Archive | KIDS

happy weekend + some love day inspiration

vday-playlist

valentine’s day is less than a month away so i thought i would share some inspiration, starting with this  vday playlist on spotify that will get you singing, dancing and feeling the luv.

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then there is this guy. (i mean.)  heart melter every time.

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(and look at this little love fest. it’s amazing we got them all in one pic!)

earlier this week we got together with friends to help stacy shoot a promo for her v-day minis. it was crazy (like cray, cray) but fun and i’m sure entertaining for onlookers. somehow stacy managed to snap some of the sweetest pictures of the kids among the chaos… she’s good like that.

if you are in the seattle/tacoma area, you can schedule a mini with stacy for february 1st. she fills up fast so don’t delay!

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i also have a few simple heart day projects (pictured) to share later next week.

prepping for v-day is such a welcome distraction from the cold winter months, don’t you think? if you have any ideas to share or projects, designs or printables you would like to see in a post, let me know!

xo . rae

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easy ways to cozy up the kids’ room for christmas

now that thanksgiving has had it’s moment in the spotlight (hope yours was lovely!) i’m so excited that it is officially christmas season and i can wish you  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

minor disclaimer before i really start this post – i’m not a home dec person. sure, i can style a wall or nook, but an entire room sends me into a tail spin of indecisiveness. so most of the rooms in our home are halfway finished with hand-me-down furniture that is either waiting to be refinished or  replaced…. if i could only make up my mind!

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(NOTE: giveaway details for the tree decal pictured above are at the bottom of this post)

however, what i have gotten savvy at over the years is moving items around the house and finding small ways to spruce things up. so i thought i would share a few ways we added some winter wonderland to espen and  tilly’s room.

my hope is that these small updates inspire creative playtime, cozy reading sessions and sweet (sugar plum’s dancing) kind of sleep… so far it’s done the trick!

here’s what we did:

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COZY LAYERS – to their beds and the floor.

sources: faux fur blanket, plaid blanket, buffalo check pillow case, faux sheepskin, flannel sheets

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PAPER SNOWFLAKES – over espen’s bunk.

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so simple and yet festive.

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not to mention hours of entertainment for busy hands… i’m hoping to add lots more to the ones pictured.

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A FEW KNICKKNACKS – like this snowglobe…

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… this moose antler craft we made for mom.me, here

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…smelly pinecones and these photo props i stumbled upon while cleaning out my craft supplies last week (found here).

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since the kids love taking silly pictures and video on espen’s ipod, they seemed like a perfect addition.

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LIGHTS, lots of lights – an easy way to add a little whimsy.

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some old pictures hung from the lights for a personal touch.

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and of  course more lights above tilly’s lower bunk. the soft light is so inviting… especially for a sleepy daddy.

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A LITTLE TREE – makes any room instantly feel christmassy.

(GIVEAWAY details) the one pictured is a wall decal i designed for spoonflower and guess what!? they are giving one away HERE. you can also read about my design process on their blog HERE.

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now all that’s left is to make a good christmas playlist!

speaking of, do you or your kids have any favorite holiday tunes at the moment? 

the relient k christmas album is always a fave around here…

now, off to do a little christmas shopping!

talk soon . xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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advent calendar diy & download (& a peek!)

(if you are joining us from armommy, welcome! hope you like the new digs!)

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!

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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.

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…here are the details…

SUPPLIES: white card stock, the pdf template (sign up for emails 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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 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?

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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 below to access the advent calendar download as well as our USA map poster!

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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craft tray No. 3, pom poms

last week we stocked the kids’ craft tray with supplies to make some good old-fashioned pom-poms.  they’ve been keeping their busy hands, well busy, only a good kind of busy not a bugging my brother or coloring on the walls kind of busy.

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it’s been a good craft to have on hand and (bonus) doesn’t require many supplies or make too much of a mess. just a little fuzz. here’s what you’ll need…

_KID-supplies

YARN in different colors (it can get pretty spendy, but since your not knitting a sweater, look for the less expensive brands. the ones pictured above were between $3-$4 each.)

POM-POM MAKERS (follow the instructions below to make your own or these work really well and were available at our local craft store too.)

small pair of SCISSORS (your kid safe ones might be perfect!)

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_KID-how-to

1. if you purchase the pom-pom makers, follow the directions on the package to make the poms. if you are making your own draw 2-3 inch circles on a piece of cardboard (the thickness of a cereal box) and cut it out. then draw a 1 inch circle in the center of each cardboard circle and cut them out so you have templates that look like doughnuts.

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2. stack circles on top of each other and begin winding yarn through the centers and around until they are completely full and covered. cut a long piece of yarn (about 8 inches) and set aside.

3. cut the yarn in the middle around the outside of the circles, making sure to hold the cardboard firmly together. grab the long piece of yarn you cut earlier and thread it between the two cardboard circles. pull tightly and make a double knot.

