Archive | KIDS

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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stay cool goodie bags

a few weeks ago we had that unusual pacific northwest experience of a heat wave – that’s right, the temp. hit 90, with 80% humidity. and while most of the country would probably consider this kind of weather lovely for summer – my children actually thought they were melting.

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to distract everyone from the heat, i thought it would be fun to put together little “stay cool” bags for the kids to hand out to their friends.  we ran to the store to grab mini spray bottles (squirt guns could have been fun too), water balloons, travel size sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bundle of dollar bills for the ice cream truck.

(little side note – the sunglasses were a little spendy so we purchased one pair and then went home and ordered a dozen from the oriental trading company.)

our heat wave only lasted a few days, and has yet to return, so for now our bags are hanging out in my office, waiting for a good time to be delivered.  of course, this could be a while, but when it happens, we will be ready! and if not, we have some birthdays coming up, where they can be handed out as really cute party favors!

stay-cool-bag-how-toTo download the instructions and “stay cool” tags, click the image above.

so…how do you keep the kids cool on hot days!?  what would your kids want to stick in the bags to make them heat-wave friendly?

xo . rae

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ring toss DIY

This project was full of surprises for me.  The good & pleasant kind.

First, I was able to DIY with the adorable young lady in the video, Coco.  Love creating with other people.  Especially little people.  So sweet.

Second, the ring toss project was a last minute addition/change and I felt a little dubious about it, but it all came together with ease.

Thirdly, Coco and the adults had a blast playing ringtoss.  A total crowd pleaser!

To download the labels, click HERE.

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A great way to add some fun & charm to your 4th of July celebration, or any other outdoor BBQ style get together.

If you have any questions or comments about the tutorial, let us know in the comments below…  & don’t forget to pin!

xo . rae

ps – are you subscribed to Kin, yet?

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tassel necklace DIY

Like it?  Love it?  Wanna make one?  (Fashion DIY’s get me so giddy.)

All you need is:  a swatch of leather (cut to 5 x 2.5″), a small piece of the leather to make a loop (cut to 1.5 x .25″), a necklace chain of your choice, a loaded hot glue gun or craft glue, ruler, & pencil.

STEP 1:  Cut leather.  Using your ruler and pencil, draw a line lengthwise 1/2″ inch from the top of your leather.

STEP 2:  Cut fringe up to your pencil line.

STEP 3:  Use your small piece of leather to make a loop at the top left corner of leather swatch, glueing into place.  Make a line of glue along the top length of leather and roll up.

STEP 4:  Hang on necklace chain and wear!

I found a good size piece of leather and chain at our local craft store at a great price.  Or, if you are feeling thrifty, try swinging by Good Will (or the like) and grab an old leather purse to cut up and necklace.

Also, note that if you use craft glue instead of hot glue, after glueing you will want to wrap a rubber band around the tassel to hold it in place until dry.

If you have any questions about the steps in the video, let me know in the comments below!

Now for a little bonus for the kidlets….  IMG_9817

Since returning from my L.A. trip, I’ve been wearing the tassel from the video almost everyday & Tilly has been requesting we make one for her.  So, we scheduled a play date and made a kid version out of fabric.

To DIY you need small pieces of fabric and string for the necklace.  We used leather string, but ribbon or shoe laces would work great.  Cut swatches of fabric 8.5 x 6.5″.  Then, fold them in half lengthwise and cut fringe up to the top 1/2 inch.

Flatten the fringed piece of fabric, wrong side up, and begin to roll.

Then fold in half and tie with a small strip of the fabric to hold it in place.

The project doesn’t need to be exact to come out looking cute, so it’s perfect for kids.

Even our smallest guest (a new 2 year old) got involved.

Thanks for visiting us!  Pin or share with friends if you love.

X&O, Rae

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build a fort kit DIY (update)

We originally posted this tutorial a year ago in September, & it quickly became a favorite online, at Birthday parties, & in our home.  So I was thrilled when given the opportunity to make a video tutorial with KinCommunity featuring the beloved fort kit.  Click the video below and find out why! Irresistible, yes?  Doesn’t that make you want to scribble a list of all the young children in your life to make kits for!?

