Author Archive | rae

MOTHER’S DAY RECAP VIDEO + PHOTOS

Finally getting around to sharing a Mother’s Day recap with you! Although, I still feel like I’m celebrating over here, lol. Anyone else? So thankful for this family of mine… Motherhood (and being a wife, too!) is probably the one thing I’ve never questioned myself about. It hasn’t always looked how I imagined, my house and car are more often than not a mess, the laundry is overflowing, I’m usually tired and running behind, but it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted. These are THE DAYS and I love them. At least until 9 o’clock when I’m ready for a little break.

Saturday morning, the kids brought me breakfast in bed then we spent the rest of the day at Ozzie’s baseball games, cheering him on, chasing Poppy and Griffin around and snacking on picnic food (my favorite). Sunday, Johan had to work, but Oz and his sweet girlfriend surprised me with Starbucks and homemade cookies and then we all drove up to my parents house for some lake time and cheeseburgers. Looks like Father’s Day weekend will look very similar and I’m not mad about it one bit. Pics below…

Wish I could have 5 more of them!

Early in our marriage, when Johan and I would talk about how many kids we one day hoped to have, 5 seemed like such a big number and I know we are considered a “big family”, but I don’t feel like we are, even in pictures.

There are however,  two scenarios when I do get a bit of a reality check 1. anything travel related – packing bags, loading the car, booking tickets or planning housing and 2. mornings when everyone is in the car and we decide to grab Starbucks and our order is  a mile long!

A very fancy breakkie in bed and a donut monster below! Don’t worry though, she gave me a bite ;)

Handmade cards with little kid handwriting! Ah!

Take us out to the ballgame! Just make sure to pack all the snacks.

Sunday at my parents…

These two have the sweetens friendship.

The kids, plus one! The more the merrier.

This seems like the perfect one to end on because I love this moment between Oz and Tilly and then… Griffin’s face! Ha! He should be a professional photobomber.

I know that Mother’s Day looks different for all of us and that there are many without family to celebrate with or a baby to hold and still others that are in the trenches of motherhood and I want you to know that you’re seen, loved, capable, incredibly significant and you deserve the world!

Love you.

XO, Rae

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10 PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR DOCUMENTING MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND

OK mamas, I don’t want to give you one more thing to think about over mother’s day weekend, but I also know how important it is for all of us to capture moments in time with our families… Our moments in time. Regardless of whether you’re a planned or spontaneous picture taker, I’ve put together a list of 10 tips we use to capture all the sweet moments as well as the tiny details of life. Hope they give you a boost of inspiration for clicking the shutter any day, but especially Mother’s Day weekend!

10 TIPS FOR DOCUMENTING MOTHER’S DAY

1. Keep your camera (or phone) close!

2. Think ahead just a little and consider lighting! Of course we want things to be natural and authentic, buuuut, there’s no reason not to open up the curtains in your room when you know the kids are on their way up with a breakkie tray.

3. Tell the whole story – the big picture and little details – Snap pics of your plate of food, cute notes, flowers, gifts, hand holding, your shoes, etc. :) This pic isn’t the best example, but I love her tootsies!

4. Remember WHY you’re taking pics – often times we want something to share right away or just want to check it off our to do list for the day, but taking photos is really about preserving memories for the future and capturing those precious relationships, everyday moments and time in general.

Maybe it’s just me, although I doubt it, but I love looking back at my mom’s outfits and accessories. Especially her glasses! So tryout your best pose and take a fit pic!

5. Focus on the relationships and let go of the pressure to get the perfect pic. Love this fuzzy pic of Poppy being silly and pretending she’s asleep! You can also see one of my frayed fabric swatch she set out to use as a napkin and the double spoons in the cereal bowl we shared — Priceless!

6. Take pics of the process and routine as well as the special parts. One of my favorite pictures is of my mom braiding my hair in the bathroom when I was 6 or 7. I’m on a stool looking into the bathroom mirror with my mom behind me in a hawaiian print off the shoulder dress that I’m pretty sure she made. At the time it probably seemed like an odd moment to snap a pic but I’m so glad my dad did!

7. Don’t forget about videos – capture “small” moments, conversations and interactions. Like their little voices reading their mother’s day cards to you. Ask them questions or better yet, have the kids interview you!

8. Need a group shot? Use your self timer or ask an extended family member or stranger. Want a variety of pics or just a little break from clicking the camera? Pass it off – even to the kids!!! Poppy took this pic of me and as random as it is, it’s also an angle and perspective that only she would take.

