5 of our favorite traditions

It's been awhile since I've posted on here and as I was folding the laundry last night a post idea came to me that I wanted to share right away with you guys!! After (almost) 5 years of being a Mom and especially as our family has grown, we've added so many special traditions in to our everyday routine. For us, we often do them without thinking but for many of you they might be totally new or spark other ideas of how to have some extra fun and make your days with your kids a little more special!!

one / Taco Dates

Perhaps one of my favorite things ever, twice a month Olivia and I go out for tacos for lunch (and chips & guacamole of course). We both love tacos and it's an excuse to get out of the house, just the two of us, and really spend some uninterrupted time together. Olivia is my best little helper -- when she's not at school, she's at home helping me dress her sisters, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher etc. Two nights ago we were eating lasagna and Olivia stood next to Adaline, feeding her with a spoon and said, "I'll feed Della, Mama, so you can eat your food while it's hot." I just melted when she said that. She has such a servant heart!! As a way to celebrate her, I love taking her to lunch, talking & listening with her, asking her questions, laughing and just being together. If you have an older child that you could do this with, even if it was one time a month, I highly recommend it. Maybe it's not lunch and instead it's going to a coffee shop for hot cocoa or going out for icecream or to the book store to choose a new book...whatever they love, integrate more one on one dates with your child in to your routine. Especially for the oldest child who was used to being the only one but now has younger siblings and has to share you, it fills them up so much!!

two / Painting Pajamas

Our girls love art. They ask to color or paint multiple times a day, every single day. I was getting tired of always scrubbing their clothes (even if they weren't wearing anything special) and painting had become such a chore because I dreaded the mess it always created and the laundry that piled up. Then it dawned on me: just like a child has "play" clothes for the park, we are going to have an outfit that the girls can put on any time they want to paint, that I won't ever scrub the paint out of, and then I'll toss it once they've outgrown it. Of course, pajamas are basically the most fun thing to wear ever, so a few times a year I buy a very inexpensive pair of pajamas for both Olivia & Penelope and anytime they want to paint, they know they need to put on their painting pajamas. Theirs are covered in every color imaginable and even though I wash them each week, the stains are definitely staying. They love putting them on and getting out their painting supplies and I don't care how messy they get, a total win-win.

three / Bedtime Calm

I'm pretty sure our girls would snack all day long if we let them, and I feel like 10 minutes after dinner, they are already asking for more snacks!! Instead of getting in the habit of a bedtime snack each night, we make our girls a calm drink (they sell it at Whole Foods & online). I've shared about this supplement in the past, because Dustin and I both drink this one, but it's basically a liquid magnesium supplement that tastes fruity and sweet. Studies have suggested that more than 60% of people in the world are deficient in magnesium so there is a good chance you and your kids might be too. About half an hour before bed, Dustin makes Olivia and Penelope a "calm" and they sit on the couch and drink it together. Then they go upstairs to get washed up and brush their teeth. They request one every single night and the best part is...magnesium not only supports your bones, heart and mood but it relaxes you and helps you sleep!! I notice they sleep so much better after they've had one and it satisfies their craving for that bedtime snack while benefitting their little bodies!

four  / Penny Jar

I mentioned how Olivia helps me so much around the house and about a year ago (around age 3.5/4), we introduced what we call a Penny Jar. We wanted a way to reward Olivia for how much she helped and for obeying, listening, etc. that she could physically see. We did do sticker charts for awhile (especially when we potty trained her) but noticed she loved taking coins out of her piggy bank and counting them on her bed so we thought pennies would be perfect. For many of the things she does around the house, she gets a penny. If she folds her laundry and puts it away, she gets a penny. If she does something that I don't even ask her to do (like bring Penelope and Adaline's water bottles to the table at lunchtime), she gets a penny. If I have something that I need help with, I say, "I've got a penny job for you! Let me know if you want it!" About 9 out of 10 times she wants to do whatever I'm asking and then gets rewarded with a penny to put in her jar. Certain things have become part of her routine (like getting Adaline's coat on her every morning before we leave the house) that I don't give her pennies for that anymore, but I did the very first time she did it. The concept is to introduce a new task or chore, reward them for it, and then encourage them as they learn it so it becomes part of their routine and they complete the task without hesitation or needing a reward. Then when you notice something above and beyond (maybe something they've never done or something they don't do often) or you introduce a totally new task, you reward them. You can then decide if you want to offer a "big gift" like a new book, a movie night, a new toy etc. once they reach a certain amount of pennies, but really it's the process that Olivia enjoys. Working hard, helping out and earning something she can see and count. She feels good about herself and her abilities when she sees she has earned something, but because it varies how she earns them, it's not necessarily something that feels like an allowance or a chore. 

