Posts

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DIY Galaxy In A Jar

I’m a huge fan of creating sensory activities for my little ones. Some may see these as “crafts” but there’s actually a larger and more important purpose. Sensory activities and DIY’s promote creativity, imagination, motor skills, and awareness through play.

I also love catering our crafts and sensory activities to my kids’ current interests. Like all little boys, Brooks’ has his share of obsessions. Some days it will be non-stop superheroes. Other days it’s all about the legos. Recently, he’s been interested in shows and books about astronauts and space. So, of course, we had to make our own galaxy!

Fortunately, most of these supplies are probably already in your home or craft closet. Brooksie loved playing around with all the glitter and paint to create his own colorful galaxy. It’s now a great decoration to put on his bedroom shelf!

Supplies:

  • Various colors of acrylic paint (stick to blues, purples, pinks)
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Various colors of glitter
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Open glass bottle and fill the bottom with a layer of cotton pads.

  1. Fill half of the bottle with water on top of the cotton pads. Follow with 2 squirts of the same color paint and glitter.
  2. Continue making the layers of cotton pads. Following with 2 squirts of a different colored paint and glitter.

  1. Keep making layers until it is filled 2-3 inches from the top. Shake, shake, shake and see your colorful galaxy creation!

For more sensory ideas for your little ones, check out these links:

Kiwi Crate | Sensory Activities DIY Projects // Meri Cherry | Art Activities For Toddlers // Kids Play Box | Sensory Play Boxes

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Scarlett’s First Birthday Party

I am in complete disbelief that our little angel is ONE YEAR OLD! Scarlett is such a lovable, hilarious, and magical baby girl. We love, love, love her so much! Since I take birthdays pretty seriously, we decided to go all out again this year. The theme was “Rose and Cupcakes.” A little rose for the adults and lots and lots of cupcakes (and cookies!) for the kids!

Once again, Stefanie Cove, Neely Shell, and their team from Yifat Oren completely rocked it. We love a theme! And their creative expertise always brings it together.

A party is never complete without a couple of fun activities for the kids. For Scarlett’s party, we had the wonderful Nicola Vruwink from WINK design a DIY flower crown station (or prince crowns for the boys!), paper flowers, and some fun beaded necklaces.

scarlett birthday grandparents

We were so lucky to have so many of our friends and family there – including Scarlett’s grandma and grandpa!

There were also cupcakes and cookies to decorate from the delicious Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Speaking of sweets, Scarlett wasted no time getting a taste of her cake.

Brooksie, like the big brother he is, couldn’t stand not being in on the action, too!

It was such a special day filled with friends and family. We love you, Scarlett!

All photos courtesy of Gia Canali

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Food Art With Marie Saba

I consider myself lucky. Brooks isn’t necessarily a picker eater, he just has trouble sitting still at the table and eating. When I found Texas-based Marie Saba on Instagram, I was OB-sessed. Originally a food blogger, she has now come out with her own food design book for kids, Let’s Make Magic With Food. Since starting making food art at home, Brooks actually wants to sit down for a meal because he had fun making it.

I mean, how cute is her food art? Marie has children around the same age as Brooks’ so we decided to have some fun with a little friendly competition. In this competition, there is no winner. Just a fun way to show how different foods and a little creativity can create some masterpieces!

We decided to take a day with our little ones to create a dinosaur, butterfly, dumptruck, and bunny. Going for the healthy route (with a little sweetness, of course!) here is what Brooks’ and I came up with:

DINOSAUR:

Avocado + Gluten Free Bread + Raspberries + Banana + Kale + Cacao Nibs

BUTTERFLIES:

Strawberries + Blueberries + Pretzel Sticks + Banana + Raspberries

DUMPTRUCK:

Turkey + String Cheese + Strawberries + Gluten Free Bread + Cacao Nibs + Pretzel Sticks

BUNNIES:

Sweet Peppers + Carrots + Kale + Sliced Almonds + Swiss Cheese + Round Crackers + Pretzel Sticks

To see what Marie and her AH-dorable daughter created, check out her blog, Cocina Marie for some inspiration.

