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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.

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

    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. 

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    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!

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    Favorites, Parenting

    Healthy Toddler Snacks + White Leaf Provisions

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    *I want to thank White Leaf Provisions for sponsoring this post; all thoughts and photos are my own. 

    If you have a toddler then you know the struggle of keeping them full, happy and energized for the long day! Our kids like snacks that keep them on the go.  We like snacks that are healthy and easy to clean up. That's why when White Leaf Provisions reached out to partner we couldn't resist the chance! A company that values family, health and cares about the world? Whats not to love!

    RELATED POST TODDLER SNACKS

    They were quick to answer all of my immediate questions:

    What about the packages? Where are the fruits and vegetables from? Where can I purchase these?

    Best of all they sent us a sample so we could test them out for ourselves. We were not disappointed. My toddlers gulped down a packet before I could open the box and I was quick to finish off the last of her packet because I couldn't imagine wasting something so great!  I was impressed and couldn't wait to share White Leaf Provisions  with you.

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    Health

    Convenient unhealthy foods are in every aisle at the market, they are lined up at the check out lane and most importantly they are placed directly in front of kids view.  It's much easier for our family to reach for a quick snack rather than a healthy snack. When our kids are yelling "eat eat eat" at us the pressure always causes me to think quick. But with White Leaf Provisions I am able to grab a super quick snack and KNOW that my kids are getting the nutrition they need. 

    Biodynamic Farming

    "Biodynamic farming is adamantly opposed to genetic modification organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, gardening and food processing. International biodynamic standards forbid the use of any GMOs and ingredients, including animal feeds, that would never occur in the natural world. These are the very principles upon which the evolution of all living things has been based for millions of years. A biodynamic® farm aims to produce everything on the premises, including seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and even feed for livestock."

    When I first heard of biodynamic farming I had no idea what it meant nor did I have a clue how important it was to the things my kids were putting in their mouth.  Thanks to White Leaf Provisions there is one less thing I need to worry about. I know that my kids are putting things in their mouth that are completely safe to eat because this company focuses on the importance of keeping their products pure! 

    Packaging

    Part of my minimalist journey has been finding products that aren't going to hurt the earth or my kids. I want things in my home that are functional and safe. That's why when I read about their containers  I was hooked. Their containers are BPA free and recyclable and they offer a mail-in-uprecycling program for the pouches with Terracycle.  We try our hardest to leave a smaller footprint and  because of White Leaf Provisions we are able to! 

    RELATED POST Simplified Mom

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    Looking to try these wonderful products yourself? Head over to White Leaf Provisions here or find them on Amazon and while your there be sure to check out how they practice mindful living! 

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    Parenting, Tips and Tricks

    Guest Post: 5 Ways to Combat Mom Stress

    mom stress, 5 ways to combat mom stress, how to deal with stress, stressful parenting, mom stress quotes, mom stress humor, mom stress funny, mom stress meme

    I recently fell in love with Brittney ,the author from The Honest Mom. I found myself scrolling through her blog and laughing out loud at her humor and love in each post.  She doesn't hide the truth from her glamorous life of motherhood. Brittney describes herself as, "Just a mom trying to navigate my way through the beauty and reality of Motherhood." but let's be real... this mom is far more than that. Her humor and personality make you want to be her friend and she is constantly finding ways to help us all. 

    Mom stress is real, raw and something that you just can't avoid. Find her advice for combating that nagging mom stress and how to make the most out of motherhood!

    RELATED POST Minimalist Mom

    Mom stress is THE WORST. 

    Imagine normal everyday stress. Sweating, slight panic, racing thoughts, that heavy feeling on your chest...Multiply that times 2 or 3 and you've got Mom stress. 

    Mom stress is worrying about messing your kids up. Trying to make sure your children have everything they could possibly need at any given time. It is making sure meals get served and car pools are arranged. It is keeping the household running and making sure butts are wiped and baths are taken. 

    To say the least, Mom stress is intense.

    And while we all somehow find a way to carry on and cope, I've got some sure fire ways to combat Mom stress.

    1. Channel Your Energy

    Find something positive to channel all that nervous energy into! Start an art project, play with your kids, do a home improvement project. I love focusing my nervous energy into home improvement projects. It turns all my gross and negative energy into a positive feeling of accomplishment! 

