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
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGoldfish #CollectiveBias
We watched a college football game the other night and while my oldest son and husband were completely enthralled in the football game, my younger kids were over it. “Mooooom! This is so boring!” is just one of the phrases we heard during the game. They just wanted to do something else. This was supposed to be a family activity and if we all were in separate rooms doing completely different things it would kind of defeat the point of “family time.” I wondered if this would repeat itself during the Big Game. I didn’t want the kids to be bored, but I still wanted us to be together as a family. I know it is cheesy but my husband and his dad and brothers would watch football all the time. It is one of his favorite memories. While I don’t particularly love football I just like doing stuff with the family. So I thought I’d use some Goldfish® crackers and my love for drawing together to make something entertaining for my kids. Continue reading The Big Game “Find It” Printable Football Edition
photos by christina judd
We spend most of our time in the living room and the playroom. I think we all prefer the living room because we crave that natural light. Having wood floor throughout the main floor can make it seem a little cold and not so cozy. Seeing as we spend lots of time here we needed to add cozy which means we needed a rug. Most of you know my kids are allergic to dust mites and other allergens so we have to be super careful with rugs. I could only get synthetic rugs due to the fact that they do not retain allergens like wool does. I searched on and partnered with PlushRugs.com.I found that I could search materials and could select the specific material I wanted. Having eliminated a huge load of rugs, this narrowed my search significantly and less overwhelming. We found the perfect black and cream plaid nylon rug (courtesy of PlushRugs) from Safavieh that cleans pretty well and has resisted the normal wear and tear of a household of 6. It added that coziness and warmth that we needed in the living room as well as the padding needed when we stay indoors away from another day of rain.
We lived in the desert for 8 years- hardly any rain. And then we moved to the rainiest city where sunny days in the fall and winter are scarce yearned for. Our first summer here we stayed indoors for a couple of days before we got cabin fever. This cannot be my life! Then I soon learned that life goes on here- rain or no rain. We even play and cheer on soccer games in the rain. It is what it is. But day after day of rain can get a little depressing so once in a while we will stay in and have lots of fun indoors. Staying indoors doesn’t have to be confining.
- Exercise. Have your kids tried kids yoga? My kids love it. LOVE it. We do it at lease once a week and not just on rainy days. It is great for everyone. We love Cosmic Kids Yoga because she tells a story while they do coordinating poses. The kids are very eager to find out what happens next!
- Look at photo albums. We always joke that our kids are vain because they love looking at themselves on the phone and in our photos. I have been pretty terrible about making scrapbooks for my kids but a couple of years ago we started using Chatbooks. They print all of our instagram pictures into an album. It’s perfect because it’s a subscription- one less thing I have to keep track of. I get one automatically after every 60 pictures posted. If you haven’t tried them you can use this Chatbooks promo code: 4T2YPUYK for your first book free: The kids love seeing themselves as babies and love hearing stories about themselves even more!
- Play games: Some games can be complicated for little kids. We like tic tac toe. It’s simple. And my kids don’t even care if they lose- they just like putting the pieces down. I have a DIY of our last tic tac toe board– I got a new one because our old one is out of commission. It was loved a little too much. Once it is fixed (I know, I’m a procrastinator) we will have two and kids won’t fight so much over taking turns. This one I got at Ballard Consignment. It’s virtually unbreakable and the pieces aren’t that small for baby to choke on.
- Puzzle time! We did lots of puzzles a couple of years ago but they always took up the whole floor and it started to bug me so we cooled off on the puzzles. Then I saw this wood coffee table puzzle. This & That Etc. was kind enough to send this to us to play with. It is compact, a beautiful design and educational. My 4 year old can put it together. Granted she can’t read the states names but she knows where they all belong! My 5 year old and 8 year old put this together at least once a day. Proud mama moment.
- Build a fort. My kids love building forts and castles. We used to build them out of blankets and books and pillows. They’d fall apart and the kids wrath was heard loud and clear. We got this fort building kit (two actually) for the kids last Christmas and it has been very well received. It’s pretty sturdy and holds blankets without it slipping off.
