october art


October art by Purple Zebra Art


Kicking off a really fun monthly art series!! I’m so excited to introduce Veronica @PurpleZebraArt, for all things art with the kiddos. Each month I will be sharing art ideas and a week later we will be testing them out! Feel free to order your supplies now and try these activities out with us!

Simple low-cost ideas to keep your children inspired this Fall

Maybe because I didn’t grow up with seasons I am simply in love with Fall and all the colors and creativity it inspires. When I think of activities to keep my son and children I work with engaged I always go back to SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL SETUPS. It’s kind of my mantra when working with little ones. Children love real tools and environments that are prepared and inviting.

For children 3 and under

Pumpkin Washing

Find a few different sizes and colored pumpkins, and place in a shallow bucket (See below TIP). to make it more inviting. The younger members of the family will use brushes or sponges, and dish soap, and spend time scrubbing the pumpkins. TIP - Go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy this large drain pan and PVC plug (https://www.homedepot.com/p/The-Plumber-s-Choice-26-in-Aluminum-Water-Heater-Drain-Pan-26AWHP/309163038) its like a portable sensory table at low cost. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Charlotte-Pipe-1-2-in-PVC-Sch-40-Plug-PVC-02113-0600HD/203850340 to avoid spills!

Hammering Pumpkins

Our most favorite toddler activity for sure! We use golf tees and wooden mallets to avoid any accidents! To go the extra mile use glow in the dark golf tees for nighttime display. The set up is simple, use a tray, a medium-sized pumpkin, golf tees, and mallets. For younger children start a few golf tees and role models the hammering. You will be surprised at how long children can engage in this activity.


Dot Stickers and Mini Pumpkins

We like to buy the white pumpkins for this craft but you can also spray paint orange pumpkins white. And you will need circle stickers, we love neon ones! Teach your child how to pull off the stickers and encourage them to keep adding more layers.


Fall Rice

Last but not least our “messy” activity that every toddler just loves! You will need white rice, food coloring, ziplock bags, a big bin or our beloved drain pan and a few small pumpkins to decorate. First, divide the rice into three bags. Add a few drops of yellow in one, orange in the second and red in the third. Close the bags tight and shake. Let it dry overnight in the pan and voila. This sensory pan is sure to inspire play among your young audience. For added fun include a few measuring cups!


For children 3 and up

Nature Walk and Collage

It may sound simple but this can actually turn into a whole science expedition. We like to take mini hikes and collect rocks, sticks and leaves. I can’t think of a better season to try this one out. We usually fill our pockets with the findings and come home to sort them (math), name them (vocabulary) and use them in art and creative play. The flat things we like to “collage” on clear contact paper. One book I strongly suggest reading before or after the hike is “Because of an Acorn” by Lola Schaefer.


Hammering Pumpkins Plus Rubber Bands

Just like for younger children hammering a pumpkin is also engaging for older children. I am a true believer that children deserve real tools to work with. You will need a pumpkin, rubber bands, lightweight hammers, nails, and safety goggles! The possibilities here are endless.


Pumpkins and Chalk Markers

When families asked me for recommendations to decorate pumpkins I always try to find the most “mess free” media. Not everyone welcomes paint in their house as much as we do - haha! Chalk markers are the ideal tool. They come in bright colors, and they stick to the pumpkin skin making smooth marks. They are very rewarding for children to use and look fantastic.


Tic Tac Toe Pumpkins

Who does not love a good tic tac toe game outside in the driveway? I like that this activity also teaches children strategy and patience. You will need chalk to draw your board, 5 mini orange pumpkins and 5 mini white pumpkins. Have FUN!


Lastly a whole family activity! Find a pumpkin, cut it open and let children scoop out all the guts and seeds. Children love washing the seeds, baking them and especially eating them! Warning this might be the messiest and most fun one!


A big thanks to Veronica for so much October art fun!!!

Need more ideas visit us!

@PurpleZebrasArt

How to throw a party locally


party time


Planning a party for both kids and adults can be extremely stressful if you don’t know the go-to venders. Compiling a solid list of companies that go above and beyond on for a party helps my stress levels. I’m sharing a few of my favorite below!


Florals: STEMS + CO. : My go-to for everything florals or holiday decor are the ladies behind Stems + Co. They have delivered time and time again for us, and they usually handle the florals for most events I attend. Think modern florals with a Brooklyn touch. I trust these girls so much. I often tell them the event I’m throwing or vibe I’m going for, and they blow me away every time.


