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    Adventures, Crafts, Family Adventures, Parenting

    Fall Leaf Art for Kids

    Fall art for kids, projects for kids, painting leaves, kid art projects, kid art wall, kid art quotes, kid art ideas, fall projects, kid art lessons, kid art drawings, fall, kids crafts, fall kids crafts, fall kids activities, fall kids recipes, fall kid photography, fall kids projects, fall kids DIY

    Leaf art didn’t start as leaf art and that is the best part about most of our crafts in this house! We usually start with one project in mind and end up with something else even better in the end. One thing is guaranteed and that is a big mess along the way. I’m talking glue on the walls, leaves stuck to your butt and paint in the kid’s hair kind of mess. We love to make messes in this house.

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    Related Post DIY Play Dough

    Making Pumpkins

    For a quick minute I forgot how young my kids were and I decided we were going to make these super crafty pumpkins for the Thanksgiving table. I had all my supplies ready. First I told the kids to dip the string into the glue then wrap it around a balloon.  I handed my husband my camera and told him this is going to be amazing you have to document this! FAIL!!! with a big F. This is a project I will save for a night alone with a BIG glass of beer or wine. This is a 100% mom only project. One kid ended up in the sink covered in glue while the other was focused on gluing leaves to the wall. 

    Austin, being the artist in the house, immediately found something new to do with all our supplies and it ended up being so unbelievably gorgeous that I HAD to share it. It is the perfect Thanksgiving project for a one and a three year old. 

    Fall art for kids, projects for kids, painting leaves, kid art projects, kid art wall, kid art quotes, kid art ideas, fall projects, kid art lessons, kid art drawings, fall, kids crafts, fall kids crafts, fall kids activities, fall kids recipes, fall kid photography, fall kids projects, fall kids DIY
    Fall art for kids, projects for kids, painting leaves, kid art projects, kid art wall, kid art quotes, kid art ideas, fall projects, kid art lessons, kid art drawings, fall, kids crafts, fall kids crafts, fall kids activities, fall kids recipes, fall kid photography, fall kids projects, fall kids DIY

    Related Post Our Thanksgiving

    Making Leaf Paintings

    First you must go on the most incredible Fall walk and find the best leaves possible! We found so many gorgeous colorful leaves (meant to be used for a different project) and we had a blast talking about the colors and being explorers.

    Next break out the paint and paper. Let your little one paint away. When they are finished paint the leaves with a little glue and let them stick to their painting. You can paint the leaves or you can paint around the leaves and then peel them off.  Now for the best part. Lay the leaf art on your porch on a rainy day. Accidentally let it blow off the porch a few times. And then, only then will you discover this most beautiful piece of art. 

    Beautiful fall colors with the most perfect little splatters of rain. I can’t wait to frame it and hang it up in our house. I adore this piece of art and the story that goes along with it. Most importantly I love that we had fun!

    Fall art for kids, projects for kids, painting leaves, kid art projects, kid art wall, kid art quotes, kid art ideas, fall projects, kid art lessons, kid art drawings, fall, kids crafts, fall kids crafts, fall kids activities, fall kids recipes, fall kid photography, fall kids projects, fall kids DIY
    Adventures, Family Adventures

    Tips for Camping with Toddlers

    How to camp with toddlers, camping hacks, camping tricks and tips, camping 101, taking your kids camping, camping with a newborn, our favorite camping tips

    The word “camping” used to send me into such a panic… “Throw it all in!! What will we need in the middle of nowhere?! What will I forget?” It escalated when we decided to try camping with toddlers. 

    Not anymore. I spent last summer preparing for our biggest adventure yet. Cheap camping with toddlers. I wanted to make packing easy. My husband was working weekends so it was really nice to grab everything Monday morning, head out the door and then return on Thursday with minimal clean up. I have to say, in the past, the worst part of going was the clean up afterwards. Here are some essential camping tips that will allow you to have fun with your kids and not “panic” about the little things.

    *This post contains affiliate links to keep free content flowing.

    First things first, the set up!

    Yakima Sky Rise Rooftop Tent set up

    Before we started packing we had to decide what we were going to sleep in. Tent, cabin, van, Fifth Wheel, Motorhome, etc. We quickly decided to invest in a rooftop tent, because we figured the kids would view it as a tree house and something more fun than just sleeping on the ground. Not only did it help keep pests at bay but it also made us feel safer being up off the ground. 

