Author Archive | rae

craft tray No. 3, pom poms

last week we stocked the kids’ craft tray with supplies to make some good old-fashioned pom-poms.  they’ve been keeping their busy hands, well busy, only a good kind of busy not a bugging my brother or coloring on the walls kind of busy.

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it’s been a good craft to have on hand and (bonus) doesn’t require many supplies or make too much of a mess. just a little fuzz. here’s what you’ll need…

_KID-supplies

YARN in different colors (it can get pretty spendy, but since your not knitting a sweater, look for the less expensive brands. the ones pictured above were between $3-$4 each.)

POM-POM MAKERS (follow the instructions below to make your own or these work really well and were available at our local craft store too.)

small pair of SCISSORS (your kid safe ones might be perfect!)

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_KID-how-to

1. if you purchase the pom-pom makers, follow the directions on the package to make the poms. if you are making your own draw 2-3 inch circles on a piece of cardboard (the thickness of a cereal box) and cut it out. then draw a 1 inch circle in the center of each cardboard circle and cut them out so you have templates that look like doughnuts.

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2. stack circles on top of each other and begin winding yarn through the centers and around until they are completely full and covered. cut a long piece of yarn (about 8 inches) and set aside.

3. cut the yarn in the middle around the outside of the circles, making sure to hold the cardboard firmly together. grab the long piece of yarn you cut earlier and thread it between the two cardboard circles. pull tightly and make a double knot.

4. carefully pull the cardboard from the pom-pom, trim any long pieces of yarn and your done!

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i was hoping to have a plethora of poms to choose from to make a fall garland, but the kids seem to find a use for them as fast as they make them. not that i can blame them… they are pretty cute.

don’t you think?

here’s tray no. 1 and no. 2 if you want to go take a peek!

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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painted drinkware

we recently got rid of our hodgepodge collection of drinking glasses and mason jars, and replaced them with 2 sets of these cute handled jars by libbey. with a cupboard full of the same exact glass, i knew i would need to do some embellishing – painted numbers seemed like the perfect touch!

painted-glasses

 here’s how to  D I Y !

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drinking glasses, glass paint, paint brush, rubbing alcohol, silhouette/cricut and vinyl, OR clear contact paper, exacto knife and printed page of numbers in your favorite font

armommy-makes-blog-graphics-how-toif you have a silhouette or cricut cutting machine, create your number template.

if not, don’t worry! just print off numbers the size you want, lay the contact paper over the top, trace and cutout using an exacto knife.

with a rag or cotton ball, use the rubbing alcohol to clean the glasses where you want to paint.

peel the backing off of the contact paper or vinyl and stick on the glasses.

fill in the number stencils with paint and peel off the stencil before the paint dries… (the first few glasses we did i waited until the paint dried and when i pulled the stencil off, the paint came with it!)

to finish, follow the directions on the bottle of glass paint. (mine had me let the glasses dry for 4 days and then bake in the oven before using and washing.)

the fam bam has been loving our numbered glasses and i wish we had more so i could make some with polka-dots or other fun patterns… maybe i’ll have to save that for christmas gifts!

w h a t   w o u l d   y o u   p a i n t   o n   y o u r   d r i n k i n g   g l a s s e s ?

**UPDATE: as luck would have it, my friend emily posted a similar tutorial today and shared pictures of the process.  head here if you want to take a peek!**

xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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griffey is two (cool)

to the (coolest) birthday boy,

i’ve been a mom long enough to know that these toddler days fly by, but this time around it seems more like lightning speed.

(here come the waterworks!)

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a few things i (especially) adore about you at 2…

you are the only one with your daddies eyes and every time you smile, with those front teeth, and big gap, and one dimple, i kinda want to eat you.

you love music and have some rad dance moves that you show off at least a couple times a day.

you have the pickiest palette, (but we are working on it) and recently started glaring at me when we aren’t in agreement.

you only have a few words, but the ones you have, you use well. the day you start speaking in sentences i’m pretty sure we’re all in trouble.

you are greatly loved.

and very good at loving back.

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h a p p y   b i r t h d a y !

xo . mama

PS – what are your thoughts on the year of the 2 year old?  terrible or terrific?  let us know in the comments below!

