You know what I love? Bright, colorful, messy, painty pictures. Nothing better! The girls and I went to Target the other day to pick up some plain white eggs to hollow and paint but we ended up finding these plastic eggs in that section in the front of Target that steals all your money with out you knowing. Bahahahahaa. You know, the “$1” section. These weren’t a dollar but I think $3 which is still pretty good. We bought 2 dozen and decided that since we actually don’t have a kitchen at the moment anyways, plastic eggs trump real eggs this year. Plus! These ones will last year after year. We skipped the dye and brought out the craft paints this year instead. I showed the girls how to use an old toothbrush to create speckled eggs and how to take a painted paintbrush, dip in into the water to create a more watercolor look. It was a fun, simple way for them to create some really beautiful eggs. You should give it a try!
It’s soup season!! Yippee. Well, I don’t like the cold but I do love soup. I am always on the look out for a good soup recipe. After Orion was born, the lovely ladies from our church blessed us with a crazy awesome meal train. We had meals for weeks. Such a HUGE, HUGE blessing! One of those meals was this lentil soup. I loved it so much I asked for the recipe. I have since made it twice and oh man! it’s good. I thought I would share it here with you guys too. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil), plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup of lentils (we love these Organic Truroots Sprouted Lentil Trio
11 cups organic veggie broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2/3 cup organic 100% whole wheat pasta (spirals work best I think)
1 cup shredded organic Parmesan (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the whole can of tomatoes (including juices). Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.
4. Add the lentils, broth and thyme sprigs. Stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are just about tender, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still a bit firm (around 8 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if you wish and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!!
Rowan turned 5 on Saturday! What a big girl she is! For the past year, almost daily, she’s talked about what theme she’s wanted to have for her birthday. Her ideas changed every few days depending on what we did that day or what movie she just watched. She’s had a lot of ideas over the past 365 days! A few weeks ago we really started to think about her party and narrow down what she wanted to do. She’s been soooo into art lately so we sat at the computer one day and looked up artist themed birthdays on pinterest (get ready for all the rainbow colors if you do that). Anyway, she was hooked! she loved the idea of everyone having their own canvas and easel and getting to paint a picture they could take home. All in all it was a super easy and fun party to plan for (hello amazon prime!)- I didn’t go over the top or spend tons and tons of money. It was fun to let her be a part of the decorating and have a hand in her own party. We had a lot of fun! There are A LOT of ideas out there in pinterestland for artist themed bday parties. I wasn’t for all the primary/rainbow colored party ideas but I did find this post as my inspiration and then made the party fit us and our own ideas. I really, really love decorating for the girls birthday parties. It brings me a lot of joy!
Rowan made all the placemats for the table with watercolors and lots of splatters! We’ve since cut them all up and used them to make the thank you cards for her friends who came. Dual purpose!! Heck yeah! We ordered canvas boards, easels, paint brushes, aprons, paper cups and palettes from amazon (links below). I already had the craft paint. I just lined it all up for the girls to pick out the colors they wanted for their paintings. I kept the food simple. I made sugar cookies (from a box!) in shapes of 5’s and artist palettes (made with a heart cookie cutter). I made some individual fruit cups with all fresh berries, veggies cups with hummus and then the girls got a palette filled with lots of sprinkles and an undecorated cupcake that they got to go to town on decorating. You know, keeping with the artist theme and all. The girls had a blast and I loved the ease of it all. I made a few watercolor buntings with some painted papers. Just cut the shapes you want and run them all through the sewing machine. Super easy!
What a fun afternoon celebrating our little artist!
One of the things on our summer bucket list that I was most excited about doing with the girls was tie dying. I’ve really been loving the indigo dyed trend that’s been going on for a little while and wanted to give that a go instead of your traditional brightly colored tie dye. I ordered this kit off of amazon and got a bunch of muslin and white pillow cases to dye. I wanted to use the pillow cases on our bed and make the girls a dress or skirt with the fabric. These cloth napkins would be awesome to use as well. Wouldn’t your table be so cute with dyed napkins?