    Yakima SkyRise Rooftop tent

    We shopped around and we ended up settling with the Yakima SkyRise 3. Why did we choose this tent? Well first of all the parts. Yakima is made in the US meaning if something goes wrong we don’t have to wait on parts to fix it. The second reason is that everything locks. The rack locks to your truck and the tent locks to your bed. 

    Where we live these tents are hot commodities and seems to be the thing to steal at the moment. I feel a lot better that it is locked on!! And last but not least, it is significantly lighter then most of the other rooftop tents. It was easy for my husband and I to lift on and off  and store it in the garage over the winter.  We recently purchased a waterproof rain cover which made camping in the rain so much easier! 

    Ok now onto the good stuff!! Here are a few products we had to invest in to make camping life the easy life.


    A canopy - I LOVE our Coleman canopy. I connect it to the ladder of our tent and zip it up. The kids can’t get out. It keeps the bugs out and we are able to sit and play in there when we need some down time. We tend to sit and eat dinner in there when it's dark out.  This was hands down my favorite purchase for camping but don't forget there is no floor.  We throw down a large tarp and top it with mats.  

    Rugs & Mats

    Which brings brings me to MATS!! Initially, I wanted one large outdoor rug, but I found a great deal at World Market and couldn’t turn it down. I ended up with two smaller mats. To make up for the space underneath I laid down a large tarp. This stopped all the dirt from getting in and made it so easy for the baby to crawl around. The mats are just a second layer and protect from rocks below. 



    I have all the things we use over and over in an over the door hanging shoe organizer which I got on amazon for super cheap. We keep this rolled up in a crate all the time and simply refill it when needed.  It includes things we want easily accessible and we hang it inside our Coleman canopy

    What do we put in it?

    Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Matches, Candles, Flashlights, Batteries, Diapers/Wipes, Rags, Plastic Bags (Trash, lunch, gallon), Hand Sanitizer, All Keys, Carabiner (good for hanging keys, baby/toddler distraction toy, locking tent shut so baby can’t escape), Kitchen Utensils, Plates/bowls/cups, Napkins, Foil.

    The list goes on and on, but for me it’s the essentials that I need to grab quickly. I have LOVED having these items on hand and feel as though it makes for a smoother trip. Don’t forget to put all the poisonous/messy/dangerous items in the top few slots so the kids can’t reach them! You could also slip a couple surprise toys in the bottom, we keep things that we are comfortable with the kids playing with in there (flashlights, carabiners, spoons). 

    Baby with dad. toddler camping trip
    Baby with mommy on toddler camping trip


    CRATES - We have about 3-4 crates depending on our trip. Most stay packed year round so we just grab and go.  One crate is for the hanging shoe rack, this crate gets turned into our “living room” table. Other crates contain - toys, kitchen essentials, food (this one we pack last minute), camping gear (lanterns, rope, extra supplies), sleeping stuff and clothes crate (we pack this last minute too). All of these crates sit on a shelf in our garage ready to go and like I said, after we unpack them we use them for other things. One becomes a table, another becomes our laundry basket. The nice thing about crates is they fit perfectly under the tent in the back of the truck and since the tent/truck bed locks, it is very difficult for someone to take them. They are also weather proof and can easily be stored. 


    Last year we were all about the pack n play. We could set up our campsite without our youngest getting into trouble. When the kids needed entertainment we would flip the pack n play on  it on it's side and make a cave. This year they are over the pack n play

    Each has their own camping chair and some blankets that we keep in the Coleman tent.  We also keep a mini pool and water toys on hand for super hot days.  Don't forget bikes, helmets and hiking shoes! 

    dad carrying camping gear
    Boy on bike waving on toddler camping trip

    For more helpful tips on Camping with Toddlers check out Camping with  Toddler, What you Need to Know by Me and My Mom Friends

    What are you favorite things to bring camping with toddlers?  How do you plan for a more enjoyable trip? Let us know in the comments below! 

