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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas: Marshmallow Snowman Tutorial

The order of our advent calendar has officially been wrecked. We've gone rogue and are doing activities on whatever day we feel like! Yesterday we were supposed to go to Winter Wonderland at Petco Park but the event has been getting such bad reviews that we stayed home and made these marshmallow snowmen instead. What started as such a simple project ended up being very messy and our supplies were quickly drained...mostly because the kids could not control themselves around M&Ms. They were having so much fun that I could not even be mad at them. Thanks to Luynh & Eden for playing with food with us!

Marshmallow Snowman Tutorial

Materials Needed
-Large marshmallows
-Mini oreos
-Food markers
-White frosting
-Popsicle sticks

1. Insert popsicle stick into three marshmallows
2. Use white frosting as "glue" to add M&M buttons and an Orea cookie hat 
3. Draw on a face using food markers
4. Insert two pretzels as arms

Your snowman would be the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of cocoa or can be eaten right off the stick. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas: 2014 Family Holiday Photos

I'm never going to get tired of looking at the photos from our mini session in Topanga State Park by Hello Pinecone Photography. We were able to reserve the 5 pm time slot which made for beautiful lighting. The gnarled branches of the old oak trees provided the perfect interesting background. My boys were so handsome in the outfits I picked out.  

Thank you for capturing these sweet photos for us, Erin. They are perfect.

On Mary
Dress: H&M
Necklace: J Crew

On Tuan
Sweater: J Crew
Pants: Custom
Tie: Penguin
Shirt: Gap

On Parker
Coat: Zara Kids
Pants: Zara Kids
Shoes: Target
Tie: J Crew
Shirt: Gap

[This is the photo we picked for our holiday cards]

[I love this guy]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas: A Peek at Parker's Advent Calendar

While hanging the advent calendar...

Me: Parker, wanna touch it? 
Parker: I wanna touch it. *Reaches and touches the bottom*
Me: Ok, try to touch it again.
Parker: *Reaches but can't touch it. Gets on his tippy toes. Still can't touch it.* I wanna touch it!
Me: Ok babe, hang it there.

We're on day 3 of our countdown to Christmas and Parker is totally fascinated by the advent calendar Tuan and I have put together for him. He is dying to get his hands on day 4. I'm totally in love with the advent calendar too. After many conversations that went kind of like this

Me: I really need to start working on Parker's advent calendar. Why is it so hard to find wool felt in San Diego?? 
Tuan: Make it out of something else.
Me: But I don't have to have to bother with hemming all the edges. Man this is going to be an expensive project. Wool felt is really pricey.

So I just swiped and bought it. Sometimes you just have to especially when the calendar is as beautiful and timeless as this Urban Pine one from Land of Nod. I love it. The quality is impeccable.

[Sorry for the craptastic pictures. The lighting in our bedroom is really bad.]

Each pocket is filled with a fun winter activity and a little treat. Almost everything is airplane or superhero themed and purchased at Target or Party City. I tried to coordinate the treat with the activity we would be doing that day.

Putting the activity list together was the hardest part. Here is what I put together after browsing Pinterest and checking out what would be happening around town in the month of December (in no particular order).

1.       Get Christmas Tree
2.       Hang the wreath
3.       Write Christmas Cards
4.       Collect pinecones
5.       Bake chocolate chip cookies
7.       Visit Grandma & Grandpa
8.       Visit  a Christmas tree farm
9.       Watch a Christmas movie
10.   Set up the Nativity scene
11.   Read the Nativity story
12.   Decorate the tree
14.   Petco Park Winter Wonderland
15.   View Christmas lights in the neighborhood
16.   Make a snowglobe
17.   Wear new pajamas to bed
18.   Christmas dance party!!
19.   Build a marshmallow snowman
20.   Color a Christmas picture
21.   Hang mistletoe
22.   Drink hot cocoa
23.   Write a letter to someone and send it in the mail
24.   Buy candy canes and hang them around the house

25.   MERRY CHRISTMAS, Parker!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas: 2014 Pictures with Santa

Tuan and I knew going into it that photos with Santa was not going to be a good experience. A few days before, I showed him fun Santa videos and pictures in hopes that he would fall in love with Santa and not scream during his photo shoot. It didn't work. Are we terrible parents for continuing this tradition even though we know Parker is going to get scared and cry? I hope we can all look back at these photos one day and laugh.

