kids' creativity: summer journaling (+ a giveaway!)

*the below features a giveaway of some of my fave things for kids for summer. this giveaway and post are not sponsored by any retailer or partner, and the opinions below are my own! 

i love keeping an eye out for the latest + greatest thing that i can try with the boys, to try and encourage their creative + artistic side of the brain. i will say both of my boys do love having a pad of plain paper + crayons at the ready and easily within their reach, but they also equally love their cars + basketball. but whenever i see a way to encourage that little bit of creativity, i try to help it grow a bit!

little mr. re-nest #1's birthday was in april, and he is always asking me for my canvases to make his michaels. for as long as i can remember, my oldest loves to make books. and, it generally means a lot of loose pages floating around. these blank hardcover books were like angels singing....not only to keep things neat and orderly, but also to encourage his creativity. so, i decided to get him his own little art kit....filled with canvases, paint, brushes, crafty stuff, glue, and more....including these fantastic hardcover blank books from

he was all about getting started on a book, but what to write about?

well....we just happen to have a disney trip coming up. and, what better way to get even more amped than to start a disney journal??

we got started picking out the rides we must ride at the magic kingdom + at hollywood studios, and made a list in the journal. then, we have lots of space to take the journal along with us, so he can write about every day of our vacation! (side note: i love, love, love that in first grade, his class has been journaling every day of the year. so, this disney journal just helps keep that trend going, encouraging his creativity, and lets him practice his writing skills!)

summer is days away for most of us, and it can be tough to keep learning + creativity going throughout the summer. so, how about a little giveaway? head on over to the re-nest studio instagram, follow me + tag a friend in the creative kids summer giveaway post, and you'll be entered to win!* this creative kids summer giveaway features these goodies:

- one pack of blank hardbound books by creatology from michaels 

- one pack of crayola colored pencils

- 3 packs of assorted summer stickers

- pack of 7 rolls of washi tape from create 365

so, fire up your instagram account + head over to @reneststudio and enter to win! and, help your kiddos get a little creative this summer!

*entries to win will be based on both following the re-nest studio instagram account and tagging a friend which will be confirmed! the creative kids summer giveaway post will go live on friday, may 27, and entries will be open through monday, may 30. the random drawing (via random.com) will take place on tuesday, may 31, and winner will be notified on tuesday, may 31 via instagram message + tagged in a winner post on the re-nest studio instagram account. re-nest studio will cover all shipping + handling charges to the continental united states only. 


tribal baby shower fun!

i love a good baby shower. and, now that i'm past that stage myself, i sort of absolutely get all giddy when others get to celebrate + welcome a new baby into the world.

so, when i met a new fan at the re:craft + relic show a couple of weeks back, and she asked me to help her with decorations for her sister's upcoming baby shower, i was on board! she loved the new golden glitter arrow canvas, and shared with me that she was going with a tribal theme for her soon-to-be nephew's baby shower!

we settled on a large banner with "it's a boy" + then one of my fave things ever....little place setting
teepees with feathers on top! our color scheme consisted of baby blue, mint green, tan + gold...so i set to work, finding great papers that worked with this color + theme!

i actually kind of had a hard time finding papers in that color scheme with a tribal feel...until i turned to my friends on etsy. i ventured into the world of digital scrapbook papers for the first time, and i might be hooked. (if you aren't familiar with digital scrapbook papers, they are pretty amazing - for a couple of dollars, you can get a whole collection of coordinating paper designs in high resolution files. you can use them to print paper (like i did), or to do digital scrapbooking, or as pretty wallpapers on your computer!) i think i ended up with about thirty new designs, and i narrowed down the ones i was going to use to six or so, got them prepped and sent them off to my friends at le print express in sycamore for printing! 

the finished product was so adorable....seriously, i was snapping pics of these pieces all night before i packed them up to ship to milwaukee! i loved everything...the font on the banner, the layers on the banner, the teepees, and figuring out how to get the paper feathers to sit just right on the top of the teepee. 

know someone who's got a baby shower coming up? i love, love, love doing these kinds of custom decorations for such special occasions! and, i give awesome thank you gifts for referrals! (wink, wink!)  



a week or so two weeks ago, the super seven birthday party happened. to say that i feel like i kind of threw it together last minute would be an understatement. now that i'm writing this, maybe it wasn't so much thrown together, as it was just a much easier location, and a much easier theme to go with for this big birthday bash. yeah, i'm going with that.

