My 2018 Holiday Pajama Picks!

HolidayPajamas

  1. Kissy Kissy
  2. Gap
  3. Gap
  4. Petite Plume
  5. Skylar Luna
  6. Janie & Jack
  7. Hanna Andersson
  8. Petite Plume (similar style at J.Crew)
  9. Petite Plume (similar style at J.Crew)
  10. Burt’s Bees Baby
  11. Petit Lem (kid version)

Other fun pajamas that didn’t make the board…

Sammy and Nat

Pottery Barn Kids

The Beaufort Bonnet Company

Bella Bliss (runs small)

Roller Rabbit

More Kissy Kissy with girl version too (runs really small!)

Target

More Burt’s Bees Baby

A cute organic, neutral winter set from Gap

Almost all of these selected, have sizing for baby and child. A fun tip to making the jammies extra special or a beautiful gift… get them monogrammed!

I’d love to hear what you end up getting for your kids!

xo,

Marina

 

 

Jack’s 9 Month Update

Jack’s Outfit: Burberry (it’s peter’s old outfit, but here is something similar)

Chair: Serena & Lily

Wallpaper: Cole & Son

Crib: Natart

Crib Sheet: RH Baby & Child

How is our little guy already so old?! His first year is going by waaaay too fast and I’m already starting to miss those baby snuggles! I know everyone says that but the more kids you have, the faster is goes!

That said, I’m loving his darling personality that comes out more and more! Lately he has been giving the best hugs and kisses and wants to play nonstop with Peter and Caroline.  He chases them all over the house and has major FOMO when it comes to nap time. He really just wants to nap with all of us around him and hates to be alone in his crib during the day.  He sure is one busy bee lately, but thank goodness he sleeps 7pm-7am everyday! I can already tell he is into everything boy… he is super into trucks/cars/balls/anything that moves. Jack is one happy-go-lucky tough cookie and the perfect addition to our crazy, little family!

You all sent me so many good questions and I think I’ve answered hem below, but if not, leave a comment.

MILESTONES & SOME OF HIS FAVORITE THINGS TO DO

  • Fast crawling
  • Climbing up the stairs
  • Cruising along furniture
  • Using a walker or anything that doubles as a walker (i.e. chairs, diaper pail, etc)
  • Working on that pincer grasp, but feeding is still very very messy! I think he loves making messes and smashing his food all around 😉
  • Clapping
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Hugging
  • Giving kisses on command and spontaneously
  • Loves feeding me (or Caroline) and makes a cute “yumm/mmm” noise as he puts the food in my mouth
  • Trying to play catch or rolling balls
  • Babbling a ton
  • Loving his baths/swimming and wants to splash around in every drop of water he sees (including the toilet!! eek!)

STATS

No joke… Jack is huge!! He is 31 inches and in the high 90th percentiles for height, weight, and of course head circumference, which he definitely gets from me, haha! I need him to start walking or holding onto me better when I carry him, because I think my right shoulder is going to give out. I never had this with Caroline because she held on so well like a little monkey! But I suppose that was all together different, since she walked at 9 months and was much lighter 😉

EATING

Jack is such a good eater and will consume almost everything I put in front of him. However, about a month ago he stopped wanting me to spoon feed him. I’m sure you have all been here at some point, but he kept flailing his arms, and trying to bat the spoon away. I was losing that battle too often, so obviously I’ve completely switched over to finger foods at this point and can occasionally give him a pouch to eat from on his own.

His favorite finger foods are: broccoli, carrots, blueberries, bananas, strawberries, avocado, quiche, scrambled eggs, waffles, cheese (especially these mini mozzarella balls), chicken, fish (halibut!), grilled ham & cheese, pasta and cheeseburgers!

Before this whole spoon issue, he used to love mashed bananas with peanut butter, flax oatmeal, greek yogurt with fruit, and pureed chicken noddle soup.

SCHEDULE

7 AM wake up and 6 oz bottle

8 AM breakfast with big kids

(8:45 AM take the big kids to preschool, Peter goes everyday, Caroline 3 days. Usually Jack and I head to tennis, mommy & me or some other type of errand or exercise walk/jog at this time.)