(Poppy had just finished pointing out my neck wrinkles which prob have something to do with the 10 lbs. I added to my bod over the winter. Or maybe it’s age? Most likely it’s both tho, huh? Lols.)

9. Practice positive self talk – you don’t need to be a certain size, have all your makeup on or even be dressed to be in a photo. Of course, you can plan ahead a little (like number 2 suggests) and be in cute jammies with makeup on by the time the kids bring you breakkie, OR you can stay in bed, in an oversized tee and hipster undies with a morning face like you deserve, LOL. It’s really about what you want and what your kids will remember most. Although if the no make up thing really bugs you, just avoid eye contact with the camera… instead, engage, play and love on everyone else in the frame.

10. Selfies! Always a good idea.

Hope these help, inspire, and maybe take the pressure off too. Remember, perfection is never the goal so snap away!

Now tell me… what else would you like to learn about photography?

We’re leaving in a couple weeks with my friend and brilliant photographer, Stacy Jacobsen, for a photography workshop weekend and I’d love to share some of the things we learn, so leave me all the questions in the comments!

xo, Rae

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JOINING THE FAMILY CIRCUS

It’s no secret, motherhood can feel like a circus sometimes. Errr, a lot of the times ;). After reading the actual definition of a circus I’m more convinced than ever that it’s a pretty good metaphor. With Mother’s Day approaching and summer sneaking up on us, I’ve rounded up a few things to help make the days of juggling, managing, and accompanying your traveling group of acrobats, animals, clowns and performers, extra fun and festive!

  1. Saw flags like this at the kid party in the movie Mother’s Day and it looked so fun and festive! Plus they don’t cost much.
  2. Clown noses, just for fun.
  3. Circus food? Yes, please! I have this popcorn maker (not super efficient but the kids love it!), this snow cone maker (or this one) got great reviews, and who doesn’t want a little cotton candy sometimes?
  4. Love this dress.
  5. Just ordered this top on major sale.
  6. Animal cracker fudge seems like a good reason to spend time together in the kitchen. Don’t forget to share with friends!
  7. Cute sandals for when you take the circus on the road.
  8. Popcorn bags might come in handy for snack time.
  9. We’ve been trying to figure out a rewards/chores system for the kids this summer. Fair tickets might be just the thing! I like these star ones too.
  10. Wide stripes for the boys! Here’s one that’s on sale for your main squeeze too :)
  11. A diffusor (and some music) is the best way to set the vibe for your circus… add 4 drops grapefruit, 3 drops ylang-ylang, and 2 drops vanilla essential oils for a cotton candy blend. Unlike the sugary version you eat, the oils have health bennies that fight depression, help you destress and curb food cravings.
  12. Tilly and her friend have been having fun with face paint lately!
  13. A megaphone for those days when your inside voice isn’t doing the job and you don’t want to yell :)

cir·cus (noun): 1. a traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places.

See what I mean, LOL?

XO, Rae

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T-SHIRT DRESS 3-WAYS

One of my personal rules when it comes to clothes shopping, especially when something costs more than $50, is whether or not I can use it to piece together at least 3 outfits with items I already have in my closet. This one little rule has saved me a lot of money, makes shopping less stressful and keeps my wardrobe pretty functional. Of course there are always exceptions and I do have a few skirts and dresses hanging in my closet that only get worn once or twice a season, but hopefully you get the idea!

To illustrate my little shopping guideline, I thought it would be fun to share three outfits using my new-ish tee shirt dress ($58 from madewell). When it comes to “one and done” outfits, like dresses and jumpsuits, the tee dress is my all time fave. It’s  casual enough for momming, and errand running and versatile enough to dress up for church or date night. It also wins bonus points over my other favorite (a jumpsuit) for being a piece of cake when it comes to using a public loo. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Of course there are a million ways to wear this simple spring and summer staple, but here’s how I wore it 3 times over the last couple weeks…

T-SHIRT DRESS NO. 1 | bandana (very similar and love the strawberry one too!), cardigan (similar one in cream), white sneakers (similar), low-profile socks (they actually stay on and don’t show!)

Love after schools with my Griffey. He’s always high energy and the first to ask how my day was, get his school work out, eat his snack and do is chore. Mostly because he’s in a hurry to play with friends, but I’ll take it!

(No time for kisses, mom!)

