Sunday, 20 August 2017

Space Goodies for the Solar Eclipse

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Thanks for supporting Little Hiccups by shopping with out sponsors. 

Tomorrow's solar eclipse has got everyone in our home excited about all things space related. Or rather, more excited about space than usual. We're already big fans of rockets, astronauts and the solar system!

To celebrate the solar eclipse I thought I'd share some of my favorite space related goodies for kids: clothes, books, toys, room decor, hair accessories and even tasty cookies. As if we need an excuse to eat Trader Joe's Half Moon Cookies! 




Click the links to shop:
Duns Mother Earth T-Shirt * Trader Joe's Half Moon Cookies * NASA Logo Sweatshirt

Here in the Bay Area we should see about a 75% eclipse. The kids and I are super excited to see what it looks like and just how dark the day becomes. We have our eclipse glasses ready to protect our eyes and we'll be heading up to our roof deck with friends (and plenty of Half Moon Cookies!) to check it out.

Will you see the eclipse where you live? I can't wait to see everyone's photos from tomorrow - just remember not to point your camera at the sun!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Back to School Shopping

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for supporting Little Hiccups by shopping with our sponsors.

Summer! Where did you go?

I swear I blinked and the Summer vacation was almost at its end.

We've got two more weeks left of Summer break here in Berkeley and then all three of my girls will be back at school. Or in Mathilde's case, starting pre-school.

While the girls are pretty excited about going back to school to see their friends, I'm finding myself frantically trying to squeeze in as many outings and fun activities as possible. Oh, and shopping for back to school. That too. Luckily, all of our back to school shopping has been done online. Hooray for the internet!

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite back to school items with you. Here's a look at what has been on my shopping list.

First, the big girls...

Elementary School



Click the links to shop:

Scotland Garden Backpack * Camelbak Edy Kids * Tea Collection Pocket Play Dress
Tea Collection Japan Panda Tee * Argyle Socks * Somersault Shorts
Tea Collection Belladrum Pleated Skirt * Tea Collection Heather Leggings
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers * Elaphantito Booties * So Young Lunch Box

While the weather stays relatively warm for the start of Fall here in the Bay Area it gets pretty cool in the girls' classrooms so light long sleeved tops are always a good idea. Ava is obsessed with this sweet panda tee from Tea Collection. Isn't it cute? My girls are all about dresses and skirts, but because they love to play on the monkey bars at recess, bike pants or leggings are always a must underneath. Leggings are such a simple way to layer when the weather starts to get a little cooler, and because it never gets overly cold here they allow my girls to wear the same dresses pretty much all year round. I love these little ankle boots from Elephantito. Isn't the color sweet? Ava likes to look a little edgier than Lola, so the classic Converse Chuck Taylor high tops add a touch of cool to her look. Backpacks, lunchboxes and water bottles are, of course, a must for back to school. I love the sweet pattern on this Tea Collection backpack. It's a great sized backpack for elementary school kids with enough space for for lunch and books, but without overwhelming small backs. The Camelbak Kids Edy water bottle is one of the best ones I've found as it just doesn't leak. The So Young lunchbox has been a great addition to my girls' backpacks. Ava has had one of these for a few years and it still looks as good as new. It's also big enough to fit big kid lunches.

Preschool



Click the links to shop:
Tea Collection Little Citizen Tee * Tea Collection Overalls * Mitz Accessories Rainbow Dress
Tea Collection Plaid Skirted Dress * Hello Shiso Pencil Hair Clips * Striped Socks
Veja Sneakers * Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack * Wild Side Lunch Box
Boo Anti Lice Shampoo * Boo Anti Lice Spray

