Archive for the Kids Category

Dec 1 2016

Christmas Advent Calendar

Hello December!

This month is a special one for many reasons. First and foremost it’s the month in which we celebrate our Savior’s birth! It’s a month full of traditions and celebrations, including my daughter’s first birthday….I can’t even believe how quickly this year has gone by and that I’m going to have a one year old!

I want to savor each and every day this month with my family, soaking up the sounds, smells and tastes of the season!  One of my favorite traditions and ways to make this month special is by creating an advent calendar.  When I was younger we’d always have one, whether it was one of those cardboard houses with the chocolates behind each window or one made from strips of construction paper to make a chain.

Keeping with tradition, I put together a new advent calendar for this year. I wanted to keep it simple and neutral, and that’s just what I did.  It was super easy and I know it’s already December 1st, but it’s not too late to make one yourself!  Just take a quick trip to the craft store (don’t forget your coupon!)


Here’s what you will need:

  • 24 muslin drawstring bags (found in the wedding craft aisle at Michael’s)
  • 1 star Christmas ornament (roughly the same size as the bags)
  • 25 mini clear Command hooks/strips
  • Stickers numbered 1 through 25 (or stencils or stamps and paint)
  • List of activities and small goodies to fill your bags with
  • Large chalkboard, canvas or wall to attach your bags to

You may find, like I did, that the muslin bags come in packs of 12.  I only needed 25 and wasn’t about to buy a third bag just to use one from it.  I decided to use a star Christmas ornament for Day 1 of my advent calendar.  You’ll then place stickers 2 through 25 on the muslin bags.  Attach command strip hooks to your chalkboard/wall/whatever surface you choose.  I decided to arrange mine in the shape of a Christmas tree.  My bags came with the strings tied in a knot.  I untied them and tied a bow keeping a small loop between the bag and the bow so I could hang from the hooks.  Also, this way the bags didn’t hand so low from the hooks.  Fill each bag with a fun activity to do that day of December or with a small little candy or gift.  For larger items, add a clue for where to find the gift in the little bag.  There you have it, and pretty inexpensive too!

Make this your own, keep it simple and work with what you have. If you have a bulletin board, hang the bags with push pins, or run strips of ribbon on your wall or backdrop and attach the bags to the ribbon with small clothespins.  You can see the advent calendar I made last year here.





Here are some ideas of activities you could include in your advent calendar:

  • Decorate Christmas Tree
  • Visit Santa Claus
  • Go For a Drive to Look at Christmas Lights
  • Decorate a Gingerbread House
  • Make Christmas Cookies
  • Watch a Christmas Movie – Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc.
  • Pack a Shoe Box with Gifts For a Child In Need
  • Make Hot Cocoa
  • Go Christmas Caroling
  • Deliver Candy to a Neighbor

Can’t wait to experience the magic of Christmas through this little one’s eyes! She is excited for our Christmas Advent Calendar.


Wishing you the Merriest Christmas Season!

Signature - Alisa




Nov 28 2016

Our Etsy Shop!

Hello Everyone!  It’s been such a long time!  We have missed this space and all of you!  We hope that you all are doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  A lot has happened with both of us since we’ve updated you last.  We both had baby girls who are now one and almost one, both of us moved into new homes which with kiddos is no small feat!   Last year, after both having baby girls six months apart we took a little break from blogging, as you probably noticed. We have continued to find ways to be creative, and that’s how our new business, Alivia and Lillie, was born… Inspired by our sweet girls we started making headbands and bows.


We were excited to formally launch our business at a Holiday Open House a week ago and were so grateful for the wonderful turnout!  We’ve been working hard to get our Etsy shop up and running in time for the holiday season.  We are excited to say that it is now open!


Our headbands are one size fits most and made with a nylon band that is very comfortable on your little ones heads.  Our Christmas prints are perfect for upcoming Christmas photos or for stocking stuffers.



My Lillie girl is modeling one of my favorite bows….the Lillie bow!  This soft pink looks so darling!  And sweet Alivia is modleing our Cora bow.



We have so many cute patterns! I’m loving this sweet pink and black and white combo!  Mix and match and create a fun color combo to add to your little one’s collection!



