Tuesday, March 24, 2015

12 Creative Easter Ideas

Last night, all the product scouts for Savvy Sassy Moms blew up Pinterest for an hour and made the most amazing Easter Celebration pinboard.  We've pinned the best of everything, including egg decorating tips, brunch ideas, toddler crafts, home decor, photo shoot inspiration, spring fashion, dessert recipes, favorite books, creative cocktails and basket stuffer ideas.  It's your one-stop shop for all the Easter inspiration you need!  Now I just need to find the time to do/make this stuff! 

Here's a round-up of my favorite Easter pins from the night:
1. DIY Fabric Easter Basket - Such a clever way to use up all those extra fabric scraps and make something that you can use over the years. 

2. Paper Plate Baby Chick Craft - Cute idea for toddlers and young kids to make and hang in the house.

3. Easy Easter Egg Shakers - Perfect sensory activity for babies.  

4. Easter Oreo Bark - Made with white chocolate, M&Ms, Oreos and sprinkles.  This looks so easy and so good! 

5. Swirly Painted Easter Eggs - Put that Crayola paint to good use and let the kids get creative with colors. 

6. Hand-painted Easter Egg Balloons - Turn balloons into eggs and bunnies and then use them as bright colorful decorations around the house or at a party. 

7. Bunny Rabbit Handprint Craft - Adorable way to display those tiny little hands.  

8. Fingerprint Carrots - Cute and easy craft for the kids to make.  This would also be a fun one to do on a window in your house. 

9. Easter Polka Dot Cake - If you've got some time and talent, this cake is absolutely gorgeous and sure to wow everyone.  And if you think the outside is pretty, wait until you see the inside of it! 

10. Carrot Footprints - Easy craft for the littlest ones. Sure to please the grandparents.  

11. Countdown to Easter - Use plastic eggs to create an advent-type countdown to Easter calendar. Fill the eggs with treats, craft ideas, prayers or random acts of kindness to do in the days before Easter. 

12. Salted Caramel Easter Popcorn - Need I even say more?

Go check out the board...what are your favorite Easter ideas?


Be sure to check out more favorites from Savvy Sassy Moms and the Scouts:
Savvy Sassy Moms - 10 Creative Easter Ideas

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baby & Toddler Easter Basket Ideas

Easter is less than two weeks away and we're getting pretty excited around here!  We've been talking about Easter so much that Mac's been asking every day if it's here yet and asking if every rabbit he sees in the neighborhood is the Easter bunny.  There's just something so fun about finding eggs and dressing up in your Sunday best.  Not to mention all things Cadbury and marshmallow peep!  

I have loved putting an Easter basket together for Mac the last two years and I'm so excited to shop for baby Mim this year. There are so many great ideas and adorable baby things out there right now I had a hard time not buying everything! Mim's Easter basket is going to be filled with cute baby items, like teethers and pacifiers and stuffed animals. Mac's toddler/preschooler basket will be filled with more adventurous items like sticker books, new rain boots and a kite!  I'm so excited about both!  





What's in your child's Easter basket this year?


*This post contains NO affiliate links...just items/products we love. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mac Says

Me and Mac singing: "Head shoulders, knees and toes. Eyes and ears and mouth and nose..."
Mac: "And butt.  And pee pee."

Mac playing on Ryan's phone...
Siri: Hello.
Mac: Hello, I'm Mac.  I have a guitar.  And a pick!
Me: Do you want to go to the grocery store with me today?
Mac: No, I'm going stay here with daddy.
Me: If you go with me, you can get a cookie.
Mac: No.  How about you bring me one home.

Me (in the bath): Mac, make sure you wash under your arms.
Mac: Yep, gotta wash my armpickles.

Mac: I'm going to play "The Mad Song" on the guitar.
Me: Oh, I've never heard that song.
Mac (strumming angrily and scowling): MAD.  MAD.  MAD.  MAD.  MAD.  MAD.  MAD.  MAD.
Me: That's pretty intense.
Mac: This is the sad song.
Me: Ok.
Mac (strumming very gently and fake weeping): Sad, sad, sad.  I'm soooooo sad.
Me: How was school today?
Mac: I cried a little bit. (every single time you ask him)
Me: Well, did you have fun?
Mac: No, I had a cookie.

