We have special family recipes, fun and festive decorations, timeless traditions and my most favorite thing of all is using what we have on hand to execute these things!
Paper crafts have always held a special place in my heart. Ever since my oldest was tiny, we’ve been making crafts with printer paper, construction paper, coffee filters, etc. because they are quick and easy, and I always have it on hand!
Another bonus with paper crafts is that they are so easy to save. We all have that box (or boxes, if you’re like me) for storing our kids’ creations, through the years and paper crafts and coloring pages are by far the easiest to save!
Free Easter Coloring Pages
Since getting my iPad in October, I’ve been drawing non stop! I finally feel like my background in illustration can be put to use again, and I’ve been loving making coloring pages for my kids!
Before my iPad, I would draw pictures out on sharpie for the kids, and if they all wanted something different, they’d of course want what the other had! I still love drawing by hand, pen to paper, but digital drawing has become such a passion of mine that I love sharing with my family and friends!
For example, my sister works with elderly dementia patients, and I sent her these coloring pages. She sent me these photos when they were done and it made my heart so happy!
I made 3 different Easter designs, and I wanted to specifically offer them with different difficulty levels.
My Easter Bunny is loose and fun and perfect for little kids. The Easter Egg design has a little more detail. Finally the Easter Mandala design is very detailed with small spaces for more advanced coloring.
That’s not to say you couldn’t use any of them at any skill level! On the contrary, I’d love for you to use them all and feel free to express your creativity however it flows!
I’ve added easy links to the bottom of this post. To download, click the link and save from the window that opens!
From there, you can send to your printer at home or have printed at your local print shop ( FedEx, Kinkos, etc. )
I’d love to see what you come up with! Share your posts by tagging me on Instagram @kimilove so I can share them on my stories!
If you’re having a hard time dealing with canceled plans and quarentine life and want something to look forward to, something as easy as boxed cupcakes, a kid friendly grazing tray with what’s on hand, and homemade party hats is a fun and easy option!
See that little guy in the green hat? That’s Napoleon (named after one of the doggos from The Aristocats) and we threw him a stuffed animal birthday party.
I started working at Teddy Crafters, which was like Build a Bear, my senior year of high school, and he was the first plush I ever made for myself. Something about that scruffy fur and his droopy brow made me fall instantly in love with him! Napoleon has been through a lot with me – break ups, graduations, moves, marriage, our first house, 3 kids, and everything in between.
Why a Stuffed Animal Birthday Party?
I wanted to do something fun and unexpected to lift my family’s spirits. Why? To break up the quarentine-routine. For my anxious brain to have even a tiny excape from all of the the heaviness it’s been processing. Because we’ve been home since March 2020 due to my oldest and I both having asthma. We are taking all precautions when having masked / distances porch visits with family. We miss people. We miss parties. We miss so much. I wanted to surprise the kids by doing something completely unexpected, and Napoleon’s birthday party was just what the doctor ordered.
Since playgrounds and play dates and all the like are off limits and shut down, I thought what better way to have fun than throw a birthday party! I decided it was his 15th birthday (since that’s how long he’d been with me), and it was a perfect excuse to throw a party!
Stuffed Animal Birthday Party Details
The Guestlist: Every party needs guests! Along with the kids, each of them brought a “plus one” guest aka their favorite stuffed animal! You could go all out here and invite every stuffed animal in the house, or keep it simple with just the plush-guest of honor plus your family members.
Party Hats and Decorations: I’m a big fan of construction paper and paper crafts. You can whip up just about anything with some paper, glue, and a little creativity.
We used construction paper cut into circles, and formed into cones. Attach the open ends with tape and tie a string at the bottom! We made a rule that each guest in attendance, whether human or plush, must wear a hat!
You can also cut different color paper into triangles and make a bunting banner, make place mats and place cards, or anything else you can think of! It all depends on how much time you feel like dedicating to party set-up. Ultimately the choice is yours! It’s so fun to get the kids involved for all of this and they really enjoy being part of each step.
