Archive | LITTLE CELEBRATIONS

HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: 4 WAYS TO MAKE HOLIDAY DINNERS FUN FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS)

Holiday meals with kids can add an extra level of stress to time with family but we’ve been at it a long time and have found a few ways to keep our sanity in tact while also making it more fun for the kids (and adults too). It took us a long time to get to this point so hopefully these tips help you in someway!

  1. Having a plan for before and after dinner. It’s a given that kids will get bored (and starving) so having a couple light snacks and a craft or activity before dinner is so helpful. It’s also a given that kids will finish eating before the adults so having a plan while everyone finished eating (and chatting) is smart too. Otherwise there will be constant interruptions by little people asking for pie! (Our pregame is usually a craft like the paper headbands or hat pictured or something from Target and postgame is a short Christmas movie like rudolph. Also, pushing nap time back a little always helped with our younger ones so they wake up right before dinner.)
  2. Getting kids involved in the table setting. Ours usually make place cards and drink tags or draw pictures on note cards to leave at each plate. Older kids can write conversation starters and fill up water glasses, etc. Putting napkins at each place setting is easy for little ones… or kick it up a notch for big kids and try fancy folded napkins (found these fun ideas!)
  3. Get on the same page! Discussing expectations of the kids (and adults) beforehand… what they eat (slash don’t eat), etc. Also, some manners refreshers the week before thanksgiving is usually a good idea in our home. Things get pretty wild (i.e. loud) around our dinner table.
  4. Ignore the haters that think it’s crazy you excuse your kids from the table when there’s still food on their plate or that don’t understand why you would let them have pumpkin pie when they didn’t eat any turkey. Just because they care doesn’t mean you have to… I mean, who wants to spend their holiday meal in a power struggle with a preschooler, toddler or grandparent (lol) over being a part of the clean plate club. Save that for normal family dinner nights ;)

(excuse the abundance of griff and poppy pics. i couldn’t narrow down my favorites!)

Do you guys set up a kids tables during holidays or mix company at the main table?

We’ve done it both ways but usually have the kids at the adult table so they can get involved in the conversation. Plus it’s a shorter walk (for me, lol) when they need seconds, or help with something!

XO, Rae

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PHOTOS FROM HALLOWEEN IN SEATTLE 2018

On Halloween We:

Dress up like — Darth Vader (Griffin), Planet of the Apes (Espen), A soccer player (Tilly), Minnie Mouse (Poppy), Mickey Mouse (Johan), and a Strawberry (Me)… Not pictured were Ozzie and his sweet girlfriend who dressed up like a baseball player and an angel for Angels in the Outfield (so cute!)

Make last minute costume changes — Poppy, who was 100% committed to being a strawberry (because in her own words, she luuuuuvs strawberries. she luuuuuv eating strawberries and she luuuuvs being a strawberry.), woke up from a nap 15 minutes before heading out to trick or treat and was repulsed by her strawberry costume. Like wouldn’t go within 10 feet of it. But luckily she was wearing a black dress and we had minnie mouse ears on hand from going to the kids’ classroom parties (costumes aren’t allowed but headbands don’t count, right?) so it all worked out.

Try something new — We usually hangout in our neighborhood with a group of friends (who we love!) but this year decided to switch things up a bit so headed to Queen Anne for their trick or treating event and then walked to Johan’s sister and brother in laws place for dinner, candy eating and a movie.

Hold hands — probably my favorite part this year was that in between going into the shops and knocking on doors, there was always someone’s hand to hold… my favorite!

Count, sort, trade and then taste test the candy — always the first thing that happens once we’re indoors after trick or treating. Do your kids do the same?

Watch the nightmare before Christmas — or at least we did this year after getting back from trick or treating. Am I the only person that isn’t into this movie?

Listen to Christmas music — after the festivities, on the drive home of course, lol.

Carry around a pet ghost balloon — Just in case one of the kids got separated so they’d be able to look up and find us…. it was kind of annoying to drag around (mostly for the other people walking on the sidewalk, lol) but actually came in handy when Tilly wandered off. I’ll explain below!

Digging into poppy’s bucket after she said it was getting heavy, lol! Just doing my part to help a sister out!