We would be so honored to have you all check it out and if you have any feedback we would welcome that as well.  If you would like to email us your thoughts that would be wonderful!  Also, go check out and please like our Facebook page, so that you can be the first to know news about our Etsy shop! We are also on Instagram as well @alivia_and_lillie. We would love to have you follow us on our new adventure!  We are offering 20% off any purchase today for cyber Monday.  Enter coupon code CYBERMONDAY20. And we would love for your to share us with your friends!  We are so thankful for your continued support and encouragement.  We hope you have a wonderful week!


Oct 12 2015

Bedtime Routine Checklist

Any other mamas dread the bedtime routine?!  It’s that time of day when the kiddos all of a sudden have endless amounts of energy and go crazy as you are exhausted and need a break.  It usually includes pleading with them to pick up their toys, trying for 10 minutes to get them in the bath and then trying even longer to get them out of it, wrestling them to get their pjs on, and then once you finally get them in bed, you have to sing 50 million songs, tell stories, get water, take them to the bathroom again and then maybe finally you get to rest!  Whew!

This routine gets old really quick.  Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling with my little man, singing songs together, praying with him and getting sweet kissses goodnight…I just don’t want the bedtime routine to be a long drawn out fight to get him in bed.  You know what I mean?!  So…I had an idea!

My little guy loves structure…in fact all children need it.  I was determined to make bedtime quicker and easier on us both.  So I made my son a bedtime routine checklist.  I simply made it in Word using clip art for the things that need to get done before his little head hits the pillow.  Then I laminated it, and put velcro on it.

bedtime routine checklist2

bedtime routine checklist

My little guy LOVES it!  He loves moving the checks to show what he has done, and is so proud at the end when everything is checked off his list.  It has made this dreaded time of night so much smoother!  And when all is said and done my sweet boy has been bathed and is sleeping in bed, the house is picked up and neither of us have shed tears…at least less often now 😉  It doesn’t always go perfectly, but it has drastically improved this time of day for us.  If you would like a copy of the checklist that I made email me and I will send it to you.

Do you have any tried and true ways to make the bedtime routine easier?  Please share in the comments!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Signature - Marissa

Sep 28 2015

Gender Reveal Party

Back at the end of August we had a little gender reveal party.  We kept it really simple, but it was so much fun!  We had my family and Todd’s family over to my mom’s house for the celebration.  The week prior I put together a few decorations to make it fun and festive.  Whenever I’m out and about and see fun party supplies (like straws, napkins, plates, ribbon, scrapbook paper, etc.) on sale I toss them in my cart, so I had nearly everything I used in my party supply cabinet.  The only thing I purchased was tissue paper for the tissue pom poms I made and flowers from Trader Joe’s.  I highly recommend starting a little party supply stash; it makes it so easy and inexpensive to throw together a last minute get together!

We started the afternoon with some refreshing lemonade, iced tea and yummy appetizer’s my mom made.



When everyone arrived we did the reveal, because we just couldn’t wait any longer!  We went around and asked everyone’s predictions and passed out these “g” and “b” tags I made with my Cricut machine.  Everyone wrote their name on the back of the tag.  I plan to keep them for the baby’s memory box.  It will be fun to remember who guessed what!  We started with my 2 1/2 year old nephew (Marissa’s little guy).  He said “It’s a girl!” He then went around to everyone asking what they thought the gender was.  Every time he got to someone who thought it was a boy he said very adamantly, “No, it’s a girl!”  It was so funny and made me a little nervous for how he might react if it didn’t end up being a girl!  His little sister (my niece!) was born just a month prior, so I think he equates babies with girls!

gender predictions


As you can see the majority of our family predicted a girl…Girl-9 and Boy-3


Three days prior to the party, we had our ultrasound.  We had decided that we wanted to find out the gender with our family at the gender reveal party, so we had the ultrasound technician put the gender in a sealed envelope.  I gave the envelope to my brother so he and his girlfriend could make a poster announcing the gender.  They did such a great job!


It’s a GIRL!