five / 3 x 3 x 3

I shared this on instagram earlier this week and so many of you commented how you want to start doing it with your kids. I don't even remember how I started but once Olivia was really able to speak in full sentences, I began asking her the same three questions every night at bedtime: What were your 3 favorite parts of the day? What 3 things are you thankful for today? What 3 things are you looking forward to? As I lay in bed with her each night, I ask her these and it gives me a beautiful look in to her heart. Sometimes her favorite parts of the day were things I completely overlooked (like eating breakfast together or reading a certain book or hearing a specific song on the radio on the way to school) and other times she shares things she is thankful for that I had never even thought of or taken the time to appreciate. I also love hearing what she is most looking forward to -- I think it's so important not only to live each day in the present as it's happening, but to make and share plans with our kids that they can look forward to and get excited about. Think about that feeling of having something awesome to look forward to, it's one of the best ever. I love knowing Olivia can experience that feeling too, each night as she thinks about what she can look forward to that week or weekend or even coming later that month. 

I hope this gives you some new ideas of fun things to do with your kids and create some new traditions in your home!! I'd love to hear how you make your day to day special and what you do in your family that others may not! Have a wonderful rest of your week!! XO


february love list

We are almost a week in to February and I have so many favorite things to share!! We celebrated Adaline's Golden birthday last week when she turned 1 on February 1st. She started the day with a pumpkin muffin and wasn't quite sure what to think about the candle and singing and all the excitement (this is hands down one of my favorite photos of her ever because of her cute little expression -- she looks just like Dustin). Then that evening we had a small family party for her and had so much fun watching her dive in to a big cupcake and open her presents. This past year since she was born has gone by so fast -- I'm convinced that the more babies you have, the faster time flies by. It's so bittersweet to watch them grow so quickly but deep down I know we're not quite done having babies so there is also so much to look forward to!

I wanted to share a few of the things I've been LOVING lately!! 

one | If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your girlfriends, your Mom or sisters, try this grapefruit & peppermint sugar scrub made using coconut oil and essential oils. It's so simple to make and you can personalize it with a cute hand stamped or hand-written tag and message. A thoughtful way to pamper the mamas in your life and it smells incredible! 

two | And if you love essential oils as much as we do, Essential Glow has become my new favorite book for all things DIY.

three | How darling is this polka dot sweatshirt?! I recently got it for Adaline and its even cuter in person. It's so Springy and fun.

four | The sweetest book we have been reading nonstop lately with the girls.

five | The espadrille sandals that have me dreaming of Spring. I got mine in cognac but they also come in black.

six | The cutest popsicle nightgowns for the girls. We love everything Tea Collection makes and their newest arrivals are so much fun. Thinking the nightgowns will have to make their way in to Olivia and Penelope's Spring baskets this year!! Also loving these cute socks for Della, this Make Waves swimsuit and this Tropical Floral swimsuit. Clearly, Summertime is on the brain over here. I blame it on being knee-deep in snow and below zero temperatures.

seven | If you're looking for a Valentine's book for your little ones, If I Wrote A Book About You is a favorite of ours. The girls have also been requesting Snow Sisters nonstop. They love reading it together and pointing out which girl is Poppy and which girl is Olivia (the one with the braids of course). They also love the kitchen baking scenes where Poppy makes scones and then a few pages later, Olivia puts the icing on, especially since we make scones together a lot. This would make a sweet gift for one sister to give to another.

eight | The coziest sleep hoodie ever. I haven't bought new pajamas in so long and stumbled upon this the other day with Olivia. It's lightweight enough to sleep in and so so soft. I have been living in it!!

nine | The book I recently picked up for myself but that would also make a great gift for a new Mom. I am always finding new books to read and my stack is ever-growing, but this one seemed like a perfect fit. Excited to dive in soon!

ten | Polka dot shoes with Poppy's name all over them. I mean, how cute?! She has outgrown her current pair of tennis shoes so I've got my eye on these for her. Bonus: Thinking they will be easy enough for her to get on and strap by herself.

eleven | The Valentine's cards I just couldn't pass up for Olivia's class party. She is so excited to pass them out to all her friends!

Hope the month of love has been wonderful for you so far!! If you've got any favorite things this month, send them my way!! XO

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