- Get crafty. You know me. I like anything crafty. And thankfully my kids also love creating. One of our favorite things to do is to create artwork inspired by famous artists. The more abstract the better- kids don’t have inhibitions so they create from their heart.
- Play and learn with play-doh. I have a love-hate with this. The meshing of the colors gives my OCD heart a mild heart attack while my creative side says “just go with it and see what happens!” Taking a little bit of control of the activity can save the headache like printing out letters and having them make a copy with play-doh. Dried beans also work well with tracing letters. Can get messy but it’s ok for the sake of education, right?
- Build masterpieces. My son is super into building with the mega bloks. We have a couple of sets so he can build pretty complex edifices and I love his attention to detail and his creative uses of ordinary items to add on to the building blocks. Castles, forts, super hero homes, silly forests, etc. are no strangers to the playroom floor. Our new favorite toy are the magnet building and constructing sets given to us by GeoSmart. These magnetic shapes are perfect for creative imaginations. My son likes to build what he sees on the cover of the game but then also likes to experiment with the strength of the magnets to see how high they can go. Being able to build sideways and almost defy gravity is what keeps him interested. We have the Lunar Rover which has 30 pieces including 2 sets of wheels. I’d recommend buying a larger set like this one so you can create larger things as well as let brother or sister play.
- Bake or cook yummy treats. Entertain the kids while making something delicious. Win win in my book. We love making pizzas and chocolate chip cookies. Those are pretty simple and not super messy with kids. Plus I think they appreciate the hard work put into that single cookie!
- Have a puppet show. Don’t you just love the crazy and incoherent stories kids come up with? They are so funny. Give them a few key objects and they come up with quality material. Just go with it I say. Let their creativity roll. If you want to have your own show I’ve included these Free Christmas puppet printables. All you have to do is print, cut and tape on a Popsicle stick. Fun doesn’t have to be complicated.
- Go outside anyway. Put on some rain pants, coats and boots and explore. Jump in puddles. Get a little muddy. And then come back home for some hot chocolate. A little rain never hurt anyone.
Catchy title? Maybe? Or perhaps it made you think why on Earth would I take advice from someone who doesn’t have her crap together?
Truth be told, I wouldn’t consider myself a hot mess all the time. Perhaps my mind is more of a hot mess- so much going through it that I can’t keep it all together. As a mom of 4, I often feel like I am treading water. Sometimes, very rarely, do I feel like I am floating on my back sipping on some lemonade. Other times I feel like I am drowning- like, please don’t hand me another thing to carry. Those golden times when I feel like I could tread, sometimes enjoy my time floating is when I have taken the time plan. Steven Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
I know I’m not perfect at remembering every deadline, what meals we are having every night, we may be a little late to some activities….oh to be a semi hot mess on the inside and be semi put together outwardly. People ask me how I function with 4 kids, run a business and stay sane. This is how.
- You need to have the right tools.
- Planner: Having the right planner is crucial to your sanity. Some may scoff at a paper planner but I cannot survive without it. I like digital but paper saves me. Writing things down on paper helps me remember better. Having a planner that meshes my mom life with my business life has been really helpful. I use this one sent to me by Plum Street Prints. Having an hourly day to day schedule, a section for business collaborations, meal planning, a weekly list + a section for home to-dos helps keep all the ideas and things I have to do as a Mom and business owner in order. I like the hourly scheduling because it compartmentalizes all the to-dos. I love the weekly and monthly inspirational quotes- they keep me motivated!
- If you use apps on your phone, this or this is a good list of helpful schedulers.
- Post-its: I use these to add into my planner…and to stick to everything else. I kind of need reminders everywhere. I also like writing on post-its because it isn’t permanent and I can move it around. With blogging and playdates sometimes I have to switch things around.
- Pens and pencils: Color coding may be going a little overboard but when I am managing 4+ schedules color coding things makes it easy to glance over and see who has what today and things don’t just mesh together.
