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Earth Day Craft!

Happy Earth Day!

This easy Earth Day craft is the perfect activity for kids of any age. All you will need is a coffee filter, green and blue washable markers, and a spray bottle filled with water. You don’t have to just create the Earth, let your imagination go wild and use a variety of different colors.

What you will need:

  • Coffee filters
  • Washable markers (blue and green)
  • A spray bottle
  • Water
  • A baking sheet (optional)

How to:

1. Color the coffee filter with the blue and green marker. As we picked out the markers, we talked about how the Earth is made up of land and water. I let him color all over the coffee filter, no neat lines or structure. He used his imagination to create his own “land” forms and oceans.

2. For this step, we went outside to decrease the mess! We sprayed the coffee filter with water, on top of a baking sheet to keep the dirt off. If you do not have a baking sheet handy, that’s alright, the ground works just as well! We sprayed the coffee filter until the colors began to spread and combine.

3. Last, but not least, lay the coffee filter out to dry!

And just like that, your kiddo has created their own version of the planet Earth!

We hope you enjoy and would love to see your Earth Coffee Filter creations!

XO Kate & Elizabeth


Motherhood, toddlers, Uncategorized

Getting Creative with Picky Eaters

When you become pregnant with your first child, you will swear your child will eat whatever you eat. You will never make a meal just for them. Your child will eat whatever is put in front of them. You swear that your child will love vegetables.

Everything is going exactly as you predicted, so far so good, then your child turns one. They get their first bite of cake and just like that your plan of healthy toddler meals goes out the window and all the delicious food you cook ends up on the floor for the dog.

Girl (and guy), I can completely relate. In fact, I am going through this very stage right now, times two! So here are a few tips and tricks that I am currently trying with both of my children. These have helped make meal time a bit less stressful, and the kiddos are slowly starting to come around. I call that a win-win!

Stay Consistent with Offering Healthy Foods!

Finding healthy meals that your toddlers will actually eat is hard work. It’s even harder to make meal after meal just to watch it be spat out. This can be frustrating, but take comfort knowing that consistently offering healthy foods can have a positive effect on their eating habits as your little(s) grow older.

Has your little one ever refused a certain food and then all the sudden they can’t get enough of it? Well, that’s because as your baby grows and develops, their taste buds change as well. So, keep offering a variety of healthy food to your little ones and eventually they will come around!

Hide Those Veggies!

Does your kiddo like smoothies? Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to include veggies into your child’s diet. Add some kale, carrots, or even beets! The sweetness of the fruit and yogurt will mask those veggies. There are a ton of easy and tasty recipes out there to try, or just make up your own. I also like to hide veggies in pasta sauce. My children love spaghetti and never notice when I add some zucchini, carrots, or cauliflower into our sauce.

Make Their Food Fun!

Who doesn’t like a plate of pretty food? Let’s be honest when we go out to eat and are handed a gorgeous plate, we are even more excited to chow down, after taking a picture, of course. So, why not create a fun and playful display of their food for your kiddos? It is worth the extra time it takes just to see how excited they get! The few bites they take may be icing on the cake, because let’s face it, a few bites are better than no bites at all!

One super fun and simple idea is turning apple slices into animals by using peanut butter and raisins. You are only limited by your imagination, create dinosaurs, butterflies, or whatever animal you kiddo enjoys. You can also make different bugs out of veggies! Get creative, do a little Pinterest search and even include your child in the decision and creation!

Change the Shape.

The texture of different foods can be a huge turn off to kids. Sometimes, something as simple as cutting the food up in a different way can make all the difference. Try cutting veggies into smaller pieces, shapes, or strips. My son loves carrots, but only if I cut them into strips julienne style (he’s a diva, I know) or buy baby carrots. Why? I have no clue, but if all I have to do is cut them differently to entice him to eat them, I am all in! Watermelon was the same way. When I cut them into cubes, neither child would touch it. But let them eat it directly off the rind and the watermelon was gone in minutes.

