Archive | spring

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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HAPPY (SUMMER) TRAVELS: DAY TRIPPING WITH KIDS

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As I mentioned yesterday (in this post) we planned and took the kids on a day trip to Bainbridge Island, WA — a beautiful island in the Puget Sound with mostly rocky beaches, lots of marine life and a cute little town. It’s a quick drive and ferry ride from Seattle (4 hours roundtrip for us) making it an easy spot to visit for just the day. Trips and traveling with kids can be tricky and although we don’t do a ton of it, I did learn a few things earlier this week that I think are worth sharing. Especially since we are headed into vacay season!!!

Here are my top 3 (with a hidden 4th) tips for day tripping with kids:

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1. GETTING THERE CAN BE HALF THE FUN – I’m not usually very good at road trips. For me the journey is not half the fun, it’s a painful necessity. I prefer to arrive at our destination as quickly as possible, while a couple or all our kids sleep. But our latest day trip has me thinking differently. When I asked the kids what their favorite parts of the day was, they all mentioned the ferry ride (searching for crabs was the other unanimous highlight!). I know not every trip can involve a boat or alternate form of transportation, but there are other ways to break up the journey and enjoy the process a little more.

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^^^ Griffey randomly climbed onto the hydrant and started saying, “Awkward turtle…”, repeatedly. And it was, LOL. (insert silly monkey emoji here)

2. GEAR MATTERS SO OVERPACK – I’m a chronic under-packer. Piling a ton of stuff into the car, especially things we might not need, has a funny way of stressing me out. Is that weird? I like simplicity and organization in small spaces and I like for people not to have to climb over things to get out of the car. But again, I digress. Taking more of a cub scouts approach on day trips – be prepared – definitely adds to the experience. I can think of a couple things we packed and didn’t use (picnic blankets and beach towels) that I will be packing again and a couple other things (a baby/toddler carrier, bandaids and kites) that I wish we would have packed. This is where a car roof cargo box might come in handy!

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^^^ The scavenger hunt printable I shared yesterday ^^^

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3. IT’S WORTH SKIPPING NAP-TIME FOR – Take this with a grain of salt because it really comes down to ages and how many nappers and  high maintenance little ones you have. As you can tell by the last two pictures, Poppy was exhausted by the end of our day and not pictured were moments of complete chaos where everyone had a need, complaint or idea at the same time. But leaving mid-morning meant that Poppy got a 45 minute power nap on the way to the island which helped and having lots of snacks, quick distractions and a double stroller with a seat for Griffey (the kid would let me carry him forever I think!) helped a ton too. Overall, the meltdowns and tears passed quickly and dealing with them was totally worth it!

Now let’s talk about the hardest part (if you are like me) of skipping naps and quiet time:  giving up a solid couple hours of productivity! My business, sanity and family depends on those precious daily hours. Losing them tends to have a ripple effect and aside from asking for help or replacing them with hours of sleep, I have no idea how to make up for it. But I do know that quality time and special memories win every time!

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It’s been so much fun going back through pictures from our day. I don’t think we managed to get one with all of the kids together and smiling, but we did get this gem where they all look totally confused. Ha! I about died when I saw it and kinda like it more than a smiling one. Weird is so much better than perfect. Which I guess can be my 4th tip for traveling with kids… or doing anything with them for that matter!

What are your best tips for day tripping with kids?

XO, Rae

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TILLY + POPPY’S purses, GRIFFIN’S shorts (on sale), POPPY’S romper, TILLY’S top, TILLY + GRIFFEY + POPPY’S shoes, ESPEN’S shorts

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PIN TO WIN $100 TO TARGET

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Structured days, early nights and lunchbox packing is coming to an end and being replaced by endless water play, all day snacking and impromptu get togethers. We can hardly wait so thought we’d celebrate with a PINTEREST PARTY! One lucky winner will receive a $100 Target gift card — just follow the guidelines below.

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:

  • Sign up for email updates at the bottom of this post.
  • Make sure you are following Rae Ann Kelly on Pinterest.
  • Pin at least 3 of your favorite Rae Ann Kelly blog post images from this board on pinterest or directly from their respective blog post pages.
  • Make sure your pins’ caption includes the hashtags: #raeannkellypins and #rakpinparty so we know you’ve entered!

Contest closes Monday, May 30th at 6am PST. I’ll announce the winner here and then send a message to your pinterest account by the end of the day.

THE WINNER IS: Ginger Brehl

Have fun you guys!!! I’m excited to follow along :)

XO, Rae

11

BREAKFAST CLUB: SMOOTHIE BOWLS (+ A MEAL PLAN)

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I love a good “build your own” type meal. I also enjoy a good bandwagon. So, since smoothie bowls are super easy to personalize and trending at the moment, I figured it was time we gave them a whirl. Now I’m wondering what took us so long!?

