last minute halloween

As it turns out, there are a whole lot of Halloween procrastinators on our side! Scanning Instagram (check us out @smallfryblog) it seemed everyone was carving pumpkins last minute, so here’s a few more tricks and treats to get you through your last minute Halloween preparations, by our resident clutch artist, Nicole.

Trying to throw together a costume on the fly, or maybe your over ambitious sewing project just didn’t pan out? Either way, the secret to a day-of costume’s success is face paint! Your kiddos can wear whatever they have that resembles the theme from their closet, but a little face paint goes a long way in taking it from flop to festive.

Here are six easy options that even the most amateur artists can pull off.

Easy Facepainting Ideas

Now that your crew has been successfully costumed and sent on their way, a true procrastinator is probably starting to think about what they’re going to bring to the school parade, dinner with friends, or costume party. These two options are quick and easy!

Clean out an orange bell pepper and stuff it with your favorite (let’s face it, at this point, store-bought) dip! Bring a plate of veggies and crackers and you’re good to go!

Jack-o-lantern Pepper Dip

And finally, the witch hat cookie. Made in under a minute, we timed it, and easy enough that you could do it at a stoplight or in the carpool line. While you’re at the store picking up those peppers, head down the cookie aisle and grab a carton of the chocolate covered mint cookies (we used Keebler Grasshoppers), a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and some Nutella hazelnut spread. Dollop a little Nutella on the bottom of the Kiss and stick it to the cookie. Done. Witch Hat CookiesGood luck, and Happy (last minute) Halloween!

frozen yogurt dots

Frozen Yogurt Dots! A quick and easy frozen treat that you can make yourself, here’s how we did it:

Frozen Yogurt Dots

We made several bowls of different brightly colored Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and put them each into their own sandwich bags to make the dots. We used artificial food coloring for these, but gave all natural dots a try on this post, check it out here! Snipping a small tip of one of the bottom corners on each bag, then squeezing gently, will get you the circular dots. We piped them onto a sheet pan lined with a Sil Pat for easy removal and threw them in the freezer for an hour.

Tip: the easiest way to get the mixture into the bags cleanly is to turn the sandwich bag inside out. Put your hand in the bag like a glove and spoon the mixture right into your covered palm. Once you have 1/4 cup or so of the yogurt mixture hold onto it with your hand and then flip the bag right side out. It will be clean and ready to pipe!

pumpkin carving templates

If you’re like us, you check the date often and are usually in shock at how fast the weeks, months and years are flying by. When we all realized that Halloween was in a few days and none of us had carved pumpkins with our kids yet, we rounded the troops! We were so excited to use these darling pumpkin templates designed by Tori of That Pair of Crutches. She was so nice to share them! Keep scrolling to download your own set of free pumpkin carving templates.

Pirate Pumpkin Stencil

To see the rest of the stencils and download the free PDF file for your own last minute carving, keep reading! Read more

finger print memory art

We have an awesome handmade gift idea for you today! It is perfect for any holiday, or to commemorate or celebrate a special day. It seems appropriate and thoughtful for a baptism, Bar Mitzvah, big surgery, first day of school, adoption, or any time you want to show your tiny loved one how truly loved they are! This is the final product, filled with fingerprints of Quinn’s family and friends. Keep reading to learn how to do a simple cut-out using Photoshop.

Here are the easy instructions for cutting out an image on Photoshop, by our resident PS expert, Jenna. If you have any questions about the tutorial, stick them in the comments and she’d love to assist you!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Congratulations to Bethany Jackman on winning the Book Worm grand prize!

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from head to toe: gap

Gap is such a staple for kid’s clothing. Great quality, and promotions and sales virtually every week. If money was endless, we could build great wardrobes for the whole family solely from Gap. To us, they excel especially at cold weather pieces. They really think about form and function for those of us who have to bundle our kids up.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite cold weather pieces:

Goldie for under $100:

Goldie in Gap

Quinn for under $100:

Quinn in Gap

If you’re shopping today, enter “GAPFEST” for 30% off your purchase! (ends 10/25/2012)

healthy halloween lunch

With all the Halloween festivities we’ve been attending this month our kids are all sugared out and the 31st hasn’t even arrived yet! Here is a pretty healthy and festive Halloween lunch that is low on sugar, but not on fun. Our kids are still talking about this lunch and there wasn’t a single fun-size candy bar for miles!