Cut into cubes… no, thanks! On the rind…. yes, please!

Always Have Something They Like on the Table.

I always have at least one thing on the table that I know my children will eat. That way I don’t have to worry about them being hungry five minutes after they leave the table. I let them know that they can choose what you would like to eat on your plate. I do not expect them to eat everything, but when it happens it is a pleasant surprise!

Having a food they enjoy, reduces the stress of both parent and child. When your child is relaxed, it is also more likely that they will try something new. Just imagine someone forcing you to try something you really weren’t too keen on. Do you think that would create a positive association with that specific food, or even with dinner? I think not. So, don’t force your child to finish everything on their plate. Encourage them to at least take a bite and praise them when they do. Creating positive associations between food and your child will help broaden their pallet.


I hope these tricks come in handy for you and your kiddos. If you have any other tips, comment below! We would love to hear how you get your kiddos to eat healthy!

XO Kate & Elizabeth

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Matching Easter Egg Sensory Bin

We LOVE sensory bins, so we created one just for Easter!

Have you done an Easter Egg hunt yet this year? We have had a ton of Easter events around our town, so the kiddos are now professionals. Because of their new found skills, we brought the Easter egg hunt into our home with this fun Matching Easter Eggs sensory bin. Not only is the sensory bin a blast, but it is a great fine-motor skill activity.

What you will need:

  • Matching Egg Sheet (Below)
  • Container
  • Rice
  • Food Dye
  • Plastic Eggs
  • Spoon
  • Bowl for Eggs
  • Clear Velcro Dots (optional)

Of course, the decorations for the sensory bin are totally optional. Make it your own and feel free to use whatever you have on hand. You can also get your kids involved in finding items to add the bin.

I created green rice by simply putting rice in a galloon bag, squeezing in some green dye, and shaking it all about. This is also a fun activity for your toddler to help you with. If you don’t have rice or green dye, you can also you the green crinkle grass.

You don’t need those exact items for the bin to be a success! Make it your own!

To Use:

Print the Matching Egg Sheets below, and cut out the Easter Egg squares on page 1. Attach the clear side of a set of clear velcro dots to each of the Easter Eggs on the matching mat.

Once your sheets and bin is ready, “hide” the Easter Egg squares throughout the sensory bin and have your child find the matching pairs.

To add an additional fine motor activity, have your little one attach and pull off the velcor eggs.

I also added some plastic Easter Eggs for an additional matching activity. I gave him a spoon to scoop the eggs out! We even made simple patterns with the plastic eggs. Let them explore, create, and imagine all the possibilities within the sensory bin.

I hope you and your little own enjoy this activity!

XO Kate & Elizabeth

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Cool Whip Easter Eggs!

Here is a fun and tasty twist on Easter Eggs. Today we brought all four kiddos together to dye Easter eggs. We tried both the traditional kits and cool whip. The cool whip seemed to be a huge hit and less of a mess!

Supplies

  • Food coloring
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cool Whip
  • Cooking Tray
  • Vinegar (optional)

How to:

If you decide to use vinegar, it brightens the colors, soak the eggs for about 2 or 3 minutes. Do not forget your eggs in the vinegar.

Spread your cool whip all over your cooking tray, I lined ours with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Drop dots of food coloring all over the cool whip and use a spoon to gently swirl the food dye around. Do not over mix or you will end up with brown eggs. Roll the eggs around in the cool whip mixture and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse and dry them off and they are done!

It was a fun way to dye eggs without the worry of the babies eating something they shouldn’t. The eggs turned out gorgeous as well.

Have fun and share your beautiful eggs!

Motherhood, toddlers, Uncategorized

Easter Baskets for Babies & Toddlers

As parents we love getting our kids gifts, and Easter is no exception. Each year, as spring comes around, we all look forward to Easter egg hunts, dressing up, dyeing eggs, and filling Easter baskets with loads of goodies.