- Printables: Along with the planner, I have a monthly printable, chore chart and menu planner on the fridge. I use my planner for my daily use but the printables are for everyone to see. You can download these free printables I designed: menu planner printable and blank cleaning schedule printable. You can fill in which chores you want to do that day. That helps me with knowing what needs to be cleaned that day and what has already been done daily, weekly and monthly.
- Go through things right away. If I don’t everything piles up! When my kids get home we go through their paperwork. I have a folder for things to keep like their special artwork, a drawer in the cabinet for their homework and a drawer for things I have to take care of. I write down deadlines and pencil in special activity days on the calendar on the fridge.
- Repetition. Repetition is vital- especially if your mind has been altered by children. You know what I am talking about. I used to be pretty sharp and remember everything but I really believe pregnancy warped my brain cells. So I write things down a coupe of times in different places. I put it on my phone with reminders, I write it in my planner and I write it on the main calendar on the fridge. I figure if I write it down many times it will help me remember it better. It seems to be working.
- Set up a routine. I pick one day a week where I sit down and plan two weeks of our meals. Mostly every night I take a few minutes to plan the next day. When I don’t, I don’t regulate my time very well. I run my errands/order online groceries the same days. Setting up a routine helps keep things running. We know when things will be completed and what to plan around.
- Lists. Make lists about lists. If you can’t tell, I really like lists. They keep me organized and my goals attainable. I stay away from general tasks like clean house. I like to make realistic small tasks such as scrub sink, clean out fridge, etc. Especially for bigger projects for my blog I make a list of what I have to buy, to photograph, to write, etc. Compartmentalizing my tasks makes the progress measurable and attainable for me. Key word- attainable. Don’t make these crazy goals that you know can’t be accomplished in one day. I make small goals that will help you accomplish the big ones. Plus I really like to cross things off my lists so making those small goals helps me check them off quicker.
- Have a clean workspace. If my main living area is messy, I can’t function. I feel like everything is messy and therefore find it difficult to know where to start. If you ever come to my house you may find that the main area is mostly clutter free. Just don’t look in my bedroom! Or office- they say creatives are messy, hahah! I work in the dining room because it isn’t as dark as my office so I like to keep it tidy.
- Say no. This is a big one. If you are already over scheduled, busy or barely surviving, just say no. It’s ok to say no sometimes. If I can’t do something and give it my 100% then I don’t want to do it at all. I also don’t want to resent that or the person. It isn’t fair to them or to me. And when I say no to some things I am saying yes to sanity, more time with family and some tranquility.
- Schedule time for nothing. Sounds silly but sometimes I just want to have nothing going on. I don’t do it often but I want to give myself a break and not think about work or all the things due for the kids. I just want to relive Jim and Pam’s love story and veg out on Netflix. Or perhaps I want to take a nap. Maybe paint for the sake of painting. Giving and giving and giving is a recipe for a burnout. Take a few minutes for you to do nothing or do something for you. Close that planner and just be you.
I took this time management class a little bit ago and so many of the principles have stuck with me. I loved it and know it has helped me organize my time better. The truth is, there is so much I want to do that I love that I want that to take priority of my time. I don’t want my time to rule me. With so much responsibility to my family I need to make sure that that takes precedence and then the other stuff. It is like the rock and sand example. First put in the big rocks (big projects, top priorities) and then let the sand filter through (the little things that don’t necessarily need to be done right away.)
So, for example, my son has a soccer game right after ballet but kids haven’t had their snack yet. What do I take care of first? The stacked up dishes in the sink? How about their bowls from this morning that they left on the counter? I leave that and grab some snacks and rush to their activities. Because sometimes you just have to let things go. And it’s ok to not have everything perfect. That’s the life of a mother. My kids know I am not a perfect Mom but we work together and try not to make it a big deal when something doesn’t go as planned. Imperfections make us human. Just carry on and do the best you can. I hope these tips can be of some use to someone or perhaps you want to share something that helps you. We mamas have to help each other out!
