A Minecraft Kids Room

I always said I wouldn’t do licensed / character / branded stuff for my kids. (Yes, I was on a parenting high horse ha!) But as much as I’ve resisted t-shirts based on tv shows until now, it’s freaking 2020 and I’m leaning in to whatever my soon-to-be kindergartner wants to do with his room as we embark on this crazy covid school year!

I do love that Page and I are always on the same wavelength about this stuff — nothing too tacky or weird, embrace the theme but in a “cool” way. At least, that was the goal! I can’t bring myself to do a giant size creeper across a bedspread, but I can find ways to work in the icons of the game around his room. We started with the torch from Amazon – even I have to admit, it looks pretty cool lit up at night! I bought some styrofoam cubes and painted them to look like stacked TNT inside his lamp.

Like all things, this obsession will pass at SOME point, so we didn’t go crazy. I bought the Periodic Table poster on Amazon, and designed a smaller one myself of Emerald Ore with Crew’s gamer name. We added the lava nightlight and piggy bank from Target to his shelves.

We kept his existing comforter and shams, but swapped out the sheets for these relatively neutral ones. We also did a much overdue upgrade to his mattress. We’ve loved it so far and would purchase again!

Other details included a TNT storage cube from Target, and a creeper water cup to keep by his bed.

It worked perfectly that he already had these green IKEA cubes in his closet cubbies. Some quick black vinyl iron-ons with the Cricut and we had custom creeper cubes. (Say that five times fast!)

This was a fun “quick and done” project that we were able to swap out while he was at his last morning of pre-K. I managed to capture his reaction on video and I’m so glad I did – he was SO grateful and excited – the very best kind of response you can hope for when it comes to little boys and home decor ha!

Thinking of all you parents as you send your kiddos back to school this year, whatever it might look like for you. We are beginning in person (fingers crossed!) and taking it literally day by day. Covid kindergarten – heck covid parenting in general – could (and probably will) be a whole other post!

Stay well! <3

Easter Bunny Note Printable

I created this monogrammed stationery last year for our bunny to leave a note to Crew along with his basket and eggs full of goodies…sharing this year with all of you! The celebrations will look different this year, but celebrate we will. <3 Click HERE to download the stationery PDF.

Easter Basket Loot

One of my very favorite parts of mom-ing is playing Easter Bunny each year. I love anticipating the Spring season and some fresh stuff to play with, I love the bright colors, and frankly, I love an opportunity to stage and arrange a good basket!

This year is double the fun with TWO baskets — and I’m starting early, since there’s a very good chance we could be IN the hospital having this baby come April 12. Just in case, I’m prepping everything ahead of time (I’ve even stuffed the four dozen eggs — army men and gummy bunnies for the win!) so that all my mom would have to do is set it all out (and capture pics for me!).

I swapped Crew’s old basket and borrowed the gold baskets (from Wal Mart a couple years ago) from our office. I’m already feeling the need to keep it even in appearance between the two of them! I bought my carrot eggs at Dollar Tree but found similar ones here (I like when they’re flat on the bottom so they can stand alone) and monogrammed them with my Cricut. The bubble machine and bubbles came from Target and I figured they can be enjoyed by both kiddos.

Is it just me or all the balloon animals on sticks having a moment? There are so many cute kits out there (most recently I spotted them in the Target dollar spot!) but only needing two, I opted to buy a mega pack of balloon sticks (because I WILL find other excuses to do balloon crafts!) and made the ears/bow ties out of cardstock to match their basket color themes. (I’ll have redraw the faces on fresh balloons as Easter gets closer, but this was a good practice run!) The items in each of their baskets are listed below. We aren’t sharing her name yet šŸ˜‰ but their wooden name plaques are from this shop.