    "For a little while it makes me feel like I actually have my life together for a change... I totally don't, but it's nice to feel that way for a brief moment!"

    2. Find a Hobby

    Find something that you want to do solely for you. Pick something that is meaningful to you. Something separate from your family, work, and kids. Choose something that makes you feel like your own person again and not just a Mom. I love crafting! I enjoy taking time to separate myself from my role as a Mom and create something fun. A hobby can be anything that brings you joy and happiness. It should be something that relaxes you!

    RELATED POST Mom Workouts

    3. Take a Time Out

    Sometimes we just need a break! We need to completely unplug and take some time to regroup. Go to a store alone, take a long drive on your own, take a hot bath (try to ignore the little fingers under the door!). When things get a little stressful, it's best to disconnect from the situation and take a breather. 

    4. Ask for Support

    Don't be afraid to send out an S.O.S! Ask for help! Ask your spouse to do a few extra things around the house. Have your older kids do chores. Ask your Mom to come babysit so you can get some errands done without the kids. Call your Mom pals to vent. We all could use a little extra assistance sometimes!

    "Don't think that because you're a Mom, you can't ask for help."

    5. Check Yourself

    When the pressures of every day Mom life are weighing on you, check yourself. Remember that you are human and can only do so much. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can. Put everything into perspective. If your family is happy and healthy, you're already doing better than you think. Anything above and beyond that is a bonus! As Moms we often think we have to be everything for everyone at every minute of the day. All we have to be is ourselves. Our kids will love us either way!

    RELATED POST Mama Needs a Break

    There you have it. Don't be a hot mess, handle your Mom stress!

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    Looking for more? You can find Brittney at The Honest Mom

    The Honest Mom by Brittney
    Favorites, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

    12 Healthy Toddler Snacks

    toddler snacks on the go, healthy toddler snacks, snacks for kids, easy toddler snacks. road trip snacks, snacks for picky eaters, lunch box ideas, easy kid snacks, snacks for school, fun toddler snacks, homemade snacks, cheap snacks for kids, healthy kid snacks

    Our kids are almost 2 and 4 and I constantly feel like we are feeding a zoo. Every time I turn around Austin is telling me "my belly hungry" and Charlotte is climbing up her high chair. Our favorite healthy toddler snacks are smoothies and home made popsicles but they are impossible to bring when we are on the go.  If your like me, you constantly are running out of ideas on what to grab that is healthy and nutritious. 

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

    RELATED POST Packing for the Beach

    We try our best to pack whole foods. When packing on the go we use our  Yum Box! It has every compartment labeled so I remember to balance nutrition! It is also fun for them to eat out of.  You can purchase the Yum Box here 

    12 Healthy Toddler Snacks 

    1. Dried fruit

    Specifically dried bananas. They taste like little pieces of candy and my kids gobble them down by the handfuls. 

    This is one of my favorite snacks to occupy my kids. They are determined to peel them alone and it takes them at least 5 minutes. Mini mom break anyone?? 

    3. Veggie Straws

    We are currently really loving these veggie straws. They're crunchy, semi healthy and easy for on the go.  *FUN TIP*  Make veggie straw necklaces and bracelets. 

    We love that they make these bars in kid sizes. They are healthy, yummy and most importantly you can get them on Amazon, you can find our favorite ones here

    5. Protein Balls

    We love to make protein balls! You can find our latest recipe for pumpkin protein balls on the blog.

    RELATED POST Strawberry Fields

    6. Boiled eggs

    Fun for a toddler to peel and easy for a baby to eat. Mom loves these for a quick snack too!  Looking for a quick way to boil eggs? We throw ours in the instant pot and set it to MANUAL 6 minutes.

    These are Austin's favorite! They're sweet and just the right amount of crunchy.  Perfect bars contain over 20 organic superfoods and high quality whole food protein .  We pack these bars on all our adventures to keep us fueled.  There are 13 delicious flavors to choose from in two different size bars.  You can find Perfect bars here

    8. Fruit & veggies strips

    We love Veggie- Go's. I’m tempted to make my own!! Let me know if you have a good recipe. 

