chalkboard pumpkins

Kids just seem to make every holiday more fun, don’t they? We’ve been having a blast getting into the Halloween spirit and here’s an improvement on a classic activity.

Chalkboard Pumpkin

We are loving these chalkboard pumpkins for so many reasons: but first, hardly any mess! You can paint the pumpkins ahead of time and then let your kids chalk up, erase, and repeat all month long. With no cuts being made to the pumpkin, you don’t have to worry about the shrivel-effect and your painted pumpkins will last you until Christmas if needs be.

Chalkboard Pumpkins for Kids

While we had plans to show you an expertly drawn chalk jack-o-lantern face, these kids were so excited to get their hands on them that we just let the magic happen. Who knew we had neo-impressionistic geniuses in the Small Fry family? 😉

Chalkboard Paint Pumpkin

meet a small fry: ollie

Small Fry InterviewImages by Jessica Peterson Photo

Our little friend Oliver is absolutely one of a kind. He has the most zesty personality and unrelenting imagination. Everyone loves Ollie and even just being in the same room with him can cheer you up. In the matter of a day Ollie has been five different super heroes, animals, villains, and characters. He is loving and caring and so full of life. We knew for our first Small Fry interview Ollie had to be the one.

What is your name?

I’m Ollie

How old are you?

4

Who is your mom?

Lindsay

What does your mom do?

I can’t decide. Makes hot dogs for me?

Who is your dad?

Rob. Pffffff.

What does your dad do?

He works at work.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A fireman.

What is your favorite food?

Oh! I know! chicken noodle soup!

What food do you not like?
Bugs.

What is your favorite animal?

Tigers. I mean elephants, ya elephants. I like tigers and elephants.

Where do you want to live when you grow up?

The firestation.

Who do you want to marry?

Madeline. Not Berkley – she farts too much!

What does dad say?

Don’t touch his stuff.

What does mom say?

I love you.

What do mom and dad do after you go to bed?

Watch shows. Like videos….

What is your favorite song?

Beat it. (Michael Jackson.) He’s dead- I just like his songs.

What is your favorite movie?

Tom and Jerry. I hate Peppa Pig now. I’m all about animals.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

Pizza, at Costco- and smoothies! (Turns to mom) Let’s make smoothies!

What is your favorite book?

Little Pea (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Where did Rune (Ollie’s brother) come from?

To mom: Your belly. He POPPED OUT OF YOUR BELLY!!

What would you buy with a million dollars?

Uh… a dinosaur.

What do you dream about?

Bugs.

What are you scared of?

Monsters! I’m not scared of sharks. I’m scared of monsters.

Why is the sky blue?

Because of the water, the water is blue, and that’s what Heavenly Father wanted it to be. He hates yellow.

How would the world be different if animals could talk?

It would be weird.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

I would be sneaky.
Guess what? I’m invisible right now! Look mom! I’m invisible!

What are 5 words that describe you?
Beach, I like you, I dont know.

What was a time that you felt lucky?
Uh, like I got a lucky quarter. I’m looking for my lucky quarter! Hey mom, watch me shoot this gun!

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?
Go to the beach.

If you could give a gift to every child in the world, what would it be?
A christmas present! like… a Halloween present. I would give girls a doll, boys a toy lion, and babies… baby toys!

What is your favorite place in the world?
Look at my dolphin mom! I drew a dophin. (And I guess we’re done here.)

 Imaginative Photo ShootAnd because we know that with every energetic child comes a worn out mother chasing closely behind, here’s what his mom Lindsay had to say about Oliver:

Being Ollie’s mom is one of the most daunting and exhilirating tasks ever given to me. His imagination is off the charts, and his energy runs a close second. From the moment he wakes up, until he goes to bed with a spear in hand, and remnants of war paint on his cheeks, he is in character. When Ollie was born, Rob and I had a vision of a little boy that played in the dirt, rode a skateboard, and spent every waking moment doing “boy stuff.” Although he does all of those things, he would prefer a cardboard box, a rope, and some dress-ups. I worry daily that he will be made fun of by other kids, or that the other moms at Costco will judge me for my son being shoe-less in the cart with a Peter Pan hat and four swords shoved into his cowboy belt, but I am quickly realizing, I don’t care! I am so blessed and lucky to be his mother, and I will do whatever it takes to let Ollie be “Ollie.”

nature hunt

Fall is absolutely all around us this past week and we had to take the kids up in the mountains to see it all. Looking at leaves isn’t exactly thrilling for anyone pre-college years, so we put together an easy scavenger hunt to buy us some time to take it all in and give them something fun to do.