However, many parents don’t enjoy the stress of figuring out what to fill their child’s Easter basket with. It is easy to run out of ideas and to grab all the sugary candy you see all over the store. Of course, we want their baskets to be fun and enjoyable, but we don’t want to have our toddler on a sugar high. We try our best to find unique ideas that are practical and not a basket filled with sweets.

We tend to try to shy away from those basket “fillers”. You know, all the small pieces that will end up sprawled across the playroom floor in a matter of minutes. The kind that are waiting for your unsuspecting feet to step on in the middle of the night. The kind that end up in the giveaway pile only weeks after purchasing. Yeah, those basket fillers!  

We know you’d rather gift your kid with things that are fun and that gets plenty of use. So, we went on the hunt for the best Easter basket fillers that babies and toddlers would enjoy and that parents wouldn’t mind buying because they are super practical. We had to get creative and found five different categories to choose from to build your basket! We made it SUPER easy too, with the help of Amazon.

We’ve got what you need to make this year’s Easter basket for your baby and toddler the best one yet!

So, here is our list of Easter basket ideas for babies and toddlers.

Something to read:

Books are usually where I start when getting gifts for any holiday! They are a great way to introduce new topics and get their imaginations going. So, don’t forget to grab some fun Easter or Spring themed books to put in your kiddos Easter basket. And then snuggle up together and read as a family.

  • Little Blue Truck Springtime I actually bought this for my son LAST Easter and it is still one of his favorites. All of the Little Blue Truck books are adorable, but I love the interactive flaps in this one. 
  • Llama Llama Easter Egg – The Llama Llama books are always so sweet, and this one is no exception. 
  • We Are the Gardeners-This is my topic pick for this Easter! It is written by Joanna Gaines and all about gardening. I cannot wait to read this one to both of my kiddos. 
  • Mouse’s First Spring My daughters current favorite book. We read this book at least three times a day. The cute sound effects and pictures captures her attention every time. 
  • If you Plant a Seed– We are BIG into planting this year, so this book is prefect for spring. 
  • And then it’s Spring- Another cute Spring book for both our toddler and baby. Teach them all about Spring with this cute book.

Something to eat:

While we don’t want to pack our child’s Easter basket with sugary treats, snacks are the way to their heart! So, grab some of their favorite and swap them out in place of all that candy.

  • Goldfish
  • Fruit Bars
  • Granola Bars
  • Puffs
  • Graham Crackers

Something to make:

Toddlers love to build and create! We have found some fun crafts and activities to get your kiddos imagination flowing.

  • Birdhouse kit-This cute kit allows your kiddo the creative pow to decorate their own bird house. Once the house is built, watch their excitement grow as a bird makes a home.
  • Bug Catching kit- What toddler doesn’t love catching a few bugs and observing them? This kit invites so much awesome science play. Work with your kiddo to safely grab bugs to watch before releasing them. I can’t wait to catch a few ants and worms with my toddler!
  • Tie Dye Kit –A little messy, but so much fun! Grab a white shirt, and let your little one design their own tie dye shirt! You can make one for each member of the family.

Something to wear:

With warm weather coming use their basket as an adorable way to get them spring time ready!

  • Rainboots and Rain coat
  • Sunhat
  • Cute Sunglasses
  • Bathing suit
  • Flipflops
  • Cute Easter Outfit

Something to use:

Practical gifts are the best kind of gift! Something that they can use time and time again over the spring and summer. Here are a few of our topic picks.

  • Bubble Machine– A classic and a favorite of both of my children. Bubbles and even a bubble machine is a fun way to get them to run around outdoors, as the warm weather begins.
  • Play-Doh -To refresh your supply and offer a simple activity whenever you might need it.
  • Chalk– A new warm season, a new set of chalk. It’s just how it has to be! Our chalk from last year is looking pretty tired and may have gone threw a few rain storms! This fresh set should get the creative outdoor juices flowing!
  • Coloring Paper & Crayons– We use plain paper, so our baby and toddler can use their imagination as they color and draw. These crayons are also great for little hands to grab and scribble. As a bonus, they are also fun to stack!
  • Outdoor Paint– Keep the mess outside with these waterproof outdoor paints. They come with brushes and hours of fun.
  • Dot Markers – I use dot markers for a variety of activities. From art projects to finding letters, they are a great addition to your art closet.

