Mama Magic: Party Planning with Jessica Danielle

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.

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Beautiful cake by Cakes by Jessica This little cake topper is so adorable.  I can’t get over it.

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This adorable silver sparkled four year old unicorn shirt is from Aubrey Bills  Boutique

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Adorable backdrop by Kristy Lynne Horsley.  Those unicorn cut outs and patterns is so fun!

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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.

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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!

Vendors:

Photography: Jessica Danielle Photography and Party Planning

Videography: Jennie Case

T-Shirt: Aubrey Bills Boutique

Cake: Cakes By Jessica

Unicorn Costume by: Princess Paradise

“Push Me Mom!”

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.

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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?

“Mom! What’s for dinner?”

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.

  1. Have an activity.
    1. 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.
  2. Involve them.
    1. 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!
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  3. Let them watch
    1. 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.
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  4. Give them a Snack
    1. 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.
  5. Let them play in the back yard.
    1. 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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Daily Juggle Ep 1: A Rambunctious Photoshoot

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.

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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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Learning Patience as a Mom

Today was one of those days.  Like most days in raising toddlers, it was filled with messes,

 

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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…

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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.

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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:)

I hope you will stick around for more and subscribe to our Youtube Chanel.

 

Monticello Virgina

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.

  1. Boredom is good
    1. 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.
  2. Mix it up!
    1. 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.
  3. Resist the Electronics for as LONG as possible!
    1. 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.
  4.  Greet groans with positive vibes
    1. 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.
  5. Download a selection of movies
    1. 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.
  6. Invest in a lap desk for the kids
    1. 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.

First Official VLOG

It is official!  I am mommy vlogging our everyday life.  Not everyday but our everyday if you get me.  And it is an adventure.  When I set out to create Up and Away Moms, I wanted to create a community of mothers sharing their real life… and so for starters I am starting with sharing mine! The messy mom bun, no makeup, no Photoshop side of motherhood. Yes, there are the perfect pictures all over pinterest, but I want to share more of the mess… why?  Because we are all just doing our best!  And in the end, happy healthy kids who feel loved is what matter.  Not so much a spic and span house.  So join us in our little household made a home with these crazy hooligans running around learning and growing each day! Let’s find Joy in the Juggle!

Check out our next vlog of our Moving Day here!

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s day out there to all the moms that get what those days are like, you know, the ones covered in spit up and filled with tired tantrums of two year olds.  What you do matters. Even if you don’t see it. Never forget just how important your job is! You are amazing!

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A Preview of upcoming videos and more!

Hey moms!  How is your day?  We are so excited to share the wonderful things we have up our sleeves for Up and Away Moms.  Adventures from our travels and many tips coming from me and the mouths of other experienced moms based on the tried and true.

Every mama needs that extra boost.  Sometimes just knowing that you are not the only one with the daily struggles of tantrums and spilled milk and a community to share that is what can help you get through the day. I want to share a positive energy here at Up and Away Moms as genuinely as possible to share mine and other moms stories, laughs and wisdom.

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Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more regular motherhood fun! Homemaking, DIY, Shake it off with a little laughter and more.

Letting Madeline do My Makeup.

Shake it off with us today with a good laugh!

I think that I have always enjoyed being a little bit of a goof ball for the sake of bringing a smile to someone else’s face.  In part because I am the queen of awkwardness, so I have learned to just roll with it, but I just love to make my kiddos laugh!  So sure, I will let a 3 year old do my makeup.  She is so funny in the video.  She totally got into her little hairdresser / makeup artist mode. So professional!

Madeline and I started talking about this idea and she thought it was the BEST!  We laughed about it for 10 minutes.   And of course the conversation moved in that silly direction of what toddlers think is funny…. ,”and THEN mom I could out GRAPES on your face!!  hahahaahahah”  Silly girl.  She is a riot.

One of my favorite brands of makeup that I have used for years is MAC Makeup.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!  What silly things do you like to do with you kids!  Leave a comment below and let me know.