Nature WalkNature Walk BoysNature Scavenger HuntNature Scavenger Hunt

Was a bone on the hunt list? Nope. Isn’t it funny what kids fixate on? Anytime they found something small enough we’d tape it on with washi tape.

Exploring Nature with Kids

This is definitely geared towards a younger crowd, but it was a hit! They held on tight to their papers and ran around yelling “Let’s explore!”  Download your own below! Clip art Images obtained via clker.com

Also, you can see more images on our facebook page!

shoe upgrade

Here at Small Fry, we all have two boys each, isn’t that something? We’re not sure if girls are the same, but boys are so hard on their clothes. On top of that they grow like weeds, and we are replenishing their too small wardrobes monthly it seems. So when we find inexpensive staples, we like to stock up. But, of course three best friends with six boys between us, the boys are constantly matching. Embellishing these inexpensive finds is the perfect way to put a little individuality back into their wardrobes. Here’s how Emily did it:

Painted Shoes

Using painter’s tape, mark off your desired design. Make sure you press the tape into the creases and that it is adhering, duct tape might work well too! Using our favorite go-to, acrylic paint, and a sponge brush, dab the paint into the design. Depending on the saturation of the paint and the shoe’s material, you will probably need a few coats. But, it dries quickly, so once it’s set, remove the tape. In only minutes you’ll have one-of-a kind shoes.

Slip ons via K-Mart, and shorts are thrifted Wranglers cut off above the knee.

If you upgrade any shoes, link in the comments, we’d love to see!

And can we just say we hope you have the happiest weekend! It has been an incredible week for Small Fry, and we are on cloud nine. The morning we launched the site was taking minutes to load because so many of you were here. We were laughing because while you were reading our motto, we were either scolding or ignoring our kids while we frantically tried to troubleshoot. We are doing this for our boys, and to be better mothers, but we are definitely not perfect. While we work out the kinks in life and online, we hope you know how much we value and appreciate your support. We hope that we can show you even an ounce of what we’ve felt in return.

peach jam sale

What? Another peach post? We know, we definitely took advantage of peach season around these parts. This is the last one, promise. While we would have had no problem eating every last jar of our Peach Basil Jam , one of our own Quinn has been hassling his mom for a big boy bike. We talked it over and noticed that all our big boys have been a little bit “asky” lately. It got us thinking about how we could teach them a little bit more about work and earning fun things. When we asked them, Dash said he’d like to earn Super Fast Running Shoes, and Hayes was thrilled at the thought of earning yet another “Light-bean A-Queen.”

So while the task at hand surely created more work for us then them, they seemed to grasp the concept and were so thrilled to see neighbors lining up to buy their jam.

We set up the stand for them, brought in a festive peach shaped balloon bouquet and bunting flag, and forced them into some tiny aprons with our Peach Basil Jam brand. We topped all our jars with the downloadable labels, printed onto adhesive paper and tied with green baker’s twine.

The neighbors loved it, Quinn is currently riding a two wheeler around the neighborhood, Dash is running in his new shoes yelling “Super Fast! Super Fast!”, and Hayes had his mom tuck Light-Bean into bed with him last night.

If you’re making the Peach Basil Jam, which we’re certain you are, feel free to download our jam lid label below!

Small Fry Films: Summertime

We’re so thrilled to introduce the first in our ongoing series that features children we know you’ll love and mothers who will inspire you. For our inaugural film feature, meet Ann and her two boys, Jude and August. Ann leads a beautiful life and it is evident in all she does that she is a fiercely devoted and loving mother to her boys. And when those boys look at her with stars in their eyes, you can tell they think the world of her too.

