DIY Fruit Snacks… Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Post by Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey’s Essentials

With a toddler running around, I think about snacks a lot more than I used to. Every chance I get to sneak in a healthy snack here and there is one that I embrace. When I can offer him snacks that I feel great about, it makes it even better. I’ve really enjoyed taking some of the traditional boxed snacks and making homemade versions lately. The biggest hit has been these easy DIY Fruit Snacks. They’re just as fun to make as they are to eat – especially if your little one is helping you out in the kitchen. I’ve found that any time I involve my toddler Ollie in cooking, he’s more likely to try whatever we’ve made together. He loves these fruit snacks and eats them by the handful! While I’m sure that there are fruit gummies out there that are comparable in nutrition, you can’t beat the ease and satisfaction of making your own for an afternoon activity with your kids. It’s a great idea to keep in mind as you’re trying to keep kids busy during the last few weeks of summer before they head back to school! The ratio of ingredients is really easy to remember and the variations are endless.

DIY Fruit Snack Recipe

DIY Fruit Snacks

  • 1 cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice (I used a raspberry limeade, blackberry lemonade, and orange juice)
  • 2 tablespoons plain gelatin
  • 3 teaspoons honey

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In a small saucepan, add the fruit or vegetable juice and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow the powder to be absorbed in the liquid (it will look a little wrinkly on the surface) before whisking to fully combine.

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On the stovetop, heat the liquid slowly until it warms through over medium heat. Cook the liquid until it is thin and no longer grainy. Once it reaches this stage, turn off the heat and whisk in the honey. Depending on how sweet your juice is you can slightly increase or decrease this amount.

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Carefully pour liquid into candy molds or into an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. I had great success using a clean dropper/syringe that I use when giving medications to my little guy. It was especially helpful for the small candy molds I used. You can find them here. I love the shapes!

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Transfer molds or glass dish to the refrigerator and chill until set – about an hour.  Remove from molds or cut the flavored gelatin into squares.

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This recipe is a great jumping off point for further variations. Adding extracts or other nutritional ingredients like vitamin C powder are great ways to pack a punch in your homemade gummies.

Kelsey Nixon is the host of Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel and author of Kitchen Confidence. Kelsey’s Essentials is also currently airing Mon-Thurs at 3pm on Food Network. Kelsey, her husband Robby, and son Oliver (“Ollie”) live in New York City. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Back to School Organization

Post by Danielle, Creative Director at The Land of Nod

As adults, most of us no longer get 3 months off for summer vacation. But, as parents, we do get to enjoy a bit of the relaxation that comes with it. No permission slips to sign, no homework to check, no lunches to pack. So, it’s no surprise that the sudden jolt back into routine with the start of the school year can be just as unnerving for us parents as it is for the kids.

Perhaps some of you have this back to school organization thing down to a science, but I have to admit, when it comes to dealing with all the paperwork that comes home from school, I’m a hot mess.

So, I sat with our Nod storage gurus and room designers, to come up with a few tips on how the organizationally challenged among (ie. Me) us can get a grip on the back to school organization madness. Here are a few tips on creating a mini “nerve center” for your home with just a bit of wall space.

Back to School Organization Tip #1: Sort by Day

Back to School Organization Tip #1: Sort by Day

If your challenge is remembering what you need to do when, then sorting items by day may be your best bet. Our Take Five Wall Bin has 5 compartments; assign a day to each (Mon – Fri), and toss applicable items in each as soon as they arrive in your home. Then each morning, you can just grab the appropriate stack and be on your way. Also, include a chalkboard or calendar to add reminders. As well add in a few wall hooks to hang larger items that won’t fit in the bins. This also works well if you have multiple caretakers on various days, your babysitter/mother-in-law/spouse will always know just where to look for notes and details on the kids’ schedule.

Back to School Organization Tip #2: Sort by Kid or Activity

Back to School Organization Tip #2: Sort by Kid or Activity

If you have multiple children, or even one child involved in multiple activities, our Down to the Wire Wall Shelf would be a great solution. Assign a bin to each kid/activity, and make them responsible for putting their gear away when they walk in the door. Maybe this will help avoid them just dumping their backpack on the floor immediately inside the front door. Also, when you’re rushing out the door to soccer practice, you’ll know just where their cleats and shin guards are stashed.

Back to School Organization Tip #3: Keep Surfaces to a Minimum

Back to School Organization Tip #3: Keep Surfaces to a Minimum

If you tend to make stacks and piles, remove the temptation. Create a wall system with our Straight & Narrow Collection that allows for just small reminders to be tacked up, and sort paper as soon as it comes in the house. Be sure the recycling bin is nearby so unnecessary clutter can go straight to the recycling pile instead of a stack on your dining room table.

