FRYday: Jenna

Prints courtesy of Melanie Burk.

I have ALWAYS loved planning parties. My pinterest board is filled to the brim of all the ideas I’d love to expand on & create beautiful events around. I love to cook, plan, decorate and entertain guests. I love the feeling of hosting, designing a beautiful experience for my friends & having them leaving with full hearts. I love seeing my children’s face light up with enthusiasm because their dreams have come true! Whether it was the Peach Party in the orchard, Superhero Training Party, Little Fish Swimming Party etc…such beautiful memories, with wonderful details, and happy faces.

So why did I quit throwing elaborate birthday parties for my kids?

It was somewhere after the Jude’s fish party that I sat down after the mayhem and realized that of that day I had spent maybe one hour of quality time WITH him. Most the day (and week prior) was spent hiring sitters so I could run errands, prepare food, gather details and set up the party.  So while I was flustered, snapping at my children and running around in general chaos…my boy had been ignored. But wait?! Wasn’t that why I was doing ALL this? So he felt like the most special, wonderful, loved little boy in the whole world? And I think probably in those hours he did, but what I’ve learned since is he feels JUST as special snuggling reading a book, throwing a ball back and forth and taking him on a scooter ride. So often I would find myself missing the moments all while trying to create them and I’ve been determined to, as a man I admire has said, ‘do less with more focus.’Do Less With More Focus

I haven’t thrown a party (in that way) since that day. We still celebrate the heck out of our kids but in a much more relaxed setting. Family, friends, pizza, balloons and love. It’s never going to be pinned, admired or maybe even put on this blog and I’m alright with that. I no longer believe that I am required as a mother to display an outward expression of my inner feelings for my children in the form of expensive birthday parties.

Perhaps there will be a season in my life when I can welcome back in the joy I find in creating a beautiful event without it interfering with the real meaning of the day, and when that comes you’re all invited!

Even still when we attend a beautiful party I find myself thinking that I should really get back doing it in that way and that perhaps my children are missing out. But just like it does not make me more of a wonderful mother to throw a carefully curated party it does not make me less of one to refrain from doing so. And that’s what I’ve found to be so beautiful about parenting, life and people. We’re allowed to find what works for us and makes US happy. There isn’t a one size fits all in parenting and respecting others choices and our own only make our lives more fulfilled.



Huge thank you to Melanie Burk for designing what has quickly become a Small Fry motto around here. If it hit you like it has us, grab your favorite below, pin or Instgram, and tag us @melanieburk so we can see how you’re interpreting it into your own life! Happy Fryday! Click Read More for three other versions! Read more

little black legging: GIVEAWAY

By Jenna.

Two giveaways in one week?! This hasn’t happened in awhile!  If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been on an obsessive search for the perfect little black legging, literally #searchfortheperfectLBL, to get me through my pregnancy. I’m sharing my six favorites today, and best of all one of you gets to take home ALL of them! Here’s what you need to know:the perfect little black legging --GIVEAWAY


Clockwise from top center!

1. Blanqi // High Performance High Waist Leggings

When I asked for suggestions, the Blanqi High Performance High Waist Leggings got a resounding vote. It’s almost frightening how comfortable these are. Like I have to look down to be sure I’m wearing pants because I swear I’m naked. They’re thin but have great control and are semi-opaque. They do the job and do it well. Also they have a maternity option that is going to come in real handy towards the end.

2. Zella // Live in Leggings

These were the #1 suggestion. I couldn’t believe that anything could compare to my LuLu Wunder Unders, but I’m here to say I’m never going back. They’re HALF the price and just as great. The quality is top notch, length is perfect, waist is high, opaque and have super good control. They’re fantastic for work outs and every day wear. I also bought this pair for a more funky option, I also really love these ones. Just a tip: size down.

3. Costco // Matty M Ladies’ Leggings

Yep you heard me right, Costco. These leggings are seriously legit. They’re a great length, comfortable, opaque and FIFTEEN DOLLARS. You just can’t beat it. I don’t feel like they have the best control but they’re good enough. Great bang for your buck.

4. Zara // Leggings with Zipper

I LOVE THESE. I wouldn’t wear them to workout but they’re an awesome every day and even night out pant. They’re a thicker fabric so you’ll want to wear them in colder weather as the fabric isn’t very breathable. The waist band is a thick elastic which is great for any of you pregnant folk out there. The zippers at the ankle is enough detailing for me to feel like they’re fashion forward. And for $25.99 you really can’t go wrong, plus they’re are some other great color options!

5. Boob Design // Once on never off leggings

I’ve been so impressed with Boob Design. They’re a company out of Sweden who takes great care with their textiles and design. I really feel like everything about their clothing has been tested a thousand times to be perfectly comfortable for the expecting Mom. The panel on these is so thick and supportive, it lifts up my belly and even helps support my back Even if you’re not pregnant, enter to win these for a friend or stash them away for future use, you’ll be glad you did.

6. AyAyAy Apparel // Xina Legging

These have been a favorite of mine for a while. You’ll get them in the mail and see what I mean but they’re basically indestructible. So thick while being breathable, it’s like magic. I love the detailing at the end too, I feel like it’s a fun surprise and makes a normally boring black legging, interesting.