    Family Adventures, Tips and Tricks

    Packing for the Beach with Toddlers

    Packing for the beach with toddlers

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    Raise your hand if you LOVE going to the beach and having a blast. My hand is raised high. There is no place I would rather be in this world than sitting in the sand or running in the waves but that has changed since having kids. I still love spending hours at the beach but I have learned that a fabulous time spent running in the sand can quickly take a turn for the worse if you haven't packed correctly. I have been THAT crying mom dragging her two screaming toddlers through the sand to get to the car as quickly as possible. If you have been that parent before than you know how important it is to pack all the essentials and to have them on hand to create the happiest beach experience possible. 

    Beach Packing List 


    If we forget sunscreen we don’t go. It is hands down the number one thing you need to spend a few hours in the sun even if it is overcast. Our favorites so far are California Baby and ThinkBaby (not the sport one). I love sprays for my toddler since he can only sit still for literally a couple seconds! 


    Yes hats to protect those tiny little eyes and if your kids are anything like mine they rip their sunglasses off first chance. I love a good trucker hat. Born to Love has some adorable ones! I play makes some really great baby sun hats that tie as well. My kids are very sneaky and can find ways to get the buckle undone but they have yet to figure out a good tie. My kids won’t keep sunglasses on no matter how hard I try but I do love Coolsome rubber flexible glasses with the strap. 


    Some kind of easy pop up shelter from the sun. We love our classic sun umbrella by Sport - Brella because it’s light and easy to carry. It also has little flaps on the sides. There are millions of fancy tents, but anything that blocks a little sun is perfect!


    Pack an extra outfit, rash guard (to keep your little one out of the sun), swim diapers! We like  iPlay reusable swim diapers.  At the end of our day we throw out wet clothes into a wet clothes bag and always have extra dry ones to throw on. 


    We try to keep this to a minimum. My son carries his own little bag and I let him fill it with a few cars, small shovels and maybe a small bucket. He has the Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch bag. I like this one because it has mesh in the bottom to shake out the sand before we get in the car. It doesn't take much to be entertained! I always throw in a few extra throw away cups or forks for digging.



    I keep it super simple and use our Las Bayadas beach blanket. I received it as a gift and it has been the best! It’s light and easy to shake off. You can find it at Nordstrom’s or Amazon. There are a lot of different blankets out there. If I was to invest in a new one, I think I would try out the sand free blanket by LAGHCAT or possibly the waterproof/sand resistance blanket by Campfy. This one is neat because it comes with stakes and a zippered pouch.. I don’t bring towels! We air dry at the beach, unless it’s cold and in that case I’ll throw in an extra towel!


    Okay this is a big one! You don’t want to make it all the way to the beach and have to pack everything up to go get snacks. We always over pack on food and water. I try to stay away from plastic bags but they are a must for the beach. Everything in ziplock bags to keep it from getting sandy before you have a chance to eat it. Reuse it and put your wet suits in when all finished. Just don’t forget to carry these bags out with you and try to reuse them!

    8. CLEAN UP 

    Last but not least BABY POWDER! Finally a chance to use up all those powders you got at the baby shower. If you’re like us, you got a lot and you didn’t use any on their bums. This is a trick that has literally saved me when leaving the beach. Simply sprinkle it on where the sand is stuck - toes, belly, butt and wipe away. No more sand in the car for the ride home. 🙂

    ** BONUS ITEM**

    We try so hard not to pack anything valuable when heading to the beach. There is nothing worse then having to stay within running distance of all your things. Your focus should be on having fun and running around! I just discovered these amazing beach capsules! You can hide your things in them and put them under your blanket. Better yet they now have these amazing hair brushes and sunscreens with secret compartments!!

    As a mom of a baby and a toddler, I know how hard it is to get out that door and onto new adventures. I keep our beach bag packed and ready to go so we don’t waste time searching for missing beach hats or blankets. Having these things ready to go will not only make your life easier but will set you up for a much more enjoyable time at the beach! Don’t forget the reason you are there, to relax, enjoy the sun and to laugh with your littles!

    Check out my beach list below and let me know in the comments what your number one beach essential is! 

    Packing for the beach checklist
    Adventures, Family Adventures

    100 Things you MUST DO this Summer

    100 things you must do this summer with or without your kids

    *This post contains affiliate links to keep free content flowing. 

