Archive | KIDS

RAISING SELF SUFFICIENT KIDS + A DONUT OUTING

Teaching responsibility and self-sufficiency is one of the hardest parts of parenting for me. Everything from encouraging my kids to wipe their own bums and tie their own shoes to making their own lunches and scheduling their own appointments is messy, uncomfortable and requires loads of patience.

However, “SETTING OURSELVES + OTHERS UP FOR SUCCESS” is one of the 5 core values of our family and therefore, teaching and giving our kids opportunities to take responsibility for themselves and their lives has to be a priority. So I’ve been working on it and gosh it’s hard. Hard to figure out how to be supportive and present but not coddling and enabling. At least for me.

Recently we made a list of everyday teachable moments we’d like to take advantage of. Some of them are things we already do and others are ones we need to start doing but all of them are things we should be doing more of. Here’s what we came up with!

  1. Encouraging them to interact with other humans over the phone and in person – when eating out, ordering food (have them be the ones to call Papa Murphy’s!), checking out at a store, communicating with their coaches or making appointment. The more we rely on texting, apps and web sites, the more important I think this one is. It’s an easy one to implement but also an easy one (for me) to forget!
  2. Teaching them to cook solo, then give them jobs during meal prep like making scrambled eggs for breakfast, throwing together the salad for dinner or following the recipe for brownies and then being the one to serve dessert. Last week Tilly made everyone dinner, start to finish, including setting the table and it was magical! She was so proud and all the kids were excited to eat the pancakes and apple slices she had made. Bonus that it was so sweet to see everyone being supportive and appreciative too!
  3.  Giving them opportunities to make money and save for the things they want. There are always extra projects and chores around the house that we are willing to pay for. Every once in awhile they also have opportunities with the blog (like their gymboree photoshoot) that allow them to make money. Encouraging them to set up lemonade stands, sell cookies, etc is also a fun way to help!
  4. Instead of solving all their problems, answer their dilemmas and complaints with, “Gosh, that’s a bummer… What do you want to do about it?” or “Let me know how I can help” and other leading questions so they can problem solve but know we’re here if they need us. Also, a phrase we repeat often (that I read on a business website) “everything is figure-out-able” reminds them that they are capable!
  5. Keeping track of a calendar and advocating for their needs/requests. This one’s more for the older two since their schedules are busy, and they have smartphones and more freedom. The Cozi Family Organizer has been a huge help (thanks to our friends who recommended it!). It syncs with google calendar so the boys can see what we have going on each day, add their personal activities and put items on our shopping and to do list. No more telling me that they need to bring a box of toothpicks to biology next week, at 10pm on a Friday night… add it to the list! 
  6. Time management. This one is so tough since there is so much room for failure, especially for the kids that are less rigid. But I find that avoiding nagging, giving prompts and sparse reminders and allowing natural consequences (bummer but we don’t have time to make a water bottle, etc.) is effective (yet equally painful) at least for the older kids. I would love to try one of these watches for the younger two!

What would you guys add to the list!? 

Since eating out often brings teachable moments and opportunities for kids to converse with grownups and learn about finances (+ tipping!), I thought I’d share a few pics pics from our most recent donut outing. Side note: Poppy has most definitely nailed the “emo” kid editorial trend that’s happening right now, lol (see below).

Daddy pile!

Snapping pictures of all the details because I never want to forget their little lovies, stuffies, and other toys or accessories they bring with us on our adventures! Or their silly smiles.

Johan and I have been meaning to give Oz opportunities to practice paying bills, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it… any ideas, please share!

xo, Rae

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NEW PRINTABLE VALENTINE’S

As promised! You’ll find a few new classroom Valentines below. They’re my favorite thing to design, so I hope you love, share and use them!!! Use the links below to download, then follow the instructions that are included.

OUT OF THIS WORLD VALENTINES
HAPPY HEART DAY VALENTINES
HEY BOO VALENTINES

Working on making all the designs from years past (that used to be in the shop) editable and will post ASAP… More to come!

xo, Rae

PS – You guys are so cute and clever and I love seeing how you use my designs so don’t forget to DM images or tag me in stories and posts so I can see the finished product!

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VIDEO: AVOIDING THE HOLIDAY MELTDOWNS + EASY MOMMY + ME YOGA

The girls and I put together a little Holiday themed yoga (with lots of stretching) sequence and are so excited to share! I’ve mentioned a couple times (here + no. 11 here) that we use yoga to help all of us slowdown, wind-down and reconnect and with the hustle and bustle of Christmas and endless opportunities to consume sugar I figured we all could use some zen-ness!