[2013 photo with Santa R. Only two little teeth!]

[2014 photo with Santa R. More teeth. Total meltdown.]

[Happy Holidays from the Nguyens!]

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving: Thankful & Blessed

This year I am most thankful for:

My patient and loving husband
My silly baby who is turning into a bona fide little boy
Family near and far
Mom friends who understand the struggle
Non-Mom friends who let me live vicariously through them
My incredibly forgiving fur baby, Frank
Good health
The means to live the life we live

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

[Free download available on Ruffled Sunshine]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas: Free Printable Holiday Planners

It's been a little quiet on the blog lately. As we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas things tend to get a little crazy around here. There are so many parties to plan and attend, so many gifts to buy and make, so many winter activities to do and people to meet up with. If you are struggling to get through the holiday season like I am, I suggest you download one of these beautifully design holiday planners from Eliza Ellis. I cannot believe these are free! There are 7 gorgeous designs to choose from and so many different worksheets. Sometimes I just need to write things down to get organized and these planners are perfect for that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas: A New Twist on Parker's Christmas List

We have a lot of family and friends that we don't get to see as often as we would like. So this year I'm going to put a little twist on Parker's Christmas list. How about instead of giving Parker a Christmas present our friends and family give him a Christmas gift? The gift of your time. We are blessed to have so many toys at home and Parker is far from needing a new one to add to his collection. Of course every kid loves new things but I challenge you, friends and family, to give him the gift of your time or an experience instead of a new toy or clothes. I know it may be difficult for those who live further away but that's why it's called a challenge! All we want for Christmas is you.

This post is inspired in large part by Christella Morris' The Gift of Not Giving a Thing and my older sister's confession that she stashes unopened Christmas and birthday gifts in her garage in an effort to cut down on the clutter.

Parker's Christmas List

1. Parker is obsessed with airplanes right now. I'm sure he would love another airplane toy. But you know what he would love even more? To spend a couple of hours watching planes take off from the airport or maybe visiting the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum on Miramar Road. The look on his face when he spots a plane in the sky is priceless.


2. Parker's other favorite thing right now is The Hulk. Or as he says it "Hulkiees". He freaking loves Hulk. Everything is "Iron Mans" (his term for all superheroes) and "Hulk" these days. There are literally hundreds of Hulk toys out there but you know what would be really cool? If you went to the Marvel Experience in February for Parker's birthday or came over and played superheroes with him for an afternoon. It would be a great opportunity to see his Hulk smash!


[Image spotted on Pinterest]

3. We love visiting new places and taking pictures for the blog. Little man literally has a camera in his face all the time. Parker is always curious of our Tuan's big camera and loves to push all the buttons. How about you take him out for a photo field day? It doesn't need to be anywhere fancy. He would probably get a kick out of taking photos of Frank or his toys. He could be the next Hawkeye Huey.


[Image and great activity ideas on Click It Up a Notch]

4. If you absolutely just want to buy a gift, Parker would love a gift subscription from Citrus Lane. Their boxes are always well curated and we can receive them throughout the year instead of just in December. Let's spread the love around. 

5. We love reading books! Here are some books that I think Parker will really enjoy. The catch? Try to make time to read the book with him...over and over and over...

Press Here $12.32

6. When in doubt, give cash. We're Asian, this is totally acceptable and most definitely preferred over new toys. Here are some creative ways to give cash gifts at Christmas time.