(images by stacy jacobsen)

(birthday sign can be found on spoonflower with a tutorial here.)
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5 minutes of fame (literally)

if you’ve stopped by any of the armommy homefronts over the last week, you may have heard that we were on a DIY segment for our local Seattle morning show, new day northwest.  if you haven’t seen it yet, the video is below….  (for a special treat – pay close attention to tilly and what she does with the paintbrush in her hands at around minute 4:45.  oh Tilly…)

we had such a great time and i kinda wish it was something we did every week!

of course being on TV was fun, but the best part was having the entire fam bam there, including my husband, mom, kidlets, and brother-in-law, i was also so lucky that my uber-talented chic friend, stacy joined us to take beautiful pictures capturing behind the scenes moments from the show.  i thought it would be fun to share some of the pics with you – so excuse me while i relive all of the fun we had (and post a borderline embarrassing amount of pictures of myself).

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(here is the brood post-segment. it was the last pic taken of the day, but since it so wonderfully encompasses the happy crew, it feels like a good place to start. left to right: gamma jane, espen, griffin, johan, me, ozzie, tilly, and uncle mark.  a fun side note, we took this picture in front of the sound stage for almost live – which was a local comedy show i used to watch as a kid.)

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(the first thing we did upon arrival was set up backstage.  anytime i’ve seen or been apart of a production like this, i’m blown away with how much goes into it. so many people and moving parts!)

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(here i am meeting the host, meeghan black.  she was incredible to work with and made me feel right at home on stage.)

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(ready to get camera ready with tilly…)

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(…then mostly playing instead.)

armommy-new-day-118(and then back to camera readiness…getting makeup done in a director’s chair feels like serious business!)

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(ready on set…  around this time i am relaxing and hoping i don’t have that awkward morning show segment smile some people get.)

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(tilly being tilly.)

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(see some of my handsome guys off to the left? heart melters.)

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(chatting with the audience for a few quick minutes, while my kids hung all over me, was one of my favorite parts.)

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(the armommy gals! thanks mom for being such a great sport and showing off your mad fort building skills!)

so there you have it, a glimpse into our big day!  having a day like this was one of those things i dreamt about doing from the time we started our little company…. it never ceases to amaze me when those seemingly impossible and random dreams come true.

have you ever had a time in your life where you paused and realized that you had made it to a moment you had only dreamed about achieving? was it everything you expected it to be or less/more?

xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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craft tray no. 2 – rain makers

the other morning, while putting on my makeup, i turned around to find all 4 of my kids huddled around, asking me questions, getting into my drawers, knocking things over and hanging on my legs. now, to do this story justice i also have to add that my bathroom is the size of a small closet. soooo i was just a little flattered (but a lot claustrophobic) that in a house full of open rooms and tons of toys, they were willing to cram themselves into a tiny space just to hangout with me.

sometimes my kids make me feel so cool….

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… other times i would do (almost) anything for a few (but really 30) minutes to complete a task on my own, without a little helper – and because i’m hoping i’m not the only one out there who has those moments, i’m going to start a new monthly series all about simple crafts kids can do by themselves. however there is always the chance that the project will be so much fun you can’t help but get sucked in!

one thing i highly suggest having for all of these projects is one tray designated to hold supplies.  it’s the easiest way i’ve found to keep kids craft time tame and in one place and makes cleanup (not to be confused with organizing) easy for the kids. click here to read more about my love affair with trays.  i’m slightly obsessed.

_KID-craft-tray-august

since it’s august and i’m guessing most people would welcome a little rain to break up the summer heat, i thought a rain stick would be the perfect project for the kids.  here’s what your tray will need.

(***NOTE: please use your own discretion about what is safe and age appropriate for your kids to craft with, especially without your full supervision***)

_KID-supplies

small nails (hardware store), masking tape (I bought the colored rolls from target), printer paper cut into 4ths, cardboard rolls (think paper towel, wrapping paper, or t.p.), and plastic beads (craft store – dried beans would work too!)

_KID-how-to

to make the rain sticks, cover one end of the tube with paper and tape it in place. then have the kids poke nails into the seam around their cardboard tube. next they can fill it ½ to ¾ of the way up with beads. cover the open end with paper and tape so nothing falls out. lastly you’ll want the kids to cover the tube and nails by wrapping it in tape or drawing a picture to cover the tube and taping it in place.

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if you still need a little more time, have the kids make one for you too (or the dog, neighbor, etc. – whatever keeps em’ busy!) and then head outside for a little rain making dance party!

