Archive | KIDS

DRESSING BIG BOYS (+ GIRLS TOO)

I’ve gotten a few questions about how and what I buy for the kids’ closets and since back to school is a month away (for us anyway), I’m guessing it’s because BTS shopping is on everyone’s mind. Yes? Well if so, I hope this post helps in someway! Just keep in mind that dressing the kids should be fun (not to be confused with getting a toddler to put on clothes) so if you find yourself overthinking things or fighting with the kids over it – abandon ship! Nothing in parenting is more important than your relationship with your kids. Not even if it looks like a unicorn puked all over them.

Most of the questions also had to do with dressing boys… with all the athletic gear and giant logos, it’s hard to keep them from looking like a walking billboard and I completely understand the frustration. Espen and Griffin (so far) are pretty easy regarding clothes, but Ozzie went through a long stage of only wearing nike or under armour. Now he dresses better than I do. So there is hope.

In the meantime, here’s my strategy!

75% OF THE TIME MY KIDS PICK THEIR OWN OUTFITS — and even on church days or family photo days, they always have the final say because uncomfortable kids are no fun to be around. Poppy prefers dresses and skirts and the older kids know the difference between play clothes and nice clothes so this set up works out pretty good for us. On certain days I’ll give a few suggestions or guidelines, but for the most part it’s all about the choices they have in their closet…. Most of the time you’ll see them in sweats and tees (it’s all about comfort!). Oh, and lots of pink and play dresses for Pop. At the moment, Tilly is our pickiest dresser and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Wrote a little bit about tit HERE.

WHEN IT COMES TO ATHLETIC CLOTHES — they need it for all the sports they play so we’ve got an abundance. I try to buy stuff that fits well (not too baggy and anything more structured is a bonus) and I’m a fan of matching sweatsuits and joggers too. Both options make athletic gear look less frumpy.

BALANCE IT OUT (the sporty or glittery) WITH BASICS — so they might not want to wear a polo shirt, but most boys I know are cool with a plain tee or sweatshirt which is a great way to balance out the basketball shorts and tights! Same goes for girls and over the top tutus (or fill in the blank). I’ve been stocking the kids’ closets with lots of  plain tees lately and it makes things so easy for all of us.

I SHOP SALES!!! — and mostly online too. Makes it easy to throw a few things in my cart and then ask the kids if they approve before buying — they always have the final say!

Speaking of sales, J.Crew Factory is having a 40% off sale right now (ends tonight). I bought a few things for the boys (ringer tees, these sweats (j.crew sweats never disappoint), this striped tee, henley’s in green and red (there’s a striped option too) and a couple plain tees. Also got Poppy this corduroy skirt (I’m very into corduroy lately!) and white bell-sleeve tee.

Other places I shop for the kids | Zara (they don’t do many sales but their prices are reasonable), Hanna Anderson for pjs, denim at the gap, peek kids (their sales are so good!), gymboree, and small shops like hen & co (25% off right now), childhoods, alice & ames or plain jane. Nordstrom and Macy’s are also go-tos for shoes and athletic gear especially. Tilly likes Zella Girl and there are usually good nike and adidas options for everyone too.

Way too cute to hide behind “Just do it” convo tees and frumpy sweats!

Kid approved!

(Pics from a month ago on a ferry ride to Whidbey island for the day — Oz and Tilly had both stayed behind with friends.)

In closing — as a style enthusiast and stylist by trade, I work really hard at trying not to care about what the kids wear or pick out for their back to school supplies (just prepping myself for the inevitable, ha!) and at the end of the day I’m just thankful that we have more than enough clothes and money for back to school shopping.

When I find myself caring too much, another thing that really helps is turning some of that attention towards myself which is the only thing I can really control — what I want to wear! Ha! “Worry about yourself” is something I say to the kids often and for sure need to hear myself sometimes.

What do you struggle most with when it comes to dressing the fam?

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON (insert crying emoji).

XO, Rae

PS – would you be interested in seeing more links and shopping posts in the future?

