Category / Celebrating

Crew’s Valentines: Heart Crayons and 3-D Suckers

I have to say, I’ve loved every stage, but three is proving to be particularly fun with all of its enthusiasm. When I started to explain Valentine’s Day to Crew, and that we were going to make valentines to give his friends, he was ON. BOARD. to say the least.

I started with something he could truly make — you’ve seen these all over Pinterest — heart-shaped crayons. I will say, grouping these into like colors is key…they look like a hot mess if you just mix random hues. Also — tip: Soak the crayons in warm water to make the paper wrappers easier to remove. Once bare, break them into pieces and bake for 15 minutes at 250, popping them out once they’ve cooled. We used this silicone mold and it was the perfect size and super easy to remove the hearts.

I thought about making the crayons part of his cards, but instead we focused on the holy grail — suckers. Another idea I can’t take credit for, as it already exists around cyberspace: 3D sucker cards. I put Crew in his VDay shirt and among MANY outtakes, (so much “cheeeeese” and eyes closed lately — coupled with holding his arm the right way!) we finally got a shot we could use.

If you attempt this, definitely ask your kiddo to hold his/her arm out in FRONT of them (so the hand is as large as possible to give you space to poke the sucker through) and also out to the SIDE (so the sucker doesn’t end up in front of their face). Don’t shoot too close, allowing plenty of room on the sides to hold both the weight of the sucker and any message you want to add. I laid my text out in photoshop, sampling the red font color from his shirt. I can’t say enough good things about printing with Mpix — I send all my photo clients there! — and when wallets didn’t seem quite big enough to support the suckers, but 4×6 seemed like overkill, I went with 3.5 x 5 prints.

You might say we’re suckers for a good holiday project. 😉

 

Crew’s Third Birthday // Trash Bash Garbage Truck Party

This past weekend, we celebrated this guy. <3

The theme, of course, was “Trash Bash” and featured a lot of garbage trucks and trash — a tall order for making things “cute” and “appetizing” ha! The details had to be rather mobile this year, as we rented some space as opposed to hosting in our home. This definitely limited set-up time, and the chance to get more than some quick snapshots, but it was a TOTAL win to not have to clean our home (before AND after!) and having the indoor playspace all to ourselves was the perfect way for the kiddos to burn off some energy (especially after we’ve had days on end of temps around zero!). It was a team effort (thanks Mom and Dad for all the help!) and of course Page pulled out some tricks to make my hair-brained ideas become a reality, such as whipping up a 2×4 frame to keep my photo prop truck standing.

As always, I save the pics with the kiddos just for our friends rather than share them here on the blog, but know that I DID to my heart’s delight get a shot of three cutie boys smiling at me through the window of this truck painted on — what else — an Amazon box. The road was a cheap black wedding runner and I stuck pieces of yellow duck tape down the center.

I set a kid’s table with reusable plates from Target that went home with each kiddo. I’ll link all supplies below, but these garbage truck cups from Etsy were a huge hit with Crew!

The idea was to keep it “trashy” right? So crumpled newspaper, tissue paper, and balloons made a wonky garland across the table, and silver tablecloths and little metal pails everywhere added to the “trash can” vibe.

I pulled the 3-foot print of Crew and “his” truck off his bedroom wall to add some last-minute backdrop (again — quick setup time so it had to be easy!) and we set up the food…

My favorite part is always naming the food and making the signage 😉

(More duck tape…this time ripped and wrapped around the bottled water!)

The babies went home with applesauce pouches (green, of course!) and the big kids got trash cans with candy, silly straws, and jars of slime.

At the last minute, I couldn’t resist adding more candy. Worms and bottles both seemed gross and trashy — and okay, those wax bottle candies actually ARE kind of gross — but both were a big hit with this crowd!

We kept it simple with pizza and after debating having the kids MAKE slime as a party activity, I vetoed in favor of just letting them wear themselves out in the playspace. Mission accomplished!

While he’s ready for both some present and spotlight detox after the Christmas-Birthday one-two punch, Crew truly enjoyed his party and all the fun surrounding his birthday in general, talking about each friend and activity all weekend long.

Happy birthday to our favorite THREE year old!

black aisle runner // green reusable plates // garbage truck cups // garbage truck and trash can cutters (cheese) // mini garbage cans (favors) // large white can with lid

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Decorating for Christmas // Our Holiday Home Tour 2017

Welcome to our *home for the holidays*!

We have yet to get any snow, so there isn’t much to share outside (we did the same outdoor lights and potted trees flanking the front door as last year). It IS cold here, though, so come on inside!

We kept it simple in the kitchen this year — a little hot cocoa station, and a gingerbread house that is already mysteriously missing most of its candy…

…and our little felt tree and lots of mercury glass on the table. I love these all lit at night!

I wanted a little more color than last year when we did mostly white, black, silver, and copper. I’m a sucker for red at the holidays but didn’t want traditional green, so I pulled in pieces with a more blue-green hue that feels a little bit vintage.

In the flex room, I didn’t feel like I had to do much, since our emerald green sofa steals focus anyway. I did add a trio of collapsible tinsel trees I’ve had for years (love when decorating takes under a minute!), added a snowflake tray with a favorite read and heirloom snowglobe that a certain someone is OBSESSED with. #pleasebecareful #itsnotawreckingball #twohands!

