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simple keepsakes and gifts for busy moms

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bunk Beds

Like anyone with a sibling, we went through a phase when all we wanted was bunk beds! Now my own little ones want them, and I'm seeing them through the lens of a parent...stacking beds means more floor space :). Win-win! We haven't switched their sleeping situation yet, but how amazing are some of these ideas?

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And last - but definitely not least - what kid wouldn't want to sleep here??

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Quiet Time

As our kids get older, they're ready to drop their nap time, but still need some quiet time to rest and recharge (and so do I!). Since my oldest shares a room with her napping sister, I've had to find activities that she can do quietly without waking her sibling. These are some of our favorites!

Books are obviously the best quiet entertainment - and all of these are favorites with us :). 

This simple DIY loom has endless potential - we always have bits of ribbon laying around, and they can start over with it the next day!

Having nosy little siblings around sometimes makes it hard to do "school" games (they'd steal those tiles immediately!), so quiet time is a great window for activities like this!

Sensory toys like this are my secret weapon :). Often kids will reach for flashier things, but if they play with these for awhile, it can calm even the busiest kid! 

 

What are your favorite quiet time activities?

 

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fourth of July

Our Fourth of July celebrations are including more kids and chaos every year! And we've learned that the key to having a good time is to plan on the chaos, and adjust expectations accordingly :). So our get-together this year will probably be low-key, but here are a couple of simple ways to celebrate the red, white, and blue while keeping everyone happy!

 

Most importantly, we give the kids a way to get their energy out! I love this patriotic-themed balloon dart game for older kids...and I imagine the younger ones (and adults) will have a blast with an old-fashioned water balloon fight. As long as you tell people to pack swimsuits, everyone can be fair game!

My biggest find of the summer so far has been Turkish towels - they're so light, but big, and dry in a fraction of the time that normal towels do! They also roll up into nothing, so they're easy to store...I'd buy a bunch to have on hand after the water games!

 

And while we'll also probably grill, have sparklers, and read the Declaration of Independence out loud (a fun tradition, especially if you have some dramatic readers :), one thing we always have now is a variation of this cake:

You can use any cake recipe you like, but I usually do a vanilla layer cake (though the bundt one in the picture is fun!) with homemade whipped cream as frosting, and piled high with blue and red berries. It's light, tastes like summer, and if (a big "if") there happen to be any leftovers, it can be the best breakfast the next morning, too :). 

Happy Independence Day!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nautical Nursery

I was looking at all of the cute nautical products we have (including the Little Captain Memory book, which gives me heart eyes!), and suddenly, I was designing a coastal nursery around this print:

Just in case you have a little sailor, here are some other fun things that would round out a nautical nursery...

 

This whale toy basket (that would also be cute filled with swaddle blankets or stuffed animals):

This lamp that reminds me of a buoy:

This pillow with its watercolor calmness:

And this sailboat mobile to entertain a wakeful captain! 

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

DIY Ombre Swaddle Blankets

We're going to have a little boy joining our family soon! The girls are so excited, and I thought it'd be fun to do a little project where they could make something for him. When I saw this tutorial, I thought it was perfect! The ingredients are so simple:

Most tutorials used Rit Dye, which makes it especially easy with over 500 color "recipes" on its website. It also includes thorough instructions. You need a large bucket (or stainless steel sink with a stopper), some plain swaddles, whatever color dye you want, salt, dish soap, and lots of hot water :). 

 

First things first, I made sure the top of the blankets were even, and then put a rubber band around the tops to make them easier for me (and my 4-year-old) to hold. 

Then we rinsed the blankets with warm water. Since I was going for an ombre effect, I didn't bother submerging the whole thing, but just made sure as much as would be dyed was wet. Then for the dye! We filled the bucket with very hot water, added a tablespoon of dish soap and 1 cup of salt, and then our dye (about 1/3 bottle of aquamarine, and a tablespoon or two of navy blue). Stir it up! 

 

Since I didn't know exactly how dark this would be, I chose to start from the top with dyeing (some tutorials start at the bottom). So I quickly submerged it to the highest point I wanted, and started drawing it back up almost immediately. The dye was quite dark, so this worked well! Then we took turns holding it, leaving less and less blanket in the dye as we went on to make sure the bottom had a nice, dark hue. 

Some of the color came out with the rinses at the end, so don't worry if it looks too dark! When we were happy with the color range, I rinsed in thoroughly in warm water, and then in cold water until the water ran clear. (I was glad that we had been doing this whole project in the kitchen at this point - it was super easy to go from the bucket to the multiple rinses.) Then we put them in the washer on delicate, and hung them outside to dry. We couldn't be more in love with the result!

And I think they're going to get a lot of use before the baby even gets here :). 

 

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