Thursday, 31 March 2016

Cars! Cars! Cars! A Cars in the City third birthday.

Whelp, it's official. Our Vaughn-y is three, and his much awaited party post is here.

I started no less than three pin boards for this party, and ix-nayed a plethora of great options. His favourites seemed to change week-to-week day-to-day; such is the life of an almost three year old, but the constant, and his legit one true love, has, and may always be, cars. He can play with them for hours and we always have one in tow, just in cases. #namethatmovie.

Most car party inspiration seemed to be either vintage, Disney, or racetrack, which is totally cool, but not exactly what I was going for. I have, however, learned from parties past that the best inspiration comes from going out and seeing what is actually in stores. I love how it turned out. So bright and fun. Perfect for the first day of Spring.

A colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

The main colour inspiration was a set of moulded train cake cups that I tried to pass off as cars and a paper pack from Michael's in the same hues. I used the paper to make the banners "Vaughn is three" and "beep, honk, vroom", the triangle bunting, and accents on the cars. I obviously will have a tonne leftover, but that's how I roll. Eventually, I'll be able to throw a party without buying a thing. #lifegoals

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

We made the cars out of boxes bought in the packing section at Walmart, and I bought coordinating acrylic paint at Michael's. We just folded all the flaps in except one, and then folded that one flap in half to make a windshield. We primed and then painted them. They each took exactly one bottle of acrylic paint which happened to be on clearance. #score

colourful cardboard cars

Ryan added aluminum tape bumpers and Sharpied in the details. We cut out yellow and red circles for the head and tail lights, used   paper plates for the wheels, and yarn for the straps. 

colourful cardboard cars

colourful cardboard cars

The most dramatic element, I suppose, was the city streets that I taped onto the floor using electrical tape. The tile on the floor made this a cinch. If you were to try and do this on a non-tiled floor, you may go insane.(You have been warned.) The "grass" and "ponds" are painters tape/coloured  masking tape, which took a bit of effort to get off during clean up. It was a bit abstract for this age group, but it was still fun.

                          taped city streets for a car themed third birthday

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

I'm more than a little obsessed with these balloons. They were beyond expensive(wtf, helium), but totally worth it. I changed out the ribbon they came with to twine and instead of spending another $5 on balloon weights I used rice bags that I made for Lilah's first birthday. I'm not normally a huge fan of balloons, but I felt like this made them way cooler. 

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

taped city streets for a car themed birthday

We set up two other play areas. The baby zone, using a play rug, our crawl around car, and some chew friendly cars.

fun, colourful, car themed birthday

And train tracks city streets...because we used cars instead of trains. 

colourful, fun, car themed third birthday

Of course, despite all this, the hit of the party was....drumroll please...the ramp.

yarn tassel garland

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

I used narrow Washi tape to "draw" a cityscape backdrop behind the snack table. This was met with mixed reviews. As I was taping it I thought it looked boring so I added in some geometric accents...I thought it looked cool. Maybe that one blue building in the middle makes no sense, but you can't always control the creative mind. Ryan made futuristic flying car noises anytime we talked about it...It's a tad futuristic. Whatever. It's colourful, fun, and took no time at all to put up/take down.

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

Our snack table consisted of convenience store fare for our road trip. (get it? Hun? Hun?) Which was awesome because I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again, party food she ain't my forte.

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

We served up: hot dogs, individual bagged chips, popcorn, gold fish and Ritz crackers, hot rods, mini donut flaming tire pile, rice krispie stop lights, chocolate pretzel dip sticks, chocolate dipped marshmallow air bags, and car topped cupcakes. For the littles: veggie sticks, baby puffs, and yogurt drops.

a colourful, fun, car themed third birthday.

Vaughn thought it was the bees knees!

I Love hosting parties for our kids and with each one it gets easier and easier to throw together. I'm learning what works and what definitely does not! I know that someday they'll want to plan their own parties, or I'll decide I don't want to do it anymore(that's kind of how I do life), but for now...Par-ty! Par-ty! 

For more car party inspiration check out my Pinterest board here.

Later Gators,

Friday, 18 March 2016

Spring 2016 Capsule Wardrobe for Boys

As promised here is a look at Vaughn's capsule wardrobe for Spring 2016. I often hear people complain that there is not as much selection for boys, and it's true, there's not. Things don't change as much from season to season, or year to year, but it also means that hand me downs can last a long time without going out of style, which is a bit of a bonus for boring-er options, I suppose. The key to making boys outfits fun, and not so boring, is to mix up patterns and use layers. I love stripes, plaid and camo (obviously!)  