Cake + Cookies + Cupcakes: CRAZY CONFECTIONS: It’s tough to find a beyond talented baker + artists all in one at such reasonable prices until I met Adrena from Crazy Convections. She does all my hostess gifts (more on that later) and birthday cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. She impresses me every time. She did Charlie’s first and second birthday cakes and cookies. She also has done event branding cookies for Mrs. Nipple and makes me hostess gift cookies which is such a fun conversation starter. A fun cake and cookie brings the theme of a party together, in my opinion. I can’t recommend Crazy Confections enough. You can find their website, HERE. @CRAZYCONFECTIONS


Dessert: DEBORAH ANN’S SWEET SHOPPE, homemade Chocolates, and Ice cream: If you need a party-friendly dessert this is your place. I find at parties; the more conversational the dessert is, the better. You don’t just want people talking about your dessert, but you want them to be able to speak to one another while eating your dessert. People love grazing at parties, and there’s nothing like a chocolate spread, (think cheese board without the cheese) to get me excited about dessert at parties. Deborah Ann’s is the most adorable shop in Ridgefield, Connecticut. No one does chocolate like Deborah Ann’s so it’s worth the trip! Check them out on the web, HERE. @DASWEETSHOPPE






The food: TOASTS: Appetizers and meal planning can be daunting. You want everything to be presentable but also have a little something for everyone, all while it tasting great. That’s where Toasts CT shines. TOASTs prepares and delivers carefully curated, whole-food, gourmet, catered boxes and grazing tables for special occasions. All of their boxes are picture-perfect. I’m also incredibly drawn to their grazing tables which are both a culinary and design masterpiece. Reach out to them for your next event, HERE. @TOASTSCT


kids party meals: RIKO'S PIZZA: I like to keep it simple when it comes to food at kid's parties. We love RiKo's pizza for our parties. For a few reasons. One, it's delicious, and two they slices are the perfect size for kids. Order ahead and they even deliver to most areas, especially for catering orders. I could not recommend them enough. The salad pizza is my personal favorite. You can find their site, HERE. @RIKOSPIZZA1




Hostess gifts: CRAZY CONFECTIONS: Something fun for a very special hostess gift could be entertaining/fun themed cookies! I have done this for parties, and it always happens to be a fun conversation starter for everyone! When Stranger things just became popular, I brought Barbara cupcakes to a party. When my friend had a brand party, I brought her logo on cookies. Then when my friend turned 35 I brought a few fun emoji cookies with THIS IS 35 spelled out in cookies and her handle. There’s nothing you can’t do with cookies and even a half a dozen order can be a really fun hostess gift. @CRAZYCONFECTIONS

Hanging wreaths for Christmas


Decorating for the Holidays


Hanging wreaths on every window (facing the street) of our home was something I’ve always wanted to do for the holidays. This is the first year we are living in a house so I was very excited I finally have the chance to go all out for Christmas.

Hanging wreaths is actually much easier than I imagined….as long as you have the right tools.



Supplies

2.5 inch all weather red ribbon. HERE is the one we used.

1 wreath for each window, I used Trader Joes $10 boxwood wreaths. They are 22 inches wide

1 suction cup wreath hanger for each window

2 Extra large suction cups for our bigger wreaths on the front and side door

A tape measure

A permanent marker and labels

scissors

Candles 1 for each window ( I tried a bunch and these were the best. They automatically turn on when it gets dark and they turn off when it gets light)

Mini suction cups for candles ( We placed each candle in the middle of each wreath)

Step stool

extension cords ( we had to use a few cords to connect the candles into the wall where there were no close by outlets)



  1. Remove screen from each window. Make sure you label which screen goes where. Even if screens look like they are the same size you can have issues rehanging if they get mixed up, and that goes double for older homes. I started with the front of the house, lower level and started from 1. Then labeled the upstairs, upper level and also started with 1.

  2. Figure out where you want your wreaths to hang. I like them to hang in the upper section of the window, completely centered. I then measured where the suction cup that holds the wreath should go based on the positioning. Our suction cup sat 10 inches from the top of the window to the middle of the suction cup. We then placed the suction cup 10.5 inches down the window each time. (We were working through the top of the windows. I pulled the top pane down a few inches and worked from the inside.) Our windows have a wood piece that runs right down the middle so I placed the suction to the right of that molding.

  3. Next I found the flattest part of the boxwood and hung the wreath on the suction hanger at that point

  4. Next I measured how much ribbon I would need. I wanted to leave just a small amount so it would fit on the top of the window. I then cut one piece for each window from that first length. After gently positioning the ribbon around the wreath, I had enough excess to secure it to the top of the open window with a push pin before closing the window and locking everything in place.

