Archive | KIDS

THE BEST BACK TO SCHOOL POSTS

If you need me this week, I’ll be soaking up the last full week of summer vacay with my babes. We don’t have any major plans but will be trying to get back into a normal bedtime routine, stocking the pantry for lunch packing and after school snacking, enjoying the first of many Friday night football games, and hitting the road for one last weekend getaway before soccer games begin.

As much as I don’t want summer to end, I absolutely love back to school season — the clothes shopping, project making, food prepping, and to do list writing makes me happy. So thought I would roundup some of my favorite BTS posts from years past… scroll through for images and links!

BACKPACK FLARE :)

Will be making more of these this year!

FREEZER FRIENDLY BREAKKIE BURRITOS

Yes please! You can download and personalize labels too so you know who’s is who’s when grabbing out of the freezer.

LUNCHBOX EMOJI STICKER FREEBIES

Can’t go wrong with emojis and kids or adding a little extra love to their lunch.

HOW TO ORGANIZE A KID’S CLOSET

Doing this ^ makes everything about getting ready in the morning or packing for overnights easier.

PEANUT BUTTER BREAKKIE COOKIES

Haven’t met a person that didn’t love these cookies. Make extra to bring to a play date, drop off at a friends front door (with coffee) or for an after school snacks!

ILLUSTRATED BACK TO SCHOOL CHECKLIST

A cute way to keep track of BTS to-do’s and also remind myself that there is a reason I’m feeling a little tired and scattered this time of year… between finishing summer strong and school prep, there is so much going on!

Happy Monday Friends!

How is back to school stuff going for you?

xo, Rae

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5 MORNING HACKS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Whether you’re sending kids back to school or just ready to transition from lazy summer mornings to more structured fall days (hello earlier bedtimes!), getting everyone back onto the same morning routine is key. With 5 kids that have very different morning tendencies I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that make it easier to get out of the house on time(-ish).

1 | STOCK THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM WITH TOOTHBRUSHES + HAIR SUPPLIES — Unless we have a good 10 minute cushion before heading to school or the bus, sending my kids back upstairs to brush their teeth and style their hair (if they haven’t already) is a terrible decision, because the distraction struggle is real. They find a million other things to do like rough house, find that toy they haven’t seen for a couple weeks, or count the money in their piggy bank. It’s a serious talent and maybe it’s just my kids but storing tooth brushes and hair supplies downstairs keeps everyone moving in the right direction.

2 |ONE + DONE OUTFITS FOR MAMA — It takes me way too long to get ready once the kids get up and I try to use as much of the hour or two before they do so to get some work done so having cute dresses and jumpsuits to throw on is everything. Add a hat or sunnies and some lipstick and 15 minutes is all it takes to be ready for the day! Unless of course it’s a hair washing day :)

At least until the weather starts to freeze in which case I stay in my sweats or jammies as long as possible, and opt for driving the kids instead of walking, LOL.

3 | CONTINENTAL BREAKKIE TO SIT AND EAT OR TAKE + GO — this is key for Tilly who would prefer not to eat breakfast until 10am. She just isn’t hungry, but not eating before going to school is not an option for many reasons but especially because she goes from hungry to hangry in a few short minutes. To make it easy on all of us we’ll be setting up a continental breakfast for the first couple weeks so there will be lots of choices and easy options to grab and go or throw in their bags for snack time later. A few things on our continental breakfast menu: no-bake energy bites, cereal, yogurt, granola, bananas, apples, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs and muffins.

4 | INCENTIVES! — Who doesn’t love a good incentive!? At the top of my kids’ wish list is Starbucks, a special after school snack, family bike rides to school, or “parent pick-up” instead of taking the bus.

5 | CUE THE MUSIC, DANCING + LAUGHTER — There is nothing worse than sending the kids off to school when one or more of us is frustrated or upset. Luckily — joy, cool dance moves and laughter are contagious. It’s also not a bad way to start the day!