Hopefully the names and moves make it easy to remember! A little description of each…

  • GINGERBREAD HOUSE – a house pose with feet apart and hands together over your head to make a roof.
  • CHRISTMAS TREE – same a the tree pose, hands together to make the top of the tree, and depending on level of difficulty and balance, place foot above or below your knee.
  • STAR – feet apart and hands out at your side… then can’t resist doing some jumping jacks (slash elves).
  • CANDY CANE – bend side to side to stretch!
  • SNOW DOG – classic downward dog, but don’t forget to lift each leg and shake the snow off.
  • MAKE COOKIES – stretch your legs and core by grabbing dough, rolling it out, then grabbing flour, cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles as you turn to each side.
  • REINDEER – gotta get ready to pull santa’s sleigh so stretch out that booty by pulling your knee to chest and then adding antlers with your hands, because you’re a reindeer, ha! :)
  • SANTA’S SLEIGH – normally called the bow pose.
  • SUGAR PLUM – we always finish by resting on our backs or stomaches… if it’s right before bedtime we’ll add some deep breaths and close our eyes, if not it always ends up in a pig pile!

What other poses or stretches could you give a Christmas-y name?

How do you guys like to slowdown during the holidays?

xo, Rae

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PRINTABLE ADVENT CALENDAR (REPOST!)

After a few email requests I thought it was time to bring back one of my favorite posts ever…. a scratch off advent calendar. Tilly was a squeaky clean 5 year old in these pics. Also worth noting is her amazing outfit. I think she wore that t-shirt weekly for 3 straight years and coincidentally, everything she was wearing today (you can peek at my stories) is from the same shop I mention below. Still one of my favorite places to find stuff for the kids!

We can talk more about that later. Here’s the REPOST:

happy day before turkey day!

i have a couple fun things to share with you today, including my new favorite place to shop for the kids, but first a tutorial!

if you are like me, you started thinking about christmas way before it was time to make a shopping list for thanksgiving; especially considering how close the two holidays are this year! in an effort to help you get ready for december 1st i thought i would share a free download and tutorial to make this fun scratch card, advent calendar. it takes a couple hours to make so hopefully you have time over the weekend.

…here are the details…

SUPPLIES: white card stock, the pdf template (CLICK HERE to download), clear packing tape, butcher or wax paper, metallic paint, dish soap, paint brush (the sponge kind), a bucket of candy canes or favorite christmas candy

STEP 1: sign up for emails at the bottom of this post, download the template that is located on the “success” page, print on card stock and cut along dashed line.

STEP 2: cut long strips of packing tape and stick to the wax side of your butcher paper.

STEP 3: mix 1 part dish soap with 3 parts metallic craft paint.

STEP 4: using your sponge brush, paint over the strips of tape until completely covered (this will take a few coats).

STEP 5: while the paint is drying, fill in the blank advent cards (i think there are 5 of them) with whatever you think the kids will like!

STEP 6: once the paint has dried completely, cut the painted tape to a generous 5 inches wide. peel the paper from the back of the tape and stick to the bottom of each advent card, covering the message and almost halfway up the card. trim any excess tape that hangs off the edges.

STEP 7: hang your finished advent cards on a wall, chalkboard or bulletin-board with a bucket of candy canes (or fave christmas candy) and a penny so the kids can scratch off the tape and reveal the message! the idea is to have the kids do what the message says and then take a treat, but you can do whatever works for your brood.

tilly enjoyed practicing scratching off the paint to reveal a message for out little photo shoot and wanted to do all of them at once!

i have a feeling i’ll either be making a set for each child or will have to have a clear system in place so it’s easy to keep track of who’s turn it is!

now let’s talk kids clothes… peek kids is my newest pint sized fashion obsession and it all started with this sequence skirt i purchased for tilly to wear to her roller skating birthday party in october. she has since gotten a ton of use out of it, usually with a fun and playful message tee (of which peek has a ton of!), but i am looking forward to dressing it up with a fancy top for the holidays.

gotta love clothes that are made for a child’s lifestyle (in terms of durability and function) with the style and personality to match! don’t you think? have you shopped at peek before?

let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial (or tilly’s outfit) in the comments and be sure to sign up for emails!