  5. I then placed each one of our candles in the center of our wreaths held up with a mini suction cup. I used clear tape to tape the cord to the wooden part of the windows to try and hide it. I did need a few extension cords for a few rooms. I will place one in the center of each wreath and hopefully they will illuminate the center of the wreath making everything come to life.









GIFT GUIDES


HOLIDAY SHOPPING FOR THE LITTLE ONES


emphasis on little girls

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emphasis on little boys

PRE holiday PURCHASES

THE LUXE LIST



Throwing a kids birthday party, tips & tricks


CHARLIE TURNS TWO


I was going back and forth between throwing Charlie a big birthday party or not. There has been so much going on between having a baby, moving, and going back to work full time. Last year Charlie's Oktoberfest themed party, you can read about it HERE, was one for the books. It also took a great deal of planning and I just didn't have it in me so I decided to reach out for help this year. I partnered with so many great companies that helped me plan his big day.

Before I get into all of the details I wanted to take a minute to thank some badass mamas that helped make Charlie’s day a stress free beautiful event!

It was beyond wonderful working with so many female entrepreneurs for this event. I feel so blessed I have been able to meet so many strong and creative women through Mrs. Nipple. These women are talented entrepreneurs that inspire! They not only run their own companies but they also run their households. They are all moms!

Dream and Party

Josefina: Three kids, including twins

Monogrammary

Brooke: Two boys, we were pregnant at the same time with our youngest

Stems & Co.

Lauryn: One girl and a baby boy on the way

Zoe: 10 month old baby boy

Songs for Seeds

Courtney: One 9 month old daughter

THE DECOR

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When I stumbled upon Dream and Party LLC on Instagram I was blown away by their attention to detail. You can tell how much love goes into each event they are involved in. From kids’ birthday parties to festive soirée adult parties, they nail it every single time. You can check out their instagram, HERE and website, HERE. Her signature teepee parties are fun for all ages.

I connected with Josefina over instagram and we set up a call. We spoke about some kids parties she had done in the past. She has created some very cool themes but had never done a truck party. I was fairly positive I wanted the truck theme but I also wanted a fun spin, so I came up with the idea of a terrible twos truck party.  Josefina LOVED the idea and told me to just trust her and she would handle everything. When she said everything she wasn’t kidding! She can do it all, to the extent of planning and implementing the entire party. I decided she would handle all the decor and I would handle the food, entertainment & invites. 


Josefina came over for a meeting a few weeks later so we could chat and she could check out the space. She brought over some items and fabrics so I could get a sense of the direction the party was taking. She was so great at checking-in just enough to make sure we were on the same page. She told me she had a good enough idea of what I wanted and she took it from there.
A day before the party she came over to drop off everything. I didn't have her set up until the day of the party so Charlie would not have the chance to destroy her work. She came back the next day a few hours before party time and set up everything. Then when the party was over, she came by and packed everything up. We didn’t have to do a thing!

Josefina and her team did an incredible job!. They literally created a magical truck themed display while incorporating fun teepees and the colors and feeling of fall. They didn’t miss a beat and made a little boy’s construction themed party look chic and trendy. I didn't even know that was possible! One thing I picked up on during our meeting is how concerned Josefina was with the quality of the materials she uses. Her team actually hand made many of the party decorations including the adorable felt cones and the big orange and white construction cylinders. Another thing which I think is so important when working with someone is how flexible they can be. I told her I had an idea just one day before the party and she made it happen. I wanted a coloring station for the kids & fall tee pees in front of the house and voila…DONE! 

She is an amazing entrepreneur, who is also a mother, and she truly inspires me. She had a vision and is making it happen. She is proof that if you have a dream, then go for it!  She is killing it with her dream, Dream and Party LLC. 







THE THEME




Picking a theme can be hard. At age 1 you can really do whatever you want. I did an Oktoberfest theme because I knew it would be fun for the adults and at one year, it's not like Charlie would know either way. Age two is different. Charlie loves trucks. I think you should just go with whatever your child gravitates towards, whether it's a form of transportation, a favorite movie/tv character, or animal. There's nothing like seeing them so excited on their birthday. To make it fun, I added in the terrible twos theme which could go with any of the above themes as well. I always use Paperless Post because you can track all the invitations and RSVPs. I like to keep it as simple as possible. I found these adorable invites for the party.

