Monday, June 23, 2014

Father's Day Recap {Gift Ideas}

I know it's a little late, but I finally have a minute to sit down for a little Father's Day recap!  I wanted to share some gift ideas.  These can be used for any special event really - birthdays, Christmas, etc.  They aren't just for Father's Day!

When Carson was just about a month old, I started one of our first traditions.  (I love traditions!)  I bought these wooden letters and snapped some photos for a Father's Day gift.  I put the photos in a 3-slot frame and they get replaced each year with a newer version.  Nick loves seeing how the photos turn out and it's fun (and super hectic) being the photographer.  I can only imagine what our photo session will be like next year when Mason is 1 and Carson is 3.  Oh boy!

Father's Day 2012 (Carson: 1 month)

Father's Day 2013 (Carson: 13 months)

Father's Day 2014 (Mason 2 months, Carson 25 months)
 I also like to do a "handmade" craft/art project for most holidays.  In the past we hadn't done anything for Father's Day so I decided to start yet another tradition.  You can't have too many traditions, right?!  I found an extra scrapbook I had laying around and made a little cover sheet:

Next I made a craft with each of the boys.  I browsed Pinterest for some inspiration (obviously) and found some cute ideas.  Carson loves wearing Daddy's shoes.  He'll put them on, laugh, and say "too big!"  When I saw this idea I knew it was perfect for him.  

Here's a close-up of the poem in case you want to copy!  I just traced one of Nick's shoes and put Carson's foot print inside.  Then we did a little photo shoot of Carson wearing Daddy's shoes.  Nick thought it was adorable!

For Mason I needed something simple and something with a foot print.  He still has his hands clenched shut a lot of the time so hand prints are pretty much out of the question!  I found this cute bee foot print idea and made it go along with Father's Day:

Each year we'll add a page or two to Nick's book and it will be a fun keepsake to look through.  Carson already loves looking through and we only have 2 pages!  Eventually I think the boys will do crafts together but for now, I wanted to do a page for each of them.

We also made a grandpa craft this year.  My dad loves fishing so I thought this was perfect for him!  I envisioned it turning out a little cuter, but I think you can still tell that it's a fishing pole with a fish.  Maybe?

I also got Nick a couple small gifts I knew he would enjoy.  Here are some links in case you need husband gift ideas!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Diaper Bag First Aid Kit

As a mom, I always like to be prepared.  Being prepared means keeping a stocked diaper bag.  One of the things I never thought to put in my diaper bag was a little first aid kit.  Don't ask me how this slipped my mind, especially as a mom to a super active toddler!  I recently put together a mini first aid kit and I wanted to share just what I put in there!

Here's the lowdown:
Neosporin To Go .  This lovely product was given to me complimentary from Influenster in my TLC Vox Box!  I had never seen it before, but it's genius.  It's a spray so if you're out and about with dirty hands, there's no need to touch your child's wound...just spray the neosporin on and you're good to go!  Thanks to @Influenster, I'm #NeoReady!

Alcohol Wipes.  If your child gets a scraped knee when you're out, chances are, you may not be able to get to a bathroom to thoroughly clean the scrape.  These alcohol wipes hardly take up any space and they'll quickly disinfect the cut until you can get home and clean it with soap and water.

Bandages.  This is probably pretty self explanatory.  I suggest finding a character that your child loves to help cheer them up while they're in pain.  I always buy the assorted size box too so that you can cover any size of cut/scrape!

Tweezers.  Great for getting out splinters and tons of other uses....including emergency brow shaping!  ;)

Disposable Gloves.  Once again, great for when you aren't able to wash up before bandaging your child.  Make sure to get latex free if anyone has an allergy!  Helpful hint: I also use these when applying self tanning lotion!  :)

Instant Cold Pack.  I had no clue these even existed!  They're so cool and super helpful for little ones' boo boos!

Hand Sanitizer .  Clean up before and after!  I like the kind that I can just hook to my diaper bag for every day sanitizing!

