Holiday, Holiday, Kids, Lifestyle, Shop Our Instagram, Style

Coordinated Outfits for Family Photos

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season doesn’t involve the gifts, food, and all the craziness. What I look forward to, is keeping in touch with family and friends. And one way we do this is by sharing holiday cards! I love sending pics showing how much my kiddos have grown. And I really enjoy seeing all of the other family’s in our life- how much their kids have grown, the new additions since last year, and even the family animals that make it into the photos.

We have started a regular tradition of having a professional photographer (and now friend) take our photos each Fall. I love being able to look over the photos every year and look back on the different stages the kids were in. You don’t have spend a lot of money to capture wonderful images and have the keepsake of the different places you are in each year. A friend or family member might be willing to help or even set up a tripod to capture the moments!

To capture great photos (both classic and silly), no matter who the photographer is, I think it comes down to a great location, and a coordinated look. For a location, I have found that being outside in natural light, captures the best photographs. Over the years we have picked a range of places from parks in the country to historic sights in the city. My favorites have been the locations with rustic structures and interesting backgrounds like old buildings or water sources. This year, we chose the historic Valley Forge Park in Valley Forge, PA. What a place! Beautiful fields, rustic buildings, old stone walls, a wooden bridge over a stream- so many great photo ops.

Once I think of a location, I work on coordinating outfits. I usually don’t look for exactly the same item or print for us to wear. But rather colors or prints that compliment each other and pop in the photos. This year I was focused on a color scheme and was deciding between navy and green, red and black, and white and black. My go-to store/online retailer for family outfits has been the Gap Brands year after year. I find that they have so many trendy and classic styles and colors to choose from, that I have lots of options to work with between the brands to find the perfect look.

I always look for the kid’s outfits first. I find they are the hardest to land on for style and price. So by focusing on them first, I find it much easier to pair back the grown up outfits since ours are usually more classic items (hopefully that we already own or mostly own!) After looking at all of the options online, I selected the navy and green color theme. We are a very casual family so I like our outfits to reflect that. We are always in jeans for the most part. But I love having my daughter dress up in a pretty dress (while she will still wear one) to make the photos look a little more special than our day-to-day. I found this adorable navy dress with bright colored embroidery from Gap. It has a nice pop of color but still neutral being grounded in navy. When I saw the green and navy plaid shirt from Old Navy, I envisioned that they could work really well together.

Here are the outfit details for the kids (affiliate links):

My Son- Navy and Green Plaid Shirt / Slim Jeans (similar style) / Navy Hi-Top Sneakers (similar style)

My daughter- Navy Dress with Embroidery / Navy Cable Knit Tights / Silver Boots

Once I have the kids all taken care of, then it’s easier to decide on the outfits for the grownups. Since I grounded the looks in navy, I knew both my husband and I would wear navy tops or sweaters. Keeping the casual look, we both paired them with jeans. Then to keep overall look of being more casual with our outdoor setting, we picked tan/light brown shoes so they wouldn’t stand out too much.

Here are the outfit details for the grown ups (affiliate links):

Mom’s Outfit: Open Front Duster Cardigan (similar style) / Grey Peplum Tank (similar ss style) / Dark Indigo Jeggings / Tan Booties (similar style)

Dad’s Outfit: Marled Navy Crewneck Sweater / Straight Jeans (similar style) / Light Brown Loafers

I usually do a quick lay down as a double check that all the items will go together like this:

Once I feel good about the options then I just let the rest go and trust our photographer! When the kids were little, I stressed so much about getting the perfect shot, if they would smile, and if we would all look good in the same photo! But now over the years I’ve learned to just enjoy the moment! Like so many other moments and stages, you can’t control it all. And if you try to (at least for me), the fun is all gone. Documenting these family moments isn’t just about a good looking holiday card, but also about enjoying having fun and being silly all together. The amazing photos are just the extra bonus!

I hope you enjoy capturing the photos with your family- whatever that looks like to you. Just enjoy being together!

Here is the final product! And of course our other favorite family member had to join in the pic:)

xo,

Liz

Holiday, Holiday, Kids

Halloween Treat Bags

I love doing all the little things around the holidays which make it extra fun with the kiddos. They love giving their friends some treats for Halloween, but we are no longer allowed to bring in food treats due to allergies. If your kids like doing the same thing, here is a quick idea that you still have time for that will be fun to do and fun to give out. (These are also great for other holidays or celebrating bdays in the classroom).

The last few years we have created treat bags for their school friends filled with non-food treats like boucy balls, spider rings, pencils, notepads, bubbles etc. With multiple kids, making treat bags for over 40 kids can get expensive. But by going to a store where they sell these items in bulk like Target and the Dollar Store, you can give out cute treats without blowing your budget!

This year we chose Target and I let the kids pick out what they wanted to fill their bags with. I find that this activity allows the kids to feel part of the process and make the decisions, but I know it won’t end up costing me an arm and a leg!

