Easter + Our Bunnies

Easter always catches me off guard. I’m not sure why, but it swoops in and I am always feeling unprepared.¬†This year felt that way even more so, I barely had fresh eggs, let alone anything to dye them with. So, thankfully there is Google and thankfully I have a large assortment of food coloring. I used a recipe I found on McCormick’s website and it was perfect. It was easy and the colors turned out really fun! DSC_5207collage2DSC_5219DSC_5245collage3DSC_5254DSC_5262DSC_5277DSC_5278DSC_5280DSC_5284DSC_5290DSC_5293DSC_5300

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…and we had our very own baby bunny, too. ūüėČ

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a thoughtful DIY gift

A couple of years ago, I came across Heather Bullard on Instagram. She is amaaaazing. She is a prop stylist and everything she does is gorgeous, so naturally I was an instant fan. She shared her recipe for Organic Madagascar Vanilla Extract and I was like oh yes, I must do this! I love to bake and I really like thoughtful gift ideas, so this was perfect. Finally, two summers ago, a friend and I decided to¬†try it out. It’s so easy, but you must have time. Time is the key ingredient here, because you have to let the vanilla cure for 6+ months, the longer the better. Mine has been curing for a year and a half, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally bottle this stuff up!! I highly suggest you¬†visit Heather’s page for all things beautiful and inspiring and for lots and lots of recipes. (Note: I am not afiliated with Heather at all, I just am sharing what inspires me and oh my gosh does she ever!)

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For the finishing touch, and to make it extra festive, I simply tied some baker’s twine around the top of the bottle and added a couple of cinnamon sticks. I think it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to give these as gifts this year. I had an extra bottle so¬†I am stashing that in my pantry for holiday baking! ūüėČdsc_2797dsc_2807dsc_2809

festive gingerbread men

Christmastime is my all-time favorite. I’ve always loved the season – decorating, listening to Christmas Carols, drinking egg nog out of Christmas glasses, hot chocolate with peppermint sticks, looking at Christmas lights, extra family time…I mean, all of it, I love it! And this year, I wanted to make some gingerbread men ornaments. I found thee perfect recipe¬†from McCormick’s. It’s easy and your home will smell fantastic! You need to try it, get your kiddos involved and have at it!

Ingredients:

3/4 c. applesauce

2 of the 2.37 oz bottles of ground cinnamon

Cookie Cutters (we used gingerbread, but I plan on doing some more with hearts and stars and trees #obsessed)

Drinking Straw (I used festive ones of course! ūüėČ )

Ribbon

Directions:

Mix your applesauce and cinnamon together until a dough ball forms (I used my hands, it’s easier). Once it’s mixed, separate the dough into¬†four separate dough balls. Place one of the¬†dough balls on a sheet of plastic wrap and then cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap (this trick is wonderful!). Use¬†a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball to 1/4 – 1/3 inches (per the recipe…I just eyeballed it, though) and cut out shapes with your cookie cutters. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once you have a full sheet of ornaments, use a straw to poke a hole at the top (or two in the center if you want to make garland like I did). Bake at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours (your home will smell SO good!). Once baked and cooled a bit, string ribbon through the holes and you’re all set! You could even decorate them if you wish. I wanted mine plain for the garland.

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We had one extra, so we strung some baker’s twine through it and made an ornament for our tree!dsc_2825

my little deer

For Halloween this year, the girls were matching fawn.¬†I came up with the idea last winter and looked to Pinterest for how-to’s. ¬†I thought it would be fun to make their costumes this year (with the help of a couple Etsy shops for the leotard and tutu!). Plus, not sure that Madelyn will want to match her baby sister next year! ūüėČ Of course, Kora wouldn’t wear her antlers, but she enjoyed her tutu and matching her sister! She even let me paint her nose, but that was as far as I could get with her! I snapped a few photos before we headed out for trick-or-treating! I meant to share this last week, but better late than never, right? ūüėČdsc_2390dsc_2396dsc_2401dsc_2413dsc_2426dsc_2431dsc_2433dsc_2435dsc_2437dsc_2442dsc_2451