PPS – is it just me or when we were younger, was there more of a push to dress nicer for school, church, bday parties, events and outings with the fam? I always remember having “school clothes” and “play clothes” in my closet, but maybe that’s just how I was raised?

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5 TIPS FOR PLANNING FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES

I’ve had several conversations with other mamas lately about planning activities to do with the kids and as a family and thought it might be fun and helpful to chat about it in a post. We’ve found a system that works for us (when we do it!) for getting things on the calendar and also making sure there are plenty of days at home because we all need some downtime too. I’ll share my 5 best tips below and would love to know what works for you  and your family too!

5 TIPS FOR PLANNING KID-FRIENDLY OUTINGS |

  1. MAKE A BUCKET LIST – They can seem kind of intimidating (or maybe obnoxious?), but really I find they simplify things for me because A. I don’t have to guess or assume what EVERYONE wants to do and B. it get’s the brainstorming part of planning out of the way all at once — because I can brainstorm all day everyday and would never get anything done beyond that point, LOL!
  2. FIND THE FUN – My favorite ways to find fun events or places to visit is through sites like red tricycle and google searches. Community web sites are especially handy if we have an idea of where we want to go (let’s say Kirkland), then it’s easy to go to the City of Kirkland website and see what’s available on any given day… like free concerts in the park, yay! I also made a “PLACES + OUTINGS” collection on Instagram (using the little flag option below pics) so when I find something that inspires an activity or location close to us, I can save it. Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to ask friends and neighbors for ideas too!
  3. PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR – Things rarely happen if they aren’t added to the google calendar :) We try to schedule a month out but then go over the calendar each week too… things change so much (big family and kids!) that we’re usually rearranging things or swapping activities, but it usually works out. .
  4. THINK AHEAD + PACK SNACKS! – Any prep-work I can do well before it’s time to go is a bonus and makes leaving the house less stressful, because you know there will already be potty breaks, missing shoes (or kids), and children taking their sweet time to get out the door already, LOL. Lately I’ve been leaving a basket by the garage door where I throw in all the essentials — sunscreen, hair ties, picnic blankets, etc. and either throw what we need into a bag or just grab the entire bucket. I will also try and throw everyone’s scooters in the back of my car if I think they’ll come in handy!
  5. KEEP A RUNNING LIST OF “FAN FAVORITES” – Visiting new places is fun and exciting, but during busier weeks, or longer days when you just need to break things up a bit without adding to your stress levels, it’s nice to have a list of favorite activities or places where you know there’s something fun for the kids (hello playground or splash pad), access to bathrooms, and inexpensive food choices too. Can’t lose with that combo!

A few pics from our morning at a kid’s concert to see the Recess Monkeys and a quick snack afterwards in Kirkland…

Tilly and Claira… It’s always fun when friends can join us!

Such a good sport about going to the little kid stuff.

THIS IS MY JOB… To lay in the grass and play tickle monster and listen to silly music and just show them that they are loved and amazing and worth my time and attention (someone pinch me). It’s so easy to forget this when we’re at home and there is a pile (times 10) of laundry, meals to make, e-mails to reply to and the list goes on, which is why I try (<— keyword) to be intentional with our time and planning outings or special activities at home. It doesn’t always work out or even go as planned but it is always worth it. And BONUS, sometimes things go better than we planned!

Do I look like a groupie? ha! I love the Recess Monkeys… their songs are so silly and clever. Checkout their youtube channel to see what I’m talking about.

…Even Griff has to drag me away from the stage.

After the concert and a little bit of playtime at the park, the three bigger kids went over to a friend’s house, while Johan and I took Poppy on a little date to wow wow in Kirkland. Their lemonade is delicious and I’m obsessed with the oatmeal bowls!

Sometimes we call her “pop-tart” and other times just “tart”. Ha! This would be one of those times. She’s usually quick to get out of any funk but I think having all the kids home all the time this summer has really worn her out and trying to keep the house quiet enough for her to nap is impossible most days. A couple weeks ago I started intentionally planing things that involve longer car rides because it always puts her to sleep. The other day she was holding a full conversation with us in the car and after 10 seconds of silence I look back and she is sound asleep. Literally parties ’til she drops.

