Archive | KIDS

25 SIMPLE DATES TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS

One of the most pivotal moments in my parenting career happened when I came to the realization that my job as a mom was less about keeping all my ducks in a row and more about developing relationships with said ducks :) If that makes sense. Setting aside a little bit of one on one time (or even one on two) with our kids, away from the hustle and bustle of family life to fill their love tanks and just enjoy each other’s company has been a really good way to do just that.

Over the weekend Tilly and I planned a park date but then had to adjust our plan after Poppy came down with a stomach bug and fever. So we ended up grabbing treats from Starbuck’s and then posing for silly pictures on the couch. Even though we didn’t leave the house for long, the 30 minutes of time spent getting a special treat and being silly together did the trick!

Sharing 25 more simple date ideas to do with your minis, below!

25 REALLY SIMPLE KID DATE IDEAS

  • Head to the park to PLAYYYYYY. Bring a soccer ball, have a cartwheel contest, lay on a blanket and make pictures out of clouds, etc.
  • Plan something together! A special meal, end of the year party, outdoor movie night, or weekend getaway. Head to your favorite coffee or smoothie shop with your trusty notebook and pinterest account. You’ll not only be teaching life skills but also have another outlet for quality time!
  • Go for a bike or scooter ride (just make sure you hop on a scooter or bike too)
  • Kid’s choice! just be sure to set up some guidelines so things don’t get too extra. pretty sure 75% of my kids would choose a trip to Target with a $5 budget, lol.
  • Attend a High school sporting event
  • Take a class together
  • Visit a climbing wall (or a YMCA date if you have a membership)
  • Volunteer together
  • Play catch
  • Fly a kite
  • Plan a random act of kindness to do together 
  • Go putt-putt
  • Go to the batting cages (ask if they have a tee for younger kids!)
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Go for a run
  • Get slurpees
  • Go to the library
  • Have a picnic and make up a secret handshake
  • Visit a you-pick farm
  • Pick wild flowers to do a craft with later
  • Pick out each others outfits and then go split an appetizer
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Learn a new skill together like making balloon animals
  • Leave notes on the sidewalk for people using sidewalk chalk
  • Play a board-game

Another parenting tidbit I’ve learned over the years is to focus on THE BIG 3 touch, listen and look — when with the kids and it definitely helps keep those bonds and connections strong! What I find so ironic (or not so much) is that those are all things that came naturally to me during their first year of my kids’ life. They’re also things that can easily take a backseat as they get older and more independent. A good reminder that eventhough our kids’ needs evolve, they stay the same in many ways. Also another good reason to put the phone down and away whenever possible!

Tell me she’s not the cutest little date there ever was!?

I don’t want to imply that it’s more important to do this with certain kids over others and of course there will always be seasons where planning dates just isn’t in the cards — — but for the kids that challenge me the most, I would say spending one on one time has saved me from hitting burnout status and made it easier to fall in love with who they are instead of just focusing on their current behavior challenges.

Also a little footnote, sometimes all it takes is letting one kid stay up past bedtime or help you make dinner or even help you pick out your outfit (my dad used to wake me up in the mornings to help him pick out a tie for work and it is still one of my favorite memories!).

Here’s to building strong relationships — it’s something we all crave and were created for! Amen!

xo, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: WATERCOLOR FISH HATS WITH THE WILD

You guys! I’m so excited to share this fun project I got to dream up for my brother in-law, Mark, and the “School of Salmon” program a group of kids put together based on his film The Wild. The idea of SOS is to bring awareness to the planets last wild salmon run (which is in danger) by watching a 5 minute video then sharing their thoughts on the subject and in the end, challenging another school to do the same.

If you want to participate at home, you can find more info here and then follow along with the fish hat DIY below!

