Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Baby Cocoon Costume

A few months ago we took Olivia to the Natural History Museum. She goes crazy for butterflies lately so we made sure to see the special traveling butterfly exhibit they had going on. She loved it and on the way out we let her pick out an adorable monarch butterfly dress at the gift shop. So this year, when it was time to decide on Halloween costumes for Olivia and her little brother, the obvious choice seemed to be a butterfly, and of course, a cocoon!


I decided the easiest way for me to make a simple cocoon costume would be to take one of Jake's swaddle blankets and a baby beanie, and dye them green to look like a cocoon. I used one of Jake's all white Aden + Anais swaddle blankets and I found an adjustable beanie with a cute little knot on the end at Amazon. I'm not experienced when it comes to dying fabric, so this project was a big experiment. 


I bought three different shades of green dye thinking that I was going to try tie-dying the blanket and hat. But either my technique was wrong or the dyes were too similar in color, (or maybe both) and it didn't quite turn out the way I expected. That said, it still ended up making a really cute cocoon costume, so here is what I did.


I started by dying both the blanket and the hat all one shade of green. I used the Tulip brand in Lime Green and simply dyed it according to the instructions on the packet. I tried to pick the lightest color first, but it was hard to tell which one would be lighter by the name on the package. 


After the first round of dye, once the fabric had been rinsed and dried, I crumpled it up into a ball and wrapped it with a bunch of rubber bands. I wrapped the blanket and the hat separately. I used about 5 or 6 rubber bands for the blanket and 3 or 4 for the hat. Then I mixed a second packet of dye (Dylon brand, color Tropical Green) and let the fabric soak again according to the instructions. 


After two rounds of dye I ended up with a splotchy two-toned pattern, which is pretty close to how an actual cocoon looks in nature. I felt like this was good enough and decided not to bother with the third packet of dye that I had purchased. I used Tulip and Dylon brand fabric dye and they both worked great.  


I know I'm biased, but if you ask me, Jakey looks super sweet as a little cocoon, and I think he and his sister will be an adorable pair on Halloween night. When Olivia goes up to the door to trick-or-treat I plan to be with her, holding Jake all wrapped up. He just turned three months old, so he's still used to being swaddled at night and during naps. He'll be so comfy and warm in his costume that I'm sure he'll fall asleep as we're walking around!


Now that Olivia and Jake are all set with their Halloween costumes, can we talk about how difficult it is to photograph a persistently stubborn toddler and an extremely wiggly infant at the same time. I literally had to bribe her with candy corn and I still got the sad face!


Oh well, let's hope things go a little more smoothly on Halloween night. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gettin' Our Art On With Creative Galaxy - A Must See Children's Series From Amazon Prime Instant Video


I'm not one of those parents who never lets their kids watch television. I actually think that TV is okay in moderation, and now that I have Jacob to take care of all day as well, it can be the perfect thing to keep Olivia occupied for a few minutes while I feed her brother.  That said, I am extremely picky about what type of programs Olivia watches. If she is going to be watching something, I want it to be a program that is delivering a good message, and if it's educational in some way, that is a huge plus. Recently, Olivia and I have been checking out a series on Amazon Prime Instant Video called Creative Galaxy


I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I love Amazon Prime! Along with free two-day shipping on all your orders, you also have access to instant videos. Creative Galaxy is produced by the same team that has brought us adorable shows like Blue's Clues and Super Why. It's "a make-along, create-along, interactive art adventure" about an alien named Arty who goes through his life solving his problems with arts and crafts. It's basically right up our alley over here! 


In each episode Arty creates an art or craft project that helps solve a problem he has encountered in his life as a little alien pre-schooler. Whether it's creating a piece of art using a special technique, or making something like a board game or a pop-up book, Arty takes us step-by-step through his process until he has reached his goal. And, of course, his friends and family get involved in everything he does.


Arty talks a lot about the different art supplies he is using, how to use them safely and whether or not an adult should help.  At the end of each animated episode, there's a live-action segment where an actual group of kids work through the same project that Arty completed. Olivia loves doing art projects with me at home so she got into this show right away. And she has definitely picked up a lot of terminology from watching. The other day I overheard her pretending with her animals. Giraffe was telling Rhino all about pointillism, and how he could make dots of paint using his finger. I was pretty impressed...now I just have to teach her that giraffes don't have fingers!