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN + LIFE LATELY

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N   F R I E N D S ! ! ! 

If you’re looking for a fun activity to tide the kids over before it’s time to knock on doors, mummy making is perfect and all you need is is a few rolls of t.p. and a couple willing participants.

So much celebrating around our home this past week. Tilly turned double digits (10!) and had a big sleepover bash over the weekend. Ozzie turned 18 on Monday and we hosted a big family and friend dinner for him (it was magic!). And of course today is Halloween so we’ll be partying in the kids’ classrooms and then heading to Johan’s sister’s place on Queen Anne to trick or treat tonight!

Can’t wait to see everyone in their costumes tonight… my crew will be a mix of animals, food, athletes and star wars characters, lol. Never can get everyone to agree on a theme!

What about your fam bam… Do you try to match or does everyone do their own thing?

XO, Rae

 

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STOCKING UP ON FALL ESSENTIALS

A little round up of things we’ve been stocking up on in preparation of fall, the holidays and time spent cozied up indoors or wet and cold outdoors. Also included a couple things I’ll be using in posts and projects coming up on the blog and instagram too!

one | so soft and cozy and only $15-$18 per set. so many colors to choose from that are especially perfect if you’re a fan of festive jammies but hate spending on things that go “out of season” so quickly. snagged a few different colors for griffin and poppy here + here. great for adding layers under snow and rain gear too!

two | knee high socks are so cute and great for little ones that don’t like tights!

three | time to stock up on boots and these were too adorable not to share.

four | inside means we’ll be baking and cooking a lot more. even with endless recipes to search on pinterest, there’s something special and refreshing about cooking from a cookbook. lots to choose from but have been using magnolia table (found at costco) and what’s gaby cooking (more summery foods but still fall-worthy!) lots lately.

five | we’ll be making ghost cookies over the weekend and would love you to join us!

six | just in case you need a new serving tray. love this one so much. you can also find a darker blue (even thought it says black) one here.

seven | i started giving the kids these probiotics just before they went back to school and they’ve kept everyone healthy and their tummies feeling good too… i would for sure grab a bottle before everyone’s sugar intake goes up with all the Halloween parties!

eight | tilly has plans to make slime to handout to classmates and friends for halloween and i thought these containers would be the perfect thing to package it in. along with a spider or googly eyes. will try and share a slime tutorial on stories tomorrow after school!

nine | we love our instax! actually it’s tilly’s (great christmas gift idea!) but we all use it. just stocked up on more film to use for making place cards for thanksgiving dinner.

ten | a coloring poster saved my sanity more than once last winter and spring so thought I’d buy one and save it for the next time we were all cooped up and struggling. ha! these coloring and activity posters look great too and are a bigger scale for younger kids.

Do you guys usually think ahead and stock up on stuff or buy as you need?

Also curious what you are most likely to purchase from the roundup above!?

Happy Wednesday!

xo, Rae

PS – did you see our mummy moves from last night?

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HIKING TWIN FALLS WITH KIDS + A WE CAN DO HARD THINGS

Have you guys ever had the kind of week or weekend that was so, so good but also so, so hard? Personally raising both hands after this past weekend which, by all regards, was amazing and guess what!? It was 4 days long! Even better, the weather was to-die-for. We crammed so much into 4 days (including a hike at Twin Falls!) and had lots of fun but at the same time, we were all a little “off”. Johan worked 3 of the 4 days, the kids bickered with each other like crazy and were (generally speaking) hard to please, bedtimes were HARD for no apparent reason, and the list goes on.

Sure there were special moments sprinkled in over the 4 days. But I fell asleep most nights exhausted and ready for a squeaky clean start!? I’ve since gone over things in my mind and think I’ve found a pretty good perspective on it all that I’ll share below but first, a few pics from our hike — AKA one of the very, very good parts from the weekend (except that Johan and Ozzie weren’t with us — we missed you!).

Tilly and Griffin snagged the big camera a couple times and snapped some pics. It’s always so fun to see what they capture — I love them all. Even the fuzzy ones :)

I think it’s just the all black outfit, but looks a little like big foot is sneaking up behind Espen and Griffin in the pic below, LOL.

It was gorgeous up in the woods and mountains and the air was crisp and delicious to breath. There were little turn-offs along the trail where we could take a break (or let people pass us, lol) and throw rocks into the river.

Our view of the waterfall – almost a mile into the hike. We made it another 1/4 of a mile before turning around. Tilly and Griff were disappointed but the other two were ready to head home.