Two pics above, everyone’s in the frame while Johan is figuring out settings for the camera so we can ask a stranger to snap a family pic. One pic above, Johan hopped in the frame but do you notice someone else missing? HA! Tilly somehow wandered across the street and we didn’t notice until we were finished with the pic and saw her standing on the other side of the crosswalk looking at us like, “where have you guys been!?” Sooooo glad she stayed put and didn’t keep wandering down the sidewalk… it’s my biggest fear on Halloween. Also the reason why I appreciate starting trick or treating before it get’s dark.

(might be the world’s worst at making a kissy face, hahahah!)

Our days of trick or treating are numbered so feeling extra thankful for our little halloween together, trying something new and having the best time. Hope you guys had the best Halloween yet!

Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments please… I love it when you share!

XO, Rae

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN + LIFE LATELY

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N   F R I E N D S ! ! ! 

If you’re looking for a fun activity to tide the kids over before it’s time to knock on doors, mummy making is perfect and all you need is is a few rolls of t.p. and a couple willing participants.

So much celebrating around our home this past week. Tilly turned double digits (10!) and had a big sleepover bash over the weekend. Ozzie turned 18 on Monday and we hosted a big family and friend dinner for him (it was magic!). And of course today is Halloween so we’ll be partying in the kids’ classrooms and then heading to Johan’s sister’s place on Queen Anne to trick or treat tonight!

Can’t wait to see everyone in their costumes tonight… my crew will be a mix of animals, food, athletes and star wars characters, lol. Never can get everyone to agree on a theme!

What about your fam bam… Do you try to match or does everyone do their own thing?

XO, Rae

 

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BEST OF HALLOWEEN POSTS

I have a couple fun Halloween posts planned over the next couple weeks but also love so much of the Halloween posts from years past so thought I would round up some faves… It was hard to choose, but take a peek below and click on the links to head to the full post!

Still one of my favorite halloween posts and probably the oldest too!

Remember when we made Halloween headbands with the land of nod!?

Boo worthy Halloween snacks and lunch notes.

Need to print these out again to use this year.

Boo-ing — still one of my favorite October traditions!

These tattoos make a fun addition to any October playdates or classroom parties!

Must do this again this year too! Hoping those felt flags are stashed in the attic still.

This kid party is full of good inspiration.

Just bought this ghost cookie cutter to make yummy cookies and spooky shaped sandwiches too…it’s the little things you guys!

You can search “FALL” or “HALLOWEEN” in the search bar to the right to find more.

Here’s to the next few weeks being full of all things spooky (but still cute), snuggly, pumpkin-y, and yummy.

XO, Rae

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5 THINGS EVERY KID’S PARTY NEEDS + POPPY’S 4TH BIRTHDAY BASH

My goal with this online space is to always keep things functional and doable with a heaping side of style and fun. I believe it’s important to celebrate motherhood and family (the big and small things) but not at the sake of my sanity or relationships. A stressed out mom is no fun for anyone! Even if it’s all for a good cause, like say, Birthday parties. Considering the endless amount of pinterest-y photos, it can be easy to feel completely inspired to throw a picture perfect party and I so admire the mamas that can pull it off and enjoy the process (teach me your ways!), but in my experience attempting to do so is not very practical for my bank account or my life and only makes everyone cranky. In an effort to keep things simple but also special, here’s my short list of kid party must-haves that make the day of festivities so much easier along with a few pics from Poppy’s 4th Birthday party a couple weeks ago!

I would also really love to know what would make your must have kid-party list!

