Thursday, December 31, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 52!! (And a New Weekly Photo Challenge)

We did it! I successfully took a photo of the kids every week for this entire year. There were plenty of times I forgot until post day, but we pulled it off. And looking back over all the photos, I'm so glad I did. The changes in the kids are subtle, but I see them. And I also see so, so much love. And happiness. And silliness. All between those two yahoos. They have plenty of not-so-friendly sibling moments, but I think these photos show that when you get down to it, they know how lucky they are to have each other.

This year's Project 52 was less of an actual photography challenge for me and more of a documentary of the kids. But I loved the results so much that I wanted to do a slightly different challenge for 2016. I'm no professional photographer, but I do enjoy trying new things so I put together a sort of themed list for each week (below this year's photos). My plan is to try and take a photo fitting each idea that also includes the kids, but we'll see how it goes. Anyone want to join me?! You can interpret it any way you want -- let me know ....

And Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

DIY Salty Brown Sugar + Vanilla Body Scrub

Despite the fact that the East Coast has been experiencing spring and summer-like weather this past week, winter skin conditions have settled in at our house. So we turned to our pantry's leftover holiday cooking ingredients to whip up a quick fix! We love making body scrubs -- it's such a simple DIY you can tailor to whatever you have on hand. And it makes a great gift too. In case you're unconvinced, Kane, who apparently is prepping for infomercial auditions, says: "Works like a dream! Immediate results."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2016 Winter Bucket List -- 60+ Ideas of Winter Fun!!

Despite not crossing everything off of our Fall Bucket List, the kids insisted on tackling a slightly larger set of cold weather activities this go around. Some we've rolled over from the fall, others we have no real shot at crossing off the list. But all were earnestly added by the kids in anticipation of the season. Bring it, winter.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fall Bucket List Update!

Since the air in D.C. has finally dropped sufficiently low to warrant our winter gear and late tonight marks the Winter Solstice, we decided to call time on our Fall Bucket List and share what we accomplished this season. We ended up checking 30 activities off our list -- not too bad considering this fall was insanely busy with school and extracurricular activities! We're working hard on our winter aspirations and we'll have our Winter Bucket List up later this week, but, in the meantime, here's how the fall shook out!

1. felting -- we LOVED making felted rocks. I even went in and did the activity as a crafternoon in Cami's kindergarten class.

Friday, December 18, 2015

DIY Sparkle Soap Gems

We're in serious holiday prep mode over here and that includes lots of gift making! We've been making these sparkly soap gems for family members (shhh!!) and think they're fabulous. Plus they're incredibly easy for kids to make too. Head on over to Honest to Nod to check it out! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 50

For some reason, this seemed like a good idea.

Star Wars Party Ideas!

Are your kiddos Star Wars fans? The new 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' opens tomorrow (although there are some showings tonight) and even though my guys are too young for the new movie yet, we have started watching some of the earlier ones together and they are BIG fans. I'm certain a Star Wars party is imminent for one of them, so I've started gathering some celebratory ideas. There are so many insanely good DIYs out there, but I think this is where we'll start! May the force be with you.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Monday, December 14, 2015

25 Favorite Holiday Cookies

Do you make holiday cookies in your family? We typically haven't in years past, but I kind of love the idea of trying out one or two new recipes every year and building up a family cookie cookbook. Our kids love to bake and cookies are generally a pretty easy way to get them involved without risking some sort of kitchen disaster. So we're adding the activity to our Winter Bucket List (stay tuned next week for that ....) and have already started perusing the endless options. I'm thinking we'll have to figure out how to throw together a cookie exchange to prevent me from eating all. the. cookies. though. From the classic to the kooky, here are some of our favorites!

p.s. I'm also vaguely toying with the idea of all of us signing up for this. Seems like a fun activity to do over the winter break!

1/ The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies 2/ Color Dipped Gingerbread Cookies 3/ Mom's Russian Tea Cakes
4/ Holiday Crinkles Cookies5/ Stained Glass Sugar Cookies 6/ Vanilla + Chocolate Pizzelles
7/ White Chocolate + Peppermint Christmas Wreath Cookies 8/ Old Fashioned Gingerbread Men
9/ Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies 10/ Chocolate Amaretti Cookies 11/ Everything Sweet Sugar Cookies
12/ Frosted Peppermint Brownie Cookies 13/ Chocolate Swirl Meringue 14/ Gingerbread Animals
15/ Gingerbread Donut Cookies 16/ Sprinkle Cookies 17/ Coconut Snowball Cookies
18/ Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies 19/ Pot of Gold Truffle 20/ Ginger Spiced Sugar Cookies
21/ Amaretti Cookies 22/ Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt
23/ Lemony Slice + Bakes 24/ Ombre Rainbow Cookies 25/ Peppermint Pattie Cookies 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Little Loving Hands: Children's Craft Kits with a Philanthropic Cause

Every year around the holidays we struggle with what feels like the purchasing of endless gifts and the desire to engage our kids in helping others. We do a fairly good job of making sure the kids volunteer at a variety of activities throughout the year, but during the holidays, the disparity feels greater and we want to involve our kids in an age-appropriate way of giving back. We always sponsor several children through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program and our kiddos help us shop for, organize, and drop off gifts for children who otherwise wouldn't receive them. We'd just finished that activity this year when I heard from another wonderful (and local!) program called Little Loving Hands (you might have spotted it in our gift guides we posted this week!)

Project 52 -- Week 49

My lovies helped me take a few more photos for the book I'm working on. These two have fun doing just about anything.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Apple Cranberry Turkey Meatballs + 30 Days of Dinner

With a ridiculous number of social events, holiday entertaining, travel, and just general activity busyness, I've struggled to keep a super clean menu this past month (and it's definitely not been strict Paleo). But we've done a fairly good job and all of it has me actually looking forward to another Whole30 (or 60) as soon as the holidays are over. In the meantime, we'll just stay the course and eat as healthy as we can!

Our favorite meal this month is one chock full of Thanksgiving flavor and everyone in the fam goes gaga for it. Not to mention that it gets the whole house smelling like the holidays, which is just so much fun. Give it a try!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Kiddos

I know that gift guides have been making the rounds since long before Thanksgiving, but I like to put mine together after I've had a good amount of time to actually shop and with enough time left for you to still purchase items. As I did last year, I've separated my suggestions into the categories in which I'm usually perusing for my own kiddos (although many could fit in more than one category). I've rounded up fifty fabulous gifts for you -- happy shopping!

The Little Art + Crafter:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weekend Makes

This Sunday night kicks off of Hanukkah. I'll be traveling this weekend, but I've got everything set up for the kiddos to have a fabulous first night. We'll see if Mr. Not-So-SAHM is feeling crafty while I'm gone, but if I were around, these are what we'd have cooking!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wonder at the Renwick Gallery

It's been quite a while since the kids and I've been to a new art exhibit or museum. In fact, I don't think we've done any art exploring since our trip to Italy. We'd planned to head down to check out the recently re-opened Renwick Gallery over Thanksgiving weekend, but everyone was too stuffed to do much besides lounge around. So we took advantage of an early dismissal yesterday and took a buddy with us to see what we would find at the opening exhibition Wonder. It might have been the best art exhibit for kids we've ever seen.