Sure it’s a slightly manufactured and forced day of love, but I’ve had a soft spot for Valentine’s Day for as looong as I can remember and look forward to designing a new collection of cards every year. They’re perfect for the little ones to give their playdate besties or the bigger ones to give their classroom friends and are easy to pair up with a sweet treat or small toy. Melts my heart every year to see how excited the kids get over assembling and give their Valentines. It’s seriously the sweetest thing to see them loving on others!
Oh and because V-day is just as much about celebrating friendship as it is your main squeeze, I’ve teamed up with my real life galentine, Kendra from Hen & Co for a giveaway. Details are at the very bottom.
Llamas, pizza and narwhals, oh my… A unicorn is just about the only thing missing! These new designs and all of last years are available in the DESIGN SHOP now. The last day to order will be February 7th (only 9 days away, eek!) so don’t wait too long to order…plus it always feels good to check a few things off the to-do list!
Griffin and Tilly have already chosen the “hello valentine” in the top left along with the ice cream cone shooters and dinosaurs they are pictured with. I kinda like these ice cream cards (or the polka dots) with the shooters for Poppy too and Espen is still deciding between these googley eyed hearts, NY inspired ones (would be cute with chocolate covered pretzels!), and star wars. I guess choosing is sometimes the hardest part!
Can’t get over how adorable Poppy and Kendra’s daughter, Bellamy are with their heart day tops and cards!
A little BTS peek… wish we had a camera rolling in time-lapse to capture all the messy chaos of working with kids while also trying to keep it fun. Let’s just say I was sweating by the end of it. #momcardio
And confetti is always a good idea.
Now for some giveaway details, YAY!
We believe friends are the spice of life and want to hear what you love about yours over on Instagram. All the details will be posted HERE at 1pm today. Winners will receive an adorable tee or leo from Hen & Co and a set of 24 personalized valentines from my shop for you and a friend! I’ll send a second email later today when the giveaway is live so SIGN UP FOR EMAILS if you haven’t already!
This is my most favorite project of the entire year and I had the hardest time stopping at 6 new designs. That being said, if you have a valentine theme request let me know in the comments and I might be able to put something together for you!
Happy Monday you guys :)
When it comes to raising babies, there are few things I dread more than potty training and this week we’ll be doing it for the 5th and final time. Never thought I could get sentimental over such a tedious, messy and pain in the butt task but here I am with all the feels about it. Guess I’ve been hanging on for dear life to this sweet toddler stage that Poppy is in and seeing her without her adorable diaper bottom takes us one step closer to being a big kid. Which is so rad too. I love watching my kids grow, but the last one is a hard one.
Like sleep training and just about every other aspect of parenting, we don’t have a system that we’ve used for all of our kids that’s been wildly successful, but I do have a few guidelines that might help.
MY 5 TIPS FOR POTTY TRAINING
- ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN: For a couple weeks before you start, make going potty on the toilet a big exciting deal. Talk about it, sing about it, read about it, and generally speaking, build the hype. (My older kids have been doing an amazing job of this for me this time around… I’ll share more below.)
- BE PREPARED: Like just about everything else in life, it’s good to be prepared. I’ll share a short list and pic of items we keep on hand and easily accessible while potty training, below.
- HAVE A PLAN: Are you going straight to undies, using pull-ups, or a combination of both? What about nap time, bedtime, school carpool, errands and going over to other people’s homes? Do you need to clear your calendar for a few days while getting things started? Thinking about these things will help with consistency which is half the potty training battle.
- BE FLEXIBLE: Nothing is worse than putting a bunch of pressure on yourself or your child over saying bye-bye to diapers. You know what you and your babe can handle so listen to your gut and try to have a little fun with it.
- DON’T GET DISCOURAGED: There will be good days followed by bad days and then eventually a few good weeks followed by a few horrible days and you’ll wonder when the accidents will end and if you’re doing it wrong and if you’ll ever be able to make it through the grocery store without taking a potty break. The answer is yes. And no. All at once. Just remember, no one goes to kindergarten in a diaper and no preschool teacher is caught off guard by an accident. So, just ride the wave… it’s less exhausting that way.
Remember tip no. 1? The hype has been building in our home since Christmas when Poppy got big girl undies in her stocking (I’ve just been dragging my feet). Her siblings think potty training is like the best, most exciting thing ever and have been doing more than enough hype building. It’s really sweet to watch.