Me: Mac, please stop jumping on the furniture.
Mac: It's not furniture, it's a chair.
Me: Mac, can you help Mally?  I'm bathing Mim and can't get to her.
Mac (after helping the dog): I did it!  I helped!  I saved the day!  You should give me some chocolate.

Me: Mac, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Mac: The boss.
Me: The boss of what?
Mac: You.  And Mr. Schuey. (our turtle)
Me: What do you want to take to Papa's house this weekend?
Mac: Just everything I need.  And a ball.

Mac (to Jigs, our cat): Jigs, you are so beautiful.
Me: She is.  Is she purring?  That means she loves you.
Mac: She loves me very much.
Me: Is Jigs your favorite cat?
Mac: No, Papa is.
Me: Mac, eat your chicken.
Mac: No, I want a cupcake.
Me: No, you need to eat your chicken.
Mac: No, I need to eat a cupcake.

Me (under a blanket with Mac and Jigs): Look, Jigs is in the tent with us.
Jigs half exits the tent so she can breathe.
Me: Oh nevermind, she's leaving.
Mac: She took her face, but she left her butt!
Mac (as we were driving home from the farm): Are we almost home?
Me: Not yet, but we are close to my office. Do you want to see where mommy works?
Mac: I do!
Me:  Ok, look out your window, it's right there.
Mac: That's not the pet store!!

Mac (crying, as I'm leaving him at nursery school dropoff): Mama, saying goodbye is so very hard.
Me (also now crying): Yes, it is.
Me: Did you know that "Mac" is your nickname?
Mac: Like Nick from school?
Me: No, Nick from school's real name is Nick. Your real name is C***, your nickname is "Mac."
Mac: Like Nick from school?
Me: No, a nickname is different than your real name. Your real name is C***, your nickname is "Mac."
Mac: Like Nick from school?
Me: Sure.

Me: Mac, you're going to bed in two minutes.
Mac: Three minutes.
Me: Two minutes.
Mac: Four minutes.
Me: Two minutes.
Mac: A lot more minutes.
Me: Thirty seconds.
Mac: Whoa.
Mac: How about five minutes?
Mac (scribbling on a notepad with a pen): I'm making a list.
Me: Oh yeah, what kind of list.
Mac: Grocery list.
Me: What's on your list?
Mac: Cupcakes, cookies and gummy bears.
Me: That's a good list.
Mac: I know.

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Mac: Chicken nuggets and applesauce and pancakes and eggs and fruit and burger and grilled cheese and quesadilla and blueberries and yogurt and steak.
Me: Whoa.
Mac: That's a lot.
Me: Yeah, are you going to eat any of those things?
Mac: No.  How about a cookie?
Mac (as we're getting ready for bed): Tell me a story.  A good one.  About goats.

Mac (giving me a hug): Mama, you smell really good.  Like pasta.

Mac (to me while Mim's crying): Let's go outside.  Leave Mim here.  She's in a mood today.
Baskethoop = Basketball
What You Said? = What did you say?
Too = Both
Slogs/Snore = S'mores
Bottoman = Ottoman


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Baby

May love and laughter
Fill your heart and home.
May good friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam.
May peace bless your world
With joy that endures.
May all life's seasons
Bring the best to you and yours!
May your pockets be heavy- 
Your heart be light 
And may good luck pursue you
Each morning and night.
May your home be filled with laughter 
Your pockets with gold
And may you have all the happiness
Your Irish heart can hold.
May good luck be your friend 
In whatever you do
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.
Like the warmth of the sun
And the light of the day, 
May the luck of the Irish 
Shine bright on your way. 
May your blessings outnumber 
The shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
May all the love and protection 
Saint Patrick can give 
Be yours in abundance 
As long as you live.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 on Friday - Volume 12

 ONE.  A few weeks ago I took a huge leap of faith and asked my boss if I could go down to part-time at work.  It was a momentous decision for me and one that I spent a lot of time thinking about and praying over.  If you'll recall, going back to work after I had Mac was hard, but within a few weeks, we fell into a nice routine and we all adjusted very well.  Of course I missed him terribly during the day, but I felt like I got a lot of great quality time with him in the evenings and on weekends.  I'd take vacation days during the week and we'd spend time together.  As he got older (and started sleeping better), it even became easier.  We'd meet up for lunch and music class during the workweek.  I enjoyed my job and my time away and felt like I was doing pretty well with work/life balance.  