this year, mr. re-nest #1 wanted to go with an "indiana basketball birthday." and, if you follow me personally on facebook, you know that i'm totally cool with that as a party theme. so, about four weeks ago, i got going on ordering stuff + pseudo-planning.

first up, the location. we decided to go with energym sports again this year. it's the perfect spot for having more than two first graders attend a party, where the kids can just run + jump + throw themselves around (safely, of course) for a good hour + then can have food and cake for another hour. and the best part? i don't have to clean up! so, energym was booked.
fantastic invite from creative digital world on etsy!

then, i hit up etsy for a great invitation. (confession: i was in the midst of planning for re:craft + relic, a new 9-to-5 job, an almost three-year-old, and just, life. so i asked my etsy village for help.) creative digital world on etsy did an amazing job with a design she offers...it was so perfect! and, big, special thanks to my friends at le print express in dekalb for printing these up for me so quickly!

next up for party supplies: amazon. (side note: this is my first year with prime. seriously. i'll never be without prime again.) we grabbed some squishy basketballs (for favors), supplies for the food, some wristbands (more on this later) + some super special indiana university tablecloths. i rounded out the supply list with an order from oriental trading + we were set.

and, like i always do, i did a little inspiration board planning over on pinterest. (check out the super seven board here!)

the party was super fun + i even managed to get a few banners made for the special day. i loved the idea of having the kids get their food at a "concession stand" + keeping things simple.


the joys of coloring!

i know i can't be the only one who's jumped on the coloring bandwagon. in fact, i know a couple of my great friends (who might be reading this post) are on the bandwagon because we've done wine + coloring night. (which reminds me, that was super fun + must be done again!)

so, even though i have all sorts of fun + craftiness always going in the studio, i decided to grab a coloring book and see if it really did what all the articles say it does. which is help calm things down. help you focus + clear your head. did it?

yep. (caveat: i only color after the kids have gone to bed. because why try to fight chaos?)

once i got hooked, mr. re-nest decided to help my new little habit, and grab me some more books for the holidays. so, now i have a pretty sweet little library of coloring books to choose from when i need a moment away + need to clear my head. 

you can pretty much walk into any store now + find adult coloring books, but here are some of my faves:

- usborne books has a fantastic selection of coloring books for kiddos through to adults! 

- michaels + target have a line of color wonders for everyone coloring books, which have beautiful patterns!

what about you? do you have an obsession with coloring too???


pizza pasta: kid-friendly + veggie-filled!

y'all know i'm always on the hunt for great, healthy, family-friendly recipes that are easy to make. weeknight dinners are always a challenge, but with some meal planning + easy recipes, it's possible to be fast + healthy with dinnertime!

one of our very fave recipes that mr. re-nest + i have enjoyed for years is pizza pasta. and, we've of course introduced the boys to it, and the love it too! the base recipe came from a weight watchers cookbook about ten years ago, but over time, i've modified it to add more lean turkey, veggies + whole wheat.

this past week, i decided it was time to work in a little superfoods for my boys....and this dinner was perfect to blend up a little spinach into the tomato sauce to get my boys some extra vitamins + minerals. so i called up my trusty friend, the food processor.

it was sneaky + it was a mom win!

want to try this out with your family? here's the recipe goodness!

pizza pasta (original recipe from weight watchers; modifications by me!)

8-10 oz. whole wheat pasta - i usually use a penne or rotini 

2 c. organic pasta sauce

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 T. olive oil

1 T. basil

1 T. oregano

2 cloves of garlic

2 c. spinach (fresh or frozen)

salt, pepper + red pepper flakes to taste

1. start by bringing a pot of water to a boil, and add the whole wheat pasta. cook pasta thoroughly and drain. at the same time, heat a skillet over medium heat. heat the olive oil in the pan, and add the garlic.

2. after garlic has warmed (i prefer not to brown it), add the ground turkey, and break up to small pieces while it browns.

3. while turkey is browning, add the pasta sauce and spinach to the food processor. puree until all of the spinach leaves are chopped into tiny pieces.

4. once the turkey is browned and the pasta sauce/spinach mixture is ready, add the pasta sauce/spinach mixture to the turkey in the skillet, and stir. also add in the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. let mixture simmer for 10 minutes.

pizza pasta! a favorite in our house!
5. add in the cooked pasta to the skillet, mix together, and serve! feel free to add cheese or pepperoni to the mix (this is what i do for my boys!) 

the great thing is it also makes for great leftovers (if you have any left after dinner!)

tell me: did you try this with your family? what was the verdict?

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