Mathilde is all about bright rainbow colors so while I went with a more muted color pallet for Ava and Lola I've gone for bright colors for her. Mathilde will spend a lot more time outside playing than her big sisters so sturdy clothes are a must. I love these sweet overalls from Tea Collection. They're perfect for outdoor play but the little details make them a little more dressed up than regular overalls. Ava actually has a pair too, so they're not just for little kids. Colorful dresses with skirts that go out when you spin are Mathilde's favorites so these two dresses from Tea Collection and Mitz Accessories are sure to be favorites. Plus they'll look super cute when paired with stripey socks and the cute Veja sneakers. The Fjallraven Kanken Mini backpack is just the perfect size for pre-schoolers. It can be hard to find nicely styled backpacks small enough for the little ones. This Fjallraven backpack is sure to stand the test of time. I chose bright yellow not just because I knew Mathilde would love it, but also because it's so vibrant that it will make her more visible when she's wearing it. This is super important as we'll be walking or bike riding every day. The colorful lunch box will be the perfect accessory to go with Mathilde's new backpack. How cute is that little bear on it? Speaking of cute, check out those pencils hair clips! Perfect for school. One last thing, and it's an essential, is the Boo anti-lice shampoo and spray. Let's face it, head lice can be an every day part of school life. An icky part of school life. Ava and Lola have been washing their hair with Boo shampoo and conditioner once or twice a week and using the spray daily for the past few years, and so far they've been lice free. Even when there has been an outbreak in their classrooms those little creepy crawlies have stayed away.

What does back to school shopping look like for your family?
Do you buy a new backpack and lunch box most years?
Do you need to buy stationery items? Our school provides pencils, notebooks, crayons etc so we don't need to buy them (although I do buy classroom items like these and cleaning supplies in bulk for the class so they don't have to come out of the teacher's pocket).

Ok, back to having fun with the kids and not counting the days until Summer ends!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Glass Beach at Fort Bragg

This Summer has flown by and we haven't taken any big trips like we normally would during the long break. While we've been home for much of the Summer, we have taken a few short trips around the Bay Area with friends and family visiting from Australia. 

Once such trip we took was to Fort Bragg, a small coastal town three hours north of San Francisco with my parents. The highlight of our visit was Fort Bragg's famous Glass Beach, a beach covered in colorful sea glass. I remember reading about the Glass Beach when we first moved to California and I've been keen to see it for myself ever since.   


While the Glass Beach is rather pretty, it's origins are not quite as romantic as one would imagine. All those pretty pieces of glass? They didn't wash ashore from a ship, nor are they the remains of letters sent in bottles. Nope. Between 1906 and 1967 the shoreline along the Glass Beach was used as a dump! All those rounded pieces of glass are the result of sixty years of the town's trash. Various clean up efforts over the decades removed all of the large items and the metal for scrap, while the biodegradable waste degraded over time. What remained after the clean up effort was beautiful glass pieces worn smooth by the waves.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Color Factory

If you're following Little Hiccups on Instagram you would've seen a lot of color in my posts and stories over the past few days. This past Thursday the girls and I visited Color Factory in San Francisco and it was one of the most amazing places we've ever been. They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth - nope, it's Color Factory!

Color Factory is a little tricky to explain. It's a 12,000 square foot pop up installation full of colorful delights for the senses. It's visual, it's hands on, it's delicious and it's full of memories. Created by the super talented Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day in collaboration with some amazing artists, Color Factory is an installation that needs to be seen to be believed. So let's take a look...


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Pedalfest 2017

A few weekends back we spent the day at one of our favorite local festivals: Pedalfest at Oakland's Jack London Square.

If you're not familiar with Pedlafest, it's a whole day dedicated to bike riding fun. There are all sorts of crazy bikes to try out, fun rides for the kids, tasty food, amazing stunt shows, markets, a bicycle powered stage and a ton of other bike related fun.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Smile Worthy Back to School Moments with Goldfish



Can you believe it? We're about half way through the long Summer break now. How did that happen?

While the kids are blissfully unaware that their laid back Summer adventures will be done in just over a month, I, like many parents, am thinking about back to school. There's so much to prepare before the kids go back to school, but for me the most important thing is making sure that it's a smile worthy time for the kids. 