MY 5 KID PARTY MUST-HAVES

  1. BALLOONS | any and all balloons welcome because they add instant party vibes and are an inexpensive way to decorate. Sometimes I make a bundle of helium filled balloons and other times we grab a few packages from Target to blow up and throw around the party space for the kids to kick, hit and play with. Love these letter and word foil hanging balloons (here’s a gold version – party city also carries them) we used for Poppy’s party that don’t require helium (saves money) and doubled as a good photo backdrop…. festive, decorative and personalized! Rainbow pom-pom garland is from Target and will get used over and over again!
  2. ACTIVITIES | I mean, what good are decorations if the party goers aren’t having fun!? We were lucky to have the beach and water for endless entertainment but since the weather wasn’t that good we also put together a slime making station (Tilly’s idea and it was a huge hit!) and a “pin the sprinkles on the POP-TART” game (using a big chalkboard and paper ‘sprinkles’) which I forgot to snap a pic of and didn’t get played with, lol. There are lots of good games out there and you can’t go wrong with activity tables (so kids can participate when they feel like it). I’m a sucker for all the old school ones such as scavenger hunts, relays, duck-duck-goose, bobbing for apples, musical chairs, and anything that involves freezing :)
  3. SIMPLE BUT YUMMY FOOD | same goes with food as activities… if kids (or their parents) are hungry or you’re stressing out in the kitchen, does anything else even matter? I like to have a variety of finger foods and kid friendly snacks and then plan a crowd pleasing meal that I can either make or prep ahead of time (i.e. hamburgers + hot dogs, or anything that bakes in the oven or crockpot) or order (i.e. pizza) and for sides, anything that comes from a bag (i.e. salad and chips!). Bonus if I can get ALL OF IT at Costco which is how it worked out for Poppy’s party. Even the cake and drinks.
  4. ANYTHING THAT IS A BIG DEAL TO THE BIRTHDAY KID | maybe it’s a special theme or activity, but whatever it is I try to make it happen. Poppy didn’t have any requests this year but for Tilly it’s usually a cake request and special party favors, Ozzie was always about having his favorite foods, Espen wants to make sure certain friends can make it and Griffin LOVES a piñata.
  5. PARTY FAVORS | I usually go overboard with this because I love goodie bags and containers and helping the kids pick things out! But really a wand of bubbles and hand drawn signs are all you need to say “THANK YOU FOR COMING!”

(SOURCES | blue berry basket for the favors, kraft food boat, 1/2 lb size pictured)

Look at all these cute party animals!!! So thankful for all the sweet faces in this pic and their parents. We had so much fun celebrating Poppy!

Now, please spill all your tips, tricks and must haves for making birthday party magic… What would make your list?

XO, Rae

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ESPEN IS 12 + A Q&A

A few days ago upon arriving at the spash pad in a neighboring town, I overheard a girl say, “What is Espen doing here!?” to her friends — and then they all grabbed towels and huddled in a spot where they could observe and chat and giggle. So I think it’s safe to say we’ve arrived at the awkward, innocent and still so, so sweet stage of middle-school-hood. Or tweenager as it’s often referred to where their world is getting big but they are still very much young. I’ve learned by now not to say it’s my favorite stage – because they’re really all my favorite — but I love it, for it’s highs and lows and purpose — it makes me tear up how each stage of childhood weaves together – none any more or less important. Just wish it didn’t all fly by so fast!

It’s been so much fun doing our interview video series the last few months and I’m excited to share Espen’s below! Feels a little bit like we are bottling them up at these specific ages each time I watch them. This interview surprised Johan and me the most… it’s always the quiet ones, LOL!!! Press play to find out what Espen (the introvert of the fam) likes and dislikes about being 1 of 5 kids, who he get’s along with most, and what some of his favorite things are.

Love so much that our very consistent and predictable child was so unpredictable with his answers. You may also notice my question about his favorite sport and needing to know his runner up too… Johan and I have a quiet competition going – both of us sneakily wanting our kids to love our favorite sport. So far Johan is blowing me out of the water with our two older boys being diehard baseball players, but I’m holding out hope for Tilly and Griff, lol! Truthfully we don’t really care, but it is fun to tease each other about it.

You can watch Tilly’s video HERE and Griffin’s HERE. Next up is Poppy and then Ozzie! Should probably do ones for Johan and me too. Let me know if the comments if you have any question requests or ideas!!!

A few pics from Espen’s birthday morning and our traditional breakfast in bed…

Birthday breakkies in bed are a big deal around here (because is there anything better than eating in bed?!). The kids almost always ask for crepes or donuts but this year Espen requested dutch babies with a side of fruit and scrambled eggs and I loved being able to make something different than our norm!

Almost as good as the B-day kids excitement for their special morning is seeing how excited their siblings get to make the morning special for them too. It’s definitely a family affair and the sweetest thing to watch! Hope it’s something they continue as the littlest ones get older and the bigger ones become young adults… I imagine them sneaking into each others apartments with balloons and donuts or showing up at their school with a fun treat. No pressure kids, LOL!

Espen, we love you to the moon and back times 100 and are so incredibly proud of who you are and how you love, lead and serve others. It’s pure magic to watch.

