First Snow Cake!

This is part of our ongoing Cooking with Kids series, because bringing them into the kitchen creates bonding moments, opportunities to learn, and plenty of messes! And ginger is our ingredient of the season this fall. You can find more ginger recipes here, but if you want another dessert recommendation, skip right ahead to these chewy ginger cookies.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to our first snow of the season. If that wasn’t special enough, I thought that it was worth fully celebrating the day, and any celebration worth its salt requires a cake. That was the humble beginning of our “First Snow Cake”.

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The base of our cake is a delicious ginger cake and it’s topped with a healthy layer of powered sugar snow. It’s a simple cake that’s easy to bake on a whim and should definitely be incorporated into your next snow day. The recipe and more thoughts on celebrating the everyday below. *I’m thinking that next year the cake has to be baked in this pan.

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Cooking with Kids : Chia Pudding

Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones.

We’re so excited about today’s chia pudding because it’s a delicious dessert that’s  amazingly healthy thanks to the chia seeds. This is also a dish that a little chef can put together *almost* entirely on their own! Why almost? There is a pesky can opener involved, and that can slow down even the most ambitious 4 year old.

There are so many benefits to letting your kids help in the kitchen, from the basics of learning to count and measure, to the more advanced following of instructions. You’ll also delight in seeing them take pride in their work and their ability to do something for others – how excited will they be to serve this pudding to everyone else in the family?! And finally, for some kids, this recipe may introduce new tastes; there’s the strong coconut flavor with a hint of cinnamon, and there’s the unique texture of the saturated chia seeds.

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Read on to learn more about chia seeds and our simple recipe for chia pudding!

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Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost Shirts

Ghost Shirts! With glow-in-the-dark paint! Need we say more? How about that they really glow!

ghost_shirts2_titleLast year we made bat shirts with freezer paper stencils and bleach. This year I wanted to do another shirt, and I was going to use bleach again, but then I saw this paint in Joann’s and thought it was worth a try.

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Wild Things (Max) Halloween Costume

We’re sharing a variety of quick and (relatively) easy Halloween costumes this season. See Sarah’s broken doll here and her crazy troll hair here. Today we’re sharing one for the kids, and if you like this, you may want to check out our strong man too!

I may be a bit biased, but I think we’ve found the cutest Max of them all!  Don’t know what I’m talking about? Pick up a copy of Where the Wild Things Are and get ready for a trip down memory lane.

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If you’re making this costume for a kid, they will get so much more enjoyment out of it if you’ve read the book together. Obvious, I know, but just a plug to get yourself to the library and enjoy an afternoon deep in the stacks with your wild ones.

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Baking with Kids : Halloween Style

Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with assistance from a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, our first post provides detailed tips for cooking baking with little ones.

The focus of this Cooking with Kids post is all on the decorating, and in this post we give you sources for all of our fun supplies (including the spider cupcake holders!). Kids LOVE decorating treats, and Halloween is the perfect time to let them go wild. Make it spooky, creepy, silly, cute. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect. And that’s what makes this project such a hit with big and little people.

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I like to plan projects for us to do throughout the season, some more time and energy intensive than others. Decorating spider cupcakes purposefully falls on the easier side. It’s something that you could do on an afternoon when you want to add a little bit of Halloween excitement (and sugar!) to their day.

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Fall Hikes with Kids

Navigate our links above to see more of our hiking and camping adventures (or if you’re a lazy bum, click here).

If you’ve been following the blog or our Instgram feed for any length of time, then you know that we love a good hike. Just put us outside with a good pair of boots, a snack, and a hat, and we are ready to go!

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Some of my most memorable hikes have happened in the fall. Of course, the brisk weather and colorful foliage make for beautiful memories. But there’s also something about the shorter days anticipation of a long, cold winter indoors that makes the need to get outside even more urgent at this time of year.

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Cooking with Kids : Ginger Cookies

Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones.

