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simple keepsakes and gifts for busy moms

simple keepsakes and gifts for busy moms

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Place Settings

I love Thanksgiving! No matter how hectic life is, it always helps us slow down, remember all that we have to be thankful for, and focus on what's really important as we start the holiday season. Also...pie! 


The kitchen is usually full and busy on Thanksgiving, so I think it's fun to let the kids be a part of preparation in a way that doesn't risk burns. :) Having them help with place settings also makes them super proud when everyone gathers around the table! Here are some cute ideas I found for this year:








Which one would you choose? Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cooking with Kids: Pretzel Monsters

I think most of the time around here, my littles are the ones requesting specific desserts and treats. But sometimes, a craving strikes and Mom's the one suggesting chocolate before dinner! :)


This treat happened simply because 1) I love chocolate pretzels and 2) my daughter found these candy eyes at the store one day. I knew we had some white baking chocolate, so I thought it'd be super easy to make some pretzel ghosts!

But as you can see above, I didn't have as much white chocolate as I thought I did. Milk and dark chocolate, on the other hand, are never lacking in our house! So we made an adjustment and decided to add some monsters to our ghosts.


When you're melting chocolate, the temperature matters quite a bit! You can heat it on the stove or in the microwave, and it's helpful to not melt it all the way. Stop it before it's liquid, and then stir - the stirring action will smooth it out the rest of the way! If it seizes (hardens) at any point, you can just reheat it. We found that candy melts work better than other kinds of chocolate for this project.

It's very hard to get a toddler to hold a jar of chocolate without moving. ;) I transferred the melted chocolate into this mason jar - you want to use something tall and narrow. This made it much easier for little hands to dip the pretzel rods in the chocolate without making a huge mess!

Put the dipped pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. The decorate however you'd like, making sure to move quickly before the chocolate hardens! Since monsters can be as goofy as you can imagine, this was the perfect project for imprecise toddler hands. :) The candy eyes are what make this great! 


Then simply wait for everything to harden! You can put them in the fridge or freezer if you'd like, but it will also work at room temperature within an hour. 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Party Balloons

I don't think there's anything as festive as balloons. You can add them to any normal get-together and presto! It's a party! Not to mention, they're easy, cheap, and I've never met a kiddo who doesn't love them. So if I'm planning a party, they're the first thing I look for. Here are some perfect ideas for your Halloween hullabaloo...and make sure to scroll to the bottom for a real jaw-dropper!

Ok this is the simplest, but also the one that I most want to do! It's pretty and spooky all at once.

Balloon ghosts are classic for a reason. Simple and cute!

The fact that these aren't actually basic black is what makes these black cat balloons extra cool!

I like the idea of letting each kiddo draw a jack-o-lantern face to add to this garland! And pairing it with the striped pennant is perfect.

This is actually a kit you can buy - the mix of marbling, confetti balloons, and giant eyeballs leaves nothing lacking!

This is the most impressive Halloween balloon decor I've ever seen! The size (this is just part of the arch) is crazy! I love the gauze for spiderwebs, the spiders climbing it, and the addition of pink and green (which I never would have thought of) to keep it all light! 


Which is your favorite?

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Cooking with Kids: Millefeuille

Have you ever made millefeuille? The name might be intimidating (it's French for "a thousand layers"), but this version of the dessert is so easy that even the littles can help with it! I got the idea here, and made a few changes since we had just gone blackberry picking.


First, start with a sheet of frozen puff pastry, following the instructions for thawing. Roll it out into a rectangle, and cut the rectangle into three equal pieces (I used a pizza cutter to make this easy). Put the pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone sheet, and poke them all over with a fork to make sure they don't get too bubbly.

Sift powdered sugar on top to help them caramelize in the oven.

Bake them at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until they're puffy and golden-brown.

Make a whipped cream (or use store-bought!) with whipping cream and powdered sugar. We also added blueberry nectar to make it a pretty lavender color! Layer the whipped cream on top of one of the pastries, and add whatever summer berry you'd like on top (we used blackberries). 

Stack the next pastry on top, and keep going! When you're done, sift some more powdered sugar on the top. The dessert is so fresh and light, and not overly sweet! And it looks much trickier than it really is, so it's a fun one to do with the kiddos for a party. 

I'm already dreaming about more flavor combinations! I think a Nutella-whipped cream with strawberries might be next for us. :)

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Colorful Coco Party

Have you seen Coco? I simply loved it - the loving message, the colors, and of course, the music! And I keep thinking of it as Halloween and Dia de los Muertos approach. I'm not the biggest fan of the creepy Halloween decorations, but decorations inspired by Coco? That, I could get behind!


A colorful table like this would be such a fun break from black and orange!

These banners can make even an indoor party more festive:

Of course, sugar skull cookies and vases make skeletons seem anything but scary:

These flower crowns would make little party guests very happy!

And I can't think of a sweeter party favor than these prints - after, that's the real message in the movie!


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