I am not going to get into super detailed instructions because the kit comes with them but here are some pictures from our process.
1. Gather all your materials. Read instructions. Mix dye. It needs to sit for at least an hour (I think) before you use it. The indigo dye is so much cooler than just a regular rit dye. When you first dye the fabric it’s green until the air oxidizes it.
2. I did a lot of pinterest looking to see how best to fold and tie fabric. There are lots of techniques out there and really you can’t go wrong (this was super helpful). I found that the best way to get results is to stick with some type of accordion fold with the fabric and then use popsicle sticks and/or elastics to bind it all up. The girls had a lot of fun (and it really kept them entrained for quite a while) folding the fabric and using the elastics. Of course I had to go back and make sure everything was tight enough to actually work with the dye but for the most part they created their own designs.
3. You’ll notice an oily looking top layer with a yellow-greenish colored liquid below. This is when you know the dye is ready. You need to soak all your knotted and bound fabric in clean water first before you submerge in dye. This is a great job for your little ones to do.
4. Once everything is soaked you can submerge into the dye. This part I did myself only because I had one pair of gloves but otherwise I would have let Rowan help as well. When you put the fabric into the dye you sort of massage it around a bit, making sure the dye seeps all the way into the center of the bound fabric. Keep submerged, working the fabric for about 5 mins.
5. Again, when you first bring out the fabric it will be this neon green color. As it sits in the air it will turn that deep indigo color. It’s really cool to watch. The girls loved that part, they thought it was magic! You can repeat the dye process if you want a deeper darker color.
6. Let the fabric sit for at least 20 mins and oxidize in the air. Then you can open it up and hang it up to dry. Some parts of the inside may still be green when you open it but it will turn blue very quickly. You can wait till it drys completely or you can throw it into the wash partially wet. Wash on cold with a gentle detergent. Hang to dry.
7. If you dyed fabric try using this tutorial to make the easiest and cutest skirt for your little ones.
We’ve had a busy summer. Most days during the summer we are out the door by 10am and not home till late in the afternoon. It would have cost us a fortune if we were always grabbing lunch out at restaurants all summer long. I have gotten into a pretty good habit of quickly packing up healthy lunches for everyone to eat on the go this summer. I’m calling it good practice for the time we have to send Rowan to school with lunch each and every day. Thankful it is not this year yet! Here are our favorite items that help us make lunches on the go possible!!
1. Smart Planet Collapsible Lunch Boxes: We love these things! We have 4 of them. One for each of us!! Kev uses it every day for his lunch to work and I pack them full for our daily adventures around town. I love that they are easy to wipe out, throw in the dishwasher and collapsible for easy storage. The top even comes with a little spoon/fork combo tucked right in. They even make big ones for a large salad!
2. Itzy Ritzy Reusable Snack Bags: I AM OBSESSED WITH THESE!! I’ve been trying to kick the ziplock baggie thing forever. It always feels so wasteful!! I love these reusable bags though. They come in 2 sizes for snacks, have a waterproof lining and are machine washable. I use them for everything… grapes, carrots, cheddar bunnies, etc… They come with us everywhere. On a side note I also love their wet bags! I use them for wet bathing suits after the pool, to carry a change of clothes for Finley as we potty train on the go (and when accidents happen- peed clothes). I’ve used it as a camera case at the beach and to protect my iPad on a plane. You name it!
3. Wee Appetite Reusable Pouches: So not to go on a rant but… you know what really grinds my gears? Kids yogurt. It’s such a marketing scam. It’s really just yogurt with waaaaaay more sugar in it and probably a lot of other ingredients you do not want your kids eating. Plus don’t get me started on the price of the organic tubes. Yes, I’m not perfect and cave to my kids whining every once in a while but these amazing little reusable pouches are wondrous! In a bowl I mix some plain greek yogurt with some thawed berries and a touch of honey and voila! homemade kids yogurt that you’ve controlled the amount of sugar in. The girls don’t complain either, they love it! I fill these pouches with the mixture and we have yogurt on the go! These are also so great for homemade baby food. We will be using them for up coming baby for sure!