I absolutely loved and appreciated all the comments regarding my thoughts on homeschooling. You guys are the best and seriously know how to encourage a girl!!! Instead of rushing into things this year, Johan and I have decided to spend more time thinking about the logistics and looking into co-ops, programs, and other resources that are out there. In the meantime the kids will be going to their usual school (that we love!) down the street and I’ll be scheduling one day a week to volunteer… something I’m sure Poppy will look forward to just as much as me!

Now back to morning routine hacks. Please share any tips you might have in the comments!

xo, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: HOMEMADE JELLO PLAY DOUGH

The kids have been on a slime making kick, which has been fun and messy in a good way, but making it seems to be the most entertaining part and trusting it in the hands of the younger ones hasn’t worked out too well (oops!). Let’s just say it’s hard to get out of fabric. To accommodate the kids’ love of mixing and making, and my general need for them to be occupied for a few constructive moments, we decided to make some good ol’ fashioned play dough with a jello twist just for fun, pretty colors and yummy smells. Oh, and lack of food coloring.

There are endless amounts of very similar recipes out there, but scroll down to see how we made ours…

JELLO PLAY DOUGH DIY

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (veggie or canola)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 oz. (or 6 tablespoons) jello powder (you can sub for food coloring or kool-aid)

Here’s How:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat continuously until the contents “glob” together :) — see pic below.
  2. Scoop “glob” onto a floured work surface and let cool.
  3. Knead flour into play dough until no longer sticking to fingers.
  4. Play and/or store in airtight bag or container for up to a month.

The time between cooking, cooling and kneading was a little long to keep my kids’ attention, so I did all the cooking and they did most of the kneading and flouring which they thoroughly enjoyed and I had a dustpan full of flour after this project to prove it, ha! Flour is kinda like glitter in that every time you think you’re finished cleaning it up, you find more. But the mess is totally worth it or at least that’s what I tell myself (insert laugh-crying emoji)!

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being hive inducing and 10 being totally cool with it!) how do you feel about doing messy projects with the kids? I probably sit somewhere around 7, but definitely have to muster up the energy and patience before starting.

Happy play dough making… or avoiding… mamas!

xo, Rae

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DECORATED STORE BOUGHT ICE CREAM SANDWICHES + A MEAL PLAN

It’s Friday!!! We’re celebrating with an easy kitchen activity that you can do (and eat ;) with the kids and a meal plan — because getting a jumpstart on next week felt like a really good idea!

You guys know I love anything with googly eyes on it, but aren’t these decorated ice cream sandwiches cute? I had originally planned on making them for Griffin’s party, to match the cake, but ran out of time. So earlier this week, since I had all the supplies on hand, the kids and I threw some together for fun. They hardly require directions, but here’s the DIY details…

DECORATED ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

  • Straight from the freezer, dip the top of your ice cream sandwiches in sprinkles…. you don’t need to wait until they soften or melt for the sprinkles to stick.
  • “Glue” the candy eyes on with icing.
  • Return to the freezer or eat up!

Now for a meal plan… Next week is looking really yummy!

MONDAY | salmon cakes and garden salad

TUESDAY | black bean quinoa salad with chipotle steak

WEDNESDAYone pot chicken + veggies chow mein

THURSDAY | huevos rancheros

FRIDAY | ravioli + a yummy salad… my favorite lately is to toss together the following: arugula, quinoa, grape tomatoes, slivered almonds, whatever protein I have on hand and pesto with a red wine vinaigrette or coconut oil and lime juice

BREAKKIE | chilled summer overnight oats, smoothies + protein shakes, continental breakfast (yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, cereal, hardboiled eggs, peanut butter toast, etc.)

SNACK | frozen yogurt dots, chips + guac, tuna salad + crackers

Have a great weekend friends!

xo, Rae

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BACK TO SCHOOL HAIRCUT INSPIRATION

I’m really good at avoiding all things back to school and in theory, I guess it makes sense. I mean, who wants to think about going back to school when there’s still summer to soak up!? The only problem is that once the last week or two of summer rolls around we’re too busy scrambling to buy school supplies, picking out backpacks, running around to appointments, and crossing our fingers that all the first day of school outfits arrive on time, to actually enjoy it.