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THE ENTERTAINMENT 

For kids parties I like to have two activities that would be appropriate for multiple ages. Between family and friends, we had kids ranging in age from newborns to 13 year olds. I got the older kids involved by having them run the kids table. 

I chose to have Songs for Seeds as the main entertainment. The three piece band was a huge hit and the kids all loved it. I had them arrive as the party was starting. They set up in about 20 minutes and were ready to jam! I wanted an activity that would be fun and entertaining for all ages. The band played for 30 minutes which was the perfect amount of time for a 2 year old party. They were high energy and really got all the kids on their feet, even bringing musical instruments for the kids to jam along with them. I could not recommend professional entertainment like this enough. The adults not only enjoyed the performance but got a breather from monitoring their kids. This was the only part of the day the children all stayed in one area. Songs for Seeds holds classes in Greenwich, New Canaan, and Darien and I highly recommend them. You can check them out, HERE. They hold classes for babies, mixed ages, and big kids. They also do events!



Oct13Charlie's2ndBirthday-25.jpg

I also wanted an activity after the musical entertainment. I asked Josefina to set up a separate coloring table.  I used THESE great coloring paper rolls perfect for parties. You can roll them out over the tables just taping them down at the ends to prevent the paper from slipping. You can also get even bigger rolls to cover the walls, great ideas for a party activity. Just remember to get washable crayons. We only use these rolls in our home now. It was always really hard for Charlie to color in coloring books, these stay put!







THE FOOD

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Last year we went over the top with the food and I wanted to keep it simple this year. We did pizza from our favorite local spot, Rikos Pizza. I not only LOVE their pizza (we order delivery all the time) but it's also perfect for parties. I've said this a million times but thin crust pizza is the perfect snack :) You never feel too full even if you eat multiple slices. Rikos Pizza also happens to be the perfect eat on the run option for food and by eat on the run, I mean eat while chasing your kids, also easy eats for the  kiddos as well. We did some chips and dip for snacks. Since it was a 3 p.m. party, it wasn't lunch and wasn't dinner so I knew that would be enough food. Riko’s has locations all over Stamford and the surrounding area. They just opened a new spot on Selleck Street. You can check out their website, HERE.



THE CAKE

I used a local cake/cookie baker that is very talented. She is a full time teacher that bakes on the side. She did Charlie’s infamous first birthday boob cake, HERE, and nailed it again this year with his 3D truck cake and construction themed cookies. Her cake and cookies were not only nice to look at but were delicious as well.


THE FLOWERS


Oct13Charlie's2ndBirthday-81.jpg

Who doesn’t love fresh flowers? I’ve really wanted to work with Stems & Co., a local florist out of Rowayton, for as long as I can remember. They design the dreamiest, most whimsical arrangements. When I contacted Lauryn & Zoe,  I told them I wanted black & yellow arrangements so they would blend in with the truck theme. They turned out absolutely beautiful. I love little touches of the unexpected, like lovely arrangements at a kids birthday party. It really softened all of the bright colors and added some beautiful calming hues to the day. They did a few medium sized arrangements plus a cute smaller arrangement for the bathroom. You can find their instagram, HERE and website, HERE.

THE BIRTHDAY BOY OUTFIT

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I wanted something cute but timeless. If you have followed me for a while you also know I love matching the boys’ outfits. I think it's important to either order clothes for special occasions early enough to leave yourself time to exchange if you are not satisfied or order from a place you trust. I worked with Brooke from Monogrammary for this event and she is definitely someone I can trust. When I ordered the sweaters (the idea came to me in the middle of the night when most of my ideas do) I was fully confident they would turn out great. I wanted something classy and fun all at the same time and she designed  trucks on the front and  embroidered “Terrible Twos” on the back of  Charlie’s sweater.  Ford had “Angel Baby” on the back of his. These high quality roll neck sweaters are such classics and looked adorable on the boys. I'll be hanging onto these for the long haul. I like choosing something that’s  not too busy but will still stand out, keeping it clean always looks better in photos when there might be a busy background. Brooke nailed it with these one of a kind adorable ivory truck themed sweaters. You can find her on instagram, HERE and her website, HERE.

photographs by @juliadags










An epic Oktoberfest bash for the One year old in your life ... Charliefest


Charlie's first birthday & How to throw an Oktoberfest party 


 

I remember Charlie's first birthday party like it was yesterday. A year of sleep deprivation, teething and endless doctor's visits deserved some MAJOR celebrating. We all know first birthdays are more for the adults than the kids, and since we had not thrown a proper party since our little guy entered the world, I decided to throw one hell of a surprise party for Charlie's first birthday. Surprise party for a one year old? Why not!! Charlie was born on October 11th so I thought an Oktoberfest party would be the perfect idea. This wasn't your average Oktoberfest party...so we called it Charliefest.  (Poor Ford ..... I feel like going large for number one is such a first child thing).