YOU’LL NEED:

  • water color paints + brushes
  • white matte (not glossy) pasteboard, cut into 4-inch strips
  • pencil + ruler + scissors/razor (or a large cutting board)
  • scissors
  • white or neutral colored crayons
  • colored card stock or construction paper (for fins and lips)
  • googly eyes
  • glue stick

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Cut poster board into 4 x 36″ strips (using the longest edge of the poster).
  2. Doodle or make a pattern using a white crayon, then paint over using watercolors. You should be able to see your crayon marks underneath… it’s called resistance painting!
  3. While drying, cut fins (we used a triangle shape) and fold one corner down about 1/2-inch. Then cut lips (fold scrap of paper in half and cut a “B” shape).
  4. Once dry, glue eyes, fins (along folded edge) and one side of the lips to your poster board strip.
  5. Finish by closing the headband; measure the size of child’s head. Where the paper overlaps, cut a 2-inch slit at the top of one side and at the bottom on the other side. Fit the slits together so they crisscross and look like tail fins. Cut fringe or a shape to the “tail” if desired!

Such a fun way to play and support and ultimately start a conversation so we all feel empowered enough to save the things in this world that we love so much… No doubt we’re raising a generation of activists and world changers!

For all my local friends, Uncle Mark and a group of kids (including Tilly + Griffin) will be on King 5 at 7am this morning if you want to check it out!?

xo, Rae

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PARENTING HACK: EARLY RISER ACTIVITY BASKET

We all know that in most cases, after having kids, a full nights sleep becomes a rare luxury and a Saturday morning spent in bed isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and personally I’m okay with it. However, when the kids roll outta bed at 5:45am on a Saturday, it’s nice to have something quiet and calm for them to do (so they don’t wake up the rest of the house!) that doesn’t involve a screen. Of course we love a little tech time, especially on the weekends but when Poppy and Griff wake up around 6am and the rest of the crew wakes after 8am it can be hard to keep screen time to a reasonable amount. This is where our activity basket has come in handy… Get the full diy and some ideas for making your own below!


GOOD MORNING ACTIVITY BASKET

A Few Ideas:

  • a snack (fruit leathers or a banana and zbars are usually our go-to)
  • calming blend essential oil roller (ours has 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops tangerine or orange + fractionated coconut oil — the blend promotes feelings of peace and creativity!)
  • coloring supplies (or these water wow books!)
  • favorite picture book (this is our current favorite)
  • pretend and creative play toys (I added a dress-up mask from opposite of far and unicorn horn by brooklyn owl, pipe cleaners + some peppa pig characters… we also have at least one basket of legos in every room of the house which come in handy and also love this chalkboard “laptop”!)
  • a basket or bin for storage
  • HOT TIP: hide the basket when they’re done and then put it out by their bed once they’re asleep at night :)

Meet our two {very} early risers… after hitting the jackpot with three incredibly good sleepers (at least after the first year) and nappers these two non-sleepers came as a bit of a shock to us. Most nights at least one of them crawls into our bed at some point and they both seem to be able to sense when either Johan or I are up and at ’em and then act accordingly, ha! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good snuggle sesh in the morning and am always happy to see their sweet faces but the whole reason I get up early is so I can squeeze in a little work before our day starts. While there’s no shame in Netflix-ing, after a long winter and very rainy April, we’re really trying to cut back on all screens. Having a dedicated basket for them feels special and fun and has been a lifesaver… If you try out an early riser activity basket with your kids, I’d love to know how it goes and do my best to keep up with comments on the blog and DM’s or comments/tags on Instagram so hit me up!!!

These kids and their oils. Obsessed + I don’t blame ’em. I also love that it’s another way to teach them how to pay attention to how they are feeling and then take care of themselves. By the look of these pics, I think Griffin would bathe in oils. Not a coincidence that it’s a calming blend he’s rolling on, lol.

After a few years of using oils and doing all of my own research and sourcing (remember when we used to sell them!?), I finally got smart and signed up for Young Living. Kicking myself for taking so long as it’s saved me time and money and has given me access to products we use daily that I would otherwise have to live without (I see you thieves). I’m still working on setting up a resource page that’s easy to share, but if you’d like to know more, sign up, or ask me alllll the questions you can leave a comment or send me an email at rae(at)raeannkelly(dot)com!