“Mom, can we decorate for Halloween?” Has this been asked yet at your house? I think I have guilt from last year where I didn’t really do much….except have a baby. But really, I wanted to decorate more but I didn’t. This year I am decorating but not too much since for some reason having too much stuff makes my chest tighten up and makes me want to konmari my whole house. So, I am going for touches of Halloween without actually freaking myself out with fake spiders….in Seattle you can never tell if they are real or fake. It’s terrifying.
Since it has been a while since I’ve crafted I thought I’d give my hands a little project. I dusted off my Cricut and looked through my non konmari’d stash of supplies. Oops. Why do I have 1000 black stirrers? Who the crap knows. But this is what I made with them and I feel like a crafty ninja now.
Rather buy some cool stuff at Target than make your own? That’s cool. I did that, too. But since I like to craft and had some time (wha?? I know right?!) I thought I’d try my hand at making some decor that says “Hey, I’m a cool Mom that decorates for Halloween but not too much because I hate putting all this crap away…and I hate kitschy stuff…” or something along those lines. So, if you are like me then this is what you’ll need to make these super awesome halloween decorations. I guess it doesn’t need to be for Halloween- use it for Thanksgiving, too.
- Download svg cut files and using your Cricut or other cutter cut the files onto two pieces of black card stock
- Remove and set down.
- Start by cutting 8 straws in half.
- Thread six of the straws with one end of the wire and then wrap the end around the wire and tuck into the straw’s end.
- Repeat for the other side.
- Cut 4 pieces of wire about 1″ longer than the straw.
- Wrap one end of the wire on a corner of one of the hexagons and insert straw. Wrap around the end to the other hexagon’s corner connecting them.
- Repeat on the next corner over and the two top corners.
- Using washi tape (or hot glue) tape the cut file to the bottom.
- For added stability, glue or tape a sipper to the paper and attach it to the paper on the other side.
- You may have to finagle it a little for it to stand upright.
Cool, right? And like I stated earlier, if you just switch out the pictures it can be used for anything. There is no limit to your creativity my friends.
What’s your favorite Halloween element? Spiders? Skeletons? Zombies?
This post is sponsored by Jasco; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting my little space on the internet.
photos by seattle photographer christina judd
We’ve lived in our new place for a couple of months now and I am embarrassed to say that I have only met one of our neighbors. In our last house I only knew our immediate next door neighbors but rarely saw them. This is not normal! Is it? I mean we live literally feet away from each other but we don’t even know each other’s names? Do I have this small town mentality where I think we should be having block parties and bringing each other treats? Emphasis on the treats. Ha.
So I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. While I am an introvert at heart I still like to get to know people. Going over and saying hello is a great start. We all know that the first few days when settling into a new place isn’t always easy: frantically searching for where you packed the dang toilet paper…or the light bulbs. And what is that weird smell? Then at the end of the day you just want to relax but have nothing in your fridge. Ah. Moving is the pits. Since you’ve been there, why not make your recently moved neighbor’s moving experience a little easier? After all, they are living feet away from you. You’d want them to have your back, too.
Before you think I am going to suggest you spend a small fortune on goods and take 35 hours to craft something, you should know what I am a fan of easy breezy. I like homemade DIY things but I know we all have limited time and budgets. So if you like to make everything from scratch- awesome, make it! You are great! If you prefer to buy it at the store- you are great, too! Do whatever floats your boat- either will be appreciated I’m sure. Read on for my suggestions on what to include in a simple housewarming basket welcoming your new neighbors.
- Toilet Paper: Simple? Yes. Necessity? Heck yes. Sometimes it is the simplest things that we need the most. And it always seem we can’t what we need or run out at inopportune times.
- Candle: Moving into an old house comes with many oddities including some funky smells. A deliciously smelling candle can go a long way for those living there…and those coming to visit!