    9. Pouches

    Let’s talk about pouches. Austin has phased out of loving them and Charlotte sorta likes them. I keep them on hand as a quick grab but I try not to over do it.  Try  Squooshi reusable pouches.

    10. Crackers

    So easy to throw in and there are so many healthy options/brands. I try to stay away from prepackaged bags but they sure do make life a whole lot easier.

    11. Apple Sauce

    Recently my kids have been on an apple sauce kick but it has been really hard to find some without loads of sugar. We have been buying the 365 Everyday Organic brand. You can find these here.

    RELATED POST Camping with Toddlers

    12. Yogurt

    I know what your thinking.. yogurt is sooo messy!! But we have a little trick that makes it totally safe to eat in the car seat. Push a straw straight through the top and you have an on the go yogurt smoothie. 

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    Like with all foods, you have to be careful of the sugar. We try our best to stick to whole foods but sometimes the option isn't there.  What's your favorite on the go snack? 

    Crafts, House and Home, Parenting, Recipe

    DIY Marshmallow Play Dough

    Today I stumbled upon the perfect rainy day activity. It wasn’t rainy but the Nor Cal fires have been keeping us indoors for most of the week. I have been pulling out old toys, puzzles with a million pieces and lots of pots & pans to keep them entertained. Somehow the days spent inside always seem to last forever, naps never happen, and we all get cranky. But today we made something sweet to keep our spirits up- Marshmallow Play Dough!

    This post contains affiliate links to keep free content flowing. 

    RELATED POST Gummy Bear Slime

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    Marshmallow play dough was the perfect mix of creativity and endless play. The best part was they could eat it! It was almost too simple to make (somehow we still messed it up) and super easy to clean up.

    Marshmallows, ​coconut oil corn starch and food coloring - super simple and convenient ingredients, all of which we had in the cupboard.  We found a few recipes online, but decided to create our own little mix. It’s almost impossible to mess up, but we still did! 

    The first batch we made was PINK play dough. We added 12 large Marshmallows, 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of ​corn starch. Heat this mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds then add in as much food coloring as you want. We started with 4 drops and stirred it all up. You may need to knead with your hands to get it mixed really well. Our mistake was TOO much coconut oil. We had a bowl full of oil! So much so that after we mixed a good ball we could squeeze out the oil. To save this batch I had to add an extra 1/4 cup of corn starch to soak up the rest of the oil.

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    We balanced out our ingredients in our second batch. Our BLUE play dough turned out perfect!! Here is the combo we found worked out best.

    Austin loved rolling it out on his silicon playmate placemat and using his play dough toys to cut out different shapes! He is becoming a professional play dough man! Do I see baking in his future? Yes please!

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    Things to remember for next time?

    Start with less oil, add corn starch throughout play to make sure it doesn’t get too sticky, and don’t eat so much you get a belly ache!!

    Favorites, Parenting

    17 Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

    Dad holding daughter last minute fathers day gifts

    Ever since I was little Mother's Day and Father's Day has always been a day my family celebrates. My dad or mom would cover the other one in gifts, while us kids would whip up our best breakfast dish we could think of (usually including at least half the ingredients in the cupboard) and we would spend the whole day celebrating. BUT since becoming a mom I am the queen of forgetting Holidays, Birthdays and any day that is semi important. Father's Day is no exception and I am always scrambling to find the perfect Father's Day Gift.  It's not that I am not grateful because I am, I just always tend to wait until the last minute. If your like me and you need some grab and go gift ideas, whether it be for your hubbie, your father or someone you are extremely grateful for, check out my Last Minute Gifts below. 

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

    Breakfast in Bed

    Like I said before, breakfast in bed has always been a staple to our celebrations. It seem so luxurious to sit in bed and dine.  This Father's Day were making Starbucks Copycat Vanilla Scones, my husbands favorites! Check out my recipe here

    Homemade Card

    There is nothing that says I love you more than a homemade, personalized card. If you have littles this can get messy quick and often times ends  in scribbles. I have taken the hard work for you and created an easy fill in printable! You can find it here or click on the image below to download your PDF. 