Happy Friday Loves!

xo, Rae

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10 COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT EASY TO TWIN WITH YOUR MINI

Me in the pic above: Thinking about what to name our pizzeria and when I can match with one of the kids again. For all my fellow matchy-matchy type mamas out there I thought I’d share a roundup of my favorite companies that make mom + mini twinning a no brainer.

Snapped a few pics (because matching must be documented) while Johan and I took Griffin on a quick dinner date… we ordered cheese sticks (G’s fave), salad and drinks all around and then a pizza and salad to bring home for the rest of the crew. We were only out and about for a little over an hour but it was the perfect amount of time to sneak in some Q.T., finish a placemat word search together and give Griff our undivided attention.

More below!

That look on his face! (insert heart emoji)

10 COMPANIES THAT MAKE IT EASY TO “TWIN” WITH YOUR KIDS

  1. Olivia + Ocean, because the best place to match is definitely at the beach or pool!
  2. Did you see this collab between alice + ames and sonnet james?
  3. Shop doen and their kids line, it’s all sooooo dreamy and romantic but still functional.
  4. Anine Bing and bing kids… we’re wearing their sweatshirts here + here (Griff is wearing size 6-8 + it looks cute and oversized on Poppy too).
  5. Whistle & Flute has some seriously cute tees.
  6. Plain Jane usually has items in matching patterns like this buttery soft robe and play gown for your little.
  7. More super cute tees by jean & june.
  8. Albion isn’t super match-y, but they make it easy to coordinate…
  9. Tiny cottons and their newest women’s line. I want it allll!
  10. Bobo Choses is another favorite!

Don’t remember the last time I ate something I didn’t end up sharing with someone but I prefer it that way… and not just with the kids. Johan and I almost always share an app and main dish on date nights, an ice cream cone when we’re out for a treat and a venti coffee when we run through Starbucks. Is that weird? Ha! Maybe it’s the “me too” middle child in me?

Our speed date with Griffin has me thinking that it’s time to schedule more one-on-one (or two) kid dates. Would you guys be interested in date ideas or seeing what we end up planning?

Also, please share your thoughts on matching or shops you know that make it easy!

xo, Rae

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HAPPY EARTH DAY + A TIN CAN HERB GARDEN

earth-day-tin-can-herb-garden

Earth Day is today 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:

upcycled tin can herb garden-9921

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.

upcycled tin can herb garden-9905

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

upcycled tin can herb garden-9939 upcycled tin can herb garden-9943 upcycled tin can herb garden-9941 upcycled tin can herb garden-9976

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

upcycled tin can herb garden-9978

upcycled tin can herb garden-9998

Or make your big sis do it.

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

upcycled tin can herb garden-9989

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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THINGS WE LOVE: AN EASTER BASKET ROUND UP

I love finding fun items to fill the kids’ Easter baskets with, but it can be soooo easy for things to get out of control, lol. There’s so much cute stuff out there and honestly, lots of things they could use now that it’s spring. So I always try to stick to a loose theme or two. This year I’m filling their baskets with activities and accessories for rainy spring days or baseball games… and of course pajamas. Always pajamas!


HERE’S WHAT’S IN THE GIRL’S BASKETS |

HERE’S WHAT’S IN THE BOY’S BASKETS |

Shared a sneak peak on Instagram Stories yesterday if you want to go check it out! And of course Ozzie and his girlfriend are getting Easter baskets too, but they’re much more present on social media than the other kids so I didn’t want to spoil anything…

A few things I’m filling their baskets with if you need any ideas for older teenagers | a couple WSU things (like these sunnies), this cute scrunchie, bibles from She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth, water bottles, ChatBooks and bathroom caddies for the dorms as their baskets! Ha!

Cannot wait to set everyone’s basket out on Easter morning! Also can’t wait for all the egg hunting, mimosa sipping and cinnamon roll eating.

xo, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: NON-STICKY SLIME RECIPE (FOR EASTER!)