Here’s the rundown on Baby Girl’s basket:

Silicone bunny dish and placemat from Target | Ryan & Rose Cutie Tensils | Ryan & Rose Cutie Pat (stashed inside the bunny bag) | Swaddle from Target | Honest baby wash | Are You There Little Bunny? book | (not pictured for secrecy!) name hair clip


Here’s the rundown on Crew’s (age 5) basket:

Crankity Brainteaser game | Mega Maze game | boomerang, silly string, misc. from Dollar Tree | refill film packs with sticker frames for the Instax | foam shaving cream (for the tub!) and sidewalk chalk from Target | warm weather pajamas

Baby’s Poppy Nursery and An Ikea Hemnes Dresser Hack

It started with the crib sheet. It was one of the very first things I pinned (even before we knew we were having a girl) and I kept coming back to it.

I was so in love with the SW Faint Coral paint in our basement guest room, and I like the continuity of repeating paint colors in a home, so her wall color was an easy choice. I also knew that I wanted some subtle nods to children’s literature in her room as well, so this Roald Dahl sign quickly followed (I embellished it with these poppies).

It’s fun to see Crew’s crib take on such a feminine look this time around!

After adding the matching poppy changing pad cover, I was ready to branch out a little and find other ways to repeat the pinks, bright reds, and greens around the room. Enter the prettiest Rifle Paper Co. copy of A Little Princess to keep the book theme going, and for a nightlight, my brother happened to gift me this perfect pink salt lamp (similar linked here) at Christmas. The wreath is the crown of leaves I wore in her maternity pictures — you’ll notice it floats around the room in these photos as I try and find a permanent spot for it, which I think may be this shelf (brackets from Ikea and painted, shelf cut and stained by us) with my childhood copy of Madeline and some first gifts.

My favorite piece in here is the dresser, for both functional and sentimental reasons. We started with an Ikea Hemnes dresser because I love the layout of smaller drawers across the top for all the tiny things.

While I love the way it’s organized, it fell a little short in the details. So we swapped the knobs for some gold hex pulls from CB2 and Page added some Dad skill sawing off the existing legs and giving it a little height and interest by building a new base, which we stained to coordinate with the Roald Dahl frame. I love, love, love the finished product and the extra couple inches of height along with the blackout curtains which we hung as high as possible make the whole room feel a little bit larger.

The final touch was some hidden detail inside the drawers – something Page had seen elsewhere. A couple rolls of Rifle gift wrap and some double sided tape and I love this little peek of girlyness.

We reused the Pottery Barn glider from when Crew was a baby, and added the pink pouf from Crate & Kids. (I’m obsessed with that Petit Pehr blanket draped over the chair, from Mimi at Christmas!) The little throw pillow was a post-Christmas clearance find at Target.

I wanted to balance some of the warm wood elements with a little gold metallic, so we added the lamp and mirror from Target to tie in with the drawer pulls and a couple other details around the room.

And it’s not a girl’s room without some accessories — and I do love a good organization project. These IKEA “Sunnersta” rails and hooks are tucked behind the door for easy access.

I have her newborn and 0-3 clothing on-hand in the drawers, and I use the closet to hang future sizes so I can easily see what we have and what we need (I love to shop ahead and score a bargain!). The shelves below hold books and toys at her level. I love that it’s not jam-packed and we have plenty of room to grow.

The only thing I’d still like to add is a planter in the far left corner behind her crib to round out the green in here – just waiting on our greenhouse to open soon!

Otherwise, I feel oh so ready. Hurry up, baby girl. We are excited to bring you home!

And for sentimental reasons…sharing a link to our son’s nursery from a few years ago here!

Hello 2020.

I went back and forth about whether or not to continue blogging in the new year…while I have always done it first and foremost for my own record keeping, there’s always a pressure to “keep it up”. TBD on that decision, but in the meantime, a little life update:

While I’m no longer at my day job (big life change #1), my side hustle kept me quite busy all through the fall and into December. The change in seasons also brought a big career move for Page (big life change #2). Now that the holidays are behind us and the winter lull is starting to set in…it’s only a couple short months until life’s pace picks up yet again…this time, with the arrival of a fourth family member (do you see a pattern here??).

photo credit: April + August Photography

April will bring a baby sister to round out our clan, followed soon after by another milestone change when Crew climbs on a big yellow bus and starts kindergarten (what?!) this fall. It’s an exciting time in our family life that seems to be both much of the same day to day, but also busily speeds forward the moment we blink.

