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Throwback: DIY Matchbox Monster Mouth Favors

Nothing says, "last-minute Halloween craft for preschoolers" quite like these super quick, inexpensive, fun matchbox monster mouth favors. I whipped them up a couple of years ago for kiddo, but now that she's practically grown (in elementary school), her little sister's preschool class can reap the rewards of this old school spooky treat box.

Swing by my Momtastic post to see the entire DIY tutorial.

4 Guilt-Free Summer Treats

This summer, I'm whipping up lots of cool desserts to beat the heat. In fact, I created four healthy, fruity, sweet treats for Momtastic. Each one uses Arctic Zero, instead of ice cream, so you can indulge without the snacker's remorse.  Check out these strawberry watermelon floats, coconut mango pineapple popsicles, coconut pineapple shakes, and strawberries and cream "ice cream" sandwiches.

Swing by Momtastic to check out my 4 Arctic Zero Dessert Hacks post.

Decadent Grilled Summer Desserts

BBQ season is here! It was 80 degrees this weekend in Minnesota, and we celebrated accordingly. Saturday was all about both kids' dance recitals. Even though that ate up a large chunk of the day, we still grilled and dined al fresco (which is just the snooty way I like to think of our deck). I squeezed in some quality gab time with the neighbors while the kids played in the pool. Note: going down a slide in a wet swimsuit will basically turn a four year old into a rocket.

We also managed to squeeze in a bike ride on a trail near the house, which was a MAJOR advancement for the older kid. We've trying to get her confidently biking for three summers. It seems like every time we take a break over the winter, it's like starting from scratch again in spring. That saying about bikes and never forgetting is clearly false. I feel lied to. We did a little geocaching on the trail, which was awesome. I pretend we're on a family version of Amazing Race while we blindly follow the compass from one spot to the next. The kids hit the motherlode of goodies in a geocache hidden in the rotted out hollow of a tree in the woods. All in all, fun was had.

One of the yummiest moments was when we threw some chocolate, cookie, marshmallow, butterscotch-filled ice cream cones on the grill for dessert. Yeah, it's exactly as sticky and delish as it sounds. Swing by my 15 Summer Desserts for the Grill post on Momtastic for the how-to on those cones and so many more summer-y sweets.

(image & recipe: Brit & Co.)

DIY Abstract Art Heart Valentine's Day Favors

It's finally candy month! Er, um I mean the month of love. Yes, Valentine's Day is almost upon us, and the kids and I spent a snow day crafting our little hearts out (pun totally intended). We recently were invited to see The Children's Theatre production of The Frog Bride, and the vibrant, abstract backdrops in the play inspired our Valentine's favors.
The play was unlike any children's play we'd ever seen before. Instead of elaborate sets and a whole cast of characters, The Frog Bride features only writer/director David Gonzalez, pianist Sergei Prokofiev, and violinist Daniel Kelly set against a multi-media backdrop. The story all comes alive in Gonzalez's colorful narrations, which are partnered with abstract, watercolor splashes on the screen. This uncluttered performance really allowed the kids to use their imagination to envision the characters, the scenario, and the story's clever plot twists. The jazz music kept everything lively and engaging.

These DIY Abstract Art Hearts are perfectly unique and wonderfully inexpensive. Even my youngest was able to get fully involved in this project to create watercolor Valentine's cards for lots of friends and family. They're impossible to mess up, and that's a full-on win in my book. Because, ain't nobody got time for frustrated kids. Check out the entire how-to below.

LA, Here We Come!

Yup, I'm in the Mom Squad. Last month, kiddo and I flew to LA for a fun video shoot. Before we dive into the shoot details, let's just talk about the logistics of getting there, shall we? 

I've been to California before, but never the LA area, and the mere idea of the 101 was giving me heart palpitations. This would also be my first trip where we weren't meeting up with a family member or friend at the airport. Basically, once we got on our flight from MSP, we were on our own. I was terrified about getting lost, ending up on a future episode of Criminal Minds that centered on a deranged Uber driver, and a million other catastrophes. 

I was also wrestling with managing all of these variables on a really tight timeline. I knew this would be a fun memory for us to have of "that time we did that thing," but I'm still a mom, so school takes priority. I wanted to minimize how much school she missed, so here's how we rolled:

  • Mon 3 pm : leave school, head directly to MSP
  • Mon 9 pm : arrive in CA (We lost 2 hours on the time change.)
  • Tues 9 am : arrive on set 
  • Tues 1 pm : get thee to the airport
  • Tues 11 pm : land at MSP, drive home, sleep
  • Wed 8 am : school time!
We made it! We caught each connecting flight, didn't get assaulted by a cabbie, and had the best day with an amazing crew. The makeup artist even hooked me up with the perfect, customized nude lipstick.

We were onset in an amazing private residence for a Playtime with Mom segment for Momtastic. We talked about all of the fun things we do together and her never-ending quest for a dog. Luckily for her, StarLily is getting her closer to accomplishing her goal.

I'm supa dupa happy to report that everything went so smoothly. Kiddo only missed one day of school, and she was up and ready to go the next day. I was crossing my fingers that she wouldn't be a moody, groggy mess, but she was great. Be sure to check out our Playtime with Mom video. It's a two-parter, so be sure you give that right arrow a click after the first one.
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