If you and your kids like smoothies you will LOVE these. They are basically extra thick smoothies topped like a parfait. Toppings make everything better, yes? Yes! Here’s how we made ours…

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BERRY BERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL (makes 2 big bowls or 4 small ones)

You’ll Need:

  • 1-1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other preferred milk)
  • 1 cup spinach or favorite green
  • 2 tablespoons chia/hemp/flax/etc. seed
  • honey or agave to taste
  • ice to taste
  • favorite protein powder (optional)
  • toppings – chia seeds, shaved almonds, berries + other fruit, shredded coconut, granola, etc.

Here’s How:

  1. Toss all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender and blend until well combined and mixture is too thick to suck through a straw.
  2. Pour into bowls and prinkle with toppings of choice!

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Give me ALL the toppings please! I think they are the best part of any dish but especially these smoothie bowls. Aside from the delicious taste the colors and textures are so pretty and pretty food is fun to eat.

Now we just need to try acai bowls… Which I think are like smoothie bowls with an added ingredient? Have you guys tried them?

(CLICK HERE TO CHECKOUT OUR MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK)

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

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HAPPY MONDAY + A MEAL PLAN

menu-plan-may-2Hope you guys had a snuggle filled Mother’s Day weekend with lots of handmade gifts, flowers and yummy food too! We spent most of our weekend at baseball games but also managed to sneak in a trip to the farmer’s market and a date night (watching baseball of course :). Woke up feeling tired but also very spoiled. Definitely a weekend for the books!

After any good holiday weekend I almost always find myself playing catch-up when Monday rolls around. So I spent a little time on Friday getting ahead and made a meal plan for this week and thought I would share.

Here is what we’ll be eating:

If you are curious, HERE is a post about how we meal plan, deal with picky eaters, etc.

Are there any summery recipes you’ve been looking forward to making/eating?

CHEERS to an amazing week ahead!!!

XO, Rae

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SIPPING ON THE PERFECT ICED COFFEE

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(sleepy eye fabric backdrop from my spoonflower shop)

Warm weather goes with iced drinks like Monday’s go with caffeine so it seemed appropriate to share a little tip I learned that will have your iced coffee tasting delicious and creamy to the last sip.

Ready for it?

It’s so simple… freeze your favorite milk into ice cubes!!!

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As the cubes melt the coffee stays yummy instead of watery and blah.

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Our friends dropped off a bottle of their homemade cold brew last week, which (side note) is amazing! Not sure what has taken me so long to try, but I’m hooked. Anyways, I’ve been experimenting with different combinations and my favorite so far is:

vanilla coconut cold brew (or iced coffee) – half glass of cold brew, frozen coconut milk ice cubes, a little bit of vanilla syrup and coconut milk to taste.

What is your go-to iced drink during the warm weather months!?

XO, Rae

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THE ARROW PROJECT: MAY DAY SURPRISES (+ FREEBIE)

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This month we’re keeping our arrow project simple with a pretty act of kindness — May Day notes, with a dose of truth at the bottom and room to tape a bloom!

This might come as a shocker, but May Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with the kids. Mostly because there is no pressure to do anything and people are almost always surprised and happy for whatever we’ve thrown together. (Download and details below!)

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DOWNLOAD “HAPPY MAY” CARDS, PDF

MAY DAY SURPRISES 

  1. Download freebie, print on card stock and cute along dashed lines.
  2. Gather some fresh blooms from your yard, a neighbor’s, friend’s, the store, etc.
  3. Trim stems and tape to cards.
  4. Place on front doors, cars, mailbox, etc. or give to teachers, friends, neighbors, etc. as a random act of kindness.

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I often get caught up in feeling like the little things aren’t enough. Sharing a smile, encouraging word or single flower can’t possibly make a difference in someones heart or day but that would be a lie. Even Mother Teressa, who did BIG things and lived a BIG life, believed in the power of small things.

So this month we’ll be putting this principle into practice and learn to believe that God can do a lot with our little. Something that comes much more naturally to my kids!

XO, Rae

P.S. – Another May Day project we did when Poppy was in my belly and Tilly had the sweetest bob!

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FAVORITE FINDS FOR A GIRL’S SPRING + SUMMER WARDROBE

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There isn’t usaully a need to switch from cold to warm weather wardrobes around here in the pacific northwest until June-ish, but the sun has been out and showing off (with temps in the 80’s!) lately. Warm weather combined with the lack of clothes that still  fit my kids from last summer has me doing some online shopping. Which I love. Maybe a little too much!?

Here are some of my favorite finds for the girls. Everything linked is for older girls, but most have smaller versions for the babes and toddlers too.