Don’t forget to add your our traditions to your Easter Basket.

I hope you are able to get a bit of inspiration from this list and are ready to get that basket together! What are some of the things you’ve put into your child’s Easter basket?

XOXO Kate & Elizabeth

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Meal Planning Made Easy!

The first thing I noticed when I started meal planning was how much money we saved each month. A couple of days ago, I was cleaning out my desk when I found our monthly budgets from a few years ago (before we started meal planning). And holy cow! We were spending over $750 a month for a family of 3, one of which was a toddler who barely ate anything! Once I realized how much we were overspending, our meal planning journey began.

Before I jumped into meal planning, I sat down, did a little research (hello Pinterest), and finally made the decision that meal planning was the way to go. We decided we would only shop once a week, with a detailed list, and a budget in mind. If you are like us and are spending too much on groceries every week, you are in the right place! It’s time to organize your meals with a weekly meal plan.

Benefits of Meal Planning:

Of course saving money is a huge benefit, but there are also a few others. When you plan ahead, you can create healthy meals for your family instead of just throwing together whatever you find in your fridge. I will say, we do have pizza Friday every week, but you of course do not have to do that!

Meal planning also reduces the trips to the grocery store. (If you have small children like us, this is a huge benefit! hahaha) I used to find myself or my husband making two or three extra trips a week because we forgot this or that. Somehow those extra trips also ended up with extra cookies or cake, oops!

With a meal plan, you are more likely to get everything you will need all in one trip. Our biggest thing was that it reduced the stress of “Babe, what are we having for dinner tonight?!” and you look at him like a deer in headlights? Yeah, that look… well with a meal plan it doesn’t happen as often. Instead we look at the fridge planner and see the entire week’s schedule ahead of time so we can prepare accordingly.

One trip to the store a week = field trip! One then one = chaos.
One trip to the store a week = field trip! More than one = chaos.

Create a List of Meals Your Family Enjoys

Before you start planning your meals, make a list of your family’s favorites.  Does your family love Taco Tuesday?  Or salads?  Maybe you have a favorite soup?  Write those down! You can also search favorite main ingredients in Pinterest to freshen up your list every once ad awhile. Once you have your list, pick your daily theme. Having a daily theme makes choosing each meal a little easier. Our daily themes look like this:

          Sunday- Whole Roasted Chicken & different sides each week

          Monday- Meatless Monday

          Tuesday- Taco/Mexican

          Wednesday- Instant Pot (LOVE my Instant pot!)

          Thursday- Salad (Salads don’t have to be boring, check Pinterest for some tasty ideas)

          Friday- Pizza Night!

          Saturday- Seafood (We live near the water, so fresh seafood is easy to come by.)

Have fun picking the themes of your days, they do not have to look anything like mine! We also have a list of our “Go To Meals” that we use when we know our schedules won’t allow us to try something new. As you continue to meal plan you will acquire your own list of “Go To Meals” save them whenever is handy for you! I have a Pinterest board of favorites, of course Magnolia Table cookbook and family cookbook I use often.

Planning made simple!

  1. Use a weekly dry erase calendar, so everyone knows what’s for dinner each day of the week. It also helps you remember if there is anything you need to do the night before, like a marinade or thawing.
  2. If you have an iPhone, create a group note with your partner. It’s an easy way for each of you to add things to your grocery list or meal ideas as they pop up in your mind. This is a lifesaver for me, I forget everything! Thanks, Mom brain. So, being able to write it all down in one spot makes things so much easier.
  3. Search your pantry and fridge BEFORE & WHILE creating your list. This allows you to use what you already have and make sure that you are getting everything you need for the week to come. Have you ever swore you had a certain spice to only get home and realize you don’t?! I have, and it’s so frustrating. So, make sure you check those recipes along with what you may or may not already have at home.
Everything you need ALL IN ONE PLACE!

