It's here, it's here! Happy Halloween!!! If your kids are anything like mine, their excitement for today has been building up for quite some time and they are all ready with their costumes, just waiting for the green light to trick-or-treat. I love the whole crazy thing, but then .... sugar crash city. The begging for more candy while melting down from the whirlwind. So I thought I'd pull together some super easy (FREE!) printable activities that you can have at the ready for the post-sugar crash lull before bedtime. Hope you and yours have a spooky, fun holiday!
This past weekend marked the grand opening of the new KID Museum in Bethesda, an interactive "museum" for elementary and middle school-aged children. The event was well run, with stations clearly identified and lots of people to help direct various projects. But I was in a super cranky mood all weekend (exacerbated by the fact that I was parenting solo and a marathon reading of Gone Girl, which was both impossible to put down and very, very disturbing) and I was just not into being around crowds.
Can you believe Halloween is almost here?! My kiddos are so excited that they've been asking for spooky activity upon spooky activity this week. You might recall that our entire family dressed up as vampires last year for the holiday and Kane was insistent on having realistic full make-up, including a constant reapplication of fake blood dripping from his fangs. It tasted disgusting, but he really wanted to go for the full effect. So I thought it would be fun to use one of his afternoons off this week (parent-teacher conferences!) to try our hand at a little gross and spooky science: DIY fake blood.
In case you missed it, the super easy DIY lego storage box I made for Kane's birthday was up at The Land of Nod's Honest to Nod yesterday. I made the same thing, on a much smaller scale, for the favors. But once I did those, I knew Kane was going to need a bigger one. And he has played with it constantly since his birthday. And no excuses not to clean up -- it all fits right inside the great Nod Letter Box. Plus, I designed some free puzzle cards that you can download from Honest to Nod. Win-win!
Disclosure: The Land of Nod provided us with the Letter Box in exchange for this post. No other compensation was provided and all opinions herein are our own.
Our kids are in the stage where they looooove Halloween, but still don't like to be scared. Actually, I don't like to be scared. I still cannot understand why people voluntarily watch horror movies or subject themselves to haunted houses. I went to a haunted house once. I punched the first person who jumped out to scare me. Needless to say, we are heavy on the spook factor for the holiday, but stay away from scary. And that's one of the reasons I love our Jack O'Lantern macarons! Granted, those are still on the cutesy side. And our Pumpkin Pie Gelato Parfaits were delish, but in no way scary (until you run out, then things get scary. I promise). So I started looking for treat ideas to bump up the spook a bit and pulled together my favorite finds. I think those spooky ice cubes in a sweet cider are going to be a must make!
So yesterday was Cam's annual school field trip to the pumpkin patch, a trip I'm sure many of you are making right around this time as well. It's a great idea, but given that I've been spending so much time on the road in the car, I thought we'd have a more local field trip of our own. Cameron has been intermittently obsessed with ballet and even though she's not currently taking any classes, I thought a trip to see Degas's Little Dancer at the National Gallery would be a perfect girls' morning.
Yay for fall! One of my all time favorite art projects growing up was making fall leaves with crayons and wax paper. Our kids are finally old enough to use the iron (with supervision!), so we recently made a gorgeous set using The Land of Nod's Beeswax Crayons. Head over to Honest to Nod today to check them out!
Disclosure: The Land of Nod provided us with the Beeswax Crayons in exchange for this post. No other compensation was provided and all opinions herein are our own.
When I blogged over at A Feteful Life, we occasionally had people send in questions for us -- generally about seasonal handbags for some reason -- and we'd do some faux shopping and provide our favorite picks. A friend recently told me that they'd purchased a desk for their Kindergarten-aged daughter, C, but were having a hard time finding a desk chair that wasn't outrageously priced. And she asked whether I had any ideas of where to look. As we haven't purchased desks for our kids yet, I hadn't given it much thought. But she's right -- so, so many desk chairs "for kids" are obnoxiously expensive, especially given that they are sized smaller and certainly won't last until the kids go off to college.
Annoyed and determined, I did some faux shopping for a chair that would go with C's new desk -- the Pottery Barn Kids Catalina. I'd generally describe Pottery Barn's style as slightly modern classic/country, but I like to balance those pieces out with something more streamlined. I'm not really into matchy matchy. I decided to look for chairs under $125 (for the most part) and while a lot of my picks are not necessarily "kid sized," they would still work well for kids, in my opinion. Your best bet is to stick to accent or dining chairs, which seem to be more reasonably priced than desk chairs and would work just as well, especially with a little pillow for a cushion. So, K, here you go -- hope one works out and that desk gets used for a little school work instead of just a fort!
I'm going to guess that it was super evident from my post on Cam's favorite fall looks that I've got a little shopper on my hands. But you might be surprised to hear that Kane's a decent shopping buddy as well. He's not quite as particular about what he wears as Cameron, but he definitely knows what he likes. And, much to his chagrin, one of his most long-standing unsuccessful negotiations has been his quest for a three-piece suit. He has tried every which way to get me to get him a suit, including trying to persuade a J.Crew saleswoman to give him a soon-to-be out of season suit on sale. I have a feeling it's somewhat more about getting his way than the actual suit, but he really does like to dress up. So here's what he's rockin' right now.
Everyday Brights -- Kane loves bright colors and stripes. So he basically has some variation of this on for school every day. Green is still his most favorite color, so he likes to work that in wherever he can (socks and shoes are a particularly fun spot to do that). And he has a similar jacket, which he will wear all day long (including inside or in 80 degree weather) in an attempt to prove to me he will wear a suit jacket if I buy it for him.