Do you guys ever daydream about your kids 10 or more years down the road!?

XOXO, Rae

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS + PHOTOGRAPHY TIP (A FREEBIE)

There are two things that get me through the back to school season 1. all the fun prep, shopping and planning that goes into starting a new school year (read: I love new clothes, lunch food and planners) and 2. football season. So I merged the two and made some festive but simple pennant flags for all the first day of school pics or daytime celebrations! There’s a link to download below along with the DIY and a BIG tip for taking first day pics too!!!!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FLAGS, DIY

You’ll Need:

  • THIS PRINTABLE TEMPLATE
  • dowels from the craft store or man store (they’ll cut them for ya!), ours are  18-inches
  • tape
  • OPTIONAL: tassels or other decorations (found some in a party bin I keep attached to a confetti balloon I bought from target :)

Here’s How:

Download, print onto card stock and cut the template along dashed lines. Tape to dowel and decorate. That’s it!

In my experience fanfare and celebration makes transition easier so whether you’re dreading BTS or ready for a little more structure, but aren’t sure how to get everyone up and moving in the morning, my best piece of advice is to make it fun and playful — blast the music, put sprinkles in their cereal, make time for extra snuggles, shake off the little setbacks (i.e. tantrums or missing shoes) and overflow with encouragement and no matter what, the morning will be a win — even if you’re late. Ha!

I find it’s best to let the kids’ teachers know what to expect every once in awhile anyways. (Love you so much teachers!!!)

MY BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO TIP: I rarely get a good first day pic with all the kids in it. There’s just so much going on and everyone is going at their own pace and feeling differently about starting a new year (some excited, some grumpy/anxious… so many feelings!) and the light isn’t very good by our front door in the morning either. Sooooo I usually find another time during the week to snap a few pics — maybe outside of the school or at the bus stop — I think sometimes when we see alllll the BTS pics and they allllllll mostly look the same we create a weird rule for ourself that our pics need to also look a certain way, so I just want to remind you that there is no perfect BTS pic! Use what you have, do what’s easy, wait for the dust to settle, take the pressure off to get it at a certain time or even a certain day :) and have fun!

Remember these snapshots are not just for Instagram or facebook even though you might be posting there, they are for you and your family to enjoy, keep and cherish and maybe even add to your chatbooks!!!!

Speaking of chatbooks, are you guys avid fans of the little photo albums or new to the club?

XO, Rae

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JOINING THE FAMILY CIRCUS

It’s no secret, motherhood can feel like a circus sometimes. Errr, a lot of the times ;). After reading the actual definition of a circus I’m more convinced than ever that it’s a pretty good metaphor. With Mother’s Day approaching and summer sneaking up on us, I’ve rounded up a few things to help make the days of juggling, managing, and accompanying your traveling group of acrobats, animals, clowns and performers, extra fun and festive!

  1. Saw flags like this at the kid party in the movie Mother’s Day and it looked so fun and festive! Plus they don’t cost much.
  2. Clown noses, just for fun.
  3. Circus food? Yes, please! I have this popcorn maker (not super efficient but the kids love it!), this snow cone maker (or this one) got great reviews, and who doesn’t want a little cotton candy sometimes?
  4. Love this dress.
  5. Just ordered this top on major sale.
  6. Animal cracker fudge seems like a good reason to spend time together in the kitchen. Don’t forget to share with friends!
  7. Cute sandals for when you take the circus on the road.
  8. Popcorn bags might come in handy for snack time.
  9. We’ve been trying to figure out a rewards/chores system for the kids this summer. Fair tickets might be just the thing! I like these star ones too.
  10. Wide stripes for the boys! Here’s one that’s on sale for your main squeeze too :)
  11. A diffusor (and some music) is the best way to set the vibe for your circus… add 4 drops grapefruit, 3 drops ylang-ylang, and 2 drops vanilla essential oils for a cotton candy blend. Unlike the sugary version you eat, the oils have health bennies that fight depression, help you destress and curb food cravings.
  12. Tilly and her friend have been having fun with face paint lately!
  13. A megaphone for those days when your inside voice isn’t doing the job and you don’t want to yell :)

cir·cus (noun): 1. a traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places.

See what I mean, LOL?