And then came Mim and turned our world upside down. Going back to work after maternity leave this last time was completely different.  I was no longer worried about whether she'd be safe during the day, I was worried about missing out on everything while I was away.  I think after the first child I realized how true those cliches are about how fast it all flies by.  I blinked and I had a 2 year old - I didn't want that to happen again.  She was my last baby...I wanted to soak up every moment I could. Suddenly what little free time I had was now split between two children and I didn't feel like either one of them was getting enough quality time.  The more time I spent with them, the more time I wanted with them.  I no longer felt like I could handle it all. Whatever work/life balance I had before was completely gone.  I felt like I was drowning at work, couldn't concentrate, didn't want to be there. My mind and heart were somewhere else. I started making stupid mistakes at work that I never would have made before and I knew it was only a matter of time before something had to give.  

So I sucked up my pride and asked for a modified schedule.  Honestly, it felt like admitting defeat.  I've been stuck in that "I can do/have it all" mentality for such a long time, that it felt like a slap in the face to realize that maybe I can't really do it all.  Or maybe I can, but it's not going to all get done well and I'm going to be miserable trying to keep my head above water.  Luckily, I have a great boss and work for a company that is willing to let me give this a shot.  I'm now 80%, which means I have one day a week (Wednesdays) off to spend with the kids. I'm slightly terrified that this might be career suicide or a slippery slope, but I will admit that it's fantastic!  

One day a week might not sound like a huge difference, but it's a HUGE difference.  It's only been two weeks, but I've already noticed a major improvement in my attitude, patience and stress level at work and home.  During my days in the office I can concentrate on my work now and not feel so overwhelmed about missing the kids because I know I have a full day with them all to myself soon.  And I've also noticed an improvement in Mac's attitude and feelings towards me.  I spent my first day off with him and gave him my full attention all day and that made such a difference in his behavior.  Suddenly he was asking for me to give him a bath, not daddy.  That hasn't happened in months!  I know this was the right move for me and my family.  It took me a long time to get here, but I know that no matter what happens with my career, I'll never regret spending this time with my family.
TWO.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the announcement that I'm going to be a Product Scout for Savvy Sassy Moms.  I'm thrilled to be working with such a great company and an awesome group of moms.  I'll be periodically reviewing new baby, kid and family products that I think you'll love, both on the SSM website and this blog.  I'll also be participating in some really great giveaways and contests (we just gave away an awesome Joovy stroller), so make sure you're following me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for announcements.  
THREE. In the last week, Mim has turned into an eating machine! She can't shovel the food into her mouth fast enough!  She loves everything.  Yesterday I gave her a chunk of steak and she chewed/sucked on it for 45 minutes and I had to pry it out of her cold clammy claws to get her out of her high chair.  She can take down a strawberry in under a minute.  Whole bananas!  It's insane!  Baby Led Weaning for the win!
FOUR. I might be addicted to baby moccasins.  Maybe.  Is there a support group or something?
FIVE.  I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Stitch Fix.  I know, I know...I'm way late to the party. I blame this on being old and totally not hip any more.  So my first box showed up a week ago and it was amazing!  I don't know why I waited so long to try this.  Polka dots and stripes and pants that actually fit.  Consider me impressed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brag on Dad Guest Post

I'm out of town today, but just wanted to let you know that I'm guest posting over at Always Painted, Usually Chipped as part of Kary's awesome Brag on Dad series.  I love gushing about my amazing husband, so head on over and try not to puke.  I laid it on pretty thick...I'm hoping to get a spa day out of this.  Or maybe just a nap.  Anyway, go check it out...preview below.