Love this photo of my nephew running over to join in on the fun!  I think he was confirming that it was in fact a girl 😉 !

the reveal 2

After the reveal we had Italian take-out from our favorite local restaurant (simple and easy!) and my mom made a delicious salad to go with it.  We had planned to have dinner outside, but that weekend was SO hot!  We ended up eating inside, but sat on the patio for dessert when it got a little cooler.  I used scrapbook paper as place mats and made simple floral centerpieces in mason jars with bundles of flowers I bought from Trader Joe’s.  Forgive the grainy quality of the phone pictures, I didn’t have much light to work with!


table decor

My mother-in-law made her Jell-O pudding cake.  It was so light and refreshing and tasted so good on a hot day!  The color of the cake worked out perfectly!


candle light

We sat around candle light eating our dessert talking about girl names, nursery ideas, etc.  It was such a fun day and it made it so much more real knowing in a few short months we will be having a girl!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and hope you have a great week!

Signature - Alisa

Sep 24 2015

Big Boy Room

Hi Everyone!

Being a mom of two little ones has kept me very busy the past couple months!  I’m back today to share my son’s big boy room with you all.  I still can’t believe my little guy is big enough for a big boy room!  A few months after we found out we were pregnant with our second child I started dreaming and planning for my son’s big boy room.  We decided to keep the nursery where it was and move him to the spare bedroom.  I worked on his big boy room for several weeks all the while not letting my little guy know so that it could be a surprise.

He loved his big boy adventure room when we did the big reveal.  It was so fun to see him so excited and appreciative.  I really love how it turned out!




We loved the bookcase in my son’s nursery (people always ask where we got it) so we ordered another one (just slightly different) for his big boy room.  It works great when you don’t have a lot of extra room for something like a book case.  We got it from pottery barn kids and waited till we got a coupon in my email.  Then we ordered it by phone and had it shipped to the store (free shipping) which also saved us money.


These vintage plane printables were free!! Can you believe that?!  I found them on pinterest and they were my inspiration piece for the room.  I didn’t want to be limited to airplanes so I decided to go with the “adventure” theme.  Finding free printables online is a great way to save money when decorating.




I love how his gallery wall came out.  I ordered this National Geographic map from Amazon.  It was a great price and the colors were perfect.  Another great way to save money when decorating is to shop your own house.  I already had the clipboard, frames, and hanger and along with the free printables (sources below) this gallery wall was very inexpensive.


He may be in a big boy room now, but there is still a place for Kermi 😉


Many of the things I used in his big boy room I had in his nursery.  It saved me a lot of money by using some of the same colors in his adventure room.  I used navy and green again and added orange and brown.  It looks like a totally different room, but I was able to use many of the same things.


I love decorating my home with things that have a history or special meaning.  The bear lamp was made by my mother-in-law’s parents.  They were skilled potters.  My son has admired this lamp for a long time at grandma and poppy’s house so he was very excited to see it in his room!  The little orange plane in the picture above was in my brother’s room growing up.  And the little gray metal tool box on his dresser was my dad’s.


My little guy is so proud of his big boy room and loves to show it off to everyone who comes over.  It was a lot of fun to design and put together this room and a big thanks to my sweet hubby for all his hard work as well!

Source List:

Toddler Bed- given to us by a friend

Bedding- Target


Dresser and night stand- Ikea

Adirondack chair- World Market

Book shelf-Pottery Barn Kids

Wooden sign with verse- DIY tutorial here

White picture frames-Ikea

Rug-Home Goods


Navy blue lamp-Home Goods

Navy blue stars-Home Goods (spray painted navy)

Fabric banner- DIY fabric from JoAnn’s

Bear lamp-made by my mother-in-law’s parents

Drift wood sail boat-Home Goods

Large metal L- TJ Maxx

Free Printable Sources:

-4 vintage sketch airplane posters –How To Nest For Less blog

-Adventuring- Couple Jones blog

-I Can Do Hard Things- Lemon Squeezy blog

-I Love You To The Moon and Back (printed in black and white)- A Bubbly Life blog

-Be Strong and Courageous- Gracelaced blog

-Let Your Dreams Take Flight- Happy Go Lucky blog

-Adventure!- I Rock So What blog

Check out my Big Boy Room Pinterest board to see where I got my inspiration and for more ideas on an adventure room.

Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Jul 23 2015

“B” Is For…

B Is For Baby

“B” is for…Baby Bloom!  

We are so excited to announce we are expecting a baby this December.  I’m almost 18 weeks along and it still doesn’t feel real!  Todd and I have prayed, dreamed and hoped for this little baby for so long.  We feel so blessed and grateful.  It’s funny, out of all the months in a year I think December was last on my list to have a baby.  But, it’s just another example that God has His own plan and His timing is perfect.  I’m due December 26th and it’s a sweet reminder that this is God’s precious gift to us!

