Archive | KIDS

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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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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LITTLE BITES: ESPEN’S BUENO GUACAMOLE RECIPE

Poppy’s mantra — feed me and tell me I’m pretty. So it’s no surprise she’s 100% smitten with Espen in this pic, who just finished making guacamole for them to snack on. And I kinda think she’s onto something because there is nothing cuter than a guy (big or small) that knows his way around the kitchen! Allllll the kisses for the cook!

Todays recipe is courtesy of our Latina friend Maria (who we love so much!). It’s the best guac I’ve ever tasted and is perfect for little helpers! Espen (11) and Tilly (9) are able to make it themselves (with supervision) which is kinda nice and fun to watch. And the younger kids enjoy smashing the avocados, adding things to the food processor and pushing the buttons. So you’re basically just there to make sure the lid get’s put on before any buttons are pushed :)

Recipe below!

Gotta love a bikini clad audience! Ha! She changes outfits a few times a day when we’re home and there is often either a swimsuit or a princess dress involved. (Gingham bikini from our fave Olivia + Ocean)

NOTE: If you like your guac smooth, add everything to the food processor and chop (don’t puree). If you like it with more texture, mash the avos by hand. 

MARIA’S GUACAMOLE RECIPE

You’ll Need:

  • 2 avocados, halved with pits removed
  • 1/4 onion
  • 3 roma tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half (seeds removed if desired)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and non-leafy stems removed
  • fresh juice from 1 lemon (or more to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • garlic salt to taste

To Make:

  1. ADULT, Prep ingredients and spoon small amounts of the salt and garlic salt into small prep bowls. Get the food processor ready.
  2. KIDS, In a small mixing bowl, scoop avocados out of the skins and mash with the bottom of a glass or a fork. Set aside.
  3. KIDS (supervised), Add onion, tomatoes, and cilantro to food processor and chop. Scoop chopped tomato mix to the mashed avocado and stir until combined. Squeeze juice from the lemon into the mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt and garlic salt. Taste test and add more if needed.
  4. KIDS, serve with quesadillas, tortilla chips or nachos OR as a topping for tacos, sandwiches, toast, burrito bowls, etc.

We’re ready for ya, Taco Tuesday!!!!

I have a feeling we’ll be making a lot of this next week on vacay!

What’s your favorite thing to eat (or drink) on taco night?

XO, Rae

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FAVORITE EASTER POSTS

Heyyyyy, peeps! We have less than two weeks before Easter and I’m doing my best to get all my eggs in the correct baskets (if you know what I mean) before our plane takes off for spring break. Trying to keep to a small budget and think I’m just about finished but would love to add a special little DIY or printable to the mix. If you guys have any ideas or requests, please let me know! I would happily share later this week or early next. My mind and creativity is feeling very split between making sure we are packed and prepped to leave and planning our Easter so I’m needing all the help with all the things, ha!

In the meantime, here’s a little look at some of my favorite Easter posts from the archives!

EASY BUNNY EARS + WHISKERS — might need to do this again… especially the whiskers and nose.

YOU’VE BEEN EGGED — not sure we’ll be able to pull this one off before we leave, but it’s such a fun activity!

EASTER CANDY COOKIE BARS — so easy, so yummy.

PAPER PLATE BUNNY MASKS — definitely a favorite and would make a cute kid craft if you’re hosting a brunch or egg hunt.

EASTER BRUNCH PRINTABLES — i mean :) bunny ears on all the things please!

FABRIC EGGS — an original tutorial i did with my mama back in the day! poppy still uses them in her kitchen and they are the cutest!

STAMPED EASTER EGGS — because a little paint is a lot less messy and intimidating than cups full of dye!  plus they are really fun to make.

2017 EASTER RECAP — a little stroll down memory lane (if you’re still reading, lol).

I had totally forgotten how chaotic our Easter weekend was last year… we basically flew by the seat of our pants! But we were together and it was actually so fun. Choosing to believe that it’s all the unplanned and mom-fail moments that builds a sense of humor and spirit of resourcefulness in my little humans. If not, we’re all in trouble! HA!

What do you remember/love most about Easter last year!?

What are you hoping Easter will be like this year?

Also, don’t forget to share DIY or printable ideas!

