When Eric’s parents were visiting Oregon this summer, we took a camping trip at Milo McIver State Park. It was the girls’ first camping trip of the year, and I wanted to help make it special. (Yes, I know the very fact of spending all day outside and roasting marshmallows make camping special without any extras. But still.) I pulled inspiration from one of our favorite books, Lulu & Pip, and made camping dolls for the girls.
The camping dolls were an instant hit. The dolls went with us everywhere, from a hike to the camp chairs beside the fire. They got dirty. They got chewed on. They earned their title of camping dolls.
And my hope was realized: The camping dolls helped make our camping trip unforgettable.
A while back, a few friends and I offered to co-host a baby shower for our dear friend Rose. I’ve known Rose since we were in middle school, and it blows my mind that we both have kids now. (Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were listening to Smashmouth and playing Girl Talk?) For her baby shower, I wanted to do something special that would serve as a memory keeper for the party. So I made her a handmade personalized baby shower book—and I think it turned out beautifully.
With a little prep and planning, plus some after the baby shower effort, I put together this baby shower book. Because I never do anything on time, I have it to Rose when her daughter was like 4 months old. But that just means I threw a baby shower that kept on giving! Right?
I am a huge sucker for handprint crafts for kids, but even I think some of the ideas circulating on Pinterest are, well, a bit of a stretch. Hey, it’s a handprint, but it’s also a walrus! Or a leprechaun! Or a tank!
So when I went looking for arts and crafts ideas to memorialize my kids’ hands, it took a lot of scrolling to find ones I actually want to do. I have saved you some of the searching and picked out 10 handprint crafts for kids that are adorable.
You’ll want to keep ’em forever, if only to remind yourself that yes, once your kid’s hand was that tiny.
One of the many reasons I love summer: the laid-back, no-frills approach to summer entertaining. BBQs are the quintessential summer party, and for good reason: Guests bring whatever side or dessert they can throw together (or pick up from the store on the way over). You can grill just about anything. And summer BBQs give ample opportunities for a gal like me to practice making a signature healthy side dish like this lemony grain salad.
First off, I bring some version of this lemony grain salad to just about every BBQ and potluck we go to in the summer. (Sorry, guys, I hope you haven’t gotten tired of it yet!) I do it because it’s delicious and friends usually end up asking me how to make it—and because this easy, healthy, vegetarian BBQ side dish is so forgiving.
You don’t have cucumbers? No worries, throw in some radishes—or whatever you have in the vegetable drawer! You like your dressing on the sweeter side? Go you! Add some honey. You’re gluten-free? No prob, use quinoa for the grain base!
Because this recipe is so flexible, I don’t usually follow a recipe—but the last time I made it, I actually measured ingredients instead of eyeballing it. So I am super excited to share my bona fide recipe for lemony grain salad.
Back before we had kids, Eric and I camped regularly—and spontaneously. We’d throw the tent, sleeping bags and a cooler in our 1985 Volvo station wagon and head into the woods. These days, camping with kids requires a bit more preparation—including figuring out some kids activities that will keep them happy in the camp site. Since the girls love art so much, it made sense to come up with some camping crafts so they could create in nature.
We haven’t gone camping with the kids yet this year, but we camped for Father’s Day last year—and the girls loved doing this camping craft. They did it one morning when they needed a little out-of-the-sun quiet time after hiking, sprinting around the campground, making friends and walking over hot coals. (Just kidding! We’re waiting until they’re at least 6 to walk on the camp fire.)
Camping crafts like this nature collage are a wonderful way to incorporate art into your family camping this summer. Read more →
Truth be told, we aren’t huge on holidays or anniversaries around here (with the exception of Christmas—which we call XMAS XMAS!!!). But Father’s Day is this weekend, and I wanted to involve my kids in doing something special for Eric, who is truly a phenomenal dad. The trick: Their attention spans are short. Kiwi is a disaster with paint, which rules out most Father’s Day crafts. And they’re much more interested in doing stuff with their dad than spending an afternoon making him a photo frame out of popsicle sticks. So this year, we devised a Father’s Day scavenger hunt.
One reason I’m excited about a Father’s Day scavenger hunt is that it doesn’t take a ton of commitment or prepping. All I needed to do was take a few photos of the kids (which in itself is no small feat, considering their semi-disastrous history with photo shoots). The girls didn’t have to do a ton. They can save their Father’s Day enthusiasm for the day-of, when they’ll get to “help” their dad find his prize!
So if you’re looking for a last-minute Father’s Day gift, this scavenger hunt—made with just a few photos, lots of chalk and a little imagination—is the perfect way to tell dad “I love you!”
When my mother-in-law was visiting recently, I wanted to take her out to dinner as a thank you for watching Kiwi and Peeper while I worked. She loves sushi but lives in semi-rural Michigan—not exactly a mecca for delicious combos of rice, nori and raw fish. So I suggested we go out to a local sushi restaurant with the kids—something I was semi-terrified to do, considering they are picky eaters.
I am actually shocked at how well sushi with kids went! The girls ate (a bit), and my mother-in-law ate a lot. (“You don’t like roe? More for me!”)
If you’re feeling brave, I have some advice, dear parent of fussy eaters. Here are my suggestions on how to get picky eaters to try sushi!