1. The invite...If you've been following me for a while or even just have read my bio, then you know I love a good laugh. So in proper Mrs. Nipple fashion, we had a surprise party for a one year old. It actually ended up being fun seeing the expressions of our guests when they walked into an Oktoberfest party. I used paperless post because who has time to actually send invitations. Here are the invites: 

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                                                                                           SHHHHHHH ....... IT'S A SURPRISE PARTY 

                                                                                           SHHHHHHH ....... IT'S A SURPRISE PARTY 

2. The theme....If your baby is born in late September or October having an Oktoberfest themed birthday party is a must! It's easy, the food is delicious...think soft pretzels and brats, the beer is flowing and being able to give a corset boob cake to a breastfeeding one year old, I mean what could be better? Yup!  Oktoberfest it was....though we called it, Charliefest. I started planning just a few weeks before the big day because I decided to change the theme last minute. It was originally supposed to be, Oh, the Places You'll Go...womp womp. We had the party on a roof top in Greenwich. I wanted the kids to have fun activities (Charlie has many cousins) but like I stated earlier this was really for the adults.

3. Charlie's outfit...I ordered Charlie an adorable lederhosen outfit from Etsy. You can find it HERE. I then found the perfect pair of green shorts. You can find them HERE, knee high socks HERE and cute shoes HERE.  He was unmistakably a little German boy, ready to party! I loved THIS natural looking crown which ended up matching his outfit....and yes, he only left it on for maybe a minute, but we did get some adorable photos! I had her make the crown so it fit all the way around his head not just on top like the one I linked. I also purchased a hat HERE from the same shop through Etsy. 

4.The decor.....My parents brought some old beer steins that we filled with sunflowers. My mom's neighbor made us the perfect Charlie's biergarten sign and I ordered another sign that read, "Charliefest, Prost" from Etsy(it is pictured above), you can find it HERE.  Charlie also loves dogs, so I threw in a dog balloon and some beer mug & pretzel balloons to complete the look. I picked all of those up from the Balloon store in Tribeca.  I ordered the gold letter CHARLIEFEST balloons but as cool as they look they are kind of a waste for an outdoor party. They would not stay still so you could hardly tell they were supposed to say. I bought all Oktoberfest plates, cups, balloons and little things at Party City and Oriental Trading. You have to order online for most of the items. HERE are the plates etc. I think there is a fine line between going over the top and making it cheesy. I just ordered some balloons, plates, little containers for the brats, pins, little lederhosen ducks for the kids. HERE is a link to the Oriental Trading goodies. I also linked other items I ordered, like big beer mugs below. 

5. The food...My family is Lebanese and Italian so naturally the most important part of a party is the food. I ordered soft pretzels, a mixture of brats and buns all from Schaller & Weber. Think old-school German market & butcher shop with a wide variety of wieners plus other imported sundries. You can also sip and shop which I really appreciate...I was pregnant though..yada yada yada. This market is a great place to drop in if you are ever on the Upper East side of NYC. They have a window where you can get different types of brats ready for take out. I love the Saigon Special, it's my favorite, so I decided to recreate it for the party.  I was able to even bribe one of the guys there to let me purchase their special sauce that wasn't for sale & they also gave me a secret recipe for another sauce that my mom ended up making. I did tell him I would never share the recipes...but to be fair I wasn't a blogger at the time. We did a few different types of brats and then offered the Saigon as the special. It was a bauernwurst topped with a daikon carrot slaw, cucumber, fresh jalapeno, cilantro & sriracha aioli.  The brats paired with soft pretzles was the perfect combo. We also made pretzel necklaces so people could munch and sip all party long. We love wearable snacks!

6. The sweet stuff....There is a traditional German cookie called Lebkuchen. It's a heart shaped cookie that tastes similar to a gingerbread cookie. These cookies have been a staple of Oktoberfest since the 1950s. They are heart shaped, come in all different sizes and can be worn around your neck. We had @Crazyconfections (I highly recommend her and she's based in Stamford CT) make Charliefest Lebkuchen cookies for dessert. I went to multiple bakers who said they couldn't make the cookies just how I wanted them but she said no problem. They turned out PERFECTLY. She also made the perfect cake for a one year old.....a boob cake. Yes, you heard me correctly. It wasn't only on theme because it was a German girl with the long blond braids and a corset top, but I was also still breastfeeding Charlie, so of course he would want a boob cake. I ended up making my own smash cake which is SO easy. Don't waste money ordering one of those. See my smash cake post, HERE and I also made mini cupcakes, perfect for the kiddos. You can find the rubber pan HERE. Kids love them because they are truly bite size. 