Here’s the scoop (you prob already know this)…  kids love building forts, but doing so typically leads to tearing apart every bed in the house & the inevitable tears that come when blankets collapse.  That is why the kits are so great.  The ties help it stay up & it’s far more pleasant to fold a couple sheets and wrangling some clips than put all the beds back together.  Plus sheets, being so light weight, are the choice of fort building champions.  For sure.

Bonus; they are fun to put together outside for playtime, summer reading, a picnic or family photo ops.

Enough chatting your ear off….  Written instructions are below and  you can download the coral tags (HERE) & green tags (HERE).

Before those of you that don’t own a sewing machine let it stop you from putting one together, think of someone you know that DOES have a sewing machine, give them a call & ask if they have 15 minutes to help you sew ribbon to the corners of a sheet.  Most likely they will be delighted to help, curious about your project, & answer with a big, “hellz, yeah!”build-a-fort-kin-rae-ann-kelly

Continue to read for written instructions, pin for safe keeping & let me know if you have any questions!

XO . Rae Want to receive goodies like this in your inbox?  Sign up below….  (it’s free).( R E P O S T )

our boys + their friends and building {weather with legos or blankets} go hand in hand.  so when espen’s friend brady invited him to his 6th birthday party, a fort building kit seemed fitting.  it ended up being a big hit with the boys and was quick and painless to put together.  you can head on over to brady’s mom’s blog to see pictures of the built fort + read below for the tutorial.

first, gather the supplies.

INCLUDED IN THIS KIT WAS:  2 flat sheets, a lantern, laundry clips, rope, hefty ribbon (for ties), tags (click to download coral or green) and a bag, pillow case or tote to hold all the goodies.  i purchased a sheet set from target for $14, but exchanged the fitted sheet for a flat one from our linen closet.

next, cut 6 to 10 long strips of heavy ribbon or strips from an old t-shirt, 16″ long.  then, find the center of each strip and pin to the corner and sides of your sheets {see drawing above}.  then sew each strip in place going back and forth several times.

lastly, stuff the goods into your bag, write a thoughtful note to the recipient and head out the door with a handmade gift that kid-os and mamas are sure to gush over!

please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for items to include in the fort kit by leaving a comment below….  i would love to hear from you!

xo . rae

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our little adventure (traveling with kids)

happy day after father’s day weekend!  hope you were able to spoil the important men in your life.  we facetimed with family on the east coast, made (and devoured) yummy food, and had a couple little adventures at my parent’s house.

i’ve missed you the last couple weeks…  despite my best intentions and a list of fun posts we wanted to publish i had trouble finding time to get them up!  however, tilly and i are back from so-cal, life has settled down and i’m excited to get the belated posts up!

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let’s start with this little travelers map we put together (before leaving for LA) so we can start keeping track of our adventures together as a family.  it’s still hanging up in the kitchen, but will probably be moved upstairs to the hallway outside the kids’ room.

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we cut triangles from patterned scotch tape (washi tape would work) to mark the places we’ve been with the kids.  our map is pretty bare….  looks like we have some traveling to do!

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—-> a little peek inside tilly’s carry-on:  trail mix, string cheese with crumbled tortilla chips to dip them in, ipod touch & headphones, colored pencils & a journal, candy wrappers to make this bracelet, sunnies for when we get off the plane, & some DIY postcards (download below).

—-> not pictured, in my carry-on: blow pops, gum & a copy of the friendship show.

(side note – no matter what kind of outing we go on i find that snacks or treats that take a longer time to eat are always a good idea…  keeps em busy & content longer!)

 i had fun putting together a carry-on for tilly’s first plane ride.  so much fun in fact that i totally failed to prep my little girl for what happens during take off.  she’s so daring and wild by nature and i was so excited to dig into her bag and play that it didn’t even occur to me!  well.  there was a minor freak-out episode involving threats of puking and wanting to get off the plane NOW.  ooops.  luckily she settled down quickly once the plane leveled out and barely acknowledged the takeoff on the way home.

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 a-few nights before our trip i stayed up late making a new messy bag out of drop cloth and this cute peacock fabric.  i fully intended for the body of the bag to be the peacock pattern, but i guess that’s what i get for sewing at 1am.  instead of getting my seam ripper out i opted for some painted polka dots to add some color and like how it turned out with such a pretty lining.