Row 1: Graphic tee / Striped polo / Short-sleeve plaid / Chambray windbreaker

Row 2: Pull-on fleece shorts (similar) / Flat front shorts / Flat front shorts
Row 3: 2-pack athletic pants / Casual jogger (similar)/ Twill pants
Row 1: Sunglasses / Trucker hat (no longer available / Bucket hat

For tips on how I put together a capsule wardrobe for kids, check out my post about it here, along with my picks for girls

And last, but certainly not least, Jonas. He is living in the lap of hand me down luxury, but I can't resist adding a few pieces to his wardrobe for Spring. I would definitely keep any baby buys on the smaller side as they tend to grow oh so fast, and can easily grow out of clothing before they've had a chance to wear it! Buying a capsule wardrobe like this makes the most of the months weeks that you will need it to, before your peach outgrows it all...overnight.

I'm loving these outfit collages. I think I'm going to print them out for quick reference on busy mornings when I don't have the time, or more likely the energy, to come up with fun outfits. I'm sure it'd help Ryan out a tad bit, too!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

How-to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Kids

Unless you've been living under a rock, you are well aware that capsule wardrobes are hot AF, and for good reason. The key is, that all the items fit well and go together, for unlimited outfit making potential. I usually do a version of this with my own wardrobe, due to my day job, which when I am back at it, I hope to share more details about, and I've ALWAYS done it for the kids. I never buy in "outfits" i.e. one pair of pants that only goes with one shirt, and it makes life so much easier! I swear. There is a little more effort and money put in upfront, but you can be sure your kid will never rarely look like a nightmare, no matter who dressed them, because it all goes together. It saves time, money and sanity in the long run. So here's how to do it.

1. Pick your favourite stores. I shop value brands exclusively. Joe Fresh, Carters/Oshkosh, and Old Navy. I find the prices are similar to buying used, but this way, I can curate the wardrobe online, wait for a sale, and try it all on at home(which with a toddler is pretty freakin' key). Obviously, you can buy whatever brands you like, I just find this to be the most practical for my budget. I would say, to eliminate being overwhelmed with options, pick a max of three or four stores and stick to them for the big buy.

2.  Shop seasonally. Although it may seem like a larger investment up front, I rarely buy the kids clothes outside of the big buy unless there is something specific that we need. Over the winter I've needed to purchase new mitts (lost), new sneakers (worn out), and pyjamas (outgrown), but that's it since fall.

3. Figure out what you need. Go through your kids closets and dressers. I purge regularly, so I rarely have items that no longer fit, are stained or are worn out in the kids' rooms, but if you do, chuck, store or give away this stuff now. Each change of season I will see if anything fits from last year (so, right now I'm assessing rain boots, splash pants, coats, swimwear, footwear(sandals, park shoes), and shorts) so that I don't over buy and I know what I absolutely need to make sure I get. I also plan if there are upcoming special events that I might need fancier outfits for (Easter, parties, school function, etc.) 

4. Pick a colour scheme. Each season, stores have a few different collection options based on style and colour story. Chose the one you like best and start from there. We've been doing Coral, light pink, olive green, and navy blue for most of Lilah's wardrobe, and Vaughn is navy blue, light turquoise, gray, and orange. This makes adding things in season-to-season easier, and they are the colours that look best on them.

5. Pick all. the. things. At first. On-line shopping has made this so much easier. When Lilah was a baby I used to grab everything I liked in her size and literally curate my capsule in-store. Yup, I'm that guy. I still do the same thing on-line but now I'm sitting on my couch, with a beer, and there are no judging eyes wondering WTF I'm doing. You can either save everything to Cart or save pictures to a file on your desktop (this is what I do, because I tend to shop from different stores, I can see everything in one place).

6. Curate. Once you have all the pictures of things you like, you whittle it down. Anything that doesn't match the overall colour scheme or isn't overly practical, gets the boot. I sometimes have to pick favourites to make it within budget, which I establish before I start. If necessary include socks and accessories, too. Nothing worse than a mismatched sock, I tell you! Make sure everything can be mixed and matched, that you don't have too many of a specific item (no kid needs 10 pairs of shorts), that you have enough to last the season (you might need more than 2 shirts), and that you have included versatile, comfy shoes and outerwear, if needed.

Ta-da! There you have it. A curated, seasonal, kids capsule wardrobe. I fancied up Lilah's Spring picks in PicMonkey to show you the end result. I think I might even print off the outfit inspirations for us to reference on busy mornings. In case your wondering, I do run everything by Lilah first and make sure she's on board before I buy, and anything she doesn't like or find comfortable when we try it on, goes back. I'm not a wardrobe tyrant ;)

A couple things I personally don't do.

1. Buy off season. I find it too hard to gauge what the kids sizes will be. I've always missed the mark when I've done this (too big or too small) so I stopped.