I usually find these deals in the Target dollar section up in the front of the store or in the back corner where they set up their Halloween destination with candy, decor, etc. Here are the treats they picked out for this year as well as stickers to decorate the name tags (see below).

What’s also great about this project, is that the kids can basically do all the steps themselves. So they are empowered to figure things out but also feel a sense of accomplishment when they are done and pride when they hand out the bags to their friends.

First step is we start with making the name tags for each friend. We use a paper cutter to cut card stock into squares or rectangles. Then we use a single hole punch to punch a hole in the top corner. This is where we will attach the name tag to the gift bag.

Next comes decorating the name tags. This is by far my kid’s favorite step since I let them have free reign over however they want to decorate them. They use stickers, markers- whatever they think will look the best! My son can now write so he labels each tag with a friend’s name and then puts his name on the other side. My daughter isn’t able to fully write yet so I let her decorate one side and then I write From V on the other side.

Then comes the fun step of stuffing the bags! We separate each treat into a pile and the kids make sure there is one of each thing in each bag.

Final step is closing the bags. This is where the grownup may need to help a little. I use the twist tie to close the bag as well as attach the name tag. Loop the twish tie through the hole on the name tag. Then bunch the top of the goodie bag together, wrap the twist tie around the bag, and twist a few times. The bag should be secure and you should still be able to see the name on the tag. Voila! Here is the final product!

Hope you found this helpful and enjoy making treat bags with your own kiddos.

Happy Halloween!! xo, Liz

Holiday, Holiday, Kids

Group Candy T-Shirts- Perfect Family Halloween Outfit

The finished product!

Once I had my kiddos, I became much more excited about Halloween! I love all the prep- picking out pumpkins, making gift bags for friends at school, making sure we have the right amount of candy for the big night, and of course picking out the costumes! But when I have to find outfits for us all to wear as a family, that is where I struggle to think of something creative!

Last Halloween, we were invited to a Halloween party at my son’s friend’s house from daycare. I originally thought it was just a costume party for the kids, so I figured I was all set and they would wear their regular Halloween costumes that they were planning on wearing on Halloween night. But I was in for a big surprise two days before the party when I found out the adults had to dress up too!!! Ugh!

With very little time, I had to come up with outfits that I could buy or make in one day! I had seen someone post m&m shirts being sold online and figured- I could make those! So I headed over to AC Moore to figure out my game plan. By the way, I have been loving AC Moore. It has become by go-to for so many projects which I will continue to showcase here on the blog. Lot’s of great stuff and they are always having sales or coupons which make the projects very affordable.

I had never made these shirts before so I wasn’t sure of all the supplies I would need. But I made a list of what I thought and figured I would make it up as I went along! The kids loved being able to pick out their own colors. My only goal was to have 4 different colors so we could represent an m&m pack as much as we could.

Besides the actual t-shirts, here are the main supplies I needed:

  • Felt for the letter m. Black is shown here but used the same brand and size in white for the project
  • Glue gun and extra glue refills
  • Wooden letter m to use as an outline. I chose the lower case m to match the m&m logo

First step was I laid out the white felt into one big piece. Then I used the wooden m and traced it on the white felt 4x, 1 for each tee I was making. I then cut out each m using fabric scissors. You can use regular scissors, but I already owned the fabric ones and felt they cut a little faster and the cuts were cleaner.

Next step, I laid each tee shirt flat and measured where I wanted the m to sit. Once I decided on placement, I cut out a piece of felt to use for all of the other tees so that the placement was the same on each shirt. I measured from the neckline down so that the placement could be consistent even though the t-shirts were all different sizes.

When I was happy with the placement and ready to use the glue gun, I needed a hard surface to lay the shirts on and provide stability when gluing. I used a hard place mat which also kept the glue gun steady while warming up and not in use.

It was finally time to start gluing. Once the glue gun was warmed up, I applied the glue on the underneath part of the m, ensuring I kept the original placement on the t-shirt so they would all be centered. Once I did one pass of glue, I went back and glued again around the edges to make sure the felt stayed flat and secured.

Ta-da! And here is how they looked finished! I needed to give them a little while to cool down and dry. I also re-checked to make sure all the edges were sticking and laying flat. Then all we needed to do was pick out neutral colored clothes to layer underneath so the shirts would be the pop of color. And we were ready for the party!

All in all, it was a super easy project once I had the supplies. The most time consuming part was cutting out the m’s so that they were straight and neat. Gluing them down went pretty fast. I think the total project at home took me about 2 hours.

Hope you enjoyed reading about this project and that it inspires your own m&m group costume! Happy Halloween!!

Kids, Shop Our Instagram

Back to School Shoes! Ugh!

Now you all are very aware by now my love for shoes, well, apparently that has rubbed off on my kids as well………much to my dismay……..

