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A Chance to Help Local Students

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.

Get Involved!

When my kids come home from school they often tell me their favorite part of their day is either gym or recess because they got to play soccer, kickball, wallball, roller-skate, etc. Wasn’t that your favorite part of the day, too?? Kickball was my favorite. Somehow (not from me!) my kids have an endless amount of energy and this playtime is something they crave and they need.

As I was scrolling through one of my Facebook groups, I saw a post that caught my eye. A school teacher at a middle school was asking for donations of athletic balls because the kids were playing with flat ones and the school didn’t have the budget to replace them. Have I been so oblivious to the fact that there are many schools that just don’t have the funds for things that we take for granted?

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is currently running a contest through its Let’s Play initiative, High School Makeover Challenge, where high schools across the U.S. entered by making a video answering “Because of Sports…” While the submission period has ended and 20 schools have already been chosen, you have the opportunity to vote for the top 10 submissions. The top voted school will win $100,000 in brand-new athletic equipment. Think of what that would bring to the kids! You have the power to help a local school. In the case of my Seattle readers, our very own Rainier High School is in the running.

Voting starts Sept. 8th at 12 p.m. EST – Sept. 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST and the winner will be announced the on Sept. 25. If you would to vote or share on Facebook, go to: http://bit.ly/2wP8Nef

We can make a difference in these kids’ physical education. Share with your local friends so we can help our fellow Seattle-ites and follow along using the hashtag #LetsPlayHSMakeover!

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Connecting Through Fashion

This post was sponsored by Reebok through Activate Bloglovin’  
All opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

Is it shallow of me to think that fashion is more than just superficial- but that it can serve as a way to connect? When I see someone wearing a beautiful piece of clothing, I usually tell them. It often starts with a compliment and then leads to a conversation. And then sometimes friendship:
I remember one of the first times meeting my sister in law and she was wearing a hoodie with gorgeous pearl earrings after an evening at a bonfire. My husband, her brother, later told me that she knew we’d get along because we were both wearing the same thing. Silly? Yes. But, it’s true!

When I was growing up, I remember my feet dragging as I tried walking in my mother’s beautiful high-heeled shoes.  With two daughters of my own, I observe them doing the same thing: rummaging through my closet, finding their favorite pair of heels, trying on clothes 5x much larger than their little bodies. They hold up my skirts under their underarms, gathering all the lose fabric and spin. Seeing how “flowy” their skirt can get evokes laughter and applause from my little girls.

My daughters squeal when they notice they are matching with each other or matching me. It makes us feel connected. Just like when in middle school you’d call your friend and make sure you planned matching outfits. It’s an outward statement of your connection. And that makes you feel special and loved. I mean, who doesn’t love that? My girls want to feel connected to me- connected to each other. And this time of wanting to “match mom” is fleeting. So, I will relish in our “twinning” moments. And thanks to Reebok for making a classic style shoe for both kids and adults. Their Classic Leather Shoes have stood the test of time. The same overall style but with really fun and bright colors gives them a modern touch as well as a burst of personality. While I love this shoe because it’s practicality to match everything, I picked this bright pink and red shoe for Madeleine because she is just such a character. Her personality is like a bright sorbet- which you can see from her shoes. I kind of wish they made those in my size!

Whatever Classic Leather Shoes you pick, get FREE EXPEDITED SHIPPING with the Reebok promo code: CLASSICFAST. They fit true to size and are so incredibly comfortable. Tell me which ones you’d get in the comments. I may have to snag another pair!

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Easy and Pretty Cookie Treat Holder

Have you read the 5 Love Languages? I was listening to a Sunday school class and the teacher mentioned how service is her love language. As I thought about it, I realized that mine is, too. I really love to help others. I guess it is partly selfish because it makes me happy and forget my own stuff when I do something for someone else. And when someone does something for me it really makes me feel cared about. Continue reading Easy and Pretty Cookie Treat Holder

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Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

Let’s talk baby monitors. Sure, some people go without and that’s cool. Some people have the audio only monitors while others opt for the video monitors. Some people may be wondering why I even need a baby monitor anymore. My baby is almost 2! Two! I don’t even believe myself when I say that.