Time To Plan!

Once a week, you plan your complete family meals for the week. We try to plan on Saturday and hit the grocery store on Sunday! Plan meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Don’t skip planning breakfast and lunch. Otherwise you will end up running out of food. With two little kids running around having breakfast planned has made our morning routine go so much smoother. We try to make enough each dinner to have leftovers for lunch. Eating leftovers reduces how much food you have to prepare, throwing away extras, and, well, money.

So sit down, think about what your family enjoys and start meal planning. It is so simple once you get the hang of it! You don’t need anything fancy, just a piece of paper, your phone, and a pen. Take inventory of what you already have and get to work! If you want a worksheet to write everything out on, click the download button below!

I would LOVE to hear some of your go to recipes! With a picky toddler, we are always open to new recipes to add to our list!  

XO Kate & Elizabeth

Motherhood, toddlers, Uncategorized

St. Patrick’s Day Activities with Toddlers

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Ready to dig into some fun St. Patrick’s day activities? Well then you have come to the right place! We have put together a few fun and easy project for you and your kiddo. 

  1. Rainbow Dots!

Work on those fine motor skills, while sharpening their cognitive skills as well. Of course, it’s also fun for them! Print out a picture of a rainbow, like this one, grab some dot markers, and fill the circles with whatever your child is learning. Are they into shapes? Awesome! Fill the circles with different shapes and have them follow the key. Do they love numbers? Then use numbers! We are working on lowercase letter, so we used them! The best part is you can easily adjust this activity based on theme, difficulty, and ability. Oh, and it’s pretty much mess free. We love to continue to our rainbow theme with our wooden rainbow.

2. Make soda bread!

Does your toddler LOVE to be in the kitchen with you? Mine sure does. So, we decided to make some delicious Irish soda bread. Let me tell you, it was easy and actually super fun! I know keeping a toddler on task for more then 5 seconds can be a challenge. But, I have noticed when they have their little hands moving they seem to last a whole minute. Helping in the kitchen isn’t just fun, it is a great way to introduce math and how to follow directions to your children.  For step by step instructions, click the link above. Her recipe was super easy and delicious! 

3. Lucky Charms Sensory Bin. 

This Lucky Charms sensory bin is easy, edible, and so much fun to do! It took me maybe 5 minutes to put together and had my toddler and infant busy for at least 30 minutes. It is the prefect way to teach sorting and fine motor skills.

What you’ll need:

  • Lucky Charms
  • A Container
  • Cups
  • Spoons
  • Plastic Letters or anything to hide

Just place letters in the bottom of the bin and poured the cereal right on top.  Then have your kiddo start sorting the marshmallows into different cups, while uncovering the hidden letters. As the letters become exposed have them place them into the puzzle. Such a fun and yummy way to teach sorting, pouring, and the alphabet all in one! 

Pouring from one container to another, searching for letters!

4. Go Outside On a Scavenger.

We LOVE to go on scavenger hunts! So, I created a simple list for St. Patrick’s Day. We headed outside in search for all things St. Patrick’s Day! When we found all that we could outside, we began our search indoors. We found everything on our list, even those tiny leprechaun footprints! It was so much fun searching high and low for everything. Seeing the excitement on his face was priceless. These toddler years can be a handful, but they sure are fun! If you want to head out on a scavenger hunt with your kiddo, I attached the PDF below. Happy searching!

It’s time to get crafty! We would love to see your creations in our comment section or on our Facebook page! 

If you have any St. Patrick’s Day must do’s, we would love to hear about them. Comment them below, so we can try them out too.