Do you want to build a snowman? Marshmallow snowman topper

If you live around Portland like we do, chances are you just got dumped on. I woke up this morning to about 7 inches of thick, packable snow—the kind that makes an awesome snowball and doubles over tree branches. So naturally, we pulled an Anna and asked, Do you want to build a snowman? I answered YES! and made both the regular kind out of snow and a marshmallow snowman topper.

When it snows (or you just want an edible craft), this marshmallow snowman topper is perfect to set on a cupcake! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas 2016, everyone!

We are spending the holidays with family in Michigan. As I type this, downstairs I hear the rest of the jolly crew: 7 kids, 6 adults and 3 dogs. I’m taking the opportunity to curl up under a blanket and enjoy a few minutes to myself.

This morning I watched a bunch of kids tear through a roomful of gifts in a tornado of excitement. I had a mimosa. (Ok, two.) And I opened several presents that were brightly wrapped and thoughtful.

But the greatest gift of Christmas 2016 is seeing my girls together with their cousins.

Christmas 2016 Ten Thousand Hour Mama img_2290

The last time Peeper saw her five cousins was Christmas 2014; I was pregnant with Kiwi at the time, so Little Sis hasn’t met this crew.

They’ve been making up for lost time. Read more

Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

Roughly 95% of the time I make cookies, I go for chocolate chip. They’re sure to please, I pretty much have the recipe memorized and I just drop scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet before—ta-da!—gooey chocolatey deliciousness. But for a Christmas cookie exchange party, I wanted to up my cookie game a bit. So I got all inspired and created these tasty, festive and pretty Christmas cookies: chocolate candy cane pinwheels!

Chocolate candy cane pinwheels are PRETTY Christmas cookies—and so festive! Ten Thousand Hour MamaVersion 2These chocolate candy cane pinwheels are festive, pretty Christmas cookies—perfect for a cookie exchange party! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough and candy cane chunks come together in something that tastes just right at the holidays.  Read more

DIY kids holiday gift: Glitter handprint craft

Y’all know how much I love glitter. So when I went to make a present for my mom, aka the girls’ grandmother and a Nana who has just about everything, I knew I wanted it to sparkle. So Peeper and I made this: a glitter handprint craft that will be a gorgeous, special and one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.

(Sorry, Mom, to spoil the surprise!)

We still have a few weeks until Christmas and other December holidays, but if you’re looking for a DIY kids craft to give as a gift, look no further than this fun, simple—and yes, sparkly—glitter handprint craft!

Glitter handprints are a beautiful - but easy - handmade holiday gift kids will love to make. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Trick or treat sign: Free Halloween printable

This is my first year as a mother when I’ve actually felt on top of Halloween. And that’s 100% because I decided to not go all DIY.

I’m so glad I’m half-assing Halloween.

When Peeper said she wanted to wear a Cinderella costume, my inner feminist cringed—but then I hopped on Amazon and ordered her a damn Disney dress.

Kiwi is still too little to have much of a preference or even know there’s a holiday coming up. So I figured that hey, she has fleece giraffe-print pajamas, so why doesn’t she dress as a giraffe? #twoforonepajamas

Now I have to get out and show off these top-tier costumes. And if you’re like us, you won’t be spending all of Halloween at home, either, waiting to give out tiny chocolates to almost equally tiny Elsas and Pikachus. We’ll be taking the girls out to get their own candy (which we’ll quickly appropriate, obvi). So I wanted to set out a trick or treat sign welcoming the neighborhood kids to help themselves to the treats I’ll leave on the front porch.

And hey, so can you, because you can download this Halloween trick or treat sign for free!

Download this free trick or treat sign printable to leave with a candy bowl on your porch this Halloween! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Download your free Trick or Treat Sign!

Simply submit your name and email to download your free Trick or Treat Sign and join The Ten Thousand Hour Mama mailing list. I won't spam you, and I never share your information.
(Sorry, the free printable does not come with free candy.)

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Fall art exploration: Painting with chestnuts

When I was little, I walked with my dad across the University of Oregon campus just before school started. I held his hand as we meandered under the centuries-old trees and kicked the crackling fallen leaves. I often stooped to pick up acorns and chestnuts.

I’d find them in my pocket all fall and winter long—little treasures squirreled away.

Even now I can’t resist picking them up. I run my thumb over the smooth shell like a worry stone and remember those crisp autumn walks with my dad.

The other day, on one of those cold but bright fall mornings, my girls and I took a walk. It was just chilly enough for me to be grateful for the furnace baby strapped to my chest, and Peeper stopped every few steps to investigate something or other while Finn waited impatiently.

We approached a chestnut tree and the mess of nuts, shells and leaves surrounding it. Squirrels scolded us overhead while Peeper picked up a handful of chestnuts and talked about how pokey the burst-open shells were.

We brought a bunch home and started a “special project,” as she has taken to calling her art endeavors. We incorporated the treasures into our fall art crafting—take a look and you and your little may love painting with chestnuts, too!

Process art with autumn treasures and painting with chestnuts: a fun way to celebrate fall! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How to bake with kids

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Warm muffins, melt-in-your-mouth rolls and all the pumpkin spice you could wish for: hello fall! Now that autumn days are cooler and crisper, I’m ready to take my oven out of its summer retirement. It’s no wonder that Peeper has been wanting to help me in the kitchen, too: She asks to help me make muffins at least once a week.

Of course a preschooler’s “help” in anything, especially an activity that involves dumping large quantities of messy flour, requires a certain amount of air quotes. But she loves it—and inviting a child to participate in choosing, preparing and serving food can encourage her to make healthier food choices in the future, according to research. (Um, do chocolate chip cookies count as a healthy food choice?)

Through plenty of experience, I have come across tips on how to bake with kids—without them losing a finger on a hot oven (or you losing your mind).

How to bake with your kids - fall cookies & pumpkin spice muffins, here we come! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more