This post is sponsored by CocoonCam; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

The truth is- I have a little anxiety. I get a little nervous when my kids sleep longer than usual and if they are crying whether or not they are actually hurt or just want to get out of their crib. Sometimes I crack the door open to check on my baby and of course it creaks like the mother of all creaks. The baby stirs and jolts up because obviously when she hears the door creak that means it is party time! I don’t know why I do this to myself. My inquisitive mind needs to know she is safe. Plus, I really want to see when she starts climbing out of her crib so I can line the perimeter with pillows….or just get her a toddler bed. Continue reading Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

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Crafting with Kids: Father’s Day Card


Doesn’t it seem like every time you see your kids they look a little older, their pants are a little shorter and you have to buy them sneakers for the 3rd time this year?! And I see them all the time. To our dismay, we don’t see the grandparents very often. We used to but now that our family has grown and flight prices have been increasing it is much harder to fly across the country. So I thought that sending the grandads pictures, actual tangible pictures, of the kids as their Father’s Day card so they could see them every time they walked by the fridge. Let’s be honest, the grandparents really just want you to bring the grandkids but not to see you, they want to see the kids! Continue reading Crafting with Kids: Father’s Day Card

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DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

This post was sponsored by The Baby Cubby but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog.

You know how when you are sitting at the doctor’s with your well behaved kids in tow or sitting in the pews at church with your kids with their arms folded and quietly listening to the speaker? If you do, then you are a magical unicorn mom. If not, well, you are in good company.

We were running late to church so we just grabbed our church bag and bolted. As we sat between two families and our kids were much more interested in the fun toys they had. We, of course, were ill prepared since we just ran out the door and it was then that I realized, I have to put together a better “quiet bag.” I’ve been carrying around the same items for the last 2 years and the items had become trite to the kids. While my older kids should be able to sit quietly, my younger ones still struggle. I found some fun quiet time items to keep them from going crazy at church and actually let us listen to the speakers. Just bein’ honest guys. Continue reading DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

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Crafting with Kids: DIY Binoculars

The sun is out (well, it has been a few times). The birds are chirping. The end of the school year is just around the corner and everyone is soaking up as much sunlight and warmth as possible here in Seattle. I’ve noticed that the sun just makes everything happier. And in turn I want to do more to spread that cheery almost Christmas-like feeling, haha!

Every morning my girls stand on the couch peering through our big window and wave goodbye to Daddy as he waves to them while pedaling up the hill. Then the girls look up at our neighbors tall townhouse and search for the baby birds that have been chirping all morning. Madeleine points up and says “pappo!” Which is her way of saying “pajarro” which is “bird” in Spanish. Then she holds her pointer finger and thumb up to her cheek and open and close those fingers together. “Pappo! Pappo!” She eagerly signs and smiles when Adelle points to the “pajarros” in the sky.

To add to their love of bird watching, we decided on a rainy day to make binoculars to better spot (except not really) the birds in the trees. They even brought them to the park to see if they could spot new birdie friends. The best part of this was that it is so simple and the kids can really make this their own. Obviously my 20 month old couldn’t do it but she just enjoyed the fruits of my labor. I guess that is life with kids, right?!

Alright, let’s do this.

Directions:

  1. Use washi tape (or markers/crayons/stickers) to decorate the tubes. I got the white ones from Oriental Trading company because they are sturdier than regular tubes and well, they are prettier. Just bein’ honest.
  2. Once you’ve decorated the tubes, use double sided tape to stick the two tubes together. For added reinforcement I would staple the tubes together. 
  3. Punch a hole on each far side of the tubes (not the sides you’ve stapled on). 
  4. Cut a piece of ribbon or string long enough to fit over the child’s head. Then tie a double knot on the inside of the tube.
  5. And you guys are done!

Easy, right?! This could be a great explorer/adventure themed party or just for a kids’ party activity. These get used pretty often especially while pretending to be in the jungle and hunting for prey….you know, because tigers use binoculars for that kind of thing.

Remember to save this for a rainy day:

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DIY Shibori Napkins and How to Keep Them Stain-Free

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WorryFreeMessFree #CollectiveBias

I looked on in horror as my young son wiped his spaghetti sauce mustache on his sleeve. Nooooo!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told him not to do that. Wait, I can. About 3489257489284920583092 times. Yep. I mean the napkin was within his grasp but I guess his sleeve was closer. I thought, it’s a good thing I don’t have nice napkins or I’d internally flip if he stained those. As I was washing the dishes I remembered a story I heard about a woman that had a beautiful pearl necklace. She put them in a safe place so they could never get lost or ruined. She never wore them for fear of something happening to them. She passed away never having worn that precious necklace she valued so much. While I don’t go to that extreme, we use our china several times a year, I realized my mistake. I CAN have nice things. Yeah some might get ruined because we are a young family. But, I can also take more steps to protect my “nice” things. Thank you Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector for existing!! I don’t want to be worrying about things getting ruined because they are being used. Helloooo!! Napkins are supposed to be used to wipe off spaghetti sauce mustaches. They are supposed to wipe off chocolate after a fun fondue night. That is their purpose. My logic was all wrong and I decided to do something about it. I finally bought myself some nice cloth napkins and wanted to personalize them by using the shibori method of dyeing. It’s just a glorified version of tie dyeing (throwback to summer camp). And it was fun to get all messy crafting up a storm. And you sure are bound to feel pretty awesome looking at your new creation and confidently saying to yourself, I freakin’ made these. So you wanna make some of these yourself?? After some trial and error and some more error, here is a way to make these. Take note that every dye is different and while your napkins will don the same hue, each method of tying results in something different. I like to think of it as unique and personal. I love when they are imperfect because well, we all are imperfect and beautiful. Alright, enough with the sappiness and bring on the mess.