You can customize your kit for your own needs.  You might want to add heavier duty things like gauze and medical tape.  You might even want to take some benadryl.  I wanted to keep mine very small since my diaper bag is already packed full with two kiddos in diapers.  You can also keep a bigger kit in your car!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Whenever I pick a dessert recipe, I tend to lean towards chocolate.  You can't go wrong with chocolate!  Every now and then, I'll crave something without chocolate. Crazy, right?  These snickerdoodle cupcakes are perfect for a non-chocolate dessert that still has PLENTY of sweetness!  These were one of two flavors of cupcakes I made for Carson's second birthday party!

What You Need for the CUPCAKES:
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 large egg (I use Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup milk (I used Lactaid)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

How to Make the CUPCAKES:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.  (Note: This recipe makes about 12-14 cupcakes.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, use your whisk attachment to mix your melted butter and 1 cup of the sugar.  Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Slowly mix in your dry ingredients a little at a time until no lumps remain.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.  Top each with 1 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  (It seems like a lot, but don't worry!)  Top with another heaping tablesppon of batter.  Your wells should be about 3/4 full.  Top each cupcake with another teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.  Cool completely before frosting.
What You Need for the FROSTING:
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk (I used Lactaid)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

How to Make the FROSTING:
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar a half cup at a time until completely incorporated.  
  2. Add up to 4 tablespoons of milk if the frosting gets too thick.
  3. Add vanilla and cinnamon, beating just until combined.
  4. Pipe your buttercream onto your cupcakes!
*Note: I had tons of leftover frosting.  I'm not sure if a half batch of the frosting would cover your cupcakes, but I used my leftover frosting to eat with graham crackers - delicious!

I got fancy with my frosting this time and I'm not going to lie, I was pretty proud.  :)

Original recipe can be found here.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Carson's 2nd Birthday Party

If you haven't seen what we did for Carson's first birthday, check it out here.  We did a whale theme last year since he wasn't really "into" anything yet.  This year he is into so many different things it was hard to choose!

I didn't do much outside because it was supposed to rain that day.  I stuck a balloon on the mailbox and made this quick DIY sign for one of our garden hooks.  I really wanted to do duct tape train tracks on the sidewalk but the tape wouldn't stick.  It was a total Pinterest fail.  How sad!

Here's a few of the banners I made.  The photo banner is a picture of Carson every month from months 13-23.  Scroll down to see a college of the photos!

Here's another DIY sign I made using a cardboard cake base and streamers.

I decorated the mantel with a Carson banner and some of Carson's photos.

6 months - 12 months - 18 months
I love our invitations!  The Etsy seller was so easy to work with!

I decided not to buy a cake this year for two reasons: 1.) I didn't know how many people were coming for sure and 2.) it saved a lot of money!  I made homemade cupcakes instead and I think it was a success!

These snickerdoodle cupcakes are the  I'll be sharing the recipe very soon!

Since I didn't have a super fancy cake like last year, I decided to dress up my cupcakes with some homemade toppers!  These Oreo cupcakes were pretty good, too.  They had a hidden Oreo in the bottom!

I stole this food train idea from Pinterest.  The Thomas toy was actually a hand me down from some cousins and it worked perfectly!

Beverage station!  I made strawberry lemonade by making strawberry ice cubes and everyone seemed to enjoy it!  The ice cubes are super simple: puree strawberry, pour into ice cube tray, freeze!  I added a little extra sugar and water to my strawberry puree.

My mother-in-law bought this little name train for Carson about a year ago and it was perfect for the party!

The birthday boy!  I love his birthday shirt because he can wear it again and even pass it on to his brother.  I loved having a custom "Carson" shirt for his first birthday but didn't think it was necessary this year.
I found this favor idea on Pinterest and though it was super cute!  (Seriously, how would we ever throw a party without Pinterest these days?!)  The bandanas are from Hobby Lobby and the hats and whistles are from Amazon.  You can also find everything through Oriental Trading but I wanted fast shipping so I went with Amazon!  Plus, Amazon was cheaper!
{whistles}  {hats}

Here's a closer look at the pictures I included on the banner:

Here's a look at the thank you notes I used.  I used a photo card last year and it was a big hit so I wanted to do it again!  I took the photo myself and ordered the card through Walmart!