Eating with a 3 year old, LOL. Also why I love eating outside… can’t get away with this kinda stuff indoors!

How do you guys feel about making Bucket Lists?

Also, don’t forget to share your tips for planning family friendly activities in the comments!

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: PAPER PLATE MONSTER BAG

In between all the summer adventures, we’ve had plenty of days just spent at home. At some point in the afternoon the kids will usually ask to make slime or a baked treat, but last week they asked about getting the craft supplies out and ended up making these really cute paper plate monster bags. The point of them is to be kinda messy, so it’s a good project for just about any age!

Curious to see if they’ll use them to hold their sunnies and ice cream truck money (lol), or if they’ll end up hanging on a hook somewhere as decorations but either way they were worth the craft mess (the best kind of mess) and a nice break from the sun and sprinkler in the backyard.

Supply list and how-to are below!

You’ll Need:

  • paper plates (dessert or dinner size works… we used both)
  • ribbon for straps
  • googly eyes (we used these)
  • pip cleaners (pictured are from target, but love these rainbow colored ones)
  • paint (finger or craft paint)
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

Here’s How:

  1. Cut paper plates in half and let kids paint the bottom side of the plate (that doesn’t have the wax coating) with their fingers or paint brush. Let dry.
  2. Cut pipe cleaners into smaller pieces. Shape and glue onto painted area. Stick or glue eyes on too.
  3. Cut ribbon to size and hot glue to edge of a plate (see pic). Glue rimplates together and you’re done!

You can count on Poppy to be in a swimmer 75% of the time. 99% of the time if we’re at home :)

    

Happy when she’s making.

Paper plates, brown paper bags and toilet paper tubes are a few of my favorite craft supplies for the kids because we usually have them on hand — which also keeps our craft closet from getting too cluttered!

What do you usually reach for when the kids need to do a little project?

xoxo, Rae

PS – a couple other paper plate projects here and here.

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MADE YOU SMILE WITH THE ALL NEW GYMBOREE!

Having my kids home all summer gives me all the smiles for all the days (even the longer summer days that almost feel like 2 days… wait, did that happen yesterday or this morning? lol). So once we get to that part of summer when back to school becomes part of the conversation, it always bums me out. The silver lining of course is all the back to school shopping that we get to do in preparation, which is why I’m so excited to be partnering with Gymboree. They’ve reimagined their brand and we’re in love with their fresh take on style and kid friendly clothing!!! Since we’ve been shopping at Gymboree since Ozzie was little, seeing all the younger kids in their outfits made me sentimental too.

You really can’t beat a shop that makes it easy to find clothes the kids love and that are also cute, mix and matchable, super comfy and soft and also durable. It definitely makes me smile. Thought it would also be fun to ask the kids what makes them smile too. Here are their answers and a bunch more pics of them breaking in their new Gymboree digs around town!

TILLY | my friends, candy, polka-dots, + you know… funny stuff. like dad jokes.

ESPEN | my bed. (spoken like a true tween)

GRIFFIN | hugging my mom, lemon muffins (lol, if you saw his bday interview), movie night, getting gifts.

POPPY | going on an airplane. my heart blankey.

Can I get everything in my size too, please!? I especially love Griffin’s top, Tilly’s jeans, Poppy’s dress and jacket, and Espen’s sweatshirt.

Poppy didn’t want to take off her headband at the end of the night either which is rare for her and hair accessories so it must have been comfy :)

The bottom pic — when Johan told them to look serious — Griffin’s expression cracks me up!

I so wish scooters could be our main source of transportation. It’s my favorite!

All the best – go with anything – footwear. And no one complained about their feet being sore!

Thank you kids and summer for all the smiles!!! And a big thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring this post and putting together such a fun #madeyousmile campaign!

Hope this post and all the cute new back to school styles made you smile too!

