Ari

POKÉMON VALENTINES – FREE PRINTABLE

Anyone else’s kiddo obsessed with the app Pokémon Go and collecting the cards? It’s ALL my son, Ari talks about. Valentine’s Day is 3 days away, so obviously he needs Pokémon Valentines for his class. OMG. Hope this helps you last minute parents out too! Scroll down for the download.

Now go CATCH those Pokémon! Get it?

 

1. DOWNLOAD CARDS HERE

2. CUTTING BOARD: THIS is our fav

3. PURCHASE POKÉMON CARDS HERE

4. Attach cards with WASHI TAPE, or you could tie a small pack on the card

xo

-L

For more free printables, click the links below!

ALL DIY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES FOR LITTLES!

Thought we’d put all of our DIY Halloween costumes for littles in one place!
Click the names below for the links. Happy Halloween!!

DIY HALLOWEEN COSTUME FOR LITTLES – BEANIE BOO

My kid has a ::small:: obsession with Beanie Boos. Anyone else get asked EVERYWHERE they go to buy one? Because they’re literally everywhere. At Walgreens, at the craft store, at book stores, gah! Those glittery gigantic eyes follow me everywhere! No really, they’re pretty freaking cute, and I must admit I get into when their birthdays are etc. Okay! Okay! He sold me on them!
Naturally his Halloween costume would have to be a Beanie Boo. There are very few animal onesie costumes that don’t already have a face or eyes on them. This lion costume is from Party City- it’s actually the Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz with the badge snipped off. So that part was easy. 
Scroll down for the tutorial, free printable, and links to purchase supplies! 
What you need (click each item for links)
Hole Punch
TAG
Download the Beanie Boo tag HERE and just print one sheet.
Trace and cut around each shape- outer heart, inner heart, t, y. 
Cut carefully around “Beanie boos”.
Using your foam glue, attach the foam pieces: larger heart in gold on the bottom, then red, then letters.
Punch a hole in the corner (you may have to lift up the red part while it’s not totally dry and do separately since it’ll be pretty thick.
String a red ribbon through the hole and make a necklace.
 
GLASSES
I made him regular glasses for night time since it would be too dark to trick or treat with sunglasses on!!
Paint the outer rim carefully with glitter glue. 
Glitter over a piece of paper so that you can funnel it back into your glitter tube when you’re done. Let dry completely. 
Paint over one more glue coat and let dry.
FACE PAINT
Add as much or as little (maybe just the nose!) as you want.
 “Mommy, I bet people can’t tell which one I am”.
xo
-L

ROOM TOUR: ARI’S MODERN BIG BOY ROOM

You know when your kid gets to an age where all of a sudden they have super strong opinions on what their room should look like? Ari is 5 now and wanted rainbows and gold painted all over the walls with Harry Potter posters. This was not going to fly. BUT I think I pulled off a combination of rainbows, Harry Potter, and my love of black and white modern style. Now we’re both happy!! Scroll down for all sources and a free printable of the modern rainbow poster. 
Besides decoration ideas, the BIG problem to tackle was organization and storage. This is where Land of Nod came in big time! Jenni and I both fell in love with the acrylic bookcase! It’s just so clean and pretty and perfect for treasures. The Home Edit came over and styled with special books and toys to look like… you guessed it… a rainbow!
Land of Nod also came in clutch with these soft bins perfect for the abnormal amount of stuffed animals my son collects. I absolutely LOVE that they are soft. One or two actually live on my son’s bed so that he can sleep with all of his stuffed buddies without them constantly falling off the bed. 
I designed this abstract rainbow poster and have it for you as a FREE download! Yippee! I sent the file into Kinkos/FedEx and had them print it in an 18×24″ frame ready size. Scroll down for the link to download.
This might seem crazy, but I really wanted to make an art installation out of books. Ari loves books (and so do I!) but his old book shelf cubbies were getting a little crazy looking. I saw blogger, Freckles Chick‘s book shelves she used for her daughter’s room and knew that was the solution. I bought the 3.5″ deep shelves and installed them in rows. 6 of the 36″ and 3 of the 24″ shelves. Each row had one long, one short, one long to make three 96″ shelves. Then of course The Home Edit styled it for Ari so it looked like yet another rainbow!!
Our family is a BIT Harry Potter obsessed. Okay a lot obsessed. Luckily, we’ve passed our obsession to Ari. We came up with a “magic spell” to put him to sleep… and it really works! Dixie & Twine graciously made this “FALLIO ASLEEPO” sparkly banner for above his bed!  
SOURCES:
“A” wall letter – Ebay
“a” red letter – vintage
Gumball machine – vintage (my husband’s!)
Matchbox car holder – vintage printers box
Black paint – Behr Broadway
White paint – Behr pure white
FALLIO ASLEEPO!
-L

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Not to toot my own horn… but I’m going to. This cake is the BEST. It’s super m-o-i-s-t (don’t say it out loud) and super chocolaty in a not-to-sweet way. It’s pretty easy too!
My two cute helpers
Ari said “Happy Birthday, Daddy! Daddy, how old are you turning? Oh wow, 32? Does that mean you’re going to go bald soon?”

