5 Tips for Making Easter Baskets for Your Kids

I know, Easter was last Sunday but I made the girl’s baskets Saturday night so this post isn’t late when you think about it that way. Just pin it and dig it up next year when you’re scrambling for DIY basket ideas like I know you will. This was my second attempt but  I learned from my mistakes last year so these are keepers. I don’t think I’ll have to make baskets ever again. Here are 4 things to keep in mind when creating your own baskets.

Grab what you like then figure out how to make it work. I loved the flowers in the can but I didn’t know how exactly I wanted to incorporate them until I got started. They worked out perfectly with a little glue and dots from the lettering kit in the middle of each one.

Think function. These baskets weren’t Easter specific, just colored ones I found at Michael’s. Harper’s basket from last year was too small and the handle was so low that we couldn’t get books to fit inside. When they get older we’ll put shirts and other grown up goodies in there, I think the size of these baskets will work for that phase too. (Note: Post-’bunny’ we got baskets well until high school. It was just a fun tradition that I’ll do with my girls too.)

Bigger is better. The basket I made last year had lettering that was way too small so I grabbed these oversized ones and I’m so glad I did. They’re more sturdy and they stuck perfectly to the uneven texture of the basket.

Simple doesn’t mean plain. There are only two elements I used here- flowers and letters and they look great. Their function is to hold gifts and candies so they’ll look better once they’re filled anyway.

Down with glitter. I’m not a fan of glitter on things for kids anyway because it transfers onto their hands and always ends up in their eyes and mouths.

Ester Basket Essentials
Everything was found at Michael’s, the glue gun, paper flowers, and lettering.

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Their middle names are on the back with more flowers.

I’m not especially crafty (honestly, or else I’d already have a glue gun) and it only took me about 30 minutes to put them both together.  They’ll last a long time and will be used every year like Christmas stockings so for me, the extra effort was totally worth it.

6 Tips For Taking Family Photos With Toddlers & Babies

Fact: Most of those adorably posed, perfect looking family photos hide a secret most people will never know. The day was most likely a total mess. We’ll ours was anyway.

Our good friend and celeb photog extraordinaire Jensen Sutta came to our house the other day to photograph our family. They were our first formal pics as a foursome and I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out I over-planned on some things (poses!) and under planned on others (pretty much everything else.) I have some tips below so you can learn from my mistakes. Some of it is toddler-centric but most of it will help with kids of all ages.

Ditch the over planning:

Pinterest does have a lot of ideas but let them be just that- ideas. You can’t overplay a series of shots that your kids may not be agreeable to. It’s about capturing the moment, joyful play, and real smiles. Pick the clothes (casual or more dressed), and the setting (park, backyard, studio), and let your photographer lead the rest. The pic I like best was on marshy grass (with my heels sinking in) on a little tiny hill right by our fence. Not a sweeping, movie-worthy setting and certainly nothing I would think to choose but he make it look really cool.

Plan it around nap times and meals:

You want rested, fed, happy kids so stack the deck in your favor going in.

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Bring along snacks:

Harper is so enchanted with crackers right now. I think they would’ve gone a long way to bribe her into sitting still, smiling, not running, or whatever else we needed that she didn’t do.

Pack a little kit:

If you’ll be outside walking around it pays to grab a little bag and throw in zippy cups, sunscreen, snacks, safety pins for clothing fixes, and even toys. Anything to keep them happy since you’re basically asking them to be in a play environment (like outside or a park) but not necessarily play.

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Practice:

We didn’t prep our toddler enough. A little role play taking photos (because we usually take candids) would’ve gone a long way so she understood what was expected and what was happening. Make it a game and reward for standing still, kissing daddy on the cheek, or good smiles. We only have a few photos of Harper looking at the camera and giving a real smile. I wish there were more.

Make sure the clothes fit:

When we first tried Harper’s skirt on just days before the shoot it was a little big but nothing major, but once she was running and moving around it was literally on the ground. A quick try on doesn’t tell you how the clothes will function in real life. I should’ve let her wear it around for a while so I wasn’t running home for pins mid-shoot.

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Ultimately though we got some beautiful pictures that we’re thrilled about. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

Dog and Babywearing

What took me so long to put Meatball in the baby carrier? After 4 1/2 months, I couldn’t resist! I wouldn’t say he hated it, but he probably wouldn’t make it his regular form of transportation.

He’ll probably stick to his beloved ride in the bottom of the stroller. What’s not to love about that?

Whoever said once you have a baby your dogs become dogs hasn’t been to our house.

Anyway- if you just use your baby carrier for ventures out of the house, you’re missing out on a calmer, happier baby. Babywearing has been done since the beginning of time but now we have carriers and slings (THIS is the sling we have) that make it so easy to relax the baby and keep while keeping your hands free to do whatever at the same time. She has never cried in our carrier (Ergobaby organic) which I hear is common. It’s like a swaddle, keeping them close to you and following the natural rhythms of your movement that they’re so familiar with from pregnancy. Give it a try- especially if your baby (or dog..) is fussy.