This year is all about the White Sneaker. This trend has been evolving over the last year and is looking like it is at its peak and is popular among the tweens/teens out there.

Takes me back to the 80’s and my white Reebok high tops with my thick socks layered over my jeans. Who can relate our there?

Well, after many weeks of trying to make this very hard decision this is where my kids landed. Not all white but a nod to the trend none the less. Glad that pain staking decision is over!!

Adidas with rose gold stripes (comes in a few color combos; also BOGO 50% off plus 15% off with code SAVEASAP)
Pink Vans
Adidas NMD R1 (free shipping with code
Black Nike Flex Runner (BOGO 50% off plus 15% off with code SAVEASAP)
White Vans
Zebra Vans

I am not sure why I encouraged this but I did allow them a few choices and it was my son who took advantage!……… I figured they both need a non athletic sneaker, if that existed. Well, it certainly does as my kids were all too excited to let me know!

Now this trend is one I can also relate to! This one takes me back to the 90’s! If your child is like my son and has a hard time choosing, have no fear he can design his own!! This was pretty awesome AND right up my ally. Go here and you can choose the style, fabric, pattern, colors, everything and really make them your own! This is such a great idea for the super creative, the aspiring designer, or those that just can’t find the perfect pair!!

Bella, on the other hand, knew exactly what she wanted and went right for it! That’s my girl!

Now that we have survived the backpack decision, supply shopping, underwear stock up, the first week of school looks, and finally the shoes shopping, we can relax and enjoy the last 3 weeks of summer!

It all goes by way too fast! Enjoy!

Kids, Shop Our Instagram

Bella’s Back to School Haul: #TargetFindFriday! (Wednesday Edition)

For those of you who were involved in the backpack vote…….the DONUTS won! I have to say the backpacks by Trans by Jansport are a great choice for several reasons: quality, price, durability (they last multiple years of wear and tear) and style!

Bella’s Backpack
All Target Backpacks

Now that we have the backpack, we needed to fill it with all those fun supplies!! If you were not already aware Target’s website has a service that has all the supply lists from the schools in your area. Go here and you Just need to enter your zip code and then choose your school! You can then choose to pick them up in store or have them delivered to you! I wish I knew about this last year!

When it comes to the whole fashion aspect of the new school year my daughter is all about those new fall trends! And they are everywhere: denim skirts, leopard, graphic tees, and jumpsuits! I think she and Target nailed it! Everything fits true to size and all bottoms have adjustable waists!

Jumpsuit (sold out on website)/ sneakers
Tee / shorts / jean jacket / sneakers
Tee / shorts / jean jacket / sneakers
Top / skirt / vans

All links are commission links

Wishing you and your littles an amazing school year!!!

Kids, Shop Our Instagram

Back to School – pbk Backpacks and Lunch Boxes

I can’t believe some schools are already heading back to school! My niece and nephew are starting in a week in FL, but I know some schools in GA and AZ have already gone back!

We still have a few weeks left of summer here in the Northeast. My son won’t start 2nd grade till late August. But I have to start getting my ducks in a row sooner than later so I’m not super stressed out right before school starts.

First thing done off my list- his new backpack and lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids!

We got 2 years out of his last backpack (kindergarten and 1st grade). I was so impressed how well his last style held up. He could have used it again this year, it is still in great shape! But he has grown so much, he needs the next size. So we’ll be handing down his last one to his little sister.

Each year though, he needs a new lunch box. I don’t know what they do with them each day at school, but by the end of the school year, the lunch boxes are destroyed and so gross inside!

So I let my son pick out his new favorite styles to be in style in school year. Here he is showing off his new items and he can’t wait to use them on his first day.

All backpacks and lunch boxes are on sale and they ship free! I highly recommend them- a little more than some of the other stores, but based on all the wear and tear he has given them in the past, and how well they have held up, I think they are worth it!

Shop all the styles here

There are also food storage and water bottles that are perfect add-ons to be school ready! shop here

Mackenzie Blue Multi Dino Backpack – My son is wearing a size large and for reference he is 7 years old

Mackenzie Blue Glow-in-the-Dark Shark Lunch Box – We chose the “cold pack” style for this year and we’ve had other styles in the past that have worked well.

Kids, Shop Our Instagram

Early Back To School: #Targetfindfriday

Hey there!! While on my weekly Target stroll, Bella and I came across their amazingly huge BTS section…….. So of course Bella needed to try on EVERY backpack they had!!😂. Truthfully they did have an amazing assortment from character backpacks to teenage laptop bags. Check out Bella’s 2 favs!!

Donuts Backpack / Unicorn Backpack
All the Backpacks

Now that you have the backpack picked out you need to fill it with all the super fun supplies!! I found it amazing that they have, ready to go, the school supply list for every school and grade level in the area! This is huge because who really can remember what you did with the list that came home on the last day of school! Check out how to access this on the website here!

This is just the beginning!! We will be back with all our Back to School finds all month!!