Archive | holidays

HOMEMADE CAKE POPS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

They’re bite sized, gooey and delicious and we basically keep Starbucks in business ordering them so I figured it was time to whip up a batch at home! And since St. Patrick’s Day is a week away I ordered these food safe markers and let the kids have fun drawing shamrock and rainbow inspired doodles on the outside. More details below!

Aren’t they cute? We used this recipe (yum!) and these markers and sprinkles. Making them takes about 4 steps with time to cool and harden in between. It’s almost a full day process but luckily there isn’t much hands on time or dirty dishes required.

I wasn’t sure what to expect (even after reading the reviews) but was impressed with how well the markers worked… and how easy it was for the kids to use them!

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t on a school day this year and we’re not much of a corned beef and cabbage type fam so these tiny treats seemed like the perfect way to celebrate but they could be decorated for just about anything. Oh and I also found a fun and easy shamrock shaped dinner idea too… shared in this weeks meal plan HERE!

How do you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day!?

xo, Rae

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PHOTOS + A VIDEO FROM THE REINDEER FARM IN LEAVENWORTH

I’ve been to Leavenworth more times than I can count and most of the time I’m excited to eat, visit and do all the things at our usual spots but every once in awhile something new pops up that I can’t wait to try with Johan and the kids. This time it happened to be a Reindeer Farm and it was a huge hit. I’ll let the crazy amount of pictures and quick video below do all of the talking… we loved every minute!


I was taking pics of the kids in Santa’s sleigh when he snuck up behind me! Most of the kids thought it was hilarious. Poppy about lost her mind.

Once Santa was out of sight, someone offered to snap a family photo of us on the sleigh (love it when people do that!) and while you never quite know if it’ll turn out, I think this time we might just have a Christmas card photo!

The kids literally haven’t stopped talking about our new reindeer friends. Through all of our conversations, we all agreed that the reindeer in the movie The Santa Clause are the most accurate depiction of the very quirky and mischievous animals. Bet you can guess what’s showing next on our family movie night!?

Love when outings lead to conversations. Makes all the chaos worth it!

xo, Rae

PS – for all my local friends that might be planning a stay in Leavenworth, I’m going to share some of our favorite places to eat tomorrow. Is there anything else you’d like me to share.

PPS – sign up for emails so you don’t miss anything!

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HAPPY (BELATED) THANKSGIVING + SO GRATEFUL

A little belated since I meant to share this post on Thanksgiving Day but I wanted to make sure you know how much I appreciate you!

Thank you for being here.

For being part of our fam.

For the endless encouragement, ideas and stories you share. I don’t take a single comment or email for granted.

And for letting me be a small part of your minutes, days and journey.

I love having this space as a journal for our family as well as connecting with others but what I hope most of all is that the photos, ideas and inspiration for everything from fun things to do with kids to parenting tid-bits and outfit inspiration serves and encourages you!!!

(a few silly pics my dad took of us over thanksgiving break at our cabin in Leavenworth, WA)

I share so much (maybe too much, lol.) but would love to get to know you a little better too. If you have a sec to tell me a little about yourself or leave a link to your blog/biz/social/project, I’d love to check it out!

xo, Rae

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A STORY FROM MY SINGLE MOM DAYS + LEARNING THAT I WAS ENOUGH.

Shared something that was on my heart today over on Instagram and didn’t want you to miss out on it so am going to repost here too:

A sneaky little reminder as we head into the holidays this week: You are enough and you are doing enough.

Once upon a time I was a single mom, raising Ozzie solo, working several jobs and going to school. One of our fist Christmas’ together I could barely afford to keep the lights on let alone buy Ozzie any gifts. I felt like the worst mom ever but luckily my own mom suggested I make him something and then helped me sew a nativity scene  to wrap up and give him.At the time it hardly felt like enough but to this day that Christmas is one of my favorite and that gift is one of the best I’ve ever given simply because I showed up and did my best.

One hunky husband, four adorable kids and a lot more finances later, it’s stilly easy for me to get caught up in the things that matter the least this time of year. To walk through Target, flip through an Anthropologie catalogue or scroll through Pinterest and see all the things I wish I could buy or do and while all of that is good and cute, none of it would actually add any value to this season more than being my best and giving my best to the people I love. 

I hope my story resonates or encourages you! It might take faith and some grace but all the good stuff does. 