Creative Galaxy has us thinking about arts and crafts a lot differently lately. Now I am always looking for ways to teach Olivia that art is all around us and, like Arty, we too can use arts and crafts as a resource to solve our dilemmas. Last week we had the perfect opportunity while visiting Grandma and Grandpa's house. I always let her bring a small backpack of toy animals when we go so she has something to do while we're there. Usually it doesn't bother her that her animals don't have a place to sleep, but this time she wanted her barn too. 


Grandma's house is about an hour away so we couldn't just run home and get her barn. So, we decided to make one! And since my Dad helped my sister and I make many creations from cardboard boxes when we were kids, I knew he would be the perfect helper for the project. 


Olivia watched Grandpa cut out the barn door and windows, and then helped make a perch for her animals. I supervised painting and sticker application. Of course, Olivia had her own ideas of where the stickers should go.


Olivia loves her Grandpa and this was special bonding time for all of us. And while I know our little red barn is no Empire State Building, I have to admit it turned out pretty cool and Olivia loves to play with it. 


Creative Galaxy is available on Amazon Prime Instant Video and I highly recommend checking it out. If you are a mom who has even the slightest bit of an artsy bone in your body, you will really appreciate this unique children's series!

Thanks for reading!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2nd Time Mommy Giveaway From Viva La Cloth Diapers, Abbecote, & Motherlove

Happy Sunday everyone! This weekend some friends and I are celebrating second time moms (and second time moms-to-be) with some really awesome products.  Cara over at Mommy Crunch is due, and in honor of her new squishy on the way, she is hosting a really fun giveaway. If you have a baby on the way, or if you just welcomed a new little bundle, this is the giveaway for you. You can read more about these essential mommy products and enter for a chance to win below!

Due With #2 Giveaway


Viva La Cloth diapers

The "Buster" by Viva La Cloth is the perfect cloth solution for any newborn. Fitting 5-15+lbs, the Buster is our answer to the issue of babies outgrowing the absorbency of a mini one-size diaper before the diaper size itself.
• Super soft and durable double layer PUL - trim fitting style won't overbulk your little one
• Modified All-In-One style diaper in five color choices - with a double opening full length pocket - speeds drying time and lets you customize the diaper's absorbency level
• The entire diaper is lined in bamboo terry for extra absorbency
• Sewn-in soaker starts you with alternating thirsty sandwiched layers of Bamboo Terry, Microfiber and Heavy Bamboo Fleece
• Stuff the full length pocket with a doubler or an insert for more absorbency as your older baby wets more - or for heavier wetting newborns too
• Crossover waist snap closure has snaps edge to edge to combat wing droop and 3 rise settings to fit even the tiniest of babies
• Machine wash warm or hot / tumble dry low or line dry
Winner will choose their color option.


Abbecote

Abbecoté is a lifestyle brand that inspires women to dress simply and comfortably while radiating confidence, dignity and grace...even under pressure. They have created smart, stylish, and sophisticated apparel and accessories that allow women to establish their own signature look.
The abbewrap. Each piece can be effortlessly worn in multiple ways; on its own, mixed and matched with other Abbecoté styles, or with your existing wardrobe. This single item is easy to wear and flexible, adapting to your many activities, moods, and changes throughout your evolving life. The Abbewrap doesn't require much from you, but it gives a whole lot back! Wherever you go, whatever your mood, the Abbewrap has got you covered!
Winner will choose their color option.

Motherlove

"With Motherlove, you can depend on consistent quality products crafted only with the purest ingredients and certified organic herbs. Each of our formulas are time proven and backed with integrity and an intimate knowledge of herbal remedies."

The nipple cream is a life saver for moms with new little nurslings! Prize package contents to be determined by Motherlove.  


Win it! One lucky fan will win one of each of these. Use the Rafflecopter form below and GOOD LUCK!

ARV of entire raffle prize estimated at $110. Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Viva La Cloth, Abbecote and Motherlove. MommyCrunch & participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. This giveaway will end October 26th. Giveaway is open to anyone in the US, 18+ & older. Winners will be posted via Rafflecopter. No purchase is necessary & void where prohibited by law! Have questions? Email caragayle82@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DIY Nursery Name Garland + 19 Awesome Hacks For Kids

My biggest dilemma when I was decorating the nursery was what to hang over Jake's crib. Here in California we have to be so careful because of earthquakes. You can never have a heavy picture frame or bookshelf above your bed. Early on in the process, I found some great craft letters at The Land of Nod. They are super cute and very light weight. They were different than anything I had seen at Michael's, so I picked up enough to spell out Jacob. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them, but I figured I would come up with something.