XO, Rae

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GRIFFIN IS 7 + A Q+A

You guys!!!! Griffin turns 7 today. It seems impossible that he’s another year older and as much as I would like to keep him 6 and do kindergarten all over, he’s grown up so much this year that he’s really earned the age upgrade. Remember how much fun it was to be another year older!??? Last night he insisted on sleeping in the clothes he wanted to wear on his Birthday day. Boyfriend knows what he wants sometimes and other times he’s so worried about missing out that making up his mind seems impossible (he get’s that from me)!

We put together this little interview video to celebrate his b-day and I think it really shows his personality! I’ve probably watched it a million times since Johan finished editing.

Griffin William, every minute I spend with you I fall a little more in love with you. So curious to see what you will do with your brains and humor and energy and hardworking attitude and attention to detail and attentiveness for people and sweetness in general. Daddy and I predict entrepreneur or surgeon (hello fine-motor skills), but whatever you end up doing we know you’ll do your very best and always love on people in the process. The world is better with you in it! We love you so much.

Shared a few Birthday moments on Instagram Stories this morning and are currently headed to Whidbey Island to party all day on the beach. Hope you guys are having an amazing Saturday and finding a million reasons (big and small) to celebrate!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Remember Tilly’s interview video?

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A DAY IN THE LIFE: 5 THINGS THAT MAKE OUR BEDTIME ROUTINE EASIER

Some nights (especially during the summer) we are carrying kids from the car into bed without tubs, jammies or brushing their teeth. Other nights, bedtimes are a full-blown process that I love and look forward to.  And then there are those nights every once in a while that I’m just really ready to be “off-duty”. That being said, I didn’t think our routine (or lack there of) would be all that helpful. So instead I thought I’d share the 5 things that we wouldn’t want to do bedtimes without! Would love to know what your must-haves would be, too!

1. A GIANT FAN IN THE HALLWAY – more often than not, the kids are all at different levels of tired when bedtime rolls around so the fan does wonders to muffle the noise coming from the more energetic or overly tired kids. So I usually turn it on once we are upstairs for bedtime until everyone is asleep and then plug it in once I get up in the morning until everyone is awake. We have the Patton three speed floor fan and keep it on the lowest setting — unless of course we’re using it to make a fort :)

2. ESSENTIAL OIL BEDTIME BLEND – Another thing I turn on as soon as we head upstairs is our diffusor! Wouldn’t say it magically makes my kids fall asleep, but it does help set the tone and smells delicious. My favorite bedtime oils are: lavender, wild orange, frankincense, cedarwood (if the kids have a stuffy nose or cough), and bergamot.

3. A BLUETOOTH SPEAKER & LULLABYS – I guess we need a lot of white noise in our house, lol, but it’s so nice to have soft music on and is another way to set the tone. We have an older version of this speaker (this is a good option too!) and then i usually play a lullaby mix on pandora.

4. AMAZING BOOKS – This is a given, but I think it’s also nice to stock up on books that non-reading kids can flip through (we love this hide and seek book) while they wait for you to be done tucking in someone else, etc.. Audio books are a good idea too!

  

Last but not least, it’s always good to have a running list of seemingly spontaneous bedtime activities. A few that work for us…

5. A BAG OF TRICKS

  • Yoga or mindfulness: I’ll either make things up as we go (balance poses, stretching or laying down poses are best at bedtime!) or turn on cosmic kids on youtube which is amazing! For mindfulness or guided meditation I’ll hop on go noodle (look in the “flow” section) or search youtube.
  • “Plan” something fun: like a special bath bomb, animal face masks, painting with watercolors or eating popsicles in the tub, making a fort to read books in, etc.
  • When you need a break: not every bedtime has to be magical and despite all the studies, you can still raise kids that love to read without reading to them EVERY night. Opt for a quick show (my kids love when it’s in our bed), a few minutes of tech time, an audio book and if certain kids are extra wild I’ll ask if they (mostly Tilly) would like a melatonin :)

One other thing I do that I think helps is making sure all the overhead lights are off in the kids’ rooms and instead turn on their reading lights. Since it’s so bright at night in the summer it doesn’t make as much of a difference, but the rest of the year I swear by doing this!