4. carefully pull the cardboard from the pom-pom, trim any long pieces of yarn and your done!

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i was hoping to have a plethora of poms to choose from to make a fall garland, but the kids seem to find a use for them as fast as they make them. not that i can blame them… they are pretty cute.

don’t you think?

here’s tray no. 1 and no. 2 if you want to go take a peek!

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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griffey is two (cool)

to the (coolest) birthday boy,

i’ve been a mom long enough to know that these toddler days fly by, but this time around it seems more like lightning speed.

(here come the waterworks!)

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a few things i (especially) adore about you at 2…

you are the only one with your daddies eyes and every time you smile, with those front teeth, and big gap, and one dimple, i kinda want to eat you.

you love music and have some rad dance moves that you show off at least a couple times a day.

you have the pickiest palette, (but we are working on it) and recently started glaring at me when we aren’t in agreement.

you only have a few words, but the ones you have, you use well. the day you start speaking in sentences i’m pretty sure we’re all in trouble.

you are greatly loved.

and very good at loving back.

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h a p p y   b i r t h d a y !

xo . mama

PS – what are your thoughts on the year of the 2 year old?  terrible or terrific?  let us know in the comments below!

(images by stacy jacobsen)

(birthday sign can be found on spoonflower with a tutorial here.)
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craft tray no. 2 – rain makers

the other morning, while putting on my makeup, i turned around to find all 4 of my kids huddled around, asking me questions, getting into my drawers, knocking things over and hanging on my legs. now, to do this story justice i also have to add that my bathroom is the size of a small closet. soooo i was just a little flattered (but a lot claustrophobic) that in a house full of open rooms and tons of toys, they were willing to cram themselves into a tiny space just to hangout with me.

sometimes my kids make me feel so cool….

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… other times i would do (almost) anything for a few (but really 30) minutes to complete a task on my own, without a little helper – and because i’m hoping i’m not the only one out there who has those moments, i’m going to start a new monthly series all about simple crafts kids can do by themselves. however there is always the chance that the project will be so much fun you can’t help but get sucked in!

one thing i highly suggest having for all of these projects is one tray designated to hold supplies.  it’s the easiest way i’ve found to keep kids craft time tame and in one place and makes cleanup (not to be confused with organizing) easy for the kids. click here to read more about my love affair with trays.  i’m slightly obsessed.

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since it’s august and i’m guessing most people would welcome a little rain to break up the summer heat, i thought a rain stick would be the perfect project for the kids.  here’s what your tray will need.

(***NOTE: please use your own discretion about what is safe and age appropriate for your kids to craft with, especially without your full supervision***)

_KID-supplies

small nails (hardware store), masking tape (I bought the colored rolls from target), printer paper cut into 4ths, cardboard rolls (think paper towel, wrapping paper, or t.p.), and plastic beads (craft store – dried beans would work too!)

_KID-how-to

to make the rain sticks, cover one end of the tube with paper and tape it in place. then have the kids poke nails into the seam around their cardboard tube. next they can fill it ½ to ¾ of the way up with beads. cover the open end with paper and tape so nothing falls out. lastly you’ll want the kids to cover the tube and nails by wrapping it in tape or drawing a picture to cover the tube and taping it in place.

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if you still need a little more time, have the kids make one for you too (or the dog, neighbor, etc. – whatever keeps em’ busy!) and then head outside for a little rain making dance party!

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we love seeing how you use our projects and ideas so if you would like to join a hashtag party, use #armommykids when sharing images on instagram or twitter. of course you can always tag us @raefriis on insta or @armommy_llc on twitter, too!

how do you keep your child(ren) occupied while you get ready in the morning, respond to emails, do some pinning, make dinner, etc….?!

xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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halloween ink.

oh, my! it’s been a little cray-cray on the armommy home-front… lots of cool changes (hint, hint) going on that i can’t share yet (so mean, i know) but we have a couple fun posts for you this week that i’m excited to share. starting with these free printable halloween tattoos!

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did you know they make tattoo paper? and it works on a regular ink jet printer!? i bought a pack on a whim and was a little skeptical, but they turned out super cute and easy to use – just like the store-bought kind.

halloween-tattoos(CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE)

there’s just enough time to order the paper (or ask your local craft store) before the trick or treating begins. then download the template by clicking the image above and follow the directions on the tattoo paper packaging.

i’m always on the hunt for non-sugary goodies to handout for holidays and birthdays and i think this will be my new go-to.

what do you guys do to help curb the sugar intake around halloween!? i need all the help/ideas i can get!!!!

xo . rae

ps – the “mwahaha!” tat is meant to be used on knuckles – one letter on each, not including thumbs. kinda gangsta, but fun!