T-SHIRT DRESS NO. 2 | hat (wearing a size small but could have done medium), jean jacket (similar), espadrilles (very similar or asos has less expensive espadrille options!)

Wore this combo to church followed by a trip to the nursery and then home to hang in the backyard and eat guac, set up our new trampoline and eventually make dinner.

All the kids picked out their outfits this day — one of the things I usually help with on Sundays — and I think they did pretty good. Especially love Poppy’s socks with her sandals, ha!

T-SHIRT DRESS NO. 3 | slides, sunnies (in white too), surplus/utility jacket (forgot it in the car!) love this one and this one, whistle necklace on major sale (a fun layering option)

Wore to the drive-thru for milkshakes and fries and then to Ozzie’s baseball game :)

(Holding my leg hostage. Not mad about it.)

What do you guys think!? Which combo is your favorite? What would you like to see styled 3-ways, next?!

XO, Rae

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MAY MEALS, TAKEOUT TIPS + SNACK IDEAS

We’ve been making these fun apple-almond (or peanut) butter monster mouths a lot lately, after my friend suggested it, and they are so, so good and fun to make! Although I found peanut butter smeared in random-ish places, the kids were able to put them together themselves for the most part and were completely occupied which is always a bonus. Just thought I’d pass the idea along if you’re looking for something creative to snack on.

Dinners, on the other hand, have looked a lot less creative which is why I didn’t share a menu last month. But with the start of May has come sunshine, a less hectic baseball schedule (no rainouts!), and less needy kids (yay outside playtime!). All of which are game changers, but lets be honest, whether your kids are little and needing hands-on attention, or older and in evening activities, there is no amount of sunshine or meal planning that will make dinnertime easy, so I’m still going to keep things pretty simple this month. Keep scrolling to find my best tips for getting takeout, picnic ideas, a list of v. easy dinners and our go-to filling snacks!

MONSTER MOUTHS | Spread favorite nut butter on one side of your apple slices. Line one apple slice with a row of marshmallows. Top with other slice. Use peanut butter to add candy eyes and eat!

TAKEOUT IDEAS

  • Tired of pizza and sandwiches for takeout? Try ordering from your favorite Thai, Sushi, Indian restaurant or that cute little Italian place down the street…
  • Look for specials on certain nights of the week — for instance, Monday’s are double points at Jersey Mike’s so that’s been our go-to… every other visit our order is half priced!
  • Do 1/2 and 1/2 — for example, make a big salad at home and order your favorite crab fritters (or whatever) to go!
  • Grab some grocery store takeout from the deli/coolers — Trader Joe’s has yummy stuff, but most places offer more than jo-jos and corndogs these days :)

PICNIC DINNERS

  • Copycat Starbucks Bistro Boxes
  • This caprese sandwich looks delish and very packable
  • Mediterranean chicken pasta salad (I use rotisserie chicken or salami in a pinch!)
  • Charcuterie platter
  • Sandwich or antipasto skewers
  • Any chopped salad (my fave), Goddess bowl or quinoa salad (this one looks yum) in a mason jar
  • Chicken fried rice is a picnic win for us. This recipe is similar to the one we use, but I usually swap out the peas for chopped broccoli or whatever else is in the fridge. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken breast or a rotisserie.
  • Favorite pizza
  • TIP: I usually pack things up in tupperware, but when I want to avoid them getting left at the field or in the car for too many days, THESE are handy, compostable containers. We’ve gotten THESE for parties before too and enjoy when we have extras to use. Definitely nice to have options!

REALLY EASY DINNERS

  • Anything in a bowl — goddess bowls, burrito bowls, etc.
  • French bread pizza
  • Tuna melts
  • Egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches — add pesto, avocado, basil, fancy cheeses (like the coconut gouda at TJ’s) to spice things up!
  • French dip sandwiches
  • These enchiladas are the best! Although they aren’t the easiest or fastest, they are easy to make ahead and the bake time helps with clean up.
  • Tomato pesto spaghetti florentine
  • Store-bought, ready to grill, kabobs
  • Quesadillas with black beans, avocado, etc.
  • The stuffed bell peppers from Costco
  • Baked potatoes
  • Nachos
  • Crockpot shredded chicken or pork for throwing together tacos, salads, soups, etc.

FILLING SNACKS

Yesterday while looking for meal ideas, I stumbled upon a few recipe cards given to me by a family friend during my kitchen themed bridal shower. They read:

 

“AH-SO ON THE GO”

1) enter your favorite chinese takeout phone number here _____________.

