This is the second Paw Patrol party we have thrown for my five-year-old. We did the same theme last year, only it was more aqua Paw Patrol themed and we held it at an indoor… More
Ok you guys. If you are making your way through Indianapolis with the family, you have GOT to put this museum on the list! It is ranked #1 in the country and was so much fun! We could have gone several days in a row if we were there for longer. We just visited my hubby while he was doing his internship there over the summer so while he was working we went to go play. Anyway, there is so much here! We were there for half the day but barely made it through 1/2 of it if that.
Every once in a while when we are at a museum, there will be that occasional exhibit that brings out the “kid” in me. You know what I mean? I just am so passionate about miniature things. I love the art of it. So when I saw these dollhouse miniatures at the Children’s museum my heart skipped a beat. This would be a hobby I wouldn’t mind perusing one day. In a way we are already doing so on our own with our miniature dollhouse creations and fairy house building. But note, I do have the help of toddlers. They love it though. We have built one for each season for our family room table of decor.
Would you have the patience and delicate hand required to pursue such an art? Tell me in the comments below!
I love this little colonial setup. One of these days we might try to my our way to Colonial Williamsburg before leaving the east coast.
When I was about 11, a best friend of mine had a full dollhouse like this one. It was complete with electricity… the works. I remember her telling me about how her grandparents has started making it for the oldest sister, but it didn’t get completed until the last sister was about 8 or 9. Such a time consuming art I guess, but I think there is certainly a reason why!
When we were in Seattle, we got a chance to go to the Chihuly glass museum featuring amazing work like this one displayed in the center of the winding stairs at the childrens museum and it was stunning. The artist was is so devoted to his art, that even when he lost one eye in glass making and now wears an eye patch, he continues on. If I lost an eye as a photographer… well I guess that would work out ok as I close one eye anyway to look through the shutter.
Mister Milo was sooo focused on being the racecar driver, I really couldn’t get his attention 😉 Pretty much he is at, “Whatever mom! I am busy drivin a car here!”
In Salt Lake City at the Gateway Children’s museum there, The Discovery Gateway they have an amazing room devoted to balls where you can pop them in the tubes and send them about. They has a similar setup here with balls and scarfs and other fun floating things you could send up flying.
And .. the splash pad! They do have splash protection gear but my kids are too cool for that:) JK.
Madeline ready with her goggles to play in the wind tunnel and send scarves and papers flying up.
This was part of the creatures in the forest area. As a mom, I couldn’t stop thinking… how often do these furry guys get washed? And that is what good hand sanitize is for. It is when your 3 year old tries to come at you and give you snuggly kisses with the shared furry friend that you kindly pass.
And this was one of our favorites! Art corner! They started out this little class with a teacher giving a short lesson on expression and art talking about butterfly wings, then we got to make one out of coffee filters and watercolor paint.
The kids used eye droppers to put their paint on their picture. It was beautiful and proud mama art. But unfortunately only lasted a few days with our upcoming travels.
Next we explored the archaeological digs where kids could reconstruct duplicates of the Emperor’s Silent Army and similar figures.
And a fun under the sea “treasure hunters” exhibit
A giant plastic mummy kids could reconstruct. This was of course too old for my kids but perfect for all those school groups coming in learning about mummies.
It felt a bit like we were in Universal Studios or something. With all the lights and effects.
The train exhibit was Milo’s FAVORITE! Though he was pretty tired by this point. They loved the tunnels that you could crawl under and see trains down there and the trains that went above.
I had a hard time peeling him away from this one. Fortunately one distraction sits next to another which makes the transitions easier.
For another career, I don’t think I would mind perusing miniature building. How cute is this boho/ hobbit styled train station? Reminds me of Harry Potter.
A completely amazing full stream locomotive. Milo was ecstatic.
An assortment of metal vintage trains. Love these! Reminds me of the grandparents fun tradition of a train going around the Christmas tree. Smaller versions though. These ones were pretty big!
Outside this windows were rolling tape of the countryside and such as you went on a pretend journey.
More vintage trains! And me…
Loved this train table and how you could stand in the middle of it if you wanted to. I think that only other place I had seen this before was at the Raleigh Children’s museum.
In the basement of the Museum was an assortment of plastic Chihuly art pieces that the children could poke into the holes and make a masterpiece. Also, there was a pretty legit rotating chair that leaned back so you could observe the art on the ceiling. I would have loved to linger longer on it but somehow Milo still had a LOT of energy and was running about. I will post a video here shortly.
Getting to know our Asian neighbors! Madeline played house inside as setup of a Chinese home. Play food, the works.
