Friday, June 28, 2013

A Visit from Gigi

I'm just getting back from my crazy-awesome adventure with hubby (details to come once I've slept), so while I'm recovering from massive around-the-world jetlag, I thought I'd leave you with a few sweet photos.

We were lucky enough to have my husband's grandmother come and visit us for a few days at the beginning of May.

We call her Gigi, for great-grandma. Totally the cutest great grandma name I've ever hear od, hoping I make it long enough, and impress the need for grandchildren onto my children enough, that I can be a Gigi one day. Or a G.G. either way:)

Yup, so this post is pretty much just a shout out to lovely relatives who want to see the pictures, and a gigantic "Thank You" to Gigi for flying across the country to see us, and letting us avoid taking 3 kids on an airplane for 6 hours:)


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Monday, June 17, 2013

A little time away...

These last few weeks of schol almost killed me. Just so much to do with alost no time to do it in. And the lunches? Wy haven't they started packing themselves by now? The last minute paperwork, checks for the yearbook, I mean honestly, by June most of us can barely even get our kids out the door, we are so burned out. Post spring break is just a slippery slide to summer.

So I'm taking a break.

Unlike last year I'm not heading to Hawaii or another tropical local, but unlike last year we aren't bringing the kids!

I am beyond excited to spend a few weeks with just my husband, so I'm signing off from blogging for that time too, I might not even bring my computer!

I had a few posts scheduled to go up, but I think you'd rather I give you posts with fun, creative content, than just some things I threw together to fill the void:)

See you around the 4th of July!

Jessica Pin It

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Air Travel with Kids

Airplane Travel with Kids

I've written about airplane travel with kids before, you can find that post here. But we recently took the kids on a surprise trip to Disneyland (a surprise for them, not us!) and I think I've had sufficient experience to add to my previous writings on the topic.

Do not travel in the "red zone". I define that as about 6 months - 2 years old, give or take. Before then the baby will just nurse and sleep, so your arms might feel like they will fall off, but you won't want to throw the baby out of the plane at 30,000 feet. After 2, or whenever your child discovers the wonder of TV, this is the time to just bribe them with a zillion shows and snacks.

Pack with a plan in mind. Don't just throw a variety of cheap plastic toys in a bag and think that because your kid hasn't played with them at home they will magically become fascinating in the air. Think through your timing, and pack accordingly. If it's a short flight, you might need a snack for takeoff, 1 or 2 shows or movies for in the air (a new one and an old standby, this is not the time to discover that your child strongly dislikes WonderPets and *needs* her Dora), and an activity or snack for the way down. Longer flights will benefit from workbooks, simple card games (Go Fish, Old Maid etc.), and art that you make out of the airsickness bag. Add a sweater and you are good to go.

Don't use this time to teach sharing. Nope, on a plane is not the time to reinforce your value of sharing (whether it's a device or an armrest). Beg for or borrow enough video devices so that each child has their own with their own content. Separate your children from each other, and let them each have their own bags and snacks.

Air travel with kids

Headphones. Enough said. Your kids need them or you will go insane listening to the opening refrain from Bob the Builder (yes you can!). We give our kids our old noise canceling headphones so they can actually hear their shows (the kid ones don't work well with all the ambient noise of an airplane) and we just hope we might be able to read a magazine:)* the above photo was taken before takeoff, so she could still hear!

Traveling with Kids

What are some of your best tips for traveling with kids?

*Notice that we left the baby behind on this particular trip, 17 months (at time of travel) being not fun either in the plane or in Disneyland:)


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Monday, June 10, 2013

Succulents by the Mudroom Door

Stay at Home-ista: Mudroom door with vinyl letters and a pot of succulents.

I keep killing any plants I try to get to grow, but I've heard great things about succulents, so I thought to try them out downstairs.

I love how they look,

planting succulents

and I especially love that I'm only supposed to water them occasionally  Which I take to mean "when you remember" :)

planting succulents

I got the kids in on the action, which I'm hoping makes them take ownership over the plants, invest in their safety, and remind me to water them!