For those of you who hope to have a little one of your own, but have experienced miscarriages, or are struggling with infertility, etc. you are not alone.  I’ve been there.  It took us a while to get pregnant and once I did, I went through two miscarriages.  The journey is long, lonely, painful and weary, but don’t lose hope.  If I have learned anything over these past couple years it’s that God is faithful and He is so good.  He has a plan and it is far better than any plan we could dream-up on our own.  Put your faith and trust in Him and in His timing.  I still need to be reminded of this.  Fear creeps in and I have to remind myself to give all my worries over to God.  He is in control.  He brought me to where I am now and He won’t abandon me now.

I hesitated sharing this part of our story because it’s so personal, but my prayer for those with a similar journey is that you will find hope and won’t feel so alone in what you are going through.  I strongly believe in the power of prayer and I’d love to pray for you wherever you are in your journey to baby.  Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below.  You don’t have to leave your name.  There is also healing in sharing your story and I encourage you to talk to someone about it.

So, I think this explains my absence from blogging a bit!  I had a rough first trimester.  I was on bed rest for a bit when I found out that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which praise God went away on its own.  I had no energy and bad morning sickness, which was more like all day sickness.  Now that I am in my second trimester I am feeling better and can’t wait to meet our little peanut.  We will be finding out the gender mid-August, so we will keep you posted!  Thanks to all of our friends and family who have prayed for us during our journey to baby.  We are so excited to soon be a family of three at the end of the year!

Signature - Alisa

Jul 20 2015

Lemonade Blueberry Popsicles

Hi Friends!

I love summer!!  I love splashing in the pool, running through sprinklers, warm nights, the occasional summer thunderstorms, cute chubby toddler thighs running around in just a diaper, and Popsicles!    I finally got a Popsicle mold so that we can make our own Popsicles.  There are so many yummy recipes out there online.  I wanted to share one with you that I just threw together.  Super easy and quick!


First, I made some freshly squeezed lemonade from lemons from my mom’s tree.  I used the recipe found here.  I poured it in the Popsicle molds, threw in some frozen blueberries,  and popped them in the freezer for several hours and voila!!


They were a hit!


Have a great week!

Signature - Marissa

Jul 9 2015

Just Me and Him

Well Hello Everyone!!!  It has been such a long time!!  Being pregnant and having a toddler has kept me very busy…and tired!  Man, it is not easy!  And I know it is not going to get any easier once our baby girl is here, which will be any day now!  We are so excited and can’t wait!  But I am also trying to soak up these last few days of it being just my little guy and me.  There has been something so sweet about our 2 1/2 years together, home, just me and him.  He is going to be the best big brother, actually he already is.  He loves to rub my belly and talk to her, telling her how much he loves her.  Goodness, I love this kid!

IMG_1912 (1)

At night, as part of his bedtime routine he says “let’s talk about baby sister” and we go on to list all of the things we will do with her.  He gets the biggest grin on his face.  He tells me he’s going to “put on her pajamas, brush her teeth, give her her baby, and tuck her in at night.”  What a precious boy.  I feel so blessed to be his mommy.  What a sweet gift he is.  I’m so thankful to have had this time with him, but I am also so excited to meet his little sister.

luke and mommy


Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Apr 6 2015

Mommy Monday: 5 Ways To Use Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We had a great time celebrating Easter with family.

I am always trying to find inexpensive or free ways to keep my little guy entertained.  A long time ago I started saving empty toilet paper rolls hoping I would find a cool use for them.  And I’m glad I did because I have found lots of ways to use them in crafts and playing with my little man.  Here are 5 fun ways to use up those empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls:

1.  Bowling Pins– We just wrapped a different color construction paper around 6 toilet paper rolls, put a little glue, and that’s it!


2.  Stamping with Paint– You can see how we did this Valentine’s Day activity here.  You could also do different kinds of flowers, which would be perfect for spring!

valentine painting3

3.  Build a Rocket-I will be having our preschool co-op kiddos do this next week so I thought we would make a sample.  You can use foil, crepe paper, construction paper, stickers, felt…the possibilities are endless!