    Summer is right around the corner and we have been planning away! Top of the list; camping and catching up with friends. These two things always seem to get away from us during the school year but during summer we make a point to go big!  Whoever said, “life was meant for good friends & great adventures” was right on point. What’s on your summer bucket list? Share in the comments below! 

    Family Camping Trip 

    Every year we put this at the top of our list.  We love to slip away from the craziness of the city and explore the great outdoors.  Not sure what to pack? Check out how we pack for camping here

    Read a Book

    Reading and kids do not go hand in hand. Each time I sit down to open a book someone is hungry, tired, bored but not this summer! I decided to have a set rest time. We will all get out a book and read or rest. I've been catching up on a favorite Carry on, Warrior: The Power of Embracing your Messy, Beautiful Life.

    Catch up with Friends 

    We are planning BBQ's, pool parties and lots of playdates for our kids but also making sure to schedule out time for our friends, without the kids. It's so important to have the time to decompress and pause the "mom/dad" button. 


    Who loves to hike in the fresh air? Along with this we have decided to get a hiking backpack. Check out the one we're purchasing here. Charlotte isn’t quite ready for 1-2 mile hikes but Austin is! This way we can guarantee a great hike without stopping every few minutes! 

    Mom Groups

    I feel my best when I’m involved with like minded moms that also have babies or toddlers. My kids love it, I love it! There are so many wonderful group s in my area- Hike it Baby, Stroller Strides, Mommy Yoga.  Check out my experience with Stroller Striders here. 


    Did you also start a scrapbook with kid number one but seem to forget it when number 2 came around? I started scrapbooking after I had Austin and since my time has been limited. Often times I have to remind myself that it doesn't have to be perfect or I would spend half my life trying to get the writing straight. It's best when I am organized and have things prepared. Check out these awesome art filers for the kids school work and these book sets to keep me organized.

    Outdoor Movie Nights

     I’ve always dreamt of having movie nights in the yard! I found an amazing Pinterest hack and have decided to do movie night with my kids once a week! Check out our favorites below. 

    Paddle Boarding 

    We can’t stay away! Recently I’ve been interested in paddle boarding and have decided to take my almost 4 year old along! Life jacket is a must since he’s still learning to swim but I love to share my passion with my kids. And prove that we can all learn something new whenever we want! 

    Kite Flying

    There is nothing better than chilling on the beach and flying a kite!  Kite flying is a big hit in out family and this year we are going to design our own.  Check out this simple kit here. 

    RELATED POST Make Edible Playdough


    Growing up my dad used to take us fishing and I have promised to take my kids! We have already scoped out some kid friendly places that allow us the safety of shallow water but the abundance of fish. Where will your fishing trip take you this year?

    See the complete printable list below and don't forget to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board! 

    100 things you must do this summer bucket list

    What would you add to our Summer Bucket List? Let me know in the comments below! 

    Adventures, Family Adventures

    Planning the Perfect Staycation

    It’s Spring and that could only mean two things - Spring Break and lots of birthdays to celebrate. My husband and I both celebrated turning 31 in March. This last year was probably one of the most eye opening years for me.  I realized that although memories last forever, it does not slow down how fast the years fly by.  It left me with a few questions: What do I want to leave behind?  What is important to me?  Where am I going? Where are we going?

    The one thing that became truly evident is that the only thing we take with us when we go are the relationships we have. 31 is a year that will be full of thankfulness; thankful for my family, my friends and the times we have spent together. And also a year of priorities - more time spent doing things I love and less time worrying about things I just can’t fit in. That brought us to Spring break. We had plans - plans to drive somewhere far away up the coast of California, drag the kids every which way and drive back. This sounded a bit overwhelming to be honest. Fortunately for me my amazing husband said “let’s just stay here.” Normally I would cringe at the thought of everything I would miss out on doing, but not this year. This year we had the most amazing staycation and it was spent laughing, snuggling and going on adventures. 

    Top 4 things you must do on your #STAYCATION

     “Life’s a beach, enjoy the waves!” The beach is our happy place. We spent 3 out of the 4 days and just played. In and out of the water, in the sand and all over the beach rocks. We had the best time watching the surfers and spotting all the crazy ocean bugs. We often take for granted the beauty that is hidden in the places we live. You may not have a beach but go out and find your “beach”. 