This year, with 40 something days left of summer, I’m doing my best to spread out the back to school preparations. A box of stylish clothes from Rockets of Awesome  should be arriving in the mail next week, I grabbed school supply sheets from Target last week, and today I plan on booking everyone a haircut. Last night I went a little crazy on Pinterest and pinned a ton of hairstyle inspirations (HERE) for the little and big kids and thought I would share along with a reminder to schedule haircut appointments… if you haven’t already :)

Here’s what I’m hoping my kids pick…!

ESPEN | His hair isn’t quite this long, but it does have that beachy look to it that I love! Definitely a good candidate for long boy hair which I can’t seem to get enough of lately.

TILLY | Last week Tilly was in a hurry to get a bob, but since our usual hairstylist was booked, I took her to someone new and while her freshly cut locks look really cute it’s not quite what she wanted. Wondering if she might like this version of a bob?

GRIFFIN | We usually do an undercut on him (checkout the DIY here!) but his hair has a mind of it’s own and that mind really likes to lay flat on his forehead. LOL. Thinking this cut would look cute and be easy to keep styled!

POPPY | she has a natural layer of bangs that have been growing out lately and I miss them! So thought we’d try and give her official bangs that are a bit thicker. Hoping they won’t be too hard to maintain… anyone have experience with their kids!?

OZZIE | Don’t want to leave out our oldest, but searched high and low for a good inspo pic for him and all I found was little kids or grown men with facial hair and that smoldering look. Neither really seemed appropriate. Luckily he has the most amazing curls and a trim is usually all he needs!

You can find all of the pics and more on my BACK TO SCHOOL Pinterest board. There’s never a shortage of fun ideas and inspiration (hashtag always pinning) so you should also follow me while your over there! ;)

Despite my aversion to starting the back to school prep, I actually love EVERYTHING about it (new clothes, school supplies and hair? Sign me up!) except sending the kids back to school.UGH. Regardless, it does feel good to get started on the checklist… What’s left on your back to school checklist?

xo, Rae

P.S. — A few posts that might make all the prep work easier and/or more fun: BTS checklist, DIY backpack charms, teacher gift, + emoji lunch box stickers

P.P.S. — The last 4 images are from old Zara lookbooks.

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GRIFFIN’S FIRE STATION BIRTHDAY PARTY

We’re in Birthday-palooza mode around here — 4 Birthdays in one month! Last week we had our first party celebrating Griffin turning 6 and had a blast. Johan’s fire station was nice enough to let us use the bay (garage area) to host the festivities which allowed for a bouncy house and plenty of room for the kids to run around. Details, links to sources, and lots of pictures below!

FOOD | kept things simple and served PB+J’s and popcorn in these bags, cheese, crackers + salami  in these tulip cups, and watermelon and oreos in these trays. There was also a cooler with la croix, bottled water and honest juices.

Side note: the dimensions in the food tray listing are for the sides, not the bottom. I was originally hoping the food trays would hold everything but the popcorn, but they ended up being too small. However, they are perfect for snacks and the extras will come in handy for picnics!

CAKE | I ordered a basic 8-inch custom cake from our grocery store’s bakery with vanilla frosting. Nothing fancy. After picking it up, I added sprinkles to the top and oreo cookies with m+m candies (“glued” on with icing) as the eyes. Because eyes on everything please!

We actually only used the cake for singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles (ate some the next day of course!) and served ice cream sandwiches as the treat. Hip, hip, hooray candles from Target dollar isle.

DECORATIONS | #BDAY balloon sign from Target dollar isle, a few (wanted to do more but ran out of helium!) random colored balloons I had at home, plastic firefighter hats (these are cute and inexpensive!) added some color and something to play with.

