Toddler Activity: Pasta Art

I saw a fun toddler sensory activity circling around on Instagram and Pinterest that I thought would be the perfect start to an art project: dyed pasta. It’s seriously one of the most simple DIY sensory projects ever, and the entertainment lasted for hours … on multiple days. Score. Added bonus: we used it for a really sweet art project for family and friends to enjoy.

Quick Dyed Pasta Recipe

// Vinegar (1 tablespoon for each color)
// Food coloring
// Plastic bags (any sandwich-size bag will do) – one for each color
// Uncooked pasta of choice

In a plastic bag, mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with food coloring. The amount of food coloring is up to you. Go as bold and bright as you wish. Once the vinegar and food coloring are mixed, add in 1/4 cup of pasta.

Once the pasta is coated in the vinegar/food coloring mixture, dump the pasta onto a paper towel lined baking sheet to dry. I let the pasta dry overnight to make sure it was completely dry.

The next day, we had so much fun sorting and counting. I was actually surprised how much fun we had – a total family affair.

Noodle Rainbow | Toddler Activity | Sorting color pasta

Sorting, sorting and more sorting. She’s a rockstar in a princess dress. Loving her.

Noodle Rainbow | Toddler Activity

The next day, I drew a few rainbow templates. I was a little anxious and started the project by gluing a few pieces of pasta to the rainbow template. I like to call it “following the leader” and that was my moment to lead. She was able to finish it, though. Don’t worry. :) {Don’t say kid projects can’t be fun!!} Also, just LOVE her little hands at work. GUSHING over here, friends.Making a noodle rainbow | Toddler Activity

Her little mind at work on her second rainbow. This time, she was in control of the colors and glue stick. Rainbow #2 is a work-in-progress and nothing short of amazing, obviously.Noodle Rainbow | Toddler Activity

Our finished masterpiece! Hope you enjoyed learning about this activity. It was definitely one that will be repeated in this house. I’m thinking mama needs a new necklace …

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Thursday Thoughts: If Every Day Were Saturday

If Every Day Were SaturdayIf every day were Saturday…

// this post wouldn’t be a day late.

// we would take our waking slow and appreciate the exact moment our eyes opened to greet the morning, realizing it was Saturday.

// the coffee pot would never be empty and morning conversations would never end.

// princess dresses would be appropriate attire.

// breakfast would always be a feast. Truly the most important meal of the day.

// we get all the giggles and all the cuddles.

// fellow park visitors would become friends.

// more drawings would hang on the wall.

// deer drives and evening strolls wouldn’t be a question.

// friends and family would come first.

// dinner wouldn’t be rushed.

// the biggest dilemma would be whether we watch a movie in the big bed or at the drive-in.

// one word: TARGET.

But then again, if every day were Saturday…

// I wouldn’t look forward to the possibility of imagining and treating a day as if every day were Saturday.


Wishing everyone an awesome long weekend, and here’s to celebrating and treating our time together like every day were Saturday!


First Time Mom: 10 MORE Things They Don’t Tell You

The first installment of First Time Mom // Things They Don’t Tell You was definitely a very accurate summary of the first year of Madeline’s life and my first year as a first time mom. It focused on the itty-bitty of it all. The very beginning. Now, we’re winding down the second year. I have no idea where that year went {AND that is one thing they DO tell you – you blink and time vanishes}. So let’s jump in! A few brand-spankin’ new things that rushed in this year …

01. All the feelings. And words.

“She was kind of emotional this morning.” A normal statement, which means she was whiny or squirting crocodile tears and was asked to go chill out on the pillows for a few minutes. I get it. I’m there everyday. Emotions.

Oh, and if they aren’t feeling everything, they are saying the equivalent. “Shut your mouth” passed through my adorable princess’ lips the other evening. My jaw dropped. This sassy girl just talked back with some fierce nasty! I was … proud … shocked and kind of nervous. Enter the beginning of word vomit.

02. Potty training is a sport, apparently.

Once she started to show interest, potty training was in full swing … at daycare. I know, I know. It should have been in full swing at our house too, and it eventually did get to that point, but it took time on the home front. It may sound like an excuse, but we’re busy folks. We didn’t have the luxury of doing the magical “potty training in 3 day” event. I wish.  Next best thing? Strategy. The game plan included stocking up on underwear, saying good-bye to pull-ups and hello to accidents. We followed a schedule, had distractions or “activities” during a sitting and rewards for sitting and going. Boom! Potty trained! Days are composed of wins and loses, but we always remember the strategy. And, consequently, discuss every win and loss at the end of the day. We assess the team’s weaknesses and strengths. It’s CRAZY how much we are STILL talking about bathroom habits (and how often and when and where). And we’re not fazed by it. Not one bit. Shit does not get old!

03. Another sport: getting dressed in the morning.

STRATEGY NEEDED. My girl LOVES dresses. LOVES. If I even want to think about getting her into anything else the following morning, the planning starts the night before by planting the seed of something else. In the end, does it matter? No. She’ll wear what she feels most comfortable in that day. Again, wins and loses. My girl always wins.

