Makeover Monday: DIY Greeting Cards a Toddler Can Make

I’ve been meaning to post these a while back, but I figure since Mother’s Day is coming up (hint…hint), I figured this would be a timely post!

I figured out an easy way for your young’n to help make a legible greeting card for any occasion, and it’s quick! You don’t need any artistic skill whatsoever, just a little patience to let the paint dry. The pictures are from a farewell gift for one of my daughter’s teachers. She was wonderful, and was leaving daycare to pursue her advanced degree.

Tutorial: DIY Greeting Cards

Even very young children can make a legible card!

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St. Patrick’s Day with a Toddler

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Mommy loves theme days. A lot. It means cute clothes, fun food ideas, and possibly crafts.

This is what I’d envisioned for our St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick's Day crafts, food, and fashion

Thanks a lot, Pinterest, for filling my head with THESE gorgeous ideas. via: Stretching a Buck Blog, LushHome, whatdoiwear, momtastic, and Etsy

Roll eyes, snort, guffaw…that didn’t happen.

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A Very Vickers Holiday Card

Every year I do something a little different for our family holiday card. I love getting photo cards from friends and family far and near, so I always like to incorporate our pictures somehow. However, since I’m a designer, I physically can’t bring myself to send a pre-designed card. Ever. So, I do my own.

This year, I was running a little behind, so I made it a New Year card. We’ve had a pretty stellar year: moved into our dream house, have a great daycare, work is going great, so the image that popped to mind when reminiscing about last year was Santa riding a unicorn. This thought would not leave my head, and so I had to go with it. Presenting this year’s card:

Family holiday card

Technically, we sent this in 2014.

The trick is to use normal-looking images of us, with a little something extra going on (that you may not notice right away.)

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Free DIY Advent Calendar for Kids

Now that the holidays are over and we’re deep into January gloom, I can reflect on our first Advent-ure with an advent calendar. (See how I did that?) I wish I could tell you that I had a deep understanding of the advent tradition. In my family, it was just a countdown to Christmas. Some years my great aunt would send us a calendar with a little chocolate behind each day, and most years, we’d move a small teddy bear around an advent quilt. Since I didn’t want to get the kiddo all sugared up every night before bedtime, and I don’t have the skills to make an advent quilt, I decided to go with what I know: Post-Its and doodles.

DIY Advent Calendar

All you need is some poster board, Post-It notes, and markers (maybe stickers too, if you’re feeling crafty)

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Toddling Around Spain

We just got back from a two-week trip traveling through Spain with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I know, poor me. But in the true spirit of being Committed, it did get a little crazy.

Toddling around Spain.

Balloons make everything better.

FIRST. 
I loved the trip. The architecture was amazing, the culture is admirable (drinking and eating all the time! Siestas!) The wine was cheap and delicious. Oh, the food…

BUT.
The kiddo was a handful. She may read this years down the line, so I don’t want her to feel like I’m putting her down. It wasn’t her fault–the 9 hour time difference was rough on all of us. And she’s 2 1/2, which means discovering strong preferences, a desire for instant perfection (well, we never outgrow that, do we?), and just general upsettedness at basically everything. We thought her familiarity with travel might make things easier, which it probably did (but didn’t feel like it at the time).

Toddler dinner in Spain.

Sometimes kiddo had a low sitting threshold.

SO.
For this post, I’m going to focus on how we handled the tears and tantrums. (HINT: Wine. Lots of wine.)

We learned a few things on this trip, lessons that weren’t too unexpected:

  • Lower your expectations for how much you’ll get to see or do each day
  • Respect the schedule, but sometimes stretching it to experience something amazing is worth the crankiness
  • Staying in one place is MUCH easier than hopping cities (duh, but it was worth a shot)
  • Twos CAN be terrible, but they can also be amusing
  • Rely on your partner and take the burden if you’re up to it
  • Talk through your plans first (ie, how are you going to get off the train? Who is carrying the car seat? Carrier on the front or back?)
  • The carseat & baby carrier were helpful. We were glad to leave the stroller at home.
  • Don’t forget that you’re ON VACATION and laugh and enjoy the little things as much as possible.

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Halloween, Already?

Halloween in our family is a REALLY. BIG. DEAL.

Actually, we take any excuse to dress up in costume. My husband loves the decorating. I love the candy. The kiddo will hopefully love all of the above.

