Family Game Night

Post by Suzanne of Not-So-SAHM

Family Game Night - Don't Let the Blocks Drop

This summer was a whirlwind of travel and adventure. It never seemed like we had time to sit down as a family and catch up. Strangely, now that the school year has started our calendar has calmed down and we have found ourselves home with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon. It has been heavenly.

This past Saturday was unbearably hot and the kids had tired of playing outside so with a little help from our friends at Land of Nod and their Don’t let the Blocks Drop game, we had an awesome family game night.

My kids are obsessed with building blocks so I knew instantly they would be tremendously excited about this game. They were equally excited about making moves that kept the tower standing as they were when the tower came tumbling down. The game is so simple but so fun and was easily enjoyed by my 3 and 6 year old. Fun, fun!

Family Game Night - Don't Let the Blocks Drop 2Planning the first move.

Family Game Night - Don't Let the Blocks Drop 3“I did it!”

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Yummy snacks.Family Game Night - Don't Let the Blocks Drop 5

Eeek, it’s getting really tall!

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Falling, down, down, down…

Family Game Night - Don't Let the Blocks Drop 7All down, what to do now?

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Time to build something new!

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

Back to School Family Dinner

Post by Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey’s Essentials

Back to School Dinner IdeasIf you’re like most parents, you’ve recently sent your kids back to school for another school year. This can be such an exciting time for some kids (and parents!) or a dreaded time for others. Whether you’ve got kids who are thrilled to be back in school or kids that are requiring a pep talk each morning, one way to celebrate the big change is with a back to school family dinner. It’s a great way to celebrate your kiddos as they embark upon another year and discuss things like goals. Below you’ll find my best tips for pulling together a fun dinner that is sure to be memorable and may even turn into a tradition for your growing family.

Back to School Dinner Ideas 2Menu

When it comes to the menu, let your kids be in charge! By making their favorite recipes you can really make your kids feel like a big part of this event. If you get requests like boxed macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches, consider making a grown up version of these kid favorites. Dishes like my Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Apple and CheddarSpaghetti and Meatballs, and my Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese are great options.

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Decorate the table with a school theme to get your kids in the back to school spirit. A crown is always a fun accessory that will make any young kid feel special. Traditional items like a school bus, desk supplies (1,2), books, and a globe are a great way to pull off this fun yet simple look. Or maybe you turn over the decorating responsibilities to your kids completely!

Plan a few simple activities for your dinner that will help generate conversation amongst you and your kids. Depending on the age of your children you can take a simple Alphabet book and play a game where they identify one thing that they’re looking forward to this school year based on the letter that they flip to. For example, if your 2nd grader flips to “R” they might enthusiastically exclaim “Recess!” While your 7th grader might flip to “S” and sheepishly mention that school dances should be a lot of fun. This can be a great way to discuss all of the positive things to look forward to.

Back to School Dinner Ideas - 8 Back to School Dinner Ideas - 9Tradition

To get the whole family involved, consider picking a theme for the year. Something that the entire family can focus on as a whole. Think of it as a yearly mission statement. Creatively displaying this theme with something like this darling banner is a great way to remind your kids of the theme day in and day out. You could also make an effort to set some personal goals with each of your children as well.

A back to school dinner is also a great time to fill out a memory book recording your kid’s stats as they enter their respective grades. Whether it’s as simple as their age and height or a bit more detailed like their favorite foods and subjects in school, your kids will get a kick out of the documentation.

Back to School Dinner Ideas - 10Cooking Craft

For dessert, try this simple cooking craft that will get everyone in the spirit to hit the books and head back to school. Make these flashcard graham cracker cookie sandwiches by simple spreading chocolate buttercream frosting in between two graham cracker cookies. Decorate the tops of the cookies by using white frosting to pipe on traditional numbers and letters that you’d find on flash cards. These cookies are best if you make them a day in advance and let them sit in an airtight container overnight. They get soft and chewy and are so delicious! It’s a great alternative to a traditional cookie or cupcake and easy enough that your kids can help make them. My own mom made these cookie sandwiches for me and my siblings growing up!