GOODIE BAGS | kazoos, maze game and finger puppet monsters from Target, 2″ poppers, pop bottle candy, twisty balloons, candy buttons, teal striped bags from Amazon.

ACTIVITIES | We had a bouncy house, piñata and a firefighter game where you spray the wiffle ball off a cone to “put out the fire”. We were hoping there would be an extra firetruck there for the kids to climb in, but it didn’t work out (bummer!). I don’t think the birthday boy or his guests even noticed though!

I also set out a bucket of sidewalk chalk and table of crayons and coloring books. Neither got played with much but it’s always nice to have an extra simple activity or two.

THE PARTY THEME | I like a good theme (fire fighting was the obvious choice!) but have a hard time sticking to them. I’m way too random for that (LOL) so try to balance things out with pops of colors, classic accessories (like balloons!), and basic staples when it comes to food, paper goods, etc. I find this approach takes the pressure off and makes it easy to use things I already have around the house too!

All that being said, parties are really all about making it special for the birthday kid and their guests… keeping that in mind makes it that much more fun and easy to put together!

Can’t believe this boy of ours is 6!!!

I treasure the pics from my childhood birthday parties — remembering who was there and how we celebrated is so sweet and nostalgic. So thought I would put all the pics from Griffins party into a chatbook as a belated b-day gift and think he’ll freak about it! Might be a fun new tradition to do for all the kids?

How do you keep Birthday memories alive!?

Also, let me know if I left out any links or details!

xo, Rae

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MOM + MINI DATE IDEAS

We got home late Sunday night from our annual camping trip with friends (so much fun!) and jumped right into catching up on work and sleep, unpack the mountain of stuff we brought and cleaning the other mountain of dirty clothes we came home with, party planning prep for Griffin’s b-day celebration that’s happening tomorrow, and our usual schedule and life in general. After a few days of this the kids started to get a little restless (i.e. whinny and fighting with each other and who could blame them!?) so yesterday Johan and I decided it was time to divide and conquer. While he hung with the boys I took the girls on a little date to The Land of Nod for their summer camp craft time and a couple scoops of our favorite Molly Moon’s Ice cream. After that we did some shopping and then walked over to the new Rachel’s Ginger beer for a couple small drinks, before heading to Starbucks for our usual Bistro boxes to snack on while we drive home. As I walked at an incredibly leisurely pace from store to store with my girls, I thought about how much I needed this break from cleaning up the tornado that is our house, the constant beeping that comes from my phone, and the mile long to do list running though my mind, just as much as they did.

In case you could also use a break from being pulled in 10 different directions, picking up the house, and hearing about how hungry everyone is, here’s a list of mom + mini date ideas to help inspire a little quality time!

15 MOM + MINI DATE IDEAS:

  1. go roller skating or bowling
  2. learn something new together — a trick, knitting, dance moves, twisty balloon animals, etc.
  3. go to a skate park
  4. write notes or thanks you’s to friends and family together
  5. boardgames are always good
  6. go to target or the dollar store for some fun shopping (with a budget)… not to be confused with running errands kinda shopping
  7. nail appointment
  8. at home spa or nail night… you might have seen johan’s impromptu spa night on Instagram stories last week. so funny.
  9. campout in the family room or backyard
  10. bake or cook something together that they pick out
  11. do something sweet for a neighbor together
  12. do a craft (a few of our faves 1 /2 /3 /4 / 5 / 6 )
  13. for daughters, do each other’s makeup
  14. wake up early and go fishing
  15. checkout a new to-you neighborhood, restaurant, store, park, or play area

I always feel like the best version of myself when I’m able to be present with my kids, husband, work, friends, and even strangers, but it’s been such a challenging thing for me to do during the summer months (which is going way too quickly, btw!). Wish I could soak up the sweet moments and laughter and just play 24/7, but keeping up with work and order is also good, right?!

How do you find that rhythm between checking things off the to do list and making time to play?