04. Other kids have really neat parents.

I mean, who else can understand the supposed daycare nap schedule that every toddler obeys during the week or the running tally of underwear that is tossed each week because we are NOT bringing THAT home? Our kids hang out every day for 7+ hours a day five days a week, making the most ridiculous memories and sharing the best stories. We know a lot about the kids  … and saying hi to those kids’ parents in the morning or evening and tossing a knowing smile is another level of comfort.

05. Kids birthday parties.

Survival tips here. Hint: chill out – they’re a blast.

06. Transitioning from a diaper bag to MEGA bag.

This is just a joke. We are in that stage where Mads is not a diaper wearer, but she’s still a toddler. Toddler means basically a sour patch kid. The result: mega mom bag – the huge “tote” that has EVERYTHING. Because you just don’t know. You’ve stopped trying to predict and just now prepare for Armageddon. I mean, it’s just easier to think that way. Snacks, check. Undies, check. Socks, check. Wet Ones, check. Itch cream, check. Random shiny object that captures attention for 2 minutes, check. List goes on, as you know.

07. Tub Toys. You’ll have a love/hate relationship.

Our girl baths in our tub. I’m okay with this. It’s definitely easier, especially when we are winding down for the night, getting in extra cuddles and catching up on chores. However, I never realized how high-maintenance a toddler can be when it comes to tub toys. I’m laughing as I type this because toddlers are high-maintenance. HELLO. The variety and shapes and colors. You just don’t know true love until you step on Ariel or legos before your 5 a.m. shower… unconditional. true. love.

We’ve recently entered the world of bath crayons. What am I thinking? Anyway, she loves it. And so does my husband. Surprise notes written on the shower wall in the morning AFTER stepping on the toys makes the sting fleeting … or I suppose more bearable, I guess …? :) Worth it.

08. Picky eater vs. eat anything/everything.

In short, I’ve learned to not force anything when it comes to meals. I look at it this way – it’s our job as parents to provide well-balanced, nutritious meals for our babies. They learn by repetition and what they are exposed to, so we offer a few healthy choices at mealtime, and she decides what she would like. Sometimes she eats like a horse and sometimes … sometimes we’re sitting there an additional twenty minutes because it took her that long to realize this was in fact a meal and that’s all she’ll have until snack or next meal.

I choose to not fight this fight. I’d rather argue over which Tinker Bell movie we will watch, because THAT is a real topic worth debating.

09. Google is your best friend.

It knows all of your secrets.

10. Sibling Talk ALL THE TIME

When you’re a one child toting mama, the only people you have to answer to about the possibility of baby #2 are family and close friends. Enter stage right: the first child that is now a toddler. A toddler that can form sentences and have emotional opinions on what direction the wind blows. Yes, that toddler.  Another person asking about #2. A much more determined person. Fierce. She already picked the name and gender. Just saying. {And since you’re wondering, because I know you are, yes, #2 is on our mind.}

That’s a wrap … for now …

So, what do you think, mamas? What else can we add to this list?

linking up with jennifertiffany and emily

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Couples Who Coffee: Our Favorite Lattes + Recipes

We’ve started a little semi-nightly ritual in our house: evening coffee. I know. It’s probably the worst habit to develop. But after we put the little one to bed, bubbs and I like to sit down with a cup, relax and enjoy each other’s company. Because I’m a coffee addict, and my hubs needs the caffeine right now to stay away (night shift grossness), we’ve been playing around with simple syrups and making “lattes”.

HINT: Use this trick to make your milk foamy. Ditch the steam equipment and shake, shake, shake.

ALSO: These are sweet. Late night treat, anyone??

Here are a few of our favorites …

Simple Syrups for Lattes, coffee syrup

Honey Lavender Latte

I recently posted this recipe. Amazingly soft and sweet.

Cinnamon Latte

+Simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved)
+2 Cinnamon sticks (or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)
+1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Optional: add in a splash of maple extract to really get that cozy feeling

Simmer simple syrup and cinnamon together for 5-10 minutes. Syrup will start to slightly thicken. Add in vanilla and maple extract, if preferred.

Pour strong coffee or espresso in your favorite cup. Add 2 tablespoons of warm cinnamon simple syrup and frothy milk.

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

+Simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup brown sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved)
+2 Cinnamon sticks (or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)
+1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Simmer simple syrup and cinnamon together for 5-10 minutes. Syrup will start to slightly thicken. Add in vanilla.

Pour strong coffee or espresso in your favorite cup. Add 2 tablespoons of warm cinnamon dolce simple syrup and frothy milk.

Vanilla Latte

+Simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup white sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved)
+2 tsp Vanilla extract

Simmer simple syrup for 5-10 minutes. Syrup will start to slightly thicken. Add in vanilla.

Pour strong coffee or espresso in your favorite cup. Add 2 tablespoons of warm vanilla simple syrup and frothy milk.

Gingerbread Latte

+Simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup white sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved)
+1 tsp Vanilla extract
+1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
+2 tsp Ground ginger

Simmer simple syrup, cinnamon and ginger together for 5-10 minutes. Syrup will start to slightly thicken. Add in vanilla.