We could go to a play market place, learn calligraphy, watch a show (which we missed) and Madeline has fun dressing up in traditional Opera attire.
And last but not least, shadow puppets! Can I just say that this is a developing passion of mine! We have pursued that as a Christmas holiday tradition telling the Nativity story and make puppets each year for it. I will make a separate post all about that shortly!
What were your favorite exhibits? What was your favorite to visit and why? Tell me in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!
Photography by: http://effervescentmediaworks.com
Valentine’s season in one of our favorite crafting seasons! We just love all the cute colors and hearts and gifts that we make for giving friends and family.
Here are some super easy and beautiful Valentine cards we made this year that include two current art trends, watercolor and glitter. The simplicity of this craft is perfect for a pro yet personal touch.
Here is what I used:
- Strathmore Watercolor paper 6×9
- plastic or paper plate for shaking glitter over
- Gold Glitter – We like Martha Stewart Crafts brand Glitter – Florentine Gold
- red and orange-red watercolor paint and a little water
- paintbrush and palette
- Elmer’s glue
To start I used the 6 x 9 watercolor paper, because I don’t care for a lot of cutting and I could simply cut it straight from the pad binding. Once I had the number I wanted I folder them on a flat surface and used the handles of my scissors to make a cleanly folded crease.
From there I starting mixing my paint a touch with about a teaspoon or tablespoon of water. I like to not mix it completely together as a variety of tones make a prettier heart.
I loosely painted my hearts and for fun on a few I flecked so paint speckles on my flicking my brush against my hand a few inches away from the card.
Last I laid the cards flat. To help reduce chances of the paint running, I go creative in how they were laid to make sure they were flat. The paper does tend to warp temporarily with the water color paint but when it dries it will go back to normal.
Let the cards all dry, for about an hour or too. Make sure they are completely dry as you will not want the glitter to cling to the wet parts and if you try to move them while they are still drying you are more likely to have the paint bleed.
When they are dry use a bottle of Elmer’s glue and put your calligraphy skills to use. Make sure your glue is all down in the end of the bottle and test on another piece of paper to get use to the speed it comes out for writing. I recommend sticking to short words like Love, or abbreviations like: u r a q t (you are a cutie) Which will make them smile mouthing it out and trying to figure it out.
Other ideas are: Hello Beautiful, Hey There, Happy Valentines, Sweet, Cutie, xoxo… Simply consider the receiver of the card and what would put a smile on their face.
Sprinkle your glitter on all over your glue, gently shake it off of the plate and set aside, face up to dry.
What my kids loved: Helping sprinkle the glitter and also painting the cards. My toddler is quite proud every time she completes her masterpiece and I love that. It is half the reason for doing crafts like this is worth it. Instilling pride, self-esteem, and patience etc.
And there you have it! Have fun!
Comment below if you have made a craft like this or one like it! How did it turn out?
These are my two babies . . . when they were still babies. It’s one of my favorite pictures. I remember this being a challenging trip. We were down in Atlanta to see friends and my husband got sick and had to go to Urgent care in the middle of the night. And this was them at the hotel before bed. They were both eager for those bottles and then just sat there sucking on them waiting for my next move. Just staring. So many expectations or just wonder I guess.
What’s next mom? What’s next on the agenda? What exciting thing will you entertain us with next? What are we going to have for dinner mom? Who’s going to come over for playdate mom?
The list goes on.
When I was a kid, we found our own playmates down the street and only sometimes did my mom formally arrange them. But sadly, a lot of that part of America is history. I look down the street and rarely see kids out at play.
This photo. When I look at it, I see the little expectations again and I see two innocent and helpless
little human’s I am in charge of taking care of. Nourishing them. Teaching them everything. Comforting them when they are upset and helping them build their confidence. Helping them to build their own confidence as they learn to do things for themselves, and become quite stubborn in insisting to do it themselves. And then after all those seemingly never-ending small expectations. Filling a bottle, then a sippy cup, then one day they stop asking you and get it for themselves. And little by little they grow up.
They take pride in their accomplishments and suddenly develop expectations of themselves. My 4-year-old would barely sit down to finish a coloring page or a drawing, then suddenly overnight it seems he has been sitting and patiently coloring and drawing pictures constantly. And I love this because not only is he developing his creativity but learning to express himself in a healthy manner. Emotions of love or stress and frustration can come out in his drawings and it helps me to see more of what he is going through and open up a door of conversation on the topic.