Wether you live in a home with pro slime makers or you’re a pro at dodging the slime making requests, we think that there’s no time like this weekend to make some, package it up in easter eggs and share with friends! Bonus that our slime recipe is, while still pretty messy to make, less likely to get stuck in anyone’s hair or outfit. So far it’s also washed off of a couple of our throw pillows. If you’ve ever let your kids play with slime for more than 10 minutes, you know that’s not normally the case.

The recipe is below but you can also head to IGTV to see Matilda in her element as she shares her favorite slime concoction. The video was a last minute decision (around 2pm yesterday) inspired by the girls so the production quality isn’t the best and Johan deserves all the credit for piecing it together so quickly! Also, please try to ignore the fact that I make myself (and no one else) crack up 2 or 3 times during the 4 minute video — a quality I inherited from my mama :) ha!

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER SLIME FILLED EASTER EGGS

You’ll Need:

  • plastic easter eggs (if they have air holes, cover with tape)
  • 2 cups white elmer’s glue (or other brand)
  • 1 heaping cup of foam shaving cream
  • 1 teaspoon baby oil
  • 2 tablespoons borax stirred into 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of lotion
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of model magic
  • optional: food coloring drops of essential oil, mini foam balls, glitter, etc.

Here’s How:

  1. In a large bowl, combine glue and shaving cream. Add 1-4 drops of food coloring as desired and stir.
  2. Add baby oil and stir.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of borax and stir… it should be getting “gloopy” as you mix. Continue to add borax water 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a slime consistency. Stir in foam balls, glitter and essential oils if desired. (see IGTV video for reference)
  4. Knead in the model magic with your hands.
  5. Finally, add lotion and play with slime until fully mixed in.
  6. Fill plastic eggs with butter slime and hand out to friends!!!

S.L.A.T.T — slime love all the time.

Which, according to urban dictionary, is a gang term. I’m guessing the leader is a 10 year old girl.

Happy weekend!

xo, Rae

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HOMEMADE CAKE POPS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

They’re bite sized, gooey and delicious and we basically keep Starbucks in business ordering them so I figured it was time to whip up a batch at home! And since St. Patrick’s Day is a week away I ordered these food safe markers and let the kids have fun drawing shamrock and rainbow inspired doodles on the outside. More details below!

Aren’t they cute? We used this recipe (yum!) and these markers and sprinkles. Making them takes about 4 steps with time to cool and harden in between. It’s almost a full day process but luckily there isn’t much hands on time or dirty dishes required.

I wasn’t sure what to expect (even after reading the reviews) but was impressed with how well the markers worked… and how easy it was for the kids to use them!

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t on a school day this year and we’re not much of a corned beef and cabbage type fam so these tiny treats seemed like the perfect way to celebrate but they could be decorated for just about anything. Oh and I also found a fun and easy shamrock shaped dinner idea too… shared in this weeks meal plan HERE!

How do you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day!?

xo, Rae

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CABIN FEVER CURES + A PRINTABLE

We’re smack dab in the middle of that winter grind that seems to last for-ev-errrr (read in sandlot voice). Some days we leave the house for errands and activities, other days are a welcome break that involve pj’s, cookie baking, forts and movies and the rest seem to be full of bored kids, bickering and screen time negotiations. The latter can sometimes sneak up on me so fast that by the time I notice, I’m also feeling totally drained and in no shape to be scrolling through pinterest for activity ideas. Which is why I started making a list to stick on the fridge or bulletin board and thought I’d share in case you’ve been experiencing the same thing.

We have such a big mix of ages in our family but hopefully it still helps and if you want to make your own list, I included a blank page too… CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Do you guys have little tips and tricks for limiting screen time or do you tend to not worry about it and just go with the flow when it comes to tech and tv? The biggest help for us lately has been changing the passwords to everything so they aren’t sneaking off with devices. Oh and did you guys read about the youtube situation happening?… might want to make sure your kids aren’t around if you click on it! Tilly caught a glimpse and was up twice with nightmares last night. Poor thing.

xo, Rae

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RAISING SELF SUFFICIENT KIDS + A DONUT OUTING

Teaching responsibility and self-sufficiency is one of the hardest parts of parenting for me. Everything from encouraging my kids to wipe their own bums and tie their own shoes to making their own lunches and scheduling their own appointments is messy, uncomfortable and requires loads of patience.