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Cupid’s Bow & Arrow

So, I might have gone a little too far. Like any little boy, Brooksie is OB-sessed with the idea of a bow and arrow. So, why not add a little love to it and make him his own? The ending project resulted in my own little Cupid! I know, I know. Give it a couple more years and this little one will NOT be cooperating in his momma’s antics—but for right now, he’s game!

For the construction of the bow & arrow, I didn’t actually pick up wood working overnight. I bought online and decorated. The only part that can be easily constructed is the arrows themselves, which we made into hearts—like the real Cupid!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. Carefully remove the children’s bow and arrow and remove any 
decorations that you do not like. I used an Exacto knife.
  2. Remove strap and string from quiver.
  3. Cover both bow and quiver with the Red Fusion Spray paint, multiple 
coats to achieve nice surface allowing to dry between coats.
  4. Cut dowels into 12-14 inch lengths and spray with the Pink Fusion Spray 
paint.
  5. Cut small slit into one end of dowel.
  6. Glue Glitter Hearts back to back and insert into the slit at end of dowel.
  7. Attach a foam heart to be the arrow other end of each dowel.
  8. Once bow is dry, decorate with any stickers you like and add cute cording 
for the string.
  9. For the quiver, also decorate as desired, I added the Glitter Transfer sheets by spraying with adhesive spray to attach at the top and bottom and then hot glued on the Glitter hearts and polka dots.
  10. Attach a ribbon to be the strap on quiver.
  11. Find your perfect Cupid to send out his arrows of love!

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Strawberry Sprinkle Pancakes

Happy first day of February! I am OB-sessed with this month because I love Valentine’s Day—especially all the sweets that come with it. Since Brooksie and I are always in the holiday spirit, we decided to celebrate by making a sweet morning treat before he went off to school.

WARNING: You will not be able to stop eating these. They taste like cake batter and you should make at your own risk. They are THAT good!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I use either almond or coconut flour to keep them gluten-free!)
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. butter or ghee, melted
  • 5-6 medium sized strawberries, sliced
  • Rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Slice strawberries in halves and set aside.
  1. In a small bowl, mix together milk, egg, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  1. Mix milk mixture with the flour mixture and mix well. Add in melted butter and stir until combined.

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and spray with olive oil or butter. Once hot, scoop ½ cup of batter into the pan. Immediately lay 3-4 strawberry slices on each pancake, gently pressing each one in.
  1. Sprinkle in sprinkles and let cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, flip to other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  1. Let cool and top with powdered sugar or whipped cream, if desired. Or extra sprinkles if you’re like Brooksie!

  

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Cooking With Chef Brooksie

 

My little Brooksie is a ball of energy, to say the least. Like any three-year-old, he likes to entertain himself by using his imagination. When he’s not playing legos and running around acting like Batman, he’s cooking. I know—how lucky am I? Okay, but all jokes aside—cooking with your kids is a great way to channel their creativity. 

 

Since Brooks loves it so much, we obviously had to get him a chef’s outfit. We got Brooksie’s at a fun store in Santa Monica called The Acorn Store. If you don’t live in the area or choose to shop more online, here are some more options:

Melissa & Doug Chef Costume // Kids 3-Piece Chef Set // Sleepyheads Personalized Chef’s Outfit // Pottery Barn Kids Chef Dress-Up Set

Since most cooking tools are too large for your little budding chefs, grab some mini tools for their culinary endeavors. They’re easier to manage and easier to clean. It also helps them effectively work on their motor skills! The website, Curious Chef, has been a great find for us! They have a great selection of mini tools and gift sets, too!

The key to cooking with your kids is to make it simple enough for them to do most of it on their own—minus the putting the food in the oven, of course. We like to make and decorate our own pizzas at our house! We’ve also become OB-sessed with the monthly kid-friendly baking kits from Food Stirs. The boxes come with everything you need to make your recipe with easy step-by-step instructions for your kids to follow. They’ve totally saved me during a “boring” rainy day!