2) Call.

“DOUGH ON A ROLL”

1) Enter favorite pizza joint phone number here _____________.

2) Call.

and

“IF YOU MUST, CHICKEN BUST”

1) Chicken breasts.

2) Favorite bottle of BBQ sauce, put on chicken

3) BBQ until done.

I loved finding these cards among all the trusted, handed down and detailed recipes. It reminded me not to be so “all or nothing” when it comes to feeding the fam and that on those nights or seasons when life is crazy or I just don’t want to cook, there are other options and no need to feel guilty about it. Just hope all the lists above help a little!

XO, Rae

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BRUNCH AT BAIR BISTRO + YAY SPRING!

I’m happy to report that it’s finally starting to feel like spring around here which has made it a little easier to get out of the house with everyone. A couple weeks ago we took the younger kids (miss Ozzie so much during baseball season!) on a brunch date at The Bair Bistro in Tacoma. We’d been meaning to go since taking our family photos in the same area last November and it did not disappoint! The atmosphere, the food, and the people were just so sweet and yummy. We ate bear pancakes, carefully played with all the antique decor, sipped on juice (with a splash of champs for me!), occupied the kids for a good 15 minute with a dime (heads or tails? which hand is it in? etc.), embraced the chaos of eating out with kids, and took a bunch of pics.

Outings make me so happy you guys. Especially when they involve brunch! Keep scrolling to see all the pics….

Gah! These two make my heart melt.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that keep the kids entertained or distracted!

  

Poppy trying to ‘floss’! Always trying to keep up with her older siblings….

Speaking of flossing, did you guys see Espen and Tilly’s dance off?

We worked on a puzzle while waiting for our table. Gotta love a restaurant or store that provides activities!

Getting everyone to decide what they want to order is typically quite the process. They ask a million questions always, usually at the sometime too, ha!… what kind of sausage? Can I get a different side? How long will it take? What about drinks? If they don’t have apple juice can I get root beer? Are we getting dessert after this? What if I’m not full from a kid meal?

So different from the days when we would order a couple things for all the kids to split and call it good. Which only lasted until the big kids started reading and now there’s no turning back, LOL. BUT it’s also really fun! Unless we’re in the drive-thru line at Starbucks – then all the mind changing and questions drive me a little bananas… 3rd world problems, I know.

Griffin pretending to be our waiter… Ha! He’s too cute and LOVES having a job to do!

That moment when the drinks come AND they all have lids!

When your food comes but you don’t have silverware yet, HA!

They don’t always get along but when they do it’s magic… (insert all the happy emojis, hearts and rainbows).

Full bellies, happy hearts, can’t loose – should be every parents battle cry, am I right!

Love this of poppy with breakfast still on her face and Espen and Tilly holding hands. Sigh.

Had to get in one more pic before we left too!

Quick question for ya… do you find it hard to get in pictures with your kids? If so, what holds you back? If not, what’s your strategy or favorite tool for doing so?

Feel so lucky to have Johan who doesn’t mind sharing camera duty, but that hasn’t always been the case. About a year ago he really started taking the time to learn more about our camera and is now a better photographer than me! That being said, I still do a lot of prompting whether it’s a pic with him and the kids or me and the kids. Being intentional without forcing things is a tricky balance!

Hope you guys have the best weekend!

XO, Rae

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EMBROIDERED SPRING TOPS + GUARDING YOUR HEART

Want to hear the craziest thing!? Ok, it’s probably not all that crazy, but last week I dropped this adorable top off at the goodwill because there was a little button loop situation that I was too lazy to fix. Then, over the weekend, while trying to organize our giant mess of digital photos, I stumbled across these pics taken a year ago and was reminded of how much I loved this top as well as the photos Johan took of me in it, in front of a pink wall, with my little ones who, if I remember correctly, were pretty spunky that morning.

Kind of annoyed that I gave the top away over a little broken loop and also a little sad that I hadn’t shared the pics on the blog until now. Ironically, I didn’t put them in a post because I was afraid of what people would think… Are they too staged? Styled? Materialistic? Fake? Am I “using” my kids? The funny thing is, I would answer “No!” to all of these questions, so why do I care so much what other’s might think!?