Ann owns the Etsy shop institution Lou and Lee, has the most incredible mid-century home with her husband, and always seems to find anything cool or note-worthy months before us.

Small Fry from Lumineux Films on Vimeo.

Filmed by Jenner Brown of Lumineux Films

peach basil jam

Taking full advantage of our recently acquired plethora of peaches, we knew making peach jam was essential. While we love the standard flavors, we wanted to try a new flavor profile: Peach Basil. It was a risky move with a delicious pay-off. Full recipe below!

Peach Basil Jam

4 cups of peeled and diced peaches

2 T. lemon juice

1 T. butter

1/2 C. finely chopped basil

1 pkg. powdered pectin

5 1/2 C. granulated sugar

Combine the diced peaches with lemon juice and basil in a large pot. Cover peaches with pectin and mix together. Over high heat, add butter and bring to a boil for one minute.  After one minute of a rolling boil, add the granulated sugar and mix into peaches.  Bring mixture back to a boil for another minute or so.

Ladle the peach mixture, wipe edges and seal with a canning lid. Let it cool and then refrigerate. Spread over buttered homemade bread, crackers with cream cheese, marinate your favorite protein, use as a chutney, and enjoy!

*no small fries were harmed in the making of this jam. we were right by them every step of the way!*

backyard tent

We’ve found the quickest way to turn a child’s day around is to put up a fort, and this tent could not be easier to assemble. You’ll need an extra large sheet, a yard of rope, 4 long stakes, a hammer to secure them in place.

Here’s how Nicole did it:

Tie your rope to two parallel stable objects, tying it about a foot higher than you want the tent’s ceiling to be. Take your sheet and tie loose knots into each corner and center it over your rope. Pull the corners out and down to the ground as markers so you know where to hammer your stakes into the ground. Once they’ve been hammered far enough that there isn’t any wiggle room, pull your loose knots over the stakes and tie them tight.

Fill your fort with pillows and blankets, maybe a kid or two, and watch the magic happen.

popsicles au natural

When your sweet baby is getting a new tooth, sometimes you’ll have no idea, but other times it’s all you hear about night and day. On those days, we all scramble to find things to help soothe their pain and here’s an all natural, yet totally effective option to add to the list!

The benefits of barley water for children and adults is endless, but the key word we spotted in the list is that it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Part of the discomfort children feel when they are cutting a new tooth is that their gums are swollen and throbbing. Mixing the magic of barley water with the cold temperatures, they are given instant relief.

To make these popsicles Emily blended a handful of strawberries, two peeled and de-pitted nectarines and barley water (barley water directions below.) The flavor combinations know no bounds, we just used what was on the countertop! Pour the mixture into your popsicle mold and let it freeze for a few hours. Once they’re set, let your baby go to town.  Because they’re all natural and we know the ingredients have minimal sugar and no preservatives or other additives this is a wonderful option to get you through, a few times a day if needed. Until the next tooth comes, of course.

Barley Water

1 cup of barley water

2 1/3 cups of water

Rinse barley well before cooking, and place over a stove stop. Bring water and barley to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes. (You can speed up this process if you soak your barley overnight, then it will only simmer for 15 minutes.) Drain and cool the barley water.

peach picking 1st birthday

There is something so special about a first birthday, and celebrating it is as much for the baby as it is for the parents. Our resident party genius Jenna, has the sweetest little boy, Jude. His family as long called him “Juder Pop” and combine all of that with peach season and the “Pop’s a Peach” theme was born.

Peach Picking Nicole

Peach Picking Emily

Jenna brought us out to Chappell Farms’ Peach Orchard so we could all pick our own peaches as a family.  If you want stress free decorating, let nature do its thing. Rows and rows of vibrant green trees with pops of orange and grassy floors created the most beautiful setting. Jenna added a few minimal touches like reclaimed wood tables decorated with white hydrangeas and peaches too, of course. The drink bar was perfectly refreshing for a warm Summer evening.

As if that wasn’t sweet enough, we celebrated Jude with a decadent chocolate cake.

Happy birthday, Jude, you really are quite a peach!