XO, Rae

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10 THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM TILLY ABOUT STYLE + LIFE

I’m convinced we’re never fully ready to love, lead and steward our little people which is kind of a scary thought! Of course it’s nothing a good parenting book, glass of wine, friend, laugh and prayer can’t fix. Yet, every time I think I have things figured out, we enter a new phase of parenting. You too? I’ve found this only leaves me with a couple choices. 1. Stay set in my ways and get caught up in power struggles with my babes, or 2. Meet my kids right where they’re at and grow, learn and do better right alongside them. Sometimes it takes me awhile to catch on to what the real issue is on a parenting dilemma, but hope with all my heart that I will always choose to do number 2, eventually :). Comfort zones are so overrated.

Luckily (HA!) Tilly Jane (our 9 y.o.) always wears her heart on her sleeve so I never have to guess how I’m doing as a mom or what side of the parenting spectrum I fall on. From the second she was born a girl (I was expecting a 3rd boy) she has kept me on my toes while challenging my priorities and approach to life in general. As a toddler she was a wanderer and could disappear in a nano-second, said everything that came into her cute little head (still does), had zero fear of strangers, heights, or consequences, would lovingly tackle and wrestle people during any kind of organized event (like story time at the library), and has been fiercely independent since the day she could walk.

TILLY’S OUTFIT DETAILS | denim jacket (tucker + tate from nordstrom), joggers (Athleta), fruit tee (from J. Crew), sandals (from Target), hair clip (from ryan and wren)

I always seem to be working on something when it comes to our relationship and lately, I’m embarrassed to say, her wardrobe has been a big issue (because it really shouldn’t be). But, I think I’ve finally learned a few lesson(s) and thought I would share in case you guys have a little or big kid that is picky (with a capital P)  about clothes!

10 PARENTING + STYLE LESSONS TILLY HAS TAUGHT ME

  1. If you can’t play in it, don’t wear it.
  2. Wear what you like even if what you like is in your big brother’s closet. (Her current favorite place to pick out an outfit… She loves her brother SOOO much!)
  3. Shoes, jackets and accessories make all the difference when toning down or tszujing up an outfit, flower girl dress or batman costume. (HA!)
  4. To think outside the box, store or department… (she’s been picking lots of things from the boy section of stores, like her blue sandals from Target, and I think it looks so cute!)
  5. Picking outfits out the night (or even week) before is always a good idea!
  6. Personal styles and trends come and go but confidence and self love is always “in”.
  7. My approval and appreciation is far more important than my input.
  8. How to be more present in the moment and less concerned with keeping things tidy (i.e. an outfit, the house, emotions, failures, etc.)
  9. No one else really cares what my kids are wearing — unless they think it’s cute, LOL.
  10. The world doesn’t need perfect, well-dressed kids. It needs mindful, empathetic, and unique kids that are positioned for g-r-e-a-t-n-e-s-s.

ILY Tilly Jane!

Do you guys have wardrobe struggles with your kids?

Also, working on a style Q&A series so if you have any questions, ask away in the comments!

xo, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: RAINBOW KIDS CRAFT

Happy beginning of the week! Or something like that? I never quite know how to feel when Monday morning rolls around. Part of me is still relishing in the weekend magic while the other half is ready to complete a few things on my to-do list. Whatever side of Monday you find yourself on, I thought a simple paper plate rainbow craft would be a good way to kick things off!

Aren’t they cute? I threw together the top one before setting everything out for Poppy and her friend Winnie, but I love how their’s turned out. Nothing compares to the artistic abilities of preschoolers!

Keep scrolling for the supply list and a few pics from our craft sesh!

PAPER PLATE RAINBOW CRAFT

You’ll Need:

  • white paper plates, cut in half (dessert size plates pictured)
  • glue sticks
  • scissors (kid safe scissors if old enough to use)
  • colorful tissue, construction &/or textured paper, cut into smaller pieces
  • pom-poms (optional)
  • googly eyes (optional)
  • cotton balls, for clouds (optional)

Here’s How:

Cut plates in half and paper of choice into pieces. Set out embellishments and glue sticks and let kids decorate their rainbows!

Poppy added a little more to her rainbow mane :) I also left all the supplies out for the older kids to use after school which they loved!