Partially, because I’m human and a people pleaser and have an aversion to criticism and partially because I’m focusing on the wrong thing (i.e. the broken button loop instead of the cute top). After chatting with a mentor of mine and thinking about this Scripture:

“Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

It’s more obvious to me than ever that I’m not guarding my heart when I keep what’s in it to myself. I guard my heart when I censor what goes IN it and guess what, we don’t have to listen to the haters let alone worry about them! Isn’t that so amazing!? Or is it just me, HA!

A very sweet man told me several months ago that I need to be more like Teflon and less like velcro and while I’m always needing to grow in this area, I’ve also gotten so much better! Hence, the dozens of photos of my kids and me I’ve shared since these pics were taken.

Moral of the story? There are always going to be critics that watch what people are doing and see the bad in it – and on some level we all should be okay with it because in the end if we’re able to be more free to be who God made us and do more of what we love, then it’s totally worth it! No more taking responsibility for what others think. No more holding back, creating less, being less or sharing less.

Are you with me?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

What do you shy away from for fear of what others will think or say? Could be something as simple as trying a new workout class or as big as starting a business.

  

Here’s what we have to say to the haaaattteerzzzz anyways…. ha! JK, only love coming from this crew.

Don’t forget to share in the comments!

Oh, and if you’re in the market for a pretty embroidered top for spring, ZARA has tons of them, all under $50 right now. I love this one, this one, this one and this one for the little ladies. I’m tempted to buy one but should probs go shopping at goodwill and see if I can buy my top back? Ha!

XO, Rae

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FAMILY NIGHT AT THE MARINER’S GAME!

I’m back from a long weekend with one of my best friends from college. She and her family are getting ready to renovate, stage and get their rental home on the market while building their dream home on the same lot that they’re living now. Needless to say, they have a lot going on so I flew down to help pick out flooring, shop for furniture and share my designer advice on things, because — holy moly — so many decisions! If you’ve ever renovated or built a home, then you know what I’m talking about. Anyways, it was so great catching up, hanging out in L.A. (yay sun!) and doing all the home stuff. Feeling a little refreshed but mostly inspired and just happy to be home with my peoplessss.

The Monday before I left, Johan and I piled the kids in the car on a rainy day and headed to a Seattle Mariner’s baseball game… (Ozzie’s game had been cancelled and apparently we don’t see enough ballgames, lol). I was a little skeptical of the decision and the kids were pretty hard to wake up the next morning BUT it was so fun and so worth it. Monday nights at the stadium are usually quiet and also happen to be family nights. Guessing most teams have the same or similar promotion going but it’s definitely worth looking into. Bonus that a lot of the food was 1/2 price, including dip n’ dots! As if it’s not hard enough saying no to sweet treats at the ballpark!

The night got a little harry towards the end (if you saw this Instagram post, you know why, lol) but, our seats ended up being in a non-windy pocket of the stadium so we stayed relatively warm and dry. A few pics of our night.

I’m not gonna lie, this kinda monkey business freaks me out when we’re up so high even though she’s nowhere near the edge. Speaking of edge, how is it that more people don’t fall over the railings at arenas and stadiums? The walls are so low for being up so high!

Tilly and her silly faces!

Poppy was super clingy that night, but eventually came out of her shell and then wouldn’t sit still for the rest of the game. Always careful what I wish for with this crew!

We planned on leaving the stadium at 8:30 but it was such a good game and the kids were being good so we ended up staying until 9:30 and wrapped up our night with some playtime at the kids playground area. Johan and Espen also snuck off to throw a few pitches at one of those bullpens that tells you how fast you pitch. So cute. Wish I got some pics!

Have you guys been to a baseball game yet this season? Funny how we ended up going to a ball game on a night the boys didn’t have games.

XO, Rae

PS — Thankful for a little break from the daily grind, but OMG — so happy to be home!!!

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WHEN SPRING FEELS MORE LIKE WINTER

I know i’ve been a broken record lately when it comes to the weather but it feels like winter and spring have teamed up and are playing a really bad joke on us. Lately, we’ve been getting a random mix or sunshine and hail with buckets of rain in between. Super fun stuff. Especially while watching a baseball game, lol. Up until last week I was feeling alone in my springtime woes here in the PNW. However, after sharing an Instagram poll asking who was having fun in the sun and who was still having to bundle up, it turns out most of us (74%) are still waiting for spring to arrive.