Music: Find a birthday party playlist on your favorite streaming station and pump those jams. We love the “Kid’s Birthday Party” playlists on Pandora & YouTube.
Party Food: You can go so many directions with this, and everyone has their preference. For this, we decided to keep it simple and use what we had on hand, along with some boxed cake mix.
I made a kid friendly grazing board, filled with fruits and veggies, cheese, salami, and little smokies. We served some of the smokies in a bowl, and some as “pigs in a blanket”. We already had everything on hand for this so definitely try to make the best with what you have of that’s your style too! You can make anything look more exciting by serving it on a cutting board! 😉
Sweet Treats: What’s a birthday party without cake…or in our case, cupcakes? I went with our go-to for kids parties: funfetti with rainbow chip frosting. Lucky for me, the funfetti mix comes in a gluten free option now as well!
An Easy and Memorable Party for the Kids (and maybe you too!)
And there you have it! Stuffed Animal Birthday parties are a fun and unexpected way to lift everyone’s spirits, not just during lockdowns, but anytime! Additionally, you could use this post as a sort of blue print for a stuffed animal THEMED birthday party for your kiddo! Just think, each of your child’s friends can bring their favorite stuffed animal along to the party! The sky’s the limit with creativity! If you throw a party for your plush pals, please share in the comments or tag me on social media ( @kimilove ) . I’d love to see what you come up with!
Here’s to coping, and making magic out of the ordinary.
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Create some Disneyland magic right at home, plus recpies for a DIY Dole Whip, Tigger Tails and more!
Where are my fellow DisNerds ?! It’s no secret that I LOVE all things Disney. As far as fandoms go- my biggest is Disney, hands down.
From growing up on the movies and shows and forcing my mom to start calling me Ariel at age 3, to visiting Disneyland almost yearly since I was 5, getting engaged there, and my obsession with Disney Trivia, Funko Pops and golden era animation – it’s just part of who I am, and I’m so happy that my kids now share in the love of all things Disney!
Many of you mamas are the same way, which is why I’m so excited to share this post with you! Be sure to read through for the DIY Dole Whip recipe!
We were fortunate enough to make it to Disneyland less than a week before the Coronavirus outbreak made it to California shut the park down (thank you again to my amazing Mom for taking us!! I’ll be posting more in detail on our trip soon, lots to share!) It was the twins’ first visit and they’ve talked about it non stop since we got back.
Being home with nowhere to go during lockdown, I wanted to do something extra special and fun for the kids, so I planned a Disney day for us! Check out the rest of this post for ideas on how to have your own Disney day at home!
Disneyland at Home
When the kids woke up, I told them all about our special day! First I asked them if they’d like to pick out a character to dress up as!
Now, they have a TON of Disney character costumes, but I wanted to have them use their imaginations and do a Disney Bound (using their own clothes to create a Disney character inspired look) instead. I think they did pretty great!
Easy DIY Mickey and Minnie Disney Costumes
The boys both picked “classic Mickey”, as they call him, and put together matching outfits! My oldest even had the brilliant idea to cut out little yellow ovals for their shorts which we taped on (so cute and creative of him, right!?).
Sis picked Minnie, of course, and used her cute polka dot pink dress and her pink sequin Minnie ears to get her perfect look! She has a plush Minnie with the same outfit so she thought it was REALLY cool getting to match her favorite toy!
Disneyland Park Music at Home
Next, we turned to our best gal Alexa to set the mood! There are a couple ways to enjoy Disney inspired sounds at home!
Our first, and most used option, is to say:
“Alexa, play Disney Hits music!” – This brings you to the Disney Hits station and plays all of your favorite songs from Disney movies like “I’ve Got a Dream” from Tangled, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan and so many more!
Second, which we loved using leading up to our Disneyland visit, you can say:
“Alexa, play Disneyland music!” – With this option, you will get to hear music played in Disneyland and on the rides! I really enjoy listening to Walt’s famous dedication speech: “To all who come to this happy place, welcome.” It makes me a little misty every time! This option also brings you music from Main Street, the Enchanted Tiki Room and more!