I have also noticed he gets too hard on himself. Perhaps that is the artist’s blood in him, from our family of artists that expect a little too much of themselves. But how else do you grow if you never push yourself? Anyway, we are learning that it is ok to color outside the lines sometimes.
Have a little artist in the house with the abundance of sweet little creations? Here are some great tips for organizing all that artwork.
I recently got together and did a collab with one of the most down to earth, fun bright and colorful moms I know! Here name is Jessi, but she currently goes professionally by Jessica Danielle. She is a party planner and photographer.
Together we chat DIY, party planning and she shows us how to make a Tulle Tutu.
Recently she put on an adorable Unicorn Party for her 4 year old. Complete with the ponies and magical horn and bright color.
The girls pranced around and danced and had a blast.
Beautiful cake by Cakes by Jessica This little cake topper is so adorable. I can’t get over it.
This adorable silver sparkled four year old unicorn shirt is from Aubrey Bills Boutique
Adorable backdrop by Kristy Lynne Horsley. Those unicorn cut outs and patterns is so fun!
This adorable unicorn costume is from Princess Paradise! Love all their costumes. Such great quality and it was the perfect outfit for Brynley’s “Royal” birthday trot to presents.
I think every little girl at some point had a stage of exciting galloping around like a horse or unicorn.
Be sure to check out and subscribe to Jessica Danielle Photography here: https://www.instagram.com/jessica.danielle.photography/
And if you are located in the Salt Lake and West Jordan areas of Utah, be sure to inquire for your next upcoming birthday party! Whether you decorate or just want someone there to document the day! It takes such a stress off so you can enjoy the party yourself!
Below is Brynley’s full video captured by Jennie Case. Jennie captured my 2nd child’s birth. I am so comfortable with her and I love her videos. Consider her for your upcoming event or wedding!
Photography: Jessica Danielle Photography and Party Planning
Videography: Jennie Case
T-Shirt: Aubrey Bills Boutique
Cake: Cakes By Jessica
Unicorn Costume by: Princess Paradise
Each autumn, I can never get enough of these beautiful colorful leaves. This fun craft is simple and brings together nature and fall color! And makes for a cute table centerpiece for Thanksgiving or other holiday dinners.
I hadn’t ever seen a turkey in person before I moved to California and I would never have guessed I would find them here! Palm trees and wild turkey’s, who knew. That is northern California for you. I did learn that wild turkey’s can be rather mean and will come right after you, so if you ever meet one, keep your distance!
What you’ll need
- Vibrant Leaves (best found in damp cold conditions near the base of it’s recently changing tree) If you are not in a place where real leaves are available use artificial ones.
May your house be filled with cheer and a little gobble gobble!
Those three words that can sometimes lead to my ultimate mom guilt. Because they come again and again! Sometimes I think , “not again. I love you, but I have SO much to do….. or I just want to socialize for a few minutes with the other moms! Play date is for mama’s sanity too child! I can’t wait til you are old enough to swing yourself.” And then you know what… I feel guilty again for looking at such a task as a chore.
Because, tomorrow, they will grow up and my 2 year old won’t have that little sweet chime in his voice when he comes to my office door and “mom you come push me? Push me on da swing mom!” And so then I pull away from whatever email, edit or project I am working on to go out in the backyard and push him. (not always mind you, but I attempt to balance it out) I lift the swing back back back and let go. And he or she will squeal with delight “Wheeeeeee!! Higher mom higher! Whoa mom, too high, too scary…”
It goes on.
But you know something…. as adorable as their little chimes or squeals of joy are, there is something a little sweeter.
Sometimes I will be working, and take a look out the door into the backyard and see something adorable, I hear something adorable. It is the way they play with each other. Yes there is the “NO IT’s MY turn First! MOOOOMMMMMM Milo’s NOT letting me have a TURN!” thrown in there… but every once in a while, I hear them playing together nicely and taking turns spinning each other and giggling together. This sibling bonding is heartwarming and I love to see it. I believe that even at a young age, kids recognize the sacrifices we make. Believe me, there are times I can’t get anything done! But I have noticed what a huge difference breaking up my day has also had on me, on any stresses etc to step away from chores or emails or whatever to play with the kids, to go to the park, to stop and smell the roses… It brings me back to priorities, to family, and you know something… it drives me, motivates me.
Madeline will notice when I make a sacrifice and she sees when I am turning away from something else that I need to get done. And it is a serious tug and pull. This balancing act. Being an adult, helping pay the bills and making those sacrifices. I feel like a juggler for a reason. That ought to be a synonym for adult.