XO, Rae

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FAVORITE EASTER POSTS

Heyyyyy, peeps! We have less than two weeks before Easter and I’m doing my best to get all my eggs in the correct baskets (if you know what I mean) before our plane takes off for spring break. Trying to keep to a small budget and think I’m just about finished but would love to add a special little DIY or printable to the mix. If you guys have any ideas or requests, please let me know! I would happily share later this week or early next. My mind and creativity is feeling very split between making sure we are packed and prepped to leave and planning our Easter so I’m needing all the help with all the things, ha!

In the meantime, here’s a little look at some of my favorite Easter posts from the archives!

EASY BUNNY EARS + WHISKERS — might need to do this again… especially the whiskers and nose.

YOU’VE BEEN EGGED — not sure we’ll be able to pull this one off before we leave, but it’s such a fun activity!

EASTER CANDY COOKIE BARS — so easy, so yummy.

PAPER PLATE BUNNY MASKS — definitely a favorite and would make a cute kid craft if you’re hosting a brunch or egg hunt.

EASTER BRUNCH PRINTABLES — i mean :) bunny ears on all the things please!

FABRIC EGGS — an original tutorial i did with my mama back in the day! poppy still uses them in her kitchen and they are the cutest!

STAMPED EASTER EGGS — because a little paint is a lot less messy and intimidating than cups full of dye!  plus they are really fun to make.

2017 EASTER RECAP — a little stroll down memory lane (if you’re still reading, lol).

I had totally forgotten how chaotic our Easter weekend was last year… we basically flew by the seat of our pants! But we were together and it was actually so fun. Choosing to believe that it’s all the unplanned and mom-fail moments that builds a sense of humor and spirit of resourcefulness in my little humans. If not, we’re all in trouble! HA!

What do you remember/love most about Easter last year!?

What are you hoping Easter will be like this year?

Also, don’t forget to share DIY or printable ideas!

XO, Rae

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2018 HEART DAY RECAP

On Valentine’s Day we…

Eat emoji pancakes and homemade whip cream.

Wear pink hoodies (on sale!) and heart socks (Ozzie).

Run out of time to do our hair before heading to school (note Griffin’s bedhead).

Give neck hugs (Poppy).

Run calls at the fire station (sorry honey!)…. not sure when the last time was that Johan wasn’t working on the 14th of February. Not complaining tho! We make up for it on a much less busy night :)

Are beyond excited to handout our cards and treats to classmates.

Wish we could go back to elementary school, just for the day (me!).

Bail on the classroom parties to work, ensure a good nap for Poppy, and prep for the evening (also me).

Have friends come home on the bus and then run all over the house looking for clues in a scavenger hunt that lead to candy necklaces and silly string.

Have a silly string fight.

Eat soup and heart shaped quesadillas for dinner while sipping on the red gatorades our sweet friends brought over.

Consume wayyyy tooooo muuuuch sugar (all of us).

Fall asleep way past bedtimes (also all of us).

Hope you guys had the best v-day! What was your favorite part(s)?

xo, Rae

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KID-FRIENDLY VALENTINE’S DAY PLAYLIST

Nothing says LOVE like a boombox serenade! Or in Espen’s case, a bluetooth serenade :)

Put together a few songs that will get everyone dancing, feeling all the feels, and aren’t too heavy on the mushy side! I couldn’t decide on a specific genre so they’re a little random, however the playlist does start out fun and upbeat and gets more mellow towards the end so it’s perfect for that morning or evening grind.

  1. be my honeypie, the weepies
  2. best of my love, emotions
  3. wildflowers, tom petty
  4. stay stay stay, taylor swift
  5. i wanna dance with somebody, whitney houston
  6. man of the woods, justin timberlake
  7. i think we’re alone now, tiffany
  8. love me do, the beatles
  9. still got time, zayn
  10. all the pennies, mindy gledhill
  11. you are the best thing, ray lamontagne
  12. i got you babe, sonny + cher
  13. my sweet darling, seth fallen + the reaction
  14. die a happy man, thomas rhett
  15. i love you, alex + sierra
  16. bottom of the sea, matt nathanson
  17. sweet creature, harry styles
  18. i do, susie suh
  19. crazy love, van morrison
  20. at last, etta james

What songs would you add?

XO, Rae

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