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER EVER EVER

Cake Recipe
Adapted from Ina Garten
Ingredients:
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans (I use bread flour)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups (good!!) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon (good) pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans (or 11×13″ sheet pan)
Line with the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour (or use cocoa powder) the pans.
If you’re using a sheet pan, have the parchment paper hang off on either side so you’ll have little handles to pop it out when you’re ready to cool it.
  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and mix until combined. I actually don’t like using an electric mixer with this recipe- it’s too liquidy
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. Slowly add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes. Always bake for a few minutes less if you’ve never made this recipe before, so you don’t over-bake the cakes. You can always add more time, you can’t take away. When you start to smell it, it’s probably almost done. Give the pan a jiggle when you start smelling it. Keep adding 3 minutes on your time and checking it again. It should jiggle like solid pudding, not like jello. It will keep baking in your pan after you take it out of the oven. If you want to really check it, put a knife in the middle and it should come off with a few crumbs.
  6. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes (unless you’ve over-baked it*). Run a knife around the edges so the cake will come out more easily. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack lined with parchment paper and cool completely. It’s a gooey cake, so the parchment paper on the cooling rack is KEY. If you’re baking it in a sheet pan, you’ll already have the parchment paper to just pop off and place on the cooling rack.
*If you’ve accidentally over-baked your cake, pop it out of the cake pan immediately to cool on a cooling rack or it will keep baking. Scrape off any crispy parts. Combine 1/4 cup of milk with 1/4 tsp vanilla. Brush it all over the surface of the cake.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING RECIPE

Adapted from Magnolia Bakery
* If frosting a sheet cake, I like to halve the recipe since you’re not covering as much area. This frosting is rich!
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
2 tablespoons whole milk, room temp
12 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate)
1 pinch fleur de sel / sea salt / kosher salt
1 teaspoon (good!!) vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Directions:
  1. To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, 3 minutes
  4. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth
  5. Add the melted chocolate and beat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes.
  7. Gradually add the sugar and beat on medium until fluffy.
Your frosting might be a little melty so keep your mixer and beater attachment out. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 min or until the frosting is more solid, then re-whip it with the mixer.

MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

This will make the cake taste like a s’mores!

* If frosting a sheet cake, I like to halve the recipe since you’re not covering as much area. This frosting is rich!

Whip together:

1 cup salted butter, room temp (or add 1/4 tsp salt to unsalted butter)

14 ounces Marshmallow Fluff

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

Ina Garten
* If frosting a sheet cake, I like to halve the recipe since you’re not covering as much area. This frosting is rich!
Ingredients:
2 c powdered sugar
2 c creamy peanut butter
10 tbsp butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c heavy cream
Directions:
Beat all ingredients except the cream in a mixer on low until creamy. Add the cream and beat on high until fluffy and smooth.

 

 

You are going to LOVE this!! Enjoy!
-L

ARI’S 4TH BIRTHDAY – PIZZA PARTY!

Ari turned 4 yesterday! I cannot believe I have a four-year-old. What?! After Max’s 1st birthday party last month (HERE) I was pretty spent, so it was music to my ears when Ari declared he didn’t want a party! Background… he’s not too into other kids his age and much prefers adults. We’re working on it at preschool and with play dates, but honestly it was his birthday, so he should get to do what he wants, right? Ari’s request was going to his fav pizza place, Mellow Mushroom, with just the family. So that’s what we did!
I kept decoration to the bare minimum (to my standards) and just made these little pizza party hats, a pizza cake, and pizza tattoos
Pizza Party tattoos in our Etsy shop HERE
For the pizza cake, I just used sour straws and chocolate cheerios for the “pizza toppings”. I tinted frosting red for the middle layer and yellow for the top. You guys… I totally attempted a brown crust out of frosting and failed miserably. Scraped it off and stuck with a clean yellow top! 

I thought these pizza hats turned out pretty well and were super simple! For the tutorial and more DIY party hat ideas, click HERE.

Here’s my birthday boy checking out his cake sans pants.
That’s a wrap! Now to move into our new home NEXT WEEK…. oy.
-L
Ari’s Modern Animal Themed 2nd Birthday Party HERE, HERE, and HERE.