Back to School Organization Tip #4: Don’t be too hard on yourself

This tip didn’t come from one of our storage experts, but from me, a fellow mom who’s just trying to keep it together on a daily basis. It’s hard to juggle all that comes with modern-day parenting. So if a perfectly organized mudroom isn’t on your list of priorities, then don’t give it a second thought. Did you laugh with your kids today? Then, you’re good. No, actually, you’re awesome!

Danielle is the Creative Director at Nod and an over-protective mother of two. She’s also completely obsessed with Instagram, Twitter and her Kindle, but not necessarily in that order. Danielle loves to craft, sew and crochet, but all her supplies have a layer of dust on them about 7-years-thick, wonder if it’s just a coincidence that her oldest kiddo is 7 years old? – Click here to see more of Danielle’s Honest to Nod posts.

Kids Indoor Pup Tent Camping

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine

Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping 2 Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping 3 Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping 4 Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping 5 Kids Pup Tent Indoor Camping 6

Avery and Nate loved “camping” in this fun pup tent.  Armed with a telescope and their imaginations, they explored their environment and were really excited with their new digs.  We made s’mores cups, which are the neater, more contained version of the classic s’mores and a perfect treat for their indoor adventures.  We filled old jam jars with marshmallows, chocolate chunks and broken-up bits of graham crackers and microwaved them for 15 seconds (making sure to pull out the jars after the marshmallows started to melt and expand).  A delicious variation would be substituting pieces of Speculoos cookies for the graham crackers.  Or maybe your favorite cookie or candy bar?  More s’mores creativity can be found here.  Happy s’more-ing!

You can see her work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.

Rainbow Bright Kids Study Space

Post by Rachel Shingleton, blogger and product designer at Pencil Shavings Studio

It’s already time to hop back to school, and what better way than to have a fresh, inspired space kids study space to get all that homework done in! Today’s inspiration is brought to you by everyone’s favorite, ROY G. BIV – aka, every color of the rainbow. I think this would be stunning in a crisp, all-white space to really allow all the colorful accessories to pop. Fallen in love with the desk below? Hurry, it’s 15% off until midnight tonight August, 25.


White campaign2

Pop of Color Pendant in Blue / Pop of Color Pendant in Orange / Pop of Color Pendant in Lavender / Multiplayer Wall Hook / White Campaign Desk - 15% off through August 25 / Color Reference Drawers / Hello Pillow / Homeroom Metal Desk Chair / Paint Palette Rug

Designer Rachel Shingleton never met a color she didn’t love. At Pencil Shavings Studio, she writes about how to integrate color and style into interiors, fashion, and decor.  She also designs a line of paper goods, home decor, and tech goods for her shop. Named  Better Homes & Garden’s Editor’s choice for top decor blog, she love helping people find a way to bring color and cheer into their everyday lives.

DIY Striped Straw Necklaces

Post by Christina of Just Call Me Chris

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to make beads like this out of magazine pages.  We made hundreds of paper beads. It was my goal not to let any magazine ever go wasted again. I bet my mom loved having bags of those paper beads all over the house. Twenty-some-odd years later, I’m still making things… so I guess nothing really changes.

When I remembered all the fun I had making those beads, I thought it might be fun to do a similar project with my four-year-old. She’s not quite old enough to make paper beads on her own yet, so we took a shortcut by using paper straws as our beads. The nice folks at Party Pail sent over some straws for us to use in our craft project. I love the combination of thin and thick stripes on their straws. We combined the straws with some colorful wooden beads and got to work.

DIY Striped Straw Necklaces

Want to make some necklaces of your own? You probably have most everything you need hanging around the house. Yarn, tape (not pictured), scissors (also not pictured), wooden beads, a handful of striped straws (Party Pail gave us the orangepink and green ones for this project), and a clip of some sort (or anything else you can attach to the end of the yard to keep the beads from falling off).

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Step 1: Cut up the striped straws. I didn’t measure exactly, but each straw made about 10 beads.

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Step 2: Tape one end of the yarn like the end of a shoelace. This makes threading easier for small fingers. Next, attach the clip to the opposite end of the yarn to keep beads from sliding off while you’re working.

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Step 3: Start stringing your necklace. Charlotte loved making up different patterns and she named each design. One was called “cotton candy” another was “pink lemonade” and one was the “unicorn necklace,” of course. Once you’re done beading the necklace, tie the ends together with a square knot, and cut off all but about .5″ excess yarn. You can easily tuck the ends into one of the straws to hide them.

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That’s it. Now throw on a necklace (or six) and hit the town. We made necklaces for our stuffed animals, for our friends and neighbors and we still have plenty of supplies to pull out for our next play date.