Last but not least is this hidden gem, which I wish I would’ve known about sooner! Sounds of Disneyland was shared in a Disneyland Addicts Facebook group in in and O…M….G! This website is amazing! You can listen to every single song from the parks! Rides, outdoor music, all of it. Just click on the little music note with lines icon to see all of the different sections! (See below) Check it out, you won’t be sorry: Sounds of Disneyland
Ride Disneyland Rides … Virtually
If you’re missing the rides at Disneyland as much as us, have no fear! There are all kinds of YouTubers who have recorded them for us to enjoy virtually! Grab a cozy seat in front of your TV or laptop and enjoy these POV (point of view) ride throughs!
You can even line your kiddos up in a laundry hamper and move them side to side and make the bumps along with the turns in the video! We did this when ours were smaller but now we enjoy raising our arms and leaning back and forth as if we’re actually there. Don’t knock it till you try it!
AND, here’s a BONUS video… If you grew up in the 90s like me, don’t forget to end your YouTube session with the classic Disneyland Sing Along video! Does this bring back any memories for you!? We watched this before every single trip, and now I get to share that magic with my kids! It’s so fun!
Disneyland Food and DIY Dole Whip Recipe
One thing I look forward to the most at Disneyland is the food! We all have our favorites, right? Before being diagnosed with Celiac, my ultimate Disneyland foods were their churros and the famous Monte Cristo from the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square!
Word on the street (or… in the Disneyland fandom groups I’m in on Facebook)…Tio Pepe’s makes the churros Disneyland uses, and they can be purchased in bulk at Costco. Don’t quote me on that, but it’s good to know you can find some pre-made yummy churros for your Disneyland day!
I’ve also always been a huge fan of Dole Whip! We always stop and grab a cup of that sweet pineappley goodness before the Tiki Room and eat while we enjoy the show!
While Dole Whip has always been near the top of my list since long before my gluten free days, I definitely have a new found appreciation for it as it’s something I know i can safely eat… so, we sought out a way to make it at home!
Lucky for us, Dole has a recipe for the DIY Dole Whip Recipe right on their website! You can find that recipe here or save this picture to your photos!
DIY Tigger Tails Recipe
6 Lollipop Sticks
1 Bag Jumbo Marshmallows
1 Bag Kraft Caramel Bits
1 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1 Bag White Chocolate Wafer Melts
1 Bag Chocolate Wafter Melts
1/2 tsp Orange Extract
1.Place 3-4 Jumbo Marshmallows sideways on each lollipop stick
2.In a large glass bowl, melt caramel bits in your microwave or over a double boiler according to directions on bag, stir in heavy cream
3.While caramel is warm but not hot, dip marshmallow skewers to coat. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet to set (about 10 minutes)
4.When caramel has set, melt white chocolate wafers according to directions and stir in orange extract and a few drops of orange food coloring until you reach desired color. Dip skewers to coat and place back on parchment covered cookie sheet to set.
5.Melt your chocolate wafers and using a spoon or a piping bag, add your Tigger Tail stripes!
*optional: • add a splash of vanilla to caramel. • set caramel dipped marshmallow skewers in fridge before dipping in melted white chocolate. • dip Tigger Tails in their signature orange sanding sugar after white chocolate and before chocolate stripes.
Recipes from Disney
Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic, Disney has also released a couple of their famous recipes for us to whip up at home!
We go all out at Christmas time, even outside. Decorations go up as soon as I can possibly get them up – sometimes even as early as Nov 1st. YEP! I’m one of *those* people. I jokingly refer to myself as “part Elf” for this reason.
‘Tis the Season for Holiday Magic
While many may not share my same early bird enthusiasm for the holiday of all holidays, I think it’s safe to say that a lot DO appreciate the decorations and they joy they bring!
If you didn’t see that post, I shared a before and after. Check out my porch BEFORE adding the holiday cheer!
Pretty basic stuff. A good spot to sit and sip coffee and enjoy the morning air, plants to add some pops of green, but far from festive!