However, “SETTING OURSELVES + OTHERS UP FOR SUCCESS” is one of the 5 core values of our family and therefore, teaching and giving our kids opportunities to take responsibility for themselves and their lives has to be a priority. So I’ve been working on it and gosh it’s hard. Hard to figure out how to be supportive and present but not coddling and enabling. At least for me.

Recently we made a list of everyday teachable moments we’d like to take advantage of. Some of them are things we already do and others are ones we need to start doing but all of them are things we should be doing more of. Here’s what we came up with!

  1. Encouraging them to interact with other humans over the phone and in person – when eating out, ordering food (have them be the ones to call Papa Murphy’s!), checking out at a store, communicating with their coaches or making appointment. The more we rely on texting, apps and web sites, the more important I think this one is. It’s an easy one to implement but also an easy one (for me) to forget!
  2. Teaching them to cook solo, then give them jobs during meal prep like making scrambled eggs for breakfast, throwing together the salad for dinner or following the recipe for brownies and then being the one to serve dessert. Last week Tilly made everyone dinner, start to finish, including setting the table and it was magical! She was so proud and all the kids were excited to eat the pancakes and apple slices she had made. Bonus that it was so sweet to see everyone being supportive and appreciative too!
  3.  Giving them opportunities to make money and save for the things they want. There are always extra projects and chores around the house that we are willing to pay for. Every once in awhile they also have opportunities with the blog (like their gymboree photoshoot) that allow them to make money. Encouraging them to set up lemonade stands, sell cookies, etc is also a fun way to help!
  4. Instead of solving all their problems, answer their dilemmas and complaints with, “Gosh, that’s a bummer… What do you want to do about it?” or “Let me know how I can help” and other leading questions so they can problem solve but know we’re here if they need us. Also, a phrase we repeat often (that I read on a business website) “everything is figure-out-able” reminds them that they are capable!
  5. Keeping track of a calendar and advocating for their needs/requests. This one’s more for the older two since their schedules are busy, and they have smartphones and more freedom. The Cozi Family Organizer has been a huge help (thanks to our friends who recommended it!). It syncs with google calendar so the boys can see what we have going on each day, add their personal activities and put items on our shopping and to do list. No more telling me that they need to bring a box of toothpicks to biology next week, at 10pm on a Friday night… add it to the list! 
  6. Time management. This one is so tough since there is so much room for failure, especially for the kids that are less rigid. But I find that avoiding nagging, giving prompts and sparse reminders and allowing natural consequences (bummer but we don’t have time to make a water bottle, etc.) is effective (yet equally painful) at least for the older kids. I would love to try one of these watches for the younger two!

What would you guys add to the list!? 

Since eating out often brings teachable moments and opportunities for kids to converse with grownups and learn about finances (+ tipping!), I thought I’d share a few pics pics from our most recent donut outing. Side note: Poppy has most definitely nailed the “emo” kid editorial trend that’s happening right now, lol (see below).

Daddy pile!

Snapping pictures of all the details because I never want to forget their little lovies, stuffies, and other toys or accessories they bring with us on our adventures! Or their silly smiles.

Johan and I have been meaning to give Oz opportunities to practice paying bills, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it… any ideas, please share!

xo, Rae

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NEW PRINTABLE VALENTINE’S

As promised! You’ll find a few new classroom Valentines below. They’re my favorite thing to design, so I hope you love, share and use them!!! Use the links below to download, then follow the instructions that are included.

OUT OF THIS WORLD VALENTINES
HAPPY HEART DAY VALENTINES
HEY BOO VALENTINES

Working on making all the designs from years past (that used to be in the shop) editable and will post ASAP… More to come!

xo, Rae

PS – You guys are so cute and clever and I love seeing how you use my designs so don’t forget to DM images or tag me in stories and posts so I can see the finished product!

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