    “I took a walk into the woods, and came out taller than the tress.” Henry David Thoureu It’s all about the plans. We chose places we hadn’t been before, places we knew we could explore. We live 20 minutes away from the most gorgeous redwood forest, but have always stayed away because it’s considered a “tourist” destination and who likes crowds?! But we threw on our tennis shoes and decided to hike out their anyways.  We hiked along, laughing and talking. The kids oohed and ahhed at all the big slimy banana slugs and we took in the fresh air. Sometimes the “tourist” spots really are the most magnificent. 

    “Keep calm and eat a s’more!” Often times we go go go and get overwhelmed. The kids get tired and everyone gets cranky. The best thing to do is to sit at home and enjoy the place you have created together. For us this meant camping in our new gorgeous backyard. We had a fake fire and roasted s’mores on the BBQ.  

    “Therapy helps but so does sitting around the bonfire with a beer and with the people you love and care about.” Catch up with your friends. We had a bonfire without kids. We planned to hike out to our favorite spot with all the essentials. After beach number two and no available spots to build a fire we decided to sit in the darkness and eat our cold sandwiches and s’mores. It turned out to be pretty fun and silly. We drank a beer, we laughed, we talked. My husband and his friend showed off their muscles, by lifting huge pieces of drift wood over their heads. It was wonderful! Celebrate life and those you love. 

    Hope your next staycation is a hit! Let me know in the comments below how you spend your staycations! 

    Adventures, Family Adventures, Favorites, Parenting

    Why I Say Yes to My Kids

    Have you ever had “one of those days”? You know those days that seem like you just can’t find the happiness and adventure that goes along with being a mom. The days you long for a warm cup of coffee and a really great babysitter to whisk your kids away while you run away and get a massage? Yeah it was one of “those” days. 

    It felt like we were hitting a wall over and over again!  Austin & I  kept butting heads and on top of it Charlotte wasn’t napping.  My parents were in town and we were dragging the kids every which way. Austin was having little breakdowns and fighting me on every single thing. I was exhausted to say the least.. 

    My parents last day came and went and we said our goodbyes. I quickly loaded the kids up and headed to the gym. Austin was crying in the back seat and Charlotte was protesting in her own way. Neither wanted to go sit in a gym day care for an hour and they both were on the verge of losing it completely. Then Austin looked at me and said “Mama, can I watch trucks at the gym?”  That’s what he says when he wants to watch cartoons on our iPhones. My heart sank. I asked myself. Had every uncomfortable, awful situation led him to wanting to watch cartoons on our phones or watching tv? Do we constantly shove these things in his face to shut him up? When did we resort to this type of response.

    At that moment, I promised myself no more phones, no more tv and no more ignoring their requests (well maybe never but we needed to cut back).  My kids are 1 & 3 and they don’t want to be dragged around all day. They want to explore, play outside, wrestle with each other and snuggle. So this is how I said yes for the rest of the day and cut back on using electronics to soothe their every little need, or when I needed a break from them.

    • I put away my phone and listened to them. This was the easiest way to get on my kids level. Too often I’m distracted by social media.
    • I got on their level. I sat down and asked them what they wanted to do. So simple! I was in the car heading to the gym and I pulled over. I looked Austin in the eyes and asked what he wanted to do today! Do you know what he said? Go look at trees.
    • We did exactly what they wanted to do! I drove to the first tree filled park I could find and we ran all over! Dodging in and out of the trees and smelling trees! Yes I said it. Smelling trees, not flowers. He laughed and laughed!
    • What did he request next? A cookie. So this is the hard part. I couldn’t say yes to it! There had to be some healthy tradeoff. I suggested fruit followed by a cookie. He was on board 😉 We walked to our favorite bakery down the street and laughed as he gobbled up some yummy fruit.
    • Silly things first - on our walk back he found a ramp that was right by the bank and it was the perfect running ramp. He wanted to go up and down 3 times with me holding his hand. Guess what? We did it! We laughed and he loved it! It was silly yes but it was simple and made him so happy!
    • Make sure his needs are met - we got in the car and he wanted my phone. I asked why? He said he had nothing to play with! We immediately pulled out books and before taking off I read two. The whole way home I heard him reading to himself in the back seat.

