Little Rainbow Party

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I was inspired by this beautiful wooden rainbow stacking toy to create a simple rainbow party! Nope, no buckets of crazy colored buttercream or tie-dye cupcake insides or layers of coloured cake here! Just some lovely vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, dressed to impress in every-colour-of-the-rainbow cupcake liners and fashioned with colourful flags.

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Children's parties needn't always be jacked to the nines! All you need is a selection (even three different colours!) of cupcake liners, a few rolls of Japanese washi tape and the cutest inspiration: your baby's own toys. 

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You can even use those coloured cupcake liners to make a very cute and very easy festive garland, as I wrote about here - the striped liners with the white centers work great because they look like stripey little starbursts. Simply open cupcake liners flat, and use clear tape to adhere them to a few feet of string! 

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And yes… you can have a cupcake! Two, even!

Thank you to Land of Nod for sending me the rainbow stacking toy and alphabet letters! 

by Lyndsay Sung of Coco Cake Land

Family Business Wall

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The "Family Business Wall" was born out of a had-it-up-to-here moment with clutter on the kitchen counter, family calendars being unavailable at a glance, and sounds of "I'm bored!" from the kiddos while I'm fixing dinner.

We had a smallish wall in our kitchen near the pantry with very little on it. (Just a dry erase calendar that hadn't been updated in half a year. For shame.) I thought it might be cool to add some texture and interest to the otherwise black and white kitchen by installing a sort of "message board" on that wall, with things that could serve the whole family.

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I carefully selected things that would solve each of our issues: a calendar for us to write all over, clipboards for rotating photos and prints, a magazine pocket to hold mail and important papers, pretty artwork to make it lovely, and fun chalkboard and magnetic activities for the kids so they could be with me in the kitchen (yet out of the way!) while I'm cooking. I even added a tray at the bottom to hold chalk and erasers and a magnetic face game. I had a plan!

thefamilybusinesswall // 1. circle magnet boards // 2. clipboards // 3. magnetic face game // 4. calendar // 5. alphabet soup wall art // 6. magnetic magazine pocket // 7. wall bin // 8. circle chalkboard decals // 9. owl in flight wall art //

Then came time to draft out the plan. Mmmm… I love a fresh sheet of graph paper! I worked out dimensions, drew all the different items to scale and cut them out so I could rearrange them on my little paper wall until I figured out the perfect set up for our space.

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Next, it was time to stain the wood (I used those rough fencing boards at Lowe's that are $1.65/ea and mimic the look of pallet wood without all the trouble of harvesting it). I got a lot of questions about staining when I shared my wood wall tutorial, so I thought I'd include a little video this time around to demonstrate just how not-intimidating it actually is.

 

I had two cans of stain that were both nearly empty (walnut and black, I believe), so I just married them to get a dark-but-not-too-dark brown. Using an old t-shirt and light swipes (just keep your hand moving – that's the key!), the staining step went super quickly and it was time to let the stain dry and the wood acclimate to the indoor temp before I put it up on the wall. I'm not going to assume everyone has the same size space as me, so sharing dimensions and such is silly. But I will tell you that if you're not butting your wood up against another wall, installing a temporary straight edge board as a guide (I used a spare piece of baseboard we had in our garage) will yield a nice, straight line in the end. Also a level. Don't you dare tackle this project without a level nearby.

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Once I knocked out the wall installation (in case you're wondering, I used a nail gun and tried to stick to the studs), it was time for the fun part: hanging all the goodies! I wanted one of my magnetic circles to also act as a chalkboard, so I applied a (slightly larger) chalkboard decal directly on the metal circle and trimmed the edges with the sharp edge of a pair of scissors.

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I was super excited to hang our Alphabet Soup canvas on the wall, though I've been tempted to move it around the house so I can enjoy it in different rooms as well. (Up close it's crazy cool!)

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I managed to finish the project in a day, so you can imagine Oliver's delight to get off the bus and discover what Mom had been cooking up in the kitchen while he was at school.

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The magnetic face game was an awesome icing on the cake for the kids. They love getting silly with eyes and hair, or using the chalkboard to draw bodies on their people.

xoxo, Raechel

Raechel Myers blogs at Finding My Feet. When she's not elbow deep in her next DIY project, you'll likely find her helping her 6-year-old with his Kindergarten homework or playing babies with her 3-year-old daughter. She lives with her husband in Franklin, TN where they can only hope to train their kiddos to love the Lord and take their dishes to the kitchen sink.

Gift Ideas for Little Kids & Big Kids

Once out of toddlerhood, kids start to understand the world better and ask more critical questions.  Sometimes the questions are so deep and layered that I’m shocked that they are coming out of such a young child.  The wheels in my daughter’s brain never stop turning, and coming up with answers to her detailed questions certainly keeps me on my toes.  When she is not trying to unravel all the mysteries of the world, she is just like every other 6 year old, spending hours upon hours playing with her toys. These are some of her favorites. 

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1. Bowling Lanes: Family fun for everyone. Great indoor or outdoor activity and there is no threat of damage with the soft construction. 

2. Letters Entertain You:  Develops fine motor skills by matching shapes.

3. Rainbow Markers:  There’s nothing like a brand new, fresh set of markers, no matter how old you are.

4. Teepee:  Everyone loves a fort!

5. Off Broadway Puppet Theater:  Storytelling, for both adults and kids.  Provides an escape from a media-soaked environment, and provides family bonding and imagination.

6. Easel:  Art promotes early forms of communication and social and emotional skills.  Providing a child with their own special art space provides a sense of ownership of the process of their art.  From beginning to end, the art is truly theirs!

7. Slipper Chair and Beanbag:  A place of their very own. Even moms and dads can fit on the 40” beanbag.

8. Strum and Get It:  Teaching a child to play an instrument helps memory retention skills, enhances coordination, and teaches persistence.

9. Agnes:  So delicate and special.

By Jayne Mangione

Jayne has a lot of experience with children as a former elementary school teacher and a mom of two kids. In her job as a customer service specialist at Nod, she offers advice to customers on our wide array of products, 90% of which she and her family already own. A Chicago native, she’s mastered multiple seasons, often in one week, while being able to cite 90’s pop culture and musical references at the drop of a hat.  Speaking of hats, ask her about the time she looked like Blossom.