A few pics of me and my man-child that make me laugh and burst with gratitude at the same time.

Just like the good ol’ days, lol.

A quick tangent… I used to daydream about what he would be like as he got older and what our life and relationship would be like too. And then I would worry about my ability to give him everything he needed and deserved. Most of my worries were based off of lies, statistics and insecurities. Most of them had zero merit. None of them have actually come true.

I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard. We’ve been through a lot. Even in our family now as we navigate life as a blended family, there are hiccups and things we have to work though.

But this kid, our relationship and our life is better than I ever imagined.

And I owe a lot of that to Oz for inspiring me to be better and require better for myself all because I’ve always wanted the best for him.

HA!

10 tidbits from my pregnancy + newborn stage with Oz:

  1. I was 20 but looked 15.
  2. I lived on spoonfuls of Jiffy peanut butter and bowls of Cherrios during my first trimester.
  3. After crying during two soccer practices from frustration and fatigue (I don’t cry) I thought I had mono so went to student health (lovingly called “student death” at the time) for tests and discovered I was fatigued and having weird cravings for other reasons.
  4. At my 20 week ultrasound the Dr. thought Oz was a girl… I was going to name him Riley.
  5. When changing OB’s at 7 months pregnant the ultrasound tech said, “Looks like you have a healthy boy!” not knowing I had been told it was a girl :)
  6. I went 10 days past my due date and thought I was gonna die.
  7. Oz was a miracle baby! Long story short, he wasn’t breathing when he was born. I watched doctors give him CPR just a few feet away from me. His first apgar test was a 2. Nurses talked to me about possible brain damage and a very long hospital stay. 10 minutes later he scored a 9. Two days later we were released on my 21st bday. MIRACLE. I also never doubted how much I loved him after that.
  8. After leaving the hospital, we went out to eat a giant meal and then to my health class to take an exam.
  9. Oz spent his first 7 months attending college classes with me. He was a dream baby but spit up lots and often — nothing could have prepared me for it!
  10. He slept through the night at 6 weeks and has always been a heavy sleeper. (The earliest my other kids slept through the night was 7 months, lol.)

So fun thinking of 10 things… thanks for humoring me!

Love you guys. Happy Thanksgiving week!

OX, Rae

PS – here’s another link to my Instagram post in case you want to say hi or forward to a friend (hint, hint)!!!

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HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: 4 WAYS TO MAKE HOLIDAY DINNERS FUN FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS)

Holiday meals with kids can add an extra level of stress to time with family but we’ve been at it a long time and have found a few ways to keep our sanity in tact while also making it more fun for the kids (and adults too). It took us a long time to get to this point so hopefully these tips help you in someway!

  1. Having a plan for before and after dinner. It’s a given that kids will get bored (and starving) so having a couple light snacks and a craft or activity before dinner is so helpful. It’s also a given that kids will finish eating before the adults so having a plan while everyone finished eating (and chatting) is smart too. Otherwise there will be constant interruptions by little people asking for pie! (Our pregame is usually a craft like the paper headbands or hat pictured or something from Target and postgame is a short Christmas movie like rudolph. Also, pushing nap time back a little always helped with our younger ones so they wake up right before dinner.)
  2. Getting kids involved in the table setting. Ours usually make place cards and drink tags or draw pictures on note cards to leave at each plate. Older kids can write conversation starters and fill up water glasses, etc. Putting napkins at each place setting is easy for little ones… or kick it up a notch for big kids and try fancy folded napkins (found these fun ideas!)
  3. Get on the same page! Discussing expectations of the kids (and adults) beforehand… what they eat (slash don’t eat), etc. Also, some manners refreshers the week before thanksgiving is usually a good idea in our home. Things get pretty wild (i.e. loud) around our dinner table.
  4. Ignore the haters that think it’s crazy you excuse your kids from the table when there’s still food on their plate or that don’t understand why you would let them have pumpkin pie when they didn’t eat any turkey. Just because they care doesn’t mean you have to… I mean, who wants to spend their holiday meal in a power struggle with a preschooler, toddler or grandparent (lol) over being a part of the clean plate club. Save that for normal family dinner nights ;)

(excuse the abundance of griff and poppy pics. i couldn’t narrow down my favorites!)

Do you guys set up a kids tables during holidays or mix company at the main table?