SIMPLE PUMPKIN DECOR DIY

Contrary to popular belief, I’m extremely lazy. I could sit on the couch in my jams all day watching movies, eating snacks, and trolling around on Pinterest. Maybe squeeze in a couple hours of reading. That’s actually my dream day. When it comes to decor in my own house (not for a client and not for one of my kid’s birthdays) I’m just like… no. Too tired. 
So here’s the easiest possible one step above nothing fall decor for you!
CHALKBOARD PUMPKIN
1. Sketch a circle/oval/fancy shape on your pumpkin.
2. Paint in the shape with chalkboard paint. The bottle I bought said to paint 2 coats. You can see the first coat below left a few bald spots. Two or three coats is perfect.
3. Um… that’s it.
We’ve been using this as a countdown to Halloween for the kids!
The only thing I’d say about this is that if you use this over and over, the paint starts to chip. Just paint another quick coat of chalkboard paint and you’re done.
I brought the pumpkin inside and used it as a centerpiece when we had friends over for dinner this weekend (with takeout…like I said- lazy!). Ari collected pretty leaves for the table. It made our dinner a little fancier.
I bet you could take this idea and run with it! 
Tag us on your instagram photos @loveandlion, so we can see!
-L

TRIP TO THE PUMPKIN PATCH + FRESHLY PICKED GIVEAWAY!

Fall is my favorite time of year! Love the colors, love the weather, and adore fun fall activities. Jeffrey and I took the kiddos to Gentry’s Farm this past weekend to pick pumpkins and take a billion pictures. My twin sis, Ellie, was in town (always a ridiculous amount of laughs), so we made a day of it and afterwards went to one of our fav standbys for dinner, Burger Up. Ari ordered salmon and salad. What. A. Little. Weirdo. But he’s MY little weirdo. Meanwhile Ellie and I ordered Hatcher Farm milkshakes. So… anyway…
You know you all dress your littles up when you go to the pumpkin patch. You’ve gotta, right?! Luckily, Max can fit into all of Ari’s old clothes, but shoes are a different story. Jenni and I are OBSESSED with Freshly Picked Moccs. We might have one or three or five pairs for our littles and can’t stop won’t stop. The are THE softest shoes in the most beautiful colors. They’re absolutely perfect for almost walkers like Max too. He is a turbo crawler and these babies have elastic that slip right on and don’t fall off. Seriously. The only shoes that Max can’t pull off. Also one of the only shoes that fit his chubby feet! The soft, buttery leather and the elastic work their magic.
Jenni and I are so obsessed with Freshly Picked Moccs that we wanted to share the love with you! Scroll down for deets on how to enter the Freshly Picked Moccasins giveaway.
Max is wearing the Butterscotch mocc. Such a yummy color and perfect for fall!
Can’t cut those curls. Baby mullet.
**GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
And now for the
FRESHLY PICKED MOCCASINS GIVEAWAY!
The lucky duck will win one pair of Freshly Picked Moccs in their choice of color and size.
TO ENTER:
1. Comment on THIS blog post with what color mocc is your fav. See all the beauties right here.
On your cell? Comments only work on the full web version, NOT mobile- blerg
2. Follow @loveandlion and @freshlypicked on Instagram
3. Tag 3 friends on our giveaway Instagram post (@loveandlion)
That’s it! 
Contest closes Thursday, October 23 at 12:00am CST.
We will announce the randomly selected winner* on Friday, October 24th right here on the blog.
*Winner must ship to US only and must not have won a giveaway including Freshly Picked Moccs in the last 60 days.
**GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
We so appreciate you coming by our little ol’ blog, and hope you stick around. Rad parties, crafts, recipes, style, and snippets of our lives!
xo
-L

HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES FOR LITTLES

Well it’s not even mid-September… so naturally it’s time to post about Halloween. I was in Hobby Lobby today and was like…crap! Already? I wanted to share Ari’s past Halloween costumes with you if you’re into DIY’ing it. I totally got away with my choices when he was too little to come up with something himself, but this year it’s his choice. Whomp whomp. Wild Kratts it is!
DIY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
1. HARRY POTTER
This one is my absolute favorite! You know what a Harry Potter nerd I am. We tell Ari Harry Potter stories (the non-scary ones) now, so he loves looking at this picture of himself!
Outfit: khaki or black pants, white button down shirt, black or gray vest or v-neck sweater
Scarf: I knit this using this pattern
Glasses: here. I popped the plastic lenses out
I used an eye liner pencil for the lightening shaped scar 🙂

2. MARTY MCFLY
I still giggle at this one. Ari still doesn’t really get who he was but people loved it! The Back to the Future Trilogy is one of Jeffrey and my favorite movies (next to HP obvs). 
Outfit: jean jacket, white button down with blue/red plaid, maroon t-shirt, red suspenders, red puffy vest, tight light wash jeans, white Nike high tops
“Look at them moccasins!”

