Fourth of July Round Up

babies and the beach

For as long as I can remember we’ve always celebrated the 4th of July at the beach. And then last year, we mixed things up and went the week before the 4th. The same was true for this year, and so last week my dad’s side of the family all headed to the sand & surf…well, except me & III, because at 36+ weeks pregnant & at risk for preterm labor, I couldn’t go :/ However, my amazing parents, sister, and brother took on the task of beaching with a 3 & 2 year old and picked up my kiddos (and our NEW van!) to make the 6 hour trip. The kids had SUCH an amazing time and my family was reminded that the beach with kids is a trip, not a vacation. While they were gone, I got in a LOT of rest, a few date nights with III, and checked the last little bit off my to do list before Poppy arrives!

So with the impending arrival of baby girl, we don’t have any definitive 4th of July plans, but I’m sure ice cream and the pool will be involved! Here are a few treats from years past maybe I’ll try to pull off! Oh, and a blueberry pie. III’s mom shared her recipe and I recreated it the other day. AMAZING. I’ll be sharing soon!

Independence Cookie Pops
July 4th_Cookie Pops

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

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4th of July Candy Stars

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Happy 4th of July!! We are so thankful for those who continue to protect and fight for our freedom!

“Land of the free, because of the Brave.”

Happy Valentine’s Day

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“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” -Winnie the Pooh

These two and their daddy….they have my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! I hope you are surrounded my those you love today. Speaking of LOVE, we began the day at Chick-fil-a eating heart shape biscuits and BIG Valentine plans tonight. Heart shape pizza, with heart pepperonis! 

You may have seen on Instagram, but I think Chickadee’s Dinosaur Valentines turned out really great. I will do a crayon melting/molding post soon. It was a hit and the kids were able to be pretty hands on for the entire process. Chickadee came home with the cutest valentines from her friends, the preschoolers are really stepping up their game.

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I wanted to share one more thing before I sign off. For the past few years we’ve been giving Chickadee and Sprout a book for Valentines Day. Inside of the cover of each one, we write a list of all the things we love about them at this age. It currently means a little more to us than them right now, but I hope one day it’s a great keepsake. Last year we gave Marianne Richmond’s You are my Heart and Nancy Tillman’s I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love. This year we gave The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin and I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. 

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I hope you have/had a love filled Valentine’s Day!! <3

Best Kept Secret in Christmas Cards!

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Do you send out Christmas cards? This time of year I absolutely LOVE going to the mailbox each day and finding love sent from friends near and far. I love seeing how they have captured their family during the year. How far away friend’s children have changed. It brings me so much joy each day.

I’m really proud of myself this year. I actually ordered our Christmas cards BEFORE Thanksgiving and was able to address them as we travel. Granted I didn’t make it to the post office for stamps until Thursday, but they are in the mail now and have started arriving in mailboxes.

I’ve ordered my cards from several places over the years, but a few years ago I found a hidden gem. WALMART. Did you know Walmart prints stationary stock Christmas cards for more than half less than traditional Christmas card sites (and no they aren’t paying me anything to say that!) This year I ordered 75 stationary stock 5×7 cards for $45.00 including shipping. I consider that a STEAL! There are pictures on both sides & they added my return address to the envelopes!

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Just wanted to share. If you haven’t ordered your cards, it isn’t too late! If you have…tuck this little nugget away for next year :) Merry Christmas!

Spring Handprint & Footprint Art Roundup

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If you have been around A Step in the Journey long, you may have noticed my love for hand print and footprint art with my littles. I love capturing their size and ever changing features at every age and hand and footprint art is a great way to do that. Plus it adds all kinds of fun to our playroom bulletin board!

My kids love to create, but I’ve admitted before, it can sometimes be a little stressful. Here are my go-to painting tips with toddlers: 1. Cover your table/craft space with butcher paper, newspaper, or cling wrap 2. Let the kids wear dad’s old tshirts to protect their clothes (or we use smocks I found at IKEA) 3. Use washable paints 4. Sponge brushes work best 5. When working with real little ones stick to footprints (and put them in the high chair to keep them from grabbing their painted feet) 6. Keep wipes handy to wash off their hands 7. Embrace the chaos!

Here are a few works of art we have done in hopes of Spring that is right around the corner and a few of my favorites from bloggers around the web!

Bunny Rabbit Handprint

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Carrot Footprint

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Chick Handprint

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Butterfly Footprints

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Handprint Flowers

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And a few from blogland…

Yellow Duck from Crafty Morning 

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St. Patrick’s Round Up from Crafty Morning

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Mother’s Day Cupcake from I Heart Arts N Crafts

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Bug Footprints from Fun Handprint Art

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Handprint Strawberry from Live. Learn. Love. Eat.

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Chickadee and I had so much fun making our first round of Spring hand and foot print crafts and I have big plans to use some of the above inspiration next week as we make more! I’d love to see yours :)

Also check out my Fall hand and foot print art

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as well as this Christmas round up!

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Hope yall have a great weekend! And let’s all cross our fingers for Spring.

Toddler Valentine Fingerprint Art

***So I have noooo idea why the internet fairies decided to send out a comment response as a post yesterday, sorry about that. I you wanted to know the kind of sausage I used in this one pot recipe, it was Hillshire. I double checked at Publix on Monday :)

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Hey Friends! I hope yall are staying warm and dry wherever you are. We have had a mix of rain and “snow” down here in Georgia and it has kept us indoors for the better part of a week. This mama is going a little stir crazy…you? I’m here to share a fun little Valentine art project that passed the better part of 45 minutes for us the other day & turned out really cute. I plan on repeating this project today so thought I would share the fun.

So it’s SUPER simple, all you need is some construction paper, painter’s tape, and kid friendly paint (we used this Crayola paint *affiliate). I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves and then I’ll leave you a few tips below.

LOVE_tutorial

 The last step would be to peel the painter’s tape off. A few tips from our experience….1. make sure you have something under the construction paper to protect your work space (we used an open cereal box). 2. Use a smock or large bib to keep paint off their clothes. 3. Keep baby wipes near by for easy clean up 4. Use scissors to cut clean tape lines so you get straight edges. 5. Shake your paint and let your toddler just use the paint left in the lid. Shake again when you run out. 6. Depending on the age of your little one, you might want to help them make sure they have their fingerprints where the paint meets the paper.

So there you go, easy peasy! We did a heart too (this time Chickadee used a paintbrush)….the possibilities here are really endless!

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Happy Wednesday!