Last week Griffin announced that Poppy wasn’t just potty training, she was POOPY TRAINING! Which everyone thought was hilarious and somehow lead to making poop emoji cupcakes. So, that’s just what we did over the weekend and they actually turned out so incredibly cute.
TO DECORATE THE POOP EMOJI CUPCAKES, I scooped chocolate frosting into a pastry decorating bag without a tip/attachment (a ziplock with big hole cut in the corner would do the trick too) then squeezed a swirl out on top of each cupcake and then added candy eyes (target usually carried them too). Easy peasy!
A peek at what’s in our potty training kit that I keep in or near the downstairs bathroom:
- wet wipes — disinfectant wipes are a good idea too.
- juiceboxes — lots of liquids makes potty training so much easier!
- extra undies and leggings
- small treats — I love little suckers and smarties because they last the longest but the serving size is still small.
- bubbles — or other activities. This is super important if you are potty training in the winter!
We’re officially starting Poppy in big girl undies tomorrow so I would love to know what other tips or supplies would you add to the list?!
Shared one of the easiest ways to make paper snowflakes with kids on the Land of Nod blog last week. Since winter calls for more time indoors (for most of us anyway ;) I wanted to make sure and give you the link. Nothing quite like a simple paper project to spend quality time with kids and keep them engaged!
How have you guys been staying busy indoors lately?
Happy humpty-hump day! (oops — song officially stuck in my head now)
Awhile back, I shared a fun backpack charm kids craft using painted wood beads and ever since I have wanted to paint more to make bauble necklaces for the girls. Well, over the weekend Tilly and I finally got around to doing it and they turned out so super cute we decided to take pics and make a post of it!
Painting with kids can be a bit messy but the steps and supply list for this project are very simple and totally worth it. Keep scrolling for the details…
- wood beads (20mm beads pictured) these would be cute too!
- craft paint (can’t get enough of the hand made modern paint colors at Target!)
- small paint brushes
- jersey knit fabric, cut to approx. 1-inch by 30-inch strips
- fabric (or really sharp) scissors
- wood skewers (like you use for kabobs)
- upholstery needle or long nail (for poking the fabric through the beads)
- Cover your workspace with paper to protect from paint. Thread beads onto skewers leaving a little room between each and on either end. Paint beads however you and your little desires. Rest both ends of skewer on items that are of equal height… like two bowls or mugs. Let dry completely — about 15 minutes.
- Cut knit jersey fabric into roughly 1-inch by 30-inch strips. The fabric will roll naturally but might need a little help in places.
- Thread panted (and dried) beads onto cut fabric. Use needle or nail to help it along.
- Knot fabric necklace to size, trim excess fabric and you’re done! (disclaimer: be sure to supervise younger kids while they wear them.)
Aren’t they fun!?
Tilly was thrilled with how her necklaces turned out and decided to packaged some up to give to friends who have been equally excited about them.
Loved having a little assistant for this project! Although I’m pretty sure she thought I was the one assisting. Ha! The lighting was a little tricky for pictures (and usually is during the winter months around here) so we pulled out the white paper backdrop and set up a little studio in our kitchen nook which I think made it all seem more special than past projects she’s helped with. Can’t help but notice how easily she fits into this creative world.
Hope you had an amazing long weekend and most importantly, Martin Luther King Jr. day! What an amazing man and movement we get to celebrate.
My kids are loud and messy and opinionated and I can’t take them anywhere without something ridiculous happening but they are also so fun and silly and taking them out and about is one of my favorite things to do! When our older kids were little though there was one exception. Eating out. It was takeout and drive-thrus for us thank you very much. Since those days I’ve changed my thinking and approach and it’s made eating in restaurants way more enjoyable — not to be confused with easy — without having to pack up a bag of activities.
Granted my kids and their age gaps are likely different than your’s, but hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful or encouraging anyways!
- EXPECT KIDS TO ACT THEIR AGE: I used to have this weird expectation that my kids could pull it together for an hour or so while we ate in public. Turns out there’s only one thing I should expect from them… to be themselves and act their age. So now, during any given eating out experience I expect there to be a spill or two, that someone will decide to take off their shoes, while another thinks its fun to climb under the table and everyone is bound to be starving and act like they’re near death. The good news is that it’s rare for all of these things to happen at one sitting so I usually walk away feeling like they did awesome, ha!
- KEEP MY GOAL(s) IN MIND: My hope is that my kids will do their best to be a good guest and considerate of others and especially their server. All of which are learned behaviors and one of the reasons I want to take them out. I also really just enjoy sitting for most of a meal and then not having to clean up afterwards! Usually makes the moments of chaos totally worth it.
