Favorite Things: iPlay Summer Water Sneakers

15 Jul

We recently moved from San Francisco to New York and wow, is it H-O-T. My little one overheats very easily (thanks to his daddy) so we’ve spent a lot of time searching for parks with sprinklers. Thankfully, there are quite a few. Seeing as how the summer in SF is usually chilly and foggy, we didn’t have the proper summertime-in-the-city attire, especially shoes. I found these iPlay Summer Water Sneakers and they are fantastic. It took a little while for Charlie to get used to walking in them and the first time, he actually slipped a little. But since then, it’s been smooth sailing. And for $14, they can’t be beat. I also found them in a color to match his Hanna Anderson swimsuit! One point for mama.

waterproof kids shoes summer must haves mommy favorite things

Charlie in his new kicks

Bib Storage {organize}

11 Jul

kitchen organization kids stuff bibs

I’m not sure why it took me so long to think of this, but for over a year we were hanging bigs on cabinet knobs around the kitchen.  I reorganized the little miss’s kitchen cabinet (where I keep all of her plates, cups, disposable bibs, etc.) and realized I had some leftover command hooks from another project and used one on the inside of her cabinet for her bibs.  Wallah – a home for her bibs.

Watermelon Flowers

8 Jul

kid friendly summer healthy snacks

For the 4th of july, I made star shaped watermelon cut-outs.  After using the big cookie cutter to make the stars, I was left with a lot of usable pieces of juicy watermelon, so I took out a set of mini cookie cutters and made flower shaped pieces for a play date snack.  They were a big hit – perfect bite-size for the girls to snack on.  Use any cookie cutter shape that you have on hand.  Don’t throw out the leftover scraps – puree them in the blender to make watermelon juice (one of my summer favorites – drink on its own or add to smoothies for a sweet, refreshing drink).

4th of July: Free Fireworks App {media}

1 Jul

fireworks fourth of july iphone android app patriotic kid-friendly

We will not be able to attend the fireworks this year.  Instead, I found the next best thing.  An app called Fireworks Arcade where the kids can set their own fireworks to music, paint art in fireworks shades, play fireworks games or watch a fireworks show.  And best of all, the app is free.  As I write this my daughter is setting fireworks to music on my iphone.  It keeps her very entertained.

4th of July Dessert: Red, White & Blue Berries {cooking with kids}

28 Jun

Cooking with kids fourth of july dessert

One of my very hip mommy friends, Vicki, is an art teacher and a very creative mom who comes up with fun holiday projects for her 3 kids.  Vicki made these patriotic red, white and blue chocolate-covered berries with her kiddies, and this simple recipe is a great way to get the little ones cooking.  Strawberries are easy for little hands to grasp and the lure of chocolate, even white chocolate, will likely be enough to peak their interest in the project.  Since the base of this treat is a berry, we can count them as a “healthy” treat, right?  Here is a how-to for making these red, white & blue berries for your 4th of July celebration, with or without your little one(s).

Red, White & Blue Berries

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • blue sugar crystals (can be found in cake decorating aisle)
  • 1 lb strawberries with stems attached

Instructions:

  1. Wash strawberries carefully to keep stems intact. Dry them completely – you don’t want any water left on the berries. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper and set aside.  Place about 1 oz. of sugar crystals in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Chop white chocolate with a serrated knife and place in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave at 30 second intervals until half of the chocolate is melted, stirring each time you take it out. Once half is melted, stir until the chocolate is smooth and shiny (the heat from the melted chocolate will melt the remaining chocolate and this method ensures that the chocolate won’t seize or burn).  Continue to heat at 15 second intervals if the chocolate is not completely melted after stirring.
  3. Hold the stems of the strawberries away from the berry and dip the berries into the melted chocolate.  Twist the berries as you lift them out of the chocolate to let the extra chocolate drip back into the bowl. Dip the bottom third of the chocolate-covered berry in the sugar crystals, then place dipped strawberry on prepared parchment lined pan. Repeat with remaining strawberries. Allow the chocolate to harden at room temperature (about 30 minutes) or in the refrigerator (about 10 minutes).

 Makes about 12 strawberries

 

Family Picnic Tips {summer fun}

27 Jun

While I used to think of picnics as romantic endeavors involving little more than wine and cheese, family picnics have become a new favorite.  Parents can enjoy some relaxing time on a blanket while the kids crawl, run and play in an open grassy space.  It’s a nice way to enjoy an informal family meal together, and can even be an adventure depending on the spot you choose and how you choose to get there.  Here are some hip tips for getting your family picnic started:

Location, Location, Location

A picnic is all about the setting, so start your picnic planning by picking a great location.  Picnic venue options include a local park, rooftop, backyard, beach, meadow, garden, hillside or pond.  Choose a private spot for an intimate family picnic or a more open area for larger groups so you have room for frolicking or tossing a Frisbee around.

Gearing Up

Planning a good picnic involves packing the proper gear for the occasion. Some basics to include are: blankets (one with a pastic backing is ideal) , cups and/or sippy cups, utensils, a sharp knife (for adult use), a beer/wine bottle opener if you will be serving drinks, sturdy disposable or melamine plates, a cutting board, napkins, ice, a cooler or insulated bag, hand wipes, garbage bags, disposable bibs, sunblock, sun hats and bug spray.  Be sure to bring along some outdoor toys for the kids.  Bubbles, soccer balls, foldable doll strollers, toy trucks and a kite are a few options to keep kids entertained.

Picnic “Table”

Use a flat-topped cooler as a “table” for your food by draping a casual tablecloth or blanket over the top of the cooler.  By placing food on top of the cooler, you’ll free up space on your blanket.

Stay Hydrated

Be sure to pack plenty of water, which you can jazz up with slices of lemon or lime.  Sparkling water, iced tea (especially flavored), lemonade, wine and light beer are great beverage options for a picnic.  Be sure to transfer alcoholic beverages into plastic cups if you’re picnicking in a public area—getting a ticket for an open container is no fun.

Additional Hip Tips:

  • Pack your picnic goods in a backpack or canvas tote bag instead of a cumbersome picnic basket (though I do love my picnic basket!).
  • Prewrap utensils in napkins and secure with a rubber band or ribbon to make passing out sets a snap.
  • Bring fabric napkins for an eco-friendly alternative.  Dish towls are a nice option and very absorbent for spills. 
  • Use disposable bamboo plates, which are sturdier than traditional paper or plastic disposables.
  • Freeze plastic (BPA-free) bottles of water to use as ice packs for any items that need to stay cold, then drink the bottles of water after they thaw.
  • Pack cookies, brownies or another dessert in a plastic container and separate layers with pieces of parchment paper for a fresh-from-the-bakery look.

Favorite Things: Djeco Doggie Pull-Toy

25 Jun

best toddler gifts

We don’t have an actual dog, but this doggie pull-toy by Djeco – a gift from a friend – has become our household pet and one of my toddler’s very favorite toys.  He was quickly named “Doggie Chia” (we had chia seeds that day in our oatmeal), and he and the little miss became fast friends.  Doggie Chia has cute little wheels as legs, a springy head and tail and a red string that allows the little lady to walk him around town.  Doggie Chia has accompanied us on hundred of walks to the park, twirls around the apartment, and even on road trips.  Other children at the park flock to Doggie Chia and ask for a turn to walk him around the playground (or at least their parents do).  He is light, easy to pull and there is no mess to clean up on walks (phew!).  Doggie Chia and the rest of his family are designed in France and made of solid wood with non-toxic paint.  If you are looking for a family pet, this little guy will be a welcome addition.

Favorite Toddler Toys Pull Toy Dog from Djeco