So I figured we could all use a little pep-talk. I just hope you guys aren’t sick of all my lists… Feeling like it’s kind of the spring thing to do :)

5 WAYS TO FAKE SPRING

  1. ADD SOME POPS OF COLOR. Pullout all all the brightly colored things from hibernation (i.e. the back of the drawer, closet or linen cupboard) and add to your lips, wardrobe or home! Flowers are always a good idea too!
  2. RETAIL THERAPY THE SMART WAY. No one wants to make a warm weather purchase that ends up going on sale before you’re able to wear it! Instead of clicking the purchase button right away, add a few things from your spring/summer wishlist to your virtual cart and wait for those sales to start! FYI: My cotton candy colored jeans are on sale plus 30% off right now at madewell!
  3. DIFFUSE OILS & TURN-UP THE FEEL GOOD MUSIC. My favorite blend right now is 6 drops grapefruit, 4 drops lemon and 2 drops peppermint. As for the music, we’ve been listening to a lot of country lately. 60’s music is always a fun way to lighten the mood too! (we have this diffusor and it works great!)
  4. LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE (even when it’s cloudy). Spring is the season of planning, organizing and being productive. Sure, I might feel more motivated to work in the yard or do other spring cleaning items if the weather was nicer, but I would probably also be more distracted.
  5. MAKE SPRING THINGS IN THE KITCHEN. Take advantage of all the new spring produce and flavors and get busy whipping up yummy desserts (like this one), cocktails and dinners! Hoping to try this drink over the weekend… good practice for Cinco de Mayo!

Hello, Spring. Are you there?

Wish I had been eavesdropping on Poppy’s convo, LOL.

Also, banana phones have been trending around our house since taking these pics. So funny to hear the kids have pretend conversations with each other!

Summer will be here before we know it so I guess I should be more thankful and intentional with this season, no matter the weather! More planning + prepping and less complaining :)

Rain or shine, what’s your favorite part about Spring?

XO, Rae

ME | top, jeans, would be cute with these sandals (also on sale)

POPPY | dress, scrunchie, love, love, love these shoes to go with

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5 TIPS FOR RAISING CONFIDENT KIDS

Kids are naturally curious, joyful, and magical little humans with their own funny quarks and uniqueness and as their parents its easy to see their genius. Yet, no matter how much I believe in their abilities and potential, life has a sneaky way of  exposing kids to criticism, comparison and the pressure to succeed.

One of our sweet babes is really struggling with this lately — stressing out about everything from what she wears, to test scores, to running days in P.E. and even whether or not a certain person likes them — which has led me to do ALL THE READING on building confidence and spunk in children while teaching them to trust in the one who Created them too. Instead of dumping an overwhelming list of do’s, don’ts and concepts on the subject I thought I’d keep things simple and share the 5 things that have stuck out to me most.

5 WAYS TO RAISE CONFIDENT KIDS

  1. Model confidence! One of our therapist’s favorite sayings is, “Your home is a school. What are you teaching your kids?” and it always stops me in my tracks! What am I teaching them about self-talk, self-care, trying new things, responding to failure, dealing with setbacks, setting goals, God’s grace, perfectionism, and all that jazz?
  2. Teaching a growth mindset which states that our intelligence, personality and creativity can be developed and cultivated through effort. (loved this book on the subject and here’s a few great children’s books too 1/2/3/4/5/6)
  3. Giving kids a safe place to fail, struggle with a task, or be upset about something. Danny Silk does a great job of explaining the concept in THIS BOOK. Here’s a quick peek at a few of the things discussed in the book. Also really good (but not related) is what he says about giving choices in this video.
  4. Provide age appropriate opportunities for kids to be independent, self-sufficient and try new things! Kitchen activities, chores, physical activities and joining sports teams and classes is a great example.
  5. Serve others! In my opinion, there is nothing that boosts confidence and self worth like building relationships and realizing that you have the ability to effect someone’s life in a positive way.

Now for a few picks from our basket shooting, roller skating and jump roping adventures from last week when it wouldn’t stop raining! Found shelter and some much needed room to run in an undercover area at the kids’ school.

Oh my, that face.

What else would you add to the confidence building list?

Also, if you have any great parenting books or resource recs, please share in the comments. Definitely need all the help I can get around here!

XO, Rae

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FAMILY TRAVEL TIPS: PACKING CARRY-ON’S

After a few requests, regarding what the kids had in their carry-on bags on our trip to AZ, I thought it would be fun to share some details and thoughts on the subject. After all, it’s one of my favorite parts of traveling! Probably because it keeps my distracted and excited mind somewhat productive while we countdown to our getaway. Just wish I could say the same thing about unpacking. HA! If you guys have any unpacking tips, puh-leez share in the comments!