We’ve done it both ways but usually have the kids at the adult table so they can get involved in the conversation. Plus it’s a shorter walk (for me, lol) when they need seconds, or help with something!

XO, Rae

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PHOTOS FROM HALLOWEEN IN SEATTLE 2018

On Halloween We:

Dress up like — Darth Vader (Griffin), Planet of the Apes (Espen), A soccer player (Tilly), Minnie Mouse (Poppy), Mickey Mouse (Johan), and a Strawberry (Me)… Not pictured were Ozzie and his sweet girlfriend who dressed up like a baseball player and an angel for Angels in the Outfield (so cute!)

Make last minute costume changes — Poppy, who was 100% committed to being a strawberry (because in her own words, she luuuuuvs strawberries. she luuuuuv eating strawberries and she luuuuvs being a strawberry.), woke up from a nap 15 minutes before heading out to trick or treat and was repulsed by her strawberry costume. Like wouldn’t go within 10 feet of it. But luckily she was wearing a black dress and we had minnie mouse ears on hand from going to the kids’ classroom parties (costumes aren’t allowed but headbands don’t count, right?) so it all worked out.

Try something new — We usually hangout in our neighborhood with a group of friends (who we love!) but this year decided to switch things up a bit so headed to Queen Anne for their trick or treating event and then walked to Johan’s sister and brother in laws place for dinner, candy eating and a movie.

Hold hands — probably my favorite part this year was that in between going into the shops and knocking on doors, there was always someone’s hand to hold… my favorite!

Count, sort, trade and then taste test the candy — always the first thing that happens once we’re indoors after trick or treating. Do your kids do the same?

Watch the nightmare before Christmas — or at least we did this year after getting back from trick or treating. Am I the only person that isn’t into this movie?

Listen to Christmas music — after the festivities, on the drive home of course, lol.

Carry around a pet ghost balloon — Just in case one of the kids got separated so they’d be able to look up and find us…. it was kind of annoying to drag around (mostly for the other people walking on the sidewalk, lol) but actually came in handy when Tilly wandered off. I’ll explain below!

Digging into poppy’s bucket after she said it was getting heavy, lol! Just doing my part to help a sister out!

Two pics above, everyone’s in the frame while Johan is figuring out settings for the camera so we can ask a stranger to snap a family pic. One pic above, Johan hopped in the frame but do you notice someone else missing? HA! Tilly somehow wandered across the street and we didn’t notice until we were finished with the pic and saw her standing on the other side of the crosswalk looking at us like, “where have you guys been!?” Sooooo glad she stayed put and didn’t keep wandering down the sidewalk… it’s my biggest fear on Halloween. Also the reason why I appreciate starting trick or treating before it get’s dark.

(might be the world’s worst at making a kissy face, hahahah!)

Our days of trick or treating are numbered so feeling extra thankful for our little halloween together, trying something new and having the best time. Hope you guys had the best Halloween yet!

Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments please… I love it when you share!

XO, Rae

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BEST OF HALLOWEEN POSTS

I have a couple fun Halloween posts planned over the next couple weeks but also love so much of the Halloween posts from years past so thought I would round up some faves… It was hard to choose, but take a peek below and click on the links to head to the full post!

Still one of my favorite halloween posts and probably the oldest too!

Remember when we made Halloween headbands with the land of nod!?

Boo worthy Halloween snacks and lunch notes.

Need to print these out again to use this year.

Boo-ing — still one of my favorite October traditions!

These tattoos make a fun addition to any October playdates or classroom parties!

Must do this again this year too! Hoping those felt flags are stashed in the attic still.

This kid party is full of good inspiration.

Just bought this ghost cookie cutter to make yummy cookies and spooky shaped sandwiches too…it’s the little things you guys!

You can search “FALL” or “HALLOWEEN” in the search bar to the right to find more.

Here’s to the next few weeks being full of all things spooky (but still cute), snuggly, pumpkin-y, and yummy.