For some kid-friendly recipes for your little chefs, here are some links to get you started:

Real Simple | 9 Recipes Kids Can Make // Buzzfeed | 21 Fun And Delicious Recipes You Can Make With Your Kids // Food Network | Cooking With Kids // The Artful Parent | 50+ Fun Ideas & Recipes // Simple Bites | Easy Recipes That Kids Can Cook

YUM … now it’s clean up time!

#SUPERMOMMAS! Comment below to share some of your recipes you love to make with your kids. I’d love to try some out! 

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What Should We Be For Halloween?

It’s officially 5 days until Halloween and that means it’s time to pick our costumes! By the way, since when have kids costumes been so extensive? I feel like back in the day there were only a couple choices…and now? It’s insane. With more choices comes a harder decision especially when they look AH-dorable in all of them. Let’s just say I went to Pottery Barn Kids and went a little crazy on the costume shopping.

So, we need your help. We need your help desperately. What should Brooksie and Scarlett be for Halloween?

Should Brooksie….

Blast off and go to the moon?

Roam with the dinosaurs?

Save the day as Superman?

 

Travel to a galaxy far, far away?

 

Should Scarlett…


Splash around like a mermaid?

 

Cuddle as the cutest kitty cat ever?

 

Shine like the sun as a rainbow?


Be a pretty princess?

Okay, seriously though. Comment below, ask your friends. Help us make a decision!

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Snack Duty | No-Bake Granola Bars

At Brookie’s preschool, it’s not just snack day, it’s snack week. I mean, I’ll be honest. When this was first brought to my attention, I was intimidated. Gone are the days that I would just pick up a bag of chips or an apple and call it good. If I like to keep it at healthy at home, I definitely want to keep it just as healthy at school.

This week was Brooksie’s turn to make his own snack menu. I’ve said it before – he absolutely LOVES helping his momma in the kitchen. This kid is either going to be a professional chef or a great husband … I swear. We decided to make a batch of no-bake granola bars for his friends at school. Not only are they are super kid-friendly to make but they are healthy and delicious, too. Most store-bought granola or cereal bars are loaded with artificial sugar. It’s kind of a given that sugar needs to be kept at an all-time low for already hyper pre-schoolers.

These granola bars are perfect for any school snack or soccer practice treat. Your kids can help you with every step of the way! Throw them in little separate bags tied with ribbon to really make the presentation special. 

No-Bake Granola Bars

(Makes 10 bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • ¼ cup honey or agave nectar
  • ¼ cup creamy salted natural almond butter
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • Handfuls of either chocolate chips, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, or dried fruit (optionall)

 

STEP 1: Sprinkle oats on baking sheet.

 

STEP 2: Place baking sheet in oven at 350 F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. This is just for a more toasted flavor. It’s not necessary. Take Brooksie’s lead and watch them toast while enjoying some almonds.

STEP 3: Process raisins in a food processor until it’s in dough like consistency. Add to bowl with oats, almonds, and any extras (cacao nibs, coconut flakes, etc.)

STEP 4: Warm honey or agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix.

STEP 5: Once mixed, transfer to 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper. Flatten out using another layer of parchment paper as aid.

STEP 6: Place in freezer for 15 minutes to even an hour to harden. Once hard, cut into squares. Place extra granola bars in airtight container to store for freshness. Enjoy!

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Back To School Essentials

It’s that time of the year again and my big boy Brooksie is headed to pre-school! They seriously grow so fast…can we slow down!? Since this is his first year, I wanted to make sure we had everything we needed completely covered. It can be a little overwhelming!

Here are some ideas to get you started if you are in the back-to-school shopping mode. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with making a fashion statement or two on the first day!

P’Kolino Mess Eater Monster Backpacks

When it comes to backpacks (especially for all the arts and crafts coming home) it’s all about space. These P’Kolino backpacks aren’t just cute as a button, they are also extremely roomy! PERFECT for a preschooler.

 

Ugg Australia Kids Casson Sneaker

Ugg Australia is making a SERIOUS statement with their kid’s line! Just like the boots we all know and love, their lace up sneakers are just as durable and comfortable especially for rough and tumble boys on the playground!

johnnie-O Button Downs

If you’re a momma like me, I take picture day extremely seriously. They are so adorable and I love to share them with family and friends. When it comes to dressing my little ones up, johnnie-O is always the cutest and most comfy!