10 AM 6 oz bottle*

10:30 AM first nap (usually on the go)

(11:15 pick up big kids from preschool, most days, but certain days they stay longer with enrichment.)

12 PM lunch

1 PM 6 oz bottle

2 PM second nap (this is still a work in progress since he lately only wants to nap on the go. His crib naps are about 15 minutes long, ugh. So some days he might get a little fussy in the afternoon and usually I just try to get all of us out on a walk or head out for an activity at that point. I can’t complain too much because he always sleeps through the night.)

4 PM 6 oz bottle

5:30 PM family dinner

6:30 PM last 6 oz bottle

6:45 PM bath time (every other day)

7:00 5-minute bedtime routine and asleep without a peep 😉

* Over the next month I’m going to transition him down to four 8 oz bottles a day instead of five 6 oz bottles. I’m also going to work towards one longer nap midday after he turns one year old. I noticed that when I pushed his 9am nap to 10 and then 10:30, he slept much longer vs doing three mini cat naps a day.

MUST HAVES FOR 9 MONTHS BABIES

Walker: VTech

Straw Cup: Munchkin (I like that this one makes them work hard for the water to increase oral motor strength)

Sippy Cup: Nuk

Bib: Oxo Tot

High Chair: Oxo Tot

Sleep Sack: Swaddle Designs and Margaux & May

Carseat: Peg Perego (just moved him into this!)

xo,

Marina

 

 

The Ocean Is Calling… Caroline Turned 3!

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^ Pool party favors to keep the kids busy in the water! I opted for these instead of Moana themed favors 😉 I bought the buckets and other pool toys on amazon and used a paint pen to write the kids’ names on them.

Party Planner: SoiréeSmith

Moana: Wayfinder Princess

Cucpakes: Alliance Bakery

Cookies: Sweet Chickadees

Photo Backdrop: Amazon (If I was going all out, I would have added balloon garland to frame it on the top and one side of it.)

Table Decor: Plates/Napkins/Tablecloths, Palm Leaves, Leis, Take Home Cookies

Party Favors: Buckets, Water Blasters, Dive Toys, Fish Squirts

Venue: LifeTime Athletic (You don’t have to be a LifeTime member to have parties here!)

Invite: Paperless Post (While I love paper invites, I needed to get these invites out in a hurry and it was also more cost effective.)

Thank You Cards: I used the image from Paperless Post to create my own fill-in-the-blank thank you cards through Vistaprint (see above).

Our little minnow finally turned three in August! And, I say “finally” because she had literally been asking about her party ever since Peter had his first friends birthday party in December! Because she was sooo excited to have her own birthday party and invite all her friends, my husband and I decided we needed to make this a very special day for her! Every year won’t be as big 😉 Caroline loves the water, so we opted for a pool party, and of course we had to invite her favorite Disney character, Moana!

The kids spent the first hour swimming in the pool and then had an entertaining hour with Moana learning all sorts of songs, dances, and more. The girls were in heaven and even the boys loved it! I’m telling you this Moana was amazing!!

Parties can be a ton of work and especially last minute set up that is so difficult to do when you have little ones running around, and guests arriving. I was beyond thankful when Andrea from SoiréeSmith was able to help me out! I contacted Andrea about a week before the party and she jumped right in to see where she could be of use. When I threw out the idea of tropical floral centerpieces, she drove over to the flower market to text me pictures of what they had available to create exquisite arrangements a couple days later. I truly could not have done it without SoiréeSmith! For day of set up, Andrea stepped right up and totally put me ease… setting up the party room exactly how I wanted it to look, while I was out mingling with the other parents and watching our kids swim. We only had access to the room 15 minutes prior to the party start time, so this was critical! If you live in the Chicago North Shore area, I highly recommend working with Andrea for any type of party or wedding!