Fall is football season in our house and our kids LOVE it. It's really sweet to hear them ask Joel "is it football time, yet?" and to hear the Eagles fight song belted out over and over again. I also happen to love the game -- watching it, playing it, and partying with it. We love to take our kids to live sports games and the pre-game tailgating events, but we haven't yet felt comfortable that they are old enough for the not-always-family-friendly event that is live NFL football (although I've taken the kids to high school games and they loved it). So I'd love to bring some of that same spirit and goodies into our home for game time watching. Here's what I'm loving for a kid-friendly tailgate at home!
1 / my kids can eat their weight in peanuts. I'm still working on a less messy way to eat them at home, but when I do, I think these DIY bags would be so cute.
Sunday was the day after Kane's big birthday party, so we were all recovering a bit. We hung around most of the morning, reading new books, playing with new toys, and having brunch with family. But we saw sunshine starting to come out and, given the never-ending rain the previous day, we knew a good leg stretching was in order. Fortunately the Maryland Renaissance Festival was still in town, so we donned our best costumes and headed out to the forest. Awesome.
I have a real love/hate relationship with legos. I love that they can inspire so much creative building, but I personally cannot stand putting together kits after they break apart time and time again. So I generally stick with the "free building" sets for our kids, but then you still have the super fun problem of stepping on those little suckers when they inevitably get scattered about the house, hiding in every nook and cranny just waiting for unsuspecting bare feet. Needless to say, when Kane said he wanted to have a lego birthday party, I knew it was not going to be at our house. And we've almost always held birthday parties at our house because we consider them a great occasion to get all of our family and friends together as well.
If you've ever followed me over at A Feteful Life, you'll be familiar with my love of "faux shopping." It's where I get to scour stores for my favorite fashion finds (for me or our kids), put everything together, and ... then never buy it. I do this a lot. Because in the middle of a particular season I get bored with the kids' clothes and start looking for next season. Which means by August, I've already purchased all of their fall clothes. So when it actually is fall (now), they don't need anything else, but I still like to look at all the new fall clothes and pretend I'm shopping. Plus a friend asked when I was finally going to post on the kids' clothes, so here you go, J.
Cameron is a girly girl, but with some edge. She likes preppy and polished and sparkly, but strong. And that girl loves dresses and flats. She actually packs gym shoes to take every day and changes when she needs at school. Too funny. We have definite store favorites and I'd say that these are her three fall looks in heavy rotation -- some she has, some she wants (and will be wanting until they go on sale), but all of it she'd wear. What's your little lady into these days!?
Glam Cam -- This is Cameron's most favorite look and it's not limited to special occasions. She wears this to school, to the playground, to 6:30 am IHOP breakfasts. It's her thing. So we have lots and lots of jeweled dresses, which I buy on sale at the end of a season for the next one.
As I've lamented sufficiently to almost anyone who will listen, this fall, I've found myself spending a significant amount of my day driving criss-cross around town. Between having the kids at different schools, with different pick-up times, and everyone in new activities, I'm putting in a lot more time behind the wheel. On the upside, two large chunks of our commuting time are spent driving almost the entire length of the city through Rock Creek Park. No stop lights, little traffic, and pretty gorgeous scenery the whole way. It's actually been a relaxing way to start out our daily conversations and close the loop at the end of the day. And recently we've started stopping when weather and time permits at a particular point on our way home -- just to stretch our legs and breathe in a little nature (with, you know, the city still looming close by). I thought it would be fun to try and keep this up and to take seasonal snapshots of our visits. So, here's early fall.
As you might have noticed in our Final Summer Bucket List Update, one of our favorite art projects is making sun prints with materials we collect while out and about hiking, geocaching, and at the beach. This summer, Cam and I were working on some feather prints when I spied a pile of "guys" Kane had left nearby (we all refer to the endless number of toy policeman, ninjas, knights, cowboys, etc. generically as "guys") and thought they might be fun to try. Crisp, pop-arty images from the toys' silhouettes emerged -- I LOVED the result! And thought I'd share this super easy way to make some quick art for your kiddo's room.
I don't know about everyone else, but my kids are OBSESSED with everything pumpkin from Trader Joe's this season. I feel like a fall Forrest Gump at the checkout line: pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars, pumpkin granola, pumpkin croutons, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese ... it's honestly a little ridiculous. But as soon as they spotted the pumpkin macarons, it was, well, macarON. Everyone ate their dinner the night we brought those home, and as we had them for dessert, the idea to make them into little Jack O'Lanterns popped into my head. It's so cute and so simple, and is taking a little edge off the kids' general requests to decorate the entire house. No need -- we have festive macarons!
Did you know that today is World Vegetarian Day!? I have my friend Suzanne to thank for dropping that knowledge (check out her yummy vegetarian recipe over at AFL today), but it got me thinking about my kiddos and vegetables. They both eat them, but can be a little particular about sticking to a limited number. Cam will eat random vegetables -- kale (as kale chips), seaweed, and tomato soup are her favorites. Kane has been more adventurous since getting access to his new school's salad bar, which they have to hit up before going to the much more enticing bread bar -- he'll now try "leaves" (salad) and claims to love broccoli. And they are both pretty good with carrots, edamame and corn. But that's about it. So I decided to try and think outside the box a bit -- not necessarily hide vegetables from them, but try to make them more interesting, show off their colors, and make it fun. First up on my list is those veggie gummies!