3. THE ORKIN MAN
Ari is obsessed with our Orkin man, George. I think he thinks of George as a grandpa?? George retired last year, so it was only fitting to pay homage to him.
Outfit: white button down, pleated khakis, red hat
Details: I made the epaulets out of red felt with a white button sewed on. I just winged it whip stitched them on the shoulders BUT I did it backwards. The button side is supposed to point towards the neck of the shirt.
You can download the Orkin logo I made here.
Stick on eyebrows/mustache found at a costume shop.
I covered Max in little plastic spiders to make it more Halloween-y!
Tutorial for the spray can is below. There was probably a way easier way like using a silver coffee can, but I used what I had!
Punch a hole through the oatmeal can top for the rubber tube (bought at a hardware store)
Tape the tube inside and on the top of the can
Punch holes for the string before you tape the top on
Wrap can and hose with duct tape
4. CARDINAL
I made this for Ari’s preschool costume, but count it anyway as a great Halloween DIY.
Tack/sew red boa around the turtleneck. I used yellow felt for the feet and attached it to Ari’s crocs. For the hat, I glued felt on top of a foam visor from the craft store. You could always just stick feathers on a red hat and call it a day!

5. BABY NERD
This was my laziest costume but effective. Max already had the white onesie, cardi, and bowtie. I just put masking tape on Ari’s Harry Potter glasses (above)!
Even though Ari is almost four and picking out his own costume this year… there’s always hope for Max!
-L

DIY DOOR MONOGRAM – FOR THE LITTLES

Is it just my child that hoards “treasures”? Maybe hoarding is genetic, because he definitely gets it from me! Ari has a drawerful of little trinkets and toys that he doesn’t play with all the time. Marbles, matchbox cars, “magic rocks”…they’re all of course choking hazards for Max, so I decided to hot glue them into infinity. It’s an easy way to personalize Ari’s space in our rental and only $2 to make. Oh how I miss Ari’s room in our old house. Dreaming about our new space we’re building!
Click here for my holiday version of the monogram door hanger. Totally reusing it this winter!
STUFF YOU NEED: Glue gun, x-acto knife, pencil, ruler, string, paper mache letter (I got mine at my craft store for $3, but obviously I had a coupon for it!), and junk treasures.
 STEP 1: Measure 1 cm around the inside of the letter.

 STEP 2: Using your ruler to stabilize your knife, cut along the pencil line. Tip: score first, then cut without moving your ruler. It took me about 3 cuts to get all the way through the cardboard.
 STEP 3: Remove top and inside stuff, smooth down the edges of what you cut.
STEP 4: Using your x-acto knife, make holes at the top of the letter and use your pencil to make the holes a little bigger. Thread string through.
 STEP 5: Lay your treasures out to make them fit, then glue glue glue!
STEP 6: Hang up and be proud of your $2 craft!
STEP 7: Roll your eyes as your kid claims he wants to play with the toys you just glued even though he hasn’t played with them for months. 
-L

FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT – WHAT TO WEAR

We had a little family reunion on my husband’s side of the family in St. Louis- so fun! Magic House, Butterfly house, lots of outdoor play- if anyone needs ideas for kiddos in St. Louis, please email me. So much great stuff to do. I grew up in St. Louis, but going back there with littles is a whole new ballgame. 
We had all eight little cousies together and needed to document it! We wanted our outfits to be coordinating, NOT matching, which I think is key in planning family photo shoots. We went with the color scheme of chambray, navy, white, and yellow in different patterns and textures. I love mixing stripes with plaid with solids…to the horror of our photographer! But I think it really worked. If you mix patterns and shades, it looks a little more natural than being totally matchy matchy. Since each family lives in different cities, I did all of our shopping online to make it easy – Gap, J.Crew, and Zara. 
A classic.
I hope this helps give you ideas for your own family portraits!
-L

PARTY HAT TUTORIAL – FREE DOWNLOAD

Here’s a quick and easy party hat tutorial for you. If you want a solidly constructed hat with the string and everything (so you can force your baby to wear it like I do) but have it match your decorations, this is my fav way to go. Scroll down for the tutorial and download.
Ari’s third birthday party HERE
Ari’s second birthday party HERE

 PARTY HAT TUTORIAL:

1. Start with any store-bought hat
2. Unfold the hat, design-side down
3. Trace around the hat
4. Cut out traced shape, a little outside the lines to leave room for error
5. Put double stick tape on the two straight edges of the traced shape
6. Start with the “tab” side and tape on the hat, wrapping around the paper as you go
(If you want to do a little fringe or pom pom add this in before you close up the hat)
7. Decorate! 
Download party hat numbers HERE
 And here are my babies in their birthday hats! Oh how I love to torture them.

Jenni covered her hats with chalkboard paper and wrote with chalk. Amara’s first birthday party HERE

We’d love to see your party hats! Email us!
 -L