xo,

Marina

Back to School – Elementary Edition

  1. Secret wash button down (On sale! And don’t forget to use the daily discount code to get even more off! Styling tip: roll the sleeves for a more casual, ready-to-play look.)
  2. Roll-cuff linen shirt (On sale!)
  3. Classic pique polo (Similar style for less here)
  4. Slim-fit shorts (On sale! Comes in other colors too!)
  5. Canvas shorts (On sale! Similar style for less here)
  6. Striped belt (On sale!)
  7. Breaker shorts (Similar style for less here)
  8. Adidas sneakers (Similar style for less here)
  9. Basket-weave slip-ons
  10. Boat shoes
  1. The cold-shoulder bow top (Similar style here)
  2. White denim jacket (On sale!)
  3. Turtle grosgrain belt (On sale!)
  4. Chambray embroidered dress (Don’t forget “cartwheel shorts” underneath.)
  5. Floral dress (On sale! Similar style for less here)
  6. White scallop shorts (Similar style for less here)
  7. Espadrille (On sale!)
  8. Pompom sandal (Similar style for less here)
  9. Studded sandal

I know we say it every year, but how is it already the end of summer?! That said, I was so excited when my friends at North Shore Newsletter asked if I could create some back to school looks for elementary school kids for their monthly newsletter! NSNL was founded by two local Chicago North Shore moms and is truly THE one-stop shop for information on local activities and local haunts that keep the North Shore bumping! #FindYourFunNS 

Before you start stocking up on those fall/winter staples, get inspired by these looks to dress your kid for their first day! It’s always fun to get them a little more dressed up than normal, so they can kick off the school year with a good first impression! And you know you want them looking photo fresh for your Instagram account #firstdayofschool 😉

While I’ve included several options (and price points) from larger retail stores, here are a few more of my favorite boutique brands that specialize in classic style: Busy BeesBella Bliss, and Elephantito (I love their quality shoes). Lastly, for affordable, yet cute school/play clothes, I recommend Zara, Gap (make sure to use the daily 40% off code at checkout), and Cat & Jack (Target). Another idea is to check out the sales at Ralph Lauren and Janie And Jack (sort “price low to high” and filter by size to find deals like this).

Enjoy the end of summer!

xo,

Marina

2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – Baby & Child

Hi mamas!

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is in full effect, so I spent all of yesterday going through baby and child to pick out my favorite finds for your little ones. Here is what I came up with! You’ll see that I found some cute outerwear for baby boys, while demin was the theme for little girls. And of course pale pink for baby girls. Lastly, I found some good wardrobe staples for little boys. Happy Shopping!

NsaleBabyGirl

Fleece sweatshirt dress & leggings (Perfect for cozy preschool days or playdates!)

The North Face Pale Pink Jacket

Wearable Blanket (Such a nice weight to put on your babies at night)

TOMS Mary Jane Sneakers

Pom pom canvas bins (You know you always need more toy storage solutions!)

Smock dress and leggings set

Bugaboo Stroller (This is my favorite brand of strollers!)

Organic pajamas

Mary Jane moccasins

(Bonus: Hudson Kids Jeans)

NsaleBabyBoy

Quilted Jacket

Chewbeads Set (My kids loved these when teething)

Hooded Bunting (I had this for Peter in navy. Order up a size so your baby can stay in it a little longer. You can always roll the sleeves up.)

Truck Raincoat

Fleece Hoodie

Baby Blanket (I adore this brand! They are soooo soft and cuddly)

Shirt & Pants Set

Bootie sneaker

Labrador Raincoat (These raincoats are high quality)

NSaleToddlerGirl

Denim Jacket (How perfect for layering or throwing over a summer dress.)

Pull-On Skinny Jeans (Caroline had a pair from last year and loved them! Since they are pull on, she can dress herself, which is also a nice plus!)

Ugg Boot

Pale Pink Top

Glow In The Dark Pajamas

Chambray Ruffle Top (This is a nice dark color for preschool panting and mess)

Ankle Jeans

Ballet Flats

Nsalelittleboys

Gray Pullover (Peter has this in a light blue and I just love him in it! You can dress it up or down.)

5-Pack of Underwear

Moto Jogger Pants (Peter will definitely be wearing these to preschool in the winter)

Striped Polo (One of my favorite brands for boys’ polos!)

Skinny Jeans

Sport Shorts

Running Shoes

Knit Shorts

I’d love to hear what you found at the sale!

xo,

Marina

“The Skinny” on the BBG Workout Program

^ Week 8 when I noticed by butt looking more sculpted and perkier, haha 😉

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^ A sample of what the workouts look like on your phone

I have received a ton of questions about the workout program I have been doing, so here is a Q&A about BBG! Let me know what you think!