I would also love to hear your favorite kid date ideas too!?

xo, Rae

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LITTLE TOURIST: WHAT WE DID IN NY, DAY 1

We’ve been back for almost 2 weeks now but it’s taken me this long to go through all the pics and process everything we did in NY. I was a little intimidated by the thought of navigating the city with kids when I booked the trip but luckily we were staying with my brother and sister-in-law who have been living there for awhile and are total pros! We crammed so much in during our stay that I’m going to break up our trip day by day.

Day 1 started after a red-eye from Seattle which worked out well with my kids at their ages (Espen 10 and Tilly 8). None of us slept much (despite carrying on pillows, blankets and melatonin!) but the excitement kept us going and our exhaustion at the end of the day made the time change no big deal. Here’s a look at what we did…

First up was a drive-by past Lady Liberty. It was no.1 on Tilly’s bucket list but booking a tour costs a lot and took up most of a day and I wasn’t sure it would hold their attention much. So, my brilliant sister in law suggested hopping on the Staten Island ferry (it’s free!) instead. I googled fun facts about the statue while we road by (there and back) and got plenty of pictures which seemed to satisfy everyone. Bonus that it only took about an hour!

After getting off the ferry we walked over to Battery Park to see the Bull (and rub his balls for good luck :). The SHE statue was also still there which I was so excited about. I’m more of a humanist than feminist, but her addition to the bull gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies.

We also stopped for a ride on the sea glass carousel which was so pretty!

Next stop was a late lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park which was no.1 on my bucket list. Johan and I ate there during our last trip and I’ve been craving it ever since.

The last stop of the day was Rockefeller Center and Time Square where we saw Elmo, a totally impressive subway performer, naked painted ladies in thongs, beautiful art installments (the “x” chairs and piano), a unicorn man and a really cool dance group… definitely not my normal scene or vibe but a lot of fun and totally worth it!

All in all, we ended up doing so much more on the first day and literally went until we dropped. The kids actually dozed off on the Subway ride home!

Thanks so much for letting me share our trip with you! If there are any other details you’d like to hear more about let me know and I’ll include it in the follow up posts.

xo, Rae

*Beautiful pictures snapped by my sister in law Alex, who is coming to Seattle in a couple weeks and will be hosting mini sessions for anyone that is interested, DM her on Instagram!!

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PLAY-OFFICE SOURCES

Thanks for all the comments and questions from my last post! As promised, I’m back with sources from our shared play-office reveal. Excuse the delay but I got a tip that a lot of the items would be on sale for memorial day weekend and wanted to make sure you got killer deals on anything you might want. Before starting, I reached out to the Land of Nod to see if they would be willing to send over a few goodies, so you may notice a big chunk of the room is from them. They are the best at designing for kids while also keeping in mind grownups and older kids and their decor always mix and matches so well with the rest of the house. I absolutely love working with them!

Keep scrolling for sources…

(see before post here and full room reveal here!)

1 | pendant light, land of nod

2 | colorful penant garland, land of nod

3 | cat + dog, land of nod

4 | arrow wall hooks, land of nod

5 | dress-up mirror, $5 at walmart

6 | red pony hoppy toy, the most played with toy in our home from amazon (also great for bday gifts!)

7 | folk denim rug, land of nod… love this so much I almost gave it a home in our family room!

8 | gold dot decals, land of nod

1 | hand drawn kid art, DIY coming soon!

2 | frame, spray painted gold from ikea

3 | pom-pom garland, land of nod

4 | frame thrifted — arrow print, coming soon as a free download

5 | play on player print, land of nod

6 | half dot garland, land of nod

7 + 11 | basket, land of nod

8 | dog balloon bookend, land of nod

9 | things divided bin, $8 at land of nod right now… also have one in the kids bathroom for toothbrushes, etc. and it works perfectly!

10 | white locker, ikea

 

1 | woven wallhanging, land of nod

2 | apple pillow, old from land of nod (so many cute throw pillows) or similar from blabla kids (scroll down for the apple)

3 | bean bag, a favorite addition from land of nod

4 | basket, land of nod

1 | ikea kitchen makeover, my blog

2 | ice cream cones, oriental trading

3 | play fridge, land of nod (obsessed!)