So, the family and I made a trip down to Rocklin to our local Green Acres, and picked out some things to add just the right amount of Christmas to our space!
Christmas at Green Acres
We love these live trees they carry! Perfect size for porches or small living spaces! And since they’re potted, you can plant in your yard when the season is over and have your own live tree all year long! We got one of the small ones!
So many gorgeous fall & winter flowers! The kids loved looking at all the colors.
They also have a ton of cute decor pieces to chose from! These were some of our favorites!
We ended up taking home a beautiful wreath, a small live tree, a metal “Merry Christmas” sign, and a bag of pine cones.
Christmas at Rod Works
Next up, we went down to Rod Works, a destination for unique home decor! I needed a few things to add some Christmas magic to the porch!
One of our two local locations is relocating so the entire store was discounted for their moving sale. I always love browsing around Rod Works so I cant wait to see where the new location will be!
This was a first time visit for the kids and my husband, but they all loved the selection they had and ooh’d and ahh’d at what they’d found!
So many cute things for the holiday season, but they have things for all year round! My style is timeless decor that incorporates natural elements ( marble, wood, metals ) , and they have so much of it! This place is truly a home decor lover’s dream!
I ended up falling head over heels for a metal “silent night” sign, an antiqued brass jingle bell, a faux pine stem with mini pine cones, and a long strand of wooden decor beads, and I knew exactly how I wanted to use them!
Armed with the plants and pieces we got that day, and a few other pieces I’ve picked up along the way, it was time to add a little Christmas magic to the front porch! Check out how it all came together!
Simple Christmas Front Porch
I added a simple velvet bow to the beautiful pinecone wreath from Green Acres
The metal “Merry Christmas” sign we picked up at Green Acres made its way to our wall medallion!
I’m on the market for a galvanized bucket for my live tree, but I propped it up on a stool I had for a little height, added my plants (also, coincidentally from Green Acres!) to one side, and my trusty garden owl on the other.
The Silent Night sign and Jingle Bell from Rod Works make this spot a perfect little magic moment, and I added tall candles on either side to frame it out.
I love my little live tree from Green Acres so much, and the fact that we can replant it! We opted for the small size since we rent and this isn’t our forever home. This way we can add it to a larger bucket as it grows and eventually plant it in the ground when we do have a place to call our own.
Mini Live Christmas Tree
I carefully wrapped it in the decor beads from Rod Works, some gold bead & ornament garland, and battery operated twinkle lights. It adds the perfect sparkle at night and honestly I think it’s the cutest little thing!
I even topped it with its very own mini gold star!
Another fun and simple DIY was inspired by the bag of pine cones from Green Acres. Originally I was going to simply add them to a basket for the corner by the door, but I thought they needed a little more love.
Easy DIY Christmas Decorations
The pine cones got to keep their home in the basket, but instead of adding them to the corner, I turned them into a centerpiece for our outdoor coffee table!
I first put my potted plant in the center of the basket, surrounded the plant with the pine cones, and added a simple bow to the front! I put it in a metal serving tray to offset the color of the basket & table, and I love how it turned out!
If this were indoors, I would replace the plant with a pillar candle in a large hurricane vase filled with coarse salt to replicate snow. The possibilities are endless!
The faux pine swag made its way to my beloved salvaged window, got its very own velvet bow, and I also added a jingle bell strand for good measure and more sparkle.
We are so happy to have partnered with Green Acres and Rod Works for this classic and simple Christmas front porch makeover!
With just a little bit of effort and a whole lot of love, it’s easy to transform any space into one that brings joy and happiness to all who see it! We hope you feel inspired to add a little holiday magic to your home and life today! Happy Holidays!
*full disclosure: This post is in partnership with Nearly Natural. All opinions are my own.*
So many of you know me as your resident “plant lady friend.” And I love that. I get questions weekly about what the best plants are for beginners, how to propagate succulents, troubleshooting leaf discoloration etc. and am always beyond happy to help you navigate your own journey into plant lady land. It’s a thing, okay?