- DECIDE ON A DINNER WORKFLOW: Having an idea of what and when we’re ordering (are we letting kids get sodas, ordering a basket of fries or other app first, etc.), and how you want to occupy the kids while they wait, before walking in the restaurant is a big help. Something that has worked for us when we have all of the kids is to order drinks, the kid’s meals, side salads for the grownups, and usually a basket of fries or hummus plate right away. While we wait for the food we chat with the kids – go through our highs and lows from the day, etc. Once their food arrives Johan and I order. We continue chatting and micromanaging until the kids are finished and then we let them share tech (usually our phones) while we eat and attempt a conversation. It’s not perfect or peaceful but it works :)
- HAPPY HOURS ARE MY BEST FRIEND: kind of a given but going before or after the breakfast, lunch or dinner rush makes a huge difference!
- STAY POSITIVE: and if needed switch things up a bit. Taking a kid or two for a bathroom break or to the car to grab something or telling a funny joke (the spoon on the nose trip works every time!) or anything that distracts them from annoying their sibling or throwing a fit is worth a try!
(Received lots of questions about my sweater so shared outfit details with links at the bottom of the post :)
A few pics from our lunch date with Griffin + Poppy yesterday.
There were surprisingly no spills and I don’t think any complaints about being starving to death. Griffin however, did accidentally mistake his thumb as part of his cheese and let out a very loud yelp followed by major tears and Poppy spent a good chunk of time dropping things under the table so she could climb down and pick them up.
But in the end they earned ice cream.
Not really but it seemed like the perfect way to end our outing!
It’s my favorite when Johan can join us for an afternoon adventure in the middle of the week. One of the perks of being married to a firefighter. Lucky kids. Lucky me.
Happy, happy weekend you guys!
Oh, and loved reading all of the comments on my dining room post… thanks for playing along!
Happy day after Christmas you guys! I’m currently still in my jammies (at noon), listening to the kids play with their new toys, and have no plans of doing anything but eating leftovers, folding laundry and recovering from the (good) craziness that December brings.
Sorta sad that the holiday season is coming to an end but I’m excited for the fresh possibilities of 2017. It can be so easy for me to think about the past year and come up with a list of things I want to do better in the coming year but have found that it can be equally as inspiring and encouraging to reflect on my favorite parts of the past year and all the things I want to carry into the new one.
That being said, I thought it would be a good time to roundup a list of the most popular posts along with some of my personal favorites from 2016.
Gosh, what a fun year… that also happened to be soooo full of transition and trying to figure out what’s next for our family and business and I just want to say thank you for meeting me in this space. The online and social media world can be so much about the numbers and while that’s just part of growth and good business, it’s not what this blog is about for me. I appreciate and care about one visitor as much as I would one million. Thank you so much for sharing your time, thoughts, comments and encouragement with me and allowing me to share my family, life and creative endeavors with you. It means the world to me!
Hope your Christmas (and 2016) was everything you hoped for and then some.
This year instead of treats the kids have decided to package up these very cute and simple marshmallow shooters to give their friends. We put together a few samples yesterday and had a blast testing them out and sampling the ammo too. Poppy (2 y.o.) was even able to make the mallows pop which lead to the sweetest belly laughs ever!
To DIY, YOU’LL NEED:
- Mini marshmallows
- Paper cups
- Standard sized balloons
- Packaging (if giving away as gifts)
- Poke a hole in the bottom of the paper cups and remove.
- Cut off the skinny part of each balloon. (See bottom right of picture above ^)
- Stretch balloons over the bottom of the cups.
- Fill cups with marshmallows and wrap up as a gift!
- To shoot marshmallows, place one or more in the cup. Pull down on balloon like a slingshot and let go!
I’m sure my mommy friends will love me for this one, but the marshmallows are actually really easy to pick up as long as they don’t get wet (i.e. – licked by a toddler or pet) before shooting. :)
Can’t wait to watch the kids deliver their handmade prezzies!!! Their excitement over the littlest things this time of year is the absolute best.
Happy Friday friends!