Madeline sees when I pull away because every time she sees that I am spending quality time with her, and not half looking at the phone or playing hide and seek (while doing chores at the same time (admit it! you do it too:)
In those moments we are building a puzzle, or reading a book or playing with ponies, or swinging, even if it just 5 or 10 minutes here and there…. she looks at me and says, “I love you mom.”
Time is love.
Have you played today?
My child: “Mom! What’s for dinner?”
Me: “Whatever I can get made!”
And in the meantime I will juggle as I deal with raw meat, a hot stove, knives, curious kids wanting to help and hunger that just can’t wait.
What’s your daily juggle? Let us know in the comments below and it just might make it into our next video!
Here are my quick tips for having a hassle free dinner making session.
- Have an activity.
- Truthfully, we usually wait until this time of day to turn on any screens, so I use dinner prep time as a time to turn on a show. But if you want to avoid too much screen time, that have a box of “dinner prep time only” activities that you pull out special for this time of day. Here are some examples (play dough, stickers, puzzles, watercolor paints…) Just make it a fun activity that they don’t get to do whenever.
- Involve them.
- We have started a chore chart in our house, which can be really tricky to be consistent with, but I have found that during dinner prep time, this is a great time for them to do some simple chores and help out. The stickers and eventually earning a toy are their incentive. Small chores like wiping down the table, picking up toys, putting silverware on the table, folding napkins, scrubbing potatoes, washing their hands etc are a few examples of some chores. They will feel part of the team too helping out. Be sure to encourage them along with reinforcement. Plus, they are more likely to eat the food if they help!
- Let them watch
- From a safe distance, let them watch the stirring and chopping. Always be cautious of heat and use this as a reminder of listening to mama to stay safe. We have adopted Daniel’s the Tiger’s , “Stop and Listen to Stay Safe.” Each show has a lesson and that one has helped. Turning on the oven light and letting them watch keeps them preoccupied for a few minutes.
- Give them a Snack
- Look out for this one! I feel like there is never enough ‘up’ space in our house and I can’t seem to keep the chips and other not so healthy snacks hidden well enough! And as most of us know, the moment they snack on too much junk, the less likely they will actually eat their dinner! So my suggestion of keeping those little hungry tweeters at bay until the good healthy stuff is ready is to take advantage of their hunger! Raw carrot sticks are one such example that my little’s are quick to grab at, especially if it is offered to them when they are hungry. Plus, it takes a while to naw at too, so it is a slower eat.
- Let them play in the back yard.
- Having a gated backyard has been my dream for a LONG time! When I am chopping and boiling and frying it is not fun to have little baby birds at your feet needing constant attention. So I pull out bubbles or a something fun like chalk and let them go play. The big thing is making it something new to keep them entertained long enough with out too many sibling quarrels.
Good luck and happy eats! Let me know in the comments what you like to do to keep your little preoccupied while you prep dinner!
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All I can say about this photoshoot I recently did with my toddlers is, “The Juggle is REAL!”
This is one of the silliest and most fun photo shoots I have done with my kids. And as a photographer and a mama these kids have had a lot of pictures taken so that is saying a lot. They thought hopping all over mama was so much fun because it is something that they never get to do! I edited this into a Charlie Chaplin styled old movie and I am in love with the high speed cuteness. Little Madeline’s and Milo’s kerplunking all over the bed and little facial expressions are the sweetest.
Not a single day of motherhood is easy. I can often feel like a circus performer wrangling this little crew. But I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. What is your daily juggle? Tell us and it might just make it into our next video! Something as seemingly simple as transporting the groceries inside is one of mine from this week.
When it comes to it, yes I have hard days, and more hard days. Yes, the juggle and struggle is real, but with that… I have learned to roll with it.
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Today was one of those days. Like most days in raising toddlers, it was filled with messes,
falling down and shedding tears, spilled milk at breakfast. All the fun stuff. And when you start the
day tired and clumsy it can be hard to get a running start!
Before I had kids I use to do a lot of painting. It is still my patience builder, but now it is twice the patience builder. Last time I pulled my painting supplies out Madeline and I painted together (she is great to help me with the beginning of painting getting all that paint on the canvas) and then… Milo, my two year old woke up from his nap and wanted to help. I just couldn’t get it all cleaned up fast enough and to avoid all the tears, I let him “help” me. After all, my landscape now had some blue trees to decorate it Dr. Seuss style…
Patience tested. My work put in reverse…. but the reward. Having some bonding time with my toddler sitting on my lap, loving to be doing something special with mom. Ultimately I only lost about 15 minutes of work, I snapped this picture and painted over it later.
