Living in Color | A Life & Style Blog

Spotlight Fashion Link-Up | Rompers & Jumpsuits

August 24, 2016

Hi friends! I'm sharing my favorite romper from our little vacation at the Four Seasons last month! I love this romper for three reasons: It's great in the heat, it only cost $10, and I can layer with it for Fall! I picture this romper with a super cute utility jacket and some booties. Am I right?!

Outfit details: H&M romper (only $10) | Similar shoes | Taudrey necklace c/o | Topknot extensions c/o (for braid thickness)





Jacqueline and I post our link-ups every Thursday! This week our theme is rompers or jumpsuits or you can pick any fashion/beauty related post to link up! Come back weekly to visit us! 

1. We kindly ask that you follow the two hosts: Elle from Living in Color on Bloglovin', Jacqueline from Stylin' In St. Louis via Bloglovin'. and our guest host, Hillary of Style in a Small Town on Bloglovin' (The first three links in the link-up.)

2. Use the button provided on Larissa or Jacqueline's side bar or link back to the link-up on your blog.

3. Enjoy reading other blogs and make new blogger friends!



SPOTLIGHT: This week's spotlight is Audrey of Five Foot Nothing Shopping. Jacqueline and I adore her look from last week's link-up! Be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!
NEXT WEEK: for next week's trend we're featuring Fall transition looks. Thanks so much for linking up each week! Have a fabulous rest of your day!


xo. L

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Eating Healthy On The Go

August 21, 2016

It's tough to eat healthy at home. It's even more difficult to eat a healthy meal on the go. I used to bring my lunch to work every day when I was teaching and more often than not, it was a hot pocket and some chips, and maybe some fresh veggies or an apple here and there. Eating healthily takes time, planning, and isn't for the faint of heart, but I promise you that once it becomes a habit, it is infectious! 

Baby G and I bring food everywhere we go. Part of that has to do with my plant-based diet, but most of it has to do with having kids. I have discovered that it is essential to bring food along almost everywhere! Today I'm sharing three complete [healthy] meals that I LOVE to eat at home, and on the go. These are also great back to school lunch ideas if you have school-aged kiddos, and they're obviously toddler-approved, as baby G literally eats ALL of these things.
G always gets so excited when she sees this pink Igloo lunch box now. She knows exactly what's in it! The vibrant colors are perfect for kiddos when they have to keep track of their own lunch bag at school, and I love how there are a couple of different options for carrying. I use the shoulder strap almost exclusively because it allows me to carry my diaper bag, high-chair cover, and the baby too. As you can see, G likes to hold it by the top haha.

Meal One:
Roasted chickpeas (see recipe for these here)
Dried strawberries (these taste like fruit snacks)
Fresh red pepper sliced
One cup of plain hummus with hemp hearts
One banana
Dried mango

The main dish for this is the roasted chickpeas, which are a household favorite. These have seasonings like cumin and chili powder; they're just divine. See recipe here. We eat a lot of dried fruit over here as well. I like that it doesn't spoil as quickly, and isn't high maintenance at all. I treat it like fruit snacks, except there are not refined sugars. Dried strawberries are SO sweet by nature! The peppers and hummus is there for a fresh-tasting snack. The key to feeling full is eating a lot of healthy foods, often, which is why I have like 3-4 different fruits in here alone! I packed water of course, because you can never get too much of that! Have you ever tried infused fruit water?!

Meal Two:
Oatmeal granola bars (I modified this a bit to my own liking, but it's a great base recipe)
Homemade magical chia seed jam (recipe here, and you MUST try it. I use a lot of chia seeds for thickness)
Dried apple
Fresh strawberries
Pear
Baby carrots
Almonds
Date and oat granola clusters (homemade recipe below)

Like I said, I'm a snacker, but these are some of our go-to foods. I forgot to include fresh nut butter. I put the nut butter and chia seed jam on the oatmeal granola bars and it's absolutely divine! This is more of a breakfast type lunch, but these oatmeal granola bars are packed with deliciousness that will keep you full of energy all day!

Date and Oat Granola Recipe
In food processor mix up the following until crumbly:
-1 cup of oats
-8 medjool dates
-1 tablespoons cacao nibs
-2 tablespoons coconut shreds
-1 tablespoon non-alcoholic vanilla extract

That's it! you can play with the ratios and ingredients, but that's the base recipe and I always add and change things around!