_ARMOMMY-kids-hashtag

we love seeing how you use our projects and ideas so if you would like to join a hashtag party, use #armommykids when sharing images on instagram or twitter. of course you can always tag us @raefriis on insta or @armommy_llc on twitter, too!

how do you keep your child(ren) occupied while you get ready in the morning, respond to emails, do some pinning, make dinner, etc….?!

xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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halloween ink.

oh, my! it’s been a little cray-cray on the armommy home-front… lots of cool changes (hint, hint) going on that i can’t share yet (so mean, i know) but we have a couple fun posts for you this week that i’m excited to share. starting with these free printable halloween tattoos!

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did you know they make tattoo paper? and it works on a regular ink jet printer!? i bought a pack on a whim and was a little skeptical, but they turned out super cute and easy to use – just like the store-bought kind.

halloween-tattoos(CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE)

there’s just enough time to order the paper (or ask your local craft store) before the trick or treating begins. then download the template by clicking the image above and follow the directions on the tattoo paper packaging.

i’m always on the hunt for non-sugary goodies to handout for holidays and birthdays and i think this will be my new go-to.

what do you guys do to help curb the sugar intake around halloween!? i need all the help/ideas i can get!!!!

xo . rae

ps – the “mwahaha!” tat is meant to be used on knuckles – one letter on each, not including thumbs. kinda gangsta, but fun!

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zucchini bread pancakes

the kids might make all kinds of faces (and noises) when they see you add shredded zucchini to perfectly good pancake batter, but they will be kissing the cook after the first bite!

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the recipe above (from the monthly spread) calls for gluten free pancake mix, but you can use whatever brand you like or make it from scratch using this recipe.

// CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION OF THE RECIPE //

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i don’t love cooking breakfast in the morning (it just seems wrong to start the day with hand dishes!) but the hubs and kids are constantly making requests so it’s nice to have fun recipes to choose from.

do you have any favorite brekkie dishes?

xo . rae
{images by stacy jacobsen}

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delicious {corn} fritters

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now that school has started, i get to spend a few days a week (when i’m not working) with the ham above (no sibs) which i think qualifies me as the luckiest person alive. however, i would like to go on the record and say, i’m not sure that one takes any less energy than two seeing as how he becomes this hilarious, go-go baby when his siblings are away and a chill wallflower when they are around . it’s been interesting to watch and has made for some amusing errands and outings, just the two of us.

earlier this week griffey and i headed over to my friend kim’s house to catch up, play, and make corn fritters in her (nearly complete) remodeled kitchen. so jelly. her and her husband have done an amazing job which made cooking fritters that much more fun.

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corn fritters are a great veggie side for dinner, after school snack, or happy hour app. (recipes below)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil, for sautéing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • a couple pinches of salt (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • oil to cook fritters

TO MAKE: heat oil and sauté corn and peppers for a few minutes. remove from heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.

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prep cilantro, whisk eggs and add to a mixing bowl with a little salt.

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stir to combine.

add enough oil to a non-stick skillet to cover the base and heat over medium. drop large spoonfuls (i use my 1/4 measuring cup) of the corn mixture into the pan, 1 to 3 at a time (depending on size). cook until browned (about 2 minutes) and flip to cook the other side.

lay on a paper towel or wax paper (paper side up) to drain and cool before serving!

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with the exception of griffey, the fam devours these fritters.

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grif just laughs at me for eating my veggies i guess… good thing he doesn’t know what’s in the green juice he chugs at brekkie. guess who will be laughing in the morning!? mwahahaha.

now that we are well into the fall & back to school season, is there something in particular that you are really enjoying?

other than time with my littlest, i must admit i’ve gone over my budget at starbucks – those pumpkin spice lattes get me every time!

xo . rae

(images by kim charie)

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saved by the trench (coat)

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i’m always on the hunt for pieces i can add to my wardrobe that are simple and versatile, but that also make me look (& feel) put together without actually requiring me to be put together.

i mean, (side note) i have a hard enough time getting myself ready and out the door on time and then you add little people to the mix and some mornings it seems almost impossible, but that’s a whole other blog post.

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it’s those kinds of mornings that makes this trench just the thing i need to grab from my closet when things get chaotic. i can throw it on over jeans (even the ones that have a paint stain on the butt from this little fiasco) or leggings, a tee and a pair of flats.