Come Christmas morning, our stockings are mostly stuffed with gum, chapstick, socks, and starbucks gift cards, but I always love including a few special surprises too. Since we’re doing the 4-Gifts again this year it also leaves a little wiggle room in the stocking budget. Here are a few potential stocking stuffers (and a couple gifts) that have caught my eye lately.
two | Blue monster beanie from Crewcuts.
three | Star Wars Doodles book from Amazon.
four | Emoji bobbies from Crewcuts.
five | Toy army guys from Amazon (or just about anywhere). Perfect for target practice ;)
six| Stainless steel teething keys from Kleynimals… We’ve outgrown the need for teethers, but love these and they make great baby shower gifts too so had to share!
seven | Pizza purse from Crewcuts.
eight | Colorful xylophone from Land of Nod.
nine | Pro wrestling dolls for the win! Too expensive for a stocking but such a fun gift.
eleven | The cutest knee-high socks from Bobo Choses.
Years ago, in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, my mom realized she had totally forgotten about buying stocking stuffers. Like any good mom would do she rallied, headed to Rite Aid and filled a shopping basket with deodorant, toothbrushes, drugstore underwear and the like. From that year on (and now even as an adult), our stockings always included a slightly upgraded version of my mom’s Rite Aid finds and I don’t think anyone would want it any different! Funny how traditions sometimes get started.
Do you have any stocking stuffer traditions?
There is a mile long Thanksgiving to-do list sitting next to my keyboard as I type this, but there is so much that happens between Turkey day and Chistmas, it’s hard not to jump ahead a little. One of my favorite upcoming traditions is our daily advent calendar (25% off at Land of Nod) and this year we’re stuffing it with trinkets, sweets, festive activities and simple service projects.
Looking forward to spreading love and cheer this advent season. Hope you’ll join us and download the printable below or pin for safe keeping!!!
Sign me up for this advent activity!!!! And Poppy’s adorable faces.
(PSA – Ryan and Wren clips are a fave… perfect for stocking stuffers and holiday outfits!)
LOVE DOES, ADVENT ACTIVITES, PDF — I made one sheet editable so you can fill in with your own ideas and traditions. Simply open in Adobe, click on the text box and type. The font I used is BEBAS (it’s free to download) or use a current favorite. Let me know if you have any questions!
Some activities are super simple while others are more involved and I’m sure we won’t complete them all, but I do hope it’s a fun addition to our advent calendar that sticks around for years to come. And that my kids will see that L O V E D O E S. It shares and serves and gives, celebrates and encourages, and is incredibly resourceful and creative. And without it, all the gifts and glitter of the season don’t matter too much. It’s a good reminder for me too!
Now time to get back to my Thanksgiving checklist…Happy Monday!
The last week of October is full of Birthdays in our home with Tilly going first, then Ozzie, and finally myself on Halloween. I usually try and squeeze a party in for Tilly early but our Disney Land trip made me think a belated celebration for her might be best. Of course we had festivities and family get togethers in between, but last weekend we ended her very long Birthday week with an emoji party with her friends at a gymnastics center. Tilly helped a ton with all the party planning, designs and decisions (so proud of her!) and was very happy with how everything turned out.
Sharing more details and party sources below!
CAKE: Tilly had been dreaming up (and bugging me) for a tiered cake since before her last Birthday. I have zero cake baking or decorating skills and didn’t necessarily want to splurge on a custom cake, but her persistence and excitement about the possibility could not be ignored. So Tilly and I spent a few minutes on Pinterest getting ideas and then reached out to Christina of 4kids Cakes to see if she could whip up something delicious and adorable (and of course tiered) with sprinkles on one layer and hearts on another. Thankfully she agreed and then blew us away with how it turned out and the chocolate “8” topper she added. It seriously made Tilly’s day! That and her friends of course. (*Served with wooden spoons.)
SNACKS + DRINKS: Our party started at 3pm so we grabbed some favorite kid snacks from Costco, filled 8oz. beverage bottle (or here!) with milk, bottled waters, and LaCroix for the mamas and papas. Click to download “#DRINKS” and “#SNACKS” signs HERE.
T w i n n i n g (! ! !) with a bestie.
There wasn’t much of a chance to take pictures before or during the party with the entire crew of kids and parents. But, you know those people that just don’t want to leave a good party? That’s how we roll and these are our friends who do the same thing. And I’m so grateful they did so we could get a few pics to remember the day with! Of course we love and missed the ones that had to scoot out earlier.
(Johan sneaking in one of the older brothers :)
Oh my goodness how I love celebrating my people. Just look at that face!
All in all, her big day went smoothly and I’m not sure who had more fun — the kids or parents — which is always a good sign! Let me know if I missed any details.