Be Inspired and Take a Challenge

My youngest daughter is seven now, but ever since she could stand up she’s been helping me in the kitchen. Prepping, cooking, baking, eating — she absolutely loves it all. I love how she gets excited about the entire experience; from gathering ingredients, to putting in the hard work in the kitchen, to sitting down and savoring the meal.

Be Inspired and Take a Challenge

This is us using left over candy to make a easy Easter dessert for our neighbors.

The kitchen seems to be a place where she problem solves often. Whether it’s substituting an ingredient or brainstorming ways to use items grown in our backyard garden, she’s always thinking. So when I learned about Unilever Project Sunlight’s latest film, The Way Kids See It I knew this would be something her and we’d both enjoy. The video shines a light on the unique ideas and the magic that children all over the world apply to tackle all sorts of environmental and social issues. It’s pretty inspiring! Check it out:

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Make It :: Fun in a Jar

Gifts in a Jar

 

The end of the school year is fast approaching and it’s during this time that I like to think about a few thoughtful things I can do for my girls to help them get excited about summer. Every year, I like to have a small gift for them to kick-off the first official day of summer – and this year, I’ve created “jars of fun.”

Although we are constantly doing fun things during the summertime, my kids still seem to find time and ways to “be bored.” That’s where these little jars of goodies come in. To help keep boredom at bay this summer I’ve filled these jars with a variety of fun items to keep them busy in between scheduled activities and trips. They’ll find everything from small toys to an animal stamp set, bookmarks, mini slinky’s and bouncy balls. Because all the items fit into a jar, it’s also an ideal gift for travel.

For older children you can place in gift cards to the movies or an ice cream shop, crossword puzzle books, or even a new pair of shades for the summer.

What would you put in your “jar of fun?”

For more ideas, see this canister of fun idea.

This post was created in collaboration with SC Johnson. See the original post here.

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Simple Tips :: Set Up a Buffet Table

how to set up a buffet table

Setting up for a nice buffet might sound simple enough, though your efforts could very easily result in a display that looks more chaotic than clever. Avoid confusion and traffic jams in your buffet line by planning ahead. Eliminate the common sight of guests reaching for plates and back-tracking for utensils that they missed along the way.

Plates

Before your guests can begin to dish up their meal, they will need a plate. Stack plates at one end of the table so that guests have access to these first. Also, if you are using disposable plates remember to choose heavier ones so that the food actually stays on the plate and guests can easily carry them.

The Food

Serve dishes that your guests understand and recognize. If you decide to serve a dish that your guests may not be familiar with, create a place card so guests can easily identify the dish. Also, make sure each dish has a coordinating serving utensil so guests can easily (and quickly) dish up their food.

Servingware

At the other end of your buffet table (opposite of the plates), place the silverware. Only provide utensils that your guests will need to use. If a knife is not needed, don’t offer one. This will avoid confusion and lighten the carrying load for guests. To make the grab-and-go of the silverware a breeze, wrap each set up in one napkin and secure it with a piece of ribbon or twine. Condensing the utensils and napkin will make it easier for guests to carry their plates to their seats.

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DIY Just Died. Welcome to The Maker Movement

Makers Okay, maybe DIY isn’t dead but it definitely has grown up a bit. DIYers have been at it for over a decade — crafting and creating new things, making something out of nothing, reinventing old things into new. On the blogs we read this typically shows itself in ways of fabulous party garland, a new way to display your jewelry or a sophisticated typography print just waiting for you to download. In a parallel (yet equally thriving world), a culture of garage tinkers and hackspace inhabitants have been head-down making things too. New products that solve every day problems and innovating products that have existed for centuries, giving them an upgrade. They’ve been making things; just like DIYers have been.

Despite the clear similarities between the DIY and Tinkerer communities we have (until recently) been living in different realms. In fact, I would argue each group wouldn’t have wanted to identify with the other before — as they have historically seen themselves very different from each other; one side “craft” and the other “tech.” How many DIYers attended the Maker Faire in 2009? Likewise, how many garage tinkerers opened up an Etsy shop in 2009? Exactly. Not until the past few years have these world began to merge into what we are now calling the Maker Movement. But why now? Makers make things (more…)

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Surprise Backyard Picnic

Picnic party ideas :: Thoughtfully Simple

This weekend, I was looking for a little way to carve out some special time with my youngest girl. The weather was perfect so I thought a surprise backyard picnic would be a fun way to spend a little one-on-one time together. Have a backyard picnic

Picnic party ideas :: Thoughtfully SimpleI filled up some pink and yellow balloons to give our picnic spot a little extra touch. I printed and attached the words “let’s have a backyard picnic” to one of the strings. When my daughter spotted the balloons, it put a huge smile on her face!

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Inspired :: Dinner Party Playlist

Dinner Party Music

I love to entertain in the summertime. There’s just something so simple about hosting friends and family this time of year. Perhaps it’s the great mood everyone is in, or the laid-back vibe? I can’t put my finger on it exactly but I just find summer entertaining easy and enjoyable. Now that the nights are getting longer, I’m itching to kick off the backyard-entertaining season! We’ve been getting dirty in the garden and making sure our yard is inviting — I’d say a dinner party is soon in order.

Do you like to entertain during the summer? When thinking about hosting a gathering I like to pick a few points of inspiration to guide my party prep.  I am usually inspired by:

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