So please excuse the infrequency of the posts here while I figure out if blogging makes the priority list this year, but know you can find more regularly shared bite-sized updates over on Instagram. I’ll leave you with a couple more shots of the (very much in progress!) room updates for our little lady. Happy new year, friends!

Classroom Treats: Halloween Bracelet Kits

Every year, Crew and I have a tradition of assembling little treats for his classmates to celebrate Halloween. The past couple of years, I’ve shied away from anything edible (they get PLEN-TY of sugar that night anyway!) but I also don’t like just giving junk with a two-second shelf life. After we gave “Bugs and Kisses” two years ago, we opted to make Witch’s Brew bath bombs last year.

It’s tricky to come up with something of a little substance, but also economical to produce 24 times over. But after watching Crew recently string pony beads on pipe cleaners (a favorite quiet activity), I hopped on Amazon to see what sort of spooky themed beads might be available…bracelet kits it was! I love that there’s a little activity to do, and, because Des Moines is weird we trick or treat the night BEFORE Halloween (Beggars Night) I’m thinking we can send these with the kiddos on the 30th and they might still have the whole next day (ACTUAL Halloween) to wear them if they like.

I found the 3″ wide zip-close bags, black jewelry cord, and 500-packs of pony beads in assorted Halloween colors at Hobby Lobby and I added one of these bat beads and one of these pumpkin beads to each kit.

Grab the little bag topper printable HERE if you’d like to use it (just trim to a 2×3 rectangle, leaving the design at the bottom, fold in half lengthwise, and pop it on the closed bag with a staple or two).

Boys Clothing Finds on Amazon

I am all. in. on the Amazon fashion trend — there are so many good finds…if you can find them! I noticed a gap (of course) in round-ups of cute stuff for the boys, so I wanted to share some favorite pieces my 4.5 year old is currently loving (as is his mom!).

The thickest, softest pajamas. We have these in several colors and they are Crew’s favorites. They come in a million shades for boys or girls, and run up to size 8.

Hope & Henry hooded sweater. I’ve been thrilled with the quality of this Amazon preppy brand – it reminds me of Janie & Jack, but with a smaller price tag. (This piece would be perfect for family photos!)

LOOK pull-on joggers. League Of Outstanding Kids is a J.Crew Crewcuts line exclusively for Amazon. We LOVE our Crewcuts; this line is equal in quality, but less expensive.

Amazon Essentials joggers. Just give us all the joggers – Crew is happy they’re soft and comfy, and I’m happy they’re easy-on and still a bit tailored for a cute outfit.

Morning Person tee. This was an impulse “add to cart” this summer and got a lot of smiles – I’m selective about all the wording out there, but this one passed for me. It does shrink a bit, so size up to begin.

Moon and Back pajamas. Another “made for Amazon” line, this time by the queen of pajamas, Hanna Andersson. I love that the size ranges would allow for siblings to match in the same patterns, and this coral stripe is definitely coming to our house.

The go-with-everything tennis shoe. I get annoyed with the splashy logos everywhere and sometimes you just want a low-profile basic shoe they can put with anything. I had seen these sneaks receive rave reviews so we tried for ourselves – I ordered two sizes uncertain of fit, and I would say they run large (we kept the smaller of the two sizes). Great quality at a great price.

Amazon Essentials zip-up. How cute would this fleece be with a monogram?! Comes in all the colors – would be fun in your favorite sports team or school uniform color, too! I love a mock neck in place of a hoodie – it seems just a tad more structured and put together.