- Motion LED Lights: Getting to know all the new nooks and crannies can take a while to remember where not to step or where to turn. Even when you live in a place a while getting up and turning on the lights can be distracting to those sleeping. No more stubbing toes or tripping on the kids’ shoes as these lights can detect motion from up to 25 feet away so the light turns on and your path is lit.
- All Purpose Cleaner: When you use moving trucks sometimes their rules won’t let you take cleaning products. Even though you are supposed to be moving into a newly cleaned place sometimes that isn’t the case. All purpose cleaner can really help tidy things up and you just need one cleaner.
- Treats/Rewards! After a long day cleaning and unpacking, it is always nice to have a treat to relax. I say get a bottle of root beer and some chocolate so they can lay on the couch/blow up mattress/floor and bask in the glory of their accomplishments.
And I designed this printable housewarming card that you can download here. It’s light-hearted and maybe a little tongue-in-cheek but if my neighbor gave me this I’d think their cool points would sky rocket. Just sayin’.
And as a bonus, Jasco is giving away an Amazon gift card valued at $200. To apply for this giveaway see details below. Good luck! Please tell me one thing you needed your first few days after moving in so I can add it to the list!
Thank you to Evite for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
My husband and I come from big families. My husband is one of eleven and I am one of five. Growing up we’ve always had big get togethers where there was a lot of food, chit chats and food. Did I mention food? Being in Seattle, far from family, could make holidays like Easter pretty lonely. We’ve hosted several large get togethers during the holidays so that it feels more like “home” to us. We’ve also been able to enjoy smaller gatherings, with just our little family, that have introduced new traditions and sweet memories.
This year we are so excited to have my cousin and her husband living near us. I absolutely love hosting dinner parties from picking the menu to adding the perfect element to add to the table. Easter Dinner is especially meaningful because we get to celebrate something miraculous: the Resurrection of Christ. This Resurrection is a precious and free gift to all mankind- a gift so selflessly given so that all mankind can live again.
With such a special holiday, I want to prepare a special dinner for my loved ones. Here is what I am thinking for the menu:
And I absolutely love these invitations:
I designed this religious print to put on the table or to hang on the wall as a reminder of the meaning of Easter. I designed this before I saw the invitations above. I love when things coordinate perfectly! If you’d like a print of it just click on the picture to download it. My gift to you.
I am about to send out my Easter Card Invitations using Evite which makes it super easy to connect with family and friends and easily see who will be able to make it. I find this much easier to organize than having to scroll through my text messages and emails to try and figure out who can make it or not. Evite has a guest list and a comments section so guests can comment if they have questions that others can see….or not if you want to keep the list private. And because I am a designer myself, I can upload my own design and email my design with a coordinating envelope with a premium subscription. It is all about presentation right?!
Once you have your guest count, here is a chart that can help you plan how much food you’ll need. I am always afraid of not having enough food for everyone so I try to make food for a few extra bodies. And leftovers are the best, am I right? And you can nix the bottle of wine….or add some delicious Martintelli’s Sparkling Cider. Yum.
Now tell me, what are you guys planning for Easter Dinner? Any favorites?
A big thanks to Expressions Vinyl for providing materials for this post!
Remember this post? I know I said months ago I’d have a tutorial up but you know, life just got crazy and difficult. But I am here to finally share how I made this awesome glow in the dark vinyl cityscape for my son. He thinks he is so cool because he has his little city to watch over.
I’d been coveting a Cricut Explore because as a designer I wanted the ability to design and cut my own creations. The Explore really worked out well for this project and my fingers and hands are so glad they didn’t have to cut out all these tiny squares. Want to make one for your little buddy? Note: I had to do things a little differently because I am renting so I needed something I could remove from the walls. Also, the glow in the dark vinyl is permanent so I stuck it on top of the removable vinyl to not damage the walls. I’d recommend doing it this way anyway even if you own the house. No one wants peeled paint. This also works best on non-textured walls. Vinyl slides on smoother. My walls are textured and it took a lot of elbow grease to get the vinyl to stick. But it made my little man happy so it is what it is.