XO, Rae

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5 THINGS EVERY KID’S PARTY NEEDS + POPPY’S 4TH BIRTHDAY BASH

My goal with this online space is to always keep things functional and doable with a heaping side of style and fun. I believe it’s important to celebrate motherhood and family (the big and small things) but not at the sake of my sanity or relationships. A stressed out mom is no fun for anyone! Even if it’s all for a good cause, like say, Birthday parties. Considering the endless amount of pinterest-y photos, it can be easy to feel completely inspired to throw a picture perfect party and I so admire the mamas that can pull it off and enjoy the process (teach me your ways!), but in my experience attempting to do so is not very practical for my bank account or my life and only makes everyone cranky. In an effort to keep things simple but also special, here’s my short list of kid party must-haves that make the day of festivities so much easier along with a few pics from Poppy’s 4th Birthday party a couple weeks ago!

I would also really love to know what would make your must have kid-party list!

MY 5 KID PARTY MUST-HAVES

  1. BALLOONS | any and all balloons welcome because they add instant party vibes and are an inexpensive way to decorate. Sometimes I make a bundle of helium filled balloons and other times we grab a few packages from Target to blow up and throw around the party space for the kids to kick, hit and play with. Love these letter and word foil hanging balloons (here’s a gold version – party city also carries them) we used for Poppy’s party that don’t require helium (saves money) and doubled as a good photo backdrop…. festive, decorative and personalized! Rainbow pom-pom garland is from Target and will get used over and over again!
  2. ACTIVITIES | I mean, what good are decorations if the party goers aren’t having fun!? We were lucky to have the beach and water for endless entertainment but since the weather wasn’t that good we also put together a slime making station (Tilly’s idea and it was a huge hit!) and a “pin the sprinkles on the POP-TART” game (using a big chalkboard and paper ‘sprinkles’) which I forgot to snap a pic of and didn’t get played with, lol. There are lots of good games out there and you can’t go wrong with activity tables (so kids can participate when they feel like it). I’m a sucker for all the old school ones such as scavenger hunts, relays, duck-duck-goose, bobbing for apples, musical chairs, and anything that involves freezing :)
  3. SIMPLE BUT YUMMY FOOD | same goes with food as activities… if kids (or their parents) are hungry or you’re stressing out in the kitchen, does anything else even matter? I like to have a variety of finger foods and kid friendly snacks and then plan a crowd pleasing meal that I can either make or prep ahead of time (i.e. hamburgers + hot dogs, or anything that bakes in the oven or crockpot) or order (i.e. pizza) and for sides, anything that comes from a bag (i.e. salad and chips!). Bonus if I can get ALL OF IT at Costco which is how it worked out for Poppy’s party. Even the cake and drinks.
  4. ANYTHING THAT IS A BIG DEAL TO THE BIRTHDAY KID | maybe it’s a special theme or activity, but whatever it is I try to make it happen. Poppy didn’t have any requests this year but for Tilly it’s usually a cake request and special party favors, Ozzie was always about having his favorite foods, Espen wants to make sure certain friends can make it and Griffin LOVES a piñata.
  5. PARTY FAVORS | I usually go overboard with this because I love goodie bags and containers and helping the kids pick things out! But really a wand of bubbles and hand drawn signs are all you need to say “THANK YOU FOR COMING!”

(SOURCES | blue berry basket for the favors, kraft food boat, 1/2 lb size pictured)

Look at all these cute party animals!!! So thankful for all the sweet faces in this pic and their parents. We had so much fun celebrating Poppy!

Now, please spill all your tips, tricks and must haves for making birthday party magic… What would make your list?

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: 3 EASY VALENTINE PROJECTS FOR KIDS

The Seattle weather this time of year just about does us all in, so we’re trying to stay busy and distracted over here. A homemade treat, kitchen experiments (slime anyone?), and simple crafts always seem to do the trick tho. If you’re feeling the same way, here are a few Valentines-ey projects that have been giving us life right now and make hunkering down at home feel extra special.

WHITE CHOCOLATE VALENTINE POPCORN

Shared the recipe on my Insta Stories yesterday and added to the “eat” highlight reel for safe keeping too, but it deserves to be documented here too… it’s that good! I cut way back on the chocolate compared to other recipes and will normally add the hearts after the kids dish their bowls so they don’t get too much :)

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 oz. bag popcorn or 15 cups homemade, lightly salted
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, melted
  • sprinkles + conversation hearts

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Pour popcorn into a large baking sheet/pan.
  2. Drizzle with white chocolate and sprinkles and then toss until incorporated. Sprinkle hearts over the top. Cover and let sit until chocolate hardens.
  3. Dish up for your little (and big) valentines!