Meal Three:
Chickpea salad (literally tastes identical to egg salad)
Applesauce
Raw cashews
Dried cranberries

I didn't include a ton of snacks in this one because both the chickpea salad and almost 1 full cup of cashews are very filling. Plus, the chickpea salad is packed with tons of fresh veggies and lots of protein to keep you full all day. Yes, this dish is toddler-approved to, and can easily be modified for those who aren't fans of chickpeas! Just switch it out with egg if you eat them, or pasta, even!

Chickpea Salad Recipe (modified from this one)
In a bowl simply mash up the chickpeas, then stir in the rest of the chopped veggies. Mix in the mayo and mustard, then serve and enjoy!

1 15 oz can of chickpeas
1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper diced
1 cucumber peeled and diced
2 tablespoons vegan mayo (or regular)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
Last tip: make sure you are using a quality lunch box! You want one that's extra insulated to keep food cooler longer like this Igloo one, and has plenty of room for all of the deliciousness you can fit inside! I prefer lunch boxes that are water resistant, and have a BPA, phthalate-free lining, since those chemicals shouldn't be around the food. I love that I can conveniently bring fresh, healthy food everywhere with me thanks to my Igloo lunch box. I hope you enjoyed these recipes and food ideas!

*Thanks to Igloo for sponsoring and inspiring today's post.

xo. L

smarTrike | A Toy To Last Through Toddlerhood

August 18, 2016

Baby G is obsessed with the outdoors. I mean obsessed. She's constantly looking out our living room and bedroom windows wondering when the next time we'll play outside is! Since it's so ridiculously hot in the daytime, we do lots of evening walks. Our mail box is one of those community ones, so everyone in our neighborhood goes to the same spot to check their mail. Checking the mail in the evenings has kind of become our new favorite thing.
For us it means something simple, like checking our mail to see what's in there, but to Grace it's a whole adventure from the very second we grab the mail key! She knows exactly where the key is kept: by the garage door, and knows that she gets to hold it. We put on our shoes, and go out to the garage where her smarTrike sits. She immediately sees it and giggles with joy. It's literally the cutest thing to watch her recognize familiar things. We get her all set up, and start walking the neighborhood. I love that the smarTrike is easy to steer, and she thinks she is steering and pedaling by herself!

There are actually four stages, so, you start by pushing them, but then they gradually don't need your assistance, the older they get; eventually the child can use it as a trike to explore on their own! I do, however, like that it gives her the confidence she will need someday when her daddy teaches her how to ride it on her own! 
During our walk to the mailbox, G sees all kinds of things! From the friendly neighborhood dogs, to the trees blowing in the wind, and other kids playing outside, she is exposed to so much in such a short amount of time. No wonder she looks forward to these walks each evening! I think she likes being low to the ground too, in her smarTrike because I'm usually carrying her everywhere, and it offers the world to her at a different perspective! 

On our way back home from the mailbox, G either holds the mail or we store it in the bag on the smarTrike so we don't have to carry it, which is super convenient.

Every time someone asks what they should get their little one for their first birthday, I tell them to get a smarTrike! There are tons of colors and styles for each kid and they pretty much double as a stroller in the beginning! My good friend takes hers everywhere, from the mall to the museum, to the coffee shop - her little one prefers her trike. We use ours for small trips too, but our simple evening walks are such a highlight for our little family.




What's one thing you and your family like to do together each day?

xo. L
*Thanks to smarTrike for sponsoring today's post.

Spotlight Fashion Link-Up | Weekend Style

August 17, 2016

Happy Thursday! I'm featuring my mom uniform - distressed denim, a comfy white tee, and some cute sandals for this week's #spotlightweekly! Be sure to visit some other blogs in the link-up and make some friends! We love having you visit each week to link-up! xoxo.
Wearing: White tee (comes in 6 colors) | Blank NYC denim | Similar clutch | Ruby Claire Boutique 'Gemma' sandals (ony $32) c/o | Taudrey necklace c/o



Jacqueline and I post our link-ups every Thursday! This week our theme is weekend style or you can pick any fashion/beauty related post to link up! Come back weekly to visit us! 