Since we’ll be traveling this year and missing out on the good ol’ American fun, I thought I’d walk down memory lane and share a few of our costume ideas. I’m sad to not do what we had planned, but hey, I’ll take a trip to Spain over a good costume any day!

The Magician, His Rabbit, and the Assistant

Magician costume for baby

A magical family costume idea for babies or toddlers.

I don’t know where the idea came from–I was trying to find something cute for my then-8 month-old that would work in a carrier and that we could integrate as a family. I found the bunny costume at a consignment shop, and the rest was history!

We won 8 pounds of Vermont cheddar for our efforts. I’m not kidding. We ate it all. Also not kidding.

I wish I’d taken pictures of the making of this, but I’ll try to describe it in simple detail.

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5 Reasons The Long Weekend RULES

5) I don’t have to look at painter’s tape for THREE DAYS.
Sidebar: this has been the project from hell. Talk me off a ledge if I attempt a painting project this large on my own again.

Paint project from hell.

Want to paint a stairwell, basement hall, bedroom and bathroom? Don’t.

4) NO WORK! MORE BEER TASTING!
Freelancing is 24/7. Shutting off my brain and laptop for the next three days.

Committed goes beer tasting

Taking a much-needed break, 4 ounces at a time.

3) I get to hang out with these two lovely people.

Committed Long Weekend Food

Good food with good people.

2) Bike! Bike! Bike!

Committed Takes the Toddler for a Bike Ride

Without an agenda, we’re putting the “joy” in “joyride.”

1) SLEEPING IN.
Fingers crossed that kiddo sticks with the 9:45 wake-up call that has been once per weekend.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Got any plans to get out of town?

Fitness is a Family Affair

We had ants in our pants this weekend. Kiddo was running wild, definitely restless, and DEFINITELY not up for sitting in the bike trailer for an hour while mommy and daddy went for a joyride to get some exercise.

So. We did a family workout instead.

I’ll admit it, that even though I often feel like being lazy, I LOVE exercising.

I made a plan, based on the tiny park layout. There was a bench, and some cement ball sculpturey things, and a small lawn to work with. We brought one set of 10-lb weights, my phone with an interval timer app, an exercise mat, water, and towels (and some snacks for the kiddo).

HIIT workout plan

Failure to plan is planning to fail…or somesuch.

~Please note: I am not a trainer or a medical practitioner. Always check with your doctor before trying a new fitness regimen and never work beyond your ability. Do your research for proper form and technique. This routine is for people who are fitness-savvy.~

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5 Reasons I’d Love to be a Kid Again

5 reasons to be a kid again

Being young is AMAZING.

1. Whenever I’m tired, all I want to do is run. Run like a crazy person.

2. I can eat a bowl full of junk food and feel like a total rock star afterward.

3. Chores are super fun!

4. I don’t need coffee. I’m fueled by 12 hours of sleep and boundless energy.

5. Nothing hurts! I can land face-down on hardwood and be ready to try it again in 10 seconds.

BONUS: When I don’t feel like walking, PEOPLE CARRY ME. It’s awesome.

 

Tell me, why would you LOVE to be a kid again?

Finger Painting for Neat Freaks

We’ve got some gorgeous weather happening in Seattle right now, which means lots of fun outdoors. But sometimes, we gotta eat. Which means kiddo is restless and unoccupied for about 10 minutes while we get meals together. Enter this:

Finger painting for toddler

Occupy your toddler with minimal chaos and destruction!

I found this brilliance on Pinterest, and couldn’t wait to try it. I could only find one color of finger paint, so I added a few drops of blue food coloring for interest. I think it helped thin out the paint so it would squish and swirl more. Just add a few blobs of finger paint to a gallon-size freezer bag, squeeze out the air, seal, and tape all edges to a window. I say tape all the edges because as the kiddos get older, they like to peel, pull, and basically destroy everything they get their hands on! We did get a hole in ours, but patched with more packing tape and it was fine. We had fun stamping footprints, handprints, and even stamping shapes with some of our Melissa & Doug play dough tools.

Oh, and PS–make sure their nails are trimmed. We went back for a second round and Wolverine’d that bag up pretty good, thus making it messy (but not as messy as regular fingerpainting!)

Happy painting!