Stay at Home-ista: Mudroom door with vinyl letters and a pot of succulents.

You can see more about my love of labeling doors with vinyl here.


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Friday, June 7, 2013

A Fireman Birthday Party- at a Fire Station!

4 year old's fire truck birthday party, complete with a visti to the fire station!

My little guy just turned 4, so to celebrate we threw him a birthday party actually *at* our local fire station. He loved fire engines, fire trucks, firemen, fire hoses, fire hats, fire dogs.... you get the idea, so this was the perfect 4 year old birthday party idea.

Did you know they did this? 

And for free,  I might add:) Plus they give out hats and stickers, which just means I added bubbles and pinata candy and called it a day on favors. You can read more about how I feel about party favors here.

fire man birthday party at a fire station

First we all met at the fire station, where the fire fighters put on a safety demonstration for the kids about fire safety, and their gear. 

birthday party at a fire station

Next, the kids get to go outside and actually spray the water hose down the street.

fire station birthday party- kids get to spray the fire hoses!

Seriously, cutest thing ever!

Parents can try it too (with more pressure), and boy, that isn't easy, no wonder firemen are so ripped! Of course I tried it to show that girls can do it too, good role modeling for my daughters:)

Post fire station, we walked around the corner to a local park for snacks and playing.

The kids played on the play structure while grown ups talked and snacked (I bought Sofia cans of champagne  which are the most brilliant invention ever).

decorations for a firefighter birthday party

I made cupcakes (red velvet with cream cheese frosting) in fire truck liners, with little fire hats and fire dog toppers, super easy, and easy to transport with a Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier cupcake carrier I have owned but not put to enough use:) My cupcake carrier is collapsible, so it doesn't take up too much space at home.I bought the kit of liners and toppers at HomeGoods, but it's similar to this one: Consruction Cupcake Kit

fire hat and fire dog cupcakes for a fire truck birthday party

fire station cupcakes in a collapsible cupcake carrier

It was windy, and we forgot the lighter, so had a friend bring it, but no dice, no fire. He didn't seem to mind:)

fire fighter birthday party in a park

Then time for a Firefighter Fire Engine Pinata(from Amazon, where all good things come from).

fire engine pinata for a birthday party

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!


You can check out my previous kid parties on my parties page, including last year's construction machine party

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Easy Appetizer: Endive with Roquefort, Almonds and Honey

Easy Appetizer, perfect for guests! Endive layered with cheese, nuts and honey.

The title pretty much says it all, this is an easy appetizer, or salad if you put a few on a plate, that takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Beautiful platter, perfect for guests! Endive layered with cheese, nuts and honey.


  • Buy Endive, cut off ends, arrange on a platter.
  • Top with roquefort cheese (I get mine pre-crumbled at Trader Joe's, but any crumbly kind will do, feta etc.), slivered almonds, and drizzle with honey.

Easy appetizer for a party- just take endive, and layer on crumbled cheese, almonds and honey!

Huge hit!


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Monday, June 3, 2013

Easy Gift Wrapping Strategies

It's possible that this is the easiest gift wrapping strategy ever.

You know, other than putting it in a bag, which I also use (especially for my pre-made art supply birthday bags from last year).

craft paper as wrapping paper, washi tape, stickers and stamps. Such an easy way to wrap a birthday gift!

This year, my kindergartener had a triple birthday party, so each boy received a variation on a theme. A puzzle. A nice puzzle. In a tin, so it felt like it had some heft to it:)

I simply wrapped each up in brown craft paper. The same brown craft paper I used to cover my table with for an art-doodling dinner party.

Construction machine puzzle as a gift for a little boy. Wrap in craft paper, add washi tape and stickers and you are done!

Then I closed them up with washi tape and stickers from Trader Joe's. Use what you got, people.

craft paper as wrapping paper, washi tape, stickers and stamps. Such an easy way to wrap a birthday gift!

I then "fancied them up", with some stamps, which I picked up at Target. I love stamping To and From on the gift paper, no need to make a card!

craft paper as wrapping paper, washi tape, stickers and stamps. Such an easy way to wrap a birthday gift!

All done!


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