Ten Easy St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

I’m no super mom but I dream of being one. I love all the creative ideas floating around with fun things to do for your kids on holidays, but the truth is, I tend to forget to actually do them. Am I alone?

Here’s a list of super easy and quick ways to do a little something extra special for St. Patrick’s Day this year:

1. Green Toilet Water

greentoiletwatervia A Differentiated Kindergarten

Add a little green food coloring to the toilet bowl before you call it a night, and blame it on those pesky leprechaun’s.

2. Green Breakfast

IMG_6590

Or if you forget, do it for dinner. You get a second chance with this one. This is my husband and my oldest having green eggs and green milk. Endless options here…green milk in the cereal, green smoothie, green pancakes/waffles/french toast.

3. Lucky Charms

luckycharmsvia Wizards & Fairies

Get ’em hopped up on sugar cereal!

4. Free Printables

freeprintablevia Money Savvy Michelle

There is a plethora of free printable coloring pages and activity sheets on Pinterest.

5. Wear something silly & green

Via Target

Pick up some St. Patty’s Day themed socks for each family member.

6. Make some art

via Parenting.com

Browse Pinterest for a bunch of easy art ideas you can do with your kids. I love this hand print version of a four-leaf clover. Precious!

7. Rainbow water

via happy hooligans

How cool is this? Just add a little food coloring to your ice-cube trays in rainbow colors to make this “rainbow water”. This would be a fun way to spice up dinner time.

8. Jazz up the lunchbox

via Bento Diva

You don’t have to go all out like this adorable bento box, but try to add some green or a shamrock sandwich to the old lunchbox. If you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter, you can also cut out three small hearts to form the shamrock leaves, and add something else for the stem.

9. Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner


via Canadian Family

Make a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. This recipe is easy peasy, you just put everything in the crock pot and get on with your day.

10. Green beer

Now pour yourself a green beer and kiss someone – Irish or not ūüôā

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Review: The Honest Company Diaper Bundle

Time for a shout out to my new favorite company, The Honest Company. You know, the company my friend Jessica Alba started up?

Well, we’re not really friends, but I have a feeling that if I were a rich, famous person living in LA, I would see Jessica Alba at a yoga class and we just might have a nice little conversation after a deep pigeon pose stretch. We might even go for a smoothie afterward. I just don’t know.

I came across The Honest Co. when I finally threw in the towel on cloth diapers with my second child. I know, hypocrite, I have raved about my love for cloth diapers on this very blog. I am still a huge fan of cloth diapers and I am not giving up entirely, but for now I needed a different option. I was having the hardest time keeping up with the laundry because my little diva is the lightest.sleeper.ever and her room happens to share a wall with the laundry room so I can only do laundry when she is awake. Major laundry back up.

So I started looking into other options that were still earth friendly and affordable. I just can’t live with the fact that a regular disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose. Yikes!

Honest Co. has an amazing disposable diaper that is plant-based (made from corn and wheat), has no chemicals and is naturally biodegradable. You can buy them in individual packages or they have a convenient monthly membership that includes both diapers and wipes.  I love that you can tweak the delivery schedule however you want, and you only pay when delivered. So even if you ship every six weeks, you still get the monthly membership discount price.

Win win right?

And the best part? They come in ADORABLE prints.

I know. Seriously.

It kind of makes changing a dirty diaper easier. Kind of…

You will pay a little more for these diapers than regular disposable diapers, I have figured we spend about $20 more per month.
To me it’s worth it.

So, even if you are a loyal cloth diaper user, these are a great alternative for travel or even those first few months when it can be hard to get in the groove of using cloth. And if you can’t fathom using cloth, this is the perfect alternative!

Here is my little one sporting her adorbs diaper:

IMG_1638

FYI – Trying to take a tushie photo of a busy 1-year-old is like trying to catch a chicken.

The Five Fingers of Prayer

A friend told me about the Five Fingers of Prayer concept, and I think it’s brilliant.

If you’re like me, your prayers start off great and until you remember that you forgot to switch out the laundry and you haven’t returned that phone call you meant to get to…and you get sidetracked. And you start over.¬†Prayer doesn’t have to be formal or filled with eloquent words. Prayer is just talking to God. I often pray aloud in my car. And I get strange looks at stop lights for it.

I love the Five Fingers of Prayer idea because it seems to encapsulate all the important things I would want to include in a prayer, but keeps it simple. And most importantly, it puts the prayers for ourself last. It is so easy to think about our struggles and pains, but when we focus on others first, it seems to naturally steer things back into the right perspective.

I also love that this includes prayer for all of our leaders. This is something I forget to do on a regular basis, but I think it’s of utmost importance.