4. ZoLi Water Bottles: I have such a pet peeve for water bottles that leak or that are too fat to fit in cup holders (why?!?!?!?). These ZoLi water bottles do neither! That’s why they’re among my favorites. Simple, clean design with a slim bottle frame. The girls and I have matching ones. Pip size for Mama, Squeak size for them.
Do you have any tips or tried and true products you love for kids lunches on the go?
I’d love to hear!!
I love creating gallery walls and collections of family photographs around the house. There is something so special about filling your home with beloved photos. We’ve had this blank space behind our dining room table for 2 years now just begging for some photos. I decided to hang some simple white shelves and then teamed up with Canon USA to create a photo wall. To punch it up a bit, I printed all the pictures and then got a little crazy and painted on top of all of them. It was totally easy with a super big impact! Love the way the wall has so much character now. The hand painted details really give it a personal feel compared to if you just added text or a color overlay on the computer.
1. Having a large format printer really comes in handy for projects like these. I was able to print some large photos on my PIXMA iP8720. Love the added dimension and height these large photos gave to the wall. Glad everything didn’t have to be 8.5″x11″. I printed all of the pictures out on poster board so they would hold up with the added paint.
2. Once you’ve picked your pictures and printed them out (I chose to do a handful of color and b&w photos), you can start planning out what colors you want to use and what you will actually paint on the pictures. I decided to use a limited palette to create a cohesive collection for the wall.
3. I always like to practice writing out the saying first, trying a few variations before I commit to the final design. You kinda go with the flow though too- don’t get stuck on it being perfect! I love the dry brush strokes a paintbrush can leave. Some pictures I painted a saying and on others I just painted a solid stripe of color. Have fun! Get creative! There are no rules, they’re your pictures!
5. When you’re all done. Trim up the edges and get them ready to put in frames. I chose to do a combinations of in the frame and then also just taped up with wash tape inside an empty frame. I like the combo of the 2 styles.
6. Add a few details (like succulents or figurines) for styling purposes and Voila! You’re done. Sit back and enjoy your new awesome picture wall!
Have you ever found yourself at a busy restaurant with restless kids, slow service and your blood pressure rising? No? Just me? I feel like I find myself in this predicament quite often. Rowan is always pretty good (I love 4!) but Finley is still a loose canon. Why do the coloring sheets restaurants give kids not entertain them for longer? Anyway, at that moment I am always wishing I had some sort of magic to pull out of my purse to keep them occupied. Today I am teaming up with Canon USA today to bring you this very sort of magic… PUZZLE STICKS!!
My girls LOVE puzzles. Carrying a puzzle around with you in your purse isn’t really easy though. They’re usually too big and bulky. That’s why these puzzle sticks are so great. They 1. have a personal picture on them and 2. are super small and easy to through in a ziplock bag and keep in your purse. I promise your kids will love doing them!
Popsicle sticks/ Tongue depressors
Printed out pictures PIXMA MG7520 Printer
1. I found some pictures that I thought my girls would really like making puzzles with. I tried to find pictures that had good use of color and didn’t have too much tiny detail. I wanted to keep the puzzles at their level. Then I wirelessly printed the pictures quick and easy from my laptop to my PIXMA MG7520. Next you will trim all your pictures.
2. Line your popsicle sticks up, making sure the edges are all perfectly aligned. Run a piece (or 2) of masking tape across the popsicle sticks to keep them in place.
3. Flip over the sticks and lay down a thin layer of Mod Podge over the front of them. Align and lay down your picture on top of the popsicle sticks. With your sponge brush, lay another thin coat of glue on top of the picture as well
4. Let the picture dry. Once dry, flip it over and remove the tape from the back. With an x-acto knife, run the blade between each popsicle stick to slice the picture on the front.
5. Finished! Puzzle is ready! You can number the sticks to help make it easier if need be. You can also use tongue depressors to make it a bit easier for a younger child. We decorated one of our puzzles with a sharpie as well. Throw them in a ziplock bag and you are ready for those restless moments that sneak up when you are out with your kids.