And Caleb had his own little costume he wore… I wore him in my sling when we walked around our neighborhood, he slept the whole time and missed out on trick-or-treating! ūüėČ

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fall crafts

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I’m always looking for new ideas to keep my little ones busy.¬†Whether it’s drawing, painting, baking or something alike, creating is something we always enjoy¬†to do together and it’s a good way to keep little hands busy. ¬†Madelyn is at the age where she is coming up with her own creations and I just love it. Autumn is such an inspirational time of year, I think. Last weekend, we spent most of the weekend at home and so we decided to use the cornstarch dough recipe we usually use for Christmas ornaments and made¬†some fall leaf ornaments. We then used an old hanger and made a fall mobile. While we were in the spirit, we made some ghosts out of old fabric I had and Madelyn made some spooky drawings to decorate our front door. We turned on some Halloween tunes and crafted away. If you’re interested in the cornstarch dough recipe, it’s super simple:

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup baking soda

3/4 cup water

Mix ingredients in a medium pot on the stove over medium heat, stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and has the texture of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and spoon the ball of dough into a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth until it is cool. Once it is cool, sprinkle the surface of a cutting board or table with some cornstarch and knead the dough, add additional cornstarch as necessary so that the dough is not sticky. Once your dough as a similar consistency to sugar cookie dough, roll it out and use cookie cutters to create your ornaments. Transfer ornaments to a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a straw to poke a hole at the top of each for hanging. Bake at 175 degrees (f) for one hour, turn them over after 30 minutes to bake evenly.

After we baked our ornaments and let them cool, we painted them with gouache paint (that’s what I had on hand). I have also used glitter to decorate in the past and that is also fun!

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angels: diy halloween costume inspiration

If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking about Halloween costumes since, uh…spring? I have been, though! I get so excited for this time of year and coming up with Halloween costumes is so fun and my girls love to dress up, so it’s a win-win. The good thing about costumes is that they can be re-used all year long for play-time! Since Halloween is approaching, I have teamed up with Skechers to share some costume inspiration for any of you that might be seeking out a practical, yet adorable costume. I say practical, because everything about this costume (other than the wings and star-garland) is literally just every-day clothing. Plus, the Skechers the girls have light up, which is not only fun for the them, but they’re also really great for trick-or-treating once the sun goes down! And most importantly, they’re comfortable for them to walk in (and if you’ve ever gotten “costume” shoes for your child to wear, you know how it might go if the shoes they’re trick-or-treating in are uncomfortable…not so fun!). 

Here’s all you need for this angel costume:

Star wire garland (Michael’s)

Angel wings (I got these on Amazon about three years ago)

White dress (the girls’ closets)

Skechers Twinkle Toes: Shuffles-Flutter Up

That’s it! So simple, so easy ‚ÄĒ still fun!

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autumn

There’s something about autumn. I know I’m not the only one who gets excited as September rolls in and all things pumpkin start making their way into our lives. I’m not sure if it’s the anticipation of the holidays that has me excited, the cooler temperatures, the baking, or the traditions and nostalgia, but I sure do love this time of year. One of my favorite things to do as a family is to go to the apple orchard. We take a trip there every ¬†year and let the girls pick pears and apples. This year was especially fun because Kora was able to participate with some help from big sis. I love making these memories and creating these special traditions with our family. It’s something I look forward to all year long. It was also really neat this year because we visited in the spring (click here if you want to see that post!) when the trees were all in bloom and Madelyn could see how the flowers have now turned into fruit!

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spring + free babes

Ahhh, spring! Even though we live in a climate that doesn’t see much of a winter, there is still something refreshing about this time of year. My midwestern roots still crave a change in season, so I always take note of the little things, like way the light changes and how different trees and plants bloom. The girls and I took off for a quick day trip to see the apple orchard we normally visit in the fall, in full bloom! It was so gorgeous and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was so nice!

And just in time for spring, we are SO excited to be teaming up with Free Babes Handmade this weekend for a GIVEAWAY!! Head over to my ¬†Instagram to¬†enter! Also, we are excited for our readers to enjoy 15% off your purchase with the code “sweetlyinspired15”. It is good through the end of the day on April 10th – so what are you waiting for?

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