You start at your thumbs and work back to your pinkies.

Thumb: Those Closest to You

Your thumb is the nearest to you, so it represents those closest to you. For me, this is my family and closest friends.

Pointer finger: Those in Authority

Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. These could be teachers, nurses, doctors and ministers.

Middle finger: Our Leaders

The next finger, the middle finger, is the tallest finger and represents our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. The people who shape our nation and guide public opinion.

Can you imagine how much more peaceful elections would be if we complained less and just prayed more? This is something I am personally working on.

Ring finger: Those Who Are Weak

The ring finger is the weakest finger, and can remind us to pray for those who are dealing with illness, those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.

Pinky finger: Me

And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all. Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

So…how do you pray?

Natural Fruit Fly Trap

ImageThis is not an incredibly interesting post but hopefully a useful one. For some reason every year at this time our kitchen becomes inundated¬†with fruit flies. Can’t stand the little buggers.

I found this easy homemade trap over at Passionate Homemaking and tried it out this weekend. My husband was just staring at it for the longest time trying to figure out what I’m up to now.

It’s very simple. You take a jar, I used a quart mason jar, and put a piece of fruit and some apple cider¬†vinegar in the bottom. Then roll up a piece of paper to make a little cone and put that in the jar. Apparently the¬†little pests aren’t smart enough to fly out of the cone so once they go after the bait, they are trapped. After you’ve caught them, just put the jar in the fridge for a bit and they will drift off to fruit fly heaven…or something like that. Easy!

How to photograph well

Hate seeing pictures of yourself? Whether you are shooting a quick shot via Instagram, or posing for professional photos, there are some simple tricks of the trade to photographing well.

I am blessed to keep company with some amazing photographer friends and get treated to being behind their lens¬†on a regular basis. I tend to shy away from having my photograph taken because I so quickly see my flaws and become critical. This is where my fabulous photographer friend Koren¬†comes in. She is one of the most encouraging people I know, and when she tells you you¬†look good, she means it. And if you’re not showing the best of yourself, she’ll¬†gently redirect you. She is quick to remind us that God made us¬†perfectly just¬†as we are,¬†and we need to stop the self-criticism¬†and learn to love ourselves. (Check out more of Koren’s work over at Kaptured¬†by Koren)

So on a girls weekend away, I asked her if she would teach us some of her techniques for posing for photos, and enlisted my girlfriends to be my models. And I happen to have gorgeous friends. Meet the models:

Koren, Heather, Dawn, Kristina and Haley (me)

Ok, let’s get to it shall we?

Photos taken straight on make you look heavier than you are, and are just plain boring. But we tend to just stand there and smile without adding much visual interest to the pose. If you look at photos of celebrities you rarely see a photo taken head on, they know how to angle their bodies to flatter.

Some general rules for creating flattering angles:

  • Turn your body a quarter turn
  • Put one foot forward toward the camera and put your weight on your back foot
  • If you’re sitting down, sit at an angle
  • Turn your head slightly to the side, but look straight at the camera
  • Pull the heaviest part of your body away from the camera. Ex: if you have larger hips or shoulders, pull one back.
  • Keep your hair off your shoulder that is closest to the camera

Kristina

Kristina’s “do!” photo shows some great examples. Doesn’t she look fabulous??! As you can see she created great angles by putting one foot forward with a bend in the knee and hips tilted. Her arms on her hips flatter and give her pose a comfortable, relaxed look.

I was being a goob in this” don’t” photo to give myself the dreaded double chin. But how boring is a straight-on photo with my arms just laying at my sides?

In my “do!” photo, turning my body to the side and bending my knee gives some dimension. Koren had to remind me to pull my shoulder up a bit, making my double chin disappear and¬†providing another angle with my arm.

Heather is always smoldering in her photos, so any pose really looks good on her. However, I like how she has her head tilted slightly to the side in the second photo, but keeps her gaze right at the camera. It shows off her cheekbones and makes her eyes stand out. Her hair also looks gorgeous flowing down her back, and again we see the knee bend.

Dawn has great proportions, and shows here how you can take a straight-on photo and make it more interesting. By taking a wide stance with her legs and popping a hip out, her legs look awesome! She’s also got her head slightly tilted to the side, and looks relaxed with her arms bent and hands intertwined.

Koren has too cute of a figure to just stand there. With her back slightly to the camera, it shows off the detail of her shirt and those great legs (and booty!). Hands in the pockets with elbows bent are slimming and looking over your shoulder flatters all body types.

We all have things we don’t like about our looks. The trick is learning how to hide them so the focus is on your best features instead. Here are some tips for dealing with problem areas like muffin tops, double chins and “sharms”.