7. Keep them busy....activities for the kids. We have a lot of friends with young children and Charlie has many cousins so I definitely wanted to include games to keep them occupied. When the kids walked in each one got a german name tag that read, "Hallo Mein name ist". You can find the name tags HERE.  I had two babysitters run the "kids corner" and my nieces helped out. We had the kids string pretzel necklaces when they arrived and my nieces painted the kids faces with glitter & stencil kits. You can find them below. I ordered a bunch of fun games from amazon. You can find them all below, as well. The prizes and goodie bags consisted of unicorn poop marshmallows, unicorn poop lilipops and unicorn poop slime. For the little guys I ordered THIS kids fence and THIS foam mat for the ground. It was nice being able to cage in our children so we could enjoy ourselves...all the parents agreed. 

That is how you plan the perfect Oktoberfest bash. Even though we had the party around the same time the real Oktoberfest takes place, this theme would be a hit all year long. 

 

 

 

 

A Father's Day Gift Guide


Father's Day & Gifts 


With Father's Day right around the corner, I figured now would be a great time to think about what we should get Ray for his day. With a 19 month old and a 7 week old,  by "WE", I really mean "I".  Ray is such a great dad.  I’m sure most of you probably feel the same way about the dad in your life if you are reading this Father's Day gift guide. I literally count down the minutes until 6:00 when Ray gets home everyday. He gets a very fun phone call/text everyday at 4:30..."so when are you going to be home?" Nope. That's not annoying at all :) Right when he walks through the door, he is "ON." He does the entire bedtime routine with Charlie every night. More important than being present in our day to day life is how I can always rely on him no matter what. For the big things and the little things, he always delivers. Juggling two babies under two is not easy and I can confidently say he makes me feel like we have this parenting thing completely under control...just kidding. He does make me feel like I chose a spouse that will always be in our children's lives, not just physically, but also emotionally, everyday. When thinking about marriage, a non-negotiable (yes, I had non-negotiables) was someone that would have their own strong relationship with our children, a truly involved Dad that would be in our children's lives more than "How was school today?”  When I met Ray, I not only fell in love with him but also knew he would be the kind of father that I wanted for my children.

So, he deserves a little better than an OK gift on Father's Day. 

FOR THE GUY WHO MIGHT BE IN PAIN

Ray has a terrible back. RIght before I delivered Ford he actually threw it out and ended up in the hospital. I blame it on working a 6-6 job and sitting in a chair at the computer for the last 14 years. That being said, his back is in need of some TLC. I'm getting Ray a gift card to, Indigo Acupunture + Wellness. Acupuncture can help your body heal itself from many issues including acute and chronic pain. This is the perfect gift for the husband that could benefit from something like this, but might not make an appointment on his own. If you live in the area, check out the Indigo Acupuncture & Wellness website, HERE.   

FOR THE GUY WITH A SOFTSPOT

If you are married to the man that loves gifts made for them then this is for you! Mackenzie Horan of the blog Design Darling posted about how she was doing needle point to create a belt for her husband, so... I had to learn more! There are companies that can ship you the entire kit to get started and there are YouTube videos for needle point for beginners.  The best part is that YOU get to pick out symbols to put on the belt that best describes your dad/husband. This could also be a fun family project because your kids can also pick out symbols that describe dad. If you don't have the time to actually needlepoint, then you can have the belt custom made....a little white lie never hurt anyone. 

You can check out the company’s ETSY page, HERE

You can check out the company’s website, HERE. 

FOR A FUN GIFT FROM THE KIDS

You know those really cool prints that are thousands of dollars and literally look like your kids  accidentally spilled milk all over them? Me too! So why not just create that and frame it? I love the side by side ones. All you need is non toxic paint, 2 large pieces of textured paper and 2 frames. You could have the kids squirt bottles full of paint on the paper. Do one color and let it dry. I would stick to three colors in the same color family. After the paper dries you can then hang them up on father’s day morning before dad wakes up! 