Christina Williams is a blogger and graphic designer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She’s a night owl and a bookworm, as well as a mother to three children ranging in age from two to eight. She shares her latest DIY and design projects along with her adventures in parenting on her blog, Just Call Me Chris

Bold & Blue Kids Study Space

Post by Rachel Shingleton, blogger and product designer at Pencil Shavings Studio

Let’s get ready for back to school with a totally bold and fresh approach to study spaces for your little student.  I love a gorgeous cobalt blue – it pairs well with so many different colors! This space is grounded with a fun stripe rug that pulls in all the colors echoed throughout the rest of the room. And it’s got plenty of pop with the funky accessories and tongue-in-cheek balloon animal bookend. Fallen in love with the desk below? It’s 15% off until midnight August, 25.

Blue Campaign

Balloon Animal Bookend / Blue Campaign Desk – 15% off till Aug 25 / Now You See It Acrylic Desk Chair / Hues You Can Use Orange Art Print / Perfect Pitch Storage Caddy / Bold Stripe Rug / Toucan Pillow / Stripes Around the Cube Bin

Designer Rachel Shingleton never met a color she didn’t love. At Pencil Shavings Studio, she writes about how to integrate color and style into interiors, fashion, and decor.  She also designs a line of paper goods, home decor, and tech goods for her shop. Named  Better Homes & Garden’s Editor’s choice for top decor blog, she love helping people find a way to bring color and cheer into their everyday lives.

Try This Fall Trend: Boys’ Adventure

Written by Anna Passadori, Nod’s resident trend expert 

For this fall trend ‘boys’ adventure’ room I wanted to create a place where a child’s interests and hobbies can shine, in a tasteful way that parents can live with. The basis of the look is clean, modern with an urban preppy vibe. Other inspiration comes from boys favorite hobbies such as dinosaurs, science or transportation. The idea is to create a clean, modern space that highlights your child’s toys and collections as pieces of art.

The simplicity of this room allows the toy collection to shine:

Boy's Adventure: Toy Collection[image]

Add in crisp preppy colors such as navy, red and green:

Boys' Adventure: Crips Preppy Colors[image]

The clean modern lines in this room create an impactful, vibrant space:

Boys' Adventure: Modern [image]

Create an artful display of their favorite toys. Paying attention to scale and color, use repetition to create a visually pleasing presentation:

Boys' Adventure: Favorite Toys Display[image 1 / 2]

Now, try it yourself!

Boys' Adventure from The Land of NodChalk Around the World Globe / Metal Letter / Electron Pendant Lamp / Prehistoric Dinosaur Wall Hooks / Pitch Perfect Storage Caddy / New School Desk with Bench / Cinema Floor Lamp / Green Tailored Rug / Red Stack Up Metal Bin

For more inspiration, click here!


Anna develops and designs exclusive product for The Land of Nod. She hails from the west coast and has traveled the world to source product. She loves anything Marc Jacobs, Sofia Coppola or stripes! (So, if anyone can get a photo of Sofia Coppola wearing a striped outfit by Marc Jacobs, please send it along.)

Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

Post by Rebecca of Not-So-SAHM

Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

I am loving our lack of schedule this summer, but I’m finding that it’s creating difficulty at breakfast. Without the need to get dressed and head to school (and with the luxury of having snacks available at home), the kids have been skimping on breakfast and then asking for snacks 20 minutes after I’ve cleared the table. It’s driving me a bit nuts, but this almond butter banana smoothie has been a great way to get some filling protein in them fast. It’s so creamy, it’s almost like a milkshake. Click over to Not-So-SAHM for the full recipe!

Rebecca and Suzanne are bloggers, graphic designers, and event stylists living in Washington, DC.  Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. Suzanne is a big fan of good design, good wine, and her two rambunctious little boys. They share DIY lifestyle and event styling projects at A Feteful Life. Rebecca also blogs kid-friendly projects at Not-So-SAHM

Lately Lily Joins Us For Camp Nod

It’s no secret we are BIG fans of Lately Lily (have you checked out our new exclusive bedding we carry?!).

Lately Lily Portraits at Camp Nod Lately Lily at Camp Nod

So we were so excited to have Lately Lily illustrator Micah Player in our South Coast Plaza store to read their brand new picture book, “Adventures of a Traveling Girl.” Afterward, Micah gave the kids a special drawing lesson on how to draw Lily.

Such incredible drawings came out of the art lesson. Check them out, and thanks so much to the entire Lately Lily team for this very special in-store event during Camp Nod!

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Artisanal Toast for Kids

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine
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I’ve been watching the artisanal toast trend gain momentum over the last year and have been wanting to give it a try.  One Saturday, I made three versions for Avery to snack on while doing some reading in her bean bag chair.  All on thick-cut brioche from a local bakery, version one was obsidian blackberry jam + French butter, version two was royal blenheim apricot jam + quark and version three was coconut jam + French butter.  Avery had no favorites in particular—she loved them all!  She agreed that books and toast made a perfect afternoon break.  (And some nice downtime for the rest of the household!)

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine. You can see her work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.