4 12×12 Glow in the Dark Vinyl Sheets
8 12×12 Clear Transfer Tape
Scraper or a credit card (ha!)
In order to use the Cricut Explore you have to have Design Space. If you are using a different cutter than use that software. Upload the SVG files I provided onto that software.
- Decide on the order you want and measure where you want to stick it. I found the middle of the bed and measured 24″ to the left and 24″ to the right. I made a very light line a couple of inches above the bed measuring 48″ along the wall. The final measurement isn’t actually 48″ wide because of the buildings don’t extend all the way to the end on each page.
- Place the vinyl with the backing on the sticky side of the mat so the black is on top.
- Put it through the cutter with the setting on Vinyl+. Expressions Vinyl has information on what settings to use for different materials here. Just to make sure, using the scraper or tweezers, check to see that it has cut just the vinyl and left the backing on the mat.
- Place the transfer tape on top of the black vinyl in a rolling motion. You want the tape to roll over your hands because if you just place on top you may get a lot of air bubbles. Once placed, eliminate any air bubbles with a scraper.
- Pull the transfer tape away at starting at one corner while holding mat and black vinyl down and continue all the way down. It doesn’t work well if you pull both sides down starting from the top. You should have just the city buildings outlines on the transfer paper. (Sorry must have missed taking pictures of what it should look like.
- Place it somewhere safe! Trust me. Your kids will want to pull off the little squares! I wrote B1 (for building 1) on that sheet so I remembered the order.
- Follow steps 2-6 for the next 3 buildings.
- Place the glow in the dark vinyl on the sticky side of the mat so the glow in the dark side is on top.
- Put it through the cutter with the setting on Posterboard. Just to make sure, using the scraper or tweezers, check to see that it has cut just the vinyl and left the backing on the mat.
- Place the transfer tape on top of the glow in the dark vinyl in a rolling motion. You want the tape to roll over your hands because if you just place on top you may get a lot of air bubbles. Once placed, eliminate any air bubbles with a scraper.
- Pull the transfer tape away at starting at one corner while holding mat and glow in the dark vinyl down and continue all the way down. It doesn’t work well if you pull both sides down starting from the top. You should have just the city “lights” outlines on the transfer paper. (Sorry don’t have pictures of that either!)
- Place in a safe place and I wrote L1 (for lights 1) on that sheet so I remembered the order.
- Follow steps 8-12 for the next 3 buildings.
- Find the center of the wall and find B3. Line up the sheet on your line.
- Using the scraper, push down the vinyl on the wall and gently pull away the transfer tape.
- Do the same with B4, B2 and B1.
- Repeat with the corresponding glow in the dark vinyl (L1 with B1 and so on).
- And then you are done! I know there are a lot of steps but it really isn’t that complicated. Once you do one you will get the hang of it. I just love how it turned out and it really adds character to his little area. Let me know how it goes for you!
Easter stuff before St.Patrick’s Day? Yep because I don’t do anything for St.Patrick’s Day- maybe we will have Lucky Charms for dinner! Anyway, I’m trying to not procrastinate everything so I am starting on Easter early…you should be proud. Continue reading Easter Lacing Cards Printable
I never thought I’d be sick of candy- but I am. I know I know. It is really hard to believe since I have a sweet tooth….or lots of sweet ones. But, I’ve had way too many sweets the past couple of months (that I thoroughly enjoyed at the time) and now am paying the price. Because of my aversion my kids will be handing out non-candy Valentine’s Day cards… parents may like me but the kids won’t- haha!
What To Do:
- Print and cut along lines.
- Sign name on back.
- Using washi tape, tape bag onto the card.
- Hand out to friends and be the coolest kid in class for giving such a fun toy!
Look, the cards are high-fiving each other. My kids are awesome. Now their friends will have a fun new toy and parents won’t be tempted by their kids’ candy, am I right? What are your thoughts- candy or no candy?