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everyone <3's mexican lasagna

i wish i could say that having my brood makes me an expert at picky eaters… but not so much.  every time i think i have it figured out, the next one is picky in a totally different way.  for instance, my oldest, ozzie required dippy to eat during his toddler years.  while my youngest, griffey is choosy about ev.er.y.thing….  child doesn’t even eat fruit right now unless it’s in smoothie form.  same song for the middles, too.  just a different tune.

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the good news is that my older three have (mostly) come out of the picky eater stage to the other side, healthy and still opinionated, but willing to try just about anything.  (persistence pays off!)

while I don’t have a foolproof plan to share there are a few tricks and yummy recipes i’ve learned and this mexican lasagna recipe is the perfect example of both.

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here’s why:

* if your little ones enjoy helping out in the kitchen, this recipe is the perfect fit for them (and you).  lots of prepping and assembling to keep their hands busy and kids love to eat what they helped make.  usually.

* it’s colorful, which is a good distraction.

* i’m not one to hide veggies in my kids food, but this recipe is full of yummy carrots that are grated so they won’t even notice.  (mom – 1, fussy eater – 0)

* the greatest advice i’ve received is to have my kids try something multiple times before deciding to scratch it off my recipe list.  this recipe makes a big enough batch that you’ll have plenty of leftovers to offer to little ones if they don’t like it right away.

* lastly, it’s a total crowd pleaser…. hasn’t failed me yet and even gets rave reviews at yoder’s (my hubs) fire station!

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doesn’t it look good?  in a messy sorta way?

here’s what YOU’LL NEED:

(serves 8 / to make in oven, preheat to 375, follow directions below and bake for 35 minutes until heated through)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 2, 16-oz jar mild chunky salsa
  1. 1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  2. Add the ground turkey meat, cumin, salt and chili powder and cook for 6-7 minutes until cooked through. Place turkey mixture aside and cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and sour cream together. Add the cooled turkey mixture, carrots, corn and cilantro and mix to combine.
  4. Spread a 1 cup of salsa on the bottom of the crock pot.
  5. Layer 5 tortillas on top of the salsa, cutting them if necessary to fit the crock pot and covering the salsa completely.
  6. Place half the turkey mixture on top of the tortillas and top with 1 cups of salsa and 1/2 cup of cheese.
  7. Add another layer of 3 tortillas on top of the cheese. Pour the remaining turkey mixture on top of the tortillas and top with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
  8. Top the lasagna with another layer of tortillas, pour the remaining salsa on top and cover with 1 cup of cheese.
  9. Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours & then serve!

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we’d love to hear about your little eater(s) in the comments below…. or perhaps a tip you might have to share!

<3 . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)

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balloon peeps

a couple weeks ago we put together a gallery for mom dot me on rainy day activities, the perfect topic for us seattleites.  the kids had so much fun helping with one of the project that we couldn’t resist but link to it from here along with a downloadable template.

meet our balloon friend,  r o c c o . . . .

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head HERE for the description and gallery.

click HERE to download the mustache and glasses template.

and if you are loving this DIWY project, tweet this!.

xo . rae + jane

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back to school fashion show

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the kids typically put on mini fashion shows as they come home with cool new duds for back to school, but this year i thought it would be fun to step it up a notch and put on one big fashion show.  so i’ve collected a few pops (glow in the dark bracelets and funny glasses) that i thought would be fun and a roll of disposable table runner to use as the runway.

now all we have to do is make a playlist… any suggestions!?

do you guys do back to school fashion show!?

xo . rae

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chalkboard place mat DIY

A charming take on our beloved laminated place mats (I miss them, don’t you?).  And so fun to make!

SUPPLIES:

1. chalkboard paint   2. paintbrush   3. transfer paper   4. paint pens   5. pencil   6. 11×14 hardboard panel (found here)   7. printable template (click to download)   8. chalk (for when you are done)   9.  a couple pieces of tape

DIRECTIONS:

1. Paint your panel using chalkboard paint.  I used black, but the old school green would look cool too.  The panel soaks up the paint so you may need a few layers.

2.  In the meantime, print out the place setting template (click to download).  Once the paint has dried, cut a sheet of transfer paper to fit over the panel and tape in place.

3.  Starting with the plate, lay the printed template (don’t cut it out) facing up on top of the transfer paper.  Line it up where you want it and trace.

4.  Repeat step 3 for the rest of the place setting elements.

5.  When you are done tracing, peel the transfer paper from the panel and throw away.  You should see the place setting outlined on your painted panel now.  Using paint pens, outline (again!) the lines left by the transfer paper.

6.  Finally, embellish or doodle as you wish or leave everything blank for the place mats owner!

Hope this tutorial adds a little more fun and function to dinnertime!

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Is summer flying by for you too?  Have any tips for keeping the kids busy during dinnertime prep?  We would love to hear in the comments below.

xo . rae

ps – don’t forget to pin for safe keeping!

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