[Disclaimer: As always, keep in mind that I’m just a regular mom and I know my body is FAR from perfect. I just hope this gives you some inspiration or at least more information about the BBG program.]

What program did you just complete?

I just completed the 12 week BBG 1.0 program through the SWEAT app (on my phone). It has definitely been the hardest continuous workout program that I have ever done in my life!! I stuck to it well and only missed one resistance workout the whole time! Each week you are expected to complete three 28 minute resistance workouts, broken up into legs, arms and abs. There is the option to complete an additional three days of cardio and two sessions of recovery stretching. They also have a meal program you can follow. I personally only did the resistance and cardio portions, which meant I was working out six days a week.

When did you start BBG post baby?

I started BBG seven weeks after having Jack. I really wanted to make sure I had doctor clearance before starting an intense resistance program that I had never tried before. However, I did easy to moderate workouts starting at three weeks post baby, which was a nice way to ease me back into feeling a little more ready for BBG. BBG totally kicked my butt the first week! No joke… I couldn’t even do the burpees and sit ups. But by week three, I was able to do all the reps! It’s amazing how fast your body can gain strength!!

What results have you seen?

I have lost about 6 pounds, which doesn’t seem like much for all the hard work I have been doing! BUT… that said, muscle weighs more than fat! Right? 😉 In general I notice my body being more toned and feeling stronger. I also noticed that my face looks a little leaner. I started to see toning around week 8. I still have a ways to go and could do a lot more, but feel confident where I’m at right now!

What are the pros and cons of BBG?

In my opinion, here are the pros and cons…

Pros:

  • You can do it all from your home with your kids around or napping (a major plus that you don’t have to pay for a sitter or belong to a gym). Or sometimes I would do it at 10:30 p.m. after putting the kids to bed, cleaning the kitchen and house etc… I know that sounds crazy, but as a mom you do what you have to do to get it done!
  • This is a workout that really makes you sweat and burn calories! It’s intense, but doable with the resistance program only being 28 minutes, 3 times a week.
  • You can do it anytime of the day versus having to go to a class at a certain, perhaps inconvenient, time for you and your kids’ schedules.
  • You get results fast! And feel stronger after 2 weeks! It’s impressive to feel yourself doing things you couldn’t do just a week ago.
  • I like that they offer alternatives to the challenging reps.

Cons:

  • You have to be somewhat self motivated because the work outs are hard and you may not always feel like getting your butt kicked!
  • The workout is high intensity which is great! I love sweating but some women might view it as a con that you likely need to shower after working out and rushing out of the house. It’s definitely not one of those workouts that you can jump into a cute dress right after and meet your friends for lunch 😉
  • With the high intensity comes high impact. By that I mean there is a lot of jumping and a lot of push ups. This can be hard on your knees and wrists. If you find it to be too much, you can always modify. For example, if the push ups are tough, try knee push ups, and if by the end of the workout, knee push ups are even too tough… switch to bench chest press with your knees in a tabletop for one set. At least you are doing something!

Outside of the three weekly resistance trainings, what did you do for the weekly “cardio” goals?

My cardio consisted of walks/jogs, my weekly “cardio tennis” class, my “power cardio pilates” class, elliptical training, or sprints/hill running if I was feeling super zealous.

What is your overall opinion of BBG 1.0?

I do like the program and would recommend it to someone that wants to see fast results, is motivated to stick with it (perhaps do it with friends to keep you more accountable!), and can handle a high impact workout. I probably would not recommend the program to a friend that has a prior knee injury because all the jumping may be a lot on their knees!

What do you plan to do next?

I’m going to take a short break from BBG, and focus on running and pilates for a couple weeks before I start BBG Stronger or PWR (Power), which both can be found in the SWEAT app. What about you?! I’d love to hear what workouts you find effective!

xo,

Marina

Seasonal Closet Clean Up

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Spring came super late this year in Chicago, so we’ve been holding onto those winter items until just last week! When the weather forecast finally started to show some improvement, I jumped at the chance to organize Caroline’s closet. I try to do this about once a season. It’s also a good time to take an inventory check on what I need to shop for.