1. We kindly ask that you follow the two hosts: Elle from Living in Color on Bloglovin', Jacqueline from Stylin' In St. Louis via Bloglovin'. and our guest host, Leah of Eat Pray Wear Love on Bloglovin'(The first three links in the link-up.)

2. Use the button provided on Larissa or Jacqueline's side bar or link back to the link-up on your blog.

3. Enjoy reading other blogs and make new blogger friends!



SPOTLIGHT: This week's spotlight is Carrie of Curly Crafty Mom. Jacqueline and I adore her look from last week's link-up! Be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!
NEXT WEEK: for next week's trend we're featuring rompers and jumpsuits. Thanks so much for linking up each week! Have a fabulous rest of your day!


xo. L

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Three Simple Sensory Activities For Toddlers

August 16, 2016

“What to do with your toddler at home.”

“Rainy day ideas and activities for babies and toddlers.”

The above are probably two of the most Googled phrases in a parent’s first few years. Especially if you live in an area where you’re either inside all winter, due to the cold, or like me, where you are stuck inside all summer due to excessive heat! (Hello, 120 degrees…)

We all know toddlers are busy little bodies! Their minds are developing at a rapid rate, and so are their physical skills! Being a former teacher, I get a ton of questions about activities for toddlers that help with sensory development. I also love working on fine motor development. All too often, I will have kiddos in my classroom (ages 4 and 5) that could have greatly benefited from activities like these at ages 2 or 3. No one is to blame, as there isn’t a handbook, or guide on how to be a parent or how to help your child develop… that’s why I am here to share some fun, cheap, simple ideas that both you and your little one will enjoy.

*Disclaimer – NONE of these activities should be given to a toddler to play with alone. These are activities for you to do WITH your kids, and for you to help teach them these skills, so please do not let them have yarn, noodles, or endless amounts of flour all alone, as with anything, be sure to carefully supervise!

Three Simple Activities

Cheerio Picking
Supplies:
Ice cube trays
Cheerios

Method:
This activity is great for little ones who are hungry (haha) and also need to work on their pincer grasp (picking up a tiny object with 2 or 3 fingers). Grace was a bit behind with this since she didn’t start eating solids until nine months old, so I created an easy activity for extra practie. I put cheerios into an ice cube tray, and held it in place so she could pick them out one by one! She loves it because she munches and works, and I’m a happy mama because she is learning.

You can change it up with raw beans, fuzzy pom-poms, cotton balls, etc for older kids to work on their fine motor technique, just please watch them closely!
Fishing for letters
Supplies:
Flour
Bowl or tub
Foam letters
Paper
Pen (for adult)

Method:
This is a convenient and fun way to turn letter recognition into a physical activity! Children work on their fine motor skills by “fishing” for the foam letters in the bowl of flour! You can take this to another level for older kids by using a giant tub of flour and putting the whole alphabet in there!

All of the letters that are in the bowl should also be written down in pen on the white piece of paper. Then your child’s task is to match it to the letter they pull out to the letter on the sheet. Example: your child pulls an ‘F’ out of the bowl of flour, and you show them where to put it (on the white piece of paper where it says ‘F’) This activity can be as difficult or as easy as you like. Obviously, when I play this with Grace, who is only 13 months old, there is no letter recognition involved – I guide her hand to match all of the letters! However, a 2 or 3 year old may be able to easily point out “F” and say that aloud before placing it on the sheet. For 4 or 5 year olds, you can have them name the letter, and then say what sound the letter makes (/f/) or even have them think of a word that starts with ‘F’ like “fox”! The possibilities are endless! I do however, want to encourage you to have fun with this, and not treat it like a quiz.

Remember, you want your child to enjoy it, and the learning will take place naturally, through play! Let them get their hands and face messy in the flour!
Noodle Necklaces
Supplies:
Yarn
Uncooked Pasta
Paint to color noodles beforehand is optional

Method:
This was a favorite in my kindergarten classroom. I would put on some oldies (we preferred the Beach Boys) and start making necklaces with noodles! All you need is some yarn and uncooked pasta, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a masterpiece (pun intended)!