So, now that the extensive research has some conclusions drawn we teamed up with a bunch of brands to giveaway all the leggings on my super important list! Let’s be honest, you can never have too many, especially when pregnant! Enter below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Land of Nod-tober GIVEAWAY!

Happy October, everyone! We have the most amazing giveaway to share with you all today with Lately Lily and Land of Nod and Delta Vacations®. You all know of our love for Lately Lily and Land of Nod separately, so this event on October 25th in Chicago is basically a giant collaboration of amazingness and they want to share it with YOU!

They are offering flights courtesy of Delta Vacations® for a family of four to Chicago AND $1000 Shopping Spree at Land of Nod’s gorgeous flagship store. Check out all the ways to play and participate in this awesome event all October – ahem – Nod-tober below, we are lucky enough to be sharing a little bit about the amazing people behind Land of Nod right here on Small Fry, so check that out below! Then click right on this image to enter the giveaway:Nodtober!

This is an amazing amazing giveaway and we are crossing all our fingers that one of our own amazing readers gets to take this once in a lifetime trip! We’ll be back sharing more about this awesome duo, but in the mean time – head here to enter!

First Interview is Shawnna, the manager of the Chicago Land of Nod store!




Win a Trip for a Family of 4 to Chicago + $1000 Land of Nod Shopping Spree!

DIY distressed jeans

By Emily.

My journey through distressing my own jeans is long and treacherous. If you can, imagine a pre-teen Emily hunched over a treadmill. Her hands inside two pant legs holding the knee areas down on the treadmill belt at 10 MPH speed. Hands on fire from friction, but determined to get that all-natural distressed look. Long story short is I’ve tried everything. And this is what works, so for those of you who’ve inquired, here’s what you’re gonna do! DIY Destroyed Jeans

1. Grab a pair of denim (either yours or your kiddos!) that has minimal stretch. Jeggings are not going to work for this. The spandex doesn’t distress all that great, so I’ve found using a denim that is mostly cotton is your best bet.

DIY Destroyed Jeans

2. Next time you’re at the grocery store grab yourself a Pumie. Yes, the hard water toilet bowl scouring tool. That’s why you’re getting it at the grocery store, brand new in packaging. 😉

3. Try on your jeans, bending at the knee, and mark with a small pen/marker where your knee caps protrude. Also mark any other points you want to distress.

4. Take the jeans off and put a piece of cardboard or thick plastic under the points you’re going to distress.

5. Take the Pumie and start pulling at the fibers of the jeans. It will start to pull up cotton and after a few minutes you’ll have your perfectly natural looking holes!

DIY Destroyed Jeans

I love this method because you can’t tell that it was done by hand. I don’t like the obvious scissor cut marks, hand ripping or tearing. Just a natural distressing is what I’m going for! I love being able to do my own distressing because I can choose where the holes will go and how wide and long. Lastly, I love that I don’t have to wash and dry them to get the fraying started. These are ready to wear as soon as you’re done distressing!

DIY Destroyed Jeans

On Quincey:

1% Spandex Jeans via Target // Nico Nico Sweatshirt

How Monsters Can Save Your Car Ride

This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive.



We live only a handful of minutes from the most beautiful waterfall called Bridal Veil. Even if you’re just driving on the highway past it on your way up the canyon, you can almost feel the mist touch your face, it’s incredible! We took a whole car full of our boys up the canyon to see the changing leaves and as usual commented on Bridal Veil as we drove past. When we looked to the back row, we saw three glazed faces watching a movie on one of our tablets. That was when we knew it was time for a change! With school back in session we’re spending more time than ever in the car so we wanted to come up with a project to entertain our kids while we’re driving, but not zone them out. To be able to have conversations and interact and find ways to enjoy our time together even if it’s just running errands!

For this project we put together a free Monster Magnets printable (download below!) and here’s how you can put it together as a family!

Start by printing the download onto a heavy card stock. Then have your kids color the monsters!Unplugged Car Ride Monster Magnets

We are definitely on a monster kick here at Small Fry for two reasons: Halloween is just around the corner, and one of our little guys came home one day suddenly knowing all sorts of gruesome facts about monsters that for sure lived in his closet. We’ve found making these types of things more familiar in a fun way helped undermine his monster fear. Double win!Unplugged Car Ride Monster Magnets

Once they’ve colored the monsters cut each monster element out together!Unplugged Car Ride Monster Magnets Then use thin magnet sheets and glued them to the backs of the elements.

Unplugged Car Ride Monster Magnets

Now that you have everything assembled you’ll need something to stick your magnets too! A small cookie sheet is perfect for this, because then there’s a small ridge to keep all the pieces from moving around or sliding off! You can also find actual magnet boards, pictured here. We found this at a local craft store. It is the perfect lap size with a little extra overhang that lets it balance on the car seat!

Monster Magnets for the car!

Now you’re ready to build your monster! This is the perfect craft for even quick thirty-minute drives. We love this because it encourages creativity and is nice and quiet. We have the boys tell us a story about the monster, where they’re going, what they like to eat, and what they’re good at. Then we take turns telling a story about the monster. And as most things with four and five year olds, things get silly pretty fast!

Monster Magnets for the car!

Monster Magnets Printable | Small Fry

Download your own monster magnet printable below!