Overall, Poppy did way better than I expected, walked almost the entire time (even the steep parts!) and slept soooo good that night!

The next best thing to chubby baby legs has to be skinny middle school legs (insert heart eyes emoji)… example: two pictures up.

Also… so many sticks, HA! Walking sticks, throwing sticks, funny looking sticks, so basically kid heaven and my worst nightmare. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I don’t normally mind when my kids play with sticks, but the trail was pretty busy so it was a little stressful and, like with most outings we go on there’s always one phrase I repeat constantly. This time it was, “keep your sticks pointed down, please!”

Espen stopping for a snack break and Poppy stopping for a kiss break!

Back to my fresh revelation on something I probably knew before but know in a new way now… may I always remember on the rougher days (weeks + months) that God’s working things out for our good. And that even though I might be ready for it to end so we can start over the next morning (hallelujah!) it’s not a throw away day. It hold just as much value (maybe more?) than the good days because through it I’m learning to be a better mom and human and they’re learning to be better, sweeter humans too. It’s just a little uncomfortable, ya know?

How does that saying go…? No guts, no glory. Pretty sure that applies to motherhood too but guess what?

WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Hope you’re having one of those good days but if not, I hope this post encourages you!

XO, Rae

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THINGS WE LOVE: CODING FOR KIDS WITH BITSBOX

There is so much to consider when making decisions about screen time for our kids and managing it is so hard sometimes! Thankfully not all screen time is created equal. Which is so important, especially as they continue in school where being able to navigate computers and tablets is a skill that’s so helpful to have. So when Bitsbox reached out to see if we’d be interested in letting the kids try out one of their boxes, I jumped at the chance. I mean, I need alllll the help and support and resources I can get in this area of parenting!

Tilly and Griffin were dying to dig into the box and start coding and thankfully the set up process  was painless (hallelujah). No software to download… Just open your browser, type in the website and create an account. It took 2 minutes.

Once they got started, it was so cool to see Tilly + Griffin connect the dots between what they were doing on my computer and all the apps and programs they use and play with. Which immediately lead to them discussing how to turn their little coding jobs into an actual app they could charge people for, lol.

(God save me if these two ever go into business together.)

When the code they entered didn’t work out how they planned, I also got to watch them check their work and do some troubleshooting (such an important skill in life!). Not only that, but they were even able to get creative and swap out words within the code to see if they could get the characters in the app to do different things (like smile, wink, or explode, lol). Hard to explain without showing you but hopefully it kinda makes sense! I’ll try and share a little on stories once the kids are home from school today.

    

Look how cute these coding cards are… Bitsbox seriously thought of everything!

I love that Bitsbox totally gets it! They’ve created a positive, educational and guilt-free tech product that us parents can feel GOOD about, that’s equally charming and so much fun for the kids.

Bitsbox was also sweet enough to offer us a coupon code… YAY! Planning on gifting subscriptions for Christmas and can’t wait!

Use code: RAEANN for $20 off any 3 or 12 month subscription (which is basically a free month/box!).

Another detail that might be important to know is that the recommended ages for the boxes is 6-12 :) Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I’ll get back to you ASAP and will also answer on stories later today!

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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A LIST OF OUR FAVORITE FALL FAMILY MOVIES + PICS FROM THE HORSE TRACK

A few weeks ago, after watching Secretariat for Family Movie Night, we decided to plan a trip to see actual horse races and had so much fun! I’ll share more about it and some pics below, but first…

…Our movie inspired outing and the months of cozy weather ahead had me dreaming up a list of fall movies so I thought I would share! I separated younger kid movies from ones to watch on date-night-in or with the older kids, but you might also want to check movie reviews on Common Sense Media (if you don’t already?). Not an ad, just a really good (well rounded) resource for us parents! Takes the guesswork out.

FALL MOVIES FOR FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

  1. hocus pocus
  2. halloweentown
  3. hotel transylvania
  4. e.t.
  5. twitches
  6. bed knobs and broomsticks
  7. it’s the great pumpkin, charlie brown
  8. casper
  9. harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone (save this one for school age kids)
  10. mom’s got a date with a vampire
  11. matilda
  12. a charlie brown thanksgiving
  13. little giants (football season!)
  14. enchanted

FAVORITE FALL MOVIES FOR DATE NIGHT (OR OLDER KIDS)

  1. scream
  2. practical magic
  3. buffy the vampire slayer
  4. ghostbusters (80’s version of a PG movie so more like a PG-13)
  5. gremlins
  6. the addams family
  7. the goonies
  8. stepmom
  9. rudy
  10. marley and me
  11. you’ve got mail
  12. the blind side
  13. good will hunting
  14. ferris bueller’s day off (fun for back to school!)
  15. sweet home alabama
  16. election (because election season!)
  17. meet joe black (might be a good one too!)