Muffin top: When a woman wears a pair of tight jeans that makes her flab spill out over the waistband, just like the top of a muffin sits over the edge of the paper case.

Ah the annoying muffin top. If you’ve had kids, you especially know what I’m talking about.

You can help avoid having a muffin top in photos by keeping good posture and slightly sucking in. Just don’t suck in too much, because it will be obvious.

Another way to conceal your midsection is to drape your arms across or over your tummy. Interlace your fingers and bend your elbows, or keep an arm with a slight bend across your stomach at an angle.

Double chins!! Ugghh!! This is personally something I struggle with in photos. They can instantly make you look much heavier than you are, so don’t get caught with a double chin!

We tend to pull our face back when we smile and this often creates the double chin. Instead, pull your head slightly out and turn a bit to the side.

Keep your eyes on the camera and whenever possible, take a pictures from slightly above you.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis¬†also had a little trick – look slightly above the camera when you’re getting your photo taken and your eyes will look larger and you won’t be at risk for that sleepy-eyed look.

Lastly, beware of sharms.

Sharms: where the arm and shoulder are one.

To get long, lean arms, be sure to pull your arm slightly away from your body. We often hold them right at our sides, making them squish out kind of like what happens to your thighs when you sit down.

10 things I learned from my mom

1. Always send a thank you

We were taught from a young age to promptly get thank you’s in the mail after our birthday and Christmas, or any other time we received gifts. I love our modern ways of communicating – email, Facebook, text, etc., but there is just something about getting a handwritten thank you note in the mail. It might seem old school but I always feel appreciated and honored when a little note comes addressed just to lil’ old me. And I think it’s an important manner to pass on to my children so we are instilling the same habit in our kiddos.

Target has some cute options to help kids with thank you’s. I have seen some with stickers they can use to decorate and some with fill in the blanks for kids that can write. Or, look online for a free printable kids thank you template.

2. Love your babies, but love your husband more.

You probably read this and thought, “what”? I’ll explain.

While I was pregnant with my first, I remember my mom telling me to be mindful about still paying attention to my husband after the baby was born. How very 1950’s of her right? I may have done an eye roll at the time but after my son was born, I knew what she meant. The love you have for your child is so perfect – they love you no matter what, everything they do is adorable, and for the first few years you’re focused on¬†meeting their every demand. At the end of the day in my exhausted state it was easy for me to forget to greet my husband when he got home or prioritize those much-needed date nights. I believe that¬†the best thing you can do for your kids is keep your marriage strong – strong but not perfect. And I’m not saying I have been great at this one, but I’m working on it.

3. Take care of your skin

She has told me this all of my life. I am adamant about wearing sunscreen and slather on a massive amount of face cream every night. I can’t go to sleep without washing my face. I don’t know if this will prevent me much from getting wrinkles but at least I won’t have a leather face. Try my coconut oil body scrub, it’s delish.

4. Never say never…or always

Because “no one never does something or always does something”. Those are fighting words.

We were taught not to use never or always when arguing, because it’s simply not true. I liken it to the difference in calling someone a liar, or saying that they lied to you. Never and always sound like character flaws, instead of isolated offenses. This is a big one, one we should be sure to teach our kids.

5. Entertain simply.

We’ve talked about this recently. My mom and I share the love of entertaining, but it’s easy to get caught up in making things fancy and trying to have everything perfect. If our real goal is making and building quality relationships, we should skip the goal of perfection and keep it simple. Make a big pot of chili and invite the neighbors over (she just did this). Throw in some pizzas and or do a potluck for movie night. It takes the pressure off of everyone.

And, whatever you do, do not clean your house from top to bottom before a playdate. It’s just not necessary. Everyone knows you have kids.

6. Cut the butter.

I am not suggesting that butter is a bad thing. I believe in butter, real butter, not that fake margarine stuff. But, my mom usually cuts some or half of the butter out of recipes and they still turn out wonderfully. So, cut some of the¬†butter out of your next recipe¬†and you probably won’t even notice the difference. Except in your thighs.

7. Never stop learning.

Read, read and read some more. Watch the history channel. Try something new. Uneducated doesn’t always mean you didn’t go to school.

8. Cooking dinner is always better with some Frank Sinatra on.

Enough said. You simply cannot be in a bad mood with Frank around.

9. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more.

I’m working on biting my tongue more. Instead of offering up advice, she would often tell me should would pray about my problem for me. Sometimes I thought it was annoying, because I wanted to do the over-analytical thing that I am so good at. But there is wisdom in listening and praying for your friends and loved ones, and keeping your mouth shut. Again, I’m working on it.