2. Buy Clearance. It's way too easy to be lured by the low price and end up with too many items that don't match. If it's something you've been needing/wanting by all means, go for it, but don't wait for high clearance if your hoping to build a cohesive wardrobe.

3. Buy expensive items with the intent to hand them down. I have so many items that are value brand that are still kicking around and many that have been long trashed. I wouldn't be able to relax if I was worried that something HAD to make it through all three kids and, like I said, most of the value brand stuff has held up phenomenally.

Phew, did you make it?  Don't worry. I'll be sharing the boys capsules soon, and in case you thought I forgot, Swimwear!

P.S. I realize that a sweet wardrobe does not equal happy kids, and I don't think it's at all necessary. If this is not your jam, that's totally ok, and probably more normal ;)

Later Gators.  

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Robin in the Rain

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Spring has officially sprung.

This weekend listening to me talk about the weather forecast prompted more than one person to reference this Rick Mercer skit.

Well, I'm here to tell you, it's no even hit double digits today! Now the crap part is, all that snow has got to melt, so all the paths and streets and sidewalks are basically mini rivers. On Tuesday, I was out for a much needed walk with the boys. Trudging along, pushing my double stroller with as much gusto as I could muster through the icy puddles, feeling the sun on my face and the warm breeze in my hair. Loving the heck out of life. I must have looked hell-a crazy because a woman felt the need to holler over from her precarious perch on the snow bank "Look at you go in them boots!". It was odd, but nothing was gonna bring me down. I waved high and mighty to my adoring audience and shouted "You need to get some" and as I kept on trucking, I thought "She knew I meant rain boots, right?". 

The same day Ryan came home from work with soaking wet feet. He's a delivery driver, so he's braving the elements, and the sidewalk rivers, all day long. As I was looking for some manly waterproof boots for him, I realized there are so many fun rain boots out there for the likes of me, and lucky ducks, I'm going to share my favourites with you now. 

Get your soggy socks ready for my rain boot round up (say that five times fast!)

I can't even handle all the goodness.

Um, and I guess I should also show you what I found for Ryan. Now, the first thing I did was Pin-search "rain boots for men", and I've got to tell you it seems that unless you are a farmer or John Mayer, than you are not wearing rain boots. Poor men and their wet feet. I narrowed it down to these picks, and really I love them all, but I don't think puddle jumping is in the cards as none of them cover more than the ankle. #suckstobeaman#fashionfirst#gottalookcool

I bought my puddle trudgers a few years ago at Target and they are still rocking it, but with all the walking I do whilst at home with the little rascals, I'm going to get myself these and these, too! Happy puddle jumping!

Later Gators,  

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Lilah's Four-zen Fourth Birthday Party

Welcome to Arendelle, aka, the community centre. In case you are unawares, I have decided to subject you to the parties of my past, all of which I've thrown at this hot spot, in preparation for Vaughn's third birthday, which will be held at guessed it, community centre! Get pumped people.

I jazzed up this picture in Picmonkey (like I do all my invites) for Lilah's Four-zen party. See what I did there? I got the idea from Emily at Second Story Window

There was absolutely no question in Lilah's mind what kind of party she wanted. She, like everyone else in 2014, was obsessed with Frozen, and I mean, really, for good reason. It is one of my favourites, too. However, I've never been a fan of character d├ęcor. Someday I might get over that, but at the time I was going for a frozen theme without using the character images, and truth be told there wasn't much to be found at the time, now it's EVERYWHERE!

There was an ice cream slash hot chocolate bar. I scribbled this frozen quote on the chalkboard just as the party was about to start.#lastminutebridget. I accidentally bought HUGE tubs of "ice milk", didn't know that was even a thing. It's not good. Thankfully, we had tons of toppings and hot chocolate to melt it with. (Have I ever mentioned that party food is not my forte? It's not.) 

These photos are pre-food set up, but you get the idea!

Anna, Elsa and Sven crowns/tables are from IKEA. I hung a snowflake on the back of each chair with grey feather yarn. I thought it kind of looked like icicles.

Party activities included, but were not limited to, drawing on the kraft paper wall, throwing indoor snowballs, building an Olaf, and covering yourself from head-to-toe in homemade play snow.

At the end of the party, each kid got to take home a small mason jar of glitter GAK. I covered the mason jar lid with the same paper as the hanging paper doilies to pretty it up. Since we were also Frozen for Halloween we let Lilah and Vaughn wear their costumes to the party. Super fun! 

I realized that the key to being able to get all the decorations
done without losing my mind is to book the space for two days. That way, I can set up the day before and I'm not rushing the day of the party. I did it again for Vaughn's upcoming birthday, hopefully, we can get everything ready in time!

More frozen party pinspiration here.

I got one more party coming at you next week, before Vaughn's third birthday! And then a much needed kid party break until August!

Later Gators,