Archive by Author

Hip Bibs {Baby Gift Idea}

18 Jul

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July is turning out to be a huge month for baby gift giving in our family – from new births, to baptisms – we are blessed with lots of beautiful babies to buy for.  I just received my fairly large order from my favorite source for adorable and durable bibs: Baby Sophia Gifts.  There is an array of fun fabric choices for both boys and girls and the bibs can be personalized with names or monograms.

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I have found that the way these bibs are cut is very comfortable for my kids (who often wore the bibs all day during their teething months) and the fabric cleans up nicely if you rinse out the baby food with a little dish soap before it dries.  My babies are drool machines, but they rarely soak through these thick bibs.

The sweet potatoes rinsed right out of this bib!

The sweet potatoes rinsed right out of this bib!

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Grow something Part II – Get Digging {DIY Projects}

6 Jul

Summer is here and it’s not too late to get outside and do some gardening with your family.  This is a (long-overdue) follow-up to my previous post, with ideas and inspiration pictures for various levels of gardening enthusiasm and commitment.  We decided that a medium-sized, raised bed garden was right for our family.  Raised beds were necessary for us due to our very sandy soil here on the beach.  We also decided that we needed to provide definition to our garden by installing a fence, since the rabbit population in our neighborhood is somewhat out of control.  I created a plan with a specific layout and dimensions, but in the end we decided to work with the space that we created by linking together the 8 foot long pre-fabricated fence sections we bought at Home Depot because we didn’t want to have to cut the fence sections to fit my plan.  So, in the end, our garden was a lot bigger than I had planned.  And though I wasn’t crazy about the gothic style pickets and would have preferred pickets that resembled our existing fencing, this fence was the least expensive option at Home Depot and the easiest for us to install ourselves.

summer gardening with kids

Once we had the fence in place we set to work installing chicken wire to prevent those bunnies from stealing our veggies.  I read that to keep the rabbits from digging tunnels under the fence it helps to dig a shallow trench along the fence and bury the bottom of the chicken wire so that it makes an “L” with the fence, then staple the rest of the chicken wire along the bottom of the fence.

Home Depot garden fence for raised bed garden

The shallow trench for the chicken wire

Keep critters out of garden with chicken wire

For more detailed instructions on installing the chicken wire (and other methods for keeping rabbits out of your garden) check out this post.  For the gate, we obviously were not able to bury the chicken wire but we did put it along the bottom to deter critters from slipping through the slats.

Once the fence was installed, we started to lay out our raised beds.  Again, to avoid unnecessary work with the saw, we tried to work with the 8 foot long pressure treated planks we picked up.

Gardening backyard with kids DIY

We decided that the space would be best utilized by installing three, 4 x 8 foot raised beds and one smaller 4×4 food bed.  My amazing husband dug out the sod for each of the beds and created a sort of trench so that the wooden frames actually sink into the ground a bit.  We then stapled the weed barrier to the interior frame of each bed.

installing weed barrier in raised bed garden

DIY gardening weed barrier raised bed

Then came the soil.  Many, many, many bags of soil ….

soil for gardening

We used organic gardening soil with the fertilizer already mixed into it, but you can check out how to mix your own and get other raised bed building ideas here.

raised bed gardening with kids

Once the soil was in place, we were ready for some planting action.  More on that in my next and final gardening post!  But first, a little note about the flower boxes I added to the fence – all supplies: plastic boxes, flowers, and hanging brackets purchased from Home Depot.  I got a ton of compliments on them and I love how they made the garden look a little happier and help distract me from the gothic pickets that I hate.

backyard window boxes of fence

In the next post I’ll show you how we ended up here, despite our constant battles with enemy bugs!

Daddy Love {DIY Father’s Day Craft}

4 Jun

Father’s Day is approaching and there are some fun, cheap ways to show Daddy – and Grandpa – some special love.  My son answered this questionnaire for Daddy’s birthday, but this would be a perfect craft for Father’s Day.

I got this idea from my favorite way to waste time place to find great ideas, Pinterest, which led me to the beautiful blog daffodil design.  I basically followed daffodil’s worksheet, used an inexpensive white frame, highlighted the answers to the questions in red, and made the garland out of scrap paper.  I went with a superhero graphic at the top because, well, that’s basically what Daddy is around here.  I googled “superman symbol” and found an image I liked, then imported it to my clip art and inserted it at the top of my document.  For the garland, I cut scraps of colored paper I had from Michael’s and glued them onto thread.  Head over to daffodil design for cute Father’s Day printables too!

