toddler eats – holiday pancakes!

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kelsey nixon is back today sharing her favorite go-to pancake recipe and the most darling food art ideas, too! pancakes are always on high rotation over at our house (especially around dinner time, nothing beats breakfast for dinner!) and since the most adventurous we usually get is adding blueberries to ours, we’re excited to try out some of these ideas below together this month!

kelsey says:

Happy Holidays! The “most wonderful time of the year” is in full swing and whether you’re trimming your tree, buying gifts, or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, many of our activities this month revolve around the idea of tradition. Like many of you, most of our holiday traditions have been passed down and reliving those traditions makes the experiences that much sweeter. Or maybe you’re making your own family traditions that are unique and special with your immediate family. One tradition that we like to keep up is a big breakfast on Christmas morning. I almost look forward to it just as much as all of the gift giving! It’s the best breakfast of the year and I want my little guy to be as excited for Christmas morning breakfast as I have always been.


My son Oliver’s favorite food right now is pancakes. How fitting for a traditional Christmas morning breakfast! To make things extra special for him, I wanted to incorporate some of his favorite holiday themes into breakfast. These simple food art ideas are as tasty as they are charming and so easy to pull off. First, you’ve got to begin with a great pancake recipe. My go-to Buttermilk Pancake recipe is listed below, but these pancake ideas will obviously work with any recipe that your family loves. We are big fans of the Pancake Pen in our home. It’s an easy way to pull off fun shapes with no mess and lots of convenience. You can even mix your pancake batter right in the bottle! Our favorite feature is that if you have any leftover batter, you can pop the lid on the pancake pen and stick it in the refrigerator for breakfast the next morning. Not to mention, your kids will love getting in on the pancake action and creating their own fun shapes and letters. For pancake loving kids it could actually be a great holiday gift!



Buttermilk Pancakes

Yield: 8 pancakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and butter. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and continue whisking until no lumps remain.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat with non-stick spray. Pour pancake batter onto the hot surface and cook until bubbles appear. Flip with a spatula, and cook until golden brown on the other side.


For a Santa pancake, start with a good sized circular or oval pancake. If you want, you can use the pancake pen to make little ears on the sides of his head. I used bananas and blueberries for his eyes, a raspberry for his nose, strawberries to make his hat, and bananas and whipped cream for a big fluffy beard. If you were looking for something a little less indulgent, dusting his beard with powdered sugar instead of whipped cream would look just as festive.


To make this cheery snowman, I drew 3 circles with my Pancake Pen and kept them all connected. You’ll need a long spatula to flip this shape or you can make 3 individual pancakes and stack them on top of each other. Then I dusted the circles with powdered sugar (I love this tool) and made eyes and buttons out of blueberries. The nose is a teeny tiny slice of cantaloupe and his hat is a strawberry. For a savory touch, he’s got a crispy bacon scarf and twig arms. Mini marshmallows make a great snowfall.


Apple slices inspired tree branches for this festive pancake. I simply made a triangular shaped pancake and used the shape of the apple slices to fill in the center. The lights and ornaments are made up of berries and the tree is topped off with a cantaloupe star. A crispy bacon tree stump creates the perfect base for this sweet pancake.

The ideas for holiday pancakes are endless! You could make a reindeer, elf, presents, or beautiful snowflakes with your toddlers. It’s a fun way to inspire creativity in food and there’s no doubt that they’ll be excited to eat breakfast. What holiday pancake shapes would your toddler request? Happy holiday pancake making!!

thank you so much for sharing, kelsey!  see more toddler eats posts HERE.
all photos by kylie whiting.

come together with FEED! + a giveaway! (closed)

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our family is honored to be a part of FEED’s holiday campaign, all about coming together this holiday season.  josh and i love what FEED stands for, the principle that one person and one purchase can make such a big difference in a fight against world hunger (since being founded, FEED has given over 85 million meals worldwide!)

we’ve joined together with a number of other people as part of their holiday campaign to help make sure littles around the world have the nutritious food they need to grow, learn and play like we, as a family, are able to do every day. from our campaign photo above, our FEED bags, bracelets and pouch provides 415 meals!  you can see more from the holiday campaign here.