After such a long break from the structure of the school year, I find it important to ease the kids back into their schedules. So rather than having the Summer fun come to an abrupt halt once school starts back up again, I'm thinking ahead and planning small after school adventures to take together. Hikes in local parks, swims at the lake, visiting fun playgrounds... We're lucky here in the Bay Area that there are so many great places to visit. The weather here in early Fall is usually our warmest which is perfect for afternoon adventures.


Monday, 10 July 2017

San Francisco Pride Parade 2017

It's been a little while since I posted here on Little Hiccups. The girls are home with me all day on Summer vacation and we've had visitors from Australia (first friends and then my parents), so I've been kept pretty busy away from the computer. Time to get back to it though and catch you up on some of the fun things we've been up to over the past few weeks - OK, months as I still haven't shared our Denmark trip and you know I've got a ton of photos from that!

Let's start where I left off with the San Francisco Pride parade...


The San Francisco Pride parade was held a couple of weeks back on June 25th. My parents had arrived from Australia a few days before and were excited to join us for this day celebrating love and community.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

DIY Rainbow Heart Hair Clips

The Pride parade is coming up this weekend in San Francisco and my girls are super excited to get decked out in their rainbow gear and go along to watch.

We've got rainbow t-shirts, rainbow socks, rainbow tattoos, and now thanks to this super simple DIY, we've got rainbow hair clips!



These heart shaped rainbow hair clips were so easy to make that the kids were pretty much able to do everything by themselves - and they had a lot of fun making them. They're keen to make more of them in different colors for different events and holidays. And just for fun!


Here's a look at how we made them...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Rainbow Kids' Clothes for Pride

June is LGBTQ Pride month. The biggest celebration of the month here in San Francisco is the Pride parade which is coming up in just over a week's time. Last year I took Lola and Mathilde along to watch the parade and they absolutely loved it. Such a happy community event full of love and so much color. This year Ava and Kim are keen to come along with us too as are my parents who will be visiting from Australia. You can see all the color and fun from last year's parade here.



In preparation for the Pride parade, I've been looking into fun rainbow colored outfits for the girls to wear. There are so many fun rainbow options out there so I thought that today I'd share some of my favorites here on Little Hiccups. These clothes and accessories are perfect for the Pride parade as well as adding a touch of rainbow to your kids' every day closet - because let's face it, rainbows make everything better!


Ava and I will both be wearing this great retro style t-shirt from Pride Socks. It is available in sizes from toddler through to adults in both red and purple and is oh-so soft and comfy.

This great t-shirt is available in kids', womens' and mens' sizes. Gap will donate 30% of the net sales from this t-shirt to the United Nations to support Free & Equal, a UN Human Rights Office campaign for LGBTI equality. 

Lola and Mathilde will both be wearing this fun t-shirt from Mitz Accessories. The rainbow colors are wonderful and vibrant, but the best part is the felt cloud that runs down the back of the t-shirt! My girls absolutely love it. It's available in sizes 0-3 months up to 7 years. 

All three of my girls have these fun tube socks that add a sporty touch of rainbow to any outfit. They are available in baby sizes through to adult sizes in various rainbow patterns. 

It's going to be sunny at the parade so don't forget to bring a hat. This great hat is actually an adult size, but will fit older children as well. It's available in black and white with various rainbow striped patterns.

Local company Hello Shiso makes the cutest hair accessories for kids. These rainbow clips are just perfect for Pride - and any other day of the year!

When the tube socks just aren't enough rainbow for you these colorful socks are a great choice. I'll be rocking a pair of these at this year's parade. These socks are available in women's and men's sizes, but older kids would be able to wear them too.

The dress version of the t-shirt that Lola and Mathilde will be wearing to the Pride parade is just as cute and also features the fun felt cloud down the back. Like the t-shirt, it is available in sizes from 0-3 months through to 7 years. This print is also available in tank tops (with the felt cloud) and leggings.

Tattly make the best temporary tattoos out there. This rainbow set features 8 fun rainbow designs and has been a favorite with my girls for many years. 

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The San Francisco Pride parade will be held on Sunday June 25th, kicking off at 10:30am. For parade information click here.