One of the things I start doing 1-2 weeks before departure is throwing things in everyone’s carry-ons. My goal is always to make it fun and functional without being too bulky or cluttered. I mean, it’s hard enough maneuvering around an airplane cabin and little row of seats without having to dig through a bottomless pit to find what you really need!

Here’s a few guidelines and tech tips that have worked for us on plane trips as well as road trips. Then keep scrolling to see what each kid had in their carry-ons on our most recent trip to AZ.

MY 5 RULES FOR PACKING CARRY-ONS:

  1. Function over everything
  2. Everyone gets their own necessities – like gum (minus poppy), headphones, a tech device, favorite lovie (blanket + stuffy), and snacks.
  3.  Pack at least 1 small surprise per person
  4. Give each kid an item they can share OR a responsibility, like handing out suckers, making a bucket list, etc.
  5. Bonus points for activities they can also play during any downtime on the trip — like at a restaurant!

TECH TIPS: you may not need these as we’re all pretty experienced with prepping gadgets for our little ones by now, but just in case!

  1. If your not paying for everyone to have wifi on the flight, pre download movies and apps that don’t require wifi or a network to play. Clear out some memory space if needed too!
  2. Not all tech has to be zombie inducing like a movie or game. Prompt photo ops, play with filters, record and edit videos or download a book or piano/music app.
  3. Don’t forget about music and playlists — even for the littler ones!
  4. Leave the mom-guilt at home! There is nothing wrong with throwing all your screen time rules out the window for a handful of travel days each year. Just learn to smile at anyone giving judge-y eyes and brush it off. No one knows what time you had to get up to catch your flight, what it was like to get through security, or how your child is feeling about traveling…
  5. If too much screen time makes your kids cranky (like it does mine), take turns between screen time, snack time, and activity time. Switching things up and staying engaged with them while they play, always helps!
  6. The BEST HEADPHONES FOR KIDS. Great price and they have a share port. The end.

POPPY, 3 (toddler to preschool) | a sippy-cup for when the drink cart comes around, snacks, shopkins (a favorite activity), a hoodie for an extra layer and extra leggings, bracelets (her surprise), bunny mask for being silly and because Poppy loves dress up anything, headphones, new crayons and a mini coloring book I found at peek kids.

Johan had an old iPhone in his carry on for poppy to use, stocked with music and her current favorite game – THINK ROLLS (find more of our favorite apps HERE!). She ended up not using tech on the way to AZ and fell asleep watching a movie with Griffin on the way home.

GRIFFIN, 6 (kindergarten + early elementary) | snacks, maze game, gum, new markers, mini coloring book from target $1 isle, lunch bags for making hand puppets, headphones and iPad.

Griffin tends to be the third wheel with Espen and Tilly so I gave him the dum-dums and fruit snacks to be in charge of handing them out to his siblings. He loved it and the older kids were probably a little more inclusive knowing that he was the source of treats!

TILLY, 9 (2nd-4th grade) | roller essential oils (for anxiety and a mood boost), gum, ear buds, the book PAX (love the age where they can read chapter books! Espen and Tilly are usually happy to read), flash cards, googley eyes with adhesive backs , monkey string (like wiki stix), dot stickers, bunny book + markers (also from peek kids), rainbow post-it notes

Being overly prepared seems to help ease Tilly’s anxiety so she added a few more snacks and small pillow to her bag. She’s also really good at leading activities (future camp counselor maybe!?) so I put all of the craft stuff in her bag to be in charge of.

ESPEN, 11 (tweens :) | note pad and pens, a book, headphones, iPad, playing cards, stress ball, plastic spoons (I’ll explain)

This age group is so easy! I always think it’s good to have a book and something to write on. He’s also really into card games and practicing tricks and jokes so I thought it would be a good thing for him to be in charge of. The spoons were for playing the card game spoons or for practicing hanging them from their noses.

The last couple airplane trips we have taken have gone really smoothly which probably has a lot to do with the ages of our kids. Regardless, there is always an element of surprise and unpredictability when it comes to kids (especially babies!) which can make traveling with them slightly terrifying. But I also think that kids are natural travelers and it makes me wish we could do more of it! Plus the QT is pretty priceless.

How do you guys feel about traveling with or without kids?

Do you like packing or unpacking!? Remember to share this tips with me!

xo, Rae

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