Pour strong coffee or espresso in your favorite cup. Add 2 tablespoons of warm gingerbread simple syrup and frothy milk. Optional decadence: top with whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger.

BUBBSAPPROVEDSalted Caramel Latte

Simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup brown sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved)
+1 tsp Vanilla extract
+1 tsp Sea salt

Bring the simple syrup to a slow boil for about 2-3 minutes. Syrup will start to slightly thicken. Add in vanilla and salt at the end.

Pour strong coffee or espresso in your favorite cup. Add 2 tablespoons of warm salted caramel simple syrup and frothy milk. Optional decadence: top with whipped cream and drizzle of chocolate sauce.


What is your favorite??

Hope you enjoy!!

linking up with Tiffany

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5 Ways to Survive Kids’ Birthday Parties

To say we were blessed with Madeline’s daycare situation would be a very huge understatement. This place is just the tops. Bee’s knees, if you will. Wonderful yet sassy, up-beat and creative teachers always there to greet us in the morning, scooping up our little and readying her for the day. Rambunctious friends that call to her as they burst into the room. Sweet smiles and the occasional friendly short exchange between parents during the drop-off and pick-up. Pretty neat stuff.

Anxiety and tears flowed when I parted with Madeline on day 1. Now, I confidently walk in, assured that she will have a great day, even if there happens to be a tumble on the playground.

“We got this,” I say to her on Monday morning.

In the afternoon, I rush into the center, locate my child and we lock eyes. I hear, “MOMMY!” Yes, okay, she’s mine. Here we go.

Her teacher hands me the end-of-day goodies: colorful painted pictures, her summary of day’s events …

… and a white envelope with “Madeline” printed on the front.

{I know what this is before I even open it.}

And then a familiar feeling hits me again. A wave of anxiety. Holy sh*t. There is NO way she is old enough. This isn’t happening yet, is it?

I decided to peek on the way home…

You’re Invited to your awesome friend’s birthday party.

Friends {aka parents}, if you thought you were “young” pre-kid’s birthday invite, just wait. You’ll feel like someone hit fast-forward. Your youth vanished. Their youth is very much here and present.

And, of course we’ve been to parties of the birthday and wedding variety with Mads, but these were family and adult friends. Familiar. Now, we’ve turned the page. We’ve entered the world of kid friends. And other kids’ parents.

kids' birthday parties // surviving birthday parties for kiddos

How To Survive Your Kid’s Friend’s Birthday Party

1. RSVP!

Besides common courtesy, I always like to RSVP to these shindigs early. Be quick. Why? Because the parents are W A I T I N G. I know I would be wondering, hands on hips, tapping my foot, waiting for those RSVPs to roll in. Okay, maybe with less theatrics, but you get what I’m saying, right? Too many details make up a birthday party, so lets help the fellow parent. This may also be your first impression. I like to make it a punctual, caring-of-their-time one. If anything else, just get it out of the way. Also, I’m notorious for forgetting things. >>Mom brain???<< Ha! … hilarious – just click on it.

2. Dress for the occasion

Relax and have fun. YOU’RE AT A KIDS PARTY. I would strongly recommend leaving your heels and ego at the door. I know it seems obvious that one would dress for the environment, but I’ve seen discomfort. I’ve witnessed the unnecessary early retreat because of a poor costume decision. Ladies (and gentlemen), let’s just remove our week attire and settle into comfy casual while our littles run around like lunatics.

3. Introduce yourself to the other parents.

Make the effort to meet the moms and dads you don’t yet know. The way I see it, chances are you will be going to their kids’ parties soon and them to yours, if you’re so inclined, so let’s start the relationship building, shall we? HINT: many are in the same boat as you and BONUS: many will probably be pretty awesome, too. And you have a major thing in common: a couple of kiddos that enjoy playing and hanging out together. You are bound to have things in common, whether it’s the latest episode of a princess-pirate-favorite on Disney Jr., potty training woos/wins, sibling discussions or maybe just how you both attempt to grab five minutes during a work day to call your own.

4. Gifting: When in doubt, bring bubbles and chalk.

This is a total go-to, am I right? What little kid doesn’t like chalk and bubbles? Done and done. If you’re not a fan of this method, look to the invite for clues. Chances are, if there is a theme, this is something the kid loves. Whether it’s a character or color theme, take that idea to the store and find an activity or book that features the liked item(s). Done.

5. Get off the schedule.

I’m sure there was a time frame listed on that invite. And I’m sure it didn’t extend more than two hours … well, it’s nearing the two hour mark and NO ONE is MOVING!

I’m going to sing that song: your kids are only this young once. Let them play with their friends. Just be present in this moment. And share a laugh {and plan a coffee/lunch/dinner} with a new adult friend. After all, these are definitely the moments to cherish.

Perhaps nothing quite earth-shattering, but let’s be honest – it’s a kid’s party – how complicated does it need to be? Smile. Laugh. Relax. We are all in the same boat. Enjoy the ride! {and watch those invites continue to roll in…}

linking up with tiffany and jennifer!