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ACCESSORIES / 1. hat / 2. hair clips / 3. purse / 4. sunnies

DRESSES + ROMPERS / 1. blue stripe dress / 2. banana shirt dress / 3. floral dress / 4. twirly play dress in charcoal / 5. red stripe skater dress / 6. wide leg overalls

OUTERWEAR / 1. poncho / 2. jean jacket (Tilly + Poppy have this jacket and it’s so soft!) / 3. yellow frilled sweatshirt cardi

SHORTS / 1. striped short / 2. cutoff jean shorts / 3. olive shorts

TOPS / 1. flower tank / 2. olive split back tee / 3. natural wonder tee / 4. tres cute sweatshirt / 5. patches tee / 6. floral print tank

SHOES / 1. slip-on sneaker / 2. converse / 3. brown sandal

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Still need to hunt for some basic tanks, play shorts and of course flip-flops and beach gear, but it was fun to play around with different outfits. Tilly has all of a sudden decided that she doesn’t like skirts (with the exception of this one) or rompers but is thankfully still ok with dresses. Can’t beat the one-and-done outfits!

Are your kids picky about what they wear?

Happy (spring/summer) shopping!

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: TIN CAN HERB GARDEN

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Earth Day is Friday and my kids have been sharing all kinds of new-to-them info about different ways to take care of this sweet and beautiful earth that takes such good care of us. So far they’ve picked up most of these tips from school so I thought it was time to do a little schooling at home… not that I taught them anything new, but we did do some up-cycling and planting!

Here’s how we made our UP-CYCLED TIN CAN HERB GARDEN:

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You’ll Need

  • .5-inch and/or .75-inch alphabet stickers (we used .5-inch for the water can and .75-inch for all the other tins)
  • Empty tin cans (the cilantro is in a larger ‘crushed tomato’ can
  • Drill & bit or nail and hammer
  • Acrylic paint & brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Rocks from the yard
  • Soil
  • Plants or seeds

To Make the Cans – Clean and dry empty cans. Use a drill and bit or nail and hammer to make 3 or 4 holes in the bottom for water to drain. Place alphabet stickers as desired on can. Use painters tape for a dipped paint look, on the opposite end of the can from stickers. Paint until can is covered, drying in between coats if needed.

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To Plant Herbs – Place 3 or so rocks in the bottom of can. Add soil and the plant, filling with more soil as needed.

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Then water…. and try a taste of each herb.

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Or make your big sis do it.

Clip sprigs anytime they are needed for a fancy drink, garnish or dish!

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It’s sweet to see their passion for the earth and environment. Until they give me a hard time about using too much water or remind me that the microwave is much more efficient than the oven. Lols.

Do your kids ever so the same?

We’ve come so far from the days of ‘Give a hoot, don’t pollute’! It was such a fresh, new concept when I was young (or at least that’s how I remember it?).

XO, Rae

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FRONT PORCH SPRING REFRESH

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One of the chronically un-styled + unfinished areas of our home is the front porch. Mostly because I’m really good at killing plants, rarely find a wreath I love enough to splurge on and just haven’t taken the time to think about other ways to decorate. But with all the street hokey, fliers up, side walk chalk sessions, bike rallies, etc. that happen on our street, the porch could easily be used as an extra outdoor living space for people to hangout on. So a couple weeks ago Johan and I spruced up the front porch in just 3 easy steps…

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1. Cozy Seating: Using a couple pallets we had laying around and pinterest for inspiration, Johan made and hung a swing (thanks honey!). I shopped the house for a few pillows, but will be looking for outdoor ones to replace them with, and added an old rug that was folded up in the linen closet. When it comes to bringing the indoors out, pillows and rugs are my go-to!

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2. Updated Basics: A new flag and door mat, galvanized bin to hold shoes, knick-knacks and packages, and a simple fern that loves shade and should be easy to keep alive. Crossing my fingers. Now if I can just find a cute wreath!

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3. Lighting: Who says café lights are just for the backyard!? We hung a couple strands (criss-crossing them in the middle and used a staple gun to keep in place) and love how they add an inviting glow and festive look. Like we’re always ready to party :)

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(The kid’s latest project… a tin can herb garden.)

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It’s been fun seeing everyone use the porch for more than the front door. As you might have seen on snapchat (raeannkelly), the pallet swing is easily the fave.  Tilly didn’t waste any time making herself at home!

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“hey good lookin'” doormat / galvanized bin (but found for less at local hardware store) / striped basket (from IKEA but couldn’t find online) / flag / eye pillow / teal pillow / prismatic striped pillow / cafe lights

Do you have any spring projects planned for the weekend!?

HAPPY FRIDAY!

xo, Rae

2

SENSORY PLAY WITH THE LAND OF NOD.

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I know I’ve been bombarding you with posts this week, but I don’t want you to miss this fun project we shared on the land of nod blog using dinosaurs, sand and water.

I find that as our family changes to accommodate the schedules and activities for the older kids, the younger ones miss out on the playtime activities that are just for them. Sensory play is one of those activities. A few weeks ago however, we set up a sand and water table and the littles have been loving it… even Tilly! To keep them engaged I’ve planned a few different activities and their favorite (which involves squirt bottles of course) is the ice and sand dinosaur excavation.

Head here for DIY details and if you don’t have a fancy activity table just use plastic or galvanized bins!

XO, Rae

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