I brought the letters home, put them away in the nursery room closet, and there they sat for the next six months. When the rest of the room was done, and I was finally ready to use them, I first tried hanging the letters up by themselves. I like their unfinished look, and I didn't really want to paint them or cover them up. However, they looked a little boring and sad hanging there all by themselves. And they didn't really fill the space above the crib the way I needed them to. 


I started thinking about ways to make them a little more fun and right away I though, garland. What better way to cheer up a space than to add a little garland! 


I remembered that I had seen these unfinished wooden triangle flags at Michael's. I found them in the wood section along with the wood craft letters and the frames that I used for my hanger labels. They already had holes drilled in the corners so that I could string them onto a garland. I also found the little wood star applique in the same aisle. While I was there I picked up some chalkboard spray paint as well. I already had scissors, tape and glue at home, and I always have a roll of crafting twine on hand because you can use it for so many things. 


When I got home I started by painting the wood triangles with the chalkboard paint. Personally, I purchased the chalkboard paint because I knew I could use it for other projects I have going on. Regular black paint would work here as well. After the triangles were dry I glued the gold star right to the center.


I strung the twine through the holes on the triangles, let them sit overnight, and the next day I started to figure out how I was going to attach the letters to the garland. I was getting a little anxious and curious to see if I was even going to like the way this garland looked. So I used some plain old scotch tape to hold the letters in place at first, thinking that as long as I liked it, I would go back and figure out a more permanent solution. I used several layers of tape, and to make sure that the letters were all hanging at the same height, I taped the twine at the same spot on the back of each letter. 


I hammered two nails into the wall and tied the garland to the nails with the extra twine at the ends. Not only did I love the way the garland looked, but the scotch tape ended out being more that sufficient in holding the letters in place. It's been hanging up for over two months and everything is still holding together. 


At the same time I picked up the craft letters from The Land of Nod, I also bought this small yellow and grey triangle felt garland. I'm loving the look of layered garlands right now so I used it as the color inspiration for the name garland I created, and hung it on the same set of nails so that the two were overlapping.


The fun thing about this garland is that you could really change it up and do whatever you want. I could see covering the letters somehow, painting the triangles a brighter color, and using a different wood applique. Michael's has a ton of these pre-painted wood appliques and they are adorable. With a few changes in color and design, you could turn this into a garland for a girls room really easily!

Before I sign out for the day, I wanted to see if you are familiar with Hometalk. If you don't already know, Hometalk is a great website to visit if you want to get decorating and home organization ideas, ask a question about your home, or find a professional in any home remodeling or repair business you can think of. 




I share a lot of my own projects over on Hometalk and I recently created an inspiration board full of creative projects for kids. You'll notice that my own 'Days of the week' hanger labels are included. If you are looking for any ideas in that department, be sure to stop by and take a look!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tarts - When Comfort Food Meets Latin Food With La Morena

 I created this recipe for Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Tarts as part of a sponsored post. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ViviaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

Before I married Matt I had never even attempted to make a Mexican dish. Not that I don’t love Mexican food. I guess I was just too intimidated to try it. But they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so I figured that if I wanted to keep him around, I had better learn a few things. Matt grew up eating authentic Latin food, so I knew what I was up against, and I’ll admit I was a little nervous. Luckily, my MIL took me under her wing early on, and taught me how to make a few of his favorites. One of Matt’s all-time favorite breakfasts is chorizo and eggs. To be honest I've never been a big fan of chorizo, but it's his favorite so I try to squeeze it in as often as possible. Then last week, while feeling braver in the kitchen than normal, I decided that I was ready to put my own spin on his childhood fav. 



While Matt could eat Mexican food every day of the week, I'm more of a Southern comfort food type of girl. Give me a noodle casserole or biscuits and gravy and I'm a happy camper. I started thinking about how I could make a traditional Mexican dish a little more Southern and I immediately thought, pie crust! And naturally, because I'm obsessed with personal sized servings of anything, I decided to make mini chorizo and egg breakfast tarts.  


Since I was heading out to Food For Less anyway (I've been doing a lot of my grocery shopping there lately), I added a few ingredients to my list and then started the long task of getting an infant, a toddler and all of their belongings packed up to go. Once I got to the store, got Jake situated in the baby carrier, and got Olivia set up with a sufficient amount of Goldfish, we were finally ready to get the shopping done. 


I went straight to the Latin American food aisle and found the La Morena brand jalapeno peppers. La Morena is a great brand if you are looking for authentic Mexican flavors. You can find it in the same section as other  canned chilies and hot sauce. For this recipe I also picked up pork chorizo, pie crust mix, shredded cheese, green onion and cilantro. I already had a dozen eggs in my refrigerator at home. 