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Maker Faire 2017

A few weekends back we spent a day at one of my favorite festivals: Maker Faire.

As always, the day was filled with all sorts of creative fun. The girls made art from salvaged junk, rode crazy bikes, made replica cells out of foam clay, dressed up as robots, ate delicious treats, and watched all sorts of crazy things shoot flames.


   
As always, it was pretty hot when we arrived at Maker Faire, so this year we headed straight inside one of the halls full of fun hands-on activities and demonstrations to escape the heat. There were all sorts of activities to keep the girls busy.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Monterey Day Trip



Here in the Bay Area we're pretty lucky to be surrounded by amazing natural beauty. Stunning beaches, towering redwoods, snow capped mountains, rolling hills, lush forests, natural hot springs... all of these can be found within just a few hours drive of the Bay Area. We're pretty spoiled for choice.

One of our favorite places to visit either for a weekend away or a day trip is Monterey county, located just a two hour drive along the coast south of San Francisco. We've visited Monterey many times and we always find something new to do. Whether it be spending a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, taking in a little of California's history at the Carmel Mission, soaking in the views along the Big Sur coastline, playing in the amazing Dennis the Menace Park, or just relaxing at the beach, we always enjoy our visit to Monterey and can't wait to come back.


This past weekend we took a day trip to down Monterey and it was the perfect day out. We spent much of our time at the beach, with the kids chasing waves, exploring tide pools, searching for treasure, climbing on rocks and making sand castles. We also visited the quaint Point Pinos Lighthouse for a little history, and took a drive along the famous 17 Mile Drive.



Keep reading to see more of our adventure in Monterey as well as your chance to win tickets to Monterey Bay Aquarium and MY Museum.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ready for Summer with Galileo Camps


Summer is almost here! Can you believe it? Ava and Lola have just five weeks of school left before the Summer break and they couldn't be more excited. We have some pretty fun plans lined up for this Summer. We have friends and family from Australia coming to visit, a little bit of travel, and, the most exciting thing for the girls, Summer camp


Summer camp is still a relatively new thing to this Australian expat. To me, sending the kids off to Summer camp feels like we're taking part in an American institution; another thing, like Halloween and handing out Valentines at school, that growing up I only experienced through American television shows. Another box to check off in our list of embracing American culture.


While I love that sending the kids to Summer camps fulfills that sense of embracing American culture, more importantly it's an amazing experience for the kids. One of my favorite things about the girls going to camp is the sense of independence it instills in them. They're encouraged to step a little further out of their every day comfort zone and experience new things in a fun and friendly environment. Whether that be pushing themselves a little further physically through trying new activities, like the slack line we tried out in the park this weekend, or pushing themselves creatively through activities that challenge and inspire their imaginations, Summer camp truly provides a trans-formative experience. 


This Summer Ava and Lola will be experiencing Summer camp with Galileo Camps. Galileo offers Summer day camps for pre-K to 8th grade children with locations all throughout the Bay Area. The camps teach kids to explore and create through a curriculum based on art, science and outdoor activities. Kids will learn lasting innovation skills and build confidence in their own abilities. Imaginations will be sparked and kids will learn the ability to create without fear, which is such an important and often overlooked skill. I just know that Ava and Lola are going to have a blast at camp and will bring home new skills, confidence in their abilities and long lasting memories.


Reading through the Galileo Camps curriculum makes me wish that I could go to Summer camp too! You can check out the curriculum, locations, dates and rates here. And even better, Little Hiccups readers can save on Galileo Camps with a $40 discount per family. Simply use the code CAMP17 when signing up here.


Did you go to Summer camp as a kid? Have your kids been to Galileo Camps before? I can't wait for my girls to experience Galileo Camps for themselves. I just know that it's going to be an amazing experience that's going to make for a memorable Summer.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mathilde's Dinosaur Party

This time of year is always super busy for us with fun events most weekends, and this past weekend was no different. In fact, this past weekend saw one of the most fun events for us: Mathilde's dinosaur party!