 

Yoobi Back To School Supplies

When it comes to school supplies, Yoobi is all there is in my book! With so many vibrant and colorful choices to choose from, you can get all your supplies in a one-stop shop. For every Yoobi item you purchase, an item will be donated to a classroom in need, right here in the US!

Skip Hop Zoo Insulated Lunch Bags 

No matter what your child’s favorite animal is, Skip Hop has it. Unicorns, monkeys, cows, whatever. Zoo Bags also come in two different sizes for lunch and for snack time! These insulated bags are also super easy to clean, too! Brooksie is taking his cow on the first day of pre-school!

Curated Tee 

So, these shirts are super adorable but there’s a lot more to this company, The Curated Tee. Running as a t-shirt subscription, Curated Tee’s main goal is to expose children to different forms of art to help enhance their creativity. Each month a guest artist creates a design, which is accompanied by a lesson plan and fun games for your child. I’m OB-SESSED with this concept especially for an after-school activity!

Yoobi Pencil Cases

Um, how cute are these!? A case for pencils, crayons, erasers, etc. is essential for organization! And, let’s be honest…you might as well do it in style!

 

Eco Lunchboxes

These reusable lunch carriers are great for packing lunches (even for adults!) It’s the perfect size for a sandwich and some other snacks on the side. I love the brand as a whole because every product is plastic free, waste-free, bpa-free, and sustainable.

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Tips To Declutter Your Life | Playroom Edition

Okay, so this is a HUGE (and exciting!) month for me. I’ll be starting my contributing gig on The View,Brooksie starts preschool, and I’m moving into my new house in Los Angeles! Busy, busy, busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Before my big move, my friend Mimi introduced me to a book that gave me some serious inspiration to de-clutter and organize. I highly suggest everyone read The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The title literally says it all. A move signifies a fresh start and I wanted to transition as simply as I could by getting rid of all the excess!

So, when it comes to tackling this major de-cluttering project I decided to start with the little one’s toys. Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I’ve gone through these toys or if it’s ever been done. Thankfully, my dear friend Mimi was here to help and she is the master mover/organizer. No seriously, she’s helped move me into most places I’ve lived. God bless her!

After a full day of editing and recycling, we came up with some tips to help you de-clutter your playroom … and keep it that way!

A Few Sentiments:

Pick a few of your childhood toys (if you have been hanging on to them for sentimental reasons) and use as styling props in bookshelves in your child’s room or playroom.  But pick your favorites – there is no need (or room) to hang on to them all.  One or two special ones serve the purpose – move on from there.

Categorize And Organize:

Categorize like items in plastic bins, Ziploc bags, or decorative baskets/bins – all the transformers can live together and all the dinosaurs can have their own house.

Ditch The Duplicates:

You don’t need two of anything – books, toys, etc. – avoid having duplicates of any item.

Bath Time Storage:

Keep bath toys in a suctioned basket on the side of the tub or underneath your sink if you share a bathroom with your child.  Same mentality applies here – avoid two of anything and don’t be afraid to edit down your child’s stash!

Be Brave:

Don’t be afraid to lose a Tonka truck or two. I find it’s hardest to go through stuffed animals, as they all seem to look at you and say, “Keep me please!” Chances are your little one won’t even notice and someone else will. Recycle to friends who have children the same age or make a donation to your local charity or church Just remember they are going to a new happy home even if they aren’t staying in yours. My favorite charity to give old toys to is Baby2Baby, which helps mothers and children in need. They accept any new or gently used item such as clothing, toys, bedding, car seats, and books.

Keep An Art Box:

Coloring books, puzzles, art supplies, books – categorize these and keep like items together.  Baskets or bins for like items here.

Stage Or Store The Large Toys:

Pick one or two large toys to sit out and toss the rest in an oversized basket for easy storage. Your child can still access them and you can keep them corralled and looking as neat as possible.

Edit Before Holidays:

Remember that with each new birthday or holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc.) you will likely acquire new items so it is good to go through toys after each holiday to make room for new items.  The more you recycle the less overwhelming it is to go through things at another time.