There is truly nothing as sweet as spending that last hour or so of the day with my kids — it’s a sacred time that I rarely want to miss… Now if we could just get everyone to bed before 10pm that would be great. Although, who has time for early bedtimes in the summer?

Would love to know what works for you at bedtime!?

XO, Rae

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HOW TO SCAN, EDIT + BLOW UP KID’S ART

There are a number of places I look for inspiration when working… old pictures, an outing or road trip, a J.Crew catalogue (or is that retail therapy/procrastination?), going for a walk, etc. but my favorite inspiration comes from my kids’ drawings, doodles and art projects. I just honestly can’t get enough of them or the simple playfulness that they represent. So when I refreshed my office last year, I know I wanted to frame some of their art. Since then I’ve gotten several questions asking for details on editing the colors and blowing them up and I’m excited to be sharing the DIY today! I’m going to keep it pretty generic since I know there are several different photo editing options out there and I don’t want anyone to feel like this tutorial won’t work for them because there is always a way!

YOU’LL NEED:

  • a photo editing software (such as photoshop or gimp)
  • white card stock and selection of markers (we just used black) or drawings/doodles your kids have made
  • a photo or printing service you like to use (we mostly use costco!)
  • frames if desired

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Set out paper and markers and ask kids to draw/scribble/doodle. Just remember the less busy the paper get’s the easier it will be to edit… and the better it will look framed. I had asked my kids to “keep it simple” but still had to kinda watch or they would just keep adding to it! ha! I also gave my kids 4 pieces of paper each so they didn’t feel like they had to fit everything into one pic.
  2. Scan pictures into your computer — make sure the setting is high resolution and 300dpi! I always have the best luck when I save or export as a PNG file.
  3. If you want to make changes, open in photo editing program and get to work! I started by cleaning up some of their lines and things I didn’t want included in the big prints. For instance, Griffin’s apple drawing also included a sun with a face which was really cute but not as clear. So I used the healing/erase tool to take it off. You could also do a clipping mask around the things you want to keep. I also loved that he had written his name so wanted to make sure I kept that part!
  4. Next, play with the colors… if you get stuck, hop on youtube and search “how to manipulate colors in (name of program)?”
  5. When your done, export/save file as a high resolution 300dpi PNG and upload to the printer!

Taco truck by Ozzie :) the backend was a little messy so I cropped it and “tacos” was hard to read so I erased and added text in it’s place.

For Tilly’s emoji below, I made her outline white, eyes teal, and added a background color. It was originally all black like the taco truck above.

For Griffin’s lava monster I made the marker lines white, added a background and added a word bubble with text so we would always know what the drawing was of!

Love having these sweet drawings in my office and would be equally cute to do the same with toddler scribbles, don’t you think!?

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Love ya!

xo, Rae

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THINGS WE LOVE: DANCE PARTIES + DONUTS

RECIPE FOR A HAPPY MONDAY:

  1. pump up music
  2. booty shaking
  3. donuts. 

Press play and see if you can spot Griffin’s fortnite dance move, paper-rock-scissors for the maple with chocolate chips donut, the hair flip, Tilly’s cute bestie Londan, Johan trying to spin Poppy and then Espen, and my embarrassing solo (hashtag mom-moves)!? HA!

Sent the kids off to school for the last Monday of the year and it feels so good to be almost done (last day is Thursday!).

Hope you’re having a good Monday but if not, follow the recipe above :)

XO, Rae

PS – if you aren’t already following us on youtube, CLICK HERE! 

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THINGS EVERY KID’S BEDROOM NEEDS

Happy, happy Friday!!!