Materials:
100% Cotton Cloth Napkins
Navy Blue Dye
Disposable Gloves
1 Cup of Salt (optional)
Bucket (I lined mine with a trash bag so it wouldn’t dye it)
Tools: rubber bands of various sizes and widths, cardboard, string, paper towel tube, etc.
1 Cup of White Vinegar
Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector (coupon for $1 off here!)

What To Do:

  1. If you are using new napkins, make sure to wash them to remove any chemicals that might alter dye. Leave them damp.
  2. Using various tools like rubber bands, string, tubes, tie damp napkins using various methods. Or you could use the same method if you want them all similar. Here are a couple of links to help you with different tying methods.
  3. Every dye has slightly different methods so make sure to read their specific directions. I used a combination of colors: navy blue and royal blue dye. Then I filled a bucket with hot water. Add a cup of salt and mix really well. You could also just use a singular dye.
  4. Make sure your napkins are still damp. This helps to soak in the dye. Depending on how big your bucket is, place the napkins into it in sets. I did 6 an 6. Insert into dye and agitate the dye every 5 minutes. The amount of time you let it soak will determine the intensity of the color. I would recommend letting it sit for at least 30 minutes. I accidentally learned this haha! Dyeing is a unique technique because even if you use the same method all the results slightly vary.
  5. Once time is up, remove the napkins letting the excess dye drip off. I wouldn’t recommend using a white or porcelain sink to wash off dye or it could stain it. Without removing the ties, let cold water run through napkin until the water is clear-ish.
  6. Once the water isn’t an intense color, remove the ties and run under cold water until the water runs clear. Run the remaining napkins under cold water.
  7. Once they are all done, put into washing machine. Don’t mix with any other clothing. Wash it (no detergent) with 1 cup of vinegar in cold water.
  8. Wash again using detergent in cold water.
  9. Dry using low heat. Once dry, iron. Or not. Ironing really isn’t my jam but it makes it look crisper.
  10. Using Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector, shake bottle really well. I recommend using a test swatch to make sure color doesn’t rub off. Holding the can 6″ away, lightly spray one coat onto fabric, front and back. Make sure to be in a well ventilated area and cover your work space. (watch video here on how to apply)
  11. Reapply a second coat once first coat is dry.
  12. Once dry, it’s ready to use! Because napkins are frequently used, you’ll have to reapply every few months. But now you can use them without any worry! And they won’t change the feel or look so spray away.

So go take a stroll through Target and grab some supplies. Not gonna lie, my Target stroll not only included grabbing the Scotchgard™ product. A few other things jumped in my cart, too. #sorrynotsorry I finally found them in this aisle on the third shelf…not that I minded perusing every aisle to see what else I “needed.”

Now go spray your sofa, sofa pillows, other table linens…all the things. Actually first read on back what you can spray. And then stop worrying about it and just live your crazy awesome life.

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Tips to Coordinating Kid’s Easter Outfits

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

baby easter dress | baby sandals (sold out but linked to similar)

toddler easter dress | sandals | headbands (similar)

I think there are only a handful of times when I am actively trying to get my kids to wear coordinating/matching outfits: Christmas, Easter and when we take family pictures. Any more and I’d drive myself mad! Running from store to store trying to pick out something that matches the other store’s outfit and the one in the closet…..ahhh it’s just too much. I rarely go to store anymore. I prefer to online shop and that makes things easier but after having to plan for multiple of these events for years already, I’ve learned a few things when trying to coordinate outfits for my kids for special days like Easter.

  1. Try to shop from one store. Stores, like Carter’s, usually have a unifying color palette throughout their departments from babies to kids. I got shirts, shoes, bowties (the ones I got sold out but linked to similar one) and dress shorts for my boys that coordinate perfectly with the girls’ cute spring dresses. And if you can find shoes, bonus!
  2. Pick a statement piece (like a bold floral pattern) for one or two people to wear. Then pick subtler (like light stripes or even a solid color) coordinating pieces for everyone else. For those wearing the subtler main piece, try to sneak in a little oomph with texture (like a crochet dress), a patterned shirt layered under, a patterned bow tie or embroidered bottoms. Alternating the patterns (within patterns and from top to bottom pieces) is important so doesn’t look cluttered and overloaded.
  3. Know before you go. If you are planning on going to the physical store, then I say you have to do your research and check their online store. See what they have and see if it matches your criteria. It saves you from having to go from store to store to see what they have. When shopping for multiple kids I also look for coupons or promo codes because…ouch! Kids grow out of their stuff quickly (goodbye baby clothes) and it hurts to spend all that money! So if I can save some money I will look for it! Lucky for you I have a special 25% off Carter’s coupon promo code that you can use online or in-store when you spend $40. My kids just steal the show, huh? I can’t wait to take pictures of them all dressed up for Easter before we head to church…or maybe after because church is too early we are always rushing to get there on time.