10. Be a woman of action.

Sometimes it’s ok to be the squeaky wheel. If you don’t call about that obscenely high medical bill, you may never find out it was billed wrong. Or that you can get a discount if you pay in one sum. If we don’t question things, they may never change.

What would you add to the list?

::giggle giggle snort::

Rescue a girl from rape & abuse – how you can help

Can you imagine growing up in a literal garbage dump? How about raising your children there?

From Sevenly.org:

“What does the word ‚Äúhell‚ÄĚ mean to you? In Nicaragua, there is a 70-acre garbage heap called, ‚ÄúLa Chureca‚ÄĚ. This landfill is home to about 2,000 people. It is hell on earth. The people there spend their lives digging through trash for food or materials they can sell. Children suffer from mercury and lead poisoning, dehydration, malnutrition and parasite-related diseases. Desperate families often prostitute their daughters to the truck drivers for first access to new garbage. These young girls live in constant fear of rape and abuse.”

I know that we are all asked often to help those in need, and I ask you to please consider this important cause.

Before you read on…know that even if you can’t afford to give, you can still help – so keep reading!

I can’t think of anything worse than not being able to provide the basic necessities for your family, but then thinking about¬†little girls being pushed into prostitution¬†tugs at my heart in a whole new way. I simply cannot even get my head around it and I want to book a flight today and go rescue these poor girls and their families! It’s overwhelming…but we can help.

Sevenly is an organization that partners with charities as a “cause activation platform”. This week they have partnered with Forward Edge International, which happens to be a charity here in my lovely city of Vancouver, WA. Simply put, you can purchase a shirt (lots of cool options for styles), and Sevenly will give $7 to Forward Edge to rescue a girl from La Chureca. The girls are placed in a refuge home near their families where they receive education, job placement, nutrition counseling¬†and love.

I have the utmost respect for Forward Edge because they are not only a Four Star Charity (meaning over 88% of operating expenses go directly to the cause), but they are working toward long term solutions for those they are serving. Think “a hand up, not a hand out”. From child sponsorship, to disaster relief, to health care missions, they are really making a difference.

So if you feel inspired, pelase join me in purchasing one of these shirts to help the girls in La Chureca. If you’re not in a place to give right now, you can still give by helping to spread the word through social media.

Share via Twitter, Facebook, or share this post.

Ten kid Halloween costumes for $20 or less

Fall is here! I am itching to put on boots and cozy sweaters, and I know Halloween will sneak up on us like it does every year. In an effort to avoid the mad dash the week of for Halloween costumes, I’ve started hunting early. You will find so many get ideas on Etsy, and reasonably priced. Most of these are one accessory that can be made into a complete costume with clothing and other items that you already have.

Some of my favorites for kiddos that are $20 or less…

Mickey Mouse via divapuppy
(can you stand the cuteness!!?)

Peacock Mask via AllThingsGrand

Pirate Hat via KiddieWink Designs

Ladybug Ruffle Leggings via Dainy Button

Charlie Brown onesie via Linda Sumner Designs

Super Hero Cape by Superkid Capes
These are blank capes with colors for boys or girls. Endless possibilities!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Chipwich by sweet emma jean
Seriously. Too. Cute.

Bumble Bee Tu Tu by Tu Tu Cutie Bowtique

Boxer by My Swag Shack

Dragon wings by The Sky Dragons Shop

So, what are you going to be for Halloween this year?

My favorite free fonts

There are a plethora of free fonts you can easily download to your computer to be used for personal use. I have found so many gorgeous fonts, these are some of my favorites. Look for an upcoming post where I use one of these fonts to make some artwork!

Visit the link find the free download:

Miserably Lose
Doris Day
1942 Report
Jailbird Jenna
Susie’s Hand
Baby Boston
Skinny Jeans
Hula Skirt Girl
Guess What.
EcuyerDAX
Pork Chop
Roskrift Clean
Pottery Barn
Impact Label Reversed
Drgnldy
Cupcake
Modern No. 20
Matilde
Petunia Bounce

Confused about how to download? Don’t sweat it. Learn how!

GAK

Gak: A popular Nickolodeon slime, available in many variations such as glow in the dark, speckled, coconut smelling, etc. Useful for making fart noises and grossing out friends. (via Urban Dictionary)

We made our own. So easy, best $3 project ever.

Homemade Gak

  • Empty two 4 ounce bottles of Elmer’s glue into a big bowl.
  • Add 8 ounces of water and mix (you can just refill the Elmer’s bottles with water)
  • Add desired food coloring.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp Borax into 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • Add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture.
  • Watch it turn into the slimey fun we call Gak!

See, wasn’t that easy??