We’ve been working on a bedroom refresh for the boys shared room the last couple weeks and it’s been a lot of fun seeing it come together… especially since the boys are so excited about it! While Johan worked on the painting part (watch his trick for getting a perfect paint line on stories under “home projects”) I made a list of all the things I thought a kids room should include. Sharing my list below and hoping you’ll let me know what you would add or take-away! Sources listed and linked when possible below too…

KID ROOM MUST-HAVES:

  1. pics of them as a baby, with their fam and/or doing something they love
  2. wall art that is encouraging or scripture/truth
  3. cozy blanket or quilt (even better if handmade… thank you gigi!)
  4. hooks
  5. bins (big and small) for alllll the thiiiiings
  6. cozy chair/pouf/bean bag
  7. their own art
  8. book bin or shelf
  9. treasure box (bonus if it locks… especially if sharing a room)
  10. reading light
  11. a clock
  12. hamper and garbage can (although, the boys room is next-door to the laundry room so I probably won’t include either of these)
  13. bluetooth speaker for music and audio books
  14. a fan (for summer and white noise)
  15. an essential oil diffusor

Long live bed jumping, foam fingers and bins of legos under the bed!!!

ROOM SOURCES | vintage flag found on etsy, red lock box from IKEA (old), duvet cover from IKEA (old), bed frame from IKEA (couldn’t find online), lion head from Target, navy strip bin from Target, Griffin’s tee and shorts from J.Crew (40% off rn!), cute sheets from crate & kids, rug from crate & kids, drum light shade from color cord company

What would you add or take-away from the list!?

Still need to hang artwork and pics, find a bean bag (if you have any recs!?) and clock and make a basketball hoop, and hang a rolling door to the closet, but should be able to share a full reveal next week.

XO, Rae

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LET’S CHAT: SLEEPOVERS + SUMBER-PARTIES

We still have 2 weeks left of school, but our summer bucket list is filling up fast! At the top of the kids’ list is planning sleepovers with friends. For the most part we only do overnights with family or friends that are like family (most of which live in the same neighborhood) but a couple of the kids are wanting to branch out a little and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Actually I know exactly how I feel about it, LOL… and my answer would always be ‘NO’! But I also remember how much fun sleepovers were when I was a kid so then I feel a little guilty. So I’m curious, what are your rules for sleepovers? Or what rules did you have growing up?

(sibling slumber parties forever!)

Ozzie didn’t start having sleepovers with friends who’s parents we weren’t close to until his Freshman year of high school and by then we knew his friends so well and had been around their parents enough at youth events to feel comfortable with it.

My mom, on the other hand, had a “strength in numbers” take on it, so group sleepovers for birthday parties and stuff were ok and I think that worked out really well.

Anyways, would love to know your thoughts on the subject!

XO, Rae

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TILLY LATELY AND A Q&A

I always tell Tilly she was my best surprise ever, and it’s true. Since we didn’t find out gender while I was pregnant with her, I had very similar pregnancies with my two boys, and always felt like I’d be a boy mama, I assumed she would be a boy and boy, was I wrong. It was a magical moment when the Dr. yelled out, “It’s a girl!” and laid her on my chest. I’m learning more and more everyday, how to be a girl mom to such an incredible human… She is fiercely independent, a total overachiever, super helpful when she wants to be, makes life exciting, loves crafting and making, and has the biggest sweet tooth… you’ll see more about that in the video.

I had the best time listening to her answers and hope it’s entertaining for you too… press play!

Her “special thing”, HA! She tends to need a few minutes to cool off when she’s upset,  but when we’d ask her to go to her room until she’s ready to chat, she would throw a fit on her way up. Then one day about a year ago she quietly walked up to her room without a fuss when we asked. I was shocked so followed her up a minute later and saw her snacking on a small handful of m&m’s. When I asked her about it the next day she spilled the beans and said a little bit of sugar made her feel better, LOL. Mostly amazed at how self aware she is but also realize that I’m raising an emotional eater — kinda figure that we’re all emotional eaters on some level and hope that as long as we workout the problems it won’t get out of hand!

Excited to do a Q&A video with the rest of the kids… next up will be Griffin I think :)

Happy Monday you guys!

xo, Rae

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