FOR THE GUY THAT LOVES A GOOD MONOGRAM 

What guy doesn't love a good monogram? Monogrammary is your go-to for everything personal. If your husband is in need of a DOBBS kit, travel bag, apron, or tie holder then she is your girl! EVERYTHING can be monogrammed. You can find her website, HERE

FOR THE MEAT LOVER

Speaking of men’s aprons.... let's talk about meat. I'm a huge believer in eating top quality grass fed & grass finished beef. I promise your husband will not taste meat as good as the stuff right from the farm. You can actually order a cow or pig straight from local farms. The meat comes vacuumed sealed in individual cuts just like the grocery store. If freezer space is an issue you can split the cow or pig with someone else. I happen to do a cow share with my parents. We get our meat from, HERE. It's a farm in Woodstock, CT. There are so many places that do this. You can find farms near you on google. 

FOR THE GUY WHO CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SNEAKERS

 

You can never go wrong with a cool pair of kicks. You can find my picks below 

FOR THE GUY THAT LOVES THE GYM OR THE GUY THAT COMPLAINS ABOUT NOT HAVING TIME TO GET TO THE GYM

A personal training session would be a wonderful Father’s Day gift. If your husband complains about not having time to get to the gym or often talks about how he wants to get back at it, then this gift is for him. Sometimes it just takes a few personal training sessions to get back into healthy habits after a long break from working out. Booking your husband a personal trainer could be the perfect Father’s Day gift. If you are local, check out Countdown Fitness. I went to personal trainer, Madison, and loved her! If your significant other is short on time like mine is, they will still be able to make time to go to Countdown Fitness because their sessions are only 30 minutes long. That’s because they use the slow burn method. 

"Slow lifting reduces momentum, requiring your muscles to do more of the work. The result? A more efficient workout, leading to a stronger, fitter you in half the time." -CDF

They have gyms in both Greenwich & New Canaan. You can find their website, HERE. 

 

Fighting Allergies


Spring & Allergies 


This week has been miserable for me. I'm fighting a terrible reaction to all of the pollen in the air. I've recently been tracking the conditions and have been trying to stay in during "high" pollen days. I use this tracker HERE.  I spent most of my day on the couch with cold compresses on my eyes. I reached out for advice around fighting allergies through instagram stories and received such great feedback around successful solutions others have actually tried. After doing some of my own research it seems the instagram universe is in tune with what works! I wanted to share, please find the results below. 

Natural remedies 

Essential oils: You can use peppermint oil if you are not nursing but if you are nursing it will affect your milk supply.

A blend of lemon, lavender, and peppermint or cedar wood oil (if you are breastfeeding) is supposed to work wonders! You can apply the oil right onto your pressure points as needed. You can use everyday as a prevention method. 

OR

A blend of lemon, lavender, & peppermint mixed with a carrier oil (grapeseed, avocado, olive oil) To apply just swipe it across your sinuses and down your nose. 

Sabadil: A homeopathic medicine that temporarily relieves one or more of the symptoms of hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies: itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat and nose. You can find it, HERE. 

Neti Pot: Neti pots are a great, natural way to relieve nasal congestion and allergies, as long as you use sterile water and don’t use it too frequently. They have been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years.  

Local honey: Ingest 1 tsp of LOCAL honey in the AM and PM. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.

MEDICATIONS 

If you are breastfeeding like I am you can also use Claritin which falls under category L1. There are 4 Lactation Risk Categories L1-L4, L1 being the safest. 

Claritin and Breastfeeding

Claritin – L1: Claritin is considered safe for breastfeeding. Only 0.3-1.2% of the medication will be transferred through the breast milk to the baby. It is important to note that this is for plain Claritin only. Claritin D is not recommended for breastfeeding because of the decongestant that has been added to the allergy medication. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Loratidine.

Other Allergy Medications and Breastfeeding

Zyrtec – L2: This has a higher risk level than Claritin because there hasn’t been enough research. However, studies done on dogs suggest that 3% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Cetirizine.

Allegra – L2: It is believed that 0.5-0.7% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Fexofenadine.

Benadryl, Aller Clore, & Dimatapp – These allergy medications are not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. They can make you sleepy, which means they are sedating. That sedation can be passed on to the infant and may cause breathing problems.


 

 

HOW TO MAKE A SMASH CAKE DIFFICULTY: VERY EASY


SMASH CAKE & BABY 


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Crown linked HERE

First birthday, New Years Eve, gender reveal for baby #2 or just because, there is nothing funnier than a baby eating a smash cake. You really have no clue what you are going to get during the first "smash". Many bakeries overcharge for a simple "smash cake" and some even make you purchase a larger cake to even have the option to order a smash cake on the side. There is no reason to spend any extra money on a smash cake, as you will find below making your own at home is very easy. 