4 | folk denim rug, land of nod

1 | wood sign diy here, on a friend’s blog!

2 | desk top + legs, ikea

3 | chair, amazon

Let me know if I missed anything! Happy long weekend (and bargain shopping)!

xo, Rae

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PLAY-OFFICE ROOM MAKEOVER

Our play-office makeover is finished and even though I never in a million years thought I would be willing to share an office with my little people, I couldn’t be happier to be sitting and working in a freshly painted, decorated and kid friendly office space. It’s been getting lots of use, staying relatively clean and working out really well for everyone so far! Now, instead of my kids annoyingly moaning and rolling around on the floor while I finish up an email or save design files, they have lots of toys and activities to keep them busy. For all the mamas who understand what it’s like to try and finish a task while kids are awake, you know what a blessing that is.

Enough of me chit-chatting… welcome to our play-office! Take a peek at the pics and let me know if you have questions! I’ll work on a post with sources to share tomorrow or Wednesday.

(The dress-up corner)

(A favorite addition to the room… I think they need names!?)

(My desk area… Wasn’t sure if I would like my desk and computer in front of the window, but really love it! Bonus that it makes keeping an eye on scooter riding, street hockey playing, baseball throwing kids, super easy. Something I will be extra grateful for come summer!)

(Nothing like a pretty ceiling light and rug to make a room feel pulled together and a little more grown-up.)

(Play kitchen. The stove and sink was an ikea hack – see the post here – and the refrigerator is new and a total god-send since it easily stores lots of kitchen accessories.)

(Favorite part of the room makeover is this wall! I asked the kids to draw simple pictures and then scanned, made some small edits and had them printed as posters. Working on a full tutorial to share! The TV was another thing I was unsure of, but it’s been nice to have… you may have seen the kids following along with a yoga show on my Instagram stories last week :)

(Last but not least, a comfy reading area complete with an oversized beanbag and cute basket to hold books.)

Are there any spaces in your home that you swore you would never share with your kids, but find them using often?

For me, another room would be our master bath. In our last home the 2 upstairs bathrooms were basically the same size so there wasn’t much sharing going on. When we moved into our current home, I swore the master bath with giant tub and double sinks would remain free from kid-sized clothes, towels, and toys. However that didn’t last long, LOL. Choosing a big open space for bathing all the kids is too good to pass up, plus I get a chance to tidy up the counter and closet floor while they splish-splash for a few minutes.  It’s a win-win for all of us.

XO, Rae

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IT’S (ALMOST) SUMMER, COUNTDOWN CHAIN

It barely (if at all) feels like spring around here, but that hasn’t stopped my kids from asking, thinking, and talking about summer non-stop. Not that I can blame them. The chatter started a month or so ago when Griffin and Tilly began asking how many sleeps until summer (aka the last day of school). After a week of trying to figure it out in my head and give them an estimate, I gave up and started keeping the day calculator site open on my phone. But even that was getting old, so over the weekend we decided to go old school and staple together a countdown chain. Now the next time they ask, I can say, “you should go count and let me know!” Plus, it looks summery and cute hanging in the kitchen.

I’m sure you guys all know how to put together a chain, but measurements always help! I used 12×12 sheets of craft paper and was able to get 10 — 8 x 1.5 inch strips out of each sheet.

Who’s ready for suuuuuumer!? These guys are. Poppy can hardly keep her pants up she’s so excited :)

Now we just need to figure out what our summer schedule and calendar looks like. Even though we still have 50 days to figure it out, I know it’s going to fly-by! So far swim lessons and our annual camping trip is all we have planned… What’s on your schedule this summer!?

xo, Rae

GRIFFIN | tee (old from peek but on sale in baby sizes and so many other cute ones to choose from), shorts

POPPY | mauve stripe outfit, sunnies

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