4 Homemade Beautiful Kid-friendly Ornaments

www.wholefully.com

The girls and I have plans to make ornaments twice this December. Once with another homeschool family and once with their AHG troop.

So I scoured the web looking for ones that are cute AND can be made mostly without grownup help. Because isn’t it a lot more fun for kids if they make it all on their own!?

I hate that so many of the actual cute homemade ornaments out there basically require grown-up assembly from start to finish—with hot glue guns or sewing or cutting with a knife etc.

And I didn’t want to compromise in the cuteness department. You know, opting for something that would look chintzy or fall apart before Christmas.

So, here are four I found that are adorable and can actually be made by kids. (Some of them do require some grownup prep and/or a few adaptations to be totally kid friendly.)

www.wholefully.com

I found these cinnamon ornaments on Wholefully. Aren’t they great?!

We had friends give us something similar as a Christmas present two years ago. The girls loved them, they smelled delicious (ahhh…cinnamon is heavenly), plus they’re much prettier than the traditional salt dough ornaments I made as a child. Don’t you think? A win all the way around in my book.

www.thediymommy.com

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22 ways to enjoy vacation with small kids even more

Child eating a donut

Martha's Vineyard with small kidsLet’s face it, once you have children, vacation changes drastically. What was a time of couple fun and relaxation in years gone by, can become hectic and challenging with the addition of little people whose schedule has been thrown out the window.

We by no means have vacation with kids completely figured out (our oldest is 7 and we only have 2, after all), but there are some things that we have done over the last couple years that have made family vacations much more memorable and enjoyable. I thought I would share. Of course, every family is unique and what works for one may not work for the other. Feel free to pick and choose!

Leave plenty of wiggle-room in the schedule. 

We have found that allowing some room in the schedule with kids is a must. Trying to squeeze in too many activities or not having time to just rest makes for a less happy group. Let’s face it, things just take longer when you have kids. Embrace the slower schedule and it will be a blessing.

Plan a picnic at a memorable location. 

We did this for the first time during our recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard and it was so much fun. We packed a picnic lunch and took it to a lighthouse. It was refreshing to eat in the beautiful outdoors while taking in a scenic historic location. Afterwards Brance and I chatted while the girls ran around on the lawn. This simple picnic ended up being one of the highlights from our trip!

Martha's Vineyard CliffsScale back activities. 

Don’t omit activities like a hiking, museums, sight-seeing etc. all together. Just make them kid-friendly. You might not be able to hike for miles or spend hours exploring ancient ruins or wandering through a museum, but you can still enjoy those activities as a family in a different way. Since we aren’t likely to make it very far on a hike, we love to observe birds, plants, and animals, something we often missed before kids. There are advantages to slowing down.

Keep plenty of snacks and water on hand. 

It never fails that one of my kids is hungry between meals. Rather than spending your time looking for snacks or eating meals before the rest of the group is ready, having snacks on hand is a life-saver. We often think of snacks being just for kids, but we grownups benefit as well. Especially if we have healthy snack options that keep us from buying yet another ice-cream cone. Water goes without saying.

Include the kids in some of the decision-making. 

Our kids’ eyes light up any time we give them several options for the next activity or restaurant. Kids enjoy their vacation more and are more pleasant if they have a voice. Letting them choose some of the activities will make the vacation more fun for everyone. In fact, my daughter told me this was, by far, my best tip ;).

Spell each other. 

If hiring help is not an option for you or something you are interested in, giving each other time off is wonderful. For us it is a must. Brance usually takes his time early in the morning. He’ll get up before the rest of us, dress, and then spend time reading in the hotel lobby or restaurant or exploring something close to the hotel. I work mine in later in the day. If you have younger kids, nap times are a great time for one of you to get some much needed alone time.

Bring something for them to do. 

Bring coloring books, notebooks, matchbox cars, dolls, an Etch A Sketch, or whatever your kids are into. It’s so helpful. We always have something to occupy our kids while traveling – whether on a plane, in the car, or in a hotel room. We try and fit it into one small bag that we can easily keep up with. And I  oversee what goes in the bag. The few times they have been allowed to pack their own bag have resulted in us lugging randomness (bits of string, broken pencils, filled notebooks etc.)

Child eating a donutChoose kid-friendly activities and restaurants. 

While certain activities can be scaled back and enjoyed with children, others probably should be avoided all together. While Brance and I would love to take in the late-night music scenes in every city we visit, we know that we wouldn’t enjoy it one bit with tired kids and then the next day we would be one grumpy, sleep deprived family. So when family vacationing we omit. Also, we try and pick restaurants where we can relax and kids can be kids (within reason :). Continue reading

Of Daddies, Daughters, and Cupcakes in Boston

cupcakes in BostonOne of the great things about having daughters is that I can now go on a date with more than one beautiful girl at the same time, and not get in trouble! In addition to dating their mother, I try to take my girls on “Daddy Dates” pretty regularly.

I’ll write more about Daddy Dates in the future, because I think it’s extremely important for our daughters, but today I want to share with you some pictures and thoughts from our most recent Daddy Date, just to give you a taste.

This was an afternoon date, and we decided to head downtown. We have a few favorite spots for dates and Continue reading

Flight Delay: 7 Hours in the Airport!

imageSo, our day yesterday wasn’t as uneventful as we had hoped. We had a “bit” of a flight delay and the girls and I were stuck in the airport 7 hours before our plane took off! Can you believe that? It’s funny to think about now, because I was excited to have been fortunate enough to get a direct flight back home. Layovers with small kids can be a little hairy. I can’t remember a time I have ever been in an airport this long before, layover or delay, ha!imageI should have known we were in for “trouble” when we arrived at the airport to find our flight was already delayed an hour due to mechanical issues. Slowly, bit by bit, our departure time inched later and later. Continue reading

Flying with Young Kids

girls watching plane

The girls and I fly back home today! Our visit with my parents was definitely meant to be, especially with my dad’s bad health report and we enjoyed every minute, but we are so looking forward to seeing Brance. Although, I’m not really looking forward to the flight.

Flying with young kids is always interesting, and not always in a good way. When they are really small you worry that they might cry too much and annoy all the people sitting around you. I am not sure why we worry so much, considering chances are we will never see these people again. But we do. To the point I preferred a 15 hour drive to visit my family to the 2 hour flight, Abigail’s first Thanksgiving!

The mobile baby and toddler are almost impossible to contain. We walk off the plane feeling as if we were in a day-long wrestling match, completely wiped. Continue reading