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Wednesday 24 October 2018

Simple Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for Primary.com

Halloween is just over a week away, which means that if you're anything like me, there's a good chance you're frantically trying to get costumes made for the kids!

No matter how good my intentions are, I always find myself making the kids' costumes at the last minute every Halloween. I'm going to blame Lola's birthday falling two weeks beforehand for keeping me busy earlier on in the month! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, I've become a bit of a pro at making those last minute costumes so today I'm sharing some of my favorites with you and they all have one thing in common. They all start off as a basic pair of pajamas, dress or t-shirt from Primary.com! This year's costumes will be no different with colorful pajamas as the base for a lobster, Pikachu and Minecraft Creeper costumes.

Here's a look at some of the simple costumes I've made for the kids in the past.

Powerpuff Girls
Can you believe I convinced all three girls to go with a group costume? Neither can I, but it happened! These costumes are still my favorite two years down the track. These costumes consist of sleeveless dress in green, pink and blue worn over white tights with black shoes. I made wide black belts out of stretchy fabric, but you could easily use wide elastic instead. The masks were made out of felt and were the most time consuming part of the costumes. You could skip the masks and still look like the Powerpuff Girls, but for me they really made the costumes. To give Ava that Blossom look I sprayed her hair orange with a washout hair color and tied it back in a high ponytail. I topped off the look with a giant red bow made out of felt and wire (to keep it upright) attached to a headband. For Lola's Bubbles look I tied her hair back into piggy tails. I stitched blue felt balls onto hairbands as I was unable to find blue hair baubles for her. I thought about spraying Mathilde's hair black to complete her Buttercup look but seeing as she was still young enough for naps at the time I figured there was a good chance we'd end up with black hair spray all over her bed! One of my favorite things about this costume is that the girls got a lot of wear out of these dresses. They're such great every day dresses. Surprisingly, two years down the track the girls still fit into the dresses. Extra value for money!

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Apple Picking at Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch

The weather here in the Bay Area is always a little odd. It's technically Fall, and there are leaves falling off trees all over the place, but the sunny days we have had lately have been some of the warmest of the year. Of course, that's nothing unusual here as our seasons are kind of weird!

Despite the warm weather, I've been keen to get into the Fall spirit, especially seeing as Halloween is just over a week away! One of my favorite Fall activities is heading to a farm to enjoy the harvest season. Whether it be pumpkins, apples, pears or even chestnuts, there's just something about the Fall harvest season that is special.

A few weekends ago we headed north toward Sebastapol to visit Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch for an afternoon of apple picking. It was a hot, sunny day - definitely nothing like a traditional Fall - but we had a great time all the same. So long as we stayed in the shade!

Here's a look at our "not-so-Fall-looking" day of apple picking fun...

Sunday 21 October 2018

Lola's Emoji Themed Birthday Party

Last weekend we celebrated Lola's 8th birthday with an emoji themed birthday party. There were smiley face emojis, heart eye face emojis, winking face emojis, and, yes, plenty of her favorite: the poop emoji!

We had a beautiful sunny day here in Berkeley and celebrated Lola's birthday up on our roof deck as we usually do. It wasn't even windy, which is pretty rare! In fact, we were even able to light a candle on her cake without it blowing out straight away. I don't think that has ever happened at any of our parties!

The emoji theme was spread across all aspects of Lola's party and I'll have lots of fun (and simple) DIYs coming soon. I made emoji face decorations and photo props, I baked emoji cookies, cupcakes, poop emoji meringues and a rainbow poop emoji birthday cake, we had an emoji face piƱata, emoji themed gifts in the party bags and pass the parcel, and the girls wore emoji t-shirts. So many emojis!

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Jigsaw Puzzle Fun for Busy Families

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Jigsaw Puzzle, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

So much of our lives is digital nowadays.

Being a pretty tech savvy family it's amazing just how much technology shapes our day to day lives. Keeping in touch with friends and family, staying on top of busy schedules, shopping for groceries, ordering dinner, organizing transportation, keeping the kids entertained on long car trips, learning new skills, documenting our travels... There's an app for pretty much every aspect of our lives.

I recently discovered the Jigsaw Puzzle app and it has become a favorite with the kids and I. The kids have long enjoyed playing jigsaw puzzles, but with limited storage space in our apartment there are only so many jigsaw puzzle boxes we can possibly fit into our lives. This is where the Jigsaw Puzzle app comes in super handy. With over 20,000 puzzles available there's always something new to play and I don't have to worry about making space on the book shelf for yet another box! Hooray!

The puzzles on offer in the app cover a wide range of categories when it comes to the designs. Animals, nature, art, landscapes, travel, food, maps... So many options, but the one thing they all have in common is stunning imagery and vibrant colors.

Jigsaw Puzzle app is incredibly customizable which makes it perfect for all three of the kids to play despite their age differences - and me too. The kids can choose how many pieces they'd like their chosen puzzle to be broken into; from 16 pieces for a Mathilde friendly game, up to 400 pieces for a challenge for Ava or myself. And that's just on the phone. On the tablet we can play up to 1024 pieces! Talk about a challenge!

The puzzles can be made more complex by selecting to have the pieces rotated at random, just like they would be with a physical jigsaw puzzle, or can be kept simple with them all facing the correct way up. Timers can be set, clues can be given, and the background display and music can even be selected. No matter how simple or complex the kids choose to make their puzzles, they're keeping their minds sharp and strengthening their analytical skills while being entertained.

One of my favorite things about the Jigsaw Puzzle app is that it can be played pretty much anywhere. We're out and about so much during the day and the app comes in super handy for keeping Mathilde, in particular, entertained while we're on the bus to speech therapy or watching Ava and Lola train at swim team. It's a fun app for when we're on the road, in the air or even just chilling on our roof deck, and I don't have to worry about losing pieces, which inevitably always happens when we take physical games or puzzles out and about.

Jigsaw Puzzle works with both Apple and Android products which means we can have it on all of our devices. Ava and I like to play on our phones while Lola and Mathilde prefer the large screen format on the iPad and Lola's tablet. 

Another one of my favorite things about the Jigsaw Puzzle app is that it gives me a great way to keep my mind sharp while I take a brief break with a coffee. I usually don't have the time to sit down with a book, but with this app I can keep my game as long or as short as I have time for by switching up the complexity. It's a great escape when I need it.

Are you a fan of playing jigsaw puzzles too? They're such a classic and I love that the Jigsaw Puzzle app makes it easy to have so many quality puzzles right there in my pocket.

Make sure to check out the Jigsaw Puzzle app on the Apple Store here or Google Play here.
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