IMG_7679 (2)

4.  Make a Bird Feeder-This was really fun to do with our co-op and simple too…just make sure you are there to supervise because it can get messy!  First, I hole punched the toilet paper roll twice at the top on opposite sides. Then the kiddos or adults can “Paint” the toilet paper roll with peanut butter.  It works well to leave a little space at the top so you can hold it.  Then roll it in bird seed (I found a big bag at the 99 cent store!).  (I think I will go back and glue the bird feeder to a plate).  Then hang and have fun watching the birds with your little ones!

bird feeder

5.  Car Ramp on the Wall– Make a design on the wall by taping toilet paper rolls and/or paper towel rolls to the wall.  I used blue tape so that it wouldn’t damage the paint.  Let your kiddos send cars, little balls, or pom poms through the maze.

car ramps

Do you have any other ways to use up those empty toilet paper rolls?  I’d love to hear them!  Please leave a comment so all us moms can get some more great ideas!

Hope you have a great week!

Signature - Marissa


Mar 16 2015

Mommy Monday-Spring Planting Activities for Kids

Well, it is definitely feeling like spring around here!  I am loving the warm temps and sunshine!  One of the things I love about spring time is seeing things come back to life in my yard.  I love working in the yard and planting my garden.  Today I thought I would share some lessons you could do with your littles that have to do with gardening.

I am a part of a wonderful pre-school co-op with some other mom friends.  We rotate houses and share the teaching.  We use Hubbard’s Cupboard as a resource if any of you are interested in checking it out.  A couple weeks ago it was my turn to teach on seeds.  I was so excited to get to share my passion of gardening with eleven sweet kiddos!

Below are some planting activities for kids that we did and you could also do to introduce seeds/plants/gardening with your kiddos:

1. Read some books about seeds/plants/gardening–  This is a great way to introduce it to your kiddos.  I went to our local library and borrowed a bunch on the topic.  I read one aloud to the kiddos and then had the books out for the kids to read and explore.  Some were fiction and some were non fiction.  (I forgot to take a picture of them before I returned them, but the ones below are a couple we own)


2.  Say some rhymes or sing songs on the topic– Some ideas are “Mary Mary Quite Contrary,” “I’m a Little Sunflower” (google and you will find lots of different versions to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Roses are Red.” Here is a good resource for this as well.

3.  Create and Read “Life Cycle of a Plant Booklet“-  This is a great book to read to kids and then have them create it by cutting and coloring.  It does a great job explaining the life cycle of a plant to kids.


4.  What plants Need Flashcards– We brainstormed what plants need to grow and then also used these flashcards.  Then I had the kids help me to label the parts of a plant I had drawn and laminated using velcro tags.



5.  Visit a garden or take them outside to your garden–  We went outside into our garden and talked about what is growing.  At the time I had lettuce, strawberries, peas, onions, and broccoli all at different stages of growth.  I showed them the sprouting broccoli, the flowers and the fruit on the strawberries and how to harvest the lettuce.  We did some taste testing of the lettuce and everyone went home with a bag of homegrown lettuce!  We talked again about what plants need: water, air, sunlight, soil.


6.  Plant a bean seed-  At pre-school we all planted a lima bean seed and I showed the kids how mine was already growing and what there’s would look like in about a week.  All you need to do is wet some cotton balls and put them at the bottom of a ziplock baggie (you don’t want them drenched).  Then put a lima bean or any kind of bean you choose at the bottom and seal the baggie.  Hang in a sunny window and watch it grow!  The cool thing about this method is that you can see the seed germinate, and also get a look at the roots which would normally all happen under ground.  Depending on the age of you kid(s) you could give them a notebook to draw their seed every couple days to record the changes.


7.  Parable of the Sower Bible Story–  I found a short video on this that the kids watched.  We then talked about the different types of soil and which one we want to be.  There are lots of resources on this online for more activities.

8.  Plant a Vegetable Garden– My son and I love getting out in the vegetable garden and working.  It’s so fun to watch things grow and be able to pick your veggies, wash and eat them right there in your backyard!  I had my son help me start some vegetable and flower seeds and he kept saying “This is a fun game, mama!”


There is so much you can do on this topic and lots of resources online.  I have started a Preschool Pinterest Board if you would like to follow along.  I also document a lot of our gardening on Instagram at @marissaramsland.  I’d love to connect with you on there!

I hope you all have a great Monday!

Signature - Marissa