Oh and before you think I have a major shopping problem (only a minor one, haha), you should know that most of these items are hand-me-downs from a good friend or they are dresses from last summer that still fit 😉 The good thing about little girls is that even if the dress start getting a tiny bit short… they usually work for a couple seasons. I suppose with little boys, you can usually get them to wear the same shorts two years in a row as long as the waist is forgiving.

So none of this is rocket science, but here are my tips when going through your kids’ closets. Like I said, I suggest doing this once a season or at least twice a year. Also, if your child (daughter) is anything like Caroline, she is getting into all her clothes and trying 30 outfits on a day. It’s been driving me crazy to see her come downstairs wearing a summer dress with a Christmas sweater and mittens. My closet clean up has definitely mitigated this a bit!

  • Organize apparel and review sizing once a season
    • Pull out anything that is in the wrong color palette or wrong material weight for the season. For example, I just got rid of all the winter colors and heavy dresses/tops and replaced them with spring/summer colors and light-weight items.
    • If you find a pair of pants or a shirt that is too small (body or sleeve length) use that as a marker to pull out all the items that are the same size or smaller.
      • Once you have removed items, put them into piles before just packing them away.
  • Sort pulled items
    • If too small…
      • If you plan to have another baby or have another child growing into these clothes, keep the ones you know you’ll want to use again
      • Do your best to donate any clothes you really can’t see yourself putting another child in (i.e. maybe the clothes are looking a little tired or have food stains on them.)
      • If you aren’t having another child, go through and save any pieces (usually baby items) that you want to give to your child down the road when they are having their own babies! Start putting together that baby keepsake box if you haven’t already! And of course, donate the rest or find a friend who wants your hand-me-downs 🙂
    • If you think the item may fit next year for the correct season… put it in the keep pile – fold it up and store it away until the weather changes.
  • Take inventory
    • Scan through your child’s wardrobe and reflect on what needs to be added either when it comes to items or colors
      • Here are some sample questions to ask yourself for spring/summer… does your child have:
        • a basic white top to go with everything?
        • sandals and beach shoes that fit?
        • a formal outfit for Mother’s Day or an upcoming special occasion?
        • outfits that make sense for camp or park playdates?
        • bottoms they can easily take off if they need quick access to the bathroom at summer camp? I like these drawstring shorts for Peter. He still hates dealing with zippers and buttons when I’m not around 😉
        • a lightweight coat or cardigan for layering?
        • coordinating outfits across your childrens’ wardrobes (if you like doing that)?
  • General organization
    • For my kids, I find it is easiest to hang tops/dresses and put pants/shorts, pajamas, underwear/socks, and bathing suits in drawers or baskets. I like how you can see the tops easily and flip through them without making a big mess.
    • I like these hangers from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Hopefully this will help speed up the morning routine and declutter your closets!

You can shop some of Caroline’s summer dresses:

xo,

Marina

A Stylish & Functional Accessory

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Sunglasses: Toucca Kids (use code “lapetiteplum15” for 15% off and free shipping!) | Swimsuit: Minnow Swim (sold out, but similar styles here and here) | Pullover: Vineyard Vines | Jeans: Ralph Lauren (similar style here and on sale!) | Rain boots: Hunter

Peter is all about his new shades and wouldn’t take them off on our Cabo vacation! Aren’t they so cute though?! Peter is wearing the “Blonde Havana Brandon Wayfarer.”

Sunglasses can often be the forgotten (yet functional) accessory for kids! And I truly cannot say enough great things about these Toucca Kids sunglasses. They are made of the highest quality and definitely passed Peter’s durability test as he dragged them through the sandy beaches of Cabo 😉 I urge you to read why the founders of Toucca Kids, Jason and Helen, had the idea of starting a kids’ sunglass company… it is so sweet! I’m sure like me, you can relate with their desire to research every baby product out there to find the very best for their son.

I also wanted to point out that their glasses are polarized, offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, and have shatter/scratch-resistant lenses. It’s such peace of mind knowing your kid’s eyes are getting the proper sun protection they need.

Toucca Kids is kindly offering 15% off and free shipping to my followers when you use the code “lapetiteplum15”. So go check out their full collection! I know you won’t be disappointed.

xo,

Marina

Rejuvenate for Spring!