When we got back, I started by making the pie crust according to the instructions on the box. It was easy. Just add water and mix. Then I rolled out my dough and cut out little circles. My circles were about 4 inches round. I used the rim of one my martini glasses as a cutter and it was perfect. I pressed my pie crust circles into a muffin pan, skipping every other one so that my tarts didn't end up sticking together. If you are making this, don't forget to grease the muffin pan inside and on top.


The next thing I did was prep my veggies. I chopped 1/4 cup each of cilantro and green onion. I also chopped one La Morena Jalapeno pepper and removed the seeds. I like to use the can of La Morena peppers that has already been sliced. I squeezed the chorizo out of its casing and cooked it in a skillet over medium to high heat. I cooked it for 5 minutes, added the veggies, and then cooked it for another 5 minutes.


The type of chorizo I use is really different from other kinds of sausage. It won't change that much in color as it cooks, and it's more like the consistency of oatmeal rather than, let's say, a traditional Italian sausage. You know it's done when the grease has extracted and it has started to sizzle. Once my chorizo was done, I drained as much extra grease as I could and I spooned about 1/4 cup  into each tart. Then I cracked 6 eggs into a bowl and whisked until blended. I filled the rest of each tart up with the whisked eggs. I found this to be easiest to do with my batter dispenser.


Finally, I sprinkled a handful of shredded cheese over the top of each tart and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  


After taking them out of the oven, I let them sit for about 5 minutes before pulling them out of the pan. 



I have to say these little chorizo and egg breakfast tarts turned out better than even I thought they would. They got my husband's stamp of approval at least, and that's all that matters to me! And even though these are breakfast tarts, they are great for dinner too, which is how we ate them last week. It makes a perfect meal if you combine it with a side dish, like the La Morena refried beans. 


One tip for making this at home would be that if you want a little more "heat" to the dish, leave in a seed or two from the jalapeno pepper. Matt likes everything really spicy, but now that I have to prepare more kid friendly meals, I don't make anything too hot. One thing is for sure though, I'll definitely be adding this recipe to my normal rotation.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dollar Tree Anniversary Celebration

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Dollar Tree to share their special Anniversary Event with you.

I’m not much of a coupon clipper but I always love a good discount.  If I know I can get something cheaper at a particular store without having to bring an envelope full of paper clip-outs I’m all over it. Lately, Dollar Tree has been my go-to store for certain things that I know I would pay more for at other markets.  It’s also my first stop whenever I have a party to plan because I know I will save a lot of money on the basics. Since I just got back from a Dollar Tree run, I thought I would let you know that Dollar Tree's Anniversary Celebration is going on September 28th through October 11th.  So for the next week they are offering “Bonus Buys” where you can get larger sizes of select brands like Hefty®, Crest®, Tide®, and Marie Callender’s®, and they are still only $1 each.


Everything from cleaning supplies, home décor items, and beauty products to snacks and beverages are included in the extra savings. Today I was in a hurry and couldn't stay long but I definitely plan to head back and rummage through their Halloween section. And with the way we go through Goldfish® in this house, I’m sure I’ll be back by the end of the celebration!

If you want to know more about other great offers from Dollar Tree you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

10 Homemade Chicken Nugget Recipes + Cash Giveaway

Before I had kids I was determined not to raise any picky eaters. Man was I naive! Fast forward two years later, and I am eating my words, and the only thing Olivia will eat are chicken nuggets. Last week, after a few especially hard days of her not eating anything I gave her, I went on a Pinterest hunt for easy homemade chicken nugget recipes. I haven't actually tried any of them yet, but here is what looks good to me.




































Any of these look good to you? I think I'll have have to start with the Chick-Fil-A Bites. We don't do fast food that often, but Chick-Fil-A is one of Olivia's favorites and it has become our routine to stop after her swim lesson as long as she has been a good girl.  

Now if you want to stick around, here is a really great giveaway!

Welcome to the $500 Fabulous Fall Cash Giveaway!
We have joined forces with a fantastic group of bloggers to bring you this great giveaway. One lucky person will win $500 cash.

Enter to win $500 cash via PayPal.
Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway.
Refer your friends using your unique link to earn even more chances to win.
Open Worldwide.
Ends at 11:59pm ET on October 14th, 2014.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway was coordinated by Giveaway Promote.
If you love entering giveaways, visit Giveaway Promote to find the greatest giveaways listed in one place.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...