Mathilde had such a fun time celebrating her 3rd birthday with all of her little (and big) friends. We were lucky that Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day weather-wise and this year, there were no other parties up on our roof deck at the same time. Last year there were other tenants using the pergola area on our roof deck during Mathilde's digger party so were not able to use the table and chairs, and we had nowhere to hang a piñata. But this year we were in luck and had the whole roof deck to ourselves. Or maybe all of the dinosaur roars coming from the kids scared everyone else away!


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Dinosaur Party Invites

Last week my little baby turned 3 years old! Can you believe it? This weekend we'll be celebrating Mathilde's birthday with a dinosaur themed party.


As you probably know, organizing parties for my kids is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I love the chance to get creative with fun themes and a dinosaur theme certainly is fun. This past week I've been so busy creating all sorts of dino fun including a t-rex piñata, a dinosaur dress up activity, a dinosaur bone dig, dinosaur footprint cookies and lots more. 

As always, the first thing I created was the invitations. A few years back Ava had a reptile themed birthday party and I made invitations featuring plastic reptiles wearing little party hats that I made out of paper. You can see those invites here. The party hats made the otherwise "scary" animals look cute and friendly. Those invitations ended up being a huge hit and I get asked about them all the time. I'm working on getting an invitation shop up and running, I promise! Anyway, I decided to go with the same idea for the invites for Mathilde's dinosaur party, so I got three of her favorite Schleich dinosaurs and dressed them up ready to party.    


I put them all together with a little text and voila!


I printed matching address labels and sent the invites off in nice t-rex green envelopes.


Aren't they fun invitations? The top photo of Mathilde in her Mitz Accessories dinosaur dress roaring at her t-rex would've made a fantastic invitation too. I snapped that shot after the invitations were posted out, but you will be seeing it at her party - along with that amazing dress!
 
Stay tuned for lots of dino themed fun coming up!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Cal Day 2017

Last Saturday the girls and I spent the day at UC Berkeley's annual open day, Cal Day.

Cal Day is one of our favorite local events each year and as always the girls had a ton of fun. While the main purpose of the event is to showcase the university to potential students, there are always plenty of family friendly activities for the local community to take part in too.


Just like the campus, the event is huge and there's no way you can see everything. I always make sure to plan in advance and work out which activities the kids will like best. We tend to stick to the area around the Valley Life Sciences where there are all sorts of fun science related activities for the kids. The performances in Sproul Plaza are always high on our list too. This year was no different.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Easter 2017

I've been a little behind here on the the blog. With our Spring Break trip to Denmark followed directly by Easter and now party prep for Mathilde's upcoming third birthday party, I've found myself a little behind with, well... everything! Time to play catch up on the blog starting with a look back at our Easter Sunday.

This year I was pretty busy in the lead up to Easter and didn't get a chance to plan much in the way of fun craft activities or baking like I normally would. So there were no hot cross buns, no egg coloring and no fun decorations. But, we still had a fun day. Let's take a look...


The girls woke up early Easter Sunday morning and were keen to head to the living room as soon possible to see if the Easter Bunny had visited. They were a little worried at first when they didn't see a trail of sparkly footprints leading from out front door to the living room as usual, but once they turned the corner from the hallway they spotted why. This year it seems that the Easter Bunny came in through our living room window. Sparkly footprints leading from the living room window to the dining table, and then to the dining room window showed that the Easter Bunny took a short cut this year. Or that someone (ie. me!) fell asleep on the couch nursing Mathilde and forgot to leave the trail of footprints until 5am and was worried that the kids would catch her so made the shortest trail possible. Ha!


Friday, 7 April 2017

Macy's Flower Show 2017

Last week Mathilde and I took a trip into the city to visit Macy's for the annual Flower Show. The Macy's Flower Show is something I looked forward to seeing every Spring and this year's display did not disappoint - although there were a few scary clowns! Clowns, you ask? Well, every year the Flower Shows features a different theme and this year's theme is carnival, so the displays are filled with clowns, carousel horses, vintage arcade games and side show novelties. Let's take a look...

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