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Photos by: Marena Beck Photography

Our winter has been really harsh this year, so I’m all about rejuvenating myself before spring officially arrives! Here are some of my favorite products to bring life back into your skin and hair. Let me know your must-haves to get you through the winter!

FACE

Face lotion (or this) – both of these lotions go on so smoothly and instantly hydrate your face

Lip conditioner – this is great for out and about when you want a little color with a chapstick-like feel

Lip balm – I apply this to my lips every morning and night after brushing my teeth, and it keeps them feeling hydrated without being too “goopy”

BODY

Hand lotion – this lotion soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave your hands feeling oily

Heel/foot treatment cream – this treatment is perfect for those cracky winter heels

HAIR

Shampoo & Conditioner – ultra-hydrating

Treatments – if your hair is dry and brittle from the winter, try this!

Leave-in conditioner – I use this every time after washing my hair to detangle it and prep it for blow drying

Hair Dryer – this dryer is super fast and gives your hair lightweight volume

Curling iron – I have noticed my hair is much healthier after switching to his curling iron

xo,

Marina

 

Snowed In, Again

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^ Peter, February 2018

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^ Peter, March 2017

Half zip sweater: Ralph Lauren (this one for baby sizes)| Teepee: Pottery Barn Kids (similar style here) | My First Anywhere Chair: Pottery Barn Kids

This is a bit of a repeat from last winter, but with many new followers this year and over a foot of snow outside… I decided to repost my “snowed in” post again.

Snow days can be so much fun, but they can also drag on with little kids that can’t be outside for too long. Here are my favorite indoor activities to do with my little ones on a snowy or dreary day. They are perfect to keep the kids entertained, get them moving, and teach them something new.

  • Set up an indoor campsite – You can do this by setting up tee pee or building a fort out of pillows. What kid doesn’t want to go camping in their family room?! You can make up fun stories to tell them inside the tent, and then later send them out to find make-believe firewood to keep you all warm and food to eat. It’s fun to see what they come up with when you ask them to go hunting for food and berries. If all else fails, the kids will love hiding in the tent with you lifting up different flaps and peaking through the windows.
  • Create an obstacle course – Get some of their energy out by setting up an obstacle course in a big carpeted room. Have your little ones climb over a pillow hill, army crawl throw a tunnel, go down the slide, weave through cones, and step up a big box and jump off it. Have a little competition and encourage the kids to count while the other ones completes the course.
  • Bake banana bread – Banana bread is a delicious cold weather treat and who doesn’t have  overripe bananas around, so why not bake with your kids. Toddlers love to smash the bananas, measure out the ingredients with scooping and dumping and of course… sample the dough. You can add chocolate chips to make it even more decadent.
  • Take a dip in the “indoor pool” – Change up your nighttime bath routine, and put the kids in midday for some swimming practice and bubble blowing. And if you want to get crazy, bust out the bathtub crayons for some artistic fun in the bathtub! Just be careful they understand that they cannot draw on walls and that those are special crayons that can only be used on the tub.
  • Play Simon says – This might only buy you 10 minutes, but it could be a lifesaver when you need your stir crazy kids to sit still during the evening witching hour. My kids find it hilarious when they get tricked and do something without me saying “Simon says” first. And then they try to trick me 😉
  • Get help with your household chores – As moms, we typically have a lengthy to do list. Why not employ your kids and make it a fun game for them? You’ll be surprised how they love sorting laundry by color and enjoy taking laundry out of washer and putting it into dryer. Give them a mini dust pan and brush and have them help you clean the floor by going on a crumb hunt.  Try having your little ones help you unload the dishwasher, starting with the non-breakable kids’ plates and cups of course!
  • Play restaurant – See what kind of fun concoctions your kids come up with when feeding you. Pretending to be at a restaurant, is a fun way to work on those manners, while introducing how to converse with a waitress or waiter.
  • Make a homemade bagel bird feeder – With just a few ingredients your little tots can make this bird feeder for those poor birds that have a tougher time finding food when it’s snowing. Hang it from a tree, and then go back inside to watch the birds (or squirrels) flock to the tasty treat your little ones created.

xo,

Marina