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 Breakfast Celebration

Post by Rebecca and Suzanne of A Feteful Life

Back to School Breakfast Celebration - 1

Yippee! I am SO excited that my kids are back in school (I think they are too). This year, I thought it would be fun to celebrate the occasion with a little back to school breakfast with some of the Meri Meri Toot Sweet Party Collection. I put together one of the kids’ favorite breakfast “treats”: a yogurt parfait bar. I don’t know why, but as soon as I spoon layers of yogurt into a glass and call it a parfait, they’re happy to eat pounds of fruit on it. Add in a few mini cinnamon rolls in Toot Sweet cupcake wrappers topped with whimsical party kiddos (and pets!). And some sparkling orange juice in cute cups with fringed striped straws. Now that’s a back to school breakfast party.

After they’d had their fill of goodies, I measured each of them on Nod’s “ABC Animal Growth Chart.” I’ve always wanted to keep track of their heights that way and figured now was as good a time to start as any. I also do a pretty abysmal job at keeping their baby books up to date, so I thought a “back to school interview” would be a fun way to capture their personalities and kick off the new school year. I interviewed them separately as they tend to feed off what the other says and I found their answers both accurate and hysterical. And you can find our free interview printable over at A Feteful Life!

Now off to school!

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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.  

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme

Post by Rebecca and Suzanne of A Feteful Life

Kids Playdate Ideas: Let's Go Camping!

Hello, hello! We’ve done books, we’ve done science, and now we’re taking on the great outdoors. The AFL crew is always up for a new adventure and thanks to Land of Nod’s awesome outdoor imaginary play toys, we were able to “set up camp” in our backyard and start exploring the best of what summer has to offer… Nature.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - DecorationsKids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Decorations 1

I just love the S’more the Merrier Campfire Set. It was the center of our camp that also included the Indoor Explorer Pup Tent (which I got the kids for Christmas last year and continues to be one of their favorite toys), some lanterns and cushions. And what would an AFL kids party be without a journal of some kind for the kids to take notes of what they observe as we explored.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - SnacksKids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Snacks 1 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Snacks 2Ants, ladybugs, worms and dirt?! Yes, please! Who wouldn’t want to eat bugs if they looked like these.

We were so in love with the Meri Meri Fundamentals party collection we used for the science party, we knew that we needed more! This time we used the Meri Meri Toot Sweet Charms collection along with the coordinating paper straws and fell in love again. While the charms collection doesn’t immediately make you think “nature,” we thought their colors and whimsical feel were the perfect fit for our party. We pulled out the blues and greens from the collection and created some DIY food tents, drink flags, favor tags and journal labels. You can find all of these (and more) in our printable party pack.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Decorations 4 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Decorations 5 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - ProjectsHanging above our craft and favor table was this awesome “I LOVE DIRT” pennant banner that we made out of the Land of Nod’s Achievement Banner Flags along with some simple streamers to add some color. Some simple seed starter pots, dirt & packets of seeds were the perfect favor so our kiddos could keep discovering the wonders of nature long after our party was over.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 6 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 7 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 8Once Camp AFL was all set up the kids came out and went straight to work roasting our pretend s’mores (marshmallows dipped in chocolate and coated with crushed graham crackers — yum!) over the campfire. Then they filled up on some more provisions before we got to crafting and exploring.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Crafts Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - Crafts 1The kids crafted up some scarecrows, trees and flowers thanks to the Eco Crafts Kit. There were so many options for them and it was fun to see them follow the directions but also add their own personal creative marks on their projects.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 9 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 10 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 11 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 12 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 13 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 14Once they finished crafting, they grabbed their journals and magnifying glasses and we set out on an adventure walk to find rocks inspired by the I Love Dirt book by Jennifer Ward. It has some simple but great ideas to help you get out into nature and start exploring with your kids.

As I mentioned above, I made each kid a field journal and on the inside cover a made a rock scavenger hunt to help the kids look at the rocks more closely and to see just how cool a simple rock could be. We also had a bucket of water on hand to wash any dirt off the rocks and also to see how the colors or the rocks changed when they were wet.

Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 15 Kids Playdate Ideas: Nature Theme - 16There’s no better way to end a surprisingly hot afternoon of exploring than by eating ice cream, right? The kids love getting dirty with this faux dirt of crushed oreos, chocolate ice cream & gummi worms. Now get out there and start exploring!

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