Earlier today, I walk down the hall to see the bathroom door closed and I hear the two making water noises in the bathroom. I mentally prepare myself for what mess is on the other side of the door. When I was a toddler, I remember pretending the toilet was a pool for my barbies. GROSS, I know. I think I was 3. Yes, I do remember it. I put all the toilet paper in too as part of the party. I was having a blast. Then my mom came into discover the mess. I remember starting to prepare for “being in trouble” but my mom went to go get a camera. Now, typically when that happened it meant we were doing something cute, positive or we were posing for pictures on vacation… film cameras weren’t pulled out as often back then. I remember thinking… “ok, it’s ok, I am being cute/ funny!” Haha. of all things. In reality my mom approached a rather messy situation with the only thing she could really do in that exact moment. Laugh and make it a memory. Then clean up the mess and move on. Yes she told me it wasn’t ok, yes I had to help clean up.
So when I opened the bathroom door, I was preparing to find the whole roll of toilet paper everywhere, toys in the toilet, the works… but what do I find? Madeline had gone to find her swimsuit, gotten it on herself and her and Milo were up on the counter, having a sink pool party! It was quite the silly sight. I love them so much. Every day they make messes but at least they crack me up along the way.
So whatever it may be along the way, each day for you, just try laughing first and capture the memory. Then clean up the mess. (and have them help:)
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Our first grand stop on our epic road trip across the country with two toddlers in tow, all our stuff to live off of for the next 3 months and a small car…. Monticello.
We learned the correct pronunciation is Monte ‘ch’ ello, old Italian. Thomas Jefferson was an architectural genius for his day. Here is our happy attempt to expose our kids to art, culture and history. Sometimes I think we need remind ourselves they are only 2 and 3.
Here is what I learned in the start of our road trip.
- Boredom is good
- With so many electronics and distractions to go with them, kids don’t seem to get much of this these days. I found that if we try to avoid pulling out any kind of electronics, the kids have to actually use their “imagination” and come up with their own entertainment. They quite literally are forced to learn how to completely entertain themselves. And what might start out with a little whining somehow transitions into them making up their own songs and playing pretend with their little toys, and getting excited about things they see out the window, like the clouds or a big truck going by. And when you hear them laughing at each other in the back seat for the silly faces they are making at each other, that is a happy sound indeed. True road trip bonding.
- Mix it up!
- While I did not want to provide my children with something to do every moment of the trip, I can’t expect little toddlers to completely entertain themselves for a long road trip, especially when they can barely see out the window anyway. So with many a fun activities ready to go such as these Little People Flipbook The kids love these! They will spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes flipping through them and imitating the voices of the different pictures. While Madeline is not picture reading yet, she will “picture” read to Milo. Aside from books, I will hand back one little toy at a time for them to play with and when they seem to get restless and are done with it we switch or move onto another little toy. Madeline loves these Disney Princess Little Kingdom Magiclip 7-Doll Giftset. She likes mixing and matching the different little outfits. Between toys, games and books, we pulled out little snacks here and there.
- Resist the Electronics for as LONG as possible!
- We quickly learned that the second we pulled out an iPad or iphone that they were quickly eager to use them and NOTHING but them! So my advice, wait to pull them out as long as possible. We did not have a Charger Adapter and Chargeport for the ipad at the time, so when the battery was gone, it was gone for the rest of the ride, so we prioritized only pulling out the screens once it got dark! It is hard for the little’s to entertain themselves when they can’t see anything! So then we put on a movie for them.
- Greet groans with positive vibes
- We hadn’t even left the city yet when Madeline says to Matt, “Are we in California yet??” So cute and really quite funny in that moment. We forgot how much our sweet little toddler has to learn about the geography of the U.S. so we just laughed. My mom got her this fun puzzle to learn her states and see the different places we have visited and lived. Anyway, we just laughed and explained how far we were and reminded her of all the fun places we were going along the way.
- Download a selection of movies
- We use Amazon Prime for our movies, but we only got around to downloading 4 movies pretty much the night before traveling and… I ultimately would have loved a little more variety for mostly my own sanity. We did cover about 50 hours of driving time.
- Invest in a lap desk for the kids
- Encourage a little independence for the kids! I would have loved to have invest in something like this Lap Desk for the kids so I was not twisting awkwardly back to help pick up whatever they dropped or what they want again and again. Don’t get me wrong, stuff will still find its way to the floor but I know that the kids would have loved their own little “stations” to help themselves to snacks or whatever they are wanting. Also, when it comes to reading books and coloring, they really needed something to lean their stuff up on so it didn’t slide off their laps as easily.