The cutest tube socks. As the temps start to drop a tiny bit, these will be in heavy rotation with some chucks and shorts and a long-sleeve tee on top. I LOVE a little boy in tube socks! <3

Travel and Dining Entertainment for Young Kids

Like many of you, we have both some air and car travel planned for the summer months, and I’ve been adding to my secret stash of goodies for keeping our almost 4 and a half-year-old busy. Today I’m sharing my list of some favorites I’d recommend again and again as well as some ideas from past travel during the toddler years. (You can also file these under “restaurant friendly” — not too noisy/large/messy and perfect for when you have to sit in one spot for a while – I keep a couple of these in my trunk for whenever we end up out to eat, and rotate them out regularly.)

Depending on your mode of travel, I love these decks of ideas for car and airplane time. Go through them and all pick, or draw a mystery card – either way, these are full of fun ideas that are appropriate for either environment. I would say these can be adapted for younger ages, but truly are for the 4 and up crowd.

We bought the Dog Pile version of this game ( a little older age range) and figured we can all work on it together as a family, but this younger version, Haystax, (recommended age says 6+ but Crew can totally do this) is the same concept on a simpler level, and again, if your littles need help, it’s fun to do it together. Everything packs up neatly into the little box it came in so it’s nice and portable.

The Water Wow tablets are all over every “must have” list for traveling with kids, but I’ve learned I prefer the Color Blast version with the marker, instead of the little paintbrush thing you have to refill (inevitably, we run out of water in the car mid-trip, or we get on the plane and realize we never filled it up post-security). That said, they only make these deluxe pads with the magnifying glass with that water style of pen so I’ll just have to get over it. I like the added element of search/find (something Crew is very into right now) coupled with coloring, but we only have to pack one item for both activities. As for the younger kiddos, the regular tablets have been a hit with Crew since he was a little past two.

Melissa and Doug definitely has the “busy activity” category down to a science. The latest thing Crew has been into when we get out art stuff is any kind of tape, so of course, M&D makes a tape activity book. The book was larger than I anticipated, especially when opened flat, so it may be more of an “on-the-floor-of-the-airport” item or for when we reach our destination, but I’ll report back!

I’m a closet math nerd, so I’m all over any excuse to turn math into play. This Tiny Polka Dot game is essentially a deck of cards, but SO versatile in that there are MANY different games to play with them, based on your child’s age, starting at age 3 up to adult. Crew loves any game because it means he has our full attention (ha!) so while we haven’t used this one yet, I’m anticipating it to be a hit several times over.

And finally, I switch out stuff in our busy bags. There are round-ups of ideas all over Pinterest (like this one) and we’ve used these every. single. time. we travel since Crew was about two. The clear bags are easy for kids to see and decide what they want WITHOUT dumping everything, and you can swap out the activities based on your child’s age or interest. You can put them on jump rings to make a “book” of bags — and for multiple kids you could ring together their individual bags to keep things separate but still organized. (I like that when on rings, in turbulence, they don’t all go flying in different directions!)

Our go-to versions have been beads and pipe cleaners (it used to be just about the motor skill of stringing them on when he was younger, now it’s all about creating his own patterns.) I also used some felt to create all the elements of a cupcake, similar to this post. But to take it a step further, I made illustrated “orders” on index cards so Crew could “fill” each person’s order by assembling whatever is pictured (three sprinkles, two cherry, pink frosting, etc). Other past favorites: the window clings from the dollar section (stick them all over the car window, airplane tray, etc!), a simple pad of paper and crayons, and colorful pom poms and a pair of kid tweezers – the activity was simply to practice picking them up and transporting them to whatever was around – an empty cup, a spare busy bag, etc. Sometimes the best activities are the simplest ones!

I’d be remiss to not mention to pack all. the. snacks. I used to throw them in my bags haphazardly and I’ve found sanity in using Crew’s lunchbox so that he can help himself unassisted and I’m not constantly passing stuff. Game changer! W also overdose on suckers, both for takeoff / cabin pressure for those little ears and also because, frankly, they last and keep little mouths quiet and busy! It IS vacation, right? šŸ˜‰ Happy travels!