    Printable Father's day fill in card


    Tools

    I always gravitate towards gifting tools. My dad is always fixing everything and my husband is an aspiring handyman. He loves new little gadgets that make life that much easier. This year we've been focusing on minimizing and decluttering. I couldn't gift him another hammer or wrench. So instead I got him a Craftsman 6 Door Tool Chest

    Camping Trip

    If you follow me, you know we love camping. It's our go to getaway when things get crazy. Plan a surprise camping trip. We have everything set up and ready to go in crates. Packing is so simple. Check out our tips and tricks here

    Monthly Dad Box

    There so many precurated boxes that keep the gift giving months after Father's day.  In the past I've used Mancrates, Daily Harvest and The Gainz Box. A quick google search will show you there is something special for each and every person  out there! 

    Hobby Gift

    Crossfit enthusiast, secret crafter, coffee connoisseur... take this as a chance to gift them with something they are truly passionate about and will get use out of! 

    DIY Mug

    Just because you didn't have time to go to a fancy studio to create an award winning mug doesn't mean you lost your chance. Grab a plain mug, whip out the sharpies and doodle away. Once done decorating bake the mug in the oven at 425 degrees for 1 hour. 

    Mix Tape 

    When was the last time you created a personalized mix tape? Ok maybe not a "tape" but create a playlist of all your favorites. Load on a file and  email them in the morning. Better yet, create a slide show of all your wonderful memories to accompany that mix tape. 

    Portable Speaker

    Along with the mix tapes, you could have everything playing on a portable speaker. We use ours all the time- camping, working out, playing outside. It's so incredibly useful! You can find one here or in the link below. 

    DIY Berry Card

    I wish I was more creative! Check out an awesome tutorial here on how to make this adorable berry card for Father's day! The tutorial by Ambitious Parenting includes simple templates and supply lists. 

    Matching Shirts

    When will there be any other opportunity to purchase and wear matching shirts? Our favorites are "The Original" and "The Remix" tee shirts. You can find them here or in the link below. 

    DIY DAD Picture

    Back when I was an extremely new mom and did everything the day before, I quickly threw together a baby photo shoot.  Using our foam blocks, similar to these here, I had Austin pose with D, A, D. He didn't move much at that age so it worked out perfectly. I even dressed him in one of my husbands baby outfits! I couldn't dig up the DAD pictures but I did manage to find one of the out takes. You get the idea.

    Baby chewing on heart for fathers day

    Toys for the Whole Family

    Gifts dad can share! Board games are always fun for all ages. I also thought of all the fun we would have with a drone or remote control car! Check out these awesome remote boats for a day at the lake! 

    Date Night

    If your kids are still little like ours, than you know that time together is truly a gift. Gift a date, a night for just the two of you.  You can see my favorite fun and easy date night ideas here

    RELATED POST ROOFTOP CAMPING

    Pressurized Growler

    A lot of our dates include hitting up breweries. When I this pressurized growler I knew my husband and dad would love it! It's unique, clever and most importantly keeps a growler of beer fresh for 2 WEEKS! That's a win in my book. You can find the Pressurized Growler here or by clicking on the link below. 

    Gift Cards

    Who doesn't love a gift card? A chance to get yourself something you truly love and are looking forward to. Check out a wonderful selection here.  Last year we painted fishing boxes for the grandpas and put a gift card for fishing gear inside! 

    Wallet/ Key Finder

    Just last night my husband lost his keys.  He had to find a ride home in the middle of the night and I had to get up bright and early to bring him back. You know what he's getting this year! Check out the Tile Slim here

    Don't forget the most important part of Father's day, spending time together. So whatever you plan to get or don't get, make a point to schedule a moment out of the day to call, text or hug your dad and tell them how much they mean to you. 

    Did you find the perfect gift and can't wait to share it? Post in the comments below! 

    Family Adventures, Tips and Tricks

    Packing for the Beach with Toddlers

    Packing for the beach with toddlers

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

    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 

    1. SUNSCREEN

    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! 

    2. HATS & SUNG:ASSES

    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. 

    3. SUN UMBRELLA OR TENT

    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!

    4. EXTRA CLOTHES & DIAPERS

    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. 

    5. BEACH TOYS

    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.

    RELATED POST BEST OUTDOOR TOYS

    6. BLANKET & TOWELS

    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!

    7. WATER & SNACKS

    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