Little ones really have to work hard on concentrating to make the yarn go through the noodle, and the finished product is SO cute. Help them tie the knot at the end and then these turn into great gifts for parents, siblings, and grandparents. I had a boyfriend in kindergaraten who made me a noodle necklace out of macaroni, so this will forever be a hilarious activity to me.
A couple of helpful tips (it’s the teacher in me)

-MODEL. Modeling is actually showing your child how to do something before expecting them to do it. It’s monkey see, monkey do. Every child learns at a different pace, some need to be shown once, and others will need to be shown fifteen times. This doesn’t make any child smarter or less intelligent, it just means we all learn at our own pace, and that is one hundred percent okay!

-If you have older kiddos (who are responsible enough to care for your child’s safety) engage them in the activities! Let them teach their siblings how to do the activity and be sure to include the whole family. Remember, these can be tailored for all ages!

*Thanks to Delta Children for sponsoring this post. Product was provided for my honest review.

xo. L

"Make This Year Count" DIY Back To School Gift [Video Tutorial]

August 14, 2016

Back to school is just around the corner! As a Kindergarten teacher, I go crazy for this time of year. Although Grace isn't in school quite yet, I do have a cute little cousin who is getting ready to start Kindergarten! I needed a fun gift idea for her so I thought I'd whip together a gift basket to surprise her!

I love themed things (it must be the teacher in me) so when I started brainstorming for this project I knew I wanted it to be easy, creative, and useful to my cousin. Something that kids are constantly in need of during this time of year is clothing. While I love shopping for little girls clothing, my niece is at that independent age where picking out her own clothes. A gift card was the obvious choice. I got this one from GiftCardMall.com or you can pick one up at your local grocery store!

I went with JC Penney because their kids clothes selection is fabulous. I shop there for myself pretty often, and I'm always surprised at how far my dollar can go. This $25 gift card should get her a cute new dress, or maybe some shorts and a few tops? That's the nice thing - she can choose. I also included a few school supplies and some hair clips for keeping her bangs out of her face while she's trying to do all of that serious learning!

So here's how to put it together... There's text below, and if you are a visual learner, you can scroll down all the way to see the short video tutorial I filmed!

"Make It Count" Back To School themed gift basket
Time: 
8-10 minutes

Supplies: 
Basket or tub
Colored/Printed duct tape
Scissors
Number stickers
School supplies
(scissors, crayons, markers, notepad, pencils, journal, etc.)
Mini Chalkboard
Chalk

Method:
Step 1: Gather your materials
I got this basket at the Dollar Tree. I like that it's vibrant, and a blank slate to decorate! I also gathered up some school supplies like pencils, crayons, watercolor paints, and a note pad. My students always felt so grown up with their own school supplies.
Step 2: Decorate the basket.
Line the outside of your basket with the printed/colored duct tape on all four sides. I just did one strip, but you could also cover the whole thing with duct tape! After you line the basket, take your sheet of stickers and put the number stickers all over it. I used about 8-10 on each side. Now your basket is ready to be filled with goodies!
Step 3: Write your encouraging note!
Take your mini chalk board and chalk, and write "Make This Year Count' on it to match the theme. The nice thing about this is you can literally change this up for any cute theme or saying for Back to School! I just liked the numbers idea because as a Kindergartner she already recognizes the things on the basket, and that will make her feel good to point out the "1" that she spots.
Step 4: Gather the goodies, and find the perfect placement.
The JC Penney gift card is what I wanted front and center since it's the bulk of the gift. I toyed with the items for a few minutes to see the best way to arrange them. [Check out the video to see exactly how I do it]. So arrange your items the way you like, then put the gift card from GiftCardMall.com on top so your recipient will see it first, and then you're finished! I hope they love the gift you made them! DIY gifts are thoughtful.
Note: This can be modified for any grade or type of schooling! I'd love to do one of these for my little sister who will be starting college next Fall! I could do a cute little basket with a gift card to her favorite restaurant, or a favorite clothing store with all kinds of dorm room goodies... now I can't stop thinking about making all the gift baskets!
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. I'm no YouTube guru, but I'd love to make other little videos like this! Let me know what else you'd like to see on my channel in the comments below!

Join us for a Twitter Party with Gift Card Mall on August 16th at 12 PM EST. There will be $700 in prizes! Make sure to join in on the fun!


*Thanks to Gift Card Mall and JC Penney for sponsoring this post.


xo. L

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