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We started trying for a family pretty soon after we got married.  A year into the process with no luck, things started getting intense.  Anyone that's battled infertility knows just how hard it can be on your marriage.  I wanted a baby so badly that it ruled my life, thoughts and actions.  My biological clock felt more like a ticking time bomb that had me in a constant state of panic and hysteria.  Not to mention that I was being pumped full of hormones and was poked, pricked and prodded by doctors like a lab rat.  Needless to say, I was a mess. But through it all, my husband was my rock.  
I can't speak for all men, but I don't think that guys feel the intense pressure of wanting a family like women do and oftentimes can't relate to the intense and overwhelming feelings we have on the subject.  My husband had a hard time understanding why the sight of a pregnant woman would send me into a panic attack or a why someone's Facebook post complaining about bratty children would make me cry hysterically.  I'm not going to lie you guys, he put up with a lot!  And yet he was sensitive and comforting and accepting through it all.  He never pressured me or made me feel like it was my fault.  He held my hand at doctor's appointments and laid next to me while I cried myself to sleep at night after another negative pregnancy test.  He always let me know that even if we couldn't have a baby, we would be fine and happy and become parents in some other way.  
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Thanks for having me, Kary!  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt for Kids

This past weekend we had our first taste of warm weather after weeks of freezing temperatures and snow.  It was glorious!  Hello Spring...where have you been all my life?  Ironically, Ryan and I were dying to get the kids out of the house and play, while all Mac wanted to do was stay in the basement and play basketball and sticker book.  Poor child has been brainwashed by us over the last couple months to want to be inside.  But after much coaxing and bribing, I finally convinced Mac that it would be fun to go outside and have a neighborhood scavenger hunt.  
Last summer before Mim was born, I made this printable scavenger hunt to help entertain Mac and get him out of the house while the baby and I were stuck inside.  I found cute pictures of all kinds of things I knew he could find in our neighborhood (just on our street) and laid them out in an easy to identify format for a toddler.  I gave him a bucket (to collect anything he wanted to keep) and a marker to cross off all the things he finds, to give him a sense of accomplishment (because we all love crossing items off our list, right?).  He played this a few times with my mom and our nanny over the summer and fall and loved it, but I never had a chance to play with him or take any photos.  So while Mim was napping on Saturday, out we went!  
The items on our scavenger hunt are all things a toddler or preschooler should be able to find in any suburban midwest neighborhood or park (with a little help from an adult, of course).  If you're in a big city, the country, the desert or the beach, these might not all be as easy to find.  Although I'm sure you could come up with other items to substitute out and modify this concept for your particular location.  
There are 48 items on the list, but Mac's never really had the time (or attention span) to find them all. Sometimes he'll just try to find the things on one page. Sometimes he only finds a few items on each page.  Sometimes he gets completely distracted and ends up doing something else entirely.  And that's fine too!  This is just a starting point to get him outside and exploring.  
Obviously, some of the items on our list are harder to find during cold weather than they will be this summer. We didn't find any dandelions or pink flowers. We didn't see any butterflies or grasshoppers. But that really didn't seem to bother Mac at all.  It's more about the exploring and the adventure of the hunt that makes it fun.  What surprised me most was that some of the items on the scavenger hunt that were easy to find were less fun for him.  He had no problem finding rocks or sticks or leaves, so that wasn't as exciting as it was to find something that we had to really look/hunt for.  He spent a lot of time digging in the flower bed looking for a roly poly (we never found one).  We sat at the end of our street for a good 10 minutes watching cars drive by and waiting for a red truck (we never saw one).  This showed incredible patience and determination from him that completely impressed me.  Had we done this last summer, I think the results would have been much different (more interested in the instant gratification of finding the easy things), which makes this a great activity for kids of all ages and one that can played for years.  
Of course, his attention span is still pretty short so we had to throw in some other fun activities like follow the leader and red light/green light as we played.  We also did lots of jumping and chasing and snowball throwing, which makes for a pretty great day in our book.  I definitely didn't want this to be all work.  But I think he had fun - he asked me that night when we could do it again.  Anytime, kiddo!

Have you ever done a Scavenger Hunt with your kids?


LINK to PDF Scavenger Hunt Printable