It is still a little cool here but my kids are anxious for spring weather so they can stock up on some more cute and stylish tees and knit shorts so they can play in the sun comfortably and alllll dayyyy long! And can’t forget the swimwear….. my little fishies live in the water in the summer time.

I wish you well on your journey to dress your kids this coming Easter. Seriously, I know it can be a pain but it’s only a couple of times a year. Can’t wait to see all the kiddos in their darling Easter outfits. Tag me on Instagram so I can see!

 

 

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Family Travel: Vancouver Part 2 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

On our second day of our trip to Vancouver we took it easy in the morning. We had cereal and fruit for breakfast and Madeleine napped while the kids swam in the pool. Honestly, they would be happy to go anywhere as long as it has a pool! After we packed up our car, we drove to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park which was about an hour from our timeshare in Blaine, WA.

We couldn’t decide whether to go to Grouse Mountain or Capilano and since it was already so cold and we hadn’t brought our snow clothes we decided to stay off the mountain. Cost wise it would have been almost the same but I really didn’t want to be cold and miserable. The Suspension Bridge Park is pretty much a park with suspension bridges to cross around the beautiful green surroundings. You get beautiful views and they have these Treetop Adventures for kids which is just a series of small suspension bridges that are attached to the trees, hence the name. When we pulled into the parking area I started getting a little nervous about the suspension bridges. I have crossed high bridges before when we went to ____ and it was terrifying so I expected it to be the same in this place. It really wasn’t bad at all- I just didn’t look straight down. The place where it was terrifying though was the Cliffwalk. My kids were unphased, especially Madeleine as she crossed all by herself. I was holding on to the railings for dear life. The bridge is hooked onto the side of the cliff and the walking area is so narrow. They, of course, have netting on the side so you can’t fall off but you can clearly see down and how high you really are. It was beautiful but I just cruised on by because you know, I thought I was going to die. Then we crossed the main suspension bridge which you really should take a photo at the beginning off. It is so beautiful and just take a moment to stand in the middle and look out. As much as I complain about the Pacific Northwest, it really is incredibly beautiful. And that is due to the crazy amount of rain we get. Once we crossed we treated ourselves to some delicious hot cocoa to warm up our bodies. Dress warmly because Canada is cold even when it is sunny outside. And wear comfy shoes because you do walk around for hours there. It’s funny, my kids see the sun and put on shorts and I have to remind them that it isn’t summer time. They just associate sun with summer because it rarely comes out during the rest of the year. Then we headed to the Treetop Adventures. When you get there the kids can get a scavenger hunt booklet as part of the Kids’ Rainforest Explorers Program and learn a lot about the things in nature you can find there. My younger kids, since they can’t read, weren’t too interested in the booklet but they did help their brother find some things. And when you complete it you get a pin in the color of your choice. Our other option was to go to Raptor Ridge but the best time to go there is the summer when the birds, like bald eagles, are out. We wouldn’t have seen hardly anything at that time (February). 

I would highly recommend coming here when it is sunny because you get to enjoy the beautiful nature that this part of the continent offers. I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if it were raining since you are outside the whole time but our kids are explorers and so they wouldn’t have minded. I think if you give yourself a good 3-4 hours you are able to do everything. We obviously are slower walkers since our kids like to explore and Lorin likes to read every single dang sign in the whole park.

Right before we left we stopped by the shop there. We usually don’t get trapped in places like that but it had some really unique items. I bought an art print and the kids bought some uniquely flavored marshmallows. The lemon meringue one was delicious but we didn’t like the salted caramel chocolate one. On our way home we stopped at this Thai place in downtown Vancouver called Krung Thep Thai Cuisine. Even the mild red curry has a bit of a kick to it so the kids preferred the chicken satay and crab rangoon. Lorin and I gobbled ours up. I always prefer what Lorin orders better- haha!

. It was so so good however they lacked a good dessert option for kids. We ended up going to a little candy shop around the corner so they could get a treat for the 3.5 hour ride home.

I think when we go back we will go to Grouse Mountain and ski for a day. I know it pained my skier and snow loving husband to not go there this time. When I would really like to go back is in the summer time so I can see more bald eagles! Have you ever seen one in the wild? They are amazing!

If you missed Part 1 of our Vancouver BC trip, you can find it here.