    Will I put electronics away forever? Probably not. I don’t think they are the enemy or anything, but I also think there has to be limits. I am going to try my best to keep phones on mute when we are playing and having fun, after all they learn from us! And I will start saying yes to things that encourage them to explore and be happy. I love that Austin reminds me to slow down. To stop and to play and to enjoy this beautiful life that we have been given.

    Adventures, Family Adventures, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

    Raising Adventurous Kids

    Our latest adventure: CuriOdyssey in the Bay Area. It was our first free Sunday in a long time so we immediately called up Austin’s Aunt and Uncle to plan something fun. My kids are very adventurous and I am always looking for new and exciting places to take them. (You can find my top 10 tips for Raising Adventurous Kids below) While searching online for somewhere local that had indoor and outdoor activities I stumbled upon CuriOdyssey. Yelp doesn’t do it justice! The reviews were so-so and the pictures looked cluttered, but we decided to check it out anyways.

    Coyote Point is a recreational area in San Mateo. CuriOdyssey is an attraction within Coyote Point. There are also play structures, lots of picnic areas, grassy areas to play, boats, ocean trails and tons of other gorgeous things that make this area so incredibly special.

    Upon entering, we went straight for the animal exhibits. It was the perfect size for a three and one year old. Most of the attraction is gated and each area has a closed in structure. There were so many places to explore from the indoor reptiles to the bobcat exhibit. Along the exhibits there were lots of little places for the kids to stop and peek around. We came upon a neat little hut where we had a quick lunch while watching the river otters. 

    We then headed indoors to the hands-on exhibits. There were so many little discovery stations where the kids were able to touch, play, build and stack things. They had a blast! At the very end of the hall there was a light room. They handed us lanterns and we made our way through the dark structures and fun neon lights. Austin danced away as we listen to fun music and played. 

    Next time we visit, we will definitely plan a full day there. We didn't get a chance to walk along the beach and check out the boats or sit and watch the low flying planes. This place is number one on my MUST visit again list. It was fun for all of us and more than anything left both my kids exhausted. Both of them snored all the way home.  I couldn’t be more thankful for such a quick and fun adventure! 

    Top 10 Tips for Raising Adventurous Kids & How to be Prepared

    • Always dress for the weather. Which is hard when the weather in the Bay is constantly changing. We wear layers and prepare for anything from rain to sun! Check out my favorite layering pieces here. Don’t forget hats and sunglasses.
    • Pack snacks and then pack some more snacks and then throw in some water. My kids are hungry animals 24 hours a day. Without food, fun adventures quickly spiral out of control. You can find my post on snacks to go here
    • Find a place that has outdoor space available. We never want to be stuck indoors all day! I always look for places that allows for some real nature exploring. 
    • Pack a carrier or stroller. My biggest downfall when exploring is being stuck carrying one of the kids. Austin weighs over 40 lbs and Charlotte over 20lbs. Its always nice to be able to give one of them a lift when their little legs get tired. Find out why I love to carrier my kids in my post here
    • Be patient!! Exploring takes time. Make sure you plan out a good chunk of time for your adventure and allow for rest times.
    • Don’t forget to be spontaneous - Let the kids guide you. It’s there one chance to go where they want to go, discover what they want to discover and learn on their own along the way. Follow their lead and go with what works for them.
    • Create educational opportunities - Although you are letting them make the plans and focusing on their exploring, make sure to ask questions that allow them to think and brainstorm. Encourage them to use all their senses. Get their hands down and let them smell the flowers.
    • Make a mess - There is always time for cleaning up. We pack wipes and a couple bags for dirty clothe. Some adventures end with playing in the mud puddles and you don’t want to be stuck cleaning a dirty car after that! 
    • Share in the laughs, happiness, and wonders - Put down your phone and just be together. Don’t miss out on these moments. They will happen once and when they’re gone then they’re gone. 
    • Follow up that evening by talking about your adventure and all the things you discovered. Let them tell you about what they loved doing and their favorite parts. Use those cues to plan your next adventure! 

    For more information on CuriOdyssey check out their website here

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