But one of the more common questions, er, statements rather, that I get is, “I love your plants, but I would kill mine.” Another common one, “I love plants, but they hate me.”
Some of you, we’ve been able to find the *perfect* plant for, and even pin point what has caused the demise of your plants in the past (hint: it’s usually overwatering.)
And some of you are perfectly happy not to bring in a new plant, knowing that it would surely meet it’s untimely demise if left in your care.
So, you guys, those of you with a “brown thumb,” I have found the perfect plants for you!!
With Spring always seems to come a sense of whimsy and wonder. Chilly winter wind fades away as new life sprouts from flora & fauna.
We watched Bambi last night as a family, and everyone’s eyes lit up (including my own) as the long, sad, (and for Bambi, heartbreaking) winter turned to spring! The forest was again full of vibrant colors, sunshine, and song!
I’ve always felt a strong affinity for the changing of the seasons, but winter to spring is especially magical. Don’t you think?
One think I try to stay mindful of is creating a home that flows with the seasons. To really appreciate each day we are given and all the beautiful things that come with it.
We love seasonal celebrations and crafts, so I thought I would show you what we’ve been up to so far this spring with some fun, easy, and budget friendly Springtime activities for kids!
With Easter being tomorrow, this had to be first! My kids love dying eggs, and for a cost of about $5, it’s a fun and easy activity my wallet loves too! Plus, you can eat your creation…soooo, obviously that’s a yes from me.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY IN THE GARDEN
Not only is gardening FUN, it also helps your kids learn where their food comes from! Having them involved in this process has been shown to encourage healthy eating, improve mental health, learn responsibility and hone their motor skills. Plus it’s a great way to bond outdoors and introduce them to some scientific concepts- like the effects of weather, sunlight and water for example!
ENJOY THE SUNSHINE
Now that the rain has stopped (mostly), we’ve been spending a lot of our time outside! Backyard hangouts are our favorite! Sometimes we have picnics, sometimes we blow bubbles, sometimes we play chalk. But we ALWAYS have fun!
FUN WITH FLOWERS
I love our plants, and anything to add to the collection is golden in my book! Last month, we each picked out a new flower ($2-3 each) and planted them all together in a big pot for the yard! The kids loved getting to pick and plant their own special flower and enjoy watering and admiring them!
SPRING THEMED PAPER CRAFTS
Paper crafts are easily my favorite thing to do with my kids. As an illustrator, my heart swells watching my kids use their creativity and imagination in this way!
If you follow me on instagram , you know that I’m ALWAYS sharing the fun crafts the kids and I do in my stories. Most of them are paper crafts, and with our little stash of craft supplies, they use all things we have on hand and cost us nothing extra! Here are a couple of our recent springtime creations!
Bingo Dot Easter Art
For these, I just drew a simple outline of a chick and a bunny on a piece of plain white paper. I gave them their bingo dot markers (found at Dollar Tree!) and let them go to town!
Fill the Basket
These were so fun! I drew them each an empty basket, and asked them how they would fill it! They had so much fun I made one of my own (bottom picture). I filled a muffin tin with a bunch of different crafty supplies, including yarn, googley eyes, beads, and paper cut to different shapes. Then I gave them each glue and a paint brush. They spent about an hour doing this! (Hint: would be perfect to set up to get some work done, or have a nice hot cup of coffee while they create!)
Here are a couple I have featured in my “Make” highlight on my Instagram. I didn’t take many photos, as they’re in stories. Head over to @kimilove to see these and more!
Carrots & Bunny Trap
I hope this has been helpful, and that you’ve gotten some ideas you can take and do with your own family! I will continue to add to the list as the season continues!
*full disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links! these links cost you nothing, but help to support kimilove.com*
Last week we had snow in my parts. Yep, sunny California foothills…SNOW. I have been waiting years for something like that, and then it HAPPENED! It wasn’t anything impressive; a far cry from a winter wonderland. BUT it was beautiful and exciting!