Such a fun little craft for spring (just 22 days away!) or St. Patrick’s Day which is right around the corner, so don’t forget to pin for safe keeping!

XO, Rae

(PS – For more details on the crafting area, head HERE!)

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KID-FRIENDLY VALENTINE’S DAY PLAYLIST

Nothing says LOVE like a boombox serenade! Or in Espen’s case, a bluetooth serenade :)

Put together a few songs that will get everyone dancing, feeling all the feels, and aren’t too heavy on the mushy side! I couldn’t decide on a specific genre so they’re a little random, however the playlist does start out fun and upbeat and gets more mellow towards the end so it’s perfect for that morning or evening grind.

  1. be my honeypie, the weepies
  2. best of my love, emotions
  3. wildflowers, tom petty
  4. stay stay stay, taylor swift
  5. i wanna dance with somebody, whitney houston
  6. man of the woods, justin timberlake
  7. i think we’re alone now, tiffany
  8. love me do, the beatles
  9. still got time, zayn
  10. all the pennies, mindy gledhill
  11. you are the best thing, ray lamontagne
  12. i got you babe, sonny + cher
  13. my sweet darling, seth fallen + the reaction
  14. die a happy man, thomas rhett
  15. i love you, alex + sierra
  16. bottom of the sea, matt nathanson
  17. sweet creature, harry styles
  18. i do, susie suh
  19. crazy love, van morrison
  20. at last, etta james

What songs would you add?

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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23 FUN VALENTINE’S DAY TREATS + TOYS

Thanks so much for your sweet response (+ orders) to our classroom valentines! Next step is finding the perfect surprise to include with the cards, because we all know the treat part is equally as important to the mini valentines in our lives. So, with the kids’ help, i’ve rounded up a list of favorites below.

1. parachute guys | 2. monster finger puppets | 3.  dragonfly propellers, or a combo pack | 4. googley eyes (that are already sticky on the backside!) | 5. cherry pop rocks | 6. candy necklaces | 7. ice cream shooters | 8. heart balloons here or here | 9. bouncy balls | 10. fluffy slime or play doh | 11. lip + mustache whistles | 12. paddle ball game | 13. unicorn pops | 14. glow sticks | 15. cat ear headbands | 16. pullback race cars | 17. squishy toys (tilly’s fave!) | 18. fruit candy | 19. unicorn poop | 20. plastic dinosaurs | 21. heart stickers | 22. candy buttons | 23. plastic clackers

Love and wish I could buy all these cute treats just to have on hand! Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way.

What do your kids like giving their friends and classmates on Valentine’s Day? Excited to see what my kids’ final picks are so I can order and check it off my to do list!

xo, Rae

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UNICORN HOT COCOA + A KID CHARCUTERIE PLATTER

With the majority of winter and lots of time cooped up at home still ahead of us, we’re staying cozy and having fun while whipping up some unicorn and narwhal hot cocoa. Watch the video below to see how we make it!

Did you watch long enough to see the “cutie” platter at the end? It’s my favorite way to feed a crowd without actually having to cook or clean!

Most of the fixings got eaten before I could snap a picture for this post, so I thought I would try and put one together today and share on Instagram Stories. Come say “HI!” if you get a chance! I’ll also add it to an “eat” collection below my bio for safe keeping. For now, here’s the hot cocoa recipe…

UNICORN or NARWHAL HOT COCOA

You’ll Need:

  • whole milk (or milk of your choice)
  • powdered white mocha  powder and/or white mocha syrup (you can use both or just one)
  • 1/4 teaspoon all natural powdered food coloring (I like this kind!), or a drop of liquid food coloring
  • toppings of choice: whip cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, paper straws, etc.

Here’s How:

Over the stove or in the microwave, heat your milk. Stir in powder mix and/or syrup. Add food coloring. Once the milk has cooled enough for little ones to drink, add your toppings and enjoy!

*If you’re having the kids help you, make sure the milk isn’t scolding… spills tend to happen when kids are involved and I would hate for someone to get a burn!

Don’t forget the marshmallows and whip… Even if just for entertainment value ;)

Extra props to Johan for figuring out how to piece together the video… it was not an easy one!

Are there any videos you’d like to see in the future?

XO, Rae

PS — See you over on Instagram later today!

PPS — More unicorn fun –> HERE and HERE.

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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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