tape
  • headband (or extra card stock to make one, like this)
  • scissors
  • markers
  • pencil

Here’s How:

  1. Fold card stock in half. Draw a floppy ear and cutout.
  2. Color in the inside of the ears.
  3. Fold the bottom of the ears up about an inch. Wrap around the headband and tape in place.
  4. Next, add some whiskers and a black nose. I tried using a black eyeliner pencil but it was difficult to get dark lines so I would suggest finding some face paint or even under eye black (like baseball players use!).

Ta-da, your done! So simple, right?

Can’t beat that side-eye action, LOL. Like, what are you trying to do to me, mama?

Lots of practice egg hunts and bunny ear wearing happening around our house this week… Can’t wait for the official festivities to begin!!!

xo, Rae

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