It got me thinking about all of my friends in other parts of the world who are truly in the heart of winter right now and how you all stay warm!
Running the heat can get expensive, fast. So I though of some ways to beat the chill without cranking up the temp!
With chilly fingers and toes in our 40 something degree weather, I’ve crowd sourced my readers and compiled a list of our favorite ways to stay warm without turning on the heater!
COZYING UP BY THE FIRE:
It’s no surprise that the fireplace was our number one way to stay warm! Nothing beats that soft orange glow, the crackle, and the peace it somehow brings along with it!
For those of you without a fireplace (it’s okay. our rental doesn’t have one either), there are some really great electric alternatives, like this one from Amazon! It has the look of a real fireplace with faux flames. Check out the electric fireplace here.
DRESSING IN LAYERS:
Can’t get in by the fire, or have a day outside planned? Be sure to bundle up! Layers help to keep your body temp up, and wool is especially insulating! I found some super cute wool pieces on Amazon! I’ll be sure to link them later, but for now you can go here to shop my Amazon favs!
One of the great things about cooking is that it keeps us moving, generating our own body heat. Plus the heat from the stove or oven helps to warm the house up at the same time! Another tip that Caleb an I do in the winter is to keep the oven door cracked when we’re done using it as the oven cools down because that residual heat will also warm the space up! Just be sure to keep an eye on your kids if you do this, of course!
WARM DRINKS AND FOODS:
This one is probably my favorite, because coffee! This one gets a bonus point too, because when you eat, it gets your digestive system & metabolism going which also increases that internal warmth!
The above were the top 4 mentioned ways to stay warm without using the heater, but here are some other great ways to get warm:
OPENING UP THE CURTAINS WHEN THE SUN IS UP
FLANNEL SHEETS ON THE BED
EXTRA THICK BLANKETS
USE A TOWEL UNDER THE DOOR TO LOCK IN HEAT DURING/AFTER A SHOWER
RICE BAGS OR OTHER MICROWAVABLE/ ELECTRIC HEATING PADS
EXERCISE (or DANCE PARTY!)
TAKING A QUE FROM THE CAT AND SITTING IN A SUNNY SPOT BY THE WINDOW
MAKING SURE YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS ARE SEALED PROPERLY TO RETAIN HEAT
Hopefully this helps should you ever find yourself needing to bundle up without the heater! Stay warm, friends!
One thing I want to get better at this year is sharing little tips and tricks, DIYs and other know-how in this space! I’ve got quite a few up my sleeve that I know you will love, I just sometimes feel like no one wants to hear them since I’m not 100% confident in my “voice” or my “story”.
But…I’m slowly but surely silencing that inner critic and doing my best to just keep putting myself out there with no expectations.
Honestly, I am working on blogging more in general, as I’m still fairly new to this side of things and still learning. Writing brings me so much joy, and we could all use a little more of what makes us happy right?
I’m a recovering perfectionist and trying to adapt to the school of thought that progress is better than perfection, so here we go! A little on-a-whim post for you!
By now, you know that I LOVE candles, oils, and scents in general, but am also highly sensitive to them triggering my migraines. I love a cozy smelling house but sometimes lighting a candle is a little too much- especially when it’s cold and rainy outside and can’t open the windows to air the house as it’s lit.
Instead, I whipped up a batch of my favorite quick and easy simmer pot, and I can almost bet that you have everything you need in your kitchen to throw on a pot of your own.
Here’s how easy it is, and it will have your house smelling like hot cider in no time!
Simply use a veggie peeler to peel the rind off the orange.
Cut the orange into chunks (no science behind how you cut, so do whatever makes ya happy!)
Slice up your apple (same, anything goes!)
Add the rinds, orange slices, and apple slices to a pot with your cinnamon, submerge in water and stir to sumberge & disperse cinnamon. Leave the pot to simmer, waft through the house, and evoke thoughts of skipping through apple orchards on a crisp fall day.
You can try any number of combinations! Such as lemongrass and ginger, or mint and chamomile! Sky’s the limit, and it’s so easy!