WHAT IS A SMASH CAKE

For those of you that do not know, a smash cake is just a small cake your baby can dig into during a special occasion, usually their first birthday. Just be aware that depending on how aggressive they get you could have a major mess to clean up. I recommend always having your baby do a cake smash in their diaper with news paper underneath the highchair for an easy clean up.

HOW TO MAKE A SMASH CAKE

Luckily making a smash cake is EXTREMELY easy

SUPPLIES

1 box of cake, I used an organic cake mix but I recommend using a classic brand, the good old stuff, like Betty Crocker Super Moist or Pillsberry Moist Supreme. The organic brands I have tried are a little too dense for the smash, try to purchase a moist cake mix. 

1 container of frosting, I also used organic but would again recommend a classic brand like, Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy 

sprinkles (neccesary)

2 ramekins or two small round, glass pyrex bowls around 1 quart each

vegetable oil 

butter or something to grease bowls with

STEPS

  1. Follow the steps listed on the cake mix box to prepare the batter
  2. Pour the batter into (2) buttered ramekins, filling up 3/4 of the way
  3. Bake in oven at the temperature and time listed on cake box
  4. Let cool and then pop cakes out by carefully running a knife around the edges 
  5. Use a knife to cut the tops off of both cakes so they are completely flat
  6. Spread a thing layer of frosting on top of one of your cakes and turn the other cake upside-down and place on top
  7. **GENDER REVEAL ONLY**If you are doing a gender reveal use a generous amount of blue or pink frosting in that middle layer instead of the white frosting. (do not put frosting too close to the edges). Make sure to add white frosting around the area closest to the edges so the color will not show through. 
  8. Once cakes are stacked frost the entire cake and add sprinkles, candles, and anything fun! To make the cake look extra special use a piping bag to frost. 
  9. SMASH

With any left over batter you can make mini cupcakes for all of the other kiddos. This is my favorite cupcake silicone product. It makes ultra thin bitesize cupcakes with the perfect frosting to cake ratio. Kids LOVE these. 

 

 

BONDING OVER APPLES AND PIE


RECIPES, VOL. 1


I'll be the first to admit, I didn't get the kitchen gene. My grandmother was a phenominal cook and baker. My family is originally from Chicago, but I grew up in Connecticut. A few weeks before Christmas we would receive what felt like a dozen huge boxes filled to the top with old school, reused, tins with wax paper hanging off the edges. You knew they were the Minnie (my grandma) Christmas cookie edition. There was nothing mini about the packages, though. The variety of Christmas cookies was endless and it would not be Christmas without them

 My mother also got the gene, but not me. I burn pretty much everything I touch. However, my husband is an incredible cook, giving me even more reason to stay away. Ever since I became pregnant with my second, I've had this urge to start baking. I've found it's not only satisfying, but it's such a nice activity to do with my mom. I'm juggling a full time job, while pregnant with a one year old, as you can imagine that quality time is shrinking. So, no matter your age or level of expertise, grab a family member and bake. There's just something about it that I can't explain, especially over the holidays. I guess it brings me back to childhood watching my grandmother Minnie dominate the kitchen. 

The only thing I was solely in charge of was baking the pie that ended up being a bit burnt.  I guess you can't change those genes after all. 

We used a great food52 recipe you can find HERE. The only change we made was we halved the pastry recipe to make one double pie crust. The filling is for one pie as is. 

HERE is a link to the perfect pie tips! I Wish I read this before I burnt this masterpiece. Hint: Put foil around the edges to prevent burning. To those of you who reached out with that advice, thank you!

Tips for baking with a baby: 

Start baking during your babies nap time to get the measuring out of the way

Have pots, pans and spatulas set up on the floor below where you are baking to help make your little one feel included

If working with dough have some play dough ready to go so they can play along 

Have fun and crank up the holiday music 

 

 

 

FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS

Cut triangles out for eyes. Have your child paint the paper plate orange! Let the plate dry. Next have your child paint of a black mouth. Staple the Popsicle stick to the bottom of the plate as a handle. Now they have a pumpkin mask.

WITCH'S BREW

WITCH'S BREW

Wearing the witch’s hat, present the pumpkin punch bowl to the kids and begin singing the “Brew song”. You might feel silly, but in your kids eyes you will most definitely be the coolest witch around. 

PUMPKIN HATS

PUMPKIN HATS

Best for 2-3 year olds but the nature walk and collecting items is fun for any age!

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