Keep reading for the full menu and instructions!

tiny yoga

We all have pretty energetic kiddos, and you probably do too! If you’ve ever tried to get them to just be still you know it’s like herding cats, it’s not easy.

When Nicole was practicing yoga in her living room she noticed her boy Dash was mesmerized and wanted to “play” too. After taking him through a few poses and stretches it seemed to be that he had stayed focused and attentive for the longest span in his three years of life.

We rounded up the rest of the crew to test this new hypothesis, if you turn on some calming music and start doing yoga, the children will come. The older the kids the better in this situation, but even the young kids loved it!

Because the instructions can be somewhat confusing for toddlers, Nicole created a way to guide them through the poses: a giant sun! We let them color their own suns on paper plates and then used the plates as a way to direct them.

Here’s the all too darling instructions Yogini Nicole gave our Tiny Yogis for a standard sun salutation. Just try not to laugh when they’re very seriously barking at the sun!

“Sit down.
Put your legs out and in front of you and rub imaginary sunscreen on your feet, your legs, your tummy, your chest, your arms, and all the way up to your head.  Now you’re ready to play in the sun!

Show me your suns everyone!

Where does the sun live? Way up high in the sky, stand up and reach the sun to the sky, stretch it as high as it can go.

Spread the sunshine all the way down to the earth. Set the sun down infront of you.

Kneel down like a dog (downward facing dog), then bark at the sun.

Bend down and give the sun 3 kisses (child’s pose.)

Lay down on your tummy like a snake, hiss at the sun (upward facing dog.)

Push up on your arms and be as flat as a board (plank.)

Then, jump your feet to your hands! Stand up, and put the sun back up, super high in the sky.”

(Repeat if desired.)

Small Fry Films: Nature Walk

If we didn’t already crave a girl or two around here, today’s film sure puts us over the edge! Meet our inspiring friend Michelle and her three beautiful girls. Sweet and loving families just don’t come any better than this. Michelle ignites creativity in her family everyday and motivates us to do the same. Watch as she takes her girls through nature and teaches them to imitate, appreciate and enjoy this wonderful world we live in.

Art Direction & Filming by Jenner Brown of Lumineux Films

See our first film feature here.

Note: This film was shot on private property and extensive fire preventative measures were taken. In general, we do not condone open flames in nature without taking the proper precautions and following the rules of the location you are visiting. While the purpose of these films are purely artistic, we want our readers to know we are very cautious in our intentions and endeavors.

bookworms: part two + giveaway [closed]

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to entry #87!

Part Two.

Read Part One here and be sure to enter the giveaway to win all ten books below!

Bookworm Series

>> Sydney of The Daybook:

Sydney Poulton

I think one of the things that surprised me most during my first year of motherhood, is how quickly my son Everett seemed to absorb the idea of reading a book. Even when surrounded by his toy blocks, music makers and plenty of other things that I would’ve thought to be more interesting to a curious and easily distracted mind, he will sit down and look at a book. His current favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle and it almost cracks me up how much he loves that thing. I’m telling you, he’ll spend ten minutes straight on it! That’s like ten years in Everett time. Sometimes he likes to help turn the pages, and sometimes he’s just content to nestle back into my lap and listen. But whenever we read it, everything stops. As he gets older, I realize all too often that my quiet, un-wiggly moments with him are a dying breed of the first year. {WAH!} But thanks to that Brown Bear and that Red Bird and that Yellow Duck over and over again, I get to keep a few of those quiet moments with him for as long as he’ll let me.

>> Jenna of Small Fry:

Jenna of Small Fry

Since I still have two littles, I love a book with beautiful illustration, straightforward text, and a happy message. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar definitely fits the bill. He has the unique ability to ignite such imagination in little minds. I love as I’m reading this to my four year old watching his mind light up in absolute wonder as the caterpillar eats himself into a gorgeous butterfly. The giggles that come when we flip the page and see the VERY chubby caterpillar stuffed to the brim, are some of my most priceless memories.