Persnickety Prints has an adorable printable questionnaire for Dad and this one for Grandpa too!

For more great free Father’s Day printables check out how does she (collection of various printables); our seven dwarfs (links to Father’s Day subway art); Big D & Me (adorable Father’s Day worksheet).

Grow Something Part 1: Get Inspired {DIY project}

10 May

Spring is here and it’s time to think about growing something — anything! — with your kids.  Whether you decide to go all out and tackle a backyard garden, join a community garden, plant veggies in pots on a balcony, grow herbs in a small window box, or even sow seeds in plastic mini-cups (kindergarten style), gardening is a great family activity.   Gardening teaches responsibility, patience and gives kids a reference point as to where their food actually comes from.

The extra-warm weather in late January – early February here in Florida allowed us to get started early on our gardening plans.  Somehow I talked my husband into building me a backyard garden, complete with a fence and raised beds.  More to come about our adventures (and misadventures) in gardening – but the first step for me was to gather inspiration pictures and information.  Here are some ideas for various levels of gardening ambition.

Those lucky enough to have enough land might dream of large, fenced gardens like these.

beautiful outdoor vegetable garden

Image from County Living

beautiful country vegetable garden

Raised beds are a wonderful option for gardens with less than ideal soil quality.

build a bed vegetable garden

Image from Sunset, which also has instructions for making a raised bed.

modern raised bed garden

Image from here

Container gardening is the perfect solution for those with limited space and time.

growing vegetables in containers

The Terrazza self-watering raised bed from Gardener’s Supply is ideal for the busy family

Gardening in Pots

Gardening in pots (and more great small space gardening ideas) from Martha Stewart

If you have a window, you can have a garden!

indoor vegetable garden

Windowsill gardening

A great option for urban mommies, or anyone with limited space or sunlight, would be to join a community garden.  Search the American Community Gardening Association for a garden near you.  NYC Mommies can locate one on Green Thumb.

community garden

Taqwa Community Garden, the Bronx

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McLeod’s Community Garden, Brooklyn. Image from here.

You can also gather plenty of ideas from these amazing gardening blogs:  Miss Rumphius’ RulesYou Grow Girl, Brooklyn Farm, The Manic Gardener, and my organic gardening blog. Check out a list of the 50 top gardening blogs here.

Once you decide to put a plan in action, a wonderful resource for purchasing environmentally responsible gardening products is Garden’s Alive.

Get planning and stay tuned to see how our garden turned out!

A Colorful 1st Birthday Party {rainbow party theme}

24 Mar

For my daughter’s 1st birthday I decided that a rainbow theme would be perfect – classic, simple and colorful.  But this theme would also be great for any spring or summer-themed kids party.  To get started, I gathered inspiration pictures from the web, including one of my favorite sites for party ideas, Sara’s Party Perfect.  I decided to keep it simple, focusing on a few key “rainbow” features: a giant rainbow balloon garland; rainbow layer cake; rainbow fruit plate, rainbow fruit kabobs and rainbow veggie trays.

The rainbow garland was by far the most time-intensive project, mostly because I made my poor husband and father blow them up with their own hot air.  (A compressor or balloon pump would have been a good idea.)  I followed the excellent step-by-step tutorial I found over at Design Mom, and used Command Strip hooks to hang the garland in the shape of a rainbow.

Though not pictured, I also picked up these great giant balloons (they were a huge hit with the kids) and rainbow polka dot plates and cups at My Little Love.

I delegated the task of the Rainbow Cake to a local baker, but if you’re handy with that sort of thing you could try this recipe featured on Martha Stewart’s website.  When we picked up our cake we were a bit disappointed that it was literally falling apart at the seams so I added the M&Ms in a rainbow pattern to hide the gaps.

Little birthday hands always need their own private cake . . .

The fruit and veggie trays and rainbow kabob drink garnishes are self-explanatory

I would have loved to have found some colorful cauliflower for this tray

Most importantly, don’t miss out on the after-party-photo-shoot with all those great balloons!  I let my girl go wild with them and my brother took some great pictures for her thank you cards.