A FEW OTHER RANDOM ONES THAT ARE ON OUR MOVIE LIST (not divided by age)

  1. willy wonka
  2. the parent trap
  3. annie
  4. mary poppies
  5. the sandlot (always)
  6. mrs. doubtfire
  7. the princess bride
  8. my girl
  9. father of the bride
  10. alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.
  11. house of rock
  12. troop beverly hills

For those of you with different ages of movie goers (i.e. little ones that need an earlier bedtime and/or don’t sit through a full movie and older ones that are eager to stay up and watch), something that worked for us is planning a halftime or intermission after 30 minutes or so then taking a break to put the younger ones down and grabbing a snack or treat for the older ones before starting the movie again.

Now, back to our outing to the horse track, which was much more casual and laidback than I imagined. Parking was easy, there was lots of space for the kids to run around and it wasn’t crowded at all. Even better, the prices were reasonable enough to not feel pressure to stay all day (gotta get your moneys worth, ya know!).

A bunch of pics from the afternoon!

A few pics I took with my phone!

The food was bad, but still good if you know what I mean.

Now back to the big camera :)

The horses were so big and strong and the races were fun to watch but I think more than anything the kids enjoyed placing bets — even if all we were betting was $1. Made watching the races extra exciting! After each race you could see the horses being walked back to their stables. So stunning to see them up close!

In the below pics, Johan told the kids to act like their horse just won the race, lol… this is what he got!

The boys were obviously way more into it, ha! Love their enthusiasm.

Love experiencing new things with them! Also love me a good movie night with just Johan or as a family… makes me want to make a bowl of popcorn and turn on a flick right now!

Speaking of popcorn, what’s your go-to snack or treat of choice during a movie?

Something we haven’t done much of, but I remember from family nights during my childhood, is making and drinking milkshakes. We had a fancy milkshake maker and my dad would think up the best combos! Need to add milkshake fixings to my shopping list ASAP :)

XO, Rae

PS – for those that are curious, my jumpsuit is from topshop and poppy’s dress is alice and ames

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THINGS WE LOVE: BEET WORLD + PAINTED FALL LEAVES

I love a good classic. Whether its a song, movie, meal or decoration, but more than anything I love a classic style and will often look for pieces to add to the kids’ wardrobes (and mine too). Problem is, classic styles are often stuffy and restrictive and have my kids pulling at their neck holes and itching to change into sweats. Enter Beet World, a local to Seattle, mom owned business that makes timeless dresses, tops, skirts and pants for girls that are also roomy and soft. A must for my girls who are active and prefer getting dirty and playing chase around the jungle gym to looking prim and proper.

Ashima, the mama behind Beet World, was sweet enough to send us a box of goodies for the girls and they loved all of it! Poppy didn’t waste anytime wearing one of her new dresses and then on Sunday they both wore a few of the pieces to church followed by a trip to the park and playground nearby.

The weather was beautiful so we decided to collect leaves to paint and check it off the fall bucket list!!!

  

TILLY’S WEARING this top and these cute pants

POPPY’S WEARING this blue stripe dress and this sweet dress in the Instagram pic

Everything washed well (hot cocoa even came out of Poppy’s light pink dress!) and  fit true to size. Tilly is wearing 9-10Y. Poppy wore size 3-4Y.

  

Luckily all the leaves were dry so after a little lunch, we started painting! The girls got creative, made self portrait leaves (the green eyed leaf is Tilly), added glitter and needed zero inspiration. I on the other hand took a quick peek at pinterest and found so many ideas!

Aren’t they cute (see below)!? Now we just need to decide how to display them… maybe a garland or taped to their bedroom doors?

Thank you for supporting the businesses and in this case, new friend and mama, that support this blog! Take a peek at the Beet World site and pick out a thing or two for all those pumpkin patch pics coming up. Also can’t wait to see what she comes out with for the holiday season! Hopefully it includes a plaid shirt like Tilly’s in my size :)

XOXO, Rae

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