A separate post on our master is in the works, but for the colder months, I added some cozier textiles. I don’t decorate holiday per se in our room, but I like to change it up with the seasons, since it’s visible off our main floor and is actually seen by visitors from time to time.

Pass under the mistletoe (muah!) and I used some coordinating garland on the stair rails. In the past I’ve used a really full, prelit garland and loved the effect. But it was scratching the stained banisters to death and I just wasn’t up for touchups again this year. So I went with this simplistic felt version to try something new (and softer on the finish).

I love having a second tree upstairs on our landing that can be seen out the back windows. Plus it feels like an unexpected surprise to go upstairs and find a tree off the main level. I also love having this all-kid-stuff tree for all the fun and whimsical ornaments, and Crew loves a tree he can be “hands on” with and rearrange to his heart’s content.

Nothing is breakable, and all of it is fun and has some little significance for us. All of the color just makes my heart happy. Would I do a flocked tree again? Not sure because it does shed, but I LOVE the snowy look.

Naturally, a garbage truck parked on it this year.

Thanks for stopping by!

(And hey Big Guy, we’re ready for you!)

Our Favorite Christmas Books

I have the fondest memories of pulling out favorite Christmas books each year as a kid and it’s been so fun to continue that tradition with Crew. Our stash has grown quite a bit this year, as we’ve moved firmly out of the baby/board book phase, and into the “real” storybooks. It’s fun to pull out old favorites, and discover new works and authors.

WHEN SANTA WAS A BABY. For a little boy who LOVES to talk about how he used to be a baby, and thinks Santa is his bestie, this book hits all the right notes. Love the illustrations in this and the story is so charming.

THE POLAR EXPRESS. Of course. Whether or not you have a train fanatic, this is a classic. And hit home especially hard this year when we were able to ride a “Polar Express” train in a nearby town and Santa handed out bells. The movie has been captivating as well!

OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER. Crew is drawn to stories with animal main characters, so I knew this one would be a favorite. Love the clever take on the classic song lyric.

WHY CHRISTMAS TREES AREN’T PERFECT. This is one I remember loving as a kid and while it’s still a bit wordy for an almost three-year-old, we paraphrase it to get the message across.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Another classic and we are big fans of Dr. Seuss in general. Crew is starting to find the silly words and quirky characters funnier as he gets a bit older and understands the oddity of this writing style. Again, we love (both) movie versions of this fun story.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. We have a couple versions of this story but this one is, hands down, the coolest pop-up book I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a work of art, and Crew is fascinated with each page (some of them interactive). For a rather wordy and old fashioned story (who is this St. Nick they speak of?! And why is he smoking?! LOL) the elaborate art keeps him engaged and following along.

OLIVIA HELPS WITH CHRISTMAS. Crew has been an Olivia fan for a while — he gets a kick out of her naughty antics. So of course, this was a natural pick to keep the mischief going.

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS. This was one of the books that really helped Crew to “get” the whole idea of getting ready for Christmas (decorating, baking, etc) but also that Santa just comes on ONE night, not all month long. 🙂 Plus the scratch and sniff stickers are a fun sensory way to experience the season.

(Looking for younger readers? We’ve loved both Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – complete with twinkling lights at the end! – and Dream Snow by Eric Carle — love that you can feel the bumps of snowflakes!)

I’m a sucker for children’s books in general, so I love to hear what others are reading. Which good Christmas reads did I miss??

Decorating for Fall // The Halloween Edition

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

Fall has officially hit our home, and we’ve added a few Halloween items for the month of October.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I love to decorate with books — stacked, on display, covers framed — so naturally a couple of our seasonal faves are within reach at all times! (If you haven’t picked up Gilbert the Ghost or The Scariest Book Ever, you have to! Crew is obsessed with both.)

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’m not a huge fan of classic Halloween orange, so I kept it to a minimum and went for more corals and pinks and coppers. I made the felt ball garland after ordering a range of colors in berries and corals and black/white/greys.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

The truly Halloween stuff gets set up right inside the door to greet our trick-or-treaters!

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I didn’t buy much new this year, but these three skeletons (hello! the glasses!) jumped in my cart and I couldn’t resist.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

After a trip to the patch a few days ago, we are stocked up and ready to carve later this week! Hope you are enjoying a festive fall! <3

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

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Ten.

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

Photo cred: April & August Photography

It’s been an entire decade since we exchanged vows, walked up the aisle, and started married life together in a little apartment in Des Moines, a city we had moved to just the month before. Married life has been nothing short of grand, and this city we love is a big piece of that joy.

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

As we celebrate both a decade of marriage and a decade of life in Des Moines, we continue to live in the moment and our life goals are ever evolving. I’m proud of what we have embarked on, both as individuals and as a couple, these first ten years. I so look forward to what the next ten bring. Cheers to more adventures!

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

In the spirit of anniversaries, I compiled a little playlist. It’s nothing overly lovey-dovey, just a collection of songs that bring on some anniversary vibes and have degrees of meaning to the two of us over the past decade.

Decade Spotify Playlist | www.lifeinyellow.com

Happy anniversary to the handier, more patient, more tech-savvy, in general COOLER half of this duo of which I’m lucky to be a part. <3