>> Stacie of Underaged and Engaged:

Stacie Lang

I don’t think I could ever pick just one favorite children’s book, but the first one that comes to mind is For Just One Day, by Laura Leuck. It’s about a bunch of (adorably illustrated!) kids who take turns imagining what kind of animal they would like to be for just one day. It encourages little ones to use their imagination by pretending to be something else, then ends with a sweet and empowering message that they are already the most special someone out there- themselves! I love snuggling up with Ivy and reading it together, not only because of the clever words and beautiful illustrations (although that certainly helps), but because it’s just one more way to let her know she’s special and wonderful, and that I love her just the way she is.

>> Emily of Small Fry:

Emily of Small Fry

Making my boys laugh gives me, above all else, the greatest satisfaction. (Although Hayes just offered his first unprompted “I yu-you mama” the other day, so that might take the cake.) But, if making them laugh is the second best thing I can do, then our favorite book lately is going to have to be The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems. Every time we come to one of the duckling’s lines the boys erupt in giggles. Just so everyone’s on the same page, it’s got to be done with The High-Pitched Duckling Voice, or it’s no deal. The best part about the whole thing is I know how my boys both feel. I remember so vividly reading books that made me smile, laugh, cry or gasp, and those emotional responses shaped me into the person I am today. They lead me to love reading and writing: to major in it in college, to do it for a living even! If reading that high-pitched “scooty scoot scoot!” for the thousandth time today will give my boys more direction in choosing from the infinitely many paths they could take, then “scooty scoot scoot” it is!

>> Laura of Ascot Friday:

Ascot Fridayimage credit: jacey autumn photography

We hope you all have enjoyed this little series as much as we have! We’ve definitely added new books to add to our childrens’ libraries! How would you like to win all ten of the books featured in this series? Pretty amazing, right? Here’s how to enter:One of the best things about being a parent is being able to recreate special traditions from my own childhood. Reading is one of those. One of our favorite books to read is Three by the Sea by Edward Marshall. I still remember my mom and dad reading this book to my sister and me. It is the story of Lolly, Spider and Sam, three kids who have just eaten lunch and have to wait a while before they can go swimming. To pass the time, they decide to tell each other stories about rats and cats. Simple, I know, but there is just something so fun about reading this story aloud to my boys (maybe that’s why my parents enjoyed reading it too.)

1. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite children’s book.

2. Follow Small Fry on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

3. Post about this series on your blog or mention @smallfryblog in a Tweet or Facebook status.

4. Instagram a picture of you reading with your favorite tinies and mention @smallfryblog.

The lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced Thursday morning at 5:00 AM MST. Good luck and happy reading!

bookworms: part one

It seems like ages since we wrote our very first post (a real tear-jerker that makes us cry even today!) here at Small Fry and yet it was only a few weeks ago! While we’ve shared a lot of ideas in these few weeks, some elaborate, some inconsequential, it could be said that none will connect us more readily to our kids than sitting down and reading a book with them. Watching their little backsides settle into our laps, smelling their hair, feeling their soft skin on our arms and legs, watching their chubby fingers turn the pages. Feeling their chests rise and fall, or their shoulders shake with laughter.  It really is one of life’s most simple pleasures and studies show the benefits to our kids’ well-being and intellect are staggering.

What could be more important for a children’s lifestyle blog than to promote reading together? For today and tomorrow we have gathered our favorite bloggers from across the country and asked them to share their family favorites. Check back tomorrow to see the rest, and enter to win the whole series of our favorite bloggers’ favorite books!