*We first published this post almost two years ago, but these cookies are delicious and ginger is our ingredient of the season, so we’re republishing them today so that you don’t let a good thing pass you by.*

Ahhh, I meant to share this post before Christmas so that you could add yet another cookie to your baking list, but time got away from me, so here we are with a delicious ginger cookie that tastes just as good on a cold day in January as it would during the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

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And I’m still smiling about how this came to be my favorite ginger cookie recipe. Calder’s sister made them a few years ago at Thanksgiving. That first batch was delicious and reminded me of the ginger chews that I used to buy in Trader Joe’s. I was so smitten that I asked for the recipe. She sent it along, and from her notes, I could see that it came from the grandma of a good friend. As I was baking these with Alex, I looked more closely at the bottle (more on that below) and realized that the recipe on the Grandma’s Molasses bottle matched the recipe I was making! Ingredient for ingredient and word for word. So, maybe you already know this recipe?

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Teachable Moments : Beach Reads

Teachable Moments is a relatively new series on the blog, you can find the archive here. You can learn more about Saxis in this selection of posts, and here are more beach book recommendations for adults and kids. If you’d like to see our favorite sun gear for toddlers, click here.

beach time = reading time. #amiright

When we start planning for our time at the beach, my mind immediately turns to the books I’ll read. Hours sitting on the beach provide the uninterrupted reading time that we just don’t seem to find elsewhere in life. Wait, if you’re a parent reading this, that statement is laughable. Who sits still on the beach with two kids? And to that, I say, touché. That’s when you teach your kids about the joys of the beach nap.

But in all seriousness, as the boys have grown, I’ve started to think more intentionally about their beach reads. These boys love a good adventure, and when we’re traveling I find that they fully immerse themselves in the new environment. They aren’t sitting around thinking about Colorado and the mountains; instead, they’re exploring!  And what better way could there be to teach them about the place they’re visiting, and the animals and people that live there, than to read books?

I’ve made an effort over the years to stock the beach house with good ocean and bay-related books for the kids. It’s nice to have these books there rather than at home because the stories really come alive when they’re reading about animals that they just saw on the beach and in the marsh. And I know that they can relate to crabbing and fishing adventures when they’ve just spent the afternoon on Poppop’s boat putting bait in the crab pots and casting out their finishing lines.

Below is a list of our current favorites (for reference, the boys are 2 and 4). Admittedly, I’m particularly smitten with books written and illustrated by local artists, so you’ll see quite a few on the list. They add an intimate feel in their descriptions of the place that could never be achieved in a generic book about ocean/beach life.

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The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library

I know opinions can vary when it comes to Dr. Seuss. The wording can be awkward and leave you tongue-tied, which is not the best for reading aloud. But it rhymes, and I’m a sucker for a good rhyming text, especially one that’s educational.  Each book flows really well after one or two readings.

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The Farm

The images in this post were taken by Katie and the words written by Sarah.

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About five years ago, I babysat for a family of five in central Pennsylvania. They were residents of NYC, but every year during July and August they would drive to PA to visit the grandparents’ farm. I spent the long summer days helping the kids pick tomatoes, harvest peas, and feed the animals.  When it rained we pulled out piles of craft supplies and got to work. When we were restless we climbed ropes and trees and explored the fields seeking out wild flowers. Without fail, at the end of each evening, the kids needed a bath and good night’s sleep.

It wasn’t until I saw these simple summer farm scenes laid out before me that I realized I had it pretty good growing up. A whole host of opportunities granted simply because of geography. Summer days exploring the garden and forests in bare feet. Nurturing not only chickens but a hearty compost pile. Chasing dogs, neighbors, and fireflies before gathering around a campfire only to look up and gaze at the Milky Way. Now as adults, blazing and hiking trails, foraging for mushrooms and taking home poison ivy too. Gathering in the green fields to celebrate the land with the little ones who will visit year after year, taking home memories and lessons from a summer on the farm.

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