thumbnail of 2014 campaign

to celebrate, and help give back, FEED is offering one lucky reader a $300 credit to shop whichever FEED bags, jewelry, pouches or other items you might like for yourself or to give this holiday season.  you can see how many meals each item on their site gives to someone in need. it’s pretty incredible!

to enter to win, leave a comment below telling us how you love to come together during this holiday season.  the giveaway will close 1 week from today.  the winner will be drawn at random and emailed directly next tuesday, december 16th. (ps. we’re also hosting a separate giveaway on instagram today as well if you’d like to enter there, too!)

thank you again to FEED for asking us be a part of something so meaningful this holiday, and good luck to those entering the giveaway!

what not to miss in NYC this christmas!

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i used to always tell people the best time to visit new york city was in the fall. maybe early october, when the leaves are at their peak colors and the humidity has finally left us be and the crisp feel of autumn is in full effect. i still love autumn in the city a lot, but i’m starting to feel that being here around the holidays cannot be topped.

since it’s a frequently emailed question, i’ve pulled together some of our very favorite things you won’t want to miss if you’re new to the city or just visiting this season.

christmas in NYC: what not to miss!

  • radio city christmas spectacular with the rockettes (it really is quite epic. we loved it this year.)
  • visit the holiday markets around the city… columbus circle, bryant park, and union square (our favorite) – check the schedule here!
  • if you have little ones, go see peter and the wolf at the guggenheim museum. we have gone the last two years and loved it. it’s different every year… last year it took a more comedic route with the juilliard ensemble playing the music and a few actors and dancers on the stage. it’s short and sweet so the kids adored it. we’re excited to go again this year.
  • the holiday train show at the botanical gardens or at grand central!  it was a hit with samson in particular last year.
  • check out all the decorated trees around the city! …rockefeller, the met museum angel tree, madison square park (fun fact: madison square is the home of america’s first public christmas tree in 1912!) and the origami christmas tree at natural history museum which is my personal favorite.
  • the marionette holiday puppet show at central park for your little ones!
  • do a santa crawl. you can visit him all over the city but we’ve enjoyed visiting him at santaland at macy’s (the whole set up is pretty fun), the plaza hotel, and ABC carpet and home (he’s only there a few days a week though so check the schedule here.)
  • ice skating in central park, bryant park, and rockefeller center.
  • if you go to chelsea market for any holiday shopping, check out the lights! also, the dyker heights lights in brooklyn are supposed to be incredible (we need to go. still haven’t been personally.)
  • window shop and see the gorgeous displays down 5th ave (here is a helpful interactive map!) i especially love the windows at bergdorfs.
  • enjoy holiday treats! …hot chocolate at city bakery, peppermint bark at jacques torres, and gingerbread cookies at sarabeth’s. yum.
  • play in FAO schwarz toy store (our kids love the big piano keys!)
  • stop by the washington square arch around 5PM on christmas eve for some caroling!

did i miss any favorites from any locals? please share in the comments!

see more NYC guides HERE.

merry christmas!!!!

12 Days of Christmas DIY with Candice Stringham

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happy friday! i have a really fun post for you today from one of my dear friends, candice stringham. candice is one of those people who is an incredible photographer (she currently teaches online classes here) and incredibly crafty (she’s one of the ladies behind the pretty craft blog handmade mood), and she’s also just a really good person. i’m so excited she agreed to share her skills with us today showing us how to make 2 different versions of a 12 days of christmas DIY project! it’s a very simple craft, requiring only a few supplies and should store easily since you can take the entire thing apart after the holidays and store inside a poster tube! i hope you enjoy!


candice says:

“I love, love, love, Christmas. So, I wanted to create a fun advent for our family, but with how busy we are this year, I knew I couldn’t keep up with doing an activity each day for a whole month. So, this year, we are going for the 12 days of Christmas. I wanted to create something simple, clean, and easy that didn’t cost a lot to make and would be easy to store; this “tree” is what I came up with.supplyphoto

Supplies Needed for the Tree

All of these supplies are available at Hobby Lobby and total less then 20 dollars (and they are basic enough that I’m guessing they would have them at any craft store), with the exception of a drill:

1 dowel 5/8×36”
4 dowels 1/4×36”
A plaque base (you can buy any shape, but I bought the oval)
2 packages of wooden round balls 3/4
1 package of dowel caps 5/8
A drill with two drill bits the same size or slightly larger than the dowels.