Bookworm Series

>> Dani of Sometimes Sweet:

Danielle Hampton

Being an English Lit. major and later a high school English teacher, I’ve always considered myself a lover of books and a total bookworm. So when my husband and I found out we were expecting a son back in 2010, I had many dreams of bedtime story sessions, trips to the library, and spending hours upon hours reading with our little guy. From day one we read to Henry, and now, two years later, our sweet boy is just as big of a bookworm as his mama. Our favorites change weekly and sometimes even daily, thanks to the insanely huge vintage book collection my parents kept in tact for my sister and me. My Mom is an elementary school teacher and former librarian, so you can imagine how many books she handed down for us to enjoy. And enjoy we do! Henry’s current favorite book is Crictor by Tomi Ungerer, a story from 1958 about a very distinguished lady, Madame Bodot, and her pet Boa Constrictor. Another current favorite is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, a book about one of Henry’s favorite things in the entire world, big trucks! Reading with Henry is one of the sweetest things in my world, and I can only imagine one thing sweeter- the day he is able to read to me!

>> Elizabeth of Dear Lizzy:

Elizabeth Kartchner

Choosing one of our favorite books to read was tricky! Mostly because there are my favorite books and there are the girls’ favorites. My favorites make me cry… like the one when the mother rocks her son to sleep until she’s too old… “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always…” (even now… sniff.)The girls’ favorites we re

ad over and over and over yet they laugh their faces off like it was the first time we’d cracked it open.
Let’s settle this with one we both like:
I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt.They enjoy it because of one obvious reason… anything close to the word “stinky” to a six and four year old is hysterical. And I don’t mind reading it for the umpteenth time because I can’t resist their cute, crinkled noses and their laugh helps me forget when I wanted to pull my hair out earlier that day.

It’s a good one. Even though the pages are wrinkled, torn and we all practically have it memorized, it is far from ordinary to us.

>> Dana of Dana Made It:

Dana Willard

When it comes to reading with my kids I’m often drawn to books with bright colorful artwork, because they enjoy it AND I enjoy it. Sometimes I’m even inspired by the illustrations to sew clothes, like the Put Me in the Zoo outfits here. But I have to say that our all-time favorite stories are classic Curious George. They’re just perfect for all of our ages!

My six year old Lucy can read the words to me or her four-year-old brother Owen. Or I can read the books to everyone. Or we just sit there oooing and ahhhing over the simple art (Lucy often asks which hot air balloon is my favorite when we get to that story). Or Lucy and Owen can flip through the books in the car. We love Curious George! I mean, who doesn’t? Just another two years till our baby Clara will love him too.

>> Liz of Say Yes to Hoboken:

Liz Stanley

One of my very favorite books is called Where You Came From by Sara O’Leary. The little boy’s name is Henry (my son’s name!) and it’s a really sweet, beautifully written, and gorgeously illustrated discussion between the mother, father and s

on as they try to remember where he came from, “Don’t you remember? Your mother grew you in her garden. She said the hardest part was waiting, be patient, stopping herself from picking you too soon”.

I’d highly recommend it for a young child or toddler whose too young for the real birds and bees talk. A friend recommended it to us a year ago and I still can’t get through it without tearing up a little bit. It’s so sweet. [Image credit: Modern Kids Photo]

>> Nicole Christensen of Small Fry:

Nicole ChristensenLittle Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a gift to us when my first baby was born. It is quite the coincidence because it is such a parallel to his life, in a very opposite way. Little Dash sure has a sweet tooth, and the story teaches of a pea that isn’t allowed to eat his veggies unless he’s finished all his sweets. It’s a perfectly charming way to teach kiddos about the importance of eating healthy. We never tire of this darling little story.

>> Stephanie of Modern Parents Messy Kids:
Stephanie Morgan

It’s old-school, I know, but I loved reading Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown to both my little ones when they were babies, even tiny babies. There was something so special about reading them the same words my mom once read to me.

Even when they were too small to understand the story, my kids loved to watch me point to everything we were saying goodnight to and, bonus, when they got bigger we moved on to “Goodnight Seattle”. Did you guys know there are versions available for lots of different cities? They’re fabulous.

>> We don’t know about you, but we’re all anxious to add these books to our own collections!  Check back tomorrow for 5 more blogger’s pics and a huge giveaway of each of these selections!

Have a great weekend everyone, thank you for reading Small Fry! Also, thank you to everyone who entered our Old Navy gift card giveaway! Congratulations to Megan, check your email for details!

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