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we included these DIY postcards with the map poster download, but wanted to share them here (for freeeeeeee…. guess that movie?) to use during summer travels.

C L I C K   H E R E   T O   D O W N L O A D

speaking of summer travels, do you have any trips planned!?  road trips?  camping?  weekend getaways?  or maybe just lots of trips to fro-yo….  totally counts!

xo . rae

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throwback candy wrapper bracelet

hope everyone had a wonderful mama’s day with lots of spoilage going on!

our oldest (ozzie) had a baseball tournament (of all things, i know….  but it was really fun) so we split our time between family and the fields.  however, sometime around 2 yesterday, it was clear that the littles had hit their, busy weekend without a nap, limit – so i took them home for some R&R….  and a little paper craft.

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do you remember making things from candy wrappers as a kid?  maybe something similar to the bracelet above using starburst wrappers?  so fun, right?  well, i was hoping to get the same sort of look without actually unwrapping packages of candy, so i put together this template (you can download here).

matilda (4) was able to do most of the folding and then hand the pieces over to me to put together.  it’s always nice to have a project handy that doesn’t require a mess or tons of supplies!

to make your own, you’ll need this template or candy wrappers (if you really want to go old school), a printer, text weight printer paper, and scissors.

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1. print a couple pages of the template and cut the rectangles out.

2. pick a rectangle and fold it in half to make a crease, and unfold.  then fold each side into the middle.

3.  (excuse the change in paper….  just pretend it’s still the teal dots) fold each side in again, and fold one more time in half.

4. fold in half, lengthwise.  then just for the starting piece, fold the ends inside to the center.

5. next, fold a second piece of paper, but skip the second part of step 4.  instead, slide the ends through the folds in the previous paper and then fold the ends up to make a place for the next piece.

continue until your chain is long enough to make a bracelet…  we used almost two pages of the template.

diwy-candy-wrapper-bracelet-rae-ann-kelly-4what do you think!?  might be a good craft to bring on a long car or plane ride….  we’ll have to print some out for out trip to cali in a few weeks!

can you think of any other simple crafts you did as a kid?  we’d love to hear in the comments below!

hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

xo . rae

p.s. – thank you to everyone for your sweet, lovely and heart felt replies to my last post.  i was so blown away by your words and encouragement.  xoxoxoxo

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DIY did i do this?

ever see something at the store and think, i could totes (save money &) DIY that?

diy-floating-bookshelf-2then did you head to the man store to buy supplies and realize (a little too late) that, um your not really saving much?  ttthhhhheeennnnn, did you start putting things together, hanging, leveling, drilling, etc. and want to punch yourself for not just buying the store version?

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that’s what happened with the floating bookshelves we just put up in espen and tilly’s room.

i first saw the clever bookshelf (HERE) at urban outfitters for $14 each and decided that i wanted atleast 4 and maybe 6 for the middles’ room.  BUT for whatever (#imcheap) reason didn’t want to spend the $60-90ish that would take.

(you can also find them at the land of nod, here)

that’s how i wound up at the store buying 8 brackets for $5 each, saving me a total of $16.

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which is all fine and dandy, except that because we hung two brackets for each shelf, there was a lot of extra measuring and leveling and wall anchoring going on and it was at least twice as much work as the urban outfitters version would have been.

oh, and i still need to find big books at good will to glue to the brackets so you can’t see them….  something that isn’t necessary with the non-diy version.

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and (one last thing) the brackets are taller than the shelves at the store so you need to keep more books stacked up to hide them from view. (if that makes sense?)

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i am thankful however, that they still look pretty cute.

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here is a glimpse of the wall before the book stacking began.

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and what i swept out from under the kids’ cabinets.  their room gets a little out of control sometimes.

(as was griffey’s diaper at the time of this picture, LOL)

diy-floating-bookshelf-3so, there you have it…  a DIY gone DI-Y did i do this?!  it’s not the first, i’m sure it won’t be the last and definitely could have been worse!

howbout you?  ever had a similar experience?  or just assume when you see other people’s projects that they always turn out perf?  we’d love to hear your thoughts below!

oh and if you need an extra laugh today, here is a link to some funny pinterest fails…  should do the trick!

hope you have a beautiful friday, friend!!!!!

<3 . rae

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