Let me start out by saying that a drill is probably the only power tool I know how to use, so I wanted to stick with it and stay away from any big tools. The smaller dowels can be cut with clippers for the lengths you need. The beauty of this project is that you can really make the tree any size you want but if you want to make yours exactly the same as mine, the measurements I used are in my instructions below.6stepsfortree

Instructions for the Tree

My branch sizes:
2 Bottom branches 15inches
2 branches 13 inches
2 branches 11 inches
2 branches 9 inches

Step 1:
Drill 1/4 inch holes into the big dowel for the branches. I wanted my branches to make a cross shape. I drilled the first hole for the bottom branch 15 inches up from the bottom of the dowel. That space will be your trunk. I placed two branches criss-cross .5 inches apart. From there, I drilled the next branches every four inches apart.

Step 2:
Insert the smaller dowels in and slide though so half is on one side and half is on the other.

Step 3:
Drill 1/4 holes into the wooden balls.

Step 4:
Drill a 5/8 hole into the plaque base and insert the 5/8 dowel.

Step 5:
Add on the small caps to each branch and the large cap to the top.

Step 6:
Step back and enjoy your pretty tree!

Now you have a simple tree! At the end of Christmas, it will all break down and can fit in a simple poster tube for storage, with the exception of the base.

For the Advent Part…

I created two different options, depending on which style you like.

Version 1: Black and White Number bannerstree1tree1detail

Supplies and Instructions for Version 1, Black and White Number banners:

Printable PDF (you can download it here)
Wooden BBQ skewers
Bakers Twine or stringtagsteps

All you need to do is print out the PDFs we have designed for you. Then cut them out. I added a little notch at the bottom so it looks like a banner but you could also leave it a straight line if you wanted. Then, fold them in half and glue each side together with a wooden bbq skewer in the middle.

Then, tie bakers twine or your string of choice to each end and hang up! You can write an activity on the back if you would like!

Version 2: Polaroid stylepolaroidtree1detailpolatreebackpola-2

Supplies and Instructions for Version 2, Polaroid style:

Printable PDF’s (you can download here)
Instagram images
binder Clips

We have created two PDFs for you (you can download them from handmademood): One with polaroid frames you can drop 1.75×1.75 instagram images onto to print; and one for the backs with an activity on them.

To create the polaroids, you can either print out the file and physically glue instagram photos in place or you can drag instagram photos into Photoshop, drop them onto the PDF, and print.

Then, just clip the photo and the card describing the activity together with a binder clip.

Finally, tie on a string and hang it on the tree.

I hope you love this little tree as much as we do!”

thanks again candice for sharing! merry christmas everyone!

a little video: meeting Siri.

a few weeks ago, josh was asking Siri a question on his phone when eleanor piped up and asked to talk with Siri. josh handed her his phone and before we knew it, eleanor was asking Siri all sorts of questions.  it was kind of hysterical, mostly because Siri kept calling eleanor “eleanER” after introduced herself and also because Siri would often reply to her questions with statements like, “i didn’t quite get that.” it can sometimes be hard to catch everything a 3 year old is saying. ;)

samson wanted in on the action too, and within a few minutes, both of them somehow decided to take their conversations behind the sofa in their nursery.  we stood in the doorway of their room for maybe ten minutes trying not to laugh listening to them gab away with their new computer friend. i grabbed my video camera towards the end and caught the end tail of their little chats and had to share a few snippets today because it was so cute.  it’s fascinating just to see how far we’ve come the last few years with technology. and then to see my 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 year olds interact with it all is even more fascinating.  i wonder what their world is going to be like in terms of technology when they are older.  it’s all kind off crazy weird when you think about it.  but for now, i’ll just enjoy eleanor lion “roarrrrr”-ing at Siri.