CONVERSATION HEART ACTIVITIES

That don’t involve eating them although we know it’s inevitable. A few ideas…

  1. Pour a bunch in a jar and have the kids guess how many, then count together.
  2. Drop a few in a glass of sparkling water or clear soda and watch them dance around. Kinda fun and science-y!
  3. Play around with making and matching patterns, or sorting.
  4. Give everyone a box of hearts, set the timer for a minute (or 5, lol!) and see who can stack them the highest! When you’re done, grab a few snack items from the pantry and use the candies to make individual trail mixes.
  5. Practice fine motor skills with little ones by scooping, and tweezing  hearts from one bowl to another. Challenge older kids to use chopsticks. Here’s a few more montessori inspired activities!
  6. Take it one step further with these fun family night games. Would be fun for sleepovers too!

HEART GUYS FTW!

Can’t beat this classic! I found colored cardboard hearts and googly eyes at target and then cut up strips of text weight paper into strips. Set all the materials out on the table and let the kids get creative. Most of the finished hearts got taped to their bedroom doors which I love!

YOU’LL NEED:

  • Hearts cutout of card stock or construction paper (found our hearts at Target, but couldn’t find online)
  • Googly eyes
  • Text weight paper, in various colors
  • Tape or glue stick
  • OPTIONAL: smaller hearts cutout for hands and feet, black marker for making a mouth + nose, stickers, pop-pops or other items to embellish with

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Cutout hearts and strips of paper for the arms and legs — ours were about 1-1/2 inch wide and 8-1/2 inch long for the legs and 5 inches for the arms.
  2. Fold the strips of paper like an accordion and tape onto the backside of your hearts.
  3. Embelish with eyes, etc. and you’re done!

Aren’t they cute!? And fun for everyone!

How are you guys having fun and staying sane at home on winter days!? This past Saturday we filled the stairway with mattresses so the kids could slide down, LOL. Anything to get some of their energy out these days!

Hope your week is off to a good start!!! Don’t forget to check classroom valentines off your to-do list!

XO, Rae

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A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

This year, instead of adding activities and service projects to our advent calendar we kept things simple and filled each pocket with candy canes. While I’ve enjoyed not having the pressure of doing  a l l   t h e   t h i n g s , I’ve missed having the built-in prompts and ideas for things to do with the kids. So, I thought it would be fun to plan a week of service and kindness projects to do with them once they are out of school next week!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

SATURDAY | help firefighters handout the toys and books that were collected during the toy drive

SUNDAY | make a pile of winter coats and snow gear to donate

MONDAY | make fudge to deliver to friends and neighbors

TUESDAY | leave Merry Christmas notes and candy canes for the mail and garbage workers, baristas, and other service employees.

WEDNESDAY | say “Merry Christmas” and smile at everyone we see :)

THURSDAY | sign up to sponsor a child

FRIDAY | write a letter to military members stationed overseas

Would love for you guys to join us or share other project suggestions  in the comments… love trying new things and you guys have the best ideas!

(a pic of Griffin and Poppy for Peek Kids, promoting their #givingtuesday event!)

Another thing I like to do randomly throughout the year, but especially over the holidays, is pay for the order of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru. Sunday morning Johan and I snuck away (as the kids were getting up and taking over our bed) for a quick and quiet car ride to Starbucks and decided to treat the person in the car behind us. To our surprise it was Santa behind the wheel! HAHAH. Not sure why, I love buying anyone’s coffee, but the fact it was santa made it so much sweeter.

If you guys have ever wanted to buy for the car behind you but worry about ending up with a $50 starbucks charge, all the baristas I’ve talked to let me know the total charge and ask if it’s okay… its usually somewhere between $4 and $12.

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

PS — other service project ideas: one | two | three | four

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HOW TO DRESS KIDS FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Eeek! You guys, we made a video that I hope will take some of the stress out of dressing the fam bam for the holidays. There’s a bonus tip for all you mamas if you watch to the end! Press play below to watch…

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to planning, shooting and editing video, but I’m so incredibly proud of Johan for his editing job… pretty impressive for a newbie! We have a couple more Holiday videos waiting to be edited and shared but are also anxious to make some adjustments and shoot new content for the winter (and valentine’s day!). If you have any topic ideas please share in the comments!

xo, Rae

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