Box of Money

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Family Life: Superheroes in our Bed

The bed is feeling a bit crowded these days with the addition of a slew of Parker's favorite superheroes. First we couldn't get him out of our bed, now we have to put up with all his friends too. We are still co-sleeping at 21 months. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thanksgiving: DIY Spoon Turkey Puppets

Gobble gobble! Get your little one excited for Thanksgiving by making these festive and fun Turkey Spoon Puppets. These puppets are simple, inexpensive and fool proof. Kids can play with it as a toy or you can add it to your Thanksgiving tablescape. Ready to get started?

Turkey Spoon Puppets

Wiggle eyes
Felt scraps in red and orange
Masking Tape


1. Cut masking tape into varying widths and wrap around the handle of the spoon.
2. Paint the spoon. Let dry for 1 hour. Remove tape once paint is dry.
3. Cut out beak and tattler shapes from felt. Glue beak, tattler and wiggly eyes to the head of the spoon.
4. Glue feathers to the back of the spoon. Let dry for 4+ hours so glue can completely set before playing with the puppets.

[All my supplies were purchased at Michaels except the wooden spoons. Not pictured: scissors and masking tape. Don't forget to use your 40% off coupon!]

[I saran wrapped Parker's high chair tray before I let him paint. The paint is easily removed with warm water and soap. He didn't want to wear the cute apron I bought him so I put him in a throw away shirt. I knew there was a purpose for those tacky souvenir shop tshirts!]

[Parker and Kaden's spoons after painting. All of the colors from the paint set mixed so well together. I love how they turned out. The slight shimmer is fantastic.]

[I placed two glue spots on the spoons and let him add the eyes]

[Waiting for our glue to dry]

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Review of KidTeeZ + a Giveaway

Update: Congrats to @bongla12! You've won our very first giveaway. Thanks for being a loyal reader. We hope your little one loves her new princess tee!!

As much as I love dressing Parker up in button downs, a cool tee is my go to item when I know we are going to be out playing. The "Eat, Football, Sleep" tee from KidTeez is my new fave in Parker's current rotation. Seriously, how cool does he look? I love the typographic art. 

Parker's Outfit
Eat Football Sleep tee: KidTeeZ
Pants: Zara Kids
Sunglasses: Target
Shoes: Adidas

Let's take a moment and talk about how excited I am that he finally fits 2T clothes. The possibilities are endless now that he is out of onesies (though KidTeeZ carries those as well)! I want to note that KidTeeZ is currently switching the type of t shirts they print on. Parker is wearing a 2T shirt in their old tee and it fits perfectly. I also have some 2T shirts in their new tee and they are HUGE. Like down to his knees huge. The discrepancy in size is crazy but they are working on transitioning all their tee designs to the new tees. I have to say that the new tees have a nice slub to them and are softer. It's like humor and comfort had a love child.

Now let's get to the exciting part. The folks over at KidTeeZ have generously partnered with me to giveaway a tee to one of YOU! This is the first giveaway on the Parker Project Blog and I hope you enter and share this with all your friends.

Giveaway Rules

To win a free tee (up to $15 value), follow @kidteez and @sdmama on Instagram and leave a comment below letting me know which tee you would like to win. A winner will be announced on November 6. There are hundreds of different designs to choose from on! 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Christmas: Outfit Planning for Family Photos

[Sneak peek of Parker courtesy of Hello Pinecone Photography]

Last year, we took a cute photo of Parker for our holiday cards and called it a day. I had just discovered Hello Pinecone Photography and we missed Erin's mini sessions by a week. A week! Ugh. Fast forward one year, this mama was determined to get glammed up to have our holiday photos taken by Erin. Outfit planning for holiday our mini session with Erin was fun. I started with finding a color scheme that hinted at holidays without screaming CHRISTMAS. Once that was decided on, I found the perfect sequin dress at H&M and Tuan and Parker's outfits fell into place. I love the detail on the J Crew sweater Tuan wore and Parker's little blue coat. What are you planning to wear for your holiday photos this year?

Also, reminder that today is the last day to enter the giveaway. Click on this link for more details.