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outfit-details

TRENCH COAT | JEANS (i’ve had mine for 2 years & <3) | SHOES

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what’s your secret to getting out of the house on time? a simple hairdo, go-to brekkie, planning things out the night before? i’m dying to know!?

xo . rae

ps – hope you had a fun weekend! we spent ours visiting friends and going to a football game in our old college town – where our family began. felt so good to be “home”.

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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PERSONAL BAKED PASTA RECIPE

if you appreciate a good dinner idea that everyone will love, then you’re in for a treat today! my kids call this their favorite and i call it genius. mostly because it’s as easy (if not more so) than throwing together spaghetti and red sauce, but the presentation is so fun and lovely that you’ll rake in the mom-points.

make it extra personalized by getting out all the fixings and letting the fam build their own baked pasta dish – just like a pizza night.

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here’s how-to:

preheat oven to 375 degrees. add cooked and drained pasta or gnocchi (pictured) to oven safe ramekins.

side note, my kids go crazy for pinocchio – as they call it. if you haven’t tried it before they cook just like ravioli and can be found in the pasta section at the store. Or if you are looking for a fun & simple (although time consuming and messy) cooking activity with the kids there are lots of homemade gnocchi recipes out there to try.

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add a generous amount of your favorite pasta sauce (red, white, vodka sauce, pesto, etc.).

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add any other topping you have handy such as basil (pictured), ricotta, roasted veggies, grilled chicken, black olives… then top with a handful of mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan or romano (if you have it).

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bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbling. let cool slightly and serve!

gnocchi-recipe-5meals that include baking time are a fave because it not only gives the house a warm and cozy feeling, but it also gives me a chance to tidy up my (most likely) messy kitchen, help the kids with homework & setting the table, or just catch my breath (and a glass of wine).

what do you think? do you have any tricks or recipes that make for a laid-back dinnertime!?

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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everyone <3's mexican lasagna

i wish i could say that having my brood makes me an expert at picky eaters… but not so much.  every time i think i have it figured out, the next one is picky in a totally different way.  for instance, my oldest, ozzie required dippy to eat during his toddler years.  while my youngest, griffey is choosy about ev.er.y.thing….  child doesn’t even eat fruit right now unless it’s in smoothie form.  same song for the middles, too.  just a different tune.

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the good news is that my older three have (mostly) come out of the picky eater stage to the other side, healthy and still opinionated, but willing to try just about anything.  (persistence pays off!)

while I don’t have a foolproof plan to share there are a few tricks and yummy recipes i’ve learned and this mexican lasagna recipe is the perfect example of both.

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here’s why:

* if your little ones enjoy helping out in the kitchen, this recipe is the perfect fit for them (and you).  lots of prepping and assembling to keep their hands busy and kids love to eat what they helped make.  usually.

* it’s colorful, which is a good distraction.

* i’m not one to hide veggies in my kids food, but this recipe is full of yummy carrots that are grated so they won’t even notice.  (mom – 1, fussy eater – 0)

* the greatest advice i’ve received is to have my kids try something multiple times before deciding to scratch it off my recipe list.  this recipe makes a big enough batch that you’ll have plenty of leftovers to offer to little ones if they don’t like it right away.

* lastly, it’s a total crowd pleaser…. hasn’t failed me yet and even gets rave reviews at yoder’s (my hubs) fire station!

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doesn’t it look good?  in a messy sorta way?

here’s what YOU’LL NEED:

(serves 8 / to make in oven, preheat to 375, follow directions below and bake for 35 minutes until heated through)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 2, 16-oz jar mild chunky salsa
  1. 1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  2. Add the ground turkey meat, cumin, salt and chili powder and cook for 6-7 minutes until cooked through. Place turkey mixture aside and cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and sour cream together. Add the cooled turkey mixture, carrots, corn and cilantro and mix to combine.
  4. Spread a 1 cup of salsa on the bottom of the crock pot.
  5. Layer 5 tortillas on top of the salsa, cutting them if necessary to fit the crock pot and covering the salsa completely.
  6. Place half the turkey mixture on top of the tortillas and top with 1 cups of salsa and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  7. Add another layer of 3 tortillas on top of the cheese. Pour the remaining turkey mixture on top of the tortillas and top with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
  8. Top the lasagna with another layer of tortillas, pour the remaining salsa on top and cover with 1 cup of cheese.
  9. Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours & then serve!

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we’d love to hear about your little eater(s) in the comments below…. or perhaps a tip you might have to share!

<3 . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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